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Infallibility of the Holy Imams (A.S.)

Some people criticize the Shia for believing that the Imams of the honorable Prophet's family were infallible.

The Shia believe that the Imam, who has been appointed by Allah, must be infallible. Allah says:
Surely, I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said, 'and of my offspring?' My covenant does not include the unjust, said He. (2:124)
And whoever goes beyond the limits of Allah, he indeed does injustice to his own soul. (65:1)
And whoever exceeds the limits of Allah those are they that are the unjust. (2:229)
Infallibility was a condition for the divine Imamate and it was limited, after Prophet Muhammad (s), to the Twelve Imams for no one else was infallible other than them according to consensus. In addition to this, the Qur'anic verse; Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O People of the House, and to purify you with a thorough purification. 33:33, confirms that Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn were infallible. Many prophetic traditions also confirm the infallibility of the Twelve Imams (peace be upon them).
The previously mentioned verse provides proof of the infallibility of the Prophet's family. It also shows that their purification is from Allah and is not a legislative matter, because the legislative will of purification from uncleanness does not concern the Prophet's family alone, but includes all people. The legislative will also concerns one's own actions whereas this Qur'anic verse shows that Allah's will in purifying these persons from any uncleanness is His creative will. Allah says,
"His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it, 'Be,' and so it is." (36:82)
Of course, what is intended by uncleanness is not bodily uncleanness, but the internal uncleanness which is blasphemy, disbelief, guilt, disobedience, and everything sinful.
If one says that the purification might mean that Allah would forgive their sins. I would answer that forgiveness does not purify uncleanness from the soul of the disobedient, but it takes the punishment away from him. Besides, forgiving a sin would not exist unless the sin had been committed. So, the sinful is not purified during committing the sin, while the Qur'anic verse indicates a complete purification.

Some people criticize the Shias of believing that the Imams had miracles like the miracles of the Prophets.

What we mean by the miracles of the Imams is the charismata that prove their Imamate, guardianship, and their being a proof from Allah among mankind and the mediators between mankind and the Prophet (s). Refer to the book titled (Ithbatul-Hudat bin-Nusus wa al-Mu'jizaat). The author mentions the miracles of the Twelve Imams with well established narrations that have been extensively narrated with uninterrupted chains of narrators. Refer to Ihqaqul-Haq vol. 11,12, and 19, if you like to know the miracles and charismata of the Imams as mentioned in Sunni books. It includes some of those mentioned in Sunni books with names of the books, the number of the pages and the edition.

Some criticize the Shias because they give their sons names like Abdun-Nabi -the Prophet's slave-, Abdur-Rasul -the Messenger's slave-, Abd Ali -the slave of Ali-, Abdul-Husayn -the slave of Husayn-, whereas such names are not permissible because servantship for other than Allah is polytheism.

Associationism is to worship other than Allah, either worshipping that thing alone or along with Allah. Worship is submitting to the worshipped taking it to be divine and godlike. However the mere using of the word servant in front of a created thing does not mean worshipping. The Holy Qur'an and many Prophetic traditions confirm this fact. Allah says,
"And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves." (24:32)
It does not mean that the slave worships his master. The same is said about names like Abdun-Nabi and Abdul-Husayn. At the same time, those who criticize the Shias for using these names, they themselves call their bosses 'my master' and they have no problem with it!

Some people spuriously argue that the Shia love the Prophet's family more than Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (s), and they believe that their love for them is enough to get them into Paradise and save them from Hell.

This is a great fabrication. The Shias love the Prophet's family simply because they are the family of the Prophet (s) and for the sake of their love for the Prophet. Their love for the Prophet is simply because he is the Messenger of Allah. Therefore, it is irrational for the Shia to love the Prophet's family more than they love the Prophet, and it is also irrational for them to love the Prophet more than they love Allah.

Some people fabricate lies against the Shias claiming that they interpret the Qur'anic verses not according to what they mean but just to support their beliefs and to praise their Imams.

It is not possible to deny that there are many Qur'anic verses that either address the merits of Imam Ali alone or that of the rest of the Prophet's family members. There are many traditions in Sunni books interpreting many verses as addressing the merits of Imam Ali and the rest of the Prophet's family members. The author of Ihqaqul-Haq has collected in vol. 3,9, and 14 two hundred and fifty-five such verses, and after each verse he wrote down the traditions related in the books of the Sunnis that explains the verse with the page numbers.

Some spuriously criticize the Shia for having an over excessive love for the Prophet's family and they diminish the dignity of the Companions because they prefer Imam Ali and his family above all the other Companions.

Many traditions mentioned in Sunni books show that Imam Ali had been preferred above all the other Companions. Prophet Muhammad (s) says: "Of whomsoever I had been guardian, Ali here is to be his guardian."
He also said addressing Imam Ali: "You are to me as was Aaron to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me."
The tradition of 'the bird' shows that Imam Ali was the most beloved of Allah after His Messenger Muhammad (s).
The Prophet (s) said: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate." The Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered all the doors of his Companions that opened to the mosque to be closed except the door of Imam Ali.
The prophet (s) said: "Ali and I are the fathers of this nation."
"People are from various trees but I and Ali are from one tree."
"There are three veracious people and Ali bin Abu Talib is the best of them."
Many other hadiths in this regard are mentioned in Sunni and Shiite reference books.
The Prophet Muhammad (s) had instituted the bonds of brotherhood between his Companions and said to Ali, "You are my brother," as it was mentioned in Sunni books narrated by ibn Abbas, Sa'id bin al-Musayyab, ibn Umar, Zayd bin Abu Awfa, Anas bin Malik, Zayd bin Arqam, Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman, Makhduj bin Zayd, Abu Umama, Jami' bin Umayr, Jabir bin Abdullah, Abu Sa'id, Abdur-Rahman bin Aweym and Abu Hurayra.
Ahmad bin Hanbal mentioned in his book Faza'ilus-Sahaba a tradition narrated by Akrima, that was heard from ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad (s) said: "There is no Qur'anic verse that begins with 'O you who believe,' without Ali being their (i.e. those who believe) head, leader, and their distinction. Allah has censured the Prophet's Companions in the Qur'an but He did not mention Ali save in praise."
The same was also mentioned in Dhakha'ir ul Uqba p. 89, Egyptian Edition.
It was also mentioned by at-Tabarani and ibn Abu Hatim in As-Sawa'iq ul-Muhriqa p. 125; Egyptian Edition, and Tarikh ul-Khulafa' (History of the Caliphs) p. 116; Lahore Edition.
Abu Na'im mentioned in his book Hilyatul- Awliya' vol.1 p. 64; Egyptian edition, a tradition narrated by ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad (s) had said: "Allah had not revealed any verse beginning with 'O you who believe,' unless Ali was its head and amir."
Ahmad bin Hanbal sums it up for Imam Ali when he said, "No one of the Prophet's Companions had virtues like that of Ali bin Abu Talib."
This saying has been mentioned in many books; al-Mustadrak, al-Isti'aab, al-Kamil of ibn ul-Athir, Kifayat ut-Talib, ar-Riyazun-Nazira, Tahthib ut-Tahthib, Fat-hul-Bari fi Sharh il-Bukhari, Tarikh ul-Khulafa', as-Sira al-Halabiyah, ar-Rawzul-Azhar, Is'aaf ur-Raaghibin and others.
There is a tradition, which was agreed upon by the Sunnis showing the preference of Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, (peace be upon her) over all others.
The Prophet said: "Fatima is the chief of women of Paradise."
This hadith has been narrated by some Companions: Hudhayfa bin al-Yamaan as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 197, 'Aa'isha as in Sahih ul-Bukhari vol. 4 p. 203, and Umm Salama in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 250.
There is also an agreed upon tradition among Sunnis showing the preference of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn.
The Prophet (s) said: "Hasan and Husayn are the masters of the young men of Paradise." This hadith was narrated by some Companions of the prophet: Abu Sa'id al-Khudri as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 190, Musnad of Ahmad vol. 3 p. 3., Hudhayfa as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 197, and by Abdullah bin Umar in the Sunan of ibn Maja vol. 1 p. 56.
The Sura Al-Insaan (76) was revealed concerning Imam Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn. In addition, the Qur'anic Verse of purification: "Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O People of the House, and to purify you with a thorough purification. (33:33)," was revealed concerning them. This has been narrated by many of the Prophet's Companions such as Wathila bin al-Asqa', Amr bin Abu Salama, 'Aa'isha, Umm Salama , Sa'd bin Abu Waqqas, Abu Sa'id, Imam Ali, Ja'far bin Abu Talib, Abu Barza, Sabih, ibn Abbas, Anas, Abul-Hamra', Atiyah, Sahl bin Sa'd, Abu Hurayra, Burayda, Abdullah bin Umar, Imran bin al-Husayn, Salama bin al-Aqua' , Ma'qil bin Yasaar, and Abdullah bin az-Zubeir. This has been mentioned by al-Heythami in his book Majma'uz-Zawa'id and as-Suyuti in his book al-Jami'us-Saghir narrated by al-Bazzaz p. 113 and by ibn Hajar in his as-Sawa'iq ul-Muhriqa p. 184 and Miftah un-Naja p. 9, Yanabi'ul-Mawaddah p. 187, al-Fat-hul-Kabir p. 133, Arjahul-Matalib p. 330, as-Sayf ul-Yamani al-Maslul p. 9. And it has also been narrated by Aamir bin Wathila, which was mentioned by al-Hafiz ad-Dulabi in his book al-Kuna wa al-Asma' vol. 1 p. 76. It was narrated by Salama bin al-Aqua' which was mentioned by ibnul-Maghazili and ash-Shafi'i in his book al-Manaqib, and mentioned in other Sunni books like Arjah ul-Matalib p. 330 and Yanabi'ul-Mawaddah p. 28. Also it was narrated by Imam Ali, which was mentioned by Muhibbud-Din at-Tabari in his book Dhakha'ir ul-Uqba p. 20 from ibnus-Seri.

Some people erroneously criticize the Shias in that they reject analogy and discretion, and the expediencies transmitted in jurisprudence upon which the Companions and their successors depended. They also criticize the Shia of accusing those who adopt these methods as using analogy just as did Iblis (the Devil) who said to Allah, "I am better than he (Adam), Thou hast created me of fire, while him Thou didst create of clay. 7:12)

Analogy means proving a verdict on a matter of Sharia simply based upon its similarity in some ways to another matter. It is obvious that the mere similarity between two things does not require them having the same verdict. There are many subjects in the Sharia that are similar in some way or other but have different verdicts.
Discretion means regarding an act as approvable or not approving a deed and then issuing the appropriate verdict according to personal discretion. This is clear innovation, for innovation is nothing but linking that which is one approves to the Sharia and issuing a verdict that considers personal discretion as a part of the Sharia!
This is definitely unacceptable when we know that no Sunni, except for the Mu'tazilites, has ever committed himself to subordinate the laws of the Sharia to the personal advantage of the individual and his personal disadvantage.
It is true that we - who believe in reason - are partisans of justice and are duty bound by it. However, how can any jurist comprehend the advanteges and rulings behind Allah's acts? Allah is aware of advantages and disadvantages to an infinite degree, but the deficient minds of human beings cannot realize them to this degree. They therefore cannot find out Allah's rulings simply by taking into consideration some advantage or disadvantage in an action.
Indeed, if a transmitted text explains the general cause of a ruling, it proves that the cause is not limited to what is only in the text, but it will include others having the same cause.
They fell into innovation because they turned away from the path of knowing the Islamic Law which the Prophet (s) had determined for the Muslims. He said, "I am leaving to you two weighty things; the Holy Qur'an and my family. You will not go astray if you keep to them." He made his family the guide for Muslims like the Holy Qur'an and told them that they (his family) were the depositories of the knowledge of the Sharia. He (s) said: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate."
Imam Ali (a) said: "The Messenger of Allah had taught me one thousand sections of knowledge from each one thousand sections are opened."
Imam Ali deposited this knowledge with the Infallible Imams and each in turn inherited it.

Some people criticize the Shia for combining the five prayers offering them at only three times. They combine the Zhuhr and Asr Prayers and the Maghrib and 'Isha Prayers, whereas the Prophet (s) and Muslims offer them at their five specified times.

According to the opinion of the majority of scholars, it has been established that the Prophet (s) combined the Zhuhr and Asr Prayers without fear (of war) or traveling. The author of Jami'ul-Usul vol. 6 p. 459 quoting from the Sahih of Muslim says, "The Prophet (s) offered the Zhuhr and Asr Prayers at one time without being in a state of fear or while traveling." He added that az-Zubeir said, "I asked Sa'id, 'Why did the Prophet (s) do that?' He answered, 'I asked ibn Abbas about this and he answered: The Prophet (s) did not want to cause difficulty for the umma." In another quotation, he added, '…without fear and there was no rain.'
It has been established from the traditions of the Infallible Imams that when the sun passes the zenith, it is the time for the two prayers but this (the first prayer) is before that (the second prayer). Similarly, when the evening comes, it is time for the two prayers but this is before that. Allah has permitted the joining of the prayers and His Messenger did so without any purpose other than of making it easy for his umma. Why should Muslims have to make it difficult upon themselves just to make the separation of the prayers obligatory and sometimes miss the Asr and the 'Isha Prayers which has happened not only to ordinary people but to some of the Sunni scholars as well?

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