The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah believe that all ordeals and misfortunes, which the Muslims faced in the past and those which they are facing today are attributed to two factors:
First: Muslims’ abandonment of the Prophet’s Household (i.e. Ahl al-Bayt) who enjoy all the qualifications required for the leadership of the Muslim nation and their disregard of Ahl al-Bayt’s directives and instructions, especially the Ahl al-Bayt’s explanation of the Holy Qur'an.
Second: The separation, dispersion, disagreement, and dispute among the Muslim sects and groups.
In view of that, the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah always do their best to promote unity of the various groups of the Muslim nation and stretch out the hand of affection, and fraternity to all Muslims.
In this respect, scholars of the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah have constantly cited opinions from non-Shi`ite jurisprudents in such areas like Muslim jurisprudence, exegesis of the Holy Qur'an, and theology, as in Shaykh al-tusi’s book of ‘al-Khilaf’ on jurisprudence and Shaykh al-tabrisi’s book of ‘Majma` al-Bayan’ on exegesis of the Holy Qur'an. This book has been praised by the most eminent scholars of al-Azhar University. Another example is NaSir al-Din al-tusiy’s book of ‘Tajrid al-I`tiqad’ on doctrines. A commentary on this book was written by `Ala’ al-Din al-Qawshaji, a non-Shi`ite scholar. (37) Eminent scholars of the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah stress the importance of organizing more dialogues between the religious scholars of various Muslim sects to discuss the various aspects of jurisprudence, doctrines, and history of Islam. They also believe that scholars of different sects of Islam are in urgent need for reaching mutual agreement on the Muslims’ contemporary issues, and refraining from accusing each other of false things or poisoning the atmosphere by exchanging revilement so as to pave the way for creating a logic-based convergence between the various parties and multiple sections of the Muslim nation. This step can contribute to the futility of the attempts made by the enemies of Islam and prevent them from infiltrating into the Muslim nation, because the enemies try to find fatal gaps in order to direct their blow to all Muslims excluding no sect or group.
Hence, the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah do not charge any Muslim with unbelief (i.e. kufr) except the one or group on whose unbelief all Muslims agree.
The Shi`ah neither feel hostility to Muslim sects nor allow any to conspire against them. Furthermore, they respect the ideas adopted by the Muslim sects and jurisprudential schools concerning religious laws. They therefore consider that the past deeds of the person who converts from any other Muslim sects to Shi`ism are acceptable, adequate, and permissible. Hence, one who converts to Shi`ism, one’s prayers, fasting, hajj, zakat, and matrimonial, divorce and sale contracts, as well as other transactions, which one did according to the rulings of his previous jurisprudential school, are ruled acceptable.
The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah and their brethren of other Muslim sects live together amicably. The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah do not agree with the Imperialistic factions, such as Baha’ism, Babism, Qadiyanism, and the like. They oppose and fight such factions.
Under certain circumstances, they practice taqiyyah; i.e. hiding one’s beliefs from the others. It has been confirmed by the Holy Qur'an and is practiced by other Muslim sects at times of extremist sectarian clashes. However, the Shi`ah practice taqiyyah for two matters: First: to avoid bloodshed for nothing,
Second: to maintain the unity of the Muslims and safeguard it against harm and danger.
The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah believe that the intellectual, cultural, scientific, and technological failing is one of the causes of the Muslims’ present backwardness and that this problem can be solved by awakening the Muslims, men and women, and raising their intellectual, educational, and scientific levels by establishing scientific faculties—universities and institutions—and utilizing modern scientific achievements in order to solve the economic, constructive, and industrial problems and to strengthen the self-confidence of the Muslims to help them turn towards work and activity in order to attain self-sufficiency and put an end to the state of dependence and subordination to the foreigners.
Accordingly, whenever the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah resided, they established scientific and educational centers. They also joined the universities and institutions of the country where they live and many of them are graduates in science and technology and hold various high positions. (39)
The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ites are linked with their religious scholars and jurisprudents by taqlid; that is, they have recourse to them in religious questions. They therefore refer to the scholars and act according to their verdicts in all fields of life, because these scholars and jurisprudents represent the general deputies of the Twelfth Imam (a.s). And because these scholars and jurisprudents do not depend upon governments in their economic affairs, they have won full confidence of the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ites.
The Shi`ite centers of religious education (namely, hawzah), which graduate versed scholars in Shi`ite jurisprudence, support the hawzah students and the finances for education comes from the money of the one-fifth tax (i.e. khums) and the poor-rates (i.e. zakat) paid by people voluntarily to these jurisprudents as a religious obligation, just like prayers and fasting.
The Shi`ah present clear-cut evidence to support the fact that it is incumbent upon a person to pay the one-fifth of his or her profits some of which can be found in Sunnite reference books of hadith.[^39]
The Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah believe that the Muslims have the right to set up Islamic governments that rule according to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and preserve the rights of the Muslims, establish just and sound relations with the other countries, defend the territory against invasions, and guarantee the Muslims’ independence in the cultural, economic, and political aspects so that they can be as mighty as Almighty Allah wants them to be and as the Holy Qur’an says:
“And to Allah belongs the might and to His Messenger and to the believers. (63/8)”
“And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand, if you are believers. (3/139)”
The Shi`ah believe that Islam is a perfect and most comprehensive religion and it has its own governmental system of rule; therefore, Muslim scholars need to unite and exchange views so as to define this system of rule and help this great nation resolve the endless problems it encounters. It is Allah Who is the ultimate Supporter and Helper:
“O you who believe: If you help (the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet. (47/7)”
This presentation gives a clear picture of the main doctrines and religious injunctions of the Ja`fariyyah Imamite Shi`ah whose individuals live together with their brethren from the various Muslim sects. They are deeply concerned about maintaining the entity and dignity of the Muslims and are ready to sacrifice everything for it.
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!
[^1] (a.s) is an acronym for ‘`alayhi (`alyhum, `alyhima, or `layha) al-salam.’ It is used throughout this book after mentioning the names of holy people to denote ‘May Almighty Allah bless him, her or them.’ [^2] “The Holy Sunnah” refers to the Prophet Muhammad’s words, deeds, and confirmations.
[^3] The acronym (s) stands for ‘salla allahu `alayhi wa alihi.’ It is used throughout this book next to the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and it translates as ‘May Almighty Allah bless him and his Household.’
[^4] This is an indication of the Holy Prophet’s famous saying, “Muslims are just like a single body; when one of its organs feels pain, the other organs share it with sleeplessness and fever.” (Riyaz al-salihin, pp. 167)
He—peace be upon him and his Household—is also reported to have said, “Verily the Muslims are one hand against their enemies.” (Bihar al-Anwar, 28:104)
[^5] Tafsir al-tabari.
[^6] Musnad Ahmad, 1:215.
[^7] sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, pp. 27.
[^8] Refer to Sayyid Hasan al-sadr: Ta’sis al-Shi`ah li-`Ulum al-Islam (The Shi`ah: the Founders of Islamic Sciences).
[^9] Whenever they pray to Almighty Allah for sending blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s), the Imamite Shi`ah abide by attaching his Household to him, because according to some of the most reliable Sunnite reference books of traditions, and many other books, the Prophet himself ordered the Muslims to do so.
[^10] Refer to the following books: Shaykh al-Mufid: Kitab al-Irshad, al-tabrisi: I`lam al-Wara bi-A`lam al-Huda, al-Majlisi: Bihar al-Anwar (a 110-volume encyclopedic book), Sayyid Muhsin al-Khatami: al-Rasul al-Mustafa (a currently published encyclopedia).
[^11] sahabah are the companions of the Holy Prophet (s) and, terminologically, all those who saw, heard, or witnessed the Holy Prophet (s) regardless of their age. However, various opinions have been expressed in this regard. For more information, see Ahmad Husayn Ya`qub: The Conception of the sahabah’s Ultimate Decency; translated by Badr Shahin, Ansariyan Publications - Qum, 1999.
[^12] Refer to the following books: al-Zanjani: Tarikh al-Qur’an, Muhammad Hadi Ma`rifat: al-Tamhid fi `Ulum al-Qur'an.
[^13] The Qur'anic verses revealed on this occasion were as follows:
“O Messenger! Make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you do it not, you will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect your from mankind. Lo! Allah guides not the disbelieving folk. (5/67)”
“This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor to you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam. (5/3)”
“A questioner questioned concerning the doom about to fall upon the disbelievers, which none can repel. (70/1-2)
[^14] Refer to `Allamah al-Amini: al-Ghadir, as quoted from several reference books of history and exegesis of the Holy Qur'an.
[^15] In this respect, Shi`ite authors have written many books of various sizes and styles.
[^16] Because they acknowledge twelve Imams, the Ja`fariyyah Shi`ah are also called the Twelver Shi`ah.
[^17] Refer to al-Ha'iri al-Bahrani: Khulafa’ al-Nabi (The Vicegerents of the Holy Prophet).
[^18] Refer to the various reference books of Prophetic traditions, exegesis of the Holy Qur'an and virtues that are dependent upon al-sihah al-Sittah (the six most reliable reference books of Hadith that the Sunnites consider most reliable) as well as other independent books of both Sunnite and Shi`ite authors.
[^19] For more details, refer to Asad Haydar: al-Imam al-sadiq wa’l-Madhahib al-Arba`ah.
[^20] Refer to al-Washnawiy: Risalat Hadith al-Thaqalayn, which was certified by the al-Azhar University about three decades ago.
[^21] Refer to al-Mas`udiy: Ithbat al-Wasiyyah, as well as the reference books of traditions, tafsir and history written by both Shi`ite and Sunnite scholars.
[^22] It has been cited in the reference books of hadith (sihah), as well as many other books of Sunnite and Shi`ite authors, that the Holy Prophet said,
“At the end of the Age, a man from my offspring, who has my name and my epithet, shall appear to fill the earth with justice and fairness as it will be filled with injustice and prejudice.”
[^23] In the Shi`ite jurisprudence, ijtihad means making all possible efforts to deduct religious laws from their sources.
[^24] This fact has been narrated in sahih Muslim as well as other reference books of traditions.
[^25] This issue is mentioned in al-Qawshaji al-Ash`ari’s book ‘Sharh Tajrid al-I`tiqad’. It is also mentioned in other books, such as ‘al-Musannaf’ by al-Kindi, ‘Kanz al-`Ummal’ by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, and others. [^26] Refer to reference books of hadith and the history of Islam.
[^27] For more details, refer to the following reference books: sahih al-Bukhari, Kanz al-`Ummal by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, al-Musannaf by `Abd al-Razzaq al-san`ani, and al-Sujud `ala al-Arz by Kashif al-Ghita'. [^28] Refer to al-Yawaqit wa’l-Jawahir by al-Sha`rani al-Ansari (An Egyptian writer in the 10th century A.H.).
[^29] Refer to al-Musannaf by al-san`ani.
[^30] Refer to sahih al-Bukhari, sahih Muslim, and Sunan al-Bayhaqi. For more details about the Malikiyyah’s view concerning this issue, refer to Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Ibn Rushd al-Qurtubi or to other books on the Malikiyyah jurisprudential school.
[^31] The verse of Ablution reads as follows:
“O you who believe: When you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands with the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash yourselves and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith. Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful. (5/6)”
[^32] Refer to reference books of hadith as well as al-Fakhr al-Razi’s book of Tafsir al-Kashshaf; Exegesis of the Verse of Ablution (5:6).
[^33] For more details, refer to the traditions on temporary marriage in the reliable reference books of hadith of the various Muslim sects.
[^34] This supplication comprises one thousand of Almighty Allah’s attributes, ordered so nicely and properly.
[^35] All these supplications, as well as many others, have been compiled in an encyclopedic book entitled ‘Mawsu`at al-Ad`iyah al-Jami`ah (Encyclopedia of Comprehensive Supplications),’ which has been lately published. They are also available in the books of supplications well known and currently held by the Shi`ah.
[^36] This event is mentioned in the books of history of Islam and biography of the Holy Prophet (s).
[^37] Refer to al-Sabki al-Shafi`i: Shifa’ al-Asqam, pp. 107, and Sunan Ibn Majah, 1:117.
[^38] It is necessary to allude to the fact that the Imamite Shi`ites are also ahl al-Sunnah, because they accept the words, deeds, acts, and confirmations confirmed by the Holy Sunnah, including the Holy Prophet’s frequent commandments concerning the abidance by his Household. The Shi`ah thus abide by the Holy Sunnah precisely and practically. This can be noticed in their doctrines, jurisprudential precepts, and books of traditions. Recently, an encyclopedic book of more than ten volumes, comprising the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s) in the Shi`ite reference books, has been published. This book is entitled ‘Sunan al-Nabiy’.
[^39] For more details, refer to the argumentative proofs on the obligation of khums presented by books of Shi`ite jurisprudence.