Association of Shia'ism with Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.)
by: Allama Sultanu'l-Wa'izin
Nawab: Shias believe in the twelve Imams. Why is Shia'ism associated with the name of Imam Ja'far Sadiq and called the Ja'farite sect?
Well-Wisher: Every prophet, in accordance with the divine command, appoints his successor. Muhammad declared Ali to be his successor and ordered the community to obey him. But after the death of the Prophet, the caliphate was seized by Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. During their caliphate, except during the earlier days, Abu Bakr and Umar consulted Ali on all matters and acted upon his counsel. Moreover, the great ulema and eminent scholars of other religions who came to Medina in search of religious knowledge were completely satisfied with their discussions with Ali. Throughout his life, Ali continued to serve Islam in many ways. After his martyrdom, when the Bani Umayya became rulers, the imamate was cruelly suppressed. Imam Hasan Mujtaba, Imam Husain, Imam Zainu'l-Abidin, and Imam Muhammad Qadir were victims of the extreme cruelty of the Umayyads. All roads of approach to them were closed and except for a few of their followers, others could not benefit from their knowledge. Every one of them was murdered.
In the beginning of the second century after the hijra, however, under the heavy pressure of the atrocities of the Umayyads, the people rose up against them. Bloody fighting ensued between the Bani Abbas and Bani Umayya. While the Bani Umayya were busy defending their own ruler, they could not continue their oppression of the Ahle Bait. Accordingly, Imam Ja'far Sadiq emerged from the seclusion imposed by the Umayyads. He instructed people concerning religious laws. Four thousand lovers of knowledge gathered around his pulpit and quenched their thirst from the holy Imam's limitless ocean of knowledge. Some of his chief companions have recorded four hundred doctrines which are known as Usul-e-Arba'mi'atin - meaning "The 400 Verdicts."
Yafi'iy Yamani wrote that Imam Ja'far excelled all others in his knowledge. Jabir Ibn Hayyan Sufi, wrote a thousand-page compilation, listing nearly 500 booklets based on the teachings of Imam Ja'far.
Some of the great Sunni jurists were also his students. Abu Hanifa, Malik Bin Anas, Yahya Bin Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Muhammad Bin Ishaq, Yahya Bin Satid Qattan, Sufyan Bin 'Uyayna, Sufyan Thawri - all benefitted from his immense learning. This great flowering of learning occurred at this time because the Bani Umayya obstructed the way of his ancestors, and unfortunately the Bani Abbas would restrain his descendants from speaking freely. The reality of Shia'ism was unveiled and the merits of the Ahle Muhammad were proclaimed by Ja'far Sadiq. Accordingly, this sect became known as "Ja'fari," but there is no difference between Imam Sadiq and any of the four Imams among his ancestors and the four Imams who preceded him or the six who came after him. All were divinely commissioned spiritual guides.
Although both friends and enemies recognized his excellence in knowledge and perfection in all merits, your predecessors refused to treat him as the most learned theologian and perfect man of his age. They refused to recognize his school of law along with the other four schools, even though he held the most exalted rank in learning and devotion, as admitted by your own ulema. Since he belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Holy Prophet, he had a right to receive preference over others. In spite of these factors, your fanatical ulema have shown such callous disregard for the progeny of their Prophet that your high-ranking theologians, like Bukhari and Muslim, would not even record hadith from this faqih (jurist) or the Ahle Bait. Moreover, they did not quote hadith from any of the Imams or Sa'dat of the holy progeny: Alawi, Husaini, Abidi, Musawi, Rizawi or from such ulema and jurists, like Zaid Bin Ali Bin Husain, the Martyr, Yahya Bin Zaid, Muhammad Bin Abdullah, Husain Bin Ali, Yahya Bin Abdullah Bin Hasan and his brother Idris, Muhammad Bin Ja'far Sadiq, Muhammad Bin Ibrahim, Muhammad Bin Zaid, Abdullah Bin Hasan, Ali Bin Ja'far (Arizi), and others, all of whom were outstanding ulema and jurists and who belonged to the family of the Prophet.
On the other hand, they have quoted hadith from people Like Abu Huraira, whose character is known to you all, and from the great liar and forger, Akrama, the Kharijite. Your own ulema have confirmed that these men were liars and yet, they accept their hadith with all their hearts. Ibn Bayyit writes that Bukhari has quoted as many as 1,200 hadith from the Kharijis and Nasibis, like Imam Bin Hattan, the admirer of Ibn Muljim, the murderer of the Commander of the Faithful. The followers of Imam-e-Azam (Abu Hanifa), Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Hanbal consider them pure Muslims though none of them belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and every one of those sects is free to adopt his own
ways though there are great differences in fundamentals as well as practices among them. How regrettable it is that they call the followers of Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq infidels! And in all places dominated by Sunnis, including Mecca, about which Allah says, "Whoever enters it is free," they are not free to express their faith or to perform their prayers. So you good people should know that we Shias are not the cause of differences in Islam; we have not brought about disunity among Muslims. As a matter of fact, much of the disruption appears from your side. It is you who call 100 million Muslims infidels, although they are faithful believers along with you.
Hafiz: It is true, as you said, that I am not an unjust man. I admit that there have been outrages due to fanaticism. I would like to say without any pretension or flattery, that I have benefitted greatly from your talk and have learned a great deal. But with your permission, let me say one thing, which is a complaint, as well as a defense of the worthy Sunni Sect. Can you tell me why Shia preachers and ulema like you do not check your common people from making statements which lead to unbelief? The result is that others get a chance to use the word unbelief against them. A man may become the target of attacks because he has made an improper assertion. So you people should also not make the Sunnis the target of your attacks. The Shias utter things which affect the hearts of the Sunnis, who in turn ascribe unbelief to the Shia.
Well-Wisher: May I know which statements or actions lead to unbelief?
Hafiz: The Shias find fault with the chief companions and some of the pure wives of the Prophet; this is obviously an act of unbelief. Since the companions fought for years with the Prophet against the infidels, it is obvious that their services were free from all moral imperfection. They certainly deserve Paradise, particularly those who gained divine blessings. According to the Holy Qur'an: "Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree." (48:18)
There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet respected them. One who denies their excellence is certainly misled. The Qur'an says: "Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed." (53:3-4) Such a person denies the Holy Prophet and the Holy Qur'an, and one who denies them is undoubtedly an infidel.
Well-Wisher: I hoped that such topics would not be raised in this public meeting. My reply might reach the uninformed people, and they might spread adverse propaganda. It would be better if we discussed these matters privately. I will call on you some day, and we will solve this problem in private.
Hafiz: I am sorry, but many of our people for the past several nights have insisted that this topic be discussed. Your discussion is always reasonable. If you make a convincing reply, there will be no unpleasant repercussions. Otherwise, you concede the point to us.
Nawab: It is right. We all want the issue to be resolved here and now.
Well-Wisher: I only comply with your wish. I did not expect that an able man like you, after the complete explanations that I have given during previous nights on the question of infidelity would attribute infidelity to the Shia sect. I have already submitted complete proof that the Shia Ithna Asharis are the followers of Muhammad and his holy descendants. You have raised several issues. I will reply to each of them separately.
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