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Tawalla and Tabbara: Do Shia Curse the Companions

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First thing First. A Sahabi is some one who has seen prophet Muhammad (SAW) in state of believing. That means that if Prophet Muhammad (SAW) appeared on Tariq Road, Karachi in modern times, every one, from the milk man to the bus driver to the shop keeper would be a sahabi. Where is the merit in it? Thus the Sahaba were normal human beings prone to error. They were the men who had drank all their lives and worshipped idols before accepting Islam. They were not infallibles and will be accountable on the day of judgment for their acts.

Before i proceed, i must make one thing clear that no one curses the Sahabi or the wives of prophet Muhammad (SAW). My name is Ammar and i am named after a leading companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Ammar Yasir. We love men like Ammar, Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr, Miqdad. Are these the lesser companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)? We revere Ummul Momineen Hz Khadija, one of the leader of the women of paradise. We respect Hz  Umm e Salammah and Hz Maria Qitbya. Are this not the wives of prophet Muhammad (SAW)? But there are some companions whose actions do not earn them our respect because we are taught by the prophet to love the doers of good and dissociate ourselves from tyrants, oppressors and wrong doers.

Starting from the beginning, what is Tawalla and Tabbara. Tabbara literally means to dissociate where as Tawalla means to pay. In shiaism, Tabbara has it's roots in Tawalla and when the concept of Tawalla is understood properly, i will proceed to the topic of concern.

Tawalla means to pay! In Islam, pay what?

That is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, (to) those who believe and do good deeds. Say (Muhammad): I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.
Quran [42:23]

Although most scholars agree that this verse refers to the love for the ahlulbayt, some decline and give an alternative explanation. It is important for me to clarify the scenario before I proceed. The following is the view of those who feel loving the Prophet (SAW) or his family is not a part of Islam.

That is whereof Allah gives glad tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous good deeds. Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.'' And whoever earns a good righteous deed, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate.)
Quran [42:23], Translation by Ibn e Kathir

(Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.'') means, `say, O Muhammad, to these idolators among the disbeliever of Quraysh: I do not ask you for anything in return for this message and sincere advice which I bring to you. All I ask of you is that you withhold your evil from me and let me convey the Messages of my Lord. If you will not help me, then do not disturb me, for the sake of the ties of kinship that exist between you and I.' Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked about the Ayah: (except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.) Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "To be kind to the family of Muhammad.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "No, you have jumped to a hasty conclusion. There was no clan among Quraysh to whom the Prophet did not have some ties of kinship.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "Except that you uphold the ties of kinship that exist between me and you.'' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. It was also recorded by Imam Ahmad with a different chain of narration.
Tafsir Ibn e Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 42 Verse 23

From Ibne Kathir's interpretation, we get to know that

This is a fragile attempt to diminish the status of the near people of the Prophet (SAW). My objections to this interpretation are simple and straightforward.

ذَلِكَ الَّذِي يُبَشِّرُ اللَّهُ عِبَادَهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَى وَمَن يَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَةً نَّزِدْ لَهُ فِيهَا حُسْنًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
Quran [42:23]

If you read the verse in Arabic, you will notice that the Verse speaks about a certain specific relatives. The verse speaks about "Qurba" or the "near relatives". The Quraysh were not the near relatives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) but Banu Hashim were. And Banu Hashim have been the staunchest of the supporters of the Prophetic mission since the very beginning, with the exceptions of Abu Lahb (the cursed), thus there is no need for the Prophet (SAW) to ask for their kindness when they were already supporting him morally as well as financially.

Secondly, according to Kathir's interpretation, the Prophet (SAW) asked the disbelievers to be kind to him and let him freely spread his "blasphemous" message (blasphemous according to the nonbelievers). You must first note that the verse is addressing the believers and not the nonbelievers. The verse speaks about the bounties for the believers. Thus it is irrelevant to think that the Prophet addresses the disbelievers in between.

Did the Prophet (SAW) not know that the disbelievers who did not even want to listen to Prophet (SAW) will not give any reward to Rasool (SAW)? A person can ask wage only from him for who he has done some work for. Why should I pay wages to a worker who has not worked for me? The paying of wage to Rasool (SAW) was only the right of those who accepted Islam, because Islam was the efforts of Rasool (SAW). Why would Allah want Muslim companions to to harm Rasool (SAW) when they already accepted him as Prophet?

Ibne Kathir's translation only gives off the smell of hatred of Ahlulbayt. Also, read the following verses.

O you who believe! do not take your fathers and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief; and whoever of you takes them for a guardian, these it is that are the unjust.
Quran [9:23]

Allah commands shunning the disbelievers, even if they are one's parents or children, and prohibits taking them as supporters if they choose disbelief instead of faith. You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people).
Tafsir Ibn e Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 9, Verse 23

On one hand, the Quran and it's interpreters agree that it is wrong to befriend or take support from disbelievers. It is wrong to be kind to the disbelievers who oppose the way of Islam. On the other hand, the interpreters claim that the Prophet asked the disbelievers to be kind to him even if the message of the Prophet (SAW) seemed hostile to them. This does not make sense.

Also taking into consideration the following verses,

Or do you (Muhammad) ask them for a reward, so that they are overburdened by a debt?
Quran [52:40]

Say: Whatever reward I have asked of you, that is only for yourselves; my reward is only with Allah, and He is a witness of all things.
Quran [34:47]

Note that the latter verse speaks of a probability that the Prophet (SAW) did ask for some reward, which explains the text "Whatever reward I have asked of you". However, this reward is of no personal and materialistic gain to the Prophet (SAW) but that reward too is for our own personal benefit. This reward cannot be the invitation to Islam for the very reason that the reward the Prophet (SAW) ask was to be for his services and deliverance of the message. This reward was in return for his deliverance of the message. And this reward was to love his nearest kin as per the commandments of Allah himself. This reward will benefit us only.

Thus it leaves us with the true interpretation, which Madudi authenticates but disagrees to, that;

The third group takes qurba in the meaning of the kindred, and interprets the verse to mean this: "I do not seek from you any other reward than this that you should love my near and dear ones." Then, some of the commentators of this group interpret 'the kindred" to mean all the children of 'Abdul Muttalib, and some others restrict it to Hadrat 'AIi and Fatimah and their children. This commentary has been reported from Said bin Jubair and 'Amr bin Shu'aib, and in some traditions it has been attributed to Ibn 'Abbas and Hadrat 'AIi bin Husain (Zain al-'Abedin)
Tafsir Abul Ala Madudi, Tafsir of Surah 42, Verse 23

Taking into consider the interpretation of Aqa Mahdi Puya,

The structure of the verse proves that the Holy Prophet has been commanded to demand recompense, as an exception, not from every one, but from those believers mentioned in Furqan: 57-those who take the way to their Lord. The recompense is in the interest of the believers themselves, not in any way profitable to the Holy Prophet in his personal life. Instead of arham (the blood relatives), qurba (neamess) has been used to show that not only relationship but also nearness in character and accomplishment is taken into consideration as the important quality. So, on the basis of this verse, love of the Ahl ul Bayt has become an obligatory function of the faith, a fundamental condition without which no amount of devotion to Allah and good deeds will be of any use.
Tafsir Aqa Mahdi Puya, Tafsir of Surah 42, verse 23

The significance of this reward is such that all the previous Prophets asked nothing in return.

And I do not ask you any reward for it; surely my reward is only with the Lord of the worlds
Quran [26:127]

Our Prophet (SAW), asked for a reward. Although his (SAW) reward is with Allah, the reward/fee he asks us to pay for his services will be for our own benefit.

.... Say (Muhammad): I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.
Quran [42:23]

Thus Tawalla is to Pay Muhammad (SAW) his fee, his reward, that is to love his nearest kin. Not arguing who his nearest kin are, the fact remains loving the Ahlulbayt, the people on whom we send our durood, is an act of Worship and no Muslims disagrees that loving Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his blessed progeny is a crucial content of one's faith.

How should we love them today? I say;

This is my list. You can love them in your own way and make additions to this list. However, science of loving states if i love my mother, i should hate her enemies, i should dislike people who she disliked, i should dissociate myself from people who harmed her life, property and honor. This is Tabbara, a major part of Tawalla.

Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were made in Scandinavia. If a petition came which said I supported such acts, i believe my signature on them will guarantee my place in hell because signing the petition means i agree with the actions and If i had the opportunity and the resources, I would do the same thing, ie drawing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Similarly, if i signed a petition against the drawings, i am dissociating myself from them. This is my Tabbara. This is my way of showing disgust at the actions. Due to my love and reverence for Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it is necessary for me to show my dislike for such actions.

Tabbara doesn't mean to abuse and curse. I must admit there are ignorant and extremists everywhere. It is very easy to sit in your house and use abusive language against a person but it is very hard to eliminate the evils from yourself, the same evil which existed in the person you abused.

And Ibrahim asking forgiveness for his sire was only owing to a promise which
he had made to him; but when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, he declared himself to be clear of him; most surely Ibrahim was very tender-hearted
Quran [9:114]

Ibrahim (AS) declared himself free from the polytheist. What is this discociation or cutting off that Prophet (AS) did?

The true essence of Tabbara is to show dissent against certain actions, actions against the people you love and revere. If i curse Yazeed for his attrocities against Imam Hussain (AS), i not only curse Yazeed but i curse his actions of drinking, gambling, murder and adultery. If i curse Yazeed verbally but i myself am involved in actions attributed to Yazeed, then this is hypocrisy, not worship. My cursing Yazeed should help me realize his evil and so i should refrain from doing similar things.

Similarly, if I start to respect hitler, or Firaun for that matter, my respect for Firaun will reflect either my lack of judgment, my faithlessness or my evil character. For if i respect a man responsible for the deaths of 40,000 infants and i do not dissociate myself from him, physically or verbally, it means i approve his actions, i have signed a petition in favor of Firaun, which will lead me to God's wrath.

We claim to love Prophet Muhammd (SAW). It is this claim which leads us to show our disgust whenever names like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahb are mentioned.

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam. What are Muslims thinking when they are throwing stones at a stone pillar? Verily the pillars represent the satan, and the throwing of the stones at the pillars imply that muslims show their dislike not only for satan but for satanism itself. This is the tabarra against the devil, for his disobedience against Allah. When a muslim throws a stone at the devil, he in his heart promises himself that he will part his ways from the ways of the devil. Because it is not logical to stone the devil one day, and do the same things the next day, because if you do so, you yourself condemn yourself to be stoned, because you had stoned the devil for his acts, if the same acts are found within you, you agree that you should also be stoned. This is the power of Tabarra, to realize the sinners for their sins, and stay away from them.

If a man has the strength to hate an evil-doer, will find in his strength to stay away from such evils. If not, everything is hypocrisy on his behalf.

Now coming to the issue of Cursing the Sahabas. As stated in the very beginning of the article, Shias revere the companions. Cursing is an act of discociation ourselves from the evil doers. Cursing some of the Asahab is in no way a disrespect to Prophet (SAW) or Islam itself.

It is very strange that my sunni brothers do not consider the prophet and his AhlulBayt to be infallibles but they give such a quality to the sahabas of the prophet. I say this because my sunni friends do not believe that the sahabas can do anything wrong, thus cursing them is bad. If the Sahabas can err and perform evil and harsh deeds, disobeying Allah, cursing them is no harm. So, if the sahabas can err and are not infallibles, why is cursing them for their evil condemned?

According to extremists: The Shi'a curse the Sahaba. Those that curse the Sahaba are kaafirs. The Shi'a are therefore kaafirs. Those that curse the Sahaba should be killed

But the question arises, does Allah permits to curse someone?

O you who have been given the Book! believe that which We have revealed, verifying what you have, before We alter faces then turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the violaters of the Sabbath, and the command of Allah shall be executed.
Quran [4:47]

Thus who does not carry out the orders of Allah is cursed by Allah himself whether it be a Sahabah, or a kaafir....

If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.
Quran [4:93]

Thus if a man, Sahabah included, kills a believer intentionally, he is cursed and will abide in hell forever. What should we do about people who Allah has cursed? If we love or respect them who Allah or his Prophet (SAW) has cursed, does it not amount to disobedience?

Are those not cursed who hurt Allah or his messenger?

All Muslims also agree that after the demise of the Prophet (SAW), there were conflicts between a certain group of Companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the Prophet's family, the Ahlulbayt, regarding whom the Verse of Purity was revealed.

We love the Prophet (SAW). Should we not show disgust at people who called him insane?
We love Janabe Fatima Zahra (AS). Should we not show disgust at people who angered her?
We love Imam Ali Ibne Abu Talib (AS). Should we not show disgust against people who fought him in varios battles, who opposed him?
We love Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS). Should we not curse their killers?
Should we not curse those who also gained the curse of Allah as well as his apostle?

On one hand, extremist wahabis claim that cursing a sahabi or wife of Prophet (SAW), makes you a kaafir. Is this not the tawalla they hold for such companions and wives? And is not the wahabi hatred against the Shias their tabarra against us because of our actions against personalities they love or revere?

Why are we kaafirs if we do the same ie dissociate from the people who fought against the Ahlulbayt?

 If a simple curse, a word of hatred against such personalities can make you a kaafir, then what about those people who fought these people with the intentions to kill them? What about people who fought battles against Hz Ali (AS), the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet (SAW), the Khalifa-e-Rashid and a lead Sahaba.

If cursing Ali (AS) takes you outside the folds of Islam, then fighting a war against him takes you outside of Islam faster. We are also saying the same thing. And if you defend some one who waged a war against Mawla Ali (AS) yet you hate us for our dislike for some of the companions, then this is your hypocrisy.

Those who fought against Rasool (SAW) earned the curse of Allah. Do you think those who fought agaisnt Nafsur Rasool Ali (Mubahila) will earn the pleasure of Allah? Think again!

Shias do not curse the companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). We curse the enemies of Prophet Muhammad and his household in order to dissociate ourselves from the enemies. And we do not violate any Islamic pillar, do they?

By cursing, i mean to dissociate ourselves from them and not to give them the same respect which is given to other noble and virtuous companions and wives of Prophet (SAW). By cursing, i do not imply abusing, which was not the practice of Imam Ali. Those who abuse a certain group of companions and wives of Prophet (SAW) today, do so because of their own emotions, extremism and ignorance. They do not follow the teachings of the Imams but they follow their own emotions and illiterate mullahs. It is very hard to love the Prophet (SAW) and his Ahlulbayt, because if you love them, you have to follow their teachings, and it is very easy to hate their enemies, because we usually understand the meaning of this hate as verbal abuse.

Our Tabbarra against those who fought against Mawla Ali proves that if we existed at that time, we would have fought in the army of Imam Ali against the enemies of Islam. Our curse against the people who called the Prophet (SAW) insane proves that we strongly condemn the action and if we were present at that time, we would have done everything to stop the event from occuring. This is our love for Muhammad (SAW) wa aal e Muhammad (AS).

It has been narrated on the authority of Umm Salama that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: In the near future there will be Amirs and you will like their good deeds and dislike their bad deeds. One who sees through their bad deeds (and tries to prevent their repetition by his hand or through his speech), is absolved from blame, but one who hates their bad deeds (in the heart of his heart, being unable to prevent their recurrence by his hand or his tongue), is (also) safe ( so far as God's wrath is concerned). But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them is spiritually ruined. People asked (the Holy Prophet): Shouldn't we fight against them? He replied: No, as long as they say their prayers.
Sahih Muslim Book 020, Number 4569

Note that those who fail to stop the bad deeds of someone through hand, speech or within his heart is safe from the wrath of Allah. But those who approve of their bad deeds are ruined. If you approve the bad deed of a person on the basis of them being a fallible Sahabi, you doubt the Justice of God for being a sahaba is no merit, having faith and acting accordingly is.

Tawwala means to love what prophet Muhammad and his ahlulbayt loved, to be happy on the occasions of their happiness and to condole their shortcomings etc such as Muharram. The shias do not listen to any music etc during the months of muharram and safr because it was during these months when the ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad were in their greatest sufferings and period of trial (kerbala). We celebrate the dates when the children of Prophet Muhammad were born and married etc. This is a part of tawwala. We love their friends and those who supported them.

The second part of this love which Quran speaks about is Tabbara. Tabbara is dissociation, in a wider meaning, staying away from the enemies of Prophet Muhammad and his family. This staying away means cutting off from those who oppressed the ahlulbayt of prophet Muhammad completely. We the Shias show our anger towards those who did atrocities against the family of our beloved prophet. This does not include abusing in the open, for it is also against the ethics as well as the nobility of the Shia of Ali. Tabbara is not only dissociation from certain companions who transgressed against the ahlulbayt but from everyone who follows their footsteps, it is also shunning of the evil practices they used to do.    

In Zayarat e Warisa, of Imam Hussain, we curse, as the previous Holy Imams did, the ones who oppressed Imam Hussain, Martyred him and listened/witnessed the whole event and yet didn’t criticize the tyranny and evil openly or within their hearts. Thus its very important to stay away from those who disobey the Almighty and disturb his Prophet.

So if you love Muhammad (SAW) wa Aal e Muhammad (AS), then follow their lead, shun evil and fight away your own bad deeds. Curse of Allah on the enemies of Allah, enemies of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and enemies of his blessed Progeny is sufficient.

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