Related article: The Significance of the School of Ahlul-Bayt (1)
Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah who was one of the outstanding Sunni contemporary Scholars said: “The Muslim Scholars of various Islamic Schools never agreed unanimously on a matter as much as they agree on the knowledge of Imam Ja’far and his virtue. The Sunni Imams who lived during his time were his students. Malik was one of them and those who were as contemporary as Malik such as Sufyan al-Thouri and many others. Abu Hanifa also was his student in spite of their being close in age, and he considered Imam Ja’far the most knowledgeable in the Muslim World.”(1) The ties of unity and fraternity can be strengthened and disagreement ended if all Muslims agree that to follow the Ahlul-Bayt is a must.
In fact many grand Sunni scholars have acknowledged the Shia school as one of the richest Islamic schools for the very reason that the knowledge of the Shia school of thought is derived from the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) whose supreme knowledge and purity are confirmed in Quran. These Sunni scholars have even issued Fatwa that the Sunnis are allowed to follow the Twelver Shi’ite Jurisprudence. Among these grand scholars are Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, the head of al-Azhar University (in 1950’s and 60’s). Moreover, disagreement between the various schools of Sunni thought is by no means less than the lack of conformity between the Shia and the Sunnis. A large number of writings of scholars of both sides will bear this out. Since based on the tradition of Two Weighty things Ahlul-Bayt carry as much weight in the eyes of Allah as the Holy Quran, the former have the same qualities as the latter.
Just as the Quran is true from beginning to end without any shadow of doubt, and just as it is incumbent upon every Muslims to obey its commandments, so are Ahlul-Bayt perfect and sincere guides whose commands must be followed by all. Therefore there can be no excuse to escape from accepting their leadership and following their creed and their faith. The Muslims are bound by these sayings of the Holy Prophet to follow them and no one else. Just as it is impossible for any Muslims to turn away from the Holy Quran or to adopt any set of rules which is at variance with it, so when the Ahlul-Bayt have been unequivocally described as equal in weight and importance to the Holy Quran, the same attitude has to be adopted with regard to their orders, and it cannot be permissible to turn away from them in order to follow any other persons.After mentioning the tradition of Two Weighty Things, Ibn Hajar holds that: “These words show that those members of the Ahlul-Bayt who posed these distinctions were superior to all the people.”(2)
The Messenger of Allah said: “Whosoever wishes to live and die like me and enter that heaven (after death), which my lord has promised me, namely, the everlasting heaven should acknowledge Ali (AS) as his patron after me, and after him he should acknowledge the sons of Ali, because they are the people who will never leave you outside the door of guidance nor will they let you enter the door of misguidance.”(3)
Again the significance of leadership of Ahlul-Bayt has been confirmed by the following beautiful analogy of the messenger of Allah: The Messenger of Allah said: “Regard the Ahlul-Bayt among you as the head to the body, or the eyes to the face, for the face is only guided by the eyes.”(4)
Also: The Messenger of Allah said: “My Ahlul-Bayt are the protected place of refuge about the dispute in religion.”(5) These traditions, therefore, leave no room for any doubt. There can be no other way except to follow the Ahlul-Bayt and give up all opposition to them. The Messenger of Allah said: “Acknowledgment of Aale-Muhammad (the family of Muhammad) means salvation from the fire, and love for them is a passport for crossing the bridge of the Siraat, and obedience to them is a protection from divine wrath.”(6)
Abdullah Ibn Hantab related: The Messenger of Allah addressed us at Juhfa saying: “Do I not have authority over you more than yourselves?” They all said, “Yes of course.” Then he said: “I shall hold you answerable for two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants.” Therefore the reason we have adopted the faith of the Ahlul-Bayt to the exclusion of all others is that Allah himself has given preference to them only. It is sufficient to quote the poem of al-Shafi’i (one of the Sunni Imams) about Ahlul-Bayt which goes as follows: Members of the House of the Prophet, your love is a Divine duty on mankind. God revealed it in His Quran.
It is enough among your great privileges that whoever does not bless you, his prayer is void. If the love of the members of the House of the Prophet is Rafdh (rejection), let mankind and the Jinns testify that I am a Rafidhi (rejector). The above poem of Shafi’i are too well known among the Arabic speaking people to require any reference. But for the benefit of those who insist on some reference.(7)
Brother/Sister in our prayers, and I am sure that in your prayers also, we say: “I declare that Muhammad is the servant of God and His Messenger. O Lord, send Your blessings upon Muhammad and his family”.
1. Sunni reference:
Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah in his book “al-Imam al-Sadiq”, p66
2. Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p136
3. Sunni references:
Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p155, Tradition #2578
Also abridged Kanz al-Ummal on the margin of Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal v5, p32
4. Sunni reference:
al-Sharaf al-Mua’abbad, by Shaikh Yusuf al-Nabahani, p31, by more than one authority
5. (Mustadrak Hakim)
6. Sunni references:
Kitab al-Shafa, by Qadhi ‘Ayadh, published in 1328 AH, v2, p40
Yanabi al-Mawaddah, al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, section 65, p370
7. Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, v27, p166, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran. And (al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p88, in connection with the verse 33:33 of Quran).