Distorting Historical Facts – Part 1

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A few days back, I happened to glance at an article in which the writer had made an erroneous conclusion due to his blinkered interpretation of some traditions and statements of the Infallible Imams (a.s) and certain historical events.

Herein, we can reply to such incorrect conclusions by stating that since those who bear enmity to the chief of mankind, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his holy progeny (a.s.) cannot obtain any correct historical sense out of the traditions and statements of these holy personalities, hence:

They maligned the personalities of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his holy progeny – the Ahle Bait (a.s) in order to bring them down to the level of their weak and deviated rulers and to colour them all with the same brush. This is a common approach of all those who oppose the Ahle Bait (a.s)

But when they found this method to be ineffective against the personalities of the holy Imams (a.s), they adopted another method i.e. that of trying to negate the value of their statements. They worked on this Machiavellian tactic for a long time and this continues till date.

The personalities of the Holy Imams (a.s) have been maligned and distorted for the sole reason of giving these opponents the right to reject their statements as per their own wishes and desires. (Especially, traditions that establish the truth of the school of the Ahle Bait (a.s)) In other words, they maintain that:  The companions of Imams (a.s) used to attribute false traditions to them (a.s) against their wishes and these false traditions kept on accumulating and today have taken the form of the Shiite sect.

But of course, true and accurate historical records refute these absurd allegations. History has kept the closest and most loyal companions of the Imams (a.s) free from such false and baseless allegations. Hence, there was no other choice for this deviant group but to accept the true religion of Islam or distort historical facts.

On observing what is mentioned in some of their books and articles, we can conclude that after facing a humiliating defeat in their earlier attempts, these enemies devised a new plan which can only be described as the ‘Distortion of historical facts’.

Hence, in this article we will briefly examine such ‘Distortions of historical facts’ and will discuss two old and new branches of this school of thought, listing a few examples of the same. In particular, we will also mention a few traditions that have earlier been reported in the article ‘Oppression upon the Imams (a.s)’.

In its oldest form, the systematic agenda of ‘Distorting historical facts’ has been rampant among the opponents and enemies of the Ahle Bait (a.s).

One of the methods used by the Shia in their debates against their opponents and enemies is that they cite traditions that have been narrated in reliable and famous books of their opponents (the Ahle Sunnat). i.e. they establish the truth of Shia Islam through the books of the Ahle Sunnat and through established chains of narrations recorded in their books. Hence, now they started to ponder on ways to alter their own reliable books in order to remove traditions related by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and some of his companions so that they may be successful in hiding the truth and closing the doors for Shias in the fields of debate.

It is interesting to know that among the followers of this devilish plot, we find the names of some very famous historians and their students.

An example of the way they distort established historical facts:

Muhammad b. Jurair Tabari (exp. 310 H.) in his Tarikh, has recorded the incident of ‘Daawat of Zul Asheera” (Invitation to the close relatives) which was an invitation by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to his close relatives after the revelation of the Quranic verse ( وَ اَنْذِرْ عَشِیْرَتَكَ الْاَقْرَبِیْنَ )[1]in great detail and with excellent explanation. The summary of which is as follows:

After the revelation of the aforementioned verse, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited his close relatives for a feast. When they had finished devouring all that was laid on the dining cloth, he (s.a.w.a.) said:

“The guide for a nation never utters a lie; know that I am the Prophet appointed by Allah over you all. Know that no relative has brought for his close and dear ones a greater gift than what I have brought for you all. I have brought the goodness of the world and the hereafter for you. Who among you will hasten to my call and will support and help me in this task? So that he may support me in this divine task and strive to end the false customs and deviated rituals of the people of this age of ignorance? By doing so, he will become my brother, my successor and my closest companion.”

At that time, from the entire gathering, only Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s) stood up and said: O the Messenger of Allah! I will support you.”

This call of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was repeated three times and each time the only person to respond positively was Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s). At this juncture, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) exclaimed:

اِنَْ هٰذَا اَخِیْ وَ وَصِیِْیْ وَ خَلِیْفَتِیْ عَلَیْكُمْ فَاسْمَعُوْا لَه وَ اَطِیْعُوْہُ

Surely this is my brother and my Successor and my Caliph upon you. Then listen to him and obey him.

i.e. This youth (Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s)) is my brother, my successor and my Caliph among you. Hence listen attentively to what he says and obey him.”[2]

This is the summary of the incident Tabari has mentioned in great detail in his Tarikh.

Alas! When this famous and much lauded historian and commentator of the Holy Quran writes about the verse ‘‘وَ اَنْذِرْ عَشِیْرَتَكَ الْاَقْرَبِیْنَ’’ “And warn your nearest relatives”, he narrates whatever he has written in his Tarikh but when he reaches the statement of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) where the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) announces his relation to Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s) i.e. when he (s.a.w.a.) says (عَلِیٌ اَنْ یَْكُوْنَ اَخِیْ وَ وَصِیِْیْ وَ خَلِیْفَتِیْ )  “Surely he is my brother, my successor and my Caliph” he alters the words which he has recorded in his own Tarikh, saying (علی اَنْ یَْكُوْنَ اَخِیْ كَذَا وَ كذَا)[3] (that he is my brother and so and so) i.e. Ali is my brother and so and so?!

Can the replacement of the words (وصیْ و خلیفتی)(my Successor and my Caliph) with the words (كذا و كذا) (so and so) be considered as anything except ‘distortion of historical facts’?

It is even more interesting to note that the famous historian Ibn Kaseer al-Shaami (exp. 732 H.) in his Tarikh[4] (which is based on Tarikh Tabari) and in his Tafseer (volume 3, page 351), while narrating this historical incident, completely ignores Tarikh Tabari and avoids relating this incident from it! Rather, he chronicles it exactly as mentioned in Tafseer Tabari!

Relating an incomplete historical incident in the presence of well-established facts is a painful reality that brings to the fore distortions and unfaithfulness practiced rather shamelessly by some historians.

[1] Surah Shura Verse:  214 “And invite your closest relatives.”

[2] Tarikh Tabari vol.3, pg.62-63, Tarikh Kamil Ibn Aseer vol.2, pg.40-41, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, vol.1, pg.111

[3] Tafseere Tabari vol.19, pg.74

[4] Al Bedaayah wa al-Nehaayah, vol.3, pg. 40

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