Doubt

Some so-called Muslims accuse the Shias of maligning the companions. According to them, insulting the companions and wives is unjustified. They maintain that the companions are free from errors and mistakes and therefore cannot be criticized and censured under any condition.

Reply

While we do not want to go into the numerous crimes and blunders of the companions at this stage, it is worth exploring the books of the Ahle Tasannun on a related subject.

1. Disobeying the Imam of the congregational prayers
2. Did the Muslims obey the Imam?
3. Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) warning never to precede the Ahle Bait (a.s.)
4. Not just battle, even cursing
5. Not just donkey, rather even pigs

Back to TopDisobeying the Imam of the congregational prayers

According to these Muslims, it is a heinous crime to disobey the Imam of the congregational prayers. A Muslim must never precede the Imam in congregational prayers. They cite the following tradition:

Abu Hurairah narrates from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – Does he who raises his head before the Imam (in prayer) not fear that Allah will change his head into the head of a donkey? (Sunan-e-Tirmizi)

At the outset readers must note that we do not certify the veracity of the report particularly given Abu Hurairah’s penchant for forging traditions. It is sufficient for us that the Ahle Tasannun consider this report as reliable and conclude some points that are relevant for our discussion.

The Ahle Tasannun conclude that according to this report:

  1. One cannot precede the Imam in lifting the head in genuflection (ruku) or prostration (sajdah).
  1. According to the rules of Arabic grammar the statement underlines the gravity of the act so that Muslims may refrain from it.

Muslim scholars are divided over whether the donkey referred to in the report is in the figurative sense – emphasizing the stupidity of the person or whether the person will actually turn into a donkey.

Some scholars believe in both possibilities. Ibn Daqiq states on the authority of Ibn Bazizah that – The report carries the possibility of physical distortion or the figurative sense (stupidity) can also be applied.

Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri believes that this distortion of the face will occur on the Day of Judgment, as on that day, all deeds and actions will assume a physical form and they will testify for or against those who performed them.

Regardless of the interpretation preceding the Imam of the congregational prayers is a serious offense.

Even legally it can jeopardize the prayers of the Muslim. Some jurists believe that it can invalidate prayers altogether and one must offer them once again. Some believe that it is abominable (makrooh).

  • Bidaayat al-Mujtahid

What this ruling means for Muslims?

The serious crime of disobeying the Imam of the congregational prayers has important implications in other areas of religion, particularly leadership or Imamat or caliphate. The Muslims consider leadership of the congregational prayers as al-Imaamah al-Sughra and the leadership of the nation as al-Imaamah al-Kubra.

Muslim scholars have explained that the concept of following a leader not only applies to prayers but other facets of life.

The scholars advance Surah Nisaa (4): Verse 59 as evidence:

O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you…

Muslim scholars are unanimous that according to this verse complete obedience to leaders (those in authority) is necessary. In fact some like Imam Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih-e-Muslim go as far as to say – ‘We do not believe in revolt against our leaders and rulers even though they may commit injustice.’

The Ahle Tasannun cite other traditions in this regard:

  • The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed: Whoever obeys me obeys Allah; whoever obeys the ruler obeys me; and whoever disobeys the ruler, disobeys me. (Sahih-e-Bukhari)
  • Ibn Abbas narrated on the authority of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – Whomsoever finds something in his ruler that he disapproves of, he should bear it patiently, for one who moves a span’s length from the jama’aat (Muslim society) and dies, dies the death of paganism. (Sahih-e-Bukhari)
  • In another narration the words used are, “he has removed the nook of Islam from his neck” (Musnad-e-Ahmad), meaning he has discarded his allegiance of Islam.

Revolting against the Imam of the time is prohibited. Raising the head before the Imam of the congregation is a form of revolt and hence the severe warning and comparison to a donkey.

Back to TopDid the Muslims obey the Imam?

Having understood the gravity of the act, Muslims must now ask themselves whether their leaders, companions and wives were obedient to the Imam of the time. We ought to start by asking whether they were obedient to Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), but we will leave that for another occasion.

For now we wish to establish how the companions and the wives treated the Imams of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

Did they obey the Ahle Bait (a.s.)?

Did they obey Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), if not as the first caliph, then as the fourth caliph?

Back to TopHoly Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) warning never to precede the Ahle Bait (a.s.)

After all, just like in the case of the Imam of the congregation, Muslims were warned never to precede the Imams of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

حديث متواتر عند الفريقين «انى تارك فيكم الثقلين كتاب اللّه و عترتى أهل بيتى فلا تقدموهم فتهلكوا و لا تعلموهم فانهم اعلم منكم

In a consecutively transmitted tradition acknowledged by both sects (Shias and Sunnis) – The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said – Surely I am leaving in your midst two weighty things – Allah’s Book and my progeny – my Ahle Bait (a.s.). Then do not precede them for you will be destroyed and do not try to teach them for surely they are more learned than you.

  • Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 28 p. 261

Likewise he (s.a.w.a.) warned:

فَتَمَسَّكُوا بِهِمَا لَا تَضِلُّوا وَ لَا تُقَدِّمُوهُمْ فَتَهْلِكُوا وَ لَا تَخَلَّفُوا عَنْهُمْ فَتَفَرَّقُوا وَ لَا تُعَلِّمُوهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ مِنْكُم‏

…then cling to both of them (the Holy Quran and the infallible Ahle Bait (a.s.), do not move away (from them), do not precede them, for then you will be ruined, do not stay behind them for then you will be scattered and do not try to teach them, for surely they are more learned than you.

  • Kitab-o-Sulaim b. Qais al-Hilaali (r.a.) vol. 2 p. 616

But the Muslims ignored Prophet of Allah’s (s.a.w.a.) warnings and did not obey Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) as he ought to have been obeyed. They attempted to precede the Imam.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) remarks, “O Kumail! If this is our status then why did they usurp our rights and precede us? And why did some (of them) hold back and not support us?

  • Bashaarah al-Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) le Shiah al-Murtuza (a.s.), Chapter 1, Tradition 43
  • Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 74 p. 266-277

We are not talking of simple disobedience over here. We are referring to full-fledged battles and assaults on Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) leading to the loss of many thousands of Muslim lives. Through these battles Allah the Omnipotent has put a seal on the mouths of those who are forever defending the companions and wives as if they were infallible and above all errors and flaws!

In the battles of Jamal and Siffeen we see Ayesha, Talha, Zubair, Marwan, Muawiya, Amr-e-Aas among other so-called ‘respectable companions’ fight against their Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). When Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) do not even permit raising the head while the Imam of the local mosque is still in prostration or genuflection, where is the question of going to battle with the Imam of the community?

If preceding the Imam of the local mosque in prayers makes one a donkey, how will one judge this wife and these companions?

All their arguments to justify their disagreement with Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) are pointless and needless. According to these Muslims, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) does not even permit fighting an unjust Imam. So where is the question of fighting Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), who is justice and infallibility personified?

Back to TopNot just battle, even cursing

The wife of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and companions fought Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), but did not rest content there. They took their enmity and hatred to another level by establishing the perverse practice of cursing Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) from the pulpits.

… قَالَ الْجَاحِظُ: إِنَّ مُعَاوِيَةَ كَانَ يَقُولُ فِي آخِرِ خُطْبَةِ الْجُمُعَةِ

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّ أَبَا تُرَابٍ أَلْحَدَ فِي دِينِكَ وَ صَدَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِكَ فَالْعَنْهُ‏ لَعْناً وَبِيلًا وَ عَذِّبْهُ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً وَ كَتَبَ بِذَلِكَ إِلَى الْآفَاقِ فَكَانَتْ هَذِهِ الْكَلِمَاتُ يُنَادَى بِهَا عَلَى الْمَنَابِرِ إِلَى خِلَافَةِ عُمَرَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ.

Jaahiz – the renowned Sunni scholar – said: Muawiyah used to recite the following at the end of the Friday sermon: ‘O Allah! Surely Abu Turab (referring to an agnomen of Ali b. Abi Talib a.s.) has renounced your religion and obstructed the way to Your Path. Then curse him with a deserving curse and punish him with a deserving and painful punishment. (Allah forbid)’

Muawiyah instructed that the same be recited in all corners of his kingdom. The announcers used to announce this curse from the pulpits and this practice continued till the reign of Umar b. Abdul Aziz.

  • Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 33, p. 214, Chapter 17, Beirut edition

The Sunnis have also recorded the practice established by Muawiyah of cursing Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). For details, one can refer to the following sources:

  • Silsilah al Ahadeeth al Saheehah, vol. 7 p. 996 of Shaikh Naaseruddin Albaani – the renowned Salafi scholar
  • Musnad-o-Ahmed vol. 3 pg 185
  • Fazaael al-Sahaabah by Ahmed b. Hanbal, vol. 1 pp. 142,143
  • Al Bidaayahwa al Nihaayahby Ibn Kathir, a leading student of Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 8 p. 184
  • Fath al Baari Fi Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani, vol. 8, pp. 71,72

Despite the many proofs, some Muslims defend Muawiyah by claiming that he never cursed Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). We reply that even if you ignore the references from your own books, can you ignore that he fought Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) in Siffeen? When he can fight Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) in a battle with the intention of killing him, a greater crime, what stops him from cursing Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), a lesser crime?

Back to TopNot just donkey, rather even pigs

There is an interesting report that proves that respectable companions and wives who disparaged and cursed Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) are in fact pigs as also donkeys according to the previous report.

Ibn Hajar al-Makki al-Haythami mentions in his al-Sawaaeq al-Muhreqah that al-Baarezi cites on the authority of al-Mansoor as follows, “I saw a man in Syria whose face had become that of a pig. When he asked him about it, he replied, ‘I used to curse Ali (b. Abi Talib) every day a thousand times and on Friday 4,000 times along with his (a.s.) children. I saw the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in a dream – and then goes on to narrate a very lengthy dream from which was as follows – Hasan (b. Ali) (a.s.) complained to him (s.a.w.a.) due to which he (s.a.w.a.) cursed that man, then spat on that person’s face due to which it became that of a pig and a sign for the people’.”

  • Al-Sawaeq al-Muhriqah p. 117 by Ibn Hajar al-Makki (He wrote this book specifically to condemn Shias)
  • Al-Amaali vol. 1 p. 136 of Al-Shajari
  • Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh p. 692 by Muhammad b. Abdullah Khatib Al-Tabrezi (exp. 741 AH) – one of the most authentic and well-researched books on chains of narrators of Ahle Tasannun traditions
  • Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth al-Saheehah vol. 3 p. 288 by Shaikh Naasiruddin Albaani – among the most well-known Salafi scholars
  • Tarikh al-Dimishq vol. 4 p. 317
  • Al-Bedaayah wa al-Nehaayah vol. 7 p. 355 by Ibn Kathir – amongst the foremost disciples of Ibn Taimiyyah

Those who curse Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) are pigs. If they fight him, then they are worse than pigs, regardless of them being wives or companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This is a fact established from the books of Ahle Tasannun. So, there is no point in accusing the Shias of maligning the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his companions. Then take lesson, O people of vision!