The Hadith of the Wilayah
It is a well known fact in history that the Messenger made his Valedictory Pilgrimage during the tenth year after the Hijrah and that thousands of Muslims accompanied the Prophet in his pilgrimage .
Another well known event of this pilgrimage is that the Messenger while on his way back to Medina stopped thousands of pilgrims at a place called "Ghadeer Khum" (between Mecca and Medina) to declare to them that it is their duty to follow "Al-Thaqalain" (The Two Valuables) who will never part with each other until they join him at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment). He informed them also that Ali the head of the "Itrah" (the close relatives of the Prophet) is like the Holy Prophet in having more authority over their own affairs and that Ali like the Messenger is the guardian of all believers .
The Messenger delivered a sermon on the Day of
"Ali said to the companions who were at that gather-
the Day of Ghadeer Khum to stand up and no one should stand to say: I was informed or I heard. I only ask a man who directly heard by his own ear and memorized by his heart the words of the Messenger." Seventeen men including Khuzeimah Ibn Thabit Sahl Ibn Saad Oday Ibn Hatam Aqabah Ibn Amir Abu Ayyoub Al-Ansari Abu Leila (or Abu Yaala) Abu Al-Haitham Ibn Al- Teihan and men from Quraish stood up and Ali said to them: Tell us what you heard. They said: "We testify that we came with the Messenger of God from his Valedictory Pilgrimage. When the noon time came the Messenger of God came out. He ordered that some trees in that place be pruned; a cloth was put above those trees. He called for the prayer and we came out. He said: What shall you say?
We said: You have delivered the Message. He said: God bear witness repeating that (three times). Then he said: I am about to be summoned (by God and I shall respond to His call). I shall be questioned and you will be questioned .
Then he said: "Certainly God is my 'Moula' (Guardian) and I am the guardian of the belevers. Do you not know that I have more authority over you than you have over yourselves? We said: Yes. He said this three times. Then he held your hand Commander of Believers (the reporting companions were addressing the Imam Ali) and lifted it and said: 'Whoever I am his Moula (Guardian) this is his 'Moula'.
God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.' The Imam Ali said to the testifying companions: You have told the truth and I am among those who bear witness to that."( 1 )
Al-Hafith Mohammad Ibn Abdullah the entitled Al- Hakim Al-Neesabouri in his Mustadrak reported through his channel to Zaid Ibn Arqam that Zaid said:
"When the Messenger of God returned from the
( 1 ) Al-Oundouzi Yanabi-a-Al-Mawaddah p.42. He recorded that Imam Samhoodi (nor Al-Deen Ali Ibn Abdullah Al- Shafi-i reported that Abu Na-eem in his Hilyat Al- Ouliyah) recorded it.
Valedictory Pilgrimage and stopped at Ghadeer Khum he ordered the Muslims to clean under the trees at that place and said: 'I am as if I were summoned and I responded. I have left in you "Al-Thaqalain " one of them is bigger than the other: The Book of God and my "Itrah" (the close relatives). Beware how you will treat them after me; for they shall not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment). Then he said: Certainly God is my Guardian and I am the Moula (Guardian) of every believer. Then he lifted the hand of Ali and said: Whoever I am his Moula (Guardian) this is his "Wali" (Guardian) God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him." ( 2 ) Al-Hakim through another channel reported that Zaid Ibn Arqam reported that the Prophet said the following: ". . . O people I am leaving in you two elements you will never go astray if you follow them. They are the Book of God and the members of my House my Itrah.' Then he said: Do you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves (repeating that three times)? They said: Yes. The Messenger of God said:
Whoever I am his Moula this Ali is his Moula." ( 3 ) These hadiths contain three important items:
1. The Messenger left to his nation two important elements which do not part with each other and that obedience of the two constitutes a security against straying.
The two elements are: The Book of God and the 'Itrah' (close relatives) of the messenger.
2. The Prophet had more authority over the believers than they had over themselves and that God is the Guardian of the Messenger and that the Messenger is the Guardian of the believers .
3. Ali is like the Prophet in being Guardian of all the believers. Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari Amir Ibn Dhumrah Hutheifah Ibn Oseid Imam Ali and others reported the three contents in one hadith.
( 2 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 109. ( 3 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 pp. 109-110.
The first and the second contents were also reported by the Imam Ali and Om Selemah wife of the Messenger who said:
"The Messenger held the hand of Ali at Ghadeer Khum. He raised it until we witnessed the whiteness of his armpit and said: Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his 'Moula'. Then he said: 'O people I am leaving in you 'Al- Thaqalain' (The Two Valuables): 'Kitabullah' (the Book of God) and my Itrah (my close relatives). And they will not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment)." ( 4)
We have already mentioned that Imam Ali reported a hadith similar to this one.
The second and the third contents were reported by a number of companions including Abu Sa-eed Al-Khidri Abu Qudamah Al-Arani Hutheifah Ibn Osaid Amir Ibn Dhumrah Zaid Ibn Arqam and Al-Bura Ibn Azib who reported according to Imam Ahmad in his Musnad and Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan the following:
"We came with the Messenger of God in his Valedictory Pilgrimage and he stopped at the road and called for a congregational prayer. Then he took the hand of Ali and said: Am I not the Guardian who has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? They said: Yes. He said: Do I not have more authority over every believer than he has over himself? They said: Yes. He said:
This is the 'Wali' (Guardian) of whoever I am his Moula (Guardian). God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him." ( 5)
These two contents were also reported by Saad Ibn Abu Waqass. He reported according to Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak the following:
". . . The Messenger said to Ali on the Day of Ghadeer
after praising the Almighty and exalting Him: Do
( 4 ) Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi Kanz Al- Umal part 5 p. 23 hadith no.356. ( 5 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 4 p. 281 and Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan part 1 p. 45.
you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? We said: Yes. He said: God whoever I am his 'Moula ' Ali is his Moula. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him. . ." ( 6)
Imam Ahmad reported in his Musnad through his channel to Abdul-Rahman Ibn Abu Leila that he said: "I witnessed Ali at Al-Rahbah asking people to testify. He said: I ask in the name of God whoever heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadeer Khum: "Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula to stand up and testify. Abdul-Rahman said: Twelve companions who had attended the Battle of Badr stood up and I remember as if I am looking at one of them and they said:
"We testify that we heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadeer Khum: Do I not have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? . . ." We said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his 'Moula.' God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him. ( 7 )
As to the last content "Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Mouls " it was reported by tens of his companions. ( 8 )
Al-Termathi in his authentic "Sunan" recorded that
( 6 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 3 p. 116. ( 7 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 1 p. 119. ( 8 ) Of these: Abu Leila Al-Ansari Hubshi Ibn Janadah Abu Ayyoub Khalid Ibn Zeid Al-Ansari Sahl Ibn Saad Talhah Ibn Obeidullah Abdullah Ibn Abbas Abdullah Ibn Omar Abdullah Ibn Mas-ood the Third Caliph Oday Ibn Hatam Aleyah Ibn Bishr Al-Mazine Aquabah Ibn Omar Al- Tuhani Ammar Ibn Yasir Abu Al-Haitham Al-Taihan Habash Ibn Badeel Al-Khuza-i Khuzaimah Ibn Thabit (the man of the Two Testimonies) Abdullah Ibn Badeel Al- Khuza-i Qais Ibn Saad Ibn Abadah Hashim Al-Mirqal and many others. Conveyed by Al-Ameeni in his book Al- Ghadeer part 1 pp. 184-185.
Zaid Ibn Arqam reported that the Messenger said: Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula. ( 9 )
Al-Hafith Mohamad Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan recorded the following:
"Muaweyah came (to Medina) on some of his pilgrimages. Saad Ibn Abu Waqass visited him. People mentioned Ali and Muaweyah spoke ill of him. Saad Ibn Abu Waqass angrily said to him: 'Do you say this about a man I heard the Messenger of God saying about him: Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula?'. . . ." ( 10 )
Of course whoever reported the three contents or the last two contents or the first and the third contents is from the reporters of the last one. There is no contradiction between these reports. A reporter may choose on one occasion to report some of what he heard from the Messenger or any other person then he chooses at another occasion to report most of what he heard from him and on a third occasion he may report all of what he heard completely .
And none of these reports contradict each other.
Thus Abu Al-Tufail Amir Ibn Wathilah reported that seventeen companions responded to the question of the Imam Ali in Kufa and testified that they heard from the Messenger on the Day of Ghadeer Khum words which contained all three contents as we have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. We find also in another hadith in which the Imam Ali asked the companions who were with him to testify about the event of Al-Ghadeer that Abu Al-Tufail reported the following: "Ali gathered people at Al-Rahbah then he said to them: 'I ask in the name of God any Muslim who heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadeer Khum what he said to stand up. Thirty men stood up (and Abu Na-eem said: Many People stood and testified) that the Messenger of God held the hand of Ali and said to people:
"Do you know that I have more authority over the
( 9 ) Al-Termathi in his authentic Sunan part 5 p. 297 (hadith no.3797) ( 10 ) Ibn Majah his authentic Sunan part 1 p.45.
believers than they have over themselves? They said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: "Whoever I am his Moula (Guardian) this Ali is his Moula. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him." Abu Al- Tufail said: I left the place with some doubt. I met Zaid Ibn Arqam and told him what I had heard Ali saying. Zaid said: What do you doubt? I heard the Messenger of God saying that to him." ( 11)
The Messenger spoke about Ali's leadership on an occasion other than the occasion of Ghadeer Khum. Al- Ter mathi in his authentic Sunnan recorded that Imran Ibn Hossain reported that four men complained about Ali to the Messenger of God and the Messenger was angry and said to them:
"What do you want from Ali? What do you want from Ali? What do you want from Ali? Ali is from me and I am from him. And he is the Wali (Guardian) of every believer after me."(12)
Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (part 4 page 437) reported this hadith with little difference in wording and he said that the Prophet said: "Leave Ali alone leave Ali alone leave Ali alone. Ali is from me and I am from him .
And he is the 'Wali' (Guardian) of every believer." Imam Ahmad recorded through his channel to Sa-eed Ibn Jubair that Ibn Jubair said that Ibn Abbas reported that Buraidah Al-Aslami said:
"I went with an expedition under Ali's leadership to Yemen and I noticed from him an unfriendly attitude .
When I came to the Messenger of God I mentioned Ali and spoke ill of him. I noticed the face of the Messenger was changing. He said: Buraidah do I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? I said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: Whoever I am his 'Moula' Ali is his 'Moula.'" ( 13)
( 11 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 4 p. 370. ( 12 ) Al-Termathi his authentic Sunan part5 p. 296. ( 13 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 5 p. 347. Al-Hakim also recorded it in Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 110.
Imam Ahmad also reported in his Musnad (part 5 page 356) that the Messenger said to Buraidah: "Speak not ill of Ali for he is from me and I am from him and he is your 'Wali' after me.".
The hadith of the Ghadeer is authentic and Mutawatir. It was reported by over one hundred companions; more than twenty-four historians; twenty-seven hadith recorders; eleven commentators on the Holy Qur'an and a like number of theologians and it was reported by many writers in every century after the Hijrah.(14)
THE MEANING OF HADITH AL-GHADEER
Knowing that the Hadith of Ghadeer is authentic and certain it is time to speak of what this hadith indicates. To understand the hadith we ought to know the following: 1. Is there any difference between the word "wali" and "Moula"? This is because the word "wali" came in some of the hadiths and most of the hadiths contained the word moula .
2. If the two words have one meaning what did the word moula mean?
3. What did the Messenger mean by the word "oula" which was mentioned in many of the reported statements?
The two words "wali" and moula almost have the same meaning except that the word wali can be associated with matters as well as with the rational beings. So you may say he is Wali of the Mosque as you may say God is the Wali of the believers. But the word moula would be associated only with the rational. Thus you can say moula of the believers and you cannot say the moula of the Mosque.
The Arabic dictionaries show that the word Moula has the following meanings:
( 14 ) Al-Ameeni Al-Ghadeer part 1 p. 6-8.
6. cousin son of the uncle.
7. nephew (son of a sister)
9. a relative.
10. uncle (brother of the father)
14. a party of a pact.
16. the Lord.
18. master (other than the emancipator)
22. one who has more right in something.
23. an administrator of some affairs.
25. an ally(15)
The word moula probably had been used for each one of these twenty-five meanings. However the first fifteen of the meanings are not of frequent use and people do not understand from the word moula any of them. None of these meanings would be understood from that word except with some additional evidence. This means that when the word moula is used the listener may think that the word meant one of the last ten meanings and none of the first fifteen meanings would be a good probability. In fact only two of the last ten would be a good probability when the word moula is used; Namely: Master and servant .
the word moula in the hadith of Al-Ghadeer
did not mean any of the first fifteen meanings. The neighbor the guest the partner the son the son of the sister the son-in-law the companion were not meant for Ali. Ali was not a neighbor or guest or partner or a son or a son of a sister or guest or a companion to whoever the Messenger of God was a neighbor or guest or a partner or a son of a sister or son-in-law or a companion. The Prophet was not an uncle of anyone because he did not have a brother to be the uncle of his son.
The Messenger did not mean from the word moula a relative or a cousin because such information is senseless.
It would not be proper for the Messenger to gather people in order to declare that because every Muslim knows that Ali is a cousin of the Holy Prophet. Whoever is related to one of the two is related to the other.
The Messenger did not mean admirer because it would be improper for the Messenger to gather thousands of people to announce that Ali admires whoever the Messenger of God admires. Again Ali is not the only one who admired all people whom the Holy Prophet admired. All good companions used to admire people whom the Messenger admired. Furthermore the Messenger wanted to say that he is the Moula of all Muslims and the Messenger did not admire all Muslims because he did not admire the transgressors among them.
The Messenger did not mean by the word moula the benefactored because the Messenger was not benefactored by a great number of people. He did not mean the benefactor either for he did not materially benefactor all the Muslims. The Messenger wanted to say that Ali is like him in being a Moula of all Muslims from all generations. ( 15 ) He did not mean by the word moula the spiritual benefactor though the Messenger was truly a benefactor of all Muslims because he led them to the religion of God.
And so was Ali because of his unparalleled endeavor in the
way of God for making the word of God victorious. The
Messenger did not mean that because he was not at that
( 15 ) Al-Ameeni Al-Ghadeer part 1 pp. 362-363.
time trying to inform the Muslims about something that already took place. He wanted by this declaration to bestow on Ali a rank and a position.
Nor did the Messenger mean by the word Moula the emancipator for he did not emancipate all the Muslims because the majority of the Muslims were not slaves at his time; nor were they so after his time.
The last ten meanings are not all proper for the Prophet to use. He could not mean by moula the Lord for that would be profane; nor did he mean the servant or the follower because the Messenger was not a servant or a follower of anybody. Nor did he mean the owner because the Messenger was not the owner of the Muslims. He did not mean an ally because the Messenger was the leader of all Muslims rather than their ally. Even the spiritual alliance could not be meant because the Holy Prophet was not in alliance with the transgressors from among the Muslims and they were and are numerous.
Nor did the Messenger mean the helper because the Messenger as I mentioned before wanted to say that he is the Moula of all Muslims from all generations and the Messenger was not the helper of all generations. No one can be a helper of all generations except God alone.
Again the Messenger was not a helper of all Muslims. He was a helper of only the sincere ones among them and he did not want to aid the disobedient Muslims.
Only four out of ten remained which are the following: The master other than the emancipator and the one who has more right than others and the administrator of an affair and the wali.
The last one could not be meant unless it meant one of the first three because it does not have an independent meaning.
Master would be proper if it means leader or the one
posed to be followed by people. Thus when "Moula" meant the one who has more authority over every believer than they have over themselves and the one who has more right to administer the affairs of the believers Ali would be the leader of the Muslims and the administrator of their affairs by the order of God. This is because the Prophet was their Moula by the order of God.
What did the messenger mean by the word "Oula" when he directed the questions to the crowd asking whether they believe that he is "oula" in the believers than they are to themselves? The Arabic dictionaries tell us that the word oula may come for one of the two following meanings: 1. The one who has more right 2. The one who is more proper. This is applicable to things rather than persons. Of course the Holy Prophet would not mean by oula the more proper. For it would be very improper for the Prophet to ask the Muslims: Am I not more proper to the believers than themselves.
The Holy Prophet wanted to remind the Muslims of a right he was given by the Almighty in a revelation recorded in the Holy Qur'an: "The Prophet has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves. . ." (chapter 33 verse 6) The verse states that the Messenger has a Divine right in administrating the affairs of the Muslims more than the Muslims have in administering their own affairs. That is because they have to obey him and to follow his order.
The Holy Qur'an emphasized this right in many verses.
Among them are the following: "And it is not permitted for a male believer or female believer to have their own choices in their affairs when God and His Messenger decide in their affairs. And whoever disobeys God and His Messenger he obviously is straying." ( 16)
If we understand all this it would be easy for us to
( 16 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 33 verse 36.
determine what the Messenger meant by his declaration on the Day of Ghadeer Khum. If we take only the last part of the delcaration: "Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula nothing could be meant by the word Moula but the leader (the guardian) or the one who was given by God the right to administer the affairs of the Muslims. The Messenger declares that Ali is like him in that.
If we take this part of the declaration along with the second part: "Do I not have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves" (and this was mentioned in many reports) the meaning would become crystal clear. The Prophet according to the Holy Qur'an has more authority over believers than the believers have over themselves and this is what the Prophet wanted to remind the Muslims of. Since he followed this question by saying "whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula " he meant nothing other than that Ali like the Prophet has the right to administer the affairs of the Muslims more than they have of right to administer their affairs.
If anyone doubts this the first part of the Declaration of the Ghadeer ought to remove any doubt. The Prophet said in that part: "I am leaving in you the Two Valuables: The Book of God and the members of my House. You shall not go astray if you follow them. Beware how you shall treat them after me and they shall not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment)." Since the Holy Qur'an and the members of the House of the Holy Prophet (who were headed by Ali) must be followed the adherence to the teaching of the "Itrah" (the members of the House of the Prophet) would be as imperative as the adherence to the teaching of the Holy Qur'an.
The hadiths which contained this part are numerous and certainly authentic. Thus the Muslims have to obey Ali as they obey the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet.
Adding to these hadiths what the Messenger said to
Buraidah and others in various hadiths that Ali is from
every believer after him (or he said: He is your Wali after me) no room would be left for arguments about what the Messenger meant from the two words moula and "wali." This is in complete accord with other statements of the Holy Prophet. It was also mentioned in chapter 36 that the Prophet said that to obey Ali is to obey God and His Messenger; to disobey Ali is to disobey God and His Messenger; to part with Ali is to part with God and His Messenger and to speak ill of Ali is to speak ill of God and His Messenger .
THE VERSE OF PROCLAMATION
The Holy Prophet issued his declaration to the Muslims at Ghadeer Khum concerning Ali after he was commanded by the Almighty to proclaim Ali's leadership.
We read in chapter no.5 Al-Ma-idah (the Food) the following verse: "O Apostle proclaim the message which had been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou do not thou would not have communicated His message. And God will protect thee from (mischievous) people. Certainly God guides not the unbelievers."(17)
This verse regardless of any hadith that contains its explanation informs us of the following:
1. There was a previous Divine Message which came to the Holy Prophet before the revelation of this verse and that Message was supposed to be communicated to the Muslims by the Holy Prophet.
2. The Messenger delayed the communication of that
message to the Muslims or he asked his Lord to relieve
( 17 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 67.
God will protect thee from people " testifies to the Prophet's apprehension.
3. The contents of the previous message which was delayed was highly important. Its importance is underscored by the warning phrase contained in the verse of proclamation: "And if thou do not thou would not have communicated the message of God " This phrase warned the Prophet that if he does not communicate the message he would not have fulfilled his mission as a Messenger of God and the failure to proclaim that Message equals the failure in proclamation of the whole Islamic Message.
The Contents of the Message
Had this verse been revealed while the Messenger was still in Mecca in the first three years from his mission we would understand that the Prophet was afraid to confront his pagan society with the invitation to disregard its idols.
But this verse is a part of the chapter of "Al Ma-idah" (the Food) which is Medinite one hundred percent. This meant that the verse as well as the whole chapter of the Food were revealed after the departure of the Holy Prophet from Mecca. Therefore the Prophet's delay in communicating the previous message was not motivated by his fear of confronting the pagan society with the doctrine of Monotheism.
Had this verse been revealed at the beginning of the Period of the Hijrah the content of the previous Message could be a commandment to combat the pagan warriors or pertaining to a prayer or Zakat or fast which seemed to fall heavy on the Muslims. Such a commandment means loss of lives and wealth or additional toil and the Prophet was afraid that the Muslims would not like that. But the chapter of Food was revealed during the tenth year of the Hijrah after all devotional duties were proclaimed and after the Muslims had already participated in numerous battles against the pagans and others.
It is reported that Ayeshah and Abdullah Ibn Omar
both said that "Al-Ma'idah" (the chapter of Food) was the last chapter of the Holy Qur'an.(18) This is supported by the fact that the chapter contains a verse proclaiming the completion of religion: "Today I have completed your religion for you and perfected My favor upon you and chosen Islam as a religion for you." (Chapter 5 verse 3)
This verse was revealed when the Messenger was on the Mount of Arafat. Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that Omar reported that.(19) It is also reported that the verse of the completion of the religion was revealed when the Messenger was coming back from the Valedictory Pilgrimage while he was speaking on the Day of Ghadeer Khum. Many hadiths have reported that and I shall mention some of them.
From this we know that the contents of the Message which the Holy Prophet delayed its proclamation was not a commandment pertaining to the proclamation of the doctrine of the One God. Nor was it pertaining to a devotional duty or a defensive war against the pagans or the followers of the Scriptures. It was rather a commandment pertaining to a matter belonging to the internal political affairs of the Muslim State. Thus we have the two following facts:
(1) The 5th Qur'anic chapter Al-Ma-idah which contains this verse was revealed during the Valedictory Pilgrimage or after its performance.
(2) The Messenger at Ghadeer Khum proclaimed that Ali is like him the Moula of all believers. This took place while he was returning from his Valedictory Pilgrimage.
Putting these facts together it would be very logical to infer that the contents of the message had to deal with the proclamation of Ali's leadership.
This means that when the Messenger received the order
from his Lord to proclaim Ali's leadership
he feared that
( 18 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 2 p. 311. ( 19 ) Al-Bukhari his Sahih part 6 p. 63 (Book of Commentary on the Holy Qur'an chapter 5)
some of his followers might think that he favored Ali because of his relationship to him. Upon this the Revelation came down ordering him to proclaim what he received from his Lord. Otherwise he would not have fulfilled his mission as the Messenger of God. This warning was coupled with a Divine Promise: That God will protect him from the people whom he feared. When he received this serious commandment he suddenly stopped at Ghadeer Khum to proclaim what he received from his Lord concerning Ali.
Political and Religious Leadership
Should this be what the verse meant then what the Messenger has proclaimed in his declaration on the Day of Ghadeer Khum was the religious and worldly leadership of Ali which was similar to the leadership of the Holy Messenger. Had what the Holy Prophet meant been less than worldly leadership he would not have feared the disagreement of his followers and there would have been no need for the strong command and serious warning. The ambitious Meccans and non-Meccans who were aspirant for the Islamic leadership would not be disturbed by giving Ali any rank if that rank did not include his political leadership.
The commandment of proclamation is evidence that the Almighty wanted to secure for His servant Muslims the leadership with which they will never go astray: That is the leadership of Ali the head of the members of the House which does not part with the Holy Qur'an and insures the nation's unity and progress. To comply with this Divine order the Messenger stood up to address the thousands of pilgrims declaring what he declared on Ghadeer Khum.
It may be said that the message which the Holy Prophet delayed its proclamation for his fear of dispute was pertaining to the people of the Scripture. The evidence of this is that before this verse we read verses speaking of the people of the scriptures among which is the following:
"The Jews say: God's hand is tied up. Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they uttered. Nay His both hands are widely outstretched; He gives and spends (of His bounty) as He pleases. But the Revelation that comes to you from God increases in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Among them We have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war God does extinguish it but they (ever strive) to do mischief on earth and God loves not those who do mischief. If only the people of the Book had believed and been righteous we would indeed have blotted out their inequities and admitted them to Paradise of bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Law (the Old Testament) the Gospel and all the Revelation that was sent to them from their Lord they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that is evil." ( 20 ) In fact after the Verse of Proclamation we find a number of verses dealing with the people of the Scripture of which are the following: "Say: O people of the Book ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Old Testament and the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from thy Lord. It is the revelation that has come to you from thy Lord that increases in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy but sorrow thou not over these faithless people.' ( 21)
If we look at the verse deeply we can easily conclude that it is independent from the verses which precede it. The meaning of the Verse of Proclamation indicates that it has no relation with what was recorded before it or after it.
The Verse of Proclamation indicates that the Messenger
( 20 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 68. ( 21 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 87-88.
was afraid to announce the contents of the message to which the verse of proclamation refers. But the Messenger was not afraid at the time of its revelation to announce any message dealing with the relation of the Muslims to the people of the Scriptures.
Many battles between the Muslims and the Jews took place before the revelation of this chapter. Of those battles were: The Battle of Banu Qainaqa'a the Battle of Banu Al-Nadheer which took place at the beginning of the period of Hijrah and the Battle of Banu Quraidhah which took place after the Battles of the Confederation or (the Battle of Moat) in the fifth year after the Hijrah. The final of those battles between the Prophet and the Jews was the Battle of Khaibar which took place during the 6th year after the Hijrah. By this all Jewish danger against the Muslims came to an end. Thus the Messenger would not be in a state of fear of Jews if he were to announce a message against them during the 10th year after the Hijrah.
The Muslims and the Christians were in a state of war started with the Battle of Mutah during the 8th year and followed by the Battle of Tabook during the 9th year.
Since the Holy Prophet was not afraid to fight the Christians at the battlefield he could not be afraid to announce any message against them.
In addition to this
many chapters which were revealed
before the chapter of "Al-Ma-idah" (the Food) contain
verses whose contents are similar to the contents of the
verses which preceded or followed the Verse of Proclamation in the chapter of Al-Ma-idah. The verses which
preceded this verse
command the believer not to take offense from the people of the Scripture who ridiculed the
Faith of Islam and mention that from among those people
are the ones who were cursed by God and whom God
transformed into apes and swines. The verses call them
hypocrites who tell the Muslims that they have believed in
Islam yet they hasten to sinful actions and take the
Scriptures been righteous and followed the Old Testament and the Gospel they would have entered Paradise and would have eaten from above them and from below them and from what is under their feet.
What follows these verses states that the people of the Scriptures are not on a solid foundation until they follow the Old Testament and the Gospel. It states also that the children of Israel had killed some Messengers and discredited others after the covenant was made between God and them and that those who say that the Messiah is God are unbelievers.
These contents and many similar to them were announced in various chapters which were revealed before the time of the chapter of "Al-Ma-idah" (the Food)
In the second chapter we read the following: "Is it that whenever there comes to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not ye puffed up with pride? Some ye called imposters and others ye slew.
They say our hearts are wrapped (Thus
we need no
more of God's Apostle). Nay
God's curse is on them
for their blasphemy; little is it they believe." ( 22 )
And in the 3rd chapter of (Aul-Imran)
we read the
"If only the people of the Book had faith
best for them; among them are some who have faith
but most of them are perverted transgressors. They
will do you no harm
barring a trifling annoyance; if
they come out to fight you
they will show you their
backs and no help shall they get. Shame is pitched for
them (like a tent) wherever they are found except when
under the covenant of protection from God and from
men. They draw on themselves wrath from God
pitched over them a tent of destitution. This is because
they rejected the signs of God and slew the Prophets in
( 22 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 2 verse 31.
defiance of right. This is because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds." (verses 111 to 113)
And in the chapter of Mary which is a Meccan chapter we read the following: "They say: (God) Most Gracious has begotten a son! Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous.
At it the skies are almost ready to burst the earth to split asunder and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin that they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the Majesty of God (Most Gracious) that He should beget a son." (verses 90 to 94) And in the chapter of Bara-ah which was revealed during the 9th year after the Hijrah. We read the following: "They take their priests and their monks to be their Lords other than God and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God. There is no God but HE.
Praise and Glory belong to Him; For He is above having the partners they associate with Him)." (Chapter 9 verse 33) All these verses indicate that the Messenger was not afraid while during the 10th year after the Hijrah to confront the people of the Scriptures with a battle or message.
But the Verse of Proclamation tells us that he was apprehensive of announcing a message which was revealed to him and God ordered him to announce it and promised to protect him from people. Therefore the content of the Verse of Proclamation testifies that it is not related to the verses before it or after it. It is completely independent of those verses.
This is what compels us to conclude that what the Messenger had feared to communicate to the people was not a message relating to the foreign policy dealing with the people of the Scriptures or the Politheists. It was rather a message dealing with an internal political affair .
Since it was not dealing with the devotional Islamic duties it would be logical to conclude that the delayed message was dealing with the rule and the leadership of the Islamic State .
The chapter of Al-Ma-idah had been revealed during the Valedictory pilgrimage or while the Prophet was on his way back from this Pilgrimage as many hadiths indicate.
This Revelation was followed by the Messenger's sudden stop at Ghadeer Khum rallying the pilgrims to announce to them the leadership of Ali. Putting the two events together we may logically conclude that the contents of the delayed message was the proclamation of that leadership. We can conclude this without resorting to the various hadiths which announced the reasons of the Revelation of the Verse of Proclamation.
Our certainty increases when we know that several hadiths stated that the Verse of Proclamation had to deal with the leadership of the Imam Ali. Al-Soyouti recorded that Al-Hafith Ibn Abu Hatem recorded that Abu-Sa-eed Al-Khidri reported that the Messenger of God on the day of Ghadeer Khum received the revelation of the Verse of Proclamation and that it was revealed concerning Ali Ibn Abu Talib. ( 23)
It is recorded in Kanz Al-Ummal part 6 page 143 that Al-Mahamili reported in his Amali through his channel to Ibn Abbas the following:
"When the Prophet was commanded to proclaim Ali's
the Prophet went to Mecca. He said: I see the
Muslims coming afresh from the period of pre-Islam. If I
deliver the message about Ali
they would say he favored
his cousin. The Prophet went on until he completed the
then he set out towards Medina
until he came to Ghadeer Khum. At that place
Almighty revealed to him: 'O Messenger
deliver what has
been revealed to you from your Lord . . . A caller summoned the pilgrims for prayer. Then the Prophet stood up
and held the hand of Ali and said: Whoever I am his
Moula Ali is his Moula. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him." ( 24 ) Ibn Mardawaih reported similar to these words through his channel to Ibn Abbas. Ibn Batreeq in his book Al-Omdah page 49 reported that Abu Is-haq Al-Thaa- labi reported in his Commentary on the Holy Qur'an (Al-Kashf and Al-Bayan) that Al-Imam Al-Baqir and Ibn Abbas said that the Verse of Proclamation was revealed to the Messenger concerning Ali and that the Messenger took the hand of Ali and said "Whoever I am his Moula Ali is his Moula." ( 25)
Sheikh Al-Islam Abu Is-haq Al-Hamweeni in his book The Reasons of Revelation page 150 recorded that Abu Sa-eed Al-Khidri said that this verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadeer Khum concerning Ali Ibn Abu Talib. ( 26 ) Imam Fakhr-Ul-Deen Al-Razi in his big Commentary on the Holy Qur'an part 3 page 637 said that Al-Bura Ibn Azib Ibn Abbas and Mohammad Ibn Ali reported that the verse was revealed about Ali Ibn Abu Talib.
Thus the historical declaration of the Messenger on the day of Ghadeer Khum was a compliance to a Divine Revelation commanding him to communicate to the Muslims the leadership of Ali and promising him protection against whomever he feared if he communicated it.
This shows clearly that the declaration of Al-Ghadeer was extremely important. It meant that Ali's announced leadership includes the political and non-political affairs.
Had it been anything less than that the revelation would not have come down commanding and warning the Holy Prophet. For non-political leadership of Ali would not be objectionable to the ambitious companions.
( 23,24,25,26,27) are recorded by the reliable Sheikh Hussein Ameeni in his book Al-Ohadeer part I pp. 214-222.
WHY DID THE PROPHET NOT SAY: "ALI IS YOUR AMEER. OR MY CALIPH OR YOUR IMAM?"
The Declaration of Ghadeer is well known to the Muslim scholars from every School of Thought. Yet many Muslim scholars say that the declaration does not prove that Ali is the Caliph of the Prophet and that the Prophet had chosen him as his successor. Had he chosen him as his successor he should not have used the word moula or wali. He should have rather said to the Muslims: Ali is your "Ameer" after me or he is my Caliph or he is your Imam after me.
The Messenger did not say "Ali is your Ameer after me " because the Messenger did not usually use the word ameer in any matter other than military affairs or the leadership of pilgrimage. As to the administration of the affairs of the Muslims in general or in some Islamic provinces the Messenger used to use the word "wilayah" (right of management of the public or private affairs in the people's interest). He used to send administrators to some provinces and call them Wulat (plural of Wali) and he used to call himself "Waliyyu Al-Muslimeen" (Guardian of the Muslims)
The Holy Qur'an declared: "The Prophet is moula
( 28 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 58. ( 29 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 18 verse 46.
God is your Moula (Guardian). He is the Good Moula and He is the Good Helper." ( 30)
I did not see in the Holy Qur'an that God called His Messenger "Ameer " nor did I see in any hadith that the Holy Prophet called himself Ameer or "Hakim" (ruler) or governor. The reason is that the natural relationship between the administrator of the affairs of the Muslims and the Muslims is not a relation between a ruler and a ruled or a prince or a king and subjects. It is rather a relation similar to that of a father to his children. He administers their affairs and protects their interests as a father protects the interests of his children. The administrators of the affairs of Muslims are not a high class and the rest of the people are not a lower class.
As to the question of why did not the Prophet use the word caliph the answer is that a caliph should be obeyed only after the death of the Messenger. Ali according to the Prophet's declaration is not only his successor but also his deputy during his life time and his successor after his death. Thus he was to be obeyed at the time of the Prophet as well as after him.
I have advanced that Abu Tharr reported that the Messenger said: "Ali whoever obeys me obeys God and whoever obeys you obeys me and whoever disobeys me disobeys God and whoever disobeys you dirobeys me." (31)
Thus Ali was not only a successor of the Messenger but also his representative and deputy during his lifetime. He was (according to the Declaration of Ghadeer Khum) like the Prophet in being a guardian of the believers and having more authority over them than they have over themselves.
The Prophet declared that Ali to him is like Aaron to Moses and Aaron was deputy of Moses during his lifetime and like Moses a leader of the Israelites. This is what was expressed by all the hadiths in this chapter and previous chapters .
( 30 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 8 verse 41. ( 31 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 131.
we ought not forget that the Messenger said to Bureidah and other companions according to various hadiths:
"Ali is from me and I am from him and he is your Wali after me or that he is the Wali of every 'Mu'min' (believer) after me." These hadiths unequivocally indicate that Ali is the Caliph of the Prophet and so does his statement in the hadiths of Al-Thaqalain which was discussed extensively in chapter 37. These hadiths state clearly that the members of the House of the Holy Prophet are successors of the Prophet and Ali was the head of the members of his House .
Before I conclude my discussion about the Declaration of Ghadeer Khum I would like to mention that the Muslims who argue against the indication of the hadith on the succession of the Imam to the Messenger were not motivated by stubbornness or prejudice. Their negative attitude is due to the fact that they had grown up in a society which believes that the Messenger did not appoint any successor. Thus it became difficult for them to reconcile this belief and the indication of the Declaration of the Ghadeer Khum that the Messenger had appointed Ali as his successor .
I would say sincerely that if the Messenger had stood on the day of Ghadeer Khum saying: Whoever I am his Moula Abu Bakr is his Moula. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him " I would have believed without any hesitation that the Messenger had appointed Abu Bakr as his successor. Had this been the case the Muslims who deny the indication of Ali's appointment would not deny Abu Bakr's appointment. Had the Prophet said that Abu Bakr has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves and that the adherence to his command and the command of the Holy Qur'an is a security against straying the Messenger's appointment of Abu Bakr would not have become controversial.
We have tried in our discussion of the caliphate to answer the question which we had to face because of the development which led to the end of the righteous caliphate within a time whose shortness is astonishing. For the caliphate did not last more than thirty years .
The governmental systems which are based on political doctrines in this century and before have lived much more than the Righteous Caliphate of Islam lived. Some of these governmental systems have lived hundreds of years and the most recent of them the Communistic system has already lived more than half a century. Yet none of these governmental systems was transformed into a military dictatorial power and we see evidence pointing to a long life of these modern systems without turning against themselves.
The good Islamic governmental system though much higher in spirit and doctrine than all of the modern systems did not live but shortly. It was only natural that such a sudden death of the Righteous Caliphate make us ask the following questions:
Was this sudden death a natural result of the adherence
follow? For he chose a leader for the nation and the nation or its aristocracy did not want his leadership.
In order to find the facts in this important of the Islamic history I have tried in discussing the caliphate to answer the two following questions:
1.Should the caliphate have been by inheritance or by election or should it have been through appointment by the Holy Prophet?
2. If it should have been through appointment by the Holy Prophet did the Holy Prophet actually choose anyone to lead the nation after him? Our discussion has ied us to conclude that the caliphate was supposed to be by appointment from the Prophet and that the Prophet had chosen a man to lead the nation after him and that leader was Ali Ibn Abu Talib. We have also concluded that the fracture of the unity Of the nation and the crises which took place in the first century of the Islamic era was a natural result of the refusal of the Muslims to follow the directive of the Messenger concerning the caliphate .
Had Ali Ibn Abu Talib come to power after the death of the Holy Prophet the war of Bassrah the war of Siffeen and the war of Al-Nahrawan could not have taken place. The war of Al-Nahrawan was a product of the war of Siffeen and the wars of Siffeen and Bassrah were the products of the violent death of Othman. Had Ali been the First Caliph Othman would not have become a caliph and would not have been killed. Had these three wars not taken place the Righteous Caliphate would not have ended so fast.
Should Ali have been the First Caliph the Omayads
until the principles of Islam became deeply rooted in the Muslims society.
Had Ali been the First Caliph after the Holy Prophet the Muslims would not have been divided into Sunnite and Shi-ites because Sunnism and Shi-ism are the products of the controversy of whether the Holy Prophet chose Ali for the leadership or left the matter to the Muslims to choose for themselves. With Ali in power after the death of the Holy Prophet the Muslims would not have been divided over the caliphate because there is no Muslim School which claims that the Messenger appointed Abu Bakr or any companion other than Ali lead the nation.
However these conclusions which our research had led us to do not mean that we say that the Three Caliphs and the rest of the companions had deliberately violated the commandment of the Messenger of God after he declared Ali's leadership. Nay we ought to think that these people were too pious to deliberately oppose the commandment of God and His Messenger in matters which concern their religion.
These righteous people thought that the leadership of the nation is of their worldly affairs. They thought that they had the right to choose for themselves a leader other than the one whom the Holy Prophet chose for conducting their worldly affairs. The Messenger used to consult his companions in matters about which there was no Revelation. It seems that they thought that the caliphate is not a subject of revelation. The companions had the right to form their own opinions and whoever is qualified to form his own opinion would deserve the reward of God whether he is right or wrong.
The companions were humans. They could not foresee
chosen and they were not able to see the advantage of what the Prophet had chosen.
The companions formed wrong opinions and made erroneous decisions and did not understand the dimensions of what the Messenger aimed at when he declared the leadership of the Imam Ali. However it is our duty to think well of the companions and to give our best interpretations to their actions and attitudes. We are commanded to ask the Almighty God to forgive our brothers who preceded us in adopting the Faith of Islam let alone the companions who were the first Muslim community on earth .
UNITY DOES NOT REQUIRE CONFORMITY
Our research and discussion concerning the caliphate have led us to conclude that the caliphate should have been through a selection by the Holy Prophet and that the Messenger selected Ali to lead the nation. Yet we do not expect nor do we think it necessary that all Muslims agree with us. There is no doubt that the two ideas of election and selection will find their supporters as long as the Muslim World remains .
We believe that this does not necessitate the Muslims to exchange animosity and suspicion. Difference in opinions should not prevent the Muslims from reciprocating respect love and feeling of brotherhood if they agree that they have the right to have more than one opinion concerning the caliphate. The cause of the mutual suspicion between the supporters of the two ideas is not the difference in opinion. It is rather the belief of every School that the other School has no right to disagree with its opinion. Thus each Islamic School of thought believes that its opinion is the Islam and that the opinion of others is a deviation and falsehood and a disagreement with God and His Messenger.
Should the two parties go back to what the logic calls
they would find that the Almighty had completed His
religion before Abu Bakr became caliph. The caliphate of
Abu Bakr is not mentioned in the Holy Qur'an or in the hadiths of the Holy Prophet and it is not of the self-evident Islamic teaching. It is rather one of the events of the history of Islam which every Muslim has the right to form his (her) opinion positively or negatively. Neither a positive nor a negative opinion concerning the First Caliph could put a Muslim in the company of the enemies of God and His Messenger; nor would it put him in the company of transgressors.
The numerous statements and declarations of the Prophet which testify to his selection of the Imam Ali for the leadership may produce a high degree of certainty.
Nevertheless they did not make his appointment self-evident in the Islamic teaching. Therefore a Muslim has the right to argue about it.
The difference between the two prominent Islamic Schools of thought (the Sunnite and the Shi-ite) concerning the caliphate or some Islamic rules is not more than a disagreement in understanding a part of the history of Islam or a disagreement about an Islamic Law.
The Muslims allowed themselves to disagree concerning some of the details of the Islamic rules which did not reach the degree of being self-evident in the religion of Islam. For this they were expected to allow themselves to disagree concerning the caliphate without exchanging animosity and accusations of each other of being devious in their faith because of their opinions about the caliphate The Imams of the four Schools disagreed with each other about hundreds of Islamic Laws and issued different verdicts in various subjects. The plurality of the Sunnite Schools is a result of this disagreement. Had the four Imams agreed with each other in their verdicts they would have only one School of thought rather than four.
In spite of this plurality the followers of the four
whose answers are not clear in the Holy Qur'an and in the hadiths of the Holy Prophet. Therefore it would be the right of every qualified Islamic scholar to form his own opinion about such questions without contradicting the Qur'an or the known "Sunnah" of the Prophet.
This generous and logical attitude which agrees with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the instructions of the Holy Prophet Mohammad is missing in the area of the caliphate. The scholars of the four Schools believe that the caliphate is not an article of the faith of Islam as they believe that the Messenger did not name Abu Bakr nor Omar nor Othman as his successors. In spite of this these scholars do not permit any Muslim to discuss the soundness of their caliphate. To say that the Prophet had chosen Ali for the leadership would be considered by these scholars a heresy and an unforgivable major sin as if it were a denial of the Prophethood of Mohammad or ascribing to the Almighty a partner.
Why is all this? The reason is obvious: The attitude of the Muslims towards the caliphate and the Caliphs is emotional. When man is ruled by his emotions he cannot see things as they are. Emotion magnifies the minute and belittles the important.
LET US FIND OUR WAY
To examine this opinion and see its soundness or error we ought to measure it by the Book of God and the instructions of the Holy Prophet. It is easy to find the answer in the Book of God and in the authentic hadiths of the Messenger. As to the Book of God we find many verses that give us the definition of "Iman " the sound belief and what constitutes it. In the second chapter from the Holy Qur'an we find the following:
"The Apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord as do the men of faith. Each one of them believes in God His Angels His Books and His Apostles.
(They say:) We make no distinction between one or
another of His Apostles. And they say: we listen and we
obey. Our Lord we seek Thy forgiveness and to Thee is the end of all journeys." Chapter 2 verse 285. We also find in the same chapter the following: "It is not the righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East or the West; but the righteous is he who believes in God the Last Day the Angels the Book and the Prophets and gives his wealth out of love for Him to the kin folks the orphans the needy the wayfarers the seekers of help and to set slaves free and offer their prescribed prayer and pay regular charity and fulfill their covenants and those who are patient in period of deprivation adversity and in the defense (of sacred freedom)
These are the people of the truth and these are the righteous." ( 32)
The first verse informs us that the believers are the believers in God His Angels His Books His Messengers and it does not make the belief in a particular Islamic School of thought or opinions about caliphs a requirement in the "Iman" (Faith)
The second verse also does not make the affiliation to any Islamic School of thought a requirement in the Faith.
It rather declares that the truthful and the righteous ones are the believers in God the Day of Judgment the Angels the Book and the Prophets and the givers of their wealth for the love of God to those who are in need and the offerers of the prescribed prayer regular charity who fulfill their covenants and stand firmly in suffering adversity and at the time of defense.
All righteous Muslims whether Sunnites or Shi-ites meet these requirements.
This verse like the first verse does not condition the "lman " or truthfulness or righteousness with having a specific opinion positive or negative about the caliphate or about the four Islamic Schools of thought .
The following seven authentic hadiths are in full agreement with these verses:
1. Al-Bukhari in his Sahih part 1 page 19 and
( 1 ) The Holy Qur'an chapter 2 verse 177.
Muslim in his Sahih part 1 page 166 recorded that Talhah Ibn Obeidullah reported that a beduin asked the Messenger about Islam. The Messenger replied: Five daily prayers. The Beduin said: Do I have to add to them any prayer? The Messenger said: No unless you volunteer.
Then the Messenger said: And the fast in the month of Ramadan. The Beduin said: Do I have to add to it any other fast? The Messenger said: No unless you volunteer.
Then he mentioned to him the prescribed charity and the Beduin asked: Do I have to add to it? The Messenger said: No unless you volunteer. The Beduin turned his back saying: By God I shall not add to this; nor shall I subtract from it. The Messenger said: The Beduin has succeeded if he is true." 2. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Abu Hurairah reported that a Beduin said to the Prophet: Advise me of a deed which if I do I will be admitted to Paradise. The Messenger said: Worship God ascribing no partner to Him offer the prescribed prayer the prescribed charity and fast the month of Ramadan. The Beduin said: By God in whose hand is my soul I shall not add to this nor shall I subtract from it. When he turned his back the Messenger said: Whoever desires to look at a man from the people of Paradise should look at this man. ( 33 ) 3. Muslim also recorded that Abadah Ibn Al-Samit while he was on his deathbed said to people around him: I have reported to you all of what I heard from the Messenger of hadiths which are beneficial to you except one hadith. I shall report it to you while my soul is being taken by God. I heard the Messenger of God saying: "Whoever testifies that there is no God but the Almighty and that Mohammad is Messenger of God God shall protect him from Hell." ( 34)
4. Muslim also recorded that Abadah Ibn Al-Samit
reported that the Messenger of God said: "Whoever says:
I bear witness that there is no God but the Almighty alone
( 2 ) Muslim his Sahih part 1 p. 19. ( 3 ) Muslim his Sahih part 1 pp. 174.
without partner; that Mohammad is His servant and Messenger; that Jesus is His servant and Messenger and the son of His maid; that he is His word given to Mary and a spirit from Him and that Paradise is a reality and Hell is a reality God shall admit him into Paradise through any of its eight gates He chooses." ( 35)
5. Muslim also recorded that Ma-ad Ibn Jabal reported that the Messenger said: What is due to God from His servants is that they worship Him ascribing to Him no partner; and what is due to God's servants from Him is that He will not punish anyone that does not ascribe to Him a partner . . ." ( 36)
6. Al-Bukhari in his Sahih recorded that Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger said to a questioner: The Iman (the Faith) is to believe in God His Angels His meeting His Messengers and to believe in the resurrection. He said also to the questioner: Islam is to worship God ascribing to Him no partner; to offer the prescribed prayer; to pay the prescribed charity and to fast the month of Ramadan." ( 37)
7. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Omar reported that the Messenger said to a questioner: "Islam is to testify that there is no God but the Almighty and that Mohammad is Messenger of God; to offer the prescribed prayer; pay the regular charity; fast the month of Ramadan and visit the Kaaba if you are able to.
The same questioner asked the Prophet to inform him about the Iman and the Prophet said to him: To believe in God His Angels His Book His Messengers the Day of Judgment and to believe in "Qadar " pleasant and unpleasant. ( 38)
These authentic hadiths and others of their kind (which
I did not mention) agree with the Holy Qur'an. They
( 4 ) Muslim his Sahih part 1 pp. 226-227. ( 5 ) Muslim his Sahih part 1 p. 232. ( 6 ) Al-Bukhari his Sahih part 1 p. 20 Muslim also reported it in his Sahih part 1 pp. 162-167. ( 7 ) Muslim his Sahih part 1 p. 157.
together inform us that whoever believes in God His Angels His Book His Messenger His meeting and the Resurrection; worships God alone by offering the daily prayers fasting the month of Ramadan and paying the poor's duty and offering the pilgrimage to Kaaba when physically and financially capable of doing that he would be a genuine Muslim and believer. God will admit him to Paradise from any of its eight gates He chooses.
This would be true and applicable to any Muslim whether he believes that the first legitimate caliph after the death of the Messenger is Abu Bakr or Ali Ibn Abu Talib.
The belief in the legitimacy of the succession of these caliphs was not mentioned in any of the above hadiths as a requirement in Islam or Iman or success; or for being away from Hell and entering Paradise.
This is what the logic dictates. The Messenger did not name any of the first Three Caliphs as his successor. Why should the belief in the soundness of their succession be a part of the Islamic religion and its denial be damaging to the Faith? The religion of Islam was completed during the time of the Holy Prophet and before the time of the caliphate and the caliphate of these righteous companions was not mentioned in the instructions of the Holy Prophet.
If the Messenger had appointed Ali as his successor his appointment would be from the teaching of the Holy Prophet (Sunnah); but such an appointment is not self-evident. It is not clear enough to prevent argument or doubt about its existence or about the indications of its hadiths. If a Muslim tries his best in conducting a research about this appointment and its evidence did not convince him he would be excused and he would not be opposed to the Book of God nor to the instructions of the Holy Prophet intentionally.
The Book of God speaks clearly that whoever believes in God His Messengers His Angels and the Day of Judgment and offers the devotional duties he would be a sound Muslim and so the hadiths of the Messenger speak.
it would not be logical
nor would it be in ac-
cordance with Islam to say that no one would be deserving the admission into Paradise except a Muslim who believes that the Prophet did not choose Ali as his successor.
It would not be in accordance with Islam to say that whoever does not follow one of the four Sunnite Schools would not be from the people of Paradise even if he (she) follows the Book of God and the teaching of the Holy Prophet.
Abu Bakr and the rest of the companions were neither Hanafi nor Maliki nor Shafi-i or Hunbuli
God is too great to fail in His promise and too fair to respond to the desires of the fanatics. He the Almighty is too just to punish His servants and deprive them from His reward because they did not believe in a doctrine He did not mention to them in His Book nor did His Messenger speak of.
It would not be logical that the Muslims would be excused when they say that Abu Bakr was the first legitimate successor of the Messenger though the Messenger did not say one word about appointing him; and that they (the Muslims) would not be excused when they say that Ali Ibn Abu Talib is the First legitimate Caliph though the Prophet declared that Ali to him is like Aaron to Moses.
I have mentioned that my aim of the discussion of the
succession was not to convert the Sunnites into Shi-ites or
to convert the Shi-ites into Sunnites. This is what I did not
expect nor did I project. My aim was to clear certain
points which I think can be a ground for a mutual
understanding among the Muslims. The fruit of such
understanding would hopefully be the elimination of
mutual suspicions among them and replacing it with a
genuine brotherhood and trust. Thus the
Muslims will be able to agree that all
believers in Islam deserve the reward of God if
they offer their devotional duties after they have
believed in God His Messenger His Book His Angels and the Resurrection regardless of teir views concerning the caliphate.
It seems to me that the discussion of the caliphate which was presented has cleared many points which can be a ground for a mutual Islamic understanding. Of these points are the following: A. The theory which says that Ali was the choice of the Holy Prophet for the leadership of the nation is not an innovation in religion; nor is it a deviation from the Faith; nor is it a claim that has no support of evidence. It is rather a genuine Islamic theory that represents the middle and straight Islamic road. It is consonant with the nature of the Islamic teachings. Appointing a successor was not an innovation in Islam. Abu Bakr appointed Omar for the interest of Islam and the Muslims and Abu Bakr was not more concerned with the future of Islam and the nation than the Holy Prophet.
The Muslim scholars do not argue about the authenticity of the hadith of Ghadeer Khum and other authentic hadiths from which the Shi-ites understand positively that the Holy Prophet had chosen Ali to succeed him. The Sunnites take a negative attitude towards its indication of Ali's successorship. They have the right to take such a negative attitude but they have no right to criticize the Shi-ites for having a positive attitude concerning this indication .
Neither the positive nor the negative attitude towards the indication of these hadiths impair the faith of either party or makes it deviate from the right road.
THE SHI-ITE COMPANIONS OF THE PROPHET
B. Being a Shi-ite (follower) of Ali and the rest of the
members of the House of the Prophet is not something
who did not accompany the Prophet and did not hear from him. Nay it is a principle that was adopted by outstanding companions of the Holy Prophet whom the Prophet himself commended and testified for their truth and their being on the right road.
This group of outstanding companions included the following companions: Abu Tharr Al-Ghafari about whom the Holy Messenger said "Neither the Heaven shaded nor the earth carried a truer person than Abu Tharr. Certainly he does walk on earth with the immaterialism of Jesus Son of Mary." ( 39 ) Ammar Ibn Yasir who along with his parents were told by the Messenger: "Family of Yasir be patient for your destination is Paradise." And the Holy Prophet said to him: "Ammar be cheerful the aggressor party shall kill you." ( 40)
Al-Miqdad Ibn Al-Aswad who is one of the four men whom the Prophet was commanded to love. "God commanded me " he said "to love four and informed me that He loves them." People asked him: Messenger of God who are they? He said: Ali is from them (repeating that three times). And Abu Tharr and Selman and Al- Mi- qdad." ( 41)
Selman Al-Farisi was one of the men about whom the Messenger said: "Paradise longs for three men: Ali Ammar and Selman." ( 42)
And Ibn Abbas about whom the Messenger said: "God I ask Thee to teach him the interpretation and make him knowledgeable in religion and make him from the People of belief." ( 43)
All these and many others from the companions were
followers of Ali
even during the days of the first Three
( 8 ) Al-Termathi his authentic Sunan part 5 p. 334. ( 9 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 383. ( 10 ) Ibn Majah his authentic Sunan part 1 p. 53 hadith no. 149. ( 11 ) Al-Termathi in his authentic Sunan part 5 p. 332 hadith no. 3884. ( 12 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 536.
Caliphs. They used to believe that succession is an exclusive right of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet. Had they had supporters they would have fought to bring Ali to power. When the Third Caliph was brought to power Ammar and Al-Miqdad called upon the Imam Ali to fight. But the Imam refused to do that.( 44 )
I do not believe that there are among the present Shi-ites people who could be more Shi-ites than Abu Tharr who reported that the Messenger of God said: "Whoever obeys me obeys God and whoever disobeys me disobeys God. And whoever obeys Ali obeys me and whoever disobeys Ali disobeys me." (45) He reported also that the Messenger said to Ali: "Ali whoever parts with me parts with God and whoever parts with you parts with me."(46)
And Abu Tharr is the one who said while he was holding the door of the Kaaba: "Whoever knows me I am the one whom he knows and whoever does not know me I am Abu Tharr. I heard the Prophet saying: "The position of the members of my House among you is the position of Noah's ark among his people. Whoever embarked on it was saved and whoever did not embark on it was drowned." (47)
LEGITIMACY AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF ELECTIVE CALIPHATE
C. Had the Messenger not chosen a successor to lead
( 13 ) The author The Brother of the Prophet vol. 1 chapter 20 pp. 244-245. ( 14 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 131. ( 15 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 144. ( 16 ) Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak p. 3 p. 151.
electors and the elected. Such a contract is to be fulfilled and respected as long as the elected caliph fulfills the condition upon which the election was based. If the election is made on the basis of adherence to the Book of God and the instructions of the Holy Prophet the electors have to obey the caliph as long as he follows the Book and the instructions of the Prophet.
In spite of the legitimacy of such an elective succession such a succession has two negative aspects:
1. No Muslim would be sinning if he refuses to elect such a caliph even if the overwhelming majority elects him. A minority can refuse to elect him and to disagree with the majority and to believe that he is not qualified for leadership. His leadership is not by a revelation from God nor by a directive from the Prophet. Since God and His Messenger did not command the Muslims to elect him a negative attitude towards his election by a person or a minority would not be a violation of a commandment of God or the instructions of the Holy Prophet.
However it would be the duty of the minority or the individual who refuses to elect such a caliph to refrain from hindering the administration of the government which is headed by the caliph. In addition to this it would be the duty of the minority or the individual who does not elect him to obey him if his obedience is an obedience to God. For the Almighty says: "O you who believe obey God and obey the Messenger and Olil-Amr (men of command) from among you." This would be the rule if the word "Olil-Amr" meant what includes the rulers whom the Holy Prophet did not appoint.
Since the minority has the right not to elect the one who was elected by the majority the elected has no right to force an opposing minority to change its attitude. And if he does he would be unjust and an usurper of the right of political freedom.
It is well known in historical events that the two highly
Saad Ibn Abu Waqass and Abdullah Ibn Omar
refused to elect the Imam Ali and he did
not force them to do that. These companions did not see a
sin in their refusal to elect him though each one of them was well aware of the qualifications of the Imam and his outstanding record in Islam.
The Imam himself refused to elect Abu Bakr and continued his refusal for six months. Had the wars of Faith- deserters not started during the time of the First Caliph the Imam would have continued his negative attitude and he did not see any sin in taking such an attitude.
This is what the free nations in this century follow.
When a president of a nation is elected by a majority and his rival is elected by a minority the majority does not try to force the minority to change its negative attitude into a positive one. The minority continues its opposition without trying to obstruct the administration of the winner.
If a contemporary of the First Caliph had the right to refuse to elect him the following generations would have the right to believe or to disbelieve in his qualifications and the soundness of his succession. Thus the mutual incrimination of the Muslims for their negative or positive attitude towards particular caliphs who died centuries ago would not be of reJigion. It would be rather an addition to the religion and has no justification.
2. An elected caliph with a limited knowledge would not be more than a righteous "mujtahid" (scholar that has the right to form an independent opinion about some unclear details in the Islamic rules). It would be permissible for a person who is not a scholar to follow a scholar other than the caliph. The opinion of the caliph would not be an Islamic Law because he is not immune from error.
Election by the majority does not change his personality.
He would not become immune from error if he were not so before his election: nor would it make him extremely knowledgeable if his knowledge were limited.
A caliph that was appointed by the Prophet would not
Messenger. His religious directives commands and prohibitions would be Islamic Laws because he is the Prophet's representative and his holiness emanates from the holiness of the Prophet. His selection of him indicates that he views him to be the most knowledgeable among the Muslims in the Book of God and the instructions of the Messenger.
THE HOUSE OF THE PROPHET IS TO BE FOLLOWED
D. The Hadith of "Al-Thaqalain" (The Two Valuables) clearly informs us that the Messenger commanded the Muslims to follow the instructions of the members of his House in the Islamic Law. This is because the Prophet declared that the Qur'an and the members of his House will never part with each other until the Day of Judgment.
Muslims may for political reasons argue about the indication of the hadith concerning the succession of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet to the Prophet. But the hadith clearly informs us of the Prophet's endorsement of their teaching.
It is needless to emphasize the authenticity of the Hadith "Al-Thaqalain" which was reported by about twenty companions. The refusal of Muslim scholars to follow the reported teaching of the House of the Prophet is indefensible and an obvious disagreement with the Prophet. It is less defensible to make the adherence to the teaching of the four Imams mandatory to the Muslims yet the Prophet never recommended any of them.
The least of what these scholars should have done is to put the teachings of the House of the Holy Prophet on an equal level with that of the four Imams.
As a matter of fact the followers of the Four "Math-
that those instructions do not deserve their concern or respect. As the followers of the Four Schools took such an attitude they disagreed with their own Imams and were more kingly than the king. Abu Haneefah was a student of the Imam Jafaar Al-Sadiq (48) and he used to believe that he was the most knowledgeable among the people of his time.
Al-Mansoor (the second Abbaside caliph) ordered Abu Haneefah to prepare for the Imam Al-Sadiq a large number of difficult questions. Abu Haneefah asked the Imam in the presence of Al-Mansoor forty questions and the Imam Al-Sadiq answered each of those questions. In addition to this he informed Abu Haneefah about the views of the Iraqi scholars and the views of the Hijazi scholars concerning each one of those questions. Abu Haneefah commented thereafter saying: "Certainly the most knowledgeable among people is the most knowledgeable of their various opinions." ( 49 )
Abu Haneefah spoke of the Imam Al-Sadiq's magnanimity saying: "I came to Al-Mansoor while Jaafar Ibn Mohammad was sitting at his right. When I looked at Jaafar Ibn Mohammad I felt that his magnanimity commanded more respect than the power of Al-Mansoor."(50) Yet Al-Mansoor was the ruler of the whole Muslim World and Jaafar was a private citizen and powerless .
Imam Malik also was from the students of Imam
( 17 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 25. ( 18 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 27. ( 19 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 27. ( 20 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 66.
spoke the right words. He was from God-fearing people who are not materialistic but true worshippers . . ."(52)
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hunbul reported Hadith "Al-Thaqalain" through many channels: He recorded in his Musnad through two channels to Zeid Ibn Thabit that the Messenger said: "I am leaving in you two caliphs: The Book of God a rope extended between heaven and earth and the members of my House. And they will never part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment)."(53)
He recorded that Abu Sa-eed Al-Khidri reported that the Messenger said: "I am about to be summoned (by God to depart from this world) and I shall respond. I am leaving in you the Two Valuables: The Book of God and the members of my House. The Book of God is a rope extended between heaven and earth and the members of my House. The Almighty informed me that they shall never part with each other until they join me at the Basin .
Beware how you shall treat them after me."(54) This hadith was also reported by Imam Ahmad through his channel to Zeid Ibn Arqam.
Sheikh Mohammad Abu Zuhrah a contemporary distinguished Islamic scholar said: "The Muslims never agreed in spite of their affiliations with various schools as they agreed on the virtuousness of the Imam Al-Sadiq and his knowledge. His contemporary of the Sunnite Imams received from his knowledge and used it. Malik was one of his students and so were those who were from Malik's ranks such as Sufyan Ibn Oyainah Safyan Al- Thouri and many others. Abu Haneefah also was one of his students though he and Al-Sadiq were almost from one age and Abu Haneefah considered him the most knowledgeable among people." ( 55)
Imam Al-Shafi-i was an outstanding Shi-ite of the
( 21 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq pp. 76-77. ( 22 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 5 p. 181. ( 23 ) Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 3 p. 17. ( 24 ) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 66.
members of the House of the Holy Prophet. And this was recorded by reliable scholars. Ibn Hajar in his book Al- Sawa-iq Al-Muhriquah said that Al-Shafi-i in one of his poems said: "Members of the House of the Messenger of God your love is an imperative duty that was revealed in the Holy Qur'an. It is a sufficient distinction for you that whoever does not pray on you has no prayer."(56)
The four Imams were scholars and "mujtahids" (scholars who are qualified to form independent Opinions in the Islamic rules which is not clear enough to be a place of agreement among Muslim scholars). The rules which are completely clear in the faith of Islam do not have room for "ijtihad" or opinion. It would not be said that the (opinion) of Abu Haneefah or any other one of the Four Imams is that the five daily prayers are devotional duties or that the morning prayer is composed of two Rakaas.
These matters have no place for opinions because they are self-evident in Islam.
Due to the absence of specific instructions in the Qur'an or the "Sunnah" of the Prophet in some details of the Islamic rules or because the instructions are unclear or because there are conflicting hadiths some of the rules are usually unknown to the Muslim scholars .
The four Imams formed their various opinions in matters such as whether a praying person should put one hand
over the other while standing or should he free both
hands. Should or should not a praying person start any
Qur'anic chapter he (she) reads by reading: "Bismillahi-RRahmani-RRaheem (In the name of The Almighty The Beneficient
The Merciful). Should a Muslim wash or
wipe his feet while making his ablution for prayer? Again
would or would not ablution be spoiled by merely
touching a woman? In such matters
most of the "mujtahids" formed their opinions but without reaching the
degree of certainty. Because most of the opinions of the
( 25 ) Al-Fakhr Al-Razi in his Commentary on the Holy Qur'an chapter 42 verse 43.
"mujtahids"are not certain they were called "mathdhabs." Since most of the verdicts in this area are uncertain and their sources are not clear the Imams differed with each other about the rules. The opinions of these Imams conflicted with each other. Therefore we know that some of them did not agree with the Holy Prophet because his teachings do not contradict each other. It would not be logical that the Holy Prophet says for example that touching a woman's hand spoils and does not spoil ablution.
If we take one of the two opinions by itself it may be in agreement with the instructions of the Holy Prophet but we cannot be sure of that because we do not know with certainty what the Holy Prophet said concerning the law in question.
That is the situation with the opinion of the mujtahid.
The teachings of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet do not disagree with each other because they do not try to form opinions about the Islamic Rules. They knew the rules with certainty. What one of them such as the Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq said is what all the Imams from the House of the Holy Prophet said. What they said is what the Messenger of God said. Whatever they said concerning the Shari-a is a report which came to each one of them through a channel composed of these Holy Imams starting with the Imam Ali and what Imam Ali reported is what the Holy Prophet said.
It is reported that Al-Imam Al-Sadiq said: "My statement is the statement of my father. The statement of my father is the statement of my grandfather. The statement of my grandfather is the statement of Al-Hussein. The statement of Al-Hussein is the statement of Al-Hassan.
The statement of Al-Hassan is the statement of Ameer Al-
Athafer Al-Seirafi reported that he was with Al-
( 26) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 425.
Hakam Ibn Oyainah at the house of the Imam Mohammad Al-Baqir (the father of Jaafar Al-Sadiq). Oyainah asked Al-Baqir about some Islamic rules. Abu Jaafar told his son to bring the book of Ali. He brought a huge book and Al-Baqir opened it and looked at it until he found the subject in question. Abu Jaafar said: This is the writing of Ali and the dictation of the Messenger of God.
Then he looked at Al-Hakam and said: "Abu Mohammad go you and Selemah and Al-Miqdad wherever you want right or left. By God you will not find more reliable knowledge at any place than that of a people Gabriel used to come to." ( 58)
These two reports and others like them which came through the followers of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet agree with Hadith "Al-Thaqalain " the recorders of which from the Sunnites reported through their channels which included about twenty companions.
This hadith testifies as we mentioned before that the instructions of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet always agree with what God and His Messenger said. The Almighty God according to the hadith informed the Messenger that the Book of God and the members of the House of the Holy Prophet will never part with each other (until the Day of Judgment). The Prophet therefore declared in the hadith itself that adherence to the Book of God and the members of the House of the Holy Prophet represented a security for the Muslims against straying.
Therefore their instructions are the instructions of the Prophet himself. Their statements in religion are not opinions based upon conjectures like the opinions of the righteous four Imams. They are rather reports of the Prophet's own statements and these reports are of the highest degree of authenticity because they never parted with the Holy Qur'an.
I do not mean that the scholars from the Shi-ites and
their hadith-recorders knew with certainty all of what the
( 27) Abu Zuhrah Imam Al-Sadiq p. 425.
members of the House of the Holy Prophet stated of instructions. Nay the Shi-ite scholars and reporters do not know with certainty all instructions of these Imams. Those instructions came to the reporters and scholars through hadiths which were reported by one or a few reporters.
Therefore they did not become certain. Some of the hadiths which reported the instructions of these Imams were contradicting each other or their indications were not clear.
This should not harm. What was reported of these Imams is like what was reported of the statement of the Messenger himself. Most of the hadiths which reported the instructions of the Holy Prophet were not "Mutawatir" (reported independently by numerous reporters which makes it certain). And some of it does not have a clear indication. Yet in spite of all that we cannot put the hadiths of the Holy Prophet on the same level with the opinions of "mujtahids." This is because when a hadith of the Prophet is mutawatir or near to it it produces certainty concerning the Divine law. On the other hand if the verdict of a mujtahid were reported with certainty we would not be certain that the verdict agrees with the Divine law. This is because the mujtahid who issued the verdict was not recommended by the Prophet as a man who does not part with the Holy Qur'an.
It saddens us and we consider it less than fair that the Sunnite Schools refuse to put instructions of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet at least on equal level with the verdicts of the four Imams in spite of what the Messenger of God said about his House while he did not say anything about the four Imams.
Some of the Sunnite scholars justify their negative at-
have confidence in the Shi-ite hadith-recorders. Yet the logical way through which we can know the verdicts of an Imam is to take it from his followers rather than from his opponents. Would it be fair on the part of the Shi-ites if they want to know the verdicts of Abu Hanfah to say: We do not accept these verdicts beenuse. they were reported by his followers and we do not have confidence in them? When did God and His Messenger say that the reporters and the recorders of the hadith have to be Sunnites rather than Shi-ites? The Almighty prohibited us from following the report of transgressors when He said:
"O you who believe (In Islam) if a transgressor brought to you information try to verify it lest you damage a community in ignorance; then you will regret what you have done." (59) Being a follower of the House of the Prophet and adherent to their instructions is not a transgression nor being a non-Shi-ite is a righteousness .
To love the members of the House of the Holy Prophet and to follow their instructions is actually a confirmation of righteousness and a major good deed. The Almighty has mentioned in His Book that He will double such a good deed. He commanded His Prophet to inform the Muslims that their reward to him on the delivery of the Message is their loyalty to the members of his House and so the Almighty said to him: "Say: I ask you no reward for it (delivery of message) but to be loyal to my kindred.
And whoever does a good deed We shall increase his goodness. Certainly God is Wealthy and Thankful."(60)
We have already mentioned that a good number of the outstanding companions of the Holy Prophet were followers of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet. The Messenger himself asked his Lord to love whoever loves Ali and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.(61)
It is the duty of the Muslim scholars to wage a cam-
( 28) The Holy Qur'an chapter 49 verse 23. ( 29) The Holy Qur'an chapter 42 verse 23. ( 30) The author this book part 2 chapter 38.
Muslims what has been left in it of prejudice inherited from the Omayads who used to punish the Muslims for their loyalty to Ali.
The duty of all Muslim scholars is to inform the masses of the Muslims about the following simple fact: The four Schools of thought which are followed by the Sunnite Muslims are not the only means of knowing the Islamic Law. They ought to inform them of the simple truth that the Holy Prophet did not command the Muslims to follow these four schools; that these schools were born more than one hundred years after the Prophet's death; and that the religion of Islam was completed before the death of the Holy Prophet. How could the adherence to these four Schools be a requirement for Islam or Iman while Islam was completed long before their birth?
The four Imams were scholars mujtahids and qual-
We believe that the Messenger of God was the Final of the Prophets only because God informed us in His great Book that Mohammad is the Final of the Prophets. How can we say that Imam Ahmad Ibn Hunbul (the last of the four Imams) is the Final of the mujtahids and that no qualified person for issuing verdicts will ever come after him? Did the Almighty or His Messenger inform us of this?
What is available and what will be available to the
write his book when he was born. The logical opinion is to say that the door of "ijtihad" remained open after the four Imams rather than to say that that door has been closed forever without any rational justification.
Granted that the door of "ijtihad" had been closed for all generations after the four Imams. How can we close that door in the face of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet while the Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq was the teacher of the first two of the four Imams; Malik and Abu Haneefah? ( 31)
I know it is not easy to change an opinion that has been established in the minds of the Muslims for several centuries but it would not be impossible if a good number of good scholars would wage a corrective and educational campaign throughout the Muslim World. The scholars can use the mass media which was not available in any previous century.
MY HUMBLE EFFORT
In 1959 I attempted to begin a campaign in this direc-
I said to each of them that this is a problem started during the Omayad era and continued through the Abbaside era and the Turkish period. We still suffer a great deal with this problem which continues to separate the Muslims and spread suspicions among them and make them reciprocate false accusations.
I said to both leaders that the Shi-ite Imami Jaafaris
(the followers of the Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq) are not seeking a privilege or superiority. They want the Muslim
( 31) Abu Zuhrah Al-Imam Al-Sadiq p. 25.
World to know that the teachings of the Imam Jaafar Al- Sadiq and the rest of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet are not less valuable and sound than the teachings of the four Imams. The teachings which the Shi- ite Imami Jaafari follow deserve and command the respect of all Muslims. Those who follow these teachings are sound Muslims and true believers like the followers of the four schools. I said that a declaration by the Sheikh Al- Azhar in this direction will be a sound step in the way of the Islamic unity.
Sheikh Al-Azhar asked me: "Would it not be sufficient for solving this problem to teach the Jaafari Mathhab (school of thought) at Al-Azhar?" I replied in the negative and mentioned to him two reasons: 1. Teaching of the Jaafari Math-hab does not indicate that Al-Azhar and its Sheikh believe in the soundness of such a Math-hab. Al-Azhar can decide to teach the Marxist theory. This would not indicate that you believe in the soundness of that theory.
2. Teaching of the Jaafari math-hab at Al-Azhar may make a few hundred students of Al-Azhar aware of this Math-hab. This is not our aim. Our aim is to inform the millions of Muslims of the soundness of the teachings of the members of the House of the Holy Prophet Mohammad. This would not be accomplished except by issuing a verdict of equality between the Jaafari Mathhab and the four Math-habs. Such a declaration should be published and announced through all Islamic media. This may inform the millions of Muslims at once about this truth which was ignored for hundreds of years.
The grand Sheikh responded to this suggestion immediately. On the following day his son-in-law and secretary Mr. Ahmad Nassar visited me and brought the good tidings: The Grand Sheikh had responded to my invitation and issued a verdict about the subject. I went with him to the Grand Sheikh thanking him for his historical achievement. The Sheikh read to me the text of the verdict before publishing it.
On the seventh of July
the Middle East radio
station and the Egyptian and the Lebanese press published the text of the verdict of the Grand Sheikh.
Sheikh Al-Azhar issued his verdict in a form of an answer to a question that was directed to him as follows: "Some people view that in order to have religiously sound devotions and transactions it would be imperative to follow one of the four known Islamic schools: Hanafi Shafi-i Hunbali and Maliki. This excludes the two Shi-ite schools: Imami (Jaafari) and Zeidi. Sheikh Shaltut in answering this question stated the following: "It is permissible to a non-"mujtahid" (the one who is not qualified to give his own opinion) to follow the opinion of "Olama" (Muslim scholars) whose knowledge and piety are believed provided such an opinion reaches its followers in a correct and nearly certain way directly or indirectly.
"We should not be concerned with a view expressed in some books which claims that the four schools are the only ones to follow and that it is not permissible for a person to move from one school to another.
"The word Shi-a (Shi-ite) by which the followers of Ali (the son of Abu Talib) are known is derived from the word "mushaya-ah" which means to follow. . . . There are groups related to Ali and they are the well-guided ones. Of these good Shi-a is the group which is known by the name of Jaafari or lmami Ithna-Ashari. This well known school follows principles that are taken from the Book of God and the teachings of His Messenger which reached them through their Imams in both fundamental belief and Islamic Law.
"The difference between the Jaafari and Sunni
ites in the Islamic laws is completely recorded and well known. It has its own books conveyers (who reported the statements of the Prophet and the Imams) and the supporting evidence of what they convey. The authors of these books and those from whom these authors had received the (hadiths) are well known and their scholarly and jurisprudential ranks are respected among the Muslim scholars.
"From this explanation it becomes evident that:
1. Islam does not command any of its followers to follow a particular Islamic School. On the contrary it establishes for every Muslim the right to follow at the beginning any one of the correctly conveyed Math-habs whose verdicts are recorded in their respective books. It is permissible also to any one that follows one of these schools to change to another one-any other school-and he is not sinning by doing that.
"2. The Jaafari school which is known as "The mathhab of the Ithna-Ashari " Imaini Shi-i is a sound school.
It is permissible to worship God according to its teaching like the rest of the Sunni schools.
"3. The Muslims ought to know this and get rid of their undue bigotry for particular schools. The religion of God and His law do not follow nor are they bound to a particular school. All the founders of these schools are mujtahid (qualified to give verdict) reward-deserving from God and acceptable to Him. It is permissible to the non-mujtahid to follow them and to accord with their teaching whether in devotion or transactions.".
This recognition should have taken place during the
second century after the Hijrah when the four Islamic
was declared by the Prophet to be the gate of the city of knowledge.
The fact is that the Omayads and the Abbasides policies viewed that recognizing the School of the House of the Prophet is dangerous to them.
However the Declaration of Sheikh Al-Azhar is a positive step and in the right direction. It is true that it came very late but it is an indication that some of the contemporary Islamic scholars have a new and sound way of thinking. Should this step be followed by other positive steps the Muslim World may regain its brotherhood and unity.