“My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20:52).
The perception or the doctrine of human infallibility has played a very dominant role in the history of religions. Generally the founders or preachers of faith, have been exalted to such heights of supernatural infallibility, that with the passage of time they were understood to be divine or incarnated divine. Qur’an being the last message of guidance for the humanity has dealt with this aspect in a way which leaves little doubt or confusion, the Perfection belongs to Allah: “..My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20:52). Qur’an says: “..the angels celebrate the Praises of their Lord and pray for forgiveness for all beings on earth..”(Qur’an;42:5). “What do the disbelievers think? Shall We treat the Muslims as We treat the guilty?”(Qur’an;68:35). The implication is that, all human beings whether believers or unbelievers are liable to err and sin, God “is full of forgiveness un to men despite al their evildoing”(also Qur’an;13:6 & 10:11). Hence unbelievers if they repent, and believe, Allah will forgive them. Faith in Allah, seeking His guidance and forgiveness will result in His Mercy: “Then those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him soon will He admit them to Mercy and Grace from Him and guide them to Himself by a straight Way”(Qur’an;4:175).It is mentioned in Sahih Muslims Hadith:1177: “Allah said:....My servants, all of you are liable to err except one whom I guide on the right path, so seek right guidance from Me so that I may direct you to the right path”…. O My servants, you commit error night and day and I am there to pardon your sins, so beg pardon from Me so that I may grant you pardon…”. “..I'll accept their repentance, for I am the Receiver of Repentance, the Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:160). According to Islamic teachings only the children are sinless. The Prophet Muhammad (peace ) said, "Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Magainism”(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, 2.440, Narrated by Ibn Shihab). “Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith - the nature made by Allah, the one on which mankind is created - and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the standard of true faith, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30). Once an adulteress was brought in front of Jesus, to be stoned to death according to Mosaics Law, he said: “.."Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John;8:7). They all left quietly, none was infallible. No mortal can judge the sins, to decide infallibility, except Allah, the Most Knowledgeable.
According to Imamate, the core belief of Shiite Islam, there must be an infallible, divinely appointed guide, in every place and time, who preserves the religion exactly as it was revealed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The person who bears the duty of guarding and preserving the Divine message after it is revealed and is chosen by God for this function is called the Imam, in the same way that the person who bears the prophetic spirit and has the function of receiving Divine injunctions and laws from God is called the Prophet. It is possible for the Imamateand Prophecy (Nubuwwat) either to be joined in one person or to be separate. The twelve Imams consist of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his eleven descendants who were chosen to the Imamate one after another. They being chosen and from the household of Prophet (peace be upon him) are considered as infallible. There are four main aspects in this concept, which need to be analyzed: Firstly; the ‘infallibility’, Secondly, the ‘membership’ of the household of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Thirdly, ‘the divinely appointed guide’.
First the human infallibility; according to Oxford dictionary, infallible means; error-free, unerring, unfailing, faultless, flawless, impeccable, unimpeachable, perfect. Once applied to a human, it is meant that the person is free from any error, totally perfect. There is human tendency to exalt some respectable people, either due to their piety, knowledge or relationship with some exalted figure to the level of infallibility out of sheer love and reverence. In historic perspective it is observed that this has resulted in to practices, totally against the monotheism (Tawhid), central to the faith of Abraham, the Islam. The most glaring example is of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), who has been made to be called as Son of God, sharing divinity in Trinity, in contravention to his teachings and preaching.
Infallible Priesthood in Abrahamic Faiths:
Their priest and rabbis (doctors of law) considered as infallible, made lawful things as unlawful and unlawful things as lawful, and Jews and Christians followed them, hence by doing so they really worshiped them. Allah says: “They take as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were commanded to worship only One God. There is no god but He. Be He glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!”(Qur’an;9:31). The growth of Jewish superstition is shown in the Talmud, and of Christian superstition in the doctrine of papal infallibility and the worship of saints, credited with divine powers in the Roman Catholic Church. Priest worship, and the worship of saints and ascetics is a form of superstition to which men have been prone in all ages. The worship of "lords many and gods many" is not confined only to the Pagans. The deification of the son of Mary is held and still holds in its thrall a large portion of civilized humanity.
It had long been taught that the church, as "the pillar and bulwark of the truth," could not fall away from the truth of divine revelation and therefore was "indefectible" or even "infallible." Inerrancy had likewise been claimed for the Bible by both Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians. As the visible head of that church and as the authorized custodian of the Bible, the pope had also been thought to possess a special gift of the Holy Spirit, enabling him to speak definitively on faith and morals. Hence in Roman Catholic theology, the doctrine that the pope, acting as supreme teacher and under certain conditions, cannot err when he teaches in matters of faith or morals. As an element of the broader understanding of the infallibility of the church, this doctrine is based on the belief that the church has been entrusted with the teaching mission of Jesus Christ and that, in view of its mandate from Christ, it will remain faithful to that teaching through the assistance of the Holy Spirit. As such, the doctrine is related to, but distinguishable from, the concept of indefectibility, or the doctrine that the grace promised to the church assures its perseverance until the end of time. The term infallibility was rarely mentioned in the early and medieval church. Critics of the doctrine have pointed to various occasions in the history of the church when popes are said to have taught heretical doctrines, the most notable case being that of Honorius I (625-638), who was condemned by the third Council of Constantinople (680-681, the sixth ecumenical council). The definition of the first Vatican Council (1869-70), established amid considerable controversy, states the conditions under which a pope may be said to have spoken infallibly, or ex cathedra ("from his chair" as supreme teacher). It is prerequisite that the pope intend to demand irrevocable assent from the entire church in some aspect of faith or morals. Despite the rarity of recourse to this claim, and despite the emphasis given to the authority of the bishops in the second Vatican Council, the doctrine remained a major obstacle to ecumenical endeavours in the late 20th century and was the subject of controversial discussion even among Roman Catholic theologians.(Encyclopedia Britannica). Ellen G White, in his book, ‘The Great Controversy’ writes, “The accession of Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred form Christ, the true foundation, to the Pope of Rome,” (p.52). Thus , church had become infallible and demanded undeserving homage.
Islam is a very simple faith, the majority of Muslims do not believe in the concept ofinfallible priesthood or religious hierarchy like Catholic or OrthodoxChurches and other religions. This belief is based on the inspiration from Qur’an and Sunnah. Every faithful has direct link with Allah, who is very close to him (Qur’an;50:16). When ever faithfuls call, He listens to their prayers (Qur’an;2:186). Allah forgive sins once believer repents (Qur’an;2:160). No intercessor or intermediary is required. The chain of Prophethood has been closed through divine command, by declaring Muhammad to be the last Prophet and closing his line of inheritance(Qur’an;33:40). With the end of prophethood, the divine revelations, stands closed. Qur’an and Sunnah is available for the guidance of humanity. To achieve this universal mission, Qur’an, the final and complete Book for the guidance of humanity was reveled to the Prophet: “To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between people according to Allah's revelations and do not yield to their vain desires diverging from the truth which has come to you. We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you. If Allah wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to Allah; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;5:48). Unlike previous scriptures, Allah has Himself taken responsibility to guard and preserve Qur’an against corruption: (Qur’an;15:9).
Muslims as the ‘middle way community’ (Qur’an;2:143) have been appointed as inheritor of Qur’an (Qur’an;35:32). Some believers have to devote themselves to studies of religion, and admonish others (Qur’an;9:122). A band of people should rise to invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil (Qur’an;3:104). In his farewell address, the Apostle summed up when he said: O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.” Muslims have been able to create men of knowledge and understanding to spread the message of Islam.
Muslim can lead prayers, which can be performed in a mosque or any where on clean ground, can also perform simple rituals at birth, marriage and death. The religious teachers have special responsibilities in teaching the religious sciences, caution the society in enjoining good and forbidding evil, rendering their expert advice and opinions on new challenges to the government and society. All this should be done peacefully with in the confines of law without threatening peace of society, Allah says: “That House of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the End is (best) for the righteous.”(Qur’an;28:83). The other responsibilities are common to other Muslims as well, like, preaching (da’wah). Islam encompasses social, political, economic, judicial and all spheres of human life, hence the experts in these fields holding authority should perform their functions with in the tenets of Islam. The scholars should assist them. The mushroom growth of bearded Imams (prayer leaders) is due to negligence of Muslims who due to their apathy towards their religious obligations. Their lack of knowledge has left the faith of Islam at the mercy of mostly semiliterate scholars, though some are genuine.
Divine Plan of Creation - Guidance, Choice & Trial : The human infallibility needs to be analyzed in the light of Allah’s ‘Plan of Creation’, Qur’an and the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the greatest human being. Allah says: “(O Muhammad), tell them: "I am but a human being like you; the revelation is sent to me to declare that your God is One God; therefore, whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do good deeds and join no other deity in the worship of his Lord.”(Qur’an;18:110). The creation of Man, according to Qur’an is for trial: “Verily We have created Man into (life of) pain, toil and trial. Does he think that none has power over him?”(Qura’n;90:4); “Indeed, We have created man …… so that We may test him. Therefore, We gave him the faculties of hearing and sight. Then We guided him to the Way: Now, it is his choice either to be grateful or to be a disbeliever.”(Qura’n;76:2-3); “We sent an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them. Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power Full of Wisdom”(Qur’an;14:4). “And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard and the steadfast, and till We test your record.”(Qura’an;47:31). Hence God points out the road to truth, and lets men choose as they will.
Free Will and Accountability: The predestination, reward & punishment are to be understood in the context of the timeless knowledge of Allah, His Powerto plan and execute His plans (Qadaa and Qadar) and limited freedom of choice granted to human by Him. God's Universal Plan, Qadha wa Qadr, is much misunderstood. That Plan is unalterable, and that is His Will. It means that in the spiritual world, there are laws of justice, mercy, grace, penalty, etc. which work as surely as anything known. The great Muslim philosopher Averroës (Ibn Rushd) while commenting on Qadaa and Qadar says: The human actions depend partly on his own free will and partly on causes outside his control. Man is free to wish and to act in a particular manner, but his will is always restrained and determined by exterior causes. These causes spring from the general laws of nature; God alone knows their sequence. Hence if some one refuses Faith, becomes a rebel, with each step he goes further and further down, and his pace will be accelerated; he will scarcely be able to take spiritual breath, and his recovery, in spite of God's mercy which man has rejected, will be as difficult as if he had to climb up to the skies. On the other hand, the godly Will find, with each step, the next step easier. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) expressed this truth paradoxically: "He that hath, to him shall be given; but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath"(Mark;4:25), “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of the Father.”(John:6:65). Hence according to ‘His Design’, human is prone to error, can only be saved through obedience to Allah, seeking His Mercy.
The Human Soul (Nafas) and Infallibility :
The Human Soul (Nafas) may be referred as human self or personality as a whole: that is being composed of a physical body and that inexplicable life-essence loosely described as ‘soul’ or “living entity”. Allah says: “Consider the soul (nafas) and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10). “O mankind! Have fear of your Lord, the One who created you from a single soul…”( Qur’an;4:1). Muhammad Asad in his commentary to this verse, explains the meanings of soul: “Out of many meanings attributable to the term nafs-soul, spirit, mind, animate being,, living entity, human being, person, self (in the sense of personal identity), human being. Life essence, vital principle, and so forth- Most of the classical commentators choose “human being”, and assume that it refers here to Adam. Muhammad ‘Abduh, however rejects this interpretation (Manar IV, 323 ff) and gives, instead his preference to “humankind” inasmuch as this term stresses the common origin and brotherhood of the human race (which undoubtedly, is the purport of the above verse) without, at the same time, unwarrantably tying it to the Biblical account of the creation of Adam and Eve.
The Muslim scholars postulate three states or stages of the development of the human soul (Nafas): Firstly; Nafas Ammara (Qur’an;22:53), the impulses which often conflict with what the intellect regards as moral good, hence making man ‘Prone to Evil’. It is the ‘Unregenerate Human Soul’, that seeks its satisfaction in the lower earthly desires, if not checked and controlled, will lead to perdition; Secondly; Nafas Lawwama (Qur’an;75:2), which feels ‘Conscious of Evil’, may be compared to Conscience, except that in English usage Conscience is a faculty and not a stage in spiritual development. Nafas Lawwama, the self-reproaching soul that feels conscious of sin and resists evil, asks for Allah's grace and pardon after repentance and tries to amend; hopes to reach salvation; Thirdly; Nafas Mutmainna (Qur’an;89:27), the ‘Righteous Soul’ or ‘Fully Satisfied Soul’, the highest stage of all, when it achieves full rest and satisfaction. The righteous enter into their inheritance and receive their welcome with a title that suggests freedom from all pain, sorrow, doubt, struggle, disappointment, passion, and even further desire; at rest, in peace; in a state of complete satisfaction. In Muslim theology, this stage of the soul is the final stage of bliss. Allah says to Nafas Mutmainna: “Return to your Lord, well pleased with Him and well-pleasing to Him. Join My servants, and enter My paradise.”(Qur’an;89:28-30).
The Special Knowledge of Prophets:
The prophets are chosen human beings, who are guided, given special knowledge and granted special exalted status by Allah: “He (alone) knows the Unseen nor Does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries, except to the Messenger whom He may choose for that purpose, and then He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord. He also encompasses all their surroundings and keeps a count of each and everything.".”(Qur’an;72:26-27). They are bestowed with knowledge of certainty, there are three types; ilmulyaqin, certainty by reasoning or inference, or certainty of mind(Qur’an;102:5-6), 'ain-ul-yaqin, certainty by personal inspection.(Qur’an;102:7), haqq-il-yaqin, truth of assured certainty.”(Qur’an;69:51). Allah says :“We showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth , as We show you with examples from nature, so he became one of the firm believers.”(Qur’an;6:75). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also shown the His signs and heavens through night journey commonly known as Mairaj. (Qur’an;17:1). Due to this special knowledge of certainty the Apostles are very firm in their faith. However they continue to remain human and operate with in the ambit of divine laws governing the conduct of human being, although Allah is kind to them, ever ready to help and forgive. The freedom of choice, to over come the temptations of soul and trials further exalt their status. Allah extends His favour to them, as they pray to Him as His humble servants. In their day to day life, as human, at times they do err, but Allah protects them from evil and forgive their errors (as they are not angels). Nevertheless complete divine protection is provided in delivery of Revelations and in conveyance of true message of Allah. They can not commit any error in the maters of Din (faith) (Qur’an; 53:3-6, 72:26-28, 56:76-80, 15:9, 36:21, 7:158).
Apostles and Nafas: The Messengers of God, though His chosen servants are also prone to the influence of soul (Nafas). This is supported through the example of Prophet Joseph in Qur’an: “Indeed in the story of Joseph and his brothers, there are signs for Seekers (after Truth)”(Qur’an;12:7). Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him), went through the trial, he came out successful with the Mercy of God:“(Joseph said) Not that I am free from sin - man's soul is prone to evil (nafs la- 'ammaarah), except the one to whom my Lord has shown mercy, certainly my Lord is Forgiving,"(Qur’an;12:53). The wife of Egyptian master of Joseph, tried to seduce him. She was overwhelmed by passion, and his plea had no effect on her. It is narrated: “She (wife of Egyptian master of Joseph) advanced (with passion) toward him (Joseph), and he would have advanced towards her had he not seen a sign from his Lord. Thus did We shielded him from indecency and immodesty, for he was one of Our chosen, sincere servants.”(Qur’an;12:24). Joseph (peace be upon him) was human after all, and her passionate love and her beauty placed a great temptation in his path. But Joseph had a sure refuge, his faith in Allah. His spiritual eyes saw something that her eyes, blinded by passion, did not see. She thought no one could see them when the doors were closed. Joseph knew that Allah is All Seeing, All Hearing. That made him strong and proof against temptation. Man can only try, with his free will like Joseph, to be true and sincere; Allah will purify and save him from all that is wrong. Again in the second attempt once the ladies of City’s elite were invited by the wife of his master: “He (Joseph) said: "O my Lord! I would rather go to prison than that to which they (ladies of City’s elite) invite me; and unless You ward off their cunning snare from me, I may, in my youthful folly, feel inclined towards them and become one of the ignorant."(Qur’an;12:33). Like a true Prophet of Allah, Joseph took refuge in Allah. He understands that humans have been created weak by nature. (Qur’an;4:28). He did not pit his own strength against the whole assault of evil. He relied on Allah to turn evil away from him, and praised Him alone for success in his fight. It is only the ignorant who do not know man's weakness and Allah's strength!
Temptations: The request of Satan for permission to seduce humanity except the sincere devotees of Allah was granted by Allah (Qur’an;15:39-41). It is evident from the story of Joseph, that even the chosen people like Messengers of God are not free from the evil temptations of Nafas Ammara, unless they seek mercy from Allah. This is in line with the Divine laws, governing the human conduct in this life. He has endowed human with intellect and guidance, they are free to choose between good and evil. Allah does not thrust or force goodness upon some one, basing on the race or blood links: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. God said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My Covenant," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124). Jesus was tempted by Satan: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”(Mathew;4:1).“Again, the devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.”(Mathew;4:8-11).
The Biblical account of the lives of Prophets, Noah (Genesis: Chapter; 5-15, 9:20-27), Prophet Lot (Genesis;19:30-38), Prophet David, (2 Samuel;11:4, 11:6-25, 6:20), Prophet Solomon (1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chronicles 1-9) is full of distortions to the extent of blasphemous narratives of character assassination which have been usually incorporated by the Israelites to degrade most of the pious messengers and prophets of God. The other extreme is by exalting Prophet Jesus to the level of divinity and son of God, which he never claimed (Acts; 2:22, Mathew;5:17-20). It is Islam alone which maintains the balance, keeping the prophets at highest exalted place but with in limits of humanity (Qur’an;21:8, 18:110, 11:31, 3:144, 2:136, 42:13 , 17:3, 14:47 & 2:253).
Trial and Errors :
The first human and Prophet Adam(peace be upon him) made the mistake of eating forbidden plant: “Later on Adam repented and his Lord chose him, accepted his repentance and gave him guidance,”(Qur’an;20:122). Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was tested, but his desire for offspring was conditionally declined: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. Allah said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My pledge," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124).
Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah for safety of his family from the floods: “Before them Noah prayed to Us, We accepted his prayer and delivered him and his family from the great calamity.”(Qur’an;21:76). “Nuh called out to his Lord saying: "O my Lord! My son is of my family, and surely Your promise is true and You are the most just of all Judges!" Allah replied: "O Nuh! In fact he is not of your family; for he is not of righteous conduct. So do not ask Me anything of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you become one of the ignorant!" Nuh said: "My Lord! I seek refuge in You for asking You that of which I have no knowledge; and unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall surely be lost!"(Qur’an;11:45-47).
It is narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith 3.420 & 4.578, that Abraham did not tell a lie except on three occasions. Twice for the sake of Allah when he said, "I am sick," and he said, "(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it." The third was when Abraham and Sarah were going on a journey Abraham, to save from tyrant ruler he mentioned Sara as his sister. Abraham appears as both a man of great spiritual depth and strength and a person with common human weaknesses and needs (Geneses;20:2). Among Children of Israel Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) is one of highly respected Messenger of God. He life is full of trials : “Then he (Moses) prayed: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul (by killing Egyptian), please forgive me." So Allah forgave him, surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Moses promised: "O my Lord! After this favor that You have bestowed on me, I shall never be a helping hand to the criminals."(Qur’an;28:16-17). “When Moses came back to his people angry and grieved he said: "evil (worship of golden calf statue) it is that ye have done in my place in my absence: did ye make haste to bring on the judgment of your Lord?" He put down the tablets seized his brother by (the hair of) his head and dragged him to him. Aaron said: "son of my mother! the people did indeed reckon me as naught and went near to slaying me! make not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune nor count thou me amongst the people of sin." Moses prayed: "O my Lord! forgive me and my brother! admit us to Thy mercy! for Thou art the Most Merciful of those who sow mercy!"(Qur’an;7:150-151). “He (Khizar) said: "Didn't I say that you would not manage to have patience with me? Moses said: "Pardon my forgetfulness, do not be angry with me on account of this mistake.”(Qur’an;18:73)
Prophet David (peace be upon him) was, apart being the apostle, was a just king. Judged by the highest standard of those nearest to Allah, the thought of self-pride and self-righteousness had to be washed off from him by his own act of self-realisation and repentance. This was freely accepted by Allah : “(David) said: "He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (single) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes: truly many are the Partners (in business) who wrong each other: not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and how few are they?"... And David gathered that We had tried him: he asked forgiveness of his Lord fell down bowing (in prostration) and turned (to Allah in repentance). So We forgave him this (lapse): he enjoyed indeed a Near Approach to Us and a beautiful place of (final) Return.”(Qur’an;38:24-25). “Behold, We also put Sulaiman to test and placed a mere body on his throne, then he turned to Us in repentance, and said "O Lord! Forgive me and grant me a kingdom similar of which may not be given to anyone after me. Surely You are the real Giver.”(Qur’an;38:34-35). “We blessed Jonah (Younus), when he departed in anger, thinking We would not take him to task for this, but later he prayed to Us from the depths of darkness, "There is no god but You, glory be to You! Indeed I was the one who committed wrong." We accepted his prayer and delivered him from distress; thus do We deliver the believers.”(Qur’an;21:87-88).
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, Volume; 9, Hadith; 532C, narrated by Anas:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The believers will be kept (waiting) on the Day of Resurrection so long that they will become worried and say, 'Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord so that He may relieve us from our place.' Then they will go to Adam and say, 'You are Adam, the father of the people. Allah created you with His Own Hand and made you reside in His Paradise and ordered His angels to prostrate before you, and taught you the names of all things will you intercede for us with your Lord so that He may relieve us from this place of ours? Adam will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention his mistakes he had committed, i.e., his eating off the tree though he had been forbidden to do so. He will add, 'Go to Noah, the first prophet sent by Allah to the people of the Earth.' The people will go to Noah who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention his mistake which he had done, i.e., his asking his Lord without knowledge. He will say (to them), 'Go to Abraham, (Khalil Ar-Rahman).' They will go to Abraham who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He would mention three words by which he told a lie, and say (to them), 'Go to Moses, a slave whom Allah gave the Torah and spoke to, directly and brought near Him, for conversation.' They will go to Moses who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention the mistake he made, i.e., killing a person, and will say (to them), 'Go to Jesus, Allah's slave and His Apostle, and a soul created by Him and His Word.' (Be: And it was.) They will go to Jesus who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking but you'd better go to Muhammad, the slave whose past and future sins have been forgiven by Allah.' So they will come to me, and I will ask my Lord's permission to enter His House and then I will be permitted…(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: Hadith 9.532C). Hence no human can claim to be sinless or infallible, one has to seek His blessings and Mercy by being His obedient servant, He is most forgiving most gracious: “My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20:52).
The Great Human & Messenger of God are Not God:
The abosolute Perfection and Infallability can only be attributed to Allah: “Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, the Guardian, the Almighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory be to Allah! from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).”(Qur’an;59:23). As far as Revelation is concerned, it is form Him, Allah says: “nor does he (Muhammad) speak out of his own desire. This (Qur'an) is but an inspired revelation. He is being taught by one who is mighty, powerful (angel Gabriel); the one free from defects who became stable in the view.”(Qur’an;53:3-6). Allah has also guaranteed the protection of Revelation : "Indeed, We sent down the message and We will guard it (from corruption)" (Qur’an;15:9). “..He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord..”(72:26-28). The purity of the text of the Qur’an through fourteen centuries is a foretaste of the eternal care with which Allah's Truth is guarded through all ages. All corruptions, inventions, and accretions pass away, but Allah's pure and holy Truth will never suffer eclipse even though the whole world mocked at it and were bent on destroying it. Hence it can be stated without that the Qur’an is infallible word of God.
Some Aspects of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him):
The created human beings, even most exalted can not be totally free from error, part of human nature. A Prophet is a Prophet, not God, and as a human he may commit errors in worldy, non relighous matters. Hence worldly matters are left to personal discretion of Apostle, some incidents from the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), recorded in Qur’an and Hadith are narrated to illustrate.
Grafting of Date Palm Trees: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), used his discretion and expressed his opinion on many ordinary matters and even changed his opinion on advice of his companions. It has been narrated Rafi' ibn Khadij: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) came to Medina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, (or; when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Hadith Number:1099) and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being…(Sahih Muslim Hadith Number:1100).
Selection of CampSite at Badar: In the battle of Badr, the Prophet (peace be upon him), chose a place for the Muslim army to encamp. That place was not suitable from the strategic point of view. One of his companions asked him: "Messenger of Allah, has this place where you have encamped been chosen for you by Allah, or is it your personal choice?" When the Prophet (peace be upon him), informed him that it was his personal opinion, the man advised the Prophet (peace be upon him), to move the encampment to another place, explaining his rationale. The Prophet (peace be upon him), found his advice to be logical, hence ordered to relocate the troops accordingly.
Prisoners of War at Badar: Victorious Muslims took seventy captives at the battle of Badr. After mutual council, it was decided to release them for ransom. This resulted in harsh Divine response recorded in Qur’an: “It is not fit for a Prophet that he should take prisoners of war until he has thoroughly subdued the land. Do you, (O followers of Muhammad), desire the temporal goods of this world? While Allah desires for you the hereafter? Allah is Mighty, Wise. Had there not been a previous sanction from Allah to take ransom, you should have been sternly punished for what you have taken.”(Qur’an;8:67-68).While the general principle of fighting for the purpose of taking captives in order to get their ransom is condemned, the particular action in this case was approved. At the same time, if there has been heavy loss of life already, captives may be taken, and it would be for the Leader to exercise his discretion as to the time when it was safe to release them, and whether the release should be free or on parole or on a fine by way of punishment. Destruction and slaughter, however repugnant to a gentle soul like that of Muhammad (peace be upon him), were inevitable where evil tried to suppress the good. Even Jesus, whose mission was more limited, had to say: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword."(Mathew;10:34).
Invoking God’s Curse Upon Pagans at Uhad: As recorded in several authentic Traditions, the Prophet invoked, during the battle of Uhad, God’s curse upon the leaders of the pagan Quraish (Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal); and when he lay on the ground severally injured, he exclaimed, “How could those people prosper after having done this to their prophet, who but invites them to (acknowledge) their Sustainer?” – whereupon these verses were revealed (Muslim and Ibn Hanbal): “O Prophet (Muhammad), you have no authority to decide the affair; it is up to Allah whether He pardon or punish them since they are wrongdoers. To Allah belongs all that is in the Heavens and in the earth. He pardons whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;3:128-129).
Grant of Exemption from Tabuk Expedition: In 631 CE, the Byzantines threat was reported in the north, Prophet (peace be upon him) marched towards Tabuk with a force of 30,000 volunteers. The weather was very hot and the crop was also ripe at Medina, many people requested the Apostle for exemption with flimsy excuses, which he granted due to his kind nature, then it was revealed: “Allah forgives you! But why did you (O Muhammad) gave them leave to stay behind? (You yourself should have not given them leave) so that it would have become clear which of them spoke the truth and which of them invented false excuses.”(Qur’an;9:43).
Ignoring The Blind Man: Once some big chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the Holy Prophet's assembly and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Ibn Umm Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah revealed: “The (Prophet) frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell thee but that perchance he might Grow (in spiritual understanding)? Or that he might receive admonition and the teaching might profit him?(Qur’an;80:1-4).
Making Lawful as Unlawful for Himself: At an other ocassion, the Apostle, made a thing unlawful for himself only to please his wives, which Allah had declared lawful. Allah severely reproved of their errors: “O Prophet! Why do you make something unlawful, which Allah has made lawful to you in seeking to please your wives? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;66:1). The wives of the Prophet whom Allah Himself has declared as mothers of the faithful; worthy of the highest esteem and honor. The criticism of the Prophet and the administration of the warning to his wives was made not secretly but included in the Book, which the entire humanity, specially the Mulims have to read and recite forever. Obviously, the intention of making mention of this and other instances mentioned above, in the Book of Allah was not, nor could it have been, that Allah wanted to degrade His Apostle and the Mothers of the Faithful in the eyes of the believer. It is also obvious that no Muslim has lost respect for them after reading this in Qur'an.
Forgiveness of Past & Future Sins : Allah says: “(O’ Apostle) Therefore, you should know that there is no god but Allah; implore Him to forgive your sins and to forgive the believing men and believing women; ..(Qur’an;47:19); “That Allah may forgive (O Muhammad) your past as well as your future sins, and may perfect His blessings upon you, and keep you on the Right Way,”(Qur’an;48:2). Narrated Aisha: The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?" He said, "Shouldn't I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?"...(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith:6.361).Forgiveness of past and future sins indicate elliptically that freedom from faults is an exclusive prerogative of God, and that every human being, however exalted, is bound to err on occasion. Allah Himself has enjoined the reverence and respect of the Prophet, as a necessary part of the faith of His servants. It is evident that the respect of the Prophet has not been enjoined because he is infallible, but because he is a perfect representative of Divine Will, and Allah has not permitted any of his errors to pass unnoticed. This gives the satisfaction that the noble pattern of life left by the Prophet wholly and fully represents the Will of Allah. These incidences mentioned above, according to normal ordinary human standards may not be considered as sins. While the actual purpose of their narration is best known to Allah, it may however be reasonable to assume that considering the very high position of the Last Messenger of Allah, there might have been considerations to emphasize the human aspect of the Apostle leaving no doubt about it, so that no one should dare to repeat the blasphemous error done with the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), by his so called disciples.
Prophets - Men of Exemplary Conduct : The Muslim scholars are unanimous that Allah has protected His prophets and messengers against committing any grave sin, either before or after their Prophethood. The overwhelming majority of scholars also agree that all prophets and messengers have been also protected against committing any trivial sin, although such sins do not affect their honorable positions or detract from their honor. Allah has made prophets, men of exemplary conduct, thus He directs the believers to follow their example in always avoiding anything, which is unbecoming of a man of the highest moral standards. It is well known that the Prophet (peace be upon him), never committed a sin and that he had never made a mistake as far as religious teachings are concerned.
Infallible Guidance : Allah has sent the infallible guidance embodied in the Qur'an, which was conveyed to the people through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says: “He Alone knows the unseen. He does not reveal His secrets to anyone except to the Messenger whom He may choose for that purpose, and then He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord. He also encompasses all their surroundings and keeps a count of each and everything.”(72:26-28). “and it is indeed a mighty oath if you but knew it, that this is indeed a Glorious Qur'an, inscribed in a well-guarded Book, which none can touch except the purified (angels): a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.”(56:76-80). Allah also took responsibility to ensure that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not forget Qur’an: “By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message) so thou shalt not forget”(87:6). More over He has taken the responsibility to guard it against corruption: "Indeed, We sent down the message and We will guard it" (Qur’an;15:9). Allah referring to the prophets, says in Qur'an: “Follow the ones who ask no reward of you and are rightly guided.”(Qur’an;36:21); “Follow him (Muhammad) so that you may be rightly guided.” (Qur’an;7:158). Islam abolished the priesthood which previously, in case of People of the Book, had no only resulted in the corruption of the divine scripture but distortion of the Divine message. (Qur’an;5:44,63, 61:6, 9:31). Hence there is no priesthood or chosen people of special race or group in Islam: “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). After the Prophet, Muslim Ummah has been chosen by Allah as inheritor of Qur’an for the guidance of mankind (Qur’an;35:32), and to be witness against them (Qur’an;2:143). The scholarship is encouraged (Qur’an;9:122), to invite the people towards righteousness, to enjoin good and forbid evil (Qur’an;3:104, 22:41). The history is witness to fact that the Muslim scholars as well as common Muslims have met these responsibilities according to their capabilities (intellectual, financial, physical etc) and carried the message of Islam all over the world.
The mere idea of a separate order of infallible priesthood, to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. (Abdullah Yousuf Ali). With the end of line of Prophethood through last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the process of divine inspiration through Revelations has ended. Qur’an, the last book of guidance is protected by Allah, is available to humanity in its original form, along with Sunnah of Prophet. Allah says: “This Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, which is free from any flaw, so that they may learn to be righteous.”(Qur’an;39:28), “Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant and did not make it complicated. It is straightforward so that He may warn about the terrible punishment for the unbelievers from Him and give good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward,”(Qur’an;18:1-2). Muslims continue to have successfully lived up to the divine trust bestowed upon them as inheritor of Qur’an collectively, without any infallible priesthood. Muslims highly revere the members of Household of Prophet due to their knowledge, piety, contributions and sacrifices rendered for the cause of Islam. Infallibility is the virtue, which is the sole prerogative of Allah and His word: “..He neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.” (Qur’an;20:52).
THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE PROPHET (PBUH)
“..Be regular in prayer, and pay the poor due, and obey Allah and His messenger. Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.”(Qur’an;33:33)
There is some difference of opinion among two main branches of Islam about the members of the household of Propeht ( Ahl-al-Bayt) mentioned at Chapter 33 (Ahzab), verse 33 of Qur’an. The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that basically the Household of Propeht ( Ahl-al-Bayt) include his wives and children, according to normal meanings of Arabic word Ahl-al-Bayt as mentioned in Qur’an and the meanings according to Arabic language. According to some traditions, however the Prophet (peace be upn him) also added his beloved daughter Fatima, son in law and couson Ali ibn Abi Talib, their sons Hasan and Hussain among the Household of Propeht (Ahl-al-Bayt). According to the the Si’a scholars, the Household of Propeht (Ahl-al-Bayt) mentioned include his daughter Fatima, son in law and couson Ali ibn Abi Talib, their sons Hasan and Hussain. This difference of opinion is beiing analyzed with the internal and external evidence of Qur’an and Traditons respectivel.
The People of The House Hold (Ahl-al-Bayt):
Internal Evidence from Qur’an: All the renowned scholars agree that the best and authentic explanation of any word is the one found with in Qur’an. In Arabic language word ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ (literary meaning: people of the house) is a polite form of addressing the wife and members of the family specially the wives. This word ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ (people of household) has been used at three places in Qur’an; firstly for Sarah, the wife of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), secondly, for the mother of Moses and thirdly, for the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Qur’an: “They (angels) said (to Sarah): "Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you O ye People of The House! (‘Ahl-al-Bayt’) for He is indeed worthy of all praise full of all glory!"(Qur’an;11:73). “And we ordained that He (infant Moses) refused suck at first, until (his sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a House (Ahl-al-Bayt) that will nourish and bring Him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?”(Qur’an;28:12).
The Discourse & Context: In the discourse Allah says: “O wives of the Prophet! (yaa nisaa' an- nabey) You are not like the other women: if you fear Allah, then you should not be complaisant while talking to the men who are not closely related to you, lest the one in whose heart is a disease may thereby be encouraged, and speak using suitable good words. And stay quietly In your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the (women of) former times of Ignorance; and establish regular prayer, and give regular charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. and Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the (Prophet’s) household (Ahl-al-Bayt), and to make you pure and spotless. Remember the revelations of Allah and wise sayings which are recited in your homes, surely Allah is aware of even the finest mysteries.”(Qur’an;33:32-34). It is evident from the discourse that the wives of the Prophet are being addressed here.
This is further accentuated, by reading verse 33:33 in its context, i.e. connecting with a preceding (33:32) and following (33:34) verses. It becomes absolutely clear from the Discourse and context that, in verse (33:33), Qur’an is referring to the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ . The high status of the wives of Apostle have been emphasized earlier in same chapter: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are as their mothers..”(Qur’an;33:6). No one, including the Apostle has the authority to change the words of God: “O Prophet! Recite what has been revealed to you from the Book of your Lord: no one is authorized to change His Words and if you dare to make any change, you will find no refuge to protect you from Him.”(Qur’an;18:27). Hence form the internal evidence from Qur’an, it is established without any doubt that the word ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ (people of the house) here means the wives of Prophet.
External Evidence- Tradition:
However once verses 33:33 is read in the light of the narrative of Umme Salama; ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ , in addition to his wives, also include his daughter, Fatima, his cousin and son-in-law Ali and his grandsons (children of Fatima and Ali), Hasan and Husain. It is also supported by Aisha who narrated: “Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel's hair that there came Hasan ibn Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came Ali and he also took him under it and then said: Allah only desires to take away any un-cleanliness(rijsa) from you, O people of the household ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’, and purify you (thorough purifying) (wa yu-tahirakum tathira) (Qur’an:33:33)”.(Sahih Muslim Hadith Number:1118). In an other narration it is mentioned that, Ayesha asked the Apostle that she was also part of ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ , (hence be taken under the cloak) the Prophet asked her to remain away as she is already part of it. Not taking Aish’a and Umme Salma under the cloak, which covered four family members does not imply that the Prophet excluded them from his Household (‘Ahl-al-Bayt’). He did not put them under the cloak, because the wives are already part of his Household (‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ ), addressed by Qur’an as such. However to thwart any misunderstanding about four other family members not mentioned in Qur’an the Prophet felt the need to emphasize this aspect which was not required for the his wives.
Commentary by Ibn Kathir:
Ibn Kathir, has narreted many conflicting traditions about this verse. According to some traditons the wives of Prophet are included in the Ahl-eBait (Household), while in others, in addition to the wives of the Prophet, his dauther Fatima, Ali, grandsons Hasan and Hussain has also been added, while some are vague. According to the tradition attributed to Zaid bin Arqam even the close relatives of the Prophet, prophibited to accept cahirty (sadqah) like decendents of Aquil, Jafar and Abbas are also part of ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ . One traditon is narrated by Abudawood Ami Nasi bin Haris, a lier (kazz’ab) so his tradion is considered as weak (gharib). Wasla bin Asq’a narrates that the Prophet also acceeptd his request to include him among Ahl-e-Bait. Akrama had been announcing in the markets that verse 33:33 was revealed about wives of the Prophet (Ibn e Jarir), he even challenged for open debate (mubahila) on this point. After considering all tradions, Ibn Kathir summed up that: Any one blessed with the light of inner spritual heights and well versed in pondering over Qur’an, will at a glance understand that the wives of the Prophet are included (in verse 33:33) without any doubt because the Discourse from the begening of the verse, is about the wives of the Prophet. This is the reason that in the next verse Allah says, in continuuation: “Remember the revelations of Allah and wise sayings which are recited in your homes, surely Allah is aware of even the finest mysteries”(Qur’an;33:34). The wives of Prophet have special unique honor, not shared by any one else that; the belessings of Allah and Revelitions were revelaed in their houses. Among them sepcially the The Mother of the Faithfuls, Ayesha Sidiqah has the heighest honor and distinction, the Revelilton did not come at the bed of any woman except her bed as mentioned in the Traditons. She was the only wife of the Prophet who was a maiden before her marriage with the Prophet. Her bed was for none except the Prophet, so she was fully entitled for this great honor. However since the wives of Prophet are part of ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’ , the other close relatives of the Prophet as mentioned in the Traditions of the ‘Cloak’ are also included in ‘Ahl-al-Bayt’. Allah selected them to be the wives for the Prophet with His full Knowledge;“Allah is aware of even the finest mysteries.
Significance of Household of the Prophet:
There is special significance about the Household of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Ali, the cousin and son in law of Prophet was very also his close associate, the first among the children to accept Islam. Besides being fourth Rightly Guided Caliph, his services to the Prophet and Islam are numerous. Fatima was the beloved daughter of Prophet, her sons Hassan and Husain besides loving grandsons of Apostle rendered great services to Islam. The position of the Consorts of Purity (azwaj mutahharat), the wives of the holy Prophet is very special. They were not like ordinary women, nor was their marriage an ordinary marriage, in which only personal or social considerations enter, Allah says: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are as their mothers..”(Qur’an;33:6). They as mothers of believer (Umuhatul Momineen) had a special position and special responsibilities, in the matter of guiding and instructing women who came into the fold of Islam. Islam is a Way of Life, and the Muslims are a family: women have as much place in Islam as men, and their intimate instruction must obviously be through women. While they were to be kind and gentle to all, they were to be guarded on account of their special position lest people might misunderstand or take advantage of their kindness. All the Consorts in their high position had to work and assist as Mothers of the Ummah. Theirs were not idle lives, like those of Odalisques, either for their own pleasure or the pleasure of their husband.
Views of Shi’a Scholars:
The Shi’a scholars have given three reasons for excluding the wives of the Prophet from the Ahl-ul-Bait in verse 33:33. Firstly, that the narration is taken as an indication that only those who entered under the cloak were those who were purified (not incicated in verse 33:33). Secondly it is argued that verse 33:33, cannot refer to wives of the Prophet, especially 'Aisha. 'Aisha, for example, was known to be in frequent menstration, and yet menstration is clearly an impurity. Thirdly, her participiation in war against 4th Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib would also indicate that she was not part of this select group, since it is impossible for both (Ali and Ayeish) to have been infallible (according to Shi’a concept, ‘purtiy’ here means ‘infallabiity’) and for both to have engaged in armed conflict against each other.
It is evident from the context, as explained above that verse 33:33, is about wives of the Prophet. It is later, as mentioned in Traditions that the Prophet also added Fatima, Ali, Hassan and Husain. The purity is meant to be the purity of mind as well as body, the menstration, frequent or infrequen, result in temporay physical inmpurity, so women are exapted from Salah (prayer) during mansturation, but it does not affect their purity of mind. No human can remain physidcally pure all the time. The impurity after sexual interaction is common to bothe men and women. Hence temporaty physical impurity should not form basis for excluding wives or any one wife of the Prophet from his household, because it goes agains the clear wordings of verse 33:33 and its context at verse 33:32, wlhich starts with “yaa nisaa' an- nabey - O wives of the Prophet!” . More over Allah says: “Unclean women are for unclean men, and unclean men are for unclean women; and pure women are for pure men, and pure men are for pure women. They are free from the slanderer's accusations; for them there shall be forgiveness and honorable provision from Allah.” (Qur’an;24.26). Hence it leaves no doubt about the purity of the consorts of Prophet (peace be upon him), himself the purist of human being.
The political differences between Ali and Aisha resulting in to armed conflict due to confusion, misunderstanidng, conspiracy or any other reason notwithstnding, is a matter between two honrable membrs of the Household of Prophet (‘Ahl-al-Bayt’), Aish’a as wife of Prophet, honored as Mother of Believers by Qur’an. Hence, instead of passing judgement on, members of family of the Prophet, it is batter for the believers to leave such matters to Allah, lest they fall in to some thing not to the liking of Allah and the Prophet. According to Qur’an: “Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning the matters in which you differ.”(Qur’an;22:69); “In fact, your Lord knows best those people who have strayed from His Way and He knows best those who are on the Right Way.”(Qur’an;6:117); “The believers are brothers to one another, therefore, make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, so that you may be shown mercy.”(Qur’an;49:10). “They were a people that have passed away. They shall reap the fruits of what they did, and you shall for what you do. You shall not be questioned about what they did.”(Qur’an;2:134).
It has been established form the analysis of internal and external evidence from Qur’an, that the People of The Household, (Ahl-al-Bayt), include the wives of Prophet, his daughter Fatima, son in law Ali and grandsons Hasan and Hussain (Allah may be plaeased with them all). The Household of Prophet (peace be upon him) is highly loved by the Muslims. The tragic martyrdom of Hussein Ibn Ali, along with his companions in 680 C.E at Karbla (Iraq) is the most awful episode of Muslim history, which is deeply regretted by the all Muslims.
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Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace
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“..(O Muhammad) warn yournearest kinsmen,”(Qur’an;26:214).
“by the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge
of what is wrong for it andwhat is right for it: indeed successful will be the one
who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10)
A grup claim that the family of the Prophet, which according to them only include his daughter Fatima, son in law Ali, their childeren Hasan and Hussain (Allah may be pleased with them), are inflllable. They derive this inference from their interpretation of verse 33 at Chapter 33 (Ahzab) and verse 82 of Chapter 26 (Yasin) of Qur’an. Hence they are to obeyed in all affairs after the Prophet. Allah says : "Indeed Allah wishes (yurid) to remove from you all impurities, people of the house, (‘Ahl-al-Bayt’) and to purify you with a thorough purification."(Qur’an;33:33); "Indeed, the command (a’mr) of Allah is such that if He desires a thing, he says to it, "Be!", and it is (kun fa- yakon)”(Qur’an;36:82). The Divine intention is the complete cause for all created entities, and that it is impossible to seperate a cause from its effect. Thus by drawing infrence from verse 33:33 & 36:82; the fact that Allah says He "intends" or "desires" (yurid) to remove all impurity from the family of the Prophet, that means, He has actually done so (A’mr). Therefore they are granted special knowledge including of hellfire, which immunizes the four family members of Prophet from such sins, and this "immunization" is the actual linguistic meaning of the word "infallible" ( Arabic ma’sum). [Note: Word ‘masum’ (infalliable) is not found in Qur’an].
Comparative Analysis of Verses 33:33 & 36:82 of Qur’an:
Instant Execution of Allah’s Wish (Yurid) :
In order to draw correct infrences from two verses of Qur’an; 33:33 & 36:82, it is appropriate to analyse each veres in the original Arabic, with translations.
“Allah's wish (yurid ) is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the (Propeht’s) Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.”(Qur’an;33:33). Transilitration: “… 'inna-maa yurid 'allaah li- yudhhib can -kum ar- rijs 'ahl al- bayt wa- yut.ahhir -kum tat.her(an)”(Qura’n;33:33).
It may be noted that at verse 33:33 Arabic word yurid has been translated as ‘wish’.
"Indeed, the command (a’mr) of Allah is such that if he desires (arada) a thing, he says to it, "Be!"(kun), and it is." (Qur’an;36:82). In verse 36:82, four different Arabic words, (not used in Verse;33:33) have been used which include (1) Command (a’mr), desires (arada) and "Be!"(kun), and it is." (fayakun) for instant execution of Command.
Comparison of Verse; 33:33 With 36:82 :
Translation of both verses may be compared for differences :-
1. Allah's wish (a’mr) is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Ahl-ul-Bait, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.”(Qur’an;33:33).
2."Indeed, the command (a’mr) of Allah is such that if he desires (arada) a thing, he says to it, "kun), and it is." (Qur’an;36:82).
The critical analysis of verse (Qur’an;36:82) and (Qur’an;33:33), commonly quoted to establish the infallibility of The People of Household (Ahl-al-Bayt), reveals the dichotimies and contradictions in such a claim.
Firstly the Arabic words used to indicate ‘Desire’ or ‘Wish’ in both the verses are not identical. At verse 33:33 , Arabic word ‘Yurid’ has been used for wish while at verse 36:82, Arabic word ‘Araada’ have been used. Now the menaings of these two words ‘Yurid’ and ‘Araada’ according to their use in Qur’an is to be considered to draw the inference, weather both are identical in meanings or otherwise.
The Wish of God (Yurid) at Verse 33:33 :
The Arabic word Yurid has been translated as ‘wish’ of God. The word (Yurid) has been used at 46 places in Qur’an, in the sense of ; wish, intneds, desire, purpose, plan, will or seek. According to English dictionary; ‘Wish’ means; want, desire, demand, bidding, request, requirement, instruction, direction, order, command,liking, fondness, longing, hope, yearning, fancy, aspiration, inclination, urge, whim, craving. If something is desired or expected to be done in present or future, it may called as ‘desirable’.(called Mazare’a in Arabic grammar, the word is prefixed with ‘yu’ or ‘yeh’ i.e. ‘Yuriddoon’ [who wishes, (not wished)], ‘yu-menun’ (they believe). The use of Arabic word ‘Yurid’ in Qur’an indicate that this word has been generally used to indicate; wish, urging some thing to be done in present or future or desired involving efforts by the human due to choice and ‘Freedom of Will’ availale to him. Hence it will not be appropite to decuce that Yurid means instant executable wish, or forced execution of ‘His Wish’ through Divine Decree. Some examples from vreses of Qur’an are as follows:-
“But man wishes (yurid)to keep on doing evil in the future as well.”(Qur’an;75:5), “Nay, each of them (non believers) wants (yurid)a scripture of his own to be unrolled before them.”(Qur’an;74:52), “If anyone is seeking(yurid) honor, let him know that all honor belongs to Allah Alone…” (Qur’an;35:10), “Today when Our clear revelations are recited to them, they say: "This man only wants (yurid) to turn you away from those gods to whom your forefathers have been worshipping..”( Qur’an;34:43). “(After witnessing both the miracles of Moses, Pharaoh) said to the Chiefs around him: "This is indeed a sorcerer well- versed: who wants (yurid) to drive you out from your land by the force of his magic. Now what is your advice?”( Qur’an;26:34-35). “Allah desires (yurid) to clarify, and guides you to the ways which were followed by the righteous people before you, and turns to you in mercy. Allah is the Knowledgeable, Wise.”(Qur’an;4:26). “Allah wishes (yurid) to forgive you but those who follow their lusts wish to see you deviate far away from the Right Way.”(Qur’an;4:27). “Allah wishes (yurid) to lighten your burdens because humans have been created weak by nature.”(Qur’an;4:28). “O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. if ye are In a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. but if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been In contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah does not wish (yurid) to burden you; He only wishes to purify you (wa- laakin yurid li- yu-tahhir –kum)and to perfect His favor upon you, so that you may be thankful.”(Qur’an;5:6) .
Allah mentions(verse;5:6), that He wishes to purify(wa- laakin yurid li- yu-tahhir –kum) the believers through performing bath,abulition and dry abulition. It simply means that Allah is advising the Muslims to perform these actions to gain purity before performing Salah (prayer). By implication if they do not perform these acts they will remain impure. It will be wrong to assume on this basis; that since Allah ‘wishes’ (yurid) to purify the Muslims, and that His wish gets executed instantly according to verse 36:82 (claim to be analysed later, with context), hence all Muslims who perform bath,abulition, and dry abulition have been made ‘pure’ free form sin or errors – infallible ! (It is unanimously known not to be the case) .
Hence it is now evident that in Qur’an (verses; 75:5, 74:52, 35:10, 34:43, 26:34-35, 4:26,27,28, 5:6 & 33:33) the use of word Yurid translated as ‘WISH’ does not mean that the ‘Wish’ (Yurid) instantly stands executed, because it is not Divine Command (a’mr) but an advisory desirable wish, , which the addressee are urged to execute. This is in accordance with the Divine Design of Human Creation, involving ‘Free Will, Choice and Accountability’. Consequently it is now obvious that in verse 33:33 use of word Yurid translated as‘WISH’ does not mean that the ‘unclenless’ (sins and erros) has been removed from the member of the Household of Propeht and made pure, sinless, error free or infllible. This is also not supported throgh the context, where the member of the Household of Propeht have been advised to perform some acts and refrain form certain things, because Allah desires (Yurid) them to be pure and clean. In other words it is implied that if they adopt the desired behaviour and practices they will be blessed with cleanliness and purity, not other wise.
Command (A’mr) at Verse 36:82 :
While narrating the process of creation of the heavens, the earth and all that lies between them, two words, the ‘Creation’ (khalaq), and ‘Command’ (a’mr) have been used by Qur’an. The difference between these words is clearly evident through Qur’an: “We created (khalaqa)the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them in six periods, and no fatigue touched Us.”(Qur’an;50:38); “Surely your Lord is Allah Who created (khalaqa)the heavens and the earth in six aeons and is firmly established on the throne of authority. He makes the night cover the day and the day follow the night automatically. He created the sun, the moon and the stars; made subservient (governed by laws) under His Command (a’mr). Oh, verily, His is the Creation (khalaq) and His is the Command (a’mr). Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds!”(Qur’an;7:54)
The word Command (A’mr) has special significance and meanings, specially in the context of execution of Divine Wish or Desire. The heavens and the earth are creations (khalaqa)of God's Will and Design. God is the final basis of existence, the Cause of all Causes. When Allah decrees some thing He just says ‘kun faya koon’ ("Be!", and it is."). While in the life of created things (khalaqa) there is "proportion and measure", distance or circumstance and a lag of time, [He created (khalaqa) the heavens and the earth in six long periods (Qur’an;7:54)] on the other hand, the "a’mr" Allah's Command (Command, Direction, Design, Ordainment) is a single thing, unrelated to Time, Allah says : “And Our command (a’mr -naa) is but a single (Act),- like the twinkling of an eye.”(Qur’an54:50). Hence in "A’mr" the Design, the Word, the Execution, and the Consequences are but a single Act. The In Arabic grammar word ‘A’mr’ has six clauses, ‘kun’ (Be, executed) being one of them. In verse 36:82, word ‘command’ (A’mr) and ‘desires’ (arada) have been used, in combination with Be! (kun), the result isinstant exectution in the twinking of an eye: “Indeed, the command (A’mr) of Allah is such that if he desires (arada) a thing, he says to it, "Be!"(kun), and it is.!”(Qur’an;36:82).
At verse 33:33, the Arabic word used for Allah's wish is Yurid , which means a desire or expectation, it is not ‘command’ (a’mr) and ‘desire’ (arada) used in verse 36:82 with ‘Be’ (kun) mening instant execution. This aspect needs to be further eloborated. In Allah's Command, the word "Be" (kun) includes everything, without the intervention, of or dependence upon action by any other being or thing whatever. And this is also another phase of the philosophy of Unity. In Qur’an at eight different places (verses) word ‘kun faya koon’ ("Be!", and it is.") has been used in the context of “Creation or Recreation”. Four verses are related about life, death and resurrection (Qur’an;36:81-82, 40:68, 16:38-40, 6:73), while at other four places, it is about creation of Jesus and its similitude to the creation of Adam (Qur’an;3:59, 3:47, 19:35, 2:116-117) (breathing of His spirit in both cases): “Is not He who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?" - yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! "Indeed, the command (a’mr) of Allah is such that if he desires (arada) a thing, he says to it, "Be!" (kun), and it is.!”(Qur’an;36:81-82).
“It is He who gives life and death; and when He decides (a’mr) upon an affair, He says to it, "Be"(kun), and it is.” (Qur’an;40:68). “They swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that Allah will not raise up those who die: Nay, but it is a promise (binding) on Him In truth: but Most among Mankind realize it not.(They must be raised up), In order that He may Manifest to them the truth of that wherein They differ, and that the rejecters of truth may realize that They had indeed (surrendered to) Falsehood. For to anything which we have willed, we but say the Word, Be; and it is.”(Qur’an;16:38-40). “He is the One Who has created the heavens and the earth to manifest the Truth. On the Day when He will say: "Be," it shall be (the Day of Resurrection). His Word is the truth. He shall be the sole Sovereign on the Day when the trumpet will be blown. He has the full knowledge of the invisible and the visible. He is the Wise, the Aware.”(Qur’an;6:73). “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is As that of Adam; He created Him from dust, then said to him: "Be" and He was.”(Qur’an;3:59). “She (Mary) said: "O My Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah creates what He wills : when He hath decreed a plan, He but says to it, 'Be,' and it is!” (Qur’an;3:47). “They say: "(Allah) hath begotten a son" :Glory be to Him.-Nay, to Him belongs all that is In the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him. “He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth ! When He decrees a thing, He needs only to say, "Be," and it is.”(Qur’an;2:116-117).
The important common factor in above mentioned eight verses of Qur’an is that God instantly execute His Command (a’mr) by saying ‘kun faya koon’ ("Be!", and it is.") in the matters related with the Creation and Recreation or Resurrection of human being. These are the acts which does not involve any human Choice or Free Will, granted to human in the divine design. No one has a choice or personal involvement in his birth, death or resurrection. It is significant to note that in these instantly executable Commands (a’mr) there is also involvement of Spirit (Ruh) in the background, which is by the Command (a’mr) of Lord: “They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.”(Qur’an;17:85). In the creation of Adam! (Qur’an;32:9) and Jesus (Qur’an;21:91) the ‘breathing of His Sprit’ has been mentioned: “It is He Who has given the best form to everything that He has created. He originated the creation(khalaqa) of man (Adam) from clay; then automated the creation of his progeny by an extract of a despicable water; then He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him of His spirit. He gave you ears, eyes and heart; yet you are seldom thankful.”(Qur’an;32:7-9). “And We blessed the woman (Marry ), who guarded her chastity, We breathed into her of Our Spirit and We made her and her son a sign for the whole world.”(Qur’an;21:91). God ‘breathing of His spirit in to man” is a metaphor for the divine gift of life and consciousness, or of a “soul” one of the meanings of the term “ruh”. Consequently “the soul of every human being is of the spirit of God”(Razi). Hence from above it appears that the instantly executable Commands (a’mr) of God are related with spiritual aspects of creation and recreation or resurrection, (though He may do what ever He likes), not involving any action or choice of human being. The other creations (khalaqa), i.e. creation of heaven, earth and all in between them took six long periods (Qur’an;7:54 & 50:38). On the same analogy, then even the human creation (khalaqa) involving creation from clay, fashioning in due proportion (Qur’an;32:7,9) might have involved some period (may be in evolution), but the last phase “breathing some thing of His Spirit” is the action of Command (a’mr)( Qur’an;32:9, 17:85 & 3:59). It is now amply clear that there is great difference in the advisory ‘Wish (yurid )’ at verse;33:33 and ‘Desire (arada)’ used with ‘Command (a’mr)’ with executive order "Be!" (kun) at verse;36:82. “Indeed, the command (a’mr) of Allah is such that if he desires (arada) a thing, he says to it, "Be!" (kun), and it is.!”(Qur’an;36:82).
The cotext of verse 33:33, needs to be reconsidered: “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like the other women: if you fear Allah, then you should not be complaisant while talking to the men who are not closely related to you, lest the one in whose heart is a disease may thereby be encouraged, and speak using suitable good words. Stay in your homes and do not display your finery as women used to do in the days of ignorance (pre-Islamic days); establish Salah (Prayer), pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. O women of the household of Prophet, Allah's wish (yurid ) is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the (Propeht’s) Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing. Remember the revelations of Allah and wise sayings which are recited in your homes, surely Allah is aware of even the finest mysteries.”(Qur’an;33:32,33,34).
Hence verse (33:33) can not be equated with verse;36:82 to draw anology that ‘Wish (yurid) at verse 33:33, instantly stands executed. Hence when at (33:33) Allah says that He wishes (yurid ) to remove uncleanness from people of the Household Propeht (Ahl-al-Bait), it is an advisory wish of guidance. The family members of Apostle have been advised to undertake some good actions while adhering to some prohibitions. On adherence to this advise by Ahl-al-Bait will reslt in cleanliness which Allah desire to achieve for them(Ahl-al-Bait). This is also in line with the divine design of Creation where by He has put them under tiral by granting freedom of choice in the matters of faith, thus making them accountable.
The Muslims highly revere the family of Prophet (peace be upon him) which include his wives, daughter Fatima, her husband Ali and childeren Hassan and Hussain. They are considered to be at a highly exalted spritual postion in the faith, however they were human being. Allah has deried that He want to remove the unleanliness formAhl-al-Bait, to achive this they have been urged to perfom certain acts and to refrain from some. Making Ahl-al-Bait (excluding his wives) infllable by using His powr or command (a’mr) is neither supported within cotext and references, nor fit in to His laws governing the trial of humanity, though Allah is all powerfull to execute whatever His Wills. It is found through the Qur’an and traditons of Prophet (peace be upon him) that the Messengers of Allah, though chosen and exlated people, were prone to test, trials and human erros in world y matters.
The Divine Law of Justice-Reward & Punishment :
There is freedom of choice available to humanity in the matters of faith and belief; as such he can not blame any one but himself for making a choice of evil against truth: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from (way of) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all hearing, all-knowing” (Qur’an;2:256). “If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?”(Qur’an;10:98). “How shall Allah guide those who reject faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the Apostle was true and that clear signs had come unto them? But Allah guides not a people unjust.”(Qur’an;3:86).
Prophets - Trials & Errors
The prophets are chosen human beings, who are guided, given special knowledge and granted special exalted status by Allah(Qur’an;72:26-27). The are bestowed with knowledge of certainty, (Qur’an;102:5-6, ;102:7, 69:51, 6:75, 17:1). Due to this special knowledge of certainty the Apostles are very firm in their faith. However they continue to remain human and operate with in the ambit of divine laws governing the conduct of human being, although Allah is kind to them, ever ready to help and forgive. The freedom of choice, to over come the temptations of soul and trials further exalt their status. Allah extends His favour to them, as they pray to Him as His humble servants. In their day to day life, as human, at times they do err, but Allah protects them from evil and forgive their errors (as they are not angels). Nevertheless complete divine protection is provided in delivery ofRevelations and in conveyance of true message of Allah. They can not commit any error in the maters of Din (faith). Someexamples of their trials anderrors have been mentioned in Hadith and Qur’an : Adam (Qur’an;20:122), Abraham (Qur’an;2:124), Noah (Qur’an;21:76,11:45-47), Jonah (Younus)( Qur’an;21:87-88),Moses (Qur’an;28:16-17;7:150-151, 18:73), David (Qur’an;8:24-25), Sulaiman (Qur’an;38:34-35), Joseph(48:2). Also in Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9, Hadith. 532C and Hadith Qudsi Number 36). Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Qur’an;8:67-68, 3:128-129, 9:43, 80:1-4, 66:1, 47:19 & 48:2).
Kinship of Apostle Does not Absolve of Sins:
The blood relationship has no bearing in the matters of faith, reward and punishment. Every individual is responsible for his own deeds and will be accountable to Allah. History is full of examples whereby the very close relatives of the Messengers of Allah could not be saved from divine rage due to their disobedience. Allah says:“O mankind! Have fear of your lord and fear that Day when no father shall avail his son nor a son his father...”(31:33). The examples of kinsfolk of Messengers, who were doomed have been mentioned in Qur’an: Noah(Qur’an;66:10, 21:76, 11:45-47), Abraham(Qur’an;9:114, 2:124). Where as the wife of Pharaoh, a pious women sought His Mercy (Qur’an;66:11).
Love of Kinsfolk of The Prophet :
It is generally argued by a group that the Prophet was asked in Qur’an to ask for love of his relations as a reward for his preaching of the divine message of guidance: “That is (the Bounty) whereof Allah gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of (qurbaa) those near of kin." And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good in respect thereof: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Ready to appreciate (service).”(Qur’an;42:23). [It is generally understood to mean that: No sort of tangible reward does the Prophet of Allah ask for proclaiming the Glad Tidings of Allah. But at least he has the right to ask that his kith and kin (Quraish) should not persecute him and put all sorts of obstacles in his way, while he was preaching for their benefit.] The words used are(ajra 'illaa al- mawaddah fe al- qurbaa) meaning; “No reward do I ask of you for This, except the love of ‘qurbaa’”. There is wide difference among the scholars in the explanation of word ‘qurbaa’.
Majority of the scholars are of the view that it to mean that; “I don not want any reward for this work, but I do want that you (the Quraish) should at least have regards for the kinship which I have with you. You should have in fact have accepted my invitation but If you do not accept, then it is irony that in whole Arabia you become my worst enemies.” This is the interpretation by Abdullah bin Abbas, which have been quoted by through numerous narrators by Imam Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Jarir, Tabri, Behqui and Ibn Saad. Same interpretation has been narrated by Mujahid, Ekrama, Katawa, Suddi, Abu Malik, Abdur Rahamn bin Zaid, Bin Aslam, Zuhak, Atta bin Dinar and other renowned exegetes.
One group take the word ‘qurbaa’ in the meaning of ‘aqarab’ (relatives), and explain the mainings of this verse as: “I do not want any reward from you, except that you should love my ‘aqarab’”. Some people from this group take the meanings of ‘aqarab’ as all decedents of Abdul Mutalib (grandfather of Apostle), while some restrict the meanings to Ali, Fatima and their children. This explanation has been attributed to Saed bin Jubair and Umru bin Shuaib. In some traditions this explanation has also been attributed to Ibn Abbas and Ali bin Hussain (Zainul Abdin). This explanation can not be acceptable due to many reasons: Firstly, once Surah Ash Shur’a was revealed at Makka at that time Ali and Fatima were not married as yet, hence there is no question of children. All the decedents of Abdul Mutalib were not supporting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), rather many were openly opposing him, the opposition of Abu Lahab is well known. Secondly Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not have relations with in Bani Abdul Mutalib, he had relations with all families of Quraish through his father, mother and wife Khadija. There were his close companions and worst enemies among them. It is inconceivable and impossible that leaving all relations he would have only restricted his ‘demand for the love of Bani Abdul Mutalib. The third and most important point is that, the messenger invites and raises his voice for the invitation towards the message of Allah, form a very high pedestal, it is below his stature and dignity that he should request for reward in the form of love for his relatives, no sensible man can think of it that Allah would have taught His messenger such a matter and the messenger would have said it while standing among Quraish.
The narratives of messengers mentioned in Qur’an, reveal that messengers one after an other repeatedly ask his nation that; ‘he does not want any reward form them, his reward is with Allah”(Qur’an;10:72, 11:29, 51, 26:109,127,145, 164, 180). In Surah Yasin it is mentioned: “Follow the ones who ask no reward of you and are rightly guided.”(Qur’an;36:21). In Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been repeatedly asked to say : “I do not ask for any reward from you”(Qur’an;6:9, 12:104, 23:72, 25:57, 34:47, 52:40, 68:46 ). Keeping all these verses of Qur’an in view, there is no rationale that the Prophet (peace be upon him) should have asked the people that as the reward for his work of calling them towards Allah, they should love his relations. Considering the addresses of this verse, which are not the believers (Muslims), but the pagans of Makka such a demand seems to be out of place. The address form the beginning is towards the pagans and even after this verse, they continues to remain addresses. In such an address, there is no question of asking for such a favour form the opponents. Reward can be asked form those people who appreciate that a valuable work is being done for their benefit, where as the pagans of Makka, were bitterly opposed to the preaching of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) against their centuries old beliefs of paganism, idolatry, and other social norms customs of era of ignorance. They were considering his preaching as grave crime and wanted to even physically eliminate him.(Page 501, volume 4; ‘Tafheem ul Qur’an’, by Abul A’la Moududi). In fact there is assertion not to ask them for any reward, and that he will get never ending reward from Allah: “Or have you, O Prophet, demanded a reward from them, that they are overburdened with debt?”(Qur’an;68:46). “and you shall have a never ending reward.”(Qur’an;63:3).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Kinsfolk :
The kinsfolk of Apostle, who accepted the faith of Islam and members of his household (Ahl-al-Bait) are highly revered by the Muslims. They have earned this respect not only due to their close relationship with the Apostle (peace be upon him), but due to exemplary piety (taqwa) and strict adherence to the teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet ensured to pass the divine instructions to them in clear words : “So do not call on other gods besides Allah, lest you become one of those who incur His punishment. (O Muhammad) warn yournearest kinsmen,”( Qur’an;26:214). Narrated Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen,"(26:214). Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's punishment."(Sahih Bukhari Volume.4 Hadith 16 & 728). Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: A woman from the tribe of Makhzum committed theft. She was brought to Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) and she sought refuge (intercession) from Umm Salamah, the wife of Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him). Thereupon Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: By Allah, even if she were Fatima (daughter of Muhammad), I would have her hand cut off. And thus her hand was cut off.(Sahih Muslim Hadith.786, also similar at Bukhari.4.681 & 5.79). Abu Talib, the guardian and dearest uncle of Prophet declined to accept Islam even at death bed. Then Allah's Apostle said, "I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed (the verse) concerning him i.e. “It is not proper for the Prophet and those who believe that they should beg forgiveness for the idolaters, even though they be their relatives, after it has been explained to them that they are the inmates of hellfire.”Qur’an;9:113. (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, Volume 2 Hadith, 442).
The wives of Prophet had special status, Allah says: “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like the other women...”(32:33). But even they are not exempted from His laws of justice, rather their punishment and reward is doubled: “O Consorts of the Prophet! if any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct the Punishment would be doubled to her and that is easy for Allah. But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Apostle and works righteousness to her shall We grant her reward twice: and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance.”(Qur’an;33:30-31). Abu Lahab, "Father of Flame", was one of the most inveterate enemies of early Islam. Allah revealed a Surah (chapter.111, Al-Lahab) abut him of his doom. It is narrated by Anas ibn Malik: Verily a person said: Messenger of Allah, where is my father? He said: (He) is in the Fire. When he turned away, he (the Prophet) called him and said: Verily my father and your father are in the Fire.(Sahih Muslim Hadith.89). The aim of these examples is not to cause aspersions, but to highlight that the relationship with the Apostle (peace be upon him), does not help, unless they follow him.
The Muslims highly respect the family of the Prophet, his wives have been granted special status by Allah. They were not like ordinary women, Allah says: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are as their mothers..”(Qur’an;33:6). They as mothers of believer (Umuhatul Momineen) had a special position and special responsibilities, in the matter of guiding and instructing women who came into the fold of Islam. After Khadijah al-Kubra and Fatima az-Zahra, Aish’a as-Siddiqah is regarded as the best woman in Islam and in the family of Prophet. Because of the strength of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledge, in society, in politics and in war. She often regretted her involvement in war but lived long enough to regain position as the most respected woman of her time, a large number of Hadiths are attributed to her. Prophet loved his daughter Fatima, who was extremely pious: Narrated Al Miswar bin Makhrama: Allah's Apostle said, "Fatima is a part of me, and whoever makes her angry, makes me angry." (Sahih Bukhari Hadith.5.111 & 5.61). Ali bin Talib, was his cousin and son in law, more over he was the first among the children to accept Islam. Prophet had very intimate relationship with Ali, whose father Abu Talib, took care of orphan Muhammad since childhood. Similarly Prophet took care of Ali after death of Abu Talib. Ali was brave and highly learned, his sayings are a great treasure of wisdom, he was martyred as 4th Rightly Guided Caliph. In the words of Shah Wali Ullah, the great Muslims scholar and reformer: “Chivalry and strength of character, humanity and sincerity which are attributes of great men were represented in abundance by Ali. He is the father of Islamic learning, and his intellectual attainments were due to the ideal training of The Holy Prophet. He was a Hafiz, and a great authority on the Qur’an. He was the greatest Mujahid and jurist of his time, and one of the greatest of all times. He was one of the greatest orators of early Islam.” Prophet loved his grandsons Hassan and Husain, who were highly pious and learned. Imam Hussein laid down his life for the just cause of Islam. All the members of Household of Prophet, were virtuous human being, they greatly contributed towards the cause of Islam. However in the esteem of love for them, care must be exercised to remain with in the limits set by Allah and His Messenger: “My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20:52).
The criteria for exaltation has been laid down by Allah : “O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteousAllah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware.”(Qur’an;49:13). Prophet (peace be upon him) in his last address to the Muslims at Hajj said: “You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action.” He further said: “O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.”
THE INFALLIBLE IMAMATE
“He is the One Who has revealed to you the Book.
Some of its verses are decisive - they are the foundation of
the Book – while others are allegorical. Those whose hearts are infected
with disbelief follow the allegorical part to mislead others and to give it their
own interpretation, seeking for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden
meanings except Allah. Those who are well grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it;
it is all from our Lord." None will take heed except the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;3:7)
“Do not mix the Truth with falsehood, or knowingly conceal the truth.”( Qur’an; 2:42)
The Doctrine of Infallible Imamate In Shi’a Islam:
Imamah is one of the core beliefs of Shiite Islam, which separates Shiites from other sect of Muslims. Imamah is the belief that, in every time and place, there must be an infallible, divinely appointed guide who preserves the religion exactly as it was revealed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The person who bears the duty of guarding and preserving the Divine message after it is revealed and is chosen by God for this function is called the Imam, in the same way that the person who bears the prophetic spirit and has the function of receiving Divine injunctions and laws from God is called the Prophet. It is possible for the Imamateand Prophecy (Nubuwwat) either to be joined in one person or to be separate.
Islam takes into consideration and gives directives concerning all aspects of the life of all men. It investigates human life from the spiritual point of view and guides man accordingly, and it intervenes on the plane of formal and material existence from the point of view of the life of the individual. In the same way it intervenes on the plane of social life and its regulation (i.e., on the plane of government). Thus the Imamate and religious leadership in Islam may be studied from three different perspectives: from the perspective of Islamic government, of Islamic sciences and injunctions, and of leadership and innovative guidance in the spiritual life. Shi’aism believes that since Islamic society is in dire need of guidance in each of these three aspects, the person who occupies the function of giving that guidance and is the leader of the community in these areas of religious concern must be appointed by God and the Prophet. Naturally, the Prophet himself was also appointed by Divine Command.
Shi’as believe that whoever follows Imams, will not fall into error and will reach true felicity ; that is, the members of the Household are free from error and sin and are inerrant. From this it can be concluded that by "Members of the Household" and "progeny" is not meant all the descendants and relatives of the Prophet. Rather, specific individuals are meant who are perfect in the religious sciences and are protected against error and sin so that they are qualified to guide and lead men. For Shi’aism these individuals consist of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his eleven descendants who were chosen to the Imamate one after another.
Sainthood In Abrahamic Faiths :
The roots of imamate may be traced with the institution of Saints in Judeo-Christian traditions. Sainthood implies a special type of relationship to the Holy, a relationship that is not automatically obtained by other religious personages through their performance of religious duties or offices. The existence of saints has been a widespread phenomenon throughout the religions of the world (except early Islam). Saints are persons believed to be connected in a special manner with what is viewed as sacred reality (God), gods, spiritual powers, mythical realms, and other aspects of the sacred or holy. The religious person may have various relationships with the sacred: as seer, prophet, saviour, monk, nun, priest, priestess, or other such personage. In the case of each of these, however, a specific kind of relationship to the holy is involved. Seers, for example, have an inspirational vision of the future; spiritualist also proclaim a revelation; saviours are entrusted with effecting redemption, liberation, or other salvatory conditions; monks and nuns lead religious lives in accordance with ascetic regulations that they generally observe as long as they live. Every one of these religious personages may simultaneously be, or become, a saint, but there is no necessary connection. The significance of saintly personages is generally based on real or alleged deeds and qualities that became apparent during their lifetimes and continue to exert influence after their deaths. The special character of their feats and qualities of living is believed to arise from an especially close association with a deity or sacred power. In addition to such a relationship, sainthood also requires the existence of a sacral institution that can grant such recognition, or of a popular cult that acknowledges and posits a belief in the saint's special qualities. In institutionalized religions, such as Roman Catholicism, there is a regularized process (called canonization) by which saints are officially recognized. Canonization requires, among other things, proof that the person in question wrought miracles during his or her lifetime. On the other hand, folk belief often recognizes the saintly powers of a living or dead person long before the institutional religion acknowledges him as a saint.
The cult of saints in terms of veneration was not a part of the monotheistic religion of Israel. Saintliness, however, was an ideal that many hoped to exhibit. The model of a pious person is depicted in the righteous one: "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm;1:2). In the Hellenistic period (300 BC-300 C.E), when many Jews were susceptible to foreign religious influences, the Hasidim (the "pious" ones) segregated themselves from the others, holding fast to the faith of their fathers. The concept of the Hasidim gained new significance in the 18th century when Israel ben Eliezer, called Ba'al Shem Tov, or "Master of the Good Name," started the modern movement called Hasidism. As opposed to the Orthodox Israelite religion with its emphasis on rationalism, cultic piety, and legalism, Ba'al Shem Tov stood for a more mystically oriented form of Judaism.
Jesus and his disciples did not speak of saints; but during the period (1st to early 4th century) in which they were persecuted, Christians began to venerate the martyrs as saints. They believed that the martyrs, being sufferers "unto death" for Christ, were received directly into heaven and could therefore be effective as intercessors for the living. By the 3rd century the veneration of martyr saints was already common. In the Nicene Creed (325 C.E) the early church called itself the "communion of saints." Here, however, the word "saint" has the broader meaning of "believer" rather than being applied strictly to a holy person or numinous personality worthy of veneration. In the 10th century a procedure of canonization (official recognition of a public cult of a saint) was initiated by Pope John XV. Gradually, a fixed process was developed for canonization by the pope, requiring that the person must have led a life of heroic sanctity and performed at least two miracles. Saints in the Roman Catholic Church are venerated, but not worshipped, because of their spiritual and religious significance and are believed to be the bearers of special powers. Because of a belief in the powers of the saints, their relics are regarded as efficacious. In the Eastern Orthodox Church saints also are venerated, but the process of canonization is less juridical and not always ecumenical. In some Protestant churches (Lutheran and Anglican) saints are recognized, but not venerated as in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox.
Islam being a strictly monotheistic faith, severely prohibits any kind of "conjunction" (affiliation, or consortship) to Allah. Thus the concept of sainthood was rejected. Allah says: “We created man, We know the prompting of his soul, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”(Qur’an;50:16);“..I'll accept their repentance, for I am the Receiver of Repentance, the Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:160). With the expansion of Islam and conversion of people of diverse faiths and traditions, even here a variegated belief in holy men arose because of the demands of popular religion. Over against the one God who is almighty powerful and whose role as a strict judge was emphasized repeatedly, there emerged a desire for intercessors. These were found in saintly men who were believed to be endowed with charismatic powers (karamat), allowing them to go miraculously from one place to another far away; to wield authority over animals, plants, and clouds; and to bridge the gap between life and death. Despite negation of the existence of saints, the piety of the masses "canonized" holy men while they were still living. After they died, cults of devotion arose at the sites of their graves, and pilgrimages to such sites were believed to aid the believer in acquiring help and blessing.
‘Imam’ in Qur’an:
The primary meanings of Arabic word ‘Imam’ is that of ‘being foremost’. This word has commonly been used in Qur’an in variety of meanings i.e. Leader in religion, Model, pattern, example (Qur’an;2:124), Leaders of Unbelief (plural -a'immah al- kufr, Qur’an;9:12); Book of guidance & instructions (Qur’an;11:17); Book of evidence or record (Qur’an;36:12). The Leader in congregational prayer (salah) is traditionally known as ‘Imam’ (prayer leader). This is further elaborated through quotations of verses from Qur’an:-
Imam-The Leader: The word “imam” and its plural “aim’ah” has been mentioned in Qur’an in the verses: “And remember that Abraham was tried by His Lord with certain commands, which He fulfilled: He said: "I will make Thee an Imam to the Nations." He pleaded: "And also (Imams) from My offspring!" He answered: "But My promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” (Qur’an;2:124). “And we wished to be gracious to those who were being oppressed (Children of Israel) In the land (of Egypt), to make them leaders (in Faith) and make them heirs,”.(Qur’an;28:5). Pharaoh wanted to crush the Children of Israel. But Allah's Plan was to protect them as they were weak, and indeed to make them custodians and leaders (a'immah) in His Faith. Leaders or ‘exemplars’ (a'immah, singular Imam) is an allusion to the historical fact that the Hebrews were the first to accept a monotheistic creed in a clear, unequivocal formulation, and thus became the forerunners of both Christianity and Islam. Thus God wanted to give them in inheritance a land "flowing with milk and honey". Here they were established in authority for such time as they followed Allah's Law. As regards Pharaoh and his ministers and hosts, they were to be shown that they would suffer, at the hands of the Israelites, the very calamities against which they were so confidently taking precautions for themselves. Allah says: “We made them (Pharaoh and his companions) leaders who started calling people to hellfire, but on the Day of Judgment they will not get any help.”(Qur’an;28:41). “But if They Violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith,- Fight ye the Chiefs of Unfaith (a'immah al- kufr) : for their oaths are nothing to them: that Thus They may be restrained.” (Qur’an;9:12). “We gave the Book (Torah) to Moses - so (O Muhammad) be not in doubt for receiving this Book (Qur’an) which meets the same criteria - and We made it (Torah) a guide for the Children of Israel. When they showed patience, We appointed from among them leaders (a'immah, plural of Imam) giving guidance under Our command so long as they continued to have faith in Our revelations.” (Qur’an;32:23-24).The series of Judges, Prophets, and Kings among the Children of Israel continued to give good guidance, in accordance with Allah's Law, as long as the people continued in Faith and Constancy (persevering patience). When that condition ceased, Allah's grace was withdrawn, and the people broke up into wrangling sects and practically suffered national annihilation.
Imam-The Book of Revelition & Gudiance: Imam has been used to mention the Book of Revelition & Gudiance: “Can They be (like) those who Accept a Clear (sign) from their Lord, and whom a witness from Himself doth teach, As did the Book of Moses (Torah) before it,- a guide (Imam) and a mercy? They (Children of Israel) believe therein; but those of the Sects that reject it,- the Fire will be their promised meeting-place. (O Muhammad) be not then In doubt thereon: for it (Qur’an) is the truth from Thy Lord: yet many among men do not believe!” (Qur’an;11:17). "Guide": the Arabic word here is Imam, a leader, a guide, one that directs to the true Path. Such a direction is an instance of the Mercy and Goodness of Allah to man. The Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad are also called, each, a Guide and a Mercy, and so are these epithets applicable to previous Books and Prophets.
Imam-The Book of Record: Imam has also been used to mention the Book of Record: “Verily we shall give life to the dead, and we record that which They send before and that which They leave behind, and of all things have we taken account In a Clear Book (of evidence)”. (Qur’an;36:12). Allah says, on the Day of Judgement : “To us shall return all that He talks of and He shall appear before us bare and alone.” (Qur’an;19:80). “Then shall we certainly drag out from every sect all those who were worst In obstinate rebellion against (Allah) Most Gracious.” (Qur’an;19:69). “One Day we shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams, those who are given their record In their right hand will read it (with pleasure), and They will not be dealt with unjustly In the least.” (Qur’an;17:71). Here Imam means: Their Leader(Qur’an;2:124) i.e. their Prophets (to bear witness to his virtues or sins-16:84), or Book of Revelation as guide and a mercy (Qur’an;11:7) or most likely meaning, the Book of Record(Qur’an;36:12). The judgement will be according to : “That man can have nothing but what He strives for;” (Qur’an;53:39). The basic well extremely well authenticated saying of the Prophet, “Actions will be (judged) only according to the conscious intentions (which prompted them); and unto everyone will be accounted only what he consciously intended”, i.e., while doing whatever he did. This Tradition is quoted by Bukhari in seven places- the firsts one as kind of introduction to his Sahih- as well as by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nassai (in four places), Ibn Majah, Ibn Hambal, and several other compilations. In this connection it is to be noted that in the ethics of the Qur’an, the term ‘action’ (amal) comprises also a deliberate omission of actions, whether good or bad, as well as deliberate voicing of beliefs, both righteous and sinful: in short, everything that man consciously aims at and expresses by word or deed.
The process of justice is further elaborated: “One Day we shall raise from all Peoples a witness: then no excuse be accepted from Unbelievers, nor will They receive any favours.” (Qur’an;16:84). “Thus, have we made of you (Muslims) a justly balanced community, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves..” (Qur’an;2:143). “We have fastened the destiny of every man to his own neck, and on the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a book spread wide open,”(Qur’an;17:13). “On no soul do we place a burden greater than it can bear: before us is a record which clearly shows the truth: They will never be wronged.”(23:62). “When the scrolls are laid open;” (Qur’an;81:10).“All that They do is noted In (their) Books (of deeds): Every matter, small and great, is on record.” (Qur’an;54:52-53).“You shall see every nation on its knees. Every nation shall be summoned to its book of record, and Allah will say: "Today you shall be rewarded for your deeds. This book of Ours speaks about you with the truth. Surely We have recorded all your deeds."”(Qur’an;45:28). “And the earth will shine with the glory of its Lord: the record (of deeds) will be placed (open); the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and They will not be wronged (in the least)”. (Qur’an;39:69).
Historic Evolution of Concept of Imamate:
The origin and basis of the office of Imam was conceived differently by various sections of the Muslim community, this difference providing part of the political and religious basis for the split into Sunnite and Shi'ite Islam. Among Sunnites, Imamwas synonymous with caliph (khalifah), designating the successor of Muhammad (peace be upon him), who assumed his administrative and political, but not religious, functions. He was appointed by men and, although liable to error, was to be obeyed (within the confines of Qur’an and Sunnah) even though he personally sinned, provided he maintained the ordinances of Islam. Imam has also been used as an honorary title, applied to such figures as the caliph 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and the theologians Abu Hanifah, ash-Shafi'i, Malik ibn Anas, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Ghazali, and Muhammad 'Abduh. The title imam also is sometimes given to the specially trained Muslims who lead prayers in the mosques. After 'Ali's death, the Shi’a (Party; i.e., of 'Ali) demanded the restoration of rule to 'Ali's family, and from that demand developed the Shiite legitimism, or the divine right of the holy family to rule. In the early stages, the Shi’a used this legitimism to cover the protest against the Arab hegemony under the Umayyads and to agitate for social reform. Gradually, however, Shi’aism developed a theological content for its political stand. Probably under Gnostic (esoteric, dualistic, and speculative) and old Iranian (dualistic) influences, the figure of the political ruler, the Imam (exemplary "leader"), was transformed into a metaphysical being, a manifestation of God and the primordial light that sustains the universe and bestows true knowledge on man. Through the Imam alone the hidden and true meaning of the Qur’anic revelation can be known, because the Imam alone is infallible. (under Neoplatonic influences of the 9th-10th centuries AD). They alone, and not the general consensus of the community (ijm’a) essential to Sunnite Islam, determined matters of doctrinal importance and interpreted revelation. The Shi’a thus developed a doctrine of esoteric knowledge that was adopted also, in a modified form, by the Sufis, or Islamic mystics. The orthodox Shi’a recognize 12 such Imams, the last (Muhammad) having disappeared in the 9th century. With the historical disappearance (ghaybah) of the last Imam--there has been no consistency in the number legitimized: among the major sects, Sab'iyah Isma'ilis acknowledge seven Imamsand Ithna 'Ashari (Twelvers) 12--there arose a belief in the ‘Hidden Imam’, who is identified with the mahdi (literally the guided one). Since that time, the Mujtahids (i.e., the Shi’a divines) have been able to interpret law and doctrine under the putative guidance of the Imam, who will return toward the end of time to fill the world with truth and justice. (Encyclopedia Britannica).
Divinely Appointed, Infallible, Holders of Authority, (ulia al-amr): The Shi’a theologians quote from Qur’an verses: 2:30, 21:73, 4:59 & 4:83 to support their concept of Imamate. An objective analysis of these verses of Qur’an in their proper context and overall teachings of Qur’an would bring out clear picture in perspective.
Divinely Appointed Imams: Verse 2:30
Allah says: “Behold, Thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not.” (Qur’an;2:30). This Verse (2:30) is has been intepreted by Shi’a theologians to indicating that the Imams are those who are appointed by God, rather than appointed by )the community throuhg some other form of consultatin. This is seen to be the "tradition" (sunnah) of Allah, of which Allah says in verse 33:62: "You will not find any change in the sunnah of Allah.". Since His tradition (sunnah) does not change, He always appoint the leader of the religion and the religious community. The use of the adjective ja'il, meaning one who places, is also important for Shi'ite scholars in interpreting this verse. When He says "I am He who places..." this indicates that He was not merely just placing a vicegerent in the Earth during the specific incident referred to by this verse (the creation of Adam), but is rather a constant attribute of Allah. He is thereby always appointing His vicegerent, His caliph, notwithstanding the election by the community appointing one ‘khalifa’ for themselves.
Analysis- Verse 2:30 :
The Verse 2:30 in the cotext reads: “It is He who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge.”(Qur’an;2:29). “Behold, Thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."( Qur’an;2:30). “And He taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the nature of these if ye are right.”(Qur’an;2:31). “They said: "Glory to thee, of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us: In truth it is Thou who art perfect In knowledge and wisdom.”( Qur’an;2:32).
Just a simple look at the context of verse 2:30, reveal that, here the creation of earth, heaven and the Adam, symbolising creation of humanity as vicegret of Allah on earth is being narrated. It is not recorded any where in the scriptrue that Adam, as an individual and Messenger of Allah, was himself involved in mischief and bloodshed, feared by angels. It is his progeny, the humaity which is involved in bloodshed.
The term “kahlifah” – is derived formthe verb “khalafa”, “he succeeded (another)” – used in this allegory to denote man’s rightful supremacy on earth, which is most suitably rendered by the expression “he shall inherit the earth” (in the sense of being given possession of it). This is further mentined in verses 6:165, 27:62 and 35:39, where all human beings are spoken of as “khla’if al-ard”: “It is He who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you In ranks, some above others: that He may try you In the gifts He hath given you: for Thy Lord is quick In punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an;6:165). “Or, who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on him, and who relieves its suffering, and makes you (mankind) inheritors of the earth? (can there be another) god besides Allah. Little it is that ye heed!” (Qur’an;27:62); “He it is that has made you inheritors In the earth: if, then, any do reject ((Allah)), their rejection (works) against themselves: their rejection but adds to the odium for the unbelievers In the sight of their Lord: their rejection but adds to (Their own) undoing.”(Qur’an;35:39)
Allah says: “And we made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command, and we sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and They constantly served us (and us only).”(Qur’an;21:73). Verse 21:73 is interpreted similarly: "And we made the Imams, guiding by our command." This also is interprted that “the Imams are Divinely appointed figures”. This is, firstly, taken to indicate that the Imams are infallible, as they described as guiding by and in accordance with the command of Allah. The use of the word ‘command’ (a’mr) is also important, for because the "holders of authority", (ulul-al-a’mr), are the "holders of the command" as well(Qur’an;4:59 & 4:83). Hence Imams means: Divinely Appointed, Infallible, Holders of Authority, (ulia al-amr).
Analysis-Verse 21:73 :
To establish the context, verse 21:73 may be read, along with earlier verse 21:72: “And we bestowed on Him Isaac And, As an additional gift, (A grandson), Jacob, and we made righteous men of every one (of them). And we made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command, and we sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and They constantly served us (and us only).”(Qur’an;21:72-73). The Qur’anic Chapter Number 21, named as ‘The Prophets’ (Surah Al-Anbiyaa) contains a continuous account of many Prophets. The discourse from Verses 51 to 73 is about Abraham whereby he questioned the idol worshiping of his father and his people. Abraham broke all their idols to show, that the ‘idol gods’, who can not even defend themselves, cannot be of any benefit to them. They decided to burn him alive but Allah saved him. Later Abraham was blessed with son Isaac and then a grandson Jacob, Allah made them righteous (Qur’an;21:72) and each of them as Prophet to guide the men as leader (imam) (Qur’an;21:73). All the characteristics mentioned in this discourse (Qur’an;21:72-73) i.e. righteousness, leaders (ai’mmah-plural of Imam), guiding by His command, inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity, obedient servants of God, are the privileges and honor granted to the Messengers of God, which cannot be interpreted to make them applicable to any other believer. Hence in 21:72-73, ai’mmah-plural of Imam, is used for Prophets as leaders. The chain of Prophethood stands closed, Muhammad being the last Messenger : “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an;33;40). Hence after Muhammad there will be no Apostle, (or Imam), because he left the divinely protected Qur’an,(Qur’an;15:9) the last guidance for the humanity (Qur’an;39:41) and his Sunnah, , Allah appointed Muslims as inheritors: “We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen, among them there are some who wrong their own souls, some follow a middle course and some, by Allah's leave, excel in good deeds; which is the supreme virtue.”(Qur’an;35:32).
The Chosen Race:
Islam in fact does not subscribe to the existence of the concept of a chosen people or race for all times, according to Qur’an: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. God said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My Covenant," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124). Here the claim of the children of Israel as “Chosen People of God” by only virtue of their decent from Abraham, who was made “a leader of men” by God, has been refuted once read in conjunction with the two preceding verses: “O Children of Israel! Remember the blessings of Mine with which I graced you, and how I favoured over other people. Guard yourselves against the day when one soul shall not avail another, no ransom shall be taken, no intercession shall profit anyone, and no help shall be given.”(Qur’an;2:122-23). Hence God makes it clear that the exalted status of Abraham was not something that would automatically confer a comparable status on this physical descendants, and definitely not on the sinners among them. “This is because they say: "The fire of Hell shall not touch us; even if it does, it will be for a few days In their religion they are deceived by their own self-invented beliefs. What will they do when We will gather them together on the Day which is sure to come, when every soul will be given what it has earned and there shall be no injustice?“(Qur’an;3:24-25). The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved all members of his household (Ahl-al-Bait) but he dispelled any notion of special favours, in the light of Qur’an. Narrated Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the verse: “Warn your nearest kinsmen,”(Qur’an;26:214), Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's punishment."(Al Bukhari Hadith Number: 4:16). The kinsfolk of Prophet earned the love of all Mulims due to their piety and services to the cause of Islam even at the cost of personel comfort and lives.
Obedience to Infallable Holder of Authority Inference From: Verse 4:59 & 4:83 :
The Qur'anic verses 4:59 and 4:83 are taken as an indication that there must always be such a person after the Prophet: “O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. if ye differ In anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe In Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and Most suitable for final determination.”(Qur’an;4:59). “When there comes to them some matter touching (Public) safety or fear, They divulge it. if They had only referred it to the Messenger, or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct). were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you, all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan”( Qur’an;4:83). A number of scholars have observed that even though there are three entitites to whom obedience is made obligatory, there are only actually two commands. The first command is to obey Allah, and the second is to obey the Prophet and the holders of authority from amongst you. This means that obedience to the holders of authority is as obligatory as it is to the Prophet, since they are actually one command. Since the obligation to obey the Prophet is absolute, the obligation to obey the the holders of authority is absolute as well. This indicates that the holders of authority must also be infallible, like the Prophet. For if one were ordered to obey the holders of authority, and the holders of authority were disobeying Allah, then that would amount to Allah ordering a person to disobey Him. Shi'ite scholars have argued that it is impossible to say: "The command to obey the holders of authority is conditioned by their own obedience to the Prophet," since the command is singular here, and something cannot be conditioned by itself. According to this view, the holders of authority must also be sinless, which then brings us back to verse 33:33, which indicates the sinlessness of the Prophets family. They, therefore, must be the ones who are encharged with authority, and obedience to them is the same as obedience to the Prophet.
Indeed, Allah the Exalted has ordered certain obedience to the holders of authority. If anybody's obedience is ordered with clear certainty by Allah, then that person must be infallible from all mistake. If he was not infallible, thent his would mean that Allah would be ordering a person to commit an error. This would mean that a command and a prohibition would be simultaneously united, and this is impossible. Therefore, it is proved that if Allah orders the obedience of any person with certainty, it is necessary that that person be infallible. Therefore, the holders of authority are infallible.
Analysis-Verse Verse 4:59 & 4:83 :
The obedience to Allah and the Prophet can not be equated to obedience to any one else, any such understanding amounts to undermining the exalted status of Allah and His Prophet. Obedience to those “Charged with Authority” has to be with in the bounds of guidance provided by Allah through His Book, The Qur’an and Sunnah of His Prophet. Interpolation or interpretation of only one verse can not be against the over all teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah. If those “Charged with Authority” order for some thing which is against the Will of Allah and Apostle, then it is a matter of difference, for which, in the same verse Allah says: “..if you differ In anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger,..”(Qur’an;4:59). It means that obedience is only with in bounds and guidance of Qur’an and Sunnah.
Even if the command for the “obedience to the Propeht and holders of authority” is assumed as one command, making it obligatory to “obey the Prophet and holders of authority”, there is no dichotomy. In order to ward off possibility of any such interpretation, Allah has specified even obedience to Prophet in right matters (ma’roof): O Prophet! …. that they will not disobey you in what is right (ma’roof), then accept their allegiance..”(Qur’an;60:12). It is obvious that there is no question or possibility that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), would ever be asking for obedience to some thing which is not ‘right (ma’roof)’, but the verse highlights the fact that obedience to any one, including the Apostle is to be only in the right matters (ma’roof). Likewise once Allah says: “O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you…..”(Qur’an;4:59), it implies that ‘those charged with authority’ (ulul am’r) are also to be obeyed only in ‘what is right’(ma’roof) and not in ‘wrong, evil or prohibited (munkir) matters’.
In times of war or public panic, thoughtless repetition of gossip is rightly restrained by all effective States. If false, such news may cause needless alarm: if true, it may frighten the timid and cause some misgiving even to the bravest, because the counterpart of it-the preparations made to meet the danger-is not known. Thoughtless news, true or false, may also encourage the enemy. In such a situation, Allah instructs: “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Apostle or to those charged with authority among them the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct). Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan.”(Qur’an;4:83). The proper course is quietly to hand all news direct to those who are in a position to investigate it. They can then sift it and take suitable measures to checkmate the enemy. Not to do so, but to deal with news either thoughtlessly or maliciously is to fall directly into the snares of evil. It is evident that instead of using force and violence against Muslim rulers, the use of words, advise and peaceful protest is the preferable option.
In many Hadith Prophet predicted the existence of rulers, who would not be following all the Islamic injunctions in true spirit, he also provided the guidelines and tolerant attitude of Muslim community towards them. (Sahih Muslim Hadith number 861, similar Hadith number 860 has been narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri; Sunan of Abu Dawood No.2040; Al Tirmidhi Hadith.102; Sunan of Abu Dawood:179; Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9 Hadith.175 & also 179). Thus in view of verse of Qur’an;60:12 and Hadiths, the whole concept of an Infallible Imam as holder of authority is negated. For the guidance of Muslims and the humanity the Prophet left Qur’an and his Sunnah which has proved true to the trust.
Seal of Prophets & Inheritance of Legacy:
The chain of Prophethood has been closed through divine command, by declaring Muhammad to be the last Prophet and closing his line of inheritance, Allah says: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men (he is not going to leave any male heirs). He is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. Allah has the knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an;33:40). With the end of prophethood, the divine revelations, stands closed. Qur’an and Sunnah is available for the guidance of humanity. Hence now there is no rationale of divinely appointed leader (prophet or Imam). The possibility of any one claiming to inherit his legacy on the basis of kinship has also been closed. He only left his daughters, while his sons died in infancy, the Will of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is in fact spiritual father of whole community of Muslims: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are as their mothers...” (Qur’an;33:6). The mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not restricted to any race or community, his mission is for the whole mankind till eternity : “O Muhammad, We have not sent you but as a blessing for all the worlds.”(Qur’an;21:107).
The Muslims, the spiritual children of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The prophets do not inherit their property to the kinsfolk: Narrated Urwa: 'Aish’a said, "When Allah's Apostle died, his wives intended to send 'Uthman to Abu Bakr asking him for their share of the inheritance." Then 'Aish’a said to them, "Didn't Allah's Apostle say, 'Our (Apostles') property is not to be inherited, and whatever we leave is to be spent in charity?"(Sahih Bukhari Hadith 8.722). Narrated Aish’a: Fatima and Al'Abbas came to Abu Bakr, claiming their inheritance of the Prophet's land of Fadak and his share from Khaibar. Abu Bakr said, "I heard the Prophet saying, 'Our property is not inherited, and whatever we leave is to be given in charity. But the family of Muhammad can take their sustenance from this property.' By Allah, I would love to do good to the kith and kin of Allah's Apostle rather than to my own kith and kin." (Sahih Bukhari Hadith 5.368).
Infallibility of Prophets & Kinsfolk:
The prophets are chosen human beings, who are guided, given special knowledge and granted special exalted status by Allah(Qur’an;72:26-27). The are bestowed with knowledge of certainty, (Qur’an;102:5-6, ;102:7, 69:51, 6:75, 17:1). Due to this special knowledge of certainty the Apostles are very firm in their faith. However they continue to remain human and operate with in the ambit of divine laws governing the conduct of human being, although Allah is kind to them, ever ready to help and forgive. The freedom of choice, to over come the temptations of soul and trials further exalt their status. Allah extends His favour to them, as they pray to Him as His humble servants. In their day to day life, as human, at times they do err, but Allah protects them from evil and forgive their errors (as they are not angels). Nevertheless complete divine protection is provided in delivery of Revelations and in conveyance of true message of Allah. They can not commit any error in the maters of Din (faith). Some examples of their trials and errors have been mentioned in Hadith and Qur’an : Adam (20:122), Abraham (2:124), Noah (21:76,11:45-47), Jonah (Younus)(21:87-88),Moses (28:16-17;7:150-151, 18:73), David (8:24-25), Sulaiman (38:34-35), Joseph(48:2). Also in Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9, Hadith. 532C and Hadith Qudsi Number 36).
The blood relationship has no bearing in the matters of faith, reward and punishment. According to divine design of creation, humanity has been provided guidance, hence every individual is responsible for his own deeds and will be accountable to Allah: “O mankind! Have fear of your Lord and fear that Day when no father shall avail his son nor a son his father…”(Qur’an;31:33). History is full of examples whereby the very close relatives of the Messengers of Allah could not be saved from divine rage due to their disobedience. Allah says:“O mankind! Have fear of your lord and fear that Day when no father shall avail his son nor a son his father...”(31:33). The examples of kinsfolk of Messengers, who were doomed have been mentioned in Qur’an: Noah(66:10, 21:76, 11:45-47), Abraham(9:114, 2:124). Where as the wife of Pharaoh, a pious women sought His Mercy (66:11). It has been narrated by Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the verse: “Warn your nearest kinsmen,”(Qur’an;26:214), Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's punishment."(Al Bukhari Hadith Number: 4:16). The kinsfolk of Prophet earned the love of all Mulims and exalted position due to their piety and services to the cause of Islam even at the cost of personel comfort and lives. Perfection is with Allah: “My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20:52).
Qur’an – The Well Protected Book of Guidance :
To achieve this universal mission, Qur’an, the final and complete Book for the guidance of humanity was reveled to the Prophet: “To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between people according to Allah's revelations and do not yield to their vain desires diverging from the truth which has come to you. We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you. If Allah wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to Allah; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;5:48). “O Muhammad, say: "O mankind! I am the Messenger of Allah towards all of you from He to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity but Him. He brings to life and causes to die. Therefore, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet (Muhammad) who believes in Allah and His Word (Qur’an). Follow him so that you may be rightly guided."(Qur’an;7:158). “(O Prophet, declare) "O mankind! The truth has come to you from your Lord! He that follows guidance (Right Way) follows it for his own good, and he that goes astray does so at his own risk; for I am not a custodian over you."(10:108).“..He whom Allah guides is rightly guided; but he whom He lets go astray, you will find no guardian to lead him to the Right Way.”(18:17). “Say, "The Holy Spirit (Gabriel) has brought it down piecemeal intact from your Lord to strengthen the faith of the believers, and to give guidance and good news to the Muslims."”(16:102), “..We have heard a wonderful Qur'an which guides to the Right Way. We have believed in it and henceforth shall worship none besides Our Lord.”(72:1-2).
Unlike previous scriptures, Allah has Himself taken responsibility to guard and preserve Qur’an against corruption: “Surely We have revealed this reminder (The Qur'an); and We will surely preserve it Our self.”(Qur’an;15:9). This is proved form the fact that Qur’an is the only divine scripture available in its original form since 1400 years.
The Inheritor of Islam :
Muslims as the ‘middle way community’ have been entrusted with great responsibility: “Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143). They have been appointed as inheritor of Qur’an :“We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen, among them there are some who wrong their own souls, some follow a middle course and some, by Allah's leave, excel in good deeds; which is the supreme virtue.”(Qur’an;35:32). As true inheritors of Qur’an, the Muslims have obligation to read, understand, practice and preach Qur’an to the humanity. Since it is not possible for every one to be fully learned in the sciences of Qur’an and Hadith, they followed the guidance from Qur’an: “Nor should the believers all go forth together: if a group from every expedition remained behind, They could devote themselves to studies In religion, and admonish the people when They return to them,- that Thus They (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).” (Qur’an;9:122). “Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful.”(Qur’an;3:104). In his farewell address during last Hajj, the Apostle also reemphasized the great responsibilities, which they have to shoulder, he said: O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.” Muslims have been able to create men of knowledge and understanding to spread the message of Islam. History is witness to the fact that not only the original message of Allah and teachings of Prophet (Sunnah) have been preserved but has continuously been spread to the humanity by the Muslims as its true inheritors. At present one fifth of humanity is following Islam which is growing at a fast pace. The love and affection for the Prophet for the members of his Household (Ahl-al-Bait), their piety and contributions towards the cause of Islam have earned them a very respectable place in the eyes of all Muslims.
Authority to Rule:
Islam is not like ordinary religions, of some beliefs, rituals of worship and dogmas. Islam it is a complete way of life having its own political, social, economic, judicial and other philosophies covering every sphere of spiritual and materials aspects of human life, with methodologies for their practical implementation. This requires a comprehensive system of government and political system for practical implementations of Islamic way of life for the society. The authority to rule is the sole prerogative of Allah: “All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah. To Him belongs the kingdom and to Him is due all praise, He has power over all things.”(Qur’an;64:1). “We are the One Who established you (mankind) on earth, and provided you means of your sustenance therein: yet little it is that you pay thanks.”(Qur’an;7:10). “... The Command belongs to none but Allah...”(Qur’an;12:40). He appointed man as vicegerent on earth, He grants or take away the kingdom to whomsoever He please: “Say: "O Allah! Master of all the Kingship, You give the kingdom to whom You please and take away the kingdom from whomsoever You please; You give honor to whom You please and disgrace to whom You please; all the good is in Your hand; surely You have power over everything. (Qur’an;3:26). “He is the One Who has made you the inheritors of the earth and raised some of you in ranks over others so that He may test you in what He has given you. Surely your Lord is swift in retribution; yet He is also very Forgiving, Merciful.”( Qur’an;6:165). Some of His prophets were given the Law and authority to rule, like Prophet Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them), while most of others Apostles like Jesus and many other prophets among the Children of Israel were entrusted with the responsibility to deliver His message of guidance. The rulers were appointed : “Their Prophet told them: "Allah has appointed Saul (Talut) to be your king." They replied: "How can he be our king when some of us are more deserving than him? Besides he is not rich." The Prophet said: "Allah has chosen him to rule over you and blessed him with knowledge and stature. Allah grants kingship to whom He pleases and Allah has boundless knowledge.”(Qur’an;2:247). David and Solomon were granted both prophethood and kingdom: “By Allah's will they put the unbelievers to flight, and David slew Goliath, Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him what else He pleased. If Allah had not been repelling one set of people by the might of others, there would indeed be disorder on earth, but Allah is Gracious to all the worlds.”(Qur’an;2:251). “And Solomon was David's heir..”(Qur’an;27:16).
In the Islamic state, the people charged with authority or responsibility or decision, or the settlement of affairs are mentioned as Ulu-l-amr: "“O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination”( Qur’an;4:59). It may include the government and other responsible persons in various government department and institutions dealing with the public, community affairs. Like the Executive, Judiciary, Police, Scholars appointed by Government (not self appointed guardians) for religious guidance. They all have to act with in the bounds of Qur’an and Sunnah: “…Allah will certainly help those who help His cause; most surely Allah is Mighty, Powerful. These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;22:40-41). The ultimate authority rests in Allah. Prophets of Allah derive their authority from Him. As Islam makes no sharp division between sacred and secular affairs, it expects governments to be imbued with righteousness. Likewise Islam expects Muslims to respect the authority of such government (not against Qur’an and Sunnah) for otherwise there can be no order or discipline. In case of any difference of opinion among themselves then the matter is to be settled in accordance with the guidance from Qur’an and Sunnah.
After the Prophet, it has been experienced that the authority to rule may be combined in one person, well versed with the religious, political and administrative affairs, like the Rightly Guided Caliphs, of early Muslim era. Later, it is observed that with the change of system of ruler, from election of Caliph to the hereditary kinship, the rulers were not very well versed in the theological affairs, the appointments of experts in respective fields for consultation, advise and assistance became the norm. The Prophet could foresee such situation in his vision when he said: Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said to us, "You will see after me, selfishness (on the part of other people) and other matters that you will disapprove of." They asked, "What do you order us to do, O Allah's Apostle (under such circumstances)?" He said, "Pay their rights to them (to the rulers) and ask your right from Allah."(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9 Hadith.175 & also 179). Narrated Qabisah ibn Waqqas : The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: After me you will be ruled by rulers who will delay the prayer and it will be to your credit but to their discredit. So pray with them so long as they pray facing the kiblah.(Sunan of Abu Dawood:179).Narrated Ziyad ibn Hudayr: Umar said to me: Do you know what demolishes Islam? I said: No. Whereupon he said: It is the slip of a scholar and the dispute of the hypocrite by the Book, and the commands of the misguided rulers which demolish it. Transmitted by Darimi.(Al Tirmidhi Hadith.102)
Narrated Awf ibn Malik; The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke God's blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked (by those present): Shouldn't we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything detestable in them, you should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience.”(Sahih Muslim Hadith number 861, similar Hadith number 860 has been narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri). Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri; The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best fighting (jihad) in the path of Allah is (to speak) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler.”(Sunan of Abu Dawood No.2040).
The mere idea of a separate order of infallible priesthood, to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. (Abdullah Yousuf Ali). With the end of line of Prophethood through last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the process of divine inspiration through Revelations has ended. Qur’an, the last book of guidance is protected by Allah, is available to humanity in its original form, along with Sunnah of Prophet. Allah says: “This Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, which is free from any flaw, so that they may learn to be righteous.”(Qur’an;39:28), “Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant and did not make it complicated. It is straightforward so that He may warn about the terrible punishment for the unbelievers from Him and give good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward,”(Qur’an;18:1-2). Muslims continue to have successfully lived up to the divine trust bestowed upon them as inheritor of Qur’an collectively, without any infallible priesthood. Muslims highly revere the members of Household of Prophet due to their knowledge, piety, contributions and sacrifices rendered for the cause of Islam. Infallibility is the virtue, which is the sole prerogative of Allah and His word: “..He neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an; 20: 52).
THE AUTHORITY (WALAYAH)
“..They have no protecting friend (wali) beside Him
and He does not let anyone share in His authority.”(Qur’an;18:26)
The Arabic word ‘walayah’’ means; rule, kingship, governorship, authority, ownership, some thing under control, to help. However in Shi’a theology, ‘walayah’’ means much more than the dictionary meanings. According to Oxford dictionary of Islam, the term Walayah is some times translated as “Sainthood”. State of being on one chosen by God to interpret the inner meaning of God’s revelation to human beings, providing an on going link between humankind and divine revelation. In Shi’aism, (walayah) denotes the characteristics required for succession to the Imamate. Successors must be descents of (Prophet) Muhammad (peace be upon him), who are appointed based on their esoteric knowledge. They are expected to provide political leadership, be actively involved in upholding religious laws, and possesses special knowledge of the esoteric dimension of Qur’anic revelation. In Sufism, a person chosen by God to fulfill the duty of walayah is known as a wali, or friend of God. The wali is believed to have been given divine protection against error in order to preserve God’s religion intact.
Wali & Walayah: According to Shi’a perspective the specific authority of walayah to Imam Ali is said to be indicated by the verse of authority, in Qur’an, verse 5:55: “Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God)”(Qur’an;5:55). The Shi’a translation reads: "Indeed, your lord is Allah, and the Prophet, and those who believe, those establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer."(Qur’an;5:55). It is believed that this story refers to a specific incident in the life of Imam Ali, where he gave one of his rings to a begger whilst he was bowed in ritual prayer. The use of the word wali, meaning "lord" or "guardian," is taken as assigning walayah to Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, exclusively.
The Arabic is a very rich language, one word at times convey many meanings, word ‘wali’ means; friend, guardian, protector, owner, relative. The word ‘Awliya’ the plural of ‘wali’, has wider range of meanings in Arabic, the various belief and thoughts about the false deities of pagans, which have been mentioned in Qur’an as, “making ‘Awliya’ (protecting guardians)” besides Allah. A comprehensive analysis reveal four broad categories of meanings of ‘Awliya’ used in Qur’an : Firstly; wali is the one, whose instructions are followed, men obeys his commands, the ways, customs and laws of wali are followed (Qur’an; 4:119-120, 7:3, 27-30). Secondly, wali is the one, whose guidance is trusted, it is thought that wali is the one to show the right way and save from error (Qur’an;2:257, 17:97, 18:17,50, 45:19). Thirdly, the wali is the one about whom man thinks that, what ever he does in this world, wali will save him, if wali is considered as God, will save from the punishment on the Day of Judgement (Qur’an;4:123, 173, 6:51, 13:37, 29:22, 33:65, 39:3). Fourthly, wali is the one about whom it is thought that, he helps his believer in this world through supernatural ways, protects from calamities, provides means of sustenance, grant children and meet all other requirements (Qur’an;11:20, 13:16, 29:41). At some places in Qur’an word ‘wali’ has been used in one of these meanings while at other places it comprehensively encompasses all the meanings, as in Qur’an, Allah says: “Those who take others as their awliya besides Him, Allah Himself is watching them; and O Prophet, you are not the disposer of their affairs.”(Qur’an;42:6). Obviously once word wali or awliya is used among believers it is used in the meanings of ‘friend’ or ‘protecting friends’: “And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends (awliya) one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.”(Qur’an;9:71). Where ever word wali is used with reference to Allah, it is does not mean like human friends, but it is used in the meanings of Guardian, Protector, Owner: “Allah is the Wali (Protector) of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons (awliya) are the Evil Ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire to dwell therein (for ever).” (Qur’an;2:257). “…He named you Muslims before in prior scriptures and in this (The Qur'an), so that His Messenger may testify against you and you yourselves may testify against rest of the mankind. Therefore, establish Salah, pay Zakah and hold fast to Allah; Who is your Protector (Mawlaa) - so what an excellent Protector and what a splendid Supporter!”(Qur’an;22:78), “Lo! those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe (with him); and Allah is the Protecting Friend of the believers (waley al- mu'minen)”(Qur’an;3:68).
The Discourse, once read with the context from verse 5:54 to 5:56, is self explanatory: “O believers! Whoever among you renounce Islam let him do so; soon Allah will replace them with others whom He will love and they will love Him, who will be humble towards the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, striving hard in the way of Allah, and will have no fear of reproach from any critic. Now this is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. Allah has boundless knowledge. Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God).Whoever makes Allah, His Messenger and the fellow believers his (wali) protecting friends, must know that Allah's party will surely be victorious. (Qur’an;5:54,55,56). The Protecting friend is Allah, His Apostle and fellow believers who practice the obligatory duties of offering prayer, charity, bow down to Allah. This is again repeated in next verse (Qur’an;5:,56) whereby the good news of victory is given to the Party of Allah, which include the believers making Allah and His Apostle as their Protecting friend (Wali). Again in verse 9:71, it is mentioned that true believers, both men and women, are protectors (awliya) of one another, they establish Prayer (Salah), pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Rasool. They are given glad tidings of Mercy of Allah. The term Wali and Awliya is a general term which has been used indicate that that the belivers should take Allah His Apostle and fellow practicing believers as their Wali, protecting friends.
It has only become possible for man to attain to the special mercy of Allah, which is not meant for other dumb creatures, but is only meant for those endowed with power and authority, who should take Allah as Patron and Guardian (Wali) not instinctively but consciously by willing choice. Allah supports the man who adopts this way and guides and helps him to do good and right and admits him into His special mercy. On the contrary, the man who misuses his option and makes his patron (wali) those who are not, in fact, the guardians, and cannot be, are deprived of divine mercy. In this connection, it has also been made clear that only Allah is the Patron (Wali) of man and of all other creatures. Others are neither the patron nor have the power to do full justice to patronage. Man's success depends only on this that he should make no mistake in choosing a patron for himself by the use of his free choice, and should take only Him his Guide Who, in reality, is the real Patron.
Now coming back to the Shi’a translation of verse 5:55, which reads: "Indeed, your lord is Allah, and the Prophet, and those who believe, those establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer."(Qur’an;5:55). The Shi’a theologians interpret that : “It is believed that this story refers to a specific incident in the life of Imam Ali, where he gave one of his rings to a begger whilst he was bowed in ritual prayer. The use of the word wali, meaning "lord" or "guardian," is taken as assigning walayah to Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, exclusively.”
Here word ‘wali’ has been translated as ‘lord’. According to Oxford Dictionary ‘lord’ mans: master, ruler, leader, chief, monarch, sovereign, king, emperor, prince, governor, commander, captain, overlord, suzerain, baron, potentate, liege. Used as Lord God, for Jesus. If used for God it is with capital letter ‘L’, Lord. In verse 5:55, four, persons, including a group been mentioned who are understood to be ‘lord’, firstly Allah, secondly His Prophet, thirdly all the ‘believers’ and fourthly ‘those who establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer’(implying Ali). If wali is applied to all the four, mentioned in the verse 5:55, they even ‘all the believers’ are also entitled to ‘walayah’, which makes them all infllalble (ma’sum), though it is neither indicated here or any where else in Qur’an. In fact word ‘walayah’ and ma’sum does not exist in Qur’an at all. Hence it is appropriate to undersstand the verse 5:55 in line with the overall perspective of Qur’an. Accordingly the verse 5:55, can appropriately be translated as: “Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God)”(Qur’an;5:55). The Only Supreme Protector (Wali) is Allah, Who does not need any one to mediate between Him and His creatures, He says: “Have they set up other guardians beside Him, while Allah Alone is the Guardian? It is He Who gives life to the dead and it is He Who has power over all things.”( Qur’an;42:9). “We created man, We know the prompting of his soul, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”(Qur’an;50:16). “When my servants ask thee concerning Me I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way”(Qur’an;2:186). “You shall not follow anyone blindly in those matters of which you have no knowledge, surely the use of your ears and the eyes and the heart - all of these, shall be questioned on the Day of Judgement.”(Qur’an;17:36).
Need for A Successor to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) - Verse 75:36:
The Shiite theologians have given certain argument to justify their concept of Imamate. It is contended that it is impossible for the Prophet to have departed the world without first appointing a successor to preserve the religion after him. This argument is based on verse 75:36: “Does the human being think he will be left aimless?” The old adage of "no religion survives the death of its founder is seen to apply here"; without a specific source of guidance, humanity would be left to try and piece together what they know of the religion, producing a patchwork of competing beliefs and theories, without ever hitting the mark. Sending the Prophet would, according to a rational interpretation offered by many Shiite scholars, require that another person come to stand in place of the Prophet. Otherwise, sending him would have been pointless. The verse which states "Indeed, we have not sent you except as a warner unto all the worlds" would be rendered meaningless, since the generations that post-dated the Prophet would be powerless to discover the truth of the religion amidst competing claims. The question posed in verse 75:36 is, of course, interpreted as a rhetorical question, and as a challenge. When this verse is taken in context with the previous, the question is read as: "Do you think that we have not appointed somebody to answer your questions?" The existence of such a being would, according to Shiite scholars, indicated as “those charged with authority (ule-al-'amr)” in Qur’an: “O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. Should you have a dispute in anything, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. This course of action will be better and more suitable.”(Qur’an 4:59), “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Apostle or to those charged with authority among them the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct). Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan.”(Qur’an;4:83).
The Chapter Number 75, Surah Al-Qiyamat, (The Day of Judgement) comprises 40 verses. In this Surah, deniers of the Hereafter have been addressed and replies have been given to each of their doubts and objections. Strong arguments have been given to prove the possibility, occurrence and necessity of the Resurrection and Hereafter, and also it has been pointed out clearly that the actual reason of the people's denying the Hereafter is not that they regard it as impossible rationally but because their selfish motives do not allow them to affirm it. At the same time, the people have been warned, that: “Does man think that He will be left uncontrolled, (sudan-without purpose)?” (Qur’an;75:36). Arabic Word sudan : has many implications: (1) uncontrolled, free to do what he likes: (2) without any moral responsibility; not accountable for his actions; (3) without a purpose, useless; (4) forsaken. Allah has not created man without making him morally responsible, he will be accountable for his deeds in hereafter. Hence the meanings of verse 75:36, can be clearly understood once read in the context of earlier verses of the Discourse: “But in this life he neither believed, nor offered prayed (Salah); but on the contrary he denied the truth and turned away. Then he went to his kinfolk elated with pride. Woe to you, O man! Woe to you. Again woe to you, O man! Woe to you. Does man think that he will be left to wander around without any purpose? Was he not once a drop of emitted semen? Then he became a leechlike mass, then Allah created him and fashioned him in due proportion, and made him either of the two sexes, male and female. Has He not then the power to bring the dead to life?”(Qur’an;75:31-40). Obviously on resurrection the man will be judged for the deeds he performed in this world, because this world is to test the man, he is not left in this world to wander around without any purpose, but to submit himself to will of God by free choice: “Indeed, We have created man from the sperm drop containing both sexes, so that We may test him. Therefore, We gave him the faculties of hearing and sight. Then We guided him to the Way: Now, it is his choice either to be grateful or to be a disbeliever.”(Qur’an;76:2-3) “Then after living for a while you shall all die, then most surely you shall be raised to life again on the Day of Resurrection.”(Qur’an;23:15-16). It is clear from the context (verse 75:31-40) that there is no mention or even indication of appointment of any successor to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) any where in the this discourse or in the whole Chapter number 75 (Surah Al-Qiyamat). The desired meanings have been drawn by considering verse 75:36 in isolation out of context.
Allah has clearly laid down that after the Prophet, He has chosen Muslims to inherit Qur’an:We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen,..”(Qur’an;35:32).“Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181).“We have made you a moderate (justly balanced) community so that you may be witness against the mankind and that your own Messenger may be witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143). “You are the best nation which has ever been raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would surely have been better for them; among them some are believers but most of them are transgressors.”(Qur’an;3:110). “Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful.”(Qur’an;3:104).These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;22:41). There is no mention of any hierarchy of priesthood from any race or group.
The ‘Guide’ After The Prophet According to Verse 13:7, 35:24 and 75:36 :
The other argument to support the concept of Imamate is that, after the Prophet, every generation of every people must have a Warner amongst them, which according to them is an infallible Imam, a single person in every time and place. The inference for the existence of ‘Guides’ after the Prophet is believed to be also referred to in Qur’an: “Certainly We have sent you (O Muhammad) with the Truth as a bearer of good news and as a Warner, for there has not been a nation which has not had a Warner.”(Qur’an;35:24), “The unbelievers say: "Why is not a sign sent down to him (Muhammad) from his Lord? But you are nothing but a Warner and every nation was assigned a guide.”(Qur’an;17:3).
The Verse 13:7, has been translated by them as: "Indeed you are but a messenger, and to every people there is a guide." This verse speaks first, exclusively, about the Prophet, using the particle of exclusion, inama. A second clause begins, which says that every people have a guide. Shiite scholars have generally argued that because of the use of the exclusive particle at the beginning, the guide that is for every people cannot be the Prophet, but rather another entity. The fact that a third class of people, the "holders of authority", has been referred to in previous verses, indicates that there is an additional set of authority alongside of the Prophet. That entity is a singular person, according to the Shiite interpretation, insofar as it says "to every people there is a guide", instead of "to every people there are guides." This is taken as being a basis for the idea that the Imam is one, single person in every time and place, and cannot be predicated upon the community as a whole. Nor does it refer to the scholars, or any other group of people. This would assume that every generation of every people must have a warner amongst them, indicating that if there is no law-giving Prophet, there must be an infallible source who replaces him.
According to the above interpretation, if Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was just a messenger or ‘Warner’ not a ‘guide’, then even in his life time there should have been an other person to guide the people. The history is witness to the fact that there was no other ‘guide’ or ‘imam’ besides Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). His pious companions supported him, with all the means, like some of the disciples of Jesus : “O believers! Be the helpers (in the cause) of Allah, just as Jesus the son of Marry said to his disciples: "Who will be my helper in the cause of Allah?" And the disciples responded: "We will be your helpers in the cause of Allah." Then a group from the children of Israel believed in him (Jesus) and another group disbelieved. We aided the believers against their enemies, so they became victorious.”(Qur’an;61:14). Even after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), righteous people among the Muslims continue to be the helpers in the cause of Allah, that is implementation and propagation of Islam.
The humans, besides natural guidance ingrained in his instincts, also need the detailed Guidance, to make it absolutely clear to him, satisfy his quires and moreover on the Day of Judgement he should not have an excuse that he was nor warned. Some people worship various deities, gods, saints, humans, living or dead, they ask them for favors to fulfill their desires through supernatural means and protect them form various calamities. Apart form fulfillment of their desires and protection, man also needs guidance apart form spiritual aspect also, in political, social, economic and other aspect of human life. Such guidance does not come from these false deities, man evolves the rules and develop systems basing upon past experience using his intellect. But these man made rules are never perfect, thus have to be further developed and modified with the passage of time. It is only the True God, Allah which meets all the spiritual and material requirements of humanity. Allah does not communicate directly with humans, he chooses His messengers to communicate the message of guidance: “It is not vouchsafed to any human being that Allah should speak to him face to face, He speaks either through inspiration, or from behind a veil, or through sending a messenger authorized by Him to reveal His will; surely He is most High, most Wise.”(Qur’an;42:51). “Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the Prophets who surrendered (unto God) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain: those who do not judge by the law which Allah has revealed, are indeed disbelievers.”(Qur’an;5:44). “And Thus have We, by Our command, sent inspiration to thee (O’ Muhammad): Thou Knew not (before) what was revelation, and what was faith; but we have made the (Qur'an) a light, wherewith we guide such of Our servants As we will; and Verily Thou dost guide (men) to the straight Way,”(Qur’an;42:52). The messengers guide the people by conveying the message of Allah: “They said: "Our Lord knows that we have indeed been sent as Messengers towards you and our only duty is to convey His message plainly.”(Qur’an;36:16-17). They can not even change the Message: “O Prophet! Recite what has been revealed to you from (Qur’an) the Book of your Sustainer: no one is authorized to change His Words and if you dare to make any change, you will find no refuge to protect you from Him.”(Qur’an;18:27).The Prophets are not required to compel the people to accept the faith: “O Prophet proclaim: "This (Qur’an) is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it." As for those who reject it, for such wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire..”(Qur’an;18:29). The acceptance of the guidance is only with the Mercy of Allah, who grants it to those who chooses to be guided (Qur’an;2:256). A close examination of different modes for the guidance of humanity, in the light of Qur’an will further elaborate the system laid out by Allah for guidance of humanity, specially after the end of inspiration (revelations) with the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Philosophy of Guidance:
The philosophy of Guidance and methodology has been summed in Qur’an: “Mankind was one nation having one religion. Later when people invented other religions, Allah appointed Prophets as bearers of good news and warnings (mubashshiren wa- mundhiren); and revealed to them the Book with the True Guidance to settle the matters of dispute between mankind. But the very people to whom it was given, started disputes after the clear arguments had come to them, because of rivalry between one another. Allah has guided the believers by His will to the truth in those matters in which they had differences. Allah guides whom He pleases towards the Right Way.”(Qur’an;2:213). “Those who reject faith and do wrong Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any way.”(Qur’an;4:168). The prophets leave the Book (scripture) as inheritance for their community (Qur’an;40:53-54). The Book continue to serve as guide for their community, through righteous people (Qur’an;7:181).
Guidance by Allah:
The source and guidance is from Allah: “Say: "Of your 'partners' is there any that can give any guidance towards truth?" say: "It is Allah who gives guidance towards truth, is then He who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be followed, or He who finds not guidance (himself) unless He is guided? what then is the matter with you? How judge ye?”(Qur’an;10:35), “O' Allah! Guide us to The Right Way.”(Qur’an;1:6), “..Allah will not guide those who reject faith.”(Qur’an;16:107). “…your Lord is sufficient for you (O Muhammad) as a Guide and Helper.”(Qur’an;25:31), “Is Allah not all-sufficient for His servants? Yet they try to frighten you with others besides Him! For such whom Allah confounds, there can be no guide. But the one to whom Allah guides, none can lead him astray. Is not Allah All-Mighty, the Lord of retribution?”(Qur’an;39:36-37). It has been mentioned repeatedly in Qur’an that the guidance is from Him, He is the guide and He does not guide those who reject faith:, 26:62, 3:101, 4:115, 28:22, 43:27, 45:23, 46:10, 37:99, 39:36, 4:176, 47:5, 7:186. Apart form the human nature, Allah provides the guidance through various physical means, like Books (revealed scriptures), Prohets and People. The Prophets can not enforce the acceptance of guidance upon the peole, they warn them and give good news, so that on the Day of Judgement they can not deny.
Guidance Through Prophets:
Allah provides guidance through Prophets, they are role model of piety, they demonstrate and preach His message: “And We bestowed upon him (Abraham) Isaac, and Jacob as a grandson. Each of them We made righteous. We made them leaders (a'immah) who guided other people by Our command and We sent them revelations to do good deeds, establish Salah and pay Zakah. To Us Alone did they serve.”(Qur’an;21:72-73). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was His last prophet. However Qur’an and his Sunnah remains available for the humanity: “He it is who hath sent His messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse.”(Qur’an;9:33); “It is He who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.”(Qur’an;48:28). “..and surely you (Muhammad) are guiding mankind to the Right Way”(Qur’an;42:52). The messengers besides being warner, are to deliver the message of guidance and invite the people to the right way: “They (messengers) said: "Our Lord doth know that we have been sent on a mission to you: but we are no bound to do more than clearly deliver the message (entrusted to us)”(Qur’an;36:16-17). “O Prophet,……Tell them: "I am commanded to worship Allah and to associate none with Him. To Him I invite (ado’u) you and to Him I shall return.”( Qur’an;13:36). Allah provides Guidance through Prophets is also mentioned in Qur’an at 14:4, 16:36, 47:32 & 4:14.
The Miracles & Significance: Miracle is an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of Allah as sign of His existence and truthfulness of Prophethood. The peculiar feature of Muslim theology is that, unlike Christian theology, it did not accept the idea of nature as an entity operating according to fixed laws ordained by the Creator. Because the universe is constantly being re-created by Allah in successive time atoms, natural regularity is nothing but the regularity of Allah's habit in re-creating the universe. Thus, a miracle is the omnipotent Allah's departure from his habit but no different, in principle, from the latter. When people do see a miracle, they are more likely to believe in Allah and worship Him, as He should be worshipped. Therefore, a miracle may be the short cut for making people believe in Allah and implement His law.
Time Bound Miracles Versus The Ever Living Miracle: The question arises that, Allah had been bestowing His signs in the form of miracles to the previous prophets, but he did not fulfill the demand of pagans of Mecca: “They ask: "Why have the signs not been sent down to him from his Lord?" Tell them: "The signs are in the hands of Allah. I am only a plain Warner. Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you this Book (AL-Qur'an) which is recited to them, surely in it is a blessing and a reminder for those who believe.”(Qur’an;29:50-51),“This Warner (Muhammad) is just like the earlier warners.”(Qur’an;53:56). Similarly Noah said to his people :“I am nothing but a plain Warner.”(Qur’an;26:115). “And the Unbelievers say! "Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord?..”(Qur’an;13:7). The answer is given in Qur’an: “These polytheist solemnly swear by Allah that if a Sign came to them they would most certainly believe in your Prophethood. Say: "All signs are vouchsafed by Allah." What should make you understand that if a sign comes to them they will still not believe?.”(Qur’an;6:109). The history shows that when miracles were given to earlier prophets, their communities accused them of sorcery and were even more determined to reject the faith preached by those prophets (Qur’an;20:57-58, Mathew;24:23-24). “The fact, however, is that even though We showed Signs to the prior people, not a single nation before them, which We destroyed, ever believed. Will they believe?”(Qur’an;21:6). “And We refrain from sending the miracles only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the She-camel: to the Thamud to open their eyes but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil).”(Qur’an;17:59).“Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe. (Qur’an;45:3).
“They say: "Why does he (Muhammad) not bring us a Miracle from His Lord?" Has not a clear Sign (The Qur'an) come to them containing all the teachings of the former Scriptures?”(Qur’an;20:133). The miracles bestowed upon previous prophets were time bound, only observed by those limited number of people present at the site. Even during same era, the effects of those miracles did not last long and faded away. The unbelievers among those who directly witnessed the miracles, rejected them as mere sorcery. The performance of miracles is not the only criteria to prove the prophethood. Jesus cautioned against false prophets: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:24). It is the procedure of Allah that if a community once shown a miracle, on their demand and then decline to believe, they became entitled for the divine range hence destroyed. Allah , the Most Knowledgeable knew that ultimately most of the pagans of Arabia will accept Islam and become its torch bearers, acceptance of their demand of miracle did not fit in to His Plan and Wisdom, as He had bestowed the everlasting living miracle in the form of Qur’an, for humanity. There are many miracles attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recorded in the traditions (Hadith), but they are not frequently quoted as a proof of authority, because the Qur’an is the biggest living miracle: “O mankind! There has come to you convincing proof of Truth from your Lord. We have sent to you a glorious light (Al-Qur'an) that shows you the Right Way clearly.”(4:174).
The reason is that different types of miracles were bestowed upon the prophets by Allah, according to the environments prevalent at particular time and environments. The people of Pharaoh were agrarian society inclined with magic and sorcery, Moses was bestowed the miracles of converting staff (common wood) in to serpent, the people in the time of Jesus were more inclined towards healing and medicine, Jesus was granted the miracle to heal the lepers, raising dead by Allah. The Arabs were proud of their rich Arabic language, they used to call others as ajmi (dumb). Amazingly, the Qur’an was revealed to the unlettered Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in the most eloquent Arabic. Qur’an challenged them: “Declare: "Even if all human beings and Jinns combined their resources to produce the like of this Qur'an, they would never be able to compose the like thereof, even if they backed up each other as best as they could.(17:88, also 10:38,11:13). “O Muhammad, you have never read a book before this nor have you ever transcribed one with your right hand. Had you done either of these, the quibblers could suspect it.”(29:48). In the present era when every claim is subjected to the intellectual, rational and scientific scrutiny, Qur’an stands out as the unquestionable proof of divine truth, wisdom and knowledge even to the atheist, if they believe it not, it is because : “..Allah will not guide those who reject faith.” (Qur’an;16:107). There are many scientific facts which mentioned in Qur’an 1400 years ago have been proved recently:Allah says; “Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur'an is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over everything?”(Qur’an;41:53). The creation of the universe by ‘The Big Bang’: “(Qur’an;21:30, 41:11) and many other scientific aspects mentioned in Qur’an, some referred here, at verses ; 79:30, 71:16, 21:33, 36:40, 36:38,13:2, 51:47, 10:61, 78:6-7,21:31,79:32, 24:40, 39:21, 30:24,23:18, 20:53, 13:3, 16:68-69, 27:17-18, 16:69, 25:54, 21:30,75:3-4, 4:56, 23:12-14, 75:37-39,82:7-8, 22:5, 32:9,23:78, 53:45-46,75:37-39. With the advancement in the scientific and other branches of knowledge, people form each era will continue to discover more and more evidence from Qur’an, if they ponder: “This Book (Al-Qur'an) which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) is highly blessed, so that they may ponder upon its verses and the men of understanding may learn a lesson from it.”( Qur’an;38:29). “This Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, which is free from any flaw, so that they may learn to be righteous.”(Qur’an;39:28), “Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant and did not make it complicated. It is straightforward so that He may warn about the terrible punishment for the unbelievers from Him and give good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward,”(Qur’an;18:1-2). Qur’an is the only Divine Scripture, in the history of mankind, which continues to be s preserved in the memory of millions of Muslims, (hufaaz) of different areas, of different age groups, speaking different languages, all the times and hence transferred form generation to generation in the same form and Arabic language, in which it was originally revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. No sane person can deny this miraculous fact. Those who are rightly guided accept its message: “..therefore, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet (Muhammad) who believes in Allah and His Word. Follow him so that you may be rightly guided."(Qur’an;7:158).
Guidance Through Books:
Allah guides the humanity through His scriptures, the Books: “And before this, was the Book of Moses (Torah-Law) As a guide (imam-an) and a mercy: and This Book (Qur’an) confirms In the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and As glad tidings to those who do right.”(Qur’an;46:12). “We gave Moses the Book and made it a guide for the Children of Israel, saying: "Do not take any other protector besides Me.”(Qur’an;17:2). “We gave (Moses the Book (Torah), after We had destroyed the former generations, an eye opener, a guide, and a blessing so that they may be reminded.”(Qur’an;28:43), “We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: be not then in doubt of its reaching (thee): and We made it a guide to the Children of Israel.”(Qur’an;32:23). “As you can see We gave Moses the Book of guidance and We made the children of Israel to inherit that Book, which was a guide and an admonition to the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;40:53-54). The last Book of Guidance is the Qur’an: Allah has revealed the most beautiful message, (Qur’an) a Book consistent in its verses yet repeating its teachings in different ways. Those who fear their Lord are filled with awe when they hear it, their skins and their hearts become pliant to the remembrance of Allah. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides with it whom He pleases. But he to whom He confounds shall have none to guide him.”(Qur’an;39:23). “One Day we shall raise from all Peoples a witness against from amongst themselves: and we shall bring Thee As a witness against these (thy people) and we have sent down to Thee the Book (Qur’an) explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, glad tidings to Muslims.”(Qur’an;16:89). “This is the Book (Qur’an); In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.”(Qur’an;2:2). “Tua Sin. These are verses of the Qur'an, the Glorious Book; a guide and good news for the believers,”(Qur’an;27:1-2).“And Thus have We, by Our command, sent inspiration to thee: Thou Knewest not (Before) what was revelation, and what was faith; but we have made the (Qur'an) a light, wherewith we guide such of Our servants As we will; and Verily Thou dost guide (men) to the straight Way,”(Qur’an;42:52). “…There has come to you from Allah a new Light and a clear Book, with which Allah will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.”(Qur’an;5:15-16). “O mankind! There has come to you an instruction (Qur’an) from your Lord, a cure for whatever (disease) is in your hearts, a guidance and a mercy for the true believers..”(Qur’an;10:57).
Guidance Through Righteous People:
Apart from Prophets, in every community there are righteous people, the torch bearers of Truth, who follow the true path and also guide others :“Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). There are examples of such righteous people among the followers of People of Book :“Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.”(Qur’an;7:159).“Yet they are not all alike: there are some among the People of the Book who are upright, who recite the revelations of Allah all night long and then prostrate before Him; they believe in Allah and the Last Day they enjoin good and forbid evil and rush in emulating each other in good deeds. These are the righteous people. Whatever good they do, its reward will not be denied to them; Allah knows the righteous.”(Qur’an;3:113-115).
Muslim Ummah Chosen for the Guidance of Mankind:
Since Qur’an is the last message of guidance of Allah for the humanity and practice of chosen Messengers of Allah has be put to end, to guide the humanity through Qur’an, Allah has not chosen any one group or special people, but He has ‘Chosen Muslims’ as community, comprising of three categories, to inherit Qur’an, He says: “We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen, among them there are some who wrong their own souls, some follow a middle course and some, by Allah's leave, excel in good deeds (saabiq-bi-al--khayraat); which is the supreme virtue.”(Qur’an;35:32). Previously the Children of Israel inherited the Book of Moses (Torah): “As you can see We gave Moses the Book of guidance and We made the children of Israel to inherit that Book, which was a guide and an admonition to the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;40:53-54). As inheritors of Qur’an, the last Book of guidance, Muslims have a great responsibility, Allah says: “You are the best nation which has ever been raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would surely have been better for them; among them some are believers but most of them are transgressors.”(Qur’an;3:110). “We have made you a moderate (justly balanced) community so that you may be witness against the mankind and that your own Messenger may be witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143).
To achieve this some people have to study religious sciences to guide others: “Nor should the believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people when they return to them that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).”(Qur’an;9:122). The pious and knowledgeable people, excelling in good deeds (saabiq-bi-al--khayraat) can undertake the responsibilities: “Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful.”(Qur’an;3:104). Allah says:” These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;22:41). But they should not become policemen to enforce what is good: “Make due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right (amr bil a’rif); and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant.”(Qur’an;7:199). Hence the scholars are of the view that the Message of guidance, invitation towards righteousness, enjoining good and forbidding evil is to be done in the society by Muslim scholars and citizens, according to their capabilities, through peaceful preaching, reason and wisdom as Allah says in Qur’an: “Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and best advice, and reason with them, if you have to, in the most courteous manner: for your Lord knows best who strays from His Way and He knows best who is rightly guided.”(Qur’an;16:125). The history is witness to fact that the Muslim scholars as well as common Muslims have met these responsibilities according to their capabilities (intellectual, financial, physical etc) and carried the message of Islam all over the world.
Opinion of Scholars: Abdullah Yousuf Ali, in his interpretation, opines that the guidance is from Allah: “.. But thou art truly a warner and to every people a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). M.Pickthall translation: “.. Thou art a warner only, and for every folk a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). F.Malik’s, translation : “.. You are nothing but a Warner and every nation was assigned a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). According to the interpretation of verse 13:7, by Abd Allah ibn Abbas, Said ibn Jubayr, Mujahid and Ad-Dahhak, also agreed by y M. Asad, the verse 13:7 means: “Thou art only a warner bound to do no more than deliver the message entrusted to thee, while it is God alone who can truly guide men’s hearts towards faith”. In general the scholars are of the opinion that the guide is the Prophet and the guidance is from Allah.
Understanding Verse 13:7, Within The Context & Teachings of Qur’an:
It is generally agreed opinion of the theologians that In order to understand the true meanings of a verse, it should be understood in the over all context of the teachings of Qur’an, instead of taking one verse in isolation, used in a particular situation.
After analyzing the “Guidance” in the light of Qur’anic references, above it is evident that; Firstly, Allah is the True Guide and guidance is from Him, He does not guide those who are rebellious (Qur’an;4:168). Secondly, the True message of guidance is delivered to the people through the revelaions sent to His chosen people, the Prophets, who also gave glade tidings and warned them (Qur’an;2:213, 21:72-73, 9:33, 48:28, 13:7,4:168). If people reject Truth and Faith after they have been admonsidhed and warned, the charge against them, of wilful rebellion, is proved. They cannot then plead either ignorance or inadvertence on the Day of Judgement. The Qur’an, is; “..a Guide, a Mercy, glad tidings to Muslims.”(Qur’an;16:89), but it is also to ‘warn’ the people; “..This is nothing but a reminder and a plain Qur'an to warn those who are alive and to establish the charge against the disbelievers.”(Qur’an;36:69-70). Thirdly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being the last messenger (Qur’an;33;40), his Sunnah and the last Book, Qur’an, remains available to all the nations of the world as a ‘Guide’ till etnernity, as Allah has taken resposibility to protect Qur’an (Qur’an;15:9). Fourthly; Man should not think that he will be left uncontrolled (without purpose & accountability)(Qur’an;75:36). They have to account for their deeds on the Day of Judgment as the guidance provided through Qur’an (Qur’an;39:41), has been protected, Allah has taken this responsibility (Qur’an;15:9), the Sunnah of Prophet is also available. They have been warned through Prophet and Qur’an (Qur’an;13:7, 36:69-70). Fifthly, After end of Prophethood, Allah has chosen the Muslims collectively as inheritors of Qur’an (Qur’an;35:32). They have to guide the mankind (Qur’an;3:110) and bear witness against them (Qur’an;2:143). Hence Muslims as inheritors of Qur’an have great responsibility, they have to read, understand, implement and preach the message of Qur’an to humanity. This is the collective responsibility of Muslims, if all the Muslims can not meet all the great responsibilities in totality, they have to do it with in their capacity and abilities. Allah does not over bourdon any one :“On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear: before Us is a record which clearly shows the truth: they will never be wronged.”(23:62). “Allah would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak.”(4:28). However a group of Muslims have to be dedicated to the religious studies and meet the full obligations (Qur’an;9:122, 3:104). The concept of chosen race or priesthood does not exist in Islam. This is so, because no particular group or individual from any race or has been nominated in Qur’an for this purpose, as such: “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181).
Prophet, Warner & Guidance:
The last part of verse (Qur’an;13:7) “But thou art truly a warner and to every people a guide”, has usually been interpreted to mean that the Prophet's function was merely to warn, and that guidance was sent by Allah to every nation through its Prophets. However it is equally possible to interpret: 'it is itself a Sign that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) should warn and preach through Qur’an, and the guidance which he brings is universal guidance, as from Allah: “Who hath ordained laws and granted Guidance;”(Qur’an;87:3); “Only he whom Allah guides is rightly guided; and whom He confounds will become the losers.”(Qur’an;7:178). It is also evident in verse (Qur’an;42:52) that Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad has been made as guide, but acceptance of guidance, is with the blessings of Allah: “Thus, have We revealed to you (O Muhammad), inspiration (Qur'an) by Our command: while you did not know what is The Book and what is the faith? But We have made it (The Qur'an) a light whereby We guide those of Our servants whom We please; and surely you are guiding mankind to the Right Way”(Qur’an;42:52). The Light of the Qur’an made all things clear to man, and to the world. The Qur’an and the inspired Prophet who proclaimed it, have been identified by Qur’an at verse 42:52. They were a Guide to men, showing the Straight Way. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) completed his Apostolic mission before departing this world, Allah says: “..This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL- ISLAM..”(Qur’an;5:3). “The Words of your Lord have been completed with credibility and justice; there is no way to change His Words. He is the Hearer, the Knower”(Qur’an;6:115). “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). “Nor should the believers all go forth together: a contingent from every expedition should remain behind, They should devote themselves to studies In religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, so that they may refrain from evil.”(Qur’an;9:112).The normal day to day affairs of state and community can be resolved through consultation with in the guidance provided, as Allah says: “ who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation..”(Qur’an;42:38).
To summarize, the messengers guide the people by conveying the message of Allah: “They said: "Our Lord knows that we have indeed been sent as Messengers towards you and our only duty is to convey His message plainly.”(Qur’an;36:16-17). They can not even change the Message: “O Prophet! Recite what has been revealed to you from (Qur’an) the Book of your Sustainer: no one is authorized to change His Words and if you dare to make any change, you will find no refuge to protect you from Him.”(Qur’an;18:27).The Prophets are not required to compel the people to accept the faith: “O Prophet proclaim: "This (Qur’an) is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it." As for those who reject it, for such wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire..”(Qur’an;18:29). The acceptance of the guidance is only with the Mercy of Allah, who grants it to those who chooses to be guided (Qur’an;2:256).
The ‘Guide’, ‘Book’ and ‘Miracle’:
In the verse 13:7, according to the context, the unbelievers were demanding for a sign (miracle), in response the prophet is told to tell them that he (Prophet) is a mere warner, showing miracles or signs are not in his control it is only by the will and authority of God, and that for every nation there is a guide. The important point of discussion is that; “for every nation there is a guide” has been mentioned in response to demand for a miracle. Let us look through Qur’an, as to how the “Guide”, “Book” and “Miracle” are interlinked in their meanings. The Supreme Guide is Allah, however He has sent for every nation a messenger, Book of guidance and law, as mentioned in Qur’an: “And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold….”(Qur’an;16:36). “..it was never in the power of a Messenger to show any miracle (sign) without the sanction of Allah. For each period there was a Book”(Qur’an;13:38). “..We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you...”(Qur’an;5:48). “They say: "Why does he (Muhammad) not bring us a Miracle from His Lord?" Has not a clear Sign (The Qur'an) come to them containing all the teachings of the former Scriptures?”(Qur’an;20:133). “They ask: "Why have the signs not been sent down to him from his Lord?" Tell them: "The signs are in the hands of Allah. I am only a plain Warner. Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you this Book (AL-Qur'an) which is recited to them, surely in it is a blessing and a reminder for those who believe.”(Qur’an;29:50-51). The previous scriptures, the Books have been mentioned as ‘guide’ (Qur’an, verses;46:12, 17:2, 32:23, 40:53-54, 6:54). The last scripture Qur’an has also been mentioned as book of guidance and guide (Qur’an;39:23, 16:89, 2:2, 27:1-2, & 5:15-16). On demand of a miracle by the non believers, their attention is drawn towards the Book i.e. Qur’an. (Qura’n;13:38, 20:133 & 29:50-51).
Following aspect emerges: Firstly; the messengers are warners, they can not show miracles at their own. Secondly, for every people there has been Law. Thirdly, the Book (scripture) is mentioned in response to the demand of miracle, by implication the Book (scripture), which in case of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Qur’an, which is the miracle blessing and a reminder for the believers. Fourthly, each scripture including Qur’an is a ‘guide’ for particular people and humanity respectively. Hence it may be logical to deduce that in Qur’an verse 13:7 “for every nation there is a guide”, the ‘guide’ means the Scripture, Book, Qur’an as a sign or miracle.
Moreover for very people (nations) there is the ‘Messenger’ (Qur’an;16:36) and ‘Scripture’(Qur’an;13:38, 5:48). While Messenger can not in himself be considered as a miracle, rather the miracle is being demanded from him (Qur’an;13:7) , hence it may not be appropriate for the prophet to say that he is the miracle. Where as Qur’an, the Scripture, which has been revealed to the last Prophet (peace be upon him) by Allah, was and is the greatest Miracle in history. Its authenticity, originality, knowledge, scientific compatibility, wisdom, beauty and grandeur can be apprehend today as much as 1400 years ago, even more, as the collective knowledge of the nature, science and of Allah’ creation has increased tremendously.(Qur’an;13:38, 20:133). This further accentuate the view that after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Qur’an, the “Living Miracle” of all times, is the guide for the Muslims and humanity (Qur’an;20:133). The Muslims have been addressed as “middle way community (ummah wasat.(an) (Qur’an;2:143), Allah has made Qur’an as their ‘guide’.
The Apostle in his last sermon said: “O’ People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakah (alms). Perform Hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action. O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.” The last fourteen centuries are witness to fact that the Muslims have met these responsibilities, amicably. There always exist the group knowledgeable, pious people in each part of the world, who not only guided the fellow brothers in Islam, but also carried the message of Islam all over the world. Hence today every fifth person on earth is a Muslim, yet Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world: "It is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong that are (truly) in security for they are on (right) guidance."( Qur’an;6:82).
The difference of opinion in interpretation of Scriptures and teachings of Preachers is a common phenomenon among followers of all faiths. However as long as the believers remain with in the fundamentals of faith, it would be unfair to declare others as unbelievers, unity is prescribed by Qur’an: “And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you; but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.”(Qur’an;8:46). Islam rejects sectarianism intolerance and extremism, which was the cause of decline of previous believers and corruption of scriptures. Allah says: “Their doom is because Allah has revealed the Book with the truth; surely those who seek causes of dispute in the Book (The Qur'an) are in extreme schism (divergence).”(Qura’n;2:176). Initially the people followed the teachings of their Apostles and scriptures but later followers innovated and corrupted the original message creating sects.
Allah says: “Mankind was one nation having one religion. Later when people invented other religions, Allah appointed Prophets as bearers of good news and warnings; and revealed to them the Book with the True Guidance to settle the matters of dispute between mankind. But the very people to whom it was given, started disputes after the clear arguments had come to them, because of rivalry between one another. Allah has guided the believers by His will to the truth in those matters in which they had differences. Allah guides whom He pleases towards the Right Way.”(Qura’n;2:213).“Be not like those who became divided into sects and who started to argue against each other after clear revelations had come to them. Those responsible for division and arguments will be sternly punished” (Qura’n;3:105).“In fact, your religion is one religion, and I am your only Lord: so fear Me Alone. Yet people have divided themselves into factions and each faction rejoices in its own doctrines - well! Leave them in their heedlessness for an appointed time. Do they think that, in giving them wealth and children, We are eager for their welfare? By no means! They do not understand the reality of the matter.”(Qura’n;23:52-56)“those who divide their religion into sects and become separate groups, each group rejoicing in its own circle. When an affliction befalls the people, they turn in prayer to their Lord in repentance. But when He let them taste a blessing from Him, lo! Some of them begin to ascribe other powers a share in their Sustainers divinity, showing no gratitude for What We have given them. Enjoy yourselves; soon you will find out your folly.”(Qura’n;30:32-34).“Surely those who divide the religion into sects and identify themselves as a sect, O Muhammad, you have nothing to do with them. Their case will be called to account by Allah Himself, He will inform them as to what they did.”(Qura’n;6:159).
Leadership After The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him):
The Prophet (peace be upon him) had rightly guided successors among his blessed companions, who followed his footsteps (Sunnah) to the best of their abilities in spreading knowledge, preaching Islam, and managing the affairs of Islamic State. The sequence of succession followed to the caliphate was; Abu Bakr as Siddiq(632-634 C.E), 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab (Caliph from 634-644 C.E), 'Uthman Ibn Affan(644-656 C.E)and 'All Ibn Abi Talib (656-661 C.E), may Allah be pleased with them all. The disputes that took place among the Prophet's Companions were the result of sincere interpretations that they worked hard to reach. Whoever was right among them will be rewarded twice, and whoever was wrong among them will be rewarded once and his mistake will be forgiven. It may not be appropriate for any believer to criticize them rather they deserve of beautiful praise. Muslims should purify their hearts from hatred and malice against any of them, because Allah said about them: “As for those who believe and do good deeds - We never burden a soul with more than it can bear - they are worthy of Paradise, wherein they will live forever. We shall remove whatever ill-feeling they may have in their hearts against one another…”(Qur’an;7:42-43),"They are not equal: those among you who spent and who fought before the conquest of Makka. Those are higher in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allah has promised a great reward" (Qur’an;57:10); “The vanguard (of Islam) the first of those who forsook (their homes-(Muhajirin)) and of those who gave them aid (Ansar) and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds well pleased is Allah with them as are they with Him:”(Qur’an;9:100). And Allah said about other Muslims: "And those who came after them say: 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith, and do not put in our hearts any malice against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are the most Kind, Most Merciful"' (Qur’an;59:10).
Initially during the period of ‘Rightly Guided Caliphs’ there was unanimity among the believers. However with the expansion of Caliphate to resolve new issues confronted by the Muslim society, the scholars formulated the responses basing on Qur’an and Sunnah. The very existence of main schools of thought is a testimony to the richness of Islamic scholarship. There are no differences among the main schools of thought with regard to the principles of faith or the essentials of worship. The differences relate more to matters of details or the views on political history. For generations after generations, Muslims prayed and lived side by side without ever the thought of belonging to one school of thought rather than another having any bearing on their mutual relationship or their dealings with one another. However this harsh fact can not be overlooked that; in certain period of history and in particular places, rigid adherence to different schools of thought are found who advocate a total boycott of the followers of others. Such trends existed in periods of backwardness, when scholarship lost its creative aspect and concentrated merely on imitation.
Schools of Legal Thought:
There is unity among the Muslims, they all worship none but Allah, (One God), follow The last Messenger (Rasool) Muhammad (peace be upon him) and The last Scripture –Qur’an, one Qibla-Ka’ba (direction of prayer), then the question arises; Why so many groups among Muslims? This is due to difference in understanding and interpretations of the Scripture and Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the matters related with implementation of certain religious, political, social and other duties. As far as the basic faith and fundamentals of Islam are concerned there is no scope for difference of opinion because they have been made absolutely clear.
Sunni Schools of Legal Thought : The Term "Sunni", means from linguistic point of view a follower of a method. In an Islamic sense, the term Sunnah means the method shown by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It refers to the majority of Muslims who gave allegiance to the Muslim state, starting with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and going through the Umayyad, the Abbasids, etc. They have great respect Ali, but do not recognize the Shiite claim that Ali had a stronger claim to succeed the Prophet, (peace be upon him), as the ruler of the Muslim state. They maintain that anyone has an equal claim provided that he meets the qualifications required for the post. Beginning in the mid eighth century, the four major Sunni schools of legal thought (madhhabs) Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, Hanbali and the Shi’a Jafari madhhab (Twelvers) emerged. These schools differ in their methodologies, which help them to arrive at verdicts to questions that are put to them.All Sunni schools use systematic reasoning to deal with areas of law not covered by the Qur’an or Sunnah. They differ primarily in their emphasis on textual authority or analogical reasoning, but each school recognizes the conclusions of the others as being perfectly legitimate and within the framework of orthodox Islam. Other minor schools also developed but they were short-lived.
Shi’a-Jafari School of Thought: Linguistically speaking, the term Shi’a means followers or supporters. In a historical context, it means the supporters of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Prophet's cousin, who became the fourth Caliph of the Muslim state. When he took over, there was a split between him and other groups of Muslims over the question of dealing with those who mounted the rebellion against his predecessor, Uthman ibn Affan. At this time, there was no such sect as Shi’a. However, after he was assassinated, his supporters wanted his son, Al Hassan, to take over. They maintained that succession should remain among his descendants. The Shi’s continued to oppose the Umayyad and Abbasid governments for a very long time. This lead to the provision of a religious backing to the political opposition. Hence, the rise of the Shiite school of thought which institutionalizes the role of the Imam. Shi’a Muslims, believe that Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) religious leadership, spiritual authority, and divine guidance were passed on to his descendants, beginning with his son-in-law and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, his daughter, Fatima, and their sons, Hassan and Husain.
Main Differences : Sunnis and Shi’as differ in their understanding of ‘who held the power to interpret Shari’a’. For Sunnis, the scholars had this right, as delegated by the actual ruler. Shi’a s initially believed that only an Imam (in this case, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) could interpret Shari’a because the Imam, like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was believed to be infallible. When the line of appropriate descendants ended, this tradition was reinterpreted to grant judicial authority to the fuqaha as the Imam's representatives. Shi’a legal thought and jurisprudence is known as “Jafari”: Named after the sixth Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (699-748 C.E) the son of Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth imam, and great-grandson of the fourth caliph, Ali.On his mother's side, Ja'far was descended from the first caliph, Abu Bakr. This may explain why he would never tolerate criticism of the first two caliphs. Shi’a legal thought recognizes four sources of Islamic law; the Qur’an, the Sunnah (including traditions reported by the Prophet and the Imams), Consensus (which must include the Prophet's or an infallible imam's opinion to establish its validity), and Human Reason. Human reason is capable of inferring categorical judgments drawn from both pure and practical reason. Whatever is judged necessary by reason is also judged necessary by revelation. This correlation between reason and revelation has allowed Shi’a jurists to derive religious rulings on many issues not covered in normative sources such as the Qur’an and Sunnah. Since 1959 the Jafari school of jurisprudence has been afforded the status of "Fifth School" along with the Four Sunni schools by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The other two legal schools that share the Jafari origin are the Zaydi and the Mustali Fatimid Ismaili jurisprudences. These two are some what closer to Sunnis in their derivation of religious practice.
Islam and Faith (Ayman) - Muslim & Momin: Generally the Shi’as preferably like to be addressed as Momin (Believer, Faithful). In the Qur’anic terminology, ‘Islam’ and ‘Faith’ (Belief, Ayman) as well as ‘Muslim’ and ‘Momin’ (Faithful) are generally used synonymously, it has logically and comprehensively been explained by Abul A’la Moududi in Tahfheem-ul-Qur’an. ‘Islam’ is the name of ‘True Faith’ which God has sent for the benefit of humanity, it encompasses both ‘Belief’ (Aymean) and ‘Obedience , submission to the Divine Commands (Islam)’. The ‘Muslim’ is a person who believes truly in heart and practically obeys the Divine Commands, this is evident form Qur’an: “Then We saved all those who were believers (Mu'minen) in the town - We found none but one household of true Muslims (Muslimen)”(Qur’an;51;35-36), “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will):..”(Qur’an;3:19), “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him;” (Qur’an;3:85), “This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Qur’an;5:3), “Those whom Allah (in His Plan) wills to guide He opens their breast to Islam;”(Qur’an;6:125), “"Nay! I am commanded to be the first of those who submit to Allah in Islam” (Qur’an;6:14), “If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided” (Qur’an;3:20). Hence a ‘Muslim’ is the Faithful and believer (not merely by oral confession but believer from heart), as evident form Qur’an: “O believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not but as true Muslims.”(Qur’an;3:102), “He named you Muslims before in prior scriptures and in this (The Qur'an),”(Qur’an;22:78), “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was a Muslim, true in faith.”(Qur’an;3:67), “"Our Lord! make of us Muslims bowing to Thy (Will) and of our progeny a people Muslim bowing to Thy (Will)”(Qur’an;2:128), “This was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob, when he said: "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you this Faith, therefore, die not unless you are Muslims.”(Qur’an;2:132).
It may also be kept in view that the terms ‘Faith (Ayman)’ and ‘Faithful (Momin)’ does not necessarily mean ‘True Believer or Faithful’, though mostly used to mean the same, but at many places these terms have been used for those who apparently declare to be the followers of faith of Islam, i.e. all believers, weather of strong faith, weak faith or may be hypocrites (yaa 'ayy-u-haa'alla dena 'aamano): “O ye who believe! be not like the unbelievers who say of their brethren when they are traveling through the earth or engaged in fighting: "If they had stayed with us they would not have died or been slain.”(Qur’an;3:156), “O ye who believe! believe in Allah and his Apostle and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah His angels His Books His Apostles and the Day of Judgment hath gone far astray.”(Qur’an;4:136), “O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his faith soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him lowly with the believers mighty against the rejecters fighting in the way of Allah and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault.” (Qur’an;5:54), “O ye who believe! obey Allah and his apostle and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).”(Qur’an;8:20), “O ye that believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the apostle nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.”(Qur’an;8:27), “O ye that believe! fear Allah and believe in His apostle and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy:”(Qur’an;57:28), “O believers! Why do you say something which you don't do?”(Qur’an;61:2).
It may be held that while the Faith (Ayman) is the inner state, Islam is its outward display by the faithful, as evident from the Hadith narrated Abu Huraira: “One day while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle replied, 'Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan…”(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith; 1:47). Hence the man who possesses belief with certainty in his heart and displays obedience to Islam, may be called a Momin or Muslim, the synonymous terms.
There is an exception, where Islam and Ayman has been used distinctively in Qur’an, to distinguish between the true believers and those who orally profess Islam as favour, Allah says: “The Bedouin Arabs say: "We have believed." Tell them: "You have not believed; rather say 'We have become Muslims;' for faith has not yet found its way into your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not deny you the reward of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.”(Qur’an;49:114-5). In his comments, Dr.Israr Ahmad opine that in the Islamic state the citizenship is based upon Islam and not upon the Faith (Ayman) which, being hidden inner state can not form the basis for legal discussion and measurement. It is the compulsion that in the worldly matters the human relations can only be based upon the external displayed behaviour in which the oral expression of Ayman (Faith) can be included. Two aspects emerge: Firstly, a person may be in a state of neither acceptance of faith nor denial, rather is in a state of vacuum but in his actions reflect obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). In such a state according to the rule no action of a man is acceptable to Allah without Ayman (Faith). None acceptance of such acts by Allah is in line with the Divine Justice but Allah due to His Mercy has also accorded acceptance of actions of such a person [indicated by His Names, Forgiving, Merciful (Ghafoor and Rahim), this is also the opinion of Egyptian scholar Syyed Qutab]. It may be kept in view that during the last days of Prophet (peace be upon him) when it was revealed; “you see the people entering Allah's religion (Islam) in large numbers.”(Qur’an;110:2), the state of faith of most of the people was the same, later in every period, the majority of the Muslims fall in to the same category. Secondly, the detailed definition of real Faith has been stated, elaborating that in reality Faith (Ayman) is the firm belief in Allah and His Messenger without any doubt which must be strong and deep rooted in the heart and its foremost practical manifestation is though Striving for the cause of Allah (Jihad). Which implies that man should preach the Divine message using all means and sacrificing his wealth and self being. This has been elaborated that only such persons are true to the Faith. As for those who profess Islam merely orally without affirmation by the heart and then adopt an attitude as if they had done someone a favor by accepting Islam, may be counted among the Muslims in the world, may even be treated as Muslims in society, but they cannot be counted as believers in the sight of Allah.
The basic pillars of Islam are five, but ‘Strenuous Efforts’ (Jihad) may be included as part of the Faith. The true believers may expect reward for their good deeds in the form of salvation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer, and the top of its hump is striving (Jihad) in the way of Allah."(Fiqh As Sunnah: 1.75).
Muslims - Brothers in Faith : In reality the greater the understanding of the principles of Islam and the scholarly methods employed by scholars, the greater is tolerance. It is only inward-looking, narrow minded and rigid students who advocate total adherence to a particular school and a rejection of every thing else. It should be kept in view that God accepts worship when it is devoted purely to Him. All schools of thought teach how to make the prayer (Salah) dedicated to God alone. Keeping historical political differences apart, in theology the ‘institution and the role of the Imam’ is the main difference between Shi’as and Sunnis. The Shi’as accord great respect to Ali, placing him above other companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), in their esteem. But neither this, nor the other digressions, make it justifiable to pass extreme judgments. All, those who believe in the oneness of God and the message of His messenger, Muhammad(peace be upon him) are the brothers in faith, and have to move forward together.
Ali ibn Abu Talib: The fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abu Talib, has a very high place in the Muslim history. He has been highly revered by the theologians and historians alike. Imam Hanbal said: "Ali had numerous enemies, and all of them tried to find fault with him, but they searched in vain, and could not find any flaw in him. At long last they joined hands with Muawiyah, and declared war on Ali. When they failed to defeat him by fair means they took to treacherous and deceitful courses to defeat him." Umar b Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad Caliph, was asked as to whom he considered to be the most pious man in the world. He said: "Ali excelled mankind in piety. Not only did he practice its virtues, but he also tried zealously to reform his friends, associates, acquaintances, and all those who came in contact with him." Masudi, the great historian, writes: "If the glorious name of being among the first Muslims, a comrade of the Prophet in exile, his faithful companion in the struggle for the faith, his intimate friend in life and his kinsman, if a true knowledge of his teachings and of the Book, if self abnegation and practice of justice, if honesty, purity and love of truth, if a knowledge of law and science constitutes a claim to pre-eminence then all must regard Ali as one of the foremost Muslims." In his book, A Literary History of the Arabs, Professor Nicholson remarks: “Within a century of his death he came to be regarded as the Prophet's successor jure divine; as a blessed martyr, sinless and infallible; and by some even as incarnation of God. The Ali of Shiite legend is not a historical figure glorified, rather does he symbolize in pure ethical fashion the religious aspirations and political aims of a large section of the Muslim world.” In his book A History of Medieval Islam, J. J. Saunders observes : “Yet he has been raised by a powerful sect little below that of Muhammad himself, the Shi’a or party of Ali laid it down as an article of faith that he was designated by God and the Prophet to be the lawful Caliph and Imam of Islam, his three predecessors being treated as usurpers, and that divine revelation continued to be interpreted by his descendants, and his supposed grave at Najaf, a sand hill on the edge of the desert six miles west of Kufa, is annually visited by thousands of devout pilgrims who curse his supplanters and revere him as the friend of God and the first of Imams.” In the words of Shah Wali Ullah, the great Muslims scholar and reformer: “Chivalry and strength of character, humanity and sincerity which are attributes of great men were represented in abundance by Ali. He is the father of Islamic learning, and his intellectual attainments were due to the ideal training of The Holy Prophet. He was a Hafiz, and a great authority on the Qur’an. He was the greatest Mujahid and jurist of his time, and one of the greatest of all times. He was one of the greatest orators of early Islam.”
No single group of believers can claim its monopoly as far as the love of Ahl-ul-bait , (House Hold of Prophet, peace be upon him) is concerned. The House Hold of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which includes his wives, daughter Fatima, her husband Ali Bin Abu Talib, their children Hassan and Husain are extremely loved and highly respected by the all the Muslims. Qur’an honours his wives by addressing them as mothers of believers (Umuhatul Momineen) (Qur’an;33:6). It is unthinkable for any sane believer to be disrespectful to his mother. All the members of Household of Prophet, were virtuous human being, they greatly contributed towards the cause of Islam. Prophet loved them all. Imam Hussein laid down his life for the just cause of Islam. However in the esteem of love for them, care must be exercised to remain with in the prescribed limits. Infallibility is the virtue, which is the sole prerogative of Allah : “..He neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;20: 52) and His Word the Qur’an (86:13, 53:4, 69:63). After the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Qur’an, the last book of guidance is easy to understand, protected by Allah, available to humanity in its original form, along with Sunnah of Prophet. Majority of Muslims continue to have successfully lived up to the divine trust bestowed upon them as inheritor of Qur’an collectively, without any formal institution of sainthood or priesthood because they have received the complete message of Islam, Allah says: “..Today the unbelievers have given up all their hope of vanquishing your religion. Have no fear of them, fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL- ISLAM..”(Qur’an;5:3). Prophet (peace be upon him) in his last address to the Muslims at Hajj said: “You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action.” He further said: “O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.”