Rafed English

Shiism and Its Types during the Early Centuries Part 1

Shiism and Its Types during the Early Centuries Part 1 by : Rasul Ja'fariyan


The literal meaning of shi 'ah is follower and supporter, and only when accompanied by a qualifier that does it signify the followers of a certain person. During the days when the word was used only in its common literal sense it was usually used along with the names of Ali (`a), 'Uthman or Mu'awiyah. Hence there would be the “shi'ah of Ali,” the “shi'ah of `Uthman” and the “shi`ah of Mu'awiyah.”

After some time the word shi'ah came to be used specifically as a term for the followers of Imam Ali ( `a) and during this period the article “al' in the word “al-shi`ah” clearly denoted the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a). It is difficult to determine the exact time since when the term al-shi'ah acquired currency as a name for the followers of Imam Ali ('a).

1Perhaps the letter written, on the occasion martyrdom of Imam Hasan ('a), by the Shi'is of Kufah under the lead of Sulayman ibn Surad as a message of condolence to Imam Husayn ('a) is the earliest documented instance of its use as a term. Ya'qubi has cited the text of this letter. In it the Sh'is of Kufah wrote:

ما أعظم ما أصيب به هذه الأمة عامة و أنت و هذه الشيعة خاصة

“How great is [the calamity] which has struck this ummah in general ('ammah), you, and the Shi'ah in particular (khassah)!”2

Here, one may as well note the use of the word 'ammah as a kind of term used in opposition to khassah as the term for the Shi'ah.

Another point which is important for understanding the development of the term shi'ah is to know whom it excluded. In other words, who were those who stood in contradistinction to the Shi`ah of Ali. There is indisputable evidence provided by older and recent research that there existed two distinct factions during the era of the Messenger of God (S). The first consisted of the Quraysh who were not on good terms with the Banu Hashim since before the advent of Islam. The second faction was that of the supporters of Ali consisting of the Hashimis and their supporters from among the Muhajirin and the Ansar, such as Abu Dharr, Ammar, Miqdad and Salman.

Al-Farsi concedes the existence of these two factions before the episode of Saqifah. 3 The extent of their political differences, which had religious roots from the very beginning, increased with time. For instance, some of the Companions from the very early days did not recognize a role for the Prophet's Sunnah by the side of the Qur'an.

This belief was the important characteristic of the Qurayshi faction. Denial of the religious authority of the Prophet's prescriptions and prohibition on the writing and narration of hadith are clearly visible elements in the stance of the leaders of this faction right from the Prophet's days.

Without doubt one can say that the Companions of the Prophet (S) formed two different groups from this angle: those who believed in the necessity of following the Prophet (S) in all aspects and those who did not consider it obligatory to follow the Prophet (S) in matters relating to government and political affairs. The pre-Islamic influence of the Quraysh, along with other factors, led the latter group to acquire power.

A little later when Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf laid down the condition that he would deliver the office of the caliphate to the candidate who would follow the practice (sirah) of the Shaykhayn (i.e. Abu Bakr and 'Umar) and Imam Ali insisted that he would base his policy only on the Qur'an, the sirah of the Prophet and his own judgments (ijtihad) it was obvious that the religious difference was gradually expanding.

Until the time when `Umar was in the office of the caliphate, the generality of people, excepting the followers of Imam Ali, followed the decrees (fatwa) of the State, not attaching much significance to the difference that existed at that time between the practice of the Prophet (S) and that of others.

But when `Uthman, besides allegations of political and financial misdemeanor, was accused of acts that were considered to be religiously deviant (bid'ah) and he was challenged by a large number of Companions, the problem arose as to whom the people should regard as a competent religious authority. In other words, who were they to emulate?

If we note that it was the opponents of the Qurayshi faction who led the movement against `Uthman, we can understand better the connection between differences on political and religious issues.

'Uthman was killed at the end of 35 H. /656 and Ali assumed the duties of caliphate. Now the leader of the anti-Qurayshi faction, who incidentally had no role in the revolt against `Uthman and whose counsel went unheeded by the extremists, had assumed the office of the caliphate.

From the very beginning, Syria, which led one wing of the Qurayshi faction, did not recognize his caliphate. Other leaders of the Qurayshi faction were Talhah and Zubayr who were also disgruntled with the rule of Imam Ali ('a). They made Basrah their base and as a consequence of this rebellion the Imam was compelled to shift his capital to Kufah. In Madinah itself a number of Companions, albeit very small, refused to give allegiance to the Imam. They were the `neutralists' (Qa'idin).

Aside from political issues, an important problem was the clarification of religious issues concerning controversial matters especially in relation to emergent issues. It was for this reason that two political and, as a consequence, religious factions emerged. There were those who accepted Imam Ali's religious authority and considered it a religious obligation to follow him; they were those who were not acceptable to the `Uthmanid party now represented by Syria and Basrah.

The second group consisted of those who were not prepared to accept the Imam's rule and opposed him with the motive of avenging `Uthman's death. All that which went into forming the attitudes of the opponents, acquiring a more developed form in the course of time, came to be called the `Uthmani creed. This creed stood in contrast to the `Alawid faction to which the term Shi`ah came to be applied shortly afterwards.

During the developments of the period of the Imam's caliphate, a group became the followers and supporters of Imam M and gradually came to be called al-Shi'ah or Shi'is. As against them a group of people became partisans of `Uthman and the `Uthmanid faction and they came to be known as al-'Uthmaniyyah or 'Uthmanis. For this reason the `Uthmaniyyah became the name for the religious approach that opposed Shi`ism.

In the course of time it came to represent the religion of the common people who took their religious beliefs and practices from the Umayyad rulers. The Umayyads considered themselves as the continuation of the earlier caliphs and considered Imam Ali ('a) as standing in contradistinction to them.

During this period, the term shi'ah generally stood in contrast to the term 'Uthmaniyyah. However, the term shi'ah was not used in a univocal sense in all its applications. Among the “Shi`is” there were those who were named so merely because they were against 'Uthman and supported the Imam as the legitimate caliph.Many of them also accepted the preceding caliphs and, as will be seen, they too were called `Shi'is' by extremist `Uthmanis.

However, among these undifferentiated Shi`is there were those who considered the Imamate as the sole right of Imam Ali ('a) as someone who had been appointed by the Prophet (S) to that office which they viewed as vested with a kind of Divine right. They did not consider it necessary to refrain from cooperating with the earlier caliphs, for the Imam himself had maintained silence in those circumstances for the sake of Islam, as was repeatedly pointed out by him.

In the course of their support of the `Uthmani creed, the Umayyads basically did not recognize the caliphate of Imam Ali ('a), and they propagated this notion throughout the greater part of Muslim society. However, this attitude did not find many supporters in Iraq, with the exception of Basrah. On the contrary, whenever there arose any opportunity the Iraqis would display, on the political scene, their belief in the right of the Alawids.

Beside the Shi'i and the 'Uthmani tendencies, there was a third one which related to the so-called Qa'idin, and Nashi' Akbar considers them as consisting of two groups with two different tendencies. According to him, one of them was the Hulaysiyyah, who believed that one should withdraw into political seclusion during tines of social turmoil (fitnah). They considered both the warring groups as misguided and destined for hell, and considered keeping aloof (qu'ud) from war as piety (din) and entry into it as `fitnah.'Abd Allah ibn `Umar, Muhammad ibn Muslimah and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas belonged to this group.

The second group of the Qa'idin was that of the “Mu'tazilah” who believed that one of the two warring groups was in the right but it could not be clearly identified. Abu Musa Ash'ari, Abu Said Khudri and Abu Mas'ud Ansari belonged to this group. According to Nashi' Akbar, they were the ones who were known as Mu'tazilah, and later on Wasil ibn Ata' and Amr ibn `Ubayd had a similar attitude regarding Talhah and Zubayr.4

An important concept employed by these two groups in their analysis of the state of affairs was that of fttnah, and they believed that during times of fitnah “it is better for one to be among those who get killed rather than being one of the killers.” 5 The Hijaz did not take sides in the conflict between the pro-Alid and pro-Umayyad parties, but it staged a movement which may be called “the movement of the Companion's descendants” (abna' al-sahabah).
With attention to what has been stated it may be said that in the early Islamic centuries the term Shi'ism (tashayyu') had a wider meaning than is current today. The term ‘tashayyu' today would be referred to in the old jargon of the `Uthmanis as `Rafd.' In that period the term Shi `ah in its general use was applied to those who preferred Imam Ali ('a) to `Uthman.

In addition those who preferred him to the other two caliphs or basically believed in his Imamate and that of his descendants were also called `Shi`ah.' In the sense of a general tendency a `Shi'ah' was someone who preferred Imam 'Ali to the other caliphs, while a `Rafidi' was someone who rejected the caliphate of Abu Bakr and `Umar and believed in the Imamate of Imam 'Ali ('a) as something ordained by God. `Shi`ism' in the above sense of a general tendency may be called `Iraqi Shi'ism.'

The Sunni’s viewpoint is, giving preference to Imam Ali ('a) over `Uthman which has been considered a heretical belief (bid'ah). 6 Some extreme Sunnis are even of the view that such a preference of the Imam over `Uthman is rafd. Hence they have said, `Someone who says, “Abu Bakr, `Umar, Ali and then `Uthman” (in a descending order or merit) is a rafidi or a heretic (mubtadi). 7

The people of Kufah were Shi'ah as they accepted this descending order of merit for the caliphs (Ahl al-Kufah yaqulun: Abu Bakr wa 'Umar wa 'Ali).8 It was said about the people of Wasit that they were Shi'ah (kana 'ammatu ahl a-Wasit yatashayyi'un). 9 It is stated in Masail al-Imamah that the Ahl al-Hadith from among the Kufans, such as Waki' ibn Jarrah and Fadl ibn Dukayn, were `Shi'is' because they believed in Ali's merit over `Uthman and considered Ali's caliphate to be legitimate (Yaz'amuna anna afdal al-nas bad al-Nabi [s] Abu Bakr thummah 'Umar thumma 'Ali, thumma 'Uthman, yuqaddimuna Aliyan 'ala 'Uthman wa hadha tashayyu' ashab al-hadith min al-Kufiyyin wa yuthbituna imamata 'Ali).

As against this viewpoint was that of the Ahl al-Hadith of Basrah who preferred `Uthman to Imam Ali, followed by the rest of the participants of the council (shura) constituted by 'Umar (afdal al-ummah bad al-Nabi [s] Abu Bakr, thumma 'Umar thumma 'Uthman, thumma 'Ali, thumma yasuwwuna bayna baqiyyat al-shura). This was the case at a time when the leading scholars (mashayiq) of Ahl al-Hadith at Baghdad basically did not accept the caliphate of Imam Ali ('a) (wa amma mashayikh: ashab al-hadith min al-Baghdaiyyin fa innahum la yuthbituna imamata 'Ali; minhum Ibn Main wa Abu Khaythamah, wa Muhammad ibn Hanbal, kanu yahdhifuna Aliyan min al-imamah wa yaz'amuna anna wilayatahu kanat ftnah).10

Another witness is that of Yahya ibn Main, one of the prominent figures of the Ahl al-Hadith during the 3rd/9th century: He is cited as having said: “I say: Abu Bakr, `Umar, then `Uthman.” 11 Ahmad ibn Hanbal was somewhat moderate and he would say “We do not find fault with someone who considers Ali as the fourth caliph” (la nu'ibu man rabba'a bi Ali). 12 In this regard there were many who were opposed to Ahmad ibn Hanba1.13

It appears that towards the end of his life Ahmad ibn Hanbal had become firmer in his belief in the legitimacy of the caliphate of Ali ('a) as the fourth caliph, and accordingly he would say that someone who did hot consider Ali as the fourth caliph was more is error than an. ass (man lam yurabbi' bi Aliyin fa-huwa adallu min himari ahlih).14 Someone who found fault with Mu'awiyah and Amr ibn `As was presumed to be a rafidi. 15Ahmad ibn Hanbal was told about someone who preferred Ali ('a) to Abu Bakr and `Umar.

He disapproved of such a belief and said, “I fear that he might be a rafidi” (Akhsha an yakuna rafidiyan).16 Ahmad ibn Hanbal's son says, “I asked my father as to who the rafidis were. He replied, `It is someone who abuses and curses Abu Bakr and `Umar (al-ladhi yashtumu wa yasubbu Aba Bakrin wa 'Umar).' “17 In connection with the meaning of rafd one may refer to the forgeries that have been attributed to the Prophet (S) concerning the rawafid. 18

An important term that must be considered for explanation of a significant part of Shi'i inclinations during this period is that of “Iraqi Shi'is.” This name applies to those who despite their Shi`i inclinations and their narration of the virtues and merits (fada'il) of the Ahl al-Bayt and hostility towards the Umayyads-and later on towards the Abbasids-do not belong to any of the Shi'i sects, including Zaydi, Imami and the Isma'ili sects.

Certainly individuals of this type could be Mu`tazilites, but this name does not describe all of them and it might be said that there were those who were `Iraqi Shi'is' without being Mu'tazilis. In view of the large number of this type of persons among Iraqi traditionists (muhaddithin) it must be said that this is an acceptable name for them which solves the problem of explaining the religious tendency of this type of individuals.

In any case, it should be noted that while referring to Shi`ism of Kufah, or basically to that of Iraq, it must be made clear whether the individual or tendency concerned is of the type associated with mere preference (tafdil) for Imam Ali ('a) over `Uthman or that of Shi'ism in its doctrinal Imami sense.

There were many in Kufah who were Shi'is only in the former sense and were very attached to the Ahl al-Bayt and many of them were narrators of the fada'il of Imam Ali and other figures of the Ahl al-Bayt. These persons must not be considered Sunnis in its technical sense although many of them consider the first two caliphs to have been legitimate. In other words, their narrations must be studied with attention to their strong Shi'i inclinations.

Naturally, the `Uthmaniyyah, who were the progenitors of the later Sunnis, had a character different from that of this group and they were not on good terms with one another. It is for this reason that in rijal works of the Ahl al-Hadith and the Hanbalis the allegation of tashayyu', in the sense of narration of the fada'il of the Ahl al-Bayt, is considered one of the marks of discredit (qadh). They are “Iraqi Shi`is” whose names are not mentioned in Shi`i works of rijal.

Nevertheless, many of these persons have been considered trustworthy (thiqah) narrators by staunch Hanbalis and writers belonging to Ahl al-Hadith. For instance, concerning Dawud ibn Abi Awf, who has been considered a thiqah narrator by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Main, it has been said: “He is a Shi`i, and most of what he narrates is concerning the fada'il of the Ahl al-Bayt” (Shi'i, 'ammatu ma yarwihi fi fadi'il Ahl al-Bayt). Thereafter Dhahabi cites an example of his narrations which is a hadith of the Prophet (S) addressed to Ali ('a):

اما انك يابن ابي طالب و شيعتك في الجنه

“O Ibn Abi Talib, indeed you and your shi'ah shall be in paradise.” Following this hadith is a statement against the rafidis attributed to the Prophet (S). 19

Examples of the phrases and statements concerning Shi'is and cited by al-Dhahabi from experts of rijal of early centuries will serve to elucidate the use of the terms shi'ah and rafidi during that era. These expressions become harsher in accordance with the higher degree of the Shi'i tendency of the individual concerned. The expressions cited here are from Dhahabi's Mizan al-i.'tidal and are cited with the related volume and page number.

Concerning 'Ubayd Allah ibn Musa, who was also one of al-Bukhari's teachers (mashayikh), it is said: “a fiery Shi`i” (kana Shi'i mutaharriqa) (iii, 16).

About Adi ibn Thabit it is said, “An extremist Shi`i, an extremist rafidi” (Shi'i mufrit, rafidiyun ghali) (iii, 62).

About Ali' ibn Salih al Taymi al-Kufi: “A mellowed Shi`i” (kana min 'atq al-shi'ah) (iii, 101).

Concerning Ala' ibn Abi al-Abbas it is said: “An extreme Shi`i” (Shi'i ghali) (iii, 102).

Concerning Ali ibn Thabit al-Jazari it is said: “He was one of the confirmed Shi'is, but does not go to the extremes” (kana min man yaskunu fi tashyyu'ihi wa la yaghlu) (iii, 116).

Concerning Ali ibn Musa al-Simsar it is said: “In him are Shi'i leanings tending towards rafd” (fihi tashayyu' yafdi ila al-rafd) (iii, 158).

Concerning Ali ibn Hashim ibn Burayd it is said: “He was extreme in his Shi`i leanings” (kana mufritan fi al-tashayyu) (iii, 160).

About Amr ibn Shamir al-Ju`fi it is said: “a rafidi who reviles the Companions” (rafidiyyun yashtammu al-sahabah) (iii, 368).

About `Isa ibn Qirtas it is said, “He was one of the extremists in rafd' (kana min al-ghulat fi al-rafd) (iii, 322).

About `Isa ibn Mihran al-Musta'tif it is said, “a rafidi, a monstrous liar, fiery in his rafd, was one of tile devils of the rafidis and their leaders” (rafidi, kadhdhab jabal, muhtariq fi al-rafd, kana min shayatin al-rafidah wa maraddatihim) (iii, 324). Najashi has also mentioned him. 20

Concerning Fudayl ibn Marzuq al-Kufi it is said: “He possessed Shi'i leanings but did not revile [the three caliphs” (kana yatashayyi ' min ghayri sabb) (iii, 362).

Concerning Fitr ibn Khalifah it is said, “Fitr was considered trustworthy by Yahya ibn Main, but he was an extreme khashabi. 21“ (kana Fitru 'inda Yahya thiqah, wa lakinnahu khashabiyyun mufrit) (iii, 364).

Concerning Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the famous historian, it is said: “He had mild Shi'i leanings and an attachment for the Ahl al-Bayt which is not harmful” (fihi tashayyu' yasir wa muwalat la tadur) (iii, 498).

Sunni scholars and traditionalists were accused of Shi'i tendencies on the slightest grounds. For instance, Daraqutni was accused of Shi'i inclinations merely for collecting the diwans of poets including that of Sayyid Himyari. 22

The following remark is made about Sayyid Murtada, the great Shi'i scholar: “A staunch rafidi” (Shi'i jald) (iii, 523).

Concerning Zurarah ibn Ayan, an eminent Shi'i figure, it is said: “He practised rafd” (kana yatrafad) (ii, 68).

Of Salim ibn Abi Hafasah, an Imami, it is said, 'An extremist in tashayyu', he used to say, “O assassin of Na'thal (i.e. `Uthman), I am at your service! O destroyer of Banu Umayyah, I am at your service!” He was one of the leaders of the detractors of Abu Bakr and `Umar” (mufrit fi al-tashayyu' yaqul: Labbayka qatila Na'thal, labbayka muhlik Bani Umayyah, wa kana min ru'us man yatanaqqasu Aba Bakr wa 'Umar) (ii, 110).

Concerning Abbad ibn Abd al-Samad, who is referred to as ghali fi al-tashayyu', it is stated, “Most of his narrations are about the fada'il' ('ammatu and yarwihi fi al fada'il) (ii, 369).

Concerning Abbad ibn Ya'qub it is stated, “He is one of exreme Shi'is, a leader of heresy”. He would abuse the forebears and `Uthman and he would say, `God is too just to let Talhah and Zubayr into paradise: they went to war against Ali after having sworn allegiance to him' (ii, 379).

About Abd al-Ralunan ibn Yusuf ibn Kharash it is stated, “He practised Shi'ism, and narrated the vices of the Shaykhayn and was a rafidi” and Abdan says, `I asked Ibn Kharash concerning the hadith, “We [prophets] do not leave any inheritance, whatever we leave behind is charity (sadaqah).” He said, `It is false (batil).” ( ii, 600)

The following passage from Dhahabi also helps define `mild' Shi'i leanings. After denying that Muhammad ibn Ziyad, one of the shaykhs of Bukhari who has been accused of hostility (nasb) towards the Ahl al-Bayt, was a nasibi, he says:

“It is usual among the Syrians to exclude [from the list of legitimate caliphs] Amir al-Mu`minin Ali, may God be pleased with him, since the days of Siffin, in the same way that among the Kufans there is an antipathy toward `Uthman and a love for Ali, and their forebears used to be his shi'ah and his partisans. Furthermore, there is a group among the Shi`is of Iraq who befriend Ali as well as `Uthman but they prefer Ali to `Uthman and do not have friendly feelings towards those who fought 'Ali, though they do invoke God's forgiveness for them. That is a light form of tashayyu.” 23

He also considers the term “extremist Shi'i” (Shi'i ghali) to have had a different sense formerly He writes:

In former days “Shi'i ghali” used to mean someone who finds fault with `Uthman, Zubayr, Talhah, Mu'awiyah and those who fought against 'Ali, may God be pleased with him, and someone who abuses them. And in our times and in our usage a ghali is someone who considers those figures to be unbelievers and disowns the Shaykhayn i.e. Abu Bakr and `Umar). 24

It may be said that basically one rarely finds a Kufan without “Shi`i” leanings. 25 That which is meant by this term is a general sense covering a range from the lowest to the highest degree.

Yahya ibn Main cites Abd Allah ibn Mubarak as having said, “Anyone who desires martyrdom should enter the Dar al-Bittikh in Kufah and invoke God's mercy for `Uthman.” 26 According to another report some Kufans professed their superiority over the Basrans in these words in al-Ma'mun's presence:

قد علم الناس انه ليس في الأرض بلد اجمع أهله على حب بني هاشم إلا الكوفه و ما قتل احد من بني هاشم في شرق و لا غرب إلا و حوله قتلى من اهل الكوفه تختلط دمائهم بدمه
“Everyone knows that aside from Kufah there is no town on earth's surface whose people should be united in their love of Banu Hashim, and no individual belonging to Banu Hashim has ever been slain in the east or the west without the corpses of Kufans lying about him with their blood mingling with his blood.” 27

In a tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq ('a) it is said:

ان الله عرض ولايتنا على أهل الامصار فلم يقبلها الا أهل الكوفه

“Indeed God presented our wilayah to the people of every town but none of them accepted it except the people of Kufah.” 28

Sa'id ibn Abi Arubah says, “I arrived in Baghdad and sat in a session of Abu Hanifah's lectures. One day he had mentioned `Uthman and invoked God's mercy for him. I said to him, `May God have mercy on you to’. I have not heard anyone except you invoking mercy upon `Uthman in this city.”' 29

There were so many virtues (fada'il) recounted concerning Kufah, and later on Qum, that Sa'd ibn Abd Allah al-Ash`ari compiled a book named Fadl Qum wa al-Kufah. 30
There is another form of Shi`ism which led to allegations of Shi'i leanings due to the attachment for the Ahl al-Bayt. In this regard the preference for Ali (tafdil) might also be sometimes present, but in general an attachment is professed for the Ahl al-Bayt on account of the existing traditions which stress the necessity of loving the Ahl al-Bayt ('a), the Prophet's family.

Such an inclination is also called tashayyu' by the followers of the `Uthmani creed, even if there were no trace of tafdil or any other tendency in a person's religious attitude. There is a tradition narrated from Imam Hasan al-Askari ('a) concerning the difference between creedal Shi`ism and Shi`ism in the sense of attachment and love for the Ahl al-Bayt ('a). When asked about the difference between the `Shi'ah' and the 'Muhibbin' (those who love die Ahl al-Bayt), the Imam replied:

ما الفرق بين الشيعة و المحبين؟ قال: شيعتنا هم الذين يتَّبِعونَ آثارنا و يطيعون في جميع أوامرنا و نواهينا و من خالفنا في كثير مما فرضه الله فليس من شيعتنا
“Our shi'ah are those who follow in our steps and obey us in all things that we command or forbid, and anyone who opposes us in many of the things that God has made obligatory is not one of our shi'ah.” 31

Writing about certain verses of Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Husayn Hamdan, known as Khabbaz Baldi, which indicate his Shi'i leanings, Afandi writes: “It is clear that which can be inferred from his verses is only his love (tawalla) and attachment [for the Ahl al-Bayt], but there is no indication of hostility and disavowal (tabarra) [in relation to the caliphs] which is the main characteristic of tashayyu' (wa huwa al-'umdah fi al-tashayyu')”32

Shi'ism in this sense is found in plenty in the sources and here we may mention some examples of it. Perhaps the most prominent of such cases is that of Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i (150-204/767-819). Verses have been narrated from him which confirm such an inclination and it appears that he was accused not only of tashayyu' but also rafd for his religious attitude. Among his verses that relate to this topic are the following:
قالوا ترفَّضْتَ، قلتُ: كلا ما الرفض ديني و لا اعتقادي
لاكــن توليـت غيــر شك خيــر إمــامٍ و خيــــر هــــادي
إن كـان حُـبُّ الولي رفْضاً فـــإنَّ رفــضــي الــى العـبــــاد
“They say, 'You have become a rafidi,' and I say, `No, not at all. Rafd is neither my religion nor my creed. But I am devoted to the best of the Imams and the best of guides, and should the love of the Wali be rafd, then indeed my rafd is”33
In other verses he declares:
إذا نحـن فضَّلنـا عليِّـــاً فإننـــا روافض بالتفضيل عند ذوي الجهل
وفضــل أبي بكر إذا ما ذكرتُهُ رُمِيـــتُ بِنَصْــب عنــد ذكــري للفضل
فلا زِلتُ ذا رفضٍ ونَصْبٍ كلاهما بِحُبَيْهُمـا حتَّـى أُوسَّــد في الرَّمْـــلِ
“When we prefer Ali we are called rafidis by the ignorant for our favouring him (tafdil),
And when I mention the virtues of Abu Bakr, I am accused of nasb for my mention of virtue.
So shall I abide in rafd and nasb for the love of those two, until I am laid to rest in my grave.”
In some other verses he says:
يا آل بيت رسول الله حبكم فرض من الله في القرآن أنزله
يكفيكم من عظيم الفخر أنكم من لم يصل عليكم لا صلاة له
“O Progeny of the Messenger of Allah, God has made your love an obligation in the Qur'an that He has revealed.
The great honor suffices you that prayers made without invoking blessings on you are invalid”.34
These verses disclose a kind of “tafdili rafd” in the words of Shafi'i himself.
Yet their import is not contrary to his Sunnism (tasannun)which is something different from the `Uthmani creed. At the same time certain verses have been attributed to him whose authenticity needs to be established. One of them is as follows:
رضيتُ علياً لي إماماً و نسلِهِ
“Happy am I with Ali and his descendants as my Imams.” 35
In the same diwan there are verses in eulogy of the four caliphs. 36 Also elegiac verses about Imam Husayn ('a) have been narrated from him, among which are the following:
تزلزلـت الدنيـا لآل محمـدٍ و كادت لهم صمّ الجبال تذوبُ
لئن كان ذنبي حب آل محمد فذلـك ذنب لست منه اتوب
هم شفعائي يوم حشري و موقفي اذا كثرتني يوم ذاك ذنوبي
“The earth quaked for the sake of the Progeny of Muhammad, And the mountains almost melted in grief for them. If the love of the Progeny of Muhammad is my sin, It is a sin for which I am never going to repent.
They are my intercessors on my resurrection and in the halts of the Hereafter, when my sins overwhelm me by their great number”37
Badi` Hamadani had a similar tendency and as cited by Abd al-Jalil Razi he recited the following verse at the tomb of Ali ibn Musa al-Rida ('a):
أنا مع اعتقاداي في التسنن رافضي في ولائك و اشتغلت بهؤلاء الناس فلستُ اغفل عن أولئك
“Despite my belief in tasannun, I am a rafidi in my attachment (wila) to you, And my devotion to these does not make me neglect those.” 38 This inclination continued to grow during the 5th/11th century and afterwards, and even among the Hanbalis, who had a strong 'Uthmani bias during the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries, one finds those who were strongly attached to the Ahl al-Bayt. That which is important is, that this attachment opened the door to Shi'ism and it could pave the way for the spread of Shi`ism in the long run. Elsewhere we have discussed this issue.
Concerning the dissociation of the Shi'i sect from the Sunni community one may say that the area of divergence grew gradually and from political issues it extended to matters pertaining to religion and culture. During the early years the main problem was that of government and the conflict between the State's religious policies and attitudes and the demands of the Shi'ah led to a divergence in the realm of ideas. These differences could relate to legal and doctrinal issues as well as to political notions.

It should be noted that among the followers of Imam Ali ('a) there were different groups that were attached to him for different reasons. Among them there were those who considered him a worthy ruler but who in the course of time came to follow other Companions, including those who were associated with the ruling regime as well as others. Later we find the clear instance of Zaydi Shi`is who followed Hanafi fiqh or independent persons among the Companions and the Tabi'in living in Iraq.

In view of that which has been said, this phenomenon was a Shi'ism of the political type and a variety of Iraqi Shi'ism. Naturally, such persons did not acquire their religious knowledge solely from the Ahl al-Bayt; they could be Mu'tazilis or followers of some other tendency. Among those who were Mu'tazilis from a doctrinal point of view, and among those who were Hanafis from a ritual and legal point of view, there were not few those who had a kind of pro-Ali or Shi'i inclination. Abu Hanifah himself was one of such individuals due to his support of Zayd ibn Ali and al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah.

As against this, there existed another tendency which consisted of total obedience to the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt. The Shi'is who possessed this tendency followed the Imams in all matters of doctrine and law, and in the field of hadith they considered only the narrations of the Imams as authoritative. Although this tendency might not have been completely manifest until the last quarter of the 1st/7th century when doctrinal and legal issues became the prime issues of the day in Muslim society, yet it is evident that the movement that emerged under this name during the time of Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq ('a) has had its historical roots and background.

This tendency may be called creedal Shi'ism (tashayyu' i'tiqadi). The roots of this tendency lie in a special conception of Imamate in which the Imam has a particular spiritual and intellectual station. The function of the Imam, apart from governing the society, consists of interpreting and expounding the religion and it derives from his special relationship with the Messenger of God (S). The followers of this tendency generally referred to the office of the Imam with such expressions as wisayah, wilayah and imamah, not with the term khilafah. Of course, in this case there were possible differences in the understanding of the Imamate and related beliefs and its deviant form is represented by the tendency called ghuluww.

An important point in this regard relates to the historical background of creedal Shi`ism and its roots. Here we will undertake a study of this issue.

Among the definitions that have been suggested for creedal Shi'ism, perhaps the best one is the one given by Aban ibn Taghlib, who said, “The Shi'ah are those who followed Ali ('a) when the people differed concerning the Messenger of Allah (S), and who followed Ja'far ibn Muhammad ('a) when people differed concerning Ali ('a)” (al-Shi'atu al-ladhina idha ikhtalafa al-nasu 'an Rasulillah, sallallahu alayhi wa alih, akhadhu bi qawli Aliyyin, 'alayhi al-salam, wa idha ikhtalfa al-nasu 'an Aliyyin akhadhu bi qawli Ja far ibn Muhammad, 'alayhi al-salam). 39

A creedal Shi'i considers the office of the Imamate as a continuation of prophet hood, though without the element of new revelation, and considers the statements of the Infallible Imams ('a) as decisive in all matters and as the final judge in respect of all opinions advanced by various individuals and creeds. Such an approach differs altogether from the kind of Shi'i tendency that prefers Imam Ali to 'Uthman or even to all other caliphs. This approach had precedents among the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) since the very beginning.

Among followers of Imam Ali ('a) there were many who had more than an ordinary kind of attachment for the Imam and who believed him to possess a Divine office of Imamate. Aside from the extent to which these cases delineate the character of the belief in the Imam, one may infer from them the belief that the office of Imamate derived from a designation by God and the Prophet.

After swearing allegiance to Imam Ali ('a) Khuzaymah ibn Thabit is reported to have said, “We have elected someone who was chosen for us by the Messenger of God (S).40 In reply to `Umar's remark that the reason why the Quraysh did not choose Ali ('a) for the caliphate was that they did not like prophethood and caliphate to be in one family, Ibn Abbas said to him, “They were averse to [submit to] what God had revealed.” 41

Darimiyyah Hujuniyyah, while describing for Mu'awiyah the reasons for favouring Ali ('a) said: “I favour Ali for his love of the poor, his generosity towards strangers, his religious learning, his sacrificing character and for his having been designated for wilayah by the Messenger of Allah.”42

According to a report cited by Tabari, after the Battle of Siffin when Ali ('a) returned to Kufah and the Khawarij broke away from him, the Shi'ah remained steadfast on Ali's side and declared that they were bound to him by yet another oath of allegiance: to befriend his friends and to regard his enemies as their own enemies (Nahnu awliya' man walayta wa a'da'u man 'adayt).43

Iskaf says, “The common people swore allegiance to Ali ('a) on the basis of the Book and the Sunnah and the Shi'ah of 'Ali on the basis of friendship of his friends and enmity of his enemies.” 44The stress on such an allegiance as a second allegiance in addition to the first one as well as its content indicate the Shi'i character of this group.

Abu Dharr, who died during the days of `Uthmam's rule, invited the people to follow the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) and he would refer to the Prophet's family in such words:

“O people! The Family of Muhammad are the progeny of Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the elect of the progeny of Ismail, and the guiding and pure kindred of Muhammad. [In relation to the Ummah] reckon them to be like the head in relation to the body or rather as eyes in relation to the head, for, indeed, they are for you like the elevated heaven, the firmly established mountains, the radiant sun and the olive tree whose oil gives light and whose fire is blessed.”

He would say; “Muhammad was the heir of Adam and the prophets were not superior to him, and 'Ali ibn Abi Talib is the designated successor (wasi) of Muhammad (S) and heir to his knowledge.” He would address the people saying, “You, who are a community that has remained in perplexity after the Messenger, had you given preferred one who has been preferred by God and had you set back those who have been set back by God, and had you placed the wilayah and succession in the family of your Prophet you would have enjoyed all kinds of bounties from all sides.”45

Elsewhere it has been narrated that Aba Dharr said, “O people! There will appear heresies in the future. When they visit you hold on to the Book of God and to Ali.”46 When Abu Dharr was being banished to Rabdhah, Ali ('a) and his sons came out to bid him farewell. Abu Dharr looked at the Imam and said, “When I see you and your sons, I remember what the Prophet (S) had said about you and that makes me cry”47

Salman also felt sorry that the people did not drew benefit from Ali's presence while he was alive and in their midst, and he would say, “By God, after him there will be no one who may inform you about the secrets of your Apostle.” 48

Miqdad also narrated from the Prophet that he had said, “The ma'rijah of the Household of Muhammad amounts to deliverance from hellfire; the love of the Household of Muhammad amount to secure passage over the Sirat; the wilayah of the Household of Muhammad is amnesty from chastisement.”49

Ammar Yasir also narrated the Prophet's tradition, “This is my counsel to someone who has faith in God and who affirms me through the wilayah of Ali ibn Abi Talib: one who loves him loves me, and one who loves me loves God.”50

Traditions of this kind which indicate Shi'i convictions have been narrated in a large number from Abu Dharr, Salman, Ammar and Miqdad. In defining the term `Shi'ah' Abu Hatin al-Razi says, “It is the appellation of those who were attached to Ali ('a) during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), such as Salman, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Miqdad ibn al-Aswad and Ammar ibn Yasir and others. Concerning these four, the Messenger of Allah (S) had declared, `The paradise is eager for four men: Salman, Abu Dharr, Miqdad, and Ammar.”'51

Umm Sinan, daughter of Khaythamah ibn Kharashah, portrays Ali ('a) in these verses:
قد كنت بعد محمدٍ خلفاً لنا أوصى إليك بنا فكنت وفياً
“After Muhammad you were for us his heir, He had exhorted you concerning us, and you were faithful (to his exhortations)” 52
Umm al-Khayr is reported to have made this statement while encouraging Ali's troops during the Battle of Siffin
هَلِمُوا رحمكم الله إلى الإمام العدل و التقي الوفي و الصديق الوصِي
“May God have mercy on you. Rally to the help of the just and pious Imam, the faithful and truthful successor (wasi)” 53
The fact that these persons and many others like them among the Shi'i followers of Imam Ali ('a) considered him to be wasi means that their notion of his station went- far beyond the title of khalifah acquiredby him through the allegiance (bay'ah)given him by the people. There are many verses in the sources ascribed to such Shi`is as Hujr ibn Adi, Ibn Tayhan, Ibn Ajlan and others wherein this term is employed.54
While summoning the people for bay'ah with Imam Ali ('a), Maik Ashtar referred to him in these words:
هذا وصي الاوصيا و وارث علم الأنبياء
“This is the wasi of the awsiya' and the heir to the knowledge of the prophets.” 55
He recited these verses during the Battle of Siffin:
من رأى عزَّةَ الوصيِّ عليِّ أنَّهُ في دجى الحنادس نور
“One who sees the dignity of 'Ali, the Wasi, has a light in the dark of night” 56
Umm Araban recited this verse to mourn Ali's martyrdom:
و كنا قبل مقتله بخير نرى مولى رسول الله فينا
“We dwelt in welfare before his assassination
As we saw the mawla of the Apostle of God in our midst.” 57
There are many verses from some of the Companions of the Prophet (S) who were among supporters of Imam Ali ('a) that refer to the tradition of Ghadir and interpret it in the sense of leadership and wilayah. Among them are couplets belonging to Qays ibn Sa'd ibn `Ubadah, Hassan ibn Thabit as well as verses composed by Imam Ali (`a) himself.58Abu al-Aswad Du'ali declares in a verse:
أحبُّ محمداً حبَّاً شَديداً و عباساً و حمزة و الوصيَّا
“I love Muhammad intensely, Abbas, too, and Hamzah, and the Wasi.” 59
Qays ibn Sa`d says concerning the episode of Ghadir:
عليٌّ إمامنا و إمام لسوانا أتى به التنزيل
يوم قال النبي من كنت مولاه فهذا مولاه خطب جليل
إنَّ ما قال النبي على الأمة حتمٌ ما فيه قال و قيل
“Ali is our Imam and the Imam of others as well, and this has been declared by revelation,
The day when the Prophet said in a glorious sermon: “He is the mawla of everyone whose Mawla I am.
Indeed, what the Prophet has proclaimed to the Ummah is conclusive, and there is no place in it for hearsay.”60
Hassan ibn Thabit recited these verses on the day of Ghadir:
يناديهم يوم الغدير نبيهم بخم و اَسْمِع بالرسول مناديا
فقال له قم يا علي فإنني جعلتك من بعدي إماماً و هادياً
“Their Prophet calls out to them on the day of Ghadir at Khumm, and I listen and call out with the Prophet: He said to him, O Ali, rise, I have made you the Imam after me and the guide.” 61 These citations indicate the development of an attitude which recognizes Imam Ali (`a) as an Imam and leader appointed by the Apostle of God (S). They consider the Imam's authority to derive from his wisayah or designation by the Prophet (S) and call upon others to follow him as the Prophet's veritable successor.

Hence Ibn Tayhan would declare, “Indeed our imam and wasi is the wasi of the Apostle of Allah (S),” and Ibn Ajlan asked rhetorically, “How can we disperse while our leader is the wasi?” 62Hujr ibn Adi would say, “Wilayah was in him after the Apostle of God (S) and he made him his own wasi after himself.” 63A man named Zadan Farrukh who had recently embraced Islam encountered the Khawarij on his way. Asked concerning Ali ('a), he told them, “He is the commander of the faithful, the wasi of the Apostle of God and the master of all men.”64 They killed him.

In a famous letter written to Mu'awiyah, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr referred to Ali ('a) as the “heir of the Apostle of Allah and his wasi.” 65 `Ubadah ibn Samit is also reported to have recited verses-during the days of the episode of Saqifah in which he referred to the wasiyyah concerning Ali ('a). 66

The efforts of Imam Ali ('a) himself during the days of his caliphate were one of the main causes of propagation of the notion of Imamate as a Divine office. In one of the verses that he composed concerning the event and tradition of Ghadir, he interprets it as ordaining his wilayah over the people:

فأوجب لي ولايته عليكم رسول الله يوم غدير خم

“On the day of Ghadir Khumm, the Apostle of God made my wilayah incumbent upon you”. 67 In an elaborate letter that the Imam wrote to Mu'awiyah, he deals with this matter iii detail. This letter reveals interesting points concerning the Imam's role in propagation of the Shi'i concept of wilayah. As this letter has an important place from the viewpoint of Imami ideas, we shall cite here its main parts:

God, the Exalted, says,

“Obey God and the Apostle and those who have authority among you” (4:59).

This verse is about us Ahl al-Bayt, not you. Then He forbade conflict and disunity and enjoined submission and unity. You are the same people who professed faith in that before God and the Apostle.

God has informed you that “Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, He is the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets” (33:40). And He has said, “If he dies or is killed will you turn back on your heels?” (3:144). And you, Mu`awiyah, and your companions, have turned your backs and apostatized, breaking the covenant you had made with God and breaking the allegiance, although that does not harm God.

O Mu'awiyah, don't you know that the Imams are from amongst us, not from among you? God has informed you that those who possess authority should be those who derive knowledge (a reference to 4:83), and He has also informed that in all matters that there is disagreement amongst you, you should refer to God and His Apostle and to those who possess authority and possess knowledge.

Hence anyone who is loyal to his covenant will find God to be faithful to His covenant. We are the progeny of Abraham who are the envied ones and you are the jealous ones (a reference to 4:54). It was a group of Israelites who said to their prophet, “Appoint a king over us so we may fight in the way of God” (2:246). When God sent Said as king, they were jealous of him and they said, “How can he have sovereignty over us?” (2:247) and they imagined that they were more worthy of kingship than him.

All these are things that have occurred in the past and now I describe them for you and its interpretation is with us and whoever belies it will be disappointed. We see their example amongst you. You should know that we, Ahl al-Bayt, are the same progeny of Abraham who are objects of others' envy. We have been victims of jealousy like our fathers before us.

God, the Exalted, has mentioned `the family (al) of Abraham, “the family of Lut, “the family of Moses,' `the family of Aaron' and `the family of David;' and we are the Al of our Apostle, Muhammad (S). O Mu'awiyah, don't you know that God has said, “The nearest to Abraham are those who follow him and this Apostle and the believers, and God is the helper of the believers”? (3:68). We are the blood relations (ulu al-arham) mentioned in the verse: “The Apostle has a greater right over the believers than themselves, and his wives are mothers of the believers, and the blood relations have a greater right in the Book of God than the believers and the emigrants”? (33:6).

We are the Ahl al-Bayt whom God has chosen and elected, and He has placed the prophethood in our midst and to us belong the Book, wisdom and knowledge. The House of God, the hijr of Ismail and the maqam of Abraham belong to us. Hence it is we who are worthy of rule. Woe to you, O Mu'awiyah! We are worthier of Abraham. We are his al, and the al of `Imran have a greater right to `Imran, and the al of Muhammad have a greater right to Muhammad. We are the Ahl al-Bavt from whom God, the Exalted, “has removed all impurity and purified them with a thorough purification” (33:33).

Every apostle has an invitation exclusive to himself and his children and family, and every apostle made a wasiyyah in favour of his family. Don't you know that Abraham made his wasiyyah for Jacob, and when Jacob's death drew near he made wasiyyah to his sons, and Muhammad (S) made his wasiyyah to his family. This was the sunnah of Abraham and other apostles, and Muhammad emulated them with the command of God.

The Book of God was revealed to us and the Apostle of Allah was raised from our midst and the scripture's verses were recited to us. We are the relatives of the Book and we are the witnesses over it; we are the callers who summon to it and we are the ones who establish it. So what saying will you believe after this? O Mu'awiyah! Do you seek a god other than Allah? A scripture other than the Book of God, or a qiblah other than the House of God, the home of Ismail and the station of our father Abraham? Are you after some creed other than the creed of Abraham? Or is it that you seek a king and a sovereign other than God? God has placed this sovereignty and kingdom amongst us.

You have made-manifest your enmity towards us and disclosed you animosity and jealousy. You have openly violated the covenant of God and you distort His signs and you alter the words of God that He said to Abraham: “God has chosen for you this creed” (2:132). Do you turn your back to the creed of Abraham, whereas God, the Exalted, has chosen him in this world and he is among the righteous in the Hereafter? Do you seek a judgment other than the judgment of God or an Imam outside our family? The Imamate belongs to Abraham and his seed, to the believers who follow them and who do not abandon his creed, and he said, “Whoever follows me is mine.” (14:36)

In reply to the Imam, Mu'awiyah is indignant at the Imam's considering himself to be the descendant of all the prophets. He writes: “Not sufficing with the kinship with Muhammad you have claimed kinship with all the prophets.” Then he adds: “You should know that Muhammad was one of the apostles who had been sent to all mankind. He delivered the message of his Lord and beyond that he did not own anything. Now tell us, where is the merit in your relationship? And what is the merit in your right? Where in the Book of God do you find your name mentioned? Where in the Qur'an is mentioned anything about your kingdom, your imamate and your superiority? Yes, we do follow the imams and caliphs who have gone before us, and you too used to follow them.” Then he refers to himself as 'Uthman' as his heir.

In his reply the Imam accuses him of enmity towards the prophets and of the love of his pagan forebears. There he adds:

You should know that we are the family of the Apostle of Allah (S). The unbeliever does not befriend us and the believer does not harbour our enmity in his heart. You have denied the Imamate of Muhammad (S) and you imagine that he is an apostle and not an Imam. This denial leads you to deny the Imamate of all the apostles. But we bear witness that he was an apostle and an Imam. As to your denial of my relationship with the Messenger of Allah and my right, indeed our share and our right is there in the Book of God, and God has mentioned us along with the Apostle in the context of the division [of the spoils of war), where He has said: “Whenever you take any spoils of war, a fifth of it belongs to the Apostle and the kinsmen.” (8:41) And in another place He says, “Give the kindred their right” (30:38). Don't you see that our share has been mentioned along with the share of God and the share of the Apostle and your share has been mentioned along with the outsiders? You deny my Imamate and my authority don’t you see that God, the Exalted, has given us merit over the entire world's people? (3:33). If you can separate us from Abraham (`a), Ismail, Muhammad and the Al of Muhammad in the Book of God, try to do so.68

This letter has been cited by Abu Ishaq al-Thaqafi, the 3rd/9th century Shi'i historian (d. 283/). The doctrine of Imamate as a Divine office is quite evident in this letter of the Imam (a), and the various aspects of the argument on which it is based are quite clear. It’s most significant part is that which asserts a relationship between prophet hood, wasiyyah, and Imamate and affirms them as deriving from an original tradition in the history of the prophets.

Mu'awiyah's denial of the Imamate of the Apostle of God (S) is also a noteworthy point in this correspondence. In any case, Imam Ali ('a) made a great effort ill many of his speeches and sermons to establish the preeminence of the Ahl al-Bayt over others and to establish their Divine right. In asserting such a right he considered it to be an inalienable element of the Imamate, and, naturally, he did not recognize such a right for the other caliphs.

The characteristics of Shi'i thinking are quite evident in many passages narrated from the Imam Ali ('a). In one of his sermons he declares concerning the Ahl al-Bayt ('a):
فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ و أَنَّى تُؤْفَكُونَ؟ وَالأَعْلاَمُ قَائِمَةٌ، وَالآيَاتُ وَاضِحَةٌ، وَالْمَنَارُ مَنْصُوبَةٌ، فَأَيْنَ يُتَاهُ بِكُم؟ْ بَلْ كَيْفَ تَعْمَهُونَ وَبَيْنَكُمْ عِتْرَةُ نَبِيِّكُمْ؟ وَهُمْ أَزِمَّةُ الْحَقِّ وَ أَعْلاَمُ الدِّينِ وَأَلْسِنَةُ الصِّدْقِ؟ فأَنْزِلُوهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَنَازِلِ القُرْآنِ، وَرِدُوهُمْ وُرُودَ الْهِيمِ الْعِطَاش 
“They have been entrusted with the secret of the Apostle, and whoever takes refuge in them finds the way to the truth. They are the repository of the knowledge of the Apostle and the exponents of the laws of the Shari`ah. The Qur'an and the Sunnah are secure with them, and they, like a high mountain, are the sentinels of the faith. By their means, Islam is kept straight, steady, and stable”. 69
In another place he says,
“Where are you going and where are you being led away? The waymarks are established the signs are clear, and the lighthouses stand raised. So where are you being misled and how do you go astray? The Household of your Prophet is in your midst and they are the guardians of the truth, the standards of religion, and the tongues of truthfulness. So place them in the best stations of the Qur'an and turn to them like thirty camels approaching their watering place.”70
In another passage he declares:
نَحنُ شَجَرَةُ النُبُوُّه:، وَ مَحَطَّ الرِسالَةِ، وَ مُخْتَلَفُ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ، وَ مَعادِنَ الْعِلْمِ، وَ يَنَابِيِعُ الحِكَمِ. نَاصِرُنَا وَ مُحِبُّنَا يَنْتَظِرُ الرَّحْمَةَ، وَ عَدُوُّنَا وَ مُبْغِضُنَا يَنْتَظِرُ الْسَطْوَةَ
“We are the tree of prophet hood and the place of descent of Messenger hood, the place of frequenting of angels, the mines of knowledge, and the mainspring of wisdom. Our friend and supporter are hopeful of receiving divine mercy and one who regards us with enmity and hostility awaits Divine vengeance”. 71
هُمْ عَيْشُ الْعِلْمِ وَ مَوْتُ الْجَهْلِ. يُخْبِرُكُمْ حِلْمُهُمْ عَنْ عِلْمِهِمْ. وَ ظَاهِرُهُمْ عَنْ بَاطِنِهِمْ وَ صَمْتُهُمْ عَنْ حِكَمِ مَنْطِقِهِمْ. لا يُخَالِفُونَ وَ لاَ يَخْتَلِفُوُنَ فِيْهِ. هُمْ دَعَائِمُ الإِسْلامِ وَ وَلاَئِجُ الْإعْتِصامِ. بِهمْ عَادَ الحَقُّ إلُى نِصابِهِ، وِ اْنْزاحَ الْباطِلُ عَنْ مُقامِهِ، وَ انْقَطَعَ لِسَانُهُ عَنْ مَنْبَتِهِ. عَقَلُوا الدِّينَ عَقْلَ وعَايَةٍ، لا عَقْلَ سَمَاعٍ وَ رِوايَةٍ. فَإِنَّ رُواةَ الْعِلْمِ كَثِيْرٌ وَ رُعاتِهِ قَليلُ.
“They (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt) are life for knowledge and death for ignorance. Their temperance will inform you of their learning, their exterior of their interior, and their silence of the wisdom of their speech. They do not oppose the truth, nor do they disagree regarding it. They are the pillars of Islam and its sanctuaries. Through them the truth is restored to its proper place and falsehood is forced to withdraw froth its position, its tongue being cut off from the root. They have understood the religion through the spirit of understanding and observance, not through audition and narration. Indeed, the narrators of knowledge are many, but few are those who observe it”.72
ألا إنَّ أبرارَ عِتْرَتي و أَطَايِبَ أُرُومَتِي أحلمُ الناسِ صغاراً، و أعلم الناسِ كِباراً. ألا وَ إنَّا أهل بيتٍ مِنْ عِلْمُ اللّهِ عَلِمْنَا، و بِحُكْمِ اللّهِ حَكَمْنَا، و مِنْ قَوْلِ صادقٍ سَمِعْنا فإِن تَتّبِعُوا آثارَنَا تَهْتَدُوا بِبَصائِرِنَا، و إِن لَمْ تفعلوا يُهْلِكُكُمُ اللّه بأيدينا. مَعَنا راية الحقِ، مَن تَبِعَهَا لَحِقَ و مَن تَأَخَرَ عَنْها غَرِقَ.
“Indeed, the virtuous of my kindred and the pure ones of my lineage are the wisest of men in their childhood and the most learned of them in their grown up years. Indeed, we belong to a household whose knowledge derives from God's knowledge and whose judgments derive from the judgment of God, and we have heard the speech of the truthful one. So if you follow in our footsteps, you will be guided by our insights, and if you do not do so, God will destroy you at our hands. With us is the banner of the truth: whoever follows it will reach the shore safely, and whoever forsakes it will be drowned”. 73
نَحْنُ الشِّعَارُ وَ الْأصْحَابُ، وَ الْخَزَنَةُ وَ الْأبْوابُ. وَ لا تُؤْتَى الْبُيُوتُ إِلَّا مِنْ أَبْوابِهَا فَمَنْ أَتاها مِنْ غَيْرِ أبْوابِهَا سُمِّيَ سَارِقَاً... فِيهِم كَرائِم القُرْآنِ، وَ هُمْ كُنُوزُ الرَّحْمنِ. إِنْ نَطَقُوا صَدَقُوا، وَ إِن صَمَتُوا لَمْ يُسْبَقُوا.

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