How can it be proved whether Ahl as-Sunnah or Shia is right about Imamate?

The Details of the Question

- The source of the issue of Imamate in Ja’farite is the sound narrations reported mainly from Ja’far as-Sadiq in their hadith sources stating that Hz. Ali was chosen as the caliph upon the command of Allah. There is no such command in our hadith sources.
- Ja’faris state that their scholars strictly apply methods such as jarh and tadil in hadith methodology and that they do not doubt their “sound narrations”.
- We also rely on our own sound narrations.
- Both parties make their own claims by interpreting the hadiths that have undergone strict controls such as jarh and tadil.
- Ja’faris believe that Ahl as-Sunnah is worse than Christians and Jews because they believe that we changed Allah’s command. We say that it is not possible for all Companions to exit the religion of Islam. They say that all Companions became apostates and that the ummahs of some prophets also apostatized as a whole.
- How can we understand whether the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave such an order 1400 years ago?
- How can we prove that our sources are reliable and their sources are wrong related to the hadiths in which the same methods of jarh and tadil are applied?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- First of all, if Ja’faris/Shia had convinced us or if we had convinced them, there would be no such thing as quarrels and disagreements today. Since that disagreement has continued up to this time, it seems very difficult to completely eliminate that disagreement in the future.

 - If we, as Ahl as-Sunnah, collected all the evidence from the whole world, we might not be able to convince some Ja’faris.

- Besides, our duty is to teach and practice Ahl as-Sunnah, which is the way of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions, and its views. We do not and cannot have a duty to make people accept it. A person will use his own will, and Allah will make him accept it. We cannot interfere with it.

- When the peoples of the previous nations did not believe in their prophets, they were all destroyed. It is a sociological principle called the sunnah of Allah. Since it is out of the question for the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to be destroyed collectively or individually, it means that they are sincere believers.

- However, the people of the ancient nations did not believe at first. There is no historical information showing that any nation apostatized as a whole after believing and was destroyed because of it.

However, the claim of Shia is that all of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) except three or five of them became apostates altogether after believing. The fact that they were not destroyed as a whole is clear evidence that Shia are liars and committed a major slander.

- The fact that the Companions fought some Bedouin tribes that apostatized during the caliphate of Abu Bakr is another evidence showing that the Companions were not apostates.

- Allah speaks highly of the Companions in various verses of the Quran, especially in the chapter of al-Fath. There is not even a single implication in any of the expressions of Allah regarding praise in those verses that this praise is for a temporary period. Thus, as those praises by Allah about the Companions witness, they did not become apostates.

- Ahl as-Sunnah and Jama’ah have tried to maintain their respect for the Companions, considering their greatness, which is determined by the Qur’an and Sunnah, in the eye of Allah.

- It is possible to see the expressions indicating the values ​​of the Companions in the eye of Allah in the verses below:

“Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.” (al-Baqara, 2/143)

(O Ummah of Muhammad!) Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110)

“Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith, in the cause of Allah as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) in very truth the Believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.” (al-Anfal, 8/74)

“The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds,- well- pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: that is the supreme felicity.” (at-Tawba, 9/100) (Note: Those who accuse the Companions of apostasy will have denied this verse.)

“Allah’s Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to thee under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquility to them; and He rewarded them with a speedy Victory; And many gains will they acquire (besides): and Allah is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.” (al-Fath, 48/18-19)

“Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.” (al-Fath, 48/29)

- There are many hadiths showing the virtue of the Companions. We regard the following comprehensive hadith in the soundest sources as sufficient for the time being:

“The best of my followers are those living in my generation and then those who will follow them and then those who will follow them...” (Bukhari, Fadailul-Ashab, 1; Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 52)

“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. ‘If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” (an-Nur, 24/55)

It is pointed out in the verse above that after the death of the Prophet (pbuh), those who were described as those who believe and work righteous deeds” will become caliphs.

And this verse of the Quran is exactly in the 633rd place according to the system of arrangement of the verses sent down in Madinah, which is the beginning year of the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr. In other words, according to this system, 632 verses were placed before this verse.

- As it is stated clearly in the verse, the fact that all four caliphs, who were among those who believe and work righteous deeds” and who were given the glad tidings of Paradise, became caliphs one after the other confirms the trueness of the verse. The Shia’s understanding of the caliphate completely contradicts the clear expression of the verse.

- The Islamic ummah believes in Allah’s Qadar as a principle and regards belief in Qadar as one of the principles of belief. Accordingly, the fact that all four rightly-guided caliphs became caliphs is a clear indication that Allah (as it is expressed in the verse) preordained caliphate for them. However, if Hz. Ali had been the first caliph, none of those three caliphs would have been the caliph because their lifespans would not have been enough.

- To sum up: It can be very difficult to agree with all Ja’faris and Shia in general on this ground. However, the first duty that falls on the shoulder of both parties is to avoid the deeds that will harm the “Union of Islam”, which is the only solution for Islam and Muslims to get out of the current miserable state they are in. It can only be achieved by not discussing such controversial issues.

- It will be the wisest and fairest thing for both parties to pay attention the call of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who is an Ahl as-Sunnah scholar and defender of the Ahl al-Bayt, and perhaps even the 12th Imam that Shia awaits: 

“O Sunnis, who are the people of truth, and ‘Alawis, whose way is love of the Prophet’s (UWBP) family! Quickly put an end to this meaningless, disloyal, unjust, and harmful dispute between you. Otherwise, the atheistic current which is now so influential will make one of you a tool against the other, and use the one to crush the other. And after defeating the one it will destroy the tool. As believers in divine unity, it is essential that you leave aside unimportant matters that cause division, for there are a hundred fundamental sacred bonds between you that enjoin brotherhood and unity.” (see Lem’alar, p. 26)

For additional information, will you please click on the links given below;

- Considering that hadiths reached us through many narrators, why should we trust hadiths and why should we not deny hadiths?

- Why do Shiite scholars not accept hadiths reported from Abu Hurayra?

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