3. the Tradition of the ‘station’

The tradition of the ‘station’ (manzilah), which has been mentioned by Imams A9mad and al-Nas"v: and others, was when the Messenger of Allah (N) said to Ali (a.s.): ‘Will you not be content for your station to me to be as that of Aaron to Moses except that there is no prophet to come after me?’306 ‘I cannot go unless you are my successor (khalifa).’307 And there are great many other traditions and evidences to this effect.

  1. Successorship of other Imams from Prophet’s family The Messenger of Alla>h (N) spoke, by the authority of Alla>h, about the successorship of the Imams after him saying: ‘There will be twelve successors after me.’308 This has been narrated by AbY D"wYd, Muslim, A9mad ibn .anbal, and others.

The Prophet (N) nominated them and mentioned their names on many occasions as is mentioned in the book yan"b:! almawadda 309 for example related from the Messenger of Alla>h (N) in a tradition where someone asked him about the awsiya’ (trustees) those who would execute his will after him. The person asked him, “inform me of your was }

i.” The prophet said: ‘My

executor is !Al: ibn Ab: ھ"lib, and after him my two grandsons .asan and .usayn followed by nine Imams from the line of .usayn.’ The man said: ‘O Mu9ammad, name them!’ He said: ‘When .usayn has gone there will be his son !Al:; when !Al: has gone there will be his son Mu9ammad; when Mu9ammad has gone there will be his son Ja!far; when Ja!far has gone there will be his son MYs"; when MYs" has gone there will be his son !Al:; when !Al: has gone there will be his son Mu9ammad; when Mu9ammad has gone there will be his son !Al:; when !Al: has gone there will be his son .asan; when .asan has gone there will be his son Mu9ammad – the Mahdi – the Guided – the H{ujjah – Proof of Allah.’

5. The tradition of the two weighty things

The Messenger of Alla>h (N) left two weighty things (al-thaqalayn) in his will - the Qurv"n and his family, and he ordered the Muslims to follow these two in a well known tradition which has been recorded by both Sunni and Sh:!a schools. The Prophet (N) said: ‘I am leaving with you the two weighty things - the book of Alla>h and my family the people of my house (Ahl al-Bayt). As long as you adhere to these two you will never ever go astray after me.’310 In another tradition he said: ‘I am leaving with you two successors (khal:fatayn) - the book of Alla>h which is a rope extending between heaven and earth, and my family the people of my house (Ahl al-Bayt). They will never separate until they join me at the well of Paradise.’311

He also said: ‘I am leaving with you two successors - the book of Allah and the people of my house. These two will never separate until they both join me at the well of Paradise.’312 He also said: ‘I am leaving behind me two things so you will never go astray - the book of Alla>h and my lineage. They will never separate until they join me at the well of Paradise.’313 He also said: ‘I shall shortly die and I have left with you the two weighty things - the book of Alla>h and the people of my house. You will never go astray with these two things.’314

6. The tradition of the Ark

The Messenger of Alla>h (N) likened the people of his house to the ark of the prophet Noah (a.s.) saying: ‘The similitude of the people of my house (Ahl al-Bayt) amongst you is as the ark of Noah amongst his nation - whoever boards it will be saved and whoever lags behind it will drown.’315 He also said: ‘The stars protect the people of the earth from drowning. The people of my house protect my nation from disputing. If an Arab tribe goes against them they will fall into dispute and they will become the party of the devil.’316

Shi!ism in the eyes of Sunni scholars

Islam makes Muslim unity mandatory as Almighty Alla>h has said: eThis is your nation - a single nation, and I am your Lord so worship mef317

Therefore for Muslims to distance themselves from one another goes against the commandments of Islam and goes against what the great Sunni scholars have said throughout history. Here are some examples:

Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi

In his book mizan al-iatidal, al-Dhahab: said: ‘Shiism was frequent amongst the generation after the Prophet (tabieYn) and in subsequent generations together with religiosity, piety and truthfulness. Were the traditions narrated by these people (the Sh:!a) to be rejected then the whole body of the Prophetic traditions would be lost.’318 The great scholar Sharaf al-D:n al-MYs"w: in his valuable book al-mur"ja!"t mentions the names of one hundred Sh:!a men from whom the scholars of traditions and others have obtained their sources.319

Shaykh Shaltut

Modern scholars are no different to their predecessors in this regard. Take for example the great former rector of al-Azhar University in Cairo Shaykh Mu9moud ShaltYt who declared in a edict that: ‘The Ja!fari school of thought known as Twelve-Imam Sh:!ism is a school of thought legally permissible to act upon similar to the other schools. It is necessary for all Muslims to know this and to cease their unwarranted fanaticism for particular schools of thought.’

The Edict in Full

A question was posed to Shaykh Mu9moud ShaltYt: “Certain people believe that it is obligatory for a Muslim, so that his acts of worship and social interactions be correct, to follow one of the four well known schools of thought which do not include the Imami Sh:!ites or the Zaydi Sh:!ites. Do you agree with this opinion and hence forbid following the Twelver Sh:!ite school for example?”

Shaykh Muhmoud ShaltYt answered:

  1. “Islam does not make it obligatory for any of its followers to follow a particular school of thought. Rather we would say that every Muslim has the right to begin to follow any of the schools of thought that have been transmitted correctly and whose laws are recorded in that school’s particular books. Also, any follower of a particular school of thought has the right to change to another whatever that may be and there is no problem for him in this.

  2. The Ja!fari school of thought known as Twelve-Imam Sh:!ism is a school of thought legally permissible to act upon similar to the other schools. It is necessary for all Muslims to know this and to cease their unwarranted fanaticism for particular schools of thought. The religion and law of Alla>h is not subject to or limited to a particular school. All [scholars of schools of thought] are considered to have made their efforts to reach their opinions and they are acceptable in the sight of Almighty Alla>h. It is permissible for those who are not able to study and come to their own opinion to follow these schools of thought and to act upon what is laid down in their jurisprudence without distinction between acts of worship or social contracts.”

signature

Muhmoud Shaltut Many other modern Sunni scholars and leaders have echoed the former rector of al-Azhar’s view.

Sources for Information on Shiism

In addition to the numerous books in Arabic written by or about the Sh:!a, many of which have been mentioned in the endnotes of this book, and some can be found in web resources in English on the subject of Sh:!ite beliefs and practices.

Afterword Islam is a complete way and system of life which brought happiness to humanity for centuries, then was confined to beliefs in the minds of people. Recently, however, there are signs which show that Islam will shortly return as a system for life for the Muslims are tired of sectarianism and they are tired from the experience of other philosophies and ideas and now nothing remains for them except to:

  1. Unite the Islamic sects under the banner of the Qurv"n the book of Allah, and the family of the Messenger of Allah (a.s.).

  2. Propagate Islam in its practical form throughout the earth. When this happens there will be an end to wars, anxiety, and unemployment and there will be progress in all fields. We Muslims are in dire need today of amity and mutual understanding. Therefore whoever believes in Alla>h and the last day and takes the Qurv"n as a syllabus and the Prophetic traditions as a constitution must strive to put an end to these sectarian disputes so that things may run their natural course and so that the unity that the Muslims have lost may return to them. If not then it will be like: eShe who unravels her spinning into strands after it has become strongf320.

Islam has suffered from various calamities and the unbelievers have plotted against it throughout history since the mission of the Messenger of Alla>h (N). The greatest of these was probably the Mongol invasions of the lands of Islam. But Islam has withstood all these plots and has moved forward with great and firm steps until the last dark century when foreign powers confronted the lands of Islam with material and intellectual attacks.