Fitting Response Appropriate to the Understanding of the Questioner and the Addressee

//Fitting Response Appropriate to the Understanding of the Questioner and the Addressee

Muʿjam al-Aḥādīth al-Muʿtabara, Fitting Response Appropriate to the Understanding of the Questioner and the Addressee – Ḥadīth #3

[3/80] Ilal al-Sharai: My father from Sa’d from al-Barqi from Ibn Bazi from Ibn Bashir from Abi Husayn from Abi Basir from one of them عليهما السلام who said: do not reject a narration which is brought to you by a Murji or a Qadari or a Khariji which he attributes to us, for you do not know – perhaps it is something of the truth and you will be rejecting Allāh Mighty and Majestic above his throne.


–> The Murjia are an early grouping which held the opinion that judgement should be left to Allāh as per someones Iman. Even someone who commits a major sin remains a believer, because faith is independent of deeds and requires but acknowledgment of the Shahada. “The one who commits Zina near the Ka’ba has equal faith to angel Gabriel near the Arsh”.

–>  The Khawarij held the opposite position whereby they excommunicated anyone they felt was not living up to the high standards they expected a Muslim to demonstrate, this Takfir would make such a person’s blood permissible to be shed.

The Qadariyya believed in absolute free-will, a reaction against the Jabriyya (pre-destinarians), they held that God had no role in human actions, and humans had full control over their actions and destiny.

al-Moḥsini says: the narration concerns someone who is in doubt whether a Hadith is true or false, but if one is certain of a Hadith’s falsity then it is permitted for him to reject it, and there is no doubt that people lied and fabricated things and attributed them to the prophet, and the Aimma, even Allāh the Exalted – for instance in some reports which are called the Qudsiyya which the Sufis and their likes have forged.

In conclusion: if a narration is not established to be originating from them then it is not permitted to depend upon it, as the Book and the narrations that are to come and have already come indicate – but one should avoid calling it a lie if one is in doubt as regards its status.

[3/80] علل الشرائع: أبي، عن سعد، عن البرقي، عن ابن بزيع، عن ابن بشير، عن أبي حصين، عن أبي بصير، عن أحدهما عليهما السلام قال: لا تكذبوا بحديث أتاكم به مرجى ء و لا قدري و لا خارجي نسبه إلينا، فإنكم لا تدرون لعله شيء من الحق فتكذبوا الله عز و جل فوق عرشه

Muʿjam al-Aḥādīth al-Muʿtabara, Fitting Response Appropriate to the Understanding of the Questioner and the Addressee – Ḥadīth #2

[2/79] al-Khisal: In  the ‘Four Hundred’ Narration: the commander of the faithful عليه السلام said: Interact with the people with that which they know and leave them be as to that which they do not know, and do not impose (empower) them upon yourselves and us, our affair is hard (in of itself) and deemed hard (by others) – no one can bear it except an angel brought-near or a prophet sent or a slave whose heart has been tried for faith by Allāh. Comments

The affair (Wilaya) of the `Aimma and the divine favour that came upon them is hard for many people to accept, similarly, the words of the `Aimma are like those of the gracious prophet –  no one can bear them [act upon its purport and fully comprehend it] except the prophets, the angels and the perfected believers whom Allāh has tried and found them able and willing to bear its implications.

The hardship spoken about here is not necessarily a difficulty in understanding but of a reticence to submit and accept what they say and acknowledge their superiority. This is where many able-thinkers from the Mukhalifin stumbled.

The Imam advises the Shia to mingle with the Mukhalifin and speak to them those things that are common between both, but not to confront them with that which they consider alien, because it will cause a revulsion in them “the people hate that which they do not know”. This act of abandoning Taqiyya by divulging the secrets to them will also empower them against us, because they will use it to denounce and further persecute.

[2/79] الخصال: في الحديث الأربعمائة قال أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام: خالطوا الناس بما يعرفون ودعوهم مما ينكرون، ولا تحملوهم على أنفسكم وعلينا، إن أمرنا صعب مستصعب لا يحتمله إلا ملك مقرب أو نبي مرسل أو عبد قد امتحن الله قلبه للإيمان

Muʿjam al-Aḥādīth al-Muʿtabara, Fitting Response Appropriate to the Understanding of the Questioner and the Addressee – Ḥadīth #1

[1/78] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh from al-Yaqtini from Yunus who said: the Righteous Servant عليه السلام said: O Yunus – be more lenient towards them for your words are hard-hitting on them, I said: but they consider me a Zindiq, he said to me: what will it affect you if you have in your hands a pearl but the people say to you: it is a stone, and what will it benefit you if you have in your hand a stone but the people say: it is a pearl! Comments

The companions of the Imam can broadly be divided into three categories: there were the traditionalists who stuck to narrating the Ahadith and did not go beyond this, there were the rationalists who despite narrating the Ahadith [which were mostly Fiqhi based] were more free-thinking, especially in theological matters (Kalam), they engaged in debates which the Aimma had permitted for some among them, and there were the Esotericists who concentrated on decoding the true nature of the Imam and claimed to have been initiated to possess secret knowledge. We have evidence that these camps did not necessarily get along and much bickering occurred between them which the Aimma had to put a stop to.

Yunus as a student of Hisham b. al-Hakam is someone who can firmly be placed in the rationalist camp, because of this and other reasons, some other fellow Shias despised him and considered him to have gone against the orders of the Imams, they complained to the Imam about him and ostracized him, in this narration he himself confirms that he was labelled a Zindiq [we even have fabricated narrations which portray the Imam cursing him and forbidding prayers behind him, narrations circulated by his adversaries].

The Imam gives practical advice to Yunus that you should always speak to people at their level lest they misunderstand you. The Imam himself suffered from this and different companions varied as far as understanding the intricacy of the Imam’s teaching was concerned. Yunus who came from an intellectual tradition could better appreciate what the Imam meant but this caused a divide between him and his fellows. Despite this, Yunus is advised not to reciprocate with harshness of tone and posture because it further estranges people from you. However, censure and blame from the people cannot affect you one whit provided you are assured of the Imam’s pleasure and your actions are based on true knowledge.

[1/78] رجال الكشي: حمدويه، عن اليقطيني، عن يونس قال: العبد الصالح عليه السلام: يا يونس ارفق بهم، فإن كلامك يدق عليهم قال: قلت: إنهم يقولون لي: زنديق، قال لي: ما يضرك أن تكون في يديك لؤلؤة فيقول لك الناس: هي حصاة، وما كان ينفعك إذا كان في يدك حصاة فيقول الناس: هي لؤلؤة
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