Before I continue with the selected doctrines in the book; Our Belief by his holiness, Ayatollah Uzma, Makarem Shirazi, I wish to emphasise need for untiring effort for Allah’s pleasure through prayers, Qur’anic recitation and charity among others. We are still in the sacred month of Rajab in which Imam Ali (AS), the greatest of all companions was born in the holy Kaaba.
- The Shiites Imams Are Appointed By The Prophet Himself
We believe that the prophet of Islam appointed all the 12 Imams as his successors, one after the other. In Sahih Muslim (a famous Sunni reference book), we read; in a place between Mecca and Medina, which is named Ghadeer Khum, the prophet made a speech for thousands of Muslims, through which he said; I am near to leave you for good. I am leaving two heavy things among you after me; Qur’an is the first one in which you may find light and guidance; and my nearest kins are the second. I advice you all not to forget God in relation to my kins. The same tradition is also written in Sahih Tirmizi, (another famous Sunni’s reference book). The prophet added then; if you grasp the two heavy things that I leave among you; you will never go astray.”
The above mentioned incident is brought and found in so many famous Islamic books such as; Sahih Muslim, Volume 3, page 1873; Sahih Tirmizi, volume 5, page 662, Sunaan Daarimi volume 2, page 432; Khasaes Nesaie page 20; Musnad Ahmad volume 5, page 182. Therefore, no Muslim can deny this tradition which is related by successive witnesses and important writers. We rely on another famous tradition which is narrated in the Sahih Muslim and Sahih Tirmizi, Sahih Abu Dawood and other famous books that our prophet has said; “Islam will stand up to the resurrection day and until 12 Imams, all of whom are from Quraish, rule over you as my successors”. We believe that there is no acceptable commentary for such traditions as mentioned above except that belief which is found among our sect; the Shiite.
- We believe that the prophet, in several occasions, has introduced and designated Imam Ali as his successor by the decree of God, an instance of which was in the Ghadeer Khum, somewhere near Johfeh. When the prophet was returning from his last pilgrimage (HAJJ), he made a speech for a great gathering of his companions and followers, saying; “Do I not have priority over your souls? Yes, of course” They all answered. Then all of you know that’ continued the prophet, the master of whoever I am, Ali shall be his master”. Here we do not intend to go deep through reasoning to prove our ideas, we also do not intend to insist upon our assertion. We may only add here that such an important tradition is not something to be ignored easily, or changing what it means, as by taking the Master; Mowler to mean a friend particularly when we see that the prophet has put so much stress and emphasis upon the word, so as to make it known to all.
Is this not the same case that, Ibn Athir has brought in his important history book saying; “At the beginning of his prophetic mission, the prophet was ordered by God: (Qur’an 26:214) to admonish his nearest kindred. He invited some 40 men of them to a dinner, and by a miracle, he fed all of them from a single portion of food! He then made a speech and finally said to them; which of you is willing to give me a truthful hand in this divine mission of mine, and become my brother and successor among all? No one answered him there, except Imam Ali, who said; I will be your companion and minister; and the prophet pointed at Imam Ali and said; He is my brother and my successor among you. Thus, we see the prophet designated his vicegerent and Imam, from the beginning of his mission.
The same case also happened at the end of his mission when the prophet was at his death bed. He asked those who were round him to get him a pen and paper to write an order which would prevent them from going astray. One of them rejected and refused to provide pen and paper and even accused the prophet of uttering delirious speech! To repeat again, we hereby only declare our belief in brief and a little reasoning.
- None Of The Prophet’s Companions Could Excel Imam Ali
We believe that none of the prophet’s companions did, or could excel Imam Ali in any respect; and that Imam was at the highest religious position other than that of the prophets. Of course we know, it is unlawful to misrepresent the Imam by overstating him and by exaggerations. Those who prove for him the position of deity or something like that, are all heretics in our sight, as are those who undervalue him, and we are absolutely disgusted with their belief, although they might call themselves the Shiites of Imam Ali and mingle their names with ours. The leading Shiites and the orthodox have always rejected the two groups who overvalue or undervalue the Imam, and have called them and taken them as heretics.
- The Prophet’s Companions At The Court Of Wisdom And History
We believe that there were many great men of devotion and chastity among the companions of the prophet; but all of them were not so, because the holy Qur’an declares many among them as being hypocrites. There were also men who broke their allegiance with the vicegerent of God, after the prophet, and made wars and shed the blood of thousands of Muslims upon the soil. Muslims, just because they have been with the prophet or they carry the title of companion for themselves? In other words, how can we judge that both of the two parties, who made the battles of Seffain and Jamal were rightful and on the righteous path? How could both of the two groups of the combatants be honest and truthful? Some bring forth the foot of religious researches and self exegesis on the ground by saying that; surely one of the two parties was wrong and oppressive, but as they were taking their decisions by their exegesis, both parties were on righteousness in the sight of God.
This, we cannot accept easily. How could one with his own exegesis and self comprehensions break his allegiance and loyalty to the vicegerent of God, who is entitled to obedience, and create such fearful wars between Muslims, grouping them and shedding streams of their blood. With the justification that his exegesis and self researches have decreed him to do so? What else then cannot be justified by such personal comprehensions and self commentaries? Let us be more frank, that every one, even the nearest companions of the prophet, are held in pledge of their deeds and are responsible for what they have done and have to answer for it: “the most honoured of you in Allah’s sight, is he who is the most virtuous (chaste) of you” Q49:13 The above holy verse is true for all, even for the nearest companions of the prophet. We therefore have to judge them by their deeds, and we should have a reasonable definition for them all.
Those who were truthful at the presence of the apostle, at his absence too, did their best to guard the religion and to observe his commandments. They remained faithful to their covenant and respected their promises. On the other hand, those among his companions who were hypocrites and vexed him, did the same after him. Whatever they did, was against Islam and Muslims, “you shall find no believer in Allah and the last judgment to love those who oppose Allah and His apostle, even though they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their nearest kindred. Allah has inscribed the faith in their hearts and had strengthened them with a spirit of His, God will admit them to the gardens of bliss, beneath which streams flow, wherein they shall live forever. They are the party of Allah, and Allah’s party shall achieve felicity” Q58:22
We believe that those who harmed the prophet in his presence or absence do not worth admiration. Of course, we must not forget that some of the companions of the prophet showed the utmost truthfulness and sincerity with the greatest self sacrifices, and have been admired by God Himself and so were a group who followed them later: “The vanguard of Islam; the first of those who forsook their homes, and of those who gave them aid; and also those who followed them in good deeds; Well pleased is Allah with them and they with Allah. For them is prepared gardens of bliss, under which streams flow. They dwell there forever. That is the Supreme felicity” Q59:100. This was our belief in brief about the companions of our prophet.
To be continued!