Monday, October 11, 2010

Legitimacy of Violence: A Zaidi Perspective

Many people are turning away from religion because they perceive that it is to blame for much of the violence in the world. They see that Jews, Muslims and Christians are fighting and killing each other, and think that their religions legitimize that violence. As “World Peace” has become the dream and goal of many thinking individuals, monotheistic religions are seen as part of the problem, while peacemakers like the Dalai Lama are getting all the positive publicity.
While it is true that most wars are started for political reasons, with religion often used by governments to get legitimacy for what they wanted to do anyway, it must also be admitted that Islam is a religion which legitimizes violence in some forms. However, it is my belief that Islam does not have to continue to be associated with violence in the modern world. Islam needs a rethink and an image-change.
For me, “Islam” is what we find in the Qur’an, and its interpretation by the mujtahids of our day, who take into account the circumstances of today, rather than ignoring the fact that the world has changed since its revelation.

Does the Qur’an legitimize certain forms of violence?
The Qur’an, taken literally, legitimizes violent punishments for certain crimes/ wrongdoings, namely:
1. Hand amputation for thieves
2. Whipping for adulterers
3. Capital punishment for murderers
4. Hitting wives who are guilty of lewdness.
The Qur’an also legitimizes fighting in self defence, when people are driven out of their homes by force, and/or overrun by tyrants. The type of fighting referred to is presumably hand to hand combat between males on a battle field away from civilians, not aerial bombardment, nuclear weaponry, hidden explosives, landmines, and guided missiles, which give their victims (who are often civilians) no chance to defend themselves, and are therefore (in my opinion) unacceptable.
As these weapons had not been invented at the time the Qur’an was revealed, it is incorrect to say that Islam legitimizes their use in any circumstances. We now rely upon ijtihad to ascertain whether such weapons can be used by Muslims, in retaliation for the suffering caused by non- Muslims against them. I would hope that Muslim mujtahids are not going to legitimize these cruel weapons in any circumstances.

Does the Sunna legitimize certain forms of violence?
Other violent punishments carried out in the name of Islam, including the stoning of adulterers and capital punishment for apostates, are not backed up by Qur’anic verses, and therefore open to debate. They will not be considered part of “Islam” for the purpose of this article. Even if they were carried out during the Prophet’s lifetime (making them “sunna”), I do not believe that “sunna” equates to “Islam.” I acknowledge that most Zaidis would disagree with me on this point.

I think that, in the past, people of various religious backgrounds thought violence was a legitimate way to sort out problems because their states were carrying out violent acts in the name of justice. As long as people are taught to think that violence is a legitimate way to solve problems, and achieve justice, they will continue to use violence in their personal lives. The non violent solutions need to start at the top and they will filter down. With today’s science and technology, there are ways to punish people that do not incur violence, such as prison terms, fines, removal of privileges, hard labour, re-education and deportation. The need for state imposed violence is no longer there.

Can the Qur’an be interpreted in a non-violent way?

The Qur’an tells us that some verses can be interpreted figuratively and does not specify which ones, thereby giving a green light to liberal interpretations of any verse.
e.g. The verse saying “cut off the hand of the thief” could be interpreted to mean “disable the hand of the thief” (e.g. by imprisonment ), the verse saying “whip the adulterer” could be interpreted to mean “humiliate the adulterer” (e.g. by publicizing his/her wrong-doing and banning him/her from future employment and public posts), and the verse saying “hit” the lewd wife could be interpreted as “make her aware of her unacceptable behaviour”. When the Qur’an says “an eye for an eye” etc, the main point here is, Muslims should not use more violence than what was used against them if they are acting in self defence or punishing a murderer, and the other point here is that violence should not go unpunished. “A life for a life” could therefore be interpreted either as “a life sentence for a life” or “non- violent capital punishment for a murderer” (e.g. lethal injection).
Instead of re-interpreting the texts and coming up with a version of “Islamic Law” that is appropriate in this century, some Muslim leaders have adopted Western legal systems, leaving the old “Sharia” untouched. It sits there, looking relatively inhumane, frightening off potential converts and alienating most of the Muslim youth.
These issues were recently discussed at a conference in the UK entitled “Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought”, organized by non- Muslim academics, and attended by one of our contributors. It is a topic that inspired a lot of academic discussion, so I thought I’d raise it here and see what sort of response it gets among our readers. Can mu’tazilism re-emerge and reshape Islam? Can Zaidi mujtahids play a part in making Islam more acceptable to non Muslims and Muslim youth? Can Muslims lead the way to a more peaceful world?


  1. salaamz!

    Much appreciation for posting some of the conclusions from the conference!

    It is interesting that this conference was primarily organized by non-Muslims. This is indicative of the desire for non-Muslims (and some Muslims) to alter Islam to fit their whims and desires. They have been successful at removing the teeth of Judaism and Christianity. They hold people such as the Dalai Lama as an ideal of religious leadership; yet, they fail to realize that any functioning state needs a penal system. As far as I know, the Dalai Lama only serves as a spiritual teacher. He has not been or is the head of any governing body or institution. As we previously posted, it is not our religion that is in need of a revolution, it is our own souls.

    Although it is true that some Qur'anic verses are subject to non-literal interpretations, it is not up to those blinded by the glimmering facade of so-called "humanist ideals" to do so. Many of these same so-called humanists are guilty of the most inhumane crimes in history!
    If Islam can be placed in the same closet of impotence as other faiths and relegated to just spiritual/mystic teachings devoid of any practical reality, its fate will be the same as that of ancient vases in a museum ironically testifying to a glorious past and no future!

    Interpretation has a science as anything else. There are conditions and regulations that govern how and when something is interpreted figuratively. One of its conditions is DEFINITELY NOT to appeal to the perverse whims of so-called pacifists and humanists.

  2. If very clear verses such as those who literally prescribe punishments for crimes can be metaphorised, then what would stop ANY verse from being metaphorised? For example, instead of interpreting the verses that mention wudu literally, we can say that "wash the face and the arms up to the elbows" is figurative for purifying ones intentions and actions! Every verse would be fair game for one to re-interpret to fit one's whims and desires!

    One thing to realise is that the Qur'an was not revealed in a vaccuum. It was not revealed without having a practical example and application to look to for guidance. This is the purpose of the Sunnah! There are even verses in which the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, is said to be the one who "teaches them the Book and wisdom." It is not for those who are not enlightened by the prophetic light to metaphorise verses simply because they do not mesh with "modern" ideas of atheistic French freemasons!

    If we argue that no one had this authority except the Prophet and his Ahl-al-Bayt (as), then re-interpreting would be a moot point. If the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, did indeed say: ((I leave for you two weighty things that if you follow them you will never go astray after me: the Book of Allah and my Descendants, my Ahl al-Bayt. The two of them will never separate from each other until they meet at the Basin of Kawthar)); ((Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with Ali)); and ((This one [i.e. Ali] will fight for its interpretation just as I fought for its revelation)); then it is clear that any interpretation must match that of Imam Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt! If the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, and Amir al-Mumineen (as) applied the Islamic penal system during their lifetimes, then there is no justification in metaphorising these verses!

  3. Although Mu'tazilism may appear attractive for so-called Western "Rationalists", I know of no Mu'tazili scholar who metaphorised the verses of penal application! There may be some people who falsely wear the mantle of Mu'tazilism to forward their own cancerous agenda; however, they have no basis, no foundation, and no sanad!
    While in Yemen, I met a Zaidi brother who was in the process of getting sanad in the tafsir of Imam az-Zamakhshari, the great Mu'tazili scholar of Qur'an. This simply highlights the fact that although two different schools, the Zaidis have the advantage of maintaining an unbroken chain of transmission of important Mu'tazili works! So, any re-emegence of a Mu'tazili school will have to be through the Zaydis!

    The only way our mujtahids can make Islam attractive to non-Muslims is honestly presenting it the way that it is! Flowery lectures intentionally avoiding "controversial" topics is dishonest and invalid. We should have speakers that can clearly articulate our views in a creative way. We have nothing to keep in the closet!

    Muslims should lead the world to a peaceful resolve. It's up to those enlightened by the Qur'an, Sunnah, and imams of Ahl al-Bayt to say what does this peace mean! However, the word "peace" is very different to an zioinst israeli and Palestinian! Both sides call for peace but they want it on their terms.

  4. brother IRS

    thank you for such great reply. it s exactly what i wanted to say.

    I just dont understand why we care so much what almutazilis do. almutazilah has disappered a long time ago.

    yes they share many of our views in some creeds and thinking but they are another school and have not agreed with us in major issues.

    yes we have referenced from their books and we did so with other sunni schools. the important is that ahlalbayt ulama hold what their saying to be true.

    sister zaydiah,

    only allah knows best about how to punish the wrong doer. it is absolutly impossible for a human being to know on his own what is a just punishment for a specific wrongdoing. what is too harsh and what is the opposite.

    and remember christians and jews will not be happy until we follow on their footsteps.

    i ask allah to save us from that.

  5. Too Zaydi Brothers.
    The Zaydi sect is restricted in Yemen. In another words to majority of the Muslims and non-Muslims, it is also a sect that has disappeared. If you want to show progress like the Mutazilla did in the past then you have to prove it. Creating Ahlul Bayt vs Sahaba, mourning for the Ahlul Bayt will make you no different than the 12rs. How much do today's Zaydis know about other religions ie Christian & Jewish Theology. How much are they aware of the latest sciences ?
    Sure Zaydis do have the Mutazilla sciences preserved, but these teachings are 1000 years old. What new contribution have the Zaydis made for us today ? If Zaydis simply just state that the Mutazilla learned from them, this is no going to be enough.
    The Mutazilla did more then just learn from the Ahlul Bayt (as). They tackled latest problems of their time.

  6. To Brother Zabara, I’m surprised you are distancing yourself from the Mu-tazili school.
    I believe Mu’tazilism is a Shi-ite phenonema adopted by many Sunnis because of its rational tone. I believe its originators were Ahlul bait Imams, including Imam Zaid, and this belief is supported by the fact that Mu’tazilism has always been associated with Zaidism.
    Pro- mu’tazili Sunnis have attempted to separate Mu’tazilism from Shi-ism, so that they can subscribe to its principles without converting to Shi-ism. They have rejected Sunni literalism and Sunni fatalism. Apparently, all that they retain of Sunnism is agreeing with one of its math-habs (usually the Hanafi math-hab) about the relatively minor points of Islamic law/ jurisprudence.
    Some of these sunni mu’tazilis even recognise the ahlul bait’s claims for leadership (both religious and political). This group of Sunni Mu’tazilis are Shi-ites in all but name. It is my view that such Sunnis are only holding back from identifying themselves as Zaidi Shi-ites by fear, i.e. fear of the worldly consequences this would have on them, e.g. being rejected by parents, divorced by spouses, fired by employers, and physically attacked by extreme sunnis (Wahhabis) in their neighbourhood. I cannot see any other reason why they would not identify as Zaidi Shi-ites. After all, the Zaidi Shi-ite version of Islamic law and jurisprudence is not very dissimilar to that of the Hanafis (Abu Hanifa being one of Imam Zaid’s students).
    Because so many Sunnis have adopted mu’tazilism, it is now mistakingly perceived as a neutral theology, when it is really a (Zaidi) Shi-ite one. I believe Zaidis need to reclaim the Mu-tazili school for themselves and distance themselves from the Sunni Mu’tazilis who would claim mu’tazilism as their own, by not referring to them as Mu’tazili.
    A new label is needed for this group of “sunni” Muslims to differentiate them from “orthodox” (literalist, fatalist) sunnis and “orthodox” mu’tazilis, who are the Zaidi Shi-ites. I think they are best described as “would-be Shi-ites”, but if anyone has a better suggestion, I would be glad to hear it.
    I’m glad Imam Rassi Society has outlined for us the official/orthodox Zaidi position on “legitimate violence”, and that brother Zabara has confirmed his view. It seems the best way to find out the Zaidi view on an issue is to express an opposing view!
    It remains to be seen whether any other Zaidis will support the views I expressed above! I remain, as ever, an open minded and a humble student with strong pacifist tendencies….
    And to Pro Ahlul bait, I don’t consider you a Mu’tazili until you have become a Zaidi….

  7. Salaam
    I never claimed I was Mutazilla. I disagree with them and Zaydis in some areas such as eternal punishment for sinful Muslims. For example if I lied once intentionally, and I die without repenting then I am doomed for eternal punishment in hell.

    Also in the area of total free will. I believe the 12rs and non-Asharii Sufis have the correct view where they claim that answer lies in between free will and determinism. As for Zaydis, they believe Imam Ali (as) was explicit divinely appointed. I believe his appointment is implicit. Therefore, I disqualify as a Zaydi.

    As for Mutazilla they are a hybrid of Shia and Sunni.

    Now for historical views its true there was no polarization back then as there is today. I really don't know how we can correct this problem today.

  8. sister zaida,

    zaidies dont believe in tugiah. meaning people should not hide their beliefs until there presents a situation were someone is about to be killed.

    it is very difficult for people to face such situations so i will not comment on such issues.

    dont forget that mutazilla did not support imam zaid.

    if brother proahlulbayt wants to be zaidi he can and if he doesnt then he can do that to. but being zaidi means he is not mutazili.

    brother proahlulbayt.

    1. if you sinned all your life and repent in the end of your life do you go to heaven? how can you assume that the reverse is not the same?
    also the quran supports being in hell fire for all eternity

    2. 12rs have changed in their views on such matters throughout history which view are you talking about?
    so explain to me how is it the middle?

    3. whether imam ali was explicitly appointed or implicitly appointed that doesnt affect the core belief that he is the rightfull successor. so whether you believe this or the other that doesnt distincs you from zaidiah.

    i feel as if your understanding of zaidiah is not full comprehension.

    Progression or not. the one guarantee zaidies are giving is the alignment with the quran.

  9. Brother Zabarah
    The Mutazilla were the first supporters of Imam Zayd. The only problem was they were in Basra, and Imam Zayd (as) was in Kufa when the revolt started. Therefore, they couldn't make in time to help him out. Also, the largest group to support Imam Nafs - Az- Zakiyah (as) were also the Mutazilla.
    Listen to this clip. It shows the relationship between Mutazilla & Zaydia.
    Also listen to this.
    Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) & Mutazilla.

    As for Imam Ali (as) there is no doubt that he is the rightful successor of Prophet (pbuh). Even after the calipahs took his position, it still makes him the successor by default. There are enough ahadith to indicate this. Whoever doubt this is misguided or misinformed. However, in the shia schools you have to believe this is explicit command. There is no room for implicit belief.
    The 3 calipahs are temporal representative of the Prophet (pbuh). In areas of Deen I wouldn't say all their ijihad is binding on the Sunni world.

    As for sinning, in the Mutazilla and Zaydia theology you are doomed even if you sin once and don't repent for it. For example if you lie and don't repent for that lie then you are doomed for hell.
    If a person lies to his parents in fear of being punished, isn't he or she in trouble, if they don't regret this sin ?

  10. Here's a reminder of what a mu'tazili is, from the wikipedia page on Mu'tazili:
    "Muʿtazilah (Arabic: المعتزلة‎) is an Islamic school of speculative theology that flourished during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mu'tazili school are at odds with Sunni scholars due to the former's belief that human reason is more reliable than scripture. Because of this belief, Mu'tazilis tend to interpret passages of the Qur'an in a highly metaphorical matter, a practice frowned upon by traditional, orthodox schools."
    I don't see any reason why the Mu'tazili school won't be revived at some stage in the future, hopefully by descendants of the Ahlul bait who originated it. And when it is revived, I hope the Qur'anic passages which seem out of step with contemporary life will be interpreted in "a highly metaphorical" way.
    I do not agree with you two that the mu'tazilah are "gone". Most of their principles are alive and well within the Zaidi framework. I've read about something called the "sunnization of Zaidism" in history books. Maybe this refers to a shift away from mu'tazilism, towards Sunni literalism and conservatism, that's happened as Yemen became increasingly populated by Sunnis over the centuries? Perhaps early Zaidis were more progressive than later ones?

  11. From Abdullah Hamidaddin (a Writer rom a Zaidi family):

    Regarding the Legitimacy of Violence: A Zaidi Perspective:

    I differentiate between legal and legitimate (violence). The former has to do with formal rules. And the latter with social acceptance of those rules.
    So when you say the Quran or other religions legitimize, what you’re actually saying is it makes legal. Becoming legal in the Quran doesn’t mean becoming legitimate in the eyes of those applying it. That is why people re-interpret the Quran. The old interpretation which was legal, becomes with time less legitimate. And when that happens the need for change comes up.

    Also when it comes to defining Islam. You also include interpretation of the Quran in its definition. This practically makes it unspecific. The Quran is fixed. Interpretation is variable. So the outcome of the interaction is also variable:
    Quran X Interpretation = Islam
    Interpretation varies  Islam varies.
    But because the Quran is fixed; the variation is bounded.
    Here we agree. The borders of Islam are a function of human action.

    When we speak of legitimate violence, it doesn’t mean it is good or moral. It is merely necessary. All violence is bad.
    Legitimate violence is that which is inevitable.
    Illegitimate violence is that which is avoidable.
    Legal violence is that which sticks to the book, even if illegitimate.
    Illegal violence is that which goes against the law even if legitimate.

  12. From Abdullah Hamidaddin (A writer from a Zaidi family)

    Regarding the Re-interpretation of Qur’anic Legal Verses:

    Early Zaydis interpreted the Quran in reference to the prevailing social system and needs. And in that system those rulings made a lot of sense.
    What we need to do, is not to re-interpret them metaphorically in a way that meets a modern preconceived notion, because that doesn’t do justice to the Quran. Rather we should contextualize the meaning of the verse in a way that shows that under the existing circumstances that was the practical and least harmful thing.
    Justice is about making choices with least negative consequences. A legal system can never ever but be a system of compromise between competing interests and concerns in a social milieu that is outside the control of the legislator. That is why slavery was nto abolished in early islam, and that is why women had the situation they had. In that setting it worked. It was a step forward. It was progressive. But then with the introduction of technology and the modern state the social milieu changed .
    For example; control of violence has been the greatest challenge for societies past and present. And the need to control violence had shaped the way societies interact and the legislations they develop.
    But we have two versions of society.
    Society A: power had a lot to do with the body. Even kings had to be strong in battle to earn respect. Thus control of violence becomes really related to the individual. To the muscle.
    Society B: Power has more to do with technology. Control of violence is about the system.

    Society A: the State didn’t have a monopoly on violence. Thus people felt threatened from each other.
    Society B: the State has a monopoly on legitimate violence. Peoples’ sense of social threat is less.

    It is more complicated than this, but I am sure you get my point.

    So we need to accept that the Quran said what it said in a context that was fit for it. Today we need to understand the spirit behind the Quranic legal system and apply that spirit, even if the laws we come out with are not the same.

  13. I'm writing to give positive feedback on the article about Islam and violence.

    I agree that the Qur’an is a living document, capable of being interpreted according to the customs of any time in history.

    I'm sick of Muslims agreeing that violence is warranted under certain circumstances, citing the Qur’an as written proof. I feel that the verses in the Qur’an are being exploited by violent aggressive Muslims.

    To place the Qur’an into a time capsule is to miss the point. The verses should be adaptable and always relevant to people living in the present , not 2000 years ago!

    Suppose a thief was born with no hands (he’s obviously a really motivated thief ),what does the Qur’an say then? Is he exempt from punishment or do we chop off a leg for a constellation prize? That would be ludicrous. It is therefore necessary to construe the very purpose of what “chopping of one’s hand” aims to do. It is not to leave the culprit limbless, but instead to ensure that they do not steal again. A prison term/fine/public humiliation satisfies this purpose at present.

    Cutting off hands and stoning people is no longer relevant to humans in this century; just like bombs and nuclear weapons weren't relevant in the time of the prophet. Luckily Allah has gifted us with brains that allow us to read between the lines. The Qur’an has guided humans in the prophet’s era and should continue to do so today and tomorrow.

  14. To Mariam87
    Your opinion will not disable us follow traditional Islam presented by Holy Prophet (pbuh). If you think his teachings are outdated then you can accountable for that on the day of judgment. However, the Quran doesn't limit us to only obey Allah only. It also forces us to obey the Prophet (pbuh).

    As for your statement on disabled people stealing, you claimed that we will use Qiyas on such a case. However, Qiyas is not fard, and in many schools of thought it is haraam. There was a case where a poor person stole, and after Umar (ra) heard the full case he no longer applied the punishment for theft.

    Also to apply the sharia, the country must become an Islamic state. In fact, it is haraam to limit sharia toward a poor society and let the rich get away with it. Unless an Islamic state is created there is no compulsion on Islamic punishment.

  15. To Pro ahlul bait: the view "unless and Islamic state is created there is no compulsion on Islamic punishment" is one of the current sunni scholars' ways of distancing themselves from the Sharia without having to recontextualize it (i.e. reform it in the light of the world context today.)
    Mariam and Abdullah's point is that the verses were not intended to be taken literally, but it is the spirit behind them that we have to understand. In this case, the spirit behind the verse is simply that stealing is wrong and should be punished in a way that deters thieves. A way that would be the equivalent of amputating a hand during the Middle Ages. To give another illustration, in a thousand years, it may be that artificial limbs are available at supermarkets for $50 each, or that severed limbs can be regrown within days for $100. In such a context, the literal punishment mentioned in the Qur'an would not deter thieves from stealing millions of dollars, and Islamic mujtahids would need to "recontextualize" the verse. It so happens that in today's world, the capital punishment utilizing unnecessarily violent methods, and all forms of corporal punishment, are widely seen as being inhumane and uncivilized, even by most Muslims. In such a context, the damage done to the worldwide reputation of Islam and Muslims by the carrying out of amputations, whipping and stoning, seems far greater than any benefit these punishments may be having in those few countries where they are being carried out. So, many Muslims think it is time the Muslim Mujtahids recontextualized these verses.e.g. Tariq Ramadan (a famous Muslim intellectual) has recently called for a moratorium on Hadd punishments while the issue gets dealt with by scholars. (See his website for details)

  16. I'm am aware of these new age Muslims. In fact, I used to be a member of This is where I've seen people totally reject the ahadith and interpret the Quran according to their own whims and desires. Please do not associate Mutazilla with such people. The early Mutazilla were followers of traditional Islam. Yes, at a later stage some Mutazilla did have similar thoughts, but by this time the Muslims no longer considered them trustworthy.

  17. When you say "by this time the Muslims no longer considered them trustworthy" which Muslims are you referring to? We can hardly know what was in the "muslims" minds in those days. The fact is, it suited Muslim governments to supress Muslims who used their minds to reflect and speculate about religion instead of accepting orthodoxy. It is only recently, especially with the advent of the internet, that some fortunate Muslims (who can afford the technology) can freely express their ideas and views without being harshly punished. I intend to take full advantage of this great blessing, even if you don't wish to! I am not doing this as merely as a hobby, but because I wish to see more people submitting themselves to Islam, and that will only happen when Islam is presented in a way that today's educated generation find palatable.

  18. ...but I agree with you that the "Qur'an only" movement is lacking something, i.e. they need to acknowledge the role of the Prophet's descendants in setting an example to each generation of Muslims, and that is why I didn't join them.

  19. ...and since you don't identify with any group, are you intending to start a new group, so that like-minded Muslims can join with you? At least I have a group, even if I am on the fringes of it!

  20. The Mutazilla had many opponent, the Sunnis being the major ones. However, the sunni scholar still took their opinions, and narrated ahadith from them. Later there were some Mutazilla who had weird opinions. Let me list what the later Mutazillah started believing.

    1. the questioning by the angels Munkar and Nakir.

    2. Denial of the indications of the Day of Judgment, of Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj), and of the appearance of the Antichrist (al‑Dajjal).

    3. The Mu'tazilites also deny the existence of the Recording Angels (Kiraman Katibin). The reason they give for this is that God is well aware of all the deeds done by His servants. The presence of the Recording Angels would have been indispensable if God were not acquainted directly with the doings of His servants.

    4. The Mu'tazilites also deny the physical existence of the "Tank" (al‑Haud), and the "Bridge" (al‑sirat). Further, they do not admit that heaven and hell exist now, but believe that they will come into existence on the Day of Judgment.

    5. They deny the miracles (al‑karamat) of saints (walis), for, if admitted, they would be mixed up with the evidentiary miracles of the prophets and cause confusion. The same was the belief of the Jahmites too.

    6. The Mu'tazilites also deny the Ascension (al‑Mi'raj) of the Prophet of Islam, because its proof is based on the testimony of individual traditions, which necessitates neither act nor belief; but they do not deny the Holy Pro­phet's journey as far as Jerusalem.

    7. They generally lay down that the angels who are message‑bearers of God to prophets are superior in rank to the human messengers of God to mankind, i. e., the prophets themselves.

    Also, in the later stages many non-Muslims became Mutazilla to mock traditional Islam.

    As for me, I am not a scholar so I refuse to start my own group. I think such cases lead to misguidance. All my opinions I formulate are based on the lectures I listen to from esteemed scholars.

  21. For the first point they denied the questioning by the angels Munkar and Nakir.
    Also they denied the punishment and reward meted out to the dead in the grave. On this point I agree with them. In the grave the Mutazilla said the punishment and reward are similar to good and bad dreams. Since we are dead and no longer linked to our bodies but our souls, it logical that the punishment will not be physical like the aqira.

  22. Salam alaykum

    i think the Title is a bit misleading:

    ''Legitimacy of Violence: A Zaidi Perspective '''

    when the title Should ahve been Legitimacy of Violence: A ISLAMIC Perspective

    because you didnt post any Views of the Zaydis in Particular,But Rather The Verses of Quran and Sunni Hadith Books.

    Also The Quran can be taken Literally at some Points and Figurativly at Others.

    however you copied and pasted Anti-Hadith Groups arguments that are intertwined with Secualrism anyhow.

    the Traditions of Ahl Ul-Bayt(a.s)Are Unanimouis in the Cutting of the The Theifs Hand.

    in Fact the Twelvers Say its only 4 Fingers of the right hand,i dont know You Guys Stance on it.

    There is a Famouis Hadith Where Ali(a.s)Cut off the Hand of the Criminal,and the criminal was Happy Ali did it to him,and not somebody else.

    then Ali put his hand back,because of his Love for the Imams(a.s).

    Secondly Whipping the Adulterer is a Consensus of the Ahl ul-Bayt(Peace be upon them).

    Teh Question Arises isnt t Cruel to cutm of somebodies hand?

    Well Jafar Bin Muhammad asnwered this by Saying :his breaching of his Trustworthiness lowered the Value of his Hand.

    Secondly is the Hands of a Few Criminals Worth the Safety of and entire Society?

    we all saw what happened in the Blackouts of the United states and Australia.

    people couldnt even go outside.

    and the Cutting of the hand Helps the Criminal,it saves him from Punishment in the Hereafter for Stealing,and lets him make something good of his life.

    is the Whipping of a Few Adulterers worth the stability of the entire people?

    i think so.

    i think that the ummah is more important than a few adulterers.

  23. Also Tell me if i am mistaken,but arent Zaydis really Violent when it comes to Imamate?like Violence is a part of eshtablishing the Imamate?
    And Taqiyah Being Void To You,and you msut rise up against a opressive ruler?
    and Also the Quran mentions Jihad in the following Terms:

    (Interpretation of the Verse)

    “And if two parties of believers battle with each other, you shall reconcile them; but if one of them aggresses against the other, then you shall fight the one aggressing until it complies with God's command. Once it complies, then you shall reconcile the two groups with justice, and be equitable; for God loves those who are equitable. The believers are brothers; so reconcile between your brothers, and be aware of God, that you may receive mercy.” (Quran 49:9-10)

    so we should Reconcile people first,then if that doesnt work fight.

    All Nations Should Have Weapons:
    (Interpretationm Of the Verse)

    And muster for them all that you can of might, and from the steeds of war, that you may instil fear with it towards God’s enemy and your enemy, and others beside them whom you do not know but God knows them. And whatever you spend in the cause of God will be returned to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Quran 8:60)

    Shari'a Law must be Impelented in all circumstances:

    (Interpetation of The Verse)

    “And judge between them by what God has sent down, and do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you away from some of what God has sent down to you. If they turn away, then know that God wants to inflict them with some of their sins; and most of the people are corrupt. Is it the judgment of the days of ignorance that they seek? Who is better than God as a judge for a people that comprehend? (Quran 5:49-50)

    Killing the Invadiung Froces is Obligatory,this includes their cooks,Hospitals,and all froms of asupport including cleaners.
    (Interpreatation of the Verse)
    And fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress, God does not like the aggressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled you, and know that persecution is worse than being killed. And do not fight them at the restricted Temple unless they fight you in it; if they fight you then kill them, thus is the reward of the disbelievers.” (Quran 2:190-191)

  24. Dear Readers, I would just like to point out that the person making the above comments is not a Zaidi, therefore we Zaidis do not take responsibility for any of the above comments, which include, if I understand them properly, the idea that it is halal to kill cooks, translators and doctors etc who happen to be on the opposing side in a battle!
    I can’t respond to all of Ali’s comments right now, but just to make a start, regarding the verse concerning covering of women’s bodies, I disagree with Ali’s interpretation. See comments section of “Zaidism and Women’s Liberation” (posted on July 27), I will post my response to him there.

    About the misleading title of my article, I usually add the word “zaidi” to the titles on this blog so that they will be linked to this blog in Google searches. It is true that my perspective is not always the same as the official Zaidi line, which is well represented here by Imam Rassi Society. I acknowledge that I am on the fringe of Zaidism and pushing its boundaries. So far, the Zaidis are not complaining, so unless you are actually a Zaidi I will ignore your protests about my opinions being outside Zaidism.

  25. To Pro ahlul bait:
    I think I already pointed out in my article "The Relationship between Mu'tazilism and Zaidism" (August 25) that, in contrast to the Sunni literalism espoused by, among others Abu Hanifa, Imam Zaid was not a literalist. In that article I compared their contrasting interpretations of "the Hand of Allah". While Abu Hanifa mentioned that he and other "ahlussanna" do not see it figuratively "the way the Mu'tazilah do", (his own words), Imam Zaid listed all the "higher level" meanings of "hand" and said the word is used that way in Arabic poetry. i.e. he made ta'wil. I got this info from the book you sent me, by the way. Therefore i does not seem strange to me that later mu'tazilis did not interpret the "bridge" and the "tank" literally. I do not think their opinions are weird. They had learnt to respond to the Arabic language on a higher level than the literal level, just as Imam Zaid (and other members of ahlul bait) had.

  26. To Zaida
    As brother IRS pointed out the Zaydis are latest inheritors of knowledge when it comes to the Mutazilla views. In the end, even brother IRS refuted your article. Just because Allah's hand is not taken literally, doesn't mean the punishment of theft shouldn't be implied literally. Also, I've told you that Fiqh e Akbar was compiled by Abu Hanifa's (ra) student Abu Yusuf who was anti mutazilla. If Abu Hanifa (ra) really made such a view the Mutazilla would be the first ones to condemn him. On the contrary, they believe fiqh e akbar isn't his views on theology.

  27. Well if Fiqhul akbar doesn't reflect Abu Hanifa's veiws and he really agreed with Imam Zaid and the Mu'tazilis about ta'wil, somebody had better inform the world's billions of sunni muslims that they have got it wrong. We still don't know if brother IRS is going to refute the views of the Mu'tazilis which you listed above (where did you get that list by the way?) And as far as I'm concerned, if Allah's "hand" can be understood metaphorically, why can't a thief's "hand" be understood as his "ability to steal"? As a mu'tazili, I am allowed to speculate about these things, even if you aren't as a sunni.

  28. @ProAhlulBayt1,It is not The Zaydiyah who uphold the Mutazili Spirit but rather the Ibadhi

    This gives a list of Ibadhi Vs.Sunni interpretations of the Deen.

    they beleive,the angels are higher then messenegrs,and yes they beleive the Sirat is metaphorical.

    i have personallly confirmed this from a Ibadhi,as i am active on

  29. There is a hadith hasn't been rejected by any traditional school of thought.

    A'isha reported that the Quraish had been anxious about the Makhzumi woman who had committed theft, and said: Who will speak to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) about her? They said: Who dare it, but Usama, the loved one of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him)? So Usama spoke to him. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah? He then stood up and addressed (people) saying: O people, those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high rank committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and it anyone of low rank committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Ibn Rumh (the words are):" Verily those before you perished." (Sahih Muslim)

  30. '''''''Many people are turning away from religion because they perceive that it is to blame for much of the violence in the world.''

    'يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِه ِِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْم ٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ~ُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لاَئِم ٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيه ِِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيم

    O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islām), Allāh will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allāh, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allāh which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allāh is All­Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All­Knower. (Al-Ma'idah 5:54)

  31. salaam zaida,how is my ideas tooken from the Salafis?

    isma'ilis have always rejected ijtihad and re-interpretation of the deen,theyve always waged jihad and created a empire,and theyve always implemented shari'a very seriously.

    seeing that salafism is a invention from the 18th century it is more likely they copied from us!

    also if a muslim,who follows quran and sunnah is a ''salafi''then all muslims in the world will be ''salafi'because they reject your interpretation of revisionizing the deen of allah.

    i have explained 100 times the isma'ilis of yemen are not identical with the Nizaris!

    since a peaefull existence in yemen is important for zaydis and yemeni ismailites,its best to focus on the tayyibi/yemeni/musta'ali interpretation of the isma'ili islam,as what nizaris belive does not cocnern yemens people!

    just as the Druze ,who are ismaili.does not concern yemen!

    or zaidi does not cocnern iraq,or hezbollah does not cocnern yemen etc

    we are all calling oruself''Shi'a''but we are totally different sects!

    i will insha'Allah but when i have time.

    thanks for your cocnern


  32. Salaam Ali,
    I have started an ismailism blog at the following address:
    I will let the readers know, and transfer some of your longer comments over there. Hope you don't mind, but we need more room here for other people to post their comments. Also to fit in your future comments. This post is simply getting too long. I'll wait a couple of days before doing the transfer.

  33. salaam zaida,i find it interesting that a zaidi will head the blog for ismailism.but delete my comments as your wish is(as these comments take up space,or have anything to do with ismailism?????????)i now have seen the scholarly capacity of this blog.

    and its honesty !

    and i am done with it.

    you happy?

  34. you can delete the commnets and the blog,instead of sugar coating what you want to do,as i ,probably the only ismaili to come on itto represtrn our views, ,will not be commenting on this blog or that one.

    i have seen the use in it.

    so do as you wish.the future will see our further advancements.
    hafizakon allah


  35. Brother ali,

    Don't be mad but sister zaida is right. if you want to put the ismaili view for people to view it makes sense to put it in an ismaili blog.

    to be honest your comments are long and take up much of the blog. and if an outside viewer will skim the text he will think that what you write is our views.