By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Here the aim of all this detail is to show that the historians have, in most of the affairs and events, kept mum without expressing what is right and therefore, the history of the Progeny of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has also remained behind the curtain of secrecy and it has not been revealed as it deserved to be. In order to substantiate this claim we find it necessary to mention some historical examples. A scholar named Yaqub bin Sikkit was sitting in the court of Mutawakkil, the Abbasi emperor, when two sons of the caliph viz. Motamad and Motaz entered the assembly. At that moment the caliph asked Yaqub, “Who are more graceful, these two children of mine or Hasan and Husain (the sons of Ali)?” Yaqub, due to the faith in his heart, retorted, “By God! Even Qambar, who was a servant of Ali, is more graceful than these two sons of yours!” Hearing this blunt reply, Mutawakkil ordered the executioner to pull out the tongue of the scholar! Please analyse for yourselves. In such times and circumstances, was it at all possible to discuss the Holy Progeny? The sun of the truth remained hidden behind the clouds of cruelty and tyranny.
Let us cite another example of Mutawakkil’s era. After the tragic event of Karbala, Muslims used to visit the holy grave of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.). With the passing of time, the respect for the holy tomb increased and a big mausoleum was built there. When Mutawakkil learnt of this, he ordered its demolition, considering it incompatible with the Muslim ummah and the group that loved the Holy Progeny!
Now, just ponder. All important affairs of Islam are in the control of the caliph. When he indulges in such gestures, what should the people do? In those days, the Mutazela were on a high. Among caliphs, Mamoon and Mutasim favoured them. As soon as Mutawakkil came to power, he dissuaded the people from accepting the creed of Etezaal. He became a favourite of the Sunnah and was also embellished with the title of “Muhyi al-Sunnah” (Reviver of the Sunnah)!
Kindly try to understand what types of anti-religious, unjust and despicable deeds, this establisher of the Sunnah does. Does an establisher of the Sunnah demolish the holy shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) and turn it into rubble? Can a just caliph commit such atrocities merely on a doubt that someone is opposed to his political ambitions and against his personal worldly interests? Thus it has become clear that in that time facts and truth too had remained behind tall obstructions. How strange! How did the caliphs and Amirs of Muslims and the judges of the courts tumble in such a deep abyss?
For proving our point we felt it necessary to present some historical evidences so that it may be known that the history of the Progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has been neglected to a great extent. So much so that even in the early days of Islam, their rights were not appreciated with honour. Rather, they were treated worse than second class citizens. Everyone knows that the third caliph expired; all the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) insisted for the caliphate of Imam Ali (a.s.) and accepted him as a popular caliph. Finally, they all paid allegiance to him heartily.
Great companions led by Talha and Zubair along with the people of Hijaz came to Hazrat Amirul Mu’minin Ali (a.s.) to pay perfect allegiance to him and to thank him for accepting their popular demand. These things did not take place secretly but in the presence of all the great companions and respectable believers. And shortly thereafter, happened the tragic event of the battle of Jamal.
Talha and Zubair, who were considered among the ten ‘Ashara-e-Mubashsharah’, ran after the desire to obtain caliphate, broke their oath of allegiance and duped the people of Basra saying that they were forced to pay allegiance to Ali (a.s.). My only intention by mentioning this is to point out that the people of Basra, in order to verify the accusation of Talha and Zubair that they were forced to give allegiance to Ali (a.s.), sent a man to Medina. After a journey of some weeks, the testifier arrived in the holy city of Medina. By chance, it was a Friday and people had assembled in the mosque of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for Friday prayers. That companion got up and addressed the gathering: O companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)! O the people of Badr and Rizwan, O faithful people! Talha and Zubair are saying in Basra that, “We gave allegiance to Ali (a.s.) under pressure” The people of Basra have sent me to you to clarify the matter from you as you were present at that time. Was the allegiance to Ali (a.s.) obtained perforce or the people had given it voluntarily and happily?” In response to this question, the entire audience kept mum and none considered himself worthy of speaking the truth. Finally Usamah bin Zaid got up and said, “Talha and Zubair had given the allegiance to Ali under threats of Malik Ashtar!” Astonishing indeed! What a state of affairs is this? What compelled Usamah to act in this manner? What made him consider that such a degree of opposition to Ali (a.s.) was proper? Why did the Companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) conceal such an obvious thing? Why did they sow the seeds of hypocrisy and disunity among the pitiable Ummah? Let us assume that Ali (a.s.) was neither the son-in-law of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) nor was he the husband of Fatima Zahra (s.a.), but that he was only an ordinary Muslim. Even then, does not a faithful Muslim have any right on another Muslim?
This incident makes it known to what extent the rights of the Holy Progeny were being trampled upon. No more proof is required to substantiate this fact. This incident itself shows the state of affairs. The examples and events so far mentioned show that in the early days of Islam, ulamah have, as a result of some historical events, not given even the slightest importance to the history of the Holy Prophet’s progeny (s.a.w.a.). Sufficient discussion of the lives of the members of the Holy Progeny has never been undertaken. Thus the claim of this humble creature has been proved.
By the Grace of the Lord Almighty, I have tried to research the history of the Holy Progeny in this book. I hope I will be able to narrate properly the events relating to the history and lives of the members of the Holy Progeny and to state with accuracy going deep into the matter. Maybe I can show how much oppression has been caused by the nation to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and how many rights of his Holy Progeny have been destroyed. While writing this book, I have kept prejudice and blind following away. My only aim is to reveal the truth and the facts.
It is already known to the pitiable Ummah that the Muslim community has now been divided in two important groups: Shia and Sunni. The Shia has concern for the history of the Holy Progeny but the Sunnis have gone toward tafreet (excessiveness). Now when nothing except this difference and disunity is visible, this humble creature has stood up between the two dear and honourable brothers. I extend my hand toward both. I call upon them to come to a point of concurrence and unity, so that they may understand that there is no point of dispute between the two brothers.
And that if our unity is an obligation, then they should never fall in dispute only concerning the Holy Progeny. Since the poor ummah has differed in the matter of the Holy Progeny, it is also imperative that the same Holy Progeny should be the point of unity. I hope the Muslim brotherhood will study this history, leaving aside blind following and prejudice and excessiveness with spiritual delight and will understand the truth and fact and may Allah help us. Now we shall begin the history of Aale Muhammad in a systematic manner.
By Aale Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny), we mean Hazrat Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.), the blessed daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)- Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and her two dear sons (a.s.). All of them comprising the people of the cloak – and also the twelve Imams (a.s.) were from this family. The life history of these personalities, their usurped rights and the difficulties befalling them would be discussed, analyzed and judged. Therefore, we shall begin our discussion with Amirul Momineen (a.s.), the first member of this family.
Legatee of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)
As the Lord Almighty created man, He also guided them to the right path through a guide from among themselves. All of these divine guides in their respective periods were the bearers of authority and dispensers of divine law among the people. Among these great messengers (a.s.) some were higher than others, and some of them reached the status of Ulul Azm. The best of these messengers was the seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (s.a.w.a.).
Also, according to common belief, reaching to the level of certainty, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) was the most respected and superior personality in the eyes of the Holy Prophet (s.a.). None held this position. This discussion, which is Sharii and religious, is related to Islamic laws. Islamic law has some general principles for all issues, which cannot be denied. Once these are promulgated and applied, both the plaintiff and the dependant are obliged to respect it. In Islam, the followers of different sects follow different variations of the law but the general principles are non- hangeable. Among these principles, is the following: Whosoever desires to prove something according to Islam law has to support his arguments with proofs and evidences. No claim can be presented without proof and evidence.
In Islamic Sharia, two types of proofs are valid: Rational (Aqli) and Traditional or Documentary (Naqli). The difference between the two is that if there is no documentary evidence for a particular thing, it cannot be proved with rational arguments alone. But if a particular thing is proved by texts there is no need to justify it rationally. In order to prove that Ali (a.s.) was the foremost and the most superior of all the people of the Muslim Ummah, we are obliged to present both forms of evidences, rational as well as traditional. Here we shall relate the rational arguments and then present the traditional proofs in short. Yes! Human wisdom is a witness that there are two important concepts in the Universe, Existence and non- Existence. Indeed, wisdom is a witness for the superiority and virtue of existence and not for non-existence.
Existence also is of two types, proper and common. Certainly, wisdom will always give preference to a specific command. Specific command is again of two kinds, perceptive and non-perceptive. Now, wisdom is aware that perceptive is superior to non-perceptive. Perceptive is again of two kinds, intellectual and non-intellectual. Intellectual is indeed the superior-most. Intellectual is further divided into two types, knowledgeable and non-knowledgeable. Certainly, wisdom considers knowledgeable to be superior-most. After this introduction of intellect and its kinds we would like to state that after the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.) was the most knowledgeable personality. There was none his equal among all the people. In this way, Hazrat Amir ul Momineen (a.s.) was the most superior person in the Ummah.
One of the proofs of superiority is knowledge, which was present in the personality of Ali (a.s.). Now let us discuss the other causes and signs of superiority because superiority is a quality that is established by its signs and causes. All these causes and signs are present in the person himself. They are not superior to him in isolation. The foremost quality is righteousness. Yes! Wisdom dictates that righteousness is superior to injustice. Another quality is bravery. Certainly good character is its primary advantage. According to wisdom, it is the most superior quality. Thus, everyone will agree that there was no person equal to Ali (a.s.) as regards bravery and a lofty character in his time. Therefore, he was the most superior person. He was the most deserving one according to wisdom. No doubt about it! This was in brief, our rational argument to prove the superiority of Ali (a.s.).
Let us now prove it from traditional point of view. The first category of textual proofs is the Holy Quran, and the second the sayings of the holy Prophet (s.a.). There is no doubt concerning the validity of these two proofs. 33 As far as the sayings of the Prophet (s.a.) are concerned, if their authenticity is established, the Muslims consider them at par with the verses of the Holy Quran. The only problem regarding traditions is that some of them are authentic and some are not. Even though hundreds of important writings and thousands of books have been written to interpret and study the traditions we still find a large number of forged sayings among the books of traditions. Some of them have created untold controversies and problems among the Muslim nation. There is a marked difference between the methods of Shia and Sunni scholars in evaluating the authenticity of a Hadith.
Shias generally believe that it is necessary for a reporter of Hadith Sunnat, all the companions were just and thus all the traditions reported by them are authentic and reliable. However, according to Shia scholars, all the companions were not just that traditions reported by them couldn’t be accepted without scrutiny. Yes! Even though the differences are minute, they are very important because the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) have reached us only through the companions. Hence the justice of companions is an important criterion for the correctness of the narrations. The humble writer of this book was a common Sunni scholar. In spite of this he always maintained that all the companions of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were not just. This can be illustrated as follows: The Ahle Sunnat accept the narrations of the companion Mughirah bin Shu’bah and also consider him to be just. But it should be known that justice has no existence outside a person. It is apparent through the actions of that person. But if someone opposes the established commands of Islam, whoever it may be, far from his being just, he would be labeled a sinner and unjust person. This is established through the opinions of well-known Ahle Sunnat scholars. Please note the factors that show whether Mughirah was a sinner or a just person. History chronicles that Mughirah was the governor of Basrah during the Caliphate of second caliph. In this period, he committed fornication with a woman named Umme Jamil of the Bani Aamir tribe. Four companions witnessed this act.
One was Abu Bakr and others were Nafe, Shabil and Ziyad. In the beginning three of them testified. The fourth one gave a false testimony and thus saved him from the punishment of stoning. It is clear that Mughirah had committed fornication and became eligible for a verdict of stoning from the Caliph. The complete incident is recorded in various history books, especially the book, Fitratul Islam. Ibne Abil Hadeed has also considered as insufficient the testimony of people who committed greater sins and did not consider their hadith reliable.
Mughirah was the ruler of Kufa when he saw Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and (God forbid) uttered a curse on him. So much so that the writer of Fitratul Islam and Ibne Abil Hadeed, the Shafei scholar, says that Mughirah bin Shu’bah cursed Ali (a.s.) and his pure descendants in the presence of Saeed bin Zaid, the great companion. Many other companions who left the Masjid in disgust also witnessed this. Another book that has recorded these misdeeds is Aghani of Abul Faraj Isfahani.
Ibne Abil Hadeed in Sharh-o-Nahjil Balagha has also mentioned this through a chain of narrators. Moreover, the writers of Fitratul Islam records under the discussion of the martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi. Appointed by Amir Mu’awiyah, Mughirah bin Shu’bah the ruler of Kufa was always imprecating Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and his pure descendants. One day while he was committing this vile act, Hujr bin Adi stood up and hit the head of Mughirah with a stone. This incident became the very cause of Mu’awiyah’s oppression of Hujr that ultimately led to his martyrdom.
From the above narration, it becomes clear that Mughirah cursed Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) even though the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had said, “One who curses Ali, curses me and one who 35 curses me, curses Allah.” Hence, hahabuddin Alusi writes in his Tafseer, “Anyone, who curses Ali bin Abi Talib, whether in his life or after he passed away, would be an infidel.” Thus in the book Hayatul Haiwan, Allamah Damiri and in Yanabiul Mawaddah of Khwaja Kalaan Qunduzi have also established this fact. Thus, it is confirmed that by committing this deed, Mughirah had become an infidel. Therefore any tradition related by him will not be reliable. Such people are not capable of relating the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi