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Does The Shia Follow The Prophet’S Traditions?

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Does the Shia follow the Prophet’s traditions?

Question by: Suran


  1. Do you know the traditions of the prophet?
  2. Do you act upon the prophet’s traditions?

First Question

Dear friend, if you take a quick look into our books you will find that they are filled with narrations and traditions from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) (SAWS). On the other hand, according to Ibn Athir Jezri[1] the six righteous books of the Sunni’s, having omitted repeated narrations and traditions, has 9483 narrations whereas on the Shia references, Usool Al Kafi alone has 16199 narrations.

Also notice that according to many narrations from Imam Sadegh and Imam Bagher (A.S) they state that they take all their narrations from their fathers and from their grandfathers Imam Ali (A.S) and the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) and they never narrate from themselves and never compare either. Take a look at this narration as an example:

حدّثنا أحمد بن محمّد، عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن أبي حمزة الثمالي، عن جابر قال أبو جعفر عليه السلام : يا جابر! واللّه لو كنا نحدث الناس أو حدّثناهم برأينا لكنّا من الهالكين ولكنّا نحدّثهم بآثار عندنا من رسول اللّه‏ صلي الله عليه و آله و سلم يتوارثها كابر عن كابر يكنزها كما يكنز هؤلاء ذهبهم وفضّتهم.

بصائر الدرجات ص 320 ، باب 14: باب في الأئمة ان عندهم أصول العلم ما ورثوه عن النبي ص لا يقولون برأيهم حديث

Imam Bagher (A.S) said: Oh Jaber, by Allah, if we narrate or issue a ruling based on our own opinions we shall be doomed. We narrate and issue rulings to people based on the works and narrations which have been passed on by one by one of the hearts to us[H1] and we protect these works and narrations just like the lovers of the world whom protect their gold and silver.

الإمام الصادق‏ عليه السلام : «حديثي حديث أبي، وحديث أبي حديث جدّي ، وحديث جدّي حديث الحسين، وحديث الحسين حديث الحسن، وحديث الحسن حديث أميرالمؤمنين، وحديث أميرالمؤمنين حديث رسول اللّه صلي الله عليه و آله و سلم، وحديث رسول اللّه صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم قول اللّه عزّ وجلّ .

جامع أحاديث الشيعة، ج 1، ص 127 باب 4 : باب حجية فتوى الأئمة المعصومين من العترة الطاهرة عليهم السلام بعد الفحص ، حديث 102 .

Imam Sadegh (A.S) said: My sayings and narrations are those of my father’s, and that of my father’s is of my grandfather, and my grandfather’s narrations are the narrations of Hussain (A.S) and Hussain’s (A.S) narrations are of Hassan (A.S) and Hassan’s narrations are of Amirul Momenin [imam Ali (A.S)] and the narrations of Amirul Momenin are of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) and the narrations of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) are that of God Almighty.

Therefore dear friend, we have enough knowledge of the Holy Prophet’s (S.A.W.S) traditions.

Answer to the Second Question

If you had studied a little bit about the manners and methods of the Shia you would have found that the only group which has defended the prophet’s traditions have been the shia whereas, unfortunately, it was the leaders of the Sunni school which said “God’s book is enough for us and we do not need the prophets writings (meaning the traditions)”[2] in the event of Ghertas[3] when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) asked for paper and pen to write something and insure the Islamic nation from being misled forever.

صحيح البخاري ج7 ، ص 9 ،کتاب المرضي و الطب ، باب قول المريض قوموا عني و ج 8 ، ص 161، کتاب الإعتصام بالکتاب و السنة، باب كراهية الخلاف و ج1 ، ص 37 ، کتاب العلم ، باب کتابة‌


Also, in those first days after the death of the prophet they gathered all the narrations of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) and burnt them.

قالت عائشة جمع أبي الحديث عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وكانت خمسمائة حديث فبات ليلته يتقلب كثيرا قالت فغمني فقلت أتتقلب لشكوى أو لشئ بلغك ؟ فلما أصبح قال أي بنية هلمي الأحاديث التي عندك فجئته بها فدعا بنار فحرقها ...

تذكرة الحفاظ ، ذهبي ، ج1 ،‌ ص5 و علوم الحديث ، دكتر صبحي صالح ، ص30 .

Aisha says: “My father had gathered 500 narrations of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) (and put them with me) and he was agonized when he wanted to sleep at night.” Aisha continues saying “I asked my father: Is there a problem or have you heard some bad news that you are agonized like that? When morning came he said: Dear daughter, bring me the narrations which I have given to you, and I brought him the narrations, then he asked for some fire and burnt all of God’s prophet’s narrations…

And just as they became the caliph’s they declared that people should put aside the traditions of the prophet and only speak of God’s book. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) had predicted these days. We will quote two of such narrations as an example for you:

وعن عبيد الله بن أبي رافع عن أبيه قال : قال رسول الله ( صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ) لألفين أحدكم متكئا على أريكة يأتيه الأمر من أمري مما أمرت به أو نهيت عنه فيقول : لا أدري ، ما وجدنا في كتاب الله اتبعناه .

مسند شافعي ص 151 ، باب ومن كتاب اليمين مع الشاهد الواحد ، و ص 234 ، باب ومن كتاب الرسالة إلا ما كان معادا ؛ سنن إبن ماجه ج1 ، ص 6 و 7 ، باب 2 : باب تعظيم حديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والتغليظ على من عارضه ، حديث 13 ؛ سنن أبي داود ج 2 ، ص 392 ، باب 6 : باب في لزوم السنة ، حديث 4605 ؛ سنن ترمذي ج 4 ، ص 144 ، باب10 : باب ما نهى عنه أنه يقال عند حديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، حديث 2800 ؛ مسند ـ الحميدي ـ ج 1 ، ص 252 ، حديث 551.

Abdullah ibn Abi Rafe’ [4]quotes his father saying: I heard the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) say: I see a day coming when one of you shall be leaning on the bench (of administration), a narration of mine, which I have either told you to do something or prevented you from something, shall be brought to him, so he shall say: What are these things [i don’t understand why we need them]?! I shall follow what I find in God’s book (whatever isn’t in the Quran has no authenticity for us).

عبد الله بن أبي رافع عن أبيه أبي رافع قال : سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ألا لا أعرفن ما بلغ أحدا منكم حديث إن كان شيئا أمرت به أو نهيت عنه فيقول وهو متكئ على أريكته : هذا القرآن ، ما وجدنا فيه اتبعناه وما لم نجد فيه فلا حاجة لنا به .

جامع بيان العلم و فضله ـ ابن عبد البر ـ ج 2 ، ص 190 ، باب موضع السنة من الكتاب وبيانها له ، ناشر : دارالکتب العلمية ـ بيروت ـ سال چاپ 1398 ه . ق .

Abdullah ibn Abi Rafe’ quotes his father saying: a narration of mine, which I have either told you to do something or prevented you from something, shall be brought to one of you, and while leaning on his chair he will say: God’s book is amongst you, whatever I find in the book I shall follow and that which I do not find in the Quran, I need not.

(Notice that the narrations are encountered in such a way despite the Quran saying: ما آتاکم الرسول فخذوه و ما نهاکم عنه فانتهوا Surah Al-Hashr, Verse 7. So we should actually say that those whom treated the Holy Prophet’s (S.A.W.S) narrations in such a way were not following the Quran either).

Also, the gathering[5] of hadith in the Sunni school started from the time Omar ibn Abdul Aziz[6] and before that period it was illegal to gather narrations. As you know, by the time Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz took power many of Sahaba and those who had memorized the narrations had died and the few who were left, due to the long period from the prophet’s death till that day, had forgotten much of the narrations they had heard because they were not allowed to express them, so it was natural to forget something which you have not repeated and expressed after such a long period. So you whom claim that you are the follower of the prophet’s tradition should ask yourself how much of the true traditions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) you have received. In my opinion, it would be more honorable if you call yourself the followers of the book instead of the followers of the tradition (اهل السنه).

Doubts Group,

Vali Asr Research Institution

Acknowledgements: http://valiasr-aj.com/fa/page.php?bank=question&id=1318 and Pedram

* Translation might not be precise

** Any editing ideas are welcomed :)

[1] ابن اثیر جزری

[2] حسبنا كتاب الله

[3] قزطاس

[4] عبيد الله بن أبي رافع

[5] tadvin

[6] عمر بن عبدالعزیز

[H1]سينه به سينه به ما رسيده

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