Ibn Sinān and the Transfer of Nusayri Hadith from Kufa to Syria

Click here and here for the original Persian article.

Translator’s Note:

Nusayrism and Imamism are sister schisms – the Nusayrites being the sole historical non-Imamite Twelver tradition spanning from the Imamic era. Considering the recent publicization of Nusayrite texts, I wondered if hawza historians would be interested in analyzing said manuscripts in order to better understand Shi’ite history as well as to someday examine the Imamite corpus in light of this new data. To what extent, if any, did Nusayrite-Ghulati notions enter the Imamite intellectual sphere?

For information regarding Muhammad b. Sinan, see here, and here. The individual is mentioned in passing here.

H̯amīd Bāqirī1


Muhammad b. Sinān Zāhirī is a mass-transmitter of questionable authenticity. His Ghulati tendencies have been highlighted by Imamite rijalists. Although Ghulati tendencies are absent from his surviving hadiths in Imamite literature, they are prevalent in the extant Ghulati corpus. The conclusion, ergo, is that he was a Ghulat whose overdoing narrations were expunged by early Imamite muhadiths.


Ghulati Shi’ites differ creedally from Moderate Shi’ites. Although the many Ghulati groups differed amongst one another, they shared the belief in apotheosizing and/or elevating to prophethood the Imams and/or their so-called associates, the spearheaders of those currents. Other heresies include incarnation (h̯ulūl), metempsychosis (tanāsuk̊), anthropomorphism (tašbīh), and delegation (tafwīd̯).

The honchos of these schisms were successful as a consequence of mass-fabrication and hadith-tampering in their favor. It was to such a degree that Imam Sadiq (a) laments:

To one of them I narrate a single hadith. Before leaving my sight, he maliciously disinterprets what I had informed him. Such men desire the dunya, not God’s pleasure.2

An embodiment of such an person is Mug̊īra b. Sa’īd, head of the Mughirites. About this inauspicious heathen, Sadiq (a) bewails:

Mughīra b. Sa’īd, may God’s curse be upon him, has interpolated statements into the books of my father. Accounts never uttered by him.

Mughira and his henchmen would [slyly] borrow the Companions’ manuscripts in order to insert his [Ghulati] concoctions. Concerning this, Imam Sadiq (a) warns:

Mughira used to borrow Hazrat Baqir’s (a) Companions’ manuscripts and bring them home under the pretext of “reading them.” He would then interpolate his pseudo-hadiths, falsely ascribed to Baqir (a), before returning them.

He continues, bringing attention to said heretical beliefs:

Whatever Ghulatism detected in the books of my father’s Companions was inserted by Mughira.3

In order to ostensibly improve the reliability of their pseudo-hadiths, the Ghulats maliciously disattributed them to well-known, reputable persons, such as Mufad̯d̯al b. ‘Umar Ju’fī and Jābir b. Yazīd Ju’fī.4 According to one opinion, this includes Muhammad b. Sinān. [However], at least some of the Ghulati narrations ascribed to him are not limited to heresay, but based on famous written Nusayrite accounts. The extant reports of Ibn Sinan in the Nusayrite tradition open the door to his actual views. This investigation will focus on the Nusayrite texts divulged in recent years.

Refinement in the Shi’ite Hadith Literature

It is incontestible that the adverse effects of the Ghulat sects ruined the image of the Imams and Companions, crippling the revolts of the Ahlulbayt and their followers and an excuse for the foes to accuse the Shia.5

The Imams (a) opposed the Ghulats by publicly cursing them,6 warning the Companions of their infiltrating heresies, and ordering the Companions to shun the Ghulat.7 The Imams (a) instructed that the criterion for sifting out Ghulati pseudo-hadiths be to compare the reports alongside the Quran and established sunnah, the sunnah well-known to the people.8

The Companions were especially cautious when narrating from Ghulats or persons accused of Ghulatism. Refutations were authored to expose their conspiracies and misbeliefs, such as al-Rad ‘Alā al-G̊ulāh by Yūnus b. ‘Abd al-Rah̯mān, al-Rad ‘Alā al-G̊ālīyah by Hassan b. ‘Ali b. Fad̯d̯āl (d. 224 l), and al-Rad ‘Alā al-G̊ulāh by Abu al-Hassan Ali b. Mahziyār Ahwāzī.9

This sifting of Ghulati pseudo-hadiths was continued by later generations of Imamite muhadiths in order to prevent the spread of Ghulati beliefs.

About Nus̯ayrism

The Nusayrites are a Ghulati Shi’ite schism which formed during the later Imamate.26 There is disagreement regarding its formational date. Some say they emerged during the Imamship of Hazrat Hadi (a), others say Hazrat Askari (a), the reason for the formational date disagreement. In any case, all sources agree that the founder was Muhammad b. Nus̯ayr Fahrī Numayrī, the reason the sect is labeled “Nusayrite” and occasionally “Numayrite.”10

Muhammad b. Nusayr propogated Ghulati heresies, such as metempsychosis, antinomianism, – the godhood, Creator-ness, and Sustainer-ness of Imam Ali (a), – the incarnation of God in the Imams (a), and the muwakkal-ness of Imam Ali’s (a) Companions (muwakkal being a species of angel). The belief of the management of the universe’s affairs [by the Imams] was added by his followers.11 Worthy of mention is that the belief in incarnation of God in material and corporeal things is a pillar of the Ghulat, some Sufis, and some Islamic philosophers.12

Writers oft-mention the Nusayrite belief of Ali’s (s) godliness.13 This is due to their belief in incarnation, i.e. God’s divine manifestation in humans. This explains why they believe a part of God was inside Haydar (a).14

This blasphemy is why Imams Hadi and Askari (a) cursed Ibn Nusayr and Hassan b. Muhammad b. Bābā Qumi, stating that the two were “profiteering off the good name of the Ahlulbayt.”15 On the authority of Tusi, Ibn Nusayr self-declared deputyship (niyābat) and bābhood (bābiyat) during the minor occultation. Once his heresy became well-known, Abu Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Ut̊mān b. Sa’īd ‘Umarī (d. 304/305), the second of the Four Deputies, denounced him as a persona non grata.16 Ibn Nusayr continued his claim of deputyship during the deputyship of Abu al-Qāsim b. Husayn b. Rūh̯ Nawbak̊tī (d. 326), the reason the third deputy received a signed letter from the Imam (a) cursing Ibn Nusayr and other Ghulats,17 exposing the fraud that those overdoing conmen enjoy a so-called secret, esoteric relationship with the occulted Imam.18

The Nusayrites splintered following the death of their founder due to successorship controversies, like many Ghulati sects. On his deathbed, Ibn Nusayr was inquired, “Who is your successor?” To which he responded, “Ahmed.” Though which ‘Ahmed’ was debatable. Hence, they split into three. One schism followed his son Ahmed, others Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Musa b. Furāt, and another group Ahmed b. Abī al-Husayn b. Bašr.19

Muhammad b. Jundub, for a short period, led the sect as Imam Zaman’s (a) bāb. After him, authority was handed to Abu Muhammad Abdullah b. Muhammad Jinān Janbalānī (d. 287), originally from the city of Janbalā, between modern-day Kufa and Wasit. Some consider him the founder of a Nusayrite schism known as the Janbalanites, whose activities, not limited to the Shias, misguided many a Sunnite. Janbalani traveled to Egypt where he met Abu Abdullah Hussain b. H̯amdān K̊as̥ībī (c. 346-360 or 357) and answered his concerns. Following which, Khasibi accompanied Janbalani to his homeland.20

Postmortem, Khasibi became the leader. During which he won the favor and patronization of the Hamdanid ruler Sayf al-Dawla (r. 333-356), allowing Khasibi to proselytize. Significantly, in this period, he moved to Aleppo to continue preaching.21 [It is around this area where] the world’s Nusayrites, recently renamed to Alawites [for political reasons] are still clustered,22 indebted Khasibi’s systematic evangelization. It is for this reason that he was and still is revered by the Nusayrite community, such that the modern Nusayrite, Muhammad Amīn G̊ālib al-T̯awīl, hailed him as the “Great Alawite.”23

Muhammad b. Ali Jillī succeeded him in Aleppo. He was imprisoned in a Christian jail for a time and died c. 386.24 With the Fatimid dominion over Sham, Ismailism and Nusayrism competed. Although being in a highly Shi’ite environment helped spread the message, Maymūn b. Qāsim Tabarānī, Jalī’s successor in Aleppo, abandoned the city in 423 AH for Jabal and Latakia as a result of consecutive wars, Byzantium attacks, and sectarian conflicts.25 Following this decision, the Nusayrites self-isolated from the activities of Islamdom until [modernity] during the [late] Ottoman period.

The Nusayrites and the Iraqi Ghulati Heritage

Although Nusayrism sprouted in Iraq, it blossomed in Sham. The second century was the heyday of Ghulati sects, publicly lambasting their opponents. In the following century, au contraire, anti-Ghulat hostility increased, forcing the Nusayrites and other Ghulats to abandon Iraq for Sham.

In the second and third centuries, the Ghulats authored many a book which the proto-Imamites excoriated.27 The reason few pseudo-hadiths entered the main Imamite corpus.

The Nusayrites transferred and, thus, safeguarded this ancient Ghulati tradition. Many oft-cited early texts survive from the fourth and fifth centuries. Nusayrism, being a covert sect, forbade outsiders from learning their secrets. Only the little obtained by orientalists escaped their clutches. Thanks to the formation of a modern Nusayrite selfhood, the book Silsilah al-Turāt̊ al-‘Alawī, a collection of many Nusayrite hadiths, was recently disclosed. This text, invaluable to researchers, demonstrates patently the transfer of an Iraqi, chiefly Kufan, Ghulati corpus.

Nusayrite Textual Analysis

Nusayrite textual analysis includes: 1) An investigation of extant works, and 2) An analysis of textual citations.

Extant Ghulati books include:

The first work is Um al-Kitāb from the late third and early fourth century in Persian.28

Two works attributed to Mufad̯d̯al b. Umar Ju’fī. Kitāb al-S̯irāt̯ ,written circa the latter third and early fourth century,29 discusses the Seven Rankings of Mu`mins and how to rise within the ranks, nearer to God. Kitāb al-Haft al-Uz̯ilah, a.k.a Kitāb al-Haft al-Šarīf, is a relatively short piece penned between the second to fifth century in Iraq and Sham.30 It adds upon the previous text and explores the topics of shadows and souls (uz̯ilah and ašbāh̯).

The fourth work is Kitab al-Usūs which was likely authored during the lifetime of Imam Reda (d. 203).31 It includes topics such as the manifestation of God upon earth and the Seven Spiritual Rankings of Mu`mins.

The citational analysis of numerous early Ghulati excerpts, still commonly found in Nusayrite texts, can be divided into three: 1) Citations of extant manuscripts 2) Citations of works known only by title 3) Citations of previously unknown texts.

The Nusayrites and the written legacy of Muhammad b. Sinan

Ibn Sinan is a mass-transmitter in the Shi’ite tradition.32 His father died whilst young, in lieu he was raised by his grandfather Sinān, hence the name.33 Barqi and Sheikh Tusi consider him a Companion of Imams Kazim, Reda, and Jawad (a).34 He lived in Kufa and died in 220 AH.35

Abu Umar Kashi has the most information about him. Kashi, from Abu al-Hasan Ali b. Muhammad b. Qutaybah Nishapuri, narrates, ‘Abu Muhammad Fad̯l b. Shād̊ān forbade his students from transmitting from Ibn Sinan.’36 In another report, Fadl classified Ibn Sinan on par with Abu al-K̊at̯t̯āb, Yūnus b. Z̯ibyān, Yazīd S̯ā`ig̊, Abu Samīnah, and the other notorious falsifiers.37 Ayūb b. Nūh̯ also prohibited the recording of his (pseudo)hadiths.38 S̯afwān b. Yah̯yā and Abdullah b. Muhammad b. Isa Asadī affirm Ibn Sinan’s Ghulatism.39 In contrast to these weakening reports, Kashi includes reports of praise for Ibn Sinan.40 Noteable when reading Kashi is that transmitional grandees narrate from Ibn Sinan, such as Fadl b. Shadhan and his father, Yunus b. Abd al-Rahmān, Muhammad b. ‘Isa ‘Ubaydi, Muhammad b. Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab, Hasan and Hussain the sons of Sa’īd Ahwāzi.41

Ibn G̊ad̯d̯āyiri palpably weakens him and labels him a Ghulat.42 Najāshī harshly weakens him and renders him totally unreliable in a way unseen for anyone else.43 In his review of Mayāh̯ Madāyinī, he writes that Mayah authored an extremely weak treatise titled Risāla Mayāh̯. In the biography he adds, ‘The book’s transmitter, (i.e. Ibn Sinan), is weaker than the book itself.’44

According to Sheikh Tusi, ‘Mixing and Ghulatism is present in all of Ibn Sinan’s reports.’ He adds, ‘The reason his hadiths are present at all is because they were filtered and amended by the grandees Muhammad b. Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Isa,’45 on the authority of two chains.46 Ibn Sinan’s authorship, as stated by Najashi, includes al-T̯araā`if, al-Uz̯ilah, al-Makāsib, al-H̯aj, al-S̯īd wa al-D̊abāi`h̯, al-Šarā` wa al-Bi’, al-Was̯īyah, al-Nawādir.47

Therefore, evidence supports his Ghulatism. That, nonetheless, insinuates not that the extant hadiths in the Imamite corpus via Ibn Sinan are Ghulati.48 His Nusayrite legacy, contrarily, such as the books of al-Ašbāh̯ wa al-Uz̯ila (Ghosts and Shadows), al-Tawh̯īd (Monotheism), al-Nawādir (Lights), and Ma’rifah al-Bārī, reveal Ghulati tendencies.49

The Book of Shadows and Phantoms (al-Ašbāh̯ wa al-Uz̯ila)

Jillī and Ibn Šu’ba al-H̯arānī, two Nusayrite grandees, cited this book, rendering it contrived pre-third century. Sheikh Mufid (d. 413) in his Masā`il al-Sarwīyah states, “The Ghulats possess a book of Phantoms and Shadows ascribed to Ibn Sinan.”50 More evidence propounds Ibn Sinan being the actual author.51 Mushegh Asatryan recently amended and published a book with the same title.

The quotation of Phantoms and Souls by Ibn Shu’ba in the section pertaining to metamorphosis can be seen in Mushegh Asatryan’s amendment.52 Jilli quoted much from the text regarding Barriers (h̯ijābs) and the levels of creation.53 Noteworthy is that Ibn Shu’ba, when quoting the passage, cited the original text as simply the “Book of Phantoms,” shortening its title.54

Ibn Shu’ba referenced five things from the Book of Shadows. 1) The levels of the creation of divine knowledge, power, providence, and judgement.55 2) The four pillars of divine knowledge, power, mercy, and providence which, respectively, are the Holy Spirit, Rūh̯ al-Amr, Rūh̯ D̊ī al-Ma’ārij, and Rūh̯ al-Amr.56 Another section is a catechization between Imam Sadiq (a) and Yunus b. Zibyan apropos of creation,57 which Jilli quotes.58 Another topic is the disconnected hadith via Yunus b. Zibyan from Sadiq (a), “God inspired Shayth (Seth) b. Adam to quarrel not with Cain and to secretly worship him for so long as dissimulation is in order.”59 The final citation is of another disconnected chain to Yunus b. Zibyan wherein Gabriel instructs Adam of the Stoning of the Devil [for Haj].60 Noteworthy is that none of these six quotations can be found in the the Book of Phantoms and Shadows edited by Mushegh Asatryan, rendering the twain different.

The Book of Monotheism (al-Tawh̯īd)

Harani cited the book five times, the longest quotation being four pages.61, 62 He cites two chains:

And narrated from Ahmed b. Ali, from Muhammad b. Ibrahim, from Ishaq b. Muhammad Yarfa’a, until Muhammad b. Sinan in the Book of Monotheism63

Another similar chain

And narrated from Ahmed b. Ali b. Abi al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Hashimi, from Ishaq al-Ah̯mar Yarfa’a, until Muhammad b. Sinan in the Book of Monotheism64

The assembly of the Book of Monotheism was from Muhammad b. Sinan. I heard al-Hussein b. Ahmed, who said he heard from Muhammad b. Muhammad and Umar b. Ahmed al-Hamadānī,65 who said that they heard from Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Kūfī, he said that he heard from Ja’far b. Muhamad al-Rasī, he said that he heard from Muhammad b. Sinān.66

In two other places, Harani forgoes the chain, merely stating “According to Ibn Sinan in his Book of Monotheism67 – further evidence supporting its authorship by Ibn Sinan. This may explain why Friedman also believed that this was Ibn Sinan’s work.68

The Book of Monotheism is oft-cited in Nusayrite texts. The oldest at our disposal is in Kitāb al-Mit̊āl wa al-S̯ūrah.69 Though it seems that the author mis-cited, the quotation likely stemming from another source.

The text was also cited in Muhammad b. Ali Jilli’s H̯āwī al-Asrār.70 It is presumed he enjoyed access to a manuscript of the Book of Monotheism via his mentor Hussain b. H̯amdān K̊us̯aybī.71 It is probable that the name Hussain b. Ahmed in the chain of transmission for the book H̯aqā`iq is Hussain b. H̯amdān.72

The citations from the Book of Monotheism, reports from Imam Sadiq (a), cover multiple topics, such as the creation of the universe with divine providence and particles/letters (h̯urūf), the luminescent world and the creation of the luminescent beings.

Muhammad b. Shu’bah in the book al-Us̯ayfar, concerning the Book of Monotheism, mentions the existence of texts upon which the Nusayrites disaccorded. Ibn Shu’ba, therein, ascribes the text to Ibn Sinan.73

The Book of Lights (al-Anwār)

Harani once in his H̯aqā`iq Asrār al-Dīn cites the Book of Lights. It is an esoteric eisegesis, aligning the Kaaba’s four corners with the four chief personages in Ghulati eyes: Salman, Miqdad, Abu Dhar, and ‘Amar, of whom the Black Stone is Miqdad and the Yemeni Corner is Abu Dhar.74

The only other indication of the book is in volume six of Sililah al-Turāt̊ al-‘Alawī under the title al-Majmū’ah al-Mufad̯d̯aliyah, containing the legacy of Mufaddal b. Umar Ju’fī. Two works, attributed to Ibn Sinan, – the great student [and successor] of Mufaddal, and claimant of guidance at the hands of Imam Reda (d. 203 AH) – are excerpted, Kitab al-H̯ujub wa al-Anwār,75 and Kitāb al-Anwār wa al-H̯ujub.76

These books, mainly in catechizational form, are Mufaddal’s teachings . They discuss the topic of h̯ujub (Barriers) which came into being as a consequence of the creation’s sins. Little difference can be found in these mysterious, esoteric texts. According to Friedman,77 al-ujub wa al-Anwār (Barriers and Lights) is a combination of two subdocuments. The older subdocument being the original transmission by Ibn Sinān, who narrates from the infamous Ghulat Abu al-Khattāb Muhammad b. Abī Zaynab Kāhilī as well as Imam Sadiq (a). The more recent subdocument was the addition of an unknown Nusayrite, likely Junān Junbalātī, who adds explanations from the Great Orphan (his teacher, i.e. Muhammad b. Jundub) and the Bab (the “gatekeeper,” i.e. Ibn Nusayr).78

Ibn Sinan’s subdocument discusses the concepts of spiritual Barriers, cyclical time, eisegeses regarding the mysterious-esoteric explanations for the durood and Haj, in addition to mentioning prophetic [pseudo]hadiths via Jabir b. Abdullah Ansari. Compared to the short introduction of Barriers and Lights, that introduction is more relaxed. In this introduction, it says that Ibn Sinan explicitly wrote that this piece is a collection of reports for better understanding of the Lord’s intellect. In contrast to the previous subdocument, this writing discusses the creation of the universe and the beginning of creation with [spiritual] Barriers and Lights.

Quotations from Harani’s Haqa`iq are absent except for the naming of four chief sahabas, i.e. Salman, Miqdad, Abu Dhar, and ‘Amar.79 In addition, the book of Barriers and Lights aligns the Black Stone to Miqdad.80

Kitāb Ma’rifah al-Bārī

Ibn Shu’ba cites this book twice. In one place, he narrates a hadith by Imam Baqir (a) apropos of the Holy Ghost. The chain starts with Ali b. Ahmed ‘Aqīqī,81 likely explaining Friedman’s attribution of the book to Aqiqi.82

Tusi considers ‘Aqiqi a mixer (muk̊allit̯).83 In his Fihrist, Aqiqi’s works include: al-Madīnah, al-Masjid, Bayn al-Masjidayn, al-Nasb, al-Rijāl. According to Ahmed b. ‘Abdūn, much unacceptability (manākīr) is present in his hadiths.84 The above hadith describing the Prophet (p) spiritually and physically as the Holy Spirit are examples of mixing (tak̊līt̯) and unacceptability (munkar). Noteworthy are the views of Ghadairi and especially Abu Muhammad Hassan b. Muhammad b. Yahya ‘Alawī Husayni, a.k.a Ibn Abi Tahir. Ghadairi labeled Aqiqi a lying fabricator, except for that which he and others transmit from his grandfather, whose books are unreliable.85

Kitab al-Ma’rifah is attributed to Aqiqi’s father.86 Aqiqi, a transmitter of his father’s works, narrates the above hadith through him.87 Further evidence that they are the same book.

Worth mentioning is that the passage from Ma’rifah al-Bari is present in H̯aqā`iq Asrąr al-Dīn and H̯āwī al-Asrār by Muhammad b. Ali Jilli with only two differences. In first version, the hadith to Baqir (a) is disconnected. The second version, through Ibn Shu’ba’s, has more information than Jali’s.88 [To see the difference, see pg. 19]

The other seeming citation from Ma’rifah al-Bari is about the Barriers that God elected for Himself. For each Barrier, Gates are appointed. Through said Gates, God’s manifestation and appearance can be found. Ibn Shu’ba commences the quotation as, “Fas̯l min kitāb Ma’rifah al-Bārī fī d̊ikr al-h̯ujub,” and ends on the following page as, “Fas̯l min kitāb al-dastūr.” Between these two phrases are four hadiths, two from Imam Sadiq (a) and two from Imam Reda (a), apropos of Barriers.89 It can be said with great confidence that these are lengthy quotations from Ma’rifah al-Bari.


The rijalists differ pertaining to Ibn Sinan. On the one hand, his hadiths within Imamite literature paint him [more so] as a non-Ghulat. On the other hand, his legacy within fourth and fifth century Nusayrite literature paints him as an explicit Ghulat. In addition, Ibn Sinan’s direct transmission from infamous Ghulats, such as Abu al-Khattab, demonstrate relations between him and leading Ghulat thinkers. Ibn Sinan was an active narrator of Kufa, and, although Ghulatism began in Iraq, their heads eventually emigrated to Syria, transferring the Ghulati tradition, including those of Ibn Sinan. Hence the reason the fourth and fifth century Nusayrite manuscripts formed in Syria.


1. Assistant professor of Sciences of Quran and Hadith at the University of Tehran.

4. Pažūhiš Payrāmūn-e Jābir b. Yazīd-e Ju’fī, p. 60, 90-94, 149-150 (esp. 92-94)

5. For more information about Ghulati works, see G̊āliyān, p. 309-365. The positions of some Sunnis, e.g. Abu Hanifa, may be adverse consequences of Ghulatism. The fact that Abu Hanifa advised his students to not transmit the famous Hadith of Ghadeer due to ghulu (al-Amālī, p. 26-7), is a prime example of the harm this group caused, to the level that people became anxious to narrate one of the most authentic praises of the Commander of the Faithful (a).

10. Rijal b. Dawud, p. 511; al-Jamā’āt al-Islāmiya, p.118-123; Some attribute Nusayrism to a person named Nusayr from the reign of Imam Ali (a) [who seems to be a Saba`ite]. Since those Ghulats heeded not the Commander of the Faithful’s (a) order to cease their overdoing of his (a) status, he (a) elected to punish them via execution. Nusayr, however, managed to escape, propagating his heresy wherever he traveled (al-Ansāb, v. 5, p. 498). Sheikh Ali ‘Aziz Ibrahim, the Alawite author about the origins of the sect, writes, “The Alawites are an offshoot of Imamite Shi’ism, as opposed to what the author of Tārīk̊ al-‘Alawiyūn states. In fact, the truth of the matter is that the name ‘Nusayri’ stems from the name of the location where the Nusayris hid at the hands of Ottoman oppression” (al-‘Alawiyūn Bayn, p. 52).

27. The incontestible position of the Imams (a) and head Companions was that the Ghulati heritage was unreliable. For more, see Ghaliyan, p. 333-9

28. Um al-Kitāb was translated for the first time by Vladimir Ivanov with four manuscripts in 1936. It was publicized in the Journal of Islam with the introduction in English. Ummu’l-kitāb p. 1-132. For more information about Um al-Kitāb, see “The Legend of ʻAbdallah ibn Saba”, p. 18; Die Islamische Gnosis, pp. 113-98.

29. See Silsilah al-Turāt̊ al-‘Alawī, v. 6. Regarding the attribution of the text to Mufaddal, see Mufad̥d̥al bin ‘Umar-e Ju’fī wa Kitāb al-S̥irāt mansūb ba ū, p. 29-30

30. This book was first published by ‘Ārif Tāmir and Īgnās K̊alīfa in 1960 in Beirut titled al-Haft al-Az̯ilah. Tāmir, using more manuscripts, republished the book in 1981 Beiriut. It was again republished in 2007. In 2006, it was included in al-Majmu’ah al-Mufad̯aliyah in Silsilah al-Turāt̊ al-‘Alawī, v. 6, p. 289-423.

39 & 40. [More articles weakening and authenticating Ibn Sinan]

48. For an analysis of Ghulati elements Ibn Sinan’s narrations in the Imamite heritage, see Bāzkāwī A’tibār Rijālī Muh̯ammad bin Sinān, p. 161-6.

49. Although an in-depth ascriptional investigation of Nusayrite texts to their authors is necessary, based on the data, we [tentatively] concur with the Nusayrite authorial ascriptions.

51. See Pažūhišī dar Tārik̊gud̊ārī wa Šanāsāyī Mawlif-e Kitāb al-Az̯ilah.

87. In addition, he transmitted hadith books by others, including Abu Muhammad Isma’il b. Muhammad Makhzumi.

H.I. Fayrahi: Renounce Ideological and Doctrinal Biases to Grasp the Seerah

Click here for the Persian original.

For a related article, see here.

Translator’s Preface:

More of my own additions will be seen in this article in comparison to other translations. As usual, my insertions are in [brackets]. I would like to acknowledge a sheikh who introduced the concepts of exegesis versus eisegesis, a conversation that I shall forever remember. It reminds me of the concepts of linguistic prescriptivism and descriptivism. As well, I would like to acknowledge another great scholar for introducing this article to me.


Seerah – Biography of the Prophet (p) and Imams (a).

Herein begins the translation.

Biases and Presumptions are Barriers

Hujjat al-Islam wa al-Muslimeen Dr. Dāwūd Fayrahī [d. November, 11, 2020], is professor of political science at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran. He has authored ten books and sixty research articles. His event analysis of Ashura has been a cause of his recognition.

Today’s discussion concerns scholarly seerah analysis.

What are the greatest challenges to seerah study in the modern age? Why are there contradictory takeaways of the same historical event?

Three points exist which history enthusiasts ought to ponder on.

1. Manuscriptal difference – Different chains of transmission is the reason for the variation in content. For example, in the Constitution of Medina, the oldest extant versions differ on certain points. Thus, depending on the version one reads, the takeaway shall differ.

2. Creedal and doctrinal biases – Such as Imamate, ‘ismah, etc

3. Modern ideologies

In order to analyze the past, doctrinal and ideological biases must be unlearned so that an academic, exegetical reanalysis can transpire.

Our doctrine states that the Imams (a) are ma’sum [i.e. sinless, infallible, inerrant] and divinely anointed. Then, it is said that governance is his [sole] right. Accordingly, when Imami Shi’ites encounter reports about bay’ah (allegiance) and election which align not with their prescribed preconceived notions, such accounts are impulsively rejected. Allama Majlisi, who lived during the Safavid reign, included reports in his Bihar which oppose his theological foundations. Our age is witness to the [hagiographical] influence of prescribed doctrinal biases on seerah studies.

Recently, I skimmed a book which was a collection of Imam Hussain’s (a) sayings. However, the author translated not the parts wherein Imam Hussain (a) endorsed aspects of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. When reading seerah and politics, an area of great conflict with Sunnis, much bias is read in [and confirmation bias sought]. A serious talk about this rampant eisegesis must occur. It is striking as Sunnites reacted and, over time, have become radicalized like us [regarding the ahistorical misreading of history, having become as eisegetical as us].

What else, besides the aforementioned biases, exists that effects our understanding of history?

Another influence is modern political ideologies. Theory differs from ideology. Theories have methodological foundations that help us understand texts, unlike ideologies. For example, if the presupposition is that Islam is inherently revolutionary, Islam will be prescribed as a revolutionary religion; then, due to confirmation bias, revolutionism will be read into the biographies of the Imams (a) and sahaba. For example, [Hazrat] Abu Dhar is highly regarded by Dr. Shariati, but [Hazrat] Salman is absent from his works [this was during the height of communism, when some Muslim eisegetes prescribed Islam as inherently communistic, idealizing Abu Dhar as the first “proto-communist”]. As nationalism became the direction of our [Iranian] zeitgeist, so did the vogue of Salman the Persian – nationalism has even quasi-Persianized the Imams (a). As a consequence, much text is brushed aside. It is as if the [unconforming] passage is seen and comprehended, then under it, the eisegete writes “shut up.”

When confronting historical texts, a level of respect need be paid. Nonetheless, let not said “respect” misguide us out of fear of “blasphemy,” [throwing us into eisegesis]. Allow not our ideological and creedal presuppositions hijack an authentic exegesis of Islamic history.

Lately, I have developed this fixation. At hand is a research article about prophethood and contracts. Of the various prophetic documents, I noticed that the Constitution of Madina was quite similar to modern constitutions. It amazes how this constitution, which could have been a guide to intercommunal relations in government, is viewed not through Shia or Sunni biases, but under the lens of modern [political] ideologies. This collection, which contains 50 constitutional articles – exceeding the constitutions of some modern countries – is only mentioned in passing in Bihār al-Anwār.

In Bihar, the narrator states, “I observed the Constitution of Medina in Imam Ali’s (a) hand. In it was written, ‘A good neighbor is like a landlord.'” Just this part was mentioned, the rest forgotten. At first, the present-day scholar is shocked to see that, instead of the entire document being highlighted [as expected], most of it is neglected. He, then [if a true academic], questions himself, “What if I, an academic scholar of history, have been influenced by the ideologies which have surrounded me and shaped me all my life, like [the unquestionability of western-style] democracy?” Such is how the intellectual ought to analyze historical texts [as an exegete, not eisegete]. Concurrently, uncertainties [of historicity] exist, making the study of historical texts doubly crucial. Such academic and technical conversations must become commonplace so that we may liberate ourselves from the trap of doctrinal and ideological biases.

A hadith from Imam Hussain (a) states, “We were the most qualified for political office, but it was passed from us. The sahaba chose someone else and pledged him allegiance. Certainly, they [most likely referring to Abu Bakr, Umar, and maybe Uthman] performed some good deeds.” Noteworthy is that the final sentence is omitted from our texts. Our doctrinal biases constrain us to eisegete the Rightly Guided Caliphs in a black-or-white manner; hence, this [unconforming] sentence is expunged and our doctrinal biases are imposed onto the Imams (a) [when it should be the opposite]. Now is the time for serious discourse of problematic topics, as important theories of historical and manuscriptal analysis have been developed, which will aid us immensely.

The most asked inquiry is, what should be done if one is certain that his biases, e.g. ismah, Imamate, etc are correct? Should he still sideline them? Let’s say the text contradicts our preconceived notions, which is then problematic, the text or our biases?

A third option, a marriage of the two methodologies, is that textual certainties can be used to adjust creedal biases and, vice versa, that creedal certainties can be used to adjust [our interpretation of] textual certainties. The qudama (ancient scholars) were of this view, such as the Sunni Ibn Rushd. Averroes was an Andalusian faqih, mutakalim, a leader in his madhab, and the chief qadi. An enthusiast of philosophy, he interpreted Plato’s works through an Islamic lens – a methodology which ought to be contemplated.

Averroes states that most of Plato’s sayings and defenses can be binarily categorized. The first set being [descriptive], [objectively] rational and universal. The second set being [prescriptive], [subjectively] pseudo-rational and dependant upon his Hellenistic culture and creedal mythology. Ibn Rushd proposed differentiating the two for better [epistemological] results. In religious practice, one set of obligatory gender roles are divinely ordained, objectively sourced. Another series of gender roles were added by culture under the guise of religion, subjectively sourced. Averroes opined that, with our rational certainties, we can set aside pseudo-Islamic notions, and, with religious certainties, we can set aside pseudo-rational notions.

One such conclusion was in regards to politics. Ibn Rushd said that in ancient Greece, leadership was based on knowledge in religion, philosophy, etc – regardless of gender. Thus, he believed that a woman may become ruler. In this, Averroes, through a series of rational certainties, broke the well-known traditional Sunnite prescription that caliphate is male-only. He stated that if ijtihād is the primary condition for caliphate, then it has nothing to do with being a man or woman.

[There is a difference between Islam and islam. The term Islam denotes the religion, whereas islam denotes an understanding of Islam. Thus, Islam is one, but islam is many. Muslim scholars strive for Islam, but all end up with islam. Exactly what Islam is will be cognized only in the hereafter. Just as we all seek Truth, but attain truth, as matters like wilayat-e takwini cannot be simultaneously correct and incorrect. For example, the five daily prayers are a part of Islam, but performance details are a part of islam. Hijab is a part of Islam, but what a woman dons to cover herself is a part of culture. Some, erroneously, assume that one form of hijab is best, e.g. a black Saudi-style niqab over a blue Afghan-style burqa.

The problem is that many conflate the two concepts. According to Ibn Rushd, early Muslim scholars, as a result of their surrounding male-dominated culture, came to the conclusion that women may not lead. Muslims must attempt to distinguish their culturally influenced islam from Islam.]

He enters other topics as well. Averroes states that the philosophy of ablution is to refresh the body and prepare the soul for worship. Wiping the head is likely to be beneficial in summer. In winter, conversely, it may be detrimental. Thus, in contrast to the Sunnites, he proposed that the purpose of masah be changed from “head wiping” to “spiritual refreshment.” Though, he also opposed the Imamites due to his belief that the entire foot must be washed. Such open-minded, organic, [and descriptivist] thinking was the norm, afterwards, such an attitude died out.

Therefore, there is precedent of open-mindedness [and exegesis] in the ummah. Some ideas continued, others died out. We can use said methodologies to readdress our creedal presuppositions and, as such, we can then use those [ameliorated] creedal beliefs to aid our seerah analysis. This eternal hermeneutic is a prerequisite to freeing ourselves from the shackles of our close-mindedness. When one simply states, “My criterion to understanding historical reports is through the lens of sacred doctrines,” it shows that he lacks a creed-rectifying litmus test and, accordingly, is haphazardly [and prescriptively] “crossing out” the reports he dislikes.

Such a scientific approach will have two intellectual benefits and one pragmatic benefit. Firstly, it will rectify our understanding of reports. Secondly, our doctrinal foundations will be amended. Pragmatically, it will refresh and optimize the madhab’s [epistemology].

Many in the hawza express the same concerns and, therefore, want not to reevaluate history without [the comforting lens of] creedal presuppositions. Is this fear an example of the [subconscious] domination of creedal ideology over their intellection?

(I have much to say about) this dreadful mantra of, “What if my faith weakens.” As our past grandees used to say, “Comprehend before worship;” meaning that one should not rely upon any preconceived notions, not even doctrinal biases, in order to understand why we do what we do. The qudamā were more open-minded than us today. One indication is how being an open-minded faqih was considered virtuous. Whenever inquired about their uncommon [shādh] view, they would respond, “From what I can gather, this is the hukm of God – until someone can bring me counterevidence. Therefore, if this is the hukm of God, then that is what I follow.

Another manifestation is how the qudamā spoke fearlessly. Now, if a scholar dares to discuss politics or social issues, he is boycotted immediately. The qudamā used to state, “If on Judgment Day I am questioned as to why I reached this conclusion. I will respond, ‘My intellect disallowed me from blindly following so-and-so men.'”

Gradually, this instruction to comprehend before worship fell out of favor as [orthodoxy formed over centuries of traditionalism], psychologically, man gravitates towards maintaining status quo, accepting what is oft-repeated. As time progressed, nearing the Safavid period, the more those with shaadh opinions are marginalized, particularly opinions which align closer to non-Imamite Islam or other religions. The reason for this being, the Imamites decided that if two opposing hadiths exist, the one contradicting the Sunnites must be accepted, as the one aligning with the Sunnites was relegated to dissimulation. This, however, was a eisegesis of their preconceptions into the hadith literature. To such men I ask, “Why did Imam Hussain (a) not dissimulate?” Therefore, it is necessary that we convert our biases into matters [we can question].

Only a few decades have passed since Imam Khomeini’s (rh) demise, yet extremely divergent understandings of his works have developed and continue to develop. If that has evolved from his “seerah,” imagine what has happened and continues to happen to the seerah of the Imams (a). Thus, I urge that the texts be [read out and] reexamined, free from the shackles of doctrinal and ideological biases, so that we may repeat the adage of the qudama, “If this is the hukm of God, then that is what I follow.”

An important matter is that many in the modern age compare the seerah with modern matters. Every group, political party, etc – wants to identify their proposals with those of the seerah, [e.g. saying “We are doing what Hazrat so-and-so would do.”] What should be done to compare the seerah with modernity genuinely?

The current pervasive seerah-related ignorance and the misunderstandings surrounding it are a direct consequence of the lack of interest in seerah study. Anyone can use any snippet of it for self-benefit, and nobody is any the wiser to combat, a disservice of the hawza. Truthfully, the connection between these [unconforming] historical realities and our ahistorical takeaways, is unclear. The Imam’s (a) positions have not been holistically explained in a manner accounting for the diverse understandings of the same historical realities.

Another point to note is that rulings possess a constant inner, but an ever-changing outer. The twain are often intermixed. A political matter is a political matter, it cannot be simultaneously time-specific and timeless. In the area of constants and changings, little research has been done. As a result of this problem, we make the Imams time-specific or today’s politics antiquated. For example, shura is turned to majlis and vice versa, or voting is referred to as bay’ah since both require consent, but, in reality, the two differ quite a bit.

Did the Imams (a) Intend to Form a Sect or Madhab? An Explanation of the Companions’ Intellectual Diversity

Click here and here for the original Persian article.

Translator’s Preface:

Ahmed Pakatchi is of the greatest Islamic historians of our age, particularly in the study of early Shi’ism. This is a translation of a transcribed lecture at an academic conference.

Note: The term Companion refers to ‘Companion of an Imam (a)’.

*I would like to thank a certain individual. May you be blessed.

–Beginning of paper

Lecture by Ahmed Pakatchi, a board member at the University of Imam Sadiq (a), titled “The Interaction between the Ahlulbayt (a) and the Various Shi’ite Sects.”

Dr. Pakatchi commenced [by mentioning the non-black-and-white nature of early Islam, which opposes the modern laic classification of historical personalities as either saint or demon.] He named persons, like Ibn Mas’ud, who are considered Sunnite by some and Shi’ite by others – and others who, although non-Shi’ite, were not anti-Shi’ite. Sa’d b. ‘Ubada attended Saqifa in order to secure an Ansari caliph. Meanwhile, many ignorant Imamites claim Sa’d as “one of their own.” We, [the Imamites], require a novel approach to classifying historical personalities.

Anyone who researches the lives of the Companions, beyond a superficial reading, will note the difficulty in comprehending much of their views and actions. The Companions were individuals with complex personal lives and backgrounds [like you and I]. Many even severely opposed one another on jurisprudential and creedal matters, such as disagreement on theology and Imamology. The severity of these rivalries can be sensed in the works of Najashi and Tusi, who have compiled the names of hundreds of Companions and their works, many of the titles are refutations against each other.

This begs the question – What was the Imams’ (a) role in this? Ahmad Pakatchi, one of Iran’s preeminent scholars of hadith and Quranic sciences, has attempted to address this.

–The following being Pakatchi’s words

Based on our standards, we simply cannot deem a large number of the sahaba to have been misguided. The sahaba [like you and I] exhibited complex personalities. Ofttimes, we make rash judgments of them that, when rigorously examined, turn out to be problematic. At a certain point, we must determine whether we can continue to hold such [negative] views of them.

Imam Ali’s (a) caliphate was brief and fraught with warfare. If one attempts to list his (a) Companions, he shall realize that many either became Kharijites, joined Mu’awiyah, or desired ceasefire at Siffin due to pressure. It appears that those under Haydar (a) were faineants who had imbibed nothing beneficial from him (a).

There is a radical and unrealistic claim that the twenty-three years of prophethood produced a mere four actual sahabas. Does this not reflect [poorly] on the Prophet’s (p) pedagogy? This results in serious consequences for, if all sahabas save four apostatized postmortem, the entire Message is brought under question. Thus, many scholars dismissed such hadiths.

The question arises – Why did the Imams (a) accommodate Companions from various groups? At times demonstrating close bonds, even though there is no reason for an Infallible to even tolerate a schismatic, lest he create societal strife futurely. Consider the fact that, although Imam Ali (a) had issue with Tahla and Zubayr, he always tolerated them. The general Imamological understanding is that the Imam knew that the twain shall engender civil war futurely; yet, Haydar (a) imprisoned them not. Why keep them unconfined, such that they then established an opposing army?

Of the Sadiqayn’s pupils, many were non-Imamites. Why did they (a) not hang a sign saying ‘Only Shias/Imamites Welcome’? Some, as per our definition, are considered completely Sunnite. Others either joined or spearheaded competing Shi’ite sects. Ziyad b. Mundhir, later on, joined the Zaydite movement. Abu Jarud would attend Imam Baqir’s (a) classes. Why tolerate such men?

In the long list of Companions, there are those who became heads and proponents of sects. The reason they could become such leaders, in the first place, was by virtue of their Imamic Companionship, e.g. ‘Ammar Sabati, the well-known proponent of Fatahism, and Mufad̪d̪al b. Umar Ju’fi, the infamous head of the Mufadalite Ghulati sect. Why did Imam Sadiq (a) allow such men to attend his classes? Why did these problematic persons understand the Imams’ lessons so anomalously?

Ibn Yasar, a Companion of Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a), was of the first theoreticians of tasawwuf. If blasphemous, how could tasawwuf arise from the Imams’ lessons? If sacred, why then were most Companions not proponents of early Sufism?

The Message of Diversity

The Companions’ difference of opinion is incontestable. Tusi’s Rijal and Barqi’s Rijal evince considerable diversity of thought among the Companions of Baqir and Sadiq (a). As for which were correct and incorrect, that is a separate discussion. The question arises, what message does said diversity send us?

Few Imamites were aware of the reports identifying the next Imam/hujjah. Correspondingly, postmortem, new schisms arose. The potential for spearheading novel sects existed among the Imams’ children, e.g. Zayd b. Ali, and their closest Companions, e.g. Zurara b. A’yan.

From Imamite works, every time an Imam passed. The Companions differed regarding successorship. Here we face two opposing realities:

1) On the one hand, our minds try to comprehend such difference of opinion. For example, after Imam Sadiq’ (a) passing, the Shi’ites splintered. One faction, whence we stem, asserted that Imam Sadiq (a) appointed Imam Kadhim (a). The Fatahites argued that his (a) elder son, Abdullah, was the Imam. Some averred that Imamship was the right of Muhammad b. Isma’il, Isma’il who died during Sadiq’s (a) lifetime. Another group insisted that Sadiq (a), as the final Imam, is alive but occulted; his reappearance must be awaited.

2) On the other hand, a preeternal tablet inscribed the Imams’ names, the hadith of Jabir affirms. These two understandings are irreconcilble. If the Imams were already known, then there should not have been such intra-Companion confusion.

The Basis of the Confusion

A question arises, what kind of students did Imam Sadiq (a) train wherein all, postmortem, became opportunists, seeking communal power and wealth? Some, definitely, were nefarious, but it is unfair to accuse them all. Especially as some were well-known, unaccusable of harboring personal agendas.

In order to reconcile the apparent contradictions, the presumption ought to be that the general Companions (‘awam) were unaware of the succeeding Imam’s nas [see about nas here], only the select (khawas) knew. For instance, Zayd b. Ali, a God-fearing eschewer of the dunya, based on his ijtihad, revolted against the Ummayads with a small contingent – seeking martyrdom, not worldly benefit. Why do so when Imam Sadiq (a) forbade him? It is improbable that he was an Imamite, according to the modern understanding of the term. Some try to ‘read in’ Imamism into him, but this is ahistorical.

The fact that the succeeding Imams’ nas was hidden must be accepted. Otherwise, much of Shi’a history cannot be deciphered. I have not a clear criterion to determine which Companions were of the ‘select.’ Nor am I trying to use historical methodology through a theological lens to determine them. For, when examining the list of those unaware of the nas, forming a criterion is difficult.

A narration from Kashi, strengthenable through other accounts, states that Mahdi Abasi desired control over the countless newly forming sects. Thus, he created a group of experts to study them, Ibn Maq’ad being the cataloguer. Under the ‘Shi’ite’ category, he writes of the Zurarites, ‘Ammarites, Ya’furites, Sulaymanites, and Jawaliqites. Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman, a contemporary of Imam Rida (a), is shocked that Hisham b. Hakam and his ilk were forgotten. [Yunus being a Hishamite, see here]

The names of these currents are oft-mentioned in various sources, such as the works of Fakhr Razi, Shahristani, etc. The existence of these intra-Imamite factions is undoubtable.

The foundations for these sects was the preeminent Companions. A significant, and personally challenging, matter is the number of contradictory and ostracizing reports of personages in Kashi. How ought we understand the intra-Companion rivalries?

The laic view of the Companions is pasteurized. The notion corresponds that, since the informational source is one, the minds of those who frequented Sadiq’s (a) class was also one. The common thought is that the Companions “must all share an Imamic mindset and behave Imamically.” Since the Imams (a) originate from one light, likewise, the Companions too were of one light – living in a utopic fairytale. In this tall-tale, they all loved one another, greeted each other, and never quarreled [with their brother/sister in True Islam.]

Rijal Kashi, on the contrary, offers us a glimpse into their clashes.

‘Abdullah Ja’far Humayee authored a book, which Rijal al-Najash mentions, titled Kitab Bayn Hishām b. al-Ḥakam wa Hishām b. Sālim fī Qiyās wa Arwāḥ wa al-Jannah wa al-Nār (The Disagreements between Hisham b. Hakam and Hisham b. Salim Regarding Qiyas, Souls, Heaven, and Hellfire). The author did a comparative study of the two Hishams, both Companions of Hazrat Sadiq (a), yet disagreeing on these subjects. Other such Imamite-versus-Imamite refutational books exist.

In subsequent generations, this perception was forgotten. Now, it is hagiographically presented as if all Companions graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Imam Sadiq University. It was this perception that forced me to do research on Rijal al-Kashi and Rijal al-Najashi in order to demonstrate that many Companions headed their own creedal and jurisprudential schools of thought.

Were the Imams trying to create a sect or a school of thought?

Imam Sadiq’s (a) portrayal as the head of a school is oft-emphasized. It is accepted that he had created an educational atmosphere. On the other hand, Imam Sadiq (a) is also portrayed to be the head of a sect, which the later Imams further solidified. Such a dual role is problematic.

Establishing a school is unharmonious with establishing a sect. In a number of traditions in Kafi, Mishkat al-Anwar, and Faqih, the phrases ‘Ja’fari adab’ and ‘being Ja’fari’ are used. In them, the Imam (a) is seen calling the people to piety, struggle, worship, be good to their neighbours, and other righteous acts – so that the non-Shi’ites associate ‘Ja’farism’ with God-consciousness. Whereas we, the Imamite masses, manifest our Shi’ism in an anti-Ja’fari manner. Note that although all Muslims agree upon such adab, in the hadiths, they are called ‘Ja’fari adab.’

These differentiate not a Ja’farite from a non-Ja’fariite. The message is that a Ja’farite is one who is more Muslim. Ja’farism is not a distinct form of Islam, rather, Islam is only one. Thus, if one is “more” Muslim, then they are more Ja’fari. The Imam (a) introduces himself as a life coach, e.g. instructing his followers to have good affairs with others and be the cause of their happiness. These traditions suggest not direct nor indirect sectarian proselytization. Accordingly, the Imams sought to develop a school, not a sect.

I will refer some traditions of Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a), significant as they encourage humility, exemplary conduct with neighbours and the poor, honesty, familial relations, Quran recitation, God consciousness, etc – obliging one to do good so that he be beloved by men, they, in turn, shall love their teachers, i.e. the Imams (a).

These are not the teachings of a sect; for said commandments are naught but what Islam already preached. Imamism is not a sect; rather, an Imamite is a Muslim who desires to out-Muslim his co-religionists.

Creedal and jurisprudential hadiths exist, but it should be emphasized that the Ja’farite label was mentioned in the ‘be good’ traditions, not the jurisprudential or creedal reports. We negate not 1,400 years of development. Instead, we are trying to determine the seera’s premise in order to comprehend the Imams’ sayings and actions, rather than hagiographically repeating our preconceived notions of the Imams.

The Imams could have differentiated the Shi’ites from non-Shi’ites through “dogmatic” matters, but they chose not. It is clear that the Imams (a) consider themselves the Imams of the ummah, not solely of the Shi’ites. Their students, to their capacity, grasped what they could. Therefore, they would address Muslims collectively in many of their statements.

Prof. Ayt. Gharawi, Dua Tawassul, Shirk, Wilayat e Takwini, and the Errors in Mafatih al-Jinan

The original Persian can be found here.

Translator’s Preface:

This interview translation is incomplete, I translated the parts I viewed as noteworthy. According to Ayatullah Yusufi Gharawi, many oft-recited Shia duas are inauthentic. Eminent theologians added these invocations and ascribed them to the Prophet (s) and the Imams (a) over the centuries. His new book is a filtered version of Mifatih al-Jinan.


In the year 1393 (2015), Ayatullah Muhammad Hādi Yūsufī Gharawī a Qummi hawza professor, historian, and researcher penned Minhāj al-H̪ayāh fi al-Ada’iya al al-Ziyārāt ‘an Ahl al-Bayt al-Hudāh – a filtered version of the famous Mafātīh̪ al-Jinān by ‘Abbas Qummi. Some duas filtered in the book include Dua Simaat, Dua Jawshan Kabir, and Jawshan Saghir. This is an interview where the scholar discusses his book, as well as the historical background of supplications within Twelver Imami Shi’ism. 

When did dua books and ziyarat-texts (ziyarat-nama, dua to be recited at a shrine) become commonplace within the Shia community?

During the Buyid dynasty of the fourth and fifth centuries. Sheikh Mufid (4 AH) created ziyarat-texts as a means to aid the pilgrims of the shrines. His student, Sheikh Tusi (5 AH), separated fiqhi books from dua books, thus he was the first to compile books containing only ziyarat-texts and duas. 

Mafatih al-Jinan penned by Fadil Hindi Isfahani (11 AH) is the first supplication book to be arranged and ordered, at a time when books did not contain table-of-contents. One may estimate the location of a dua in the book, a reason for its popularity. Various duas were added, even Ziyarat Mafaja’a. After two hundred years, Sheikh Abbas Qummi refined this book. Minhaj al-Haya is a further refinement.

When one glances upon the table of content, it becomes apparent that famous duas are missing, such as Dua Jawshan Kabir. Why?

Inauthentic duas were omitted, e.g. Dua Jawshan Kabir. It is a late addition, the oldest source for the supplication is from the book Balad al-Amin by Sheikh Kaf’ami in 9 AH. Its chain and preface are also strange. In its preface, it states that the dua is from Imam Zayn al-Abideen, wherein in battle, the Prophet (p) was crippled due to heavy armor. Angel Gabriel then taught him (p) this dua in place of the armor. In the preface, it also recommends reciting the dua on the first of Ramadan, but in Shi’ite culture, it is recited on the Nights of Power, as recommended by Majlisi in his Zād al-Ma’ād.

The chain for Dua Jawshan Saghir is better, but not faultless. It is said that Imam Musa Kazim (a) was invited by the Abbasi caliph in which he (a) recited this dua to repel evil. What is strange is that in the chain is a man by the name of Rabī’ who was the chamberlain of the caliph. Rabi’ says, “I went to present the Imam (a) to the caliph when I came across him (a) reciting something. I asked him (a) about it, upon which he (a) assured me that he (a) would dictate the dua to me afterwards.” Although its chain is shorter, it is still weak.

Regarding Dua Simāt, according to Allama Majlisi, it was revealed during the era of the Second Deputy, Abu Jafar Muhammad b. Uthman b. Sayeed Umari, who was deputy for 35 years. The story is as follows: In Baghdad the Shia shopkeepers were robbed, unlike the Jewish shopkeepers. The thieves were attacked by the street dogs whenever they attempted to rob the Jewish shopkeepers. It was even seen that the dogs attacked a robber and tore off his shoe. The Jews claimed that they possessed a special dua called “Shuboor.” The Shias then went to the Second Deputy, thereafter Dua Simaat was created by him. Unfortunately, later on, the supplication was falsely ascribed to the Sadiqayn (a), just as many duas have. The content is strange, some speculate that it resembles Jewish supplications and thus it is a translation of the Jewish Dua Shuboor.

Alongside that dua, there is Dua Ashraat which is attributed to Imam Ali (a). Its chain is also questionable, however, it is stronger than Dua Simaat. Some early texts give mursal chains, but some have detailed chains. So in lieu of Dua Simaat I inserted Dua Ashraat.

Dua ‘Arafa is an inauthentic dua, it stems from Sufis. It is obvious that it is not from Imam Hussain (a), e.g. stating, “God created me when just kings were ruling.” In its place, I have brought the 45th dua of Sahifa Sajadiya for the day of Arafa.

You have not brought supplications relating to Imam Mahdi (a), such as Dua Ahad. Why not?

When discussing duas of the Twelfth Imam (a), one must ask, “First – Which infallible (a) stated it? Second – Which companion reported it?” It is said that Imam Sadiq (a) stated this dua, then did his companion know about the Twelve Imams (a) (that the imamate is twelve or that the twelfth is in occultation). How is it possible that Imam Sadiq (a) would say, “I am unaware of the whereabouts of Imam Mahdi (a).”?

Another dua attributed to him (a) is Dua Nudba. This dua ended with Husayn b. Sufyan Buzufari, a special companion of the Hadiyin (a). However, at no point does he claim that he heard this dua from an infallible (a). He is reliable and close to the deputies, I viewed it convincing and thus I added it to the book.

About Dua Faraj (allahuma kunli walikal hujat ibn al-hasan), the term “hujat ibn al-hasan” is not used; instead, it is originally “fulan bin fulan.” Since the scholars deemed “hujat ibn al-hasan” easier, that is what they used. However, in the modern era, this is unnecessary and the Shia scholars should discourage the laymen from this practice. Also from Imam Kazim (a), it was taught that in Ramadan when we put the Quran over our heads and make promises upon God and the Prophet (p) two times, we say “and on the right of all of your imams.” However, the scholars have also changed this practice to include saying the names of all of the Imams (a) for ease.

How about the actions (a’amal) of the cellar? Why is it not mentioned in your book?

We do not even have one mursal hadith recommending the visitation of the cellar where Imam Mahdi (a) was seen. All of the supplications and recommendations found in Mafatih al-Jinan pertaining to the cellar are creations of the theologians. 

It is popular that one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a) added to a dua. However, the Imam (a) denounced the addition. Many of the supplications in the Mifatih are creations or alterations of the scholars. Is this acceptable?

There is some ikhtilaf. However, in general, adding or subtracting to a dua of an Imam (a) is forbidden. There is nothing wrong with reciting a manmade dua, as long as it is not attributed to an infallible (a). For example, Dua Iftitah was created by the Second Deputy, Muhammad b. Uthman. Neither he nor any other individual falsely attributed that dua to an infallible (a). I have included it in Minhaj al-Hayah

A manmade so-called dua omitted from my book is “Tawassul,” unfortunately oft-labeled “Dua Tawassul” when, in fact, it is not a supplication whatsoever. It does not even bear the scent of the infallibles (a) and it is the most clear-cut example of a fabrication. It is commonly stated that Tawassul is the creation of Sheikh Tusi, however, this is a weak opinion. It should not  be assumed that this originates from the infallibles (a). Even calling it a “dua” is a mistake, providing ammunition for Salafis to criticize Shi’ism. Dua means beseeching the Lord. Dua means giving one’s attention solely to the Creator. However, this manmade dua is an intercession to the infallibles (a).

Another concocted dua attributed to an infallible (a) is Munajat Sha’baniya which states in its preface that all of the infallibles (a) recite this supplication. Allama Majlisi brought this dua and says that it is ancient from the book of Mazari. I found the front and back of this book are gone and that the author is unknown. The research of Allama Muhammad Taqi Shushtari indicates that this supplication originates from Husayn b. Khalawayh, a fourth-century Shia grammarian who was in the Hamadani court in Aleppo.

What is your view of using chains of narration to establish the validity of ziyarat-texts and duas?

The chain should not be the [only] important marker. In duas and ziyarat-texts, the content is also important. The best example of this is Ziyarat Jamia Kabira from Sheikh Saquq’s Man Layahdar al-Faqih (albeit it contains only half of the modern text). Although the chain is incomplete, the content is good, so I included it in the book. However, some find the phrase “bikum yanzil al-ghayth” as evidence for wilayat al-takwini (guardianship of creation), though I am against such an understanding. In my opinion, I view it as honorific, not as independence [for the Ahlul Bayt to enjoy such divine powers]. 

Does Minhaj al-Haya contain extra supplications compared to Mafatih al-Jinan?

No, except for the 45th dua of Sahifa Sajadiya in lieu of Dua Arafa. Also, another version of Ziyarat Ashura, the only difference in this version is in one line “Allahuma khussa ant awal zalim bil’an mani...” This line was not present in Ziyarat Ashura until the second half of the seventh-century. Additionally, the phrase contains an error. The phrase “Allahuma khussa ant awal zalim bilan mani a abada ba awalan thum al-thani wa al-thalith wa al-rabi’.” One time it is said “awal zalim” and one other time “awalan.” This repetition means what? Do both “awals” refer to one person? What good does this phrase contain that we should want to attribute it to an infallible (a)? The missing of the initial alif and lam “al” is a cause for concern because it goes against Arabic grammar. 

Ibn Rawandi’s Defense of Kufan Shi’ism

Tahqīqāt-e Kalāmi

Islamic Theology Studies

Vol.2, No.4, Spring 2014

‘Abas Mirzaayi – Researcher at the University of Quran and Hadith (College of the Kalam of the Ahlulbayt)

The original Persian article can be found here.


Ibn Rāwandī (ابن راوندي) is a Mutazilite-to-Imamite convert. This article will attempt to uncover to which, if any, Imamite school of thought Ibn Rāwandī ascribed, or if he was a ‘Twelver Mutazilite’ [Imamism was composed of three theological schools back then]. In order to clarify Ibn Rāwandī’s stance, we will compare the kalami schools of Baghdad and Kufa (using Hišām b. H̪akam) with him. This will demonstrate that Ibn Rāwandī was a continuator of Kufan Imamite thought; i.e. the ideology of His͡hām b. H̪akam.


Ibn Rāwandī is an influential mid third century mutakalim, famous for his critiques of Mutazilism. Ambiguity surrounds his sect. He certainly converted from Mutazilism to Imamism, but there is contradictory evidence about him becoming atheist later in life. The Mutazilites, his fiercest enemies, abundantly report that he became an atheist. However, it is possible that such accusations were spewed out of spite for abandoning their sect.

Upon converting to Imamism, he authored much in the way of detailing and defending Imamism. Our quesstion is, from his remnants, can we ascertain whether Ibn Rawandi was, theologically, a Mutazilite-influenced Imamite, or did he ascribe to an [Imamite] kalami school?

Scholars of all backgrounds wrote about this: The Mutazilite Abu al-Husayn Khayāt̪ (d. 300); the Asharites Abu al-Hasan Ash’ari (d. 330) and Shahrestani (d. 548); Atharite Ibn Taymiya (d. 728); current scholars Ahmed Amin Misri and Hossein Modarresi; in addition to orientalists like McDermott, Adam Mex, W. Montgomery Watt, and Wilferd Madelung – who, when discussing the Imamite schools of Baghdad and Kufa, notes its Mu’tazilization [for information of pre-Mufid Imamite Mu’tazilism, see here]. Such Imamite “Mu’tazilizers” include the Nawbakhtis (chiefly Abu Sahl and Abu Muhammad) and the Mu’tazilite-to-Imamite converts (chiefly Abu ‘Isa Warāq, Ibn Rāwandi, Ibn Quba, Ibn Mamlak, Ibn Fasānjas, and Ibn Tabān). I believe, however, that all Mu’tazilite-to-Imamites should not be lumped together. Instead, they must be analyzed individually (for more, see Mīrzayi, 1391, 28). Of them, Ibn Rawandi is the most famous.

Ibn Rawandi considered himself a continuator of Kufan kalam. In addition to shedding light onto a new picture of Ibn Rawandi, contrasting the common narrative, this analysis will elucidate early Kufan thought – as Ibn Rawandi, the biggest critic of Mu’tazilism, utilized Kufan theorization. From the second till fifth century AH, he was the most formidable and comprehensive critic of Islamic rationalism. This article will help uncover the background, reasoning, and orientation for the formation of Baghdadi Imamite kalam. Uncovering a mysterious and sensitive chapter in Imamite history.

Ibn Rawandi

Abu al-Husayn Ahmad b. Yahya b. Ishaq Rāwandi, the famous kalamist, was in Baghdad throughout the third century. A prolific author, he championed kalami postilions from various schools. The Mutazilites ascribed him to multiple theological schools. They claim that he died an atheist, but disguised himself as an Imamite [to bring doubt upon the “authentic” Mutazilite Islam] (Ibn Murtada, 92; Khayat, 160). They dichotomize his activities: first – refuting Mu’tazilism (Khayat, 140), second – defending Imamite kalam (Khayat, 160); both of which he continued until death. This was the basis for vicious accusations (e.g. Khayat, 244; Sayed Murtada, 1410 l, 1:87-8).

Upon accepting Imamism, he did not convert to another school. Outwardly, he was [always] an Imamite. Denouncing him for atheism was a reaction to his conversion, since Ibn Rawandi highlighted their contradictions and errors, [instead of logical refutation], the Mutazilites falsely charged him with nonbelief.

Ibn Rawandi, after converting to Imamism, studied its theological foundations, aligning with Kufan theology. Meaning that he was effected by and promoted the doctrines of Hishām b. H̪akam. To understand his thought process, we will discuss the Kufan school and its relation to Hisham.

The Kufan School and Hisham b. Hakam

The theological school of Kufa was the first to blossom from the Ahlulbayt’s (a) teachings in their (a) era. What is special about Kufa is their kalami theorization, alongside their understandings from the available hadiths. Intellect was inseparable. Of course, their rationalism differed from later rationalism, like in Baghdad. Although these mutakalims were rationalists, their theological framework was the Imams’ hadiths. Also unique is their debates against opponents, primarily the Mutazilites. Famous mutakalims are Mūmin T̪āq, Hisham b. Sālim, Zurāra b. A’yan and who are followed by His͡hām b. H̪akam, Ali b. Ra`ab, Muhammad b. H̪akīm, and ‘Ubayd b. Zurāra.

The Kufan school waned in the last two decades of the second century AH, and disappeared by the beginning of the third century. A geographical transition occurred to Baghdad. As a result of their presence, more opponents were introduced to them and more serious debates occurred (see Karbasi, 1391, 38-66).

Hisham b. Hakam was a preeminent Kufan mutakalim. From early Mutazilite writings, of all Imamite mutakalims, by far the most attention was paid to Hisham. This caused the personality of the great Hisham to become contentious for both our opponents and us (Imamites). Hisham elucidated theological doctrines more rationally than than his co-madhabists, departing from their methodology. His preeminence is as a result of his endeavors, nonstop activities, and abundant authorship. His prominence caused him to amass numerous students, all of whom became leaders of Kufan kalam (see Ridayi, 1391, 91-111).

Ibn Rawandi and Hisham

In order to understand the relation between Ibn Rawandi and Hisham, we must compare-and-contrast two things. First, similarities in everything but their content. Second, similarities in their content. The first can be categorized into the following:

  1. The relationship between Ibn Rawandi with the Kufan mutakalims (including Hisham)
  2. Noting Ibn Rawandi’s opinion of Hisham and his teachings
  3. What Mutazilites say of Ibn Rawandi and Hisham
  4. Ibn Rawandi affirming and strengthening Hisham’s explanations
  5. The clash between Ibn Rawandi and the anti-Hishamite Imamite mutakalims
  6. The popular accusation of Hishamism given to Ibn Rawandi, by the Mutazilites
  7. The intellectual connection between Hisham and Ibn Rawandi, as noted by other Imamites
  8. Ibn Rawandi’s authorship in defense of Hisham

Non-Content-Related Similarities

Ibn Rawandi has a positive view of the Kufan mutakalims. He considers them as ‘a part of moderate Shi’ism, those who refer to the Quran and sunna and use rational arguments’ (Khayat, 236). They include Hisham b. Salim, Mumin Taq, ‘Ali b. Mayt͡ham, Hisham b. Hakam, Ali b. Mans̪ūr, and Sakkāk.1

Of them, Ibn Rawandi is most attached to Hisham b. Hakam. He grasped Hisham’s ideas well and viewed him as noteworthy. Ibn Rawandi frequently reported Hisham’s kalami views, such as tawhid, ‘adl, and imamology (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 32: 207-8; Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1: 223-5, 2: 115; Abd al-Qahir Baghdadi, 1978, 49). He, in Fad̪īh̪ah al-Mu’tazila, oft-cited Hisham.

The Mutazilitess have also highlighted Hisham’s spell upon Ibn Rawandi. Khayāt̪ in al-Intis̪ār notes this (169, 185) and reports Hishams influence (Ibid, 185). With great prejudice, he links Ibn Rawandi to Hisham (Ibid, 185) and introduces him as a defender of Hishamism (Ibid, 211). Ibn Rawandi, in Fad̪īh̪ah al-Mu’tazila, notes that he is well-acquainted with Hishamism (e.g., see Khayāt̪, 168, 174, 175, 185). Other Mutazilites noted similarly. Abu ‘Ali Jabāyī considers Ibn Rawandi as closely affiliated with Hisham in tawh̪īd and ‘adl (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1: 223-5, 2:551).

Athough Hisham was not Ibn Rawandi’s sole influencer, Ibn Rawandi endeavored to strengthen Hisham’s arguments, as maintained by Khayāt̪ (169, 170). Khayāt̪ is correct, Ibn Rawandi believed the main reason the Mutazilites criticized the Imamite mutakalims was due to misunderstanding (e.g., see Khayāt̪, 214), thus, he cites Hisham as an example and attempts to demystify his views (e.g. Ibid, 168, 208, 230). Ibn Rawandi considered Jāh̪iz̪’s negative views of Hisham as patchy and attempted to correct [his disinformation] (Ibid, 208).

Ibn Rawandi used Hisham’s teachings when dealing with opposition and severely refuted those who negated him. The confrontations between Ibn Rawandi against Ibrahim Niz̪ām and Abu Hud͡hayl, two bigoted anti-Hishamists, can be analyzed as such. In Fad̪īh̪ah al-Mu’tazila, he demonstrated the greatest criticism against the two regarding tawhid and ‘adl. For example, in order to demonstrate the intellectual deviations of Mutazilism, unlike Imamism, Ibn Rawandi juxtaposes the beliefs of [the guided] Hisham in contrast to [the misguided] Abu Hud͡hayl (Khayat, 168). Khayāt̪ notes that Ibn Rawandi’s rebuttals of Abu Hud͡hayl are due to his Hishamism (Khayat, 185). Khayat says that Ibn Rawandi completely reports Hisham’s views, but only partially that of the Mutazilites’ (Khayat, 185). Ibn Rawandi asserts that the anti-Imamite attacks of Jahiz is due to the enmity the leading Mutazilites harbor against Hisham. He considers Jahiz’s prejudiced attacks as vengeance due to the defeat of his two teachers, Niz̪ām and Abu Hud͡hayl (Khayat, 211).

The intellectual cohesion between Hisham and Ibn Rawandi is the reason that Khayāt̪, in multiple locations, considers Ibn Rawandi’s position the same as Hisham’s when noting their anti-Mutazilite criticisms, (Khayat, 66, 93,108) and states that Ibn Rawandi’s personality equals that of Hisham’s (Ibid, 83-4). He accuses Ibn Rawandi of Daysanism (Ibid, 212) and presents their ideas as outside of Islam (Ibid, 180, 188, 219, 220). Khayat writes that he (Khayat) and the Mutazilites consider the twain as spreaders of a godless ideology and that Ibn Rawandi is a [secret] atheist (Ibid, 84).

Other Mutazilites, like Abu ‘Ali Jabāyī (Qād̪i ‘Abd al-Jabbār, 1965, 20:37-8) and Qadi Abd al-Jabbar (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1: 231-2, 2:229-528) believe that both Ibn Rawandi and Hisham are villains working to undermine Islam and the Prophet (p) (ibid). Other sources list the two together, as liars (Amadi, 1423 l, 5:164). Others accuse the two of harboring enmity for the prophets (for Hisham, see Qād̪i ‘Abd al-Jabbār, ba, 2:225; for Ibn Rawandi, see Khayat, 242; Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 2:356-7).

Both authored similar books, an indication of intellectual cohesion. Ibn Rawandi’s include Kitab al-Taba`a’ (Amadi, 1423 l, 92), Kitab al-Imāmah al-Mafd̪ūl (Ibn Jawzi, 1412 l, 13: 108), Kitab al-Istit̪ā’ah (Ibn Nadim, 1350, 217), Kitab al-Jamal (Ibid, 217) (an anti-Mutazilism book, Hisham penned a similar one, Kitab ‘Alā al-Rad al-Mu’tazila wa Talhah wa Zubayr), Kitab H̪ikāya ‘Ilal Hishām fi al-Jism wa al-Rūyah (Ibid), Kitab al-Ih̪tijāj li-Hishām b. al-H̪akam (Ibid) (a defense of Hisham’s teachings). Qadi Abd al-Jabbar also notes the unison between their texts (ba, 1:231). All in all, Ibn Rawandi’s inclinations and defenses, as well as the similarity in the methodologies and views cannot be ignored [as mere coincidences].

Content-Related Similarities

Tawhid and ‘Adl (Monotheism and Divine Justice)

In his writings, Ibn Rawandi frequently cites Hisham and his companions apropos of tajsim, (divine corporealism) (Khayat, 167; Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1: 225; Abd al-Qahir Baghdadi, 1978, 49) and jabr (such as istit̪ā‘at, jabr and ikhtiyār, mashiyat, and irāda-e ‘ām, taqdīr) (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 2:551). Qadi Abd al-Jabbar differs and states that Ibn Rawandi merely quoted Hisham (ibid); whereas, Abu ‘Ali Jabāyī believes that Ibn Rawandi concurred with Hisham (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20:37-8). Because of their similarities, the Mutazilites considered their doctrines of tawhid and ‘adl as against Mu’tazilism and asserted that Hisham and Ibn Rawandi tried to invalidate tawhid and ‘adl (ibid, quoted from Abu ‘Ali Jabāyī, ibid).


Ibn Rawandi authored Kitab H̪ikāya ‘Ilal Hishām fi al-Jism wa al-Rūyah which discusses jism (divine corporeality) and rūyah (visualizing God) (Ibn Nadim,1350, 217). Ibn Rawandi explained and authenticated Hisham’s tajsimi (corporeal) and tashbihi (anthropomorphic) views. When discussing the “face,” he says that the Mutazilites misunderstood (Khayat, 214). Regarding Hisham’s statement, “Allah is a body unlike other bodies” Ibn Rawandi emphasized, “Allah is a body that does not resemble other bodies.” In contrast to the Mutazilites, He believed that Hisham’s views do not limit His Strength or Knowledge nor entail any deficiency. He does not negate any action which God eternally can do (Khayat, 167).

Ibn Rawandi supports this idea of Hisham entirely, supporting it with naqli (textual) and ‘aqli (rational) reasons in his Fad̪īh̪ah al-Mu’tazila. He compares it against Abu Hud͡hayl’s view and refutes him. Khayat says, “Ibn Rawandi endeavored to make Hisham look as good as possible” (165-7). “This is why, when Ibn Rawandi compares between Hisham versus Abu Hud͡hayl’s notions of His Knowledge, he attempts to frame Abu Hud͡hayl’s view as faulty” (185).

God’s Eternal and Non-Eternal Knowledge

It included the eternal nature of the Divine Knowledge, how God gains information of the to-be-created things. The conception was that knowledge is dependent upon an outside source; for whatever God cognizes, there must be something outside to be cognized by God. Hisham and Ibn Rawandi both proposed theories. Hisham asserted that it is implausible for God to be eternally aware of things, God gains knowledge from things. Hisham did not consider ‘ilm to be a Divine Attribute; instead, God, via the attribute of Knowledge, [continuously] gains knowledge of the universe’s affairs. The Divine Knowledge is neither a part of His essence nor not a part of His essence. Hisham’s evidence was, in order to believe in the eternal nature of God’s Knowledge would be for things to also be eternal, since knowledge is dependent upon and follows the existence of things.

Ibn Rawandi’s position was similar to Hisham’s. Ibn Rawandi asserted that things become things once they become externally evident, only then can those things be considered existent (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 160). On this basis, Ibn Rawandi negates God’s prior Knowledge, arguing that a thing is only a thing once it comes into existence. God cannot cognize the nonexistent and to-be things. In order to solve this problem, he claimed that God’s Knowledge of things is eternal, in that God possesses knowledge of to-be things (ibid, 159-60).

They agree that a thing is not a thing until it exists. However, they disagree regarding God’s prior knowledge. Hisham believed that God does not have eternal knowledge of things because God gains Knowledge from things. In contrast, Ibn Rawandi believed in God has eternal knowledge of things; meaning, He knows that He will create things futurely. This topic of Hisham stems from his view of God’s Active Knowledge versus His Essential Knowledge – which will be discussed later, – whereas the topic of Ibn Rawandi stems from his view of Eternal Knowledge. In other words, Hisham negated God’s Eternal Knowledge of things, whereas Ibn Rawandi affirmed it. Ibn Rawandi also notes his difference with Hisham in this matter (Khayat, 168).

Another similarity is their dichotomization of the Attributes into Essential Attributes and Active Attributes. Both professed that God becomes aware of something once the thing apparently exists. Thus, regarding Knowledge, it negates God’s prior Knowledge. This provided Ibn Rawandi’s opponents the perfect pretext to co-accuse him, like Hisham (Khayat, 108), in the hudooth (creation) of God’s knowledge (Hasani razi, 201). This is an indicator that Ibn Rawandi, like Hisham, likely believed in God’s Active Knowledge, strengthening Ash’ari’s report wherein ‘a group of Rafidites professed that the Attributes of hearing, sight, and might can only be considered for God once there is something for Him to hear, see, or be mighty of. Without these, it is meaningless to call God Hearing, Seeing, and Mighty. These believers asserted that it is nonsensical to give the attributes of might and knowledge to a to-be thing (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 36-7). This is a reminder of the aforementioned view of Ibn Rawandi about the Attributes. It is as a result of this that Ash’ari presents them as badā`ists, that ‘God wills something, but then badā` occurs for Him. It must be said regarding Khayat’s report of bada, Ash’ari’s meaning in his report is the Kufan Imamite mutakalims (Khayat, 36).

Based on Ash’ari’s report, it was not about God’s Essential Knowledge, no Imamite doubted that. Instead, it was about how God gains information of things, i.e. Active Knowledge. No Imamite labeled the Almighty as ignorant, rather, at what moment can the term “knowledge” be applicable for Him. The Imamite mutakalims believed in two forms of Divine Knowledge, Active and Essential, in contrast to the Mutazilites who professed only Essential Knowledge. The Imamite mutakalims asservated that prior to creating things, as He is willing/decreeing, that is when He gains knowledge of it. This is an addition to Essential Knowledge. Therefore, Ibn Rawandi defended one of the two opinions about bada. Thus, it can be said that Hisham and Ibn Rawandi believed in Essential Knowledge, in addition to Active Knowledge, i.e. that Divine Knowledge as dependent on things.

Bada and God’s Changeability

For information about bada and its transformation within Imamism, see here.

The concept of bada is pertinent to Divine Knowledge. Ibn Rawandi says, “Only the hadhak [a minority, the Mu’tazilite-to-Imamite converts] claim that bada equals naskh, according to them, the only difference is terminological” (Khayat, 191). In another report, from a debate between him and Jahiz about God’s Unchangeability, says, “A doer who can will novelly and perform actions is more substantial and capable than a doer who cannot increase or decrease from his action or go forward or backward. God’s grandeur is greater than that there be an action which cannot be increased or decreased or there be no earlier or later in creation” (Khayat, 195).

Ibn Rawandi’s second concurs with the Kufan mutakalims and Hisham, “As God executes affairs, the possibilities unfold. For a moment, God wills to perform an action, however, as a result of becoming aware of new circumstance, He backtracks and does not do it.” (see Ash’ari, 1400 l, 39). The Mutazilites consider this change a defect and limitation of God’s Knowledge, (Khayat, 195) Ibn Rawandi denies this (Khayat, 167). Thus, Ibn Rawandi’s original opinion of bada was exactly that of Hisham’s and the other Kufan Imamite mutakalims. It is noteworthy that Ibn Rawandi, while refuting Aswari’s opinion, did so according to this basis with the other Mutazilite mutakalims (see Khayat, 58).


Ibn Rawandi was a tahrifist, stemming from the Kufan Imamite Mutakalims (Khayat, 83, 166, 231, 236) and Hisham (Khayat, 37, 38, 84). Jahiz authored a refutation of tahrif, Fi Nazam al-Qur’an wa Salamatahu min al-Ziyadah wa al-Nuqsan, critiquing Ibn Rawandi’s [pro-tahrif] views (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:63, 2:548-9). Qadi Abd al-Jabbar attributes tahrifism to Ibn Rawandi (ibid, 1:63-4) and says, “Atheists have disguised themselves as Shias [i.e. wolves in sheep’s clothing] to champion tahrif” (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 16:386). Abu Ali Jabayi labels Ibn Rawandi, Hisham b. Hakam, and other Imamites as tahrifists.2

Creation of Actions

Hisham believed, ‘God creates man’s actions, man’s actions are a result of His will’ (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 40). An act of free-choice (ikhtiyar), without Divine Stimulation, cannot be realized, i.e. constraint. Hisham endeavored to form a position between jabr (compulsion) and ikhtiyar (free-choice), what he named the Acquired View. He asserted that God creates man’s actions, howbeit, man acquires them (Hasani Razi, 116). Both believed that God creates man’s free-choice actions, however, Hisham states, “Man wills to act, but until stimulation is acquired, realization is nonsensical.” Ibn Rawandi similarly asserts, “Man, with his will, acquires a divinely created ikhtiyari action.”

Human Capacity

Hisham and Ibn Rawandi’s view of human qudrah (power) and its relationship to maqdur [the thing for which power was exercised] matches that of their Kufan brethren. They accepted istita’ah (human capacity) as peri-active (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 42-4), meaning that the moment God executes an action, power is created within man. Hisham believed human capacity is realized from five affairs: human health, lack of barrier in order to perform an action, the opportunity to perform an action, the tools to perform an action, and stimulating cause [i.e. Divine Stimulation]. Hisham said, “The moment these five components aggregate, an action is realized.” Nathless, “without God’s Stimulating Cause, the action cannot be actualized.” Thus, istita’ah is neither peri-action nor pre-action, but a combination of the two.

Abu al-Hasan Ash’ari says that Ibn Rawandi believed, “Qudrah is peri-action, but has authority over both performing an action and leaving it.” This means that man, in the moment of the action’s huduth (coming into existence) and realization, possesses the ability to abandon it (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 230-1).

This belief of Ibn Rawandi mirrors and contrasts the Mutazilites and Hisham. Ibn Rawandi’s view that istita’at is a pre-action opposes the Mutazilites and agrees with Hisham. However, his view that man possesses the ability to abandon an action, agrees with the Mutazilites and opposes Hisham. Even so, some consider him a believer in “acquisition” (Hasani Razi, 163), which may be as a result of believing that qudrat is peri-action and from God. Nonetheless, he believed, The moment man performs an action man, he may choose to leave it.”As a result of this, Hisham (Maqdisi, 1988, 5:132; Ash’ari, 1400 l, 40) and Ibn Rawandi (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, alif, 269) were accused of jabr (compulsion).


Abu Ali Jabayi believed that Ibn Rawandi was influenced by Hisham (Qadhi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20: 37-8). Ibn Rawandi, in two of his books al-Imāma and Fad̪īh̪ah al-Mu’tazila, defended Imamate based on Hisham’s principles, (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 224; Khayat, 208) in addition to quoting Hisham’s ideas (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:224, 2:550-1).

Hisham and Ibn Rawandi, when discussing the election of Abu Bakr in place of Ali (a), berated the Muhajirs and Ansaris. “Ibn Rawandi related this Imamite matter from Hisham’s sayings, and strove to explain and prove this theory” (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:223-4; Khayat, 208). Hisham’s opponents used to say, “He (Hisham) was the first to badmouth the muhajirs and ansaris” (Khayat, 225). Ibn Rawandi also authored such books (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:224, 231-2). Both badmouthed Abu Bakr, Umar, the muhajirs, and ansaris (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:231-2, 2:649). Ibn Rawandi strictly defended Hisham when Jahiz criticized him for asserting that the entire ummah became misguided as a consequence of failing to firstly nominate Ali (a) (Khayat, 207-8).


*For more information, see here.

The Kufan Imamite mutakalims affirmed Explicit Nas (Khayat, 36-7). Nevertheless, Qadi Abd al-Jabbar presents Hisham b. Hakam as the first to situate [i.e. popularize] nas and divine caliphate within Imamism (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 1:225). Ibn Rawandi’s reports mirror Hisham’s. It is reported that Ibn Rawandi ‘rose [i.e. popularized] Explicit Nas within Imamite thought’ (Ibn Maytham Bahrani, 1417 l, 81). “The Mutazilites were the first group to ascribe this [to us Imamites] (Sharif Murtada, 1410 l, 2:143-4; Shaykh Mufid, 1414 l, 22; Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20:125). Reports show that Ibn Rawandi and Hisham were co-opinionated about this, some even presented Ibn Rawandi as aligned with Hisham (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20:118). Some [non-Imamite] texts specify, “Hisham b. Hakam introduced this [Explicit Nas] into Imamism, but Ibn Rawandi succored” (Taftazani, 1409 l, 5:261-2; Humsi Razi, 1414 l, 2:314).

Regarding the topic that there are mutawatir reports pointing to nass, it must be mentioned that there was a current of Imamis which denied the mutawatir-ness of such hadiths (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20: 118, 125-6). Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, in al-Mughni, writes, “Hisham argued that such narrations are mutawatir and Ibn Rawandi followed him” (ibid, 20:118).

Some claim that Hisham established the concept of ismah (infallibility, impeccability, and/or inerrancy) (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, ba, 2:551) Ibn Rawandi also believed in ismah (ibid, 2:528-9). Apparently, Ibn Rawandi took this opinion from HIsham (ibid), the reason Ibn Rawandi cited Hisham’s view of ismat in his books (ibid, 2:550-1). Hisham believed that the ayahs confirm the Imamite view of nas and ismat (ibid, 551). Ibn Rawandi also used this to prove the correlation between nas and ismat (Sharif Murtada, 1410 l, 2:257-8).

Truth of Man (Haqiqat-e Insan)

Hisham professed that man’s compositionally bipartite, body and soul. The body is dead and, in actuality, the soul possesses the free-choice (ikhtiyar) for all bodily functions. The soul possesses the power of sensation and doing. Hisham considered the soul man’s true component, the soul is a nur (light) of nurs (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 60-1). Action and understanding, all is by an immaterial spirit. Hence, the soul is the basis of the Truth of Man.

Ibn Rawandi expressed two opinions, though we are unaware when. In one, he was a follower of Mu’amar’s view (Khayat, 100). Mu’amar’s view, influenced from philosophers like Hisham, was in the non-corporeality of the Truth of Man (Shahrestani, 1386, 1:81; for an explanation of his old view, see Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 11:311-2). Ibn Rawandi, explaining Mu’amar’s view, says, “Mu’amar believed that the Truth of Man merely seemed visual, it possesses no corporeal qualities,” i.e. form, divisibility, movement and stillness do not apply. Mu’amar believed that the Truth of Man controls man, e.g. giving movement, even though it is invisible (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 11:311-2; Khayat, 100). In short, according to Mu’amar, the Truth of Man is non-corporeal and location-less. Mu’amar considered the Truth of Man as integral, manager of the universe (Ash’ari, 1400 l, 331-2; Shahrestani, 1386, 1:81). This view of Ibn Rawandi mirrored Hisham’s, we do not know when he espoused and [finally] left it (Khayat, 100).

His other opinion was that the Truth of Man is an independent agent; a singular thing living in the heart, and all body parts are ruled by the heart (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 11:311). In all parts of the body lived sentient spirits, from them emanate sensations, like pain. Importantly, the spirit that resides in the heart is different from the rest (ibid, 11:311, 331). This differs greatly from Hisham’s view.


Of course, there are other similarities between Hisham and Ibn Rawandi. They include Divine Providence (mashiyat-e ‘ama-e ilahi), Divine Creation (sifat-e takwin-e ilahi), Coercive Wisdom (ma’rifat-e ilahi), faith (iman). Non-kalami topics include Negation of Waiving (nafi-e i’rad), and land. Unfortunately, length of the article forces to cut shot.


This document demonstrates that Ibn Rawandi and Hisham b. Hakam, unignorably, have a great deal in common. Although Ibn Rawandi did not emulate Hisham entirely, it is clear that Hisham was his inspiration [his “idol,” as said coloquially]. Ibn Rawandi was the biggest championer of Imamism, opposing the domineering Mutazilites. The idea of Ibn Rawandi converting to atheism is preposterous, such accusations are ascribable to jealousy.


  1. It should be noted that Khayat writes his own opinions of these men (Khayat, 36-7), in another place he introduces them as moderate Imamites according to Ibn Rawandi (Ibid, 236).
  2. The original is as follows: –أجازوا فى الكتاب ـ أو كثير منهم ـ الزيادة و النقصان– “They [the Imamite scholars] – countless of them – espoused decrease and increase of the Quran” [i.e. that the sahabis added forged ayahs and deleted ayahs]. It seems that the phrase “countless of them” was not part of Jabayi’s original [it seems out of place for him to say this]. It is possible that Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, or another scribe, added it (Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, 1965, 20:37-8).

Imam Hassan and Hussain’s (a) Participation in the Islamic Conquests: Part 2

Akhrawi FatimaTaarikh Pazhoohi, Spring 1391, number 50

*For more information, see part 1.

*For the original Persian, click here.

Due to its controversial nature for some lay-Shias, I added this article. It gives more insight into the reality of the Imams. As usual, the original Persian will be abridged. To see the footnotes, view the original. Half of the article was about the killing of Uthman, which I did not translate.


Imam Hasan (a) was born in Madina in Ramadan of 3 AH.1 His behavior mirrored the Prophet (p), with whom he (a) spent seven and a half years,2 and the Prophet (p) loved him (a) dearly.3 Following the his (p) demise, initially, Imam Ali (a) and a small group dissented Abu Bakr’s nomination, but he (a) quickly surrendered and never dissented in order to maintain harmony. Subsequent to Uthman’s murder at the hands of the rebels, only after much insistence did Imam Ali (a) eventually accept caliphate, followed by his son Hasan (a).

In this article, we endeavored to review the oldest Islamic sources. Unfortunately, many are lost, including… [see original] so that fact be distinguished from fiction (propaganda against the Ahlulbayt).

Even though they (a) viewed caliphate as the right of Imam Ali (a), it did prevent them (a) from assisting the first three caliphs and engaging in the jihad of Tabaristan during Uthman’s reign.

Imam Hasan (a) During Abu Bakr’s Reign

Imam Hasan (a) was no more than seven-years-old when Abu Bakr became caliph in 11 AH. Still, sources indicate that, like his parents and younger brother, he did not pledge. They (a) visited the houses of the Muhajirs and Ansar to inform them of the usurpation that occurred and to seek aid,4 however, they did not receive the response that they (a) had hoped.

Imam Ali’s (a) household saw hardship due to the loss of Fadak via Abu Bakr5 and the loss of Fatima (a).

Ali (a), in this period, withdrew from politics, occupying himself with agriculture. We can assume that Hasan (a), being the oldest son, learned agriculture from his (a) father and aided him in the fields. In addition, they attended the congregational salat.

Muh̪ib Tabari states – Imam Hasan (a) witnessed the the loss their rights. Assuming the reliability of the report in al-Ashraaf Balaadhari, “Once, when Abu Bakr was sermonizing on the pulpit, [7-8 year-old] Imam Hasan (a) interrupted, ‘You are seated upon the minbar of my father.'”6 Historians differ over Abu Bakr’s response, according to one view, Abu Bakr concurred, “Indeed, this is the seat of your father.”7 Expectedly, Abu Bakr continued in his actions such that while on his deathbed he lamented, “If only I refused (political) responsibility and handed the matter over to Umar.”8

Imam Hasan (a) During Umar’s Reign

Imam Hasan (a) matured in this era (13-23 AH). In 15 AH, Umar finalized the newly enhanced hierarchical pension [Abu Bakr payed everyone equally]. In this novel system, emoluments hinged upon the date of conversion (the earlier the better) and soldierly succor. The highest paygrade began with Abas, the Prophet’s (p) uncle, and the rest of the Hashimites.9 It is worthy of mention that Umar considered Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) as Badris, granting them the highest pension in the entire system, 5,000 dirhams [according to my math, relying on this and this, this amounts to ~17,846.5].10

There is no mention of Imams Ali, Hasan, nor Hussain (a) participating in the Islamic conquests in this period. Thus, they likely did not.

While on his deathbed, Umar formed a shura of six [senior sahabas] so that they may elect one amongst them as caliph. In addition, Umar willed that Hasan (a) and Abdullah b. Abas act as beholders because of their closeness to the Prophet (p). He declared, “I am hopeful that the participation of these two will bless the shura for, verily, Hasan and Abdullah b. Abas are uninterested in caliphate. I shall send my son Abdullah to onlook as well.”11 We are unsure of Imam Hasan’s (a) reaction to the whole situation, maybe Umar did this in order to decrease possible protest.

Imam Hasan (a) During Uthman’s Reign (23-35 AH)

Imam Hasan (a) turned twenty-years-old during the start of Uthman’s caliphate, the pinnacle of vigor and strength. It is well-known that, in this era, Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) enlisted in the jihads. Sources state that, in 25 AH, Uthman commanded Sa’d b. Abi Sarh̪ to capture Ifriqiya [near modern-day Tunisia].12 Uthman also ordered the two, ‘Uqba b. Naafi’ b. Abd al-Qays and Abdullah b. Naafi’ b. al-H̪aarith, to do the same, but their offensive was less successful, ending in a stalemate wherein the denizens were forced to pay jizya and a tribute in exchange for peace. Following which, Abdullah b. Abi Sarh̪ requested Uthman for backup. Uthman, in turn, formed a vast army in Medina who went to his aid consisting of Ibn Abas, Hasan (a), Hussain (a), and Ibn Ja’far T̪ayaar which, in 26 AH, brought the necessary manpower allowing the province to be conquered.13 Nevertheless, the participation of Imam Hasan (a) in the jihad of Ifriqiya is not certain, since the matter is absent in some books like Futooh̪ al-Baldaan, Futooh̪ Mis̪r wa al-Maghrib, Tarikh Tabari, and Ya’qoobi.

Another jihad in this era is the Conquest of Tabaristan (present day Mazandaran). According to Tabari, on the authority of H̪ansh b. Maalik, “In 30 AH, Sa’eed b. ‘Aas̪ commanded an enormous army, including sahabas like Hasan (a), Hussain (a), and Abas. First, they went to [i.e. conquered] Mazandaran, then the soldiery marched to Gorgan, where peace was settled for 200,000 dinars.14 Following the victory of Tabaristan, the army traveled to T̪amaseeya, adjacent to Gorgan, wherein a battle ensued and the soldiers of Islam were triumphant.15

It is quite likely that Imam Hasan (a) participated in this conquest, though a group contested it. We read in Futooh̪ al-Baldaan, “It is said that Hasan (a) and Hussain (a) participated in the Conquest of Tabaristan.” The contesting group claims that, since the phrase ‘it is said’ is used, the participation of the two Imams is unlikely. In response, we say that their conclusion lacks evidence [since most of Islamic history, like the details of Ashura, use such evidence. To negate, they need evidence discrediting their (a) participation]. The deniers also claim that in Tabari, the names of Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) is absent.16 However, this is false as their names are mentioned in Tabari as warriors in the Conquest of Tabaristan.17

Imam Hassan and Hussain’s (a) Participation in the Islamic Conquests: Part 1

*For more information, see part 2.

Ahmed Zamaani is a well-read, well-traveled researcher. He entered the Mashhadi hawza in 1348 SH (~1969 AD) and has pursued Islamic studies ever since. He has traveled and studied all over his home country of Iran, as well as Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

The scholar penned a doctoral thesis titled H̪aqaayeq-e Penhaan – Pazhoohishi dar Zindagaani-e Siyaasi Imaam H̪asan-e Mujtabaa (Concealed Truths – A Study into the Political Life of Imam Hasan Mujtaba). The introduction is by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani, lauding the researcher for his work in this understudied area, demonstrating approval. On page 49, the author discusses the participation of Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) in the Islamic conquests. The book can be found here.

I decided to translate and paraphrase this section as there is a common misconception within Shia laymen that ‘it is unthinkable for the Imams to have partook in the Islamic conquests.’

It should be noted that Uthman’s caliphate lasted from 23-35 AH; Imam Hassan (a) was born 3 AH and Imam Hussain (a) 4 AH. Their age explains why the Imams participated during Uthman’s reign. Whereas, the older sahabas, such as Ammar b. Yasir, Salman Farsi, Miqdad, Abu Dhar, Bilal, etc all partook during Abu Bakr and Umar’s reigns.

*Note, the term jihad is absent in the original. I add it for clarity.

The Participation of Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) in the Islamic Conquests

Just like Abdullah b. Abas, Hudhayfa b. Yamaan, Abdullah b. Zubayr, Abdullah b. Umar, and many others – Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) cooperated in the annexations of North Africa, Tabaristan, Gorgan, and more.

According to historians Ibn Athir, Ibn Khaldun, Sayid Haashim Ma’roof al-Hasani, and ‘Alaama Baqir Shareef Qarshi – Hasan and Hussain (a) only participated in the conquest of North Africa in 26 AH alongside 10,000 fellow militarymen. The collaboration of the two beloveds of the Prophet (p) greatly uplifted the warriors’ spirits and, thanks to the blessings of their (a) presence, the Muslims achieved a glorious victory. Noble sahabas within the infantry included Abdullah b. Ja’far, and Abdullah b. Abas (162).

Abu Na’eem Is̪fahaani writes about Imam Hasan (a), “He (a) combated and fought [bravely] like his fellow soldiers, until they entered [i.e. conquered] Isfahan. Then, they traveled [~800-900 km] until they crossed and conquered Gorgan.”163 Furthermore, it is said, “Sa’eed b. ‘Aas̪ commanded the charge into Tabaristan (modern day Mazandaran). Many sahabas participated, including Abdullah b. Abas, Hasan, and Hussain (a). This triumph occurred in 30 AH.”164 (p. 118)

Those who Discredit Their (a) Participation in the Conquests

There are some, like Ustad Ja’far Murtad̪a ‘Amili, who negate any possibility of the Imams collaborating within the Islamic jihads. They say, “These conquests were not for Islam’s best interest. Besides, abetting in the land seizure would signify endorsing Uthman’s caliphate.”165

A Response to the Deniers, Critically and Scholarly

Abu Bakr and Umar upheld an isolationist policy lasting twelve years (until Umar’s demise), restricting the sahaba to Madina. Uthman’s globalist policy, particularly between 25-29 AH, brought new opportunities. Participating in the Islamic conquests meant expanding Islam’s borders and influence, unquestionably within Islam’s best interest. Additionally, the collaboration of Imams Hasan and Hussain (a) provided the perfect opportunity for the spread of Imam Ali’s (a) message. If one realizes this, it becomes impossible for the Imams not to have fought.

In this era, we see that Hazrat Ali (a) was without [political] responsibility. Even when he (a) was requested to take a governmental position, he (a) declined, a possible indication of his (a) disapproval of Uthman’s administration. Thus, (p. 199) the crusading of Hasan and Hussain (a), in no way whatsoever, implies approval. The two Imams consulted their father (a) before battling in North Africa, Tabaristan, Gorgan, etc, for they (a) would never do something to displease him (a). This could explain why the twain did not join the other jihads.

By sending his (a) [favorite] sons to jihad, Imam Ali (a) displayed his Good Thought (h̪usn-e z̪an), that expanding Islamdom’s borders, in order to spread Islam, was his (a) greatest wish. Imam Ali (a) wanted all to know that this was a dream-come-true; hence, if he (a) were to ever oppose Uthman, all would know that it would be for the sake of preserving the Messenger’s (p) teachings, not due to being power-hungry.

Imam Ali’s (a) non-allegiance to the three caliphs is an evident indication for his (a) disagreement; a fact all sahaba perceived. Moreover, Hazrats Hasan and Hussain (a) were not “Imams” during that era; not responsible for leading the Muslims. Thus, it is probable that these are reasons for why Imam Ali (a) enlisted his (a) beloved sons.

The Ghulat Surrounding Imam Reda (a): Part 3 – Opposing the Ghulats

**Due to the length of this research article, the translation has been split into multiple parts. View part 1, and part 2.

*Similar parts, including hadiths, are shortened/omitted for brevity.

In the time of Imam Reda (a), a culture of Ghulati hadith fabrication existed, exaggerating and overdoing the Imams’ status. Some narrations were forged and spread by their (a) enemies, intending to defame them (a). Eventually, such hadiths ended up in the compilations of the companions.104 These reports proliferated in Khorasan and Iraq, falsely attributed to Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a).

Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman realized on his journey [I believe from Nishapur, Iran] to Iraq that many of the so-called hadiths he penned, whom he heard from the companions of Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a), were the concoctions of Abu al-Khattab and his henchmen. Yunus noted, ‘Even until now, those abettors continue to fabricate in the name of the Ahlulbayt (a).’105

According to Muhammad b. Zayd Tabari, in a primarily Hishamite gathering in Khorasan, including Ish̪aaq b. Musa b. Isa Abasi and Imam Reda (a), Ish̪aaq was told,

We have heard that many allege that ‘we (Ahlulbayt) profess that we are Lords [gods] and that the people are our slaves.’106

This implies that many Muslims believed that the Imams taught these Ghulati doctrines.107 This is why when Abaas̪ilat Harawi reached Imam Reda (a), his first question was ‘whether the Imams truly state that the people are their slaves,’ indicating its prevalence.108

The Ghulatism of Imam Reda’s (a) era can be categorized into the following:

  1. The misbelieving influencees of Abu al-Khattab.
  2. Those who believed in the Lordship of Imam Sadiq (a), prophethood of Muhammad b. Basheer, metempsychosis, h̪ulool (transmigration of God’s soul), and antinomianism .
  3. For the first time, the Babship (gateship) was claimed. Muhammad b. Furat claimed to be the prophet and Imam Reda’s (a) Bab (gate).
  4. The fabricated hadiths of Abu al-Khattab and his henchmen proliferated.

Imam Reda’s (a) Opposition to the Ghulats

1. Opposition to Muhammad b. Basheer and the Bashirites

Ibn Basheer negated the death of Imam Kazim (a), declaring that he (a) is the occulted mahdi.109-111 As a consequence of Ibn Basheer’s disinformation, Imam Reda (a) attested:

God raised hellfire’s temperature for Muhammad b. Basheer.112

When Ibn Basheer was arrested and placed on death-row for witchcraft, he made the caliph an irresistible offer, “If you let me live, I shall perform such wonders that all other kings will become jealous.” Thus, he was spared and his deeds caused him to become close with the political establishment. This was, until, one day, during an act of demonry, one of his props fell and shattered. Everyone realized that he was no sorcerer, he was an illusionist. As punishment, he was tortured to death.113 Ali b. Hamza says,

I have never seen an execution worse than that of Muhammad b. Bashir, may God’s curse be upon him.114

The fact that scholars reject his narrations, like Ayatullah Khui,115 is a model of the severe opposition of the Imams against him.116 Imam Reda (a) considered the Waqifites infidels and slammed them for their great lie [that Imam Kazim (a) is alive], he (a) adds:

If God would have chosen any of Adam’s descendants to keep alive, He would have elected to keep Hazrat Muhammad (p) alive.117

Imam Reda (a) opposed the creed of his (a) brother, Ibrahim b. Musa b. Ja’far, who claimed that their father is still vital. Imam Reda (a) stated:

Just as personages like the Prophet (p)/Imam Ali (a) pass away, so has my father.118/120

In another hadith he (a) stated:

By God, my dad left this world. His belongings were given away and his bondwomen have married.119

Abu Jarir Qumi asked Imam Reda (a) if he (a) swears that his father, Imam Kazim (a), genuinely did die. Imam Reda (a) swore many times in his (a) response that, indeed, Imam Kazim (a) did truly breathe his last. Abu Jarir assumed that Imam Reda (a) was dissimulating, so he sent another letter asking, “Are you dissimulating with me?” Imam Reda (a) strongly denies any taqqiya and writes:

He (Imam Kazim) has left this world. I am his (a) legatee and the current Imam.121

In another response, he (a) told Ahmed b. ‘Umar H̪alaal:

Inform the Waqifites that I performed the ‘ghusl of the dead’ on my father’s corpse.122

Allama Majlisi states that, as a result of the many narrations, it is possible that Imam Reda (a) performed the ghusl of the dead on his dad.123

2. Opposing the Mufawidites (Delegators)

Most narrations opposing the Delegators come from Imam Reda (a). He (a) negates any notion of the Imams maintaining and sustaining the universe. He labeled them all polytheists, contradicting the fundamental notion of tawhid. Yaasir Khaadim asked Imam Reda (a) about the Delegators, he (a) responded:

God, the glorious and majestic, granted religious authority to the Prophet (p) and He proclaimed: “Accept whatever your Prophet brings you and shun whatever he (p) instructs you to shun.”124 Nonetheless, God did not grand creation to him (p).

The Imam affirms that God is the all-Creator and all-Sustainer, using Suras Zamr verse 62 and Rum verse 40 as proofs,127 and in hadiths.128 The Imam (a) even cursed the mushrik Delegators.129 In a response to Zayd b. ‘Umayr Mu’awiya, he (a) asserts:

Anyone who claims that God delegated the affairs of the creation to the Imams is a Mufawidite, and anyone who is a Mufawidite is a polytheist.130

The Imam (a) supplicated:

O great God, the power of creation is within Your hands and sustenance comes only from You. You are Who I worship.131

The Imam cursed the Kufan Delegators for denying Imam Hussain’s (a) martyrdom. He reminded the people of the prophetic hadith “Hussain shall be martyred” and that people better than Imam Hussain (a), Imams Ali and Hasan (a) were also killed. He swore to God that he (a) truly was killed. Then, he informed them that he (a) will be poisoned by Mamun.132 He added to his (a) supplication:

Nobody but Isa (a) has ascended to heaven.133

The Ghulats used sura Nisa verse 141 as evidence that Imam Hussain (a) survived.

3. Opposing the Prominent Ghulats

Opposition to Yunus b. Zibyan

One day a man repeated the falsified hadiths of Yunus to the Imam (a). He became so irritated that he (a) ordered the man out and added:

May God curse you and the man who transmitted you this forgery. May God curse Yunus b. Zibyan 1,000 x 1,000 times.” [one million times]

He added that ‘Abu al-Khattab, Yunus b. Zibyan, and their henchmen will see the worst punishments.’136 Two things about this hadith:

  1. The man who narrated to the Imam was a Ghulat. It is said he expired moments later.137
  2. Yunus b. Zibyan is affiliated with Abu al-Khattab, a disgrace.

Opposition to Muhammad b. Furat and other Ghulats

Ibn Furat did not pray and drank alcohol. At first, the Imam (a) attempted to guide the heretic by sending him a prayer mat and dates, prayer man indicating salat and dates indicating sobriety.138 Later on, he (a) disgraced him and said:

Nobody has lied upon us as much as Muhammad b. Furat.

In addition, he stated that the misdeeds of Ibn Furat upon him (a) exceed the misdeeds of Abu al-Khattab upon Imam Sadiq (a).139 Due to their forgeries, God raised hell’s temperature for Bayaan b. Sam’aan, Mugheera b. Sa’eed, Abu al-Khattab, and Muhammad b. Basheer; Muhammad .b Furat is like them.140

Prior to death, Imam Reda (a) was distraught what would happen to Ibn Furat’s evil teachings after his (a) passing. Following the dua of Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman, where he (a) prays that God removes His mercy from him, he (a) states:

O God, remove him from Your mercy and compound hellfire’s heat for them. All I request is that my companions are warned (of his teachings) and that they are made aware of my curse upon them and disgust for them.141

In another hadith, after excommunicating the Mufawidites as polytheists, he (a) adds:

Anyone who sits, eats, drinks, marries, socializes, protects, authenticates their hadiths, or even helps them with even half a word has exited the wilaya of God and us.142

According to the Imam (a), respecting the Ghulats is equivalent to loathing the Ahlulbayt (a) and abhorring the Ghulats equals loving the Ahlulbayt (a). They are not to be esteemed or heard.143

4. Opposing Ghulati Beliefs

Emphasizing the Imams’ human qualities

In response to those who claimed that mankind is the slave of the Ahlulbayt (a), Imam Reda (a) proclaimed, “Neither I nor any of my ancestors have said such.”144 He (a) informed Abu S̪alt Harawi:

If all people are our slaves, then to whom should we sell them?145

According to the Imams, people are only obligated to obey their (a) religious orders.146 Imam Reda (a) transmits via Imam Ali (a):

Do not elevate us above slaves. [i.e. we Ahlulbayt (a) are slaves of God like you]147

Emphasizing their humanity, Imam Reda (a) reminds that the Ahlulbayt (a) are begotten and beget, sometimes sick and healthy, eat and drink, urinate and defecate, marry and sleep, bemoan and rejoice, cry and laugh, live and die, questioned [on judgement day].155

One day a man asked Imam Reda (a) concerning his (a) divinity. He asked, “O descendant of the Messenger, I met a gent who knows about you. He claims that your qualities are those of the Commander of the Believers Ali (a), and he (Ali) is the Lord of the worlds.”

The Imam (a) shuddered and began to sweat. He (a) responded: “What Polytheists! Did Ali not consume sustenance? Did he not wed? Did he not weep as he prayed and supplicated to the Lord? How could such an individual be the Almighty?! If possessing such qualities causes one to be a god, then you all are gods.”157

Opposing the suspicions of the Ghulats, he (a) asserted that any miracle performed by Imam Ali (a) was thanks to the permission and might of the Most High.158

Opposition to the Reincarnationists and H̪uloolists (H̪ulool proponents)

When Mamun asked about reincarnation, the Imam answered: “Believing in reincarnation is blasphemous, impugning heaven and hell.”160 He (a) declared Reincarnationists as misbelievers, stating that the belief is a telltale sign of the Ghulats.

In a response to Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman’s mailed inquiry, “Was any Godly substance within Adam?” The Imam answered that this originates from the zindeeqs [Manichaean and/or heretics] and is only professed by those uninformed of the sunna.162

Opposition to the Ghulati Narrations

Of the greatest activities of the Ghulatis which began in the era of Imam Baqir (a), likely spearheaded by Mugheera b. Sa’eed163 was hadith fabrication and infiltrating their misattributions into the collections of the companions. These forgeries were Ghulati, overdoing the status of the Imams and endowing them virtues they (a) did not possess. In Imam Reda’s (a) imamate, some of the companions believed in these hadiths. Ibrahim b. Abu Mah̪mood asked the Imam (a) whether or not to accept such narrations, he (a) responded:

Our opponents forged three sets of hadiths about us (a). The first overdoes (Ghulati), the second underdoes (Muqasiri), the third explicitly curses and reviles our enemies [Abu Bakr, Umar, etc]. When the people hear the Ghulati hadiths, like those deifying us, they will excommunicate the Shias. When they hear the Muqasiri hadiths, they will underdo us. When they hear the uncensored reviling hadiths, they will detest and badmouth us.164

When Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman journeyed to Iraq. After reviewing his hadith collection, the Imam (a) renounced their ascription to Imam Sadiq (a), labeling them the inventions of Abu al-Khattab.

After cursing the fabricators of these Ghulati narrations, Abu al-Khattab and the antinomianists, whose falsified reports made their way into the companions’ hadith compilations,165 the Imam (a) taught the most fundamental hadith criterion, “That which concurs with the Quran and prophetic sunna is admissible, for nothing we utter departs from the Quran-cum-sunna dyad. Dismiss whatever contradicts the twain.”166

Hussain b. Khalid, a companion, complained to the Imam (a) that the populace object to the Shia due to espousing beliefs of divine compulsion (jabr) and divine anthropomorphism (tashbeeh) [the bygone Imamites promoted tashbih and tajsim], the reason being their (a) hadiths. Imam Reda (a) answered that, just as the Prophet (p) did not preach this, neither did they (a); such narrations are falsely attributed.167

In response to the hadith from Muhammad b. Zar’a, from Samaa’a b. Mahraan, via Imam Sadiq (a): “Verily, my son (Imam Kazim) mirrors five prophets. He will be envied just as Yusuf was envied. He will be occulted just as Yunus was occulted…” Imam Reda (a) retorted: “Zar’a is a liar, the phrase ‘my son’ was not uttered, for this narration is apropos of none other than the Qaim (a).”168

Why Not Execute Them?

Some may wonder, would not it have been more efficacious for the Imam (a) to decree the executions of heathens like Muhammad b. Bashir and Muhammad b. Furat in lieu of merely cursing them?

One response is the political situation. The Imams did not enjoy the political power to do so. When Isa Jurjaani informed Imam Sadiq (a) of a Shia sect that worships him (a), the Imam wept and swore, “If God grants me power and ability, and I neglect to shed their blood. May He shed the blood of my children for my shortcoming.”169

Furthermore, as the theologies of the Shias and Sunnis were not yet formed, the people did not realize the danger the Ghulats posed.

The Ghulat Surrounding Imam Reda (a): Part 2 – The Delegators (Mufawidites)

*Due to the length of this research article, the translation has been split into multiple parts. *View part 1 and part 3.

The Delegators (Mufawidites)

Mufawidism (tafwid̪) stems from Arabic meaning “delegation.”57, 58 In this context, it refers to a group which believed that God ‘delegated all universal responsibilities – including creation, management, and sustenance – to the Prophet (p) and/or Imams.’60

The belief in Delegation spread during the lifetime of Imam Sadiq (a), and was negated by him (a) and the following Imams. Although some [scholars] claim that this “Delegation” referred to “kalami Delegation” [possibly seeking to justify the claims of tafwid̪ against men like Mufad̪d̪al b. Umar Ju’fi], this is impossible as that definition formed at the end of the second century.61

Imam Sadiq (a) used the term “Delegation” to identify those who believed that God delegated the affairs to the Prophet (p) and/or Imams.62 Imam Reda (a) labels a group of Kufans as Delegators;63, 64 they believed that ‘Imam Hussain (a) did not die, a man named H̪anz̪ila b. Sa’d was martyred in his (a) place; Imam Hussain (a), like Jesus (a), ascended to heaven.’65 Their proof for this was surah Nisa, ayah 141.67

Prominent Delegators

Abu al-Khat̪t̪aab

Since Yunus b. Zibyan is oft-mentioned as a ‘Ghulat identical to Abu al-Khat̪t̪aab,’ it is useful to first become acquainted with Abu al-Khattab. Abu al-Khat̪t̪aab, Muhammad b. Maqlaas̪ b. Abi Zaynab Asadi Kufi is the most well-known Ghulat in the era of the Imams. Initially, he was a close companion of the Imam Sadiq (a) and was most active during his (a) era.68

Incipient Ghulatism (ghulu) surfaced when he self-proclaimed ‘knowledge of the unseen’ (‘ilm-e ghayb) and awareness of ‘the greatest name’ (ism-e az̪am).69, 70 He, then, amplified it by self-proclaiming prophethood and deifyingthe Imams.71 He professed that the actions of the Imam can be seen through the universe’s happenings.72, 73 Eventually, he deified himself.74 Some sources indicate that he was a antinomianist.75

In 138 AH, Abu al-Khattaab and 70 adherents were arrested at the grand mosque of Kufa, followed by execution via hanging.76 His teachings influenced a multitude of upcoming sects – including the Khat̪t̪aabites, Ma’marites (attributed to Ma’mar b. Ah̪mar), ‘Umayrites (attributed to ‘Umayr b. Bayaan ‘Ajali H̪umayri), Mufad̪d̪alites (attributed to Mufad̪d̪al b. ‘Umar Ju’fi), and the companions of Sari (attributed to Sari Aqs̪am).77-80 During the eras of Imams Reda, Jawad, and Hadi (a), countless persons were members of these Ghulati ideologies.81

Yoonus b. Z̪ibyaan

Yunus b. Zibyan was such a person, a famous Kufan Ghulat of Imam Reda’s (a) era. Rijalists have labeled him a Ghulat, liar, and hadith fabricator.82, 83 Fad̪l b. Shadhaan asseverates that Yunus b. Zibyan was a prominent liar, equal to Abu al-Khattab.84 This is why Imam Reda (a) proclaimed that ‘torment awaits those who accompany (i.e. support) Abu al-Khattab and Yunus b. Zibyan.’85

It is narrated that when Abu al-Khattab’s daughter died, Yunus b. Zibyan went to her grave to pay his last respects. He whimpered,

Peace be upon you o daughter of Allah’s Messenger.86

This statement affirms that Yunus b. Zibyan championed Abu al-Khattab’s prophethood. Just as Abu al-Khattab deified Imam Sadiq (a), Yunus deified Imam Reda (a).87 In addition, he proclaimed,

One night I was occupied in tawaf when, suddenly, a divine voice from above roared – “O Yunus, I am the one Lord. No god exists, but me. Worship me and remember me when standing for salat.” I raised my head and, at that moment, beheld Gabriel.88

Just like Abu al-Khattab, he professed that the actions of the Imam can be seen in the happenings of the universe.89

Muhammad b. Furaat

Muhammad b. Musa b. Husayn b. Furaat was another Kufan Ghulat.90, 91 He self-proclaimed prophethood and Bab (Baabiyat, gateship) of Imam Reda (a).92 He was a consumer of alcohol, a sign of antinomianism.93 Muhammad b. Furat, just like Yunus b. Zibyan, was a lying protege of Abu al-Khattab.94 He was sentenced to death by Ibrahim b. Mahdi b. Mansoor, also known as Ibrahim Shakla (d. 224).95, 96

Abu Sameena

Muhammad b. Ali b. Ibrahim b. Musa, better known as Abu Sameena, was another such Ghulat.97 Sources state that he was a companion of Imam Reda (a).98 Originally a Kufan, he immigrated to Qum, near Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Isa (also known as ‘The Sheikh of the Qummis,’ a companion to Imams Reda, Jawad and Hadi (a). He authored much in the way of hadith).99 Once Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Isa became aware of his Ghulatism, he banished Abu Sameena from the city.100 He is counted among the famous Ghulats alongside Abu al-Khattab, Yunus b. Zibyan, and among the forefront fabricators.101

According to the dissertation Aaraa wa Andeesha-hay Kalaami-e Muhammad bin ‘Ali Abu Sumeena,102 no scholar has ever directly declared him as trustworthy. Some have presumed his reliability indirectly as a result of (1), numerous renowned hadith transmitters disseminating his reports and (2), multiple hadith sources showing consistently that acclaimed men transmit from Abu Sumeena.103

The Ghulat Surrounding Imam Reda (a): Part 1 – The Waqifites and Bashirites

*Due to the length of this research article, the translation has been split into multiple parts. View part 2 and part 3.

Yad Allah H̪aajeezaada – Graduate student of Islamic History and Civilization at the Islamic Maaref University.

The original Persian article can be accessed here and here.

*I paraphrase for brevity. References will not be translated, but corresponding numbers will be mentioned for most. Due to length, this post will be split into multiple articles.

*What is written between brackets [] is my commentary.

*The author recommends other books and research articles, mentioned in the introduction.


Ghulatism continued during the reign of Imam Reda (a) (183-203). Examples of heterodox beliefs in this era include asserting the mahdiship of Imam Kazim (a), tafwid (delegation), divine corporealism, metempsychosis, and the transmigration of God’s soul (incarnation, h̪ulūl).

Ghulatism (ghulū) means to “overdue one’s status;” in contrast, muqassarism is to underdo. These definitions are open to interpretation, however.

Sheikh Mufid quotes Muhammad b. Hasan b. Ahmed b. Waleed, “Negating sahw (the belief that the Prophet forgot) is the first step towards Ghulatism.” Mufid counters, “If he truly uttered this, then he is an Underdoer (Muqasir).”9 This demonstrates the ikhtilaf between the Qumis and Baghdadis.10

This article will be divided into Waaqifites, Basharites, prominent Ghulats, and Ghulati hadiths.

The Waaqifites

Theologically, Waqifism means “to discontinue after a certain Imam;” for example, to believe that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) is the Mahdi and deny the future Imams. Although Waqifism existed for other Imams, Waqifism is used almost exclusively for those who believe in the mahdiship of Imam Kazim (a).

The Waqifites were a large group with approximately five or six main subsects.24 Some believe Imam Kazim (a) is the occulted Mahdi.25 Others claimed that he (a) died but will arise, they awaited his return.26 Although not all Waqifites were Ghulats, many believed in metempsychosis, hulool, and antinomianism, as affirmed by Sharif Murtada.28

A major reason for the discontinuing of Imams was fabricated narrations attributed to Imam Sadiq (a). Imam Kazim (a) was asked, “Are you the Riser (qaim)? He (a) answered, “All Imams were qaims of Imamate.”45-47 It was even rumored that the reason Imam Reda (a) affirmed his (a) father’s death was due to dissimulation.48 These hadiths were so persuasive, that when Qiyaamaa Wasit̪i witnessed a miracle of Imam Reda (a), he remained a Waqifite. In a dialogue with Imam Reda (a) he stated:

I asked Imam Reda (a), how can you be the “speaking Imam” if there is no “quiet Imam?” (The speaking Imam acts as Imam, whereas the quiet Imam is quiet until it is his turn. Imam Sadiq was the quiet Imam during Imam Baqir’s lifetime, but became the speaking Imam after his dad’s death) (this incident occurred before Imam Taqi’s birth). After one year, Imam Taqi (a) was born. Ibn Qiyaamaa was asked, “Is this not a convincing miracle?” He responded, “By God, this is a considerable miracle. Nevertheless, how could I oppose what Imam Sadiq (a) stated about his (a) own descendant?”50

Another reason for the discontinuing was the financial mismanagement of Imam Kazim’s (a) deputies (wakeels). Unbeknownst to the Shia masses, their idolized chiefs were engaging in embezzlement.51 The deputyship (wikaalah), was established during the tenure of Imam Sadiq (a) in order to facilitate Imam-cum-laity communication throughout Islamdom.52

In addition to the consequential conversion to Waqifism (denying Imam Reda) of Imam Kazim’s (a) preeminent deputies, other eminent Imamite jurists (faqeehs) also became Waqifites. According to Najashi:

Abdullah b. Jabla was a famous Waqifite and trusted jurist (faqeeh). He has authored books.53

Innumerable renowned Shias, such as the aforementioned, are viewed doubtfully on account of their Waqifism. Some of them professed the mahdiship of Imam Kazim (a) owing to the hadith, “The Imam performs ‘the ghusl of the dead’ solely upon the corpse of an Imam.”54 They used to say:

Ali b. Musa Reda was in Madina the moments his father, Imam Kazim (a), was martyred and interred in Baghdad. Seeing that Ali b. Musa Reda did not perform the ghusl of the dead upon his deceased father (a), Ali b. Musa Reda cannot be an Imam.55

Note, Imam Kazim (a) spent his (a) final years immured in Baghdad’s prisons. The imprisonment and martyrdom behind bars played a significant role in Waqifite thought.56

The Basharites

The Bashirites were a Ghulati Waqifite sect headed by Muhammad b. Basheer, a Kufan mawaali of Banu Asad.29 Muhamad b. Basheer began as a companion of Imam Kazim (a) who became a Waqifite.30, 31 Sources indicate he was a Deotheist (believed in two gods).33 He claimed that, outwardly, he was man, but internally, he was eternal. Hishaam b. Saalim debated him.34 Following Imam Kazim’s (a) death, Muhammad b. Basheer denied his (a) death and asserted his (a) mahdiship.35-38

The Bashirites claimed that Ibn Basheer is Imam Kazim’s (a) legatee (wasi). They say that the Imam (a) gifted him his (a) ring and taught him all necessary knowledge.39

Prior to his death, Ibn Basheer designated his son “Samee'” as his legatee and temporary Imam until the reappearance of Imam Kazim (a).40 They believed in the transmigration of souls. According to them, all Imams were one, their sanctified spirit transferred from one outer body to the next.41 In addition, they believe in the transmigration of God’s soul. According to them, Prophet Muhammad (p) was God on earth, he (p) did not pass away, but is reincarnated within anyone who is attributed to him (p). He (p) was neither begotten, nor did he (p) beget.42

The only Islamic practices they accepted were salat and fasting in Ramadan. Hajj, zakat, and other practices were negated. Marriage between mahrams was licit, such as between parent and child, [likely a remnant of Zoroastrian culture, read here about xwedoda]. Sura Shura verse 50 was their evidence. This is a sign of them being antinomianists.