Anathematization in Islamic Traditions (La’an) Part – 2

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Quranic & Traditional evidence

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The previous parts of this article addressed the Quranic evidence for La’an or what it considered as anathematization in English, and as the verses in the Holy Quran showed, this concept is used for sinners and wrongdoers, who commit massive sins in the society. Nonetheless, this part of the article as mentioned in the last part would shed the light on traditional and narrative aspects of this concepts, which will present narrations by the Prophet and his holy household about anathematization.


 

Prophet Mohammad & Anathematization (La’an)

Contradictory to what some Islamic sects might argue, the Prophet of Islam has used (La’an) anathematization on various occasion, where he cursed certain individuals or a specific phenomenon. Similar to Quranic verses, the role of Prophet Mohammad in some cases was presenting the atrocity and enormity of a crime or a sin, which required this type of supplication and terminology to be used.

  • May Allah curse the briber and the bribed. (Majma’a Al-Faeda, V12, P49)
  • Whomever causes an event (atrocity) in the town, or accommodates a causer, may the curse of Allah be upon him. (Ketab Al-Arba’een, P583)
  • If contraptions (Heresies) appear in my nation, scholars must use their knowledge. Whomever doesn’t do so, then the curse of Allah be upon him. (Al-Fosul Al-Mohemah fi Osul Al-A’ema, V1, P522)
  • Prepare Osama’s army, may Allah curse whomever stays behind of it. (Al-Melal Wal Nehal, V1, P23)

Note: the last narration is among the last statements of Prophet Mohammad in his last days, when he ordered the launch of an army to protect the city of Medina, as there were news of an invasion. According to many Shia and Sunni traditions, this narration was specifically aimed at certain individuals, who refused to join that army. However, the young age of Osama and other hidden intention for extorting the Caliphate after the death of Prophet Mohammad, was behind the deliberate negligence of this order.


 

Shia Imams & (La’an) anathematization

The notion of anathematization within Shia Islam has become a concept of acceptance and rejection, which is part of this sect’s 10 jurisprudential principles. Prayer, fasting, Haj, Alms, Khomos and Jihad, which are part of these principles are issues that scholars are able to extract and derive fatwas and rulings for. However, the issue of Absolution or disownment is another part of these principles, which is mandated upon all Shia Muslims. Therefore, All Shias are mandated to reject and disown whomever, they Imams have rejected and disowned, and as a result that person is eligible for (La’an) anathematization. Since the criteria and justifications for using this concepts were given and presented by the Quran and Prophet Mohammad, the Imams has taken the role of identifying personalities and individuals, as example for Muslims. Therefore, we witness the Shia Imams using anathematization in numerous cases for certain individuals, who introduce heresies, cause disbelieve, tyrants, hypocrites, corrupt scholars and people who have committed major crimes against the Prophet and his holy household.

For instance, Imam Al-Sadiq and other Imams, in various narrations have cursed the killers of Imam Al-Hussein during the Battle of Karbala, and has called them ‘the nation that killed Al-Hussein’. As a matter fact, there is an entire supplication text narrated by Imam Al-Sadiq, which is called (Ziyarat Ashura). This text contains very clear and direct sentences of cursing and anathematization against the killers of Imam Al-Hussein and whomever aided in his martyrdom.

Other Imams, including Imam Al-Sadiq have recommended using La’an against the figures, who extorted the Caliphate from Imam Ali, after the death of Prophet Mohammad. According to Quranic and narrative evidences within Shia Islam, those personalities have caused disbelieve, instability, and harmed the Prophet and his holy household, which makes them entirely eligible for anathematization. Therefore, according to the evidences and criteria presented in the previous parts, any person, who committed any of the atrocities mentioned is eligible for cursing, and it is the duty of Muslims to ask Allah for denying his mercy from them. The concept of La’an and cursing can be applied to:

  • Companions of Prophet Mohammad, who went astray after the death of Prophet Mohammad, and committed one of the sins or actions mentioned.
  • Wives of the Prophet, who caused disbelieve, instability, massacre and harming the Prophet, his holy household, or any other sin that makes them eligible for cursing.
  • Companions and pupils of Imam, who chose to betray their Imams and commit horrendous sins against Islam and humanity.
  • Tyrants and oppressors, who extort the rights of people and bring hardship and afflictions upon them.
  • Corrupt scholars, who use their knowledge to cause disbelieve, instability and heresies.
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