This is Shi’ism

Meaning & Origin Of Shi’ism

The Shi’a school of thought has been depicted by many non-Muslim writers as a “heretical sect” of Islam as opposed to the “orthodox” Islam. Thus implying that Shi’ism is a later deviation from Islam. Is this really true or just a labelling campaign to discredit Shi’ism? Here is given documented proof from the Sunni sources that Shi’ism is actually the original Islam.

The Meaning of Shi‘a

The word “Shi‘a - شيعۃ” is derived from Arabic word at-tashayyu’ التشیعا( which means “to follow’) According to major dictionaries like al-Qamûs and Lisanu ’l-‘Arab, the friends and followers of a person are his Shi‘a. According to Taju ’l-‘urus, a group of persons showing unanimity over an issue may be called “Shi‘a”. This word is equally used for singular and plural as well as for masculine and feminine genders.

In the Qur’an it has been used for the followers of the Prophets of Allah:

In the story of Musa (a.s) it says:

هَٰذَا مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ وَهَٰذَا مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ ۖ فَاسْتَغَاثَهُ الَّذِي مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ عَلَى الَّذِي مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ

This was from his (i.e. Musa’s) followers (Shi‘a) and that from his enemies (‘aduww). And he who was of his Shi‘a asked him for his help against him who was of his enemies (‘aduww).1

In the story of Nuh (a.s) it says:

وَإِنَّ مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِيمَ

And, verily, of his Shi‘a is Ibrahim.2

Arabic dictionaries, after giving the literal meaning of the word, Shi‘a, usually add: “This name is generally used for those who love and follow ‘Ali and the people of his house, and it has become their proper name”.3

Shaykh al-Mufid (d 413 A.H./1022 C.E.) has explained that when the word Shi‘a is used with the definate article “al” (al-Shi‘a = the Shi‘a) it only means “the group which follows ‘Ali (blessings of Allah be upon him) with love and the belief that he was the Imam after the Prophet (s.a.w.w) without any gap...”4

In short, the Shi‘a got this name because they follow ‘Ali and his sinless progeny, and reject the claims of others to the office of Imamate (leadership after the Prophet). As will be explained later, it was the Prophet himself who gave this name to the followers of ‘Ali.

The Origin of Shi‘ism

The origin of Shi‘ism is the same as that of Islam.

The main difference between the Sunnis and the Shi‘as is about the successor ship of the Prophet of Islam. The Sunnis believe that Abu Bakr was the first successor; the Shi‘as believe that ‘Ali was the first rightful successor. When a non-biased scholar studies the declarations of the Prophet (s.a.w.w) as recorded by the Sunni scholars in their commentaries of the Qur’an (tafsir), and traditions of the Prophet (ahadith), biographies and history, he has to admit that it was the Prophet (s.a.w.w) himself who was the originator of Shi‘ism.

The first open declaration of the prophethood was the very occasion when the first declaration of the caliphate of ‘Ali (a.s) was made. The occasion is known as the “Feast of the Clan”. The relevant paragraphs are quoted here from the Ta’rikh of at-Tabari:

‘Ali said: “When the verse ‘And warn thy clan of near kindred5 was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w), he called me and ordered me to prepare one sa‘ (about 3 kg.) of food and invite the descendants of ‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib, so that he could talk to them. They were about forty persons, among them his uncles Abu Talib, Hamzah, ‘Abbas and Abu Lahab. Then the Messenger of Allah delivered a lecture saying:

‘O Sons of ‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib! I know no man in all Arabia who ever brought to his people anything better than which I have brought to you. I have brought to you the good of this world and the hereafter. And Allah (may He be exalted) has commanded me to call you to it. Who, therefore, among you will help me in this matter, on the condition that he would be my brother, my Wasiy (heir) and my Khalifah (successor) among you?’”

‘Ali continues the narration: “Nobody came forward; so I said (though I was the youngest in age):
‘I, O Prophet of Allah! shall be your helper in this (task).’ So the Prophet put his hand on my neck and said: ‘Verily, he is my brother, my Wasiy (heir) and my Khalifah (successor) among you. Listen to him and obey him.’ The assembly stood up laughing and telling Abu Talib that Muhammad has ordered him to listen to his son and obey him”.6

This was in the beginning.

In the last months of his life, the Prophet (s.a.w.w) declared at a place called Khumm, between Mecca and Medinah, that ‘Ali was his successor and master of the Muslims. This event has been recorded by numerous Sunni scholars. Imam Ahmad bin Shu‘ayb an-Nasa’i (d. 303 A.H./915-16 CE.) has narrated this event through several chains of narrators in his al-Khasa’is, one of which is as follows:

Abu’t-Tufayl said that Zayd bin Aqram said, “When the Prophet returned from the last pilgrimage, and stayed at the pond (Ghadir) of Khumm, he ordered the place to be swept. Then he said: ‘It is as though I have been called (back by God, meaning that death is soon approaching) and I have accepted that call. And I am leaving among you two weighty, precious things, one of them is greater than the other: the Book of Allah and my descendants, my family-members. So look out how you deal with them after me because they will not separate from each other until they come to me at the fountain (of kawthar, on the Day of Judgement). I am the master (wali) of every believer’. Saying this, he took the hand of ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) and said, ‘Whomsoever’s master I am, this (‘Ali) is his master. O Allah! Love the person who loves ‘Ali, and be the enemy of one who has enmity towards him”.

Abu’t-Tufayl says, “I asked Zayd, ‘Did you hear it from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w)?’ He said, ‘There was no one in the oasis but saw him with his eyes and heard him with his ears,’”.7 This tradition is known as “the tradition of two precious things”.

In the same book, Imam an-Nasa’i quotes another similar hadith from Zayd bin Aqram which contains these words from the Prophet: “Don’t I have more authority on every believer than his own self?” They replied, “Surely, we bear witness that thou hast more authority upon every believer than his own self”. The Prophet then said, “So, verily, he whose master (mawla) I am, this is his Master (mawla).” Saying this he took the hand of ‘Ali.8 This tradition is known as “the tradition of mastership”.

The traditions of “two precious things” and “mastership” are jointly and severally narrated by hundreds of traditionalists. The famous Wahabi scholar,

Nawwab Siddiq Hasan Khan of Bhopal, says:

“Hakim Abu Sa‘id says that the traditions of ‘two precious things’ and ‘whose master I am, ‘Ali is his master’ are Mutawatir9 because a great number of companions of the Prophet have narrated them. So much so that Muhammad bin Jarir has written these two traditions by seventy-five different chains of narrators (asnad).”10

‘Abdu ’l-Husayn Ahmad al-Amini has classified the narrators of this tradition and has found that among them are one hundred and twenty sahabah (companions of the Prophet) and eighty-four tabi‘in (disciples of the companions). The number of Sunni muhaddithin (traditionalists) who have narrated it reaches upto three hundred and sixty. Two hundred and sixty special books (several of them in many volumes) have been compiled by Shi‘a and Sunni scholars on this tradition only.11

The Origin of the Name

When we see that between these two events, the Prophet repeatedly referred to the followers of ‘Ali as “Shi‘a”, we have to admit that not only the faith of Shi‘ism, but even the name was originated by the Prophet himself. The following ahadith are quoted from Sunni sources:

Ibn ‘Asakir narrates from Jabir bin ‘Abdullah that he said: “We were with the Prophet (s.a.w.w) when ‘Ali came (to us). The Prophet (s.a.w.w) said, ‘I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, verily this (‘Ali) and his Shi‘a are successful on the Day of Resurrection’. Then the following verse was revealed,

‘Verily those who believe and do good deeds, it is they who are the best of creatures [Qur’an 98:7]”.12

At-Tabarani says that the Prophet told ‘Ali: “O ‘Ali, verily you will come before Allah, you and your Shi‘as well-pleased (with Allah) and well-pleasing (to Him).”13

There are so many ahadith from so many narrators that Sunni scholars could not reject them. So they tried to fit these ahadith on their own group. After quoting these traditions, Ibn Hajar al-Makki writes, “And the Shi‘a of Ahlu ’l-Bayt are Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama‘ah (i.e, the Sunnis), because it is they who loved the Ahlu ’l-Bayt as was ordered by Allah and His Messenger. So far as others are concerned, they are in fact the enemies (of Ahlu ’l-Bayt).”14

This claim was repeated by Shah ‘Abdu ’l-Aziz Dehlawi who says, “It should be known that the first Shi‘as (who are the Sunnis and the Tafdiliyyah) in old days were known as Shi‘as. When the Ghulat and the Rawafid Zaydiyyah and Isma‘iliyyah took the name for themselves........... the Sunnis and Tafdiliyyah did not like this name for themselves and so they took the name of Ahlu ’s- Sunnah wa ’l-Jama‘ah.”15

Such claims should not be dignified by reply. But seeing that an abridged Arabic translation of Tuhfah has recently been published in Egypt, I quote here the comment of another Sunni scholar, ‘Ubaydullah Amritsari, who after quoting the above claim in his book Arjahu ’l-Matalib, says: “To say that Sunnis in the beginning were known as Shi‘as is merely a claim for which no proof can be found. Had the Sunnis been called Shi‘a, then at least some of the Sunni elders should have been known by this name before the event of Zaydiyyah (in 120 A.H.). Moreover, had the Sunnis been known by this name, the Zaydiyyah and Isma‘iliyyah would have not tolerated this name for themselves (because of the enmity) and would have selected some other name for themselves.”16

The First Shi‘ias

During the life-time of the Prophet (s.a.w.w) the word, Shi‘a, was used as a name first of all for four highly respected companions of the Prophet: Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr Jundab bin Junadah al-Ghifari, Miqdad bin Aswad al-Kindi and ‘Ammar bin Yasir.

Kashfu ’z-Zunun, Vol.III, quotes from Kitabu ’z-Zinah of Abu Hatim Sahal (sic) bin Muhammad Sajastani (sic), (d.205 A.H.):

“In the days of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) the word Shi‘a was mentioned with reference to four persons: Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr Ghaffari (sic), Miqdad bin Aswad al-Kindi and ‘Ammar bin Yasir.”17

Those were the first Shi‘as and that was the beginning of the Shi‘a faith under the kind guidance and patronage of the Prophet of Islam himself.

Hadith Ath-Thaqalayn

In the preceding chapter mention has been made of two important traditions of “Two precious things” (ath-thaqalayn) and “whose master am I, ‘Ali is his master” (al-Wilayah). As for the latter, sufficient details have been given in my book, Imamate (from page 62 to page 81). As for the former, some references are quoted here (with adaptation) from “The Right Path”, the English translation of al-Muraja’at.

The Holy Prophet said:
“Oh you people, I leave amongst you two things which if you follow, you will never go astray after me, and they are the Book of Allah and my Ahlu ‘l-Bayt.”18

He also said:
“I have left among you certain things and if you will love them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah, which is like a rope extending from the heaven to the earth, and my children, that is my Ahlu ‘l-Bayt. These two shall never part from each other until they come to me at the pool of Kawthar (in Paradise). So, take care how you treat them.”19

He also said:
“I leave among you two Weighty Things, the Book of Allah and my Ahlu ‘l­ Bayt; and these two shall never separate from each other until they come to me at the Pool.”20

He also said:
“I will soon be called away and will have to depart from you, but I leave among you Two Weighty Things, the Book of the High and Mighty Allah and my descendants. The Book of Allah is like a rope which extends from the heavens to the earth, and my descendants who are my Ahlu ‘l-Bayt. The subtle and Aware (Allah) tells me that the two shall never part company until they come to me at the Pool. So take care how you treat them after me.”21

When the Holy Prophet was returning (to Medina) from the Farewell Pilgrimage and arrived at Ghadir Khum, he stopped there and said:
“It seems as if I have been summoned and I am going away. However, I am leaving among you Two Weighty Things, one of which is greater than the other. They are the Book of Allah the Almighty and my children. So take care how you treat them after me. The two shall never part company until they come to me at the Pool.’

He continued:
“The Lord, Allah the Almighty is my Master and I am the master of every true believer.”

Then he took the hand of ‘Ali in his hand and said:
“He is the master of all those whose master I have been. O Allah, love those who love ‘Ali and hate those who hate him…”22

‘Abdullah ibn Hantab related that the Messenger of Allah addressed us at Juhfah saying: “Do I not have authority over you more than yourselves?” They all said, “Yes, of course”. Then he said: “I shall hold you answerable for two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants.”23

All these authentic traditions, which prove conclusively that it is compulsory to follow the Qur’an and the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are not ordinary traditions. They are repeated many times and are related on the authority of at least twenty companions of the Holy Prophet through various sources. The Holy Prophet repeated these words over and over again (and not merely in one isolated instance but on several occasions) publicly to show that it is compulsory to follow and obey the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt. He made this announcement during the Farewell Pilgrimage, on ‘Arafat Day, at Ghadir Khum, and on the return from Ta’if, and at Medina from the pulpit in the mosque. Finally, as he lay on his deathbed and the room was packed with his Companions, he said:

“Oh, you folk! I am soon going to depart from here, and although I have already told you, I repeat once more that I am leaving with you two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants, that is, my Ahlu ‘l-Bayt.’ Then he lifted up ‘Ali by the hand and said:
“Behold, this is ‘Ali: he is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with him. They shall never part from each other until they come to me at the Pool of Kawthar.”24

A large group of distinguished persons belonging to the Sunni sects has acknowledged this as the Holy Prophet’s last will and testament. Even Ibn Hajar, after recording the Hadith al-Thaqalayn (the tradition of The Two Weighty Things), comments on it by saying:

“Tradition of Adherence has been handed down through large number of sources and more than twenty of the disciples have related it.’ Then, a little further on, he says, “Here a doubt arises, and it is that while the Tradition has come down through various sources, some say that the words were spoken during the last pilgrimage, others that they were spoken at Medina when he lay on his deathbed and the room was packed with his disciples, yet another saying that he spoke these words at Ghadir Khum or on the return from Ta’if. But there is no inconsistency as it is possible that, having regard to the importance and greatness of the Qur’an and the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt, and with a view to emphasizing the point before people, the Holy Prophet might have repeated these words on all these occasions so that anyone who had not heard them before might hear them now.”25

Moreover, since the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt carry as much weight in the eyes of Allah as the Holy Qur’an, the former have the same qualities as the latter. Just as the Qur’an is true from beginning to end without the shadow of any untruth in it, and just as it is incumbent upon every Muslim to obey its commands, so also must the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt be perfectly true and sincere guides whose commands must be followed by all. Therefore, there can be no escape from accepting their leadership and following their creed and their faith. The Muslims are bound by these saying of the Prophet to follow them and no one else. Just as it is impossible for any Muslim to turn away from the Holy Qur’an or to adopt any set of rules which is at variance with it, so when the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt have been unequivocally described as equal in weight and importance to the Qur’an, the same attitude has to be adopted with regard to their precepts, and it cannot be permissible to turn away from them and follow any other persons.

In the Prophet’s sayings: “I leave among you two things: if you will adhere to both of them you will never go astray; and they are the Book of Allah and my descendants,” the requirement of adherence to both of them should be particularly noted. It plainly shows that whoever adheres to or adopts both of them as his guides will be saved from going astray. Therefore, if a person takes only one of them without taking the other for a guide he will go astray. This point becomes still clearer by considering Tabarani’s version, which contains the further injunction:
“Look out! And do not either go ahead of them or lag behind them, for in either case you will be destroyed; and do not (try to) teach them for they know more than you.”

Ibn Hajar holds that these words show that those members of the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt who possessed these distinctions were superior to all the people.26

Another tradition which should compel every Muslim to follow the Ahlu ‘l­ Bayt and accept no one else as guides in matters of religion is that the Holy Prophet said (as narrated by Abu Dharr al-Ghifari):

“Behold! My Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah; whoever embarked in it was saved, and whoever turned away from it was destroyed.”27

Yet another tradition tells us that the Holy Prophet said: “My Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are like the Gate of Repentance28 of the children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven.”29

A further tradition is as follows:
“The stars protect the inhabitants of the earth from being drowned, and my Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are the protectors of my followers against discord (in matters of religion). Therefore, whichever group among the Arabs opposes my Ahl al-Bayt (on questions related to the Divine Commandments) shall be split up by dissentions and become the party of Satan.”30

These traditions, therefore, leave no room for any doubt. There can be no other way except to follow the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt and give up all opposition to them. The clear and unequivocal terms in which the Holy Prophet has directed us about these matters in the above mentioned traditions cannot be surpassed or rivaled in any other language.

Here the ‘Ahlu ‘l-Bayt’ have been collectively referred to. The expression includes all the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt. This epithet applies only to those who are Proofs of Allah and occupy the position of Imams by Divine Decree, as established by reason and upheld by the traditions. Learned scholars of the Sunnis also admit this. For example, Ibn Hajar writes in his Sawa’iqu ‘l-Muhriqah: “Some people think that probably the ‘Ahlu ‘l-Bayt’ whom the Holy Prophet has designated as the protectors are the learned men among the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt, since the guidance can be attained only through them. They are like the stars through whom we are guided in the right direction, and if the stars are taken away we would come face to face with the signs of the Almighty as promised (i.e., the Day of Resurrection). This will happen when the Mahdi will come, as mentioned in the traditions, and the Prophet Jesus will say his prayers behind him, the Dajjal will be slain, and then the signs of the Almighty will appear one after the other.”31

In another place Ibn Hajar writes: “The Holy Prophet was asked what would be the condition of the people after the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt, and he replied:

‘Their condition will be like that of an ass whose spine is broken.’32

You know very well that the Holy Prophet’s tradition which says that the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah leads to the conclusion that those who adopt their creed and follow them shall be saved from the punishment of Hell, while those who run away from them shall meet with the fate of one who tried to save his life by climbing up the mountain, with the only difference that whereas he (Noah’s renegade son) was drowned in water, these people will be drowned in the fire of Hell. And the Holy Prophet’s use of the simile of the Gate of Repentance signifies that just like that Gate, the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt are the manifestations of the Majesty and Sovereignty of the All-Highest Lord to whom we must submit and offer our humble obedience.

Fundamental Belief of Shi’a Ithna-’Ashariya

In Shi’a terminology, fundamental beliefs are called Usul al-deen, i.e. Roots of Religion. The Usul al-deen are five. Three are called Roots of Islam. They are:

1. Tawheed, Belief in oneness of God.

2. Nubuwwat, Belief in the Prophets.

3. Qiyamat, Belief in the Day of Judgment.

Remaining two are called Usul al-Iman, Roots of Faith. They are:

1. ‘Adil, Justice of God.

2. Imamat, the successorship of the Holy Prophet of Islam.

A person believing in all five Usul al-deen is called Shi’a Ithna-’ashariyah. Such a Shi’a believes that:


There is only one God, Eternal, Self-Sufficient. He has no beginning or end. He is Omnipotent, has power over everything and every affair. He is Omniscient, knows everything, nothing is ever a secret from Him. He has His own discretion in all affairs, does not do anything under compulsion. He is All-perceiving, All-hearing, All-seeing and Omnipresent, He sees and hears everything though He has neither eye nor ear. He has no partner or colleague, nor has He any son, daughter or wife. He is neither made nor composed of any material substance. He has no body nor is He confined to a place. He is not afflicted by anything related to body. He is not governed by time, space, change or things like that. He is not visible. He has not been seen, and will never be seen either in this world or the hereafter. His attributes are not separate from His person. He speaks truth and is Truthful. He does not enter into any body, needs nothing, and does no evil. It is He who has created the universe and it is He who sustains it.


Allah is just: He does not do injustice to anyone. He has ordered us to do justice to our fellow creatures, but He Himself treats us not only with justice but with grace. He created us for His worship, in order that we may attain spiritual perfection through it. That spiritual perfections enables us to reach nearer to Allah.

For this purpose, He has given us freedom of will and choice. When we choose, by our free will, the Straight path (prescribed by Allah) we are assured in the next world of everlasting happiness and glory by Grace of Allah.


To show us the straight path, Allah has been sending His Representatives to the mankind. They are called Nabii (Prophet) and Rasul (Messenger). It is wajib to believe in the Prophethood of the previous Prophets as well as of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S).

There came a total of 124,000 Prophets and Messengers, beginning with Adam (a.s.) and ending with Muhammad (S). All the Prophets were ma’sum (sinless, infallible). Also they were free from every such defect in body or character which might create repulsion in people. Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam, is the Final Prophet; anybody claiming Prophethood after him is a liar and imposter.

The Holy Prophet of Islam ascended to the heavens in mi’raj. The Qur’an is the word of Allah. There has been no alteration, omission or addition in the Qur’an. Hadith is an authentic source of shari’ah.

It is wajib to believe in questioning in grave through Munkar and Nakir, and in the squeeze of grave. The angels, the Satan and the jinns do exist.


To lead the people to the Straight Path, and to preserve the religion of Islam, Allah appointed twelve successors, one after another, of the Prophet of Islam. They are called Imams. Imam literally means leader. First of them was ‘Ali son of Abu Talib, and the last one is al-Mahdi (a.s.). All Imams are ma’sum (infallible, sinless).

The names of the twelve Imams are as follows:

1. ‘Ali, son of Abu Talib.
2. Hassan, son of ‘Ali
3. Husayn, son of ‘Ali
4. ‘Ali Zaynul ‘Abideen, son of Husayn
5. Muhammad Baqir, son of ‘Ali Zaynul ‘Abideen
6. Ja’far Sadiq, son of Muhammad Baqir
7. Musa Kazim, son of Ja’far Sadiq
8. ‘Ali Riza, son of Musa Kazim
9. Muhammad Taqi, son of ‘Ali Riza
10. ‘Ali Naqi, son of Muhammad Taqi
11. Hasan ‘Askari, son of ‘Ali Naqi
12. Muhammad Mahdi, son of Hasan ‘Askari

Imam Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, is alive, but is hidden from our eyes by order of Allah. He will re-appear, when Allah allows him, to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. It will be near the end of the world, when he will establish justice and equity in the world after it has been devastated by injustice and oppression.


After that will come Qiyamat, the day of resurrection, the day of judgement. One day this world will come to an end. All people will die; then the whole mankind will be resurrected to face the reckoning of their faith and deed. People having correct belief and doing good deeds will be placed in the paradise; while people having wrong belief will go to hell. The Day of Judgment is a fact and truth; transmigration of soul is a wrong idea.

Everyone will get recompense of his/her good or bad deeds. Mizan (weighing scale), Hisab (reckoning of deeds), Sirat (Path, the bridge over the hell) are facts and the truth; scrolls of deeds will be given in people’s right or left hands. Shafa’at (intercession) by the Holy Prophet is a fact and truth. Repentance is wajib. Paradise and hell do exist even now.

To know and believe in the above-mentioned Usul al-deen is the first and foremost responsibility of a person. As explained just now, neglecting them throws one in ever-lasting punishment of the hell. If one does not believe in the Usul al-deen, then his acts of worship are not accepted by Allah.

Status Of Muhammad And His Progeny

According to the Shi’as, Shafi’is and many other Sunnis, when Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala wished to create the creatures, he created first of all the Nur (Light) of Muhammad (S). The Shi’a ahadith to this effect may be seen in Biharu ‘l-anwar, vol. 15. Here, I am quoting only from Sunni sources for completing the proof against the Wahhabis who erroneously believe that the Prophet was just like other human beings.

Al-Qastalani (d. 923 A.H) has narrated the Prophet’s tradition to this effect through Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari and ‘Ali (a.s).33

Al-Mas’udi (d. 346 A.H) quotes a lengthy tradition from ‘Ali (a.s) which says that Allah created first of all the Light of Muhammad; then he said to that light:

“You are My chosen one and the Trustee (amin) of My Light and Guidance. It is because of you that I am going to create the Earth and the Skies, lay down reward and punishment, and bring into being the Garden and the Fire”. The tradition goes on speaking about the Progeny of the Prophet, creation of the angels, the souls and the world. Then it speaks about the Covenant taken from the souls which combined the belief in the One God with acceptance of Muhammad’s Prophethood.”34

That is why Ibn ‘Abbas narrates that the Prophet said: “I was Prophet when Adam was between soul and body.35” That is, when Adam’s creation was in its preliminary stages.

Muhammad’s Light adorned the ‘Arsh (Throne) of God. When eons later Adam was created that Light was put into his forehead. It continued its journey, generation after generation, through numerous Prophets and their successors, until it came to the Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.); from Ibrahim (a.s.) it came to his eldest son, prophet Isma’il (a.s).

Wathila ibn al-Aqsa’ said that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “Verily Allah chose Isma’il from the progeny of Ibrahim; and chose Banu Kinanah from the progeny of Isma’il; and chose the Quraysh from Banu Kinanah; and chose Banu Hashim from the Quraysh; and chose me from Banu Hashim.”36

The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Gabriel said to me: ‘I looked at the Earth from the east to the west, but I could not find any one superior to Muhammad; and I looked at the earth from the east to the west, but did not find any progeny superior to the progeny of Hashim.’”37

The Holy Prophet said: “I and ‘Ali were one Light in presence of Allah fourteen thousand years before the creation of Adam. When Adam was created that Light was placed into his loin. Thus Allah was transferring it from noble loins to pure wombs until Allah settled it into the loin of ‘Abdu ‘l-Muttalib. Then Allah divided it into two, one part went into the loin of ‘Abdullah and the other to that of Abu Talib. Therefore ‘Ali is from me and I am from him, his flesh is my flesh and his blood is my blood; whoever loves him, he does so because of my love, and whoever hates him, he does so because he hates me.”38

It is unanimously accepted by the Shi’as, the Shafi’is and the Hanafis that the ancestors of the Holy Prophet (S) from ‘Abdullah to Qidar ibn Isma’il and from there upto Adam (a.s.) were true believers. They believed in the One and the Only God, and faithfully followed the divine religion of their times. From Qidar to ‘Abdullah, all of them followed the shari’ah of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), which was the religion prescribed by Allah for them.

The famous Shafi’i scholar, Imam Jalalu ‘d-deen as-Suyuti (d. 911 A.H), has written nine books on this subject, and has proved beyond any doubt that all the ancestors of the Holy Prophet (S) were true believers. The famous Hanafi muhaddith, Shaykh ‘Abdu ‘l-Haqq Dehlawi has written: ‘‘All the ancestors of the Holy prophet from Adam upto ‘Abdullah were pure and clean from the uncleanness of disbelief and paganism. It was not possible for Allah to put that Holy Light (of the Holy Prophet) into any dark and dirty place, that is, in the loin of a pagan man or the womb of a pagan woman. Also, how could it be possible for Allah to punish the ancestors of the Holy Prophet on the Day of Judgement and thus humiliate him before the eyes of the world.”39

The Holy Prophet (SAW) himself said: “I was always being transferred from the loins of the clean ones to the wombs of the clean ones.”40

For Shi’a sources, see Biharu ‘l-anwar, vol.15.

Al-Hashawiyah Wahhabiya

The Wahhabis’ belief is diametrically opposed to the Muslims’ belief. The Wahhabis say that the parents and the forefathers of the Holy Prophet (S) were idol-worshipers and Kafirs, na’udhu billah. The Wahhabis will see the result of this hypocrisy on the Day of Judgement when the Holy Prophet (S) will stand before Allah to complain against them for such blasphemous slander against his parents and fore-fathers. Can Muhammad ibn ‘Abdu ‘l-Wahhab save the Wahhabis from the wrath of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (S) on that day?

Now that the reader has seen in detail what Shi’ism means and what the Shi’as believe, the time has come to look at the baseless accusations levelled against them in the Nairobi booklet of the unknown writer.

It is necessary to mention beforehand that the Wahhabis are today’s al-Hashawiyah; or let us say that their beliefs are views tally hundred percent with those who were called al-Hashawiyah in the early centuries.

The term, al-Hashawiyah is derived from al-hashw, i.e. stuffing, insertion. This name is used for those who accept and believe in all traditions which were brought into Islam by insincere people. They believe in the literal meaning of all the traditions attributed to the Prophet (S) and his companions without any re-interpretation. Even if a “tradition’’ was forged (but the forger had taken care to attach a good chain of narrators to it), they accept it without caring whether its text conforms with the Qur’an or mutawatir or accepted traditions or not.

Most of the Sunni muhadditheen were Hashawiyah.

Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Yamani (died 840 A.H.) writes:
“al-Hashawiyah: This name is used for those who narrate stuffed traditions, i.e., which were inserted by Zanadiqah in the Prophet’s sayings and they accept it without any re-interpretation; and they call themselves As-habul hadith and Ahlus-sunnah wal Jama’ah....... They unanimously believe in compulsion (by God, concerning man’s actions), and tashbih (that God is like his creatures), and believe that God has a body and a form, and say that He has various limbs.......”41

Abul Fath Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Karim ash-Shahristani (467-548 A.H) writes in his Al-Milal wan-Nihal:

‘‘And a group of As-habul-hadith, al-Hashawiyah have explicitly declared their belief of Tashbih (i.e. Allah is like his creatures)............ So much so that they have said that once Allah’s both eyes were ailing, so the angels went to see Him; and He wept (grieving) on Noah’s flood until His eyes were inflamed; and that the ‘Arsh gives moaning sound under Him like the sound of a new saddle; and that He exceeds the ‘Arsh (Throne) in size to the extent of four fingers on all sides.”42

There is no need to point out that this definition and description fits totally on the Wahhabis who call themselves Ashabul-Hadith or Ahlul-hadith and very often pose as Sunnis, and now-a-days call themselves Ansaru ‘s-Sunnah.

  • 1. Qur’an 28:15
  • 2. Qur’an 37:83
  • 3. Al-Qamus, vol. 2; at-Turayhi, Majma‘ul ’l-Bahrayn, vol. 2, p. 539; Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, an-Nihayah, Egypt ed., [1383/1963], vol. 2, pp. 519-520.
  • 4. al-Mufid, Shaykh, Awa’ilu ’l-Maqalat (Qum: 2nd ed:, 1370 A.H.) pp.2-3.
  • 5. Qur’an 26:214
  • 6. At-Tabari, Muhammad bin Jarir, Ta’rikh, vol. 3 (Laden: EJ Brill, 1882-1885) p.1171-1173. It is interesting to note that in the Cario 1939 edition of at-Tabari’s Ta’rikh (which claims to have been checked by the Laden edition), the important words “wasiyyi wa Khalifati” (my heir and successor) have been changed to “kadha wa kadha” (so and so)! How sad it is to see the academic world sacrificing its integrity on the altar of political expediency. It should be mentioned here that this tradition with the crucial words has been narrated by at least thirty Sunni scholars, historians, traditionalists and commentators of the Qur’an. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal has narrated this in his Musnad (vol.1, P.111) with the following sanad:
    (a) Aswad bin ‘Amir from (b) Sharik from (c) al-A‘mash from (d) al-Minhal from

    (e) ‘Ibad bin ‘Abdullah al-Asadi from (f) ‘Ali. Now (a), (c) and (e) are among the narrators of both al-Bukhari and al-Muslim, while (b) is among the narrators of al-Muslim and (d) among those of al-Bukhari

    Also, Ahmad b. Shu‘ayb an-Nasa’i, whose Sunan is one of the six authentic sources of Sunni hadith, has narrated this hadith from Ibn ‘Abbas in his al-Khasa’is, p.6.

    For other references of this hadith, see al-Muraja’at of ‘Abdu ’l-Husayn Sharfu ’d-Din (letters 20 to 23). This is one of the most important Shi‘a works of recent times; It has been printed scores of times in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Kuwait. Its Urdu translation entitled as Din-e-Haqq was published in Kujhwa (Saran) India, which in its turn was translated into English as The Right Path by Mohammad Amir Haider Khan and was recently published by Peermohamed Ibrahim Trust, Karachi. (The English translation has since been reprinted several times in Iran, U.K. and U.S.A)

  • 7. An-Nasa’i, al-Khasa’is, p.15
  • 8. Ibid. p. 16
  • 9. Mutawatir means a hadith narrated by so many people that no doubt can be entertained about its authenticity.
  • 10. Siddiq Hasan Khan, Minhaju ’l-wusul, p.13
  • 11. See volume 1 of al-Ghadir, which deals exclusively with this subject. This is another important Shi‘a book of recent times. Eleven volumes were published before al-Amini died in 1969. It has been published many times in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. I have seen its Persian translation. Late Shaikh Muhammad Mustafa Jawhar, of Karachi, had translated the first volume in Urdu but it was lost from the press. Now another Urdu translation of the first volume has been printed in India
  • 12. As-Suyuti, Jalalud ’d-Din (d. 910/1504-5), ad-Durru ’l Manthur, vol.6 p.379. He narrates a similar ahadith from Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ali also in the same place; Al- Khuwarizmi (d.569/1173-4) in al-Manaqib.

    Other ahadith of the Prophet declaring that the Shi‘ahs of ‘Ali will succeed in the hereafter are narrated from Abdullah, Abu Rafi‘, Jabir bin Abdullah, Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ali by Sunni authorities including at-Tabarani in his al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir, Ahmad bin Hanbal in his al-Manaqib, Ibn Marduwayh al-Kanji ash-Shafi‘i (d.658/1260) in his Kifayatu ’t-Talib and many others.

  • 13. Ibn Athir in an-Nihayah; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami al-Makki in his as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah (Cairo, n.d) p. 92. He narrates many ahadith to this effect.
  • 14. as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah
  • 15. Shah ‘Abdu ’l-Aziz Dehlawi, Tuhfah-e-Ithna-‘ashariyyah, Nawalkishor Press, Lucknow, n.d; pp. 4, 11, 59
  • 16. ‘Ubaydullah Amritsari, Arjahu ’l-Matalib, 2nd ed. Lahore, p. 608 (which is wrongly written as 164.)
  • 17. As quoted by Hasan al-Amin, Islamic Shi‘ite Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, Beirut, 1968, pp.12-13.
  • 18. Reported by Tirmidhi and Nasa’i through Jabir and copied from them by al-Muttaqi of India at the beginning of his chapter on “Adherence” in his book Kanzu ’l-‘Ummal, Beirut, 5th ed., 1405/1985, vol 1, p.172.
  • 19. Tradition No.874 in Sahih al-Tirmidhi as related by Zayd ibn al Arqam, Kanzu ’l ‘Ummal, vol.1, p. 173
  • 20. Imam Ahmad ibn al-Hanbal, Musnad, vol.5, p.182, and vol. 5, p.189 at the end: At-Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir from Zayd ibn Thabit; Kanzu ’l-‘Ummal, vol.1, p.172; Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol.3, p.148, with the comment that this tradition is authentic according to the tests followed by the two Shaykhs (i.e., Muslim and Bukhari) though they have not included it in their collections; Dhahabi, Talkhis al-Mustadrak.
  • 21. Imam Ahmad ibn al-Hanbal from the tradition related by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri in two ways, in his Musnad, vol.3, p.17 and p.26. Also recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah. Abu Ya’li and Ibn al-Sa’d from Abu Sa’id; Kanzu ’l-‘Ummal, vol.1, p.185, tradition No.944 also see traditions 945 & 946.
  • 22. Al-Hakim from Zayd ibn al-Arqam, Al-Mustadrak, vol.3, p.109 with the comment that this tradition is authentic according to the tests applied by the two Shaykhs, although they have not recorded it in full. It has also been related through another source from Zayd ibn al-Arqam and recorded in vol.3, p.533 of Mustadrak with the comment that it is authentic, although the two Shaykhs have not recorded it. Dhahabi has also recorded it in his Talkhis as authentic.
  • 23. Al-Tabarani has recorded this tradition as mentioned by ‘Allamah al-Nabahani in his ‘Arba’in al-Arba’in, and ‘Allamah al-Suyuti in his Ihya’ al-Mayt.
  • 24. Ibn Hajar, al-Haythami al-Makki, as-Sawa‘iqu’l-Muhriqah, ch. 9.
  • 25. as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah, chap 11. sub-heading 1. p. 89.
  • 26. as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah, chapter on the Holy Prophet’s will, p.136.
  • 27. Imam Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p.151.
  • 28. Refer to Qur’an 2:57-58.
  • 29. Al-Tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Aswat (tradition No.18) as related by Abu Sa’id: Al-Nabahani, Arba’in, p.216.
  • 30. Imam Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, Vol.3, p.149 as related by Ibn ‘Abbas, with the same note that in this authentic tradition but has not been recorded by the two Shayks, Muslim and Bukhari.
  • 31. as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah, chap. 11 p. 91, dealing with the interpretation of the seventh verse referred to therein.
  • 32. as-Sawa‘iqu ’l-Muhriqah, p. 143.
  • 33. al-Qastalani, al-Mawahibu ’l-Ladunniyah, vol. 1, pp. 5, 9, 10.
  • 34. al-Masu’di, Maruju’dh-dhahab.
  • 35. at-Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir; al-Khasa’is al-kubra, vol. 1, p. 4.
  • 36. Sahih at-Tirmidhi; he has said that this hadith is Sahih (true, absolutely reliable).
  • 37. Abu ‘l-Fida’, at-Tarikh.
  • 38. ‘Ubaydullah Amritsari, Arjahu ‘l-matalib, 1st ed. 1340 A.H. pp. 458-463. He has quoted eight traditions, with minor variation, of this meaning from various Sunni Muhaddithin including Ibn Marduwayh, Al-Khwarizmi, Ibnu ’l-Maghazili, Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, al-Hamwayni, Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kanji ash-Shafi‘i, Abu Hatim and Abu Muhammad Ahmad bin ‘Ali Al-‘Asimi etc. Some of these ahadith say: “So He made me Prophet, and made ‘Ali (my) successor.”
  • 39. Madariju ’n-nubuwwah.
  • 40. ‘Ubaydullah Amritsari, Arjahu ’l-matalib, pp.526-258.
  • 41. Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Yamani, Kitab al-Munyah wal Amal, fi sharh al-Milal wan Nihal, 1988 ed. p. 114.
  • 42. Ash-Shahristani, al-Milal wan Nihal, printed on the margin of Kitabul Fasl of Ibn Hazam, p. 141.