Islamic Question & Answer
Islamic Question & Answer
The narrations of the very well known "Thaqalain" have been recorded in the books of tradition in two ways that we shall now illuminate so as to find out which the correct one is.
'Shia', in the Arabic language means 'follower'. The Holy Quran says:
"And most surely Ibrahim was one of His Shia" (followed His way),
Meaning that Ibrahim (as) was one of the followers of prophet Noah. However, in the Muslim terminology 'Shia' is used for a group who believe that the prophet (saw) before his death, appointed the successor and a caliph for the Muslims. He did so in many occasions among which one of them happened to be on the eighteenth of Zilhajj which is known as the day of 'Ghadeer'. This was a gathering consisting of thousands of people where the prophet himself specified Imam Ali appointing him as the political, religious and judicial authority.
After the demise of the honorable prophet, the Muhajir and Ansar divided into two groups:
A group believing that God's messenger attended to the matter of appointing a caliph making Ali to be his successor, who was the first believer after him.
This group constituted from a group of Muhajir and Ansar headed by the all the dignitaries of Bani-Hashim including a group of close companions such as Salman, Abu dhar, Miqdad, Khabab bin Arr among others. This group remained steadfast on the prophet's belief and were named as "Shia of Ali (as)." Of course, this title was given by the Holy prophet himself during his lifetime to the followers of the leader of the faithful. This was when he pointed to Ali Ibn Abi Talib and said:
"I swear by the one who possesses my soul that surely, he and his followers are the winners on the day of Judgment."
Therefore, the Shia are a group of Muslims during the early period of Islam, who because of their belief in the appointment (by a specific text) of the position of guardianship and leadership, were known by this name, and this very group is still on the line of executorships and following the prophet's household.
Thus, the position of Shia is determined in this way. With the above explanation, the baselessness of the speech of some of the ignorant or among the private motives of forgery based on the formation of Shia creed to have come in the later Islamic era, becomes evident of it's falsification. For further knowledge of the Shia's history, refer to the books of 'Asl-Al-Shia wa Usuluha', 'Al-Murajia'at' and 'Aayan Al-Shia.'
Another group believed that the position of caliphate is an elected one; therefore, swore allegiance to Abu bakr. This group were later known as 'Ahl sunnah' or 'Sunnis'. Thus, this finally resulted in the difference between two Islamic sects. However these two sects seem to have many common features between them. The difference in opinion arose regarding the matter of caliphate, and the fact that who is to succeed the Holy prophet. The initial source of conflict was however due to the two very groups of Ansar and Muhajir.
Jalal Al-Deen Al-Seuti, Dur Al-Manthur, vol.6, in interpretation of the seventh verse of sura Bayyinah (as for) those who believe and do good, surely they are the best of men.)
As we previously mentioned, the Shia have firm belief that the position of caliphate is appointed by God (according to a text) and that Imamate after the honored prophet is similar to prophet hood in some aspects; the guardian has to be appointed by God as was the appointing of the prophets.
The history of the prophet's life certifies this principle; because he had appointed Ali (as) as his successor in several occasions of which we shall mention three instances:
During the early period of the prophet hood of the prophet:
When the Prophet was commanded as the mission from God to call his relatives inorder to create unity according to the verse "and warn your nearest relations."
So he addressed the gathering saying that whosoever supported him in this way, as dictated by Allah, will become the guardian, vizier, and successor to him. His holiness said the following words:
"Who is ready amongst you to support me in this matter so that he be my brother, vizier, guardian and successor?"
The only one to give a positive response to this heavenly call was Ali bin Abi Talib (p). It was then that the prophet turned to his relatives and said:
"He (Ali) is my brother, guardian and successor (caliph) among you, so listen to him and obey him."
In the battle of 'Tabuk': The prophet (p) said to Ali (p):
"Aren't you pleased to be considered by me as Aaroon (was) for Moses, except that after me there is no prophet."
That is, Aaroon was the immediate successor of Moses, you too are my successor in the same manner.
In the tenth year of Hijrat:
God's messenger (p), when returning from Hajjat-ul-wida (last pilgrimage of the prophet), stopped in an area known as 'Ghadeer Khum' and introduced Ali (p) to a unanimous gathering as the guardian of the Muslims and believers.
"Whosoever (until now) I was his guardian, (from now on) Ali is his guardian."
The point worth mentioning and of paramount importance is that the prophet (p) at the beginning of his speech said:
"Am I not more superior to you than yourselves?"
All the Muslims stood up in approval to his statement. Therefore, it should be clearly noted that what the prophet (p) meant by the term 'Mawla'in his tradition is the position of superiority over them; this result can be used as a deduction that his holiness approved for Ali (p) the same position of superiority that he possessed.
The narration of Ghadeer is one of the most widely transmitted Islamic narrations which in addition to the Shia scholars, about a number of three hundred and sixty Sunni scholars have also narrated it; it's narration reaches up to a hundred and ten companions, twenty six of the great scholars have also written an independent book regarding its chain of transmitters.
Abu-Jaffer Tabari, the renowned Muslim historian, has collected the chains of transmitters of this tradition in two thick volumes. For more information, refer to the book of 'Al-Ghadeer'
1. Shura: 214.
Tarikh Al-Tabari vol.2 p. 62-63; Al-Tarikh Al-Kamil, vol.2 p. 40-41,
2. Masnad Ahmad vol.1 p. 111, and Shar e Nahjul Balagha (Ibn Abi Al-Hadid) vol. 13 p. 210-212
3. Seerat Ibn Hisham vol.2 p.520 and 'Al-Sawa-eq Al- mohrigha (Ibn Hajar) 2nd print, Egypt section 9, chapt. 2, p. 121.
For example, 'Al-sawa-eq Al-mohregha' (Ibn Hajar) 2nd print, Egypt, section 9, p. 122.
The honorable prophet during his lifetime, had already declared that after him, twelve noble persons will reach leadership and all of them will be from the Quraish, and that Islam's dignity and honor will be achieved during their time.
Jabir bin Samarah said:
"I heard the messenger of Allah (p) saying, Islam will continue to flourish until the time of twelve caliphs, then said something that I didn't hear, so I asked my father as to what he had continued to say, to which he replied,
"All are from Quraish."
In the history of Islam, the caliph is he who is the protector of Islam's dignity and can be no one other than the twelve Imams whom the Shia believe in, because the twelve caliphs whom the prophet introduced were immediately after his holiness, known as his successors and caliphs.
Now let us find out who exactly who these twelve caliphs are?
If we bypass the four caliphs whom the Sunni's refer to as 'Al-Khulfa Al-Rashideen', then does it mean that the rest of the caliphs did not bring any dignity? The life history of the Umayyid's and abbasides, and the caliphs who were present as that time, attest to this. However, the Shias twelve Imams who were all the manifestation of piety during their lifetime, were preservers of the tradition of the messenger of God. The companions, their disciples, the later generations and the historians attested to their knowledge and authority, and these revered twelve Imams are known to be the following:
Ali Ibn Abi Talib
Hasan bin Ali (Al- Mujtaba)
Hussein bin Ali.
Ali ibn Al- Hussein (Zainul-Abideen)
Muhammed bin Ali (Al-Baqir). k
Ja'afer bin Muhammed (Al-Sadiq)
Musa bin Ja'afer (Al-Kazim)
Ali ibn Musa (Al-Reza).
Muhammed bin Ali (Al-Taqi).
Ali ibn Muhammed (Al-Naqi).
Hassan bin Ali (Al-Askari).
Imam Mehdi (Al-Qaem).
Widely transmitted narrations are recorded about him as being the awaited Mehdi whose descendence is fromour honorable prophet, by many Muslim narrators.
For further acquaintance with the life of these great leaders whose names were mentioned by God's messenger (p), refer to the following books:
Tadhkira Al-Khawas (Al-Ummah)
Kaifiyyat Al- Athar.
Aayan Al-Shia (written by seyyid Muhsin Al-Ameen Al-Amili) which is more comprehensive than the above mentioned books Sahih Muslim, vol.6 p.2 print: Egypt.
We follow it with mentioning blessings on his household and recite,
"Allahumma swale Ala Muhammed wa Ale Muhammed."
It is quite certain that the prophet (p) himself taught the Muslims the way of sending benedictions upon him. When the holy verse,
"Surely Allah and His angles bless the prophet, O you who believe, call for divine blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation."
Was revealed, the Muslims asked the prophet as to how they can do so, to which the Prophet replied,
"Don't make the incomplete benediction,"
They asked again,
"How can we do that?"
He then replied by mentioning,
"Allahumma swale Ala Muhammed wa Ale Muhammed."
The position of the household of the prophet is so high and lofty that Shafe'e says in his well-known poem:
O family of the prophet, Your love is an obligation from God, that was revealed in the Quran.
Of your lofty position, it is enough that whosoever didn't send benedictions upon you, his prayer is not accepted.
Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhriqa. (Ibn Hajar) 2nd print: 'Maqtabatel Qahera', Egypt, chap. 11 sect. 1, p.146; and repeated in 'Al-Dur Al-Manthoor', vol.5, interpretation of (Ahzab: 56) narrating from narrators and authors of 'Sahahs' and 'Masnads' such as Abdul-Razaq Ibn Abi-Shaibah, Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Abi-Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nessai, Ibn Majah and Ibn- Mardawaih from Kaab Ibn Ajrah from the honorable Prophet (p).
Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhriqah, sect.11 p.148, from 1st chapter, book of Ethaf (Shabrawee), p.29 and 'Mashreq Al-Anwar' (Hamzawee Maliki) p. 88, Al-Mawahib (Zarqani) and Al-esaaf (sabban) p. 119.
There are several proofs that state the infallibility of the Shia Imams; and we will only mention one of them:
According to the Sunni and Shia scholars, the prophet (p), in the last days of his life said,
"I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, God's book and my household and these two will never be separated from each other till they join me at the pool (k)."
The point noteworthy here is:
Quran is undoubtedly secure from any deviation and error. It is virtually impossible for the divine revelation to be tinted by mistakes while it's reveler is the Glorious Lord Himself, and its revelation is sent through the angel Gabriel and the receiver being the honorable Prophet (p)! Due the fact that the infallibility of the three is crystal clear, and Muslims all over the world believe the infallibility of the Holy Prophet and the fact that he is immune from any mistake whatsoever, in form of receiving, protecting it and propagating its message. Therefore, if it is clear that God's book has such pure and firm infallibility, the prophet's household is also immune from any mistake or error.
This is so because in this narration, the prophet's household were mentioned as the those who are accompanying the Holy Quran in guiding and leading the nation, and due to this 'accompanying', both tend to have the same infallibility.
In other words, it doesn't make sense to consider fallible individuals as being the ones accompanying the holy Quran that is in the purest form.
The most evident witness to the infallibility of the imams (p) is mentioned by the prophet (p) himself that:
"They will not separate in (guidance and leadership) till they join me at the pool (of Kawthar)."
If it was so that the prophet's household are not immune from mistakes and in some instances might have been liable to make them, then they have already separated from the Quran which is free from all mistakes, and they have gone astray, whilst the holy prophet himself strongly emphasized to their infallibility, by negating them from any mistake whatsoever.
Of course, what the holy prophet meant by his household were not all his relatives, because all of them were not free from mistakes. It is only a special group of his family (etrat) who possessed this honor, and this position applies to only a few of them. These are the ahl-bait who all along history, were the illuminators of the path of the nation, the protectors of the prophet's tradition and the guardians of the Islamic laws 'Sharia'.
Mustadrak Al-Hakim, 3rd volume, p.148. Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhregha, sect. 11, chapt.1, p. 149. Similar to this context in 'Kanz Al-Amal', 1st volume, section of Al-etesam bil Kitab wal sunnah' p.44 and in Masnad Ahmad 5th volume, p. 182-189 among others.
Whilst answering this question, it is befitting to consider the following points:
All Shia scholars in their different books of jurisprudence, either argue, or some go on to emphasize that testifying the guardianship of Ali (p) is not part of the Adhan (call of prayer) or Eqamah, and nobody has the right to include it in part of these two.
According to the Holy Quran, Ali (p) is mentioned as one of God's chosen friends.
And likewise in the same verse, it declares his guardianship to the believers where it says:
"Only Allah is your wali and his apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate whilst they bow (performing Ruku).
Both narrations from Sahih and Masaneed of the Sunnis have also mentioned that the holy verse was revealed regarding Ali (p).
Hassan bin Thabit said the following poem:
You are the one who helped the poor whilst bowing, may all the souls be ransomed for you, O best of the bowers.
Therefore God revealed the best guardianship to you and explained it in the clearly defined religious laws.
The honorable prophet said:
"Surely deeds are according to the intentions."
i.e, the criteria and acceptance of any deed is related to one's intention.
Thus, it is due to this, that the guardianship of Ali (p) is one of the fundamentals of which the Quran has also clearly testified, however the previous verse of the Holy Quran does not state it to be part of the Adhan although there is no prohibition to mention it, and is regarded in the same manner as bearing witness to the honorable prophet (p) and his messenger ship.
What is significant to mention here is the fact that if at all, adding a sentence in the Adhan is not recommended, and the Shia are criticized for this matter, then how can the following instances be justified:
One of the principles to which all the heavenly religious adhere to, is agreeing on the matter concerning a "Universal reformer", who will appear at the end of the time. Not only will He reform the Islamic world, but also the Jews and Christians will eagerly await this universal reformer of justice.
When referring to both the old and new testaments, the reality of this matter is clarified.
At this juncture, the honorable prophet (p) in one of his traditions that was narrated by the Islamic narrators, stated:
"When nothing remains of life except for one day, God will send a man from my household who will fill the earth with justice after it having being filled with oppression."
Therefore, just as we had said earlier, people of the heavenly religions fully agree on the belief of such a reformer, and in addition to this, there are also many traditions mentioned in the authentic books of the Sunnis. Moreover, the narrators and Islamic researchers of both the sects (Sunni and Shia) have written many books regarding the awaited Mahdi.
These traditions specify his characteristics tracing right down to his descendents, reaching directly to being the son of Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as), the eleventh leader of the Shias. According to these narrations also, our awaited Imam has the same name as the honorable prophet (p), and he is the twelfth leader and the grandson of Hussein bin Ali bin Abi-Talib (p).
The awaited Mahdi was born by the will of the divine commandment in the year 255 of Hijrat (from the time the prophet migrated to Madina) and even today, he is still living, of course without being identified, though we perceive not.
A point noteworthy mentioning here, is that such a long life is not in disagreement according to science and general knowledge or even with logic and revelation. According to the current research, the world of knowledge is trying to increase the natural life-span of human beings and firmly believe that humans do have the potential to live a longer life than the expected one. The possibility of which would be increased if some of the plagues and normal ailmare strictly prevented. History has recorded the names of some of the individuals who have even naturally had a lengthy life span.
The Holy Quran states the following regarding Prophet Noah:
"And certainly we sent Nuh to his people, so he remained amongst them a thousand years save fifty ..."
As for Jonah, the Quran states the following about him:
"He would certainly have tarried in its belly to the day when they are raised."
Furthermore, both prophet Khizr as well as Jesus (peace be on them) happen to be alive even today, and to which all the Muslims agree as mentioned in the holy book of Allah.
Old Testament: Psalms of David, chapt. 96,97 and the book of prophet Daniel, chapt. 12.
New Testament: Mathew chapt. 24, Mark, chapt. 13, Luke chapt.21 (quoted from 'An awaited whom the world is still awaiting')
Sahih Abi-Dawud, printed in Egypt, Al-Taziyyah printing house, vol.2 p. 207; Yanabi Al-mawadda, p.432; and Noor Al-absar, chapt. 2 p. 154.
Other books such as Al-Bayan fi Akhabar Sahib Al-zaman, written by Muhammed bin Yusuf bin Al-Kanji Al-Shafe'e, and the book of Al-Burhan fi Alamate Mahdi Aakhir Al-zaman, written by Ali bin Hasim Al-deen known as Al-muttaqi Al-hindi and the book of Al-Mahdi was Al-Mahdawiyah written by Ahmad Amin from Egypt.
As for the Shia scholars, they have written many such books which to enumerate is not an easy task, such as: Al-Malahim wal Fitan, ...
Yanabi Al-mawaddah, chapt.76, Al-Manaqib narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari.
Sahih Tirmidhi, printed in Delhi, year:1342, vol.2 p.26; and Masnad Ahmad, printed in Egypt, year: 1313 vol.1 p. 376.
Yanabi Al-Muwaddah, p.443
Yanabi Al-Muwaddah, p.432
(Saffat : 144)
The recognition of truth and falsehood is not based on the fewness or greatness of its followers. In today's world, unfortunately the Muslims happen to be only a fifth or one sixth compared to the non-Muslims. Most of the inhabitants of the far-east are idol-worshippers, cattle-worshipers and others who deny the true faith with their belief being attached to some baseless religion or a belief of some weird kind that we don't even know of and which only happens to be unassuming!
China, which consists of a population over one million, is part of the atheist communist community, and most of the people in India (consisting a population close to a million) are cattle and idol-worshippers.
On the other hand, being the majority is not a sign uses to be counted as the true religion. The Holy Quran often reproaches the majority and praises some of the minorities. Let us refer to some of the examples related to this subject:
..., and thou shalt not find most of them thankful."
"..., its guardians are only those who guard (against evil), but most of them do not know."
"..., and very few of my servants are grateful."
After looking at all these examples, it becomes clear that a practical human being never ought to fear the number of followers, even though they be few, or even become haughty if it was the other way round. This calls for one to use his intellect when deciding between wrong and right, and derive the benefit from its light.
A man came to the commander of the faithful and said:
"How can it be that the people who were not on your side in the battle of the camel, who happen to be constituted among the majority, be wrong?"
Imam Ali (p) replied:
"Truth and deception is not known by the number of followers; Get enlightened so that you can know who are the truthful ones and likewise, be aware of falsehood so that you can easily catch hold of the liars."
It is necessary for a Muslim to analyze this matter in a logical and scientific manner by applying the verse that follows,
"And follow not that of which you have no knowledge of"
This serves a torchlight to pave their way.
Furthermore, even though the Shia population is lesser than the Sunnis, an exact census proves that one fourth of the Muslims in the world happen to be Shia, living in Muslim inhabited countries;
Along the annals of history, there have been scholars and famous writers and authors counted amongst the Shias.
It is worthy to mention that the founders of Islamic sciences mostly happened to be Shias, such as: Abu Al-Aswad Al- doali who was the founder of the knowledge of 'Nahw' (Arabic grammar), Khalil bin Ahmad, the founder of 'Orud' (prosody), Ma'ath bin Muslim bi Abi Sarah Al-Kufi who was the founder of the knowledge of 'Sarf' (morphology) and Abu Abdullah Muhammed bin Orman Katib Khurasani (Marzbani) one of the pioneers in the science of 'Balaghat' (rhetoric's).
For further information of the vast writings of the different Shia scholars whose enumeration is almost impossible, one can refer to the book of 'Al-Thareekh Al-Tasaneef Al-Shia', the book of 'Aayan Al-Shia', and for acquaintance of the great Shia scholars and their biographies, as well as acquisition of information about the Shia history, one can refer to the 'Tareekh Al-Shia'
(Anfal : 34)
(Saba : 13)
(Isra : 36)
For more details refer to 'Aayan Al-Shia', vol.1, subject 12, p.194
If you desire further details, one can refer to the book of 'Ta'sees Al-Shia' written by Sayyid Hassan Sadr.
'Al-Rajah' in the Arabic language means 'return' and referring it technically, it means: 'return of a group of people after death and before resurrection.' This is known to take place concurrently with the appraisal of the awaited Mahdi (p). This is one of the realities with no disagreement regarding reason or revelation.
According to the Islamic point of view, and other divine religions, the essence of a human being is constituted by his incorporeal soul which is also expressed as 'self', and this remains intact even after the death of his body, continuing it's eternal life.
The Almighty Lord, who is the absolute omnipotent with no impediment limiting His ability, mentions in His divine book concerning the reality to this matter.
With this brief introduction, it is quite clear that 'Rajah' is possible a matter from the logical point of view; because when considering it, it becomes clear that the return of this group of people is much easier than their creation in the first place.
Thus the Lord who created them at the beginning, is undoubtedly able to bring them back to life again.
According to the revelation, examples of 'Rajah' can be clearly observed in the previous nations:
As the Holy Quran says:
"And when you said: O Musa, we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you whilst you turned your backs over them. Then we raised you up after your death that you might give thanks."
And in yet another instance, regarding prophet Jesus (p) states:
..., and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission"
The Holy Quran not only approves the possibility of 'Rajaah', but also confirms to the mass return of all the humans after their death. The Holy Quran in the following two verses points to the return of a group of people after death and before resurrection:
"And when the word shall come to pass against them, We shall bring forth to them a creature from the earth that shall warn them and show them of their disbelief, because people did not believe in our communications. And on that day when we will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected our communications, thereafter they shall be formed into groups."
In order to prepare a back-ground of reasoning for these two verses regarding the matter of 'Rajaah' before resurrection, let us consider the following points:
The commentaters of the Holy Quran believe that these two verses describe about the day of judgment, the first verse talks about one of the signs before resurrection. Jalal Al-deen Al-Soyuti, in the interpretation of 'Al-dor Al-manthoor', narratedfrom Ibn Abi Shaibah from Hudhaifah says that 'emergence of the reptile of earth' is one the incidents before the day of resurrection.
There is no doubt that on the day of resurrection, all the human beings will be mustered together, and not a single group will be left out from any nation. Quran, regarding the inclusiveness of the return of the human, says the following:
" this a day on which the people shall be gathered, and in another verse says: "And together the day on which we will cause the mountains to pass away and you will see the earth a leveled plain and we will gather them and leave not any one of them behind."
Therefore, on the day of resurrection, all the individuals in the earth will be brought back to life and this is not specific for only a special group.
The second verse declares the resurrection of a special group and a specific gathering of nations, not all humans. This verse states,
"And on the day when we will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected our communications."
This verse clearly testifies the fact that not all humans will be resurrected
According to these three brief introductions, it is quite clear that the resurrection of a special group of humans, who deny the divine signs, which can be understood from the second verse is an accident, which will occur before the set up of the day of judgment. Therefore, the resurrection of the humans on that day includes all the individuals and is not specified to one group.
With this explanation, the clarity of our points that are based on the return of a group of humans after death and before the day of resurrection is proven: and this is the phenomenon of 'Rajaah'.
Thus, the prophet's household, who are the companions of the Quran and the interpreters of the divine revelation, have given guidance in this field, and in order to be precise, we shall limit ourselves to point out two of their traditions:Imam Sadiq (p) says:
"There are three considerable days kept for God, a day for the up raiser (p), a day for the return, and a day for the judgment." And in another instance says:
"He is not considered one of us who doesn't believe in our return."
It is worth mentioning to two points here:
Philosophy of 'Rajaah'
By contemplating the aims of the return, one can observe two of the sublime goals to this phenomenon, one is demonstrating the real majesty, and greatness of Islam, and the disgrace of infidelity; the other is rewarding the faithful and good-doers, and retribution of the infidels and oppressors.
Apparent distinction between "Rajaah" and reincarnation.
It is necessary to mention that "Rajaah" according to the Shia, does not mean to imply to the belief in reincarnation, because the theory of reincarnation is based on denying the resurrection and considering the universe as having a continuous circulation, where each circle repeats the previous circle.
According to this theory, the soul of any human after death, will again return to this world and move into another body. So if the soul in the past was of the good doers, it will settle in the body where it shall have a blissful life, and if it was of the evildoers, it will move into the body where in the next stage it will have a difficult life. This return is considered his first resurrection! Whilst believers of 'Rajaah' follow the Islamic religion correctly by believing in the resurrection and judgment; on the other hand, consider the transfer of a separate soul from one body to another as being virtually impossible. They believe that only a group of people will return to this world before the day of judgment, and after attaining the wisdom and imbibing the interest concerned with this return, will once again come to the eternal world so that on the day of resurrection, they shall once again be resurrected along with the others; This is a state when not a single soul shall be separated form its original body and joined to another.
(Baqara : 55, 56.)
(Ale-Imran : 49)
Al-Dor Al-Manthor, vol.5 p. 177 in the interpretation of the verse 82 sure Naml.
(Hud : 103)
Al-Dor Al-Manthoor, vol.3 p. 349 has interpreted this day to being the Day of Judgment.
(Kahf : 47)
Sadr Al-Mutaliheen in the book of Asfar vol.9. sect. 8 chapt. 1, p. 3 regarding the annulling of reincarnation states: ".. if a departing soul becomes attached to the another body either during childhood or other than that, this necessitates that one of the being is in potency and the other in actuality and this is impossible due to the fact that the constitution between the two is a natural union, and a natural union in itself is not possible between two matters that is, one in actuality and the other in potency!"
Intercession is one of the fundamentals of Islam that is quite certain, to which all the Islamic sects accept with the aid of both Quranic verses and the traditions even though they might have a difference in their opinion regarding the result of intercession. The reality of intercession is that the human who is created with sublime qualities and bestowed with a special proximity and position before Allah, asks God for recompense of sins or the elevation of degree from the chosen servants of Allah.
The honorable prophet (p) said:
"I was graced with five things. One of which being graced with intercession, so I limited this for my nation."
Limitation of Intercession:
From the Quranic point of view, the absolute and the unconditional intercession is only effective if the interceder is permitted by God to intercede in the first place. The only group who have this privilege are those having spiritual proximity to God, and thus permitted to intercede others. The Holy Quran states in this regard:
"They shall not control intercession save he who has made a covenant with the beneficent God."
Yet in another verse, it says:
"On that day shall no intercession avail, except for him whom the Beneficent God allows and whose word He is pleased with."
The person that is worthy of receiving the intercession ought to have the merit to receive the divine grace through the interceder. i.e., his faith toward God and his spiritual bond toward the interceders creating a connection thereby. Therefore, the non-believers who don't have faith in Allah and among the sinners such as those who don't pray and commit other atrocities, like the murderers who lack the spiritual bond to their interceder, will definitely not be worthy of any intercession.
Quran, regarding those who don't pray and those who deny the existence of the day of resurrection states:
"So the intercession of the intercessors shall not avail them."
And regarding the oppressor, says:
", the unjust shall not have any compassionate friend nor any intercessor who should be obeyed."
Philosophy of Intercession:
Intercession as a way towards repentance, is a ray of hope for the one who in the midst of being misguided and disobedience, can get rid of their sins and spend the rest of their lives in God's obedience; because when the sinful human feels that within certain limited conditions, he can attain the interceder's intercession, will strive to observe this limit and not step further to commit sins.
Result of Intercession:
The Interpreters of Quran have difference in opinion regarding the result of intercession, be it forgiveness of sins or elevation of degree, however, when we regard the tradition of the Holy Prophet (p) the first point is more than obvious:
"My intercession on the day of judgment is even for those who commit great sins in my 'Ummah' (nation)"
Masnad ahmad, vol.1 p.301, sahih Bukhari, vol.1 p.91 print in Egypt.
Sunnan Ibn Majah, vol.2 p.583, sunnan Abi-Dawud, vol.2, p.537; Sunnan Al-Tirmidhi, vol.4 p.45.
In clarifying this question, it is said that intercession is the exclusive right of God, as the HQuran mentions in this regard:
"Say, With Allah's is the intercession altogether."
Therefore, asking intercession from other than God, is asking God's absolute right from his slave, and such a request in reality, is worshipping other than God and is in disagreement with monotheism in worship.
What is meant by 'polytheism' here, is not attributing partners to God in essence or creation, however it is polytheism in prudence and guardianship.
It is clear that explaining this matter needs accurate interpretation of worship and we all know that not any kind of submission or request from a slave is to be considered as worship. According to the clear statement of the Holy Quran, the angles prostrated to Adam:
"So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down making obeisance to him. And the angles did obeisance, all of them."
Moreover, the sons of prophet Jacob (p), and even he himself, prostrated toward Joseph (p):
"And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration before him ..."
If such a submission was regarded as a form of worship to Prophet Jacob (p), the infallible, he wouldn't perform such an action and would not be pleased with his son's act of prostration, thus, this is only done because of considering prostration as being the highest sign of submission.
Therefore, we should separate the concept of submission or requesting from others, from the actual meaning of worship. The reality of worship is that the human considers any being as God and thereby performing worship in submission toward him; or considers a being as God's creature assigning Godly works to him in the manner that the management of the universe and the forgiveness of sins is allocated to him.
However, if our submission towards a certain person, would be such that we neither tend to consider him as God nor thinking that Godly works were assigned to him, such a submission is none other than merely respecting him; just as the angle's respect before Adam (p) and Jacob's sons respect towards Joseph (p).
When we regard the question carefully, it should also be noted that when thinking about the intercession entrusted only to the true interceders, who help intercede through the forgiveness of sins, such a belief can result in polytheism; because this is infact requisiting the work of God to other than Him. However, if the thought takes a turn, such that a group of God's pure slaves, without them being the actual possessors of the position of intercession, and in a specified framework, are merely granted the permission to cause intercession for the sinners, their belief in the unity of God remains intact.
We should not be heedless of the fact that the most important condition of all is God's permission and pleasure lying in the intercession. Thus it becomes clear that request for the intercession from a pious servant of God is not accompanied with regarding him to be God, nor necessitating the assignment of divine affairs to him, rather, the requesting of a favor from someone whose work is assigned by God to offer his intercession.
During the lifetime of the Prophet (p), we see that sinners would often come requesting for repentance to which the prophet never accused them of polytheism.
It is narrated in 'Sunnan Ibn-Majah' that the honorable Prophet said:
"Are you aware of the choice that the Lord has bestowed me tonight with?"
"Allah and His messenger possess the greatest knowledge."
"He gave me to choose between the half of my nation to enter paradise or 'intercession' and I chose the latter."
"O messenger of Allah, pray to the lord to make us of those people (the people who are worth receiving the intercession)."
"Intercession is for every Muslim."
In the above-mentioned tradition, the companions of the Prophet undoubtedly requested intercession from him; by saying:
'Pray to Allah."
The Holy Quran also mentions:
"And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked for forgiveness from Allah and His apostle who in turn had asked forgiveness to Allah for them, they would have found Allah to be oft-returning, Merciful."
In yet another instance, Quran speaks of the sons of Jacob (p) saying:
"They said: O our father, We ask for forgiveness for the faults we have committed, surely we were the sinners."
To which Jacob (p) promised them forgiveness and never accused them of polytheism. He said:
"I shall ask the forgiveness for you from my Lord; surely He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful."
(Sa'd : 72-73)
Sunnan Ibn Majah, vol.2 chapt, Dhikr Al-Shafa'ah, p.586
(Yusuf: 97) (Yusuf: 98)
From the intellectual point of view, and also that of revelation, all the human beings, and all the creatures for that matter that exist in the universe, are in need of God for their continuation of existence just as they were in need of Him for them coming into existence.
The Holy Quran, in this regard, says:
"O mankind, you are from those who stand in need of Allah, and Allah is He who is the self-sufficient, the praised one."
In another instance, the Holy Quran mentions the fact that all the victories are exclusive to the Lord of universe saying that:
".., and victory is only from Allah, the mighty, the wise."
According to the indisputable principle of Islam, we, as Muslims, recite in each of our daily prayers the following verse of the Holy Quran:
"Thee alone we worship and Thee alone we beseech for help."
Therefore, we shall clarify to the answer by saying that:
Seeking help from other than God can be imagined in two ways:
1. The first one being that, we seek help from an individual whom we consider as being independent and needless towards God.
There is no doubt that such help-seeking would be absolute polytheism to which the Holy Quran highly disregards, expressing it to be as unsubstantiated:
"Say, who is it that can withhold you from Allah if he intends evil for you rather than showing mercy towards you? And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any guardian or colleague."
The second way being that, when seeking help from another entity, we ought to keep in mind the fact that he is a creature of the Lord who is constant need of Him for his existence, and is not independent of himself. It is a gift bestowed to him by the Lord to intercede others and solve their problems.
According to this way of thinking, the person whom we seek help from is only an intermediate between himself and God, whom the glorious Lord has appointed to fulfill his desires. This way of seeking help is in reality only attained through God, because it is He who gave existence to these means and causes in the first place and granted power to them for the performance of the needs of others.
It is due to the presence of such intermediaries that the life of human is eased when he sought help through them or else he would he would face constant turmoil in life. At this point, when we observe them with this view, that is, them being the elements of achievements of God's help, and that both their existence and affectivity is from God, then this seeking of assistance does not contradict with monotheism and unification.
If a monotheist and God-knowing farmer receives help from elements such as earth, water, air and sunlight for the growth of his plants, he is in reality seeking help from none other than God, because it is solely He, who gives the elements the means, power and ability to grow.
It thus becomes clear that the seeking of help is in complete agreement with the spirit of unification and monotheism. Furthermore, the Holy Quran commands us to seek help from phenomenon (such as perseverance and prayers), where it clearly says:
"And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard task except for the humble ones."
It is therefore obvious that patience and persistence are works and we are demanded to seek help from them; Meanwhile, such help-seeking is not in disagreement with restricting aid to God in the verse,
". And thee do we beseech help."
(Ale-Imran : 126)
Actually, what motivates such a question is the appearance of some of the Quranic verses which apparently order us to prevent calling other than God:
"And that the mosque's are Allah's, therefore call not upon anyone with Allah."
"And do not call besides Allah on that which can neither benefit you nor harm you."
By using the above-mentioned verses, they are some who have considered the calling of the pious friends of Allah and others after their death, as worshipping them and therefore, polytheism.
In an effort to clarify the answer to this question, it is appropriate to explain the meaning of the Phrases 'supplication' and 'worship'.
There is no doubt to the fact that the word, 'dua supplication' means calling and the phrase, 'IBadaat worship' meaning devotion and reverence to God, and these two phrases can never be synonyms, ie, we cannot say that every call and request is worship and viceverca due to the fact that:
Firstly, in the Holy Quran the word, 'Calling' is used in instances which can certainly not mean 'worship', such as:
"He said, 'O my Lord! Surely I have called my people by night and by day!"
Considering this ayah, can we imply that p. Noah meant that he worshipped his people day and night?!
Thus, one cannot deduce that calling and worship are synonyms, because it would end up meaning that if somebody called help from the H. prophet (p) or a devout person of God, he has worshipped them since calling is more general than worshipping.
Secondly, what is meant by calling in all of these verses, is not just any calling, rather, a special call which can be accompanied with worship; because the aggregate of these verses talk about the idol-worshippers who worshipped their idols and accepted them as their small Gods.
Indisputably, the acquiescence of the idol-worshippers and their supplication and help-seeking before their idols, was because they attributed them the power of intercession and forgiveness, and also because of the fact they considered them to be self-sufficient in matters related to both the worlds.
Thus it is but obvious that in such conditions, any type of 'calling' and request of these beings, is worshipping them. The most evident witness of this calling, is because it is accompanied with the belief in their divinity and lordship, as in the following verse, it states clearly that:
"so their God's whom they called upon besides Allah did not avail them."
Therefore, the previously discussed verses are not relevant to our subject, which is the request of a slave from another without considering him as God or the Lord who has the full choice and possession in the affairs related to this world and the hereafter. However, he is considered as a beloved slave of Allah who was chosen by Him, and given the leadership and imamate and the position of messengership; and such are the persons who have been promised that their prayers for the servants of God shall be accepted.
The Holy Quran recounts as this stage that:
" and had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked for forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah to be oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful."
Thirdly, the previously mentioned verses are a clear evidence of what is meant by 'calling' i.e., not all kinds of requesting and seeking of needs. Calling can be considered as worship as in the following verse, but it should be noted that immediately after mentioning the word, 'calling', the similar meaning is mentioned in the phrase, 'worship'
"And your Lord says: call upon me, I will answer you; surely, those who are too proud for my service shall soon enter hell abased."
At the beginning of this verse, the phrase, 'odoo'ni call upon me' and after that the phrase 'IBadaat-service' is used, which shows that which is meant by call is a special request and a seeking of assistance before a being believed to have divine attributes.
Of the three mentioned introductions, a result can be drawn out that the main goal of the Quran in these verses is preventing the supplication of the idol-worshippers who considered their idols as partners to God and possessors of intercession.
Therefore, any other kind of submission, humiliation, help seeking or the seeking of intercession is prohibited; because they believed them being their small Gods that undertook their Godly works. Furthermore, these idol-worshippers believe that God has assigned part of the works related to this world and the hereafter to them. Thus, what is actually meant by these verses that raise controversies is that, seeking help from a pure soul who, according to the supplicator, is a true slave of Allah who not only never disobeyed the commandments of the Lord, but is also beloved and dear to Him, can be regarded acceptable.
When the Quran says:
"And that the mosques are Allah's, therefore call not upon anyone with Allah."
It means the ignorant Arab pagans who worshipped their idols, angles, jinn and other cosmic bodies and supplicated to them. Thus, this and other verses similer to this verse are actually related to calling others besides God, or things accompanied to God. It is indubitable that the requesting before these beings and the attachment to these false beliefs is worshipping them in reality. The question arising here is that what relation do these verses have with those supplicating from a chosen servant of the Lord without allocating a divine position or Godhead in his mind, but rather, only making him to be the interceder because he happens to be the beloved and competent slave of Allah.
One may also imagine that supplicating to these chosen servants of Allah is only permissible during their lifetimes and after their death, it becomes null and void rendering to polytheism.
In response to this, we say:
Firstly, we only seek aid from the purified spirits of the pious slaves of God such as the Prophets and Imams, who according to the Quranic verses, are still alive receiving their sustenance! They continue to live in 'Barzakh' (the world between this life and the hereafter). We usually make such requests for their intercession for us besides their sacred shrines, so as to attain a connection with their sanctified spirits. These shrines are also considered places for the speedy acceptance of prayers.
Secondly: Their life and death cannot be the criterion for polytheism or unification, whereas our discussion is based on the criteria of polytheism and monotheism rather than the benefit and uselessness of these prayers, ofcource this calls for a lengthy discussion that should be talked about a its proper place.
The Arabic word 'Badaa' means "appearance and disclosure"; and in the terminology of the Shia scholars, it is used for change in the natural course of the destiny of a human being due to his good behavior. The subject of "Badaa" represents one of the sublime teachings of the sh'iah school of thought, whose origin stems from the logic of revelation and intellectual research.
From the Quranic point of view, the human being is not always helpless vis--vis his own destiny; rather, by returning to the path of Truth and practicing good moral behavior, he can change the end of the course of his life.
That is why the Holy Quran expresses this truth in the form of an all-inclusive and abiding principle, as follows:
It is clearly known among the Shia scholars that no alteration has affected the Holy Quran; and the Quran that is in our hands today, is that same divine book revealed to the Holy Prophet (p), and no addition or subtraction whatsoever has taken place in the order of its verses. In order to clarify this, we shall point to a few of the clear evidences on the matter:
The Lord of the worlds has guaranteed the protection of the Muslim's heavenly book by stating:
"Surely we have revealed the reminder unto you and We will most surely be its guardian."
It thus becomes quite evident that the Shia around the world pay special respect to this holy verse, and firmly believe in the message of protecting God's book, for it is the epitome of their thoughts and behavior among any other thing in their lives.
The great leader of the Shia: Ali (p), who was always in the company of the honorable Prophet (p) and of those who wrote down the revelation that had been sent down, had in various occasions invited the people towards this unaltered text of Allah. Some of his sayings are as follows:
"Know that this Quran is an admonisher which never deceives, and is a guide that never deviates from the truth."
"Allah Glory be to Him- never admonished the people with anything like He did with the Holy Quran, it is the firm rope (bond) of God and the clear means."
"Then we revealed to him the book which is a light that never subsides, a lamp which is never put off, a path which never misleads those who tread it, and the criterion for distinguishing truth from falsehood, in which the evidence that lies in it is never abated."
From the eminent speech of this great Shia leader, it is clearly evident that the Holy Quran is like a bright lamp which illuminates the way for its followers; it will remain intact, and without any alteration that could ever cause its light to be extinguished, or even prevent the human's deviation to get hold of their devilish ways in an effort to alter it.
The Shia scholars all agree that the honorable prophet (p) has said:
"I am leaving amongst you two heavy and valuable things, one is the book of Allah (Quran) and the other is my household, as long as you hold fast to these two, you will never be misguided."
This tradition is one of the widely transmitted traditions by both the Sunni and the Shia scholars. God's book (the Quran) will never encounter any change because if the Quran were to be distorted, holding fast to it will neither be a means for guidance, nor will remove misguidance, and this is in total disagreement with this widely transmitted narration.
In the narration of the Shia Imams, to which our scholars and Jurisprudents transmitted- this reality is stated that Quran is the criterion for distinguishing the truth from falsehood, and causes the separation of the right from wrong, such that if any transmitted speech and even narration has to be compared with the Quran, if it is in agreement with it's verses, then only will it be correct, or else it is rendered as false and rejected.
There are many narrations in this regard quoted in the Shia books of jurisprudence and narrations, that we shall point to one of them:
Imam Sadiq (as) said;
"Any speech that disagrees with the Holy Quran is regarded worthless."
It becomes clearly evident from these traditions that alteration and change cannot get in the way of the Quran, therefore, this holy book will everlastingly remain the criterion for distinguishing truth from falsehood.
The great Shia scholars who have always been the pioneers of the Islamic and Shia culture, admit to this reality, that the Holy Quran will never be altered. Although enumerating all of them is a difficult task, however as examples, we shall point to some of them:
Abu-Jaffer Muhammed bin Ali bin Hussein Babawaih Qummi, known as 'Sadooq' (died in 381 hijra) said:
"Our belief regarding the Quranis that it is God's speech and revelation. A book that in not tinted with falsehood and incorrectness, revealed by the All Wise and All-Knowing Lord, who is the revealer and sole protector of it."
Seyyid Murtaza Ali bin Hussein Musawi Alawi, known as 'Alam al-Huda' (died 436 Hijra) had said:
"A group of the companions of the Prophet (p) such as Abdulla bin Masood, Ubay bin Ka'ab among others, read the Holy Quran from the beginning to the end several times in front of the Holy Prophet. This proves to be a clear witness to the fact that Quran was accumulated, arranged and compiled in its intact form without any decrease or dispersion.
Abu-Jaffer Muhammed bin hasan Toosi known as 'Sheikh Al-Taefah' (died 460 Hijra) said:
"As for the matter of the increase or reduction in the Holy Quran, it is a subject that is quite obvious and raises no objections before all the Muslims, who agree to the fact concerning the addition or subtraction of the Quran, and the apparent belief they have is that the Holy Quran can never be altered. Our belief clearly suggests that there can never be any additions to the Holy Quran and this fact was also approved by Seyyid Murtaza, and all the traditions clearly approve of this reality when considering their apparent meaning. There are some who have raised controversies, pointing out to certain traditions relating to the obliteration of particular verses and others transferred from their original positions; these traditions happen to be transmitted by both Sunni and Shia; however, such narrations are merely single chain -of- transmitter traditions (Al-Khabar Al-Wahid) which we ought not to pay any regard to, and better still, turn away from them altogether by simply disregarding their authenticity.
Abu Ali Tabarsi, writer of 'Majma Al-Bayan' (interpretation of the Holy Quran) has said:
"The thought regarding any addition made to the Holy Quran, is but baseless to which all the Islamic nations fully agree upon. As for the subtraction in some of its verses, only a few persons, and a group of 'Hashaweyah' of Ahl-Sunna have mentioned some traditions which are incorrect, and we all believe in its disagreement."
Ali Ibn Tawoos Hilli known as 'Seyyid Tawoos' (died 664 hijra) said: "The opinion of the Shia's is that there can be no alteration whatsoever in the Holy Quran."
Shaikh Zainul-Deen Amil (died 877 Hijra) in the commentary of the verse:
"Surely we have revealed the reminder and We will most surely be its guardian,
i.e., we shall safeguard the text of this Holy book from any sort of change, addition or alteration."
Qazi Seyyid Nur Al-Deen Tustari, writer of the book 'Ehqaq Al-Haq' (died 1019 Hijra) said:
" The wrong accusation made to the imami Shia, that they believe in the alteration of the Holy Quran is only an insinuation, and not all the Shia accept to this, except a small group who are disregarded by the Shias themselves for their wrong belief."
Muhammed bin Hussein, known as 'Baha Al-deen Amili' (died 1030 Hijra) said:
" The most precise thing known, is that the great Quran is perfectly immune to any addition or deletion and these vibes that are wrongly spread about, that the name of the commander of the faithful (Ali (p) was omitted from the Holy Quran and therefore, not accepted by our scholars is utter nonesence! Therefore whosoever makes an attempt to undertake a thorough research in the History, and all the traditions and their chain of transmitters relating to their authenticity, together with all the narrations of thousands of the prophet's companions, will find out that the Quran is indeed permanent and never-changing; and all the verses of the Holy Quran were compiled during the time of the Holy Prophet."
Faiz Kashani writer of the book 'Al-Wafi' (died 1091 Hijri) explains after mentioning verses such as:
"Surely We have revealed the reminder and We will surely be its guardian."
This statement already proves to the fact that the Quran can never be altered. He says that:
"At this point (after reading this verse) how can alteration and change prevail over the Quran? Furthermore, the traditions of alteration are in itself opposing God's book, thus we must consider such traditions to be baseless!"
Sheikh Hur Amili (died 1104 Hijra) said:
"One who specializes in the field of research in History and traditions, will get clear insight to the fact that the Holy Quran, according to the widest transmission of narrations and by thousands of companions, is fixed and permanent; and it was compiled and arranged during the time of the Holy Prophet,"
The great investigator, 'Kashif Al-Gheta' in his well-known book of 'Kashf Al-Gheta' said:
"Indisputably. The Quran, due to the divine protection of God- remained safe of any decrease (and alteration), just as the Holy Quran itself states to this fact, and several of the great scholars during all the ages witness to that, thus the disagreement of only a few is not worth considering."
The leader of the Islamic revolution, His holiness Ayatullah Al-Uzama Imam Khumeini (may his spirit be sanctified) has also said something in this regard, which we shall mention as another one of our clear evidences:
"Whosoever works sincerely and wholeheartedly in an effort to make known that Quran will remain intact, studies it to improve himself, recites it thought provokingly such that he can get the true light of it's knowledge, and will witness to the baselessness of the thought of 'alteration of the Quran' and will find it impossible to believe the narrations mentioned in this regard are weak, and so we cannot use them for reasoning. These verses are unidentified and disclose signs forgery; or are narrations with their content being the esoteric interpretation of the Quran, or other sections. All of this would require a comprehensive book for it's detailed explanation, and if at all it was not for the fear of being carried away, we would have gone along to explain the History of the Holy Quran and all the instances that transpired alongside, and would clarify the Holy Quran is the same heavenly book that is now in our hands, unchanged and unaltered. The difference in opinion among the Quran reciters is something that has no relation to what was actually revealed by the honest archangel Gabriel to the pure soul of the honorable Prophet."
All the Muslims, whether Sunni or Shia agree that this divine Book is exactly the same Quran which was revealed to the Holy Prophet (p), and is safe from any kind of alteration, change, addition or subtraction.
Thus the baselessness to this false accusation put on the Shia can be determined; and if the narrations of the weak chain of transmitters is the cause of this accusation, then the transmission is not only restricted to a few individuals among the Shia, but also to a group of interpreters of Ahl sunnah who are also known to have transmitted these weak narrations that we shall point out a few examples:
Abu Abdallah Muhammed bin Ahmad Ansari Kurtubi in his commentary of the Holy Quran, narrates from Abu Bakr Ansari from Uba'y bin Ka'ab that the chapter of 'Ahzab' (seventy three verses), during the Holy Prophet's time was as big a sura as 'Baqara' (286 verses); and the verse of 'Rajm- stoning to death' also existed in this sura. (There is no trace of such a verse in sura Ahzab presently)
Yet in the same book, it is also narrated from Ayesha' that:
"The sura of Ahzab had two hundred verses at the time of the Holy Prophet, after the writing of this book, I couldn't find more than what is present."
The Writer of the book, 'Al-Elan' narrates that the number of the chapters in the Quran of 'Uba'y' was one hundred and sixteen, because two other verses, namely 'Hafd' and 'Khal-a' existed in it."
Whilst it is an undoubted fact that the holy Quran has one
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