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Why do you regard your Imāms as “infallible”

Why do you regard your Imāms as “infallible”







Reply: There are numerous proofs which confirm the infallibility [‘imah] of the Imāms who are all members of the Prophet’s Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. We shall mention only one of them:

According to a narration related by both Shī‘ah and Sunnī scholars, during the last days of his life the Prophet () said:

بيتي أهل و الله كتاب الثّقلين تاركٌ فيكم إِنّي

“.الْحوض عليَّ يردا حتّىٰ يفترقا لن أنَّهُما و

Verily, I am leaving among you Two Weighty Things: the Book of Allah (the Qur’an) and the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt], and they will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Pond [Al-aw] (of Kawthar on the Day of Resurrection).[1]

Here is an interesting point: without an iota of doubt, the Glorious Qur’an is free from any form of deviation and error. How could an error approach the divine revelation when the Sender is God, the messenger is the Angel of Revelation (‘a) and the receiver is the Prophet of God ()? Since the infallibility of these three is as crystal clear as the sun; the Muslims of the world regard the Holy Prophet () as immune from committing error with respect to receiving, preserving and conveying the revelation and it is clear that the Book of Allah has such a constant and veracious immunity, then the Ahl al-Bayt of the Messenger of Allah () are also immune from any sort of lapse and error. For, in this hadīth, the progeny [‘itrah] of the Prophet have been described as equal to the Glorious Qur’an in guiding and leading the ummah, which means that they both are equal in terms of infallibility [‘imah].

In other words, it is absurd to regard a person or persons who are not infallible as equal to the Book of Allah.

The most explicit testimony to the infallibility of the Imāms (‘a) is the following expression of the Prophet ():

“.الْحوض عليَّ يردا حتّىٰ يفترقا لن أنَّهُما و

“And they will never separate from each other (in guidance and leadership) until they meet me at the Pond [Al-aw] (of Kawthar on the Day of Resurrection).”

Once the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet () were not free from lapses and errors, they would be separated from the Qur’an which is free from error and they would go astray, whereas the Holy Prophet () has emphatically negated it.

Of course, the “Ahl al-Bayt” according to the statement of the Prophet () does not refer to all his consanguineous and affinitive relatives for not all of them were free from lapses.

Therefore, only a specific group of his progeny has such an honor and this station and status is applicable to a limited members of his relatives, and these are the very Imāms from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) who, throughout history, have been the light of the path of the ummah, the preservers of the Prophet’s Sunnah and the guardians of the Sharī‘ah. ?




Question 7









In adhān [call to prayer], why do you say, “Ashhadu anna ‘aliyyan waliyyullāh” [“I bear witness that ‘Alī is Walī of Allah”] and give testimony to the wilāyah [guardianship] of ‘Alī (‘a)?





Reply: In order to reply to this question, let us consider the following points:

1. In their books on jurisprudence, all the Shī‘ah jurists [fuqahā] stress that to say: “I bear witness to the wilāyah of ‘Alī (‘a)” is not part of adhān or iqāmah, and no one has the right to say that it is part of any of the two.

2. From the viewpoint of the Qur’an, ‘Alī (‘a) is one of the awliyā’, and the following verse explicitly points to his wilāyah over the Muslims:

﴿ إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ ﴾

Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakāt while bowing down.”[2]

The Sunnī aīs and Musnads include narrations that highlight the fact that the noble verse was revealed to praise ‘Alī (‘a) who, while doing rukū‘ [bowing down in prayer], gave his ring to a poor person.[3] When this verse which refers to ‘Alī (‘a) was revealed, Ḥassān ibn Thābit versified this event in the following paean:

راكع أنْتَ إِذْ أعْطَيْتَ الّذي فأنْتَ

راكِع خَيرَ يا القَومِ نَفُوسُ فَدَتْكَ

وِلايَةٍ خَيرَ الله فِيكَ فَأنْزَلَ

الشَّرايِع مُحْكَماتِ في و بينها

You are the one who donated, while doing rukū‘. May the souls of the folk be sacrificed to you, O the best of those who bow down!

Thus, God has sent down the best wilāyah to you, and explained it through the decrees of the Sharī‘ah.

3. The Holy Prophet () said:

.بالنّيات الأعمال إنَّما

“Verily, actions are (judged) by intention.”

Since the wilāyah of ‘Alī (‘a) is one of the principles stipulated in the Qur’an, and the said phrase is not regarded as part of the adhān (or iqāmah), what is wrong about uttering it alongside the testimony to the apostleship of the Prophet ()?

Here, it is necessary to mention that if due to adding a sentence to adhān, the Shī‘ah must be castigated, how could the following two cases be justified?

1. Authentic historical references confirm that the following phrase:

الْعَمَلِ خَيرِ عَلىٰ حيّ

ayya ‘alā khayr al-‘amal

“Come to the best of deeds”

was part of adhān,[4] but during the caliphate of the second caliph, this phrase was omitted under the pretext that when people hear the words “the best of deeds” they will think that praying is better than jihād and cease taking part in jihād. And things remained as such.[5]

2. The sentence,

النّومِ مِنَ خَيْرٌ ألصّلوة

A-alātu khayrun mina ’n-nawm

“Prayer is better than sleeping”

was not part of the adhān during the time of the Holy Prophet () but has been included therein later on,[6] and as such, in the book, Al-Umm, Imām ash-Shāfi‘ī says:

“.يذكره لم مَحْذورة أبا لأنَّ النَّوم من خيرٌ الصَّلوة الاذان في أكره

It is not pleasing for me that we say in the adhān: ‘a-alātu khayrun mina ’n-nawm’ because Abū Madhūrah (one of the narrators and muaddithūn) has not included it (in his compilation of hadīths).[7] ?




[1] Mustadrak al-ākim, vol. 3, p. 148; A-awā‘iq al-Muriqah, Book 11, Chapter 1, p. 149. There is also a similar text in Kanz al-‘Ummāl, vol. 1, Bāb “Al-I‘tiām bi’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah”, p. 44; Musnad Ahmad ibn anbal, vol. 5, pp. 182, 189; and others.

[2] Sūrah al-Mā’idah 5:55.

[3] The references concerning the circumstances related to the revelation of this verse on the said case is more than what have been enumerated here. Anyway, below are some of these ample references:

a.    Tafsīr a-abarī, vol. 6, p. 186;

b.    Akām al-Qur’ān (Tafsīr Jaā), vol. 2, p. 542;

c.    Tafsīr al-Bayāwī, vol. 1, p. 345;

d.    Ad-Durr al-Manthūr, vol. 2, p. 293.

[4] Kanz al-‘Ummāl, “kitāb a-alāh,” vol. 4, p. 266, an a-abrānī, “kāna Bilāl yu’dhdhin bi’-sub fayaqūl: ayya ‘alā khayr al-‘amal”; Sunan Bayhaqī, vol. 1, pp. 424-425; Mālik, Al-Muwaṭṭa’, vol. 1, p. 93.

[5] Kanz al-‘Irfān, vol. 2, p. 158; Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm wa Jawāhir al-Akhbār wa al-Āthār, vol. 2, p. 192; Qawshachī, Sharḥ at-Tajrīd, mabḥath imāmah, p. 484, “ṣa‘ad al-minbar wa qāl: ayyuha ’ n-nās thalāth kann ‘alā ‘ahd rasūl Allāh anā  anhī ‘anhum wa aḥarramahunna wa hiya mut‘ah an-nisāī wa mut‘ah al-ḥajj wa ḥayya ‘ala khayr al-‘amal”.

[6] Kanz al-‘Ummāl, “kitāb a-alāh,” vol. 4, p. 270.

[7] Quoted in Dalā’il a-idq, vol. 3, “al-qism ath-thānī,” p. 97.

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