Prefatory Chapter

October 1, 2021
Chapter One – Section One: The Origins of the Sciences of Hadith Amongst the Ahlus Sunnah.
October 1, 2021

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Prefatory Chapter

Introduction to the Shia

The following will be discussed:

  • Definition
  • Most Important Shia personalities
  • Ideas and Beliefs
  • The spread of Shi’ism and its places of influence


Introduction to the Rawafid

This is a brief Introduction to the Imamiyyah Shia. It is encompassed in the following:[1]

1. Definition

The Twelver Imami Shia sect is that sect which believe that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was more deserving of inheriting the Caliphate than Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They have been dubbed with various titles, some of them being:

A. The Imamiyyah: This is because they aver that the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was based on emphatic appointment and true specification; his Imamah was not based on an insinuation by way of description, but a specific indication toward his person.[2] Imamah according to them is a fundamental from the fundamentals of Din.

B. The Jafariyyah: This is because of their attribution to Jafar al Sadiq, the sixth Imam according to them. This falls under the category of naming the general with the name of the specific.

Jafar al Sadiq was from the jurists of his time, but the jurisprudence of this sect is falsely attributed to him. Hence, they attribute to him such views and beliefs as are not averred even by a person with basic understanding of the Din, let alone him.

This name is the most beloved of names to them, as opposed to being dubbed the ‘Rawafid’. But the reality is that they do not know the true school of Jafar al Sadiq. They have just collated their conjured opinions and their fabrications and attributed them to him. In fact, they even narrated that Jafar al Sadiq was told of this name and he became infuriated.

Al Kashshi narrates from Abu al Sabah al Kinani the following:


قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: إنا نعير بالكوفة، فيقال لنا: جعفرية. قال: فغضب أبو عبد الله عليه السلام، ثم قال: إن أصحاب جعفر منكم لقليل، أنما اصحاب جعفر من اشتد ورعه، وعمل لخالقه

I said to Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam, “We are taunted in Kufah and it is said to us, ‘the Jafariyyah’.”

Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam became angry and said, “The followers of Jafar amongst you are very few. The true followers of Jafar are those whose piety is scrupulous and who practice for their Creator.”[3]


C. The Rawafid, or the Rafidah: Abu al Hassan al Ash’ari says:


وإنما سموا رافضة لرفضهم إمامة أبي بكر وعمر

They have been dubbed the Rafidah (the abandoners), due to them abandoning the Imamah of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.[4]


The Rafidah are the only sect from the sects of Islam whose distinguishing factor is reviling Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. This is a sign of their great deprivation, may Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala disgrace them.

It is also said that they were dubbed the Rafidah due to them abandoning the Din.[5]


D. The Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (The Twelvers): This is because they believe in Twelve Imams, the last of which went into occultation in a basement in the house of his father in Surr man Ra’a. Ever since, according to them, he has not emerged. The Twelve individuals whom the Rafidah believe to be their Imams are the following:[6]

No. Name Birth Death Agnomen


1 ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib 23 A.H 40 A.H Abu al Hassan Al Murtada
2 Al Hassan ibn ‘Ali 2 A.H 50 A.H Abu Muhammad Al Mujtaba, al Zaki
3 Al Hussain ibn ‘Ali 3 A.H 61 A.H Abu ‘Abdullah Al Shahid
4 ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali 38 A.H 95 A.H Abu Muhammad Al Sajjad, Zayn al ‘Abidin
5 Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain 57 A.H 114 A.H Abu Jafar Al Baqir
6 Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali 83 A.H 148 A.H Abu ‘Abdullah Al Sadiq
7 Musa ibn Jafar al Sadiq 128 A.H 183 A.H Abu Ibrahim Al Kazim
8 ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Jafar 148 A.H 203 A.H Abu al Hassan Al Rida
9 Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Musa 195 A.H 220 A.H Abu Jafar Al Jawad
10 ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali 212 A.H 254 A.H Abu al Hassan Al Hadi
11 Al Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad 232 A.H 260 A.H Abu Muhammad Al ‘Askari
12 Muhammad ibn al Hassan al ‘Askari .. .. Abu al Qasim Al Mahdi, al Hujjah, al Qa’im al Muntazar


Their leading scholar al Majlisi says:


وإن أعداء الأئمة عليهم السلام كفار مخلدون في النار، وأن أظهروا الإسلام، فمن عرف الله ورسوله والأئمة عليهم السلام وتولاهم وتبرأ من أعدائهم فهو مؤمن، ومن أنكرهم أو شك فيهم أو أنكر أحدهم أو شك فيه أو تولى أعدائهم أو أحد أعدائهم، فهو ضال هالك بل كافر لا ينفعه عمل ولا اجتهاد، ولا تقبل له طاعة، ولا تصح له حسنات

The enemies of the Imams ‘alayhim al Salam are disbelievers who will be doomed to Hell-fire for eternity even if they express Islam. Hence, whoever recognises Allah, His Rasul, and the Imams, and thereafter associates with them and disassociates from their enemies is a believer. And whoever denies them, doubts them, denies one of them, or doubts one of them, or befriends their enemies or one of their enemies, he is a deviant who is doomed to destruction, in fact even a disbeliever whom no practice or striving will help; His acts of worship will not be accepted and his good deeds will not be valid.[7]


2. Some Important Shia Personalities

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’

He is considered to be the founding father of their devious dogma. He was a Jew from the Jews of Yemen and was known as Ibn al Sauda’ (the son of a black woman) due to being attributed to his Abyssinian mother. He overtly displayed Islam in order to destroy it from within. He is also the first person to claim that the Qur’an is one portion of nine portions the knowledge of which was with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He is the one who instigated the people against Dhu al Nurayn, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. And he is the person who first proposed the belief of Raj’ah, the return of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Bada’, the possibility of otherwise occurring to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, pure is Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala from that.


‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi, Abu al Hassan

He died in 307 A.H. He is well known because of his exegesis Tafsir al Qummi. Therein he has emphatically stated that the Qur’an is interpolated. He has also written other books such as: al Tarikh, al Shara’i’, Al Hayd, Fada’il Amir al Mu’minin, al Maghazi, etc.


Muhammad ibn Yaqub al Kulayni, Abu Jafar

He died in 328 A.H. He is the author of al Kafi wherein he has, just like his teacher al Qummi, claimed that interpolation has occurred in the Qur’an. Al Kafi is a huge book which consists of three sections: the Usul, the Furu’, and the Rawdah.


Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Babuwayh al Qummi

He is famously known as al Saduq. He died in 381 A.H. He is the author of Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih.


Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Tusi:

He died in 460 A.H. He is the author of Tahdhib al Ahkam, al Istibsar, al Tibyan, al Ghaybah, Amali al Tusi, al Fihrist, Rijal al Tusi.


Abu ‘Abdullah al Mufid

He died in 413 A.H. He is the author of al Irshad and Amali al Mufid.


Abu Mansur al Tabarsi

He died in 620 A.H. He is the author of al Ihtijaj.


Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi

The supreme scholar of the Safawid Dynasty in his time. He died in 1111 A.H and is the author of Bihar al Anwar.


Muhammad ibn al Hassan al ‘Amili

He died in 1104 A.H. He is the author of Wasa’il al Shia ila Tahsil Masa’il al Shari’ah and al Iqaz min al Haj’ah fi Ithbat al Raj’ah.


Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri

He died in 1112 A.H. He is the author of al Anwar al Nu’maniyyah.


Al Hajj Mirza Hussain Muhammad al Nuri al Tabarsi

He died in 1320 A.H in Najaf. He is the author of Fasl al Khitab fi Ithbat Tahrif Kitab Rabb al Arbab. Therein this Rafidi has claimed that in the Qur’an interpolation, omission, and addition have occurred. This book was published in Iran in 1289 A.H.[8]


Ayatollah al Mamaqani

The author of Tanqih al Maqal fi Usul al Rijal, and Miqbas al Hidayah fi ‘Ilm al Dirayah. He is their leading scholar in the science of impugning and approbating narrators. In this book he has referred to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as Jibt and Taghut (two idols). This book was published in 1352 A.H. from the Murtadawiyyah publishing house in Najaf.


Ayatollah Khomeini

His name is Ruh Allah Mustafa Ahmed al Musawi Khomeini. His grandfather Ahmed migrated from India to Iran in 1885 A.H. He was born in the Khumayn village near Qum in 1320 A.H. His father was killed one year after his birth. Before reaching puberty, his mother died and, thus, he was natured by his elder brother. He was from the scholars of Din according to the Shia. Some of his books are: Kashf al Asrar, Tahrir al Wasilah, al Hukumah al Islamiyyah. He died in 1989 A.H at the age of eighty-nine.


3. Ideas and beliefs


They believe that Imamah is enacted through emphatic appointment, i.e. it is incumbent upon the previous Imam to emphatically appoint the person of the succeeding Imam and it would not be enough to appoint him by pointing out his traits. Imamah according to them is from those crucial matters wherein the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is not permitted to leave the Ummah without direction as a result of which each a person can opine his own opinion. In fact, it is necessary that he appoint a person who will be trusted and resorted to. They substantiate this by averring that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam emphatically appointed ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his successor on the Day of Ghadir Khumm. An incident which is not established by the hadith scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah nor by their historians.

They also allege that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu emphatically appointed his two sons Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. In this manner every Imam appointed his successor through his bequest, and they are, thus, dubbed the Awsiya’, the entrusted.



They believe that all the Imams are infallible, they are pure from mistakes and forgetfulness, and from major and minor sins.


Al ‘Ilm al Ladunni (knowledge coffered directly from on high)

Every Imam has been granted special knowledge from Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whereby he is able to complete the Shari’ah. Hence, every Imam is a bearer of unique knowledge gifted to him directly from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entrusted them with the secrets of the Shari’ah so that they may explain them to the people according to the requirements of their times.


Supernatural abilities

Supernatural acts can occur at the hands of the Imam. They call them miracles.


Al Ghaybah (Occultation)

They believe that no era can be empty from the logical and Shar’i evidence of Allah, referring to an Imam. As a result they believe that their Twelfth Imam disappeared into his basement whereafter the two occultations transpired, the minor[9] and the major.[10] This is from their fairy tales.


Al Raj’ah (the Return)

They believe that Muhammad ibn al Hassan al ‘Askari, the Twelfth Imam, will return at the end of time after Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala grants him permission to do so. Hence, some of them would stand after the Maghrib Salah at the door of the basement with a conveyance. They would call out his name and invite him to emerge until the stars would become clear. Thereafter they would return and suspend the matter till the next night. They believe that when he returns he will fill the earth with justice just as it was previously filled with transgression and tyranny, and that he will take revenge from the opponents of the Shia across history. The Imamiyyah all believe in the Raj’ah and some groups amongst them also believe that some of the dead will return as well.


Al Taqiyyah (Dissimulation)

They consider it to be a fundamental from the fundamentals of Din. A person who abandons it is like one who abandons Salah. According to them it is obligatory to practice it till the Mahdi re-emerges. Hence, whoever leaves it before his emergence he has exited from the Din of Allah and from the dogma of the Imamiyyah. They substantiate it from the verse:

إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً

Except when taking precaution against them in prudence.[11]


And they attribute the following saying to Abu Jafar, the Fifth Imam:


التقية ديني ودين آبائي ولا إيمان لمن لا تقية له

Practicing Taqiyyah is my religion and the religion of my forefathers. And there is no iman for a person who does not practice Taqiyyah.[12]


They offer a very broad and expansive explanation of Taqiyyah.


Al Mut’ah

They believe that practicing Mut’ah with women is from the best acts of worship, in this regard they draw evidence from the verse:


فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً

So whatever you enjoy (of marriage) from them, give them their due compensation.[13]


Muhammad Hussain Al Kashif al Ghita’ says:


ونكاح المتعة هو الذي انفردت به الإمامية من بين سائر فرق المسلمين بالقول بجوازه وبقاء مشروعيته إلى الأبد

The Mut’ah marriage is something that the Shia exclusively consider permissible and deem it legal till eternity from all the groups of the Muslims.[14]


Islam has prohibited this type of a marriage wherein a specific time is stipulated. The Ahlus Sunnah consider the cognisance of the intention of eternity to be binding. Mut’ah has many negative repercussions upon the society which justify its impermissibility.


A Special Mushaf (Copy of the Qur’an)

They believe that they possess the Mushaf of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Al Kulayni narrates the following from Abu Basir from Abu ‘Abdullah that he said:

وإن عندنا لمصحف فاطمة عليها السلام وما يدريهم ما مصحف فاطمة عليها السلام؟ قال: قلت: وما مصحف فاطمة عليها السلام؟ قال: مصحف فيه مثل قرآنكم هذا ثلاث مرات، والله ما فيه من قرآنكم حرف واحد

“We have the Mushaf of Fatimah ‘alayha al Salam, and what do they know what is the Mushaf of Fatimah ‘alayha al Salam?”

I asked, “What is the Mushaf of Fatimah ‘alayha al Salam?”

He replied, “A Mushaf in which is three times the like of your Qur’an. By Allah there is not in it a single letter of your Qur’an.”[15]


Al Bara’ah (Disavowal)

They disavow the three khalifas Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum and they describe them with the worst of attributes. This is because they allege that they usurped the Caliphate from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who was more deserving than them. They also kick off any matter of importance with cursing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma instead of with taking the name of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. They also denigrate many of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and curse them and do not hesitate in defaming Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.


Al Gulu (Exaggeration)

Their exaggeration regarding their Imams is appalling. They have abundantly narrated various narrations regarding the merits of their Imams. At times they elevate them to the status of Nubuwwah and prophethood, and at times even to the pedestal of divinity.

Their leading scholar Khomeini says:


من ضرورات مذهبنا أنه لا يصل أحد إلى مراتب الأئمة عليهم السلام المعنوية: حتى الملك المقرب والنبي المرسل

One of the categorically established tenets of our dogma is that no one can reach the spiritual ranks of the Imams ‘alayhim al Salam, not even a close angel or a sent Nabi.[16]


The ‘Id (Festival) of Ghadir Khum

A festival which happens to fall on the 18th of Dhu al Hijjah. They give it preference over the two Ids of Adha and Fitr and dub it the greatest ‘Id. Fasting on this day according to them is an emphasised Sunnah. They claim that on this day Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam emphatically appointed ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his successor.


The ‘Id of Nayruz

This is a Persian festival. Some of them say that bathing on the day of Nayruz is a Sunnah.


The ‘Id of Baba Shuja’ al Din

They celebrate this ‘Id on the ninth day of Rabi’ al Awwal. It is the ‘Id of their father Baba Shuja’ al Din, the title of Abu Lu’lu’ah the fire worshipper, who assassinated ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


Commemoration Gatherings

They convene gatherings wherein they offer condolences, wail, display anxiety, depict images, self-flagellate and do many other forbidden acts during the first ten days of the month of Muharram. They believe that all of this is a source of attaining the closeness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and that thereby Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will expiate their wrongs and replace them with virtue. Whoever visits them in the holy shrines of Karbala’, Najaf, and Qum will witness that which is appalling and mindboggling.

In conclusion, the Imami Shia hold beliefs which are diametrically opposed to the beliefs of the Muslims. And believing in the emphatic appointment and the bequest of successorship has become the distinguishing factor between the Shia and the other denominations amongst the Muslims, together with the belief of infallibility and the other erroneous beliefs. Hence, the Shia are the locus for any person who desires to destroy Islam due to his enmity or hatred, and for any person who wishes to include the teaching of his forefathers of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and other religions into the Din. In this manner, their beliefs have progressed to the extent of denying many of the categorical aspects and the foundations of Islam. And that is why they are dubbed the Rawafid.

Furthermore, one of the most distinguishing factors regarding the Shia, with all their denominations, is that they are the quickest to instigate the Fitnah in the history of this Ummah, in ancient times and in recent times.


4. The Spread of Shi’ism and its loci of Influence

The Twelver Shia are mostly found in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. Small pockets of them also live in Kuwait, Lebanon and in a few areas of Saudi Arabia like: al Qatif, and al Ahsa. They are also in Muscat, Batinah in Oman, the remaining countries of the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and some countries of central Asia.

The Ismaili Shia are mostly found in Najran in Saudi Arabia and in India. As for the Zaidi Shia they are predominantly found in Yemen, and as for the ‘Alawi Shia they reside in Turkey and Syria.[17]


NEXT⇒ Chapter One – Section One: The Origins of the Sciences of Hadith Amongst the Ahlus Sunnah.

[1] For more details, refer to our book: ‘Aqa’id al Shia al Imamiyyah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah al Rafidah, Dar al Yaqin publication, therein there is sufficient detail.

[2] Al Milal wa al Nihal, 1/161.

[3] Rijal al Kashshi, 2/525.

[4] Maqalat al Islamiyyin, 1/16.

[5] Al Tarikh al Kabir, 1/279; al Tanbih wa al Radd, 1/24.

[6] For the biographies of these Imams see: Usul al Kafi, 1/286 onwards; al Milal wa al Nihal, 1/161.

[7] Bihar al Anwar, 25/362.

[8] I have a photocopied copy of it.

[9] The minor occultation is the occultation in which the ambassadors were the link between the Imam and the rest of the Shia. In this occultation none knew of his whereabouts besides his close associates from among the Shia. This occultation lasted for seventy four years, and it occurred in the year 260 A.H.

[10] This is the occultation wherein the Imam concealed himself from even the ambassadors and from his close associates from among the Shia by entering the basement in the house of his father. This is why the Shia converge in front of the door of the basement every night after the Maghrib Salah and chant his name and invite him to emerge. They do this till the stars become clear. This happened in 329 A.H.

[11]Surah ‘Ᾱl ‘Imran: 28.

[12] Usul al Kafi, 2/219.

[13] Surah al Nisa’: 24.

[14] Asl al Shia wa Usuluha, p. 253.

[15] Usul al Kafi, 1/239.

[16] Al Hukumah al Islamiyyah, p. 84.

[17] Al Mawsu’ah al Muyassarah fi al Adyan wa al Mazahib al Mu’asirah, p. 299, onwards.