Sulaiman: After our discussion about the traditions, let me ask you another question. Is it correct that you Shias do not accept traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) related through the respected companions? Even though the Almighty Allah had chosen them for the company of His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and praised them in so many Verses of Quran for the assistance they gave to His Prophet (s.a.w.s.)? Though they were the most knowledgeable and were perfect models of character.
Ja’far: Most Certainly! The Shias respect, value and love the good believers from among the companions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s).
Usually people regard the society at the time of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) to be a perfect society. Actually the Prophet’s companions consisted of people from all walks of life. Some had weak faiths and some strong. They were not immune from errors.
Moreover, look at the historical occurrences that followed. Differences, conflicts and bloodshed occurred among the Muslims. Then how is it possible to consider all of them at par? Among them were the oppressors as well as the oppressed, the killers and the victims, among them were the religious and irreligious. How can we judge without examining their biographies and historical facts? We shall only listen to and believe in those who are reliable. Among them are such believer that are promised by Allah in the Holy Quran:
"Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity on them and rewarded them with a near victory."
(Surah Fath 48:18)
And there are hypocrites also that are criticized in the Quran:
"And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina (also); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement."
(Surah Taubah 9:101)
Among them are ones that falsely blamed the family of Prophet:
"Surely they who concocted the lie are a party from among you. Do not regard it an evil to you; nay, it is good for you. Every man of them shall have what he has earned of sin; and (as for) him who took upon himself the main part thereof, he shall have a grievous chastisement.
Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when you heard it, think well of their own people, and say: This is an evident falsehood?
Why did they not bring four witnesses of it? But as they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah.
And were it not for Allah’s grace upon you and His mercy in this world and the hereafter, a grievous chastisement would certainly have touched you on account of the discourse which you entered into."
(Surah Nur 24:12-14)
"And when they see merchandise or sport they break up for It, and leave you standing."
(Surah Jumah 62:11)
And it is mentioned in Sahih of Bukhari that the above ayat was revealed when the companions deserted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) and left him with only a few loyal escorts.
(Sahih Bukhari, English Translation, Vol. 6, Pg. 391)
And among them were those who conspired to kill him when he was returning after the Battle of Tabuk.
"They swear by Allah that they did not speak, and certainly they did speak, the word of unbelief, and disbelieved after their Islam, and they had determined upon what they have not been able to effect, and they did not find fault except because Allah and His Apostle enriched them out of His grace; therefore if they repent, it will be good for them; and if they turn back, Allah will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world and the hereafter, and they shall not have in the land any guardian or a helper."
(Surah Taubah 9:74)
And it is a fallacy to believe that being merely one of the consorts of the Messenger (s.a.w.s.) entitles one to a great honour. The erring wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) are severely criticised in the Quran. People have misused the offices of his wives to hurt the Prophet. The Holy Quran has promised chastisement to some of his wives:
"O wives of the prophet! whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy for Allah.
And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Apostle and does good, We will give to her her reward doubly, and We have prepared for her an honorable sustenance.
O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word."
(Surah Ahzab 33:30-32)
Also the whole Surah Tahrim (66th chapter of Quran) is in castigation of the erring wives of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s).
Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had prophesised the actions of some of his companions. In a tradition recorded in Bukhari he says,
"Some of the people of my Ummat will be brought and they will be taken to the left. I will say, My Lord they are my Ummat, why do You take them to Hell. I would be told You don’t know what all they did after you. Then I will say as the righteous one (Prophet Isa) said: ‘Till the time I was among them I was witness. When you raised me up You were the only One to monitor them.’ I will be told that these people had renegaded after I left them.
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Hadith No. 149)
We ask: Who were the opposing parties in the battles of Jamal, Naharwan and Siffeen? And who ordered the killing of Caliph Uthman (r.a.) and the murder of Imam Ali (a.s.). Why did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) predict that Ammar Yasir (r.a.) would be killed by a band of renegades?
Why should we respect the Companions unconditionally and maintain silence on such incidents? Is it permissible to remain quiet in the light of Quranic command that says that those who kill a believer unjustly will forever remain in Hell? So is it possible that we accept traditions from a person who according to Quran is liable for Hell? And after it has been proved that he killed another Companion intentionally?
One of the greatest scholars and writers has written a book in which he has recorded the phenomenon of 150 fabricated companions.
(Ref. One hundred and fifty Imaginary Companions by
Allamah Sayed Murtuza Askari)
Sulaiman: Then how so many false traditions have entered the corpus of Muslim hadith. What is the reason for it?
Ja’far: It’s a pitiful scenario! The Umayyads employed political intrigues just as unreliable media feeds rumours to the people. They had a single aim. To create and fabricate traditions with the help of forgers of traditions and groups of liars. They forged traditions in the name of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) by which they could derive support for their politics and strength. Thus how is it possible for us to take the Ahkaam-e-Deen (Islamic laws) from one whose sole qualification is that he was a Muslim and for some period of time had the opportunity of the Prophet’s company? Investigation is a must.
Sulaiman: Does it mean that all the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) are unreliable?
Ja’far: No, it isn’t so. As I mentioned earlier among them are the chosen ones, those who did Jehad, the helpers and those had good intentions, in spite of some minor mistakes they committed.
Sulaiman: Okay! But how is it possible to distinguish the hypocrites from the believers among the companions. Only the Almighty can know whether they believed from their hearts or not.
Ja’far: It is very easy! The Almighty Allah informed His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that no one shall love Ali (a.s.) but the believer and none shall despise him except the hypocrite. As mentioned in the traditions related by Imam Ali (a.s.), Ummul Mo’meneen Umme Salma (r.a.), Abdullah ibne Abbas, Abuzar Ghaffari. Anas ibne Malik and others. Abuzar (r.a.) says: "We did not recognise the hypocrites except from three qualities: Their denial of Allah and the Prophet, their aversion to prayers (salaat) and their hatred towards Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)."
Abi Saeed Khudri (r.a.) said: "We, the Ansars, recognised the hypocrites by their animosity towards Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)."
In a narration the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has clearly mentioned,
"O Ali, no one loves you except the believer and none hates you except the hypocrite."
(Mustadrakul Sahihain 3:729)
Sulaiman: Very good! Now tell me what is the opinion of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) regarding this matter?
Ja’far: The Holy Imams (a.s.) adopted a two-pronged strategy to prevent the spread of concocted traditions:
They publicised the liars among the narrators, refuted them and cursed them.
They urged the Muslims to accept only those traditions that passed the test on the basis of Quran, and to hurl upon the wall, the ahadith that failed that test.
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far-as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said,
"Everything returns back to the book (Quran) and Sunnah. And any hadith that is not in conformity of the Quran is false."
Therefore, scholars to the present day divide the traditions into four groups based on their authenticity.
1. Correct, 2. Good, 3. Reliable, 4. Weak.
Sulaiman: Is it sufficient excuse for the Shias to curse the companions?
Ja’far: It is necessary that we do not form our belief on the sayings of common people. In every society and in all religions and sects, there are some practices, and the actual beliefs are not based on these actions. Cursing is considered bad manners and many of Shias have given fatwa (decrees) that cursing is haraam and included it among sin and rebellion. Ali (a.s.) fought many battles, but we see that he disliked abuses; and he used to say, "I dislike that you be from the abusers." But this action, in spite of its detestability does not make anyone Kafir, except if he curses the Prophet or Imams (a.s.) as mentioned in authentic traditions.
Sulaiman: What a beautiful explanation! But how did the practice of cursing began in Islamic society?
Ja’far: It is a great pity! We see the companions themselves indulge in this habit. Some of them abused others, they used phrases like "Son of a black woman" and "O hypocrite." Officially, the first one to start the practice of cursing was Muawiya the son of Abu Sufyan. He started this custom. And we have been told that He ordered his officers and preachers to curse Imam Ali (a.s.) from the pulpits of Mosques and in the sermons of Friday prayers.
On the other hand we find that Ali (a.s.) ordered his companions not to curse the army of Muawiya during the Battle of Siffin.