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Hadith-e-Muwakhaat: Tradition of Brotherhood - Part 2

Mamoon asked, "In the event of the Almighty and the Prophet knowing the most superior person of Ummah would they give him preference or not?" Ishaq said, "They preferred the most superior one." Mamoon said, "In this way Ali (a.s.) was the most superior of all creatures."

Ishaq said, "But Abu Bakr also possessed merits. Mamoon said, "He had but here we intend to prove the most superior one! Nevertheless, tell me what merit of Abu Bakr you intended?" Ishaq said, "The fortieth verse of Surah Taubah says:

He being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Grieve not, surely Allah is with us. (Surah Taubah: 40) The caliph said, "Companionship does not prove superiority, because it is possible that the two people have contrary beliefs. Have you not seen the verse? "His companion said to him while disputing with him." (Surah Kahf: 37) Ishaq said: This verse is important because it says, "Do not grieve, indeed Allah is with us." The caliph said, "O Ishaq! I thought you preferred truth and were free of all bias. But now that you have come to rebellion and bias, tell me if the grief of Abu Bakr was from Allah or from his own side? In case you say it was from Allah, why did the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) told him to desist from it? If you say it was of his own what was his merit?"

Ishaq said, "The verse, "Then Allah sent down peace" is revealed in the Quran." The Caliph asked, "On who did the Almighty send peace, the Prophet (s.a.) or Abu Bakr?" Ishaq said: I said, "Peace descended on the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)." Mamoon said, "In the 26th verse of Surah Tauba the Almighty says: Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Apostle and upon the believers. Do you know who were the recipients of peace along with the Prophet (s.a.)?" Ishaq said, "O caliph! You tell us." Mamoon said, "During the Battle of Hunain, all the companions were routed due to their flight from the battlefield. Only seven persons from Bani Hashim remained with the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib was holding the rein holy Prophet's (s.a.w.a.) camel. And five people surrounded the Prophet. Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) was fighting the infidels single handedly. If it is so, then peace descended only upon the Messenger of Allah (s.a.) and on Ali ibn Ibne Talib (a.s.).

Ishaq said: "This has become clear to all of us and we accept your argument." Mamoon again asked, "O Ishaq! After the sincere acceptance of belief, the next great deed is Jihad. Do you know anyone equal to Ali (a.s.) with regard to Jihad? Ishaq said, "I asked which battle you mean? Let us consider Badr." Mamoon said, "How many infidels were killed at Badr." "Sixty two," replied Ishaq.

The caliph asked, "Of these how many were slain at the hands of Ali (a.s.)?" "Twenty of them were killed by Ali (a.s.) alone," replied Ishaq, "And the rest were collectively killed by the companions." At this juncture Mamoon asked, "Shall I give the example from the battle of Hunain?" "Yes," replied Ishaq. The Caliph said, "The companions were defeated in the battle of Hunain. Only seven people remained. It was only Ali (a.s.) who faced the infidels. Where were the rest of the companions?" Ishaq said, "At that time Abu Bakr was in conference with the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)." Mamoon said, "Was the Prophet (s.a.) in need of Abu Bakr's advice regarding that matter?" Ishaq said, "Whatever the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did was based on revelation and he was not in need of anyone's advice." Now Mamoon said, "In case there was no necessity of advice or interference of Abu Bakr and other companions, what was the difference whether a person was a warrior or not?"

Ishaq said: I said, "Anyone who is present in a battle qualifies for reward, whether he fights or not." Mamoon said, "Ishaq! Don't you see that the Almighty says in Holy Quran: "Allah has made the strivers with their property and their persons to excel the holders back a (high) degree ..." (Surah Nisa: 95) Ishaq said, 'I could offer no reply'. But Mamoon continued, "Are you familiar with Hadith-e-Mawaddah?" Ishaq said, "Yes," and related the text of the hadith exactly as it is. Mamoon said, "This hadith clearly proves that while none has a right of Wilayat over Ali (a.s.), the Wilayat of Ali (a.s.) will be obligatory forever upon all the people including Abu Bakr and Umar. In this way how is it possible, O Ishaq, what can make anyone excel Ali (a.s.)?" Ishaq said: Since I could not reply to this objection I remained silent. Mamoon again said by way of argument, "O Ishaq! Do you know about Hadith-e-Manzilah?" "Yes," replied Ishaq.

Mamoon said, "Do you know that Haroon was the real and blood brother of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.)?" "Yes, I know," replied Ishaq. Mamoon said, "And you also know that brotherhood existed between Ali bin Abi Talib and the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?" "Yes, I know," replied Ishaq. Mamoon said, "What other position did Haroon have with Moosa?" Ishaq said, "The position of legatee and vicegerency." Now Mamoon said, "The relation of Ali (a.s.) with the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not but of Vicegerency and legatee."

Ishaq relates: We, the forty selected scholars of Baghdad had no way but to agree to the absolute reality. We all accepted this inwardly and outwardly. But Mamoon looked towards the sky and said, "O my God, be a witness that I have proved the superiority and Wilayat (guardianship) of Ali ibne Abi Talib and invited the people to the right path but only You are the Guide."

The humble writer Qazi Bahjat says: The report of Allamah Ibne Abde Rabb is famous among the jurists of Ahle Sunnat. It is mentioned in the third volume of his book Iqdul Farid pg. 37 under the heading: Discussion of Mamoon with the scholars of Baghdad.

But here it is necessary to clarify a few points. Firstly: Though Mamoon proved the superiority of Ali (a.s.), at the same time, he oppressed the eighth grandson of Ali (a.s.), Imam Reza (a.s.) to such an extent that ultimately he caused the Muslim nation to mourn from the great Imam (a.s.). Yes! How effective and lightning is the role of history in depicting the evil deeds and crimes.

What Mamoon had said was correct: Allah is the only One to guide. Secondly: According to the report of Ibne Abde Rabb, among the people present in the assembly of Mamoon were forty accomplished scholars of that time who witnessed the debate and discussion. Now we have a question: In such clear matters, which are easily comprehended even by the masses, how is it that the learned scholars of the centre of learning (Baghdad) were in need of the debate of Mamoon to understand it? Actually, if there is an important problem, it is the duty of the religious scholars to solve it for the public. It was not the duty of Mamoon because after all the scholars were the religious judges, and not Mamoon, who was a military and dynastic ruler.

Pity! Indeed, a great pity! In order to conceal the obvious realities, elaborate mazes have been constructed for the succeeding generations so that even now people are confused and can't reach the truth. Yes! Many accomplished scholars who were in cahoots with the ruler and caliphs of their time in order to fulfill their desires issued numerous religious decrees. In this the helpless ummah was continuously subjected to eat the poisonous fruits of the evil trees.

Thirdly: The well-known book Aqaid Nasafi, after the mention of Caliphs in a serial order says: "The superiority of Ali (a.s.) was according to the order of the Caliphate." That is, the first Caliph was superior to the second the second to the third and the third superior to the fourth. According to Nasafi, the status and position in the eyes of Allah is according to the choice of the people and according to the order of Caliphate! Please note how illogical this statement is! It is nothing but a rigid dogma thrust upon us. If it were true, the first caliph would have been superior to the second one, and the second superior to the third and third superior to Amirul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)! This view is absolutely absurd and false!

This book, Aqaid Nasafi is the work of Allamah Nasafi a well-known Sunni scholar. This humble writer was also a Sunni and had been a religious judge of the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. He had studied the book of Nasafi in detail many times and also regularly taught it to students. In spite of this he refutes the views expressed therein and hopes that the readers must not object to his opinion at first glance and must not say that he is against the opinion of past senior scholars. For, the sayings of senior scholars are not the ultimate proof for us except if they are proved with or supported by authentic arguments and reliable documentation.

Now this servant will disprove the statement that superiority is based on the order of Caliphate. It is a statement without any proof and foundation. Yes, Nasafi says, "Superiority is based on the order of succession." Meaning that the merit and status of the caliphs was based on the order in which they were made caliphs!

But yours truly demands proof for this statement. Blind following is vulgar, and dogmatism an ignorant act! In order to prove any article of Islamic act, it is necessary to support it with a concrete proof because to prove a command without argument is first of all a useless pursuit. Secondly it is preference without reason, and in this there are two problems.

In order to establish a decree, two kinds of proofs may be given: Rational and traditional. But a rational proof is not independent of a traditional evidence, whereas the latter alone can establish an Islamic law. We have thus proved through arguments based on reason that Ali (a.s.) was the superior most person. Readers are requested to refer to the preceding discussion. Secondly there are the traditional proofs about which the Muslim nation has no doubt whatsoever and they are accepted by all without exception: The first of these are the verses of Holy Quran and secondly the prophetic traditions. Other sources of Islamic laws like Qiyas, Ijtehad and Ijma are beyond the scope of our discussion. The verses of holy Quran say:

Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives. …to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying. In this book we were content to quote only two verses of the Holy Quran, one of which has made it compulsory for the Muslims to love Ali (a.s.), his pure spouse Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and their two sons (a.s.). It is not possible to imagine anyone else possessing such a merit. The second verse has certified the purity and infallibility of the 'Ahle Kisa' (people of the cloak). They were five in all, Ali (a.s.) being one of them; that is, he was next to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Whatever merits were present in the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), the same should be expected to be present in Ali (a.s.). Such as the virtues of infallibility and inerrancy were parts of the personality of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). It is such a merit that nothing greater is possible in human beings.

Now let us consider the traditions of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.): Indeed one kind of the traditional proofs is the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). We have mentioned the traditions that prove the superiority of Ali (a.s.) and are accepted by the Muslims. All the scholars have accepted their authenticity. But since it is not possible to quote all such traditions, we are content to quote only a few of them; mainly those recorded in the books of Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari. These traditions conclusively prove that Ali (a.s.) was the most superior personality of the Ummah. Also from the aspect of the art of argumentation, it is confirmed that a proof is not higher to the thing that it proves.

Apart from this we have delved further into our study and quoted the discussion of Mamoon with the scholars of Baghdad. In this discussion, Mamoon succeeded in proving the superiority of Ali (a.s.) to the scholars present in the assembly. It was age of religious Scholars and jurists of the Ahle Sunnat. Especially the period of Scholars like Abu Yusuf Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani, Rafar, Shafei, Ahmad bin Hanbal etc, who were the religious judges of their time and jurisprudence was developed by them.

Here, we would like to pose a query to rational and judicious people: On what proof has Allamah Nasafi based his assertion? Any claim without proof is nothing but dogmatism. What merit was not present in Ali (a.s.) that was found in some other person and that could make him superior to Ali (a.s.)? There was no such merit and reason and tradition both testify to it.

The statement of Allamah Nasafi that superiority of the Caliphs is in the order of succession is a claim without proof and a dictum without evidence. Let us consider this in detail: Yes! We see that so and so is a learned person and such and such is Caliph while another one is a King. As these qualities are obvious and can been seen and heard, you decide and pass a judgment on them. But to say that a certain person is superior to another is a difficult claim because if superiority denotes nearness to Allah and the reward of the hereafter, then only Allah is aware of such a person. We human beings are not at all qualified to make such announcements (as it is beyond the scope of our limited knowledge). However if Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) have issued such statements in favor of a certain person, we have to believe in it. For in this case, it is the knowledge and assertion of Allah, and we are only acting upon it.

If in case superiority implies the fulfillment of some deeds like sincere testimony to the oneness of God, fighting jihad for the sake of Allah and possessing extensive knowledge, piety and nearness to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), then from all these aspects, we have proved that Ali (a.s.) was way ahead of the people of this Ummah. His good deeds were much higher than those of other Muslims. Traditions that are accepted and considered reliable by all scholars are presented by us for the readers. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, "A single sword strike of Ali on the day of the ditch was superior to the combined worship acts of men and jinn till the day of Qiyamat." We have quoted this hadith previously to prove our point but here we consider it a necessary duty to mention again.

Just as the Ahle Sunnat scholars read this treatise, they will raise objections and cry foul, "Fie on him! He has opposed the early scholars and refuted the Book of Aqaid (beliefs), falsified the statements of scholars and Mujtahids! O people, you can see that this person has become a 'Rafidi'. He has denied the virtues and status of the Caliphs and not accepted their superiority." Such allegations will be piled on me and accusations like, 'O people do not believe a word of what he says because whatever the early scholars have stated must be accepted without reservation', will fly fast and hard. It is obligatory on us to follow the early scholars in toto. What they did not say, does not qualify to be accepted by you because the door of Ijtehad is closed! And so on and so forth." All the objections mentioned above shall be replied as follows:

Firstly: At the outset, I plead to all the Muslim brothers to forgo blind imitation and bias, and strive to analyze and research in a judicious manner. Secondly: If they say, 'This person has opposed and objected to the early scholars.' We reply, 'Statements of faith and belief are brought to us by the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and he brought them to us from the Almighty. No one could refute them. But what we have objected to is not received from the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), as proved by us many times. On the basis of this we have not dared to disprove them.

Adapted from: Analysis of the History of Aale Muhammad (pbuh)" by: "Qadi Bohlool Afandi"