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Nahjul Balagah, Caliphate, Imam Ali (as)

Is Shiqshiqiyyah sermon reliable ?

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  • 2023-03-12
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Is Shiqshiqiyyah sermon reliable ?

This sermon is known as the sermon of ash-Shiqshiqiyyah, and is counted among the most famous sermons of Ameerul Momineen (as). It was delivered at ar-Rahbah. Although some people have denied it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance and by attributing it to as-Sayyid ar-Radi (or ash-Sharif ar-Radi) have laid blame on his acknowledged integrity, yet truth-loving scholars have denied its veracity. Nor can there be any ground for this denial because Ameerul Momineen's (as) difference of view in the matter of Caliphate is not a secret matter, so that such hints should be regarded as something alien. And the events which have been alluded to in this sermon are preserved in the annals of history which testifies them word by word and sentence by sentence. If the same events which are related by history are recounted by Ameerul Momineen (as) then what is the ground for denying them ? If the memory of discouraging circumstances faced by him soon after the martyrdom of the Prophet (saws) appeared unpalatable to him it should not be surprising. No doubt this sermon hits at the prestige of certain personalities and gives a set back to the faith and belief in them but this cannot be sustained by denying the sermon to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance, unless the true events are analysed and truth unveiled; otherwise just denying it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance because it contains disparagement of certain individuals carries no weight, when similar criticism has been related by other historians as well. Thus (Abu Uthman) Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz has recorded the following words of a sermon of Ameerul Momineen (as) and they are not less weighty than the criticism in the "SERMON OF ASH-SHIQSHIQIYYAH"

'Those two passed away and the third one rose like the crow whose courage is confined to the belly. It would have been better if both his wings had been cut and his head severed'

Consequently, the idea that it is the production of as-Sayyid ar-Radi is far from truth and a result of partisanship and partiality. Or else if it is the result of some research it should be brought out. Otherwise, remaining in such wishful illusion does not alter the truth, nor can the force of decisive arguments be curbed down by mere disagreement and displeasure. In this sermon, Ameerul Momineen (as) depicts the periods of the first three Caliphs of our opponents, and criticizes their performances, challenging the legitimacy of their caliphate. He also points out that people rushed into his house in order to pledge their allegiance to him. He refers to Nakithun (Oath-breakers), Qasitun (the cruel) and Mariqun (Khawarij), and he finally mentions the reason why he accepted to undertake the power. In most versions of Nahj al-balagha, the sermon is the third sermon. The sermon is also called as "AL-MUQAMMASA" (dressed) because of its first sentence: "I swear to God! Abu Bakr (la) dressed (taqammasaha) himself with it". The term "TAQAMMUS" means dressing: Ameerul Momineen (as) assimilated the caliphate to a dress that Abu Bakr (la) had put on though it did not fit him. However, the sermon is more widely known as "ASH-SHIQSHIQIYYA" because of what Ameerul Momineen (as) said at the end of the sermon when Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas asked him to continue the sermon: 

'It was like the foam of a Camel (SHIQSHIQA) which gushed out but subsided'

According to Arabic lexicologists and commentators of the sermon, 'SHIQSHIQA' is something like a foam coming out of a camel's mouth when it is angry; it is accompanied with the turning of the sound inside the camel's throat, and then it calms down. This does not occur in normal situations. Ameerul Momineen (as) assimilated his own state with the excitation of a camel; the sermon thus came out of his mouth and heart like a foam. He said that at the end of the sermon he was in a normal situation and thus he could not continue the sermon. This is why Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas is quoted as saying that:

'I have never regretted any talk remaining unfinished like I did for this sermon'

Now we set forth the evidence of those scholars and traditionists who have clearly held it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance, so that its historical importance should become known.

The person who directly narrated the sermon was Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas whose narrations are also RELIABLE for our opponents. This sermon can be found in some works before Nahj al-balagha and its sources of narration go back to Ameerul Momineen (as) himself. 

1) In his al-Ghadir vol 7, pg 109-115, Allama Amini mentioned 28 chains of narrations for this sermon in none of which al-Sayyid al-Radi appears.

2) In the book Partowi az nahj al-balagha (a light from Nahj al-balagha), pg 128, 22 chains of narrations have been mentioned for the sermon, eight of which are from sources before al-Sayyid al-Radi, five from al-Sayyid Radi's contemporaries, and nine from sources after Nahj al-balagha or after the 5th/11th century from sources independent from Nahj al-Balagha. In his essay, al-Mas'alataan fil-nass ala Ali (as) pg 28, he cited the sermon as a WELL-KNOWN one, showing that there was NO DOUBT about the reliability of the sermon in his time. 

3) In his book, al-Jamal, pg 62 al-Shaykh al-Mufid takes the sermon to be too famous to need an explanation. 

4) Ibn Abil-Hadid al-Mu'tazili writes that his master Abul-Khayr Musaddiq ibn Shabib al-Wasiti (d. 605 AH) stated that he heard this sermon from ash-Shaykh Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Ahmad al-Baghdadi (d. 567 AH) known as Ibn al-Khashshab and when he reached where Ibn Abbas expressed sorrow for this sermon having remained incomplete Ibn al-Khashshab said to him that if he had heard the expression of sorrow from Ibn Abbas he would have certainly asked him if there had remained with his cousin any further unsatisfied desire because excepting the Prophet he had already spared neither the predecessors nor followers and had uttered all that he wished to utter. Why should therefore be any sorrow that he could not say what he wished ? Musaddiq says that Ibn al-Khashshab was a man of jolly heart and decent taste. I inquired from him whether he also regarded the sermon to be a fabrication when he replied "By Allah, I believe it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) word as I believe you to be Musaddiq ibn Shabib" I said that some people regard it to be as-Sayyid ar-Radi's production when he replied: "How can ar-Radi have such guts or such style of writing ? I have seen as-Sayyid ar-Radi's writings and know his style of composition. Nowhere does his writing match with this one and I have already seen it in books written two hundred years before the birth of as-Sayyid ar-Radi, and I have seen it in familiar writings about which I know by which scholars or men of letters they were compiled. At that time not only ar-Radi but even his father Abu Ahmad an-Naqib has not been born"

5) Thereafter Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes that he saw this sermon in the compilations of his master Abu'l-Qasim (Abdullah ibn Ahmad) al-Balkhi (d. 317 AH). He was the Imam of the Mutazilites in the reign of al-Muqtadir Billah while al-Muqtadir's period was far earlier than the birth of as-Sayyid ar-Radi.

6) He further writes that he saw this sermon in Abu Jafar (Muhammad ibn Abd ar-Rahman), Ibn Qibah's book al-Insaf. He was the pupil of Abu'l-Qasim al-Balkhi and a theologian of Imamiyyah (Shiite) sect. (Sharh e Nahjul Balāgah of Ibn Abil-Hadid, vol 1, pg 205, 206)

7) Ibn Maytham al-Bahrani (d. 679 AH) writes in his commentary that he had seen one such copy of this sermon which bore writing of al-Muqtadir Billah's minister Abul-Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-Furat (d. 312 AH). (Sharh Nahjul Balāgah, vol 1, pg 252, 253)

8) al-Allamah Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi has related the following chain of authority about this Sermon from ash-Shaykh Qutbud-Din ar-Rawandi's compilation Minhaj al-bara`ah fi Sharh Nahjul Balaghah: Ash-Shaykh Abu Nasr al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim informed me from al-Hajib Abul-Wafa Muhammad ibn Badi, al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Badi and al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Abd ar-Rahman and they from al-Hafiz Abu Bakr (Ahmad ibn Musa) ibn Marduwayh al-Isbahani (d. 416 AH) and he from al-Hafiz Abul-Qasim Sulayman ibn Ahmad at-Tabarani (d. 360 AH) and he from Ahmad ibn Ali al-Abbar and he from Ishaq ibn Said Abu Salamah ad-Dimashqi and he from Khulayd ibn Dalaj and he from Ata ibn Abi Rabah and he from Ibn Abbas. (Bihar al-anwar, 1st ed, vol 8, pg 160, 161)

9) In the context Allamah Majlisi has written that this sermon is also contained in the compilations of Abu Ali (Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) al-Jubbai (d. 303 AH)

10) In connection with this very authenticity Allamah al-Majlisi writes: Al-Qadi Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad al-Asad'abadi (d. 415 AH) who was a strict Mutazilite, explains some expressions of this sermon in his book al-Mughni and tries to prove that it does not strike against any preceding caliph but does not deny it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) composition. (ibid, pg 161)

11) Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ali, Ibn Babawayh (d. 381 AH) writes: Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ishaq at-Talaqani told us that Abd al-Aziz ibn Yahya al-Jaludi (d. 332 AH) told him that Abu Abdillah Ahmad ibn Ammar ibn Khalid told him that Yahya ibn Abd al-Hamid al- Himmani (d. 228 AH) told him that Isa ibn Rashid related this sermon from Ali ibn Hudhayfah and he from Ikrimah and he from Ibn Abbas. (Ilal ash-sharai, vol 1, chp 122, pg 144; Maani al-akhbar, chp 22, pg 360, 361)

Then Ibn Babawayh records the following chain of authorities :- Muhammad ibn Ali Majilawayh related this sermon to us and he took it from his uncle Muhammad ibn Abil-Qasim and he from Ahmad ibn Abi Abdillah (Muhammad ibn Khalid) al-Barqi and he from his father and he from (Muhammad) Ibn Abi Umayr and he from Aban ibn Uthman and he from Aban ibn Taghlib and he from Ikrimah and he from Ibn Abbas. (Ilal ash-sharai, vol 1, chp 122, pg l46; Maani al-akhbar, chp 22, pg 361)

Thus the sermon is also RELIABLE from the Sanad point of view, as Shaykh Saduq, narrated it in Ilal ash-sharai with a reliable chain of narrators, even if there was Ikrimah, the staunch enemy of Ahlulbayth (as), it increases more trust upon this sermon, since it is not in the interest of the enemies to narrate a sermon in which criticism of their Caliphs is mentioned.

12) Abu Ahmad al-Hasan ibn Abdillah ibn Said al-Askari (d. 382 AH) who counts among great scholars of our opponents has written commentary and explanation of this sermon that has been recorded by Ibn Babawayh in Ilal ash-sharai and Maani al-akhbar.

13) as-Sayyid Nimatullah al-Jazairi writes: The author of Kitab al-gharat Abu Ishaq, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ath-Thaqafi al-Kufi (d. 283 AH) has related this sermon through his own chain of authorities. The date of completion of writing this book is Tuesday the 13th Shawwal 255 AH and in the same year, Murtada al-Musawi was born. He was older in age than his brother as-Sayyid ar-Radi. (Anwar an-Numaniyyah, pg 37)

14) as-Sayyid Radi ad-Din Abul-Qasim Ali ibn Musa, Ibn Tawus al-Husayni al-Hulli (d. 664 AH) has related this sermon from Kitab al-gharat with the following chain of authorities:- This sermon was related to us by Muhammad ibn Yusuf who related it from al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abd al-Karim az-Zafarani and he from Muhammad ibn Zakariyyah al-Ghallabi and he from Yaqub ibn Jafar ibn Sulayman and he from his father and he from his grand-father and he from Ibn Abbas. (Translation of at-Taraif, pg 202)

15) Shaykh at-Taifah, Muhammad ibn al- Hasan at-Tusi (d. 460 AH) writes: (Abul-Fath Hilal ibn Muhammad ibn Jafar) al-Haffar related this sermon to us. He related it from Abu'l-Qasim (Ismail ibn Ali ibn Ali) ad-Dibili and he from his father and he from his brother Dibil (ibn Ali al-Kuzai) and he from Muhammad ibn Salamah ash-Shami and he from Zurarah ibn Ayan and he from Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ali and he from Ibn Abbas. (al-Amali, pg 237)

16) ash-Shaykh al-Mufid (Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Numan, d. 413 AH) who was the teacher of as-Sayyid ar-Radi writes about the chain of authorities of this sermon: A number of relaters of traditions have related this sermon from Ibn Abbas through numerous chains. (al-Irshad, pg 135)

17) Alam al-Huda (emblem of guidance) as-Sayyid al-Murtada who was the elder brother of as-Sayyid ar-Radi has recorded it on pg 203, 204 of his book ash-Shafi.

18) Abu Mansur at-Tabarsi writes: A number of relaters have given an account of this sermon from Ibn Abbas through various chains. Ibn Abbas said that he was in the audience of Ameerul Momineen (as) at ar-Rahbah (a place in Kufah) when conversation turned to Caliphate and those who had preceded him as Caliphs, when Ameerul Momineen (as) breathed a sigh and delivered this sermon. (al-Ihtijaj, pg 101)

19) Abul-Muzaffar Yusuf ibn Abdillah and Sibt ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi (d. 654 AH) writes: Our ash-Shaykh Abul-Qasim an-Nafis al-Anbari related this sermon to us through his chain of authorities that ends with Ibn Abbas, who said that after allegiance had been paid to Ameerul Momineen (as) as Caliph, he was sitting on the pulpit when a man from the audience enquired why he had remained quiet till then whereupon Ameerul Momineen (as) delivered this sermon extempore. (Tadhkarat khawass al-ummah, pg 73)

20) al-Qadi Ahmad ibn Muhammad, ash-Shihab al-Khafaji (d. 1069 AH) writes with regard to its authenticity: It is stated in the utterances of Ameerul Momineen Ali (Allah may be pleased with him) that "It is strange during life time he (Abu Bakr) wanted to give up the Caliphate but he strengthened its foundation for the other one after his death." (Sharh durrat al-ghawwas, pg 17)

21) ash-Shaykh Ala ad-Dawlah as-Simnani writes: Ameerul Momineen Sayyid al-Arifin Ali (as) has stated in one of his brilliant Sermons "This is the Shiqshiqah that burst forth" (al-Urwah li ahl al-khalwah wal-jalwah, pg 3, manuscript in Nasiriah Library, Lucknow, India)

22) Abul-Fadl Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Maydani (d. 518 AH) has written in connection with the word Shiqshiqah: One sermon of Ameerul Momineen Ali (as) is known as Khutbah ash-Shiqshiqiyyah (the sermon of the Camel's Foam). (Majma al-amthal, vol 1, pg 369)

23) In fifteen places in an-Nihayah while explaining the words of this sermon Abus-Sa'adat Mubarak ibn Muhammad, Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari (d. 606 AH) has ACKNOWLEDGED it to be Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance.

24) Shaykh Muhammad Tahir Patni while explaining the same words in Majma bihar al-anwar testifies this sermon to be Ameerul Momineen (as) by saying: 'Ali says so'

25) Abul-Fadl ibn Manzur (d. 711 AH) has acknowledged it as Amir al-mu'minin's utterance in Lisan al-Arab, vol 12, pg 54 by saying: 'In the sayings of Ali in his sermon 'It is the camel's foam that burst forth then subsided'

26) Majdu'd-Din al-Firuzabadi (d. 816/817 AH) has recorded under the word "SHIQSHIQAH" in his lexicon (al-Qamus, vol 3, pg 251): Khutbah ash-Shiqshiqiyyah is by Ali, so named because when Ibn Abbas asked him to resume it where he had left it, he said: "O Ibn Abbas ! It was the foam of a camel that burst forth then subsided"

27) The compiler of Muntaha al-adab writes: Khutbah ash-Shiqshiqiyyah of Ali is attributed to Ali (Allah may honour his face).

28) ash-Shaykh Muhammad Abduh, Mufti of Egypt, RECOGNISING it as Ameerul Momineen's (as) utterance, has written its explanations.

29) Muhammad Muhyid-Din Abd al-Hamid, Professor in the Faculty of Arabic Language, al-Azhar University has written annotations on Nahjul Balaghah adding a foreword in the beginning wherein he recognises all such sermons which contain disparaging remarks to be the utterances of Ameerul Momineen (as). 

In the face of these evidences and undeniable proofs is there any scope to hold that it is not Ameerul Momineen's (as) production and that as-Sayyid ar-Radi prepared it himself?

 

 

3 Comments
    • Mohammed Ali
    • January 15, 2021

    Nice Blog

    • Raza Rizvi
    • January 15, 2021

    Good Blog

    • Qasim Ali
    • January 15, 2021

    Mashallah, Informative blog.

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