Description of God by Imam Hadi

Description of God by Imam Hadi

There is no doubt that the Divine Names and attributes are special and it is necessary to know them correctly and properly. Imam Hadi (A.S) said: Truly, God cannot be described except the way the Almighty described it. How can God be described when the senses are unable to imagine or understand the Supreme Being that cannot be seen?

The Divine Being despite the complete and full presence is remote and yet is near with all the remoteness; has created circumstance and personality but has no circumstance or personality; has created the place but has no place. God has no place or circumstance, the Almighty is a single unique being, God’s magnificence is distinct and the Divine Names are absolutely pure and clean [1].

Note: [1] Beharul Anwaar, Vol.4, Page 303.

Do not blame the world


It is narrated from the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) who said: If a person tells the world: May God make your face ugly, the world will reply: God will make the face of sinners ugly [1].

In another narration, the prophet (PBUH) said: Do not insult the world! Why do you insult the world? The world is a tame mean for a believer and will benefit him/her whilst removing evil from them. For the sake of the world, the benefits are gained and harms are removed, when a human being says: Curse of God on the world! The world will reply:

Curse of God is on a person who uses me as a mean to sin! Can a person who take a knife and kill someone say, may God curse this knife? The knife also will reply: May God curse you that by using me, you killed an innocent person [2]. Therefore the world can help to solve the problems relating to the life of hereafter but due to human’s love of the world, this benefit is lost and cannot be of any use.

The heartfelt attachment to the materialistic pleasures will lead to wrongful utilization of the world and with the use of the sharp knife of materialism; the life of hereafter will be destroyed [3].

[1] Beharul Anwaar, Vol.74, Page 173.
[2] As above, Page 180.
[3] Rasa’el-e-Bandegy (Farsi Edition) by Ayatollah Sheikh Mojtaba Tehrani, Page 117.


How does Satan influence our thoughts?


Before we can investigate the influence of Satan on our thoughts, we must gain an understanding of who Satan is.
Lexicographers differ over the linguistic root of the word shaytan (satan). The strongest opinion states that it comes from “shatana” meaning “to be far.” As it is known, shaytan in ‘Arabic, is a common noun, and can therefore be applied to any of a number of beings. However, the archetypical satan—the leader of them all—is known in Arabic as Iblis.[i]

Satan is a member of the class of beings called jinn. Like all jinn, he can transform himself into various forms, sometimes appearing as a man, sometimes as an animal. The only limitation placed on him is that he cannot manifest himself as a prophet or Imam. It is mainly through these transformations that Satan misguides people. At watershed moments in a person’s life, he appears as a well-wishing advisor and lays the groundwork for his destruction.

Salman al-Farisi narrates that Imam ‘Ali (ع) said, “The old man who was the first to pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr and whose forehead was calloused from extensive prostrations, was the accursed Satan.”

However, Satan does not always employ this method. He exists in an intermediate state between the material and the immaterial realms. For this reason, he cannot directly affect the immaterial spirit of the human being. Rather, he infiltrates a person’s thoughts by means of one aspect of the human soul called al-nafs al-ammarah (the lower soul). This is the animalistic aspect of the soul, that can be transformed into al-nafs al-mutma’innah (the higher soul) through training and enhancement. It is through temptation and by showing the lower soul manifestations of what it desires that Satan paves the way to misguide man. For this reason, Satan is only a part of the cause of human misguidance.

These manifestations take on different forms, yet they all conform to what the lower soul desires:

1. The beautification of ugly deeds: By making ugly actions appear beautiful, Satan effectively strips the otherwise inherent ugliness of sin and mitigates the societal taboo associated with sin in such a way that man easily falls into the trap of sin. This phenomenon can be witnessed in a person who rationalizes his wrong actions.

2. False promises: Through false promises and unattainable hopes, Satan renders man heedless of the Hereafter, death, and even Allah (awj). Such a person becomes a slave to his desires and is prepared to go to any lengths to attain the attainable, even if it means sinning against Allah (awj).

3. Fear: Satan scares man with thoughts of the future, compelling him to accumulate wealth, flee from jihad, aid the unjust, etc.

[i] Iblis will be denoted as Satan with a capital ‘s.’ When satan as a common noun is intended, it will be spelled with a lower case ‘s.’

Is there any special importance in roosters’ crow?

roosters' crow

Based on some Quranic verses, all creatures of the world declare the praises and glory of Allah. The Holy Quran says, “All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise.”[1]
In another verse, the Quran says, “The seven heavens declare His glory and the earth (too), and those who are in them; and there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification; surely He is Forbearing, Forgiving.”[2]
Animals including roosters are not an exception to this rule. In fact, in some traditions, special features have been mentioned for roosters. According to these narrations, a rooster’s crow is its recital and supplication.[3]
Luqman is said to have advised his son as such:
“یا بنىّ لا تکن اعجز من هذا الدّیک یصوت بالاسحار و انت نائم علی فراشک”
“My son, do not be weaker than the rooster which crows at dawn while you are sleeping in your bed.”[4]
In some traditions, the roosters’ crowing has been translated as “roosters’ utterance”. The Imam (a.s.) says, “The rooster utters: ‘Remember God, O’ the neglectful ones’.”[5]
Thus, it is an indisputable and accepted fact that all creatures praise and glorify God, the Almighty.


[1] – Al-Jumu’ah: 1
[2] – Al-Isra: 44
[3] – Vide: Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Al-Kafi, vol.6, p.549, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, 1986.
[4] – Husseini Shah Abdul Azimi, Hussein bin Ahmed, Tafsir Ithna ‘Ashari, vol.2, p.38, Meeqat Publication, Tehran, 1984.
[5] – Majlesi, Muhammad Baqir, Behar al-Anwar, Vol.14, p.412, Dar al-Wafa, Beirut,1404 A.H.

What are the plans and goals of Shaytan?

What are the plans and goals of Shaytan?

In verses 118-120 of surah Nisa’, the Quran points to the plans of Shaytan. When Allah (swt) drove Shaytan away from His grace, he swore to put several plans into action:
1- To misguide man (those who accept his guardianship) by making him busy with far and hard to reach wishes.
2- To invite them to superstitious and innovative acts
3- To cause them to bring about change in Allah’s creation through deceptive acts, and by replacing the godly nature embedded in them with bad and ugly qualities.
In these verses, Allah (swt) warns that following such a being (Shaytan) will certainly entail great loss. “…و من یتخذ الشیطان ولیاً من دون الله فقد خسر خسراناً مبیناً”.[1] (…Whoever takes Satan as a guardian instead of Allah has certainly incurred a manifest loss). Also, do know that Shaytan’s vows are nothing more than lies, the pleasurable things he offers are only like that on the outside, while in reality and on the inside, they are nothing but misery and decline.[2]

[1] The Holy Quran, Surah Nisa:119.
[2] Bahrampour, AbolFazl, Nasime Hayat, pp. 187-188.

What do ‘Spiritual Vision’ and ‘Mystical Intuition’ Mean?

Mystical Intuition

One of the sources of acquiring cognizance is spiritual vision and mystical intuition.

Primarily it is essential to define this source, which is unfamiliar to a great number of people, in order that on the one hand, the difference between this and the issue of revelation, inspiration and innate disposition becomes clear and the ignorant ones do not consider it to be a figment of imagination and on the other, the path of misuse that many have resorted to in connection with this topic and which has compelled many to look upon it with scepticism, is blocked.

The entities of the world of existence are fundamentally of two kinds:

1. Entities that can be perceived by the senses; these entities are referred to as the World of Senses.

2. Entities that are concealed from our senses and cannot be perceived by them; these are referred to as the World of Unseen.

But at times it is possible that man acquires a new perception, enabling him to witness a portion of the World of Unseen (as per his capability). In other words, the curtains are drawn aside and some of the realities of the World of Unseen are made manifest for him as clearly as man perceives things by his senses – rather, much clearer and in a manner which imparts much more certainty.

This state is referred to as spiritual vision or mystical intuition.

This is the same thing that the Qur’an mentions in verse 5 and 6 of Suratul Takathur:

کَلاَّ لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ. لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَمُ
“Nay! if you had known with a certain knowledge, You should most certainly have seen the hell!”

In various Islamic sources, regarding both the believers and the offenders, it has been stated that at the time of death they come to acquire a spiritual vision as a result of which they are able witness the angels and the holy souls of Allah’s awliya, whereas those around them lack the ability to perceive these things.

This is that very state which the Noble Prophet (S) came to possess during the Battle of Khandaq when he said: “In the spark that was created by the striking of a pickaxe with a stone, I witnessed the palaces of Khusroe or Caesar or the castles of the Yemeni kings.”1

Similarly, it has been reported about Aminah, the honourable mother of the Noble Prophet (S), that when she bore the Noble Prophet (S) in her womb, she said: I saw a light emanate from me and by means of it I witnessed the palaces of the land of Basri, in Syria. These are neither revelation nor are they spiritual inspiration but a kind of perception that differs vastly from sensory vision.

This is that very station which a renowned critic has mentioned, saying: If an eye of the Unseen opens up for you, the atoms of this universe shall become intimate and share their secrets with you. It is then that you shall hear the talks of water and flower. Hearing the hubbub of the glorification (of Allah) of the entities of the universe, scepticism shall be erased from within you. The ears of the untrustworthy ones do not hear these realities and only the person, who has been made intimate, is worthy of hearing these sounds and secrets.2

Thus, mystical intuition and vision can be defined in one sentence as: The entry into the meta-sensory world and witnessing its realties by an inner eye in a manner similar to sensory vision – only more powerful or listening to those murmurings by the ears of the soul.

Of course, the words of every person who claims such vision cannot be hastily accepted, nor can the words of every claimant be believed. Nevertheless, the initial discussion in this topic is concerned with the actual existence of such a source of (Divine) cognizance3, after which comes the discussion regarding the manner of attaining it, and finally, the means of distinguishing between the true and false claimants.


1. Kamil Ibn Kathir, vol. 2, pg. 179
2. A summary of some renowned verses.
3. Tafsir Payam-e-Qur’an, vol. 1, pg. 252

How does Islam view Monasticism?



In verse 27 of Suratul Hadid, we read:

وَ رَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلاَّ ابْـتِغَآءَ رِضْوَانِ اللٌّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَـتِهَا
“And (as for) monkery, they innovated it– We did not prescribe it to them– only to seek Allah’s pleasure, but they did not observe it with its due observance.”

In view of the above verse, the question that arises is: What is Islam’s viewpoint about monasticism?

The term رَهباَنِيَّة (Monasticism) is derived from رهبة meaning fear and dread, which, in this case, means fear of Allah (s.w.t.). According to Raghib, in his book Mufradat, it is a fear, which is in combination with piety and perturbation. The word تَرَهُّب is in the meaning of تَعَبُّد, to worship; and رَهباَنِيَّة means intense devotion and worship.

Monasticism of a desired kind existed amongst the Christians although it had not been made compulsory in Christianity; however, the followers of ‘Isa (a.s.) distorted the concept by hauling it beyond its limits.

And it is for this reason that Islam has vehemently denounced it and the well-known tradition, which states:

لاَ رَهْبَانِيَّةَ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ.
“There is no (room for) monasticism in Islam”, is witnessed in numerous Islamic sources.1

One of the ugly innovations of the Christians with respect to monasticism had been ‘prohibition of marriage’ for the males and females who had abandoned the world. Others were ‘social seclusion’, disregarding the human responsibilities within a society, selecting secluded and far-flung monasteries and nunneries for living and worship in an environment, isolated from society. Later, great evils came into existence within the monasteries and the living centres of the monks, some of which – Allah (s.w.t.) Willing – we shall present later as a concluding portion of this discussion.

Certainly, the monks and nuns did extend positive services too like nursing individuals suffering from diseases that were dangerous and difficult to cure such as leprosy; propagation of religion in regions that were distant and amongst people that were wild and barbaric; initiating research programmes etc. Nevertheless, these acts in comparison to the entire system were trivial and insignificant, and on the whole, its evils were far greater than its benefits.

Fundamentally, man is an entity that has been created for a life within a society, and his material and spiritual development can only be achieved within a social life, and it is for this reason that none of the Divine religions have rejected this concept (of social life). On the contrary, they have endeavoured to strengthen its foundation.

Allah (s.w.t.) has placed ‘sexual desire’ within man to preserve lineage, and every thing that attempts to reject it totally is absolutely incorrect.

The Islamic abstemiousness (zuhd), which means leading a simple life, eliminating luxuries and not becoming a captive of wealth and rank, is in no way related to the issue of monasticism. This is so since monasticism means segregation and alienation from the society whereas abstemiousness means liberation for a more social living.
In a well-known tradition we read that one day the son of ‘Uthman ibne Maz’un died which so aggrieved him that he declared his house to be a mosque and (abandoning all other work) engaged himself in worship. When the Noble Prophet (S) came to know of this, he summoned him and said:

يَا عُثْمَانَ بْنَ مَظْعُونٍ إِنَّ اللٌّهَ لَمْ يَكْتُبْ عَلَيْنَا الرَّهْـبَانِيَّةَ إِنَّمَا رَهْـبَانِيَّةُ أُمَّتِي الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللٌّهِ.
“O’ ‘Uthman! Surely, Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted has not ordained monasticism for us; monasticism of my ummah is only jihad in the way of Allah.”2

The above tradition is an allusion to the fact that if you desire to renounce the material life, do not do so negatively and by means of social seclusion; rather, seek it positively – in jihad in the way of Allah (s.w.t.).

The Noble Prophet (S) then went on to present a detailed explanation of the merits of congregational prayers – which itself emphasizes the rejection of monasticism and seclusion.

In another tradition we read that ‘Ali ibne Ja’far asks his brother Imam Musa ibne Kazim (a.s.): “Does it befit a Muslim to go on a journey or adopt asceticism, enclose himself in his house and not come out of it?” The Imam (a.s.) replied: “No.”3


The journey that has been prohibited in this tradition is something which is akin to monasticism – a kind of itinerant monasticism; some people, without procuring for themselves a house, engaging themselves in work or seeking to earn a livelihood, converted themselves into globetrotters without provisions and supplies.

Constantly on the move from one place to another and fulfilling their needs by begging from the people, they looked upon this as a kind of renunciation of the world. But Islam has rejected the stationary as well as itinerant monasticism; yes, according to the teachings of Islam the important thing is that man should be abstemious while within the heart of society and not while secluded and segregated from it!

The Historical Origins of Monasticism

The history of Christianity reveals that monasticism, in its present form, had not existed in the first century of Christianity, but was rborn after the third century ad during the manifestation of the Roman emperor Disiyus and his intense drive against the followers of ‘Isa (a.s.), who, as a result of their defeat at the hands of this brutal emperor, sought refuge in the wilderness.4

The Islamic traditions too report this meaning, albeit more profoundly. It has been narrated that the Noble Prophet (S) said to Ibne Mas’ud: “Do you know from where did monasticism originate?”

Ibne Mas’ud replied: “Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger know better.”

He (S) said: After ‘Isa (a.s.), some tyrants came to the fore on the scene of leadership. The believers fought them three times and suffered defeat and so, they fled to the deserts and mountains, and, awaiting the arrival of the prophet, prophesized (Prophet Muhammad (S) by ‘Isa (a.s.)), engaged themselves in worship in the caves. Some of them remained on their religion while others followed the path of disbelief.

Then continuing, he (S) said: “Do you know what is the monasticism of my ummah?”
Ibne Mas’ud said: “Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger know better.”
He (S) said:

أَلْهِجْرَةُ وَ الْجِهاَدُ وَ الصَّلاةُ وَ الصَّومُ وَ الحَجُّ وَ الْعُمرَةُ.
“Emigration, Jihad, Salat, fasting, Hajj and ‘Umrah.”5

Will Durant, the renowned historian, in volume 13 of his well-known history presents a detailed discussion about monks, and is of the opinion that it was from the 4th century ad that nuns began to affiliate themselves with the monks; day by day monasticism was on the increase until it reached its zenith in the 10th century ad.6

Undoubtedly, this social occurrence, like other occurrences, in addition to possessing historical roots also possesses psychological ones; one of the facts which can be alluded to is that the psychological reaction of different individuals and nations against defeats and failures are totally different and varied.

Some develop an inclination to adopt seclusion and introversion, totally withdrawing themselves from society and social activities whereas there are some, who derive the lesson of endurance from failures, and come to possess greater firmness and resistance. The former group resorts to monasticism or something akin to it while the latter, in contrast, becomes more social.

Ethical and Moral Evils Resulting due to Monasticism

Swerving from the laws of creation always occasion negative repercussions and thus, it is not a matter of astonishment that when man distances himself from a social life, which is inherent and innate to him, he suffers from intense negative ramifications. And it is for this reason that monasticism, which is in contrast to the fundamentals of man’s natural disposition, gives birth to great evils, some of which are as follows:

Man, by nature, is civil and urban, and monasticism is in contradiction with this spirit of man and thus draws human societies into decadence and change of direction.

Not only does monasticism not lead to the purification of morals and perfection of soul, instead it leads to ethical deviation, lethargy, conceit, vanity, superiority complex and the like. And upon the supposition that man does manage to acquire an ethical excellence in a state of seclusion, it would not be regarded as an accomplishment, for excellence is when man is able to liberate himself from moral uncleanness while he is within a society.

Renunciation of marriage, which is one of the fundamentals of monasticism, not only does not bring about any virtue but on the contrary results in psychological disorders. The book, Encyclopedia of the 20th Century, states: Some of the monks considered paying attention to the female sex to be a Satanic act and harboured this concept to such an extent that they were unwilling to bring the female species of animals to their houses, lest its satanic soul cause harm and detriment to their spirituality!!

Despite this, history is witness to numerous atrocious acts from the monasteries, such that, according to Will Durant, Pope Innocent III described one of the monasteries as a brothel!7

Some of these monasteries had been transformed into centres of congregation for the world-loving, gluttonous and licentious ones to such an extent that the best of the wines could be found in them.

Of course, according to the testimony of history, ‘Isa (a.s.) never married, however this was definitely not because of his opposition to marriage – rather, his short life-span coupled with his perpetual journeys to different parts of the world for the propagation of religion did not permit him this liberty.

The discussion of monasticism befits separate books, devoted entirely to this topic, and if we were to dwell upon it in detail, we would deviate from our commentarial discussion.

We conclude this discussion by presenting a tradition from Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), who, while interpreting the verse:

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالأََخْسَرِينَ أَعْمالاً الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَ هُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعاً
“Say: Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds? (These are) they whose labour is lost in this world’s life and they think that they are well versed in skill of the work of hands.”8


هُمُ الرُّهْبَانَ الَّذِينَ حَبِسُوا أََنْفُسَهُم فِي السَّوَارِي.
“One of the manifest examples of this are the monks, who had imprisoned themselves in the mountains and wilderness, and were under the impression that they were performing an excellent work.”9 and 10


1. This tradition has been reported in Majma’ul Bayan under رهب as also in al-Nihayah of Ibn Kathir.
2. Biharul Anwar, vol. 70, pg. 114 (Chapter al-Nahi ‘an al-Rahbaniyah), no. 1
3. Biharul Anwar, vol. 70, pg. 119, no. 10
4. Dairah al-Ma’arif Qarn Bistum, under رهب.
5. Majma’ul Bayan, vol. 9, pg. 243; Another tradition, similar to this but slightly abridged, has been mentioned in the commentary al-Durr al-Manthur, (vol. 6, pg. 177)
6. William Durant, vol. 13, pg. 443
7. William Durant, vol. 13, pg. 443
8. Suratul Kahf (18), Verse 103, 104
9. Kanzul ‘Ummal, vol. 2, no. 4496
10. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 23, pg. 384a

What is the Criterion with regards to the Greater Sins?

Greater Sins

In connection with the greater sins, reference to which has been made in several verses of the Noble Qur’an1, there have been many views by commentators on the one hand and the scholars of traditions and the jurists on the other.

Some have regarded all sins as being greater sins; this is because against Allah, the Mighty, every sin is enormous.

Others are of the opinion that the concept of lesser and greater, employed in connection with sins, is relative in nature. Every sin, in comparison to a more serious sin is looked upon as being lesser while in comparison to a less serious sin, as great.

Some believe that Allah’s (s.w.t.) warning, in the Qur’an, of chastisement with respect to a sin, serves as a criterion for that sin to be considered great.

Occasionally it has also been said that every sin which necessitates the implementation of legal (religious) penalty is a greater sin.

However, in view of the fact that the term ‘great’ indicates upon the enormity of the sin, the best description for it would be every sin, which happens to possess one of the following, can be regarded as a greater sin:

– The sins with respect to which Allah (s.w.t.) has issued a warning of chastisement.

– Sins that have been regarded by the Imams and the traditions as being grave.

– Sins that have been regarded by religious sources to be more severe than sins that are known to be of the greater sins.

– And finally, sins, which the authentic traditions expressly state to be great.

The greater sins that are mentioned in the Islamic traditions vary in number. In some traditions, they are said to be seven in number (killing a soul, being disowned by the parents, usury, returning to the land of kufr after emigrating from it, falsely accusing a chaste woman of adultery, misappropriating the property of orphans and flight from jihad.)2

Some other traditions have enumerated them to be seven in number with the difference being that ‘being disowned by the parents’ has been substituted by:

كُلُّ ماَ أَوجَبَ اللٌّهُ عَلَيهِ النَّارَ.

“All (those sins) for which Allah (s.w.t.) has made (the punishment of) Hell mandatory.”

In some, their number is seen to be ten, while in others it is 19 and in yet others the figure is much higher.3

This difference in their figure stems from the fact that all the greater sins are not uniform and similar – some are more serious and grave than the others, or in other words, they are Akbar al-Kabair (greatest of the greater sins) and thus, there is no conflict or contradiction amongst them.4


1.Suratul Nisa’ (4), Verse 31; Suratul Shura (42), Verse 37, and the verses presently under consideration.
2.Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 11, Chapter Abwabu Jihad al-Nafs, Chapter 46, no. 1
3.For further explanation, refer the above source (Chapter 46 from Abwabu Jihad al-Nafs). Thirty seven traditions, which enumerate and specify the Greater sins, have been mentioned there.
4.Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 22, pg. 541

Did temporary marriage exist during the time of the Noble Prophet ?

The general consensus of the Islamic scholars indicates that temporary marriage was lawful during the initial period of Islam and, in fact, the essentials of religion too emphasize this lawfulness – (and the difference of opinion that exists in connection with verse 24 of Suratul Nisa):

فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْـتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً

“Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed.”

as to whether or not it establishes the legitimacy of mut’ah does not, in any way, serve to oppose the incontrovertible nature of the statute. This is because even the opponents are of the belief that the legitimacy of this statute has been established by means of the sunnah of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) – and the Muslims, during the initial stages of Islam, even acted upon this ruling. Also, the famous sentence that has been reported from ‘Umar:

مُتْعَتَانِ كَانَتَا عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللٌّهِ أَنَا مُحَرِّمُهُماَ وَ أُعَاقِبُ عَلَيْهِمَا مُتْعَةُ النِّسَاءِ وَ مُتْعَةُ الْحَجِّ.

“Two mut’ahs existed during the time of the Prophet of Allah and I prohibit them and shall punish (those who act upon them), (and these are) mut’ah of the women and Hajj of Tamattu’), is a clear proof of the existence of this statute during the period of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w); however, the opponents of this ruling claim that it was abrogated and prohibited later on.”26

Interestingly, the traditions which they present to substantiate their claims of abrogation are contradictory and inconsistent. Some traditions state that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) himself abrogated this statute and as such, the nullifier of this ruling would be the sunnah of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). Other traditions state that it was abrogated by the verse of Divorce:

لِعِدَّتِهِنَ إِذا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ

“O Prophet! when you divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed time.”

However, it ought to be known that this verse has no connection with the issue under discussion since this verse deals with divorce whereas there is no divorce in a temporary marriage – the separation taking place when the term (of marriage) reaches termination.

On the one hand, it is conclusively and categorically known that this ruling was lawful during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) while on the other hand there is authentic evidence to prove that it had been abrogated. Thus, according to an indisputable law, proved in methodology, we shall judge that this statute continues to exist.

The well-known sentence of ‘Umar is also a clear testimony of the fact that this ruling had certainly not been abrogated during the period of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w).

It is quite evident that none, except the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), possesses the authority to abrogate laws and rulings, and it is only he (s.a.w), who can abrogate and annul certain laws in accordance with divine orders. After the Noble Prophet’s death, the door to abrogation of laws was completely closed or else every person, according to his individual reasoning, would seek to abrogate portions of the divine laws and consequently there would be no such thing as an eternal and everlasting Shari’ah. Fundamentally, individual reasoning vis-à-vis explicit sayings of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) lacks validity and authenticity.

Significantly, in the book sahih Tirmidhi, which is one of well-known siHaH of the Ahlus Sunnah, and also from al-Daraqutni,27 we are informed of the following incident:

Once, an inhabitant from Syria approached ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar and questioned him about Hajj-e-Tamattu’, whereupon he expressly declared it to be permissible. The man said: “But your father has prohibited it!” ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar turned furious and said: “If my father prohibits it while the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) permits it, should I forsake the sacred sunnah of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and follow my father’s statements? Arise and go away from my presence!”28

Another tradition, possessing the same form as that seen in the above tradition, has also been reported from ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar, but in connection with temporary marriage.29

It has been reported from the book ‘Muhadhirat’ of Raghib that one of the Muslims entered into a temporary marriage. He was asked: “Who informed you that it was legitimate?” He replied: ”’Umar!” Astonished, they asked him: “How is such a thing possible when ‘Umar has himself prohibited it and has even threatened to punish the people for it?” He said: “I too base my reasoning upon this, for ‘Umar had said: ‘The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had permitted it but I prohibit it.’ I accept its legitimacy from the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) but shall never accept its prohibition from anyone else!”30

Another point that needs to be mentioned here is that those, who claim that this rule has been abrogated, face some serious problems:

Firstly: In numerous traditions from Sunni sources it has been explicitly stated that this ruling had not been abrogated during the life-time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) but, rather, its prohibition came into effect during the time of ‘Umar. Thus, the proponents of abrogation need to provide an explanation for all these traditions, which are twenty four in number. ‘Allamah Amini has mentioned them in detail in volume six of his book al-Ghadir and two examples of them are presented below:

1. It has been reported in sahih Tirmidhi that Jabir b. ‘Abdullah Ansari said: “During the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) we used to easily enter into temporary marriage and this continued till ‘Umar totally prevented ‘Amr b. Harith from entering into it.”31

2. In the books Muwatta of Malik and Sunan Kubra of Behaqi it has been reported from ‘Urwah b. Zubair that one day, a lady by the name of Khaulah Bint Hakim approached ‘Umar and informed him that one of the Muslims, Rabi’ b. Umayyah, had committed mut’ah. Hearing this ‘Umar said: “Had I prohibited this act previously, I would have had him stoned (but now, from this very moment, I shall prohibit it).”

In the book Bidayah al-Mujtahid of Ibn Rushd al-Andulusi too we read that Jabir b. ‘Abdullah Ansari said: “Temporary marriage was customary and usual amongst us during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and (the first) half of the caliphate of ‘Umar. Afterwards ‘Umar prohibited it.”

Secondly: The traditions that state that this ruling had been abrogated during the life-time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) are ambivalent and contradictory in nature. Some of them say that it was abrogated in the battle of Khaibar, some report it to have been abrogated on the day of the conquest of Makkah, some others specify that it was during the battle of Tabuk, while yet others declare that it took place during the battle of Autas, etc. Thus, all of these traditions, which advocate the abrogation of this ruling, appear to be fabricated as they differ so vastly from each other.

In view of what we have mentioned above, it becomes plain that the statement of the author of the commentary al-Manar, when he says: “Previously, in the third and fourth volume of the magazine al-Manar, we had expressly stated that it was ‘Umar, who had prohibited mut’ah, but later we happened to come across some traditions, which indicated that it had been abrogated during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and not during the time of ‘Umar, and accordingly, we rectify our previous statements and seek forgiveness for it34 is a prejudiced declaration.

This is because vis-à-vis these contradictory traditions that declare the abrogation to have taken place during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), we have traditions, which expressly declare the ruling to have continued till the time of ‘Umar. Thus, neither is there a necessity to apologize nor a need to seek forgiveness; the evidences presented above indicate that it was the original declaration of the author that had been true and correct, and not his second one!”

It is evident that neither ‘Umar nor anyone else – not even the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt G, who are the genuine successors of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) – can abrogate laws that had existed during the life-time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). Basically, abrogation after the death of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and the termination of revelation is absolutely meaningless and inconceivable. It is also a matter of immense astonishment that some individuals attribute the utterance of ‘Umar to his ‘individual reasoning’ (ijtihad), for ijtihad vis-à-vis ‘nass’ (explicit text of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w)) is neither permissible nor acceptable.

What is meant by ‘justice’ with respect to polygamy?


In verse 3 of SuratulNisa, we read:

فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً

“…but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one.”

Similarly, in verse 129 of this same chapter, we read:

وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْـتُمْ

“And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it).”

The question that arises here is: What is meant by ‘justice’ with respect to multiple wives? Is this ‘justice’ associated with issues of life like sleeping together, gifting items and things, and providing ease and comfort, or is it associated with respect to the heart and human sentiments too?

Without any doubt justice, with respect to affections and sentiments of the heart, is something that is beyond the control of man. Who possesses the ability to exercise total control over his affection – a state, which is governed by factors external to himself? It is for this reason that Allah has not considered the observance of this kind of justice to be obligatory and in verse 129 of this chapter says:

وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ

“And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, (with respect to sentimental inclinations) even though you may wish (it).”

Thus, till such time that the internal sentiments do not result in granting preference to some of the spouses over the others in actions, it is not prohibited. What is obligatory upon a man is to maintain justice amongst the spouses with respect to issues that are practical and external in dimension.

From the above explanation it becomes plain that those, who have sought to correlate the above verse:

فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً

with verse number 129:

وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسِاءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ

and thus conclude that polygamy is totally forbidden in Islam, have made a grave error. – They have argued that the first verse places the condition of ‘justice’, while the second verse considers this justice to be an impossible task for the men.,

As has been referred to previously, the kind of justice, whose observance is beyond the ability of man, is that which is associated with the internal sentiments, and this is not one of the requirements for polygamy; the condition for polygamy is the justice which is associated with acts and deeds.

Testifying to this aspect is the latter part of the verse 129 of this same chapter, which says:

فَلا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوها كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ

“Now that you cannot observe justice with respect to your sentiments between your spouses, at least do not direct all your sentimental inclinations towards one, leaving the other in suspense.”

Consequently, people who have taken one part of this verse and abandoned the other part, have erred in the issue of polygamy and it is a cause for astonishment for every researcher.

Incidentally, according to Islamic traditions, it appears that the first person to raise this objection was Ibn Abi al-‘Auja – one of the materialists and a contemporary of Imam as-sadiq (a.s) – who argued over it with Hisham b. Hakam, the diligent Islamic scholar. Not finding the answer to it, Hisham started out from his city, Kufah, towards Madinah and approached Imam as-sadiq (a.s).

The Imam (a.s) was greatly astonished to see him in Madinah at a time when it was not the season for Hajj and ‘Umrah. Hisham presented his question, whereupon the Imam (a.s) said: “The justice intended in verse 3 of Suratul Nisa is the justice associated with the maintenance of the spouses (and observation of their rights, and the manner of conduct and behaviour) whereas the justice in verse 129, which has been regarded as an impossible task, is the justice associated with internal sentiments (thus, polygamy, with adherence to the Islamic conditions, is neither prohibited nor impossible).”

After returning from his journey, when Hisham presented Ibn Abi al-‘Auja with the answer he swore that it was not Hisham’s answer but somebody else’s.

It is quite evident that if we are interpreting the term ‘justice’ differently in the two verses it is because of the clear context that is present in both the verses. The verse under discussion clearly states: Do not direct all your inclinations towards one spouse, and has thus permitted the selection of two spouses, but on the condition that, despite the difference in internal inclinations, no injustice should be done to the other with respect to actions and deeds. Besides, the initial portion of verse 3 of this same chapter expressly permits polygamy.