Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE TWELVE IMAMS

                                                            Shi'ah Mosque, Sultanate of Oman




Last week I concluded my two part series: THE PROPHET (SAW) DID NOT CERTIFY A SUCCESSOR BEFORE HIS DEMISE, in response to Sheikh Turi’s ‘Did The Prophet (S) Really Certify His Successor Before Demise?’ That was actually in relation to the first, out of five subtopics in Sheikh Turi’s article, in which he discussed the Ghadeer Khum hadeeth. The remaining four subtopics, after the first, which he subtitled as THE EPISODE OF GHADEER KHUM, were: 2) SUCCESSORSHIP OF THE PROPHET: NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL? (which I shall tackle under today’s topic), 3)THE PROPHETIC DEMISE AND ITS AFTERMATH, 4) SUPERIORITY OF THE PROPHET’S PROGENY, and 5) EXTRAORDINARY VIRTUES OF IMAM ALI.

It is not possible to respond to this article with all these subtopics in a single write-up. The piece will be too long. My plan is to dedicate an article for each subtopic. I started with Ghadeer Khum where I established that, contrary to what Sheikh Turi wants us to believe, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not nominate a successor before he died.
Let me present a short background for better understanding of what Sheikh Turi presented in the second subtopic of the article under discussion. People generally understand ‘imam’ to be one who leads the prayers, or a leader, but the word carries special connotation in Shi’ah beliefs. To them, Allah designates the imam. Individuals have no freedom in the choice or election of an imam. Imamate, as an institution was reserved for ‘Ali (RA) and his male progeny through Fatimah (RA). Thus, when an imam dies, authority is automatically transferred to his eldest son. The imams are considered infallible and divinely protected from all sin and human weakness, because they are not ordinary human beings; they are equal in rank to the prophets in their attributes and their mission.

Keeping the above background in mind will help us make out the point that Sheikh Turi was trying put across.

Under SUCCESSORSHIP OF THE PROPHET: NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL? Sheikh Turi said, “No doubt, succeeding the noble messengers for human guidance is an inevitable issue whose significance cannot be overemphasized. This is very clear in the noble Qur’an especially as regards prophets Ibrahim, Yaqub and Musa where they expressed wills regarding their successors from among the prophets and saints.” In other words, Sheikh Turi is saying, if another messenger succeeded every messenger sent by Allah, how can you say that the most honoured of all messengers, Muhammad (SAW) died without nominating a successor. This is baffling; how can a Sheikh be oblivious of the fact that Muhammad (SAW) was the final and the seal of all prophets and messengers of Allah (Qur’an 33:40)? Except if by “…successors from among the prophets and saints.” Sheikh Turi meant that prophethood was synonymous with sainthood, that a saint or imam can stand in place of Allah’s Messenger, receiving revelation and guiding people according to Allah’s direct instructions. No! Sunnis believe that the first of Allah’s prophets was Adam (AS), and the last of them was Muhammad (SAW). We consider those who believe in messenger-successors to the seal of the prophets (SAW) as renegades.  That was why the companions of Muhammad (SAW) fought false claimants to prophetic succession after the Messenger of Allah, like Musailamah and people of his ilk, because they were liars and apostates. Therefore, we are back to the same point that we have expounded repeatedly: The Prophet (SAW) Did Not Certify a Successor before His Demise, because he was the last and the seal of Allah’s emissaries to His creatures. Whoever shall lead the Ummah after the Messenger of Allah (SAW) will thus emerge by the consensus of the Muslims, as Khulafah, and not ‘divinely appointed infallible Imams.’

Thereafter, Sheikh Turi introduced the issue of the Twelve Imams, only that, surprisingly, he avoided using imams throughout this subtopic. He kept using the Sunni phraseology of khulafah, successors as opposed to shi’ah’s imamah. He said, “As narrated by Bukhari and Muslim among others and authenticated by Albaani, the last prophet has repeatedly emphasized that successors after him are twelve and all from Quraish, which he sometimes related to Bani-Hashim.”

Brilliant! For the first time, I concur with what Sheikh Turi said in the above paragraph. I only take exception to “…which he sometimes related to Bani-Hashim.” Bukhari, Muslim and others reported the Hadeeth, as rightly mentioned by Sheikh Turi, and authenticated by Albaani - (let me help Sheikh Turi with the reference) in Silsilatul Ahaadeethis Saheehah, Hadeeth no 1075.

The phrase Bani-Hashim was not mentioned by the Prophet (SAW) in any of the following versions of the hadeeth:

1-     Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard Muhammad saying, "There will be twelve Muslim rulers." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish." (Sahih Bukhari 89.329)
2-    Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard Muhammad saying, "The (Islamic) religion will continue until the Hour (day of resurrection), having twelve Caliphs for you, all of them will be from Quraysh." (Sahih Muslim : Book 020: Number 4477, 4478, 4480, 4481, 4482, 4483)
3-    The Prophet said: "This religion remains standing until there are twelve vicegerents over you, all of them agreeable to the nation, all of them from Quraysh." (Sunan Abu Dawood : Book 36: Number 4266)
4-    The Prophet said: "There will be after me twelve Amir (Prince/Ruler), all of them from Quraysh." (Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Arabic) Chapter of Fitan,
2:45)
5-    Masrooq narates that someone asked Abdullah Ibn Masood, "O Abaa Abd al-Rahmaan, did you ask the Messenger of Allah how many caliphs will rule this nation?” Abdullah Ibn Masood replied, "Yes, we did ask the Messenger of Allah and he replied, "Twelve, like the number of chiefs (nuqabaa) of Bani Israel"" (Musnad - Ahmad, vol 1, pg 398)

From all the various versions of this hadeeth, in the secondary sources of Islamic Law, there is nowhere Bani-Hashim was mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (SAW), in relation to the twelve caliphs. Then where did Sheikh Turi get his ‘Bani-Hashim’…? Inserting Bani-Hashim into the narrative would strengthen Shi’ah propaganda of confining leadership to Ahlul Bait, though the Prophet (SAW) did not say that. This will be clear when you read Sheikh Turi’s next paragraph, “Based on this” he said, “the successors of the prophet must be twelve and invariably from his clan Bani-Hashim as a grand design by Allah the most high.”

Another word conspicuously absent was imams. Sheikh Turi played safe when he chose ‘successors’ in place of imams. At least that was more prudent than trying to interject foreign words into the sayings of the Prophet (SAW). Throughout the above narrations, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) mentioned caliphs, rulers, etc., but not imams. Doubtless, he (SAW) was not referring to Shi’ah imams when he uttered those words. This hadeeth, therefore, cannot be advanced in support of Twelve Shi’ah imams.

On the twelve ‘successors’ (?), Sheikh Turi wrote that, “Generally speaking, the Shia maintains the first as Ali and the last Muhammad al-Mahdi based on a number of authentic narrations. As Allah said they were all purified and therefore infallible ones that people do not have anything to do regarding their position being from Allah.”

Therefore, by the above assertion the three usurpers (Abubakr, Umar and Uthman, may Allah be pleased with them) are out of the list of successors in Gospel According to Shi’ah. Sheikh Turi ended the sentence with “based on a number of authentic narrations” but he did not provide any. There is no authority in Islamic sources to support that claim. Moreover, there is no place in the Glorious Qur’an where Allah purified ‘successors’ or imams in the sense of making them ‘infallible’.

We have learnt from the foregoing discussion that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not say that there would be twelve imams from his decedents of Bani-Hashim – if he meant that, he would have said so. He (SAW) rather spoke of twelve caliphs, rulers, etc. from Quraish.

Now, we come to the crux of the matter: who are the twelve caliphs?

Many shi’ah denominations (I say denominations with a purpose) have made lists of imams in order to fit in with the text of the twelve caliphs’ hadeeth. Examining these names closely reveals more discordance than consonance in the list of so-called infallible leaders anointed by Allah Himself to guide the Ummah after His Messenger (SAW).

The main list I shall use below is that of the Imamah Shi’ah. I will break the list at certain points to show where they parted ways with another denomination of Shi’ah. I will not number the imams on whom the Shi’ah disagreed concerning their imamate; my numbering affects only the Imamah Shi’ah’s list from 1 to 12.

1-    Ali ibn Abu Talib (Amir al-Mu'minin)
2-    Hasan ibn Ali (al-Mujtabaa)
3-    Husayn ibn Ali (Sayyid ash-Shuhadaa)

These three are the only Imams that Shi’ah Zaydiyyah accepted as infallible because they are part of Ahlul Kisaa (People of the Mantle) – where the Prophet (SAW) gathered ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn under his mantle and prayed to Allah to purify them as members of his Ahlul Bait – (we shall come to that).
Shi’ah Zaydiyyah have the following coming after Husayn ibn Ali:

* Zayd ibn Ali
* Yahya ibn Zayd

This is parting of the ways with Shi’ah Imamiyyah (Twelvers), as we shall see when the numbering is resumed; the two names will be absent in the list. In addition, Shi’ah Zaydiyyah considered the fourth, fifth and sixth Twelver-Imams as lesser imams because they failed to ‘revolt against the oppressors of their time.’ These are:
4
-    Ali ibn Husayn (al-Sajjaad, Zayn al-'Aabidin)
5-    Muhammad ibn Ali (Baaqir al-Ulum)
6-    Ja'far ibn Muhammad (as-Saadiq)

On the issue of Mahdi, Zaydiyyah believed in Muhammad ibn Abdallah An-Nafs Az-Zakiyya as the Awaited Mahdi, and not Sheikh Turi’s Mahdi.

Another denomination that split with Twelvers on imamate was Shi’ah Ismaa’iliyyah. The problem arose over the succession to the sixth imam, as above, Ja’far ibn Muhammad. Ismaa’iliyyah considered his eldest son Ismaa’il as his heir. The Twelvers insisted on Ismaa’il’s brother Musa ibn Ja'far (al-Kaazim) as the next imam. Ismaa’iliyyah preferred the succession of his son Muhammad ibn Ismaa’il.  Thus, they had as their sixth and seventh imams:

* Ismaa’il ibn Ja’far
* Muhammad ibn Ismaa’il

Not only this, the Ismaa’ilis disagreed with the Twelvers on the identity of the last imam. As opposed to Sheikh Turi’s ‘Muhammad al-Mahdi,’ Shi’ah Ismaa’iliyyah believed Muhammad ibn Ismaa’il to be the Mahdi, ‘who had withdrawn into occultation and would return again.

Shi’ah Fatimiyyah was a denomination the members of which claimed to be the descendants of Fatimah, daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). They had the following as imams:

* ʿAbd Allaah ibn Muḥammad ibn Ismaa’il (al-Wafee)
* Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allaah ibn Muḥammad (at-Taqi)
* al-Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allaah (ar-Raḍi)
* Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, son of al-Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad
* Muhammad al-Qaa’im Bi-Amrillah
* Ismail al-Mansur
* Maʿaad al-Muʿizz li-Deenillaah
* Abu Manṣur Nizaar al-ʿAzeez billaah
* Al-Ḥakeem bi-Amrillaah
* ʿAli az-Zaahir li-Iʿzaaz Deenillaah
* Abu Tameem Ma'add al-Mustanṣir bi-llaah

Let us resume our listing of the Twelver-Imams:

7-    Musa ibn Ja'far (al-Kaazim)
8-    Ali ibn Musa (ar-Rida)
9-    Muhammad ibn Ali (at-Taqi, al-Jawaad)
10- Ali ibn Muhammad (al-Hadi, an-Naqi)
      11- Hasan ibn Ali (al-Askari)

Shi’ah Muhammadiyyah was a denomination that did not believe in the legitimacy of the eleventh imam (Hasan ibn Ali al-Askari), because according to them, a real imam should not lack a son, an issue, who could succeed him. Thus, they accepted the imamate of his brother:

* Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi

Even after the death of this imam, Shi’ah Muhammadiyyah said he did not die in reality; he went to concealment state in order to appear later as the Awaited Mahdi.

So far we have seen three mahdis different from that of Sheikh Turi - Muhammad ibn Abdallah An-Nafs Az-Zakiyya of Zaydiyyah, Muhammad ibn Ismaa’il of Shi’ah Ismaa’iliyyah, and Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi of Shi’ah Muhammadiyyah. Sheikh Turi’s Mahdi is:

12- Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (al-Mahdi, Hidden Imam, al-Hujjah)

Other candidates for al-Mahdi’s position included, but not limited to, the following:
·     
   Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Aftah of Shi’ah Aftahiyyah
·        Ja'far al-Sadiq (in the opinion of Shi’ah Tawussiyyah)
·        Musa al-Kadhim (in the opinion of Shi’ah Waqifiyyah),
·        Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi) of Shi’ah Alawiyyah,

We have ended up with 7 Mahdis and a whopping 27 Shi’ah imams34 in all, and counting – based on a colossal utopian conviction of various Shi’ah denominations that these are chosen by Allah and thus they are infallible. This is aside civil strife, divisions and assassinations by poisoning an imam in order to pave way for another. What was the purpose of evil plots and scheming by Shi’ah adherents, one against another, in the issue of divinely appointed infallible Imams? If it was Allah indeed that had the prerogative of appointing the imams, why did they exceed that limit by choosing some imams over others, and by believing in some and rejecting others?

Again, how did we reach this point? What! Allah Almighty chose more than 34 imams in a position meant for only 12. Was Allah the author of this confusion that occasioned these disputations among the various Shi’ah denominations concerning the identities of the imams? No! This was the outcome of guesswork because the Hadeeth of the twelve caliphs was equivocal. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not name the leaders of the Ummah coming after him.

Example of this hadeeth is another authentic tradition where the Messenger of Allah said, “Verily Allah will send at the beginning of every century such (mujaddid), a person for this Ummah who will rejuvenate and restore their religion (Deen).” Every Muslim group around the world would have somebody to present as its Mujaddid due to what that person might have done to rejuvenate this Ummah’s Deen. I can also mention my Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, for instance, given what he had done to reawaken the Muslims to the precepts of Islam, praying that Allah accept him as one of the Mujaddideen. In addition, before Gumi, we can put Sheikh Usman ibn Fodio in that line. Nevertheless, to claim that a particular personage was definitely the mujaddid that the Messenger (SAW) meant when he uttered the words would be a heresy.

The same applies to the case of Ya’juj wa Ma’juj, Gog and Magog. Who were they? Were they the Turks? Were they the Mongols? When are they coming? Are they already with us or they have come and gone? – guessing at random! Yes, they are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadeeth. Yes, we have to believe in their existence, the fact that they shall come and whatever the texts have said concerning them, but going outside that is engaging in conjecture, which is not allowed (Quran, 45:25)!

The Sunnis did not fall into this pit of conjecture. Their consensus was on the Rightly Guided Caliphs with the First being Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, and the sixth, Umar ibn Abdul Azeez. Thus, we consider the following as the Khulafaa ar-Raashiduun:

1. Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq
2. Umar ibn al-Khattab
3. Uthman bin Affan
4. Ali ibn abi Talib
5. Hasan ibn Ali
6. Umar ibn Abdul Azeez

These are the ones agreed upon by the scholars; the reins of the remaining six shall also come to pass before the Judgement Day. Even though, interpreting the Hadeeth under discussion and refuting Shi’ah’s claim to it, Sheikh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaany has mentioned many caliphs of old in his attempt to present a better list of those who led the Ummah; Sunni consensus was on the six above. (Fathul Baari, vol 13, pgs 301 - 306).

Sheikh Turi quoted this verse: ‘“O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the apostle, and those charged with authority among you…” Nisa:59then he said, ‘The Shia believe that they are the ones referred to in this verse, just as Imam al Tabary, considered the chief interpreter of the noble Qur’an, said under the verse that looking at the exalted position of ‘those charged with authority’ they must be infallible!’

Firstly, Imam at-Tabari was a respected exegetist without doubt, but we need citation on the epithet that Sheikh Turi gave him of being ‘the chief interpreter of the noble Qur’an’.

Secondly, ‘….looking at the exalted position of ‘those charged with authority’ they must be infallible!’ was not mentioned by at-Tabari under Nisa:59 or in any place in the entire 30 volumes of his Tafseerut-Tabari. This is a blatant untruth! Why must we lie even in the interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an to prove a baseless point?  







Friday, January 10, 2014

THE PROPHET (SAW) DID NOT CERTIFY A SUCCESSOR BEFORE HIS DEMISE



This topic is an answer to sheikh Turi’s ‘Did The Prophet (S) Really Certify His Successor Before Demise?’ as published in LEADERSHIP FRIDAY of November 1, 2013.

In the response concerning Ashura, my respected readers must have discerned the atrociousness of the Twelve Imamer Shi’ites in their woeful attempt to distort the way we celebrate the 10th of Muharram from fasting and exultation to sorrow, blood and agony. The main doctrine of the Twelve Imamers and Ja’faris, however, was discussed in the above piece by sheikh Turi. He has shown that ‘the successors of the prophet must be twelve and invariably from his clan Bani-Hashim as a grand design by Allah the most high!’ No one has right to choose a successor, for Allah has done that already with Ali (RA) as the first in the line ‘and last Muhammad al-Mahdi…’ who is the Twelfth Imam. Thus, in Shi’ah religion, belief in imamate is an integral and the most preferred part of faith.

Sunni Muslims believe in the validity of the elected caliphs, who were vested with the leadership of the Ummah after the demise of the Prophet (SAW); that the belief in caliphate is neither an essential nor a recommended part of the faith, and that there is not a single verse in the Qur’an that calls for belief in imamate.

                                              'Ali Mosque, Najaf, Iraq


Sheikh Turi brought ‘THE EPISODE OF GHADEER KHUM’ a place ‘near Juhfa, at the crossroads to Egypt and Iraq’ where he said the Prophet ‘ordered the halt of all pilgrims leaving Mecca to their respective destinations to gather at the place for an inevitable message’ which the ‘angel Jibreel descended with’. The revelation was of this verse: “O apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” Ma’idah:67

According to Sheikh Turi ‘no fewer than seventy thousand pilgrims had gathered from different places’ to listen to the Prophet’s message where he said, “Do you witness that I have a prior right to and superior authority over all the faithful?” They replied, “yes o messenger of Allah.” There upon he said, “Ali is the master of all those of whom I am master. O Allah! Love him who loves him and hate him who hates him, help him who helps him, forsake him who forsakes him, and turn justice with him wherever he turns.”
Sheikh Turi was of the opinion that the gathering ‘generally understood the event that Ali would succeed, and all people congratulated him on that, including Abu Bakr and Umar who were among the first category of well-wishers, quoted as saying to Imam, (“)well done, Ibn Abi Talib, overnight you have become a master of all believers” as agreed and narrated by Sunna and Shi’a.

He went on to say that after a few ‘number of days’, another verse was revealed: “…This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion…” Ma’idah:3

Sheikh Turi concluded this sub-topic on Ghadeer Khum by saying ‘This hadith is authentic on various criteria as reported by many companions such as Zaid ibn Arqam, Abu Sa’id al-Khudry, Jabir bn Abdullah, Ali bn Abi Talib, and Abu Hurairah among others. That is why all the efforts to disprove the hadith became woefully abortive.

Let me start by this vaunt of authenticity by Sheikh Turi concerning the above hadeeth. It will interest the Sheikh to know that this hadith is not reported in the authentic sources of hadeeth of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud or an-Nasa’i. Only Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi have reported it, and at-Tirmidhi classified it as a weak hadeeth!

This is at-Tirmidhi’s version of what happened at Ghadeer Khum as recorded in his Sunan at-Tirmidhi: ‘The Prophet (SAW) dispatched a military expedition under the command of ‘Ali (RA). With the war-booty came a slave girl, whom ‘Ali (RA) kept for himself. A few of his companions did not like this, and four of them decided to bring it to the attention of the Prophet (SAW). When ‘Ali (RA) returned with his unit, one of these persons asked the Prophet (SAW) if he knew that ‘Ali (RA) had done such a thing. On hearing this, the Prophet (SAW) turned away his face. The first man was followed by the second one, and then the third, but the Prophet (SAW) paid no attention to any of them. The fourth man then got up and repeated the complaint. The Prophet (SAW) turned toward him with anger showing on his face and said to him. ‘What do you want of ‘Ali? What do you want of ‘Ali? ‘Ali is of me and I am of ‘Ali. After me, ‘Ali is the mawla of all the believers.’ (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, vol.2, pp.212-213)

It is clear from the above that Sheikh Turi avoided mentioning the context in which the Prophet’s pronouncement was based – namely that a group of soldiers were severely criticizing Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) over a certain matter, and this news reached the Prophet, who then said what he said in the Hadith of Ghadir Khumm.

The Prophet’s intention behind saying what he said at Ghadir Khumm was not at all to nominate Ali (RA) as Caliph but rather it was only to defend Ali (RA) against the slander being said against him. It is only by removing the background context that it is possible to render a Shia understanding of the text as we saw in Sheikh Turi’s position.
For the sake of this write-up, I will prefer to deal with the hadeeth as presented by Sheikh Turi. Let us look at the place in which this event occurred. Sheikh Turi said it was ‘near Juhfa, at the crossroads to Egypt and Iraq’. This is wrong! Ghadeer Khum is located approximately 250 km away from Makkah. Sheikh Turi is either geographically challenged or has been misguided by apocryphal sources. I urge the respected reader of this piece to take a map or google the location and see Sheikh Turi’s fallacy in this issue. The whole premise of Shi’ism is shattered since the event of the presumed appointment of its first imam happened on a false location!

If this speech at Ghadeer Khum was meant for the entire Muslim Ummah to herald the ascension of ‘Ali (RA) to imamate after the Prophet (SAW), why did he (SAW) not include it in his Farewell Sermon that was attended by all the pilgrims that performed the Hajj? Why did the Messenger of Allah have to wait until the after the long journey to Ghadeer Khum when most of the people had dispersed? Of course by this time, Sheikh Turi’s ‘no fewer than seventy thousand pilgrims’ would have reduced to much lesser figure.

Most assuredly, Ghadeer Khum is located midway between Makkah and Madeenah, some 250 km away from Makkah as established above. It was not possible, therefore, that all the pilgrims to converge at Ghadeer Khum as most of them will proceed to their countries in opposite directions like those heading South of Makkah to Ta’if or Yemen. The people of Makkah for instance would naturally remain in their home city after Hajj. It does not make any logical sense that they should leave Makkah to pass through Ghadeer Khum in order to return to Makkah. The Makkan Muslims would have ended their Hajj in Makkah, and the Muslims of Madeenah would have left for their home city, stopping at Ghadeer Khum without the company of the Makkan Muslims whom they had left behind in Makkah. The same can be said of the People of Yemen, of Ta’if, etc. Indeed, all of these major Muslim cities were not be included in the speech at Ghadeer Khum, and this is very odd: had the Prophet (SAW) wanted to nominate Ali (RA) as Caliph, then surely he would have done this in front of all the Muslims from Makkah, Taif, Yemen, etc.

In consideration of the above, the Prophet (SAW), in his speech at Ghadeer Khum, was actually correcting a specific group of Muslims, namely, the soldiers from Madeenah who had been dispatched to Yemen, rather than addressing the entire pilgrims that performed Hajj that year. That prophetic address of Ghadeer Khum was primarily to the group that had been criticizing ‘Ali (RA) and it was for this reason that the Prophet (SAW) did not include this in his Farewell Sermon of the Last Hajj in the presence of the entire pilgrims!

Sheikh Turi translated the word ‘Mawla’ as ‘Master’ in the hadeeth under discussion. He did not place the Arabic equivalent in brackets as shown (above) in at-Tirmidhi’s version, and as we see in Shi’ah sources, like their website: www.al-islam.org where that part of the hadeeth was translated as, “For whoever I am his Leader (mawla), ‘Ali is his Leader (mawla).” Sheikh Turi did not do that; he chose his own translation of the word Mawla, i.e. ‘Master’ and continued with his discussion on succession. Was this concealment of the Arabic word by Sheikh Turi meant to downplay its significance in the sentence, or was it for the purposes of exaggeration?

“Mawla” is commonly defined as “servant” and not “Master”. A former slave who becomes a servant and who has no tribal connections was referred to as a Mawla, such as Saalim who was called Saalim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah because he was the servant of Abu Hudhayfah. Any standard Arabic-English dictionary could be checked by anybody to see the various meanings attached to the word Mawla; they are sure to find, amongst other things, the following: lord, owner, benefactor, liberator, helper, lover, ally, slave, servant, brother-in-law, cousin, friend, etc.

“Master” cannot be the right translation for “Mawla”; “a beloved friend” would rather be a better rendering, given the context in which the Prophet (SAW) uttered the sentence that followed the word. The Prophet (SAW) followed the word Mawla with, (let us use Sheikh Turi’s version of the hadeeth): “O Allah! Love him who loves him and hate him who hates him…” - which makes more sense than saying ‘Master’ and following it with ‘love’ and ‘hate’. Therefore, in essence, the Prophet meant that ‘to whomsoever I am a beloved friend, Ali is his beloved friend.’  “O Allah! Love him who loves him and hate him who hates him….” He was referring to love and close relation, not Caliphate and Imamah.

Interestingly, the Qur’an has made our task easier by providing insight into the meaning of Mawla in a number of verses.

The Qur’an says, “So today no ransom shall be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your beloved friend (Mawla) and an evil refuge it is.” (Quran, 57:15)

Going by Sheikh Turi’s translation of Mawla the latter part of the verse would have been that the fire is the abode and master of those who disbelieved. Meaningless! Mawla does not mean ‘Imam’, ‘Caliph’, or ‘master’.

In the above verse, Hellfire is disbelievers’ Mawla due to their extreme closeness to it, and it is this definition of Mawla that is being referred to in the Hadith of Ghadeer Khum (i.e. extreme closeness to the Prophet, ‘Ali, and the believers).

It appears that Sheikh Turi is confusing Wilayah with Walayah. Indeed, the word “Mawla” comes from “Wilayah” and not “Walayah”. Wilayah refers to love and Nusrah (help and aid), while Walayah refers to leadership.

We read in the Glorious Qur’an, “That is because Allah is the Mawla (i.e. protecting friend, patron, etc) of those who believe, and because the disbelievers shall have no Mawla for them.” (Quran, 47:11)

From Sheikh Turi’s translation of the word Mawla, the above verse would mean that Allah is the “Master” and leader of those who believe, and disbelievers have no “Master” and leader. This flawed translation would have imputed incongruity in the Qur’an in as much as Allah has talked about A’immah (leaders) of kufr (Quran, 9:12), and another class of leaders calling towards the Fire (Quran, 28:41).

Another example from the Qur’an, “Certainly your Mawla (beloved friends) are Allah and His Messenger and the believers–those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly. As to those who turn (for friendship) to Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, (let them know that) it is the party of Allah that will be triumphant.” (Quran, 5:55-56)

Here, we, believers in general, are all referred to as Mawla one to another. Are we then ‘Masters, Caliphs and Imams to one another? Of course not. Clearly, the word “Mawla” here refers to love, extreme closeness, and help. In fact, there is not a single instance in the Glorious Qur’an in which the word “Mawla” is used to refer to Imamah or Caliphate!

Lastly, the Qur’an says, “No Mawla will benefit his Malwa on the Day of Judgment.” (Qur’an 44:41)

Do we say that this verse means ‘no “Master” will benefit his “Master” on the Day of Judgment’? This is nonsense! Not everybody can be leaders; some lead, others follow. Putting the right interpretation of Mawla, beloved friend, you see that people could be Mawla of each other and it would be linguistically correct to refer to the two groups as Mawla as Allah does in the Qur’an.


                                                                  Jameh Mosque of Bastak, Iran


The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was known for his clear speech in conveying Allah’s messages to the people. His task was to explain plainly, whatever Allah revealed to him. He (SAW) was never allegorical or ambiguous in relating the instructions of his Lord to His bondsmen. Instead of saying ‘to whomsoever I am Mawla, Ali is his Mawla’, what stops him from saying something more plain, like,  ‘I hereby nominate Ali as your next Caliph after my demise’ or ‘Ali is my successor and the first Caliph of the Muslims after me’?

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has described some of his companions with similar words that he used for ‘Ali (RA) in this Ghadeer Khum hadeeth, yet nobody understands these descriptions to mean that these other Sahabah are ‘divinely appointed infallible Imams.’


The Prophet (SAW) said:


1 -    Salmaan is the mawla of Madinites.’ (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh)
2 -    to Zaid: ‘You are our brother and our Mawla.’ (Saheeh al-Bukhari)
3 -    Al-‘Abbas is of me, and I am of him.’ (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh)
4 -    He (Julaibeeb) is of me, and I am of him.’ (Saheeh Muslim)
5 -    The truth, after me, is with Umar wherever he is.” (Narrated ibn Abbas)
6 -    If a prophet were to succeed me, it would have been Umar ibn al-Khattab.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
7 -    Whoever is angry with Umar is angry with me. Whoever loves Umar loves me.” (At-Tabarani)



Therefore, the Ghadeer Khum hadeeth and the descriptions it contains about ‘Ali (RA) have nothing to do with the Prophet (SAW) nominating him to be his successor. Those descriptions were not limited to ‘Ali (RA). The Prophet (SAW) had used the same and even better descriptions, as we have seen above, for other companions.

Sheikh Turi presented Ma’idah: 67  to mean that the nomination of Ali was what was revealed to the Prophet (SAW) which he was commanded to deliver, and that when he did that Allah revealed “…This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion…”  Ma’idah: 3. What could be deduced here is that it was ‘Ali’s nomination to imamate that completed Allah’s favours upon the believers and made Islam acceptable to Allah. Subhaanallaah! Nothing could be further from guidance!

I urge the reader once more to pick up, (this time not a map but), the Glorious Qur’an and start reading from Ma’idah:59 up to verse 86. You will certainly realise that what comes before and after verse, 67 could not possibly have been revealed concerning ‘Ali’s nomination as the whole narrative was addressed to Ahlul Kitaab, the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians). We are back to the same issue of quotation out of context.

Reading these verses, it is apparent that the addressees are the Jews and the Christians, and the absurdity of Sheikh Turi’s cut-and-paste posture with the Glorious Qur’an comes to the fore. Changing words from their context and manipulating the Word of Allah are grave iniquities that lead to the path of repudiation. Why must one impute falsely into the revelation what was not the intent of the Revelator?  It is sad that the claimants of this fairy tale of ‘Ali’s nomination at Ghadeer Khum can go as far as twisting texts in a failed attempt to establish delusions of imamate.

The second verse (Ma’idah:3) that Sheikh Turi claimed to have been revealed ‘days after’ that of the purported nomination of ‘Ali (RA) was another fabrication about time and place of revelation. Ma’idah:3 - “this day I have perfected your religion…” - was revealed, (not after what happened at Ghadeer Khum but before it), at the end of the Farewell Sermon on top of Mount Arafat. This fact is reported in Hadeeths narrated in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and other books:

It (i.e. the verse ‘This day I have perfected your religion…’) was revealed on a Friday, the Day of Arafat…”