The Shia and the Ahlul Bayt

BACK Return to Table of contents

 

The Shia and the Ahlul Bayt

 

The Shia claim to be the partisans and lovers of the Ahlul Bayt (the noble household of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and that their ideologies are based upon the opinions and transmissions of the Ahlul Bayt. Before examining the nature of their claims, we would like to define the term Ahlul Bayt, and explain what is meant by the word Shia and who is intended thereby.

 

Definition of Ahlul Bayt

As for the compound Ahlul Bayt, it consists of two words, the first being ahl and the second al bayt.

The author of al Qamus defines the word ahl by saying:

 

Ahl in relation to judicious authority refers to governors. The ahl of a house refers to its inhabitants. The ahl of a madhhab refers to its adherents. When it is used in reference to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then it refers to his wives, daughters, son in-law—’Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu[1]—and the men related to him.[2]

 

Al Zubaydi defines the word ahl as follows:

 

The ahl of a madhhab are its followers. The ahl of a man is his wife which extends also to his children. In this same manner is the word ahl in Surah al Qasas (verse 29) interpreted, “And he (Musa ‘alayh al Salam) was traveling with his ahl,” i.e. his wife and family. Lastly, the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ahl are his wives, daughters, son in-law—’Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu—and female relatives. A lesser view states that it refers to those related to him, grandchildren, and further offspring. This usage could be understood from the following verses:

 

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا

And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein.[3]

 

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household.[4]

 

رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house.[5]

 

The ahl of every Prophet are his followers:

 

وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاة

And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakat.[6]

 

A weaker view defines a man’s Ahlul Bayt as those who share the same lineage or those categories previously mentioned. It is commonly used to refer to the entire family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is also said that the Ahl of Allah are His Messengers, friends, and helpers. This usage could be understood from the couplets of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grandfather, ‘Abd al Muttalib, at the incident of the elephant:

So assist us against the Christians

For today the worshipping residents of the Ka’bah are your family.[7]

 

Ibn al Manzur al Ifriqi defines the word ahl as:

 

The word ahl in relation to a madhhab are its followers and adherents. In relation to judicious authority it refers to governors. In relation to a man it refers to those close to him. When used in relation to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam it refers to his wives, daughters, and his son in-law, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It has been said that it refers to the Prophet’s wives (only)… also the ahl of every Prophet are his followers. The word ahl could be used to refer to one’s wife or marriage, this could be understood from the supplication:

آهلك الله في الجنة إيهالا أي زوجك فيها

May Allah grant you ahl in Jannat, i.e. marry you to a spouse therein.

 

It is reported in a hadith:

أن النبي أعطي الآل حظين والعزب حظا

Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed, “Give the married men two shares and the bachelors one share.”

 

In this hadith Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam uses the word al and ‘uzb, the first referring to one who is married and the latter to a bachelor.

The word al is derived from the word ahl. The letter h in the word ahl was changed into a hamzah, thus becoming أأل, when the two hamzahs come into contact then the second hamzah is changed into an alif and merged, thus becoming آل (al).[8]

Al Jawhari states that the word ahl refers to marriage, Abu Zaid explains that the word ahl in the supplication, “May Allah grant you ahl in Jannat,” means, “May Allah marry you to a spouse therein.”[9]

Al Zamakhshari in al Asas states that the word al ta’ahhul means al tazawwuj (marriage). He further explains the word ahl in this supplication, “May Allah grant you ahl in Jannat,” means, “May Allah enter you into paradise and marry you therein.”[10]

Al Khalil says:

 

A man’s ahl is his family. A man’s ahl could also refer to those close to him. Ahlul Bayt refers to the inhabitants (of the house), and Ahl al Islam those who adhere to Islam’s teachings.[11]

 

Al Imam al Ragib al Isfahani states that a man’s ahl are those whom he shares the same lineage or religion with or that which are in those two contexts, i.e. an occupation, abode, or a city. The entire family of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is generally considered to be part of the Ahlul Bayt due to the verse:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] household.[12]

 

He further states that the word al was derived from the word ahl. And the word ahl is generally used to refer to people close to you, either by blood relations or association. These two usages could be understood from the Qur’an. Allah says:

 

وَأٰلَ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَأٰلَ عِمْرَانَ

The family of Ibrahim and the family of ‘Imran.[13]

 

Allah uses the word al to refer to their immediate families. Allah also uses the word ahl to refer to the followers of Firoun:

 

أَدْخِلُوْا أٰلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ

Make the ahl of Firoun enter the severest punishment.[14]

 

It could also specifically refer to those who possess knowledge, as people of religion are of two types:

Those who are engaged in the acquisition of knowledge and practicing upon it,

And those whose practice conforms to the men of knowledge.

The first are considered to be his ahl and ummah. The second type are only considered to be his ummah (followers) and not his ahl. From this it is understood that all the ahl of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are included in his ummah but not all of the ummah are his ahl.

It was said to Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah that people are saying all Muslims are the ahl of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

He replied, “They are right and wrong at the same time.”

When asked what he had meant by it he replied, “They are wrong because all of his followers are not considered to be his ahl. However, they will be considered to have spoken the truth when they are fulfilling all the requirements of the shari’ah.”[15]

Muhammad Jawwad al Mugniyyah, a contemporary Shia scholar, states:

 

Ahlul Bayt linguistically refers to the inhabitants (of the house), and a man’s al is his family. The word al is not used except for a person of status. The compound Ahlul Bayt is mentioned twice in the Qur’an, in Surah Hud and Surah al Ahzab:

 

رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house.[16]

 

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[17]

 

All exegetes concur that the first verse refers to the family of Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam, and the second verse refers to the family of the Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The compound became so commonly used when referring to the family of Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that it is hardly used except when referring to them. Similar to the word Madinah (lit. city) which today almost exclusively is used to refer to the City of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Scholars had differed with regards to the number of wives the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had. Some suggest that they were eighteen in total and others eleven. Whichever opinion one adopts it is an established fact that he stayed with them for a period of thirty-seven years and had been blessed with sons and daughters. He did not trust any of them during his lifetime and none remained alive after him except Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Muslim scholars are in agreement that ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum are from amongst the Ahlul Bayt.[18]

The manner in which the term Ahlul Bayt is used becomes evident in the story of Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam when the angels of Allah came to Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam bearing glad tidings, as mentioned in Surah Hud:

 

وَامْرَأَتُهُ قَائِمَةٌ فَضَحِكَتْ فَبَشَّرْنَاهَا بِإِسْحَاقَ وَمِنْ وَّرَاءِ إِسْحَاقَ يَعْقُوْبَ قَالَتْ يَا وَيْلَتَى أَأَلِدُ وَأَنَا عَجُوْزٌ وَهٰذَا بَعْلِي شَيْخًا إِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عَجِيْبٌ قَالُوْا أَتَعْجَبِيْنَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللّٰهِ رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيْدٌ مَجِيْد

And his wife was standing, and she smiled. Then We gave her good tidings of Ishaq and after Ishaq, Ya’qub. She said, “Woe to me! Shall I give birth while I am an old woman and this, my husband, is an old man? Indeed, this is an amazing thing!” They said, “Are you amazed at the decree of Allah? May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house. Indeed, He is Praiseworthy and Honourable.”[19]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala used the term Ahlul Bayt specifically when conveying greetings via His angels to the wife of Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam. This is a matter upon which all Shia scholars and exegetes have concurred. Amongst them al Tabarsi[20] in Majma’ al Bayan[21] and al Kashani[22] in Manhaj al Sadiqin[23], despite them resorting to far-fetched and invalid interpretations.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala also uses the word ahl in the Qur’an:

 

فَلَمَّا قَضٰى مُوْسَى الْأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِهِ أٰنَسَ مِنْ جَانِبِ الطُّوْرِ نَارًا قَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوْا إِنِّيْ أٰنَسْتُ نَارًا

And when Musa ‘alayh al Salam had completed the term and was traveling with his family, he perceived from the direction of the mount a fire. He said to his ahl: “Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire.”[24]

 

The Shia exegetes concur that the word ahl in this verse specifically refers to Prophet Musa’s ‘alayh al Salam wife, as she was the only one who had accompanied him. Al Tabarsi when commenting on the word ahl in the story of Prophet Musa ‘alayh al Salam in Surah al Naml writes:

 

إِذْ قَالَ مُوْسٰى لِأَهْلِهِ

“When Musa ‘alayh al Salam said to his ahl,” i.e. his wife, who was the daughter of Shu’ayb.[25]

 

In Surah al Qasas:

وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِه

“And (he Musa ‘alayh al Salam) was traveling with his ahl,” i.e. his wife.[26]

 

Similarly did al Qummi[27] in his Tafsir[28], al ‘Arusi al Huwayzi[29] in Tafsir Nur al Thaqalayn[30], al Kashani in Manhaj al Sadiqin[31], and many other Shia scholars, interpret these verses in their books.

 

The Ahlul Bayt in the Qur’an

 

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] household.

 

Ahlul Bayt in this verse is specifically used to refer to the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and can be deduced when taking into consideration the context of the verses that precedes it:

 

وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُوْلَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِيْنَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish salah and give zakat and obey Allah and His Rasul. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[32]

 

It is apparent to the person who reads this verse for the very first time that it had been revealed specifically in relation to the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Taking into consideration those addressed in the beginning of this verse, those addressed in the verse preceding it and succeeding it.

Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn al ‘Asakir transmit from al ‘Ikrimah, Ibn Mardawayh, and Sa’id ibn Jubayr who in turn transmit from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

This verse was specifically revealed in relation to the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[33]

 

Al Shawkani in his Tafsir states that Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ikrimah, ‘Ata’, al Kalbi, Muqatil, and Sa’id ibn Jubayr all concur that the compound Ahlul Bayt in this verse refers specifically to the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They further comment on the word bayt and state:

It refers to the household of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, on account of the plural that is used in the verses which includes all of his wives:

وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلٰى فِيْ بُيُوْتِكُنَّ

And remember what is recited in your houses.

 

As well as the addressees of those verses preceding it, when Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was commanded to let his wives choose:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ

O Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say to your wives…

 

Until the end of verse 33 in Surah al Ahzab.[34]

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also used Ahlul Bayt when referring to his wife ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha specifically:

 

أن النبي دخل في حجرة عائشة رضي الله عنها فقال السلام عليكم أهل البيت و رحمة الله فقالت و عليك السلام و رحمة الله وبركاته

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered the room of ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and said, “May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon you Ahlul Bayt,” and she replied, “May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you too.”[35]

 

Ahlul Bayt also refers to those houses which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam shared with his wives.

In conclusion those who are intended by the word Ahlul Bayt are the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which then extends to his children, uncles, and their sons radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It is mentioned in a tradition that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered Fatimah, Hassan, Hussain, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum under his cloak, and supplicated for them, “0 Allah! This is my household,” in order to include them into the plurality of the verse:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] household.

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had also entered his uncle—’Abbas—and his children radiya Llahu ‘anhum under his cloak to include them also as part of the Ahlul Bayt. Other reports also consider Banu Hashim as being part of the Ahlul Bayt.

The Shia, however, restrict the Ahlul Bayt to only four individuals: ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They have also excluded ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu sons—aside from Hassan and Hussain—from the Ahlul Bayt, thus excluding the likes of Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ali, ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali, Jafar ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ali, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Ali, Yahya ibn ‘Ali, as well as ‘Ali’s eighteen daughters according to one report and nineteen according to another.

In the same manner, the Shia have excluded the two daughters of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha: Zainab and Umm Kulthum; as well as their children radiya Llahu ‘anhum from being part of the Ahlul Bayt.

It is astonishing how they unsympathetically excluded and disregarded all of Hassan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu immediate offspring as being part of the Ahlul Bayt as well as those from amongst Hussain’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu progeny as it did not fit in with their ideology. It is for these reasons that they have declared the very progeny of their illustrious Imam Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be liars, immoral, and even disbelievers or apostates. Furthermore, they have cursed and rendered the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cousins, aunts, and their progeny as nonbelievers only excluding therefrom ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

It worthy of note that the Shia have even excluded the remaining three daughters of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and their progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum. We do not know what type of selection this is, nor do we know its basis.

Thus the Shia consider a portion of Fatimah, a portion of ‘Ali, a portion of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and a select nine Imams from the vast progeny of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu up to Hassan al ‘Askari rahimahu Llah and the assumed Twelfth Imam—who is assumed to have been born—as being part of the Ahlul Bayt.

It is only these whom the Shia consider to be the Ahlul Bayt. If we had wanted to expatiate we could have, however we will suffice with what has been mentioned.

 

Definition of Shia

Al Zubaydi states:

The word Shia refers to a people who concur on a matter, a person who assists another or an adherent. Its origin comes from al mushaya’ah which means compliance and adherence.[36]

 

Ibn al Manzur al Ifriqi states:

The word Shia refers to a people who are in agreement on a matter, however, this term is more commonly used for those who support ‘Ali and his progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[37]

 

Al Nawbakhti[38], who is considered to be one of their leading scholars in the study of Shia heterodoxies states:

 

Shia refers to the supporters of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, who were named Shi’atu ‘Ali (the supporters of ‘Ali) in the lifetime of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and also known for siding with ‘Ali and claiming leadership for him after his demise. The Shia were then further divided. A group believing that it is obligatory to follow ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam… and that leadership was supposed to have remained in his lineage… The other group believing that ‘Ali was more deserving of leadership after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and also acknowledge that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anha were worthy of leadership and that their leadership was valid. Furthermore, they believe that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had handed over the leadership to the two of them and that he was satisfied with it. Furthermore, they believe that ‘Ali pledged allegiance to them willingly and not under duress.[39]

 

Al SayedMuhsin al Amin, a well-known Shia scholar, transmits from al Azhari:

Shia are those who love the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam offspring and follow them.[40]

 

He also transmits from Taj al Din al Hussaini, the leader of Halab:

Shi’at al Rajul are a person’s followers and helpers. It is also said Shaya’ahu (he supported or aided him).

 

It was only when this sect adopted certain distinct beliefs regarding the Ahlul Bayt, claiming to love and support them, that they officially became known as the Shia. When the Caliphate shifted from the Banu Hashim to Banu Umayyah—Hassan ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu abdicating to Muawiyah ibn Sakhar— the Caliphate turned into hereditary rule for the Banu Umayyah, which resulted in many of the Muhajirin and Ansar supporting the Banu Hashim. At that point in time the Banu ‘Ali and Banu al ‘Abbas were still united. People then associated themselves to either the Banu ‘Ali or the Banu al ‘Abbas, believing that they were more worthy of the Caliphate than the Banu Umayyah. The Muslims who assisted them both were later called the Shia (supporters) of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family.

When the Banu al ‘Abbas came into power and the Caliphate was claimed by Saffah, Shaitan created a rift between the Banu ‘Ali and Banu al ‘Abbas resulting in them disputing with each other. Some then supported the Banu ‘Ali and believed that they were more entitled for the leadership. It was from that point onwards that the name was only used to describe those who supported the Banu ‘Ali.

The Shia of today however believe that the Caliphate should have remained in the family of Banu ‘Ali from the very beginning, which makes it evident that the Shia of today are not the same as those who preceded them, i.e. those who only preferred the leadership of the Banu ‘Ali over that of the Banu ‘Abbas.[41]

A contemporary Shia scholar states that the word Shia lexically refers to a man’s followers or helper, however the word is commonly used for those who follow ‘Ali and his household radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[42]

In conclusion the Shia only follow select individuals from the Ahlul Bayt, and yet they still manage to oppose them in their teachings, which we will discuss shortly.

Al Mugniyyah states:

The word Shia refers to those who love ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and follow him or those who love him and his successors.[43]

 

Muhammad al Hussain Al Kashif al Ghita’ writes:

The word Shia refers to the followers of ‘Ali and his progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum[44], and those whom they have appointed. Thereafter, the word was specifically used to refer to them.[45]

 

The Shia have exceeded the limits in their support for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum to such an extent that their beliefs and doctrines are at a complete variance with that which was brought by the Final Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In support of their self-made beliefs they have attributed lies and forgeries to the blessed household, claiming that they said:

There is no (correct) religion except for one who follows ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his family, loves them, associates himself with them, and honours them.[46]

 

It has been narrated from Burayd ibn Muawiyah:

 

I was with Abu Jafar al Baqir in a tent at Mina when he gazed at Ziyad al Aswad whose leg was dislocated.

He lamented and asked, “What is wrong with your leg?”

He replied, “I came on a frail camel on account of which I had walked most of the journey.”

Abu Jafar lamented.

Ziyad then added, “I was so overwhelmed by my sins that I thought I was about to die hence, I mentioned your (Ahlul Bayt) love and sought salvation through it and the pain vanished.”

Abu Jafar replied, “Is not religion but love.”

He further explained, “A man came to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, ‘I love those who perform prayer and fast, however, I do neither.’ The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied, ‘You will be (resurrected) with those whom you love and rewarded for (the good) you did.’”

Abu Jafar further continued, “As for that which you seek, if the sky were to split asunder everyone would flee to their sanctuaries. We would flee (seeking protection) from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and you in turn would flee to us.”[47]

 

It is mentioned in Usul al Kafi that Abu Jafar al Baqir (the Fifth Imam) said:

Loving us is belief and hating us is disbelief.[48]

 

It is also reported that he said:

A slave does not love and support us except that Allah purifies his heart. On the contrary Allah does not purify the heart of a person who is not contented with us and does not submit to us. Hence, if a slave is pleased with us, Allah will deliver him from the severity of having to give account on the Day of Judgement.[49]

 

Similar statements have been transmitted from Abu Jafar in al Kafi, regarding which their Absent Imam has said, “It (al Kafi) is sufficient for our Shia.”[50]

Furthermore, it has been transmitted from Abu Hamzah that Abu Jafar al Baqir stated:

 

Only he who knows Allah can truly worship Him, as for the he who does not know Him, he is unable to do so.

Abu Hamzah then said, “May I be sacrificed for you, what is the gnosis of Allah?”

Abu Jafar replied “It is believing in Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, supporting ‘Ali and considering him (only) as leader and the Imams, along with having hatred for the enemies of Allah. This is the gnosis of Allah”.[51]

 

The Imams according to the Shia occupy a status which is no less than a prophet. The supreme Ayatollah Khomeini states in his book Wilayat al Faqih or al Hukumat al Islamiyyah:

It is from the fundamentals of our creed that none can attain the spiritual status of our Imams. Not a close angel of Allah or a Rasul. In addition, we believe that the Imams were the lights under the shade of Allah’s throne before the creation of the universe.

 

The Imams are also alleged to have said:

We have such a relationship with Allah that no close angel nor Rasul can attain. It is upon these very fundamentals that our creed is based.[52]

 

What Khomeini has stated should not be perceived as something new or extraordinary, rather these are the central beliefs of the Shia. Ibn Babawayh al Qummi mentions in Man La Yahduruhu al Faqih (one of the four early canonical Shia works):

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah asked the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “O Messenger of Allah, this is our condition, what is your condition and the condition of those Imams who will succeed you?”

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained silent for a while and then responded, “O Jabir you have asked with regards to a matter of great importance which only a person of sound intellect will be able to understand. The Messengers and the Imams were created from the light of Allah, which He entrusts to pure men in their loins and women in their wombs. They are then protected by angels and nurtured with His wisdom and knowledge. Their reality cannot be fully described and is too detailed to comprehend. They are the stars of Allah on earth, the vicegerents of His worshippers, the illumination of His lands, and will be used as a proof against His (disobedient) creation. O Jabir! This is from the concealed knowledge, therefore conceal it from those who are not worthy of it.”[53]

 

Al Kulayni states that Imamah is a station above Prophethood, Risalat, and creation. He also falsely attributed to Imam Jafar ibn Muhammad al Baqir (the Sixth Imam):

Allah had first made Ibrahim his slave before making him His Prophet, and He first made him a Prophet before making him His Rasul, He made him a Rasul before taking him as His friend, and took him as His friend before (finally) making him an Imam.[54]

 

Al Hurr al ‘Amili[55] has dedicated an entire chapter to this topic, entitled, The twelve Imams are more virtuous than the entire creation including the Prophets, previous Awsiya’, and angels; the Prophets being more virtuous than the angels. In this chapter he transmits numerous reports, amongst them is a report which he transmits from Abu Jafar al Baqir:

Allah created the Ulu al ‘Azm (the five arch-Prophets) from amongst the prophets and has granted them superiority over the rest through knowledge, which we in turn received and thereby became superior to them. Allah had also taught the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that which He did not teach the rest of the Ulu al ‘Azm, and which he taught to us in addition to the knowledge of the Ulu al ‘Azm.[56]

 

Al Kulayni transmits from Abu ‘Abdullah al Sadiq:

 

‘Ali’s injunctions and prohibitions should be adhered to as he enjoys the same rank and virtue as that of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who has merit over Allah’s entire creation. The one who obeys ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu it is as though he has obeyed the command of Allah and Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and opposing him is equivalent to polytheism, be it in a minor or major affair. Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the Door to Allah and whosoever attempts to tread a path other than his (‘Ali) and the Imams will not succeed as Allah had made them The Pillars of the Earth and His profound proof against those who disobey Him.

Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali would often say, “I am Allah’s designator over heaven and hell, the distinguisher of truth from falsehood, and the holder of the branding iron. The angels and the Messengers have acknowledged for me that which they have acknowledged for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I have been given the same weight to bear which was given to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which in turn is the weight borne by Allah. In addition, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will be called (on the Day of Reckoning) and garbed, and I too will be called forward and garbed. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will be allowed to speak and I too will be allowed to speak. I have been endowed with decisive speech and traits that none prior to me have been endowed with. I know the deaths, calamities, and lineages. Indeed, the knowledge of that which occurred did not miss me, nor is that which is still to come concealed from me.”[57]

 

‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi, a leading Shia exegete writes in his Tafsir—that very Tafsir which is said to be the primary source for all exegeses and in fact the commentaries of Imam al Baqir and Imam Jafar themselves. Its author was a contemporary of Imam al ‘Askari and his father from whom he narrated these reports was the (alleged) companion of Imam al Rida— he comments on the verse:

 

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللّٰهُ مِيْثَاقَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets.[58]

 

In addition to the aforementioned covenant, Allah also took a covenant from the Messengers on behalf of His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

He then states:

Allah will return every Messenger to earth in order to assist Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنْصُرُنَّهُ

You [must] believe in him, i.e. the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his family radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and support him, i.e. ‘Ali.[59]

 

Al ‘Ayyashi[60] when commenting on the same verse adds that there will be no Messenger of Allah except that he will be sent back to fight alongside ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[61]

 

We have dealt with their beliefs in much greater detail in our book al Shia wa al Sunnah.[62]

These are the Imams according to the Shia, those whom they support, claim to love, and align themselves with. They claim that people dislike them solely for their support of the Ahlul Bayt, and because they hold fast to their statements and actions.

Special note should be taken that all these statements were taken directly from their own source material.

In conclusion, the Shia claim partisanship to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the other eleven Imams. They consider them to be infallible like the Messengers of Allah and more virtuous than all the Prophets and the close angels of Allah. Furthermore, they claim that their creed is based on the opinions and sayings of the Imams. However, it has become evident from this study that the Ahlul Bayt according to them does not refer to the entire household of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam but instead only to a select few individuals of their choosing from the progeny of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This will become clearer in the chapters to follow.

 

NEXT⇒ Shia opposition to the Ahlul Bayt


[1]  I do not know the basis for restricting this to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu specifically to the exclusion of the rest of the sons-in-law, namely ‘Uthman—the husband of two of the daughters of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—and Abu al ‘As ibn Rabi’, the father of Umamah and husband of Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Does this only apply to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to him being the cousin of Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the why are his two brothers Jafar and ‘Aqil radiya Llahu ‘anhuma excluded? Not to mention the uncle of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al Muttalib, who was the paternal uncle of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

[2]Al Qamus vol. 3 pg. 432, Fasl al Hamzah wa al Ba’, Bab al Lam published by al Babi al Halabi Egypt 1952.

[3]  Surah Taha: 132

[4]  Surah al Ahzab: 33

[5]  Surah Hud: 73

[6]  Surah Maryam: 55

[7]Taj al ‘Urus by al Zubaydi.

[8]Lisan al ‘Arab by Ibn al Manzur al Ifriqi vol. 11 pg. 27-30.

[9]Al Sihah by al Jawhari vol. 4 pg. 1629.

[10]Asas al Balagah pg. 11.

[11]Maqayis al Lugah by Abi al Hussain Ahmed ibn Faris Zakariyya pg. 150.

[12]Al Mufradat fi Garib al Qur’an pg. 28.

[13]  Surah Al ‘Imran: 33

[14]  Surah al Ghafir: 46

[15]Al Mufradat by al Ragib al Isfahani pg. 29-30.

[16]  Surah Hud: 73

[17]  Surah al Ahzab: 33

[18]Al Shia fi l-Mizan pg. 447.

[19] Surah al Hud: 71-73

[20]  He is Abu ‘Ali al Fadl ibn al Hassan al Tabarsi a leading Shia scholar from the third century Hijri. His book on tafsir consists of 5 volumes, and 10 sections.

[21]  Vol. 3 pg. 180.

[22]  He is Mulla Fath Allah al Kashani an extremist Shia scholar who had only written his book Manhaj al Sadiqin fi Tafsir al Quran al Mubin wa ‘Ilzam al Mukhalifin as a refutation on the Ahlus Sunnah.

[23]  Vol. 4 pg. 493.

[24] Surah al Qasas: 29

[25]Tafsir Majma’ al Bayan vol. 4 pg. 211 Surah al Naml.

[26] Vol. 4 pg. 250 Surah al Qasas.

[27] He is Abu al Hassan ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi, a leading Shia exegete, who lived in the third century A.H.

[28] Vol. 2 pg. 139.

[29] He is ‘Abd ‘Ali ibn Jumu’ah, an extremist Shia died 1112 A.H.

[30] Vol. 4 pg. 126.

[31] Vol. 7 pg. 95 Surah al Qasas.

[32] Surah al Ahzab verses 33-34.

[33] Check Da’irat al Ma’arif al Islamiyyah vol. 3 pg. 576. Urdu article, written by an orientalist A.S Thritton.

[34]Tafsir Fath al Qadir by al Shawkani vol. 4 pg. 270.

[35]Al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir.

[36]Taj al ‘Urus by al Zubaydi vol. 5 pg. 405.

[37]Lisan al ‘Arab vol. 8 pg. 188.

[38]  He is Abu Muhammad al Hassan ibn Musa al Nawbakhti. A leading Shia scholar, who live in the third century hijri.

[39] Firaq al Shia pg. 39-42 by Abu Muhammad al Hassan ibn Musa al Nawbakhti.

[40] A’yan al Shia vol. 1 pg.

[41]A’yan al Shia pg. 13-14, transmitted from Ghayat al Ikhtisar fi Akhbar al Buyutat al ‘Ilmiyyah al Mahfuzah min al Ghubar

[42]Al Shia fi ‘Aqa’idihim wa Ahkamihim pg. 16 by Sayed Amir Muhammad al Kazimi al Qazwini. It becomes clear from what has been mentioned that the Shia are not the followers of the Ahlul Bayt rather they are the followers of the household of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the difference between the two is self-explanatory.

[43]Al Shia fi al Mizan. pg. 17-19.

[44] The report which Sayed Muhsin al Amin transmits from al Zuhri is at variance with all the previous mentioned reports, he states, “The Shia are those who love the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam offspring and follow them.” How strange are the inconsistencies of all these reports? They have not provided an accurate definition for the word Shia, if the mentioning of their inconsistencies would not have diverted us from our actual objective, we would have listed them all.

[45]Asl al Shia wa Usuluha.

[46] Al Kafi by al Kulayni. This book is considered to be one of their most important reference books in the science of hadith. It is also the most important of their four Sihah (canonical books on traditions), which is the equivalent of Jami’ Sahih al Bukhari of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah.

[47]Kitab al Rawdah Min al Kafi by Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al Kulayni died 319 A.H chapter Wasiyyat al Nabi li Amir al Mu’minin vol. 8 pg. 80.

[48]Al Usul min al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 188 the chapter on Hajj.

[49]Al Usul min al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 194.

[50]Muntaha al Amal pg. 298, al Safi vol. 1 pg. 4, Mustadrak al Wasa’il vol. 3 pg. 532-533, Nihayah al Dirayah pg. 219, Rawdat al Jannat pg. 553 transmitting from Ma’ashir al Usul pg. 31.

[51]Al Usul min al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 180 Kitab al Hujjah chapter Ma’rifat al Imam wa al Radd ‘Alayhi.

[52]Wilayat Faqih Darr Khusus Hukumat Islami by the representative of the Imam al Khomeini under the chapter Wilayat Takwini, from the Persian text pg. 58.

[53] Man La Yahduruhu al Faqih vol. 4 pg. 414 chapter al Nawadir fi Ahwal al Ambiyaʼ wa l-Awsiya’ fi al Wiladah.

[54]Kitab al Hujjah min al Usul vol. 1 pg. 175.

[55] He is Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Mashghiri, al ‘Amili (b.1032 A.H) in one of the villages of Jabal al ‘Amil called Mashgir. He is one of their senior scholars and authored numerous books from amongst them is Wasa’il al Shia ila Tahsil Masa’il al Shari’ah in which he gathered numerous Shia traditions on legal rulings, using more than 70 sources. He died in 1104 A.H in Khurasan in the month of Ramadan.

[56]Al Fusul al Muhimmah pg. 152 by al Hurr al ‘Amili.

[57]Al Usul min al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 196-197.

[58]  Surah Al ‘Imran: 81

[59]Tafsir al Qummi vol. 1 pg. 106.

[60] He is Abu Nadr Muhammad ibn Mas’ud al ‘Ayyashi al Sulami al Samarqandi, better known as ‘Ayyashi a leading Shia scholar who lived in the latter part of the third century A.H. Al Najjashi in his book Rijal al Najjashi pg. 246 writes, “He is a reliable scholar.” Ibn al Nadim states, “He is an Imami, Shia jurist, unique and outstanding scholar of his time.” A’yan al Shia vol. 1 pg.57. His book on tafsir is tradition based, which resembles the book of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim. Rawdat al Jannat vol. 6 pg. 119. Scholars have received his book on Tafsir without dispute and criticism. Muqaddimah al Tafsir by Muhammad Hussain al Tabataba’i.

[61]Tafsir ‘Ayyashi vol. 1 pg. 181; al Burhan vol. 1 pg. 295; and al Safi vol. 1 pg. 274.

[62]Al Shia wa l-Sunnah pg. 65-76.