Chapter Eight – The Doctrine of Tinah

Chapter Seven – The Doctrine of Bada’
November 9, 2017
November 17, 2017

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Chapter Eight

The Doctrine of Tinah


This is one of their secretive beliefs regarding which they emphasise that it should be kept a secret even from their laymen. Because if a lay Shia comes to learn of it he will intentionally commit major sins in order to acquire the temporary pleasures of this world due to him knowing that the evil consequences of those sins will be on others besides him on the Day of Judgment.[1]

This doctrine was considered reprehensible by some of the early erudite Shia like al Murtada and Ibn Idris, because according to them although the narrations thereof frequently feature in the books of the Shia, but due to them being transmissions of single narrators which oppose the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the unanimity of the Ummah it is compulsory to discard it.[2]

Nonetheless, these narrations increased with the passage of time, to the extent that their scholar Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri (d. 1112) states the following:


إن أصحابنا قد رووا هذه الأخبار بالأسانيد المتكثرة في الأصول وغيرها، فلم يبق مجال في إنكارها والحكم عليها بأنها أخبار آحاد. بل صارت مستفيضة مشهورة

Our scholars have narrated these narrations with copious transmissions in the canonical works and other works, hence there is no room for denying them and averring that they are transmissions of single narrators. Rather they have now become wide-spread and undeniably authentic.[3]


He said this in refuting the two aforementioned scholars who refused to acknowledge it.

Again, the person who ostensibly was responsible for founding this doctrine and according it firm grounding was their scholar al Kulayni who established a chapter by the title, Chapter regarding the Tinah of a believer and a disbeliever, wherein he cites seven narrations.[4]

Subsequently these narrations continued to increase, so much so that their scholar al Majlisi documented sixty seven narrations in the chapter he established by the title, The Tinah and the pledge.[5]

Probably the reader would be intrigued to learn the details of this doctrine which makes a Shia believe that whatever sin he will commit the evil consequences thereof will be upon the Ahlus Sunnah. And conversely, whatever good the Ahlus Sunnah will carry out will be preserved for the Shia. It is owing to this that their scholars do not divulge it to their commonality so that they do not go about causing havoc on the land and in the lives of people.

The most detailed narration regarding this doctrine appears in ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ of Ibn Babawayh which cover five pages and upon which he terminates his book.[6] Commenting on the status of this narration one of their contemporary scholars comments that it is a musky ending with which he has ended his book, ‘Ilal al Shara’i’.[7]

The crux of the narration is that a Shia has been created from a specific type of soil and a Sunni has been created from a specific type of soil, and both the soils were mixed in a very unique way. Hence all the sins which are found in a Shia are due to the influence of the Sunni soil and all the good that is found in a Sunni is owing to the influence of the Shia soil. As a result, on the Day of Judgment all the evils and vices of the Shia will be placed upon the Ahlus Sunnah and all the good of the Ahlus Sunnah will be granted to the Shia.

More than seventy of their narrations revolve around the same theme.

The reason for the invention of this doctrine can be ascertained from the questions which were being posed to the Imams and the complaints which were being raised to them. The Shia would complain of the indulgence of their people in major sins, disastrous actions, ill treatment of one another, and the depression that they were suffering from; but the cause of which they could not identify. And the Imam responds to all of that by saying that they are because of the Shia soil being effected by the Sunni soil.

Let us have a look at some of these interesting questions which reveal the reality of the Shia society back then. Ibn Babawayh has written the following with his chain of transmission:


عن أبي إسحاق الليثي قال: قلت لأبي جعفرمحمد بن علي الباقر عليه السلام: يا ابن رسول الله أخبرني عن المؤمن المستبصر إذا بلغ في المعرفة وكمل هل يزني؟ قال: اللهم لا. قلت: فيشرب الخمر؟ قال: لا. قلت: فيأتي بكبيرة من هذه الكبائر أو فاحشة من هذه الفواحش؟ قال: لا… قلت: يا ابن رسول الله إني أجد من شيتعكم من يشرب الخمر ويقطع الطريق ويخيف السبيل ويزني ويلوط ويأكل الربو ويرتكب الفواحش ويتهاون بالصلاة والصيام والزكاة ويقطع الرحم ويأتي الكبائر. فكيف هذا ولم ذاك؟ فقال: يا إبراهيم هل يختلج في صدرك شيء غير هذا؟ قلت: نعم يا ابن رسول الله، وأجد من أعدائكم و مناصبيكم من يكثر من الصلاة والصيام ويخرج الزكاة ويتابع بين الحج والعمرة ويحرص علي الجهاد ويأثر –كذا- علي البر وعلي صلة الرحم ويقضي حقوق إخوانه ويواسيهم من ماله ويتجنب شرب الخمر والزنا واللواط وسائر الفواحش فما ذاك ولم ذاك؟ فسره لي يا ابن رسول الله وبرهنه وبينه، فقد والله كثر فكري وأسهر ليلي وضاق ذرعي

Abu Ishaq al Laythi says: I asked Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam the following, “O son of Rasul Allah! Tell me regarding an insightful believer who reaches the pinnacle of recognition and is perfect, is it permissible for him to fornicate?”

He said, “By Allah, no.”

I asked, “Can he consume wine?”

He said, “No.”

I further asked, “Can he commit any of the major sins or any obscene act?”

He again said, “No.”

I then said, “O son of Rasul Allah! I see some of your partisans consuming wine, highway robbing, endangering the roads, fornicating, sodomising, eating usury, committing obscene acts, being lax in salah, fasting, and discharging Zakat, severing family ties and indulging in major sins. So can this be possible and why?”

He said, “O Ibrahim! Is anything else besides this troubling you also?”

I said, “Yes, O son of Rasul Allah, a problem even graver than this.”

He asked, “What is that O Abu Ishaq?”

I said, “And I see among your enemies and your haters people who perform salah, fast, and discharge Zakat excessively, who follow their Hajj up with ‘Umrah, who are desirous to strive in Jihad, who give preference in matters of good, join family ties, fulfil the right of the brothers and sympathise with them with their wealth, and who refrain from consuming wine, fornicating, sodomy, and all other obscene crimes. Why is that? Explain to me, O son of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, provide evidence for me and tell me. For by Allah my thoughts have increased, my nights are sleepless, and I feel very restless.”[8]


This is but one query which reveals the perturbation of the Shia regarding their sad reality which was filled with sins and destructive crimes in comparison to the pious predecessors of this Ummah, the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah, and the majority of the commonality who were on piety, trustworthiness, and good. The answer given to this query was in line with the doctrine of Tinah, i.e. the sins which are found in the Shia are the result of the ill-effect of the soil of the Ahlus Sunnah and the virtue which prevails in the Sunni society is the result of the good-effect of the soil of the Shia.

Another inquirer by the name Ishaq al Qummi comes and says to Abu Jafar al Baqir:


جعلت فداك أري المؤمن الموحد الذي يقول بقولي ويدين الله بولايتكم وليس بيني وبينه خلاف، يشرب السكر ويزني ويلوط آتيه في حاجة واحدة فأصيبه معبس الوجه كالح اللون ثقيلا في حاجتي بطيئا فيها. وقد أري الناصب المخالف لما أنا عليه ويعرفني بذلك فآتيه في حاجة فأصيبه طلق الوجه حسن البشر متسرعا في حاجتي فرحا بها يحب قضاءها كثير الصلاة كثير الصيام كثير الصدقة يؤدي الزكاة ويستودع فيؤدي الأمانة

May be sacrificed for you, I see a believer who affirms the oneness of Allah, believes in what I believe, considers your Imamah to be an act of devotion to seek proximity to Allah and between him and I there is no difference, I see this person drinking wine, fornicating and sodomising, and when I come to him for a need I find him to be frowning, dull, reluctant to help me and slow. And at times I see a hater and an opponent who goes against me in my beliefs and knows me for who I am,[9] I come to him for a need and I find him to be smiling congenial and quick to fulfil my need; he loves fulfilling my need, performs salah, fasts, and gives charity excessively. He discharges his Zakat and is trustworthy when entrusted with a trust.[10]


This person adds a new dimension to his complaint, i.e. the bad interaction of his companions, their callous nature, and their lack of loyalty; whilst on the other hand he finds the Ahlus Sunnah—his enemies—to be better to him than his companions, more willing to fulfil his needs, and better in character, interaction, and devotion.

Similar to this is the complaint the Shia raised to Abu ‘Abdullah. It reads as follows:


أري الرجل من أصحابنا ممن يقول بقولنا خبيث اللسان خبيث الخلطة قليل الوفاء بالميعاد فيغمني غما شديدا، وأري الرجل من المخالفين علينا حسن السمت حسن الهدي وفيا بالميعاد فأغتم غما

I see a person from our companions, who says what we say, to be bad-mouthed, poor in his companionship and disloyal in his promises, and that hurts me a lot. And I see a person from our opponents to be good in his manners, good in his ways, and loyal in his promises, and that also causes me to grieve.[11]


A fourth inquirer comes and he complains of the depression and grief which he is experiencing without knowing the cause of it. Their narration states:

عن أبي بصير قال: دخلت علي أبي عبد الله ومعي رجل من أصحابنا فقلت له: جعلت فداك يا ابن رسول الله، إني أغتم وأحزن من غير أن أعرف لذلك سببا

Abu Basir says, “I went to Abu ‘Abdullah and with me was a person from my friends. I thus said to him, ‘O son of Rasul Allah! I feel depressed and grieved and I do not know the reason thereof…’”[12]


Seemingly the cause for his grief was the obscure dogma which he adhered to and which all the Shia lived by, but the Imam again explains this in light of the doctrine of Tinah.

There are many questions and complaints of this type.[13] They give us an idea of the Shia make up in its temperament, connections, character, dealings, and religion. The scholars of the Shia tried to counter this complexity from which some truthful Shia were suffering due to these disturbing and threatening phenomena and their efforts thus eventually lead them to answering these persistent questions and complaints with the doctrine of Tinah. Let us, therefore, have a look at some of the answers given to these questions.[14] Their Imams are reported to have said:


يا إسحاق إن الله عزوجل لما كان منفردا بالوحدانية ابتدأ الأشياء لا من شيء، فأجري الماؤ العذب علي أرض طيبة طاهرة سبعة أيام مع لياليها، ثم نضب الماء عنها فقبض قبضة من صفاوة ذلك الطين وهي طينتنا أهل البيت، ثم قبض قبضة من أسفل من ذلك الطين وهي طينة شيعتنا، ثم اصطفانا لنفسه. فلو أن طينة شيعتنا تركت كما تركت طينتنا لما زني أحد منهم وسرق ولا لاط ولا شرب المسكر ولااكتسب شيئا مما ذكرت. ولكن الله عزوجل أجري الماء المالح علي أرض ملعونة سبعة أيام ولياليها ثم نضب الماء عنها، ثم قبض قبضته، وهي طينة ملعونة من حمأ مسنون، وهي طينة خبال، وهي طينة أعدائنا. فلو أن الله عزوجل ترك طينتهم كما أخذها لم تروهم في خلق الآدميين ولم يقروا بالشهادتين ولم يصوموا ولم يصلوا ولم يزكوا ولم يحجوا البيت ولم تروا أحدا منهم بحسن خلق، ولكن الله تبارك وتعالي جمع الطينتين طينتكم وطينتهم فخلطهما وعركهما عرك الأديم ومزجهما بالمائين. فما رأيت من أخيك من شر لفظ أو زنا أو شيء مما ذكرت من شرب مسكر أو غيره ليس من جوهريته وليس من إيمانه، إنما هو بمسحة الناصب اجترح هذه السيئات التي ذكرت. وما رأيت من الناصب من حسن وجه وحسن خلق أو صوم أو صلاة أو حج بيت أو صدقة أو معروف فليس من جوهريته إنما تلك الأفاعيل من مسحة الإيمان اكتسبها وهو اكتساب مسحة الإيمان

قلت: جعلت فداك، فإذا كان يوم القيامة فمه؟ قال لي: يا إسحق أيجمع الله الخير والشر في موضع واحد؟ إذا كان يوم القيامة نزع الله عزوجل مسحة الإيمان منهم فردها إلي شيعتنا، ونزع مسحة الناصب بجميع ما اكتسبوا من السيئات فردها علي إعدائنا وعاد كل شيء إلي عنصره الأول.

قلت: جعلت فداك تؤخذ من حسناتهم فترد إلينا وتؤخذ من سيئاتنا فترد إليهم؟ قال: إي والله الذي لا إله إلا هو.

“O Ishaq (the narrator of the report) Do you know from where you were brought into existence?”

I said, “May I be sacrificed for you, certainly not, unless you tell me.”

He thus said, “O Ishaq, when Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala was alone He created everything from nothing, He then made sweet water flow upon a pure and fertile land for seven days and nights where after the water became dry. He then took a handful of the choicest soil thereof, which is our soil, the soil of the Ahlul Bayt. He then took a handful of soil from beneath that soil, which is the soil of our partisans. He then chose us for himself. So if the soil of our Shia was left just as our soil was left no one among them would sin, steal, sodomise, consume wine, or do any of the sins you mentioned. But Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala made saline water flow upon an accursed land for seven days and nights where after the water dried up. He then took a handful of soil which was accursed and was made of black smelly sand, i.e. it was the sand of defilement, this was the sand of our enemies. If Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala left their soil as he had taken it you would not have seen the traits of men in them, nor would they have professed the Shahadatan, fasted, performed salah, discharged Zakat, went for Hajj, and nor would you have seen anyone of them with good conduct. However, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mixed both the soils (your soil and their soil), he mixed them and scrubbed them just as a skin is scrubbed and thereafter mixed them with the two waters. Hence whatever evil you see in your brother, i.e. being bad mouthed, fornicating and whatever else like drinking and the rest that you made mention of, they are not inherently from him and are not part of his faith, rather he committed these wrongs because of the influence of the haters. All the good that you see in a hater in terms of his conduct, his congeniality, fasting, performing salah, going for Hajj, giving charity and doing good, they are also not inherently from him, rather he does all of this because of the influence of iman which he acquired.”

I further asked, “So when the Day of Judgment comes then what?”

He said, “O Ishaq can Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala combine good and evil in one place? When the Day of Judgement will come Allah will remove the influence of iman from them and give it to our partisans and he will likewise remove the evil influence of the haters with all the evil that they (the Shia) did and return them to our enemies and everything will return to its origins.”

I then asked, “Will their good be taken and returned to us? And will our evil be taken and returned to them?”

He said, “Yes By the one besides who there is no one who is worthy of worship.”[15]


This is the doctrine of Tinah, in the narration of al Qummi the following appears in the beginning:


خذ إليك بيانا شافيا فيما سألت، وعلما مكنونا من خزائن علم الله وسره

Pay attention to a satisfying answer for your query and a hidden treasure of knowledge from the Knowledge of Allah and His secrets.[16]


And the end of the narration states:


خذها إليك يا أبا إسحق، فوالله إنه لمن غرر أحاديثنا وباطن سرايرنا ومكنون خزائننا وانصرف ولا تطلع علي سرنا أحدا إلا مؤمنا مستبصرا. فإنك إن أذعت سرنا بليت في نفسك ومالك وأهلك وولدك

Take this, O Abu Ishaq, for it is from our illuminating narrations, our inner-most secrets and our hidden treasures. Go and do not tell anybody besides an insightful believer of our secret. If you divulge our secret you will be tested in yourself, your wealth, your wife, and children.[17]


As you can see, this was one of their secret beliefs which has been circulated in the wake of the mighty Islamic empire; the secrecy thereof is emphasised in the beginning and the end. So did the mere thought of this doctrine falling in the hands of the Ahlus Sunnah who will announce it before the people as one of the flaws of the Shia even cross the mind of the inventor thereof?


Analysing the Doctrine of Tinah

Firstly, these narrations are self-contradictory, because the Shia, as you have noticed in these complains and questions, is more immersed in crime, much more indulgent in sins and destructive actions, worse in his dealings, and pathetic in his religion and conduct. So how can such a person be better in terms of his origins and purer in his creation?

Secondly, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has created everybody upon the disposition of Islam. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:


فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّيْنِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيْلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذٰلِكَ الدِّيْنُ الْقَيِّمُ

So direct your face [i.e., self] toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the Fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion.[18]


Separating men and sound disposition is something unique to Shi’ism.

Thirdly, the Shia have contradicted their stance on the actions of men due to believing in the reports of Tinah, for the purport of these narrations suggest that man is forced to do what he does without him having any choice, i.e. he does everything because of his Tinah. Whereas their stance is that every person creates his own actions as is the stance of the Mu’tazilah.[19]

Fourthly, this belief entails that all the evil of the Shia will be placed upon the shoulders of the Ahlus Sunnah and all the good of the Muslims will be given to the Shia. This is against the divine justice of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and is not harmonious with clear reason and sound human disposition, let alone it being harmonious with the authoritative texts of the Shari’ah and the fundamentals of Islam. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

وَلاتَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرٰي

No soul will carry the burden of another.[20]



كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِيْنَةٌ

Every soul will be held beck for what it earned.[21]



فَمَنْ يَّعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَّرَه وَمَنْ يَّعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَّرَه

Whoever does an iota of good will see it and whoever does an iota of bad will see it.[22]



اَلْيَوْمَ تُجْزٰي كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ لا ظُلْمَ الْيَوْمَ

Today every soul will be rewarded for what it earned. There will be no oppression today.[23]


The invalidity of this doctrine is unquestionable, the falsity thereof becomes clear from merely thinking of it; it is indeed an indictment to the Twelver dogma and a disgrace to it.

The Shia to date do not hesitate in openly proclaiming this doctrine, hence you will find that a contemporary Shia scholar whilst commenting on the narrations of Bihar al Anwar and al Anwar al No’maniyyah in this regard makes remarks which smack of his approval and approbation for it.

And if you have no modesty then do as you wish.


NEXT⇒ Section 4 – The Contemporary Shia and Their Link with Their Predecessors – Introduction

[1] Al Anwar al No’maniyyah 1/295.

[2] Ibid. 1/293.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Usul al Kafi 2/2-6.

[5] Bihar al Anwar 5/2255-276.

[6] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 606-610.

[7] Bihar al Anwar 5: 233: footnotes.

[8] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 606-607; Bihar al Anwar 5/228-229.

[9] i.e. that I am a Shia.

[10] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 489-490; Bihar al Anwar 5/236-237.

[11] Al Barqi: al Mahasin p. 137-138; Bihar al Anwar 5/251.

[12] Bihar al Anwar 5/242, he attributes the narration to ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 42.

[13] You will find them under the chapter of Tinah in al Kafi and Bihar al Anwar. Some more examples will be coming in the chapter regarding the influence of the Shia upon the Muslim world.

[14] The answer cited below was given, as they allege, to the question of Ishaq al Qummi which has passed Click Here. Due to fear of elongating the discussion I will suffice on the previously cited references, because they all ultimately prove the same phenomenon…

[15] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 490-491; Bihar al Anwar 5/247-248.

[16] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 607; Bihar al Anwar 5/229.

[17] ‘Ilal al Shara’i’ p. 610; Bihar al Anwar 5/233.

[18] Surah al Rum: 30.

[19] See Their Belief in Pre-Destiny. Click Here

[20] Surah al Fatir: 18.

[21] Surah al Muddaththir: 38.

[22] Surah al Zilzal: 7, 8.

[23] Surah al Mu’min: 17.