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Hadith-e-Muwakhaat: Tradition of Brotherhood - Part 3

Thirdly: If they say: He had rejected and refuted the Book of Aqaid. In reply I say: The actual Islamic beliefs have been explained and expounded by the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and no one can deny and refute them because they were brought to us from the Creator of the Universe. However, whatever we have refuted was not brought by the Holy Prophet (s.a.). So our rejection does not amount to the rejection of Islamic beliefs.

Fourthly: If our objecting is deemed to be 'Rafd' (turning away) 3, we reply as follows: All those who were even slightly inclined to Ahle Bait (a.s.) were given the tag of 'Rafidi' by the cahoots of Bani Abbas and Bani Umayyah. This ignorant practice continues to this day. Such allegations were also heaped upon Imam Shafei, the well-known Sunni scholar. Even if it is proved correct, far from being a crime, 'Rafd' should be considered a great virtue. The following report is quoted regarding Shafei:

Sharif Noorudddin Ali Samhoodi in the book Jawahirul Aqdain writes: (I have quoted the text of the report and later quoted exactly the couplets of Imam Shafei). The great Khwaja Sulayman Qandoozi has recorded on page 45 of Yanabinul Mawaddah the same. Baihaqi has quoted from Rabee Ibne Sulaiman that he said, "I said to Imam Shafei, 'Some people could not stand to hear the praise of Ahle Bait (a.s.), and when they see one of us mention their virtues they say, "He is a Raafedi". In reply Shafei recited the following couplets: If in a gathering is a mention of Ali, his sons and Fatima. Some people start talking about other characters instead.

Be sure that what they say is rubbish. When Ali and his sons are remembered, these people mutter far-fetched reports. And they say, "Beware these were the traditions of Raafedis." I dissociate myself from such people who consider the love of Fatimah 'Raafediyat.' Praise of my Lord on the progeny of the Prophet. A derogatory term used for Shiism. (Raafedi for Shias). And his curse be on such ignorance.

Hafiz Jamaluddin has recorded the following couplets from Imam Shafei: They said have you become a Raafedi and I said 'No.' Rafd is neither my religion nor my belief. But I am devoted to the best of guides. If love of the legatee of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is Rafd, Then I am the greatest of Raafedi.

Similarly Imam Fakhruddin Razi related from Imam Muzni that Imam Shafei composed the following couplets: Always conceal that secret in such a way That you are not helpless in replying to the objections. And I hide my love with the purity of my devotion, So that my belief and I are safe from them. In the same way scholars like Baihaqi and Sahal bin Muhammad and Abde Rabb have related from Sulayman bin Qutaybah many other poems from Imam Shafei.

Yes! This allegation is only due to hatred and bigotry of ignorance. Muslims who do not regard the Caliphs highly, are labeled as Raafedi and blamed for following an innovation (bida't), while these people have never denied the genuine virtues of the Caliphs. These people consider every person on the basis of his true worth.

On the other hand we have Mu'awiyah, who initiated the cursing of Ali (a.s.) from the pulpit of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This practice continued for seventy years. He himself cursed Ali (a.s.) and ordered all the people to do the same. He cursed the grandsons of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) at the very tomb of their grandfather and this was witnessed by thousands of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who saw and heard it with their own eyes. Seeing this vile act, the mother of the faithful, Umme Salama left the holy mausoleum in disgust! In spite of this, Mu'awiyah is not labeled as a Raafedi. Far from it! Mu'awiyah is bestowed the honorific of 'Amirul Momineen'! He is remembered with respect and reverence! People used to pray behind him! While the books of history are replete with the misdeeds of this villainous character so that the coming generations could see what sort of a person he was.

Yes! To believe in the superiority of Ali (a.s.), which is proved beyond doubt, is not Rafd. No one could allege that following the truly superior personality is Rafd and innovation. But it's a pity that this terrible bigotry is perpetrated in consonance with the wishes of people like Mu'awiyah and Marwan.

Fourthly: If they say: He has not accepted the virtues and status of the Caliphs. I would reply as follows: No one can deny the virtues and merits certified by the Almighty and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.). But, whatever has not been certified by Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) can be rejected and such rejection will not tantamount to be a folly. To consider a myth as reality is against justice. Fifthly: If they say: He has not accepted the superiority of the Caliphs. I reply: We are not the first to do so because the first one to deny this was the Caliph himself. Thus, the Ahle Sunnat report that during the tenure of Abu Bakr ibne Qahafa, a few days after assuming the post of Caliphate he announced from the pulpit:

"Excuse me from the responsibility of Caliphate. I am not the best of you while Ali is amongst you."

Similarly on the day of Ghadeer, when Umar ibne Khattab heard the tradition of mastership he said, "Congratulations O, Ali! You have become my master and the master of all believing men and women."

If we study the corpus of traditions, we shall find numerous such narrations. However, we must read them with an unprejudiced and unbiased mind. Sixthly: If they say: Whatever has been uttered by the early scholars must be accepted by the successive generations in toto. We reply: This is not correct because if it were necessary for the successive generations to accept the statements of their predecessors without any change, then why did Abu Yusuf, the student of Abu Hanifah, when he succeeded his teacher, issued his own decrees rejecting almost half the decrees of Abu Hanifah? Similarly, when Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani came a little after Abu Yusuf, he rejected most of the rulings of the latter. In the same way Abu Abdillah Shafei, who came fifty years after Abu Hanifah, refuted most of the laws of Abu Hanifah. For example, some scholars who came after him subsequently rejected Qiyas, which was considered valid by Abu Hanifah. For, these laws regarding whom no traditional proof existed were promulgated on the basis of conjecture. And to accept them on the basis of conjecture is the prerogative of another Mujtahid.

Seventhly: They will say: The door of Ijtehad is now closed. In reply we say:

a) our intention is not to refute Ijtehad because it is against the rules of debate. That is, only we will refute a statement, which is not proved by concrete arguments. As we are not capable to fully do justice to Ijtehad and taqlid by this method we refrain from this.

b) The statement that the doors of Ijtehad are closed is not based on proof and argument. Let us study this matter in more detail:

i) Let us clarify that to study this problem in a way deserved by it is beyond our capacity. Still we shall try to unravel the facts in the following paragraphs: 1) It is clear that every law in Islam must be supported with concrete evidence. And such a law cannot be denied by anyone. 2) It is also confirmed that two types of proofs frame an Islamic decree, reason and tradition. But a rational proof by itself cannot prove a law. But here we will study this argument with some reasoning experience: Was Ijtehad necessary during the early period of Islam? If it was not necessary, then why did they make it compulsory? If it was necessary, then why after the first three centuries it began to be considered unnecessary or even impossible? How could the latter view be substantiated by proofs? If they say: In the early period it was necessary to formulate the laws of Shariat through Ijtehad, but after that there was no need of it. In reply I say: The laws of Islam were complete in the life of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as evident from the verse,

"This day I have perfected for your religion." (Surah Maidah: 3)

Then how is it that Ijtehad was required to frame the Islamic laws? Now let us understand that Ijtehad was not needed to frame the Islamic laws. It was required for another purpose. Consider this statement: Laws that are derived on the basis of conjecture and Ijtehad are mutable with the passage of time. Yes, if the passage of forty or fifty years can subject to change a law derived by Ijtehad, why couldn't laws formulated a thousand years ago remain unmodified? It is but a natural thing! However, we do not see the need to prove everything by logical proofs and it is not our duty to do.

Let us now consider the traditional proofs:

Before the discussion on the traditional proofs, we quote some lines from the well-known book of Ahle Sunnat, Daairatul Ma'arif (Religious Encyclopaedia) to show that 'the door of Ijtehad is closed' is a claim unsubstantiated by proof. Muhammad Wajdi, who had penned the 22 volumes of Daairatul Ma'arif writes in the third volume thus: "Ijtehad denotes the system of deriving the laws of Shariat according to the needs of a particular age. Therefore, it is necessary to have a Mujtahid in every period of time. In the early period of Islam, the scholars practiced Ijtehad from the first to the third century. They used to derive laws for every new problem that arose. In this venture, they did not heed the conflicting views of their contemporaries. Later, however there descended upon the people of the Ummah sloth and carelessness in this regard. They failed to derive the laws of Shariat. Thus in order to conceal their defect, they invented the excuse of the closing of the door of Ijtehad and expressed their inability to do anything about it. Although according to verses of Quran and traditions of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) the door of Ijtehad is open till the day of Qiyamat."

It is thus evident that the verses of holy Quran and sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) authenticate Ijtehad, and the Islamic scholars have always acted upon it. This continued till the third century A.H. when the jurists and scholars, who were the stooges of tyrant rulers, saw in themselves no capability to derive the laws of Shariat and consequently, declared that the door of Ijtehad had closed. These people never opposed the Caliphs for fear of their life or a threat of monetary loss. But when the successive generations arrived, they began to consider this as a religious command and did not oppose it. Though, extensive authentic traditions prove to the contrary (that is, the door of Ijtehad has not closed).

The bida't (innovation) of declaring the closure of the door of Ijtehad was initiated at the behest of Mutawakkil. At that time, the wretched Ummah has just heaved a sigh of relief from the oppression of Bani Umayyah when the yoke of the slavery of Bani Abbas was thrust upon its neck. They also had to bear atrocities of Haroon, Mamoon and Mutawakkil. When Bani Abbas saw that Bani Umayyah were about to be finished and this would create a vacuum, wherein it was likely that people may incline toward the progeny of Fatimah (a.s.), they decided to seal the tongues of the truthful people by announcing that the door of Ijtehad has closed.

In these circumstances, the Shia scholars remained aloof or practiced dissimulation to save themselves from this calamity, while some bold Ahle Sunnat Scholars were subjected to untold tribulations. For example Malik Ibne Anas was instrumental in the expulsion of Muhammad Ibne Ibrahim, a descendant of Hasan al-Muthanna who was arrested and tortured on the orders of Caliph Mansur.

Abu Hanifah was arrested and imprisoned at Anbar. He was tortured to the extent that he finally died at the hands of Rabee', the personal bodyguard of Mansur. Ahmad Ibne Hanbal was also imprisoned and tortured by Motasim ibne Haroon.

However, many of the Ahle Sunnat scholars preferred the patronage of tyrant rulers and to please their whims, issued religions decrees and continued to manage their affairs as they wished.

Most of the Ahle Sunnat scholars quoted these materialist scholars and refrained from quoting the Imams and guides (a.s.) who were the true successors of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Gradually this became an established practice and a time came when the Ahle Sunnat evolved into a distinct sect. Now the factors of bias on the basis of partisanship came into play. This led to untold controversies and finally resulted in the disunity of the Muslim Ummah. Thus causing all sorts of problems leading to ultimate decadence and destruction. However, Taqaiyyah is one of the established principles of faith. It not only protected the lives and property of Muslims, but alone was instrumental in preserving the laws of Shariah.

Thus we have proved by traditional arguments that the door of Ijtehad is still open. In the same way we shall be content to quote the verse of holy Quran that says: "Then ask the people of remembrance if you do not know." The Muslims have been ordered to ask the 'People of remembrance' if they are unable to understand the law of Shariat. And this is an express command. It will remain in force for the benefit of Muslim Community till the day of Qiyamat. How is it possible that during the early period of Islam anyone who was ignorant of Shariat has recourse to the religious scholars, whereas the same person is now prohibited from referring to the jurists?

Can anyone explain to us why this prohibition came into being? In the event of Ijtehad being proved as a necessity according to Quran and hadith people followed it and knew it well. Then after the third century A.H. what Quranic verse or hadith came to nullify this law? It was nothing but the arrival of tyrant rulers at the helm of Islamic affairs!

We said that in case a person is unaware of the law of Shariat it is incumbent on him to refer to an accomplished scholar. A scholar who is the most learned of his time and capable of issuing religious decrees. But as we have said before, we are not capable of solving the problem of Ijtehad. We only request the people of this Ummah to ponder upon it for a moment without bias so that they benefit by it.

Those who wish to study this topic in detail may refer the books, 'Al Aqdul Jayyed fi Ahkam al-Ijtehad wa Taqleed' written by Allamah Dehlavi; this book has referred to the book Al Insaaf fil Ijtehad Wal Khilaf by Allamah Shah Waliullah, the well-known Indian scholar. By referring to these books we can form an opinion about this matter.

In the course of our discussion we have only relied upon the writings of Ahle Sunnat scholars and have been content with it. Because our only aim here was to prove that Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) was the most superior person in the whole of Ummah. As per the rules of logical argumentation and debate, we have proved our claim with the help of authentic proofs and also fulfilled all the other necessary conditions. Firstly by logical reasoning we proved our claim and then we also presented traditional proofs that alone are considered sufficient to prove an Islamic matter. And from the traditional proofs, we quoted only the most important ones and which were considered authentic by all religious scholars and well known to the majority of the people. We were content to quote only two verses of Quran and a few traditions that all Muslims are obliged to have faith in.

Though hundreds of traditions are present on this topic, we have been content to quote only some of them and refrained from presenting others. As the saying goes, "A clue is sufficient for the wise." After having proved conclusively that Ali (a.s.) was the most superior personality of the Ummah, next only to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), we turn our discussion to the matter of Caliphate. It is such a serious problem that it has divided the Ummah and is the root cause of all the afflictions and controversies. We shall, to the best of our ability, examine this important matter in such a way that it can be understood by all.

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