By Mallam Yusuf Abdullahi
Similarly, one who believes that He will be seen by His creatures on the Day of judgment is not a believer, even though he does not liken Allah to anyone in appearance. Such pretenders have merely accepted the letter of the Qur’an and the hadith without using their intelligence.
Indeed, they have chosen to ignore their intelligence, for they have not taken note of the use of figures of speech which the nature of language necessitates. Thus, they have misunderstood the true meaning of the Qur’an and the Hadith.
Doctrine 5 in chapter one on divine unity (tauhid), – p 5 as translated by Dar al – Tablig al – Islami, Qom, Iran, 1999
Note: As I have indicated earlier, the write – up is neither a comparative analysis on the Islamic doctrines as they relate to Shi’ah/Sunna, nor a graphical presentation of the Shiite. The rationale was to give a general idea on Shiism to those in first contact with the faith. At the end of this segment however, I will provide some reference materials that our esteemed readers could refer to.
It is pertinent to highlight a related point at this juncture. Al – Bada as a doctrine is particularly significant due to the fact that some people have deliberately misconceived it as ignorance related to Allah by the Shi’ah. Allah forbid! The word literally means appearance. And it denotes a situation where a person thought of something positively and it appears otherwise making him to change his determination or to regret an action done. This does not apply to Allah, the Almighty.
However, al – Bada in the case of Allah stands for His absolute power and unconditional control over all things. He said in the holy Qur’an, chapter 13 verse 39 "Allah blots out, and He establishes whatsoever He will; and with Him is the essence of the Book" The concept as applied and interpreted could be exemplified by abrogation of the prophets’ shari’ah with that of the Last Messenger or such actions in the Qur’an at various periods of Islamic history.
THE DIVINE JUSTICE: AL – ADL AL – ILAHY
The sheikh had this to say regarding this doctrine numbered 8 in p9 of his translated book on the doctrines of Imamiyyah.
We believe that one of Allah’s positive attributes is that He is Just beyond all injustice (‘adil, ghairu zalim). He does not treat His creatures without justice, nor does He rule them unfairly or cruelly. He rewards His obedient servants and punishes those who fall into sin. He does not compel His servants to do things which are not within their capabilities, nor does He punish them for more than the sins they have committed. We believe that He does not omit to do any good act, nor does He perform an evil one, because it is in His power to do every good act and to abstain from every evil one. For, since He knows the excellence of good and the badness of evil. Again, since doing good cannot harm Him, there is no reason for Him not to do it. Moreover, since evil is not constrained upon Him, He is not forced to do evil. But Allah is Wise and his works must display His wisdom, and they must be arranged in the best possible way.
Now, suppose that He treats a creature with cruelty or commits an evil, then it must be because of one of four reasons:
(1) He is ignorant of the action, and does not know that it is evil (2) He knows what He does, but He has been compelled to do it, and is unable to desist from it; (3) It is necessary for Him to do it, although He is aware that it is evil, but He is not compelled to do it; (4) He does it at His pleasure, without cause, or as an amusement, although He is neither ignorant of it, nor constrained to do it, and neither is it necessary for Him to do it. Each of these is impossible for Allah, as each one entails a deficiency in Him. But He is absolute perfection; therefore we must say that He is glorified from oppression and from doing what is evil.
Nevertheless, there are Muslims who say that Allah can do evil. They say that Allah can punish the obedient and bring the evil doers and the unbelievers to paradise. They also say that Allah can order His servants to perform actions which are beyond their capabilities and endurance, and, at the same time, that He can punish them for not doing those things. In short, they say that Allah can be an oppressor, can do what is in error, can deceive His servants, and do things which are without interest, purpose or benefit, because; "He is not asked about that which He has done, but they will be asked" Q21:23. Let it be known that this is blasphemy concerning Allah for He has said in His book, the Qur’an "Allah does not desire injustice for (His) servants" Q40:31 and "Allah does not love corruption" Q2:205 and "we did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in jest" Q21:16 and "I have not created jinn and mankind except to serve Me" Q51:56 and He has said similar things in other verses "glory be to Thee Who did not create without aim" Q3:190
DESTINY: AL -QADR
The Muslim scholars had an in – depth discourse on al – Qadha wa al – Qadr translated as predetermination and divine decree. However, the summery and stand of the Shi’ah could be easily deduced.
Regardless of natural causes, the Mujabbirah, a sect maintained that Allah was entirely responsible for the actions of His creatures, he forced to do good or bad and then reward them accordingly. Their action is therefore His, there is no cause other than that. In this case, they have attributed injustice to Allah which is not acceptable! The Mufawwidhah, on the other hand, believed that Allah has given absolute power and freedom to His creatures for their actions notwithstanding the cause of all causes. This group has clearly separated Allah from His powers attributing partners indirectly to Him.
The dignified and unique position which the Imamites believe is position between two extreme stands. With this expression it is meant that man’s action is a natural cause under his choice and control, and at the same time decreed by Allah and therefore within His power.
This misapplication owing to the unfortunate misconception serves as plausible excuses to criminals. Some people could be behind an accident for example or a tragedy, but it is simply related to handwork of Allah and that is the end. They will not even investigate to avert recurrence of such tragedy! A good example was the recent stampede that killed thousands of honourable guests of Allah – pilgrims from all nooks and corners of the world – which a scholar simply declared as a destiny from Allah and that was all! But for the international pressures especially from Iran the American friends in control of the holy land might have the incident a thing of the past.
It should be noticed that even if it was a destiny, that does not exonerate everybody. Then how do you justify the punishment of wrong doers in the hereafter going by destiny? "Allah does not an atom’s weight of injustice" Q 4:40 "your Lord wrongs no one" Q 18:49 "Allah does not will injustice to His servants" Q40:31
THE PROPHETHOOD – AL – NUBUWWAH
The philosophy of life is very clear in Islam. Allah states “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels I will create a vicegerent on earth they said Wilt though place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name) He said I know what ye know not” Q2:30
To be a vicegerent of Allah – enjoining His commandments and abstaining from his prohibitions – was the rationale behind the creation of man. And on this track, the messengers were periodically sent to convey their mission. Allah states "They will say, yes indeed a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said Allah never sent down any (message); ye are in nothing but a grave error! Q67:9
On the doctrine of believe regarding the messengers, the sheikh states;
We believe that prophethood is a divine duty and a mission from Allah; He appoints to it those whom He selects from among His good servants, from those who are exalted among mankind. He sends them to rest of humanity to be a guide to what is of benefit to them and is in their interest in this world and the next; to purify them from immorality, evil deeds and harmful customs, and also to teach people wisdom and knowledge and the ways of happiness and goodness until they attain to the perfection for which they were created, and reach the highest position in both worlds.
We believe that the Grace of Allah (lutf) requires that He sends His messengers to His servants to guide them, to carry out reforming work, and to be intermediaries (Sufara, pl. of Safir) between Allah and His vice – gerents (Khulafa pl. of Khalifa). For we believe that Allah does not allow mankind to appoint, nominate or select a person as a prophet, because: "Allah knoweth best with whom to place His message" Q6:125. It follows that people have no right to dispute over those whom Allah sends as guides, bringers of good tidings and warners of what is to come, nor over that which they bring, the commandments and religious laws.
RUNNINDG A PLEASED LIFE
In his book, Islamic teachings, Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i (1892 – 1981): An overview, distributed by Imam Husain foundation; Qom, Iran, as translated by R. Campbell, commented on Q14:4
"We never sent a prophet except with the language of his people, so that he might explain" The verse states plainly that the prophets restated spiritual truths with precision in everyday language; they well understood just how to present these truth in the idiom of the people of their time; they were aware of their sensibilities; they had mastered their artistic and literary temper; and they expressed their teachings through the prevalent and accepted forms of the people of their age. The teachings of the prophets are one in essence, but there are striking differences in how these teachings have been presented to different societies"
Strict obedience to prophetic mission ensures success to servant in this world and hereafter "we will give a pure and wholesome life to every one man or woman who acts righteously and has faith and we will reward them in accordance with the best of what they used to do" Q16:97
To be continued!