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aldoctor

man alsunnah wa man alshia

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Sunat Alshaikhain

These article are a chapter in my upcoming book. Please do not distribute without quoting me. Aldoctor

Abstract

This historical analysis that shows why the Shia are called Shia and why the Sunnah are called Sunnah. Some have saying the Shia were not present at thetime of the prophet, or that they are a political movement, this maybe a dimension to their existence but I show a moment in history where the divergence between Sunnah and Shia became apparent.

 

This is an analysis of one of the pivotal moments of Islamic History. Here we are at a session of 5 people to decide who the next caliph after Omar. It is quite an interesting set up. There is a vote and a tie breaker and correct me if I am wrong, the tie breaker is Abu Obeida Amer Ibn Aljarah. The story has it that Omar had devised this system to choose between two people Othman or Ali. When a tie was struck abu obeida chooses using the following question:

 

“I will choose you if you abide by the kitab(Ordinance)of Allah and the Sunnah(precedence) of the prophet and Sunnah of Alshaikhain.(the precedence of the two sheiks, meaning abu bakr and Omar)”

 

Ali lost the tie breaker because he said:” I will follow the kitab(Ordinance)of Allah and the Sunnah(precedence) of the prophet and I will do my best to give my opinion.”

 

Here are some problems I have with this whole set up:

 

There seems to be some precedence of Omar and Abu baker that has been recognized as a separate body of knowledge. It also is evident that it was a point of departure because it was upon it that the caliph was chosen. In this article I would like to discuss some aspects that have unsettled me about this juncture of Islamic History. Before I start I would like to clarify that:

 

I DO NOT CARE WHO RULES THE MOSLEM IMPIRE I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN IS.

 

Proposition 1: The precedence of the sheiks is common law that is consistent with the Quran and prophet’s precedent and only expands on it.

 

Under proposition one, there is no problem. If one can not find a counter example to this then SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN would be simply consisitent with the following Hadith:

 

“upon you my sunnah and the Sunnah of the caliphs the knowing , the guided ones after me.”

 

Certainly it follows that the ruling of the Quran and prophet himself can not be cancelled this is also by Quranic ordinance :”He does not speak out of the air, it is inspired to him.” Then, we are prepared to accept SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN under two conditions:

 

• They are the guided caliphs the Hadith mentions.(The shia dispute this)

• Their Sunnah does not defy the Quran or the prophet’s Sunnah

 

Let us assume for a moment that the hadith meant Abu Bakr and Omar are the caliphs mentioned two questions come to mind:

 

• Is their Sunnah binding religiously or is it simply legal precedence for running the empire. In other words, is this their precedent as heads of state or is it their Sunnah as spiritual leaders?

• If it is only their precedent as heads of state, would it still be binding till today?

 

Let us ignore these Questions and try to give examples of this body of rulings given by Abubakir and Omar or Alahikhain:

 

In a lecture by Shiakh Ahmad Yamani, he sites 12 instances where Omar clearly gives a different ruling than that of the Quran and the prophets Sunnah. He claims that these are the basis of a school of thought known as the intentions of the sharia wherein the legistlature attempts to identify the intention of Allah’s ruling and is then able to alter the ruling if the new law achieves the same goal. He claims that this is the basis of Alamaliki school of thought.

 

So a man claims to know divine intention and alters Allah’s ordinance. This blank check is absurd and allows one to cancel the text under any pretence. While it might applicable to human law it is certainly inapplicable to divine ordinance. Because by definition, the divine is better able o legislate. Rosseau Says: ”the process of law making needs a party that understands the human condition yet unaffected by it.” Rosseau said this fully intending that there is no such party.

 

Instead of identifying and uprooting the 12 instances where Caliph Omar has defied the Quran and Sunnah, it has been made as an excuse to establish a school of thought to do the same. While Caliph Omar may have acted as a head of state and not a religious authority, under which some of his actions may be sanctioned, a school of jurisprudence based on such aberrations may prove very dangerous. One of the founding fathers(I think Jefferson) said: We must not have all the freedoms to interpret the constitution as to render it blank.

 

Remember that Abu baker became a caliph under the claim that the prophet never named a successor, yet Abu baker named Omar how said in his inaugural speech:”Oh yeah people I have been appointed upon you and I am not the best of you…” This of course means that even though Abu Bakr was voted in and the prophet never named a successor, Abu bakr did. Giving an example of SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN.

 

Another example, is Omar’s complicated system which brought about this inquiry. If the prophet named no successor, an Abu Bakr did, then Omar defied both by appointing an electoral college with a tie breaker. This is then a departure from both the prophet’s precedence and Abu Bakr’s precedence. As I said before, these may not be counted as Proposition 2: SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN are a body of common law that may contain action of Omar and Abu Bakr as heads of state not as the guided caliph’s the prophet referred to in his above hadith.

 

It seems though that there is a group of people who have taken the position that there is no difference between what the caliphs do as heads of state and what they as the prophet’s companion’s. Then SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN becomes a body of precedence that cancels either the prophet’s sunnah or the Quran. This frustration of those who opposed recognizing superseding authority to this new body of precedents that defy the Quran and the Sunnah is apparent in Ibn Abbas’s exclamation:” The sky is about to be torn and the earth shakes when I tell you said Allah and said the messenger and you reply to me said Abu Bakr and said Omar.”

 

It is obvious that this was a point of disagreement between those who follow the SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN and those who support Ali’s rejection of canonizing it. The latter were called shia ali those who support Ali’s position. Those who support SUNNAT ALSHAIKHAIN , were called ahlu ilsunnah. What is the Sunnah of shiakahin, and who are those who supported Ali position of its rejection.

 

An important point, I do not thin that the Abu Bakr and Omar meant to change their beloved religion. Abu bBakr and Omar would mean to defy the prophet’s rulings unless it was what they saw fit as heads of state. Similarly Ali would not have allowed them to change the religion or claim any religious authority. In a speech by Ali he says that both Abu Bakr and Omar did their best to do the best. So people should know that I am not attacking the two caliphs. So what are these departures I know a few but please let me know if you know of an exhaustive list:

 

Abu Sufian comes to Omar and says give me the money of ilmulafatu Qulubhum. Omar says Allah has elevated Islam. Abu Sufyan says in the Quran this is written and Mohamad gave me it and Abu Bakr gave me it. Omar refused.

 

The prophet refused to price things for them. People come to Omar to price goods for them he did.

 

Omar said: Two the prophet allowed and I prevent: the muta’at alhaj and tawaf alnisaa.

 

Omar prevented bin Thabit from reciting poetry in the prophet’s masjid. Bin Thabit says stay away from ya Omar I have recited here when there was someone better than you here(the prophet).

 

Conclusion1: The Sunnah of Alshaikhain contains contradictory rulings to the of the prophet and the Quran.

Conclusion2: The Sunnah of Alshaikhain may only be actions of head of state.

 

If Abu bakr and Omar’s actions were preformed as heads of state then Sunnat alshiekhain is not religiously biding. They may serve as political examples but not religious edict. Then, who are the guided caliphs and what is their sunnah? The caliphate or vicegerency of the prophet may not be refereeing to the political one as heads of state like abu Nakr and Omar but as the spiritual one. The shia’s position is that it rests with Ali and a blood line from him. While there are many hadiths that speak of Ali and of course the Quranic verses speaking of Ali’s role, I am unaware of the proof of the authority of the 12 imam’s after Ali. The interpretation of this Hadith is difficult and so is the rift between Islamic sects. I am not claming that I am aware of all the complications that caused the separation of the two sects but I offer glimpses in history to show the causes and dimensions of the difference.

 

An important period of history is the of the Umayads. The Second clan in the tribe of Quraish who were in constant competition with the Hashimites. Abu Sufyan, the prince of makah before Islam, had a son called moawaya who disputed the caliphate of Ali. Naturaly, there were people who supported ali and they are the same one’s that supported his position before. Following the assassination of Ali. The Umayads were the first to hijack Islam as a relgion for their potilical gain. Their commitment to defeat their cousin’s the Hasmite drove them to commit atrocities against them. The secularism of Umayads especially by the time of Yazid is hidden from most Moslems. After all Yazid says:”played hashem with idiots for, no revelation was sent from heaven.” The Umayads aside from Umar bin abdulaziz persecuted the son’s of Ali and ordered that Ali is slandered in Jumah prayer. This is of course the beginning of fusing the religious institution for political gain.

 

This alliance between the religious leadership and royal state is the model that still rules the Arab world today. The clergy being government employees have no incentive to defy the government. In fact hey have every incentive to use their authority to support the movement and justify their actions. This leads many Moslems today to lose faith in religious leadership because the mosque becomes this place where the politics of government is justified, spirituality is neglected, and only the minutia of religious ritual is discussed. Outside of this unholy alliance between he monarch and the religious institution, remains the same people who have opposed it from the beginning, the Shia. Unlike their Sunni brothers who have been lead to believe the “obedience of any ruler is a religious edict” they are still free to oppose unjust authority. Notice that most Moslems think that the pillars of Islam are:

1. fasting

2. prayer

3. hajj

4. alms

5. the word of Shahada

 

notice that the pillars of Islam are rituals. They are signs of obedience except the word of shahada. Ofcourse notice the testifying that allah exists is a given. If one prayed and performed Hajj, the shahadah is an integral part of these pillars. The tampering by the professional clergy becomes apparent when one looks at the shia version which replaces the word of shahadah, which is a given to any Moslem, with the struggle in the cause of Allah.

 

This pillar was replaced because it is much easier for government to deal with this docile Moslem the one developed to obey unconditional obey authority and perform his 4 rituals. From this point on, the sectoral dynamics in the religion are ruled not by religious teachings or logic, but by money and power. Once religion and politics interact, neither remains holy.

 

Later in history, Abu Hamid Alghazali froze Islamic Jurisprudence. He declared that the four schools of Islamic thought are sufficient and that no further research in the jurisprudence is necessary. The fifth school of Jurisprudence was the Jaffar Aslsadiq did not follow this decree. This is because it was outside of religious establishment and thus able to follow a different path. Usool alfiqh in the Jaffari School benefited from 600 more years of study than the other schools and this remains the case. This is an accidental development which carried the difference between the Shia and the Sunnah from the realm of sources of Islamic legislation and Sunnah to differences in the Grammar of jurisprudence.

 

Today, the differences between the Shia and the Sunnah can be reconciled, but the same alliance between the clergy and the ruler prevents such union. Much of the literature that incites against he shia comes form a country that was established using religion for political purposes until the establishment lost control of the fanatics it bread.

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I do not know who these people you talk about are. However, I do recognize the scene and the course of events. As an outsider looking in, what I see are people motivated by political desires. I think that if you try to separate events from the earthly desire amoung men to possess political power then you will reach wrong conclusions.

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Guest Guest_salim_*

moron99,

While I might agree that these are too much details to be recognized by some one who is not familiar with the early Islamic era, but looks to me very important in todays democratic development of Islamic societies .. Today Sunni's clerics are relying on this Shiekhain beviours to justify the current tyrant ruling system.

Appointing rather than ellection.. The first Khlif went into appointing, the second went into appointing a group "Ahil Alaaqed" to choose one among them. If you remeber, part of what Sunni Arab in Iraq was looking for is not to go through open ellections but to appoint group of representatative to decide on behalf of Iraqis. This was completely rejected by Classic Shia who strongly believe that both Khlifs way is wrong and they should go by the Mohamed's rule of " Amruhum Shura bainahum" or "It is all people decision to decide ".

 

 

Three days ago when most 300 million Shia's around the globe memorized Imam Husain, indeed they were remembering that incident ii Islamic history where the son of the prophet stands against this new rule of appointing a ruler rather than letting people decide.. He paid his and whole family life though! Fanatic Shia might go to far in that ceromonies, but if you look minto history of Imam Husain you might find that cause very clear..

It is a long story , and I would like Aldoctory write more about it and try to link it to the current issues..

 

Thanks you Aldoctor

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Salim,

 

i see.

It is obviously a very important event. One of those things where the more we understand about it then the more we understand ourselves. I hope that aldoctor keeps us informed.

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Aldoctor,

I have some issues understanding the current Shia Sunni stand toward democracy

 

From your above, seems to me that you are saying Sunni's are with appointment of ruler by a small non ellected committe. While Shia are are not. So how you explain the Welliat Faqeh of Iran.. The Walli is not ellected , though he is sitting on the top important position..

 

This might not be directly related to your great historical analogy, but I think bringing history to current issues is imporatnt

 

Thanks

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Safa,

 

IMHO -

Iran was hijacked by a religous block. It was a time of war against saddam and the people rallied around them to fight off the threat. Being human, greed for power overtook their leaders. It is only once per generation that a leader emerges who does not possess greed for power. Even then, once power is acheived this leader will eventually succumb to its temptations. Such was the case with Iran. Islam was the vehicle but ultimately it was human lust for power that had the steering wheel.

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Moron99,

I might fully agree with your point of politics and religion. But I wanted a clarification from religous point of view.

 

Thanks

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I do not know who these people you talk about are. However, I do recognize the scene and the course of events. As an outsider looking in, what I see are people motivated by political desires. I think that if you try to separate events from the earthly desire amoung men to possess political power then you will reach wrong conclusions.

Dear Moron:

I am glad you are reading my wirtings again and commenting. I would like to remind you that I am not in your head. I will only know wht you mean if you tell me. it is very clea that I am accusing the Umayads of altering religion for earthly gain. I am also not dismissing any expalanation of ehty the first sucessros of the prophet did what they did. However, i am expalining that even with best intetions assumed, the ramafication on the religious level and on the political level were signficant to create this massive rift in Islam even at that time. if this not clear I oppologise and I will read my article again to try to make it clearer.

 

 

moron99,

While I might agree that these are too much details to be recognized by some one who is not familiar with the early Islamic era, but looks to me very important in todays democratic development of Islamic societies .. Today Sunni's clerics are relying on this Shiekhain beviours to justify the current tyrant ruling system.

Appointing rather than ellection.. The first Khlif went into appointing, the second went into appointing a group "Ahil Alaaqed" to choose one among them. If you remeber, part of what Sunni Arab in Iraq was looking for is not to go through open ellections but to appoint group of representatative to decide on behalf of Iraqis. This was completely rejected by Classic Shia who strongly believe that both Khlifs way is wrong and they should go by the Mohamed's rule of " Amruhum Shura bainahum" or "It is all people decision to decide ".

 

 

Three days ago when most 300 million Shia's around the globe memorized Imam Husain, indeed they were remembering that incident ii Islamic history where the son of the prophet stands against this new rule of appointing a ruler rather than letting people decide.. He paid his and whole family life though! Fanatic Shia might go to far in that ceromonies, but if you look minto history of Imam Husain you might find that cause very clear..

It is a long story , and I would like Aldoctory write more about it and try to link it to the current issues..

 

Thanks you Aldoctor

Thank you Slaim you hit the nail right ont he head. Yes Ashoora is a minfestation of the political component of the article and ofcourse Imam Hussiens tragedy was the ultimate stand against tyranny. I did not write on this subject because the story is well known and every shi'i has heard it from every angle. My contribution I was hoping is to show that the Shia sunni issue is not a mere political issue but a deep one. The clarification of this will be in my reply to Safaa.

Thank you Slaim for pointing to this. I might add this to the article at some point.

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Aldoctor,

I have some issues understanding the current Shia Sunni stand toward democracy

 

From your above, seems to me that you are saying Sunni's are with appointment of ruler by a small non ellected committe. While Shia are are not. So how you explain the Welliat Faqeh of Iran.. The Walli is not ellected , though he is sitting on the top important position..

 

This might not be directly related to your great historical analogy, but I think bringing history to current issues is imporatnt

 

Thanks

Dear Safaa:

there is a difference between sucessroship and vicegerency. The Shia stance is that the blood line of Ali continas philospher kings(plato style) Vucegernets who will serve both as a religious leader and as a political leader. In the absence of them there are two positions that are vacant. Even khomaini was not the president of Iran, but almuadib or almurshid. Because the poeple were so religiously polarized, he became the effective leader. However, according to speech by Imam Ali, these are two positions and they are not necessarily the smae perosn. See nahj alabalagha. (Sorry I am ususaly more though thatn that but I do not have the book here and this does not have arabic)

Wilayat alfagih is a doctornie believed by every shi'i. No jurist can deny it. It goes as follows:

Allah is ruler of men. The prophet is his vicegerent. The Imams are the prophets vicegerents. The clergy are the Imam's vicegerents. It is easy and it is in the QUran.

 

 

Now notice that wilaya could be political leadership or religious leadership. The same old debate.

 

The marjya in Najaf has always maintained what can be seen as seperation of church and state. That is, the marjya has only religious authority over men. Their effect over politics should only be thorugh advising their followers on moral issues and from a islamic jurisitc point. That is to say your rabii can tell you what is kosher and it is up to you from then on.

 

 

Khomaini's disseratation(bahth alkharij) was about the generatlity of the vicgerency of the clergy. he claimed that there are no limits on the authority of the clergy. This is ocourse opposite to a wide held shii tradition and belief. As acadmics, the men in Hawza or shia seminary can not refuse it. So he graduated and went on to apply it in Iran. It is much easier to do it there because people can't read arabic and anyone with a black truban can be heard.

 

The Wali originaly ofcourse was chosen by the people popularly when people chose Ayatullah khomeani. Then ofcourse mixing politics and religion things got dicey. I am not sure now but I am wiling to bet that the faigh position is now chosen by voting peers. Eventualy it will become an appointment.

 

Thank you safa for asking. It is a bit off topic what is more to the heart of my article is your last question.

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Moron99,

I might fully agree with your point of politics and religion. But I wanted a clarification from religous point of view.

 

Thanks

Dear Safaa:

 

My main point of the article was explaining the religious differences before the Figh schoolas even started. As you know Quranic jurisprudence relies on sources of sharia:

 

Quran and Sunnah

Grammar of jurisprudence

 

On the Quranic level:

 

Political alteration of history has caused confusion about biographies

There are significant differences in the biographies of men around the prophet

These biographies soemtimes alter ther reason of revelation a main instrumetn of QUranic interpretation

 

Rulers seeking to change the fundamentals of Islam alter the the prism through which the text is scene by the Sunni interpreter to make a more docile population

 

On the Hadith and sunnah level:

 

THe biographical problem extends to include Hadith sources.

Unlike the agrrement on the text of the Quran the Hadith text is under frequent dispute.

 

The Sunnah as I explained in my article, may be disputed because the Sunnis over ride the prophet's Sunnah by that of his sucessors

 

On the Usool alfigh or grammar of jurisprudence:

 

The jafari school does not use the analogy principle because it is not always applicable.

(weak analogy is a known falacy of weak induction known amongst lgocians since the time of the greeks)

For more about the wonders of Qias see usool alfigh for mohamad alsadir (the grand father not this young one)

 

The sunni school does not believe in what is called the logical imperative.

Example of a syllogism is this preyer is a duty and preyer can not be performed without purification(wudhu or taymum) then purification is also a duty.

(This is the power of deductive reasoning imagine that)

Well as I understand it this is not acceptable to the sunni usool alfigh.

 

Ijtihad is closed and so even if it is acceptable there is no point because there is no juriprudence to apply ijtihad to. Everything else is analogy

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