As for those who strive in Us,
We surely guide them to Our paths (Quran)
A man shouted: Mohammad has been killed. Muslims retreated and the enemies pursued them.
The companions fled away!
In a famous narration that is mentioned in Al-Mustadrak, which is a Sunni Muslim Hadith book (i.e. a book contains are narrations about the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his progeny) compiled by al-Hakim al-Nisaburi, who mentioned that all of its Hadiths are authentic according to the conditions of either Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim or both, we read as narrated by 'Aisha that:
“Abu Bakr said: When people left the Messenger of Allah on the day of Ohod I was the first one to come back to the Messenger of Allah ...” (Al-Hakim, 393 AH: 1002–1003 CE).
So, who remained with the prophet on that difficult day? It was Ali..Peace be upon him. We read in the same source, that we just mentioned that Ibn Abbas said:
“He [Ali] was the one who stayed with him (i.e. the prophet peace be upon him and his progeny) at the Battle on the day of Al- Mihras [the Battle of Ohod, where there is gathered water called Al-Mihras ] ...” (Al-Hakim, 393 AH: 1002–1003 CE).
After the mentioned flee of the companions, Allah revealed to his messenger the following verse:
“Mohammed is but a Messenger, Messengers have passed away before him. What if he die or is killed, will you turn back on your heels? He who turns back upon his heels does no harm to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful” (Holy Quran, 3:144).
More than one of the prominent shia Muslim Quranic Interpretation books (exegesis) have quoted Imam Ali’s Sermon of Wasila when they interpret this mentioned verse (e.g. al-Safi fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, Kanz al-Daqa'iq).
Understandably, the dissemination of the knowledge and the explanations of the views of AhlulByt, the prophet’s progeny peace be upon them can only serve the unity of the Mulim Ummah, and the proximity among the followers of the Abrahamic religions, however after writing this lecture, I decided that I will not read the full quotation of the Waseela sermon by imam Ali, in order to make sure that my intention to cite this sermon in the first place will not be misunderstood. I’ll only read the first few lines of the quotation:Imam Ali peace be upon him has mentioned the following in that sermon:
“Until when Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, has called his prophet and raised him toward himself, it was only as short a time after his death, as that taken by a drowsy person to nod his head, or as that taken by a flash of lightning, till they turned back on their heels, moved backward, demanded blood revenge (i.e. for their pagans relatives killed fighting the Muslims during the prophet’s life), showed battalions, sealed the door, destroyed the homes, changed the heritage of the Messenger of Allah, turned away from his rules, went far away from his lights, replaced his chosen vicegerent with an alternative, they chose him, and became wrong-doers, and claimed that the one who they have chosen from the family of Abu-Quhafa (i.e; the first Caliph) has more claim to the position of the Messenger of Allah (peace be him and his family) than the one who was chosen by the Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny) for his position.”
In light what was read of the sermon, it’s understandable to see that the founder of the major seminary of Al-Najaf explaining in his book (al-Tibyan) that the interrogative form is used in the verse mentioned above, to express condemnation.
Elaborating on the nature of this turning back, is beyond the scope of this lecture. Also, As for the Sunni view in relation to this verse, whatever it may be, it must be in conformance with the general rule that is stated in a Hadith by the prophet in their most authentic book after the Qur'an, Al Bukhari. This hadith is:
“My Companions are like the stars; whichever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided.”
So there is no option, but to choose between these two views. The described turning back view, and the era of the stars view. This lecture introduces some of Ahlulbayt’s (allah’s peace be upon them) teachings that prove their view…The turning back after the prophet in the manner described by Alwaseela sermon quoted earlier.
Before moving forward, I’d like to make the following notion:There is a view that most religions begin with simple teachings, and thereafter gradually grow in complexity. Within this arena, I’d like to give an example about how AhlulBayt (peace be upon them) explain complex ideas in simple ways.
The example is about a famous story involving Imam Ali solving a mathematical problem and explaining it in a very simple way. The outstanding Shia Muslim scholar Sheikh Jafffar Al Naqdi, stated this story in his book “Al Anwar Al Alawiyya (which is translated as the Alawi Lights), where he started telling this story by saying that “it was narrated that three men scuffled over seventeen camels owned by them jointly”. I don’t want to turn this lecture into a math class, so let’s see how the story is explained in a publication titled Federation Samachar, published by the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheriv Associations of Africa. It’s explained as follows:
Imam Ali was asked to divide the 17 camels in such a way, that one person gets half of them, the second one gets 1/3rd of the total and the third one gets 1/9th of the total number of the camels. Ali (A.S.) said: I will lend one of my camels to the total which makes it 18 (17+1=18).
He then gave the first man 1/2 of the 18 camels, which is= 9,The second man, 1/3 of the 18 camels, which is = 6,And the third one 1/9 of the 18 camels, which is one third of the 6, which is = 2. Now the total number of the distributed camels are = 17
Then Imam Ali (A.S.) said, “Now I will take my camel back.”
It’s appropriate at this point to mention a famous saying of the prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) about imam Ali (Peace be upon him). In his book Taweel al Ayat al Dhahira, the prominent shia scholar Sayed Sharaf al-Din Astrabadi worded this narration as follows:
“O Ali, none knew Allah, but me and you. And none knew me, but Allah and you. And none knew you but Allah and me.
Returning to the main topic of this lecture, we state a narration by imam Baqir (peace be upon him), the fifth Shia Muslim imam, and relate it to the turning Back after the death of the prophet.
In Al-Kafi, the well know Shī'ah hadīth collection, compiled by Al Sheikh Al Kulayni, the author narrated from Zurarah, who is a devoted follower and companion of the Holy Imams that:
Imam Baqir (peace be upon him) was Asked by Hamran:
May Allah make me a sacrifice for you! If you tell us about when this matter will happen, so that this will bring happiness to us?
(The question is about the appearance of Imam Mahdi - may Allah hasten his return).
In part of his reply, the imam (a.s.) offered the following parable:
The parable was about a man who was one of the scholars, and had a son who was not interested in the knowledge of his father and was used not to ask him about anything.
The man had also a neighbour who used to come to him, ask him and gain from his knowledge.
Death has approached the man, so he called his son and said:My son, you have been uninterested in what is with me [of knowledge], and your desire for it was low, and you used not to ask me about anything.
And I have a neighbour who used to come to me, ask me, take from me, learn and memorize from me.So if you need anything just go to him and ask him. He then introduced the neighbour to his son.Subsequently, the man has died, and his son remained.
After that, the King of that time saw a vision, he asked about the man [the scholar], and was told that he has died.
The King said: Did he leave a son?
He was told yes, he left a son.
The King said: Bring him to me. And it was sent to him to attend to the King.
So the young man thought: By Allah, I don’t know why the King is calling for me, and I have no knowledge, and if he will ask me something, I’ll be ashamed.
At that time, he remembered what his father had advised him, so he went to the man who used to take knowledge from his father, and said to him:The king had called for me to ask me, and I do not know why he had called for me, and my father had had told me to attend you if I need something.
The man said: But I know why he had called for you, so if I would tell you, then whatever Allah brings out [of gain] to you, it’s divided between me and you.
The young man said: Yes [agreed], and the man ask him to swear and promise to fulfill [this pledge]. So the boy promised, and at that time the man said: He wants to ask you about a vision that he had saw; about “which time is this?” You say to him: this is the time of the wolf.
So the boy attended the King who said to him: Do you know why I called for you?
He said: you called for me; wanting to ask me about a vision that you had saw; “which time is this?”
The King told him: You are right. So tell me “which time is this?” .
He said: “The time of the wolf”. So he ordered him an award.
The boy went to his house and refused to fulfill his promise to his companion [the neighbour] and said [to himself]: This money may never be parted from me, and I may not consume it all, till I die. And I may not need [the neighbour] and may not be asked about something similar to this thing that I have been asked about. So he stayed as much as Allah willed.
Later on, the king saw a vision, and sent to the boy to attend. So, the boy regretted what he has done, and said: By Allah, I have no knowledge to bring him with. And I don’t know how to deal with my companion (the neighbour), seeing that I have betrayed him, and did not fulfil my promise to him. Then he said: I'll go to him anyway, and I'll apologize to him, and swear to him, that he may believe me.So the boy attended the man and told him: I have done what [you know that] I have done. And [I] did not fulfil to you what was [agreed] between me and you. And what was in my hands [of money] was dispersed. And I needed you, so I ask you by Allah not to abandon me. And I promise you that whatever [gain] will come out to me, will be divided between me and you. And the king had called for me, and I do not know why he had called for me, and I don’t know about what will he ask me.
The man said: He wants to ask you about a vision that he had saw; about “which time is this?” You say to him: this is the time of the ram.
So the boy attended the King who said to him: why I called for you? He said: you had saw a vision and you want to ask me: “which time is this?”
The King told him: You are right. So tell me “which time is this?”
He said: “The time of the ram”. So he ordered him an award. The boy received the award and returned to his home. He contemplated his choices of whether to fulfill his promise to his companion or not. [He was hesitated]. At one point, he decided to do so. And at another he decided not to do so. Then he said I may never need him [the neighbour] after this time. And his ultimate opinion was as he had done before of treachery and unfulfilled promises. So he stayed as much as Allah willed
Later on, the king saw a vision, and sent to the boy to attend. So, the boy regretted what he has done toward his companion, and said:After committing treachery twice against him, what can I do, while I have no knowledge? Then, his ultimate opinion was to attend the man. So he attended him and asked him by Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted to teach him, and told him that this time he will fulfill [his promises] to him. And he promised him and said: do not abandon me in this situation, as I will never turn to treachery again and will fulfill [my obligations] toward you.
So the man accepted his promises and said: He is inviting you to ask you about a vision that he saw; about “which time is this?” When he asks you, you say to him: this is the time of the scale.
Then Imam (peace be upon him) said that the boy has attended the King who asked him:[Do you know] why I called for you?
He replied: you had saw a vision and you want to ask me: “which time is this?”
The King told him: You are right. So tell me “which time is this?” .
He said: “The time of the scale”. So he ordered him an award. The boy received the award and went immediately with it to the man. He placed it between his hands and said: I have brought you what came out to me [of gain], so be my partner by dividing it between me and you.
The scholar replied to him: The first time was the time of the wolf and you were among the wolves. The second time was the time of the ram, it always [reaches the point of] about to do [the things], but does not do [them]. You also were about to do [the things], but don’t fulfill [your promises]; [i.e. don’t do them]. And this time is the time of the scale, and you acted in it based on the fulfilment of your promises. So, you hold your money, I have no need of it. And he returned it back to him.
In conclusion , based on the above elaborated reasoning, Ancient Arabs readiness to accept Islam and to continue to live according to its rules after the death of the prophet (Peace be upon him and his progeny), is tightly related to their pre-Islamic culture, heritage, and Social Attitudes. The Holy Quran gives some pictures of the Arabs life before Islam, where as an example we read:
“And when one of them is given the good tidings of the birth of a female, his face lingers blackened, and he is wroth inwardly. He hides himself from the people, because of the evil of what he has had tidings of, (asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt, or bury it beneath the dust. Verily evil is their judgment” (Holy Quran 16:58-59).
Besides the mentioned reasoning that supports Ahlulbayts (Peace be upon them) interpretation of the verse mentioned at the beginning of this lecture regarding the turning back after the death of the prophet peace be upon him and his progeny, AhlulBayt peace be upon them have given other proofs. For example, many prominent shia Islamic interpretation books (e.g. Noor al-Thaqalayn, Kanz al-Daqa'iq) have quoted the following Hadith in the translation of the verse:
Amr bin Abi Miqdaam narrated that his father said:
I said to Abu Ja'far peace be upon him that the public (i.e. the Sunnis) claim that the Bay'ah (i.e. the oath of allegiance) to Abu Bakr, and because people gathered to pay it, was of pleasure to Allah, and Allah would not intend fitnah (i.e. temptation) to the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) after him.
Abu Ja'far, peace be upon, him replied:
Don't they read the Book of Allah, Is not Allah says: " Mohammed is but a Messenger, Messengers have passed away before him. What if he die or is killed, will you turn back on your heels?" the verse.
Abi Miqdaam (the narrator) said, I told him:
They interpret this in a different way.
The Imam (peace be upon him) said: Isn’t it that Allah has informed about those (who were) before them of the nations that they differed after clear proofs came to them; when he said:
“...and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs and We supported him with the holy Spirit”
Till his saying:
“...so there were some of them who believed and others who disbelieved” the verse.
So In this what is used to prove that the companions of Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him and his progeny) have differed after him, and there were some of them who believed and others who disbelieved.End of Narration.
A common reply to this view by some Sunni brothers (for example) is that it makes the prophet incapable and a failed person. If we to accept this reply then we have to accept that Jesus is a son of God. Since as put by a Christian convert:
“The Islamic view makes Jesus entirely incapable as almost all Christians today believe that Jesus is a son of God and divine.”
They may reject this rationale, based on the fact that Muhammad’s case is different, since he is the last messenger. Our reply to this is that, Muhammad is the last messenger; however you, as well as we, believe in imam Mahdi’s future role.
I’ll end this point and this lecture by the following verse: “And if your Lord willed, verily all who are in the earth would have believed. Would you (Muhammad), then, compel people, so that they become believers?” (Holy Quran, 10: 99).
Thank you again for coming.
الحمد لله رب العالمين ،
الأخوة المساهمين بالحضور والإعلان والتنظيم، نسأل الله أن يتقبل منهم ويثبهم بفضله بجاه محمد وأهل بيته صلوات الله عليهم أجمعين.
اللهم صلي على محمد وآل محمد واجعل أعمالنا بهم مقبولة وذنوبنا بهم مغفورة ودعاءنا بهم مستجاباً واجعل أرزاقنا بهم مبسوطة وهمومنا بهم مكفية وحوائجنا بهم مقضية،
اللهم صلي على محمد وآل محمد واجعلنا معهم في الدنيا والآخرة ياكريم ...والفاتحة تسبقها الصلوات على محمد وآل محمد.
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? He who turneth back on his heels doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.
سورة آل عمران - آية 144
Before further describing the topic of this talk, I’d like to start with a short preface about the battle of Uhud, which took place in the Year 625 AD.
In his book “The Brother of the Prophet Muhammad”, Imam Mohamad Jawad Chirri, the founder of the Islamic Center of America, elaborated in the description of the Battle of Uhad, where he mentioned that:
The start of the Battle of Uhud followed the method of the beginning of the Battle or Badr, where Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) played an extraordinary role that led to an initial victory for the small and ill-equipped Muslim army.With victory appearing certain, part of the Muslim army, however, did not heed early instructions of the messenger, which made it mandatory for them not to leave their place, and joined the collectors of the spoils.Noticing this, the fleeing pagans exploited the situation and came back to the battle while Muslims were preoccupied with collecting the spoils. The Muslims were astonished and confused. They started to fight but they did not know whom they were fighting. Many Muslims were killed by the Muslims themselves.