By Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

When I began about this topic, I imagined three clear cut, fast-tracked, and concise essays. Sort of like condensed Reader’s Digest version of things. As I wrote, I felt compelled to go into additional explanations regarding some circumstances so that those unfamiliar with the subject could gain better grasp of things and those familiar with it would have a more sober approach and do not go off on an agonistically and/or antagonistically emotional tangent depending on their overall mindset.

The subject unavoidably contains very critical points that require careful sorting and precautious approach. I could not help but to be quite judicious about the sources I used and the framing of the evidence. Moreover, I kept thinking, where and when would the potential readers of these essays have the opportunity and wherewithal to explore and investigate 11-volume or 15-volume or 23-volume books in Arabic and/or in Farsi in order to extract pertinent historical evidence to support various points raised here. So, I felt obligated to pick and translate at least a few pieces and bring them into the fold.

In that spirit, I kept on writing and I watched the number of “Words” in the lower left hand corner of my computer screen to go up. What?! I have already written three essays and the current one went past 6,000 words and I have not even gone through the essential points about the first Imam?! Eleven more Imams, 12 centuries of Occult by the 12th Imam, significant events during the era of Minor Occult, the era of Major Occult, wars in the name of Islam but to the pockets and palaces of hypocrites, the establishment of the 1st Shi’a state by Safavi Dynasty, and a few centuries of Shi’a Ijtihad are still left to be discussed in order to just have “a brief introduction to the system of governance based on Wilayat Faqih.”

Now for some reality check, please juxtapose the topic of these essays with other contemporary subjects such as Trump’s on-again-off-again tweets, Biden’s Alzheimer, pernicious cocktail drugs fed to unsuspecting patients who may or may not have “the flu” who are with or without symptoms, the 4th industrial revolution with China as its greatest digitized donkey, and Formula 1 style Great Reset with the globe as its personal race track envisioned by a handful of corrupt criminals with capital, power, and media outlets, unelected by and unanswerable to anyone, invested heavily on masks (cue to action) of deceits and ignorance, decommissioning of families and societies codenamed social distancing, and forced injection of vaccines estimated to bring 1.2 trillion dollars annual direct profit and an estimated 9 trillion dollars in indirect profits for a few who the only god they know is themselves; an election that may or may not have been rigged, the US soldiers who may or may not have been evacuated from Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere; classified information that may or may not be declassified, … well, the world of politics is indeed a gift that keeps on giving.

As I have been digging up evidence from the past and keeping an eye on the happenings of the present, I cannot help but to think how the essence and the very nature of conflicts have not changed. Only that the camels have been replaced by supersonic planes, the spears with missiles, and dirhams and dinars with dollars and cents.

The Saker once said, “We are writing for the future.” Years before the revolution when Imam Khomeini had been arrested by the SAVAK and was being transferred from Qom to Tehran, an agent asked him, “With which soldiers do you intent to create a revolution?!” He responded, “My soldiers are still in their cradles.” If I carry a similar optimistic, realistic, and truthful outlook, I must conclude then that the majority of the readers of these essays must still be in their mother’s wombs.

Very well then, so be it. O, Children of Tomorrow! In Part I (See here), Part II (See here), and Part III (See here) of the topic you now see before you, the system of governance in the Islamic Republic of Iran based on the concepts of Imamat and Wilayat in Shi’a Islam, the Wilayat of God and His great prophets according to Quran, and the general and specific concepts of Imamat were respectively discussed in summary. We left the subject with the Hadith Al-Ghadir which is clear and unequivocal public record (both in Shi’a and Sunni sources) of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Allihi Wasallam) transferring the Wilayat and Imamat delegated to him by God to Imam Ali (Allayhu-Salaam) according to Shi’a Muslims.

There is also a consensus among all Shi’a scholars that shortly after that announcement of Al-Ghadir, the following segment in Quran was revealed to the Prophet (SAWAW):

“Today, I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed upon you My Favor and I have approved for you the Islam as a religion.” Chapter 5 (Surah Maidah), of Verse 3, 5:3:40 to 5:3:50 

Wilayat and Imamat of Imam Ali (AS) after the Prophet (SAWAW) and the other Imams as his successors are well-established for the Shi’a (Twelver) and there is a preponderance of solid evidence gathered, preserved, and discussed by many great Muslim Shi’a scholars to that end. Among the notable scholars and works are Sayyed Razi (359 HQ/970 AD), who is well regarded by both the Shi’a and Sunni scholars, and who gathered, compiled, and published the sayings, lectures, and letters by Imam Ali (AS); Sheykh Sadough (306 HQ) and his Al-Imali series; Sheykh Mufid (336 HQ) and his Al-Imali, Tas-hih al-I’tighad, and great many others that I do not aim to catalogue in this essay. I named these few only as a sample reference for those who might be interested to explore and study the subject matter further.

The take away for this essay though is that Imam Ali (AS) being the rightful Imam and Wali after the Prophet (SAWAW) is a fundamental Shi’a belief. We believe the Prophet (SAWAW) by permission and a direct mandate from God Almighty appointed him to that position. As a Muslim, therefore, we must obey the Prophet of God since obeying the Prophet (SAWAW) is also a direct order from God and not doing so is equivalent to refusing to obey God as stated in Quran:

“He who obeys the Messenger then surely he has obeyed Allah, and whoever turns away, then We have not sent you to them as guardian.” Chapter 4 (Surah Nissa), Verse 80.

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not make null and void your deeds.” Chapter 47 (Surah Muhammad, Verse 33.

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, then take it. And whatever he forbids you from it, then refrain. And fear Allah, indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” Chapter 59 (Surah Hashr), Verse 7:24-37.“

Moreover, since we have chosen the Wilayat and Protective Guardianship of God over any and all other guardianships, we reckon God Knows best exactly who should be delegated such guardianship position because He Knows from inner most secrets to outer most manifestations of everything and everyone at all times. Furthermore, Wilayat and Protective Guardianship are not just limited to worldly affairs. The development and preparation of the Ummah’s soul for here and the Hereafter, too, require the most suitable environment, the best and the most selfless teachers, and the most sincere and authentic guides and imams in order for us to thread in the path of material and spiritual excellence.

As far as our relationship with Sunni Muslims is concerned, we regard them as our brothers in faith, believers in Quran and the Prophet (SAWAW). It is our duty and responsibility to live in harmony with them, help them when they are in need, extend them our hand when they have fallen, and protect them when they are wrongfully and unjustly aggressed against. I cannot put it more succinctly than our beloved Sardar Martyr Suleimani who walked the talk. As part of a longer speech he once said,

“Takfir and takfiries are balls of fire in our Sunni brothers’ house and those who created them imagined that with this horror, they could bring the Islamic Republic and the Shi’a to their knees. Today, however, the very sanctity of humanity has been the subject of attack in the world of Sunni more than anywhere else in the hands of takfiri groups. So, is it an adventurism by the Islamic Republic to defend Muslims with its money and lives? Is it a shameful act for the Islamic Republic to stand up to a group that in just one region has traded 2000 young women and girls among themselves and has condemned them to abject miseries? Is it a great fault if the Islamic Republic has stood up against anti-Muslims and has prevented Muslim mosques and sacred places from being destroyed? In which Sunni country did we try to convert our Sunni brothers into Shi’a? On the contrary, we used our own lives as protective shields to defend the Sunnis.”[1]

The above quote is part of a speech by Martyr Soleimani delivered about five years before he was incinerated while he was an invited guest in a Muslim land along with his beloved companions (all Shi’a) in the hands of Muslims’ most despicable enemies and with the help of those who have fashioned themselves as “leaders” of Sunni communities.

Just so that these statements are not misguidedly misunderstood, I must also add that above sincere beliefs and authentic actions are by no means to embolden and invite acts of abuse and aggression against the Shi’a. If anyone (Muslim or non-Muslim) attacks us, it is our absolute duty, responsibility, and inalienable right to defend ourselves by tools and means, at times and places of our choosing, and all within the boundaries defined by God. We prefer peaceful collaborations and brotherly alliance but we are not afraid of getting killed in defending ourselves while teaching some rather difficult lessons to those who have made persecuting the Shi’a their preferred pastime.

Now, as far as the Sunni beliefs regarding the khilafat after the Prophet (SAWAW) is concerned, they could discuss and rationalize among themselves that by Mowla the Prophet (SAWAW) meant friend and buddy and not Wilayat and Immat, or Protective Guardianship per se. They could excuse away the covenants, pledges, and Bey’at (shaking hand of agreement) that were made with Imam Ali (AS) right in front of the Prophet (SAWAW) during the Qhadir Khum event that day (as stated in Part III of the essay) as nothing but congratulatory gestures towards Ali Ibn Abitalib for being singled out and recognized by the Prophet of God (SAWAW) just as a friend, a buddy, and a kin. They could destroy and burn records from witnesses to those handshakes of Bay’at with Imam Ali (AS) by hundreds of people including Omar Ibn Khattab himself who later became part of the 2+1 coalition (See the previous essay). They could write off, ignore, and alternatively interpret so many of the Prophet’s verbal and non-verbal cues and Verses of Quran with respect to Imam Ali (AS) and his position as the rightful successor to the Prophet (SAWAW). They could ignore or alternatively frame the Hadith al-Thaqalayn[2], regarding the two weighty invaluable things, God’s Book and the Prophet’s ‘Itrat, or the Pure Household, that were left by the Prophet (SAWAW) in order for the Ummah to grab onto the two together so that they may not go astray. Yes, they could do, and have done, all that and more.

However, there will come a time that all of us will stand before God in the Day of Judgment and we must answer for “an atom’s weight of our good deeds” and “an atom’s weight of our bad deeds[3]. That is the time that all Ummahs (communities of people) are gathered and questioned with their respective imams.[4] Our questioning, too, will be done in front of Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) and he, too, was a witness at Ghadir Khum and he will testify about the truth.

Meanwhile at this time and on this earth and for this essay, I think it might be more expeditious to approach the subject from a more practical and materially accessible dimension while we also wait for the Day of Judgment. Given that the 1st through the 3rd khalifahs ruled for over 25 years and Imam Ali (AS) ruled for 5 years, each left behind a report card of his deeds and conducts (administration-wise) to which we could refer. I think it is therefore more instructive and informative to compare and contrast sample report cards of the three khalifahs and Imam Ali (AS) and offer them to Quran for arbitration. Let us see if we could use evidence, reason, and fair judgment to determine which of the four showed definitive signs of a high quality Protective Guardian toward A’Naas, or the people and the general public, and the Muslim believers in particular with respect to knowledge, wisdom, and performance within the boundaries set by Quran. This at least gives us some sense of things centuries later and informs us of how we, the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran have envisioned our system of governance under the Protective Guardianship of Wilayat Faqih, which has been the main goal of this essay series.

Sample Administrative Report Cards from the 3 Khalifahs

Following the passing of the Prophet (SAWAW), Abu Bakr acquired the position of the 1st khalifah for approximately 2 years and 3 months from 11 HQ till 13 HQ when he passed away at the age of 63. Before death, Abu Bakr appointed Omar Ibn Khattab as his successor and the 2nd khalifah in his will. Omar was in that position for a period of 10 years from 13 HQ to 23 HQ when he was killed in the hands of a man by the name of Firouz Nahavandi, also known as Abu Lo’Lo’, who had been taken as a prisoner of war in an Arab attack on Iran. While injured with no hope to recover, Omar asked a council to be formed consisting of following 6 people: Othman Ibn Affan, Abdurrahman Ibn Awf, Zubair Ibn Awam, Talhat Ibn Ubaydullah, Sa’ad Ibn Waghas, and Ali Ibn Abitalib. The council members were to discuss and choose from among themselves a successor for the khalifah under very specific conditions. The conditions were set such that for Othman to have been picked was a foregone conclusion. Details of this process although extremely informative and interesting will not be discussed here.

The procedure to obtain Bay’at (or obtaining handshake of agreement and consent) from those who opposed Abu Bakr’s khilafat was a hybrid of bribes, swords, and threats. Some were addressed in Part III of the essay. There were a few other critical moves, events, and policies that helped solidify the positions of the 3 khalifahs. I have chosen a few that I think have had had the highest impact to discuss here.

1.Economic Sanction and Financial Blockade. Abu Bakr made a very serious claim that he himself had heard from the Prophet (SAWAW) that “Prophets of God leave nothing to be inherited”[4]. Referencing that claim alone, he confiscated any liquid and non-liquid material assets that should have rightfully gone to Fatimah Zahra’s (Salamullah Alayha), the Prophet’s (SAWAW) daughter and his only child. Therefore, anything that she would have lawfully and legally (based on shari’a) inherited was expropriated.

That “Saying” attributed to the Prophet (SAWAW) is categorically rejected by the Pure Household of the Prophet and all Shi’a scholars. Further, it is argued by the scholars that: a) That statement surfaced suddenly right after the passing of the Prophet and all corroborating evidence that would have supported that hadith surfaced after the seizure had taken place (sort of like a post hoc public relation and crisis communication); b) Those sayings and hadith from the Prophet began to come to light by the very same people who had favorable stance regarding the 1st khalifah’s position; and c) Any hadith that is attributed to the Pure Household of the Prophet and Imam Ali (AS) corroborating that claim is considered false and it is not in agreement with even a single solid and reliable position of the members of the Pure Household of the Prophet or well-established Shi’a thinkers and scholars.

In addition, that statement which was attributed to the Prophet (SAWAW) stands in direct opposition to the teachings of Quran. Here, I would like to bring a segment that I have translated from Balaqat al-Nisa[5], written by Ibn Tayfur who is a Sunni historian and scholar. It is from the text the very last public speech of Fatimah Zahra (SA) in a mosque before a crowd. The speech is known as Khutbah Fadakiah and within it, Fatimah Zahra (SA) categorically rejects this wrongful move and offers evidence from Quran in support of her assertion:

“O, Muslims! Is it just and fair that they take from me my inheritance that has come to me from my father? O, you, the Son of Abi-Quhafih! [Refers to Abu Bakr] Is it in the Book of God that you inherit from your father but I should be deprived of such inheritance? Indeed this is an ugly innovation you have brought forth. Are you knowingly turning your backs to the Book of God and throwing It behind you? Doesn’t Quran say, Solomon inherits from David?[6] About the news of Zakariya when he said, ‘God, do grant me a child so that he inherits from me and the Household of Ya’ghoub’[7]? And Quran clearly states that ‘blood kin have rights [to inheritance]’[8] more than others. And also states, ‘Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male what is equal to the share [in inheritance] of two females.’[9] It also says, ‘It is prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he is leaving any material assets then [he should make] a will for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable. This is a duty upon the righteous.’[10]

“Do you reckon that there was nothing for me and I have no share of my father’s inheritance? Did God reveal a verse to you that excluded my father? Or, are you suggesting [a provision] that the adherents to two different religions do not inherit from one another?! Do you consider me and my father not having the same religion?! Or, are you presuming yourself to be more knowledgeable about the generalities and specifics of Quran than my father and my cousin [refers to Ali Ibn Abitalib and her husband]?! If that is your belief, then this is you and this is this camel [refers to position of khaifat and control of Baytul-Mal] that has been bridled and ready for a ride. Take it and leave. I shall meet you in the Day of Resurrection.”

Three essential take-away points in the above piece from Fatimah Zahra’s (SA) speech are: 1) The Prophet of God never deviated from what God ordered in Quran and did not make an exception for himself. 2) Attributing any hadith to the Prophet (SAWAW) that goes against the teaching of Quran is an “innovation” or bid’at. 3) Depriving her of her inheritance was an injustice against her and she will clear the record in the Day of Resurrection. However, the real reasons behind this move, as she diagnosed, were:

“And when God chose for His Prophet the permanent abode of the prophets and the chosen [i.e. passed away], the signs of hypocrisy appeared in you and the religion’s attire became outmoded; the silence of those who had gone astray broke; and the depravity acquired value and status. The overindulged camel of the clan of falsehood began to make sounds and make her way into your homes. And Satan reared its head from its hiding place and called you up. It found you eager to accept its invitation and ripe to be deceived. Then, it asked you to rise up and observed how easily you do this. It provoked you to anger and observed how you embrace your wrath. Then, you marked the camels that belonged to others as yours. The water that was not your share, you acquired as your own. This was while not much time had passed. The wound was still fresh and the injury had not yet been healed and the Prophet had not yet been entrusted to the grave. You uttered excuses that you fear fitna [sedition]. But beware! You are NOW solidly nested inside a great fitna. And indeed the hell fire has encircled the non-believers!

This was so unexpected of you. How did you do this while God’s Book is right before you? Its decrees are quite clear; Its commands are transparent; and Its Signs for guidance are quite evident. That which is forbidden is clear and Its requirements are apparent. But you threw It behind you. Do you wish to slight It? Are you judging based on that which is other than Quran? This is for certain a losing trade and if anyone is after something other than Quran here, it would not be accepted and he will be among the losers. Then, you could not even wait so that this scattered heart to calm down so that it is easier to guide it. So, you set ablaze the fires and added more fuels to magnify the flames. To respond to Satan’s call and to extinguish the bright light of God and to eradicate the fine Sunnah [Traditions] of the Prophet, you were quite ready. Under the pretense that you are removing the froth from the milk, you sneakily drank the milk itself. And as for the Prophet’s Household and his children, you hid yourselves behind the hills and took ambush behind the trees and ducked and walked. And to all these which are like sharp swords and pointed spears thrust into our bellies, we ought to be patient and persevere.”[11]

The seriousness of the address and the gravity of the situation could be understood well when the personality and the position of the Fatimah Zahra (SA) are also realized not just as a Prophet’s daughter but as a “Purified” [by God] and infallible Muslim Faqih and as someone who had fully melted in Quran all aspects of her life. As a Hafiz, or the memorizer of Quran, and a practitioner of Quran, her taqwa, or being mindful of God’s boundaries, and piety were unmatched except by that of her spouse, Imam Ali (AS). Her honesty and purity are examples for all believers, and her care and compassion for the poor, the dispossessed, and the oppressed were fully evident and acknowledged by friends and foes. She was someone about whom Umm u-Salamah said (again I quote from Sunni sources),

“Umm u-Salamah says, ‘Indeed, Allah Wills to remove from you the impurity, O, People of the Household! And to purify you with thorough purification,’[12] was revealed in my house. Afterwards, the Prophet of God sent to bring Fatimah and Ali and Hasan and Hussain and said, ‘These are my Household.’ I asked, ‘O, the Messenger of Allah! Am I not part of your household?’ And he said, ‘You are of me and a just path but they are my Household (Ahlul-Bayt).’”[13]

In addition to seizing Fatimah Zahra’s (SA) inheritance, Abu Bakr also imposed an economic blockade on khums (one fifth of the annual surplus of the believers’ lawful earnings, gifts, spoils of wars, etc.) that must go to Ahl ul-Bayt , or the Pure Household of the Prophet (SAWAW), to be used in the path of God and for specific purposes in Islam. As a clarification again, Ahl ul-Bayt includes Fatimah Zahra (SA), the Prophet’s (SAWAW) daughter and her spouse Imam Ali (AS) and Hasan (AS) and Hussain (AS), the Prophet’s grandsons and the 2nd and the 3rd in the line of Imamat. They are purified and infallible (or Ma’soum) of any sin and the rightful successor of the Prophet (SAWAW) according to Shi’a Muslims.

The seizure of the inheritance and the blockade of khums were, without a doubt, two significant actions taken by the 1st khalifah that constitute an extremely effective tactical move from a practical aspect (from a purely materialistic perspective, of course). It gave the khalifah immediate access to major funds and material resources and at the same time it deprived Imam Ali (AS), the Ahl ul-Bayt, and those who supported them of an important resource to be used to organize and take constructive steps in preventing a deviation and division.

2. Censorship and Information and Communication Control

Another critical move relates to severe restrictions that were placed on the companions of the Prophet and the observers regarding narration and writing of hadith from the Prophet (SAWAW). Existing records were burnt en masse. During the reign of the 1st khalifah writing of hadith from the Prophet (SAWAW) became forbidden and written records of hadith were collected, confiscated, and burnt (imagine severe restrictions on all social media accounts, blogs, website and purging all data related to a particular person). According to Sunni sources (see the image below) as narrated from the 1st khalifah’s daughter who had been married to the Prophet, just in one night his father collected and burned 500 hadith from the Prophet (SAWAW).[14]

During the 2nd khalifah’s reign the previous censorship and record destruction were maintained and additional restrictions were imposed. For example, travel by the companions of the Prophet (SAWAW) from Medina without specific permits from the khalifah became forbidden. Those who would be permitted to leave were given strict warning not to narrate any hadith about the Prophet’s (SAWAW) life and Sayings to the people in other areas who had just become Muslims and were eager to know about the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWAW).[14]

The reason given by the khalifahs was that “Quran by itself is enough for us”[15] and there is no need for knowing the Prophet’s (SAWAW) sayings and conduct since it might lead to misinterpretation and division[16]. Shi’a categorically rejects these notions and believes that Prophet’s (SAWAW) life, sayings, and tradition (or Sunnah of the Prophet) are the actualization of the very Word of God in Quran, the epitome of Quran, the praxis of Quran. If you want to know how something is really done, you look at the one who is the expert knower and doer of that thing. That is a no brainer.

As far as the fear for misinterpretation of the Prophet’s sayings is concerned, that, too, is a baseless claim. Firstly, one does not collect and destroy real gold from the market for the fear that the fake ones might be produced and people might be deceived by fakery. Secondly, were the khalifahs more concerned than God? Even with the verses of Quran, God clearly states that some Verses are designed to be clear-cut and solidly obvious and some Verses are “mutashabihat,” that is, they are allegorical and could be interpreted in different ways. But only those who are perverse in their hearts are misled by mutashabihat:

“[God] is He Who has sent down to you [the Prophet] the Book. In it, there are Verses that are with established meaning. Those are the foundation of the Book. Others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part that is allegorical. They seek discord and search for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord.’ And no one will grasp the Message except those who possess wisdom/understanding/sound judgment.” Quran, Chapter 3 (Al-Imran), Verse 7.

When even with the verses of Quran ambiguity is used as a test to expose the diseases of heart, were the khalifahs seeking to impose a major disambiguation about the life and the sayings of the Prophet (SAWAW) by completely erasing and eradicating them from the pages of history?! Could one Sunni scholar with wisdom and sound judgment justify this?

As far as the fear of division among the ummah is concerned, well, that ship sailed from Saqifah Bani-Sa’idah while the Prophet (SAWAW) had not yet been put into grave. It is rather ironic that a major segment of Muslim Ummah has chosen the title Sunni [which means the followers of the tradition of the Prophet (SAWAW)] for itself while in reality something entirely contradictory has happened. A fair and impartial judgment reveals that a true Shi’a is in fact the real Sunni in theory and in practice.

The practice of censorship of documenting hadith from the Prophet (SAWAW) continued for nearly 90 years until the time of Omar Ibn Abdulaziz, known as Omar II (101 HQ) among the Sunni. The Shi’a, due to the blessings of the existence of Imams and the Pure Household of the Prophet, has had access to much richer sources in terms of Hadith of the Prophet (SAWAW).

It is important to note that while almost all companions of the Prophet (SAWAW) were forbidden to narrate any hadith regarding the sayings and conduct of the Prophet, specific people appear to have been quite free to narrate hadith. The 1st khalifah, for example, felt free to quote the Prophet regarding not leaving any inheritance (see above). The 1st khalifah’s daughter, Aisha, who was also the Prophet’s wife, and the 2nd khalifah’s son, Abdullah Ibn Omar, were also among the very select few who produced hadith in opportune moments favorable to the positions of the three khalifahs, their select close relatives and allies. I recommend two books in particular regarding this subject by late Allahmeh Murteza Askari titled Al-Quran Al-Karim wa Riwayat al-Madrisatain (Blessed Quran and the Narrations from the Two Schools) and The Role of Aisha in the History of Islam for those who might be interested to study further.

3. Industrial Hadith Production due to Information Vacuum

When there is real need for information, one should never leave an information vacuum for any extended period of time. In the absence of truthful information, crapshoot happens. Lies, fabrications, and disinformation fill the gap and opportunist predators in ambushes rear their ugly heads. The most significant fake hadith production occurred during the 3rd khalifah, Othman, because he was quite busy with material self-indulgences. Two groups in particular found their moments to have arrived: a) Mu’aviah Ibn Sufian, the most conniving, corrupt, and ambitious person who saw a sizable state within his reach, and his ardent admirers. He later became the founder of Bani Umayyah dynasty. b) A group of Jews who were incognito but had professed to be Muslims. Notable among them were Ka’ab ul-Ahbar, Wahab Ibn Mibah, and Abdullah Ibn Salam who infiltrated into the ranks and files of the ruling ‘elites’ and produced a series of fabricated narrations known by the Shi’a as Israelites.

While many of the closest allies of the Prophet (SAWAW) were strictly forbidden to narrate hadith from the Prophet, the aforementioned hidden-Jews were given formal platforms in the mosque to narrate hadith, tell stories, and provide their interpretation of Quran. I would like to bring a quote from Ayatullah Khamenei from a Friday sermon delivered on 18th of Ordibehesht, 1377 [May 8, 1998], in which he references one of those individuals and critiques the situation:

 “It is quite natural that when there is no justice, when there is no servitude to God, the society becomes hollowed out. It is then that the minds, too, become corrupt. That is, when in a society the issue of collecting wealth and gravitation toward materialism and lust after worldly desires reaches to this point, then in such society, the person who narrates and speaks for people about spirituality and piety is someone like ‘Ka’ab ul-Ahbar,’ a neo Muslim Jew who has not even seen the Prophet! He did not become Muslim during the time of the Prophet. He did not become Muslim during the time of Abu Bakr. He became Muslim at the time of Omar and passed away at the time of Othman! Some pronounce it as ‘Ka’ab ul-Akhbar’ which is incorrect. ‘Ka’ab ul-Ahbar’ is correct. Ahbar the plural form of ‘habar’ which means a learned Jew. This Ka’ab, he was a significant Jewish figure who came and became Muslim. Then he began to speak about decrees and issues in Islam!”[17]

Ayatullah Khamenei points to the fact that someone who had never seen the Prophet (SAWAW) was allowed (by the khalifahs) to narrate from the Prophet (SAWAW) and fabricate stories and lectures about the principles and key points of the religion to Muslims. At the same time, the most notable, knowledgeable, and pure people were silenced.

4. Wars to Spread the Words of God

During the time of the three khalifahs, a rapid territorial expansion all under the rubric of spreading the Word of God took place. While during the time of the Prophet (SAWAW) the Muslim territory was well within the boundaries of the Arabian Peninsula (emerald green in the map[18] below), during the three khalifahs it expanded as far north as the Caucasus, eastward to Afghanistan and Central Asia, and westward to North Africa, Tripoli, and beyond. Reinforcement and expansion of areas occurred during the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd khalifahs as illustrated in lime green, burnt umber, and light bronze respectively in the map below. The areas colored in zinc yellow were under the Byzantine rule.

What is the most disturbing is that the more territories were captured and the more abundant the spoils of wars became, the more favorable and solid the positions and status of the three khalifahs became among the general public and other figures surrounding the khalifahs. At the same time, given that Imam Ali (AS) refused to participate in any of these wars himself and did not allow Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) to enlist, the Ahlul-Bayt became increasingly isolated. Although some Sunni sources claim the participation by Hassan Ibn Ali and Hussain Ibn Ali in some of these wars, there is not single solid evidence in Shi’s sources to corroborate such claims. The authenticity of such sources and the motivation for making such false statements are suspect.

Moreover, according to Shi’a, a non-defensive Jihad war is legitimate only if it occurs by permission and with a direct order from a Prophet of God or an Infallible Imam since the main goals are the establishment of justice (qist) and creation of proper space for authentic and true growth and development of human spirit in the service of God. Wars of this quality are not to have geographic expansion, fattening up Baytul-Mal, enslavement of humans for cheap labor, and so on. Shi’a also believes that only a Prophet of God and/or an infallible Imam is pious, pure, spiritually resilient and learned enough and utterly fearful of God’s boundaries without waiver to make a critical decision such as that and see that the main goals, as stated above, are fulfilled. A quote from Imam Ali (AS) could not make is any more clear:

 “A Muslim would not exit for a jihad war on the order of the one whose order is not free from aberrations/faults and does not execute God’s strict orders about the spoils of war. Should he do so and get killed, he is considered someone who has aided and abetted with our enemy in imprisoning justice and ruining/destroying our blood. His death is considered a Jahilliah [Ignorance] death.”[19]

That there was no permission by Imam Ali (AS) for these wars during the 3 khalifah is fully accepted by most Shi’a scholars. However, there are some scholars who speculate that Imam Ali (AS) might have tacitly consented to them since there is no record that he clearly and overtly objected to those wars. Also, at two points one of the khalifahs had sought council from Imam Ali (AS) and he provided that. Imam Khomeini is among the Shi’a faqihs who dismisses that reasoning. I translate a specific segment from his Kitab al-Bay’e that clearly demonstrates his position:

 “About the lands and about the captured territories, too, they have been captured without the Imam’s Idn [permission]. What is certain is that there were conquests without the Imam’s permission. And now we come and use deductive logic to infer that perhaps there some sort of permission by the Imam is of no value. From what we explained, it is quite clear that the conquests were neither with the Imam’s order, nor with his permission, nor with his consent. Imam Hassan decidedly had no presence in any of those conquests. And even if Ammar were present in them, that is not an evidence of consent by the Imam and his allies.”[20]

Regarding the main goals of establishing justice (qist) and creating space to foster authentic and true growth and development of human spirit in the service of God, well, who exactly were the people to do that? The very same people who unjustly isolated the Pure Household of the Prophet (SAWAW) and appropriated their rights? Or, those who engaged in a wholesale destruction and eradication of signs, sayings, and tradition of the Prophet (SAWAW)?

There was about 5-year respite with respect to these wars during the khilaft of Imam Ali (AS). We will pick up the rest of the discussion in the next installment, God Willing.


[1] Online Newspaper the World of Economic [Donya-ye Eghtesad]. “Sardar Qasim Soleimani: Our Lives have always been a protective shield for the Sunnis.” 24th of Isfand, 1394, 8:14 am. News Number: 3029035.

[2] Hadith Al-Thaqalayn in Ershadul-Qulub, Vol. 1, Page 131. Available Online at:

[3] Quran, Chapter 99 (I-Zalzalah), Verses 7-8: “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it. And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”

[4] Muslim Ibn al-Hijaj Abulhasan al-Qhashiri al-Nisabouri. Aljami’al-Sahih [Sahih Muslim], Hadith #3302, Page 689-690 in digital version (pdf),

[5] Abulfadzl Ahmad Ibn Abi-Tahir Tayfur (1378 HS). Balaqat al-Nisa , Digital Books, Al-Maktabah Al-Haydariah. ISBN:9646390447.

[6] Quran, Chapter 27 (I-Naml, or The Ants), Verse 16:1-16:3. “And Solomon inherited from Dawood.”

[7] Quran, Chapter 19 (Maryam), Verse 5:9-5:13 & Verse 6:1-6:5. “So, give me from Yourself an heir. Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob.”

[8] Quran, Chapter 17 (I-Isra), Verse 26:1 – 26:3. “And give the near blood kin his due right.”

[9] Quran, Chapter 4 (I-Nisa), Verse 11:1 – 11:8. “Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male what is equal to the share [in inheritance] of two females.”

[10] Quran, Chapter 2 (Al-Baqara), Verse 180. “It is prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he leaves any wealth then [he should make] a will for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable. This is a duty upon the righteous.”

[11] Fatimah Zahra’s (SA) Fadakiah Khutbah with a translation by Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi. Ganjineh Ma’arif. Available online at

[12] Quran, Chapter 33 (I-Ahzab), Verse 33:16 – 33:25. “Allah Intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.”

[13] Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Hakim Nishabouri (1411 HQ). Al-Mustadrak Alaa Sahihain, Vol. 2, Page 451, Hadith #: 3558.

[14] Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad Ibn Othman Zahabi (Ed. 1419 HQ). Kitab Tazkirat ul-Huffaz. Vol. 1, Pages 11-12. Darul-Kutub ul-Ilmmiah Publishing, Beirut, Lebanon.

[15] Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Ismail Bukhari (194-256 HQ). “Al-Jamia’ Al-Sahih.” Segment 1, Page 194, Hadith #111; Segment 13, Page 344, Hadith #4079; Segment 17, Page 417, Hadith #5237.

[16] Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad Ibn Othman Zahabi (Ed. 1419 HQ). Kitab Tazkirat ul-Huffaz. Vol. 1, Page 3. Darul-Kutub ul-Ilmmiah Publishing, Beirut, Lebanon.

[17] Sayyed Ali Khamenei. Friday Sermon [1377/2/18 or on May 8, 1998]. Titled “Corruption of Perceptions/Minds.” Available online at:

[18] The original map was extracted from the website of Tabyin Strategic Think Tank. An article by Salami-Pourian MM titled, “A reflection on the concept of ‘territory’ from the point of view of modern Islamic civilization and a glance at the territorial expansion in early years of Islam.” Available online at:

[19] Sheykh Sadouq. Illal ul-Sharay’e, Vol. 2, Page 464; Wasa’ilu-Shi’a, Vol. 15, Page 49; Bihar ul-Anwar, Vol. 97, Page 21. Available online at:

[20] Sayyed Ruhullah Mousavi Khomeini. Kitab Al-Bay’e, Vol. 3, Pages 70-75. Institute for Organization and Publication of Works by Imam Khomeini.

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA