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Our Belief - Part IV

Our Belief - Part IV
(A Brief Description of Islam as the Shi'ites Believe)

By : Ayatullah al-Uzma Naser Makarem Shirazi


WE BELIEVE such suspicions arise by taking wrong information from our enemies, and what we explained above should be enough for sure. We of course deny not that there are incidents in which one should not hide his faith and opinion for any price, and dissemblance is prohibited there. If the principles, OF Islam or QURAN fall in danger, those involved should not hide their faith and have to declare their views although they lose their life for it. An instance of this is what Imam Hussain did against the OMMAYIDS when he in an unequal battle lost his own life and that of his companions all, so as to save Islam.


WE BELIEVE in performance of all the worships that are decreed by Islam, such as our five daily prayers for maintaining the relations between Man & God, Or the FASTING OF the month Ramazan which improves the faith and the piety. Performance of the rites of pilgrimage (HAJJ), once in the life for those who can afford it, is a must, and has to be done. Paying the TITHS and the ONE FIFTH is an essential order and must be observed. Although some partial and insignificant differences we do have with other Muslims in this field, yet it is of no importance, because the four main sects of the SUNNIES have the same difference among themselves.


If we perform our noon prayer simultaneously with the evening prayers, or we do the sunset prayer and the night prayers together and at once, we believe it to be with the permission of our prophet. In the famous book: SAHIH TERMAZI - VOL.1 - P.354 it is written that the prophet himself was doing the same without being in danger, fear or rain! He used to do that because he didn't want hardship for his followers. Now that our social life, particularly in the plants and factories have turned to be complex, if some one has bound himself to perform his prayers in proper time and separately, he may not be able to perform some of them at all. So to make use of the remissions will make one more steadfast in his prayer and worship.


WE BELIEVE that in our prayer the act of prostration should be reclining with face on the earth in humble adoration, or on things that grow out of the earth such as wood or leaf of trees, or stones. We don't admit of prostrations upon a carpet or such. The soil is preferred for that purpose, and therefore to make that easy, we take some clean soil, form it in a small circle mould, and keep it with us for our prostration, and this is only because it is pure clean soil of the earth and nothing else. Our reason for that is the prophet's word who said," The earth has been turned to a clean MASJID for me."( .- SAHIH BUKHARI _ VOL.1 _ P.91;SAHIH NASAEE _ PART _ TAYAMMOM;MUSNAD AHMAD _ VOL.1 _ P.301) We take MASJID here to mean prostration point, or place. One may say the Arabic word `MASJID' also means a temple wherein Muslim worship. True; but the adjective "clean," helps to take the second meaning of the word, i.e. Besides that; many other traditions we have received from our Imams, by which we understand that, here, the soil is meant and not the house of public religious worship.


WE BELIEVE that pilgrimages for visiting the tombs of the Apostles and Imams, as well as the scholars and the martyrs, is a definite religious precept which has to be observed, although not a must. In many books of the SONNI Scholars, same as those written by SHIITES, many a tradition is narrated from the prophet that he has recommended the precept or pilgrimage. To collect all such traditions will make a voluminous book. Throughout the history of Islam, our great scholars, and all groups of Muslims have done that with much care, and books are written about the adventures of their pilgrimages. It is evident that no one takes his visiting a tomb for worship, which belongs only to God. The purpose of visiting the tomb of a great man is to respect him and to pay regards, and meanwhile seeking their intercession. It is also narrated that even the prophet himself often went to visit the CEMETERY OF BAGHEEA and saluted the dead in their graves. Therefore no one should doubt the lawfulness of such pilgrimages in Islam.


WE BELIEVE that the mourning ceremonies, for the martyrs, especially the MARTYRS OF KARBALA will serve to maintain the monument of such dear ones, and keep us aware of their self sacrifices for the sake of God and Islam. In some occasions, particularly the first ten days of Moharram, the period in which Imam Hussain and his faithful companions were cruelly martyred, we perform the mourning ceremonies. We explain their aims, and express our deep regards for them and by that infuse new blood in our veins. In the year; H.61, Yazid a sinful man and a stranger with Islam, succeeded the throne of Islamic caliphate. When he asked Imam Hussain to take the oath of allegiance, Imam refused to swear fealty. Yazid insisted and Imam rejected and left Mecca for Iraq. In Karbala, Imam and his seventy two companions and household were surrounded by a great many troops of Yazid. Imam and his companions defended their attacks and fought their enemies boldly to their last breathe. All the men, (Imam Hussain and his companions) were martyred, and their women and children were taken captives. Soon after that the blood of Imam boiled and stirred strange excitements among his contemporary Muslims. Groups revolted in turn, aiming at vengeance for the blood shed. These frequent revolutions gave an end to the nasty life of the Omayid dynasty. All the revolting groups had but one slogan: "VENGEANCE FOR IMAM'S BLOODSHED." Today the rise and martyrdom of Imam Hussain is a pattern and a programme in our daily life to make us stand firmly against any oppression and cruelty. Some of our slogans that were taken from Imam Hussain's bloody History like:_ "FAR BE ABJECTIONS FROM US" or:_ "LIFE IS FAITH AND ENDEAVOUR" have been of immense use in our past and present, urging us not to undergo any unjustified demand or oppressions. To brief our word here, paying regards to the reminiscence of the great martyrs of KARBALA, and else, will infuse new blood of valiance, bravery and self sacrifice into our veins and will teach us how to live an honourable and proud life, and this is why we try to revive the reminiscence of our martyrs by renewing the mourning ceremonies every year better than the past. Strangers may not know what we do and what are we driving at, by doing that. They think it over as a mere historical incident that must have been forgotten and covered with the dust of age: but we do know its importance and effect in our past and present history. It is written in all the famous Islamic histories that:_ "after the battle of OHOD the prophet passed near a house from which the sounds of mourning and wailing for the martyrs were heard. The prophet said, "But no one mourns for HAMZIH." (THE MASTER OF MARTYRS)

SAAD _ IBN _ MAAZ who was a near companion of the prophet from the group of HELPERS, heard that and ordered their women to go and mourn and lament for HAMZIH the faithful uncle of the prophet who was mutilated in the battle field of OHUD. Evidently this lamentation was not some thing specialized to HAZRAT HAMZIH. It rather is a mean of infusing new blood into the veins of Muslims. Now it is ASHOORA, 10th MOHARRAM 1417 H.(1976) A great emotion and enthusiasm is seen throughout the SHIITE WORLD. Children, teenagers, young and adult, man and woman have all worn black suits and attended the mourning ceremonies of the MARTYRS OF KARBALA. They are so strangely EXCITED and have changed minds that if they be invited to fight the enemies of Islam, they all will take arm and rush to the battlefield and do not avoid any thing of self sacrifices. It is just as if the blood of those martyrs flow in their veins, and that Imam and his companions have been slain just now. They sing epic songs and poems full of slogans against colonization, and oppression and in favour of proud and exalted death over an abject life. We hold this incident as a great moral capital that we have to observe it and keep it safe.


WE BELIEVE that the temporary marriage is lawful; and in our religious jurisprudence, it is termed "MUTAH". From this motive marriage is of two kinds:_ The permanent one which has not a limited time: and the temporary marriage which is for a limited period, which the couple will agree on that. In many respects both of the wedlock's are the same. As for the dower; the freedom of the female spouse from any impediments; and rules and regulations for the children; both of the two marriages are similar. There are also some differences between the two wedlock such that the male spouse has not to pay the alimony, or that the couple does not inherit each other (of course their children do inherit their parents). However we have taken this order out of the HOLY QURAN :

".... All women other than those mentioned here are lawful for you provided you seek them in marriage with your wealth in a modest conduct (CHASTITY), and not by fornication. Give them their dower for the enjoyment you have had with them, as your duty, but it shall be of no blame on you to make any agreement among yourselves; and Allah is All knowing All wise."


Many of the great commentators have explained that the above verse aims at the TEMPORARY MARRIAGE. In TABARY'S COMMENTARY book it is written that this verse indicates the temporary marriage and that many of the prophets's companions have testified that. In many famous tradition books such as SAHIH BUKHARI, SAHIH MUSLIM and MUSNAD AHMAD, there are traditions about the temporary marriage declaring it a lawful religious act which used to be done in the life time of the prophet. There are also some narrations in these books that deny and reject it. Some scholars believe that during the life time of the prophet it wes done, but after the prophet it was forbidden by OMAR the second KHALIFA. In the famous book THE SONAN OF BEIHAGHI vol.7 _ P.206_ it is written that OMAR the second khalifa said,

"TWO MUTAHS were decreed by the prophet of God:_ Temporary marriage and HAJ (special rites in pilgrimage) which I declare them both as unlawful!!" So the Sunni scholars have different ideas about that; some admit and some reject, but the SHIITE SCHOLARS take it to be lawful with unanimous approval. We believe that if temporary marriage be not misused, it will give an adequate answer to many questions of the young generation of our time, who cannot afford a permanent wed lock, or those in long journeys either for economical or educational purposes. Those who work against the temporary marriage are PAVING the road to fornication and obscene acts particularly in our time in which the age of marriage is up and lustful means are abundant. Closing the door of lawful marriages means to open the doors of fornication and evil sexual acts. Let me repeat once again that we reject all sorts of misuse in this respect such a making a play toy out of it or turning a woman into a means for lusts and passions instead of a real wife. On the other hand, no one should leave a good and useful law unattended, because some may use it in a bad way.


WE BELIEVE that the SHIITE SECT was founded in the life_time of our prophet, and its name was taken out of HIS words and we have many clear reasons to prove that. As many commentators of QURAN believe the following verse refers to Imam Ali and his sectarians. (SHIITE)

"Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, are the best of creatures."


Suyuti, the famous commentator has narrated in his Durr al-Mansur that Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari said, "We were in presence of the prophet, when Imam Ali arrived there. As soon as the prophet saw him he said, `UPON HIM, TO WHOSE HANDS LAYS MY LIFE, ALI AND HIS SHIITE (SECTARIANS) WILL HAVE SALVATION IN DOOMSDAY'. Then the prophet; `added the narrator, `recited the above mentioned verse. After that, whenever Imam Ali came to a gathering of prophet, we used to say: `The best of God's creatures is come." The above tradition with a little difference is also narrated by: IBN _ ABBASS. ABU BARZEH. IBN _ MARDOOYED and also ATTIYEH _ UFI. Therefore the name SHIITE was given to the lovers and followers of Imam Ali by the prophet himself and not by the SAFAVID DYNASTY as some with very low knowledge have said' : We respect and esteem all the other Islamic sects, and stay in one line of prayer with them, and perform the rites of pilgrimage as they do, and cooperate with them in all common Islamic goals and fields. Yet as a SHIITE we do have some particularities which were noted by our prophet; and this is why we have chosen this school. Some of our enemies insist to connect SHIITE, some how to ABDULLAH IBN SABA, as the founder of the sect. IBN _ SABA is said to have been a Jew convert in the life of Imam Ali. This claim or suggestion seems very strange to us! If you study all the SHIITE'S BOOKS you find in them no least interest to have been shown to the said man; and rather in contrast, all have declared him a misled heretic, and in some traditions we read that Imam Ali himself has condemned the man to death! After all IBN SABA'S very existence is under question, and some of the scholars doubt if such a man did ever exist! Even if we don't take him as a fictitious and imaginary man, he is of sure misled and astray in religion and far out of the path of truth.


Important to say that IRAN has not always been a central group of the SHIITE SECT. In the first century of Islam. they had different centers in KUFEH, YEMAN and even in Medina. Contrary to the poisonous propagandas of the Ummayids and BANI ABBASS dynasties; SHIITE had several centers in Syria too, though not as extensive as that which was in IRAQ. In Egypt too, there has always been a big group of SHIITE, and for a relatively long period, the FATEME SHIITE ruled the country. At present big groups of SHIITE live throughout the Islamic world. A great many of them live in eastern area of Saudi Arabia with nice harmony and good relations with the other Islamic groups. Islam's enemies have always agitated and tried to stir the good relations the groups have had, in order to turn their friendship and brotherhood into enmity and ill will, thus weakening both parties. Now that MAN is wearied of; and eludes the material civilization, and finds Islam to have come on the carpet as a great international moral and spiritual power, our enemies do their best to destroy our unity and brotherhood, they create controversies and diversities of opinions in order to make the Muslims busy with each other. Such a danger should have a sobering effect upon us all so as to make us cautious enough to frustrate our enemy's intentions and endeavours. If is remarkable to note that the SHIITE like the SUNNIES are divided in different groups; but the main and majority consists of the sect of SHIITE who believe in 12 Imams. Although not exact, the number of Shiite through out the world counts from two to three HUNDRED millions, making a quarter of the whole lot of Muslims.


The followers of this school (SHIITE) have so many traditions from the prophet which are conveyed through Imam Ali or other Imams. These have all been collected and classified, and make the main source of SHIITE'S religious jurisprudence. The most important books among the collections are four, and are known as KUTUB ARBAEH (THE FOUR BOOKS). These are as follows:
1 _ KAFI.

Not that, all the traditions found in these four books, or elsewhere are indisputably correct or acceptable. Each tradition as we said it, has a series of documents and narrators that are to be checked out and confirmed. If all the documents and narrators prove to be right and trustworthy, then the tradition may be considered true and accepted. Such investigations about the traditions is the task of religious experts and scholars. Therefore the SHIITE'S collected works in the field of tradition differs with that of the Sunnies. The way Bukhari and other Sunni scholars such as Muslim took in their collected works differ from that of our authors. Their criterion of right and wrong is only the author's distinction. So to understand the belief of a Sunni, it is enough to get access to their important tradition books, called SAHIH. Contrary to that, SHIITE has collected all the traditions that they could; narrated by the Imams just to be investigated, judged, approved, and then be accepted for action. And that is to be done by learned and trusted authorities and religious specialists.


Among the important sources of Shiite, there are two very important books: The first one is known as NAHJUL BALAGHA, a collected work of SHARIFRAZI, a thousand years past, consisting of the speeches, the letters, and some quotations of Imam Ali. The eloquence in the verses is so high, and the meanings so deep, that makes the work so strangely attractive to all sort of minds! We wish not only the Muslims, but the non-Muslims too, could be acquainted with this amazing book, in order to know what is to be known in the fields of Monotheism, Resurrection, Ethics, Social and Political affairs. The second important book is called SAHIFEH SAJJADIEH A collection of the bests and the most beautiful verses on prayers having the deepest meaning. It may teach us how to pray to the Lord and to purify our soul by that prayer. The whole book is the collection of many fervent prayers in the form of hymns, and narrated by our fourth Imam, Ali IBN Hussain, who is famed as SAJJAD (ONE WHO OFTEN PROSTRATE). Most of the SHIITE traditions are narrated by the fifth and the sixth Imam, and these traditions we have received through Ali IBN MOOSA, ALREZA the eighth Imam of the SHIITHE. Those three Imams were under less pressure of the dynasties of Ommayids and Abbassids, and had a better opportunity of teaching the doctrine of the prophet as they had received it through their fathers. So they succeeded to convey to people a great deal of the knowledge they had obtained. This is why the sect of SHIITE is known also as the JAAFARI SECT of Islam. Imam JAAFAR SADIQ the sixth Imam, lived in a period of the history in which the Ommayids were getting weaker and weaker, and the ABBASSIDS were gaining power. The Imam is said to have trained more than four thousands of students in his school. ABUHANIFEH the famous Sunni religious leader and scholar who was contemporary to Imam Sadiq has said, "I haven't seen any one deeper in religious knowledge than Imam Sadiq. (JAAFAR IBN MOHAMMAD)( TAZKARATOL HEFAZ ZAHABI vol.1 _ p.166). MALIK IBN ANAS, another leading man has said, "I used to go to JAAFAR IBN MUHAMMAD for some times. I always found him in one of the three conditions: He was either in prayer, fasting or reciting QURAN. `I am of opinion, added ANAS, 'that no one can excel him in knowledge or worship of God.'(ALTAHZIB VOL.2 _ P.104). For brevity we leave aside the great many complements of the SUNNI'S leading Men about Imam Sadiq.


WE BELIEVE that SHIITE has played a vital role in the Islamic knowledge, and some scholars are of opinion that Islamic knowledge is founded by SHIITE. This idea can easily be proved by the so many important books that Shiite scholars have written, in various subjects; such as jurisprudence, commentaries on QURAN, tenets, and commandments, all of which are references of our studies today. These books can be found in all the important libraries and book sellers through out the world. One of the famous SHIITE scholars has indexed the names of the books made in 26 big volumes. This book is named, AL-DHARIEH and the author's name is SHEIKH AGHA BUZURG TEHRANI. This book contains the names of the books that are written more than half a century past, and since then thousands of more books have been published which are not in the collection.

79 - WE BELIEVE that honesty and truth are among
the most important Islamic principles

"Allah will say: `This is the day which the truthful will profit from their truth. They shall forever live in Gardens with streams flowing beneath. Allah is pleased with them and they with Allah that is the greatest salvation.


Some of the verses in QURAN show that in Doomsday Men will get the reward for his honesty and truth.

"..... That Allah may reward man of truth for their truth and punish the hypocrites if he wills, or turn to them in mercy for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."


And as we have already mentioned, Muslims are ordered to be always with those who are innocent and truthful.

"O, Believers! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful (in words and deeds)


The commandment is so important that God orders his prophet to pray God for that:

"Say: O, Lord! Let me enter the Gate of truth and let my exit be from the gate of truth."


All the prophets have enjoined honesty and truthfulness. We read in a tradition:_ "No prophet was ever sent by God unless he was ordered to be truthful and to give back the trusts to its owners."( BIHAR AL ANWAR Vol.68 P.2) So did we, in this concise, our best, not to leave the least amount of truth, and we hope that we have done so with the speed of God.


Whatever we wrote in this collection is a summary of the opinion and belief of the followers of our prophet's household; i.e. the SHIITE SECT OF ISLAM. This is without any change or deviation, confirmed by QURØN and to a less extent by traditions. We aimed to write the subjects in brief and this, we did. It may be concluded here that this work:

1 - Is a trustworthy reference that clearly presents the SHIITE belief and ideas. Here by all the other Muslims and non Muslims many have access to first hand information about the SHIITE.

2 - This work can be reasoning for God, to those who judge us with inadequate information, or take their information about us, from doubtful persons or our enemies; or from books of no importance.

3 - To study this work will show the reader that the difference between SHIITE and other Islamic sects is not that much to prevent us a peaceful living together, and having cooperation in important fields and affairs. Common aspects of our belief are many; our common enemies are many too.

4 - We believe that some mysterious hands are working hard to separate us, and to create disputes and hatred among Muslims, to kindle the fire of enmities! These mysterious hands do not want, Islam to play his vital role after the smash of Communism, and to fill the vacancies of materialism. Muslims should not leave their enemies unattended and to have success in their goals. There now exists a good opportunity for us to present Islam to the world, as it really is.

5 - WE BELIEVE that if all the scholars and the leading men of all sects sit round a table to discuss the problems sincerely, with pure heart, and far from fanaticism, and obstinacy; they would of surety solve all the problems they have, and the differences would be reduced if not entirely erased. Such a meeting was recently held in Zahedan. Shiites and Sunnies sat round a table. They had several sincere meeting and as a result gave an end to most of their differences. To end, I pray to our Lord and say:



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