Lesson 5: The Other Terms for the “Shi‘ah”

After the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (‘a) and with the spread of Shi‘ism, in addition to the name “Shi‘ah”, other appellations such as ‘Alawi, Imamah, Husayniyyah, ‘Ithna ‘Ashari, Khassah, Ja‘fari, Turabi, and Rafidhi were gradually applied to the friends of the family of the Prophet (S). Although the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) adherents as a whole were called “Shi‘ah” as usual, these appellations and titles were also applied to the Shi‘ah on various occasions.

Sometimes, the enemies also used to give certain titles to the Shi‘ah with the aim of belittling and degrading them. During the time of Mu‘awiyah, for example, the Banu Umayyah and the people of Sham1 used the epithet “Abu Turab” {literally, “Father of the Earth/Soil”} for ‘Ali (‘a) among all his epithets and sobriquets and they used to call his Shi‘ah as “Turabis”.

After the Battle of Siffin and the rule of ‘Ali (‘a), whenever Mu‘awiyah wanted to dispatch ‘Abd Allah ibn Hadhrami to Basrah, he would give instructions regarding the tribes but concerning the tribe of Rabi‘ah, he said: “Leave alone the Rabi‘ah as all of them are turabis.”2 According to Mas‘udi, Abu Mikhnaf had a book entitled, Akhbar at-Turabiyyin, from which he has narrated the event of ‘Ayn al-Warad.3

The enemies of the Shi‘ah used to apply to them the label, “Rafidhi” and in most cases, whenever they liked to accuse somebody of abandoning religion, they would brand him a rafidhi, just as ash-Shafi‘i says:

إن كان رفضاً حبّ آل محمّد فليشهد الثّقلان أنّى رافضى

If loving the progeny {al} of Muhammad is rafdh, the two worlds (of mankind and jinn) shall therefore be the witness that I am indeed a rafidhi.4

It has been recorded in history that after the uprising of Zayd ibn ‘Ali, the Shi‘ah were then called Rafidhi. Shahristani thus says:

When the Shi‘ah of Kufah learned from Zayd ibn ‘Ali that he does not declare disavowal against the two sheikhs {shaykhayn} (Abubakr and ‘Umar) and regard as permissible the Imamate of a deserving one {mafdhul} in the existence of the most deserving one {afdhal}, they abandoned him. Therefore, they were then identified as Rafidhi because rafdh means “abandonment”.5

Regarding the label, ‘Alawi, Sayyid Muhsin Amin says:

After the murder of ‘Uthman and the confrontation between Mu‘awiyah and ‘Ali (‘a), the supporters and followers of Mu‘awiyah were called “‘Uthmanis” as they used to love ‘Uthman and be inimical to ‘Ali (‘a). In addition to “Shi‘ah”, the followers of ‘Ali (‘a) were also called “‘Alawis”, and this practice persisted till the end of the Umayyad rule. During the ‘Abbasid period, the labels “Uthmani” and “‘Alawi” were abrogated and only “Shi‘ah” and “Sunni” were used.6

“Imamis” was another term applied to the Shi‘ah usually in contradistinction to the Zaydis. As Ibn al-Khaldun writes,

Some Shi‘ah believe in explicit traditions substantiating the proposition that Imamate {imamah} is solely in the person of ‘Ali and after it will also be transferred to his descendants. They are Imamiyyah with aversion toward the two sheikhs {shaykhayn} (Abubakr and ‘Umar) for not considering ‘Ali as superior and not paying allegiance to him. They do not accept the Imamate of Abubakr and ‘Umar. Other Shi‘ah believe that God did not appoint a specific person but described the characteristics of the Imam which conform to the personality of ‘Ali and the people were at fault in not recognizing this. They do not abuse the two sheikhs and they are Zaydis.7

Keeping in view of the surviving poems from the supporters and companions of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), it can be discerned that after his martyrdom, his Shi‘ah and supporters were also called “Husaynis”. In many of their poems they introduced themselves as “Husaynis” or “of the religion of Husayn”.8

In this regard, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih thus says: “Among the rafidhis are the Husayniyyah and they are companions of Ibrahim al-Ashtar who used to roam around the alleys of Kufah shouting: “Ya litharat al-Husayn!” They were called Husayniyyah.”9

Meanwhile, the term “Qat‘iyyah” {lit. “Decisiveness”} was applied to the Shi‘ah after the martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) in contradistinction to the Waqifiyyah.

That is to say that they were certain and decisive with respect to the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) and believed in the Imamate of Imam ar-Rida (‘a) and the Imams after him, whereas the Waqifiyyah were not convinced of the death of Imam al-Kazim (‘a).10

Nowadays, the label “Ja‘fariyyah” is applied to the Shi‘ah more on account of jurisprudence in contradistinction to the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence {madhahib}. The reason for this term is that the Shi‘ah jurisprudence took form more through Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq (‘a) compared to all the Imams (‘a) and most traditions on our jurisprudence are narrated by him (‘a).

Nonetheless, keeping in view a poem we have from Sayyid Humayri, it can be understood that only on account of jurisprudence during Imam as-Sadiq’s (‘a) period the term “Ja‘fari” was applied to the Shi‘ah, but this term has also been applied to them in terms of principles of religion {usul} in contradistinction to other sects. The poem of Humayri is as follows:

تجعفرت باسم الله و الله أكبر

In the Name of Allah, I became a Ja‘fari, and Allah is the great.11

By becoming a Ja‘fari, Sayyid Humayri is referring to the correct course of the Shi‘ah Imamiyyah in contradistinction to the Kaysaniyyah.

The Status of ‘Ali (‘a) among the Companions {sahabah}

The Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (‘a) occupied a special position among the Companions of the Prophet (S). Mas‘udi says:

In terms of all the virtues and merits that the Companions of the Prophet (S) possessed, such as precedence in Islam; hijrah {emigration}; helping the Prophet; kinship with him; contentment {qina‘ah}; sacrifice {ithar}; knowledge of the Book of Allah; jihad; piety {wara‘}; asceticism {zuhd}; judgment {qadha’}; jurisprudence {fiqh}; etc., ‘Ali (‘a) had abundant share and perfect delight.

This is apart from the fact that some of the virtues are possessed by him alone such as brotherhood {ukhuwwah} of the Prophet and statements of the Prophet such as: “You are to me as Harun (Aaron) is to Musa (Moses),” “Of whomsoever I am master {mawla}, ‘Ali is also his master. O God! Befriend him who befriends him and be inimical to him who is inimical to him”; and also the supplication of the Prophet for him; when Anas brought a cooked bird to the Prophet (S), he said: “O God! Let the most beloved creature (after him) come in so as to partake with me.” Then, ‘Ali (‘a) came in and partook with the Prophet. This is while the other Companions did not possess those virtues.12

Among the Banu Hashim, ‘Ali (‘a) was also the nearest person to the Prophet (S). He grew up in the house of the Prophet (S) and under his training.13 He (‘a) slept in the Prophet’s (S) bed during the night of hijrah, returned to their respective owners the possessions entrusted to the Prophet (S) and joined the Prophet (S) in Medina.14

The most important of all is ‘Ali’s (‘a) position in Islam. The Most Noble Messenger (S) determined this position at the very beginning of the Prophetic mission.

When the Prophet received instruction from God to invite his kith and kin, it was only ‘Ali in the assembly who was ready to assist and accompany the Holy Prophet (‘a). Then, in that very assembly, the Most Noble Messenger (S) announced before the elders among his relatives that ‘Ali is the executor of his will {wasi}, minister {wazir}, caliph {khalif}, and successor notwithstanding the fact the he was the youngest among those who were present.15

The Holy Prophet (S) informed his Companions on several occasions of the status and position of ‘Ali (‘a), admonishing them to recognize his position. The Holy Prophet (S) was watchful of his their attitude toward ‘Ali (‘a) particularly after the spread of Islam when many individuals with diverse motives joined the ranks of Muslims. This is especially true with respect to the Quraysh whose envy toward the Banu Hashim had amplified by then. Ibn Shahr Ashub thus narrates on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab:

I used to annoy ‘Ali, the Prophet (S) once came to me and said: “You are annoying me, O ‘Umar!” I said: “I seek refuge in God from annoying the Messenger of Allah!” He said: “You are annoying ‘Ali and he who annoys him annoys me”.

Mus‘ab ibn Sa‘d has narrated from his father, Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas, that: “I and another person were in the mosque and we were abusing ‘Ali. Infuriated, the Prophet came to us and said: ‘Why do you annoy me? He who annoys ‘Ali annoys me’.”16

Haythami has narrated:

Buraydah al-Aslami, who is one of those who had gone to Yemen under the commandership of ‘Ali, says: “I went back to Medina earlier than the army. The people asked me: ‘What news?’ I said: ‘There is news. God made the Muslims victorious.’ They asked: ‘Why did you come earlier (than the army contingent)?’ I said: ‘‘Ali has allocated a bondwoman from the khums for himself. I have come to inform the Prophet of it…’

When the Prophet was informed of it, he was annoyed and said: ‘Why are some people belittling ‘Ali? Anyone who finds fault with ‘Ali finds fault with me. Anyone who would separate from ‘Ali has separated from me. ‘Ali is from me and I from him. He has been created out of my essence and I from the essence of Ibrahim (Abraham) though I am superior to Ibrahim… O Buraydah! Don’t you know that ‘Ali deserves more than one bondswoman? He is your guardian {wali} after me.17

Ibn Shahr Ashub also narrates a similar hadith from Sunni muhaddithun such as Tirmidhi, Abu Na‘im, al-Bukhari, and Musalli.18

As such, ‘Ali (‘a) had earned special respect among the Companions. Again, Ibn Shahr Ashub has thus narrated from Anas ibn Malik:

During the period of the Holy Prophet (S) whenever we wanted to know if a certain person is a bastard or not, we would know it from the spite of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. After the Battle of Khaybar, every man would hug his child and go. If ever he would see ‘Ali along the way, he would point to ‘Ali with his hand to the child and ask him: “Do you like this man?” If the child would say, “Yes,” he would kiss his child and if the child would say, “No,” he would put the child on the ground and say, “Go to your mother!” ‘Ubadah ibn Samit also says: “We used to test our children with the love for ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. If we found out that one of them does not like him, we would know that he will never be an upright person.”19

During the latter years of the Prophet’s (S) life, the issue of ‘Ali’s (‘a) position was more publicized so much so that the title wasi {executor of one’s will} became one of his widely known titles, which was accepted by both his friends and foes especially after the Holy Prophet (S) said to ‘Ali (‘a) before going to the Tabuk expedition:

أنت منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسىٰ إلاّ أنّه لانبيّ بعدي.

“You are to me as Harun (Aaron) is to Musa (Moses) with the only difference that there shall be no prophet after me.”20

In the course of the Farewell Pilgrimage {Hajj al-Wida‘} in Mina and in ‘Arafah also, the Holy Prophet (S) informed the people in several speeches about twelve persons shall be his successors and all of whom are from Banu Hashim.21

Finally, on the return from Mecca in Ghadir Khumm, he (S) received instruction from God to announce the succession of ‘Ali (‘a) to all the Muslims. He ordered the Muslims to halt and mounting a pulpit made out of the camel saddles he delivered a long speech. He then said:

من كنت مولاه فهذا عليّ مولاه اللّهمّ وال من والاه و عاد من عاداه وانصر من نصره واخذل من خذله.

Of whosoever I am Master {mawla}, then ‘Ali is also his Master {mawla}. O Allah! Be Thou a Friend of him who is a friend of him (‘Ali), and be Thou an Enemy of him who is his enemy. Help him whoever helps him, and forsake him whoever forsakes him.

Then, he asked the people to pay allegiance to ‘Ali (‘a). ‘Allamah al-Amini has given a comprehensive explanation of this subject in the first volume of the book, Al-Ghadir.

In this manner, the Messenger of Allah (S) asserted his successor’s identity to the people. Thus, the public was of the opinion that after ‘Ali (‘a) would succeed (as the leader of Muslims) the Prophet (S) after his demise. In this regard, Zubayr ibn Bakkar says: “All the Muhajirun22 and the Ansar23 had no doubt that ‘Ali will be the caliph and master of the affairs after the Messenger of Allah (S).”24

This subject is so clear in the poems that have been recorded from the time of Saqifah and these poems bespeak of a smaller degree of distortion that has ever happened in poetry. ‘Utbah ibn Abi Lahab recited this poem after the event of Saqifah and Abubakr’s inauguration:

ما كنت أحسب أن الأمر منصرف عن هاشم ثمّ منها عن أبي حسن

أليس أوّل من صلّی لقبلتكم و أعلم النّاس بالقرآن و السّنن

و أقرب النّاس عهداً بالنبي و من جبرئيل عون له في الغسل و الكفن

ما فيه ما فيهم لايمترون به و ليس في القوم ما فيه من الحسن

ماذا الّذي ردهم عنه فنعلمه ها أن ذاغبناً من أعظم الغبن

I was not imagining that the caliphate affair would be withdrawn from the Banu Hashim and much less to Abu’l-Hasan (‘Ali).

Is he not the first person to pray facing your qiblah and of the people the most knowledgeable of the Qur’an and the Sunnah?

He is the last person to look at the face of the Prophet; Jibra’il (Archangel Gabriel) was his aid in bathing and enshrouding him (the Prophet).

They do not think about what he has and what they have; whereas within the community {qawm} there is nobody who possesses his points of goodness.

What is it that made them withdraw from him? Say that this loss of ours is the gravest of all losses!

After ‘Utbah’s recitation of this poem, ‘Ali (‘a) asked him not to recite it again and said: “For us the safety of religion is more important than anything else.”25

Ibn Abi ‘Abrah Qurshi has also said:

شكراً لمن هو باثناء قيق ذهب اللّجاج و بويع الصديق

كنّا نقول لها على و الرضا عمر و أولاهم بذاك عتيق

Thanks to Him Who is worthy to be praised! The dispute was no more and the allegiance was paid to Sadiq (Abubakr).

We were saying: “‘Ali is the owner of caliphate; we were also pleased with ‘Umar; but the best of them in this case is the old {‘atiq} (Abubakr)!”26

During the course of the dispute between the Ansar and Quraysh that had surfaced on the event of Saqifah, ‘Amru ibn al-‘As has spoken against the Ansar. In reply to him, Nu‘man ibn al-‘Ajlan—one of the poets of the Ansar—has recited a poem in which ‘Ali’s (‘a) right has been emphasized:

فقل لقريش نحن أصحاب مكّة و يوم حنين و الفوارس في بدر

و قلتم حرام نصب سعد و نصبكمعتيق بن عثمان حلال أبابكر

و أهل أبوبكر لها خير قائم و أن علياً كان أخلق بالأمر

و كان هوانا في عليٍّ و أنهلأهل لها يا عمر و من حيث لاتدري

فذلك بعون الله يدعو إلى الهدىو ينهى عن الفحشاء و البغي و النّكر

وصيّ النّبي المصطفى و ابن عمه و قاتل فرسان الضلالة و الكفر

Say to the Quraysh: “We are the army of (the Conquest of) Mecca and the Battle of Hunayn, and the cavalry of Badr!”

You said that appointment of Sa‘d to the caliphate is unlawful {haram}, but your appointment, ‘Atiq ibn ‘Uthman, of Abubakr is lawful {halal}.

{And you said:} Abubakr is the man of this task and can perform it well, but ‘Ali was the most deserving of people to the caliphate.

We were on ‘Ali’s side and he was the man for this job, but you do not understand, O ‘Amru!
This man (‘Ali), by the help of Allah, calls (us) toward guidance, and forbids perversion, oppression and evil.

He is the executor of will {wasi} of al-Mustafa the Prophet, his cousin, and the killer of the champions of disbelief {kufr} and misguidance {dhalalah}.27

With the aim of thanking Fadhl ibn al-‘Abbas who, under ‘Ali’s (‘a) order, had defended the Ansar, Hassan ibn Thabit has recited this poem:

جزى الله عنّا و الجزاء بكفّه أبا حسن عنا و من كان كابى حسن

سبقت قريشاً بالذي أنت أهل هفصدرك مشروح و قلبك ممتحن

حفظت رسول الله فينا و عهده إليك و من أولى به منك من و من

ألست أخاه في الهدى و وصيّهو أعلم منهم بالكتاب و بالسّنن

May God give good reward to Abu’l-Hasan for us as the reward is in his hand. Who, by the way, is like Abu’l-Hasan?

Concerning which you were a member, you were ahead of the Quraysh. Your breast is expansive and your heart tested (pure and sincere).

You preserved what the Messenger of Allah instructed regarding us. Except you, who could be foremost for him, and who could be?
Are you not his brother {akh} in guidance and the executor of his will {wasi}, and among them, the most knowledgeable of the Book and the Sunnah?28
Initially, Abu Sufyan opposed the institution of (Abubakr’s) as caliphate and defended the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). Apart from the speeches he delivered in this regard, he also composed the following poem:

بني هاشم لا تطمعوا النّاس فيكم و لا سيّما تيم بن مرّه أو عدي

فما الأمر الاّ فيكم و إليكم و ليس لها الاّ أبو حسن عليّ

O Bani Hashim! Do not allow others to get involve in your affair especially Taym ibn Murrah or ‘Adi.29

The affair of caliphate belongs to you alone and it is only Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali who is its man.30

Finally, on that very day of Ghadir Khumm, the Prophet’s poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, asked the Messenger of Allah’s (S) permission to narrate the event of Ghadir in poetry, and thus recites:

يناديهم يوم الغدير نبيّهم بخمّ واسمع بالرّسول مناديا

وقد جاء جبرئيل عن أمر ربّه بانّك معصوم فلاتك وانيا

و بلغهم ما أنزل الله ربّهم إليك و لا تخش هناك الأعاديا

و قام به اذ ذاك رافع كفّه بكف عليّ معلن الصوت عاليا

فقال فمن مولاكم و نبيّكم؟ فقالوا و لم يبدا أهناك التّعاميا

إلهكَ مولانا و أنت نبيّنا و لم تلق منّا في الولاية عاصيا

فقال له: قم يا عليّ فإنّني رضيتك من بعدي إماماً و هاديا

فمن كنت مولاه فهذا وليّه فكونوا له اتباع صدق مواليا

هناك دعا: أللّهمّ وال وليّه وكن للّذي عادى عليّاً معاديا

فيا ربّ انصر ناصريه لنصرهم إمام هدى كالبدر يجلو الدياجيا

Their Prophet calls on them on the day of Ghadir Khumm; now, listen to the call of the Prophet:
Jibra’il brought a message from God that “You are under the protection of God; so, do not be dejected.”

Convey what has been revealed by Allah, their Lord, and here do not be afraid of the enemies.
He raises ‘Ali along with him; while he raises the hand of ‘Ali along with his hand, he announces in a loud voice.

Then he said to the people: “Who is your Master {mawla} and your guardian {wali}? Then, without showing inattention, they said:

“Your Lord is our Master {mawla} and you are our guardian {wali}, and no one among us today disobeys you.”

Then he said: “Stand up O ‘Ali! For, I am indeed well pleased that you are the Imam and guide after me.”

{He then said:} “Therefore, of whomsoever I am master, ‘Ali is his master also. May you be their true supporters!”

He then prayed, saying: “O Allah! Be Thou a Friend of those who are his {‘Ali’s} friends, and be Thou an Enemy of those who are his enemies.

So, O Lord! Help his supporters as they help the Imam of guidance who is like the moon during a dark night”31

As is evident from this poem, in transcribing the Prophet of Islam’s (S) speeches about ‘Ali (‘a), Hassan has called him Imam, guardian {wali} and guide {hadi}, which clearly stipulates the leadership and headship of the ummah.

Yes, the masses of Muslims did not imagine that after the Holy Prophet’s (S) demise, somebody would contest ‘Ali (‘a) on the issue of caliphate and succession to the Prophet (S). As Mu‘awiyah has written in reply to the letter of Muhammad ibn Abubakr,

We and your father during the period of the Messenger of Allah (S) used to consider obedience to the son of Abu Talib as expedient for us and his virtues were not concealed to us. After the demise of the Prophet (S), your father and ‘Umar were the first persons to trample upon his position and called on the people to pay allegiance to them.32

This is why those who were not around Medina during the last months of the Prophet’s (S) life and were uninformed of the conspiracies—such as Khalid ibn Sa‘id and Abu Sufyan—were vehemently agitated when they returned to Medina, after the demise of the Prophet (S), to see Abubakr sitting in the Prophet’s (S) lieu introducing himself as the Prophet’s (S) caliph.33 Even Abu Sufyan—when he returned from a journey and saw the situation as such—came to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and ‘Ali (‘a) and asked them to revolt in order to get their rights but they refused.34 Of course, Abu Sufyan has no intention in these moves.

In conclusion, although most of the Prophet’s (S) Companions recognized the caliphate of Abubakr officially, they did not forget ‘Ali (‘a) as being the most deserving {afdhal}. Whenever he was in the mosque, no know except him would issue edict {fatwa} on religious issues as they used to regard him as “the leading judge of the ummah” {aqdhi’l-ummah} as stipulated by the Most Noble Messenger (S).35

‘Umar used to say: “May God forbid that day when a problem would arise and Abu’l-Hasan is not present.”36 As he used to say to the Companions of the Prophet (S): “Whenever ‘Ali is in the mosque, no one except him has the right to issue any religious edict.”37

Although after the demise of the Prophet (S), ‘Ali (‘a) was not able to acquire political power, his virtues and distinctions were narrated by the same Companions of the Prophet (S). Ibn Haythami—who is one of the staunched Sunni ‘ulama’—regarded the number of narrators of the hadith about Ghadir as 30 persons from among the Companions,38 but Ibn Shahr Ashub has counted 80 narrators of the hadith on Ghadir from among the Companions.39

Meanwhile, the late ‘Allamah Amini has counted the following 110 narrators of the hadith on Ghadir from among the Companions:

Abu Hurayrah; Abu Layla al-Ansari; Abu Zaynab al-Ansari; Abu Fudhalah al-Ansari; Abu Qudamah al-Ansari; Abu ‘Umra ibn ‘Amru ibn Muhsin al-Ansari; Abu’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihan; Abu Rafi‘; Abu Dha’ib; Abubakr ibn Abi Quhafah; Usamah ibn Zayd; Uba ibn Ka‘b; As‘ad ibn Zurarah al-Ansari; Asma’ bint ‘Umays; Umm Salmah; Umm Hani; Abu Hamzah Anas ibn Malik al-Ansari; Bara’ ibn ‘Azib; Zubaydah Aslami; Abu Sa‘id Thabit ibn Wadi‘ah al-Ansari; Jabir ibn Sumayrah; Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari; Jublah ibn ‘Amru al-Ansari; Jabir ibn Mut‘am al-Qurshi; Jarir ibn ‘Abd Allah Bajli; Abu Dharr Jundab ibn Junadah;

Abu Junaydah al-Ansari; Hubbah ibn Jawin ‘Arni; Habashi ibn Junadah as-Saluli; Habib ibn Badil ibn Warqa’ Khaza‘i; Hudhayfah ibn Asid Ghaffari; Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zayd al-Ansari; Khalid ibn Walid al-Makhzumi; Khuzaymah ibn Thabit; Abu Sharih Khuwaylid ibn ‘Amru Khaza‘i; Rafa‘ah ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir al-Ansari; Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam; Zayd ibn al-Arqam; Zayd ibn Thabit; Zayd ibn Yazid al-Ansari; Zayd ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari; Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas; Sa‘d ibn Junadah; Salmah ibn ‘Amru ibn Aku‘; Samrah ibn Jundab; Sahl ibn Hanif; Sahl ibn Sa‘d al-Ansari; Sadi ibn ‘Ajlan; Ḍamirah al-Asadi; Talhah ibn ‘Ubayd Allah;

‘Amir ibn ‘Amir; ‘Amir ibn Layla; ‘Amir ibn Layla al-Ghaffari; ‘Amir ibn Wathilah; ‘A’ishah bint Abibakr; ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib; ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Ansari; ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf al-Qurshi; ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Ya‘mur ad-Dayla; ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi ‘Abd al-Athar al-Makhzumi; ‘Abd Allah ibn Badil; ‘Abd Allah ibn Bashir; ‘Abd Allah ibn Thabit al-Ansari; ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far al-Hashimi; ‘Abd Allah ibn Huntab al-Qurshi; ‘Abd Allah ibn Rabi‘ah; ‘Abd Allah ibn al-‘Abbas; ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi ‘Awf; ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar; ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud; ‘Abd Allah ibn Yamil; ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan;

‘Ubayd ibn ‘Azib al-Ansari; Abu Tarif ‘Adi ibn Hatam; ‘Atiyyah ibn Basar; ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir; ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib; ‘Ammar ibn Yasir; ‘Umarah al-Khazraji; ‘Amru ibn al-‘As; ‘Amru ibn Murrah Jahni; Fatimah bint Rasul Allah (S); Fatimah bint Hamzah; ‘Umar ibn Abi Salmah; ‘Umran ibn Hasin al-Khaza‘i; ‘Amru ibn Humq al-Khaza‘i; ‘Amru ibn Sharahil; Qays ibn Thabit al-Ansari;

Qays ibn Sa‘d al-Ansari; Ka‘b ibn ‘Ujrah al-Ansari; Malik ibn Huwayrath al-Laythi; Miqdad ibn ‘Amru; Najiyah ibn ‘Amru; al-Khaza‘i’ Abu Burzah Fadhlah ibn ‘Utbah Aslami; Nu‘man ibn ‘Ajlan al-Ansari; Hashim Marqal; Wahshi ibn Harb; Wahhab ibn Hamzah; Abu Juhayfah; Wahhab ibn ‘Abd Allah; and Yu‘la ibn Murrah.40

Among the narrators of the hadith on Ghadir, individuals who had hostile relationship with ‘Ali (‘a)—such as Abubakr, ‘Umar ‘Uthman, Talhah, ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Zayd ibn Thabit, Usamah ibn Zayd, Hassan ibn Thabit, Khalid ibn Walid, and ‘A’ishah—can also be noticed. Even those Companions who sometimes disagreed with him defended him against his enemies.

For example, Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas—who was among those who voted in favor of ‘Uthman and against ‘Ali (‘a) at the 6-man council after the death of ‘Umar, and did not extend cooperation with ‘Ali (‘a) during his caliphate and preferred neutrality—in his conversation with Mu‘awiyah, thus said to Mu‘awiyah:

“You fought and waged war with a person who was more deserving than you to the caliphate.” Mu‘awiyah asked: “Why?” He replied: “One reason is that the Messenger of Allah (S) said concerning: ‘Of whosoever I am Master {mawla}, then ‘Ali is also his Master {mawla}. O Allah! Be Thou a Friend to him who is a friend of him (‘Ali), and be Thou an Enemy to him who is his enemy,’ and other reasons are his virtues and merits.”41

Similarly, ‘Abd Allah, the son of ‘Amru ibn al-‘As, along with his father was in the army of Mu‘awiyah. When ‘Ammar ibn Yasir was killed and his head was brought before Mu‘awiyah, two persons were in dispute as each of them was claiming to have killed ‘Ammar. ‘Abd Allah said:

“It is better for one of you to relinquish his right to the other because I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say: ‘‘Ammar shall be killed by a tyrant group’.” Mu‘awiyah was annoyed and said: “So, what is he doing here?!” ‘Abd Allah replied: “Since the Messenger of Allah (S) ordered me to obey my father, I am here with you, but I will not fight.”42

The presence of ‘Ammar in the ranks of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) whose killers had been described by the Messenger of Allah (S) as a tyrant group during that chaotic period was a clear testimony to the truthfulness of ‘Ali (‘a) so much so that even the son of ‘Amru ibn al-‘As admitted it.

Lesson 5: Summary

After the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (‘a), other names have also been given to the Shi‘ah. Contemptuous labels such as Rafidhi and Turabi were used by the enemies of the Shi‘ah with the aim of debasing them. Some other labels such as ‘Alawi, Imami, Husayniyyah, ‘Ithna ‘Ashari, Khassah, and Ja‘fari were applied to them as well.

‘Ali (‘a) had a distinguished position among the Companions of the Prophet (S) as well as being the nearest one to the Prophet (S) among the Banu Hashim. He grew up in the Prophet’s (S) house, and most important of all, the Most Noble Messenger (S) had appointed him as his minister {wazir} and successor {khalifah} and the masses of people were aware of it.

Lesson 5: Questions

1. Briefly list the terms used to refer to the Shi‘ah.

2. What labels did the enemies of the Shi‘ah address them with?

3. Why were the Shi‘ah called ‘Alawi or Ja‘fari?

4. What is the statement of Mas‘udi regarding ‘Ali’s (‘a) position?

5. How many narrators are there for the hadith on Ghadir from among the Companions of the Prophet (‘a)?

6. The poems that were recited on the event of Saqifah bespeak of which subject?

7. What was the position of the Companions of the Prophet (S) vis-à-vis abusing ‘Ali (‘a)?

  • 1. Sham or Shamat: up until five centuries ago, included Syria of today, Lebanon and parts of Jordan and Palestine. It was then the capital of the Umayyad caliphate. {Trans.}
  • 2. Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir Baladhuri, Insab al-Ashraf, researched by Muhammad Baqir Mahmudi (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lami Li’l-Matbu‘at, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 423.
  • 3. ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali Mas‘udi, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshurat Mu’assasah al-A‘lami Li’l-Matbu‘at, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 110.
  • 4. Haythami al-Makki, As-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, p. 123; Sayyid Muhsin Amin, A‘yan ash-Shi‘ah (Beirut: Dar at-Ta‘aruf Li’l-Matbu‘at, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 21.
  • 5. Shahristani. Kitab al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 139.
  • 6. Sayyid Muhsin Amin, A‘yan ash-Shi‘ah, vol. 1, p. 19.
  • 7. ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Khaldun, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1408 AH), p. 197.
  • 8. Ibn Shahr Ashub Mazandarani. Manaqib Al Abi Talib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intisharat-e ‘Allameh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 102.
  • 9. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, Ahmad ibn Muhammad. Al-‘Aqd al-Farid. Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1409 AH
  • 10. Shahristani. Kitab al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 150.
  • 11. ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali Mas‘udi, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshurat Mu’assasah al-A‘lami Li’l-Matbu‘at, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 92.
  • 12. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 446.
  • 13. ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Abu’l-Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil at-Talibiyyin (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1416 AH), p. 41.
  • 14. ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali Mas‘udi, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 294.
  • 15. Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi, Mawsu‘ah at-Tarikh Islami, 1st edition (Qum: Majma‘ al-Fikr al-Islami, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 410.
  • 16. Ibn Shahr Ashub Mazandarani, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol. 3, p. 211. {Trans.}
  • 17. Hafiz Nur ad-Din ‘Ali ibn Abibakr Haythami, Majma‘ az-Zawa’id (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr Li’t-Tiba‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzi‘, 1414 AH), vol. 9, p. 173.
  • 18. Ibn Shahr Ashub, Munaqib Al Abi Talib, pp. 211-212.
  • 19. Ibid., p. 207.
  • 20. Tarikh at-Tabari, vol. 2, pp. 62-63; Tarikh al-Kamil, vol. 2, pp. 40-41; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 111; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 13, pp. 210-212.
  • 21. Sayyid Ja‘far Murtada al-Amili, Al-Ghadir wa’l-Mu‘aridhun, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dar as-Sirah, 1418 AH), pp. 62-66.
  • 22. Muhajrun (lit. “Emigrants”): The Meccan Muslims who accompanied the Prophet (S) in his hijrah {emigration} to Medina. {Trans.}
  • 23. Ansar (lit. “Helpers”): The Muslims of Medina who invited the Prophet (S) and Muslims of Mecca to migrate (hijrah) to Medina. {Trans.}
  • 24. Zubayr ibn Bakkar. Al-Akhbar al-Muwaffaqiyyat (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1416 AH), p. 580.
  • 25. Zubayr ibn Bakkar. Al-Akhbar al-Muwaffaqiyyat, p. 581.
  • 26. Ibid., p. 580.
  • 27. Ibid., p. 592.
  • 28. Ahmad ibn Abi Ya‘qub Ibn Wadhih, Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, 1st edition (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 128.
  • 29. Taym is the tribe to which Abubakr belongs while ‘Adi is the tribe of ‘Umar.
  • 30. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 126.
  • 31. ‘Abd al-Husayn Amini, Al-Ghadir fi’l-Kitab wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dar al-Kitab al-Islamiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 1, p. 11; vol. 2, p. 39.
    See also Khwarazmi al-Maliki, Al-Manaqib, p. 80; Sibt ibn Jawzi al-Hanafi, Tadhkirah Khawas al-Ummah, p. 20; Ganji Shafi‘i, Kifayah at-Talib, p. 170; and others. {Trans.}
  • 32. Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir Baladhuri, Insab al-Ashraf (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lami Li’l-Matbu‘at, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 396.
  • 33. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 126.
  • 34. ‘Izz ad-Din Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Abi’l-Kiram Ibn Athir, Asad al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifah as-Sahabah (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 12; Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 126.
  • 35. Baladhuri, Insab al-Ashraf, vol. 2, p. 97.
  • 36. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1378 AH), vol. 1, p. 18.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qahirah, 1385 AH), p. 122.
  • 39. Manaqib Al Abi Talib (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Intisharat-e ‘Allameh, n.d.), vol. 3, pp. 25-26.
  • 40. ‘Abd al-Husayn Amini, Al-Ghadir fi’l-Kitab wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab, vol. 1, pp. 14-16.
  • 41. Baladhuri, Insab al-Ashraf, vol. 2, p. 109; Akhtab Khwarazm, Al-Manaqib (Najaf: Manshurat al-Matba‘ah al-Haydariyyah, 1385 AH), pp. 59-60.
  • 42. Baladhuri, Insab al-Ashraf, vol. 2, p. 312-313.