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Message of
A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Studies

Published by Ahl al-Bayt ('a) World Assembly,
P.O. Box 15815-1956, Tehran, Islamic Republic
of Iran
Phone: 890226, 890237, 890245 (country and
city codes: 98-21) Extensions: 11, 12, 14

"Al-Gha dir" and it s Relevance t o
Islamic Unit y
Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari
Translated by Mojgan Jalali
Vol. 3, No. 1 and 2 (1417 AH/1996 CE)
The distinguished book entitled "al-Ghadir" has
raised a huge wave in the world of Islam. Islamic
thinkers shed light on the book in different
perspectives; in literature, history, theology, tradition,
tafsir, and sociology. From the social perspective we
can deal with the Islamic unity. In this review the
Islamic unity has been dealt with from a social point
of view.
Contemporary Muslim thinkers and reformists are of
the view that unity and solidarity of Muslims are the
most imperative Islamic exigencies at the present
juncture when the enemies have made extensive
inroads upon the Islamic community and have tried
to resort to different ways and means to spread the
old differences and create new ones. We are aware
that Islamic unity and fraternity is the focus of
attention of the Holy Legislator of Islam and is
actually the major objective pursued by this Divine
religion as firmed by the Qur'an, the "Sunnah", and
the history of Islam.
For this reason, some people have been faced with
this question: Wouldn't the compilation and
publication of a book such as "al-Ghadir" which
deals with the oldest issue of differences among the
Muslims- create a barrier in the way of the sublime
and lofty objective of the Islamic unity?
To answer this question, it is necessary first to
elucidate the essence of this issue, that is, the Islamic
unity, and then proceed to examine the role of the
magnum opus entitled "al-Ghadir" and its eminent
compiler 'Allamah Amini in bringing about Islamic
Islamic Unity
What is meant by the Islamic unity? Does it mean
that one Islamic school of thought should be
unanimously followed and others be set aside? Or
does it mean that the commonalties of all Islamic
schools of thought should be taken up and their
differences be put away to make up a new
denomination which is not completely the same as
the previous ones? Or does it mean that Islamic unity
is in no way related to the unity of the different
schools of Fiqh (jurisprudence) but signifies the unity
of the Muslims and the unity of the followers of
different schools of Fiqh, with their different
religious ideas and views, vis-a-vis the aliens?
To give an illogical and impractical meaning to the
issue of the Islamic unity, the opponents of the issue
have called it to be the formation of a single
Madhhab, so as to defeat it in the very first step.
Without doubt, by the term Islamic unity, the
intellectual Islamic 'Ulama' (scholars) do not mean
that all denominations should give in to one
denomination or that the commonalties should be
taken up and the different views and ideas be set
aside, as these are neither rational and logical nor
favorable and practical. By the Islamic unity these
scholars mean that all Muslims should unite in one
line against their common enemies.
These scholars slate that Muslims have many things
in common, which can serve as the foundations of a
firm unity. All Muslims worship the One Almighty
and believe in the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet
(s). The Qur'an is the Book of all Muslims and
Ka'abah is their "qiblah" (direction of prayer). They
go to "hajj" pilgrimage with each other and perform
the "hajj" rites and rituals like one another. They say
the daily prayers and fast like each other. They
establish families and engage in transactions like one
another. They have similar ways of bringing up their
children and burying their dead. Apart from minor
affairs, they share similarities in all the
aforementioned cases. Muslims also share one kind
of world view, one common culture, and one grand,
glorious, and long-standing civilization.
Unity in the world view, in culture, in the
civilization, in insight and disposition, in religious
beliefs, in acts of worship and prayers, in social rites
and customs can well turn the Muslim into a unified
nation to serve as a massive and dominant power
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before which the big global powers would have to
bow down. This is especially true in view of the
stress laid by Islam on this principle. According to
the explicit wording of the Qur'an, the Muslims are
brothers, and special rights and duties link them
together. So, why shouldn't the Muslims use all these
extensive facilities accorded to them as the blessing
of Islam?
This group of 'Ulama' are of the view that there is no
need for the Muslims to make any compromise on the
primary or secondary principles of their religion for
the sake of Islamic unity. Also it is not necessary for
the Muslims to avoid engaging in discussions and
reasons and writing books on primary and secondary
principles about which they have differences. The
only consideration for Islamic unity in this case is
that the Muslims- in order to avoid the emergence or
accentuation of vengeance - preserve their
possession, avoid insulting and accusing each other
and uttering fabrications, abandon ridiculing the logic
of one another, and finally abstain from hurting one
another and going beyond the borders of logic and
reasoning. In fact, they should, at least, observe the
limits which Islam has set forth for inviting non-
Muslims to embrace it:
"Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good
exhortation, and have disputations with them in the
best manner... "(16: 125)
Some people are of the view that those schools of
fiqh, such as, Shafi'i and Hanafi which have no
differences in principle should establish brotherhood
and stand in one line. They believe that
denominations which have differences in the
principles can in no way be brothers. This group view
the religious principles as an interconnected set as
termed by scholars of Usul, as an interrelated and
interdependent set; any damage to one principle
harms all principles.
As a result, those who believe in this principle are of
the view that when, for instance, the principle of
"imamah" is damaged and victimized, unity and
fraternity will bear no meaning and for this reason the
Shi'ah and the Sunnis cannot shake hands as two
Muslim brothers and be in the same rank, no matter
who their enemy is.
The first group answers this group by saying: "There
is no reason for us to consider the principles as an
interrelated set and follow the principle of "all or
none". Imam 'Ali ('a) chose a very logical and
reasonable approach. He left no stone unturned to
retrieve his right. He used everything within his
power to restore the principle of "imamah", but he
never adhered to the motto of "all or none". 'Ali ('a)
did not rise up for his right, and that was not
compulsory. On the contrary, it was a calculated and
chosen approach. He did not fear death. Why didn't
he rise up? There could have been nothing above
martyrdom. Being killed for the cause of the
Almighty was his ultimate desire. He was more
intimate with martyrdom than a child is with his
mother's breast. But in his sound calculations, Imam
'All ('a) had reached the conclusion that under the
existing conditions it was to the interest of Islam to
foster collaboration and cooperation among the
Muslims and give up revolt. He repeatedly stressed
this point.
In one of his letters (No.62 "Nahj al Balaghah") to
Malik al-Ashtar, he wrote the following:
"First I pulled back my hand until I realized that a
group of people converted from Islam and invited the
people toward annihilating the religion of
Muhammad(s). So I feared that if I did not rush to
help Islam and the Muslims, I would see gaps or
destruction which calamity would be far worse than
the several-day-long demise of caliphate."
In the six-man council, after appointment of 'Uthman
by 'Abdul-Rahman ibn 'Awf, 'Ali ('a) set forth his
objection as well as his readiness for collaboration as
You well know that I am more deserving than others
for caliphate. But now by Allah, so long as the affairs
of the Muslims are in order and my rivals suffice
with setting me aside and only I am alone subjected
to oppression, I will not oppose (the move) and will
give in (to it)." (From Sermon 72, "Nahj al-
These indicate that in this issue 'Ali ('a) condemned
the principle of "all or none". There is no need to
further elaborate the approach taken by 'Ali ('a)
toward this issue. There are ample historical proofs
and reasons in this regard.
'Allamah Amini
Now it is time to see to which group the eminent
'Allamah, Ayatullah Amini - the distinguished
compiler of the "al-Ghadir" - belonged and how he
thought. Did he approve of the unity of the Muslims
only within the light of Shi'ism? Or did he consider
Islamic fraternity to be broader? Did he believe that
Islam which is embraced by uttering the
"shahadatayn" (the Muslim creed) would willy-nilly
create some rights for the Muslims and that the
brotherhood and fraternity set forth in the Qur'an
exists among all Muslims?
'Allamah Amini personally considered this point - i.e.
the need to elucidate his viewpoint on this subject
and elaborate whether "al-Ghadir" has a positive or a
negative role in (the establishment of) Islamic unity.
In order not to be subject to abuse by his opponent -
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be they among the pros and cons - he has repeatedly
explained and elucidated his views.
'Allamah Amini supported Islamic unity and viewed
an open mind and clear insight. On different
occasions, he set forth this matter in various volumes
of the "al-Ghadir'. Reference will be made to some
of them below:
In the preface to volume I, he briefly mentions the
role of "al-Ghadir" in the world of Islam. He states:
"And we consider all this as service to religion,
sublimation of the word of the truth, and restoration
of the Islamic 'ummah' (community)."
In volume 3 (page 77), after quoting the fabrications
of Ibn Taymiyah, Alusi, and Qasimi to the effect that
Shi 'ism is hostile to some of the Ahl al-Bayt (the
Household of the Prophet) such as Zayd bin 'Ali bin
al-Huseyn, he notes the following under the title of
"Criticism and Correction":
"These fabrications and accusations sow the seeds of
corruption, stir hostilities among the 'ummah', create
discord among the Islamic community, divide the
'ummah', and clash with the public interests of the
Again in volume 3 (page 268), he quotes the
accusation leveled on the Shi'ahs by Sayyid
Muhammad Rashid Rida to the effect that "Shi'ahs
are pleased with any defeat incurred by Muslims, so
much as they celebrated the victory of the Russians
over the Muslims." Then he says:
"These falsehoods are fabricated by persons like
Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Rida. The Shi'ahs of Iran
and Iraq against whom this accusation is leveled, as
well as the orientalists, tourists, envoys of Islamic
countries, and those who traveled and still travel to
Iran and Iraq, have no information about this trend.
Shi'ahs, without exception, respect the lives, blood,
reputation, and property of the Muslims be they
Shi'ahs or Sunnis. Whenever a calamity has befallen
the Islamic community anywhere, in any region, and
for any sects, the Shi'ahs have shared their sorrow.
The Shi'ahs have never been confined to the Shi'ah
world, the (concept of) Islamic brotherhood which
has been set forth in the Qur'an and the 'sunnah' (the
Prophet's sayings and actions), and in this respect, no
discrimination has been made between the Shi'ahs
and the Sunnis."
Also at the close of volume 3, he criticizes several
books penned by the ancients such as "Iqd al-Farid"
by Ibn Abd al-Rabbih, "al-Intisar" by Abu al-Husayn
Khayyat al-Mu'tazili, "al Farq bayn al-Firaq" by
Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi, "al-Fasl" by Ibn Hazm al-
Andulusi, "al-Milal wa al-Nihal" by Muhammad ibn
Abdul-Karim al-Shahristani "Minhaj al-Sunnah" by
Ibn Taymiah and "al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah" by Ibn
Kathir and several by the later writers such as
"Tarikh al-Umam al-Islamiyyah" by Shaykh
Muhammad Khizri, "Fajr al Islam" by Ahmad Amin,
"al-Jawlat fi Rubu al-Sharq al-Adna" by Muhammad
Thabit al-Mesri, "al-Sira Bayn al-Islam wa al-
Wathaniyah" by Qasimi, and "al- Washi'ah" by Musa
Jarallah. Then he states the following:
"By quoting and criticizing these books, we aim at
warning and awakening the Islamic 'ummah' (to the
fact) that these books create the greatest danger for
the Islamic community, they destabilize the Islamic
unity and scatter the Muslim lines. In fact nothing
can disrupt the ranks of the Muslims, destroy their
unity, and tear their Islamic fraternity more severely
than these books."
'Allamah Amini, in the preface to volume 5, under
title of "Nazariyah Karimah" on the occasion of a
plaque of honor forwarded from Egypt for "al-
Ghadir", clearly sets forth his view on this issue and
leaves no room for any doubt. He remarks:
"People are free to express views and ideas on
religion. These (views and ideas) will never tear apart
the bond of Islamic brotherhood to which the holy
Qur'an has referred by stating that 'surely the
believers are brethren'; even though academic
discussion and theological and religious debates
reach a peak. This has been the style of the
predecessors, and of the 'sahaba' and the 'tabi'un', at
the head of them.
"Notwithstanding all the differences that we have in
the primary and secondary principles, we, the
compilers and writers in nooks and corners of the
world of Islam, share a common point and that is
belief in the Almighty and His Prophet. A single
spirit and one (form of) sentiment exists in all our
bodies, and that is the spirit of Islam and the term
"We, the Muslim compilers, all live under the banner
of truth and carry out our duties under the guidance
of the Qur'an and the Prophetic Mission of the Holy
Prophet (s). The message of all of us is 'Surely the
(true) religion with Allah is Islam ... (3:18)' and the
slogan of all of us is 'There is no god but Allah and
Muhammad is His Messenger.' Indeed, we are (the
members of) the party of Allah and the supporters of
his religion.

In the preface to volume 8, under the title of "al-
Ghadir Yowahhad al-Sufuf fil-Mila al-Islami",
'Allamah Amini directly makes researches into the
role of "Al- Ghadir" in (the establishment of) Islamic
unity. In this discussion, this great scholar
categorically rejects the accusations leveled by those
who said: 'Al-Ghadir' causes greater discord among
the Muslims. He proves that, on the contrary, "Al-
Ghadir" removes many misunderstandings and
brings the Muslims closer to one another. Then he
brings evidence by mentioning the confessions of the
non-Shi'i Islamic scholars. At the close, he quotes the
letter of Shaykh Muhammad Saeed Dahduh written
in this connection.
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To avoid prolongation of this article, we will not
quote and translate the entire statements of 'Allamah
Amini in explaining the positive role of "al-Ghadir"
in (establishing) Islamic unity, since what has already
been mentioned sufficiently proves this fact.
The positive role of "al-Ghadir" is established by the
facts that it firstly clarifies the proven logic of the
Shi'ahs and proves that the inclination of Muslims to
Shi'ism - notwithstanding the poisonous publicity of
some people - is not due to political, ethnic, or other
trends and considerations. It also verifies that a
powerful logic based on the Qur'an and the "sunnah"
has given rise to this tendency.
Secondly, it reflects that some accusations leveled on
Shi'ism - which have made other Muslims distanced
from the Shi'ah- are totally baseless and false.
Examples of these accusations are the notion that the
Shi'ites prefer the non-Muslims to the non- Shi'i
Muslims, rejoice at the defeat of non-Shi'ite Muslims
at the hands of non-Muslims, and other accusations
such as the idea that instead of going to hajj
pilgrimage, the Shi'ahs go on pilgrimage to shrines of
the Imams, or have particular rites in prayers and in
temporary marriage.
Thirdly, it introduces to the world of Islam the
eminent Commander of the faithful 'Ali ('a) who is
the most oppressed and the least praised grand
Islamic personality and who could be the leader of all
Muslims, as well as his pure offspring.
Other Comments on "al-Ghadir"
Many unbiased non-Shia Muslims interpret the "al-
Ghadir" in the same way that has already been
Muhammad Abdul-Ghani Hasan al-Mesri, in his
foreword on "al-Ghadir", which has been published
in the preface to volume I, second edition, states:
"I call on the Almighty to make your limpid brook (in
Arabic, 'Ghadir' means brook) the cause of peace and
cordiality between the Shia and Sunni brothers to
cooperate with one another in building the Islamic
'Adil Ghadban, the managing editor of the Egyptian
magazine entitled "al-Kitab", said the following in
the preface to volume 3:
"This book clarifies the Shi'ite logic. The Sunnis can
correctly learn about the Shi'i through this book.
Correct recognition of the Shi'ahs brings the views of
the Shi'ahs and the Sunnis closer, and they can make
a unified rank".
In his foreword to the "al-Ghadir" which was
published in the preface to volume 4, Dr. Muhammad
Ghallab, professor of philosophy at the Faculty of
Religious Studies al-Azhar University said:
"I got hold of your book at a very opportune time,
because right now I am busy collecting and
compiling a book on the lives of the Muslims from
various perspectives. Therefore, I am highly avid for
obtaining sound information about 'Imamiyah'
Shi'ism. Your book will help me. And I will not make
mistakes about the Shi'ahs as others have".
In this foreword published in the preface to volume 4
of the "al-Ghadir", Dr. 'Abdul-Rahman Kiali Halabi
says the following after referring to the decline of the
Muslims in the present age and the factors which can
lead to the Muslims' salvation, one of which is the
sound recognition of the successor of the Holy
Prophet (s):
"The book entitled "al-Ghadir" and its rich content
deserves to be known by every Muslim to learn how
historians have been negligent and see where the
truth lies. Through this means, we should compensate
for the past, and by striving to foster the unity of the
Muslims, we should try to gain the due rewards".
These were the views of 'Allamah Amini about the
important social issues of our age and such were his
sound reflections in the world of Islam.
Peace be upon him.

An Outline of Law from a Qur’anic

Ayat ol l ah M uhammad Taqi M i sbah Yazdi
Summar ized and Par aphr ased by Kar im Aghil i
Thi s paper i s an at t empt t o par t i al l y del i neat e t he
sal i ent f eat ur es of Isl amic l aw f r om a Qur ' ani c
per spect i ve. It seeks t o cl ar i f y t hat ever y human
soci et y necessi t at es t hat t her e exi st a syst em of r ul es
w i t hout whi ch t her e can be no publi c or der but
chaos. It al so show s t hat i n Isl am, t her e i s no
separ at i on of r el igi on f r om mor al s, w or l dl y af f ai r s
and f r om pol i t i cs. Isl am i s an all -embr aci ng r el igi on
consi st i ng of a set of l aw s and i njunct ions w hi ch ar e
r equi si t e f or t he est abli shment of an i deal soci et y.
Ther ef or e, al l t he l aw s and i njunct i ons w hich ar e of a
pr act i cal char act er and w hich shoul d be appli ed t o
human soci et y can be subsumed under t he gener al
r ubr i c ' l aw .' The paper cont i nues by di scussi ng t he
sour ces of Isl ami c l aw and i t s goal s.
I nt roduct ion
The Qur ' an i s t he ver bat im r evel at i on or t he Wor d of
God, r eveal ed i n Ar abic t hr ough t he ar changel
Gabr i el t o t he Pr ophet M uhammad dur i ng t he
t w ent y-t hr ee-year per i od of hi s pr ophet ic mi ssi on.
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The pr act i ces of M uslims as or dai ned by t he Shar i ' ah
(Isl amic Law) have t heir or igi n i n t he Qur ' an.
Al t hough t he f oundat ions of t he Shari ' ah must al so
be sought i n t he Sunnah and t he el abor at i on of t he
l aw depends f ur t her mor e, w i t h r espect t o Shi ' i sm,
upon r eason (' aql ) and consensus (i j ma' ), al l
pr i nci pl es of t he Shar i ' ah ar e al r eady cont ai ned i n
t he Qur ' an.
The scheme of li f e w hi ch Isl am envi sages consi st s of
a set of r ight s and obli gat ions, w hi ch, as alr eady
ment i oned, have t hei r or igi n i n t he Qur ' an, and
ever y human bei ng w ho accept s t hi s r el igi on i s
enj oi ned t o li ve up t o t hem. Br oadl y speaki ng, t he
l aw of Isl am imposes f our ki nds of r ight s and
obl i gat i ons on ever y man: (1) t he r i ght s of God,
w hi ch ever y man i s obl iged t o f ul f i ll ; (2) hi s ow n
r i ght s upon hi s ow n sel f ; (3) t he r i ght s of ot her
peopl e over him; and (4) t he r i ght s of t hose pow er s
and r esour ces w hi ch God has pl aced in hi s ser vice
and has empow er ed him t o use f or hi s benef i t .
These r i ght s and obli gat i ons const i t ut e t he cor ner -
st one of Isl am and i t i s t he bounden dut y of ever y
t r ue M usli m t o under st and and obey t hem car ef ull y.
The Shar i ' ah di scusses cl ear l y each and ever y kind of
r i ght and deal s w i t h i t i n det ail . It al so t hr ow s li ght
on t he w ays and means t hr ough w hich t he
obl i gat i ons can be di schar ged.
Social Phenomenon
Issues per t aini ng t o human soci al li f e can be di vi ded
i nt o t w o cat egor i es: t hose w hich deal w i t h soci al
phenomena ir r espect i ve of t heir goodness or
badness, and t hose w hich ar e concer ned w it h t he
val ue j udgement s on t he var i ous aspect s of soci al li f e
and t hr ough w hi ch t he goodness and badness of
each soci al phenomenon ar e j udged. In ot her w or ds,
t her e ar e cer t ai n i ssues w hich deal s w i t h ' i s' and ' i s
not ' , w her eas cer t ai n ot her s deal wi t h ' ought t o' and
' ought not ' . M ost i ssues of t he f i r st cat egor y r el at e
t o soci ol ogy and t he phil osophy of hi st or y, w hil e
t hose per t ai ni ng t o t he second f all mai nly i nt o t he
cat egor y of mor al s and r i ght s. The r ul i ngs per t ai ni ng
t o t he f or mer ar e cal l ed r eal and descr i pt i ve r ul i ngs,
w hi l e t hose per t ai ni ng t o t he l at t er ar e call ed
nor mat i ve and pr escr i pt i ve ones.
Religion and worldly affairs
The pr escr i pt i ve r uli ngs as ment i oned above ar e
di vi ded i nt o t hr ee cat egor ies:
A. The Di vine and Rel igi ous Law s: These consi st of
t he commands and pr ohi bi t i ons w hich ar e at t r ibut ed
t o God Almight y and as i n ever y r eli gi on, peopl e ar e
r equir ed t o abi de by t hem, such as keepi ng t he dai l y
pr ayer and per f or mi ng t he pil gr image t o M ecca, et c.
B. M or al Law s: That i s, t he l aw s w hi ch ar e
compr ehended by human r eason, pr imor di al nat ur e
(f i t r a) or consci ousness t o var yi ng degr ees and w hi ch
ar e consider ed t o be of val ue or val i di t y i r r espect i ve
of t he Di vi ne or human cr i t er i a, such as t he goodness
of t r ut hf ul ness and t he ugl i ness of oppr essi ng
ot her s.
C. Legal Law s: That i s, t he l aw s w hi ch ar e made f or
saf eguar di ng t he best i nt er est s of human bei ngs i n
t hei r w or l dl y l i f e by a qual i f ied aut hor it y i n vi ew of
t he r el at i ons of i ndi vi dual s w i t h each ot her w i t hi n a
soci et y. These l aw s have an execut i ve backi ng, w hi ch
i s usuall y t he gover nment .
Over t he year s, t her e has been a t endency t o
separ at e t hese t hr ee gr oups of l aw f r om one
anot her and t o speci f y a di st i nct ar ea f or each
gr oup.. Accor di ng t o t hi s vi ew , t he ar ea of Di vi ne
l aw s i s r est r i ct ed t o t he r i t ual s and r it es w hi ch
concer n t he f ol l ow er s of each r eli gi on in speci f i c
t i mes and pl aces, such as t he r el igi ous cer emoni es of
t he Hi ndus or t he r i t es of i dol -w or shi p w hich ar e
seen i n var i ous par t s of t he w or l d. These r i t es and
r i t ual s ar e not connect ed at all wi t h ot her soci al
aspect s of l if e but r at her t hey consi st of per f or mi ng
t he dut i es w hich, accor di ng t o t he f ol l ower s of each
r eli gi on, ar e r equir ed by t he nat ur al or super nat ur al
pow er s. Rel igi ous l aw s ar e nei t her connect ed t o t he
mor al l aw s nor ar e t hey connect ed t o t he legal ones.
In t he West er n w or l d, af t er Chr i st i ani t y had become
t he of f i ci al r el igi on of t he Byzant i ne empi r e, i n spi t e
of accept i ng Chr i st i ani t y, appar ent l y on account of
t he exigenci es of t he t ime, some r ul er s pl anned t o
separ at e r eli gi on f r om all i t s w or l dl y aspect s
i ncl udi ng pol i t i cs i n or der t o gai n t he secul ar pow er
t ot al l y, and t o r ul e over t he count r ies under t hei r
cont r ol as t hey w i shed and t o excl ude t he di vi ne
commands and pr ohi bi t i ons f r om t he domai n of
pol i t i cs and l aw in t heir gener al sense. For t hi s
pur pose, t hey used ever y possi ble means, even t he
di st or t i on of t he scr i pt ur es.
Af t er t he Renai ssance, t hi s at t i t ude gai ned mor e
moment um, t o t he ext ent t hat a l ar ge number of
w r i t er s and i nt el lect ual s demanded t he t ot al
separ at i on of r el i gi on and l aw . Fur t her mor e, t hey
suppor t ed t he t ot al separ at i on of r eli gi on f r om
mor al s. The separ at i on of r eli gi on f r om w or ldl y
af f air s i n gener al and f r om pol i t i cs i n par t icul ar as
seen t oday i n t he M usl im count r i es i s not hing but
t he accept ance of t he cur r ent mai nst r eam at t i t ude
i n t he West er n w or l d.
Such a separ at i on cannot be deemed accept abl e i n
any r eveal ed r el igi on. Fr om t he Isl ami c poi nt of vi ew ,
r eli gi on i s a syst em of t heor et i cal knowl edge and
pr act i cal l aw s, and i t s pr act ical l aw s embr ace al l
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t hr ee ar eas of t he r el at i on of man t o God, t he
r el at i on of man t o himself , and of man t o ot her s.[ 1]
In t he Hol y Qur ' an and t he t r adi t i ons nar r at ed f r om
t he holy Shi ' i t e Imams, t her e i s a huge col l ect i on of
mor al and l egal l aw s, t her ef or e t he mor al and l egal
syst ems of Isl am ar e compl et el y based on t he
f undament al r eli gi ous pr i nci pl es consi st i ng of t he
bel ief in Di vi ne Uni t y, t he Resur r ect i on, et c. In ot her
w or ds, bot h mor al s and l aw ar e t w o mai n sect i ons of
t he w hole of t he r eli gi on and ar e deepl y r oot ed i n
t he most f undament al t heor et i cal r eli gi ous sci ences.
In spi t e of t he f act t hat t her e ar e a l ot of uses of t he
w or d ' l aw ' i n legal t er ms, i t does not have a def i ni t e
and speci f ic meani ng and i s used in dif f er ent w ays.
Somet imes, i t i s used i n a w i de sense and i ncl udes
any pr escr i pt i ve r uli ng w hich shoul d be pr act i sed i n
soci et y w het her i t be legi sl at ed or non-legi sl at ed
l aw s, such as soci al cust oms and convent i ons.
Thus, some of t he l aw exper t s use t he t er m “ nat ur al
l aw ” , w hi ch r ef er s t o a t ype of mor al t heor y, as w el l
as t o a t ype of l egal t heor y, but t he cor e cl aims of
t he t w o ki nds of t heor y ar e l ogi cal l y i ndependent .
Accor di ng t o nat ur al l aw et hi cal t heor y, t he mor al
st andar ds t hat gover n human behavi our ar e, i n some
sense, obj ect i vel y der i ved f r om t he nat ur e of human
bei ngs. How ever , accor di ng t o nat ur al l aw l egal
t heor y, t he aut hor i t y of at least some legal st andar ds
necessar il y der i ves, at l east i n par t , f r om
consi der at i ons havi ng t o do wi t h t he mor al mer i t of
t hose st andar ds. The phr ase “ nat ur al l aw” i s
somet imes opposed t o t he posi t i ve l aw of a gi ven
pol i t i cal communi t y, soci et y, or nat i on-st at e, and
t hus can f unct i on as a st andar d by w hi ch t o cr i t i cize
t hat l aw . Posi t ive l aw i n t he st r i ct est sense i s l aw
made by human bei ngs.
The M ain Differences bet w een M orals and Law
The ot her point t o di scuss i n t hi s r egar d i s t hat
t hough t her e ar e cases w her e mor al s and l aw
over l ap w i t h each ot her , t her e ar e some di f f er ences
bet w een t hem, t he most impor t ant of w hi ch ar e as
f ol l ow s:
1. Legal pr ecept s ar e j ust concer ned wi t h soci al
behavi our , w hil e mor al r ules cover all vol unt ar y
human behavi our .
2. Legal r ul es ar e based on an ext er nal guar ant ee of
enf or cement , w hi l e mor al r ul es ar e not based on
such a guar ant ee of enf or cement but based on an
i nt er nal guar ant ee of enf or cement .
3. Et hi cal ' dos' and ' don' t s' ar e per manent , uni ver sal
and et er nal , w hil e l egal ' dos' and ' don' t s' ar e, mor e
or l ess, changeable.
4. Legal r ules ar e obli gat or y, w hi le w i t hin t he mor al
domai n, t her e ar e bot h obl igat or y and
r ecommended obl i gat i ons.
5. The goal s of l egal dos and don' t s ar e t o pr ovi de
t he happi ness of peopl e i n t heir w or l dl y l if e and t o
est abl i sh soci al j ust i ce, or der , secur i t y and publi c
w el f ar e and t he l i ke, w hi le t he goal s of et hical
commands and pr ohi bi t i ons ar e t o achi eve spi r it ual
per f ect i on, w hich i s not hi ng ot her t han pr oximit y t o
6. Legal r ules ar e j ust concer ned wi t h t he ext er nal
aspect of t he act , but ar e not so concer ned w i t h t he
mot i vat i on f or and i nt ent of t he doer of t he act i on,
w hi l e t he mor al r ul es ar e most l y concer ned wi t h t he
mot i vat i on f or and t he goal of t he doer of t he act i on.
Et hical and Legal Concept s are of Convent ional
Nat ure
Apar t f r om t he above-ment i oned di f f er ences
bet w een l egal and et hical r ul es, et hi cal and l egal
concept s ar e, however , i ' t ibar i (convent i onal ). For
exampl e, consi der ing t he concept of pr oper t y, w e
see t hat even i f i t i s appl ied t o such met al s as copper
and si l ver , i t i s not because of t hei r bei ng met al s of a
speci f i c kind, but because t hey ar e desi r ed by peopl e
and can be used as a means f or meet i ng t heir needs.
In ot her w or ds, t he acqui si t i on of pr oper t y by a
per son si gni f i es anot her concept cal led ' possessi on'
w i t hout an ext er nal i nst ance.
These concept s ar e onl y based on t he desi r es of
gr oups or i ndi vi dual s w i t hout havi ng a r elat i on t o
obj ect i ve t r ut h i ndependent of i ncl i nat i ons of soci al
gr oups and i ndi vi dual s. These concept s, i n spi t e of
bei ng convent i onal , ar e not wi t hout r el at i on t o
ext er nal r eal i t y. Their vali di t y i s based on t he speci f i c
needs of man t o at t ai n f el ici t y and hi s ow n
per f ect i on. Consequent l y, t he w or t h of t hese
concept s, albei t dependent on convent i on, l ies i n
t hei r bei ng a symbol of t he obj ect i vel y t r ue
r el at i onshi p bet ween man' s act i ons and t hei r r esul t s.
Consi der t he t er m “ good” : one of i t s meani ngs i s t o
achi eve a pur pose desi r ed by a doer per f or mi ng an
act i on. The w or d ' ' good' ' i s cont r ast ed w i t h t he
r esul t t hat an agent expect s. Wi t hout a compar i son
and t he r el at i onshi p bet w een t he act i on and t he
goal of t he act i on, i t may not be possi bl e t o say if t he
act i on i s good or not .
As i s t he case w i t h t he t er m ' r i ght ' : one of i t s
meani ngs i n l egal t er ms i s an advant age w hich can
be cl aimed and w hi ch must be obser ved by ot her s.
The w or d ' ' r ight ' ' i n t hi s meani ng can be under st ood
by consi der i ng a per son havi ng an advant age as w el l
as ot her s w ho have t o obser ve t hi s r i ght . Ther ef or e,
t he t er m ' ' r ight ' ' i s pr edicat ed on t he ext er nal
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benef it af t er a compar i son and i nt el lect ual anal ysi s.
The w or d “ r ight ” i s associ at ed w it h dut y, and t hey
ar e t wo r eci pr ocal concept s w hi ch w il l be f ur t her
expl ai ned.
The Reciprocit y of Right and Dut y
Ri ght and dut y ar e t w o r ecipr ocal concept s and t he
t w o f aces of t he same coi n. When a per son has t he
r i ght t o di spose of hi s pr oper t y as he w i shes, ot her s
consequent l y ar e bound not t o di spose of i t at all .
Ther ef or e, r ight and dut y ar e r eci pr ocal l y
det er mi ned. That i s, w her ever a r ight i s det er mi ned,
a dut y i s al so det er mined, and vi ce ver sa. Of cour se,
onl y one of t he t w o i s expli ci t l y st at ed; how ever , t he
speci f i cat i on of one necessi t at es t hat of t he ot her . It
shoul d be not ed t hat r ight i s of a vol unt ar y nat ur e,
w her eas dut y i s of an obl i gat or y nat ur e. One has a
r i ght agai nst somet hi ng and can use i t or not , but
w i t h r espect t o dut y, one i s obli ged t o r espect i t and
shoul d not evade hi s or her obli gat i on.
It i s w or t h not i ng t hat t he f undament al pr i nci pl e of
Isl ami c Law i s t hat man has t he r i ght and i n some
cases t he bounden dut y, t o f ul f i ll al l hi s genui ne
needs and desi r es and make ever y conceivabl e ef f or t
t o pr omot e hi s i nt er est s and achi eve success and
happi ness. However , he shoul d do al l t hi s i n such a
w ay t hat not onl y ar e t he int er est s of ot her peopl e
not j eopar di zed and no har m i s caused t o t hei r
st r i vi ngs t ow ar ds t he f ulf il ment of t hei r r ight s and
dut i es, but t her e shoul d be all possi ble soci al
cohesi on, mut ual assi st ance and cooper at i on among
human beings i n t he achi evement of t heir obj ect ives.
In r espect of t hose t hings in w hi ch good and evil ,
gai n and l oss ar e i next r icably connect ed, t he t enet of
t he l aw i s t o choose, f or i nst ance, t he l east har m f or
t he sake of gr eat er benef it and sacr i f i ce a l i t t l e
benef it , i n or der t o avoi d a gr eat er har m. Thi s i s t he
basi s of Isl ami c Law. To w hat degr ee one shoul d
choose har m f or t he sake of a gr eat er degr ee of
benef it depends on t he ci r cumst ances in w hi ch one
i s i nvol ved.
Isl am at t aches gr eat impor t ance t o soci al l if e, and
mor eover Isl am consi der s i t i ncumbent upon al l t o
at t end t o soci al pr obl ems and t o st r uggle f or t he
benef it of al l human bei ngs and f or t he est abli shi ng a
j ust soci et y on Ear t h. Bei ng i ndi f f er ent t o such
pr obl ems i s consi der ed i n Isl am t o be a major si n.
Payi ng at t ent i on t o such pr obl ems i s so cr uci al t hat
somet imes one f eel s obl iged t o spend al l of one' s
pr oper t y and even t o endanger one' s ow n l i f e i n
or der t o save ot her s f r om w or l dl y and ot her -w or ldl y
af f l ict i ons and har ms. It i s unli kel y t o f i nd any ot her
school of t hought ot her t han Isl am w hi ch has
advanced t hi s i dea so f ar . Of cour se, all of t he
r eveal ed r eli gi ons ar e unani mous on basic pr i nci pl es
and r ul es; nat ur al l y t hey ar e i n common w i t h Isl am
i n t hi s r egar d.
The w ord al-haqq (t rut h or t he True) in t he Qur’ an
In Isl am, t her e appear t o be t hr ee gol den t hr eads
t hat r un t hr ough al l i t s aspect s and t hese t hr ee
gol den t hr eads ar e cl ear l y i nt er t w i ned. They ar e:
t r ut h, j ust i ce and equi t y. The w or ds used i n t he
Qur ' an ar e al -haqq, al -' adl , and al -qi st . It i s
si gni f i cant t hat each of t hese w or ds i s signif i cant l y
used i n t he Qur ' an sever al t i mes; t he w or d al-haqq i s
used about 247 t i mes, al -qi st 15 t imes and al -' adl 13
t i mes. The w or d al -haqq i ncor por at es t he ot her t w o
t er ms and has sever al meani ngs dependi ng upon t he
cont ext : t r ut h, obl igat i on, r ight and just i ce.
Al -haqq can be used as a name f or God. For
exampl e, t he Qur ' an says:
That i s because All ah, He i s t he Tr ue, and t hat
w her eon t hey call i nst ead of Hi m, i t i s t he f al se, and
because Al l ah, He i s t he Hi gh, t he Gr eat . (22:62).[ 2]
At t hi s poi nt , i t i s w or t h not i ng t hat i n many Qur ' ani c
ver ses, t he w or d `haqq' i s used i n a sense si mi l ar t o
t he t echni cal meani ng of l aw but not i dent i cal w i t h
i t . Simi lar ly i n t he Tr eat i se on Right s (Ri sal at al -
huquq) by t he Four t h Shi `i t e Imam, t her e ar e t opi cs
such as t he r i ght s of your w omb r el at i ves, t he r i ght
of your self (naf s) and t he r ight s of t he t ongue,
hear i ng and si ght . M any of t hese r ight s ar e mor al i n
t hei r nat ur e. It shoul d be not ed t hat t he w or d haqq
i s not used in a legal sense in t he above ver ses but
r at her i t f al l s i nt o t he cat egor y of mor al s. How ever ,
i n t hi s paper , w hi le deal ing w i t h l aw f r om a Qur ' ani c
per spect i ve, w e ar e not concer ned wi t h l aw (huquq)
i n i t s mor al sense but i n i t s l egal sense.
The Source of Right and t he Legal Goal of Societ y
from t he I slamic Point of View
At t he same t ime, i t shoul d be not ed t hat t he soci al
l aw s and i nj unct i ons w hi ch make up t he l egal syst em
of Isl am shoul d be based on a goal w hi ch dir ect l y
r esul t s f r om t hat syst em and w hich secur es man' s
f el ici t y i n soci al li f e. The quest i on i s: Is t her e anot her
goal beyond t hi s goal whi ch can be used as a means
f or t he at t ai nment of t hat goal or not ? In ot her
w or ds, t he quest i on i s: Is pr ovi ding f or man' s f el ici t y
t he ul t imat e goal or t he i nt er medi at e one?
In answ er t o t hese quest i ons, i t shoul d be said t hat
t he l egal syst em of Isl am i s di st i nct f r om ot her ones.
The ot her l egal syst ems based on a secul ar w or l d
vi ew know no goal beyond t hat of pr ovi ding f or
man' s f eli cit y i n soci al li f e, and consequent l y, t hi s
ver y goal i s consi der ed t o be t he ul t imat e goal and
t he desi r ed obj ect per se. In ot her w or ds, i n such
syst ems, onl y t hose i nt er est s and benef i t s w hi ch can
be act uali zed and at t ai ned i n t hi s w or l d ar e t aken
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i nt o consi der at i on. In t hi s r egar d, God says i n t he
Qur ' an:
They know onl y some appear ance of t he l i f e of t he
w or l d, and ar e heedl ess of t he Her eaf t er (30:7).
Then w i t hdr aw (O M uhammad) f r om him w ho f leet h
f r om Our r emembr ance and desir et h but t he l i f e of
t he w or l d (53:29).
Isl am does not r est r i ct man' s f eli ci t y t o t hi s w or l d
onl y but r at her t he goal of man' s cr eat i on t r anscends
t hi s w or l d. The ul t imat e goal i s t o get spi r i t ual l y
cl oser t o God. M an' s f eli ci t y i n t hi s w or l d can be
desi r abl e onl y w hen i t i s consi st ent w i t h at t ai ni ng
t he ul t imat e goal .
Isl am i s a r el igi on w hi ch encour ages t he quali t i es of
pur i t y, beaut y, goodness, vi r t ue, success and
pr osper i t y w hi ch Al lah w ant s t o f l our i sh i n t he l i f e of
Hi s peopl e and t o suppr ess al l ki nds of expl oi t at i on
and i nj ust ice. As w el l as pl aci ng bef or e us t hi s hi gh
i deal , Isl am cl ear ly st at es t he desir ed vi r t ues and t he
undesi r abl e evi l s. Ther ef or e, t he member s of soci et y
shoul d have t he r i ght t o use al l t he God-gi ven
pot ent i al i t ies and abi li t ies f or t he at t ai nment of t hei r
ul t imat e goal .
The l egal goal of Isl am i s t o pr epar e t he gr ound and
cont ext f or t he spir i t ual gr owt h and et er nal f el ici t y
of t he peopl e. At t he ver y l east t hey shoul d not be
i nconsi st ent wi t h spi r i t ual devel opment , f or , i n t he
vi ew of Isl am, t he li f e of t hi s w or l d i s but a f l eet i ng
phase of t he ent ir e human li f e w hi ch despi t e i t s
shor t dur at i on, has a f undament al r ol e i n human
dest i ny. It i s i n t hi s phase t hat w i t h hi s consci ous
behavi our t he human being pr epar es f or himsel f hi s
ever l ast i ng f eli ci t y or w r et chedness. Even i f a l aw
coul d mai nt ai n t he soci al or der i n t hi s w or l d but
w oul d cause et er nal mi sf or t une f or humans, i t w oul d
not be, f r om an Islami c per spect i ve, a desir abl e l aw ,
even i f i t w er e t o be accept ed by t he maj or i t y.
The Necessit y of Law and Legal Rules in Societ y
Isl ami c l aw i s based on a r eal i st ic vi ew of t hi ngs
w hi ch ar e on one hand r el at ed t o God Who cr eat ed
t he uni ver se and man based on a def i ni t e goal , and
on t he ot her hand t o Resur r ect i on, because i t i s t he
l ast phase of human exi st ence and t he ul t imat e
st at i on of hi s j our ney t ow ar ds God. Final ly, i t i s
connect ed t o Di vi ne Wi sdom, because t he best
cr eat ed or der i s buil t upon t he most Subl ime Di vi ne
Wi sdom. Si nce t he member s of a soci et y ar e not
equal i n t er ms of under st andi ng, and si nce al l t he
member s equal ly do not seek r i ght and j ust i ce, t hus,
f or t he est abl i shment of or der and f or t he
pr event i on of chaos, i t i s necessar y t hat t her e be
some highl y qual i f i ed i nst i t ut i onali zed pow er s
r epr esent i ng t he w hol e soci et y f or t aki ng
r esponsi bil i t y f or t he cr uci al f unct i ons. These pow er s
consi st of t he l egi sl at ur e, t he execut i ve and t he
j udi ci ar y.
The f unct i ons of t he l egi sl at ur e ar e t o be exer ci sed
t hr ough t he Isl amic Consul t at i ve Assembly,
consi st i ng of t he elect ed r epr esent at i ves of t he
peopl e. Legi sl at i on appr oved by t hi s body, af t er
goi ng t hr ough cer t ai n st ages, i s communicat ed t o
t he execut ive and t he judi ci ar y f or implement at i on.
The j udi ci ar y i s of vi t al i mpor t ance i n t he cont ext of
saf eguar di ng t he r ight s of t he people in accor dance
w i t h t he li ne f oll ow ed by t he Isl ami c movement , and
t he pr event i on of devi at i ons wi t hi n t he Isl ami c
nat i on. Pr ovi si on has t her ef or e been made f or t he
cr eat i on of a j udi ci al syst em based on Isl ami c j ust ice
and oper at ed by j ust j udges w i t h met icul ous
know l edge of t he Isl ami c l aw s. Thi s syst em, because
of i t s essent i all y sensi t i ve nat ur e and t he need f or
f ul l i deol ogi cal conf or mi t y, must be f r ee f r om ever y
ki nd of unheal t hy r el at i on and connect i on (t hi s i s i n
accor dance wi t h t he Qur ' ani c ver se: “ When you
j udge among t he peopl e, judge w it h j ust i ce” [ 4:58] ).
Consi der i ng t he par t icul ar impor t ance of t he
execut ive pow er i n implement i ng t he l aw s and
or di nances of Isl am f or t he sake of est abl i shi ng t he
r ul e of just r el at i ons over soci et y, and consi der i ng,
t oo, i t s vi t al r ol e i n pavi ng t he w ay f or t he
at t ai nment of t he ul t imat e goal of li f e, t he execut i ve
pow er must w or k t owar d t he cr eat i on of a j ust
Isl ami c soci et y. Consequent l y, t he conf i nement of
t he execut i ve pow er w i t hi n any ki nd of compl ex and
i nhi bi t i ng syst em t hat del ays or impedes t he
at t ai nment of t hi s goal i s r eject ed by Isl am.
Ther ef or e, t he syst em of bur eaucr acy, t he r esul t and
pr oduct of ol d f or ms of gover nment , w il l be f ir ml y
cast aw ay, so t hat an execut i ve syst em t hat
f unct i ons ef f i cient l y and sw if t l y i n t he f ulf il ment of
i t s admi ni st r at i ve commi t ment s comes i nt o
exi st ence.goal of li f e, t he execut ive power must
w or k t owar d t he cr eat i on of a j ust Isl ami c soci et y.
Consequent l y, t he conf i nement of t he execut i ve
pow er w i t hi n any ki nd of compl ex and i nhi bi t i ng
syst em t hat del ays or impedes t he at t ai nment of t hi s
goal i s r ej ect ed by Isl am. Ther ef or e, t he syst em of
bur eaucr acy, t he r esul t and pr oduct of ol d f or ms of
gover nment , w il l be f i r ml y cast aw ay, so t hat an
execut ive syst em t hat f unct i ons ef f i ci ent l y and
sw i f t l y i n t he f ul f ilment of i t s admi ni st r at i ve
commi t ment s comes i nt o exi st ence.
The Separat ion of Pow ers
Dur ing t he past t hr ee cent ur i es, t her e have been a
l ot of di sput es bet ween t he phi l osopher s of l aw and
ot her soci al schol ar s. Today t he i ssue of separ at i on
of pow er s has been st r essed so much t hat i t has
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been accept ed as an i ndi sput abl e pr i nci pl e of t he
phi l osophy of l aw and of t he basi c law .
In t he newl y-est abl i shed Isl ami c soci et y i n M edi na,
t he hol y Pr ophet of Isl am had r esponsi bi l i t y f or t he
t hr ee pow er s, and t her e occur r ed no pr obl em in t hi s
r egar d. Dur i ng t he occul t at i on of t he t w el f t h Shi ' i t e
Imam, accor di ng t o t he Shi ' i t e j ur i spr udent i al
pr i nci pl es, t he l eader has r esponsi bi li t y f or all t he
t hr ee power s.[ 3] Ther ef or e, t he pow er s of
gover nment i n t he Isl ami c Republ ic of Ir an, f or
exampl e, ar e vest ed i n t he legi sl at ur e, t he j udi ci ar y,
and t he execut ive f unct i oni ng under t he super vi si on
of t he supr eme Leader .
The Basic Law
M ost of t he soci al r egul at i ons ar e legi sl at ed and
appr oved by a l egi sl at ur e, but t her e i s anot her l aw
cal led basi c l aw w hi ch shoul d be speci f i ed and
val i dat ed bef or e t he f or mat i on of a legi sl at ur e and
w hi ch deal s w i t h such quest i ons as w hy i t i s
necessar y t hat t her e shoul d be a l egal syst em i n
ever y soci et y, and w hy l aw needs t hr ee basi c
i nst i t ut i ons of l egi sl at ur e, j udgement and execut i on,
and so on.
The basi c l aw consi st s of a set of r ul es w hich shoul d
be val i dat ed bef or e t he l egi sl at i on and codif i cat i on
of t he social r egul at i ons.
In t he democr at ic syst ems, i n or der t o give cr edence
t o t he basic l aw , f ir st t he peopl e shoul d el ect t he
member s of t he const i t uent assembl y by vot i ng f or
t hem. Then, t he el ect ed member s of t he const i t uent
assembl y wi ll legi sl at e and appr ove t he code of t he
basi c l aw w hich i s cal l ed const i t ut i on, and whi ch i s
of f er ed t o be vot ed f or by t he people.
The t er m basi c l aw i s used i n some pl aces as an
al t er nat i ve t o “ const i t ut i on.” A Basi c Law i s ei t her a
codi f i ed const i t ut i on, or i n count r i es w i t h
const i t ut i ons w hi ch ar e not codi f i ed, a l aw gi ven t o
have const i t ut i onal pow er s and ef f ect . The t er m
basi c l aw i s used i n some pl aces as an al t er nat i ve t o
“ const i t ut i on.” A Basic Law i s ei t her a codi f i ed
const i t ut i on, or i n count r i es w i t h const i t ut i ons w hi ch
ar e not codi f i ed, a law gi ven t o have const i t ut i onal
pow er s and ef f ect .
The Sources of Law in Islam
Each and ever y l egal syst em consi st s of a set of l egal
r ul es w hich ar e usual l y der i ved f r om one or mor e
sour ces. In ot her w or ds, i n or der t o bui l d a l egal
syst em, some of t hese sour ces, and t he element s or
const i t uent s w hi ch ar e ext r act ed f r om t hem, shoul d
be used.
To dat e t he M usli m j ur i st i c r at i onal i st s (usuli yyun)
have never used t he t er m ' t he sour ces of l aw ' , and
i nst ead t hey have used t he expr essi on ' t he
j ur i spr udent i al pr oof ' , t hough t he meani ng of t he
l at t er expr essi on i s not t he same as t he f or mer . The
Shi ' i t e j ur i st i c r at i onal i st s (usuli yyun) r el y on f our
pr oof s call ed t he j ur i st i c pr oof s, w hi ch consi st of : t he
Book (t he Qur ' an), t he Sunnah (t he Tr adi t i on),
consensus, and r eason. Some of t he ot her j ur i st i c
r at i onal i st s al so add some ot her pr oof s or sour ces
w hi ch consi st of : anal ogi cal r easoni ng (qiyas), j ur i st i c
pr ef er ence (i st i hsan), publ ic i nt er est (masali h
mur salah), openi ng and bl ocki ng t he means (f at h w a
sadd al -dhar aai ' ), convent i on, and so on.
Havi ng sai d t hi s, i t has t o be not ed t hat t he onl y
sour ce of l aw i n Isl am i s t he Di vi ne Legi sl at ive Wi ll .
That i s, a r ul e i s val id i n Isl am onl y w hen i t can be
at t r i but ed t o t he l egi sl at i ve Wil l of God Almi ght y.
At t r i but i ng t o any ot her sour ce can never gi ve
val i di t y t o t he l egal r uli ng. Fi r st l y, t he uni que
i mpor t ance of t he Qur ' an and secondl y of t he
Sunnah (t he Tr adi t i on, t hat i s, t he sayi ngs, act i ons
and si l ent asser t i ons of t he Pr ophet and t he Imams)
i s due t o t he f act t hat t hese t w o pr oof s der i ve f r om
t he Di vi ne Legi sl at i ve Wil l. That i s, i f w e wi sh t o
know about t he r uli ngs of God, we w il l have no
choi ce but t o r ef er t o t hese t w o pr oof s. These t w o
ar e not sour ces t hemsel ves but gui de us t o t he
or i gi nal sour ce. A consensus i s bi ndi ng i f i t can be a
means f or di scover i ng t he Sunnah (t he Tr adi t i on) of
t he hol y Pr ophet or of t he Imam
As pr evi ousl y st at ed, t he r el i gi on of Isl am accept s
r eason as one of t he f undament al pr oof s of t he
r eli gi ous r ul i ngs and at t aches gr eat impor t ance t o it ,
i f i t can be a means f or di scover i ng t he r ul i ngs of
God. The Book, t he Sunnah, consensus and r eason
ar e bi ndi ng si mpl y because t hey ar e means of
di scover i ng t he Wi ll of God, and never ar e t hey
consi der ed t o be i ndependent sour ces vi s-à-vi s t he
Di vine Legi sl at i ve Wil l .

Not es:
[1] Based on the religious teachings and the
consensus of all the religious scholars, the goal of
religion is to provide man with a comprehensive
felicity in this world and the next. Islam as a revealed
religion is both the path and the guide which will lead
to man’s eternal happiness. It is composed of three
elements which are intertwined: i. doctrine ii. ethics
iii. law. The threefold elements play an effective role
in providing man with happiness when all three are
combined together just as a single organism is
composed of its inseparable organs. These three
elements in combination facilitate man’s eternal
felicity. The texture or combination of these three
elements is such that they should never be separated
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from one another, and if they are considered
separately, they will lose their own essential qualities.
Therefore, if anyone believes only in God, the
Creator, the all-Wise, the all-Knowing, the all-
Powerful, the all-Compassionate, the all-Rich, and
the Lord of the Universe, who created man and Who
wills both his good and perfection, and who knows
his needs, interests and harms or if he observes an
ethical discipline only for the purification of the soul
and the acquisition of good traits of character or if he
only abides by the religious commands and
prohibitions, he will never attain to that
comprehensive this-worldly and other-worldly
felicity, which will be actualized though the three
elements mentioned above.. The Islamic intellectual
and transmitted sciences (al-’ulum al-’aqliyyah wa’l-
naqliyyah) are comprised of an extensive scope
dealing with different major issues. However, based
on the same threefold elements mentioned above, the
religious sciences are comprised of Islamic theology,
that is the discipline relating to the beliefs, and ethics,
i.e. the discipline relating to the purification of the
soul, and moral conduct, and jurisprudence, the
discipline concerned with the laws and injunctions
relating to man’s individual and social needs. Of
course, acquaintance with these sciences entails being
familiar with certain disciplines which are considered
to be their preliminaries and which can be called
religious sciences in one sense.
[2] For further study, refer to the following verses:
(30:8), (2:61), (38:21), (38:22), (38:26), (21:112),
(40:20), (40:78), (39:69), (39:75), (10:47), (10:54),
(2:282), (24:48), (24:49) (51:19), (70:24), (70:25),
(6:141), (17:26), (30:38), (2:180), (2:236) and
[3] According to twelve-Imam Shi‘ism, Abu’l
Qasim Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Askari, the Proof
(al-hujjah), the righteous descendent (al-khalaf al-
salih), the promised Mahdi and the twelfth Imam,
peace be upon him, was born in Surra man ra’a
(Samarrah) in the midnight of Sha’ban in the year
255. When his father died, he was five years old and
he became Imam through Divine Command as was
the case with Yahya (John) as He, the Exalted, says:
“O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with strength, and
We granted him judgement while yet a child” (19:
12). God made Yahya a prophet while he was a child
as He made Christ a prophet while still a little child.
God, the Exalted, says through Jesus when he
addressed his people: “He said: Surely I am a servant
of Allah; he has given me the Book and made me a
prophet” (19: 30). The Muslims are agreed on the
appearance of the Mahdi at the end of the time for the
obliteration of ignorance, oppression and tyranny and
for dissemination of the signs of justice and the
exaltation of the word of truth and the manifestation
of Religion in its entirety even if the polytheists may
be averse. By the permission of God, he will deliver
the world from the disgrace of servitude to other than
God and abolish evil morals and customs and
abrogate the irreligious laws as established by whims
and break the bonds of national and racial prejudices
and eliminate the causes of hostility and hatred which
have given rise to the division and disunity of the
community, and God, the Exalted, will keep through
his appearance His promise which He made to the
believers as He says: “Allah has promised to those of
you who believe and do good that He will most
certainly make them rulers in the earth as he made
rulers those before them, and that He will most
certainly establish for them their religion which He
has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly,
after their fear, give them security in exchange; they
shall serve Me, not associating aught with Me, and
whoever is ungrateful after this, these it is who arte
the transgressors” (24:55). “And We desired to
bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak
in the land, and to make them the Imams, to make
them the heirs” (28:5). “And certainly We wrote in
the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My
righteous servants shall inherit it” (21:105). The
Occultation of the twelfth Imam has two distinct
stages: the Lesser Occultation and the Greater
Occultation. In the Lesser Occultation, which began
in 260/872 and ended in 329/939, lasting about
seventy years, the Hidden Imam continued to
communicate with humanity through his special
deputies. The second, the greater occultation which
commenced in 329/939 and which is continuing as
long as God wills it. According to the Shi‘ah, the
Mahdi is alive but hidden. He is the axis mundi, the
hidden ruler of the Universe.

Message of Thaqalayn
The Geography of Qur'anic Accounts: Eight
Questions from Six Scholars of the Qur'an *

Translated by I. Rasuli
Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3
While reading the holy Qur'an we come across
the names of certain nations, places and persons
such as Dhul Qarnayn Dam, Ashab-e Kahf Cave,
Dhat al-`Imad, etc. The question is that is it
possible to locate these places in the present
natural geography or they have gone under any
changes? Can we take recourse to science and
rely upon the scientific method in dealing with
these Qur'anic names?
All the matters in this context were prepared in
the form of questionnaire and were sent to some
of researchers and connoisseurs. Among them
Dr. Ahmad Ahmadi, Ayatullah Muhammad Hadi
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M`arifat, Baha al-Din Khorramshahi, Dr.
Muhammad Husayn Ruhani, Dr. Abul Qasim
Imami and Dr. `Abbas Zaryab Khoi have replied
which is hereby presented to our readers. Hope
the answers would be beneficial to the seekers of
the Qur'anic learning.
Q.1- Are the historic places mentioned in the
Qur'an in connection with the nations and
events, available in the present natural
geography in the same form or have they gone
under any changes?
A- Ahmad Ahmadi: Some of the places might
have been destroyed. The historical changes do
not keep anything constant. Sometimes a
riverbed changes or the sea advances or
regresses. Abeskun island in the Caspian Sea,
was a residential place once upon a time, where
Khwarazm Shah had come from. It has now gone
under the sea and there is no sign of it. Its name
only has come in the history. We see some places
which have earlier been at the coasts. Through,
in the course of historical changes, a hill might
have disappeared. Therefore, it cannot be said
that the places mentioned in the Qur'an have
remained in the same original forms.
A- Abul Qasim Imami : There are certain places
related to the ancient tribes which has naturally
been changed or disappeared. Except in some
cases like the holy house of God (Bayt Allah al-
Haram) and the related places or some other
places which have relatively retained their
previous states. Of course, before referring to the
references which have computed these places, a
prompt comment is not possible in this regard. In
this connection a consultation with archeology
organizations will be a good beginning in
recognizing the relevant countries.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi: Whereas the
Qur'an points to the ancient lands or
geographical places such as Wadi Ayman,
Madyan, Qura or Madain Lut, M'arib Dam
which had probably been built against Al-Iram
flood and so on, belonging to more than 15-20
centuries ago, their present locations are
probably unknown and require archaeological
researches. On the other hand, whatever is
located or recognized will be quite different from
what have been in the past. 15-20 centuries are
enough for not only a city, but also a civilization
to bloom or decline.
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani: A
geographical site on this globe may not remain in
the same place due to the following incidents:
a) An earthquake which is an underground
product known as Ptate-tectonic bringing about
deep changes in the superficial layer of the earth,
demolishing surface of the earth easily in a short
b) Tides have great effects on the seas.
c) Human factor causes the increasing
destruction of the crust of the earth.
d) Falls of such as snow, rain and hail, bring
about destructive floods.
e) Soil erosion is a slow, constant and gradual
process that ever changes the structure of the
earth. This terminology has many applications
throughout the present scientific geography.
I, as the editor-in-chief of the Great Islamic
Encyclopedia (from 7-10-85 to 16-12-87) asked
for a research grant from the management on the
"Abeskun" article following researches of British
Orientalist "Minorski" and Dr. Manoocher
Setudeh. The fund was granted and days and
days the geographers and researchers
investigated on a boat in the Caspian Sea, but
they did not find its exact location.
A- Muhammad Hadi M`arifat: The regions
pointed by the Qur'an may have some trace
today, such as M'arib dam, ruins of which are
available today, even the valves and shutter used
to close or open the dam are available. To study
those cases, some scientific delegations (from
Iran and abroad) visited the site and brought
good information. They even could understand
how the flood destroyed this dam. Another
example is "Ahqaf" which are very soft sands is
situated around `Adan, even today.
Some other regions have been referred to in the
holy Qur'an and they were existing during the
revelation of the Qur'an, such as the remnants of
Lut's tribe (37: 137-138).
1- It is obvious that there has been something in
front of them on the journey routes of Quraysh. I
did not find anybody in the present era to follow
this matter, which is worth following. One of the
essential issues is follow up, the geographical
regions of the history of Islam such as sites of the
wars of Ahzab and Khandaq, or Uhud war. We
have seen these places but are not reliable. A
serious research is required to locate their real
Q. 2- What is the objective of studying
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archaeological subjects of the Qur'an?
A- Ahmad Ahmadi: Many ancient historical and
geographical regions have been mentioned in the
stories of the holy Qur'an such the river or sea
through which the Bani Israel passed, the land of
Ashab-e Hijr, Dhul Qarnayn Dam, Ashab-e
Kahf's Cave, earthy paradise of Dhat al-`Imad
etc. Research on these and finding their traces is
very effective in understanding the Qur'an. In
addition, being involved in exploring the past
would provide a good background to take lessons
from the past on which the holy Qur'an in the
following verses to persuade us to do so:
"Have they not travelled in the earth and seen
how was the end of those before them? They
were stronger than these in powers..." (30:9)
"Indeed there have been examples before you;
Therefore travel in the earth..." (3:136)
"...Therefore travel in the land, then see what
was the end of the rejecters." (16:36)
"Say: Travel in the earth, then see how was the
end of the guilty." (27:69)
"But we will this day deliver you with your body
that you may be a sign to those after you, and
most surely the majority of the people are
heedless of our communications." (10:92)
In this verse, the God's intention of bringing the
body of Pharaoh out of water rather than leaving
it decaying or being eaten by the sea animals is
to give a lesson to future generations. As far as I
remember Tantawi says: "The body of Pharaoh
contemporaneous to Moses is now in a museum
in Egypt."
Many of the existing problems in our national
culture and literature need extensive
archaeological research. In case of finding new
information, our views will be changed about our
culture and literature. For example, Alexander
dam with its present condition has its effects on
our literature stories and proverbs, and we can
feel its position in our culture. Supposing that
Alexander is the same Dhul Qarnayn of the
Qur'an, he has been given a great status (like a
prophet) and a poet like Nizami has written one
of his complete poetical works in his name.
When the archeology or the history proves it
wrong that Alexander is not Dhul Qarnayn, our
cultural views will change.
With respect to the importance of this subject,
we suggested the Cultural Revolution Council in
1982 to include Qur'anic archeological studies in
the educational curricula of the universities.
A- Abul Qasim Imami: The objective of
archaeological endeavor is to work out the best
method and necessary preparations for
recognition of geographical places mentioned in
the Qur'an and study condition of those people
whose names in the Qur'an are associated with
those places. Concluding that such studies are
necessary for better understanding the Qur'an.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi: The objective of
taking up archaeological subjects of the Qur'an is
to understand the lessons pointed out by the
Qur'an. As we intend to recognize Prophet
Ibrahim (s), the father of prophets Sho`ayb, al-
yas`a and Khidr in the stories of the Qur'an,
likewise, for the same reasons and motives, we
should try to understand geographical places of
the Qur'an.
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani: In my opinion,
"archaeological discussions" with its present
meaning has not been dealt with in the Qur'an.
There are many historical accounts in the Qur'an
which are considered to be historical facts. Even
the opponents in the Qur'an reproach themselves
for the phrase "stories of the predecessors" is
attributed to them . (6:25; 16:24; 8:31; 23:83;
25:5; 27:68; 46:17; 68:15; 83:13.)
All those are historical facts which signify the
continuity, constancy and everlasting feature of
the "divine order" on permeate in the individual,
family, and social life of the people. These facts
always give alarming to those who deviate from
the right path. It seems that at the time of the
revelation of the Qur'an, the word "history" did
not exist in Arabic language and according to Dr.
Muhammad Muhammadi this word was derived
from the Persian word Mahrooz. There is a
delicate probability of "story" or "stories"
(Arabic from the branches of semitic mother
tongue) to be taken from the words "histor,
historia, histoire, history". This seems
impossible. I was a member of a group working
on "Ibdal" in Arabic, at the Academy of Iranian
Languages, to trace the words and then to
compare them with Indo-European mother
tongue in order to extract the common root
words. There were signs of common root.
It is not surprising to know that the main root of
"history" is the Greek word "weid". Perhaps the
Qur'an has used the word "stories" for history or
report or a historical report.
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A- Muhammad Hadi M`arifat: Historical
problems have two important restrictions, i.e.,
they are bound by two things: one is "time", the
other is "place". That means, a historian needs
the exact time of a historical event to be able to
study it. It has sometimes been noted that the
historians study scientific and religious books to
trace a geographical location. For instance, the
palace of "Ibn Hubayrah" has been around Kufa.
Finding location of an incident has vital
importance for a historian, that means as the time
is important for a historian, the place is more
important. Perhaps the ancient historians were
not giving much importance to the element of
place, but the present historians give much
importance to the place than time, and I am also
of the same opinion. Many unclear historical
problems and authenticity or untruth of a
historical event can be proved by finding the
Q.3) What are the advantages or outcome of
determining the sites and ancient positions of
the stories of the Qur'an?
A- Abul Qasim Imami: Reaching at an accurate
image of ancient places mentioned in the Qur'an,
or specifying the geography of the Qur'anic
accounts is naturally effective in understanding
the verses of the Qur'an. It can clarify the lessons
given in the Qur'anic accounts and makes their
experimental values more evident. The
advantages of every research is known after its
completion. Whatever stated in advance cannot
be the final conclusion. On the other hand, this
depends on the nature of archaeological science
as well as accuracy of their methods. It is to be
pointed out that all, archeology itself is an
important part of historical science, hence, with
its potentialities it should be evaluated, taking
into account its methods and data as well.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi: The advantages
and outcomes of determining the geographical
sites as referred to, directly or indirectly, in the
Qur'an, is related to its objective which I clarified
in the answer given to the earlier question.
Moreover , these studies and the scientific
outcomes would provide a better understanding
of the holy Qur'an and the philosophy of
particular history of the Qur'an. Ultimately, such
studies will be at the service of the exegesis of
the Qur'an.
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani: The
advantages and outcomes of finding
geographical sites and archaeological positions
would help to develop a new understanding of
the Qur'an, the necessity of which is felt.
A- `Abbas Zaryab Khoi: Recognition of the
places mentioned in the Qur'an about the ancient
nations and stories of the prophets is important
from scientific, historical and geographical point
of view, but it has a pure scientific aspect and is
useful to satisfy ones curiosity. But the holy
Qur'an is not for explanation of the history of
nations. Its stories are lessons and examples. It
will not harm the understanding of the Qur'an if
the geographical sites are not traced except in
cases like Hajj (pilgrimage) and understanding
its rites.
The Europeans made various efforts in the 19

century to find unknown regions in Saudi Arabia
and Palestine. They traversed throughout the
Saudi territory by camel and horse and found
many stones and inscriptions. They took away
most of them and started finding their scripts and
languages. It can be stated that they have
discovered the history and geography of pre-
Islamic areas. It is obvious that this work was
performed for the sake of knowledge and
information. For example, the purpose of reading
Himayri or Thamudi scripts was not for
unscientific or colonial aims, because
colonization is possible without knowledge of
Ma'rib dam or old cities of Yemen and Roab,
and the colonizers are other than those who
spend their days and nights in reading
inscriptions and discovering their secrets. A
number of books have been written in finding
locations and ancient places of Saudi Arabia by
Europeans. The list of these books and many
other articles are in many volumes. In order to
gain a very brief knowledge of this immense
ocean, the multi-volume history book Arabs
before Islam written by Dr. Jawad `Ali will be
Q. 4) Is it possible to clear certain geographical
sites in the Qur'an such as Adna al-`Ard,
M'utafikat, al-`Udwah al-Duniya and al-
`Udwah al-Quswa and Ashab-e Hijr, etc.?
A- Abul Qasim Imami: Although it is a very
difficult task, losing hope is not fair.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi: In this regard, I
should say that the work of science and research
is to clear up the things which have been obscure
prior to the investigation. The Muslim
commentators and geographers acquainted with
the Qur'anic culture and interested in its
development and expansion have spared no
effort in clearing up the geographical sites of the
Qur'an such as Adnal `Ard (Shamat), Mutafikat
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(the village of Lut which according to some
researches is under Bahr al-Mayyit), al-`Udwah
al-Duniya and `Udwah Quswa (two hills or
strategic points near Medina), or Babylon. Such
attempts have reduced superstitions and
increased the certainty.
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani: Yes, it is
possible to clear up such uncertainty from
geographical sites of the Qur'an.
A- Muhammad Hadi M`arifat: It is definitely
possible. The present historians have cleared up
these places. Today "Adna al-`Ard and al-
`Udwah al-Duniya and Quswa in Badr war are
known. The Ashab-e Hijr is Ahqaf. I have seen in
some history books that the geographical route
through which Imam Husayn travelled from
Mecca to Karbala has been shown accurately,
and this is valuable for us. The migration of
Imam `Ali from Medina to Kufa, or the route that
took the captives from Karbala to Damascus are
clear and hence many questions have been
Q. 5) What is the difference between archeology
of the Qur'anic accounts and scientific
interpretation of the verses? Does it have the
same problem of scientific interpretation?
A- Ahmad Ahmadi: Scientific interpretations are
always unstable due to the instability of the
hypotheses and the theories adopted by the
theoreticians. Since no hypothesis is the last one,
every new invention requires a new theory for its
interpretation or explanation. Therefore,
scientific theories are subject to change. Like the
Einstein's theory of relativity that changed the
Newton's physics, the results of archaeological
studies cannot be taken for granted to be the
definite meaning. Of course, this possibility also
helps us to solve some of the obscurities to some
A- Abul Qasim Imami: The scientific
interpretation, if accepted in the same term, is the
adaptation of the meanings of some verses to the
relative and variant data, and this is nothing but a
superficial understanding of the Qur'an, because
the knowledge has a new word or theory every
time. But in archeology of the Qur'anic, accounts
have a constant meaning and possess incomplete
or sometimes complete existence outside. The
work of archeology is to unveil the fact which
once upon a time existed with its special position
and has now changed or disappeared but has
exactly been the subject matter of the Qur'anic
verses. Perhaps, from this point of view, it can
briefly be stated that archeology of the Qur'an is
more tangible than some other subjects of
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi: About the
difference between archeology of the geography
of the Qur'anic accounts and scientific
interpretation, it should be stated that it is very
close to the methods and attitudes of scientific
interpretation. Naturally, it may bear the
shortcomings of the scientific interpretation. A
question may arise here as: if for example, all the
Qur'anic geography researchers come to the
conclusion that there has been no city or a region
known as "Madyan" in ancient world and that
this region is not compatible with the natural
geography of the world in the past or present,
then, what stand should be adopted and what
comment should be made? It is against the
shari`ah (religious law) to consider them as
myth. For example, such an approach would
affect the real historical fate and identity of the
prophets like Moses and Sho`ayb (peace be upon
them) and ultimately it reaches a point where the
historic ruins and geography of the Qur'an are
looked at in a mythical sense or as literary
creation. This is obviously against the official
creed of Islam.
Thus, if scientific researchers are determined that
cities like Madyan was not a historic or
geographical fact, then scholars of the Qur'an
cannot admit it for science deals with senses and
natural objects, while religion is based on
revelation, i.e. permanent realities which are
beyond observation, experiment and natural
facts. Certainty of faith and realities of the
Qur'an should not be dealt with conjectures of
the science.
A- `Abbas Zaryab Khoi = As we believe that the
Qur'an is from God, the places and locations
mentioned therein are relied to be real and if
sometimes the geographical or archaeological
discoveries fail to comply with them. Then, this
will be regarded as drawback of the discoveries,
because the archaeological researches and
discoveries are not certain, but it is a science
based on guess, but not a baseless guesses. It is a
guess concluded from reasons such as guess
concluded from rational principles and its usage
in principle discussions. But the words of God
are certain, so the guess and certainty are not
equal. As a long time has passed from the
revelation of the holy Book, therefore, many of
the verses are of reasonable guess. Here the
guess of the archaeological discoveries and the
reasonable guess of the holy verses do not allow
contradiction of those unconvincing discoveries
with Qur'anic verses. In case discoveries help the
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certainty then we have to interpret and
paraphrase the verses. This is specially true in
cases like universe, skies and earth layers.
The science is attaining progress and perfection,
but one in hundred thousands of the mankind's
obscurities has not been unveiled, so the divine
verses cannot be interpreted in conformity with
the science for the apparent controversy with
scientific data, because with new discoveries and
invalidity of the previous scientific theories a
new interpretation should be made for the Qur'an
which is not advisable.
A- Muhammad Hadi Ma`rifat = Yes, it has
drawbacks of scientific interpretations, because
for example to find Dhul Qarnayn Dam it is
possible to use the presently available scientific
theories while they might have totally gone
Therefore, making use of archaeological science
or geography to determine some locations cited
in the Qur'an should be like the use of other
sciences in understanding some of the verses.
They may be used as the probabilities. Of course,
some places like the M'arib Dam are definite and
in these cases it cannot be said that the Qur'an
was based on conjectures. Thus the Qur'an
should not be based on sciences for the Qur'an
and religious laws are fixed. It does not change
by lapse of time unlike the science which is
based on uncertain laws. It is not advisable to
deal uncertain matters with certain ones. Except
the fixed findings of the science such as the
rotation of the earth around sun. Similarly the
geographical regions are no exception, some
discoveries are certain.
Q-6 Which sciences can be used to locate the
geographical sites of the Qur'an?
A- Ahmad Ahmadi: A number of sciences can
be used in finding geographical sites of the holy
Qur'an, such as: History, archeology, including
identification of scripts, stamps, coins,
inscriptions, statues, tools instruments, and
tombs, geography, sociology, and studying of the
nations' characteristics.
A- Abul Qasim Imami = This question is related
to the archeology experts who know the tools of
their science better. Naturally, they would take
help from the Qur'an and the science of history.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi = The sciences
which can be used are: Historical geography,
history, and archeology and their branches such
as linguistics and etymology and so on.
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani = A book
comprises 2,000 pages with about 1,000 satellite
figures and cosmic maps and computerized
tables is published under the title of Elements of
Natural Geography written by Arthur N. Strahler
(the greatest and most famous contemporary
geographer ).I have translated this book into
Persian. It is a very good book . This book could
be used to understand the geographical places of
the Qur'an.
Q-7 How much the knowledge of incidents and
stories of the Qur'an can help the
commentators of the Qur'an ? What are the
demerits of ignoring such issues?
A- Ahmad Ahhmadi = a commentator of the
holy Qur'an should explain and interpret the
historical and geographical events, otherwise his
writings cannot be called an interpretation. It
only be the collection of others' writings and
sayings which does not have research value.
Therefore, a commentator of the Qur'an should
provide his research on historical narrations and
try to clarify the dark and obscure angles of his
work with reference to geographical and
archaeological sciences and carry out his
researches with methodological analysis. For
example, in some narrations the palace of Dhat
al-`Imad was contrasted with fabulous and
fanciful heaven of Shaddad. Whereas a
commentator of the Qur'an should not confine to
the narrations only, but he should deal with it
accurately and comprehensively as the late
scholar `Allamah Tabatabai did so.
A- Abul Qasim Imami = If a commentator of the
Qur'an cut off from the real sources in dealing
with the Qur'anic ancient places he would relapse
into illusion.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi = Some points
have been made on necessity and advantages of
discovering the geographical sites mentioned in
the Qur'an which is a part of the science of
commentary. It is very obvious that every
Muslim is eager to know as who were Jalut and
Talut, likewise, it is very obvious that he likes to
know where are the places mentioned in the
Qur'an such as Madina, Qaryah or Bahr. Such
need may lead to writing and compiling books on
issues such as Dhul Qarnayn .
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani = For
interpretation of the Qur'an it is necessary to
identify the sites of the events as mentioned in
the historical reports of the Qur'an. Not paying
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attention to this fact will grow into an
undesirable result .
A- Muhammad Hadi Ma`rifat = The Qur'an has
paid attention to the historical aspects as well .
The battles of Islam against the infidels have
been mentioned in the Qur'an - definitely have
some obscure points for the commentators. If the
historical places and figures could be cleared up
with reference to time and place, it could
enlighten even a faqih in certain issues, such as,
the case of qasr prayer(prayer in shortened
form). Or take the case of a figure like Dhul
Qarnayn which has not been identified as to who
is he? Where is the real site of the dam
constructed by Dhul Qarnayn ?
Fakhr Razi was the first person who said that
Dhul Qarnayn is the same Macedonian
Alexander of Greece. His justification is: the
Dhul Qarnayn mentioned in the Qur'an travelled
to the east and the west achieving victories. Then
Fakhr Razi says: "While a survey in the history
we do not find anybody other than Macedonian
Alexander, therefore, the Dhul Qarnayn is the
same Macedonian Alexander. This is the logic of
Imam Fakhr Razi: Since you did not find it
therefore it is he. It means to infer a positive
proposition from a non-existential proposition.
We could not find anybody in the history with
the specifications of Dhul Qarnayn as mentioned
in the Qur'an. Since we could not find him,
therefore Dhul Qarnayn should be Macedonian
Alexander. Although it seems that Dhul Qarnayn
belongs to ante historic periods, like some of the
prophets. "The first people appeared on the earth
were Dhul Qarnayn and Abraham, while
according to the Old Testament, the Macedonian
Alexander existed 800 years after the Prophet
Abraham. This does not concur with the idea of
Fakhr Razi. Recently Maulana Abulkalam Azad
has compared Dhul Qarnayn with Cyrus and on
the basis of the reasons and evidences cited in
Old Testament, he claims that this personality
has remained unknown to Muslims for being
away from the Old Testament thus, while by
referring to Old Testament it becomes obvious
that Dhul Qarnayn is the same great Cyrus. This
is a controversial statement, because it is said
that when Cyrus conquered Babylon, he shook
hand with a great idol called as "Mordoukh" to
conciliate the nation of Babylon. While the Dhul
Qarnayn as described by the Qur'an was a pure
servants of God. Thus this idea contradict Abul
Kalam's viewpoint.
One of the subjects is Dhul Qarnayn dam which
has not been located and late Sayyid Hebat Allah
Shahrestani compared it with China wall, while it
is not in agreement with the Qur'an because
Qur'an says: "That dam was made from molten
iron and copper." Some others have thought that
Dhul Qarnayn dam is the same dam of Bab al-
Abwab of Russia (i.e., present Turkmenian).
One of the other subjects is Nile Sea. Many of
our commentators have cited it Nile Sea, while it
is not a sea but the River Nile and Prophet Moses
(s) did not cross the River Nile because he
moved towards Palestine with his people. When
he departed from Egypt and reached the land of
Sina; The water that obstructed their way was the
Red Ocean which is mentioned in both Old
Testament and Samaat prayers as Sauf Sea which
means Red Sea.
If our respected commentators had paid attention
to the route travelled by Prophet Moses (s), they
would not have committed mistake by diverting
their mind to River Nile, because Nile is between
Egypt and Africa, and Prophet Moses (s) did not
want to go to Africa or Algeria. However,
inattention to these places is misguiding in
Q- 8 Does Qur'an use symbolic language in
connection with the places or does it refer
exactly to the natural historical sites as existed
in the world?
A- Ahmad Ahhmadi = some Islamic sects have
gone to extremes in paraphrasing the outer
beings of certain verses. For instance, even they
paraphrase zakat, prayers and Hajj (pilgrimage).
By doing so the Qur'an which is the referral of all
Muslims will lose its authenticity. Of course, in
some cases it is allowed to touch the inner
meanings of the verses by virtue of its own
specific criteria, instance of which can be seen in
Al-Mizan. Sometimes we come across certain
hadith as see in a saying: "This is the inward
meaning of Qur'an."
A- Abul Qasim Imami = It's too early to answer
this question. This question should be postponed
to a time that final stage of researches in the field
of archeology have been carried out.
A- Baha al-Din Khorramshahi = Regarding the
places cited by the Qur'an either in the stories or
in symbolic way, my definite opinion as a Qur'an
researcher and the translator of the Qur'an into
Persian is that all the places pointed by the
Qur'an are historical and real. Of course, it is
possible to find some differences in the opinions
of the commentators of the Qur'an for instance
about Tur as to whether it is a proper mountain
or is a mountain in general equal to Jabal or for
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example where was Wadi Iman or Aljanib al-
Gharbi (i.e., west side), west as per which
direction? Here it should be stated that
differences of opinion among the scholars is a
mercy and bring in its wake scientific progress.
Moreover, it is a trimmed of the truth and
uncompromising with dogmatistic approach but
this should not lead into the denial of historical
fact or doubt in reality of geographical places of
the Qur'an.
At the end, I should add that I regard the Qur'an
as linguistic - literary miracle, therefore, I regard
usages of figurative, metaphoric, allusion,
symbol and other linguistic and literary points, as
definite inevitable, positive, desirable and even
natural and obvious. It is very wise and
acceptable when God, the Owner and main
Speaker of the Qur'an uses figurative, speaking
about a wall He says: "They found a wall about
to collapse" (Kahf, Verse 77). It is not acceptable
if one doubts the existence of a wall or city with
a treasure under the wall .
A- Muhammad Husayn Ruhani = Name of not
even a single place has come throughout the
Qur'an symbolically.
A- Muhammad Hadi Ma`rifat = Regarding the
Qur'anic accounts it is a question as to whether
the stories are symbolic, or real. Some people
have gone to extremes and dealt with them as
unreal things. Some others have said: "The
Qur'an is not other than the reality." In this
context a middle way can be selected. Because
the Qur'an itself says: "Surely Allah is not
ashamed to set forth any parable-(that of) a gnat
or any thing above that..."(1:26) .Now let us cite
one example from the Qur'an: "Surely we offered
the trust to the heavens and the earth..."(33:72)
Now can we say that God offered the trust which
is wisdom to the heaven it and the heaven said: "I
do not want." In fact this holy verse of the Qur'an
reveals something on behalf. It means when we
evaluate all the creatures, it is found that they do
not deserve to enjoy wisdom. By evaluating
human, it is found that he deserves wisdom.
Therefore, accepting or rejection of wisdom
depends on the nature of the creatures. Many
such subjects exist in the Qur'an. Therefore, we
can neither deny absolutely nor become
absolutely positive. They must be evaluated case
by case. Some cases are definitely symbolic and
are the scenarios and at places they are
absolutely real and many other things are still
obscure. For example, the story of Adam and
Eve, heaven and Satan. The scholars definitely
work on these subjects to find whether they are
scenario or reality. Most of the scholars believe
them to be realities. But it is also being spoken
that this is also a scene. This means it is a secret
and so is the mankind's nature. We do not want
to believe it, but there is a croon.

*The present article is the English version of
Geografiyaye Qisas-e Qur'an which was
published in Bayyinat-3 (A Quarterly Magazine
on the Holy Qur'an).

Message of Thaqalayn
Methods of Religious Thought in

`Allamah Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai,
vol. 2 no. 1.
Table of Contents
 The different facets of the formal aspects of
 Traditions of the Companions
 The Book and Tradition
 The Outward and the Inward aspect of the
 The Principles of Interpretation of the
 Hadith
o The method of Shi'ism in
authenticating hadith
o The method of Shi'ism in
Following hadith
 Shi'ism and transmitted Sciences
By "religious thought" we mean that form of thought
which is concerned with any of the problems of a
religious nature within a particular religion, in the
same sense that mathematical thought is the form of
thought which deals with mathematical questions and
solves mathematical problems.
Needless to say religious thought, like other forms of
thought, must have reliable sources from which the
raw material of its thought originates and upon which
it depends. Similarly, the process of reasoning
necessary for the solution of mathematical problems
must have a series of established mathematical facts
and principles.
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The single source upon which the divinely revealed
religion of Islam depends and upon which it is based,
inasmuch as it is based on a revelation of celestial
origin, is none other than the Holy Qur'an. It is the
Qur'an which is the definitive testament of the
universal and ever-living prophet hood of the Prophet
and it is the content of the Qur'an that bears the
substance of the Islamic call. Of course the fact that
the Qur'an is alone the source of Islamic religious
thought does not eliminate other sources and origins
of correct thinking, as will be explained later.
There are three methods of religious thought in Islam.
The Holy Qur'an in its teachings points to three paths
for Muslims to follow in order to comprehend the
purposes of religion and the Islamic sciences:
(1) The path of the external and formal aspect of
religion (the Shari'ah):
(2) The path of intellectual understanding; and
(3) The path of spiritual comprehension achieved
through sincerity (ikhlas) in obeying God.
These three methods differ from each other in several
ways. For instance, since the external forms of
religion are verbal expressions in the simplest
language, they are in the hands of all people, and
everyone benefits from them according to his own
capacity. On the other hand, the other two paths,
which are appropriate to a particular group (the elite-
khawass), are not common to all. The path of the
external forms of religion leads to the understanding
of the principles and the obligations of Islam and
results in knowledge of the substance of the beliefs
and practices of Islam, and of the principles of the
Islamic sciences, ethics, and jurisprudence. This is in
contrast to the other two paths. The intellectual path
can discover the problems connected with faith,
ethics, and the general principles governing practical
questions, but the intellectual method cannot discover
the specific religious injunctions given in the Qur'an
and the Sunnah. The path of purification of the carnal
souls since it leads to the discovery of God given
spiritual truths can have neither limits nor measure of
its results or of the truths revealed through this divine
gift. Men who have reached this knowledge have cut
themselves off from everything and forgotten
everything but god and are under the direct guidance
and dominion of God Himself-May His Name be
Glorified. Whatever He wants and not what they
want is revealed to them.
We will now take up in detail the three methods of
religious thought in Islam.
The Different Facets of the Formal Aspect of
It has become clear from what has been said thus far
that the Holy Qur'an, which is the principal source of
religious thought in Islam has given full authority to
the external meanings of its words for those who give
ear to its message. The same external meaning of the
Qur'anic verses has made the sayings of the Prophet
complementary to the words of the Qur'an and has
declared them to be authoritative like the Qur'an. For
as the Qur'an says:
And We have revealed Unto thee the Remembrance
that thou mayst explain to mankind that which hath
been revealed for them. (XVI: 44).
He it is who hath sent among the unlettered ones a
messenger of their own, to recite unto them his
revelations and to make them grow, and to teach
them the scripture and wisdom (LXII: 2).
And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it
And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it)
(LIX: 7).
Verily! in the messenger of Allah ye have a good
example (XXXIII: 21).
It is quite evident that such verses would not have
any real meaning if the words and deeds of the
Prophet and even his silence and approval were not
authority for us just as the Quran itself is. Thus the
words of the Prophet are authoritative and must be
accepted by those who have heard them orally or
received them through reliable transmission.
Moreover, through such a completely authentic chain
of transmission it is known that the Holy Prophet
I leave two things of value amidst you in trust which,
if you hold on to, you will never go astray, the Qur'an
and the members of my household. These will never
be separated until the Day of Judgment.
According to this and other definitely established
hadith the words of the Family and Household of the
Prophet form a corpus that is complementary to the
prophetic hadith. The Household of the Prophet in
Islam has authority in religious sciences and is
inherent in the explanation of the teachings and
injunctions of Islam. Their sayings, received orally or
through reliable transmission, are reliable and
Therefore, it is clear that the traditional source from
which the formal and external aspect of religion is
derived, which is an authoritative document and
which is also the basic source for the religious
thought of Islam, consists of two parts: the Book (the
Qur'an) and the Sunnah. By the Book is meant the
external aspect of the verses of the Holy Qur'an; and
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by the Sunnah, hadith received from the Prophet and
his revered Household.
Traditions of the Companions
In Shi'ism hadith transmitted through the companions
are dealt with according to this principle: if they deal
with the words and actions of the Prophet and do not
contradict the hadith of the Household of the Prophet,
they are acceptable. If they contain only the views or
opinions of the companions themselves and not those
of the Prophet, they are not authoritative as sources
for religious injunctions. In this respect the ruling of
the companions is like the ruling of any other
Muslim. In the same way, the companions
themselves dealt with other companions in questions
of Islamic law as they would with any Muslim, not as
someone special.
The Book and Tradition
The Book of God, the Holy Quran, is the principal
source of every from of Islamic thought. It is the
Qur'an which gives religious validity and authority to
every other religious source in Islam. Therefore, it
must be comprehensible to all. Moreover, the Qur'an
describes itself as the light which illuminates all
things. Also it challenges men and requests them to
ponder over its verses and observe that there are no
disparities of contradictions in them. It invites them
to compose a similar work, if they can, to replace it.
It is clear that if the Holy Qur'an were not
comprehensible to all there would be no place for
such assertions.
To say that the Qur'an is in itself comprehensible to
all is not in any way contradictory to the previous
assertion that the Prophet and his Household are
religious authorities in the Islamic sciences, which
are in reality only elaboration of the content of the
Qur'an. For instance, in the part of the Islamic
sciences which comprise the injunctions and laws of
the Shari'ah the Qur'an contains only the general
principles. The clarification and elaboration of their
details, such as the manner of accomplishing the
daily prayers, fasting, exchanging merchandise, and
in fact all acts of worship (ibadat) and transactions
(mu'amalat), can he achieved only by referring to the
traditions of the Holy Prophet and his Household.
As for the other part of the Islamic sciences dealing
with doctrines and ethical methods and practices
although their content and details can be
comprehended by all, the understanding of their full
meaning depends on accepting the method of the
Household of the Prophet. Also each verse of the
Qur'an must be explained and interpreted by means
of other Qur'anic verses, not by views which have
become acceptable and familiar to us only through
habit and custom.
Ali has said:
Some parts of the Qur'an speak with other parts of it
revealing to us their meaning and some parts attest to
the meaning of others.
And the Prophet has said,
Parts of the Qur'an verify other parts.
And also:
Whosoever interprets the Qur'an according to his own
opinion has made a place for himself in the fire.
As a simple example of the commentary of the
Qur'an through the Qur'an may be cited the story of
the torture of the people of Lot about whom in one
place God says, "And we rained on them a rain," and
in another place He has changed this phrase to, "Lo!
We sent a storm of stones upon them (all).'
By relating the second verse to the first it becomes
clear that by "rain" is meant "stones" from heaven.
Whoever has studied with care the hadith of the
Household of the Prophet, and the outstanding
companions who were the followers of the Prophet,
will have no doubt that the commentary of the Qur'an
through the Qur'an is the sole method of Qur'anic
commentary taught by the Household of the Prophet.
The Outward and Inward Aspects of the Qur'an
It has been explained that the Holy Qur'an elucidates
religious aims through its own words and gives
commands to mankind in matters of doctrine and
action. But the meaning of the Qur'an is not limited to
this level.
Rather, behind these same expressions and within
these same meanings there are deeper and wider
levels of meaning, which only the spiritual elite who
possess pure hearts can comprehend.
The Prophet, who is the divinely appointed teacher of
the Quran, says:
The Qur'an has a beautiful exterior and a profound
He has also said,
The Qur'an has an inner dimension, and that inner
dimension has an inner dimension up to seven inner
Also, in the sayings of the Imams there are numerous
references to the inner aspect of the Qur'an.
The main support of these assertions is a symbol,
which God has mentioned in Chapter XIII, verse 17,
of the Qur'an. In this verse divine gifts are
symbolized by rain that falls from heaven and upon
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which depends the life of the earth and its
inhabitants. With the coming of the rain, floods begin
to flow and each riverbed accepts a certain amount of
the flood, depending on its capacity. As it flows, the
flood is covered with foam, but beneath the foam
there is that same water which is life giving and
beneficial to mankind.
As is indicated by this symbolic story, the capacity
for comprehension of divine sciences, which are the
source of man's inner life, differs among people.
There are those for whom there is no reality beyond
physical existence and the material life of this world
which lasts but a few days.
Such people are attached to material appetites and
physical desires alone and fear nothing but the loss of
material benefits and sensory enjoyment. Such
people, taking into consideration the differences of
degree among them, can at best accept the divine
sciences on the level of believing in a summary
fashion in the doctrines and performing the practical
commands of Islam in a purely outward manner
without any comprehension. They worship God with
the hope of recompense or tear of punishment in the
next world.
There are also those who because of the purity of
their nature, do not consider their well being to lie in
attachment to the transient pleasures of the fleeting
life of this world. The losses and gains and hitter and
sweet experiences of this world are for them no more
than and attractive illusion.
Memory of those who have passed before them in the
caravan of existence, who were pleasure-seekers
yesterday and no more than subjects of stories today,
is a warning that is continuously present before their
eyes. Such men who possess pure hearts are naturally
attracted to the world of eternity. They view the
different phenomena of this passing world as symbols
and portents of the higher world, not as persisting and
independent realities.
It is at this point that through earthly and heavenly
signs, upon the horizons and within the souls of men,
they "observe" in a spiritual vision the Infinite Light
of the Majesty and Glory of God. Their hearts
become completely enamored with the longing to
reach and understanding of the secret symbols of
creation. Instead of being imprisoned in the dark and
narrow well of personal gain and selfishness they
begin to fly in the unlimited space of the world of
eternity and advance ever onwards toward the zenith
of the spiritual world.
When they hear that God has forbidden the worship
of idols, which outwardly means bowing down
before an idol, they understand this command to
mean that they should not obey other than God, for to
obey means to bow down before someone and to
serve him. Beyond that meaning they understand that
they should not have hope or fear of other than God:
beyond that, they should not surrender to the
demands of their selfish appetites; and beyond that,
they should not concentrate on anything except God,
May His Name be Glorified.
Likewise when they hear from the Qur'an that they
should pray, the external meaning of which is to
perform the particular rites of prayers, through its
inner meaning they comprehend that they must
worship and obey God with all their hearts and souls.
Beyond that they comprehend that before God they
must consider themselves as nothing, must forget
themselves and remember only God.
It can be seen that the inner meaning present in these
two examples is not due to the outward expression of
the command and prohibition in question. Yet the
comprehension of this meaning is unavoidable for
anyone who has begun to meditate upon a more
universal order and has preferred to gain a vision of
the universe of reality rather than his own ego, who
has preferred objectivity to an egocentric
From this discussion the meaning of the outward and
inward aspects of the Qur'an has become clear. It has
also become evident that the inner meaning of the
Qur'an does not eradicate or invalidate its outward
meaning. Rather, it is like the soul, which gives life
to the body. Islam, which is a universal and eternal
religion and places the greatest emphasis upon the
"reformation" of mankind, can never disperse with its
external laws which are for the benefit of society, nor
with its simple doctrines which are the guardians and
preservers of these laws.
How can a society, on the pretense that religion is
only a matter of the heart, that man's heart should be
pure and that there is no value to actions, live in
disorder and yet attain happiness? How can impure
deeds and words cause the cultivation of a pure
heart? Or how can impure words emanate from a
pure heart? God says in His Book,
Vile women are for vile men, and vile men for vile
women. Good women are for good men, and good
men for good women. (XXIV: 26).
He also says,
As for the good land, its vegetation cometh forth by
permission of its Lord, while as for that which is bad,
only evil cometh forth (from it) (VII: 58).
Thus it becomes evident that the Holy Qur'an has an
outward and an inward aspect and the inward aspect
itself has different levels of meaning. The hadith
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literature, which explains the content of the Qur'an
also contains these various aspects.
The Principles of Interpretation of the Qur'an
At the beginning of Islam it was commonly believed
by some Sunnis that if there were sufficient reason
one could ignore the outward meaning of Qur'anic
verses and ascribe to them a contrary meaning.
Usually the meaning which opposed the outward
literal meaning was called ta'wil, and what is called
"taw'il of the Qur'an" in Sunni Islam is usually
understood in this sense.
In the religious works of Sunni scholars as well as in
the controversies that have been recorded as taking
place between different schools, one often observes
that if a particular point of doctrine (that has been
established through the consensus of the ulama
(scholars) of a school or through some other means)
is opposed to the outward meaning of a verse of the
Quran that verse is interpreted by ta'wil to have a
meaning contrary to its apparent meaning.
Sometimes two contending sides support two
opposing views and present Qur'anic verses in proof
of their contentions. Each side interprets the verses
presented by the other side through ta'wil This
method has also penetrated more or less into Shi'ism
and can he seen in some Shi'ite theological works.
Yet, sufficient deliberation upon Qur'anic verses and
the hadith of the Household of the Prophet
demonstrates clearly that the Holy Qur'an with its
attractive language and eloquent and lucid expression
never uses enigmatic or puzzling methods of
exposition and always expounds any subject in a
language suitable for that subject. What has been
rightly called ta'wil, or hermeneutic interpretation, of
the Holy Qur'an is not concerned simply with the
denotation of words. Rather, it is concerned with
certain truths and realities that transcend the
comprehension of the common run of men; yet it is
from these truths and realities that the principles of
doctrine and the practical injunctions of the Qur'an
issue forth.
The whole of the Qur'an possesses the sense of ta'wil,
of esoteric meaning, which cannot be comprehended
directly through human thought alone. Only the
prophets and the pure among the saints of god who
are free from the dross of human imperfection can
contemplate these meanings while living on the
present plane of existence. On the Day of
Resurrection the ta'wil of the Qur'an will be revealed
to every one.
This assertion can be explained by pointing to the
fact that what forces man to use speech, create words
and make use of expressions is nothing other than his
social and material needs. In his social life man is
forced to try to make his fellow men understand his
thoughts and intentions and the feelings which exist
within his soul. To accomplish this end he makes use
of sounds and hearing. Occasionally also he uses to a
degree his eyes and gestures. That is why between
the mute and the blind there can never be any mutual
comprehension. For whatever the blind man says the
deaf cannot hear, and whatever the mute makes
understood through gestures the blind man cannot
The creation of words and the naming of objects have
been accomplished mostly with a material end in
view. Expressions have been created for those
objects, states, and conditions that are material and
available to the senses or near to the sensible world.
As can be seen in those cases where the person
addressed lacks one of the physical senses, if we wish
to speak of matters which can be comprehended
through the missing sense we employ a kind of
allegory and similitude. For example, if we wish to
describe light of color to one who is born blind, or
the pleasures of sex to a child that has not reached the
age of adolescence, we seek to achieve our purpose
through comparison and allegory and through
providing appropriate examples.
Therefore, if we accept the hypothesis that in the
scale of Universal Existence there are immense levels
of reality which are independent of the world of
matter (and this is in reality the case), and that in
each generation there are among mankind but a
handful who have the capability of comprehending
and having a vision of these realities, then questions
pertaining to these higher worlds cannot be
understood through common verbal expressions and
modes of thought. They cannot be referred to except
by allusion and through symbolism. Since religious
realities are of this kind, the expression of the Quran
in such matters must of necessity be symbolic.
God says in His Book,
Lo! We have appointed it a Lecture in Arabic that
haply ye may understand. And Lo! in the Source of
Decrees, which We possess, it is indeed sublime,
decisive. (Common comprehension cannot
understand it or penetrate into it.) (XLIII: 3-4).
He also says,
That (this) is indeed a noble Qur'an. In a book kept
hidden, which none toucheth save the purified. (LVI:
Concerning the Prophet and his Household he says,
Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from
you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a
thorough cleansing. (XXXIII: 33).
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As proved by these verses, the Holy Qur'an emanates
from sources beyond the comprehension of common
man. No one can have a full comprehension of the
Qur'an save those servants of God whom He has
chosen to purify. And the Household of the Prophet
are among those pure beings.
In another place God says.
Nay, but they denied that (the Qur'an), the knowledge
whereof they could not compass, and whereof the
interpretation (in events) [ta'wil] hath not yet come
into them. (X: 40), (meaning the day of Resurrection
when the truth of things will become known).
And again he says,
On the day (the Day of Resurrection) when the
fulfillment [ta'wil] thereof (of the whole Qur'an)
cometh, those who were before forgetful thereof will
say. The messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth!
(VII: 53).
The principle that the hadith possesses validity, as
attested by the Qur'an, is not at all disputed among
Shi'ites or in fact among all Muslims. But because of
the failure of some of the early rulers of Islam in
preserving and guarding the hadith, and the excesses
of a group among the companions and followers of
the Prophet in propagating hadith literature, the
corpus of hadith came to face a certain number of
On the one hand, the caliphs of the time prevented
the writing down and recording of the hadith and
ordered any pages containing texts of hadith to be
burned. Sometimes also any increase in activity in the
transmission and study of hadith was forbidden. In
this way a certain number of hadith were forgotten or
lost and a few were even transmitted with a different
or distorted meaning. On the other hand, another
tendency also prevailed among another group of the
companions of the Holy Prophet who had had the
honor of seeing his presence and actually hearing his
words. This group, which was respected by the
caliphs and the Muslim community, began an intense
effort to propagate the hadith. This was carried to
such an extent that sometimes hadith overruled the
Qur'an and the injunction of a Qur'anic verse was
even considered abrogated by some people through a
hadith. Often the transmitters of hadith would travel
many miles and hear all the difficulties of travelling
in order to hear a single saying.
A group of outsiders who had worn the dress of Islam
and also some of the enemies within the ranks of
Islam began to change and distort some of the hadith
and thus diminished the reliability and validity of the
hadith that was then heard and known. For this very
reason Islamic scholars began to think of a solution.
They created the sciences concerned with the
biography of learned men and chains of transmission
of hadith in order to be able to discriminate between
true and false hadith.
The Method of Shi'ism in Authenticating the
Shi'ism, in addition to seeking to authenticate the
chain of transmission of hadith, considers the
correlation of the text of the hadith with the Qur'an as
a necessary condition for its validity. In Shi'ite
sources there are many hadith of the Prophet and the
Imams with authentic chains of transmission which
themselves assert that a hadith contrary to the Qur'an
has no value. Only that hadith can be considered
valid which is in agreement with the Qur'an.
Basing itself on these hadiths, Shi'ism does not act
upon those hadiths which are contrary to the text of
the Qur'an. As for hadiths whose agreement or
disagreement cannot be established according to
instructions received from the Imams they are passed
by in silence without being accepted or rejected.
Needless to say there are also within Shi'ism those
who, like a group among the Sunnis act on any hadith
whatsoever which they happen to find in different
traditional sources.
The Method of Shi'ism in Following the Hadith
A hadith heard directly from the mouth of the
Prophet or one of the Imams is accepted as is the
Qur'an. As for hadiths received through
intermediaries, the majority of Shi'ites act upon them
if their chain of transmission is established at every
step or if there exists definite proof concerning their
truth, and, if they are concerned with principles of
doctrine which require knowledge and certainty,
according to the text of the Qur'an. Other than these
two kinds of hadith, no other hadith has any validity
concerning principles of doctrine, the invalid hadith
being called "tradition with a sincere transmitter"
(khabar wahid). However, in establish in the
injunctions of the Shari'ah, because of reasons that
have been given, Shi'ites act also on a tradition which
is generally accepted as reliable. Therefore, it can be
said that for Shi'ism a certain and definitely
established hadith is absolutely binding and must be
followed, while a hadith which is not absolutely
established but which is generally considered as
reliable is utilized only in the elaboration of the in
junctions of the Shari'ah.
Shi'ism and the Transmitted Sciences
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The Islamic sciences, which owe their existence to
the ulama of Islam who organized and formulated
them, are divided into the two categories of
intellectual ('aqli) and transmitted (naqli). The
intellectual sciences include such sciences as
philosophy and mathematics. The transmitted
sciences are those which depend upon transmission
from some source, such as the sciences of language,
hadith, or history. Without doubt the major cause for
the appearance of the transmitted sciences in Islam is
the Holy Qur'an. With the exception of a few
disciplines such as history, genealogy, and prosody
the other transmitted sciences have all come into
being under the influence of the Holy Book. Guided
by religious discussions and research, Muslims began
to cultivate these sciences, of which the most
important are Arabic literature (grammar, rhetoric,
and the science of metaphors) and the sciences
pertaining to the external form of religion (recitation
of the Qur'an, Qur'anic commentary (tafsir) hadith,
biography of learned men, the chain of transmission
of hadith, and the principles of jurisprudence).
Shi'ites played an essential role in the foundation and
establishment of these sciences. In fact, the founders
and creators of many of these sciences were Shi'ites.
Arabic grammar was put into a systematic form by
Abu'l-Aswad al-Du'ali, one of the companions of the
Holy Prophet and by Ali. Ali dictated an outline for
the organization of the science of Arabic grammar.
One of the founders of the science of eloquence
(rhetoric and the science o metaphors) was Sahib ibn
'Ahbad a Shi'ite, who was a vizier of the Buyids.
The first Arabic dictionary is the Kitab al-Ayn
composed by the famous scholar, Khalil ibn Ahmad
al-Basre the Shi'ite who founded the science of
prosody. He was also the teacher of the great master
of grammar, Sibuwayh.
The Qur'anic recitation of Asim goes back to Ali
through one intermediary, and 'Abdallah ibn 'Abbas,
who in hadith was the foremost among the
companions, was a student of Ali. The contributions
of the Household of the Prophet and their associates
in hadith and jurisprudence are well known. The
founders of the four Sunni schools of law are known
to have associated with the fifth and sixth Shi'ite
Imams. In the principles of jurisprudence the
remarkable advances accomplished by the Shi'ite
scholar Wahid Bihbahani and followed by Shaykh
Murtada Ansari have never been matched in Sunni
jurisprudence according to existing evidence.

Message of Thaqalayn

Dr. 'Abd al-Karim Bi-Azar Shirazi
Translated by Sayyid 'Ali Shahbaz
Vol. 5, No. 4, Summer 2000/1421
"O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek an
approach unto Him..."
(Holy Qur'an 5:35)
Over the last few centuries, the Muslims have been
wracked by severe discord and hostility over the
issue of tawassul (beseeching or supplicating) to
Prophet Muhammad (s), the Ahl al-Bayt ('a), the
Saints and the Pious, to the extent that those who
reject this concept have accused its supporters of
shirk or polytheism, while the upholders of tawassul
have charged its opponents with enmity and aversion
towards the Prophet (s) and his Infallible Household
('a). The result has led to increasing bigotry on both
sides to the benefit of their common enemies who
have increased their domination of Muslim lands.
This article is an attempt to examine and critically
study the issue of tawassul.
Definition of Tawassul
The lexical meaning of tawassul is 'nearness' or a
'means' through which to reach a certain goal. For
instance, when it is said wa wassala ila Allah, it
means to perform a certain act for gaining proximity
to God. Accordingly wasil here means being
'desirous of God'.[1]
According to the prominent Sunni scholar, Sayyid
Muhammad Alusi al-Baghdadi, wasilah is a means of
imploring in order to gain nearness to God through
good deeds and abstaining from sins. For example
when it is said "wasala ila kadha," it means a thing
through which nearness is gained.
As is clear from the wordings of ayah 35 of Surah al-
Ma'idah, which we quoted at the beginning of the
article, "fear Allah" is a commandment to abstain
from sin, while "seek an approach unto Him" is an
order to perform worship and acts of devotion.[2]
Both Raghib Isfahani and 'Allamah Sayyid
Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i opine that al-wasilah
means to reach a certain goal through desire,
inclination or willingness, and in fact wasilah
towards God means observance of His path with
knowledge and worship through adherence to the
Shari'ah. In other words wasilah is a means of
communication and spiritual link between mankind
and God.
According to a narration al-wasilah is a position in
paradise which is reserved for only one person, and
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Prophet Muhammad (s) has asked the ummah to pray
that this status be granted to him.[3]
a) Tawassul to the Prophet and Saints during
their Lifetime
In the opinion of the founder of the Wahhabi sect,
Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, and other like-
minded 'ulama' of the past, it is permissible to seek
help from fellow humans, as during wars and other
affairs, if the person or the group who is being asked
or entreated has the power and ability to help.[4]
Alusi believes that appealing to people, making them
a wasilah or means and requesting them to supplicate
to God is permissible without the least doubt,
provided that the one who is being requested is alive,
whether or not the one who is petitioned is superior
than the petitioner, since the Prophet (s) used to say
to some of his companions: "O brother do not forget
us in your supplications to Allah."
However, Alusi is of the opinion that if the one who
is being petitioned is not alive, it is not permissible to
request him for supplication. But Alusi adds that it is
permissible to supplicate at the shrine of the Prophet
(s), since the companions of the Prophet (s) used to
stand beside his shrine and supplicate with face
towards the Qiblah.
b) Tawassul to the Prophet after his Death
The 'ulama' are divided whether or not it is
permissible after the death of the Prophet (s) to make
him the means of supplication with such phrases as
Allahumma inni asaluka bi-Nabiyyika (O Allah! I
beseech You through Your Prophet), or bi-jahi
Nabiyyika (by the dignity of Your Prophet), or still
bi-Haqqi Nabiyyika (for the sake of Your Prophet).
We come across three different opinions in this
1. Opinion on Permissibility
All jurists including Imami, Shafi'i, Maliki, and later-
day Hanafi scholars as well as others such as the
Hanbalis, are unanimous on the permissibility of this
way of supplication, whether it was in the lifetime of
the Prophet (s), or whether it is after his passing
The Abbasid caliph, Mansur al-Dawaniqi, once asked
Malik ibn Anas the founder of the Maliki School of
jurisprudence whether he should turn towards the
shrine of the Prophet (s) or face the Qiblah for
supplication? Malik answered him:
Why do you want to turn away from the
Prophet (s) when he (Prophet Muhammad
(s)) is the wasilah (means) for you and for
your father Adam, towards Allah on the Day
of Resurrection. Turn to him (the Prophet)
and seek his intercession (shafa'at).[6]
The Sunni scholar al-Nawawi in describing the
manners and etiquette of making
pilgrimage to the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (s),
The pilgrim should face the shrine of the
Messenger of Allah (s), make him a means
(tawassul) towards reaching God and seek
his wasilah as intercession (shafa'at), in the
same manner as the Bedouin who visited the
Prophet's shrine and standing beside it said:
Peace unto you O Messenger of Allah, I
have heard Allah has said:
...Had they, when they had wronged
themselves, come to you and asked Allah's
forgiveness and the Apostle had asked
forgiveness for them, they would certainly
have found Allah Most-Propitious, Most-
Merciful. (Holy Qur'an 4: 64).
Therefore, I have come to you for
forgiveness of my sins and seeking your
intercession with Allah.[7]
Ibn Qudamah Hanbali, defining the manner of
pilgrimage to the shrine of the Prophet (s), writes in
the book al-Mughni:
Stand beside the tomb of the Prophet (s),
and say: I have come to you for forgiveness
of my sins and to seek your intercession
with Allah. [8]
The Shafi'ite scholar Ghazzali has allotted a special
section in his book Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din concerning the
manners of pilgrimage to the shrine of the Prophet (s)
in order to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.
He writes:
The Prophet should be made the means
(wasilah) and the intercessor (shafi'), and
with face turned towards the tomb, the
pilgrim should implore Allah for the sake
and position of the Prophet with the words:
"O Allah, indeed You have said, Had they,
who had wronged themselves, come to you
and asked Allah's forgiveness and the
Apostle had asked forgiveness for them, they
would have certainly found Allah Most-
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Propitious, Most-Merciful (Holy Qur'an
O Allah, surely we have heard Your words
and we obey Your command, by coming to
Your Prophet to seek his intercession with
You for our sins; how burdensome and
heavy (are sins) on our backs! We repent of
slipperiness, we confess our wrongs and our
faults, accept our repentance for his sake,
make Your Prophet intercessor for us, and
exalt us for the sake of his position and his
rights with You."
Al-Ghazzali adds:
It is recommended the pilgrim should go
daily to the Baqi' Cemetery and after
saluting the Prophet (s), make pilgrimage to
the tombs of (Imam) Hasan ibn 'Ali, (Imam)
'Ali ibn al-Husayn, (Imam) Muhammad ibn
'Ali and (Imam) Ja'far ibn Muhammad
(Allah be pleased with them), and also
perform the Salat in the Mosque of Fatimah
(Allah be pleased with her).[9]
2. Opinion on Aversion
The jurist Abu Yusuf relates from his teacher Abu
Hanifah that it is not right for anyone to call Allah
except through (the Names and Attributes) Allah,
since He says: "And to Allah belong the beautiful
Names, so call on Him thereby." (Holy Qur'an
Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Shaybani
also feel averse in invoking God by means (tawassul)
of the Prophet and his position, on the assumption
that the creatures have no right on the Almighty
Creator, and He showers His mercy on whomever He
Ibn 'Abidin, however, says in this regard: True, the
creatures have no right whatsoever upon the Creator,
but the Creator through His favours has given rights
to mankind. On this basis, he relates a hadith
concerning the manners of supplication and tawassul:
Allahumma inni asaluka bi-haqqi al-sa'ilina
'alayk (O Allah! I beseech you for the rights
that seekers have upon You). [10]
Except for this narration of Ibn 'Abidin, we find no
opinion or view from either Abu Hanifah or his
friend Abu Yusuf in the books of Hanafi scholars
concerning tawassul to God through the wasilah
(means) of the Prophet (s).[11]
Opinion of Contemporary Hanafi Scholars on
Here, we will study the legal opinions (fatawa) of
contemporary Hanafi scholars on permissibility of
tawassul to the Prophet (s).
Alusi al-Baghdadi quotes Ibn 'Abd al-Salam as
saying that it is permissible to invoke Allah for the
sake of the Prophet (s), since Prophet Muhammad (s)
is the leader of the children of Adam. Alusi bases his
reasoning on the hadith (hasan and sahih) related by
both Tirmidhi and Ahmad ibn Hanbal on the
authority of 'Uthman bin Hunayf, which says that:
Once when a blind man asked the Prophet
(s) to pray to Allah to grant him eyesight, he
was told to make wudu' and recite the
following supplication:
O Allah! I request you and I have turned to
you through Your Prophet, the Prophet of
Mercy; O Messenger of Allah! I have turned
to you as a means towards My God for
fulfilment of this wish of mine; O Allah!
Accept his (Prophet's) intercession (shafa'at)
for me.
Alusi thus believes that there is no objection in
making tawassul to God by means of the dignity
(jah) and prime position of the Prophet (s), whether it
is in his lifetime or after his death, since dignity here
refers to an attribute which is one of the attributes of
Almighty Allah. Alusi also says that tawassul by
means of dignity of a person other than the Prophet
(s) is also permissible, provided that the one who is
being considered a wasilah has a station and position
of dignity in the sight of Allah.[12]
The famous Sunni scholar of India, Shaykh Khalil
Ahmad Saharanpuri in his book al-Muhannad 'ala al-
Mufannid has collected the fatawa or legal opinions
of 75 leading Sunni scholars from different parts of
the Islamic world on the permissibility of tawassul to
the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (s). He writes:
In our opinion and that of our teachers,
pilgrimage to the shrine of the Master of
Messengers (my soul be sacrificed for him)
is the most exalted of proximities, the most
important of blessings, and the greatest of
means (wasilah) for attaining lofty ranks. It
could be said that it is an enjoinment almost
to the degree of obligations, even if it
requires the trouble of a journey to perform
it and there is no other option other than to
make efforts with life and wealth.
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Tawassul to the Prophets, saints, pious
persons, martyrs and the righteous during
supplications, whether in their lifetime or
after their death, is permissible in the
following manner:
Allahumma inni atawassalu ilayka bi-fulan
an tujiba da'wati wa taqdia hajati (O Allah!
I beseech you by means of so and so a
person, accept my supplication and grant my
Tawassul in the View of Prominent Imami 'Ulama'
According to such prominent Imami 'ulama' as
Shaykh al-Ta'ifah Tusi, Shaykh Amin al-Islam
Tabrisi, 'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn
Tabataba'i, Imam Sayyid Ruhullah Khumayni and
others, wasilah means faith, love and reverence for
the Prophet (s) and obedience to him.
'Allamah Tabataba'i writes in his monumental
exegesis on the Holy Qur'an that the word al-wasilah
or 'approach' as used in the Ayah "and seek an
approach unto Him" (5:35) confirms the reality of
worship and means turning submissively and
supplicatingly to God, with knowledge and practice
serving as the requisite instrument for this
Furthermore, elaborating on the narration found in
the Tafsir of 'Ali bin Ibrahim Qummi that the Ayah
"and seek an approach unto Him" means seeking
Allah's proximity through the Infallible Imam ('a),
'Allamah Tabataba'i, says that this refers to obedience
or adhering to the path of the Imam ('a) in order to
reach Allah.[15]
It is evident that the Prophet (s) and the Infallible
Imams ('a) who are considered the practical models
of divine law and the finest exemplars of morals and
etiquette, are the wasilah, since it is through
obedience to them and adherence to their path that
one can attain proximity to God. Likewise, as stated
by prominent Imami or Shi'ah jurists, the laws of the
Shari'ah are the wasilah, on the basis of adherence to
which, proximity of Almighty Allah is attained.
Accordingly, some prominent Imami jurisprudents
like Shaykh Hurr al-'Amili, Ayatullah Abu al-Hasan
Isfahani and Imam Khumayni have used the title
wasilah for their jurisprudential treatises such as
Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, Wasilah al-Najat and Tahrir al-
Wasilah, respectively. Wasilah al-Najat or the
'Means of Salvation' is the title of over 40 scientific
treatises written by Shi'ah 'ulama'.[16]
Thus, as ascertained by Imami scholars, the Prophet
(s) is the wasilah towards God for Muslims since he
is the best exemplar and is in fact the 'Practical
Qur'an'. So also is the Prophet's (s) infallible progeny
('a), who along with the Book of Allah (Holy Qur'an),
is the immortal legacy of the Prophet and
continuation of his path as borne out by the Hadith
al-Thaqalayn which is unanimously confirmed by
both Shi'ah and Sunni 'ulama'. Muslims, through the
wasilah of these two, hold fast to divine laws and
strive to attain Allah's proximity, since good deeds,
obedience and adherence to the Qur'an, the Prophet
(s) and his Infallible Ahl al-Bayt ('a) are the basis of
shafa'at. This is better explained by 'Allamah
Tabataba'i in his exegesis:
Persons who lack any ability to attain the
required perfection are like the illiterate who
wants to become the doyen of scholars
merely through recommendation, since he
neither has any basic learning nor has he the
required connection with the one who could
intercede. Or they could be compared to a
slave who is disobedient to his master, but
without coming out of this state of
insubordination and disobedience wants to
be forgiven through intercession (shafa'at).
In none of these two cases intercession is
beneficial, since shafa'at is the wasilah or
means for accomplishment of a cause and is
not a cause in itself to make him a doyen of
scholars in the first case, and in the second
case to avail forgiveness from the master in
the state of disobedience.[17]
Therefore, as it has been clearly mentioned in the
Holy Qur'an, if a person does not fulfil his
obligations and adherence to the path of the Prophet
(s) and the Infallible Imams ('a), he will not be
considered worthy of shafa'at, even if the Prophet (s)
were to intercede on his behalf.
"Alike it is for them whether you seek
forgiveness for them or seek not forgiveness
for them; Never will God forgive them..."
3. Opinion on Non-Permissibility of Tawassul
In the opinion of Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyyah and
later Hanbali scholars tawassul to the person of the
Prophet (s) himself is not permissible. Tawassul has
three concepts, of which two are deemed correct, and
according to Ibn Taymiyyah, whoever rejects these
two concepts of tawassul is either an infidel or an
1) Tawassul to the Prophet (s) to reach God is
indicative of faith and love for the Prophet (s). For
example, when it is said Allahumma asaluka bi-
Nabiyyika Muhammad (O Allah! I beseech you for
the sake of your Prophet, Muhammad (s)), it means I
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seek from You on the basis of the faith and love
which I have for Your Prophet.
The Ayah "and seek an approach unto Him", is a
means of approaching Allah by obedience to Him
and His Messenger, as it is said: Whoever obeys the
Prophet has indeed obeyed Allah.
This concept of tawassul is permissible in the opinion
of all 'ulama'. Ibn Taymiyyah has considered it a
pious act and has supported his views by citing
reports from certain companions of the Prophets, the
first generation of Muslims (tabi'in) and jurists such
as Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.[18]
2) The concept of tawassul as supplication or
intercession (shafa'at) of the Prophet, like the
supplication of the second caliph, which reads: "O
Allah! Whenever drought afflicted us we made
tawassul to You through our Prophet (tawassalna
ilayka bi-Nabiyyina), and now we make tawassul to
You through the uncle of our Prophet,
Send down rain for us."
3) The concept of tawassul as making an oath or
invoking Allah by the right of the Prophet (s).
According to Ibn Taymiyyah this form of tawassul
was neither done during the lifetime of the Prophet
nor after him by his companions. In this regard
contemporary scholars opposed to tawassul have
quoted Abu Hanifah as saying: Do not say asaluka
bi-haqqi anbiya'ika (I invoke You by the right of
Your Prophets). [19]
Rejection of Ibn Taymiyyah's Opinion
1. The claim that the companions of the Prophet (s)
never supplicated in this manner is the understanding
and deduction of Ibn Taymiyyah. How do we know
that when the second caliph says "we make tawassul
to You through our Prophet" does not mean "for the
right of our Prophet (bi-haqqi nabiyyina)", or is not
addressed to the Prophet himself? Most Sunni 'ulama'
have given the latter meaning and from the wording
of the sentence itself the Prophet is being called
2. Suppose none of the companions had made
tawassul by the right of any of the divine Prophets, it
does not mean tawassul is Haram even if some of the
companions were to explicitly prohibit such an act.
The opinion of the companions of the Prophet (s) is
not binding on the Muslim ummah, except perhaps
for a few jurisprudents, unless it is related from
Prophet Muhammad (s) himself.
Justification of the Salafiyyah on Non-
Permissibility of Tawassul
Ibn Taymiyyah in Qa'idah Jalilah, Ibn 'Abd al-
Wahhab in Kashf al-Shubahat and Muhammad
Rashid Rida in Tafsir al-Manar, opine that although
during the life of Prophet Muhammad (s), his
companions would address him for their needs, after
his death they never approached his tomb for their
needs. They even forbade those who intended to
supplicate beside the Prophet's (s) tomb.
It is interesting to note that a review and analysis of
these opinions brings out different historical facts.
First of all, the predecessors, whether the companions
or the first and second generation of Muslims, never
denied tawassul to the Prophet (s), either during his
lifetime or after his passing away. It has been
mentioned in the narrations of the Ahl al-Sunnah
even the first created man, Adam, implored Allah for
forgiveness through tawassul to Prophet Muhammad
(s) with the words: "O Allah! for the sake of
Muhammad (s) I beseech you to forgive my faults."
Secondly, prominent Sunni scholars such as Bayhaqi
and Ibn Abi Shaybah as well as Ahmad bin Zayni
Dahlan in his Khulasah al-Kalam, have cited a sahih
(authentic) hadith, that during the caliphate of 'Umar
ibn Khattab when a severe famine occurred, Bilal bin
Harth approached the Prophet's (s) tomb and said: "O
Messenger of Allah, pray to God to send rains for
your ummah, since we are all facing annihilation."
The Prophet then appeared in Bilal's dream and gave
him the tidings of rains.
Similarly during the caliphate of 'Uthman ibn 'Affan,
a needy person approached the Caliph and told him
of his needs. 'Uthman asked him to make wudu, offer
prayer in the mosque and then supplicate in the
following manner:
O Lord! through the wasilah of our Prophet
Muhammad (s), the Messenger of Mercy, I
turn my face to You. O Muhammad (s)!
through your wasilah I am facing Your Lord
and I request you to grant me my wish. The
person attained his goal. [21]
Tamassuk in the Opinion of Abu Hanifah
Ibn Taymiyyah says that taking an oath or invoking
by virtue of the creatures is haram according to the
creed (madhhab) of Abu Hanifah. [22]
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Abu Hanifah, the founder of the Hanafi sect, also
opines that istidlal (rational proof) and tamassuk
(bond, holding fast) are matters of doubt or anxiety
because of two aspects. Abu Yusuf quoting his
teacher Abu Hanifah says: "It is not right for
someone to call upon Allah through any other means
than Allah. He (Abu Hanifah) was averse to saying
bi-haqqi fulan (by the right of so and so)".
First, Abu Hanifah has approached this issue with
aversion and a purely personal opinion, as is clear
from the inclusion of istidlal and tamassuk in Bab al-
Karahah of Abu al-Hasan Qaduri's Sharh Karkhi.
Abu Yusuf quoting his teacher Abu Hanifah says:
It is not right for someone to call upon God
through any other means than God. He was
averse to saying for the sake of so and so.
Secondly, a closer look at Abu Hanifah's reasoning
reveals that he himself has tried to resort to rational
argumentation in this regard when he says: "Since the
creatures have no rights on the Creator."[23]
However, Abu Hanifah's analogy falls short of clear
proofs, and does not mean the total negation of any
right, since God Himself has considered the right of
the Prophets and that of the righteous believers as
binding upon Him, as is clear from the following
Ayah of the Holy Qur'an:
Ultimately We deliver Our Apostles and
those who believe, even so it is binding upon
Us that We deliver the believers. (10:103)
The Hanafis such as Ibn 'Abidin accept this right, but
they say that the creatures have no obligatory right on
the Creator. [24]
This viewpoint, even if it is considered general, is
confined to the followers of Abu Hanifah and cannot
be imposed on all schools of Islam.
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 18 of Surah al-
Another reason put forward by the Salafiyyah such as
Muhammad Rashid Rida on non-permissibility of
tawassul to the Prophet after his death is that any
wasilah for proximity to God should be a thing which
God has determined for mankind such as faith, action
and supplication. It was in the middle ages that
tawassul to the person of the Prophets and pious men
became widespread and they were considered wasa'il
ila Allah (means to Allah) by people who would
invoke God by their names and would supplicate to
them at their tombs for their needs, when supplication
is a form of worship as God says in the Holy Qur'an:
"So call you not anyone with Allah." (72:18)
"Surely, those whom you call other than
Allah are subservient (to Allah) like unto
your own selves..." (7:194)
In answer to this objection it should be said that
every supplication is not a form of worship or even
the spirit of worship, since the root of du'a'
(supplication) is da'wat, a word which along with its
derivatives occurs frequently in the Holy Qur'an. For
instance, "...let us call (nad'u) our sons... (3:61)" and
"Make you not the addressing (du'a') of the Prophet
among you like your addressing one another..."
As could be discerned, in most of the 'Ayas the word
du'a' means to call or address. Accordingly neither
every nida' (call) is du'a' nor every du'a' is 'ibadat
(worship). In other words du'a' (supplication)
becomes 'ibadat when the rules of worship such as
servitude and submissiveness to Allah are observed
with acknowledgement of the over lordship of the
Almighty Creator. What connection does this have
with tawassul and tabarruk to the Prophet (s) and the
Infallible Imams ('a) and requesting them for help
and succour?
Thus, the narration al-du'a' huwa al-'ibadah
(supplication is among the acts of worship), does not
necessarily mean that every supplication is a form of
worship. [25]
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayahs 13-14 of Surah
The Salafiyyah also resort to the following Ayah of
the Holy Qur'an as part of their attempt to discourage
...And those whom you call upon other than
Him, own not (even) a straw. If you call on
them they shall hear not your call; and even
if they hear they shall answer you not; and
on the Day of Judgement they will deny your
associating them (with Allah); and none can
(ever) inform you as the All-Aware.
This Ayah refers to the polytheists who worship idols
instead of the One and Only God and supplicate to
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these man-made objects in their hour of need. Allah
says here that these idols do not own even a straw, so
how can they grant anything to those who worship
and prostrate before them? No matter how fervently
these idols are called upon, they do not listen since
they are inanimate objects, and suppose even if they
were to listen, they cannot answer since they do not
have the tongues.[26]
As is crystal clear for any discerning person, it has no
connection whatsoever concerning tawassul to the
Prophet (s) and the Infallible Imams ('a) or saints.
First and foremost, it is a gross mistake to place those
who seek tawassul in the same category as the
polytheists, since idolaters seek their needs from
idols and not from the Almighty Creator. But those
who make tawassul beseech Allah for their needs and
regard Prophet Muhammad (s) as a wasilah or means
for the acceptance of their supplications, since he is
the Messenger of Allah. To quote Rashid Rida
himself, those who seek tawassul are like guests who
approach the host for some of their needs, and at
times request the members of the household or
friends of the hosts who have been appointed to serve
the guests, since they consider everything to be the
favour of the host.[27]
Secondly, it is a manifest error to equate with idols
the Prophet (s) who has been sent by Allah as a
divine sign and is called Habib-Allah (Friend of God)
by all Muslims. Even Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab maintains
that Prophet Muhammad (s) is alive in his grave and
his life in the intermediary world (barzakh) is
superior to the life of the martyrs, since he hears the
voices of those who send blessings upon him.[28]
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 194 of Surah al-
The fifth reason that the Salafiyyah such as Ibn
Taymiyyah, Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and
Muhammad Rashid Rida have cited as non-
permissibility of tawassul to the Prophet (s) after his
death, is the following Ayah of the Holy Qur'an:
"Surely, those whom you call other than
Allah are subservient (to Allah) like unto
your own selves..." (7:194)
All exegetes of the Holy Qur'an have unanimously
stated that this Ayah refers to the idol-worshippers
who associate man-made objects with God in
creation and in administering the affairs of the world.
In contrast, tawassul is made by those who never
regard the Prophets as partners of Allah in creation
and in running world affairs, and neither do they
worship the Last Prophet (s), since every day several
times they bear testimony that Prophet Muhammad
(s) is the servant and Messenger of Allah (ash-hadu
anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh). As the
Holy Qur'an says, Prophet Muhammad (s) has been
sent as mercy to the entire creation (21:107) and is a
means of acceptance of supplications, so it is natural
for us to request him to supplicate and intercede
(shafa'at) with Allah for us.
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 3 of Surah al-
The Chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh 'Abd al-
'Aziz bin Baz, in his exchange of letters with Iran's
Ayatullah Muhammad Wa'iz-Zadeh Khurasani, has
The polytheists also testified to the Oneness
of Allah but as the Holy Qur'an states, they
tried to justify their worshipping of idols by
saying: "...we worship them not but (in
order) that they make us near to God..."
(39:3). This is similar to the actions of those
who make tawassul to those in the graves in
order to seek proximity to Allah. [29]
'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i
responding to such a reasoning says that according to
the books of religions and the testimony of idol-
worshippers, hundreds of millions of whom live in
India, China and Japan, idolatry is based on the
theory that the creation of the universe and even the
deities which are worshipped, have as their source the
same Almighty God, but since He is beyond
comprehension there is no other choice but to
worship some of His closest servants such as angels,
genies and saints so that they make intercession
(shafa'at) and people may reach the proximity of God
through them. In the opinion of the polytheists,
angels are like the builder to whom the owner of the
house has entrusted the building and hence
intercession (shafa'at) is according to His discretion.
But, adds 'Allamah Tabataba'i, in the Holy Qur'an
tawassul to the Prophets is in the manner of an
intermediary and is not something independent, and
for this reason it has not been considered as shirk or
polytheism. Similarly, the polytheists have been
reproached in the Holy Qur'an not because of seeking
intercession (shafa'at) but because of worshipping
other than God.[30]
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 10 of Surah
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Shaykh Bin Baz in his answers to Ayatullah Wa'iz-
Zadeh has also cited the following Ayah of the Holy
Qur'an as another instance of non-permissibility of
tawassul, saying that in his opinion Muslims who
uphold tawassul to the Prophet (s) are like idolaters
who seek intercession from objects which are of no
"And they worship beside Allah which can
neither hurt them nor profit them, and they
say: these are our intercessors with Allah..."
First, this Ayah has no connection with Muslims
since they do not worship any thing or object except
Secondly, as said earlier, addressing the Prophet is
not meant to worship him but to request him for
supplication and intercession.
Thirdly, it is a matter of surprise to compare the
Prophet to those whom the Holy Qur'an says "can
neither hurt them nor profit them," since the fact
cannot be denied that obedience to the Prophet is to
the benefit of Muslims and disobedience to him,
whether during his lifetime or after his death, is
certainly detrimental to them. Similarly, the
supplication and intercession of the Prophet for those
who are eligible, whether in worldly life or in the
Hereafter, is profitable for the Muslims as
unanimously confirmed by the 'ulama'.
Fourthly, it is a grave error to equate the belief of the
Muslims that Prophet Muhammad (s) is the
intercessor, with the belief of the polytheists "these
(idols) are our intercessors with Allah," since God
has explicitly rejected their claim as lies.
"...those who take guardians besides Him,
(say) we worship them not but (in order)
that they make us near to Allah; surely Allah
will judge between them about what they
differ; surely Allah does not guide the one
who is a liar and an ingrate." (39:3)
As is clear from the wordings of the Holy Qur'an the
polytheists who make such claims are liars. They are
not conscious of God, neither do they worship Him
or prostrate to Him nor have they any faith in their
Unseen Creator:
"And when it is said to them prostrate you in
obeisance to the Rahman (the Beneficent
God), they say: Who is Rahman? Shall we
prostrate in obeisance unto what you bid
us? And it (only) adds to their flight (from
the truth)." (25:60)
Non-Permissibility of Tawassul to the Dead
Another claim put forward by the Salafiyyah is that,
on the basis of evidences tawassul to Prophet
Muhammad (s) during his lifetime is acceptable but
after his death there is lack of evidence to support the
view that tawassul was ever made to him.[31]
The contemporary Sunni scholar Dr. Ramadan Buti
of the University of Damascus, rejects this viewpoint
of the Wahhabiyyah sect. He says tawassul to
Prophet Muhammad (s) and things pertaining to him
is permissible, whether during his lifetime or after his
death, since things or items related to him are not
necessarily linked to his lifetime such as tabarruk
(sacred relics) or tawassul, as is confirmed by Sahih
al-Bukhari, Chapter on the hair of the Prophet.
No Muslim would ever attribute to other than the One
and Only God the effect of anything related to the
person of the Prophet (s) during his life or after his
death. If a person were to hold the opposite view that
this effect is independent in itself, he would be
considered an infidel. Accordingly, the tabarruk of
the Prophet (s) and tawassul to him and to things
related to him, does not mean attributing the blessed
effect to his personal influence independent of God,
but is an indication of the fact that as the Last Divine-
Sent Messenger he is the 'Best of Creation' and is the
'Mercy of Allah' for the entire creation. Therefore
tawassul to him is a means of gaining proximity to
Allah and His infinite Mercy for mankind. It was in
this sense that the companions sought tawassul to the
Prophet and things related to him. Likewise, it is
recommended to seek intercession (shafa'at) through
the pious persons such as the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) of the
Prophet (s).
Sunni authorities including Shawkani, Ibn Qudamah
Hanbali, San'ani and others are unanimous on this
issue as was made clear concerning the request for
rain. In view of these facts, Dr. Buti calls it a strange
confusion by the Wahhabiyyah to make difference
between the lifetime of the Prophet and after his
To quote Professor Hasan bin 'Ali al-Saqqaf,
polytheism (shirk) is polytheism either in this world
or in the next, whether or not the person through
whom people are seeking tawassul to God, is alive.
But, he adds, without the least doubt tawassul to
Prophet Muhammad (s) is supported by the general
rules of permissibility, and includes both his lifetime
and after his death as well as in the Hereafter.[33]
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Tawassul to the Dead is Addressing the Non-
Muhammad bin 'Abd al-Wahhab writes: Tawassul to
a person who is alive has no objection, but tawassul
to the dead is to address the non-existent and is an
absurd, ugly and despised act.
1. This statement is a clear violation of Allah's
words in the Holy Qur'an:
"Reckon not those who are slain in the way
of Allah, to be dead; Nay! They are alive
and are being sustained by their Lord."
2. It is also in contradiction to the saying of Prophet
Muhammad (s) as recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari,
Sahih Muslim and all other authoritative (Sihah)
Sunni works. After the Battle of Badr the Prophet (s)
stood near the well of the same name and addressed
the dead with ayah 46 of Surah al-A'raf. When some
of his companions objected that how could the dead
hear him, the Prophet (s) replied: "You are not more
hearing than them."[34]
3. It is in opposition to the statements of Islamic
intellectuals such as al-Ghazzali who writes in Ihya'
'Ulum al-Din: "Some people think death as extinction
and state of non-existent, and those who hold such
beliefs have no faith and actually mean to deny Allah
and the Hereafter."
Hafiz al-Nawawi in al-Majmu' fi Sharh al-
Muhadhdhab which says that while standing beside
the tombs of Prophets, especially the shrine of
Prophet Muhammad (s), it is recommended to request
them to supplicate to God for our needs, since they
are alive and as the Holy Qur'an says: "are being
sustained by their Lord." (3:169)[35]
Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri who states his
fatwa and that of 75 'ulama' of different Islamic lands
as follows: In our view, Prophet Muhammad (s) is
alive in his holy tomb and his life is similar to
worldly life but without its duties. 'Allamah Jalal al-
Din Suyuti writes in his book Anba' al-Azkiya' bi-
Hayat al-Anbiya' on the authority of Shaykh Taqi al-
Din Subki that the proof of the life of Prophets and
martyrs in their graves is the prayer offered by
Prophet Moses in his own tomb as mentioned in a
hadith. In this regard Shaykh Shams al-Islam
Muhammad Qasim has written a booklet titled Ab-i
4. Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab in answer to Shaykh Ja'far
Najafi said that seeking help from the dead is an
absurd act. But how could this be called shirk since
there is no connection between absurdity and
polytheism? And if tawassul with fellow humans is
considered shirk, then how could the difference
between tawassul to the living and tawassul to the
dead, be ascertained?
5. Here Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab has contradicted his own
opinion, since as we saw earlier in this article he
believed that Prophet Muhammad (s) is alive in his
tomb and said that this state of life of the Prophet (s)
is superior than the life of the martyrs. Ibn 'Abd al-
Wahhab also said that the Prophet (s) hears the voice
of those who send blessings on him.[37]
6. Farid Wajdi mentions in his encyclopaedia:
In our era God has opened two of the
windows of knowledge for us and the proof
of this two windows confirms beyond an
iota of doubt that man has a soul which
without the need of the physical body can
lead its own independent life.[38 ]
From the 19th century onwards the science of
spiritism or contacts with the souls of the departed
has been discovered and developed upon by the
world's researchers after precise study and
experiments in this regard. In the US and Europe, the
summoning of the souls of the departed is part of the
world of science.[39]
The information which modern scientists have
discovered after witnessing the summoning of souls,
is yet another instance of the fact that the human
being has an independent soul outside the physical
body that does not perish with death. The connection
of the souls of the departed with the living is the
finest proof of the independence and immortality of
the soul, and most of its capability concerning many
works is with the permission of Almighty God.[40]
The souls of the righteous and pious persons which
have been released from the mortal world have
acquired superior perception and consciousness and
in their ascendant journey are free of the limits of
time and space. They penetrate with ease the skies
and the depths of the oceans to observe the grandeur
of God's creation.
Blocking of Means (Sadd-i Dhara'i')
Some of the Wahhabi 'ulama' such as Dr.
Muhammad bin Sa'd Suway'ir who is one of the
deputies of Shaykh Bin Baz, say that tawassul and
tabarruk are permissible for 'ulama' who are
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cognizant of the essence of faith, but this is forbidden
for the common people, who are prone to drift
towards polytheism and who might gradually start
believing in the personal influence of the Prophet and
saints in the granting of boons and prevention of the
detrimental things. Therefore, it is obligatory to stop
them from tawassul and tabarruk in the name of
Blocking of Means.
Ayatullah Wa'iz-Zadeh rejecting the Wahhabi theory
against tawassul says:
When the permissibility or recommendation
for this act has been confirmed with rational
proof, it is not permissible to prohibit
tawassul for such unfounded fears that the
ignorant might give it the colour of
polytheism. If such was the case, the
Prophet (s) himself would have prohibited
people as a precaution from seeking
blessing, visiting the graves or kissing the
sacred black stone (Hajar al-Aswad) at the
holy Ka'bah. On the contrary, judicious
measures for checking possible deviation is
for the 'ulama' to exercise greater
Takfir of Shi'ah for Tawassul
Ibn Taymiyyah, despite his extreme and biased
approach for prohibiting tawassul, has admitted:
This is a controversial issue and to accuse of
heresy those who make tawassul is haram
and is a sinful act, since no one has said that
a person making tawassul to the Prophet (s)
after his death is a kafir. This is an
ambiguous issue and there are no certain
proofs in this regard. Kufr is confirmed
when a person rejects any of the tenets of
faith deliberately and being fully aware.
Therefore, those who accuse a person of
heresy for making tawassul deserve the most
severe punishment.[42]
It is unfortunate that the blind prejudice which the
colonial powers had skilfully exploited to create
differences among Sunni Muslims as a result of the
Wahhabiyyah opposition to the issue of tawassul, has
been widened to sow discord between Sunni and
Shi'ah Muslims and to label the Shi'ah as kafir
(infidel) or mushrik (polytheist) on the allegation that
they seek their requests from other than God. To
quote Ayatullah Wa'iz-Zadeh, those who do not
permit tawassul and tabarruk are only a fraction of a
minority among the 'ulama' of the Muslim world, and
despite their efforts over the past seven centuries,
have not been able to convince the upholders of
Thus, as should be clear, according to the statement
of Ibn Taymiyyah the issue of tawassul is a moral
one and does not concern the principles of faith, since
a kafir is the one who rejects any of the tenets of
Extreme Form of Tawassul among the Ahl al-
It is a common sight in many countries to see the Ahl
al-Sunnah approach the graves of pious persons to
pray and supplicate for their needs. In Egypt, Iraq and
Turkey, and many other lands --India, Pakistan,
Syria, Central Asia, North Africa-- it is an accepted
practice by the masses to visit the tombs of saints and
holy personages to make tawassul and seek blessings.
Dr. Mustafa Mahmud writes that people in Egypt
flock to the tomb of Rifa'i and Ibrahim Dasuqi and
cry loudly with such phrases as: Madad Ya Rifa'i
(help me O Rifa'i), Shifa' bi-Yadika Ya Sayyidi
Ibrahim Dasuqi (In your hands lie the remedy, O my
Lord Ibrahim Dasuqi).[44]
The Egyptians also visit the tomb of Shafi'i, the
founder of the Shafi'ite sect, for tawassul, while in
Baghdad, the Hanafis do the same at the tomb of Abu
Hanifah. In Turkey, the people seek their needs at the
tomb of the Prophet's eminent companion Abu
Ayyub Ansari. It is also a habit among people in
Egypt and other places to send written petitions to the
tomb of Shafi'i, and wail and cry at the graves of
pious persons for things which none except the
Almighty God has the power to grant.
When Wahhabi 'ulama' come across such scenes
among the Ahl al-Sunnah they brand these Muslims
as polytheists and follow the same assumption
against the Shi'ah, concerning whom they have little
or no information, and sometimes go to extreme by
labelling them apostates who should be killed.
Purity of Monotheism in Shi'ah Supplications
The prayers and acts of worship among the Shi'ah
have the purest form of monotheism derived from the
guidelines of Prophet Muhammad (s) and the Ahl al-
Bayt ('a). For instance, Shi'ah do not put their
forehead during prostration on carpet, cloth, plastic or
synthetic material, since Imam Ja'far al-sadiq ('a) has
Worldly people are slaves of victuals and
clothing, hence it is not right for a person
who is in the act of offering his prayer to
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Allah to place his forehead on the deity of
the worshippers of the world.[45]
Likewise, Shi'ah Muslims recite the supplications
taught by the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt ('a) in
which all requests are directed to Almighty Allah.
The Infallible Imams ('a) have also dissuaded people
from being distracted by external appearances and
losing sight of the reality and substance of the
Shi'ah 'ulama' have strived to preserve the path of the
Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt ('a). Grand Ayatullah
Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi was averse to prostration
being made on a clay tablet having the outlines of a
dome or structure. In their jurisprudential manuals,
both Ayatullah Burujirdi and Imam Khumayni have
the following to say concerning prostration at holy
It is haram to prostrate to anyone except
Allah. If the act of prostration in front of the
shrines of the Infallible Imams ('a) is a form
of thanksgiving to God, there is no
objection, otherwise it is haram. [46]
A Glance at the Supplications of the Ahl al-Bayt
As acknowledged by the prominent Sunni scholar
Mahmud Alusi in his exegesis on the Holy Qur'an, in
none of the supplications that have been taught by the
Ahl al-Bayt ('a), there is tawassul to the person of the
If we go through the books of supplications of the
Shi'ah such as Mafatih al-Jinan, we find that all
supplications of the Infallible Imams ('a) are directed
solely at God, and all addresses begin with
Allahumma, Ya Allah, Ya Rabb, and other attributes
of God such as Ya Rahman, Ya Rahim, Ya Dhu al-
Jalal wa al-Ikram, etc.
Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi, writing on the
famous Du'a' Tawassul which is directed at the
Prophet (s) and the Infallible Imams ('a), says:
The purpose of tawassul to the pious
believers is that they are being requested to
supplicate to Allah to deliver the person in
need from his affliction, since the
supplication of these saintly figures is
accepted by Allah.[48]
The Du'a' Tawassul which is found in Mafatih al-
Jinan is the same supplication of tawassul which all
Sunni narrators of hadith unanimously regard as
sahih (authentic) and relate that the Prophet taught it
to a blind man who recovered his eyesight by reciting
Therefore, in conclusion we can state with authority
the following points, since tawassul is an accepted
principle in the life of a sincere and God-fearing
Muslim, and whatever disputes that have been fanned
are due to bigotry and lack of proper understanding
of Islam:
1. Controversy over the issue of tawassul is not
a matter of discord between Shi'ah and
Sunni Muslims, but it is a difference of
opinion between the Salafiyyah sect and the
rest of Muslims.
2. Most of the differences of the Salafiyyah
Wahhabis are with the extremist Sufis who
believe in reincarnation, and with the Sunni
masses who often make emotional tawassul
at graves and seek their needs from the
departed such as Abu Hanifah (and 'Abd al-
Qadir Gilani) in Baghdad, Shafi'i, Rifa'i,
Dasuqi and others in Egypt, Idris in
Morocco and Abu Ayyub Ansari in Turkey -
as well as Khawajah Mu'in al-Din Chishti
and numerous others in India, and Data Ganj
Bakhsh and Sufi saints in Pakistan.
3. In fact, the Salafiyyah and the Wahhabis
have the least differences with Shi'ah
Muslims since Shi'ah recite the supplications
of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) which contain the
purest form of monotheism. However,
because of their non-familiarity with the
Shi'ah they accuse them of polytheism and
in their ignorance brand them infidels.
4. In all the supplications of the Ahl al-Bayt
('a) the addressee is Almighty Allah alone,
even in the famous Du'a' Tawassul, which
the Sunnis say with unanimity was taught by
Prophet Muhammad (s) to a blind person
who subsequently regained his eyesight.
5. Du'a' tawassul, where devotion is expressed
to the Prophet (s) and his Infallible Ahl al-
Bayt ('a), is not exclusively meant for the
Shi'ah but was widely popular among the
Sunnis until Ibn Taymiyyah and later Ibn
'Abd al-Wahhab came on the scene with
their weird interpretation. For instance, the
poetical composition of tawassul to the 14
Infallibles found in the works of prominent
poets of the Ahl al-Sunnah such as the
Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di and the Sufi
Khalid Naqhsbandi -- as well as the famous
Spanish Muslim gnostic and philosopher
Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-'Arabi.
6. As part of their misinformation campaign
against tawassul, the Salafiyyah attempt to
exploit certain Ayahs of the Holy Qur'an
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which refer to the polytheists who worship
idols instead of the One and Only God and
who seek their wants from these lifeless
man-made objects. However, it is clear that
equating those who seek tawassul to the
Prophet (s) with the polytheists and infidels
is an erroneous idea, since tawassul-seekers,
unlike the idolators, address the Almighty
Creator and seek their needs from Him by
making the Prophet (s) a wasilah for
acceptance of prayer. On the other hand, the
idols have no connection with God and are
nothing more than inanimate objects made
by man, while Prophet Muhammad (s) is the
manifest sign of Allah, the Messenger of
Allah and Mercy to the creation. Allah has
also given him power, both in this world and
in the next, to supplicate and intercede for
his true followers. The Wahhabi contention
of the period of Barzakh of the Prophet (s)
lacks any rational explanation and is against
the view of the 'ulama' of all other sects of
the Ahl al-Sunnah.
7. Those who wish to make the Prophet (s) the
intercessor without being obedient to the
Holy Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt ('a), have
been likened by Shi'ah 'ulama' such as
'Allamah Tabataba'i, to a wishful person
who wants to become the sage of the age
without learning or studying anything.
[1]. Refer to the Arabic lexicons Lisan al-'Arab, Asas
al-Balaghah and Tartib al-Qamus al-Muhit for
meaning of wasala.
[2]. Alusi, Ruh al-Ma'ani, vol. 6, p. 124-128.
[3]. Tabrisi, Majma' al-Bayan, vol. 6, p. 86; Sahih
Muslim, vol. 1, p. 289.
[4]. Nida'-i Wahdat, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's treatise to
Shaykh Ja'far Najafi.
[5]. Sharh al-Mawahib, vol. 8, p. 304; al-Majmu',
vol. 8, p. 274; Ibn 'Abidin, vol. 5, p.254; al-Fatawa
al-Hindiyyah, vol. 1, p. 266 and vol. 5, 318; Fath al-
Qadir, vol. 8, p. 297, 298 and al-Futuhat al-
Rabbaniyyah 'ala al-Azkar al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 5, p.
[6]. Sharh al-Mawahib, vol. 8, p. 304-5; Wafa' al-
Wafad, vol. 4, p. 1371; al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah, p.
148; and Sharh Ibn al-Hasan 'ala al-Risalah al-
Qirwani, vol. 12, p. 478).
[7]. Al-Majmu', vol. 8, p. 274; Fayd al-Qadir, vol. 2,
p. 134; I'anah al-Talibiyyin, p. 315.
[8]. Al-Mughni ma' al-Sharh, vol. 3, p. 588; al-Sharh
al-Kabir ma' al-Mughni, vol. 3, p. 494.
[9]. Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali', Ihya'
'Ulum al-Din, vol. 1, pp. 258-261.
[10]. Al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah, section 14, p. 160.
[11]. Ibid.
[12]. Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani, vol. 6, 128.
[13]. Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, 'Aqa'id Ahl
al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah fi radd al-Wahhabiyyah wa
al-Bid'ah, translated into Persian by 'Abd al-Rahman
Sarbazi, p. 86.
[14]. Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 6, p. 328-332.
[15]. Ibid.
[16]. Refer to Shaykh Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, al-
Dhari'ah ila Tasanif al-Shi'ah, vol. 25, p. 69-92.
[17]. Tafsir al-Mizan, vol. 11, p. 15 (Dar al-'Alami
print, Beirut).
[18]. Ibn Taymiyyah, Qa'idah Jalilah fi al-Tawassul
wa al-Wasilah, pp. 63, 64 & 95, as cited in al-
Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah.
[19]. Muhammad Rashid Rida, al-Manar, vol. 6, pp.
[20]. Bayhaqi, Dala'il al-Nabuwwah, vol. 5, p. 489
(Dar al-Kitab al-'Ilmiyyah print, Beirut), cited from
al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, vol. 24;
al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 615, Ibn Taymiyyah, al-
Fatawa, vol. 1, p. 150, Jalal al-Din Suyuti, Tafsir
Durr al-Manthur, vol. 1, pp. 142-149 (Dar al-Fikr
print, Beirut, 1983).
Translator's note: Suyuti is more elaborate when on p.
147, he says Adam supplicated to Allah by the right
of Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (Allahumma
bi-haqqi Muhammad wa Al-i Muhammad) He further
quotes the Prophet (s) on the authority of 'Abdullah
Ibn 'Abbas as saying that the words taught to Adam
by God to seek forgiveness were: By the right of
Muhammad, and 'Ali, and Fatimah, and Hasan and
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M IA 35 | P a g e J u n e 6 , 2 0 1 1

[21]. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-saghir, vol. 1, p.
183, (Maktabah al-Salafiyyah print) cited in al-
Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, vol. 24.
[22]. Al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, vol.
7, p. 263; Qa'idah Jalilah, p. 51.
[23]. 'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi,
Nida' Wahdat, pp. 260-261.
[24]. Al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, vol.
14, p. 160.
[25]. Manawi, al-Fayd, vol. 3, p. 540; Hasan bin 'Ali
Saqqaf, al-Tandid bi-man Addada al-Tawhid, pp. 30-
[26]. Tafsir al-Jalalayn; Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil,
vol. 2, 270
[27]. Tafsir al-Manar, vol. 1, p. 59.
[28]. Ibn ''Abd al-Wahhab, Risalah Kashf al-
Shubahat, cited in al-Rasul Yad'ukum, p. 295.
[29]. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn al-Ustadh
Muhammad Wa'iz-Zadeh Khurasani wa al-Ustadh
'Abd al-'Aziz bin 'Abdullah bin Baz, pp. 32-33.
[30]. 'Allamah Tabataba'i, Majmu'ah-yi Maqalat, pp.
[31]. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn, p. 41.
[32]. Dr Buti, Ramadan, Fiqh al-Sunnah, tenth
edition, p. 355.
[33]. Hasan bin 'Ali al-Saqqaf, al-Ta'liq 'ala
Risalatayn, Risalah at-Taqrib Quarterly, No. 17, 1418
AH, p. 69.
[34]. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 14, p. 111, Dar Ihya' al-
Turath, Beirut; Sahih al-Muslim, chapter 51, pp. 76-
77; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 26 & vol.
2, pp. 31 & 131; Musnad Tiyalisi, hadith 403.
[35]. Al-Majmu', vol. 8, p. 274, chapter on manners
of pilgrimage.
[36]. Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, 'Aqa'id Ahl
al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah fi radd al-Wahhabiyyah wa
al-Bid'ah, translated into Persian by 'Abd al-Rahman
Sarbazi, pp. 82-88.
[37]. Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, Risalah Kashf al-
Shubahat, cited in al-Rasul Yad'ukum, p. 295.
[38]. Da'irah al-Ma'arif Qarn al-'Ishrin (20th
Century Encyclopaedia), under the topic of 'Ruh'
(Soul), vol. 14, p. 365.
[39]. Refer for details to Leone Danny's "World After
Death", pp. 78-82.
[40]. Dr. Bi-Azar Shirazi, 'Abd al-Karim, Gozashteh
va Ayandeh-ye Jahan, pp. 96-101.
[41]. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn, p. 17.
[42]. Majmu'ah Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 1, p.
106, as cited in al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-
Kuwaitiyyah, vol. 14, pp. 163-164.
[43]. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn, pp. 17-18.
[44]. Mustafa Mahmud, Asrar al-Qur'an, Dar al-
Ma'arif, second edition, p. 77.
[45]. Shaykh Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol. 3,
p. 591.
[46]. Ayatullah Burujirdi, Tawdih al-Masa'il, p. 172;
Imam Khumayni, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 1, p. 150,
and also in Risalah-ye Novin, vol. 1, p. 148.
[47]. Ruh al-Ma'ani, vol. 6, p. 128.
[48]. Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi, Risalah dar
Kitab wa Sunnat, Majmu'ah Maqalat, Kitab Nida'-e
Wahdat, Tehran, Chehel-Sutun Publishers, p. 259.
[49]. Sunan Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 569, Matba'ah al-
Halabi, Egypt, cited in al-Mausu'ah

The Prophetic Hadiths in Al-Khisal

Mohammad Javad Shomali
Al-Khisal (lit. traits of character) of Shaykh Saduq is
one of the most valuable early sources of hadiths
(narrations) from Prophet Muhammad and his
household. Shaykh Saduq, Muhammad b. Babawayh
al-Qummi (d.329/940), was an outstanding jurist and
a prominent scholar of hadith. He was given the title
”Imad Al-Din” by Shaykh Tusi.
In Al-Khisal, Shaykh Saduq has prepared a collection
of traditions in an interesting way. The main themes
of the traditions are ethics, manners and good
characteristics. All the traditions are presented with a
complete record of transmission. Furthermore, they
are divided into different groups according to
numbers e.g. all the traditions related to the number
one are gathered in one part then traditions related to
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number two and so on. It starts with one and ends
with one million. Al-Khisal seems to be the first on
record to be compiled with this style. Moreover, Al-
Khisal is a great encyclopedia on Islamic knowledge
and many authoritative works on Shi'ite traditions
such as Bihar Al-Anwar have cited it as a reference.
The following article is a collection of traditions from
the Prophet, selected from Parts One to Twelve of Al-
Characteristics related to the Number One
► Abandoning the present to attain the promised
هﺮﻳ ﻢﻟ دﻮﻋﻮﻤﻟ ةﺮﺿﺎﺣ ةﻮﻬﺷ کﺮﺗ ﻦﻤﻟ ﻰﺑﻮﻃ
Blessed be the one who abandons a current tangible
desire to attain an unseen promised reward.[1]
► A believer's honor is in one practice and his
glory is in one characteristic
It is reported from Prophet Muhammad (S) that the
Gabriel went to him and said:
لﺎﻘﻓ  ﻪﻟآ  و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻ  ﻰﺒﻨﻟا  ﻰﻟإ  مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﻞﻴﺋﺮﺒﺟ  ءﺎﺟ : “ ﺖﺷ  ﺎﻣ  ﺶﻋ  ﺪﻤﺤﻣ  ﺎﻳ
 نا  ﻢﻠﻋا  و  ﻪﺑ  یﺰﺠﻣ  ﮏﻧﺎﻓ  ﺖﺷ  ﺎﻣ  ﻞﻤﻋا  و  ﻪﻗرﺎﻔﻣ  ﮏﻧﺎﻓ  ﺖﺷ  ﺎﻣ  ﺐﺒﺣا  و  ﺖﻴﻣ  ﮏﻧﺎﻓ
سﺎﻨﻟا ﻦﻋ هؤﺎﻨﻐﺘﺳا هﺰﻋ و ﻞﻴﻟﺎﺑ ﻪﻣﺎﻴﻗ ﻞﺟﺮﻟا فﺮﺸﻟا.”
O Muhammad! Live for as long as you want. You
will finally die. Love whatever you want. You will
finally be separated from it. Do whatever you want.
You will finally be rewarded for it. Know that a
man's honour is in his staying up at night and his
dignity is in his independence from people.

► A characteristic that constitutes half of the
ﻦﻳﺪﻟا ﻒﺼﻧ ﻖﻠﺨﻟا ﻦﺴﺣ
Being good-tempered constitutes half of the
► A characteristic that is the best thing given to a
ﻪﻟآ و ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻﷲا لﻮﺳﺮﻟ ﻞﻴﻗ : “ ؟ﻢﻠﺴﻤﻟا ءﺮﻤﻟا ﻰﻄﻋا ﺎﻣ ﻞﻀﻓا ﺎﻣ ” لﺎﻗ : “ ﻖﻠﺨﻟا
God's Prophet was asked: “What is the best thing
given to a Muslim?” He replied: “A good temper”.[4]
Characteristics related to the Number Two
► Two blessings which are normally taken for
نﺎﺗرﻮﻔﮑﻣ نﺎﺘﻤﻌﻧ : ﺔﻴﻓﺎﻌﻟاو ﻦﻣﻻا
Two blessings are taken for granted, security and

► There is no good in this life except for two
kinds of men
ﻦﻴﻠﺟﺮﻟ ﻻا ﺶﻴﻌﻟا ﻰﻓ ﺮﻴﺧ ﻻ : عاو ﻊﻤﺘﺴﻣ وأ ،عﺎﻄﻣ ﻢﻟﺎﻋ
There is no good in this life except for two kinds of
men: a knowledgeable one who is obeyed and an
obedient student.

► Seek refuge from two characteristics
ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻﷲا لﻮﺳر  لﺎﻗ لﺪﻌﻳأ  ﷲا لﻮﺳر  ﺎﻳ  ﻞﻴﻗ  ،ﻦﻳﺪﻟا  و  ﺮﻔﮐ  ﻦﻣ ﷲﺎﺑ  ذﻮﻋأ  ﻪﻟآ  و
 ﻢﻌﻧ لﺎﻘﻓ ؟ﺮﻔﮑﻟﺎﺑ ﻦﻳﺪﻟا
God's Prophet (S) said: “I seek refuge in God from
disbelief and debt.” He was told, “O Prophet of God!
Is debt equal to disbelief?” He replied: “Yes”. [7]
► Whoever possesses two characteristics is a true
ﻪﺴﻔﻧ ﻦﻣ سﺎﻨﻟا ﻒﺼﻧا و ﺮﻴﻘﻔﻟا ﻰﺳاو ﻦﻣ ﺎﻘﺣ ﻦﻣﻮﻣ ﮏﻟﺬﻓ
Whoever is sympathetic with the poor and treats the
people fairly is a true believer.[8]
► Saying what is right under two conditions
ﺐﻀﻐﻟا و ﺎﺿﺮﻟا ﻰﻓ ﻖﺤﻟا لﻮﻘﻟا ﻦﻣ ﻞﺟ و ﺰﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻟا ﺐﺣا ﻰﻫ ﺔﻘﻔﻧ ﻦﻣ ﻦﻣﺆﻣ ﻖﻔﻧا ﺎﻣ.
Nothing that a believer does is more loved by God,
the Honourable and Exalted, than saying what is right
whether he is pleased or angry.[9]
► Two characteristics loved by God in the
Heavens and by the people on Earth
ﻪﻟآ  و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻﻰﺒﻨﻠﻟ ﻞﺟر  لﺎﻗ : “ ﷲا  ﻰﻨﺒﺣأ  ﻪﺘﻠﻌﻓ  ﺎﻧأ  اذإ  ﺎﺌﻴﺷ  ﻰﻨﻤﻠﻋ  ﷲا  لﻮﺳر  ﺎﻳ
ضرﻻا ﻦﻣ سﺎﻨﻟا ﻰﻨﺒﺣأ و ءﺎﻤﺴﻟا ﻦﻣ ” ﻪﻟ لﺎﻘﻓ : “ ﮏﺒﺤﻳ ﻞﺟ و ﺰﻋ ﷲا ﺪﻨﻋ ﺎﻤﻴﻓ ﺐﻏرا
سﺎﻨﻟا ﮏﺒﺤﻳ سﺎﻨﻟا ﺪﻨﻋ ﺎﻤﻴﻓ ﺪﻫزا و ﷲا.”
A man asked the Prophet (S): “O Prophet of God!
Please let me know something which I can do to be
loved by God in the Heavens and by the people on
Earth.” The Prophet (S) told him: “Be inclined to
what belongs to God to be loved by God, the
Honourable and Exalted, and abstain from what
belongs to people to be loved by people.” [10]
► Jealousy is not proper except in two
 هﺎﺗآ ﻞﺟر و رﺎﻬﻨﻟا ءﺎﻧآو ﻞﻴﻠﻟا ءﺎﻧآ ﻪﻨﻣ ﻖﻔﻨﻳ ﻮﻬﻓ ﻻﺎﻣ ﷲا هﺎﺗآ ﻞﺟر ﻦﻴﺘﻨﺛا ﻰﻓ ﻻا ﺪﺴﺣ ﻻ
رﺎﻬﻨﻟا ءﺎﻧآ و ﻞﻴﻠﻟا ءﺎﻧآ ﻪﺑ مﻮﻘﻳ ﻮﻬﻓ نآﺮﻘﻟا ﷲا
It is not proper to be jealous except in two
circumstances. The first case is to be jealous of a man
to whom God has granted things and he gives some
of them in charity day and night. The second case is
to be jealous of a man to whom God has granted the
Qur'an and he recites it during the day and the
► Two fears and two securities
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ﻻ  و  ﻦﻴﻓﻮﺧ  یﺪﺒﻋ  ﻰﻠﻋ  ﻊﻤﺟأ  ﻻ  ﻰﻟﻼﺟ  و  ﻰﺗﺰﻋ  و  ﻰﻟﺎﻌﺗ  و  کرﺎﺒﺗ  ﷲا  لﺎﻗ ﻪﻟ  ﻊﻤﺟأ
ﺔﻣﺎﻴﻘﻟا مﻮﻳ ﻪﺘﻨﻣآ ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا ﻰﻓ ﻰﻨﻓﺎﺧ اذإ و ﺔﻣﺎﻴﻘﻟا مﻮﻳ ﻪﺘﻔﺧأ ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا ﻰﻓ ﻰﻨﻨﻣأ اذﺎﻓ ،ﻦﻴﻨﻣأ.
God's Prophet (S) said: “God the Blessed and the
Sublime swore by his Honour and Grandeur that He
would not give His servants two fears and two
securities. If a person is not afraid of Me in this
world, I will scare him on the Day of Resurrection
and if he is afraid of Me in this world, I will make
him secure on the Day of Resurrection.”[12]
► Two things improve this nation and two
destroy it
ﻞﻣﻻا و ﺢﺸﻟﺎﺑ ﺎﻫﺮﺧآ کﻼﻫو ﻦﻴﻘﻴﻟاو ﺪﻫﺰﻟﺎﺑ ﺔﻣﻻا هﺬﻫ لوأ حﻼﺻ نإ.
The two things that made early generation(s) of this
nation happy are abstinence and certitude, and the
two things that would destroy the ending
generation(s) of this nation are stinginess and having
high aspirations.[13]
Characteristics related to the Number Three
► Three characteristics, each of which would
cause one to be under the Shade of God's Throne
 ﻞﺟ و ﺰﻋ ﷲا شﺮﻋ ﻞﻇ ﻰﻓ نﺎﮐ ﻦﻬﻨﻣ ةﺪﺣاو وأ ﻪﻴﻓ ﻦﮐ ﻦﻣ لﺎﺼﺧ ثﻼﺛ } ﺔﻣﺎﻴﻘﻟا مﻮﻳ {
ﻪﻠﻇ  ﻻا  ﻞﻇ  ﻻ  مﻮﻳ : ﺮﺧﺆﻳ  ﻢﻟ  و  ﻼﺟر  مﺪﻘﻳ  ﻢﻟ  ﻞﺟر  و  ﺎﻬﻟ ﻢﻬﻠﺋﺎﺳ  ﺎﻣ  سﺎﻨﻟا  ﻰﻄﻋأ ﻞﺟر
 ﻰﺘﺣ ﺐﻴﻌﺑ ﻢﻠﺴﻤﻟا هﺎﺧأ ﺐﻌﻳ ﻢﻟ ﻞﺟر و ﻂﺨﺳ وأ ﻰﺿر ﻪﻴﻓ ﷲ ﮏﻟذ نأ ﻢﻠﻌﻳ ﻰﺘﺣ یﺮﺧا
 ﻼﻐﺷ  ءﺮﻤﻟﺎﺑ  ﻰﻔﮐ  و  ﺐﻴﻋ  ﻪﻟ  اﺪﺑ  ﻻإ  ﺎﺒﻴﻋ  ﺎﻬﻨﻣ  ﻰﻔﻨﻳ  ﻻ  ﻪﻧﺎﻓ ﻪﺴﻔﻧ  ﻦﻣ  ﺐﻴﻌﻟا  ﮏﻟذ  ﻰﻔﻨﻳ
سﺎﻨﻟا ﻦﻋ ﻪﺴﻔﻨﺑ
There are three qualities having each of which would
cause one to be under the Shade of God, the
Honourable and Exalted, (on the Resurrection day)
on the day in which there is no shade but God's
Shade. The first characteristic is to grant people what
you expect of them. The second characteristic is to
only do what pleases God, and not do what would
provoke God's Wrath. The third characteristic is not
to express the faults of one's Muslim brothers in their
absence, unless one first removes such faults from
himself. It is better to attend to the improvement of
one's own faults than to seek out other people's faults.
► Whoever possesses three characteristics has
perfect faith
نﺎﻤﻳﻻا  لﺎﺼﺧ  ﻞﻤﮑﺘﺳا  ﻪﻴﻓ  ﻦﮐ  ﻦﻣ  لﺎﺼﺧ  ثﻼﺛ : ﻠﺧﺪﻳ  ﻢﻟ  ﻰﺿر  اذإ  یﺬﻟا ﻰﻓ  هﺎﺿر  ﻪ
ﻪﻟ ﺲﻴﻟ ﺎﻣ طﺎﻌﺘﻳ ﻢﻟ رﺪﻗ اذإو ﻖﺤﻟا ﻦﻣ ﺐﻀﻐﻟا ﻪﺟﺮﺨﻳ ﻢﻟ ﺐﻀﻏ اذإ و ﻞﻃﺎﺑ ﻻ و ﻢﺛإ.
There are three characteristic which if possessed
would perfect one's faith. When one is pleased, his
pleasure does not lead him into sin and wrongful
deeds; when one is angered, his anger does not lead
him away from what is right; and when one is in
power, his power does not lead him to acquire what
does not rightfully belong to him. [15]
► Having three characteristics is enough for one
to be bad
 ﻦﻣ  ﺮﻈﻨﻳ  نأ ﺎﺒﻴﻋ  ءﺮﻤﻟﺎﺑ  ﻰﻔﮐ  و  ﻰﻐﺒﻟا  ﺎﺑﺎﻘﻋ  ﺮﺸﻟا  عﺮﺳأ  نإ و  ﺮﺒﻟا  ﺎﺑاﻮﺛ  ﺮﻴﺨﻟا  عﺮﺳأ  نإ
ﻰﻤﻌﻳ ﺎﻣ ﻰﻟإ سﺎﻨﻟا ﻻﺎﻤﺑ ﻪﺴﻴﻠﺟ یذﺆﻳ و ﻪﮐﺮﺗ ﻊﻴﻄﺘﺴﻳ ﻻ ﺎﻤﺑ سﺎﻨﻟا ﺮﺒﻌﻳ و ﻪﺴﻔﻧ ﻦﻣ ﻪﻨﻋ
Indeed the reward of doing good to others will arrive
much faster than any good deeds, the punishment for
doing wrong to others will arrive much faster than
any evil deeds. Having three characteristics is enough
for one to be considered imperfect: paying attention
to other people's faults while ignoring your own;
admonishing others against evil deeds without being
able to abandon them yourself and hurting your
companion for nothing.[16]
► Three characteristics without which you are
not from God or the Prophet
“ ﻞﺟ و ﺰﻋ ﷲا ﻦﻣ ﻻ و ﻰﻨﻣ ﺲﻴﻠﻓ ﻪﻴﻓ ﻦﮑﺗ ﻢﻟ ثﻼﺛ ” ﻞﻴﻗ : “ ؟ﻦﻫ ﺎﻣ و ﷲا لﻮﺳر ﺎﻳ ”
لﺎﻗ : “ ﻦﻋ  هﺰﺠﺤﻳ  عرو  و  سﺎﻨﻟا  ﻰﻓ  ﻪﺑ  ﺶﻴﻌﻳ  ﻖﻠﺧ  ﻦﺴﺣ  و  ﻞﻫﺎﺠﻟا  ﻞﻬﺟ  ﻪﺑ  دﺮﻳ  ﻢﻠﺣ
ﻞﺟو ﺰﻋ ﷲا ﻰﺻﺎﻌﻣ.”
God's Prophet (S) said: “There are three
characteristics which if not possessed then one is
neither from me nor from God, the Honourable and
Exalted.” The Prophet (S) was asked: “O Prophet of
God! What are they?” The Prophet (S) replied:
“Patience by which you forgive the ignorance of
those who are ignorant, being good-tempered with
people and piety which restrains you from rebelling
against God, the Honourable and Exalted.” [17]
► Three things to respect and safeguard for
God's sake
 ﻆﻔﺤﻳ ﻢﻟ ﻦﻬﻈﻔﺤﻳ ﻢﻟ ﻦﻣ و هﺎﻴﻧد و ﻪﻨﻳد ﺮﻣأ ﻪﻟ ﷲا ﻆﻔﺣ ﻦﻬﻈﻔﺣ ﻦﻣ ثﻼﺛ تﺎﻣﺮﺣ ﷲا نإ
ﺎﺌﻴﺷ ﻪﻟ ﷲا : ﻰﺗﺮﺘﻋ ﺔﻣﺮﺣ و ﻰﺘﻣﺮﺣ و مﻼﺳﻻا ﺔﻣﺮﺣ .
There are three things to respect so that God will
protect your faith and your worldly affairs. And if
you disrespect them, God will not protect anything
for you. These three things to respect are Islam, me
and my 'Itrat (household).[18]
► Reality of one's faith can be proved by having
three characteristics
مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﺮﻔﻌﺟ  ﻰﺑأ  لﺎﻗ : “ ﺻ ﷲا  لﻮﺳر  ﺎﻨﻴﺑ ﺾﻌﺑ  ﻰﻓ  مﻮﻳ  تاذ  ﻪﻟآ  و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠ
اﻮﻟﺎﻘﻓ  ﺐﮐر  ﻪﻴﻘﻟ  ذإ  هرﺎﻔﺳأ : لﺎﻘﻓ  ﻢﻬﻴﻟإ  ﺖﻔﺘﻟﺎﻓ  ﷲا  لﻮﺳر  ﺎﻳ  ﮏﻴﻠﻋ  مﻼﺴﻟا : ؟ﻢﺘﻧأ  ﺎﻣ
اﻮﻟﺎﻗ : لﺎﻗ  ،نﻮﻨﻣﺆﻣ : اﻮﻟﺎﻗ  ؟ﻢﮑﻧﺎﻤﻳا  ﺔﻘﻴﻘﺣ  ﺎﻤﻓ : و  ﷲا  ﺮﻣﻻ  ﻢﻴﻠﺴﺘﻟا  و  ﷲا  ءﺎﻀﻘﺑ  ﺎﺿﺮﻟا
ﻪﻟآ  و ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ  ﷲا لﻮﺳر  لﺎﻘﻓ  ،ﷲا  ﻰﻟإ  ﺾﻳﻮﻔﺘﻟا : ﻤﻠﻋ اﻮﻧﻮﮑﻳ  نأ  اودﺎﮐ  ءﺎﻤﮑﺣ ءﺎ
 نﻮﻠﮐﺎﺗ ﻻ ﺎﻣ اﻮﻌﻤﺠﺗ ﻻ و نﻮﻨﮑﺴﺗ ﻻ ﺎﻣ اﻮﻨﺒﺗ ﻼﻓ ﻦﻴﻗدﺎﺻ ﻢﺘﻨﮐ نﺎﻓ ،ءﺎﻴﺒﻧأ ﺔﻤﮑﺤﻟا ﻦﻣ
نﻮﻌﺟﺮﺗ ﻪﻴﻟإ یﺬﻟا ﷲا اﻮﻘﺗاو”
Abu Ja'far Al-Baqir said: “God's Apostle (S)
encountered a group of riders during one of his
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M IA 38 | P a g e J u n e 6 , 2 0 1 1

journeys. They greeted him and he asked them who
they were. They said they were believers. The
Apostle (S) asked them about the proof of the reality
of their faith. They replied 'Contentment with what
God has destined, entrusting ourselves to God, and
submitting to God's orders.' Then God's Apostle (S)
said, 'These are wise and knowledgeable people with
such a high rank, near that of the Prophets.' Then he
faced them and said, 'If you are truthful, do not build
what you shall not reside in, do not collect what you
shall not eat and fear God to whom you shall return.'”
► Faith consists of three things
نﺎﮐرﻻﺎﺑ ﻞﻤﻋ و نﺎﺴﻠﻟﺎﺑ راﺮﻗإ و ﺐﻠﻘﻟﺎﺑ ﺔﻓﺮﻌﻣ نﺎﻤﻳﻻا
Faith consists of whole-hearted acceptance, verbal
expression and acting accordingly.[20]
► It is not allowed for one not to be on speaking
terms with one's Muslim brother for more than
three days
ثﻼﺛ قﻮﻓ هﺎﺧأ ﺮﺠﻬﻳ نأ ﻢﻠﺴﻤﻠﻟ ﻞﺤﻳ ﻻ
It is not allowed for one not to be on speaking terms
with one's Muslim brother for more than three
Characteristics related to the Number Four
► Four characteristics that can make one stay in
God's light
ﻢﻈﻋﻻا  ﷲا رﻮﻧ  ﻰﻓ  نﺎﮐ  ﻪﻴﻓ  ﻦﮐ  ﻦﻣ  ﻊﺑرأ : ﷲا  ﻻإ  ﻪﻟإ  ﻻ  نأ ةدﺎﻬﺷهﺮﻣأ  ﺔﻤﺼﻋ  ﺖﻧﺎﮐ  ﻦﻣ
لﺎﻗ ﺔﺒﻴﺼﻣ ﻪﺘﺑﺎﺻإ اذإ ﻦﻣو ﷲا لﻮﺳر ﻰﻧأو : و نﻮﻌﺟار ﻪﻴﻟإ ﺎﻧإ و ﷲ ﺎﻧإ اﺮﻴﺧ بﺎﺻأ اذإ ﻦﻣ
لﺎﻗ : لﺎﻗ ﺔﺌﻴﻄﺧ بﺎﺻأ اذإ ﻦﻣ و ﻦﻴﻤﻟﺎﻌﻟا بر ﷲ ﺪﻤﺤﻟا : ﻪﻴﻟإ بﻮﺗأو ﷲا ﺮﻔﻐﺘﺳأ .
God's Prophet (S) said: “Whoever has the following
four characteristics is in the Greatest Light of God: 1-
Witnessing to God's Unity and my Prophethood
prevents him from committing sins 2- Saying 'from
God we are and to Him we return' in times of
calamity 3- Saying 'praise be to the Lord of the two
worlds' when he receives some blessings 4- Saying 'I
ask for forgiveness from Allah and repent to him'
whenever he commits a sin.” [22]
► Four things that the nation should always do
ﻖﺤﻟا  مﺰﻠﻳ ﻊﺑرأ  ﻰﻓ  ﻰﺘﻣﻻ : و  ﻦﺴﺤﻤﻟا  نﻮﻨﻴﻌﻳ  و  ﻒﻴﻌﻀﻟا  نﻮﻤﺣﺮﻳو  ﺐﺋﺎﺘﻟا  نﻮﺒﺤﻳ
ﺐﻧﺬﻤﻠﻟ نوﺮﻔﻐﺘﺴﻳ
My nation should always do the following four
things: 1- They should love those who repent. 2-
They should be sympathetic with the weak. 3- They
should help good-doers. 4- They should ask for
forgiveness for sinners.[23]
► Four signs of misery
 ﺎﻳ ءﺎﻘﺸﻟا ﻦﻣلﺎﺼﺧ ﻊﺑرأ ﻰﻠﻋ : ءﺎﻘﺒﻟا ﺐﺣ و ﻞﻣﻻا ﺪﻌﺑ و ﺐﻠﻘﻟا ةوﺎﺴﻗ و ﻦﻴﻌﻟا دﻮﻤﺟ .
O Ali! The following are among the signs of misery:
solidity of the eye (inability to cry), hard-heartedness,
being too ambitious and love for a very long life.[24]
► One cannot move on the Resurrection Day until
asked about four things
ﺪﺒﻋ ﺎﻣﺪﻗ  لوﺰﺗ  ﻻ و هﺎﻨﻓأ  ﺎﻤﻴﻓ  هﺮﻤﻋ  ﻦﻋ ،ﻊﺑرأ ﻦﻋ لﺄﺴﻳ  ﻰﺘﺣ ﺔﻣﺎﻴﻘﻟا  مﻮﻳ } ﻦﻋ { ﻪﺑﺎﺒﺷ
ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺎﻨﺒﺣ ﻦﻋو ﻪﻘﻔﻧأ ﺎﻤﻴﻓ و ﻪﺒﺴﺘﮐا ﻦﻳأ ﻦﻣ ل ﺎﻤﻟا ﻦﻋو هﻼﺑأ ﺎﻤﻴﻓ.
A servant of God will be asked about four (things) on
the Resurrection Day before he can move: how he
spent his lifetime, what he used his youth for, how he
earned his income and how he spent it and about his
love for us, the members of the Holy Household.[25]
► Four characteristics of a hypocrite
 ﻰﺘﺣ قﺎﻔﻨﻟا ﻦﻣ ﺔﻠﺼﺧ ﻪﻴﻓ ﺖﻧﺎﮐ ﻦﻬﻨﻣ ةﺪﺣاو ﻪﻴﻓ ﺖﻧﺎﮐ نإو ﻖﻓﺎﻨﻣ ﻮﻬﻓ ﻪﻴﻓ ﻦﮐ ﻦﻣ ﻊﺑرأ
ﺎﻬﻋﺪﻳ : ﺮﺠﻓ ﻢﺻﺎﺧ اذإو رﺪﻏ ﺪﻫﺎﻋ اذإو ﻒﻠﺧأ ﺪﻋو اذإو بﺬﮐ ثﺪﺣ اذإ ﻦﻣ .
Whoever possesses four characteristics is a hypocrite.
Even if one has only one of these characteristics he is
a hypocrite, unless he gives up that characteristic.
One who lies when he talks, one who breaks his
promise, one who breaks his pledges and one who
cheats when he fights. [26]
Characteristics related to the Number Five
► A businessman must avoid five things
ﻦﻳﺮﺘﺸﻳ  ﻻو  ﻦﻌﻴﺒﻳ  ﻼﻓ  ﻻإو  لﺎﺼﺧ  ﺲﻤﺧ  ﺐﻨﺘﺠﻴﻠﻓ  یﺮﺘﺷاو  عﺎﺑ  ﻦﻣ : ﻒﻠﺤﻟاو  ﺎﺑﺮﻟا
یﺮﺘﺷا اذإ مﺬﻟا و عﺎﺑ اذإ حﺪﻤﻟاو ﺐﻴﻌﻟا نﺎﻤﺘﮐو
Whoever engages in buying and selling should avoid
the following five things; otherwise he must not do
any business. They are as follows: usury, swearing at
something or someone, covering up the defects of his
goods, praising goods while selling them and finding
faults (undervaluing) with goods while buying
► Requirements of knowledge
لﺎﻘﻓ  ﻪﻟآ  و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ  ﻰﺒﻨﻟا  ﻰﻟإ  ﻞﺟر  ءﺎﺟ : “ ؟ﻢﻠﻌﻟا  ﺎﻣ  ﷲا  لﻮﺳر  ﺎﻳ ” لﺎﻗ :
“ تﺎﺼﻧﻻا ” لﺎﻗ ، : “ ؟ﻪﻣ ﻢﺛ ” لﺎﻗ : “ ﻪﻟ عﺎﻤﺘﺳﻻا ” لﺎﻗ ، : “ ؟ﻪﻣ ﻢﺛ ” لﺎﻗ : “ ﻆﻔﺤﻟا
ﻪﻟ ” لﺎﻗ ، : “ ؟ﻪﻣ ﻢﺛ ” لﺎﻗ : “ ﻪﺑ ﻞﻤﻌﻟا ” لﺎﻗ ، : “ ؟ﻪﻣ ﻢﺛ ” لﺎﻗ : “ هﺮﺸﻧ ﻢﺛ ”
A man asked the Prophet (S): “O Prophet of God!
What is (the requirement of) knowledge?” The
Prophet (S) replied: “Silence.” The man asked:
“What is next?” The Prophet (S) replied: “Listening
to knowledge (i.e. those who are knowledgeable).”
The man asked: “And what is next?” The Prophet (S)
replied: “Remembering it.” The man asked: “And
what is next?” The Prophet (S) replied: “Acting upon
it.” The man asked: “And what is next?” The Prophet
(S) said: “Spreading and sharing it with others.” [28]
► The best of people are those who do five deeds
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لﺎﻘﻓ ،دﺎﺒﻌﻟا رﺎﻴﺧ ﻦﻋ ﻪﻟآ و ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻﷲا لﻮﺳر ﻞﺌﺳ : “ اوﺮﺸﺒﺘﺳا اﻮﻨﺴﺣأ اذإ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا
اوﺮﻔﻏ اﻮﺒﻀﻏ اذإو اوﺮﺒﺻ اﻮﻠﺘﺑا اذإو اوﺮﮑﺷ اﻮﻄﻋا اذإو اوﺮﻔﻐﺘﺳا اوؤﺎﺳأ اذإو”
The Prophet of God (S) was asked about the best of
people. He replied: “They are the ones who rejoice
when they do good and repent when they do evil.
They thank you when you do something good for
them and persevere in the face of calamites. They
forgive (others) when they get angry.” [29]
Characteristics related to the Number Six
► If you do six things, you would be admitted to
ﺔﻨﺠﻟﺎﺑ  ﻢﮑﻟ  ﻞﺒﻘﺗأ  ﺖﺴﺑ  ﻰﻟ  اﻮﻠﺒﻘﺗ : اذإو  اﻮﻔﻠﺨﺗ  ﻼﻓ  ﻢﺗﺪﻋو  اذإو  اﻮﺑﺬﮑﺗ  ﻼﻓ  ﻢﺘﺛﺪﺣ  اذإ
ﻢﮑﺘﻨﺴﻟأو ﻢﮑﻳﺪﻳأ اﻮﻔﮐ و ﻢﮑﺟوﺮﻓ اﻮﻈﻔﺣا و ﻢﮐرﺎﺼﺑأ اﻮﻀﻏو اﻮﻧﻮﺨﺗ ﻼﻓ ﻢﺘﻨﻤﺘﺋا.
Promise me that you will do the following six things
and then I will promise you that you will go to
Paradise. Do not lie when you quote something.
Never break your promise. Return what you are
entrusted with. Do not look at what is forbidden to
see. Guard your modesty. Do not bother people
physically or verbally.[30]
► Six forms of chivalry
ءوﺮﻤﻟا  ﻦﻣ  ﺖﺳ ة : ثﻼﺛ ﺮﻀﺤﻟا  ﻰﻓ  ﻰﺘﻟا  ﺎﻣﺄﻓ  ،ﺮﻔﺴﻟا  ﻰﻓ  ﺎﻬﻨﻣ  ثﻼﺛو ﺮﻀﺤﻟا  ﻰﻓ  ﺎﻬﻨﻣ :
 ﺎﻣأو  ﻞﺟ  و  ﺰﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻓ  ناﻮﺧﻻا  ذﺎﺨﺗاو  ﷲا  ﺪﺟﺎﺴﻣ  ةرﺎﻤﻋ  و  ﻞﺟ  و  ﺰﻋ  ﷲا  بﺎﺘﮐ  ةوﻼﺘﻓ
ﺮﻔﺴﻟا ﻰﻓ ﻰﺘﻟا : ﻰﺻﺎﻌﻤﻟا ﺮﻴﻏ ﻰﻓ حاﺰﻤﻟاو ﻖﻠﺨﻟا ﻦﺴﺣو داﺰﻟا لﺬﺒﻓ ”
There are six forms of chivalry. Three of them are for
when you are at home and three others are for when
you are travelling. The three for when you are at
home are: reciting the book of God the Honourable
and Exalted, developing and promoting God's
Mosques and making friends for the sake of God, the
Honourable and Exalted. The three for when you are
travelling are: to give to others from your own travel
provisions, being good-tempered and joking
regarding things other than acts of disobedience.[31]
► Seek refuge from six characteristics
  ﺖﺳ  ﻦﻣ  مﻮﻳ ﻞﮐ  ﻰﻓ  ذﻮﻌﺘﻳ  ﻪﻟآ  و ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ  ﷲا  لﻮﺳر  نﺎﮐ } لﺎﺼﺧ { و  ﮏﺸﻟا  ﻦﻣ
و ﻰﻐﺒﻟاو ﺐﻀﻐﻟاو ﺔﻴﻤﺤﻟاو کﺮﺸﻟا ﺪﺴﺤﻟا .
God's Prophet (S) used to seek refuge from six
characteristics every day: doubt, associating partners
with God, bias, anger, injustice and jealousy.[32]
► Six rights of a quadruped incumbent upon its
لﺎﺼﺧ  ﺖﺳ  ﺎﻬﺒﺣﺎﺻ  ﻰﻠﻋ  ﺔﺑاﺪﻠﻟ : ﻻو  ﻪﺑ  ﺮﻣ  اذإ  ءﺎﻤﻟا  ﺎﻬﻴﻠﻋ ضﺮﻌﻳو  لﺰﻧ  اذإ  ﺎﻬﻔﻠﻌﺑ  أﺪﺒﻳ
ﻳ  ﻻو ﺎﻬﺑر  ﺪﻤﺤﺑ ﺢﺒﺴﺗ  ﺎﻬﻧﺈﻓ  ﺎﻬﻬﺟو  بﺮﻀﻳ ﻞﺟ و  ﺰﻋ ﷲا  ﻞﻴﺒﺳ  ﻰﻓ  ﻻإ  ﺎﻫﺮﻬﻇ  ﻰﻠﻋ  ﻒﻘ
ﻖﻴﻄﺗ ﺎﻣ ﻻإ ﻰﺸﻤﻟا ﻦﻣ ﺎﻬﻔﻠﮑﻳ ﻻو ﺎﻬﺘﻗﺎﻃ قﻮﻓ ﺎﻬﻠﻤﺤﻳ ﻻو.
A quadruped has six rights incumbent upon its
owner. When he stops, he should feed it first. He
should give it water whenever it passes by water. He
should not hit it on the face, since it glorifies God
with its face. He should not ride on its back, unless it
is in the way of God. He should not overload it
beyond its capability. He should not force it to walk
more than it can.[33]
► There are six who are damned
بﺎﺠﻣ  ﻰﺒﻧ  ﻞﮐو  ﷲا ﻢﻬﻨﻌﻟ  ﺔﺘﺳ : کرﺎﺘﻟاو  ﷲا  رﺪﻘﺑ  بﺬﮑﻤﻟاو  ﷲا  بﺎﺘﮐ  ﻰﻓ  ﺪﻳاﺰﻟا
ﺴﻟ ﺰﻌﻳ و ﷲا هﺰﻋأ ﻦﻣ لﺬﻴﻟ توﺮﺒﺠﻟﺎﺑ ﻂﻠﺴﺘﻤﻟا و ﷲا مﺮﺣ ﺎﻣ ﻰﺗﺮﺘﻋ ﻦﻣ ﻞﺤﺘﺴﻤﻟاو ﻰﺘﻨ
ﻪﻟ ﻞﺤﺘﺴﻤﻟا ﻦﻴﻤﻠﺴﻤﻟا ءﻰﻔﺑ ﺮﺛﺄﺘﺴﻤﻟاو ﷲا ﻪﻟذأ ﻦﻣ.
There are six groups of people who are damned by
God and all the Prophets (whose calls are accepted):
Those who add to any divine book, those who deny
the divine decree, those who abandon my Sunnah
(Traditions), those who allow what God has
forbidden regarding my Itrat, those who take power
by force to debase those whom God has honoured
and honour those whom God has debased, those who
misappropriate public money that belong to all
Characteristics related to the Number Seven
► Blessed be those who believe without having
seen the Prophet
ﻰﺑ ﻦﻣآ و ﻰﻧﺮﻳ ﻢﻟ ﻦﻤﻟ ﺎﻌﺒﺳ ﺎﻬﻟﻮﻘﻳ ﻰﺑﻮﻃ ﻢﺛ ،ﻰﺑ ﻦﻣآ و ﻰﻧآر ﻦﻤﻟ ﻰﺑﻮﻃ.
“Blessed be those who meet me and believe.” Then
the Prophet added: “Blessed be those who believe in
me without having seen me.” He then repeated it
seven times.[35]
► Seven people who will be in the shade of God's
Throne on Resurrection Day
ﻪﻠﻇ ﻻإ ﻞﻇ ﻻ مﻮﻳ ﻞﺟ و ﺰﻋ ﷲا شﺮﻋ ﻞﻇ ﻰﻓ ﺔﻌﺒﺳ : ﷲا ةدﺎﺒﻋ ﻰﻓ ﺄﺸﻧ بﺎﺷو لدﺎﻋ مﺎﻣإ
 ﺎﻴﻟﺎﺧ  ﻞﺟ  و  ﺰﻋ  ﷲا  ﺮﮐذ  ﻞﺟر  و  ﻪﻟﺎﻤﺷ  ﻦﻋ  هﺎﻔﺧﺄﻓ  ﻪﻨﻴﻤﻴﺑ  قﺪﺼﺗ  ﻞﺟرو  ﻞﺟو  ﺰﻋ
ﺟ و  ﺰﻋ ﷲا  ﺔﻴﺸﺧ ﻦﻣ  هﺎﻨﻴﻋ  ﺖﺿﺎﻔﻓ لﺎﻘﻓ  ﻦﻣﺆﻤﻟا  هﺎﺧأ  ﻰﻘﻟ  ﻞﺟر  و ﻞ : ﻰﻓ  ﮏﺒﺣﻻ  ﻰﻧإ
 تاذ  ةأﺮﻣا  ﻪﺘﻋد ﻞﺟر  و  ﻪﻴﻟإ  ﻊﺟﺮﻳ  نأ ﻪﺘﻴﻧ  ﻰﻓو  ﺪﺠﺴﻤﻟا  ﻦﻣ  جﺮﺧ  ﻞﺟر  و ﻞﺟ و  ﺰﻋ  ﷲا
لﺎﻘﻓ ﺎﻬﺴﻔﻧ ﻰﻟإ لﺎﻤﺟ : ﻦﻴﻤﻟﺎﻌﻟا بر ﷲا فﺎﺧأ ﻰﻧإ .
Seven people will be in the Shade of God, the
Honourable and Exalted 's Throne on the day in
which there is no shade except for His Shade: just
leaders, young people who have grown up in the
worship of God, men who give charity in private
such that even their left hands do not realize what
they gave with their right hands (stressing the fact
that they give charity in such a way that no one else
sees it), men who remember God, the Honorable and
Exalted when they are alone and cry due to fear of
God, the Honourable and Exalted, men who upon
seeing their believing brethren say, 'I like you for the
sake of God, the Honorable and Exalted ', men who
intend to return to the Mosque whenever they leave
it, men who when enticed by a beautiful woman do
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M IA 40 | P a g e J u n e 6 , 2 0 1 1

not accept her invitation and say that they fear the
Lord of all the worlds.” [36]
► God's Prophet (S) gave Abu Dharr seven pieces
of advice
لﺎﻗ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا ﺔﻤﺣر رذ  ﻰﺑأ  لﺎﻗ : “ ﻮﻫ ﻦﻣ  ﻰﻟإ  ﺮﻈﻧأ  نأ  ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأ ﻊﺒﺴﺑ  ﷲا لﻮﺳر  ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأ
 نأ  ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأو  ﻢﻬﻨﻣ  ﻮﻧﺪﻟا  و  ﻦﻴﮐﺎﺴﻤﻟا  ﺐﺤﺑ  ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأو  ﻰﻗﻮﻓ  ﻮﻫ  ﻦﻣ  ﻰﻟا  ﺮﻈﻧأ  ﻻ  و  ﻰﻧود
 ﻰﻓ فﺎﺧأ ﻻ نأ ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأ و تﺮﺑدأ نإو ﻰﻤﺣر ﻞﺻأ نأ ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأو اﺮﻣ نﺎﮐ نإ و ﻖﺤﻟا لﻮﻗأ
 لﻮﻗ ﻦﻣ ﺮﺜﮑﺘﺳأ نأ ﻰﻧﺎﺻوأو ﻢﺋﻻ ﺔﻣﻮﻟ ﷲا “ ةﻮﻗ ﻻ و لﻮﺣ ﻻ ﷲﺎﺑ ﻻإ } ﻢﻴﻈﻌﻟا ﻰﻠﻌﻟا { ”
ﺔﻨﺠﻟا زﻮﻨﮐ ﻦﻣ ﺎﻬﻧﺎﻓ”
Abu Dharr said: “God's Prophet (S) gave me seven
pieces of advice. He advised me to always consider
the situation of people who are in a worse position
(less affluent) than I am. The Prophet (S) advised me
never to consider the situation of those who are in a
better position (more affluent) than I am. The Prophet
(S) advised me to like the poor and associate with
them. The Prophet (S) advised me to tell the truth
even though it may be unpleasant. The Prophet (S)
advised me to visit my relatives, even if they have cut
off relations with me. The Prophet (S) advised me not
to fear the blame of those who blame me for the sake
of God. The Prophet (S) advised me to often say
'There is neither any power nor any strength except
with God, the Sublime, the Great' as it is one of the
treasures of Paradise.” [37]
► The belief of one who has seven characteristics
is complete
مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﻰﻠﻌﻟ  ﻪﺘﻴﺻو  ﻲﻓ  ﻪﻟآو  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻ  ﻲﺒﻨﻟا  لﺎﻗ : “ ﻪﻴﻓ  ﻦﻛ  ﻦﻣ  ﺔﻌﺒﺳ  ،ﻲﻠﻋﺎﻳ
ﻪﻟ ﺔﺤﺘﻔﻣ ﺔﻨﺠﻟا باﻮﺑأو نﺎﻤﻳﻻا ﺔﻘﻴﻘﺣ ﻞﻤﻜﺘﺳا ﺪﻘﻓ : ءﻮﺿو ﻎﺒﺳأ ﻦﻣ ﻪﺗﻼﺻ ﻦﺴﺣأو ه
ﺒﻀﻏ  ﻒﻛو  ﻪﻟﺎﻣ  ةﺎﻛز  ىدأو ﺖﻴﺑ  ﻞﻫﻻ  ﺔﺤﻴﺼﻨﻟا  ىدأو  ﻪﺒﻧﺬﻟ  ﺮﻔﻐﺘﺳاو  ﻪﻧﺎﺴﻟ  ﻦﺠﺳو  ﻪ
God's Prophet (S) told Ali b. Abi Talib (A): “O Ali!
The belief of one who has the following seven
characteristics is complete and the gates of Paradise
shall open up for him: to perform the (ritual) ablution
properly, to say the prayers properly, to pay the alms,
to quench one's anger, to control one's tongue, to seek
God's forgiveness for sins and to (follow and) wish
good for the Prophet's Household.” [38]
► God would send seven calamities upon people if
He gets angry with them and yet does not destroy
ﻋ ﷲا ﺐﻀﻏ اذإ ﻢﻟو ﺎﻫرﺎﻤﻋأ تﺮﺼﻗو ﺎﻫرﺎﻌﺳأ ﺖﻠﻏ باﺬﻌﻟا ﺎﻬﺑ لﺰﻨﻳ ﻢﻟو ﺔﻣا ﻰﻠﻋ ﻞﺟوﺰ
  ﺎﻬﻴﻠﻋ  ﻂﻠﺳو  ﺎﻫرﺎﻄﻣأ  ﺎﻬﻨﻋ  ﺲﺒﺣو  ﺎﻫرﺎﻬﻧأ  رﺰﻐﺗ  ﻢﻟو  ﺎﻫرﺎﻤﺛ  كﺰﺗ  ﻢﻟو  ﺎﻫرﺎﺠﺗ  ﺢﺑﺮﺗ ) أ (
If God, the Honourable and Exalted, becomes angry
with a nation and does not destroy them, He will
bring about inflation, shorten their lives, bring loss to
their trade, reduce the amount of fruit grown on their
trees, reduce the amount of water flowing in their
streams, withhold rain from them and wicked ones
will prevail over them.[39]
► Love for the Prophet and his Household (pbut)
is beneficial on seven occasions
  ﻲﺘﻴﺑ  ﻞﻫأ  ﺐﺣو  ﻲﺒﺣ ﺔﻤﻴﻈﻋ  ﻦﻬﻟاﻮﻫأ  ،ﻦﻃاﻮﻣ  ﺔﻌﺒﺳ  ﻲﻓ  ﻊﻓﺎﻧ : ﺮﺒﻘﻟا  ﻲﻓو  ةﺎﻓﻮﻟا  ﺪﻨﻋ
طاﺮﺼﻟا ﺪﻨﻋو ناﺰﻴﻤﻟا ﺪﻨﻋو بﺎﺴﺤﻟا ﺪﻨﻋو بﺎﺘﻜﻟا ﺪﻨﻋو رﻮﺸﻨﻟا ﺪﻨﻋو.
Love for me and my Household would be beneficial
on seven occasions: at the time of death, in the grave,
at the time of Resurrection, at the time of receiving
one's record of deeds, at the time of reckoning, at the
time of examining good and bad deeds and at the
time of crossing the Bridge.[40]
Characteristics related to the Number Eight
► A believer should have eight characteristics
مﻼﺴﻟا ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻰﻠﻌﻟ ﻪﺘﻴﺻو ﻲﻓ ﻪﻟآو ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ ﻲﺒﻨﻟا لﺎﻗ : “ ﻲﻓ نﻮﻜﻳ نأ ﻲﻐﺒﻨﻳ ﻲﻠﻋ ﺎﻳ
لﺎﺼﺧ نﺎﻤﺛ ﻦﻣﺆﻤﻟا : ﺎﻤﺑ عﻮﻨﻗ و ءﺎﺧﺮﻟا ﺪﻨﻋ ﺮﻜﺷ و ءﻼﺒﻟا ﺪﻨﻋ ﺮﺒﺻ و ﺰﻫاﺰﻬﻟا ﺪﻨﻋرﺎﻗو
ﻪﺣار ﻲﻓ ﻪﻨﻣ سﺎﻨﻟا و ﺐﻌﺗ ﻲﻓ ﻪﻨﻣ ﻪﻧﺪﺑ و ءﺎﻗﺪﺻﻼﻟ ﻞﻣﺎﺤﺘﻳ ﻻو ءاﺪﻋﻻا ﻢﻠﻈﻳ ﻻ ﷲا ﻪﻗزر.
God's Prophet (S) told Ali b. Abi Talib (A): “O Ali!
A believer should have eight characteristics: 1- He
should maintain his dignity when calamities befall
him. 2- He should be patient when he is in trouble. 3-
He should be grateful when he has plenty of
blessings. 4- He should be content with his share of
God-given daily bread. 5- He should not oppress his
enemies. 6- He should not be a burden on his friends.
7- He should use his body (to perform his duties). 8-
People should be safe from him.”[41]
► Those who go to the Mosque often shall acquire
one of eight characteristics
نﺎﻤﺜﻟا ىﺪﺣإ بﺎﺻأ ﺪﺟﺎﺴﻤﻟا ﻰﻟإ فﻼﺘﺧﻻا ﻦﻣدأ ﻦﻣ : وأ ﻞﺟوﺰﻋ ﷲا ﻲﻓ ادﺎﻔﺘﺴﻣ ﺎﺧأ
ﻠﻛ  وأ  ﺎﻓﺮﻈﺘﺴﻣ  ﺎﻤﻠﻋ وأ  ةﺮﻈﺘﻨﻣ  ﺔﻤﺣر  وأ  ىدﺮﻟا  ﻦﻋ ﻪﻓﺮﺼﺗ  ىﺮﺧا  وأ  ىﺪﻫ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻪﻟﺪﺗ  ﺔﻤ
ﺔﻴﺸﺧ وأ ءﺎﻴﺣ ﺐﻧﺬﻟا كﺮﺗ.”
Those who go to the Mosque often shall acquire one
of the following eight characteristics: brotherhood for
the sake of God, the Honourable and Exalted, new
knowledge, a word of guidance, a word which may
save him from destruction, an awaited mercy or
abandonment of sins out of shyness or fear. [42]
► The eight classes of people who should blame
no one but themselves if they are insulted
مﻼﺴﻟا ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻰﻠﻌﻟ ﻪﺘﻴﺻو ﻲﻓ ﻪﻟآو ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ ﻲﺒﻨﻟا لﺎﻗ : “ ﻼﻓ اﻮﻨﻴﻫا نإ ﺔﻴﻧﺎﻤﺛ ﻲﻠﻋﺎﻳ
ﻢﻬﺴﻔﻧأ  ﻻإ  اﻮﻣﻮﻠﻳ : ﻰﻟإ  ﺐﻫاﺬﻟا ﺐﻟﺎﻃو  ﺖﻴﺒﻟا  بر  ﻰﻠﻋ  ﺮﻣﺄﺘﻤﻟاو  ﺎﻬﻴﻟإ  عﺪﻳ  ﻢﻟ  ةﺪﺋﺎﻣ
 ﻪﻴﻓ  هﻼﺧﺪﻳ  ﻢﻟ  ﻢﻬﻟ ﺮﺳ  ﻲﻓ  ﻦﻴﻨﺛا  ﻦﻴﺑ  ﻞﺧاﺪﻟاو  مﺎﺌﻠﻟا  ﻦﻣ  ﻞﻀﻔﻟا  ﺐﻟﺎﻃو ﻪﺋاﺪﻋأ ﻦﻣ  ﺮﻴﺨﻟا
 ﻻ ﻦﻣ ﻰﻠﻋ ﺚﻳﺪﺤﻟﺎﺑ ﻞﺒﻘﻤﻟاو ﻞﻫﺄﺑ ﻪﻟ ﺲﻴﻟ ﺲﻠﺠﻣ ﻲﻓ ﺲﻟﺎﺠﻟاو نﺎﻄﻠﺴﻟﺎﺑ ﻒﺨﺘﺴﻤﻟاو
ﻪﻨﻣ ﻊﻤﺴﻳ.”
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God's Prophet (S) told Ali b. Abi Talib (A): “O Ali!
The following eight have no one but themselves to
blame if they are insulted: those who attend a banquet
without being invited, those who order their hosts
around at a party, those who expect goodness from
their enemies, those who seek favours from lowly
people, those who interfere in other people's private
affairs without being asked to do so, those who mock
rulers, those who sit in a position which they do not
deserve and those who converse with people who do
not listen to them” [43]
Characteristics related to the Number Nine
► God granted the followers of Ali (A) nine
يرﺎﺼﻧﻻا  ﷲاﺪﺒﻋ  ﻦﺑ  ﺮﺑﺎﺟ  لﺎﻗ : “ ﻞﺒﻗأ  ذإ  ﻪﻟاو  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻ  ﻲﺒﻨﻟاﺪﻨﻋ  مﻮﻳ  تاذ  ﺖﻨﻛ
لﺎﻘﻓ  مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﺐﻟﺎﻃ  ﻲﺑأ  ﻦﺑ  ﻲﻠﻋ  ﻰﻠﻋ  ﻪﻬﺟﻮﺑ : لﺎﻘﻓ  ﻦﺴﺤﻟا  ﺎﺑأﺎﻳ  كﺮﺸﺑأ  ﻻأ : ﻰﻠﺑ
لﺎﻘﻓ  ،ﷲا لﻮﺳرﺎﻳ : ﻚﺘﻌﻴﺷ  ﻰﻄﻋأ ﺪﻗ  ﻪﻧأ  ﻪﻟﻼﺟ  ﻞﺟ  ﷲا ﻦﻋ  ﻲﻧﺮﺒﺨﻳ  ﻞﻴﺋﺮﺒﺟ  اﺬﻫ
ﺼﺧ  ﻊﺴﺗ  ﻚﻴﺒﺤﻣو لﺎ : ﺔﻤﻠﻈﻟا  ﺪﻨﻋ  رﻮﻨﻟاو  ﺔﺸﺣﻮﻟا  ﺪﻨﻋ  ﺲﻧﻻاو  تﻮﻤﻟا  ﺪﻨﻋ  ﻖﻓﺮﻟا
 ﺮﺋﺎﺳ ﻞﺒﻗ ﺔﻨﺠﻟا لﻮﺧد و طاﺮﺼﻟا ﻰﻠﻋ زاﻮﺠﻟاو ناﺰﻴﻤﻟا ﺪﻨﻋ ﻂﺴﻘﻟاو عﺰﻔﻟا ﺪﻨﻋ ﻦﻣﻻاو
ﻢﻬﻧﺎﻤﻳﺄﺑو ﻢﻬﻳﺪﻳأ ﻦﻴﺑ ﻰﻌﺴﻳ ﻢﻫرﻮﻧ و سﺎﻨﻟا.”
Jabir Abdullah al-Ansari reports that one day he was
with the Prophet (S) when he turned his face towards
Ali b. Abi Talib (A) and said: “O Aba al-Hasan! Do
you want me to give you glad tidings?” Ali (A) said:
“Yes, O Prophet of God!” The Prophet continued:
“God - may His Majesty be Exalted - informed me
through Gabriel that He granted nine things to your
followers and lovers. They will have: 1- gentle
treatment at the time of death, 2- a companion at
times of fear, 3- light at times of darkness, 4- security
at the time of Resurrection, 5- justice at the time of
Reckoning, 6- permission to pass through the bridge
(to Heaven), 7- entry to Heaven before other people,
8- with the light (of their faith) shining in front of
them and 9- on their right side.”[44]
Characteristics related to the Number Ten
► Ten characteristics which are due to nobility
مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  قدﺎﺼﻟا  ﷲاﺪﺒﻋ ﻲﺑأ ﻦﻋ : “ لﻮﺳر ﺺﺧ  ﻰﻟﺎﻌﺗو كرﺎﺒﺗ ﷲا نأ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻ
 اﻮﺒﻏراو ﻞﺟوﺰﻋ ﷲا اوﺪﻤﺣﺎﻓ ﻢﻜﻴﻓ ﺖﻧﺎﻛ نﺈﻓ ﻢﻜﺴﻔﻧأ اﻮﻨﺤﺘﻣﺎﻓ قﻼﺧﻻا مرﺎﻜﻤﺑ ﻪﻟاو
ةﺮﺸﻋ  ﺎﻫﺮﻛﺬﻓ  ،ﺎﻬﻨﻣ  ةدﺎﻳﺰﻟا  ﻲﻓ  ﻪﻴﻟإ : ﻦﺴﺣو  ﺎﺿﺮﻟاو  ﺮﻜﺸﻟاو  ﺮﺒﺼﻟاو  ﺔﻋﺎﻨﻘﻟاو  ﻦﻴﻘﻴﻟا
ءوﺮﻤﻟاو ﺔﻋﺎﺠﺸﻟاو ةﺮﻴﻐﻟاو ءﺎﺨﺴﻟاو ﻖﻠﺨﻟا ة .
Aba Abdullah Sadiq (A) said: “Indeed God, the
Blessed and Sublime, has granted God's Prophet (S)
noble characteristics. Examine yourselves. If you
have them, praise God, the Honourable and Exalted,
and ask Him for their increase. Then Imam Sadiq (A)
mentioned the following ten: certitude, contentment,
perseverance, gratitude, contentedness, being good-
tempered, generosity, zeal, bravery and chivalry.”
► A believer without ten characteristics is not
 ﺮﺸﻋ ﻪﻴﻓ  ﻊﻤﺘﺠﻳ ﻰﺘﺣ  ﻼﻗﺎﻋ ﻦﻣﺆﻤﻟا  نﻮﻜﻳﻻو  ﻞﻘﻌﻟا  ﻦﻣ ﻞﻀﻓأ  ﺊﺸﺑ ﻞﺟوﺰﻋ ﷲا  ﺪﺒﻌﻳ  ﻢﻟ
لﺎﺼﺧ : ﻞﻘﺘﺴﻳو  هﺮﻴﻏ  ﻦﻤﻣ  ﺮﻴﺨﻟا  ﻞﻴﻠﻗ  ﺮﺜﻜﺘﺴﻳ  ،نﻮﻣﺄﻣ  ﻪﻨﻣ  ﺮﺸﻟاو  لﻮﻣﺄﻣ  ﻪﻨﻣ  ﺮﻴﺨﻟا
 ﻦﻣﺮﻴﺨﻟا ﺮﻴﺜﻛ ،ﻪﻠﺒﻗ ﺞﺋاﻮﺤﻟا بﻼﻄﺑ مﺮﺒﺘﻳ ﻻو هﺮﻤﻋ لﻮﻃ ﻢﻠﻌﻟا ﺐﻠﻃ ﻦﻣ مﺄﺴﻳﻻو ﻪﺴﻔﻧ
 ﺎﻣو ةﺮﺷﺎﻌﻟاو تﻮﻘﻟا ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا ﻦﻣ ﻪﺒﻴﺼﻧ ،ﻰﻨﻐﻟا ﻦﻣ ﻪﻴﻟإ ﺐﺣأ ﺮﻘﻔﻟاو ﺰﻌﻟا ﻦﻣ ﻪﻴﻟإ ﺐﺣأ لﺬﻟا
 ﻪﻨﻣ  ﺮﻴﺧ  ﻮﻫ  ﻞﺟﺮﻓ  نﻼﺟر  سﺎﻨﻟا  ﺎﻤﻧإ  ،ﻰﻘﺗأو  ﻲﻨﻣ  ﺮﻴﺧ  ﻮﻫ  لﺎﻗ  ﻻإ  اﺪﺣأ  ىﺮﻳﻻ  ةﺮﺷﺎﻌﻟا
ﺎﻓ ،ﻰﻧدأو ﻪﻨﻣ ﺮﺷ ﻮﻫ ﺮﺧآو ﻰﻘﺗأو اذإو ﻪﺑ ﻖﺤﻠﻴﻟ ﻪﻟ ﻊﺿاﻮﺗ ﻰﻘﺗأو ﻪﻨﻣ ﺮﻴﺧ ﻮﻫ ﻦﻣ ىأر اذ
لﺎﻗ  ﻰﻧدأو  ﻪﻨﻣ  ﺮﺷ  ﻮﻫ  يﺬﻟا  ﻰﻘﻟ : ﻪﻟ  ﻢﺘﺨﻳ  نأ  ﻰﺴﻋو  ﺮﻫﺎﻇ  هﺮﺷو  ﻦﻃﺎﺑ  اﺬﻫ  ﺮﻴﺧ  ﻰﺴﻋ
ﻪﻧﺎﻣز ﻞﻫأ دﺎﺳو هﺪﺠﻣ ﻼﻋ ﺪﻘﻓ ﻚﻟذ ﻞﻌﻓ اذﺎﻓ ،ﺮﻴﺨﺑ.
God, the Honourable and Exalted, has not been
worshipped by anything better than the intellect. A
believer is not intelligent unless he has ten
characteristics: Good is expected from him. Evil is
not expected from him (people should feel safe from
his wickedness). He values highly whatever goodness
he receives from others and undervalues whatever
goodness he does for people. He does not become
tired of acquiring knowledge throughout his lifetime.
He does not become fed up due to the requests of the
needy ones from him. Humbleness should be better in
his opinion than pride. Poverty should be better in his
opinion than being wealthy. His share of this world
should only be his daily sustenance. The tenth
characteristic which is extremely important is that he
should consider everyone he sees to be more pious
and better than himself. Indeed people are only of
two kinds. The first group are those who are really
better than he is, and the second group are those who
are more wicked than he is. He should be humble
when he meets someone who is better and more pious
than himself, until he attains his rank. If he meets
someone who is apparently more wicked than
himself, he should say may be in reality I am more
wicked than him or may be that person is a good
person so as to end up with a better condition of faith
and piety. Should he behave this way, he will become
honourable and will prevail over people of his own
time. [46]
► Islam is founded upon ten pillars
ﻢﻬﺳأ  ةﺮﺸﻋ  ﻰﻠﻋ  مﻼﺳﻻا  ﻲﻨﺑ : ﻲﻫو  ةﻼﺼﻟاو  ﺔﻠﻤﻟا  ﻲﻫو  ﷲا  ﻻإ  ﻪﻟإ  ﻻ  نأ  ةدﺎﻬﺷ  ﻰﻠﻋ
 وﺰﻐﻟا ﻮﻫو دﺎﻬﺠﻟاو ﺔﻌﻳﺮﺸﻟا ﻲﻫو ﺞﺤﻟاو ﺮﻬﻄﻟا ﻲﻫو ةﺎﻛﺰﻟاو ﺔﻨﺠﻟا ﻮﻫو مﻮﺼﻟاو ﺔﻀﻳﺮﻔﻟا
) ﺰﻌﻟا ( ﺠﻟاو  ﺔﺠﺤﻟا  ﻮﻫو  ﺮﻜﻨﻤﻟا  ﻦﻋ  ﻲﻬﻨﻟاو  ءﺎﻓﻮﻟاﻮﻫو  فوﺮﻌﻤﻟﺎﺑ  ﺮﻣﻻاو ﻲﻫو  ﺔﻋﺎﻤ
ﺔﻋﺎﻄﻟا ﻲﻫو ﺔﻤﺼﻌﻟاو ﺔﻔﻟﻻا.
Islam is founded upon ten pillars which are as
follows: bearing witness that 'There is no god but
God' - that is the basis of a Muslim's faith, prayer
which is an obligatory deed, fasting which is a shield
against the fire, payment of the alms which purifies
one's possessions, going on the Hajj pilgrimage
which is a decree, participating in struggle for the
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sake of God which is to fight (alternative version: an
honour), enjoining to do good deeds which is
persistence in belief, prohibiting the bad which is
giving an ultimatum, attending congregational
prayers which results in mutual sympathy and
avoiding sins which is the basis of obedience.[47]
Characteristics related to the Number Eleven
► The Night of Qadr and the eleven leaders from
progeny of Ali b. Abi Talib
َ ﺤ ْ ﺻَ ِ ﻷ ص  ِ َّا  ُ لﻮ ُ ﺳَ ر  َ لﺎَﻗ َﺪ َ ﺣَ ْ ﻷا  ِه ِﺪْﻟ ُ و  َ و  ٍﺐِﻟﺎَﻃ ﻲِﺑَأ ِﻦْ ﺑ  ّ ِﻲِ ﻠ َ ﻌِﻟ  ُنﻮُﻜَﺗ ﺎ َ ﻬَّﻧِإ  ِر ْﺪَﻘْﻟا  ِ ﺔَﻠ ْ ﻴَﻠِﺑ اﻮ ُ ﻨ ِﻣآ  ِﻪِ ﺑﺎ
يِﺪ ْ ﻌ َ ﺑ  ْ ﻦِﻣ  َ ﺮ َﺸَﻋ
The Apostle of God told his companions: “Believe in
the Night of Qadr as that belongs to Ali b. Abi Talib
and eleven of his progeny after me.”[48])
There are many hadiths on the relation between the
Night of Qadr and the divinely appointed leader of
every age. Shaykh Saduq also reports that Imam Ali
(A) told Ibn Abbas: “Indeed there is the Night of
Qadr every year. On this night the affairs for the
whole year descend. After the Apostle of God there
are people who are in charge of those affairs”. Ibn
Abbas asked: “Who are they?” Imam Ali replied:
“Me and eleven people from my progeny who will be
Imams to whom the angels will speak”.[49]
Characteristics related to the Number Twelve
► The twelve caliphs and Divine leaders after the
Prophet (pbut)
ﺮﺸﻋ ﺎﻨﺛا  ﺮﻣﻻا  اﺬﻫ ﻰﻠﻳ . لﺎﻗ : ﻨﻟا  خﺮﺼﻓ بﺮﻗأ  نﺎﮐ  و  ﻰﺑﻻ  ﺖﻠﻘﻓ  ،لﺎﻗ  ﺎﻣ ﻊﻤﺳأ  ﻢﻠﻓ  سﺎ
ﺖﻠﻘﻓ  ﻰﻨﻣ  ﻪﻟآ  و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻﷲا  لﻮﺳر  ﻰﻟإ  سﺎﻨﻟا : و  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا  ﻰﻠﺻﷲا  لﻮﺳر  لﺎﻗ  ﺎﻣ
لﺎﻘﻓ ؟ﻪﻟآ : “ لﺎﻗ : ﻪﻠﺜﻣ یﺮﻳ ﻻ ﻢﻬﻠﮐ و ﺶﻳﺮﻗ ﻦﻣ ﻢﻬﻠﮐ ”.
The Prophet said: “There will be twelve people who
will rule this nation.” The narrator adds that then the
people made some noise and I could not hear what
the Prophet (S) said. I asked my father, who was
closer to God's Prophet (S) than others, “What did the
Prophet say?” My father said: 'The Prophet (S) said:
“They are all from the Quraysh.”' [50]
► There are twelve advantages in brushing the
مﻼﺴﻟا  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﻰﻠﻌﻟ  ﻪﺘﻴﺻو  ﻲﻓ  ﻪﻟآو  ﻪﻴﻠﻋ  ﷲا ﻰﻠﺻ  ﻲﺒﻨﻟا  لﺎﻗ : “ ﺔﻨﺴﻟا  ﻦﻣ  كاﻮﺴﻟا  ﻲﻠﻋ  ﺎﻳ
 ﺪﺸﻳو ﺮﻔﺤﻟﺎﺑ  ﺐﻫﺬﻳو  نﺎﻨﺳﻻا  ﺾﻴﺒﻳو ﻦﻤﺣﺮﻟا  ﻲﺿﺮﻳو  ﺮﺼﺒﻟا  ﻮﻠﺠﻳو  ﻢﻔﻠﻟ ةﺮﻬﻄﻣ ﻮﻫو
 ﻪﺑ  حﺮﻔﺗو  تﺎﻨﺴﺤﻟا  ﻒﻋﺎﻀﻳو  ﻆﻔﺤﻟا  ﻲﻓ  ﺪﻳﺰﻳو  ﻢﻐﻠﺒﻟﺎﺑ  ﺐﻫﺬﻳو  مﺎﻌﻄﻟا  ﻲﻬﺸﻳو  ﺔﺜﻠﻟا
The Prophet (S) told Ali b. Abi Talib (A): “O Ali!
Brushing the teeth with a toothbrush is a
recommendable practice since it cleans the mouth,
improves vision, pleases the Merciful Lord, whitens
the teeth, removes the mouth's bad smell, strengthens
the gums, improves the food's taste, alleviates the
phlegm, improves memory, increases reward for
good deeds and makes the angels happy.” [51]
► The twelve dirhams donated to the Prophet (S)
Imam Sadiq (A) reports that a man went to see God's
Prophet (S). When he saw that the Prophet's shirt was
old, he gave him twelve dirhams (silver coins). The
Prophet (S) said: “O Ali! Take this money and buy
me a shirt with it.” Ali (A) said: “I went and bought
the Prophet (S) a shirt with twelve dirhams and took
it to the Prophet (S).” The Prophet (S) looked at it
and said: “O Ali! I would like a different shirt! Do
you think that the seller would take it back?” Ali (A)
replied: “I do not know.” The Prophet (S) said: “Then
try it.” Ali (A) went back to the seller and told him:
“The Prophet of God (S) doesn't like this shirt. He
wants another shirt. Please take it back and return my
money.” Then he returned the money to the Prophet
(S). The Prophet (S) accompanied Ali (A) to buy
another shirt. They came across a slave girl who was
sitting there and crying. The Prophet (S) asked her:
“Why are you crying?” She said: “O Prophet of God!
My master gave me four Dirhams with which to buy
things from the market. I don't know where I lost that
money. Now I don't have the courage to go back
home.” The Prophet (S) gave her four dirhams and
told her: “Buy whatever you had to buy and go back
Then the Prophet (S) went to the market to buy a shirt
for himself for four dirhams. He (S) put it on, praised
God, the Honourable the Exalted and returned. On
his way back from the market, the Prophet (S) saw an
unclothed man who kept on saying: “God will put
heavenly attire on whoever clothes me.” Then the
Prophet (S) took off his shirt and put it on the needy
Then the Prophet (S) himself went to the market to
buy another shirt for himself with the last four
dirhams. He (S) put it on, praised God, the
Honourable the Exalted and returned. On his way
back, he came across the slave-girl again who was
sitting there and crying. The Prophet (S) asked her:
“Why didn't you go home?” She replied: “O Prophet
of God! It is too late for me to return and I am afraid
that they might beat me.” The Prophet of God (S)
said: “Walk ahead of me and take me to your house.”
The Prophet (S) walked with her until they reached
her house. He stopped at the door and said: “O
residents of this house, Peace be upon you!” There
was no response. He gave greetings again but they
did not respond. So he greeted them for the third
time. Then they said: “O Prophet of God! Please, His
Blessings and His Mercy be upon you!” The Prophet
(S) asked: “So what was the reason that you didn't
respond to my greeting the first and the second
time?” They said: “O Prophet of God! Yes! After
hearing your voice for the first time we came to know
that it was you. However, we loved to hear your
voice over and over again.” God's Prophet (S) said:
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“Your slave-girl has taken a long time to come back.
Hence, I have come to request that you do not punish
her.” They said: “O Prophet of God! Due to the
blessing of your gracious arrival at our home, we
have set this slave-girl free.” The Prophet (S) said:
 ﻖﺘﻋأ و  ﻦﻴﻳرﺎﻋ  ﺎﻬﺑ  ﷲا ﺎﺴﻛ  ،هﺬﻫ  ﻦﻣ  ﺔﻛﺮﺑ  ﻢﻈﻋأ ﺎﻤﻫرد  ﺮﺸﻋ  ﻲﻨﺛا  ﺖﻳأر  ﺎﻣ  ﷲ  ﺪﻤﺤﻟا
“Praise is due to God. I have not seen any twelve
dirhams more blessed than these. With them, God
clothed two unclothed persons and freed a slave-girl.

[1] P. 2, No. 21.
[2] P. 29, No 20.
[3] P. 69, No 106.
[4] Ibid. No 107.
[5] P. 74, No 5.
[6] P. 85, No 28.
[7] P. 91, No 39.
[8] P. 95, No 48.
[9] P. 121, No 82.
[10] Ibid. No 84.
[11] P. 143, No 119.
[12] P. 147, No 127.
[13] P. 147, No 128.
[14] P. 148, No 3.
[15] P. 188, No 66.
[16] P. 196, No 81.
[17] P. 253, No 172.
[18] Ibid. No 173.
[19] P. 255, No 175.
[20] P. 299, No 239.
[21] P. 305, No 250.
[22] P. 365, No 49.
[23] P. 391, No 88.
[24] P. 395, No 97.
[25] P. 411, No 125.
[26] P. 413, No 129.
[27] P. 463, No 39.
[28] P. 465, No 44.
[29] P. 515, No 100.
[30] P. 521, No 5.
[31] P. 525, No 11.
[32] P. 533, No 24.
[33] P. 535, No 28.
[34] P. 549, No 42.
[35] P. 555, N o 6.
[36] P. 554, N o 8.
[37] P. 559, N o 12.
[38] P. 559, N o 14.
[39] P. 585, N o 49.
[40] P. 585, N o 50.
[41] P. 675, N o 2.
[42] P. 681, N o 12.
[43] P. 681, N o 13.
[44] P. 678, N o 2.
[45] P. 719, N o 12.
[46] P. 721, N o 17.
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M IA 44 | P a g e J u n e 6 , 2 0 1 1

[47] P. 745, N o 48.
[48] َﻚْﻠ ِﺗ ﻲِﻓ  ُ لِﺰ ْ ﻨ َ ﻳ  ُ ﻪَّﻧ ِإ  َ و  ٍ ﺔ َ ﻨ َ ﺳ  ّ ِﻞُﻛ ﻲِﻓ  ِر ْﺪَﻘْﻟا َﺔَﻠ ْ ﻴَﻟ َّنِإ  ٍسﺎ َّ ﺒ َﻋ  ِﻦْ ﺑ ِ ﻻ  َ لﺎَﻗ ع  َ ﻦ ﻴ ِﻨ ِﻣ ْ ﺆ ُ ﻤْﻟا  َ ﺮﻴ ِﻣَأ َّنَأ
َﻚِﻟ َﺬِﻟ  َ و  ِ ﺔ َ ﻨ َّ ﺴﻟا  ُ ﺮ ْ ﻣَأ  ِ ﺔَﻠ ْ ﻴَّﻠﻟا َﻋ  ُ ﻦْ ﺑا  َ لﺎَﻘَﻓ ص  ِ َّا  ِلﻮ ُ ﺳ َ ر  َﺪ ْ ﻌ َ ﺑ ٌة َﻻ ُ و  ِﺮ ْ ﻣَ ْ ﻷا َﺪ َ ﺣَأ  َ و ﺎ َﻧَأ  َ لﺎَﻗ  ْ ﻢُﻫ  ْ ﻦَ ﻣ  ٍسﺎ َّ ﺒ
َنﻮُﺛَّﺪ َ ﺤُ ﻣ ٌﺔ َّ ﻤِﺋَأ ﻲِﺒْﻠ ُ ﺻ ْ ﻦِﻣ  َ ﺮ َﺸَﻋ . (P. 807, No 49
[49] Ibid, No 48.
[50] P. 793, N o 30.
[51] P. 80, No 55.
[52] p. 828, No 70.

Message of Thaqalayn
Ahl-al-Bayt (`a): Its Meaning and

Translated by M. Jalali
Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3

The term "ahl" signifies the members of a household
of a man, including his fellow tribesmen, kin,
relatives, wife (or wives), children, and all those who
share a family background, religion, housing, city,
and country with him. "Ahl" and "al" are both the
same term with the exception that "al" is exclusively
used for human beings and should come before the
family name, but such a condition is not existent in
the case of "ahl".
"Bayt" refers to habitation and dwelling, including
tents and buildings both. The "ahl-al-bayt" of any
person refers to his family members and all those
who live in his house (c.f. "Mufradat al-Qur'an" by
Raghib Isfahani; "Qamus" by Firoozabadi; "Majm`a
The term "ahl-al-bayt" (people of the house) has been
repeated twice in the Holy Qur'an:
1. "... the mercy of Allah and his blessing are on you,
O people of the house, ... (11:73)"
This verse refers to the people of the House of
Ibrahim (s) (c.f. "Kashf al-Asrar wa `Uddat al-
Abrar", 416/4 and other interpretations).
2. "... Allah only desires to keep away the
uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to
purify you a (thorough) purifying (33:33)".
This verse, known as the "Tathir verse", refers to the
Members of the Household of the Holy Prophet (s).
The Imamiyyah scholars of hadith and fiqh, as well as
some Sunni `Ulama, consider the "ahl-al-bayt" cited
in the "tathir verse" to include exclusively
Muhammad, `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn
(peace be upon them all). They do not consider the
Holy Prophet's other offspring, wives, sons of
paternal uncles, and dwellers of his house as the
Messenger's "ahl-al-bayt".
They base their argument on the genuine and
authentic traditions narrated by the companions of the
Prophet (s) recorded in the Sunni and Shi`i sources.
Under the following headings, this article will delve
into some of the said traditions and refer to some
features of the "ahl-al-bayt" as narrated by the
1. Kisa' tradition; 2. Mubahalah tradition; 3.
Mawaddat al-Qurba tradition; 4. Safinah tradition; 5.
Other traditions.
1. Kisa' Tradition
A. Jalaluddin `Abdul-Rahman bin Abi Bakr Suyuti (d
911 A.H.) in his commentary "Al-Dur al-Manthur",
198/5-199, Muhammad ibn `Isa Tirmidhi (3 279
A.H.) the author of "Jami' Sahih", Hakim Nishaburi
(d 405 A.H.) in "Al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihayn",
Ahmad ibn Husayn Bayhaqi (d 458 A.H.) in "Sunan"
(all three of whom have considered the Kisa' tradition
as authentic), Muhammad ibn Jarir Tabari (d 315
A.H.), Ibn Munzir Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (d 319
A.H.), Ibn Mardawayh Isfahani, and Ahmad ibn
Musa (d 410 A.H.) have quoted Ummu Salamah, the
wife of the Holy Prophet (s) as saying that the verse
"... Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness
from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a
thorough purifying (33:33)" was revealed in her
house. At that time, `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and
Husayn (peace be upon them all) were in her house.
The Holy Prophet (s) spread his cloak over them and
stated: "These are the members of my Household, and
Allah has purified them of all (sins and faults and
B. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, the Hanbali
Imam, (d 241 A.H.), in "Musnad" 229/2 quotes
Ummu Salamah as saying: "The Holy Prophet (s)
was in my house. Fatimah (`a) came to her father
holding a stone bowl filled with "harirah" (type of
food made up of flour, milk, and vegetable oil). The
Holy Prophet (s) stated: Invite your husband and two
sons to come as well." `Ali, Hasan, and Husayn also
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came there and all sat down to eat "harirah". Then,
the Holy Prophet (s) was sitting on a cloak in his
resting place and I was reciting the prayer in the
chamber. At this time, Almighty Allah revealed the
verse "Allah only desires to ...". The Holy Prophet (s)
covered `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (peace be
upon them all) with the cloak and then stretched his
hand toward the sky and said: "Allah! These are the
Members of my Household, so purify them of all
uncleanness'. Ummu Salamah said: "I asked him:
"Am I also with you?" He stated: "You are on good
and virtue" (but did not say that you are a member of
my Household)'."
This tradition has also been narrated by Ahmad ibn
Muhammad Tahawi (d 321 A.H.) in "Mushkil al-
Athar" 332 and 334; Wahidi in "Asbab al-Nuzul" 268
and Muhib Tabari (d 694 A.H.) in "Zakhair al-
`Uqba" 23 have related this tradition. In continuation
of this tradition, Tabari has written that the Prophet
(s) stated: "I am a friend of whosoever is friends with
them and an enemy of whosoever is an enemy of
them." The said tradition of similar statements have
been recorded in "Manaqib" by Ibn Hanbal, 44, the
microfilm copy of the book is available in the
Parliament Library. Tabari remarked: "This tradition
has been narrated from Umma Salamah by Ibn al-
Qubabi in "Mu'jam" and Siyuti in "Al-Dur al-
Mnthur" under the title of the "tathir verse", as well
as by Ibn Jarir, Ibn Munzir, Ibn Mardawayh, Ibn Abi
Hatam and Ibn Tabrani."
C- Khatib Baghdadi, Ahmad bin `Ali, (d 463 A.H.) in
"The History of Baghdad" 278/10, has quoted Abu
Saeed Khidri S`ad bin Malik (d 74 A.H.) as saying
that after the revelation of the "tathir verse", the Holy
Prophet (s) summoned `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and
Husayn (peace be upon them all) and covered them
with the cloak he had on and said: "These are the
members of my Household, and Allah has purified
them (of every wrong and sin)." The same tradition
has been narrated from Ummu Salamah by
Muhammad ibn Jarir Tabari in "Jam`a al-Bayan"
D- In "Sahih Muslim" (narrated by Sayyid Murtada
Firoozabadi in "Fadail al-Khamsah min Sihah al-
Sitah" 214/1), Safiyah, the daughter of Shayba, has
narrated `Aishah, the wife of the Holy Prophet (s), as
saying: "One morning, the Messenger of Allah left
the house with a cloak made of black material and
bearing the design of a camel's saddle. Hasan ibn `Ali
entered the place, and the Prophet (s) covered him
with the cloak. Then came Husayn, Fatimah, and `Ali
one after another, and all of them were also covered
by the cloak. The Prophet (s) then stated: "... Allah
only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O
people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough)
This tradition has been narrated by Hakim Nishaburi
in "Al-Mustadark" 14/3; Bayhaqi in "Sunan" 149/2;
Tabari in the "Jami al-Bayan" Siyuti in "al-Durri al-
Manthur" under the title of the "tathir verse". In
addition, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ahmad bin Muhammad
bin Hanbal, Ibn Abi Hatam have narrated it from
`Aishah. Zamakhshari in "Kashshaf" and Fakhr Razi
in "Tafsir Kabir" have also related this tradition. It
seems that the recorders of traditions are unanimous
about the authenticity of this tradition ("Fadail al-
Khamsah" 224/1).
E- In the "Jami al-Bayan" Muhammad bin Jarir
Tabari has quoted Shahr bin Hushab Ash'air (d 100
A.H.) as saying: "When Ummu Salamah heard news
of the martyrdom of Husayn bin `Ali (`a), she cursed
the people of Iraq and said: `May Allah kill the
people of Iraq who deceived him and left him alone.
May Allah curse them. Verily, I saw Fatimah while
bringing a stone bowl of sweet paste for the Holy
Prophet (s). The Holy Prophet (s) stated: `Where is
your cousin?' She said: `At home.' The Prophet (s)
said: `Go bring him here with his two sons.' Fatimah
returned while holding the hands of Hasan and
Husayn. `Ali also followed them, and they came to
the Holy Prophet (s). The Holy Prophet (s) embraced
Hasan and Husayn and made `Ali sit on his right and
Fatimah on left. He then the cloak as the carpet on
which we slept in Medina and placed it over
Fatimah, `Ali, Hasan, and Husayn. He held the two
sides of the cloak with his left hand. He raised his
right hand toward the sky addressing Almighty Allah
by saying: `O Allah, purify them of any uncleanness .
O Allah, these are the members of my Household.
Purify and cleanse them of any vice, wrong, and sin,'
(He repeated this twice). I asked: `O Messenger! Am
I also a member of your Household?' He said: `You
come under the cloak.' I also went under the cloak,
but only after the Prophet (s) finished his prayer for
his cousin, his two sons, and Fatimah (peace be upon
them all)." This tradition has been related by Ahmad
bin Muhammad ibn Hanbal in "Musnad" 292/6:
Tahwi in "Mushkil al-Athar" 335/1; and Muhib
Tabari in "Zakhair al-`Uqba" 22/1. The Kisa'
tradition which has been narrated in different forms
by the Shias and the Sunnis is very sacred for the
entire Imamiyyah, especially the Shia of Iran, the
Indian subcontinent, Iraq, and Yemen. It is recited in
"rawdah" sessions (mourning ceremony) to have the
wishes fulfilled and problems removed. Some
narration provide more details on this tradition. Some
say that Jibraeel and Mikaeel were also among the
disciples of the Kisa' or were present there. A divine
revelation was descended on the Holy Prophet (s) to
the effect that the world and whatever is in it is
indebted to these five pure ones.
2. Mubahalah Tradition
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Sixty chiefs and `Ulama of Najran, headed by
Sayyid, Aqib, and Usquf (religious personalities) of
the region in the 10th year A.H. came to Medina to
clarify their religious and political stance vis-a-vis
Islam which had spread over the Arab peninsula and
to engage in discussions with the Messenger (s) of
Allah to realize the essence and truth of Islam.
After lengthy discussions which have been presented
in details in Ibn Husham's "Sirah" 573/1, no
agreement was reached on the position and standing
of Jesus. The Christians of Najran believed in the
divinity of Jesus and considered him as the son of
God. This is while, based on the explicit wording of
the Holy Qur'an (3:59), the Messenger (s) of Allah
considered him as a prophet and the servant of God.
At the end of the discussions, the Prophet (s)
suggested that the two sides engage in "mubahalah",
in other words, to invoke divine malediction for the
lying side. The following verse was descended in this
"But whoever disputes with you in this matter after
what has come to you of knowledge, then say: come
let us call our sons and your sons and our women
and your women and our near people and your near
people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for
the curse of Allah on the liars." (3:61)
The 10th (and some say the 24th) of Dhul-Hijjah was
chosen for "mubahalah". The Messenger (s) of Allah
ordered that in a field outside Medina a thin black
"aba" (men's loose sleeveless cloak open in front) be
used as a shade between two trees. The Christian
chiefs and dignitaries of Najran stood in orderly
ranks on one side of the field, on the other side, the
Prophet, together with `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and
Husayn came from the direction of Medina to the
shade. Along this path, the Prophet (s), holding the
hand of `Ali (`a), Hasan and Husayn walked in front
with Fatimah behind them (c.f. "Majm`a al-Bayan".
Interpretation of the Mubahalah Verse). With such
simplicity and grandeur, they reached the shade and
stood below the "aba". The Holy Prophet (s) recited
the "tathir verse" and addressed the "ahl-al-bayt" by
saying: "I will invoke malediction for them and you
say `amin'." Seeing such glory and grandeur, the
Najran chiefs lost their self-confidence and felt that
they were very puny and could not stand against
Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Household. They,
therefore, accepted to pay "jaziyyah" and offered to
give in to peace. On behalf of the Holy Prophet (s),
the commander of the Faithful, `Ali (`a), signed a
peace treaty with the Christians.
The Christians were to annually offer twelve
thousand exquisite clothes, a thousand mithqal of
gold, and some other items to remain Christians
under the umbrella of Islam.
On the basis of the "mubahalah verse", Sunni
interpreters such as Zamakhshari, Baydawi, Imam
Fakhr Razi and others regard `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan
and Husayn (peace be upon them all) superior to all
other people and argue that Hassan and Husayn are
the sons of the Messenger (s) of Allah.
The term "anfusina" in the "mubahalah verse" proves
the unity of the heart and soul of Prophet Muhammad
and `Ali. The Holy Prophet (s) stated: "`Ali is of me
and I am of `Ali." ("Fadail al-Khamsah" 343/1). The
"mubahalah tradition" has been recounted in different
books of "sirah" and history with various wordings.
These include those of Tirmidhi ("Sahih" 166/2)
which quotes S`ad ibn Abi Waqqas as follows:
"When the mubahalah verse was recited, the Holy
Prophet (s) summoned `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and
Husayn and said: `O Allah, these are the Members of
my Household." This tradition has been narrated by
Hakim Nishaburi in "Al-Mustadrak" 150/3 and
Bayhaqi in "Sunan" 63/7. Hakim regards this
tradition as authentic.
3. Mawaddat al-Qurba Tradition
Based on the consensus of the exegesists ("Jam`a al-
Bayan" Tabari 16/25, 17; "Hilyat al-Awlia" 251/3;
"Al-Mustadrak" 172/3; "Usd al-Ghabah" 367/5; "Al-
Sawa'iq al-Muharaqah" 101), the following verse has
been revealed about the members of the Household
of the Holy Prophet (s):
"...Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love
for my near relatives ..." (42:23)
The term "Al-Qurba" in this verse, based on the
traditions narrated from the Holy Prophet (s),
embraces only `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn and
no one else. The tradition from Ibn `Abbas' has it that
when the "mawaddat al-qurba" verse was revealed,
the Prophet (s) was asked: "O messenger, who are
your near relatives who should be loved?" He stated:
"`Ali, Fatimah, and their sons." This tradition has
been narrated by Muhib Tabari in "Zakhair al-
`Uqba" 25/1; Ibn Hanbal in "Manaqib" 110; Mo'min
Shabilenji "Nural-Absar" 101; and Zamakhshari in
"Kashshaf" as annotation to the said verse. In the
"Tafsir al-Kabir", Fakhr Razi has related the said
narration from "Kashshaf" and has said that based on
this verse, `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn should
be revered and sanctified. He has also cited lines of
verse from the Shafii' Imam, Muhammad bin Idris
Shafii' (d 240 A.H.) in this regard. A line of it is as
follows: "If love for the members of the Household of
the Holy Prophet is heresy, then the world should
stand witness that I am a heretic."
4. Safinah Tradition
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The virtues of the "ahl al-bayt" have been amply
mentioned in the authenticated and Tawatur
traditions narratted by both Shia and Sunni `Ulama.
Using different words and phrases, these traditions
have asked people to love the "ahl al-bayt" and
follow thier teachings. For instance, the Holy Prophet
(s) has compared his "ahl al-bayt" to Noah's ark.
Whoever loves and follows them will attain salvation
and whoever violates their sanctity will drown.
The servant of the Holy Prophet (s), Anas bin Malik
(d 93 A.H.), has been related as quoting the Prophet
(s) as saying: "The example of the members of my
Household among you is like the example of Noah's
ark. Whoever boards it will attain salvation and
whoever does not board it will drown." This tradition
has been narrated by Hakim Nishaburi in "Al-
Mustadrak" 343/2; Khatib in "Tarikh Baghdad"
91/12; and other great recorders of traditions ("al-
Ghadir" 300/2-301). In this regard, Imam Shafii' has
said the following:
"When I saw different schools of thought directing
people toward the seas of ignorance and deviation, I
boarded the ark of salvation in the Name of Allah.
This arc is verily crystallized in the "ahl al-bayt" of
the Seal of the Prophets, Mustafa (s)." Among very
famous traditions in which the "ahl al-bayt" have
been resembled to the ark of salvation, reference can
be made to the famous "Ishbah tradition" which has
been narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) by Abu
Hurayrah `Abdul-Rahman bin Sakhar (d 59 A.H.).
"When Almighty Allah created Adam, the father of
mankind, and breathed His spirit into him, Adam
looked to the right hand side of the empyrean. There
he saw five figures in the form of silhouettes engaged
in prostration and genuflection. He asked: "God, have
you created any one from the dust before me?" God
replied: "No." Adam said, "So who are these five
figures which I see resembling my own shape and
form?" God answered, "These are five of your
offspring. If it were not for them, I would have not
created you. They are five people whose names are
derived from My Own. If it were not for them, I would
have not created paradise or hell, the heavens and
the earth, the skies and the lands, the angels, the
human beings and the jinn. I am "Mahmud" and this
Muhammad. I am "Aala" and this is `Ali. I am
"Fatir" and this is Fatimah, I am "Ihsan" and this is
Hasan. I am "Muhsin" and this is Husayn. By My
Glory, whoever bears even an atom's weight of
grudge against them will be cast into hell. O Adam!
They are My chosen ones. For them, I will save or
cast others to perdition. If you want anything from
me, you should resort to these five people."
The Holy Prophet (s) said: "We serve as the ark of
salvation. Whoever holds fast to this ark will reach
salvation and whoever deviates from it will be cast
into perdition. Whoever wants Allah to grant him
something should resort to the `ahl al-bayt'." This
tradition has been narrated by Shaykh al-Islam
Hamu'i in the first chapter of "Fara'id al-Samtayn"
and Khatib Khwarazmi in "Manaqib" 252 (c.f. "al-
Ghadir" 300/2). The Ashbah tradition has been
narrated by `Allamah Amini in another part of the al-
Ghadir" (301/7) quoting Abul-Fath Muhammad bin
`Ali al-Natanzi in "Alfaz".
5. Other Traditions About the Virtues and
Characteristics of the "Ahl al-Bayt"
A- In the interpretation of the verse "And enjoin
prayer on your household ..." (20:132), Jalaluddin
Siyuti in "al-Durr al-Manthur", has related Ibn
Mardawayh, Ibn `Aker, and in al-Najjar as quoting
Abu Saeed Khidri as saying that after this verse was
revealed, for eight months, the Prophet went to the
house of `Ali every morning at the time of morning
prayers and read this verse: "... Allah only desires to
keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the
House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying
(33:33)." ("Al-Durr al-Manthur" 198/5 and 199;
"Fadail al-Khamsah"; 226/1).
Another tradition has it that from the fortieth day
after the consummation of the marriage of `Ali (`a)
and Fatimah (`a), the Prophet (s) every morning went
to their house and said: "Peace be upon you, O
members of the House and the mercy and blessings of
Allah. I will fight with whoever fights with you and I
will be reconciled with whoever is reconciled with
you." He then recited the "tathir verse".
Ibn `Abdul-Bar in "al-isti`ab" 598/2; Abu Dawud
Tialisi in "Sahih" 274/8; and Firoozabadi in "Fadail
al-Khamsah" 236/1 have put at forty the number of
mornings when the Prophet (s) went to the house of
`Ali (`a) and Fatimah (`a). In the "Jami al-Bayan"
interpretation, Tabari has said that this was done for
seven months. Siyuëi (in "Al-Durr al-Manthur", 199)
has quoted Ibn `Abbas as saying that after the verse
"And enjoin prayer on your household ..." (20:132)
was revealed, the Holy Prophet (s) for nine months
went to the house of `Ali (`a) five times a day at the
time of daily prayers and called on the members of
the house to keep up the prayer. Each time, he recited
the "tathir verse".
This is possible because the Holy Prophet's house
was close to that of `Ali (`a). Its door opened inside
the mosque. So whenever the Messenger (s) of Allah
wanted to go to the mosque, he had to pass the house
of `Ali (`a) and Fatimah (`a).
B- In "Al-Mustadrak alal-Sahihayn", Hakim
Nishaburi quotes `Abdullah bin Ja'afar bin Talib as
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saying that when the Messenger (s) of Allah looked
to the blessings coming down, he said, "Call on
them." Safiyeh said, "O Messenger of Allah, whom
should we call upon?" He replied, "The members of
my Household: `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn."
They were called upon. Then the Prophet (s) placed
his cloak over them and raised both hands and said,
"O Allah, these are the members of my Household.
Peace be upon Muhammad and upon the Household
of Muhammad." Almighty Allah revealed the verse,
"... Allah only desires to keep away ... (33:33)."
Hakim Nishaburi said this tradition is an
authenticated tradition. The Holy Prophet (s) taught
them to send greetings upon his household ("`Ayan
al-Shi`ah" 358/1; "Fadail al-Khamsah" 227/1; "Al-
Mustadrak" 147/3). Ibn Jurir and Ibn Abi Hatam have
quoted Qutadah as saying that in relation to the verse,
"... Allah only desires to keep away ... (33:33)", the
Prophet (s) stated, "These are the members of my
Household, and Allah has purified them of any
uncleanness and granted them His mercy. We serve
as the tree of prophethood, the pillar of mission, the
place of passage of angels, the house of mercy, and
the wealth of knowledge" ("Al-Durr al-Manthur",
C- In "Al-Mustadrak al-Sahihayn", Hakim Nishaburi
has quoted this authentic tradition from Ibn `Abbas:
The Holy Prophet (s) stated, "Love Allah who gives
you food out of his bounty and love me for His love
and love the members of my Household because of
love for me." He also relates this tradition which he
considers authentic from Abu S`ad Khidri: "Whoever
shows animosity toward us the members of the
Household will be cast into the fire." ("A'yan al-
Shi`a", 315/1).
D- Hakim Nishaburi in "Al-Mustadrak", 149/3 and
Ibn Hajar in "Sawaiq", 140 have related Ibn `Abbas
as quoting the Prophet (s) as saying: "The stars are
the source of the earth and the members of my
Household are the source of the "ummah" (people)."
Another tradition refers to the same: "The stars are
the refuge for the dwellers of the heavens and my
"ahl al-bayt" are the refuge for the "ummah" ("Kanz
al-A'mal fi Sunan al-Aqwal wal-Af`al" 116/6).
Another tradition has said: "the stars are the refuge
for the dwellers of the skies. So if the stars are
destroyed, the dwellers of the skies will also be
destroyed. The members of my Household are the
refuge for the dwellers of the earth. If they are
destroyed, the dwellers of the earth also be
destroyed" (Muhib Tabari in "Zakhair al-`Uqba",
17/1 and `Ali bin Sultan Muhammad Qari in "Mirqat
al-Mafatih" 610/5, Egypt, 1339 A.H.).
Some Sunni `Ulama regard the "tathir verse"
pertinent to all kin and relatives of the Holy Prophet
(s) including the wives, children, the Bani Hashim
and Bani`Adul-Mutallib (Ash'ari in "Maqalat al-
Islamin", 9). Based on a tradition narrated from
Saeed bin Jubayer, Bukhari, Ibn Abi Hatam, Ibn
`Aker, and Ibn Mardawayh have said that this verse
has been revealed about the wives of the Prophet (s)
and believe that they are the members of the
Household of the Messenger (s) of Allah ("Fath al-
Qadir", 27/4, Egypt 1350 A.H.). In addition to the
wives of the Holy Prophet (s), Qurtabi and Ibn Kathir
consider `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (peace be
upon them all) as members of the Household to
whom the "tathir verse" applies. But Tirmidhi, Ibn
Jurir, Ibn Manzar, Hakim Nishaburi, and Bayhaqi
who are all Sunni `Ulama have referred to the
authentic tradition of Ummu Salamah and have thus
considered the "tathir verse" applicable to `Ali,
Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (peace be upon them
all). The Shias have mentioned several reasons and
proofs that the "ahl al-bayt" of the Holy Prophet (s)
are exclusively `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn to
whom the "tathir verse" applies. The most important
of these reasons and proofs are:
1. Based on an authentic tradition narrated from
Ummu Salamah and Abu Saeed Khidri, the "tathir
verse" has been revealed about the Holy Prophet (s),
`Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (peace be upon
2. In the Kisa' tradition, it has been stipulated that
after placing `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (peace
be upon all) under his cloak, the Prophet (s) said: "O
Allah, these are the members of my Household." This
means that no one else apart from these is viewed as
the "ahl al-bayt".
3. In response to Ummu Salama who asked whether
she was also a member of the Household, the Prophet
(s) said: "You have your own place, you are
virtuous." He said no more than this. If Ummu
Salama, in whose house the "tathir verse" was
revealed, is not a member of the Household of the
Holy Prophet (s), the verse will surely not apply to
the Messenger's other wives.
4. Some traditions state that based on a request from
Ummu Salamah, the Prophet (s) allowed her to come
under the cloak but did so after saying, "Allah these
are the members of my Household" and reciting the
"tathir verse".
5. `Akramah Bariri (d 105 A.H.) and Urwat bin
Zubayr (d 93 A.H.) are among the people who have
related that the "tathir verse" has been exclusively
revealed about the wives of the Prophet (s). Of
course, Akramah subscribe to Khawarij ("Al-`a'lam"
Zarkali, 42/5) and Urwat ("`Ayan al-Shi`ah", 309/1).
Also the pronoun in the said verse is masculine not
feminine. Such a narration cannot contrdict the
famous tradition related by `Aishah, Ummu Salamah,
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and Abu Saeed Khidri, who have considered the "ahl
al-bayt" to be exclusively five people. They have said
that the verses coming before and after the "tathir
verse" are related to the wives of the Prophet (s), so
this verse should also be relevant to them.
Qur'anic verses are not classified based on the order
of their revelation or contents. In addition, Zayd bin
Arqam who has related the authenticated Thaqalayn
tradition, has stated that the wives of the Holy
Prophet (s) are not regarded as the members of his
Household). He was asked: "Aren't the wives of the
Holy Prophet (s) considered as the members of the
Household?" He replied: "The wives of the Prophet
reside in the Prophet's house but the Prophet's "ahl
al-bayt" are those to whom the grant of "sadaqah" is
religiously unlawful." Another tradition has it that
Zayd was asked to name the members of the
Household of the Holy Prophet (s). He was asked
whether the Prophet's wives were among his "ahl al-
bayt". He replied: "No, a wife lives with a husband
for a while and then might be divorced and go back
to her parents."
6. After citing the "tathir verse", `Ali Qari in the
"Annotation to Qazi Ayaz's Shifa" (as related in
"`Ayan al-Shi`ah", 309/1) has mentioned that
according to a tradition narrated by Ibn `Abbas, the
Prophet's "ahl al-bayt" include his wives as well.
According to Abu Saeed Khidri and some followers,
the "ahl al-bayt" include `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and
Husayn (peace be upon all). He says: "There is no
problem if we gather these traditions together and
consider both groups to be members of the
Household of the Holy Prophet (s). But It would go
against the Shia idea that the "tathir verse" applies
only to `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn and that
they are immaculate . Even the fact that they regard
the consensus of Imamiyyah `Ulama as proof to the
veracity of thiswould be rejected. Abu Saeed Khidri's
tradition only shows that these four are members of
the Prophet's Household and does not indicate that
no one else is among the "ahl al-bayt".
But Akramah's traditions explicitly quotes Ibn
`Abbas as saying that verily the "ahl al-bayt" refers
to the wives of the Prophet. On the other hand,
Khidir's tradition says that the Prophet said: "Only
these (i.e. `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn) are the
Members of my Household." This indicates exclusive
membership. How then can these two traditions be
combined? For this reason, the Imamiyyah `Ulama
have consensus on following the traditions of the
immaculate Imams (peace be upon them all) and the
distinguished disciples to the effect that the "ahl al-
bayt" of the Prophet (s) are only the five people
known as the "Al-e-Aba" and "Ashab Kisa'".

The Significance of Self-control and

Mohammad Ali Shomali
It is a common idea amongst all religious and
spiritual traditions that human beings should have
some kind of self-control. Although we enjoy free
will, we need to exercise our free will in a
responsible way. In the same way that we expect
others to respect our dignity and interests, we should
respect dignity and interests of others. We should
also safeguard our own dignity and long term
interests. Thus, we cannot simply go after our whims
and desires and do whatever we want. We need to
have self-control and self-discipline which leads to
self-purification. If we purify our hearts we will no
longer need to resist our temptations and control
ourselves against lower desires and lusts, since a
purified person desires nothing except what is good
and moral for himself and others. In what follows, we
will study the necessity of self-control and self-
On the necessity of self-control, the Glorious Qur'an
ﻘَﻣ َفﺎﺧ ْﻦَﻣ ﺎَّﻣَأ َو ىﻮَﮭْﻟا ِﻦَﻋ َﺲْﻔَّﻨﻟا ﻰَﮭَﻧ َو ِﮫِّﺑَر َمﺎ َﻲِھ َﺔَّﻨَﺠْﻟا َّنِﺈَﻓ
And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of
his Lord and forbids his own soul from its whims and
caprices then surely Paradise is the abode. (79:40 &
َّﻧِإ ُدُواد ﺎﯾ ِﻊِﺒَّﺘَﺗ ﻻ َو ِّﻖَﺤْﻟﺎِﺑ ِسﺎَّﻨﻟا َﻦْﯿَﺑ ْﻢُﻜْﺣﺎَﻓ ِضْرَﺄْﻟا ﻲِﻓ ًﺔَﻔﯿﻠَﺧ َكﺎﻨْﻠَﻌَﺟ ﺎ
ىﻮَﮭْﻟا ٌباﺬَﻋ ْﻢُﮭَﻟ ِﮫَّﻠﻟا ِﻞﯿﺒَﺳ ْﻦَﻋ َنﻮُّﻠِﻀَﯾ َﻦﯾﺬَّﻟا َّنِإ ِﮫَّﻠﻟا ِﻞﯿﺒَﺳ ْﻦَﻋ َﻚَّﻠِﻀُﯿَﻓ
ِبﺎﺴِﺤْﻟا َمْﻮَﯾ اﻮُﺴَﻧ ﺎﻤِﺑ ٌﺪﯾﺪَﺷ
O David! …do not follow the whims of your own
soul for they will lead you astray from God's path.
ﻰﻠَﻋ ْﻮَﻟ َو ِﮫَّﻠِﻟ َءاﺪَﮭُﺷ ِﻂْﺴِﻘْﻟﺎِﺑ َﻦﯿﻣاَّﻮَﻗ اﻮُﻧﻮُﻛ اﻮُﻨَﻣآ َﻦﯾﺬَّﻟا ﺎَﮭُّﯾَأ ﺎﯾ ِوَأ ْﻢُﻜِﺴُﻔْﻧَأ
ﻟﺎَﻓ ًاﺮﯿﻘَﻓ ْوَأ ﺎًّﯿِﻨَﻏ ْﻦُﻜَﯾ ْنِإ َﻦﯿﺑَﺮْﻗَﺄْﻟا َو ِﻦْﯾَﺪِﻟاﻮْﻟا ﻰﻟْوَأ ُﮫَّﻠ اﻮُﻌِﺒَّﺘَﺗ ﻼَﻓ ﺎﻤِﮭِﺑ
ىﻮَﮭْﻟا ًاﺮﯿﺒَﺧ َنﻮُﻠَﻤْﻌَﺗ ﺎﻤِﺑ َنﺎﻛ َﮫَّﻠﻟا َّنِﺈَﻓ اﻮُﺿِﺮْﻌُﺗ ْوَأ اوُﻮْﻠَﺗ ْنِإ َو اﻮُﻟِﺪْﻌَﺗ ْنَأ
O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and
witnesses for the sake of God, even if it should be
against yourselves or [your] parents and near
relatives, and whether it be [someone] rich or poor,
for God has a greater right over them. So do not
follow [your] desires, lest you should be unfair, and if
you distort [the testimony] or disregard [it], God is
indeed well aware of what you do. (4:135)
Here we find two pieces of advice. Firstly, to observe
God's Will, to fear Him and to try to obey Him. And
secondly, to forbid our soul from doing what is
wrong and harmful to us. This becomes only possible
when we have some kind of self-control. In Nahj al-
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Balaghah, there is a very beautiful and insightful
description of an un-named brother. Imam Ali a.s. is
quoted as saying:
ﻲِﻓ ﺎَﯿْﻧُّﺪﻟا ُﺮَﻐِﺻ ﻲِ ﻨْﯿَﻋ ﻲِﻓ ُﮫُﻤِﻈْﻌُﯾ َنﺎَﻛ َو ِﮫَّﻠﻟا ﻲِﻓ ٌخَأ ﻰَﻀَﻣ ﺎَﻤﯿِﻓ ﻲِﻟ َنﺎَﻛ
َﻋ ِﮫِﻨْﯿ … ُﺮُﻈْﻨَﯾ ِناَﺮْﻣَأ ُﮫَھَﺪَﺑ اَذِإ َنﺎَﻛ َو [ َﺮَﻈَﻧ ] ىَﻮَﮭْﻟا ﻰَﻟِإ ُبَﺮْﻗَأ ﺎَﻤُﮭُّﯾَأ
[ ُﮫَﻔَﻟﺎَﺨَﻓ ] ُﮫُﻔِﻟﺎَﺨُﯿَﻓ
In the past I had a brother-in-faith, and he was
prestigious in my view because the world was
insignificant in his eyes… If two things confronted
him he would see which was more akin to his whims
and he would do the other. (Wise Sayings, No. 289)
We see that one of the brother-in-faith's qualities was
that when faced with two options, (for example
whether to go to one place or another, one meeting or
another or to engage in one business or another), that
is, when he was at a 'crossroads' and wanted to
choose which way to turn, he would look at his own
soul/heart, trying to discover which course of action
was dearer to his self, his own personal interest and
then he would do the other one. For example, one
might have the option to either watch TV or to help
someone with his work. The soul which is not trained
may encourage us to go and watch TV, saying that it
is a waste of time to help the other person. But
instead it is better to spend the time helping the other
Of course, we may not always be able to find out
what is the right course of action by just following
this instruction. But it is important to at least try to
find out what our selfish desire wants us to do. God
has given us the ability to distinguish between what
our egoism or greediness wants from us and those
things which are in our 'real' interests. When we work
for our 'real' interest we also secure the interests of
other people. God has created us in a way that when
we really serve ourselves, then we serve all human
beings. But if we try to be 'clever' and only serve
ourselves, then we not only damage ourselves but
also others. There are lots of ways to damage
ourselves and others. But it is not possible to truly
serve oneself and not serve others.
There is also another method which we can use when
we want to make a decision and have two or three
options to consider and do not know what to do. In
such cases, it is useful to try to imagine that a person
who is very pious, and whose actions you trust and
accept, is in your place. Then try to decide what that
person would do if he were in your place. Since you
have information about the way that person normally
makes his decisions and about his intentions and
good will, by keeping that person in mind you may
be able to understand what to do. For example, you
could imagine a pious scholar or pious relative, not
necessarily an infallible or saint. You could then
think about what they might do and this would give
you some kind of insight.
So, it is a basic fact that we must have self-control. If
we believe that we should just do what we want by
satisfying and gratifying ourselves, then there is no
point in talking about spiritual direction. Of course,
Islam tells us that self-control is just a beginning; it is
for those people who are at the start of the journey.
What we need to do is to transform our soul from one
which has an interest in lower desires into a soul
which instead has a yearning for good things. Then
our soul itself becomes a helper and an assistant to
us. But this is a matter of training and purifying the
There is a beautiful story in the Mathnawi by Rumi
which shows how the heart can be transformed in
either a good way or a bad way. Rumi says that once
there was a perfume market where every person who
wanted to sell perfumes had a shop. As a result,
whoever entered this bazaar would only sense the
beautiful fragrance of perfumes. Everyone enjoyed it,
especially the perfume sellers who of course are the
best people to appreciate perfume due to their refined
sense of smell, whereas we become confused after
smelling too many different fragrances. But one day
someone went to the bazaar with a horse and the
horse dirtied the passageway of the bazaar. The
people became very angry because they could not
tolerate the bad smell but no-one had the strength to
take the dirt outside. It was like torture for them. So
someone suggested that they had better bring
someone there whose job was to clean horses' stables.
They went to ask a young man to help them. He said
that of course he would be able to do this as this was
his job and what he always did. But when he entered
the bazaar, before even reaching the dirty place, as
soon as he smelt the fragrance of perfume he became
unconscious because he was used to bad smells and
so could not tolerate good fragrances.
In a similar way, on one hand, we find people who
enjoy praying, who enjoy having some private time
with God. And, on the other hand, we find people
who become angry when they see you praying and it
causes them pain. And when they see you go to the
mosque or the church, they feel troubled by this.
There is a hadith which says that a believer in the
mosque is like a fish in water but when a hypocrite is
in the mosque he feels like he is in prison and always
wants to escape. So these are the different states of
the soul that we can reach through self-training and
In the Glorious Qur'an, God emphasises the
purification and purity of the human soul as follows:
اذِإ ِﻞْﯿَّﻠﻟا َو ﺎھَّﻼَﺟ اذِإ ِرﺎﮭَّﻨﻟا َو ﺎھﻼَﺗ اذِإ ِﺮَﻤَﻘْﻟا َو ﺎھﺎﺤُﺿ َو ِﺲْﻤَّﺸﻟا َو
َﻧ َو ﺎھﺎﺤَﻃ ﺎﻣ َو ِضْرَﺄْﻟا َو ﺎھﺎﻨَﺑ ﺎﻣ َو ِءﺎﻤَّﺴﻟا َو ﺎھﺎﺸْﻐَﯾ ﺎھاَّﻮَﺳ ﺎﻣ َو ٍﺲْﻔ
ﺎھﺎَّﺳَد ْﻦَﻣ َبﺎﺧ ْﺪَﻗ َو ﺎھﺎَّﻛَز ْﻦَﻣ َﺢَﻠْﻓَأ ْﺪَﻗ ﺎھاﻮْﻘَﺗ َو ﺎھَرﻮُﺠُﻓ ﺎﮭَﻤَﮭْﻟَﺄَﻓ
I swear by the sun and its brilliance and the moon
when it follows the sun and the day when it makes
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manifest the sun (and her beauty) and the night when
it covers the sun and the heaven and Him who made
it and the earth and Him who extended it and the soul
and Him who made it perfect, then He inspired it to
understand what is right and wrong for it. He will
indeed be successful who purifies it and he will
indeed fail whoever pollutes and corrupts it. (91:1-
So, after swearing eleven times, after so much
emphasis, God declares that the person who purifies
his soul will be successful and whoever pollutes and
corrupts his soul will fail. On the Day of Judgement
there will be two groups of people: those who are
prosperous and happy because they purified their soul
and those who are in an unfortunate position because
they were careless and negligent of their soul.
Purification of the soul is a prerequisite for closeness
to God. Indeed, the whole point of morality and
spirituality is to purify one's soul. It is only then that
the soul starts shining, receiving and reflecting
utmost radiation and light from God. If we want to
meet God, Who is the Most Pure, then we need to
achieve purity. It is impossible to be polluted and
then try to go towards God. If we want to go
somewhere where the people are smart, well-dressed
and beautiful, then we too need to make ourselves
clean and tidy, we should put on good clothes and
thus make ourselves somehow compatible with them.
Otherwise they will say that we will spoil their
gathering and damage their reputation.
One of the main tasks of all the Prophets (a.s.) and a
major aim behind all their endeavours in teaching the
divine message was to help people to purify their
souls. Referring to the mission of the Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.), the Glorious Qur'an says:
َو ْﻢِﮭﯿِّﻛَﺰُﯾ َو ِﮫِﺗﺎﯾآ ْﻢِﮭْﯿَﻠَﻋ اﻮُﻠْﺘَﯾ ْﻢُﮭْﻨِﻣ ًﻻﻮُﺳَر َﻦﯿِّﯿِّﻣُﺄْﻟا ﻲِﻓ َﺚَﻌَﺑ يﺬَّﻟا َﻮُھ
ِّﻠَﻌُﯾ ﻲﻔَﻟ ُﻞْﺒَﻗ ْﻦِﻣ اﻮُﻧﺎﻛ ْنِإ َو َﺔَﻤْﻜِﺤْﻟا َو َبﺎﺘِﻜْﻟا ُﻢُﮭُﻤ ٍﻦﯿﺒُﻣ ٍلﻼَﺿ
He is the one who has sent amongst illiterate people
an apostle from among themselves who recites to
them His verses and purifies them and teaches them
the Book and the wisdom. (62:2)
ْﻢِﮭْﯿَﻠَﻋ اﻮُﻠْﺘَﯾ ْﻢِﮭِﺴُﻔْﻧَ أ ْﻦِﻣ ًﻻﻮُﺳَر ْﻢِﮭﯿﻓ َﺚَﻌَﺑ ْذِإ َﻦﯿﻨِﻣْﺆُﻤْﻟا ﻰَﻠَﻋ ُﮫَّﻠﻟا َّﻦَﻣ ْﺪَﻘَﻟ
ﻲﻔَﻟ ُﻞْﺒَﻗ ْﻦِﻣ اﻮُﻧﺎﻛ ْنِإ َو َﺔَﻤْﻜِﺤْﻟا َو َبﺎﺘِﻜْﻟا ُﻢُﮭُﻤِّﻠَﻌُﯾ َو ْﻢِﮭﯿِّﻛَﺰُﯾ َو ِﮫِﺗﺎﯾآ
ٍﻦﯿﺒُﻣ ٍلﻼَﺿ
Certainly God conferred a great favour upon the
believers when He raised among them a Messenger
from among themselves, reciting to them His verses
and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and
the wisdom, although before that they were surely in
manifest error. (3:164)
َ~ ْ .َ ٕ .- َ ِّ. َ·ُ   َ ·َ.َ- ْ .ِ· ْ َ·  َ¸.. ِ´ْ ُ · ُ . ُ - ِّ. َ·ُ   َ ·ْ · ُ . ِّ َ .ُ   َ ·. ِ . ٓ ْ · ُ . ْ َ. َ.  - ُ .ْ َ  ْ · ُ .ْ ِ   ً:-ُ َ .ْ · ُ . ·  . ْ . َ .-ُ . َ. ْ ·َ  -ُ - ُ ´َ  ْ · َ  . ْ · ُ . ُ -
As We sent to you an Apostle from among
yourselves, who recites to you Our signs, and purifies
you, and teaches you the Book and wisdom, and
teaches you what you did not know. (2:151)
Thus we see that one of the tasks of the Holy Prophet
(s.a.w.), in addition to reciting the Qur'an and
teaching the Qur'an and wisdom, was to help us to
purify our souls. Indeed, the appointment of Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.) for such tasks was an answer to
the prayer of Abraham (a.s.) and Ishmael (a.s.) after
they raised the foundations of the House (ka'bah):
ِإ  َ·  ِ .ْ .َ¸.ْ َ ,ِ   َ.ِ.- َ:ْ ُ-.ْ ¸ ِإ  ُ ; َ· ْ .َ   ْ .ِإ  َ· . ْ . َ· ْ ¸- َ·  . َّ ¸ َ.  ُ · .. َ·ْ ُ ; ..َّ . َ .ْ َ ٕ َ :َّ ِإ  . َّ ِ  ْ ¹َّ¸َ:َ   . َّ ¸ َ.  ُ,.-ْ
َّ- َّ . َ .ْ َ ٕ َ :َّ ِإ . ْ .َ. َ.  ْ ¸.ُ   َ·  . َ´ِ~ . َ  . ِ.َ ٕ َ · َ :َ ً.َ-ِ. ْ
ُ   ً.َّ ُ ٕ . ِ .َّ ِّ .ُ . ْ ,ِ   َ · َ :َ ِ ,ْ .َ-ِ. ْ ُ
َ · . َّ ¸ َ.  ُ -َّ. ُ ¸.
َ .ْ ·ِ ..·   ْ ¸ .َ·ْ ¸ ُ . َ .ْ َ .ْ َ ٕ َ :َّ ِإْ ·ِ ..ِّ َ .ُ   َ· َ.َ- ْ .ِ· ْ َ·  َ¸.. ِ´ْ ُ ·ُ .ُ · ِّ. َ·
ُ   َ·  َ :ِ . ْٓ ·ِ . ْ .َ. َ.  - ُ .ْ َ  ْ ·ُ .ْ .ِ   ً:-ُ
ُ · .´ َ· ْ
Our Lord! Accept from us; surely You are the
Hearing, the Knowing….Our Lord! And raise up in
them a Messenger from among them who shall recite
to them Your verses and teach them the Book and the
wisdom, and purify them; surely You are the Mighty,
the Wise. (2:127-129)
Just imagine how wise Abraham was! How lovely his
supplication was! In three places in the Qur'an, God
says that He has sent the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) to do
the same thing that Abraham (a.s.) and Ishmael (a.s.)
had wanted: to recite for the people the verses of the
divine Book, to teach them the divine Book and
wisdom and to purify their souls. Of course, it must
be God Himself who inspired them to pray in this
way. God is so merciful that He first invites us to call
Him, then He inspires us what to ask and then he
answers our call and prayer.
Thus purification of the people was an important task
for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and, indeed, all the
Prophets (a.s.). These verses clearly show the great
significance of the task of purification of the soul. It
is noteworthy that in the prayer of Abraham and
Ishmael the request of teaching the Book and wisdom
is mentioned before the purification, but in all the
three places that God describes the mission of the
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), purification precedes
teaching the Book and wisdom. This indicates the
priority and great importance of purification. This
also suggests that a prerequisite for learning the Book
and wisdom is to be pure.
There are a number of sources of impurity. A major
or the major source of impurity is the attachment to
the materialistic life and worldly affairs to the extent
that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is quoted as
ْ ,ِ  ً. ْ . ُ ¸-   ُّ . َ ¸ ~َ ٕ ٍ ٕ . َ. َ -  ُّ ·َ ٕ َ·  ُ . َّ. ُ . َ ~َ ·ْ ¸َ ٕ . َ َّ ¸. َ -َ ٕ َ .ْ . َ ·
َ.َ  .ََ ٕ ٍ.َ .ِ. َ -  ِّ¹ ُ   ُ ,ْ ٕ َ. . َْ ُّ. ُّ ¸. ُ -
َ .َ
The attachment to this world is the source for every
wrong. Beware how the one who is attached to this
world has loved what God dislikes. What wrong can
be a greater crime than this?[1]
The materialistic world (dunya) is the least important
and valuable thing in the sight of God. To be attached
to it and make it one's ultimate end in one's life is a
grave mistake and impurity. Therefore, one of the
major treatments of this problem and a crucial means
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of purification of the soul is to ask people to give
alms. In some twenty verses of the Qur'an, giving
alms (al-zakat) is mentioned right after establishing
prayer (iqamat a-salat). For example, Allah (swt)
says in the Qur'an:
. َ·  َ ·:َّ. - ُ ْ -ُ   َ·  َ ·.َّ~ -ُ ..:ُ   َ· َء.·َ . ُ - َ,ِّ. ُ .َ َ ,.~ِ.ْ ·
ُ   َ . َّ. · ُ .ُ ¸ْ · َ.ِ   َّ :ِإ · ُ ِ ُ ٕ .َ·
ِ.َ-ِّ.َ:ْ ُ ,. َ :ِ
And they were not commanded except to worship
God, dedicating their faith to Him as men of pure
faith, and to maintain the prayer, and pay the zakat.
That is the upright religion. (98:5)
Zakat is derived from the same root as tazkiyah
(purification) i.e. za-ka-wa which means growth and
purity. It has been suggested (Lisan al-'Arab, Vol. 14,
p. 358) that the reason for calling alms “zakat” lies in
the fact that paying zakat purifies one's money and
possessions. It is also true that paying alms causes
growth (namā) and blessing (barakah) in one's
money and sustenance. It seems more reasonable to
suggest that the main reason for calling alms “zakat”
is that it helps in purifying the soul by getting rid of
the love for this world. This is why God says to the
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.):
َ . َ . ْ ·ِ .ِ -ْ َ ٕ ْ ,ِ   ْ .ُ - ٌ· .. َ.   ٌ; .. َ   ُ . َّ. َ· ْ ·ُ .َ   ٌ , َ´ َ~   َ :َ . َ .  َّ .ِإ ْ ·ِ . ْ .َ. َ.   ِّ¹ َ.  َ· .ِ¸ ْ ·ِ ..ِّ َ .ُ   َ· ْ ·ُ . ُ ·ِّ َ -ُ  ً.َ·
Take charity from their possessions to cleanse them
and purify them thereby, and bless them. Indeed your
blessing is a comfort to them, and God is all-hearing,
all-knowing. (9:103)
In this verse, instead of the term zakat, sadaqah
(charity) is used. However, the same point is there:
Giving money for the sake of God helps in
purification of the giver.[2] Elsewhere the Qur'an
}ْ -ُ  · .َّ · .ْ ¸· ُ  ٍ.َ-ْ .ِ   ْ ,ِ   ُ · َ.ْ ِ·  ٍ.َ-َ ٔ.ِ .  َ ·, َّ َ ·َ َ   ُ .َ. . ·ِ . ْ ¸ َّ :ِإ , . ْ . َ ٔ.ْ ِ. ِّ¸ َ.  ِ. ْ ¸-َ· َء ,ْ .َ   َ .ْ -ََ   َ·
he who gives his wealth to purify himself and does
not expect any reward from anyone, but seeks only
the pleasure of his Lord, the Most Exalted, and,
surely, soon he will be well-pleased. (92:18-21)
Thus when someone spends some money for the sake
of God on things such as giving to the needy people
or building places for common good such as
Mosques, seminaries, schools and hospitals both
giver and receiver benefit. However, the main
beneficiary is the giver who is giving some money
which is the least valuable thing in the sight of God
and instead achieves purity and pleasure of God.
ِ  , َّ َ ·َ َ   .- َّ ِ ٕ .َ· , َّ َ .َ   ْ ,َ   َ·  َ ·.َّ~ -ُ ¯َ ٕ َ·  ِ¸.ْ .َ ·ْ . ِ¸ ْ ·ُ .َّ¸ َ.  َ .ْ - َ ¸ ْ ·َ  َ, .َّ ُ .ِ .ْ ُ  .- َّ ِإ ُ ·~َ.ْ ِ. َّ. , َ ِإ  َ ·ِ.ِْ :َ .
… You can only warn those who fear their Lord in
secret, and maintain the prayer. Whoever seeks
purification for himself, seeks purification only for
his own sake, and to God is the return. (35:18)
It is a basic fact that we must have self-control. There
can be no spirituality without self-discipline. We
cannot develop ourselves by simply doing what we
wish and satisfying and gratifying our soul. Of
course, Islam tells us that self-control is just a
beginning. What we need to do is to transform our
soul from one which has an interest in lower desires
into a soul which instead has a yearning for good
things. By training and purifying our souls, our soul
itself becomes a helper and an assistant to us. A
major task of the Prophets and in particular the
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was to help people to
purify themselves. The reason for such a great
emphasis on self-purification is the fact that God is
the Most Pure and the Most Perfect and it is only by
purification of the soul that we can achieve our
ambition of getting close to Him. One major way of
purification is to get rid of attachment to the
materialistic life by giving out one's own money for
the sake of God.

[1] Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 67, p. 309.
[2] This in addition to the great emphasis that the
Qur’an puts on giving alms shows that it is not just a
linguistic point or an accident that paying zakat as a
religious requirement and tazkiyah (purification of
the people) as a major task of the Prophet are so
closely linked to each other.

Life of the Prophet Mohammad
before Starting the Mission

S. Ahmad Rahnamaei
This paper is an attempt to study some aspects of the
Prophet Mohammad's life before his mission started.
Issues such as the Prophet's birth, his nursing, the
story of the splitting of his chest (shaqq al-Sadr) and
his participation in the Sacrilegious War (Harb al-
Fijar) are discussed.
The Prophet’s Birth
Perhaps one of the most debatable subjects regarding
the life of the Prophet is the biographers' dispute on
the exact date of his birth. If someone were to gather
all of the different opinions on this issue, there would
be about twenty options to choose from.[1] Of
course, the year and the month of the Prophet's birth
is agreed upon by the vast majority of both Sunni and
Shi'i historians and narrators of hadith. It is accepted
as a well-known fact that the Prophet was born in the
lunar month Rabi' al-Awwal of the 'Year of the
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Elephant', i.e. 570 C. E.[2] The majority of Muslim
scholars agree with the consensus on the subject.[3]
Since the very beginning, however, there has been a
difference between the Sunni and Shi
i schools on the
actual day of the birth of the Prophet, and this
difference is reflected in their works where they point
to the birthday of the Prophet as it will be dealt with
here.[4] The seventeenth of Rabi' al-Awwal is
supported by the Shi
a due to a famous saying, while
the twelfth of the month is recognized by the vast
majority of Sunni scholars. Among the Shi'a, it was
only al-Kulayni[5] who certified the date of the
twelfth of the month.[6]
Some Sunni biographers refer to the disagreement
among historians[7] but conclude: “the majority …
agree that Muhammad was born on the twelfth of
Rabi' al-Awwal, the claim of Ibn Ishaq and other
biographers.”[8] Ibn Ishaq observes that the Prophet
was born on Monday, the twelfth of Rabi' al-Awwal,
in the 'Year of the Elephant'.[9] According to the
general belief of Sunnis, Monday was the actual day
of the birth of the Prophet,[10] while among the Shi
Friday is determined to have been the day in
question.[11] Nowadays, in Islamic Republic of Iran,
there is an anniversary celebration which is held
every year from the 12
to the 17
of Rabi' al-
Awwal. The week during which the ceremony is held,
is called the 'Week of Unity'. It indicates that each
sect can respect the other's thought, while still
focusing on what it has received through its own
The thirteenth century Shi'i biographer al-Irbili,[12]
states that he believes such a disagreement on the day
of the Prophet's birth is natural. To him this is
because the Arabs then were unfamiliar with dates
and calendars. They did not know how to record their
children's birthdays. What seems amazing and
unreasonable to al-Irbili is the biographers' dispute on
the date of the Prophet's death.[13]
Extraordinary Events
Some biographers deny any unusual circumstance in
respect to the birth of the Prophet and remark that
“there was nothing unusual about Amina's pregnancy
or delivery.”[14] However, some extraordinary
events are narrated in almost all Sunni and Shi
biographies, events which are alleged to have
happened before or very soon after the Prophet's
The Prophet’s Suckling
Why would Muhammad have been suckled by a
nurse other than his own mother? Biographers accept
that the Prophet was nursed by Thuwayba, servant of
Abu Lahab, for a while. Then Halima al-Sa
daughter of Abu Dhu'ayb, accepted him into her
charge, because she had found no one other than this
orphan child. Halima related that after she took
Muhammad with her, she found all kinds of blessings
and goodness. She nursed him for two whole years,
and then she brought him back to his mother.[16]
Ibn Ishaq relates of Halima:
He [the Prophet] was growing up as none of the other
children grew and by the time he was two he was a
well-made child. We brought him to his mother,
though we were most anxious to keep him with us
because of the blessing which he brought us. I said to
her: “I should like you to leave my little boy with me
until he becomes a big boy, for I am afraid on his
account of the pest in Mecca.” We persisted until she
sent him back with us.[17]
Was the Prophet Spurned Because of His
It is related that Halima used to say that she and other
foster-mothers refused the apostle of God when he
was offered to each of them, because they could not
expect to get payment from the child's father.[18] M.
Hosayn Haykal (Sunni biographer) says,
the prospect of an orphan child did not much attract
them (wet nurses), since they hoped to be well
rewarded by the father. The infants of widows, such
as Muhammad, were not attractive at all. Not one of
them accepted Muhammad into her care, preferring
the infants of the living and of the affluent.[19]
This point is understood from Ibn Ishaq's sira,
according to which Halima states: “We said, 'An
orphan! and what will his mother and grandfather
do?', and so we spurned him because of that.”3
S. Ja'far Murtada (Shi'i biographer) also refers to the
same story and states that Halima at first spurned
Muhammad (as her colleagues had done before her),
but finally she accepted him because she found no
child other than him.[20] He, however, suggests
another possibility which is presented by some Shi'i
scholars. They are not satisfied with this part of the
story and refute it on the basis of the following
1-It is related that 'Abdullah, the Prophet's father, was
alive at the time of his son's birth and died a few
months after. Some say that the father's death
occurred seven months after the Prophet's birth, while
some other state that it was seventeen months.[21] It
is also alleged by some others that 'Abdullah's death
occurred twenty-eight months after his son was
born.[22] Therefore, we are not sure whether the
Prophet was an orphan at his birth or not. Even if we
accept that Muhammad

was an orphan at his birth, he
was still a descendant of an honorable and wealthy
man like 'Abd al-Muttalib one of whose properties
was a herd of two-hundred camels, in the “Year of
the Elephant.”[23] People knew his grandfather to be
a generous and exalted person. They knew that his
daughter-in-law Amina also was from a wealthy
family. So an orphan such as Muhammad should
never have been deprived of the chance to have a
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foster-mother like the other children of nobles. His
rights also could never be disregarded, especially
when he was under the protection of his
grandfather.[24] Moreover, we must consider that
asking for nurses was the practice of the Makkan
aristocracy[25] among whom was the leader of the
Quraysh, 'Abd al-Muttalib.
The Custom of Choosing Foster-Mothers
There are good reasons as to why Muhammad, like
other infants, was suckled by a desert tribe. On the
whole, it was the practice of nobles of the Makka and
until recently was still practiced among Makkan
aristocracy. They used to send their children to the
desert on the eighth day of their birth to remain there
until the age of eight or ten. Some of the tribes of the
desert had a reputation as providers of excellent wet
nurses, specially the tribe of Banu Sa'd.[26] From the
points of this view, there were some reasons behind
this practice, such as:
1- Their children's physical disposition could grow
sounder because they inhaled the purest of desert air,
and the hardness of desert living, which caused their
quick growth and equipped them with a natural
adaptability towards different conditions.[27]
2- They were able to learn the purest and most
classical Arabic language, since they avoided the
multi-cultural conditions of Makka, which was
usually crowded with different tribes, especially
during the season of pilgrimage, or when the trade
caravans were in Makka for their transactions.
Makkans mostly used to ask the Banu Sa'd to nurse
their children, for this tribe was the most preserved
Arab of the tribes of the cities or the desert.[28] Thus
the Prophet himself told his companions: “I am the
most perfect Arab of you all. I am of Quraysh, and I
was suckled and brought up among the tribe of Banu
Sa'd b. Bakr.”[29]
3- Inhaling the pure air of the desert caused their
children to grow up brave and strong-hearted, and
gave them “the spirit of personal freedom and
4- The nature of desert living usually agreed with
their children's mental growth, and gave them purer
intellect and talent, for they were far from the
disturbances and difficulties of urban living, and
lived a simple and more natural life.[31]
5- it is related that Halima, when returning the
Prophet to his mother after two years in the desert,
asked Amina to let her take him again to the desert,
because of an epidemic then raging at Makka.[32]
Makka had bad and hot air, especially during the
summer and children were in more danger than
adults, for the warm and dry situation of this city did
not suit Makkan newborns. Therefore, Makkans used
to send their children to the desert where it wasn't
warm and dry in order to protect them from the
unhealthy air of Makka. They had to look for foster-
mothers to nurse their babies far from the city for a
few years until they had grown up enough. It is
related that Halima brought Muhammad back to his
mother when he was four, but Amina wanted her to
take him again with her to the desert, because she
was afraid of such diseases afflicting him.
Two of the above-mentioned reasons are related in
the form of certified hadiths. That is to say, the
second one has been related in Ibn Ishaq's sira
one hadith, and the fifth one is presented by Ibn Athir
again in the form of a hadith.[34] Also it is elaborated
by al-Tabari, in his history of the Prophet,[35] and by
haykal in his Hayat[36] as a narrative from Halima.
The rest of these reasons are the result of the
biographers' understanding of the sira.
The Story of the Splitting of the Prophet’s chest
In several sources from both Sunni and Shi'i
traditions, one may find the story of the splitting of
the Prophet's chest. although the original narrative
comes from Sunni tradition, the story is narrated in
some Shi'i books too. Different attitudes are
expressed by biographers towards this extraordinary
anecdote. On the whole, most Sunni scholarship has
agreed upon the authenticity of the story, while to the
contrary, most Shi'i scholarship has rejected it.
According to Ibn Ishaq, quoting Halima, the story
went like this:
Some months after our return, he and his brother
were with our lambs behind the tents when his
brother came running and said to us, 'Two men
clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of
mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly,
and are stirring it up.' We ran towards him and found
him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of
him and asked him what the matter was. He said,
'Two men in white raiment came and threw me down
and opened up my belly and searched therein for I
know not what.' So we took him back to our tent.[37]
This incident was what prompted his foster-mother to
return him to his mother. Ibn Ishaq then relates
another hadith on the authority of a learned person
whom he thinks was khalid b. Ma
dan. This person,
on the authority of some of the Apostle's companions,
told Ibn Ishaq that the Prophet said:
… I was suckled among the B. Sa
d b. Bakr, and
while I was with a brother of mine behind our tents
shepherding the lambs, two men in white raiment
came to me with a gold basin full of snow. Then they
seized me and opened up my belly, extracted my
heart and split it; then they extracted a black drop
from it and threw it away; then they washed my heart
and my belly with that snow until they had
thoroughly cleaned them. …2
In Sahih of Muslim, the story is narrated through a
chain on the authority of Anas b. Malik. According to
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the hadith of Anas, the extracted black drop was the
portion of Satan in the Prophet's heart. At the end of
this narrative, Anas mentions that he himself used to
see the mark of that splitting on the chest of the
Negative Attitude towards the story
Evaluating the story, Haykal states:
Orientalists and many Muslim scholars do not trust
the story and find the evidence therefore spurious.
The biographers agree that the two men dressed in
white were seen by children hardly beyond their
second year of age, which constitutes no witness at
all, and that Muhammad lived with the tribe of banu
Sa'd in the desert until he was five. The claim that
this event had taken place while Muhammad was two
and a half years old and that Halimah and her
husband returned the child to his mother immediately
thereafter, contradicts this general consensus.
Consequently, some writers have even asserted that
Muhammad returned with Halimah for the third
As an extra proof, Haykal refers to the ideas of two
Orientalists, Muir and Dermenghem. Muir states that
it is difficult to discover the real fact, for the story
have been invested with so many marvelous features.
He concludes that the story was probably due to a fit
of epilepsy, a sort of nervous or epileptic seizure,
which could not at all have hurt Muhammad's healthy
Dermenghem believes that this legend is only based
on a verse from the Qur'an, and has no foundation
other than the speculative interpretations of the verses
which are depicted in sura al-Inshirah: ”Had We not
revived [literally ”opened”] your breast. And had We
not removed the burden which galled your
back?”[41] From point of view of Dermenghem the
story of the splitting is based upon the speculative
interpretation of these verses.[42] Haykal comes to
this conclusion:
Certainly, in these verses the Qur'an is pointing to
something purely spiritual. It means to describe a
purification of the heart as preparation for receipt of
the divine message and to stress Muhammad's over-
taxing burden of prophethood. Those Orientalists and
Muslim thinkers who take this position vis-à-vis the
foregoing tradition do so in consideration of the fact
that the life of Muhammad was human through and
through and that in order to prove his prophethood
the Prophet never had recourse to miracle-mongering
as previous prophets had needed to do..
This finding is corroborated by Arab and Muslim
historians who consistently assert that the life of the
Arab Prophet is free of anything irrational or
mysterious and who regard the contrary as
inconsistent with the Quranic position that God's
creation is rationally analyzable, that His laws are
immutable, and that the pagans are blameworthy
because they do not reason.[43]
According to Haykal, the Prophet was never involved
in 'irrational' and 'miraculous' things.
Citing from Sahih of Muslim, S. Ja'far Murtada,
remarks that Sunni books of hadith and sira often
mention such a story. According to some of these
sources, the splitting of the Prophet's chest took place
several times. The first time occurred in his third year
of age when he was among B. Sa'd, the second one
occurred when he was ten, the third one at the time of
his Commission, and the fourth at the time of the
night journey and his ascent to heaven. The narrators
attempt to justify the repetition of the story as
increasing his glory.[44] Regarding the story in itself,
Murtada, points out some of the attitudes which are
expressed towards it as follows:
1-The story is considered a clear sign of the
prophethood that appeared before the time of his
Mission, and according to which the prophetic office
of Muhammad was predicted.[45]
2-It refers to a verbal and terminological
interpretation of sura Inshirah, as mentioned
3-It does not seem to be a sound and authentic story,
since the Prophet was born pure, lacking any defect,
imperfection, and impurity.[47]
4-It is an unreal story which non-Muslim scholars
have either ridiculed or taken as a proof of some of
their untrue beliefs. For instance, it is advocated by
some Christians that no human beings, even the
Prophet of Islam, are infallible; rather they all
perform faulty actions except Jesus Christ, who never
was touched by Satan. They come to the conclusion
that only Jesus was beyond the level of humanity,
and he actually was a divine being in the shape of
man.[48] Thus, in their opinion, it must be assumed
that Muhammad was an impure man, as it is shown
by the story of splitting.
Among the Orientalists, we can find someone like
Dermenghem who in his the life of Mahomet states:
“This legend of the opened breast offers, moreover,
certain dogmatic interest. The black stain removed by
the angels can be linked to the stigma of original sin
from which only Mary and Jesus were free.”[49]
Murtada, on the other hand, thoroughly refutes the
story, and considers it a jahili hadith which is rooted
in jahiliya thought, coming out of the opinion of the
people of ignorance (ahl al-jahiliya). Quoting some
examples from al-Aghani, he asserts that a legend
like this has its background in the age of ignorance.
According to al-Aghani, the very same event
occurred four times to an unlightened person named
Umayya b. Abi al-Salt, when he was sleeping in his
sister's house. In his case it was two birds that
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descended upon him, and one of them opened his
In support of his position, S. Ja
far Murtada, presents
seven proofs, mostly in the form of questions. These
are as follows:
1-One of the sources for this narrative is the Sira of
Ibn Ishaq, who on the authority of a learned person,
declared that what persuaded Halima to return the
Prophet to his mother was something apart from the
above-mentioned reason. Accordingly, it was because
… a number of Abyssinian Christians saw him with
her when she brought him back after he had been
weaned. They looked at him, asked questions about
him, and studied him carefully, then they said to her,
'Let us take this boy, and bring him to our king and
our country; for he will have a great future. We know
all about him.' The person who told me this alleged
that she could hardly get him away from them.[51]
Therefore, the hadiths that attest that his foster-
mother was urged to bring him back to his mother by
the extraordinary event of splitting his chest in the
desert seem to be doubtful.[52]
2-How could the return of the prophet to his mother
be due to the opening of his chest? On the one hand,
it is alleged that this tale happened when he was three
or two and some months. And on the other, it is said
that he was returned to his mother when he was five
years old. How can one harmonize these two
3-Is it accurate to aver that the root of evil is a black
drop in the heart, and something that requires a
physical splitting and operation in order to get rid of
it? Does this mean that whosoever has such a black
drop can be a virtuous person if the black drop is
removed from his heart by an operation? Or is it
acceptable to say that this fact was specific only to
the Prophet, and no one else can share this event with
him? Then why should the Prophet be the only one
among human beings whose heart contained this
black drop and no one other than him?2
4-Why should that operation have been repeated
several times (four or five times) at great intervals,
even a few years after the Mission, and at the time of
the night journey (isra) and his ascent to heaven
raj)? Was this repeated because the black drop,
i.e. that satanic portion, was so tenacious in the
Prophet's heart, to the extent that it kept growing, and
returned again and again? Was that black drop like a
cancer, a single operation to excise which was
useless, so that it was in need of more extensive
operations, one after another? If it were so, then why
did that black drop not return after the fourth or fifth
operation? Further, why should Allah torture and
punish His Prophet by such a chastisement? Wasn't it
possible for Him to create His apostle free and pure
from any satanic black drop?[54]
5-In the event that God does wish His servant not to
be immoral and sinful, is it necessary to perform such
a terrible cleansing in the sight and hearing of others?
And doesn't it mean that the Prophet was obliged to
do good unwillingly and automatically, since he was
operated upon and cleaned in such a way by God?2
6-Why must it have been only Muhammad, among
all the prophets, who was chosen for this
operation?[55] Is it rational to believe that
Muhammad was the most excellent of prophets, and
at the same time he was the only prophet who was in
need of such an operation because of having a black
drop in his heart? Or is it possible to allege that there
was the same satanic drop in the hearts of other
prophets, but that they were not removed because the
angels, who were responsible for the operation, did
not know the method of operation yet?![56]
7-And finally, doesn't a story like this contradict what
is revealed in Quranic verses that affirm that Satan
neither has any authority over those who believe and
trust in their Lord,[57] nor over His (pure)
servants,[58] nor over those who are sincere and
purified?[59] According to Islamic thought, all
prophets including the Prophet of Islam are the most
sincere servants of Allah who were sent by Him to
people. Then how could Satan have dominance and
authority over the Prophet till the time of his night
journey and ascent to heaven?[60]
In any case, the story is related in its original form
only through the authority of Sunni tradition, and that
it never goes back to the sayings of one of the Imams
of the Shi'a.[61]
The Prophet and the Sacrilegious War (Harb al-
The war was known as sacrilegious because the tribes
Kinana and Qays 'Aylan violated the holy months[62]
by conducting warfare therein.[63]
Most of Sunni biographers accepted that Muhammad
took part in the fijar war and that “he stood on the
side of his uncle.” For instance, Haykal states that
there is apparent consensus as to the kind of
participation that Muhammad had in this war. Some
people claim that he was charged with collecting the
arrows falling within the Makkan camp and bringing
them over to his uncle for re-use against the
enemy.[64] Others claim that he himself participated
in the shooting of these arrows.[65]
Concerning the age of the Prophet at the time of this
war, haykal continues that
History has not established the age of Muhammad
during the fijar war. Reports that he was fifteen and
twenty years old have circulated. Perhaps the
difference is due to the fact that the fijar war lasted at
least four years. If Muhammad saw its beginning at
the age of fifteen, he must have been close to twenty
at the conclusion of the peace. 2
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The circulation of the reports putting the Prophet's
age at between fourteen or fifteen and twenty is
found in the Sira of Ibn Ishaq. That is to say,
according to Ibn Hisham, Muhammad was fourteen
or fifteen years old when he participated in the
war.[66] But in the same Sira, it is quoted from Ibn
Ishaq that when the sacrilegious war occurred, the
Prophet was twenty years old.[67] Harmonizing the
two reports, haykal observes, “Since the said war
lasted four years, it is not improbable that both claims
are true.”[68] Haykal then approves of the Prophet's
participation and the extent of his participation in this
war through a hadith according to which, the
Prophet, years after his commission to prophethood,
said, “I had witnessed that war with my uncle and
shot a few arrows therein. How I wish I had never
done so!”2
This is while for many Shi
i scholars it is not
acceptable that the Prophet participated in the fijar
war. To these scholars there are four proofs as
follows to support this view:
1-The war broke out in the sacred months, the
holiness of which was never violated by the Prophet
and his uncle Abu Talib. One who studies the sira of
Muhammad and Abu Talib will consider how they
used to respect issues like the holiness of the sacred
months. As mentioned in al-Kafi, al-Ghadir and
some other sources of hadith, Abu Talib believed in
the pure Abrahamic religion. furthermore, he was an
executor of Abrahamic wills and beliefs. Thus, how
could the violation of the holiness of such months be
attributed to a religious man like Abu Talib?[69] The
negation of Abu Talib's participation in fijar means
that Muhammad also, who was then under his
supervision and his instruction, never participated in
this war.[70]
qubi reports that it is related that Abu Talib
prohibited any of Banu Hisham to take part in fijar
war, saying that it was an oppression, a hostile act,
breaking with relatives and a violation of the holiness
of the sacred months. Abu Talib insisted that he
would not participate in that war nor would any of his
family. Among Banu Hisham it was only Zubayr b.
Abd al-Muttalib who took part unwillingly and under
the pressure of his alliances. Ya
qubi continues that
Abdullah b. Jad
an al-Taymi and Harb b. Umayya
said that they would never attend any position from
which Banu Hisham kept themselves away.[71]
3-The conflict of hadiths is another reason. Some of
these hadiths restrict his role to collecting and
carrying the arrows which had fallen within the camp
of the Makkans in order that they may be re-used
against their enemy. Also, he was charged with
protecting his uncles' equipment.[72] A group of
hadiths indicate that the Prophet shot a number of
arrows against the enemy, but later on he wished that
he had never done that.[73] The third group of
narratives state that the Prophet injured Abu Bara
(the head of Banu Qays and a spear-thrower), with
the result that Abu bara fell down from his horse.[74]
4-Some reports are contradictory, such as in what is
related by Ibn Hisham. First he states that the Prophet
participated in the fijar war when he was fourteen
years old, but at the end of the story he records Ibn
Ishaq's opinion that the fijar took place when the
Prophet was twenty years old, i.e. twenty years after
the Year of the Elephant.[75] Another example of
contradiction among the narratives is Ya
reports, according to which Harb b. Umayya did not
take part in the fijar war, whereas according to other
narratives Harb participated in the war while he was
the head of the Quraysh and the Kinana.[76]
We come to the conclusion that the Prophet neither
partook in the fijar war nor cooperated with any side
in the war. So this kind of inconsistency in the
narratives should be attributed to the political agenda
of the Umayyad, who were responsible for these
The Prophet’s trip to Sham
Among a number of stories, we may refer to a very
famous one which has been accepted by almost all
historians and biographers of the Prophet. The story
of his first trip to Sham alongside his uncle Abu Talib
explains how the monk Bahira foretold the coming
apostleship of the Prophet. According to Ibn Ishaq
the story went like this: “He (Bahira) saw the Apostle
of God in the caravan when they approached, with a
cloud over-shadowing him among the people. Then
they came and stopped in the shadow of a tree near
the monk. He looked at the cloud when it over-
shadowed the tree, and its branches were bending and
drooping over the apostle of God until he was in the
shadow beneath it.”[78] After Bahira saw this
extraordinary event he stared at the Prophet closely
“finding traces of his description (in the Christian
books).” He asked him many questions, “and what
the apostle of God told him coincided with what
Bahira knew of his description.”2 Here the monk
foretold the prophethood of the Prophet and he
advised Abu Talib to “guard him carefully against the
Jews, for by Allah! if they see him and know about
him what I know, they will do him evil; a great future
lies before this nephew of yours, so take him home
Summarizing Comments
1. The dispute surrounding the date of the Prophet's
birth is a result of the differences between the
hadith and sira sources from both Sunni and Shi
2. One should be very cautious and careful about
the unusual events narrated and associated with
the Prophet's birth. On the whole, the narratives
which imply such extraordinary events indicate
the possibility that there might have been
something unusual about Amina's pregnancy or
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delivery. They show that like some other
prophets' births,[80] the birth of Muhammad also
was accompanied by miraculous events. These
extraordinary events may have functioned as
signs for Muhammad's prophethood. Narratives
that correspond to the life of the Prophet before
his mission illustrate that his prophecy never
occurred accidentally or by chance. Rather, many
things had taken place to gradually establish the
doctrine of his apostleship from God. One may
express the same attitude in the case of the
extraordinary events which happened surrounding
the birth of the Prophet. In short, they might be
regarded as irhas, a kind of foretelling or
prophecy. Such stories are related of previous
prophets, and need not contradict the supposition
that the Prophet's life was human through and
3. In regard to the story of the Prophet's nursing, if
it is accepted that it was the practice of Makkan
aristocracy to ask for nurses for their children,
then on what basis do some biographers argue
that Muhammad was spurned because of his
orphanhood and his poverty? Basically, if
Muhammad was offered to foster-mothers, it
indicates that he was from Makkan aristocracy.
And if this was so, how could he have been
refused by any wet-nurse to whom he was
offered, especially when it is obvious that his
grandfather was well-known among all the tribes
for his generosity, honor and mastership of the
Quraysh?[81] It is also said that the Prophet's
inheritance from his father
Abdullah was more
than enough for having a foster-mother: at least
five camels, a flock of sheep, a sword, and some
money. Thus, the reason that Muhammad was
nursed by Halima Sa
diya was that he did not
accept the breasts of any woman to whom he was
offered, except those of Halima. When she put
him to her bosom to suckle him, the Quraysh
infant surprisingly grasped his foster-mother's
breasts, and this made his family very cheerful.
Abd al-Muttalib then asked Halima: “Which tribe
do you belong to?” And she answered: “I am
from Banu Sa
d.” He asked her name, and she
said that her name was Halima.
Abd al-Muttalib
became very happy and said: “Excellent,
excellent! Two praised and valuable attributes,
salvation (sa
d - sa
ada) and patience (hilm). Good
tidings to you Halima for having these excellent
characteristics that imply eternal happiness and
4. concerning the story of the splitting the Prophet's
chest, we realize that the story is untrue and
unreasonable, and also destructive to the
personality of the Prophet.
5. Regarding the 'sacrilegious war' as an offensive
one, we deny the Prophet's participation in it, for
this war broke the holiness of the sacred months,
the fact that was always observed by the Prophet
and his uncle Abu Talib, the master of Quraysh.
This is why later on such a pre-Islamic social
custom was affirmed by Islam, and Muslims were
asked not to fight during the sacred months.
6. Biographers speak of the Prophet's first trip to
Sham. They “tell how the monk recognized in
Muhammad the signs of prophethood as told in
Christian books.”[83] The monk informed the
Prophet's uncle Abu Talib that his nephew would
be an apostle of Allah.[84] Certainly such a
prophecy refers to something extraordinary in the
life of the Prophet, and is neither denied nor
ignored by most biographers. This event assured
Abu Talib that Muhammad would be a messenger
of God.

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Vol. 1, part 1. The book of excellence of knowledge,
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Amili, al-Sayyid Ja
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zam. 2nd. ed. vols. 1 & 2, Qum:
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far. Al-Sahih min
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zam. Preface to the third edition,
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Amili, al-Sayyid Ja'far. Dirasat wa
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Beirut: Dar Ihya' al-Turath al-
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Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir. Bihar al-Anwar. Vols. 11,
15, 18 & 46. Beirut: al-Wafa', 1983.
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Vol. 8. Cairo: al-Azhar, 1915.
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far Muhammad b.
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far. Furugh Abadiyyat. Vol. 1. Qum:
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2. Farsi translation by Muhammad Ibrahim Ayati.
Tehran: 1965.

[1] Cf. Rasuli, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 107.
[2] Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiya, 1st edition,
edited by ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Salam Tadmuri (Beirut: Dar
al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1987),Vol. 1, pp. 183-184 ;
Ya‘qubi, Tarikh Ya ‘qubi, Farsi translation by
Muhammad Ibrahim Ayati (Tehran),Vol. 1, p. 385.
There are very few historians who suggest a date
other than the Year of the Elephant. They allege that
it was a few years before the occurrence of the
Elephant. For instance, al-Maqrizi in his book Imta‘
al-Asma ‘, refers to several opinions which concern
the year of the birth. He mentions that the ideas differ
from fifteen years before to forty years after the Year
of the Elephant. al-Maqrizi himself gives preference
to what the majority says, that is the Year of the
Elephant. See: Rasuli, Tarikh, Vol. 1, footnote, pp.
107-108, from al-Maqrizi, Vol. 1, pp. 3-4.
[3] Haykal, Hayat, p. 108 ; Murtada, Al-Sahih ,
Vol. 1, p. 78.
[4] As Majlisi indicates, the ‘ulama of the Imami
school agree that the birth of the Prophet occurred on
Friday, the seventeenth of Rabi‘ al-Awwal. However,
most of their fellow Sunnis maintain that it took place
on Monday, the twelfth, although some insist on the
eighth, and others on the tenth of that month, and yet
a few others declare that it happened in the month of
Ramadan. Majlisi, The Life and Religion of
Muhammad, English Translation of Hayat al-Qolub,
Vol. 2, by James L. Merrick (1982), p. 34
[5] al-Kulayni, (d. 939/ 940)a well known Shi‘i
tranditionist of the 4th Muslim century, in his al-Kafi,
al-Usul wa al-Rawda, Vol. 7, p. 131 (Mawlid al-
Nabi), agrees with the Sunni position that the Prophet
was born on the 12th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal. However,
he mentions that it was on Friday and not on
Monday, as Sunni tradition says.
[6] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 78. Majlisi, in his
Bihar after differentiating between the two Sunni and
Shi‘i traditions, says that among Shi‘a it was al-
Kulayni who selected, either intentionally or because
of taqiya, what the Sunni tradition advocates. See:
Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, (Beirut: al-Wafa’, 1983),
Vol. 15, p. 248.
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[7] Haykal, Hayat, p. 109.
[8] Haykal, The Life, p. 48.
[9] Ibn Hisham, al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 183 ; Ibn Kathir,
al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya, edited by Ahmad Abu Muslim
et al. (Beirut: al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1980), Vol. 2, pp.
242-243 ; al-Maqrizi, Imta‘ al-Asma‘, edited by
Mahmud Muhammad Shakir (Cairo: 1941), Vol. 1,
pp. 3-4
[10] Ibid.
[11] al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, al-Usul val-Rawda, edited
by Ghaffari (Tehran: al-Maktaba al-Islamiyya, 1962),
Vol. 7, p. 131 ; Majlisi, Bihar, Vol. 15, p. 248, etc.
[12] One of the Iraqi Shi‘i biographers in Baghdad
who died in 1293. He wrote his book, Kashf al-
Ghumma fî Ma‘rifat al-A’imma, on the biography of
the Prophet and the Shi‘i Imams.
[13] Murtada, al-Sahiih, Vol. 1, p. 79, citing al-Irbili,
Kashf, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dar al-Adwa’, 1985),
Vol. 1, p. 14.
[14] Haykal, The Life, pp. 47 and 51.
[15] For details see: Ibn Ishaq, The life of
Muhammad, translated by A. Guillaume (London-
New York-Tronto: Oxford University Press, 1955), p.
69; Al-Tabari. Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 156. It is also
narrated by Shi‘i scholars. For instance, see: al-
Saduq, Ikmal al-Din wa Itmam al-Ni‘ma (Najaf:
1970), pp. 189-190 ; al-Irbili, Kashf, Vol. 1, pp. 20-
[16] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, pp. 71-72 ; Haykal, The
Life, p. 49 ; Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81.
[17] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 71.
[18] Ibid., p. 71.
[19] Haykal, The Life, p. 49.
[20] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81.
[21] al-Irbili, Kashf, Vol. 1, p. 15; Murtada, Al-
Sahih, v.1, p. 81. Ya‘qubi in his history says that the
death of ‘Abdullah happened two months after the
Prophet’s birth. He refutes the suggestion that the
former’s death was before the birth of the Prophet.
He further argues that consensus is established upon
the first opinion that the father died after his son’s
birth, to the extent of even one year after the
Prophet’s birth, as some historians believe. See:
Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 362.
[22] Majlisi, Bihar, Vol. 15, p. 125 ; Murtada, Al-
Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81. In short, as Ibn Athir mentions,
the date of ‘Abdullah’s death is a controversial
subject among the historians. See: Ibn Athir, Usd al-
Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 20
[23] See: Rasuli, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 182.
[24] Cf. Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81 ; Subhani,
Furugh Abadiyat, 8th edition (Qum: 1993), Vol. 1, p.
[25] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81 ; Haykal, The
Life, p. 49.
[26] Haykal, The Life, p. 48. See also: Murtada, Al-
Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 81.
[27] Haykal, p. 49 ; Murtada, Vol. 1, p. 88.
[28] Haykal. p. 52 ; Murtada, Vol. 1, pp. 81-82.
[29] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 72 ; Haykal, The Life, p.
[30] Haykal, The Life, pp. 51-52 ; Murtada, Al-
Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 82.
[31] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 82.
[32] Cf. Haykal, Hayat, p. 110 ; Ibn Athir, Usd al-
Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 21. See: al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 2,
p, 159 ; Majlisi, Bihar, Vol. 15, p. 401 and Rasuli,
Tarikh, Vol. 1, pp. 183-184.
[33] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 72.
[34] Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 21.
[35] al-Tabari, Tarikh , Vol. 2, p. 159.
[36] Haykal, Hayat, p. 110.
[37] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, pp. 71-72.
[38] Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 1, pp. 165-166, Hadith 261
; Murtada, Al-Sahih, v.1, pp. 82-83.
[39] Haykal, The Life, pp. 50-51.
[40] Muir, The Life, pp. 6-7 ; Haykal, The Life, p.
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[41] The Qur’an, 94 : 1-2.
[42] Haykal, The Life, p. 51. Dermenghem states
that “a wholly mystical operation, the opening and
cleansing of a heart destined to receive without
reserve and transmit faithfully the divine message,
thus bearing the heavy burden of its mission.” He
then continues that “The cleansing of the heart takes
a well-known place in mystic symbolism.
Dermenghem, The Life, pp. 32-33.
[43] Haykal, The Life, p. 51.
[44] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, pp. 83-84.
[45] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 84, citing al-
Bui, Fiqh al-Sira, pp. 62-63.
[46] Ibid., citing Haykal Hayat, p. 111.
[47] Ibid., citing Tabataba’i, al-Mizan, Vol. 13, pp.
32-33, citing al-Tabarsi, “Majma ‘ al-Bayan”, Vol. 3,
p. 395.
[48] Ibid., pp. 84 & 87-88.
[49] Dermenghem, The Life, p. 33.
[50] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, pp. 88-89 ; Abu al-
Faraj al-Isfahani, al-Aghani, Vol. 4. pp. 132-135.
[51] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 73. See: Murtada, Al-
Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 85.
[52] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 85.
[53] Ibid.
[54] Ibid., pp. 85-86.
[55] Halabi in his Sira maintains that it was only the
Prophet of Islam who was operated in this way. By
this al-Halabi considers such an operation as an
increase in the Prophet’s excellency and honor. See:
al-Halabi, al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 167.
[56] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 86.
[57] The Qur’an, 16 : 99.
[58] Ibid., 17 : 65.
[59] Ibid., 15 : 39-40.
[60] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 87.
[61] Majlisi, Bihar, Vol. 15, pp. 349-357. Rabbani,
the commentator of Bihar indicates that there is no
need to confirm the excellent character of the Prophet
through such an extraordinary and miraculous event.
Ibid., Footnote # 2.
[62] Most of the Muslim commentators believe that
there are four sacred months and they are as follows:
Dhu al-qacda, Dhu al-Hijja, Muharram, and Rajab.
[63] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 822. Also see: haykal,
The Life, p. 56 & Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 95.
[64] Haykal, The Life, p. 57. Also see: Ibn hisham,
al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 210.
[65] Ibid., p. 57.
[66] Ibn Hisham, al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 208.
[67] Ibid., p. 211 ; Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 82.
[68] haykal, The Life, p. 57.
[69] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 95.
[70] Since this natural conclusion seems clear to
Murtada, he does not mention it at the end of his first
[71] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, pp. 95-96, citing al-
Ya ‘qubi, Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 371.
[72] Ibid., p. 96, citing Ibn Hisham, al-Sira, Vol. 1,
p. 210.
[73] Ibid., citing al-Halabi, al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 207.
[74] Ibid., citing al-Halabi, al-Sira, Vol. 1, p. 208.
[75] Ibid., citing Ibn Hisham, al-Sira, Vol. 1, pp.
208, 211.
[76] Ibid., pp. 96-97.
[77] Ibid., p. 97.
[78] Ibn Ishaq, The Life, p. 80.
[79] Ibid., p. 81.
[80] As it is depicted in the Qur’an, the births of the
prophets like ‘Isa Ibn Maryam’, ‘Yahya Ibn Zakariya,
etc. were accompanied by some miracles and
extraordinary events. See: The Qur’an, 19 : 7-33.
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[81] Cf. Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 125.
[82] See: Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 21 ;
Rasuli, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 182 ; Majlisi, Bihar, Vol.
15. p. 125 & 442 ; Sobhani, Furugh , Vol. 1, p. 160 ;
Halabi, Sira, Vol. 1, p. 147.
[83] Haykal, The Life, p. 54.
[84] Murtada, Al-Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 91.
[85] “They will ask you about fighting during the
hallowed month. Say: ‘Fighting therein is a great
(transgression), while obstructing God’s way,
disbelief in Him and the Hallowed Mosque’, ” The
Qur’an, 2: 217.

Message of Thaqalayn
Islamic Economy: Its Ideological
Legal Foundations

Ayatullah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri
Translated by M. Azimi Etemadi
Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3

Every system, intending to achieve certain goals,
must be designed in a realistic manner. Therefore, if
the system is supposed to be implemented in order to
serve human life, particularly in the long-run, it must
serve man's goals and be consistent with his fitrah
(primordial nature). This is not possible unless the
designer of the system has a command over the
knowledge necessary for understanding social and
individual aspects of man. Besides, the designer
should have a thorough understanding of actual
relations between those two aspects of man and the
primordial nature of man as well. In addition to those
prerequisites, the designer should understand the
historical trends of such a relationship, the needs for
the development of such relationships and methods
for pursuing those needs in order to realize an
evolutionary, human approach toward actualizing the
goals of the creation of man.
Indeed, the way the aforesaid satisfaction of needs is
to be carried out should not overlap other systems
which are meant for satisfying other needs of man. In
other words, such a system should observe a wise
balance and study the role and interrelationship of
other systems which together comprise the whole
system of life.
If we assume that the designer of the system
possesses all those necessary prerequisites, we should
assess subsequent stages in the process of achieving
the desirable realism which is necessary for a system
to be able to provide a proper context for itself. By
this we mean the extent to which this system is
compatible with the norms and values of the society
(where the system is to be implemented), the extent
of consistence between those norms and values and
the emotional values presented by the system, and
finally the extent to which this system assures the
realization of a desirable education to create social
obedience for those ideological views and emotional
Although the system may be realistic, accurate, and
rational in perceiving the reality and understanding
its needs and their satisfaction, it will remain
incapable if it is not preceded by an ideological
impetus which supplies the society with bases for the
stance that it should take toward the universe, the life,
and the man itself. Consequently, the ideological
impetus will guarantee the system the element of
iman [faith] rescue it from the most important
civilizational maladies including ilhad [atheism],
which is the opposite of iman, and shirk
[polytheism], which signifies the excessive belief in
false gods, and shakk [doubt], which is a manner
resembling other destructive attitudes. Unless these
requirements are realized, we cannot assure the
provision of the first contextual element for the
system's implementation. Similarly, as long as the
emotional motivations, which are the focus of
education, are not perfectly compatible and
harmonious with the ideological structure of the
society, we cannot guarantee balance in man's
personality when there is a wide gap between his
beliefs and the internal and external values and
motivations that the system provides in order to
satisfy his needs. Moreover, these emotional
motivations cannot form human behavior and action
unless they are strong and clearly defined.
So far, we have realized the necessity of two factors
for every system intending to materialize its human
goals: first, the planner's holistic approach towards
human reality, including his relations and needs as
well as their fulfillment concomitant with the rest of
the system; second, facilitating its implementation
through faith and compatible emotional motivations.
Realism, in turn, requires the following two
fundamental factors: first, the system should contain
legal guarantees binding all those who oppose the
harmonious human nature or those few who have not
chosen the complete iman or the full commitment to
the requirements of iman; second, it has a perfect
flexibility to accommodate the temporal and spatial
variations in human life and provides fixed solutions
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for fixed elements of human life and flexible ones for
the accommodation of its alterable elements.
We believe that Islam was correct in announcing its
rule in the form of general rules. Thus, it did not
ignore any one of those aspects, but observed them
perfectly and completed the religion which provides
appropriate answers to man's needs till the Day of
Accordingly, it announces that the whole Islamic
system is based on reality and nature and that it is the
fixed truth aiming at serving human beings and
accomplishing the purpose of his creation. Thus, it
enjoins whatever is desirable and forbids whatever is
refused by the nature.
God, the Exalted, says: "Then set your face upright
for religion in the right state, the nature made by
Allah in which He has made men. There is no
alteration in Allah's creation. That is the right
religion but most people do not know." (30:30)
And He, the Exalted, says: "Say: O people! Indeed
there has come to you the truth from your Lord ..."
And He, the Exalted, says: "O you who believe!
Answer (the call of) Allah and the Apostle when he
calls you to that which gives you life, and know that
Allah intervenes between man and his heart, and that
to Him you shall be gathered." (8:24)
And He, the Exalted, says: "Those who follow the
Apostle Prophet, who was taught neither to read nor
to write, whom they find written down with them in
the Tawrah and the Injil [Old and New Testaments],
(who) enjoins them to do good and forbids them from
doing evil, and makes the pure and good things halal
[lawful] for them and makes impure and harmful
things haram [prohibited] for them, and remove from
them their burden and the shackles which were upon
them. So (as for) those who believe in him and
support him and help him and follow the light which
was sent down with him, they are indeed the saved."
The proof of this argument is the same one that
proves its attribution to the Great Creator as it proves
for this Creator all attributes of knowledge about all
facts and full, absolute control over the formation of
shari`ah (the comprehensive body of Islamic rules),
and perfect kindness to the servants and other
attributes which are not imaginable for any body
other than Him the Exalted.
We are not to present any reasoning for this but only
point to the Holy Qur'an's emphasis on this fact in all
occasions when it points to Allah's kindness and
"Does He not know Who He created? He it is Who
made the earth smooth for you, therefore go about in
the spacious sides thereof, and eat of His sustenance,
and to Him is the return after death." (67:14-15)
"Say: Allah suffices as a witness between me and you.
Surely He is Aware of His servants, Seeing. And
whomsoever Allah guides, is the follower of the right
way, and whomsoever He causes to err, you shall not
find for him guardians besides Him. And We will
gather them together on the day of resurrection on
their faces, blind and dumb and deaf. Their abode is
hell, whenever it becomes allayed We will add to
their burning." (17:96-97)
After this introduction, we try to discuss several
points pertaining to the core of the discussion with
emphasis on the following subjects:
1. Major attributes of the Islamic economy, their
natural character, and
Islam's emphasis on them.
2. The proper grounds Islam prepares for its
economic system.
3. Relationship between this system and other
4. Flexibility of the Islamic economic system.
Salient Features of the Islamic Economy
When we study the Islamic economy as a way which
Islam prescribes for individual and social behavior in
the economic field and examine Islam's rules in this
area, we can conclude that its most important
attribute is social justice. In this respect, the Islamic
economy resembles all other systems that claim to be
serving human being and realizing his social
aspirations but it differs from them in the details of
its conception of social justice.
Justice cannot emerge unless the following
requirements are present: first, believing in the
private and social property on an equal and advanced
level in a way that the private property acts on the
fulfillment of man's natural demands for possessing
the result of his effort and obtaining the benefits of
his business. While the public property aims at
guaranteeing that social action enjoys a social
product through which the provision of some needs
and shortages would become possible.
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Second, faith in individual economic freedom as a
general, continuous, comprehensive principle which
stems from the nature of the ownership along with
the belief in the existence of some limits at which this
freedom ends. This is for the purpose of either
guaranteeing individual's interest as in the case of
objects the use of which was outlawed because of the
physical or moral damage that they could inflict upon
the individual, or to secure others' rights and liberties
which is also a natural guarantee admitted by all
religions and human affiliations.
Third, faith in the principle of mutual responsibility.
Islam guarantees, for every individual in the Islamic
society, the subsistence level, i.e., provision of his
natural needs. The government is obliged to provide
this minimum for all and it is absolutely
impermissible that even a single needy person is
found in the Islamic society. Regarding how to make
the society economically capable of doing this, the
following factors may be mentioned:
 Obliging individuals to accomplish their
responsibilities and duties with respect to the
provision of the necessary needs of others.
Since one of government's responsibilities is
to compel individuals to perform their
obligations, even those which are individual,
it may bind individuals to carry out these
duties as well.
 The legal power of waliy al-amr [head of the
Islamic government] to determine the limits
of public domain (saddu mantaqat al-
mubahat) through legislation supplies the
government with the desirable power.
 Public properties and anfal [properties with
no particular owner/s] which are designated
by the government as public properties
which the government oversees and uses to
achieve the above goal.
 Financial punishments and methods that are
devised by Islam to transfer private
properties to the public ownership as with
respect to mawqufat [endowments] or the
lands the inhabitants of which perished or
the dead without heirs and so forth.
 Nature of the Islamic legislation--as Shahid
al-Sadr (r) put it--which aims at
strengthening the social structure for the
realization of this mutual responsibility.
Fourth, belief in the principle of social balance and
refusal of the class system in the Islamic society. We
came to know through the third point that the
required minimum is to provide subsistence for all
individuals. As far as the maximum is concerned, it
may be assumed through the following factors:
1. The prohibition of tabdhir and israf [wasting and
squandering] in all areas, therefore, an individual
cannot possibly trespass to the line of israf.
2. The prohibition of every action that leads to
misuse of particular properties, and of lahw
[amusement] and mujun [impudence].
3. Rejection of all social and economic privileges
which discriminate between different groups of
people which, in turn, eliminates all the grounds for
the emergence of the class system.
If we go back and scrutinize all of these features and
expose them to human nature and conscience we will
find them principles that may be admitted in a natural
way. This explains the return of each of the two
extremist systems of capitalism and socialism to a
moderate position after its collision with opposing
natural factors--as we believe.
The natural basis of these views is evidently
emphasized by general regulatory and conceptual
authoritative texts (nusus) that are numerous and to
some of which we point here:
There are nusus that stress the inherence character of
private and public property:
The Exalted says: "And the man shall gain nothing
but what he strives for." (53:39) (naturally if we
interpret it as including worldly possession).
Amir al-mu'minin (`a) says: "This property is indeed
neither mine nor yours but it is a collective property
of the Muslims ... what is earned by their hands does
not belong to any mouths other than theirs." (Nahj al-
Balaghah, sermon 232)
There are some nusus that emphasize the economic
freedom in a natural form the clearest of which is the
rule on which all fuqaha' [Islamic scholars] rely,
namely the rule (Al-nasu musallatuna `ala
amwalihim [people are in control of their
properties]). Naturally, there are some limits to this
freedom which are mentioned by other nusus
stressing that this restriction is only for the benefit of
the individual and the society.
There are some nusus that emphasize the inherence
of mutual responsibility and cooperation and further
consider all kinds of negligence with respect to this
principle as a general rejection of din [faith and
religion]. The Exalted says: "Have you seen the
person who rejects the religion? He is the one who
treats the orphan with harshness, and does not urge
(others) to feed the poor." (107:1-3)
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Finally, there are some nusus that stress the necessity
for the realization of balance in the society through
their emphasis on the prohibition of israf and also the
necessity of renouncing poverty and providing
subsistence for every individual. The Imam (`a) says,
while speaking of the duties of the waliy al-amr
[leader] toward the needy: "He keeps giving him
from zakah till he makes him needless."
The Proper Grounds Which Islam Prepares for
Its Economic System
In this regard, the analyst can find in front of him a
huge wealth of noble nusus that emphasize various
concepts and numerous rules and fixed historical
laws and that all serve the cause of Islamic economy
and participate, in a natural way, in the realization of
its far-reaching goals. We mention below a number
of these issues:
A. The Real ownership belongs to Allah, the Exalted:
This principle is the most important tenet that forms
man's image as it leaves its visible marks on the
economic behavior of Muslim individual. Ownership
belongs only to the Unpaired, Almighty Allah and He
the Exalted bestowed an assumed, legal ownership
upon the human being so that it distributes the
properties among its individuals and exercises this
ownership according to the purposes that Allah chose
for the benefit of humanity. This notion has great
influence on the exclusion of negative effects on
ownership in its absolute capitalistic form.
B. The purpose is to reclaim the land through a joint,
human effort and responsibility: In this way, the man
believes that the human effort from the beginning to
the end is one and that the important goal is to make
the humanity subservient before God, establish the
worshipping society and prepare the grounds for it
through making the earth inhabitable, extract the
greatest benefits from it to the advantage of all
through performing the duties arising from the joint
responsibility. Diversion from this is diversion from
the purpose.
C. Ethical concepts in the service of economic cause:
Islamic nusus are full of a magnificent ethical plan
which leads to its contribution to this economic
system and to the realization of its goals. Most of the
riwayat [traditions], on one hand, encourage in the
human being the spirit of cooperation, responsibility,
Islamic fraternity, ithar [self-sacrifice], zuhd [piety],
and compassion for the miseries and aspirations of
others. On the other hand, they drive away from the
human being such vices as stinginess, greed,
exclusivism, transgressing the rights of others,
opportunism, avarice, and envy. Imam Sadiq (`a)
counted all good manners as the troopers of `aql
[wisdom] and all vicious attributes as the troopers of
jahl [ignorance]. We can neither mention all of the
riwayat in this regard nor touch on their educational
details, therefore, only point to this particular fact
that the Islamic ethics and educational system
augment in human being the spirit of generosity
before they emphasize the economic freedom and the
possibility of using it to his own particular benefits.
The story of Qarun [Korah] is well-known for its
focus on this ethical principle (And seek by means of
what Allah has given to you the otherworld's abode
and do not neglect your share of this world ...
This story and this principle is a multifaceted Islamic
creed which, if prevails in the society, will provide
the greatest grounds for the implementation of the
desirable economic system.
D. Al-infaq al-mustahabb [commendable spending
for a divine cause] and the extended life: Here, a
wonderful aspect of the solution to the problem of
conflict between the inherent motivations for serving
one's self and the motivations for serving the society
is manifested. According to this notion, one begins
with the prolongation of his own life and ends up
with a level of eternity in the hereafter. He finds out
that self-interest and social interest are integrated; a
notion that encourages him to make continuous infaq
which does not ever run out of its driving forces
according to the principle which says "whoever
establishes a favorable habit he will be rewarded both
for it and for the action of whoever follows it." And
here we would like to remind emphatically the
extended effect of waqf since, as the result of these
motivations, the private property is transferred to the
public ownership and man's permanent exploitation
of his property is realized.
E. Shukr al-ni`mah [gratitude for a blessing] means to
make the best use of the wealth and avoiding its
waste: The major problem in the global economic
domain does not lie in the weakness of growth rates
of natural resources and their failure to keep up with
the population growth rate but it lies in the failure to
make ideal use of natural resources or, as the nusus
put it, in kufran al-ni`mah [ingratitude for the
blessing] and squandering the natural, mineral and
animal resources and so forth (And He gave you of
whatever you asked Him for and if you count Allah's
blessings you will not (possibly) obtain their number.
Man is indeed very unjust, very ungrateful. ...
And it is a kind of shukr al-ni`mah to make ideal use
of he labor force and to avoid wasting it. For this
reason, the nusus emphasize the continuous work and
even declare it obligatory for those who are able.
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F. Relationship between moralities and material
pursuits at the civilizational level: There is an
amazing civilizational fact that nobody can perceive
it except those who believe in the ghayb [the
metaphysical world] and its various aspects. The
Holy Qur`an stresses that zulm [injustice] leads to
halak [annihilation] (Thus, because of their injustice
We destroyed them) and that 'adl [justice] and du`a'
[praying] and shukr [gratitude] leads, in a lawful
way, to rakha' [comfort] (Ask for your Lord's
forgiveness, surely He is the most Forgiving. He will
send down the cloud upon you pouring down
abundance of rain. And help you with properties and
sons, and make for you gardens and make for you
rivers. (71:10-12). This fact arouses, in hearts, a great
hope in the future, even the material future, and
opens the way for a social and economic dynamism.
Add to what was mentioned above other major
factors that contributes to this background.
Strong Connection With Other Systems
It is evident in all systems devised by Islam that they
are put forward as parts of a larger system which
includes, in general, the whole universe. These
systems are in strong and close interconnection in
such a manner that none of them can achieve its
desired goal without the implementation of other
systems (and naturally, we do not claim here that the
obligation to set up the system hinges on the
establishment of other systems but what we
emphasize is the issue of system's achievement of all
of its desired goals.)
In this regard the following points should be made:
A. Certain areas of the social system are reserved to
be filled by the waliy al-amr (or by some one
appointed by him) due to his ijtihad [ability to extract
Islamic rule whenever needed] and determination of
the nature of the prevailing situations and ummah's
interest. This is what we observe, for example, in
economic, legal, and penal systems and in the
institutions of waqf [endowment], mu`amalat
[transactions], irth [inheritance], and so forth. This
fact indicates the complete connection between these
institutions and the ruling political system.
B. The economic system is strongly related to the
system of `ibadat [worshippings]. This is the issue
which is sometimes presented as the companionship
of the prayers and zakah in tens of Qur'anic cases.
Zakah and khums are two financial `ibadahs.
Financial kaffarat [expiations] are, in fact, also a
huge economic participation by `ibadat system in the
service of public economic interest. It should not be
ignored that some `ibadahs like sawm [fasting] and
hajj provide the elements of economic grounds, to
which we clearly pointed. There are certain `ibadahs
that strongly contribute to the public ownership such
as waqf, if we require niyyat al-qurbah [proximity
intention] in it.
C. The economic system and its goals and
pecularities naturally have a strong connection with
the system of mu`amalat [transactions] which is
designed in such a manner to provide the proper
environment for the realization of mutual
responsibility, balance, and dual ownership,
emphasize the labor element, and prohibits riba
[usury], 'akl al-mali bi al-batil [financial
misappropriation], harmful acts, lahw [debauchery],
and wasting of the wealth.
D. There is a considerable linkage between the
economic system and the system of jihad [military
defense] in Islam for the latter system involves, in
addition to combative rules and methods,
implications for ownership, war spoils, and so forth.
E. Undoubtedly, the economic system is also related
to the social system including the form of society's
principle cell, i.e. the family, and also the social
relations among the families, and individual's
relations with the society. All of these are
predominated by social Islamic rules including
mutual responsibility and balance, which form the
most important characteristics in the economy as we
mentioned frequently. This argument also involves
the rules regarding mahrs [dowries], nafaqahs
[allowances], various methods of division of labor,
and such issues as irth [inheritance], wasiiyyahs
[bequests], and the rulings with regard to children,
qada' [adjudication], financial ta`zirs [discretionary
punishments] and other varieties of financial
punishments, and others which may not be all
discussed in this limited space.
G. Touching on these relations, the late Ayatullah al-
Sadr points to another aspect of the issue, namely the
relationship between government's economic doctrine
and its financial policy which is, in fact, a part of
government's planning for enforcement of the laws of
Islamic economy, thus, it is a part of the economy
H. We already pointed to the link between Islam's
economic system and its ethical system which makes
the latter one of the major preludes and the
motivating element for the ummah in the way of
implementing the economic system and realizing its
goals to such an extent that it becomes hard to
distinguish between the two systems.
Here I would like to point, as a diversion from the
main course of discussion, to the fact that Islam
addresses the whole life in general and devises for it
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the best system which guides toward the goal in a
deliberate manner and based on principles of justice
and equity. Whereas we find the positivist world
today floundering in the establishment of a desirable
system for the protection of human dignity,
distribution of responsibilities, and realization of
rights. Therefore, social systems collapse, one after
another, and admit their defeat while Islam remains a
straight religion without any deviation.
As an example for this argument, we focus on the
slogan which the positivist world spouts through
giving it a widespread global character and which has
recently altered to a sweeping emotional wave,
namely the slogan of equality of women and men in
all situations, periods, and places, and with respect to
all rights without any exceptions whatever it would
be. We have been finding this slogan tens of times in
the documents presented in the conferences of
Mexico City, Bucharest, Cairo, and recently in a
strong and explicit form, in the Beijing Conference
on Woman. We see the document produced by this
conference concentrating, specifically, on the issues
of inheritance, absolute material equality, judgeship,
and the so called sexual freedom rights for all ages
and so forth.
We consider this slogan as a blind assertion although
it has an attractive appearance since equality is one of
the principles favorable to the human taste
concerning two individuals whose rights are equal in
terms of their human dignity and affiliation, i.e. the
man and the woman. But this principle is not too
general to have exceptions. This is due to the natural
differences between man's and woman's physical and
emotional structures, nature of the social
responsibility which is to be carried out by each, and
the extent of participation by each in the social
construction including the establishment of social
justice. Hence, we may not call out the slogan of
quantitative equality without considering the desired
balance otherwise we will commit, through this
equality, injustice and unfairness. When the
principles of equality and social justice are in
conflict, one may ask to which one the priority goes?
Undoubtedly, the principle of justice is the one which
common-sense testifies to its generality and
insusceptibility to exception, therefore, social justice
qualifies the principle of equality and even
determines its socially desired form.
We feel great regret on the blind, sweeping, global
wave that has been put forward thoughtlessly and that
criticizes against the Islamic inheritance system
pretending to ignore that it is part of a whole and that
there is a wonderful balance between this system and
the nafaqah [allowance] system and the duties of
each of the man and the woman in the social life.
The Flexibility of Islamic Economic System
This subject is, in general, related to the flexible
character of Islamic rules but we will show it from
the economic angle. Briefly, Islam supplied this
system with all necessary elements which enable it to
accommodate the vital changes which occur
frequently and rapidly in the economic field. The
reason is that economy is a field related to the
complexities of man's social life as well as to nature's
ability to provide, and the proper environmental
conditions, and so on. Therefore, with respect to land
distribution and ownership, there is a great difference
between the situation of land's perfect abundance and
man's insufficient physical power and the situation of
scarcity and increasing shortage resulted from human
growth rates on one hand, and man's immense
technological power to reclaim the land. This
difference may affect the issues of hiyazah
[occupancy] -which is considered as an ownership
factor-, social development, mines' ownership,
vertical ownership -both in depth and in altitude-,
energy's ownership, etc.
This difference may also influence the issue of
alteration of the nature and effects of property
relationship leading mujtahids [jurists] to keep aloof
from the issue of absolute ownership of land and
suggest the subject of haqq al-ikhtisas [exclusivity
right] which results from the impact made by the
individual on the land, thus when the impact ceases
to exist the right will expire and returns to the public
domain which can be used by the Islamic state
according to the public interest.
Therefore, existence of the element of ijtihad and its
constant openness represents one of flexibility
elements without which one cannot know the
developments' effects on the nature of the rule
deduced form the nusus.
The fact that Islam put forward certain broad
economic rules and related them to the `urf
[prevailing standards of conduct] concept has a
special connotation for notions like israf and tabdhir
[wasting and squandering], faqr and ghina [poverty
and needlessness], al-nafaqat al-muta`arifah
[customary allowance], al-manfa`at al-muhallalah
[lawful profit], ma`un [basic need], riba [usury],
mithliyyah and qimiyyah [fungibility and being ad
valorem], circulation and depression of cash
currencies, daman [liability], individual and social
damage, haraj [impediment], darurah [urgency], al-
maslahat al-`ulya [the higher expediency], being
asbaq [preceding] in waqf, being `aqdiy
[contractual], being bay`iy [exchange], trade through
taradi [mutual agreement], being qimariy [gamble],
lahw, and even `adalah [justice], zulm [injustice],
ta`addi [transgression], and akl al-mal bi al-batil
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[misappropriation of property]. Thus, `urf intervenes
when these concepts change, often due to change in
conditions, and consequently, as a result of change in
the `urfi [commonplace] view of the subject the
judgment also changes as we saw in the issue of
shatranj [chess] for example.
However, the most important element on which the
Islamic system concentrates is the element of
intervention by the mujtahid, just waliy al-amr in the
economic life. This intervention has its own criteria,
rules, and what the late al-Sadr calls the penetrating
beams that illuminate Islam's positions and give it the
spirit of the system and its promising goals
. In such a
system, the waliy has the obligation to take advantage
of his social power and true commitment to Islam and
the Islamic expediency of the ummah and, through
consultation with the masters of knowledge and
expertise, carry out his duties which can be
summarized as the following:
1. Identification of the best methods and executive
arrangements for the enforcement of the fixed rules
of Allah, e.g. looking for the best way to eliminate
riba in the society while preserving the positive
activities performed by the banks.
2. Filling the public domain with laws in accordance
with the supreme Islamic expediency while
preserving, as much as possible, the primary rule
regarding the various cases.
3. Determining the extent to which the conditions are
favorable for the enforcement of Islamic rules and
institutions. Therefore, if the faqih finds the
conditions and the rules in such a serious
incompatibility that is called by the scholars of usul
as tazahum [conflict], namely tazahum between the
wujub [obligatoriness] of implementing the hukm
[ruling] and the prohibition of resulting evil
consequences, he must produce the best possible
solution to facilitate the implementation of the hukm
while compensating its mafsadahs [damaging
results]. If this appears to be impossible he should
shift to the area of tarjih bi al-ahammiyah
[preference based on priority] which is a vast area
that follows the opinions of experts and mujtahids.
The situation may reach to a point that due to the
priority of preventing the mafsadah caused by it, the
implementation of a certain hukm is suspended. This
area is an accurate and a delicate one which is not to
be resorted to except in rare situations.
Based on what was discussed above we can briefly
highlight the following practical conclusions:
First, we repeatedly see or hear those who suggest the
idea of cross-combination of ideology and system
which signifies the establishment of a socialist or a
capitalist economic system in an Islamic environment
or the implementation of Islamic institutions in
secular social structures. When these combinationists
do not achieve desirable results from their efforts
they tend to ignore the contradiction between the
system and its implementation context and place the
blame on the system itself. We may mention two
experiences as examples here:
1) the experience of establishing socialist systems in
our Islamic world and their quick failure as in Algeria
-- during Houari Boumedienne's presidency -- and
2) the experiment of setting up al-qard al-hasan
[interest-free loan] funds under secular systems
where it was struck with unsatisfactory results that
encouraged the opponents to attack the resulting
situation as cacophony and accusing the planners of
neglecting the absence of favorable conditions.
Second, If we wish to achieve good results in our
Islamic community, we must provide the desirable
grounds through deepening the faith in Allah and
disseminating the elevated Islamic ethics, explicate
the Islamic concepts related to economics and convey
them to the public, and strive to mobilize the feelings
and sensations and give them a desirable Islamic
shape. As long as we do not accomplish this task we
should not expect ideal results. In this regard, I would
like to draw your attention to some advertising tactics
employed by the banks which concentrate on the
profits generated by the money deposited in al-qard
al-hasan funds and on prizes that it may bring for the
depositors without ever referring to the great reward
which ensues whenever they participate in the
revitalization of the public economy and server the
society through their bank activities and deposits and
without mentioning the noble ayat and ahadith which
call for such deeds.
Third, we propose that Islamic banks form a fiqhi
committee consisting of prominent scholars, and
further, that the mujtahids in al-hawzat al-`ilmiyyah
(Islamic theological schools) undertake a study about
the legitimacy and plausibility of the proposed
economic, financial, and banking systems from the
viewpoint of Islamic laws and constantly express
their opinions concerning new forms for such
Bay` al-salam [forward sale], and bay` al-salam al-
mumathil [fungible forward sale], bay` al-istisna'
[manufactural sale], tawrid [mutual forward]
contracts, murabahah [resale with stated profit]
contracts, and so on are examples of economic
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institutions that provide banks with more alternatives
for economic activities. This is what the late Shahid
al-Sadr proposed a quarter of a century ago through
his famous proposal known as riba-free banking and
what I put forward as the draft law for the prohibition
of riba in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ijtihad is
indeed a source of blessing and Islamic rules are
overflowing reserves that can undoubtedly help us to
safeguard the Islamic character and spirit and
overcome the difficulties caused by the developments
of modern life.

1. These goals include, for example, Qur'an's
emphasis on avoidance from creating a
situation that causes exclusive circulation of
wealth only among the rich, and its
emphasis on the necessity to prohibit the
manipulation of the property which Allah
made the sustenance of the ummah, or the
emphasis by some nusus on the view that the
purpose of trade is to extract benefits or on
the prohibition of hajj if its opening results
in evil consequences and so on.



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