The original sect of the Shia abandoned the truth and were sluggish in assisting their leader, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They were cowards and deceivers who possessed love for this world and its contents. They gave preference to living over dying in the path of the truth. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself described them whilst addressing them:
وإني والله لأظن أن هؤلاء القوم سيدالون منكم باجتماعهم على باطلهم وتفرقكم عن حقكم وبمعصيتكم إمامكم في الحق وطاعتهم إمامهم في الباطل وبأدائهم الأمانة إلى صاحبهم وخيانتكم وبصلاحهم في بلادهم وفسادكم فلو ائتمنت أحدكم على قعب لخشيت أن يذهب بعلاقته
Indeed, by Allah, I believe these people will soon misguide you due to their persistence on the wrong and your fleeing from the truth, due to your disobeying your Imam in the matters of truth and their obeying their Imam in the matters of falsehood, due to their fulfilling the right of their companion and your treachery, due to them bettering their lands and your corruption. If I were to entrust one of you with a cave, I would fear that he would disrupt its peace.
Despite this attitude of theirs, the original Shia did not hold the blasphemous beliefs of the latter day Shia, beliefs such as Tahrif (interpolation) of the noble Qur’an, or rejecting the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They also did not deem the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be disbelievers, nor denied their virtue, especially with regards to the three Rightly Guided Khalifas—Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Uthman—and the Wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—the Mothers of the Believers radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They did not have a religion that was separate from the religion of the Believers. They also did not have any specific acts of worship, distinguishing signs or rituals. They would perform salah as the Believers did, alongside them in their congregation, and would perform Hajj as they would under their command. They would also intermarry with them; this was before and after the battles and unfortunate events that took place, as we have already explained, and as we will explain later in detail, Allah willing. However, there were individuals amongst them who were influenced by deceiving notions, Jewish plots, and non-Islamic ideologies that came from the Saba’iyyah and hypocrites that outwardly proclaimed Islam but hid their hypocrisy within themselves. Due to this, they strayed from the straight path and from the party of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his supporters. [These groups included] the Saba’iyyah, the Khawarij, and other misguided, transgressing sects that had no love for Sayyidina ‘Ali and his progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum. In fact, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the pure amongst his progeny are not even associated with them. These deviants have fabricated in Islam and in the name of Islam that which has neither been revealed in the Qur’an, nor mentioned by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The early Shia, however, were neither amongst them, nor has anything of this sort been related from them. However, after a period of time, specifically after the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they adopted the ideologies of the Saba’iyyah, whose sails were kept aloft by gusts of the Jews, fire worshippers, and other deviant sects who wished to rebel against the Ummah and destroy it. They adopted these beliefs and the deeper they delved into them and held on to them, the more misguided and foolish they became. They eventually broke up into a multitude of sects. Amongst them are those who fell prey to extremism, blindly venturing into it whilst transgressing all boundaries; thus, earning the title of the Ghulat (extremists). There were others who were moderate in accepting falsehood instead of the truth. These were called the Mutawassitin (moderate ones). There were others who took only a few things, one or two handfuls, and did not reach the bottom of it nor dive right into it. They were named the Mu’tadilin and the Munsifin (just). All of these groups are one, due to them having learnt from the evil Jews and clinging on to the coat tails of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. Everyone took as much as they could, each content with their share, except for those who neither associated with them nor indulged in their ideologies, neither openly nor secretly. They instead abandoned it entirely.
These ideologies and opinions, which were laid like traps amongst the Believers, especially between the supporters of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his children, came about after the conspiracy that was hatched and the web that was woven by the Jews of Yemen along with others, orchestrated by ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. They eventually created division in the Ummah, disruption in unity, spread corruption between them through swords, corrupted the religion of the Believers, and spread anarchism and atheism with the intention to change the divine Shari’ah and destroy it. Based on this, al Asfarayini says, after mentioning all the sects of the Shia:
و اعلم أن جميع من ذكرناهم من فرق الإمامية متفقون على تكفير الصحابة و يدعون أن القرآن قد غير عما كان و وقع فيه الزيادة والنقصان من قبل الصحابة و يزعمون أنه لا اعتماد على القرآن الأول ولا على شيء من الأخبار المروية عن المصطفى ﷺ و يزعمون أنه قد كان في القرآن النص على إمامة علي فأسقطه الصحابة عنه و يزعمون أنه لا اعتماد على الشريعة التي في أيدي المسلمين وينتظرون إماما يسمونه المهدي يخرج و يعلمهم الشريعة وليسوا في الحال على شيء من الدين وليس مقصودهم من هذا الكلام تحقيق الكلام في الإمامة ولكن مقصودهم إسقاط كلمة تكليف الشريعة عن أنفسهم حتى يتوسعوا في استحلال المحرمات الشرعية و يعتذروا عند العوام بما يعدونه من تحريف الشريعة وتغيير القرآن من عند الصحابة و لا مزيد على هذا النوع من الكفر إذ لا بقاء فيه على شيء من الدين
Know that all the sects of the Imamiyyah that we have mentioned consider the Companions to be disbelievers. They claim that the Qur’an is no longer as it was [when it was revealed] and say that the Companions added to it and removed from it. They claim that neither the first Qur’an nor any narration from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are to be considered. They say that there was clear text in the Qur’an about the Imamah of ‘Ali but the Companions omitted it and claim that the Shari’ah that the Muslims practice is not legitimate. They await an imam, who they call al Mahdi, who will appear and teach them the Shari’ah, thus they do not have a religion at the moment. However, their purpose of making these claims is not to prove who is more worthy of the Imamah. They merely wish to rid themselves of the obligation of the Shari’ah to such an extent that they deemed those things permissible that the Shari’ah prohibited. They then excuse themselves in front of the public with their claims that the Shari’ah was distorted and the Companions changed the Qur’an. There is no disbelief worse than this, as there is no part of Islam left in it.
This as well as what we have already mentioned and hope to mention ahead [are noteworthy points]. We wish to prove that the progression of the first Shi’ism and the deviation of the first sect of Shi’ism came about through the influence of the ideologies of the Jews and fire worshippers which were embodied by ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ or the Saba’iyyah. Therefore, it is necessary that we mention ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, his supporters— the Saba’iyyah, and their efforts in spreading corruption and false beliefs amongst the weak.
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew from the people of San’a’ and his mother was an African woman.
وقد كان عبد الله بن سبأ هذا يهوديا في قلبه حفيظة على الدين الجديد الذي أزال ما كان اليهود يتمتعون به من الهيمنة والسلطان على عرب المدينة والحجاز عامة فأسلم في أيام عثمان ثم تنقل في بلاد الحجاز ثم ذهب إلى البصرة ثم إلى الكوفة ثم إلى الشام وهو يحاول في كل بلد ينزل بها أن يضل ضعاف الأحلام ولكنه لم يستطع السبيل إلى ذلك فأتى مصر فأقام بين أهلها وما فتئ يلفتهم عن أصول دينهم ويزين لهم ذلك بما يزخرفه من القول حتى وجد مرتعاً خصبا وكان مما قاله لهم إني لأعجب كيف تصدقون أن عيسى بن مريم يرجع إلى هذه الدنيا وتكذبون أن محمدا يرجع إليها وما زال بهم حتى انقادوا إلى القول بالرجعة وقبلوا ذلك منه فكان هو أول من وضع لأهل هذه الملة القول بالرجعة وقبلوا ذلك منه ثم قال لهم بعد ذلك إنه قد كان لكل نبي وصي وإن علي بن أبي طالب هو وصي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وليس في الناس من هو أظلم ممن احتجر وصية رسول الله ولم يجزها بل هو يتعدى ذلك فيثب على الوصي ويقتسره على حقه وإن عثمان قد أخذ حق علي وظلمه فانهضوا في هذا الأمر وليكن سبيلكم إلى إعادة الحق لأهله الطعن على أمرائكم وإظهار الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر فإنكم تستميلون بذلك قلوب الناس واتخذ لهذه الدعوة أنصارا بثهم في الأمصار وما زال يكاتبهم ويكاتبونه حتى نفذ قضاء الله وكان الضحية الأولى لهذه المؤامرة ذلك الخليفة الذي قتل مظلوما وبين يديه كتاب الله واعتدى على منزله وحرمه وكان قضاء الله قدرا مقدورا
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew who had a grudge in his heart against the new religion that removed the supremacy and authority that the Jews used to have over the Arabs of Madinah and Hijaz in general. He accepted Islam at the time of ‘Uthman. He moved to different places in Hijaz then went to Basrah then Kufah then Syria. In every place he went, he tried to misguide the weak minded; however, he was not successful, so he came to Egypt. He stayed amongst the people of Egypt and continuously persuaded them to leave the principles of their religion. Through his words, he would beautify this idea to them until he eventually found a suitable hotspot. One of the things he said to them was, “I am surprised at how you believe that ‘Isa ibn Maryam can come back to this world, but deny that Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will?” He continued to mention this to them until they believed that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would return and they accepted this from him. He was therefore the first person to introduce the doctrine of Raj’ah to the Ummah. After that he said to them, “Each Prophet had a deputy and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib is the appointed deputy of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! There is no one on earth more unjust than the one who abandons the advice of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and does not practice upon it. In fact, he has done something worse than that. He leaps on to the deputy and infringes upon his rights. ‘Uthman has indeed usurped the right of ‘Ali and wronged him, so rise up in support of this cause and let your intention be to return the right to its deserving owner, revile your leaders and openly call towards goodness and prohibit evil, for indeed that will cause you to capture the hearts of the people.” To invite towards this, he appointed helpers and spread them out in different countries. He would remain in contact with them and they with him through letters, until the decree of Allah came to be. The first victim of this conspiracy was the Khalifah that was wrongfully killed with the Book of Allah before him, whose house and sanctuary were breached, and the decree of Allah was predestined.
The early Historian, al Tabari, mentions it as follows:
كان عبد الله بن سبأ يهوديا من أهل صنعاء أمه سوداء فأسلم زمان عثمان ثم تنقل في بلدان المسلمين يحاول ضلالتهم فبدأ بالحجاز ثم البصرة ثم الكوفة ثم الشام فلم يقدر على ما يريد عند أحد من أهل الشام فأخرجوه حتى أتى مصر فاعتمر فيهم فقال لهم فيما يقول لعجب ممن يزعم أن عيسى يرجع ويكذب بأن محمدا يرجع وقد قال الله عز وجل إِنَّ الَّذِيْ فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لَرَآدُّكَ إِلٰى مَعَادٍ فمحمد أحق بالرجوع من عيسى قال فقبل ذلك عنه ووضع لهم الرجعة فتكلموا فيها ثم قال لهم بعد ذلك إنه كان ألف نبي ولكل نبي وصي وكان علي وصي محمد ثم قال محمد خاتم الأنبياء وعلي خاتم الأوصياء ثم قال بعد ذلك من أظلم ممن لم يجز وصية رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ووثب على وصي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وتناول أمر الأمة ثم قال لهم بعد ذلك إن عثمان أخذها بغير حق وهذا وصي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فانهضوا في هذا الأمر فحركوه وأبدؤوا بالطعن على أمرائكم وأظهروا الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر تستميلوا الناس وادعوهم إلى هذا الأمر فبث دعاته وكاتب من كان إستفسد في الأمصار وكاتبوه ودعوا في السر إلى ما عليه رأيهم وأظهروا الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر وجعلوا يكتبون إلى الأمصار بكتب يضعونها في عيوب ولاتهم ويكاتبهم إخوانهم بمثل ذلك ويكتب أهل كل مصر منهم إلى مصر آخر بما يصنعون فيقرؤه أولئك في أمصارهم وهؤلاء في أمصارهم حتى تناولوا بذلك المدينة وأوسعوا الأرض إذاعة وهم يريدون غير ما يظهرون ويسرون غير ما يبدون فيقول أهل كل مصر إنا لفي عافية مما ابتلي به هؤلاء إلا أهل المدينة فإنهم جاءهم ذلك عن جميع الأمصار فقالوا إنا لفي عافية مما فيه الناس وجامعه محمد وطلحة من هذا المكان قالوا فأتوا عثمان فقالوا يا أمير المؤمنين أيأتيك عن الناس الذي يأتينا قال لا والله ما جاءني إلا السلامة قالوا فإنا قد أتانا وأخبروه بالذي أسقطوا إليهم قال فأنتم شركائي وشهود المؤمنين فأشيروا علي قالوا نشير عليك أن تبعث رجالا ممن تثق بهم إلى الأمصار حتى يرجعوا إليك بأخبارهم فدعا محمد بن مسلمة فأرسله إلى الكوفة وأرسل أسامة بن زيد إلى البصرة وأرسل عمار بن ياسر إلى مصر وأرسل عبد الله بن عمر إلى الشام وفرق رجالا سواهم فرجعوا جميعا قبل عمار فقالوا أيها الناس ما أنكرنا شيئا ولا أنكره أعلام المسلمين ولا عوامهم وقالوا جميعا الأمر أمر المسلمين إلا أن أمراءهم يقسطون بينهم ويقومون عليهم واستبطأ الناس عمارا حتى ظنوا أنه قد اغتيل فلم يفجأهم الا كتاب من عبد الله ابن سعد بن أبي سرح يخبرهم أن عمارا قد استماله قوم بمصر وقد انقطعوا إليه منهم عبد الله بن السوداء وخالد بن ملجم وسودان بن حمران وكنانة بن بشر
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew from San’a’ whose mother was a black woman. He accepted Islam during the era of ‘Uthman, then began to move around the lands of the Believers trying to misguide them. He first began with Hijaz then Basrah, Kufah, and Syria. He was unable to have his way with anyone amongst the people of Syria, and they eventually exiled him. He then travelled to Egypt and lived there.
One of the things he said to them was, “How strange is he who believes that ‘Isa will return but denies that Muhammad will return, whereas Allah has said, ‘Indeed, [O Muhammad], He who imposed upon you the Qur’an will take you back to a place of return.’ Muhammad is more deserving to return than ‘Isa.” This was accepted from him, the doctrine of Raj’ah was established in their minds and they began discussing it.
After that, he told them that there were one thousand Prophets and each Prophet had a deputy and ‘Ali was the deputy of Muhammad. He said, “Muhammad is the Seal of all Prophets and ‘Ali is the seal of all deputies.” After that he said, “Who is more unjust than the one who does not practice upon the advice of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and pounces on the deputy of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and seizes control over the matters of the Ummah?” He then said to them, “Indeed, ‘Uthman took control unjustly. This [‘Ali] is the deputy of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so rise up in this matter and raise awareness to it. Begin by reviling your leaders and openly call towards goodness and prohibit evil, for indeed this will attract people. Then call them to support this matter.”
He spread out his preachers and wrote to those who spread corruption in different cities, and they too wrote to him. They secretly called towards their cause and they openly commanded good and prohibited evil. They began writing to different cities about faults that they falsely attributed to their leaders. They would write to their brothers about this and the people of those cities would write to other cities about what they were doing. The people of this city and that city would read these letters until eventually this news reached Madinah. They spanned the earth trying to publicise this, with motives besides what they made apparent and hiding that which was not evident. The inhabitants of each city would say, “We have been saved from what these [people of this city] have been afflicted with,” except the people of Madinah as this news only came to them from the rest of the cities. They therefore said, “We have been saved from what everyone has been afflicted with.”
Muhammad and Talhah [narrate the same until this point.] From here onwards, they say, “They came to ‘Uthman and said, ‘O Leader of the Believers, does the news that reaches us from the people reach you too?’
He said, ‘No, by Allah, only news of their peace has reached me.’
They said, ‘Some news has indeed come to us,’ and they informed him of the news that reached them.
He said, ‘You are my partners and witnesses over the Believers, so advise me!’
They said, ‘We advise you to send men that you trust to these cities, so that they may bring information to you about them.’ So, he called Muhammad ibn Maslamah and sent him to Kufah. He sent Usamah ibn Zaid to Basrah, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir to Egypt, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar to Syria, and sent other men besides them.
They all returned before ‘Ammar and said, ‘O people, neither did we, nor the high-ranking Believers, nor the ordinary Believers find anything wrong.’ All of them said that the affairs were in the hands of the Believers and that their leaders would deal with them with justice and look after them. The people found that ‘Ammar delayed to such an extent that they thought that he was abducted. They were uninformed until a letter from ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh came to them informing them that ‘Ammar had been inclined towards the people of Egypt and that they sent towards him from amongst them ‘Abdullah ibn al Sawda’, Khalid ibn Muljam, Sawdan ibn Hamran, and Kinanah ibn Bishr. 
Ibn Kathir and Ibn al Athir both mention a similar narration. Ibn Khaldun mentions in his Tarikh about him:
إن عبد الله بن سبأ يعرف بابن السوداء كان يهوديا فهاجر أيام عثمان فلم يحسن إسلامه فأخرج من البصرة فلحق بالكوفة ثم بالشام و أخرجوه فلحق بمصر وكان يكثر الطعن على عثمان و يدعو في السر إلى أهل البيت… وكان يحرض الناس على القيام في ذلك والطعن على الأمراء فاستمال الناس بذلك في الأمصار وكاتب به بعضهم بعضا وكان معه خالد بن ملجم وسودان بن حمران و كنانة بن بشر فثبطوا عمارا عن المسير إلى المدينة و كان مما أنكروه على عثمان إخراج أبي ذر من الشام و من المدينة إلى الربذة وكان الذي دعا إلى ذلك شدة الورع من أبي ذر و حمله الناس على شدائد الأمور و الزهد في الدنيا وأنه لا ينبغي لأحد أنيكون عنده أكثر من قوت يومه و يأخذ بالظاهر في ذم الادخار بكنز الذهب والفضة و كان ابن سبأ يأتيه فيغريه بمعاوية ويعيب قوله المال مال الله و يوهم أن في ذلك احتجانه للمال وصرفه على المسلمين حتى عتب أبو ذر معاوية فاستعتب له وقال سأقول مال المسلمين و أتى ابن سبأ إلى أبي الدرداء و عبادة بن الصامت بمثل ذلك فدفعوه وجاء به عبادة إلى معاوية وقال هذا الذي بعث عليك أبا ذر
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was known as Ibn al Sawda’. He was a Jew who migrated during the rule of ‘Uthman [and accepted Islam]; however, he was not sincere, so he was eventually driven out. Thus, he travelled to Kufah then Syria, from where he was driven out as well, causing him to travel to Egypt. He would revile ‘Uthman abundantly and would secretly call towards the Ahlul Bayt… He would encourage the people to take a stand for this cause and to revile their leaders. Through this he eventually drew the attention of the people of different cities and began writing to them to incite hatred within them. Alongside him were Khalid ibn Muljam, Sawdan ibn Hamran, and Kinanah ibn Bishr. They prevented ‘Ammar from going to Madinah. Amongst the issues they raised against ‘Uthman was his removing Abu Dharr, firstly from Syria then from Madinah, until he went to Rabadhah. What caused this to happen was Abu Dharr’s extreme piety and the fact that he used to encourage the people to practice upon the harsher rulings in certain matters and to adopt abstinence. He also opined that it was not appropriate for anyone to have more than a day’s food with him. He took the apparent meaning of ‘the dislike of hoarding’ as it being disliked to keep gold and silver. Ibn Saba’ used to come to him and incite him against Muawiyah and would find fault with his statement, “The wealth is Allah’s wealth.” He would give the impression that through this he implied him hoarding the wealth instead of spending it on the Believers. This made Abu Dharr displeased with Muawiyah, so he intended to scold him and said, “I will say [that this is] the wealth of the Believers.” Ibn Saba’ went to Abu al Darda’ and ‘Ubadah ibn al Samit with the same information, however they chased him away. ‘Ubadah took him to Muawiyah and said, “He is the one who caused Abu Dharr to come to you.”
Hafiz Ibn Hajar rahimahu Llah mentions from ‘Allamah Ibn ‘Asakir rahimahu Llah:
كان أصله من اليمن و كان يهوديا فأظهر الإسلام و طاف بلاد المسلمين ليلفتهم عن طاعة الأئمة و يدخل بينهم الشر و دخل دمشق لذلك
He was originally from Yemen. He was a Jew who outwardly accepted Islam. He then began to roam the cities of the Believers to turn them away from their leaders and spread evil between them. He entered Damascus for this reason.
Al Asfarayini mentions something similar:
إن ابن سوداء كان رجلا يهوديا و كان قد تستر بالإسلام أراد أن يفسد الدين على المسلمين
Ibn Sawda’ was a Jewish man who pretended to accept Islam intending to spoil the religion of the Muslims for them.
As for his efforts in spreading corruption and mischief, we have already discussed that briefly in what we previously mentioned and it is also what al Tabari had mentioned in detail in his Tarikh.
إنه كان يوما في البصرة ويوما في الكوفة ويوما في مصر كما ذكره عن حكيم بن جبلة
لما مضى من إمارة ابن عامر ثلاث سنين بلغه أن في عبد القيس رجل نازلا على حكيم بن جبلة وكان حكيم بن جبلة رجلا لصا إذا قفل الجيوش خنس عنهم فسعى في أرض فارس يغير على أهل الذمة ويتنكر لهم ويفسد في الأرض و يصيب ما شاء ثم ما يرجع فشكاه أهل الذمة و أهل القبلة إلى عثمان فكتب إلى عبد الله بن عامر أن احبسه ومن كان مثله فلا يخرجن من البصرة حتى تأنسوا منه رشدا فحبسه فكان لا يستطيع أن يخرج منها فلما قدم ابن السوداء نزل عليه واجتمع إليه نفر فطرح لهم ابن السوداء ولم يصرح فقبلوا منه و استعظموه و أرسل إليه ابن عامر فسأله ما أنت فأخبره أنه رجل من أهل الكتاب رغب في الإسلام ورغب في جوارك فقال ما يبلغني ذلك فأخرج منها فاستقر بمصر وجعل يكاتبهم ويكاتبونه و يختلف الرجال بينهم
Ibn Saba’ used to be some days in Basrah, then in Kufah, then in Egypt. This has also been related from Hukaym ibn Jabalah.
After three years of Ibn ‘Ᾱmir’s rule had passed, news reached him that there was a man in ‘Abdul Qais who had come to Hukaym ibn Jabalah. Hukaym ibn Jabalah was a robber. When the armies would return, he would turn away from them. He went around the land of Persia targeting the Ahl al Dhimmah, treating them with hostility, and spreading mischief in the land attacking whoever he wished. After he returned, the Ahl al Dhimmah and the people of the Qiblah complained to ‘Uthman about him, so he wrote to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ᾱmir to imprison him and his likes and they were not to leave Basrah until he felt they had changed for the better, thus he was imprisoned and unable to escape. When Ibn al Sawda’ came, he came to him and a group of people gathered for him, so Ibn al Sawda’ addressed them, but did not speak explicitly, so they accepted from him [his message] and considered him to be great. Ibn ‘Ᾱmir sent him a letter asking him what he was. He informed him that he was a man from the People of the Book who was interested in Islam and in being under his protection. He replied, “That is not [the news] that reached me, so leave.” He thus left and went to Kufah. He was then driven out of Kufah so he went to Egypt and settled there. He began to write to them and they to him and people would dispute about them.
ثم كان في مصر ومن مصر جاء مع قتلة عثمان إلى المدينة خرج أهل مصر في أربع رفاق على أربعة أمراء المقلل يقول ستمائة والمكثر يقول ألف على الرفاق عبد الرحمن بن عديس البلوي و وكنانة بن بشر الليثي و سودان بن حمران السكوني وقتيرة بن فلان السكوني و على القوم جميعا الغافقي ابن حرب العكي ولم يجترؤا أن يعلموا الناس بخروجهم إلى الحرب وإنما خرجوا كالحجاج و معهم ابن سوداء
He remained in Egypt and travelled from there to Madinah with the murderers of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The people of Egypt came out in four groups each having a leader of its own. The least amount of people mentioned is six hundred and the most is one thousand. The leaders of the groups were ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Adis al Balawi, Kinanah ibn Bishr al Laythi, Sawdan ibn Humran al Sakuni, and Qutayrah ibn Fulan al Sakuni and the main leader of all of the people was al Ghafiqi ibn Harb al ‘Akki. They did not dare tell the people that they had left for war. They [pretended as though they] merely came out to perform Hajj. Ibn Sawda’ was with them.
Ahmed Amin al Misri writes about him:
إن ابن سوداء هذا أتى إلى أبي الدرداء و عبادة بن الصامت فلم يسمعا لقوله وأخذه عبادة إلى معاوية وقال له هذا والله الذي بعث عليك أبا ذر ونحن نعلم أن ابن السوداء هذا لقب به عبد الله بن سبأ و كان يهوديا من صنعاء أظهر الإسلام في عهد عثمان وإنه حاول أن يفسد على المسلمين دينهم وبث في البلاد عقائد كثيرة في الحجاز والبصرة والكوفة والشام ومصر فمن المحتمل القريب أن يكون قد تلقى هذه الفكرة من مزدكية العراق او اليمن
Ibn Sawda’ came to Abu al Darda’ and ‘Ubadah ibn al Samit, but they did not listen to what he had to say. Instead, ‘Ubadah took him to Muawiyah and said to him, “By Allah, this is the one who sent Abu Dharr to you.” We know that Ibn al Sawda’ is the alias of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and that he was a Jew from San’a’, who outwardly accepted Islam during the time of ‘Uthman. He thereafter tried to spread corruption amongst the Believers in their religion. He spread many different beliefs in multiple cities such as Hijaz, Basrah, Kufah, Syria and Egypt. It is quite possible that he got this idea from the Mazdaks of Iraq or Yemen.
He also writes:
وهو الذي حرك أبا ذر الغفاري للدعوة الاشتراكية وكان من أكبر من ألب الأمصار على عثمان والآن أله عليا…والذي يؤخذ من تاريخه أي ابن سبا أنه وضع تعاليم لهدم الإسلام وألف جمعية سرية لبث تعاليمه واتخذ الإسلام ستاراً يستر به نياته نزل البصرة بعد أن أسلم ونشر فيها دعوته فطرده واليها ثم أتى الكوفة فاخرج منها ثم جاء مصر فالتف حوله ناس من أهلها
He is the one who incited Abu Dharr al Ghifari with the call towards socialism. He is also one of the greatest instigators of people against ‘Uthman as well as love towards the progeny of ‘Ali… What can be considered from his— Ibn Saba’— past is that he invented teachings in order to destroy Islam, prepared a secret group to spread his teachings and used Islam as a veil to conceal his intentions. He went to Basrah after accepting Islam and spread his message therein, and was therefore driven out by its governor. He then went to Kufah and was also driven out from there. He then went to Egypt and its people flocked around him.
Before we venture into the factors they used as a means to separate the Believers, disunite them, destroy their bond and cause them to conspire against the Leader of the Believers, the Companion and son-in-law of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Uthman ibn Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, we wish to shed light on the Jewish beliefs that this person blew the winds of—he who has been cursed by Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The people adopted it and it later divided into many branches. Due to this, their sects further divided and each person supported what they desired.
A senior Shia Historian informed us of the beliefs of Ibn al Sawda’ that he adopted from the Jews, who severely detested the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Truthful and Trustworthy, his Ummah and the message which he brought from Allah. [These were the Jews who] took revenge from the Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Ummah and plotted against them from the day they entered Yathrib, transformed it into al Madinah and threatened the [authority of the] Jews of Banu Qaynuqa’, Banu al Nadir, Banu Qurayzah, Khaybar, and other places. All of this information has been imparted to us by a senior Shia Historian who was the first amongst the Shia to write about the division of the sects. He is none other than al Nawbakhti, Abu Muhammad al Hassan ibn Musa, who is amongst the notable scholars of the Shia of the third hijri generation. He said:
السبئية أصحاب عبد الله ابن سبأ وكان ممن أظهر الطعن على أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان والصحابة و تبرأ منهم و قال إن عليا عليه السلام أمره بذلك فأخذه علي فسأله عن قوله هذا فأقر به فأمر بقتله فصاح الناس إليه يا أمير المؤمنين أتقتل رجلا يدعو إلى حبكم أهل البيت وإلى ولايتك والبراءة من أعدائك فصيره إلى المدائن
وحكى جماعة من أهل العلم من أصحاب علي عليه السلام أن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يهوديا فأسلم و والى عليا عليه السلام وكان يقول وهو على يهوديته في يوشع بن نون بعد موسى عليه السلام بهذه المقالة فقال بعد إسلامه في علي عليه السلام بمثل ذلك وهو أول من شهر القول بفرض إمامة علي عليه السلام و أظهر البراءة من أعدائه وكاشف مخالفيه فمن هناك قال من خالف الشيعة إن أصل الرفض مأخوذ من اليهودية ولما بلغ عبد الله ابن سبأ نعي علي بالمدائن قال للذي نعاه كذبت لو جئتنا بدماغه في سبعين صرة وأقمت على قتله سبعين عدلا لعلمنا أنه لم يقتل ولا يموت حتى يملك الأرض
The Saba’iyyah are the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, who was the first to openly revile Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and the other Companions and disassociate from them saying that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam told him to do so. ‘Ali took hold of him and asked him about this statement of his. He confessed to it, so ‘Ali commanded that he be killed. The people screamed, “O Leader of the Believers, do you wish to kill a man who calls towards love for you and the Ahlul Bayt and towards your support and disassociation from your enemies?” Due to this he [instead] banished him to al Mada’in.
A group of scholars from the companions of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam narrate that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew who accepted Islam and began to support ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. When he was still a Jew, he supported the idea that Yusha’ ibn Nun was [the successor] after Musa ‘alayh al Salam. After he accepted Islam, he would say the same about ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. He was the first person to consider it obligatory to support the Imamah of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. He disassociated from his enemies and showed hostility to his opposers. It is from here that those who oppose the Shia deduce that Shi’ism originated from Judaism. When the crier announced the death of ‘Ali in al Mada’in, he said to him, “You have lied! If you were to bring us his brain in seventy pouches and brought seventy unbiased people to testify to his death, we would still not believe that he died. He will not die until he rules the world.”
Abu ‘Amr Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al Kashshi mentions many narrations about ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, his beliefs and thoughts, on the authority of the Shia scholars of the fourth generation in the oldest Shia book about the biography of narrators. Some are quoted below:
حدثني محمد بن قولويه قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد ومحمد بن عيسى عن علي بن مهزيار عن فضالة بن أيوب الأزدي عن أبان بن عثمان قال سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول لعن الله عبد الله بن سبأ إنه ادعى الربوبية في أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وكان و الله أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام عبدا لله طائعا الويل لمن كذب علينا و أن قوما يقولون فينا ما لا نقوله في أنفسنا نبرأ إلى الله منهم نبرأ إلى الله منهم
Muhammad ibn Qulawayh narrates from — Sa’d ibn ‘Abdullah who narrates from — Yaqub ibn Yazid and Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from — ‘Ali ibn Mahzyar from — Fadalah ibn Ayub al Azdi from — Aban ibn ‘Uthman who says that he heard Abu ‘Abdullah saying:
May Allah’s curse be upon ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. He claimed that the Leader of the Believers ‘alayh al Salam was God, whereas the Leader of the Believers ‘alayh al Salam was an obedient servant of Allah. Woe be to the one who attributes lies to us. Some people dare say something about us that we ourselves do not say. We declare to Allah our innocence from them. We declare to Allah our innocence from them.
وبهذا الإسناد عن يعقوب بن يزيد عن ابن أبي عمير وأحمد بن محمد ابن عيسى عن أبيه والحسين بن سعيد عن ابن أبي عمير عن هشام بن سالم عن أبي حمزة الثمالي قال قال علي بن الحسين صلوات الله عليهما لعن الله من كذب علينا إني ذكرت عبد الله بن سبأ فقامت كل شعرة في جسدي لقد ادعى أمرا عظيما ماله لعنه الله كان علي عليه السلام والله عبدا لله صالحا آخا رسول الله ما نال الكرامة من الله إلا بطاعته لله و لرسوله و ما نال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله الكرامة من الله إلا بطاعته لله
It is mentioned with the same chain from Yaqub ibn Yazid—from Ibn Abi ‘Umair and Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa—from his father and Hussain ibn Sa’id—from Ibn Abi ‘Umair—from Hisham ibn Salim—from Abu Hamzah al Thumali, who says that ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ‘alayh al Salam said:
May Allah’s curse be upon the one who attributes lies to us. When I remember ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, every hair on my body stands on end. He had made a great claim that he had no right to make. May Allah’s curse be upon him. ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam was a righteous servant to Allah who considered the Messenger of Allah his brother. He attained honour from Allah through his obedience to Allah and the Prophet, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam attained honour from Allah through his obedience to Allah.
وبهذا الإسناد عن محمد بن خالد الطيالسي عن ابن أبي نجران عن عبد الله [بن سنان] قال قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام إنا أهل بيت صديقون لا نخلو من كذاب يكذب علينا ويسقط صدقنا بكذبه علينا عند الناس كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله أصدق الناس لهجة وأصدق البرية كلها وكان مسيلمة يكذب عليه وكان أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام أصدق من برأ الله بعد رسول الله وكان الذي يكذب عليه ويعمل في تكذيب صدقه ويفتري على الله الكذب عبد الله بن سبأ
With the same chain, he narrates—from Muhammad ibn Khalid al Tayalisi, who narrates—from Ibn Abi Najran, who narrates—from ‘Abdullah [ibn Sinan], who says that Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam said:
We the Ahlul Bayt are all truthful and have not been spared from liars who fabricated against us and tarnish our honesty with their falsehood. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the most truthful of people in his speech and the most truthful of all creation but Musaylamah would fabricate against him. The Leader of the Believers was the most truthful of those who were created after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the one who would fabricate against him and belied his honesty, fabricating against Allah was ‘Abdullah ibn Sabaʼ.
وذكر بعض أهل العلم أن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يهوديا فأسلم و والى عليا عليه السلام وكان يقول وهو على يهوديته في يوشع بن نون وصي موسى بالغلو فقال في اسلامه بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله في علي عليه السلام مثل ذلك وكان أول من أشهر بالقول بفرض إمامة علي و أظهر البراءة من أعدائه وكاشف مخالفيه وكفرهم فمن هنا قال من خالف الشيعة إن اصل التشيع والرفض مأخوذ من اليهودية
Some scholars mention that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew who accepted Islam and began to support ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. Whilst he was still a Jew, he would exaggerate that Yusha’ ibn Nun was the deputy of Musa. While he was a Muslim, he would say the same about ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was the first one to give rise to the idea that supporting the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was obligatory. He disassociated from his enemies, showed hostility towards his opposers, and considered them to be disbelievers. It is due to this that those who oppose the Shia say that Shi’ism originated from Judaism.
Hassan ibn ‘Ali al Hilli al Shia says in his famous book, al Rijal:
عبد الله بن سبأ رجع إلى الكفر وأظهر الغلو كان يدعي النبوة وإن عليا عليه السلام هو الله فاستتابه عليه السلام ثلاثة أيام ولم يرجع فأحرقه في النار في جملة سبعين رجلا ادعوا فيه ذلك
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ reverted to disbelief and fell into extremism by claiming prophethood and that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam was Allah. For three days ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam told him to repent, but he did not pay heed, so he set him on fire along with seventy men who had made the same claims.
An Iranian Shia Historian mentions in his Tarikh in Persian:
إن عبد الله بن سبأ توجه إلى مصر حينما علم أن مخالفيه (أي عثمان بن عفان) كثيرون هناك فتظاهر بالعلم والتقوى حتى افتتن الناس به وبعد رسوخه فيهم بدأ يروج مذهبه ومسلكه و إن لكل نبي وصي وخليفة فوصى رسول الله وخليفته ليس إلا عليا المتحلى بالعلم والفتوى والمتزين بالكرم و الشجاعة والمتصف بالأمانة والتقى و قال إن الأمة ظلمت عليا وغصبت حقه حق الخلافة و الولاية ويلزم الآن على الجميع مناصرته ومعاضدته وخلع طاعة عثمان و بيعته فتأثر كثير من المصريين بأقواله وآرائه وخرجوا على الخليفة عثمان
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ went to Egypt when he found out that there were many enemies of his (‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan’s) there. He displayed knowledge and piety to the people until he eventually misguided the people in this manner. After they began to trust him, he began to give rise to his beliefs and ways, saying that every prophet had a deputy and khalifah and that the deputy and khalifah was none other than ‘Ali, who possessed great knowledge and expertise in jurisprudence, was adorned with generosity and bravery and was described as trustworthy and pious. He said, “The Ummah has wronged ‘Ali and usurped his right to rule and become the Khalifah. It is therefore necessary for everyone to help and support him and uproot the Caliphate and bay’ah of ‘Uthman.” His words and opinions impacted many Egyptians to such an extent that they rose up against the Khalifah, ‘Uthman.
Similarly, the Shia Biographer, al Astarabadi, mentions:
إن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يدعي النبوة ويزعم أن أمير المؤمنين (ع) هو الله تعالى فبلغ أمير المؤمنين ذلك فدعاه و سأله فأقر و قال نعم أنت هو فقال له أمير المؤمنين قد سخر منك الشيطان فارجع عن هذا وتب ثكلتك امك فأبى فحبسه ثلاثة أيام فلم يتب فأحرقه بالنار
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ used to claim prophethood and claim that the Leader of the Believers was the Lord, Most High. This reached the Leader of the Believers, so he summoned him and interrogated him until he admitted to it and said, “Yes, you are him.” The Leader of the Believers said to him, “The devil has made a joke of you, so step back from this and repent, may your mother be bereaved of you;” however, he refused, so he imprisoned him for three days. When he refused to repent, he set him on fire.
Ibn Abi al Hadid, the Shia, Mu’tazili commentator of al Nahj opposes this opinion, saying that ‘Ali did not set him on fire. He opines that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ spread the belief of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu being God after his demise. He made it apparent after his demise and some people followed him who were later called the Saba’iyyah.
The statement of ‘Abdul Qadir al Baghdadi supports his opinion; however, when he mentions Ibn Saba’ and the Saba’iyyah, he adds that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not set him on fire as he feared the reproach of the people of Syria:
السبئية أتباع عبد الله بن سبأ الذي غلا في علي رضي الله عنه و زعم أنه كان نبيا ثم غلا فيه حتى زعم أنه إله و دعا إلى ذلك قوما من غواة الكوفة و رفع خبرهم إلى علي رضي الله عنه فأمر بإحراق قوم منهم في حفرتين حتى قال بعض الشعراء في ذلك
لترم بي الحوادث حيث شاءت إذا لم ترم بي في الحفرتين
ثم إن عليا رضي الله عنه خاف من إحراق الباقين منهم شماتة أهل الشام و خاف اختلاف أصحابه عليه فنفى ابن سبأ إلى ساباط المدائن فلما قتل علي رضي الله عنه زعم ابن سبأ أن المقتول لم يكن عليا و إنما كان شيطانا تصور للناس في صورة علي و أن عليا صعد إلى السماء كما صعد إليها عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام و قال كما كذبت اليهود و النصارى في دعواها قتل عيسى كذلك كذبت النواصب و الخوارج في دعواها قتل علي و إنما رأت اليهود و النصارى شخصا مصلوبا شبهوه بعيسى كذلك القائلون بقتل علي رأوا قتيلا يشبه عليا فظنوا أنه علي و علي قد صعد إلى السماء و أنه سينزل إلى الدنيا و ينتقم من أعدائه و زعم بعض السبئية أن عليا في السحاب و أن الرعد صوته و البرق سوطه و من سمع من هؤلاء صوت الرعد قال عليك السلام يا أمير المؤمنين
The Saba’iyyah were the followers of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, who had extremist beliefs about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and claimed that he was a prophet. They eventually went to the extent of considering him to be God. A misguided group from Kufah made this claim. A complaint about them reached ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, so he ordered that a group of them be placed in two pits and set on fire.
Some poets mentioned about this:
Let the circumstances take me wherever they please, as long as they do not take me to the two pits.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu feared reproach from the people of Syria and the disapproval of his companions if he were to burn the rest, so he expelled Ibn Saba’ to the Sabat of al Mada’in. When ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred, Ibn Saba’ claimed that it was not ‘Ali that was killed, rather it was a devil that took the form of ‘Ali in front of the people, and ‘Ali ascended to the heavens as ‘Isa ibn Maryam did. He also said, “The Nawasib and Khawarij falsely claim that ‘Ali died just as the Jews and Christians falsely claimed that ‘Isa died. The Jews and Christians merely saw a person who looked like ‘Isa being crucified, so the same is the case of those who claim that ‘Ali died. They merely saw a person who looked like ‘Ali being killed, hence they thought that it was him. ‘Ali has ascended to the heavens and he will return to this world and take revenge from his enemies.” Some of the Shia believe that ‘Ali is in the clouds and the thunder is his voice and the lightning his whip. When any of these people would hear the sound of thunder they would say, “May peace be upon you, O Leader of the Believers.”
It has been narrated from ‘Ᾱmir ibn Sharahil al Sha’bi that Ibn Saba’ was informed that ‘Ali was killed, so he replied, “Even if you were to come to me with his brain in a bag, I would not believe that he died. He will not die until he descends from the heavens and controls the entire world.”
This group believes that the Mahdi that is to come is none other than ‘Ali. Ishaq ibn Suwaid mentions a few couplets about this group, in a poem in which he disassociates from the Khawarij, Rawafid, and Qadariyyah:
برئت من الخوارج لست منهم من الغزال منهم و ابن باب
و لكني أحب بكل قلبي و اعلم أن ذاك من الصواب
رسول الله و الصديق حبا به أرجو غدا حسن الثواب
I absolve myself from the Khawarij, I am not of them nor of Ghazzal or Ibn Bab. Instead, I love with all my heart the Prophet of Allah and al Siddiq; and I know this to be correct and hope for the best reward in lieu of this tomorrow.
Al Sha’bi mentions that ‘Abdullah ibn al Sawda’ would support the views of the Saba’iyyah. Ibn al Sawda’ was initially a Jew from the people of al Hirah, who later accepted Islam outwardly. He desired to have authority and leadership over the people of Kufah, so he mentioned to them that he found in the Torah, that every Prophet had a deputy and that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the deputy of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and that he is the best of deputies as Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the best of Prophets. When the party of ‘Ali heard this from him, they said to ‘Ali, “He is one of your admirers,” so ‘Ali raised his status and seated him on the platform that was below his pulpit. Later on, when information about him reached him, he intended to kill him. However, Ibn ‘Abbas stopped him and said, “If you kill him, your companions will oppose you. You wish to return to fight the people of Syria, so you need the support of your companions.” ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had the same fear as Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu so he instead banished them to al Mada’in. As a result of this, the public fell into their traps after the demise of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Ibn al Sawda’ said to them, “By Allah, two springs will gush forward for ‘Ali in the Masjid of Kufah. One will be of honey and the other of butter. His supporters will drink from it.”
The research scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah mention:
إن ابن السوداء كان على هوى دين اليهود و أراد أن يفسد على المسلمين دينهم بتأويلاته في علي و أولاده لكي يعتقدوا فيه ما اعتقدت النصارى في عيسى عليه السلام فانتسب إلى الرافضة السبئية حين وجدهم أعرق أهل الهوى في الكفر و دلس ضلالته في تأويلاته
Indeed, Ibn al Sawda’ was upon the religion of the Jews. He intended to spoil the religion of the Believers through his explanations about ‘Ali and his children, so that they believe about him what the Jews and Christians believed about ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam. He is linked to the Rafidah Saba’iyyah when it was found that they were the most ardent of the misguided in disbelief and masked his misguidance with his interpretations.
These points as well as those about his beliefs and his group from the Shia have all been narrated from Sa’d al Qummi—who died in the year 301 AH, al Tusi al Sheikh al Ta’ifah, al Tustari in his book Qamus al Rijal, ‘Abbas al Qummi in his book Tuhfat al Ahbab, al Khuwanasari in Rawdat al Jannat, al Asbahani in Nasikh al Tawarikh and the author of Rawdat al Safa.
Some scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah have also mentioned his beliefs, e.g., al Baghdadi in al Farq bayn al Firaq, as we have already mentioned.
Similarly, al Asfarayini has also mentioned similar statements in his book, al Tabsir, as well as al Razi in his I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa al Mushrikin and Ibn Hazm in al Fasl. Other scholars besides them have also mentioned such statements.
Al Shahrastani mentions under the title al Saba’iyyah:
السبئية أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ الذي قال لعلي عليه السلام أنت أنت يعني أنت الإله فنفاه إلى المدائن و زعموا أنه كان يهوديا فأسلم و كان في اليهودية يقول في يوشع بن نون وصي موسى مثل ما قال في علي عليه السلام و هو أول من أظهر القول بالفرض بإمامة علي و منه انشعبت أصناف الغلاة و زعموا أن عليا حي لم يقتل و فيه الجزء الإلهي و لا يجوز أن يستولي عليه و هو الذي يجيء في السحاب و الرعد صوته و البرق سوطه و أنه سينزل بعد ذلك إلى الأرض فيملأ الأرض عدلا كما ملئت جورا و إنما أظهر ابن سبأ هذه المقالة بعد إنتقال علي عليه السلام
The Saba’iyyah were the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ who said to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, “You are you,” meaning ‘you are God’. Due to this, he exiled him to al Mada’in. Historians believe that he was a Jew who accepted Islam. When he was still a Jew, he would claim that Yusha’ ibn Nun was the deputy of Musa, as he [later] claimed about ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. He was the first person to claim that it was obligatory to believe in the Imamah of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. Different types of extremism stemmed from this. They claimed that ‘Ali was ever living and could not be killed, that he had a piece of God in him, and that it was impermissible to overpower him. They believed that he would appear in the clouds, the thunder being his voice and the lightning his whip. They further believed that he would eventually descend to the earth and replace its corruption with justice. Ibn Saba’ only made these claims after the demise of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam.
Ibn ‘Asakir rahimahu Llah says in his Tarikh on the authority of Sayyidina Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
لما بويع علي رضي الله عنه خطب الناس فقام إليه عبد الله بن سبأ فقال له أنت دابة الأرض فقال له اتق الله فقال له أنت الملك فقال اتق الله فقال له أنت خلقت الخلق و بسطت الرزق فأمر بقتله فاجتمعت الرافضة فقالت دعه و انفه الى سابط المدائن
When allegiance was pledged to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he addressed the people. ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ stood and said to him, “You are the Dabbat al Ard (beast of the earth),” so he said, “Fear Allah.” He then said, “You are the Master,” so he said, “Fear Allah.” He then said to him, “You created all of creation and granted them sustenance,” so he commanded that he be killed. The Rafidah gathered [in protest] and said, “Let him go and instead exile him to the streets of al Mada’in.”
‘Allamah al Alusi rahimahu Llah relates on the authority of Ibn al Hakim al Dihlawi:
السبئية و هم عبارة عن اللذين يسبون الصحابة إلا قليلا منهم كسلمان الفارسي و أبي ذر و المقداد و عمار بن ياسر رضي الله عنهم و ينسبونهم و حاشاهم إلى الكفر و النفاق و يتبرأون منهم و منهم من يزعم و العياذ بالله تعالى ارتداد جميع من حضر غدير خم يوم قال عليه الصلاة و السلام من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه الحديث و لم يف بمقتضاه من بيعة الأمير كرم الله وجهه بعد وفاته عليه الصلاة و السلام بل بايع غيره و هذه الفرقة حدثت في عهد الأمين رضي الله تعالى عنه بإغراء عبد الله بن سبأ اليهودي الصنعاني
The Saba’iyyah: They are a group of people who revile the Companions, except a few of them; such as Salman al Farisi, Abu Dharr, al Miqdad, and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They falsely attribute disbelief and hypocrisy to them and disassociate from them. There are some amongst them who claim, may Allah forbid, that those Companions were apostates who were present at Ghadir Khumm (the day that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever I am the Mawla of ‘Ali is his Mawla,”) but did not fulfil its right by pledging allegiance to the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and instead pledged allegiance to someone else. This sect was formed during the time of the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu through the instigation of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ the Jew from San’a’.
To conclude, we will mention what Ahmed Amin has said about him and his group:
انتشرت الجماعة السرية في آخر عهد عثمان تدعو إلى خلعه و تولية غيره و من هذه الجمعيات من كان تدعو إلى علي و من أشهر الدعاة له عبد الله بن سبأ و كان من يهود اليمن فأسلم فقد تنقل في البصرة و الكوفة و الشام و مصر يقول أنه كان لكل نبي وصي و علي وصي محمد فمن أظلم ممن لم يجز وصية رسول الله و وثب على وصيه و كان من أكبر من ألبوا على عثمان حتى قتل
The secret group that called for the removal of ‘Uthman and towards electing someone else became prevalent towards the end of ‘Uthman’s rule. Amongst these groups were those who used to call to [belief in] ‘Ali. The most devoted caller being ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, who was a Jew from Yemen who accepted Islam. He would roam around Basrah, Kufah, Syria, and Egypt saying, “Indeed every prophet had a deputy and the deputy of Muhammad was ‘Ali. Who is more oppressive than the one who does not carry out the bequeathment of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and instead jumps on his deputy?” He was one of the biggest conspirators against ‘Uthman until his murder.
و أنه وضع تعاليم لهدم الإسلام و ألف جمعية سرية لبث تعاليمه و اتخذ الإسلام ستارا يستر به نياته نزل البصرة بعد أن أسلم و نشر فيها دعوته فطرده واليها ثم أتى الكوفة فأخرج منها ثم جاء مصر فالتف حوله ناس من أهلها و أشهر تعاليمه الوصاية و الرجعة فأما الوصاية فقد ابنّاها قبل و كان قوله فيها أساس تأليب أهل مصر على عثمان بدعوى أن عثمان أخذ الخلافة من علي بغير حق و أيد رأيه بما نسب إلى عثمان من مثالب و أما الرجعة فقد بدأ قوله بأن محمدا يرجع و كان مما قاله العجب ممن يصدق أن عيسى يرجع و يكذب أن محمدا يرجع ثم نراه تحول و لا ندري لأي سبب إلى القول بأن عليا يرجع و قال ابن حزم إن ابن سبأ قال لما قتل علي لو أتيتموني بدماغه ألف مرة ما صدقنا موته و لا يموت حتى يملأ الأرض عدلا كما ملئت جورا و فكرة الرجعة هذه أخذها ابن سبأ من اليهودية فعندهم أن النبي إلياس صعد الى السماء و سيعود فيعيد الدين و القانون و وجدت الفكرة في النصرانية أيضا في عصورها الأولى
He invented teachings to destroy Islam and started a secret group to spread his teachings. He took Islam as a veil, behind which he concealed his true intentions. He went to Basrah after accepting Islam and tried to spread his message there, so the governor drove him out. He then went to Kufah, but was also driven out, causing him to head to Egypt where people flocked around him. There he spread his teachings of al Wisayah and al Raj’ah. As for al Wisayah, we have already explained it. His belief in it was the foundation of the instigation of the people of Egypt against ‘Uthman by claiming that ‘Uthman snatched the Caliphate from ‘Ali unjustly. The defects that he attributed to ‘Uthman helped his cause. As for [the inception of the doctrine of] al Raj’ah, he began by saying that Muhammad would return. He would say, “How strange are those who believe that ‘Isa will return, but deny that Muhammad will.” We then see that, for some reason, he changed his statement saying that ‘Ali will return. Ibn Hazm said that Ibn Saba’ said when ‘Ali was martyred, “If you came to me a thousand times with his brain, I would still not believe that he has died. He will not die until he fills the earth with justice as it was filled with corruption.” Ibn Saba’ took this doctrine of al Raj’ah from the Jews. According to them Prophet Ilyas ascended to the heavens and will return implementing his religion and laws. This doctrine was also found in the times of previous Christians.
This is ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and these are his teachings, ideologies and beliefs. These are the ideologies that he took from the Jews, fire worshippers, and others with a fixed plan from the enemies of Allah, His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Islam, the Ummah, its leaders and heroes. The effects of which remained amongst the Believers with the name of Islam. We will soon discuss how the Shia held on to these ideologies and beliefs. We will also discover how the initial Shia beliefs morphed and developed, how those ideologies that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself condemned eventually became dominant amongst them and how those whom Sayyidina ‘Ali used to abandon, disassociate from, discipline, and execute, and whom his children would curse, became part of the Shia.
Before we conclude, we wish to mention that some contemporary Shia, especially the Jews amongst them, deny the existence of this conniving individual. However, they do not have any proof or evidence to support their claim. This denial of theirs is like denying the sun in broad daylight, as Ibn al Sawda’ was not mentioned by just one or two persons, rather every author that wrote about the sects and the biographies of people have mentioned him in the books of history. We have proven this [by mentioning the statements of] expert Shia scholars in the field of sects, biography, history, and criticism and scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah and others besides them as well. We have discussed this matter with a logical, practical analysis, and sifted the claims made in this regard, in the book Al Shia wa Ahlul Bayt; however, we would like to make a statement here, and that is:
How apt is the statement of a Shia scholar from recent times, despite its bias! He mentions extremism and its history and says:
إنه بعد تولية أمير المؤمنين علي منصب الخلافة ظهر في أيامه قوم و أرادوا إخراجها من قالب (الموالاة و التمسك) إلى قالب التأليه لعلي (ع) (و لما بلغه عنهم ذلك أنكره أشد الإنكار و حرق بالنار جماعة ممن غلا فيه)
After the Leader of Believers, ‘Ali, took over the Caliphate, a group came about during his rule who wished to make Shi’ism progress from considering ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam as their leader to considering him a deity. When this reached ‘Ali, he strongly rejected it and set on fire a group of people who had extremist beliefs about him.
It seems that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was not part of this extremist notion at the time and therefore was not burnt. This is also the opinion of Ibn Abi al Hadid as he says:
استترت هذه المقالة سنة أو نحوها ثم ظهر عبد الله بن سبأ بعد وفاة علي أمير المؤمنين (ع) فأظهرها و اتبعه قوم فسموا السبئية
This information was kept secret for a year or so. After the demise of the Leader of the Believers, ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ came and made it apparent, thus a group of people followed him who were called the Saba’iyyah.
Al Shahrastani’s narration corresponds with his. He says:
و إنما أظهر ابن سبأ هذه المقالة بعد انتقال علي عليه السلام
However, the narration of al Astarabadi differs from both of them. He narrates:
إن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يدعي النبوة و يزعم أن أمير المؤمنين (ع) هو الله تعالى فبلغ أمير المؤمنين ذلك فدعاه و سأله فأقر و قال نعم أنت هو فقال له أمير المؤمنين قد سخر منك الشيطان فارجع عن هذا وتب ثكلتك أمك فأبى فحبسه ثلاثة أيام فلم يتب فأحرقه بالنار
‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ used to claim prophethood for himself and godship for the Leader of the Believers ‘alayh al Salam. This reached the Leader of the Believers, so he called him and interrogated him. He attested to it and said, “Yes, you are Him.” The Leader of the Believers then said to him, “Shaitan has made a mockery of you, so leave this and repent. May your mother be bereaved of you!” He refused, thus causing him to be imprisoned for three days. He still did not repent, so he set him on fire.
It is possible that the preferred narration is that of Ibn Abi al Hadid which mentions that Ibn Saba’ was not set on fire and only invented this doctrine after the demise of the Leader of the Believers radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Al Shahrastani’s narration corresponds to his, even if he made the following statement previously:
إن ابن سبأ قال لعلي عليه السلام أنت أنت يعني أنت الإله فنفاه إلى المدائن
This statement of his does not contradict his other statement. It could mean that Ibn Saba’ was about to say to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “You are You (God);” however, he suppressed it during the lifetime of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and during the time in which Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu rejected these claims until Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away. He then openly proclaimed it after a period of one year or less.
It is definite that Ibn Saba’ existed and practiced extremism even if people doubt this and consider him a figure of imagination, invented to support certain motives. Based on the previous narrations, we do not doubt that he and his extremism existed. Undoubtedly, Ibn Saba’ promoted extremism in the matter of religion and these ideologies of his spread to a large group of people who were named after him. They progressed rapidly until they reached the extent of attributing godship to a mortal from the creation. They eventually did the same to two, three, four, five or more members of the Ahlul Bayt ‘alayhim al Salam.
Al Muzaffari, who is from the latter day Shia scholars, has also attested to his existence in his book Tarikh al Shia. The senior scholar of the Shia, Sayed Muhsin al Amin, also does the same in his Mawsu’ah. Many others besides them have also attested to this.
This is ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and these are the beliefs that he propagated to the Believers and the Shia, with an intricate, well-planned conspiracy, as they were the most appropriate soil to plant these seeds in. He hoped to find attentive ears and hearts and, in the name of their leader, sought vengeance for those against whom he harboured hatred and grudges.
He intentionally tried to attract many of them to himself and his beliefs. This was especially the case after he was successful in affecting the rule of the oppressed leader, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, through his fabricated stories and tales. He formed a secret group that believed that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the guardian and heir of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He introduced the practice of men revering him to the extent that they considered him a god and attributed the distinct qualities of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to him. All of these people came under the banner of the Shi’at ‘Ali and integrated with them. They then began to blow these winds towards their friends and associates. Some were affected by this; others hid it and others openly accepted it. Due to this, Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu punished whoever openly proclaimed this belief. He banished some of them and executed others who remained upon it. He announced in a gathering of people that he was merely an obedient servant of Allah. He informed them that whoever proclaimed that he was amongst the Saba’iyyah, he would do to them as he did to those who were burnt. Whoever he found was influenced by them and considered him more virtuous than the Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma or speaking ill about them, he would have them punished as the fabricator is punished. Zaid ibn Wahb narrates:
إن سويد بن غفلة دخل على علي في إمارته فقال إني مررت بنفر يذكرون أبا بكر و عمر يرون أنك تضمر لهما مثل ذلك منهم عبد الله بن سبأ و كان عبد الله بن سبأ أول من أظهر ذلك فقال علي ما لي و لهذا الخبيث الأسود ثم قال معاذ الله أن أضمر لهما إلا الحسن الجميل ثم أرسل إلى عبد الله بن سبأ فسيره إلى المدائن و قال لا يساكنني في بلدة أبدا ثم نهض إلى المنبر حتى اجتمع الناس فذكر القصة في ثنائه عليهما بطوله و في آخره و لا يبلغني عن أحد يفضلني عليهما إلا جلدته حد المفتري
Suwaid ibn Ghaflah came to ‘Ali during his rule and said, “I passed by some people who were mentioning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, thinking that you harbour [ill feelings] for them.” Amongst them was ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’; he was the first to proclaim that.
‘Ali said, “What relation do I have with this wicked black man?” He then said, “Allah forbid that I harbour anything for them besides positive feelings.”
He then sent a letter to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and had him driven out to al Mada’in, and he said, “He should never be in the same city as me.”
He then stood on the pulpit until people gathered then began to narrate a lengthy incident that praised Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, at the end of which he said, “If I am informed that anyone gives me virtue over them, I will lash him as the calumniator is lashed.”
The Mu’tazili al Hamdani, who died in 415 AH also mentions this narration; however, there are some points in it which are not found in other versions. Therefore, we wish to quote it here. He says:
و كان ابن سبأ يقول لأصحابه أن أمير المؤمنين قال لي إنه يدخل دمشق ويهدم مسجدهم حجرا حجرا ويظهر على أهل الأرض ويكشف أسرارا ويعرفهم أنه ربهم وليس لهذا كأبي بكر وعمر وعثمان ولقد أتى أمير المؤمنين رضي الله عنه سويد بن غفلة وكان من خاصته وكبار أصحابه فقال له يا أمير المؤمنين مررت بنفر من الشيعة يتناولون أبا بكر وعمر بغير الذي هما من الأمة له أهل ويرون أنك تضمر لهما على مثل ما أعلنوا فقال أعوذ بالله أعوذ بالله مرتين أن أضمر لهما إلا الذي أتمنى المضي عليه لعن الله من أضمر لهما إلا الحسن الجميل أخوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وصاحباه ووزيراه رحمة الله عليهما ثم نهض دامع العينين يبكي قابضا على يد سويد حتى دخل المسجد فصعد المنبر تجلس عليه متمكنا قابضا على لحيته وهي بيضاء حتى اجتمع الناس ثم قام فتشهد بخطبة موجزة بليغة ثم قال ما بال أقوام يذكرون سيدي قريش وأبوي المسلمين بما أنا عنه منتزه و مما قالوا برئ وعلى ما قالوا معاقب أما والذي فلق الحبة وبرأ النسمة لا يحبهما إلا مؤمن تقي ولا يبغضهما إلا فاجر ردئ صحبا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على الصدق والوفاء يأمران وينهيان و يقضيان ويعاقبان فما يجاوزان فيما يصنعان رأي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وكان لا يرى مثل رأيهما رأيًا ولا يحب كحبهما أحدًا مضى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو عنهما راض و مضيا والمؤمنون عنهما راضون أمّر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أبا بكر على صلاة المؤمنين فصلى بهم تلك الأيام في حياة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فلما قبض الله نبيه عليه السلام و اختاره له ما عنده مضى مفقودا صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولاه المؤمنون ذلك وفوضوا إليه الزكاة لأنهما مقرونتان ثم أعطوه البيعة طائعين غير مكرهين أنا أول من سن له ذلك من بني عبد المطلب و هو لذلك كاره يود لو أن بعضنا كفاه فكان أول خير من بقي رأفة و أرحمه رحمة و أيبسه ورعا و أقدمه سلما و إسلاما شبهه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بميكائيل رأفة و بإبراهيم رأفة و وقارا فسار فينا سيرة رسول الله حتى قبضه الله على ذلك ثم ولى الأمر بعده عمر و استأمر في ذلك المسلمين فمنهم من رضي و منهم من كره فلم يفارق الدنيا حتى رضي به من كان كرهه و أقام الأمر على منهاج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يتبع أثرهما كاتباع الفصيل أثر أمه و كان و الله رفيقا رحيما لضعفاء المسلمين و بالمؤمنين عونا و ناصرا على الظالمين لا تأخذه في الله لومة لائم ضرب الله بالحق على لسانه و جعل الصدق من شأنه حتى إن كنا لنظن أن ملكا ينطق على لسانه أعز الله بإسلامه الإسلام و جعل هجرته للدين قواما ألقى الله له في قلوب المؤمنين المحبة و في قلوب المشركين والمنافقين الرهبة شبهه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بجبريل فطنا غليظا على الأعداء و بنوح حنقا مغتاظا على الكفار و الضراء على طاعة الله آثر عنده من السراء على معصية الله فمن لكم بمثلهما رحمة الله عليهما و رزقنا المضي على سبيلهما فإنه لا يبلغ مبلغهما إلا بالحب لهما و أتباع آثارهما فمن أحبني فليحبهما و من لم يحبهما فقد أبغضني و أنا منه بريء و لو كنت تقدمت إليكم في أمرهما لعاقبت على هذا أشد العقوبة فمن أوتيت به بعد هذا اليوم فإنه عليه ما على المفترى ألا و خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر و عمر ثم الله أعلم بالخير أين هو أقول قولي هذا و استغفر الله لي و لكم
This Ibn Saba’ would say to his companions, “The Leader of the Believers said to me that he will enter Damascus and tear down their Masjid, brick by brick. He will make himself apparent to the inhabitants of the earth, reveal secrets to them and let them know that he is their lord. This is not the matter with Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman.” Suwaid ibn Ghaflah, who was one of Leader of the Believer’s close senior companions, came to him and said, “I passed by a group of the Shia who were saying things about Abu Bakr and ‘Umar that no member of the Ummah has a right to say about them, and they think that you conceal the same in your heart about them.”
The Leader of the Believers said, “I seek refuge in Allah, I seek refuge in Allah from hiding thoughts about them except those that are good. They were the brothers of the Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his companions, and advisors, may the mercy of Allah be upon them.” He then stood with tears in his eyes, holding the hand of Suwaid, until he entered the Masjid and sat on the pulpit, holding his white beard until the people gathered. He then stood up and delivered a concise yet eloquent sermon.
Then he said, “What is the matter with people? They mention that which I dislike about the two leaders of Quraysh and the fathers of the Believers. I do not condone what they say and consider what they say punishable. Lo, by the One Who causes the seed to sprout and creates the soul, none besides a righteous Believer loves them and none besides a lowly sinner detests them. They accompanied the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in truth and loyalty, enjoining good, forbidding evil, passing judgments and imposing sentences. They would never act against the opinion of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he never considered the opinions of others as he considered theirs, nor did he love anyone as much as he loved them. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away whilst he was pleased with them, and they passed away whilst all of the Believers were please with them. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made Abu Bakr lead the Believers in prayer. He performed the salah in those days during the life of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When Allah took the soul of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and preferred for him what was by Him, and he was no longer present, the Believers handed that over to him and they gave the wealth of zakat to him as they are connected. They then pledged allegiance to him, willingly without force. I am the first amongst the children of ‘Abdul Muttalib who initiated this practice. He disliked this [leadership]. He would have preferred to have one of us in his place. By Allah, he was the most compassionate amongst those who remained, the most merciful of them, the most ardent in piety and the earliest in entry into Islam. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam compared him to Mika’il in compassion and mercy and to Ibrahim in his forgiving nature and in grace. He was the [embodiment of] the life of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam before us, until Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala caused him to die in this condition. Then ‘Umar took up leadership after him and commanded the Believers to maintain this. Some of them were pleased with it whilst others disliked it. He did not leave this world until those who disliked him became pleased with him. He upheld the caliphate as the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did, following in the lead of the two who preceded him as a camel calf follows in the lead of its mother. By Allah, he was compassionate and merciful towards the weak Believers, and an assistant and support to the Believers against the oppressors. In the cause of Allah, no reproach could stop him. Allah placed the truth on his tongue and made honesty his innate quality, to such an extent that we thought that an angel was speaking on his behalf. Allah granted honour to Islam when he accepted Islam and made his migration a means of strength for the religion. Allah placed love for him in the hearts of the Believers and fear for him in the hearts of the polytheists and hypocrites. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam compared him to Jibril in his extreme intelligence against enemies and with Nuh in his rage and fury against the disbelievers. He preferred being in adversity for the sake of the obedience of Allah over being in comfort in the disobedience of Allah. Who do you have that are like the two of them? May Allah’s mercy be upon them, and may we be granted the ability to tread their path, for indeed none can reach his destination without love for them and adherence to their ways. Whoever loves me, should love them and whoever does not love them, hates me and I disassociate from him. Had I addressed you about them before this incident took place, I would have severely punished the perpetrators. After today, if I am informed of anyone doing such an act, they will be punished as the calumniator is punished. Lo, indeed Abu Bakr and ‘Umar are the best of this Ummah after its Prophet, then Allah knows where goodness lies. I end my speech with this and I seek the forgiveness of Allah for you and I both.”
Many of the Shia and the Ahlus Sunnah narrate this sermon and it is supported by the aforementioned narration of the Shia scholar, al Nawbakhti, in which he intended to scold those who revile Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
This is how Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu strove to protect his supporters and became a barrier between them and the beliefs of the Jews and fire worshippers. However, he was martyred by Ibn Muljam al Muradi al Khariji before he could achieve his goal, after which the Saba’iyyah became widespread and ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ began to preach openly, to such an extent that he said to the one who came to him with the news of the martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
كذبت يا عدو الله لو جئتنا والله بدماغه في صرة فأقمت على قتله سبعين عدلا ما صدقناك و لعلمنا أنه لم يمت و لم يقتل و أنه لا يموت حتى يسوق العرب بعصاه و يملك الأرض ثم مضوا من يومهم حتى أناخوا بباب علي فاستأذنوا عليه استئذان الواثق بحياته الطامع في الوصول إليه فقال لهم من حضره من أهله و أصحابه و ولده سبحان الله ما علمتم أن أمير المؤمنين قد استشهد قالوا إنا نعلم أنه لم يقتل و لا يموت حتى يسوق العرب بسيفه و سوطه كما قادهم بحجته و برهانه و أنه ليسمع النجوى و يعرف تحت الدثار الثقيل و يلمع في ظلام كما يلمع السيف الصقيل الحسام
“You have lied, O enemy of Allah! If you came to us with his brain in a bag and brought seventy witnesses to testify that he died, we still would not believe you and would remain believing that he has neither died, nor been killed. He will not die until he drives the Arabs with his staff and takes control of the world.”
They then continued with their day until they stopped at the door of ‘Ali. They sought permission to meet him as though they were certain that he was alive and yearned to reach him. The members of his family, companions, or children that met them said to them, “Glory be to Allah, do you not know that the Leader of the Believers has been martyred?” They said, “We know that he has not been killed and he will not die until he urges on the Arabs with his sword and whip as he had guided them with his proofs and evidences. He hears the secret conversations and knows what happens even if it may be under the cover of a heavy blanket. He shines in the dark just as a sharp, polished sword shines.”
This despicable group who fell out of the fold of Islam, with ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ as its leader, claimed that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu encouraged them to follow these teachings and that these ideologies were inspired by him alone. Many historians and great biographers have mentioned the same. This is supported by what al Nawbakhti has mentioned:
إن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يقول في حياة علي رضي الله عنه أن عليا هو الذي أمره باللعن و الطعن على أبي بكر و عمر رضي الله عنهما
Many of the Shia were deceived by this and became inclined to him, his words and his self-fabricated beliefs. It is due to this that the original Shi’ism morphed and the first Shia changed causing Shi’ism and its supporters to become a separate sect in Islam, whereas, initially, it was only a political party. Wellhausen, the orientalist of Hamelin, also says this. He mentions that the first Shia had settled in Iraq:
They were not originally a religious sect, in fact, [this sect] came about through a political viewpoint in this topic. All of the inhabitants of Iraq, specifically the people of Kufah, made up a group despite the differences present between them. These differences were not limited to some individuals only, in fact, they were found between tribes and their leaders, and were due to the different levels of Shi’ism they belonged to. In their eyes, ‘Ali was the perfect figure to lead their lost city. This is where the superfluous honour given to ‘Ali and his family originated from. This superfluous honour was such that he remained displeased about it for his entire life in such a way that as long as he lived, the practice of worshipping him was gradually coming into existence, in the form of a secret religion.
This is the truth, as Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu never mentioned that he considered himself or his family different to Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar, and Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. In fact, he considered them more virtuous than himself and his children. He used to adhere to their ways and follow in their footsteps. He considered his rule an extension of theirs, as is mentioned in his well-known statement which is narrated from him that he wrote to Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a letter:
إنه بايعني القوم الذين بايعوا أبا بكر و عمر و عثمان على ما بايعوهم عليه فلم يكن للشاهد أن يختار و للغائب أن يرد و إنما الشورى للمهاجرين و الأنصار فإن اجتمعوا على رجل و سموه إماما كان ذلك لله رضى فإن خرج عن أمرهم خارج بطعن أو بدعة ردوه إلى ما خرج منه فإن أبى قاتلوه على اتباعه غير سبيل المؤمنين و ولاه الله ما تولى و لعمري يا معاوية لئن نظرت بعقلك دون هواك لتجدنّي أبرأ الناس من دم عثمان و لتعلمن أني كنت في عزلة عنه إلا أن تتجنى فتجن ما بدا لك و السلام
The people that had pledged to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman have pledged to me upon the requisites they had pledged to them. Hence, no present person has any choice, nor does an absent person have the option of refusing. For the right of council is for the Muhajirin and the Ansar; hence, if they unite upon a person and dub him the leader, that would be pleasing to Allah. Thereafter, if someone departs from their decision due to criticism or innovation, they will return him to that which he departed from. If he refuses, they will fight him for him following a path other than that of the believers, and Allah will turn him to whatever he chose for himself. By my life, O Muawiyah, if you were to assess [the matter] with your intellect instead of your desires, you would find me the least associated of all with the murder of ‘Uthman and you would know that I was not involved in it, unless you [unjustly] incriminate me. In that case, incriminate [on the basis of] what you feel is correct. May peace be upon you.
Based on this Wellhausen says:
By his earliest followers, Ali was ranked with his predecessors in the caliphate. He was on par with Abu Bakr, Umar and even Uthman as long as he [Uthman] ruled fairly. Only as the continuer of this legitimate caliphate was he opposed to the Umayyad usurpers. His right to rule derived from the fact that he belonged to the aristocracy of the companions, was installed in the position of authority by them, and received the homage from Medina; it did not derive, or at least not directly, from his membership of Muhammad’s family.[*]
This is such an established fact that cannot be denied except by the ignorant or the proud transgressor who pretends not to know.
This form of Shi’ism and the Saba’iyyah could not progress except by weakening the authority of Hassan ibn ‘Ali in all matters, keeping strict checks on the party of his father, and implementing the secret calculated plans hatched by Judaism and Zoroastrianism that were temporarily set aside. These were formulated due to their defeat against the armies of Islam and the struggle of the non-Arab Persians whose strength and valour had been decimated by the Arab Believers, leaving them raging with the desire to annihilate them. Other nations who had suffered similar humiliations at the hands of the Muslims were awaiting the opportunity to rise up against the conquerors who had freed mankind from the clutches of idolatry and persecution.
And rulers that sent troops and armies and prepared regiments to rule over the rest of them and [put a stop to] paganism and polytheism and the oppression of oppressors and the power of the transgressors.
Hassan, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, did not find a force strong enough to hold these people back and prevent them from spreading their ideologies to his supporters and the sincere supporters of his father; especially after doubt and weakness had crept into the hearts of his followers causing their cowardice and feebleness to increase. Lies about the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum increased and the false beliefs spread. The famous Shia Sayed Muhsin al Amin mentions this on the authority of one of his Imams in his Mawsu’ah:
قال السيد علي خان في كتاب الدرجات الرفيعة في طبقات الإمامية من الشيعة روي عن أبي جعفر محمد بن علي الباقر – عليهما السلام – أنه قال لبعض أصحابه يا فلان ما لقينا من ظلم قريش إيانا و تظاهرهم علينا و ما لقي شيعتنا و محبونا من الناس أن رسول الله (ص) قبض وقد أخبر أنا أولى الناس بالناس فمالأت علينا قريش حتى أخرجت قريش الأمر عن معدنه و احتجت على الأنصار بحقنا و حجتنا ثم تداولتها قريش واحدا بعد واحد حتى رجعت إلينا فنكثت بيعتنا و نصبت الحرب لنا و لم يزل صاحب الأمر في صعود كؤود حتى قتل فبويع الحسن ابنه و عوهد ثم غدر به و أسلم و وثب عليه أهل العراق حتى طعن بخنجر في جنبه و انتهب عسكره و عوجلت خلاخل أمهات أولاده فوادع معاوية و حقن دمه و دم أهل بيته و هم قليل حق قليل ثم بايع الحسين أهل العراق عشرون ألفا غدروا به و خرجوا عليه و بيعته في أعناقهم فقتلوه ثم لم نزل أهل البيت نستذل و نستضام و نقصى و نمتهن و نحرم نقتل و نخاف و لا نأمن على دمائنا و دماء أوليائنا و وجد الكذابون الجاحدون لكذبهم و جحودهم موضعا يتقربون به إلى أوليائهم و قضاة السوء في كل بلدة فحدثوهم بالأحاديث الموضوعة المكذوبة و رووا عنا ما لم نقله و ما لم نفعله ليبغضونا إلى الناس
Sayed ‘Ali Khan says in Kitab al Darajat al Rafi’ah fi Tabaqat al Imamiyyah min al Shia:
It has been narrated from Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam that he said to some of his companions, “O so-and-so, how much injustice and pretence have we witnessed from Quraysh! How much have our supporters gone through cowering away from people! The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away having declared that we are the most rightful of people to the people, causing Quraysh to join forces with us, until Quraysh removed the matter from its origin and beat the Ansar to our right and evidence. The Quraysh then handed them over to one after the other until they came to us and violated our pledge and waged war against us. The leader thereafter faced insurmountable obstacles until he was martyred. His son, Hassan, thereafter came into power and allegiance was pledged to him. He was later deceived. The people of Iraq accepted Islam and pounced on him until he was eventually stabbed with a dagger in his side. His army was overcome and the anklets of the mothers of his children were seized. He handed the matter over to Muawiyah and saved his blood and the blood of his family who were truly less in number. Hussain later took bay’ah from twenty thousand people of Iraq, who eventually deceived him and rose up against him, despite having pledged allegiance to him, until they eventually killed him. Then we, the Ahlul Bayt, were lowered, treated unjustly, driven away, humiliated, and deprived. We were killed and we were afraid. Neither our blood, nor the blood of our associates was safe. The lying rebels found a way to use their lies and transgression to gain closeness to their leaders and corrupt judges in every city. They related false, fabricated tales to them, and related from us that which we did not say or do to make people hate us.
The falsifiers lied and fabricated statements in order to give rise to their falsehood and spread their misguidance. Sayyidina ‘Ali and his pure progeny were not involved in this. The Saba’iyyah and their leader, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, were at the forefront of the fabricators and deceivers. After a long period of time and many incidents, they proved to be highly successful in their endeavours and managed to corrupt many people, deceive them and cause them to abandon the correct, clear way of Islam. They caused them to abandon the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for a strange, unknown religion leaving behind the simple Islamic beliefs that are free from any kind of polytheism and paganism. They instigated them to stop believing in the oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, in freedom, jihad, democracy, justice and considering man honourable without segregating due to status, lineage, position, authority and power. Yes, they caused them to abandon all of these things and made them adhere to philosophical ideologies which were adopted from the ideologies of the Jews, pagans, fire worshippers, and Christians. They led them to ascribing partners to Allah in worship and towards extremism, segregating between the Children of Ᾱdam ‘alayh al Salam based on status, lineage, position, authority and power and that a man can be better than others due to being born in a certain family, whereas he has no honourable trait besides this, and that so-and-so is the lowest of people as they were not born in that respected family even if they may possess all honourable qualities. They caused them to fall into such follies and shams, and others too. The Saba’iyyah are therefore the origin of every sect that came from the Shia, and the ideologies of Ibn Sawda’ became the foundation block of all of those sects. These sects further divided based on the different things they adopted.
Whoever adopted all of them were given a specific name, and those who adopted some of their ideologies and left some were given another name. Whoever took most of them and only left some were given a separate name. None of them followed a path besides that of the Saba’iyyah. You will soon see all of this with your own eyes and will witness it for yourself in trustworthy, reliable books with proofs. We will explain this in the chapter with regards to sects which will be separately mentioned in this book to shed light on the various Shia sects.
Al Hakim al Dihlawi mentions the following after his research about the sects of Shi’ism and after mentioning the first Shia:
الطبقة الثانية جماعة ممن ضعف إيمانهم من أهل النفاق و هم قتلة عثمان و أتباع عبد الله بن سبأ الذين كانوا يسبون الصحابة الكرام و هم الذين انخرطوا في عسكر الأمير و عدّوا أنفسهم من شيعته خوفا من عاقبة ما صدر منهم من تلك الجناية العظمى و بعض منهم تشبثوا بأذيال الأمير طمعا في المناصب العالية و رفعة المراتب فحصل لهم بذلك مزيد الأمنية و كمال الطمأنينة و مع ذلك فقد أظهروا للأمير كرم الله وجهه ما انطووا عليه من اللؤم و الخبائث فلم يجيبوا دعوته و أضروا على مخالفته و ظهرت منهم الخيانة على ما نصبوا عليه و استطالت أيديهم على عباد الله و أكل أموالهم و ألسنتهم في الطعن على الصحابة و هذه الفرقة هم رؤساء الروافض و أسلافهم و مسلمو الثبوت عندهم فإنهم وضعوا بناء دينهم و إيمانهم في تلك الطبقة على رواية هؤلاء الفساق المنافقين و منقولاتهم فلذا كثرت روايات هذه الفرقة عن الأمير كرم الله تعالى وجهه بواسطة هؤلاء الرجال و قد ذكر المؤرخون سبب دخول أولئك المنافقين في هذا الباب و قالوا إنهم قبل وقوع التحكيم كانوا مغلوبين لكثرة الشيعة الأولى في عسكر الأمير و تغلبهم و لما وقع التحكيم و حصل اليأس من انتظام أمور الخلافة و كادت مدة الخلافة تتم و تنقرض و تخلفها نوبة العضوض رجع الشيعة الأولى من دومة الجندل التي كانت محل التحكيم إلى أوطانهم لحصول اليأس من نصرة الدين و شرعوا بتأييده بترويج أحكام الشريعة و الإرشاد و رواية الأحاديث و تفسير القرآن المجيد كما أن الأمير – كرم الله تعالى وجهه – دخل الكوفة و اشتغل بمثل هذه الأمور و لم يبق في ركاب الأمير إذ ذاك من الشيعة الأولى إلا القليل من كانت له دار في الكوفة فلما رأت هاتيك الفرقة الضالة المجال في إظهار ضلالتهم أظهروا ما كانوا يخفونه من إساءة الأدب في حق الأمير و سب أصحابه و أتباعه الأحياء منهم و الأموات و مع هذا كان لهم طمع في المناصب أيضا لأن العراق و خراسان و فارس و البلاد الأخر الواقعة في تلك الأطراف كانت باقية بعد في تصرف الأمير و حكومته و الأمير كرم الله تعالى وجهه – عاملهم كما عاملوه كما وقع ذلك لموسى عليه السلام مع اليهود و لنبينا علي الصلاة و السلام مع المنافقين
The second group were those whose faith was weak. They were the murderers of ‘Uthman and the supporters of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ who used to revile the Noble Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They were the ones who joined forces with the army of the Leader and included themselves in his group due to the fear of the consequence of their grave mistake. Some of them clung to the tail straps of the Leader desiring a lofty status and high ranking. Due to this, their desires increased and they became content. Along with that, they spread wickedness and their disgusting views they had about the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They did not accept his message and staunchly opposed him. They betrayed him despite the status they had given him. They stretched out their hands to consume the wealth of people and outstretched their tongues to revile the Companions. The members of this group were the chiefs and elders of the Rawafid and the steadfast according to them. They laid the foundation of their religion and faith in that group based on the sayings and narrations of these corrupt hypocrites. It is for this reason that there are many narrations about the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu which have been narrated from these men. Historians have mentioned why these hypocrites became involved in this matter. They say:
Before the Arbitration [at Siffin] they were outnumbered due to the presence and majority of the original Shia in the army of the Leader. However, after the Arbitration, the hope of establishing the Caliphate was lost, and the specified term for the Caliphate was about to come to an end and the era of unjust rule soon to follow, the first Shia returned from Dawmat al Jandal, which was where the Arbitration took place, to their homelands, as they had lost hope of assisting Islam. They then occupied themselves with spreading the rulings of Shari’ah, advices, and transmitting hadith and exegesis of the Qur’an. Along with this, the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu entered Kufah and also became occupied in these kinds of matters. And there did not remain in the company of the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu any of the first Shia, except for a few who owned houses in Kufah. When this misguided group saw the opportunity to display their deviance, they openly pronounced what they previously concealed of their disrespect for the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and freely insulted his companions and supporters, whether dead or alive. Along with this, they desired respected posts; as Iraq, Khurasan, Persia and other neighbouring countries were still under the authority of the Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The Leader radiya Llahu ‘anhu would treat them as they treated him, as occurred with Musa ‘alayh al Salam and the Jews, and our Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with the hypocrites.
Al Nawbakhti has also acknowledged this:
فلما قتل علي عليه السلام افترقت التي ثبتت على إمامته فصاروا فرقا ثلاثا فرقة منهم قالت إن عليا لم يقتل و لم يمت و لا يقتل و لا يموت حتى يسوق العرب بعصاه و يملأ الأرض عدلا و قسطا كما ملئت ظلما و جورا و هي أول فرقة في الإسلام قالت بالوقف بعد النبي صلى الله عليه و آله من هذه الأمة و أول من قال بالغلو و هذه الفرقة تسمى السبئية أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ و كان ممن أظهر الطعن على أبي بكر و عمر و عثمان و الصحابة و تبرأ منهم و قال إن عليا عليه السلام أمره بذلك فأخذه علي فسأله عن قوله هذا فأقر به فأمر بقتله فصاح الناس إليه يا أمير المؤمنين أتقتل رجلا يدعو إلى حبكم أهل البيت وإلى ولايتك والبراءة من أعدائك فصيره إلى المدائن وحكى جماعة من أهل العلم من أصحاب علي عليه السلام أن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يهوديا فأسلم و والى عليا عليه السلام وكان يقول وهو على يهوديته في يوشع بن نون بعد موسى عليه السلام بهذه المقالة فقال في إسلامه بعد وفاة النبي صلى الله عليه و آله في علي عليه السلام بمثل ذلك وهو أول من أشهر القول بفرض إمامة علي عليه السلام و أظهر البراءة من أعدائه وكاشف مخالفيه فمن هناك قال من خالف الشيعة إن أصل الرفض مأخوذ من اليهودية ولما بلغ عبد الله ابن سبأ نعي علي بالمدائن قال للذي نعاه كذبت لو جئتنا بدماغه في سبعين صرة وأقمت على قتله سبعين عدلا لعلمنا أنه لم يمت ولم يقتل و لا يموت حتى يملك الأرض
When ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam was martyred, those who had come together under his rule, separated dividing into three groups. The first group believed that ‘Ali was neither killed nor did he die, and that he will never be killed nor will he die until he ushers the Arabs using his staff and fills the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice and corruption. This was the first group in Islam to support the ideology of al Waqf [halting the line of Imamah] after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They were also the first to practice extremism. This group is known as the Saba’iyyah, the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, who was amongst those who reviled Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and other Companions and disassociated from them claiming that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam commanded him to do so. ‘Ali had him arrested due to this statement of his. Upon interrogation, he confessed to having said it. ‘Ali commanded that he be killed; however, people came running to him screaming, “O Leader of the Believers, do you wish to kill a man who calls towards love for you, the Ahlul Bayt, and calls towards your support and disassociation from your enemies?” Due to this, he expelled him to al Mada’in. A group of scholars amongst the companions of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam mention that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew who accepted Islam and began to support ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. When he was still a Jew, he was of the opinion that Yusha’ ibn Nun came into power after Musa ‘alayh al Salam. After he accepted Islam, he said the same about ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was the first one to give rise to the concept of it being necessary to believe in the rule of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam and he disassociated from his enemies and showed open hostility towards his opposers. Due to this, those who oppose the Shia say that their practices were taken from the Jews. When the news of the demise of ‘Ali reached ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ when he was in al Mada’in, he said to the news bearer, “You lie! If you were to come to me with his brain in seventy bags and brought seventy witnesses, we still would not believe that he died or that he was killed. He will not die until he controls the world.”
Al Kashshi and others who have already been mentioned state the same.
We intentionally repeated this text as it is directly related to the topic, is of utmost importance when understanding the Shia and Shi’ism and so that we can jog the memory of the reciter as perhaps they may have forgotten.
This was therefore the first incident to do with creed that took place in the history of Shi’ism and the first radical change, in centuries, that was unlike the thoughts and views of the early Shia. After this, Judaism began to head the ideologies of Shi’ism and the Shia. Al Nawbakhti has acknowledged this; al Kashshi also acknowledged this before him, and so did Sa’d al Qummi after him, and many others as well. This is also the opinion of every individual that has extensively researched and examined history amongst historians, biographers or experts in sects, whether they were Believers or disbelievers, Sunnis or Shia, or even orientalists amongst the Jews, Christians, and others. Wellhausen says whilst mentioning the Saba’iyyah:
The origins of the Sabaiyya go back to the time of Ali and Hasan . They are derived from Abdullah b. Saba. As his strange name suggests, he was also a Yemenite, coming from the capital Sanʿa. He is also said to have been a Jew. This leads one to the Jewish origin of the sect. Of course, Muslims call many things Jew and Jewish, when they are not. But in fact Shiʿite dogmatism, the founder of which is considered to be Ibn Saba, seems to come from Jews rather than Iran. 
In another chapter, we will discuss the Saba’iyyah and the beliefs that the Jews and others instilled in them when the need will arise to discuss the Saba’iyyah again. Before we come to the conclusion, we would like to mention that a group of the first Shia adhered to their original beliefs as well as those beliefs of theirs that were shared with the Muslims, until some changes took place. The progeny of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu were at the forefront of this, for example; Hassan, Hussain, Muhammad, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Abbas and others besides them from the progeny of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the rest of the Hashimiyyin, such as the sons of Sayyidina ‘Abbas, Sayyidina ‘Aqil, Sayyidina Jafar ibn Abi Talib and others from the uncles of Hussain and his father’s cousins.
This is the last point that we wanted to raise in this chapter. The next chapter includes the baseless accusations, weak conspiracies, and various allegations that the Saba’iyyah fabricated to gain authority over the Islamic Empire and its leader, the Khalifah of the Believers, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This will be mentioned as the generation that came after the first Shia, took these ideologies as their foundation and abandoned the way of Sayyidina ‘Ali and his family radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Following the way of their unrighteous ancestors, they used their tongues and pens in opposition of that leader who was unjustly killed. He has a deep connection with this as his killers or those who helped his killers are the ones who aided the Saba’iyyah. It came to be through them. They adopted their opinions and went astray due to holding on to their ideologies, thus causing them to deviate from the path of truth and guidance. These opinions and ideologies continued to spread corruption, incite hatred and cause division. They cause pain and open old wounds. Along with this, we will mention historical events; the benefits and consequences of them. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is the One Who grants ability. We ask Him to make us fair in our speech and accurate in spreading the truth. He is the One Who grants acceptance.
 Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 67, Beirut.
 As the just amongst them ‘followed’ Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain. Some of them even claim to have followed his ways completely. Its explanation will soon be mentioned in detail, if Allah wills.
 As they use the name of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his family, falsely and deceivingly, to conceal their hidden intentions and their filthy motives. Some people were deluded by this. They were referred to as the supporters of ‘Ali and his family radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
 He is Abu Muzaffar, Shahnur ibn Tahir ibn Muhammad al Asfarayini al Shafi’i, the exegetist. The esteemed imam who wrote al Tafsir al Kabir and authored books in the field of Usul as well. He travelled to seek knowledge and was quite successful in his quest. The government in Tus contacted him, so he stayed there for years and taught classes benefitting many people. He has many books; one of which is his book al Tabsir. He passed away in the year 471 AH.
 Al Asfarayini: al Tabsir fi al Din, pg. 43, Baghdad.
 Al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin, 1/50, in the marginalia, Egypt.
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/98-99.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/167.
 Tarikh ibn Khaldun, 2/139.
 Lisan al Mizan, 3/279.
 Abu Muzaffar al Asfarayini: al Tabsir fi al Din, pg. 109.
 The free non-Muslim inhabitants of a Muslim country who, in return for paying the capital tax, were granted protection and safety.
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/90.
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/103-104.
 Fajr al Islam, pg. 110-111.
 Ibid., pg. 269.
 Al Nawbakhti: Firaq al Shia, pg. 41-43, al Matba’ah al Haydariyyah, Najaf, with the commentary of Al Bahr al ‘Ulum, 1959.
 Rijal al Kashshi, pg. 100-101.
 Al Hilli: Kitab al Rijal, pg. 469, Tehran, 1343 A.H.
 Tanqih al Maqal, 2/184, Iran.
 Rawdat al Safa, in Persian, 2/292, Tehran.
 Manhaj al Maqal, pg. 203.
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 2/309.
 Al Farq Bayn al Firaq, pg. 233-235, Egypt.
 Sa’d ibn ‘Abdullah al Ash’ari al Qummi: al Maqalat wa al Firaq, pg. 21, Tehran, 1963 A.D.
 Rijal al Tusi, pg. 51, Najaf, 1961 A.D.
 Qamus al Rijal, 5/463.
 Tuhfat al Ahbab, pg. 184.
 Rawdat al Jannat.
 Rawdat al Safa, 3/393, Iran.
 Al Tabsir, pg. 108-109.
 I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa al Mushrikin, pg. 57, Dar al Kutub al ‘Ilmiyyah.
 Al Milal wa al Nihal, 2/11, marginalia.
 Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/430.
 Mukhtasar al Tuhfat al Ithna ‘Ashriyyah, 5-6, Egypt, 1383 AH.
 Fajr al Islam, 354.
 Ibid., pg. 269-270.
 Muhammad Hussain al Zayn: al Shia fi al Tarikh, pg. 212-213, Dar al Athar, Beirut, the second edition, 1989.
 Refer to Muhammad Hussain al Muzaffari: Tarikh al Shia, pg. 10, Qumm.
 Refer to A’yan al Shia, specifically part one from the first type.
 We will bring a chapter specifically about these false incidents and tales later in this book, as they have a deep connection with the Shia of today. They took these false tales from none other than ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ just as they adopted their beliefs from him. We will explain all of this in detail with proofs and evidence, Allah willing.
 Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani: Lisan al Mizan, 3/290, Beirut.
 Al Hamdani: Tathbit Dala’il al Nubuwwah, 2/446-448, Beirut.
 It is possible that the doctrine of Taqiyyah also came to the Shia from these people, as they were the first to use it referring to the punishment of ‘Ali. The narration of al Hamdani about the Saba’iyyah supports this. They say that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib did not burn anyone except:
لأنهم أظهروا السر ثم أحياهم بعد ذلك
… due to the fact that they exposed the secret, after which he brought them back to life.
‘Abdul Jabbar al Hamdani: Tathbit Dala’il al Nubuwwah, 2/549-550, Beirut.
 Sa’d ibn ‘Abdullah al Shia al Qummi: al Maqalat wa al Firaq; Tathbit Dala’il al Nubuwwah, 2/549.
 Refer to al Nawbakhti’s Firaq al Shia, pg. 44.
 Al Khawarij wa al Shia, pg. 113.
 Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 366-367.
[*] Al-Khawārij wa al-Shīʿah, pg. 171; Wellhausen: The Religio-Political Opposition Parties in Early Islam, pg. 91, 92.
 A’yan al Shia, 1/34.
 Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, pg. 56-58.
 Al Nawbakhti: Firaq al Shia, pg. 43-44.
 Al Khawarij wa al Shia, pg. 170-171; Wellhausen: The Religio-Political Opposition Parties in Early Islam, pg. 91.