Ghazwah and Sariyyah: Battles of the Holy Prophet

Question 587: As per the Shia history, did the prophet himself fight any battle?

Answer 587: All of the battles of the holy Prophet (pbuh) had been taken place after His Hegira to Medina during ten years. The battles are divided into three divisions. Ghazwah (battle), Sariyyah (battalion) and Ba’th.

It is noteworthy to firstly explain the difference between Ghazwah (battle) and Sariyyah (battalion). Ghazwah is the name of the battle in which the holy Prophet (pbuh) participated as the leader whether the battle is fought or not.

Sariyyah is the name of the battalion which the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent without participating in. [1]

If the Holy Prophet (pbuh) sends only one person to battle it is called Ba’th.[2] Read More


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.


Abu Hanifah Nuʿmān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā according to Shia

Question 098: What is the Shia, or specifically Ithna Ashari, view on Abu Hanifa?

Answer 098: Nuʿmān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā ibn Marzubān, also known as Imam Abū Ḥanīfah was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). He is also considered a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Zaydi Shia Muslims.

Abu Hanifah lived during the time of changing power from Bani Umayah to Bani Abbas and that’s why he perceived the two systems. The Umayyad and Abbasian persistently requested him to cooperate with them, but he refused cooperation with both, rather he was known as an opponent of their system. Due to his cooperation with the Alawiyan and because he loved the Ahlul Bayt (pbuth), he was imprisoned by Manssor Abbasi and finally killed in the jail by poison.

His devotion and love for the Ahlul bayt (pbuth) was more than a Shia lover. He had the same approaches in regards to Imamat and Islamic system as the Zaidyah approach. This means, while accepting the Rashidun Caliphate (al- Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidūn), he believed that Imam Ali (as) was prior to Uthman and believe in the Caliphate of Imam Hasan (as) after the Imam (as). He also believed that after Imam Hasan (as) the Caliphate belonged to Imam Ali’ (as) children.

He believed that the Imam must be selected through free election between Imam Ali’ (as) children. He didn’t believe in appointing the Imam by the text expressly stated by the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Abu Hanifah didn’t accept the justice of the Sahabah (companions) entirely. In one hand, he tried to restrain exaggerators from cursing Rashidun Caliphate (al- Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidūn) and on the other hand, he suggested they have a moderate method, instead. In general, he wanted the Shiite and Sunni to modify their approaches concerning Caliphates, Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) and some other religious issues.

Due to the weak text and chain of transmission of those narrations that have been mentioned in some Shia and Sunni sources concerning the strained relationship between Abu Hanifah and Imams Baqir and Sadiq’ (pbuth) we cannot accept them. It seems these argument have been manipulated by some of the followers of the Imamiya and Hanafi sects. They have prejudicially bolded the scientific arguments between the Imams (pbuth) and Abu Hanifah and expressed it in an untrue way.

Thus, the approaches of contemporary Shia has been obtained by such manipulated stories, especially the Hanafiyan of Ahlul Sunna and Jimaat’ approach have been influenced by Bukhari’s method and approach mentioned in his Sahih.

In the end, his efforts of making compromise between Shia and Sunni proved the opposite of this case. This kind of effort exasperated those Hadithic Sunnis and then it caused a negative approach among the Shia society.

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

References: Khatib Baqdadi, History of Baqdad, Vol. 13, Pg. 330; Ibn Bazazi, Manaqib Abi Hanifah, Vol. 2, Pgs. 121-316 and 399; The Great Islamic encyclopedia, Vol. 5, Chapter “Abu Hanifah”, Pg. 381; Dahabi, Mizan al-Itedal, Vol. 2, Pg. 18; Yaqout Baghdadi, Mojam al-Odaba, Vol. 5, Pg. 242; Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Tahdib al-Tahdib, Vol. 3, Pg. 343; Ibid, Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 6, Pg. 249; Rasool Jaafariyan, history of Shiite in Iran, Vol. 1, Pgs, 28-29; Muhammad Hussain Solaiman Alami Hayeri, encyclopedia, Vol. 8, Pg. 9; Abu Bakarr, Khilal, Al-Sunnah, Vol. 1, Pgs. 394-395; Dahabi, Mizan al-Itedal, Vol. 3, Pg. 352; Nashi Akbar, Masael al-Imamah, Pg. 66; Rasool Jafariyan, Ibid, Pg. 22; Rijal alKashi, Vol. 2, Pgs. 426-433; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, Pg. 74, Taghi al-Din Abdul Jaqader Hanafi, Tabaghat al-Suniyat Fi Tarajem al-Hanafiyah, Vol. 1, Pg. 139; Sheikh Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, Pg. 203; Ibid, al-Irshad, Pg. 160; Ibid, al-Amali, Pg. 73, Muvafaq Mekki, Manaqib Abi Hanifah, Vol. 2, Pg. 18;…/جایگا


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.


Ancestry of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz to the Imams

Question 183: Is there an ancestry connection of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz to the Holy Imams (as)?

Answer 183: Moinuddin Chishti (Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz. Benefactor of the Poor), introduced and established the Chishti Order of Sufism in the Indian subcontinent. The initial spiritual chain (silsila) of the Chishti order in India, comprising Chishti, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Fariduddin Ganjshakar and Nizamuddin Auliya—each successive person being the disciple of the previous—includes the great Sufi saints of Indian history. Various Mughal emperors were followers of Chishti.

There is no reliable information available regarding his early life and background before he settled in Ajmer.

According to some books regarding Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz’s life and works, he is said to have been born in Chisht in a city between Afghanistan and Iran and is thought to be a “Sayyid”, and with some mediators’ descendant connected to Imam Hasan (as).[1]

[1] . Moin al-Awliya, Pgs. 37 – 38; For further information in this regards, please refer to Book Majales al-Nafaes.


Siyadat of Abdul-Qadir Al-Gilani

Question 281: Salaam to everyone! Can u plz answer the following question? From which imam (as) do the Galani sayeds descend from? Jzk everyone.

Answer 281: Abdul-Qadir ibn Abi Salih Musa ibn Abdullah ibn Al-Gilani titled Muhyiddin (the Reviver of the Religion)[1] was born in the north of Iran. He grew up in Baghdad and was buried there.[2] According to Qamoos al-A’laam wa Tabaqat of Sha’rani, Abdul Qadir Gilani was a descendant of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s), thus he was a Hasani Sayed.[3] He is one of the sixth century mystics and a controversial personality of the Islamic world. He was born on a Wednesday the 10th Rabi at-Thani in 471 AH, 1077 AD, and died on Saturday night 1166 (8th Rabi’ al-Awwal 561AH) at the age of ninety years (by the Islamic calendar), and was entombed in a shrine within his Madrassa in Baghdad.[4]

At the youth age he went to Baghdad (488 A.H.),[5] where he pursued the study of Arabic with Abu Zakariya Razi.[6] Al-Gilani received lessons on Hadith and Fiqh from Abu Sa’d al-Mubarak bin Ali bin al-Hussain al-Mukharrimi al-Baghdadi.[7]

He also learned the mystical order from him.[8]

Some works in jurisprudence and legal theories are ascribed to him namel: “Bashaerul Khairat (Glad-tidings of Good Deeds)”; “Al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth and Religion)”, “Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation)”, “Malfuzat (Utterances)”, “Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen)”, “Al-Fuyuzat al-Rabbaniyah fil Awrad al-Qaderiyah”, “Adab al-Suluk wat-Tawassul ela manzil al-Muluk” and a “Collection” of his poems which is known as “A Collection of Ghaus-e A’azam’s Poems”.[9]

Ibn-e Arabi has made mention of Abdul Qadir Gilani’s name in many of his works with respect and dignity.

His Sufi order named after him is generally thought to be one of the most renowned Sufi orders of the Islamic world. He himself enjoyed a special place in the chain of Sufi orders.

Finally, in reply to your question about his relation with Imam Sadiq (a.s.), we must say that historically there is a huge time gap between him and the Imam; he lived very much after the period of the Imam (a.s.). Therefore, the allegation that he opposed Imam Sadiq (a.s) is untrue and baseless.

Note: Unfortunately, there is not enough reliable sources about Abdul Qader Gilani! That’s why we see many different opinions about Him.

According to the Book History of Sufism (Vol. 1, Pg. 168), He was a follower of Ashari Aqeedah (opinion) in Usul al-Deen and a follower of Hanbali and Shafi’i in Furu al-Deen.

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

Index: The difference between Sayyid and Mirza, answer 562.

Index: Zakat and difference between Sayyid and non-Sayyid holms, answer 040.

[1] . Ali Akbar Dehkhuda, Dehkhuda Dictionary, Vol.10, (Shams Abad, Ali), p.15713, Tehran University Printing and Publication Institute, 2nd edition of new edition, 1998.

[2] . Martyr Mutahhari Collection of Works, vol.14, pg.570, vol.23, pg.57, Noor Software Program.

[3] . Dehkhuda Dictonary, vol.10 (Shams Abad Ali) p.15713.

[4] . Muhammad Ma’sum Shirazi, Taraequl Haqeq, (edited by Muhammad Ja’far Mahboob), vol.2, pg.32, Sinai Publications, 2nd edition.

[5] . Abdul Qadir Gilani, Futuhul Ghaib, pg.10, Darul Hadi Publications, Beirut, 1428 A.H. – 2007.

[6] . Dehkhuda Dictionary, vol.10, (Shams Abad ali), pg.15713.

[7] . Futuhul Ghaib, pg.10. ibid.

[8] . Taraequl Haqaeq, vol.2, pg.362, ibid.

[9] . Dehkhuda dictionary, vol.10 (Shams Abad Ali) p.15713.


Egyptian Pharaohs / List of pharaohs

Question 246: Salaam Alaikum,I came across this video on the internet, can you please help answer the questions raised?

A book was written by the Egyptologist concerned, but I have not gone through it. I simply do not know, my knowledge is very weak regarding ancient egypt. Also there is a biblical history, and I don’t know ANYTHING about the bible

I want to know firstly who that Pharoah was Ramses or his son. Secondly I want to know if the objections raised are founded.

Answer 246: The dynasties of the Egyptian Pharaohs were 26 in number.[1] They had the power for about three thousand years. The most famous Pharaohs were as under:

  1. A) Sanan: who was at the time of Abraham (as).[2] B) Ubayd b. al-Rayyan b. al-Walid, at the time of Hadhrat Yousef. C) Qaboos bin Mus’ab, who was contemporary with the birth of Hadhrat Moses (Musa). D) Walid bin Mus’ab or Walid bin Qaboos, the Pharaoh of the time of Musa when He exited.[3]

In the Holy Quran the word Pharaoh was mentioned 74 times. There has not mentioned in any verses of the holy Quran saying any name of Pharaoh of the time of the Prophet Musa (as), however, according to other sources we ought not to accept nor to reject, it is said the Ramesses II, the son of Seti I was the one who were contemporary with the Prophet Musa (as).[4]

Note: According to the ‘Ask Shia’ Inquiry Guidelines (N 3, 5 and 9) I cannot prepare a detailed answer in this regards.

Considering that I am unable to guarantee the validity of the following information regarding “Ramesses II and his father”, please refer to the following links:




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

Index: First idol worshiper, answer 006.

[1] . Al-Tahqiq fee Kalemat al-Quran al-Karim, Vol. 9, Pg. 65.

[2] . Atyab al-Bayan fee Tafseer al-Quran, Vol. 10, Pg. 202.

[3] . Aa’lam al-Quran (Shabestary, Abdul Hussain), Pg. 783.

[4] . Comparing between the Bible, Quran and knowledge, translator: Mahmood Noor Muhammadi, Pgs. 319 – 320.


Returning Fadak to Imam Hasan and Hussain (pbuth)

Question 244: Why didn’t Imam Ali (as) give Fadak to Imam Hassan (as) and Hussain (as)?

Answer 244: “Fadak” was a thriving and flourishing village located near Khaybar, 140 kilometers from Medinah. In the seventh of hijrah, the fortresses of Khaybar were conquered one after another and the central power of the Jews was overthrown. The residents of Fadak surrendered and promised to give the prophet (pbuh) half of their lands and orchards on condition of no fighting and keep the rest for themselves. In addition, they accepted to do the farming of his lands for a wage.

Lands that fall into the hands of the Muslim army without any fighting and violence become the personal property of the prophet (pbuh), and he can make any decisions about them, that is why when the verse: “وَ آتِ ذَا الْقُرْبى حَقَّهُ وَ الْمِسْكينَ وَ ابْنَ السَّبيلِ وَ لا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذيرا”[1] was revealed unto him, he summoned his daughter and granted her Fadak.[2]

But unfortunately, after the prophet (pbuh) passed away and during the reign of Abu Bakr, Lady Fatimah (as) was deprived of the gift of Fadak.[3]

In his famous book of Sahih Muslim, Muslim ibn Hajjaj Neyshabouri narrates the story of Lady Fatimah claiming Fadak in detail and has reported Ayishah saying that after the khalifah refused to return it to her, she sulked and didn’t speak another word with him until her demise.[4]

It has also been stated in the Nahjul-Balaghah that: “Of course, all that we had in our possession under the sky was Fadak, but a group of people felt greedy for it and the other party [its rightful owners; Imam Ali (as) and Lady Fatimah (as)] withheld themselves from it. Allah is, after all, the best arbiter.”[5]

In order to get the answer to your question, one fact that should be paid attention to is that the imam’s first and foremost priority always, was to preserve Islam itself, despite all of his objections to those in power before him, and that is why he would cooperate with them and help them in internal affairs and governing the Muslim nation, as he himself beautifully put it: “We [the progeny of the prophet (pbuh)] have a right [which was to be the true successors to the prophet (pbuh)] in which if we are allowed to exercise, then all the better, and if not, we prefer to be the second person sitting in the back of the camel [behind the person guiding it, instead of completely getting off]”.[6]

Therefore, in reality, the imam considered political power a tool and means of fulfilling godly objectives, not a goal, and that is why he would prefer to keep quiet about many different issues, both during his reign and the reign of those before him, leaving judgment for future generations to come. As for why he didn’t act according to his own viewpoint during his own rule, although he had the authority to do so, a small example will clarify things. During his own rule, when he attempted to bring an end to the “tarawih” prayer [that had been innovated by one of previous khalifahs and wasn’t a tradition of the prophet (pbuh)], he was confronted with objections and forced to leave the people to themselves.[7] Also, you surely know of his discontent regarding the arbitration of Abu Musa Ash’ari and that he was forced to give in to it. Essentially, the imam’s coming to power was preceded by twenty five years of continuous justification of all the actions and things the previous khalifahs had done, making it almost impossible to oppose their methods and bring change to some of them; one of those being returning the Fadak to its rightful owners, because some would think that the imam was making use of his power for his own benefit. Add to that the fact that Fadak was important to the household of the prophet (pbuh) and Lady Fatimah (as) because it was a gift and remembrance from him and more importantly, a financial asset and backing for them, especially Ali (as), and that is why the government of the time confiscated it; because it was their financial support; doing so would ensure that Ali (as) wouldn’t be able to do anything against them. Keeping in mind all of these and other circumstances, such as the battles and sabotage the nation was experiencing, preventing the imam (as) from making even important and primary changes that the nation was in need of, how was Ali (as) to take back Fadak? It would surely harm the Muslim nation and shadow over more important national issues, and that is why he chose not to.

Hadiths from the imams somewhat point to these issues:

1- Time had passed since the incident [of Fadak’s usurpation] and there was no need for Ali (as) to speak of it after so many years:

Abu Basir says: “I asked Imam Sadiq (as) why Imam Ali (as) didn’t repossess Fadak after he came to power. The imam (as) answered: “Because both the oppressed [Lady Fatimah (as)] and oppressor [those who deprived her of Fadak] had both died and Allah (swt) had punished the oppressor and rewarded the oppressed by then, and Ali ibn Abitaleb didn’t like the idea of returning a property in which its usurper had been punished and the one usurped from had been rewarded already.”[8]

2- Sacrificing personal benefits for higher and universal goals. Ibn Ibrahim Karakhi says: “I asked Imam Sadiq (as) about why Imam Ali (as) didn’t return Fadak after becoming khalifah. He answered: “When the prophet (pbuh) conquered Mekkah, he was asked if he would return to his homeland. He said: Aqil has sold my house. The people asked: Why don’t you take it back? He answered: We belong to a household that doesn’t take back what has been wrongfully taken from them; Imam Ali (as) did the same in order to have followed the prophet (pbuh) [in not taking back what rightfully belonged to him].[9]

A person asked Imam Kadhim (as) the same question; the imam answered: “Our household [the progeny of the prophet (pbuh)] whose guardian is Allah (swt); He is the one who makes sure what belongs to us comes back to us, and we are the guardians of the people and make sure what belongs to them returns to them, but we don’t take back what belongs to us.”[10]

Having said that, it’s good to see what the fate of Fadak was and what happened to it after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as).
What historic records says is that after Mu’awiyyah took power, he divided it amongst Marwan, Amr ibn Uthman and his son Yazid. During Marwan’s rule, he took control of all of Fadak and he granted it to his son Abdul-Aziz, who later granted it to his son, Umar. Umar ibn Abdil-Aziz gave Fadak back to the descendants of Lady Fatimah (as). After his death, it once again fell into the hands of the Umayyid dynasty and remained there.

After rule of the Muslim empire shifted to the Abbasid dynasty, it was once again given back to Abdullah ibn Hasan [from the progeny of Imam Hasan (as)]. Mansour Davaneqi took it back from them when he took over, but his son returned it to them after his death.

After Mahdi, the son of Mansour, Musa and Haroun took it back again, but after them Ma’moun officially returned it to the progeny of Fatimah (as). It continued to be returned and taken after Ma’moun.

During that era, Fadak was considered a political issue, and wasn’t looked at as a financial asset, because the khalifahs of both dynasties were in no way in any need of the profits it yielded; that is why when Umar ibn Abdil-Aziz returned it, the Umayyids scolded him, saying: “By doing so, you have rejected Abu Bakr and Umar [who had refused to return it during their time]!”[11]

Eventually, during the Abbasid ruler, Mutawakkil, it was seized, its trees cut down by the order of a person by the name of “Abdullah ibn Umar Mazyar”. This shameful act remains a sign of disgrace for the wrongdoers of that time. It must be noted that even the eleven date palms that the prophet (pbuh) had planted with his own hands were cut down. History says Bashran ibn abi Umayyah Thaqafi, the person who had cut them down, suffered from paralysis after returning to Basrah.[12]

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

Index: Imam Ali (as) Gave Bay’ah (Allegiance) to Abu Bakr?, answer 260.

Index: The exact date on birth or Martyrdom of Lady Fatima and Infallibles, answer 254.

Index: Who were behind the Martyrdom of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (sa), answer 486.

[1] . Isra’:26.

[2] . See: Tabarsi, Majma’ul-Bayan, vol. 3, pg. 411.

[3] . Sharhe Nahjul-Balagheh, vol. 16, pg. 274.

[4] . Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, pg. 1380.

[5] . Nahjul-Balaghah, letter 45.

[6] . Nahjul-Balaghah, pg. 472.

[7] . Ibn Abil-Hadid, Sharhu Nahjil-Balaghah, Library of Ayatullah Mar’ashi Najafi, vol. 12, pg. 283.

[8] . “فَقَالَ لَهُ لِأَنَّ الظَّالِمَ وَ الْمَظْلُومَةَ قَدْ كَانَا قَدِمَا عَلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ أَثَابَ اللَّهُ الْمَظْلُومَةَ وَ عَاقَبَ الظَّالِمَ، فَكَرِهَ أَنْ يَسْتَرْجِعَ شَيْئاً قَدْ عَاقَبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ غَاصِبَهُ وَ أَثَابَ عَلَيْهِ الْمَغْصُوبَةَ” Biharul-Anwar, vol. 29, pg. 395, hadith 1.

[9] . Ibid, hadith 2.

[10] . Ibid, hadith 3.

[11] . Jafar Sobhani, Furughe Abadiyyat, vol. 2, pg. 669.

[12] . Ahmadi Miyanji, Makatibul-Rasul.


Mukhtar al-Thaqafi according to Shia

Question 094: What is the shia opinion of Mukhtar al-Thaqafi?

Answer 094: There are two different opinions about Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. Some commended him and others blamed him.

The following are some reliable traditions in which Mukhtar has been commended and accepted by scholars of hadith and Rijal sciences:

Based on reports in history books, Mukhtar killed Umar bin Saad and sent his head along with some money to Muhammad bin Hanafiyah. Seeing Umarbin Saad’s head, Muhammad bin Hanafiyah prayed for Mukhtar as such, “O Allah, grant Mukhtar the best of rewards on behalf of Muhammad (saws) and his Ahlul-Bayt[1].”

Indeed, according to another tradition which has been related by Kashi in his book, it says, “When Ubaidullah bin-Ziad and Umar bin Saad heads were brought to Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s), the Imam prostrated praising and thanking Allah (SWT) and praying for Mukhtar and wishing him well[2].”

Based on a another report by Ya’qubi, Ubaidullah bin Ziad’s head was sent to the fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (a.s) and Umar bin Saad’s head were sent to Muhammad bin Hanafiyah. It was said, “Do not blame Mukhtar, because he killed our enemies[3].”

However, there were some traditions in which Mukhtar has been blamed,[4] but most of Shia scholars haven’t approved such traditions[5].

For further information, please read the following answer:

Index: The number of soldiers who came to Karbala to fight against Imam Hussain (as), answer 568.

Index: Enemies killed by Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala on the Day of Ashura, answer 598.

[1] . Ibn A’tham Kufi, Ahmad bin A’tham,al-Fotuh, researched by, Shiri, Ali, vol.6, p. 247, Dar al-Azwaa, Beirut, 1411 A.H; al-Bedayah wa al-Nehayah, vol.8, p. 274; Balazari, Ahmad bin Yahya, Ansaab al-Ashraf, researched by Zakaar, Suhayl,Zarkali, Reyadh, vol.6, p. 406, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1417 A.H.

[2] . The Arabic version of the report is as under: «أَنَّعَلِيَّ بْنَ الْحُسَيْنِ(ع)لَمَّاأُتِيَ بِرَأْسِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِزِيَادٍ وَ رَأْسِ عُمَرَ بْنِ سَعْدٍخَرَّ سَاجِداً وَ قَالَ الْحَمْدُلِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَدْرَكَ لِي ثَأْرِيمِنْ أَعْدَائِي وَ جَزَى الْمُخْتَارَخَيْراً» Kashi, Muhammad bin Umar, Ikhtiyar Ma’refat al-Rejal, researched and edited: Shaykh Tusi, Muhammad bin Hasan, Mustafawi, Hasa, p. 127, Mashad University Press, first edition, 1409 A.H.

[3] . Biharal-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 343.

[4] . Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 343; Ibid, Pg. 126.

[5] . Mojam al-Rijal, Vol. 18, Pg. 100.


Zayd ibn Ali the brother of Imam Baqir according to Shia

Question 056: What is the Ithna Ashari view on Zayd Ibn Ali, brother of Imam Baqir?

Answer 056: According to Sheikh Mofid (r.a), Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Hussain was the son of Imam Sajjad (a.s), the grandson of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (as), and great-grandson of Imam Ali (as). Zayd was born in Medina in 695 and martyred in Kufa.[1] He was one of the greatest figures and prominent personalities among his brothers after Imam Baqir (a.s), in the School of Ahlulbayt (a.s) and the entirety of the Islamic world.

He was very pious, jurisprudential, generous and brave. He rose with the intention of directing others to enjoin what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful.

He also intended to take revenge on those who killed his grandfather Imam Hussain ibn Ali (a.s). The reason he was called Halif al-Qur’an, was because he was so well acquainted with and continuously recited the Holy Qur’an.[2] Zayd al-Shahid, Zayd the martyr was his another title, because he was martyred in an uprising against tyranny.[3]

Imam Sadiq (a.s) said such things as: “May Allah (swt) bless my uncle”. Imam Ridha (a.s) said such things as: “Zayd ibn Ali was one of the great scholars of the Ahlulbayt (a.s)”.

He was angered for pleasure of Allah (swt), fought in holy war against enemies of Allah (swt) and was martyred in the way of Allah (swt).[4]

[1] . ‘Umraji, al-Hayat al-Siyasat wa al-Fikriyyat Lil Zaydiyyat fee al-Mashriq al-Islami, Pg. 30; Saberi, Tarikh Firaq Islami, Vol. 2, Pg. 64.

[2] .Ibid, Pg. 43; Esfahani, Maqatil al-Talebin, Pg. 127.

[3] . Maqatil al-Talebin, Pg. 127.

[4] . Ahmad bin Ali ibn al-Hussain, (birth 288 A.H), Omdatul Mataleb, Pg. 255. Uyūn akhbār al-Riḍā (Arabic: عیون اخبار الرضا), Vol. 1, chapter 25, Pg. 248. Allamah Tabatabaee, Shia in Islam, Pg. 66.