The Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) Shia—may Allah guide us and them—substantiate from a hadith that has been deemed Da’if (weak) by many scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah:
تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا:كتاب الله وعترتي أهل بيتي.
They assume that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded thereby to hold fast onto the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam [in the same manner as the Qur’an], who are none other than the Twelve Imams. They assume that this hadith proves that they are the sole authority after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and only they are his Khalifas after him—obedience to whom is obligatory and no one else. In fact, the narrations of the Imams clearly mention that anyone who denies their leadership is a Kafir and out of the fold of Islam, as attested to by the earlier Shia scholars. Their latter scholars, however, claim that the one who denies their authority will only be deemed a disbeliever if he denies its compulsion after the “definitive proofs” have been presented to him. And if he denies it without proof having been presented to him then he will not be deemed a disbeliever, since he has not believed in it due to his own reasoning [and not rejected the “proofs” per se].
This (second) view is contrary to what the Shia scholars, al Mufid and al Majlisi, have written:
إتفقت الإمامية علي من أنكر إمامة أحد من الأءمة وجحد ما أوجبه الله تعالى من فرض الطاعة فهو كافر ضال مستحق لالخلود في النار.
There is consensus amongst the Imamiyyah that whoever denies the Imamah of anyone of the Imams, and denies the duty of obedience to them that Allah has decreed, that such a person is a kafir, misguided, and that he deserves everlasting torment in Hell.
Take note of the statement of al Mufid and al Majlisi, the mere denial of even one of the Imams renders one a kafir, misguided, and deserving of everlasting torment in Hell. They did not add any clause that the denial must be due to rejection, but instead they indicated that denial of their obedience is tantamount to rejecting a compulsory act of worship.
Nevertheless, the one who studies the words of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu will find it to be in contradiction to the entire Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) creed, let alone just al Mufid and al Majlisi. Nahj al Balaghah of al Sharif al Radi, contains a statement of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu wherein he acknowledges that the permissibility of another being the khalifah besides him. It is proven that when called upon to accept the Caliphate, immediately after the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he said:
دعوني والتمسوا غيري
Leave me and look for someone else!
What is intended here is that the authenticity of the hadith the wording, my ‘itrah, my Ahlul Bayt, is not established. The authentic narration in Sahih Muslim is the hadith of Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In it is the command to hold on to the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and an exhortation regarding the Ahlul Bayt. In other words the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed us to hold on to the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and thereafter the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed us to be mindful of his Ahlul Bayt saying, “My household, by Allah, I remind you regarding my household.” That which was commanded to be held onto is the Book of Allah. As for the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he commanded us to take care and give them their due rights which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had awarded them.
This is the Hadith narrated on the authority of Zaid ibn Arqam:
أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب، وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين: أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به، فحث على كتاب و رغب فيه، ثم قال: و أهل بيتي، أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي، فقال له حصين: و من أهل بيته يا زيد؟ أليس نساؤه من أهل بيته؟ قال: نساؤه من أهل بيته، ولكن أهل بيته من حرم الصدقة بعده،قال:و من هم؟قال: هم آل علي،و آل عقيل،و آل جعفر،و آل عباس، قال: كل هؤلاء حرم الصدقة؟ قال:نعم.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Pay attention O people, indeed I am only a human and it is possible that soon the messenger of my Rabb will come to me and I will respond to him. Indeed I will leave amongst you the Thaqalayn. The first of the two is the Book of Allah, in it is guidance and light, so hold onto the Book of Allah and never let it go!”
He continued to encourage and urge regarding the Book of Allah.
He then said, “and my Ahlul Bayt! I remind you to fear Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt! I remind you to fear Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt! I remind you to fear Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt.”
So Hussain enquired, “And who are his Ahlul Bayt, O Zaid? Are not his wives part of his Ahlul Bayt?”
Zaid replied, “His wives are part of his Ahlul Bayt but his Ahlul Bayt also includes those upon whom zakat is forbidden.”
Hussain asked, “Who are they?”
Zaid replied, “They are the family of ‘Ali, the family of ‘Aqil, the family of Jafar, and the family of ‘Abbas.”
Hussain asked, “Is zakat forbidden for all of them?”
Zaid replied, “Yes.”
 Al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, Bab Manaqib Ahl al Hadith, Hadith: 3786. In it is Zaid al Anmati, and he is Munkar al Hadith (a weak narrator who transmits uncorroborated narrations). A few scholars, like Muhammad Nasir al Din al Albani have authenticated the hadith containing the wording, “my ‘Itrah, Ahlul Bayt”, we will clarify their understanding of the hadith later in the book, Allah willing.
 This is a contradiction from their latter scholars. The earlier as well as the latter scholars agree that the Companions were Kafir, despite them having the foremost right of Ijtihad [analytical reasoning]. So do the Shia have any proof that the Companions rejected a definitive proof of Shari’ah, by which they can deem them Kafir?
 Awa’il al Maqalat, pg.44; Bihar al Anwar, 8/366.
 Nahj al Balaghah, sermon: 92.
 Sahih Muslim, 4/1873; Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 23/114-115.Back to top