“..They have no protecting friend (wali) beside Him
and He does not let anyone share in His authority.”(Qur’an;)
The Arabic word ‘walayah’’ means; rule, kingship, governorship, authority, ownership, some thing under control, to help. However in Shi’a theology, ‘walayah’’ means much more than the dictionary meanings. According to
dictionary of Islam, the term Walayah is some times translated as “Sainthood”. State of being on one chosen by God to interpret the inner meaning of God’s revelation to human beings, providing an on going link between humankind and divine revelation. In Shi’aism, (walayah) denotes the characteristics required for succession to the Imamate. Successors must be descents of (Prophet) Muhammad (peace be upon him), who are appointed based on their esoteric knowledge. They are expected to provide political leadership, be actively involved in upholding religious laws, and possesses special knowledge of the esoteric dimension of Qur’anic revelation. In Sufism, a person chosen by God to fulfill the duty of walayah is known as a wali, or friend of God. The wali is believed to have been given divine protection against error in order to preserve God’s religion intact. Oxford
Wali & Walayah:
According to Shi’a perspective the specific authority of walayah to Imam Ali is said to be indicated by the verse of authority, in Qur’an, verse 5:55: “Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God)”(Qur’an;5:55). The Shi’a translation reads: "Indeed, your lord is Allah, and the Prophet, and those who believe, those establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer."(Qur’an;). It is believed that this story refers to a specific incident in the life of Imam Ali, where he gave one of his rings to a begger whilst he was bowed in ritual prayer. The use of the word wali, meaning "lord" or "guardian," is taken as assigning walayah to Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, exclusively.
Arabic is a very rich language, one word at times convey many meanings, word ‘wali’ means; friend, guardian, protector, owner, relative. The word ‘Awliya’ the plural of ‘wali’, has wider range of meanings in Arabic, the various belief and thoughts about the false deities of pagans, which have been mentioned in Qur’an as, “making ‘Awliya’ (protecting guardians)” besides Allah. A comprehensive analysis reveal four broad categories of meanings of ‘Awliya’ used in Qur’an : Firstly; wali is the one, whose instructions are followed, men obeys his commands, the ways, customs and laws of wali are followed (Qur’an; 4:119-120, 7:3, 27-30). Secondly, wali is the one, whose guidance is trusted, it is thought that wali is the one to show the right way and save from error (Qur’an;2:257, 17:97, ,50, 45:19). Thirdly, the wali is the one about whom man thinks that, what ever he does in this world, wali will save him, if wali is considered as God, will save from the punishment on the Day of Judgement (Qur’an;4:123, 173, 6:51, 13:37, 29:22, 33:65, 39:3). Fourthly, wali is the one about whom it is thought that, he helps his believer in this world through supernatural ways, protects from calamities, provides means of sustenance, grant children and meet all other requirements (Qur’an;, , 29:41). At some places in Qur’an word ‘wali’ has been used in one of these meanings while at other places it comprehensively encompasses all the meanings, as in Qur’an, Allah says: “Those who take others as their awliya besides Him, Allah Himself is watching them; and O Prophet, you are not the disposer of their affairs.”(Qur’an;42:6). Obviously once word wali or awliya is used among believers it is used in the meanings of ‘friend’ or ‘protecting friends’: “And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends (awliya) one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.”(Qur’an;9:71). Where ever word wali is used with reference to Allah, it is does not mean like human friends, but it is used in the meanings of Guardian, Protector, Owner: “Allah is the Wali (Protector) of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons (awliya) are the Evil Ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire to dwell therein (for ever).” (Qur’an;2:257). “…He named you Muslims before in prior scriptures and in this (The Qur'an), so that His Messenger may testify against you and you yourselves may testify against rest of the mankind. Therefore, establish Salah, pay Zakah and hold fast to Allah; Who is your Protector (Mawlaa) - so what an excellent Protector and what a splendid Supporter!”(Qur’an;22:78), “Lo! those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe (with him); and Allah is the Protecting Friend of the believers (waley al- mu'minen)”(Qur’an;3:68).
The Discourse, once read with the context from verse , is self explanatory: “O believers! Whoever among you renounce Islam let him do so; soon Allah will replace them with others whom He will love and they will love Him, who will be humble towards the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, striving hard in the way of Allah, and will have no fear of reproach from any critic. Now this is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. Allah has boundless knowledge. Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God).Whoever makes Allah, His Messenger and the fellow believers his (wali) protecting friends, must know that Allah's party will surely be victorious. (Qur’an;5:54,55,56). The Protecting friend is Allah, His Apostle and fellow believers who practice the obligatory duties of offering prayer, charity, bow down to Allah. This is again repeated in next verse (Qur’an;5:,56) whereby the good news of victory is given to the Party of Allah, which include the believers making Allah and His Apostle as their Protecting friend (Wali). Again in verse 9:71, it is mentioned that true believers, both men and women, are protectors (awliya) of one another, they establish Prayer (Salah), pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Rasool. They are given glad tidings of Mercy of Allah. The term Wali and Awliya is a general term which has been used indicate that that the belivers should take Allah His Apostle and fellow practicing believers as their Wali, protecting friends.
It has only become possible for man to attain to the special mercy of Allah, which is not meant for other dumb creatures, but is only meant for those endowed with power and authority, who should take Allah as Patron and Guardian (Wali) not instinctively but consciously by willing choice. Allah supports the man who adopts this way and guides and helps him to do good and right and admits him into His special mercy. On the contrary, the man who misuses his option and makes his patron (wali) those who are not, in fact, the guardians, and cannot be, are deprived of divine mercy. In this connection, it has also been made clear that only Allah is the Patron (Wali) of man and of all other creatures. Others are neither the patron nor have the power to do full justice to patronage. Man's success depends only on this that he should make no mistake in choosing a patron for himself by the use of his free choice, and should take only Him his Guide Who, in reality, is the real Patron.
Now coming back to the Shi’a translation of verse 5:55, which reads: "Indeed, your lord is Allah, and the Prophet, and those who believe, those establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer."(Qur’an;). The Shi’a theologians interpret that : “It is believed that this story refers to a specific incident in the life of Imam Ali, where he gave one of his rings to a begger whilst he was bowed in ritual prayer. The use of the word wali, meaning "lord" or "guardian," is taken as assigning walayah to Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, exclusively.” This incidence is not mentioned in the main 6 books of Hadith and not in 2 most authentic Hadiths of Bukhar and Muslim. This is a fabricated story, Ali [r.a] was not entitled for Zakah as he was a poor person, more over during prayer [Salah] no other actions is allowed. If giving charity in Salah is good or recommended it would have been practiced by Prophet [pbuh] and companions [r.a].
Here word ‘wali’ has been translated as ‘lord’. According to Oxford Dictionary ‘lord’ mans: master, ruler, leader, chief, monarch, sovereign, king, emperor, prince, governor, commander, captain, overlord, suzerain, baron, potentate, liege. Used as Lord God, for Jesus. If used for God it is with capital letter ‘L’, Lord. In verse , four, persons, including a group been mentioned who are understood to be ‘lord’, firstly Allah, secondly His Prophet, thirdly all the ‘believers’ and fourthly ‘those who establish prayer and give out charity, even while they are bowed in prayer’(implying Ali). If wali is applied to all the four, mentioned in the verse 5:55, they even ‘all the believers’ are also entitled to ‘walayah’, which makes them all infllalble (ma’sum), though it is neither indicated here or any where else in Qur’an. In fact word ‘walayah’ and ma’sum does not exist in Qur’an at all. Hence it is appropriate to undersstand the verse 5:55 in line with the overall perspective of Qur’an. Accordingly the verse 5:55, can appropriately be translated as: “Your friend (wali-yu-kum) can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer before God)”(Qur’an;5:55). The Only Supreme Protector (Wali) is Allah, Who does not need any one to mediate between Him and His creatures, He says: “Have they set up other guardians beside Him, while Allah Alone is the Guardian? It is He Who gives life to the dead and it is He Who has power over all things.”( Qur’an;42:9). “We created man, We know the prompting of his soul, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”(Qur’an;50:16). “When my servants ask thee concerning Me I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way”(Qur’an;2:186). “You shall not follow anyone blindly in those matters of which you have no knowledge, surely the use of your ears and the eyes and the heart - all of these, shall be questioned on the Day of Judgement.”(Qur’an;).
Need for A Successor to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) - Verse 75:36:
The Shiite theologians have given certain argument to justify their concept of Imamate. It is contended that it is impossible for the Prophet to have departed the world without first appointing a successor to preserve the religion after him. This argument is based on verse 75:36: “Does the human being think he will be left aimless?” The old adage of "no religion survives the death of its founder is seen to apply here"; without a specific source of guidance, humanity would be left to try and piece together what they know of the religion, producing a patchwork of competing beliefs and theories, without ever hitting the mark. Sending the Prophet would, according to a rational interpretation offered by many Shiite scholars, require that another person come to stand in place of the Prophet. Otherwise, sending him would have been pointless. The verse which states "Indeed, we have not sent you except as a warner unto all the worlds" would be rendered meaningless, since the generations that post-dated the Prophet would be powerless to discover the truth of the religion amidst competing claims. The question posed in verse 75:36 is, of course, interpreted as a rhetorical question, and as a challenge. When this verse is taken in context with the previous, the question is read as: "Do you think that we have not appointed somebody to answer your questions?" The existence of such a being would, according to Shiite scholars, indicated as “those charged with authority (ule-al-'amr)” in Qur’an: “O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. Should you have a dispute in anything, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. This course of action will be better and more suitable.”(Qur’an ), “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Apostle or to those charged with authority among them the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct). Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan.”(Qur’an;4:83).
The Chapter Number 75, Surah Al-Qiyamat, (The Day of Judgement) comprises 40 verses. In this Surah, deniers of the Hereafter have been addressed and replies have been given to each of their doubts and objections. Strong arguments have been given to prove the possibility, occurrence and necessity of the Resurrection and Hereafter, and also it has been pointed out clearly that the actual reason of the people's denying the Hereafter is not that they regard it as impossible rationally but because their selfish motives do not allow them to affirm it. At the same time, the people have been warned, that: “Does man think that He will be left uncontrolled, (
-without purpose)?” (Qur’an;75:36). Arabic Word sudan : has many implications: (1) uncontrolled, free to do what he likes: (2) without any moral responsibility; not accountable for his actions; (3) without a purpose, useless; (4) forsaken. Allah has not created man without making him morally responsible, he will be accountable for his deeds in hereafter. Hence the meanings of verse 75:36, can be clearly understood once read in the context of earlier verses of the Discourse: “But in this life he neither believed, nor offered prayed (Salah); but on the contrary he denied the truth and turned away. Then he went to his kinfolk elated with pride. Woe to you, O man! Woe to you. Again woe to you, O man! Woe to you. Does man think that he will be left to wander around without any purpose? Was he not once a drop of emitted semen? Then he became a leechlike mass, then Allah created him and fashioned him in due proportion, and made him either of the two sexes, male and female. Has He not then the power to bring the dead to life?”(Qur’an;75:31-40). Obviously on resurrection the man will be judged for the deeds he performed in this world, because this world is to test the man, he is not left in this world to wander around without any purpose, but to submit himself to will of God by free choice: “Indeed, We have created man from the sperm drop containing both sexes, so that We may test him. Therefore, We gave him the faculties of hearing and sight. Then We guided him to the Way: Now, it is his choice either to be grateful or to be a disbeliever.”(Qur’an;76:2-3) “Then after living for a while you shall all die, then most surely you shall be raised to life again on the Day of Resurrection.”(Qur’an;23:15-16). It is clear from the context (verse 75:31-40) that there is no mention or even indication of appointment of any successor to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) any where in the this discourse or in the whole Chapter number 75 (Surah Al-Qiyamat). The desired meanings have been drawn by considering verse 75:36 in isolation out of context. sudan
Allah has clearly laid down that after the Prophet, He has chosen Muslims to inherit Qur’an: We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen,..”(Qur’an;35:32). “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). “We have made you a moderate (justly balanced) community so that you may be witness against the mankind and that your own Messenger may be witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143). “You are the best nation which has ever been raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would surely have been better for them; among them some are believers but most of them are transgressors.”(Qur’an;3:110). “Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful.”(Qur’an;3:104).These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;). There is no mention of any hierarchy of priesthood from any race or group.
The ‘Guide’ After The Prophet According to Verse 13:7, 35:24 and 75:36 :
The other argument to support the concept of Imamate is that, after the Prophet, every generation of every people must have a Warner amongst them, which according to them is an infallible Imam, a single person in every time and place. The inference for the existence of ‘Guides’ after the Prophet is believed to be also referred to in Qur’an: “Certainly We have sent you (O Muhammad) with the Truth as a bearer of good news and as a Warner, for there has not been a nation which has not had a Warner.”(Qur’an;35:24), “The unbelievers say: "Why is not a sign sent down to him (Muhammad) from his Lord? But you are nothing but a Warner and every nation was assigned a guide.”(Qur’an;17:3).
The Verse 13:7, has been translated by them as: "Indeed you are but a messenger, and to every people there is a guide." This verse speaks first, exclusively, about the Prophet, using the particle of exclusion, inama. A second clause begins, which says that every people have a guide. Shiite scholars have generally argued that because of the use of the exclusive particle at the beginning, the guide that is for every people cannot be the Prophet, but rather another entity. The fact that a third class of people, the "holders of authority", has been referred to in previous verses, indicates that there is an additional set of authority alongside of the Prophet. That entity is a singular person, according to the Shiite interpretation, insofar as it says "to every people there is a guide", instead of "to every people there are guides." This is taken as being a basis for the idea that the Imam is one, single person in every time and place, and cannot be predicated upon the community as a whole. Nor does it refer to the scholars, or any other group of people. This would assume that every generation of every people must have a warner amongst them, indicating that if there is no law-giving Prophet, there must be an infallible source who replaces him.
According to the above interpretation, if Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was just a messenger or ‘Warner’ not a ‘guide’, then even in his life time there should have been an other person to guide the people. The history is witness to the fact that there was no other ‘guide’ or ‘imam’ besides Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). His pious companions supported him, with all the means, like some of the disciples of Jesus : “O believers! Be the helpers (in the cause) of Allah, just as Jesus the son of Marry said to his disciples: "Who will be my helper in the cause of Allah?" And the disciples responded: "We will be your helpers in the cause of Allah." Then a group from the children of
believed in him (Jesus) and another group disbelieved. We aided the believers against their enemies, so they became victorious.”(Qur’an;61:14). Even after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), righteous people among the Muslims continue to be the helpers in the cause of Allah, that is implementation and propagation of Islam. Israel
The humans, besides natural guidance ingrained in his instincts, also need the detailed Guidance, to make it absolutely clear to him, satisfy his quires and moreover on the Day of Judgement he should not have an excuse that he was nor warned. Some people worship various deities, gods, saints, humans, living or dead, they ask them for favors to fulfill their desires through supernatural means and protect them form various calamities. Apart form fulfillment of their desires and protection, man also needs guidance apart form spiritual aspect also, in political, social, economic and other aspect of human life. Such guidance does not come from these false deities, man evolves the rules and develop systems basing upon past experience using his intellect. But these man made rules are never perfect, thus have to be further developed and modified with the passage of time. It is only the True God, Allah which meets all the spiritual and material requirements of humanity. Allah does not communicate directly with humans, he chooses His messengers to communicate the message of guidance: “It is not vouchsafed to any human being that Allah should speak to him face to face, He speaks either through inspiration, or from behind a veil, or through sending a messenger authorized by Him to reveal His will; surely He is most High, most Wise.”(Qur’an;42:51). “Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the Prophets who surrendered (unto God) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain: those who do not judge by the law which Allah has revealed, are indeed disbelievers.”(Qur’an;). “And Thus have We, by Our command, sent inspiration to thee (O’ Muhammad): Thou Knew not (before) what was revelation, and what was faith; but we have made the (Qur'an) a light, wherewith we guide such of Our servants As we will; and Verily Thou dost guide (men) to the straight Way,”(Qur’an;42:52). The messengers guide the people by conveying the message of Allah: “They said: "Our Lord knows that we have indeed been sent as Messengers towards you and our only duty is to convey His message plainly.”(Qur’an;36:16-17). They can not even change the Message: “O Prophet! Recite what has been revealed to you from (Qur’an) the Book of your Sustainer: no one is authorized to change His Words and if you dare to make any change, you will find no refuge to protect you from Him.”(Qur’an;). The Prophets are not required to compel the people to accept the faith: “O Prophet proclaim: "This (Qur’an) is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it." As for those who reject it, for such wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire..”(Qur’an;). The acceptance of the guidance is only with the Mercy of Allah, who grants it to those who chooses to be guided (Qur’an;2:256). A close examination of different modes for the guidance of humanity, in the light of Qur’an will further elaborate the system laid out by Allah for guidance of humanity, specially after the end of inspiration (revelations) with the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Philosophy of Guidance:
The philosophy of Guidance and methodology has been summed in Qur’an: “Mankind was one nation having one religion. Later when people invented other religions, Allah appointed Prophets as bearers of good news and warnings (mubashshiren
mundhiren); and revealed to them the Book with the True Guidance to settle the matters of dispute between mankind. But the very people to whom it was given, started disputes after the clear arguments had come to them, because of rivalry between one another. Allah has guided the believers by His will to the truth in those matters in which they had differences. Allah guides whom He pleases towards the wa- Right Way.”(Qur’an;2:213). “Those who reject faith and do wrong Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any way.”(Qur’an;4:168). The prophets leave the Book (scripture) as inheritance for their community (Qur’an;40:53-54). The Book continue to serve as guide for their community, through righteous people (Qur’an;7:181).
Guidance by Allah:
The source and guidance is from Allah: “Say: "Of your 'partners' is there any that can give any guidance towards truth?" say: "It is Allah who gives guidance towards truth, is then He who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be followed, or He who finds not guidance (himself) unless He is guided? what then is the matter with you? How judge ye?”(Qur’an;), “O' Allah! Guide us to The Right Way.”(Qur’an;1:6), “..Allah will not guide those who reject faith.”(Qur’an;16:107). “…your Lord is sufficient for you (O Muhammad) as a Guide and Helper.”(Qur’an;25:31), “Is Allah not all-sufficient for His servants? Yet they try to frighten you with others besides Him! For such whom Allah confounds, there can be no guide. But the one to whom Allah guides, none can lead him astray. Is not Allah All-Mighty, the Lord of retribution?”(Qur’an;39:36-37). It has been mentioned repeatedly in Qur’an that the guidance is from Him, He is the guide and He does not guide those who reject faith:, 26:62, 3:101, 4:115, 28:22, 43:27, 45:23, 46:10, 37:99, 39:36, 4:176, 47:5, 7:186. Apart form the human nature, Allah provides the guidance through various physical means, like Books (revealed scriptures), Prohets and People. The Prophets can not enforce the acceptance of guidance upon the peole, they warn them and give good news, so that on the Day of Judgement they can not deny.
Guidance Through Prophets:
Allah provides guidance through Prophets, they are role model of piety, they demonstrate and preach His message: “And We bestowed upon him (Abraham) Isaac, and Jacob as a grandson. Each of them We made righteous. We made them leaders (a'immah) who guided other people by Our command and We sent them revelations to do good deeds, establish Salah and pay Zakah. To Us Alone did they serve.”(Qur’an;21:72-73). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was His last prophet. However Qur’an and his Sunnah remains available for the humanity: “He it is who hath sent His messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse.”(Qur’an;); “It is He who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.”(Qur’an;48:28). “..and surely you (Muhammad) are guiding mankind to the
Right Way”(Qur’an;42:52). The messengers besides being warner, are to deliver the message of guidance and invite the people to the right way: “They (messengers) said: "Our Lord doth know that we have been sent on a mission to you: but we are no bound to do more than clearly deliver the message (entrusted to us)”(Qur’an;36:16-17). “O Prophet,……Tell them: "I am commanded to worship Allah and to associate none with Him. To Him I invite (ado’u) you and to Him I shall return.”( Qur’an;). Allah provides Guidance through Prophets is also mentioned in Qur’an at 14:4, , 47:32 & .
The Miracles & Significance: Miracle is an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of Allah as sign of His existence and truthfulness of Prophethood. The peculiar feature of Muslim theology is that, unlike Christian theology, it did not accept the idea of nature as an entity operating according to fixed laws ordained by the Creator. Because the universe is constantly being re-created by Allah in successive time atoms, natural regularity is nothing but the regularity of Allah's habit in re-creating the universe. Thus, a miracle is the omnipotent Allah's departure from his habit but no different, in principle, from the latter. When people do see a miracle, they are more likely to believe in Allah and worship Him, as He should be worshipped. Therefore, a miracle may be the short cut for making people believe in Allah and implement His law.
Time Bound Miracles Versus The Ever Living Miracle: The question arises that, Allah had been bestowing His signs in the form of miracles to the previous prophets, but he did not fulfill the demand of pagans of
: “They ask: "Why have the signs not been sent down to him from his Lord?" Tell them: "The signs are in the hands of Allah. I am only a plain Warner. Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you this Book (AL-Qur'an) which is recited to them, surely in it is a blessing and a reminder for those who believe.”(Qur’an;29:50-51),“This Warner (Muhammad) is just like the earlier warners.”(Qur’an;53:56). Similarly Noah said to his people :“I am nothing but a plain Warner.”(Qur’an;26:115). “And the Unbelievers say! "Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord?..”(Qur’an;13:7). The answer is given in Qur’an: “These polytheist solemnly swear by Allah that if a Sign came to them they would most certainly believe in your Prophethood. Say: "All signs are vouchsafed by Allah." What should make you understand that if a sign comes to them they will still not believe?.”(Qur’an;6:109). The history shows that when miracles were given to earlier prophets, their communities accused them of sorcery and were even more determined to reject the faith preached by those prophets (Qur’an;-58, Mathew;24:23-24). “The fact, however, is that even though We showed Signs to the prior people, not a single nation before them, which We destroyed, ever believed. Will they believe?”(Qur’an;21:6). “And We refrain from sending the miracles only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the She-camel: to the Thamud to open their eyes but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil).”(Qur’an;).“Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe. (Qur’an;45:3). Mecca
“They say: "Why does he (Muhammad) not bring us a Miracle from His Lord?" Has not a clear Sign (The Qur'an) come to them containing all the teachings of the former Scriptures?”(Qur’an;20:133). The miracles bestowed upon previous prophets were time bound, only observed by those limited number of people present at the site. Even during same era, the effects of those miracles did not last long and faded away. The unbelievers among those who directly witnessed the miracles, rejected them as mere sorcery. The performance of miracles is not the only criteria to prove the prophethood. Jesus cautioned against false prophets: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:24). It is the procedure of Allah that if a community once shown a miracle, on their demand and then decline to believe, they became entitled for the divine range hence destroyed. Allah , the Most Knowledgeable knew that ultimately most of the pagans of Arabia will accept Islam and become its torch bearers, acceptance of their demand of miracle did not fit in to His Plan and Wisdom, as He had bestowed the everlasting living miracle in the form of Qur’an, for humanity. There are many miracles attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recorded in the traditions (Hadith), but they are not frequently quoted as a proof of authority, because the Qur’an is the biggest living miracle: “O mankind! There has come to you convincing proof of Truth from your Lord. We have sent to you a glorious light (Al-Qur'an) that shows you the
Right Way clearly.”(4:174).
The reason is that different types of miracles were bestowed upon the prophets by Allah, according to the environments prevalent at particular time and environments. The people of Pharaoh were agrarian society inclined with magic and sorcery, Moses was bestowed the miracles of converting staff (common wood) in to serpent, the people in the time of Jesus were more inclined towards healing and medicine, Jesus was granted the miracle to heal the lepers, raising dead by Allah. The Arabs were proud of their rich Arabic language, they used to call others as ajmi (dumb). Amazingly, the Qur’an was revealed to the unlettered Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in the most eloquent Arabic. Qur’an challenged them: “Declare: "Even if all human beings and Jinns combined their resources to produce the like of this Qur'an, they would never be able to compose the like thereof, even if they backed up each other as best as they could.(17:88, also ,). “O Muhammad, you have never read a book before this nor have you ever transcribed one with your right hand. Had you done either of these, the quibblers could suspect it.”(29:48). In the present era when every claim is subjected to the intellectual, rational and scientific scrutiny, Qur’an stands out as the unquestionable proof of divine truth, wisdom and knowledge even to the atheist, if they believe it not, it is because : “..Allah will not guide those who reject faith.” (Qur’an;16:107). There are many scientific facts which mentioned in Qur’an 1400 years ago have been proved recently: Allah says; “Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur'an is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over everything?”(Qur’an;41:53). The creation of the universe by ‘The Big Bang’: “(Qur’an;21:30, 41:11) and many other scientific aspects mentioned in Qur’an, some referred here, at verses ; 79:30, 71:16, 21:33, 36:40, 36:38,13:2, 51:47, 10:61, 78:6-7,21:31,79:32, 24:40, 39:21, 30:24,23:18, 20:53, 13:3, 16:68-69, 27:17-18, 16:69, 25:54, 21:30,75:3-4, 4:56, 23:12-14, 75:37-39,82:7-8, 22:5, 32:9,23:78, 53:45-46,75:37-39. With the advancement in the scientific and other branches of knowledge, people form each era will continue to discover more and more evidence from Qur’an, if they ponder: “This Book (Al-Qur'an) which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) is highly blessed, so that they may ponder upon its verses and the men of understanding may learn a lesson from it.”( Qur’an;38:29). “This Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, which is free from any flaw, so that they may learn to be righteous.”(Qur’an;39:28), “Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant and did not make it complicated. It is straightforward so that He may warn about the terrible punishment for the unbelievers from Him and give good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward,”(Qur’an;18:1-2). Qur’an is the only Divine Scripture, in the history of mankind, which continues to be s preserved in the memory of millions of Muslims, (hufaaz) of different areas, of different age groups, speaking different languages, all the times and hence transferred form generation to generation in the same form and Arabic language, in which it was originally revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. No sane person can deny this miraculous fact. Those who are rightly guided accept its message: “..therefore, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet (Muhammad) who believes in Allah and His Word. Follow him so that you may be rightly guided."(Qur’an;7:158).
Guidance Through Books:
Allah guides the humanity through His scriptures, the Books: “And before this, was the Book of Moses (Torah-Law) As a guide (imam-an) and a mercy: and This Book (Qur’an) confirms In the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and As glad tidings to those who do right.”(Qur’an;46:12). “We gave Moses the Book and made it a guide for the Children of Israel, saying: "Do not take any other protector besides Me.”(Qur’an;17:2). “We gave (Moses the Book (Torah), after We had destroyed the former generations, an eye opener, a guide, and a blessing so that they may be reminded.”(Qur’an;28:43), “We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: be not then in doubt of its reaching (thee): and We made it a guide to the Children of Israel.”(Qur’an;32:23). “As you can see We gave Moses the Book of guidance and We made the children of
to inherit that Book, which was a guide and an admonition to the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;40:53-54). The last Book of Guidance is the Qur’an: Allah has revealed the most beautiful message, (Qur’an) a Book consistent in its verses yet repeating its teachings in different ways. Those who fear their Lord are filled with awe when they hear it, their skins and their hearts become pliant to the remembrance of Allah. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides with it whom He pleases. But he to whom He confounds shall have none to guide him.”(Qur’an;39:23). “One Day we shall raise from all Peoples a witness against from amongst themselves: and we shall bring Thee As a witness against these (thy people) and we have sent down to Thee the Book (Qur’an) explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, glad tidings to Muslims.”(Qur’an;16:89). “This is the Book (Qur’an); In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.”(Qur’an;2:2). “Tua Sin. These are verses of the Qur'an, the Glorious Book; a guide and good news for the believers,”(Qur’an;27:1-2).“And Thus have We, by Our command, sent inspiration to thee: Thou Knewest not (Before) what was revelation, and what was faith; but we have made the (Qur'an) a light, wherewith we guide such of Our servants As we will; and Verily Thou dost guide (men) to the straight Way,”(Qur’an;42:52). “…There has come to you from Allah a new Light and a clear Book, with which Allah will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Israel Right Way.”(Qur’an;5:15-16). “O mankind! There has come to you an instruction (Qur’an) from your Lord, a cure for whatever (disease) is in your hearts, a guidance and a mercy for the true believers..”(Qur’an;).
Guidance Through Righteous People:
Apart from Prophets, in every community there are righteous people, the torch bearers of Truth, who follow the true path and also guide others :“Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). There are examples of such righteous people among the followers of People of Book :“Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.”(Qur’an;7:159).“Yet they are not all alike: there are some among the People of the Book who are upright, who recite the revelations of Allah all night long and then prostrate before Him; they believe in Allah and the Last Day they enjoin good and forbid evil and rush in emulating each other in good deeds. These are the righteous people. Whatever good they do, its reward will not be denied to them; Allah knows the righteous.”(Qur’an;3:113-115).
Muslim Ummah Chosen for the Guidance of Mankind:
Since Qur’an is the last message of guidance of Allah for the humanity and practice of chosen Messengers of Allah has be put to end, to guide the humanity through Qur’an, Allah has not chosen any one group or special people, but He has ‘Chosen Muslims’ as community, comprising of three categories, to inherit Qur’an, He says: “We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen, among them there are some who wrong their own souls, some follow a middle course and some, by Allah's leave, excel in good deeds (saabiq-bi-al--khayraat); which is the supreme virtue.”(Qur’an;35:32). Previously the Children of Israel inherited the Book of Moses (Torah): “As you can see We gave Moses the Book of guidance and We made the children of
to inherit that Book, which was a guide and an admonition to the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;40:53-54). As inheritors of Qur’an, the last Book of guidance, Muslims have a great responsibility, Allah says: “You are the best nation which has ever been raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would surely have been better for them; among them some are believers but most of them are transgressors.”(Qur’an;3:110). “We have made you a moderate (justly balanced) community so that you may be witness against the mankind and that your own Messenger may be witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143). Israel
To achieve this some people have to study religious sciences to guide others: “Nor should the believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people when they return to them that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).”(Qur’an;9:122). The pious and knowledgeable people, excelling in good deeds (saabiq-bi-al--khayraat) can undertake the responsibilities: “Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful.”(Qur’an;3:104). Allah says:” These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;). But they should not become policemen to enforce what is good: “Make due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right (amr bil a’rif); and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant.”(Qur’an;7:199). Hence the scholars are of the view that the Message of guidance, invitation towards righteousness, enjoining good and forbidding evil is to be done in the society by Muslim scholars and citizens, according to their capabilities, through peaceful preaching, reason and wisdom as Allah says in Qur’an: “Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and best advice, and reason with them, if you have to, in the most courteous manner: for your Lord knows best who strays from His Way and He knows best who is rightly guided.”(Qur’an;16:125). The history is witness to fact that the Muslim scholars as well as common Muslims have met these responsibilities according to their capabilities (intellectual, financial, physical etc) and carried the message of Islam all over the world.
Opinion of Scholars:
Abdullah Yousuf Ali, in his interpretation, opines that the guidance is from Allah: “.. But thou art truly a warner and to every people a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). M.Pickthall translation: “.. Thou art a warner only, and for every folk a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). F.Malik’s, translation : “.. You are nothing but a Warner and every nation was assigned a guide.” (Qur’an;13:7). According to the interpretation of verse 13:7, by Abd Allah ibn Abbas, Said ibn Jubayr, Mujahid and Ad-Dahhak, also agreed by y M. Asad, the verse 13:7 means: “Thou art only a warner bound to do no more than deliver the message entrusted to thee, while it is God alone who can truly guide men’s hearts towards faith”. In general the scholars are of the opinion that the guide is the Prophet and the guidance is from Allah.
Understanding Verse 13:7, Within The Context & Teachings of Qur’an:
It is generally agreed opinion of the theologians that In order to understand the true meanings of a verse, it should be understood in the over all context of the teachings of Qur’an, instead of taking one verse in isolation, used in a particular situation.
After analyzing the “Guidance” in the light of Qur’anic references, above it is evident that; Firstly, Allah is the True Guide and guidance is from Him, He does not guide those who are rebellious (Qur’an;4:168). Secondly, the True message of guidance is delivered to the people through the revelaions sent to His chosen people, the Prophets, who also gave glade tidings and warned them (Qur’an;2:213, 21:72-73, 9:33, 48:28, 13:7,4:168). If people reject Truth and Faith after they have been admonsidhed and warned, the charge against them, of wilful rebellion, is proved. They cannot then plead either ignorance or inadvertence on the Day of Judgement. The Qur’an, is; “..a Guide, a Mercy, glad tidings to Muslims.”(Qur’an;16:89), but it is also to ‘warn’ the people; “..This is nothing but a reminder and a plain Qur'an to warn those who are alive and to establish the charge against the disbelievers.”(Qur’an;36:69-70). Thirdly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being the last messenger (Qur’an;33;40), his Sunnah and the last Book, Qur’an, remains available to all the nations of the world as a ‘Guide’ till etnernity, as Allah has taken resposibility to protect Qur’an (Qur’an;15:9). Fourthly; Man should not think that he will be left uncontrolled (without purpose & accountability)(Qur’an;75:36). They have to account for their deeds on the Day of Judgment as the guidance provided through Qur’an (Qur’an;39:41), has been protected, Allah has taken this responsibility (Qur’an;15:9), the Sunnah of Prophet is also available. They have been warned through Prophet and Qur’an (Qur’an;13:7, 36:69-70). Fifthly, After end of Prophethood, Allah has chosen the Muslims collectively as inheritors of Qur’an (Qur’an;35:32). They have to guide the mankind (Qur’an;3:110) and bear witness against them (Qur’an;2:143). Hence Muslims as inheritors of Qur’an have great responsibility, they have to read, understand, implement and preach the message of Qur’an to humanity. This is the collective responsibility of Muslims, if all the Muslims can not meet all the great responsibilities in totality, they have to do it with in their capacity and abilities. Allah does not over bourdon any one :“On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear: before Us is a record which clearly shows the truth: they will never be wronged.”(23:62). “Allah would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak.”(). However a group of Muslims have to be dedicated to the religious studies and meet the full obligations (Qur’an;9:122, 3:104). The concept of chosen race or priesthood does not exist in Islam. This is so, because no particular group or individual from any race or has been nominated in Qur’an for this purpose, as such: “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181).
Prophet, Warner & Guidance:
The last part of verse (Qur’an;13:7) “But thou art truly a warner and to every people a guide”, has usually been interpreted to mean that the Prophet's function was merely to warn, and that guidance was sent by Allah to every nation through its Prophets. However it is equally possible to interpret: 'it is itself a Sign that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) should warn and preach through Qur’an, and the guidance which he brings is universal guidance, as from Allah: “Who hath ordained laws and granted Guidance;”(Qur’an;87:3); “Only he whom Allah guides is rightly guided; and whom He confounds will become the losers.”(Qur’an;7:178). It is also evident in verse (Qur’an;42:52) that Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad has been made as guide, but acceptance of guidance, is with the blessings of Allah: “Thus, have We revealed to you (O Muhammad), inspiration (Qur'an) by Our command: while you did not know what is The Book and what is the faith? But We have made it (The Qur'an) a light whereby We guide those of Our servants whom We please; and surely you are guiding mankind to the Right Way”(Qur’an;42:52). The Light of the Qur’an made all things clear to man, and to the world. The Qur’an and the inspired Prophet who proclaimed it, have been identified by Qur’an at verse 42:52. They were a Guide to men, showing the
Straight Way. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) completed his Apostolic mission before departing this world, Allah says: “..This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion ISLAM..”(Qur’an;5:3). “The Words of your Lord have been completed with credibility and justice; there is no way to change His Words. He is the Hearer, the Knower”(Qur’an;6:115). “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). “Nor should the believers all go forth together: a contingent from every expedition should remain behind, They should devote themselves to studies In religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, so that they may refrain from evil.”(Qur’an;9:112).The normal day to day affairs of state and community can be resolved through consultation with in the guidance provided, as Allah says: “ who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation..”(Qur’an;42:38). AL-
To summarize, the messengers guide the people by conveying the message of Allah: “They said: "Our Lord knows that we have indeed been sent as Messengers towards you and our only duty is to convey His message plainly.”(Qur’an;36:16-17). They can not even change the Message: “O Prophet! Recite what has been revealed to you from (Qur’an) the Book of your Sustainer: no one is authorized to change His Words and if you dare to make any change, you will find no refuge to protect you from Him.”(Qur’an;). The Prophets are not required to compel the people to accept the faith: “O Prophet proclaim: "This (Qur’an) is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it." As for those who reject it, for such wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire..”(Qur’an;). The acceptance of the guidance is only with the Mercy of Allah, who grants it to those who chooses to be guided (Qur’an;2:256).
The ‘Guide’, ‘Book’ and ‘Miracle’:
In the verse 13:7, according to the context, the unbelievers were demanding for a sign (miracle), in response the prophet is told to tell them that he (Prophet) is a mere warner, showing miracles or signs are not in his control it is only by the will and authority of God, and that for every nation there is a guide. The important point of discussion is that; “for every nation there is a guide” has been mentioned in response to demand for a miracle. Let us look through Qur’an, as to how the “Guide”, “Book” and “Miracle” are interlinked in their meanings. The Supreme Guide is Allah, however He has sent for every nation a messenger, Book of guidance and law, as mentioned in Qur’an: “And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold….”(Qur’an;). “..it was never in the power of a Messenger to show any miracle (sign) without the sanction of Allah. For each period there was a Book”(Qur’an;). “..We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you...”(Qur’an;). “They say: "Why does he (Muhammad) not bring us a Miracle from His Lord?" Has not a clear Sign (The Qur'an) come to them containing all the teachings of the former Scriptures?”(Qur’an;20:133). “They ask: "Why have the signs not been sent down to him from his Lord?" Tell them: "The signs are in the hands of Allah. I am only a plain Warner. Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you this Book (AL-Qur'an) which is recited to them, surely in it is a blessing and a reminder for those who believe.”(Qur’an;29:50-51). The previous scriptures, the Books have been mentioned as ‘guide’ (Qur’an, verses;46:12, 17:2, 32:23, 40:53-54, ). The last scripture Qur’an has also been mentioned as book of guidance and guide (Qur’an;39:23, 16:89, 2:2, 27:1-2, & -16). On demand of a miracle by the non believers, their attention is drawn towards the Book i.e. Qur’an. (Qura’n;, 20:133 & 29:50-51).
Following aspect emerges: Firstly; the messengers are warners, they can not show miracles at their own. Secondly, for every people there has been Law. Thirdly, the Book (scripture) is mentioned in response to the demand of miracle, by implication the Book (scripture), which in case of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Qur’an, which is the miracle blessing and a reminder for the believers. Fourthly, each scripture including Qur’an is a ‘guide’ for particular people and humanity respectively. Hence it may be logical to deduce that in Qur’an verse 13:7 “for every nation there is a guide”, the ‘guide’ means the Scripture, Book, Qur’an as a sign or miracle.
Moreover for very people (nations) there is the ‘Messenger’ (Qur’an;) and ‘Scripture’(Qur’an;, ). While Messenger can not in himself be considered as a miracle, rather the miracle is being demanded from him (Qur’an;13:7) , hence it may not be appropriate for the prophet to say that he is the miracle. Where as Qur’an, the Scripture, which has been revealed to the last Prophet (peace be upon him) by Allah, was and is the greatest Miracle in history. Its authenticity, originality, knowledge, scientific compatibility, wisdom, beauty and grandeur can be apprehend today as much as 1400 years ago, even more, as the collective knowledge of the nature, science and of Allah’ creation has increased tremendously.(Qur’an;13:38, 20:133). This further accentuate the view that after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Qur’an, the “Living Miracle” of all times, is the guide for the Muslims and humanity (Qur’an;20:133). The Muslims have been addressed as “middle way community (ummah wasat.(an) (Qur’an;2:143), Allah has made Qur’an as their ‘guide’.
The Apostle in his last sermon said: “O’ People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakah (alms). Perform Hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action. O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.” The last fourteen centuries are witness to fact that the Muslims have met these responsibilities, amicably. There always exist the group knowledgeable, pious people in each part of the world, who not only guided the fellow brothers in Islam, but also carried the message of Islam all over the world. Hence today every fifth person on earth is a Muslim, yet Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world: "It is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong that are (truly) in security for they are on (right) guidance."( Qur’an;6:82).
The difference of opinion in interpretation of Scriptures and teachings of Preachers is a common phenomenon among followers of all faiths. However as long as the believers remain with in the fundamentals of faith, it would be unfair to declare others as unbelievers, unity is prescribed by Qur’an: “And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you; but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.”(Qur’an;). Islam rejects sectarianism intolerance and extremism, which was the cause of decline of previous believers and corruption of scriptures. Allah says: “Their doom is because Allah has revealed the Book with the truth; surely those who seek causes of dispute in the Book (The Qur'an) are in extreme schism (divergence).”(Qura’n;2:176). Initially the people followed the teachings of their Apostles and scriptures but later followers innovated and corrupted the original message creating sects.
Allah says: “Mankind was one nation having one religion. Later when people invented other religions, Allah appointed Prophets as bearers of good news and warnings; and revealed to them the Book with the True Guidance to settle the matters of dispute between mankind. But the very people to whom it was given, started disputes after the clear arguments had come to them, because of rivalry between one another. Allah has guided the believers by His will to the truth in those matters in which they had differences. Allah guides whom He pleases towards the
Right Way.”(Qura’n;2:213).“Be not like those who became divided into sects and who started to argue against each other after clear revelations had come to them. Those responsible for division and arguments will be sternly punished” (Qura’n;3:105).“In fact, your religion is one religion, and I am your only Lord: so fear Me Alone. Yet people have divided themselves into factions and each faction rejoices in its own doctrines - well! Leave them in their heedlessness for an appointed time. Do they think that, in giving them wealth and children, We are eager for their welfare? By no means! They do not understand the reality of the matter.”(Qura’n;-56)“those who divide their religion into sects and become separate groups, each group rejoicing in its own circle. When an affliction befalls the people, they turn in prayer to their Lord in repentance. But when He let them taste a blessing from Him, lo! Some of them begin to ascribe other powers a share in their Sustainers divinity, showing no gratitude for What We have given them. Enjoy yourselves; soon you will find out your folly.”(Qura’n;30:32-34).“Surely those who divide the religion into sects and identify themselves as a sect, O Muhammad, you have nothing to do with them. Their case will be called to account by Allah Himself, He will inform them as to what they did.”(Qura’n;6:159).
Leadership After The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him):
The Prophet (peace be upon him) had rightly guided successors among his blessed companions, who followed his footsteps (Sunnah) to the best of their abilities in spreading knowledge, preaching Islam, and managing the affairs of Islamic State. The sequence of succession followed to the caliphate was; Abu Bakr as Siddiq(632-634 C.E), 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab (Caliph from 634-644 C.E), 'Uthman Ibn Affan(644-656 C.E) and 'All Ibn Abi Talib (656-661 C.E), may Allah be pleased with them all. The disputes that took place among the Prophet's Companions were the result of sincere interpretations that they worked hard to reach. Whoever was right among them will be rewarded twice, and whoever was wrong among them will be rewarded once and his mistake will be forgiven. It may not be appropriate for any believer to criticize them rather they deserve of beautiful praise. Muslims should purify their hearts from hatred and malice against any of them, because Allah said about them: “As for those who believe and do good deeds - We never burden a soul with more than it can bear - they are worthy of
Paradise, wherein they will live forever. We shall remove whatever ill-feeling they may have in their hearts against one another…”(Qur’an;-43),"They are not equal: those among you who spent and who fought before the conquest of Makka. Those are higher in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allah has promised a great reward" (Qur’an;57:10); “The vanguard (of Islam) the first of those who forsook (their homes-(Muhajirin)) and of those who gave them aid (Ansar) and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds well pleased is Allah with them as are they with Him:”(Qur’an;9:100). And Allah said about other Muslims: "And those who came after them say: 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith, and do not put in our hearts any malice against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are the most Kind, Most Merciful"' (Qur’an;59:10).
Initially during the period of ‘Rightly Guided Caliphs’ there was unanimity among the believers. However with the expansion of Caliphate to resolve new issues confronted by the Muslim society, the scholars formulated the responses basing on Qur’an and Sunnah. The very existence of main schools of thought is a testimony to the richness of Islamic scholarship. There are no differences among the main schools of thought with regard to the principles of faith or the essentials of worship. The differences relate more to matters of details or the views on political history. For generations after generations, Muslims prayed and lived side by side without ever the thought of belonging to one school of thought rather than another having any bearing on their mutual relationship or their dealings with one another. However this harsh fact can not be overlooked that; in certain period of history and in particular places, rigid adherence to different schools of thought are found who advocate a total boycott of the followers of others. Such trends existed in periods of backwardness, when scholarship lost its creative aspect and concentrated merely on imitation.
Schools of Legal Thought:
There is unity among the Muslims, they all worship none but Allah, (One God), follow The last Messenger (Rasool) Muhammad (peace be upon him) and The last Scripture –Qur’an, one Qibla-Ka’ba (direction of prayer), then the question arises; Why so many groups among Muslims? This is due to difference in understanding and interpretations of the Scripture and Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the matters related with implementation of certain religious, political, social and other duties. As far as the basic faith and fundamentals of Islam are concerned there is no scope for difference of opinion because they have been made absolutely clear.
Sunni Schools of Legal Thought :
The Term "Sunni", means from linguistic point of view a follower of a method. In an Islamic sense, the term Sunnah means the method shown by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It refers to the majority of Muslims who gave allegiance to the Muslim state, starting with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and going through the Umayyad, the Abbasids, etc. They have great respect Ali, but do not recognize the Shiite claim that Ali had a stronger claim to succeed the Prophet, (peace be upon him), as the ruler of the Muslim state. They maintain that anyone has an equal claim provided that he meets the qualifications required for the post. Beginning in the mid eighth century, the four major Sunni schools of legal thought (madhhabs) Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, Hanbali and the Shi’a Jafari madhhab (Twelvers) emerged. These schools differ in their methodologies, which help them to arrive at verdicts to questions that are put to them. All Sunni schools use systematic reasoning to deal with areas of law not covered by the Qur’an or Sunnah. They differ primarily in their emphasis on textual authority or analogical reasoning, but each school recognizes the conclusions of the others as being perfectly legitimate and within the framework of orthodox Islam. Other minor schools also developed but they were short-lived.
Shi’a-Jafari School of Thought:
Linguistically speaking, the term Shi’a means followers or supporters. In a historical context, it means the supporters of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Prophet's cousin, who became the fourth Caliph of the Muslim state. When he took over, there was a split between him and other groups of Muslims over the question of dealing with those who mounted the rebellion against his predecessor, Uthman ibn Affan. At this time, there was no such sect as Shi’a. However, after he was assassinated, his supporters wanted his son, Al Hassan, to take over. They maintained that succession should remain among his descendants. The Shi’s continued to oppose the Umayyad and Abbasid governments for a very long time. This lead to the provision of a religious backing to the political opposition. Hence, the rise of the Shiite school of thought which institutionalizes the role of the Imam. Shi’a Muslims, believe that Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) religious leadership, spiritual authority, and divine guidance were passed on to his descendants, beginning with his son-in-law and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, his daughter, Fatima, and their sons, Hassan and Husain.
Main Differences :
Sunnis and Shi’as differ in their understanding of ‘who held the power to interpret Shari’a’. For Sunnis, the scholars had this right, as delegated by the actual ruler. Shi’a s initially believed that only an Imam (in this case, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) could interpret Shari’a because the Imam, like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was believed to be infallible. When the line of appropriate descendants ended, this tradition was reinterpreted to grant judicial authority to the fuqaha as the Imam's representatives. Shi’a legal thought and jurisprudence is known as “Jafari”: Named after the sixth Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (699-748 C.E) the son of Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth imam, and great-grandson of the fourth caliph, Ali. On his mother's side, Ja'far was descended from the first caliph, Abu Bakr. This may explain why he would never tolerate criticism of the first two caliphs. Shi’a legal thought recognizes four sources of Islamic law; the Qur’an, the Sunnah (including traditions reported by the Prophet and the Imams), Consensus (which must include the Prophet's or an infallible imam's opinion to establish its validity), and Human Reason. Human reason is capable of inferring categorical judgments drawn from both pure and practical reason. Whatever is judged necessary by reason is also judged necessary by revelation. This correlation between reason and revelation has allowed Shi’a jurists to derive religious rulings on many issues not covered in normative sources such as the Qur’an and Sunnah. Since 1959 the Jafari school of jurisprudence has been afforded the status of "
" along with the Four Sunni schools by Fifth School in Al-Azhar University . The other two legal schools that share the Jafari origin are the Zaydi and the Mustali Fatimid Ismaili jurisprudences. These two are some what closer to Sunnis in their derivation of religious practice. Cairo
Islam and Faith (Ayman) - Muslim & Momin:
Generally the Shi’as preferably like to be addressed as Momin (Believer, Faithful). In the Qur’anic terminology, ‘Islam’ and ‘Faith’ (Belief, Ayman) as well as ‘Muslim’ and ‘Momin’ (Faithful) are generally used synonymously, it has logically and comprehensively been explained by Abul A’la Moududi in Tahfheem-ul-Qur’an. ‘Islam’ is the name of ‘True Faith’ which God has sent for the benefit of humanity, it encompasses both ‘Belief’ (Aymean) and ‘Obedience , submission to the Divine Commands (Islam)’. The ‘Muslim’ is a person who believes truly in heart and practically obeys the Divine Commands, this is evident form Qur’an: “Then We saved all those who were believers (Mu'minen) in the town - We found none but one household of true Muslims (Muslimen)”(Qur’an;51;35-36), “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will):..”(Qur’an;), “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him;” (Qur’an;3:85), “This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Qur’an;5:3), “Those whom Allah (in His Plan) wills to guide He opens their breast to Islam;”(Qur’an;6:125), “"Nay! I am commanded to be the first of those who submit to Allah in Islam” (Qur’an;), “If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided” (Qur’an;). Hence a ‘Muslim’ is the Faithful and believer (not merely by oral confession but believer from heart), as evident form Qur’an: “O believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not but as true Muslims.”(Qur’an;3:102), “He named you Muslims before in prior scriptures and in this (The Qur'an),”(Qur’an;22:78), “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was a Muslim, true in faith.”(Qur’an;3:67), “"Our Lord! make of us Muslims bowing to Thy (Will) and of our progeny a people Muslim bowing to Thy (Will)”(Qur’an;2:128), “This was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob, when he said: "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you this Faith, therefore, die not unless you are Muslims.”(Qur’an;2:132).
It may also be kept in view that the terms ‘Faith (Ayman)’ and ‘Faithful (Momin)’ does not necessarily mean ‘True Believer or Faithful’, though mostly used to mean the same, but at many places these terms have been used for those who apparently declare to be the followers of faith of Islam, i.e. all believers, weather of strong faith, weak faith or may be hypocrites (yaa 'ayy-u-haa'alla dena 'aamano): “O ye who believe! be not like the unbelievers who say of their brethren when they are traveling through the earth or engaged in fighting: "If they had stayed with us they would not have died or been slain.”(Qur’an;3:156), “O ye who believe! believe in Allah and his Apostle and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah His angels His Books His Apostles and the Day of Judgment hath gone far astray.”(Qur’an;4:136), “O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his faith soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him lowly with the believers mighty against the rejecters fighting in the way of Allah and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault.” (Qur’an;), “O ye who believe! obey Allah and his apostle and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).”(Qur’an;), “O ye that believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the apostle nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.”(Qur’an;), “O ye that believe! fear Allah and believe in His apostle and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy:”(Qur’an;57:28), “O believers! Why do you say something which you don't do?”(Qur’an;61:2).
It may be held that while the Faith (Ayman) is the inner state, Islam is its outward display by the faithful, as evident from the Hadith narrated Abu Huraira: “One day while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle replied, 'Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan…”(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith; ). Hence the man who possesses belief with certainty in his heart and displays obedience to Islam, may be called a Momin or Muslim, the synonymous terms.
There is an exception, where Islam and Ayman has been used distinctively in Qur’an, to distinguish between the true believers and those who orally profess Islam as favour, Allah says: “The Bedouin Arabs say: "We have believed." Tell them: "You have not believed; rather say 'We have become Muslims;' for faith has not yet found its way into your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not deny you the reward of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.”(Qur’an;49:114-5). In his comments, Dr.Israr Ahmad opine that in the Islamic state the citizenship is based upon Islam and not upon the Faith (Ayman) which, being hidden inner state can not form the basis for legal discussion and measurement. It is the compulsion that in the worldly matters the human relations can only be based upon the external displayed behaviour in which the oral expression of Ayman (Faith) can be included. Two aspects emerge: Firstly, a person may be in a state of neither acceptance of faith nor denial, rather is in a state of vacuum but in his actions reflect obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). In such a state according to the rule no action of a man is acceptable to Allah without Ayman (Faith). None acceptance of such acts by Allah is in line with the Divine Justice but Allah due to His Mercy has also accorded acceptance of actions of such a person [indicated by His Names, Forgiving, Merciful (Ghafoor and Rahim), this is also the opinion of Egyptian scholar Syyed Qutab]. It may be kept in view that during the last days of Prophet (peace be upon him) when it was revealed; “you see the people entering Allah's religion (Islam) in large numbers.”(Qur’an;110:2), the state of faith of most of the people was the same, later in every period, the majority of the Muslims fall in to the same category. Secondly, the detailed definition of real Faith has been stated, elaborating that in reality Faith (Ayman) is the firm belief in Allah and His Messenger without any doubt which must be strong and deep rooted in the heart and its foremost practical manifestation is though Striving for the cause of Allah (Jihad). Which implies that man should preach the Divine message using all means and sacrificing his wealth and self being. This has been elaborated that only such persons are true to the Faith. As for those who profess Islam merely orally without affirmation by the heart and then adopt an attitude as if they had done someone a favor by accepting Islam, may be counted among the Muslims in the world, may even be treated as Muslims in society, but they cannot be counted as believers in the sight of Allah.
The basic pillars of Islam are five, but ‘Strenuous Efforts’ (Jihad) may be included as part of the Faith. The true believers may expect reward for their good deeds in the form of salvation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer, and the top of its hump is striving (Jihad) in the way of Allah."(Fiqh As Sunnah: 1.75).
Muslims - Brothers in Faith :
In reality the greater the understanding of the principles of Islam and the scholarly methods employed by scholars, the greater is tolerance. It is only inward-looking, narrow minded and rigid students who advocate total adherence to a particular school and a rejection of every thing else. It should be kept in view that God accepts worship when it is devoted purely to Him. All schools of thought teach how to make the prayer (Salah) dedicated to God alone. Keeping historical political differences apart, in theology the ‘institution and the role of the Imam’ is the main difference between Shi’as and Sunnis. The Shi’as accord great respect to Ali, placing him above other companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), in their esteem. But neither this, nor the other digressions, make it justifiable to pass extreme judgments. All, those who believe in the oneness of God and the message of His messenger, Muhammad(peace be upon him) are the brothers in faith, and have to move forward together.
Ali ibn Abu Talib:
The fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abu Talib, has a very high place in the Muslim history. He has been highly revered by the theologians and historians alike. Imam Hanbal said: "Ali had numerous enemies, and all of them tried to find fault with him, but they searched in vain, and could not find any flaw in him. At long last they joined hands with Muawiyah, and declared war on Ali. When they failed to defeat him by fair means they took to treacherous and deceitful courses to defeat him." Umar b Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad Caliph, was asked as to whom he considered to be the most pious man in the world. He said: "Ali excelled mankind in piety. Not only did he practice its virtues, but he also tried zealously to reform his friends, associates, acquaintances, and all those who came in contact with him." Masudi, the great historian, writes: "If the glorious name of being among the first Muslims, a comrade of the Prophet in exile, his faithful companion in the struggle for the faith, his intimate friend in life and his kinsman, if a true knowledge of his teachings and of the Book, if self abnegation and practice of justice, if honesty, purity and love of truth, if a knowledge of law and science constitutes a claim to pre-eminence then all must regard Ali as one of the foremost Muslims." In his book, A Literary History of the Arabs, Professor Nicholson remarks: “Within a century of his death he came to be regarded as the Prophet's successor jure divine; as a blessed martyr, sinless and infallible; and by some even as incarnation of God. The Ali of Shiite legend is not a historical figure glorified, rather does he symbolize in pure ethical fashion the religious aspirations and political aims of a large section of the Muslim world.” In his book A History of Medieval Islam, J. J. Saunders observes : “Yet he has been raised by a powerful sect little below that of Muhammad himself, the Shi’a or party of Ali laid it down as an article of faith that he was designated by God and the Prophet to be the lawful Caliph and Imam of Islam, his three predecessors being treated as usurpers, and that divine revelation continued to be interpreted by his descendants, and his supposed grave at Najaf, a sand hill on the edge of the desert six miles west of Kufa, is annually visited by thousands of devout pilgrims who curse his supplanters and revere him as the friend of God and the first of Imams.” In the words of Shah Wali Ullah, the great Muslims scholar and reformer: “Chivalry and strength of character, humanity and sincerity which are attributes of great men were represented in abundance by Ali. He is the father of Islamic learning, and his intellectual attainments were due to the ideal training of The Holy Prophet. He was a Hafiz, and a great authority on the Qur’an. He was the greatest Mujahid and jurist of his time, and one of the greatest of all times. He was one of the greatest orators of early Islam.”
No single group of believers can claim its monopoly as far as the love of Ahl-ul-bait , (House Hold of Prophet, peace be upon him) is concerned. The House Hold of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which includes his wives, daughter Fatima, her husband Ali Bin Abu Talib, their children Hassan and Husain are extremely loved and highly respected by the all the Muslims. Qur’an honours his wives by addressing them as mothers of believers (Umuhatul Momineen) (Qur’an;33:6). It is unthinkable for any sane believer to be disrespectful to his mother. All the members of Household of Prophet, were virtuous human being, they greatly contributed towards the cause of Islam. Prophet loved them all. Imam Hussein laid down his life for the just cause of Islam. However in the esteem of love for them, care must be exercised to remain with in the prescribed limits. Infallibility is the virtue, which is the sole prerogative of Allah : “..He neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;) and His Word the Qur’an (86:13, 53:4, 69:63). After the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Qur’an, the last book of guidance is easy to understand, protected by Allah, available to humanity in its original form, along with Sunnah of Prophet. Majority of Muslims continue to have successfully lived up to the divine trust bestowed upon them as inheritor of Qur’an collectively, without any formal institution of sainthood or priesthood because they have received the complete message of Islam, Allah says: “..Today the unbelievers have given up all their hope of vanquishing your religion. Have no fear of them, fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion
ISLAM..”(Qur’an;5:3). Prophet (peace be upon him) in his last address to the Muslims at Hajj said: “You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action.” He further said: “O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.” AL-
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