The Sects of the Ithna `Ashariyyah
The Ithna `Ashariyyah are an offshoot of the Imamiyyah (in its broader meaning), and one of its contingents. They are one of the fifteen groups that the Shi`ah spilt up into after the demise of Hasan al-`Askari (260 A.H). Added to that, many other sects were also formed within the Ithna `Ashariyyah. Mahmud al-Mallah, who carefully studied and follows the developments of this sect, says, “in this time of ours, we find the Ithna `Ashariyyah divided into (the following sects):
All of these sects belong to the Ithna `Ashariyyah. Their principles are spread out in the books of the Ithna `Ashariyyah. Despite this, they declare one another disbelievers. Some researchers have added a few more names to this list, i.e. al-Qartiyyah, al-Babiyyah and al-Kowhariyyah. Others have also added the Nurbakhshiyyah. Al-Alusi says, “it is not unlikely that more sects of the Imamiyyah are still to emerge.” We ask Allah for protection.
Along the course of my search for the texts of the Ithna `Ashariyyah, which they attribute to the Imams and relate them in their reliable works, I found that it contains the seeds of many different sects and deviant desires. Every worshipper of his desires, extremist and innovator will find in there his objective and goals. It became voluminous due to the permissibility (or rather commendableness) of Taqiyyah (dissimulation), excessive fabrications against the Imams and the admittance of the irreligious and conspirators (against Islam, not Shi`ism) among its ranks. The Shi`i scholars were also unable to discern the original beliefs from that which was added on along the centuries, as they had no proper scale by which they could measure the correctness of any of the narration. These, among others, are the reasons why they include the seeds of almost every poisonous belief in their hideous narrations.
If we decide to present a comprehensive discussion regarding each sect independently, our discussion will lengthen to a great extent whereas it is not part of our actual subject. Our aim is to do a study regarding their roots, not the development of their sects, the details of the founders thereof, their views and ideas. We may suffice upon discussing the split of the Shi`ah into Usuliyyah and Akhbariyyah, as the Usuliyyah is the basis and foundation of the religion of the Ithna `Ashariyyah, who make up the majority, and they are rivalled by the Akhbariyyah — who are less than them in number.
The rest of the sects do not have the numbers and size that is possessed by the Usuliyyah. This is why we have sufficed upon brief definitions of each sect in the footnotes. As for the differences between the Usuliyyah and Akhbariyyah, this affects the foundations of the Ithna `Ashariyyah sect. It is a difference of opinion that divides the champions and compilers of the legacy of their madh-hab. Whilst al-Hurr al-`Amili (author of Wasa’il al-Shi`ah), al-Kashani (author of al-Wafi), al-Nuri al-Tabarsi (author Mustadrak al-Wasa’il) and most importantly, Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi (who was considered the leader of the Akhbaris) are all Akhbaris and authors of the most authentic books of narrations according to them, they are opposed by al-Tusi (author of al-Istibsar and al-Tahdhib) and al-Murtada (to whom Nahj al-Balaghah is attributed — if not his brother) among other Usulis.
Thus, the differences between the Usulis and the Akhbaris is a difference of opinion that exists between the flag-bearers and pillars of the madh-hab. Hence we cannot take a step further without defining these two sects:
The Akhbaris: They do not allow ijtihad (deduction of laws from the sources of Islam), and they act upon their apparent meaning of narration. They believe that all the narrations which appear in the four books of the Shi`ah are authentic and they were undoubtedly articulated by the Imams. They suffice upon the Qur’an and their narrations. This is why they are called Akhbaris, which is a reference to akhbar (narrations). They do not accept ijma` (consensus) or the intellect as proofs. They see no need to learn the principles of jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh), rather they see it as incorrect.
The Usulis/Mujtahids: They believe in ijtihad. According to them, laws are established from the Qur’an, Sunnah, ijma` and the intellect. They do not accept that all the narrations in the four books are authentic. They are the majority.
However, their scholar, al-Ansari reveals, as he quotes from their researcher Ghulam Rida al-Qummi, that the Akhbaris rely solely upon the Shi`i narrations, and accept them (even though they may contain flaws) without differentiating between the authentic and unacceptable narrations. He says:
و يعجبنى فى بيان وجه تسمية هذه الفرقة الاخباريين المرموقة بالاخبارية وهو احد الامرين:
الاول: كونهم عاملين بتمام الاقسام من الاخبار من الصحيح و الحسن و الموثق و الضعيف من غير ان يفرقوا بينها فى مقام العمل فى قبال المجتهدين
الثانى: انهم لما انكروا الادلة الثلاثة بما فيها القران الكريم و خصوا الدليل بالواحد منها اعنى الاخبار فلذلك سموا بالاسم المذكور
I wish to explain the reason behind the name of the sect Akhbariyyah. They are referred to as Akhbariyyah due to one of two reasons:
- They practise upon all types of narrations — sahih, hasan and da`if — without distinguishing between them before practising upon them, as opposed to the Mujtahids.
- Since they rejected the other three sources of proofs, including the Qur’an, and confined it to only one (the narrations) they were given the above-mentioned name.
A fact that deserves attention is that they bowed down to the fairy-tales in which it is mentioned that the Qur’an is incomplete. Hence they discarded its proofs and preferred over it their fairy-tales. Due to this, they expelled themselves from the boundaries of Islam. However, despite this blatant kufr which they openly declared, many Shi`i scholars have this to say regarding the differences between the Akhbaris and Usulis:
يقتصر على بعض الوجوه البسيطة ككل خلاف يحدث بين ابناء الطائفة الواحدة تبعا لاختلاف الرائ و النظر
It is confined to a few simple matters, just like any other difference of opinion which occurs between the adherents of a sect on account of the differences that exist between outlooks and intellects.
The author of al-Usuliyyun wa l-Akhbariyyun Firqat Wahidah says:
انى بحسب تتبعى و فحصى كتب الاصوليين والاخباريين لم اجد فرقا بين هتين الطائفتين الا فى بعض الامور التى لا توجب تشنيعا و لا قدحا
According to the extensive research and studying that I have done of the books of the Usulis and Akhbaris, I did not find a difference between these two sects except in some matters, which do not necessitate that either of them should be reproached or considered incorrect.
Hence, are they two agents of the same mission?
One of the present day Shi`ah wished to trivialise the gravity of their view regarding practising upon the Qur’an and rejecting the Qur’an. He says:
كيف ينكرون الاخباريون و هم من المسلمىن دليلية الكتاب
How is it possible that the Akhbaris do not take the Qur’an as a source of proof whereas they are from the Muslims?
Thereafter, he tries to find for them a crevice through which they can escape by quoting their scholar al-Astarabadi:
ان القران ورد على وجه التعمية بالنسبة الى اذهان الرعية
Indeed the (text of the) Qur’an is quite general for the minds of the people.
Therefore, it is not permissible to act upon it, except according to the guidelines of their narrations. Thus, in essence, both explanations lead to the same conclusion. This is because their narrations are an attempt at misinterpreting the meaning of the Qur’an and turning it away from its actual implications, as will be explained. This applies to a greater extent to this sect, since they do not even believe in differentiating between the unreliable and so called authentic narrations.
Concerning the initial split of the Shi`ah into Akhbaris and Usulis, al-Bahrani says regarding their scholar Muhammad Amin al-Astarabadi (d. 1033 A.H.):
هو اول من فتح باب الطعن على المجتهدين و تقسيم الفرقة…الى اخبارى و مجتهد
He is the first one who opened the door of criticising the Mujtahids and dividing the sect… into Akhbaris and Mujtahids.
Others claim that it was done previously, and al-Astarabadi simply revived the concept. Notwithstanding all of the above, there has been rebuttals, arguments, reproaching and declaration of kufr between these two sects — to the extent that each group believed it to be impermissible to perform salah behind the opposition. Among the scholars of the Akhbariyyah were those who did not touch the writings of the Usuliyyah, fearing its impurity. They would only touch it using their clothes.
Al-Astarabadi (who was an Akhbari) declared some of the Usulis to be kafir and he also insinuated that they are destroying the din (as he opines). Similarly, al-Kashani (who was also an Akhbari and he authored one of the eight fundamental books, i.e. al-Wafi) attributed kufr to a number of their scholars. He was taken to task by one of them as he had views which were similar to the (deviant) sufis and the philosophers, which necessitated kufr, for example, his belief in the idea of Wahdat al-Wujud. In this way, they keep declaring one another kafir, an age-old tradition that their predecessors initiated. This can also be seen in many of their narrations, as will appear. Nevertheless, both of these sects belong to the Ithna `Ashariyyah.
As for the essential differences between these two groups, their scholar, Kashif al-Ghita wrote a book titled, al-Haqq al-Mubin fi Taswib al-Mujtahidin wa Takhti’at al-Akhbariyyin, in which he counted these differences to be eighty in number. Al-Bahrani tries to do away with these differences, so he brings them down to as little as eight or even less, as he believes that they open the door for criticising the scholars of both sects and make the Shi`ah vulnerable to condemnation. However, he was beaten by his successor, Muhsin al-Amin, who tried getting away with the claim that they are no more than five in number. Then, a third stance also existed, which was a stance in between the two, thus bringing the number to a total of forty-three, forty and twenty-nine.
The minimising of the differences is achieved by claiming that some of the matters are inter-linked, claiming that a difference of opinion exists within the sect itself so the contrary view cannot represent the sect or the difference does not really exist. An example of the last case is the issue of ijma`, which is established as a source of proof by the Usulis and rejected by the Akhbaris. However, their scholar, al-Bahrani believes that this difference does not exist, as he states that even though the Usulis have listed it as one of the sources of proof in their books regarding the principles of jurisprudence, they have discarded it on a practical level in their books wherein proofs are mentioned. They have argued regarding its establishment, occurrence and whether the results thereof ever existed. Thus, the effects of it have been totally annihilated.
The object of our discussion is not to get into all the matters in which they oppose one another,  rather we only wish to point out the division of the Shi`ah themselves into two sects who oppose one another and disagree regarding the sources of proofs, to say the least — even though some have tried to sweep it under the carpet. At this point, I wish to highlight that these differences which occurred between the two sects of the Ithna `Ashariyyah have shed light upon many realities of their religion, as the veil of Taqiyyah was ripped to pieces by the assaults that took place during the attacks on each other. Had it not been for these differences, these realities would not have come to the fore.
A careful and thoughtful study of the differences between the two sects will definitely reveal many of the secrets of the religion.
 Refer to al-Qummi: Firaq al-Shi`ah pg. 102.
 Al-Shaykhiyyah: they are also referred to as al-Ahmadiyyah. They are the followers of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ihsa’i (who was born in the year 166 A.H. and died in the year 241 A.H.) He was among the scholars of the Ithna `Ashariyyah. Al-Alusi says regarding al-Ihsa’i and his followers, “their speech indicates that they believe regarding `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu that which the philosophers believe regarding the first intellect (universal reason, i.e. all creation emanated from it). The beliefs of hulul, (incarnation: when the divine embodies the flesh of a human) taking the Imams as deities and denying a physical resurrection have also been attributed to them. Among the foundations of their beliefs is the belief in the existence of a perfect man (who was given the form of Ihsa’i).” The Ithna `Ashariyyah Shi`ah have differed greatly regarding him. Some, such as al-Khowansari (in Rawdat al-Jannat 1/94) have praised him while others, such as Muhammad Mahdi al-Qazwini (in his book Zuhur al-Haqiqah `ala Firqat al-Shaykhiyyah) have condemned him. A third group, including `Ali al-Biladi (in Anwar al-Badarayn pg. 408) preferred not to comment regarding him, whilst a fourth group decided to take the ‘middle path’ regarding him. Muhammad Husayn says:
اختلف الناس فيه بين من يقول بركنيته و بين من يقول بكفره و التوسط خير الامور والحق انه من اكابر علماء الامامية
People have differed regarding him. Among them are those who believe that he is the foundation of faith, and another group who believes that he was a disbeliever. However, the best of paths is moderation, and the truth is that he was from the senior scholars of the Imamiyyah.
Thereafter he showers some praise upon him, and he goes on to say:
نعم له كلمات فى مؤلفاته بجملة – كذا – متشابهة لا يجوز من اجلها التهجم والجراة على تكفيره
Yes, he has some statements in his writings which are highly questionable. This does not make it permissible to attack him and be bold in declaring him a disbeliever. (Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita (the footnotes of Rawdat al-Jannat pg. 408-409).
This difference of opinion informs us that the blasphemous bunkum and deviation proclaimed by this man were taken lightly by many of the Shi`ah. For more information on the religion of the Shaykhiyyah, refer to al-Alusi: Nahj al-Salamah pg. 18-19 (of the manuscript), Mukhtasar al-Tuhfah pg. 22, al-A`lami al-Ha’iri: Muqtabas al-Athar 20/126, Muhammad Hasan Al al-Talaqani: al-Shaykiyyah Nash’atuha wa Tatawwuruha, Majallat al-`Irfan vol.22, pg. 199, A`yan al-Shi`ah 8/390, Muhsin `Abd al-Hamid: Haqiqat al-Babiyyah wa l-Baha’iyyah pg. 34, Goldziher: al-`Aqidat wa l-Shari`ah pg. 270, Mubarak Isma`il: al-Tayyarat al-Fikriyyah pg. 110
 They are the followers of Kazim ibn Qasim al-Rishti (d. 1259 A.H.). He was the student of al-Ihsa’i (the founder of the Shaykhiyyah), and he succeeded him in his post after his death. He upheld the teaching of his teacher adding onto it a greater degree of extremism and fanaticism. They were named al-Kashfiyyah on account of the claim of their leader, that he received kashf and ilham (divine inspiration). Al-Alusi says regarding them, “al-Kashfiyyah is a title which was given to them by one of the viziers of the viziers (`Ali Rida Pasha) may Allah elevate his ranks. They are the students of al-Sayyid Kazim al-Husayni al-Rishti who is a student of al-Ihsa’i, and he graduated under him. However, he opposed him in certain matters. His speech was more severe and distasteful than that of his teachers, to the extent that the Ithna `Ashariyyah consider him to be from the extremists. He, on the other hand, exonerates himself from the apparent meanings of his statements. I have met him many times, but I did not see in him that which the Ithna `Ashariyyah scholars say, who declare him a disbeliever. Yes, the reality is that his views regarding the Imams, the beginning of creation and the hereafter are different to theirs… I do not think that his differences with his teacher would be sufficient grounds to regard him and his followers a separate sect from the Shaykhiyyah.” Nahj al-Salamah pg. 19. Other scholars have regarded his group to be a separate sect, on account of him explicitly saying this in his book Dalil al-Hayran pg. 136:
هذا مسلك لم يسبقنى اليه احد قبلى
This is a view which has not been expressed by anyone before me. (Refer to Al Ta`ah: Madinat al-Husayn pg. 34)
It is for this reason that Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita says regarding him, “he is the one who strayed from the correct path and deviated greatly. He is the one who brought upon the Shi`ah Imamiyyah the greatest trial and test. The calamity of al-Babiyyah was given birth to by him and his followers, not his teacher al-Ihsa’i.” Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita: footnotes of Anwar al-Badrayn pg. 408-409. Further details regarding them can be found in Mustafa `Imran: Tahafut al-Babiyyah pg. 37-39, Al Tu`mah: Madinat al-Husayn (this book contains a lengthy discussion regarding the Kashfiyyah from the books of their leader and his students pg. 24 onwards), `Abd al-Razzaq al-Husayni: al-Babiyyun wa l-Baha’iyyun pg. 10.
 The followers of Mirza Muhammad Karim ibn Ibrahim Khan al-Kirmani. He is one of the students of al-Rishti and he upheld his madh-hab. They were given their name as they believed in the fourth rukn (principle) and the perfect Shi`i. They understood this to be from the foundational principles of the din and they believed that it took the form of their leader. Refer to Al Tu`mah: Madinat al-Husayn pg. 56. Some scholars are of the view that Rukniyyah and Kashfiyyah are titles of the Shaykhiyyah and all of them are one and the same sect. Refer to Majallat al-`Irfan vol. 33 pg. 199, Muhammad Al al-Taliqani: al-Shaykhiyyah pg. 274.
 They are the followers of Muhammad al-Fajri al-Kirmani Karimkhan, who was upon the madh-hab of the Shaykhiyyah. This is why al-Ha’iri said regarding him, “the leader of the Shaykhiyyah.” Muqtabas al-Athar 24/274-275.
 They are Shi`ah who follow the Safavid Sufi order. The word Qizilbash means red head. They were given this name because they would cover their heads with a red uniform, i.e. a specific red hat which was their outstanding symbol. One of them describes it; “Haydar ibn Junayd al-Safawi ordered his followers don a distinctive twelve-gored crimson headwear indicating their adherence to the Twelve Imams.” Muhsin al-Amin claimed that Qizilbash was a title of the Ithna `Ashariyyah in some countries (as stated earlier). He probably said this merely to hide the extent of division among the Shi`ah as well as their abundance of sects, as he usually does. Refer to Mustafa al-Shibi: al-Fikr al-Shi`i pg. 405-406, A`yan al-Shi`ah 1/23,24.
 Al-Ara’ al-Sarihah pg. 81
 The followers of a woman named Hind. Her agnomen was Umm Salamah, and her title wa Qurrat al-`Ayn. This title was given to her by Kazim al-Rishti in his correspondences with her as she was one of his followers. After his death, she followed al-Bab, and thereafter opposed him in a few matters including the establishment of responsibility. It is said that she believed that all private parts were permissible and there was no responsibility. Al-Alusi (Abu al-Thana) says: “I did not perceive any of that from her, even though she was imprisoned in my house for two months. According to my research, the Babiyyah and Qartiyyah are the same sect. They hold the same beliefs as the Kashfiyyah regarding the Imams, and they believe that the responsibility of performing five salah has been terminated. They also believe that revelation has not come to an end.” Nahj al-Salamah pg. 21. Refer to Al Tu`mah: Madinat al-Husayn pg. 56, 239. Most of the books that have been authored regarding the Babiyyah speak about this woman and her followers. Refer to the references that will be presented in the next footnote.
 The followers of al-Bab Mirza `Ali Muhammad al-Shirazi (1235-1265). He was from the Ithna `Ashariyyah Imamiyyah. He claimed to be the Bab (door) of the Imam that they are waiting for. He alone speaks on behalf of him. Thereafter, he claimed that he is the (awaited) Imam. As if that was not enough, he further went on to claim that Allah — whose being is far too lofty to be affected by these types of nonsensical claims — embodied Himself into him. His kufr and deviation was of many different types. Refer to Muhsin `Abd al-Hamid: Haqiqat al-Babiyyah wa l-Baha’iyyah, Mustafa `Imran: Tahafuat al-Babiyyah wa l-Baha’iyyah, Mahmud al-Mallah: al-Babiyyah wa l-Baha’iyyah, Ihsan Ilahi Zahir: al-Babiyyah.
 They are the followers of al-Akhund Mulla Hasan Kowhhar, whose sect is promoted in Karbala until today. (Al-Tu`mah: Madinat al-Husayn pg. 55). The Kashfiyyah had a great effect in bringing them to the fore. Op. cit. pg. 239. They take the Imams to be deities and thereafter say that it (this view) emancipates a sinner from the punishment of his sins. Ibid pg. 53-54
 This is a reference to Muhammad Nurbakhsh al-Qohistani whose agnomen was Abu al-Qasim. He was born in the year 795 A.H. and he died in the year 869 A.H. The Ithna `Ashariyyah claim that this sect is one of their sects. They are found in the valleys of Himalaya and Kohistan in Baltistan, which lies next to Tibet (China). He claimed that he is the Mahdi. His agnomen was on the pattern of his (al-Mahdi’s) name. He disbelieved in the Mahdi of the Shi`ah and dissociated himself from them. Due to this, some of them are of the opinion that he was not from the sects of the Ithna `Ashariyyah. Rather, they believe that he was from those Sufiyyah who believed in Wahdat al-Wujud. Ihsan Ilahi Zahir: al-Shi`ah wa l-Tashayyu` pg. 316. However this does not prove that they were not part of the Ithna `Ashariyyah. His ideas were mostly from their school of thought, but he claimed to be the Mahdi and tried to fit the narrations of the Ahl al-Sunnah upon himself. He accepted the Twelve Imams and that is why on the day in which he accepted the pledge of allegiance as the Mahdi, he sufficed upon accepting all twelve Imams (using the number of the Imams as a source of blessing). Al-Shibi: al-Fikr al-Shi`i pg. 332 Similarly, he visited the ‘sanctified Shi`i shrines’ when he visited `Iraq. Al-Shibi: al-Fikr al-Shi`i pg. 333 As for his Sufi leanings, the Shi`ah have often used Sufism as a springboard, tool and guise to trap the ignorant and unwary. For further reading regarding this sect, refer to al-Shi`ah wa l-Tashayyu` pg. 314, Mustafa al-Shibi: al-Fikr al-Shi`i pg. 328.
 Abu al-Thana al-Alusi: Nahj al-Salamah pg. 22
 Refer to al-Usuliyyun wa al-Akhbariyyun Firqat Wahidah pg. 4 You will also notice that some Akhbari scholars rose to fame amongst them such as Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita, the author of Asl al-Shi`ah wa Usuluha. Some of the influential scholars of the Usulis, who make up the majority, are Muhsin al-Hakim, Shari`at Madari, al-Khu’i, al-Khomeini, etc.
 They are, al-Kafi, al-Wafi, al-Istibsar and Man La Yahdurhu al-Faqih. Details regarding them will appear under the section, “Sunnah, according to the Ithna `Ashariyyah”.
 Refer to al-`Aql `Ind al-Shi`ah al-Imamiyyah by Rushdi `Ilyan.
 Refer to Hasan al-Amin: Da’irat al-Ma`arif, pg. 107, `Izz al-Din Bahr al-`Ulum: al-Taqlid fi l-Shari`ah pg. 92, Farj al-`Imran: al-Usuliyyun wa l-Akhbariyyun Firqat Wahidah pg. 19
 The explanation of these terms will appear under the chapter, “their view regarding the Sunnah”.
 Al-Qala’id `ala l-Fara’id, marginal notes of Rasa’il al-Shaykh al-Ansari (Mabhath Hujjiyat al-Qat`). Refer to al-Taqlid fi l-Shari`at al-Islamiyyah pg. 93
 Al-Taqlid pg. 92, al-Bahrani: al-Hada’iq 1/169-170
 Farj al-`Imran: al-Usuliyyun wa al-Akhbariyyun Firqat Wahidah pg. 2-3
 `Izz al-Din: al-Taqlid pg. 93
 Al-Fawa’id al-Madaniyyah pg. 47-48, al-Taqlid pg. 94, al-Hada’iq 1/169
 Lu’lu’at al-Bahrayn pg. 117
 Al-Usuliyyun wa l-Akhbariyyun Firqat Wahidah pg. 4
 Refer to Muhammad Jawad Mughniyah: Ma`a `Ulama’ al-Najaf pg. 74
 Muhammad Al al-Taliqani: al-Shaykhiyyah pg. 9
 Lu’lu’at al-Bahrayn: al-Bahrani pg. 118
 Ibid pg. 121
 This was Al-Bahrani. Refer to Lu’lu’at al-Bahrayn pg. 121
 A sufi term, the apparent meaning of which is open blasphemy. It means that Allah is in everything. In other words, there is only one existing being, Allah. However, some scholars have stated that the correct interpretation thereof is that (the greatness of) Allah can be witnessed in everything. His is the only true and independent existence.
 Under the discussion of occultation in this book.
 This book was printed in Tehran in the year 1316 A.H. Refer to al-Dhari`ah 7/37-38
 `Izz al-Din Bahr al-`Ulum: al-Taqlid pg. 95
 In the book al-Hada’iq, “I did not find him establishing more than four differences.” Refer to al-Hada’iq 1/167.
 Al-Hada’iq 1/167
 A`yan al-Shi`ah 17/453-458
 This is the view of their scholar `Abd Allah ibn Salih al-Bahrani as stated in his book Munyat al-Mumarisin, refer to al-Hada’iq 1/167
 This is the view of their scholar `Abd Allah al-Samahiji. Refer to Rawdat al-Jannat 1/36
 This is the view of their scholar al-Khowansari refer to Rawdat al-Jannat 1/36.
 Al-Hada’iq 1/168
 For details regarding these differences refer to Muqtabas al-Athar of al-Ha’iri 3/296, al-Khowansari: Rawdat al-Jannat 1/36, al-Bahrani: al-Hada’iq 1/167, al-Kashkul 2/386-389, Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-`Ulum: Dalil al-Qada al-Shar`i Usuluhu wa Furu`uhu 3/22-26, Muhsin al-Amin: A`yan al-Shi`ah 17/453-458, `Izz al-Din Bahr al-`Ulum: al-Taqlid pg. 95, al-Gharifi: al-Ijtihad wa l-Fatwa pg. 99. Some have said that the most important differences that exist between them are four in number: 1) The types of ahadith (sahih, hasan, muwaththaq, da`if) which is established by the by the Usulis and rejected by the Akhbaris. 2) Taqlid, the Usulis do not accept that a dead person can be followed, whereas the Akhbaris accept it. 3 & 4) Ijma` and the intellect. The Usulis accept that they can be used after the Qur’an and the Sunnah, but the Akhbaris do not accept that. Refer to al-Gharifi: al-Ijtihad wa l-Fatwa pg. 99
 Personally, I benefitted from the arguments between them under the chapter, “their view regarding the Sunnah” and the chapter of Ijma`.