Confessions of Opponents

Allama Shibli Nomani’s writings are of such a high order that he did not consider it advisable even to hint at the most significant Ghadeer incident or its importance and doing so was highly inappropriate according to his broad vision and religious understandings and reasoning. Hence, he did not take the trouble to men­tion as to how the very incident itself took place or whether it did take place or not. So, the great author settles such an important issue with unmatched speed and ignores all the significant incidents which are having Qur’anic verses as their testimonies in a great huff which is quite in conformation with his nature. Biased reporting and concealed writings have been utilized to such an extent that the great incident of Ghadeer-e-Khum is not even related separately. It is hidden and mixed along with the ordinary events in the sequence thus covering it with his writing cloak to prevent the emergence of truth. But concealed? No, by God, Shibli himself had tried to do so on many occasions previously but alas, all his ef­forts were in vain and ultimately truth dawned upon the world. Allama Shibli left no stone un­turned in proving the magnanimous incident of Ghadeer as a non-event and hiding the facts, which will be revealed soon by this article. Before our review and criticism, we shall first cite the quotation of Allama Shibli himself which he has written regarding this event.


“In the way, there was a place called Khum which is three miles apart from Johfa. Here was an oasis. In Arabic, an oasis is called ‘Ghadeer’ and hence, in ordinary traditions, this place is called as “Ghadeer-e-Khum”. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) collected all his companions in this place and delivered a brief sermon. ‘After Praising and Glorifying the Lord he said ” O People I am a mortal. Possibly, God’s angel may come and I have to accept (his message i.e. death). I leave behind you two weighty things. First of them is the Book of Allah in which is guidance and light. Hold the Book of Allah firmly. Second is my Ahle Bait, I remind you of Allah through my Ahle Bait.”
He repeated the last statement thrice. This is a tradition from Sahih Muslim (in the chapter of Manaqeb Hazrat Ali (a.s.)), Nisaai, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Tirmidhi, Tabarani, Haakim-e-Neshapouri etc. have some more sentences too in which the glorification of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) are quite evident. In these
traditions one sentence is quite common and that is: “Of whomsoever I am his Master, Ali is His Master. O Allah, help him who helps Ali and be his enemy who is Ali’s enemy” . Clear explanations in the traditions are not found as to what was the necessity for these statements. In Sahih-e-Bukhari, it is mentioned that Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was sent to Yemen during this time and on his return, participated in the Hajj journey. There, in Yemen, he did something on his own authority which was not liked by some of his co-travelers One of them on returning, complained to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s action. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied that Hazrat Ali (a.s.) had the right to do more than this. It’s not surprising that to dispel such doubts, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) uttered these statements.

(Seeratun Nabi, Vol. 1)

Such a magnanimous event like Ghadeer-e-Khum has been signed off by Allama Shibli Nomani in just eleven sentences. This is a clear proof for his art in maintaining brevity in narrat­ing an important historical event. Though, it must be said that this very mention of the Ghadeer incident is quite compensation. What if he had denied the very occurrence of the inci­dent? He writes : “Here, Prophet (s.a.w.a.) collected the sahaba (companions) and delivered a brief sermon”. Is this not a historical breach of trust? Because the sermon of Ghadeer was not a brief sermon but a lengthy and detailed sermon which was a perpetual source of divine light and guid­ance of which you all are well aware . As far as the sentences, which the calls as ‘Khutbah of Ghadeer’, are concerned, no learned Muslim worth his weight will call it a Khutbah and the attempt by Allama Shibli to deceive the common Muslims is quite manifest. For, in these few sentences, there is neither guidance nor fundamental laws of jurisprudence.

Apparently, it’s just an ordinary tradition or a will of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to follow the Qur’an and treat his Ahle Bait (a.s.) well, after he was certain that his death was near. Also, he has plucked a distorted oft-repeated tradition of Saqlain from Sahih Muslim due to which the following of Qur’an can’t be put at par with the following of Ahle Bait (a.s.) And by emphasizing on the difference between the “hold on tightly” (for Qur’an) and “Remember”, concepts for Ahle Bait a.s.), he has tried to prove that the condition of holding on tightly is solely for Qur’an while for the Ahle Bait only remembrance will suffice. Thereby, he had laid the foundation for the slogan “the Book of Allah is sufficient for us.” We would like to question Allama Shibli, with folded hands, as to what is the use of concealing facts which have been narrated me­ticulously and in detail, by not one or two but hundreds of great Sunni scholars, narrators and traditionalists and that too with a certain sense of pride, in their invaluable writings and compila­tion and in the process, revealing the ugly faces of the enemies of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) whose hearts bear nothing but malice against the noble leader. Neither he nor the narrator of Sahih Muslim has succeeded in covering up the truth. Both of them attempted to disprove the tradition that the Qur’an and Ahle Bait (a.s.) are equal but fortunately failed miserably.

And at quite a few intervals, he utilizes his God – given gifts of intellect to ponder over the tradition in Sahih Muslim.

“I leave behind you two most weighty things…”
from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and gives his verdict of their being equal. When there is no third thing named along with these two, it’s quite logical and understandable that these two have to be of equal status and level. Thus, accord­ing to his own narrations and confessions, these two great things are of the same status and this statement is testified by none other than the great personality of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Perhaps, while narrating the tradition from Sahih Muslim, Allama Shibli Nomani may have been afraid of some unknown but expected criticism. Hence, he hastily added after narrating this tradition that in Nisaai, Musnad -e-Ahmad, Ibn Hanbal, Tirmidhi, Tabaraani, Haakim, etc. some more sen­tences glorifying Hazrat Ali (a.s.) are to be found. One more thing which is quite beyond com­prehension and understanding is that why is he sticking only to the tradition from Sahih Muslim when according to his own self other great scholars too, amongst which two are the authors of Sahihs and hence are on par with Muslim, have narrated this tradition and have quoted some more sentences glorifying Hazrat Ali (a.s.) while that of Muslim is incomplete and not conveying the entire message? An unprejudiced view will unhesitantly reach to this conclusion that to hide, reduce or distort important and significant events like Ghadeer and Mubahela, the matter of giving preference to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim came to the fore. For, it has to be men­tioned with great grief that these two gentlemen possessed the art of concealing facts with un­canny ease and comfort. But what was the use? Facts, plain facts, could not be just wrapped up and put on the shelves. As a result, when Imam Haakim felt the pinch of the matter, he wrote in his book while narrating the incident of Ghadeer. “This tradition is Sahih (correct) according to Muslim, even though both of them (Bukhari and Muslim) have not mentioned it.” God knows as to what was the reasoning be­hind the two Imams, Bukhari and Muslim, concealing facts and that too being in vain  ecause the above mentioned scholars have, by jotting down the actual details of the events, exposed the myth surrounding the authenticity of Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and even Allama Shibli Nomani. For. it was the Allama’s duty, like an honest historian, to narrate other references along with the tradition from Sahih Muslim to give other scholars a chance to derive a conclu­sion from the entire episode. Possibly, such precautions have been taken in narrating the incident so as to prevent the increment in the glorification of Ameerul Momeneen, Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). Or maybe, his narrow vision and limited foresight refrained him from referring to more re­liable books of traditions. Therefore, while nar­rating a tradition from a Sahih, Sunan-e-Nisaai, on the hadees of Saqlain in event of Ghadeer, he quotes the renowned Imam Nisaai: “Zaid Ibn Arqam (r. a.) relates that while returning from the last Hajj to Madina, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) paused at a place called Ghadeer which is be­tween MeccaArial”> and Madina. That was the thir­teenth day of ZilHajj. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) addressed the Muslims: “O people I will be asked whether I have conveyed the divine message to you?” The entire crowd replied, equivocally “We witness that you have conveyed the divine message and fulfilled the right of advice. And we witness that there is no God except Allah and you are His Truthful Messenger.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “I witness upon your witness.” Then, again he (s.a.w.a.) said: “O People, I am leaving (behind me) amongst you, two most weighty things. If you catch hold of them tightly, you will never be lead astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my Progeny. The merciful divine messenger (Jibraeel) has informed me that they will never part from each other until they meet at the Kausar.” Although, the equality in the status of the Holy Qur’an and the Ahle Bait had been proved in the tradition from Sahih Muslim, but because the words, ‘catch hold tightly’ for Qur’an and ‘remember’ for Ahle Bait had been used in it there would be a chance for an element of doubt to remain in those who possessed shaky faiths and unsound beliefs. And by doing so, Imam Muslim has attempted to take undue advantage in his inimitable yet unenviable style but one cannot hide a mountain with a veil. For, as far as Allama Shibli’s Faith is concerned, the lesser the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) glorifying-Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and the Ahle Bait are quoted, the better. Even though the tradition quoted by Imam Nisaai is quite rhetoric in declar­ing the equality of the Qur’an and the Ahle Bait not only in status but also obedience. Also, there is such a cohesive bond that they shall not separate from each other till the Day of Judge­ment. Allhama Shibli, admits the great role of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in nurturing and moulding his writing potential yet when one goes through the latter’s works, he can easily find Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal quoting the above dis­cussed tradition in exactly the same way as Imam Nisaai had done. Not only these traditions, but all others are unanimous in their opinion about the equality in the status and obedience of the Qur’an and Ahle Bait (a.s.). But our criticism was only aimed at the treatment meted out Hadees-e-Saqlain by Allama Shibli. For, he himself confess to have purposefully omitted the important extra sen­tences which were found in other books of tradi­tions except Sahih Muslim, and these have been later revealed by all the traditionalists, one after another. These most, significant extra sentences are as follows:

“If you catch hold of both of them tightly you will never go astray after me.” “For indeed they shall never separate from each other until and unless they meet me at the fountain, (of Kausar).” “Surely Allah will definitely ask you as to how you treated the Book of Allah and my Ahle Bait.” Allama Shibli has refrained from quoting these sentences because they leave no doubt whatsoever about the equality of the Holy Qur’an and the Ahle Bait from all aspects. Which means that as it is compulsory for us to obey each and every word of the Holy Qur’an, similarly, it is obligatory for us to follow exactly the actions of the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)? In order to conclude the essay, we would try to avoid the details because, dear readers, when Allama Shibli tried his level best to relate this incident as briefly as possible, how would he be able to bear its details? Ultimately, the Allama did not feel the necessity to refer to the Qur’anic verses or the various traditions when compared to his own rigid faith, teachings and conviction. Whether the divine origins are tampered with or the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) are mur­dered in broad daylight. For him, nothing is worth mentioning or jotting down than his own ideas views. Despite the fact that according to many great and re­nowned Sunni scholars, three Qur’anic verses were revealed on this all important occasion. Our only question to the broad-minded and un­prejudiced reader is; “Is it possible that the a great research scholar like Allama Shibli did not find even one of the sayings from amongst all these traditions related by great Sunni schol­ars?” No. But because Allama Shibli was a very intelligent person, he realized that the incident of Ghadeer is the greatest obstacle for his book “Seeratun Nabi’. Therefore, reaching to this point, he became very cautious and wrote each word after exercising a great strain on his mind. Since, it was not possible for him to go into the details of this true and historical incident, he thought it to play very safe either by outright denial of the Qur’anic verses and the Prophetic traditions or by ignoring the incident altogether and putting the faith of the Muslims into a quandary of doubt. So, while conveniently trying to forget the divine verses and the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), it would have still been better for him, had he burnt all his earlier research works and references to leave no marks whatsoever of the entire episode.

If he had not left any of his earlier researches and references none would’ve been able to bring them as evidences against his own writings. But till those references are available to the Islamic world, he will be at the receiving end of perpetual criticism for his insincere approach and no Muslim, possessing an ounce of belief and rationality will even have confidence in his par­tial jottings. “People call me Raafzi for befriending Ali, Then Lo God, His Prophet and Jibraeel are Raafzi.”

(Extracted from Talkhees-e-Uswat-ur-Ra-sool By Allama Sayed Aulad Haidar Belgrami r.a.).