History and Evolution of Shi’ism – NEW UPLOAD!!!
July 25, 2022
Chapter One – Early Shi’ism and the first Shia
July 25, 2022

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All praise belongs to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the Most Compassionate, the Most Beneficent, Master of the Day of Requital. Peace and salutations be upon the most honoured amongst Messengers and the Seal of Prophets salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, upon his family members, the Mothers of the Believers, his noble family, his close Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and whoever follows them in good until the Day of Requital.

Indeed, I had begun compiling a book about the Ismailiyyah: I began giving sequence to the book, planned the layout, and drew up a plan to write on them. When I had completed half of the work, I received an invitation from some sincere brothers—ardent upon defending the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala—to visit America and deliver lectures there, to students of various institutes, assemblies, and organisations. These noble institutes and organisations—in the midst of such disbelief which had stooped to the lowest levels of filth and depravity—were like roses and lush gardens extending shade and ripe fruit in a thirsty, scorching desert. They were like a pulpits of light in a dark gloomy night.

The Muslim Arab brothers who had settled in these places to attain knowledge began imparting upon them the teachings of good conduct, courtesy, civilisation and culture, and the knowledge of the soul; the knowledge of the noble Qur’an, and the teachings of the Noble Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I witnessed in them a zeal for the Religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and practicing upon it, as well as a sense of loyalty towards those who transmitted it; the Companions of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the senior scholars of this Ummah. I witnessed abstinence, chastity, purity, the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, consistency on prayer, humility, concentration in prayer, interest, and attentiveness towards religious discourses, knowledge, and Islamic gatherings. I saw their institutes and organisations, and was certain that through this blessed, group Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would grant His Word elevation, raise His flag, and cause His Religion to overpower all other religions, spreading the call, name, and mention of His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in those lands which are far from those of the Believers. I was sure that they were the ones about whom the old Arabic proverb applied:

Amongst them are assemblies of beautiful faces and gatherings that words and action visit,

if you were to go to them you would find crowds around their houses through the gentleness of which ignorance is cured.

Thus, I accepted their invitation and travelled to them and joined their conferences. I attended their gatherings, reached many places, discussed different issues. The speeches included a myriad of topics and the discourses revolved around different perspectives. Some of them discussed the dispute of the Ummah, the reason behind it, and its origin and basis. Some were about the different, contradicting sects that came into existence and arose amongst the Believers. Some sects have gone to great extremes in division and controversy, likewise there are some who have remained close [to the correct way]. The Shia are amongst those sects that go to the greatest extent and firmly contradict the rest of the Ummah in matters of principal and fundamental aspects of the religion. There is much to say about them and many questions have arisen to which many answers have been given. Three books which I had previously authored had already been circulated and read by the many students and attendees of these gatherings. For this reason, the discussions would be deep and the questions asked quite intricate. The discussions revolved around; the beliefs of these people and their views which were unveiled, the history of this sect, its origin, its development, the sects that it divides into, as well as an overall satisfaction with what I mentioned in my books of the beliefs of these people, contentment upon it, and a general understanding of the need to recognise their history and origin. Also, the metamorphosis it experienced such that it has distanced itself immensely from the beliefs of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the Ummah at large. The discussions would end with students demanding that a book be written specifically about the same topic to complete the debate and end the topic of discussion.

Whenever a book is written on history and the divisions which occurred, it is necessary to include the deviated sects that emanate from Shi’ism. When I returned from these countries, I was determined to accede to their request and fulfil the needs that they made apparent. When I reached my home on the 26th of September, I had already begun to pen some points on this topic and, thus, set aside the writing of my book on the Ismailiyyah, despite my deep desire to complete it. However, whatever Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala desired came to pass and what He did not desire did not occur, and everything has an appointed time.

I put all of my effort into this and did nothing else but work on this book—neither during the day nor the night—aside from research, enquiry, planning and drafting related to it. [I did, however, deliver] some lectures in different cities of Pakistan; both close to Lahore and far from it, as this was my responsibility at all times, in every condition and place. I neither have been nor will I, hopefully, ever be free from this responsibility despite my running away and fleeing from it in the final days [of writing] because of how much it demanded of me and how much it overwhelmed me, and due to many hardships, travels, difficulty, lack of rest, peace, contentment of the heart and mind due to it. I praise Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for His granting me the blessing of completing this research to the best of my capabilities and capacity. I hope that the reader benefits from it, the viewer enjoys it, the researcher is pleased by it, and the historian is gladdened by it. As there are few books that have been written about the Shia and their doctrines in historic sequence, detailing the correct series of events, which is free from ulterior motives and intents as well as from fairy tales and cobwebs. In a similar manner, it is rare to find one who is truly acquainted with the evolution of early Shi’ism, the metamorphosis of the first sect and the causes that led to this change and alteration. This is of course with the exception of a few minor points that are found scattered in various books of heresiography, which do very little to satisfy ones’ intellectual curiosity.

We, thus, begin this book with an explanation of how Shi’ism started, how it progressed, and with mention of the first Shia.

We then move into the second chapter where the Sabaʾiyyah and its founder, ‘Abdullah ibn Sabaʾ, will be discussed, elucidating upon his ideologies and beliefs which he wished to promote amongst the first Shia. Along with that, we will discuss the disgraceful and despicable acts that he and his cohorts committed. [We will also discuss] how they strove to spread dissention and tribulation as well as the outcome of their actions.

In chapter three, we explain the manner in which the Sabaʾiyyah merged into the ranks of the Shia, ensnaring a few during the Caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We discuss too the manner in which Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu opposed the ideologies of these people and his efforts to prevent his own supporters from inclining towards them and their beliefs. This chapter also includes some excerpts from the Battles of Jamal and Siffin, which are free from falsehood and are based on facts that are not very well known to many people, not even the Ahlus Sunnah. It might be the first time that such details are discussed.

In chapter four, we elaborate upon the evolution of Shi’ism, the metamorphosis of the first Shia, how the Sabaʾiyyah took over Shi’ism and overpowered the Shia, grounding within it their own ideologies and beliefs. Then we discuss how some of the extremist Shia sects emerged. Thereafter, we briefly mention some scenes from the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and its outcomes. We also discuss how the Shia progressed from a political party to a religious sect.

In chapter five we discuss some of the main sects of the Shia, their creed and beliefs, that emerged during the different eras, including those which came about in the periods of the ten Imams after Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu—at times elaborating in detail and at others with brevity.

What must be noted is that we have only discussed those sects that have been mentioned in the books of the Shia themselves, and not those mentioned in the books of the Ahlus Sunnah. Our focus and reliance were only on what was mentioned in the books of Shia. That is only what we utilized, so that no one can claim that we attributed something to them which they have not stated themselves. In fact, one will find the opposite to be true, we will say you were the ones who said it, thus we quoted you.

As for the sixth chapter, it deals entirely with the sect known as the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah or the Imamiyyah. This is the sect that which constitutes the majority of the Shia in present times. They are the ones who are implied when the word Shia is generally used. Here we will discuss the belief of the Shia regarding their Twelfth Imam; is he born and only absent or is he fictious and non-existent?

In relation to that, it was necessary to also explain their belief of Imamah and the conditions of the Imam as well, whilst also explaining the sects which emerged from the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, all of whom openly claim to be from the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, Imamiyyah, or Jafariyyah.

We have kept the last chapter specifically to mention the ideological links that connect the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah to the beliefs of the Sabaʾiyyah, which have been derived and taken from the Jews. With this book, we come close to the end of this topic[1], as the series of books which we authored about the Shia is now complete with this book. Hopefully, it will not be incorrect, nor an exaggeration on our part, for us to say that these four books will adequately inform many people about the Shia: their beliefs, their books, their creed, history, and sects. In this book, the Shia themselves will find that which will cause them to critically reflect so that they may differentiate between truth and falsehood.

Many readers and researchers may notice that, in this book of ours, we tried, as we did in our previous books, not to repeat anything that we have already mentioned in another book, to such an extent that even when we were in need of repeating something that was already mentioned, we would find another similar point instead, in order to refrain from repetition and thus make it more beneficial to the readers. However, in some places it was inevitable, as the topics are interrelated and similar to each other. Accordingly, this book [Allah willing] is free from unnecessary disliked repetition. May one and all understand its value!

In light of the above, we refrained from once again introducing those who were quoted previously or those from whose book’s excerpts were taken, in the preceding three books. We were content with simply mentioning a brief biography of those who were not mentioned previously.

What distinguishes this book from others that along with discussing the history of Shi’ism, the regression from the original Shia and deviation therefrom, those sects that came about and became popular with this name, how they fragmented and survived; it also includes the allegations of the Shia against the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, specifically Sayyidina ‘Uthman and Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and a logical response to them.

I earnestly hope that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, Most High, Most Appreciative, allows others to benefit through it; the supporters amongst them as well as those who are opposed, that He accepts it as an act that was done solely for His pleasure and that He stores its benefit for me in my religious and worldly matters as well as during my lifetime and after my demise. I hope that He gathers me in the group of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and that He grants me the ability to defend the Shari’ah, the honour of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the grandeur of his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions, his supporters and students, his wives who are the Mothers of the Believers radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and the pious predecessors of this Ummah, its scholars and well-wishers. May He make me amongst them. Verily He is the All-Hearing, Answerer of prayers.

Finally, I must thank all the brothers and friends that supported me, had a hand in the publication of this book or aided me to continue writing books about such topics. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala bless them, accept their efforts and deeds and grant them the best recompense on our behalf and on the behalf of Islam. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala send blessings upon His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his family, Companions and all those who follow their ways and tread their path until the Day of Requital.

Ihsan Ilahi Zahir

30 Muharram 1404 AH

6 November 1983


NEXT⇒ Chapter One – Early Shi’ism and the first Shia

[1] I say this based on my own presumption, otherwise it is quite probable that we would need many books to uncover all of the truth. It is not as we used to think before that two concise books are sufficient to discuss the Shia and explain their beliefs. Here we are following the first book with the second, the second with the third, and now the third with the fourth.

At the final moments another book in the Persian language titled Hujjat Ithna Ashri came to us from Iran. Its author, in the unabridged version of his book, tried to respond to us; however, he writes under an alias. We responded to him without indicating towards his identity, fearing that he may dissociate himself from its authorship out of sheer humiliation, disgrace, and regret; due to the weakness of his arguments and his inability to form a logical objection to the matters that we mentioned in our book, Al Shia wa al Sunnah. How odd is it that the one who has veiled himself with the alias Haqku (in other words the one who speaks the truth) challenges us repeatedly, saying that he will reward us if we can prove him wrong with regards to what he wrote; yet he has not written his name anywhere in the book. And due to fear of being exposed by the truth was not able to even mention who printed his book nor the institute that published it, not even the agency that issued it. This is the courage of this writer and his ilk, and their reality. This fact alone is enough to firmly establish the truth and annihilate falsehood, as well as create a clear division between truth and falsehood.

To conclude, we do not know whether this will be the last book of this series or whether we will be compelled by the Shia to continue researching, in order to uncover other truths that might be hidden or veiled from the eyes of the Ahlus Sunnah, and perhaps from the Shia themselves. Whenever we look at the books of the Shia, we find two categories of books; those meant only for propagation and those which include fundamental beliefs and ideologies. In previous times, there were many books for propagational purposes, the authors of which used lies and deceit to keep the truth of the matter concealed from the Ahlus Sunnah. Oh, how people are in need of recognising falsehood and deceit and distinguish it from the truth! How we wish to publish a book titled Bayna Yaday al Kutub, which refutes that which has been narrated in these books of fraud, deceit, hypocrisy, and blindness; however, writing about other topics has come between us and its completion. We do not know the matters of the unseen and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is the One Who knows all secrets.