Debates

Discussion on Wilayah

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Mon 2/15/2021 11:36 PM
  •  You
Assalamu alaykum, let's start fresh.

Tell me what you know about Wilayat first, and what doesn't look right according to you ?

Judah Khader
Mon 2/15/2021 11:39 PM
  •  Sarki Steven

Wa alaikum as-salam

I know a bit about this subject.

But I propose you get the ball rolling by presenting your case, however long or short you wish it’s up to you.

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 12:40 AM
  •  You
Okay I don't know much where to begin since I don't know where you're coming from, so I'll stay broad.

The core belief is that all things have an exoteric (zahir) and and esoteric (batin).
The Prophets' mission is to bring people the exoteric (the revelations that "descend"), the Imams' role is to initiate people to the inner meaning of revelations, bring it up to back it's origin, so to speak.

The sunni version recognize the first part, the tanzil. The second part, the ta'wil, lacks a bit. Shia recognize both.

You asked the question "What's to expect from God once the last prophet is dead". The death of Muhammad (pbuh) closes the cycle of prophecy (no more revelations to expect). The only job left now, for us humans, is to try to understand the inner meanings of revelations. Hence, a new cycle begins : the cycle of Wilayat (with 'Ali Ibn Abu Talib), the cycle of spiritual initiation.

Both movements (descent and ascent) coexisted during the cycle of Prophecy, but now that the last prophet is dead, the only thing to expect is upward.


Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 12:48 AM
  •  Sarki Steven

Alright good, now we have something to discuss.

I have a few observations about what you wrote:

  1. You appear to be describing the Sufi concept of wilayah and not the Shi’ite concept, at least not the primary interpretation of wilayah in Shi’ism. The Shi’ite concept of wilayah, as I understand it, is primarily political. It is the idea that the right to political/administrative/earthly leadership of the Ummah is the divine right of the imams.

  2. You made a division between the role of the Prophet and the Imams, you claim the Prophet’s role is exoteric and the Imams’ role is esoteric, “to initiate people to the inner meaning of revelations”. Does that mean the Prophet had no role in esoteric explanation of the revelation and that is the exclusive domain of the imams? And likewise, does it mean that the imams had no role in bringing the people to the exoteric? At least for the latter question, I can confidently say that in Twelver Shi’ism the role of the imams is to explain and impart exoteric knowledge of the Shari’ah.

I have more to say, but for now I’ll end here, since I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many questions all at once.

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 1:14 AM
  •  You
Thanks for your answer. I was right starting this broad, so we can clarify basic stuff from the beginning.

1 : Suffis and Shias often have much in common, both were entertwined in the beginning of Islam since they both care deeply about esoteric stuff, so there is nothing surprising in seeing common ground. That being said, I assure you this was 100% the shia mainstream view. The shi'a concept of Wilaya is often misunderstood, especially by sunnis, as something solely political. It's probably because sunnis regnognize mostly the exoteric part, and so their views are centered around that. Truth is the Imam would still be an Imam, even if no one would recognize it. This is the main difference between authority and power. The first one is transcendental, the second isn't. In a traditionnal society, the king (power) rules under the authority of the priest (to put it simply). Spiritual authority is superior to wordly power. Now, both aren't mutually exclusive and you can have one person hold spiritual authority and take charge of the political stuff. That's why Imams were to be in charge of the community after the prophet passed away.

Only one of them had actual power in his life (Imam Ali), but all of them still had divine authority, with or without followers. The political stuff is at the core (because it happenned right at the beginning, but this is only the outer shell of what Wilayat is, to be honest).

2 : The prophet initiated 'Ali to every meaning of every ayat that was revelated, so he definitely had a role regarding the esoteric. He also initiated some companions to deeper meaning (like Salman), but it was a private mission with some individuals. His public mission was to share revelations to the whole world and to bring a new divine law (or refresh it to be more precise). The prophet was a "Wali" before the beginning of his mission, he knows the esoteric inside and out. As he said "I am the city of Knowledge and 'Ali is its gate. So that allows me to clarify the superiority of the prophet on all creation. No "but..." no "let me explain...", he's the best of creatures, period.
The Imams' role is to "maintain" the revelations, clarify what needs clarification, and initiate people (those who are able) to the deeper inner meanings of the Quran, of the life of prophets, and in general, of the creation.
Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 1:53 AM
  •  Sarki Steven

Suffis and Shias often have much in common, both were entertwined in the beginning of Islam since they both care deeply about esoteric stuff”

I’m not sure this is entirely accurate, or even mostly accurate. If we look at the earliest form of Shi’ism, I don’t see any emphasis on esotericism. It was purely a political tendency.

Likewise, if we look at the earliest form of Sufism, or proto-Sufism, it rose entirely within the orthodox Sunni community. The major figures of Sufism were all orthodox Sunnis, they all accepted the Sunni interpretation of the caliphate and had deep veneration for the Prophet’s companions, especially Shaikhain. I don’t see any such intertwining as you suggest. Perhaps you can give historical examples and evidence of that in this discussion.

Truth is the Imam would still be an Imam, even if no one would recognize it. This is the main difference between authority and power.”

Yes I understand this quite well. But I don’t understand how you are linking this idea with your thesis on esotericism being the primary role of the Imams.

As per my reading and research, real esotericism (Batiniyah) was introduced into Islam by the Isma’ilis, which even the Twelvers rejected.

Only one of them had actual power in his life (Imam Ali), but all of them still had divine authority, with or without followers. The political stuff is at the core (because it happenned right at the beginning, but this is only the outer shell of what Wilayat is, to be honest).

The idea that the Imams have divine authority, regardless of whether they are in a position of practical governance or able to practically execute and enforce that authority, is still a political idea. I don’t see the connection of this with esotericism as pointed out earlier.

The prophet initiated 'Ali to every meaning of every ayat that was revelated, so he definitely had a role regarding the esoteric. He also initiated some companions to deeper meaning (like Salman), but it was a private mission with some individuals. His public mission was to share revelations to the whole world and to bring a new divine law (or refresh it to be more precise).”

Okay, so if by esotericism you mean knowledge that wasn’t shared publicly, but sort of secretive, revolving around explaining the deeper meaning of the exoteric aspects of Islam, like the laws and doctrines, then I reject this idea that the Prophet initiated or disclosed this secret knowledge to select individuals and not publicly. Firstly, such an idea is contrary to the Quran, which says about the Prophet:

وَ مَا ہُوَ عَلَی الۡغَیۡبِ بِضَنِیۡنٍ

And he is not niggardly with respect to the unseen

(81:24)

Throughout the Quran, Allah says to His Apostle that it is his prophetic duty to convey everything that Allah revealed to him to the people. This idea of secret knowledge that the Prophet only transmitted to select individuals is clearly un-Quranic.

Next, you claim that the Prophet (sall Allahu alaihi wasallam) disclosed the inner meaning of everything in the Quran. Pardon me for saying so, but this appears to me to be nothing more than a hollow claim. If it was true, where are the treasures of such knowledge, the literary masterpieces of your sect which claims to have inherited this deep knowledge? Is there any part of this knowledge that remains hidden even from the laity of your sect, and cannot be found in your published literature? If the answer is yes, then essentially you are making an unverifiable claim. And if the answer is that your sect’s literature accurately represents and contains the legacy of that deep knowledge which the Prophet disclosed to sayyidina Ali radi Allahu anhu, then please share some titles in which I can read about the inner meaning of the Quran (every single ayah mind you).

On the contrary, when I read typical Shi’ah literature I find it to be anything but profound compared to our literature, the literature of our scholars of the exoteric sciences and also mysticism. Even the non-Muslims who are fond of studying and digesting the esoteric knowledge, when they approach Islam for that knowledge, don’t read Shi’ite literature, but the writings of Sufism, which as I explained, is almost entirely a Sunni enterprise.

The prophet was a "Wali" before the beginning of his mission

Please explain this statement. What do you mean by the beginning of his mission? Do you mean the beginning of his having become a Prophet and his first divine revelation to that effect?

The Imams' role is to "maintain" the revelations, clarify what needs clarification, and initiate people (those who are able) to the deeper inner meanings of the Quran, of the life of prophets, and in general, of the creation.

So do you reject the idea that the Imams also have legislative authority in the Religion?

Finally, you earlier said that after the death of the Prophet sall Allahu alaihi wasallam, the “cycle of prophesy” is closed and there are “no more revelations to expect”. I happen to disagree with this idea, but I won’t discuss it at the moment. Right now I would like you to confirm for me that what you are saying is that the Imams don’t receive any fresh revelation or divine inspiration independently, their function is limited to explaining the revelation that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad sall Allahu alaihi wasallam, and furthermore, that inner meaning of that revelation, they didn’t come up with it themselves, they inherited it from the Prophet, who initially transmitted it to the first imam Ali?

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 2:44 AM
  •  You
About shia esotericism : Are you kidding me ? I don't even know where to begin this one.
From shiia islam emerged ismailism, which is now fully esoteric (since the Resurrection of Alamut), nusayrism (full ghulat esoteric stuff) and many esoteric sects. Imam Jaafar initiated numbers of early suffis and is known as one of the primary sufi "masters". We even have hadiths from our Imams warning us about exagerators of their doctrine.
The word "Fa'na" used so often by sufis even suposedly comes from Imam Jaafar.
I don't know where your knowledge come from, but Shia islam is absolutely riddled with esoteric stuff, particularly at the beginning, before the occultation. The term 'aql even shifted from a deeper esoteric meaning, to the greek notion of "intellect" when platonician philosophy arrived in Islam culture. Look into the work of Mulla Sadra with his "al-hikmah al-muta’āliyah" (a cross over between Suhrawardi, Avicen and Ibn arabi), look into Corbin's work.
Search hadith or books about Irfan, it's pretty much the equivalent of sufism in shia thought.
Ibn Arabi is studied in pretty much every Irfan course in haouzas and there is even debates about him being a shia or a sunni...
Look into debates about 'Ilm ul Ghayb from the Imams, or about how love is absolutely central in the Wilayat.
Moezzi even wrote a book called "The Divine guide in early shiism" with 4 parts :
- Introduction
-The pre existence of the Imam
- The existence of the Imam
- the Sur existence of the Imam

It doesn't get more esoteric than this, honestly.

I won't quote direct hadiths for fear it might side track our conversation, but you can read the first chapters of Al Kafi which is really metaphysical and super deep. I hope I provided enough sources for you to do your research, Moezzi's book is a quick read and will brush away that unfounded belief.

Honestly, I fear you have only seen the surface. Esoteric stuff is at the absolute core of Shia Islam, and it started when the prophet was still alive, not 300 hundred years after the occultation.

About Ismailis and batiniyah, I don't know what you are talking about when you say "real esotericism", but I think what I said earliers adresses it somewhat.

Regarding the prophet initiating some but not everyone : The ayat doesn't state "publicly" so there is no contradiction with him dispensing his hidden knowledge to a selected few, depending on their capacity

I'll answer the rest later during the day, incha Allah.
Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 3:56 AM
  •  You
Regarding the knowledge. You can find it in hadiths, khutbat, letters and duas. Most Imams were perspecuted and they practiced the dispersion of their knowledge. One hadith can only be understood in light of an ayat of the Quran, which is explained inside another saying, and so on. Corbin's book is interesting on that regard because he "packages" those truths in a much comprehensive way. He exposes the doctrine in a much more tight fitted way. So it's good for beginners, to set a solid basis.

Now you understand there is no "perfect book" with all their knowledge displayed easily. Especially after 'Ali provided his version of the Quran and it got rejected. He is said to have stated "No one will see this version until the end of times".
What they know and what is still available to us isn't the same. Hadiths were lost, fabricated, misunderstood etc.

That being said, it's alright. there are countless hadiths or du'as displaying their extensive knowledge, with profound truths available to us. Enough for a life time.

I'll touch a bit about the true nature of Wilayat. There is 3 levels of understanding it. Yes there is the "physical/historical" Imams to guide us, but there is also hadiths mentionning the metaphysical reality of imamate (it's often called "The 'Ali in the skies"). Thirdly, there is an individual guide, an inner one, for every believer. And Ilham (inspiration), can still happen this way if God wills it, without depending on books and physical knowledge.

That also brings me to talk a bit about taqqiya. Which is often misunderstood. Taqqiya can be use to save your life and hide your true beliefs. But it's deeper understanding is far more interesting. It's the fact that not everyone is able to handle every truth. So in order to avoid overwhelming someone fragile, or with poor understanding of complex stuff, you try to only display the lower levels. You don't bring out the hard stuff for fear it might break him. We have a famous hadiths about Abu Dhar and Salman (the first one is said to have 9/10th of religion, the second one 10/10th) : Imam 'Ali said so Salman "If Abu Dhar knew what knowledge you had in your heart, he would kill you on the spot". Both were among the closest companions of Imam 'Ali at the time, and both were right, relatively speaking.

I fear this might make you asks even more questions because those two topics are endless, so please, refrain from asking too much, focus on your main questions and we'll circle back to it in a few messages if some stuff is still boggling you incha Allah

.The prophet was a "Wali" before the beginning of his mission

Please explain this statement. What do you mean by the beginning of his mission? Do you mean the beginning of his having become a Prophet and his first divine revelation to that effect?

Yes. Think of it like ranks. You need to be a Wali (friend of God) to become prophet, but not every Wali is prophet. I advise you to read Corbin's book, there is a chapter about the categories of prophets & it's relationship to wilayat. There is also a chapter called "Necessity of prophets and necessity of Imams" Pretty much every question you ask me could be answered by simply reading the first tome. More info here too : https://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia/imamat-versus-prophethood-part-2

Regarding your last question, Imams inherited everything they know from prophets. (The previous links clarifies this also)
Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 11:15 AM
  •  Sarki Steven

From shiia islam emerged ismailism, which is now fully esoteric (since the Resurrection of Alamut), nusayrism (full ghulat esoteric stuff) and many esoteric sects.”

Right, but these are not examples of early Shi’ism. I said that there is hardly any esoteric coloring to the practice and conception of the earliest form of Shi’ism.

The Zaidis arguably represent a more purer and original form of Shi’ism, and as we observe, they’re practice and conception of Islam doesn’t have that esoteric element or ideas like the Imam is someone who possesses the inner meanings and secrets of the Quran.

Ibn Arabi is studied in pretty much every Irfan course in haouzas and there is even debates about him being a shia or a sunni...

Ibn Arabi was definitely not a Shi’i. Going on YouTube, I see very harsh criticism of Ibn Arabi by Ithna Ashari mullas, for example, this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWjG7vl6Zbw

By the way, this is the same individual (Mahdi a-Modarresi) who teaches that sayyidina Ali radi Allahu anhu is equal in rank to the Prophet sall Allahu alaihi wasallam, God forbid. Apparently this is an acceptable belief among the Shi’ah community, it isn’t at all scandalous for them let alone a heresy. But I digress.

read the first chapters of Al Kafi which is really metaphysical and super deep

I have read al-Kafi, the first chapters. There’s nothing “super deep” about it. In fact, pardon me for saying so, it’s quite laughable, like reading fairy tales meant to entertain little children. They aren’t really about esotericism, but describing the aqidah of the Ithna Ashari sect. You seem to imagine that describing beliefs about how the Imams have super powers and are essentially not human is some kind of profound mysticism and esotericism. It’s not really. If it were, then you would have to acknowledge mainstream Christianity as extremely esoteric and mystical too, because their conception of Christology is quite irrational, or “mysterious” as they would say.

About Ismailis and batiniyah, I don't know what you are talking about when you say "real esotericism", but I think what I said earliers adresses it somewhat.

Well I think you should define esotericism more clearly, because the term is traditionally used to describe the Isma’ili doctrine. They say that the rites of Islam, like prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity, etc., have an outward manifestation and an inward manifestation. The Nizari Isma’ilis tend to practice only what they perceive to be the inward manifestation. For example, the inner meaning of Hajj for them is to visit the Imam, hence they don’t perform the outward Hajj to Mecca but only the inward hajj by visiting the Aga Khan. Other Isma’ilis observe both the outer and inner interpretation of these rites.

Are you arguing that in your sect of Shi’ism there is a similar concept, that the rites of Islam have an inner meaning and manifestation? That would actually be an example of esotericism. Keep in mind that mysticism and esotericism are not necessarily synonymous. So I think in order for this discussion to be more fruitful and for me to understand your views better, you should be more precise in defining what exactly it is you mean by esoteric.

Regarding the prophet initiating some but not everyone : The ayat doesn't state "publicly" so there is no contradiction with him dispensing his hidden knowledge to a selected few, depending on their capacity

Well then the question arises how did this secret knowledge become public, how did it reach the ordinary members of your sect? Is it contained in your literature, is it openly taught in the pulpits of your places of worship by your mullas? I agree with the idea that the Prophet taught things but since he had literally tens of thousands of companions and disciples, obviously not every one of them was privy to everything he taught, they weren’t always in his presence. But whatever he taught, it was transmitted by those who received that knowledge. None of them would deliberately hide that knowledge from others, especially if approached about it. Do you agree with this?

'Ali provided his version of the Quran and it got rejected. He is said to have stated "No one will see this version until the end of times".

Oh wow, so you actually believe there are “versions” of the Quran? Are each of the versions valid and divinely revealed? Or is only the version that was in the possession of sayyidina Ali, but rejected as you claim, the true Quran?

Taqqiya can be use to save your life and hide your true beliefs. But it's deeper understanding is far more interesting. It's the fact that not everyone is able to handle every truth. So in order to avoid overwhelming someone fragile, or with poor understanding of complex stuff, you try to only display the lower levels.

Okay I see, this sort of answers my earlier question in this e-mail about hidden knowledge, and what is your position on sharing this hidden knowledge. According to you, taqiyah is the concealment of this knowledge from people with rawness in their understanding. In a sense I can accept and agree with that. But I can’t imagine that there are fundamental truths and beliefs of Islam that could ever be concealed from anyone. That is surely against the very spirit of Islam and what is taught by our Prophet and our Scripture.

Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 12:55 PM
  •  Sarki Steven

Okay, now that you’ve explained a bit your concept of Wilayah, let me put forward our concept, and let’s do a bit of comparing and contrasting.

The first critical difference is that your system of Wilayah has ceased after twelve Imams. Muslim history is 15 centuries old, but all of your Walis appeared, consecutively, in the first two and half centuries of Muslim history. So for the lion’s share of Muslim history there was no present Wali. And you believe it is impossible for there to be a 13th Imam. This is highly problematic and a major weakness in your concept of Wilayah. Essentially your system of Wilayah isn’t a living institution.

As for us, we do not restrict Wilayah to a handful of individuals that only lived in the first two and half centuries of Islam. On the contrary, we not only have a galaxy of Awliya in contrast to your 12, we believe this institution shall persist till Judgment Day. We also believe that at the head of every century Allah personally raises up a special kind of Wali known as a Mujaddid, a divinely appointed Reformer. We also have tradition in Sunni Islam that there are always at least 40 Abdal living in the Ummah. Again, if you read our Tadkirat al-Awliya literature you will read about literally hundreds of great saints in this Ummah who were incredibly pious, had deep knowledge of the Religion, and performed many mind boggling miracles and feats, for the purpose of demonstrating the truth of Islam.

We also accept the Wilayah of your imams (with the exception of the 12th whose existence is doubtful). But we don’t restrict ourselves to only 12, we have a galaxy of Awliya. If you read the Quran, and you claim the Quran has an inner and outer meaning, that is certainly true, there is an inner meaning to the verses of the Quran. For example, the mention of stars repeatedly throughout the Quran has the inner meaning of reference to saints of this Ummah. But tell me, is a sky with only twelve stars not inferior in beauty and wonder to a clear sky at night with thousands of visible stars? They lit up the heavens, but in our spiritual paradigm, they are only reflecting the light of the sun – whose inner meaning is the Prophesy of Muhammad sall Allahu alaihi wasallam

Consider it also from this angle. The institution of Wilayah is meant to be a substitution for Prophesy, which has been discontinued in the formal sense after Prophet Muhammad sall Allahu alaihi wasallam.

In ancient Israel Prophets appeared in the hundreds. At times there were multiple Prophets living simultaneously. The Quran says this Ummah is the best, we are suppose to be superior in excellence to the nations that preceded us. But rationally how can we claim to be superior to ancient Israel when God sent them Prophets in the hundreds, and all we have is 12 Imams, that too only in the first two and a half centuries of our history, but for 12 centuries we didn’t even have an Imam/Wali. How unfortunate are we?! We’ve been deprived of such a great blessing which God poured out upon ancient Israel.

Okay, here’s another difference between our and your concept of Wilayah. According to you, Wilayah is basically genetic, it is restricted to a particular genealogy of a particular family. No doubt that family and that genealogy is honorable and possesses great virtue, but to make this institution of sainthood a family dynasty is quite problematic. It’s the idea that Believer who are outside of that family and genealogy are unable to acquire the lofty rank of Wilayah. That is definitely against the egalitarian and universal spirit of Islam which is so evident in the Quran and teachings of the Prophet sall Allahu alaihi wasallam. I perceive this as a major shortcoming of your concept of Wilayah.

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 1:09 PM
  •  You
Regarding Esoteric and shia Islam : You answered some of my points but didn't speak about others and digressed upon some too as if you have disproved anything. My point is : Shia Islam is tied to esotericism, and Shi'a Irfan has close bounds with sufism. I provided you with many books, sources, examples of links between shia Islam and the esoteric. Type "Sufism" in al-islam.org and see how many results there is. There are strong points of divergence, and it's often addressed, some dumb Shias even curse sufis on a daily basis but they don't understand much of what they say and are just afraid of the concepts they bring to the table, but in the end it's really close.

Bâtin is at the absolute core of the Imams mission since the beginning, I really don't understand how you could think it has nothing to do with Shi'a Islam or arrived late. I mean, even Wikipedia talks about it...It's because it's so strongly linked to esoteric stuff that many sufis revered Imam 'Ali (May I remind you that all sufi tariqat but one, are tied to Imam 'Ali in their silsila) and Imam Jaafar, that Ismailis became solely an esoteric sect (it wasn't that way at the beginning), that Ibn Arabi is studied in hawzas, that most esoteric sects and exagerators come from Shia Islam etc. How many examples do you need to actually do your research and get your fact straight. You seem to project you beliefs and refuse the see the obvious. Read the hadiths narrated by Muffadhal a close companion of imam Jaafar (Pearls of Wisdom or his Tawhid)

One of the most famous hadith shaping the Shia path is "Know your self (nafs) and you'll know your enemy / Know your enemy and you'll know your Imam / Know your Imam and you'll know your Lord) and it comes over and over." I'll stop there but you really need to do your research with an open mind, this is so obvious that I don't even see how you could miss it.

I don't know what you consider to be "early", but all the examples I gave you happened during the time of Imams. This is actually considered the first part of the history of shia thought basically and sound fairly early to me. I'm going to stop there, but I feel the more I give you examples, the more you try to pin point small flaws to disregard the rest. The wilayat IS the esoteric of propecy. If after all this, you still think Shia Islam has nothing to do with bâtin, don't even bother replying as I will judge pursuing this discussion pointless.

Regarding Zaidis, I don't even understand what makes you think you're able to judge "the purer and original form of Shia Islam", this is laughable. Is it because it's the closest to your actual opinion ? What do you base this statement on ? This is pretty much the only shias without any bâtin dimension. They have a fully political view, with pretty much zero mysticism/irfan (they are pretty much mu'tazilis in disguise, basing everything or rationality) so it might feel close to home, but after all of this chat, I don't see how you would be able to assess which shi'a is the less wrong.

Well I think you should define esotericism more clearly, because the term is traditionally used to describe the Isma’ili doctrine.

What the actual f... ?
Bâtin is a basic word meaning something "hidden", an inner thing, and is opposed to bâtin, being "apparent", the outer/obvious stuff. How is that "traditionnaly used to describe Ismaili doctrine" ? This is just common to shias (and sufis, and alchemists, etc.) that is all. Nothing fancy, I'm just appaled at your ignorance. Esoterical / Exoterical is pretty much the same etymological meaning, but in ancient greek.

So what you said about the esoteric meaning of 5 pillars is an example of those 2 dimensions (We actually even have more, there is the Esoteric, the Exoteric, the Esoteric of the exoteric, and the Esoteric of the esoteric). The same could be said about the ghusl, the sujud, the shahada, or every ayat (7,70,700 different meanings, depending on the hadith). Everything can be understood at different levels, the practice of religion, every mundane daily activity like eating, dressing yourself up, every traditionnal work, every part of the creation, the stars, the moon, the sun, the planets, the tides, eclipses, earthquakes etc. Signs are everywhere, everything can become dhikr and we just need to unveil it.
 
The only thing I want to correct is when you mention them not doing Hajj. In shia Islam, balance in all things is to be achieved. Meaning, you need both the esoteric and the exoteric, no matter how "knowledgeable" you are, no matter how deep you understand things. Each of them need to other and you can't decide to stop praying because "you don't need it anymore" for example. 

Regarding you not liking Al Kafi, I don't know how much you read, but go to the book of tawheed and see what the Imams have to say about Allah. Quick appetizer : 

(It has been narrated) from Abu Abdullahasws having said: ‘A Rabbi from the Rabbis came over to Amir Al-Momineen and he said, ‘O Amir Al-Momineen! When was your Lord (from)?’ He said: ‘Woe be unto you! But rather, it is said, ‘When was it’, for what did not happen to be. So, as for what always was, so you cannot say when it was (from). He was before the ‘before’ without there being a ‘before’, and (will be) after the ‘after’ without there being an ‘after’, and there is no termination to an end-point to end His end-point’. So he said to him, ‘Are you a Prophet?’ So he said: ‘For your mother be the bereavement! But rather, I am a servant from the servants of RasoolAllah’. 

Do you find it still to be a fairy tale merely for kids, or is it just pure metaphysics ?

Well then the question arises how did this secret knowledge become public, how did it reach the ordinary members of your sect? Is it contained in your literature, is it openly taught in the pulpits of your places of worship by your mullas?

It is, but as I said, taqqiya and dispersion of knowledge makes it hard to access, and Allah said "I respond to the call of one who calls, whenever he calls to Me: let them, then, respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided. (THE QURAN 2: 186)", so when a question arises in your mind, if you're patient enough He'll find a way to provide you with an answer. Be it from a bum across the street, a scholar you meet, a youtube video, a book (shia or not actually), or just inspiration (meaning you find the answer in your head, kinda like the platonician reminiscence). Any way He wills.

I agree with the idea that the Prophet taught things but since he had literally tens of thousands of companions and disciples, obviously not every one of them was privy to everything he taught, they weren’t always in his presence. But whatever he taught, it was transmitted by those who received that knowledge. None of them would deliberately hide that knowledge from others, especially if approached about it. Do you agree with this?

No I don't. As I said, Taqqiya is also practiced between the closest companions (I told you abour Abu Dhar and Salman for example). There is no problem with sharing the outer meanings, but once you  get in the more complex / esoteric stuff, you can't just throw it publicly as it would be dangerous for weaker minded/simple people. Trust me I've had enough arguments with Shias to know you can't share everything with everyone, even if it's from a reliable source or whatever. Some things are definitely harder to handle than others.
 We actually have many hadiths about that aspect of taqqiya and it's mandatory. The Imams also gave different answers depending on the 'aql of the person they were speaking with.


Oh wow, so you actually believe there are “versions” of the Quran? Are each of the versions valid and divinely revealed? Or is only the version that was in the possession of sayyidina Ali, but rejected as you claim, the true Quran?

I wont give you too many details on what I believe about it, and I'll be down to the point : I don't care. This is the only Quran we have currently available, Imam 'Ali (and every other Imam) said it was sufficient, so that's good enough for me. As simple as that. The rest is merely thoughts and conjectures, and I they are definitely not needed for this conversation. I'd rather focus on what common ground we have than what divergences we have especially when they don't matter at the moment.


Okay I see, this sort of answers my earlier question in this e-mail about hidden knowledge, and what is your position on sharing this hidden knowledge. According to you, taqiyah is the concealment of this knowledge from people with rawness in their understanding. In a sense I can accept and agree with that. But I can’t imagine that there are fundamental truths and beliefs of Islam that could ever be concealed from anyone. That is surely against the very spirit of Islam and what is taught by our Prophet and our Scripture.

It's nice to see we can finally agree on something. I'll elaborate a little in that case. There is no equality in creation, not between species (a slug isn't a lion), nor between humans (a prince isn't a layman, a man isn't a woman). So everybody has been dealt different cards. Some have a better hand, others have a weaker hand. But wait, Allah is unfair then ? No because He judges everyone according to his capacities, to the cards that were dealt to him when he arrived in this world. The more you know, the harder it gets, and the higher you can fall from. Think of Ibliss, who attained closeness like no others, refused a simple order from Allah (and somewhat rightfully so, after all Adam was made of clay and he was made of fire) and this small error brought him all the way down.

.Now when you refer to "fundamental truths and beliefs", obviously it's available to anyone, but that's not what we were talking about . We were talking about the deeper stuff, precisely. Shariat is for everyone, the different layers of Haqiqat aren't. Even the shahada can be understood at higher levels, yet every muslim prononces it multiple times daily.

Sarki Steven <sarki.et.hutch@gmail.com>
Tue 2/16/2021 1:34 PM
  •  You
I'll try to be brief but you're mistaken on many things : 

- The wilayat isn't dead, the 12th Imam is still alive albeit in occultation (hidden from our view / incognito to this world)
- There is actually a reason why it is so, and why we are in what could be called "the night of occultation" (I wont explain, read the books if you are interested)
- There are even hadiths stating that he'll be gone for so long that most people would have forget about him, or thought it was a mistake to believe in him in the first place.
- We do not restrict Wilayat to 12 people, a believer can actually hope to become a wali (a friend of god) too, and even attain the station of the Imams, like Salman did with his 10/10th of knowledge. 

Your rant about stars and stuff makes me think of a hadiths about the end of times, where Shias will be seen as "Worshipers of the Sun and moon)

I understand your remarks and they are perfectly sound, but I won't go into much detail for now except what I clarified in this message. Just know that every thing that bugged you (the genealogy stuff, the "why only 12", etc.) comes from a lack of understanding of the deeper meanings of wilayat, nubuwat and the true nature of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) etc. I won't go further because I don't know you and will practice taqqiya in that case. Where we discussing face to face, I might have had gone further, but this is enough on that matter. I can't recommend you enough to read the book by Corbin, as it addresses every point you mentionned and much more.

I also recommend you to read books about metaphysics, especially when it's about time cycles and eschatology (Maybe René Guénon's work ?). The last prophet coming to this world, the last Imam hidden to this world until the end of times. All of this is related, and isn't just happening randomly. This displays metaphysics and cosmic realities.

That's it for now, I wish you the best in your search for Truth, and I hope I was able to share a more positive light on shia Islam, far from the usual prejudices attributed to us.

Assalamu 'alaykum
May He guide us both
Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 1:44 PM
  •  Sarki Steven

There’s no doubt that at present Twelver Shi’ism values esotericism, at least the mainstream. That’s not in dispute. If we concede that even in early Shi’ism there was the presence of esoteric and mystical thinking, we have to determine whether that was due to external influence of Sufism – which as I said is originally a Sunni enterprise that arose independently of Shi’ism – or whether, as you seem to suggest, the it arose from within Shi’ism. The point about Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq is interesting. As you know, we Sunnis claim him as our own. We definitely don’t consider him a Shi’ite in the sense that the term is used today, as being defined by a particular theology, concept of Imamate, etc. There’s no doubt he possessed vast knowledge, including knowledge of mysticism and esoteric meanings, which I believe he did transmit down to the well-known Sunni paths of Sufism – including Naqshbandi.

If we speak of raw, unadulterated Shi’ism though, we are talking about an originally and purely political movement that has its roots in the uprising of Mukhtar al-Thaqafi (whom we regard as a pretender). The later accretions of Shi’ism in mysticism and theology were surely external contributions, not only from Sufism, but in theology, the main contribution was from the Mu’tazilites.

Twelver theology more or less imported Mu’tazilism with respect to the conception of God – the controversies of divine attributes in particular. Likewise, they imported Mu’tazilism into their creed concerning qadar and free will. These are two major contributions of Mu’tazilism to Twelver Shi’ite theology (and also to the theology of the Zaidis and the Ibadi Kharijites). The Mu’tazilah no longer exist as an independent sect, but their main ideas survive in the theologies of the Imamiyah, the Zaidiyah and the Ibadiyah.

Of course, Shi’ite literature ascribes narrations to their early Imams meant to validate that Mu’tazilite theology, but such narrations are very questionable in their soundness. One of the proofs of this is that the theology of early Shi’ism, as we learn from early Shi’ite figures like Yunus b. Abd ur-Rahman al-Qummi, Hisham b. al-Hakam, Dawud al-Jawabiri, Hisham b. Salim, and others, was not monolithic, in fact, these Imamiyah Shi’ite theologians diverged considerably in their conception of God from the Mu’tazilite doctrine that was later standardized for the Shi’ites.

In summary, if you deny the reality of evolution and development of Shi’ism in terms of theology and doctrines, there’s nothing I can do for you. You are definitely rejecting the scholarly consensus of those who are experts on the subject, including, I strongly suspect, your Henry Corbin.

Why do I think Zaidis are a purer form of Shi’ism. Well it’s not because they are closer to us Sunnis. It’s based on an objective analysis. It’s well known and agreed upon by the scholarly consensus (I’m talking about secular scholarly consensus), that the doctrine of Imamate, as in Imams being infallible like Prophets, and the idea that an Imam is divinely appointed by God Himself, is a later development that was totally unknown in the early period of Islam among any of the emerging factions, including the proto-Shi’ites.

Regarding you not liking Al Kafi, I don't know how much you read, but go to the book of tawheed and see what the Imams have to say about Allah. Quick appetizer :



(It has been narrated) from Abu Abdullahasws having said: ‘A Rabbi from the Rabbis came over to Amir Al-Momineen and he said, ‘O Amir Al-Momineen! When was your Lord (from)?’ He said: ‘Woe be unto you! But rather, it is said, ‘When was it’, for what did not happen to be. So, as for what always was, so you cannot say when it was (from). He was before the ‘before’ without there being a ‘before’, and (will be) after the ‘after’ without there being an ‘after’, and there is no termination to an end-point to end His end-point’. So he said to him, ‘Are you a Prophet?’ So he said: ‘For your mother be the bereavement! But rather, I am a servant from the servants of RasoolAllah’.



Do you find it still to be a fairy tale merely for kids, or is it just pure metaphysics ?

Yes, as I said before, narrations like these in al-Kafi have nothing to do with esotericism or mysticism, they are simply describing your theology. Incidentally, this narration even gives us a strong indication of how Imamiyah Shi’ism gradually developed and changed. Notice the shock when Imam Ja’far is asked if he is a Prophet, and consider his answer carefully, he humbles himself by saying “no I’m such one of the servants from the servants of the Messenger of Allah”. As you know, Imamiyah Shi’ism now believes that the Imams are superior to all the Prophets from Adam till Jesus. They also believe that Imamate is a superior rank than Nubuwwah. But from this narration it’s quite plain that Imam Ja’far didn’t subscribe to such a notion. He was taken aback when someone asked him if he was a Prophet, because apparently he knew that the rank of Prophesy is too great to be ascribed to him, he’s just a humble servant of the Apostle Muhammad sall Allahu alaihi wasallam.

Finally, regarding your belief in their being versions of the Quran, I understand that isn’t the subject of our discussion – which is meant to be focused on Wilayah. But I’ll just say that’s another major reason why we reject your madhhab as heresy. The belief in the divine revelation and preservation of the Quran is a central tenet of Islam.

Judah Khader
Tue 2/16/2021 2:02 PM
  •  Sarki Steven

The wilayat isn't dead, the 12th Imam is still alive albeit in occultation (hidden from our view / incognito to this world)”

For all intents and purposes it is dead. Whether your Wali is simply hidden, incognito, or he might as well be dead and buried in a grave – the result is the same, there’s no present Wali to practically guide the people or manage their affairs – which according to your sect is the essential role of a Wali.

As for the reason of this occultation, it’s immaterial, the practical reality is there is no Wali now in the world who is discharging the basic role of a Wali. You can compare it to an absent father. Children growing up need a dad. What’s the difference between an orphan whose dad has died, and between a child whose dad abandoned the family and is nowhere to be seen? For all intents and purposes both the orphan and the child whose dad left him and never came back home are in the same boat. Sure, one of those kids can boast to the other “my dad is still alive and yours is dead”, but it’s quite a shallow approach.

We do not restrict Wilayat to 12 people, a believer can actually hope to become a wali (a friend of god) too, and even attain the station of the Imams, like Salman did with his 10/10th of knowledge. “

See this is why these discussions are necessary. You learn something new you didn’t know before. That’s why I request you not to run away again but remain engaged and continue to discuss the wilayah. Perhaps you think my questions are too challenging and you can’t adequately answer.

Now this is a new revelation for me that your sect doesn’t restrict Imamate to the twelve but also regards sayyidina Salman radi Allahu anhu as, in your words, having “attained the station of the Imams”. Is this your personal interpretation or is it the standard doctrine of the Ithna Asharis? If it is the latter, may I have some reference for it, because I genuinely never knew this before.

Just know that every thing that bugged you (the genealogy stuff, the "why only 12", etc.) comes from a lack of understanding of the deeper meanings of wilayat, nubuwat and the true nature of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) etc.”

Comes from a lack of understanding, so what is this discussion for if not for you to help me understand? Once again you are running away and claiming it’s because you have to do taqiyah. How convenient. I’m genuinely honest when I say this comes across as nothing more than you being unable to intellectually and rationally respond to the questions I’ve put forward on your concept of Wilayah. This is very disappointing.

As for me, I am totally open to being questioned, I say bring it on, you won’t find me running away or making excuses why I can’t answer.

Any ways, take care. Wasalaam.

Discussion on Ahmadiyya and Islam

Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 12:51 PM
  •  ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ


Brother Bashir Ahmad Shah:

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله

My name is Mohammed Abdul Khader. Firstly, I want to thank you for giving me your contact as earlier requested. I very much look forward to having a dispassionate, academic discussion with you on this, your apparent subject of expertise.

At the outset, would you kindly explain what your own approach to Islam is so that this discussion will bear fruit and hopefully prove to be productive in both sides engaging each other meaningfully?

I mean would you consider yourself a mainstream, orthodox Sunni Muslim? Or do you have an alternative approach to theology and praxis in Islam?

جزاكم الله

والسلام

Mohammed Abdul Khader

Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 1:02 PM
  •  You
Yes sure...call me, . Are you in America? 

ADMIN
Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 1:08 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

No, I’m in Vancouver Island, Canada. My number is (250) 618-6937. I will in sha Allah call you when I get the opportunity. But I believe a written exchange would be far superior to a telephone discussion. What do you think?

You shouldn’t be any stranger to a written discussion, since you are running your own blog. Btw, I also have a blog, not as popular as yours, but it is two years older than yours:

www.salvationfromhell.com

I have over 800 posts on a variety of subjects related to Islam, other religions and sects.

I also have a YouTube channel but it’s not that active. I have previously had both live and online debates with various Sunni Ulama:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx7l4emHO1NUP-Vo26qjTDA

والسلام

Mohammed Abdul Khader

Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 1:19 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

As for specific topic(s) of discussion, examining your blog and YouTube channel it appears your focus is on the Ahmadiyya organization itself, the system of Khilafah, and the personalities associated with Ahmadiyya, namely, Hadrat Mirza sahib and his successors. I must confess my own focus is on doctrinal controversies, i.e., the cessation of prophesy, the death of the Messiah of Nazareth, continuinty of divine revelation. I naturally prefer a discussion on one or more of these topics if you are willing, since they are more fundamental. But I am also open to discussing the personality of Hadrat Mirza sahib, whom I hold in high esteem and consider a great Islamic saint, reformer and Messiah.

والسلام

Mohammed Abdul Khader

Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 2:11 PM
  •  You
Sounds good, talk to you then. 
Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 2:14 PM
  •  You
Yes..that is perfect. What about Sir Syed? MGA basically stole everything from him. 


BAshir 
Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 2:20 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

What do you mean by “everything”? What exactly did he “steal”?

In my understanding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Sir Syed were very different from each other. Sir Syed was a modernist and a materialist. Mirza sahib actually refuted him very beautifully in Barakat ud-Du’a which was written in response to Sir Syed’s ad-Du’a wal-Istijabah.

Let me quote some of Sir Syed’s controversial statements in that text:

پس اگر استجابت دعا کے معنی سوال کا پورا ہونا قرار دیے جاویں تو خدا کا یہ وعدہ کہ

اَدْعُوْنِى اَسْتَجِبْلَكُمْ

ان سوالوں پر جنکا ہونا مقدر نہیں ہے کسی طرح صادق نہیں آسکتا۔

(pp.4-5)




Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 2:22 PM
  •  You
MGA only disagreed with Sir Syed on prayers...

Sir Syed was the first Muslim to ever deny the miracles of Esa, and his second return, and the miraaj, and the concept of the mahdi. 

Bashir 
Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 2:23 PM
  •  You
Its funny....in this book, MGA didnt mention what he agreed with Sir Syed on...which is 90% of his own new aqidah. MGA added the Yuz asaf theory too and propehthood. 

Bashir 
Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 3:02 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

MGA only disagreed with Sir Syed on prayers...”

That is quite the tall claim, but I give you credit for amending it:

MGA added the Yuz asaf theory too and propehthood.”

Now the thing is disagreeing over the nature of Prophesy, and on the subject of the continuity and occurrence of divine revelation in the Ummah is a major and very fundamental difference between Hadrat Mirza sahib and Sir Syed. Hadrat Mirza’s entire fikr on the topic of divine revelation and prophesy is what most attracts me to him, and I think it is his major contribution to Islamic thought as a Reformer. Sir Syed being a naturalist and a materialist obviously differed from Hadrat Mirza sahib on this significant controversy.

Sir Syed was the first Muslim to ever deny the miracles of Esa, and his second return, and the miraaj, and the concept of the mahdi.”

Each of these is an arguable point. Firstly, Sir Syed denied everything considered “miraculous” by mainstream Muslims, not merely the specific miracles and signs of Jesus Christ. Hadrat Mirza sahib, however, never went to that extent. Hadrat Mirza sahib affirmed, generally speaking, the Sunni belief in mu’jizāt and karamāt. Hadrat Mirza sahib explicitly denounced the heresies of naturalism and materialism.

Secondly, Hadrat Mirza sahib possibly did have similar views on the nature of Jesus’s miracles, like raising the dead back to life, with Sir Syed. However, just because Sir Syed had a view doesn’t necessarily mean it is false. Hadrat Mirza sahib’s views on the miracles of Jesus are in accord with the fundamental teaching of the Quran. It is the Quran which explicitly states that it is not possible for the souls of the deceased to return to life in this world. Furthermore, prior to Sir Syed there may have been some medieval Sufis and other Muslims who re-interpreted the miracles and signs of Jesus Christ as mentioned in the Quran with a more figurative interpretation. Overall, Mirza sahib was more aligned with Sufism and Islamic mysticism than the anti-mystical, ultra-rationalist and materialist thought of Sir Syed and the Aligarh school of thought.

Regarding the second advent of Jesus, here you are even more incorrect than on the point about miracles. There are several great Islamic scholars and mystics who held that Jesus was deceased. Some even said that his second advent is not to be understood literally, but may be fulfilled in the raising up of a saintly Ummati who bears resemblance to the original Jesus of Nazareth. Regarding the death of Jesus, aside from the explicit teaching of the holy Quran, I can also quote several Islamic scholar who precede Sir Syed, in most instances by centuries, in believing that Jesus is deceased, for example, Imam Malik and Ibn Hazm.

Regarding the Mi’raj, again, I can cite several great Islamic scholars and mystics who preceded both Hadrat Mirza sahib and Sir Syed who believed the Mi’raj was not a bodily ascension but a spiritual ascension only, or otherwise a vision, going back to some of the Prophet’s own Companions. The basis for Hadrat Mirza’s views on the matter is certainly not Sir Syed, but the explicit statements in the Quran, in the Hadith including Sahih al-Bukhari, the statements of various Sahabah رضى الله عنهم and Imams and mystics.

Personally, I think it would be better if we actually discuss these doctrinal controversies in light of the Quran rather than discuss whether Hadrat Mirza sahib was influenced by Sir Syed in these matters.

Finally, regarding the Mahdi, again your claim that Sir Syed was the first to deny the prophecies founded in our Hadith literature concerning the coming of the Mahdi is patently false. He was preceded in this by other Muslims. Perhaps most notably Ibn Khaldun who criticized the authenticity of all the narrations on the Mahdi in his Muqaddimah. Likewise, historically there were many Muslim sects, prior to Sir Syed and the modernists, who denied the belief in the coming of a Fatimid Mahdi, such as the Kharijites, Mu’tazilites, Umayyads, and others. The irony is that Hadrat Mirza sahib never outright denied the concept of a Fatimid Mahdi. In fact he wrote that there is a distinct possibility a Mahdi from the progeny of sayyida Fatimah سلام الله عليها named Muhammad would appear according to the literal purport of the narrations to that effect:

اور ممکن ہے کہ امام محمدص کے نام پر بھی کوئی مہدی ظاہر ہو

(Ruhani Khaza’in v.3 p.379):


Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 3:07 PM
  •  You
OK. Good. So we agree that MGA copied 90% of his theology from Sir Syed? Except for the continuation of prophethood and Yus asaf? 


Bashir 
Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 3:14 PM
  •  You
Sir Syed and his denial of Esa (as)'s miracles is kufr. No Muslim scholar ever dentied this. He even denied the miraculous birth of Esa (As)...MGA copied that too. 

Souls dont leave the body until a few minutes after death. The process of CPR has confirmed that. 

Name one Muslim before Sir Syed who denied the miracles of Esa (as)...

MGA was not a Sufi, he used them for his ideas on prophethood and only to confuse the masses. 

NO Muslim ever said that Esa (as) is dead and would never physically return. THey only said that mutawafeeka might mean that he will die after his second return. Or, that he died and was still physically lifted to heaven and then revived. Nevertheless, Ibn Hazm and all of those people still believed in the physical return of Esa (As) and the substitution theory. FACTS. 

You are mistaken with most of your data...and specifically about the Miraaj. 

Again...you are wrong...MGA called all the hadith about the Mahdi as doubtful, see BA5. 
Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 3:17 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

OK. Good. So we agree that MGA copied 90% of his theology from Sir Syed? Except for the continuation of prophethood and Yus asaf?”

No, Shah. It doesn’t seem like you are reading or engaging my answers fully, just perhaps the first couple of lines and drawing your own conclusions. I specifically pointed out that Mirza sahib and Sir Syed had very fundamental differences on prophesy and revelation. How is that only a 10% difference in theology? That is surely more than 10%. I also pointed out that Hadrat Mirza sahib was totally opposed to Sir Syed’s naturalism, materialism, and determinism. To say they agreed in their theology 90% is very misleading. In a sense, virtually all Muslims, despite sectarian differences, agree in 90% of their theology. Virtually all Muslims believe Allah is One, believe in Angels, Scriptures, Prophets, Afterlife, Resurrection, Heaven and Hell. Hadrat Mirza sahib and the Ahmadiyya movement is therefore in agreement with 90% of most other Muslims in theology. Why are you specifically pointing out similarities in Sir Syed in very limited matters unless you have an axe to grind? Sir Syed’s deviations are considerably greater than that of Hadrat Mirza sahib from an orthodox Sunni perspective. Sir Syed believed Angels are simply natural forces. Furthermore, Sir Syed was a freethinker, whereas Hadrat Mirza sahib was very close to orthodox Sunnism and was an adherent of the Hanafi school. Hadrat Mirza sahib was more of a traditionalist, he was very orthodox in his approach to theology and praxis, he valued the Sufi legacy and was very insistent on following the Hadith, unlike Sir Syed.

Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 3:29 PM
  •  You
We disagree on this. However, MGA took 90% of Sir Syed's  naturalism, materialism, and determinism. 

Right? 

Sir Syed denied the islamic concept of Hell...so did MGA. 

I disagree, MGA's deviations are much worse, since MGA claimed prophethood and to be the second coming of Esa (as)...sir syed can be dismissed, since he wasnt even a scholar. 

I am proving that MGA stole the ideas around Esa (As) directly from Sir Syed. That much is obvious. 

MGA did not adhere to the Hanafi fiqh...MGA was a wahabi, ahle hadith, his nikkah was performed by them in 1884. He married their girl too. 

MGA lied in one instance and told Noroudin to pretend to be Hanafi in connection with Nooruddin's marriage. 
Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 3:45 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

Sir Syed and his denial of Esa (as)'s miracles is kufr.”

I haven’t properly investigated the details of Sir Syed’s views on Jesus’s miracles, but I will say that you shouldn’t confuse re-interpretation with outright rejection. The latter may be kufr but the former certainly isn’t. At least I can speak on behalf of Hadrat Mirza sahib that he never outright rejected the miracles of Jesus, but only re-interpreted them in a slight departure from the mainstream interpretation. In fact, the irony is that you seem to indicate that you actually agree with Hadrat Mirza’s interpretation of Jesus raising the dead back to life when you say:

Souls dont leave the body until a few minutes after death. The process of CPR has confirmed that.”

And do you know what Hadrat Mirza sahib said about Jesus raising the dead back to life? He wrote that it means those who were close to dying قريب المرگ were revived. He explicitly stated that they were those upon whom the decree of death wasn’t made yet, and whose souls the Angel of Death hadn’t completely extracted yet. They were dead in a medical sense. Hadrat Mirza sahib explained this beautifully when he spoke of how through his own prayer his infant son Bashir, who was medically dead, was revived. Then he said if Jesus every raised the dead back to life this is how it was.

Whether you agree or disagree, to say that such a belief is kufr is grossly incorrect. It is the only conceivable way to reconcile the verses in the Quran which on one hand state that the souls of the deceased cannot return to this world and on the other hand which speak of Jesus raising the dead back to life. In Arabic language, موتى and ميّت can also include those who are about to die, on their deathbed but not actually dead.

He even denied the miraculous birth of Esa (As)...MGA copied that too.”

Hadrat Mirza sahib never denied the virgin birth. In fact he explicitly affirmed it. Yes, the Lahori sect deny the virgin birth, but that is one of their major deviations and departures from the original teachings of Hadrat Mirza sahib. Btw, I am neither a Lahori or a Qadiani, just a fan and lover of Hadrat Mirza sahib.

Name one Muslim before Sir Syed who denied the miracles of Esa (as)...”

The point is moot. Neither do I nor Hadrat Mirza sahib deny the miracles of Jesus. As for Sir Syed, I have nothing to do with him, but I’ll take your word for it that he outright denied the miracles of Jesus.

Ibn Hazm and all of those people still believed in the physical return of Esa (As) and the substitution theory. FACTS.”

No it’s not a fact. Wahb bin Munabbih رضى الله عنه didn’t believe in the substitution theory. He believed Jesus was put on the cross and died by means of crucifixion, but that the attribution of this death is to Allah alone and not to those who say “we killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Apostle of Allah”. Personally, I think this view has a lot of merit. The substitution theory is really a liability for those who believe it, because it has no historical basis. Every secular historian affirms that the historical Jesus was put on the cross by order of Pontius Pilate. There is multiple attestation to this fact in independent sources much prior to the revelation of the Quran. If Muslims continue to insist on this substitution doctrine they will only serve to undermine the veracity of Islam. Why then do contemporary Islamic apologists and evangelists, notably Dr. Zakir Naik and his mentor Ahmad Deedat, reject the substitution doctrine in favor of the swoon theory? They know that if they insist on the substitution doctrine the Christian polemicists will eat them for breakfast.

Again...you are wrong...MGA called all the hadith about the Mahdi as doubtful, see BA5.”

As did Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 CE). And Hadrat Mirza sahib explicit affirmed the soundness of at least one Hadith on the Mahdi:

وَلاَ الْمَهْدِيُّ إِلاَّ عِيسَى

Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog <ahmadiyyafactcheckblog@gmail.com>
Fri 1/29/2021 4:05 PM
  •  You
OK..hold on. 

1. in the BA-3 (1882)...MGA denied the miracles of Esa (As). Did you know? He was immediately called a Kafir. This was not re-interpretation...MGA made disparaging remarks towards Esa (as) in this regard. 

2. you seem to indicate that you actually agree with Hadrat Mirza’s interpretation of Jesus raising the dead back to life when you say:

Souls dont leave the body until a few minutes after death. The process of CPR has confirmed that.”

how the heck did you infer this? 

2.a.  In the quran, allah specifically mentions how he allowed Esa (as) to bring a bird back to life. 

2.b. MGA even wrote that if you bash the head of a squirrel, and it seems to die, if you stick his head in cow shit, it will come to life. 

2.c. Dont infer like you just did, its rude and arrogant. Always ask for clarification. Deal? 


3. And do you know what Hadrat Mirza sahib said about Jesus raising the dead back to life? He wrote that it means those who were close to dying قريب المرگ were revived. He explicitly stated that they were those upon whom the decree of death wasn’t made yet, and whose souls the Angel of Death hadn’t completely extracted yet. They were dead in a medical sense. Hadrat Mirza sahib explained this beautifully when he spoke of how through his own prayer his infant son Bashir, who was medically dead, was revived. Then he said if Jesus every raised the dead back to life this is how it was.

MGA never explained it like this. MGA lied and made a parallel to his son. 

3.a.  However, allah was talking about people who have been dead and soul has left. See 3:49 of the quran. And my essay herein--
https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2019/11/28/in-1884-mirza-ghulam-ahmad-was-indirectly-denying-quran-349-as-he-denied-the-miracles-of-esa-as/
3.b. Your reconciliations are bias and incorrect. We reject all of them. 
4. You are mistaken...MGA claimed that it wasnt a miracle, in fact, Mirza Tahir Ahmad called Maryam a hermaphrodite (astagafurllah) (naozobillah), thus, denying the miracles of Allah. 
4.a. In 1904, MGA seems to have claimed that esa (as) wasnt born of a father, however, this was a ghost writer. see my essay herein---
https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/01/25/mirza-ghulam-ahmad-and-his-team-went-back-and-forth-in-terms-of-if-jesus-had-a-biological-father-or-not/

5. No Muslim ever denied the miracles in 3:49 before Sir Syed. Sir Syed only did it to please the British...MGA then copied. These are facts. 
6. You are now mis-representing 
 Wahb bin Munabbih . We can discuss him separetly, however, you didnt address the main issue that I pointed out. That is, they only beleived in Esa (as)'s death in 2 ways, 
1---that he died and then was lifted to the Samaa wattay, and allah revived him. 
2---that 3:55 is out of sequence, and thus mutawafeeka means that Esa (as) will die upon his second return. 
6.a.  Further, you totally ignored the fact that all Muslim scholars believed in the physical second coming of Esa (As). 
7. The substition theory is valid, even shah wali ullah believed in it. Can Muslims deny it...sure. In Islam, everything is up for debate. The problem with Ahmadi's denying it is based on trying to add MGA, which is a terrible motive. Ahmadi's have ulterior motives, that is a major issue. Look at Mufti Abu Layth, he denies all of it and is like Sir Syed, nevertheless, he is tolerated, since he hasnt claimed prophethood and etc. 
8. And that hadith was always called a lie!!  A weak hadith! See...

Bashir  

Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 5:10 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

I am proving that MGA stole the ideas around Esa (As) directly from Sir Syed. That much is obvious.”

Your case is entirely conjectural or circumstantial. It rests on the premise that since Sir Syed and Mirza sahib shared some similar beliefs Mirza sahib must necessarily have “stolen everything” [in your words] from Sir Syed. I don’t even know where to begin with the amount of logical fallacies in this argument.

MGA did not adhere to the Hanafi fiqh...MGA was a wahabi, ahle hadith, his nikkah was performed by them in 1884. He married their girl too.”

Having one’s nikah performed by a cleric of the ahl al-Hadith sect, and marrying the daughter of an ahl al-Hadith individual automatically makes one an ahl al-Hadith adherent? Shah I expected better than this from someone apparently as educated as yourself. Have you read Hadrat Mirza’s review of the “Batalawi-Chakralawi” debate? He clearly states at the conclusion of the review that he and his followers should neither go to the extreme of Hadith-rejection of the so-called “Quranist” movement nor exaggerate in obsession over Hadith to the neglect of the Quran, Sunnah and Hanafi fiqh in the manner of the modern ahl al-Hadith sect. And he said the Quranists are the far more deviated and astray of these two extremes. He repeatedly stated that he is a Hanafi, and that the Hanafi madhhab is the best of all madhahib, it is the one which Allah has favored by giving the greatest amount of acceptance to within the Ummah. Yes, he may have departed from the official position of the Hanafi madhhab in some minor points and favored the ahl al-Hadith view on those specific points instead, but overall he was a Hanafi.

Sir Syed denied the islamic concept of Hell...so did MGA.”

You’ll have to be more specific than that for me to understand what you are referring to. How did Mirza sahib deny the “Islamic concept of Hell”?

1. in the BA-3 (1882)...MGA denied the miracles of Esa (As). Did you know? He was immediately called a Kafir. This was not re-interpretation...MGA made disparaging remarks towards Esa (as) in this regard.”

Again, I have no idea what exactly you are referring to. Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah volume 3 is a relatively large text. If you could quote the precise words of Hadrat sahib in which he allegedly “denied the miracles of Esa (As)” and that it was “not re-interpretation”. Likewise, what are these alleged disparaging remarks concerning Jesus in that book?

how the heck did you infer this?”

I inferred it when you said ‘souls don’t leave the body until a few minutes after death’. I assume you mean to say that Jesus revived the dead within that window of “a few minutes” when the soul hasn’t actually been seized and taken out by the Angel. Correct me if I’m wrong. But if I have accurately represented your belief, that is more or less my belief and the belief of Hadrat sahib. Now the early Muslims who may have believed Jesus literally raised the dead from their graves, long after that window of a “few minutes” had passed, obviously weren’t aware of the medical fact you earlier presented based on CPR. So this is an example of a re-interpretation. You correctly say:

In Islam, everything is up for debate.”

So I wouldn’t say “everything” is up for debate, but yes, things like the reality of how Jesus revived the dead can and should be discussed and re-examined in light of science, medical advancements, rationality and above all - the overall spirit of the Quran’s message.

2.a. In the quran, allah specifically mentions how he allowed Esa (as) to bring a bird back to life.”

I think you’re confusing the story of Jesus with the incident of Abraham and the four birds. The Quran speaks of Jesus breathing into a form which took flight like a bird.

MGA never explained it like this. MGA lied and made a parallel to his son.”

Okay, so let’s actually examine what he said in his own words:

Once I saw in a dream that my fourth son Mubarak Ahmad had died. Within a few days, he had a high fever and lost consciousness eight times. The last time it appeared as if his life had come to an end. I began my supplication on his behalf and while I was so occupied I heard everyone say: ‘Mubarak Ahmad has died.’ I placed my hand on him and there was no pulse or breathing and his eyes seemed petrified like those of a corpse. But my supplication brought an extraordinary change and by my putting my hand on him he began to revive and the signs of life returned. Then I announced in a loud voice to those present: If Jesus son of Mary brought any dead person back to life, it would have been nothing more than this. That is, he would have revived someone near to death like this and not one whose soul might have reached the heavens and conveyed by the Angel of Death to its last resting place.

Please note the last part that I underlined. You rushed to say “MGA never explained it like this” but as you earlier said you want an honest discussion, I hope you will be honest enough to admit your error.

Mirza Tahir Ahmad called Maryam a hermaphrodite (astagafurllah) (naozobillah), thus, denying the miracles of Allah.”

Actually, Mirza Tahir Ahmad discussed two distinct possibilities on how to reconcile the virgin birth with science and rationality. Hermaphroditism was only one such possibility he discussed. Note he never said that is his actual, definitive belief with regard to the virgin birth. The other possibility he discussed in that spectacular book Christianity A Journey from Facts to Fiction was parthenogenesis.

The point is I strongly disagree with you that re-interpreting a miracle mentioned in the Quran with a more rational explanation is necessarily denial of that miracle. There’s a fine line between re-interpretation and outright denial.

In 1904, MGA seems to have claimed that esa (as) wasnt born of a father, however, this was a ghost writer. see my essay herein---”

Your argument is based on a misunderstanding of the context of these kind of remarks from Hadrat sahib. The context of these remarks is that they are polemical responses to Christian missionaries. In Urdu this is known as ilzami jawab. They do not necessarily reflect his own belief regarding the Islamic concept of Jesus. Elsewhere he explicitly affirmed belief in the virgin birth. But if you consult the Canonical Gospels, they do at times seem to suggest that Joseph the carpenter was Jesus’s biological father, otherwise why would the Gospels of Matthew and Luke link Jesus’s descent from King David through the genealogies of Joseph?

Pointing this out in one’s polemics with Christians does not mean a Muslim actually believes the historical Jesus of Nazareth, spoken of in our Quran, didn’t have a virgin birth.

You are now mis-representing Wahb bin Munabbih”

How exactly did I misrepresent him?

Further, you totally ignored the fact that all Muslim scholars believed in the physical second coming of Esa (As).”

Well that’s not entirely true. Yes, I acknowledge that the vast majority of Sunni Muslim Ulama believed and continue to believe in Jesus’s literal second coming as him physically descending from Heaven. However, historically there were Muslims who believed Jesus not only died but that the prophecy of his second coming refers to the coming of a Muslim saint who resembles him. The historian Ibn al-Wardi (d. 749 H) mentions one such group of Muslims:

وقالت فرقة: ‌نزول ‌عيسى ‌خروج ‌رجل ‌يشبه ‌عيسى في الفضل والشرف؛ كما يقال للرجل الخير ملك وللشرير شيطان، تشبيهاً بهما، ولا يراد الأعيان

A section (of the Muslims) say: The descent of Jesus signifies the fact that a man will appear who will resemble Jesus in virtue and excellence. This is like how it is said about a good man that he is an Angel, or about an evil man that he is a Satan, by way of resemblance, but not intending it literally.” (Kharidat ul-Aja’ib wal-Faridat ul-Ghara’ib, p.190):


The problem with Ahmadi's denying it is based on trying to add MGA, which is a terrible motive. Ahmadi's have ulterior motives, that is a major issue.”

You may not be claiming prophethood, but aren’t you claiming to have knowledge of the unseen in being so certain as to what the motive of Mirza sahib and the Ahmadis are for why they reject the substitution theory? I personally reject this theory on its own merits, and am not at all motivated in any sense whatsoever in trying to “add MGA”. The personality of Mirza sahib is totally immaterial to the discussion on the validity of the substitution theory. They are totally separate issues.

And that hadith was always called a lie!! A weak hadith!”

And according to Ibn Khaldun not only that Hadith but every single Hadith about the Mahdi is problematic. He questions the authenticity of every Hadith about the Mahdi, not out of thin air, but with considerable arguments concerning the narrators, etc. Other Mahdi-deniers also point out that there is no mention of the Mahdi in not only the Quran, but also Sahihayn (Bukhari and Muslim) and also the Muwatta of Imam Malik.

But as for the idea that the Mahdi is Jesus himself, granted the Hadith in Ibn Majah is weak, but what about this Hadith:

يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَنْزِلَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، ‌إِمَامًا ‌مَهْدِيًّا، وَحَكَمًا عَدْلًا

And the statement of the exegete Mujahid bin Jabr (d. 722 CE):

الْمَهْدِيُّ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ

The Mahdi is Jesus son of Mary” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah; Kitab uz-Zuhd)

Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 7:08 PM
  •  Ahmadiyyafactcheck blog

Shah, you said you have had literally thousands of discussions with Ahmadis. I want to take you out of your comfort zone and put you on the defense for a change.

First regarding your blog. I hope you don’t mind me advising you to change the layout a bit. It’s not very user friendly. If you examine my blog www.salvationfromhell.com you’ll notice I’ve made it quite user friendly. There’s a navigation bar right at the top of the homepage that organizes the various subjects I discuss. Whatever subject a reader is interested in, he or she can click on it and see all my blog entries under that heading. Also, I have a side panel that archives all my posts by year and month, organized chronologically.

I’ve done a cursory examination of your content. I appreciate that it has a specific focus on “fact-checking” Ahmadiyyah. But I want to tell you that it’s easy to be a critic. There are literally thousands of blogs, websites, and other social media platforms where scathing criticism is levelled against Islam, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلمand the Holy Quran by non-Muslims, which could be from either a Christian, Hindu, Jewish, atheist, or some other perspective. Usually the most harsh criticism comes from the ex-Muslims.

But I believe simply criticizing Ahmadiyyah isn’t enough. You have to offer a viable and sensible alternative to Ahmadis in order for them to take you seriously. This is also what I say to ex-Muslims whom I’ve occasionally encountered online. I consistently challenge them to offer an alternative to Islam rather than simply leaving it. They are extremely reluctant to do so, because the truth is they don’t have anything to offer. Their identity is defined as “ex” which is very sad.

I’ve seen you a few times being interviewed on Zaitoon FM. Incidentally, the people who run that channel have banned me from appearing on it to challenge their narrative. Why? You may be shocked to learn it’s because they say I’m a criminal who absconded from a blasphemy trial in Pakistan. In November 2019 I was arrested for preaching “Qadianism” (298-C) and imprisoned at Adiala Jail (where I had the opportunity to meet your relative Dr. Sultani). Five months later I was released on bail and the Canadian government helped me leave the country, even though the Punjab Police had seized my passport. When Zaitoon FM people learned this they banned me from appearing on their show. Of course that was just their lame excuse, because they knew they wouldn’t be able to debate me academically. And from my perspective the blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyyah laws in Pakistan are unethical and unjust, therefore no one can be a criminal for defying them. I’m not sure what your view on this matter is.

At any rate, from what I’ve seen from Zaitoon FM it is quite clear they are very nervous about A.K. Sheikh’s unorthodox beliefs like his wholesale Hadith rejection and a lot of those materialist and naturalist views he shares with Sir Syed who we incidentally discussing earlier. I’ve also met A.K. Sheikh in person, he is definitely a Hadith-rejecter, under the influence of modernists and materialists like Sir Syed and G.A. Pervez.

But A.K. Sheikh has no interest in defending his own religion, because when he does the majority of those who are active in anti-Ahmadiyyah polemics – orthodox Sunnis – will abandon him. This already happened, but Zaitoon FM is very careful not to let A.K. Sheikh explain his position in detail.

So I come back to my very first question I posed to you which you conveniently and deliberately ignored: What is your personal approach to Islam? Would you characterize yourself as a mainstream Sunni Muslim?

And if you are, then are you a Hanafi or Salafi or something else? If you’re Hanafi, are you Barelawi or Deobandi?

I notice that those who are involved in discussion with Ahmadis are very reluctant to answer this, because they know it is their weakness. But as you said earlier you want an honest discussion, so let’s start by being honest about each other’s beliefs and approach to Islam in both theology and praxis.

If someone leaves Ahmadiyyah, what approach to Islam should he or she take? Sunni or Shi’i? Muqallid or ghair Muqallid? Ashari or Salafi? Deobandi or Barelawi? Traditionalist/conservative or modernist/liberal? You can’t neglect this simply because it’s uncomfortable. That’s intellectual laziness. You have to be very precise and informative in what you are offering as an alternative to Ahmadiyya. Then when you have presented your alternative adequately I will become the critic and we will see how well you defend what you are putting on the table.

والسلام

Mohammed Abdul Khader

Judah Khader
Fri 1/29/2021 10:27 PM