Concealing the Virtues and Greatness of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (A.S.)
In every religion, rather in every school of thought there are some principles which are considered as basic and fundamental and all the other matters are judged under them. Islam is no exception to this rule. There are some things in Islam which are final and cannot be challenged by anybody. And on the basis of these fundamental, the reliability and validity of other matter are measured. This final and ultimate word in Islam is the word of Allah i.e. the Holy Quran. Each and every word of the Qur'an is authentic. To believe in it and accept it as the 'word of Allah' is the duty of every Muslim. The Holy Qur'an is so authentic that it is also used as a scale to measure the authenticity of the traditions.
QUR'AN AND TRADITIONS :
Qur'an is the constitution of Islam. Therein the general guidelines have been mentioned. However its matter of classification of the details is the responsibility of the Holy Prophet, (s.a.w.a.). The same Qur'an has verified the authenticity and truth of each and every word of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by commanding the Muslims thus, "Whatever the Prophet gives you, take it and whatever he prohibits, refrain from it." It also asserts, "He does not say anything from his desires. He says only that which has been revealed to him." While it discusses his mastership in one place, in another place it orders his obedience. The Qur'an also argues the importance of "pen", "Book", "recitation" etc. In some places, the Ahle Kitaab (the Jews and the Christians) are condemned because inspite of knowing the truth they concealed it. Therefore the Muslims are warned that they should never conceal the truth after being aware of it.
But, we observe that in the early days of Islam, after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)'s demise, his words (called as Hadith which if reliably quoted is the main important source of Islamic teachings, the best interpretations of Qur'anic secrets, a light of guidance for the vast valley of Qur'an and the distinguishing factor between truth and falsehood ) were placed under strict vigilance and surveillance. The feeble reason cited for this horrendous act was that the book of Allah is sufficient for us.
Three close companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) viz. Ibn Mas'ood, Abu Dardaa and Abu Mas'ood Ansari were arrested for the unforgivable crime of narrating Prophetic traditions.
(Dhahabi, Tazkertul Huffaz, vol. 7, page 1).
Thus, by imposing severe restrictions on the narration of traditions, fifty percent of the Islamic treasure-chest of knowledge was rendered stagnant. It also meant the arrest of Qur'anic understanding because to comprehend the concepts of Qur'an, traditions are very necessary. Therefore, words of any roadside person were utilized to understand Qur'an instead of the fountain head of divine revelation. Resultantly, neo Muslim Jews like "Ka'b-ul-Ahya' turned into interpreters of Qur'an and you know, what the outcome can be.
The effect of these restrictions was that though Qur'an was preserved from the contaminated hands of distortion, yet its concepts and meanings underwent a sea-change. Therefore, the Qur'an which came into existence to destroy tyranny and oppression became a refuge for tyrants and oppressors. Even today, Qur'anic meanings and concepts are used to justify oppression by many of the so-called Muslims. After ninety years, when the permission to narrate traditions was finally granted, any statement which was preceded by the words, "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said or "I heard the Messenger of Allah saying" was considered as a tradition.
CONCEALMENT OF TRUTH :
The obliteration of traditions had a profound effect on Qur'anic understanding and no doubt, the people most affected by these restrictions were the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)'s progeny. Those traditions which contained the glorifications of the Ahle-Bait were either erased or were forced to be erased from the people's memories. May be this was one of the ploys used to keep away the new Muslims from the importance of Ahle-Bait so that they may not reach the actual fountain head of guidance. Yes, its the Ahle-Bait who are the light-house of guidance and attachment with them is the guarantee for our security, but traditions which glorified them were concealed and Qur'anic verses about them were interpreted wrongly.
Once, Zamakhshari, the great Sunni Qur'anic interpreter was asked about Hazrat Ali (a.s.). He answered : "What can I say about a man whose virtues were hidden by enemies due to jealousy and by friends due to fear (of repressions). Yet, both the worlds are overflowing with the stories of his excellence." God knows what grudge the people had against them. Those who could torture them physically, did so to their full potential while those who lagged behind in this regard, vomited their malice by hiding their virtues through distortion. Here under we produce evidences from books which have been openly and shamelessly distorted. Those things which were found in the first edition were missing in the next. And the funniest part of this whole exercise is that in today's modern world, such distortion is disguised in the name of "research". We start from Dhul-Asheera:
DISTORTION IN THE INCIDENT OF YAUM - AL - DAR
Ibn Katheeer in his book 'Al-Bidayah Wan Nihaya’, vol. 3 page 40, while narrating the incident of Dhul Asheera, writes that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has said : "Then whosoever amongst you will help me, he will be my brother, and so on and so forth..." By saying "so on and so forth", he has wrapped up the whole issue while the truth is actually hidden in this "so on and so forth'. He has narrated this incident in a similar fashion in his Tafseer in vol 3, page 301, but, it is said, that distorters have a very weak memory. Hence, Ibn Katheer forgot that his reference book, i.e. Mohammad Ibn Jurair Tabari's Taarikh, contains the original words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which were as follows: "So whosoever amongst you will help me, he will be my brother and my successor and my caliph among you."
(Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol 2, page 217).
You see the original words are distorted in the process of narration. Distortion was not the only thing in the initial days of Islam but even today Sunni writers indulge in it, quite a bit.
HAIKAL AND HIS DISTORTION:
The great Sunni Egyptian scholar, Mohammad Husayn Haikal, has written a book called, "The Life of Mohammad." This book was first published in Egypt in the form of a series of articles in a newspaper called "As-Siyaasat-ul-Osboo' eeyah". Then it was published in book form. In both these places, the incident of Dhul-Asheera has been discussed in detail and the words of 'Successor' and 'Caliph' too has been used. When Haikal narrated the incident with these words, he was accused of being a Shia. Haikal answered this accusation by saying that he inserted this incident not because the Shias quote it but because history witnesses it.
THE MINISTRY OF TRUSTS (AWQAAF):
But when the second edition of this book was published and printed, the words "Successor" and 'Caliph' were missing.
How did this glaring distortion occur? It is said that when the second edition was about to be printed, the ministry of trusts expressed its desire to purchase one thousand copies of the book. But, on a condition and that was only if the incidents concerning the caliphate of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) were withdrawn. Haikal accepted the condition. The book was distorted and later purchased by the government. We don't know how many authors have been purchased by various governments and how many books distorted.
DISTORTION IN THE WAR OF BADR :
The battle of Badr is of great significance in Islam and its martyrs are held in great esteem. But the events of this great battle too were not protected from the malicious hands of historians. Those things which according to Ibn Hisham and Tabari are "pleasant things", has been interpreted in a totally different way by Waqedi and Mofreezi. We relate both the incidents here under which has been described by Ibn Hisham and Tabari as follows :-
Prior to the commencement of the war of Badr the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) consulted his companions and made them aware of the Qurayshites designs. At this juncture, Abu Bakr stood up and said some pleasant things. The next was Umar Ibn Khattab who also stood up and said same pleasant things. (But what were those "pleasant things" which they said is not yet known). Then Miqdad got up and said: "O Messenger of Allah, you go ahead, we are with you. By Allah, we will not say those things which were said by the Bani Israel to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.). (i.e. "You and your Lord both go and fight while we are sitting over here"). We say to you, that you and your Lord go ahead, we will fight along with you." On hearing this, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed in his favour. Then, Saad Bin Maaz said: "O Messenger of Allah, you go ahead and execute your plans, we are with you. I swear by the Lord who has raised you (as a Prophet), even if you transcend the seven seas along with us, we will not turn back." The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was very pleased at Sa'ad's remark.
(Seerah Ibn Hisham, vol. 2, page 253)
In both the books, the monologues of Saad Bin Maaz and Miqdad Bin Umar and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)'s reaction to it are found. But the conversations of the great Sahaba are entirely omitted.
In Sahih Muslim, we find: "When Abu Bakr said something, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) turned his face away. Also, when Umar said something, then again he turned his face away."
(Sahih Muslim, Kitaabul Jihad was Sair, Battle of Badr).
But "Waaqedi" and "Mofreezi" have narrated this conversation thus: "Umar said, "0 Messenger of Allah! They are Qurayshites and respectable nobles. By God, they have never been disgraced after gaining prestige and have never disbelieved after burying faith, against you till their last breath. Therefore, you be well prepared."
(Magaazi-e-Waaqedi, vol. 1, page 74, 75)
So its clear how events are first omitted, then distorted. Turning away is "pleasant" and "best" things, One can judge the expression of Abu Bakr with that of Umar because on both the occasions, Tabari and Ibn Hisham have used the word "Ahsan (best)" while Muslim has used the term "turning away". But Bukhari crosses his limits when he omits the entire incident altogether.
(Ma'alemul Madrasatain, vol. l, page 246).
DISCOUNTING THE ENTIRE EPISODE:
There was some exchange of correspondence between Moawiya and Mohammad bin Abu Bakr. These letters can be found in Nasar Bin Muzahim's (d. 212 A.H.) book, "Waaqeatius-Siffin and Mas'oodi's (d. 324 A.H.) "Murujuz Zahab". But in Tarikh Tabari (d. 324 A.H.) and Ibn Atheer's al-Kamil. (d. 630 A.H.) which have been written afterwards there is not a sniff of these letters because they thought that these letters were not appropriate for the position of the caliphs. Thus, you see how many attempts are made to conceal the facts.
DISTORTION IN INTERPRETATION:
It is a certain fact for everyone that the Qur'anic verse "Today I have perfected your religion for you..." was revealed on the day of Ghadeer which is elaborately discussed in Taarikh-e-Yaqubi, vol. 2, page 37, printed in Najaf in 1357 A. H. Thus, "As per the clear and authentic traditions, this verse was revealed on the day of Ghadeer after the announcement of Hazrat Ali (a.s)'s mastership." But when the same book is published in Beirut by Dar-e-Saadir in 1379 A.H. / 1960 A.D., it was distorted thus, "This verse was revealed when Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was returning from Mina."
DISTORTION IN HAZRAT ALI (A.S.)'S WORDS:
Well, till now we have discussed about distortion in other's books but what can one say when Nahjul Balagha, the collection of Hazrat Ali (a.s.)'s words, is distorted and tampered with. For example in Nahjul Balagha by Shaikh Mohammad Abdoh, vol.3, page 43 by Darul Marefa, Nahjul Balagha of Sub'hi Saleh, page 502, Sharh-Ibne-e-Qayyim, vol. 5, page 341, all of them write :" It is surprising that how caliphate can be based on companionship and relationship (with the Prophet)," while the actual tradition is found in Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid-e-Motazeli, vol. 18 last page like this : - "It is surprised how Caliphate is based only on companionship (with the Prophet) and not on companionship and close relationship with him." The distortion of a single word can make a world of a difference to the meaning of the sentence. According to Khateeb Abduz-Zahra, all the original writings of Nahjul Balagha are mentioned in Ibn Abil Hadid's version.
TAMPERING WITH BELIEFS :
Al-Nasafi's Sharh-ul-Aqaaed is very authentic book on the beliefs of the Ahle Sunnah. Taftazaani, in his book "Sharh-e-Maqaasid", vol. 2, page 275, while mentioning the concept and meaning of the Qur'anic verse, "Obey Allah and Obey His Messenger and those who are charged' affaires amongst you," quotes a hadith by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), as : "Whosever dies without recognizing the Imam of his time, dies the death of ignorance."
This same tradition was copied in Taftazani's Sharh-al-Aqaed un Nasafi, Printed in 1302, A.H. But when the same book was reprinted in 1313 A.H., those seven pages which discussed this tradition were completely omitted.
(Deraast-un-wa-Bohooth, Jafar Murtuza vol. 1, page 12).
Now can this be called as trustworthiness?
DISTORTION IN AS-SAWAAEQ:
'As-Sawaaeq Al-Muhreqah' is the famous book of renowed Sunni scholar Ibn Hajar Makki. The basic aim of this book is to condemn Shiasm. Unfortunately for Sunnism, he had to inevitably include traditions of Ahle Bait's excellences which were later erased by the so-called "researchers" to gain a "Pass" certificate from the king's court. But may Allah send his blessings on and amply reward Allama Sayed Tayyeb Jazaaeri who tallied the 1312 A.H. and 1385 A.M. editions of "As-Sawaaeq' and pin-pointed the places in which distortions occurred. Here, we mention only a few examples to show which traditions were omitted from which pages.
Page 74 : "Ali's remembrance is worship".
Page 76: Tabarani mentions that there are 18 virtues of Ali (a.s.) which are not found in anybody in this Islamic community.
Page 87 : The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was asked as to how to send blessings on your Ahle Bait (a.s.). He (s.a.w.a.) replied Say "O Allah send your blessings on Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.)."
For detailed discussions on distorted books, many other books, are available. They cannot fit into a concise essay. Those who wish to go into the details, can refer to the following books: Al-Ghadeer vols. 1, 2, 4, 6, 10..., Darasaat-un-Bohooth Fil Tarikh wal Islam by Jafar Murtuza, vol, 1, Ma-alimul Madrasatain by Allama Murtuza Al-Askari, vol. 1,
NARRATION OF VIRTUES AND MARTYRDOM:
It will, not be inappropriate to mention here, at the end of our discussion, that those who refused to conceal or distort the virtues of Ahle Bait (a.s.) were martyred by the governments of the time, Featuring prominently in this list are Meesam Tammar, Rushaid Hujari, Ibn-us-Sekkit, etc. We quote in this context, Imam-e-Nisaai, the great Sunni traditionalist whose book Sunan-e-Nisaai is one of the most important books in the Sihaah-e-Sitta. (the Six Sunni authentic books)
DEATH FOR REFUSAL TO FABRICATE TRADITIONS:
Imam Nisaai used to maintain his individuality in the field of traditions. He resided in Egypt and fasted on alternate days. He participated in a war with the king of Egypt but stayed away from his luxuries and extravagancies. In the last few years, he went for Hajj. On his return, he stayed back in Syria and wrote a book "Al-Khasaaes Fi Fazael-e-Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) wa Ahle Bait (a.s.)," narrating most of the traditions from Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. He writes: "On reaching Damascus (capital of Syria), I observed that the masses are unaware of Hazrat Ali (a.s.)'s virtues. Therefore, I decided to write the book "Al-Khasaaes", so that the people may be guided by the Almighty. I was asked as to why did I not write anything about Moaviya's excellences. I answered: What can I write about him except the hadith which says, "O Allah! Never fill his stomach", on hearing this, the questioner was stunned and silent."
As a result, Nisaai was beaten up very badly and thrown out of the mosque. In Hafiz Abu Noaim's opinion, he died due to this beating. As Dar Qutni, "He was examined in Damascus and there was he martyred."
(Tazkeratul Huffaz, by Zahabi, vol. 1, page 198, Wafyaatul Aayaan of Ibn Khalkan, vol. 1, page 59, Ma'alimul Madrasatain, vol. 1, page 259, 260).
So you saw how a great and highly learned scholar like Nisaai was killed for the heinous crime of writing the virtues of Ali and Ahle Bait (a.s.). As far as narrating Moaviya's excellences and virtues is concerned, what can the poor traditionalist do if there is no reliable tradition available in that regard, And this incident can also be used as a scare to measure the validity of narrations in Moaviya's and Bani Umayya's favor.
May Allay keep us attached to the pure Ahle Bait till our last breath and honor us with martyrdom for propagating their message.