Introduction and Foreword
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and peace be upon the greatest among the prophets and messengers, our master and leader Muhammad, and upon his righteous and pure progeny.
The Messenger has said, “To Allah, the ink of the scholars is superior to the blood of the martyr.” It is, therefore, incumbent upon every scholar or writer to write for people what he sees as beneficial for their guidance, what socially binds them together, and what unites them for a common cause and takes them out of the darkness into the light. A martyr seeking Allah's Pleasure invites to the truth and sets the foundations of justice.
Yet he may not bear any impact except on his contemporaries. A reader, however, may be influenced by his contemporary scholar whose book remains a beacon of guidance, generation after generation, till Allah sends His Guardian for the earth and of everyone on it. Everything diminishes through spending except knowledge: it multiplies by giving.
The Messenger of Allah has also said, “If Allah were to guide through you even one man, it surely is better for you than everything upon which the sun and the moon shine,” or “better than the life of this world and everything in it.” How many writers died centuries ago, and whose bones turned into ashes, yet their thoughts and knowledge survived through their books which are printed hundreds of times across the centuries, guiding people to success?!
Since a martyr is alive with his Lord, receiving sustenance, a scholar who causes people to receive guidance is likewise alive with his Lord and with the servants of the Lord who think well of him, praying and seeking Allah's forgiveness for him. As far as I am concerned, I am not among the scholars, nor do I put forth such a claim, and I seek refuge with Allah against being conceited. Rather, I am a servant of the scholars, relishing their legacy, savoring it, following in their footsteps like a servant following his master.
Since Allah inspired me to write my book Then I Was Guided, I received a great deal of encouragement from many readers and researchers, so I followed it with my second book With the Truthful, which was also well received. I was, hence, encouraged to continue my research and investigation; therefore, I wrote the third volume, namely Ask Those Who Know1, in defense of Islam and the prophet of Islam to dispel the allegations against him, and to uncover the plot against him and his pure progeny.
I received many letters from the Arab and Islamic world carrying the readers' affection, loyalty, love and expressions of brotherhood. I was invited to attend many intellectual conferences throughout the world organized by Islamic establishments in the United States of America, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Britain, India, Pakistan, Kenya, West Africa and Sweden.
Whenever I met a group of educated youths and intellectuals, I found them appreciating my works and seeking more knowledge. They asked me, “Do you have anything new forthcoming? Are you writing any new book?” I praised Allah, therefore, and thanked Him for this success. I implored to Him to grant me more of His Attention and Guidance. I solicited His help to write this book which I now place before Muslim researchers and which revolves in the same orbit circled by the three previous books.
I hope it will benefit some educated people and those who seek the truth: perhaps they will come to know that the party being targeted for attacks, the one referred to as “Imamite Shi`ites,” is the one that will attain salvation, and that they, i.e. the Shi`as, are followers of the true and authentic Sunnah, that is, the Sunnah with which Muhammad was entrusted to convey according to the revelation of the Lord of the Worlds.
He surely does not say anything out of his own desire; rather, his is only a revelation. I will explain to the readers the fact that the identification label used by those who oppose and disagree with the Shi`as, that of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” i.e. followers of the Sunnah and consensus, has little to do with the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.
How often have people lied and attributed their lies to the Messenger of Allah ? How often were his traditions, statements, and actions prohibited from reaching the Muslims on the pretext it may not be taken as Allah's speech__a pretext more feeble than a spider's cobweb?! And how many authentic traditions were discarded, disregarded, and neglected?
How many fantasies and hoaxes made to appear as injunctions were wrongly attributed to the Prophet after his demise? How many of the noble personalities, whose nobility are testified by history were after him ignored, neglected, unheeded, even accused of apostasy and punished for their noble stands?! How many are the shiny and attractive labels that hide behind them apostasy and misguidance?!
The Lord of Honors and Dignity has described the above in the very best way when He said,
“And among men is one whose speech about the life of this world causes you to wonder, and he (even) calls upon Allah to testify to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries. And when he turns back, he runs along in the land in order to cause mischief and to destroy the tilth and the stock, and Allah does not love mischief-making. And when it is said to him: Guard (your soul) against (the punishment of) Allah, pride carries him off to sinning; so, hell suffices him, and it certainly is an evil abode” (Holy Qur'an, 2:204-206).
I may not exaggerate if I act upon the axiom saying, “If you reverse (an equation), you will then be right. ‘An investigative researcher must not take anything for granted; rather, he has to reverse and remain most of the time skeptical in order to reach the hidden truth. It was in such politics that all dirty roles were played. He must not be deceived by appearances or numerical superiority, for Allah, the Most Exalted, has said in His great Book,
“And if you obey most of those on earth, they will surely cause you to stray from Allah's Path; they only follow conjecture, and they only lie” (Holy Qur'an, 6:116).
Falsehood may appear in the garb of truth to falsify and mislead, and this may often succeed either due to the naivete of the general public, or because of the worldly position or influence of the scheming individual(s). Falsehood may at times also appear to prevail because of the number of those who support it. The truth is patient and waits for Allah to fulfill His promise by making falsehood appear as false. Surely falsehood is often defeated in the long run.
The best testimony to the above is the Qur'anic narrative relevant to the story of Jacob and his sons. The latter
“came to their father in the early part of the night weeping; they said: `O father! We went racing with one another and left Joseph with our belongings, so the wolf devoured him, but you will never believe us even though we tell the truth'“ (Holy Qur'an, 12:16-17).
Had they indeed been truthful, they ought to have said, “And you will never believe us because we are liars.” Our master Jacob, who was a prophet of Allah receiving His revelation, had no choice except to give in to their falsehood, seeking help from Allah through patience, despite his knowledge that they were liars. Said he,
“Rather, your minds have made up a tale; so, patience is most fitting (for me); it is Allah (alone) Whose help can be sought (against your scheme)” (Holy Qur'an, 12: 18).
What more could he have done especially since he was facing eleven men who unanimously agreed to say the same thing and who performed the hoax of the shirt and the false blood, weeping over their “missing” brother? Could Jacob reveal their lies, refute their falsehood, and rush to the well to get his beloved young son out then penalize them for their abhorrent action? No; such will be the doing of the ignorant who are not guided by Allah's wisdom. As for Jacob, he is a prophet who behaves as a wise man of knowledge about whom Allah has said:
“He was, by Our instruction, full of knowledge, but most men do not know” (Holy Qur'an, 12:68).
He was bound by his knowledge and wisdom to distance himself from them and say,
“How great my grief for Joseph is! And his eyes became white with sorrow, and he fell into silent melancholy” (Holy Qur'an, 12: 84).
Had Jacob behaved otherwise, that is, by getting his son out of the well, rebuking the others for their lies, and penalizing them for their crime, their hatred towards their brother would have intensified, and they might have even gone as far as assassinating their father, too. They might have implied the same when they said to their father,
“By Allah! You will never cease remembering Joseph till you reach the last extremity of illness, or till you die!” (Holy Qur'an, 12:85).
From this we may deduct that at times silence is commendable when confronting falsehood that may result in harm or an imminent peril, or when keeping quiet rather than revealing the truth serves the public's interest, even if such a service is deferred. This helps in understanding the hadith of the Prophet saying:
“One who keeps silent rather than say the truth is a silent Satan.”
Such understanding conforms to reason and Allah's Book. And if we probe the biography of the Messenger of Allah, we will find out that there were times when he took to silence in the interest of Islam and Muslims as Sahih books narrate to us with regard, for example, to the peaceful treaty of Hudaybiya, and to other such instances.
May Allah be Merciful to the Commander of the Faithful Ali who kept silent after the death of his cousin. Referring to the same, he made this famous statement: “I kept pondering whether I should fight with an amputated hand, or take to patience regarding a blind calamity wherein the adult ages and the child grows gray hair and a believer struggles till he meets his Lord; I saw that patience regarding both options was wiser; therefore, I took to patience though the eye was sore and the mouth was choking with grief.”
Had the father of al-Hasan not taken to silence rather than demanding his right of caliphate, thus advancing the cause of Islam and Muslims rather than that of his own, Islam, as Allah and His Messenger had outlined it, would not have survived after the demise of Muhammad.
This is the fact with which most people, who always argue with us that the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar was right, are not familiar. They say that Ali kept silent about such caliphs, adding, as they always enjoy doing, “Had the Messenger of Allah appointed Ali as his successor in leading the Muslim masses, he would not have been right in remaining silent, since doing so would not have been appropriate at all, and one who takes to silence rather than saying the truth is a silent Satan.” Such is their argument, and such is their often-played record.
This clearly is an error in comprehension. Such is one who recognizes only the truth with which his whims and desires agree. Such is one who fails to realize the wisdom resulting from the outcome of that silence and its invaluable deferred benefits, were one to compare the latter with the temporal interest resulting from a revolt against falsehood supported by a great many supporters and promoters.
During the incident of the Hudaybiya, the Messenger of Allah remained silent and accepted the terms of the Quraysh and the Pagans of Mecca, so much so that Umar ibn al-Khattab could not control his outrage; he asked the Messenger of Allah, “Are you not truly the Messenger of Allah?! Are we not right while they are wrong? If so, then why should we sell our religion so cheap?”
Had the silence of the Prophet been negative, as it was conceived by Umar ibn al-Khattab and most sahaba who were present there and then, the truth of the matter would not have proven beyond any doubt that it was, in fact, positively in the best interest of Islam and Muslims even when such interest was not immediately served.
Its positive outcomes surfaced one year later when the Messenger of Allah conquered Mecca without fighting any war or meeting any resistance: it was then that people joined the ranks of the Muslims in large numbers. It was then that the Messenger of Allah called upon Umar ibn al-Khattab and showed him the result of his having remained silent rather than demanding what was right; he showed him the underlying wisdom of his silence at the Hudaybiya.
We provide such arguments only to highlight the truth which cannot be avoided: Assisted by supporters and helpers, falsehood will triumph over truth. Although Ali was with the truth, and the truth was inseparably on his side, he found neither supporters nor helpers to oppose Mu`awiyah and his lies, and because the latter had found a great many supporters to defeat the truth and subdue it. People, Imam Husayn said, are slaves of the life of this world; they give religion only their lip-service. They do not love the truth, and they incline to falsehood; the taste of the truth is bitter and hard, whereas falsehood is easy and accessible. Allah has surely said the truth when He said,
“Rather; he brought the truth, but most of them hate the truth” (Holy Qur'an, 23:70).
Yazid's falsehood won an apparent “victory” over Husayn's truth for the same reason. Likewise, the falsehood of Umayyad and Abbaside rulers trampled upon the truth regarding the Imams from among Ahlul Bayt who were all martyred while remaining silent, preferring the interest of Islam and Muslims to that of their own. And Allah made the Twelfth Imam disappear go into occultation to protect him from the mischief of the promoters of falsehood.
He took to silence and will continue to do so till the truth finds helpers and supporters. It is only then that Allah will permit him to come out to the open so that the revolution of the truth against falsehood may become universal; it will then, and only then, fill the world with justice and equity just as it is being constantly filled with injustice and iniquity. In other words, he will fill it with the truth after its being filled with falsehood.
Since most people hate the truth, they become the natural supporters of falsehood. Only a small number of people remain faithful to the truth. They cannot overcome the supporters of falsehood without Allah's help manifested through divine miracles. This is recorded in the Glorious Book of Allah during all wars and battles where the supporters of the truth had to fight those who supported falsehood:
“How often has a small force, by Allah's will, vanquished a big one?” (Holy Qur'an, 2:249).
Those who, despite their small number, persevere while supporting the truth will be assisted by Allah, Glory to Him, with miracles. He will send them powerful angels to fight on their side. Without such a direct interference from Allah, the truth can never subdue falsehood.
We nowadays are living through this painful reality: Truthful believers, those who support the truth wherein they believe, are helpless, vanquished, exiled, victimized, while the supporters of falsehood, those who disbelieve in Allah, are the rulers who hold in their hands the reins of government, wreaking havoc with the destiny, with the life and death, of their subjects.
The downtrodden among the believers can never score victory in their battle against the arrogant disbelievers except with the help of Allah, the most Exalted One. This is why many traditions indicate that miracles will take place upon the reappearance of al-Mahdi.
Yet this is not an invitation to apathy or idle anticipation: how can it be so while I have already indicated saying that he will not appear except when he has supporters and helpers? Suffices the truthful believers to uphold the true Islamic ideology embodied in the wilaya (authority) of Ahlul Bayt, I mean their upholding the Two Weighty Things: the Book of Allah and the Progeny of the Prophet, so that they may be the supporters and helpers of the Awaited al-Mahdi, the best of peace and salutations be upon him and his forefathers.
My success relies only on Allah; upon Him do I rely, and to Him shall I return.
Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi (of Tunisia)
those who have with them the knowledge of the Qur'an) has been published under the title Ask Those Who Know by Ansariyan Publications, P.O. Box 37185/187, Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran. __ Tr.
The translation of Tijani's book Fas'aloo Ahlul Dhikr (so ask ↩