O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 119)
The Shi’ah point of view was followed by many early scholars of Islam who were considered truthful and trustworthy, and their narrations of the Ahadith of the Prophet (s) were relied upon by famous Sunni scholars.
Listed below are a few of the Shi’ah scholars that al-Bukhari has relied upon in his Sahih. If we add to these the rest of them including those narrators in the Sahih of Muslim and the other four Sihah Sittah who followed the Shi’ah faith, then the number would increase significantly. To save space, reference is given to the section title (kitab) in each book for only one hadith by each person - the rest can be found using indices or hadith software.
The reader will notice the term Rafidi every now and then in the following biographies. The Sunni scholars generally define a Rafidi as a Shi’ah who openly criticizes or rejects the legitimacy of the Caliphs before ‘Ali (a).
‘Ubayd Allah b. Musa al-’Absi (Died 213 AH)
· Sahih Bukhari [kitab al-’iman]
· Sahih Muslim [kitab al-’iman]
· Sahih al-Tirmidhi [kitab al-salat]
· Sunan al-Nasa’i [kitab al-sahw]
· Sunan Abu Dawud [kitab altaharah]
· Sunan Ibn Majah [kitab al-muqaddamah]
q “Aboo Daawood said: He was an ardent Shee’ee, his ahaadeeth are allowable....Ibn Mandah said: Ahmad ibn Hanbal used to point ‘Ubaydullaah out to the people, and he was well known for Rafd (extreme partisanship for ‘Alee), and he would not let anyone enter his house who was called ‘Mu’aawiyah’”. [The Creed of the Imaam of Hadeeth al-Bukhari and of the Great Scholars from whom he narrated (Salafi Publications, UK, 1997), p. 89 from Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, vol. 9, pp .553-557]
q “A pious person, one of the important Shi’ah scholars ... considered reliable by Yahya b. Ma’in, Abu Hatim said he was reliable, trustworthy ... al-’Ijli said: He was an authority on the Qur’an...” [Al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz under “‘Ubayd Allah b. Musa al-’Absi”]
‘Abbad b. Ya’qub al-Rawajini (Died 250 AH)
qHe was a trustworthy Rafidi and his hadith is in (Sahih of) al-Bukhari. [Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, under “‘Abbad b. Ya’qub al-Rawajani”]
qAbu Hatim said: He was a shaykh, reliable. Ibn ‘Adi said: He used to denounce the Salaf. In him was extremism of Shi’ism. Salih b. Muhammad said: He used to denounce ‘Uthman. I heard him saying, “Allah is more just than that he would admit Talhah and al-Zubayr into heaven after they paid allegiance to ‘Ali and then fought him.” Ibn Hibban said: He was a Rafidi inviting (others to his belief). He narrated this hadith …, “If you see Mu’awiyah on my pulpit, kill him!” [Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib,under “‘Abbad b. Ya’qub al-Rawajani”]
‘Abd al-Malik b. A’yan al-Kufi
q He was Rafidi Shi’i, one of (the people of) opinion. [Abu Ja’far al-’Uqayli, Du’afa al-’Uqayli, under “‘Abd al-Malik b. A’yan”]
q He was Rafidi, reliable (saduq). [Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal, under “‘Abd al-Malik b. A’yan”]
q Al-’Ijli said: He was from Kufah, a Tabi’i (Successor), reliable. Sufyan said: ‘Abd al- Malik b. ‘A’yan the Shi’i narrated to us, he was a Rafidi to us, a man of opinion. Hamid said: Those three brothers, ‘Abd al-Malik, Zurarah, and Hamran were Rawafid all of them. Abu Hatim said: He was one of the earliest to embrace Shi’ism, (he was) on the position of truthfulness, having good traditions, and his traditions are written. [Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, under “‘Abd al-Malik b. A’yan”]
‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani (Died 211 AH)
· Sahih Bukhari [kitab al-’iman]
· Sahih Muslim [kitab al-’iman]
· Sahih al-Tirmidhi [kitab al-taharah]
· Sunan Nasa’i [kitab al-taharah]
· Sunan Abi Dawud [kitab altaharah]
· Sunan Ibn Majah [kitab al-muqaddamah fi al-’iman]
qIbn ‘Adi said: They (i.e. scholars) did not see any problem in his hadith except that they attributed Shi’ism to him…He was a man of honor … he narrated traditions in praise of the Household of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt) and disparaging others… Mukhlid al-Shu’ayri said: I was with ‘Abd al-Razzaq when someone mentioned Mu’awiyah. ‘Abd al-Razzaq said: ‘Do not pollute our assembly by mentioning the descendant of Abu Sufyan!’. [Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal, under “‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani”]
qIbn ‘Adi narrated (a hadith) from ‘Abd al-Razzaq…, “If you see Mu’awiyah on my pulpit then kill him!”. [Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-’I’tidal, under “‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani”]
‘Awf b. Abi Jamilah al-’A’rabi (Died 146 AH)
q He was Rafidi but reliable… He was considered reliable by many scholars, and in him was Shi’ism.[Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, under “‘Awf b. Abi Jamilah”]
q ‘Awf was a Qadari, a Shi’i, a Shaytan! [Abu Ja’far al-’Uqayli, Du’afa al-’Uqayli, under “‘Awf b. Abi Jamilah”]
q He was inclined towards Shi’ism. Ibn Ma’in said: reliable, Al-Nasa’i said: Very reliable. [Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal, under “‘Awf b. Abi Jamilah”]
Q: But maybe al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others relied on these people without knowing their true belief?
These scholars devoted their lives to acquiring and transmitting traditions and studying the lives of the transmitters of these traditions. Most of them have books on Rijal (science of judging reliability of narrators) to their credit. Although their selectivity and choice of authorities and material clearly indicates a staunch Sunni standpoint, they still found themselves relying on those Shi’ah who they judged to be truthful. This is despite the fact that their Shi’ism is expressed with disapproval!
Thus, to say that al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others didn’t really know the belief of these Shi’ah narrators would be to call them incompetent in their field!!!
Q: But why didn’t they just rely on Sunni’s as authorities?
Perhaps they were not as bigoted and narrow-minded as some of our Sunni brethren who insist on associating the Shi’ah belief with all sorts of false allegations. It should be clear from the biographies listed that being critical of some Caliphs and Companions - based on incontrovertible historical evidence - was tolerated by Sunni scholars of previous generations.
Q: And do the Shi’ah rely on Sunni narrators in their books?
As long as the Sunni narrator is not known for his enmity towards the Household of the Prophet (s) (Ahl al-Bayt) and is considered truthful, he is accepted by Shi’ah traditionists.
The fact is that a significant portion of the Sunni hadith literature would be lost if the material from the Shi’ah narrators was rejected. The Shi’ah faith has always been and remains a well-evidenced alternative to the Sunni point of view.