WHY WE BECAME "SUNNI MUSLIMS"? (With Rebuttals from a Shiah Ithna'Ashri Scholar and my Responses)
A question most often asked by the Shiah Muslims when they discover that my wife and I are no more the followers of Karim Aga Khan, is:
Why did we, who were Shiah Muslims by birth, joined the Sect of Sunni Muslims upon leaving the enigmatic Sect of the Agakhani Ismailis and not that of the Twelvers Shiah? The answer is simple and short; The **explicit** Hidayah (Guidance) of the Qur'an.
Here is that explicit Hidayah from Surah Al-Ahzab:
"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah." Verse 21.
The Arabic word sunna (singular sunnah) literally means; "custom" or "usage". Following the Sunna of the Prophet (s.a.s.) is an explicit Divine Hidayah from Allah (s.w.t.). Following the Prophetic Sunna is regarded as a compliment or commendation to the Holy Qur'an. How one interprets and answers; What is included within the realm of the Prophet's Sunnah and what is not? Is a personal matter.
I have not found any explicit verse within the Glorious Qur'an that Commands us to follow the Sunna of anyone besides the Prophet (s.a.)
The history records that the adherence and compliance to this explicit Command of Allah (s.w.t.) was never ever questioned by the Prophet's companions, his own family members including Hadhrat Ali (r.a.) and the rest of the Believers (the Ummah), who lived with the Prophet (s.a.s.). In other words, it would be correct to say that Sunnism (following the Sunnah of the Prophet) was the original path or the main stream of the Deen of Allah, followed by the Muslims of that period.
The history also records that the roots of "shi'at ul 'Ali" (lit. the party of Ali) were planted, a long time after the passing away of the beloved Prophet. In other words there was only ONE UNIT (or the main stream), before and the division happened much later. Allah (SWT), knows the future and He also warns us of the pitfalls. Please read the following Revealed Command keeping in mind which was the One Unit or the Mainstream of Islam, when this particular Verse was Revealed.:
As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. Surah An-An'am (6), verse 159 I hope that answers the question. Please read it with an open mind.
"ULIL AMRI MINKUM"
When I was a Shiah Ismaili, we were taught to recite in our daily Du'a, the fragmented portion of verse 59 of Surah Nissa, which read:
"Yaa ayyuhal lazina aamanua ati'ullaaha wa ati'ur rasuula wa ulil amri minkum," meaning; "O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you." (Note the phrase ulil amri minkum is not singular but plural) When I opened the Holy Book, I found out that the above verse did not end here but it continued further and the following text was intentionally expunged:
"fa in tanaaza'tum fi syai'in fa rudduuhu ilallaahi war rasuuli in kuntum tu'minuuna billaahi wal yaumil aakhir(i), zaalika khairuw wa ahsanu ta'wilaa(n)." meaning;
"If ye differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination. Since that time I decided that the best and the most suitable thing was to place my complete confidence in the verses of the Holy Qur'an and not in an Ulil amri minkum who is either not physically alive to ANSWER and resolve the controversial issues or is physically alive but is UNAPPROACHABLE. I have not come across any verse in the Holy Qur'an, as clear as the quoted verse from Surah Al-Ahzab, that would induce me and my wife to join any party (sect) led by any Ulil amri minkum or any Imam. I have been bombarded with hundreds of re-narrated oral reports and riwayats but not a Single Verse from the Holy Qur'an that would compel me to set aside the above quoted verse. I earnestly suggest the readers to read my article on the subject of the re-narrated reports and riwayats, many of which were no doubt fabricated for the reasons clearly defined within the article, by clicking
Myths and Realities of Hadith
Finally, if the rest of the world (non Muslims), were to join Islam in the end time, and, the Islamic Ummah was to be united as a single community then the most likely candidate for that would be as the present trend of the new converts indicate; the Mainstream of Islam - the Sunni Tariqah of Islam, which has over 90% of the followings.
Above is my personal opinion and I am open for the dialogue IF someone has the verses from the QUR'AN to change my judgement.
Maa Salaam, Brother Akbar
THE REBUTTAL FROM A SHI'A ITHNA-ASHARI SCHOLAR.....
In response to my above statement which reads; "Since that time I decided that the best and the most suitable thing was to place my complete confidence in the verses of the Holy Qur'an and not in an Ulil amri minkum who is either not physically alive to ANSWER and resolve the controversial issues or is physically alive but is UNAPPROACHABLE. I have not come across any verse in the Holy Qur'an, as clear as the quoted verse from Surah Al-Ahzab, that would induce me and my wife to join any party (sect) lead by any Ulil amri minkum or any Imam. I have been bombarded with hundreds of re-narrated oral reports and riwayats but not a Single Verse from the Holy Qur'an that would compel me to set aside the above quoted verse."; a Shi'a scholar - who claims that the Agha Khanis are not Shi'a and Ithna Asharis are Shi'a, has sent the following message by e-mail:
It is good that you have put your faith in the holy Qur’an. It also implies that you did not have your faith in the holy Qur’an before that. Well, that was wrong. Every Muslim must have firm faith in every word of the holy Qur’an.
With that note, let me ask you this: Have you recited the following verse of the Qur’an? Please do explain to your readership what you understand from this:
Yauma nad’u kulla unasin bi imami-him… (and the day when We will call every people with their respective Imam….) Q.17:71My Response:
You would notice that the Shiah scholar has quoted a *fragmented portion* of verse 17:71 from the Qur'an. The reason for fragmentation is obvious if you were to read the *entire verse* that is quoted below:
Translation by M. M. Pickthall of verse 17:71: On the day when We shall summon all men with their record, whoso is given his book in his right hand -- such will read their book and they will not be wronged a shred.
Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali of verse 17:71: One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams: those who are given their record in their right hand will read it (with pleasure) and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.
Transliteration of verse 17:71: Yawma nad'uu kulla 'unaasim bi- 'Imaam -him fa- man 'uutiya kitaaba -hu bi- yamiini -hi fa- 'ulaa'ika yaqra'uuna kitaaba -hum wa- yuz-lamuuna fatiil(an)
One would notice that Pickthall has translated the word "Imaam" as "record" (of deeds), whereas Yusuf Ali has left this word non-translated and given his comments. However, upon reading the ENTIRE VERSE, the true meaning of this word "Imaam" as the "record of deeds" is very clear and needs no further comments. Secondly, there are many human beings upon this earth (e.g. Atheists), who have no "Leaders", whereas the verse specifically relates to **all human beings**. However, the deeds of all human beings are recorded as mentioned in verse 36:12 of the Holy Qur'an, quoted below. One may also notice that Yusuf Ali has translated below the same word "Imaam" as the "Book of (recorded) evidence". This verse 36:12 compliments verse 17:71. I hope that answers the Rebuttal of the Shi'a scholar.
Translation by Yusuf Ali of verse 36:12: Verily We shall give life to the dead and We record that which they sent before and that which they leave behind and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence)
Transliteration of verse 36:12: 'In(na) -naa Nah.nu nuh.yil- mawtaa wa- naktubu maa qaddamuu wa- 'aathaar -hum wa- kulla shay'in ah-saynaa -hu fii 'Imaamim mubiin.
Note: In verse 46:12 the "Book of Moses" is also called ""Imaam".
BTW, the followers of Karim Aga Khan who call themselves; The Shiah IMAMI Ismailis also recite the fragmented last line of the above verse 36:12 in their daily Du'a (prayers) and the enigmatic translation reads: "And We have vested (the knowledge and authority of) everything in the manifest Imam."
ADDITIONAL TEXT ADDED ON APRIL 13
The Shiah scholar wrote:
Now consider this hadeeth report recorded by Mulla Ali Qari in his Sharh-i-fiqh-i-Akbar (Mulla Ali Qari is a Sunni Alim and this book is a commentary on Imam Abu Hanifa’s book of Islamic laws FIQH AKBAR), “man mata wa lam y’arif Imam-i-zamanihi, faqad mata meetat-al-Jahiliyya.” (one who dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of Jahiliyya).
MY RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE:
How could the Prophet (peace be upon him), have spoken the above text of the Hadeeth, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari or by anyone for that matter, when the actual "Concept of The Imamah" and/or the very perception of "The Imam of his time" was not even known by the Ummah, that lived during the life of the Prophet? The Concepts of the Khilaphat and the Imamat were developed *after* the passing away of the Prophet. Even at the Gadir-e-Khoom, in accordance with the Shiah Traditions and Riwayats, the Prophet did not declare Hadhrat Ali as the "Imaam" of the Ummah. I suggest the Shiah scholar to read my article HADEETH
ADDITIONAL TEXT ADDED ON APRIL 14
The Shiah scholar wrote:
The hadeeth report from the Prophet about the Muslims having twelve Imams is so strongly vouched by Isnaad that it is really impossible to deny it. Consequently, Mulsims had to invent at least twelve names to fit that hadeeth. However, in every century and every generation the list of the names has been changing, depending upon who was running the govrnment. It is only the Shi'a Ithna Ashari who have maintained the list of the twelve Imams from day one and it has not changed.
MY RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE:
There is a serious problem of reconciliation within these two Ahadith. In the earlier Hadith, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari, the Prophet is supposed to have said (one who dies without knowing the **Imam of his time**, dies the death of Jahiliyya). In the later, so called as the strongly vouched Hadith, the Prophet is supposed to have said (the Muslims having **twelve Imams**).
These two statements contradict each other. IF the Prophet knew the future and he also knew it for sure that there were not going to be any more Imams (Leaders) after the twelfth Imam, he could not have made the earlier statement asking the Muslim Ummah that it was imperative to know the Leaders (Imams) of "their own times". How could those that were to be born after the twelfth Imam, know the "Imams of their own times" when there were going to be none, during their life time? The earlier statement in effect acknowledges the perpetually of the Leadership (Imams), which the later statement NEGATES. Here is one more reason why each and every narration that is in circulation could not be recognized as the authentic narration. Some are, others are not.
THE FIVE GREAT DECEPTIONS OF THE FRAGMENTED VERSE 36:12 THIS ARTICLE LAST UPDATED ON JANUARY 5, 2000
"AND WE HAVE VESTED (THE KNOWLEDGE AND AUTHORITY) OF EVERYTHING IN THE MANIFEST IMAM." Holy Qur'an Verse 36:12 (as per the Ismaili Dua).
I have been flooded with mails from the followers of Aga Khan asking me; Why I refuse to acknowledge what Allah has Himself "vested" in "Imamim Mubeen", as per the verse 36:12 of the Quran?
The reason for this flooding is easy to understand. Ismailis are simply repeating what they have been reading since their childhood, from within their published Ismaili Du'a Books. A quarter century ago, when I was living in Pakistan as a "Devout Agakhani Ismaili" I too was asking the same question to my Sunni Muslim friends and associates. I would then add the following question; Why are you holding fast to the Quran and not to the Imamim Mubeen --- the second most important strand of "Hablillah" (The Rope of Allah), that has been sent by Allah to mankind?
Today, I know that nowhere in the Glorious Qur'an Allah (SWT) has mentioned about "vesting of the knowledge and the authority of everything" into any living or dead individual. As a matter of fact, the words "knowledge" and/or "authority" DO NOT appear in this verse. Of course, they are placed within the brackets but where did they come from or what do they represent? One can not just place anything and everything that one fancies within the brackets, while translating the Revealed Text. What is the justification for this addition to Allah's Words? Secondly, when one is quoting the written text to other person, one does not mention that this portion is inside and that portion is outside of the brackets. The false impressions that the bracketed text create within the minds of the listeners are deep rooted and permanent. The injection of words "knowledge" and "authority" to Allah's Text is THE GREAT DECEPTION No. 1.
In the Ismaili Du'a Book one would find only the LAST LINE of the verse number 36:12. The EARLIER text which has a very significant relevance to the Message is not at all printed or recited in Dua. The motive behind this CONCEALMENT of the expunged text is to mislead the readers and promoting erroneous dogmas. EXPUNGING of Allah's Text with a motive of misguiding is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 2.
Within this expunged text is the Arabic word "naktubu" which translates "We write" or "We record". Obviously, when the writing is done it is in a BOOK or a REGISTER. The word "imam" in the Arabic language has more than one meaning. Here is the translation of the word "imam" as found in; A Dictionary And Glossary Of The Koran by John Penrice. "A leader in religion, a model, example, rule, pattern, or book for guidance or instruction." In verse 46:12, the "Book of Moses" is also called "imam" (meaning, a book of guidance). In the English language the term "Guide" is used for a Person that could act as a Guide and also for a Book that one can read to find his way around. If the verb "read" is used in connection with the term "Guide", then there is no room left for an ambiguity of any kind. Intentionally concealing the phrase "We write" and then introducing an unrelated and inappropriate concept of the "Living Imam" as Imamim Mubeen is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 3.
Upon the reading of the ENTIRE verse appended below one can easily notice that the verse clearly indicates that Allah has been speaking of an act of KEEPING or TAKING accounts of ALL our deeds and footsteps. Changing that original concept of "accounting" or "recording" into "vesting" of ALL the "knowledge and authority" in a LIVING person and making him a Divine Personality with Authority is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 4.
As seen before, a major portion of verse 36:12 is expunged and in its place is taken up by another fragmented portion from verse 4:59. Strange it may sound, the enjoining of these TWO fragmented verses (4:59 and 36:12) happens with the Arabic word "wa" (meaning "and"). Only those who are knowledgeable in the verses of the Quran can detect such a skillful deception. IF Allah (swt) wanted the Ummah to understand and have FIRM FAITH in what has been done by "scotch-taping" (two separate verses from two different chapters), then would HE not have Revealed that CLEARLY AND EXPLICITLY? Why would Allah Reveal "naktubu" ("WE WRITE") and then want the Ummah to BELIEVE something which He DID NOT Reveal? "Truly, conjecture can be of no avail against Truth" (Quran 10:36). FRAGMENTING and then RECONSTITUTING of Allah's Revealed TWO SEPARATE Verses into ONE NEW "Scotch-taped" Verse is THE GREAT DECEPTION NO. 5.
Here is the translation followed by the transliteration of the RECONSTITUTED "SCOTCH-TAPED" INNOVATED VERSE as found in the Ismaili Dua Book. This act of "scotch-taping" was done by the grandfather of the present Aga Khan when he was the "Imamim Mubeen" and his ACTIONS were considered to be DIVINE, by his followers. The present Aga Khan has not removed or amended that "scotch-taped" verse, in spite of repeated request being made to him.
This is what is published in the Ismaili Dua Books: O ye, who believe, obey Allah and obey the Apostle and holders of authority from amongst you. And We have vested (the knowledge and authority of) everything in the manifest Imam.
Transliteration: Ya ayyuhal-lazeena amnoo, ati-Ullah wa ati-ur-Rasoola wa Ulil Amri minkum. Wa kulla shai'in ahsainahu fee Imamim-mubeen.
Here is the entire verse 36:12, as Allah has Revealed.
Translation by Yusuf Ali: Verily We shall give life to the dead and We record (naktubu) that which they sent before and that which they leave behind and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence).
Translation by Pickthall: Lo! We it is Who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before (them), and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear register.
Transliteration of 36:12 In na nahnu nuhyil mauta wa naktubu maa qad damuu wa aasaarahum wa kul la sai in ahsainaahu fi imaamim mubin
Here is the entire verse 4:59, as Allah has Revealed.
Translation by Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination.
Translation by Pickthall: O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.
Transliteration of 4:59: Yaa ayyuhal lazina aamanuu ati'ullaaha wa ati'ur rasuula wa ulil amri minkum, fa in tanaaza'tum fi syai'in fa rudduuhu ilallaahi war rasuuli in kuntum tu'minuuna billaahi wal yaumil aakhir(i), zaalika khairuw wa ahsanu ta'wilaa(n).
Hablillah: After my settlement in Canada, one fine day I had an occasion to visit the Jamie (Sunni) Mosque in Richmond, B.C. In the foyer there was a copy of the beautifully printed Sermon of the Prophet (s.a.s.). It was a historical Sermon which he had delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat.
What caught my eyes was the end part of that Sermon, which read:
O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people. The above statement had a support from the Holy Qur'an. In Surah Al-Ahzab (33) Allah (SWT) has revealed:
Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah." Verse 21.
Al-Hamdulillah, I found the answer to my earlier question on the subject of Hablillah, within these texts.
Footnote: In this sacred month of Ramadhan, there is only ONE community in the entire “Islamic Brotherhood” whose majority of the members DO NOT observe the PHYSICAL fasting, the world over. Furthermore, they have NO remorse or regret for the non-observance alike any member of a Christian or a Jewish community. HOWEVER, this situation would turnaround INSTANTLY, if their “Hazar Imam” - Karim Aga Khan, was to send a “Holy Message” (Farman), asking them to observe the fasting, like the rest of the Ummaah. This clearly indicates the SUPREME and FINAL AUTHORITY of “Imamim-mubeen” is firmly and squarely established within the community. An “Imamim-mubeen” whose photos you will see hanging prominently in the shops, offices and homes of the followers and most probably, smiling at you. That enigmatic smile should immediately trigger your mind to point your index finger back at him (the person smiling at you) and ask your question to the owner: "Is this the one in whom Allah has vested the 'Knowledge and Authority of Everything' ? If, every Muslim was to ask the "same specific" question, the owner of the photo would reflect: "Do these Muslims know something that I don't? You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to know the effect and the impact of your 'one line question' upon the mind of that person. It is a Da'wah in a subtle way.
EYE-OPENER # 1 FOR THE ISMAILIS:
When Prince Aly Khan was young, his father Sultan Muhammad Shah the 48th "Imamim-Mubeen", officially appointed Prince Aly Khan as Wali-ahad (Heir apparent, i.e. the next Imamim-Mubeen), in 1930. The photographs of Prince Aly Khan that were published in the Ismaili Magazines, after 1930, had the epithet "Wali-ahad Prince Aly Khan".
Every year, the day on which an Imam is installed on the throne of Imamat is celebrated all over the Ismaili world with feasts, dancing and sending Mehmanis (Cash Donations as Gifts), to the Imam. That day is known as Saleghreh. After the birth of Prince Karim came an order to hold the Sayyukt Saleghreh meaning "Joint Celebrations" of THREE IMAMS, viz., Sultan Muhammad Shah the 48th Imam, Prince Aly Khan the 49th Imam and Prince Karim the 50th Imam. Ismailis all over the world Celebrated with great pride these Sayyukt Saleghrehs. The above is an undeniable fact from the recent history of the Agakhani Ismailis.
When the "Last Will" of Sultan Muhammad Shah was read in 1957, this officially designated and celebrated "Wali-ahad Prince Aly Khan" was completely bye passed and Prince Karim became the 49th Imam. The entire Ismaili community was stunned, shocked, flabbergasted and bowled over. Many Ismailis from Syria and Punjab even REVOLTED to this unprecedented BYE PASS in the history of the Shiahs and openly refused to accept Prince Karim as their 49th Imamim-Mubeen. A grandson cannot become "Hazar Imam" if his father is ALIVE. A few Ismailis even stopped participating in the community rituals, with faith. For them Imamim-mubeen was no more the one who knows the future.
EYE-OPENER # 2 FOR THE ISMAILIS:
The followers of Aga Khan proudly claim that their Hazar Imam KNOWS what is going to happen in the future. Whereas, that same Hazar Imam clearly ADMITS in his own personal, sealed and signed legal document that he is IGNORANT/UNAWARE of the future. Below is the text from the Late Aga Khan's Last Will:
I APPOINT my grandson KARIM, the son of my son ALY SALOMONE KHAN, to succeed to the title of AGA KHAN and to be the Imam and Pir of all my Shia Ismailian followers, and should my grandson KARIM predecease me then I APPOINT his brother AMYN MAHOMED, the second son of my son ALY SALOMONE KHAN, as my successor to the Imamate. To contend, after reading the above text, that the Late Aga Khan knew the future quite well is to DECLARE that the Late Aga Khan was either knowingly play-acting or he was not hundred per cent candidly truthful when he wrote; "should my grandson KARIM predecease me"
Say (O Muhammad): "As to the knowledge of the time, it is with Allah alone: I am but a plain warner." Holy Qur'an 67:26
The Biggest Paradox of the Ismaili Beliefs: In spite of these manifest "Eye-openers" from Allah (SWT), which have conclusively proved that ALLAH ALONE (not the "Imamim-Mubeen") has the knowledge of what is going to happen tomorrow, the vast majority of the followers continue to recite this "scotched-taped" verse with absolute 'Blind Faith' and think that the "non-Ismailis" are the ones who have intentionally mistranslated this verse 36:12, within their translations!!!
*THE ISMAILIS DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN TRANSLATION*
ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL ALLAH ACKNOWLEDGE THE FAITH OF THOSE WHO HAVE BASED IT UPON A RECONSTITUTED "SCOTCH-TAPED" VERSE, INNOVATED BY THE LATE AGA KHAN? "Those who oppose (the commands of) Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated." Quran 58 : 20