The Historicity of Dua in Shi'ism

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Bolani Muslim

The Historicity of Dua in Shi'ism
« on: January 17, 2020, 05:50:24 AM »
Translator’s Preface:
Before I translate the pertinent parts of the article, I will give a background and explain the significance of what the ayatullah stated. According to Ayatullah Yusufi Gharawi, many of the oft-recited Shia duas are inauthentic. It is problematic that eminent theologians added these invocations and ascribed them to the Prophet (s) and the Imams (a) over many centuries, a transparent religious innovation according to Shia hadith sciences. Using this methodology, an ayatullah could pen a dua and ascribe it Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) in the year 2020 and it would be accepted.

The reason that the source of the dua is troublesome is multifold. First, a scholar could have been deceptive and weak rijali standards allowed the community to accept the supplication. Second, the author was weak in hadith sciences and thus he sanctified a rumor which was circulating in his vicinity. Third, the Shia scholarly establishment has given their blessings to such misascriptions, either they have done so in order not to face the anger of the Shia believers, or because they have adopted unsound hadith, or because their methodology of hadith authentification is weak.

This interview translation is incomplete, I translated the parts I viewed as noteworthy. Although I tried my best, the language was advanced. If anyone has wording suggestions, please mention it.

Note - Sentences which caught my attention are green. Sentences which I added from myself as an explanation is in red.

In the year 1393 (2015), Ayatullah Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi a professor, historian, and researcher penned Minhaj al-Haya fi al-Ada’iya al al-Ziyarat ‘an Ahl al-Bayt al-Huda. It is a filtered version of the famous Mafati al-Jinan by Abbas Qummi. Some duas filtered in the book include Dua Simaat, Dua Jawshan Kabir, and Jawshan Saghir. This is an interview where the scholar discusses his book, as well as the historical background of supplications within Twelver Shi’ism.

When did books of duas and ziyarat-texts (ziyarat-nama, dua to be recited at a shrine) become commonplace within the Shia community?
During the Buyid dynasty of the fourth and fifth centuries. Sheikh Mufid (4 AH) created ziyarat-texts as a means to aid the pilgrims of the shrines. However, his student Sheikh Tusi (5 AH) separated fiqhi books from dua books and thus he was the first to compile books containing only ziyarat-texts and duas.

Mafatih al-Jinan penned by Fadil Hindi Isfahani (11 AH) is the first supplication book to be arranged and ordered, at a time when books did not contain tables of content. One may estimate the location of a dua in the book, a reason for the popularity of the book. Various duas were added, even Ziyarat Mafaja زیارت مفجّعه. After two hundred years, Sheikh Abbas Qummi refined this book. Minhaj al-Haya is another refinement.

When one glances upon the table of content, it becomes apparent that famous duas are missing, such as Dua Jawshan Kabir. Why?
Inauthentic duas were omitted, such as Dua Jawshan Kabir. It is a late addition, the oldest source for the supplication is from the book Balad al-Amin by Sheikh Kaf’ami in 9 AH. Its chain and preface are also strange. In its preface, it states that the dua is from Imam Zayn al-Abideen, wherein in battle, the Prophet (p) was crippled due to heavy armor. Angel Gabriel then taught him (p) this dua in place of the armor. In the preface, it also recommends reciting the dua on the first of Ramadan, but in Shi’ite culture, it is recited on the Nights of Power, as recommended by Majlisi in his Zad al-Ma’ad.

Howbeit, the chain for Dua Jawshan Saghir is better, but it is not faultless. It is said Imam Musa Kazim (a) was invited by the Abbasi caliph in which he (a) recited this dua to repel evil. What is strange is that in the chain is a man by the name of Rabi’ who was the chamberlain of the caliph. Rabi’ says, “I went to present the Imam (a) to the caliph when I came across him (a) reciting something. I asked him (a) about it, upon which he (a) assured me that he (a) would dictate the dua to me afterwards.” Although its chain is shorter, it is still weak.

Regarding Dua Simaat, according to Allama Majlisi, it was revealed during the era of the Second Deputy, Abu Jafar Muhammad b. Uthman b. Sayeed Umari who was deputy for 35 years. The story is as follows, in Baghdad the Shia shopkeepers were robbed, unlike the Jewish shopkeepers. It became popular that dogs attack the thieves. It was even seen that the dogs attacked a robber and tore off his shoe. The Jews claimed that they possessed a special dua called “Shuboor.” The Shias then went to the Second Deputy, thereafter Dua Simaat was created by him. Unfortunately, later on, the supplication was falsely ascribed to the Sadiqayn (a), just as many duas have. The content is strange, some speculate that it resembles Jewish supplications and thus it is a translation of the Jewish Dua Shuboor.

Alongside that dua, there is Dua Ashraat which is attributed to Imam Ali (a). Its chain is also questionable, however, it is stronger than Dua Simaat. Some early texts give mursal chains, but some have detailed chains. So in lieu of Dua Simaat I inserted Dua Ashraat.

Dua Arafa is an inauthentic dua, it stems from Sufis. It is obvious that it is not from Imam Hussain (a), for example, it states, “God created me when just kings were ruling.” In its place, I have brought the 45th dua of Sahifa Sajadiya for the day of Arafa.

You have not brought supplications relating to Imam Mahdi (a), such as Dua Ahad. Why not?
When discussing duas of the Twelfth Imam (a), one must ask, “First - Which infallible (a) stated it? Second - Which companion reported it?” It is said that Imam Sadiq (a) stated this dua, then did his companion know about the Twelve Imams (a) (that the imamate is twelve or that the twelfth is in occultation). How is it possible that Imam Sadiq (a) would say, “I am unaware of the whereabouts of Imam Mahdi (a).”

Another dua attributed to him (a) is Dua Nudba. This dua ended with Husayn b. Sufyan Buzufari, a special companion of the Hadiin (a). However, at no point does he claim that he heard this dua from an infallible (a). He is reliable and close to the deputies, I viewed it convincing and thus I added it to the book.

About Dua Faraj (allahuma kunli walikal hujat ibn il-hasan), the term “hujat ibn al-hasan” is not used; instead, it is originally “fulan bin fulan.” Since the scholars deemed “hujat ibn al-hasan” easier, that is what they used. However, since in the modern era this is unnecessary and the Shia scholars should discourage the laymen from this practice. Also from Imam Kazin (a), it was taught that in Ramadan when we put the Quran over our heads and make promises upon God and the Prophet (p) two times, we say “and on the right of all of your imams.” However, the scholars have also changed this practice to include saying the names of all of the Imams (a) for ease.

How about the actions (a’amal) of the cellar? Why is it not mentioned in your book?
We do not even have one mursal hadith recommending the visitation of the cellar here Imam Mahdi (a) was seen. All of the supplications and recommendations found in Mafatih al-Jinan pertaining to the cellar are creations of the theologians.

It is popular that one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a) added to a dua. However, the Imam (a) denounced the addition. Many of the supplications in the Mifatih are creations or alterations of the scholars, is this acceptable?
There is some ikhtilaf. However in general, adding or subtracting to a dua of an Imam (a) is forbidden. There is nothing wrong with reciting a manmade dua, as long as it is not attributed to an infallible (a). For example, Dua Iftitah was created by the Second Deputy, Muhammad b. Uthman. Neither he nor any other individual falsely attributed that dua to an infallible (a). I have included it in Minhaj al-Haya.

A created so-called dua omitted from my book is “Tawassul,” unfortunately oft-called “Dua Tawassul” when, in fact, it is not a supplication whatsoever. It does not even bear the scent of the infallibles (a) and it is the most clear-cut example of a fabrication. It is commonly stated that Tawassul is the creation of Sheikh Tusi, however, this is a weak opinion. It should be assumed that this originates from the infallibles (a). Even calling it a “dua” is a mistake, which provides ammunition for Salafis to criticize Shi’ism. Dua means beseeching the Lord. Dua means giving one’s attention solely to the Creator. However, this manmade dua is an intercession to the infallibles (a).

Another created dua attributed to an infallible (a) is Munajat Shabaniya which states in its preface that all of the infallibles (a) recite this supplication. Allama Majlisi brought this dua and says that it is ancient from the book of Mazari. I found the front and back of this book are gone and that the author is unknown. The research of Allama Muhammad Taqi Shushtari indicates that this supplication originates from Husayn b. Khalawayh, a fourth-century Shia grammarian who was in the Hamadan court in Aleppo.

What is your view of using chains of narration to establish the validity of ziyarat-texts and duas?
The chain should not be the most important marker. In duas and ziyarat-texts, the content is also quite important. The best example of this is Ziyarat Jamia Kabira from Sheikh Saquq’s Man Layahdar al-Faqih (albeit it contains only half of the modern text). Although the chain is incomplete, the content is good, so I included it in the book. However, some find the phrase “bikum yanzil al-ghayth” as evidence for wilayat al-takwini (guardianship of creation), though I am against such an understanding. In my opinion, I view it as honorific, not as independence (for the Ahlul Bayt to enjoy such divine powers).

Does Minhaj al-Haya contain extra supplications compared to Mafatih al-Jinan?
No, except for the 45th dua of Sahifa Sajadiya in lieu of Dua Arafa. Also, another version of Ziyarat Ashura, the only difference in this version is in one line “Allahuma khussa ant awal zalim bil’an mani...” This line was not present in Ziyarat Ashura until the second half of the seventh-century. Additionally, the phrase contains an error. The phrase “Allahuma khussa ant awal zalim bilan mani a abada ba awalan thum al-thani wa al-thalith wa al-rabi’.” One time it is said “awal zalim” and one other time “awalan.” This repetition means what? Do both “awals” refer the one person? What good does this phrase contain that we should want to attribute it to an infallible (a). The missing of the initial alif and lam “al” is a cause for concern because it goes against Arabic grammar.
Some of the cursing in Ziyarat Ashura was added in the 7th century.

Personal notes:
If Shia scholars are so lax regarding innovation in this part of their faith, then one can assume that the clergy are also lax in other areas of the faith.


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