|Sultan al-Wa'izin al-Shirazi
|شبهای پیشاور در دفاع از حریم تشیع
|Debates of Shi'a-Sunni scholars
|1375/1955-6 Tehran etc.
|NY 10964: Pak Books; P.O. Box EE; Palisades
|En. full text
|Peshawar Nights at al-Islam.org
Shabhā-yi Pīshāwur dar difaʿ az ḥarīm-i Tashayyuʿ (Persian: شبهای پیشاور در دفاع از حریم تشیع, translated title: Peshawar nights) is book containing debates between the Shi'a scholar, Sultan al-Wa'izin Shirazi (1314/1897 - 1391/1971) and Sunni scholars. The book is written in Persian and is easy to comprehend. It was first published in some local newspapers of Peshawar in Pakistan in an unorganized way. In his debates, Sultan al-Wa'izin appealed to reliable Sunni sources, such as al-Sihah al-Sitta and Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal.
This book has been translated in English.
Sultan al-Wa'izin al-Shirazi was born on Dhu l-Qa'da 7, 1314 (April 9, 1897) in Tehran. He went to al-'Atabat al-'Aliyat to learn Islamic disciplines. He traveled to many places abroad, such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and India. His most important travel was to Peshawar in which his well-known debates with Sunni scholars occurred.
In his sojourns in different areas of the world, Sultan al-Wa'izin held meetings of preaching and sermons, and debated with scholars of different Islamic sects. He debated with some Indian scholars in a meeting where Gandhi was present. He finally died on Sha'ban 17, 1391 (October 8, 1971) at the age of seventy-five in Tehran and was buried in the Abu Husayn Cemetery in Qom.
Many scholars, such as Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i Burujirdi, admired him for writing the book, Shabha-yi Pishawur.
Motivation for Writing
According to the author, he published his debates in order to defend Shiism against secularist thinkers. The author frequently emphasizes that he wrote the book to propagate imamate and to reply to objections made by Sunni Muslims for centuries. He published the book with no financial benefits.
Shabha-yi Pishawur is a transcription of ten debates between Sultan al-Wa'izin and Sunni scholars. The debates were held in Peshawar in the house of Mirza Ya'qub 'Ali Khan Qizilbash, an important figure in Pakistan. The debates lasted for ten nights. According to Sultan al-Wa'izin, in the last night of the debates six Sunni figures and merchants converted to Shiism.
- In the first night, issues such as criteria of family relationships, arguments for Fatima al-Zahra's (a) children being the Prophet Muhammad's (s) children, atrocities of Banu Umayya, the discovery of Imam 'Ali's (a) grave, and Shirazi sayyid in Tehran were debated.
- In the second night, the author talked about the meaning of Shi'a and the truth about Shiism. He also refers to the reason why Iranians converted to Shiism in the periods of the caliphs, Daylamites, Ghazan Khan, and Oljeitu.
- The third debate was concerned with the beliefs of Zaydiyya, Kaysanites, and Imami Shi'as. He also refers to hadiths in Sunni sources about seeing God.
- The fourth debate was concerned with issues such as imamate, discovering the truth from the Four Sunni Sects, there being no reason for following the Four Sects, differences in the degrees of the prophets, and so on.
- The fifth debate was concerned with issues such as similarities between Amir al-Mu'minin (a) and the Prophet Aaron (a), hadiths in which the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a) is made explicit, false accusations made by Sunni scholars against Shi'as, the role of Abu Hurayra and Busr b. Artat in slaughtering Muslims, accusations made by Ibn Taymiyya, and so on.
- The sixth debate was concerned with the virtues of Imam 'Ali (a), including a Qur'anic verse which was revealed about him, his training by the Prophet Muhammad (s), his being the first person who believed in Islam, a reply to the objection that Imam 'Ali's (a) conversion to Islam occurred while he was a child, 'Umar b. al-Khattab's acknowledgment of Imam 'Ali's (a) superiority over him, cases in which Imam 'Ali (a) helped the caliphs out of problems, and so on.
- In the seventh debate was concerned with issues such as the union between the Prophet (s) and Imam 'Ali (a), appealing to al-Mubahala Verse, al-Ganji al-Shafi'i's remarks about al-Tashbih Hadith, criticizing 'Umar's remarks according to which one person cannot be both a prophet and a king, al-Zamakhshari's criticism of Sunni Muslims, a paper by a British scholar regarding atrocities against Imam al-Husayn (a), and effects of visiting the graves of the Imams (a).
- The eighth debate was concerned with issues such as the difference between Islam and Iman (faith), the place and significance of Imam al-Sadiq (a), the death of al-Tabari, and cursing Imam 'Ali (a) is equal to cursing the Prophet (s), and so on.
- The ninth debate was concerned with adultery accusations against Aisha, the wives of the prophets, Lot (a) and Noah (a), going to the Hell, the wife of Pharaoh going to the Heaven, the Prophet's (s) being bothered by Aisha, Aisha's prevention of Imam al-Hasan (a) being buried near the Prophet (s), and her sajda and rejoice after hearing the news about Imam 'Ali's (a) martyrdom.
- The last debate was concerned with questions about the knowledgeability of 'Umar, his remarks after the demise of the Prophet (s) to the effect that the Prophet (s) was still alive, his mistake in ruling that 5 people who had committed adultery should be stoned, his ruling that a pregnant woman should be stoned, which was prevented by Imam 'Ali (a), his ruling that an insane woman should be stoned, which was also prevented by Imam 'Ali (a), that all knowledge was possessed by Imam 'Ali (a), Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan's acknowledgement of Imam 'Ali's (a) place, and so on.
Sultan al-Wa'izin published the book on the basis of reports that were printed in the press. The debates in Shabha-yi Pishawur are chronologically ordered.
According to the author, the issues he raised in these debates were extracted from the Qur'an, reliable hadiths, remarks by scholars, and religious scholars.
In this book, the author cited reliable Sunni sources. The author claims that all arguments in the book drew upon materials in reliable Sunni sources. He says:
- One advantage of the book is that from its first page to the last, no appeal is made to Shiite hadiths, except a few hadiths cited from Shiite scholars which were accepted by them (as you can see in the first pages of the book), and I replied to Sunni scholars from the tongue of their scholars.
- The debates of Sultan al-Wa'izin Shirazi with Sunni scholars was published under the supervision of Ayatollah Burujirdi in 1375/1955-6. It was frequently reprinted by different publishers.
- The World Institute of Sibtayn published the book with a new typesetting.
- The book was summarized as Shahabi dar shab (A meteor at night) in Persian.
- A Persian radio program, under "Peshawar Nights", was adapted from the book, Shahabi dar shab.
The 35th print of Shabha-yi Pishawur in 1372/1952-3 by Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya includes 4 prefaces by Sultan al-Wa'izin Shirazi in 1059 pages. The first ninety-two pages are the author's prefaces. The main body of the book is from page 93 through 1016. The last forty-five pages of the book contains permissions received by Sultan al-Wa'izin from Shiite scholars, as well as the book's contents and indexes.
Translation into Arabic
The book was translated into Arabic in 1419/1998-9 by Husayn Musawi under Layali Bishawur, munazirat wa hiwar (Peshawar nights, debates and dialogues). The book includes a preface by the translator, an introduction about a journey to Sialkot in Pakistan, about Peshawar, and advantages of minbar. It is then followed by a translation of Sultan al-Wa'izin's meetings in 10 nights of the Sha'ban month.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from شبهای پیشاور in Farsi WikiShia.