Sunday, September 6, 2009

Have Sunnis Failed to Recognize the Imam of the Time ?

Before coming to the question the first thought that comes to our mind is what is an Imam ? For the 12r shias an imam is one who is divinely appointed to handle both spiritual affairs and political affairs of the ummah. On top of that, the number of the imams who are given this responsibility accounts to a dozen men. Today, the imam of the time according to 12rs is the Mahdi who gone into a spiritual realm, and he is waiting for Allah's (swt) permission to return. This concept is a shia belief, and it doesn't apply for any sunni. On the contrary, the conflict arises when the 12r shia claims to bring proof from the sunni sources or books. For the recognition of the imam the 12r shia usually quotes the following hadiths.

Sahih Muslim Book 020, Number 4555:

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: One who defected from obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims-if he died in that state-would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (i.e. would not die as a Muslim)

Also in Musnad Ahmad, volume 4, page 96.
حدثنا أسود بن عامر، أخبرنا أبو بكر، عن عاصم، عن أبي صالح، عن معاوية، قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من مات بغير إمام مات ميتة جاهلية‏.

He who dies without recognizing the Imam, dies the death of Jahiliyyah

Now I have even seem some shias even add Mahdi in parentheses after the word imam, just to prove their point. The problem with this quotation is that the 12r shias use these hadith, but they are unable to prove how the Mahdi is the imam of the time, and top of that they are unable to prove the Mahdi existence through mutawir hadith. When you ask the 12rs shias to provide proof they will quote some sufi books where the sufis acknowledge that they have met the 12th imam or where they accepted that he is alive.
Among the renown sufis who are quoted are Sheikh Abdul Wahab Sheikh Sharani (ra) and Ibn Arabi (ra). However, what the 12r shias fail to realize is that the majority of the sunnis are not sufis. On top of that the sufis beliefs are not binding on the sunni madhab. Therefore, to provide proof the 12rs need mutawir hadith. Apart from this there are some other questions which the 12rs have failed to answer as well. They are unable to prove that the 12th imam exist or how he is actually the imam of the time. When you ask them to prove he exist they quote Quran saying that Prophet Nuh (as) lived for 1350 years so how it is not possible for Mahdi to exist? As sunnis nobody is denying that this is possible. However, how do we actually know if the Mahdi is physically alive and guiding us at the same time ? If I have a question regarding Islam how come the imam of the time isn't there to answer me ?
I've went to a couple sites and here is how the 12r shia responded.

Where is he now and what should we do in his absence?
He is alive and in occultation and will reappear whenever Allah wants.We should obey those scholars who obey 12 Imams, teach their knowledge and follow their instructions.
Is is ok if we don't obey the IMAM of our time and live according to some other leaders?
No,It is not ok. If we don't accept IMAM Mahdi (pbuh) as Imam of our time, our submission to God wont be accepted.Our deeds wont be acceped by God.Because those who don't accept the Imams are like those who don't accept God or the Prophet.

Now here its tells us that we should follow shia scholars while the Mahdi is in gaib. On the contrary, shia scholars are fallible and they are not part of the ahlul bayt according to shia standards. In reality while the Mahdi is gone into gaib its not really possible to follow except through a philosophical belief.

Also, what surprises me is the sunni believe that the imam of the time are the scholars, but 12rs say this is wrong. However, at the same time they encourage sunnis to follow their scholars while their imams are in gaib. Among the shia narrations I also came across this hadith from the 12r imami books.

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Yunus ibn Muskan from abu Basir from one of them (Imams (a.s.), who has said the following

"Allah does not leave the earth without a 'Alim (scholar). Without this the truth would not be distinguished from falsehood." (Al-Kafi H 431, Ch. 5, h 4)

The shia can say that the alim is the imam. However, while the 12th Imam is gaib, their alims are the majra who collect khums from the 12rs to teach them about deen and provide other religious services. The duty of an Imam is to provide us with affair regarding deen. The below hadith from the shia books states this.

Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Ali ibn al-Hakam from Rabi' ibn Muhammad al-Musalliy from 'Abdallah ibn Sulayman al- 'Amiriy from abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) who has said the following.

"The earth has never been without a person with Divine authority who would teach people about the lawful and unlawful matters and call them to the path of Allah." (Al-Kafi H 430, Ch. 5, h 3 )

From the above hadith a few questions should be answered.

How is 12th Imam is guiding us right now? How can you recognize an Imam without even meeting him ? How is the 12th Imam teaching us what is lawful and what is unlawful ?

Since, the Sunni has failed to recognize the Imam is alive then he/she is automatically a kaffir ? If this is case then what about the existence of Prophet Isa (as). Why did the 12rs most esteemed shia scholar Shaykh Saduq deny that Prophe Isa (as) was alive ? Isn't this a type of a double standard ?

Shaykh Saduq's book of I`tiqad writes:

"Our opponents (the Sunnites) have related that when the Mahdi, on whom be peace, will appear, Jesus, son of Mary, on whom he peace, will descend upon the earth and pray behind the Mahdi. Now the descent of Jesus to the earth is his return to the world after death, because Allah the Glorious and Mighty says: "Verily I will cause thee to die, and will take thee up to myself" [3, 48]."

Proof From The Qur'aan On The Descent Of 'Eesa ('Alaihi Salaam)
There are two verses of the Qur'aan on this matter. One in which Allah Most High says “There is
none of the People of the Book except who must believe in him before his death.”(Q. An-Nisaa 4:159) On this IbnAbbaas (radiallahu anhu) has said: “Before the death of 'Eesa ibn Maryam ('alaihi salaam).” As related by
Ibn Jareer with a authentic chain. Al Haakim related in Al-Mustadrak from Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu anhu) regarding this verse that he said, “The appearance of 'Eesa ibn Maryam.” Al-Haakim has said this report is authentic according to the criterion of the two shaykhs (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) and supported by Adh-Dhahabi in At-Talkhees.
Abu Bakr Al-Aajurri relates in his book Ash-Sharee'ah from Ibn Abbaas on this verse as having said: “It means that a group from the People of the Book will recognize ‘Eesa upon his appearance and by that believe in him.” Ibn Mardawiyyah reports that Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) has made statements similar to that of Ibn Abbaas about this verse and this statement is the correct explanation of the verse. It was considered so by Ibn Jareer (At-Tabaree) as well as Ibn Katheer. It is also supported by Abu Maalik, Al-Hasan, Qataadah, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Zaid ibn Aslam and others. Al-Hasan said: “By Allah he is alive now in the presence of Allah, but when he descends they will all believe in him.” Narrated by Ibn Jareer.
As far as what else has been said by the commentators that the pronoun in the verse "...before his death”(Q. An-Nisaa 4:159) is in reference to the person Jew or Christian - there is no contradiction of what has been presented before in that though they may believe at their time of passing that 'Eesa ('alaihi salaam) is a slave of Allah and His Messenger, his belief will be at that time of no use. Whereas those who believe in him after his descent at the end of time their belief shall in fact benefit them and Allah knows best.
In the second verse Allah Most High says “wa innahu la 'ilmun lis-saa'ah”,(Q. Az-Zukhruf 43:61) and in the recitation of Ibn Abbaas, Abu Hurairah, Qataadah and Al-A'maash “wa innahu la 'alamun lis-saa'ah”, that is, an indication and a sign of the nearness of the Final Hour. Ibn Abbaas, in explaining this verse said “It is the coming of 'Eesa ibn Maryam before the day of Resurrection” as related by Imaam Ahmad, Sa’eed ibn Mansour, ‘Abd ibn Hameed, Ibn Abi Haatim, At-Tabaraani, Al-Haakim in Al-Mustadrak; he and Adh- Dhahabi both call it authentic.
Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh and Al-Haakim relate in a hadeeth of Ibn 'Abbaas (radiallahu anhu) from the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) on this verse "And verily he is a sign of the Hour” that he said “The descent of 'Eesa ibn Maryam before the Day of Resurrection”. Reported as authentic by AI-Haakim and Adh-Dhahabi. Similar sayings to that of 'Ibn Abbaas’ have also been related by Abu Hurairah, Mujaahid, Al-Hasan, Qataadah, Abu 'Aaliyyah, Abu Malik, 'Ikrimah, and Ad-Dahhaak. With all that has been presented through Qur'aanic verses and confirmed ahadeeth from the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) concerning the descent of 'Eesa ibn Maryam ('alaihi salaam) at the end of time; along with the statements of Ibn 'Abbaas, Abu Hurairah and others from amongst the salaf on the tafseer of the verses from Soorah An-Nisaa and Az-Zukhruf; one must know that the descent of 'Eesa ('alaihi salaam) is true and the truth is never incompatible with Islam. Whoever claims that his ('alaihi salaam) descent is incompatible with Islam is of those whose Islam is doubtful because he has not fulfilled his declaration that Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allah. It is
necessary for its fulfillment to absolutely affirm all that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) has informed us about regarding matters of the unseen that have passed and that shall occur in the

Now 12rs can say that Shaykh Saduq isn't infallible and that he is capable of making a mistake. If this is the case which shia scholar is infallible ? Also, why are sunnis in fault for denying the existence of the Mahdi, which Shaykh Saduq denied the correct interpretation of the Quran regarding Prophet Isa (as) life ? Personally, I don't have a problem with the 12r shia belief of the Mahdi because many sufi have declared that he is alive. However, what I hate about all this is the way 12rs attack sunnis for not agreeing with them. Also the attitude from sunnis toward shias is likewise. Why can't we Muslims just focus on how we can get closer to Allah (swt) ? After all this is main goal of deen. Also, in my older posts I quoted Ayatollah Fadlallah for a certain point. A 12rs shia responded by saying Fadlallah is heretic. What give a shia a right to say this ? Does he have ilm-e-gaib ? The issue the 12rs have with Fadlallah is that he substantiates proof from text and derives what he believes in authentic. Sometimes this proof goes against what many 12rs believe in. Therefore, the 12r shias lash out at Ayatollah Fadlallah for being a heretic. From I can conclude about this substantiating proof from text is better than depending on dream narrations. I've listened to a few shia scholars on youtube and many times while they are lecturing they mention a few dream narrations.

Here is an example below.

With these example the 12rs are encouraged that the marjas they are following are the representatives of the Mahdi or Ahlul Bayt, and to follow them is equal to following the Ahlul Bayt. However, for me using dream narration is fluid. To prove a point one must use authentication narrations. I have seen many dream narrations coming out of sufis too. However, those narrations are also not binding on my belief. Therefore, if I disagree with a dream narration, there is no effect on my level of imaan (faith). Another case is there are other shia scholars who have given there experiences of meeting the Mahdi. Again this is not solid evidence. If one denies such evidence he/she does not go outside the fold of Islam or even become deviant.

May Allah Guide us Toward the Correct Path !!

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