Some Muslims do not look favourably at the practice of Shias to invoke blessings, salutations and salawaat on the infallibles of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). They consider this an innovation (bidah).
There is an amusing debate on this topic which serves as a fitting response to the skeptics.
Allamah Hilli (r.a.) held a dialogue with the Ahle Tasannun scholars in the court of King Muhammad Khuda Banda. When the debate was over and the rightfulness of the religion of the twelve infallible Imams (a.s.) became as clear as daylight, Allamah Hilli (r.a.) delivered an eloquent sermon beginning with the praise of Allah and salutations on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.).
When Sayyed Mosuli (a Sunni scholar who had suffered defeat in the debate) heard this, he asked – What is the proof in support of sending salutations on persons other than the prophets?
Without disturbing his sermon, Allamah Hilli (r.a.) replied by reciting the verse:
‘Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord…’ (Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 156-157)
Allamah Hilli (r.a.) wanted to convey that as innumerable calamities befell Ahle Bait (a.s.) and they remained patient only for the sake of Allah, that is why they are worthy of salutations.
On hearing this, Sayyed Mosuli continued obstinately – Which calamity befell the progeny of the Prophet in which they remained patient and became worthy of salutation?
Allamah (who was a Shaikh) gave an apt reply – What can be a greater calamity on the Ahle Bait (a.s.) that in their generations is born a person like you who prefers accursed hypocrites and ignorant ones to his venerable ancestors!
The audience burst into laughter at this and all became very surprised and pleased to hear this reply.
Thus the saying has become famous that:
‘A Sayyed can never be a Sunni’. (Persian couplet)
(It is clear that the Ahle Bait (a.s.) had to undergo untold difficulties and oppression at the hands of the early caliphs followed by the kings of Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas. They remained patient to seek the pleasure of Allah. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) foretold on many occasions the oppression the Ahle Bait (a.s.) would face at the hands of Bani Umayyah, Bani Mughairah among others. (Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain vol 4 pg 479, 480, 487). And he (s.a.w.a.) declared that Allah preferred the hereafter over this world for the Ahle Bait (a.s.). (Kanzul Ummal) If any Muslim claims that the Ahle Bait (a.s.) were not patient, he has effectively claimed that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has lied – Allah forbid.))
- Muwaiz al-Muttaqeen by Sayyed Muhammad Mahdi from Lulu al-Bahrain
Invoking blessings on Aale Muhammad (a.s.) according to the Ahle Tasannun
Abu Abdillah Muhammad b. Umar b. Husain al-Taimi al-Bakri, more popular as Fakhruddeen al-Raazi (exp. 606 AH is a renowned Ahle Tasunnan scholar. His views and opinions are cited frequently to counter the Shias – particularly on the subject of Imamat.
Therefore his stand on آل محمد (a.s.) is particularly relevant.
Fakhre Raazi – as he is also called – writes in his exegesis of the Holy Quran, Mafaateeh al-Ghaib (popularly known as Tafseer al-Kabeer):
‘Indeed invocation for آل محمد (a.s.) has a great position. And in this regard the following prayer has been recorded and the one who prays salaat recites it in his salaat at the end of Tashahhud:
‘O Allah! Bless Muhammad and his progeny and bestow mercy on Muhammad and his progeny.’
Such an honour is not found for anyone except Aale Muhammad (s.a.w.a.). This indicates that showing kindness towards the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is obligatory.
The Ahle Bait of the Prophet are with him (s.a.w.a.) in five aspects:
- Sending blessings upon him (s.a.w.a.) and upon them in Tashahhud
- Sending salutation upon them
- Purity from every kind of impurity and filth
- Charity (sadaqah) being prohibited on them
- Obligation in being kind towards them
- Tafseer al-Kabeer vol. 7 p. 391