- Emulation - Taqleed 63
- Taharah 344
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Is it permissible for non-Shias to make use of your edicts without becoming Shia Muslims?
Our edicts are based on the teachings of the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) through the narrations that reached us in reliable ways, which all Muslims are required to act upon. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) ordered the nation of Islam to refer to the Ahlulbait and follow them in the famous well-known narration that is reported by numerous ways in the books of Shias and Sunnis: "I leave among you the two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my progeny; as long as you follow both of them, you will never be misguided."
Acting upon this narration, as well as other similar narrations, to follow the AhlulBait is not obligatory on the Shias only, but it is an obligation on all Muslims.
How can we prove the imamate of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) from the Holy Quran?
The imamate of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) can be proven from the holy Quran by a number of ways.
- "Your guardian can be only Allah, and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due while bowing down (in prayer)." (Quran 5:55) This verse was revealed at the incident where Imam Ali (peace be upon him) gave his ring as charity while he was bowing in prayer. The verse joined his guardianship to the guardianship of the messenger of Allah, which is the leadership of the Muslim nation, i.e. the Imamate.
- "Nor does he speak of (his own) desire" (Quran 53:3). The verse indicates that what the Prophet says is from Almighty Allah. The orders of the Prophet were to follow his household when he said in this commonly known narration: “I leave among you the two weighty things: the book of Allah and my progeny; as long as you are attached to them both, you will never be misguided." The Prophet also ordered us to follow Imam Ali in the famous narration of Ghadeer: "Whosoever’s master I am, Ali is his master." In another narration, the Prophet said: "Ali is your master after my demise," and many more narrations.
If a person commits an act which his marja deems to be prohibited, and on Judgment Day it is discovered that the act was not actually a sin after all, will this person not be punished for it since the act was not prohibited? Or will he get punished because he disobeyed the edict of his marja?
The said person is not considered as disobedient, but is liable for proceeding to commit an act that he was informed to be a sin. An example of this is if a person drinks from a glass thinking it to be wine, but it turns out to be water.
Some Shia Muslims believe that certain stone rings give them luck, safety, or extra sustenance. Isn’t this shirk?
Believing in certain things having particular effects is not considered polytheism, like believe in the evil eye or in magic. However, claiming that a particular stone has a certain effect requires proof.
How can we prove Imamate from the Quran? If Imamate is such a backbone for Shia Islam and we believe that if one does not accept the Wilayah of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), he is at loss, then why did not Allah mention this directly in the Holy Quran, thus avoiding major disputes? How do we answer the objection that there is no proof about the Imamate of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) being essential?
This question presents important issues that require an explanation, since this is one of the most important fallacies that the enemies of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) present.
We would like to draw your attention to a few important issues in order to clarify the truth:
Firstly: Doubting the Imamate of the Ahlulbait just because it is not mentioned in the Holy Book is in reality doubting the truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) and belittling his position in being an essential source of religious laws and a speaker of the truth, which in turn raises a big question on the credibility of Islam as a religion and the Holy book as a divine text that “falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it,” as the Quran states clearly. But rather, the Quran itself presents the Messenger of Allah and his conduct as the truth that is not associated with any falsehood, misguidance and forgetfulness. This is explicitly mentioned in the Holy Quran, when the Almighty stated, “Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired,” (Quran 53:3-4) and “whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids, abstain (from it),” (Quran 7:59) and also, “But nay, by thy Lord, they will not have (true) faith until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides, and submit with full submission.”(Quran 65:4)
Based on this, a Muslim should research about Imamate as well as the position of the Sunnah in its regards, just as he looks for the position of the Sunnah with respect to the religious obligations like the prayers, the fast, pilgrimage and the like, as these essential obligations are not mentioned in the Holy Book with detail, but the Sunnah explained the ways to perform them.
It is sufficient to prove the Imamate by referring to the trusted books of narrations of the Sunnis, like the book of al-Bukhari and the book of Muslim and all the authenticated books in which they included narrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) that refer in a clear way to the leadership of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) after the Prophet, like when he said: “Whosoever’s master I am, Ali is his master.” Also: “Ali is your wali (leader) after me.” And also, when he said to Ali (peace be upon him): “You are to me like Aaron was to Moses, but there is no prophet after me,” and the like in innumerable narrations. There are other narrations that relate to the religious authority of the Ahlubait (peace be upon them) in general, like: “I am leaving among you two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my household; as long as you are attached to them both, you shall never be misguided.”
Secondly: there are verses of the Holy Quran which, as the narrations indicate, were revealed in respect of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). They are narrated by Sunni Muslims. They also indicate in a clear way the Imamate of Imam Ali (peace be upon them) like when Almighty Allah said, “Your guardian can be only Allah, and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the alms, while they bow down (in prayer).” (Quran 55:5) And even the verse, “Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you with authority.” (Quran 59:4) They indicate in a clear way that those in authority whose obedience is necessary are infallible since – based on the verse – one should obey them as one obeys Almighty Allah and likewise the Messenger of Allah, and nobody fulfills this condition except the Imams of the Ahlulbait, whom Almighty Allah purified with a thorough purification as per the verse 33:33. Furthermore, Muslims have unanimously agreed on the righteousness of the Imams of the Ahlulbait, their highness, the strength in their faith, their knowledge in the affairs of religion, as this clearly appears to the individual who looks at their history and biography. Could any Muslim accept that Almighty Allah would order Muslims to obey those in authority by applying this title on anyone that assumes power, whether he does this by force or through inheritance, even if he committed the most heinous of crimes like Yazid bin Mu’awiyah and similar despots? Are the aforementioned verses not sufficient in proving the Imamate of the Ahlulbait from the Quran for the fair-minded searcher for the truth?
Thirdly: What you have mentioned – that if the Holy Quran had named Imam Ali (peace be upon him) clearly as the successor to the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) there would be no conflict between Muslims – is not correct. There are a number of verses that clearly describe certain rulings, and, despite that, Muslims did not agree on them; an example of such a case is the verse of ablution in which the way of performing ablution has been clearly explained, and there is no doubt that the verse is clear in its meaning when it was revealed, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) used to perform wudhu repeatedly in the presence of Muslims. Despite all this, there was a difference in opinion in understanding it. Another example is the verses of divorce which indicate that the three consecutive divorces pronounced in one place and time is not considered as three divorces – by which a man cannot return to the wife – but some Muslim jurists regard this type of divorce as valid and a man cannot return to his wife thereafter. There are many other such examples in jurisprudential issues, although all Muslims base their conclusions on the Holy Book. Furthermore, if one looks in the biography of the Prophet, he could clearly conclude that some of his companions were not obeying him or even respecting him properly. They used to dare to disobey him and not care about his orders; it is sufficient to mention some incidents from the trusted books of narrations of the Sunnis:
(1) Most of the Muslims fled from a number of battles that were led by the Messenger of Allah, like Uhud, Hunayn and Khaybar, whereas the Holy Book states clearly the prohibition to do so and that whoever does so will be punished in Hell for eternity. Almighty Allah said: “Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end.”(Quran 16:8)
(2) What took place during the “tragedy of Thursday”: Abdullah bin Abbas – as it is narrated in the Sunni books of narrations like the Musnad of Ahmad – said, weeping, “The day of Thursday! And what day was Thursday!! The Messenger of Allah said to us: “Bring to me a broad bone [to be used to write on] and ink, so I may write for you something that you shall not be misguided after it is written.” Umar said: “The Messenger of Allah is incoherent.” In some of the narrations, they were arguing; some of them were in favor of Umar and some others were saying, “Bring for the Messenger of Allah what he asked for.” The Messenger of Allah said then: “Leave me!! There should not be a fight in my presence.”
From the said incident one can conclude that the refusal of the Prophet to write what he wanted to write was to preserve the dignity of Prophethood, since it is not appropriate for the Prophet to order for something in a clear and direct way and Muslim differ in their opinions whether to obey him or not, since there should be no dispute after the order has been issued.
From this, one can conclude the reason why the name of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was not mentioned in the Holy Book; Almighty Allah knew that there were some people who wanted to rule and were ready to disobey Allah and His Messenger in an open way, and they had their supporters who were willing to help and encourage them. If the Holy Quran was to mention Imam Ali’s name, then they would doubt the Holy Book in the same way as they have doubted the Messenger of Allah. This would result in the rejection or alteration of the Holy Book.
Why cannot we eat pork?
We cannot eat pork because of the express prohibition of it in the Holy Quran: “Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine flesh…” (The Holy Quran 5:3).
Given the death of every creation is predestined, is it permissible to smoke tobacco, for example, which decreases one’s lifespan?
As long as the individual is able to refrain from what could cause his death, he should protect himself. If he did not and performed what led to his death, he will be held accountable for making such decisions.
One’s pre-destined death by Almighty Allah does not make him unaccountable for such negligence towards himself, as long as he is able to prevent himself from the causes of death.
I have heard that people who have born out of marriage are seen as inheriting ‘bad blood’, which means they naturally have a “bad blood line”?
Those people do not bear the responsibility of their parents’ crime. They are judged by Almighty Allah just like He judges other people. He said: “He who does wrong will have the recompense thereof” (123:4).
Are humans creators of their deeds, or is God the creator of the human's deeds? If the latter is the case, then how can humans be judged for their deeds that God programmed them to do?
There is no doubt that humans act out of their choice and their will. Thus, the good-doer is praised and the evil-doer is dispraised. If humans were like machines such that their acts are under compulsion, then praising those who do good and dispraising those who commit bad deeds would be meaningless. However, all of this is within the boundaries of Almighty God’s power. He gave the human beings the freedom of choice and will hold them accountable for it, and He can take this ability away from anyone whenever He wishes, and there is no power or strength but from God Almighty.
The Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) explained this belief in their famous narration: “There is no compulsion [from Allah on the humans], nor there is complete delegation (from Him for them without them being under His power), but a matter in between.”
Is contemplating sin a sin?
Contemplation of a sin is not a sin. Yes, the individual deserves godly punishment when he starts the actual act of the sin practically.
Why are there two prostrations (Sajdahs) in one raka’a, whereas there is only one bowing (ruku')?
We do not know the reason behind such a law since the prayer is a practice of pure worship, that consists of acts set by the Divine Legislator who prescribed this method for us to worship Him. He is the only One who knows the reason behind His desire to be worshipped in this way. The verses and the narrations did not explain such a law and we remain obedient to His orders.
Is the belief in Allah is innate within humans?
There is no doubt that believing in Almighty Allah is innate within humans, i.e. within our fitrah. This innate belief can be weakened or dissolve away as a result of external effects, such as the environment or substantial subjection to fallacies. Having said that, this innate belief strengthens inside many people who live in an atheistic material environment when they face crises, as they are compelled to believe in Allah and seek refuge and help from Him. The Holy Quran confirmed this truth in many verses. Almighty Allah said: “And when harm touches you upon the sea, all unto whom you cry (for succor) fail save Him (alone), but when He brings you safe to land, you turn away, for man was ever thankless.” (17:67).
Why do the Shia make the five prayer times into three prayer times, by praying Dhuhr and Asr together, and Maghrib and Isha together?
Shias did not make this up. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) joined between the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, and between Maghrib and Isha prayers when he was not traveling and when it was not raining – i.e. without an excuse and not during special circumstances – as per the texts narrated in famous Sunni hadith books.
In Shia Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) combined the Maghrib and Isha prayers without any reason, and the Shias follow this Sunnah of him. However, in Sunni Islam, one of the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) states that whoever combines two prayers without a valid reason he will enter the gate of major sin. How can this be justified?
One could understand from some of the narrations of the Ahlubait (peace be upon them), that there are two types of prayers time; one describes the time during which one can usually offers the prayers, the other is the best time to offer them. This suggests that it is permissible to join between Dhuhr and Asr prayers and between Maghrib and Isha prayers. The verdicts of the Shia jurists reflect the same, since Shias rely on the teaching of the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them), and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) ordered Muslims to do the same when he said: "I am leaving amongst you the two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my household, my progeny". This narration is reported in many famous Sunni books.
On the other hand, it is reported in many famous Sunni books that Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) used to join between the two prayers when he was not traveling, and it was not raining. Ibn Abbas himself explained the wisdom behind the Prophet’s act: making the prayers an easier task for the Muslims. From this, one can conclude that the narrations that indicate the prohibition of joining between prayers are unreliable and one cannot depend on them.
If someone says that khums is not obligatory, is that person out of Islam?
If denying the obligation of khums means a denial of its obligation on the unused amount of the yearly income, then this does not affect the person being regarded as a Muslim. However, denying the khums in an absolute way is a clear rejection to the Quranic verses and the traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny).
Did the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them) do Taqiyya?
Taqiyya is position that one takes to express an idea he does not believe in or waive his right on a matter, in order to protect himself from being harmed.
Taqiyya was established in the Holy Book when Almighty Allah said: “Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying” (3-21).
He also said: “Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief – save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith - but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: On them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom” (16-6).
This last verse was revealed when Ammar bin Yasir was coerced to let the idolaters hear what they wanted to hear, words of disbelief, in order to avoid being tortured further. When he stated this to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), he approved what Ammar did. The Prophet even told Ammar that if the idolaters return to you, let them hear again what you told them.
This incident is mentioned in various books of history and Quranic commentaries. The Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) were subject to difficult situations, and they were forced to apparently recognize the rulers of their times, even though the Imams knew of the oppression and tyranny of such rulers.
My Sunni friend wants to explore Shi'ism. She asked me where in the Nahj al-Balaghah has it been recorded that Imam Ali said that he is the successor of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny)?
Some declarations of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) have been reported in the Nahj al-Balaghah in which he presents his view about the Imamate after the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny).
For example, he said in sermon number 144, “Where are those who falsely and unjustly claimed that they are deeply versed in knowledge, as against us, although Allah raised us in position and kept them down, bestowed upon us knowledge but deprived them, and entered us (in the fortress of knowledge) but kept them out. With us guidance is to be sought and blindness (of misguidance) is to be changed into brightness. Surely the Imams (divine leaders) will be from the Quraysh. They have been planted in this line through Hashim. It would not suit others, nor would others be suitable as heads of affairs.”
He also said, in sermon number 3, “Beware! By Allah, the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill. The flood water flows down from me and the bird cannot fly upto me…”.
Will it be possible for us to see Almighty Allah in the hereafter? If yes, will we see him in form of light or behind a veil or something like this? Could it be possible that we will hear His voice? Or do the angels transmit for us His messages?
Almighty Allah cannot be seen in this life or in the hereafter. The voice is one of His creations and He can create a voice to express what He wants like what He did with Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
What is the punishment for contemplating sin?
A person desiring to commit the sin will not be punished without actually committing the sin.
Does the ability of the person contemplating sin to actually carry out his thoughts have any bearing on the punishment? If, for example, I want to commit adultery, but I do not know how to approach a woman. Another person may be able to do so, yet refrains from doing it. Is that person’s sin and mine of the same severity?
The individual does not deserve to be punished for a sin just because he wants to commit it. If he is able to commit the sin but refuses to do so because he fears or respects God, Almighty Allah will reward him for passing such a test correctly.