For centuries the Shia have claimed to be adherents to the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt and in particular the ‘school’ of the venerable Imam Jafar al Sadiq. It is often postulated that the teachings of these Twelve Imams are more worthy of adherence than any of the schools of the Ahlus Sunnah; as these noble personalities in addition to being infallible and divinely appointed by the Almighty Rabb of the worlds are the direct decedents of the Beloved Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and were therefore more knowledgeable of his blessed Sunnah.
While this hypothesis might seem logically sound, its accuracy can only be ascertained after scrutinizing those who transmitted this sacred knowledge from the ‘infallible’ Imams, because even though the knowledge and piety of the Imams may be beyond question, the credibility of the transmitters are not. A fact which even the Shia cannot deny since none but the Imams are deemed infallible, an integral tenet of Shia law.
We will in this series examine the status of these transmitters, which will be sufficient in proving the fallacy of the Shia hypothesis.
We begin with Zurarah ibn A’yan.
Zurarah ibn A’yan is one of the most famous and prolific Shia narrators. He is considered to be amongst the closest companions of Imam al Baqir and Imam Jafar al Sadiq, and the Shia deem him to be amongst those regarding who consensus was reached to unquestioningly accept all they narrate.
They insist upon verifying this individual and grading all of his narrations as authentic, above any form of criticism. Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Najashi states:
Zurarah ibn A’yan is the leader of his companions in his era, their forerunner. He was a Qari’, Faqih, and theologian.
He is one of the chief narrators of the Shia tradition and—more aptly—one of its chief architects. Abu al Qasim al Khu’i states in his Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith:
He narrated from Abu Jafar and the narrations he reported from him reach 1236. The number of narrations reported from him amount to 2094.
My father entrusted them with the lawful and the unlawful, and they were the carriers of his knowledge. Similarly, to me—today—they are the protectors of my secrets. The companions of my father are upon the truth and they are the stars of my Shia in life and death. Through them Allah exposes all bid’ah (innovation); they rebut all devious plots of the schemers from this din and interpretations of the extremists…
One would imagine that those showered with such high praise would be the ultimate paragons of virtue and honesty. The true custodians of the heavenly religion, who managed to achieve that which even those divinely appointed by the Almighty were unable to achieve, “rebut all previous plots of the schemers from this din and interpretations of the extremists.”
A task which the formidable and brave Asad Allah al Ghalib ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib too was unable to achieve, and instead of correcting the wrongs of his predecessors and justly purifying din from their unwanted anomalies, sadly, he too was forced to follow the path of his predecessors and maintain the practices of the pious khalifas before him. Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri writes in his Anwar al No’maniyyah:
When Amir al Mu’minin took the post of khalifah he was unable to reveal the Qur’an and to hide the other one, because in so doing there is an exposure of ugliness to those before him, like how he was unable to prevent Salat al Duha’. He was also unable to establish the kinds of Mut’ah: Mut’ah of Hajj and Mut’ah of women…
Nonetheless, the exaggeration in the statement of ‘Abdul Hussain is quite evident, an obvious ploy by the fabricators to lend credibility to their spurious fabrications. ‘Abdul Hussain goes on to state:
Verily we do not find any narrations supporting that which they ascribe to each of them: Zurarah ibn A’yan, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Mu’min al Taq [better known as Shaitan al Taq] and others like them, despite extensive research and study. It is but defiance, enmity, slander, and defamation.
This is a shrewd tactic of the Shia, left with no escape they always resort to denial, even if the evidence be glaring before their eyes. Let us now assist ‘Abdul Hussain and his ilk of self-proclaimed scholars who were unable to find any narrations supporting that which they ascribe to each of them; namely that they were frauds, liars, and fabricators, who were openly condemned by the infallible Imams.
Imam Jafar al Sadiq asked one of his Shia, “When last did you see Zurarah?” “I haven’t seen him for a few days,” came the reply.
Imam Jafar then said, “Do not concern yourself with him, if he falls ill do not visit him, and if he dies do not attend his Janazah.”
The narrator astonished by the Imams harsh words asks, “Zurarah?” utterly amazed that the Imam would announce such condemnation for Zurarah, who had portrayed himself to be a close confidant of the Imam. Imam Jafar responded, “Yes! Zurarah:
زُرَارَةُ شَرُّ مِّنَ الْيَهُوْدِ وَ النَّصَارَا وَ مَنْ قَالَ اِنَّ اللهَ ثَالِثُ الثَّلَاثَةِ
Zurarah is worse than the Jews and the Christians, and those who say that Allah is but one of a trinity.
The Ahlus Sunnah have always rejected the absurdities and fabrications of these falsifiers; far-fetched is it that the Noble Family would have uttered such profanities, as has been ascribed to them by these imposters. The Ahlul Bayt made public their disgust in the strongest terms, absolving themselves from the likes of these liars:
لَعَنَ اللهُ زُرَارَةَ
May the curse of Allah be upon Zurarah!
Imam Jafar would say, repeating it three times, signalling him out for fabricating against him, saying:
كَذَبَ عَلَيَّ وَ اللهِ
By Allah, he has lied upon me.
It is a fundamental tenet of Shia faith that the Imam is infallible and the sole source of guidance in all matters of life. Whether it be religious, political, or social; no one has the authority to render his own opinion, let alone belie the Imam. This tenet of the Shia was obviously lost on Zurarah, yet another sign of his impudence.
It has been reported that once a group of the Shia were discussing aspects pertaining to Halal and Haram, Zurarah amongst them. He then forwarded his own personal opinion regarding a matter on which he was asked, “Is this based on your own opinion or from narration?”
He haughtily replied, “I know better! Are not some opinions better than narration?”
Today the Shia badger us over the necessity to follow the Jafari faith—which is the legacy of individuals such as Zurarah—claiming that no other opinion has validity before that of the Imam. It is obvious that Zurarah did not hold the same view as they do.
The next narration puts things into greater perspective and will illustrate the degree to which Zurarah regarded his own opinion as better than others. ‘Isa ibn Mansur, Abu Usamah al Shiham and Yaqub al Ahmar all narrate:
We were sitting in the company of Imam Jafar when Zurarah entered and asked, “Hakam ibn ‘Uyaynah has reported from your father that he said, ‘One should read Maghrib other than in Muzdalifah [during Hajj].’”
Imam Jafar answered, “My father never said this, Hakam has lied upon my father.”
Zurarah then left while he was saying, “I do not think that Hakam lied upon his father.”
One of the architects of the Shia faith, whose opinion is so weighty, so much better, that it even surpasses that of the Imam!
We believe the Ahlul Bayt to be pious and devout men of Allah, who were true in action and speech. They never uttered anything contrary to the noble Qur’an or the true din followed by the majority of the Ummah, known as the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah.
The honourable Imams of the Ahlul Bayt tried their best to admonish these deviants but sadly their pleas fell upon deaf ears. ‘Abdur Rahman al Qasir narrates:
Imam Jafar said to me, “Go to Zurarah and Burayd and ask them, ‘What is this bid’ah you have innovated? Do you not know that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said every innovation is deviation?”
When this message reached Zurarah he replied nonchalantly:
“He has granted me ability and he does not know,” as for Burayd he said, “I will never retract what I have said ever.”
The lack of remorse shown by Zurarah even after having been exposed by the Imam hints to a much sinister agenda, one whose sole purpose was the destruction of din, sentiments which were echoed by the words of the Imam when the progeny of A’yan was mentioned in his presence. He said:
By Allah! The progeny of A’yan does not intend except to gain supremacy.
The repeated disparagement and unmasking by Imam Jafar left its mark on Zurarah and he began to voice his dislike for the venerable Imam. Ibn Maskan relates that once Zurarah said in a small gathering, “May Allah have mercy upon Abu Jafar [al Baqir, the father of Imam Jafar]! As for Jafar verily my heart has turned away from him.” Ibn Maskan relates that he enquired what had led Zurarah to make such a statement and he was told, “Jafar has exposed his lies, this is what has prompted him to say this.”
Zurarah in turn resorted to disparaging Imam Jafar al Sadiq and would say:
However, the lies continued and the fabrication factory was not shut down. The unwary, unscrupulous, and foolish continued to swallow these deceits. And if ever any intelligent person questioned this legacy or confronted Zurarah with the damning statements of the Imam, Taqiyyah was always there as a life line. The renowned Muhaddith Abu ‘Abdullah Shams al Din al Dhahabi relates the narration of Ibn Sammak in his Mizan:
I set out to perform Hajj and Zurarah ran into me at Qadisiyah. He told me he had a favour to ask and when I asked what it was, he said, “When you meet Jafar ibn Muhammad then pass on my greetings and ask him if I am of the dwellers of Jahannam or residents of Jannat.”
I refused to do this favour for him but he insisted, “He has knowledge of this,” he said and continued to urge me until I submitted.
When I met Jafar ibn Muhammad and conveyed the message of Zurarah, he replied, “He is from the dwellers of Jahannam!”
This alarmed me [as how could he have knowledge of this] so I asked, “How do you know this?”
He replied, “Whoever claims that another has such knowledge, such a person is from the dwellers of Jahannam.”
These narrations establish the unreliability of Zurarah and the range of his deceptions, and it is the narrations of this individual as well as the other fabricators—such as Jabir al Ju’fi, Hisham ibn al Hakam, Abu Basir, etc.—that is now called the “Mazhab of the Ahlul Bayt”, which the Shia so desire that we follow. The reality, however, is that they have taken their faith from known liars, fabricators and heretics, who were condemned by the Ahlul Bayt.
Most certainly Imam Jafar al Sadiq has spoken the truth:
We the Ahlul Bayt are truthful, and have not been spared from liars who fabricate against us and tarnish our honesty with their falsehood.
 Rijal al Najashi, p. 165.
 Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith, vol. 7 p. 449.
 Al Muraja’at, p. 727.
 Anwar al No’maniyyah, vol. 2 pg. 360.
 Al Muraja’at, p. 731.
 Al Kashshi p. 160; Tanqih al Maqal, 1/443.
 Al Kashshi, p. 147; Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith, 7/141; Tanqih, 1/443.
 Al Kashshi, p. 149.
 Ibid., p. 156.
 Ibid., p. 158.
 Al Kashshi, p. 148; Tanqih, 1/444.
 Al Kashshi p. 149.
 Ibid., p. 145.
 Ibid., p. 158.
 Mizan al I’tidal, 2/69.
 Al Kashshi, p. 100; Tanqih, 2/183; Qamus al Rijal, 5/462.