The disparity between the heavens and the earth is the disparity between the documentation of the hadith according to Ahlus Sunnah and its documentation according to the Rawafid.
Ibn al Nadim said:
أول كتاب ظهر للشيعة كتاب سليم بن قيس الهلالي، رواه أبان بن عياش لم يروه غيره
And their scholar ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din al Musawi says:
وليس بين جميع الشيعة ممن حمل العلم أو رواه عن الأئمة خلاف في أن كتاب سليم بن قيس الهلالي أصل كتب الأصول التي رواها أهل العلم، وحملة حديث أهل البيت وأقدمها، وهو من الأصول التي ترجع الشيعة إليها وتعول عليها
There is no disagreement between the Shia, i.e., those who bore this knowledge from the Imams, that the book of Sulaim ibn Qais al Hilali is the principal book of all the canonical books that the people of knowledge and the bearers of the hadith of the Ahlul Bayt narrated and the oldest of them. It is from the principal sources to which the Shia refer and upon which they rely.
However, it completely missed him that Sulaim ibn Qais and his book are both impugned according to them before anyone else beside them. Hence, Hashim al Ma’roof al Hussaini says the following regarding Sulaim ibn Qais:
وثقه جماعة وضعفه آخرون وادعى جماعة من المحدثين أن الكتاب المعروف بكتاب سليم بن قيس من الموضوعات، وأطالوا الحديث حوله، وحول كتابه، وجاء فيه أن الأئمة ثلاثة عشر إماما وأن محمد بن أبي بكر وعظ أباه عند الموت مع أنه كان في حدود السنتين
A group has approbated him and others have deemed him weak. And a group of hadith experts have claimed that the book which is famously known as the book of Sulaim ibn Qais is a fabrication. They have discussed him and his book at length. Therein it appears that the Imams are thirteen and that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr advised his father at the time of his demise whereas he was only two at the time.
Abu Dawood al Hilli says:
سليم بن قيس الهلالي ينسب إليه الكتاب المشهور، وهو موضوع بدليل أنه قال: إن محمد بن أبي بكر وعظ أباه عند موته، وقال فيه: إن الأئمة ثلاثة عشر مع زيد، وأسانيده مختلفة. لم يرو عنه إلا أبان بن أبي عياش، وفي الكتاب مناكير مشهورة وما أظنه إلا موضوعا
Sulaim ibn Qais al Hilali, the popular book is attributed to him. It is a forgery. The proof is that he states therein that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr advised his father at his demise and he also says that the Imams are thirteen with Zaid. Also, its transmissions are disparate. Only Aban ibn ‘Ayyash has narrated from him. In the book are many popular reprehensible narrations, and I do not consider it but a fabrication.
Al Hilli says:
والوجه عندي الحكم بتعديل المشار إليه، والتوقف في الفاسد من كتابه. وجاء في موضع آخر من كتابه: والكتاب موضوع لا مرية فيه
The preferred approach according to me is the approbation of the person is question, but the suspension of judgement regarding the reprehensibility of his book.
And in another place in his book he says, “The book is a forgery without a doubt.”
Abu Qasim al Khu’i says:
والكتاب موضوع لا مرية فيه، وعلى ذلك علامات فيه تدل على ما ذكرناه، منها ما ذكر أن محمد بن أبي بكر وعظ أباه عند الموت، ومنها أن الأئمة ثلاثة عشر، وغير ذلك… وقال الشيخ المفيد: هذا الكتاب غير موثوق به، وقد حصل فيه تخليط وتدليس، فينبغي للمتدين أن يجتنب العمل بكل ما فيه ولا يعول على جملته والتقليد لروايته
The book is a fabrication without a doubt. In the book are suggestions which indicate to this. Some of them being Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr advising his father at his demise and the Imams being thirteen, etc. And al Sheikh al Mufid says, “This book is not reliable and much of confusion and obfuscation has occurred therein. Hence, it is only suited for a religious person to avoid practicing upon everything in it and to not rely upon its entirety and not blindly follow its narration.
Abu al Hassan al Sha’rani says:
والحق أن هذا الكتاب موضوع لغرض صحيح نظير كتاب الحسنية، وطرائف ابن طاووس، والرحلة المدرسية للبلاغي وأمثاله
The truth is that this book has been forged for a valid reason just like the book al Hassaniyyah, the Tara’if Ibn Tawus, the al Rihlah al Madrasiyyah of al Balaghi and its like.
All of this is enough to compromise the reliability of this book which the Shia claim is the mother-source of the four hundred principal books to which they have recourse.
Another reason which compromises its reliability is that no one besides Aban ibn ‘Ayyash narrated this book from Sulaim ibn Qais. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Ardabili says in Jami’ al Ruwat:
فلم يرو عن سليم بن قيس أحد من الناس سوى أبان
No one from the people narrate from Sulaim ibn Qais besides Aban.
And Aban ibn ‘Ayyash is an agreed upon weak and unreliable narrator. Al Ardabili himself says:
تابعي ضعيف لا يلتفت إليه، وينسب أصحابنا وضع كتاب سليم بن قيس إليه
A weak successor to whom no attention should be paid. And our scholars attribute the fabrication of the book of Sulaim ibn Qais to him.
So, this is a principal book from your many principal books, regarding which your authorities have confessed that it is a fabrication. So, are these fallacies and lies the creed of the Ahlul Bayt?
Furthermore, Sulaim ibn Qais al Hilali, there is no mention of him in the sources of the Ahlus Sunnah in spite of the Shia revering him. It could be asserted that this is just a name without a person behind it, for if he existed, as they claim, there would be some mention of him.
See what Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli—one of the Shia authorities—says:
وكان أصحابنا يقولون: إن سليما لا يعرف، ولا ذكر في خبر
Our scholars would say that Sulaim is unknown, nor is there any mention of him in any narration.
Here we have the Rafidi scholars negating the attribution of this book to them. In fact, they have pointed out the contradictions and mistakes which are found in it from which it is clear that this book is falsely attributed to the Shia and is spurious.
Furthermore, you would find it astonishing that the some Shia scholars negate the attribution of this book to them, whereas their subsequent books accept some of what has been established in it. For your astonishment to end, know that the reason for their negation of the book is that its author emphatically stated that the Imams are thirteen, whereas their books and narrations state that they are twelve, which of course is a blatant contradiction. Hence, the only option they had was to criticize the book and expose its folly to the people so that the contradiction between it and their books is eliminated.
But we say to the negaters of the attribution of this book to them, “You have fled from one thing, but have fallen prey to something greater.” And that is, some beliefs, statements, and narrations which feature in the book of Sulaim ibn Qais al Hilali (the oldest principal source of the Shia) is narrated and confirmed in your books. So just as you have debunked the attribution of this book to you, is it not then suited that the narrations and statements of the book of Sulaim ibn Qais which are found in your books till now be revisited and revised?
Nonetheless, thereafter, ostensibly the vastest collection of their narrations in the early era was the compilation of Abu Jafar al Qummi Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn Farrukh al Saffar (d. 290 A.H.) in his book: Basa’ir al Darajat which was published in 1285 A.H.
This al Saffar is considered by Brockelmann the actual founder of the jurisprudence of the Imamiyyah in the non-Arab lands.
And their scholar al Majlisi almost quotes the entire book in his book Bihar al Anwar in various chapters. This is despite the fact that it is filled with extremities, for the author has therein criticized the Book of Allah, advanced extremist beliefs regarding the Imams, and excommunicated the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, all of which confirm that most of its narrations were forged against the Imams.
Lastly, in the beginning of the fourth century al Kulayni (d. 328/329 A.H.) revived the movement of compilation by writing his book al Kafi. Thereafter, compilations consistently followed. Hence Ibn Babawayh al Qummi (title al Saduq, d. 381 A.H.) wrote his book Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih. He was followed by Sheikh al Ta’ifah (the supreme scholar of the sect, d. 460 A.H.) who wrote two books: al Tahdhib and al Istibsar. Subsequent to that many Shia scholars wrote many books. However, the aforementioned four books hold great prestige by the Rawafid A detailed discussion regarding these books will come ahead, Allah willing.
Consider for yourself the gap between the era of documentation of the Ahlus Sunnah and the documentation era of the Rawafid Shia.
 Aban ibn ‘Ayyash is Fayruz, Abu Ismail the freed slave of ‘Abdul Qais al Basri. He also known as Hilal. He passed away in 138 A.H.
See: Tahdhib al Kamal, 2/19; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 1/85; al Tarikh al Kabir, 1/454; al Du’afa’ al Saghir, p. 20; al Majruhin, 1/96; al Du’afa’ wa al Matrukin, p. 14; al Kamil fi al Du’afa’, 1/381.
 Al Fihrist, p. 307.
 Al Muraja’at, p. 307.
 Dirasat fi al Hadith wa al Muhaddithin, p. 197.
 Rijal Ibn Dawood al Hilli, p. 249: entry no. 226.
 Khulasah al Aqwal, p. 162, 163.
 Khulasah al Aqwal, p. 162, 163.
 Abu al Hassan al Sha’rani in his annotations on al Kafi with its commentary of al Mazindarani, 2/307.
 Al Ardabili: Jami’ al Ruwat, p. 9.
 Some of the statements of the Ahlus Sunnah regarding Aban: Ahmed says, “A narrator whose narrations are discarded, the people have discarded his narrations from a long time.” He also says, “His narrations should not be written,” and also, “A narrator with reprehensible narrations.” And Ibn Ma’in says, “A narrator whose narrations are discarded,” and he says, “He is nothing.” And ‘Ali ibn al Madini says, “He was weak.” And Shu’bah says, “My shawl and my head-scarf are charity for the poor if Aban does not lie in hadith.” And al Juzajani says, “He is unreliable.” Refer to: al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, 2/295; al ‘Uqayli: al Du’afa’, 1/40; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 1/86.
 Khulasah al Aqwal, p. 162.
 Al Dhari’ah, 3/124.
 Tarikh al Adab al ‘Arabi, 3/337.
 Usul Mazhab al Shia, 1/352, onwards.Back to top