Sources of Legislation in Islam
Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi al-Tunisi
The Shia: The Real Followers of the Sunnah
Sources of Legislation for the Shi'ah
Anyone who follows up the Imamiyyah Shi'ah fiqh,will verily see them devoted absolutely, in (taking) all fiqhi rules -except the recently originated ones110 to the Prophet (S) through the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (A).
They follow only two sources of legislation: The Book and the Sunnah, with which I mean the first source i.e. the Holy Qur'an, and the second one being the Prophetic Sunnah, upon its bearer be the best of benediction and peace.
These are the beliefs of the Shi'ah in the past and lately, and rather of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, of whom no one claimed of exerting his opinion or issuing a rule according to his conjecture.
The first Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib is the best example, as when they have acknowledged him as a caliph provided that he should rule according to the Sunnah of the Two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and 'Umar), he replied; I will never rule but according to the Book of Allah and His Messenger's Sunnah.111
In the forthcoming chapters, we will clarify that he (A) has been all the time adhering to the Prophet's Sunnah without deviating from it, doing his best to restore people to follow it. This practice has resulted in exciting the Caliphs' rage, and people's turning away from him, due to his hardness and devotion in God's Essence (Dhat Allah), and clinging to the Prophet's Sunnah.
Further, al-'Imam al-Baqir (A) used to say: "If we debate with you according to our opinion we shall be misguided as happened to those before us, but we give you an evidence from our Lord, that He has revealed upon His
110. We mean by it the ijtihad of the 'ulama, concerning that for which not text is revealed, as occurred after occultation of the Twelfth Imam.
111. In some narrations he said: "and other than them, I exert my opinion", which is false addition by the followers and the supporters of ijtihad. As al-'Imam 'Ali has never claimed to exert his opinion, but he used to extract the rulers from the Book of Allah and His Messenger's Sunnah, or used to say: We have al-Jami'ah, which contains whatever needed by People even the minute points. This Sahifah is dictated by the Messenger of Allah and written by 'Ali. We refered to al-Sahifah al-Jami'ah in the chapter "Ahl al-Sunnah and Obliterating the Sunnah" in this book.
Prophet,who in turn has manifested for us"
In another place he (A) said: "O Jabir, if we were used to talk to people according to our opinion we would have perished, but we disclose to you traditions we have hoarded up from the Messenger of Allah (S) as others hoard up gold and silver.
Al-'Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A) has also said:
By God we never utter anything according to our desire nor to our opinions, but our utterance is exactly as revealed by our Lord (God). Whatever replies I give you are verily reported from the Messenger of Allah, and by God we never follow our opinion in everything.
All men of letters and investigation are aware of this fact about the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, as they have never reported from any of them exerting the opinion, or to act by qiyas (analogy) or istihsan or anything other than the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
When referring to the contemporary great religious authority (marji), Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (may God be pleased with him), we see him saying in his treatise (risalah), "al-Fatawa al-wadhiha": It is necessary to refer briefly to the references upon which we mainly depended in deducing in the outset of our speech, the Holy Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah, reported from trustworthy pious narrators, wherever be their madhhab112 (school of thought). We do not see any legislative justification to depend upon analogy and istihsan (approval), or alike things.
Concerning what is called the rational evidence (al-dalil al-'aql), that mujtahidun and muhaddithun have differed as to whether acting according to it was permissible or not. Though we believe that is justifiable to apply it, but we have never found even one rule (hukm) whose establishment (ithbat) relies solely on the rational evidence with this meaning, but rather, what is established by al-dalil al-'aql, is
112. Here it is proved how the Shi'ah 'ulama' refer to the righteous trustworthy men whatever be their madhhab, which is a good refutation against the claimants that the Shi'ah never trust the Sahabah. While the fact is that the Shi'ah reject the ahabi's hadith only when it contradicts what is narrated by Ahl al-Bayt Imams.
already established at the same time by the Book or the Sunnah.
As regards the so-called ijma' (unanimity), it cannot be considered a source (of legislation) beside the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is unreliable but only due to its being a means for affirmation in some cases.
Therefore it is confirmed that the Qur'an and the Sunnah have been the only two sources of legislation. We implore the Almighty to make among those clung to them. "Whoever graps them has grasped a firm hand-hold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower".113
So this phenomenon is prevalent among the Shi'ah throughout history, as the only dependable sources of legislation being only the Qur'an and the sunnah, and none of them has issued even one fatwa (verdict) derived from qiyas or istishan. The episode of al-Imam al-Sadiq with Abu Hanifah is quite known for all, when he forbade him from applying qiyas (analogy). He (A) said to him: "Don't use qiyas in regard of God's religion, since the Shari'ah (Islamic law) will be obliterated when qiyas is applied on it, and the first one who applied qiyas was Iblis when he said (to God): I am better than him (Adam) as You have created me from fire but You created him out of clay.
These are the sources of legislation for the Shi'ah, from the time of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib till the present day. What are the sources of legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-jama'ah?
113. Al-Fatawa al-wadihah, by the Martyr Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, p. 98.
Sources of Legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah
By tracing back the sources of legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah, we see that their number beings so large that they exceed the limits of the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah ordained by Allah and His Messenger.
The sources that they depend upon-beside the Book and Sunnah-include: The Sunnah of al-Khulafa'a al-Rashidun, sunnah of the Companions, sunnah of the Tabi'un who are the 'ulama' of trace, sunnah of the rulers which they call sawafi al-'umra', qiyas (analogy), istihsan (approval), ijma' (unanimity), and sadd bab al-dhara'i (closing the door of pleas).
They constitute altogether ten sources which they regard to domineer Allah's religion. In order not to utter anything without a convincing evidence, or be accused of exaggeration, it is inevitable to cite some proofs taken from their own sayings and books, to manifest the truth for the dear reader.
We are not going to debate Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the first two sources, i.e. Book and the Sunnah, about which there is no disagreement, being the wajib that was recognized by naql (transmission), 'aql (reason) and ijma' (unanimity). It is as stated in the Al-Mighty's saying: "And whatever the Messenger giveth you, take it. And whatever he forbidden, abstain (from it)", (59:7) and His saying: "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger" (5:92), also His saying: "...when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair" (33:36), beside other manifest verses indicating the wujub (obligation) of legislation the rules only from the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger, but we debate them concerning the other sources that they have added from their fabrication.
First: The Sunnah of al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun:
They (Ahl al-Sunnah) have argued with the hadith "Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on it stubbornly".114
We have stated in the Book 'Ma'a al-Sadiqin "that those who are meant by al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun (Rightly-guided successors) in this hadith are in fact the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, and I intend here to mention more proofs for those who missed reading that Book.
It is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim and other traditionists, that the Messenger of Allah has confined his successors in twelve ones, when he said: "The successors after me are twelve (men), all of whom are from Quraysh". This sahih hadith indicates explicitly that he meant by them the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), not the Caliphs "rulers" who have usurped the caliphate.
Someone may raise this question: Wheather by "the successors" are meant the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt as the Shi'ah believe, or the Four Guided Caliphs as Ahl al-Sunnah believe, the sources of legislation are only three: the Qur'an and the (Prophet's) Sunnah and the Calips' sunnah?
This is right in the opinion of Ahl al-Sunnah, but the Shi'ah never accept it, as the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt have never legislated (rules) according to their ijtihad and opinions, but whatever they uttered was but the sunnah of their grandfather the Messenger of Allah. They have learned it from him, and preserved it for manifesting it to people when necessary.
But the books of Ahl al-Sunnah are replete with inference from the sunnah of Abu Bakr and sunnah of 'Umar, as a source for the Islamic legislation, even if it contradicts the Book and the Sunnah.
We will be more certain that Abu Bakr and 'Umar
114. It is reported by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mjah, al-Bayhaqi, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
were not meant by the Prophet's hadith, by knowing that 'Ali has refused to rule according to their sunnah when the Sahabah stipulated this as a condition for acknowledging him (as a caliph). Had the Prophet meant them by al-khulafa al-Rashidun, it would not have been permissible for 'Ali to refute the Prophet's hadith and reject their sunnah, so it is ascertained that Abu Bakr and 'Umar are not among al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun.
However, Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah mean by al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun: Abu Bakr and 'Uthman alone, since 'Ali had not been counted among them, but he was added to them lately as mentioned before. In fact he had been cursed over pulpits, so how could they follow his sunnah??!
This fact will be even more verified by reading what is reported by Jalal al-Din al-Sayuti in his book Ta'rikh al-Khulafa', when he quoted Hajib ibn Khalifah as saying: I heard the Caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz addressing the people saying:
"Whatever is prescribed by the Messenger of Allah (S) and his two companions is a religion we adopt and end at, and we put aside whatever is prescribed by others".115
In fact most of the Sahabah and Umayyad and 'Abbasid rulers were of the opinion that whatever was prescribed by Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman being a religion they adopt and end at.
And as these three Caliphs have embarked on preventing the Messenger's Sunnah from reaching people as we realized earlier, so nothing is left then of the Sunnah except what they have prescribed, and of the rules except what they have confirmed.
Second: The Sahabah's Sunnah in General:
Many proofs and numerous evidences are available
115. Al-Suyuti's Ta'rikh al-khulafa', p. 160.
which attest the fact that Ahl al-Sunnah have been following the Sunnah of the Sahabah in general with no exception.
They argue with a false hadith, which we have elaborately discussed in the book 'Ma'a al-Sadiqin". The hadith reads thus: "My Companions are like the stars (nujum), whichever of them you follow, you shall be guided rightly", and Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has argued with this hadith against the argumentation of the Companion's opinion.116
This fact has also been admitted by al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, when he said: "We have found all of them (fuqaha' of Ahl al-Sunnah) adopt the fatwa' of the Sahabi". Then he adds another statement: To argue with the Companions 'sayings and fatawa, has been the conduct of the multitude (al-jamhur) of fuqaha, and they were contradicted by the Shi'ah,117 but Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has supported al-Jamhur with about forty-six aspects, all being strong arguments (hujaj)...".
We address al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, and question him: How could the argument (hujjah)--that contradicts the Book of Allah and sunnah of His Prophet--be strong?! All the arguments (hujaj) cited by Ibn al-Qayyim are as frail as the spider's house, and you (to Abu Zuhrah) have demolished them yourself when you said: "But we found al-Shawkani say: It is true that the companion's opinion is not a hujjah, as Allah --the Glorious and Exalted -- has never sent to this Ummah except our prophet Muhammad (S). We do not have but one messenger, and all the Companions and those who succeeded them are equally charged with following his Shar' in the Book and Sunnah, and whoever opines that the hujjah in God's religion can be established with other than them, he will be as that who has opined regarding God's religion with improvable belief, and has confirmed a law (shar') not commanded by Allah".118
Thus al-Shawkani has said the truth, and was never affected by the school of thought, so his utterance came to be
116. A'lam al-muqi'in, vol. iv, p. 122.
117. This being another testimony from Al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, affirming our saying that the Shi'ah never acknowledge for legislation of Allah except the Qur'an and Prophetic Sunnah.
118. Kitab al-Shaykh Abi Zuhrah, p. 102.
in consonance with that of the Imams of guidance, the Pure 'Itrah...may God be pleased with him if his acts comply with his sayings.
Third:The Sunnah of Tabi'un (Ulama' al-'Athar):
The other source upon which Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah have depended (for deriving rules), used to be the opinions of the Tabi'un, whom they used to call as 'Ulama' al'Athar, who include: Al-Awza'i, Sufyan al-Thawri, Hasan al-Basri, Ibn 'Uyaynah, and many others. They also concur on adopting the interpretations (ijtihadat) of the Imams of four schools, and imitating them, though they being the followers of the followers.
The Companions themselves confess of committing errors many times, and of uttering what they know not.
When Abu Bakr, for instance, was asked about a matter, he would reply: "I will give my opinion in its regard, if I be right it is from Allah, but if I err it is from me or from Satan". 'Umar also has once said to his followers: "I may enjoy you to things that happen to be not for your convenience, and forbid you from things that happen to be for your benefit."119
So if this be their level of knowledge, and they just follow conjucture which assurely can by no means take the place of truth, so how can a Muslim, being aware of Islam, give himself the right to make the acts and sayings of such people as a sunnah to be followed, and as one of the sources of legislation? After this discussion will there remain any trace of the hadith "My Companions are like stars"?
If the Companions who attended the Prophet's majalis (meetings) and learned from him, utter such discourses, so what to say about those who succeeded them, adopted their opinions and took part in the sedition?
If the leaders of the four schools exert their opinions
119. Ta'rikh Baghdad, vol. xiv, p. 81.
regarding God's religion, with explicitly admitting the possibility of committing an error, as one of them says: I think this (rule) is correct, and may be any others opinion is correct, so what made the Muslims obligate themselves to follow and imitate them?!
Fourth: The Rulers' Sunnah:
Ahl al-Sunnah call it "Sawafi al-'umra" and they cites as an evidence for it the holy verse: "Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority" (4:59).120
In their view, those in authority are the rulers even if they are controlling the rule by force and suppression, as they believe that Allah has invested them with authority over people, so it is incumbent upon everyone to obey them and adopt their sunnah.
Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri has vehemently refuted Ahl al-Sunnah, by saying: "On the basis of what you say, the rulers are authorized to annual from and increase in the shara'i' (laws) ordained by Allah and His Messenger as they desire, there being no difference between addition and deletion, in this respect. Surely this is infidelity on the part of whoever permits it".121
Al-Dhahabi has refuted Ibn Hazm by saying: "This is verily an invalid report and an exorbitant mistake, as it is unanimously agreed by all the Ummah --except Dawud ibn 'Ali and whoever followed him--that those in authority (Ulu al-'amr) have the right to rule according to opinion (ra'y) and (ijtihad), when there being no text revealed (in the Qur'an). And they say: It is unlawful for them (those in authority) to rule according to opinion and ijtihad, despite their awareness the of presence of a revealed text regarding the matter, thus they are allowed to increase in the shar' to the limit permitted by shar', but are allowed to invalidate from the shar' whatever they desire".
120. We have explained with evidence in Ma'al-Sadiqin that Ulu al'amr (those authority), are the guidance Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, and not th usurping rulers, as it is not possible that Allah commands to obey the oppressors, debauchees and infidels.
121. Ibn Hazm's Mulakhkhas ibtal al-qiyas, p. 37.
We ask al-Dhababi that: "How do you claim the unanimity of the Ummah, while you have accepted Dawud ibn 'Ali and whoever followed him?! Why haven't you identified those who followed him by names? Then whey haven't you accepted the Shi'ah and Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, is it because that they are not considered among the Islamic Ummah in your view?! Or that your sycophancy to the rulers has made you permit them to add to the shar', in order that they increase your gift and fame?
Have the rulers, who ruled over Muslims in the name of Islam, been aware of the Qur'anic and Prophetic texts (nusus) so that to stop at their limits?
Had the two Caliphs Abu Bakr and 'Umar deliberately contradicted the Qur'anic and Prophetic nusus, as we mentioned in previous chapters, how would those who succeeded them have adhered to those texts, which have been substituted, changed and obliterated?
If the fuqaha' of Ahl al-Sunnah give a verdict for the rulers to opine in God's religion whatever they will, so no wonder to see al-Dhahabi follow and imitate them.
It is reported in Tabaqat al-fuqaha', form sa'id ibn Jubayr that he said: I questioned 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar about ila' (insertion)? He said: Do you intend to say: Ibn 'Umar said so, Ibn 'Umar said so?
I replied : Yes, and we accept whatever you say and are convinced with it, Ibn 'Umar then said: The opinion regarding this is as stated by al-'umara' (rulers), or rather as stated by Allah and His Messenger, and whoever reports from them.
It is also reported from Sa'id Jubayr that he said: "Rafa' ibn Hayat has been regarded the most knowledgeable faqih in Sham, but when you instigate him you find him to be a Shami, saying: 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan has issued a so and so ruling in such a mtter".122
It is also reported in Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, from
122.Tabaqat al-fuqaha', translated by Sa'id ibn Jubayr.
al-Musayyab ibn Rafi 'that he said: "If any question (mas'alah) is to be solved by the ruler, that it is not exposed in the Book (Qur'an) and Sunnah, it is called "Sawafi al-'umara', so it will be handed to them (rulers), and scholars will be gathered for (debating) it, whatever attains their unanimity will be counted as truth." 123
We say to them: "And if the Truth had followed their desires, verily the heavens and the earth had been corrupted ..." (23:71) and: "Nay, but he bring them the Truth; and most of them are haters of the Truth".(23:70)
Fifth: Other Sources of Legislation (for Ahl al-Sunnah):
Of them we mention: qiyas (analogy), istihsan (approval), istishab (accompaniment), sadd bab al-dhara'i (closing the door of pleas), and ijma (unanimity) which are very well known and common among them.
Al-'Imam Abu Hanifah was so much known of applying qiyas and refuting the traditions (of the prophet). Al-'Imam Malik was known of resorting to the acts of Ahl al-Medinah and sadd bab al-dhara'i. Al-'Imam al-Shafi'i was known of acting according to the fatawa of the Companions whom he classified into divisions and ranks, in the following order:
-The priority for the ten promised with Paradise,
-Then the earlier Muhajirun (Emigrants),
-Then the Ansar (Helpers),
-Then come Muslimat al-Fath, with whom he means al-Tulaqa'(the set-free prisoners), who embraced Islam after Fath Makkah (conquest of Mecca).124
It was about Ahmad ibn Hanbal that he never practiced ijtihad, and never issued fatwas but the adopted the opinion of any companion whosoever.
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi has reported from him that: someone has inquired from him regarding a matter related to
123. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd vol. vi, p. 179.
124. Manaqib al-'Imam al-Shafi'i, vol. i, p. 443.
halal and haram, whereat Ahmad said to him (the question): May God protect you, you can ask some other one. The man said: O Abu 'Abd Allah, we wish to know your reply. Said he again: May God protect you, you may ask some other one, you can ask the fuqaha', ask Abu Thawr.125
Al-Maruzi has also reported from him his saying: Concerning the hadith we have been relieved of it, and regarding the masa'il (matters, questions), I have made up my mind not to give reply to anyone questioning me.126
Undoubtedly it was Ahmad ibn Hanbal who has insinuated the idea of the justice (adalah) of all the Sahabah with no exception, so his school has impressed Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah.
It is reported by al-Khatim in the second volume of his book Taraikh Baghdad through the chain (isnad) reaching to Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sayrafi that he said: We said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal: If the Prophet's Companions differ regarding a question, is it permissible for us to probe into their opinions to recognize with whom lies the truth (sawab), so that to follow him?
He replied : It is not permissible to probe into the opinions of the Prophet's Companions. I said : What to do then? He said : You can imitate whomever you like (of them) .
We say to him: Is it permissible to imitate one who cannot recognize truth from falsehood? How strange to see Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) issue a fatwa--while he avoids giving verdicts --to imitate any of the Companions without investigating their opinions, to realize where the truth is!
After presenting this brief survey about the sources of the Islamic legislation for the Shi'ah and Ahl al-Sunnah, we come to know explicitly that the Shi'ah have been the true followers of and adherents to the Prophet's Sunnah and never thought of following other than it, till it has become a motto for them as admitted and witnessed by their opponents.
Whereas Ahl al-Sunnah, on the other hand, follow
125. Ta'rikh Baghdad, vol. ii, p. 66.
126. Manaqib al'-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, p. 57.
the sunnah of any Companion, any Tabi'i, and any ruler, whomsoever.
Their books and sayings are before us, give evidence against them, with which we suffice as a witness. God-willing we will, in a forthcoming chapter, discuss their acts and conduct to see that they have nothing to do with the sunnah.
I will leave to the reader to conclude and recognize for sure, who are Ahl al-Sunnah, and who are Ahl al-Bid'ah (heretics).
An Inevitable Commentary to Complete the Research
It is noteworthy to mention that the Shi'ah have adhered faithfully to the Book and Sunnah as sources of legislation, without adding any other source to them, due to availability of sufficient texts (nusus) with their Imams, for each and every matter and question (mas'alah) needed badly by people.
Some people may be surprised at this and regard as importable, that the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt possesses texts containing all rules and solutions for all matters and problems facing people, for all ages and times till the Doomsday.
For the sake of exposing this fact, it is inevitable to indicate the following points:
If any Muslim believes that Allah--Subhanahu--has delegated Muhammad with a Shari'ah that perfects all previous shara', and prevails over them for continueing the march of humanity on earth, to return thereafter to the eternal life. "He it is Who hath sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion".(9:33)
If a Muslim believes that Allah --Subhanahu --wanted man to be submissive to His rule and commandments in all of his sayings and acts, and to commit himself completely to the will of God."Lo! religion with Allah (is) the surrender (to His will and Guidance)".(3:19)
"And whoso seek as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him". (3:85)
If this be the case, God's rules should be perfect and all-inclusive for meeting all man's need in his tiresome progress toward overcoming all obstacles, and withstanding life challenges to attain the aspired aim.
About this fact, the Almighty Allah has stated in the Qur'an :
"We have neglected nothing in the Book of our decrees" (6:38).
On this basis, nothing is there but being mentioned in the Book of Allah- the Exalted -but man, due to his limited mentality, cannot perceive all things Allah, the Glorified, has mentioned (in Qur'an) for an extreme wisdom, known only for men of letters. This fact has been expressed by the Almighty Allah:
"And there is not a thing but hymn His praise; but ye understand not their praise..."(17:44)
The phrase (there is not a thing) indicates man, animal, and substance, with no exception, all praise (God). Man may accept the praise of animal and living creatures, like plants, but his brain is unable to perceive the praise-hymn of stone for example, God has said:
"Lo! We subdued the hills to hymn the praises (of their Lord) with him at nightfall and sunrise". (38:18)
When admitting and believing in this, we should believe that Allah's Book contains all the rules that people badly need till the Day of Resurrection. But it is infeasible for us to perceive them unless we refer to the man unto whom the Book was revealed, and who apprehend all its meanings, being the Messenger of Allah, as stated by the Almighty Allah:
"And We reveal the Scripture unto thee as an exposition of all things..." (16:89)
If we admit that Allah -Subhanahu-has exposed all things for His Messenger, so that he can expose to mankind what is revealed to them, we should admit that the Prophet (S) have verily exposed and explained everything needed by people till Doomsday, and has never neglected anything without a rule.
If we could not get access to that exposition, or being unaware of it today, it is due to our inertia, remissness and ignorance, or it is resulted from the betrayal of the medium between them and him (Prophet), or due to the Companions' ignorance and not comprehending what the Prophet (S) has exposed.
But Allah -the Glorified, the Exalted -is aware that all these probabilities are imminent, so for the sake of safeguarding His Shari'ah against loss and negligence, He has elected Imams from among His bondmen, giving them the knowledge and exposition of the Book as inheritance, so that no plea will remain for mankind to raise against Allah. The Almighty has said: "Then We gave the Scripture as inheritance unto those whom We elected of Our bondmen". (35:32)
The Messenger of Allah (S) verily undertaken the task of exposing for people whatever they need, singling out his wasi' Ali with everything needed by people after him till the Doomsday, due to the merits possessed by 'Ali, from among all Companions, including infinite intelligence, sharp perception, strong memorizing and consciousness of whatever reaching his ear. So the Prophet taught him ('Ali) all the knowledge he (S) had, leading the Ummah to follow him as he being the gate from which people should enter (to get the knowledge).
Someone may argue that Allah has sent the Prophet unto all mankind, so he is not entitled to single out only one of them, with his knowledge, and deprive all others. Our reply is thus: The Messenger of Allah has no right whatsoever in this matter, since he is just a commanded bondman, executing whatever is revealed unto him from Lord. In fact he has been ordered by Allah to do so, since Islam is a religion of monotheism (tawhid) and established on unity in everything. It is necessary to unify people an gather them under one leadership, which is an intuitive matter determined by the Book of Allah, and approved by reason ('aql) and conscience. The Almighty Allah said:
If there were therein gods beside Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) had been disordered". (21:22)
He also said:
"...Nor is there any god among with Him; else would each god have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly overcome others..."(23:91)
Also, had God sent two messengers at a time, mankind would have divided into two nations, and have turned to be to rival parties. Allah-the Exalted- said: "...And there is not a nation but a Warner hath passed among them ".(35:24)
Further, for every prophet there has been a wasi (executor), to succeed him among his folk and ummah, to prevent their scattering and segregation.
This being a natural matter known by all, whether being learned or ignorant, believer or infidels. It is fact that every tribe, and every party and every state should have one head (president), to head and lead it, being impossible for them to be ruled by two chiefs at the same time.
That is why Allah-Subhanahu- has elected apostles from among angels and mankind, honoring them with the task of leading His bondmen, and making them example (imams) to guide people to His religion. Allah--the Exalted --said: "Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures". (3:33) The Imams, Allah has elected to seal the Muhammadan message, are the Imams of guidance from the Prophet's Kindred ('Itrah), all being from the family of Abraham, a progeny descending from the other. It is them who have been referred to by the Messenger of Allah (S) by saying: "The successors (khulafa') after me are twelve ones, all being from Quraysh".127
For every time there should be a certain Imam, whoever dies without being aware of the Imam of his time, his death is that of ignorance. Certainly when Allah -Subhanahu wa ta'ala -elects one as an Imam, He verily purifies him, guards him (against error), and gives him knowledge, as He never gives wisdom but to those deserving it.
127. This hadith is reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, vol viii, p. 127, and Sahih Muslim, vol. vi, p. 3. In other narrations he said: All of them are from Banu Hashim, instead of Quraysh. Whether they are from Banu Hashim or Quraysh, all of them are as it is known, from Abraham's household.
Should we return to the point, that is the Imam's being aware of the rules of Shari'ah needed by people, through the texts revealed in the Scripture and the Sunnah, which keep pace with the march of humanity till the Doomsday. No one among the Islamic Ummah can claim having this merit except the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (A), who have recurring disclosed their possessing al-Sahifah al-Jamiah (the all inclusive sheet), that was dictated by the Messenger of Allah and written by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib containing all things (rules) needed by people till the Doomsday, even arsh al-khadash (the smaller trouble) .
We have referred to this al-Sahifah al-Jamiah, that used to be held by Ali everywhere, and it was mentioned by al-Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs, so no Muslim ever deny this.
On this basis, the Shi'ah, who have devotedly followed the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, have ruled in the Shari'ah according to the texts (nusus) of the Qur'an and Sunnah, never being coerced to follow other than them throughout three centuries -the lifetime of the Twelve Imams.
But Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah have resorted to ijtihad and qiyas and other alike percepts, due to the absence of nusus and their Imams' unawareness of them, from the earlier days of caliphate. This being natural for them, when knowing that their caliphs have burn the Prophetic texts, beside preventing and hiding them, and when hearing their head say: We are sufficed with the Book of Allah, neglecting and ignoring thus the Prophetic Sunnah, which exposes the rules of the Qur'an itself.
We are all aware of the scarcity of the apparent Qur'anic rules, and that they are generally in need of the Prophet's exposition. So Allah-the Exalted -has said: ''And We have revealed unto thee the Remembrance that thou mayst explain to mankind that which hath been revealed for them..." (16:44)
If the Qur'an is in need of the Prophetic Sunnah to expose its rules and meanings, and if Ahl al-Sunnah have burnt the Sunnah that exposes the Qur'an, so they are left with no texts to expose the Qur'an and to expose the Sunnah itself.
They had no choice but to apply ijtihad and qiyas, and consult their 'ulama', adopting istihsan and that which meets their temporary convenience. It has been natural for them to be in need of all these acts due to their lack for the texts (nusus).