Introducting Imams of the Shi'ah
The Shia,ah have devoted themselves to the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (A), the first of whom being 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, then comes his two sons al-Hasan al-Husayn and then the infalliable nine descandants and offspring of Al-Imam al-Husayn (A).
The Messenger of Allah (S) has recurringly defined these Imams to be he successors, explicity and immplicity, and he even identifiesd them by names, as stated in some narrations reported by shi'ah ulama and some of the Sunni ulama.
Some from among Ahl al-Sunnah may object these narrations, wondering how could the prophet(S) disclose the unseen affairs that still non- existant? While his saying has been stated in the Qur'an thus:
Had I knowledge of the unseen, I should have abundance of wealth, and adversity would not touch me".(7:188)
In reply to this we can say that this holy verse does not deny the prophet's (S) knowledge of the unseen absolutly, but it has been revealed as a refutation against the polytheists who asked him the prophet to tell them about the coming of the (destine) Hour, whereas the knowledge of the Hour's proper time is only with Allah --Subahanahu.
The almighty Allah has said in the Holy Qur'an:
"(He is) the knower of the unseen and He revealeth unto none His secret. Save unto every messenger whom hath chosen...(72:26-27)
This implies an evident proof that Allah --subahanahu-- reveales His secret unto His choseen messengers alone. the example for which can be observed in Joseph's (A) saying of this fellow -prisoners:
"The food which ye are given (daily) shall not come unto you but I shall tell you the interpretation era it cometh unto you. this is of what which my Lord hath tought me..." (12:37)
And also in the Almighty's saying:
"Then found they one of our slaves, unto whom we had given mercy from us, and had taught him knowledge from our presence". (18:65) which is the story of the prophet Khidir who met Moses (A) and taught him the knowledge of the unseen with which he could not bear.
There used to be full agreement among the Muslims - Shi'ah and Sunnah- that the prophet (S) had knowledge of the Unseen, and his conduct (sirah) contained numerous reports about revelation of the unseen, as his (S) saying: "Woe unto 'Ammar, he shall be killed by the rebellious band". Also his saying to Ali "The most mischievous (ashqa) of the letters will smite you upon your head and tinge your beard", beside his saying Allah shall verify reform through my son al-Hassan two great groups" and also his foretelling that Abu Dharr will die alone and driven away, and such other many reports. Added to this his well-known tradition reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim and all traditionists, in which he said: "The Imams who succeeded me are twelve ones, all being from Banu Hashim".
We have proved in the previous book "To be with the truthful" and Ask Those who know", that the sunni ulama themselves have stated in their sihah and musnads the traditions indicating the Imamate of the twelve Imams, and approved them.
If someone inqueires: So why have they abandonated them then and followed the guide of others than them --the Imams of four schools of law (Madhahib), while admitting and approving these traditions??
The reply is thus: the good ancesetors (al-salaf al-salih) were all supporters of the Three Caliphate produced by the Saqifah: Abu Bakr, Umar and uthman, as their detestation against Ahl al-Bayt, and their hostility against al-'Imam 'Ali and his sons were inevitable, so they strove, as mentioned earlier, to obliterating the Prophetic Sunnah and substituting it with their exerted opinions (ijtihadat).
The reason for this lies in splitting asunder the Ummah into two sects immediately after the Prophet's demise, so there emerged the good ancestors and those who followed them representing the Ahl al-Sunnah, who constitute the overwhelming majority. On the other hand, there were the small authority represented by 'Ali and his followers, who renouned the allegiance ('bay'ah), becoming thus from among the descarded and those who earn anger, so they were called Rawafid (rejectors).
Since Ahl al-Sunnah have been those who dominated the Ummah's fate through centuries, so the Umayyad and 'Abbasid rulers have been all supporters and followers of the caliphate school, founded by Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, Mu'awiyah 63 and Yazid.
When the caliphate declined and lost its presitige, becoming in the hands of the Mamalik and non-Arabs, with giving permission to inscription of the Prophetic Sunnah, we witnessed the emergence of those traditions which the earlier people did their utmost, in vain, to obliterate and canceal, and these traditions remained as dubious perplexities for them, due to their being incongrous with what they (Sunnis) believedd in.
Some of them (Sunni) tried to make a congruity between these traditions and their beliefs, and they disguised with having love and passion toward Ahl al-Bayt, so whenever they mentioned the name of al-'Imam 'Ali, they would say: (May Go be pleased with him) and (may God grant him honour) for showing people that they are not enemies of the Prophet's Household (Ahl al-Bayt). In fact no one from among the Muslims can expressly disclose his enmity to Ahl al-Bayt, since the latters' enemies are the Prophet's enemies, and this fact makes them out of the pale of Islam, as is explit for all.
The idea extracted from this, is that the real foes of Ahl al-Bayt have been (al-Salaf al-Salih) who were called by their supporters "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah". The evidence for this becomes clear when seeing them all imitate the four schools that were established by the ruling authority (as we will shortly expound), having nothing of religious rules to refer to the fiqh of Ahl al-Bayt or one of the Twelve Imams.
The inevitable fact is that the Shi'ah are the true followers of the Muhammadan Sunnah, as they adhered in all their fiqh rules to the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, who inherited the proper Sunnah from their grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S), without foisting into it any of their opinions and ijtihadat, or sayings of the Caliphs.
The Shi'ah remained throughtout history, adhering sincerely to the texts (nusus), rejecting ijtihad against nass, and believing in the caliphate of 'Ali and his sons, since the Prophet (S) has ordained thus.The Shi'ah call them the vicegerents (khulafa) of the Prophet, whereas none of them had access to the actual caliphate except 'Ali, and they reject the rulers who seized caliphate outright, since its basis was a slip, may God protect us against its evil, and it was established on the basis of rejection and refutation against Allah and His Messenger. Further, all who came to power after it, were only dependants on it, as no caliph reached to power but only through being appointed by his antecedent, or through fighting and overcoming and surpression.64
Therefore Ahl al-Sunnah were obliged to aknowledg the Imamate of the pious and debauchee, as they accepted the caliphate of all the rulers even those who were impious among them.
That which distinguished the Imamiyyah Shi'ah from others, lies in their belief in the wujub (obligation) of infallibility of the Imams, and that great Imamate and leadership of the Ummah cannot be ligitimately possessed but by the Infallible Imam, and we cannot find infallible human beings among this Ummah except those whom Allah has removed uncleaness far from, and cleansed with a through cleansing.
63.We have not mentioned 'Ali's caliphate on purpose, since Ahl al-Sunnah have not knowledged it but only during the lifetime of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Refer to the chapter:''Ahl al-Sunnah are unaware of the prophetic Sunnah", on page 30 of this book.
64.With the exception of Ali's caliphate, sicne he was the only one who was never appointed by the precedent caliph, and never ruled over people by suppression and force. But all Muslims have freely and voluntarily sworn allegiance unto him, insisting on him to accept it (caliphate).
Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ah; The Real Followers of the Sunnah" by: "Dr. Muhamad al-Tijahi al-Samawi"
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