It is often said that Muslims are fighting Muslims. Iraq, Syria, and Yemen are cited as examples. This is how the present ‘life and death struggle’ is understood by majority of Muslims, who – sorry to say – have, by and large, remained, as ignorant as ever of the realities of life throughout the last two centuries, and, therefore, as stupid as ever, in dealing with its challenges. They have the hallmark of going into, as Dr. Iqbal had said, “prostration when the time came to stand up.”
With reference to the ‘life and death struggle’ going on in the three countries named above, we have presented a few facts that demand on us to re-look into the correctness of our definitions about who is a Muslim, and who not. To continue, let us summarize the points presented in the last issue of this magazine (although looking up the issue would be better), with the addition of some notes:
- A Muslim’s religion starts with the birth of the Prophet; that of Shi`ah with his death.
- Let alone the Shi`ah religion, even the word ‘Shi`ah’ did not exist in Makkah, or when the battles of Badr, Uhud, etc. were fought, ending with the fall of Makkah, throughout the caliphate of Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman and until `Ali’s quarrels with other claimants of political power.
- The first Shi`ah appeared as individuals during the time of `Ali, and he disowned them. Down the line, after `Ali, his grandson Zayn al-Abidin told an Iraqi self-imposing Shi`ah individuals visiting him, to go away from his presence when they tried to abuse Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman. They thought Zayn al-Abidin was a Shi`ah Imam, but he told them – point blank: “You are not Muslims.”
- The Shi`ah do not speak the truth when they allege that the Prophet appointed `Ali his successor at the Khumm well. He did no such thing. Their own books – ancient and recent – report that he only said, “Whoever befriends me, should befriend `Ali.” By saying that, the Prophet was asserting that `Ali was not, as some thought, a fanatic or an extremist. His ascetic behavior was just the spirit of Islam expressed in practical terms.
- The Shi`ah insult the Prophet by alleging that he declared `Ali his successor at a remote stop-over near the well of Khumm, but did not do it at other massive gatherings, such as at `Arafat, or at Madinah before his death, because, they allege, he was afraid of the hypocrites surrounding him. The Prophet of Islam was never afraid of anyone in the world, and men surrounding him were no hypocrites, but those whom Allah praised several times in the Qur’an.
- The claim that Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman usurped `Ali’s right to be the first Caliph, is an invention fastened upon `Ali, because he himself never made any such claim at any time in his life. In the Shi`ah literature too, there is no report which says that `Ali claimed he deserved to be the first Khalifah. It is the Shi`ah who make the claim on his behalf.
- It is a false allegation against `Ali that if he did not claim his right to be the first Khalifah and Imam, during the tenures of Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman, it was because he was afraid of persecution. `Ali was no coward. If it was his belief, he would have fought for it to death.
- The taqiyyah of the Shi`ah, which amounts to skillful concealment of true faith, and true intentions, is the antithesis of Islam which orders its adherents to be frank, truthful, and straightforward, even in matters non-religious – let alone religious which demands high level of integrity and strength of character.
- Such as above are the few tenets in which every Shi`ah is schooled from birth. We may now move forward to look into a few more to discover whether Shi`ah religion can be related to mainstream Islam. The material that we report here are from core books of the Shi`ah themselves. We have taken nothing from the Sunni books written in refutation of the Shi`ah.
- The Shi`ah explain their unbound hatred of `Umar b. al-Khattab as resulting from, in their words: His tyranny against the ahl al-bayt. It was of such order that, once, he whipped Fatimah so hard that it caused swelling and whose marks remained with her until death; and that `Umar pressed her between the door and the wall of her house so hard that she cried out: “O my father! O the Messenger of Allah!” As a result, she suffered miscarriage resulting in a still-birth of a male child (named by the Shi`ah as Muhsin). Then `Umar placed a noose around `Ali’s neck and began to drag him, with Fatimah behind them screaming, imploring death, with their sons Hasan and Husain weeping. (1. Al-Mustarshid, 2. Bihar al-Anwar; 3. Majlisi; Minhaj al-Bara`ah by Khu’ee, p. 7; etc.)
- If one of `Ali’s daughter was married to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, it was because `Umar, the tyrant, had forced `Ali to give her to him in marriage. (Al-Mustadrak Safeenatu al-Bihar al-Anwar, p. 145, vol. 1).
- Caliphate belongs to the family of `Ali. He and his progeny are the legitimate and true Imams. (Nafahat al-Azhar, p. 165, vol. 5; Al-Burhan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, p. 322, vol. 4; Bihar al-Anwar, p.211, v. 37; and others).
- The Imams were superior to all the Prophets and Messengers that have ever been sent except Prophet Muhammad. (Bihar al-Anwar; Nafahat al-Azhar; and others)
- There were twelve of the Imams. Whoever did not believe in them will end in Hell-fire. Of them, the last disappeared.
- The Imam in hiding will reappear as the Mahdi and will establish his Imamate.He will rule by the Shari`ah of Prophet Da’ud. There will be no peace between the Persians and Arabs. Sword will be the only resort when the Arabs will be finally annihilated. The Mahdi will dig the graves of Abu Bakr and `Umar and whip them. Thereafter, they will be crucified and burned on stake.Those days `A’isha would also be resurrected and whipped for her rebellion against `Ali. A true copy of the Qur’an, secretly given by the Prophet to `Ali, will be brought out and the present-day Qur’an will be finally destroyed. The extensions done to the two Haramayn mosques (the Bayt al-Haram and the Prophet’s mosque at Madinah) will be pulled down, to be reduced to what they originally were. (Al-Anwar al-Nu`maniyyah, p. 60 onwards, vol. 2; Mu`jam Ahadith Mahdi, p.25, vol. 5; Bihar al-Anwar, 52/ 336; `Asr al-Zuhur 65/ 1, and others).
Refutation of the above:
Point 9: This is a self-refuting allegation. `Ali was no chicken to be dragged around with a rope in his neck, while his wife followed him wailing. Let alone `Ali, let alone an Arab, who is ready to lay his life on the spot for his honor, no man of any race, class or region, will tolerate that he is humiliated before his wife. But, this widely reported incident recorded in the primary books of the Shi`ah, is not the only unintentional effort by the Shi`ah to belittle `Ali, they even attribute cowardice to the Prophet. (Dishonoring their own religious personalities is a noted trait of the Jews). The story might serve the Shi`ah well to make their commoners weep like babies during their yearly mourning sessions, but it is altogether an incredible fib.
However, there is a serious problem with the fib. `Umar came to power two and a half years after the death of the Prophet; but Fatimah had died two years earlier. She fell sick with the death of the Prophet and died six months after his death.
Point 10: Umm Kulthum’s marriage to `Umar b. al-Khattab was not the result of tyranny. The entire family consisting of `Abbas, `Aqeel and others were consulted before marriage. It is reported that Umm Kulthum was pretty young at that time. Reports also say that `Ali had originally wished to marry her to his brother Ja`far’s son. But `Umar was keen to marry her because she was Fatimah’s daughter, and he had heard the Prophet say that all kinship would be severed on the Day of Judgment except those connected to him by marriage. So, on his persistence, and for the reason that `Umar had expressed, `Ali consulted others of the family who differed between themselves over the issue, but the overwhelming opinion was in favor, so `Ali married her off to `Umar.
Some Shi`ah reports say that when `Ali was forced to the marriage, he ordered a Jinni from Najran to come and adopt the face and form of Umm Kulthum. He sent the Jinni to `Umar in place of his daughter and that the Jinni flew back with `Umar’s death. Kulaini, the indisputable authority of the Shi`ah, accepts these reports as true.
At all events, Umm Kulthum gave birth to a child through `Umar named Zayd. After `Umar’s death, `Ali got her married to `Awn b. Ja`far b. `Ali ibn abi Talib, although Umm Kulthum was a little hesitant to accept him. Nonetheless, it seems she passionately fell in love with `Awn after marriage. She died several years later, and, strangely Zayd, her son through `Umar, died on the same day.
Point 11: Islam is not a political system. Politics has so little a role that the Prophet never emphasized on political issues, nor did he give clear instructions about how to establish an Islamic state, and how its leadership is to be chosen. He emphasized on obedience to the authorities, howsoever they take charge, but hardly said anything about the qualities and bona fide of those authorities.
As regards the overly long report in Shi`ah books dealing with Jibril visiting the Prophet at `Arafat, chiding him for not delivering the message of `Ali’s Imamate there, the Prophet’s excuse that he feared the people’s revolt, and so sought Jibril to assure him of his safety after his announcement; but such assurance not forthcoming, he would not make any such announcement, despite Jibril’s reminder at a place called Kura` al-Ghanam, between Makkah and Madinah, delaying the announcement until Jibril delivered Allah’s warning to him, and, ultimately, his choice of the well of Khumm to finally bow down to the pressure from on High, after protection was promised, and make announcement of `Ali as the leader of the community after him, and admitting that he was ordered thrice but he delayed the announcement because there were few believers with him and plenty of hypocrites; emphasizing that whoever did not accept `Ali, Hasan and Husain, and rest of the Imams (yet to appear) as the Imams will end up in the Fire of Hell – well, the whole report is a fabrication.
It also says that after the announcement, the Companions rushed to pledge allegation to `Ali. It seems the first to pledge were Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman followed by the multitude. The report says that the bay`ah started at somewhere Zuhr time and ended late at night, and concluded with the Companions having pledged themselves three times – or, perhaps, it ran for three days.
There are two major defects in the report. One, it is excessively long, running over eleven pages, and filled with ridiculous details. Secondly, its Arabic is so poor that only a non-Arab could have composed it.
Muslims have not a line from it in their Sahih, Da`eef or fabricated collections; nor is it imaginable that the Prophet had a retinue of hypocrites during Hajj and that he was afraid of violence from them which prevented him from delivering the message there.
Point 12: There is no need to comment on something that has no other to believe in from among the dozens of sects that have sprung up in Islam, except the Shi`ah.
Point 13: None can be condemned to Hell-fire unless clearly and specifically identified by the Qur’an or a hadith of mutawatir status (i.e., a simple Sahih hadith does not suffice to promise him Hell-fire). Let alone the Shi`ah’s claims and allegations, even Sunni condemnation of anyone without the two authorities stated above in support, is rejected. For instance, some Sunni declarations of the Shi`ah as Kafirs, is rejected.
Point 14: Sunnis find it hard to believe in these horrendous predictions. The Shi`ah explain, for instance, that the pulling out of the bodies of Abu Bakr and `Umar would be because they misbehaved with `Ali and Fatimah. This disagrees with the Qur’anic dictum that resurrection, accounting and punishment will be conducted on the Day of Judgment. Even the most rebellious of humans in history such as Nimrod, Fir`awn and others, will not be resurrected in this world to be punished for their crimes. But, of course, the reports of tyranny are false. As for a Qur’an given to `Ali, it is not true either, for one reason that the Prophet was never secretive in his life and mission, secondly, far from the Qur’an, `Ali even denied that the Prophet had promised him Imamate after him.
Because of the beliefs of the Shi`ah as stated above, and because none of the ahadith as preserved in Hadith literature prepared by the Sunnis (Bukhari, Muslim, etc.) are acceptable to the Shi`ah, except those narrated by such of them as who fought alongside `Ali during his Caliphate, the Shari`ah of the Shi`ah has become completely different from the Shari`ah of the Sunnis. Their Salah, for instance, is so different that they had to construct their own mosque to Pray in their own way. It is fair to say then, that the Shi`ah sect has now become a religion in its own right.
So, are they Kafir? This is how a minority of Muslim scholars look at them, that is, followers of a new religion and call them the Jews within this Ummah. It appears that they have some basis. Nonetheless the majority differ. The Ahnaf for instance, do not declare them unbelievers. Why? It is for a few reasons. According to them:
- Only denial of what wins a man the right of claim to Islam, entails Kufr. In simpler words, the denial of the Shahadah, which brings a man into the fold of Islam, can only send him out of the fold. To explain further, a man enters into Islam by saying the Kalimah Shahadah. It is denial of the Kalimah that will make him a Kafir.
- The taqiyyah of the Shi`ah serves them as well as harms them. When one of them says his beliefs are the same as that of the Sunnis, he is unbelievable because he practices taqiyyah. He could be lying. Contrarily, if he says his beliefs are the beliefs of the Shi`ah as stated in Shi`ah books, then, too, he is unreliable, because he practices taqiyyah. He might be saying it to tease a Muslim. Consequently, if he says he is serious in his claim of Sunnism, he will be put to a long practical test before it is attested that he has converted to Sunnism. The Prophet has said that the testimony of mainstream Muslims is acceptable to Allah.
- Every member of a group which identifies itself as belonging to this or that sect, cannot be judged on the basis of beliefs of the sect. This is because there are always individuals who differ from the rest. They do not subscribe to the beliefs of the group. For example, among the Shi`ah there are atheists, antagonists, “not sure” kind, and even those who believe that the doctrines of their sect are non-sense. Therefore, each individual will have to be judged by his personal convictions.
The above said, in political matters such ambiguity cannot be allowed any room. For example, if Saudi Arabia has given in aid the Yemen Republic more than five billion dollars during the past ten years, during which ten years the Zaydis of the country (also called Houthis, a branch of the Shi`ah) have been attacking Saudi borders quite frequently, sometimes penetrating into Saudi lands, and then they come to power within Yemen, and radios announce that, “we have taken Syria, we have taken Iraq, now we have taken Yemen, and next we will take the Haramayn,” then the Saudis cannot commence the exercise of determining whether this is a “taqiyyah” claim, or real. Ambiguities carry a value for the Fuqaha’, but in politics, to ignore them can be suicidal.