(1) What are the fundamentals of Shi'asm?
Shi'asm is a mixture of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, ancient paganism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, wrapped by Islamic terminologies. The reader, throughout the site, will discover how such dogmas infiltrated to, and became an inseparable part of, this new religion known as "Shi'asm". The very basics of Shi'asm, which the Ithna Ashari Shi'ites believe in, and is shared by many other esoteric Shi'a sects, are:
1. Imamah: "We believe that al-Imamah is one of the very basic pillars of the religion whereby faith is incomplete unless it is a part thereof"
It is their consensus therefore, that who does not believe in it is not a "believer". al-Hilly, one of the foremost known and respected Shi'a scholar, believed that denial of al-Imamah is far worse than denying the Prophethood. He wrote:
" al-Imamah is a general subtle (from Allah) and Prophethood is a special subtle, due to the existing possibility of having a period of time void of a living prophet unlike the Imam.....hence, the denial of the general subtle is far more evil than denial of the special subtle"
al-Naafi' Yawmal-Hashr: Jamaalud-Din al-Suyuri, p.42. From: 'Aqeedat al-Imamah: Ali Ahmad As-Saloos, PhD, p.28
And to show the status of he whom denies the Shi'ites' concept of al-Imamah, the 6th Imam, Abu Abdallah is quoted as saying:
"The Nasibi (Sunni) is worse than the Jew. It was said: And how is that so, O son of the Apostle of Allah? He said: The Jew denied the subtle of Prophethood, which is a special subtle, while the Nasibi denied the subtle of al-Imamah, which is a general (subtle)"ibid
2. Distortion of Qur'an: That the current version of the Qur'an has been corrupted, distorted and tampered with by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah [saw]. Please review our link "Shi'a & Qur'an" for further details.
3. Second Return: Every and all Shi'ites believe in the concept of 2nd Return, be it the Messenger [saw], their 12 Imams, the enemies of their Imams (all AhluSunnah) for the purpose of revenge from those who "wronged" them, but most specifically: Abu Bakr, Omar, Yazeed, and Banu Ummayyah in general, in order to put them to sword.
4. Grave worshipping : The Shi'a indiscriminately are grave worshippers and have gone to extremes in exaggerating the virtues of worshipping their Imams' graves as we shall discover.
(2) How do Muslims and Shi'ites differ in understanding the concept of Imamah? Let us initially define the term Imamah:
In Arabic, an Imam is a person whom others follow, be it who leads the prayer, who heads a group or even the Caliph. The Holy Qur'an, for instance, is the Imam of Muslims, and so is the Apostle of Allah [saw]. He is the Imam of all the Imams. Furthermore, the title Imam can be used for one who is an expert of a certain field. To illustrate, it is said that al-Bukhari is an Imam of Hadith, Malik, Abu Hanifah, al-Shafi'i, Ibn Hanbal are Imams in Islamic Jurisprudence, and so on. Imam may also mean a "role model" as used by Allah [swt]: 2:124. 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 people. He pleaded: and also (imams) from my offspring! He answered: But my Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers. i.e., I am making you a role model that others follow.
Another example is His saying [swt]: 21:73. And we made them Imams (leaders) guiding (men) by Our Command. Also as in 9:12. But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your faith, fight ye the Imams (chiefs) of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them...Also as in 28:41. And We made them but Imams (leaders) inviting to the Fire...
From the above definitions, we can understand the reason why the Khalifah is called an Imam too. Imam Abu Zahra [rahimahullah] explained:
"It was called Khilafah (succession) because whoever assumes it, and is the Grand Governor of the Muslims, is actually succeeding the Apostle [saw] in managing the affairs of the Muslims. It is also called al-Imamah, because the Khalifah used to be called Imam, and because his obediance is compulsory and the people follow him as they follow the one who leads the prayer"'Aqeedat al-Imamah: Ali Ahmad As-Saloos, PhD, p.9
(3) Did the Companions ever think as to who will succeesd the Apostle of Allah for their leadership, especially during his last illness?
There are, indeed, few narrations with authentic link of transmittors, that indicate there was such a thinking. Among these Ahadith is that of Ibn Abbas [ra]:
There is another Hadith attributed to Ali [ra] with a good Isnaad (link of transmittors) saying:
"It was said: O Apostle of Allah, Who should be installed as a leader after you? He said: If you install Abu Bakr, you will find him honest, ascetic in this life and desirious of the Hereafter. If you install Omar, you will find him strong, honest, fearing in Allah no one's blame. If you install Ali, and I don't think you will, you will find him guided, guiding you to the straight path."Musnad al-Imam Ahmad: vol.2, narration 859
This, as Dr. Saloos wrote, indicates that the question of succession existed during the life of the Apostle of Allah [saw], but the dispute did not erupt until later on, after he [saw] moved to his final abode, which ended in the meeting, known as "Meeting of As-Saqeefah", with the election of Abu Bakr As-Sadiq [ra]. The second Caliph, Amirul-Mu'mineen Omar [ra] told us what took place in that meeting:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817, also in al-Musnad: vol.1, Narration 391
So from what al-Farooq Omar [ra] said, we learn:
(1) There was no dispute as to the obligation to install a Caliph successding the Apostle of Allah [saw].
(2) The Khilafah must remain within Quriah "but this question (of Caliphate) is only for Quraish". The Ansaar [ra] did not accept it initially, but soon after they rushed to pledge the allegiance to a Qurashite, save Sa'd bin Ubadah [ra], he did not give his pledge. There are many Sahih Traditions testify to what Abu Bakr As-Siddiq [ra] said, reported in Sahih al-Bukhari:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 89, Number 254
Similar narrations are also quoted by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in his al-Musnad.
(3) No man shall become a Caliph but by Bay'ah (pledge of allegiance): "so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards".
Therefore, if the pledge was given, its fulfillment becomes obligatory. This is why he said: " we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused a great trouble ".
It was also reported that the Messenger of Allah [saw] said:
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri:Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4568
The Messenger [saw] was also reported as saying:
Narrated Arfajah: I have heard the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Different evils will make their appearance in the near future. Anyone who tries to disrupt the affairs of this Ummah while they are united you should strike him with the sword whoever he be. (If remonstrance does not prevail with him and he does not desist from his disruptive activities, he is to be killed).Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4565
(4) If the fulfillment of the pledge is mandatory and obligatory, then there is no pledge without consulting the Muslims: " So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."
This is due to the concept of "Shura" (consulting) in Islam which is the very fundamental of governing and is based on two pillars: Justice, 4:58 ...And when ye judge between people that ye judge with justice.. and Consultation: 42:38 ..[W]ho (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation..
(5) That the Bay'ah to Abu Bakr [ra] took place so fast and sudden, and without prearrangement, due to his status: " there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr." and "for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr ".
Based on the said observations, the Jamhoor (majority) sat conditions to assume the Rightly Guided Khilafa: viz a viz to a man who is Just, from Quraish, by way of Bay'ah and Consultation.
As to the Ansaar, never after this event, did history inform us of any attempt on their part to assume the Khilafah.
(4) Is it true that Ali [ra] did not pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr [ra]? It is believed, by some, that Ali [ra] did not give his pledge because he believed that he has the preference and priority to assume the succession more than anybody else. However; to their disappointment, we find several references support the belief that he was of the opinion that such a matter should have not been decided without his participation in the process, and with his concurrance that Abu Bakr [ra] is the best and that he does not deny Abu Bakr's right to lead the Ummah.
Narrated 'Aisha: Fatima the daughter of the Prophet sent someone to Abu Bakr (when he was a caliph), asking for her inheritance of what Allah's Apostle had left of the property bestowed on him by Allah from the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) in Medina, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khumus of the Khaibar booty. On that, Abu Bakr said, "Allah's Apostle said, "Our property is not inherited. Whatever we leave, is Sadaqa, but the family of (the Prophet) Muhammad can eat of this property.' By Allah, I will not make any change in the state of the Sadaqa of Allah's Apostle and will leave it as it was during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, and will dispose of it as Allah's Apostle used to do." So Abu Bakr refused to give anything of that to Fatima. So she became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not task to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself. When Fatima was alive, the people used to respect 'Ali much, but after her death, 'Ali noticed a change in the people's attitude towards him. So Ali sought reconciliation with Abu Bakr and gave him an oath of allegiance. 'Ali had not given the oath of allegiance during those months (i.e. the period between the Prophet's death and Fatima's death). 'Ali sent someone to Abu Bakr saying, "Come to us, but let nobody come with you," as he disliked that 'Umar should come, 'Umar said (to Abu Bakr), "No, by Allah, you shall not enter upon them alone " Abu Bakr said, "What do you think they will do to me? By Allah, I will go to them' So Abu Bakr entered upon them, and then 'Ali uttered Tashah-hud and said (to Abu Bakr), "We know well your superiority and what Allah has given you, and we are not jealous of the good what Allah has bestowed upon you, but you did not consult us in the question of the rule and we thought that we have got a right in it because of our near relationship to Allah's Apostle ." Thereupon Abu Bakr's eyes flowed with tears. And when Abu Bakr spoke, he said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is to keep good relations with the relatives of Allah's Apostle is dearer to me than to keep good relations with my own relatives. But as for the trouble which arose between me and you about his property, I will do my best to spend it according to what is good, and will not leave any rule or regulation which I saw Allah's Apostle following, in disposing of it, but I will follow." On that 'Ali said to Abu Bakr, "I promise to give you the oath of allegiance in this after noon." So when Abu Bakr had offered the Zuhr prayer, he ascended the pulpit and uttered the Tashah-hud and then mentioned the story of 'Ali and his failure to give the oath of allegiance, and excused him, accepting what excuses he had offered; Then 'Ali (got up) and praying (to Allah) for forgiveness, he uttered Tashah-hud, praised Abu Bakr's right, and said, that he had not done what he had done because of jealousy of Abu Bakr or as a protest of that Allah had favored him with. 'Ali added, "But we used to consider that we too had some right in this affair (of rulership) and that he (i.e. Abu Bakr) did not consult us in this matter, and therefore caused us to feel sorry." On that all the Muslims became happy and said, "You have done the right thing." The Muslims then became friendly with 'Ali as he returned to what the people had done (i.e. giving the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr).Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, Number 546, see also 5/57/60.
See 'Aqeedat al-Imamah, Dr. Ali A. As-Saloos, pp 8-19
(5) How do Shi'ites View the Imamah?
For the Shi'ites, al-Imamah is no different from Prophethood since both, Prophets and Imams receive revelation (Wahi) from Allah [swt]. In fact, the great majority of the Shi'ites Rabbis consider their twelve Imams far higher and above in status than any Prophet or Arch Angel of Allah [swt].
It is natural then, that they look at those who do not recocognize any of their Imams, as AhluSunnah, or some, as the rest of the Shi'i cults, to be an absolute Kafir and thus fabricated countless Ahadith to support their claim.
The Shi'ites view on al-Imamah can be summarized in five points:
(1) al-Imamah is one of the religion's pillars: Rabbi al-Muzaffar explains:
"We believe that al-Imamah is one of the fundamentals of religion, by which faith is incomplete without it."Aqaa'id al-Imamiyyah: Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar, chapter 3: al-Imamah, p.89
The famous Rabbi Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, nicknamed al-Sadooq (the truthful), wrote:
"Our belief is that whoever denies the Imamah of Amirul-Mu'mineen Ali bin Abi Talib and the Imams after him is equal to the denial the Prophethood of all the Prophets. We further believe that whoever recognizes (the Imamah of) Amirul-Mu'mineen but denies one of the Imams, is like one who admits and recognizes all the Prophets but denies the Prophethood of Muhammad [pbuh].al-I'tiqadaat: Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, p. 103, from: 'Aqeedat al-Imamah, Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p.28 Rabbi al-Mufeed who headed the Imami Shi'ites, and who was the Sheikh of their leader Rabbi Abu Ja'far At-Tusi, wrote as quoted by al-Majlisi:
"The consensus of all Imamis is that whoever denies the Imamah of any Imam, and denies the Obediance imposed by Allah Ta'ala for him, then he's a Kafir deviant deservant of an eternal hell"Bihaar al-Anwaar: Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, vol.23, p.390, from Aqeedat al-Imamah: Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p.29.
(2) The Imam is equal to the Prophet in the Infallibility, Attributes and Knowledge:
In other words, the Imam must be "Infallible" from the date of his birth to the day he dies from all sins, error and forgetfulness. He must be the best of all men when it comes to courageness, generousity, justice, truthfulness, far sightness, wisdom and morals. As for his knowledge, he receives all Divine knowledge and commands and any other knowledge either from the Prophet, the Imam who preceded him, or by way of revelation from Allah (to be continued)