Basic Shi'a Creed

(1) What are the fundamentals of Shi'asm?

Shi'asm is a mixture of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, ancient paganism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, wrapped by Islamic terminologies. The reader, throughout the site, will discover how such dogmas infiltrated to, and became an inseparable part of, this new religion known as "Shi'asm". The very basics of Shi'asm, which the Ithna Ashari Shi'ites believe in, and is shared by many other esoteric Shi'a sects, are:

1. Imamah: "We believe that al-Imamah is one of the very basic pillars of the religion whereby faith is incomplete unless it is a part thereof"
'Aqaa'id al-Imamiyyah: Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar, chapter 3, p.89

It is their consensus therefore, that who does not believe in it is not a "believer". al-Hilly, one of the foremost known and respected Shi'a scholar, believed that denial of al-Imamah is far worse than denying the Prophethood. He wrote:

" al-Imamah is a general subtle (from Allah) and Prophethood is a special subtle, due to the existing possibility of having a period of time void of a living prophet unlike the Imam.....hence, the denial of the general subtle is far more evil than denial of the special subtle"

al-Naafi' Yawmal-Hashr: Jamaalud-Din al-Suyuri, p.42. From: 'Aqeedat al-Imamah: Ali Ahmad As-Saloos, PhD, p.28

And to show the status of he whom denies the Shi'ites' concept of al-Imamah, the 6th Imam, Abu Abdallah is quoted as saying:

"The Nasibi (Sunni) is worse than the Jew. It was said: And how is that so, O son of the Apostle of Allah? He said: The Jew denied the subtle of Prophethood, which is a special subtle, while the Nasibi denied the subtle of al-Imamah, which is a general (subtle)"

2. Distortion of Qur'an: That the current version of the Qur'an has been corrupted, distorted and tampered with by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah [saw]. Please review our link "Shi'a & Qur'an" for further details.

3. Second Return: Every and all Shi'ites believe in the concept of 2nd Return, be it the Messenger [saw], their 12 Imams, the enemies of their Imams (all AhluSunnah) for the purpose of revenge from those who "wronged" them, but most specifically: Abu Bakr, Omar, Yazeed, and Banu Ummayyah in general, in order to put them to sword.

4. Grave worshipping : The Shi'a indiscriminately are grave worshippers and have gone to extremes in exaggerating the virtues of worshipping their Imams' graves as we shall discover.

(2) How do Muslims and Shi'ites differ in understanding the concept of Imamah?

Let us initially define the term Imamah:

In Arabic, an Imam is a person whom others follow, be it who leads the prayer, who heads a group or even the Caliph. The Holy Qur'an, for instance, is the Imam of Muslims, and so is the Apostle of Allah [saw]. He is the Imam of all the Imams. Furthermore, the title Imam can be used for one who is an expert of a certain field. To illustrate, it is said that al-Bukhari is an Imam of Hadith, Malik, Abu Hanifah, al-Shafi'i, Ibn Hanbal are Imams in Islamic Jurisprudence, and so on. Imam may also mean a "role model" as used by Allah [swt]: 2:124. And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: I will make thee an Imam to the people. He pleaded: and also (imams) from my offspring! He answered: But my Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers. i.e., I am making you a role model that others follow.

Another example is His saying [swt]: 21:73. And we made them Imams (leaders) guiding (men) by Our Command. Also as in 9:12. But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your faith, fight ye the Imams (chiefs) of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them...Also as in 28:41. And We made them but Imams (leaders) inviting to the Fire...

From the above definitions, we can understand the reason why the Khalifah is called an Imam too. Imam Abu Zahra [rahimahullah] explained:

"It was called Khilafah (succession) because whoever assumes it, and is the Grand Governor of the Muslims, is actually succeeding the Apostle [saw] in managing the affairs of the Muslims. It is also called al-Imamah, because the Khalifah used to be called Imam, and because his obediance is compulsory and the people follow him as they follow the one who leads the prayer"
'Aqeedat al-Imamah: Ali Ahmad As-Saloos, PhD, p.9

(3) Did the Companions ever think as to who will succeesd the Apostle of Allah for their leadership, especially during his last illness?

There are, indeed, few narrations with authentic link of transmittors, that indicate there was such a thinking. Among these Ahadith is that of Ibn Abbas [ra]:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abbas: Ali bin Abi Talib came out of the house of Allah's Apostle during his fatal illness. The people asked, "O Abul Hasan (i.e. Ali)! How is the health of Allah's Apostle this morning?" 'Ali replied, "He has recovered with the Grace of Allah." al'Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib held him by the hand and said to him, "In three days you, by Allah, will be ruled (by somebody else ), And by Allah, I feel that Allah's Apostle will die from this ailment of his, for I know how the faces of the offspring of 'Abdul Muttalib look at the time of their death. So let us go to Allah's Apostle and ask him who will take over the Caliphate. If it is given to us we will know as to it, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to take care of us." 'Ali said, "By Allah, if we asked Allah's Apostle for it (i.e. the Caliphate) and he denied it us, the people will never give it to us after that. And by Allah, I will not ask Allah's Apostle for it."
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 728; Musnad al-Imam Ahmad vol.4, Narration 2374 & vol.5, Narration 229

There is another Hadith attributed to Ali [ra] with a good Isnaad (link of transmittors) saying:

"It was said: O Apostle of Allah, Who should be installed as a leader after you? He said: If you install Abu Bakr, you will find him honest, ascetic in this life and desirious of the Hereafter. If you install Omar, you will find him strong, honest, fearing in Allah no one's blame. If you install Ali, and I don't think you will, you will find him guided, guiding you to the straight path."
Musnad al-Imam Ahmad: vol.2, narration 859

This, as Dr. Saloos wrote, indicates that the question of succession existed during the life of the Apostle of Allah [saw], but the dispute did not erupt until later on, after he [saw] moved to his final abode, which ended in the meeting, known as "Meeting of As-Saqeefah", with the election of Abu Bakr As-Sadiq [ra]. The second Caliph, Amirul-Mu'mineen Omar [ra] told us what took place in that meeting:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
"I used to teach (the Qur'an to) some people of the Muhajirln (emigrants), among whom there was 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf. While I was in his house at Mina, and he was with 'Umar bin Al-Khattab during 'Umar's last Hajj, Abdur-Rahman came to me and said, "Would that you had seen the man who came today to the Chief of the Believers ('Umar), saying, 'O Chief of the Believers! What do you think about so-and-so who says, 'If 'Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person, as by Allah, the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr was nothing but a prompt sudden action which got established afterwards.' 'Umar became angry and then said, 'Allah willing, I will stand before the people tonight and warn them against those people who want to deprive the others of their rights (the question of rulership)." 'Abdur-Rahman said, "I said, 'O Chief of the believers! Do not do that, for the season of Hajj gathers the riff-raff and the rubble, and it will be they who will gather around you when you stand to address the people. And I am afraid that you will get up and say something, and some people will spread your statement and may not say what you have actually said and may not understand its meaning, and may interpret it incorrectly, so you should wait till you reach Medina, as it is the place of emigration and the place of Prophet's Traditions, and there you can come in touch with the learned and noble people, and tell them your ideas with confidence; and the learned people will understand your statement and put it in its proper place.' On that, 'Umar said, 'By Allah! Allah willing, I will do this in the first speech I will deliver before the people in Medina." Ibn Abbas added: We reached Medina by the end of the month of Dhul-Hijja, and when it was Friday, we went quickly (to the mosque) as soon as the sun had declined, and I saw Sa'id bin Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail sitting at the corner of the pulpit, and I too sat close to him so that my knee was touching his knee, and after a short while 'Umar bin Al-Khattab came out, and when I saw him coming towards us, I said to Said bin Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail "Today 'Umar will say such a thing as he has never said since he was chosen as Caliph." Said denied my statement with astonishment and said, "What thing do you expect 'Umar to say the like of which he has never said before?" In the meantime, 'Umar sat on the pulpit and when the callmakers for the prayer had finished their call, 'Umar stood up, and having glorified and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, "Now then, I am going to tell you something which (Allah) has written for me to say. I do not know; perhaps it portends my death, so whoever understands and remembers it, must narrate it to the others wherever his mount takes him, but if somebody is afraid that he does not understand it, then it is unlawful for him to tell lies about me. Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male & female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah's Apostle did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him. I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book,' and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession. And then we used to recite among the Verses in Allah's Book: 'O people! Do not claim to be the offspring of other than your fathers, as it is disbelief (unthankfulness) on your part that you claim to be the offspring of other than your real father.' Then Allah's Apostle said, 'Do not praise me excessively as Jesus, son of Mary was praised, but call me Allah's Slave and His Apostles.' (O people!) I have been informed that a speaker amongst you says, 'By Allah, if 'Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person.' One should not deceive oneself by saying that the pledge of allegiance given to Abu Bakr was given suddenly and it was successful. No doubt, it was like that, but Allah saved (the people) from its evil, and there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr. Remember that whoever gives the pledge of allegiance to anybody among you without consulting the other Muslims, neither that person, nor the person to whom the pledge of allegiance was given, are to be supported, lest they both should be killed. And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr. I said to Abu Bakr, 'Let's go to these Ansari brothers of ours.' So we set out seeking them, and when we approached them, two pious men of theirs met us and informed us of the final decision of the Ansar, and said, 'O group of Muhajirin (emigrants) ! Where are you going?' We replied, 'We are going to these Ansari brothers of ours.' They said to us, 'You shouldn't go near them. Carry out whatever we have already decided.' I said, 'By Allah, we will go to them.' And so we proceeded until we reached them at the shed of Bani Sa'da. Behold! There was a man sitting amongst them and wrapped in something. I asked, 'Who is that man?' They said, 'He is Sa'd bin 'Ubada.' I asked, 'What is wrong with him?' They said, 'He is sick.' After we sat for a while, the Ansar's speaker said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and praising Allah as He deserved, he added, 'To proceed, we are Allah's Ansar (helpers) and the majority of the Muslim army, while you, the emigrants, are a small group and some people among you came with the intention of preventing us from practicing this matter (of caliphate) and depriving us of it.' When the speaker had finished, I intended to speak as I had prepared a speech which I liked and which I wanted to deliver in the presence of Abu Bakr, and I used to avoid provoking him. So, when I wanted to speak, Abu Bakr said, 'Wait a while.' I disliked to make him angry. So Abu Bakr himself gave a speech, and he was wiser and more patient than I. By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, but he said the like of it or better than it spontaneously. After a pause he said, 'O Ansar! You deserve all (the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home, and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish. And then Abu Bakr held my hand and Abu Ubada bin Abdullah's hand who was sitting amongst us. I hated nothing of what he had said except that proposal, for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr, unless at the time of my death my own-self suggests something I don't feel at present.' And then one of the Ansar said, 'I am the pillar on which the camel with a skin disease (eczema) rubs itself to satisfy the itching (i.e., I am a noble), and I am as a high class palm tree! O Quraish. There should be one ruler from us and one from you.' Then there was a hue and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards. And so we became victorious over Sa'd bin Ubada (whom Al-Ansar wanted to make a ruler). One of the Ansar said, 'You have killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' I replied, 'Allah has killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' Umar added, "By Allah, apart from the great tragedy that had happened to us (i.e. the death of the Prophet), there was no greater problem than the allegiance pledged to Abu Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused great trouble. So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."
Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817, also in al-Musnad: vol.1, Narration 391

So from what al-Farooq Omar [ra] said, we learn:

(1) There was no dispute as to the obligation to install a Caliph successding the Apostle of Allah [saw].

(2) The Khilafah must remain within Quriah "but this question (of Caliphate) is only for Quraish". The Ansaar [ra] did not accept it initially, but soon after they rushed to pledge the allegiance to a Qurashite, save Sa'd bin Ubadah [ra], he did not give his pledge. There are many Sahih Traditions testify to what Abu Bakr As-Siddiq [ra] said, reported in Sahih al-Bukhari:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
Allah's Apostle said, "This matter (khilafah) will remain with Quraish even if only two of them were still existing."
Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 89, Number 254

Similar narrations are also quoted by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in his al-Musnad.

(3) No man shall become a Caliph but by Bay'ah (pledge of allegiance): "so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards".

Therefore, if the pledge was given, its fulfillment becomes obligatory. This is why he said: " we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused a great trouble ".

It was also reported that the Messenger of Allah [saw] said:

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri:
The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.
Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4568

The Messenger [saw] was also reported as saying:

Narrated Arfajah: I have heard the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Different evils will make their appearance in the near future. Anyone who tries to disrupt the affairs of this Ummah while they are united you should strike him with the sword whoever he be. (If remonstrance does not prevail with him and he does not desist from his disruptive activities, he is to be killed).
Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4565

(4) If the fulfillment of the pledge is mandatory and obligatory, then there is no pledge without consulting the Muslims: " So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."

This is due to the concept of "Shura" (consulting) in Islam which is the very fundamental of governing and is based on two pillars: Justice, 4:58 ...And when ye judge between people that ye judge with justice.. and Consultation: 42:38 ..[W]ho (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation..

(5) That the Bay'ah to Abu Bakr [ra] took place so fast and sudden, and without prearrangement, due to his status: " there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr." and "for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr ".

Based on the said observations, the Jamhoor (majority) sat conditions to assume the Rightly Guided Khilafa: viz a viz to a man who is Just, from Quraish, by way of Bay'ah and Consultation.

As to the Ansaar, never after this event, did history inform us of any attempt on their part to assume the Khilafah.

(4) Is it true that Ali [ra] did not pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr [ra]?

It is believed, by some, that Ali [ra] did not give his pledge because he believed that he has the preference and priority to assume the succession more than anybody else. However; to their disappointment, we find several references support the belief that he was of the opinion that such a matter should have not been decided without his participation in the process, and with his concurrance that Abu Bakr [ra] is the best and that he does not deny Abu Bakr's right to lead the Ummah.

Narrated 'Aisha: Fatima the daughter of the Prophet sent someone to Abu Bakr (when he was a caliph), asking for her inheritance of what Allah's Apostle had left of the property bestowed on him by Allah from the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) in Medina, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khumus of the Khaibar booty. On that, Abu Bakr said, "Allah's Apostle said, "Our property is not inherited. Whatever we leave, is Sadaqa, but the family of (the Prophet) Muhammad can eat of this property.' By Allah, I will not make any change in the state of the Sadaqa of Allah's Apostle and will leave it as it was during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, and will dispose of it as Allah's Apostle used to do." So Abu Bakr refused to give anything of that to Fatima. So she became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not task to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself. When Fatima was alive, the people used to respect 'Ali much, but after her death, 'Ali noticed a change in the people's attitude towards him. So Ali sought reconciliation with Abu Bakr and gave him an oath of allegiance. 'Ali had not given the oath of allegiance during those months (i.e. the period between the Prophet's death and Fatima's death). 'Ali sent someone to Abu Bakr saying, "Come to us, but let nobody come with you," as he disliked that 'Umar should come, 'Umar said (to Abu Bakr), "No, by Allah, you shall not enter upon them alone " Abu Bakr said, "What do you think they will do to me? By Allah, I will go to them' So Abu Bakr entered upon them, and then 'Ali uttered Tashah-hud and said (to Abu Bakr), "We know well your superiority and what Allah has given you, and we are not jealous of the good what Allah has bestowed upon you, but you did not consult us in the question of the rule and we thought that we have got a right in it because of our near relationship to Allah's Apostle ." Thereupon Abu Bakr's eyes flowed with tears. And when Abu Bakr spoke, he said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is to keep good relations with the relatives of Allah's Apostle is dearer to me than to keep good relations with my own relatives. But as for the trouble which arose between me and you about his property, I will do my best to spend it according to what is good, and will not leave any rule or regulation which I saw Allah's Apostle following, in disposing of it, but I will follow." On that 'Ali said to Abu Bakr, "I promise to give you the oath of allegiance in this after noon." So when Abu Bakr had offered the Zuhr prayer, he ascended the pulpit and uttered the Tashah-hud and then mentioned the story of 'Ali and his failure to give the oath of allegiance, and excused him, accepting what excuses he had offered; Then 'Ali (got up) and praying (to Allah) for forgiveness, he uttered Tashah-hud, praised Abu Bakr's right, and said, that he had not done what he had done because of jealousy of Abu Bakr or as a protest of that Allah had favored him with. 'Ali added, "But we used to consider that we too had some right in this affair (of rulership) and that he (i.e. Abu Bakr) did not consult us in this matter, and therefore caused us to feel sorry." On that all the Muslims became happy and said, "You have done the right thing." The Muslims then became friendly with 'Ali as he returned to what the people had done (i.e. giving the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr).
Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, Number 546, see also 5/57/60.
See 'Aqeedat al-Imamah, Dr. Ali A. As-Saloos, pp 8-19

(5) How do Shi'ites View the Imamah?

For the Shi'ites, al-Imamah is no different from Prophethood since both, Prophets and Imams receive revelation (Wahi) from Allah [swt]. In fact, the great majority of the Shi'ites Rabbis consider their twelve Imams far higher and above in status than any Prophet or Arch Angel of Allah [swt].

It is natural then, that they look at those who do not recocognize any of their Imams, as AhluSunnah, or some, as the rest of the Shi'i cults, to be an absolute Kafir and thus fabricated countless Ahadith to support their claim.

The Shi'ites view on al-Imamah can be summarized in five points:

(1) al-Imamah is one of the religion's pillars: Rabbi al-Muzaffar explains:

"We believe that al-Imamah is one of the fundamentals of religion, by which faith is incomplete without it."
Aqaa'id al-Imamiyyah: Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar, chapter 3: al-Imamah, p.89

The famous Rabbi Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, nicknamed al-Sadooq (the truthful), wrote:

"Our belief is that whoever denies the Imamah of Amirul-Mu'mineen Ali bin Abi Talib and the Imams after him is equal to the denial the Prophethood of all the Prophets. We further believe that whoever recognizes (the Imamah of) Amirul-Mu'mineen but denies one of the Imams, is like one who admits and recognizes all the Prophets but denies the Prophethood of Muhammad [pbuh].
al-I'tiqadaat: Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, p. 103, from: 'Aqeedat al-Imamah, Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p.28 Rabbi al-Mufeed who headed the Imami Shi'ites, and who was the Sheikh of their leader Rabbi Abu Ja'far At-Tusi, wrote as quoted by al-Majlisi:
"The consensus of all Imamis is that whoever denies the Imamah of any Imam, and denies the Obediance imposed by Allah Ta'ala for him, then he's a Kafir deviant deservant of an eternal hell"
Bihaar al-Anwaar: Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, vol.23, p.390, from Aqeedat al-Imamah: Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p.29.

(2) The Imam is equal to the Prophet in the Infallibility, Attributes and Knowledge:

In other words, the Imam must be "Infallible" from the date of his birth to the day he dies from all sins, error and forgetfulness. He must be the best of all men when it comes to courageness, generousity, justice, truthfulness, far sightness, wisdom and morals. As for his knowledge, he receives all Divine knowledge and commands and any other knowledge either from the Prophet, the Imam who preceded him, or by way of revelation from Allah (to be continued)


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