1. Regarding his theory of nass 5appointment of the next imam by the previous--We say that the abundance of imams and Shiisms that occured during the formative perid would testify to the fact that there was no clarity regarding individual appointment. The fact the ismailis exist shows that there was no clear idea regading the so called "appointment" by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, alayhi as salam! The 12ers come from a privelege position because out of all of the imami shiisms that existed they and the ismailis are the only surviving ones! There were hundreds of shiisms!
They say that the reason why these other shiisms emerged was because of the greed and avarice of pretenders amongst the imam's families, howeve, the fact that the imamis narrate that people would write to their imams asking who was the next, indicates that the issue wasnt as explicit as they make it out to be!
Strange argument for someone claiming to be a Shi`a to make. It also demonstrate a pretty poor grasp on history. The Isma`ilis don’t actually show up until rather later after the Imamate of Imam Sadiq عليه السلام. What seems probable is that in fact they were descended from the heretical Khattabiyya sect. Yes, there were in fact disputes over the successors of the Imams at times, but by and large we find that those in dispute were opportunists on the peripheral, and not amongst those who in fact were the close followers of the Imams and had learned from them in person. He’s making it out like it’s just some big accident of history that all of these other minor sects died out, when the reason they died out is because they were heretical offshoots from the mainstream line of Imamis, or had no connection to it in the first place. Once their pretenders died off, their sects tended to die not long after them. The same certainly cannot be said from the mainstream Imami line.
It is for this reason that we say that the imamate is a public affair that the imam must make known! Otherwise, people are not obligated to follow him! If he was some hidden personality, he would only be known to a selected few not everyone! Similarly, if the Prophet (pbuhahp) only relegated his risala to a selected few, it would not have been obligatory for other than these to follow him!
The nass to the next Imam though often did have to be kept a protected secret, revealed only to trusted people. You have to realize though that had they done otherwise, and done like Zaydis loudly claiming to be Imams, then chances are they’d have ended up as killed as the leaders of many of those failed Zaydi rebellions were. You might think the Zaydi way was somehow more courageous, but what’s better, to have the line be broken and all their knowledge lost, or to be tactful about it, preserving the teachings of the religion for generations to come. The fact that there’s so little of the hadiths that the Zaydis have preserved in comparison to the Imamis should tell us which was the wiser approach. Also keep in mind the Imams knew that the establishment of their governance was not going to happen then, but had to await the rising of their Qa’im عليه السلام. So, each Imam did what was best for the time they lived in. One’s jihad is not always about killing people…
2. Regarding the qualities of the imams--One would not argue that many of these men were very knowledgeable and virtuous. Indeed, these are amongst the qualifications of an imam. However, another qualification is that the imam has the ability to call to himself and establish justice. If he is not able to do so, an important qualification is neglected. Therefore, his imamate would be invalid.
We respect Imams Zayn alAbideen, al-Baaqir, as-Saadiq, etc as imams of knowledge. We have hadiths from them as well as juristic decisions! However, we do not see them as imams in the total sense because they were not able to manifest an open rebellion against their oppressors. Also, they did not manifest their imamate to all! If this is not the case, then people are not obligated to follow them as imams.
Again, this sounds an awful lot like what a Sunni would say. “Your Imams weren’t really Imams since they didn’t rise up with the sword (i.e. kill and conquer a bunch of people) and establishing their rule.” Our belief though is that religion is much more than only that. Imamate isn’t all about power and politics, it’s the guarding and teaching of the pure religion of Islam, the continuing presence of divine guidance on Earth.
3. Regarding Zaydi dynasties--they made mistakes however 'isma is not a qualification for imamate. If that was the case, then why wasnt Talut (Saul) infallible? Also, judging the Zaydi imamate as centuries of infighting and rebellion would be a gross misrepresentation of the imamate!
Take a look at the quotes I mentioned about how the Zaydi claimants went about it in Iran…
4. Regarding their knowledge--since this is a qualification of the imamate, it goes without saying that they possesed knowledge. As a matter of fact, one of our imams, Imam al-Qasim bin Ibrahim bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Hassan bin al-Hassan bin Ali, alayhim as salaam, produced immense literary output. In his works he dealt with theology, fiqh, liguistics, tafsir, purification of the soul, and refutations of atheists, qadarites, rafidites, etc; and the majority of which are all composed in rhyming poetry!
Yes, al-Qasim did have quite an extensive output. But quantity certainly doesn’t mean quality as you know. I was reading his refutation against the “Rawafid” (i.e. us) and I was struck by how much of a bitter jealous man he came across as and how petty his arguments seemed. I was actually expecting he’d have made somewhat more “better” arguments than that. One other point I'm curious about al-Qasim. No doubt he was a Zaydi, but did he ever claim his own Imamate? If not, why do they consider him an Imam?
5. Regarding our hadith literature--We have the Musnad Zayd, Amali Ahmed bin Isa, Ahkam al-Halal wa Haram, Usul al-Ahkam, Jami al-Kafi, Sahifa of Ali bin Musa ar-Rida, and others just to name a few. Not to mention that many of our imams authored books of hadiths that they heard from their blessed anscestors!
We have some hadith books with Sunni narrations however, their purpose is to prove our position to Sunnis using their own sources! Remember, our imams ruled over the Sunnis in history.
Heh, I find it ironic he cited them as having the Sahifa of `Ali b. Musa ar-Rida عليه السلام, since he’s our eighth Imam (whom they reject as such). What they lack though is the extensive amount of other hadiths he spoke, such as those found in the `Uyun Akhbar ar-Rida عليه السلام. And really what he listed doesn’t actually amount to a lot when you look at it, certainly not when you compare it to what has come down through the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt.
6. Regarding the authenticity of Mujmu Zayd--Its authenticity is established by the consensus of the Ahl al-Bayt. This is no less authentic to us than al-Bihar and such would be to the 12ers!
He must mean the consensus of Zaydis… not the consensus of the Ahl al-Bayt. But even that is a strange claim as they themselves will go against the fiqh positions found in this book. This book has only come down through a single narrator, Abu Khalid `Amr b. Khalid, who was considered to be fabricator and liar. If Zayd really had narrated such a book, which would have been quite important indeed, why then would it have only come down through this single, highly questionable, source? Internally also it demonstrates signs of its being a forgery. I actually asked Wilferd Madelung about this (and you might know he’s about the foremost authority on Zaydism in western academia, having written the definitive work on al-Qasim b. Ibrahim ar-Rassi) and he confirmed to me that he thinks it to be a forgery from Abu Khalid. He said it represents Kufan legal doctrine, and its hardly reasonable to assume Zayd himself did so.
As to comparing it to Bihar and saying "no less authentic to us than al-Bihar and such would be to the 12ers"... that just really demonstrates he doesn't know much about our sect and its literature.
7. Regarding the similarity between the Mu'tazilites and the Zaydis--we are no more similar to them than the 12ers! Remember, the Mu'tazilites used to attend Zaydi study circles! They then rationalized much of the doctrines and formulated their own school.
Quite the opposite, in fact it was the Zaydis studying in Baghdad under such Mu`tazili scholars as Qadi `Abd al-Jabbar who eventually imported its teachings into their madhhab, though initially there was some resistance to this in Yemen leading to a split between those who accepted it and those who didn’t. To claim this is the same as the Imami situation is ridiculous. I mean for goodness sake, the Zaydis went so far as adopting the Mu`tazili usool al-khamsa as being their own beliefs. Mu`tazilism basically died out in the rest of the Muslim world, _except_ for amongst the Zaydis who preserved their works and continued to comment on them. I even have a copy of one of their Imams books on this, Kitab Tabaqat al-Mu`tazila of Ahmad b. Yahya b. al-Murtada that lists the generations of Mu`tazili scholars.
8. Regarding fiqh issues--We wash our feet because of authentic narrations on the authority of Imam Zayd, alayhi as salaam. Therefore, our opinion is attributed to the Ahl alBayt. Similarly, we prohibit mu'ta marriage because of narrations on the authorities of Ahl alBayt!
It would be incorrect to assume that these doctrines are exclusively Sunnite. This is because, the Ismailis similarly prohibit mu'ta and early in their history they were divided whether to wash or wipe! Also a non-Sunni, non-Shiite group called the Ibadis wash the feet and prohibit mu'ta!
He’s relying on a narration from the above book that, like I said, is likely forged, ignoring the overwhelming evidence that the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt
both upheld the wiping of the feet and the legality of mut`a. And again, there’s what Allah’s book says on these which should trump all his arguments. As to the Ahl al-Bayt
and mut`a, take a look at these hadiths for instance:
And that’s not all of them. But that many narrations coming from that many different chains clearly teaching its legality, I think someone would have to be willfully blind if they still maintained that the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt were against it.
9. Regarding the nomination of Imam Ali, alayhi as salam--there are some who hold to the doctrine that it was implicit however, there are also those who hold to it being explicit. Therefore, one cannot limit the school to one view!
So he’s saying on such an important matter as this, they can’t make up their mind? How is this a positive?
10. Regarding the eternality of the punishment of the major sinners--It isimmaterial whether you agree with it or not. This is explicit in the Quran and authentic hadiths of the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny. The issue is not that Allah is not ableto forgive them. It's that he won't. Because Allah's Mercy is reserved for those penitent sinners who make tauba before they die. However, once they die, their chance is over! This is why the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: ((Repent to Allah before you die))!
If they do not repent, they will burn in hell forever. This is because of the explicit words of Allah and He does not abrogate His Own explicit statements!
Allah forgives whomever He wills, and He says He forgives all sins but shirk. They on the other hand seem to claim His hand is tied, and in the name of justice cannot forgive unless one has repented. Does this sound like a belief in a merciful and compassionate Lord to you?
It would be unjust for Allah to punish someone who didn’t deserve it, to punish them for what they were not responsible for that. That’s divine justice. But, to forgive is a grace, and also a good, so to believe that Allah may do that even for the unrepentant sinner is not denying His justice, it’s affirming His grace.
As to what Allah says in His book:
يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ
He forgives whoever He wants and He punishes whoever He wants (5:18)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ
Verily Allah does not forgive that there should associated aught with Him, and He forgives what is apart from that to whoever He wants. (4:48)
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَىٰ ظُلْمِهِمْ
And verily your Lord is forgiving to mankind upon their wrongdoing (13:6)
Also, there is the clear hadith from the Prophet
that states his intercession is for the grave sinners of his Umma. If they had repented before their death and were thus forgiven, what need for his intercession?
Anyhow, again the only reason they uphold this doctrine now is because they are Mu`tazilis in their creed, and this particular doctrine was a key one for them.
Abdul Qaim, on 11 July 2010 - 09:10 PM, said:
Some excellent points, mac . The only really decent reply from the Zaydi scholar on sister Zayda's blog is that the Isma'ilis also forbid mut'ah. The fact that Ibadis do not wipe their feet or practice mut'ah is neither here nor there. They don't recite qunoot during salaat either, though I wouldn't be using that as a hujjah in any discussion on the matter.
I did find it interesting that a Zaydi would use a quasi-Khawaarij group in order to fortify his own argument, however ...
The Isma`ilis, who were much more into "batini" pursuits than fiqh, had a very limited output in terms of hadiths and fiqh. In fact, when Qadi Nu`man compiled his Da`a'im al-Islam, he had to use Zaydi and Imami books of hadith as his sources. And by the way, the narration in Da`aim that states mut`a is haram, it comes from a Zaydi book...