The Various Recitations of the Holy Qur'an
A few words should he said about the recitations "Qira'aat". It is generally known that there are seven or ten different recitations of the Qur'an. By the word "recitation" is meant the various wordings which convey the same or allied meanings ("Maalik" and "Malik") For example "Yatta'harna" and "Yat'harna". It is generally believed that the recitation of the seven or of the ten reciters of the first, second and third centuries of Islam are valid, and Muslims are allowed to adopt either of these in reciting the Qur'an.
It is generally believed that the origin of these various recitations goes back to the time of the Holy Prophet who approved these varieties but, according to the Shia Ithna-Ashari School, whose views are based on the teachings of the Holy Imams, the revealed recitation of the Qur'an can he only one since, as the Imam put it,
"The Qur'an is One, came down as One, the variation in the recitation comes from the reciters, not from God" It is a misrepresentation of the fact by the ruling party for propaganda purposes that the Holy Prophet followed the recitation of Zaid ibne Thabit during the close of his ministry. But, as stated by Mustafa Sadiqe-Rufaa'yee in his book EjaazuI Qur'an, the Holy Prophet does not follow anything but the divine recitation 75:16-19. Zaid ibne Thabit and the ruling party who already failed to produce a collection of their own had no alternative but to adopt an approved collection of the Holy Prophet and his recitation; anything else would have been rejected by the Muslim world. 67
Shia Qurra (Reciters):
1 Hamzatubna Habeeb
2 Aasim 3 Abdullah ibne Aamir Yasabi, who acquired knowledge from Waasila Adqu' (a companion of the Holy Prophet) d. 116 A.H.
4 Abi ibne Hamza-e-Kas'ayi, who acquired knowledge from Hamza b. Habeeb, and Ibne Abi laila, who had learnt from Ameerul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Taleb
5 Khalaf ibne Hashanul Bazzar, a student of Hamzatibna Habeeb
6 Yakoob ibne Is'haaq Qazrami, who learnt from Ameerul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Taleb
7 Yazeed ibne Qeeqaa' Makhzoomi, from Abdullah ibne Abbas, who learnt from Ameerul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Taleb.
WHAT IS ISLAM?
The Islamic Way of Inviting Mankind to the Truth The following verse of the Holy Qur'an lays down in clear terms the only method by which mankind can be invited to the Truth, that is, through Islam.
It is true that Islam was spread with the sword. But which sword? Not the one the Christian Church used under the Edict of Milan against the poor and helpless Jews, men, women and innocent children, but with the sword of ever-triumphant Islamic ethics, through the ideal conduct and godly character of the Holy Prophet, and through the matchless sacrifices of the Holy Ahlul- Bait - a lovely heavenly weapon shipper and surer than the brutal one used to spread the creed started in the name of Jesus. The following is the Qur'anic injunction on the preaching of the faith by the Muslims:
And call thou unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and kindly exhortation, and dispute with them in the manner which is the best; Verily thy Lord knoweth better of him who hath gone astray from His path; and He knoweth best of those guided aright. Truth is that which even the enemy is helpless to deny. Let the world listen to what the great Christian scholar declares:
History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon the conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.
(De Lacy O'Leary in Islam at the Crossroads, London 1923, page 8) There are many more of such open declarations by impartial scholars of the non-Muslim world who earnestly seek the truth. To quote all of them would need a separate volume in itself.
The Meaning of Deen and Maz'hab
The Arabic term Deen or Maz'hab stands for the word "Religion" in English. Religion is Human recognition of superhuman controlling power and especially of a personal God entitled to obedience, effect of such recognition on conduct and mental attitude." (OED)
Man by nature is conscious of an Absolute Authority, a Super Power of the highest order, and the way he thinks and behaves in his desire to reach or to please that Power, that is religion. Islam, as a religion, stands for the divinely prescribed code for disciplining the human Ego or self in its practical life on earth, to enable man to raise himself from the abyss of material degradation towards the sublime heights of eternal heavenly bliss. Such bliss is in store for those who successfully conquer the lust for material possessions and physical power and restrain carnal desires.
Islam is a divinely formulated and perfectly regulated formula. Expressed in a few words, it is:
Say thou (Oh, our Apostle Muhammad!), My Prayer, my Sacrifice, my Life and my Death (are all, only) for God, the Lord of the worlds. (6:163) It is worth imagining, if man ponders over the complete implications of this heavenly guidance in its fullness and acts upon it, how glorious life on earth would Be; there would be no need for man to aspire to Paradise, For the earth itself would become a replica of Heaven. This is the spirit and aim of Islam, the Islam-Original called "Shiaism".
How was the Qur'an, the Final Word of God, Acquired?
It is a well-known historic fact that every religious Scripture revealed before the Holy Qur'an suffered alterations, additions and subtractions; some have even disappeared altogether. Leaving aside the ancient ones, take for instance the case of Jesus, the most recent of the Apostles of God before the Holy Prophet Muhammad. What is available today is a collection of mere stories told by different persons at different times based upon often contradictory records.
And even this has undergone revision, with various translations of the text, hailed by some and contested by others; for example the Douai Bible of the Catholic Church, the King James Version of the Protestant Churches and the Diaglott of the Watchtower Society, etc. This destructive activity by man was tolerated by the Almighty Providence while the Scriptures were being tampered with, awaiting the Final and All-Comprehensive revelation which was yet to be given to the human race.
This was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the Last of the Messengers and Warners from God. This Final Word of God, the Qur'an, was sent down with a challenging Under taking and assurance that none thereafter shall ever be able to tamper with it, meddle with it, as the Omnipotent Author of the Word and its Revealer Himself would take care of its Originality, Arrangement, Completeness and Security:
Verily, We have sent down the Reminder (the Qur'an), and verily We (Ourself) for it will certainly be the Guardian. (15:9) On Us is its (Qur'an's) Compilation, its Recitation and its Explanation.
Before leaving this world, the Holy Prophet declared:
I leave among you Two great (very important) things, the Book of God and my Ahlul-Bait; should ye be attached to these Two, never, never shall ye go astray, and verily never, never shall these Two be separated from one another.
This Apostolic announcement clearly states that:
1 The Holy Qur'an was there in the form of a complete Book.
2 It was there in the hands of the people, for the Holy Prophet says, "I leave among (or in the midst of) you".
3 To avoid going astray, people should hold fast to both, the Qur'an and the Ahlul-Bait, and not to others.
4 The Ahlul-Bait will always be with the Qur'an, and the Qur'an in its original form and with its correct meanings will be only with the Holy Ahlul-Bait. 5 As the Holy Prophet says, these Two will never be separated from each other. As long as the Qur'an is there in this world, there will be one of the Ahlul-Bait (the Imam of the age).
The historic recital of the Qur'an by the severed head of Husain, the King of Martyrs, at Karbala, proved that a member of the Ahlul-Bait, even when killed, is the custodian of the Qur'an and can deliver it to the world.
The Word of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was the Revealed Word of God The Holy Prophet Muhammad spoke nothing but the revelation from the Lord. This unique character, or exclusive distinction, of the Holy Prophet has been declared by the Holy Qur'an as well as in the ancient Scriptures:
Nor does he speak of (his own) inclination; It (the wording) is naught but a revelation revealed (unto him.) The Holy Prophet has been identified as such even in ancient Scriptures:
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise unto you of your brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear "that Prophet" shall be destroyed from among the people. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18, 19)
Howbeit, when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth for he shall not speak of himself but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; he will show you things to come. (St John's Gospel, 16:13)
Islam: What does it Mean, and Who are the Muslims?
Islam literally means Surrender, Submission, that is, the complete handing over of one's self to another. Islam also means Peace. Islam as a religion means an unconditional and complete submission to the All-Supreme and the Absolute Sovereign authority of the Lord of the Universe. In other words, the total submission of the individual will to the Universal will of the Lord. Whoever does this is a Muslim. In fact, once one does this one's individual will ceases to operate and it becomes subject to the Universal will of the Lord. In relation to this state of submission, the Holy Qur'an declares:
Say: Verily my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death (are all, only) for God, the Lord of the worlds. (6:163)
Verily the religion with God is ISLAM (submission to God's will); and those to whom the Book had been given did not differ, but after the knowledge (of the Truth) had come unto them... (3:18) Yea! whosoever submitteth his self (entirely) to God and is a doer of good, for him there shall be his reward with the Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
And who is better in religion than he who resigneth himself entirely unto God and is righteous, and followeth the creed of Abraham, the Upright One, And God took Abraham for a Friend. (4:125)
What is demanded of a human being, or that which is acceptable to God, is nothing short of Islam: This day have I perfected for you your religion, and have completed My favour on you, and chosen for you ISLAM (to be) the Religion. (5:3) The following verse gives the last word on the choice of a religion for mankind: And whosoever seeketh any religion other than Islam (total resignation unto God) never shall it be accepted from him, and in the next world he shall be among the losers. (3:84)
SHIAISM: THE ORIGINAL ISLAM
Shiaism: What is it and Why is it So Called?
Shiaism is another name for the original Qur'anic faith. In short, it is nothing more nor less than the Islam-Original. It is an historic fact that, no sooner had the Holy Prophet departed from this earth, than the vested interests of man gained hold on matters secular as well as spiritual and started making additions, subtractions and alterations to the original teachings of Islam, misinterpreting the Word of God and inventing counterfeit traditions in the name of the Holy 'Prophet. The Holy Prophet, before departing from this world, had openly and repeatedly made the following guiding announcement for the people to abide by:
Of whomsoever lam the Lord, this Ali is the Lord And the Holy Prophet, before his departure, declared:
I leave behind me amidst you Two weighty (very important) things, the Book of God (the Holy Qur'an) and my Ahlul-Bait. Should ye be attached to these Two, never, never shall ye go astray, and never shall these Two be separated from one another until they meet me at the Spring of "Kauthar" (ie. Paradise). (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Tafsir-e-Durre Manthur and others)
The Holy Prophet further announced:
The likeness of my Ahlul-Bait is that of the Ark of Noah. whosoever getting into it is saved and who soever turneth from it is drowned and lost. (Hadith)
People neglected the Ahlul-Bait and began following their own ways and created what they called their own Schools of Islam, and, as deviators from the prescribed course, called themselves Muslims. Then those who had faithfully followed the original teachings of the Holy Qur'an and remained faithful to the course prescribed by the Holy Prophet had of necessity to distinguish themselves from those who had discarded the divinely established guides, the Ahlul-Bait. So those who followed Ali alter the Holy Prophet called themselves Shias of Ali and the Islam-Original became identified as "Shiaism". This was quite in accordance with the Bait, or allegiance to Ali, required by the Holy Prophet at Ghadeer-e-Khum. But others disregarded it and paid allegiance to their own chosen leaders.
Thus Shiaism stands for the Islam-Original and Shias for the true Muslims faithfully attached to the Holy Prophet and the Holy Ahlul-Bait. In fact the Shia-Ithna-Ashari School is the Qur'anic Islam of the Holy Prophet and the rest are the newly-established sects and sub-sects deviating from the original course.
The Most Misrepresented and Misunderst9od School, the School of the Islam-Original
Islam in general is no doubt misrepresented and misunderstood on account of the antagonistic propaganda by Christian missionaries. However, the most misrepresented and misinterpreted of all is Shiaism, which is the most misunderstood of all the religions of the world. The reason for this is the absence of literature about it in languages other than Arabic, Persian and Urdu.
A very brief note on the fundamental doctrines, with a few leading verses of the Qur'an on which the ideology is based, will help the reader to see that Shiaism, the Islam-Original, is the superb and unchallengeable pure Qur'anic Faith presented to mankind by the Holy Prophet and preserved By the Ahlul-Bait.
The notes are not intended to lengthen the work, but have the sacred purpose of establishing a better understanding of the Truth and creating the love and fellowship among the various groups of the human family on earth.
The Classification of Religious Knowledge
The knowledge of the religion of Islam has been classified as follows:
1 UsooI-e-deen, the fundamental roots and basis of the religion; 2 Fur-e-deen, the articles of the practice of the faith.
In the following pages I will deal only with the first, the Usool-e- deen, the basis of Islam.