By Mal Yusuf Abdullahi
The doctrines for this week cover the love of the household of the prophet for which the Shi’ah are well known. In contrast to the lies of the critics who call Shi’ah with various abusive languages, they are well known for felicitation with the happiness of the Ahlul – bait and mourning with their tragedies.
If we could refer to the technical implication Shi’ah in the Lisaanul Arab definition, Zuhry, a renowned scholar said, the Shi’ah are known for their love to prophetic progeny and recognition of their leadership.
The second doctrine is on taqiyyah – dissimulation – which the critics misinterprets as hypocrisy. Unarguably, hypocrisy is where a person hides unbelief and pretends faith, but taqiyyah as could be seen in this write – up is entirely different. This is where a person hides his true faith in Islam under insecurity and conditionally pretends something else. The third and fourth are avoidance of oppression and non – participation in an oppressive government respectively. The Shi’ah are generally known for their hatred against oppression to the extent that many writers simply describe them as detesters of all oppressive regimes.
After the meticulous references on the doctrinal and jurisprudential aspects with regard to Shiism, with the help of Allah, highlights will be given on a broader sense especially on socio – political issues.
As usual, I urge our esteemed readers wishing to know the truth/fact on all aspects of this creed to broadly read for judicious assessment.
DOCTRINE 27: LOVE FOR THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE PROPHET
Allah said "Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I do not ask of you a wage for this except love of my kinsfolk" Q42:23
We believe that in addition to the obligation to hold fast to the Household of the prophet, it is necessary for every Muslim, from the point of view of his deen, to love them. For Allah, in this verse, has told mankind to love them. It is narrated from the prophet: love of them (my household) is a sign of belief, and to show enmity towards them is a sign of unbelief. Whosoever loves them, loves Allah and His Messenger. And whosoever shows enmity towards them shows enmity towards Allah and His Messenger.
Naturally, we must love them; it is one of the necessary Islamic duties over which there can be no dispute or doubt. All the sects of Islam have accepted this, apart from a few people who are recognised to be enemies of the household of prophet, and they have been given the derisive name of Nawasib (those who have planted enmity of the household in their hearts). They are counted among those who deny one of the necessary beliefs of Islam. One who denies one of the Islamic commandments about which there is no doubt, such as the obligation to pray or to pay Zakat, undoubtedly ranks with a denier of prophethood, even though he may utter the two testimonies of the Islamic faith (ashhadu an la ilaha ila llah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulallah – I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).
DOCTRINE 33: ON DISSIMULATION
It was related from Imam al – Sadiq in an authenticated tradition "Taqiyyah is my deen and the deen of my forefathers. Whosoever has no taqiyyah has no deen"
It was the motto of the household of the prophet, so as to protect themselves and their followers from harm and bloodshed, and to better the condition of the Muslims and to cause agreement among them, and restore them to order. And this is still a sign by which the Shi’ah are known, and which distinguishes them from other sects and other peoples. Everyone, when he feels that there is danger to himself or to his property through the preaching of his beliefs or through the practicing of his beliefs in public, should practice taqiyyah. And this is something which appears reasonable to our intelligence. It is known that the Shi’ah and their Imams have suffered much and have been denied their freedom throughout history, and that no sect or people have suffered like them. Thus, they have been forced on many occasions to practice taqiyyah in order to conceal themselves and their practices hidden, as long as their religion and their survival was threatened. And this is their cause for being distinguished from others by their taqiyyah.
Taqiyyah has rules and observations which indicate whether it is obligatory (wajib) or not, and these are mentioned in the relevant chapters of the books of those learned in jurisprudence (fiqh). It is not obligatory at all times, but is sometimes optional; and sometimes it is obligatory not to do it, as when it is necessary to proclaim the truth publicly, to protect Islam and save it, or to fight in the cause of Islam. On these occasions, property is of no value, and individual souls are of no importance. Taqiyyah is forbidden (haram) when someone’s life is in danger or when falsehood is being propagated, or when anything is threatening Islam, or when Muslims are menaced, or injustice and iniquity are spreading among them. The purpose of taqiyyah, in the view of the Shi’ah, is not to form a secret organisation dedicated to destruction and subversion, as some of their enemies who are not able to see things in their light, have imagined, for such people have made no effort to really understand what we say. The point is not to make Islam and its rule a secret which cannot be divulged to those who do not believe, no, the books of Shi’ah and their writings in the fields of jurisprudence (fiqh), law (ahkam) and theological studies, as also their beliefs are in great abundance in the world, more than any other sect that is sure of its way. Our belief in taqiyyah has been abused by those who want to denegrate the Shi’ah, and they consider it to be one of their weak points, for it seems that they are not satisfied with the necks that fell to the sword in the attempt to finish them off in that age when it was enough to say that someone was a Shi’i to assure his death at the hands of the enemies of the household of the prophet, from the Umayyads and the Abbasids up to the Ottomans.
If our attackers wish to say that there is no evidence for taqiyyah in Islam, we can refute this. Firstly, we follow our Imams and are guided by their guidance, and they have ordered us to practice taqiyyah when it is necessary, and it is to them an integral part of Islam, as we saw from the sayings of Imam Sadiq; whosoever has no taqiyyah has no deen. Secondly, it has been commanded in the Qur’an "not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of his faith" Q16:106
This verse was revealed about Ammar Ibn Yassir, who took shelter by proclaiming unbelief in order to protect himself from the enemies of Islam. Also Allah has said "And a believing man of pharaoh’s people who hid his faith …" Q40:28
DOCTRINE 38: AVOIDANCE OF OPPRESSION
In the opinion of the Imams, one of the worst sins among men is enmity and iniquity between themselves. Just as it is said in the Qur’an: "deem not that Allah is heedless of what the iniquitous do; He is only deferring them to a day when eyes shall stare" Q14:42
Likewise, Ameerul mu’mineen (as), had a strong aversion to iniquity, and he told the truth when he said "I swear by Allah that if all the continents of the earth and all that is under the sun were offered to me in exchange for sinning towards Allah even by stealing a grain of barley from an ant, truly I shall never do such a thing"
And this shows how much a person can be aware of the evil of the iniquity and hold himself back from doing it. Ali would not do wrong even to an ant by stealing a grain of barley from it, even though all the lands of the earth were offered to him. How then does one stand who sheds blood of Muslims, plunders their property, and pours scorn on their refutation and honour? How should he be compared with Ali? Where does he stand compared to the wisdom of Ali? Truly, ‘Ali’s behaviour is shining example of the excellent religious education which Islam seeks to instill in humanity.
Iniquity is, then, one of the greatest of the sins Allah has prohibited, and this is why the household of the prophet have cautioned their followers against it above else, through their words and prayers. Thus was their policy and behaviour, and they acted justly not only towards their friends, but also towards those who showed disrespect for them and treated them with rudeness.
The story of the forbearance of Imam Hasan (as) with the man of Sham (Damascus) who insulted him is well known. On that occasion, the Imam spoke gently with him and treated him kindly, letting him understand that he had done wrong. Even as the fourth Imam, Sayyid al – Sajideen asked for forgiveness for iniquitous persons in this ad’iyah. This is the utmost generosity and nobility of mind that a perfect man can reach. Although it is correct from an Islamic point of view to avenge an oppressor in one’s own manner, and to curse him before Allah, it is better to forgive than to avenge, for forgiveness is sign of virtue. Indeed, in the opinion of the Imam, to curse him is to be iniquitous oneself.
Imam Saqiq (as) said "Verily, a slave is oppressed so long as he refrains from cursing his oppressive master excessively, but if he should do so, then he becomes an oppressor too"
How sublime this is! But if to curse an oppressor is oppression itself, what is the condition of those who instigate oppression and iniquity, who commit aggression against people, or cast aspersions on their refutations, who plunder their property, denounce them before oppressors, or deceive them so that they fall into danger or are hurt, or who spy on them? How do they stand in the wisdom of the Imams? Truly, such persons are the farthest from the generosity of Allah, their sins and their punishment are the most horrible, just as are their actions and morality.
DOCTRINE 40: NON – PARTICIPATION IN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT
Since our Imams have firmly warned us not to help oppressors, even to the extent of giving them half a date, and not to hope for their lives, the situation of one who cooperates with them and joins their government is indeed a bad one. Similarly, for one who is in their employment, or is one of the founders of their state or is devoted to preserving their government. Being loyal to an oppressive government completely undermines the truth, and rehabilitates and propagates falsehood, iniquity and corruption. This is related from Imam Ja’far al – Sadiq (as). However, joining the oppressors or their government is permitted by our Imams if, by so doing, we can increase justice and perform the commands of Allah, if it is for the good of the believers, encourages what is right or forbids what is evil. Imam Musa (as) said "verily, there are among the company of the oppressors those through whom Allah has made bright His path. He gives them the power to protect His friends and to resolve the difficulties of the Muslims. They are among those who truly believe. They are the guides of Allah and a light among His slaves.
Many traditions have been passed down concerning these things, which have clarified the duties of government and government employees, who should act in accordance with them. For example, (the letter which) Imam Sadiq wrote to Abdullah al – Najashi, the governor – general of Ahwaz.
To be continued.