Principle of al-Badà’
It means that some idea seems to Him regarding a thing. He intends to do, but then He changes His opinion concerning that thing, doing other than what He determined to do previously.
Concerning what the Shi’ah observe in respect of the badà’ with ascribing it to Allah, the Exalted, and vilifying them on the basis that it entails ascribing ignorance and incompleteness to Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, as the Sunnites conceive it. Verily this interpretation is false and never claimed by the Shi’ah, and whoever ascribes it to them has in fact slandered them. There are many evidences proving their belief, that can be derived from their sayings, in the past and recently.
In his book ‘Aqa’id al-’Imàmiyyah, al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridà al-MuZaffar says: “Al-Badà’ in this meaning is quite impossible to be ascribed to Allah, as it denotes ignorance and incompetence, which can enver be possible for the Most High God, and never believed by the Imàmiyyah.”
It is reported that Al-’Imàm al-Sàdiq (A) said: “Whoever claims that something seemed to be done by Allah in a repentful way (i.e. repented for not doing it before), we consider him as disbelieving in Allah the Great.” He also said: “Whoever alleges that something appeared newly for Allah, without being aware of it before, I proclaim freedom from him” (i.e. I never regard him a Muslim).
So the badà’ believed by the Shi’ah, never transgresses the limits of the Qur’àn, as prescribed by Allah, the Glorified and the Most High, in the verse: “(Of it) Effaceth out God whatever He pleaseth and confirmeth He (similarly); and with Him is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book.” (15:39)
This belief is held by the Sunnis in the same way as held by the Shi‘ah. So why the Shi‘ah are vilified while Ahl al-Sunnah are exempted, whereas they (Sunnis) claim that Allah, the Glorified, alters the decrees and changes the prescribed destinies and sustenances (of mankind).
Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn ‘Asàkir have reported from ‘Ali (A) that he once inquired the Messenger of Allah (S) about the verse: “Effaceth out God whatever He pleaseth and confirmeth He (similarly), and with Him is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book.” In his reply, the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“I will verily delight you and also my Ummah after me with its interpretation. Charity in its due aspect, and to be kind to the parents, and doing the good (ma‘ruf), altogether render wretchedness (shaqa’) into bliss and increase in life, and safeguard against evil death.”
In the book al-Shu‘ab, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hàtam and al-Bayhaqi reported from Qays ibn ‘Ubbàd that he said: On every tenth night of the inviolable months, there is a certain thing (amr) for Allah, but on the tenth of Rajab, Allah effaces what He will, and establishes He (what He will).
‘Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn Jarir and Ibn al-Mundhir have reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattàb, while circumambulating round the House (of Allah), said:
“My God, if You have prescribed upon me a wretchedness (shaqàwah) or a sin (I implore you to) efface it, as You efface what You will and establish (what You will), and with You is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book. (I beg You to) make it bliss and forgiveness.”230
In his Sahih,231 al-Bukhàri reported an amazing and strange story, about the ascension (to heaven) of the Prophet (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny), and his meeting with his Lord, beside what is said by the Messenger (S):
“...Then fifty prayers were prescribed upon me, when I came toward Musà (A) who said: What have you done? I said: Fifty prayers are prescribed upon me. He said: I am better aware of people than you, as I have worked with and treated the Children of Israel so strictly, but your Ummah never endures (these prayers). Go back to your Lord and ask Him (to decrease them). So I returned and implored Him, whereat He made them forty. Then the same conversation was repeated with Moses, and they were made thirty. Then again the same thing was repeated and He made them (prayers) twenty, then the same and He made them ten. Thereat I came near Moses and he reiterated his speech. Then God made it only five (prayers), when I came near Musà who said: What have you done? I replied: (He (God) made it five. He said the same aforementioned words. I said: I saluted (Allah), but I heard a call (from Allah) saying: I have prescribed my obligation, and eased for My servants. I shall reward every good deed (hasanah) with ten ones.”232
In another narration reported also by al-Bukhàri, it is said: After reference of Muhammad (S) many many times to his Lord, and after obligating the five prayers, Musà (A) asked Muhammad (S) to refer to his Lord to ask Him more easiness, since his Ummah would never tolerate even five prayers. But Muhammad (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) answered him saying: I feel ashamed of my Lord.233
Everyone reading this be baffled and amazed at these beliefs held by the Ahl al-Sunnah traditionists, who, nevertheless, vilify the Shi’ah, the followers of Ahl al-Bayt Imams, due to believing in the principle of badà’.
Through this tale, they presume that Allah the Glorifed has prescribed fifty prayers upon Muhammad (S), then it seemd for Him, after Muhammad’s referring to Him, to make them forty, and then, after another reference by Muhammad, to make them thirty, and so on, making them twenty, and then ten, and lastly five prayers after being asked by Muhammad for the fifth time.
Regrdless of our admitting or refusing such a notion, it is to be known that holding the idea of badà’ being a sound belief, going with and complying to the concepts of Islam and spirit of the Qur’àn: “Verily God changeth not the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves ...” And without our belief — Sunnah and Shi’ah — that Allah changes and substitutes, all our prayers and supplications shall verily be devoid of any use or cause or explanation. We further believe that Allah, the Glorified, changes the judgements, and abrogates the laws from one prophet to another, and even in the Shariah of our Prophet (S) verily exist nàsikh (abrogating) and mansukh (abrogated). Hence, to believe in the principle of badà’ is neither blasphemy nor renegading from religion (aspotasy). So the Sunnites are asked not to vilify the Shi’ah due to this belief, and the Shi’ah, on their part, have no reason to vilify Ahl al-Sunnah.
On my part, I view this tale of mi‘ràj (ascension to heaven) as necessarily attributing ignorance (jahl) to Allah, the Mighty and the Glorious, and entailing defamation of the dignity of the greatest man ever known throughout mankind history, i.e. our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom and whose Progeny be God’s peace and benediction). That is because the tale says that Musà said to Muhammad (S): I am better aware of people than you, indicating that the decrease of prayers was done by virtue of Musà, i.e. without him Allah would have never eased for the Ummah of Muhammad (S).
I can never conceive, how would Musà know that the Ummah of Muhammad (S) can never endure even five prayers, while Allah knows not this and charges His bondmen with (duties) beyond their capacity, prescribing upon them fifty prayers?!
Brother reader, you can imagine the case in which fifty prayers are performed through one day, which meaning that no work or business shall be executed by the society, and people will never go out for learning or earning their living or undertaking any responsibility. In this way man will turn to be like angels, charged only with (performing) prayers (salàt) and worship. By making a simple arithmetic operation, we shall find out the falsification of this narration. When multiplying ten minutes — the reasonable time for performing one obligatory prayer (salàt) congregationally — by fifty, the result that we get will show that the determined time (for these prayers) shall be about ten hours. That means, you either have to tolerate and endure this burden, or you can reject such religion that imposes upon its followers duties beyond their capacity prescribing upon them obligations they can never endure.
Here a question is raised: If Ahl al-Sunnah vilify the Shi’ah for believing in badà’, and that Allah, after it seems for Him in a thing, changes His decision as He will, why don’t they vilify themselves their belief that it seems for Allah something and He changes the rule or judgement five times regarding one duty (faridah), and on one night being the night of mi‘ràj (ascension to heaven)?
May Allah’s damnation be upon such bigotry, and detested obstinacy overshadowing the realities, and turning them upside down, when the fanatic persecutes that who contradicts him in opinion, with negating the clear-cut matters. Beside that, he may vilify him, and disseminate rumours against him, with exaggerating regarding the simplest issues, in more horrible than which he may believe.
This reminds me of what is said by our master Jesus (peace be upon him) when addressing the Jews:
“You look at the straw in the eyes of people, but you never see the wood in your eyes.”
Or (reminds of) the proverb saying: “She infected me with her illness and slipped away.” Some may object that the term badà’ was never used by Ahl al-Sunnah, and that this story, though giving the meaning of changing and altering the judgement, but it never confirms decisively that something seemed (badà) for Allah in it.
I utter this since most often when I was citing the tale of mi‘ràj, making it as a proof to show the belief in the badà’ by the Sunnites, I was encountered with objection of some of them in relation to this opinion. But later on they submitted and admitted it when I showed them another narration from Sahih al-Bukhàri, that referring to the badà’ by a doubtless express term.
It is reported by al-Bukhàri, from Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allah (A) said: It was seemed for Allah to test three Israelites, a leprous, a blind and a bald. So He sent them an angel who came to the leprous one and asked him: Which thing you desire more? He replied: A good colour (for the feature) and a well-shaped skin, as I became disgustful for people. Then the angel rubbed him and he recovered from leprosy, with being given a good colour and well-shaped skin. After that the angel said to him: Which kind of property you like more? He said: The camels. So he was given a pregnant she-camel. Then he went to the bald one, and asked him: Which thing you desire more? He replied: A well-formed hair and be recovered from this (baldness). The angel rubbed his head when his baldness disappeared, and he was given fine hair. Then he asked him: Which kind of property you love more? He said: The cows. So he gave him a pregnant cow. Then he (the angel) came unto the blind one, and questioned him: Which thing you desire more? He said: May Allah give me back my sight. Then he wiped him and Allah returned his sight to him. Again he asked him: Which property you love more? He said: The sheep. Thereat he gave him a productive sheep ...
Then the angel returned to them, after multiplication of their camels, cows and sheep, until everyone of them turned to be owning a herd (of animals). He approached the leper and the bald and the blind, each with his same image. He asked each one of them to give him from what he owns. The bald and the leper repelled him (refused to give him), so Allah restored them to the same condition they were in. While the blind man gave him (of what he owned), as a result of which Allah increased in his property, and kept him wont to see.234
Therefore I address my brothers with this verse: “O’ ye who believe! Let not a people laught at (another) people (to scorn) who haply may be better than them; nor let women laugh at other women who haply may be better than these and find out not fault with your own selves nor call ye one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name (for any one) after his accepting the faith; and whoso turneth not (repenting against such of his conduct), these are they who are the unjust (ones).” (49:11)
I also have a heart-felt wish that Muslims come to their senses, forsake bigotry and let alone passion so as to be replaced by reason in every debate, even with their enemies. I hope that they learn from the holy Qur’àn the proper way of investigation, discussion and argumentation with that which is better (method), as Allah revealed to His Messenger (S) to tell the obstinate: “...Lo! We or you assuredly are rightly guided or in error manifest.” (34:24) Thus the Messenger of Allah (S) elevates the position of these polytheists, with making concessions on his part, to make them feel equal to him so as to introduce their proofs and reason, had they been truthful. What a sublime morality had he, that can never attained by ordinary people.
230. Al-Suyuti, op. cit., Vol. IV, p. 661.
231. Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. IV, p. 78, "Kitàb bad' al-khalq", "bàb dhikr al-malà'ikah".
232 & 233. Ibid., Vol. IV, 250, "bàb al-mi'ràj", Sahih Muslim, Vol. I, p. 101, "bàb al-'isrà' bi Rasul Allàh wa fard al-salawàt".
234. Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. II, p. 259.
Adapted from the book: "To Be With the Truthful" by: "Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi"
Share this article