Ismailis use the “Hadith Thaqlayn” (meaning “Hadith of two weighty things”, and also known as “Hadith of Qur’an and Ahl-e-bayt”) to prove their over-exaggerated belief of Ismaili Imamate. Lets have a look at the exact words of that hadith which are as follows:
Zayd ibn Arqam narrated that one day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stood up to deliver a sermon at a watering-place known as Khumm, situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him, delivered the sermon, exhorted (us) and said: “Now to our purpose, O people: I am a human being. Perhaps I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord, and I, in response to Allah’s call, (shall bid goodbye to you). But I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah, and then said: “The second are the members of my household; I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family.”
Hadith 5920, Sahih Muslim
There is absolutely no dispute amongst the Muslims regarding the superiority and importance of following the commands and guidance of the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger (pbuh).
In the hadith regarding the ‘ahle-bayt’ the Messenger (pbuh) is simply exhorting the believers and reminding them of their duties to the members of his noble household… his wives, his daughter and her descendants, his uncle and their descendants, his cousins, etc. But some people have taken to the meaning of the above narration to the extreme, and conveniently removed the wives of the Prophet from the members of the ‘ahle-bayt’, and conveniently chosen a few members from the ‘ahle-bayt’ and made them infallible and sinless and invented sects in their noble names, long after their deaths!
They have, without any authority from Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) chosen only a few of the Prophet’s family as the actual ‘ahle-bayt’ and discarded the rest! They claim that by ‘ahle-bayt’ the Messenger (pbuh) actually meant only his cousin Imam Ali (ra), his daughter Fatima (ra), their two sons from among their children, Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra), and then specific sons from the many children among their descendants.
They have invented and created their own list of the chosen ‘ahle-bayt’, and some amongst them stopped at five, while others at seven, while others at eleven, and others at twelve, and others at seventeen, and some at twenty-one and Ismailis count on 49th !!!!!
The Truth is that the Messenger (pbuh) was simply reminding the believers about the duties to the members of his family and ‘ahle-bayt’, including his noble and chaste wives, his only surviving daughter Fatima and her righteous children, his uncle Abbas (ra) and his children, and his cousins and their children like Ali (ra), Aqeel (ra), the children of Jaafar-al Tayyar (ra). It is the duty of every believer to love and respect all the members of the noble ‘ahle-bayt’ and their righteous offsprings.
Syeds in the Subcontinent and Court Ruling thereon
There are a lot of people in the Indian subcontinent who call themselves ‘syeds’ – a term which for some reason has become synonymous in the region to mean a descendant of the Noble Messenger (pbuh) and is most probably derived from the early Arab settlers who came to the Indo-Pak region and were called ‘syeds’ in respect of their Arab heritage and lineage by the local population and connote that they are descendants of the Messenger (pbuh) and have family tree like Aga Khan produces whose authenticity is best known to Allah.
They may or may not be the direct descendants of the Prophet (pbuh) or from the Banu Hashim, and Allah knows best. Aga Khan is no different from any other syed, living in the Indian subcontinent.
In the famous Haji Bibi Case of 1905, Justice Russell has recorded the evidence of witness Gulam Hussein Alu Muraj (Bombay Law Reporter, p. 454) as under:
There is no difference between the present Aga Khan and any other Syed. There are many thousands of Syeds in the world. I consider them equal, they are descendants from Fatima. There was no difference between Ali Shah and the descendants of Syeds in the world. I give the same answer as to Hasan Ali. I believe they were Syeds because they said so. This has been so ever since I can remember.
The descendants of the Noble Prophet of Allah (pbuh) are better known as the Banu Hashim/Bani Hashim or simply, the Hashimites.
No person has any special rank or status in Islam or in the Sight of Allah (swt) based simply on their race, lineage, color, gender, nationality or language for Allah (swt) declares in His Glorious Qur’an that the one who has the biggest status, rank, grade, and honor in the sight of the Lord is one who has the most taqwa.
Allah says in the Surah Hujurat – Chapter 49, Verse 13:
O mankind, We created you from one man and one woman, and then divided you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize one another. Indeed, the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
My beloved Ismaili brothers, The Lord most just, most gracious does not reward or punish one based on one’s lineage or race or color, but the basis of Allah’s mercy or Allah’s wrath is determined by the individual’s own state of belief and his/her deeds alone.
It is a historical fact that the only descendants of the Prophet (pbuh) who survived were from the loins of his beloved daughter Fatimah binte Mohamed (ra). There are several thousand people who claim descent from the Prophet (pbuh) and Allah (swt) alone knows how many of his descendants are alive today and where exactly do they reside.
Amongst the most famous or notable people who claim descent from the Prophet (pbuh) are the current rulers of the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan King Abdullah bin Hussain and his immediate family, and the current Aga Khan and his immediate family. In case of Aga Khan as an Nizari Ismaili imam the authenticity of this claim is doubtful as the history of Nizari Imams disappears from 1480 AD to 1722 AD.
Edward Burman writes in his book The Assassins: Holy Killers of Islam (pp. 175-76):
From 1480, in fact, all traces of the hidden imams disappear for about three centuries until they appear again slightly further to the south with the death of Shah Nizar at Kahak, south of Qom, in 1722. Then from Kahak they seem to have moved much further south east to Kerman. A plausible hypothesis in this case would be that an Isma’ili imam of the time gave his support to the tribal leader Karim Khan Zand — whose name the present Aga Khan bears — when he rose against the decaying Safavid dynasty in mid- century. It was in fact towards the end of the eighteenth century that the history of the line again becomes clearly discernible, when the Nizari Isma’ili imams appear already established as important members of the Persian nobility. The presumed forty-fourth imam, Abu al Hasan Ali Shah, in fact became Governor of the city of Kerman under Karim Khan Zand and died in that city in 1780.
If the recorded history during the Alamut and post-Alamut period, is full of so many unauthenticated and outrageous claims relating to Imam’s true succession, how much more improbable would it be to accept the claim of uninterrupted succession through three centuries from 1480 to 1722, during which time “all traces of the hidden imams” totally disappear?
Now question is that do these Syeds, or descendants of Prophet (pbuh) occupy an important place in present day Islamic society?
Dear and beloved Ismailis brothers and sisters, what is of paramount importance in the sight of Allah (swt) is not where and to whom one is born, but whether the person believes, is pious, and does righteous deeds.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: Chapter 49 Surah Hujurat verse 13:
O mankind, We created you from one man and one woman, and then divided you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize one another. Indeed, the most honorable among you in the Sight of Allah is he who is the most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
The Lord makes it abundantly clear in the above Verse of His Glorious Qur’an that all human beings were created from one set of common parents and were divided into nations and tribes only so that one may recognize the other. One’s lineage has absolutely no bearing of importance in Islam, but what is of paramount importance in the Sight of Allah (swt) is the belief, level of piety, and the deeds one chooses to do in their life on this earth. The likes of the ardent enemy of Islam and the Prophet (pbuh) Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab were both direct descendants of Prophet Ibraheem (as), but because they chose to disbelieve and strive against the mission of Islam they were cursed by the Lord All-Mighty in this world and the next, and their being direct descendants of the Noble Prophet Ibraheem (as) will hold absolutely no benefit for them in the Sight and Court of Allah (swt). Conversely, the likes of the noble companions of the Prophet (pbuh) like Salman al-Farsi (ra) or Bilal (ra) were not direct descendants of Prophet Ibrahim (as), but because of their belief, piety, and their striving for the Cause of Allah (swt) they are honored by the believers in this world and will be Honored by Allah (swt) in the Hereafter.
Thus regardless of whether one claims direct descent of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) or not, if one is a believer and does righteous good deeds, he will be honored by Allah (swt) and if one amongst them disbelieves, he will deserve the Wrath and Anger of the Lord Most High in the Hereafter.
Now Ismailis belief of their Imam being the only one qualified to explain the Qur’an on the basis of his proclaimed descent from Prophet (pbuh), has no basis or evidence whatsoever from the Glorious Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is amongst us in its original form and the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) are recorded by various eminent scholars. Allah says Himself in the above verse of the Holy Qur’an, to follow Allah and His Messenger (pbuh), as is said in various other verses of the Holy Qur’an. There is not a single verse in the Qur’an where Allah says that the Imam is the only one qualified to explain the Qur’an or anything even remotely close to it in meaning or text. This is a man-made belief, and to use it to form the fundamental of any sect of Islam is nothing short of misguidance. These sort of statements are made by unscrupulous leaders who then try to take people away from the clear guidance of the Holy Qur’an and make the people invoke themselves and their ancestors in their graves. Once these unscrupulous leaders have taken the Holy Qur’an and its clear guidance away from the people, they create all kinds of sects and stories to take people further and further away from the Holy Qur’an like Aga Khan and his missionaries.
The other thing we must understand very clearly here that only, and I repeat only, the Prophets of Allah have the right to come to mankind and proclaim that they are the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. No Imam can come to man and say that he has been chosen by Allah as Imam. Anyone who does so, is a confirmed liar. The imams like Aga Khan are self-proclaimed are and have no authority from Allah. Allah appoints only Messengers for mankind as stated in the Holy Qur’an several times. Thus to claim that only the Aga Khan imams of Ismailis are qualified to explain the Qur’an is a man-invented statement and has no basis or evidence from the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is for all mankind to understand and we will be questioned about it on the Day of Judgement.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an in Surah Zukhruf – Chapter 43, Verses 43-45:
So hold fast to the Book (Al Qur’an) that has been revealed to you; you are surely in the Straight Way. The fact is that this Book is a great honor for you and your people, and soon you shall be called to account for it. You may ask all other Messengers whom we sent before you (O Muhammad), if We ever had appointed any other gods to be worshipped besides Ar-Rahmaan.
Our intention is to invite one and all to read and understand the message of the Lord of the Worlds, and then decide what path you want to take to Allah. We ask no reward and no thanks from you, our reward is in the safe custody of the All Merciful Allah. Our intention is for mankind to move away from the worship and invocation of man and graves, and come to the sole worship and invocation of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and everything in between. Our intention is to stop being slaves of man and become the slaves of Allah (Abd’allah).
It is one of the infinite mercies of Allah (swt), that the Holy Qur’an is amongst us today in its original form. For people whose first language is not Arabic, the best way to understand the Holy Qur’an is to read the translation in a language he can understand. That will give them a very good idea of what Islam is all about and what Allah (swt) is guiding mankind to. The Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) are more than enough for the guidance of mankind.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an Surah Ale Imran – Chapter 3, Verses 31-32:
O Prophet, tell the people, “If you sincerely love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful.” Also say to them, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.
Anybody who claims himself to be a Muslim has to love, obey and follow the Messenger (pbuh).Every Muslim loves his (pbuh) family, his wives, his noble companions, his children, and his descendants. The early imams were some of the greatest scholars in the annuls of Islam, and they are loved and respected by all the Muslims today for their ‘taqwa’ and God consciousness. The Muslims are commanded to worship and invoke Allah Alone. They do not worship or invoke the Messenger (pbuh), and they definitely should not invoke or worship any of the descendants of the Prophet (pbuh).
The role of the Imams i.e. leader was to guide the Muslims of their generation, in light of the guidance and teaching of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger (pbuh), and Allah knows Best, that is exactly what they did. No imam had the power to change anything from the commandments of the Holy Qur’an or the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh), like Aga Khan had done.
The Ismaili belief that we should obey and follow the Aga Khan as ab imam, simply because they are the direct descendants of the Messenger (pbuh) is totally baseless instead we should obey and follow anybody who obeys, follows, guides and teaches from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger (pbuh). If anybody, no matter who he is related to, tries to guide us from any other source, then we leave him alone. Our allegiance as Muslims is to Allah and His Messenger and not to any family! Our allegiance is to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) because what we do know is that the Holy Qur’an is the Book of Allah, which was revealed for our guidance. What we do know is that Mohamed ibn Abdulla (pbuh) was appointed the Last Messenger of Allah. What we do know is that the deen of Islam was revealed in completion before the death of the Messenger (pbuh), and no changes are allowed in that deen. What we must realize today is that to practice Islam, we only need to follow two things. The first is the Holy Qur’an and the second is the Messenger (pbuh). If anyone is guiding from any other source than the above two divine sources, you can be assured of misguidance!
There are millions of people all over the world who claim to be direct descendants of the Messenger (pbuh) as mention above regarding ‘syeds’. Do we have to believe and obey all of them? The Aga Khan’s claim of being a direct descendant of the Prophet (pbuh) is unauthentic, full of doubt and even if he is a descendant, his practices are closer to that of the devil who had corrupted the fundamentals of Islam in name of Ismailism. Are these the people we want to follow in Islam?
The Noorani Family
Aga Khan’s family is known as the Noorani family. Noorani literally means luminous or the illuminated family. This is the same family which is notorious famous for multi-million dollar divorces, affairs and scandals. When confronted with the Noorani family’s unholy deeds, Ismailis argue that the family has no special religious status. One wonders how are they still Noorani?
In reality, in the eyes of Allah, no person and no family has any special claim to enter into Paradise. Please note Allah will not admit us into Paradise, just because we claimed to believe and love his Messenger and their families. Please note that in the Holy Qur’an itself, Allah states very clearly that Prophet Abraham (pbuh) could not help his own father. Prophet Noah (pbuh) could not help his own son from the fire of hell. Prophet Lot (pbuh) could not help his wife from the punishment.
We will not be judged on the Day of Judgment by whom we know and whom we are related to. We will be judged by Allah according to our deeds and our piety.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: Surah Hujurat – Chapter 49, Verse 13:
Indeed, the most honorable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who is most pious (God Fearing) of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an Chapter 2 Surah Al Baqarah verse 111-112:
The (Jews and Christians) say: “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” These are their wishful fancies! Say to them, “Bring your evidence if you are right in your claim!”. The fact is that no one has any special claim to Paradise! Whoever surrenders himself to Allah in obedience, and is a door of good deeds, shall have his reward with His Lord. There shall be neither fear nor grief for such people.
May Allah take the Ismailis out of the worship of personalities, and bring them to the worship of their One and Only Lord and Creator. May Allah make Ismailis realize that the only promises that are absolutely true are those of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). May Allah guide Ismailis to read and understand the Holy Qur’an so that we can differentiate between the truth and the falsehood. May Allah guide Ismailis to the Straight Path of Islam.
May Allah guide us all to Sirat al-Mustaqeem.