Peshawar Nights PDFs

Transcript of dialogues between Sunni scholars and Shi’i author, about major topics relating to Shi’ism including the death of the Prophet (s)

, successorship, companions, infallibility, Muta’ (temporary marriage), and the family of the Prophet. Includes a search facility.


●     Sultan al-Wa’adhim As-Sayyid Muhammad al-Musawi ash-Shirazi [3]


●     Hamid Quinlan [4]●     Charles Ali Campbell [5]


●     Published 1996 by  Pak  Books; P.O.  Box  EE; Palisades; NY 10964 [6]


●     Sunni & Shi’a [7]

Topic Tags:

●      Sunni-shia dialogue [8]●      Imamate [9]●      Wilayah [10]

Important notice:
The  Ahlul  Bayt DILP team wishes to inform the reader of some important points regarding this digitized text, which represents the English translation of a work originally written in Farsi. Whereas no  one can doubt the best intentions of the translator and the publishers in making this title accessible to an English speaking audience, the editing and digitization process of this book (carried out by  the DILP Team) has revealed issues in the quality of
translation. Based upon this fact, the DILP team has taken the liberty to make grammatical corrections to make the text more readable and less ambiguous; spelling mistakes and typographical errors have also been corrected and an attempt has been made to improve the highly non-standard use of transliteration of Arabic names and terms. The  online text is not an exact reproduction of the original translation. Users wishing to see the translation as it was published should refer to printed copies available in bookshops. Those who understand are advised to refer directly to the original text. The  Ahlul  Bayt DILP Team

Translators’ Preface

Recently the non-Muslim world has forcibly learned that Islam is divided into two sects, Shi’as and Sunni, but there is so little material in languages other than Arabic and Persian on  the Shi’as side of the issue that real understanding is all but impossible. This  is the consequence of the historical accident that Western contact with Islam was almost entirely with Sunni communities, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ottoman Turkey, most of Muslim India, etc.

The  present work corrects this imbalance in a most extraordinary way, for  the case for Shi’ite Islam is argued and supported virtually entirely from orthodox Sunni sources. The political, juridical, and spiritual legitimacy of the Shi’ite position has been argued, and documented in the English language, and from sources that the West has largely overlooked.

In fact, it is shown here that the most authoritative source for  interpreting of the message of the Prophet Muhammad was his  cousin and son-in-law, ‘Ali Ibn  Abi Talib, and the eleven other designated successors after him, who constitute the Imams of the Ithna Asheri (Twelve Imam) Shi’as. At various times in history this fact has been more, or,  less recognized by  the Muslim world.

As recently as 1959, for  example, Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut, late Rector of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and the Grand Mufti  of the Sunni Sect, decreed that in addition to the four Sunni schools of Muslim canon law, Hanafite, Hanbalite, Malakite, and Shafi’ite, the Ja’farite or  Shi’as school of law  was equally acceptable to Muslims.

A brief account of how this came about at the instigation of Imam Mohamad Chirri, Director of the Islamic Center of North American in Detroit, Michigan, may be found in Chirri’s book “The Shiites Under Attack,” published by  the Center.

* * *

The  present work is based on  the transcript of a dialogue between several Sunni divines
and a 31 year-old Shi’ite scholar, al-`Abd al-Fani Muhammad al-Musawi Sultanu’l-Wa’adhim, of Shiraz, Iran, held over a period of ten nights in Peshawar, India, beginning on  27 January
1927. The  dialogues were a model of mutual respect, and in spite of the seriousness of the subject and the presence of an audience of some 200, there was no  breach of decorum.

The  author refers to himself throughout the book as “Da’i,” that is,  one who prays for  or invokes a blessing upon someone, translated here as “Well-Wisher.” His success is indicated by  the fact that at the end of the dialogue one of his  Sunni opponents and five other dignitaries in the audience publicly acknowledged their conversion to the Shi’as sect.
A condition of the dialogue was that only sources acceptable to both sects would be cited. The  dialogue was held in Farsi, commonly understood in the city of Peshawar. The transcript, made by  four reporters and published in the newspapers daily, was published in book form in Teheran and soon became a classic authority in the East. The  present work is based on  the fourth edition, published in Teheran in 1971, the year in which Sultanu’l- Wa’adhim died at the age of 75.1

Although the dialogue was extemporaneous, such was the erudition of Sultanu’l-Wa’adhim Shirazi (whose name means “Prince of Preachers from Shiraz”) that the transcript serves as a detailed bibliographic reference to hundreds of Sunni treatises, well  known and little known, in which the claims of the Shi’ites are acknowledged. For  this reason, many of the citations refer to the author’s recognized sect or  school, i.e., “Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi,” indicating an adherent to the Hanafite Sect, Sibt Ibn  Jawzi  Shafi’i, of the Shafi’ite sect, and so on.

In spite of the acceptance of the thesis of this book in many parts of the Sunni world, it has also aroused hostility, and unfortunately has inspired misguided and even perverse meddling with the published authorities. In his  introduction to the fourth Persian edition, the author writes:

“…it is unfortunate enough that the selfishness of some of the scholars reached the point that their commitment to their own belief overcame them, and they dared to meddle with the great works, supposing that by  changing or  effacing certain studies the truth would be brought out!”

And  since the state of him to whom God  Most High  has entrusted the security and preservation of the truth (namely al-Wa’adhim, who was near the end of his  life  at the time of writing tr.) does not allow much time for  writing an explanatory introduction to this treatise, confirmation of this mischief will be indicated by  one example below.

On  page 301 of the third volume of the Commentary, Kashshaf, compiled under the direction of Sheikh Mustafa al-Halabi (2nd edition, 1319 A.H. published by  the Main Government Printing House of Amiriah Bulaq of Egypt), verses appear in which Jarullah Zamakhshari, the commentator of the Kashshaf, declared publicly his  belief in the legitimacy of the Shi’ites. But  in the edition of 1373 A.H. from the printing house Istiqamah bi’l-Qahara the aforementioned poem is not to be found.

This  is a sample of the actions of the gentlemen of the Sunnis. By the same token some references which we  have indicated in the text of this compendium (i.e., the present book – tr.) are not to be found in the newer editions of those references. This  is further indication of what has been said. For  this reason some of them have been quoted extensively so that you may read them in this summary.”

We  have heard that this kind of mischief is continuing today, with new, well-financed expurgated editions of the basic collections of traditions, i.e., Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, etc., being offered unsuspecting libraries, to replace the older, but complete editions!

It is for  this reason that the extensive bibliographic references in the original have been retained here at the price of making the book lengthier and less easy to read.2

Thus, the work will find  a place in every Department of Near Eastern Studies and every divinity school concerned with ecumenical problems in the modern world. It should be
closely studied by  serious students of political science and world history who are attempting to understand the emerging presence of Islam in world affairs.

And  it should, of course, be of intense interest to all English-speaking Muslims who wish to have confidence in the sources on  which they depend for  their understanding of Islam.

* * *

Among the topics treated in detail are the events surrounding the death of the Holy Prophet, his  attempt to make a written will, which was frustrated by  Omar, and the secret election of Abu  Bakr, the first two successors or  ‘caliphs’ of the Sunni Muslims. Also  treated in detail are the events at Ghadir Khum at which ‘Ali is believed by  the Shi’as to have been explicitly designated  by  the Prophet as his  successor. These are matters of incalculable significance to subsequent history and to the alignment of forces today.

Other topics concern misinterpretation of quotations from the Prophet used to argue that any one of his  companions was infallible, thus legitimizing the appalling oppression of the people by  many subsequent generations of ‘successors,’ misinterpretation of the presence of Abu  Bakr in the Cave with the Prophet during his  flight from Mecca to indicate a singular honor; Abu  Bakr’s unjust seizure of the property of the daughter of the Prophet; the errors and weaknesses of the Caliph Omar, who acknowledged his  dependence upon ‘Ali to interpret Islamic law  (Shari’at), and his  termination of the practice of Muta’ (temporary marriage) contrary to the decree of the Prophet, as supported by  correct understanding of the Qur’an.

The  cruelty the Caliph Uthman showed to distinguished Companions who supported ‘Ali, such as Abu  Dharr; and the strange position of the Prophet’s young wife, A’ysha, daughter of Abu  Bakr, who led a military campaign against ‘Ali, husband of her contemporary, Fatima, the Prophet’s own daughter of whom she was fiercely jealous.

Fundamental to all of these is the question of the authority for  transmission, and interpretation of Islamic law  and science. This  was codified among the Sunnis by  four principle legalists in the second and third centuries A.H.

Their opinions contradicted each other incredibly on  such issues as the lawfulness of wine and eating dog’s flesh, and permissibility of marriage to one’s own daughter. By contrast, the Shi’as transmission has been singular and consistent – And  in reality was often quoted by  Sunni authorities in the past, a fact until now ignored, forgotten, or  suppressed.

* * *

A word needs to be added regarding the transliteration of Arabic and Persian words. We have attempted to follow a middle course between rigorous replication of the full range of the Arabic and Persian sounds, and avoiding any forms that would be daunting to the non- Arabist. We  have tended toward the latter, reasoning that the Arabist will recognize and resolve any ambiguities in the treatment, while the non-Arabist needs forms that are recognizable and pronounceable.

Therefore we  have not attempted to differentiate between aleph (long ‘a’) and fatiha (short
‘a’), using ‘a’ in all cases. Similarly we  have shown yah (long ‘i’)  and kasra (short ‘i’)  as ‘i’ except for  a few  cases where the words are commonly known one way, or,  the other, i.e.,
Nor  have we  attempted to distinguish the two letters, ‘sin’ and ‘sad.’ Both are rendered as
‘s.’ ‘Tha,’ another letter often transliterated as ‘s,’ we  have shown as ‘th’ in,  for  example,
‘Ibn Thabit.’ Similarly ‘zay’ and ‘zah’ are both shown as ‘z.’ The  ‘dhad,’ rendered by  some as
‘z’ we  have distinguished by  using ‘dh’ as in ‘dhikr’ or  ‘Ramadhan,’ instead of ‘z.’

The  Arabic and Persian ‘qaf’ is given as ‘q’ to distinguish it from the ‘ghayn’ which is given as ‘gh.’ There is no  true ‘g’ sound in Arabic, but when it appears in Persian words it is transliterated as ‘g,’ while the ‘jim’ which in Cairo is transliterated as ‘g’ and by  the Encyclopedia of Islam as ‘dj’ is here simply ‘j.’

The  subtleties of the Arabic terminal ‘ah’, which in some contexts is pronounced like  English
‘ah’ and in others like  ‘at’ have been largely effaced, the rendering being usually simply ‘a’. In combination and in certain plurals, however, ‘at’ is retained.

The  Persian ‘ezafeh’, which is used to indicate possession by  linking the possessor and the possessed (the Persians would say Ibn  al-Malik to indicated the son of the king, whereas the Arabs would say Ibni’l-Malik) is difficult to handle. It is usually not written, but understood, and it is not readily apparent in titles of works whether they are in fact Persian or  Arabic.

For  example, ‘Kifayatu’t-Talib fi Manaqib al-’Ali Ibn  Abi Talib’ appears to refer to a work in Arabic ‘Kifayatu’t-Talib’ (Intensive Studies) on  the subject of the ‘Manaqib al-’Ali’, i.e., the virtues of ‘Ali. This  ‘ezafeh’ is variously given as ‘i’ or  ‘e’, coupling either words with hyphens or  merely joined to the first with or  without a hyphen.

Thus you will see ‘Ahlul Bayt’ (the people of the house, referring specifically to the immediate family of the Prophet through his  daughter, Fatima, and her husband, ‘Ali), and
‘Sharh al-Nahju’l-Balagha,’ ‘Explanation of the Eloquent Sermons’ (by  Ibn  Abi’l-Hadid)
regarding the addresses of ‘Ali Ibn  Abi Talib.

* * *

Many of the sources quoted are obscure, not available in English, and often referred to in various ways by  scholars, and sometimes even by  the author, Sultanu’l-Wa’adhim. Where possible, these problems have been resolved, and the name of the work or  author commonly used by  scholars is given.

Although we  have worked from the Persian edition, we  would like  to acknowledge the help of an English translation published in 1977 by  the Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust in Karachi. A similar debate, but by  exchange of letters, was published in 1936 and reissued under the title of ‘The Right Path’ (originally ‘al-Muraja’at) by  Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust in 1972.

A revised edition was issued by  Zahra Publications, Blanco, TX in 1986. This  exchange began in 1911 between the Sunni head of Al-Azhar University in Cairo and an eminent Shi’as scholar from Lebanon, explaining the Shi’as beliefs. Its  publication no  doubt laid  the groundwork for  the eventual formal recognition by  Al-Azhar University in 1959 of the Shi’as Ja’farite school of jurisprudence, identified with the Shi’ite Imam Ja’far Sadiq, mentioned above.
May  Allah  forgive our errors, and accept our intention, and bless Muhammad and his  family! Hamid Quinlan
Charles ‘Ali Campbell
11 Jamadi al-Awwal 1416 A.H.
7 October 1995

1.  The  death of Sultanu’l-Wa’adhim in 1971 is mentioned by  Michael M.J. Fischer in Iran – From Religious Dispute to Revolution – p.178, Harvard University Press 1980.
2.  For instance, see Tahrif! Investigating Distortions in Islamic Texts for  a few  documented examples of such changes in Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Tirmidhi, and other books [Ed.]



First Night       Second Night   Third Night    Fourth Night      Fifth Night       Sixth Nigh       Seventh Night



Eighth Night    Ninth Night   Tenth Night      Eleventh Night

Check Also

Most Muslims

15 European Countries With Most Muslims

According to Mouood, quoting by World Atlas: 15 European Countries With Most Muslims By 2050, Muslims …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *