Deprivation from attending scholars
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
Why most of the people are deprived of the benefits of attending scholars? Why mosques have become vacant? It is because they say: Zaid is unhappy with such and such master. You may hear someone saying: Where do you go for prayer? You reply: At such and such place. He says: Did you not hear that people are talking things about this Shaykh! Now, I do not say that he is not telling true, that I asked him for money but he did not oblige. Rather, he puts allegations on him and tells lies too. Being so simple minded, you also say: All right, very good. Thus you are deprived from the congregation and from the benefit of a scholar’s presence. I wish this would end here. But no! This misfortune is such that if you feel any doubt about anybody, that doubt multiplies and you become his enemy. Why, at all, did you accept those words, which came out of that dirty mouth? "If an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance…" O people! If somebody told you something about your wife! O ladies! If someone backbites your husband! O friend! You heard something about a Muslim. You have no right to accept such things hastily without making inquiry. You must not believe that word and be impressed by it. Be patient. Make inquiries. Perhaps the fact was otherwise. Either the one who said so made a mistake because of any doubt or he said so due to enmity and jealousy like the story, which is said to be the background of the revelation of this Holy verse.
Walid the transgressor and Bani Mustaliq
In the 9th year after Hijrat, Islam spread wide. Among the tribes, which became Muslim was the tribe of Bani Mustaliq too. Its chief was Harith bin Zurar Khuzai. He came to Medina and embraced Islam and gave a promise to the Holy Prophet that: I am going back to my community. There, I will teach them the laws and rules of Islam. I will also collect their Zakat amounts. Please send someone at such and such time so that I will hand over the Zakat money to him. The Holy Prophet accepted his word. This gentleman, Harith, who was a new Muslim, was a very wise man. He taught all the rules of Islam to his tribesmen and taught them Prayer, Fast and Zakat. He also collected their Zakat and waited for someone to come from the Holy Prophet so that he might hand over the amount to him. Despite waiting, no one arrived. Hopelessly he said: Perhaps the Holy Prophet did not send anyone so let me myself go to Medina with some Muslims and hand over the Zakat amounts to him personally. So he rode to Medina along with some of his tribesmen. They also had their arms with them and so also the amount of Zakat. They advanced towards Medina.
On the other side, the Holy Prophet also sent a so-called Muslim named Walid bin Uqbah from among the apparent Muslims (a brother of Uthman from maternal side). He was looking like a Muslim from outside but his inside was not yet enlightened. (God disgraced him afterwards).
The Holy Prophet said, "Walid may go to the tribe of Bani Mustaliq with some people, take Zakat from them and come back." So Walid moved along with some men. As he neared the tribe, he saw from a distance that Harith with some men of his tribe was coming towards Medina. Walid had come to collect Zakat. But he saw that they themselves were coming.
By the way, before Islam, Walid had fought with this tribe of Bani Mustaliq. So he had a hatred and enmity towards this tribe in his heart. When he saw that they were moving towards Medina, this transgressor (in the words of Qur’an), with an intention of taking revenge of the past, hastily went back to Medina. In order to cool his internal anger, he told three lies in Medina. Firstly he said, "O Prophet of God! They have forsaken Islam."
Two: They refuse to pay Zakat and three: They intend to kill me. So the Holy Prophet may send an army to finish them off. Usually in other cases this word would have been accepted. Troops would have marched; killing, plundering and arresting them. But the Holy Prophet is the one about whom God in Qur’an says:
﴿æóãóÇ íóäúØöÞõ Úóäú Çáúåóæóì. Åöäú åõæó ÅöáÇøó æóÍúíñ íõæÍóì﴾
"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed…"
So he waited for God’s revelation to see what the command of God was, but for so-called Muslims, trouble, killing and blood shedding is easier. So some of them also light a fire saying what Walid has said is true. They said, "O Prophet of God! Walid tells the truth. Please send the troops soon." They moved on and started fighting, killing them, captured their women and children, looted their property as war booty. The Holy Prophet is still waiting for God’s revelation. Then came down these verses from God. This is written both by the Sunnis and Shias in their books. What is stranger is that the Sunnis also accept it but anyhow, Walid was a brother of Uthman!
Eternal discredit for Uthman
The absolute transgressor Walid is the cursed one whom Uthman made the governor of Basra during his caliphate. He disregarded the fact that Qur’an has called him a transgressor. This disgrace is for Uthman, which cannot be justified by anything. After becoming the governor of Basra, can the ruler of an Islamic province indulge in every sin and transgression? The matters worsened to such an extent that one night he drank so much that when people brought him for the morning prayers he was heavily intoxicated. In this condition, he went ahead to lead the prayers and prayed four units (rakats) instead of two. People exclaimed that he had made an error. He replied, "No I have not made any mistake, it is only that I thought about you. Otherwise I would have offered seven or eight units." Then he vomited and dirtied the holy mosque. Uthman was told about all this and people asked him what kind of a governor he had appointed? Why do you consider his relation with you? Even after he was dismissed, no punishment was given to him. There are details available about this. Finally it was Amirul Momineen who punished him as per the penalty for drinking. Let us go ahead. What I was saying is about a transgressor who is, apparently, a Muslim who says: ‘There is no god except Allah’ and also offers prayers…but he does not fear God in indulging in any sin like bloodshed, mischief and corruption. He has no true faith. His faith is in something other than Islam.
God willing, the meaning of these verses will become clear towards the end of the Surah Hujurat.
The revealed verse is saying that, O those who have believed, if a transgressor brings you any news do not react to it instantly. Make inquiries. Do not make haste. Rather look into the matter deeply and see. Perhaps it may not be as told. Maybe he said something due to enmity or ill will. He may be lying; like this story of Walid. This cursed one comes (when the concerned men had brought Zakat to be handed to the Holy Prophet) and says, "No, they have discarded Islam, they do not want to pay the Zakat and they also want to kill me." What does this mean? What he intends is to react to his past enmity which he had with that tribe before Islam.
O Muslims! Let it not be so that you hear a word from a sinner and transgressor and be impressed and affected by it and react to it and thereafter be ashamed of what you did.
Scholars were martyred due to such mischief
Examples in this connection are numerous. In how many calamities have the Muslims fallen for not acting according to the command of this holy verse! How many families are destroyed and how much property devastated!
I say even more than this. A lot of blood has flown unnecessarily and without any genuine reason. What was the reason? Only due to a word spoken by an enemy or a jealous fellow. They decreased their piety by and by. How the great scholar, the First Martyr, Muhammad bin Makki, the great jurisprudent of his time was martyred? What was the cause of the murder of Qazi Noorullah Shustari? Due to these same mischiefs.
I remember an example about Mansoor Dawaniqi and the mischief against the holy Imam. Mansoor Dawaniqi was the second Abbaside Caliph. After his coming to throne, one of his bystanders concocted a gossip to get nearness of the king. He claimed, "I am your well-wisher," and by his lies and false reports got many innocent people arrested. Finally he prepared some documents and put a counterfeit seal of Imam Sadiq. It was written in those papers that: Go to Khorasan and rise against Mansoor; that Imam wants that you should revolt against Mansoor. So take to arms. He also made some other false letters in the name of Mualla bin Khunais who was the treasurer of Imam Sadiq. It was mentioned therein that the Imam was collecting amounts for a rebellion against Mansoor and for raising an army of rebels. What oppression! Finally they called the holy Imam to the court of Mansoor. The king first gave respect to the Imam but then, by and by, started saying, "Well, you want to disturb my government?" The Imam replied, "No, it is not so. By God, no!"
Mansoor said, "I have reports that you are thinking of a revolt against me; that you are against my rule; that you are claiming the throne and that you want to attack me with your army." The brief reply of the Imam, as per what is mentioned in Biharul Anwar was, "God knows that I have reached old age and have almost lost all of my strength (the holy Imam was over sixty years of age). I did not have such thoughts when I was a youth so now when I have become old and am about to die how I can harbor such aspirations. What they have said is falsehood and lies." The king said, "All right. One who brought this news and your letters is present here." They brought the transgressor before the holy Imam. Mansoor asked him, "Whose letters are these?" The fellow replied, "They are from Ja’far bin Muhammad (Though they were fabricated by him)." The Imam said, "These are not my letters. I have never written these letters. I have never made such a stir." Then Imam said, "Will you swear?" He replied, "Yes, I will."
Mansoor saw that here was a good outcome and that the matter will end now. That fellow swore, "By Allah except Whom there is no god, He is the Alive, the Ever-present, the Mighty…" The Imam said, "No, I do not want this kind of swearing from you. Utter what I say." He said, "I am prepared to repeat whatever you say." The Imam said, "Say, ‘I am fed up with Allah’s Might and Power, if I am wrong in saying that Ja’far did it’." As soon as he uttered these swearing words he was lifted from the earth like a sparrow and fell upside down breaking his head and all the physical organs and he prepared to depart for hell. This way of his rising up and falling down and breaking of his body and his body movement at the moment of his death made Mansoor restless. He said to his men, "Tie up the legs of this cursed one and take him away so that he does not die in front of me."
Finally he was carried out and then he died. Then Mansoor apologized much and asked the Imam’s pardon.
He asked the holy Imam, "O Master! How all this happened? How did you turn his swearing?" The Imam said, When he said, ‘By Allah except Whom there is no god,’ I feared that since he gives witness to His Oneness he may gain God’s mercy, and the truth may not be manifested." This is a fine issue to be understood by experts and intelligent beings that it is possible that when one gives witness to God’s oneness, even if it is only verbal, one will, at last, be worthy of God’s mercy. God may give him respite. Therefore I asked him to swear, ‘I am disgusted with His Power and Might,’ which is the worst swearing as it is getting disgusted with God. It amounts to denial of God. It means he has nothing to do with Allah. This is against belief in God’s oneness. Even if the oneness of God is uttered only with tongue (without firm belief in heart) it, anyway, is a kind of respect and honor to God, which may fetch divine kindness. Woe unto that ruffian who says: I have nothing to do with God. Such utterances can bring nothing but punishment from God. So Imam said: Say so. And as soon as he uttered this blasphemy he met with both outward and inward disgrace and destruction.