The Second Discussion – The Concept of Nasb according to the Twelver Shia

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The Second Discussion

The Concept of Nasb according to the Twelver Shia

The issue of Nasb is an issue which is discussed in various chapters of the Twelver Fiqh due to many rulings being linked to it. Hence it is discussed in: the chapter of purity, the chapter of the various types of impurities, the chapter of Asʾar[1] (leftovers), the chapter of Khums, the chapter of Zakat, the chapter of Jihad, and the chapter of Nikah, amongst others.

It is a very complex issue in which the views of the Shia have drastically varied. This is despite the fact that it was very excessively used by their early and later scholars alike.[2]

The reason for this confusion is that they have differed in ascertaining the basis of Nasb due to their conflicting narrations and how they contradict the practice of their Imams who dealt amiably with the “dissenters”.

Hence at times Nasb has been equated to opposing the Shia themselves, at times it has been defined as giving preference to the Jibt and the Taghut (names of two idols by which they refer to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) over ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Imamah,[3] at times as loving the enemies of the Imams together with loving them, and at times as rejecting the Imamah of any one of them.

What is really surprising though is that the Imamiyyah are very passionate about researching the concept of Nasb and refining the many rulings they have based upon its various narrations, whereas one of their scholars has averred the following:


عدم صحة أسانيدها، ومخالفتها للمشهور بين الأصحاب، وتعارضها فيما بينها… ولإشكال مضامينها في نفسها

Their chains of transmission being unauthentic, them being in conflict with what is well-known amongst the scholars, their internal contradiction…, and their content in itself being very problematic.[4]


Nonetheless, the Imamiyyah have differed regarding the definition of Nasb and, in summary, have taken two main positions:


The First Position

This is the more restricted position. The proponents of this position have agreed that Nasb is linked to the stance one holds regarding the Twelve Imams specifically, but they have thereafter differed. In order for someone to be labelled with Nasb, is it necessary for him to openly proclaim hatred, or is internal hatred sufficient?[5]

The former, i.e. the open proclamation of hatred, is the prevalent opinion among the later Shia clergy and is also the preferred opinion of some of their early scholars.[6]

Hereunder some definitions provided by the later scholars are presented:

Jafar ibn al Hassan al Hilli[7] defines a Nasibi by saying:


الذي يسب أو يعادي الأئمة الإثني عشر أو بعضهم

A person who reviles or hates the Twelve Imams or some of them.[8]


Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli[9] has stated the following:

المعلن بالعداوة لأهل البيت

A person who openly proclaims enmity for the Ahlul Bayt.[10]


‘Abdullah al Jazaʾiri[11] has mentioned:


الناصب: وهو المعادي لأهل البيت كلا أو بعضا، على المشهور في معناه بين الفقهاء والمحدثين واللغويين

A Nasib is a person who displays enmity for the Ahlul Bayt, all of them or some of them, as is the popular meaning in the circles of the jurists, the hadith scholars and the linguists.[12]


Muhammad Amin Zayn al Din[13] states:

الناصب هو من أظهر المعاداة للأئمة المعصومين أو لبعضهم

A Nasib is a person who displays enmity for the infallible Imams or for some of them.[14]


And Jawwad al Tabrizi[15] says:

الناصب هو الذي يظهر العداوة لأهل البيت

A Nasib is a person who expresses hatred for the Ahlul Bayt.[16]


The fact of the matter, however, is that this definition is against what is reported from the Imams of the Shia. Because there is not a single narration, not even a single statement of their early scholars, with the exception of al Saduq,[17] which links Nasb to hatred and enmity.

But what prompted these scholars to take this stance is the following three matters:

Firstly, taking into consideration the literal meaning of Nasb which has passed already.

Secondly, hatred is suitable a reason to be the basis of that Nasb the bearer of which, as appears in many of their narrations, is excommunicated by their Imams, due to it being associated with the denial of what is categorically known in the Din according to them. The impermissibility of opposing the Ahlul Bayt is a categorically established aspect of Islam which is well-known to the elite and the commonality.[18]

Lastly, the social conduct of the Imams with those who opposed them. It is not reported from any of them that he would intentionally try to avoid meeting them. Rather they would socialise with them, inter-marry, and would eat from the food they slaughtered without any reservation. Whereas if every dissenter was a Nasib they would never have interacted with them in this way due to a Nasibi being a disbeliever according to their unanimity.[19]


Al Jawahiri[20] says:


لعل الذي يظهر من السير والتواريخ أن كثيرا من الصحابة في زمن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وبعده وأصحاب الجمل وصفين، بل وكافة أهل الشام وأكثر أهل المدينة ومكة كانوا في أشد العداوة لأمير المؤمنين وذريته عليهم السلام، مع أن مخالطتهم ومساورتهم لم تكن منكرة عند الشيعة أصلا ولو سرا. وكذلك الحال في بني أمية وأتباعهم وبني العباس وأتباعهم.

Probably what is apparent from history is that many of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum during the time of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the participants of Jamal and Siffin, actually all the people of Sham, and all the people of Makkah and Madinah severely opposed Amir al Muʾminin and his children ‘alayhim al Salam. Despite that, socialising with them (at times) and opposing them (at times) was not something frowned upon by the Shia at all, not even discreetly. The same was the situation with the Banu Umayyah and their followers and the Banu ‘Abbas and their followers.[21]


He has likewise unequivocally denied the perpetual link between Nasb and mere opposition due to the conduct of the Imams and their constant practice suggesting otherwise.[22]

The proponents of this view have rejected all the narrations of their Imams which go against it. Hence Jafar ibn al Hassan al Hilli states:


ما روي في أن الناصب من قدم علينا لا يعمل به

The narration which state that ‘a Nasibi is the one who gives preference over us’ will not be practiced.[23]


One of them has even gone to the extent of saying that to consider every to dissenter to be a Nasibi is very weak and far from being correct.[24]

Furthermore, despite the meaning of ‘Adawah (hatred/enmity) which is utilised by many in their definitions being completely clear, some Shia scholars have tried to expand its meaning in a way which is unacceptable. They have done so in order to include in it every person who does not believe in the Imamah of some of the Twelve Imams, and every person who denies any of their merits even though that denial be based on some sort of reasoning.

Amongst them is Zayn al Din al ‘Amili[25] who says:


المراد به (أي الناصب) من نصب العداوة لأهل البيت أو لأحدهم، وأظهر العداوة لهم صريحا أو لزوما، ككراهة ذكرهم ونشر فضائلهم والإعراض عن مناقبهم من حيث إنها مناقبهم والعداوة لمحبيهم بسبب محبتهم.

It refers, the term Nasib, to any person who proclaims hatred for the Ahlul Bayt or any of them, or displays hatred for them openly or subtly. For example by disliking their mention and promulgating their merits, ignoring their virtues just because they enjoy them and hating their lovers merely because of their love.[26]


Here he is trying to combine all the various views and narrations on the topic by categorising the disillusionment with the Ahlul Bayt into two:

  1. Open: like disliking their mention and their merits, ignoring their virtues due to them being virtues.
  2. Subtle: despising their lovers merely because of their love.

The reason for concocting this far-fetched definition is to try and combine all the various definitions and unify them. But it is no better than beating cold iron. Because whoever has used the word ‘Adawah (hatred) has used it in its literal meaning which is well-known. He has not used it to refer to some possible scenarios which could possibly fall part of it. If that was the case they could have used words like Inkar (denial/rejection), etc.

Likewise the fact that some of them have added the word Yasubbu (to revile) in the definition compromises this combination (of open and subtle opposition).

This is besides the fact that some of them have denied subtle opposition altogether (and have not considered it to be warranting of Nasb).


The Second Position

This is the broader position. The proponents of this position have differed drastically, beginning with some averring that denying the Imamah of any of the Twelve Imams is part of Nasb and culminating with some opining that merely hating their Shia is Nasb.

These people have relied upon the following factors in determining the basis of their understanding of Nasb:

  1. Giving preference to the Jibt and the Taghut, as has passed already. Murtada al Ansari[27] says:


الذي يظهر من بعض الأخبار أن النصب لا يختص ببغض أهل البيت، بل هو مطلق من قدم الجبت والطاغوت.

What becomes clear from some narrations is that Nasb is not specific to hating the Ahlul Bayt. Rather it unrestrictedly refers to anyone who give preference to the Jibt and Taghut.[28]


They have given the following reasons for this:


لا عداوة أعظم ممن قدم المنخرط عن مراتب الكمال، وفضل المنخرط في سلك الأغبياء والجهال، على من تسنم أوج الجلال، حتى شك في أنه الله المتعال.

There is no enmity greater than (the enmity of) a person who gives preference to a person who falls short of obtaining the stages of perfection and ought to be part of the foolish and ignorant upon the one who is atop the highest pinnacle of grandeur, to the extent that it is suspected that he might be Allah the Almighty.[29]


Likewise when one of the poets said:

سطرين قد خطا بلا كاتب لو شق قلبي لرأو وسطه
وحب أهل البيت في جانب الشرع والتوحيد في جانب

If my heart is split apart they will see in the centre of it two lines written without a writer.

The Shari’ah and Tawhid on the one side and love for the Ahlul Bayt on the other side.[30]


Yusuf al Bahrani[31] refuted his claim with the following:

فلعنة الله على الكاذب كذبت في دعواك يا شافعي
وبغض أهل البيت في جانب بل حب أسياخك في جانب
دون الإله الواحد الواجب عبدتم الجبت وطاغوته
 عن معشر النصاب يا ناصبي فالشرع والتوحيد في معزل

You have lied in you claim, O Shafi’i. So may the curse of Allah be upon the liar.

Rather the love of your scholars is on one side, and hatred for the Ahlul Bayt is on the other.

You have worshipped the Jibt and its Taghut instead of worshipping the one eternal being.

As a result, the Shari’ah and the oneness of Allah is aloof from the congregation of the Nasibis, O Nasibi.[32]


  1. Denying the emphatic appointment of ‘Ali after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This according to them is violating the trust and results in disbelief due to it denying a categorically established aspect of Din.[33]

Al Khajuʾi[34] says:


من لم يقل بأمامتهم عليهم السلام من الفرق كلها فهو ناصب، إذ لا يخلو من نصب عداوة لواحد منهم، حيث اعتقد أنه في مرتبة الإمامة وفرض الطاعة

Whoever of all the sects does not believe in their Imamah is a Nasib; for he will inevitably despise one of them due to assuming that he is not worthy of Imamah and obedience to him is not compulsory.[35]


  1. Considering ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be mistaken in some of his decisions. This results in Nasb due to their belief that he was infallible and flawless.

One of their scholars has actually written a book in which he enumerates those issues in which the Muslims shunned the views of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thereafter concluded that that is Nasb. Like the book which discusses all the issues in which Abu Hanifah opposed ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[36]


  1. Attributing anything which compromises the integrity of the Imams or smacks off disrespect for them.

Therefore some of them have accused Ibn Hibban al Busti[37] of Nasb because he says the following regarding ‘Ali al Rida:[38]

كأنه كان يهم ويخطئ يروي عن أبيه العجائب

He narrates strange things from his father. It is as if he would forget and falter.[39]


  1. Opposing the Shia.

They say that whoever hates the Shia or opposes them only does so due to them loving the Ahlul Bayt, following them, and giving them preference over others. Hence they narrate the following report from Jafar al Sadiq:[40]


ليس الناصب من نصب لنا أهل البيت. لأنك لا تجد أحدا يقول: أنا أبغض محمدا وآل محمد ولكن الناصب من نصب لكم، وهو يعلم أنكم تتولوننا أو تتبرأون من أعدائنا.

A Nasib is not a person who hates us the Ahlul Bayt because you will not find a person who says, “I hate Muhammad and the household of Muhammad.” But a Nasib is the one who opposes you whilst he knows that you associate with us and disassociate from our enemies.[41]


Yusuf al Bahrani says:


المستفاد من هذه الأخبار أن مظهر النصب المترتب عليه الأحكام والدليل عليه إما تقديم الجبت والطاغوت أو بغض الشيعة من حيث التشيع. فكل من اتصف بذلك فهو ناصب تجري عليه أحكام النصب

What is understood from these narrations is that the display of Nasb which has a bearing upon rulings and which is suggestive thereof, is either giving preference to the Jibt and Taghut or hating the Shia due to their partisanship. Hence any person who is of this nature is a Nasib to who the rulings of Nasb will apply.[42]


To summarise, after analysing the various usages and the definitions of Nasb presented by this cult, irrespective of their divergent stances, one finds that the word Nasib holds various meanings according to them, which are as follows:

  1. A Khariji who impugns ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  2. A person who attributes to any of the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt that which compromises their integrity.
  3. A person who upon hearing a merit of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or any of the infallible Imams denies it.
  4. A person who believes in others besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu being better than him.
  5. A person who rejects a tradition of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu after hearing it or after it reaching him in a way that can be trusted.
  6. A person who displays enmity for the Shia.[43]


It is obvious that whoever has offered a broader definition of Nasb, will necessarily approve of the narrower one as well.

The impact of this dispute becomes evident when categorising the people of the Qiblah (people who identify themselves as Muslims).


Hence those who aver that Nasb is hating ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu have categorised their dissenters into three categories:

The first category: Believers, i.e. any person who acknowledges the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as per the demands of the Twelver Dogma.

The second category: Dissenters, i.e. any person who is not upon their dogma but has not reached the stage of enmity which constitutes Nasb according to them. Hence he is considered an incapable dissenter (i.e. his opposition is unintentional).[44] These people will be treated as a Muslim.[45]

The Third category: Nasibis. ‘Nasib’ is more specific than a dissenter, for every Nasib is a dissenter but every dissenter is not a Nasib. To them the rulings of Nasb will apply.

This is the categorisation which is popular amongst the later Shia.[46] To the extent that al Saduq has attributed whatever goes against it to the ignorant people and has said:

الجهلاء يتوهمون أن كل مخالف ناصب وليس كذلك.

The ignorant people assume that every dissenter is a Nasib, whereas that is not the case.[47]


Al Jawahiri has likewise considered the view of Nasb and mere opposition being inseparable to be a view based on some sort of conjecture.[48]

And Gulpaygani[49] says:


إطلاق النواصب والخوارج لا يشمل كل من كان له عداوة بأي ألوانها، بل المسلم منها العداوة الدينية واتخاذها دينا لنفسه يتقرب بها إلى الله سبحانه

The terms Nawasib and Khawarij do not include every person who is involved in any sort of opposition. Rather the degree thereof which is agreed upon is religious hatred which is considered an act of virtue by way of which closeness to Allah is sought.[50]


Murtada al Ansari has also alluded to the view of generalising ‘Nasib’ to include a dissenter being weak.[51] In substantiating this he has argued that the commonality (the Ahlus Sunnah) comprises of three types of people: Nasibis, Mustad’afs (people under religious constraints), and those between the two.[52]

As for those who aver that Nasb is broader than just mere opposition, they have categorised their dissenters into two types only:

The first type: Believers, whose explanation has passed already.

The second type: Nasibis, those who deny the Imamah of the Twelve Imams or any of them.

Hence all the dissenters according to them are Nawasib, of course with the exception of the Mustad’afs and the gullible who are not aware of the various views and do not hate the Shia. Put another way, the ignorant whose ignorance stems from their inability and not from their slackening.[53]

This viewpoint was popular amongst the early Shia scholars like al Mufid,[54] al Sharif al Murtada,[55] and Ibn Idris al Hilli,[56] and is also the preferred view of some of the later scholars.[57] This view is based on the fact that every dissenter is necessarily a denier of the emphatic appointment, and whoever is a denier thereof is either a disbeliever or a renegade. Hence there is a binding relationship between Nasb and opposition.[58]


Therefore, we find that al Mufid has categorised the Nawasib into two:

The first category: People who love Amir al Muʾminin and his progeny, but are unaware of many of their rights.

The second category: The Khawarij and those who are like them in hating him and his progeny.[59]


Agha Rida al Hamdani[60] says:


المراد بالناصب في الروايات-على الظاهر- مطلق المخالفين، لا خصوص من أظهر عداوة أهل البيت وتدين بنصبهم

Nasib in the narrations apparently refers to all dissenters, not specifically to someone who displays enmity for the Ahlul Bayt and considers opposing them to be an act of worship.[61]


As for al Majlisi,[62] he has described the Ahlus Sunnah by saying that they are on a very high degree of Nasb.[63]


In conclusion, after this brief mention, I now will mention the stance of the Shia regarding their dissenters in detail. Their opponents are the following:



According to the unanimity of the Imamiyyah they are Nawasib because they excommunicate ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu greater than which there can be no expression of hatred, especially when it implies the permissibility of his blood.

Al Hilli has thus stated that the Khawarij are from the Nawasib.[64] And according to al Ansari they are the worse of them.[65] In fact some scholars deem the Khawarij specifically to be the Nawasib.[66]

It should, however, be noted that in the writings of many of their scholars the term Nawasib is mentioned side by side with the term Khawarij, which apparently suggests that they are both distinct from one another.[67] But that is not the case because the Khawarij are unanimously included in the definition of Nasb due to the term Nawasib being more general than the term Khawarij.[68]

Hence al Gulpaygani says:

عطف النواصب على الخوارج من باب عطف العام على الخاص

Linking Nawasib to the Khawarij by way of a conjunction is from linking the general to the specific.[69]


The Ahlus Sunnah

The Shia scholarship has differed regarding them, i.e. are all of the Ahlus Sunnah from the Nawasib or just some of them?

In this regard there are two views:


The first view

They are not Nawasib, even though amongst them there some whose traits necessitate that they be dubbed with Nasb, but not because of the mere opposition of the Imamiyyah. The proponents of this view have thereafter disputed regarding these necessitating factors based on each ones exclusive understanding of Nasb.

‘Abdullah al Jazaʾiri says:


أما ما ذهب إليه شذاذ من المعاصرين ومن قاربهم-وربما نسبوه إلىي بعض القدماء أيضا- من أن كل مخالف في الأمامة فهو ناصب يحكم عليه بالنجاسة وتحريم المناكحة وساير لوازم الكفر، ففي غاية الضعف والبعد عن الصواب.

As for the view adopted by a select few contemporary scholars, which some of them attributed to the early scholars as well, regarding every dissenter in Imamah being a Nasib who holds an impure status, marriage with who is impermissible, and to who all the other rulings of disbelief apply, it is very weak and far from being correct.[70]


The second view

They are all Nawasib.

Ni’mat Allah al Jazaʾiri[71] mentions:


ويؤيد هذا المعنى (أي التعميم في مدلول الناصب) أن الأئمة عليهم السلام وخواصهم أطلقوا لفظ الناصبي على أبي حنيفة وأمثاله، مع أن أبا حنيفة لم يكن ممن نصب العداوة لأهل البيت عليهم السلام، بل كان له انقطاع إليهم، وكان يظهر لهم التودد.

What supports this meaning (i.e. the generality in the definition of a Nasib) is that the Imams ‘alayhim al Salam and their protégés dubbed Abu Hanifah and his like to be Nawasib. Whereas Abu Hanifah was not someone who displayed hatred for the Ahlul Bayt, he was rather drawn toward them and would display love for them.[72]


And Hussain Al ‘Usfur[73] says:

لا كلام في أن المراد بالناصبة هم أهل التسنن

There is no dispute regarding the fact that those referred to by the term ‘Nasibah’ are the Ahlus Sunnah.[74]


He also says:

على أنك قد عرفت سابقا أنه ليس النصب إلا عبارة عن التقديم على علي عليه السلام… بل أخبارهم عليهم السلام تنادي بأن الناصب هو ما يقال له عندهم سني.

Besides you have previously known that Nasb does not refer to anything but giving others preference over ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam… Rather their reports explicitly proclaim that a Nasib is a person who amongst them is called a Sunni.[75]


And al Khajuʾi says:

جل المخالفين بل كلهم من أهل النصب

Most of the dissenters, rather all of them are from the people of Nasb.[76]


The Shia besides the Twelvers

Regarding them as well the Twelvers have differed:


The First view

They are not Nawasib.[77]


The second view

They are Nawasib. This is the view of majority of the early scholars, as has passed already, and is the preferred view of some of the later scholars. This view is supported by the following narration they report from one of their Imams:


إن الزيدية والواقفية والنصاب عنده سواء

The Zaidiyyah, the Waqifiyyah[78] and the Nawasib are all the same according to him.[79]


They likewise narrate from another Imam that the Zaidiyyah are the Nawasib.[80]

Yusuf al Bahrani says:


ينبغي أن يعلم أن جميع من خرج عن الفرقة الاثني عشرية من أفراد الشيعة كالزيدية والواقفية والفطحية ونحوها فأن الظاهر أن حكمهم كحكم النواصب.

It should be noted that whoever of the Shia are aloof from the Twelver sect, like the Zaidiyyah, the Waqifiyyah, the Fathiyyah,[81] and their like, their status is the status of the Nawasib.[82]


Others besides him have also suggested that according to the Imamiyyah the status of these sects is the status of the Nawasib and the Khawarij.[83]


NEXT⇒ The Second Sub-Chapter: The History of Nasb and the Efforts of the Ahlus Sunnah in Combatting it – Discussion no. 1: The inception of Nasb.

[1] Asʾar is the plural of Suʾr which literally means the remains of something. The Suʾr of an animal is like the saliva of a human. However what is meant here is: whatever is little in quantity and is touched by an animal. See: Lisan al ‘Arab 4/339; al Misbah al Munir 1/295; Jami’ al Maqasid 1/122; al Muhadhdhab al Bari’ 1/122.

[2] I managed to come across the following personalities of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and those after them who are dubbed Nawasib by the Shia:

  1. ‘Aʾishah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Al Anwar al Sati’ah 219.
  2. Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Khulasah ‘Abaqat al Anwar 9/212.
  3. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and his son ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Ihqaq al Haqq 406.
  4. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Ghayat al Maram 1/248, 6/52.
  5. ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair and his brother ‘Urwah ibn al Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Sharh Ihqaq al Haqq 2/541.
  6. Miswar ibn Makhramah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sharh Minhaj al Karamah 420.
  7. ‘Ikrimah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sharh Ihqaq al Haqq 2/541.
  8. Al Sha’bi. Ghayat al Maram 5/286.
  9. Abu Hanifah. Al Anwar al Nu’maniyyah 2/307.
  10. Ahmed ibn Hanbal. Al Sirat al Mustaqim 3/223.
  11. Al Bukhari and Muslim. Ihqaq al Haqq 196.
  12. Ibn Hibban. Nafahat al Azhar 15/305.
  13. Ibn al Jawzi. Al Musnad al Sahih 85.
  14. Ibn Hazm. Nafahat al Azhar 6/40; Majallah Turathina 37/11.
  15. Al Razi. Bihar al Anwar 36/33.
  16. Ibn Khaldun. Al Caliphate al Mughtasabah 205.
  17. Ibn Taymiyah. Sharh Ihqaq al Haqq 2/385; al Ghadir 3/188; Dirasat fi Minhaj al Sunnah 207.
  18. Al Dhahabi. Nafahat al Azhar 14/159; Majallah Turathina 41/75.
  19. Ibn Kathir. Nusus Mutafarriqah fi Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah 193.
  20. Ibn Hajar al Haytami. Al Sawarim al Muhriqah 267.
  21. Al Alusi. Al Ghadir 1/238.
  22. Al Dihlawi. Khulasah ‘Abaqat al Anwar 4/274.
  23. Jamal al Din al Qasimi. Ma’ Rijal al Fikr 2/217.
  24. Rashid Rida. Ayat al Ghadir

And the list continues.

[3] The wording of the narration is as follows: Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Isa says, “I wrote to him (‘Ali al Hadi) to ask him regarding a Nasibi: do I need to assess him with anything more than him giving preference to the Jibt and the Taghut and acknowledging their leadership?” He replied, “Whoever believes that is a Nasibi.” See: Bihar al Anwar 69/135.

Those meant are Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. See: al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 10/360; Misbah al Faqahah of al Khuʾi 5/87.

[4] Mustamsak al ‘Urwah 1/395 with a little bit of; al Khumayni: Kitab al Taharah 3/324.

[5] Al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 24/61.

[6] Ibid. 5/175, 24/54-60.

[7] Jafar ibn al Hassan ibn Yahya al Dhuhali, Abu al Qasim al Hilli. A Shia jurist from Hillah, Iraq. He was born in 602 A.H. He was the reference scholar of the Imami Shia in his era. He had knowledge in the field of literature and his poetry was outstanding. He passed away in 676 A.H. Some of his books are: Sharaʾi’ al Islam, al Nafi’ and al Mu’tabar fi Sharh al Mukhtasar. See: al Anwar al Sati’ah p. 30; al A’lam 2/123; Mujam al Muʾallifin 3/137.

[8] Sharaʾi’ al Islam 3/63.

[9] Al Hassan ibn Yusuf ibn Mutahhar al Hilli. The supreme scholar of the Imamiyyah in his time. He was born in 647 A.H. When the title ‘Allamah (very knowledgeable) is said by the Imamiyyah it is he who is meant. He authored many books most of which are credible according to the Imamiyyah up to the present day. He passed away in Hillah in 726 A.H. and was moved to Najaf. Some of his books are: Minhaj al Karamah, Muntaha al Talab and Qawa’id al Ahkam. See: al Wafi bi al Wafayat 13/54; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 14/125; al Durar al Kaminah 2/188; A’yan al Shia 5/396.

[10] Qawa’id al Ahkam 3/308; al Mu’tabar 2/766.

[11] ‘Abdullah ibn Nur al Din ibn Ni’mat Allah al Musawi al Jazaʾiri. An Imami jurist who participated in other sciences as well. He stayed in the company of his father till the time of his death, graduated at his hands and thereafter wrote more than thirty books. He passed away in 1173 A.H. Some of his works are: al Anwar al Jaliyyah, Tadhyil Sulafah al ‘Asr and al Tuhfah al Saniyyah. See: A’yan al Shia 12/109; Mujam al Muʾallifin 6/160.

[12] Al Tuhfah al Saniyyah p. 91.

[13] Muhammad Amin ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Zayn al Din al Bahrani al Basari. An Imami scholar who had a share in literature. He was born in Nahr-Khuz, a village in Basrah in 1333 A.H. He grew up in Basrah, thereafter travelled to Najaf and studied at feet of its scholars. Some of his works are: Ma’ al Duktur Ahmed Amin and al Akhlaq ‘ind al Imam al Sadiq. See: Nuqabaʾ al Bashar fi al Qarn al Rabi’ ‘Ashar 1/179.

[14] Kalimah al Taqwa 6/309.

[15] A contemporary Shia scholar. I did not come across his biography in the books in have at my disposal.

[16] Sirat al Jannat 2/413.

[17] Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Musa al Qummi. An Imami scholar and one of their prominent hadith masters. He is known as Ibn Babawayh. He was born in 306 A.H. He settled in Ray where he earned acclaim. He passed away in Ray in 381 A.H. He wrote close to three hundred books, some being: al I’tiqadat, Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih, ‘Ilal al Sharaʾi’ wa al Ahkam. See: Tarikh Baghdad 3/89; Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 16/303; Nawabigh al Ruwat fi Rabi’ah al Miʾat p. 287; al A’lam 6/274.

[18] Bahr al ‘Ulum: Bulghah al Faqih 4/207.

[19] Ibid; al Khumayni: Kitab al Taharah 3/336.

[20] Muhammad ibn Hassan ibn Baqir ibn ‘Abdul Rahim al Najafi. A prominent scholar of the Imami jurists. He was born in Najf in approximately 1202 A.H. By the mid thirteenth century he became the supreme most authority of the Imamiyyah and was thus the only reference scholar who was followed unquestionably. He passed away in Najf in 1266 A.H. Some of his books are: Jawahir al Kalam, Najah al ‘Ibad and Hidayah al Salikin. See: al Mazindarani, al ‘Aqd al Munir p. 297; A’yan al Shia 9/149; Mujam al Muʾallifin 9/184.

[21]  Jawahir al Kalam 6/66. Also see: Nataʾij al Afkar 1/244; Mustanad al Shia 1/208; Kitab al Taharah 2/351.

[22] Jawahir al Kalam 6/64.

[23] Al Rasaʾil al Tis’ p. 278.

[24] Al Tuhfah al Saniyyah p. 92.

[25] Zayn al Din ‘Ali ibn Ahmed al ‘Amili. A dynamic Imami scholar who was known as Ibn al Hajah al Nahariri. He was born in 911 A.H. in Jabal ‘Amil in an erudite family. He became famous in jurisprudence and became popular as the ‘second martyr’ with Muhammad ibn Makki being the first. He is the first scholar of the Imamiyyah to write on Dirayah al Hadith (the branch of hadith sciences which has to with understanding hadith and whatever is related to it, as opposed to merely narrating it). He was executed in 965 A.H. There are many views regarding the reason for his execution. Some of the book he authored: Rawd al Jinan, al Maqasid al ‘Aliyyah, Masalik al Afham ila Sharaʾi’ al Islam. See: A’yan al Shia.

[26] Rawd al Jinan p. 157.

[27] Murtada ibn Muhammad Amin al Ansari al Tusturi al Dazfuli al Najafi. An Imami jurist and expert in Usul (principles of Shari’ah). He was born in 1214 A.H. He resided in Ghary in Iraq. He passed away in 1286 A.H. Some of his books are the following: al Rasaʾil, al Makasib and Kitab al Taharah. See: al A’lam 7/210; A’yan al Shia 10/117; Mujam al Muʾallifin 12/216.

[28] Kitab al Taharah 2/357.

[29] Rawd al Jinan 1/158.

[30] Yatimah al Dahr 3/310; al Istiqsa li Akhbar Duwal al Maghrib al Aqsa 1/113; Mawaqif al Shia 3/26; Ahmed Mahmud Subhi: al Zaidiyyah p. 182.

[31] Yusuf ibn Ahmed ibn Ibrahim al Darazi al Bahrani, from the family of Al ‘Usfur. An Imami jurist who hails from Bahrain. He was born in 1107. He was an Akhbari (the opposite of Usuli. It refers to a group of the Shia that stringently follow the source texts without applying reason). Due to this a severe conflict ensued between him and his contemporaries. He died in Karbalaʾ in 1186 A.H. Some of his works are: al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah, Anis al Musafir which is known as Kashkul and al Durrah al Najafiyyah. See: al A’lam 8/215; A’yan al Shia 10/317; Mujam al Muʾallifin 13/268.

[32] Mawaqif al Shia 3/26.

[33] Al Ansari: Kitab al Taharah 2/353; Gulpaygani: Kitab al Taharah 1/246.

[34] Muhammad Ismail ibn Muhammad ibn Hussain Rida al Mazindarani al Khajuʾi, popularly known as Ismail. An Imami hadith scholar and a theologian. He is attributed to Mazandaran, a town in Tabrastan and is also attributed to Khaju, a place in Asfahan where he resided. He passed away in 1173 A.H. Some of his works are: Sharh Du’aʾ al Subh, al Rasaʾil al I’tiqadiyyah, Jami’ al Shatat fi al Nawadir wa al Mutafarriqat. See: al A’lam 1/325; A’yan al Shia 13/347; Mujam al Muʾallifin 2/291.

[35] Al Rasaʾil al I’tiqadiyyah 1/434.

[36] Majallah Turathina 37/124.

[37] Muhammad ibn Hibban ibn Ahmed ibn Hibban al Tamimi, Abu Hatim al Busti. The supreme scholar of Khorasan and one of the great retainers of hadith. He took hadith from more than two thousand scholars. He was a vessel of knowledge in jurisprudence, language, hadith, and imparting advices. He was very intelligent. He passed away in Bust in 354 A.H. Some of his books are: al Anwa’ wa al Taqasim, Tarikh al Thiqat and Kitab al Majruhin. See: Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 16/92; Lisan al Mizan 5/112; Tabaqat al Huffaz p. 375; Shadharat al Dhahab 3/16.

[38] ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Jafar al Hashimi, Abu al Hassan al Madani. The head of the ‘Alawiyyin in his time. He was accorded the title ‘al Rida’. He was born in Madinah in 148 A.H. Maʾmun’s  immense respect for him led him to appoint al Rida as the next Khalifah after him and engrave his name on the Dirhams and Dinars which were in circulation at that time. The Imamiyyah consider him to be their eighth Imam. He passed away in 202 A.H according to the popular narration. See: Wafayat al A’yan 3/269; Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 9/387; Mizan al I’tidal 5/191; al Tuhfah al Latifah 2/302.

[39] Kitab al Majruhin 2/106. See the book Nafahat al Azhar 15/305 to locate this accusation.

[40] Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain al Hashimi, Abu ‘Abdullah al Madani. A scholar from the high ranking scholars of the Tabi’in (successors). He was born in Madinah in 80 A.H. He was the head of the ‘Alawiyyin in his time. He was accorded the title al Sadiq and is considered the sixth Imam of the Shia. He passed away in Madinah in 148 A.H. Al Bukhari has narrated his narrations in al Adab al Mufrad. His narrations also appear in Sahih Muslim and the four Sunans. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 5/74; Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 6/255; Tarikh al Islam 9/88; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/88.

[41]Al Saduq: Ma’ani al Akhbar p. 365; al Hurr al ‘Amili: Wasaʾil al Shia 24/274; al Niraqi: Mustanad al Shia 1/206; Burujardi: Jami’ Ahadith al Shia 8/507.

[42] Al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 5/186.

[43] Jawahir al Kalam 6/66; Miftah al Karamah 2/45; Riyadh al Masaʾil 2/65, 9/542.

[44] Al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 5/175.

[45] What is meant by treating him like a Muslim is that he will be considered a Muslim outwardly in the worldly life only and will thus be treated accordingly, as is the view of the majority of the Shia scholars.

Abu al Qasim al Khuʾi says the following in Kitab al Taharah 2/86:

فالصحيح الحكم بطهارة جميع المخالفين للشيعة الإثني عشرية وإسلامهم ظاهرا، بلا فرق في ذلك بين أهل الخلاف وغيرهم، وإن كان جميعهم في الحقيقة كافرين، وهم الذين سميناهم بمسلم الدنيا كافر الآخرة.

The correct view is averring that all the dissenters of the Twelver Shia are pure and that they are outwardly Muslim, without any differentiation between the various sects, even though they all are in reality disbelievers. They are the people whom we dub ‘Muslim in this world and Kafir in the afterlife’.

And Muhammad Asif Muhsini has explained the statement of their scholars ‘the dissenters will be accorded the ruling of Islam’ with the following statement, as appears in Mashra’ah Bihar al Anwar 1/413:

أي إنهم كفار، لكن حكم شرعا بطهارتهم، وبصحة التزوج والتزويج، وأكل ذبائحهم لمجرد التسهيل على الشيعة في هذه الحياة

I.e. they are disbelievers, but in Shari’ah the ruling is that they will be considered pure, it will permissible to marry them, get them married, and eat their slaughtered animals; in order to simplify things for the Shia in this life.

And al Majlisi says the following in Bihar al Anwar 8/369:

لما علم الله أن أئمة الجور وأتباعهم يستولون علي الشيعة وهم يبتلون بمعاشرتهم ومخالطتهم ومناكحتهم أجرى الله عليهم حكم الإسلام توسعة، فإذا ظهر القائم عليه السلام يجري عليهم حكم سائر الكفار في جميع الأمور، وفي الآخرة يدخلون النار ماكثين فيها أبدا مع الكفار

Because Allah knew that oppressive rulers and their followers will gain dominance over the Shia and that they will be tested by socialising with them, mixing with them, and intermarrying with them; he passed the ruling of Islam upon them in order to ease things. But when the Mahdi ‘alayh al Salam will emerge he will apply on them the status of the disbelievers in all matters. And in the hereafter they will stay forever in hell-fire with the disbelievers.

For more details see: al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 21/323; Jawahir al Kalam 30/97; al Hindi: Kashf al Sham 1/410; Mashra’ah Bihar al Anwar 1/413; al Rahmani: ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib p. 188.

[46] Al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 5/183.

[47] Jawahir al Kalam 6/64.

[48] Ibid. 6/64.

[49] Muhammad Rida ibn Muhammad Baqir al Musawi al Gulpaygani. One of the reference scholars of the Shia. He was born in Kukad in 1316 A.H. He studied in Arak and Qum and has written close to thirty books. He died in 1414 A.H. The following are some of his book: Kitab al Qadaʾ, Kitab al Hajj, and Nataʾij al Afkar fi Najasat al Kuffar. See: Itmam al A’lam p. 234.

[50] Nataʾij al Afkar 1/196.

[51] Kitab al Taharah 2/357.

[52] Kitab al Taharah 2/358.

[53] Al Shuhub al Thaqib p. 22. There are various but close definitions for the term Mustad’af provided by the Shia which can be seen in al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 24/64.

[54] Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al Nu’man al ‘Ukbari, Abu ‘Abdullah. A prominent scholar of the Imamiyyah who was known as al Mufid. He was born in ‘Ukbara in 336. He was the chief Shia scholar in his time and was well-respected in the dynasty of ‘Adud al Dawlah. He has written books wherein he impugns the pious predecessors of the Ummah. He died in 413 A.H. He authored close to two hundred books, amongst them are: al Muqni’ah, Awaʾil al Maqalat, and al Amali. See: Tarikh Baghdad 3/231; Mizan al I’tidal 6/321; Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 17/344; Lisan al Mizan 5/368.

[55] ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Musa al Hashimi, Abu al Qasim al ‘Alawi. An Imami scholar with vast knowledge in the sciences of language, theology, and poetry. He was born in 304 A.H. and was accorded the title ‘al Murtada Dhu al Majdayn’. He wrote few books regarding the schools of the Shia. He was also the head of the Mu’tazilah and the leader of Talibiyyin. He died whilst blind in 436 A.H. Some of his books are: Kitab al Shafi fi al Imamah, Tanzih al Ambiyaʾ, and al Sirfah. See: Tarikh Baghdad 11/402; al ‘Ibar fi Khabar man Ghabar 3/188; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 20/231; al Darajat al Rafi’ah p. 458.

[56] Muhammad ibn Idris ibn Ahmed al ‘Ijli, Abu ‘Abdullah al Hilli. The leading Shia cleric of his time. He had vast knowledge and very strong reasoning in jurisprudence. He died in 597 A.H. Some of his books are: al Hawi li Tahrir al Fatawi; Khulasah al Istidlal, and al Manasik. See: Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 21/332; Tarikh al Islam 42/314; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 2/129; Mujam al Muʾallifin 9/32.

[57] Amongst them are: Yusuf al Bahrani, Muhammad Salih al Mazindarani, and Abu al Hassan al Sharif ibn Muhammad Tahir. See: al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 3/176, 406, 14/163, 18/159, 61/24; al Shuhub al Thawaqib p. 23; Riyad al Masaʾil 9/542.

[58] Al Shuhub al Thaqib p. 23.

[59] Al Muqni’ah p. 579.

[60] Agha Rida Muhammad Hadi al Hamdani al Najafi. From the later scholars of the Shia who held a prominent position in his time. He earned acclaim for his in-depth knowledge of jurisprudence. He passed away in 1322 A.H. in his seventies. Some of his books are: Misbah al Faqih, Hashiyah ‘ala al Rasaʾil, and Hashiyah ‘ala al Makasib. See: A’yan al Shia 9/45, 183; al A’lam 6/489.

[61] Misbah al Faqih 2/568.

[62] Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Taqi ibn Maqsud al Asfahani. A prominent Imami scholar. He was born in 1027 A.H. He is known as ‘the second al Majlisi’, the first one being his father. He played the most instrumental role in spreading the Safawid model of Shi’ism. The author of al Tuhfah al Ithnay ‘Ashariyyah has said the following regarding him, “If the Shia dogma is named ‘the al Majlisi dogma’ it would be correct.” He died in 1110 A.H. Some of his books are: Bihar al Anwar, Mirʾat al ‘Uqul, and Kitab al ‘Aql wa al ‘Ilm wa al Jahl. See: ‘Iqd al Munir p. 436; A’yan al Shia 9/ 45, 183; al A’lam 6/489.

[63] Bihar al Anwar 29/646.

[64] Qawa’id al Ahkam 3/308; see also: Rawd al Jinan p. 157; Nihayah al Maram 1/224.

[65] Al Taharah 2/357.

[66] Miftah al Karamah 2/43.

[67] Masalik al Afham 1/397.

[68] Ibid. 1/397; also see: al Fusul al Mukhtarah p. 339.

[69] Irshad al Saʾil p. 15; also see: Mustanad al Shia 1/204.

[70] Al Tuhfah al Saniyyah p. 91.

[71] Ni’mat Allah ibn ‘Abdullah al Jazaʾiri al Musawi al Tusturi. An Imami scholar who was born in al Jazaʾir (one of the suburbs of Basrah) in 1050 A.H. He studied at the feet of the scholars there and thereafter travelled to various cities eventually settling in Asfahan. He was the protégé of al Majlisi and thus helped him in authoring some of his works. He became the judge of Tustur. He died in 1112 A.H. Some of his works are: al Anwar al Nu’maniyyah, Zahr al Rabi’, and Sharh Tahdhib al Ahkam. See: al Majlisi: Ijazat al Hadith p. 298; A’yan al Shia 15/133; Amal al Amil 2/336; al A’lam 8/39.

[72] Al Anwar al Nu’maniyyah 2/307; also see: al Muqni’ah p. 778.

[73] Hussain ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Ibrahim al Darazi. An Imami jurist and one of the prominent scholars of the Akhbaris in his time. He was born in Shakhurah in Bahrain and was killed in a battle which ensued there in 1216 A.H. He has written thirty six books, some of which are: al Haqaʾiq al Fakhirah, al Sawanih al Nazariyyah, and al Mahasin al Nafsaniyyah. See: al A’lam 2/257; A’yan al Shia 6/140; Anwar al Badrayn p. 209; Mujam al Muʾallifin 4/44.

[74] Al Mahasin al Nafsaniyyah fi Ajwibah al Masaʾil al Khurasaniyyah p. 147.

[75] Al Mahasin al Nafsaniyyah fi Ajwibah al Masaʾil al Khurasaniyyah p. 157.

[76] Al Rasaʾil al I’tiqadiyyah 1/431; also see: Sharh Ihqaq al Haqq 1/63.

[77] Mustamsak al ‘Urwah al Wuthqa 1/398; also see: al Ruhani: Minhaj al Salihin 1/26.

[78] The word Waqf has two usages:

  1. Suspending decision regarding the Imamah of a particular individual after the demise of the previous Imam. This is the general meaning.
  2. It refers to the Seveners amongst the Shia who consider the last Imam to be Musa al Kazim. They consider him to be alive and thus reject the Imamah of his son ‘Ali al Rida. That is why Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Rida would dub them ‘the donkeys of the Shia’. These people are known as the Waqifiyyah, but they have ceased to exist. This is the more specific meaning of Waqf. See: Bihar al Anwar 48/267; al Shia fi al Mizan p. 34; al Subhani: Buhuth fi al Milal wa al Nihal 8/379.

[79] Bihar al Anwar 48/267; al Shaharudi: Mustadrakat ‘Ilm Rijal al Hadith 3/481.

[80] Tahdhib al Ahkam 4/53; Bihar al Anwar 37/34; Wasaʾil al Shia 9/222; Mustadrak al Wasaʾil 7/109.

[81] The Fathiyyah is a sub-sect of the Rafidah. They are attributed to ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar ibn Muhammad due to considering him the Imam after his father Jafar al Sadiq. They were dubbed the Fathiyyah because ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar had wide legs, which in Arabic is described with Fath, amongst other reasons given. At first most of the prominent personalities of the Shia had deemed him the Imam, but when he passed away without issue they retracted their view. See: Maqalat al Islamiyyin p. 27; Firaq al Shia p. 78; al Tabsir fi al Din p. 38; Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah 3/482.

[82] Al Hadaʾiq al Nadirah 5/189.

[83] Khulasah ‘Abaqat al Anwar 4/226.