“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Qur’an 49:13)
In the Qur’an, it is shown that to be truly ‘sharif‘ or noble, is based on how righteous we are and not based upon the blood that flows in our veins.
In this entry, we will explore the question of rather or not simply being a Syed or a descendant of a Prophet makes a person righteous, noble, or infallible.
We will explore questions like: If all the people on the Ark were noble and pious where did evil come from after they embarked?
How Islam (Judaism) and Islam (Christianity) were betrayed by the very guardians asked to protect it.
Hence the meaning of the word Kafir-is UNGRATEFUL.
All too often those who have been given the light are the very ones who betray it.
What is truly noble in the sight of Allah (swt) has nothing to do with lineage, pigmentation of one’s skin, nationality, wealth, or intellectual acumen.
The following verses in the Qur’an are more than enough proof for us.
“So it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and NOAH CALLED TO HIS SON who was apart, “O MY SON, come aboard with us and be not with the ungrateful. But he said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” Noah said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah, except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.” (Qur’an 11:42-43)
Then Allah (swt) informed Noah…
“And Noah called to his Lord and said, “My Lord, indeed MY SON IS OF MY FAMILY (AHLI) and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges! He said, “O NOAH, INDEED HE IS NOT OF YOUR (AHLIKA) FAMILY; indeed, he is one whose work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant. Noah said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.” (Qur’an 11:45-47)
Tabataba’i says that this flood was universal. Everyone on the Earth except those on the Ark was drowned.
Source: (Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 10, p. 102 and 260.)
So let us ponder this for a minute. As some of our brothers want to use this ‘hadith of the Ark‘ to suggest that only those are the Ark on the people who are pure and rightly guided.
So it stands to reason that all the vile, evil, and sinful people were wiped out by Allah (swt) during the flood. It also stands to reason that the inhabitants on the Ark had to embark. That is how I am able to write to you today. We are all descendants of those people. Which leads to two points.
We are all descendants of the Ahl Bayt of Noah (a.s).
Where did the sin, villainy, and evil come from that we know today? Obviously it came from the descendants of the people of the Ark. This means within the Ark itself was the inclination towards righteousness and the inclination towards evil.
So certainly the people on the Ark and their descendants were not infallible. That is just a common sense deduction.
“Also, remember that Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make you an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” (Qur’an 2:124)
If you notice Allah (swt) didn’t write a blank check for the descendants of Abraham. If you were made virtuous by being a descendant of a prophet than Allah(swt) would have simply granted Ibrahims du’a; however, he did not. He made a caveat, “My promise is not within reach of the evildoers.”
In other words, I will grant your du’a to those who hold on to my commands and strive their utmost to be righteous servants.
Here is something to think about.
What happened to the descendants of the earlier prophets?
How could Judaism be corrupted if we had infallible Imams who were guiding the people all the time?
The answer, because the descendants of the Prophets and the guardians themselves apostatized from the faith!
“Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah ] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses to that.” (Qur’an 5:44)
“Their descendants who inherited the Book gained (by bribery only) worthless things from the worldly life saying, “We shall be forgiven (for what we have done). They would have even doubled such gains if they could have received more. Did they not make a covenant (with God) in the Book not to speak anything other than the Truth about God and to study its contents well? The life hereafter is much better for the pious ones. Will you not then think?(Qur’an 7:169)
Though this is an uncomfortable answer for many, it is a truthful one.
We do not have unbroken chains of the lineage of people who ‘kept the faith’ all the way until the coming of the Blessed Messenger.
All we have in reality is the narrative of the Qur’an that puts focus on Abraham, Issac, Ishmael, Jacob, and their descendants -who were Messengers and Prophets.
However, it becomes obvious to all who reflect that those who were entrusted to be the guardians of the faith were the very ones who betrayed it.
The first murderer in human history was a descendant of a Prophet.
Cain killed his brother Abel. Both were descendants of the Prophet Adam (upon whom be peace). Yet, one was righteous and the other became the ‘first’ murderer. Such that Allah (swt) made an example of this particular incident throughout time.
“So his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.” (Qur’an 5:30)
In reality, if you want to be technical. From the perspective that we all came from Adam or are ‘Bani Adam‘ -the children of Adam, we are in reality all descendants of Prophets.
These are clear verses in the Qur’an that give us clear examples.
Yes, we should love and respect those people who are descendants of Prophets. Yet, we are not beholden to anyone who does not hold fast to the Book of Allah (swt) or the Sunnah of the Beloved Messenger (saw).
I have met some descendants of the Blessed Prophet (saw) myself, some of whom were amazingly pious people, (based upon what I was able to observe) and some who were not really observing the very basic practices of Islam, like prayer.
Descendants of Ali Ibn Abu Talib and Ibn Abbas slaughter and assassinate one another.
Later on we see the members of the Ahl Bayt in an all-out war against one another.
Or does anyone want to think that the Abbasid Caliphate Al-Mansur or Abu Ja’far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur was righteous and just?
Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al-Mansur was a great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (saw) cousin, Ibn Abbas.
Here are some of the things he did:
He had one of his governors send spies to spy on Imam Malik. He had Imam Malik tortured, had his arm pulled out of his socket, and publicly humiliated.
He had the grandsons of Hassan ibn Ali the sons of Abdullah ibn Hasan ibn Al Hasan ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib killed, namely Muhammed and Ibrahim.
Jalāl al-Dīn al-Khuḍayrī al-Suyūṭī mentions that he was the one that made that already tenuous relationship between the house ‘Abbas and the house of ‘Ali completely fractured. Source: (Tarikh al-Khulafa p.279-280)
He jailed Sufyan al-Thawri and Abbad ibn Kathir and, Abu Hanifa an-Nu’man.
He had Abu Muslim Abd al-Rahman ibn Muslim al-Khorasani murdered.
The list goes on and on.
Once again these types of things will only disturb people who place a lot of stock in a person’s lineage. “Say: “O Allah! Lord of Sovereignty! You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You endow with honour whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power.” (Qur’an 3:26)