Dr. Nour Ali Tabandeh (majzoobalishah)
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most CompassionateIn
the holy Quran, God says:“Tell them: “I f you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your faults. Allah is forgiving and merciful.”Since the Prophet’s Bi’that and the appearance of Islam until the Prophet established the Islamic community, and later on, until his passing, verses of the Quran had been gradually revealed according to certain situations (i.e. Asbab Al-Nuzul). Also, hadiths and narratives were the same; meaning the Prophet answered a question based on who asked the question, where and when it is asked. It does not mean that hadiths and narratives can differ in nature, but they differ out of necessities of those who raised the questions in a certain place and at a certain time.
Therefore, this point must be taken into consideration when the precise meaning of any verse or hadith is expected. For example, those verses revealed in Mecca before the Hijra (Migration) called Meccan Surahs, were revealed when the Prophet wanted to train every individual Muslim spiritually; since Mecca by the time was a small city and the population was more or less ten thousand, and among the people there were a few Muslims and all the aristocrats of the city were against Islam. Even the Prophet’s relatives were against him. Thus, the verses revealed in Mecca were supposed to equip the Muslims with the spiritual weapons; the ethical weapons. Because there was torture such as cutting Bilal’s tongue and torturing Yasir and Sumayyah; Ammar’s parents, to death, Muslims’ spirits needed to be reinforced. There were many examples of the kind but later on when the Prophet was invited to Medina and he moved to that city, the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj who had a falling out chose the Prophet to manage and rule the two of them as they both agreed on him. Therefore, when he moved to Medina, he was also responsible for legislation in addition to the spiritual duty he had had.
The laws he issued- in fact it was God who did- had to be in conformity with the Islamic codes of ethics. Besides, he was also responsible for political affairs to govern the territory; the kind of politics conformed to the mankind His holiness ruled this way, Ali (AS) also believed the same and if he had been the caliph immediately after the Prophet, no doubt that the same principles would have continued, but with the Rashidun caliphs, everything changed as Abu Bakr and Umar were so dedicated to Islam that they wanted it to be recognized and developed worldwide- or they might have probably desired for expanding their own ruling territory as there is such a greed in all mankind- for this reason they invaded many countries. The Arabian Peninsula was only a desert and there was nothing in it so that the people had to mash the date seed to make bread out of it, they lived that way, but they conquered the Levant where was a vast fertile land and there were all kinds of divine prosperities, or they occupied Persia where there were lots of treasures and accredited and wealthy merchants. Gradually, all this wealth gathered together in the Arabian Peninsula in such a way that when Abdurrahman Ibn Awf, for instance, who was one of the Sahabah (the Companions), also Uthman’s brother or father in-law, and was one of those Arabs living in severe poverty, died thirty years after Hijra, it is said that he had enormous loads of gold bars and his inheritors shared the gold bars by breaking them into pieces using an axe. Another example is Talha and Zubair that one of them had four hundred bondsmen and bondswomen. In essence, this wealth caused them partly to ignore basic Islamic laws and that is why Ali (AS) could not rule in comfort, i.e. he said: I am told that Muawiah is a very smart politician, (I am telling you) I am smarter, the difference is he cannot help himself doing anything he wishes, but I want to rule in conformity with Islam, the same method the Prophet applied.
The Prophet felt responsible for two duties: one duty was to educate human individuals, in other words; to educate Muslims, as we; Shiites, call this subject matter Vilayah and later on Ali (AS) was designated to take over that position. The other duty was to rule, manage, govern and protect the people and the Islamic society which had to be carried out by The Rashidun Caliphs. These verses revealed for the purpose of governing society also contained the ethical codes. One of the teachings which is individualistic but at the same time addresses the whole society is the verse of retaliation, saying: “and there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O’ those who believe”11. In fact, this verse addresses the government and all people should follow this rule alongside the government. It is obvious that if someone gives no care about how others are and behave, they will be rebellious. But in the preceding verse, the harshness is softened, saying: “but if anyone is forgiven by his (aggrieved) brother”12, it is better and desired by God. Now, you may raise a question why the latter verse contradicts the former one. It does not. The verse considers all the society including Muslims and non-Muslims, religious and non-religious, there are people from all walks of life, if they are not managed, there will be chaos. If one gets killed, there may ten people get killed to take revenge, if one is slapped in the face; his reaction may be beheading the attacker by sword, this verse handles these things. But the verse which says “if you forgive, it is more favorable” addresses the believers; “O’ those who believe” and follows as “this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy”. The verse addresses the believers, those who believe in the Prophet, those who believe all Muslims are their siblings. For these people; the believers, there will be no risk if they forgive. But for other people, it is perilous because there will grudges be held in their hearts and it will have adverse consequences.
There is a verse in the surah of Al-Hujaraat giving a variety of teachings for both people and government. It reads: “and if two families of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that one which acts wrongfully until they return to Allah's command; then if they return, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably”13. This verse does not address only one person but the whole people. In the Arabic script of the Quran, this very “fight” is plural. However, there are a lot of verses addressing only one person such as “but if anyone is forgiven by his (aggrieved) brother”. The verb is singular and addresses only one person. The former verse addresses the whole society and the government. You must notice that which group is violating the other one’s right and is acting against God’s law. You must fight them but not in order to annihilate them as they are also believers; a family of the believers, but they have made some mistakes. You must stand against them until they follow the God’s law, as soon as they do, let them go and make peace among the two families as they are both your brothers and sisters as well. “Make peace between them” because God loves unbiased and even-minded observers. This teaching is for a society which wishes to follow the Islamic rules.
Since the verses are still alive; no verse is useless and inapplicable and can be applied even at the present time, they are useful in a way that if there are no weapons and forces available, we can stand against the believers who are violating the other one’s rights but we must not fight with them. We must talk and advise them not to violate. As sometimes it is read in the press that those who irrelatively enter the war will be backfired and consequently annihilated. Because none of the two quarreling parties is our enemy but our brothers. When they stop acting wrongfully and change their minds, we can personally make peace between them. But the problem is that we are not allowed to enter the war. Therefore, this verse has been basically revealed for the governments but is nowadays beneficial for human individuals too. Every verse has been revealed for a reason and cannot be expired. Our Imams also said that what is between the two covers of this book is the very Quran; in other words, neither anything has been added to nor anything has been deducted from it. The best evidence is what God has said: “Surely we have revealed the reminder (Zikir) and we will most surely be its guardian”14. It is said that the order of verses in the Quran Ali (AS) recollected was different from the current Quran. In some parts, it is obvious that the order had not been like this. For example: after “O’ wives of the Prophet! Take good care of yourself that you are not like any other women”15, it continues: “Allah only desires to keep the uncleanness away from you and to purify you, a thorough purifying, o’ people of the House!”
16 The rest of the verse is about the Prophet’s wives. We believe this verse does not belong here, because in this verse many Muslims made a mistake and thought “people of the House” means the Prophet’s wives. But as far as we know, the Prophet’s wives were not entirely innocent and this verse does not belong here. Another example is the verse in the surah of Al-Maeda which reads: “Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of pig, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked” and continues as “this day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion”17, the former part also does not belong here as God has said in the preceding verses that which is halal (approved by Islamic laws) and which is haram (forbidden by Islamic laws), this part is almost a repetition. However, this matter is not a big issue to presume that the religion had not been completed and this verse completed it. The carrion is halal for one who is in urgent need. So this verse also does not belong here. Because it should belong where God orders the Prophet: “O’ Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do not, then you have not delivered His message” and after the Prophet designates Ali (AS), this is revealed: “this day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion”.
Some verses may be in the wrong parts but they have not been distorted. A few jurisprudents also believe that some “to Ali (AS)” follows the verse “O’ Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord”, or that there was an entire surah named Ali (AS) in the Quran, but all of our Imams said that what we read now is the very Quran. No one ever saw that Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS) or any other Imams go to a different room and read a different Quran. They read the same Quran and put it into practice. If we pay a careful attention to the verses of the Quran we read today, we will realize that they are both for the society in case it wants to conform to Islam and for every human individual if they want to follow the Islamic.
11 The Quran, Al-Baqara (The Cow), وَلَكُمْ فيِ الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاة ي اْ أُولِيْ الأَلْبَابِ : 179
12 The Quran, Al-Baqara (The Cow), فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَه مِنْ أَخِيهِ : 1
13 The Quran, Al-Hujaraat (The Private Apartments), 9:
وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فأَصَ لْحِوُ ابَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تفَيِ ء إَِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِن فَاءتْ فأَصَ لْحِوُ ا
بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّه يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
14 The Quran, Al-Hijr (The Expelled), إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَه لحَ اَفظِوُن : 9
15 The Quran, Al-Ahzab (The Clans), يَا نِسَاء النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاء :
16 The Quran, Al-Ahzab (The Clans), إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّه لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا : 33
17 The Quran, Al-Maeda (The Table), 3:
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَ وْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُت رَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلاَّ مَا ذكََّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى
النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالأَزْلاَمِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْ شوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ
نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُ ورٌ رَّحِيمٌ