Sunday, September 11, 2016

Religion: The Religious Discord Between a Sunni and a Shia.

Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great (r. 1556-1605) holds a religious assembly in the Ibadat Khana (House of Worship) in Fatehpur, India. In that assembly of wise-men, a Shia disputed with a Sunni. The Shia said: “It is evident that the Sunnis are without faith, because they do not acknowledge the prophet's purity, and say that David caused Uriá to be killed.”
The Sunni replied: “This fact is equally mentioned in the Qur'an and in the Tórah, ‘Pentateuch,’ explicitly and circumstantially.”
A Jew was present, and affirmed: “It is certainly in the Pentateuch.”
Upon which the Shiâ rejoined: “The Pentateuch is altered.”

Sunni Vs Shia
The Jew retorted: “We may as well, and with a better right, say that your book is altered, whilst there is no reason to be urged that the Pentateuch is corrupted.” The Shiâ had no answer to give, and the in the treatises of several of the modern learned, that they have appropriated this answer to themselves.
The Shiâ again said: “The Imam Ali was a very learned and most excellent man, and never pol­luted his lips with wine, nor pork, nor any thing dressed by the infidels.”

To which the Sunni replied: “As with you the hand of an infidel is impure, and the Quraish all drank wine and eat pork, the prophet, who associated with them, eat the same food in the house of his paternal uncles, and so did Imam Ali.”

The Shiâ had no suitable reply to make to this observation; he continued however: “In the Malul and Nahel, it is stated that the pure Fátima declared, "The palm-grove of Fadak is my inheritance, as the lord of the prophetic asylum committed it to me as a Tamlík (hereditary property) during his life-time".
But the prophet has said: “‘We, the company of prophets, do not leave to our heirs what has been bestowed on us as a gift or as alms.’

“On the strength of which Sádik (Abu Bakr) rejected her claim. But even were this tradition irrefragable, how could he reject the claim of a Tamlík, if that tradition, by which the rejection of such an inheritance never takes place, be acknowledged to be right?”
The Sunni opposed to this: “The splendid lady had no witnesses that the law could accept; as the evidence of hus­band, or son, or grandson, is not admissible.”

The Shiâ insisted: “Sádik was wrong. And the burning of the court in sequel of the mortal malady of the prophet; and the repentance which was the consequence of it? and the like, what dost thou say about it? Moreover, Omar's impeding the writing of a last will in the mortal malady of the prophet, as the Imám Ismâíl Bukhárí has related upon the authority of Abdulla, the son of Abbas, that in his mortal malady the house of the prophet was full of his companions. He said: “Make haste, let me put down a writing for your sake, in order that, after me, you may be safe against error and deceit.”

“But Omar said: ‘The prophet is overcome by the malady, and his intellect is obstructed; the heavenly book, and the proofs of the text of the Qur'an are sufficient for us.’ On which account accumulated contradictions and conflict­ing discussions rose to such a height that the prophet said: ‘Leave me.’

The Sunni resumed: The prophet himself declared: I am a man like you, but I speak from inspiration.”
“In eating, dress, repose, affliction, health, sickness, wounds, in life and death, his condition was that of mankind: thus, some teeth of the vener­able were knocked out, and in his last malady he was exceedingly suffering, so that in the vio­lence of his pain he might have said things which were not consonant with a sound mind. On that account Omar forbade his writing.”

The Shiâ remarked: “When the prophet had left the garment of mortality, Omar drew his sword, and threatened to kill whosoever would say that the prophet died, because he was still living; such a declara­tion, how can it be reconciled with his impeding the writing of the last will in the manner before said?”
The Sunni avowed: “Mankind is sub­ject to error.”

The Shiâ pressed further: “After the contention, when Osmân was appointed khalif, his relations of the family of Omayah practiced oppression under his authority, and he brought back Hakam, the son of Aś, the son of Omayah, to Medina, from whence the prophet had banished him, so that he was called ‘the banished of the prophet,’ although Sádik (Abu Bakr) and Fárúk (Omar) had not called him.

Further, Osman expelled Abázer from Medina; he also gave his daughter in marriage to Marwan, the son of Hakam, with the fifth part of the spoils of Africa, which amounted to forty thousand gold dinárs.
Besides, he granted security to Abdullah, the son of Serj; although the lord of the prophetic asy­lum had ordered his blood to be shed; and he conferred on him the administration of Egypt; he consigned also to Abdullah, the son of Amar, the government of Baśra, where he indulged himself in all sorts of shameful action.

Among the Umrás of his army were Muáwyíah, the son of Abi Safián, the collector of Shám (Syria), and Sâíd, the son of Alâaś, the collector of Kúfa. After­wards, Abd-ullah, the son of Aamer; and Valíd, the son of Ukba Abdullah, the son of Sâd, the son of Abí Serj; all these trod the road of perverseness and unrighteousness.” The Sunni had no con­venient reply to make.

The Shiâ continued: “The prophet sent three friends to fight to a place called Tabúk; they disagreed: after which the prophet declared: ‘Whoever causes discord in the army or service, the curse of God be upon him.’”

The Sunni here fell in: “At the time of the prophet's moving, it was not advisable to undertake the expedition designed; there was no disunion about the war among them; but only a discussion about the fitting out of the troops and the arrangements; whence a delay in this affair arose, on account of settling the proper order of march and other proceedings.”

The Shiâ went on: “What the Sunnis attribute to God and the prophet, cannot be ascribed to the lowest man.” The Sunni asked: “What is that?” The Shiâ answered: “One of these things, stated in the book of your traditions, is that the prophet, having exhibited before Aisha dance and disport, asked her: ‘Art thou satisfied?’ Such a thing cannot in truth be said of any body without disgrace. Besides, there are acts unbecoming of the prophet's companions, such as Omar's preventing prophets last will, and the like, avowed by themselves in their book; and yet they hold these men in high esteem!"

Here the Sunni observed: “What thou first settest forth about the prophet's exhibition of disport, is nothing shameful; as to what thou sayest about bad customs, they belong only to thy own vicious opinion. Deniest thou that the prophet has said: “‘I am sent to settle the customs and manners.’

“If a fact has not existed or has not happened, why should it have been recorded?” The Shiâ called out: “It has been invented and formed into a lie.”
The Sunni objected: “Thus, according to thy opinion, the master of truth, Bukhari and the like, are tellers of lies, and thus they have transmitted lies! Why then, on their authority believest thou that Omar has prevented the mak­ing of the last will, and other such things, which, according to thee throw blame upon the companions of the prophet?

Therefore, in whatever of all these things according to thy opinion is unbe­coming, thou shouldst believe that the master of truth, Bukhâri, and those like him, have told lies, so wouldst thou cease to cast reproach upon the companions and friends of the prophet; but if they spoke truth, then reckon also to be true, what they have attributed as praise-worthy to the prophet, and true what they have stated of the virtues of the said companions. Further, as to thy sepa­rating the prophet from mankind, it belongs, as it has been revealed by the divine text, to the creed of unbelievers to say, that the prophet should not eat nor drink.”

Now the Shiâ grew warm, and said: “Is it not enough to attach to the prophet the blame of having listened to music and assisted at dancing; and now thou pretendest to prove the purity of the two Shaikhs (Abu Bakr and Omar) and of Osmán!”

The Sunni took up the controversy: “I said before that listening to music is reasonably not blamable, and even laud­able, when a lawgiver also listens to it, and I observed, concerning customs and manners, that thou esteemest bad what thou hast badly under­stood. As thou refusest to approve dancing, what sayest thou about the interdiction of a woman from her spouse at the desire of the prophet? If thou holdest the example of customary acts reprehensible, there is nothing to be said about such an occurrence. And likewise, if the two Shaikhs had not been pure, the prophet would not have exalted their heads by matrimo­nial alliance; and the daughter of the Imam Ali and the prophet would never have been in the house of the great Fáruk (Omar), and of the pos­sessor of two lights (Osman).

To open the road of contention is not laudable; and if not so according to thy opinion, explain this to me: since the lord, the lion of God (Ali) was informed of all the secrets of the hearts, why did he wage war upon Mu'awyiah, who was a Muslim? and why was he the death of so many men, since causing death is by no means right?

It is likewise known and admitted by you as true that, when one day a Muslim was selling garlic and onions upon the passage of the prophet, that venerable personage told him: ‘If thou wouldst sit down in a corner, retiring out of my way, it would be well.” “The man made an excuse, and the prophet passed on. Shortly after came Alí, who said to the man: The prophet dislikes the smell of onions and garlic, therefore move out of his way.’

The man answered: ‘O Alí, the prophet told me to rise, and I did not move.’
Alí said: ‘At the prophet's order thou didst not rise?’ He drew immediately his sword, and cut off the man's head. Such an action is reprobated by the law, as the lord of the prophetic asylum forbade killing even the hostile unbelievers, saying: “‘Do not exceed in shedding blood, even if thou be a conqueror.’

“And by historical accounts it is known that he has blamed Ibrahim for having driven an unbe­liever from his board. Nushírván, who was not crowned with the diadem of the right faith, is cele­brated, because he sat upon the throne of justice, and one of his most approved actions was, that he withheld his hand from an old woman's house, which was an hinderance in the vicinity of his palace, and preferred to waste his own fields; and the lord of the prophetic asylum, because he appeared upon the field of testimony in the time of this king, exalted his fame and glory by these words: I was born in the time of the just king.

“How can it be right to believe that the prophet, the last of the age, should be pleased with the destruction of a Muslim; he who would not disturb the people who, engaged in their trade and occupation, obstructed his passage? He who said: “‘He who kills willingly a believer shall have hell for eternal punishment;’

“He cannot have acted by that rule; he who declares:
God will not give to a soul more trouble than it can bear;’

“Such an action is not that of a virtuous man; this however is related (of Alí) by your learned men, and likewise joking and buffooning, which indi­cates a want of dignity, degraded him.”
The Shiâ said: “Nevertheless, he was certainly the most excellent of all the companions of the prophet.”
The Sunni asked: “In knowledge or in practice?”
The Shiâ replied: “In both knowledge and practice.”
The Sunni resumed: “This we do not hold for certain; in what respect was he superior in practice to the chief of the believers, Omar?”
The Shiâ answered: “Alí used to pray the whole night.”

The Sunni rejoined: “According to your own account, the Imam Ali wanted a woman every night; and his custom, (called mutâh) was to engage one for a short time; and so many did he occupy, that he seemed an unceasing bridegroom; how could a person so employed pray the whole night? unless in your religion you call praying what we call by another name.”

The Shiâ interrupted him saying: “You are liars from the very beginning. Abu Hanifa, your great Imám, was a native of Kabul, and attached himself particularly to the service of Imám Jâfar Sádik; at last he left him, and pro­fessed openly the religion of his fathers, who were Magi. A sign of the Magian creed was, that he thought it right to eat three times a-day, and to lay aside all choice of diet, as well as not to reckon the unbelievers impure, saying that impurity resides in the interior, if any where, and the like.”

The Sunni remarked: “Thou thyself agreest that Abu Hanífa was a follower of the Imám Jâfar, there­fore he most likely practised what was conform­able to the religion of the Imám Jâfar. We do not admit that your people are attached to the religion of the Imám; we rather believe that they are Magi; for when your ancestors were conquered and subjected, they, by necessity, joined the Islámian, but mixed the right faith with the creed of the Magi: as it appears from the worship called Nóuróz, which is a custom of the Magi; according to whom they likewise perform divine worship three times a day. They think it right to turn the head in praying to the left, which is turning off from the Qiblah (of Mecca); they assert that the five prayers every day are improper, as they are not able to perform them exactly; they main­tain, however, as requisite those at midday, before sunset, and in the evening on going to sleep. In the same manner, they took the Mutâh, or tem­porary matrimonial unions, from the Mazda­kian.”

All the Shiâs have founded their creed upon two rules: the first is the Bedas (Védas); these were promulgated with the view to surround us with power and magnificence, or with the modes of happiness, which brilliant prospects have not been realized; it was said that the lord of divine majesty dictated the Veda. The second rule is godli­ness; by which men are freed from all the propensi­ties of nature. The Shiâs are of this persuasion; and when they are asked about the manner of it, they say: By means of godliness we experience the non-reality of exterior things.

The Vedá treats of theology, and of what may appear contrary to divinity; it explains the will which on the part of the perverse may be mani­fested contrary to the will of the (supreme) judge. The Véda moreover treats of practice: when an action tends towards one thing, and when, after or before its accomplishment, it turns towards some­thing else.

The unbelievers, who are in opposition to the prophet assert, that he has adopted the morals of Amrul Kaîs and mixed them with the Qur'an, that likewise he has frequently made use therein of the ideas of other poets, and even frequently gave place in it to the usages of paganism, with which he had been pleased. There are other controversies current. It will be best to attend to the following observation: What avail the doubts of the Shiâs? They attack in their speeches the Vicars of the prophet; when the first party (the Sunnis) repress the answer to it upon their tongues, let the other party too refrain from dispute.

The End.
Not Yet Verified

Muhsin Fani, The Dabistan-i Mazahib ["School of Religions"] tr. by David Shea and Anthony Troyer, 1843.
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