Abu al-Khattab, part 2: Nails in the Muqassir’s Coffin
Ammar says that the Imam’s true positions which can be used to differentiate what is said in taqiyya, through general principles:
“Of course they did, but they also presented us with a solution: They gave us certain general principles that can eliminate ‘false’ positions (a statement said out of Taqiyya or a lie being attributed to them) and come down to the ‘true’ position”
These general principles, according to him are:
(1) Go with what is United Upon (consensus aka ijma’ of scholars)
(2) Compare with the Qur’an and the Established Sunna
(3) The Imams do not Abrogate the Primary Law
We will discuss each principle he proposes, and how the understanding he presents of them not only completely impractical, even impossible, in Shi’i corpus but we will also prove how some of them were said in taqiyya.
In the article however, the primary focus is not on Abu al-Khattab personally - as I discovered that there are many individuals who have difficulty analyzing such topics and difficulty in comprehending it. And I would like my work to be of benefit to as much people as possible.
Thus, I will discuss the methodology Ammar cited in analyzing him and Shi’i ahadith generally - the general principles mentioned above.
This way, the reader will be able to acquire knowledge that will benefit him in critically analyzing and comprehending the ahadith of the Imam, particularly with regards to controversial personalities.
Without further ado, let us begin!
(1) Go with what is United Upon
Ammar makes a claim that whatever the Shi’a had consensus on in times of our Imams is absolutely the truth.
Such that - according to him, “the Imam will deck the cards just so such that positions that become overwhelmingly dominant within the Ta’ifa will always be the true one. After all, this is a Taifa that accepts the authority of the Imams and submits to them, why would they leave the overwhelmingly dominant position within the Taifa remain the ‘false’ one.”
Thus, he sees that any consensus of the majority of Shi’a in our Imams’ times is necessarily the truth construed and believed by our Imams. Such that, what is “‘united upon’ can never be ‘untrue’ since we had active Imams at the helm.”
In doing so, he cites two ahadith to prove his position.
The first is a hadith mentioned by Kulayni with no chain of transmission - in fact, it is not even known to which Imam the hadith is attributed to:
خذوا بالمجمع عليه فإن المجمع عليه لا ريب فيه
Take that which is united upon, for there is no doubt in that which is united upon
This further proves Ammar’s double standards, in which he criticizes my Mufaddal articles for not distinguishing between weak narrators (I do not observe that methodology).
At the same time, he takes upon a hadith which is weaker than weakness itself in chain - offering no chain at all!
Bear in mind, I do take upon the hadith and I will explain how it proves my position instead of negating it, but Ammar’s selective usage of his methodology calls into question his academic honesty.
The second hadith he cites is Imam al-Sadiq advises to his companions, in cases of contradiction, to leave aside rare ahadith.
يترك الشاذ الذي ليس بمشهور عند أصحابك فإن المجمع عليه لا ريب فيه
The Shaadh (rare) which is not famous with your companions (i.e. the scholars) is abandoned, for there is no doubt in that which is united upon
A reading closely observing the text will notice that this hadith contradicts the first hadith cited by Ammar.
In the sense that this hadith permits taking upon shaadh (rare) ahadith if there is no contradiction to a famous hadith, as the beginning of the hadith stipulates “واختلفا فيما حكما وكلاهما اختلفا في حديثكم” (What do we do if two judges differ in your ahadith?)
This is why the majority of classical scholars believed ahad (solitary) ahadith are binding.
Meanwhile, the first hadith does not permit taking upon rare ahadith full stop. As we know, the only classical scholar to adopt this position was al-Sharif al-Murtada.
Therefore, Ammar already began his section by making a blunder of not realizing he presented 2 different methodologies related to consensus which are mutually exclusive.
Which corroborates my point of the Imam giving different methodologies to different companions out of taqiyya.
And also highlights my point about Ammar presenting superficialities with no analysis, instead of critically examining the texts.
Let’s leave that aside now and respond to his ideas on ijma’:
- “That that became ‘united upon’ can never be ‘untrue’ since we had active Imams at the helm.”
Brother Ammar makes this statement with such bold confidence, that it is shocking to hear from someone who has studied early Shi’i history for years.
Does he not know that Imam al-Sadiq told Imam al-Kadhim to not speak up when his brother Abdullah claims Imamate?
(Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol 4, page 542) (Note: this book’s isnads were removed by Sh al-Saduq as he stated all ahadith he mentioned he issues a fatwa declaring them to be authentic)
Imam al-Sadiq said:
“Oh son, your brother will sit on my seat and claim Imamate after me.
So do not dispute him in a word, as he is the first of my family to join me”
بني إن أخاك سيجلس مجلسي ويدعي الإمامة بعدي فلا تنازعه بكلمة فإنه أول أهلي لحوقا بي
As we know, the vast majority of Shi’i fuqaha, scholars, and commoners believed Abdullah was the Imam while he was alive for 70 days after Imam al-Sadiq’s death!
Al-Kashi says regarding the followers of Abdullah son of Imam al-Sadiq, known as al-Aftah:
(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 524-525
“Al-Fathiya, they are those believing in the Imamate of Abdullah ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad
(describes reason for his title ‘al-Aftah’)
And those who said that he was imam - were the majority of the scholars and jurists of the sect (of Imamiyya). They were attracted to this belief, as suspicion entered upon them about what was narrated from them, peace be upon him, that they said: Imamate is in the eldest of the imam’s children if he (previous Imam) passes.
Then some of them retracted the belief in his imam when they tested Abdullah with issues of the halal and the haram, in which he had no answer.
And because of the things that appeared from him that should not appear from an Imam.
Then Abdullah died seventy days after his father, and the rest left belief in his Imamate except a few.”
الفطحية 472 - هم القائلون بامامة عبد الله بن جعفر بن محمد، وسموا بذلك: لأنه قيل إنه كان أفطح الرأس، وقال بعضهم: كان أفطحالرجلين، وقال بعضهم: انهم نسبوا إلى رئيس من أهل الكوفة يقال له: عبد الله بن فطيح
والذين قالوا بإمامته عامة مشايخ العصابة وفقهاؤها مالوا إلى هذه المقالة، فدخلت عليهم الشبهة لما روي عنهم عليه السلام أنهم قالوا: الإمامةفي الأكبر من ولد الامام إذا مضى، ثم منهم من رجع عن القول بإمامته لما امتحنه بمسائل من الحلال والحرام لم يكن عنده فيها جواب، ولماظهر منه من الأشياء التي لا ينبغي أن يظهر من الامام.
ثم إن عبد الله مات بعد أبيه بسبعين يوما
If Ammar does not backtrack his belief that “the Imam will deck the cards just so such that positions that become overwhelmingly dominant within the Ta’ifa will always be the true one”.
Then, I will assume he believes the Imam ‘decked the card’ such that Abdullah al-Aftah was believed by majority of Shi’i scholars to be the Imam. And that is the true position!
If brother Ammar believes Abdullah al-Aftah is the true Imam, he should come out and state his case plainly!
If he doesn’t believe this, can see he how “the Imams were doing Taqiyya even within the Taifa to such an extent that the overwhelmingly dominant position could be false, with the truth remaining only in the hands of an ‘elite few’”
The elite few in the case of Abdullah al-Aftah being Imam al-Kadhim and his closest companions?
This is why Imam al-Sadiq told his close companion Jamil ibn Darraj, whom in the words of Ammar is “no small-name in the Madhhab in his own right (also a member of the Aṣḥāb al-Ijmāʿ)” the following:
(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 521)
“Abi Abdilah [al-Sadiq] said to me:
O Jamil, do not inform our companions what they do not have ijma’ (consensus) on - lest they call you a liar”
468 - محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني أحمد ابن محمد بن عيسى، عن عمر بن عبد العزيز، عن جميل بن دراج،عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال، قال لي: يا جميل لا تحدث أصحابنا بما لم يجمعوا عليه فيكذبوك.
Ammar knows that our religious principles can’t be based on ijma’.
The brother knows this as a fact, but him claiming we can derive ahkam from ijma’ is simply him running away from the difficult questions.
- The badaa’ of Ismail ibn Ja’far and Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi
Doesn’f the concept of badaa consist of Allah revealing his true will after the majority of Shi’a believed that Ismail ibn Ja’far and Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi were to succeed their fathers?
Was the consensus of majority of Shi’a upon haqq or batil?
The Imam did not change his followers’ opinions until Ismail and Muhammad died, and Allah revealed his true will.
- What about the fact that only a minority of Shi’a believed Imam al-Mahdi was alive during al-Ghayba al-Sughra and several decades that follow?
Al-Nu’mani (student of Kulayni who lived through al-Ghayba al-Sughra & Kubra says:
(Nu’mani’s al-Ghayba, vol 1, page 157)
“These hadiths are indicative of what has become of the conditions of the sects affiliated with Shi’ism who opposed the upright minority following the Imamate of al-Khalaf ibn al-Hasan al-Askari (peace be upon him), because the majority of them (Shi’a) say:
Where is he? And how would this be? How long will he be absent? How long does this live?
His ghayba has been for more than eighty years bow, some of them say that he is dead, and some of them deny his birth and deny his existence with one, and mock those who believe in him, and among them are those who exclude the period and extend the period, and do not see that God is in his ability, his authority, his past and his management, able to extend Imam al-Mahdi’s lifetime..”
وهذه الأحاديث دالة على ما قد آلت إليه أحوال الطوائف المنتسبة إلى التشيع ممن خالف الشرذمة المستقيمة على إمامة الخلف بن الحسن بنعلي (عليه السلام)، لأن الجمهور منهم من يقول في الخلف: أين هو؟ وأنى يكون هذا؟ وإلى متى يغيب؟ وكم يعيش هذا؟ وله الآن نيفوثمانون سنة، فمنهم من يذهب إلى أنه ميت، ومنهم من ينكر ولادته ويجحد وجوده بواحدة، ويستهزئ بالمصدق به، ومنهم من يستبعد المدةويستطيل الأمد، ولا يرى أن الله في قدرته، ونافذ سلطانه، وماضي أمره وتدبيره، قادر على أن يمد لوليه في العمر كأفضل ما مده
- Ijma’ of Classical Scholars
al-Kashshi documents the following:
اجتمعت العصابة على تصديق هؤلاء الأولين من أصحاب أبي جعفر عليه السلام و أبي عبد الله عليه السلام و انقادوا لهم بالفقه، فقالوا: أفقهالأولين ستة زرارة و معروف بن خربوذ و بريد و أبو بصير الأسدي و الفضيل بن يسار و محمد بن مسلم الطائفي، قالوا: و أفقه الستة زرارة
The whole sect is united in deeming truthful these foremost ones amongst the companions of Abi Ja’far and Abi Abdillah, and have submitted to them with respect to Fiqh, so they said: The most Afqah (knowledgeable) of the foremost ones are six: Zurara, Ma’ruf b. Kharrabudh, Burayd, Abu Basir al-Asadi, al-Fudhayl b. Yasar and Muhammad b. Muslim al-Ta’ifi.
They also said: The most Afqah of the six is Zurara
Ammar citing al-Kashi’s statement shows he has an incorrect idea of what ijma’ was for the classical scholars.
A scholar claiming ijma’ of the Shi’a or ijma’ of the sect (العصابة - which does not mean the ‘whole sect’, but simply the ‘sect’).
This does not mean that the entire sect believed in this, nor even the majority of it!
Rather, ijma’ could even be a consensus of a small number of scholars based on a hadith of our Imam.
The majority of scholars could for example have a differing consensus on the topic based on a contradictory hadith on the same subject.
Al-Shaheed al-Thani in Haqa’iq al-Imaan page 194, quotes Allama al-Hilli in al-Tahdheeb:
“Ijma’ is hujja upon is if it contains the words of the Ma’sum (infallible).
Every group - whether it is plentiful or little - and agreed upon something in which the Imam’s words agreed with them. Then their ijma’ is hujja because (of the Imam’s words), not because of ijma in itself”
قال العلامة في التهذيب: الإجماع إنما هو حجة عندنا لاشتماله على قول المعصوم، وكل جماعة قلت أو كثرت وكان قول الإمام في جملة قولهمفإجماعهم حجة لأجله لا لأجل الإجماع انتهى.
For this reason, it is known among scholars that Shaykh al-Tusi in many cases cites different ijma’ on the same subject in his works.
Because a consensus on a subject by scholars based on some hadith on a certain subject could exist, while another consensus among another group of scholars on the same subject could exist.
Ijma’ in Shi’ism is not a view representing the entire sect, but represents a group of scholars joining to upon a hadith of the Ma’sum.
If one group sees a hadith said in taqiyya as binding, that is an ijma’.
The hadith you cite could have been said in taqiyya from Zurara, yes why not?
As we find out in my Mufaddal part 2 article - he was known to be the town bully and did not accept the Imam’s judgement.
Therefore, the statement of al-Kashi you cite shows two things:
(1) A group of scholars believed in Zurara among 5 others being most juristic. There is no evidence the entire sect or majority of it believed this.
(2) There is no evidence this consensus was in the Imams’ times. Al-Kashi who died in 951 CE could have certainly cited a consensus of scholars after al-Ghayba al-Kubra.
Where is your evidence that this consensus was in the Imams’ times and thus is binding - per your understanding?
Remember brother Ammar, always think critically before raising points! Do not take things in the dhahir in such a nonchalant way, the religion our Imams propagated really is far beyond the neat clear system you’re imagining.
Your methodology will lead you to believe in deviant sects, as I’ve clarified - so be aware and wary.
With that said, let’s go to to the next point now.
2 ) Compare with the Qur’an and the Established Sunna
As explained in the overview of section 1, Ammar brings forward - while not realizing it - two different and contradictory methodologies in ahadith with regards to deriving ahkam per consensus.
This corroborates my idea that the Imams gave different methodologies to different companions, while of course the truth is in the hands of the ‘elite few’.
Giving totally different and contradictory methodologies will be further analyzed in this section, but with regards to hadiths telling us to derive ahkam from the Quran.
“Another principle given by the Imams is:
اعرضوها على كتاب الله فما وافق كتاب الله عز وجل فخذوه، وما خالف كتاب الله فردوه
Compare it with the Book of Allah, so what agrees with the Book of Allah Mighty and Majestic then take it, and what opposes the Book of Allah then repudiate it”
Ammar says that, but what exactly is the “Book of Allah” here?
If it’s the apparent Quran between our hands, then our Imams prohibit us from interpreting the Quran with our personal opinions (Tafsir bil Ra’y).
There is a preponderance of ahadith on the subject of this prohibition.
Thus, taking upon this principle forbidding Tafsir bil Ra’y - the Imamiyyah scholars did not compare ahadith to the Quran until the emergence of Shaykh al-Tusi (which will be discussed in a separate post).
But why anyway is Tafsir al-Ra’y condemned?
- The Imams, a Speaking Quran
Imam Ali addresses the Sahaba imploring them to take the Quran with his interpretation in it.
As they cannot interpret the Quran by themselves, they “speak to it but it will not speak to them”.
However, the Sahaba refuse the Imam’s interpretation leading the Imam to hide his copy of the Quran with his interpretation and it will not be revealed to mankind until the rise of the Qa’im (the Mahdi).
Thus, we Shi’a can only have snippets of what is the true understanding of the Quran from the divine tafsir shared to us by the Imams. We cannot understand the Quran individually.
(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 61)
“That is the Qur’an, so speak to it and it will not be spoken to you.
I will tell you about it, for it contains knowledge of what has passed, knowledge of what will come to the Day of Resurrection, and judgment between you and a statement of what you have become about it, so if you asked me about it, I would have taught you.”
ذلك القرآن فاستنطقوه ولن ينطق لكم، أخبركم عنه، إن فيه علم ما مضى، وعلم ما يأتي إلى يوم القيامة، وحكم ما بينكم وبيان ما أصبحتم فيهتختلفون، فلو سألتموني عنه لعلمتكم.
Because the true understanding of Quran was preserved only in Imam Ali’s interpretation (which later Imams inherited), Imam al-Sadiq confirms his companion’s words which says that:
(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 169)
“The Quran is not a hujja except with a qayyim .. Ali was the qayyim of the Quran and his obedience was obligatory and was the hujja upon the people after the propher”
A qayyim is an owner or manager, thus the hadith shows that the Quran alone cannot be understood.
In fact, the Quran is the Imams themselves! They personify the Quran and we can only understand it through them.
Hence, it is demeaning to the status of the Imam to understand the Quran except through their words.
Thus, even if we reach a correct conclusion for our interpretation - we will not be rewarded for it. If it is not based on the words of the Ahlulbayt, ruling it as “ra’y”.
(Tafsir al-‘Ayyashi, vol 1, page 17)
“Abi Basir narrated from Abi Abdilah al-Sadiq that he said:
‘Whomever interprets the Quran with his personal interpretation.
If he reaches a correct conclusion, he will not be rewarded. If he reaches an incorrect conclusion, he is farther away (from the Ahlulbayt) than the heavens”.
عن أبي بصير عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: من فسر القرآن برأيه ان أصاب لم يوجر و أن أخطأ فهو أبعد من السماء
Not only this, but we have a very significant and huge plethora of ahadith prohibiting us from qiyas (comparative personal analysis) and ra’y (personal interpretation, with no basis in Ahlulbayt’s words) in deriving ahkam from religion.
So how can we possibly directly compare ahadith the Quran?
If the Quran itself cannot be understood except through its qayyim (the Ahlulbayt), and we are not rewarded for interpreting the Quran individually.
Unless, of course, by telling his companions to compare ahadith to the Quran - the Imam was doing taqiyya from intimidating companions casting fear on the Shi’a, and whom strongly espoused Ra’y.
A prominent example, and the most prominent of them all whom was tbe subject of my Mufaddal part 2 is Mr. Zurara (ra).
“On the authority of Ibn Maskan:
We discussed with Zurara about matters regarding of the lawful and the forbidden, and he said a statement according to his Ra’y.
I said: Did you say this based on a narration or your Ra’y?
He said: Indeed, is personal opinion (Ra’y) is not better than narrations?”
2 حدثني محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني جبرئيل بن أحمد، قال: حدثني العبيدي عن يونس عن ابن مسكان، قال: تذاكرنا عند زرارة في شئمن أمور الحلال والحرام فقال قولا برأيه. فقلت: أبرأيك هذا أم برأيه؟ فقال: إني أعرف أو ليس رب رأي خير من أثر؟
I showed in my posts that interpreting the Quran from personal opinion by comparing ahadith to it is a staple of Zaydism.
And that there are identical ahadith in Zaydism telling us to compare reports to Quran and sunnah.
For what purpose would the Imam offer two totally contradictory methodologies?
One establishing his status as Imam firmly, the other giving the companions a free pass in deriving ahkam from the Quran despite his presence among them.
One would have to be in taqiyya and it is self-evidentiary that the latter is said in taqiyya in fear of his Ra’y-oriented companions who set a campaign of intimidation to establish their views.
Considering the brother takes a dhahir approach to deen, let him reflect over the following verse:
“And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day” (4:59)
Does Allah tell us in case of contradiction (disagreement) to simply refer to Allah (the Quran).
Or is the messenger (ahadith) necessarily included in the equation?
If the two are inseparable, then one cannot understand the Book without the sunnah.
The sunnah defines the Book. Our fallible understanding is nothing compared to the wahi (direct divine instructions) to the Prophet and Imams.
So can we truly compare ahadith to Quran alone? The answer is no, and our Imams’ command to do so was nothing short of taqiyya.
I will conclude this subsection with what Shaykh al-Saduq said, as Ammar chooses to ignore it and sees it as implausible for the Imams to partake in taqiyya from their companions:
(‘Ilal al-Shara’ie, vol 2, page 347)
“He (the Imam) wore it out of taqiyya. Indeed, he informed Hudhayfa ibn Mansur that it is the clothing of people of hellfire - because he trusted him.
Whereas a group of Shi’a came to him (the Imam) asking him about wearing black, and he did not trust them in keeping the secret so he excercised taqiyya on them.”
قال مؤلف هذا الكتاب) لبسه للتقية وإنما أخبر حذيفة بن منصور بأنه لباس أهل النار لأنه إئتمنه وقد دخل إليه قوم من الشيعة يسألونه عنالسواد ولم يثق إليهم في كتمان السر فاتقاهم فيه.
- Ammar’s Empty Rhetoric
Ammar uses rhetoric to make it seem as if there are contradictions in my post with regards to comparison of the Quran.
This rhetoric however has no actual value, as the reader can freely observe no contradiction in my positions.
“At one point he says ‘there is no such thing as conformance to the Qur’an” =
I present the idea that there is no such thing as presenting ahadith to dhahir Quran. Thus, the report instructing us to make sure reports conform to the Quran are said in taqiyya.
And thus, not a principle the Imams intended for Shi’a. Check.
“Later ‘so how can we possibly compare to the Quran as instructed by our Imams’” =
Re-confirming to readers it is not possible to present ahadith to dhahir Quran and casting doubt on it. Check.
“yet again ‘Thus, rejecting a hadith based on ‘comparison’ to the Quran is impossible’. =
I confirm my stance for the 3rd time, that it is not possible to compare ahadith to the dhahir Quran.
Where exactly is the contradiction, Ammar?
Why the use of rhetoric with empty content to present the illusion that, as silly as it is, you are “winning”?
Do you not seek the truth, brother? Why the immaturity? May Allah guide you.
But now, let us return to Ammar’s post.
- The Batin and Yunus
- The Batin
Ammar says the existence of batin interpretations
“In fact this principle is very workable, and the Qur’an having a Batin (esoteric side) does not make it defunct since the book has Muhkam Dhawahir which should not be contradicted as a first check or safe-guard against Ghulati tampering (it’s not a closed Book to us on all its levels). In other words, the Imams words can never contradict (in the true sense) any aspect of the Qur’an (be it Dhahir available to us or Batin available to them) since the Imams are the best preservers of it.”
I totally agree with Ammar here!
The Imam’s tafsir does not contradict in the true sense. The true sense being both are words of Allah. I never claimed the opposite.
Rather, they contradict in the apparent (dhahir) sense.
Take a look at the following example:
(Tafsir al-‘Ayyashi, vol 1, page 44)
“I asked Aba Abdilah [al-Sadiq] as) about Allah’s words:
“O Bani Israel”
He (the Imam) said: It is specific to Al Muhammad”
44 - عن محمد بن علي عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: سألته عن قوله: " يا بني إسرائيل " قال: هي خاصة بآل محمد
Think for yourself, brother Ammar.
How exactly are we supposed to arrive at such a conclusion that when Allah says “O Bani Israel” in the Quran, he addresses Al Muhammad specifically?!
And not the Jews of Banu Israel.
Exactly. We cannot!
Thus, the batin interpretation being the sole privilege of the Imams and the fact we can’t arrive to it independently proves that there is no such thing as comparing ahadith the Quran.
Comparing ahadith to the above verse for example would lead me to believe the verse is speaking about Banu Israel specifically.
But the Imam’s hidden (batin) interpretation that he revealed is that the verse actually speaks about Al Muhammad specifically.
Thus, our comparison directly to the dhahir Quran alone, which will lead us to believe it speaks about Banu Israel, is plainly wrong.
And there are many other examples like this.
So think critically.
- Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman and the Qommis
The leading scholar of Qom at the time of Imam al-Ridha was a man named Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa.
There were difficult ahadith which he could not accept, such as ‘Salat’ (prayer) being a man (explained in part 1) - which was a staple of Khattabite beliefs.
Imam al-Ridha responds to him that these beliefs are “are not part of our religion therefore disassociate from it”. This is out of taqiyya as we will show shortly.
“Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa said: It was written to him (i.e. the Imam al-Askari) about a group ‘that speaks (i.e. disseminates their beliefs) and reads-out reports which they attribute to you and to your forefathers, the contents of which repel the hearts, but it is not permissible for us to repudiate them since they are being narrated on the authority of your forefathers, nor can we accept them because of what they purport …
Among their beliefs is that they say the words of Allah the Exalted: “Verily Salat safeguards from indecency and wrong-doing” (29:45) refers to a man (i.e. Salat is embodied in a man), not to prostration nor bowing.”
قال حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى: كتب إليه في قوم يتكلمون و يقرءون أحاديث ينسبونها إليك و إلى آبائك فيها ما تشمئز فيها القلوب، ولا يجوز لنا ردها إذا كانوا يروون عن آبائك عليهم السلام، و لا قبولها لما فيها … من أقاويلهم أنهم يقولون إن قول الله تعالى إِنَّ الصَّلاةَ تَنْهىعَنِ الْفَحْشاءِ وَ الْمُنْكَرِ معناها رجل، لا سجود و لا ركوع
One may wonder where Ahmad ibn Muhammad was hearing these ahadith, the main source of this controversy.
We shouldn’t look any further as that man also caused controversy in Basra with the ahadith he presented, which the Basrans could not accept.
That was Imam al-Ridha’s deputy Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman!
He was insulted and backbiten so much that he (Yunus) came out crying.
The Imam then tells Yunus to not share these difficult ahadith with people who cannot comprehend it. Lest they call the hadith a lie.
“We were with Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha, peace be upon him, and with him was
Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman, when a group of people from Basra sought permission to enter [upon the Imam]
So Abu al-Hasan, peace be upon him, gestured to Yunus: Enter the house (to be away from the crowd) - and his (the Imam’s) house is covered by a curtain - and do not move until permission is given to you.
The Basrans entered and increased in their backbite and insults against Yunus until they got up, said their farewells to the Imam and left. Then Yunus was given permission to exit the house out he came out crying.
May God make me your ransom - I defending this faith, yet this is my condition among my companions (i.e, backbiting and insult).
Abu al-Hasan, peace be upon him, said to him: O Yunus, what do you have to do with what they say if your imam is satisfied with you?
O Yunus, tell the people what they recognize, and abandon telling them with what they do not recognize. It is as if you want God to be lied against in His throne (i.e, by people calling the hadith a lie).
Oh Yunus, what do you have to do if you had a pearl in your right hand - and the people said that’s a ‘camel’ (and not a pearl). And then the people agree it is a pearl, does anything benefit you?”
I said: No.
He said: This is how you are, Yunus. If you were right and your imam was satisfied with you, what the people said would not harm you.”
رجال الكشي: آدم بن محمد، عن علي بن محمد الدقاق، عن محمد بن موسى السمان، عن محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن أخيه جعفر، قال: كنا عند أبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام وعنده
يونس بن عبد الرحمن إذ استأذن عليه قوم من أهل البصرة، فأومأ أبو الحسن عليه السلام إلى يونس: ادخل البيت، فإذا بيت مسبل عليهستر، وإياك أن تتحرك حتى يؤذن لك، فدخل البصريون فأكثروا من الوقيعة والقول في يونس (1)، وأبو الحسن عليه السلام مطرق حتى لماأكثروا، فقاموا وودعوا وخرجوا، فأذن يونس بالخروج فخرج باكيا، فقال:
جعلني الله فداك إني أحامي عن هذه المقالة، وهذه حالي عند أصحابي، فقال له أبو الحسن عليه السلام: يا يونس فما عليك مما يقولون إذاكان إمامك عنك راضيا؟ يا يونس حدث الناس بما يعرفون، واتركهم مما، لا يعرفون كأنك تريد أن تكذب على الله في عرشه،
Why did the Imam tell Yunus to avoid telling the people what they recognize?
Simple. The ahadith Yunus shared caused so much controversy among the ‘scholars’, given that Yunus was the Imam’s safeer.
It led to some scholars conjuring up lies against him!
One of those scholars was Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa who later repented from his slander after discovering in a dream that Yunus was close to the Imam’s heart.
(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 787)
“Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Qutaibi, he said: Al-Fadl ibn Shathan told us, he said: Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Isa repented and asked God’s forgiveness for his slander of Yunus due to a vision he saw, in which Ali ibn Hadid (another deputy of Imam al-Ridha) was showing inward inclination towards Yunus and Hisham”
951 - علي بن محمد القتيبي، قال: حدثنا الفضل بن شاذان قال: كان أحمد ابن محمد بن عيسى تاب واستغفر الله من وقيعته في يونسلرؤيا رآها، وقد كان علي بن حديد يظهر في الباطن الميل إلى يونس وهشام
This would show that Imam al-Ridha disassociating from the ahadith Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa spoke of is out of taqiyya.
As evident by the Imam telling his safeer Yunus (who represents the Imam in word and action) to abandoning telling people what they do not recognize, from ahadith.
And Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa was one of the main instigators against Yunus who spread lies against him.
Moreover, abandoning telling people what they do not recognize.
As for example, Ahmad ibn Muhammad refused to believe Salat is a man because of his comparison of ahadith to the Quran.
Something which we know is imperissible, due to reasons discussed above, as it would be Tafsir bil Ra’y (interpretation of the Quran from personal interpretation).
Yunus abandoned telling people what they do not recognize so they don’t deny it on premise of “contradicting the Quran”, denying the ahadith saying Salat is a man and claiming it’s prayer per the dhahir Quran.
And he proceeded to tell these Ra’y oriented scholars willing to intimidate and terrorize, what they recognize of the Zaydi-like understanding of religion:
And that is:
فلا تقبلوا علينا خلاف القرآن، فإنا إن تحدثنا حدثنا بموافقة القرآن و موافقة السنة إنا عن الله و عن رسوله نحدث
“So do not accept on our authority that which is against the Qur’an, for we – when we narrate – only narrate that which is in agreement with the Qur’an and in agreement with the Sunna. We only narrate on the authority of Allah and on the authority of the prophet …”
- The Sunnah
“As for Abu al-Khattab, there are no praise reports that exist, and if they existed they were expunged after his fall, because accepting his disassociation as true is one of the relatively few things the Taifa was united upon.”
This should be quite enough to understand that Ammar’s idea of ‘established sunnah’ is false.
If we take upon his idea - then we are following the sunnah as it was established by Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Saduq, and al-Kulayni.
Not the sunnah of our Imams.
Our classical scholars extinguished ahadith per their personal criteria. There was quite likely outside influence to the shared criteria of these decisions in some topics like Abu al-Khattab, but this will be a subject of another post inshallah.
So the Imams either gave us an impractical solution or their commandment to compare ahadith to the sunnah is restricted to some companions.
Because these companions had an undisclosed number of ahadith entrusted to them by the Imams, from which they can base their comparison.
For example, the established sunnah of Qazwin would be the ahadith brought to the city by the Imam’s deputies directly back from the Imam in his letters to them, consisting of questions and answers. And this was indeed the state of such cities.
Other companions with no ‘established sunnah’ through such back and forths with the Imams and his deputies were instructed to follow different procedures than comparing ahadith to the sunnah.
For more insight on some of these different procedures and what they were, take a look at section “BC) Neat Fiqhi System?” of my Mufaddal part 1 article which Ammar conveniently decides to ignore.
(3) The Imams do not Abrogate the Primary Law
“What is clear in the reports of the Imams is that they considered the Muhammadan canon closed and declared that no new Law will come.
Imam al-Sadiq says:
حلال محمد حلال أبدا إلى يوم القيامة، وحرامه حرام أبدا إلى يوم القيامة، لا يكون غيره ولا يجيئ غيره”
(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 64)
“On the authority of Muhammad ibn Muslim, on the authority of Abu Abdullah, peace be upon him,
I said to him (the Imam): What is the matter with people who narrate on the authority of so-and-so from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him and his family - and are not accused of lying - yet something contradictory to it comes from you?
He (the Imam) said: The hadith is abrogated just as the Qur’an is abrogated.”
العدة، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن عثمان بن عيسى، عن أبي أيوب الخزاز عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: قلت له: ما بالأقوام يروون عن فلان وفلان عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لا يتهمون بالكذب فيجيئ منكم خلافه؟ قال: إن الحديث ينسخ كما ينسخالقرآن.
Something Ammar does not understand is that the laws of Muhammad never stopped.
The reason is ahadith of the Prophet can continue to be abrogated by the Imams (as hadith above shows) is because any piece of knowledge the Imams have, any judging or reasoning comes from Allah then leaves to Rasul Allah then the Imams one by one.
That is why the Imams’ knowledge in deen is equal to the prophet, that is how they preserve his knowledge.
The message of Muhammad continued, through the being of the Imams.
Hence whatever the Imams taught is also considered sunnah, as the sunnah did not die when the Prophet died. But remained alive with the Imams.
(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 255)
“Imam al-Sadiq said:
No knowledge leaves Allah except that it is first received by Rasul Allah then Amir al-Mu’mineen, then the Imams one by one.
So that the last of us is not more knowledgeable than the first of us”
- علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن، عن بعض أصحابه، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: ليس يخرج شئمن عند الله عز وجل حتى يبدأ برسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ثم بأمير المؤمنين عليه السلام ثم بواحد بعد واحد، لكيلا يكون آخرنا أعلم منأولنا.
This being the case, if for example the Imam mandates the fast of Shaban as a Fardh to some of his companions - he absolutely has the right to do so.
Because it is as if the Prophet mandated it as fardh.
Thus the last hope of the Muqassir to somehow limit the Imams’ privileges and power by claiming that the Imam cannot order his companion to pray at a different time (for a purpose) is dashed!
If brother Ammar wishes to resolve the problems of contradictions in our corpus, he should look beyond the dhahir.
His methodology is like the methodology of someone who believes George Bush invaded Iraq to spread democracy, believing in what Bush said in the dhahir.
While foresaking the batin - where the true reasons of the invasion lay, and that it was a war for oil among other reasons.
The batin is where the truth of the Imam lays, and the batin entrusted to righteous companions and sufara’ on the likes of al-Mufaddal ibn Umar and Muhammad ibn Sinan (the sufara’ of Imams al-Sadiq and al-Jawad) respectively are where we should seek our deen.
It is nice to see brother Ammar to have an interest in early Shi’i history, but it is best for him to avoid edgy “research” which offer no hindsight nor critical examination - but only superficialities.
The madhhab has already made its mind about al-Mufaddal ibn Umar, that at least at one stage he was a believer. So Ammar dismissing Mufaddal’s ahadith entirely by claiming he was always a ghali is quite dishonest and I hope to see the brother change his ways.
May Allah bless you all