In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Beneficent
All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the universe. May the best
of blessings and greetings be upon our leader and master Muhammad,
who was sent as a mercy to the universe, he is the master of the
foremost ones and the last ones, he was purified from all disgraces.
May Allah's choicest blessings and greetings also be upon the
illustrious and purified ahl al-bayt, the standards of
guidance, light of those in darkness and the Imams of the Muslims.
This work consists of some questions which I prepared for Muslim
researchers - especially those Sunnis who maintain that they alone
hold fast to the true practice of the Prophet (S.A.W.) They are
severe in their disapproval of other Muslims and call them derogatory
names. New organizations have sprung up in several Islamic countries
in the name of defending the sunna of Muhammad (S.A.W.)
and in the name of "the helpers of the sunna"
and "the helpers of the companions". Numerous books
have been published to insult and condemn the Shi'as, their Imams
and to ridicule their scholars. These ideas have been propagated,
by international means of communications, to every part of the
world - Muslim and non-Muslim - to the point where people today
speak [only] of the Sunnis and the Shi'as.
On many occasions, I meet some young, truthful Muslim scholars
who enquire and ask questions about the Shi'as, i.e., the true
and false [notions] about them. They are perplexed in reconciling
what they observe while living amongst their Shi'a friends with
what they hear and read about them. They do not know where the
truth lies. I have spoken to some of them and have presented them
with copies of my book "Then I was Guided". Praise be
to Allah, the majority of them, after researching and debating,
are guided to the truth and follow it. This, however, does not
suffice for those youths whom I meet coincidentally or for those
who do not have such opportunities to meet and therefore remain
confused regarding the conflicting ideas they are exposed to.
Despite the convincing proofs and irrefutable arguments [cited]
in "Then I was Guided", and "With the Truthful
ones", these two books are not sufficient to combat the frenzied
attacks and crude allegations [instigated] by various means of
propaganda that some of the wicked sources have financed by their
Despite all this, however, the voice of truth will emerge in the
midst of this discomforting uproar and it will be a glowing light
shining in the gloom of darkness since the promise of Allah is
true, and it will certainly manifest itself. Allah says: "They
seek to extinguish Allah's light by their mouths, but Allah will
perfect this light even though the disbelievers hate that"
(61:8). Allah further explains that their acts will fail and will
rebound on them: "Verily, those who disbelieve spend their
wealth in hindering [people from] the path of Allah, they will
continue to spend; then they will regret therein. Ultimately,
they will be overcome and the disbelievers will be gathered in
Due to this, it is essential for the scholars, writers and thinkers
to explain to the lay persons what is difficult for them [to comprehend]
and to guide them to the right path. The most exalted says: "Those
who seek to conceal the clear [signs] which We have revealed and
guided - after we have clearly explained it for the people in
the book - Allah will curse them as will those who are entitled
to curse. Except those who repent, make amends and make clear
[that which they sought to hide]. Towards them I shall turn, for
I am the Forgiving, the Merciful" (2:160).
Why don't the scholars discuss this topic diligently and sincerely
for Allah's sake? Why [should they not do this] when the most
Glorious has revealed the clear signs and guidance, perfected
His religion and completed His favours on humankind? When the
Prophet (S.A.W.) has fulfilled Allah's mission to him, proclaimed
His message and advised the umma, then why this disunity,
enmity, hatred and calling derogatory names and each party considering
the other to be a disbeliever?
In my role, I have to take an unequivocal position here and to
declare to all Muslims, that there can be no salvation, no safety,
no unity, no happiness, and no paradise unless we return to the
two basic sources: Allah's book and the Prophet's household (peace
be upon them). [Nothing can be attained] unless we embark on the
ship of salvation, the ship of the ahl al-bayt (S.A.W.).
This statement is not something that I have conjured up, rather,
it is the word of Allah in the noble Qur'an and His Prophet (S.A.W.)
in the honourable Prophetic sunna. The Muslims today have
two options to attain the desired unity:
The first approach: The ahl al-sunna wa'l -Jama'a accept
the madhab (school of thought) of the household of the
Prophet which is the madhab that the Ithna'ashari Imami
Shi'as follow. This madhab would then be classified as
a fifth madhab to them (the Sunnis), and they could then
treat its jurisprudential texts in the same way that they do with
the other four Islamic schools. They should not disparage it nor
deride those who embrace it. They should give the educated students
the freedom to choose the madhab which they are satisfied
with. And, by the same token, it is incumbent upon every Muslim
- Sunni and Shi'a - that they recognize the other Islamic madhabs,
such as the Ibadiyya and the Zaydiyya. This approach is a remedy
for many of the conflicts and differences that affect our umma,
but it still does not present a complete cure for the historical
discord we have endured for centuries.
The second approach: The Muslims should unite under a common creed
as dictated by Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.). They should do
so in one way and on the right path, which is to follow the Imams
of the ahl al-bayt, [they are] those from whom Allah has
removed all filth and has purified them completely. Indeed, all
Muslims - Shi'as and Sunnis - agree upon their acts and their
superiority in their piety, virtue, asceticism, character, knowledge
and good deeds.
Since the Muslims differ regarding the companions, they should
leave what they differ on in favour of what they agree upon in
compliance with the hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W.): "Keep
away from what casts doubt in you in favour of what does not make
you doubtful". By doing this, the Muslim umma would
come together and unite based on a fundamental rule that forms
the pivot around which everything revolves, [a principle] established
by the Prophet (S.A.W.) when he said: "I leave amongst you
two weighty things, if you stick to them, you will never go astray:
the book of Allah and my ahl al-bayt" [cited in] Sahih
Since this hadith is accepted by both sects, in fact by
all Muslims regardless of their different madhahib, why
is it that a faction amongst them does not act in accordance to
it? If all the Muslims were to follow this hadith, such
strong Islamic unity would be fostered between them that no breeze
could shake it, no storm destroy it, no propagation could refute
it and no enemy of Islam could thwart it.
In my view, this is the only solution towards the salvation and
safety of the Muslims. Any other approach is futile and [is tantamount
to] embellished words. Whoever studies the Qur'an and the Prophet's
traditions, as well as studies history and reflects upon it with
a sound mind will certainly agree with me.
The first approach has failed since the first day the Prophet
(S.A.W.) left us when the companions differed amongst themselves
resulting in the division of the Muslim umma and the destruction
of the bonds of solidarity. The umma has failed throughout
the centuries to revert to the second approach which is the adherence
to the book and the Prophet's household (S.A.W.). This is due
to the propaganda spread earlier by the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasties,
and, in our times, because of the defamation, misrepresentation
and condemnation of the followers of the ahl al-bayt of
the Prophet. There remains for us then nothing else but a clear
approach and a disclosure of the truth for all who wish to know
it. This can be done in the style of the noble Qur'an in it's
challenge: "Come forth with your proof if you are indeed
telling the truth" (2:111).
Clear proof and argument will never be subjugated by force or
wealth, neither can they be refuted by warnings and threats. [This
is true] for free human beings who have pledged themselves to
Allah alone. They have never deviated - and will never do so -
from the truth, even if they lose their lives.
If only the modern day scholars of the umma were to organise
a conference to examine these matters with open hearts, astute
minds and pure consciences, they would, by doing so, serve the
Muslim umma, assemble its scattered fragments, heal its
wounds, unite its ranks and bring together it's [different] views.
This unity will come, [whether they] like it or not, for Allah,
Glory be to Him, has reserved, for that purpose, an Imam from
the progeny of al-Mustafa (the chosen one) who will fill the earth
with justice and equity just as it was filled with oppression
and tyranny. This Imam is from the purified loins. It is as though
Allah, great is His wisdom - tests this umma throughout
it's life span until, when the time is near, He reveals to it
the errors it has committed and gives it an opportunity to return
to the truth and follow the original path which Muhammad (S.A.W.)
called to when he supplicated: "O Allah, guide my people
for indeed they do not know".
Until that time comes, I present my book "Ask those who know".
It is a collection of questions and answers based on the views
and the teachings of the Imams of the ahl al-bayt (S.A.W.).
Hopefully, the Muslims in every Islamic country will benefit from
it and work towards the concordance of views in preparation of
the coveted unity.
My success is from Allah. Upon Him I rely and to Him I turn. My
Lord, expand my breast and make my affairs easy for me [to handle].
Loosen the knots on my tongue so that my words can be understood.
I ask Him, Glory be to Him, the most exalted one, to accept my
work and make it [a source of] virtue and blessing, for it is
only a stone in the building of a united body.
I say this because the contemporary Muslims are still very far
away from realising basic human rights and working harmoniously
with each other. I realised this first hand during my travels
and numerous visits to the Muslim countries or in the countries
where there are Muslims [residing]. The latest was in the Indian
subcontinent which has a population of over 200 million Muslims,
a quarter of whom are Shi'as and three quarters are Sunnis. I
had heard a lot about them, but what I witnessed really perplexed
and astonished me. It also made me fearful. I was saddened and
I wept over the path this umma has taken. Were it not for
my hope, wishes and faith, despair would have overcome my heart.
Immediately after my return from India, I sent an open letter
to an Indian scholar who the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a in
that subcontinent refer to. He is Abu'l- Hasan 'Ali al-Nadawi.
I promised him that I would publish this letter and his reply.
So far, however, I have not received a reply. I have published
my letter in the introduction to this book in it's original form
so that it acts as an historical testimony which will bear witness
for us infront of Allah and the people, that we are amongst those
who enjoined unity.
Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi
May the blessings and peace of Allah be on the most honourable
of the Messengers and on his purified household
Open letter to Sayyid Abu'l-Hasan al-Nadawi, an
Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah, the exalted, be upon you:
I am Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi, a Tunisian whom Allah has favored
with guidance and success. I have embraced the school of the ahl
al-bayt of the Prophet after lengthy research, having [previously]
been a Maliki. I was a follower of the famous Sufi tariqa
(path) in North Africa, the Tijaniyya order. I came to recognize
the truth during a successful visit to the Shi'i 'ulama'
(scholars); I have written a book about that [visit] which I called
"Then I was Guided". It was printed in India by "al-Majma'
al-'ilmi al-Islami" in different languages and, for the
occasion (of publishing), I was invited to visit India.
Dear Sir, I came to India for a short visit. I had hoped to meet
your honourable self when I heard about you and learnt that you
were a councillor amongst the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a. However,
the immense distances (of travelling) and lack of time prevented
me from doing that. I had to be content with visiting the cities
of Bombay, Poona, Jabal Pur and other cities in Gujarat. I was
greatly pained by what I saw in India, i.e., enmity and hatred
between the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a and their Shi'a Muslim
I had heard that they wage war sometimes and fight each other
and [even] spill innocent blood on both sides in the name of Islam.
However, I did not believe this, thinking that it was slander.
What I witnessed and heard during my visit could make [one] perplexed
and astonished. I was certain that there are despicable plans
and dangerous conspiracies being instigated against Islam and
the Muslims so as to destroy all of them, Sunnis and Shi'as. What
made this belief of mine even more certain and my knowledge even
more entrenched was a confrontation which occurred between myself
and a group of Sunni scholars. The honourable Shaykh 'Aziz al-Rahman,
the Mufti of al-Jama'a Islamiyya was leading them (in this).
The meeting was held in their mosque in Bombay and took place
after their invitation.
I had just settled down with them when disdain and derision, insults
and curses against the followers of the household of the Prophet
began. By this, they wanted to provoke and incite me, since they
had known that I had composed a book [in which] I invited people
to embrace the school of the ahl al-bayt, peace be upon
them. I understood their intentions and controlled my temper.
I therefore smiled at them saying: "I am your guest, you
are the ones who invited me; I came to you in haste responding
to your call. Did you invite me to insult and revile me? Are these
the manners which Islam has taught you?"
They replied me in an arrogant manner saying that in my life I
had never been a Muslim even for a day because I was a Shi'a and
the Shi'as have nothing to do with Islam. They [even] swore to
I said: "Fear God, O brothers, for our Lord is one, our Prophet
is one, our book is one, our qibla is one. The Shi'as believe
in one God and they practise Islam in accordance with [the teachings
of] the Prophet and his family, they pray, give zakat and
go for pilgrimage to the house of God. How is it permissible for
you to consider them to be infidels?"
They replied: "You do not believe in the Qur'an, you are
hypocrites, you dissimulate (taqiyya) and your Imam has
said: "Dissimulation is [part of] my religion and that of
my father". You are a Jewish sect which 'Abd Allah b. Saba',
the Jew, had founded".
I said to them smiling: "Let us leave the Shi'as [aside]
and let us talk about me personally. I was a Maliki like you and
I was satisfied, after lengthy research, that the ahl al-bayt
are most right and most worthy of following. Do you have proofs
which you can dispute with me? Or do you want to ask me what are
my arguments and proofs so that we can understand each other?"
They said: "The ahl al-bayt are the wives of the Prophet,
you do not know anything of the Qur'an".
I said: "Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
report differently from what you mention". They said: "All
that is in al-Bukhari and Muslim and other Sunni books which you
base your arguments upon are [due to] the Shi'as interpolating
and inserting in our books".
I replied to them laughingly: "If the Shi'as can interpolate
your books and your Sahih works, then there is no importance
or value to [your books] nor to your school which is based on
[these books]". They kept quiet and were dumbfounded. One
of them intended to make fun and to provoke me again. He said:
"One who does not believe in the Caliphate of the rightly
guided Caliphs of our Sayyid Abu Bakr, Sayyid 'Umar, Sayyid 'Uthman
and Sayyid 'Ali and Sayyid Mu'awiya and Sayyid Yazid, may God
be pleased and happy with them, then he is not a Muslim".
I was astonished at this talk which I had never heard in my life,
since it meant that anybody who did not believe in the Caliphate
of Mu'awiya and his son Yazid was to be considered an infidel.
I said to myself: "It is understandable that the Muslims
be pleased with Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman, this is a natural
thing. As for [being pleased with] Yazid, I have never heard of
it except in India". I turned to all of them and asked them:
"Do you all agree with his view?" They all replied:
At that point, I knew that there was no point in continuing the
conversation. I understood that they wanted to provoke me so that
they could exact revenge (for conversion), they might perhaps
even kill me on the pretext of my having abused the companions,
I saw evil in their eyes and I asked my friend who had brought
me to them to take me away immediately. He took me, he was hurt
and apologized to me for what had occurred. This innocent person
had wanted to know the truth through this meeting. As a matter
of fact, he is a well behaved young man, Sharaf al-Din, owner
of an Islamic printing press and publishing house in Bombay. He
was a witness to what had transpired between us in this aforementioned
discussion. He did not hide his disappointment with these people
who considered themselves to be amongst the prominent scholars.
I left them whilst angry and sorry at the condition which the
Muslims had reached, especially by those posing as the centre
of preaching and calling themselves scholars. I said to myself:
"If the 'ulama' are at this level of blind fanaticism,
what will the condition and ignorance of the masses be like?"
I knew then how the fighting and wars in which blood was spilled
illegally, honor and dignity disgraced, had started in the name
of protecting Islam.
I cried over the path taken by this wretched and ill-fated people
which Allah, Glory be to Him, has entrusted with the responsibility
of guidance. The Prophet of God (P) has also entrusted it with
the responsibility of transmitting light into the dark hearts,
if they need the glow of light. At any one time, there are in
India alone 700 million persons who worship [other gods] apart
from God, the most exalted. They consider the cow, statues and
idols to be sacred. Instead of unifying the efforts of Muslims
so as to guide and preach to them and to bring them out from darkness
to light so that they should submit to the Lord of the universe,
we see that the Muslims today, especially in India, are themselves
in need of guidance and reformation.
Because of this, sir, I am sending my letter to you asking you
in the name of God, who is the most Merciful and Beneficent, and
in the name of the noble Prophet and in the name of the greatness
of Islam, according to the saying of the most High: "And
hold tight to the rope of Allah, all of you and do not differ".
I ask you to adopt the stance of a brave Muslim who is not scared,
for Allah's sake, of the sternest critics and is not swayed by
fanaticism or sectarianism, a position which Satan and his friends
I invite you to a stance which is sincere and clear; you are the
one whom Allah has entrusted with responsibility as long as you
talk in the name of Islam in that region. Allah will not be pleased
with you if you adopt the stance of a contented spectator with
what is happening here and there, a tragedy the price of which
the innocent Shi'a and Sunni Muslims are paying. God is going
to ask you on the day of judgement about every small or big deed,
and you will have to account for every single thing because those
who know and those who do not know are not equal.
As long as you consider yourself to be amongst the 'ulama'
of India, there is no doubt that your responsibility is immense.
A word from you could be for the betterment of the umma in
India just as it could be for the destruction of the future civilization
. So have fear of God, O people of understanding!
As Allah, Glory be to Him, gave the scholars an elevated status
after the angels, the most High says: "Allah bears witness
that there is no God but He and the angels and those bestowed
with knowledge are undertaking their affairs with justice".
And if He, Glory be to Him, is instructing us all to "undertake
your measurement with equity and do not defraud the scales"
and if the commentators talk of the need to deal justly in material
scales, which has limited value, how about dealing justly when
credal issues [are at stake] which can take one between truth
and falsehood and on which depends the guidance of mankind and
salvation of the whole of humanity?
Allah, the Most High said: "When you judge, do so in a just
manner" and He also said: "O David, We have made you
a Caliph on earth so judge between people on [the basis of] truth,
do not follow desires, for they will take you away from the path
And the Prophet of God (P) said: "Speak the truth even if
it be against yourself, speak the truth even if it is bitter".
My Dear Sir, I invite you to the book of God and to the sunna
of His Prophet. Speak it clearly and loudly, even if it is
bitter; it will be a testimony for you in front of Allah. By your
Lord, do you consider the Shi'as to be non-Muslims?
Do you truly believe they are infidels? Is the following of the
household of the Prophet, who believe in the unity of one God,
and glorify Him more than any other sect - because of their belief
that He is above any resemblance (with human beings), corporealism
and bodily traits, tantamount to disbelief? They believe in His
Prophet Muhammad (P) and extol him more than any other sect due
to their belief in his complete infallibility even before the
call to prophecy - do you consider them to be infidels?
Those who take Allah, His Prophet and believers as friends and
desire what the family of the Prophet desires and accept them
as their friends (as Ibn Manzur has introduced them in his "Lisan
al-Arab" in his [section on] the origins of the Shi'a),
do you consider them to be non-Muslims?
Are these Shi'as who undertake prayers as their best undertaking
and they pay the zakat as well as an additional one fifth
of their property in obedience to Allah and His Prophet and fast
the month of Ramadhan and other [extra] days and go for pilgrimage
and glorify the signs of God, who respect the friends of God and
dissociate themselves from the enemies of Allah and Islam, do
you consider them to be polytheists?
Do those who believe in the Imamate of twelve Imams from the ahl
al-bayt from whom Allah has removed all filth and purified
them completely and believe that the Prophet of God (P) has designated
them (as al-Bukhari and Muslim and others have reported from the
Sunni Sahih works), are these, in your view, deviants from
Were the Muslims ever ignorant of the Imamate and never accepted
it whether at the time of the Prophet or after his death so that
we should attribute the belief in and origins of the Imamate to
the Persians and Zoroastrians?
Do you now say that one who does not accept the Imamate of Yazid
b. Mu'awiya to be an unbeliever, a person whose immorality is
known to the rank and file Muslims? Yazid's vileness and debaseness
can be discerned from what the Muslims have agreed on, i.e., his
allowing his army and soldiers to do as they pleased in al-Medina
al-Munawwara so as to extract allegiance to him by force and to
admit that they (the people) are his slaves.
They killed 10,000 of the best companions and the followers and
defiled the honor of pure women and young Muslim girls so that
they bore children from fornication, a number which nobody but
Allah knows. It is enough for his eternal shame, dishonour and
disgrace that he killed the master of the youths of paradise and
enslaved the children of the Prophet, and hit the teeth of al-Husayn
with his cane, composing the famous ode:
"If only my ancestors at Badr would witness .." He also
said: "The Banu Hashim played with the kingdom, no news came
nor any revelation descended".
It is clear that he did not believe neither in the prophecy of
Muhammad nor in the noble Qur'an. Is it proper that you agree
to consider as an infidel one who dissociates himself from Yazid
and his father Mu'awiya who was cursing 'Ali and ordered his cursing?
He [even] killed any prominent companion who refused (to curse)
as he did with Hujr b. 'Adi al-Kindi and his companions. He (Mu'awiya)
established a sunna [which was] followed for seventy years
even though he was aware of the saying of the Prophet (P): "One
who curses 'Ali curses me, and one who curses me curses Allah".
This has been reported in the Sahih works of the ahl
al-sunna. Additionally, he [performed] acts which opposed
[the teachings of] Islam, like his killing of the innocent and
upright ones so as to get bay'a for his son Yazid by force
and coercion and his killing of al-Hasan b. 'Ali through Ju'da,
the daughter of Ash'ash and many other crimes which the Sunni
historical works mention and are testified by the followers of
I do not think, dear sir, that you will agree to all this and
if you do, then we can bid farewell to Islam and forget the world.
There will remain no standards of judging nor reasoning, no law
nor logic or proof.
Allah, the most Glorious and Exalted, says: "O you who believe,
have fear of God and be with the truthful ones". By God,
the 'alim of Pakistan may God forgive his sins, Abu'l-A'la
al-Mawdudi, may God have mercy on him, has spoken the truth when
he says in his book entitled "al-khilafa wa'l mulk"
on page 106 reporting from al-Hasan al-Basri:
There were four traits in Mu'awiya, any one of which was enough to disgrace him:
1. His seizing of the matter (Caliphate) without consulting the Muslims although there were, amongst them, eminent companions and overwhelming light.
2. His appointing his son, the drunkard and winebibber who wore silk and played with drums, to be the Caliph after him.
3. His recognizing Ziyad as his brother - the Prophet of God (P) said: "The child belongs to the bed (legal father), the adulterer is to be stoned".
4. His killing of Hujr and the companions of Hujr. Woe unto him
for what he did to Hujr and his companions (He repeated this three
May God have mercy on Abu'l-A'la al-Mawdudi, for he came out openly
with the truth. Had he wished, he would have added fourty-four
more traits but he, may God have mercy on him, deemed this to
be a sufficient crime against Mu'awiya. The meaning of a sinful
word is well known (perishing in fire).
Maybe al-Mawdudi was sensitive to the feelings of the people who
had learnt from their predecessors to revere and respect Mu'awiya
and to be pleased with him and even to his son Yazid. I heard
that for myself from your scholars in India. There is no power
nor strength except in God, the Almighty, the most Great.
Maybe Mawdudi was sesitive to the feelings of the people who had
learnt from their predecessors the sanctfication and respect of
Mu'awiya and to be pleased with him and even fro his son Yazidas
I heard for myelf from your scholars in India. There is no power
nor strenght except in God, the Almighty, the most great.
I was also sensitive to the feelings of those who had invited
me so as to revile me, I did not mention anything of this to them
in fear of myself.
I appeal to you, sir, to adopt a clear stance, seeking, through
it, the pleasure of Allah, the Most Exalted, for Allah does not
shirk from the truth. I do not ask from you that you concede [their
wrongdoing] so as to get even with them nor to publish their disgraces,
for history will bear witness to that.
What is requested from you is for you to concede and teach your
followers that those who do not accept the Imamate of these people
nor befriend them are also true Muslims deserving respect, there
is no doubt about it. And for you to say that the Shi'as have
been oppressed throughout history because they did not follow
or accept the Imamate of the troublesome, cursed ones for whom
Allah has cited examples in the Qur'an.
By your Lord, what is the crime of the Shi'as? The Prophet of
God commanded the Muslims to follow his household after him to
the point that he likened them to Noah's ark, one who climbs in
it is saved and one who stays behind is destroyed. What is the
sin of the Shi'as if they obey the order of the Prophet when he
said: "I leave behind me two weighty things, the book of
God and my family, the ahl al-bayt: if you cling
to them you will never be led astray after me". In addition
to the Shi'a books, the Sihah of the ahl al-sunna testify
Instead of thanking them and giving them preference, precedence
and deeming them to be superior over others, due to their compliance
to the Prophet's (P) commands, we insult them and label them as
infidels and dissociate ourselves from them, this is neither fair
Let us cast aside, sir, the foolish and false talk which is based
neither on proof nor evidence and does not deceive the educated
children of our community. The claims that the Shi'as have a special
Qur'an or that the bearer of the message is 'Ali or that 'Abd
Allah b. Saba', the Jew, is the founder of Shi'ism or other absurd
and prejudiced allegations, which Allah bears witness to, are
due to the imaginations of the enemies of Islam and the enemies
of the ahl al-bayt and their Shi'as, which only blind fanaticism
and complete ignorance have invented.
I am asking you, honourable sir, where do the scholars of India
stand compared to the scholars of al-Azhar who issued a ruling
allowing [people] to embrace the madhab of Imami Shi'as
thirty years ago? Among the prominent notable 'ulama' of
al-Azhar are those who view the Ja'ffari legal school, which the
Shi'as practise, as being more inclusive, rich and more close
to the soul of Islam than the other Islamic schools which are
actually dependent upon it.
Among the leaders of these nobles is al-Shaykh Muhammad Shaltut,
may God have mercy on him. He was the head of al-Azhar during
his time. Don't the 'ulama' of his calibre know Islam and
Muslims? Are the Indian scholars more knowledgeable and cognizant
than them? I do not know what you will say to that.
My noble Sir, I have strong hopes in you and my heart is open
to you with love, kindness and yearning. I was, like you, veiled
from the truth and from the ahl al-bayt and their Shi'as
in the past. Allah, Glory be to Him, guided me to the truth against
which there is nothing but going astray. I freed myself from the
chains of fanaticism and blind imitation and I knew that most
Muslims are still covered with rumours and false (claims). The
allegations prevent them from reaching the truth so as to enable
all of them to climb to the ship of salvation and to cling firmly
to the rope of Allah. There is, as you know, no difference between
the Sunnis and the Shi'as except what arose after the Prophet
due to the Caliphate. The basis of the difference was their belief
in the companions, may God be pleased with them. They differed
amongst themselves until they cursed some, they even waged war
and killed each other.
If differences concerning them [warrants] being cast out of the
fold of Islam then the companions are most guilty of this crime,
God forbid. I do not believe that you would be happy with that.
Justice therefore dictates that you should not be happy with the
outcasting of the Shi'as from Islam. Just as the Shi'as devoted
themselves to revere and respect the ahl al-bayt, similarly,
the Sunnis devoted themselves to the respect of the sahaba
and to revere all of them. What a difference between the two positions.
If the Shi'as are in error (due to that), then the Sunnis are
more in error since all the companions prefer the ahl al-bayt
over themselves and send blessings on them as they send blessings
on the Prophet. We do not know of any companion (R) who either
preferred himself or saw himself superior, whether in knowledge
or in actions, over the ahl al-bayt of the chosen one.
The time has come to lift the darkness of history over the Shi'as
of ahl al-bayt and to get close to them and to accept them
as brothers and to co-operate with each other towards virtue and
piety. Enough blood has been shed and sedition instigated in this
Sir, maybe Allah, Glory be to Him, will unite the different views
through you and will gather the diverse traits, mend the cracks
and will cure, through you, the wounds. Maybe, because of you,
He will extinguish the flames of fitna and will disgrace
Satan and his party. You will become triumphant in God's eyes
especially as, according to what I hear, you are amongst the descendants
of the pure family. Act so that you may be gathered with them
("Indeed, this is a single community and I am your Lord,
so worship Me"). ("And say: 'Act and Allah and
His prophet and the believers will see your actions'"). May
God grant you and us success. May God make you and us among the
sincere workers towards His noble path.
With this letter, sir, I am enclosing a copy of my book 'Then
I was Guided" which I wrote especially on this topic, as
a gift from me to you, hoping that you will accept it.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah the Almighty be with
Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi al-Tunisi
Ask Those who know if You do not know
This noble verse instructs the Muslims to refer to the people
who know in all [things] which perplex them so that they may discern
the path to the truth, because Allah, having taught them, has
nominated them for that [purpose]. Their knowledge is deeply rooted
and they know the interpretation of the Qur'an.
This verse was revealed to introduce the ahl al-bayt (S.A.W.).
They are Muhammad, 'Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. This
[occurred] in the time of prophecy, since, after the Prophet and
up to the coming of the hour [of reckoning], the [aforementioned]
five are the people of the blanket, in addition to them are nine
Imams from the progeny of al-Husayn whom the Prophet of God (S.A.W.)
designated on many occasions and he called them the Imams of guidance
and light of those in darkness and "the people who know".
[He also called them] "those deeply embedded in knowledge
and those to whom Allah, Glory be to Him, has bestowed the knowledge
of the book".
These narrations are well established, true and repeatedly narrated
(mutawatir) by the Shi'as since the time of the Prophet
(P) and some Sunni scholars and commentators have also reported
them, confirming that they were revealed concerning the ahl
al-bayt, (S.A.W.). I cite from these (Sunni scholars) by way
1. Al-Imam al-Tha'labi in his Tafsir al-Kabir on the meaning of chapter 16 (al-Nahl).
2. Tafsir al-Qur'an of Ibn Kathir in the 2nd volume, p. 570.
3. Tafsir of al-Tabari in volume 14, p. 109.
4. Tafsir al-Alusi called Ruh al-Ma'ani in volume 14, p. 134.
5. Tafsir al-Qurtubi in volume 11, p. 272.
6. Tafsir al-Hakim, called Shawahid al-Tanzil, volume 1, p. 334.
7. Tafsir al-Tustari called Ihqaq al-Haqq, in volume 3, p. 482
8. Yanabi' al-Mawadda of al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi, p. 51 and
The apparent meaning of the verse suggests that the ahl al-dhikr
refers to the people of the book, i.e. Jews and Christians. It
therefore becomes necessary for us to make it clear that they
are not [the ones] intended in the noble verse.
Firstly: Because the noble Qur'an has mentioned in a number of
verses that they altered the word of God and they wrote the book
with their hands, claiming that it was from God so as to purchase
a small price. It also bore witness to their lies and turning
the truth upside down. Given this state of affairs, it is not
possible for it (the Qur'an) to instruct the Muslims to refer
to them on issues which they do not know about.
Secondly: Al-Bukhari has reported in his Sahih in "The
Book of Testimony" under the chapter "The ahl al-shirk
(polytheists) aren't to be asked", volume 3, p. 163.
Abu Hurayra narrated, he said: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
'Do not believe the people of the book and do not consider them
as liars but say: 'We believe in God and what was revealed'".
This means we should not to refer questions to them, rather, [we
should] abandon and ignore them because [the command ] not to
believe them nor to consider them as liars would nullify the goal
[of questioning], i.e., awaiting the correct reply.
Thirdly: Al-Bukhari has reported in his Sahih in "The
Book of Unity" in the chapter: "Everyday He is concerned
[with matters]" volume 8, p. 208,
Ibn Abbas said: "O Muslims! How come you ask the people of
the scriptures, although your book which was revealed to His Prophet
has the most recent information from Allah and you recite it,
a book which has not been distorted? Allah has revealed to you
that the people of the scriptures have changed with their own
hands what was revealed to them and they have said: 'This is from
Allah' in order to get some worldly benefit thereby". Ibn
'Abbas added: "Isn't the knowledge revealed to you sufficient
to prevent you from asking them? By Allah, I have never seen any
one of them asking (Muslims) about what has been revealed to you".
Fourthly: Among the people of the book, if we ask the Christians
today they will claim that Jesus is God whilst the Jews will consider
them to be liars and will not accept him even as a Prophet. Both
of them belie Islam and the Prophet of Islam and they call him
a liar and an antichrist. Bearing this in mind, it is incomprehensible
that Allah would command us to ask them if we accept that the
ahl al-dhikr from the apparent [meaning] of the verse refers
to the people of the book amongst the Jews and Christians. This
does not contradict [the view] that it was revealed for the household
of the Prophet as is established amongst the Shi'as and Sunnis
from authentic reports. It is understood from this that Allah,
Glory be to Him, the Most Exalted, bestowed the knowledge of the
book, which does not neglect anything in it, to these Imams whom
He has chosen among His slaves so that people can refer to them
on the commentary and interpretation [of the Qur'an]. Therein
lies their guidance - if they obey God and His Messenger.
As Allah, Glory be to Him, and sublime is His wisdom, wished the
people to submit to the selected ones amongst them, He chose them
and taught them the knowledge of the book so that the leadership
could be facilitated and the affairs of the people organized due
to that. If they were absent from the lives of the people, the
opportunity would be open for (false) claimants and ignorant ones.
Everyone would then follow his vain desires and the matter would
be confusing for the people since everyone could claim to be the
I will prove this view because I am satisfied that the ahl al-bayt are the ahl al-dhikr. I shall pose some questions for which there are no answers for the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a or if there are answers, they are contrived ones, not based on any sound proof acceptable to a researcher. As for their true replies, these are with the pure Imams who have filled the earth with knowledge and cognition, actions and uprightness.