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Newsletter for December 2011
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Watch what you read !
controversy has raged on whether
the oft-quoted hadith "Do not compel your children on
your norms (or customs) because they have been created for a
time which is different from your time." allegedly from Imam
Amirul Mu.mineen (a) was in fact his statement or was it
attributed to him? A reliable research scholar has probed this
and he avers that the first scholar who raised doubts about this
so-called hadith was Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari in the Sixties. In
one of his speeches he said that this hadith is not to be found
in any Shi'a source of hadith, not even later collections in
which weak ahadith were also included such as Biharul Anwar. New
software's of hadith reveal that this is not
found in any of the early four collections of ahadith: Al-Kafi, Man la Yahdhuruhul Faqih, al-Istibsar or Tahdhibul Ahkam. Nor is it in the famous Nahjul Balaghah nor in the later collections either, not even in 110 volumes of Biharul Anwar! So it is not in a single Shi'a collection of ahadith.
Some Shi'a writers and speakers have often
, quoted it, but it goes back to a non-Shi'a source, in the 20th
volume of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah by a Sunni scholar, Ihn Abil
Hadid al-Mu'tazili (d. 656 AH). After
writing the commentary on the sayings of Imam' Ali AS in Nahjul Balaghah, Ibn Abil Hadid, in the last volume of his book, starts a new section, more or less an addendum, where he has compiled sayings of Imam 'Ali that had not been included in Sayyid Razi's compilation of Imam AS' sayings in Nahjul Balaghah. Ibn Abil Hadid, however, began that last section with an interesting disclaimer:
"This is the end of what [Sayyid] ar-Razi, Ahul Hasan (I'.a.) has compiled from the sayings of Amirul Mu'minin (a.s.) in Nahjul Balaghah, and we have given its commentary by the help of Almighty Allah.
And now we shall mention what [Sayyid] ar-Razi has not mentioned from what the people have attributed to him [i.e, Imam 'Ali AS]. Some ofthem are famous and some of them are not that much famous but have been attributed to him, and some of them are from sayings of wise-people other
than Imam 'Ali AS. But as they sound similar to his words of wisdom and consisted of useful words of wisdom, we did not want our book to be devoid of it since it is like an addendum to the book, Nahjul Balagha." (Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, vol. 20, p.251.)
It is in this last section that Ibn Abil Hadid quotes the saying under discussion. Quoting a statement without any sanad (an ascription) and with a disclaimer mentioned earlier does not give any credence to that statement. And that is why it cannot be attributed to Imam' Ali AS without proper verification. Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari in his 1966 speech said: "Lately a statement is been attributed to the Master of the Pious as follows: 'Don't raise your children on your morals because they have been created for a time which is different from yow' time.' This statement has not been seen [in collections of hadith] in the sense that it is not in Nahjul Balaghah, not in the Four Books, nor is it found in the later compilations of hadith books which have included weak ahadith such as Biharul Anwar. This statement has become popular ouly recently, that is, the attribution of this statement to Amirul Mu'minin is not more than 60 years old.
This hadith is not found in the books that
have been written a century ago. An old history book, Nasikhut
Tawarikh, in the section on biography of Plato [the ancient
Greek philosopher], quotes Plato's
statement that 'don't raise your children on your morals as they have been created for a different time'. This may explain that the first person to attribute this statement to Amirul Mu'minin AS perhaps has made a mistake or was from a group who had an agenda." (Islam wa Muqtaziyat-e Zaman, vol. 1, p. 274)
Many ahadith have been attributed to The
Prophet SAWW by the hadith manufacturing plants of the Umayyads
and Abbasids. One such is the "Khulafau Rrashidun" hadith that
has been proven
to be a fabrication to justify Mu'awiyah's dynastic rule and the succeeding Abbasid regime. This is not to say that we should not ponder Plato's statement or apply it if it is beneficial, but to attribute it as a
hadith from Imam Ali AS sans any verifiable chapter and verse evidence is misleading.
courtesy: Ali Abbas Qureshi
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