Section Two: The Saba’iyyah, fact or fiction?

Chapter Two: The First Fitnah Module One: Defining the concept of Fitnah and examining the Saba’iyyah Section One: Defining Fitnah
October 10, 2019
Section Three: The cause of fitnah during the caliphate of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
October 14, 2019

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Section Two

The Saba’iyyah, fact or fiction?

 

Some contemporary academics have sought to question the reality of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’[1], with others going on to further completely deny his existence; casting him as a figure of fiction. These are claims that aren’t supported by any academic evidence nor are they reliant on any early reference material. They are conclusions based on individual conjecture and speculation arising from personal predispositions and inclinations.

It is safe to say that the deniers of the personality of Ibn Saba’ comprise of a group of orientalists, Arab academics, and most contemporary Shia.

The orientalists, Rawafid, and their likes who have sought to deny the existence of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and cast him as a figure of fiction, tethered on the brink of incredulity, impertinence, and ignorance. How can they not be, whereas the books of history and sects reference him repeatedly?

The historians, scholars of hadith, authors of books on sects and creeds, Islamic biographical literature, language, and genealogy have all referenced the life and times of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. This establishment of existence spans across the works of the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia.

Thus, the events of the fitnah and discussions of Ibn Saba’ aren’t confined to the Tarikh of Imam al Tabari. Nor are they solely reliant on the narrations of Saif ibn ‘Umar al Tamimi. These incidents and events are spread throughout the narrations of the early scholars and books of Islamic history, together with forming an integral worldview of those who discuss sectarianism in that time period. Yes, the salient trait of the Tarikh of Imam al Tabari is that the same incidents which are mentioned elsewhere are furthered by extensive details and exhaustive specifics, not introductive of novel material.

Therefore, bringing into question these events without any evidence points towards a clear objective; one that seeks to destroy the legitimacy of the incidents, paint the scholars and historians who have narrated them as senseless, and misrepresent historical truths.

When intellectual theorization is pitted up against explicit texts and narrations that are referenced in early and later sources in order to disprove the historical reality of the existence of Ibn Saba’, the only conclusion that can be drawn is one of a myopic and prejudiced methodology.

 

I. Ibn Saba’ according to the Ahlus Sunnah.

A’sha Hamdan[2] d. 83 A.H/702 A.D references the Saba’iyyah. He ridiculed al Mukhtar and his collaborators from Kufah after he fled with the nobles of the Kufah tribes to Basrah with the following couplet:

وأني بكم يا شرطة الكفر عارف

شهدت عليكم أنكم سبئية

I bear witness that you are Saba’iyyah,

And I am aware of you, O guardians of disbelief.[3]

 

Mention is made of the Saba’iyyah in Kitab al Irja’ of al Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah[4] d. 95 A.H/713 A.D which he instructed to be read to the people. In it he writes:

ومن خصومة هذه السبئية التي أدركنا ، إذ يقولون هدينا لوحی ضل عنه الناس

Amongst the peculiarities of these Saba’iyyah which we encountered, is that they say we have been guided by revelation that has been lost to the people.[5]

 

Also consider the narration of al Sha’bi d. 103 A.H/721 A.D which states:

اول من كذب عبد الله بن سبأ

The first to lie was ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.[6]

 

Farazdaq[7] d. 116 A.H/734 A.D ridicules the noblemen of Iraq and those who colluded with Ibn al Ash’ath and his revolt in the Battle of Dayr al Jamajim. He says:

حصائد أو أعجاز نخل تقعرا

كأن على دير الجماجم منهم

وتكره عينيها على ما تنكرا

تعرف همدانية سبئية

عليها تراب في دم قد تعفرا

رأته مع القتلى وغير بعلها

بعیدین طرفا بالخيانة أحزرا

أراحوه من رأس وعينين كانتا

وإما زبيري من الذئب أغدرا

من الناكثين العهد من سبئية

يهوديهم كانوا بذلك أعذرا

ولو أنهم إذ نافقوا كان منهم

It is as though upon the Dayr al Jamajim,

Are yields or trunks of trees laying hollow.

The Hamdaniyyah and Saba’iyyah seem familiar to her,

Though her eyes are hostile to the unfamiliarity. 

She sees him amongst the dead and replaced her master,

Upon her is soil soaked in blood.

Released from the head and eyes that were,

Wide and puzzled by the deception.

From those who broke their pacts, the Saba’iyyah,

Or the Zubairi who are more treacherous than the wolf.

And perhaps when they displayed their hypocrisy,

Amongst them were their Jews by which they were absolved.[8]

 

One could infer from the wordings of the texts that the Saba’iyyah were a sect that had its own political policies and creedal identity that stemmed from ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ al Hamdani; the Jew and well-known cult leader.

Imam al Tabari has related the view of Qatadah ibn Di’amah al Sadusi[9] al Basri d. 117 A.H/735 A.D in his tafsir under the commentary of the verse:

 

فَأَمَّا الَّذِيْنَ فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُوْنَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ

As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord.[10]

 

When Qatadah would recite the above portion of the verse he would say:

 

إن لم يكونوا الحرورية والسبئية فلا أدري

If this does not refer to the Haruriyyah and the Saba’iyyah then I do not know.[11]

 

Abu Mikhnaf Lut ibn Yahya al Azdi (d. 157 A.H/773 A.D) relates that Mustawrid ibn ‘Ulfah al Khariji[12] described Ma’qal ibn Qais al Riyahi[13]—a supporter of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the man chosen by Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, governor of Kufah for Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, to lead the fight against Mustawrid and his crowd—to be amongst the liars and fabricators of the Saba’iyyah. In another narration he also describes the nobles of Kufah as Saba’iyyah due to their conflict with the companions of al Mukhtar.[14]

In the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d (d. 230 A.H/844 A.D) there is mention of the Saba’iyyah and their leader, though he has not referenced him by his name; Ibn Saba’. ‘Amr ibn al Asam says:

 

قيل للحسن ابن علي : إن ناسا من شيعة أبي الحسن علي يزعمون أنه دائة الأرض وأنه سيبعث يوم القيامة ، فقال : كذبوا ، ليس أولئك شيعته ، أولئك أعداؤه ، لو علمنا ذلك ما قسمنا میراثه ولا أنكحنا نساءه

It was said to al Hassan ibn ‘Ali, “Some supporters of Abu al Hassan ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu say that he is the Dabbat al Ard and will prompt Judgment Day.”

He replied, “They lie. Those are not his supporters. They are his enemies. If we knew it to be so, we would not have distributed his estate nor marry his women.”[15]

 

Note that what has been recorded in this text fits into the ambit of the views of Ibn Saba’. The scholars who are authorities on schisms and sects as well as the historians have attested to this in their books.[16]

Ibn Habib (d. 245 A.H/860 A.D) mentioned Ibn Saba’ and regarded him as one of the children of an Ethiopian women[17]. Abu ‘Asim Khushaysh ibn Asram[18] (d. 253 A.H/859 A.D) narrated a report about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu burning some of the companions of Ibn Saba’, in his book al  Istiqamah.[19]

Al Jahiz[20] (d. 255 A.H/868 A.D) is regarded as one of the first to refer to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’[21], but his report is not the first, as opined by Dr. Jawad ‘Ali.[22]

The incident of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu burning a group of heretics is mentioned in sound reports as narrated in the books of hadith.[23]

Imam al Bukhari (d. 256 A.H/869 A.D) has recorded in Kitab Istitabah al Murtaddin in his Sahih the following report on the authority of ‘Ikrimah[24]:

 

اتي علي رضي الله عنه بزنادقة فأحرقهم فبلغ ذلك ابن عباس فقال لو كنت أنا لم أحرقهم لنهي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لا تعذبوا بعذاب الله ولقتلتهم لقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من بدل دينه فاقتلوه

Some heretics were brought to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Whoever turn apostate, then kill him.’”[25]

 

There is nothing strange about using the word ‘heretic’ with regard to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and his group. Ibn Taymiyyah says:

 

إن مبدأ الرفض إنما كان من الزنديق عبد الله بن سبأ

The Rafidi ideas started with the heretic ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.[26]

 

Al Dhahabi says:

عبد الله بن سبأ من غلاة الزنادقة ، ضال مضل

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was one of the extreme heretics; he was misguided and misled others.[27]

 

Ibn Hajar says:

عبد الله بن سبأ من غلاة الزنادقة … وله أتباع يقال لهم السبئية معتقدين الإلهية في علي بن أبي طالب ، وقد أحرقهم علي بالنار في خلافته

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was one of the extreme heretics … he had followers who were called Saba’iyyah, who believed in the divinity of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu burned them with fire during his caliphate.[28]

 

He states at another juncture:

بأن أحد معاني الزندقة الادعاء بأن مع الله إلها آخر

One of the meanings of heresy is to claim another God with Allah.[29]

 

Consequently, this is the meaning which Ibn Saba’ and his followers subscribe to as established by the scholars of schisms, muhaddithin, and historians.

Al Juzajani[30] (d. 259 A.H/873 A.D) says:

 

أن السبئية غلت في الكفر فزعمت أن عليا إلها حتى حرقهم بالنار إنكارا عليهم واستبصارا في أمرهم حين يقول

The Saba’iyyah were extreme in their disbelief and considered ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be a God. Thus, he burnt them, rejecting their beliefs saying:

أججت ناري ودعوت قنبرا لما رأيت الأمر أمرا منكرا

When I see matters of such evil,

I light my fire and call upon Qambar.[31]

Ibn Qutaybah (d. 276 A.H/889 A.D) writes in al Ma’arif:

السبئية من الرافضة ينسبون إلى عبد الله بن سبأ

The Saba’iyyah are from the Rafidah. They ascribe to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.[32]

 

He further states in his Ta’wil Mukhtalaf al Hadith:

أن عبد الله ابن سبأ ادعى الربوبية لعلي فأحرق علي أصحابه بالنار

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ believed in the divinity of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Thus ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu burnt his followers.[33]

 

Al Baladhuri[34] (d. 279 A.H/892 A.D) mentions Ibn Saba’ to be amongst those who approached ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu seeking his opinion regarding Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. His incredulously replied to them, “Have you taken out time for this?” When ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote a document and instructed it to be read to his supporters, a copy attained by ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was distorted by him.[35]

As for Imam al Tabari (d. 310 A.H/923 A.D) his Tarikh is filled with mention of the incidents and plots of Ibn Saba’, relating on the authority of the historian Saif ibn ‘Umar al Tamimi who narrated from his teachers.[36]

He writes in his Tafsir under the commentary of the verse:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِيْنَ فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُوْنَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ

As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord.[37]

 

 

وهذه الآية وإن كانت نزلت فيمن ذكرنا أنها نزلت فيه من أهل الشرك ، فإنه معني بها كل مبتدع في دين الله …. كان من أهل النصرانية أو اليهودية أو المجوسية أو كان سيئا أو حرورا أو قدريا أو جهميا كالذي قال صلى الله عليه وسلم: فإذا رأيتم الذين يجادلون فهم الذين عني الله فاحذروهم

Though this verse had been revealed regarding the polytheists, it includes within its ambit every innovator in the Islamic creed. This includes the Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. It further incorporates the Saba’iyyah, Haruriyyah, Qadriyyah, Jahmiyyah, and all such sects. This is substantiated by the hadith:

فإذا رأيتم الذين يجادلون فيه فهم الذين عنى الله فاحذروهم

If you see those who dispute concerning it (the Qur’an), they are those whom Allah has referred to here, so beware of them.[38]

 

Ibn ‘Abd Rabbihi (d. 328 A.H/939 A.D) has emphasised the extremism of Ibn Saba’ and the Saba’iyyah by way of their statement, ‘He is Allah, our creator’. This is just as the Christians had done with ‘Isa the son of Maryam ‘alayh al Salam. Quoting al Sayed al Himyari[39] he says:

وأجشموا أنفسا في حبه تعبا قوم غلوا في علي لا أبا لهم
أن يكون ابن شيء أو يكون أبا قالوا هو الله جل الله خالقنا

Damned be those who adopted extremism with regards to ‘Ali,

Subjecting themselves to exhaustion in his love.

They say, ‘He is Allah’. Our Creator Allah is far more majestic,

To be begotten or to beget.[40]

 

Abu al Hassan al Ash’ari (d. 330 A.H/491 A.D) mentions that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and his cronies were extremists, considering ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have not passed away and citing his return with justice prevailing just as oppression had.[41]

Mention of Ibn Saba’ is found in the books of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil (narrator discreditation and accreditation). Ibn Hibban (d. 354 A.H/965 A.D) says:

 

كان الكلبي – محمد بن السائب الإخباري – سبئيا ، من أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ ، من أولئك الذين يقولون : إن عليا لم يمت ، وإنه راجع إلى الدنيا قبل قيام الساعة …. وإن رأوا سحابة قالوا : أمير المؤمنين فيها

Kalbi—Muhammad ibn al Sa’ib—the historian, was part of the Saba’iyyah; companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. He was amongst those who would say that ‘Ali had not passed away and he will return to the world before Judgment Day. When they would see a cloud they would say, ‘Amir al Mu’minin is in it’.[42]

 

The profile of Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju’fi pegs him as part of the Saba’iyyah and a companion of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. He would say:

 

ان عليا عليه السلام يرجع إلى الدنيا

‘Ali is to return to this world.[43]

 

Al Juzajani writes in Ahwal al Rijal that amongst the constructs of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was that the Qur’an we have is one of nine parts and the knowledge of it remains with ‘Ali. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu thus had him banished.[44]

However, there isn’t much detail of Ibn Saba’ in the books of Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil as he has not narrated any hadith, whilst these books chiefly deal with the narrators of hadith.

Al Maqdisi[45] (d. 355 A.H/965 A.D) notes in his book Al Bad’ wa al Tarikh:

 

إن عبد الله بن سبأ قال للذي جاء ينعي إليه موت علي بن أبي طالب : ولو جئتنا بدماغه في صرة لعلمنا أنه لا يموت حتى يسوق العرب بعصاه

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ said to the one who brought the news of the passing of ‘Ali ibn Talib to him, “If you were to bring his brain to us in a bag, we would still be convinced of him not having passed away. This, until he rallies the Arabs with his staff.”[46]

 

Al Malti (d. 377 A.H/987 A.D) unveiling the beliefs of the Saba’iyyah says:

 

ففي عهد علي رضي الله عنه جاءت السبئية إليه وقالوا له : أنت أنت !! قال : ومن أنا . قالوا : الخالق البارئ ، فاستتابهم ، فلم يرجعوا فأوقد لهم نارا عظيمة وأحرقهم ، وقال مرتجزا: لما رأيت الأمر أمرا منكرا ، أججت ناري ودعوت قنبرا

During the era of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the Saba’iyyah came to him and said, “It is you, it is you!”

He said, “And what am I?”

They replied, “The Creator, the Evolver.”

He asked them to repent from such blasphemy. They did not take back their words. He thus lit a huge fire and burnt them whilst saying:

أججت ناري ودعوت قنبرا لما رأيت الأمر أمرا منكرا

When I see matters of such evil,

I light my fire and call upon Qambar.[47]

 

Abu Hafs ibn Shahin (d. 385 A.H/995 A.D) mentions that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu burnt some of the extremist Shia whilst banishing some of them. Amongst those banished was ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.[48]

In the book, Mafatih al ‘Ulum authored by, al Khawarizmi[49] (d. 387 A.H/997 A.D) is the following:

 

السبئية أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ

The Saba’iyyah are the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.[50]

 

Al Baghdadi[51] (d. 429 A.H/1037 A.D) mentions that the Saba’iyyah sect asserted their innovations in the era of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He thus burnt some of them whist exiling Ibn Saba’ to Sibat, al Mada’in, as Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma cautioned him against killing him when the extent of his extremism reached him. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma counselled him to exile him to al Mada’in so that his companions would not have communication with him. This was especially so since he had intentions of fighting the people of Sham once again.[52]

Ibn Hazm (d. 456 A.H/1063 A.D) relates that those who advocated for the possibility of prophethood after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were the Saba’iyyah. They are the ones who further promoted the divinity of ‘Ali. He states in this regard:

 

والقسم الثاني من الفرق الغالية الذين يقولون بالإلهية لغير الله لك فأولهم قوم من أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ الحميري لعنه الله ، أتوا إلى علي بن أبي طالب فقالوا مشافهة : أنت هو ، فقال لهم : ومن هو – قالوا : أنت الله ، فاستعظم الأمر وأمر بنار فأججت وأحرقهم بالنار

The second type of extremist sects are those who consider the divinity of a being besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The first to advocate such were the people of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ al Himyari–May Allah’s curse be upon him.

They came to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and said to him, “You are him.”

He asked them, “And who am I?”

They said, “You are Allah.”

He deemed the matter perilous and instructed a fire be burnt. He went on to burn them therein.[53]

 

He further states:

… وهذه الفرقة باقية إلى اليوم فاشية ، عظيمة العدد ، منهم كان إسحاق بن محمد النخعي الأحمر الكوفي … ويقولون : إن محمدا رسول علي

… this sect continues to exist today in large numbers. Ishaq ibn Muhammad al Nakha’i al Ahmar al Kufi was one of them. These people say, “Muhammad was the messenger of ‘Ali.”[54]

 

Al Isfirayini (d. 471 A.H/1078 A.D) says:

إن ابن سبأ قال بنبوة علي في أول أمره ، ثم دعا إلى ألوهيته ، ودعا الخلق إلى ذلك فأجابته جماعة إلى ذلك في وقت علي

Ibn al Saba’ initially asserted the prophethood of ‘Ali. He then went on to proclaim his divinity. He called people towards this and a group took his message on during the era of ‘Ali.[55]

 

Al Sharastani[56] (d. 471 A.H/1078 A.D) speaking of Ibn Saba’ says:

ومنه انشعبت أصناف الغلاة

And from him extremist sects grew.[57]

Furthermore, he states:

إبن سبأ هو أول من أظهر القول بالنص بإمامة علي

Ibn Saba’ was the first to advocate the doctrine of Imamah and Nass (the divine appointment of the Imams) in relation to ‘Ali.[58]

 

Similarly, the books of genealogy also establish the affiliation of the Saba’iyyah to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. For example al Sam’ani[59] (d. 562 A.H/1167 A.D) references this in his book Al Ansab[60].

Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 571 A.H/1176 A.D) profiles Ibn Saba’ with the following:

 

عبد الله بن سبأ الذي نسب إليه السبئية ، وهم الغلاة من الرافضة ، أصله من اليمن ، كان يهودا وأظهر الإسلام

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ is the individual to whom the Saba’iyyah affiliate themselves to. They are an extreme sect of the Rawafid. He was a Jew hailing from Yemen who later appeared as a Muslim.[61]

 

‘Uthman ibn Abi ‘Uthman[62] says:

 

جاء أناس إلى علي بن أبي طالب من الشيعة – يعني السبئية – فقالوا : يا أمير المؤمنين أنت هو – قال : من أنا – قالوا : أنت هو ، قال : ويلكم من أنا – قالوا : أنت ربنا ! أنت ربنا ! قال : ارجعوا ، فأبوا ، فضرب أعناقهم ثم جثاهم في الأرض ثم قال : يا قنبر. ائتني بحزم الحطب ، فأحرقهم بالنار

Some people of the Shia—the Saba’iyyah—came to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and said, “O Amir al Mu’minin you are him.”

He asked, “And who am I?”

They said, “You are him.”

He repeated, “Woe to you! Who am I?”

They said, “You are our Lord.”

He told them to retract their statement. They refused. He thus had them killed and laid their bodies on the ground.

He then said, “O Qambar, bring me a bundle of wood.”

He then had them burnt.[63]

 

It should be noted that Saif ibn ‘Umar is not the only source for the narrations that deal with ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. Ibn ‘Asakir has sourced narrations in his Tarikh that are not transmitted from Saif. This further establishes and emphasizes the case of Ibn Saba’.

‘Ammar ibn Muawiyah al Dahni[64] says, I heard Abu al Tufayl[65] saying:

 

رأيت المسيب ابن نجبة أتي به ملببه يعني ابن السوداء ، وعلي على المنبر فقال علي: ما شأنه ؟ فقال : يكذب على الله ورسوله

I saw Musayyib ibn Najabah[66] come grabbing him, i.e. Ibn al Sawda’ by the collar whilst ‘Ali was on the pulpit.

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “What is the issue with him?”

He replied, “He attributes lies to Allah and His Messenger.”[67]

 

وجاء من طريق زيد بن وهب أن عليا رضي الله عنه قال : ما لي ولهذا الحميت الأسود ، يعني عبد الله بن سبأ ، وكان يقع في أبي بكر وعمر

The narration of Zaid ibn Wahab states that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “What is there for me with this dark skinned man?” Meaning ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. He would speak ill of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.[68]

 

Hujayyah ibn ‘Adi al Kindi[69] says that he say ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu on the pulpit saying:

 

من يعذرني من هذا الحميت الأسود الذي يكذب على الله ورسوله ؟ يعني ابن السوداء

“Who will absolve me of this dark skinned man who attributed falsities to Allah and His Messenger.” This was referring to Ibn al Sawda’.[70]

 

It has been narrated from Abu al Jallas who says that he heard ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’:

 

ويلك ! والله ما أفضى إلي بشيء كتمته أحدا من الناس ، ولقد سمعته يقول : إن بين يدي الساعة ثلاثين كذابا وإنك لأحدهم ،

“Woe to you! By Allah! Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not give me anything that he hid from the people. I heard him saying, ‘Verily before the Day of Judgment there will be thirty great liars.’ And you are one of them.” Meaning Ibn Saba’.[71]

 

Nishwan al Himyari[72] d. 573 A.H/1178 A.D says:

 

فقالت السبئية إن عليا حي لم يمت ، ولا يموت حتى يملأ الأرض عدلا كما ملئت جورا ، ويرد الناس على دين واحد قبل يوم القيامة

The Saba’iyyah say that ‘Ali did not pass away and will not pass away until he spreads justice on the land just as it is filled with oppression. And he will gather all of humanity onto one faith before the Day of Qiyamah.[73]

 

Fakhr al Din al Razi[74] (d. 606 A.H/1210 A.D) has corroborated the incident of the Saba’iyyah immolation. The authors of books dealing with sects and factions corroborate the incident as well.[75]

Ibn al Athir (d. 630 A.D/1232 A.D) has cited in al Lubab the connection between the Saba’iyyah and ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and their origin as from him.[76]

Al Saksaki[77] (d. 683 A.H/1284 A.D) has mentioned that Ibn Saba’ and his group were the first to believe in reincarnation.[78]

Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 A.H/1327 A.D) states that the origins of Rafd lies in hypocrisy and heresy as it began at the hands of Ibn Saba’; the heretic. He sought to introduce extremism regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu by promoting the doctrine of Imamah and infallibility.[79]

Hafiz al Dhahabi (d. 748 A.H/1347 A.D) says:

عبد الله بن سبأ من غلاة الشيعة ، ضال مضل

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ is from the extreme Shia. He was astray and led others astray.[80]

 

Al Safdi[81] (d. 764 A.H/1363 A.D) profiles him in the following terms:

 

عبد الله ابن سبأ راس الطائفة السبئية … قال لعلي رضي الله عنه أنت الإله ، فنفاه إلى المدائن ، فلما قتل علي زعم ابن سبأ أنه لم يمت ؛ لأن فيه جزءا إلهيا وأن ابن ملجم إنما قتل شيطانا تصور بصورة على ، وأن عليا في السحاب ، والرعد صوته ، والبرق سوطه ، وأنه سينزل الى الارض

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ is the head of the Saba’iyyah sect. They said to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘You are the Lord.’ He thus had them exiled to Mada’in. When ‘Ali was killed, Ibn Saba’ concluded that he did not in fact die as he had within him a divine existence whilst Ibn Muljim had killed a Shaitan that took on the features of ‘Ali. He also claimed that ‘Ali was in the clouds, the thunder his voice, the lighting his whip, and that he will descend to the earth.[82]

 

Al Kirmani[83] (d. 786 A.H/1384 A.D) has recorded in Al Firaq that when ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was killed, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ purported that he did not die and that a part of him was in fact divine.[84]

Al Shatbi[85] (d. 790 A.H/1388 A.D) indicates that the Saba’iyyah innovation is a creedal one that partners a second divine entity to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. It thus fundamentally different from other innovations.[86]

Al Jurjani[87] (d. 816 A.H/1413 A.D) profiles ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ as the leader of the Saba’iyyah sect. He further states that when his followers hear thunder, they say “Salam to you O Amir al Mu’minin”.[88]

Al Maqrizi (d. 845 A.H/1441 A.D) mentions in his works that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ emerged during the era of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He initiated the doctrines of Wasiyyah (appointment by bequest), Raj’ah (returning to the world after death), and Tanasukh (metempsychosis).[89]

Al Hafiz ibn Hajar (d. 852 A.H/1448 A.D) has complied various accounts regarding Ibn Saba’ in his book Lisan al Mizan, sourcing from narrators other than Saif ibn ‘Umar. He concludes the discussion by saying:

وأخبار عبد الله بن سبأ شهيرة في التواريخ ، وليس له رواية ، والحمد لله

And the accounts of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ are well documented in historical sources. He does not have any narrations, praise be to Allah.[90]

 

Al ‘Ayni (d. 855 A.H/1451 A.D) mentions in ‘Iqd al Juman that Ibn Saba’ went to Egypt and roamed its districts, portraying a persona of inviting to good. He spoke of the doctrine of Raj’ah and established its purport in the hearts of the Egyptians.[91]

Al Suyuti (d. 911 A.H/1505 A.D) establishes the affiliation of the Saba’iyyah to ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ in his book Lubb al Lubab fi Tahrir al Ansab.[92]

Al Zabidi [93] (d. 1205 A.H/1790 A.D) indicates that the person Saba’ who is mentioned in the hadith of Farwah ibn Musayk al Muradi radiya Llahu ‘anhu—a sahabi—is the father of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, leader of the extremist Saba’iyyah.[94]

It is important to note it would be of gross ineptitude to disregard the latter sources that discuss the Saba’iyyah. This is because the authors of these latter day works such as Ibn Kathir, Al Dhahabi, Ibn Hajar, Al Suyuti, and other such authoritative scholars obtained their information from early sources, some of which are lost to us today. Similarly, their wide and deep knowledge of events, sources, and individuals remains unparalleled. It never ceases to leave one, researching their books, astounded.

For example, one is confounded when faced with the sheer amount of transmissions and differences thereof as presented by Ibn Hajar when recounting historical events. This wonder is furthered upon realizing him sourcing from exceptionally early sources such as the Akhbar al Basrah[95] of Ibn Shabbah, Kitab al Siffin[96] of Yahya ibn Sulaiman al Ju’fi[97]—a teacher of al Bukhari, Al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh[98] of Al Fasawi, Tarikh[99] of Abu Zur’ah al Dimashqi, and other such books of history. This is without mentioning the hadith sources employed in contributing to historical events such as Musnad Ahmed ibn Hambal[100], Musnad al Bazzar[101], and Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah[102] amongst other hadith  books.

 

II. Ibn Saba’ according to the Shia.

Al Nashi’ al Akbar[103] (d. 293 A.H/905 A.D) profiles Ibn Saba’ and his adherents with the following:

 

وفرقة زعموا أن علا رضي الله عنه حي لم يمت ، وأنه لا يموت حتى يسوق العرب بعصاه ، وهؤلاء هم السبئية أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ ، وكان عبد الله بن سبأ رجلا من أهل صنعاء ، يهوديا .. وسكن المدائن

The sect that believes ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to not have passed away. They say he will not die until he drives the Arabs with his stick. They are the Saba’iyyah, the adherents of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a man from San’a’, a Jew, who settled in Mada’in.[104]

 

Al Qummi[105] (d. 301 A.H/913 A.D) mentions that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was the first to insult Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and the Sahabah. He absolved himself of them and claimed that ‘Ali has instructed him so.[106]

Al Nawbakhti[107] (d. 310 A.H/922 A.D) mentioning incidents of Ibn Saba’ says that when the news of the passing of ‘Ali reached him in Mada’in he said to the one who brought the news, “You have lied. If you bring his brain to us in seventy bags with seventy just witnesses to his death, we would still be convinced that he has not died nor has he been assassinated. He will not die till he rules over the earth.”[108]

Abu Hatim al Razi[109] (d. 322 A.H/933) says that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and his adherents of the Saba’iyyah believe that ‘Ali is the God and that he revives the dead. They claim him to have gone into hiding after his death.[110]

Al Kashshi (d. 340 A.H/951 A.D) narrates through his chain from Abu Jafar Muhammad al Baqir:

 

أن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يدعى النبوة ، ويزعم أن أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام هو الله ، تعالى عن ذلك علوا كبيرا

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ claimed prophethood and believed that the Amir al Mu’minin is Allah. Allah is far greater than such a comparison.[111]

 

He also narrates from Aban ibn ‘Uthman who quotes Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar al Sadiq saying:

 

لعن الله ابن سبأ ، إنه ادعى الربوبية في أمير المؤمنين ، وكان والله أمير المؤمنين عبدا لله طائعا ، الويل لمن كذب علينا ، وإن قوما يقولون فينا ما لا نقوله في أنفسنا ، نبرأ إلى الله منهم ، نبرأ إلى الله منهم

May the curse of Allah be upon Ibn Saba’. He claimed divinity for Amir al Mu’minin. By Allah Amir al Mu’minin was an obedient slave of Allah. Woe unto those who bring falsities against us. They are a people who say things about us that we do not say regarding ourselves. We disassociate ourselves, by Allah, from them. We ask Allah to disassociate us from them.[112]

 

Al Kashshi also narrates through his chain of transmission to ‘Ali ibn al Hussain:

 

لعن الله من كذب علينا، إني ذكرت عبد الله بن سبأ فقامت كل شعرة في جسدي ، لقد ادعى أمرا عظيما ، ما له ، لعنه الله

May the curse of Allah be upon those who caste lies unto us. I think of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and every hair on my body stands on end. Indeed, he made a great claim. What is the matter with him? May Allah curse him![113]

 

The great Shia scholar of hadith, Abu Jafar al Saduq ibn Babawayh al Qummi[114] (d. 381 A.H/991 A.D) mentions the stance of Ibn Saba’, criticizing ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu for lifting his hands to the sky whilst in Du’a’.[115]

In the book Sharh ‘Aqa’id al Saduq of Sheikh al Mufid[116] (d. 413 A.H/1022 A.D) the extremist hypocrites are mentioned, referring to the Saba’iyyah who ascribe to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali and the Imams of his progeny, divinity and prophethood. Amir al Mu’minin thus instructed they be killed and burnt.[117]

Abu Jafar al Tusi[118] (d. 460 A.H/1067 A.D) says that Ibn Saba’ turned apostate and adopted extremism.[119]

Ibn Abi al Hadid (d. 655 A.H/1257 A.D) writes in in Sharh Nahj al Balagah:

 

فلما قتل أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام أظهر ابن سبأ مقالته ، وصارت له طائفة وفرقة يصدقونه ويتبعونه

When Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali was assassinated, Ibn Saba’ promoted his doctrine. He amassed a group, a sect who believed in and followed him.[120]

 

Al Hassan ibn ‘Ali al Hilli[121] (d. 740 A.H/1339 A.D) counts Ibn Saba’ amongst the weak narrators.[122]

Ibn al Murtada[123] (d. 840 A.H/1436 A.D) an authority amongst the Shia Zaidiyyah sect opines that the origin of Shia creed is Ibn Saba’ as he was the first to innovate the doctrine of Nass (the divine appointment of the Imams).[124]

‘Abdul Ardabili[125] (d. 1100 A.H/1689 A.D) says that Ibn Saba’ was an accursed extremist who believed in the prophethood and divinity of ‘Ali.[126]

In the book Tanqih al Maqal of al Mamaqani[127] (d. 1323 A.H/1905 A.D) there is mention of Ibn Saba’ under quotations that the author has gathered from earlier Shia sources.[128]

Al Khuwanasari has mentioned Ibn Saba’ quoting the curse of Jafar al Sadiq against him due to his fabrications and lies.[129]

Ihsan Ilahi Zahir—who has deep insight into the Shia books both in Arabic and Persian—says:

 

وقد أقر بوجوده – ابن سبأ – من أعلام الشيعة المتأخرين المظفري في كتابه « تاريخ الشيعة » ، وكذلك كبير القوم السيد محسن الأمين في موسوعته ، وغيرهم الكثيرون الكثيرون

The existence of Ibn Saba’ has been determined by the authoritative latter day Shia scholar al Muzaffari in his book Tarikh al Shia. Al Sayed Muhsin al Amin has also determined this in his encyclopedia. Besides the above mentioned, countless others have done so as well.[130]

 

III. Ibn Saba’ in the works of contemporary orientalists and researchers; Arab and Shia.

The persona of Ibn Saba’ is an undoubted historical fact established in the Sunni and Shiite sources, old and new alike.

Likewise, (it is an established fact) amongst most Orientalists, the likes of Julius Wellhausen[131], Van Fulton[132], Levi Dela Vida[133], Ignác Goldziher [134], Reynold Allen Nicholson [135], Dwight Ronaldson[136], and others.

At the same time, the existence of Ibn Saba’ is a matter of doubt or a mere myth to a few Orientalists, such as Caetani[137], Bernard Lewis[138], and the indecisive Friedlaender [139].

Similarly, the hadith scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah form a consensus that the persona of Ibn Saba’ is factual and true.

This is true but for a handful who are few and far in between. These outlying scholars adopting this fringe view is based on several differing reasons. It is either due to them having being influenced by orientalism[140] or due to being unable to ascertain the truth under the façade of ambiguity that has been shrouded over the persona of Ibn Saba’ which results in rejection[141], doubt[142], or wavering views which leaves them hovering between the opposing ends of acceptance and rejection.[143]

The contemporary Shia, by and large, mention Ibn Saba’ in their writings as a point of a persona of non-existence. He is to some of them, a figure closer to delusion than reality[144], whilst to others closer to fiction than fact.[145]

As for the orientalists, well, their intent in creating an environment of uncertainty or rejection was to institute a claim that the fitnah was a result of the actions of the Sahabah themselves. It was also to further claim that any affiliation of fitnah to the Jews or heretics was a ploy by Muslim historians and narrators to defend the Sahabah so that their blunders may be condemned to external elements.

Moreover, their rejection of the persona of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ is due to their desire to arrive at the following conclusion:

There was no need for a saboteur to walk amongst the Sahabah as they themselves were possessed by self-indulgence, materialism, and greed for power. They thus fought each other in a premediated and deliberate fashion.

 

Furthermore, they would say:

Ibn Saba’ was a figment of imagination dreamt up by Saif in order to distance the Sahabah from the events of the fitnah and attribute it to a Jew who feigned Islam.[146]

 

The intent in drawing this conclusion was to harm the cause of Islam and the Muslims. It would serve to propagandize a theme of religious inability in guidance; since Islam was unable to maintain the character of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum after the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, it is implausible that Islam would be able to guide and reform in the present era.

In pursuit of this methodology of the orientalists in casting doubt onto the persona of Ibn Saba’ and trivialising the presence of diversionists, some Arab academics have underplayed the role of Ibn Saba’ whilst others have gone to reject his existence, relegating him to a fictional character.

One of these cynics states:

أراد خصوم الشيعة – يقصد أهل السنة – أن يدخلوا في أصول هذا المذهب عنصرا يهوديا إمعانا في الكيد لهم والنيل منهم ،

The opponents of the Shia—referring to the Ahlus Sunnah here—purposefully introduce within their creed elements of Judaism in order to incriminate them and use them as a stooge.[147]

 

He further asks:

أكان لابن سبأ أن يجد مجالا لبث أفكاره بین من هم أكثر منه علما ودراية بأحكام الإسلام ؟

How was it possible for Ibn Saba’ to promulgate his ideas in the midst of those who were more knowledgeable than him with regards to Islam laws?[148]

 

These cynical ideas of his are based on two unsubstantiated reasons:

  1. He believes that the events pertaining to Ibn Saba’ have been contrived by the Ahlus Sunnah in order to vilify the Shia. Before casting doubts and accusations—as he does—it was essential for him to at least establish that such traditions solely emanate from sources within Ahlus Sunnah with Shia sources being silent regarding it. Yet we find that he has not troubled himself with such research as the methodology he adopts in his books are based upon doubt, mistrust, and wholesale defamation with no thought given to factual study.

The belief that the Ahlus Sunnah have contrived such incidents is simply implausible as Shia sources have related them too, as has been recounted above. Thus, the Shia concur with the Ahlus Sunnah that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was the one who ignited the fire of fitnah against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who promoted enmity towards the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who developed extremist ideas regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu citing his divine appointment of Imamah, and so on and so forth.

Considering the above mentioned factors, the objections of Taha Hussain in believing such to be fabrications of the Ahlus Sunnah fall away to incredulity. It is impossible for all the sources of the Ahlus Sunnah to have lied. This is further cemented when considering that its reliable scholars are renowned for their acute scrupulousness and in what they wrote and narrated.

 

  1. His second reasoning rests upon hailing the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He thus rejects the notion that Ibn Saba’ could have done what he did. In reality though this is no critical acclamation, it is rather a ploy to push the agenda that it was the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who gave rise to the fitnah against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He is well aware that Ibn Saba’ spread his ideas amongst the common and illiterate masses, not amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. These ignorant ones played an unfortunate role in the assassination of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in the Battle of Jamal, and in other catastrophes that followed.

 

As for the Shia, their reasoning in denying the existence of Ibn Saba’ is due to the doctrinal baggage he brings along with him, which incidentally made ways and roads into mainstream Shia beliefs; beliefs that clash with core Islamic principles thus placing them in the precarious position of liability and suspicion. Another reason they have taken the route of denying his existence is so that they may place the blame of the fitnah upon the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; a product of their animosity towards the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Furthermore, those Shia who bring into question the existence of Ibn Saba’ by extension wish to bring into question their books which relate the curses of the infallible Imams—according to them—upon this devious Jew. This is to demonstrate the implausibility of curses from an infallible upon a non-existent, as the Shia deem it impossible for an infallible one to have lied.

In conclusion, it becomes abundantly clear after having studied sources old and new, Sunni and Shia, that the existence of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ is a factual reality supported by historical narrations. Evidence of his existence is found in books of ‘aqa’id, hadith, Rijal (biographies of hadith narrators), Ansab (genealogy), Tabaqat (biographical literature), Adab (Arabic literature), and Lughah (Language studies). This position has been adopted by many contemporary researchers and academics.[149]

It seems that the first to doubt the existence of Ibn Saba’ were some orientalists. Later, some Arab researchers, influenced by the views of the Orientalists and the works of modern Shia authors, also adopted this view. However, all of the above mentioned do not have anything to support their doubts and their denial except doubt itself and the reliance on mere whims, fancies, and assumptions.

 

NEXT⇒ Section Three: The cause of fitnah during the caliphate of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


[1] He is ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, known as Ibn al Sawda’. A Jew from San’a who outwardly portrayed his Islam during the era of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He sought to create divisions amongst the Muslims and introduce rebellion by spreading his views and beliefs. His life has been recorded by Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 340; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pg. 328; and Ibn al Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 183.

[2] He is ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith al Hamdani, famously known as A’sha Hamdan. Persian poet, scholar, and jurist. He is known by his poetry.

  • Al Dhahabi says, “Eloquent and famed poet. He was a great worshipper and noble. He took up arms against Hajjaj with the scholars. He was taken into custody and brought before him. Hajjaj gave the order and he was slain the year 83 A.H/702 A.D”

His life has been recorded by Al Asfahani: Al Aghani, vol. 6 pg. 41; Al Mirzabani: Mujam al Shu’ara, pg. 14; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pg. 499; and Al Dhahabi: Tarikh al Islam, vol. 3 pg. 242.

[3] A’sha Hamdan: Diwan, pg. 148; Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 6 pg. 83.

[4] He is al Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib al Hashimi. There is consensus upon his reliability. He is the first that spoke against Irja’.

  • Ibn Sa’d says, “He was amongst the graceful and noble persons of the Banu Hashim.”
  • Ibn Hibban says, “He was a well versed in the differences of people.”
  • Ibn Hajar says, “Reliable and a jurist.”

He passed away the year 100 A.H/718 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 5 pg. 328; Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 117; Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Kabir, 1/2/305; Ibn Hibban: Al Majruhin min al Muhaddithin, vol. 4 pg. 122; and Ibn Hajar: Al Taqrib, vol. 1 pg. 171.

[5] Narrated by Abu ‘Umar al ‘Adni in Kitab al Iman, pg. 249.

[6] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pg. 331.

[7] He is Hammam ibn Ghalib ibn Sa’sa’ah al Tamimi al Basri, Abu Firas, famously known as Farazdaq due to his scowl and harsh temperament. He was amongst the great poets of the Umayyad period. He had a measurable effect on the language, so much so that it is said, “If it wasn’t for the poetry of Farazdaq, a third of the Arabians language would have been lost.” He collected some of his poems in his Diwan. He passed away in Basrah the year 110 A.H/728 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Abi al Khattab: Ibid: pg. 163; Ibn Sallam al Jumahi: Tabaqat Fuhul al Shu’ara’, pg. 75; Al Asfahani: Al Aghani, vol. 9 pg. 367; and Al Mirzabani: Mujam al Shu’ara, pg. 486.

[8] Al Farazdaq: Diwan, pgs. 242-243.

[9] He is Qatadah ibn Di’amah al Sadusi al Basri, the commentator. From amongst the reliable and prominent memorizers of the Tabi’in. His memory was a marvel. He would remember everything he heard.

  • Abu Hatim says, “I heard Ahmed ibn Hambal talking of Qatadah at length. He commented on his memory and jurisprudic abilities.”
  • Ibn Sa’d says, “Reliable, trustworthy, a proof in hadith.”
  • Ibn Ma’in deemed him reliable.
  • Sufyan al Thawri says, “Where would there be the like of Qatadah in the world!”

He passed away the year 117 A.H/735 A.D His life has been recorded by, Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 7 pg. 229; Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 389; Ibn Ma’in: Al Tarikh, vol. 2 pg. 484; Al Dhahabi: Tadhkirah al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 122; and ad Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 8 pg. 351.

[10] Surah Al ‘Imran: 7.

[11] Al Tabari: Jami’ al Bayan, 3/3/119.

[12] Amongst the leaders of the Khariji movement. Al Tabari has profiled him in the section that deals with the year 43 A.H/663 A.D See, Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 5 pgs. 174, 175, 181, 182, 186, 208, and 209.

[13] He is Ma’qal ibn Qais al Riyahi al Tamimi. Amongst the companions of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and was with him when he marched to fight the Khawarij at Naharwan the year 39 A.H/659 A.D Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, governor of Kufah the year 43 A.H/663 A.D, sent him to confront the Khawarij who were under the leadership of Mustawrid ibn ‘Ulfah. Both were killed in the battle. See, Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pgs. 565-574 and vol. 5 pgs. 55, 79, 124, 198, and 208.

[14] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 5 pg. 193.

[15] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 39.

[16] See, Al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin, vol. 1 pg. 86; Al Qummi: Al Maqalat wa al Firaq, pg. 119; Ibn Hibban: Al Majruhin, vol. 2 pg. 253; and Al Maqdisi: Al Bad’ wa al Tarikh, vol. 5 pg. 129.

[17] Ibn Habib: Al Muhabbar, pg. 308.

[18] He is Abu ‘Asim Khushaysh ibn Asram ibn al Aswad Abu al ‘Asim al Nasa’i, al Hafiz. Abu Dawood, al Nasa’i, and others narrate from him.

  • Al Nasa’i says, “Reliable.”
  • Ibn Yunus and Maslamah ibn Qasim have deemed him reliable.

He has authored the book Al Istiqamah fi al Radd ‘ala Ahl al Ahwa’. He passed away the year 253 A.H/859 A.D His life has been recorded by Al Dhahabi: Al Kashif, vol. 1 pg. 213; Tadhkirah al Huffaz, vol. 2 pg. 551; Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 3 pg. 142; and Ibn al ‘Imad: Shadharat al Dhahab, vol. 2 pg. 129.

[19] Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 1 pg. 7.

[20] He is ‘Amr ibn Bahr ibn Mahbub al Kinani al Laythi, Abu ‘Uthman. Famously known as al Jahiz. Amongst the authorities of literature and knowledge. He has authored many works, amongst them, Al Bayan wa al Tibyan, Sihr al Bayan, Masa’il al Qur’an, Kitab al Mu’allimin, Al Tabsirah bi al Tijarah, and Al Buldan. He passed away the year 255 A.H/861 A.D His life has been recorded by, Al Khatib: Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 12 pg. 212; Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 470; and Yaqut: Mujam al Udaba’, vol. 5 pg. 83.

[21] Al Jahiz: Al Bayan wa al Tibyan, vol. 3 pg. 81.

[22] Jawad ‘Ali: ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. Majallah al Majma’ al ‘Ilmi al Iraqi, 1378 A.H/1959 A.D vol. 6 pg. 67.

[23]Sunan Abu Dawood, vol. 5 pg. 126; Sunan al Nasa’i, vol. 7 pg. 104; Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 3 pg. 538. Al Albani has deemed it authentic in Sahih Abu Dawood, vol. 3 pg. 822/3657.

[24] He is ‘Ikrimah al Barbari, Abu ‘Abdullah al Madani, mawla of Ibn ‘Abbas.

  • Ibn ‘Uyaynah says, “When ‘Ikrimah would talk of the battles, the one listening would say, ‘It is as though he is witnessing it with his eyes’.
  • Isma’il ibn Abi Khalid says, “I heard al Sha’bi saying, ‘There is no one left more knowledgeable regarding the Book of Allah than ‘Ikrimah.’”
  • Sa’id ibn Abi ‘Arubah narrating from Qatadah says, “The most knowledgeable of the Tabi’in were four; viz. ‘Ata’, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah and al Hassan.”
  • Al ‘Ijli says, “A Makki Tabi’i who is absolved from those accusations the Haruriyyah made against him.”
  • Al Bukhari, “All in our fraternity provide evidence through ‘Ikrimah.”
  • Al Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban, and Abu Hatim deem him reliable.
  • ‘Uthman al Darami narrating from Ibn Ma’in says, “Reliable.”
  • Ibn Mandah says in his Sahih, “The condition of the narrator ‘Ikrimah is such that the great authorities of the Tabi’in and those after them narrated from him and sought evidence through his exclusive narrations in the fields of beliefs, practices, and laws.”
  • Ibn Hajar says, “Reliable, trustworthy. No innovation has been established from him.”

He passed away the year 107 A.H/725 A.D His life has been recorded by Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 339; Ibn Ma’in: Al Tarikh, vol. 2 pg. 412; Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Kabir, 4/1/49; Ibn Abi Hatim: Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 7 pg. 7; Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 7 pg. 263; and Ibn Hajar: Al Taqrib, vol. 2 pg. 30.

[25] Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 8 pg. 50.

[26] Ibn Taymiyyah: Majmu’ al Fatawa, vol. 28 pg. 483.

[27] Al Dhahabi: Al Mizan, vol. 2 pg. 426.

[28] Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 3 pgs. 290, 389.

[29] Ibn Hajar: Al Fath, vol. 12 pg. 270.

[30] He is Ibrahim ibn Yaqub ibn Ishaq al Sa’di al Juzjani, muhaddith, memorizer, author, reliable. He travelled in search of hadith to Makkah, Basrah, and Ramallah, Palestine. Amongst his works are, Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil and Al Du’afa. He passed away the year 259 A.H/873 A.D See, Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 2 pg. 31; Ibn al Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 11 pg. 31; and Al Dhahabi: Tadhkirah al Huffaz, vol. 2 pg. 549.

[31] Al Juzajani: Ahwal al Rijal, pg. 37.

[32] Ibn Qutaybah: Al Ma’arif, pg. 167.

[33] Ibn Qutaybah: Ta’wil Mukhtalaf al Hadith, pg. 73.

[34] He is Ahmed ibn Yahya ibn Jabir ibn Dawood, al Baladhuri, al Baghdadi. Historian, geographer, and genealogist. He kept the company of al Mutawakkil al ‘Abbasi and has a poem wherein he extols the virtues of al Ma’mun. Amongst his works are, Futuh al Buldan, Ansab al Ashraf, and Kitab al Buldan al Kabir. He passed away the year 279 A.H/898 A.D His life has been recorded by, Ibn al Nadim: Al Fihrist, pg. 164; Yaqut: Mujam al Udaba’, vol. 5 pg. 89; and Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 1 pg. 322.

[35] Al Baladhuri: Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 3 pg. 382.

[36] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pgs. 283, 326, 331, 340, 349, 398, 493, 494, and 505.

[37] Surah Al ‘Imran: 7.

[38] Al Tabari: Jami’ al Bayan, 3/3/121. The hadith quoted above has been recorded by al Bukhari in al Jami’ al Sahih, vol.  pg.   .

[39] He is Muhammad ibn Wuhayb al Humairi al Baghdadi, Abu Jafar. The poet. He accompanied al Hassan ibn Sahl, the minister of al Ma’mun. He ascribed to Tashayyu’. He has odes to the Ahlul Bayt. He died the year 225 A.H/841 A.D His life has been recorded by Al Asfahani: Al Aghani, vol. 7 pgs. 224 and 271; Al Mirzabani: Mujam al Shu’ara, pg. 420; Al ‘Abbasi: Ma’ahid al Tansis ala Shawahid al Talkhis, vol. 1 pg. 220.

[40] Ibn ‘Abd Rabbihi: Al ‘Iqd al Farid, vol. 2 pg. 405.

[41] Abu al Hassan al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin, vol. 1 pg. 85.

[42] Ibn Hibban: Al Majruhin, vol. 2 pg. 253.

[43] Ibid, vol. 1 pg. 208.

[44] Al Juzajani: Ahwal al Rijal, pg. 38.

[45] He is Mutahhir ibn Tahir al Maqdisi al Basti. Historian and author of Al Bad’ wa al Tarikh. Originating from Bayt al Maqdis thereafter settling in Bist, Sijistan where he passed away the year 355 A.H/966 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn al Wardi: Kharidah al ‘Aja’ib wa Faridah al  Ghara’ib, pg. 249; and Haji Khalifah: Kashf al Zunun, vol. 1 pg. 227.

[46] Al Maqdisi: Al Bad’ wa al Tarikh, vol. 5 pg. 129.

[47] Al Malti: Al Tanbih wa al Radd ‘ala Ahl al Ahwa wa al Bida’, pg. 18. Qambar is the freed slave of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. See, Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 6 pg. 237; Al Dhahabi: Al Mizan, vol. 3 pg. 392.

[48] Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 1 pg. 7.

[49] He is Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Yusuf, Abu ‘Abdullah al Balkhi al Khawarizmi, a scholar of Khurasan. He has authored Mafatih al ‘Ulum which is amongst the earliest encyclopedic works. He had authored it for Abu al Hassan the minister of Nuh ibn Mansur al Samani. Al Maqrizi says, “It is a remarkable book.” He passed away the year 387 A.H/997 A.D His life has been recorded by Al Maqrizi: Al Mawa’iz wa al I’tibar, vol. 1 pg. 258; Haji Khalifah: Kashf al Zunun, vol. 2 pg. 175; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 839.

[50] Al Khawarizmi: Mafatih al ‘Ulum, pg. 22.

[51] He is ‘Abdul Qahir ibn Tahir al Baghdadi al Tamimi. A scholar of theology and principles of jurisprudence. He was an authority in the sciences during his era. He taught many sciences. From amongst his works are, Usul al Din, Al Nasikh wa al Mansukh, Fada’ih al Mu’tazilah, Al Milal wa al Nihal, Al Tahsil fi Usul al Fiqh, Al Farq bayn al Firaq, and Al Sifat. He passed away the year 429 A.H/1037 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 203, Al Subki: Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, vol. 3 pg. 107238, Al Suyuti: Inba’ al Ruwat, vol. 2 pg. 185; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 144.

[52] Al Baghdadi: Al Farq bayn al Firaq, pgs. 15-225.

[53] Ibn Hazm: Al Fasl fi al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 4 pg. 186.

[54] Ibid, vol. 4 pg. 186.

[55] Al Isfirayini: Al Tabsir fi al Din, pg. 108.

[56] He is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Karim ibn Ahmed Abu al Fath al Sharastani. He was a scholar of theology and of the philosophical schools of thought.

  • Yaqut says, “Theologian, philosopher, and author. A worthy scholar. He had excellent penmanship and was eloquent. His speech was distinct and he was mild mannered. If it wasn’t for his futilities in belief systems he would have been an Imam. This was as he pursued philosophy to a greater degree than the blessed sciences of the Shari’ah.”

Amongst his works are, Al Milal wa al Nihal, Tarikh al Hukama’, and Al Irshad ila ‘Aqa’id al ‘Ibad. He passed away the year 1153 A.D His life has been recorded by Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 3 pg. 377; Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 4 pg. 273; and Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 5 pg. 263.

[57] Al Sharastani: Al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 5 pg. 263.

[58] Ibid, vol. 1 pg. 155.

[59] He is ‘Abdul Karim ibn Muhammad ibn Mansur al Tamimi al Sam’ani al Marwazi, Abu Sa’d. A historian and memorizer of hadith.

  • Al Dhahabi says, “Reliable, Hafiz, authority, widely travelled, impartial, religious, of noble lineage, pleasant company, and one who had memorized a great amount.”

From amongst his books are, Al Ansab, Tarikh Marw, Tabyin Ma’adin al Ma’ani, Fi Lata’if al Qur’an al Karim, Tadhyil Tarikh Baghdad li al Khatib, Tarikh al Wafat li al Muta’akhkhirin min al Ruwat, and Adab al Imla wa al Istimla’. He passed away the year 562 A.H/1167 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 209; Ibn Taghribirdi: Al Nujum al Zahirah, vol. 5 pg. 563; Ibn al Athir; Al Lubab fi tahdhib al Ansab, vol. 1 pg. 9; Al Dhahabi: Tadhkirah al Huffaz, vol. 4 pg. 1316; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 1048.

[60]  Al Sam’ani: Al Ansab, vol. 7 pg. 24.

[61] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pgs. 328-329.

[62] I could not find his profile in the readily available sources.

[63] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 12 pg. 371.

[64] He is ‘Ammar ibn Muawiyah al Dahni al Bajali al Kufi, Abu Muawiyah. He narrated from Abu al Tufayl, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, and others. Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, Sufyan al Thawri, and others.

  • Ahmed, Ibn Ma’in, Abu Hatim, al Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban have deemed him reliable.

He passed away the year, 130 A.H/747 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Ma’in: Al Tarikh, vol. 2 pg. 424; Ibn Abi Hatim: Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 4 pg. 390; and Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 7 pg. 406.

[65] A Sahabi.

[66] He is Musayyib ibn Najabah ibn Rabi’ah al Kufi. A Mukhadram Tabi’i. He narrates from Hudhayfah and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Ibn Sa’d has placed him amongst the first level of the Tabi’in of Kufah. He took part in al Qadisiyyah and fought alongside ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the battles. He went to battle alongside Sulaiman ibn Surad seeking vengeance for al Hussain and was killed the year 65 A.H/684 A.D in the battle of ‘Ayn al Wardah. See, Al Dhahabi: Al Kashif, vol. 3 pg. 129; and Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 10 pg. 154.

[67] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pg. 331.

[68] Ibid, vol. 9 pg. 331.

[69] He is Hujayyah ibn ‘Adi al Kindi al Kufi. He narrates from ‘Ali and Jabir. Hakam ibn ‘Utaybah, Abu Ishaq al Sabi’i, and others narrate from him.

  • Al ‘Ijli says, “A Tabi’i. Reliable.”
  • Al Bushanji says, “Reliable and trustworthy.”
  • Ibn Hibban has counted him amongst the reliable Tabi’in.

His life has been recorded by, Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 110; Ibn Hibban: Al Thiqat, vol. 4 pg. 192; Al Dhahabi: Al Kashif, vol. 1 pg. 151; and Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 2 pg. 216.

[70] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 9 pg. 331.

[71] Ibid, vol. 9 pg. 332.

[72] He is Nishwan ibn Sa’id al Himyari al Yemeni, Abu Sa’id. He hails from a royal family. Yaqut mentions that he came into control of a few forts and castles at the ranges of Taizz, Yemen till pronounced King. He was well versed in the sciences and literature. Amongst his works are, Khulasah al Sirah al Jami’ah li ‘Aja’ib Akhbar Muluk al Tababi’ah, Al Tadhkirah fi Ahkam al Jawahir wa al A’rad, Al Tibyan fi Tafsir al Qur’an, Al Hur al ‘Ayn, and Kitab al Qawafi. He passed away the year 573 A.H/1178 A.D His life has been recorded by Yaqut: Mujam al Udaba’, vol. 19 pg. 217; Mujam al Buldan, vol. 5 pg. 336; Al Suyuti: Bughyah al Wuah, pg. 403; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 1857.

[73]Al Himyari: Al Hur al ‘Ayn, pg. 154.

[74] He is Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn al Hassan ibn al Hussain al Taymi, Abu ‘Abdullah Fakhr al Din al Razi. Imam and mufassir. He was an ocean of knowledge in the transmitted and philosophical sciences. An eloquent lecturer in the Arabic and Persian languages. People took to studying his books during his lifetime. Amongst his works are, Mafatih al Ghayb, Asrar al Tanzil, Al Matalib al ‘Aliyah, Nihayah al Ijaz fi Dawlah al I’jaz, Kitab al Handasah, and others. He passed away the year 606 A.H/1210 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 4 pg. 248; Ibn Qadi Shuhbah, Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, vol. 5 pg. 33; Ibn al Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 13 pg. 55; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 915.

[75] Fakhr al Din al Razi: I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa al Mushrikin. Pg. 57.

[76] Ibn al Athir; Al Lubab fi tahdhib al Ansab, vol. 2 pg. 98.

[77] He is ‘Abbas ibn Mansur ibn ‘Abbas, Abu al Fadl al Saksaki al Shafi’i. A scholar of theology and principles. He has written Al Burhan fi Ma’rifah ‘Aqa’id ahl al Adyan. He passed away the year 683 A.H/1284 A.D See Ibn al Athir; Al Lubab fi tahdhib al Ansab, vol. 3 pgs. 9-10; Al Baghdadi: Hadiyyah al ‘Arifin, vol. 1 pg. 437.

[78] Al Saksaki: Al Burhan fi Ma’rifah ‘Aqa’id ahl al Adyan, pg. 50.

[79] Ibn Taymiyyah: Majmu’ al Fatawa, vol. 4 pg. 435.

[80] Al Dhahabi: Al Mughni fi al Du’afa’, vol. 1 pg. 339.

[81] He is Khalil ibn Aybak ibn ‘Abdullah al Safdi. Literary, historian, and writer. He ascended the post as Chancery of the court in Safd, Damascus, and Egypt. Amongst his works are, Al Wafi bi al Wafayat, Diwan al Fusaha’, Tuhfah Dhawi al Albab fi Man Hakam Dimashq min al Khulafa’ wa al Muluk wa al Nawab, and others. He passed away the year 764 A.H/1363 A.D His life has been recorded by Ibn Hajar: Al Durar al Kaminah, vol. 2 pg. 87 and Ibn Qadi Shuhbah, Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, vol. 6 pg. 94.

[82] Al Safdi: Al Wafi bi al Wafayat, vol. 17 pg. 20.

[83] He is Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Sa’id Shams al Din al Kirmani. A commentator on hadith and principles of fiqh. He lived in Baghdad and Makkah. Amongst his works are: Al Kawkab al Darari fi Sharh Sahih al Bukhari, Dama’ir al Qur’an, and Sharh Mukhtasar ibn al Hajib. He passed away the year 786 A.H/1384 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn Hajar: Al Durar al Kaminah, vol. 4 pg. 310; Al Suyuti: Bughyah al Wuah, pg. 120; and Tash Kubra Zadah: Miftah al Sa’adah, vol. 1 pg. 170.

[84] Al Kirmani: Al Firaq al Islamiyyah, pg. 34.

[85] He is Ibrahim ibn Musa ibn Muhammad al Ghirnati al Andalusi al Maliki, famously known as Ibn Ishaq al Shatbi. Amongst the scholars well versed in the principles and a memorizer of note. Amongst his books are, Al I’tisam, Al Muwafaqat, Al Ifadat wa al Irshadat, Al Ittifaq fi ‘Ilm al Ishtiqaq, Usul al Nahw, Al Maqasid al Shafiyah fi Sharh Khulasah al Kafiyah and Al Juman fi Mukhtasar Akhbar al Zaman. He passed away the year 790 A.H/1388 A.D. His life has been recorded by Al Timbukti: Nayl al Ibtihaj, pgs. 46-50; Al Kattani: Fahras al Faharis, vol. 1 pg. 134; Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 1090.                       

[86] Al Shatbi: Al I’tisam, vol. 2 pg. 197.

[87] He is ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Jurjani, famously known as Al Sharif al Jurjani. Amongst the scholars of philosophy and logic. He had a share in the other sciences as well. Amongst his works are, Al Ta’rifat, Tahqiq al Kulliyat, Maratib al Mawjudat, Risalah fi Taqsim al Ulum and Risalah fi Usul al Hadith. He passed away the year 816 A.H/1413 A.D. His life has been recorded by Al Sakhawi: Al Daw’ al Lami’, vol. 5 pg. 328; Al Laknawi: Al Fawa’id al Bahiyyah, pg. 125; Al Suyuti: Bughyah al Wuah, pg. 351; and Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 678.

[88] Al Jurjani: Al Ta’rifat, pg. 79.

[89] Al Maqrizi: Al Mawa’iz wa al I’tibar, vol. 2 pgs. 356-357.

[90] Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 3 pg. 290.

[91] Al ‘Ayni: ‘Iqd al Juman fi Tarikh Ahl al Zaman, 9/1/168.

[92] Al Suyuti: Lubb al Lubab fi Tahrir al Ansab, vol. 1 pg. 132.

[93] He is Muhammad ibn Muhammad Abu al Fayd al Hussaini al Hindi al Zabidi al Yemeni, known as Murtada al Zabidi. Originally from Wasit, Iraq, born in India, and brought up in Zabid, Yemen. A scholar of language, hadith, Rijal, and, genealogy. Well versed in the Turkish and Persian languages. A prolific author. Amongst his works are, Taj al ‘Urus fi Sharh al Qamus, Asanid al Kutub al Sittah, Raf’ al Shakwa wa Tarwih al Qulub fi Dhikr Muluk Bani Ayub, Jadhwah al Iqtibas fi Nasab Bani al ‘Abbas, and ‘Iqd al La’ali al Mutanathirah fi Hifz al Ahadith al Mutawatirah. He passed away the year 1205 A.H/1790 A.D His life has been recorded by Al Jabarti: ‘Aja’ib al Athar fi al Tarajim wa al Akhbar, vol. 2 pg. 196; Al Kattani: Fahras al Faharis, vol. 1 pg. 398; Sarkis: Mujam al Matbu’at, pg. 1726.

[94] Al Zabidi: Taj al ‘Urus, vol. 1 pg. 75-76. The view of al Zabidi is not acceptable and as can be determined from the narration of Farwah ibn Musayk. See, Sunan Abu Dawood, ‘Awn al Ma’bud, vol. 11 pg. 18 Hadith: 3969; Sahih Abu Dawood, vol. 2 pg. 754 Hadith: 3373; Al Tirmidhi, vol. 8 pg. 356 Hadith: 3220. In the hadith there is detail and explanation that Saba’ an Arab who had ten sons. Six resided in Yemen and four in Sham. They are the fathers of the Arab tribes. This shows that Saba’ was an early historical figure of the earliest Arabs. There is thus no connection between him and Saba’ the father of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. [Publisher].

[95] Ibn Hajar: Al Fath, vol. 13 pg. 54.

[96] Ibid, vol. 13 pg. 86.

[97] He is Yahya ibn Sulaiman ibn Yahya al Ju’fi al Kufi, Abu Sa’id.

  • Abu Hatim says, “Sheikh.”
  • Maslamah ibn al Qasim says, “La ba’sa bihi (There is no problem with him).”
  • Ibn Hibban, al Daraqutni, and al ‘Uqayli have deemed him reliable.

See, Ibn Abi Hatim: Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 9 pg. 154; Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Kabir, 4/2/280; Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 227; and Al Dhahabi: Al  Mizan, vol. 4 pg. 382.

[98] Ibn Hajar: Al Fath, vol. 13 pg. 65.

[99] Ibn Hajar: Ibid, vol. 13 pg. 72.

[100] Ibid, vol. 13 pg. 86.

[101] Ibid, vol. 13 pg. 85.

[102] Ibid, vol. 13 pg. 75.

[103] He is ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al Anbari, Abu al ‘Abbas, famously knows as Al Nashi’ al Akbar. He is counted amongst the great poets of the Abbasid era. A grammarian, poet, and logician. He has many poems in hunting and the hunter’s tools.

  • Ibn Khallikan says, “Due to his command over language he would critique the grammarians. He also introduced scales into poetry besides those established by al Khalil. A product of his keen mind and sharp intellect.”

His life has been recorded by, Al Khatib: Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 10 pg. 92; Ibn Khallikan: Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 91; and Al Qafti: Anba’ al Ruwat, vol. 2 pg. 128.

[104] Al Nashi’ al Akbar: Masa’il al Imamah, pgs. 22-23.

[105] He is Sa’d ibn ‘Abdullah, Abu al Qasim. A Shia, Imamiyyah jurist and scholar of hadith. He travelled much in pursuit of hadith. Amongst his books are, Manaqib Ruwat al Hadith, Mathalib Ruwat al Hadith, Al Maqalat wa al Firaq, and Fadl al ‘Arab. He died the year 301 A.H/913 A.D. His life has been recorded by Al Najashi: Al Rijal, pg. 126; Al Tusi: Al Fihrist, pg. 75.

[106] Al Qummi: Al Maqalat wa al Firaq, pg. 20.

[107] He is al Hassan ibn Musa ibn al Hassan al Nawbakhti, Abu Muhammad. Philosopher and astronomer from Baghdad. He was a Shia. He has written Firaq al Shia, Al Nukat ‘ala ibn al Rawandi, and Al Juz’ al ladhi la Yatajazza’. He died the year 310 A.H/922 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn al Nadim: Al Fihrist, pg. 251; Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 15 pg. 327; Ibn al Murtada: Tabaqat al Mu’tazilah, pg. 126; and Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 2 pg. 258.

[108] Al Nawbakhti: Firaq al Shia, pg. 23.

[109] He is Ahmed ibn Hamdan al Laythi al Razi. A great amongst the Ismailiyyah sect; a break away sect of the Shia. Ibn Hajar says, “Ibn Babawayh has profiled him in Tarikh al Rayy. He says, ‘He was a man of virtue and well versed in language. He heard much hadith. He was a prolific author. Then they began the call to Ilhad (Heresy that distorts the fundamental teachings of Islam). He became a proponent of the Ismailiyyah and misled a group of the seniors. Amongst his works are, A’lam al Nubuwwah, Al Zinah fi al Kalimat al Islamiyyah, and Al Jami’ fi al–Fiqh. He died the year 322 A.H/923 A.D. His life has been recorded by, Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 1 pg. 164 and Mustafa Ghalib: Tarikh al Da’wah al Islamiyyah, pgs. 114-125.

[110] Al Razi: Al Zinah fi al Kalimat al Islamiyyah, pg. 114-125.

[111] Al Kashshi: Al Rijal, pgs. 98-99.

[112] Al Kashshi: Ma’rifah Akhbar al Rijal, pg. 70.

[113] Al Kashshi: Al Rijal, pg. 100.

[114] He is Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Babawayh al Qummi, famously known as Al Sheikh al Saduq. Scholar of hadith and adherent of the Shia Imamiyyah sect. He has many works. Amongst them are, Ma’ani al Akhbar, Al Tarikh, Al Shi’r, Al Sultan, Man La Yahdurhu al Faqih, ‘Ilal al Sharai’ wa al Ahkam, and Al Masabih. He died the year 381 A.H/991 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn al Nadim: Al Fihrist, pg. 277; Abu Jafar al Tusi: Al Fihrist, pg. 156; Al Najashi: Al Rijal, pg. 276; and Agha Bozorg Tehrani: Al Dhari’ah ila Tasanif al Shia, vol. 1 pg. 213.

[115] Ibn Babawayh: Man La Yahdurhu al Faqih, vol. 1 pg. 213.

[116] Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Nu’man ibn ‘Abdul Salam al ‘Ukbari al Qahtani, Abu ‘Abdullah. Famously known as Sheikh al Mufid. He was the authority of the Shia in his era.

  • Al Dhahabi says, “He cursed the pious predecessors much. He was influential during the era of ‘Adud al Dawlah of the Buyid Dynasty.”

He has many works in usul, theology, and jurisprudence. Amongst them are, Al A’lam fi ma Ittafaqat ‘Alayhi al Imamiyyah min al Ahkam, Awa’il al Maqalat fi al–Mazahib wa al Mukhtarat, Usul al Fiqh, Al Kalam fi Wujuh I’jaz al Qur’an, and Waq’ah al Jamal. He died the year 413 A.H/1022 A.D. His life has been recorded by Al Khatib: Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3 pg. 231; Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 17 pg. 344; and Al Dhahabi: Al Mizan, vol. 4 pg. 26.

[117] Al Sheikh al Mufid: Sharh ‘Aqa’id al Saduq, pg. 257.

[118] He is Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn ‘Ali al Baghdadi, famously known as Abu Jafar al Tusi. He is counted amongst the Shia scholars and jurists. He has written on the topics of tafsir, fiqh, and ‘aqa’id. Amongst his works are, Al Tibyan al Jami’ li ‘Ulum al Qur’an, Istilahat al Mutakallimin, Fihrist Kutub al Shia, and Al Istibsar fi ma Ikhtalaf fihi min al Akhbar.

  • Al Dhahabi says, “The great memorizers did not pay him attention due to his innovations. His books were burnt many a time in the courtyard of Jami’ al Qasr. He went into hiding when his cursing of the predecessors came to the fore.”

He died the year, 460 A.H/1067 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn al Jawzi: al Muntazam fi Tarikh al Muluk wa al Umam, vol. 8 pg. 252; Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 18 pg. 334; Al Suyuti: Tabaqat al Mufassirin, pg. 29; and Agha Bozorg Tehrani: Al Dhari’ah ila Tasanif al Shia, vol. 2 pg. 14.

[119] Abu Jafar al Tusi: Tahdhib al Ahkam, vol. 2 pg. 322.

[120] Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 2 pg. 99.

[121] He is al Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Dawood al Hilli Taqi al Din, Abu Muhammad. From the scholars of tafsir, fiqh, usul, language, and logic. Amongst his books are, Tahsil al Manfa’ah, Ahkam al Qadiyyah, Mukhtasar al Idah, and Kitab al Rijal. He died the year 740 A.H/1339 A.D. His life has been recorded by Muhsin al Amin: A’yan al Shia, vol. 22 pg. 335; Al Khaqani: Shu’ara’ al Hillah, vol. 1 pg. 278; and Al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal fi Ahwal al Rijal, pg. 293.

[122] Al Hilli: Al Rijal, vol. 2 pg. 71.

[123] He is Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn ‘Ali al Yamani ‘Izz al Din, Abu ‘Abdullah ibn al Murtada known as Ibn al Wazir. From the scholars of hadith, tafsir, and ‘Aqidah. Amongst his works are, Tanqih al Anzar fi ‘Ulum al Athar, Al ‘Awasim wa al Qawasim fi al Dhabb an Sunnah Abi al Qasim, Al Burhan al Qati fi Ithbat al Sani’, Qawa’id al Tafsir, and Tarjih Asalib al Qur’an ‘ala Qawanin al Mubtadi’ah wa al Yunan. He died the year 840 A.H/1436 A.D. His life has been recorded by Al Sakhawi: Al Daw’ al Lami’, vol. 6 pg. 272; Al Shawkani: Al Badr al Tali’, vol. 2 pg. 81; Al Wasi’i: Al Durr al Farid al Jami’ li Mutafarriqat al Asanid, pg. 41.

[124] Ibn al Murtada: Taj al ‘Urus pgs. 5-6.

[125]  He is Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Gharawi al Ha’iri al Ardabili. A Shia Imamiyyah scholar who has written on the subject of biographies. He has written a book entitled, Jami’ al Ruwat. He died the year 1100 A.H/1689 A.D. His life has been recorded by Agha Bozorg Tehrani: Al Dhari’ah ila Tasanif al Shia, vol. 4 pg. 193; and Al Zarkali: Al A’lam, vol. 6 pg. 295.

[126]  Al Ardabili: Jami’ al Ruwat, vol. 1 pg. 485.

[127] Muhammad Hassan ibn ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani, a jurist of the Imamiyyah. He has authored, Bushra al Wusul ila Asrar ‘Ilm al Usul, Ghayah al Amal, and Dharai’ al Ahlam fi Sharh Sharai’ al Islam. He died the year 1323 A.H/1905 A.D. His life has been recorded by Muhsin Amin: Fajr al Islam, vol. 22 pg. 161; Agha Bozorg Tehrani: Al Dhari’ah ila Tasanif al Shia, vol. 3 pg. 120; and Al Khuwanasari: Ahsan al Wadi’ah, pg. 169.

[128] Al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal fi Ahwal al Rijal, vol. 2 pg. 183.

[129] Al Khuwanasari: Rawdat al Jannat, vol. 3 pg. 141.

[130] Ihsan Zahir: Al Shia wa al Tashayyu’, pg. 64.

[131] Julius Wellhausen: Al Khawarij wa al Shia, pg. 170.

[132] Gerlof van Vloten: Al Siyadah al ‘Arabiyyah wa al Shia wa al Israiliyyat, pg. 80.

[133] Levi Dela Vida: The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 1 pg. 51.

[134] Ignác Goldziher: Al ‘Aqidah wa al Shari’ah fi al Islam, pg. 229.

[135] Nicholson: Tarikh al ‘Arab al Adabi fi al Jahiliyyah wa Sadr al Islam, pg. 335.

[136] Ronaldson: ‘Aqidah al Shari’ah, pg. 58.

[137] Leone Caetani: Hawliyyat al Islam, vol. 8 pg. 42. As established by Dr ‘Abdur Rahman Badwi in Mazahib al Islamiyyin, vol. 2 pgs. 30-31.

[138] Bernard Lewis: Usul al Ismailiyyah, pg. 86.

[139] See, ‘Abdur Rahman Badwi in Mazahib al Islamiyyin, vol. 2 pgs. 22-23.

[140] For instance, Taha Hussain: Al Fitnah al Kubra ‘Ali wa Banuhu, pgs. 90-91.

[141] For instance, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al Hilabi: ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, pg. 73.

[142] For instance, ‘Ali al Nashshar: Nash’ah al Fikr al Falsafi fi al Islam, pg. 28; and Muhammad ‘Umarah: Al Caliphate wa Nash’ah al Ahzab al Islamiyyah, pg. 155.

[143] For instance, Jawad ‘Ali who displays inconsistencies when speaking of the Saba’iyyah. At times, he admits to their existence and effect on historical event. Taking this view, he states:

والظاهر أن السبئية كانت من أكثر الكتل السياسية التي ظهرت في أيام عثمان نظاما

And it is apparent that during the era of ‘Uthman, the Saba’iyyah were amongst the most politically charged coalitions. [Majallah al Majma’ al ‘Ilmi al ‘Iraqi, vol. 6 pg. 84.].

He also says that the Saba’iyyah were—in his opinion—responsible for the assassination of ‘Uthman [Ibid, pg. 100]. And yet at times, he seems to relegate them to mere fiction and underestimates their impact. In this regard he criticizes al Imam al Tabari and his narrators for amplifying the role of Ibn Saba’ in Egypt and his hand in inciting fitnah therein. He says:

إن أحدا من الرواة غير « يزيد الفقعسي ، لم يذكر هذه الآثار لابن سبأ في مصر ، وقد غاب عنه رواية الحافظ ابن عساكر في « تاریخ دمشق ، التي لم يكن روايها هو يزيد الفقعسي . بل جاءت من طريق أبي حارثة وأبي عثمان قالا : « لما قدم ابن السوداء مصر عجمهم واستخلاهم واستخلوه ، وعرض لهم بالكفر فأبعدوه ، وعرض لهم بالشقاق فأطمعوه ، فبدأ بالطعن على عمرو ابن العاص وقال : ما باله أكثر کم عطاء ورزقا

None of the narrators besides Yazid al Faq’asi mentioned these traditions of Ibn Saba’ in Egypt. And the narration of al Hafiz ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq has been lost on him which is not narrated by way of Yazid al Faq’asi. Rather it is narrated by way of Abu Harithah and Abu ‘Uthman who say, “When Ibn al Sawda’ came to Egypt, he tested them and then withdrew from them and they from him. He displayed disbelief and they distanced him. He proposed disunity and they emboldened him. He then began criticizing ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and said, ‘Why is it that he receives a greater stipend than you?’” [Tahdhib Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 7 pg. 423.]

[144] For instance, ‘Ali al Wardi: Wu’az al Salatin, pg. 273; and Kamil Mustafa al Shibi: Al Silah Bayn al Tasawuf wa al Tashayyu’, pgs. 41-43.

[145] For instance, ‘Abdullah al Fayad: Tarikh al Imamiyyah, pg. 95; and Murtada al ‘Askari: ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, vol. 1 pg. 148.

[146] Friedlaender: sourced from an article he had written regarding Ibn Saba’. Published in the Assyrian Journal in Almania circa. 1909.

[147] Taha Hussain: Al Fitnah al Kubra ‘Ali wa Banuhu, pg. 90.

[148] Taha Hussain: ‘Uthman, pgs. 132-134.

[149] For instance, Mahmud Shakir: Al Khulafa’ al Rashidun, pg.225; Yusuf al ‘Ish: Al Dawlah al Umawiyyah, pgs. 66-69; ‘Ammar al Talibi: Ara’ al Khawarij, pgs. 66-67; Sa’id al Afghani: Aisha wa al Siyasah, pg. 60; Mahmud Qasim: Dirasat fi al Falsafah al Islamiyyah, pg. 109; ‘Abdur Rahman Badwi: Mazahib al Islamiyyin, vol. 2 pgs. 17-24; Ihsan Ilahi Zahir: Al Shia wa al Sunnah, pgs. 29-31; Sa’d al Hashimi: Ibn Saba’, an article published in the Majallah al Jami’ah al Islamiyyah in Madinah Munawwarah, circa. 1398 A.H/1978 A.D pg. 201; ‘Izzah ‘Attiyah: Al Bid’ah, pg. 73; Anwar al Jundi: Taha Hussain wa Fikrihi fi Mizan al Islam, pg. 171; Muhibb al Din al Khatib: Hashiyah al ‘Awasim, pgs. 4-57; and Ibrahim Sha’wat: Abatil Yajib an Tumha min al Tarikh, pg. 147.

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