Abu Jarih is reported to have said: I heard ‘Atà’ informing and said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr told me, saying: I and Ibn ‘Umar were leaning onto ‘A’ishah’s room, hearing the sound of brushing her teeth with the toothbrush. He says: I said: O ‘Abd al-Rahmàn, did the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him and his Household) perform the ‘umrah in Rajab? He replied: Yes. I said to ‘A’ishah: O bondmaid, don’t you hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmàn say: She said: What does he say? I replied: He says that the Prophet performed ‘umrah (minor pilgrimage) in the Month of Rajab. She said: "May Allah forgive ‘Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmàn. By my life the Prophet has never performed ‘umrah in Rajab, and he never made ‘umrah but only when being accompanied by him." He said. And Ibn ‘Umar was hearing, but he said neither ‘no’ nor ‘yes’, and kept silent.179
2. Disagreement among Schools about the Prophetic Sunnah:
When there is disagreement regarding the Prophetic Sunnah between ‘Umar and Abu Bakr, between Abu Bakr,180 and Fàtimah (A),181 among the Prophet’s wives, and between Abu Hurayrah and ‘A’ishah with contradiction,183 and between Ibn ‘Umar and ‘A’ishah,184 and also between Abd Allàh Ibn ‘Abbàs and Ibn al-Zubayr,185 and further between ‘Ali ibn Abi Tàlib and ‘Uthmàn ibn ‘Affàn.186 And when the Sahàbah differ among themselves concerning the Prophetic Sunnah187 to the extent that the Tàbi‘un (followers) after them were left with more than seventy creeds (madhhabs). Hence Ibn Mas‘ud had his own madhhab, and so had Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Abbas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn ‘Uyaynah, Ibn Jarih, al-Hasan al-Basri, Sufyàn al-Thawri, Màlik, Abu Hanifah, al-Shàfi‘i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal beside many others. But the political developments have done away with all of them, with only the four schools of thought are left, which are known for Ahl al-Sunnah.
Despite the small number of the schools of thought, but they differ regarding most of the fiqhi questions, due to their disagreement as regards the Prophetic Sunnah. One of them, for instance, may establish his judgement on some question according to what he approved from the Messenger’s hadith, while another one may exert his opinion or makes analogy (qiyàs) with another issue, due to the non-existence of the text and hadith on its regard.
3. Difference between Sunnah and Shi‘ah about the Prophetic Sunnah.
The disagreement between the Sunnah and Shi‘ah regarding this question, may be due to two main reasons: One of them being unauthenticity of the hadith in the view of the Shi‘ah if one of its narrators being of those whose justice being vilified, though being among the Sahàbah. That is due to the fact that the Shi‘ah never believe in the justice of the Companions as a whole, as Ahl al-Sunnah do.
Added to this, they reject any hadith contradicting the reporting of Ahl al-Bayt Imams, since they give it priority over narration of others, however high their position be, introducing for this strong proofs from the Qur’àn and (Prophetic) Sunnah, which being confirmed even by their opponents, to which reference was made before.
The second reason for disagreement betwen them stems from the concept meant by the hadith itself, as it may be interpreted by Ahl al-Sunnah contrarily to the interpretation of the Shi‘ah, as in the case of the afore-mentioned hadith, uttered by the Prophet (S) thus:
"Difference of my Ummah is a blessing."
Ahl al-Sunnah interpret it to mean that difference among the four schools of thought in respect of fiqhi affairs being a blessing for the Muslims. Whereas the Shi‘ah interpret it to mean visiting each other and caring for acquiring knowledge with alike benefits (being a blessing).
Or it may mean disagreement between the Shi‘ah and Sunnah, not regarding the interpretation of the Prophetic hadith, but regarding the person or persons meant by it, like the Messenger’s saying: "Adhere to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly-guided Caliphs after me." Ahl al-Sunnah interpret it to mean the four caliphs, whereas the Shi‘ah take it to mean the Twelve Imams, beginning with ‘Ali ibn Abi Tàlib and ending with al-Mahdi Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-‘Askari (peace be upon them all).
Or the hadith uttered by him (S):
"The successors after me are twelve, all belonging to Quraysh."
The Shi‘ah mean by it the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), whereas Ahl al-Sunnah can’t find a satisfactory interpretation for this hadith. Moreover, they have differed even in respect of the chronicles related to the Prophet (S), as in the case of the day of his birth. Ahl al-Sunnah celebrate the Prophet’s birth on the twelfth of Rabi al-’Awwal while the Shi‘ah celebrate it on the seventeenth of the same month.
By my life, this difference concerning the Prophetic Sunnah is an inevitable natural matter, during the absence of a religious authority (marji‘) to whom all people refer, with his judgement being efficacious, and his opinion accepted by all, as the Messenger (S) was. He used to root out all the disputes and settle any conflict, judging according to Allah’s revelation, so they Muslims were but to submit though feeling, annoyed in their bossoms. So the presence of such a person is a necessity for the Ummah as long as it exists on earth!Such is determined by reason, and it is impossible for the Messenger of Allah to neglect this fact while knowing that his Ummah will pervert Allah’s words after his demise. Therefore it was incumbent upon him to prepare and bring up for it a competent able teacher, so as to lead it to the right path whenever it trying to deviate or go astray. And he has actually prepared for his Ummah a great leader, doing his utmost in bringing him up and educating and teaching him all kinds of knowledge, from, birth till attaining perfection and gaining near him a position which being the same as Aaron had to Moses. So he entrusted him the following mission by saying:
“I fight them regarding revelation of the Qur’àn and you fight them regarding its interpretation.”188
And also his saying:
“O ‘Ali, you will verily demonstrate for my Ummah all that they differed about after me.”189
So, when the Qur’àn, Allah’s noble book, requires someone to fight for interpreting and exposing it, since it is a silent book that cannot speak, having numerous and various meanings and denotations, and containing the visible (Zahir) and unvisible (bàtin) or hidden (meanings), so how would be the case with the Prophetic traditions?
When this be the truth about the Book and Sunnah, it would be improper for the Messenger (S) to leave behind for his Ummah two silent and dumb thaqalayn (weighty assets), in a way that those in whose hearts is doubt would feel no compunction in explaining them allegorically for a (hidden) purpose. Pursuing, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension, and seeking (to gain) worldly lusts, so as to mislead those succeeding them, since they thought of them well, believing in their justice, and being then repentful on the Doomsday, to be among those meant by Allah’s saying "On that day when their faces shall be turned into the fire, they shall say: "Oh would that we had obeyed God and obeyed the Apostle! And they shall say L"O our Lord~! verily we obeyed our chiefs and our elders, and they led us astray from the path.:" O our Lord! give them a double chastisement, and curse them a great curse." (33:66-68). And His saying:"Everytime a (new) people entereth (it) it shall curse its sister (people); until they have all come together into it, the later of them shall say about the former of them; "O our Lord! These are they who led us astray, therefore give them a double chastisement of the fire," He will say: "For every one (of you) double, but ye know not." (7:38)
Has deviation ever stemmed from other than this? No nation (ummah) was left without an apostle sent by Allah, with the mission of showing them the path, and enlightening the route for them, but on the demise of every prophet, his people embarked on perverting, changing, and allegorically explaining Allah’s words according to their desires! Does any sane man imagine that the Messenger of Allah Jesus (A) claimed deity for himself before the Christians? Verily not, and it is too far from him. He addressed the Almighty saying: " I never told them anything other than what You commanded me with." In fact, the desires, avarices and worldliness altogether have prompted and pushed the Christians to such a practice. Hasn’t Jesus, and before him Moses, given them good tidings of the advent of Muhammad? But they explained the name Muhammad and Ahmad allegorically to mean the "savior", and they are still awaiting him.
Thus ta’wil (allegorical explanation) was verily the only reason that caused the Ummah of Muhammad to be divided into different numerous sects and schools of thought (seventy-three sects, all going to fire except only one). Now we are living amongst these sects and cutts; does anyone of them ascribe astrayal (dalàlah) to itself? Or in other words: Is there one cult claiming to have contradicted the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger? The contrary is true, as each one of them claims to be the only cult adherring to the Book and Sunnah. What will be the solution then??
Could the solution be far from the reach of the Messenger of Allah, or rather from Allah? I seek God’s forgiveness, as He is Subtile toward His bondmen, seeking their good, so it is inevitable for Him but to set for them a solution, so that he who perished might perish by a clear proof (of His sovereignty). And it is not His business — the Glorified — to neglect His creatures, leaving them without guidance, only that when we believe that it is Him Who desired disunity and pervertion for them so as to throw them into His fire, which is a void and invalid belief. I seek God’s forgiveness and turn to him from such an utterance that never fits Allah’s Glory, Wisdom and Justice.
So the Messenger’s saying that he has left behind the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Prophet can never be the reasonable solution for our issue, but rather it increases in our complexity and interpolation, and can never root out the rioters and deviants. The evidence for this can be seen clearly when they revolted against their Imam, proclaiming the slogan: Rule (hukm) belongs to Allah not to you, O ‘Ali! It is really a glistening slogan infatuating the mind of any hearer making him to believe the utterer to be so anxious to apply Allah’s precepts and rulings (ahkàm), and rejecting the judgements of others than Him from among the human beings. But this is not true at all.
Allah — the Exalted — said: "And among men there are those whose talk concerning the life here marveleth thee and he taketh God to witness as to what is in his heart yet he is the most violent of adversaries." (2:204)
True, we most the time are beguiled by the bombastic slogans, being unaware of what they keep behind, while such fact could never be kept from al-’Imàm ‘Ali, as he being the gate of the city of knoweldge, so he answered them by saying: "It is a word of truth intended to denote falsehood."
Right, many words of truth are there, meant to indicate falsehood (bàtil), how is that? When the Khawàrij say to al-’Imàm ‘Ali: "Rule belongs to God not to you, O ‘Ali," does this mean that Allah will appear on the earth and settle the dispute between them? Or they know that Allah’s judgement is stated in the Qur’àn, but ‘Ali has explained it according to his opinion? What proof they have, and how can’t one believe that it was them who explained God’s judgement allegorically? In fact he is more knowledgeable, truthful and precedent to Islam than them, and is Islam incarnated in other than him?
So it is just a seductive slogan used by them to overlay (the truth) before the naive people, with the aim of gaining their support to seek their help for fighting him and achieving victory against him (Ali), as occurring nowadays. Every time has its men, and shrewdness or cunningness can never stop, but rather it grows and increases since the contemporary shrewd people benefit from formers’ experiences. How many truth words are there intended to denote batil (falsehood), in the time-being? Glittering and bombastic mottos, like those proclaimed by the Wahhabis against the Muslims, such as "monotheism and non-polytheism", so is there any Muslim rejects it? Or one Muslim community calling themselves "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamà‘ah, so is there anyone among the Muslims who never likes to be with the company (Jama’ah) following the Prophet’s Sunnah? Or the banner raised by the Ba‘thists: "One Arab Nation with Immortal Message", and who can escape the beguilment of such a banner, before recognizing what is hidden by the Ba‘th Party and its founder Michael Aflaq?
May Allah help you O ‘Ali ibn Abi Tàlib, your wisdom remained and still will be resounding throughout time, as many words of truth intended to indicate falsehood. Once upon a day a scholar ascended the oration rostrum and exclaimed loudly: Whoever says: I am a Shi‘i we would say to him: You are a disbeliever, and whoever says I am a Sunni, we would say to him: You are a disbeliever. We need neither Shiah nor Sunnah, but we only seek Islam. It is a truth word meant to indicate falsehood, as which Islam is wanted by this scholar? In our present time there is a multifarious Islam, and it was so even in the first century. As there was Islam of ‘Ali and Islam of Mu‘àwiyah with both of them having supporters and followers, being so fanatic to the extent of fighting each other. Further there was Islam of al-Husayn and Islam of Yazid who murdered Ahl al-Bayt in the name of Islam, claiming that al-Husayn has renegaded from Islam when revolting against Yazid. Moreover there is the Islam of Ahl al-Bayt and their Shi‘ah (followers), and Islam of the rulers and their subjects. Throughout the course of history we see disagreement among the Muslims, as there may be the indulgent Islam, as called by the West, since its followers showed affection and friendship to the Jews and Christians, kneeling down to the two Superpowers. Lastly, there is also the fundamentalist Islam, which is labelled by the West as the Islam of fanaticism and petrifcation (tahajjur), or madmen of Allah.
After citing all this, no room is left for us to believe in the hadith "the Book of Allah and my Sunnah", for the aforementioned reasons.
The truth remains so clear and evident concerning the second hadith, upon which all Muslims unanimously concurred, that is: "the Book of Allah and my ‘Itrah, my Ahl al-Bayt", since this hadith solves all the problems leaving no room for any difference or dispute in interpreting any verse of the Qur’àn, or in confirming and explaining any Prophetic hadith. That can be achieved through referring to Ahl al-Bayt, to whom we are commanded to refer, particularly when realizing that those who were determined by the Messenger of Allah (S) being verily competent for such mission. No Muslim can have any doubt in the profundity of their knowledge, and zuhd (asceticism) and taqwà (piety). They are those far from whom Allah has removed uncleanness and cleansed with a thorough cleansing, making them to inherit the knowledge of the Book, in a way that they neither contradict it nor differ regarding its interpretation, and rather never separate from it till the Doomsday. The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“I am leaving behind among you two successors the Book of Allah a rope extended from the heaven to the earth, and my kindred (‘Itrah) my Ahl al-Bayt. They will never separate till coming unto me at the Pond (hawd).”190
“So to be with the truthful, I should utter the truth never fearing on this way the blame of those who have authority to blame, with the only objective of seeking God’s pleasure, and pleasing my conscience before gaining consent of people.”
The truth in this discussion is verily on the side of the Shi‘ah, who adhered completely to the Messenger’s recommendation regarding his ‘Itrah, giving them priority upon themselves, taking them as Imams and leaders, seeking nearness to Allah through showing love to them, and following their guide. So may it give them pleasure by winning the world and Hereafter, where everyone will be resurrected and gathered with whoever he loved (in the world), and what a pleasure would be to gain the company of those whom he adored and followed their guidance.
In this respect al-Zamakhshari said:
Suspicion and difference multiplied and,
Each one claims to be the right path,
So I adhered to là ilàha illà Allàh,
And to my love toward Ahmad and Ali,
A dog triumphed through loving men of cave,
So how would I be miserable by loving the Prophet’s Progeny.
O God, make us among those committed and adherant to the rope of their loyalty, and those following their course and method, getting in their ark, believing in their Imamate, and resurrected with their company. You guide whoever You will to a straight path
179. Sahih Muslim, Vol. III, p. 61; Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. V, p. 86.
180. It is an indication to their disagreement in regard of fighting those abstaining from paying out the zakàt (poor-due). The readers are asked to see the references to which were stated before.
181. This being an indication to the issue of Fadak, and the hadith "We, the folk of prophets, never leave behind any inheritance". The references were stated before.
182. An indication to the narration of fostering the full-grown men (ridà'at al-kabir), which was reported by 'A'ishah, but was contradicted by the other wives of the Prophet (S).
183. An indication to the hadith saying that "the Prophet used to wake up in the morning of Ramadàn in the state of ritual impurity (junub), but keeping the fasting of that day," which was denied by 'A'ishah.
184. An indication to the narration claiming "that the Prophet (S) performd 'umrah (short pilgrimage) four times, one of which during the Month of Rajab", which was negated by 'A'ishah.
185. An indication to their dispute regarding the lawfulness and prohibition of mut'ah (temporary marriage). (See Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. VI, p. 129).
186. An indication to their controversy concerning the mut'at al-hajj (enjoyment of pilgrimage). See Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. II, p. 153.
187. They (Sahàbah) differed regarding countless issues some of which a reference can be made like: basmalah, wudu' (ablution), salàt during travel, and so many other jurisprudential (fiqhi) issues and questions.
188. Manàqib al-Khwàrazmi, p. 44; Yanàbi' al-mawaddah, p. 233; Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalàni, al-'Isàbah, Vol. I, p. 25; Kifàyat al-tàlib, p. 334; Muntakhab Kanz al-'ummàl, Vol. V, p. 36; Ihqàq al-haqq, Vol. VI, p. 37.
189. Mustadrak al-Hàkim, Vol. III, p. 122, Ibn 'Asàkir in Ta'rikh Dimashq, Vol. II, p. 488; al-Khwàrazmi in al-Manàqib, p. 236; al-Manàwi in Kunuz al-haqà'iq Muntakhab Kanz al-'ummàl, Vol. V, p. 33; Yanàbi' al-mawaddah, p. 182.
190. Musnad Ahmad, Vol. V, p. 122; al-Suyuti's al-Durr al-manthur, Vol. II, p. 60; Kanz al-'ummàl, Vol. I, p. 154; Majma' al-zawà'id, Vol. IX, p. 162; Yanàbi' al-mawaddah, pp. 38, 183; 'Abaqàt al-'anwàr, Vol. I, p. 16; Mustadrak al-Hàkim, Vol. III, p. 148