The Ahl al-Bayt’s heritage, which has been kept in reserve by their school and saved from waste by their followers, represents an all-inclusive school comprising the various fields of Islamic knowledge. This school has succeeded in raising minds that were initially ready to take along provisions from this source and presenting to the Muslim nation eminent scholars who, following the unshakable steps of the Ahl al-Bayt, are well-acquainted with the arguments and questions of the various sects and intellectual trends, inside and outside the Muslim community and are capable of providing excellent, irrefutable answers and solutions over successive ages.
On account of the responsibilities that it has undertaken, the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)[^1] World Assembly has taken the initiative to defend the sacredness of the Divine Mission and its realities, which the contrivers of misleading factions and the inventors of anti-Islam trends have tried to confuse. It has also patterned after the steps of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and the followers of their orthodox school that has always abided by refuting such ceaseless challenges and attempted to keep itself in confrontation with these enemies at the required level for all time and in all ages.
The experiments comprised by the writings of the scholars of the Ahl al-Bayt School in this respect are really unique, because they hold a scientific amount of knowledge based upon reason and clear evidence, evading personal desires and discommended fanaticism, and conversing with versed scholars and thinkers through a speech accepted by reason and approved by sound nature.
The Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly has been attempting to provide for the seekers after truth a new stage of such abounding experiments, through a set of researches and writings compiled by contemporary authors belonging to the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) School, and other authors upon whom Almighty Allah has bestowed the boon of joining this honorable school. Besides, the Assembly has published and revised a number of books of ancient brilliant Shi`ite scholars, in the hope that these books will be pleasant resources for truth-seeking souls and enable them to perceive the facts presented by the genuine school of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) to the entire world in an age when intellects are attaining perfection and souls and spirits are swiftly and inimitably interconnected.
The Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly would like to express special gratitude to His Eminence Shaykh Ja`far al-Hadi, the author of this book, and thank all the people who have contributed to this project.
Finally, we hope that we have fulfilled a part of our duty towards the Mission of our Great Lord Who “sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness. (48/28)”
Cultural Affairs Department
In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful The NEED for MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE
The Holy Qur'an reads,
“(We have) made you tribes and families that you may know each other. 49/13”
When Islam dawned, peoples were so disunited that they ignored each other. Furthermore, they were involved in conflicting and wrangling against each other. With the spread of Islam among these peoples, ignorance of each other turned into mutual acquaintance, rivalry into cooperation, and dissociation into reciprocal relations. This change is one of the blessings of the monotheistic precepts of Islam, which was the prime motive of the emergence of a great, united nation that introduced to the world a magnificent culture and protected its individuals from the evils of oppressors and tyrants and succeeded to win the world’s respect and become object of veneration in the eyes of all despots and arrogant rulers.
What happened is attributed to the unity and intimate relationship of this nation which discarded ethnic differences and differences in opinions, cultures, and customs or traditions. Reaching consensus on principles, fundaments, obligatory acts, and duties contributed to achieving the unity. Unquestionably, unity is power while separation is weakness. The new situation prevailed for a period of time. Then, the unity and acquaintance turned into disunity so that people began to ignore one another, the understanding turned into enmity so that some groups began to accuse each other of atheism, and sects began to wage campaigns against some other sects. As a result, the nation lost its might, its strength petered out, and tyrants belittled this nation, which once enjoyed a pioneering and leading status. This condition paved the way for foxes and wolves to move freely across the lands of this nation; and the strangers who are accursed by Almighty Allah and rejected by humanity gained control over its various parts. So, the fortunes of this nation were plundered, its sanctity was violated, and its honor became at the mercy of the immoral ones. The consequence was incessant collapses and defeats and relapses that afflicted Andalusia, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, and Baghdad in the past, and Palestine and Afghanistan in the present time.
Consequently, the calls of the nation are no longer responded to, and its appeals for aid are no longer answered. The reason is because the malady is something else. So is the remedy. Almighty Allah has decreed that nothing can go into effect without natural causes; and “the last affair of this nation can be set aright by setting right its first affair.”
Now that the Muslim nation is facing the most hideous and vehement campaigns which target its entity, doctrines and unity as well as the devices intended to harm its sectarian and intellectual coexistence; is it not appropriate in this stage that Muslims in the world unite and strengthen their relations? The various Muslim sects share principles and consider the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Sunnah[^2] as the source of law and believe that Almighty Allah is the One and Only Lord, Muhammad (S)[^3] is their Prophet, and that the Hereafter is the final return. Besides, all Muslims perform the same religious duties; i.e. prayer, fasting, pilgrimage to the Holy House of God at Mecca, defraying the poor-rate, struggling against the enemies of Islam, and abiding by that which is deemed lawful and abandoning that which is deemed unlawful by Islam and they all love the Holy Prophet and his Household—peace be upon them all—and all acquit themselves from their enemies, though the intensity of their feelings may differ in this concern.
Thus, Muslim sects are just like fingers of one hand all of which come together, though they slightly vary in length, width and shape or perhaps they are like a body, which has many parts of different shapes and forms and these parts all cooperate to stimulate a person’s physical activity.
The comparison between the Islamic nation and the hand or the body can be an indication of the aforementioned fact.[^4]
In the past, the scholars of the various Muslim sects and trends used to live side by side without any dispute. On many occasions, they used to cooperate with each other; they would explain theological or jurisprudential books of each other; attend the lessons of each other; applaud each other; support each other; license each other to narrate their reports; ask permission from each other to quote narrations from their books; follow each other in prayers; lead each other in prayers; declare the piety of each other; and approve of each others’ sects. Moreover, the followers of the various sects used to live together amicably as if there were no disagreement and variance in opinions between them and when scholars from one sect criticized one from the other sect, they would often behave with utter decorum and observe the rules of scientific and objective discussion.
There are numerous irrefutable historical proofs of such profound cooperation through which the Muslim scholars were able to enrich Islamic culture, cite excellent example of sectarian freedom and attract the attention of the whole world and win their respect.
As a matter of fact, it is not impossible for the scholars of the Muslim nation to hold meetings and exchange views calmly with objectivity, sincerity, and good intention and discuss the disagreements between Muslim sects and have good acquaintance with the proofs and evidences of each sect in this respect.
It is also good and reasonable that each sect or group will present its beliefs and ideas and thoughts freely and openly so that the spurious accusations and arguments aroused against any sect may be known to all and everyone realizes the areas of similarity and difference and then apprehend that they have a lot in common and that the points of disagreement cannot affect their unity or prevent them from getting closer and closer.
The current work is a step on this way. It is hoped that it will be a good manifestation of the truth in its real sense so that everybody may know the truth as it is.
Almighty Allah is the patron of all success.