How was the creation of man according to the Quran?

The Quran has explained the creation of man and his origin using different words and phrases. Some verses say that the initial material man comes from is clay. Other verses say it is water, while a third group say it is sperm. Meanwhile a fourth group says it was both clay and sperm together.
Nevertheless, what can be deduced from all of these verses is that man was dirt in the beginninga, then the dirt was mixed with water making it clay 2, then the clay became foul-smelling 3, after that it became sticky 4, then turned into dry clay 5 and finally life was breathed into it.
Meanwhile, scientists have two theories regarding the creation of creatures, both plants and animals:
a) The theory of evolution or transformism b) Fixism
The theory of evolution says that all forms of organisms weren’t created from the start, but certain organisms gradually evolved into ones we see today. The most complete and developed form of those early organisms is man. This theory is referred to as “Transformism”. As for the other theory referred to as “Fixism”, it says that all forms of life and organisms were created separately, denying any link and development between various forms.
Although the Quran doesn’t explain the creation of man in detail, not saying anything about the two theories mentioned above, yet what some verses slightly suggest is that the Quran’s standpoint regarding this issue is that different forms of animals and plants (especially man) were created separately, although no verse directly mentions such a matter.

The Quran has explained the creation of man and his origin in different ways; this signifies that the creation of man consisted of various steps.

a) Some verses introduce “clay” as the initial material for the creation of man. 1

b) Some verses say that man was created from “water”. 2

c) Other verses only name “sperm” as what man has been created from. 3

d) In other verses, “Clay and Sperm” together have been considered the origins of man. 4

There are two ways of explaining these verses:

1- To say that they are unveiling the way all people are created separately. For instance, when a verse says that man was created from clay, it means that clay turns into food and minerals, food and minerals turn into sperm cells and sperm turns into a fetus; meaning that clay is our “far” origin, while sperm is nearer to us and our creation.

2- To say that each of the four groups of verses are speaking of specific people and individuals. For instance, since Prophet Adam (pbuh) was the first person to be created, he was made from dirt and clay, and since all people today are descendants of Adam (pbuh) and trace back to him, and he was made from clay, it is correct to say clay is our origin as well.

Therefore, although it may seem at first sight that some Quranic verses aren’t in harmony with others on this issue, yet with a little focus one will be able to tell that there is no contradiction between them, because the truth of the matter is that some of these verses are only speaking of the creation of the first person created, Prophet Adam (pbuh). Clearly, the origin of the first person to ever be created is also considered the origin of those who were created from him; if his origin was clay, it is correct to say that all people were created from clay. This is from one perspective.

From another perspective, all people are looked at separately. Of course, this perspective isn’t in contradiction with the first, meaning that looking at the issue from both perspectives can give the same results. If we say that all people come from sperm, sperm comes from food, food comes from meat, fruit, plants and minerals, which all come from the ground and soil and dirt, then we can say that man is created from dirt, the same thing we said from the other perspective [that said we all come from Prophet Adam (pbuh) who was created from clay]. It is because of these two perspectives that some verses of the Quran are actually only speaking about Prophet Adam (pbuh) 5, while others are speaking of all people in general. In a verse, Allah (swt) says:

…I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit…” 6

and in another verse, He says:

When your Lord said to the angels,” Indeed I am going to create a human out of a dry clay [drawn] from a foul-smelling mud. So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down in prostration before him.” 7

Clearly in these verses, Allah (swt) is speaking of the story of the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) and how the angels were ordered to prostrate before him. One can’t interpret Adam (pbuh) as all people, because in the the verses that follow the one mentioned, Satan says:

{لَأَحْتَنِکَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَه‏…}
…I will surely mislead and destroy his progeny… 8

If what was meant by Prophet Adam (pbuh) was all people, it wouldn’t make sense for Satan to say “his progeny”.

Some verses which are more general and have taken the creation of all people into consideration are:

He is the one who created man from water…” 9


He [man] was created from an effusing fluid”. 10

In verses like these, in which it has been stated that man has been created from water or sperm and the like, all people in general are meant.

Anyway, what can definitely be concluded by Quranic verses regarding man’s creation and origin, is that in the beginning, man was soil and dirt 11, that was mixed with water, making it clay 12, then became a foul-smelling clay 13, becoming sticky afterwards 14, and finally becoming dry clay 15b.

How long each step of the process took and what things factored into each of them is something the human mind currently has no answer to, and it is only Allah (swt) who is truly aware of the answers to these questions.

One point which needs to be kept in mind is that the Quran doesn’t explain the creation process of man in detail, because it is a book of guidance, not a science book, therefore, it shouldn’t be expected to deeply explain subjects like evolution, anatomy, embryology, etc. Of course, this doesn’t make it impossible for the Quran to sometimes make a few scientific points at the right time as well.

There are two scientific viewpoints on the creation of living organisms including plants.

a) Evolution or Transformism which says that organisms weren’t in the forms they are seen today, but were lifeless things that turned into single live cells in the oceans and seas because of certain circumstances. These tiny and invisible live organisms gradually developed into different forms of animals and plants. The most developed form they evolved to is the human being, who had descended from the same single cell as apes and monkeys have.

b) The theory known as “Fixism” which says every form of living organisms was there from the beginning (man being one of them), denying any type of evolution from one form to another.
What the Quran apparently says is that Prophet Adam (pbuh) was created from a dark clay and after his body took form, life and divine spirit was breathed into him and the angels were commanded to prostrate before him; all did so except for Satan. These verses suggest that there is no gap between the creation of Adam (pbuh) from clay and the current form humans have, and that people had this form from the start.

Conclusion: Although the Quran hasn’t directly engaged in explaining which of the two theories is correct, yet its verses suggest that the second theory is correct (of course regarding the creation of man), although once again, these verses don’t explicitly mention it.
One good reminder before closing is that man was created from two different entities; one being very high and the other very low in value. Man’s material side, which consists of reeking dark clay, is very low, while his spiritual side is very high, because it bears the divine spirit Allah (swt) has granted him.

What is important regarding this subject, is that the initial material used to create man is worthless and very low, but Allah (swt) has created such a valuable creature from it than can ascend to the highest levels of nearness to Him.

For further information, refer to:
1- Allamah Tabatabai, Al-Mizan, vol. 4 and 17.
2- Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 11, p. 82 and on and vol. 23.
3- Mohammad Taqi Mesbah, Rahnama Shenasi.
4- Mohammad Ali Rezai, Pajooheshi dar I’jaze Elmiye Quran, vol. 2, pp. 429-564.
5- Yadollah Sobhai, Khelqate Ensan.
6- Saduq, Ilalul-Sharaye’, vol. 15, chapter 11.

[1] Hajj:5.
[2] An’am:2.
[3] Hijr:28.
[4] Saffat:11.
[5] Rahman:14
[1] An’am:1; Sajdah:7; Saffat:18
[2] Furqan:54; Tariq:6.
[3] Nahl:4; Yasin:77; Dahr:2; Abas:19; and other verses.
[4] Hajj:5; Ghafir:67; Fatir:11; Kahf:37.
[5] Sad:72; Hijr:29.
[6] Sad:72.
[7] Hijr:29.
[8] Isra’:62.
[9] Furqan:54.
[10] Tariq:5-6.
[11] Hajj:5.
[12] An’am:2.
[13] Hijr:28.
[14] Saffat:11.
[15] Rahman:14.

What is the “sharaban tahuran” mentioned in the Qur`an (sometimes translated as “pure wine”)?

pure wine

“Sharab” means something which can be drunk and “tahur” means that which is in itself pure and uncontaminated and also makes other things pure. We can gather from various verses that in heaven there are various kinds of drinks that are pure and refreshing. The term “Sharaban Tahuran” has been mentioned in one of these verses:
“Their Lord will serve them with the pure drink.”[i]
There are three views as to what this drink is:
1. Some have said this drink is what believers will drink in paradise after having eaten heavenly foods. This drink will clear all internal wastes. The only thing left will appear in the form of a fragrant perspiration on the skin.
2. Others have taken this drink to be spiritual blessings for spiritual progress. As narrated from Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع), “When the believer drinks the ‘pure drink’ he forgets everything other than Allah and turns solely towards his Master.”
A narration from Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Baqir (ع) says “When the believers drink from it Allah cleans their hearts from envy.”
3. A third group has combined the previous two opinions. They have said that since man is a beautiful combination of the dark soil and a divine soul, he needs not only material sustenance but also spiritual blessings.
Just as the spiritual wayfaring of people differs so too does the rewards they receive in heaven. In some verses of the Noble Qur`an the drinks in paradise have been mentioned in very beautiful phrases: the most beautiful ­cup-bearers; tall with pretty faces and deep-set eyes, going around with chalices of a pure drink amongst the believers in heaven; a very clear drink that gives them an indescribable feeling. This drink does not demolish the intellect, nor do they become intoxicated and drunk with it.
Other verses relate that the “abrar” will drink from a refreshing drink called “rahiq makhtum.” This drink has a scented seal on it which keeps it from any type of contamination.
The “muqarrabuun’s” share will be from the spring called “tasnim.” The cup-bearer will be the Lord himself and the chalice will be the truth of knowledge and love towards Him.
There is a narration from the Noble Prophet (ص) that he said “Tasnim is the noblest drink in paradise which Muhammad (ص) and his progeny will drink and the Ashab Yamin and the rest will drink from a mixture that contains some of it.”
Thus, as people are of different levels in this world, they will be in different levels in paradise as well. What they enjoy from paradise will be according to their spiritual capacity. This is why the Noble Qur`an mentions them with different terms calling a group “ashab yamin” others “abrar” and some “muqarrabun.” Their rewards will also be according to their ranks.

[i] Surat al-Insan (71), Verse 21:
} …وَسَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ شَرَابًا طَهُورًا… {

Which verse in the Holy Quran is a confirmation of tawassul?

The Issue of Tawassul in Du’a

The practice of tawassul from other than Allah (swt), and in other words, seeking aid and help from other than Allah (swt), such as the prophets and His apostles, which has been common amongst Muslims in all ages, in no way means that one believes they are partners with Allah (swt) in His actions. What is truly meant is that Allah (swt) grants our needs through and by virtue of them. In reality what the person practicing tawassul is doing is that he is actually calling Allah (swt) and asking Him, while asking those near Him (who are to be the intercessors) to ask Allah (swt) that their requests be granted.
To answer this question we must first shed some light on the literal and technical meaning of tawassul. Literally tawassul means anything to which a person resorts to attain his objective on his own accord and desire.[1] And some have said that tawassul means “interceding” on the Day of Judgment.[2]
Tawassul in its technical sense means turning to prophets, imams and the pious servants of God for help.
Belief in tawassul originates in the Holy Quran and prophetic tradition. The Holy Quran says, “O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek means of nearness to Him and strive hard in His way that you may be successful”.[3]
There are different examples of implorations and invocations some of which are mentioned as under:
1. Josef’s brothers requested their father (Jacob) to seek divine forgiveness for them and their father fulfilled their request: They said: O our father! ask forgiveness of our faults for us, surely we were sinners. He said: I will ask for you forgiveness from my Lord; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.[4]
As you see, Jacob did not turn down his request nor did he tell them as to why they did not pray to God directly; rather he approved their invocation and promised to ask God to forgive them.
2. Tawassul to the Prophet (pbuh): And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.[5]
This verse denotes that in order for a person to be forgiven, he should find an honored mediator so that God may forgive him for his sake.
3. Uthman bin Hanif says: A blind person came over to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “Pray to God to cure my illness.”
The Holy Prophet said, “If you wait, it would be better. And if you want me to ask God to cure you, then I will do so.”
“Ask God to cure me,” said the man.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) ordered him to make wudhu and pray to God to recite the following dua (supplication):
«اللهم إنی أسألک و أتوجّه الیک بنبیّک محمّد، نبّی الرحمة، یا محمّد انّنی توجّهت بک

إلی ربّی فی حاجتی لیقضیها لی، اللهم شفعه»
“O’ Allah, I ask you for the sake of Your Messenger, the Messenger of mercy and forgiveness, oh Mohammad I am turning to you in the presence of God to fulfill my wish and O’ God, make Mohammad my intercessor.”[6]
The above hadith implies the permissibility of seeking tawassul because the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) not only did not forbid him from seeking tawassul but he also showed him the right way of doing so. In fact, he taught him how to seek the Prophet’s mediation between himself and God. This is the meaning of seeking tawassul to God’s pious servants.

4. Anas bin Malik says: A man went to the Messenger of Allah and said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, our cattle are dying on account of drought. Pray to God to send down rain.” The Holy Prophet (pbuh) prayed and it rained for a whole week until a man came over to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the houses have been destroyed and the ways have been cut off and …” The Prophet said, “O Lord, send down Your blessing (rain) on mountains, hills, into the valleys, rivers and places where trees grow.” Thereafter, it stopped raining in the city of Medina but it continued to rain in the outskirts.[7]
5. It has been narrated that when Adam committed an error, he appealed to Almighty God by saying: “O’ Lord, forgive me for Mohammad’s sake.”
God said, “O Adam, how did you know Muhammad while I have not created him as of now?”
Adam said, “When you created me, I looked at Arsh (empyrean) on which it was written, “La ilaha illallah Muhammadun rasulullah.” When I saw his name close to Your name, I came to know that he is the most beloved of all the creatures to You.”
God said, “Since you sought Muhammad as a mediator, I forgive you.”[8]
6. It has been mentioned in another tradition which Suyuti has narrated from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) through Ibn Abbas: Ibn Abbas says: “I asked the Messenger of God about the words which Adam (a.s.) received from his Lord and which caused Adam to be forgiven. The Prophet (pbuh) said: Adam asked the Lord to accept his repentance for the sake of Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussein, and God accepted his repentance.”[9]
7. Abu Hurairah narrates from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as such: “…O’ Adam, these (the Ahlulbayt) are My chosen people… whenever you have a wish, turn to them and seek them as means. The Holy Prophet said: “We (the Ahlulbayt) are the ark of salvation. Whoever goes on board the ark, he is saved and whoever stays out will drown and perish. Therefore, whoever has a wish should seek our mediation.[10]


[1] – Raghib Isfahani, Mufradat Raghib, pg. 560; Tafsir Kabir, Fakhr Razi, 4/349, Al-Nehayah fi Gharib Al-Hadith, Ibn Athir, 5/185.
[2] – Al-Nehayah fi Gharib Al-Hadith, Ibn Athir, 5/185.
[3] – Al-Maidah: 35
[4] – Yusuf, 97 and 98
قَالُواْ یَأَبَانَا اسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا إِنَّا کُنَّا خَاطِِینَ(97)قَالَ سَوْفَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ لَکُمْ رَبىّ‏ِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِیمُ.
[5] – al-Nisa: 64
وَ لَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ جاؤُکَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا اللَّهَ وَ اسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُوا اللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَحیماً.
[6] – Al-Jame’ al-Sahih, Tirmizi, 5/35783569
[7] – Sahih Bukhari, Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bukhari, vol.1, pg.344-346. The original text of the hadith is as under:
جاء رجل إلی رسول الله فقال: یا رسول الله، هلکت المواشی و تقطّعت السبل، فادع الله، فدعا الله، فمطرنا من الجمعة إلی الجمعة، فجاأ رجل إلی النبی فقال: یا رسول الله، تهدّمت البیوت، و تقطّعت السبل و هلکت المواشی. فقال رسول الله: «اللهم علی ظهور الجبال و الاکام و بطون الأودیة و منابت الشجر». فانجابت عن المدینة انجیاب الثوب.
[8] – Hakim Al-Mustadrak ‘Alaa al-Sahihayn 3/517, hadith No.4286; Bayhaqi, Dalael Al-Nobuwah, 5/489; Vafa-ul Vafa, vol.4, 1371; Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, 1/59. The Arabic version of the narration is as below:
و نقل أنّ آدم لما اقترف الخطئیة قال: یا ربّی، أسألک بحق محمد لما غفرت لی، فقال، یا آدم، کیف عرفته؟ قال: لأنک لما خلقتنی نظرت إلی العرش فوجدت مکتوباً فیه: لا اله الا الله، محمد رسول الله؛ فرأیت اسمه مقروناً مع اسمک، فعرفته أحب الخلق الیک».
[9] – Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, vo.1, p.60 and 61, Darul Kutu al-Araqiyah Publications, 1377 A.H. The Arabic text of the Hadith is as under:
عن ابن عباس قال سألت رسول الله عن الکلمات التی تلقاها آدم من ربّه فتاب علیه قال: سئل بحق محمد و علی و فاطمة و الحسن و الحسین إلا تبت علیّ فتاب علیه
[10] -Ibrahim bin Juwaini, Fara’ed al-Samtayn, vol.1, p.36 and 37, Beirut, Mahmudi Institute, 1st edition, 1398 A.H; Khawrazami, Manaqib, pg.318, Qom Islamic Publications. The Arabic text of the narration is as under:
یا آدم هؤلاء صفوتی … فإذا کان لک الی حاجة فبهؤلاء توسل، فقال النبی: نحن سفینة النجاة من تعلق بها نجا و من حاد عنها هلک، فمن کان له إلی الله حاجة فلیسألنا أهل البیت.

Can people have contact with Jinns?

contact with Jinns

The Holy Quran has confirmed the existence of Jinns and has attributed the following characteristics to them:
1. Jinns are creatures that are made of fire; this is while humans were created from clay.[1]
2. They have knowledge, understanding, they can discern truth from the falsehood and they also have the power of logic and argument.[2]
3. They have religious responsibility and duty.[3]
4. Some of them are pious and righteous and others are Kafirs (unbelievers).[4]
5. The Day of Judgment will apply to them as well and they will be resurrected as well.[5]
6. They originally had the ability to penetrate the heavens and gather news by eavesdropping but this was later blocked from them.[6]
7. They had relationships with humans and because of some limited secret knowledge they possessed, they would mislead and decieve certain humans.[7]
8. Some of them possess a lot of power in comparison to other ones of them, as is the case with humans.[8]
9. They have the power of doing certain things that humans might need.[9]
10. They were created on this earth before humans were created.[10]
11. In the story of Prophet Soloman (A) an Ifrit Jinn claims that he can bring Bilqays’s throne before Prophet Soloman can stand from his spot.[11] Prophet Soloman doesn’t deny this claim of the Jinn, although at the same time, the Quran doesn’t state that the jinn actually carried out this claim.[12]
From these verses in the Holy Quran we understand that Jinns are not imaginary; they are real physical beings with whom contact is definitely possible and certain people have had contact with them. From ancient times there has been a lot of conjecture and stories about contact with Jinns but we can only accept things that are narrarated through verified hadiths about the different relationships one might have with them. Here we’ll go through some of the things narrarated for us through the Holy Quran and the Hadiths, and passed on to us through Islamic scholars:
A. Taking refuge in Jinns; In the Holy Quran it says, “Indeed some persons from the humans would seek the protection of some persons from the jinn, thus only adding to their rebellion”.[13] One of the ancient customs of the Arabs was that whenever they reached a dangerous or frightening part of the desert they would take refuge in the specific Jinns of that area. Islam negated this custom and made specific commands about taking refuge only in the creator of the Jinns and Men, Allah swt. [14]
B. Enslaving Jinns; Enslaving Jinns and getting assistance from them is possible, but its permissibility according to the fuqaha is debatable and controversial. What is certain is that this act can’t be approached by a way that has already been made haram (a sin) in the sharia (Islamic law) (for instance, if one of the conditions for enslaving a jinn is to eat something haram, then one can’t do it; not because enslaving it is haram, but because the means of doing so is haram) nor can it be in a way that bothers or hurts others. Also, getting assistance from them cannot be for things which are haram or sinful; doing something which is haram (sinful) is a sin whether it’s done by another intermediary or done by oneself.[15]
It was asked from Ayatollah Al Udhma Khamenei about the rulings of people who raise spirits or call on Jinns with the very specific intention of only doing good through this method. He replied: This action is halal in itself and there is no problem with it but with the condition that it is done through halal (according to sharia) ways.[16]
For further explanations please see:
1. The power and ability of Shaytan and the Jinns, Question 883.
2. Shaytan, Angel or Jinn? Question 857.
3. Rijali Tehrani, Ali-Reza, Ketabe Jinn va Shaytan, Tahqiqe Qurani, Revayi va Aqli.

[1] Al-Rahman:15.
[2] Different verses of surah Jinn.
[3] Verses of surah Jinn and Al-Rahman.
[4] Verses of surah Jinn and Al-Rahman.
[5] Ibid:15.
[6] Ibid:9.
[7] Ibid:6.
[8] Naml:39.
9] Saba’:12-13.
[10] Hijr:27.
[11] Naml:30-40.
[12] Abdullah Javadi Amoli, Tafsir Mozu’i, vol. 1, pg. 119.
[13] Jinn:6.
[14] See: Biharul-Anwar, vol. 92, pg. 148 [from Al-Mahasin]: “قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ (ص): “إِذَا تَغَوَّلَتِ الْغِیلَانُ فَأَذِّنُوا بِأَذَانِ الصَّلَاةِ”
[15] See: Abul-Qasem Khu’i, Minhajul-Salehin, vol. 2, pg. 8.
[16] Tawdihul-Masa’el (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 980, question 1232.

The Holy Qur’an and Free Will


The Holy Qur’an and Free Will

The Holy Qur’an states this issue directly and proves the free will of human beings and there are hundreds of verses which talk about free will.

All of the verses which relate to commanding virtue and preventing vice are all proof of the free will of human beings because if a person was destined to do so, commanding them to do so would make no sense.

All of the verses which speak of blame and reproach against the evil doers and praise for the good doers are proof of free will because if one was destined to do whatever one did, blame or praise would make no sense.

All of the verses which speak about the questioning on the Day of Judgement and the Judgement in that Court and then the rewards and punishments and heaven and hell are proof of free will because if one was to assume that everything was predestined then questioning, judging, rewards and punishments would all be oppressive.

Some explicit verses of the Qur’an which say that a human being is responsible for his or her deeds are:

“Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.” (Surah Muddathir, 74: 38).

“(Yet) in each individual in pledge for his deeds.” (Surah At-Tur, 52: 21).

“We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (Surah Al-Insaan, 76:3).

“But you will not except as God wills…” (Surah Al-Insaan, 76:30).

The Qur’an and Imamate


The Qur’an, this great heavenly book of ours is the best guide in all areas and in the area of imamate, also, it presents the issue from its various dimensions.

1. The Qur’an says that Imamate comes from God

Just as we previously showed in the story of Abraham, peace be upon him, the Qur’an refers to the state of imamate and leadership of Abraham, peace be upon him, to follow the stage of prophethood, Divine mission and passing the difficult tests presented to him. It says:

“And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands which he filled. He said, ‘I will make you an Imam to the nations.” (2:124)

The Holy Qur’an and various histories show that he attained this stage after struggling with the idol worshippers of Babel, his migration to Damascus, his building of the Ka’bah and taking his child, Isma’yl, to the place of sacrifice.

If prophethood and the Divine mission must be determined by God, imamate and leadership must also be determined by God for it relates to all aspects of the human being and it is to help direct them towards perfection. This is not something that the people may do. The Holy Qur’an says:

“I will make You an Imam to the nations.” (2:124)

In another verse it says,

“And We made them leaders guiding (men) by Our Command and We send them Inspiration “(21:73)

Similar, to this, it can be shown in other verses of the Qur’an that God must select Imam and beyond this, at the time when we read that Abraham asked that his offspring be included, he was told:

“But My promise is not Within the reach of wrong doers.” (2:124)

It says that his prayer will be answered but those who had committed oppression would never reach this high station.

Noting the fact that an oppressor, both in the meaning of the word as well as the logic of Qur’an, has an extensive meaning, including the clear and hidden sins of polytheism and any kind of oppression against other people and noting that only God can know this in a complete and perfect way, because only God is aware of what goes on inside people, it is clear that only God can select the person for this stage.

2. The verse on Preaching the Mission

“O, Prophet, Proclaim the (Message) which has been sent to thee from your Lord. If you do not, you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission. And God will defend you from men (who corrupt) for God guides not those who reject Faith.” (5:67)

The tone of this verse shows that the assignment is a heavy one which has been placed upon the Prophet’s shoulders. He was anxious about the mission which might possibly meet up with opposition from the people.

Thus the verse tells the Prophet that God commands the endeavors to have Islam be better understood and give him security and that he will be protected.

This important issue clearly does not relate to monotheism and polytheism in the struggle with the enemies from among the Jews and hypocrites, etc. because at the time of the revealing of this verse, this issue had been completely solved.

And, also, the announcing of the normal precepts of Islam did not have these dangers. From the external interpretation of the verse, it can be seen that it was a command which was of the same weight as the Divine mission. That is, if endeavors were not made, the truth of the Divine mission would not have been expressed.

Can this command, then, be anything other than the selection of the successor to the Prophet? In particular, since the verse was revealed at the end of life of the Holy Prophet and it relates to the issue of the caliphate, which is the continuation of the issue of prophethood and the Divine mission of the Holy Prophet.

In addition, there are many Traditions recorded from a large group of the Companions of the holy Prophet including Zayd ibn Arqam, Abu Sa’id Khudri, ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir Abdallah Ansari, Abu Hurayrah, Hudaifah and ibn Ma’sud.

Some of these Traditions have come to us through eleven ways and a large number of them are from the Sunni scholars, both – these who transmit the Traditions, historians as well as recorders which say that the above verse was about ‘Ali, peace be upon him, and that it was revealed on the day of Ghadir. (For further information, see the books Ahqaq al-Haqq, al-Qadir, al-Marja‘at and Dalail al-Sadaq).

We will discuss the events of Ghadir, with the Will of God, in the section on Traditions but here we will simply remind ourselves that this is a clear sign because the Prophet of Islam was duty-bound to announce on the return from his last hajj and at the end of his life that he had officially selected ‘Ali, peace be upon him, as his successor and introduce him to the people.

3. The Verse on Obedience to the Commanders

“O you who believe! Obey God and obey the Prophet and those charged with authority among you…” (4:59)

Here, the command to obey ‘those charged with authority’ directly follows the obedience to God and the Holy Prophet.

Does it mean ‘those charged with authority’ as leaders and rulers in every age and in every environment? But are Muslims of each age and in each country obliged to follow the commands of the leaders without question (as some of the Sunnis say)?

This does not agree with any kind of logic because most of the leaders, in the various ages, were deviated, polluted, affiliated and oppressive.

Does this verse say to obey the rulers upon the condition that they are not rulers against the precepts of Islam?

This also does not fit with the generalization of the verse.

Does it mean that they are only to obey the Companions of the Prophet? This also does not agree with the extensiveness mentioned in the Holy Qur’an to include all ages and times.

Thus we can conclude that which is meant by the infallible leaders who exist in every age and in every era, obedience of whom is unconditional and obligatory and his commands, like the commands of God and the Prophet, must be carried out.

There are many Traditions in Islam in this area and the fact that those charged with authority has been related to ‘Ali or the infallible Imams is further proof of this. (For further information see the Tafsir Nemunah, vol. 3, p.435).

4. The Verse of Leadership (Wilayat)

“Your (real) leaders are (no less than) God, His Apostle and the (fellowship of) believers those who establish regular prayers and regular charity when they bow down humbly (in worship).” (5:55)

The Qur’an relies upon the word innamah which in Arabic refers to exclusiveness: the Wali and leader of the Muslims is exclusive to three people: God, the Holy Prophet and those who have found faith and who pay the zakat at the time of the ruku’.

There is no doubt that what is meant by leadership is not the friendship of Muslims with one another because friendship with one another does not need to have the word unconditional added to it.

All Muslims are friends with each other even though, at the time of the ruku’, zakat is not paid. Thus wilayat’ here means the spiritual and material leadership, in particular, since it is placed along side the wilayat of God and the wilayat of the Prophet.

This point is also clear that the above verse, with the situation in which it appears, refers to a particular person who has paid the zakat while in the state of ruku’ because otherwise it is not necessary that one pay the zakat while in that state; this is a sign, not a description.

The totality of this, then, shows that the above verse refers to the meaningful story of ‘Ali, peace be upon him, in particular, since he was in the midst of the ruku’ when a needy person came to the mosque of the Prophet to seek help.

No one answered the needy person but in that state, ‘Ali, peace be upon him, with his right hand, indicated his finger with a ring on it. The needy person took the valuable ring. The Prophet saw what was going on with the corner of his eye.

After his ritual prayer ended, he raised his head and said, “God! The brother of Moses has asked that you extend his spirit and make things easy for him and cut the difficulty of his tongue, and have Aaron be his helper and assistant…

O God! I am Muhammad, the Prophet, and the person you selected, opened my chest and made my work easy and from among my family, have ‘Ali be my helper so that through him, my back will be strong and firm…”

The Prayer of the Holy Prophet had not as yet ended when Gabriel appeared and revealed the verse above.

It is interesting to note that many of the recorders of the Traditions who are famous Sunnis, and their historians and commentators, say that this verse refers to Hazrat ‘Ali and more than 10 of the Companions of the Holy Prophet.

There are many verses about wilayat but we have only mentioned four verses in relation to this issue.

Think and Answer

1. According to the Holy Qur’an, who is to select the Imam?
2. When was the command to endeavor to have Islam be better understood revealed and what is the content of it?
3. In relation to what person is it reasonable to have unconditional obedience?
4. For what reason does the verse, “Your (real) friends are (no less than) God,” (5:58) refer to the leader ship and imamate?
5. In all of the verses of the Qur’an about the issue of wilayat’, what point can be made?

What is the Myth of Gharaniq or ‘The Satanic Verses’?

 The Satanic Verses

astory has been narrated in this regard, which has become popular as the story of Gharaniq. According to this story, the Noble Prophet (S) had been engaged in reciting Suratul Najm in front of the polytheists. When he had recited this verse:

أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللاَّتَ وَ الْعُزَّى وَ مَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الأُُخْرى‏
“Have you then considered the Lat and the ‘Uzza; and Manat, the third, the last?”1, the Satan caused him (S) to recite the following two sentences (which were not part of Surah) too:

تِلْكَ الْغَرَانِيقُ الْعُلْيَ وَ إِنَّ شَفاَعَتَهُنَّ لَتُرْجَى.
“They are beautiful, high-ranking birds, and their intercession is anticipated.”2

Hearing this, the polytheists were absolutely thrilled and said: (Muhammad), until today, had never spoken nicely of our Gods. At that moment the Noble Prophet (S) went into prostration and they too prostrated. All the polytheists of the Quraish were ecstatic and then went their ways, but shortly later Jibra’il descended and informed him (S): I had not brought for you those two sentences! These were of the inspirations of the Satan!

The following verse was then revealed which cautioned the Noble Prophet (S) and the believers3:

وَ مَا أَرْسَلْــنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ وَ لاَ نَبِيٍّ إِلاَّ إِذَا تَمَنَّى أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنْــسَخُ اللٌّهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللٌّهُ آيَاتِهِ وَ اللٌّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet, but when he desired, the Shaytan made a suggestion respecting his desire; but Allah (s.w.t.) annuls that which the Shaytan casts, then does Allah (s.w.t.) establish His communications, and Allah (s.w.t.) s Knowing, Wise.”4

If this tradition were to be accepted, it would put a question mark over the infallibility of the prophets, even with respect to receiving the revelation, and would serve to erode away the confidence in them.

At this juncture, before we endeavour to study and critically examine the traditions, we should first separate the text of verse 52 of Suratul Hajj from the traditions fabricated in connection with it and see what the verse actually has to say:

Certainly, the text of this verse, disregarding the false annotations, not only does not taint the infallibility of the prophets but on the contrary, is one of the proofs of their infallibility. This is because, it says: Whenever they possessed a positive plan and desire (every kind of desire is called امنية, but here امنية refers to a positive and constructive scheme for the advancement of their objectives; if it was not constructive, the Satan would never seek to put whisperings into it) the Satan would attack it, but before he could exert an influence upon their will or acts, Allah (s.w.t.) would nullify the Satanic inspirations and fortify His verses.

(It should be noted that the “ف” in فَيَنسَخُ اللهُ denotes a sequence without any intervening time internal, i.e. immediately and without any time interval, Allah (s.w.t.) would annul and eliminate the inspirations and the whisperings of the Satan.)

Testifying to this statement is another verse of the Qur’an which explicitly states:

وَ لَوْ لاَ أَنْ ثَبَّتْنَاكَ لَقَدْ كِدْتَ تَرْكَنُ إِلَيْهِمْ شَيْئاً قَلِيلاً
“And had it not been that We had already established you, (and had you not been protected from deviation under the shelter of infallibility) you would certainly have been near to incline to them a little.”5

In view of the fact that verse 73 of this same chapter indicates that the infidels and the polytheists, by means of their evil insinuations, strived to turn away the Noble Prophet (S) from the Divine revelation, it becomes clear that Allah (s.w.t.) did not permit them to achieve this success by employing their diabolical suggestions.

Also, in verse 113 of Suratul Nisa, we read:

وَ لَوْ لاَ فَضْلُ اللٌّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَ رَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُضِلُّوكَ وَ مَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلاَّ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَ مَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ
“And were it not for Allah’s grace upon you and His mercy a party of them had certainly designed to bring you to perdition and they do not bring (aught) to perdition but their own souls, and they shall not harm you in any way.”

All these indicate that Allah, by means of His blessings and succour, never permitted the sinister suggestions of the devils from amongst the men and jinn to affect and influence the Noble Prophet (S), and kept him protected from all kinds of deviation.

All the above is applicable if we take امنية to mean desire, plan and scheme (since, the original roots of this word are traced to assumption, supposition and description).

However, most of the commentators have taken امنية to mean recitation, and some have even sought to corroborate this by presenting poems of Hasan ibne Thabit.6 Fakhr Razi too, in his commentary, has stated: تَمَنَّی, according to the lexicon, possesses two meanings: The first meaning is ‘the desire of the heart’ and the second is ‘recitation’.7

If we were to also take امنية to mean recitation, the meaning of the verse would be that when the divine prophets used to recite the Divine verses and sermons before the infidels and the polytheists, the devils and (those possessing satanic attributes) would insert their words amongst the words of the prophets in order to mislead the people, just as they used to do with the Noble Prophet (S) too. Verse 26 of Suratul Fussilat says:

وَ قَــالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لاَ تَسْمَعُوا لِهٌذَا الْقُرْْآنِ وَ الْغَوْا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَغْلِــبُونَ
“And those who disbelieve say: Do not listen to this Quran and make noise therein, perhaps you may overcome.”

In the light of this meaning, the meaning of the next verse (53 of Suratul Hajj) also becomes clear when it says:

لِيَجْــعَلَ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ فِتْـنَةً لِلَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ وَ الْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ‏
“So that He may make what the Shaytan casts a trial for those in whose hearts is disease and those whose hearts are hard.”8

Even today, it is a common practice that when reformers of human societies deliver beneficial and constructive lectures to a section of the society, at times, those with diseased hearts raise an uproar and by means of misleading slogans and satanic expressions attempt to make light of those speeches and obliterate them by means of their futile utterances.

And this, in reality, is an examination for the people of the society and it is here that those with diseased hearts swerve away from the path of truth whereas for the Mu’mins, it becomes a means for acquiring greater awareness of the truthfulness of the prophets (a.s.). This, in turn, would make the people humble towards their invitation to the truth.

وَ لِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكَ فَيُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ فَتُخْبِتَ لَهُ قُلُوبُهُمْ‏
“And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur’an) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it.”9

In any case, from what has been stated above, we have realized that the verse under consideration does not contain anything which is inconsistent with the infallibility of the prophets vis-à-vis errors and deviation. Rather, as has been stated before, the verse emphasizes the issue of infallibility since it says that Allah (s.w.t.) protects His prophets while they receive the revelation or when they intend to perform some other work, from the satanic inspirations and whisperings.

Now let us turn to the traditions and myths that have been mentioned in this section and deduce their worth, for things have reached such a stage that lately the devils, for the purpose of creating disturbance in connection with the Noble Prophet (S), have set about writing the book Satanic Verses.

Just as it had been previously stated, not only did the text of the mentioned verses not possess anything which contradicted the infallibility of the prophets, on the contrary, they prove and establish their infallibility. However, traditions found in some of the secondary Sunnite sources state things that are indeed strange in every respect, and therefore ought to be studied and discussed separately. These traditions, which we had presented at the start of this discussion, have been reported, sometimes, from Ibne ‘Abbas, at other times from Sa’id ibne Jubair and occasionally from some other ‘companions’ or ‘followers’.10

However, these traditions are not to be seen in any of the Shiite sources and, according to some of the Sunni scholars, these are also not to be found in any of the six Sihah of the Sunni. So much so that Muraghi, in his commentary, says: These traditions are undoubtedly a fabrication of the heretics and foreign hands, and have not been found in any of the authentic books. The fundamentals of the religion of Islam reject them and sound intellect testifies to their falsehood and incorrectness…

It is obligatory for all the scholars to disregard them and refrain from wasting their time in explaining and interpreting them, especially in view of the fact that trustworthy narrators have explicitly declared them to be lies and fabrications.11

We observe this same meaning, although in a different form, in Tafsir Jawahir of Tantawi, wherein he says: These traditions have not been mentioned in any of the Sihah like Muwatta of Malik, Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Jami’ Tirmidhi, Sunan Abi Dawud and Sunan Nisa’i12, and it is for this reason that the book, Tafsir al-Wusul Li Jami’ al-Usul – a collection of all the interpretive traditions of the six Sihah – does not report these traditions while interpreting the verses of Suratul Najm. Thus, it is inappropriate to attach importance to them and talk about them, let alone debate about them… These traditions are just manifest lies!13

One of the testimonies which Fakhr Razi presents to prove it to be a fabrication is that in Sahih Bukhari it has been reported from the Noble Prophet (S) that when he recited Suratul Najm, the Muslims and the polytheists, the men and the jinn, all fell into prostration; and the tradition bears no mention of the story of gharaniq. Furthermore, this tradition (which has been reported in Sahih Bukhari) has been reported by several chains of narrators and not the slightest mention of the story of Gharaniq meets the eye.14

Not only the abovementioned commentators, but even others such as Qurtubi in his commentary al-Jami’, Sayyid Qutb in his commentary Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an, other Sunni scholars and all of the distinguished and celebrated Shi’ite scholars have branded this tradition as a fabrication and have attributed it to the enemies of Islam.

As such, it is not strange that the enemies of Islam, especially the inimical Orientalists, have publicized this tradition and reported it with a great deal of embellishment. We have also witnessed that recently they have forced a writer, coming from an evil lineage, to author a book under the title of The Satanic Verses and, by means of extremely derogatory and vile expressions in the course of a fictitious and make-believe story, not only question the sanctities of Islam but also exhibit sacrilege towards the great prophets (like Ibrahim), who are looked upon with great reverence by all the Divine religions.

And again it is not strange that the English text of this book was translated with astonishing swiftness into different languages and distributed all over the world. And when Ayatullah Khomeini R issued his historical fatwa declaring the author, Salman Rushdie, to have become an apostate and thereby deserving to be compulsorily killed, there arose in Rushdie’s favour, on the part of the colonial governments and enemies of Islam, a tidal wave of support, so great that the world had never seen the like of it before.

This amazing phenomenon revealed the reality that Salman Rushdie was not acting alone, and the issue is much more than just authoring an anti-Islamic book. It is, in fact, a conspiracy that has been chalked out by the Western colonial powers and the Zionists with the objective of bludgeoning Islam – a conspiracy which they support seriously and in great earnest.

But the firm resistance and perseverance of Ayatullah Khomeini (r.a.) in his fatwa, the continuation of his policy on the part of his successors and the global acceptance of this historical fatwa by the general Muslim public served to foil the conspiracy of the conspirators.

And until this date, as we write this, the author of the mentioned book leads his life in total concealment and is scrupulously protected by the colonial governments; it appears that he shall be forced to lead the rest of his life in this fashion and probably he might be killed by his very mentors to extricate themselves from this humiliation.

Thus, the ‘creating cause’ for this fabricated tradition also acts as its ‘preserving cause’, i.e. a conspiracy was initiated on the part of the enemies of Islam and now, after more than a thousand years, another group from amongst them strive to continue this conspiracy, although on a much wider scale.

As such, we do not deem it necessary to present, for this tradition, explanations and justifications which, for example, appear in great detail in the commentary Ruhul Ma’ani and concisely in other commentaries. This is because a tradition, which is fundamentally rotten and which has been emphatically branded as a forgery on the part of eminent Islamic scholars, does not need to be explained.

However, we only wish to present some points which shall provide some more clarification:
The relentless, uncompromising and perpetual fight of the Noble Prophet (S) against idolatry, from the beginning of his invitation (to Islam) until the end of his life, is a fact which is not concealed from friend and foe alike.

The most important issue for which he was never willing to compromise and exhibit flexibility was this very issue. Despite this, how could he have possibly commended and praised the idols of the polytheists by such words, and spoken of them in good light?

The teachings of Islam declare that the only sin that can never be forgiven and overlooked is polytheism, and it is for this reason that Islam has regarded the destruction of centers of idolatry, whatever the consequence, as obligatory, and the entire Qur’an is a testimony to this fact. This very fact is clearly indicative of the fabricated nature of the tradition of Gharaniq, in which idols have been commended!

Apart from this, those who have fabricated the story of Gharaniq have overlooked the fact that a cursory reading of the verses of Suratul Najm would be sufficient to prove this myth to be false, and reveal that there exists no harmony between the commendation of the idols by means of the sentence:

تِلْكَ الْغَرَااَنِيقُ الْعُلْيَ وَ إِنَّ شَفاَعَتَهُنَّ لَتُرْتَجَى‏.
and the verses situated before and after it. This is because, in the beginning of this very chapter, it has been explicitly stated that the Noble Prophet (S) does not speak of his own desire and whatever he says in connection with the Islamic beliefs and laws, is Divine revelation:

وَ مَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوى إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ وَحْيٌ يُوْحى
“Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.”15

The Qur’an also emphasizes that the Noble Prophet (S) shall never go astray from the true path and never lose himself:

مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَ مَا غَوى
“Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray.”16

What could be greater deviation than interpolating speeches of polytheism and praises of idols within the verses of monotheism? And as for speaking of one’s desire, what could be worse than adding satanic words:

تِلْكَ الْغَرَااَنِيقُ الْعُلْيَ
to Allah’s speech?

Interestingly, the verses following the verses presently under consideration explicitly criticize and denounce the idols and the idol-worshippers and say:

إِنْ هِيَ إِلاَّ أَسْمَآءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْــتُمْ وَ آبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللٌّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَ مَا تَهْوَى الأََنْفُسُ‏
“They are naught but names which you have named, you and your fathers; Allah (s.w.t.) has not sent for them any authority. They follow naught but conjecture and the low desires which (their) souls incline to; and certainly the guidance has come to them from their Lord.”17

Which intellect would be given to believe that a wise and intelligent person, occupying the rank of prophethood and in the process of reciting Divine revelation would, in one sentence, praise the idols while two sentences later deprecate them with such vehemence and intensity? How can this blatant contradiction in two consecutive sentences be explained and justified?

Here we have to acknowledge that the cohesion of the verses of the Noble Qur’an are such that any impure addition made to it on the part of inimical and tendentious individuals is thrown out, and they clearly reveal it to be a patch which is inharmonious and an addition that is unrelated. This is the fate which the tradition of Gharaniq suffers from amidst the verses of the Noble Qur’an.

At this juncture, one question remains to be answered and that is: How is it that an issue, so baseless and unsubstantiated, has come to acquire such popularity?

The answer to this question is not very difficult and intricate; the popularity of this tradition is, to a great extent, indebted to the efforts of the enemies of Islam, who imagine that they have managed to lay their hands on a good pretext to blemish the infallibility of the Noble Prophet (S) and the authenticity of the Noble Qur’an.

Thus, the reason for its popularity amongst the enemies is clearly comprehended. However, its popularity amongst the Islamic historians, according to some of the Islamic scholars, stems from the fact that many of the historians are always on the lookout for new, exciting and exceptional issues – however much there may exist a question mark over their historical authenticity – so that they can make their books more interesting and tumultuous.

And since the myth of gharaniq is unprecedented in the life of the Noble Prophet (S), they, without examining the weakness of its chain of narrators and the baseless nature of its contents, record it in their books of history and traditions; subsequently, others dwell upon it with the intention of subjecting it to a critical examination and study.


From what has been discussed above, it becomes plain and clear that not only do the verses of the Qur’an not contain anything which contradicts the infallibility of the prophets, rather, these very verses, which have been imagined to be contradicting it, contain clear indications that accentuate the rank of infallibility for them.18


1. Suratul Najm (53), Verse 19, 20
2. غرانيق is the plural of غرنوق – a kind of water bird that is white or black in colour. There are other meanings too that have been mentioned (for this word) (as quoted from Qamus al-Lugah).
3. Most of the distinguished commentators have reported this tradition although with a little difference, and have subjected it to a critical examination.
4. Suratul Hajj (22), Verse 52
5. Suratul Isra’ (17), Verse 74
6. تمنی کتاب الله اول ليلة و آخرها لاقی حمام المقادر.
In Taj al-‘Arus, the commentary of the book Qamus, and also in the actual text of the book Qamus, تمنی الکتاب has been stated to mean تلاوة الکتاب (recitation of the book). Then, quoting from Azhari, it says: تلاوة has been called امنية because whenever the reciter reaches a verse of mercy, he desires (Allah’s) mercy and whenever he reaches a verse of chastisement, he desires deliverance from it. However, the book Maqayis al-Lughah is of the opinion that this word has been made to mean تلاوة because it is a kind of measurement and placement of every verse it is own place.
7. The Commentary of Fakhr Razi, vol. 23, pg. 51
8. Of course, the interpretation of the last verse, on the basis of the first meaning, is not without its objections. This is because the satanic inspirations in the souls of the Prophets, despite the fact that they were immediately eliminated and annulled by means of divine succor, cannot be a means of examination for the hypocrites and those possessing diseased hearts. This is because these whisperings do not have any external manifestation and appearance, rather, they are ephemeral inspirations inside the souls of the Prophets.
Except if it is said that the meaning is that when the divine Prophets desired to implement their desires and plans, in practice, the devils engaged themselves in sabotaging and whispering diabolical suggestions – this being the appropriate occasion for trials and examinations. And with this explanation, the coherence and relationship between the three verses (52, 53 and 54 of Suratul Hajj) is preserved and maintained.

Strangely enough, some of the commentators have presented various interpretations and possibilities for the first verse without endeavouring to preserve the harmony between it and the two subsequent verses.

9. Suratul Hajj (22), Verse 54
10. For more information regarding the chains of narrators of these traditions in the books of the Sunnis, refer the book al-Durr al-Manthur, vol. 4, pg. 366-368, under verse 52 of Suratul Hajj.
11. Tafsir Muraghi, vol. 17, pg. 130, under the abovementioned verse.
12. It should be noted that the book Muwatta of Malik is not regarded as one of the six Sihah books. The book Sunan Ibn Majah is the sixth book of the Sihah.
13. Tafsir Jawahir, vol. 6, pg. 46
14. The commentary of Fakhr Razi, vol. 23, pg. 50
15. Suratul Najm (53), Verse 3,4
16. Suratul Najm (53), Verse 2
17. Suratul Najm (53), Verse 23
18. Tafsir Payam-e-Qur’an, vol. 7, pg. 164

What is the aim of Taqiyyah (Dissimulation)


It is true that, at times, man is prepared to sacrifice his dear life for the sake of lofty causes – safeguarding honour, supporting the truth and exterminating falsehood – but can any sane and intellectual person permit man to imperil his life for an unimportant cause and objective?

Taqiyyah, a Defensive Shield

Islam has explicitly permitted that when a person’s life, wealth or honour is in danger and manifestation of the Truth yields no significant benefit, he should refrain from manifesting it, and continue to fulfill his responsibilities secretly and in a concealed manner – as the Qur’an has indicated in verse 28 of Surat Ale ‘Imran or in verse 106 of Suratul Nahl, when it says:

إِلاَّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَ قَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالإِِيْمَانِ‏
“Except he, who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith.”

History and the books of Islamic traditions have not forgotten the story of ‘Ammar and his parents and how they had fallen into the clutches of the idolaters, who subjected them to intense persecutions in order that they disown Islam. ‘Ammar’s parents refused and were killed by the polytheists, but ‘Ammar uttered what they wished to hear and then, weeping out of Allah’s fear, hastened towards the Noble Prophet (S), who consoled him by saying:

إِنَّْ عَادُوا لَكَ فَعِدْ لَهُمْ.
“If they seize you again, say out what they desire you to speak out, and in this manner put his anxiety to rest.”

The point that needs to be taken into complete regard is that taqiyyah does not possess one ruling on all occasions – at times it becomes compulsory while on occasions it becomes prohibited while there are instances when it is permissible to either adopt it or decline it.

Taqiyyah becomes obligatory when a person’s life is endangered for no important benefit, however, when taqiyyah becomes a cause for the promotion of falsehood, deviation of people and strengthening of tyranny, it is unacceptable.

And it is on this basis that all the objections leveled in connection with this issue shall be answered. If the faultfinders were to have conducted a study in this regard, they would have concluded that the Shi’ites are not alone in this belief since the issue of taqiyyah, per se, is a categorically rational ruling and in accordance with the natural disposition of man.1

This is because, when the wise and intelligent people of the world find themselves at a cross road wherein they have to either disregard manifesting their internal beliefs or manifest them and in the process place their lives, wealth and honour in peril, they take stock of the situation.

If the manifestation of their beliefs is in an instance which deserves the sacrifice of one’s life, wealth and reputation, they regard such a sacrifice as correct, but if they do not perceive great effects and benefits in performing such an act, they refrain from revealing their beliefs.

Taqiyyah, a Change in the Form of Combat

In the course of religious, social and political struggles, there are times when, if the defenders of a right cause were to engage in a manifest combat, they, as well as their cause would either be obliterated or in the very least, find themselves in jeopardy – like the state of the Shi’ites of ‘Ali (a.s.) during the period of the rule of the usurper Umayyads.

In such situations, the correct and rational way is to refrain from uselessly squandering one’s forces and to embark upon an indirect combat to advance towards the achievement of the sacred objectives. In reality, taqiyyah, for such sects and their followers in such circumstances, can be looked upon as a kind of change of form of combat, which would save them from destruction and grant them success in the continuation of their struggle.

It is not known what plan those who totally reject taqiyyah have to present for such situations? What is better – to be destroyed or to carry on the struggle in a logical and correct form? The former is something which none can recommend, while the latter is nothing but taqiyyah itself.2

The true Muslims, the protégés of the Noble Prophet (S), possessed an astonishing spirit of endurance against the enemies. Some of them, such as ‘Ammar’s father, despite the fact that their hearts were replete with faith in Allah (s.w.t.) and love for the Noble Prophet (S) were unwilling to utter even one sentence that was to the liking of the enemies, and even gave up their lives in the way of Allah.

And some, like ‘Ammar himself, who were willing to utter the sentence, considered themselves to be accountable for the act and were so overcome with dread that until the Noble Prophet (S) reassured them that the act adopted by them as a tactic to save their lives had been totally permitted according to the religious laws, they did not attain ease and tranquility of mind!

Regarding Bilal we read that when he embraced Islam, and then courageously stood up to defend it and support the Noble Prophet (S), the polytheists subjected him to immense persecution, to the extent that they would drag him under the hot and scorching sun, place a large boulder upon his chest and say to him: Disbelieve in Allah.

He refused to give in to their demands and, almost on the verge of death, he would repeatedly say: أحد أحد (He is the One Allah, He is the One Allah). He would then say: By Allah! Had I known of an utterance that was more distasteful to you than this, I would have surely uttered it (before you!)3

About Habib ibne Zayd Ansari we read that Musailamah, the Liar, upon capturing him, questioned him: “Do you testify that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah?” Habib replied: “Yes.” He then asked: “Do you testify that I am the prophet of Allah.” Habib, by way of ridicule and mockery, said: “I do not hear what you say.” Musailamah and his followers cut him up into pieces, but Habib stood as firm and steadfast as a mountain.4

There are numerous examples of such shocking instances in the history of Islam – especially during the life of the early Muslims and the companions of the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

It is for this reason that scholars have declared that in such instances, non-observance of taqiyyah and non-submission before the enemies is permissible, despite the fact that it could result in one’s death. This is because the aim is to hold aloft the flag of Unity and monotheism, and ensure the superiority of Islam, and this was an issue that possessed special importance, especially during the initial stages of the Noble Prophet’s (S) invitation towards Islam.

Despite this, there is no doubt that observing taqiyyah in such cases is permissible, while in cases that are less severe that this, it becomes obligatory. And contrary to what some ignorant individuals are wont to imagine, taqiyyah is neither a sign of weakness, and nor is it fear of the great number of enemies in the face of pressure. Rather, taqiyyah can be viewed as a calculated tactic for protecting the forces and preventing useless loss of believers for the sake of issues that are inconsequential.

It is a common practice all over the world that a small combating minority, in an effort to overthrow an oppressive, selfish and tyrannical majority, chiefly employ the strategy of concealment. They establish an underground group, possess secret plans and on numerous occasions they take up for themselves the appearance of others; even when arrested, they try their very best to ensure that their true acts are not divulged so that they do not lose their forces uselessly and keep them reserved for the continuation of their struggle.

No intellect ever permits that in such situations, the soldiers, who are in a minority, openly manifest themselves and thus get easily identified and detected by the enemy and are subsequently exterminated.

It is for this reason that before being an Islamic strategy, taqiyyah is a logical tactic for all those people, who oppose and combat a strong enemy.

We observe that in the Islamic traditions too, taqiyyah has been compared to a defensive shield. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

التَّقِيَّةُ تُرْسُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَ التَّقِيَّةُ حِرْزُ الْمُؤْمِنِ‏.
“Taqiyyah is a believer’s shield and a means for his protection.”5

(Do note that taqiyyah has been compared to a shield, and a shield is a tool that is only employed in the battlefield while fighting the enemy for the purpose of protecting the revolutionary forces.)

And if we observe that in Islamic traditions taqiyyah has been regarded as a symbol of religion, indicative of faith and nine parts out of a total collection of ten parts of religion, it is for this very reason.

Of course, the topic of taqiyyah is a very vast one and this is not the place for dwelling upon it in detail. The only aim of presenting the above discussion was to clarify that the criticisms which some have leveled against this issue, is indicative of their ignorance of the conditions of taqiyyah and the philosophy that lies behind it.

Undoubtedly, there are instances when practicing taqiyyah is prohibited; this is when taqiyyah, instead of serving to protect the forces leads to their destruction or imperils the religion or brings about a great evil. In such cases taqiyyah ought to be disregarded and the consequences, whatever they might be, must be tackled head on.6


1. An extract from the book Ain-e-Ma, pg. 364
2. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 2, pg. 373
3. The commentary In the Shade of the Qur’an, vol. 5, pg. 284
4. The commentary In the Shade of the Qur’an, vol. 5, pg. 284
5. Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 11, no. 6, Chapter 24 from the chapters of ‘Amr Bil Ma’ruf
6. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 11, pg. 423

What is Magic and how does Islam view it?


There are numerous opinions regarding the question of ‘what is magic’ and ‘when did it come into existence’? Nevertheless, it is evident that magic has been prevalent amongst people since ancient times, but the exact date of its origin is unknown; in addition, it is also not known as to who was the first person to have brought it into existence.

However, with respect to its meaning and essence, it can be said that magic is a kind of supernatural act which has an impact on men; at times it is a kind of jugglery and sleight of hand, while on other occasions it is just psychological and imaginary.

According to the dictionary, magic has two meanings:

Deception, guile, sleight of hand and legerdemain; and according to the book Qamus al-Lughah, magic means ‘to deceive’.

کُلُّ ماَ لَطُفَ وَ دَقَّ.
“All such things, the causes of which are invisible and mysterious.”

In Raghib’s book al-Mufradat, which is devoted to analysing words appearing in the Qur’an, three meanings have been mentioned for it:

a. Deception and imaginations, which are devoid of reality – like sleight of hand.

b. Attracting the Satans by special means and seeking assistance from them.

And there is another meaning that some have been given to imagine and that is: It is possible to transform the essence and form of people or entities by certain means; for example, transforming man by means of it, into an animal. However, this kind is nothing more than mere fancy, and without an iota of reality.1

Studying the 51 instances of the usage of the word سحر (magic) and its derivatives in the chapters of the Noble Qur’an, such as Taha, Shu’ara, Yunus, A’raf, etc., in connection with the stories of the prophets Musa (a.s.), ‘Isa (a.s.) and the Noble Prophet (S), we conclude that magic, according to the Qur’an, can be classified into two categories:

Those instances wherein the objective is deception, jugglery, sleight of hand and legerdemain and possesses no reality, as we read:

فَإِِذاَ حِبَالُهُمْ وَ عِصِيُّهُم يُخَيَّلُ إِِلَيهِ مِنْ سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَـى
“Then lo! their cords and their rods– it was imaged to him on account of their magic as if they were running.”2

Another verse says:

فَلَمَّا أَلْقَوا سَحَرُوا أََعيُنَ النَّاسِ وَ اسْتَرْهَبُوهُمْ
“So when they cast, they deceived the people’s eyes and frightened them, and they produced a
mighty enchantment.”3

From these verses it can be ascertained that magic does not possess any reality such that it could exert control over things, and leave an impact and influence upon them. Rather, it is jugglery of the magicians that gives the impression of magic.

From some of the verses of the Qur’an it can be inferred that certain kinds of magic do yield an influence, such as this verse, which says:

فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُماَ ماَ يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَ زَوْجِهِ
“Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife.”4

Another verse of the Qur’an says that they learned things that were detrimental to them and not at all beneficial.

وَ يَتَعَلَّمُونَ ماَ يَضُرُّهُمْ وَ لاَ يَنْفَعُهُمْ
“And they learned what harmed them and did not profit them.”5

But, are the effects of magic purely psychological or can it possess a physical impact too? The above verses possess no allusion to this, and hence some are of the opinion that the effects of magic are purely psychological in nature.

At this juncture it is essential to mention another point: It appears that a considerable portion of magic was enacted by making use of certain physical and chemical properties, and performed with the intention of defrauding simple-minded people.

For example, we read in history that the magicians of the time of Musa (a.s.) used to place some special chemical substances within their cords and staffs (possibly mercury or some like substance) which, as a result of sunshine or under the influence of a heating apparatus that they had devised under them, would come out in motion and the spectators would be given to imagine that they had come to life. Such kinds of sorcery, even in our times, are not rare.

Magic, In the Eyes of Islam

In this regard, all the Islamic jurists have declared the learning and practicing of magic to be prohibited.

Furthermore, we present some traditions that have been narrated from the Imams (a.s.) and which have been reported in authentic books.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) says:

مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ شَيئاً مِنَ السِّحْرِ قَليلاً أَو کَثِيراً فَقَدْ کَفَرَ وَ کاَنَ آخِرُ عَهْدِهِ بِرَبِّهِ.
“One who learns magic, less or more, has become an infidel and his association with Allah (s.w.t.) s completely severed.”6

However, as we have mentioned, if it is for the purpose of nullifying the sorcery of the sorcerers, then there is no harm in it. Rather, at times, on the basis of general obligation (wajib kifa’i) some individuals must necessarily learn it so that they can nullify the sorcery of a false claimant (to prophethood), should he desire to mislead the people by means of sorcery, and thus lay bare his lies and false claims.

And testifying to this is a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), which states that one of the magicians, who used to take money for performing his magic, approached the Imam (a.s.) and said: Sorcery had been my profession; I would take money for it and in this manner managed to meet the expenses of my life. I even performed the Hajj by means of this income, however now I have abandoned it and have repented. Is there a way for me to achieve deliverance? The Imam (a.s.) replied: Open the knots of magic but do not tie the knots of sorcery.7

From this tradition it can be inferred that it is permissible to learn and practice magic if it is for the purpose of nullifying the (evil) effects of magic.8


1. al-Mufradat of Raghib (سحر)
2. Surat Taha (20), Verse 66
3. Suratul A’raf (7), Verse 116
4. Suratul Baqarah (2), Verse 102
5. Suratul Baqarah (2), Verse 102
6. Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, Chapter 25 from the chapters of Ma Yuktasabu bihi, no. 7
7. Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, Chapter 25 from the chapters of Ma Yuktasabu bihi, no. 1
8. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 1, pg. 377

Annihilation of the Solar System during the Countdown towards the Day of Judgment ?

Annihilation of the Solar System

Is the Annihilation of the Solar System during the Countdown towards the Day of Judgment Consistent with our Present-Day Knowledge?

In the first verse of Suratul Takwir, regarding the issue of Resurrection, we read:

إِذاَ الشَّمْسُ کُوِّرَتْ وَ إِِذاَ النُّجُومُ انْکَدَرَتْ
“When the sun is covered and when the stars darken.”

In view of the above verses, the question that looms up is: Is the dying out of the sun and … consistent with the present day knowledge?

Primarily it ought to be realized that although the sun, a life-giving hub of this system of ours, is a mediocre and average star in comparison to other celestial stars per se, and in comparison to the earth, it is extraordinarily gigantic – its volume, according to studies conducted by the scientists, being one million and three hundred thousand times that of the earth. However, since it is at a distance of one hundred and fifty million kilometres from us, it is seen in its present size.

It is sufficient, for the purpose of personifying the greatness and expansiveness of the sun, to know that if the earth and the moon were to be placed within the sun at the same distance as they presently possess, the moon would very comfortably revolve around the earth without even moving out of the periphery of the sun!

The surface temperature of the sun is said to be in excess of six thousand degrees centigrade while its internal temperature is determined to be several million degrees!

If we wish to mention its weight in terms of tonnes, we would have to follow up the figure ‘2’ with twenty seven zeroes (two billion billion billion tonnes)!

Towering flames leap outwards from the surface of the sun to a distance of more than one hundred and sixty thousand kilometres – a distance within which the earth could easily get lost, since the diameter of the earth is no more than twelve thousand kilometres.

The source of heat and light energy of the sun, contrary to what some imagine, is not due to burning; according to George Gamuf, as stated in his book (translated in Persian in the name of) Paidaish Wa Marg-e-Khurshid, had the sun been created entirely of anthracite and had it been set alight during the time of the first Pharaoh of Egypt, it should have been totally burnt up by now, leaving behind nothing but ashes. Assume any other fuel in place of anthracite and you would be facing this same dilemma.

The reality is that it is incorrect to associate the concept of ‘burning’ with the sun; its energy is obtained by means of atomic fission and we are aware that this energy is extraordinarily intense and great. Thus, the atoms of the sun are in a state of perpetual decomposition, radiation and transformation into energy, and, according to the calculations of scientists, every passing second reduces it by four million tonnes! However, its volume is so monumental that the passage of thousands of years has not affected it in the least and apparently, not the slightest change occurs in its state.

However, it ought to be realized that in the long run, this very aspect would lead to its extinction; this gigantic mass would eventually become smaller and less bright until finally it would lose all its light – this being true for all the other stars too.1

Thus, what has been mentioned in the above verses, in connection with the dying down of the sun and the annihilation of the stars, is a reality which is entirely consistent with present day knowledge; and the Qur’an mentioned these realities at a time when none knew of these issues – neither in the Arabian Peninsula nor in the then- scholarly circles of the world.2


1. An extract from the book Paidaish Wa Marg-e-Khurshid, Nujum-e-Bi Telescope, and Sakhtiman-e-Khurshid
2. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 26, pg. 185