What is the verdict of Islam on using strong language against the enemies?

Among the frequently debated topics is usage of strong language against enemies of Allah and Aal Muhammad (a.s.).

Some are of the view that we should show restraint in the matter and avoid abusing and attacking genealogy even of the enemies of Allah and Aal Muhammad (a.s.). They maintain this goes against the high standards of ethics and etiquette established by Allah, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ahle Bait (a.s.) according to the Holy Quran and the reliable Sunnah in dealing with the enemies.

Reply 

First let us cite specific instances of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny addressing the enemies of Allah to understand their mannerism / Sunnah in this regard.

  1. In the battle of Ahzab, when Amr Ibn Abd Wudd taunts the Muslim forces, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) addressed his companions:

Who will take on this dog?

  • Tafseer al-Qummi (r.a.) v 2 p 183
  • Tafseer al-Safi v 4 p 175
  1. When Ibn Ziyad threatened to kill Meesam al-Tammar (r.a.) like no one has ever been killed in Islam, Meesam responds:

My Master (Ali a.s.) had informed me that one born of an immoral woman will kill me…

  • Al-Ikhtesaas p 76
  1. When Marwan Ibn Hakam threatens Imam Husain (a.s.) with dire consequences for avoiding allegiance to Yazid, Imam (a.s.) retorts:

O son of the blue-eyed woman (reference to Marwan’s mother and her infamous reputation among Arabs)…

  • Al-Irshad v 2 p 33
  • Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah v 20 p 116
  1. On receiving Yazid’s demand for allegiance, Imam Husain (a.s.) says:

The illegitimate (son) of the illegitimate (father) has demanded that I choose between faith and degradation, far from us is degradation…

  • Tuhuf al-Uqool p 241
  • Al-Luhoof p 97 

The infallibles (a.s.) act in harmony with the Quran

By consensus it is established that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his infallible progeny are paragons of ethics, who never acted against divine command even for a moment.

So when they behave in this manner with the enemies, then it is definitely in line with the path / Sunnah of Allah.

Scholars have pointed this out, as we see in the explanation of the researcher of Maqtal al-Husain (a.s.) who writes:

Although the Islamic Shariah admonishes us from calling others with nicknames (Surah Hujurat (49:11)) and from attacking their genealogy, the Imams (a.s.) who were the Proofs of Allah (Hojjaj Allah) over creation knew all complex matters and never went beyond what is divinely decreed.

Since we are so far away from their time, we are bound to surrender to the judgment of the infallible Imams (a.s.) with regard to anything they did or said particularly when it is in agreement with the Holy Quran, the source of all religious decrees (Ahkam).

The taunting applied by the Imams (a.s.) is like the taunting of Allah, the Almighty with regard to Walid ibn Mughairah al-Makhzumi (father of Khalid Ibn Walid) who is described in the Holy Quran:

عُتُلٍّ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ زَنِيمٍ

Ignoble, besides all that, base-born (Surah Qalam (68): 13)

Linguistically, زَنِيمٍ is one who is born outside wedlock, that is, illegitimately. According to the rules of genealogy, he is one whose lineage is claimed by someone else.

In Kanz al-Ummal (v 1 p 156) of Muttaqi al-Hindi, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is quoted as saying:

The عُتُلٍّ زَنِيمٍ is one who is a lowly-born degenerate.

Alusi in his Tafseer – Ruh al-Maani v 29 p 28 records:

Walid’s father – Mughairah, claimed him eighteen years after his birth.

So, if the Holy Quran, the fountainhead of moral excellence and mysteries charges someone and calls him with such a bad name, and it is the Book that is recited day and night, we should not be surprised to see Imam Husain (a.s.) – the son of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) charging Marwan with the dishonorable title of ‘son of blue-eyed woman’.

  • Maqtal al-Husain (a.s.) by Abdul Razzaq al-Muqarram under chapter of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah

Also worth considering is that when a fact is so well-known and documented among the people of the time that it is a testimony to one’s character and is joined with his name, then it can hardly be considered as a nickname or abuse.

Marwan’s immoral character and genealogy was not a secret. It was so common that not just Marwan even his progeny – Bani Marwan were addressed as sons of the blue-eyed woman and fruits of the ‘accursed tree’.

Ibn Athir records: People used to taunt the descendants of Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan as sons of the ‘blue-eyed woman’ (immoral woman).

  • Al-Kamil v 4 p 75

Marwan Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ashath used to say: The children of Marwan (Bani Marwan) were always taunted as descendants of the blue-eyed woman.

  • Tarikh al-Tabari v 8 p 16

Entire chapter devoted to abusing enemies 

Our scholars have devoted entire chapters to the subject of cursing and abusing enemies. For instance renowned scholar Shaikh Hurr al-Amili (r.a.) has introduced a chapter (39) in volume 16 of Wasail al-Shia with the title:

بَابُ وُجُوبِ الْبَرَاءَةِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبِدَعِ وَ سَبِّهِمْ وَ تَحْذِيرِ النَّاسِ مِنْهُمْ وَ تَرْكِ تَعْظِيمِهِمْ مَعَ عَدَمِ الْخَوْف‏

‘Chapter of Obligation of Cursing the People of Innovation and Abusing them and Cautioning the People against them and Discrediting them fearlessly’

With the backing of the Holy Quran, Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his infallible progeny (a.s.) and research of our scholars on the subject, abusing the enemies of Allah is hardly cause for confusion and controversy.

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