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Difference between Spirituality and Religion / Soul and Nafs

Question 292: Salam to you all. My question is , What is the Difference between Spirituality and Religion / Soul and Nafs? May Allah bless u all.

Answer 292: It has been said that the word Dīn appears in as many as 95 verses in the holy Quran. This term has been used for more than 20 meanings that all of them refer to the three following meanings:

Read More

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Punishment for not Praying

Question 266: Salam. Is there any such rulings that prescribe a penalty of imprisonment for the one who doesn’t pray? What is the Punishment for not Praying?

Answer 266: There are two different types of rights: The rights of Allah (Haqqullah) and the rights of people (Haqqunnas). Prayer is one of the rights of Allah (SWT). If one doesn’t pray he/she has committed a capital sin.

A major sin is one that being punished in hell is promised to its committer in the Quran or ahadith. In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) has promised to forgive all sins if one truly repents to Him. Read More

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Shia consider Abu Bakr and Umar as Kafirs?

Question 214: To clear misconception by way of academic proof from the School of Ahlulbayt (as): Do the Shia not respect the four Khalifah, except Imam Ali (as)?

Answer 214: First of all, although the Shia has some criticism towards the khalifahs, they don’t see them as kafirs; the same way they don’t consider any of the other Sahabah as kafirs. In dealing with the khalifahs, the Shia follow the footsteps of the imams, especially Imam Ali (as), in how they would deal with them, not anyone else, because the Shia consider themselves the followers of their infallible imams. Read More

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Definition of Bid’ah in Islam

Question 273: Salam, My question is what is the definition of Fitna especially in modern world. Is there anything called Bidat e Hasana? What is the definition of Bid’ah in Islam?

Answer 273: Bid’ah literally means something new, as the Quran describes Allah (swt) as the originator of the heavens and the earth (بَدِيعُ السَّمَوتِ وَالاَرضِ)[1] (badi’ meaning originator and bid’ah are words of the same root) and in Islamic terms, means to relate to religion what isn’t part of religion.

There are two points regarding the description of bid’ah:

1- Bid’ah is a type of bringing about change in religion by adding or omitting something from it. Therefore, any type of change and newness that has nothing to do with religion and is considered something normal isn’t bid’ah. For instance, if a nation chooses a certain day as a day of celebration and joy, not with the intention of relating such matter to religion and saying that religion has asked for such a thing, it isn’t considered bid’ah, although it needs to be analyzed from other points of view to make sure that it isn’t haram for any other reasons (but it isn’t bid’ah).

One can conclude from this that many of the developments and innovations that take place in arts, sports, industry etc. have nothing to do with bid’ah and the only thing that needs to be determined about them is if they are halal or not, nothing more.

2- What is meant by something being new and of no previous record in Islam is for it to not have any accordance with any Islamic laws and in no way fit under any of its guidelines or not be considered an application and instance of an Islamic assertion or doctrine.[2]

In other words, if one says that a certain act is haram or wajib or mustahabb or makrooh, while nothing in religion can be found to justify and explain what relationship this act has with religion, it is bid’ah, or else it isn’t. According to this explanation, many of the doubts and questions that might come up on bid’ah for many can easily be solved and answered. For instance, a great deal of Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of the holy Prophet (pbuh) while some consider this act as bid’ah! But according to what we said, bid’ah doesn’t apply here because even if we assume that such an act hasn’t been encouraged (although we might be able to say it has been) by Islam, yet it fits under another category that we are sure that Islam has indeed encouraged and is one of the clear principles of our religion, which is the showing of love and affection to the Prophet (pbuh) and his household (as).

None of the different Islamic sects have ever doubted that bid’ah is extremely forbidden and haram. Naraqi, one of the great Shia scholars says: “There is a consensus by all Muslim nations that bid’ah is haram and its being haram is a clear Islamic principle.”[3] The biggest reason for bid’ah being haram are the many hadiths that can be claimed that they reach the level of tawatur (when a hadith has been narrated so much by many different narrators, in a way that one becomes sure that all of the narrators can’t be mistaken or lying and that the tradition is authentic) that both Shias and Sunnis have narrated saying: “Adding something to religion that has no previous record in religion is bid’ah and all bid’ah is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.”[4]

Although all Islamic sects see bid’ah as haram, but since its essence isn’t completely clear, sometimes some groups and individuals have gone too far in confronting it and have accused other Muslims of being kafirs while such accusations are incorrect.

A certain group consider any form of worship that wasn’t practiced during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) or the khalifas as bid’ah and haram, and believe that one should stay away from these acts. For instance, a famous Hanbali scholar had announced theology haram and called it the root and cause of all bid’ahs and misguidance.[5] He writes that any inner knowledge that people claim they have that can’t be found in the Quran and tradition is bid’ah and no one has the right to act according to it and invite others to it. He calls upon all Muslims to return to the old religion that was in practice during the time of the first three khalifahs.[6]

These radical beliefs were strengthened in the theories of Ibn Teymiyyah and after him, by Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab and ended in many Muslims being seen as innovators in religion and even mushriks (polygamists). Suleiman ibn Sahman al-Najdi, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab, speaks of the common bid’ahs of the Muslims saying: “The four altars that are built in the mosques for each of the four Islamic sects (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafe’i and Maleki), reciting the Quran with a high voice, sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) (salawat), reciting supplications and doxologies after the adhan and on the night of Friday, the nights of Ramadhan, the night of Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha, gathering for birthdays and deaths of great religious individuals and singing songs on birthdays with a specific tone, mixing poems with sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) and Quranic recitation and reciting them after Tarawih prayers, holding dhikr beads for saying dhikr, raising one’s voice while saying the dhikr of لا اله الا الله during taking the dead for burial and while splashing water on their graves after burial, wearing long sufi like clothes, hanging swords and flags in Huseiniyyahs and other places where gatherings are held, beating on tambourines and other musical instruments that make the same sounds such as trumpets, repeating the great name of Allah and His other names etc. are all bid’ah.[7] These fanatical beliefs have caused the killing and massacre of Muslims all over the world.

In response to these extremist beliefs, we say that if we are to look at the laws of Islam like this, then we can no longer accept any change in Muslim lives. We would all have to pray using the same clothes worn during the advent of Islam, think of the same things that they would think of, and pay respect to our dead the same that they would. It is clear that this type of being religious is accepted by no Islamic scholar. All scholars, including Shia scholars have been against these overindulgences and have criticized them in their books.

Because of this, Shia scholars and some Sunni scholars, have divided bid’ah into two groups; haram and halal bid’ah. The author of Jawahir says that some scholars like Muhaqqiq and Sheikh Tusi say that bid’ah is of two types; haram and halal.[8] Shafe’I has been quoted saying that bid’ah is of two types; desirable and undesirable. Bid’ah that is in accordance with Islamic tradition is desirable, while bid’ah which against it is undesirable.[9]

The great Allamah Majlisi says: “In Islamic law, bid’ah refers to something innovated in religion after the demise of the Prophet (pbuh) (that one considers as a part of religion) and there is no general or specific law or principle that applies to it.”[10] Naraqi, also a great Shia scholar, accepts this viewpoint saying: “Bid’ah means for someone other than the Shari’ (the true legislator of Islamic law, being Allah) to falsely claim that something is part of religion without any religious proof or evidence. But if a certain act that hasn’t been specifically “legislated” by religion is done by someone not in way that shows that it is part of religion, it is no longer forbidden because of being bid’ah, although it might be haram because of another reason (but it surely isn’t bid’ah).[11] Shatebi, a Sunni faqih (fiqh expert), has the same viewpoint and says: “Bid’ah is a way in religion that has been added and has no base in Islamic law. But on the outside, it looks like it is part of Islamic law and is mistaken with it.”[12] Therefore, if a Muslim practices something new that isn’t part of religion without relating it to religion, and without doing it with the intention that it is part of religion, it is permissible.

[1] . Surah Baqarah, verse 117.

[2] . With the help of Manshure Aqa’ed of Ayatullah Subhani, pp. 219 and on.

[3] . Awa’idul-Ayyam, pp. 319, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[4] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 2, pg. 126. “کل محدثة بدعة و کل بدعة ضلالة و کل ضلالة في النار”.

[5] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pp. 19,27, 34, 37 according to the site of The Islamic Encyclopedia.

[6] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pg. 35, according to the quote of Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[7] . Majmu’atul-Tafsir of Ibn Teymiyyah, pg. 340, quoted by ibid.

[8] . Jawahirul-Kalam, vol. 11, pg. 300, quoted by ibid.

[9] . Fathul-Bari fi Sharh Sahihul-Bukhari, vol. 17, pg. 10, quoted by ibid.

[10] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 74, pg. 202: “و البدعة في الشرع ماحدث بعد الرسول ]بماانه من الدين[ و لم يکن فيه نص علي الخصوص و لايکون داخلاً في بعض العمومات”.

[11] . Awa’idul-Ayyam,pg. 110, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[12] . Al’I’tisam, Library of Maktabatul-Riyadh al-Hadithah, vol. 1, pg. 127 quoted by ibid.

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Shia View of the Mutazilah and Wasil ibn Ata

Question 095: What is the Shia view of the Mutazila and Wasil ibn Ata?

Answer 095: Mutazila were an intellectual group interested in mental issues. They have been trying to collect between religion and intellect. They have stipulated some principles by which everyone who acts based on these doctrines is counted as Mutazilah. As a result, every member of this group has believed in such principles.

The basic and salient points of their school of thoughts are as follows:

– Tawhid, (absence of plurality and attributes).

– ‘adl (Justice), (God is just and that He does not oppress His creatures).

– Divine retribution (al-wa’d wa al-wa’id), (God has determined a reward for the obedient and a punishment for the disobedient).

– Manzilah bayna al-manzilatayn (a position between the two positions). This means that a fasiq (i.e. one who commits one of the “greater sins,” such as a wine imbiber, adulterer, or a liar etc.) is neither a believer (mu’min) nor an infidel (kafir); fisq is an intermediary state between both belief and infidelity.

– al-‘amr bil ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar (bid to do what is right and forbid what is wrong).

The opinion of the Mu’tazilah about this Islamic duty is firstly, that the Shari’ah is not the exclusive means of identifying the ma’ruf and the munkar; human reason can, at least partially, independently identify the various kinds of ma’ruf and munkar.

Since they follow their intellectual arguments, they have had different opinions with each other. The differentiating between their beliefs caused establishing some different groups that two important divisions of them are as follows:

  1. The Basrah school of thought: Basra is a place where the Mutazilah had been established since the second Hejira century.[1] We can also call the establisher of this school as the establisher of the Mutazilah. The foremost among the Mu’tazilah, who established Mu’tazilism (al-‘i’tizal) as a school of thought is Wasil ibn ‘Ata’.
  2. The Baqdad school of thought: The school of Baqdad had been established near the end of second Hejira century. This school was established by Boshr ibn Motamed. He had been taught al-I’tizal byhis two teachers, Boshr ibn Saeed and Abu Usman Zafarani.[2]

Generally, it is said that those Mutazilah, who belong to the school of Baqdad, were mostly inclined to Shia than the Basrah School, however most of both groups were Sunni.[3]

Some Baqdadian scholars like Jafar bin Harb, Jafar bing Mobsher and Eskafi have struggled to change the belief of Mutazilah as their own belief. They have believed in such belief that Ali (a.s) was superior to the Caliphs but Talha and Zobair were not so.[4]

They have also had faith that Ali (a.s) was the most virtuous person and superior to the Caliphs after the Holy Prophet (pbuh), however Abul-Hudhayl was one of the Basrah Mutazilah who believed in equality between Ali (a.s) and Abu Bakir.[5]

The Doctrine of Divine Justice in which Shia and Mutazilah have different opinions with each other:

It is evident that none of the Islamic sects denied justice as one of the Divine Attributes. No one has ever claimed that God is not just. The difference between the Mu’tazilah and their opponents is about the interpretation of Justice. The Asha’irah interpret it in such away that it is equivalent, in the view of the Mu’tazilah, to a denial of the Attribute of Justice. Otherwise, the Asha’irah are not at all willing to be considered the opponents of justice.

The Mu’tazilah believe that some acts are essentially ‘just’ and some intrinsically ‘unjust.’ For instance, rewarding the obedient and punishing the sinners is justice; and that God is Just. E.g., He rewards the obedient and punishes the sinners, and it is impossible for Him to act otherwise. Rewarding the sinners and punishing the obedient is essentially and intrinsically unjust, and it is impossible for God to do such a thing.

Similarly, compelling His creatures to commit sin, or creating them without any power of free will, then creating the sinful acts at their hands, and then punishing them on account of those sins. This is injustice, an ugly thing for God to do. It is unjustifiable and ungodly. The Asha’irah believe that no act is intrinsically or essentially just or unjust.

Justice is essentially whatever God does. If supposedly, God were to punish the obedient and reward the sinners, it would be as just. Similarly, if God creates His creatures without any will, power or freedom of action, then if He causes them to commit sins and then punishes them for that – it is not essential injustice.

For the same reason that the Mu’tazilah emphasize justice, they deny al-tawhid al-‘af’ali (It means that all beings, or rather all acts [even human acts] exist by the Will of God, and are in some way willed by His sacred Essence). They say that al-tawhid al-‘af’ali implies that God, not the human beings, is the maker of human deeds.

Also, thereby, the Mu’tazilah believe in human freedom, free will and are its staunch defenders, contrary to the Asha’irah who deny human freedom and free will.

Shia believe that there is no contradiction between the will of human and Tawhid Afali, because, the will of the human is at the length of the will of Allah (SWT) not at the width instead. Human beings are unable to reach his own will without the will of Allah (SWT).

In the Shi’ite faith the principle of Divine Justice is considered one of the five essential doctrines.

Conclusion: Both Shia and Mutazilah Schools of thought, have agreement in many religious tenets. They have different opinions about Justice, Imamat, (some of Mutazilah scholars believe that Imam Ali (a.s) is superior to the Caliphs and appointed by Allah (SWT), the Almighty, but some of them believe Abu Bakir is equal with Him rather superior to Him!) and other opinions that some of them have already been explained.

That’s why we Shia aren’t able to accept all their beliefs, not to reject.[6]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: The differences and similarities between Shia and Sunni, answer 187.

[1] . Farmaniyan, Mahdi, Feraq Tasannun, Pg.311.

[2] . Fayoumi, Muhammad Ibrahim, al-Mutazilah Takvin al-Aqlal_Arabi, Pg. 338.

[3] . Ibid, Pg. 135.

[4] . Al-Mutazilah Takvin al-Aqlal-Arabi, Pg. 350.

[5] . Ibid, 339.

[6] . For further information: refer to the Book of Buhuth fi al-Milal wal-Nihal, by Ayatollah Sobhani.

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Symbol of the crescent moon in Islam

Question 182: The crescent with the moon and the star used by Muslims, what is the genesis of this symbol and when during the time of our noble Prophet (saws) did the Holy Prophet (saws) use this symbol on mosques?

Answer 182: The crescent moon and star symbol actually pre-dates Islam by several thousand years. Information on the origins of the symbol are difficult to ascertain, but most sources agree that these ancient celestial symbols were in use by the peoples of Central Asia and Siberia in their worship of sun, moon, and sky gods. There are also reports that the crescent moon and star were used to represent the Carthaginian goddess Tanit or the Greek goddess Diana.

The city of Byzantium (later known as Constantinople and Istanbul) adopted the crescent moon as its symbol.

According to some reports, they chose it in honor of the goddess Diana. Others indicate that it dates back to a battle in which the Romans defeated the Goths on the first day of a lunar month. In any event, the crescent moon was featured on the city’s flag even before the birth of Christ.

The early Muslim community did not really have a symbol. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islamic armies and caravans flew simple solid-colored flags (generally black, green, or white) for identification purposes.

In later generations, the Muslim leaders continued to use a simple black, white, or green flag with no markings, writing, or symbolism on it.

It wasn’t until the Ottoman Empire that the crescent moon and star became affiliated with the Muslim world. When the Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city’s existing flag and symbol. Legend holds that the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Osman, had a dream in which the crescent moon stretched from one end of the earth to the other. Taking this as a good omen, he chose to keep the crescent and make it the symbol of his dynasty.

There is speculation that the five points on the star represent the five pillars of Islam, but this is pure conjecture. The five points were not standard on the Ottoman flags, and as you will see on the following page, it is still not standard on flags used in the Muslim world today.

For hundreds of years, the Ottoman Empire ruled over the Muslim world. After centuries of battle with Christian Europe, it is understandable how the symbols of this empire became linked in people’s minds with the faith of Islam as a whole.

Based on this history, many Muslims reject using the crescent moon as a symbol of Islam. The faith of Islam has historically had no symbol, and many refuse to accept what is essentially an ancient pagan icon. It is certainly not in uniform use among Muslims.

Related Link: Facebook.

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Reasoning for believing Imamat of the Infallible Imams

Question 619: Aselam akeyikum werahmetullah. Is believing in Imamiya part of an Aqida for Shi’ism? Meaning, any Muslim who doesn’t believe in Imamiya knowngly a Kaffir, otherwise a Fasiq?

Thanks a lot!

Answer 619: Imamate plays a crucial role in Islam. From the Holy Quran’s point of view, imamate is the final stage of human evolution, to which only Messengers of God have reached. The Holy Quran says about Prophet Abraham (a): ”Remember when Abraham’s God examined him with different means, and he successfully passed all those tests, so that God told him that he was appointed as the people’s Imam and leader, and Abraham (a) asked God to appoint his descendents as Imams as well, but God replied that imamate could not be handed over to tyrants, and only those of his offspring who were pure and sinless would deserve such a grace.”.[1]

This verse shows that imamate has a very high status and rank, since Prophet Abraham (a) was appointed as an Imam while he was already a Prophet. This happened only after he passed many difficult tests and trials.

The position of Imamate is sometimes combined with Prophethood, so that an eminent Prophet such as Abraham (a) becomes an Imam. Another evident reason is the combination of Prophethood and Imamate in the Prophet of Islam (s).

It also occurs that Imamate is separated from a Prophetic mission, such as what occurred in the case of the Shia Imams (a) who were only Imams, without being subject to direct divine revelation.

Reasoning for the Imamate of the Infallible Imams

Since the Imams are appointed by God, there is a need of rational reasoning to recognize the individuals who are actually imam. For instance, human logic can distinguish between an Imam and other people by witnessing characteristics such as knowledge, justice, courage, sinlessness and so forth in the Imam, and a lack of such characteristics in others. In addition, Quranic verses and authentic traditions also prove the imamate of an individual.

The following are some verses and their interpretations which are about the issue of imamate:

  • [2]«انما انت منذر و لکل قوم هاد», which means, “Your duty is to advise people, and there is a leader for every group.”

Shia interpreters and some Sunni ones, including Imam Fakhr Razi, says, “Here the term advisor refers to the Holy Prophet (s) and the leader to Imam Ali (a), since Ibn Abbas said that the Holy Prophet (s) put his hands on his chest and said that he was the advisor, and then pointed to Ali (a) and added «و انت الهادی یا علی…» that means Ali (a) was the leader and shall continue to lead people after the Prophet (s).”[3]

In Al-Durrul-Manthur, one of the famous Sunni commentaries, several interpretations of the above verse are introduced, in which it is written that upon the revelation of this verse, the Holy Prophet (s) put his hand on his chest and said that he was the advisor, and then pointed to Ali (a) and added that Ali was the leader.[4]

Other similar traditions from other theologians can be found in various other sources such as from Hakem Neyshabouri in “Mostadrak”, Dhahabi in “Talkhis”, Fakhr Razi and Ibn Kathir in their commentaries and Ibn Sabagh Maleki in “Alfusulul-Muhimmah” and Ganji Shafei in “Kifayatul-Taleb”, and Tabari in his commentary, and Ibn Hayan Andolosi in “Al-Bahrul-Muhit” and Neyshabouri in his commentary and Hamvini in “Faraed Olsamtin” and as well as many others. To become familiar with the sources of such traditions and their evidences, see the book Ihghagh Olhagh, Vol. 3, pp 88-92.

  • «با ایها الذین آمنوا اتقوا الله و کونوا مع الصادقین[5] Which reads, “O, believers, avoid antagonism (toward God’s commands) and be with the loyal people.”

Imam Fakhr Razi interpreted the phrase ‘loyal people’ as meaning infallibles. He also added, “By infallible the verse refers to the whole nation in its entirety.”[6] This is while no Arab speaker, at the date of revelation of this verse, was using this phrase to refer to the nation; therefore, such an interpretation does not seem to be valid.

We should accept that in every era, there are loyal people who do not make any mistakes in their deeds and speeches, whom we should follow.

Moreover, many Sunni interpreters have quoted Ibn Abbas as saying that the above-mentioned verse is referring to Imam Ali (a). Allamah Tha’alabi in his book of commentary, Ganji in “Kifayatul-Taleb”, Allamah Sibt Jowzi in “Tadhkirah”, all interpret this verse as referring to Imam Ali (a) and his household. Ibn Abbas added, “Ali (a) is the most loyal man.”[7]

Many other traditions quoted from the members of the prophetic household confirm this same interpretation.[8]

  • «اطیعواالله و اطیعوا الرسول و اولی الامر منکم»,[9] Says: “Obey God and obey the Messenger of God and the Holders of Authority.”

Shia interpreters unanimously believe that by the ‘Holders of Authority’, the verse is referring to the Infallible Imams (a).

In addition, the Hanafi Sheikh Soleiman Qanduzi in his book “Yanabi’ul-Mawaddah” quoted the book “Mujahid” as saying that the verse refers to Ali (a) when the Holy Prophet (s) appointed him as his substitute in Madinah when he himself was involved in the Tabuk war.

It is also quoted from Imam Ali (a) as referring to this verse in a debate with the Mohajerin and Ansar, so that they admitted to the legitimacy of his rule.[10]

In “Shawahidul-Tanzil” of Hakem Haskani, a Sunni scholar, the interpretation of the same verse includes a quotation from Imam Ali (a) as saying that he once asked the Holy Prophet (s) about the meaning of “ruler”, to which the Holy Prophet (s) replied, “You are the first of them.”

Islamic beliefs are like a connected chain, such that if one part is missing, then the whole chain will be useless and have no benefit.  In other words, believing in Allah has its entailments; belief in these entailments is what makes the difference and brings about Allah’s satisfaction.  If you examine the story of Satan being expelled from heaven, you will find that he asked Allah for the chance to live until the Day of Judgment to deviate man.[11]  Therefore, it is understood that Satan believed in Allah and the Day of Judgment but Allah still names him a Kāfir.[12]  So just believing in Allah is not enough for one’s belief to be accepted, but one must also stay firm in regard to the results and implications of this belief.  One of the results of one’s belief in Allah is belief in His messengers meaning the prophets, in such a way that denying them would be like denying Allah.  Also, believing in the Imams, meaning the prophets’ successors, is the inevitable result and reflection of one’s belief in the prophet, because the Imams are the prophet’s successors that were appointed by himself and denying them is like denying the prophet himself.  Therefore, one cannot believe in the prophet and not believe in the imams.  It is the same between each one of the imams, meaning that denying one of them is like denying all of them, for the reason that proves the Imamate of each one of them is the same and applies to all of them; all of them are the successors of the prophet and each Imam has been approved of by the previous one and has introduced the next Imam.  Therefore, denying one of them leads to the denial of the previous one and because all of them were appointed by the prophet, denying them is denial of the prophet.

Finally, we will mention a few ahadith in this regard: Imam Sadiq narrates from his great ancestors, meaning the previous Imams, that they narrated from the prophet that he said: “My successors are twelve individuals, the first is Ali bin Abi Talib and the last is the ‘Ghā’im’, they are my successors, vicegerents, the leaders after me and my Hujjats (reasons) over my Ummah, whoever bears witness to their imamate is a Mu’min (Believer), and whoever denies their Imamate is a kāfir (disbeliever).”[13]

It is narrated in another hadith by Imam Sadiq that: “One who does not follow our words has rejected Allah’s words, and one who rejects Allah’s words is a polytheist”.[14]

Also, it is mentioned in another hadith by Imam Kadhim that: “One who has hate for us resents the prophet of Allah and he actually has hate for Allah, and one who has hate for Allah deserves the hellfire and will not receive help from anyone.”[15]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index: The Wilayah of Imam Ali (as) / Political Authority in Ghadir Khumm, answer 470.

Index: “Ashhadu anna aliyyan waliyyullah” in Adhan and Iqamah, answer 276.

Index: Shia Ithna Ashari is Jafari school of thought, answer 111.

Index: The differences and similarities between Shia and Sunni, answer 187.

Index: Shia answers: The Term Shia in Quran, answer 129.

Index: Shia Believe Ahlus Sunnah are Muslim not Kafir!

[1] Surah Baqarah, Verse 124

7 Surah Ra’ad, Verse 7

[3] Tafsir Kabir, Fakhr Razi, Volume 19, Page 14

[4] Al-Durrul-Manthur, Jalaladdin Suyuti, Volume. 4 Page 45

[5] Surah Bara’at, Verse 119

[6] Commentary of Fakhre Razi, volume 16, Page 221

[7] Ihqaqul-Haqq Volume. 3 Page 297

[8] Commentary of Noor Al Thaqalain Volume 2 Page 280,

[9] Yanabi’ul-Mawaddah, Page 114 – 115 – 116

[10] Shawahidul-Tanzil, Volume 1, Page 148

[11] “قالَ رَبِّ فَاَنظِرنِي ِالَي َيوِم يُبعَثُون …” Hijr:36; Sād:79.

[12] Baqarah:34; Sād:74.

[13] “عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ آبَائِهِ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ص قَالَ الْأَئِمَّةُ بَعْدِي اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَوَّلُهُمْ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ وَ آخِرُهُمُ الْقَائِمُ فَهُم خُلَفَائِي و أَوصِيَائِي و أَولِيَائِي وَ حُجَجُ اللَّه عَلَي اُمّتِي بَعدِي الْمُقِرُّ بِهِمْ مُؤْمِنٌ وَ الْمُنْكِرُ لَهُمْ كَافِرٌ”، Sheikh Saduq, Man lā Yahduruhū al-Faqīh, vol. 4, book of wasiyyah (i.e., making a will), the chapter on the will of Adam (as), pg. 180,…hadith 5406, Jame’eye Mudarresin Publications, Qom, 1413 AH. Of course, the term ‘kufr here is to be taken in its literal sense, which is to hide and conceal the truth, and not in its common usage.

[14] “الرَّادُّ عَلَينَا الرَّادّ عَلَى الله وَ هُوَ عَلَى حَدِّ الشَّركِ بِاللهِ…” Kuleini, vol. 1, chapter of difference in hadith, pg. 68, Dār al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah Publication, Tehran, 1365 (solar calendar).

[15] “ألا يا عبد الرحمن من أبغضنا فقد أبغض محمدا و من أبغض محمدا فقد أبغض الله جل و علا، و من أبغض الله جل و علا كان حقا على الله أن يصليه النار و ماله من نصير” Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 97, pg. 122, Al-Wafā’ Institute, Lebanon, 1404 AH.

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The difference between Mumin and Muslim

Question 506: Salaamun Alaikum. What is the difference between MOMIN and MUSLIM? Jazak’Allah Khayr.

Brief Answer 506: Muslim: According to the Quran a Muslim is one who has absolutely surrendered to Allah and his commands and believes in pure Tawhid (the oneness of God) that isn’t tainted with any Shirk and this is why the Almighty has introduced Prophet Abraham as a true Muslim in the Quran.

According to the Quran the true religion is Islam (surrender) (ان الدین عندالله الاسلام) and therefore all who have accepted religions of their time and have obeyed it’s commands are considered Muslims.

Momin: The Believers are that group of people who acknowledge the existence of God and surrender to Him, and who believe in His Prophets and follow their footsteps.

It is important to acknowledge that believing in the Wilayat of the Prophet’s family, according to the verses of the Quran and the narrations of the Holy Prophet is counted as one of the pillars of Imaan (Faith), and this quality is found in no other sect than the Shias. Also, with the emphasis regarding the deliverance of the Shias as being the rightful ones, and by comparing the thoughts and beliefs of the Shias, with the Holy Quran it becomes obvious that the verses of the Quran which talk about the “Believers” refer to none other than the Shias.

Detailed Answer 506:  In order to understand the meaning of “Muslim” in the Quran it is necessary to understand the meaning of “Islam”.

The word “Islam” is an infinitive with the root letters of “س ل م”, the root letters mean healthy and devoid of an defects and corruption, but the infinitive means surrendering and obeying one’s commands with no opposition. [1]

The Quran has used the term in its broad sense as well: “All of those who are in the heavens and the earth or all of the creatures in the heavens and the earth are Muslims and have (willingly or unwillingly) submitted to Allah’s  generative (takwini) or legislative (tashri’i) will.”[2]

In the Quran, not only those who were among the companions of prophet Mohammad are considered Muslims, but rather all people throughout history who have surrendered and submitted to Allah and rejected paganism are Muslims and this is why the Quran introduces Prophet Abraham as a Muslim even though he lived before prophet Mohammad.[3]

It can be understood from verse 85 of Surah Ale Imran (Whosoever chooses a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him) and verse 3 from Surah Al Ma’edah (Today I have perfected your religion and am happy with Islam as your religion) that Muslims are only those who follow the religion of the prophet (pbuh), because by choosing Islam as their religion and believing in all previous prophets and divine religions, they have proven their submission to Allah (swt).  According to this definition, today people of other religions are not Muslims because they have not surrendered to Allah by accepting the new religion that was revealed to the seal of prophets.

The verse commands the prophet to tell them to say that they have become Muslims and not Mu’mins. Of course, although practicing does not change the fact that one is Muslim or not, but to be a true Muslim not only should one believe in Islam but he must also act according to his belief and the teachings and laws of his religion, let those laws be social ones such as haqqul-nas or personal ones such as prayer and fasting.

Mu’min, or Believer, is derived from the word “Amn”, which means to testify, to believe, and have humility and tranquility of the soul.(4)[4] Therefore, the word Mu’min is used to describe the acknowledgers.

The term “Believers” refers to those who acknowledge the existence of the Almighty, surrender to Him and are humble and obedient towards Him. They acknowledge and accept the prophethood of all of the divine prophets and their message. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said: “Belief is understanding in your heart, saying with your tongue, and acting with your body.[5]

Some of the signs of a Believer that are mentioned in the Holy Quran are:

  1. Prayers and recognizing its importance.
  2. Giving Zakat, and donating to charity in the way of Allah.
  3. Relying and placing complete trust in Allah.
  4. Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.
  5. Staying away from frivolous and idle acts.
  6. Maintaining chastity and virtue.
  7. Obeying Allah and the Prophet.
  8. Obedience towards them.[6]

The signs of a believer as described in the Quran are not limited to the signs that were mentioned. In fact, the true Believers are those who surrender totally to the orders and command of Allah and the Prophet.[7]

One of the pillars of Imaan(Faith) is the belief in the Authority of the Ahlul-Bait. What it is understood from the Quran, the Holy Prophet and his family is that being obedient towards the Prophet’s family plays an essential role in the concept of faith, and if a person does not lead his life according to their teachings, his Beliefs are incomplete.

As an example, here are a few traditions and verses of the Quran which we will mention:

  1. The verse of “Tableegh” says: “O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people.”[8]
  2. The verse of “Wilayat”: “Only Allah is your Wali and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and give Zakat to the poor while they bow.”[9]

Sunni books of Tafsir and Narrations state that this verse was revealed with regards to the status and position of Imam Ali (a.s).[10]

Therefore, if a person does not believe in the Wilayat of Imam Ali (a.s), he has not accepted one of the most important and essential part of Allah’s Commands; so how can he be classified as a Believer? In this verse, the Wilayat of Imam Ali has been mentioned, alongside the Wilayat of Allah and the Wilayat of His Prophet, and we know that the accepting the Wilayat of God and His Messenger are the bases of Imaan (Faith), which means the Wilayat of Imam Ali, is an essential pillar of faith as well. There are several other verses as well, but for the sake of brevity these two will suffice.

According to Imam Baqir (as), Faith is something which is existed in our heart that connect us to Allah, the Almighty. By submission to Allah (SWT) we would be able to prove our faith in action. Islam is related to our words and deeds.[11]

We can conclude that every Mumin is a Muslim, but it is not true to say that every Muslim who doesn’t believe in the Wilayat of the holy Prophet’s family can be a real Mumin. This means that everyone can be a Muslim by testifying that there is no God but Allah, the Almighty and the holy Prophet (pbuh) is the messenger of Allah (SWT), however if one, in addition to the previous conditions of being a Muslim, doesn’t believe in the holy Quran and Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) and Wilayat of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) he is not considered as real believer.

From all of the aforesaid, it is obvious and clear that the only group of Muslims which is completely in coordination with the teachings of the Holy Quran, and the beliefs, actions and morals synchronized with it, are the Shias, who, by obeying and following the Prophet’s progeny have been able to understand the proper meanings of the verses of the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet, and have protected themselves from the darkness of the wrong path.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Ask Islam: How to become a Muslim, answer 527.

Index: The differences and similarities between Shia and Sunni, answer 187.

Index: Shia answers: The Term Shia in Quran, answer 129.

Index: Shia Ithna Ashari is Jafari school of thought, answer 111.

Index: Principles of Religion: Usul al-Din in Quran, answer 230.

Index: Islam and Democracy / Khilafat is Appointed by Allah’s order, answer 592.

Index: The Wilayah of Imam Ali (as) / Political Authority in Ghadir Khumm, answer 470.

Related Link: Glossary 506.

[1]Al-Nokat wal-Uyun, (Tafsir Maverdi), vol1, p 379-380

[2] Tafsir Nemooneh, vol2, p 643

[3] Ale Imran:67.

[4] Ma’jam Muqais al Lughah, Aqrab Almawaarid, Farhange Jami’, term: “Amn”.

[5] Kanzul Amaal, pg 95.

[6] Anfaal, ayah 2-4; Taubah ayah 71; Muminoon ayah 1-11.

[7] Nisaa, ayah 65 and 150.

[8] Maidah ayah 67.

[9] Maidah ayah 55

[10] Waahidi dar Asbaabe Nuzool, pg 133; Zamkhishri dar Kishaaf, Vol 1, pg 649; Abu Bakr Jisaas in Quranic Laws, Vol 2, pg 446

[11] . Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 26.

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Permissibility of using JJH for the Imams (pbuth)

Question102: Is it permissible to use JJH with Imam’s names whereas it has been always attached with Almighty but nowadays some groups have started this new issue?

Answer 102: Some of these names and attributes are only suitable be applied for Allah (SWT) the Almighty, according to traditions and common law. All Muslims and even our Infallibles (PBUTH) have only applied the JJh (Jalla jalālahu: meaning May His glory be glorified) for Allah (SWT), only. There is no tradition in which our Infallibles have applied it for themselves.[1]

(1) Considering the meaning of such names, there would be no problem to use this name (JJh) for our infallible Imams (PBUTH), however, we are forbidden to exaggerate about them (AS) by using some names and attributes which are specialized for Allah (SWT), only. In the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says, “Say [O, Messenger!]: “I am only a human Being like you; it is revealed to me that Allah is the only God to be worshipped.”[2]

(2) According to a tradition, we are recommended not to put ourselves in a position of accusation. Thus, if we use such names and attributes for the Imams (PBUTH) those disbelievers would accuse us.[3]

(3) In this regards, in the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says, “O, you who believe! Do not say: “Raena” to the Messenger, but say: “Unzurna” listen to this admonition And [know that] for the disbelievers There is a painful Torment.” ((Yââ ayyohalladhêna ââmanô lâ taqôlô râ’enâ waqôlônẓor­nâ was­ma’ô Walel­kâferêna ‘adhâbon alêm)).[4]

(4) Since, the word Raena has had a bad meaning (curse) according to Jewish people of that time, Allah (SWT) has said Do not say Raena to the Holy Prophet, Say Unzorna (Watch over us) instead.

(5) In other verse of the Holy Quran Allah, the Almighty says: “Some of Yahudis [the Jews] Deliberately displace words from their Original places] to alter the meaning [And] for example [they say] to The Messenger [:” We heard your word And we disobeyed”] or they say: [” Hear And let you hear nothing!” Or they say:” Raena” with a twist of their tongues And a taunt to Islam; and if] instead [Only they had said:” We hear and obey”, And] had said: [” Do have consideration For us to understand what you recite”, it Would have been better for them and More proper; Allah has cursed Them for their disbelief; so they will Not believe except a few of them.”[5]

(Menalladhêna hâdô yoḥarrefônal­kalema ‘ammawâḍe’ehê wa yaqôlôna same’­nâ w’aṣay­nâ was­ma’­ghay­ra mos­ma’ew­warâ’enâ layyam bel­senatehem waṭa’­nan feddên Walaw annahom qâlô same’­nâ wa aṭa’­nâ was­ma’­wanẓor­nâ lakâna khay­rallâhom wa aq­wama walakella’anahomollâho bekof­rehem falâ yo­menôna ellâ qalêla)

Conclusion: According to above mentioned verses of the Holy Qur’an and those traditions, we are not recommended to use such divine names and attributes for the Infallibles (PBUTH).

Related Link: Facebook

[1] . Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 498, H 12.

قال الصادق (علیه السلام): قال الله عزوجلّ يابن ادم اذكرنى فى ملاء، اذكرت فى ملاء خير من ملئك”

[2] . Surah Kahf, verse 110 and Surah Fussilat, verse 6.

قُلْ إِنَّما أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحى إِلَي

[3] . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 33, Pg. 510.

اتَّقُوا مَوَاضِعَ التُّهَمِ

[4] . Surah Baqarah, verse 104.

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا لا تَقُولُوا راعِنا وَ قُولُوا انْظُرْنا وَ اسْمَعُوا وَ لِلْكافِرينَ عَذابٌ أَليم.

[5] . Surah Nisa, verse 46.

مِنَ الَّذينَ هادُوا يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَواضِعِهِ وَ يَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنا وَ عَصَيْنا وَ اسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ وَ راعِنا لَيًّا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَ طَعْناً فِي الدِّينِ وَ لَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قالُوا سَمِعْنا وَ أَطَعْنا وَ اسْمَعْ وَ انْظُرْنا لَكانَ خَيْراً لَهُمْ وَ أَقْوَمَ وَ لكِنْ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَليلا.

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Shia Ithna Ashari is Jafari school of thought

Question 111: The Jafari school of Thought are all who follow the school Shi’a? And is there any who follow this school who are not Shi’a? Are Shi’ah Ithna Ash’ari, Jafari?

Answer 111: Jafri is a surname commonly associated with those who are the descendants of the 6th Imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), who was a direct descendant of Imam Ali (as) and the holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The meaning of Ja’fari sect is the Twelver Shia. Imam Ali (as) is their first infallible Imam and their last Imam is Mahdi (as). There are other names for the followers of this holy sect as follows:

Imamiyyah, Ithnā‘ashariyyah and the twelver Shia. Ja’fari is also used as another name for the Twelver Shi’is. The Twelver theology, which mainly consists of five principles [as] has formed over the course of history on the basis of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, and hadiths from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) and the Twelve Imams (pbuth) especially Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as).

So, those who follow this school of thought are called Shia.

Note: The Ithna Ashari School is not the only group that identify as Shia but it is the majority of Shia consisting of about 85% of Shia. In addition, there are a small minority of follows from the School of Ahlul Sunnah wal Jamaah (Sunni) who love the Ahlulbayt (as) but don’t follow the hadith of the 12 Imams (as) nor disassociate with their enemies.

For further information in this regard, please refer to the following answer:

Index: The differences and similarities between Shia and Sunni, answer 187.

Index: Shia answers: The Term Shia in Quran, answer 129.