The Religion of Reason
The Role of Personal and Hierarchical Ijtihad as well as `Aql (Reason) versus Taqlid (Blind Obedience) in Islam…
Islamic religious sciences such as those of kalam (theology), and fiqh (jurisprudence), clearly values people who question the authority of the “ancestral’ tradition. Without question, the Qur’an praises those who “think” and “reflect” about the Divine guidance, and strive to follow it in organizing their lives.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“What! he who is obedient during hours of the night, prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the hereafter and hopes for the mercy of his Lord! Say: Are those who know equal to those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.” Al-Qur’an, Sura az-Zumar 39:9
“In time, we shall show them our signs in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within their inner selves until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Does not your Lord suffice, since Hu is Witness over all things.” Al-Qur’an, Surat al-Fussilat 41:53
Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an states that there is to be “no compulsion” in religion for the simple fact that “Truth is MANIFEST from falsehood.”
Not one Ayah of the Qur’an says that the Truth is so elusive a thing to necessitate adherence to men who studied in a Hawza. It would seem that if suck a thing was so necessary to the Din, that maybe at least one or two Ayaat might have instructed us in this matter.
“And Hu has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are signs indeed for those who reflect.” Al-Qur’an, Surah al-Jathiyah 45:13
The Qur’an repeatedly uses the expressions: “Why do they not reflect? Why do they not ponder?” It constantly encourages the use of intellect and invites people to think, investigate and analyze.
“Why do they not reflect on themselves? Allah did not create the skies and the land, and everything between them, except for a specific purpose, and for a specific life span. However, most people, with regard to meeting their Lord, are disbelievers. Have they not roamed the land and noted the consequences for those who preceded them? They used to be more powerful, more prosperous, and more productive on earth. Their Rusul (Messengers), went to them with clear signs. Consequently, Allah was not the One who wronged them; they are the ones who wronged their own souls.” Al-Qur’an, Sura ar-Rum 30:8-9
How did they “wrong themselves?” By not “reflecting,” by not “thinking,” on “the consequences for those who preceded them.”
“Why do they not reflect on the camels and how they are created? And the sky and how it is raised. And the mountains and how they are constructed. And the Earth and how it is built.” Al-Qur’an, Sura al-Ghashiyah 88:17-20
Similarly, there are scores of Ahadith (sayings of the Muhammad) in which the Rasul’ullah enjoins Muslimin to seek Knowledge (`Ilm, meaning both “science” and “knowledge” synonymously). We read that we are to:
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
“Seeking Knowledge is a duty upon EVERY Muslim male and female.”
“Seek out Knowledge even unto China.”
So then, this raises the question of where or how the system of “Taqlid” (as interpreted or defined as “unquestioning acceptance”), emerged? How did Islam go from a religion where we are INSTRUCTED to think and investigate, to reflect and ponder, to one where we are told by a man-made clergy that we are to merely surrender our intellects and follow what they say, “emulate” them uncritically.
Nevertheless, proponents of Taqlid as “uncritical adherence” would challenge such a ridiculous definition. So to be fair, what does “Taqlid” mean? Translated into imitation, it essentially means the following in actions of another person, but more specifically it means “emulating” what they do or say. Specifically, this relates to the following of a “mujtahid” by a “non-mujtahid” in Islamic rulings and matters relating to “Furu-d-Din.” Both proponents and opponents of Taqlid would agree on this definition, but then the question becomes to what extent does one “emulate” the Mujtahid which they follow. Certainly, none would argue that this means muqallidin should pan mime every last movement of the Mujtahid. One does not need to wear the same clothes, or like the same foods (though some mujtahidin might argue differently in the case of vegetarianism).
So clearly just saying “emulation” is not enough to define the use of the term “Taqlid.” What is meant in practice is that when the Mujtahid speaks, his Muqallidin listen. They do not argue with him or present Qur’anic evidence, nor evidence from Ahadith to the contrary of what he has said. He is trusted with the individual’s spiritual path, with their Din, and they accept his word as the final authority on the matter at hand. Put simply, this has no basis in the Qur’an nor in the words of the 14 Ma’sumin.
Many proponents of the system of Marjaiyyah point to the Ayah of the Qur’an which states: “…ask the Ahl al-Zhikr if you do not know” Surah 21.7, and Surah 16.43 which says the same thing.
“Before you, also, the Rusul (Messengers) We sent were but men, to whom We granted Inspiration: If you realize this not, ask the Ahl al-Zhikr.” Surat al-Anbiyah 21:7
“And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent Revelation – so ask the Ahl al-Zhikr if you do not know.” Al-Qur’an, Sura an-Nahl 16:43
Clearly this is asking people who have no knowledge on certain matters, to refer to people that do, the “Ahl’ulZhikr.” who are the REAL experts in the Din which must be followed. This is the natural way of things, to seek knowledge from those who have it. No one would dispute the acceptability of such a thing. But who are these “Ahl al-Zhikr?” Are they graduates who attend Hawza? Are they those who obtain the man-made title of “Ayat’ullah” (originating with Allama Al-Hilli)? Who are they according to the Ma’sumin?
This Ayah instructs the Muslimin to refer to the people who know in all things which perplex them so that they may discern the path to the truth, because Allah, having taught them, has nominated them for that purpose. Their knowledge is deeply rooted and they know the interpretation of the Qur’an.
This Ayah was revealed to introduce the Ahl al-Bayt. They are The Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, A’immah `Ali, Hasan and Husayn . This occurred in the time of prophecy, since, after the Prophet and up to the coming of the Yawm ad-Din, the aforementioned five are the Ahl al-Kisa, the “People of the Cloak” (referring to the incident of Mubahala where they arrived wearing cloaks). In addition to them are nine A’immah from the progeny of Imam Husayn whom Rasul’ullah designated on many occasions, and called them the A’immah of guidance and light of those in darkness and “the people who know.” He also called them “those deeply embedded in knowledge and those to whom Allah, Glory be to Him, has bestowed the knowledge of the book.”
These narrations are well established, true and repeatedly narrated (mutawatir) by the Shi`ah since the time of Rasul’ullah and some non-Shi`ah, scholars and commentators have also reported them, confirming that they were revealed concerning the Ahl al-Bayt.
- Tafsir al-Kabir of al-Tha’labion in the meaning of chapter 16 (al-Nahl).
- Tafsir al-Quran of Ibn Kathir in the 2nd volume, p. 570.
- Tafsir of al-Tabari in volume 14, p. 109.
- Tafsir Ruh al-Ma’ani of al-Alusi in volume 14, p. 134.
- Tafsir al-Qurtubi in volume 11, p. 272.
- Tafsir al-Hakim, called Shawahid al-Tanzil, volume 1, p. 334.
- Tafsir al-Tustari called Ihqaq al-Haqq, in volume 3, p. 482
- Yanabi’ al-Mawadda of al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi, p. 51 and p. 140.
To Jews and Christians looking most critically at the Qur’an, the apparent meaning of the Ayat is said to suggest that the “Ahl al-Zhikr” refers to the people of the book (Ahl al-Kitab), namely the Jews and Christians, but more specifically, to the Jewish people and the quasi-Jewish Nazarene sect, (which no long exists). The story does not end there, however. Al-Bukhari has reported in his Sahih in “The Book of Testimony” under the chapter “The Ahl ash-Shirk (polytheists) aren’t to be asked” volume 3, p. 163, that Rasul’ullah said: “Do not believe the people of the book and do not consider them as liars either but say: ‘We believe in God and what was revealed'” and thus, thereby judge based on the revelations of Allah, and not be the words of individual followers of any path.
Various members from the Ahl al-Kitab, and the modern day proponents of Taqlid to non-Ma’sumin being Wajib or “Obligatory” attempt to portray the Ahl al-Zhikr to their own benifit, it is therefore necessary to make it clear that they are not the ones intended in the respective Ayaat.
The Fifth Imam, Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Baqir, was asked about the Qur’anic words: “‘Ask the people of remembrance (Ahl al-Zhikr) if you do not know.’ He said we are the people of remembrance (Ahl al-Zhikr).”
What does this mean? It means that when there is no written source, you should ask those who have transmitted the oral remembrances to verify.
The Shaykh from ar-Rayy said: “I asked Muhammad ibn Muqatil about these (words). He spoke about them according to his opinion (qiyas) and he said: ‘The people of remembrance (Ahl al-Zhikr) are all the religious scholars (`Ulema).’”
So we see that the A’immah taught that THEY were the Ahl al-Zhikr, yet those who used their own subjective “opinion” or “qiyas” decided that these were the `Ulema. Thus, this is a proof that we are to follow the 14 Ma’sumin and refer to THEM for the answers of our questions. While we are PERMITTED to refer to `Ulema, there is NO mandate of this in the Qur’an or Ahadith and those who attempt to spin the Qur’an for the purposes of propaganda for the system of Marja’iyyah are taking the Qur’an out of context and abrogating the teachings of the 14 Ma’sumin with regards to their declaration that THEY are the Ahl al-Zhikr.
“I mentioned that to Abu Zura. He was astounded at his words. Then I put before him what Yahya ibn `Abd’ul-Hamid had told me. He said: ‘Muhammad ibn `Ali, , speaks the truth. They are the people of remembrance (Ahl al-Zhikr). By my life, Abu Jafar is one of the greatest scholars (`Ulema).”
Kitab al-Irshad p.397, Shaykh Mufid.
Time and time again throughout ahadith the primary individuals who are referred to as “`ulema” are the Ahl’ulBayt . Qur’anically this is true almost across the board. Other times when knowledge is referred to, it speaks to the general Ummah.
“Allah bears witness that there is no god but Hu, and (so do) the Mala’ikah (Angels), and those possessed of knowledge (ulul `ilm), maintaining Hu’s creation with justice; there is no god but Hu, the Mighty, the
Wise.” Al-Qur’an, Sura aal `Imran 3:18
Are we to imagine that the only people to bear witness to the Shahadah of “La ilaha ill-Allah” are the `Ulema or A’immah ? Clearly this refers to ALL Muslimin, as this statement itself is the first of which makes one a Muslim.
“And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear
Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge (ulul `ilm): for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.”
Al-Qur’an, Sura al-Faatir 35:28
This Ayah says that those who have knowledge are those who fear Allah. Does it take attendance of a Hawza to teach one Fear of Allah? The Prophet Sulaiman is recorded as having said “The Fear of the LORD is the
BEGINNING of KNOWLEDGE,” (יִרְאַת יְהָוָה, רֵֵאשִִׁ ית ָדָּעַַת) not the finality of it after graduating Hawza or receiving a letter or certificate of “authority.” Thus, one BEGINS with this “Fear” and before this they have not even BEGUN to approach what Sulaiman an-Nabi called “Da’at” (דָָּעַַת), meaning the same as the `Arabic `Ilm. Thus once one truly begins to Fear Allah, THAT is when they begin to be an `Alim (Literally “one with `Ilm“).
“O you who believe! when it is said to you, ‘Make room in (your) assemblies,’ then make ample room, Allah will give you ample, and when it is said: ‘Rise up,’ then rise up. Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and Allah is Aware of what you do.” Al-Qur’an, Surat al-Mujadilah 58:11
Clearly the Qur’an accepts that there are those who are general Muslimin, and those who are Mu’minin. The Qur’an accepts that there are those who are “ulul `ilm,” possessed or given Knowledge or Science, and those who are less knowledgeable. This is acceptable. Again, the problem becomes when people make the leap from this natural acknowledgement that there are people with more knowledge than others to saying that one is ONLY truly knowledgeable when they follow a latter invention of Allama al-Hilli, (which in and of itself is fine so long as the bida`ah is not embraced as wajib or a fundamental of the din), thus obtaining the man-made TITLE of Mujtahid or Ayat’ullah. There is nothing wrong with those titles or that institution in and of itself. There is nothing wrong with the acknowledgement that some know more than others. The problem emerges when the man-made systems designed by fallible men FOR fallible men to PURSUE knowledge become looked at as the end all be all of `Ilm, of Knowledge or Science itself. THAT is purely the imagination of some of those who are intricately woven into the fabric of that system. Ayah by Ayah of the Qur’an, collections of Ahadith like Usul al-Kafi record the A’immah as delineating that it is THEY who are the Ahl al-Zhikr who are to be asked if one does not know. EVEN THEN it does not say “Ask the Ahl al-Zhikr regardless,” as spiritual initiation of individuals like `Uways al-Qarni was acceptable and simply unquestioned. He is not recorded as having instructed or being instructed by Imam `Ali nor physically instructed by Muhammad, though he IS recorded as having verified that of all the Shahabah he met, it was ONLY Imam `Ali who knew the TRUE spiritual nature of Muhammad. Nevertheless, the Ahl al-Zhikr were not to be asked about obvious things found in the Kitab. Instead, they were to be asked about that which was unknown. It does not say to ask any Faqih, any `Alim about these matters, the Qur’an says that we are to ask the Ma’sumin. It is no wonder then that Al-Kulayni – the compiler of ‘Usul al-Kafi – was OPPOSED to the concept of paying Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum!
Similarly, Allah has instructed that those knowledgeable ones are to be followed, as is the natural thing to do:
“O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Rasul (Messenger) and those of you who are in authority (ulil amr); and if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the Rasul if you are (in truth) Believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.” Al-Qur’an, Surah an-Nisa 4.59
In the Pooya/Ali Commentary on this Ayah, we read:
“‘Obey Allah and obey the messenger and the ulil amr (those vested with authority through His messenger).”
“The command to obey is infinite-total obedience in all material, religious and spiritual matters, therefore, as this verse clearly signifies, the ulil amr must also be as just, wise and merciful as Allah and the Holy Prophet are, and he who – administers the affairs of mankind should be the khalifatullah (vicegerent of Allah) and the waliallah(representative of Allah whom He chooses after equipping him with His wisdom). Please refer to the commentary of al-Baqarah: 30 to 39 and 124; and al-Ma-idah: 55 and 56 and 3 and 67 with reference to the event at Ghadir Khum; and al-Rad: 43; and al-Hud: 17. A careful study of the above references discloses that `Ali, and after him, the remaining eleven Imams, in the progeny of the Holy Prophet, Ali and Fatimah, are the true successors of the Holy Prophet who have been referred to as ulil amr in this verse. So the Shias obey and follow the Holy Prophet and the twelve Imams.
“It is irrational and senseless to accept any ruler as ulil amr, otherwise men like Yazid bin Mu-awiya will have to be included in the category of ulil amr; and no sane person would say that Allah has enjoined to obey men like Yazid (prototypes of whom were and are many and in abundance since the departure of the Holy Prophet till today) just as one obeys Allah and the Holy Prophet.”
Yet AGAIN, we see the A’immah saying that “those vested with authority from among you,” the “ulil amr,” are in fact the Ahl al-Bayt, NOT mere fallible “`ulema.”
Surely the Qur’an does not say there is no place for people to become religious scholars. THAT is not a matter in question. So to argue THAT point does nothing to prove an entirely separate argument. For the Qur’an declares: “Why should not a company from every group of them go forth to gain understanding in religion and to warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware.” Al-Qur’an, Sura at-Tawba 9:122
The word used for those who would gain understanding in verse 9:122 is “”liyataffaqahu“” which means “to become fuqaha.” So there is no question that it is a positive thing to study the din of Islam and become what has traditionally been called “Fuqaha.” Nevertheless, THIS does not make it mandatory or Wajib to pay TAQLID to such individuals. If that was the case then we would se such Fuqaha referenced in terms of obedience in Ayah 4:59. That is a leap, miles long and simply cannot be taken without some sort of commandment or at least indication from the Qur’an or Ma’sumin that this is what was meant or even merely implied.
No, we know better than this, for Muhammad himself warned us that: “There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur’an except its outward from and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it. Their masajid will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (fuqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return.”
Ibn Babuya, Thaqab al-Amal, quoted in Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (old ed.), Vol. 13. p. 152
So if the “fuqaha” of “that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens” then how can the Qur’an mandate that we follow them? Naturally, this is NOT what the Qur’an says AT ALL.
It has been argued that “Taqlid” is no different then other natural processes whereby you refer to the experts. But who defines “expertise?” When it comes to Islam this is defined by the Qur’an and the 14 Ma’sumin. Nevertheless, the example commonly given is of going to a doctor for a medical reason. You will go to him because you are the patient (muqallid) and you do not have the necessary information and ability to treat yourself (non-mujtahid) so you seek the doctor’s advice (taqlid) because he is the expert (mujtahid). However, when there are differences between the doctors, you will seek the most knowledgeable or seek a second opinion.
This is in fact a GREAT example of why Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum is NOT wajib. First of all people generally seek a “second opinion” when they do not subjectively LIKE what the doctor has to say. The doctor might say “You have to stop eating so much meat to lower your cholesterol.” The coach potato might not like to hear such a thing so he at first asks more questions to get around this. When the doctor does not budge on the issue he says “i want a second opinion.”
So his going to a new doctor is not OBJECTIVE, nor is it because he is truly seeking a “more knowledgeable” doctor. Most children go to the doctors that their parents sent them to growing up. If they live in the same town as they get older then they will continue going to the same doctor, the same dentist, the same ANYTHING that their parents taught them to do. This is not because they have the knowledge to discern WHO is the appropriate doctor for them, it is based on “tradition.”
In the time of `Isa many were sick and afflicted with schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. `Isa did not go through any 10 year program to become a doctor. He did not have an office wherein which he hung a diploma on the wall. Nevertheless, he practiced medicine and did so in a manner that brought people new hope when they thought often that their ailments were terminal or incurable
When asked to perform miracles, `Isa said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Adam be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.” Matthew 12.40
Yet time and time again we hear of him healing people. The reality is that these healings were in ACCORDANCE with Natural Law, lest his statement that the ONLY miracle which would manifest through him would be the fact that just as Yunus was in the belly of the Whale-Shark and did not die, neither would `Isa die in the “belly of the Earth” in the story passed down. So his healing and his constant references to himself as a “physician” were scientific, based in `Ilm (science), not in the mythologies that Christianity would like to imagine (that his power to heal was in and of itself “divine”).
So the man-made institution is not what made or denied people from being TRUE “physicians” or “healers,” it merely marked people out within a sociological meme as being culturally recognized as practicing what is the “traditional” medicine for a given culture or sociological meme. In reality, `Isa or anyone else could practice Traditional Chinese Medicine in a non-Chinese environment and it would be looked at as non-traditional, and the physician would be viewed as “uneducated.” But it is by his RESULTS that he is judged by the sick. `Isa said that we “know a tree by its fruits.” If the sick are healed then you cannot argue with these results. Similarly, if people gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Din through someone, if their Iman is boosted and they are seen going beyond even the Fard and Wajib to practice and embody also the Mustahab, then this is a testament to who they have followed and listened to regardless of him receiving a certificate of recommendation or “authority” from any man-made institution emerging from a given sociological meme.
Furthermore, when one follows a doctor, they are under NO obligation morally or legally to ONLY go to that doctor. Perhaps they will go to that doctor for this or that but then move and go to a different doctor. Often, their going to the doctor is attached with no affinity in and of itself. One usually goes to the doctor who is CLOSEST to him, for UTILITARIAN purposes. One may often know what is wrong with himself and if he was legally allowed to get the medicine over the counter then he would not go to the doctor. We do not go to the doctor to ask for aspirin do we? We do not go to get cough syrup. When many drugs become legally available “over the counter” then people do not go to the doctor for them, they just go to the drug store and buy them.
Beyond that, there are many who chose ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, from a HOLISTIC perspective. They often engage in their own study, or they ask those who are experienced in these “Alternative” approaches who do not have the state authorized “Diploma” from a traditional perspective of their given sociological meme. These individuals are often cured of things that the “mainstream” or medical “consensus” is unaware of there being cures for. Many things believed to be “incurable” like Cancer are cured through these methods. But to the mainstream those who cure them have “no authority” DESPITE getting results. This is the parallel insanity to the unbending dogmists of the man-made system of Marja’iyyah. Let us not forget also that a doctor can be sued for malpractice.
QAYAS VERSUS `AQL
Imam `Ali Riza said that “The greatest of miracles of Allah is the human mind. It allows ideas to be thought through and reasoned out. Islam appeals to human reason. Man must accept Allah through reason and not through miracles.”
Whereas Usul al-Kafi by Kulayni made traditional material available as one of the first collections of sayings by the A’immah , the four generations of `ulema from Qum and Baghdad – Al-Qummi, Shaykh al-Mufid, Sharif alMurtada, Al-Tusi – wrote numerous words, developing the principles of Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence). They were an aid to making decision for the respective time on the basis of the traditional materials. The aim was not so much to provide solutions for all possible future cases (as this would logically be impossible). More so, it was an attempt to secure the principles of the procedure, through which present and future generations of scholars would be in a position, on their own, to answer questions pertaining to any ritualistic, religious or legal matters. The Non-Shi`ah or “Sunnis” (so-called), of course faced the same problem of how to deal with their tradition, the “Sunnah” of Rasul’ullah . They had already mastered both tasks – the collection of traditional materials and the development of legal principles – earlier than the Shi`ah did. However, the “solution” developed by the Sunnis, were only applicable to the Shi`ah to a certain extent. In fact, one of the most important legal principles of the Sunnis was totally unacceptable for the Shi`ah: the “consensus” or “ijma'” of Muslimin. This term was based on the belief that Allah “would not allow” all of the Ummah go astray. In other words, if the Ummah seeks a consensus in essential questions of faith, this is quasi infallible. A Hadith of Rasul’ullah – from their collections – confirms this dogma.
In place of the Sunni concept of ijma, Shi`ah use `Aql. Ithna `Ashari `ulema are IN THEORY are rationalists; in the sense that even in the matters of faith they trust human reason, whereas the Sunnis show greater skepticism towards the capabilities of reason.
The scholars of the “Baghdad School” were the first to declare the the equal significance of tradition (naql) and reason (`aql); particularly Shaykh al-Mufid and Sharif al-Murtada. It is by way of using reason and not depending solely on the actual wording of the writings and transmitted sayings of the Ma’sumin , that one can secure far wider application for these teachings (and subsequently for Fatawat which can provide “rules” of thumb so to speak).
Imam `Ali himself gave a khutbah against this very ilk of individuals in Sermon 18 of Nahj’ul-Balagha.
`Amir al-Mu’minin said in disparagement of the differences of view among the theologians: “When (1) a problem is put before anyone of them he passes judgment on it from his imagination. When exactly the same problem is placed before another of them he passes an opposite verdict. Then these judges go to the chief who had appointed them and he confirms all the verdicts, although their Allah is One (and the same), their Prophet is one (and the same), their Book (the Qur’an) is one (and the same).
“Is it that Allah ordered them to differ and they obeyed Him? Or He prohibited them from it but they disobeyed Him? Or (is it that) Allah sent an incomplete Faith and sought their help to complete it? Or they are His partners in the affairs, so that it is their share of duty to pronounce and He has to agree? Or is it that Allah the Glorified sent a perfect faith but the Prophet fell short of conveying it and handing it over (to the people)? The fact is that Allah the Glorified says:
“‘We have not neglected anything in the Book (Qur’an).’ Al-Qur’an, 6:38
“And says that one part of the Qur’an verifies another part and that there is no divergence in it as He says:
“‘And if it had been from any other than Allah, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy.’ AlQur’an, 4:82
“Certainly the outside of the Qur’an is wonderful and its inside is deep (in meaning). Its wonders will never disappear, its amazements will never pass away and its intricacies cannot be cleared except through itself.”
When Mujtahidin give a fatwa, they are not supposed use their “personal opinion” (qiyas). IN THEORY, they have to prove each and every fatwa from Qur’an and Hadith. So one might then ask, how do individuals like Sistani alKhurasani get away with saying things CONTRARY to the Qur’an and Ahadith? How does he say peacock flesh is halaal when Imam Muhammad al-Baqir says it is haraam? How does he say the unscientific mythology that a woman’s vaginal fluid is “semen?” How does he say something so mythologically insane as saying that an Herbivorous Elephant is a PREDATOR?
In case of a clear and authentic hadith there is no problem. However, many times there are different conflicting ahadith. In this case the Mujtahidin must reject some of these ahadith and accept others. But to do this requires a high degree of `Aql (Reason), which Usul al-Kafi teaches is INBORN, not merely taught in a Hawza and `Ilm (Scientific Knowledge). If the majority “are like unto cattle, No! Further astray!” If the concept of Ijma is rejected in Shi`ah Islam, then how do the masses determine who has more `Aql than them? How do they determine who has more `Ilm?
One way that some use is by making wordy, and overly complicated Fatawat; making the explanation seem so incomprehensible that it cannot possibly be understood by a “layman.” In this way they justify their own existence to the Shi`ah, making them feel that they are too stupid to be able to understand the Qur’an and Ahadith. In some cases, perhaps they are; but there is no Dalil to back up the position that one becomes magically invested with the ability to interpret Qur’an and Ahadith once they have gone to a man-made Hawza and attained a title that originates with Allama al-Hilli and NOT the 14 Ma’sumin .
In the time of Rasul’ullah it was clear cut and easy. If people had some question they asked him and he would provide the answer. After him, things were still simple, the Islamic state was still small and for some time `ulema had enough oral ahadith to find the answers of their problems.
Latter on when the Islamic Empire grew, new problems and questions arose. However there were no answers.
The `ulema were not able to find Ayaat or Ahadith to solve their problems. This is when and why the Sunni “a’immah” began to rely on his own “personal opinion” (Qiyas) and gave fatawat without deriving them from any textual dalil; rooted in the Qur’an and Ahadith. Shi`ah, on the other hand, had the Imam az-Zamanhum to go to and ask questions.
At times solution of a problem is not explicitly written in “nass” however the principal is there. So the `Alim (“One With Knowledge,” or “Scientist”), uses his “Reasoning” to apply the principal giving in nass to issue a fatwa.
For example, in the time and place of Rasul’ullah there was no opium or addiction to opium, and we, in the narrated testimonies of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, have no testimonies particular to opium one way or the other, yet due to the obvious proofs of experiencing opium addiction, its extreme detriment has been experienced.
Thus, through our reasoning (`Aql) and knowledge (`Ilm) – and because we know that a thing which is harmful for human beings and a corruption of them is by extension forbidden (haraam) or at least reprehensible (makruh), in the view of the Shari’ah – we have realized that the law about opium is that recreational use and addiction to opium is forbidden, as SCIENTIFICALLY it is even BEYOND the detriment of Alcohol consumption. The same can be true for other things that follow this principle, taking one outside of reality, replacing the empirical senses with confused signals such as also notably in the case of Hallucinogenic such as LSD/Acid. However, even here one must be educated on worldly matters in order to rule on them. One may obtain correct knowledge of modern drugs, their uses and effects in a Western collegiate Psychology course, but these are not the sorts of things one learns in Hawza. How can one rule on what is haraam or halaal if they have not studied the SCIENCE behind these things. Recall that `Ilm not only means “Knowledge” but synonymously means “Science.” Thus, if the “knowledge” is not in accordance with “science” then the meaning “knowledge” contradicts the meaning of “science” and thus reduces the meaning to oblivion logically.
For this reason Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said: “Do not reject that hadith even received from deviated sects, that he relates it to us because you might not know that their might be truth in that.”
Usul al-Kafi, Kitab Hujjat- Baab 101 – Hadith 2
For instance, if a khariji narrates that all Muslimin should make salat do we accept what he has said or deny it? Obviously, we are not to arbitrarily accept or reject such matters. This is why `Aql is to be employed, for Imam `Ali ar-Ridha said that Islam can ONLY be understood through `Aql.
Why is the issue of how to determine the “most knowledgeable” Mujtahid so important? The answer is that if you come across two rulings that conflict, it is obvious that following the most knowledgeable in the matter is the priority, since you cannot follow a knowledgeable over the most knowledgeable.
Proponents of mandatory Taqlid postulated that: “It is appreciated however that identifying the most knowledgeable mujtahid is a hard task, but the guidelines set out in the rulings suffice.” Those include asking two “just experts” (coined “Ahl’ul-Khubra”). These are hypothetically, “experts” who have the ability to evaluate the expertise or learnedness of different Mujtahidin.
We find the following ruling of Sistani:
“There are three ways of identifying a Mujtahid, and the A’alam: when a person is certain that a particular person is a Mujtahid, or the most learned one. For this, he should be a learned person himself, and should possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or an A’alam.”
So clearly we see that “laypeople” cannot identify “the most learned” Mujtahid! So not only are the “laypeople” incapable of understanding the Qur’an and Ahadith with their own “feeble” little minds, but they also are apparently too stupid to even tell who is the most educated. This of course makes sense if you accept the supposition that they cannot understand Islam on their own. For if this is the case then quite obviously they could not detect the chief of those who could.
One could theorize that if we want to know who the best doctor is then we as a group of experienced doctors. But these doctors themselves have bias and slant. They will ONLY accept MAINSTREAM doctors who adhere to the same status quo which cannot even cure or effectively treat the common cold or flu. An OMD practicing Chinese Medicine could treat the cold or flu, or even CANCER in many cases, but this will not make them the least bit eligible for consideration by the electoral council of doctors.
Nevertheless, “Dr. Sistani” and the like tell us just to ask them who is the “most knowledgeable.” Ultimately, this equation reduces back to “ijma” or “consensus” which TRUE Shi’i Islam absolutely rejects. The majority follow Sistani, so he is generally considered the “most knowledgeable.” Never mind the Qur’an which says:
“Already have We urged unto Hell many of the jinn and humankind. They have hearts, but they understand not with them; they have eyes, but they see not with them; they have ears but they hear not with them. They are like cattle; no they are further astray. It is they who are the heedless.” Al-Qur’an, Sura al-A’raf 7:179
No, the Qur’anic admonition is like “Dorothy” pulling back the curtain on “The Wizard of Oz.” The man behind the curtain assures her that this is nothing at all, and she should “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Those who do, are branded as “insulting the Prophet” or “disbelieving in the Imam,” or any other baseless claim that the Naked Emperor(s) come up with to demonize them and dissuade the cattle-like masses from paying any heed to. Those who do not attend Hawza are not only considered too stupid to understand the Din, they are obviously considered too stupid to know who isn’t too stupid. In truth, it is a perfect and ingenious system of thought-control and Plutocracy. Do not be surprised when the same sorts of slanderous accusations are leveled against me and the Taliy’ah al-Mahdi for being like the proverbial child shouting to the crowd of subjects that “the Emperor has no clothes!”
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven” Matthew 5:11-12
If an illiterate person needs to consult a person because of his less knowledge then how in the world is that same person going to select who the best mujtahid is for him and what is he going to do when one mujtahid says a certain thing is haraam and the other says its halaal.
Take for instance, the calling of “`Aliyan Wali Allah” in the Adhan. A person wants to know whether to read it in
Adhan or not. So he looks around many collections of Fatawat and observes to his astonishment that One marja’ says its “haraam” (forbidden), the other “mustahab” (recommended), the third “mubah” (nuetral), the fourth “wajib” (obligatory), and so on and so forth.
Who’s ruling does he follow? What happens on the Yawm ad-Din when he find’s out that he was following the wrong ruling, and what is the PROOF that this will not be held against him?
Here is the problem: If there are all these individuals claiming to be the “most knowledgeable” then what of the words of Imam as-Sadiq , who said that if anyone invites people to follow him and he is NOT the “most knowledgeable” then he is a “deviants” and “heretic?”
`Ali ibn Ahmad narrated from Ubaydillah bin Musa from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from `Ali ibn Hakam from Abban ibn Uthman from al-Fudhayl ibn Yasar that Abu `Abd’ullah Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq had said:
“Whoever invites people to follow him and there is someone better than him among people, is a deviate and heretic and whoever pretends that he is an imam inspired by Allah, is a kaffir”
Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 25 p. 115
This means – if we believe the Imam – that if there is anyone who teaches that Taqlid is Wajib or even Mustahab, and they are not THE MOST Knowledgeable person of their age, then they are deviants and heretics!
SISTANI AL-KHURASANI’S HUKM AGAINST PROFESSOR SACHEDINA
“Such a time in the history of the Shi`a community [where Taqlid will not be intellectually taken seriously], was already predicted by some insightful scholars. Thus, the late Ayatollah Taleqani and Professor Murtaza Mutahhari in their well-known recommendations for the reform of the marja`iyya some three decades ago (published in Marja`iyyat va Ruhaniyyat) had shown the inadequacies of the institution in contemporary times. One of the issues taken up by Professor Mutahhari was about the necessity of a collective leadership to meet the diverse problems created by the technicalization and modernization of the life in general. The complexity of religious and moral concerns arising out of the secular modern living, whether in the Muslim or non-Muslim social environment, required individual mujtahids to function as a collective body in order to lead the community through the crisis of adjustment. Moreover, it necessitated this collective leadership to undertake specialization in various branches of Islamic jurisprudence connected with human relationships to offer realistic and authentic guidance in matters related to the modern social, economic and political institutions. In the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the marja` al-taqlid today needs to go beyond the traditional jurisprudence (fiqh-i sunnati) to provide relevant and applicable religious guidance to modern men and women. Moreover, the marja`iyya needs to go beyond the khums collection to concentrate its energy on developing practical relationship with the community as it struggles to live in modern times.” – Professor `Abd’ul-`Aziz Sachedina
With such words as this began the intense fear of Professor `Abd’ul-`Aziz Sachedina, most noteably by Sistani. Though a prominent figure, no other Marja’ has taken upon themselves such a Vatican-esque campaign to demonize, slander ultimately “ex-communicate” the Professor. Clearly when he says things like “the marja`iyyah needs to go beyond the khums collection to concentrate its energy on developing practical relationship with the community,” it touches a sensitive nerve with Sistani. Based upon this, Sistani made a “Hukm,” which is according to the man-made system “binding upon all, even non-Muqallidin” of Sistani. Of course, it goes without saying that there is not even one single Ayah of the Qur’an or Hadith that backs up such a Catholic approach to “teaching.”
An inquirer on Al-Islam.org asks: “What are extent and implications of the recent ruling of Ayatullah
Seestani on the speeches and writings of Dr. Abdul Aziz Sachedina?”
The Bashir Rahim, of the self-styled “Alim Network” replied: “Ayatullah Seestani’s ruling with regard to Dr Sachedina is not just a fatwa. It is a hukm of general application and would apply to both his muqallids and non-muqallids. We have to appreciate that on the face of it, the hukm relates to one scholar and all the mu’mineen ‘are enjoined to refrain from inviting him for lecturing at religious gatherings, and not to approach him for seeking answers to questions pertaining to belief.'”
The problem with this is that it is complete and utter man-made innovation, bida`ah. Now in Islam, as in all things, bida`ah or innovation is fine so long as it is not taken to be an actual aspect of the din. For instance, it is innovation to wear blue jeans, this is bida`ah, but so long as someone does not say that it is wajib or even mustahab to wear blue jeans then you are fine. The moment that this innovation becomes confused with the practice of the Din there is a SERIOUS problem.
So it is completely acceptable to have individuals issuing their own subjective fatawat. It is even acceptable (i.e. halaal), for them to encourage people to avoid those they don’t think are portraying Islam in the correct light. Revolutionary thinkers should EXPECT this, as Muhammad himself said that ANYONE who supports and receives support from the ruling power is a Kafir. The Qur’an says that the majority are like unto cattle, no FURTHER astray!
The concept of ijma or “consensus” is foreign to TRUE Shi`i Islam, as taught by the 14 Ma’sumin. So a true Revolutionary should not only expect opposition from the ruling “elite” – who appoint those who similarly follow the same status quo of “ijma” to the man-made station of “marja`” – but they should not be surprised when that same power elite tried to call people away from them. `Isa said, that we are BLESSED when people do this, when the even SLANDER us because of our righteous testimony. For certainly the “ijma” did this with all righteous teachers, prophets and warners who came before.
Abu Harayra related that Rasul’ullah said: “Before the Hour comes, there will be years of deceit, in which the trustworthy one will be said to be a traitor, and the traitor will be trusted and the insignificant will have a say.”
Ahmad, Musnad, Ibn Majah.
However, what is prohibited (haraam), within the context of Islamic Shariah, is to pronounce TAKFIR (declaring one a kafir), or even accuse of fisq, upon someone because you do not believe they teach Islam correctly, but they still do not invalidate their Shariah through any of the things which the 14 Ma’sumin taught invalidate one’s Shariah. Muhammad said that if a man declares another a kafir then ONE OF THEM IS. He said that if one accuses an individual of kufr (disbelief, not being a Muslim), and this is not true, then the accuser himself invalidates his Shahadah and leaves the fold of Islam, becoming a kafir!
So Sistani al-Khurasani can say that he does not agree with Professor Sachedina, he can ENCOURAGE his Muqallidin or even the entire world or Universe to not listen to Sachedina. However, if he wishes to remain Muslim – according to Rasul’ullah – then he MUST refrain from pronouncing Takfir upon someone who fulfills all of the Furud and himself has not pronounced takfir on Muslimin. Failure to do this – according to Rasul’ullah – invalidates one’s Shahadah and makes one a kafir.
As well, according to some versions of the same infamous Hadith, you cannot even accuse someone of fisq(doing evil). If you proclaimed someone a deliberate misleader or misguide and they were not, then you would be doing this.
So if he wanted to say that he strongly disagrees with Sachedina and ENCOURAGES all Mu’minin to avoid asking him any questions, then this would be fine. But he simply has NOT absolute authority to state anything as being incumbent upon anyone unless it is something backed with specific dalil. It is absurd to suppose that it can be made incumbent upon the Mu’minin to adopt Sistani’s personal opinion of Professor Sachedina.
In “The Message of Thaqalayn,” a quarterly journal of Islamic Studies, Vol 4 No.1 Spring 1998/1418, the difference between Fatwa and Hukm has been explained by Muhammad Sadiq Mazinani:
“Fatwah, as termed by the jurists, is stating of a view by a faqih in religious and related matters on the basis of divine sources, while hukm is issued by the hakim (supreme religous leader or ruler) for implementation of religious decrees and compulsion on performance or avoidance of an action for any best reason. Therefore Fatwah and Faqih are different from Hukm and Hakim.
“The relation between people and jurist is the relation of a specialist or skillful person with non-
specialists or lay persons and nothing more. But the people’s relation with the ruler is the relation of the Ummah with the Imam. The faqih, thus possessing qualifications of leadership is the hakim and the leader of the Ummah.
“The territory of a faqih’s fatwa is confined to himself and his followers and is not binding on other fuqaha. However, the hukm of a hakim is not only to be followed by other fuqaha, but is also binding even if it does not coincide with their own fatwa. Therefore in matters of contradiction, the hukm has the priority over fatwa.”
Similarly, it has been understood that the historic ruling of prohibiting Tobacco issued by Mirza Shirazi was a Hukm as was the most recent one issued by Khumayni on Salman Rushdie.
However, of course smoking tobacco does not make a Muslim a kafir. Similarly, reading a Salman Rushdie book, or not trying to kill him if given the chance does not make a Muslim a kafir. Even believing that Salman Rushdie does not need to be killed does not make one a kafir, nor does it count against you as fisq. A “Hukm” or a Fatwah in general, is only as powerful as the individual pronouncing it. That is, if the individual pronouncing the Hukm or Fatwah is well respected the people will find weight with their rulings. If they are not well respected then people will not find these rulings weighty. Nevertheless, NO human being has the power over an individual’s Iman, and they do not have one ounce of power to make a Muslim a kafir just be disagreeing with them. Again, according to Muhammad , such a person who tries to pronounce takfir on someone over an issue, aside from those things that the 14 Ma’sumin – NOT Mujtahidin, Maraji’ or the like – declared invalidate the Shahadah, in fact INVALIDATES THEIR OWN SHAHADAH!
As much as Sistani al-Khurasani might truly hate Professor Sachedina; as much as he might believe him to be stupid, ignorant or a misleader, he is obligated by Shariah to refrain from takfir, or tasfiq upon him. As well, he must know his place and not believe himself more important or powerful than reality dictates. For no Ma’sum, no Imam, no Prophet has invested him with ANYTHING. He himself was given a letter of recommendation from another quietist and enemy of the Islamic Revolution of Iran: Al-Khoei. Based upon this and his bribery of Khoei’s muqallidin with 33% of the khums they would potentially collect in his name, he gained many followers very quickly. But neither his letter of recommendation from another non-Ma’sum, nor the “ijma” of the majority (who the Qur’an says are further astray than a herd of cattle), validates him and gives him the authority to MANDATE that ANYTHING he says be followed. ONLY if something he says is a REITERATION of the Qur’an or teachings of the Ma’sumin , does it gain ANY weight beyond himself AT ALL.
Similarly, if i were to merely say “the majority are astray” this is me talking. It carries only the weight of myself as an individual to those who see me as someone with any degree of “clout.” To individuals who know nothing about me, nor see any weight to my words, this proclamation in and of itself means little to nothing. However, if i say it within the context of quoting the Qur’an al-Karim itself then it carries the weight of `Ismah, or “Infallibility,” because the Qur’an itself is infallible. Thus, it is not “i” who makes it infallible through my education, letter of recommendation from some respected fallible mortal, it is ALLAH who makes it infallible through its existence within the Ayaat of the Qur’an itself. When my words or recommendations are in sync with the Word of Allah, THEN and ONLY then do they carry Divine Authority. Anything short of that is nothing but subjective personal favor or disdain for a person or behavior. This is why ALL Fatawat MUST be based upon DALIL through the Qur’an, valid Ahadith, and/or `Ilm (Science) and `Aql (Reason). For Imam `Ali ar-Ridha said that ISLAM is the
Din, the Religion of Reason and can ONLY be understood THROUGH employing Reason. Thus, ALL valid Fatawat MUST bear the signature of REASON, and if it does not, then it is the worthless musings of men who have convinced themselves through the drunkenness on the wine of their nufus (ego-selves), that they are much more important religiously than they actually are according to the Qur’an and the 14 Ma’sumin .
Nevertheless, Dr. Sachedina recently spent about 6 months teaching in Iran, at the request of the Government. He spoke also on TV and radio, nationwide, and met with Khameni and other leading religious figures and had absolutely no problem. There was no issue of his being a Muslim, let alone a Shi`ah
An important question for Sistani, his muqallidin and all who accept his Vatican-style “ex-communication” of Professor Sachedina, if Sistani’s hukm is binding on all Muslim, did the Wali al-Amr and the Islamic Republic sin in inviting and permitting Dr. Sachedina to teach last year?
THE MARJA’IYYAH IS MAN-MADE
“The centralization of the marja`iyya was a historical process that began in 18th century. The concept of marja`-taqlid and its relationship to the Shi`a community initiated by some prominent jurists during the Qajar period was completed when the believers, regardless of where and under what kind of government they lived, were organized as an independent religious community acknowledging the centrality of Islamic religious practice in their life. The religious independence of the community, through mujtahidmuqallid relationship, consolidated the position of the mujtahid within the community, whose members depend upon the mujtahid not only for religious prescriptions but for total guidance in realizing an ideal Islamic community in the absence of the Twelfth Imam.” Professor `Abd’ul-Aziz Sachedina
The Shi`ah “clergy” did not emerge until the sixteenth century, but the foundation of its spiritual power goes back much further, into the Mongol period of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Al-Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn `Ali ibn alMutahhar, known by his epithet of Allama al-Hilli (“the most learned one of al-Hilla”) was the first to bear the manmade title of “Ayat’ullah” or “Sign of Allah,” which existed merely on an honorary basis, the same way that an `Arab might typically call someone a “Sayyid” (“Sir” or “Noble”). It would only be much later in the man-made timeline of Marja’iyyah, that this epithet would be introduced to denote a certain status within a socio-religious hierarchy. Obviously NONE of this traces to the times of the presence and instruction of the 14 Ma’sumin. ALL of this only took place VERY far into the Ghayba al-Kubra of the 12th Imam al-Mahdi .
The most significant accomplishment of Allama al-Hilli – besides, perhaps, having converted the Mongol Khum to Shi’ism, leading to the short-lived embossing of the names of the 12 A’immah onto coins – was the development of the principle of ijtihad or legal rulings based upon rational considerations. The starting point of all theoretical considerations is how to answer questions of a religious, juridical nature if they are not definitively clarified by the Qur’anic Revelation (Wahy) or a saying (Hadith) of an Imam.
What procedure must be taken if a problem cannot be solved by referring to the transmitted statements or Ahadith, which are clearly limited to time, context and circumstances that did not exist unique to the evolving times? This is where “Reason” or `Aql comes in. Allah gave human beings `Aql to be used to discover the Divine Will. If no answer is offered by Tradition or Naql, then one must gain insight and EXTRAPOLATE the spirit of the teachings and principle through the use of `Aql.
This rational effort to solve problems is expressed through the `Arabic term ijtihad, a noun denoting “making an effort.” The words is etymologically linked with and rooted in the familiar “jihad” meaning “to strive” or “struggle” for the Will of Allah on Earth BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. The participle of ijtihad is mujtahid, approximately translating to “the effort making one.” But WHO is a “mujtahid” and how does this “making an effort” become limited to people who study at a mainstream Hawza for x-number of years, or obtain a certificate of
“authorization” (ijaza), from someone who did likewise before them? This entire system itself is absolutely NOT an unbroken chain of Marja’iyyah back to the 14 Ma’sumin, so ultimately we are dealing with a relatively modern “innovation” or “bida’a” (regardless of the fact that not all innovation is by nature DEVIANT).
So what defines a Mujtahid? Al-Hilli said that it required an intensive course of study in various Zahiri aspects, including memorization of all or a minimum of 500 Ayaat of the Qur’an, knowledge of volumes of Ahadith, mastery of `Arabic (something which did not stop Sistani at first). Regardless of the specifics, the reality is that this system originated here and with Al-Hilli and DID NOT exist in any such manner before. Those who claim otherwise are historical revisionists. Independent, non-partisan history verifies this.
Hilli argued that though becoming a mujtahid involved a long, intensive course of study, not everyone is capable of becoming a mujtahid and rightly so. He argued that “laypeople” are not only expressly prohibited from ijtihad, but that if everyone were to state “making an effort” or exercising ijtihad on their own the world would fall apart: “If all people were burdened with ijtihad in legal questions, the world would fall out of join, for everyone would be more concerned with the discussion of problems than with earning their livelihood.”
The problem is, that while this seems to make sense on the surface, it does not in anyway demonstrate two primary things:
- It does not demonstrate the Hilli system of becoming a Mujtahid is the ONLY Islamic way that one can attain the mental, logical, educational and spiritual level to be able to effectively make ijtihad.
- Neither does it demonstrate ANY Islamic basis to saying that it is Wajib, or “Obligatory” for the “laypeople” (`awamm), to follow only those who go through the system that Hilli outlined.
Again, the problem with bida`ah is not that it is “innovation” per se, it is when the masses or rather the status quo convince themselves that this “innovation” is actually the way things were MANDATED by the 14 Ma’sumin; by Muhammad and his Ahl al-Bayt.
There is NO “authority” that ANY Maraji’ has – in and of themselves – according to the Qur’an or Ahadith. The 14 Ma’sumin did not say that a man studying at Hawza receives some special status. Many THOUSANDS studied at the Hawza of Imamayn al-Baqir and as-Sadiq and never received ANY special status, and these were students of the IMAMAYN themselves!
Similarly, no Hadith nor Ayah says that one receiving a certificate of recommendation from someone before them makes them special or a “marja’.” These are MAN-MADE systems and have NO BASIS in Qur’an or Ahadith. That is FINE that they are man made; this does not in and of itself make them evil. However, it does mean that one DOES NOT Islamically become “unquestionable” and “unjudgable” by obtaining some man-made title.
Man-made titles and positions are FINE Islamically. One can have a presidency. They can have some group like the Boy Scouts, or a the head of a book or knitting club. Just because these things were not recommended or “sunnah” of the 14 Ma’sumin does not in and of themselves make them bad. One can play Western “Football” and be the team captain and this is fine. However, these man-made titles carry no ISLAMIC weight, they merely carry weight within the sociological memes which they have emerged within.
We, the Taliy`ah al-Mahdi call people to follow the Imam az-Zaman ONLY; to make Bayah to HIM ALONE and to pay Taqlid to HIM ALONE. We are only those who call people to our Imam , though we ourselves do not claim to be the leaders, nor do we require “taqlid” to us. Nevertheless, if someone wished to pay Taqlid to a Marja` that would be their SUBJECTIVE right, but this would not be an OBJECTIVE OBLIGATION within Islam. To claim that it is Wajib (Obligatory) to pay Taqlid to a man who attended a Hawza for such a period of time that he gained the approval of one who came before him that he is given a certificate, a letter of recommendation, is making haraam that which is halaal, which the Qur’an prohibits. Thus, it is HARAAM to say that paying Taqlid to a Non-Ma’sum is Wajib.
“FREED FROM RESPONSIBILITY” OR “SHIRKING” THE RESPONSIBILITY?
Whether one is truly “freed” from the responsibility of their actions – as Hilli and modern-day adherents to the system of Taqlid would maintain – or whether they are shirking their responsibility of being a thinking, reasoning, and intellectual being upon someone else is the essence of the matter at hand.
For everyone is supposed to find “the most qualified” or “the most learned” of all `ulema to follow. Then, it is said that they are not responsible for transgressing if they are following a Marja` who tells them that their actions are correct. Here is a real-life example. A man was married to a pregnant woman who he loved dearly, but he felt that it was following the “Sunnah” to take another wife as well. He asked his wife about it and due to her reading Fatawat from such eminent scholars as Sistani, she believed that she did not have the right to contest the man wanting another wife. In fact she was correct about this matter of Sistani’s Fatwah. He taught, (that is, teaches), that a woman has NO Islamic right to tell a man he cannot marry another woman. So even though she might have had valid concerns that the husband would not spend enough time with their children if he had a new wife, or if she was worried that even if he “dealt equitably” between the two women both in terms of spending time and money on THEM, that there would still be less income for the children, and less money than she was used to – it did not matter. Sistani said she had no right so she had no right. Who gave Sistani the right to decide this for her and her family? Khoei gave it to him. Did the 12th Imam give this right and authority to Khoei? Of course not. Did any Disciple of the A’immah the 4 Sufura (ra) of the Imam al-Mahdi, or the A’immah themselves create this system of Marajiyyah? Of course not, this was articulated many hundreds of years later by Allama al-Hilli. Yet, this man-made invention is what is being PUSHED upon Shi`ah Muslimin. Shi`ah are told that if they DO NOT participate in this system by paying Taqlid to one of the status quo’s accepted Maraji`, then many aspects of their `Ibadah are Batil (invalidated), including, but not limited to, their Salat!
Thus, the situation amongst the nominal Shi`ah has become much like that of the Christians who have been taught not even to dare question the Divinity of “Christ.” Should they do this, they have “lost the faith” and are in a state of spiritual limbo, wherein if they died, all of their works, faith in God “the Father” or even in the TEACHINGS of “Christ” would be invalidated and they would receive a one-way ticket to Hell… This is essentially what the system is offering to the Shi`ah now; that if they do not tow the party line – the newly adopted party line that is – then their Salat is invalidated. Muhammad said that the difference between a Kafir and a Muslim is Salat. Thus, they are saying that if you do not accept a Marja’-t-Taqlid – from amongst the NON-Ma’sumin – then you are essentially a KAFIR and are DAMNED to Jahannam… A frightening prospect for those who do not know any better; for those who do know know that the proverbial Emperor has no clothes.
In reality MANY Shi`ah `Ulema – EARLY and PROMINENT `Ulema – were against Taqlid to a Mujtahid; to anyone other than the Ma’sumin .
Shaikh Yaqub Kulayni: The compiler of “Usul al-Kafi.” In the preface the great Shaykh openly sends lanath (curse) on those people who do Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
Baqir Majlisi: The compiler of “Bihar al-Anwar;” the most voluminous collection of Shi`ah Ahadith, and against Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
Taqi Majlsi: The compiler of “Fiqah Majlisi,” and the father of the great Baqir Majlisi, and against Taqlid to a nonMa’sum.
Hurr Amili: The compiler of “Wasail Al-Shia,” who in the 18th volume of his Wasail collection cursed those who do Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
Syed Razi: The compiler of the most famous “Nahj’ul-Balagha,” a great man and lover of the Ahl al-Bayt, who was against Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
Hashim Bahrani: The author of “Tafsir al-Burhaan,” yet another scholar who has wrote a fantastic Tafsir only employing the sayings of the A’immah ; also is against the Taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
No one knowledgeable in the Din would contest this at all. If you doubt it then ask any scholar and they will verify it. So was the `ibadah, the Salat of these individuals Batil? If one answers “Yes” then they should bear in mind that more than half of the religion as followed by nearly all Shi`ah is from these personalities. how can the fiqh alJa’fari be based upon a foundation which they consider to be broken?
Muslim scholars, both “Sunni” (so-called), and Shi`ah, during the classical period of Islam (9th-10th centuries C.E.) criticized those Muslims who upheld taqlid in the sense of “uncritical faith” in the matter of belief, thereby prohibiting rational inquiry and discussion in order to arrive at knowledge of truth. Shaykh Kulayni, in his collection of Usul al-Kafi, in the section on the “Excellence of Knowledge” shows that the Shi`ah A’immah encouraged discursive inquiry into the matter of faith, and of practice based on it, by requiring the Shi`ah to ask questions before accepting an opinion. In fact, he reports a tradition in which Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq criticized the those who turned from the Torah amongst the Jewish people, as well as the Nazarene sect for having followed their rabbis and monks unquestioningly even in the most erroneous of their distortion of the two monotheistic religions.
Hence, taqlid in the matter of fundamental beliefs (Usul ad-Din), was not only ruled out; it was also regarded as harmful to the healthy state of faith. Shaykh al-Mufid was even more explicit in the condemnation of taqlid in beliefs. He believed that although human reason needs guidance through revelation for arriving at rational understanding about religion, the believer’s faith must rely on rational proof. Being fully aware that not all members of the Shi`ah community were capable of attaining their understanding of faith through rational discourse, he was not willing to condemn them all to infidelity, although he criticized them for being muqallidin (“uncritical followers“) in the matters of belief. Taqlid literally means “uncritical acceptance” or “blind adherence.” That is literally what it means, as if i said that “running” means to propel your body forth by fast alternation of your legs. One might say “that isn’t really running, running can be slowly creeping along.” Nevertheless, their subjective definition is not reality, just as it is not reality to say that “taqlid” means “critical acceptance” of someone’s fatawat. In the same way, “Bayat” means “Allegiance” literally, but in use means “Sole Allegiance” which is why the A’immah said it is absolutely HARAAM to give Bayat to ANYONE other than the Imam az-Zamanuk.
Whether you say “blind adherence” or “blind imitation” is no different. The implication of “taqlid” IS however that the “imitation” is done so uncritically and thus “blindly.” If it is NOT blindly and uncritically then just answer the simple question: Is it permissible to follow a marja’ and yet disagree with and thus not “adhere to” or “imitate” (these are essentially synonyms) such questionable fatawat? If not, then you are admitting that the “adherence” or “imitation” (again, these being synonymous), is blind, unquestioning and uncritical. THAT is what we oppose as that is contrary to what the A’immah themselves taught.
If we are to “ask those who know” as the Qur’an says, WHAT DEFINES “those who know?” Certainly fallible and corruptible men cannot decide what makes someone one who knows. Certainly this standard must be based on the Dalil of the Qur’an and Ahadith. That dalil says NOTHING about someone being justified by “letters of recommendation” from Qum or Najaf. Thus, how is there necessarily any more validity to one of these maraji’ than any person who fulfills the Qur’anic requirements for being an `Alim?
It is the Qur’anic standard that makes one TRULY an `alim, not any “letter of recommendation” from a non-Ma’sum.
What is the furqan in this case for who is trustworthy? You are saying that the existing maraji’ are maraji’ based on this furqan and thus they are the “trustworthy witnesses” able to appoint others to this position. If you are saying this then what is the dalil that they have met this furqan and what is to say that someone who meets the Qur’anic furqan for being an “`alim” is not a “trustworthy witness” or an “`alim” as the Qur’an makes no mention of this system of taqlid to a non-Ma’sum, nor of the process of appointment by way of “letters of recommendation” from non-Ma’sumin.
Consider the following discrepancies:
Al-Khoei wrote in Maslah, or Rule No: 2633 pg 391
“A Peacock and the different types of Crow are haraam”
Yet strangely, Sistani says in Maslah, or Rule No: 2699, pp. 398
“As an obligatory precaution, one should refrain from eating meat of all types of crows. Other birds like the hens, the pigeons, the sparrows including the ostrich and the PEACOCK are HALAAL to eat…” (pp. 490, English Version of Tawsee)
“It is not allowed to eat a Rabbit and a PEACOCK.” Imam Muhammad al-Baqir
Man La Yadar’ul-Faqih, Volume 3, Hadith No 4197
Recall that the meaning of this collection of Ahadith ITSELF means that it is what you turn to when there is no “Faqih” at hand; thus meaning it has the knowledge, the `Ilm that THEY are supposed to have.
So who is right? Is it Khoei? Is it Sistani? Is it Imam al-Baqir . For TRUE Shi`ah it does not matter one bit who says what if they are not Prophets or A’immah . Therefore Sistani can tell his muqallidin all that he wants that it is halaal to eat a peacock, but those of us who read ahadith from the A’immah know what he himself apparently didn’t learn in all of those treasured years of Hawza study.
DISCIPLES OF THE A’IMMAH VERSUS STUDENTS AT A HAWZA
Ijtihad was an ACT known to Muslimin throughout history, though not something that was granted to one after undergoing a formal, defined period of training which had been known to Muslimin since at least 8th Hijrah (630 C.E.). The following episode is related in Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, Vol.II p. 500. You will also find it in the book entitled “the Message” by Ja’far Subhani p.679: After the conquest of Mekka in the 8th Hijrah Rasul’ullah decided to return to Madinah. In words of Ja`far Subhani, “It was necessary that he should appoint some persons to manage the political and religious matters of the newly conquered region so that no crisis might take place in his absence.”
In view of this he appointed a forbearing and wise young man named `Atab ibn Usayd who was not more than twenty years old, as the Governor of Mekka. Rasul’ullah appointed Mu’az ibn Jabal to teach Qur’an and the ordinances of Islam to the people. He was distinguished amongst the Sahabah of the Prophet for his knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, ijtihad and the commands of Islam. When Rasul’ullah deputed him to Yemen in the capacity of a judge, he asked him: “On what will you rely for resolving the differences?” To this he replied: “On the Book of Allah, the Qur’an.” The Prophet said: “If nothing specific is found on the point in issue?” He replied “On the basis of the judgments of the Prophet of Allah.” The Prophet asked: “What course will you adopt when a problem crops up about which there is nothing specific in the Book of Allah or in my judgments?” He replied: “In such cases I shall resort to Ijtihad and give a decision on the basis of the Holy Qur’an and your traditions with equity and justice.” The Prophet then said, “Al-hamdulillah that Hu has enabled Hu’s Prophet to choose for the administration of justice a person whose actions are commensurate with Hu’s Will.”
There is as much error in the view that ijtihad is haraam as there is in the misguided view that it is wajib to follow the ijtihad of a man-made priestly caste. Clearly Ijtihad ITSELF is not error, nor is it bida’a. What we must look at is the example set by Muhammad , his close and loyal Sahabah, and the A’immah. Was Mu’az ibn Jabal a graduate of a Hawza? No, he merely said that he would rely upon the Qur’an first and foremost, THEN the judgments of Muhammad , meaning what we have today as Ahadith, and if no former precedence was found in these then he would extrapolate the essence of the teaching through employing `Aql, thus making Ijtihad. Muhammad has said that Islam is the Din al-Fitrah, the Religion of Nature, the Natural Religion. Mu’az ibn Jabal was not TOLD by Muhammad how to rule, how to make ijtihad. He did not undergo “training” at a Hawza. This process was NATURAL for him, and Muhammad gave praise to Allah for the “actions” of such individuals which “are commensurate” with Allah’s Perfect and Divine Will. So if no training was needed in the days of Muhammad for ijtihad to be made, then why would it be necessary now?
Some traditions show that the A’immah ordered the outstanding among their Sahabah to give fatawat to the people. In Usd al-Ghabah (vol. 4, p.197) it is reported that Imam `Ali , while appointing his cousin Qutham ibn al-‘Abbas as governor of Makkah, said to him: “Give fatwa to the initiated and teach the ignorant.”
So obviously rulings or fatawat are permissible. Obviously these are to be made based first and foremost on the Qur’an itself, then secondarily on the sayings of the Ma’sumin, and lastly upon extrapolation of the “spirit of the law” so to speak found within concrete sources of dalil from the Qur’an or Ahadith. However, this was the Sunnah with regards to those who were direct students, disciples and companions of the 14 Ma’sumin. It is intellectually unacceptable to make the gigantic leap from there to saying that to saying that a mere student at a modern day Hawza graduates, is given a certificate from his teacher, and then the Shi`ah are “obligated” to follow him or someone similar to him. This is simply not said in the Ahadith, nor was it what was actually happening in the accounts relayed.
Imam as-Sadiq is reported to have said to Aban ibn Taghlib in Jami’ ar-Ruwat, vol. I, p.9: “Sit in the Masjid of Madinah and give fatawat to the people, for I love the like of you to be seen amongst my Shi`ah.”
Some traditions indicate that the A’immah referred some of their followers to some of their outstanding pupils in matters relating to hadith and fatwah.
`Abd’ul-`Aziz ibn Muhtadi said: “I asked Abu al-Hasan ar-Ridha, ‘I am unable to meet you every time, so from whom should I take my religious instruction?’ ‘Take if from Yunus ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman,’ said the Imam .”
Wasa’il al-Shi`ahh, vol. 18, eleventh of the chapters on Sifat’ul-Qadi, hadith 34
Clearly, this was a personally know disciple of the Imam of that Age , and the Imam as a Ma’sum had the infallible ability to distinguish who amongst the Shi`ah was qualified to teach others.
From the same source, we read that Shu’ayb said: “I said to Imam as-Sadiq, ‘Often we have to ask about something; whom should we ask?’ The Imam said, ‘Ask al-‘Asadi (Abu Basir).”‘
Clearly, as a tool of assistance to the Mu’minin, there can and should be those who study and give rulings to help the masses understand Islam. But this should be just that, a tool to HELP them UNDERSTAND, to COMPREHEND, not merely to dictate lists of rulings and have them blindly follow THEM – the fallible – as though.
`Ali ibn Musayyab al-Hamadani says, “I said to ar-Ridha , ‘I have to come a long distance and I cannot reach you every time (when I have to ask you something). From whom should I take the teachings of my faith?’ The Iman said, ‘From Zakariyya ibn Adam; he is my trustee in regard to religious and secular matters.”‘ `Ali ibn Musayyab adds, “On returning I went to Zakariyya ibn Adam and asked him whatever I needed to ask.”
`Usul al-Kafi, vol: 1, p.67
Thus, if we are to take our “teachings” from people then this implies being “taught.” This means from the most brilliant to the most ignorant, “Islamic Teachers” are those who are to be learned from. They are to be “followed” the way that one would “follow” an algebra teacher. It is not enough for the true teacher to just tell you “The answer to number 5 is x=3” that much is a simple as turning to the back of the book and reading the odd answers. No, a true teacher will neither give you an answer like that nor will they accept such answers from their students without them showing (explaining) their work that led to solving the problem.
So, when maraji` do not “show their work,” and expect to just be accepted in their answers because they have a man-made degree, this is unacceptable. Who is the better mathematician: one who never attended a University but nonetheless knows math from private study and a natural inclination towards learning; who shows his work in solving equations and can teach the LOGIC of solving equations to others, or someone with University degrees who just looks in the “Teacher’s Guide” for the answers and cannot teach their students the logic of math?
So, do the A’immah have the right and ability to appoint Sufara to represent them? Of course. Does this translate to a Hawza having that same right and ability? Such permission was simply never given by the 14 Ma’sumin. Thus, we can “reason” that such a system of Marja’iyyah is permissible or halaal SO LONG AS it is not IMPOSED upon the Shi`ah or Ummah at large since one simply cannot make the haraam halaal and the halaal haraam. Thus, since such a system was never IMPOSED upon the masses, it cannot be MADE Wajib just because those within such a post-Hilli system might very well LIKE to see it Wajib.
The 11th Imam al-`Askari said: “As to the faqih who preserves the integrity of his self, defends his faith, opposes his lust and obeys the command of his Master (mawla), then it is for the laymen (‘awamm) to imitate him.” (at-Tabarsi, al- Ihtijaj)
In a tradition recorded in Misbah al-Shari`ah (p. 355, Bab 63), the 6th Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq is reported to have said:
“The mufti stands in need of knowledge of the meanings of the Qur’an, understanding of the real meaning of ahadith and the inward meaning of signs and indications, and familiarity with matters relating to etiquette and conduct. He should have thorough knowledge of the points of consensus and disagreement and be well informed about the essentials of what they have agreed or disagreed about. Then he should possess the capacity to make a proper choice. Then he needs to be righteous in his actions, wise and pious. After possessing all these qualities, he may give fatwa if he has the capacity to do so.”
Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq said: “Our duty is to teach you the principles and your duty is to ramify.”
Again, we see that this was a student to teacher relationship and that no mention is made of ANY “obligation” to follow non-Ma’sumin and non-Ma’sum APPOINTED Sufara or Du’at. There is NO mention of Salat being batil if one does not. Moreover, consider the examples of previous prophets throughout history. Is the Apostate Paul who never met `Isa to be taken as an authority like the Christians have? Of course not. ONLY authority can be derived from the words of `Isa himself and his Disciples. The Apostate Paul understood this and this is what led to his very tell-tale writing style being found throughout the forged two books commonly called the books of “Peter” (which are in fact NOT). Similarly, the Catholic church painstakingly attempts to validate its own existence through claiming that they can trace their lineage back to the Disciple Peter (Shimeon Kefa’). Clearly even if this were to be taken as true historically (which is not in any way proven), it does not prove the modern-day validity of the Catholic church, nor their validity throughout the ages.
With a lineage in Martial Arts one can DEMONSTRATE the validity of a particular lineage. A Black Belt or Sash is often obtained as a measuring stick of PROFICIENCY (not mastery), based on ONE THING; that historically one wore a white belt or sash with their training uniform. Legend has it that the amount of TIME that one had practiced could be judged by the degree of dirtiness of the belt or sash. Chinese “Kung Fu” is actually called “Wushu” not “Kung Fu” in China; for “Kung Fu” means only “Time and Effort.” One is said to have “good Kung Fu” through time and effort. One can have good culinary Kung Fu, or good Gung Fu of Calligraphy. It does not necessarily just mean Martial Kung Fu. But Chinese Wushu is termed “Kung Fu” as well, because it is a MATTER of “Time and Effort.” So by the time the belt or sash was black one has obtained proficiency. MASTERY was still not proven by such a thing. MASTERY could only be proven by DEMONSTRATION of one’s skills.
While the modern “belt ranking” system is sometimes useful for students, MANY schools do not use them until employing a Brown Sash for a student teacher or assistant, and a Black for proficiency. As well, Sifu Jun Fan (known in the West as “Bruce Lee”), started a system of Kung Fu “Cross-Training” in various arts (Wing Chun, Jujitsu, Kali, Escrima, Silat, Savate, etc.). He himself saw how little belts actually meant in REAL WORLD fighting, so he taught completely without them.
OFTEN there would come into a school another teacher who would call out, challenge the leading teacher to fight and DEMONSTRATE their skills. If the leading teaching could do this then he retained this position. It didn’t necessarily mean that the teacher himself was “no good” because of being beaten, but his defeat not only validated the skills of the one who beat him, but it ALSO served as a necessarily method for the teacher to PROVE that he was practicing an effective art. Similarly, his lineage was publicly validated through this. For if someone CLAIMS to have been certified by a former teacher in a well-known lineage then this is fine, he should be able to DEMONSTRATE that he is from an effective lineage through SKILL. If he claims to be from such a lineage, claims to be a 3rd degree Black Sash or whatnot, then it should show. If it does not show, then all the paper lineages in the world mean nothing.
From the book of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Nasr al-Bizanti from ar-Ridha: “Our duty is to teach the principles and yours to ramify.”
Another evidence of the existence of ijtihad during the era of accessibility to the Imam are the fatawat issued by the legists among the Imams’ contemporaries, and the Imams’ approval of their verdicts. The following tradition narrated by Mu’adh ibn Muslim is recorded in Wasa’il al-Shi`ahh (vol. 18, 11th of the chapters on Sifat al-Qadi, hadith 37):
Mu’idh ibn Muslim said: “Imam as-Sadiq said to me, ‘I have been told that you sit in the masjid and give fatwa to the people.’ I said, ‘Yes, I am doing it.’ Then I said, ‘Before I leave you I have to ask you a question: (My practice is that) When I sit in the masjid a man comes and asks me a certain question. If I know that he is one of your opponents and does not act according to your views, I narrate to him a fatwa which is acceptable in his legal school. If I know that he is one of your followers, I give a fatwa in accordance with the Shi’i school. But if I cannot find out to which group he belongs I explain to him various fatwas putting in your views amongst them.’ The Imam replied, ‘Carry on in the same fashion, for such is also my method.'”
Thus, CLEARLY these disciples COULD NOT have done what they were doing in the same manner if the Imam az-Zamanhum were not present for them to ask about matters of how they were supposed to perform their roles. Following THEM was tantamount to following the A’immah, because the Imam az-Zamanhum was PRESENT for them to consult and if they were leading people IN ERROR then the Imam would SURELY have admonished them and if they persisted in their Qiyas then the Imam az-Zamanhum would have removed them from their position. Thus, the parallel between such individuals who were DISCIPLES of the A’immah, and people who merely spend a decade or so at a modern day Hawza in Qum or Najaf simply does not match up. There is no comparison. It would be like comparing a Sahabah of Muhammad to a Sahabah of Sistani, Al-Khoei or the like, there is simply no comparison. One is a friend or companion of a Ma’sum, and the other is a friend of a person who merely went to school for a while. Someone who studied with Albert Einstein is not equal in scholarly weight to someone who is a high school math teacher today!
In reply to a question Ishaq Ibn Yaq’ub had sent to the Imam al-Mahdi via the second Safir: “As far as newly occurring circumstances are concerned, you should turn (for guidance) to the narrators of our hadiths, for they are my proof over you just as I am Allah’s proof over them”
Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 260, Al-‘Amili, Wasail Al-Shi`ah, vol 18, p 101, Bihar Al-Anwar, Al-Majlisi vol 53, p 181
The 11th Imam al-`Askari said: “It is obligatory for the populace to follow the jurist who refrains from committing wrong, mentions his faith, opposes carnal desire and obeys Allah’s command”
Al-‘Amili, Wasail Al-Shi`ah, vol 18, pp 94 – 95
“Imam `Ali ar-Ridha approved Zakariyyah Ibn Adam Al-Qummi and Yunus Ibn Abd Al-Rahman, as judges for the people in their regions.”
Al-‘Amili, Wasail Al-Shi`ah, vol 18, pp 106 – 107
Now consider the FACT that the authors of ALL of these collections of Ahadith, the very “narrators” that we are being told to follow OPPOSED the concept of Taqlid to a Non-Ma’sum. OBVIOUSLY, what is going on in these Ahadith is NOT Taqlid, and it is SPECIFIC to the circumstances of the actual DISCIPLES of the A’immah themselves. Either that or modern day, post-Hilli `ulema are just much, much more intelligent than the “narrators of Ahadith” that we are told to follow. Which one is it?
We see in the following Hadith narrated that 11th Imam Al-`Askari, from his ancestor the 6th Imam As-Sadiq:
“If there is anyone among the fuqaha who is in control over his own self, protects his religion, suppresses his evil desires and is obedient to the commands of his Master, then the people should follow him”
Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 263
Quite clearly this comment that such a Faqih is “obedient to the commands of his Master” denotes CONTACT with said “Master” meaning that he is quite LITERALLY a DISCIPLE of that Master. Does ANYONE today claim to be a LITERAL “Disciple” of the Imam az-Zaman.
As well, note that when Umar Ibn Hanzalah asked Imam Ja`far As-Sadiq who the Shi`ah should refer to when they dispute, he replied: “They must seek out one of you who narrates our traditions, who is versed in what is permissible and what is forbidden, who is well-acquainted with our laws and ordinances, and accept him as judge and arbiter, for I appoint him as judge over you. If the ruling which he based on our laws is rejected, this rejection will be tantamount to ignoring the order of Allah and rejecting us is the same as rejecting Allah, and this is the same as polytheism”
Furu’ Al-Kafi, Al-Kulayni, vol 7, p 412
Blessed are those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. For the Qur’an tells us in Surat al-Anfal 8:22: “Surely the worst of animals, in Allah’s sight, are the deaf, the dumb, who do not understand.”
OPPOSITION FOR MANDATORY BLIND ADHERENCE AND SUPPORT FOR SELECTIVE ADHERENCE
Shaykh Ansari quotes a Hadith from Imam al-`Askari in his book “Ihtejaaj:”
“And among jurists (Fuqaha) those who protect themselves (from sins), guard their religion, defy their carnal desires and are obedient to their Master, it is incumbent upon the people to follow them. Such characteristics are found only in a few of them and not all.”
Muhammad al-Khatam al-Anbiyah foretold that “there will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur’an except its outward from and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it. Their masajid will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (furqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return.”
Ibn Babuya, Thaqab al-Amal, quoted in Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (old ed.), Vol. 13. p. 152
During the Ghayba al-Kubra Imam as-Zaman is reported as having said: “Look carefully at those people who relate our traditions with deliberation upon our permitted and prohibited things, and know our precepts and commandments. Select one of them for adjudication, since I have appointed such a person for the said task. If his verdict is rejected then it is as if the command of Allah is deemed light and our ordinance refuted. Certainly the one who refutes our ordinance has refuted the ordinance of Allah. Verily such a person has stepped into the boundary of Shirk (Polytheism).”
In reply to a question Ishaq Ibn Yaq’ub had sent to the Imam al-Mahdi via the second Safir (ra): “As far as newly occurring circumstances are concerned, you should turn (for guidance) to the narrators of our hadiths, for they are my proof over you just as I am Allah’s proof over them.”
Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 260, Al-‘Amili, Wasail Al-Shi`ah, vol 18, p 101, Bihar Al-Anwar, Al-Majlisi vol 53, p 181
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq said: “The two (Shi`ah disputants) should look for one who narrates our traditions and has in view our halal and haram and who as well understands our ahkam. Then (having found such a person) they should accept him as a judge.”
So let us look… Let us look at Shaikh Yaqub Kulayni, Baqir Majlisi, Taqie Majlsi, Hurr Ameeli, Syed Razi, Hashim
Behrani, and the like. The narrators of Ahadith in fact advise us AGAINST Taqlid to non-Ma’sumin. Imam az-Zaman tells us to look to these narrators because they can relay the Ahadith themselves and it is THOSE Ahadith which we are to follow. He does not say “Look to those who narrate ahadith and pay taqlid to them.” HAD he said this then those who narrated the Ahadith themselves would not have been so (almost unanimously), opposed to the concept of taqlid to a non-Ma’sum.
Brothers and Sisters we must use REASON as Imam `Ali ar-Ridha told us to. Consider that Muhammad said that “To look at the face of an `alim is an `Ibadah.” Surely this cannot mean that to look at the mere face of someone who studies in a hawzah is WORSHIP of Allah! Astaghfir’ullah, this is reminiscent of the Hadith which says:
It is narrated that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq has said in reference to the Ayah: “They have adopted their scholars and monks as lords instead of Allah.” [7:31] I swear by Allah that they did not pray or fast for them, but they turned the lawful into forbidden, and the forbidden into lawful, and they followed it.”
Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar Page 642 Hadith number 1525 Hassan ibn Fazl ibn Hassan Tabarsi, Translated by Lisa Zaynab Morgan and Dr Ali Peiravi
Do we not see already that this is the case? Do we not see individuals like Sistani ordering Mujahidin like Muqtada as-Sadr to NOT resist the murder of over 12,000 UNARMED civilians, sexual humiliation, torture and violation of International Law by the nations of Yajuj and Majuj? Do we not see Imam al-Baqir saying the flesh of a peacock is haraam and Sistani saying it is halaal? Do we not see him saying that a woman produces semen in her sexual fluid, and thus ghusal is required by contact with vaginal fluid? Do we not see bida’a after bida’a after bida’a in a manner that changes the haraam into halaal and the halaal into the haraam? This age is like to that of the age of `Isa with the hierarchy of the Soferim and P’rushim, the Scribes and the Pharisees. Similarly, the Ummah is today once again at the pivotal point that the Bani Isra’il were at 2,000 years ago where the various splits occurred. Let us pray that the true Shi`ah turn away from this Path of Destruction like the people of Nineveh did when warned, in sha’ Allah.
WHAT IS THE NEED?
“The question of the marja` al-taqlid is actually the rational decision dictated by the necessity to consult those who are specialists in matters of the Shari`ah. This rational necessity of taqlid has also led to the necessity of following the most learned (al-a`lam) among the scholars, who is the point of reference – al-marja`, for all the Shi`ah. However, the question of “the most learned” in taqlid is inherently subjective for its universal acceptance by all the Shi`ite scholars. How can one determine who is the most learned when every scholar can claim to be the most learned? There is no doubt that those mujtahids who ruled it obligatory for believers to follow the decisions of the “most learned” jurist wanted to centralize the leadership of the jurist in the community and uniformalize religious practice of the faithful. By declaring one’s taqlid of the most learned mujtahid, a believer establishes a direct link between his religious acts with the rulings of the marja`. This sense of linkage also generates a sense of loyalty to the marja`, which is formalized through a juridical prescription (fatwah) requiring the ordinary person to declare his intention to follow the most qualified member of the community through taqlid. Taqlid, then, is the rational acceptance of a mujtahid’s knowledgeable position in the matters related to religious practice.” Professor `Abd’ul-`Aziz Sachedina
The question is “Is this an absolutely necessity for taqlid?” It is prudent to say that this issue is one of dispute among the scholars and the debates over it are still ongoing.
Firstly, we see that this issue is not discussed nor does it have any mention in the works of the first generation of fuqaha such as Shaykh Tusi, Shaykh Mufid and Sayyid Al-Murtadha and their like. This issue only begins to be discussed by the later generation of fuqaha such as Allamah al-Hilli and Muhaqiq al-Hilli.
The oldest known collection of sayings of the Prophet and the A’immah – which is still in use today – is “The Sufficience” (al-Kafi), a collection purported to “suffice all needs,” since it includes “all” sayings of the A’immah that were known at the time, categorized according to subject area.
Volume 1 deals with creed (`aqidah) and Imamate. Volume 2 deals with Faith (Iman) and disbelief (Kufr). Volume 3 deals with ritual purity (Tahiriyyah), burial, Salat and Zakat. Volume 4 deals with Sawm and Hajj. The author of this multivolume handbook was Al-Kulayni (died 940 or 941 C.E.), of Qum in Iran.
`Usul al-Kafi is the first of the “Kutub al-Arba” (Four Books), on which the entire foundation of Ithna `Ashariyyah Islam is based. The second of these Kutub al-Arba is entitled “Man La Yahduruhu-l-Faqih” meaning literally “If One Has No Expert at Hand.” That is, in such a case you are to refer to this book and find everything that you need. The author, Ibn Babuye al-Qummi (died 991 C.E.).
Consider what we then read in the Ahadith collected, narrated by Kulayni. We are told to take head of what the narrators of Ahadith tell us, but time and time again these narrators tell us that Taqlid to non-Ma’sumin is NOT Wajib, NOR Mustahab; and that this was not their practice to pay Taqlid to other non-Ma’sumin, nor to allow others to pay Taqlid to them.
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa from `Ali ibn Hadid from Murazim from Abu `Abd’ullah who has said the following:
“Allah, the Most holy, the Most High has certainly revealed an explanation for all things even, by Allah, He has not left untold anything that His servants would need up to the Day of Judgment. He has done so, so that people would not be able to say if only so and so would have been said in the Quran. The fact is that He has already said it in the holy Qur’an.”
`Usul al-Kafi, H 178, Ch. 20, h 1
`Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn `Isa from Yunus from Husayn ibn al-Mundhir from `Umar ibn Qays from Abu Ja`far who has said the following: “I heard Imam Abu Ja`far saying, ‘Allah, the Most holy, the Most high, has not left untold anything that the ’ummah would need except that He has revealed in His book and has explained them to His messenger. He has made a limit for everything and an indication for it to point forwards to it and He has made a limit for those who would trespass those limits.”
`Usul al-Kafi, H 179, Ch. 20, h 2
`Ali has narrated from Muhammad from Yunus from Aban from Sulayman ibn Harun who has said the following: “Abu ‘Abdallah has said, ‘All that Allah has created has a limit like the limits of a house, in which case what is of house is of the house and what is of the road and the walkway is of the walkway. Even the law for the compensation for a scratch, and a penalty in form of a lash or half a lashing.’”
`Usul al-Kafi, H 180, Ch. 20, h 3
`Ali has narrated from Muhammad ibn `Isa from Yunus from Hammad from Abu `Abd’ullah who has said the following: “There is no case for which there is not a law in the Book or the Sunnah, the noble tradition of the holy Prophet.”
`Usul al-Kafi, H 181, Ch. 20, h 4
`Abd’ullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As related that the Prophet said: “Allah will not take knowledge from the hearts of the scholars but he takes the scholars (they die). There will be no more scholars to take their place so people will take extremely ignorant leaders. They will be asked questions and will give fatawat without knowledge. They are misguided and they misguide others.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari 1:33 Kitab al-`Ilm Shih Muslim #157, “Kitab al-`Ilm”
Clearly it has been demonstrated that there is no Islamic precedence to any sort of obligatory following of those who are not Ma’sumin, nor the Disciples which those Ma’sumin themselves appointed as their Sufara or “Representatives” for the Community. There is no modern day Hawza established by any Imam. The system of Marja’iyyah itself is man-made, though this in and of itself does not make it bad or good, it is mubah, or neutral. It is like fire which can be used to keep warm, or burn down a house; it is like water which can be used to hydrate or to drown. The Hawza and Marja’iyyah is bid`a, but this does not make them haraam nor makruh. They are what we make it, however, the method of teaching and learning within the context of that man-made system is in no way absolute, and should NEVER be looked at or spoken of as THE authority in making one an `Alim. Such a concept is essentially making haraam what is halaal: TEACHINGS and LEARNING outside of cultural and sociologically constructed methods.
The sociologically accepted methodology of learning at a Hawza rarely if ever includes the Qur’anic “Asbab an-Nuzul,” the circumstances of the revelation of the Qur’an. Thus, we see people quoting the Qur’an completely out of context, even against other Muslimin when such Ayaat were referring to Mushrikin!
Bukhari mentioned in his “Sahih” (though the fiqh al-Ja`fari hold that NO collection of Hadith is “Sahih”), collection of Ahadith in the chapter on “Fighting the Khawarij” (12.283), that the situation where people improperly apply Ayaat of the Qur’an, which have been revealed about kuffar, against Muslimin with whom they disagreed. This applies most prominently to the Wahhabiyyah cult which does this incessantly, but also in modern times we see many adversaries attempting the same thing as if their out of context quoting of the Qur’anic Ayaat in any way lends credence to their defeated arguments. Ibn `Umar claimed these sorts were the “worst of Allah’s creation” and say, “Verily, they used Ayaat revealed for kaffirin against the Mu’minin.”
Obviously the majority of Ithna Ashari Muslimin would contest this and most other narrations recorded by Bukhari or Muslim. Nevertheless, this is not the proper, nor official position to adopt. For again, the 5th Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said: “Do not reject that hadith even received from deviated sects, that he relates it to us because you might not know that there might be truth in that.”
`Usul al-Kafi, Kitab Hujjat- Baab 101 – Hadith 2
Beyond that, it is well know that Shi`ah use “Sunni” Ahadith all the time to prove EVERY aspect of Shi`ah `aqida AND the authority of the 12 A’immah themselves. Therefore, it is illogical to suppose that the collections themselves are erroneous if they in fact have validation of all aspects of Shi`ah `aqidah therein. For this reason the Fiqh al-Ja’fari holds NO Hadith collection as “Sahih” but accepts that even in the narrations not transmitted through our Madhab, there may well be truth. This is the correct position to hold, though clearly the “laymen” do not all hold this, nor do they hold opinions regarding the potential usability of pre-Qur’anic Kutub Allah. As a matter of fact most “laymen” do not hold THEIR OWN opinions or thoughts on nearly ANY aspect of the Din. They merely ask “What does Imam Sistani say?” And then they in turn follow that UNCRITICALLY; adopting every last thought which they are told to have. This is the antithesis of `Aql and is a slap in the face to Imam `Ali ar-Ridha who told us our Din is the Din of Reason and can ONLY be understood through Reason.
Tabarani and others transmitted the Hadith of Abu `Umamah that the Prophet said: “Verily, for every matter there is a progression and a regression. And verily the progression of this Din (Religious Path) is from what you used to be in of blindness and ignorance into what Allah sent me with. And verily from the progression of this Din is that the clan was taught (Islam) by its family members, to the point that there was not found amongst them (the tribes) anyone except for one or two evildoers. So these two were oppressed and degraded. When they want to speak they are restrained, subdued and persecuted. And verily from the regression of this Din, is that the tribe acts harshly against its family members, to the point that there is not see amongst them anyone except one or two fuqaha. Thus they will both be oppressed and degraded. If they speak and command the good and forbid the evil, they are restrained, subdued and persecuted. And they will not find any supporters or helpers in that matter.”
Thus, just as the Din has constantly progressed and regressed like the ebb and flow of the tides, it still continues this process today. Following a period of “silence” there is often a waning of the Iman of the masses. Then when the Imam of the Time returns it is like the sun coming back out from behind the clouds and bringing light where there was once darkness and shadows.
Abu Malik al-`Ashari related that the Rasul’ullah said: “There will be people from my Community who make permissible fornication and silk and intoxicants and immoral music.”
Sahih Bukhari (6,243) “Kitab al-Ashriba” Abu Dawud “Kitab al-Libas” #4039,
The phrase used here is “Ghina al-Fahish” (lewd singing). It is important to note that the singing or music is qualified as being “lewd” or “immoral.” Music has NEVER been outright prohibited within the Din of Islam, but IMMORAL music has ALWAYS been attacked. In modern times this would be nearly all popular music. Nevertheless, there has always been much spiritual uplifting music from the Tehillim of Dawud which say within the very pages of those “Psalms” that they are to be played with certain instruments including stringed and wind instruments, to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Mutabaruka, Public Enemy, Brother `Ali, to many musicians who have been associated with the Jama`at’ut-Taliy`ah like “Naj.One” (Harun “Najwan” Askari), Shahid Mustafa, and the Def Poetry Jam featured artist `Amir Sulaiman. All of these ikhwah and many, many more call people towards spiritually uplifting and revolutionary ideals. However, the “problem” as many appear to see it lies therein; that with the microphone, and CD’s they have a podium from which to speak to the masses and influence the youth in a way that many disconnected “scholars for dollars” don’t appear to have. So deeming all forms of music except for those genres that the “`ulema” deem appropriate (such as the Classical genre which is largely saturated with Nazi and Freemason composers), is an easy way to retain control and power; which ultimately translates to money, as in the BILLIONS of annual Khums that goes unaccounted for with Sistani al-Khurasani ALONE.
Plain and simply this is making the halaal haraam, and this is the way that Muhammad, al-Khatam al-Anbiyah has told us that many of those who have turned away from the Torah and the teachings of Jesus have taken their Rabbis and Monks (all the way up to the Pope), as “lords” besides Allah ta’ala. Clearly this is the exact same thing which has happened to the mainstream of the nominally Shi`ah.
Abu Hurayra related that Rasul’ullah said: “Yawm ad-Din will not come until my Ummah takes up the ways of the nations preceding them, handspan by handspan, armlength by armlength. They Prophet was asked ‘Oh Rasul’ullah, even like the Persians and Romans?’ He relied, ‘Who is there other than they?”
Sahih Al-Bukhari (8:151), “Kitab al-l’itisam”
In another version of the same line of Ahadith, Muhammad explains that this is the Ahl al-Kitab in general (other monotheistic faiths), including those who turned from the Torah amongst the Jewish people, as well as the Nazarene sect (to say nothing of the “Kristiyan” religion which followedafter them), not just the Zoroastrians and Christians of Persia and Rome: Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated that Rasul’ullah said: “‘You shall follow the ways of those before you hand span to hand span and arm length to arm length, and even if they entered a lizard’s hole you will follow them.’ I said: ‘O Rasul’ullah! You mean those who have turned away from the Torah and the Nazarenes?” He sallallahu alaihi wa sallam replied: “Who else?”
Just as the “those who turned” from the Torah, and the Nazarenes had followed after the ways of the Jinn into “the Lizard Hole,” so too have the Muslim followed after them, striving to be like them in all ways. Ask your Marja` who the Qur’anic “Talut” is? They will tell it is the imposter “King” Sha’ul. Why? Because those who turned from the Torah amongst the Jewish people, as well as the Nazarene sect (to say nothing of the Kristiyan after them) have misinterpreted the Qur’an as saying this, and so the Ummah has adopted their erroneous interpretation of their own Scriptures and the Qur’an beyond them.
Abu Hurayra related: “An `Arab asked the Prophet when the Yawm ad-Din would occur. He said,
“When the trust (al-amana) is lost, then wait for the Yawm ad-Din.’ The `Arab said, ‘How will it be lost?’ The Prophet said, ‘When power and authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the Yawm ad-Din.”
Sahih al-Bukhari, Nawawi, #1837, Riyad as-Salihin
The fact that one is considered a “scholar” or “mujtahid” in and of itself means NOTHING. According to the A’immah , 40,000 corrupt Shi`ah `ulema will be assassinated (“put to the sword”), by Al-Qa’im.
Muhaiyaddin ibn `Arabi also said that when the promised Mahdi comes, the majority of those who reject him will be the “`ulama-i zahira,” (“outwardly learned“).
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq is recorded as having said: “Out of Bani Hashim there shall come forth a youth who shall reveal new laws. He shall summon the people unto him, but none will heed his call. Most of his enemies will be the religious leaders. His bidding they will not obey, but will protest saying: ‘This is contrary to that which hath been handed down unto us by the A’immah of the Faith.”
Book of Arba’in compiled by Muhhadith-i Bahraini
Surat Yunus, Ayah 49 reads: “Say: I do not control for myself any harm, or any benefit except what Allah pleases. Every Ummah (nation) has an ajal (term); when their ajal (term) comes, they shall not then remain behind, nor shall they go before (their time).”
At the time of the revelation of this Ayah Muhammad was asked what the term for the Ummah of Islam was; as the Ayah clearly states that for every Ummah a term has been established. He replied: “If my people [Muslimin] were truthful they remain for one yawm. If they degrade, half a yawm will they last.”
Bihar al-Anwar, Vol 13, Najm’us-Saghib, Haji Mirza Husayn-i Nuri p. 87
The Tafsir of this Hadith clearly points back to the Qur’anic Ayaat regarding the length of a Day, or “Yawm” which means both a “Day” and/or a “Period of Time,” with Allah: “Hu regulates the affair from the Heaven to the Earth; then shall it ascend to Hu in a Yawm the measure of which is a Thousand years of what you count.” Suwar 22:47 and 32:5 in `Arabic both end with: “alfa sanatin mimma ta’addoon” (“one thousand years of your reckoning”).
Every Ummah has a term, and the Ummah which emerged 1,400 years ago has a term as well. They have a term that they themselves have reached already according to Muhammad . According to him, this term has expired and the majority professing Islam and the “scholars” today are some of the most wicked on the face of the
Earth. These are HIS words, not mine, so if anyone is to condemn these words then it is THEY who are guilt of “insulting the Prophet” as is often claimed against those who challenge the status quo in order to justify a death sentence against them. `Abd’ullah ibn `Ata’, an associate of the fifth and sixth A’immah , asked Al-Baqir regarding the manner in which al-Qa’im will proceed among the people. He said “He will raze that which existed before him just as the Prophet did (before him) [when he began his mission], and will revive Islam once again.”
Kitab al-Ghaybah, Numaini, pp. 125ff.
So if one would claim that which is contrary to these words, contrary to the fact that Rasul’ullah has said the term for this Ummah has expired, and contrary to the fact that he said thereafter, at the end of the Zaman, that the scholars would be some of the most wicked people on Earth, then it is THEY who are insulting the Prophet and calling him a liar and false prophet, who foretells things that do not come true in the manner that he foretold them. It is they who are literally disbelievers in the prophecies transmitted by the 14 Ma’sumin . May they open their eyes to the Reality of what they have denied and turn on their heals from the path of destruction which they have been treading down.
Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id narrated from `Ali ibn Al-Hsan at-Taymali from his brothers Muhammad and Ahmad from their father from Tha’laba ibn Maymun and Jami’ al-Kinasi from Abu Basir from Kamil that Abu Ja`far al-Baqir had said:
“When al-Qa’im appears, he will invite the people to a new mission as the Prophet has invited the people to new mission. Islam has begun strange and it will return strange as it has begun. Blessed are the strangers!”
Bihar al-Anwar, vol.52 p.366, Mu’jam Ahadith Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, vol.3 p.319
If Islam is to return, to be revived as something “strange,” if the majority will not accept the Imam at first, but will instead argue with him and against him by using the Qur’an, then how are we to recognize him if we are adhering and emulating those who themselves are exactly like the majority except in degree of study? Is there anything culturally or traditionally “strange” about someone like Sistani? Was Al-Khoei “strange?” There way is not the way of the Imam al-Mahdi . So if we are blindly following them in their way, and not thinking critically at every turn, then it is more than likely that we will never recognize the Imam al-Mahdi when he appears. For although they like to imagine that he will be just like all of the “white-washed” history and Persianized paintings of him, the Imam al-Mahdi will appear “strange” – that is, he will NOT seem like the Imam al-Mahdi – to all but a small number, in fact 313 in the beginning.
Again, Islam is the Din of Reason. It is not Catholicism. We have no Pope. Bayat to ANYONE but the Imam az-Zaman is HARAAM. We are commanded to THINK to REFLECT to REASON; for this is the ONLY way that the Din of Reason can be comprehended according to the A’immah.
We are admonished in the Qur’an against Taqlid to non-Ma’sumin, non-Sufara who were not appointed by the A’immah. We read: “And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.” Al-Qur’an, Sura al-`Isra 17:36
We see the leading Pope-like Marja’ being asked ridiculous questions like: “Is it allowed to kiss a child?” Of course we see the OBVIOUS answer that: “Itself has no problem.” Of course there is no problem, what kind of person would suggest otherwise?
We see such contradictory rulings as Sistani saying we can gamble if it is on horse races and archery, but not so much as work in a convenient store or gas station where you have to sell lottery tickets to people who come in and request them (the same as you would have to sell haraam meats or beverages to them as well). But of course the multi-Billionaire Sistani al-Khurasani does not have to worry about being forced to work such minimum-wage jobs. He has tens of millions of people sending them the money that is in no way mandated, advised nor even permitted to be given to him. The only LOGICAL reason why he should be given the Sahm al-Imam is if the Imam’s Qayim, his Rise is being hastened through the expenditure of said collected Khums. If not, then this is THEFT of money that the Qur’an says belongs to ALLAH. Surely those who transgress the bounds, exceed the limits will be held accountable for this and made to repay every last penny through their enslavement in the Barzakh, the realm of Hurqaliyah and subsequently Jahannam.
“When the number of (true) Scholars (`ulema) decrease, and your reciters (of the Quran) go, and when your Zakat is severed, and when you make manifest your abominations, and when your voices are raised in your masajid, and when you place the dunya (corporeal world) above your heads (in terms of priorities) and `ilm below your feet, and prevarications are the makeup of your speech, and backbiting is your fruit (delight), and what is haraam (forbidden) is your profit, and your elders have no mercy upon the young and your young do not respect and honor their elders, upon such a condition the curse descends upon you and suffering is made between you.”
Sources: Ilzam an-nasib fi ithbat hajiyat al-Qaib p.180, 18; Bihar al-Anwar vol. 52 p.263; Bisharat al-Islam p.23
As has been pointed out previously, it is virtually the NORM today in so-called “Shi`ah” Islam to see the Fard of Zakat virtually abrogated. We see maraji’ saying that one need not pay the poor tax unless they have PHYSICAL METALS of Silver and Gold rather that MONEY which was historically minted of silver and gold until very recently. Thus, they are claiming that the Shariah is out of date and is not relevant to all times and contexts since money is no longer minted of silver and gold (at its minted value). There is concern for the Khums, the Billion in
UNACCOUNTED FOR Khums, but there is no concern for the Poor Tax. There is concern, through collection of Khums, for the “poor” amongst the descendants of the Ahl’ul-Bayt, but there is no concern for the rest of the poor people. This is a sign of the times.
As Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, once said: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The more centralized the power is in the hands of those who assume power based on a man-made system and not based on Divine Appointment as Anbiyah or A’immah, the more likely it will be for that power to be corrupted. Shurayh Al-Qadhi was the jurist who gave the fatwa “permitting” the murder of Imam al-Husayn. The fact that he issued this “justified” it in the minds of the wicked. We must ALWAYS be wary of such an approach and thing CRITICALLY of EVERYONE. Islam is the Din of REASON and can ONLY be understood through Reason. The A’immah could not possibly have been more explicit in having stated this.
“O people! a time will come to you when Islam would be capsized as a pot is capsized will all its contents. O people, Allah has protected from that He might be hard on you but He has not spared you from being put on trial. Allah the Most Sublime of all speakers has said: ‘Verily in this are signs and We do only try (the people).’ [Qur’an 23:30]”
Imam Ali, Nahj’ul Balagha, Sermon 102, part 2
“Verily, a time will come upon you [Muslims] wherein nothing will be more concealed than the truth, nothing more manifest than falsehood, and nothing more than lies about God and His Apostle [Muhammad]. The people of that time will possess no commodity more difficult to sell than the Book when it is correctly recited, or one more in demand when its passages are misinterpreted. There will be throughout all lands nothing more detested than good deeds, or more renowned than evil ones. The reciters of the Qur’an will have cast it away, and those who memorize it will have deliberately erased it from their minds. The book and its disciples will, on that day, be ostracized and outcast, two friends together on the road, to whom no one will offer shelter. The Book and its disciples will be, in that age, among the people and yet neither among them nor with them. For error is incompatible with guidance.
“Even though the Book and its disciples might come together, the people would agree to keep separate [Muslims and the sects of Islam will be disunited among themselves]. They would divert from the community – as if they were the leaders of the Qur’an rather than it being their leader. Nothing will remain of it among them save the name; they will know nothing of it save its calligraphy and script. Before, they had not made an example of the righteous by maiming them, or called their sincerity towards God a lie, or punished good deeds with the penalties for crimes. They who preceded you perished because they went on hoping for too long and their allotted terms expired. Then the Promised One [Mahdi] descended, by whom excuses are rejected and upon whom repentance has no effect, and with whom are the calamity and the affliction.”
In a Hadith reported by Allamih Sahl ibn `Abd’ullah Shushtary from `Akramih who reports that Ibn al-Abbas asked Prophet Muhammad : “‘What shall be the source of our salvation in the future?’ Prophet Muhammad replied: ‘Follow the Qur’an because in it Allah has informed you of the nations which came before you as well as those nations which will come after you. Also because Qur’an contains the laws of your religion which you are responsible to follow and by the aid of which judge among yourselves.'”
Truly the Qur’an and Ahadith are our guides. We may practice Ijtihad to extrapolate the teachings and the “spirit of the law” through the use of `Aql when there is a modern matter to be understood that was not formerly explicitly stated. Nevertheless, this must be based upon the Qur’an and Ahadith as Dalil. There should be no such questions written to a Mujtahid asking “Can i kiss a baby” or “Is it haraam to clap.” There should be no baseless claims that it is Wajib to follow those who learn in man-made institutions. Those institutions led by non-Ma’sumin – while bid`ah – are fine, so long as they are not looked at as the ONLY way to obtaining `Ilm, or becoming an `Alim. Much the opposite is proven through the Qur’an and Ahadith.
There is no problem with the system of Taqlid as long as it is something that people follow out of their own desire, not out of a falsely imposed “obligation” that is not truly Islamic (but is instead cultural). They is use in people turning to those who spend their lives studying such matters, but there is nothing obligatory about them turning to those who study in man-made institutions or obtain man-made certificates. This is like saying that to learn Algebra one must study in a University. One may well learn IN a University, but this does not mean that learning in a University is mutually exclusive so that one cannot learn any other way, as we see that the Hawza of non-Ma’sumin is a modern invention, Taqlid to non-Ma’sumin is a modern invention, a certificate of authority is a modern invention, and such spiritually high ranking individuals as `Uways al-Qarni were secluded and yet learned more in the Realm of Hurqaliyah from Muhammad than did most who were physically in his company for over a decade! Learning, and spiritual authority are not limited to man-made institutions and systems. Islam is not what we decide as a society that we want it to be. Islam is the Religion of Nature, the Natural Religion, the Din and Jam`at al-Fitrah. As we see in the example of Mu’idh ibn Muslim, the representative and disciple of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq , that the correct manner to teach is NATURAL, something that Mu’idh ibn Muslim did NATURALLY and knew how to do INHERENTLY. The Din of Islam is not an enigma. It is not something that we need a caste of “experts” to explain to us while they devour the Khums and do not use it to SPREAD the Din beyond those already raised in it, nor prepare for the Qayim of Imam al-Mahdi, nor assist the oppressed (obviously this does not apply to the righteous few amongst the `Ulema). Such individuals are thieves of the khums, betrayers of the poor and oppressed and manipulators of the masses who do not know that they simply are not obligated to follow them.
Please reflect on these words, you who call yourselves the “Shi`ah” of the Ahl al-Baytand ask yourselves if you truly want the Imam az-Zaman to Rise (for according to the signs he has already made his raj`a, but is actively PREPARING his Rise now), or instead, do you wish to have your Maraji‘?
Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id narrated from `Ali ibn al-Hassan from his father from Rifa’a ibn Musa that `Abd’ullah ibn Atta’ had said:
I asked Abu Ja’far al-Baqir: “When al-Qa’im rises, what will he do to people?”
He said: “He will annul all that has been established before him as the Prophet has done and he will resume Islam anew.”
Iqd ad-Durar p.227, Hilyat’ul-Abrar, vol.2 p. 629, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.52 p.354, Muntakhab al-Athar p.305, Mu’jam Ahadith al-Imam alMahdi, vol.3 p.319
`Ali ibn al-Husayn narrated from Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Attar from Muhammad ibn Hassan ar-Razi from
Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Kufi form Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Nasr from Al-Ala’ from Muhammad ibn Muslim that Abu Ja’far al-Baqir has said:
“If people know what Al-Qa’im will do when he appears, most of them will wish he would not appear. He kills great numbers of people. He begins with the people of Quraysh. He kills many of them until many people say: He is not from Muhammad’s progeny. If he is from Muhammad’s progeny, he will be merciful.”
Kitab al-Ghaybah, Nu’mani p.317; Iqd ad-Durar p.227, Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 3 p. 539, Hilyat’ul-Abrar, vol.2 p. 629, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.52 p.354, Bisharat’ul-Islam p. 263, Mu’jam Ahadith al-Imam al-Mahdi, vol.3 p.304
Blessed are those with eyes to see and ears to hear.