The Noble Quranic Verse Which Doomed Shi’ite Concept Of Imamate.


The Noble Quranic Verse Which Doomed Shi’ite Concept Of Imamate After Muhammad(pbuh).

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

The Article consists of the following Sections:

I. Introduction.

II. The Quranic Verse Which Ruined Shi’ite Concept Of Imamate After Prophet Muhammad(SAWS).

III. What was the Shi’ite Reaction towards the verse which destroyed their Usool al-Deen?

IV. Response to a Shi’ite Objection.

 

I. Introduction.

Imamate(Imāmah) means “leadership” and is one of the fundamental belief(Usool al-Deen) in Twelver Shi’ite theology. According to Twelver Shi’ite theology,  the Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Prophet Muhammad(SAWS), these successors to Muhammad(SAWS) are divinely appointed by Allah and they are infallible human beings, who rule over the community. However, the problem with this fundamental belief(Usool al-Deen) of Imamate AFTER MUHAMMAD(SAWS) is that, it fails to find its explicit and categorical mention in the Holy Quran. What all, the Shi’ites cite in support of Imamate from Quran are verses which mention tidings about Prophets that came before Prophet Muhammad(SAWS), who were made Imams by Allah(SWT). There is no categorical address to Muslim Ummah in Quran, wherein Allah addressed & commanded them explicitly to believe in Imams after Muhammad(SAWS) or Obey Imams after Muhammad(SAWS), etc. Even though their claim was that Imamate after Prophet Muhammad(SAWS) is a fundamental belief, yet it fails to find its mention in Holy Quran.

Also, Shi’ites even try to prove the concept of Imamate in Quran by using ambiguous verses, and giving them their desired interpretations. They fail to realize that a fundamental belief(Usool al-Deen) cannot be based on ambiguous verses, especially when Allah(SWT) said in Quran{It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow (only) that which is not entirely clear thereof , seeking Al-Fitnah, and seeking its Ta’wil, but none knows its Ta’wil except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it ; all of it is from our Lord. ” And none receive admonition except men of understanding.} [Quran 3:7].

But the purpose of this article it to highlight an even bigger problem for the Shi’ites. It’s not just that the concept of Imamate after Prophet Muhammad(SAWS) is absent in Quran, rather the major problem is that a Quranic verse, destroys the concept of Imamate after Prophet Muhammad(SAWS), as we shall discover in this article. Insha Allah.

 

II. The Quranic Verse Which Ruined Shi’ite Concept Of Imamate After Prophet Muhammad(SAWS).

Here is that Quranic verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. [Quran 4:59].

(a). In this clear verse, we find that in matters of disagreement between those in authority and those under authority, we need to refer back to Allah and the Messenger. Had it been that, those in authority were infallible or divinely appointed then, Allah wouldn’t have given any scope to disagree with them.

The scope of disagreement proves that “those in authority(Ulil Amr)”, are neither an absolute nor an infallible authority. In fact, their authority is so limited that when a disagreement arises, Allah(SWT) and His Messenger(SAWS) are to be referred. But as per Twelver Shi’ites, Ulil Amr(those in authority) in this verse are their Twelve Imams, even though Sunnis strongly disagree.

(b). If “those in authority(Ulil Amr)” were divinely appointed then, Allah would have asked the believers to refer them along with Allah and Prophet in matters of disagreement.

But Allah(swt) giving the possibility of disagreement with those in authority, and asking us to refer back to Allah and Prophet is a clear evidence that those in authority(Ulil Amr) were not divinely appointed.

(c). The possibility of disagreeing with “those in authority(Ulil Amr)” shows that even obedience to “those in authority(Ulil Amr)” is conditional, unlike the obedience to Allah and His Messenger, which is unconditional. This is also proven by noticing the word “obey(أَطِيعُو)”  in the verse, as it is mentioned in front of Allah and Messenger, but not in front of the words “those in authority(Ulil Amr)”. Allah DIDN’T mention the word “Obey(أَطِيعُو)” before “Ulil Amr” for example {and obey those in authority}, rather Allah kept it merely at “and those in authority among you(Ulil Amr minkum)”, without adding the word “OBEY(أَطِيعُو)” before it, as a sign to indicate a conditional obedience. Allah could have said, {“Obey Allah, Obey the Messenger, Obey Ulil Amr”} Or  Allah could have mentioned “Obey(أَطِيعُو)” just once, as in common for the rest, such as, {Obey Allah, the Messenger and Ulil Amr}, but Allah didn’t do this, Allah mentioned the word “Obey (أَطِيعُو)” only for Allah and the Messenger not for Ulil Amr, because obedience to “those in authority(Ulil Amr)” is conditional.

Therefore, from these points we find that the Shi’ite concept of Imamate is destroyed by a Quranic verse, because as per the Quranic verse apart from Allah and Prophet(SAWS), there is no unconditional obedience to anyone, nor is anyone divinely appointed or infallible.

 

III. What was the Shi’ite Reaction towards the verse which destroyed their Usool al-Deen?

The verse was so destructive that, Shi’ites attributed reports to their Imams claiming the verse consisted some extra/additional wordings, and that is how it was revealed. On the top of that, Esteemed Shia Scholars like Baqir Majlisi went ahead to explain those reports by saying that the extra/additional wordings HAS BEEN REMOVED from Holy Quran. Thus we see, the impact of this verse on Imamate was so brutal that some Shi’ites claimed alteration(Tahreef) of this verse has occurred in order to save their fundamental belief of Imamate after Prophet Muhammad(SAWS).

Let’s see what authentic Shia reports and Shia Scholars say about this Quranic Verse destroying their fundamental belief. Notice, how they claimed that the verse had additional wording:

(a). In Al-Kafi we read:

عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ أُذَيْنَةَ عَنْ بُرَيْدِ بْنِ مُعَاوِيَةَ قَالَ تَلَا أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ ( عليه السلام ) أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَ أَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ تَنَازُعاً فِي الْأَمْرِ فَأَرْجِعُوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَ إِلَى أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ثُمَّ قَالَ كَيْفَ يَأْمُرُ بِطَاعَتِهِمْ وَ يُرَخِّصُ فِي مُنَازَعَتِهِمْ إِنَّمَا قَالَ ذَلِكَ لِلْمَأْمُورِينَ الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَ أَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ

Ali bin Ibrahim, from his father, from ibn abi `Umayr, from Umar bin Udhaynah, from Burayd bin Mu`awiyah that Abu Ja’far(AS) RECITED: {Believers, obey Allah, obey His Messenger, and those in authority among you, if ye fear that you would differ among yourselves then refer it to Allah and the messenger and those in authority among you} Then he(AS) said: “How can he order their obedience then allow you to differ with them? He only meant the ones who are under orders when he said {Obey Allah and obey the messenger}, [Al-Kafi, vol 8, page 184-185 ; #14660].

The narration was declared as “Hasan(Good)” by Baqir Al-Majlisi in his book “Mir’at al-`Uqoul”, vol 26, page 77].

(b). Similarly, We read in a Weak report in Al-Kafi:

الحسين بن محمد، عن معلى بن محمد، عن الحسن بن علي الوشاء، عن أحمد ابن عائذ، عن ابن أذينة، عن بريد العجلي قال: ” سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن قول الله عز وجل: ” إن الله يأمركم أن تؤدوا الأمانات إلى أهلها وإذا حكمتم بين الناس أن تحكموا بالعدل (4:58) ” قال: إيانا عنى، أن يؤدي الأول إلى الامام الذي بعده الكتب والعلم السلاح ” وإذا حكمتم بين الناس أن تحكموا بالعدل الذي في أيديكم، ثم قال للناس: ” يا أيها الذين آمنوا أطيعوا الله وأطيعوا الرسول وأولي الأمر منكم(4:59)” إيانا عنى خاصة، أمر جميع المؤمنين إلى يوم القيامة بطاعتنا، فإن خفتم تنازعا في أمر فردوه إلى الله وإلى الرسول وإلى اولي الامر منكم، كذا نزلت وكيف يأمرهم الله عز وجل بطاعة ولاة الامر ويرخص في منازعتهم؟! إنما قيل ذلك للمأمورين الذين قيل لهم، ” أطيعوا الله وأطيعوا الرسول وأولي الأمر منكم “(4:59)

Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad has narrated from Mu‘alla ibn Muhammad from al-Hassan ibn Ali al-Washsha’ from Ahmad ibn ‘A’idh from ibn ’Udhayna from Burayd al-‘Ijli who has said the following: “Once I asked abu Ja‘far(AS) about the words of Allah, the Majestic, the Glorious: ‘Allah commands you to return that which had been entrusted to you to the rightful owners. Be just when passing judgment among people. . . .’ (4:58) The Imam said, ‘We are intended thereby. The preceding Imam must transfer to the succeeding Imam the books, the knowledge and the Armaments. “Be just when passing judgment among people” means (judge by) what is in your possession (in the form of laws and rules). Then Allah has said to people, ‘Believers, obey Allah, His messenger, and those in authority among you. . . .’ (4:59) He has intended us thereby particularly. He has commanded all believers to the Day of Judgment to obey us saying, ‘If you fear disputes, then refer for a solution to Allah, the messenger and those in authority among you,and THIS IS HOW IT WAS REVEALED. How would Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, command them to obey the people who possess authority and then allow people to dispute them? This, (verse 59 of Chapter 4) is addressed to people who possess Divine Authority mentioned in: ‘Believers, obey Allah, His Messenger, and those in authority among you. . . .’” (4:59). [Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 276; Majlisi said: (ضعيف على المشهور)Da’eef ala Mashoor, in Miraat al uqool, vol 3, page 179].

(c). Esteemed Shia scholar Baqir Al-Majlisi states:

و ظاهر كثير من الأخبار أن قوله:” وَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ” كان مثبتا هيهنا فأسقط

It is apparent from many of the narrations that the term “and those in authority among you” was affirmed here, but was then removed. (“Mir’at al-`Uqoul”, vol 26, page 77).

(d). In the footnotes of Hayat al-Quloob(vol 3, page 165), the Shia translator Molvi Basharat Hussain states that:

“The author(Baqir Majlisi) says, Hazrat(Imam) meant that, If Ulil Amr(those in authority) is not mentioned in the end(of verse), it would be the evidence that the Ummah can disagree with them, and this is against the order of obedience towards them which is in the beginning of the verse”. (Hayat al-Quloob, vol 3, page 165).

(e). In Shia Tafseer Al-Qummi, we read:

حدثني أبي عن حماد عن حريز عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال نزلت: { فإن تنازعتم في شيء فارجعوه إلى الله والرسول وأولي الأمر منكم }

My father told me, from Hamad bin Hurayz, from Abu Abdillah(AS) that he said: “IT WAS REVEALED: { If you are in dispute over any matter refer it to Allah, His Messenger, and those in authority among you}”. [Tafseer al-Qummi, vol 1, page 207].

Therefore, We find in reliable Shia report that, Imam adds some extra words to the current Quranic verse, as He considers the current verse(4:59) to be incomplete, and then He points that the current verse allows believers to differ with Ulil Amr due to absence of the words which He had to add. So apparently the current verse of Quran(4:59) is so clear and explicit that it destroys the fundamental Shia belief from its roots, because as per the current verse of Quran(4:59) we can dispute with Ulil Amr, this is how the Imam understood and even the Shia scholars whose statements we quoted above, understood it the same way. Thus the current verse of Quran(4:59) explicitly destroys fundamental Shia belief and proves that Ulil Amr are neither divinely appointed nor infallible.

Hence, As the respected Readers can see, when a clear Quranic verse destroyed the myth of Imamate after Muhammad(SAWS), how the Shi’ites tried to manipulate the verse of Quran by claiming that, it had extra wordings.

 

IV. Response to a Shi’ite Objection.

Objection:

You should see another verse which is in the same Chapter where Allah commands to refer Ulil Amr. Allah says in the verse 83:

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

And when there comes to them news of security or fear they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the Shaitan save a few. [Quran 4:83]

Response:

(a). This verse is irrelevant to the topic of Imamate, as it neither proves infallibility nor divine authority of Ulil Amr(those in authority).

(b). The verse quoted actually back fires the Shia belief, because it says in Arabic minhum(مِنْهُمْ) =among them. The word “Minhum” at the end signifies a group out of the whole. Which implies that among “Ulil Amr” are some who would know, meaning:

{…if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it…}

If the people referred the matter to those in authority from among them, then those among THEM who can draw correct conclusions would have known it. MEANING, among those in authority are THOSE who can draw correct conclusions, therefore a group from those in authority may not necessarily draw correct conclusions. Which means not necessarily all Ulil-Amr would know how to deal with the issue. Which conflicts with infallibility.

(c). This verse is like a probability, having a conditional particle (لَوْ/if), which says, {“if they had referred it to….would have known it”}. This conditional statement is made in the context of people who had spread confidential news or rumors, and it reprimands them for their action and suggests what they should have done. It means this verse was revealed in reference to events that occurred in the past, and then it suggests people that they should have referred the Messenger and those in authority(Ulil Amr) during those events in the past. This implies that, even during those events before the verse revealed, Ulil Amr(those in authority) were present around people, so that people could refer them.

The problem that rises now is that even though Quran suggested that, people should have referred Ulil Amr(those in authority) during those events that occurred in the past, however Shias themselves claim that when one Imam is in authority then the other Imam even if present, isn’t in authority. In other words, only one Imam can be in divine authority at a time. So, if Prophet(SAWS) as an Imam(leader) was in divine authority then Ali(RA) can’t possess divine authority. Likewise, if Ali(RA) is in divine authority then Hassan(RA) and Hussain(RA) won’t be in divine authority. But Quran says that, during those events that occurred in the past, Ulil Amr(those in authority) alongside Prophet(SAWS) were present, so that people could refer them. So how could Multiple people possess divine authority at a time? During those events, only Prophet(SAWS) possessed divine authority, there cannot be anyone else alongside Prophet(SAWS) who possessed divine authority over people. Or if supposedly Ali(RA) held divine authority as one of Ulil Amr{Ulil Amr is plural not singular}, then Hasan(RA) or Hussain(RA) cannot possess divine authority alongside Ali(RA). Therefore, the only reasonable explanation left is, Ulil Amr(those in authority) mentioned in the verse were neither divinely appointed nor they possessed divine authority.

Secondly, when the verse was revealed two out of three Shia Imams alive in that time, were toddlers. Only Ali(RA) was a mature Shia Imam whom people could have referred during those events in the past. So it is preposterous to even think that Quran is suggesting people that they should have referred two Shia Imams who were toddlers during those events that occurred in past. Note that, Ulil Amr(those in authority) is a plural Noun, it isn’t singular, that is why we mentioned about the three Shia Imams who were alive when the verse was revealed.

Therefore, these points prove that Ulil Amr(those in authority) mentioned in this verse are neither divinely appointed nor infallible. Infact, they support the Sunni interpretation of Ulil Amr(those in authority) in this verse, which is that Ulil Amr were fallible people and they were neither divinely appointed nor they possessed divine authority . And this is further strengthened by the explanation in point (b).

Note: As for the evidence that Two Shia Imams were toddlers when this verse was revealed then, We read in Sahih Muslim that the verse(4:83) was revealed BEFORE the verse of Hijab(33:53) was revealed.

Abdullâh bin ‘Abbâs narrated: “Umar bin Al-Khattâb told me: ‘When the Prophet of Allah stayed away from his wives, I entered the Masjid and saw the people striking the ground with pebbles and saying: “The Messenger of Allah(SAWS) has divorced his wives.” That was BEFORE Hijâb had been enjoined upon them….I said: “O Messenger of Allah(SAWS), have you divorced them?” He said: “No.” I said: “O Messenger of Allah(SAWS), I entered the Masjid and the Muslims were striking the ground with the pebbles and saying that the Messenger of Allah(SAWS) has divorced his wives. Shall I go down and tell them that you have not divorced them?” He said: “Yes, if you wish….I stood at the door of the Masjid and called out at the top of my voice: “The Messenger of Allah has not divorced his wives, and this verse has been revealed: When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known(among the people); if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly)…(4:83)“. [Sahih Muslim, vol 4, page 147148149150151, #1479].

And the Hadeeth in Sahih Bukhari states that the verse of Hijab(33:53) was revealed when Prophet(SAWS) married Zaynab bint Jahsh(RA).

Narrated Anas: I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubai bin Ka’b used to ask me about it. Allah’s Messenger(SAWS) became the bridegroom of Zaynab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet(SAWS) invited the people to a meal. Allah’s Apostle remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Allah’s Messenger(SAWS) got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of `Aisha’s room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of `Aisha’s room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon the Prophet(SAWS) hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed(33:53). [Sahih Bukhari, vol 7, page 227, #5466].

Prophet(SAWS) married Zaynab bint Jahsh(RA) on the first of Dhu al-Qa’dah, 5th year After Hijrah. (Tareekh Tabari, vol 39, page 182) ; (English Translation of the Meaning of Al-Qur’an The Guidance for Mankind, page 468) ; (Who is Allah and His Prophet(saws) , page 58).

Therefore, the verse (4:83) was revealed BEFORE Dhu al-Qa’dah, 5 A.H.

As per Shia sources, Imam Hasan bin Ali(RA) was born in 3rd year After Hijrah. [Kitab al-Irshad, by Shaykh al-Mufeed, page 254].

Imam Hussain bin Ali(RA) was born in 4th year After Hijrah. [Kitab al-Irshad, by Shaykh al-Mufeed, page 270].

Therefore, both Shia Imams were toddlers, when the verse(4:83) was revealed.

 

May Allah Guide the truth-seeking and objective Shias towards the correct path.

Article by Ibn Ahmad al-Hindi

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