By M. Abdullah
The leader of the congregation at the Grand Mosque (Masjid-ul-Haraam) in Makkah, Mr. Adel al-Kalbani shocked even his interviewer on BBC TV in May 2009
when he declared that all the ‘ulama (religious scholars) of the Shi‘as are “kuffar” (non-believers) . This is not the first, and certainly, it will not be the last outburst by the clerics of the Wahhabi sect, expressing their blind hatred against the Shi‘as of Ahl-ul-Bayt (sacred family of the Prophet), despite the fact that many Shi‘a pilgrims innocently pray behind them the obligatory congregational prayers.
Mr. al-Kalbani was appointed by the King of Saudi Arabia in that position only last September. So his outburst may be seen as an attempt to secure his position by sending signals to the authorities that he is loyal to their mode of thinking. Although the Shi‘as in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia represent 15-20% of the total population, the Wahhabi cleric said in his interview: “As for repatriating the Shi‘as, we can possibly discuss it.” He claimed that the Shi‘as are not entitled to be represented in the Supreme Council of ‘Ulama, although they are supposed to enjoy the rights of citizenry in a country that has granted them its citizenship. Yet, they have to undergo discrimination because of their religious beliefs and culture.
“There are Shi‘as in the kingdom, but they are a minority and they should not be included in the Supreme Council of Ulama,” stressed Mr. al-Kalbani. He further claimed that they already have more rights than they should have. The Supreme Council was extended in February 2009 to include the other Schools of Sunnis (Maliki, Hanafi and Shafi‘i). It was exclusively formed in the past from members of the Hanbali School, to which the Wahhabi sect is affiliated. In recent months, the Shi‘as called for the establishment of religious pluralism and demanded an entry of Shi‘a ‘ulama to the Supreme Council. The Shi‘as suffer discrimination by being banned from holding key positions in military, diplomacy and security and from exercising their religious practices and cultural activities.
Mr. Adel al-Kabani, having a total disregard for the sensitive position vested (or more appropriately, wasted) in him, made his declaration in his interview on BBC TV (Arabic service). Speaking from Husayniyat-al- Rasul al-A‘dam in Kuwait, ‘Allama Shaykh ‘Abdul Hameed al-Muhajir protested in almost every single night’s sermons during the majalis in commemoration of the martyrdom of Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra, demanding an unqualified apology to the Shi‘as and an immediate removal of this cleric from his post by King ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz because of his hostilities against the noble family of the Prophet of Islam. Hence, praying behind him is not valid at all, he emphasised in his speeches. He also appealed to the Shi‘as around the world and especially, the Shi‘a Maraja‘ to adopt a firm stance against the Takfiris (those who declare everybody except themselves as non-believers) . ‘Allama Shaykh al-Muhajir questioned that if the Shi‘as are “kuffar”, then on what basis does the Servant of the Two Sanctuaries (Khadimul-Haramayn al-Sharifain) issue visas to the them to perform pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina? Aren’t kuffar prohibited from entering the two sacred places? He pointed out that these extremist clerics are violating and contradicting the official policies of their own leaders and governments.
Why did ‘Allama al-Muhajir stress that to pass a verdict of kufr on the Shi‘a ‘ulama and Maraja‘ is tantamount to passing a verdict of kufr on the Imams of Ahl-ul-Bayt? Many Wahhabis and those who unfortunately imitate them blindly, are perhaps not aware, or they are aware but they turn a blind-eye, that many if not most Shi‘a ‘ulama are the direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (saww) through the pure lineage of Imam ‘Ali and Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra (peace and blessings be upon them). Hence, to curse or abuse or insult, or to generalise in accusing them, or to base one’s allegations on hearsay and imagination, borders dangerously at cursing or abusing the Prophet and his Ahl-ul-Bayt.
It follows that flinging frivolous accusations against the Shi‘a ‘ulama may result in two major sins (al-Kabaer): (a) committing buhtan (wrongful accusations) which may land the perpetrator into severe retribution in this life, in barzakh and in the Hereafter; and (b) abusing the Prophet and his immaculate progeny, which may land the perpetrator outside the fold of Islam altogether.
In every public gathering that ‘Allama Shaykh al-Muhajir addressed in Iraq during the Fatimiyyah majalis, where huge crowds numbering several thousands gathered to listen to him, he called upon the followers of Ahl-ul-Bayt to rise up to their responsibilities and defend the honour of Ahl-ul-Bayt at individual and organisational levels; and not to ignore this serious challenge emanating from the Takfiris that the life, property and honour of the Shi‘as are violable. As it is, their violent extremists are already terrorising and indiscriminately killing the Shi‘as in several parts of the world.
On the eve of the martyrdom of Sayyida Fatimah al-Zahra, ‘Allama Shaykh al-Muhajir, one of the most renowned Arabic speaker in the world, who has served the cause of Imam Hussayn a.s. for more than 50 years, vowed that he will not rest in peace until the King of Saudi Arabia apologises to the world Shi‘a community and removes the offending imam of Masjid-ul-Haraam from his position.
Addressing a large gathering in Basra, ‘Allama Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Fali also demanded an immediate action against the imam of Masjid-ul-Haraam and called for protests world-wide. ‘Allama al-Fali said, as these people falsely accuse the Shi‘as of being the grave-worshippers and by doing so, they provoke public sentiments against the followers of the School of Ahl-ul-Bayt, then let it be known, “may Allah curse the grave-worshippers” , he declared. If building a structure on the graves is “shirk” (polytheism) , then he asked, on what basis is the structure built over the graves of the khulafa and over the graves of imam al-Bukhari, on whose collection of narrations do their legal Schools depend? They also claim that the Shi‘as believe that the Qur’an is distorted. He gave references after references of several narrations from the books of Hadiths that the Sunnis consider the most authentic, where they themselves claim that distortions and deletions of certain passages have taken place from the Qur’an. Therefore, it would seem that they are trying to shift their guilt on others.
In his public address on 13 May 2009, ‘Allama Sayyid al-Fali quoted an interesting episode. He said that during the time of Saddam, the secret police of the tyrant arrested a learned scholar in Najaf and accused him of abusing the Arabs. The scholar was shocked and defended himself by saying that he has not abused the Arabs. The police asked, “didn’t you say “tabbat yada abi Lahabin wa tab?” (“Perish the hands of the Father of Flame (Abu Lahab)! Perish he!”). The secret police protested, wasn’t Abu Lahab an Arab? The scholar replied that it is not he who has abused him, but it is Allah Who has condemned him in the Qur’an. (Q. 111:1).
‘Allama Sayyid al-Fali had said in one of his previous majalis, quoting directly from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal whose jurisprudence the Wahhabis follow, that Mu‘awiyah used to drink wine and his son Yazid was a vicious sinner. The Wahhabi media and press reacted by blowing the matter out of proportion and accused him of abusing the companions of the Prophet, despite the fact that Yazid was not a companion; and it was his father who had initiated the evil practice of cursing the leader of all the companions and the nearest member of the Prophet’s family, Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib on the pulpits throughout the Muslim empire - the practice that continued for over 70 years.
‘Allama Sayyid al-Fali questioned the honesty of these people in concealing from the public the historic facts that it was Mu‘awiyah who had started the vile practice in the sermons of Friday prayers. Why don’t they utter a word of criticism against Mu‘awiyah for cursing the chief of the companions of the Prophet?