4.4 A comparative analysis between the position of the Imamiyyah on the Sahabah and their own reliable narrators from the Imamiyyah

4.3 The position of the Imamiyyah on the virtues of the Sahabah and the impact of that on their narrations
March 15, 2022
Chapter Five – The Principles of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil Between al Hilli and al Khu’i – 5.1 The principles of al jarh wa al ta’dil according to al Khu’i and al Hilli related to the tenants of Shia faith
April 5, 2022

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4.4 A comparative analysis between the position of the Imamiyyah on the Sahabah and their own reliable narrators from the Imamiyyah


4.4.1 Al Khu’i and the Imami scholars justifying mistakes committed by their reliable narrators

The position of the Imamiyyah regarding the Sahabah and how they judge them to be apostates (except a few among them), belie them in their virtues, and turn much of such virtues into vices has already been mentioned, as has the fact that they did not seek excuses for them. However, the vehemence shown towards the Sahabah is an odd position when compared to the opinion they hold regarding those whom they regard as reliable; they make excuses for them that are neither interpretable nor justifiable. There are many such examples of this.

In general, we have seen the positions of al Mamaqani and al Shaharudi on Imami narrators. According to them, the default position of the Prophet’s salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam Companions is apostasy. In their view, this is considering the fact that they did not pledge allegiance to the Imam of their time, `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu. What they both failed to realize (and intentionally so, I think) is the fact that the default state of a Muslim is salamah, or integrity. In preferring the former over the latter, they are giving preference to doubt over certainty and are essentially demanding every Sahabi to furnace explicit evidence and present it to the Imami scholars in order to prove that he did not apostatize!

When the situation is like this, we, the Ahlus Sunnah, have the right to say that when Jafar al Sadiq passed away, the majority of the Imamiyyah held the view that the Khalifah after him was to be his son, `Abd Allah al Aftah. This is an error on their part; it was necessary for them to have pledged their allegiance to Musa ibn Jafar. This is, in reality, apostatizing from the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala since they did not pledge their allegiance to the rightful imam. Furthermore, when `Abd Allah al Aftah passed away, the mistake (they committed) became clear to the majority of the Imamiyyah and, accordingly, they abandoned the Imamah of al Aftah and reverted to the Imamah of Musa ibn Jafar—except a few among them. From here, we can say: Do we not have the right to apply the statements of al Mamaqani and al Shaharudi on the Imami narrators and say that the default in relation to all of the Imami narrators is apostasy because of their failure to pledge allegiance to the Imam of their time? Furthermore, do we also not have the right to say that it is not correct for us to give a judgement that none of them possess `adalah unless they have explicit evidence proving that he retracted from such apostasy?

The Imamiyyah did not apply this (type of thinking) except on to the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. As for their ‘reliable’ narrators, they are beyond such doubts and misgivings.


`Ali ibn Abi Hamzah

Different to their position on the Sahabah, the following narration displays one of many depictions of the Imamiyyah seeking excuses for their narrators for their actions or shortcomings from criticisms raised against them by the infallibles. Al Khashshi narrates:


عن علي بن أبي حمزة قال قال لي أبو الحسن يعني الأول عليه السلام يا علي أنت وأصحابك أشباه الحمير

On the authority of `Ali ibn Abi Hamzah who said: “Abu al Hassan (i.e., the first) `alayh al Salam said to me, ‘O, `Ali. You and your companions resemble donkeys.’”[1]


This is clearly a criticism. However, the Imami scholars have a different position. Al Fani states:


وهذه الرواية تمتاز بخصوصية وهي أن الذم الوارد فيها قد صدر في حقه زمن الكاظم (عليه السلام) ورغم ذلك لا يصح الاستدلال بها على التضعيف بالمعنى المخل وذلك لأن تشبيهه بالحمير يعود لا محالة لوجه شبه بينهما أما من حيث رؤيته لكثير من الوقائع من دون أعمال التدبر لاستخلاص النتائج الموصلة للحيطة والنجاة أو من حيث إن ما يعمله لن يرى ثوابا عليه كما أن الحمير تستعمل للنقل والحمل من دون أي مكافأة على عملها سوى التعب والكلل وما شاكلهما من احتمالات وهذا كما ترى لا دلالة فيه على تكذيب ابن أبي حمزة بقدر ما له نظر لأمور سلوكية وعقائدية خصوصا مع ملاحظة سائر النصوص الأخرى بل قد يتعين من خلالها أن عليا كان يحمل قابليات الانحراف والوقف منذ زمن الكاظم (عليه السلام)

This narration has a unique feature. That is to say that the criticism mentioned in the narration was mentioned about him in the time of al Kazim `alayh al Salam. Despite this, it is incorrect to deduce therefrom that the narration is weak because it carries an offensive meaning. This is because the Imam likening him to a donkey goes back to the fact that there is some type of resemblance between the two. Either because of the fact that he sees many incidents without actively seeking decisions that would lead to his protection and survival. Or, because of the fact that whatever he does, he will never see the reward thereof, just as the donkey is used for transporting and carrying without any reimbursement for his work; all he receives in return is tiredness, exhaustion, and whatever other similar sufferings there may be. As you can see, it is not indicative of (the Imam’s) belying Ibn Abi Hamzah as much as it is a behavioural and creedal issue, especially considering all of the other texts. In fact, it becomes clear through considering (all of) the texts that he used to bear tendencies of deviation and Waqf from the time of al Kazim `alayh al Salam.[2]


What if the text was as follows, “O Abu Hurairah. You and your companions resemble donkeys!?”

There is no doubt that the condition would change and this would, for the Imamiyyah, become among the greatest criticisms against Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu. In fact, they would write volumes on it. However, when they wanted to make tawthiq of their narrator, they converted every criticism levelled against him into a perceivable good, even though it was done in an arbitrary manner.


Zurarah ibn A`yan

Al Kulayni narrated:


[عن] علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه عن ابن أبي عمير عن هشام بن سالم، عن زرارة قال دخلت أنا وحمران أو أنا وبكير على أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال قلت له إنا نمد المطمار قال وما المطمار؟ قلت: التر فمن وافقنا من علوي أو غيره توليناه ومن خالفنا من علوي أو غيره برئنا منه فقال لي يا زرارة قول الله أصدق من قولك فأين الذين قال الله عز وجل:

إِلَّا ٱلۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡوِلۡدَٰنِ لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةٗ وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ سَبِيلٗا

أين المرجون لأمر الله؟ أين الذين خلطوا عملا صالحا وآخر سيئا؟ أين أصحاب الأعراف أين المؤلفة قلوبهم وزاد حماد في الحديث قال فارتفع صوت أبي جعفر عليه السلام وصوتي حتى كان يسمعه من على باب الدار وزاد فيه جميل عن زرارة فلما كثر الكلام بيني وبينه قال لي: يا زرارة حقا على الله أن لا يدخل الضُّلال الجنة

On the authority of `Ali ibn Ibrahim — from his father — from Ibn Abi `Umair, from Hisham ibn Salim — from Zurarah who said: Humran and I, or Bukayr and I came to Abu Jafar `alayh al Salam.

I said to him, “We are extending the mitmar[3].”

He said, “What is the mitmar?”

I said, “The tarr (plumb line). Thus, whoever agrees with us from, whether an Alawite or otherwise, we ally with him. And whoever disagrees with us, whether an Alawite or otherwise, we absolve ourselves of him.”

He said to me, “O Zurarah. The statement of Allah is more truthful than your statement. Where are those whom Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala says about, ‘Except for the oppressed among men, women, and children who cannot devise a plan nor are they directed to a way.’[4] Where are those who seek the command of Allah? Where are those who mixed a good deed with a bad one? Where are the people of al A`raf? Where are al Mu’allafat Qulubuhum (those whose hearts are brought together for Islam)?’”

And Hammad added[5] in the hadith, “Then the voice of Abu Jafar and my voice rose until he could hear it from the door of the house.”

Jamil added, “From Zurarah: When the discussion between myself and him amplified, he said to me, ‘O Zurarah. Incumbent upon Allah is that the misguided do not enter Jannat.’”[6]


This clearly shows that Zurarah is raising his voice at the infallible Imam and is opposing him in his opinions. However, Imami scholars have ready explanations. Al Majlisi (d. 1111 AH) states:


هذا مما يقدح به في زرارة ويدل على سوء أدبه ولما كانت جلالته وعظمته ورفعة شأنه وعلو مكانه مما أجمعت عليه الطائفة وقد دلت عليه الأخبار المستفيضة فلا يعبأ بما يوهم خلاف ذلك ويمكن أن يكون هذه الأمور في بدء أمره قبل كمال معرفته أو كان هذا من طبعه وسجيته ولم يمكنه ضبط نفسه ولم يكن ذلك لشكه وقله اعتنائه أو كان قصده معرفة كيفية المناظرة في هذا المطلب مع المخالفين أو كان لشدة تصلبه في الدين وحبه لائمة المؤمنين حيث كان لا يجوز دخول مخالفيهم في الجنة

This is from the things that Zurarah is criticized for and is a proof of his ill-manners. Because his eminence, greatness, high-rank, and elevated-status is agreed upon by the Group (based on well-known reports), everything giving the opposite impression of this is not to be given attention. It is possible that these issues occurred at the beginning of his affair, before the perfection of his knowledge. Or, this was simply part of his natural disposition and character and he could not contain himself, not because of his misgivings and lack of care. Or, his intention was to show how to debate on this type of discussion with the opposition. Or, because of his relentless commitment to the religion and love for the Imams of the believers such that he would not permit the opposition’s entry into Jannat.[7]


Al Majlisi acknowledged that this is ill-manners towards the infallible Imam; however, did he discard the `adalah of Zurarah? The answer is: no. In fact, he sought four excuses for him and justified his actions. He even made these excuses a means of praise for Zurarah!

Had it been `Umar, `Ali al Kurani would have said:


فهل ترون من مناقب عمر سوء أدبه مع النبي صلى الله عليه و آله وعدم اقتناعه بكلامه

Do you consider `Umar’s ill-manners towards the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and him not being content with his salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam words as being from his virtues?[8]


Al Mazindarani states:


دل على سوء أدب زرارة وانحرافه والحق أنه من أفاضل أصحابنا و أنه منزه عن مثل ذلك وكأن قوله هذا كان قبل استقراره على المذهب الصحيح أو كان قصده معرفة كيفية المناظرة في هذا المطلب وتحصيل المهارة فيها ليناظر مع الخوارج وأضرابهم ورأى أن المبالغة فيها لا تسوؤه (عليه السلام) بل تعجبه

It proves the ill-manners and deviation of Zurarah. The truth is that he is one of the most virtuous of our companions and above such a thing. It is as if this statement of his occurred before settling into the correct school. Or, his intention was to show how to debate on this type of discussion and gain expertise therein so as to oppose the Khawarij and their likes. He figured his exaggerating in this would not offend him `alayh al Salam; rather, it would please him.[9]


When Zurarah’s lack of manners with the infallible becomes of his virtues but the (Prophet’s) supplication for Anas radiya Llahu `anhu becomes a criticism against him!

Compare what has been mentioned with what al Kurani mockingly stated about `Umar ibn al Khattab:


أما سوء أدب عمر فلا شيء فيه فكأن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله كان يستحقه بل هو فضيلة ومنقبة لعمر بدليل رضى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وأنسه وسروره به

As for `Umar’s ill-manners, there is nothing to it. It is as if the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was deserving of it! In fact, it is a virtue and praise for `Umar because of the fact the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was pleased, content, and happy with him.[10]


And like this, they find fault with the Sahabah. Al Kurani mockingly states about `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu something similar to the statement of al Mazindarani, “…exaggerating in this would not offend him `alayh al Salam; rather, it would please him.”

Does al Kurani adhere to this statement of his and also apply it to Zurarah ibn A`yan? The answer is no. This is because Zurarah is above these misgivings and “beyond such a thing,” as per the description of al Mazindarani!

Commenting on the statement of al Mazindarani, Abu al Hassan al Sha`rani states:


قوله على سوء أدب زرارة وانحرافه أما سوء الأدب فهو كذلك وأما الانحراف فلا يدل كلامه عليه إذ رب محب يطيش فيخرج عن الأدب لاعن الحب وليس كل أحد معصوما عن الزلل أما رأيت ولدا برا بوالديه قد يتفق عند الغضب أن يخشن الكلام ويهجر الوالد ثم يندم من قريب ويعتذر وروي عن ابن عباس أشد من ذلك بالنسبة إلى أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وكان تابعا وليا له من أول عمره إلى آخره بعد ذاك العتاب وقبله بل يدل هذا الحديث على أن زرارة [كانَ] مفرطا في الولاية مبالغا فيه زائدا متجاوزا عن الحد الذي كان يرضى به الإمام عليه السلام وكان يرى أن كل متخلف عن أهل البيت كافر وردعه عنه الإمام عليه السلام بأن المستضعفين من الضُلال في الجنة

His statement, “(It proves) the ill-manners and deviation of Zurarah.” As for the part of ill-manners, it is true. As for the part of deviation, his words do not indicate towards this. Many a lover acts reckless and, as such, departs from proper etiquette; however, he does not depart from love. Every person is not completely perfect such that he commits no mistakes. Have you not seen a child that is normally obedient to his parents, when angry, utters something rude and (temporarily) abandons the parent? Then, he regrets it soon thereafter and apologizes? Something even harsher than this was narrated from Ibn `Abbas in relation to Amir al Mu’minin `alayh al Salam. He was a loyal friend that followed him from the beginning of his life to the end, after that rebuke and before it. In fact, this hadith proves that Zurarah was extreme in his belief of Wilayah, exuberant, excessive, and transgressed the boundaries that the Imam `alayh al Salam was pleased with. And he would consider every person that differed with the Ahlul Bayt a disbeliever and the Imam `alayh al Salam deterred him from that with the weak of the misguided being in Jannat.[11]


I do not know, is Zurarah more learned about the religion of the Imamiyyah than the infallible? Or, is his love for Tashayyu` greater than the Infallible’s? This is the Imami scholars’ justification, from where they do not even know. The Imam is ‘pleased’ with Zurarah raising his voice against him, and yet for `Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu, this is reprehensible and bad manners!?

In summarizing the opinion of Zurarah’s ill-manners with the Imam, Mir Damad al Astrabadi (d. 1040 AH) states:


ومن جهة إسائته في الأدب بالنسبة إلى الصادق عليه السلام اتكالا على ارتفاع منزلته عنده وشدة اختصاصه به

Regarding his ill-manners towards al Sadiq `alayh al Salam, (it is overlooked by) relying on his elevated status and extreme prominence he enjoyed with him.[12]


Subhan Allah! This is how the ill-manners of Zurarah is converted into a praiseworthy act deserving of reward!


Al Fadl ibn `Abd al Malik

Zurarah isn’t the only one to be impolite with the infallible; rather, even al Fadl ibn `Abd al Malik was ill-mannered towards the infallible. Al Khu’i acknowledges this, however, he stated:


إن هذه الصحيحة وإن دلت على جرأة الفضل وسوء أدبه بالنسبة إلى الإمام عليه السلام، إلا أنها لا تنافي وثاقته، ولعلها كانت زلة منه فتذكر بعدها

The authentic report, even though is proves the audacity of al Fadl and his ill-manners with the Imam `alayh al Salam, it does not negate his reliability. Perhaps it was a mistake on his part and he only remembered thereafter.[13]


Let us turn to al Khu’i’s statement, “Perhaps it.” He assumed the ill-manners with the Imam to be a mistake that the narrator ‘perhaps’ remembered afterwards. If we asked al Khu’i: What is your evidence for this justification and for al Fadl remembering afterwards? The answer would be: “Perhaps.”


`Abd Allah ibn Bukayr

We have already seen that this narrator was involved in lying against Zurarah. The Imami scholars even acknowledged that. However, al Khu’i justified it stating:


أما ماذكره الشيخ في الاستبصار فلا ينافي الحكم بوثاقته غايته أن الشيخ احتمل كذب عبد الله بن بكير في هذه الرواية بخصوصها نصرة لرأيه ومن المعلوم أن احتمال الكذب لخصوصية في مورد خاص لا ينافي وثاقة الراوي في نفسه

As for what al Sheikh mentioned in al Istibsar, it does not negate the ruling that states he is reliable. The most that can be stated is that al Sheikh took into consideration the lying of `Abd Allah ibn Bukayr in this narration specifically, in support of his opinion. It is known that considering lying in one specific instance does not negate the reliability of the narrator in and of himself.[14]


This is very strange! Al Khu’i acknowledges that the man lied, yet he justifies it and brings out this lie of his in a good way, which is to support his own opinion!

How can something like this be believed? He mixes truth with lies to support his opinion as well. However, because he was a reliable narrator according to al Khu’i, it is necessary to even justify a lie of his which they acknowledge came from him! As for the Sahabah, absolutely nothing is acceptable from them.


Ahmed ibn Hammad al Marwazi

This narrator is also involved in lies. However, al Khu’i thinks that it is not proven from him. Despite this, al Khu’i states justifying such behaviour:


على أن ظهور الكذب أحيانا لا ينافي حسن الرجل فإن الجواد قد يكبو

However, the appearance of lying, at times, does not negate the uprightness of the person. After all, even the horse stumbles.[15]


And like this, al Khu’i regards the lying Imami narrator as a horse and, what he lied about a mere ‘stumble’ since, even horses stumble! We have the right to ask: Why was it not said about Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu or what he stated that it, too is a “stumbling of a horse?” And despite the fact that it is a lie, it does not negate the uprightness of Anas radiya Llahu `anhu? The fact of the matter is that the issue is confusing. The scholar does not know what to remark!


`Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (famously known as `Allan)

The infallible Imam prohibited him from Hajj. He paid no attention to his command and opposed him. In justifying this behaviour, al Khu’i states:


إن مخالفة علي بن محمد علان لأمر الحجة سلام الله عليه لتوقفه عن الخروج لا ينافي وثاقته مع أنه يمكن أن علي بن محمد لم يفهم من أمره سلام الله عليه أنه أمر مولوي، فلعله حمله على الإرشاد كما لعله الغالب في أوامرهم الشخصية إلى أصحابهم

`Ali ibn Muhammad, `Allan, opposing the command of al Hujjah `alayh al Salam by stopping him from going out does not negate his reliability. While it is possible that `Ali ibn Muhammad did not understand from his command that it was a divine command. Perhaps he understood it to be merely a suggestion, just as it might be the general case regarding their personal affairs with their companions.[16]


Ibrahim al Shabbut, a contemporary Imami scholar states:


إن مخالفة علاّن لأمر الصاحب عليه السلام في التوقف عن الحج في السنة التي حج فيها لا تعارض توثيقه فلعله كان نصيحة تخييرية

`Allan’s disobeying the command of al Sahib `alayh al Salam in not going for Hajj in the year he went for Hajj does not negate his tawthiq. Perhaps it was optional advice.[17]


This is how the excuses come, “It is possible…” and “Perhaps it…” The reality of the matter is that he disobeyed what the infallible commanded him to do. However, because he was an Imami, this disobedience was forgiven. This is contrary to their position on the Sahabah. In a lengthy discussion rebuking the Sahabah[18], al Tijani states:


وأنا لي هنا وقفة فلا يمكن لي أن أقرأ مثل هذا ولا أتأثر ولا أعجب من تصرف هؤلاء الصحابة تجاه نبيهم وهل يقبل عاقل قول القائلين بأن الصحابة رضي الله عنهم كانوا يمتثلون أوامر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وينفذونها فهذه الحادثة تقطع عليهم ما يرومون هل يتصور عاقل بأن هذا التصرف في مواجهة النبي هو أمر هين أو مقبول أو معذور…أنا لا أكاد أصدق ما أقرأ وهل يصل الأمر بالصحابة إلى هذا الحد في التعامل مع أمر الرسول…فلا أراني إلا مسلما ومتحيرا ماذا عساني أن أقول وبم أعتذر عن هؤلاء الصحابة

I stopped here for I could not read this kind of material without feeling rather surprised about the behaviour of those Companions towards their Prophet. Could any sensible man accept some people’s claims that the Companions may Allah bless them always obeyed and implemented the orders of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam for these incidents expose their lies and fall short of what they want! Could any sensible man imagine that such behaviour towards the Prophet is an easy or acceptable matter or even an excusable one… Allah, be praised! I could not believe what I had read. Could the Companions go to that extent in their treatment of the Messenger… I found myself resigned and perplexed. What could I say? What excuse could I find for those Companions…[19]


Why didn’t al Tijani say what al Khu’i said, “While it is possible that `Ali ibn Muhammad did not understand from his command that it was a divine command. Perhaps he understood it to be merely a suggestion?

This is the approach followed; there is no excuse for the mistakes of the Sahabah—if there are any. And even if they have an acceptable excuse, no excuse is sought for them. Their actions are understood in the evilest possible manner. As for the Imami narrator, they bring forth excuses on his behalf, even though they are neither believable nor interpretable, or they can be equally applied to what stemmed from some of the Sahabah.


Abu Basir

He has a number of positions. Firstly, al Kashshi narrated on the authority of Hammad al Nab:


جلس أبو بصير على باب أبي عبد الله عليه السلام ليطلب الأذن فلم يؤذن له فقال لو كان معي طبق لأذن قال فجاء كلب فشغر في وجه أبي بصير قال أف أف ما هذا قال جليسه هذا كلب شغر في وجهك

Abu Basir sat at the door of Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam to seek permission to enter. Permission was not granted to him.

He said, “If I had a dish (of food) with me, I would have been granted permission.”

A dog came and urinated on the face of Abu Basir.

He said, “Uff! Uff! What is this?”

The one that was sitting with him said, “This dog urinated in your face.”[20]


Whoever reflects on this text with an eye of fairness, he will have no doubt that it is suggestive of Abu Basir criticizing the infallible Imam. It is quite clear that Abu Basir accused the infallible Imam of having a voracious stomach and that he only cares about those who bring him food. As for the one coming to seek knowledge, as Abu Basir claims, he does not care about him! This sufficiently proves a criticism (against Abu Basir). However, Imami scholars have another opinion. Mahdi al Kajuri (d. 1293 AH) criticized the isnad. Despite this criticism, assuming it is authentic (and this is what I want to explain), he justifies his actions saying:


الظاهر أن هذا مما مازح به البواب كما هو المتعارف في يومنا بل في قوله ليطلب الإذن دلالة على أن المراد فلم يؤذن له في طلب الإذن فتدبر ولا أقل من الاحتمال المساوي وشغر الكلب على التقدير الأول إنما هو لسوء الأدب بالنسبة إلى خدام الإمام عليه السلام فلا يصلح قرينة على كونه بالنسبة إليه عليه السلام

It seems as though the doorkeeper was joking with him—as is customary in our days. In fact, there is an indication in his statement “to seek permission” that the meaning is “and so permission was not granted to him” to seek permission. Think about it. This is equally possible. Assuming the first, the dog urinating (on him) was because of the ill-manners shown towards the servants of the Imam `alayh al Salam. Therefore, it is not suitable to presume it was in relation to the Imam `alayh al Salam.[21]


Abu al Huda al Kalbasi states:


احتمال أن يكون الغرض التعريض بالبواب أو أن الطبق بمعنى المال أو المنزلة

It is possible that the intent was to expose the doorkeeper, or that the dish signified wealth or status.[22]


Imami scholars never stopped looking for excuses for their narrators to such an extent that, among his excuses, al Mamaqani stated:


لعل غرضه أمر صحيح وهو التأسف على تقديم هدية نظرا إلى قوله سبحانه يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِذَا نَٰجَيۡتُمُ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُواْ بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡ نَجۡوَىٰكُمۡ صَدَقَةٗۚ

Perhaps his intention was (based) on a valid concern. That is, the regret over not presenting a gift on the basis of Allah’s subhanahu wa ta `ala statement, “O you who have believed, when you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity.”[23]


Thus, al Mamaqani made Abu Basir’s mocking the Imam an attempt at his ijtihad in trying to understand the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala. Al Tustari was shocked by this excuse and said:


فمع إباء الخبر عن حمله أيّ ربط له بالآية والصدقة للمساكين لا للمعصوم

Thus, in addition to denying the report its proper place, what connection is there to the verse? Sadaqah is for the masakin (needy), not the infallible.[24]


What if Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu was in place of Abu Basir in this narration? Would the response of the Imami scholars be the same as it was with Abu Basir? There is no doubt that they would interpret his words in the worst possible manner and consider it a mockery against the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. This would be among the things that would necessitate leaving the religion.

Abu Basir has another position which indicates a clear criticism of the infallible’s knowledge. He gave a fatwa on that which he had no knowledge. Despite this, Imami scholars sought excuses on his behalf and pulled him out of criticizing the infallible imam. With an authentic chain, al Tusi narrated in al Istibsar:


عن شعيب العقرقوفي قال سألت أبا الحسن عليه السلام عن رجل تزوج امرأة لها زوج ولم يعلم قال ترجم المرأة وليس على الرجل شيء إذا لم يعلم قال فذكرت ذلك لأبي بصير قال فقال لي والله جعفر عليه السلام ترجم المرأة ويجلد الرجل الحد وقال بيديه على صدره يحكه ما أظن أن صاحبنا تكامل علمه

On the authority of Shu`ayb al `Aqraqufi who said:

I asked Abu al Hassan (al Kazim) about a man who married a woman who (already) had a husband and he did not know. He said, “The women will be stoned and there is nothing (i.e., punishment) on the man if he did not know.”

I mentioned that to Abu Basir and he said, “By Allah, Jafar `alayh al Salam said to me, ‘The woman will be stoned and the man will be given the punishment of lashing.’ Rubbing his hands on his chest, he said, ‘I do not think our companion’s knowledge is complete.”[25]


This text clearly suggests a criticism of the Imam’s knowledge. However, al Khu’i has another opinion. He states:


هاتان الروايتان لا بد من رد علمهما إلى أهله فإن الرجل إذا لم يثبت أنه كان عالما بأن المرأة لها زوج فما هو الوجه في ضربه الحد ومجرد احتمال أنه كان عالما لا يجوز إجراء الحد عليه هذا من جهة نفس الرواية وأما من جهة دلالتهما على ذم أبي بصير فغاية الأمر أنهما تدلان على أنه كان قاصرا في معرفته بعلم عليه السلام في ذلك الزمان لشبهة حصلت له وهي تخيله أن حكمه عليه السلام كان مخالفا لما وصل إليه من آبائه عليهم السلام وهذا مع أنه لا دليل على بقائه واستمراره لا يضر بوثاقته مضافا إلى أن الظاهر أن المراد بأبي بصير في الرواية يحيى بن القاسم دون ليث المرادي فإنك ستعرف أنه لم يثبت كون ليث من أصحاب الكاظم عليه السلام

In order for these two narrations to be understood (correctly), they need to be explained by those who are competent. If it is not proven that the individual had (prior) knowledge of the woman (already) having a husband, then what is the reason for him to receive the punishment? It is not permissible to enact the punishment on him based on the mere possibility of him knowing beforehand. This is in terms of the actual narration. As for both of them suggesting a criticism of Abu Basir, the most that can be said is that they prove that he did not completely know the extent of the Imam’s `alayh al Salam knowledge at that time—because of a doubt that occurred to him. The doubt being that he imagined that his judgement `alayh al Salam was contrary to what reached him from his forefathers `alayhim al Salam. This, in addition to the fact that there is no proof of him remaining and maintaining this position which, in such an instance, would not negatively impact his reliability. Furthermore, it seems as though the Abu Basir (mentioned) in the narration is Yahya ibn al Qasim, not Layth al Muradi. You will soon come to know that it is not proven that Layth is from the companions of al Kazim `alayh al Salam.[26]


Here, we see al Khu’i delegating the meaning of the narration to the Ahlul Bayt, despite how clear the criticism is the narration. However, because the narrator is an Imami (and not a Sahabi), al Khu’i acted in this manner. In this way, issues are oversimplified. This statement would be similar to one of the Sahabah saying to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, “Your knowledge is not complete!” What if `Uthman ibn `Affan said this to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, will the Imamiyyah say that `Uthman was excused? Or, a doubt occurred to him? Or, “there is no proof of him remaining and maintaining this position which, in such an instance, would not negatively impact his reliability.” Or, we will delegate the understanding of the narration to the people of knowledge?

But, because the person who pronounced this statement was an Imami, it is necessary to understand it in the best possible manner, even though it is considered disbelief according to the foundational principles of the Imami school. As for al Khu’i’s statement that it is Yahya ibn al Qasim who is intended in the narration, I say that this, too does not make a difference. Ibn al Qasim is a thiqah that has a high standing with the Imami scholars, among them al Khu’i. He made tawthiq of him in al Mu`jam.[27] Regardless of what is meant, how can words that clearly denounce the Imam’s knowledge ever be justified?

As for his statement, “there is no proof of him remaining and maintaining this position,” it is nothing more than conjecture in that it is assumed that the narrator repented and turned back to Allah for his actions. In fact, al Khu’i is the one that is required to prove that Abu Basir desisted from his actions.


Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman

He is one of the senior narrators of the Imamiyyah. There are several clearly defamatory narrations from the infallible Imam with authentic chains. Of them, what al Saduq narrated:


عن علي بن مهزيار قال كتبت إلى أبي جعفر محمد بن علي بن موسى الرضا عليهم السلام جعلت فداك أصلي خلف من يقول بالجسم ومن يقول بقول يونس بن عبد الرحمن فكتب عليه السلام لا تصلوا خلفهم ولا تعطوهم من الزكاة وابرءوا منهم برئ الله منهم

On the authority of `Ali ibn Mihzayar who said:

I wrote to Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Musa al Rida `alayh al Salam, “May I be ransomed for your sake! (Should) I read salah behind the person who holds anthropomorphist beliefs, and the person who believes in what Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman believes in?”

He `alayh al Salam wrote back, “Do not read salah behind them and do not give them of zakat. Disassociate yourselves from them, Allah will disassociate from them.”[28]


As it seems, the narration contains the anthropomorphistic belief of Yunus. According to the Imamiyyah, this necessitates disbelief, as has already been mentioned. The infallible gave a ruling that salah should not be read behind him, that zakat should not be given to him, and that Allah disassociated from him; despite this, the Imami scholars have another opinion. In justifying this, al Wahid al Bahbahani (d. 1206 AH) states:


والسند في غاية الصحة الحكاية المكاتبة ويمكن أن يكون قول يونس قول اشتهر في ذلك الزمان نسبته إليه ولم يكن قوله واقعا أو يكون قوله يعنى ابن عبد الرحمن من بعض الرواة اجتهادا وكان خطاء أو أن الغرض منه كان دفاعا عنه وتخليصا له عن بعض يد الحساد أو غير ذلك

The chain of narration of the written report is very much authentic. It is possible that the statement of Yunus was famously attributed to him at that time and not actually his. Or, it can be that his statement, i.e., Ibn `Abdur Rahman’s, was actually an effort by some narrators, and it was a mistake. Or, the purpose of it was to defend him and free him from the hands of some jealous people. Or other such reasons.[29]


As we see, he sought whatever excuses he was able to by using the words, “It is possible,” or, “It can be that.” In fact, he even sought excuses with things he was unable to justify such that he ended his words with, “Or other such reasons.” Therefore, his words prove that he did not have a definitively explicit opinion on the narration and so, for the sake of Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman, he began justifying on his behalf by any means necessary, even if it meant contravening the outward meaning of the text. The scholars of the Imamiyyah did not do this with the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum.

Al Khu’i states:


إن هناك روايتين صحيحتين دلتا على انحراف يونس وسوء عقيدته

There are two authentic narrations that prove the deviance of Yunus and his false belief.


After al Khu’i acknowledged that the narration he mentioned is authentic, he stated:


It is necessary that the knowledge of these two narrations be addressed by its rightful people. They are unable to conflict with the previously mentioned sound narrations which include sahih as well. As mentioned, this is in addition to such narrations being supported by the fact that jurists and other great scholars acknowledge the eminence of Yunus and his high standing to such an extent that he is regarded among the people of ijma` (scholarly consensus). All of this is under the assumption that these narrations were not mentioned because of highlighting a defect; in such a case, they still do not negate the narrator’s reliability since this is what is required in determining the authoritative value of a narration.[30]


In summary, al Khu’i handed over the matter to the Ahlul Bayt and entrusted the narration’s meaning to them, despite admitting that the narration is authentic and that it proves deviation and false belief of the narrator. Why did al Khu’i not deal with it in the way he dealt with the Sahabah after establishing with certainty the Ahlul Bayt’s criticism of him. The only reason is because Yunus, the anthropomorphist—as the narration states—is a revered Imami. As such, excuses must be sought on his behalf, even though they are illogical and contradict the apparent meaning of the text. In fact, even entrusting the narration’s meaning to the Ahlul Bayt! Al Khu’i did not entrust the matter to the Ahlul Bayt in this narration alone. Under the biography of Hisham ibn al Hakam, he states:


إن هناك رواية واحدة صحيحة السند دلت على ذم هشام بن الحكم…عن أبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام قال أما كان لكم في أبي الحسن عليه السلام عظة ما ترى حال هشام بن الحكم فهو الذي صنع بأبي الحسن عليه السلام ما صنع وقال لهم وأخبرهم أترى الله أن يغفر له ما ركب منا

There is one narration with an authentic chain of narration that reveals a condemnation of Hisham ibn al Hakam… On the authority of Abu al Hassan al Rida `alayh al Salam, “Is there not for you in Abu al Hassan a lesson? Do you not see the condition of Hisham ibn al Hakam? He is the one who did what he did to Abu al Hassan `alayh al Salam. He said to them and informed them, ‘Do you think Allah will forgive him for what he done to us.’”[31]


Then al Khu’i attempted to justify the narration and ended with the following words:


وكيف كان فهذه الرواية غير قابلة للتصديق فلابد من رد علمها إلى أهلها

Whatever the case, this narration is not believable. Consequently, the understanding of it needs to go back to its qualified people.[32]


Al Khu’i was of the opinion that the matter be handed over to the Ahlul Bayt as they are the people of knowledge, despite the fact that the narration actually comes from them in that Hisham is being held responsible for the murder of Musa ibn Jafar. Why are they not convinced of what they said?! Assume for a moment that it is not possible to believe in the narration. How then, can he believe in the narration that criticizes the Sahabah and contains therein accusations against Anas, Aisha, and Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhum of lying? And they are not even authentic!

Here the flaw is clear in that he prefers the weak narration when it is in conformity with his opinion, and he rejects the authentic narration when it opposes his opinion. Thus, there is no real academic methodology according to al Khu’i when dealing with the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum.

It is important to point out what Ibrahim al Shabbut stated regarding the narrations that criticize Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman. He states:


إن في روايات الذم ما هو صحيح أيضا والجواب إن الحال كذلك ولكن هذا الصحيح شأنه شأن ما روي من صحيح في حق زرارة ومحمد بن مسلم وبريد العجلي ومعروف بن خربوذ وهشام بن الحكم وأبي بصير وغيرهم من العدول الأثبات وهو صحيح ولكن يلزم التوقف فيه على كل حال فهيهات من أئمة الهدى أن يناقضوا أنفسهم في أصحابهم ولكن قد تكون ظروف خاصة ومصالح معينة وتوجيه غير معروف لدينا فهم عليهم السلام أعرف بالحال وقت صدوره منهم لذلك لا ينبغي البناء عليه في مقابل المدح المستفيض الذي يورث اليقين والعدالة والوثاقة في يونس بن عبد الرحمن

There is also an authentic narration among the narrations of criticism. The answer: The situation is like that; however, the authentic report is similar to the authentic reports narrated about Zurarah, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Burayd al `Ijli, Ma`roof ibn Kharrabudh, Hisham ibn al Hakam, Abu Basir, and other reliable and upright narrators. It is authentic; however, judgement on it needs to be suspended regardless. It is completely out of the question that the Imams of guidance would contradict themselves in regards to their companions. Rather, it could be based on special circumstances, particular interests, and a direction unbeknownst to us. After all, they `alayhim al Salam know better the condition in which these statements were made. Therefore, it is not appropriate to build upon a premise which clashes with such extensive praise that it gives a sense of conviction, `adalah, and reliability regarding Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman.[33]


And like this, the justifications differ. If they knew that their excuses do not stand up to the facts mentioned in the authentic narrations, they would say as al Shabut stated: “…direction would be unbeknownst to us. After all, they `alayhim al Salam know better the condition in which these statements were made.” Or, as al Khu’i stated, knowledge of the narration should be handed over to Ahlul Bayt! Accordingly, excuses that are unknown are sought after for them which, as a practice, is contrary to how they deal with the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum.

I end with the vindication offered by Jafar al Subhani for one of the anthropomorphists, Hisham ibn al Hakam. After it is proven that there are authentic reports that prove his belief in Tajsim, he states:


إن هذه الآراء مما يستحيل أن ينتحل بها تلميذ الإمام الصادق عليه السلام الذي تربى في أحضانه

These are from among the opinions that are impossible for a student brought up in the arms of al Imam al Sadiq `alayh al Salam to uphold.[34]


According to the opinion of al Subhani, whoever was brought up in the arms of al Sadiq, it is impossible for him to uphold corrupt opinions to such an extent that he essentially becomes protected (ma`sum) from mistakes! As for those who were brought up by the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and who accompanied him like his shadow, all of them apostatized except for a few that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. What is wrong with you? How do you make judgement?


Abu Hamzah al Thimali Thabit ibn Dinar

Accused of drinking nabidh by al Hassan ibn Faddal. In general, if it is mentioned by one of the narrators that he drinks nabidh, then it is, according to the Imami school, generally considered a form of criticism. Listing the different causes of defamation of a narrator, signs of disparagement, reasons for rejecting a and deeming a narration to be weak, `Ali al Burujirdi (d. 1313 AH) states:


ومنها يشرب النبيذ أو يأكل الطين وهما تفسيق مع ذكر السبب نعم ما ذكر في الأجلة من أنهم يشربون النبيذ كما في ثابت بن دينار وابن أبي يعفور أو يأكلون الطين كما في داود بن القاسم فعدم الثبوت والجهل بالحرمة وقبل الوثاقة وأمثالها محتملة

Among them: he (i.e., the narrator) drinks nabidh or eats dirt. Both of these are considered grounds for transgression whereby the reason is mentioned.

Yes, there is mention of some of our distinguished narrators, such as Thabit ibn Dinar and Ibn Abi Ya`fur drinking nabidh, as well as the likes of Dawood ibn al Qasim eating dirt. However, it is possible that these narrations have not be proven to be true, or these narrators were unaware of it being haram, or such actions occurred before (them) being deemed reliable, or other such reasons. These are all possibilities.[35]


Thus, when al Hassan ibn Faddal accused Abu Hamzah al Thumali of drinking nabidh, al Khu’i confronted him in justifying the latter’s actions saying:


وكيف كان فعلي بن الحسن لم يدرك أبا حمزة ليكون إخباره عن شربه النبيذ إخبارا عن حس بل إنما هو شيء سمعه ولعله اعتمد في ذلك على إخبار من لا يوثق بخبره أو أن أبا حمزة كان يشرب النبيذ الحلال فتخيل علي بن الحسن أنه النبيذ الحرام

Whatever the case may be, `Ali ibn al Hassan did not meet Abu Hamzah such that his informing about him drinking nabidh can be considered something perceptible. Rather, it is something he only heard. Perhaps he relied on the report of someone whose reliability in reports is not established. Or, Abu Hamzah would drink halal nabidh, but `Ali ibn al Hassan thought it was haram nabidh that he drank.[36]


And like this, al Khu’i dealt with those who he wanted to make tawthiq of. He assumed his actions in the best possible manner and mentioned statements like “Perhaps it,” or “Or that…” In doing so, he enlisted an unlimited number of excuses in order to support this Imami narrator. Interesting enough, al Khu’i mentioned that “`Ali ibn al Hassan did not meet Abu Hamzah such that his informing of Hassan drinking nabidh is actually from him. Rather, it is something he merely heard.” Here, we have the right to ask al Khu’i: Were the rulings of al Najjashi and al Tusi on narrators based on something perceptible?

Most of what al Najjashi mentioned, in fact, all of what he mentioned, is regarding narrators whom he never met. He mentions rulings about them with no basis. Why did al Khu’i not object to them? However, when he wanted to make tawthiq of a person, he made tawthiq, even though, had it been applied in another instance, it would have destroyed the foundation and part of the pillars of al jarh wa al ta`dil (according to the Imamiyyah).

Describing the condition of al Thumali, al Bahbudi states:


إنما وثّقه الأصحاب لاعتقادهم أنّ فسق الجوارح وخطأ الأفعال لا يضر بالصدق وعندي أن خبر الفاسق مردود إليه حتى يعرف صدقه من ناحية أخرى وهذا الرجل كان فاسقا لشربه النبيذ على ما ذكره الرجالي الأقدم علي بن الحسن بن فضَّال وادعاء أبي حمزة في ترك شرب النبيذ لا يقبل وخصوصا عند موته أو قبل موته فإن الفاسق ما دام فاسقا غير مؤتمن وتوبته لا تفيد في أخباره السابقة شيئاً

The companions made tawthiq of him because of their belief that transgression of the limbs and actions that are considered mistakes do not negatively affect the narrator’s truthfulness. According to me, the report of a fasiq is rejected until his truthfulness is ascertained from another perspective. Because of what al Hassan ibn Faddal, one of the foremost scholars of narrators mentioned, this person was a fasiq because of drinking nabidh. The claim that Abu Hamzah gave up on drinking nabidh is not acceptable, especially at the time or just before his death. This is because a fasiq, as long as he remains a fasiq, he is considered untrustworthy and his repentance is of no benefit[37] in relation to his past reports.[38]


Hariz ibn `Abd Allah al Sijistani

Al Hilli and al Khu’i made tawthiq of him. He too disobeyed the command of the infallible. Despite that, al Khu’i justified it in a manner that I could not find proof for. While acknowledging that it is a criticism that is proven with an authentic chain, al Khu’i states:


وإن كان ذنبا كما يظهر من الصحيحة إلا أنه قابل للزوال بالتوبة ولا شك في أن حريزا ندم على فعله حينما ظهر له عدم رضى الإمام به فإن الحجب كان وقتيا من جهة تأديب حريز لئلا يصدر منه مثل ذلك فيما بعد فإن الحجب لو كان دائميا لشاع وذاع مع أنه لم يذكر إلا في هذه الرواية ويؤيد ذلك أن الإمام عليه السلام قد أذن لحريز بعد حجبه في الدخول عليه إكثار حريز من الرواية عن الصادق عليه السلام واحتمال أن تكون جميع هذه الروايات قد صدرت قبل الحجب بعيد جدا كما لا يخفى

Even though it is a sin, as it appears from the authentic reports, it is possible to have it removed by means of repentance. There is no doubt that Hariz was remorseful for his actions when he saw that the Imam was not pleased with him. As such, debarring him was temporary, in order to teach Hariz so that such a thing would not come from him again. If the debarring was permanent, it would be widespread and common knowledge. This is in addition to the fact that it is only mentioned in this one narration. What further proves this is that the Imam `alayh al Salam granted permission to Hariz—after debarring him—to enter his presence; (subsequently), Hariz narrated a lot from al Sadiq `alayh al Salam. It is highly unlikely and practically self-evident that the possibility of all these narrations occurring before him being debarred.[39]


Even the sins of the Sahabah can be forgiven by means of repentance.

I could not find the basis for his statement, “Hariz was remorseful…” This is in all likelihood based on his having a good opinion of him.

The statement he made on how the barring must have been temporary and not permanent (because of the fact that it would have been common knowledge and widespread) is a claim with no evidence. Despite this, al Khu’i looked for whatever excuse was possible for him to such an extent that he made a claim without any evidence! Did the scholars of the Imamiyyah venerate and treat the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam the same way they treated the companions of the infallibles? Fairness is something great.


Muhammad ibn al Khalil al Sakkak

In mentioning his books, al Najjashi states:


له كتاب سماه التوحيد وهو تشبيه ونُقِض عليه

He has a book that he named al Tawhid. It is tashbih (anthropomorphism). He has been criticized for it.[40][41]


See how many excuses al Mamaqani made. Commenting on the statement of al Najjashi, “It is tashbih,” al Mamaqani states:


لم أفهم معناه لأن اشتمال كتابه على ما هو في نظر غيره تشبيه لا ينافي كونه إماميا ولعل غرضه ليس هو مقابلة قول الشيخ بقول النجاشي بل مجرد بيان أن في كتابه ما فهم غيره منه التشبيه ونقضه [ونحن] نقول أن الرمي بالتشبيه عند القدماء كالرمي بالغلو يبادرون إليه بأدنى شيء والرجل لا يعقل في حقه التشبيه ولو كان في كتابه ما يظهر منه ذلك فلا بد من توجيهه لجلالته وكيف يعقل التشبيه ممن خلفه مثل يونس بن عبد الرحمن أم كيف يمكن ذلك ممن اعترف الفضل بن شاذان بكونه خلفه وتلميذه أم كيف يمكن ذلك ممن ترحم عليه مثل الفضل بن شاذان فالحق ان الرجل إمامي ممدوح فهو في أعلى درجات الحسن

I do not understand what he means. The fact that the book contains, according to the view of someone else, tashbih, does not negate the fact that he is an Imami. Perhaps his intention was not to counter the statement of al Sheikh with the statement of al Najjashi; but rather to explain that there is, in his book, what others understood to be tashbih and criticized him. (And we[42]) say that being accused of tashbih by the early generation is similar to being accused of ghuluww (extremism). For the slightest reason, they would hasten to brand someone an extremist. Tashbih for such a person does not make sense, even if such a belief appears in his book. Focus should rather be on his greatness. How can tashbih be understood from a person who was succeeded by the likes Yunus ibn `Abdur Rahman? Or, how is that possible from someone whom al Fadl ibn Shadhan admitted that he is his successor and his student? Or, how can that be possible from someone whom al Fadl ibn Shadhan offered a supplication of mercy for? The truth is that the individual is a praiseworthy Imami. Thus, he is in among the highest levels of respectability.[43]


This is what al Mamaqani concluded. Also bearing in mind that he believed every Sahabi that lived after the death of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam became an apostate—unless he proves his Islam (as already discussed). Al Mamaqani did not say that he does not “understand the meaning” of the Sahabah’s apostasy, and that their apostasy was “according to the view of others only”, and not a reality. Or, that apostasy from them “does not make sense” because of all of their efforts in the path of Allah. Or, apostasy “does not make sense” from them because of their greatness and the Qur’an’s praise of them. Or he did not say, “How can they apostatise knowing that Allah is pleased with them?” As he stated, “Or how can that be possible from someone whom al Fadl ibn Shadhan offered a supplication of mercy for? He searched for all of these excuses for him knowing that there is the testimony from one of their Imami experts, al Najjashi, stating that he (i.e., al Sakkak) wrote on tashbih! Here, al Mamaqani only attacked the expertise and trustworthiness of al Najjashi so as to free this Imami narrator from what the Imami scholars testified to. As for the Sahabah, according to al Mamaqani they are all disbelieving apostates! What is (wrong) with you? How do you make judgement?


Muhammad ibn Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn `Awn al Asadi

Al Najjashi states regarding him:


كان يقول بالجبر والتشبيه

He used to believe in jabr and tashbih.[44]


Attempting to support him, al Hussain al Burujirdi, Sayed al Ta’ifah according to the Imamiyyah states:


القول بالجبر من مثله عجيب والقول بالتشبيه أعجب لكن لما لم ينقل إلينا كلامه في المسألتين كنا في فسحة من ذلك إذ يحتمل أن يكون رميه بهما مستندا إلى ما لو وقع إلينا لم نستفد منه ذلك

The belief in jabr from the likes of him is strange. And the belief in tashbih is even stranger. However, because his actual statements regarding these two issues have not been transmitted to us, we have the flexibility in this regard as it is possible that him being accused of such beliefs is based on that which if something similar occurred to us, we (too) would not conclude that he holds such beliefs.[45]


And the apostasy of the Sahabi isn’t strange! And the opinion that all except a few of them apostatized isn’t stranger! I do not know why they paid no attention to the opinion of al Najjashi on the individual in that he believes in tashbih! Al Najjashi neither attributed this opinion to someone who does not know the narrator nor did he mention it from someone that is not qualified to give such opinions. Rather, it is an opinion from al Najjashi himself! Despite that, the ruling did not appeal to Imami scholars such as al Burujirdi, despite them knowing full well that they were unable to find an opinion opposing it. As such, they do not have a statement of their predecessors to oppose the words of al Najjashi; rather, all they have is a defence of an Imami narrator, even though the early generation of Imami scholars maintained that he held serious blasphemous beliefs according to the view of the Imamiyyah, such as the belief in tashbih.


Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa al Ash`ari

By agreement, he is a thiqah according to the Imamiyyah. You need only what al Najjashi stated about him:


شيخ القميين ووجههم وفقيههم، غير مدافع

The undisputed scholar of the Qummis, their luminary, and their jurist.[46]


Al Kulayni narrates a long narration the gist of which is that Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa rejected and concealed the testimony regarding the wasiyyah of Imam Abu Jafar al Thani Muhammad ibn `Ali al Jawwad to his son, Abu al Hassan al Thalith `Ali ibn Muhammad al Hadi. That is because when he was requested for the testimony of this wasiyyah (which he testified to and was considered the second witness to it), the people requested the first witness who witnessed with him, as mentioned in a lengthy story. When Ahmed ibn Muhammad was requested for the testimony with his companion, he refused and declined. It comes in al Kafi:


فأنكر أحمد [بن محمد بن عيسى] أن يكون سمع من هذا شيئاً فدعاه أبي [أي الشاهد الأول الذي كان معه] إلى المباهلة فقال لما حقق عليه [وفي رواية فخاف منها أي المباهلة] قال قد سمعت ذلك وهذا مكرمة كنت أحب أن تكون لرجل من العرب لا من العجم…

Ahmed (ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa) denied hearing anything of this and so my father called him (i.e., the first witness that was with him) to a mubahalah (invocation of Allah’s curse). When it was actualized (in a narration, ‘He feared it, i.e., the mubahalah’), he said, ‘I heard that (i.e., the wasiyyah). This was something special that I wanted an Arab to have, not a non-Arab…’”[47]


Regardless of whether the narration is authentic or not, what concerns us is how the Imami scholars dealt with Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa in his concealing the testimony and not wanting to express it except after (if the narration is authentic) fear (i.e., of the mubahalah). If the person denying the testimony was a Sahabi, the Shia printing houses would have gleefully included this in the books which prove the disbelief of the Sahabi. It would be similar to how their scholars lengthily recorded the criticism of Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu who, according to their claim, concealed the testimony that `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu requested from him—despite the fact that the narration is a lie against Anas radiya Llahu `anhu and not authentic.[48] What is your opinion? Did the Imami scholars do with Ahmed the same they did with Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu? Bearing in mind that Ahmed lied by claiming he heard something. Let us see. Abu `Ali al Ha’iri states:


لا ينبغي التأمل في وثاقته ولعله كان زلة صدرت فتاب

It is not appropriate to think about his reliability. Perhaps it was a mistake that occurred and he (subsequently) repented.[49]


Muhammad Rida al Jalali narrates for us words from al Hussain al Burujirdi. He states:


ما يحكى عن خيران الخادم من أنه كتم الشهادة على وصية أبي جعفر عليه السلام…إن ثبت كان زلة وقعت منه في شبابه ولا يصلح لمعارضة ما دل على عدالته حينما تكامل سنه وصار الشيوخ يتحملون الحديث عنه فكم للإنسان من حالات مختلفة تعتوره في مدة حياته

What has been narrated on the authority of Khayran al Khadim in that he (i.e., Ahmed ibn Muhammad) concealed the testimony of Abu Jafar’s `alayh al Salam wasiyyah… If it is proven, it was a mistake that took place in his youth. As such, it cannot contravene what proves his `adalah when he matured and when the scholars took hadith from him. How many different experiences does a person experience in the course of his life?[50]


If it is proven to be true, then it is because of the indiscretion of youth, according to al Burujirdi. If only the scholars of the Imamiyyah said this about Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu! Ponder over the following text which the Imami scholars apply to the companions of the infallibles (according to them) and deny it for the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Speaking about him, al Nuri al Tabarsi states:


وهؤلاء الخمسة من عيون الطائفة ووجوهها والعثرة المنقولة عن أحمد من كتمان الشهادة كبعض العثرات المنقولة عن غيره من الأعاظم فقل سلموا عنها إلا أنهم جبروها بما تقدم عليها وتأخر منهم مما صار سببا لعدم الاعتناء وإعراض الأصحاب عنها وعدم عدهم إياها من قوادح علو مقامهم فضلا عن الخلل في عدالتهم

These five are from the most eminent and distinguished of the group. The mistake reported about Ahmed regarding his concealing the testimony is similar to the mistakes reported about other notables. Very rarely are people free from such errors. However, they repaired such mistakes with what (good) came before and after it. All of which became a reason for the scholars turning away from it, paying no attention to it, and not considering it to be a criticism of their high-standing, let alone impact their `adalah.[51]


Are these words not similar to the words of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama`ah when responding to some of the Shia resentment raised against the Sahabah in that they too have good deeds, which we hope will be reparation for them. Ibn Taymiyyah states:


ولهم من السوابق والفضائل ما يوجب مغفرة ما يصدر منهم ان صدر حتى أنه يغفر لهم من السيئات ما لا يغفر لمن بعدهم لأن لهم من الحسنات التى تمحو السيئات ما ليس لمن بعدهم…ثم اذا كان قد صدر من أحدهم ذنب فيكون قد تاب منه أو أتى بحسنات تمحوه أو غفر له بفضل سابقته أو بشفاعة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم الذى هم أحق الناس بشفاعته أو ابتلى ببلاء فى الدنيا كفر به عنه فإذا كان هذا فى الذنوب المحققة فكيف بالامور التى كانوا فيها مجتهدين إن أصابوا فلهم أجران وان اخطأوا فلهم اجر واحد والخطأ مغفور لهم

They enjoy such precedence and virtues that necessitate forgiveness of what they did, if they did anything, to such an extent that they can be forgiven for such bad deeds that nobody else after them can be forgiven for (i.e., if they committed the same bad deeds). This is because they enjoy such good deeds that others after them do not enjoy through which the bad deeds are removed… Furthermore, if a sin befell one of them, then he definitely repented from it, or he brought such good deeds that can remove it. Or, he is forgiven by virtue of his antecedence to Islam. Or, he is forgiven by the intercession of Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam since they are most deserving of his intercession. Or, they were afflicted with such an affliction in this world that it expiated whatever they did. If this is in relation to actual sins (they committed), what then about those issues they exercised their ijtihad (personal discretion) in; if they were correct, they receive two rewards, and if they were incorrect, they receive one reward and the mistake is forgiven.[52]


However, the scholars of the Imamiyyah deprive such forgiveness for the first forerunners of the Sahabah and yet al Nuri al Tabarsi affords it to Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn `Isa and his likes!


4.2 Practical application of the criticisms that al Khu’i and other Imamiyyah raised against the Sahabah and that which they regarded as being from the reasons of criticism against reliable narrators according to the Imamiyyah

I will end this chapter with a comparative analysis and a display of some examples that the Imamiyyah consider to be a criticism of the Sahabah against reliable Imami narrators. This will be done in order for the scholar to realize that the Imami scholars did not deal fairly with the Sahabah, as they did with their reliable narrators. I reiterate that the Imamiyyah were not impartial with their reliable narrators; rather, they went out of their way and overlooked the big and small criticisms for them. This is different to the methodology they followed in dealing with the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum.

Anyone who sees what the Imami scholars have written on the `adalah of the Sahabah as well as gathered from their lives in order to use as a criticism of their `adalah will know that all of this can easily be applied to their so-called reliable narrators. However, this did not happen nor will it ever happen since they know that in doing so will result in overthrowing all of their ahadith that go through those whom they consider reliable—if they applied the same methodology in their dealing with the Sahabah.

I must point out something important here, which is to say that everything the Imami scholars have collected and disseminated through all of their possible means on the Sahabah was not for the sake of deposing their `adalah—as they claim. Rather, as per their claim, it is for establishing the apostasy that occurred after the death of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Thus, discussions concerning the alleged mistakes of Sahabah such as Zaid or `Umar only stem from their opinion that states they were apostates. If an Imami scholar was forced to admit that whatever he mentioned about so-and-so Sahabi was incorrect, and what he thought to be a criticism turned out to be false, then will this new judgement mean that that Sahabi now has `adalah?

The answer is no. Firstly, because he believes that he is an apostate. According to him, this is one of his foundational beliefs. Secondly, he gathered everything that he considered as a criticism against this companion after pronouncing his apostasy. And they only openly make takfir or accuse them of apostasy when the Imami scholar’s uncertainties regarding the Sahabah are proven to be false and exposed.

Let us know look at some of their criticisms against the Sahabah and apply them to their narrators.


Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu

The Imami scholars have heavily criticized him to such an extent that al Nuri al Tabarsi (d. 1320 AH) stated under his discussion on the Tabi`i, Tawus ibn Kaysan:


إن من كان شيخه أبا هريرة وراويه مجاهد وعمرو بن دينار لحري بأن يعد من كلاب أصحاب النار

Whoever’s teacher is Abu Hurairah and his narrators are Mujahid and `Amr ibn Dinar, it is appropriate to consider such people to be from the dogs of the people of the Fire.[53]


This is regarding the person who narrates from him. What then about him radiya Llahu `anhu?!

Most scholars of the Imamiyyah described him as a liar and untrustworthy. They tried to overemphasize the amount of his narrations to such an extent that Mujtaba al `Iraqi, the editor of `Awali al La’ali exaggerated the amount and stated in the book’s marginalia:


أبا هريرة تفرد وانفرد بنقل اثني عشر ألف حديث من غير مشارك

Abu Hurairah has isolated reports. He alone transmitted twelve thousand hadith that nobody transmitted.”[54]


The number he mentioned has no grounds of authenticity. In disapproval, al Amini states:


[و و و يروون] آلافا من السنة النبوية فقد أخرج بقي بن مخلد في مسنده من حديث أبي هريرة فحسب خمسة آلاف وثلاثمائة حديث وكسرا و أبو هريرة لم يصحب النبي إلا ثلاث سنين

[And so-and-so, and so-and-so, and so-and-so narrate] thousands of the Prophetic Sunnah. Baqi ibn Makhlad included a hadith in his Musnad under Abu Hurairah. He counted them to be a little more than 5300 hadith. And Abu Hurairah only spent three years with the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.[55]


Sharaf al Din al Musawi states:


وقد نظرنا في مجموع ما روى من الحديث عن الخلفاء الأربعة فوجدناه بالنسبة إلى حديث أبي هريرة وحده أقل من السبعة والعشرين في المائة…وقد عرفت أنه [روى] 5374 [حديث] تجد الأمر كما قلناه فلينظر ناظر بعقله في أبي هريرة وتأخره في إسلامه وخموله في حسبه وأميته وما إلى ذلك مما يوجب إقلاله…فكيف يمكن والحال هذه أن يكون المأثور عن أبي هريرة وحده أضعاف المأثور عنهم جميعا أفتونا يا أولي الألباب

We have looked at all of the ahadith narrated by the Four Khalifas and found that the total was 27% less than the total ahadith of Abu Hurairah… You are aware that he narrated 5374 ahadith. You will find the matter to be as we stated. Let a person with his intelligence look at Abu Hurairah and consider how late he became Muslim, his lethargy, his illiteracy, and other similar factors that would naturally reduce the number of his hadith… When the situation is like this, how is it possible that the reports from Abu Hurairah alone are more than of all of theirs combined? O people of intelligence, give us a ruling![56]


Before everything, we ask Sharaf al Din al Musawi: What is the connection of these calculations and ratios in relation to memorization? And what is the connection of illiteracy at that time in relation to the faculty of memorizing? This Shia scholar is trying to criticize Abu Hurairah with something that is not even a real criticism, even if it means using words that carry no weight and are only being stated for the sake of making it seem like he is saying a lot.

Regardless of the validity of the Imami scholars’ claim regarding the number of Abu Hurairah’s[57] radiya Llahu `anhu narrations, I say: Let us assume for the sake of argument that someone who narrates this number of ahadith in this amount of time is a liar. Let us look at the number of narrations narrated by the Imamiyyah’s reliable narrators’ and compare it to what Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu narrated in this amount of time.


Ibrahim ibn Hashim

Al Kulayni (d. 329 AH) narrates:


عن علي بن إبراهيم عن أبيه قال استأذن على أبي جعفر عليه السلام قوم من أهل النواحي من الشيعة فأذن لهم فدخلوا فسألوه في مجلس واحد عن ثلاثين ألف مسألة فأجاب عليه السلام وله عشر سنين

On the authority of `Ali ibn Ibrahim, from his father: A group of Shia from the districts came and asked permission to enter the home of Abu Jafar `alayh al Salam. He granted them permission and they entered. In one gathering, they asked him thirty thousand questions and he answered all of them. At the time, he was ten years old.[58]


According to Ibn Shahr Ashub in al Manaqib:


روى إبراهيم بن هاشم قال استأذنت أبا جعفر لقوم من الشيعة فأذن لهم فسألوه في مجلس واحد عن ثلاثين ألف مسألة فأجاب فيها وهو ابن عشر سنين

Ibrahim ibn Hashim narrated: I sought permission from Abu Jafar for a group of Shia to enter. He granted them permission. Then, in one sitting, they asked him thirty thousand questions. He answered all of them. He was ten years old.[59]


We have the right to ask: How did Ibrahim ibn Hisham, or these Shia that he permitted to enter the house of the Imam, hear thirty thousand questions in one sitting?

If the Imami scholars heavily criticized Abu Hurairah for narrating so much, where are they when it comes to this narration—which is authentic?! Do we find any of them criticizing its narrators saying that he is a liar? Never! In fact, they made-up numerous responses. There has also been a lot of difference of opinion regarding the response to this narration. However, we find none of them accusing Ibrahim ibn Hisham of lying, even though the narration is technically impossible to be true since it does not only mention the answers to the questions, but the Imam would be asked and then he would respond. This continued until the amount of questions reached thirty thousand. All in one gathering!

As mentioned in his edited version of al Kafi, `Ali Akbar Ghifari offered three excuses on behalf of Ibrahim ibn Hisham, none of which contain an accusation of lying.

As for al Mazindarani, the commentator of al Kafi, he skipped passed it and did not comment on it. Remarking on the hadith, the editor of the book, Abu al Hassan al Sha`rani states the reason al Mazindarani did not offer any commentary saying:


سكت الشارح عن هذا الخبر لأنه من كلام إبراهيم بن هاشم غير منقول عن معصوم حتى يحتاج إلى توجيه ما يرى فيه من المحال ظاهرا إذ لا يبعد الخطأ من إبراهيم بن هاشم

The commentator remained silent on this hadith because it contains the words of Ibrahim ibn Hisham, and it was not transmitted from an infallible such that it would require an explanation for what appears to be considered impossible. It is not farfetched for Ibrahim ibn Hashim to have committed a mistake.[60]


Thus, al Mazindarani left commenting on it because it was impossible for him to believe in the narration. And the editor did not consider it farfetched for Ibrahim to have committed a mistake. And despite the inhibition of al Mazindarani and the standpoint of al Sha`rani, they both did not accuse him of lying, even though the narration is, for all practical purposes, impossible. Al Majlisi states:


يشكل هذا بأنه لو كان السؤال والجواب عن كل مسألة بيتا واحدا أعني خمسين حرفا لكان أكثر من ثلاث ختمات للقرآن فكيف يمكن ذلك في مجلس واحد ولو قيل جوابه عليه السلام كان في الأكثر بلا ونعم أو بالإعجاز في أسرع زمان ففي السؤال لا يمكن ذلك ويمكن الجواب بوجوه

This is problematic since if the question and the answer for every issue occurred in one bayt, i.e., fifty letters, then that would work out to more than three completions of the Qur’an. So, how is that possible in one sitting? If it is said that the answers were mostly with a “Yes,” and “No,” or they were answered miraculously in the fastest time, then it is still problematic because the questions cannot be posed in such a manner. It is possible to answer this in several ways.[61]


He then went on to mention seven reasons, all of which are basically contrived. Not even one of the reasons contains an accusation of him lying, as they concluded about Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu! Where are these so-called five thousand narrations in relation to the thirty thousand that were heard in one gathering!? This issue only requires a little bit of balance in dealing with the Sahabah.


Jabir al Ju`fi

Al Kashshi narrates:


عن جابر بن يزيد الجعفي قال حدثني أبو جعفر عليه السلام بسبعين ألف حديث لم أحدث بها أحدا قط ولا أحدث بها أحدا أبدا قال جابر فقلت لأبي جعفر عليه السلام جعلت فداك إنك قد حملتني وقرا عظيما بما حدثتني به من سركم الذي لا أحدث به أحدا فربما جاش في صدري حتى يأخذني منه شبه الجنون قال يا جابر فإذا كان ذلك فاخرج إلى الجبان فاحفر حفيرة ودل رأسك فيها ثم قل حدثني محمد بن علي بكذا وكذا

On the authority of Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju`fi who said, “Abu Jafar `alayh al Salam narrated seventy thousand hadith to me. I did and will not narrate them to anyone.”

Jabir said to Abu Jafar `alayh al Salam, “May I be ransomed for your sake. You have burdened me with a heavy load by narrating to me of your secrets—which I will not narrate to anyone else. Sometimes, it simmers in my chest until a sense of madness overtakes me.”

He said, “O Jabir, when that happens, go to the cemetery[62], dig a hole, place your head in it, and then say, ‘Muhammad ibn `Ali narrated this and that to me.’”[63]


Many sources actually say it was seventy thousand.[64] Thus, Imam Abu Jafar Muhammad al Baqir narrated seventy or ninety thousand hadith. They are the hadith that he ordered him to conceal. In addition to this, there are another seventy thousand hadith. Al Hurr al `Amili (d. 1104 AH) states:


وروي أنه روى سبعين ألف حديث عن الباقر عليه السلام وروى مائة و أربعين ألف حديث

It is narrated that he narrated seventy thousand hadith from al Baqir `alayh al Salam. And he narrated a total of 140 000 hadith.[65]


What concerns us here is what he narrated from Imam Muhammad al Baqir, which is seventy thousand hadith. Al Kashshi narrated:


عن زرارة قال سألت أبا عبدالله عن أحاديث جابر؟ فقال: ما رأيته عند أبي إلا مرة واحدة وما دخل علي قط

On the authority of Zurarah who said, “I asked Abu `Abd Allah about the ahadith of Jabir.”

He said, “I did not see him by my father except on one occasion. And he never entered my presence.”[66]


This thiqah claims that he narrated seventy thousand hadith from al Baqir. Then al Imam al Sadiq, the son of al Baqir comes and explicitly states when he was asked about his ahadith, “I did not see him by my father except on one occasion. He never entered my presence.” This is clearly the infallible belying al Ju`fi. What then is the position of the Imami scholars regarding this thiqah? Did they judge him to be lying, as they accused Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu `anhu? The answer is no. Al Khu’i justified this saying the following:


وأما قول الصادق عليه السلام في موثقة زرارة (بابن بكير) ما رأيته عند أبي إلا مرة واحدة وما دخل علي قط فلابد من حمله على نحو من التورية إذ لو كان جابر لم يكن يدخل عليه سلام الله عليه وكان هو بمرأى من الناس لكان هذا كافيا في تكذيبه وعدم تصديقه فكيف اختلفوا في أحاديثه حتى احتاج زياد إلى سؤال الإمام عليه السلام عن أحاديثه على أن عدم دخوله على الإمام عليه السلام لا ينافي صدقه في أحاديثه لاحتمال أنه كان يلاقي الإمام عليه السلام في غير داره فيأخذ منه العلوم والأحكام ويرويها إذن لا تكون الموثقة معارضة للصحبة الدالة على صدقه في الأحاديث المؤيدة بما تقدم من الروايات الدالة على جلالته ومدحه وأنه كان عنده من أسرار أهل البيت سلام الله عليهم

As for the statement of al Sadiq `alayh al Salam in the authenticated narration  of Zurarah (from Ibn Bukayr), “I did not see him by my father except on one occasion and he never entered my presence,” it need be understood as a form of tawriyah, or dissimulation. This is because if Jabir did not enter his presence `alayh al Salam, and he was in the sight of people, this would have sufficed in belying and not believing him. Thus, how did they differ on his ahadith to such an extent that Ziyad needed to ask the Imam `alayh al Salam about his ahadith. This is over and above the fact that not entering the Imam’s presence does not negate his truthfulness in his ahadith because it is possible that he would meet the Imam outside of his house and take (different forms of) knowledge and rulings from him and narrate them. In such a case, the authenticated narration does not go against the companionship indicative of his truthfulness in ahadith supported by the aforementioned narrations proving his greatness and praise. It also does not oppose the fact that he was considered from the secret-keepers of the Ahlul Bayt `alayhim al Salam.[67]


I have several points of consideration regarding the statement of al Khu’i. Firstly, al Khu’i acknowledged that the narration is not weak and he did not object to its name being “authenticated.”

Secondly, Bisam Murtada refuted al Khu’i’s statement, “it need be understood as a form of tawriyah, or dissimulation,” saying:


لماذا الحمل على التورية مع عدم وجود قرينة أو شيء يثبتها

Why does it need to be understood as tawriyah when there is no evidence or anything to prove it?[68]


Bisam Murtada’s statement is correct, especially considering the authenticity of the chain of narration. Even al Nuri al Tabarsi acknowledged this fact and said:


إما محمول على التقية عن زرارة وهو في غاية البعد أو موضوع

It is either understood to be Taqiyyah from Zurarah. This is extremely farfetched. Or, (it is) fabricated.[69]


As for his statement, “Or (it is) fabricated.” This is unacceptable as al Khu’i acknowledged the authenticity of the chain of narration.

Thirdly, as for al Khu’i’s statement, “This is over and above the fact that not entering the Imam’s presence does not negate his truthfulness in his ahadith because it is possible that he would meet the Imam outside of his house and take (different forms of) knowledge and rulings from him and narrate them.” I say: This is quite strange! Imam al Sadiq was asked about the ahadith of Jabir. He was not asked, “Did Jabir visit you?” His answer was explicit in his denial.

As for the statement of al Khu’i, “because it is possible that he would meet the Imam outside of his house.” I say: Was this hidden from the infallible Imam yet known by al Khu’i?!

What I wish to emphasize is the fact that al Khu’i and other Imami scholars, when an Imam clearly criticizes an Imami narrator—and such a criticism is proven with an authentic isnad, they search for excuses (on his behalf), even though they are implausible. In fact, this is even the case when their words result in a clear rejection of the infallible’s words. As for how they deal with the actions of the Sahabah, as I clarified previously, they only assume the worst possibilities.

Al Qummi and al Ju`fi are not the only ones in this regard. Al Kashshi also narrates the following narration:


عن محمد بن مسلم قال ما شجر في رأيي شيء قط إلا سألت عنه أبا جعفر عليه السلام حتى سألته عن ثلاثين ألف حديث وسألت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام عن ستة عشر ألف حديث

On the authority of Muhammad ibn Muslim who said, “No opinion of mine ever occurred to me except that I asked Abu Jafar `alayh al Salam about it, to such an extent that I asked him about thirty thousand ahadith. And I asked Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam about sixteen thousand ahadith.[70]


This amount is only in relation to questions (he asked)! Thus, the total number of questions is forty-six thousand ahadith. This is different to the ahadith that he heard? Despite all of this, the person is a trustworthy thiqah. And yet accusations are made against the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam!



Many scholars of the Imamiyyah accused the Sahabah of concealing ahadith of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and, based on this, they permitted cursing them. Of those that hold this opinion is `Ali al Kurani. In his discussion on criticizing the Sahabah, he states:


إن الكتمان المذموم في الآية شامل لكتمان اليهود ولكتمان قريش لصفات النبي وآله وكتمان فضائلهم صلوات الله عليهم فما رأيكم نعيد آية الكتمان لنعرف حكم اللعن فيها قال الله تعالى إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ وَٱلۡهُدَىٰ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا بَيَّنَّٰهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّٰعِنُونَ فمن هم الذين يشملهم هذا اللعن وهل لعنهم واجب أو مستحب

The reprehensible form of concealing in the verse includes the Jews’ concealing, the Quraysh’s concealing the characteristics and virtues of the Prophet and his family. Based on this, what is your opinion? We repeat the verse of concealment (ayat al kitman) in order for us to know what the ruling of cursing is therein. Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala states:

Indeed, those who conceal what we sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture, those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.[71]

Therefore, who are those whom this curse includes? And is cursing them compulsory or preferrable?[72]


Would it not be fair for the scholars of the Imamiyyah, among them al Kurani, to include Jabir al Ju`fi in this curse? Based on their principle and their accusation of him, why would he not be cursed? As mentioned in the previous narrations, Jabir al Ju`fi admitted to having concealed seventy or ninety thousand hadith! From here, the difference in dealing is clear; they turn a blind eye to their narrators and write countless pages on the permission to curse the Sahabah because they concealed knowledge. Unless it is said that there is no real benefit in the Ummah knowing these seventy thousand ahadith, and the only person to benefit from the thousands of hadith (which accumulate to more than the entire number of narrations in the Shia’s four relied-upon books combined!) is Jabir al Ju`fi and no one else!


Aisha bint Abi Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu `anhuma

The scholars of the Imamiyyah accused Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu `anha of lying against the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam on many occasions. However, I will only challenge them on one issue. That is to say that she would fabricate virtues in favour of her father, al Siddiq radiya Llahu `anhu.

Previously, I narrated the statement of `Ali al Milani describing Umm al Mu’minin, “She claims for her father and for herself that which there is no basis for.”[73]

I also narrated the statement of Muhammad al Tijani, “The virtues of Abu Bakr mentioned in the books of history are either narrated by his daughter, Aisha—whose position on Imam `Ali we already know. She tries her best to support her father, even if it be with fabricated ahadith. Or, they are narrated by `Abd Allah ibn `Umar. He too, is among those who are distant from Imam `Ali.”[74]

I also narrated the statement of Nur Allah al Tustari (d. 1019 AH), “Together with her visible hostility towards Amir al Mu’minin and her lying to the Shia, she is suspected in this particular narration of drawing benefit and glory to her and her father.”[75]

Let us pause here and apply what the Imami scholars have said about Umm al Mu’minin and her father on to one of their narrators, Zurarah ibn A`yan. Al Kashshi narrated sixty-two narrations under his biography. These narrations are broadly divided into two categories:

  1. narrations criticizing him, and
  2. narrations praising him.

Both categories contain authentic and weak narrations. The number of narrations criticizing him are not insignificant. So, what is the position of the majority of Imami scholars regarding these narrations and what is their answer this problem?

In order to support Zurarah, Imami scholars relied on a narration narrated for us by `Abd Allah ibn Zurarah ibn A`yan, the son of Zurarah. Because of this narration, they changed all of the narrations criticizing him into Taqiyyah. The narration is narrated by al Kashshi and reads as follows:


عن عبد الله بن زرارة قال قال لي أبو عبد الله عليه السلام اقرأ مني على والدك السلام وقل له إني إنما أعيبك دفاعا مني عنك فإن الناس والعدو يسارعون إلى كل من قربناه وحمدنا مكانه لإدخال الأذى في من نحبه ونقربه يرمونه لمحبتنا له وقربه ودنوه منا ويرون إدخال الأذى عليه وقتله ويحمدون كل من عبناه نحن وأن نحمد أمره فإنما أعيبك لأنك رجل اشتهرت بنا ولميلك إلينا وأنت في ذلك مذموم عند الناس غير محمود الأثر لمودتك لنا ولميلك إلينا فأحببت أن أعيبك ليحمدوا أمرك في الدين بعيبك ونقصك ويكون بذلك منا دفع شرهم عنك

On the authority of `Abd Allah ibn Zurarah who said:

Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam said to me, “Send my salam to your father and say to him, ‘My criticism of you is actually a means of protecting you. The reason for this is because the people and the enemy are hastening to harm all those who we draw near, praise, and love. They criticize such people because of our love for them and because of their closeness to us. They look to harm such people, to kill them, and praise all those who we criticize. I am only criticizing you because you are a person who has become well-known among us and because of your inclination towards us. You are criticized for that by the people and unpraiseworthy because of your love and inclination towards us. Therefore, I wanted to criticize you so they can rather praise your affair in the religion because of your vice and deficiency. Through this, we would have safeguarded you from their evil…”[76]


I ask: Is there even one narration that supports what `Abd Allah, the son of Zurarah, is using to assist his father?

The answer is no! The basis for the narration is the children and grandchildren of Zurarah. With this, they turned every authentic, explicit criticism of their father into Taqiyyah!

At this point, I say: Does the Ahlus Sunnah not have the right to say that `Abd Allah ibn Zurarah and his family lied for the benefit of their father, Zurarah? Especially considering the fact that the number of narrations criticizing him are not insignificant. In fact, the infallible not only criticized Zurarah, he also criticized the entire family of A`yan. With a chain of narration deemed hasan (good) by al Amini, al Kashshi narrates:


عن إسماعيل بن عبدالخالق عن أبي عبدالله (ع) قال ذكر عنده بنو أعين فقال والله ما يريد بنو أعين إلا أن يكونوا عليّ

On the authority of Ismail ibn `Abd al Khaliq, from Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam who said when the Banu A`yan was mentioned in his presence, “By Allah. Banu A`yan does not desire except to be (i.e., gain ascendency) over me.”[77]


Al Muhaqqiq al Mustafawi stated the words of the hadith to be “except to be over me” In the edited version of Mahdi al Raja’i, it comes as:


إلا أن يكونوا على غلب

“…except to get the upper hand.”[78]


This is a clear criticism of all the family of A`yan. This is not the only narration criticizing the family of A`yan. Al Kashshi narrated:


عن حمدويه قال حدثني أيوب عن حنان بن سدير قال كتب معي رجل أن أسأل أبا عبدالله (عليه السلام) عما قالت اليهود والنصارى والمجوس والذين أشركوا هو ممّا شاء أن يقولوا قال قال لي إن ذا من مسائل آل أعين ليس من ديني ولا دين آبائي قال قلت ما معي مسألة غير هذه

On the authority of Hamdawayh who said — Ayub narrated to me — from Hannan ibn Sadir who said, “A man wrote with me asking Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam regarding what the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and those who committed shirk said: Is it from what He wanted them to say?”

He said to me, “That is to do with issues of the family of A`yan; it has nothing to do with my religion or the religion of my forefathers.”

I said, “I do not have another issue other than this.”[79]


Al Khu’i remained silent avoided giving a judgement on this narration.[80]

Al Muhsin al Amin stated:


السند فيه أيوب مشترك و المتن ينحو نحو ما مر ويومي إلى التقية

The sanad contains Ayub. He is mushtarak.[81] The text is similar to what has already been mentioned and it suggests Taqiyyah.[82]


This Ayub is a student of Hannan ibn Sadir and the teacher of Hamdawayh ibn Nasir. His name cannot be confused with someone else’s, as Muhsin al Amin claims. In the narration of al Kashshi, his full name is clearly mentioned:


حمدويه قال حدثنا أيوب بن نوح عن حنان بن سدير

On the authority of Hamdawayh who said — Ayub narrated to me — from Hannan ibn Sadir.[83]


This Ayub is a well-known thiqah. How can he escape al Amin such that he claims the name is mushtarak (homonyms) in this instance?![84]

In spite of this, under the section of “Ayub,” al Amin himself stated the following:


أيوب في البحار هو أيوب بن نوح وقد يعبر عنه بابن نوح

Ayub in al Bihar is Ayub ibn Nuh. He is also referred to as Ibn Nuh.[85]


This further proves that there is no homonymity is this instance; rather, as it appears, it was done evadingly and knowingly.

Many Imami scholars[86] made Hannan’s tawthiq. When Ibn Tawus came to the biography of Hannan ibn Sadir, he narrated from the infallible that he used to be very pleased with him.[87]

When Ibn Tawus wanted to comment on the part of the narration that states, “That is from among the issues of the family of A`yan; it has nothing to do with my religion or the religion of my forefathers,” he stated:


إن حنان بن سدير واقفي ومثله متهم

Hannan ibn Sadir is a Waqifi and the likes of him is accused.[88]


Ibn Tawus’s saying that the infallible was “very” pleased with him did not dry up until the tables were turned—when the criticism was directed at Zurarah!

In summary, the isnad is authentic and there is no doubt therein. Accordingly, how can we rely on the family of A`yan after these narrations? The Imamiyyah continue accusing Umm al Mu’minin of lying about the virtues of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu `anhu and, despite the many criticisms against Zurarah and his family, they continue believing them. The issue became one of Taqiyyah in this narration only. The difference is clear in their dealing with the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and his wives, and their dealing with Zurarah and his family!

A question arises here for the scholars of the Imamiyyah: Is a criticism against Zurarah that is based on an authentic chain also considered Taqiyyah? Their readily-available and well-known response will be, “Yes, without a doubt!”

How can the criticism against him be Taqiyyah when it actually proved to be true after the death of the infallible? Al Kashshi narrated the following with an isnad deemed hasan (fair) by al Amini[89]:


عن محمد بن مسعود عن جبريل [جبرئيل] بن أحمد عن محمد بن عيسى العبيدي عن يونس عن خطاب بن مسلمة عن ليث المرادي قال سمعت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام يقول لا يموت زرارة إلا تائها

On the authority of Muhammad ibn Mas`ud — from Jibril (Jibra’il) ibn Ahmed — from Muhammad ibn `Isa al `Ubaidi — from Yunus — from Khattab ibn Maslamah — from Layth al Muradi who said, “I heard Abu `Abd Allah `alayh al Salam saying, ‘Zurarah will not die except forlorn.’”[90]


This is exactly what happened. Zurarah died forlorn and did not recognize the Imam of his time. According to the Imamiyyah, this is a death upon Jahiliyyah.  This belief is based on the following narration from the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam:


من مات ولم يعرف إمام زمانه مات ميتة جاهلية

Who dies and does recognize the Imam of his time has died a death upon Jahiliyyah.[91]


This is what actually happened. Al Kashshi narrates the following with an isnad authenticated by al Amini[92]:


عن محمد بن عبد الله ابن زرارة عن أبيه قال بعث زرارة عبيدا ابنه يسأل عن خبر أبي الحسن عليه السلام فجاءه الموت قبل رجوع عبيد إليه فأخذ المصحف فأعلاه فوق رأسه وقال إن الإمام بعد جعفر بن محمد من اسمه بين الدفتين في جملة القرآن منصوص عليه من الذين أوجب الله طاعتهم على خلقه أنا مؤمن به قال فأخبر بذلك أبو الحسن الأول عليه السلام فقال والله كان زرارة مهاجرا إلى الله تعالى

On the authority of Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah Ibn Zurarah — from his father who said, “Zurarah sent his son, `Ubaid, asking about the news of Abu al Hassan `alayh al Salam. Death came to him before `Ubaid returned to him. He took the Mushaf, raised it above his head and said, ‘The Imam after Jafar ibn Muhammad is that person whose name is in-between the two covers of the entire Qur’an. Allah has required His creation to obey him. I believe in him.’”

He said, “Abu al Hassan al Awwal (i.e., al Kazim) was informed of this and he said, ‘By Allah. Zurarah was a muhajir (emigrant) to Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala.’”[93]


This is an explicit text that emphasizes that Zurarah was forlorn and he did not recognize the Imam of his time. According to the Imamiyyah, this is considered a death upon Jahiliyyah.

Justifying this, al Khu’i states:


هذه الروايات لا تدل على وهن ومهانة في زرارة لأن الواجب على كل مكلف أن يعرف إمام زمانه ولا يجب عليه معرفة الإمام من بعده وإذا توفي إمام زمانه فالواجب عليه الفحص عن الإمام فإذا مات في زمان الفحص فهو معذور في أمره ويكفيه الالتزام بإمامة من عينه الله تعالى وإن لم يعرفه بشخصه وعلى ذلك فلا حرج على زرارة حيث كان يعرف إمام زمانه وهو الصادق عليه السلام ولم يكن يجب عليه معرفة الإمام من بعده في زمانه فلما توفي الصادق عليه السلام قام بالفحص فأدركه الموت مهاجرا إلى الله ورسوله

These narrations do not indicate a sense of weakness and disgrace of Zurarah. This is because it is compulsory on every legally capable person to recognize the Imam of his time and it is not compulsory to recognize the Imam after him. When the Imam of his time passes away, it is compulsory to search for the next Imam. When he dies in that period of investigation, he is considered excused. It is sufficient for him to adhere to the Imamah of who Allah appoints, even if he does not know who the actual person is. Based on this, there is no issue with Zurarah since he recognized the Imam of his time—who was al Sadiq `alayh al Salam—and it was not compulsory on him to recognize the Imam after him in his time. When al Sadiq `alayh al Salam passed away, he went to search (for the next Imam), but death caught up with him while he was a muhajir (emigrant) towards Allah and His Messenger.[94]


Everything that al Khu’i mentioned emphasizes the statement of the Imam regarding Zurarah’s forlornness and his death upon Jahiliyyah. However, it was necessary for al Khu’i to seek whatever excuses were possible for him. I do not know what the evidence and basis for al Khu’i’s statement “the time of searching” is? What searching is this? They constantly repeat that the narrations regarding the Imams is documented with Tawatur (mass transmission). It is impossible according to the Shia understanding then for such a continuously reported matter to be unknown to Zurarah. It is the most important pillar of Imamiyyah. Did Zurarah not know the pillar of the religion?

In summary, when there is a perceived benefit in assisting the narrator, we find them inventing strange principles, such as the “time of searching” principle!


4.3 An example of al Khu’i’s approach with the Sahabah

Upon investigating al Khu’i’s approach in justifying the errors of reliable Imamis, we find that he relies a lot on investigating the narrations asanid. He also tries very hard to present what is not authentic when it is in the context of their criticism. And yet it is not possible to present a weak narration when it criticizes one of the senior Imami narrators. However, al Khu’i has a different approach with the Sahabah. When it is a criticism against the Sahabah, he gives preference to what does not have an isnad over a narration that has authentic isnad in praise of them. Before us, we have an example of this phenomenon. Under the biography of the great Sahabi, Usayd ibn Hudayr, al Khu’i states:


أسيد بن حضير (حصين) ابن سماك (سمالة) أبو يحيى بن أخت أبي بكر ويقال أبو عبيد سكن المدينة يقال له حضير الكتائب قتل يوم بغاث آخى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله بينه وبين زيد بن حارثة من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله رجال الشيخ أقول في عبارة الشيخ اضطراب وتشويش فإن يوم بغاث يوم معروف بين الأوس والخزرج وكان حضير والد أسيد رئيس الأوس في ذلك اليوم على ما في أسد الغابة وغيره فالمقتول يوم بغاث هو والد أسيد لا نفسه وأما المؤاخاة فقد كان بينه وبين زيد بن حارثة…وعلى كل حال فقد اعتمد على الرجل العلامة حيث ذكره في القسم الأول في الخلاصة وقد تعجب منه غير واحد إذ لم يذكر الرجل بمدح ولم يثبت إيمانه بل قيل إنه كان من أعداء أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وهو الذي حمل الحطب إلى باب بيت فاطمة عليها السلام لاضرامه أقول لعل العلامة اعتمد عليه لما رواه الصدوق بسند صحيح عن أبان ابن عثمان الأحمر من أن جماعة مشيخة عدوه من النقباء الاثني عشر الذين اختارهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله بإشارة من جبرئيل الخصال أبواب الاثني عشر باب النقباء الاثني عشر الحديث 70 ولكن قد تقدم في ترجمة أسعد بن زرارة أن الرواية وإن كانت صحيحة إلا أنه لا يمكن الاعتماد عليها

Usayd ibn Hudayr (Hussain), Ibn Sammak (Samalah), Abu Yahya ibn Ukht Abi Bakr. It is said that he is Abu `Ubaid. He lived in Madinah. It is said that he is Hudayr al Kata’ib. He was killed on the Day of Bu`ath. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam made a brotherly bond between him and Zaid ibn Harithah. He is from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam (Rijal al Sheikh). I say: The text of al Sheikh is problematic and confusing. The Day of Bu`ath is a well-known day among the Aws and Khazraj. Hudayr was the father of Usayd, the chieftain of Aws in those days, according to Usd al Ghabah and others. Thus, the person killed on the Day of Bu`ath is the father of Usayd, not him.

As for making a brotherly bond between him and Zaid ibn Harithah… In any case, al `Allamah relied upon him since he mentioned him in the first section of al Khulasah. More than one person was amazed by this since there is no praise mentioned about him and his iman is not established. In fact, it is said that he was among the enemies of Amir al Mu’minin `alayh al Salam. He was responsible for carrying the wood to the door of Fatimah’s house `alayha al Salam to set it on fire.

I say: Perhaps al `Allamah relied on him because of what al Saduq narrated with an authentic chain: “On the authority of Aban ibn `Uthman: A number of scholars regarded him to be of the Twelve Chieftains whom the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam chose because of an indication from Jibril (al Khisal, chapter on the Twelve Chieftains, hadith no. 70). However, it has already been mentioned under the biography of As`ad ibn Zurarah that it is not possible to rely upon the narration, even though it is authentic.[95]


What did al Khu’i do in the biography of this Sahabi? We see him acknowledging the authenticity of the Twelve Chieftains’ narration which, as the narration described, came via an indication from Jibril. There is no doubt that this is a praise recorded in favour of Usayd radiya Llahu `anhu. Despite his acknowledgement, we find him preferring “Qila (It is said)” over an authentic story!

And like this, even though the Sahabi’s praise is established through an authentic isnad, we see that “Qila” has the real authority according to al Khu’i!


NEXT⇒ Chapter Five – The Principles of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil Between al Hilli and al Khu’i – 5.1 The principles of al jarh wa al ta’dil according to al Khu’i and al Hilli related to the tenants of Shia faith

[1] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 404, no. 757.

[2] Al Fani: Buhuth fi Fiqh al Rijal, p. 201.

[3] A matmar is a plumb line that is used to ensure a structure is centred. It is like a scale that determines (the weight) of something. Al Mazindarani states, “A man says to his friend when he is upset, ‘I will suspend you on the plumb line.’” (Sharh Usul al Kafi, 10/53). The meaning is, “We weigh people; whoever agrees with us, we protect him. And whoever disagrees with us, we absolve ourselves of him.”

[4] Surah al Nisa’: 98.

[5] Al Majlisi states, “Ostensibly, his statement, ‘And Hammad added,’ is from the words of Ibn ‘Umair. The hadith is also narrated from Hammad and Jamil on the authority of Zurarah. There is also an addition in the narration of Jamil on the narration of Hammad and so he also pointed it out” (Mir’at al ‘Uqul, 11/107).

[6] Al Kulayni: al Kafi, 2/383, Kitab al kufr wa al iman – Bab: Asnaf al nas, hadith no. 3.

[7] Al Majlisi: Mir’at al ‘Uqul, 11/107.

[8] ‘Ali al Kurani: Alf Su’al wa Ishkal, 2/352.

[9] Muhammad Salih al Mazindarani: Sharh Usul al Kafi, 10/54.

[10] ‘Ali al Kurani: Alf Su’al wa Iskhal, 2/333.

[11] Commentary of Abu al Hassan al Sha’rani on Sharh Usul al Kafi of Muhammad Salih al Mazindarani, 10/54, in the margin.

[12] Commentary of al Mir Damad on Rijal al Kashshi, 2/381.

[13] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 14/326, no. 9385.

[14] Ibid., 11/132, no. 6745.

[15] Ibid., 2/113. no. 542.

[16] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 13/138, no. 8403.

[17] Ibrahim al Shabbut: Dirasat fi Rijal al Hadith (Thiqat al Ruwat), p. 246, no. 482.

[18] Al Tijani commented on what al Bukhari narrated in regards to the incident of al Hudaybiyyah. The narration mentions, “When the writing of the peace treaty was concluded, Allah’s Messenger said to his companions, “Get up and slaughter your sacrifices and get your head shaved.” By Allah none of them got up, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam repeated his order thrice. When none of them got up, he left them and went to Umm Salamah and told her of the people’s attitudes towards him. Umm Salamah said, “O the Prophet of Allah! Do you want your order to be carried out? Go out and don’t say a word to anybody till you have slaughtered your sacrifice and call your barber to shave your head.” So, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went out and did not talk to anyone of them till he did that, i.e., slaughtered the sacrifice and called his barber who shaved his head. Seeing that, the companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another, and there was so much rush that there was a danger of killing each other.” (Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Shurut, Bab: al Shurut fi al Jihad wa al Musalahah ma’a Ahl al Harb wa Kitabat al Shurut, 2/973).

[19] Muhammad al Tijani: Thumma Ihtadaytu, p. 94.

[20] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 173, no. 296. There is a difference of opinion between the scholars of the Imamiyyah regarding this Abu Basir. There are several people that share this name. Al Kashshi mentioned this narration under the biography of Abu Basir Layth ibn al Bakhtari. As mentioned in al Mujam (15/153), al Khu’i was of the opinion that it is Yahya ibn al Qasim.

[21] Mahdi al Kajuri: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, p. 161. Al Mashkini mentioned the same in al Wajizah, p. 58.

[22] Abu al Hadi al Kalbasi: Sama al Maqal fi ‘Ilm al Hadith wa al Rijal, 1/369.

[23] Surah al Mujadilah: 12.

[24] Al Tustari: Qamus al Rijal, 12/443.

[25] Al Tusi: Istibsar Fima Ikhtalafa min al Akhbar, 3/189, under the chapter al Rajul yatazawwaj bi imra’ah thumma ‘alima ba’dama dakhala biha anna laha zawjan, hadith no. 687). Similarly, he narrated it in Tahdhib al Ahkam, 7/487) under the chapter al Ziyadat fi fiqh al nikah, no. 165. Al Majlisi made tawthiq of him in Maladhdh al Akhyar, 12/510.

[26] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 15/155, no. 9798. Refer to al Mamaqani’s Tanqih al Maqal, 2/46, for his discussion on this issue. He mentions that some of the reasons mentioned by the Imami scholars in justifying the narration are not acceptable. He states, “In fairness, it is contrary to its apparent meaning. However, it needed to be done because it does not make sense that Abu Jafar would carry out the punishment on a person that did not know the lady had an existing husband, as is self-evident.” Thus, he is acknowledging that this occurred from Abu Basir and, despite that, he sought an excuse for him because the matter did not make sense! Did the scholars of the Imamiyyah seek excuses for the Sahabah when they did not shave their heads in al Hudaybiyyah? No. Rather, they understood their actions in the worst possible manner.

[27] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 21/79, no. 13599.

[28] Ibn Babawayh al Qummi al Saduq: al Amali, p. 229, no. 3, # 47.

[29] Al Wahid al Bahbahani: Ta’liqah ‘ala Manhaj al Maqal, p. 366.

[30] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 21/226, no. 13863.

[31] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 278, no. 496.

[32] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 20/315, no. 13358.

[33] Ibrahim al Shabbut: Dirasat fi Rijal al Hadith (Thiqat al Ruwat), p. 446, no. 769.

[34] Jafar al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 418.

[35] ‘Ali al Burujirdi: Tara’if al Maqal, 2/271.

[36] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 4/296, no. 1960.

[37] In the original version, it was written as “la ufid (with a ‘ya’’); however, what I have written here (i.e., ‘la tufid (with a ‘ta’’) is more correct.

[38] Muhammad al Bahbudi: Ma’rifat al Hadith, p. 188. See: Nazariyyat al Sunnah fi al Fikr al Imami of Haydar Hubb Allah, p. 778. The author transmitted from al Bahbudi his justifying the weakness of al Thumali.

[39] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 5/232, no. 2645.

[40] Commenting on the statement of al Najjashi “It is tashbih,” ‘Ali al Burujirdi (d. 1313 AH) states, “In other words, it is not (a book on) tawhid; rather, (it is a book) on tashbih (anthropomorphism) and shirk (polytheism)” (Tara’if al Maqal, 1/348, no. 2603). This ‘Ali al Burujirdi is different to Sayed al Ta’ifah, al Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmed al Tabataba’i al Burujirdi (d. 1380 AH). From the works of al Hussain ibn ‘Ali al Burujirdi is Tartib Asanid al Kafi. This is a portion of the massive encyclopedia on narrators that contains Tartib Asanid al Kutub al Arba’ah and Tartib Asanid Kutub al Saduq. He also has a famous book, Jami’ Ahadith al Shia, and other works. Muhammad Rida al Jalali mentioned a lengthy biography on him in al Manhaj al Rijali wa al ‘Amal al Ra’id fi al Mawsu’ah al Rijaliyyah li al Burujirdi.

[41] Al Najjashi, p. 328, no. 889; al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 244, no. 831.

[42] The original book contained the letters “waw and ha.” This was unclear so I changed it to “and we (wa nahnu)” as translated above. This is closer to the intended meaning.

[43] ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal, 3:115.

[44] Al Najjashi, p. 373, no. 1020.

[45] This is how Muhammad Rida al Jalali narrated it from him in his book, al Manhaj al Rijali li al Burujirdi (p. 111). In the marginalia, al Jalali states regarding the source: “Nihayat al Taqrir, 2/311, with a slight change and clarification.”

[46] Al Najjashi, p. 82, no. 198.

[47] Al Kulayni: al Kafi, 1:324 (Bab: al Isharah wa al Nass ‘ala Abi al Hassan al Thalith ­– narration no. 2).

[48] Ibn Taymiyyah states in Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 8/157: Ibn Abi al Dunya wrote a book regarding those whose supplications are answered; although, he did not mention an isnad for the aforementioned stories from ‘Ali. Therefore, judgement need be suspended until their authenticity is verified, despite the fact that they (already) contain certain lies therein, such as his supplication for Anas to get leprosy, and the supplication against Zaid ibn Arqam to become blind.” The point here is not to prove whether Anas was afflicted with leprosy or not; rather, the question is: Did the leprosy occur because of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s supplication? This is the lie.

[49] Abu ‘Ali a l-Ha’iri: Muntaha al Maqal, 1/341.

[50] This is how Muhammad Rida al Jalali narrated it from him in his book, al Manhaj al Rijali li al Burujirdi, p. 203.

[51] Al Nuri al Tabarsi: Khatimat Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 4/54.

[52] Majmu’ al Fatawa, 3/155.

[53] Al Nuri al Tabarsi: Khatimat Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 1/151.

[54] Al Hashiyah, 1/16.

[55] Al Amini: al Ghadir, 7/115, Ghayat Juhd al Bahith.

[56] Sharaf al Din al Musawi: Abu Hurairah, p. 45. Perhaps the real name of the book is Akadhib Abi Hurairah (The Lies of Abu Hurairah), as stated by al Khu’i in al Mujam, 11/79. It appears the book has another title, Hayat Abi Hurairah (The Life of Abu Hurairah). Similarly, it is called Abu Hurairah, as stated in al Dhari’ah of al Tahrani (7/115, no. 604).

[57] ‘Abdul Mun’im Salih al ‘Ali refuted this doubt. He states, “It should be noted that this number is not the number of independent texts; rather, it is the total number of what Baqi ibn Makhlad narrated, included both the repetitions and weak narrations. Therefore, the amount of purely authentic texts—excluding the repetitions—is little in relation to this number. As such, do not be deceived by the ambiguity of the critics that claim he narrated five thousand independent texts. The evidence for this is the fact that al Imam Ahmed narrated 3848 ahadith in his Musnad. These ahadith include many repetitions both in terms of their words and meanings, as is his habit in the Musnad. This also includes such ahadith that have a weak chain of narration. Thus, the number of purely authentic texts—excluding the repetitions—is much less than the original number” (Difa’ ‘an Abi Hurairah, p. 267). He quoted this from the book, Abu Hurairah wa Aqlam al Haqidin of ‘Abdur Rahman al Zar’i (p. 13).

We must not forget that these ahadith are also narrated by other Sahabah and not him alone. Also, we must not forget the fact that many of the texts that the Imamiyyah narrated with their chains of narrations concur with what Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrated. ‘Abdullah al Nasir undertook a study in which he collected all of the hadith texts that the Imamiyyah found problematic because of Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and then extracted the exact texts from their books—with their chains of narration. See his amazing book: al Burhan fi Tabri’at Abi Hurairah min al Buhtan. For more information, also see Dr. Harith ibn Salman’s book, Abu Hurairah: Sahib Rasul Allah Dirasah Hadithiyyah Tarikhiyyah Hadifah.  

[58] Al Kulayni: al Kafi, 1/496, under “Mawlid Abi Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Thani”.

[59] Ibn Shahr Ashub: Manaqib Al Abi Talib, 3/490, under “Manaqib Abi Jafar Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali”.

[60] Al Mazindarani: Sharh Usul al Kafi, 7/292.

[61] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 50:93.

[62] As it appears in al Kafi, another narration contains the word is “al jabbanah.” Al Mazindarani states, “Al Jabbanah: it appears with a tashdid on the ba’. The existence of a ha’ (at the end) appears more than without it. The word refers to a prayer area in the desert. It also refers to the cemetery because the prayer area usually exists inside of it.” (Sharh Usul al Kafi, 12/177).  

[63] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 194, no. 342.

[64] See: Bihar al Anwar of al Majlisi, 2/69; Mustadrak Safinat al Bihar of al Namazi al Shaharudi, 2/17; al Rasa’il al Rijaliyyah of Abu al Ma’ali al Kalbasi, 4/395; Khatimat al Mustadrak of al Nuri al Tabarsi, 4/204.

[65] Al Hurr al ‘Amili: Wasa’il al Shia, 30/329, no. 12.

[66] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 191, no. 335.

[67] Al Khu’i: Mujam RIjal al Hadith, 4/334, no. 2033.

[68] Bisam Murtada: Zubdat al Maqal min Mujam al Rijal, 1/239.

[69] Al Nuri al Tabarsi: Khatimat al Mustadrak, 4/216.

[70] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 163, no. 276.

[71] Surah al Baqarah: v. 159.

[72] ‘Ali al Kurani: Alf Su’al wa Ishkal, 2/63.

[73] ‘Ali al Milani: Risalah fi Salat Abi Bakr, p. 44.

[74] Muhammad al Tijani: Thumma Ihtadayt, p. 168.

[75] Nur Allah al Tustari: Ihqaq al Haqq, p. 217.

[76] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 138, no. 221.

[77] Ibid., p. 149, no. 238.

[78] Ta’liqah al Mir Damad ‘ala Rijal al Kashshi, 2/364.

[79] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 153, no. 250.

[80] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 8/251, no. 4671.

[81] I.e., he has a name common to others and so it can be referring to someone else. (translator’s note)

[82] Muhsin al Amin: A’yan al Shia, 7/55.

[83] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 296, no. 524; p. 203, no. 358; and p. 638, no. 344.

[84] The following people made tawthiq of him: al Mamaqani in Tanqih al Maqal, 1/19; al Hilli in al Khulasah, p. 59, no. 524; al Najjashi, p. 102, no. 254; al Majlisi in al Wajizah, p. 165; al Tiffarishi in Naqd al Rijal, 1/259. The following people corroborated his tawthiq: Bahr al ‘Ulum in Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum, 1/386, under “Banu Darraj”; al Khu’i in Mujam Rijal al Khu’i, 4/169, no. 1621; al Hurr al ‘Amili in al Rijal; al Tusi in al Fihrist, p. 44, no. 59. Abu Talib al Tabjil al Tabrizi also made his tawthiq in Mujam al Thiqat, 21/128.

[85] Muhsin al Amin: A’yan al Shia, 3/523.

[86] The following people made tawthiq of him: al Majlisi in al Wajizah, p. 203; al Khu’i in al Mujam, 7/313, no. 4110; al Tusi in al Fihrist, p. 93, no. 256; al Mamaqani, 1/46; Abu Talib al Tabjil al Tabrizi in Mujam al Thiqat, p. 47, no. 306; al Tiffarishi, 2/174; al Burujirdi in Tara’if al Maqal, no. 3840; al Shabastari in al Fa’iq fi Ruwat wa Ashab al Sadiq, 1/490 no. 1005; and Ahmed al Basri in Fa’iq al Maqal, p. 107, no. 366.

[87] Ahmed ibn Tawus: al Tahrir al Tawusi, p. 87, no. 119.

[88] Ibid., p. 123, no. 170, under the biography of Zurarah, hadith no. 17.

[89] A’yan al Shia, 7/50. Al Khu’i tried to criticize the isnad because of the existence of Jibril ibn Ahmed in the hadith, 8/251, no. 4671, under the biography of Zurarah. Despite the fact that al Khu’i authenticated a narration that contains the same Jibril ibn Ahmed in the isnad. Under the biography of al Mu’alla ibn Khanis, he states, “This narration is authentic” (al Mujam, 19/261, no. 12525). When al Khu’i wants to make tawthiq of Zurarah, he criticizes the asanid of the narrations that speak negatively of Zurarah by stating they contain Jibril ibn Ahmed. And when he wants to make tawthiq of al Mu’alla ibn Khanis, the narration amazingly becomes authentic, even though it contains the same Jibril ibn Ahmed!

[90] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 149, no. 240.

[91] Al Saduq: Kamal al Din wa Tamam al Ni’mah, p. 437.

[92] Muhsin al Amin: A’yan al Shia, 7/53.

[93] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 155, no. 255.

[94] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 8:240 (no. 4671).

[95] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 4/125, no. 1489.