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Reliable Narration: Wilaya and Thaqalayn


Islamic Salvation

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Introduction

It is sometimes claimed that the Shia do not have reliable narrations from their own books for the centerpieces of their faith. All this does is expose the ignorance of the claimant. Below is one such reliable narration which includes parts of the prophet’s speech when returning from Hijjatul Wida. It includes both Hadith al-Wilaya and Thaqalayn. This is not to say that this event relies on the analysis of an individual chain, in fact, it is so widely dispersed in our corpus and theirs, making it a viable candidate to be deemed Mutawatir.

 

The Text of the Hadith

محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد، عن محمد بن الحسن الصفار، عن محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب ويعقوب بن يزيد جميعا، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن عبد الله بن سنان، عن معروف بن خربوذ، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة، عن حذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري قال: لما رجع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله من حجة الوداع ونحن معه أقبل حتى انتهى إلى الجحفة فأمر أصحابه بالنزول فنزل القوم منازلهم، ثم نودي بالصلاة فصلى بأصحابه ركعتين، ثم أقبل بوجهه إليهم فقال لهم: إنه قد نبأني اللطيف الخبير أني ميت وأنكم ميتون، وكأني قد دعيت فاجبت وأني مسؤول عما ارسلت به إليكم، وعما خلفت فيكم من كتاب الله وحجته وأنكم مسؤولون، فما أنتم قائلون لربكم؟ قالوا: نقول: قد بلغت ونصحت وجاهدت فجزاك الله عنا أفضل الجزاء ثم قال لهم: ألستم تشهدون أن لا إله إلا الله وأني رسول الله إليكم وأن الجنة حق؟ وأن النار حق؟ وأن البعث بعد الموت حق؟ فقالوا: نشهد بذلك، قال: اللهم اشهد على ما يقولون، ألا وإني اشهدكم أني أشهد أن الله مولاي، وأنا مولى كل مسلم، وأنا أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم، فهل تقرون لي بذلك، وتشهدون لي به؟ فقالوا: نعم نشهد لك بذلك، فقال: ألا من كنت مولاه فإن عليا مولاه وهو هذا، ثم أخذ بيد علي عليه السلام فرفعها مع يده حتى بدت آباطهما ثم قال: اللهم وال من والاه، وعاد من عاداه، وانصر من نصره واخذل من خذله، ألا وإني فرطكم وأنتم واردون علي الحوض، حوضي غدا وهو حوض عرضه ما بين بصرى وصنعاء فيه أقداح من فضة عدد نجوم السماء، ألا وإني سائلكم غدا ماذا صنعتم فيما أشهدت الله به عليكم في يومكم هذا إذا وردتم علي حوضي، وماذا صنعتم بالثقلين من بعدي فانظروا كيف تكونون خلفتموني فيهما حين تلقوني قالوا: وما هذان الثقلان يا رسول الله؟ قال: أما الثقل الاكبر فكتاب الله عزوجل، سبب ممدود من الله ومني في أيديكم، طرفه بيد الله والطرف الآخر بأيديكم، فيه علم ما مضى وما بقي إلى أن تقوم الساعة، وأما الثقل الاصغر فهو حليف القرآن وهو علي بن أبي طالب و عترته عليهم السلام، وإنهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا علي الحوض. قال معروف بن خربوذ: فعرضت هذا الكلام على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فقال: صدق أبوالطفيل رحمه الله هذا الكلام وجدناه في كتاب علي عليه السلام وعرفناه.

[al-Saduq from] Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid from Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Saffar from Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and Ya`qub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from Abdallah b. Sinan from Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh from Abi Tufayl `Amir b. Wathila from Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari who said:

We were with the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله when he was returning from his farewell pilgrimage. He went forth until he reached Juhfa where he ordered his companions to decamp. The call for prayer was made and he led his companions in a two-unit prayer. After that he turned his face to them and said: The Kind and All-Aware has informed me that I am to die and you too will one day die. It is as though I have been called and have responded. I am to be asked about that which I was sent with for you and also what I leave behind in your midst including the Book of Allah and His proof - and you too shall be asked - so what are you going to reply to your Lord? They said: we will say ‘you have conveyed, counselled and struggled, so may Allah reward you on our behalf the best of rewards’.      

Then he said to them: do you bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah? that the Paradise is a reality, the Fire is a reality and the resurrection after death is reality? They said: we bear witness to that, he said: O Allah witness what they say. Behold! I make you witnesses that I myself bear witness that Allah is my Mawla, and that I am the Mawla of every Muslim, and that I have a greater claim over the believers than their own selves, do you admit to that and bear witness to it about me? They said: yes, we witness that to be true about you. He said: Behold! To whomsoever I am a Mawla then Ali is also his Mawla, and he is this one, and he took Ali by the hand and raised it with his own hand until their armpits became visible, then he said: O Allah – be a guardian to whomever takes him to be a guardian, and be an enemy to whomever takes him to be an enemy, aid the one who aids him and abandon the one who abandons him.    

Behold! I will proceed you but you will catch up with me at the reservoir – my Lake-fount – tomorrow. It is a Lake-fount whose breadth is like the distance between Busra and San`a. In it are goblets made of silver like the number of stars in the sky. Behold! I will ask you tomorrow about what you did in regards that which I made Allah bear witness to - over you - in this day of yours when you reach my Lake-fount.

And also about what you did with regards the ‘Two Weighty Things’ after me, so take care of how you will preserve my legacy in them when you meet me. They said: and what are these ‘Two Weighty Things’ O the messenger of Allah? he said: as for the greater weighty thing then it is the Book of Allah Mighty and Majestic, a rope extending from Allah and myself in your hands, one end of it is by the hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands, in it is the knowledge of what has passed and what is left until the Hour comes. As for the smaller weighty thing it is the ally of the Qur`an, and that is Ali b. Abi Talib and his descendants عليهم السلام – the two will not separate until they return to me at the Lake-fount. 

Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh said: I relayed these words to Abi Ja`far عليه السلام so he said: Abu Tufayl has spoken the truth - may Allah have mercy on him - we have found this speech in the book of Ali and do recognize it.

 

Alternate Chains

  أبي، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن أبي عمير

جعفر بن محمد بن مسرور، عن الحسين بن محمد ابن عامر، عن عمه عبد الله بن عامر، عن محمد بن أبي عمير

محمد بن موسى بن المتوكل، عن علي بن الحسين السعد آبادي، عن أحمد بن أبي عبد الله البرقي، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن عبد الله بن سنان، عن معروف بن خربوذ، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة، عن حذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري بمثل هذا الحديث سواء 

قال مصنف هذا الكتاب أدام الله عزه: الاخبار في هذا المعنى كثيرة وقد أخرجتها في كتاب المعرفة في الفضائل.

My father – Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr

Ja`far b. Muhammad b. Masrur – al-Husayn b. Muhammad b. A`mir – his uncle Abdallah b. A`mir – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr

Muhammad b. Musa al-Mutawakkil –  Ali b. al-Husayn al-Sa`dabadi – Ahmad b. Abi Abdillah al-Barqi – his father – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr

---> Abdallah b. Sinan – Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh – Abi al-Tufayl A`mir b. Wathila – Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari 

The author of this book [al-Saduq] said: the reports with the same meaning are numerous, and I have gathered them in the book ‘al-Ma`rifa fi al-Fadhail’

 

Reference

Al-Saduq, Al-Khisal, ed. `Alī Akbar al-Ghaffārī, 2 vols., (Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmi, 1403 AH), vol. 1, pg. 65, Hadīth # 98 [Chapter on the Number Two: The Questioning about the ‘Two weighty Things’ on the day of Judgment]

 

Diagrammatic Representation

5974d5408a1b2_WilayaandThaqalayn.png.cdd4e6c12974020baad7b6765dbed583.png

 

Breakdown of Narrators

i. al-Saduq (d. 380)

جليل القدر ... حافظاً للاحاديث، بصيراً بالرجال، ناقداً للاخبار، لم ير في القمّيين مثله في حفظه وكثرة علمه

[al-Tusi] Esteemed in status … had mastery over the Hadith and insight about the narrators [of Hadith]. His like has not been seen among the Qummis in terms of memorization and extent of knowledge.

 

ii. Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid (d. 343)

شيخ القميين وفقيههم ومتقدمهم ووجههم ... ثقة ثقة، عين، مسكون إليه

[Najashi] The Shaykh of the Qummis, their jurist, foremost representative and eminent head …Thiqatun Thiqa, Ayn, relied upon …

 

iii. Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Saffar (d. 290)

كان وجهاً في أصحابنا القميّين، ثقة، عظيم القدر، راجحاً، قليل السقط في الرواية

[Najashi] He was an eminent head among our Qummi associates, Thiqa, great in station, given precedence, having very few lapses in narration.

 

iv.a Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab (d. 262)

جليل من أ صحابنا، عظيم القدر، كثير الرواية، ثقة، عين، حسن التصانيف، مسكون إلى روايته

[Najashi] Esteemed among our companions, great in station, prolific in narration, Thiqa, Ayn, able in authorship, his reports are relied upon.

 

iv.b Ya`qub b. Yazid (d. n/a)

كان ثقة صدوقا

[Najashi] He was Thiqa, truthful.

 

v. Ibn Abi Umayr (d. 217)

كان من أوثق الناس عند الخاصة والعامة، وأنسكهم نسكا، وأورعهم وأعبدهم، وقد ذكر الجاحظ في كتابه في فخر قحطان على عدنان بهذه الصفة التي وصفناه، وذكر أنه كان واحد أهل زمانه في الأشياء كلها

[Tusi] He was the most trust-worthy of people from both the Khassa [Shias] and `Amma [Sunnis], the most ascetic of them, the most scrupulous in abstaining from sins, and the most worshipful. al-Jahiz mentioned him in his books about the superiority of Qahtan compared to Adnan with this description which we have quoted and also said: he was matchless among his contemporaries in all aspects.

 

vi. Abdallah b. Sinan (d. n/a)

ثقة، من أصحابنا، جليل لا يطعن عليه في شئ له كتاب ... روى هذه الكتب عنه جماعات من أصحابنا لعظمه في الطائفة، وثقته وجلالته

[Najashi] Thiqa, from among our companions, esteemed, he is not criticized in anything, he authored the book … a large number of our companions transmitted these books on his authority because of his greatness in the sect and his trust-worthiness and merit.

 

vii. Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh (d. n/a)

أجمعت العصابة على تصديق هؤلاء الاولين من أصحاب أبي جعفر، وأصحاب أبي عبداللّه عليهما السلام وانقادوا لهم بالفقه، فقالوا أفقه الاولين ستّة: ... ومعروف بن خرّبوذ ...

[Kashshi] The whole sect is unanimous in deeming truthful the following foremost ones amongst the companions of Abi Ja`far and Abi Abdillah and yielding to them in matters of jurisprudence, so they said: the most judicious of the foremost ones are six: … Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh … [He is from Ashab al-Ijma]    

 

viii. `Amir b. Wathila (d. 100)

أدرك ثماني سنين من حياة النبي صلى الله عليه وآله ولد عام أحد

[Tusi] He experienced eight years in the life of the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله having been born in the year of the battle of Uhud (3 AH)

وكان أبو الطفيل رأى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، وهو آخر من رآه موتا

[Kashshi] Abu Tufayl saw the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله and he was the last one to die among those who had seen him.

Al-Barqi included his name among the closest companions [Khawass] of Ali. He participated in all the three battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan. He later joined Mukhtar’s uprising and was the carrier of the banner in that army.

 

ix. Hudhayfa b. Asid

محمد بن قولويه قال: حدثني سعد ابن عبد الله ابن أبي خلف، قال: حدثني علي بن سليمان بن داود الرازي، قال: حدثنا علي بن أسباط، عن أبيه أسباط بن سالم قال: قال أبو الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام: إذا كان يوم القيامة نادى مناد: أين حواري محمد بن عبد الله رسول الله، الذين لم ينقضوا العهد ومضوا عليه؟ ... ثم ينادي المنادي: أين حواري الحسن بن علي عليهما السلام ابن فاطمة بنت محمد بن عبد الله رسول الله؟ فيقوم ... وحذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري ...

[Kashshi] Muhammad b. Qulawayh – Sa`d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf – Ali b. Sulayman b. Dawud al-Razi – Ali b. Asbat – Asbat b. Salim: Abu al-Hasan Musa b. Ja`far عليهما السلام said: when it will be the day of judgment a caller will cry out: where are the disciples of Muhammad b. Abdallah the messenger of Allah who did not break the covenant and passed on while faithful to it? … then a caller will cry: where are the disciples of al-Hasan b. Ali عليهما السلام the son of Fatima the daughter of Muhammad b. Abdallah the messenger of Allah? then will stand up … and Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari …

 

Corroboration for Connection of the Chain

A part of the upper chain [Ma`ruf > Abu Tufayl & Abu Tufayl > Hudhayfa] have occurred in a number of narrations in Sunni sources some of which are highlighted below:

وقال علي حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون أتحبون أن يكذب الله ورسوله حدثنا عبيد الله بن موسى عن معروف بن خربوذ عن أبي الطفيل عن علي بذلك

[al-Bukhari] Ali said: report to the people what they recognize – do you wish that Allah and his messenger be rejected. Ubaydullah b. Musa narrated this from Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh from Abi Tufayl from Ali.

As a sidenote, the later `Aimma spoke several statements similar to this which we understand to be about Taqiyya. However, since they do not see this Athar from Ali in this interpretive lens they have become confused about its exact meaning.

This is also the only time Bukhari narrates from Abu Tufayl [this is because he was a ‘Rafidhi’ companion].

وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ دَاوُدَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَعْرُوفُ بْنُ خَرَّبُوذَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا الطُّفَيْلِ، يَقُولُ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ وَيَسْتَلِمُ الرُّكْنَ بِمِحْجَنٍ مَعَهُ وَيُقَبِّلُ الْمِحْجَنَ

[Muslim] Muhammad b. al-Muthanna: narrated to us Sulayman b. Dawud: narrated to us Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh who said: I heard Aba al-Tufayl saying: I saw the messenger of Allah circumambulating around the House and touching the Rukn with his stick and then kissing the stick.

This proves Sima`a between Ma`ruf and Abu al-Tufayl [i.e. that the former had indeed hear directly from the latter and that they were contemporaries] and also the Suhba of Aba al-Tufayl [i.e. that he was a companion].

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَيْثَمَةَ، زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ وَإِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ الْمَكِّيُّ - وَاللَّفْظُ لِزُهَيْرٍ - قَالَ إِسْحَاقُ أَخْبَرَنَا وَقَالَ الآخَرَانِ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ الْقَزَّازِ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ الْغِفَارِيِّ، قَالَ اطَّلَعَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ فَقَالَ ‏"‏ مَا تَذَاكَرُونَ ‏"‏ ‏ قَالُوا نَذْكُرُ السَّاعَةَ ‏قَالَ ‏"‏ إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَقُومَ حَتَّى تَرَوْنَ قَبْلَهَا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ ‏"‏‏ فَذَكَرَ الدُّخَانَ وَالدَّجَّالَ وَالدَّابَّةَ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنُزُولَ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَيَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَثَلاَثَةَ خُسُوفٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَآخِرُ ذَلِكَ نَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنَ الْيَمَنِ تَطْرُدُ النَّاسَ إِلَى مَحْشَرِهِمْ ‏‏

[Muslim] Abu Khaythama Zuhayr b. Harb narrated to us, also Ishaq b. Ibrahim and Ibn Abi Umar al-Makki – and the wording is from Zuhayr – Ishaq said: Ishaq reported to us and the rest said: narrated to us Sufyan b. Uyayna from Furat al-Qazzaz from Abi Tufayl from Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari who said: the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم looked in on us while we were discussing, he said: what are you discussing? They said: we are discussing the Hour, he said: it will not come about until you see ten signs before it, then he mentioned the Smoke, the Dajjal, the Beast, the rising of the sun from its setting place, the descent of Isa b. Maryam صلى الله عليه وسلم, Gogg and Maggog, and three sinkings of land, a sinking in the East, a sinking in the West, and a sinking in the Arabian peninsula, and the last of them is a fire which originates from Yemen and rushes the people to their gathering place [Mahshar].

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  • Advanced Member

Wa aleykumsalaam,

Brother there is one more chain in the last part of the hadeeth, where Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh narrates from Abi Ja`far (as). And he (as) attested that hadeeth narrated by Abu Tufayl is correct, this is very strong chain.

Here are some scholar's comment on hadeeth authenticity.

  • Sayyed al-Khoei said “Some chains of this ādīth are aī” in his Mu’jam Rijal Al-Hadith, Vol. 10 Pg. 222-223.
  • Shaykh Āif Muhsini said ādīth has “Mu’tabar Sanad” in his Mashra‘at Behar al-Anwaar, Vol 2, Pg 97.
  • Shaykh Mohammad Mumin Al-Qummi said ādīth has "Mu'tabar Sanad" in his Al-Wilayah Al-Ilahiyya Al-Islamiyya, Pg 80.
  • Shaykh Hasan Abdullah `Alī Al-Ajmi said ādīth is "aī" in his Ar-Radd An-Nafees, Vol 1, Pg 176.
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  • Veteran Member
On 9/8/2017 at 6:26 PM, The Straight Path said:

@Islamic Salvation Salam brother, what do you think about the claims on this page that there is only one authentic version of Hadith Al-Ghadir from Shia sources?

 http://ghadirkhumm.com/shia-version-hadith-al-ghadir/

W. Salam.

I don't think that they are qualified to speak about Shi'i Hadith. They likely limited themselves to popular works of Hadith like al-Kafi [which have accessible gradings] and did not conduct an exhaustive search. 

In any case, the Hadith in the OP is enough to disprove their claim, seeing as though it is a reliable version of Hadith al-Ghadir apart from the one they quote. Even if you do not accept the Wathaqa of Abu Tufayl and Hudhayfa b. Asid [the only controversial narrators in the chain], it does not matter one bit because Abu Ja`far عليه السلام confirms it, making it authentic by our standards.

 قال معروف بن خربوذ: فعرضت هذا الكلام على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فقال: صدق أبوالطفيل رحمه الله هذا الكلام وجدناه في كتاب علي عليه السلام وعرفناه

Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh said: I relayed these words to Abi Ja`far عليه السلام so he said: Abu Tufayl has spoken the truth - may Allah have mercy on him - we have found this speech in the book of Ali and do recognize it.

The chain to Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh is undisputed.

On top of this, the purport of the Hadith comes in so many alternative reports that it can be claimed to be Mutawatir in meaning, at which point individual chains lose over-riding significance.

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  • Advanced Member
5 hours ago, Islamic Salvation said:

W. Salam.

I don't think that they are qualified to speak about Shi'i Hadith. They likely limited themselves to popular works of Hadith like al-Kafi [which have accessible gradings] and did not conduct an exhaustive search. 

In any case, the Hadith in the OP is enough to disprove their claim, seeing as though it is a reliable version of Hadith al-Ghadir apart from the one they quote. Even if you do not accept the Wathaqa of Abu Tufayl and Hudhayfa b. Asid [the only controversial narrators in the chain], it does not matter one bit because Abu Ja`far عليه السلام confirms it, making it authentic by our standards.

 قال معروف بن خربوذ: فعرضت هذا الكلام على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فقال: صدق أبوالطفيل رحمه الله هذا الكلام وجدناه في كتاب علي عليه السلام وعرفناه

Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh said: I relayed these words to Abi Ja`far عليه السلام so he said: Abu Tufayl has spoken the truth - may Allah have mercy on him - we have found this speech in the book of Ali and do recognize it.

The chain to Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh is undisputed.

On top of this, the purport of the Hadith comes in so many alternative reports that it can be claimed to be Mutawatir in meaning, at which point individual chains lose over-riding significance.

Thank you brother for the explanation! :)

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Excellent as always 

Can you share please more on the companion hudhayfa b asid ghiffari ?

Did he die before fitna ?

I've not seen his name amongst those who are commonly presented as supporters of a imam at the time of the saqifa  

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         1 comment
      Summary
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         1 comment
      [This was originally written on November 25 2017 and was updated on Sept 13 2023, to include the graphic, headings and a summary, further updated on 27 May 2024 to include references to Artificial Intelligence]
      Summary
      There is an inverse relationship between human labour for any activity and the moral and ethical issues related to it. The less we work, because we have automation, for example, often the more we need to exercise moral and other consideration related to that work. As a result automation and AI won't necessarily make people unemployed, they'll simply free us up to do more philosophising.
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      The theistic angle
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      An inverse relations between human labour and attendant moral issues
      Fewer people now work the land in the agricultural industry, as mechanisation and the use of chemicals have taken over, but there are more people being employed to investigate our impact on that environment, understand its implications and then research remedial action. Employment has not fallen, it has risen, but the tasks we perform are more cerebral and more of them involve making moral judgements.
      We can even map this as an inverse relationship, this is illustrative only and there's no specific relationship implied by the curve.

       
      The same process applies to the raising of farm animals and their slaughter. Affecting all of this is the entirely new industry of people making moral judgements about what is (morally) right in agriculture and what is wrong. Some of those judgements are informed by a theistic perspective, and some are not. In the latter instance we may question the validity, for example, of policy-makers in the West focusing on the last few seconds of an animal's life (as is the case in the debate about halal slaughter, as opposed to their accepting what are improvements but still cruel aspects of the husbandry of animals during the much longer period of their lives.
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      Perfecting man
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      The pastoral farmer of a few centuries ago obviously had the need to exercise moral judgements and take issues of sustainability into account when making decisions, but my point is that given smaller population sizes prevailing at the time and the more limited technologies available the nature of those judgements was necessarily more simple and straightforward than is the case, for example with the use of genetic modification.
      That perfection I believe helps us understand some of the issues around artificial intelligence. Like other disruptive technologies it enables people to have machines do what was previously done by humans. One difference is that whereas previous technologies made menial word redundant, how it is more cerebral work and this has an entirely new class of people very worried. What happens to their jobs? To some extent I think they are right. Indeed there will be machines doing more and more white-collar jobs and people who thought that a high level of education would keep them in employment forever may get a shock. 
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         0 comments
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         0 comments
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         5 comments
      قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: رحم الله زرارة بن أعين لو لا زرارة و نظراؤه لاندرست أحاديث أبي عليه السلام
      Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: May Allah have mercy on Zurara b. A`yan, if it was not for Zurara and his peers the narrations of my father عليه السلام would have perished
      سمعت أبا عبد اللّه عليه السلام يقول: لعن اللّه زرارة!
      I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: may Allah curse Zurara!
       
      Did the Imam Curse Zurara?
      Zurara is such an important narrator in the Madhhab. No one has narrated more narrations than him. There are more than two thousand surviving Hadiths attributed to him in our books. No surprise then to find that we have a lot of reports of praise from the `Aimma confirming his esteemed status. A bit more difficult to explain away is the not insignificant number of narrations that portray him in a negative light. These have been latched onto by polemicists who believe that they can damage the Madhhab by weakening this man who transmitted such a lot of knowledge from the `Aimma that he became a cornerstone of our Fiqh. How do we defend him? There is a reliable text preserved by al-Kashshi in his book which I believe is useful in explaining this phenomenon preserving as it does a candid assessment by the Imam of the real situation.
      The words of the Imam are indented and a relevant commentary is provided directly below each section. The  text can be accessed in its entirety here https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-narrators/zurara-b-ayan [See No. 17/172]
       
      Abdallah b. Zurara said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to me: convey my salutations of peace to your father and say to him …
      The letter that the Imam dictates to this son of Zurara is done in confidence and with the expectation that no one else will come to know of its contents. It seems to have been prompted by Zurara’s grief, conveyed directly to the Imam, for censuring him to fellow companions and others, such that word reached back to him. Zurara seeks to clarify what the Imam’s true opinion of him is.
       
      I only defame you as a way of defending you, for the masses and the enemy hasten to whomever we draw near and praise his station so as to cause harm to the one we love and bring close. They accuse such a one because of our love for him and his closeness and intimacy with us, and they consider causing him harm and even killing him as justified. On the other hand, they praise every one whom we fault even if his affair is not praiseworthy. Thus, I fault you because you have become notorious as a result of your association with us and your inclination towards us, which have caused you to become blamable in the eyes of the people and your works to be looked upon unfavourably, all this because of your love for us and your inclination towards us. So I wished to fault you so that they can praise your religious stand as a result of my denigrating and diminishing you, and this becomes a way of warding off their evil from you. 
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      Allah Majestic and Mighty says: “as for the boat then it belonged to the poor working at sea so I wished to damage it because there was a king after them who seizes every good boat by force” (18:79) … No by Allah! he did not damage it except that it be saved from the king and is not ruined in his hands. It was a ‘good’ boat which had no question of being defective Allah be praised, so comprehend the parable, may Allah have mercy on you!
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      … this is a revelation from Allah [including the word] ‘good’ …
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      You are by Allah! the most beloved of people to me and the most beloved of the companions of my father in my estimation both in life and after death. Indeed you are the best boat in that tumultuous and stormy sea, and there is a tyrannical and usurping king after you, keeping watch for the crossing of every good boat returning from the sea of guidance so that he can take it for himself and seize it and its owners, so may the mercy of Allah be upon you in life and His mercy and pleasure be upon you after death.
      This is the true status of Zurara in the eyes of the Imam. It becomes very clear that Zurara is the principal companion of al-Baqir and al-Sadiq and the closest to them. This tallies with the Madhhab’s conception of his status where he is seen as the greatest of their companions barring Muhammad b. Muslim which is arguable.
       
      Let not your heart constrict in grief if Abu Basir comes to you with the opposite of that which you were instructed by my father and by me, for by Allah! we did not instruct you and him except with an instruction that is fitting to act upon both for us and for you, and for each [instruction, even if seemingly contradictory] we have diverse expressions and interpretations which all agree with the truth. And if we were allowed [to explain] you would come to know that the truth is in that which we have instructed you.
      The Imam acknowledges a second problem which Zurara seems to have raised which is the Ikhtilaf [differences] of instructions which are attributed to them. The Imam accepts that these may indeed go back to them but notes that they have a reason for every instruction they give even if the companions cannot fully comprehend the reasons behind them. However, the Imam is very clear that despite the seeming diverse answers there is a way to reconcile them and all agree with the truth. 
       
      The one who has divided you is your shepherd who has been given authority by Allah over His creation. He [the shepherd] is more aware of what is in the interest of his flock and what can corrupt it. If he wishes he divides between them to safe-guard them, then he unites them once more so that it is secure from destruction and the fear posed by its enemy, in such a time as Allah permits, bringing it thereby safety from His place of safety and relief from Him. Upon you is to submit and to refer back to us and to await our affair and your affair and our relief and your relief. 
      The significance of these words of the Imam cannot be overstated. It reveals that the `Aimma would purposely teach different things to different Ashab aiming to purposely divide them. Elsewhere it is explained that they saw Madhhabic uniformity among their followers especially in rituals as being a distinctive marker that would make them a target. What the companions have to understand is that answering differently to different people is the prerogative of the Imam. No one can question this practice. What the companions have to do is submit fully to whatever they receive from the `Aimma and know that it has an explanation behind it for which the time is not ripe. All will be finally revealed when the time comes.
       
      However [if you do not submit wholly then], if our Riser were to rise and our Speaker speak and he recommences teaching you the Qur’an, the Laws of religion, the rulings and inheritance shares the way Allah revealed them to Muhammad the ‘people of insight’ among you will repudiate it on that day a bitter repudiation, then you will not remain steadfast upon the religion of Allah and his path except under the threat of the sword over your necks!
      If the companions cannot submit now, when they have lived through a chain of living Imams, then it augurs badly for the reaction of the self-appointed ‘people of insight’ who will be the first to line up against the One al-Sadiq calls ‘our Riser’ and alternatively ‘our Speaker’. When he comes back after a long period of occultation and recommences teaching them the religion as it is supposed to be the opposition to him from the Shia themselves be deafening! Those scholars who have cherished their dusty books will still cling to them even though the Imam who is the living embodiment of the Sharia is himself telling them otherwise.
       
      The people after the prophet of Allah were left to embark by Allah the same example as those who came before you, so they changed, altered, distorted, and added to the religion of Allah and reduced from it, consequently there is not a thing which the people are upon today [following] except that it is distorted when compared to that which was revealed from Allah. Respond then my Allah have mercy on you away from what you are calling for to what you are being called to, until comes the one who will renew the religion anew.
      Why did it have to come to this? This is the unfortunate consequence of the Umma betraying the will of the prophet. It has become utterly divided. Not having the correct leaders has meant that the authentic message of Muhammad has been irredeemably altered. There is not a single act of worship or belief that has been left un-corrupted because every middling scholar can peddle his interpretation. The temporal rulers are also more than happy to take advantage of the confusion and extend patronage to scholars whose interpretations were power friendly. The Imams themselves cannot openly propagate the actual version without repercussions.
       
      To be continued ...
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