Chapter Seven – The Doctrine of Bada’

Chapter Six – The Doctrine of Zuhur (Emergence)
November 9, 2017
Chapter Eight – The Doctrine of Tinah
November 9, 2017

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Chapter Seven

The Doctrine of Bada’


One of the fundamental beliefs of the Twelvers is believing in Bada’ regarding Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, they have exaggerated so much in this regard that they have said the following:


ما عبد الله بشيء مثل البداء

Allah has not been worshiped with anything better than Bada’.[1]


They also say:


ما عظم الله عزوجل بمثل البداء

Allah has not been glorified with anything like Bada’.[2]



ولو علم الناس ما في القول بالبداء من الأجر ما فتروا من الكلام فيه

If people knew the reward which is contained in Bada’ they would not stop talking about it.[3]



وما بعث الله نبيا قط إلا بتحريم الخمر وأن يقر لله بالبداء

Allah has not sent any prophet but with the prohibition of wine and the acknowledgement of Bada’.[4]


It seems as if the person who laid the foundation of this doctrine in the Twelver dogma is their scholar al Kulayni whom they title Thiqat al Islam (the reliable transmitter of Islam) d. 328/329 A.H. For he has dedicated a sub-chapter in his Usul al Kafi to it which he has placed under the chapter of Tawhid. Therein he has cited sixteen narrations attributing them to the Imams.

He was succeeded by Ibn Babawayh al Qummi (d. 381 A.H) who also documented it as part of their dogma and established a dedicated chapter to it in his book al I’tiqadat which is also known as the Religion of the Imamiyyah.[5] He has done the same in his book al Tawhid.[6]

Their scholar al Majlisi (d. 1111 A.H) paid a lot of attention to the doctrine of Bada’ and dedicated a specific chapter to it by the title Chapter regarding abrogation and Bada’, therein he makes mention of seventy narrations from their scholars.[7]

This doctrine is also mentioned by their contemporary scholars in their books.[8] Astonishingly, their scholars have written twenty five books dedicated to this topic, as is mentioned in al Dhari’ah.[9]

Perhaps the Muslim reader will be appalled at this doctrine which is foreign to Islam and the Muslims, of which there is no mention in the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the Sunnah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, despite it being the greatest way through which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is worshiped, the primary teaching of all the Messengers, there being such reward therein that if a Muslim were to know of it his tongue would be moist with its mention just as it is when professing the Oneness of Allah, as they allege.

If we refer to the Arabic language to ascertain the meaning of Bada’ we will find the following:

Bada, the verb, means to become clear; the matter became clear to him means that he developed an opinion regarding it.[10] Hence Bada’ literally has two meanings:

First: Becoming visible after being invisible. It is said, for example, the wall of the city became visible (after it was invisible).

Second: To develop a new opinion. Al Farra’ says, “Bada li Bada’ means another opinion occurred to me. And al Jawhari says, “Bada lahu fi al Amr Bada’ means an opinion occurred to him in the matter.”[11]


Both meanings feature in the Qur’an. For example, the first meaning appears in the verse:


وَإِن تُبْدُوا مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ اللَّهُ

Whether you show what is within yourselves or conceal it, Allah will bring you to account for it.[12]


And the second meaning appears in the verse:


ثُمَّ بَدَا لَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا رَأَوُا الْآيَاتِ لَيَسْجُنُنَّهُ حَتّٰى حِينٍ

Then it occurred to them after they had seen the signs that he [i.e. al Aziz] should surely imprison him for a time.[13]


It is obvious that Bada’ with both its meanings necessitates the precedence of ignorance and the subsequent realisation of knowledge, both of which are impossible for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala; attributing them to Allah is the greatest disbelief. How can the Shia then claim that it is the greatest act of worship and likewise claim that Allah cannot be worshiped with anything like Bada’? Pure are you O Allah. This is indeed a very great slander.

This abhorrent meaning is found in the books of the Jews as well, for emphatic texts which entail the attribution of Bada’ to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala appear in the Torah which the Jews interpolated based on their desires[14]

Apparently it seems as if Ibn Saba’, the Jew, tried to spread this belief which he had thumb-sucked from his interpolated Torah in Muslim society which he tried to influence under the disguise of Shi’ism and the call for the partisanship of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is because all Saba’i sects believe in Bada’ and assert that every now and then otherwise occurs to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[15]

This doctrine, thereafter, moved on to the Kaysaniyyah or the Mukhtariyyah, the followers of Mukhtar ibn ‘Ubaid al Thaqafi. It was this sect which became famous for lending importance to the doctrine of Bada’ and espousing it amongst people.

The Heresiographers write that the reason why the Kaysaniyyah considered it permissible to attribute Bada’ to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is the following:


إن مصعب بن الزبير أرسل جيشا قويا لقتال المختار وأتباعه فبعث المختار إلي قتالهم أحمد بن شميط مع ثلاثة آلاف من المقاتلة وقال لهم: أوحي إلي أن الظفر يكون لكم فهزم ابن شميط فيمن كان معه فعادوا إليه فقالوا: أين الظفر الذي قد وعدتنا؟ فقال المختار: هكذا كان قد وعدني ثم بدا فإنه سبحانه وتعالي قد قال: يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ ۖ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ

Mus’ab ibn Zubair sent a powerful army to combat Mukhtar and his people, so Mukhtar sent Ahmed ibn Shamit to fight them with three thousand warriors and told them, “It has been revealed to me that victory will be for you.”

However, Ibn Shamit was defeated with those who were with him and subsequently returned to him and asked, “Where is the victory that you had promised us?”

He said, “That is what He had promised me, but then otherwise occurred to Him, for verily Allah says, Allah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book.”[16][17]


The reason, as you can see, for Bada’ was Mukhtar claiming to have knowledge of the unseen and of events to happen in the future. And subsequently when things transpired against what he had foretold he said, “It has occurred to your Lord.”

This very same phenomenon is found in the books of the Twelvers, for they propagated to their followers that the Imams possess knowledge of the past and the future and that nothing is hidden from them.[18] Subsequently, when they attributed foretellings to the Imams which did not materialise they said that this is due to Bada’.

The following narration appears in Bihar under the chapter of Bada’:


قال أبو جعفر وأبو عبد الله عليهما السلام: يا أبا حمزة إن حدثناك بأمر أنه يجيء من ههنا فجاء من ههنا فإن الله يصنع ما يشاء. وإن حدثناك بحديث وحدثناك غدا بخلافه فإن الله يمحو ما يشاء ويثبت

Abu Jafar and Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam said, “O Abu Hamzah, if we tell you of a matter that it is going to come from here and it ends up coming from there, certainly Allah does as He wishes. And if we tell you of something today and the next day we tell you something in complete contrast with it, Allah erases what he wants and he keeps what he wants.”[19]


The scholars of the Shia would give false hopes to their followers that one day, eventually, power will return to them, so much so that they had promised that it would return within seventy years according to one narration which they attribute to Abu Jafar. But when the seventy years passed and nothing came to being and the followers complained, the spearheaders of the dogma very conveniently found a way out by asserting that otherwise occurred to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala which demanded that He change His promise.[20]

Likewise the narrations of the Shia which were being circulated during the lifetime of Jafar al Sadiq, and which they attributed to him, foretold that Ismail, the son of Jafar, will be the Imam after him. But when things did not go as planned with Ismail passing away during the lifetime of his father, it posed a big threat to the Shia and the biggest split in the history of Shi’ism which remains to date occurred; i.e. the defection of a very big group of the Shia and their assertion that Ismail is the Imam; they are known as the Ismailiyyah. This defection happened even though they had resorted to Bada’ in order to resolve this conundrum. Hence they attributed narrations to Jafar, narrations which stated:


ما بدا لله بداء كما بدا له في إسمعيل ابني… إذ اخترمه قبلي ليعلم أنه ليس بإمام بعدي

Nothing has ever occurred to Allah as has occurred to him regarding my son Ismail, for He took him away before me only to realise that there is no Imam after me.[21]


The Twelvers had accepted this interpretation of the problem and accepted his brother, Musa, as the Imam instead of Ismail.

Similarly, the founding-fathers of Shi’ism claimed that their Imams had knowledge of events that happened, events that are to happen, the lives of people, and their destinies; but the followers and other people did not see any of this in them, nor did the Imams ever inform of any of these things, because they were never the prerogative of the Imams, nor did they claim that for themselves. Hence the founding fathers did not find anything by way of which they could justify this inability besides the doctrine of Bada’. Hence they have narrated from their Imams that they would not inform people of the unseen because they feared that otherwise would occur to Allah owing to which he would change his decision.[22]

They also claim that the Imams were given the knowledge of life, sustenance, calamities, afflictions, and sickness but with the condition of Bada’ (i.e. otherwise occurring to Allah).[23] This was another ploy which they deployed to cover their lies when they were exposed with incidents not happening as previously informed.

It is due to the nature of this belief that the Shia have ordered their followers to accept these contradictions, differences, and lies. In a lengthy narration which appears in Tafsir al Qummi, which talks of the end of the Abbasid Dynasty, the following appears:


       إذا حدثناكم بشيء فكان كما نقول فقولوا صدق الله ورسوله. وإن كان بخلاف ذلك فقولوا: صدق الله ورسوله توجروا مرتين

When we inform you of something and it happens as we inform you, say, “Allah and His Rasul spoke the truth.” And if it happens against that, say, “Allah and His Rasul spoke the truth.” You will get double the reward.[24]


In the wake of the doctrine of Bada’ signs of doubt already began to envelope the intelligent among the Shia; some of them had already picked up on how the game was being played and had thus denounced the Imami dogma completely. Some of the books of heresiography have recorded the story of at least one such person whose name was Sulaiman ibn Jarir, the eponym of the Sulaimaniyyah, a sub-sect of the Zaidiyyah. He is thus recorded to have said the following:


إن أئمة الرافضة وضعوا لشيعتهم مقالتين لايظهرون معهما من أئمتهم علي كذب أبدا. وهما القول بالبداء وإجازة التقية

The leaders of the Rafidah have invented two such beliefs for their followers that make it impossible to ever pick-up the lies of their leaders because of it, they are: believing in Bada’ and Taqiyyah.[25]


Subsequent to that, whilst living in the Shia society and associating with them he picked up how they use Bada’ as a cover up for their false attribution of the knowledge of the unseen to the Imams. He thus says:


إن أئمتهم لما أحلوا أنفسهم من شيعتهم محل الأنبياء من رعيتها في العلم فيما كان وما يكون، والأخبار بما يكون في غد، وقالوا لشيعتهم أنه سيكون غدا وفي غابر الأيام كذا كذا، فإن جاء ذلك الشيء علي ما قالوه قالوا لهم: ألم نعلمكم أن هذا يكون فنحن نعلم من قبل الله عزوجل ما علمته الأنبياء. وبيننا وبين الله عزوجل مثل تلك الأسباب التي علمت بها الأنبياء عن الله ما علمت. وإن لم يكن ذلك الشيء الذي قالوا أنه يكون علي ما قالوه، قالوا لشيعتهم: بدا لله في ذلك فلم يكونه

When their Imams accorded themselves the status which the prophets enjoyed among their people in terms of having knowledge of the past and the future and information of what is to happen the next day, and when they told their partisans that such and such an event is going to happen tomorrow and such and such an event happened previously. Then when that particular incident happened as they informed they would say “Did we not tell you that this was going to happen, for we know from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala what the prophets knew; and between us and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala are the very same mediums of knowledge through which the prophets received knowledge.” And if it happens against what they had communicated to their people they would say, “Otherwise occurred to Allah and thus he did not let it materialise.”[26]


He then goes onto explain how they deceive their followers through the belief of Taqiyyah, where after some of the Shia were convinced and they followed him.[27]

Having read this, you might have realised that if the doctrine of Bada’ falls away the Twelver dogma is destroyed from its very roots. This is because all their narrations and promises which did not materialise debunks the status of Imamah for their supposed Imams.

This is the reason for which the Shia scholars are so enthusiastic about the issue of Bada’ and why they defend it so fervently and consider it to be the greatest of all devotions.

However, the doctrine of Bada’ brought about the most disastrous result for them, i.e. a new reason for their disbelief and apostasy.[28] Because thereby they endeavoured to exonerate the creation, i.e. the Imam, from his foretellings not being true, from there being contradictions in his statements, from change in his opinion, and the development of a new opinion; but they attributed all of that to the Knower of the visible and the unseen. Pure is Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala from what the transgressors attribute to Him.[29]

Hence they exonerated the creation but not the creator. This was probably because their exaggerations regarding the Imams did not leave any respect in their hearts for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala owing to which they became victims of this grave disbelief.

The scholars of the Shia have tried to somehow or the other find a way out of this shameful stance and an escape from this disbelief.

We thus find that al Nasir al Tusi d. 672 A.H, whom al Majlisi accorded the title Muhaqqiq (research scholar), denied the existence of Bada’ as a doctrine of the Twelver dogma and averred thusly:


إنهم لا يقولون بالبداء وإنما القول بالبداء ما كان إلا رواية رووها عن جعفر الصادق أنه جعل إسماعيل القائم مقامه، فظهر من إسماعيل ما لم يرتضه منه، فجعل القائم موسي. فسئل عن ذلك فقال: بدا لله في أمر إسماعيل وهذه رواية وعندهم أن الخبر الواحد لا يوجب علما ولا عملا

They do not believe in Bada’, approving Bada’ was not but due to one narration which they narrated from Jafar al Sadiq when he appointed his son Ismail as his successor. But Ismail expressed certain things which Jafar did not like about him and he thus appointed Musa as his successor. And when he was asked about that he said, “Otherwise occurred to Allah regarding the matter of Ismail. This is just a mere narration; it has been transmitted to us through a single transmission which does not give the benefit of certainty and does not yield the requirement of practice.[30]


But this, as you might have noticed, is against reality, for Bada’ is certainly from one of their established beliefs, of which their narrations and reports talk abundantly. Al Majlisi, therefore, asserts that it is indeed an eerie response from al Tusi, and he asserts that it is on account of him not having a comprehensive grasp over the narrations.[31]

Whilst on the other hand, we find another group of Shia who acknowledge the doctrine of Bada’ but try to interpret it with an interpretation which is viable.

Hence Ibn Babawayh al Qummi tries to interpret their narrations in a way which smacks of confusion. Initially he says:


ليس البداء كما يظنه جهال الناس بأنه بداء ندامة تعالي الله عن ذلك، ولكنه يجب علينا أن نقر لله عزوجل بأن له البداء معناه أن له أن يبدأ بشيء من خلقه فيخلقه قبل شيء ثم يعدم ذلك الشيء و يبدأ بخلق غيره

It is not the Bada’ which the ignorant understand it to be, i.e. the Bada’ which brings about regret, for Allah is Pure from that. But what it means is that it is necessary for us to concede that for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala there is Bada’ in the sense that he has the prerogative to start creating something which he can thereafter destroy and subsequently start to create something else in its stead.[32]


As you might have noticed, his discussion here is unrelated to the subject under the discussion, for he is talking of Bada’ (which means starting to do something) and not of Bada’ (which is the occurrence of another view after having previously asserted otherwise). No Muslim disputes what he has stated above, if this was what they really meant by Bada’ no one would have denied it, nor would they look for ways to resolve the contradiction which overwhelms their narrations or for ways to explain the nonrealization of their foretellings.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:


وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنسَانِ مِن طِينٍ

And began the creation of man from clay.[33]


إِنَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ

He begins the [process of] creation and then repeats it.[34]


وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ

And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses.[35]


He, thereafter, recants his previous assertion and explains Bada’ to be abrogation. Hence after his previous explanation he states the following:


أو يأمر بأمر ثم ينهي عن مثله أو ينهي عن شيء ثم يأمر بمثل ما نهي عنه وذلك مثل نسخ الشرائع وتحويل القبلة وعدة المتوفي عنها زوجها

Or he orders something and then prohibits from something of its like, or he prohibits from something and orders something of its sort. It is just like abrogating rulings of the Shari’ah, changing the direction of the Qiblah and the waiting period of a woman whose husband passes away.[36]


But this is either ignorance or portraying ignorance. Because there is no Bada’ in abrogation wherein a ruling has a specific time in the Knowledge of Allah wherein He subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has prior knowledge of the ruling ending before its allocated time even approaches. Yes, in terms of the relationship of the abrogation to us it becomes clear to us after the abrogating ruling is revealed, but not to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[37]

Hence Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is pure from being described with Bada’, because the concept of Bada’ is in stark contrast with the All Encompassing Knowledge of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Allah is not free from abrogation, because abrogation is only stating the end of the period of the first ruling as per its previous existence in the Knowledge of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, even though according to us the revelation thereof for us is an outward occurrence of the otherwise.[38]

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has stipulated a specific time for every ruling in His Infinite Knowledge, hence when its time ends, another ruling replaces it; either order of prohibition, and thus it does not necessitate a change coming about in his Eternal Knowledge.[39]

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:


مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا

We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that we bring forth

better than it or similar to it.[40]


‘Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi has very severely condemned the Shia for equating abrogation with Bada’ and claiming that when Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala orders something and subsequently abrogates it, it is due to otherwise occurring to him.[41]

The Shia have went headlong into this deviance, and the author of Bihar al Anwar has presented some abrogated narrations as examples of Bada’[42] despite there being no link between the two.[43]

Nonetheless, towards the end of his explication of Bada’ Ibn Babawayh asserts the following:


إنما هو ظهور أمر، يقول العرب بدا لي شخص في طريقي أي: ظهر. قال الله عزوجل: وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَحْتَسِبُونَ. أي ظهر لهم ومتي ظهر لله تعالي ذكره من عبد صلة لرحمه زاد في عمره. ومتي ظهر له منه قطيعة لرحمه نقص من عمره

Bada’ is not but for something to become clear. The Arabs say, ‘Bada li Shaks fi Tariqi (a person became clear to me on the way), i.e. He appeared. Allah says, “And there will appear to them from Allah that which they had not taken into account,” i.e. became clear to them. And when it becomes clear to Allah that his servant fosters family ties he increases his age, and when it becomes clear to him that he severs them he decreases his age.[44]


This is again repeating the very same deviant belief but after changing it and presenting it differently…

Increasing the age of the one who joins family ties has nothing to do with Bada’ (or the occurrence of something to Allah which was not previously in his knowledge). But fostering family ties is a means of the elongation of life, and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has decreed both lifespan and the means for increase in it. Hence, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala decreed that so and so will foster family ties due to which he will achieve that end result; if it were not for that he would not have achieved this end result. He has likewise decreed that so and so will sever his family ties and thus will live for such and such amount of time.[45]

On the other hand, al Tusi has opted for a rather safer way of interpreting the doctrine of Bada’ than Ibn Babawayh. He states:


قوله بدا لله فيه معناه بدا من الله فيه. وهكذا القول في جميع ما يروي من أنه بدا لله في أسماعيل معناه أنه بدا من الله، فإن الناس كانوا يظنون في إسماعيل بن جعفر أنه الإمام بعد أبيه، فلما مات علموا بطلان ذلك

Saying Bada Lillah (it occurred to Allah) actually means Bada min Allah (it occurred from Allah). This is the interpretation of all those narrations which state that otherwise occurred to Allah regarding Ismail, i.e. otherwise occurred from Allah. For the people were thinking that Ismail ibn Jafar was going to be the Imam after his father, but when he passed away they came to realise (from Allah) that their assumption was wrong.[46]


This is the apologetic answer of al Tusi. It is obvious that if the occurrence of a new thought or idea happens to the creation when something unexpected happens, it does not impact the Islamic faith in any way.

One of the contemporary scholars of the Shia has followed al Tusi in this explanation, and that Muhammad Hussain Al Kashif al Ghita’, he thus says:


البداء وإن كان جوهر معناه هو ظهور الشيء بعد خفائه، ولكن ليس المراد به هنا ظهور الشيء لله جل شأنه وأي حريجة ومسكة يقول بهذه المضلة، بل المراد ظهور الشيء من الله لمن يشاء من خلقه بعد إخفائه عنهم. وقولنا بدا لله أي بدا حكم الله أو شأن الله

Even though Bada’ means the clarity of something after its obscurity, but here it does not mean that something becomes clear to Allah after it was previously obscure upon him. How can any person of sound intellect and thoroughness ever say something like that? Rather it means clarity coming from Allah for whomsoever he wants in his creation after the matter having previously being obscure upon them. And when we say, “It became clear to Allah,” it means the command of Allah or the matter of Allah.[47]


However, a person who studies their narrations will never find them to be harmonious with this interpretation, for they attribute Bada’ to Allah and not to the creation, which is why their Imams refused to inform of the unseen due to the fear of Bada’ (otherwise occurring to Allah). They have attributed to Lut ‘alayh al Salam that he sought the punishment hastily from the angels fearing that otherwise might occur to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, he told them:


تأخذونهم الساعة فإني أخاف أن يبدو لربي فيهم. فقالوا يا لوط إن موعدهم الصبح أليس الصبح بقريب

Punish them immediately, for I fear that otherwise will occur to my Lord regarding them, the angels said, “O Lut their time is the morning, is not the morning near.”[48]


And in al Kafi the following narration appears:


عن أبي هشام الجعفري قال: كنت عند أبي الحسن عليه السلام بعد مضي ابنه أبي جعفر وإني أفكر في نفسي أريد أن أقول كأنهما أعني: أبا جعفر وأبا عبد الله، في هذا الوقت كأبي الحسن موسي وإسماعيل ابني جعفر بن محمد عليهم السلام، وإن قصتهما كقصتهما، إذ كان أبو محمد المرجي بعد أبي جعفر عليه السلام فأقبل علي أبو الحسن قبل أن أنطق فقال: نعم يا أبا هاشم بدا لله في أبي محمد بعد أبي جعفر عليه السلام ما لم يكن يعرف له، كما بد له في موسي بعد مضي إسماعيل ما كشف به عن حاله وهو كما حدثتك نفسك وإن كره المبطلون

Abu Hashim al Jafari says, “I was by Abu al Hassan ‘alayh al Salam after his son Abu Jafar passed away, I was thinking about that and wanted to say that they both, i.e. Abu Jafar and Abu Muhammad ‘alayh al Salam, were just like Abu al Hassan Musa and Ismail the two sons of Jafar ibn Muhammad ‘alayh al Salam, their story is just like theirs, for Abu Muhammad was the next candidate after Abu Jafar ‘alayh al Salam. But before I could say anything Abu al Hassan said, “Yes O Abu Hashim! It occurred to Allah regarding Abu Muhammad after Abu Jafar that which he did not know about him, just as it occurred to him regarding Musa after the demise of Ismail that which disclosed his condition. And the matter is as your heart suggests to, even if the wrongdoers dislike it.”[49]


Focus on the statement, “It occurred to Allah regarding him that which he had not previously known about him,” you will find that they emphatically attribute Bada’ to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. These people therefore do not have any reverence for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and they have used the doctrine of Bada’ to keep the opportunity of choice in the Ahlul Bayt and the recanting thereof without them being blamed by their followers. But they did not consider the Right of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala when devising this plan. This is because the fabricators of these narrations were such that their hearts were void of the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and hope in Him.

Furthermore, if Bada’ was really the occurrence of a new opinion to the people from Allah then what is the reason for all this exaggeration regarding it; why is it the best of devotions and a fundamental belief. Likewise, the word Bada’ linguistically bears a very bad meaning in the Arabic language in which the Qur’an was revealed, so how can it be considered a foundational pillar of Din and how can there be an effort to thereafter find a ‘suitable’ interpretation for it.


Their Evidence for the Doctrine of Bada’

After the doctrine of Bada’ attained firm grounding in the Shia dogma thanks to the invented narrations of al Kulayni, the scholars of the Shia sought evidence for it in the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Seemingly it was not enough for them to attribute this lie to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala so they went on to claim that the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala also contains it. Hence they latched onto the verse:


يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ

Allah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book.[50]


It should be noted that the first person to use this verse in substantiation of the fallacy of Bada’ was Mukhtar ibn ‘Ubaid al Thaqafi;[51] he was subsequently followed by the scholars of the Shia who contrived narrations attributing them to some scholars of the Ahlul Bayt.[52] Their drawing evidence from this verse is indeed erroneous and marked with stark artificiality. Because elimination and confirmation both happen with the Knowledge and the Power of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala without anything occurring to Him which He had not previously known. How can Bada’ be perceived regarding him when he has the of the mother book and possesses eternal and All Encompassing Knowledge:


وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِين

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.[53]


عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا أَصْغَرُ مِن ذٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرُ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

Not absent from Him is an atom’s weigh within the heavens or within the earth or [what is] smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear register.[54]


There are many other verses of this sort. Affirming Bada’ for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala tends to belie all these verses.[55] Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states at the end of the verse that all elimination and confirmation happen with His will and are recorded in the Mother Book.[56]


Narrations in the Books of the Twelvers which Refute the Doctrine of Bada’

Debunking the argument of the opponent with his own assertions is the strongest form of debunking, because he destroys himself with his own weapon and the existence of contradiction in his assertions is a sign of them being invalid. Hence you will find many narrations in the books of the Shia wherein the Imams are reported to have cursed those who believe in Bada’ with disgrace. These narrations contradict the narrations that have passed previously.

It is very possible that these narrations are authentically linked to the scholars of the Ahlul Bayt due to them revealing the reality which is congruous with these erudite people. And they probably are the remains of the moderate Shia which left their mark in the books of the Twelvers. Likewise it is not improbable that the heretics who invented the narrations of Bada’ contrived these narrations as a cover up for their doctrine of Bada’.

Be it as it may, citing these narrations will show the extent of contradiction which is found in the narrations of this cult and will illustrate that it is based upon anomalous views which are in complete contrast with the majority and their tradition. Because according to them what opposes the majority entails good and guidance, as has always been the motto of the heretics, in such a way that it takes a person out of the fold of Islam.

The following narration appears in al Tawhid of Ibn Babawayh:


عن منصور بن حازم قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام هل يكون اليوم شيء لم يكن في علم الله تعالي بالأمس؟ قال: لا، من قال هذا فأخزاه الله، قلت: أرأيت ما كان وما هو كائن إلي يوم القيامة أليس في علم الله قال: بلي، قبل أن يخلق الخلق.

Mansur ibn Hazim mentions, “I asked Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam, ‘Can anything which was not in the Knowledge of Allah yesterday happen today?”

He said, “No. May Allah disgrace whoever says that.”

I thus said, “Is it not that whatever happened and whatever is to happen till the Day of Judgement in the knowledge of Allah?”

He said, “Indeed. Allah had prior knowledge of everything even before creating the creation.”[57]


There is no doubt that the doctrine of Bada’ in terms of its literal meaning, in light of the narrations of the Twelvers, and in light of the interpretation of their scholars; suggests that what Allah had no knowledge of yesterday might occur to Him today.

It is indeed a very grave indictment for the Shia that they exonerate their Imams of such a flaw but attribute it to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Hence when the foretelling of the Imam does not materialise they exonerate the Imam but they attribute the flaw thereof to Allah. And if you study their beliefs regarding the Oneness of Allah in terms of Him being the deity and the nourisher and His Oneness in His Names and Qualities, you will find that they have given their Imams the position of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in their hearts and minds, all because of the influence of those infectious narrations with which their books are replete. The doctrine of Bada’ is likewise the aftermath of their exaggeration regarding the Imams.


NEXT⇒ Chapter Eight – The Doctrine of Tinah 

[1] Usul al Kafi: Chapter of Tawhid: Sub-chapter regarding Bada’ 1/146; Ibn Babawayh: al Tawhid p. 332; Bihar al Anwar: Chapter of Tawhid: Sub-chapter regarding Bada’ 4/107.

[2] Usul al Kafi 1/146; Ibn Babawayh: al Tawhid p. 333; Bihar al Anwar 4/107.

[3] Usul al Kafi 1/148; Ibn Babawayh: al Tawhid p. 334; Bihar al Anwar 4/108.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Al I’tiqadat p. 89.

[6] Al Tawhid p. 331.

[7] Bihar al Anwar 4/92-129.

[8] Al Muzaffar: ‘Aqa’id al Imamiyyah p. 69; al Zanjani: ‘Aqa’id al Ithnay ‘Ashariyyah 1/34.

[9] Al Dhari’ah Ila Tasanif al Shia 3/53-57.

[10] Al Qamus al Muhit: under the root letters ب د و (4/302).

[11] Al Sihah 6/2278; Lisan al ’Arab 14/66; also see: al Tarihi: Majma’ al Bahrayn 1/45.

[12] Surah al Baqarah: 284.

[13] Surah Yusuf: 35.

[14] For the example, the following appears in the Torah: The Lord seen that the evil of men increased upon the land… He thus regretted creating men upon the earth and his heart was troubled. And the Lord thus said, “I will certainly destroy men whom I had created upon the face of this earth…” (Book of Genesis: the sixth chapter: paragraph no. 5) This type of false phenomenon features frequently in their Torah. See: the Book of Exodus: chapter 32: paragraph no. 12-14; the Book of Judges: second chapter: paragraph no. 18; Book one of Samuel: chapter fifteen: paragraph no. 10 and 34; Book two of Samuel: chapter 24: paragraph no. 16; Book one of Chronicles: chapter 21: paragraph no. 1; Book of Jeremiah: chapter 42: paragraph no. 10; Book of Amos: chapter 7: paragraph 3; Book of Jonah: chapter 3: paragraph no. 10.

This is what appears in the Torah of the Jews, whereas they do not believe in abrogation since, according to them, it leads to Bada’. (Masa’il al Imamah p. 75; Manahil al ’Irfan 2/78). See their contradiction and see how they refute the truth and accept falsehood.

[15] Al Malati: al Tanbih wa al Radd p. 19.

[16] Surah al Ra’d: 39.

[17] Al Asfarayini: al Tabsir fi al Din p. 20; al Baghdadi: al Farq bayn al Firaq p. 50-52.

[18] Usul al Kafi: chapter: the Imams possess knowledge of the past and the future and that nothing is hidden from him 1/260.

[19] Bihar al Anwar 4/119; Tafsir al ’Ayyashi 2/217; al Burhan 2/299.

[20] Tafsir al ’Ayyashi 2/218; al Tusi; al Ghaybah p. 263; Bihar al Anwar 4/214.

[21] Ibn Babawayh: al Tawhid p. 336; see also: Usul al Kafi 1/327.

[22] For example, they have attributed the following to ‘Ali ibn al Hussain:

لولا البداء لحدثتكم بما يكون إلي يوم القيامة

If it was not for Bada’, I would have told you of everything to happen till the Day of Judgement. (See: Tafsir al ’Ayyashi 2/215; Bihar al Anwar 4/118).

[23] Tafsir al Qummi 2/290; Bihar al Anwar 4/101.

[24] Tafsir al Qummi 2/290; Bihar al Anwar 4/101.

[25] Al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 78; Firaq al Shia of al Nawbakhti p. 64.

[26] Al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 78; Firaq al Shia p. 64-65. Also see: al Razi: Muhassal Afkar al Mutaqaddimin wa al Muta’akhirin p. 249. Although Sulaiman ibn Jarir attributes this deception to the Ahlul Bayt, it was these heretics who were in reality exploiting the name of the Ahlul Bayt to amass wealth wrongly and to plan and plot against Islam.

[27] Al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 78; Firaq al Shia p. 65.

[28] Al Ghazali: al Mustasfa 1/110.

[29] Al WaShia p. 172.

[30] Al Tusi: Talkhis al Muhassal p. 250.

[31] Bihar al Anwar 4/123.

[32] Al Tawhid p. 335.

[33] Surah al Sajdah: 7.

[34] Surah Yunus: 4.

[35] Surah al Qasas: 68.

[36] Al Tawhid p. 335.

[37] Al WaShia p. 183.

[38] Mustafa Zaid: al Naskh fi al Qur’an 1/20

[39]Muhammad Abu Zuhrah: al Imam al Sadiq p. 241.

[40] Surah al Baqarah: 106.

[41] Al Milal wa al Nihal p. 52.

[42] Bihar al Anwar 93/83-84.

[43] For more details on the differences between abrogation and Bada’ see the following: Abu Jafar al Nahhas: al Nasikh wa al Mansukh p. 44; Abu al Husain al Basari: al Mu’tamad fi Usul al Fiqh 1/368-369; Makki al Qaisi: Nasikh al Qur’an wa Mansukhuh p. 98-99; Ibn Hazm: al Ihkam fi Usul al Ahkam 4/68-69; al Amidi: al Ihkam fi Usul al Ahkam 3/109-112; Muhammad Hamzah: Dirasat al Ahkam wa al Naskh fi al Qur’an p. 59.

[44] Al Tawhid p. 336.

[45] Sharh al Tahawiyyah p. 92.

[46] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 55.

[47] Al Din wa al Islam p. 173.

[48] Furu’ al Kafi 5/546.

[49] Usul al Kafi 1/327.

[50] Surah al Ra’d: 39.

[51] See Narration above of Footnote 16 and 17. Click Here

[52] Usul al Kafi 1/146; Ibn Babawayh: al Tawhid p. 333, onwards.

[53] Surah al An’am: 59.

[54] Surah Saba’: 3.

[55] See: al Ghazali: al Mustasfa 1/110; Mukhtasar al Sawaqi’ 1/110; al Amidi: al Ahkam 3/111.

The exegetes have differed as to the meaning of elimination and confirmation and there are eight opinions in that regard (see: Ibn al Jawzi: Zad al Masir 4/337-338). Some aver that Allah eliminates rulings of Shari’ah by abrogating them, and he confirms others, both based on His will. The commentator of al Tahawiyyah avers that this meaning is harmonious with the context (Sharh al Tahawiyyah p. 94). Ibn Jarir al Tabari says, “The most preferred interpretation of the verse is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala threatened the polytheists who ask Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for miracles with his punishment and told them:


وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُوْلٍ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِآيَةٍ إلَّا بِإذْنِ اللهِ لِكُلِّ أَجَلٍ كِتَابٌ

It is not possible for a messenger to bring a miracle but with the permission of Allah, for every time there is a record. (Al Ra’d: 38)


Thereby informing them that there is a set time for Allah’s decree regarding them, till which they will be given respite, he then tells them that when that time arrives Allah will eliminate those whose death is imminent and whose sustenance has seized. Simultaneously he will confirm or keep those who still have time and sustenance in this world (see: Tafsir al Tabari 13/170).

Others have given preference to the generalisation of the elimination and confirmation to everything (see: Fath al Qadir 3/88).

However, Ibn Juzay objected to those who generalise the verse and says that it is debunked by the established principle that the decree of Allah does not change, nor does his knowledge (see: al Tashil 2/136.

Al Shawkani responding to this says that generalising the verse is not against that principle due to elimination and confirmation also being part of what Allah has decreed (see: Fath al Qadir 3/88).

And al Qasimi has interpreted the word Ayat to mean miracles (see: Tafsir al Qasimi 13/372-373). Also refer to Tafsir al Baghawi 3/22-23; Tafsir Ibn Kathir 2/559-561; Tafsir al Alusi 13/169-172; al Sa’di Taysir al Karim al Rahman 4/116-117.

These are some of the interpretations of the Muslims in this regard; none of them said anything like that of the blasphemous interpretation of the Shia.

[56] ‘Abd al Razzaq ‘Afifi: commentary of Amidi’s al Ihkam 3/111.

[57] Al Tawhid p. 334; Usul al Kafi 1/148. See another narration with a similar meaning in al Kafi 1/148.