We read in Tafsir Durr al Manthur, by al Hafidh Jalaladeen Suyuti in his commentary of verse 98:7 that the Holy Prophet (saaws) had said “I swear by the one who controls my life that this man (Ali) and his Shi’a shall secure deliverance on the day of resurrection”. Do any hadith exist in which the Prophet (saaws) had guaranteed paradise for Imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi, Hanbal and their followers? If not, then why do we follow the 4 Imams instead of the Shi’a of Ali when Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said such a great thing regarding them?
Firstly, the authenticity of this Hadith needs to be proved. Secondly, even if this Hadith is authentic, where is the evidence that the Shi’a of today are the Shi’a (group) of Ali [radhiallaahu anhu]? Thirdly, those who follow the 4 Imaams, via. Imaam Shaafi’ee [ra], Imaam Maaliki [ra], Imaam Hanbali and Imaam Abu Hanifa [ra] are not following the religion of these 4 Imaams. They are in actual fact following the rulings of the Qur’aan and Sunnah as interpreted and codified by these 4 Imaams, who were accepted experts in this field. Thus, those who follow the four Imaams are actually following the Qur’aan and teaching of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Allah states in the Qur’aan, ‘The one who obeys Allah and His Rasul [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] have indeed achieved the supreme success.’ (Surah33 Aayat71)
On the other hand, the rulings and verdicts of Ali [radhiallaahu anhu] are neither codified and those that are found do not even cover one hundredth portion of Deen. It remains for them to prove as to how true their claim that they are the followers of Ali [radhiallaahu anhu].
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai