al-Ghadir" and its Relevance to Islamic Unity
Now it is time to see to which group the eminent 'Allamah, Ayatullah Amini - the distinguished compiler of the "al-Ghadir" - belonged and how he thought. Did he approve of the unity of the Muslims only within the light of Shi'ism? Or did he consider Islamic fraternity to be broader? Did he believe that Islam which is embraced by uttering the "shahadatayn" (the Muslim creed) would willy-nilly create some rights for the Muslims and that the brotherhood and fraternity set forth in the Qur'an exists among all Muslims?.
'Allamah Amini personally considered this point - i.e. the need to elucidate his viewpoint on this subject and elaborate whether "al-Ghadir" has a positive or a negative role in (the establishment of) Islamic unity. In order not to be subject to abuse by his opponent - be they among the pros and cons - he has repeatedly explained and elucidated his views.
'Allamah Amini supported Islamic unity and viewed an open mind and clear insight. On different occasions, he set forth this matter in various volumes of the "al-Ghadir'. Reference will be made to some of them below:
In the preface to volume I, he briefly mentions the role of "al-Ghadir" in the world of Islam. He states: "And we consider all this as service to religion, sublimation of the word of the truth, and restoration of the Islamic 'ummah' (community)." In volume 3 (page 77), after quoting the fabrications of Ibn Taymiyah, Alusi, and Qasimi to the effect that Shi 'ism is hostile to some of the Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of the Prophet) such as Zayd bin 'Ali bin al-Huseyn, he notes the following under the title of "Criticism and Correction": "These fabrications and accusations sow the seeds of corruption, stir hostilities among the 'ummah', create discord among the Islamic community, divide the 'ummah', and clash with the public interests of the Muslims.
Again in volume 3 (page 268), he quotes the accusation leveled on the Shi'ahs by Sayyid Mohammad Rashid Rida to the effect that "Shi'ahs are pleased with any defeat incurred by Muslims, so much as they celebrated the victory of the Russians over the Muslims." Then he says: "These falsehoods are fabricated by persons like Sayyid Mohammad Rashid Rida. The Shi'ahs of Iran and Iraq against whom this accusation is leveled, as well as the orientalists, tourists, envoys of Islamic countries, and those who traveled and still travel to Iran and Iraq, have no information about this trend. Shi'ahs, without exception, respect the lives, blood, reputation, and property of the Muslims be they Shi'ahs or Sunnis. Whenever a calamity has befallen the Islamic community anywhere, in any region, and for any sects, the Shi'ahs have shared their sorrow. The Shi'ahs have never been confined to the Shi'ah world, the (concept of) Islamic brotherhood which has been set forth in the Qur'an and the 'sunnah' (the Prophet's sayings and actions), and in this respect, no discrimination has been made between the Shi'ahs and the Sunnis."
Also at the close of volume 3, he criticizes several books penned by the ancients such as "Iqd al-Farid" by Ibn Abd al-Rabbih, "al-Intisar" by Abu al-Husayn Khayyat al-Mu'tazili, "al Farq bayn al-Firaq" by Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi, "al-Fasl" by Ibn Hazm al-Andulusi, "al-Milal wa al-Nihal" by Mohammad ibn Abdul-Karim al-Shahristani "Minhaj al-Sunnah" by Ibn Taymiah and "al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah" by Ibn Kathir and several by the later writers such as "Tarikh al-Umam al-Islamiyyah" by Shaykh Mohammad Khizri, "Fajr al Islam" by Ahmad Amin, "al-Jawlat fi Rubu al-Sharq al-Adna" by Mohammad Thabit al-Mesri, "al-Sira Bayn al-Islam wa al-Wathaniyah" by Qasimi, and "al- Washi'ah" by Musa Jarallah. Then he states the following:
"By quoting and criticizing these books, we aim at warning and awakening the Islamic 'ummah' (to the fact) that these books create the greatest danger for the Islamic community, they destabilize the Islamic unity and scatter the Muslim lines. In fact nothing can disrupt the ranks of the Muslims, destroy their unity, and tear their Islamic fraternity more severely than these books."
'Allamah Amini, in the preface to volume 5, under title of "Nazariyah Karimah" on the occasion of a plaque of honor forwarded from Egypt for "al-Ghadir", clearly sets forth his view on this issue and leaves no room for any doubt. He remarks:
"People are free to express views and ideas on religion. These (views and ideas) will never tear apart the bond of Islamic brotherhood to which the holy Qur'an has referred by stating that 'surely the believers are brethren'; even though academic discussion and theological and religious debates reach a peak. This has been the style of the predecessors, and of the 'sahaba' and the 'tabi'un', at the head of them.
"Notwithstanding all the differences that we have in the primary and secondary principles, we, the compilers and writers in nooks and corners of the world of Islam, share a common point and that is belief in the Almighty and His Prophet. A single spirit and one (form of) sentiment exists in all our bodies, and that is the spirit of Islam and the term 'ikhlas,"
"We, the Muslim compilers, all live under the banner of truth and carry out our duties under the guidance of the Qur'an and the Prophetic Mission of the Holy Prophet (s). The message of all of us is 'Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam ... (3:18)' and the slogan of all of us is 'There is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His Messenger.' Indeed, we are (the members of) the party of Allah and the supporters of his religion. In the preface to volume 8, under the title of "al-Ghadir Yowahhad al-Sufuf fil-Mila al-Islami", 'Allamah Amini directly makes researches into the role of "Al- Ghadir" in (the establishment of) Islamic unity. In this discussion, this great scholar categorically rejects the accusations leveled by those who said: 'Al-Ghadir' causes greater discord among the Muslims. He proves that, on the contrary, "Al-Ghadir" removes many misunderstandings and brings the Muslims closer to one another. Then he brings evidence by mentioning the confessions of the non-Shi'i Islamic scholars. At the close, he quotes the letter of Shaykh Mohammad Saeed Dahduh written in this connection.
To avoid prolongation of this article, we will not quote and translate the entire statements of 'Allamah Amini in explaining the positive role of "al-Ghadir" in (establishing) Islamic unity, since what has already been mentioned sufficiently proves this fact.
The positive role of "al-Ghadir" is established by the facts that it firstly clarifies the proven logic of the Shi'ahs and proves that the inclination of Muslims to Shi'ism - notwithstanding the poisonous publicity of some people - is not due to political, ethnic, or other trends and considerations. It also verifies that a powerful logic based on the Qur'an and the "sunnah" has given rise to this tendency. Secondly, it reflects that some accusations leveled on Shi'ism - which have made other Muslims distanced from the Shi'ah- are totally baseless and false. Examples of these accusations are the notion that the Shi'ites prefer the non-Muslims to the non- Shi'i Muslims, rejoice at the defeat of non-Shi'ite Muslims at the hands of non-Muslims, and other accusations such as the idea that instead of going to hajj pilgrimage, the Shi'ahs go on pilgrimage to shrines of the Imams, or have particular rites in prayers and in temporary marriage. Thirdly, it introduces to the world of Islam the eminent Commander of the faithful 'Ali ('a) who is the most oppressed and the least praised grand Islamic personality and who could be the leader of all Muslims, as well as his pure offspring.
Other Comments on "al-Ghadir"
Many unbiased non-Shia Muslims interpret the "al-Ghadir" in the same way that has already been mentioned. Mohammad Abdul-Ghani Hasan al-Mesri, in his foreword on "al-Ghadir", which has been published in the preface to volume I, second edition, states:
"I call on the Almighty to make your limpid brook (in Arabic, 'Ghadir' means brook) the cause of peace and cordiality between the Shia and Sunni brothers to cooperate with one another in building the Islamic "ummah."
'Adil Ghadban, the managing editor of the Egyptian magazine entitled "al-Kitab", said the following in the preface to volume 3: "This book clarifies the Shi'ite logic. The Sunnis can correctly learn about the Shi'i through this book. Correct recognition of the Shi'ahs brings the views of the Shi'ahs and the Sunnis closer, and they can make a unified rank". In his foreword to the "al-Ghadir" which was published in the preface to volume 4,.
Dr. Mohammad Ghallab, professor of philosophy at the Faculty of Religious Studies al-Azhar University said:
"I got hold of your book at a very opportune time, because right now I am busy collecting and compiling a book on the lives of the Muslims from various perspectives. Therefore, I am highly avid for obtaining sound information about 'Imamiyah' Shi'ism. Your book will help me. And I will not make mistakes about the Shi'ahs as others have"
. In this foreword published in the preface to volume 4 of the "al-Ghadir", Dr. 'Abdul-Rahman Kiali Halabi says the following after referring to the decline of the Muslims in the present age and the factors which can lead to the Muslims' salvation, one of which is the sound recognition of the successor of the Holy Prophet (s):
"The book entitled "al-Ghadir" and its rich content deserves to be known by every Muslim to learn how historians have been negligent and see where the truth lies. Through this means, we should compensate for the past, and by striving to foster the unity of the Muslims, we should try to gain the due rewards".
These were the views of 'Allamah Amini about the important social issues of our age and such were his sound reflections in the world of Islam.