Author(s): Toyib Olawuyi
Category: Early Islamic History Miscellaneous information: Abd Allah Ibn Saba Myth Exploded,
Author: Toyib Olawuyi.
Person Tags: Abd Allah Ibn Saba
This text carefully examines and refutes the claims of Ahlul Sunnah about Abd Allah Ibn Saba.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
من مکه حبیبی نوره
سطع فی المدینه
This research is dedicated to my beloved master, ‘Ammar b. Yasir, the noble companion of the Messenger of Allah and Amir al-Muminin,
, may Allah be pleased with him and his blessed parents.
Special thanks to Tural Islam, Aneela Sultan, Ali Baker, Ahmad Olawuyi, Sa’dudeen Mahmud (Alfa Tira), Lukman Ibrahim, and the following brothers and sisters, for their encouragement: Shaykh Muhammad Nura Dass, Shaykh Muhibullah ‘Ali, Shaykh Abu Bakr Bello Salati, Waheed Afolabi, Dr. ‘Abdullateef Saliu, Mikail Zakariyah, Ra’ouf Ali-Zadeh, Jafar Mer, Steve Davies, Jaffer Abbas, Jibreel Ibn Mikael, Muhammad Ali Khalil, Ahmed Hakim, Hassan Bokhari, Syed Jarry Haider, Omidiji Nurudeen, Ibrahim Olasunkonmi Bello, Kassim Agbonika Salihu, Ilani Abubakar, Mounir Bahsoun, Kamal Ishmael, Bilal Bernard Nolan, Dylan Esteban, Aquib Mehdi Rizvi, Syed Ali Raza, Sajjad Abu Ja’far Baktash, Radwan Hamoud, Akram Abbas, Ali Hussnain, Nader Carun, Henna Rai, Rizziandrie Zairul, Nasir Hasan, Sayed Umaar Kazmi, and Hussain Ali Nasser. May Allah bless them all and all our loving brothers and sisters from the Shi’ah Imamiyyah and the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah.
Every Shi’i who seeks to debate a Sunni must insist on certain ten principles:
1. Both parties must swear before Allah to pursue, defend and follow
the truth alone.
2. Both parties must agree on a specific topic, and also set the boundaries of the discussion.
3. Each party must declare beforehand what exactly must be proved by the other party in order to win the debate.
4. Each side must swear before Allah to strictly stay on the topic of the debate, and not deviate, digress or venture into any other throughout the discussion.
5. Each party must swear before Allah to present only authentically transmitted reports from both the Sunni books and the Shi’i books.
6. The Sunni party must always present reports with reliable chains from the Shi’i books only in order to convince the Shi’i on any point. In the same manner, the Shi’i must always present reports with reliable chains from the Sunni books in order to convince the Sunni on any point.
7. Authenticity of the reports is determined primarily through the chains of narration. Each party must either present the opinions of the relevant leading rijal experts on each riwayah or do a thorough rijal breakdown of its narrators using the strictest appropriate rijal standards. If either party has an objection to the authentication by the ‘ulama of any particular report, he must present convincing evidence to prove their error.
8. The opinions of scholars on issues are not valid as proof unless reliably transmitted evidence can be provided to back them up.
9. It is he who claims that something exists, or that it is true, that must provide the cogent evidence for it. The party
denying it has no obligation to provide proof of his denial. However, where the claimer has provided his proof, the onus shifts to the denier. The denier must either accept the evidence supplied, or provide solid academically sound and orthodox reasons to reject it.
10. There shall never be any vulgar abuse of the other party or anyone respected by his sect or madhhab. The debate shall be entirely decorous, and the choice of words shall be respectful.
Unfortunately, not many Sunnis or Shi’is have the necessary skills or temperaments to accept all the conditions stated above. Therefore, we almost always see very poor pseudo-debates, especially on online forums. We often see each side quoting dha’if reports from even his own sources, as well as from those of the opposing party, to drive home his weak points! In most cases, no original research is ever done on the topic by either side. Rather, each of them merely copy-pastes heavily from websites and parrots statements by others.
In the end, nothing useful is achieved from the debate. On a lot of occasions, the discussion turns into a cursing contest; and the party with the vilest tongue declares victory. It is our absolute conviction that whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing best. It is more advisable for pseudo-debaters to take time to train themselves in the necessary skills – academic and emotional – needed for a real debate before (re-)taking the podiums. The damage and evil caused by the pseudo-debates
outweigh any benefits that might come from them.
Let us take the question of “Ibn Saba” as a case study for the ten rules above. Our brothers from the Ahl al-Sunnah always make the following claims about him:
1. He was a descendant of Saba, and belonged to one of the Sabai tribes.
2. He was a black Arab with a black slave mother.
3. He was a Jew from Sana in Yemen.
4. He accepted Islam during the khilafah of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan.
5. He stirred up the public, especially the Egyptians, against ‘Uthman and caused the latter’s bloody overthrow.
6. He was the first to claim that ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, was the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi.
7. He was the first to proclaim belief in al-raj’ah – that is, that the return to this world after death by certain dead people.
8. He was the first to publicly criticize or revile Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
9. He was popularly called Ibn al-Sawda – son of the black mother.
10. Imam ‘Ali was frustrated with him, and abused him by calling him “the black container” and also banished him to al-Madain.
11. Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib saw it as legitimate to execute him for reviling Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and would have done so had people not talked him out of the decision.
12. ‘Ali burnt him (i.e. Ibn Saba) and his followers alive for calling him (i.e. ‘Ali) Allah.
Since it is the Sunni in any debate who makes these claims, the onus
is on him to provide reliably transmitted evidence for each and every point. The Shi’i – who denies them – has no initial obligation or responsibility to bring any evidence to refute them(1).
Normally, the question is: who exactly is the Sunni trying to convince on these matters? If he only seeks to convince his Sunni brothers, then he must present reliable riwayat from the Sunni books to back up all the points(2). However, if his aim is only to convince the Shi’ah, in that case he has no other choice but to quote nothing but authentic Shi’i reports in support of himself.
Incidentally, there are only three reliable athar concerning Ibn Saba throughout all Shi’i books. Shaykh ‘Ali Al Muhsin has compiled the Shi’i riwayat about ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and examined their various chains(3), and has thus concluded:
والصحیح من تلک الروایات منحصر بثلاث روایات مرویه فی رجال الکشی,وهی تثبت وجود عبد الله بن سبأ, وأنه ادّعی الألوهیه فی أمیر المؤمنین, فأحرقه بالنار, ولا تثبت أکثر من ذلک.
The authentic from these reports are only three reports recorded in Rijal al-Kashi, and they establish the existence of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and that he claimed divinity for Amir al-Muminin, and that he (‘Ali) therefore burnt him (i.e. Ibn Saba) with fire. Nothing more than that is proved.(4)
This is the first of the three reports, as quoted by Al Muhsin:
رواه الکشی أیضاً بسنده عن هشام بن سالم, قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله یقول وهو یحدِّث أصحابه بحدیث عبد الله بن
سبأ وما ادّعی من الربوبیه فی أمیر المؤمنین علی بن أبی طالب, فقال: إنه لما ادّعی ذلک فیه استتابه أمیر المؤمنین, فأبی أن یتوب فأحرقه بالنار.
Al-Kashi narrated it too with his chain from Hisham b. Salim, who said: I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah saying, while addressing his companions on the issue of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and his claim of divinity for Amir al-Muminin, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib: “When he made that claim concerning him, Amir al-Muminin asked him to repent. But, he refused to repent. So, he burnt him with fire.”(1)
Al Muhsin also copies the second hadith:
رواه الکشی أیضاً فی کتابه المذکور بسنده عن أبان بن عثمان, قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله یقول: لعن الله عبد الله بن سبأ, إنه ادّعی الربوبیه فی أمیر المؤمنین, وکان والله أمیر المؤمنین عبداً لله طائعاً, الویل لمن کذب علینا, وإن قوماً یقولون فینا ما لا نقوله فی أنفسنا, نبرأ إلی الله منهم, نبرأ إلی الله منهم.
Al-Kashi records again in his mentioned book with his chain from Aban b. ‘Uthman, who said: I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah saying: “May Allah curse ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. Verily, he claimed divinity for Amir al-Muminin. I swear by Allah, Amir al-Muminin was only an obedient slave of Allah. Woe unto whosoever lies upon us. A group say concerning us what we never say about ourselves, we dissociate ourselves from them unto Allah. We dissociate ourselves from them unto Allah.”(2)
And this is the third report, cited by Shaykh Al Muhsin:
رواه أیضاً بسنده عن أبی حمزه الثمالی, قال:
قال علی بن الحسین :لعن الله من کذب علینا, إنی ذکرت عبد الله بن سبأ فقامت کل شعره فی جسدی, لقد ادّعی أمراً عظیماً, ما له لعنه الله !کان علی والله عبداً لله صالحاً, أخو رسول الله, ما نال الکرامه من الله إلا بطاعته لله ولرسوله, وما نال رسول الله الکرامه من الله إلا بطاعته.
He narrated again with his chain from Abu Hamzah al-Thumali, who said:
‘Ali b. al-Husayn said: “May Allah curse whosoever lies upon us. I remember ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and every hair on my body rises. He made a terrible claim. What was wrong with him? May Allah curse him. I swear by Allah, ‘Ali was only a righteous slave of Allah and the brother of the Messenger of Allah. He did not achieve honour from Allah except through his obedience to Allah and to His Messenger. The Messenger of Allah too did not achieve honour from Allah except with his obedience of Him.(1)
Then, Al Muhsin comments about the three ahadith:
وهذه الروایات الثلاث صحیحه السند
These three reports have sahih chains.(2)
Any Sunni who wants to debate any Shi’i on the topic of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, la’natullah ‘alaihi, can therefore only quote the three riwayat above if he is sincere. However, he would NEVER be able to establish the Sunni claims below, through those authentic Shi’i ahadith:
1. ‘Abd Allah b. Saba was a black Arab with a black mother.
2. He was a Jew from Sana in Yemen.
3. He accepted Islam during the khilafah of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan.
stirred up the public, especially the Egyptians, against ‘Uthman and caused the latter’s bloody overthrow.
5. He was the first to claim that ‘Ali was the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah.
6. He was the first to proclaim belief in al-raj’ah – that is, that the Prophet will one day return to this world after death.
7. He was the first to publicly criticize or revile Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
8. He was popularly called Ibn al-Sawda – son of the black mother.
9. Imam ‘Ali was frustrated with him, and abused him racially by calling him “the black container” and also banished him to al-Madain.
10. Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib saw it as legitimate to execute him for reviling Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and would have done so had people not talked him out of the decision.
Therefore, our brothers from the Ahl al-Sunnah will always lose any debate on Ibn Saba with any Shi’i as long as both sides are honest.
Meanwhile, what about the Sunni sources? What if a Sunni only intended to convince another Sunni concerning ‘Abd Allah b. Saba? Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) outlines the necessary rules here:
و الجواب من وجوه أحدها انه لا بد من إقأمه الدلیل علی صحه المنقول إلا فالاستدلال بما لا تثبت
The reply is from several angles. One of them is: evidence must be presented for the authenticity of whatever is quoted. Unless this is done, using it as proof is invalid.(1)
Elsewhere, in rejecting a report, he adds:
فیقال أولا هذه الحکایه لم یذکر
لها إسنادا فلا تعرف صحتها فإن المنقولات إنما تعرف صحتها بالأسانید الثابته
It is said (in reply) that first and foremost, he has not mentioned any chain for this narration. Therefore, its authenticity is unknown. This is because the authenticity of quoted reports is known only through their authentic chains.(1)
He further reiterates:
ومعلوم أن من احتج فی أی مسأله کانت بشیء من النقل فلا بد أن یذکر إسنادا تقوم به الحجه
It is well-known that whosoever relies upon as proof any narration in any issue, he must mention (at least) a chain which establishes it as a hujjah (proof).(2)
So, every Sunni must do the following with every report he mentions on ‘Abd Allah b. Saba:
1. Quote the report with the full chain.
2. Provide clear evidence for the reliability of the chain.
Interestingly, our dear Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah himself has failed completely to comply with either of the two obligatory rules in his discourses about Ibn Saba. For instance, this is his submission about how that controversial, “elusive” character mounted onto the Islamic scene:
وأما بیعه عثمان فلم یتخلف عنها أحد مع کثره المسلمین وانتشرهم من إفریقیه إلی خراسان ومن سواحل الشام إلی أقصی الیمن ومع کونهم کانوا ظاهرین علی عدوهم من المشرکین وأهل الکتاب یقاتلونهم وهی فی زیاده فتح وانتصار ودوام دوله ودوام المسلمین علی مبایعته والرضا عنه ست سنین نصف خلافته معظمین له مادحین له لا یظهر من أحد منهم التکلم فیه بسوء
ثم بعد هذا صار یتکلم فیه بعضهم وجمهورهم لا یتکلم فیه إلا بخیر وکانت قد طالت علیهم إمارته فانه بقی اثنتی عشره
سنه لم تدم خلافه أحد من الأربعه ما دامت خلافته فإن خلافه الصدیق کانت سنتین وبعض الثالثه وخلافه عمر عشر سنین وبعض الأخری وخلافه علی أربع سنین وبعض الخامسه ونشأ فی خلافته من دخل فی الإسلام کرها فکان منافقا مثل ابن سبأ وأمثاله وهم الذین سعوا فی الفتنه بقتله
As for the bay’ah of ‘Uthman, there was no one who did not pledge it despite the great number of the Muslims and their spread from Africa to Khurasan (in Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan), and from the plains of Syria to the remotest places of Yemen. This was also despite their victories over their enemies, such as the idolaters and the Ahl al-Kitab who fought them. This was accompanied by conquests and the survival of the state and the survival of the Muslims; and they (i.e. the Muslims) followed him and were pleased with him for six years – which was half of the period of his khilafah. They showed great respect to him, and praised him. There was not a single one of them who criticized him.
Then, after this, appeared those who criticized him. Yet, the majority of them did not talk about him except in good terms. However, his rule had gotten too long for them, for it lasted twelve years. The khilafah of none of the four (rightly guided khalifahs) lasted as long as his khilafah. The khilafah of al-Siddiq was for just a little over two years; the khilafah of ‘Umar lasted a little over ten years; and
the khilafah of ‘Ali was for a little over four years. During his (‘Uthman’s) khilafah, there were those who entered Islam unwillingly, and they were hypocrites, such as Ibn Saba and his likes, and they were those who started the fitnah (crisis) by killing him.(1)
Really? ‘Abd Allah b. Saba “unwillingly” accepted Islam and, within a short period, successfully masterminded the assassination and overthrow of the mighty khalifah?! Is there any reliable evidence for this? Well, our Shaykh makes no attempt to pretend that there is any! He has neither quoted any riwayah with any sanad, nor has he provided any evidence whatsoever for the authenticity of any report on his claims.
All right then, is there anything else we should know about ‘Abd Allah b. Saba? Our Shaykh says “yes”:
ولا ریب أن کثیرا ممن یحب الرسول من بنی هاشم وغیرهم وقد تشیع قد تلقی من الرافضه ما هو من أعظم الأمور قدحا فی الرسول فإن أصل الرفض إنما أحدثه زندیق غرضه إبطال دین الإسلام والقدح فی رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم کما قد ذکر ذلک العلماء وکان عبد الله بن سبأ شیخ الرافضه لما أظهر الإسلام أراد أن یفسد الإسلام بمکره وخبثه کما فعل بولص بدین النصاری
There is no doubt that a lot of those who loved the Messenger among the Banu Hashim and others - and who also became Shi’ah - imbibed from the Rafidhah some of the most blasphemous matters concerning the Messenger. This is because al-rafdh was founded by an infidel, whose aim was to destroy
the religion of Islam, and to blaspheme the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, as mentioned by the scholars. ‘Abd Allah b. Saba – the shaykh of the Rafidhah - when he professed Islam, he intended to corrupt Islam with his plots and malice, as Paul did with Christianity.(1)
Interestingly, once again, our Shaykh fails to provide any proof whatsoever for his claims!
So, what exactly did ‘Abd Allah b. Saba do to found Shi’ism? Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah thinks he has a clue on that as well:
قد علم أهل العلم أن أول ما ظهرت الشیعه الإمامیه المدعیه للنص فی أواخر أیام الخلفاء الراشدین وافتری ذلک عبدالله بن سبأ وطائفه الکذابون فلم یکونوا موجودین قبل ذلک
The scholars have known that the Shi’ah Imamiyyah, who claimed the nass (for ‘Ali), first appeared during the last periods of the rule of the khulafa al-rashidin (i.e. the rightly guided khalifahs). That was invented by ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and a group of liars. So, they never existed before then.(2)
وهذا معروف عن ابن سبا واتباعه وهو الذی ابتدع النص فی علی وابتدع أنه معصوم
And this is well-known about Ibn Saba and his followers. He was the one who innovated the nass (i.e. a claim of prophetic appointment as khalifah) for ‘Ali, and innovated the claim that he (‘Ali) was mas’um (infallible).(3)
The only problem here is that there is ZERO evidence provided to support these claims. Merely claiming that the rumours were “well-known” is not sufficient. An authentically transmitted eye-witness account is required in cases like
this. None is quoted anyway, anywhere!
Were there any the other “innovations” created by ‘Abd Allah b. Saba? Our Shaykh proceeds:
قلنا نعم وأشهر الناس بالرده خصوم أبی بکر الصدیق رضی الله عنه وأتباعه کمسیلمه الکذاب وأتباعه وغیرهم وهؤلاء تتولاهم الرافضه کما ذکر ذلک غیر واحد من شیوخهم مثل هذا الإمامی وغیره ویقولون إنهم کانوا علی الحق وأن الصدیق قاتلهم بغیر حق ثم من أظهر الناس رده الغالیه الذین حرقهم علی رضی الله عنه بالنار لما ادعوا فیه الإلهیه وهم السبائیه أتباع عبدالله بن سبأ الذین أظهروا سب أبی بکر وعمر
We say: yes, the most notorious of mankind for apostasy were the enemies of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, and his followers, such as Musaylamah the Liar and his followers and others. These people (i.e. the apostates) are loved by the Rafidhah, as mentioned by many of their shuyukh, like this Imami and others. They say that they (those apostates) were upon the truth, and that al-Siddiq fought them unjustly.
Those who were most notorious among mankind for extreme apostasy were those burnt with fire by ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, when they called him Allah. They were the Sabaiyyah, followers of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, those who were the first to curse Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.(1)
He reiterates the same elsewhere:
وأین شبهه مثل أبی موسی الأشعری الذی وافق عمرا علی عزل علی ومعاویه وأن یجعل الأمر شوری فی المسلمین من شبهه عبدالله بن سبأ وأمثاله الذین یدعون أنه إمام معصوم أو أنه إله أو نبی
is the confusion of the likes of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari who concurred with ‘Amr to dethrone (both) ‘Ali and Mu’awiyah and to subject the matter to consultation among the Muslims from the confusion of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and his likes who called him (i.e. ‘Ali) an infallible Imam, or that he was Allah, or that he was a prophet?(1)
Once more, our Shaykh makes no attempt to quote any report or chain for his submissions. Meanwhile, we have decided to help him out and his followers by actually checking the authenticity of all the primary Sunni riwayat about ‘Abd Allah b. Saba – especially all those ones that Sunnis table as evidence concerning him - in order to distinguish the truths from the fables. We sincerely hope that this work of ours will be highly beneficial to every soul seeking to learn the real truth about the character called Ibn Saba and the activities and doctrines that have been attributed to him. In this book, we have adopted the same strict investigative and transparent research methodology as we did in our first and second books. We implore Allah to forgive us all our mistakes, and to accept this as a worthy act of ‘ibadah. And may Allah send His salawat and barakat upon our master, Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah, and upon his purified offspring.
Reports and statements in Sunni books mentioning the name “Abd Allah b. Saba” are generally of three types:
1. Riwayat with full chains of transmission.
Riwayat with NO chain of transmission.
3. Unsupported testimonies and submissions of Sunni ‘ulama who were never eye-witnesses to the events.
Apparently, the last two categories are mursal by default, and are therefore dha’if evidences. Chainless and unsupported testimonies are not acceptable as proof, especially in crucial matters like this. So, we will naturally confine ourselves only to reports in the books of the Ahl al-Sunnah with chains of narration.
Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310 H), in his Tarikh, records:
فیما کتب به إلی السری عن شعیب عن سیف عن عطیه عن یزید الفقعسی قال کان عبدالله بن سبأ یهودیا من أهل صنعاء أمه سوداء فأسلم زمان عثمان ثم تنقل فی بلدان المسلمین یحالو ضلالتهم فبدأ بالحجاز ثم البصره ثم الکوفه ثم الشام فلم یقدر علی ما یرید عند أحد من أهل الشأم فأخرجوه حتی أتی مصر فاعتمر فیهم فقال لهم فیما یقول لعجب ممن یزعم أن عیسی یرجع ویکذب بأن محمدا یرجع وقد قال الله عز و جل إن الذی فرض علیک القرآن لرادک إلی معاد فمحمد أحق بالرجوع من عیسی قال فقبل ذلک عنه ووضع لهم الرجعه فتکلموا فیها ثم قال لهم بعد ذلک إنه کان ألف نبی ولکل نبی وصی وکان علی وصی محمد ثم قال محمد خاتم الأنبیاء وعلی خاتم الأوصیاء ثم قال بعد ذلک من أظلم ممن لم یجز وصیه رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم ووثب علی وصی رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم وتناول أمر الأمه ثم قال لهم بعد ذلک إن عثمان أخذها بغیر حق وهذا وصی رسول الله صلی الله علیه
Al-Sirri - Shu’ayb - Sayf - ‘Atiyyah - Yazid al-Faq’asi:
‘Abd Allah b. Saba was a Jew from the people of San’a (the capital of Yemen). His mother was black. He accepted Islam during the rule of ‘Uthman. Then he roamed the cities of the Muslims trying to turn them into heretics. He started with the Hijaz (in Saudi Arabia), then Basra (in Iraq), then Kufa (in Iraq), then Syria. But he did not achieve his aim with any of the people of Syria. Rather, they expelled him and he went to Egypt, and he settled among them. Then, he said to them, “It is strange of he who claims that ‘Isa will return but rejects that Muhammad will return. Meanwhile, Allah the Almighty has said, ‘Verily, He Who has ordained the Qur’an upon you (O Muhammad) will surely bring you back to a place of return’ (28:85). As such, Muhammad is more entitled to return than ‘Isa.” So, it was accepted from him, and he created for them (the doctrine of) al-raj’ah, and they spoke about it. Then he said, “Muhammad is the last of the prophets and ‘Ali is the last of the designated (immediate) successors (of prophets).” Then he added after that, “Who is more unjust that he who did not fulfil the testamentary will of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and jumped over the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and administered the affairs of the Ummah?”
Then he said to them, “Verily, ‘Uthman unjustly seized it, and this (‘Ali) is the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah.”(1)
The same report, with very slight variations, is later re-narrated by Imam Ibn Asakir (d. 571 H) as well:
أخبرنا أبو القاسم إسماعیل بن أحمد أنا أحمد بن النقور أنا محمد بن عبد الرحمن بن العباس أنا أبو بکر بن سیف نا السری بن یحیی نا شعیب بن إبراهیم نا سیف بن عمر عن عطیه عن یزید الفقعسی قال کان ابن سبأ یهودیا من أهل صنعاء من أمه سوداء فأسلم زمن عثمان بن عفان ثم تنقل فی بلاد المسلمین یحاول ضلالتهم فبدأ بالحجاز ثم بالبصره ثم الکوفه ثم الشام فلم یقدر علی ما یرید عند أحد من أهل الشام فأخرجوه حتی أتی مصر فاعتمر فیهم فقال لهم فیما کان یقول العجب ممن یزعم أن عیسی یرجع ویکذب بأن محمدا یرجع وقد قال الله عز وجل إن الذی فرض علیک القرآن لرادک إلی معاد فمحمد أحق بالرجوع من عیسی قال فقبل ذلک عنه ووضع له الرجعه فتکلموا فیها ثم قال بعد ذلک إنه کان ألف نبی ولکل نبی وصی وکان علی وصی محمد ثم قال محمد خاتم النبیین وعلی خاتم الأوصیاء ثم قال بعد ذلک من أظلم ممن لم یجز وصیه رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم ووثب علی وصی رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم ثم تناول الأمه ثم قال لهم بعد ذلک إن عثمان قد جمع أموالا أخذها بغیر حقها وهذا وصی رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم
Abu al-Qasim Isma’il b. Ahmad – Ahmad b. al-Nuqur –
Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. al-‘Abbas – Abu Bakr b. Sayf – al-Sirri b. Yahya – Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim – Sayf b. ‘Umar – ‘Atiyyah – Yazid al-Faq’asi:
Ibn Saba was a Jew from the people of San’a (the capital of Yemen), from a black slave-woman. He accepted Islam during the rule of ‘Uthman. Then he roamed the cities of the Muslims trying to turn them into heretics. He started with the Hijaz (in Saudi Arabia), then Basra (in Iraq), then Kufa (in Iraq), then Syria. But he did not achieve his aim with any of the people of Syria. Rather, they expelled him and he went to Egypt, and he settled among them. Then, he said to them, “It is strange of he who claims that ‘Isa will return but rejects that Muhammad will return. Meanwhile, Allah the Almighty has said, ‘Verily, He Who has ordained the Qur’an upon you (O Muhammad) will surely bring you back to a place of return’ (28:85). As such, Muhammad is more entitled to return than ‘Isa.” So, it was accepted from him, and he created for them (the doctrine of) al-raj’ah, and they spoke about it. Then he said, “There were one thousand prophets, and each prophet had a designated successor. And ‘Ali was the designated successor of Muhammad.” Then he said, “Muhammad is the last of the prophets and ‘Ali is the last of the designated (immediate) successors (of prophets).” Then he added after that, “Who is more unjust that he who
did not fulfil the testamentary will of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and jumped over the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and administered the Ummah?” Then he said to them, “Verily, ‘Uthman unjustly embezzled funds, and this (‘Ali) is the designated successor of the Messenger of Allah.”(1)
This riwayah of Yazid al-Faq’asi is the only one – with a chain of narration - throughout all books of the Ahl al-Sunnah that makes the following claims:
1. ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, la’natullah ‘alaihi, had a black slave mother.
2. He accepted Islam during the rule of ‘Uthman.
3. He believed that Imam ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, was the designated successor of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi.
4. He believed in the ‘aqidah called al-raj’ah.
So, if the report collapses, all the four points above go down with it. There would be absolutely nothing else to base those assertions upon. Therefore, let us examine the narrators.
In the chain of the riwayah, there is Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim. Who was he? Was he reliable or not? Al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) helps us out here:
شعیب بن إبراهیم الکوفی :روایه کتب سیف عنه فیه جهاله انتهی .ذکره ابن عدی وقال لیس بالمعروف وله أحادیث واخبار وفیه بعض النکره وفیها ما فیه تحامل علی السلف وفی ثقات ابن حبان شعیب بن إبراهیم من أهل الکوفه یروی عن محمد بن أبان البلخی روی عنه یعقوب بن سفیان فیحتمل ان یکون هو والظاهر أنه غیره
Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim al-Kufi: the narration of the books of Sayf
was by him. There is obscurity concerning him. Ibn ‘Adi mentioned him and said, “He is unknown. He narrated ahadith and stories, and there is some repugnancy concerning him. Among his narrations are those which are prejudiced against the Salaf.” In al-Thiqat, Ibn Hibban said, “Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim, from the people of Kufah. He narrated from Muhammad b. Aban al-Balkhi and Ya’qub b. Sufyan narrated from him”. It is possible that he (i.e. the Shu’ayb mentioned by Ibn Hibban) was him (i.e. the Shu’ayb who narrated from Sayf), but what is obvious is that he was not him.(1)
Therefore, Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim is majhul (unknown). Ordinarily, we should simply ignore the other narrators in the chain. This singular fact about Shu’ayb itself has torpedoed the entire report. But, there is more!
Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) wants us to know about Sayf too:
سیف بن عمر التمیمی الأسیدی :ویقال الضبی الکوفی. صاحب کتاب الفتوح وکتاب الرده ن وغیر ذلک. روی عن: جابر الجعفی، وهشام بن عروه، وإسماعیل بن أبی خالد، وعبید الله بن عمر، وطائفه کثیره من المجاهیل والإخباریین. روی عنه: النضر بن حماد العتکی، ویعقوب بن إبراهیم الزهری، وشعیب بن إبراهیم الکوفی، وأبو معمر إسماعیل القطعی، وجباره بن المغلس، وآخرون. قال یحیی بن معین: ضعیف الحدیث. وقال أبو حاتم: متروک. بابه الواقدی. وقال أبو داوود: لیس بشیء. وقال ابن حبان: اتهم بالزندقه. وروی عباس عن یحیی قال: سیف بن عمر الضبی یحدث عنه المحاربی، ضعیف. وکذا قال النسائی. وقال الحاکم: سیف بن عمر الضبی أتهم بالزندقه، وهو ساقط فی روایه الحدیث. وروی
ابن حبان بإسناد إنه کان یضع الحدیث.
Sayf b. ‘Umar al-Tamimi al-Usaydi: He is also called al-Dhabi al-Kufi, author of Kitab al-Futuh, Kitab al-Riddah and others. He narrated from: Jabir al-Ju’fi, Hisham b. ‘Urwah, Isma’il b. Abi Khalid, ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Umar, and a lot of unknown narrators and storytellers. Those who narrated from him are: al-Nadhar b. Hamad al-‘Atki, Ya’qub b. Ibrahim al-Zuhri, Shu’ayb b. Ibrahim al-Kufi, Abu Ma’mar Isma’il al-Qat’i, Jabarah b. al-Muglis, and others. Yahya b. Ma’in said: “He is dha’if in hadith”. Abu Hatim said, “He is matruk (rejected), the same kind with al-Waqidi”. Abu Dawud said, “He is nothing.” Ibn Hibban said, “He is accused of disbelief”. And ‘Abbas narrated that Yahya said, “Sayf b. ‘Umar al-Dhabi narrated ahadith from al-Muharibi. He is dha’if.” Al-Nasai said the same thing. Al-Hakim said, “Sayd b. ‘Umar al-Dhabi. He is accused of disbelief, and he is a failure as long as hadith narration is concerned.” Ibn Hibban narrates with a chain that he used to fabricate ahadith.(1)
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) also says:
وأما سیف بن عمر ؛ فمعروف؛ لکنه متهم بالوضع؛ قال الذهبی فی "المغنی": "له توالیف، متروک باتفاق".
As for Sayf b. ‘Umar, he is well-known. However, he has been accused of fabricating reports. Al-Dhahabi said in al-Mughni: “He wrote books. He is rejected (matruk) by consensus.”(2)
Elsewhere, the ‘Allamah adds:
قلت: وفی هذا نظر، فإن أکثر الطرق المشار إلیها مدارها علی سیف بن عمر والواقدی وهما کذابان
I say: There is an error in this, for most of the indicated chains,
their pivot is Sayf b. ‘Umar and al-Waqidi, and they both were LIARS.(1)
Apparently, no one can ever be more unreliable than Sayf!
It is even further interesting that the man who was supposed to have witnessed all of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba’s actions – including all his journeys and experiences in Hijaz, Basra, Kufa, Syria and Egypt – Yazid al-Faq’asi is completely and absolutely unknown (majhul). It is so bad that he does not even have a single entry in any Sunni book of rijal!
With the above, it is crystal clear that the only report throughout all Sunni books - which connects one ‘Abd Allah b. Saba with Judaism, Yemen, a black mother, the doctrine of al-raj’ah, the wisayah (designated succession) of Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali, and acceptance of Islam during ‘Uthman’s rule – is absolutely mawdu’ (fabricated). No report can be more worthless than it is.
So, let us find out if there is an alternative Sunni report which refers explicitly to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. Through our investigations, we discovered that only six more exist, apart from the mawdu’ one above. This is one of those six, recorded by Imam Ibn Asakir:
أخبرنا أبو البرکات الأنماطی أنا أبو طاهر أحمد بن الحسن وأبو الفضل أحمد بن الحسن قالا أنا عبد الملک بن محمد بن عبد الله أنا أبو علی بن الصواف نا محمد بن عثمان بن أبی شیبه نا محمد بن العلاء نا أبو بکر بن عیاش عن مجالد عن الشعبی قال أول من کذب عبد الله بن سبأ
Abu al-Barakat al-Anmati
– Abu Tahir Ahmad b. al-Hasan and Abu al-Fadhl Ahmad b. al-Hasan – ‘Abd al-Malik b. Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah – Abu ‘Ali b. al-Sawaf – Muhammad b. ‘Uthman b. Abi Shaybah – Muhammad b. al-‘Ala – Abu Bakr b. ‘Ayyash – Mujalid – al-Sha’bi:
The first one to tell a lie was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba.(1)
This chain, however, is mawdu’ too! Imam al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463 H) documents under his biography of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman b. Abi Shaybah:
أخبرنا علی بن محمد بن الحسین الدقاق قال قرانا علی الحسین بن هارون عن أبی العباس بن سعید قال سمعت عبد الله بن أسامه الکلبی یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب أخذ کتب بن عبدوس الرازی ما زلنا نعرفه بالکذب
وقال بن سعید سمعت إبراهیم بن إسحاق الصواف یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب ویسرق حدیث الناس ویحیل علی أقوام بأشیاء لیست من حدیثهم
قال سمعت داود بن یحیی یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب وقد وضع أشیاء کثیره یحیل علی أقوام أشیاء ما حدثوا بها قط
وقال سمعت عبد الرحمن بن یوسف بن خراش یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب بین الأمر یزید فی الأسانید ویوصل ویضع الحدیث
وقال سمعت محمد بن عبد الله الحضرمی یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب ما زلنا نعرفه بالکذب مذ هو صبی
وقال سمعت عبد الله بن احمد بن حنبل یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب ...
وقال سمعت جعفر بن محمد بن أبی عثمان الطیالسی یقول بن عثمان هذا کذاب یجیء عن قوم بأحادیث ما حدثوا بها قط متی سمع انا عارف به جدا ...
وقال سمعت محمد بن احمد العدوی یقول
محمد بن عثمان کذاب...
وقال حدثنی محمد بن عبید بن حماد قال سمعت جعفر بن هذیل یقول محمد بن عثمان کذاب....
‘Ali b. Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Daqaq – al-Husayn b. Harun – Abu al-‘Abbas b. Sa’id – ‘Abd Allah b. Usamah al-Kalbi: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is A LIAR. He took the books of Ibn ‘Abdaws al-Razi. We have ALWAYS known him as A LIAR”.
Ibn Sa’d – Ibrahim b. Ishaq al-Sawaf: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is A LIAR. He steals the ahadith of the people and he falsely attributes things to people which are never part of their ahadith.”
Ibn Sa’d – Dawud b. Yahya: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is A LIAR. He FABRICATED a lot of things. He falsely attributes things to people which they never narrate at all.”
Ibn Sa’d – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Yusuf b. Kharash: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is a LIAR within the matter. He falsely adds and connects names to the chains (of narrations) and he FABRICATES ahadith.”
Ibn Sa’d – Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hadhrami: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is A LIAR. We have ALWAYS known him as A LIAR since he was a child.”
Ibn Sa’d – ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad b. Hanbal: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is a LIAR....
Ibn Sa’d – Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Abi ‘Uthman al-Tayalisi: “This Ibn ‘Uthman is A LIAR. He attributes to people ahadith which they never narrated since he started hearing (as a child). I know him very well”...
Ibn Sa’d – Muhammad b. Ahmad al-‘Adawi: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is a LIAR...”
Ibn Sad – Muhammad b. ‘Ubayd
b. Hammad – Ja’far b. Huzayl: “Muhammad b. ‘Uthman is A LIAR....”(1)
We need not comment further about him!
In the chain is another problematic narrator: Mujalid. Imam al-Dhahabi says about him too:
مجالد بن سعید الهمدانی. مشهور صاحب حدیث علی لین فیه.
روی عن قیس بن أبی حازم، والشعبی. وعنه یحیی القطان، وأبو أسامه، وجماعه.
قال ابن معین وغیره: لا یحتج به. وقال أحمد: یرفع کثیرا مما لا یرفعه الناس، لیس بشئ. وقال النسائی: لیس بالقوی. وذکر الأشج أنه شیعی. وقال الدارقطنی: ضعیف. وقال البخاری: کان یحیی بن سعید یضعفه، وکان ابن مهدی لا یروی عنه.
Mujalid b. Sa’id al-Hamdani: well-known, a narrator of hadith, with weakness in him.
He narrated from Qays b. Abi Hazim and al-Sha’bi, and Yahya b. al-Qattan, Abu Usamah and a group narrated from him.
Ibn Ma’in and others said, “He is not accepted as a hujjah (proof).” Ahmad said, “He attributes to the Prophet lots of what people do not attribute to him. He is nothing.” Al-Nasai said, “He is not strong.” Al-Ashja’ mentioned that he was a Shi’i. Al-Daraqutni said, “Dha’if”. Al-Bukhari said, “Yahya b. Sa’id declared him dha’if, and Ibn Mahdi did not narrate from him.”(2)
Apparently, this second narration is extremely mawdu’ as well! Yet, we constantly see some Sunni brothers proudly quoting it as evidence!
Let us now examine the third existing Sunni report on ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. Imam Ibn Asakir documents:
أنبأنا أبو بکر محمد بن طرخان بن بلتکین بن یجکم أنا أبو الفضائل محمد بن أحمد بن عبد الباقی بن طوق قال قرئ علی أبی
القاسم عبید الله بن علی بن عبید الله الرقی نا أبو أحمد عبید الله بن محمد بن أبی مسلم أنا أبو عمر محمد بن عبد الواحد أخبرنی الغطافی عن رجاله عن الصادق عن آبائه الطاهرین عن جابر قال لما بویع علی خطب الناس فقام إلیه عبد الله بن سبأ فقال له أنت دابه الأرض قال فقال له اتق الله فقال له أنت الملک فقال له اتق الله فقال له أنت خلقت الخلق وبسطت الرزق فأمر بقتله فاجتمعت الرافضه فقالت دعه وأنفه إلی ساباط المدائن فإنک إن قتلته بالمدینه خرجت أصحابه علینا وشیعته فنفاه إلی ساباط المدائن فثم القرامطه والرافضه قال ثم قامت إلیه طائفه وهم السبیئه وکانوا أحد عشر رجلا فقال ارجعوا فإنی علی بن أبی طالب أبی مشهور وأمی مشهوره وأنا ابن عم محمد صلی الله علیه وسلم فقالوا لا نرجع دع داعیک فأحرقهم بالنار وقبروهم فی صحراء أحد عشر مشهوره فقال من بقی ممن لم یکشف رأسه منهم علمنا إنه إله واحتجوا بقول ابن عباس لا یعذب بالنار إلا خالقها قال ثعلب وقد عذب بالنار قبل علی أبو بکر الصدیق شیخ الإسلام رضی الله عنه وذلک أنه رفع إلیه رجل یقال له الفجاءه وقالوا إنه شتم النبی صلی الله علیه وسلم بعد وفاته فأخرجه إلی الصحراء فأحرقه بالنار قال فقال ابن عباس قد عذب أبو بکر بالنار فاعبدوه أیضا
Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Tarkhan b. Baltakin b. Yahbakum – Abu al-Fadhail Muhammad b. Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Baqi b. Tawq – Abu al-Qasim ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Ali b. ‘Ubayd Allah al-Raqi – Abu Ahmad ‘Ubayd Allah b. Muhammad b.
Abi Muslim – Abu ‘Umar Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahid – al-Ghatafi – his men – al-Sadiq – his pure fathers – Jabir:
When ‘Ali was given the ba’yah (oath of allegiance), he addressed the people. Then, ‘Abd Allah b. Saba stood up to him and said, “You are the Dabbah from the Earth.” He (‘Ali) said, “Fear Allah.” He (‘Abd Allah b. Saba) said, “You are the King.” He (‘Ali) replied, “Fear Allah.” He (‘Abd Allah b. Saba) told him, “You created the creation and you spread the rizq (sustenance)”. Then, he (‘Ali) ordered his execution.
But the Rafidhah gathered and said, “Leave him. Instead, banish him to Sabat of al-Madain. If you killed him in Madinah, his companions and followers would rebel against us.” Therefore, he (‘Ali) banished him to Sabat of al-Madain. So, the Qaramitah and the Rafidhah re-grouped (there). Then a group called al-Sabaiyyah rose to him (‘Ali) and they were eleven men. He (‘Ali) said, “Recant, for I am ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. My father was well-known, and so was my mother. And I am the cousin of Muhammad, peace be upon him.” They replied, “We will not recant. Call your caller.” So, he (‘Ali) burnt them with fire, and buried them in eleven well-known deserts. Those who survived, whose heads were not exposed among them, said, “We know that he is Allah.” And they used the words of Ibn ‘Abbas – “None punishes with fire except its Creator” as proof.
Tha’lab said, “But, Abu Bakr, the shaykh
of Islam, may Allah be pleased with him, had punished with fire before ‘Ali. It was when a man called al-Faja was brought to him, and they accused him of insulting the Prophet, peace be upon him, after his death. Then he (Abu Bakr) took him out into the desert and burnt him with fire. So, Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Abu Bakr also punished with the fire. Therefore, worship him too.”(1)
First and foremost, there is a man called al-Ghatafi in the sanad. He is completely unknown amd untraceable. Worse still, he narrated from “his men”, who are also completely unknown and untraceable! As such, the chain is at least doubly majhul, and therefore very dha’if, on account of these facts alone!
Apart from its severe weakness, the report is also historically inaccurate. It assumes that there were groups called the Rafidhah, the Qaramita, and the Sabaiyyah during the rule of Amir al-Muminin! That simply is ridiculous. This, for instance, is what Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) has to say about the origin of the Rafidhah:
لکن لفظ الرافضه إنما ظهر لما رفضوا زید بن علی بن الحسین فی خلافه هشام وقصه زید بن علی بن الحسین کانت بعد العشرین ومائه سنه إحدی وعشرین أو اثنتین وعشرین ومائه فی اواخر خلافه هشام
But the word “Rafidhah” (Rejecters) was first used when they rejected (rafadhu) Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn during the khilafah of Hisham, and the incident of Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn occurred after 120 H, 121 H or 122 H, during
the last days of the khilafah of Hisham.(1)
Elsewhere, he reiterates:
قلت الصحیح أنهم سموا رافضه لما رفضوا زید بن علی بن الحسین بن علی بن أبی طالب لما خرج بالکوفه أیام هشام بن عبد الملک وقد ذکر هذا أیضا الاشعری وغیره
I say: the correct opinion is that they were named Rafidhah when they rejected Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, when he rebelled in Kufah during the days of Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik. Al-Ash’ari and others have also mentioned this.(2)
So, the Rafidhah and their name surfaced only almost a century after the death of Imam ‘Ali!
At this point, we move to the fourth, explicit Sunni report on ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah submits in his Minhaj:
وروی أبو عاصم خشیش بن أصرم فی کتابه ورواه من طریقه أبو عمرو الطلمنکی فی کتابه فی الأصول قال أبو عاصم حدثنا أحمد بن محمد وعبد الوارث ابن إبراهیم حدثنا السندی بن سلیمان الفارسی حدثنی عبد الله بن جعفر الرقی عن عبد الرحمن بن مالک بن مغول عن أبیه قال قلت لعامر الشعبی ما ردک عن هؤلاء القوم وقد کنت فیهم رأسا قال رأیتهم یأخذون بأعجاز لا صدور لها ثم قال لی یا مالک لو أردت أن یعطونی رقابهم عبیدا أو یملئوا لی بیتی ذهبا أو یحجوا إلی بیتی هذا علی أن أکذب علی علی رضی الله عنه لفعلوا ولا والله لا أکذب علیه أبدا یا مالک إنی قد درست الأهواء فلم أر فیها أحمق من الخشبیه فلو کانوا من الطیر لکانوا رخما ولو کانوا من الدواب لکانوا حمرا یا
مالک لم یدخلوا فی الإسلام رغبه فیه لله ولا رهبه من الله ولکن مقتا من الله علیهم وبغیا منهم علی أهل الإسلام یریدون أن یغمصوا دین الإسلام کما غمص بولص بن یوشع ملک الیهود دین النصرانیه ولا تجاوز صلاتهم آذانهم قد حرقهم علی بن أبی طالب رضی الله عنه بالنار ونفاهم من البلاد منهم عبد الله بن سبأ یهودی من یهود صنعاء نفاه إلی ساباط وأبو بکر الکروس نفاه إلی الجابیه وحرق منهم قوما أتوه فقالوا أنت هو فقال من أنا فقالوا أنت ربنا فأمر بنار
Abu ‘Asim Khashish b. Asrama recorded in his book; and through his route, Abu ‘Amr al-Talmanki documented it in his book on al-Usul. Abu ‘Asim said: Ahmad b. Muhammad and ‘Abd al-Warith b. Ibrahim – al-Sanadi b. Sulayman al-Farisi – ‘Abd Allah b. Ja’far al-Raqqi – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Malik b. Migwal – his father:
I said to Amir al-Sha’bi, “Why did you leave these people, while you used to be their head?”
He replied, “Their opinions are derived from invalid sources. They lack any basis.” Then he said, “O Malik, If I had demanded that they became my slaves or filled my house with gold, or made Hajj to this house of mine, and that in exchange I would lie upon ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, they would have done so. But, by Allah, I will never lie upon him, never! O Malik, I have studied the various sects. However, I have never seen among them any which is more stupid than the
Khashabiyyah. If they were from birds, they would have been vultures; and if they had been from animals, they would have been donkeys. O Malik, they did not enter Islam out of hope in it from Allah, nor from fear of Allah. Rather, it was due to the hatred of Allah upon them, and their rebellion upon the people of Islam. They seek to corrupt the religion of Islam as Paul b. Yusha’, king of the Jews, corrupted Christianity. Their salat never exceed their azan. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, had burnt them with fire, and banished them from the towns. Among them was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba the Jew from the Jews of San’a. He banished him to Sabat (of the Madain area). As for Abu Bakr al-Karus, he banished him to al-Jabiyyah. He (also) burnt a group among them who came to him and said, ‘You are Him.’ He asked, ‘Who am I?’ They replied, ‘You are our God.’” So, he ordered for a fire.(1)
In the chain is ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Malik b. Migwal. Al-Hafiz says about him:
عبد الرحمن بن مالک بن مغول :روی عن أبیه والأعمش .قال احمد والدارقطنی متروک وقال أبو داود کذاب وقال مره یضع الحدیث وقال النسائی وغیره لیس بثقه
‘Abd al-Rahman b. Malik b. Migwal: he narrated from his father and al-A’mash. Ahmad and al-Daraqutni said: “Matruk (rejected)”. Abu Dawud said, “A LIAR”, and also said, “he FABRICATED ahadith”. Al-Nasai and others said, “He is NOT trustworthy.”(2)
al-Albani also states about another chain containing his name:
قلت: ورجاله ثقات غیر عبد الرحمن بن مالک بن مغول، وهو کذاب کما قال أبو داود، وقال الدارقطنی: متروک، فهو آفه هذا الإسناد
I say: Its narrators are trustworthy except ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Malik b. Migwal, AND HE WAS A LIAR, as stated by Abu Dawud. And al-Daraqutni said, “Matruk (rejected)”, and he is the defect in this chain.(1)
As if this was not enough, al-Sanadi b. Sulayman al-Farisi – also in the chain under inspection – is absolutely majhul, with no trace in the Sunni books of rijal! We honestly wonder how Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah dared to use such a report as evidence to establish points about the Shi’ah.
A twin report is further documented by Ibn Taymiyyah:
روی أبو حفص بن شاهین فی کتاب اللطیف فی السنه حدثنا محمد بن أبی القاسم بن هارون حدثنا أحمد بن الولید الواسطی حدثنی جعفر بن نصیر الطوسی الواسطی عن عبد الرحمن بن مالک بن مغول عن أبیه قال قال لی الشعبی أحذرکم هذه الأهواء المضله وشرها الرافضه لم یدخلوا فی الإسلام رغبه ولا رهبه ولکن مقتا لأهل الإسلام وبغیا علیهم قد حرقهم علی رضی الله عنه بالنار ونفاهم إلی البلدان منهم عبد الله ابن سبأ یهودی من یهود صنعاء نفاه الی ساباط
Abu Hafs b. Shahin recorded in Kitab al-Latif fi al-Sunnah: Muhammad b. Abi al-Qasim b. Harun – Ahmad b. al-Walid al-Wasiti – Ja’far b. Nasir al-Tusi al-Wasiti – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Malik b. Migwal – his father:
Al-Sha’bi said to me, “I warn you concerning these heretical
sects, and the worst of them are the Rafidhah. They do not enter Islam out of hope (in it from Allah), nor from fear (of Allah). Rather, they do so out of hatred of the people of Islam and in rebellion against them. ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, had burnt them with fire and banished them to towns. Among them was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, a Jew from the Jews of San’a. He (‘Ali) exiled him to Sabat (of al-Madain).(1)
In the chain is ‘Abd al-Rahman, who was a liar and hadith fabricator. So, the riwayah is mawdhu’.
Besides, this is what al-Hafiz records about al-Sha’bi:
قال أبو سعد ابن السمعانی ولد سنه عشرین وقیل سنه ٣١ ومات سنه ١٠٩
Abu Sa’d b. al-Sam’ani said: “He (al-Sha’bi) was born in 20 H, and it is said 31 H, and he died in 109 H.(2)
Meanwhile, this is what Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah himself confesses about the term “Rafidhah”:
لکن لفظ الرافضه إنما ظهر لما رفضوا زید بن علی بن الحسین فی خلافه هشام وقصه زید بن علی بن الحسین کانت بعد العشرین ومائه سنه إحدی وعشرین أو اثنتین وعشرین ومائه فی اواخر خلافه هشام
But the word “Rafidhah” (Rejecters) was first used when they rejected (rafadhu) Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn during the khilafah of Hisham, and the incident of Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn occurred after 120 H, 121 H or 122 H, during the last days of the khilafah of Hisham.(3)
In simpler words, al-Sh’abi had already died before that word was ever
used in human history! How then did he manage to tell ‘Abd al-Rahman’s father about the Rafidhah from his grave?!
Al-Hafiz gives us the sixth existing explicit Sunni report on ‘Abd Allah b. Saba:
وقال أبو إسحاق الفزاری عن شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن أبی الزعراء عن زید بن وهب أن سوید بن غفله دخل علی علی فی إمارته فقال انی مررت بن بنفر یذکرون أبا بکر وعمر یرون انک تضمر لهما مثل ذلک منهم عبد الله بن سبا وکان عبد الله أول من أظهر ذلک فقال علی مالی ولهذا الخبیث الأسود ثم قال معاذ الله أضمر لهما الا الحسن الجمیل ثم أرسل إلی عبد الله بن سبا فسیره إلی المدائن وقال لا یساکننی فی بلده ابدا ثم نهض إلی المنبر حتی اجتمع الناس فذکر القصه فی ثنائه علیهما بطوله وفی آخره الا ولا یبلغنی عن أحد یفضلنی علیهما الا جلدته حد المفتری
Abu Ishaq al-Fazari narrated from Shu’bah from Salamah b. Kuhayl from Abu al-Za’ra from Zayd b. Wahb that Suwayd b. Ghaflah entered upon ‘Ali during his rule, and said, “I passed by a group who were mentioning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, claiming that you hold the same views towards them both. Among them was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and he was the first to manifest that. So, ‘Ali said, “What does this evil black man want from me?” Then he said, “I seek Allah’s refuge. My opinion of them both (i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) is nothing but good and beautiful.” Then he sent a messenger to ‘Abd Allah
b. Saba and exiled him to al-Madain, and said, “He shall not live in the same town as me ever again”. Then he rushed to the pulpit and gathered the people, and delivered a long speech to praise them both (i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar). At its end, he said, “Verily, if it reaches me that anyone places me above them both, I will whip him with the whipping of a lying slanderer.”(1)
So, who was Abu al-Za’ra? Al-Barqani (d. 425 H) disagrees with a popular choice here, as documented by al-Hafiz:
وروی البرقانی فی اللفظ من طریق شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن أبی الزعراء وعن زید بن وهب أن سوید بن غفله دخل علی علی فی امارته فقال یا أمیر المؤمنین انی مررت بنفر یذکرون أبا بکر وعمر الحدیث. قال البرقانی أبو الزعراء هذا هو حجیه بن عدی ولیس هو صاحب ابن مسعود ذاک اسمه عبد الله بن هانئ.
Al-Barqani narrated in the text from the route of Shu’bah from Salamah b. Kuhayl from Abu al-Za’ra, and from Zayd b. Wahb that Suwayd b. Ghaflah entered upon ‘Ali during his rule, and said, “O Amir al-Muminin! I passed by a group who were mentioning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.” The hadith. Al-Barqani said: “This Abu al-Za’ra was Hujayyah b. ‘Adi, and not the companion of Ibn Mas’ud, whose name was ‘Abd Allah b. Hani.”(2)
Al-Barqani has corroboration from Imam Muslim (d. 261 H), who identifies Hujayyah as:
أبو الزعراء أحجیه بن عدی الکندی
Abu al-Za’ra Hujayyah b. ‘Adi al-Kindi(3)
However, these positions of both al-Barqani
and Muslim are of no convincing basis in the eyes of al-Hafiz, who submits elsewhere in the same book that only three people – excluding Hujayyah – were actually known as Abu al-Za’ra:
من کنیته أبو الزعراء
أبو الزعراء الأزدی الأکبر، اسمه: عبد الله بن هانئ، تقدم.
أبو الزعراء الجشمی الأصغر، اسمه: عمرو بن عمر، تقدم.
أبو الزعراء الطائی، اسمه: یحیی بن الولید الکوفی، تقدم.
Those whose kunya was Abu al-Za’ra:
1. Abu al-Za’ra al-Azdi al-Akbar: his name was ‘Abd Allah b. Hani.
2. Abu al-Za’ra al-Jashmi al-Asghar: his name was ‘Amr b. ‘Umar.
3. Abu al-Za’ra al-Tai: his name was Yahya b. al-Walid al-Kufi.(1)
In his Taqrib, he has equally omitted “Abu al-Za’ra” from the names of Hujayyah(2). Meanwhile, other major Sunni rijal scholars who have also conspicuously omitted “Abu al-Za’ra” from the names of Hujayyah include: Imam Ibn Sa’d (d. 230 H)(3), Imam al-‘Ijli (d. 261 H)(4), Imam Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327 H)(5), Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H)(6), Imam al-Mizzi (d. 742)(7), and Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H)(8).
Besides, the riwayah transmitted by Hujayyah (which is also often quoted on Ibn Saba) is very different from that narrated by “Abu al-Za’ra”. Imam Ibn Abi Khaythamah (d. 279 H) reports:
حدثنا محمد بن عباد المکی قال نا سفیان قال نا عبد الجبار بن عباس الهمدانی عن سلمه عن حجیه بن عدی الکندی :رأیت علیا علی المنبر وهو یقول من یعذرنی من هذا الحمیت الأسود الذی یکذب علی الله یعنی ابن السوداء
Muhammad b. ‘Abbad – Sufyan – ‘Abd al-Jabbar b. ‘Abbas al-Hamdani – Salamah – Hujayyah b.
I saw ‘Ali upon the pulpit and he was saying, “Who will excuse me of this evil black CONTAINER, who tells lies upon Allah?” He meant Ibn al-Sawda.(1)
For Allah’s sake, how exactly does the above look like this one:
وقال أبو إسحاق الفزاری عن شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن أبی الزعراء عن زید بن وهب أن سوید بن غفله دخل علی علی فی إمارته فقال انی مررت بن بنفر یذکرون أبا بکر وعمر یرون انک تضمر لهما مثل ذلک منهم عبد الله بن سبا وکان عبد الله أول من أظهر ذلک فقال علی مالی ولهذا الخبیث الأسود ثم قال معاذ الله أضمر لهما الا الحسن الجمیل ثم أرسل إلی عبد الله بن سبا فسیره إلی المدائن وقال لا یساکننی فی بلده ابدا ثم نهض إلی المنبر حتی اجتمع الناس فذکر القصه فی ثنائه علیهما بطوله وفی آخره الا ولا یبلغنی عن أحد یفضلنی علیهما الا جلدته حد المفتری
Abu Ishaq al-Fazari narrated from Shu’bah from Salamah b. Kuhayl from Abu al-Za’ra from Zayd b. Wahb that Suwayd b. Ghaflah entered upon ‘Ali during his rule, and said, “I passed by a group who were mentioning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, claiming that you hold the same views towards them both. Among them was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and he was the first to manifest that. So, ‘Ali said, “What does this evil black MAN want from me?” Then he said, “I seek Allah’s refuge. My opinion of them both (i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) is nothing but good and beautiful.”
Then he sent a messenger to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and exiled him to al-Madain, and said, “He shall not live in the same town as me ever again”. Then he rushed to the pulpit and gathered the people, and delivered a long speech to praise them both (i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar). At its end, he said, “Verily, if it reaches me that anyone places me above them both, I will whip him with the whipping of a lying slanderer.”
Where is the similarity? Do they even resemble in any way or by any means? Apparently, there is NOTHING in common between them. Yet, we find some Sunni brothers referring to the first report as evidence that Abu Za’ra in the second is Hujayyah?! In fact, some of them go as fas as claiming that both reports are the same?!! How do these people reason?
So, as we can see, many top Sunni rijal scholars contradicted the suggestion that Hujayyah had the nickname “Abu al-Za’ra”. Also, what Salamah narrated from “Abu al-Za’ra” was fundamentally different, in all aspects, from what he narrated from Hujayyah. These facts, obviously, sufficiently confirm that the “Abu al-Zar’a” in the riwayah of al-Fazari was NOT Hujayyah b. ‘Adi.
In that case, which of the three Abu Za’ras identified by al-Hafiz was the “Abu al-Za’ra” of al-Fazari’s report? Imam al-Mizzi helps us out here. He states about the first of them:
عبد الله بن هانئ الکندی، الأزدی أبو الزعراء الکوفی الکبیر، من بنی البداء بن الحارث.
وهو خال سلمه بن کهیل.
روی عن: عبد الله بن مسعود، وعمر بن الخطاب. روی عنه: ابن أخته سلمه بن کهیل.
قال البخاری :لا یتابع فی حدیثه. وقال علی بن المدینی :عامه روایه أبی الزعراء، عن عبد الله بن مسعود، ولا أعلم أحدا روی عنه إلا سلمه بن کهیل، واسمه عبد الله بن هانئ .وقال النسائی نحو ذلک....
. وأما أبو الزعراء الأکبر هذا. فلا تعرف له روایه، إلا عن ابن مسعود، وعمر بن الخطاب، ولا یعرف له راو، إلا سلمه بن کهیل، ولم یدرکه سفیان بن عیینه، ولا أحد من أقرانه.
وذکره ابن حبان فی کتاب " الثقات "روی له الترمذی حدیثا، والنسائی آخر.
‘Abd Allah b. Hani al-Kindi, al-Azdi, Abu al-Za’ra al-Kufi al-Kabir, from Banu al-Bada b. al-Harith. He was the uncle of Salamah b. Kuhayl.
He narrated from ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud and ‘Umar b. al-Khattab. His nephew, Salamah b. Kuhayl, narrated from him.
Al-Bukhari said, “He is NOT followed in his hadith.” ‘Ali b. al-Madini said, “Most of the reports of Abu al-Za’ra are from ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud. I do not know anyone who narrated from him except Salamah b. Kuhayl, and his name was ‘Abd Allah b. Hani.” Al-Nasai said the like of that too....
With regards to this Abu al-Za’ra al-Akbar, there is NO known narration by him except from Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, and there is NO known narrator from him except Salamah b. Kuhayl. Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah never met him, nor did anyone else among his (i.e. Sufyan’s) contemporaries.
Ibn Hibban mentioned him in Kitab al-Thiqat. Al-Tirmidhi narrated
a single hadith from him, and al-Nasai narrated the other.(1)
Apparently, this is our guy!
Concerning the second Abu al-Za’ra, al-Mizzi also submits:
عمرو بن عمرو، ویقال: ابن عامر ابن مالک بن نضله الجشمی، أبو الزعراء الکوفی، ابن أخی أبی الأحوص الجشمی.
روی عن: عبید الله بن عبد الله بن عتبه بن مسعود، وعکرمه مولی ابن عباس، وعمه أبی الأحوص عوف بن مالک بن نضله الجشمی.
روی عنه: سفیان الثوری وسماه عمرو بن عامر، وسفیان ابن عیینه، وعبیده بن حمید.
‘Amr b. ‘Amr, and he is also called Ibn ‘Amr, Ibn Malik b. Nadhlah al-Jashmi, Abu al-Za’ra al-Kufi, nephew of Abu al-Ahwas al-Jashmi.
He narrated from ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Utbah b. Mas’ud, ‘Ikrimah freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbas, and his uncle Abu al-Ahwas ‘Awf b. Malik b. Nadhlah al-Jashmi.
Sufyan al-Thawri narrated from him and named him ‘Amr b. ‘Amir. Sufyan Ibn ‘Uyaynah also narrated from him, as well as ‘Ubaydah b. Humayd.(2)
Without doubt, this is not the Abu al-Za’ra in the report on ‘Abd Allah b. Saba! Salamah did not narrate from him. The same was the case with the third Abu al-Za’ra:
یحیی بن الولید بن المسیر الطائی ثم السنبسی، أبو الزعراء الکوفی.
روی عن: سعید بن عمرو بن أشوع، ومحل بن خلیفه الطائی.
روی عنه: زید بن الحباب، وسوید بن عمرو الکلبی، وأبو عاصم الضحاک بن مخلد، و عبد الرحمان بن مهدی، وأبو حمید عصام بن عمرو البغدادی، ویحیی بن المتوکل الباهلی.
Yahya b. al-Walid b. al-Musayyar al-Tai al-Sinbasi, Abu al-Za’ra al-Kufi.
He narrated from Sa’id b. ‘Amr b. Ashwa’ and Muhil b. Khalifah al-Tai.
And the following
narrated from him: Zayd b. al-Hubab, Suwayd b. ‘Amr al-Kalbi, Abu ‘Asim al-Dhahhak b. Mukhlid, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Mahdi, Abu Hamid ‘Isam b. ‘Amr al-Baghdadi, and Yahya b. al-Mutawakil al-Bahili.(1)
Needless to say, “our guy” is only the first of them: ‘Abd Allah b. Hani. Meanwhile, al-Mizzi has confirmed that “there is NO known narration by him except from Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Umar b. al-Khattab.” This reveals an ‘illa (hidden defect) in all narrations by this Abu al-Za’ra from other than Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Umar. All of them are disconnected and therefore dha’if, and so is this particular narration of his from Zayd b. Wahb as well!
A “counter-proof” often deployed by our opponents is this report, quoted by al-Hafiz:
وروی البرقانی فی اللفظ من طریق شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن أبی الزعراء وعن زید بن وهب أن سوید بن غفله دخل علی علی فی امارته فقال یا أمیر المؤمنین انی مررت بنفر یذکرون أبا بکر وعمر الحدیث. قال البرقانی أبو الزعراء هذا هو حجیه بن عدی ولیس هو صاحب ابن مسعود ذاک اسمه عبد الله بن هانئ.
Al-Barqani narrated in the text from the route of Shu’bah from Salamah b. Kuhayl from Abu al-Za’ra, AND from Zayd b. Wahb that Suwayd b. Ghaflah entered upon ‘Ali during his rule, and said, “O Amir al-Muminin! I passed by a group who were mentioning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.” The hadith.(2)
They argue that Salamah narrated from both Abu al-Za’ra and Zayd b. Wahb. As such, whether Abu al-Za’ra’s report is dha’if or not
would be inconsequential, as there would be a separate route to establish the riwayah. However, al-Barqani (d. 425 H) never met Shu’bah (d. 160 H), and the sanad between them is unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to rely upon this report of al-Barqani. Most probably, one of the unknown narrators in the truncated chain muddled up the isnad. So, basically, our opponents have no valid objection, and the riwayah of Abu al-Za’ra ‘Abd Allah b. Hani from Zayd b. Wahb is dha’if.
In addition, the riwayah is equally, historically inaccurate. The report, for example, is quick to point out that the first ever human being to “mention” Abu Bakr and ‘Umar negatively was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. This, however, is untrue! Amir al-Muminin himself had earlier described both Abu Bakr and ‘Umar with shocking words. Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) quotes ‘Umar saying to both Imam ‘Ali and ‘Abbas:
فلما توفی رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم قال أبو بکر أنا ولی رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم .... فرأیتماه کاذبا آثما غادرا خائنا والله یعلم إنه لصادق بار راشد تابع للحق ثم توفی أبو بکر وأنا ولی رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم وولی أبا بکر فرأیتمانی کاذبا آثما غادرا خائنا
When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, died, Abu Bakr said: “I am the wali of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.”.... So both of you (‘Ali and ‘Abbas) thought him (i.e. Abu Bakr) to be a liar, sinful, a traitor and dishonest.
And Allah knows that he was really truthful, pious, rightly-guided and a follower of the truth. Abu Bakr died and I became the wali of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and the wali of Abu Bakr. So both of you thought me to be a liar, sinful, a traitor and dishonest.(1)
Amir al-Muminin declared both Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to be traitors, sinful and dishonest liars! This, of course, was during the lifetimes of both of them, long before ‘Abd Allah b. Saba could ever have surfaced.
Besides, what “praise” exactly would Amir al-Muminin have had for Abu Bakr and ‘Umar in view of his extremely negative opinions of them? It is simply illogical to assume that Amir al-Muminin would ever consider people whom he thought to be “liars, traitors, sinful and dishonest” as better than himself!
What seals the series of fallacies in the report is its last sentence:
“Verily, if it reaches me that anyone places me above them both, I will whip him with the whipping of a lying slanderer.”
Many of the Sahabah, radhiyallahu ‘anhum, and Tabi’in actually considered him to be the best of the entire Ummah after the Messenger of Allah, and he never condemned or punished them. Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 463 H), among others, submits:
وروی عن سلمان وأبی ذر والمقداد وخباب وجابر وأبی سعید الخدری وزید بن الأرقم أن علی بن أبی طالب رضی الله عنه أول من أسلم وفضله هؤلاء علی غیره
Salman, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad, Khabab, Jabir, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri
and Zayd b. Arqam narrated that ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, was the first to accept Islam, and they considered him the most superior (among the Sahabah).(1)
Al-Hafiz adds about another Sahabi, Abu al-Tufayl, radhiyallahu ‘anhu:
قال أبو عمر کان یعترف بفضل أبی بکر وعمر لکنه یقدم علیا
Abu ‘Umar said: He accepted the merit of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar but he considered ‘Ali to be the most superior.(2)
Did ‘Ali ever reproach Khabab, Jabir, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Zayd b. Arqam and Abu al-Tufayl or anyone like them? The answer is a loud “no”!
Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani (d. 430 H) in his al-Hilya records the last report:
حدثنا إبراهیم بن محمد ثنا عبد الله ثنا یوسف بن أسباط ثنا محمد بن عبد العزیز التیمی الکوفی عن مغیره عن أم موسی قالت بلغ علیا أن ابن سبأ یفضله علی أبی بکر وعمر فهم علی بقتله فقیل له أتقتل رجلا إنما أجلک وفضلک فقال لا جرم لا یساکننی فی بلده أنا فیها قال عبدالله بن خبیق فحدثت به الهیثم بن جمیل فقال لقد نفی ببلد بالمدائن إلی الساعه
Ibrahim b. Muhammad – ‘Abd Allah – Yusuf b. Asbat – Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Tamimi al-Kufi – Mughirah – Umm Musa, who said:
It reached ‘Ali that Ibn Saba was placing him (i.e. ‘Ali) in merits and virtues above Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. So, he decided to kill him. But, it was said to him, “Will you kill a man who only thinks highly of you and considers you superior?” Then, he said, “Surely, he
shall not live with me in the same town.”
‘Abd Allah b. Khabiq narrated from al-Haytham b. Jamil who said: “He was permanently exiled to a town in al-Madain.”(1)
Concerning Yusuf b. Asbat, ‘Allamah al-Albani says:
ویوسف بن أسباط؛ ضعیف أیضاً.
Yusuf b. Asbat is dha’if too.(2)
Elsewhere, he comments about a sanad containing Yusuf’s name:
قلت: وهذا سند ضعیف من أجل یوسف بن أسباط قال أبو حاتم: کان رجلا عابدا، دفن کتبه، وهو یغلط کثیرا، وهو رجل صالح، لا یحتج به، کما فی " الجرح " (4 / 2 / 418)
I say: This chain is dha’if, due to Yusuf b. Asbat. Abu Hatim said: “He was a devout worshipper. He buried his books, and he used to make A LOT of mistakes, and he was a righteous man. He is NOT accepted as a hujjah” as stated in al-Jarh (4/2/418).(3)
Also, Mughirah in the chain is a mudalis, and has narrated in an ‘an-‘an manner. Al-Hafiz submits:
المغیره بن مقسم بکسر المیم الضبی مولاهم أبو هشام الکوفی الأعمی ثقه متقن إلا أنه کان یدلس ولا سیما عن إبراهیم
Al-Mughirah b. Miqsam al-Dhabi, their freed slave, Abu Hisham al-Kufi, the Blind: Thiqah (trustworthy), precise, except that he used to do tadlis, especially from Ibrahim.(4)
‘Allamah al-Albani too says about him:
فلا أدری کیف غفل عنها الذهبی وهو نفسه قد أورد المغیره هذا فی "منظومته" فی المدلسین؟! وهی معروفه مطبوعه عده طبعات، وذکره فیهم غیره من الحفاظ المتقدمین والمتأخرین، وأورده خاتمتهم العسقلانی فی الطبقه الثالثه منهم الذین أکثروا التدلیس، فلم یحتج الأئمه من أحادیثهم إلا بما صرحوا فیه بالسماع
I do not know
how al-Dhahabi missed it, while he personally has included this al-Mughirah in his Manzumah among the mudalisin (i.e. those who do tadlis)?! And it is well-known, published several times. Others from the classical and later hadith scientists also included him (i.e. al-Mughirah) among them (i.e. mudalisin). The last of them, al-‘Asqalani, included him (i.e. al-Mughirah) in the third tabaqat among them, those who did tadlis A LOT. Therefore, the Imams do not accept their ahadith as hujjah except what they explicitly transmit with sima’.(1)
The last defect in the sanad is Umm Musa, the main narrator herself. Al-Hafiz declares about her:
أم موسی سریه علی قیل اسمها فاخته وقیل حبیبه مقبوله
Umm Musa, mistress of ‘Ali. It is said that her name was Fakhtah or Habibah: Maqbulah (i.e. accepted only when seconded).(2)
While analyzing another riwayah of Mughirah from the same Umm Musa, ‘Allamah al-Albani also says:
قلت: وفیه نظر من وجهین:
الأول: أن أم موسی هذه، لم تثبت عدالتها وضبطها. وقد أوردها الذهبی نفسه فی "فصل النسوه المجهولات" من "المیزان"، وقال فیها: "تفرد عنها مغیره بن مقسم. قال الدارقطنی: یخرج حدیثها اعتباراً". ولذلک لم یوثقها الحافظ فی "التقریب" بل قال فیها: "مقبوله". یعنی: عند المتابعه….
والآخر: أن المغیره - وهو ابن مقسم الضبی - وإن کان ثقه متقناً؛ إلا أنه کان یدلس؛ کما قال الحافظ، وقد عنعنه.
I say: These are two problems with it:
The first: is that this Umm Musa, her ‘adalah (uprightness) and truthfulness are NOT established. Al-Dhahabi has himself mentioned her in the “Chapter on Majhulah (Unknown) Women” in al-Mizan, and he said concerning
her: “Mughirah b. Miqsam was the only one who narrated from her. Al-Daraqutni said: ‘Her ahadith are recorded for support purposes.’” This is why al-Hafiz in al-Taqrib did NOT declare her thiqah (trustworthy). Rather, he said concerning her “maqbulah”, that is (she is accepted) where she is seconded.
The other: is that al-Mughirah – and he was Ibn Miqsam al-Dhabi – even though he was thiqah (trustworthy), precise, except that he used to do tadlis, as al-Hafiz stated. And he has narrated it in an ‘an-‘an manner.(1)
The bottomline is that the report of Abu Na’im is dha’if jiddan (very weak). It has several serious defects in it: Yusuf b. Asbat is dha’if; al-Mughirah is a mudalis and has narrated in an ‘an-‘an manner; and Umm Musa is majhulah (unknown) or maqbulah and has NOT been seconded in her report. Besides, there were many of the Sahabah who considered Amir al-Muminin to have been superior to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar – and he never punished or killed them! This exposes the clear fallacy of the fairytale from Abu Na’im.
As things stand, these are the only seven reports in the Sunni books which mention ‘Abd Allah b. Saba explicitly, and all of them are both very unreliable and blatantly false.
There is only one report in the Sunni books mentioning a man named ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai. This is the riwayah as documented by Imam Ibn Abi ‘Asim (d. 287 H):
حدثنا أبو بکر بن أبی شیبه حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الأسدی حدثنا هارون
بن صالح عن الحارث بن عبد الرحمن عن أبی الجلاس قال سمعت علیا یقول لعبدالله السبائی ویلک ما أفضی إلی رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم بشیء کتمه أحدا من الناس ولقد سمعته یقول إن بین یدی الساعه ثلاثین کذابا وإنک أحدهم
Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Asadi – Harun b. Salih – al-Harith b. ‘Abd al-Rahman – Abu al-Jalas:
I heard ‘Ali saying to ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai: “Woe to you! The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, did not inform me of anything which he hid from anyone among mankind. I had heard him (i.e. the Prophet) saying, ‘Before the Hour, there will be thirty liars’. Verily, you are one of them.”(1)
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) has this verdict on it:
إسناده ضعیف، أبو الجلاس کوفی مجهول کما فی " التقریب ". وهارون بن صالح مجهول أیضا، وفی " التقریب ": مستور.
والحدیث أخرجه أبو یعلی من طریقین آخرین عن الأسدی به
Its chain is dha’if. Abu al-Jalas Kufi is majhul (unknown), as stated in al-Taqrib. Harun b. Salih too is majhul. In al-Taqrib, he is called mastur (hidden).
And the hadith is recorded by Abu Ya’la through two other chains from al-Asadi with it.(2)
So, let us find out the other two chains recorded by Imam Abu Ya’la (d. 307 H). This is the first:
حدثنا أبو کریب محمد بن العلاء حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الأسدی حدثنا هارون بن صالح الهمدانی عن الحارث بن عبد الرحمن عن أبی الجلاس قال سمعت علیا یقول لعبد الله السبائی : ویلک ! والله ما
أفضی إلی بشیء کتمه أحدا من الناس ولقد سمعته یقول : إن بین یدی الساعه ثلاثین کذابا وإنک لأحدهم
Abu Kurayb Muhammad b. al-‘Ala – Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Asadi – Harun b. Salih al-Hamdani – al-Harith b. ‘Abd al-Rahman – Abu al-Jalas:
I heard ‘Ali saying to ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai: “Woe to you! I swear by Allah, he (i.e. the Prophet) did not inform me of anything which he hid from anyone among mankind. I had heard him (i.e. the Prophet) saying, ‘Before the Hour, there will be thirty liars’. Verily, you are one of them.”(1)
The annotator, Shaykh Dr. Asad comments:
Its chain is dha’if.(2)
What about the second? Abu Ya’la says:
حدثنا أبو بکر بن أبی شیبه حدثنا محمد بن الحسن بإسناده مثله
Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah narrated to us – Muhammad b. al-Hasan narrated the like of it to us with his chain.(3)
Apparently, this is the same chain from Ibn Abi Asim. Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah narrated it, and has identified “his chain” simply as – Harun b. Salih al-Hamdani – al-Harith b. ‘Abd al-Rahman – Abu al-Jalas. It is indeed very strange that ‘Allamah al-Albani refers to the chains in Musnad Abu Ya’la as “two other chains”, even though the isnad of Ibn Abi Asim, and the two chains of Abu Ya’la, are all one and the same!
We know already that the report is unreliable. So, the alleged event never took place. Amir al-Muminin, ‘alaihi al-salam, never said those words to any ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai. But, there are still
other issues we would like to address.
The athar does NOT mention “‘Abd Allah b. Saba”. It only says “‘Abd Allah al-Sabai”, which literally means “‘Abd Allah from the offspring of Saba”. Obviously, ‘Abd Allah b. Saba could rightly be also called ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai. But, there were other ‘Abd Allahs as well, from the same lineage of Saba, who were also known with that title. Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) tells us about one of them:
وفیها سارت الخوارج لحرب علی، فکانت بینهم وقعه النهروان، وکان علی الخوارج عبد الله بن وهب السبائی، فهزمهم علی وقتل أکثرهم، وقتل ابن وهب.
The Incident of al-Nahrawan
In it, the Khawarij marched to fight a war against ‘Ali. So, the Incident of al-Nahrawan was between them. The head of the Khawarij was ‘Abd Allah b. Wahb al-Sabai. ‘Ali defeated them and killed most of them, and he killed Ibn Wahb.(1)
As such, “‘Abd Allah al-Sabai” could well have been a reference to this Kharijite, or to some other “‘Abd Allah” from the offspring of Saba!
However, there is some evidence that the “ ‘Abd Allah al-Sabai” in the report of Abu Ya’la was actually ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and none else. Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H) copies:
وقال الحافظ أبو یعلی : حدثنا أبو کریب، حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الأسدی، حدثنا هارون بن صالح الهمدانی ، عن الحرص بن عبد الرحمن، عن أبی الجلاس قال : سمعت علیاً یقول لعبد الله بن سبأ ، ویلک والله ما أفضی إلیَّ بشیء کتمه أحداً من الناس ، ولقد
سمعت رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم یقول : إن بین یدی الساعه ثلاثین کذاباً وإنک لأحدهم .
Al-Hafiz Abu Ya’la said: Abu Kurayb – Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Asadi – Harun b. Salih al-Hamdani – al-Hars b. ‘Abd al-Rahman – Abu al-Jalas:
I heard ‘Ali saying to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba: “Woe to you! I swear by Allah, he did not inform me of anything which he hid from anyone among mankind. I had heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying, ‘Before the Hour, there will be thirty liars’. Verily, you are one of them.”(1)
Al-Hafiz too submits:
وقال أبو یعلی الموصلی فی مسنده ثنا أبو کریب ثنا محمد بن الحسن الأسدی ثنا هارون بن صالح عن الحارث بن عبد الرحمن عن أبی الجلاس سمعت علیا یقول لعبد الله بن سبا والله ما أفضی إلی بشئ کتمه أحدا من الناس ولقد سمعت یقول إن بین یدی الساعه ثلاثین کذابا وانک لأحدهم
Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili said in his Musnad: Abu Kurayb – Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Asadi – Harun b. Salih – al-Harith b. ‘Abd al-Rahman – Abu al-Jalas:
I heard ‘Ali saying to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba: “I swear by Allah, he did not inform me of anything which he hid from anyone among mankind. I had heard (him), saying, ‘Before the Hour, there will be thirty liars’. Verily, you are one of them.”(2)
Yet, even these facts do not help the Sunni claims, as all these reports have the same dha’if chain.
According to Sunni ‘ulama, ‘Abd Allah b. Saba was “well-known” as
Ibn al-Sawda – the son of the black woman. Imam Ibn al-Athir (d. 630 H), for instance, submits:
وکان عبد الله بن سبأ المعروف بابن السوداء
He was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, well-known as Ibn al-Sawda.(1)
The only existing testimony concerning the colour of his mother, however, is the mawdu’ (fabricated) report of Yazid al-Faq’asi. Therefore, there really is absolutely NO evidence that ‘Abd Allah b. Saba had a black mother. As a result, there is no basis for naming him Ibn al-Sawda or for suggesting that he could be called that.
Secondly, there is equally no reliable proof that the contemporaries of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba ever called him Ibn al-Sawda. Rather, his own existence at all is not even established through any authentic chain in the Sunni books! Logic demands that whichever Sunni wants to claim that ‘Abd Allah b. Saba was Ibn al-Sawda, or that he was well-known as that, must do the following:
1. Provide at least a single authentic, explicit Sunni report proving the existence of a man called ‘Abd Allah b. Saba.
2. Provide at least a single authentic, explicit Sunni riwayah showing that the man named ‘Abd Allah b. Saba was addressed as Ibn al-Sawda by his contemporaries.
The truth is – no Sunni has ever been able to do either of the above, and no Sunni will be able to do so till the Day of al-Qiyamah. Therefore, as things stand, there is no valid Sunni evidence that a man named ‘Abd Allah b. Saba ever existed, or
that such a man was ever called Ibn al-Sawda by those who knew him. With this background fact, we are good to proceed to some Sunni reports on the unknown son of the black woman!
Imam Ibn Asakir (d. 571 H) helps us with the first of them:
قال ونا سیف عن أبی حارثه وأبی عثمان قالا لما قدم ابن السوداء مصر عجمهم واستخلاهم واستخلوه وعرض لهم بالکفر فأبعدوه وعرض لهم بالشقاق فأطمعوه فبدأ فطعن علی عمرو بن العاص وقال ما باله أکثرکم عطاء ورزقا ألا ننصب رجلا من قریش یسوی بیننا فاستحلوا ذلک منه وقالوا کیف نطیق ذلک مع عمرو وهو رجل العرب قال تستعفون منه ثم یعمل عملنا ویظهر الائتمار بالمعروف والطعن فلا یرده علینا أحد
Sayf – Abu Harithah and Abu ‘Uthman:
When Ibn al-Sawda arrived in Egypt, he tested them. He was delighted with them and they were delighted with him. He presented kufr (disbelief) to them, and they distanced themselves from it. He then suggested sedition to them and they gave him hope. Then he began and slandered ‘Amr b. al-As, saying, “Why is his pension and salary the largest among you?” Will a man from Quraysh not be put forward to settle the matter between us?” They were pleased with that from him, and said, “How can we achieve this with ‘Amr when he is the man of the Arabs?” He said, “Seek his dismissal! Then we will play our role and begin to publicly command the good and to defame. At that time, no one will
hold us back.”(1)
In this chain again is Sayf b. ‘Umar. We will only remind ourselves of the words of ‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) concerning him:
قلت: وفی هذا نظر، فإن أکثر الطرق المشار إلیها مدارها علی سیف بن عمر والواقدی وهما کذابان
I say: There is an error in this, for most of the indicated chains, their pivot is Sayf b. ‘Umar and al-Waqidi, and they both were LIARS.(2)
As such, the sanad is mawdu’ and the riwayah is thereby a fabrication.
Ibn Asakir apparently assumes that the “Ibn al-Sawda” in the report was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba – which is why he has placed the riwayah under his biography of the latter. However, there is no valid proof that ‘Abd Allah b. Saba had a black mother, to begin with! Even Ibn Asakir makes no attempt to provide any, either! Meanwhile, decency and common sense dictate that whosoever seeks to rely upon the above report to prove the existence of ‘Abd Allah b. Saba – as Ibn Asakir did - must first do the following:
1. Bring convincing, solid proof that there was a man - at that period in time - named ‘Abd Allah b. Saba who had a black mother.
2. Supply reliable evidence that the black mother of this man was well-known among the people, and was widely recognized as “the black woman”.
3. Provide an authentically transmitted eye-witness testimony which establishes that the man - ‘Abd Allah b. Saba - was also known as Ibn al-Sawda.
absolutely certain that no creature can fulfil any of the above conditions till the Hour! As such, we believe that anyone who claims that Ibn al-Sawda in the fabricated riwayah was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba (whoever that was) – apparently with no valid evidence at all – is a bigot who only plays dirty games with the truth. Undoubtedly, there is zero evidence to establish that ‘Abd Allah b. Saba was ever referred to or known as Ibn al-Sawda by any of his contemporaries. Therefore, it is clearly impossible to connect the above tale of Sayf to him. So, the report is completely useless and irrelevant, since it is strictly about a hopelessly unidentifiable character.
With the collapse of the first riwayah, Imam Ibn Asakir takes us to another:
قرأنا علی أبی عبد الله یحیی بن الحسن عن أبی الحسین بن الآبنوسی أنا أحمد بن عبید بن الفضل وعن أبی نعیم محمد بن عبد الواحد بن عبد العزیز أنا علی بن محمد بن خزفه قالا نا محمد بن الحسن نا ابن أبی خیثمه نا محمد بن عباد نا سفیان عن عمار الدهنی قال سمعت أبا الطفیل یقول رأیت المسیب بن نجبه أتی به ملببه یعنی ابن السوداء وعلی علی المنبر فقال علی ما شأنه فقال یکذب علی الله وعلی رسوله
Abu ‘Abd Allah Yahya b. al-Hasan – Abu al-Husayn b. al-Abnusi – Ahmad b. ‘Ubayd b. al-Fadhl and Abu Na’im Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahid b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz – ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. Khazafah and Muhammad b. al-Hasan – Ibn Abi Khaythamah – Muhammad
b. ‘Abbad – Sufyan – Ammar al-Duhni – Abu al-Tufayl:
I saw al-Musayyab b. Najabah, bringing him – that was Ibn al-Sawda - while ‘Ali was on the pulpit. So, ‘Ali said, “What is his problem?” He replied, “He lies upon Allah and upon His Messenger.”(1)
This report suffers from the same fatal defect as the first. We do not know who this Ibn al-Sawda was, and there is no reliable Sunni riwayah to connect him to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba. Meanwhile, even if we assumed, for the sake of argument, that he was Ibn Saba, the athar still does not prove any of the primary Sunni claims about him. For instance, it does not prove that he was negative towards Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, or that he believed in the succession or ‘isma (sinlessness) of Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam. It also says nothing about ‘Abd Allah b. Saba’s alleged belief in al-raj’ah or his claimed participation in the bloody overthrow of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan. It is therefore basically an utterly valueless report, as long as Ibn Saba is concerned.
Imam Ibn Abi Khaythamah (d. 279 H) reports:
حدثنا محمد بن عباد المکی قال نا سفیان قال نا عبد الجبار بن عباس الهمدانی عن سلمه عن حجیه بن عدی الکندی :رأیت علیا علی المنبر وهو یقول من یعذرنی من هذا الحمیت الأسود الذی یکذب علی الله یعنی ابن السوداء
Muhammad b. ‘Abbad – Sufyan – ‘Abd al-Jabbar b. ‘Abbas al-Hamdani – Salamah – Hujayyah b. ‘Adi al-Kindi:
I saw ‘Ali upon the pulpit
and he was saying, “Who will excuse me of this evil black container, who tells lies upon Allah?” He meant Ibn al-Sawda.(1)
Imam Ibn Asakir has also transmitted the same riwayah:
أنبأنا أبو عبد الله محمد بن أحمد بن إبراهیم بن الخطاب أنا أبو القاسم علی بن محمد بن علی الفارسی ح وأخبرنا أبو محمد عبد الرحمن بن أبی الحسن بن إبراهیم الدارانی أنا سهل بن بشر أنا أبو الحسن علی بن منیر بن أحمد بن منیر الخلال قالا أنا القاضی أبو الطاهر محمد بن أحمد بن عبد الله الذهلی نا أبو أحمد بن عبدوس نا محمد بن عباد نا سفیان نا عبد الجبار بن العباس الهمدانی عن سلمه بن کهیل عن حجیه بن عدی الکندی قال رأیت علیا کرم الله وجهه وهو علی المنبر وهو یقول من یعذرنی من هذا الحمیت الأسود الذی یکذب علی الله ورسوله یعنی ابن السوداء
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Ibrahim b. al-Khattab – Abu al-Qasim ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Farisi; AND Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi al-Hasan b. Ibrahim al-Darani – Sahl b. Bishr – Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Munir b. Ahmad b. Munir al-Khalal – al-Qadhi Abu al-Tahir Muhammad b. Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Dhuhli – Abu Ahmad b. ‘Abdus – Muhammad b. ‘Abbad – Sufyan – ‘Abd al-Jabbar b. al-‘Abbas al-Hamdani – Salamah b. Kuhayl – Hujayyah b. ‘Adi al-Kindi:
I saw ‘Ali, karamallah wajhah, while he was upon the pulpit and he was saying, “Who will excuse me of this evil black container, who tells lies upon Allah and
His Messenger?” He meant Ibn al-Sawda.(1)
This riwayah is inconsequential as well. First, the phrase “He meant Ibn al-Sawda” is an interpolation (idraj) of one of the narrators. But, who was it? It could have been anyone from Muhammad b. ‘Abbad to Hujayyah. There is no explicit proof to establish that the interpolation came from Hujayyah, the eye-witness, and not from any of the sub-narrators. As such, there is no sufficient basis to rely upon it in identifying whoever ‘Ali allegedly called an “evil black container”. Moreover, even if we assumed, for the sake of argument, that it was Hujayyah who made the identification, then the report would still be of zero value. The only thing it would have done in such a case is to show that Amir al-Muminin once called one Ibn al-Sawda a “black container” – nothing more, nothing less. Meanwhile, the exact identity of this Ibn al-Sawda remains unknown through any reliable Sunni report. Therefore, the report would still be redundant and unusable.
This is the fourth “evidence” of Imam Ibn Asakir, allegedly about ‘Abd Allah b. Saba:
أخبرنا أبو بکر أحمد بن المظفر بن الحسین بن سوسن التمار فی کتابه وأخبرنی أبو طاهر محمد بن محمد بن عبد الله السنجی بمرو عنه أنا أبو علی بن شاذان نا أبو بکر محمد بن جعفر بن محمد الآدمی نا أحمد بن موسی الشطوی نا أحمد بن عبد الله بن یونس نا أبو الأحوص عن مغیره عن سباط قال بلغ علیا أن ابن السوداء ینتقص أبا بکر وعمر فدعا به
ودعا بالسیف أو قال فهم بقتله فکلم فیه فقال لا یساکنی ببلد أنا فیه قال فسیره إلی المدائن
Abu Bakr Ahmad b. al-Muzaffar b. al-Husayn b. Susan al-Tamar – Abu Tahir Muhammad b. Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Sinji – Abu ‘Ali b. Shadhan – Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Adami – Ahmad b. Musa al-Shatawi – Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Yunus – Abu al-Ahwas – Mughirah – Sabat:
It reached ‘Ali that Ibn al-Sawda was reviling Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. So, he sent for him and called for the sword, or he decided to kill him. But, he was persuaded against it. Then he said, “He cannot live with me in the same town”. So, he banished him to al-Madain.(1)
This report is very dha’if.
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463 H) has done a tarjamah for Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Adami but has mentioned no tawthiq for him whatsoever concerning his narrations. None exists in any other Sunni book either. By contrast, al-Baghdadi has actually recorded this under the said tarjamah:
قال محمد بن أبی الفوارس سنه ثمان وأربعین وثلاثمائه فیها مات محمد بن جعفر الادمی وکان قد خلط فیما حدث
Muhammad b. Abi al-Fawaris said: “In the year 348 H, Muhammad b. Ja’far died, and he used to mix things up in what he narrated.”(2)
This makes him dha’if as a narrator.
Besides, the main narrator of the report too, Sabat, is completely unknown in the Sunni books of rijal. No mention of him whatsoever is made. So, he is perfectly
But, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) thinks it is not over yet:
فروی أبو الأحوص عن مغیره عن شباک عن إبراهیم قال: بلغ علی بن أبی طالب أن عبد الله بن السوداء ینتقص أبا بکر وعمر فهم بقتله فقیل له: تقتل رجلا یدعو إلی حبکم أهل البیت؟ فقال: "لا یساکننی فی دار أبدا".
وفی روایه عن شباک قال: بلغ علیا أن ابن السوداء یبغض أبا بکر وعمر قال: فدعاه ودعا بالسیف أو قال: فهم بقتله فکلم فیه فقال: "لا یساکننی ببلد أنا فیه" فنفاه إلی المدائن وهذا محفوظ عن أبی الأحوص وقد رواه النجاد وابن بطه واللالکائی وغیرهم
ومراسیل إبراهیم جیاد لا یظهر علی رضی الله عنه أنه یرید قتل رجل إلا وقتله حلال عنده ویشبه والله أعلم أن یکون إنما ترکه خوف الفتنه بقتله
Abu al-Ahwas narrated from Mughirah from Shibak from Ibrahim that he said, “It reached ‘Ali b. Abi Talib that ‘Abd Allah b. al-Sawda was reviling Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Then he decided to kill him. But it was said to him, ‘Will you kill a man who calls towards love of you, Ahl al-Bayt?’ Then he said, ‘He can never again stay with me in the same house.’”
In another report from Shibak, he said: “It reached ‘Ali that Ibn al-Sawda hated Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Then he sent for him and called for the sword, or he decided to kill him. But he was dissuaded from it. As a result, he said, ‘He can not stay in the same town with me.’ So, he banished him to
al-Madain.” This is accurately preserved (mahfuz) from Abu al-Ahwas, and al-Najad, Ibn Battah, al-Lalikai and others have recorded it.
And the marasil (i.e. disconnected narrations) of Ibrahim are good (jiyyad).(1)
The pretensions of Ibn Taymiyyah nonetheless, both reports are unreliable! Imam Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H) tells us why:
إبراهیم النخعی وهو إبراهیم بن یزید بن عمرو بن الأسود أبو عمران کان مولده سنه خمسین ومات سنه خمس أو ست وتسعین
Ibrahim al-Nakha’i: he was Ibrahim b. Yazid b. ‘Amr b. al-Aswad, Abu ‘Imran. He was born in 50 H and died in 95 or 96 H.(2)
It is unanimously agreed upon within the Ummah that Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib was martyred in 40 H, some 10 years before this Ibrahim was born! That means he was narrating as an eye-witness what occurred long before his birth! Yet, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah – who apparently admits that the report of Ibrahim is mursal (disconnected) – wants us to believe it was a “good” testimony. What happened to his common sense?
It gets worse with the riwayah of Shibak – which our Shaykh has graded as “correctly preserved”. He too was not an eye-witness, and had only gotten his story – as he personally indicated – from Ibrahim! In fact, even though Imam ‘Ali belonged to the first tabaqah (i.e. generation of narrators), Shibak only fell in the sixth – a fact which throws him far, far away from the time of the alleged incident! Yet, al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) has some further
damaging information about him:
شباک ... الضبی الکوفی الأعمی ثقه له ذکر فی صحیح مسلم وکان یدلس من السادسه.
Shibak ... al-Dhabi al-Kufi, the Blind: Thiqah (trustworthy). He is mentioned in Sahih Muslim. He used to do tadlis. He was from the sixth (tabaqat).(1)
The bottom-line of all this is obvious. Both Shibak and Ibrahim were completely cut off from the time of Amir al-Muminin. So, neither of them could have validly narrated about events which occurred during his khilafah. Secondly, in the chain of Ibrahim is Shibak, a mudalis, who has narrated from the former in an ‘an-‘an manner. This is another, independent evidence of the unreliability of the chain of Ibrahim! So, both reports quoted by Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah are not just dha’if – they are very weak (dha’if jiddan) But, what have we got our Shaykh stating about them instead?! This is how some people behave when they become desperate about their fallacies.
Even then, these reports only show that one Ibn al-Sawda hated and reviled Abu Bakr and ‘Umar during the khilafah of Imam ‘Ali. It nowhere identifies him as Ibn Saba. Also, it does not confirm the Sunni claims that ‘Abd Allah b. Saba believed in al-raj’ah, or in the wisayah or ‘isma of ‘Ali, nor does it establish his guilty in the murder of ‘Uthman.
There are Sunni reports which allege that Imam ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, called someone – or perhaps each of a set of people - “the black container”. We have quoted one of such
riwayat in the last chapter. We will here proceed to examine all the other existing Sunni riwayat on “the black container”.
Ibn Asakir (d. 571 H) records:
أخبرنا أبو القاسم یحیی بن بطریق بن بشری وأبو محمد عبد الکریم بن حمزه قالا أنا أبو الحسن بن مکی أنا أبو القاسم المؤمل بن أحمد بن محمد الشیبانی نا یحیی بن محمد بن صاعد نا بندار نا محمد بن جعفر نا شعبه عن سلمه عن زید بن وهب عن علی قال ما لی ومال هذا الحمیت الأسود قال ونا یحیی بن محمد نا بندار نا محمد بن جعفر نا شعبه عن سلمه قال قال سمعت أبا الزعراء یحدث عن علی علیه السلام قال ما لی ومال هذا الحمیت الأسود
Abu al-Qasim Yahya b. Batriq b. Bushra and Abu Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Karim b. Hamzah – Abu al-Hasan b. Makki – Abu al-Qasim al-Muammal b. Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Shaybani – Yahya b. Muhammad b. Sa’id – Bundar – Muhammad b. Ja’far – Shu’bah – Salamah – Zayd b. Wahb:
‘Ali said, “What do I have to do with this black container?”
And Yahya b. Muhammad – Bundar – Muhammad b. Ja’far – Shu’bah – Salamah – Abu al-Za’ra:
‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, said: “What do I have to do with this black container?”(1)
These ones are even more redundant than the previous one. No information whatsoever is given on the “black container”. Who was he? What did he do? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! If we connected them with the other report, then we would have the identity of the “black container”
as simply Ibn al-Sawda and his crime as telling lies upon Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi. But, who was that even?!
The final Sunni riwayah on the “black container” is this one, reported by Imam Ibn Abi Khaythamah (d. 279 H):
حدثنا عمرو بن مرزوق قال أنا شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن زید بن وهب قال قال علی] ما لی [ولهذا الحمیت الأسود یعنی عبد الله بن سبأ وکان یقع فی أبی بکر وعمر
کذا قال : عن سلمه عن زید بن وهب
‘Amr b. Marzuq – Shu’bah – Salamah b. Kuhayl – Zayd b. Wahb:
‘Ali said, “[What do I have to do] with this black container?”. He meant ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and he used to attack Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
That was how he said: from Salamah from Zayd b. Wahb.(1)
Imam Ibn Asakir also reports:
أخبرنا أبو محمد بن طاوس وأبو یعلی حمزه بن الحسن بن المفرج قالا أنا أبو القاسم بن أبی العلاء أنا أبو محمد بن أبی نصر أنا خیثمه بن سلیمان نا أحمد بن زهیر بن حرب نا عمرو بن مرزوق أنا شعبه عن سلمه بن کهیل عن زید قال قال علی بن أبی طالب ما لی ولهذا الحمیت الأسود یعنی عبد الله بن سبأ وکان یقع فی أبی بکر وعمر
Abu Muhammad b. Tawus and Abu Ya’la Hamzah b. al-Hasan b. al-Mufarraj – Abu al-Qasim b. Abi al-‘Ala – Abu Muhammad b. Abi Nasr – Khaythamah b. Sulayman – Ahmad b. Zuhayr b. Harb – ‘Amr b. Marzuq – Shu’bah – Salamah b. Kuhayl – Zayd:
‘Ali b. Abi Talib said, “What do I have to do with this black container?”. He meant ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and he used to attack Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.(1)
This report has some serious problems. First and foremost, it is mudraj (interpolated). The sentence “He meant ‘Abd Allah b. Saba and he used to attack Abu Bakr and ‘Umar” was inserted by a narrator, and we have no explicit proof of who it was. It could have been any of the narrators from Amr b. Marzuq to Zayd b. Wahb. With no solid evidence to pinpoint a particular narrator as the source of the interpolation, it is impossible to rely upon it as an eye-witness testimony. So, that identification is dha’if.
Meanwhile, we have already seen the version of the athar transmitted by Muhammad b. Ja’far from Shu’bah from Salamah from Zayd. It does NOT contain the last phrase above, identifying the “black container” explicitly as ‘Abd Allah b. Saba, and explaining his lies upon Allah and His Messenger as his attacks on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar! Therefore, neither Shu’bah, nor Salamah, nor Zayd, was the source of that addition. Rather, the only possible origin of that interpolation was ‘Amr b. Marzuq. This then rightly leads to the conclusion that the idraj is NOT an eye-witness account. By contrast, it was made by someone who was disconnected from the reported incident by about one century! That confirms its invalidity.
Moreover, ‘Amr b. Marzuq in the chain is dha’if. Al-Hafiz (d. 852
H) says about him:
عمرو بن مرزوق الباهلی أبو عثمان البصری أثنی علیه سلیمان بن حرب وأحمد بن حنبل وقال یحیی بن معین ثقه مأمون ووثقه ابن سعد وأما علی بن المدینی فکان یقول اترکوا حدیثه وقال القواریری کان یحیی بن سعید لا یرضی عمرو بن مرزوق وقال الساجی کان أبو الولید یتکلم فیه وقال ابن عمار والعجلی لیس بشئ وقال الدارقطنی کثیر الوهم
قلت :لم یخرج عنه البخاری فی الصحیح سوی حدیثین أحدهما حدیثه عن شعبه عن عمرو بن مره عن عروه عن أبی موسی فی فضل عائشه وهو عنده بمتابعه آدم بن أبی إیاس وغندر وغیرهما عن شعبه والثانی حدیثه عن شعبه عن ابن أبی بکر عن أنس فی ذلک الکبائر مقرونا عنده بعبد الصمد عن شعبه فوضح أنه لم یخرج له احتجاجا والله أعلم
‘Amr b. Marzuq al-Bahili, Abu ‘Uthman al-Basri: Sulayman b. Harb and Ahmad b. Hanbal extolled him; and Yahya b. Ma’in said, “Thiqah (trustworthy), reliable” and Ibn Sa’d declared him thiqah (trustworthy). As for ‘Ali b. al-Madini, he used to say, “Reject his ahadith”! Al-Qawariri also said, “Yahya b. Sa’id was not pleased with ‘Amr b. Marzuq”. Al-Saji said, “Abu al-Walid used to criticize him”. Both Ibn ‘Ammar and al-‘Ijli said, “He is nothing”. And al-Daraqutni said, “He hallucinated A LOT”.
I say: al-Bukhari has not narrated from him in his Sahih except two hadiths only. One of them is his hadith from Shu’bah, from ‘Amr b. Marrah, from ‘Urwah, from Abu Musa concerning the merit of ‘Aishah, and with him, it is with him through the mutaba’at
of Adam b. Abi Iyas, Ghandar and others from Shu’bah. In his second hadith from Shu’bah from Ibn Abi Bakr from Anas concerning that al-Kabair, he is conjoined (in the chain) with ‘Abd al-Samad from Shu’bah, with him (i.e. al-Bukhari). So, it becomes clear that he did NOT narrate from him as a hujjah (proof), and Allah knows best.(1)
If a narrator is thiqah (trustworthy), but hallucinates a lot, then his uncorroborated reports are dha’if. No wonder, al-Bukhari (d. 256 H) did not accept ‘Amr b. Marzuq as a hujjah, and only conjoined him with others from Shu’bah in the chains. Therefore, the above chain of ‘Amr b. Marzuq – in which he has stood alone without support – is dha’if.
However, some of our Sunni brothers attempt to defend ‘Amr by quoting these further submissions of al-Hafiz:
قال أبو زرعه سمعت أحمد بن حنبل وقلت له ان علی بن المدینی یتکلم فی عمرو ابن مرزوق فقال عمرو رجل صالح لا أدری ما یقول علی ... قال أبو زرعه وسمعت سلیمان ابن حرب وذکر عمرو بن مرزوق فقال جاء بما لیس عندهم فحسدوه وقال الفضل بن زیاد سأل عنه أبو عبید الله الحدانی عن أحمد بن حنبل فقال ثقه مأمون فتشنا علی ما قیل فیه فلم نجد له أصلا
Abu Zur’ah said: I heard Ahmad b. Hanbal and I said to him that ‘Ali b. al-Madini criticized ‘Amr b. Marzuq. He said, “ ‘Amr is a righteous man. I do not know what ‘Ali says” ... Abu Zur’ah said: I also heard Sulayman
b. Harb and he mentioned ‘Amr b. Marzuq and said, “He came with what they did not have. So, they envied him.” Al-Fadhl b. Ziyad said: Abu ‘Ubayd Allah al-Hadani asked about him from Ahmad b. Hanbal and he said, “Trustworthy, reliable. We investigated what whas said about him, and we did not find any basis for it.”(1)
Then, our opponents claim through these that all the criticisms against ‘Amr were due to envy! However, this line of argument does not offer much help to our Sunni brothers. Sulayman b. Harb (d. 224 H) and Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241 H) were obviously referring to the contemporaries of ‘Amr in their objections. It is possible that some of those people were indeed influenced by envy in their castigation of him. It is equally possible that Sulayman and Ahmad were heavily biased in favour of him, or were both unable to conduct sufficient probes to determine the truth about him. In any case, what we primarily rely upon against him is from Imam al-Daraqutni (d. 385 H) and Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H), later scholars who apparently had investigated his reports and had then drawn their conclusions. Obviously, the charge of envy does not affect the duo. Al-Hafiz submits about ‘Amr:
وقال ابن عمار الموصلی لیس بشئ وقال العجلی عمرو ابن مرزوق بصری ضعیف یحدث عن شعبه لیس بشئ وقال الحاکم عن الدارقطنی صدوق کثیر الوهم وقال الحاکم سیئ الحفظ
Ibn ‘Ammar al-Mawsili said: “He is nothing.” Al-‘Ijli said, “ ‘Amr b. Marzuq Basri
is dha’if. He narrated from Shu’bah. He was nothing. Al-Hakim narrated that al-Daraqutni said: “Very truthful. He hallucinated A LOT.” And al-Hakim said, “He had a defective memory.”(1)
Certainly, the reports of a narrator like this are dha’if, without doubt! Most importantly, the criticisms against him are “explained”. Therefore, they take precedence over any praise of him.
The aim of those who ceaselessly peddle the Ibn Saba fables is primarily to prove:
1. that he was the origin of the claim that Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, was declared khalifah by his Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi; and
2. that he founded the claim that khilafah belongs exclusively to ‘Ali and the offspring of Muhammad; and
3. that he was the first to express belief in al-raj’ah.
However, even in the authentic Sunni ahadith, evidence can be produced to establish that belief in the khilafah of the Ahl al-Bayt, ‘alaihim al-salam, as well as in al-raj’ah, was part of the original teachings of Islam. For instance, Imam Ibn Abi ‘Asim (d. 287 H) records:
ثنا محمد بن المثنی، حدثنا یحی بن حماد، عن أبی عوانه، عن یحیی بن سلیم أبی بلج عن عمرو بن میمون، عن ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم لعلی: أنت منی بمنزله هارون من موسی إلا أنک لست نبیا وأنت خلیفتی فی کل مؤمن من بعدی.
Muhammad b. al-Muthanna – Yahya b. Hammad – Abu ‘Awanah – Yahya b. Sulaym Abu Balj – ‘Amr b. Maymun – Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said
to ‘Ali: “You are to me of the status of Harun to Musa, with the exception that you are not a prophet. And you are my khalifah over every believer after me.”(1)
Dr. al-Jawabirah says:
اسناده حسن. رجاله رجال الشیخین غیر ابی بلج واسمه یحیی بن سلیم بن بلج، قال الحافظ: صدوق ربما اخطأ. وله شواهد
Its chain is hasan. Its narrators are narrators of the two Shaykhs, except Abu Balj, and his name is Yahya b. Sulaym b. Balj. Al-Hafiz said: “Saduq (very truthful), maybe he made mistakes.” There are witnesses for it (i.e. the hadith).”(2)
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) also comments on the sanad:
إسناده حسن .ورجاله ثقات رجال الشیخین غیر أبی بلج واسمه یحیی بن سلیم بن بلج قال الحافظ" :صدوق ربما أخطأ ".
Its chain is hasan. Its narrators are trustworthy, and are narrators of the two Shaykhs (i.e. al-Bukhari and Muslim) except Abu Balj. His name is Yahya b. Sulaym b. Balj. Al-Hafiz said: “Saduq (very truthful), maybe he made mistakes.”(3)
Assessing the same chain, Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) declares:
هذا حدیث صحیح الإسناد
This hadith has a sahih chain.(4)
And Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) seconds him:
‘Allamah Ahmad Shakir (d. 1377 H) too has the same verdict on same isnad:
Its chain is sahih.(6)
And Imam al-Busiri (d. 840 H) holds the same view, concerning the chain:
A sahih chain.(7)
This hadith is explicit, straightforward, and authentic(8). It leaves no room for doubt or manipulation. It absolutely establishes that Imam ‘Ali was indeed the designated khalifah of Muhammad, the Messenger of the Lord of
‘Allamah al-Albani has a second hadith for our research:
إنی تارک فیکم خلیفتین: کتاب الله حبل ممدود ما بین السماء والأرض وعترتی أهل بیتی وإنهما لن یتفرقا حتی یردا علی الحوض
I am leaving behind over you two khalifahs: the Book of Allah - a rope stretching between the heaven and the earth – and my offspring, my Ahl al-Bayt. Verily, both shall never separate from each other until they meet me at the Lake-Font.(1)
Then, the ‘Allamah comments:
On the same page, al-Albani copies another similar hadith:
إنی تارک فیکم ما إن تمسکتم به لن تضلوا بعدی أحدهما أعظم من الآخر کتاب الله حبل ممدود من السماء إلی الأرض وعترتی أهل بیتی ولن یتفرقا حتی یردا علی الحوض فانظروا کیف تخلفونی فیهما
I am leaving behind over you that which if you adhere to it you will never go astray after me, one of them both is greater than the other: the Book of Allah – a rope stretching from the heaven to the earth – and my offspring, my Ahl al-Bayt. Both shall never separate from each other until they meet me at the Lake-Font. Therefore, watch carefully how you treat them in my absence.(3)
Again, ‘Allamah al-Albani says:
This hadith too grants and limits the khilafah to ‘Ali and his offspring through Sayyidah Fatimah(5).
We therefore ask our brothers from the Ahl al-Sunnah, especially the Salafiyyah: are you going to play your “Ibn Saba” card against the Messenger of Allah too?!
With regards to the second issue, there is need for some little explanations in
order to make the matter clearer. The word al-raj’ah literally means “the return”. Any “return” to anything is a raj’ah. For instance, an ex-Muslim who “returns” to Islam has done a raj’ah back to the true faith. In the same manner, a traveller who “returns” home has done a raj’ah. Technically, however, al-raj’ah is the “return” of any dead person into this world through resurrection. It is therefore completely different from other concepts such as rebirth or reincarnation. It is the same body, with the same soul, that returns to this world from Barzakh by Allah’s Command. At a more specific level, al-raj’ah – in Shi’i theology – is the “return” after death of certain people to this earth – through resurrection - during the “End Times” period. Another word for this, in Shi’i terminology, is al-karrah(1).
There is, without doubt, a general rule set in the Book of Allah:
حتی إذا جاء أحدهم الموت قال رب ارجعون لعلی أعمل صالحا فیما ترکت کلا إنها کلمه هو قائلها ومن ورائهم برزخ إلی یوم یبعثون
Until when death comes to one of them, he says, “My Lord! Send me back, so that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh until the Day when they will be resurrected.(2)
So, anyone who dies is prevented from ever returning to this world. He is rather locked behind the Barzakh till al-Qiyamah. Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H) states under
the above verse:
وقال مجاهد : البرزخ : الحاجز ما بین الدنیا والآخره. وقال محمد بن کعب : البرزخ : ما بین الدنیا والآخره. لیسوا مع أهل الدنیا یأکلون ویشربون ، ولا مع أهل الآخره یجازون بأعمالهم. وقال أبو صخر : البرزخ : المقابر ، لا هم فی الدنیا ، ولا هم فی الآخره ، فهم مقیمون إلی یوم یبعثون.
Mujahid said: “The Barzakh is a barrier between this world and the Hereafter.” Muhammad b. Ka’b said, “The Barzakh is what is between this world and the Hereafter. They are not from the people of this world who eat and drink, and are not with the people of the Hereafter who are rewarded according to their deeds.” Abu Dhakhr said, “The Barzakh refers to the graves. They are not in this world and they ARE NOT in the Hereafter. They will remain there till the Day of Resurrection.”(1)
However, Allah has provided some exceptions to this general rule – and those are the instances of al-raj’ah. Examples of them are given in His Book. For instance, Allah states:
وإذ قلتم یا موسی لن نؤمن لک حتی نری الله جهره فأخذتکم الصاعقه وأنتم تنظرون ثم بعثناکم من بعد موتکم لعلکم تشکرون
And when you said, “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.” But you were seized with a thunderbolt while you were looking. Then, We resurrected you after your death, so that you may be grateful.(2)
ألم تر إلی الذین خرجوا من دیارهم وهم ألوف حذر الموت فقال لهم الله
موتوا ثم أحیاهم
Did you not see those who went forth from their homes in thousands, fearing death? Allah said to them, “Die”. Then, He resurrected them.(1)
أو کالذی مر علی قریه وهی خاویه علی عروشها قال أنی یحیی هذه الله بعد موتها فأماته الله مائه عام ثم بعثه
Or like he who passed by a town and it had tumbled over its roofs. He said: “Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?” So, Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, and then resurrected him.(2)
The Qur’an also quotes Allah as having said to ‘Isa, one of the Israilite prophets:
وإذ تخرج الموتی بإذنی
And when you resurrect the dead with My Permission(3)
Prophet ‘Isa himself said this to his people, as reported by the Book of Allah:
وأحیی الموتی بإذن الله
And I resurrect the dead by Allah’s Permission.(4)
These are all instances of people “returning” from Barzakh into this world through resurrection. They are all instances of al-raj’ah.
We see from these verses that al-karrah occurred in the previous Ummahs before ours, especially among the Israilites. There is significance in this fact for our research. This is on account of this hadith, documented by Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H):
حدثنا محمود بن غیلان حدثنا أبو داود الحفری عن سفیان الثوری عن عبد الرحمن بن زیاد الأفریقی عن عبد الله بن یزید عن عبد الله بن عمرو قال قال رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم لیأتین علی أمتی ما أتی علی بنی إسرائیل حذو النعل بالنعل حتی إن کان منهم من أتی أمه
علانیه لکان فی أمتی من یصنع ذلک وإن بنی إسرائیل تفرقت علی ثنتین وسبعین مله وتفترق أمتی علی ثلاث وسبعین مله کلهم فی النار إلا مله واحده قالوا ومن هی یا رسول الله قال ما أنا علیه وأصحابی
Mahmud b. Ghilan – Abu Dawud al-Hafari – Sufyan al-Thawri – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ziyad al-Afriqi – ‘Abd Allah b. Yazid – ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amr:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Verily, everything that occurred to the offspring of Israil will occur to my Ummah in identical manners, such that if any of them had sexual intercourse with his mother publicly, there will certainly be in my Ummah someone who will do that. Verily, the offspring of Israil divided into seventy-two religions; and my Ummah will divide into seventy-three religions, all of them will be in the Fire except one religion.” They said, “Who are those, O Messenger?” He replied, “That which I and my Sahabah follow.”(1)
‘Allamah al-Albani comments:
Of course, al-raj’ah occurred to the offspring of Israil too. Therefore, it certainly is part of our Ummah as well.
The Qur’an too proclaims:
سنه الله فی الذین خلوا من قبل ولن تجد لسنه الله تبدیلا
That was the Sunnah of Allah in the case of those passed away of old, and you will not find any change in the Sunnah of Allah.(3)
سنه الله التی قد خلت من قبل ولن تجد لسنه الله تبدیلا
That has been the Sunnah of Allah already with those who passed away before. And you will not find
any change in the Sunnah of Allah.(1)
Al-Raj’ah was without doubt part of the Sunnah of our Lord with the previous Ummahs. Obviously, it is compulsorily part of His Sunnah with our Ummah too. There is never any change in the Sunnah of Allah with the various Ummahs.
‘Umar b. al-Khattab, the second Sunni khalifah, was one of the earliest to publicly declare belief in al-raj’ah, long before even the unproved profession of the same ‘aqidah by Ibn Saba. Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256 H) records:
حدثنا إسماعیل بن عبد الله حدثنا سلیمان بن بلال عن هشام ابن عروه عن عروه بن الزبیر عن عائشه رضی الله عنها زوج النبی صلی الله علیه و سلم :أن رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم مات وأبو بکر بالسنح - قال إسماعیل یعنی بالعالیه - فقام عمر یقول والله ما مات رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلم قالت وقال عمر والله ما کان یقع فی نفسی إلا ذاک ولیبعثنه الله فلیقطعن أیدی رجال وأرجلهم .
Isma’il b. ‘Abd Allah – Sulayman b. Bilal – Hisham b. ‘Urwah – ‘Urwah b. al-Zubayr – ‘Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, died while Abu Bakr was at a place called al-Sunah (i.e. al-‘Aliyah). ‘Umar stood up, saying, “I swear by Allah! The Messenger of Allah is not dead!” She (‘Aishah) narrated: ‘Umar said, “I swear by Allah! Nothing occurred to my mind except that. Verily! Allah will RESURRECT(2) him and
he will cut the hands and legs of some men."(1)
It is this very belief that has been attributed to ‘Abd Allah b. Saba in the mawdhu’ (fabricated) report documented by Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310 H):
فقال لهم فیما یقول لعجب ممن یزعم أن عیسی یرجع ویکذب بأن محمدا یرجع وقد قال الله عز و جل إن الذی فرض علیک القرآن لرادک إلی معاد فمحمد أحق بالرجوع من عیسی قال فقبل ذلک عنه ووضع لهم الرجعه فتکلموا فیها
Then, he said to them, “It is strange of he who claims that ‘Isa will return but rejects that Muhammad will return. Meanwhile, Allah the Almighty has said, ‘Verily, He Who has ordained the Qur’an upon you (O Muhammad) will surely bring you back to a place of return’ (28:85). As such, Muhammad is more entitled to return than ‘Isa.” So, it was accepted from him, and he created for them (the doctrine of) al-raj’ah, and they spoke about it.(2)
It is indeed strange that the Ahl al-Sunnah ignore ‘Umar and attack Ibn Saba instead for this ‘aqidah, despite the complete lack of evidence to establish that the latter ever believed it?! Indeed, wonders never end.
Meanwhile, there is also good Sunni evidence to support a theory that Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, ‘alaihi al-salam, equally believed in his own raj’ah before the Qiyamah. Imam al-Tabari again records:
حدثنا محمد بن المثنی، قال: ثنا محمد بن جعفر، قال: ثنا شعبه، عن القاسم بن أبی بزه، عن أبی الطفیل، قال: سمعت علیا وسألوه عن
ذی القرنین أنبیا کان؟ قال: کان عبدا صالحا، أحب الله فأحبه، وناصح الله فنصحه، فبعثه الله إلی قومه، فضربوه ضربتین فی رأسه، فسمی ذا القرنین، وفیکم الیوم مثله.
Muhammad b. al-Muthanna – Muhammad b. Ja’far – Shu’bah – al-Qasim b. Abi Bazzah – Abu al-Tufayl:
I heard ‘Ali while they asked him about Dhu al-Qarnayn: “Was he a prophet?” He replied, “He was a righteous servant. He loved Allah and Allah loved him. He sought the guidance of Allah and He guided him. Then, Allah sent him to his people. But, they struck him twice on his head. As a result, he was named Dhu al-Qarnayn. And among you today is an example of him.(1)
Commenting upon this exact riwayah, Prof. Ibn Yasin pronounces:
Its chain is sahih.(2)
So , the matter is clear and undisputable.
This sahih athar proves the following:
1. Dhu al-Qarnayn, ‘alaihi al-salam, was not a prophet. But, he was a righteous servant loved by Allah, and he was rightly guided by Him.
2. He was given that name only because he was fatally struck twice on his head.
3. Even though he was not a prophet, Allah nonetheless “sent” him to his people, like a prophet. This shows that non-prophets can be given some qualities and jobs of prophets.
Imam al-Tabari further presents:
حدثنا محمد بن بشار، قال: ثنا یحیی، عن سفیان، عن حبیب بن أبی ثابت، عن أبی الطفیل، قال: سئل علی رضوان الله علیه عن ذی القرنین، فقال: کان عبدا ناصح الله فناصحه، فدعا قومه إلی الله، فضربوه علی قرنه فمات، فأحیاه الله،
فدعا قومه إلی الله، فضربوه علی قرنه فمات، فسمی ذا القرنین.
Muhammad b. Bashar – Yahya – Sufyan – Habib b. Abi Thabit – Abu al-Tufayl:
‘Ali, ridhwanullah ‘alaihi, was asked about Dhu al-Qarnayn, and he replied, “He was a servant who sought the guidance of Allah, and He guided him. He called his people to Allah. So, they struck him on his qarn, AND HE DIED. But, Allah RESURRECTED him, and he (again) called his people to Allah. They (once again) struck him on his qarn, AND HE DIED. Therefore, he was named Dhu al-Qarnayn.(1)
This report too is sahih. Al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) states about the first narrator:
محمد بن بشار بن عثمان العبدی البصری أبو بکر بندار ثقه
Muhammad b. Bashar b. ‘Uthman al-‘Abdi al-Basri, Abu Bakr Bundar: Thiqah (trustworthy).(2)
Concerning the second narrator, he also says:
یحیی بن سعید بن فروخ بفتح الفاء وتشدید الراء المضمومه وسکون الواو ثم معجمه التمیمی أبو سعید القطان البصری ثقه متقن حافظ إمام قدوه
Yahya b. Sa’id b. Farrukh al-Tamimi, Abu Sa’id al-Qattan al- Basri: Thiqah (trustworthy), extremely precise, a hadith scientist, an Imam, a leader.(3)
On the third narrator, al-Hafiz submits:
سفیان بن سعید بن مسروق الثوری أبو عبد الله الکوفی ثقه حافظ فقیه عابد إمام حجه
Sufyan b. Sa’id b. Masruq al-Thawri, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy), a hadith scientist, a jurist, a devout worshipper of Allah, an Imam, a hujjah (authority).(4)
The fourth narrator is thiqah (trustworthy) too, as al-Hafiz declares:
حبیب بن أبی ثابت قیس ویقال هند بن دینار الأسدی مولاهم أبو یحیی الکوفی ثقه فقیه جلیل
وکان کثیر الإرسال والتدلیس
Habib b. Abi Thabit Qays, and he is called Hind, b. Dinar al-Asadi, their freed slave, Abu Yahya al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy), a jurist, meritorious. He used to do a lot of irsal and tadlis.(1)
The only problem here is that Habib was a mudalis, and he has narrated in an ‘an-‘an manner from Abu al-Tufayl, radhiyallahu ‘anhu. However, this matter is resolved by the mutaba’ah of al-Qasim b. Abi Bazzah, which has already been examined above. Therefore, the report of Habib is sahih through the mutaba’ah of al-Qasim.
Meanwhile, Imam Ibn Abi Shaybah (d. 235 H) has also documented a slightly more detailed riwayah through the same narrators:
حدثنا یحیی بن سعید عن سفیان عن حبیب بن أبی ثابت عن أبی ا لطفیل قال:سئل علی عن ذی القرنین فقال: لم یکن نبیا ولا ملکا، ولکنه کان عابدا ناصح الله فنصحه فدعا قومه إلی الله فضرب علی قرنه الأیمن فمات فأحیاه الله، ثم دعا قومه إلی الله فضرب علی قرنه الأیسر فمات فأحیاه الله فسمی ذا القرنین.
Yahya b. Sa’id – Sufyan – Habib b. Abi Thabit – Abu al-Tufayl:
‘Ali was asked about Dhu al-Qarnayn, and he replied, “He was neither a prophet nor an angel. Rather, he was a servant who sought the guidance of Allah, and He guided him. He called his people to Allah. So, he was struck on his right qarn, AND HE DIED. But, Allah RESURRECTED him, and he (again) called his people to Allah. He was (once again) struck on his left qarn, AND HE DIED.
Then, Allah RESURRECTED him (again). Therefore, he was named Dhu al-Qarnayn.(1)
Of course, the sanad is sahih through its mutaba’ah, as we have already established.
Prof. Ibn Yasin quotes another report for us:
قال الضیاء المقدسی: أخبرنا أبو المجد زاهر بن أحمد بن حامد بن أحمد الثقفی -بقراءتی علیه بأصبهان- قلت له: أخبرکم أبو عبد الله الحسین بن عبد الملک ابن الحسین الخلال -قراءه علیه وأنت تسمع- أنا الإمام أبو الفضل عبد الرحمن ابن أحمد بن الحسن بن بندار الرازی المقری، أنا أبو الحسن أحمد بن إبراهیم ابن أحمد بن علی بن فراس، ثنا أبو جعفر محمد بن إبراهیم الدیلی، ثنا أبو عبید الله سعید بن عبد الرحمن المخزومی، ثنا سفیان ابن عیینه عن ابن أبی حسین، عن أبی الطفیل قال: سمعت ابن الکواء یسأل علی بن أبی طالب - رضی الله عنه - عن ذی القرنین فقال علی: لم یکن نبیاً ولا ملک، کان عبداً صالحاً، أحبّ الله فأحبه، وناصح الله فناصحه الله، بُعث إلی قومه فضربوه علی قرنه فمات فبعثه الله، فسمی ذی القرنین.
Al-Dhiya al-Maqdisi said:
Abu al-Majd Zahir b. Ahmad b. Hamid b. Ahmad al-Thaqafi – Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn b. ‘Abd al-Malik b. al-Husayn al-Khalal – Imam Abu al-Fadhl ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. Bundar al-Razi al-Muqri – Abu al-Hasan Ahmad b. Ibrahim b. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Faras – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Duyali – Abu ‘Ubayd Allah Sa’id b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Makhzumi – Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah – Ibn Abi Husayn – Abu al-Tufayl:
I heard Ibn al-Kawa asking ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be
pleased with him, about Dhu al-Qarnayn, and ‘Ali replied, “He was not a prophet, and he was not an angel. He was rather a righteous servant. He loved Allah; so, He loved him too. He sought the guidance of Allah; and so, He guided him. He was sent to his people. But, they struck him on his qarn AND HE DIED. Then, Allah RESURRECTED him, and he was thereby named Dhu al-Qarnayn.(1)
Giving the source, our professor states:
(المختاره 2/175 ح 555) وصححه الحافظ ابن حجر بعد عزوه للمختاره للحافظ الضیاء (الفتح 6/383).
(Al-Mukhtarat 2/175, 555) and al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar declared it sahih after attributing it to al-Mukhtarat of al-Hafiz al-Dhiya (al-Fath 6/383)(2)
These are the exact words of al-Hafiz in his Fath:
أخرجه سفیان بن عیینه فی جامعه عن ابن أبی حسین عن أبی الطفیل نحوه وزاد وناصح الله فناصحه وفیه لم یکن نبیا ولا ملکا وسنده صحیح سمعناه فی الأحادیث المختاره للحافظ الضیاء
Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah recorded it in his Jami’ from Ibn Abi Husayn from Abu al-Tufayl, and he added: “He sought the guidance of Allah; and so, He guided him” and in it is “He was not a prophet, and he was not an angel”. Its chain is sahih. We heard it in al-Ahadith al-Mukhtarat of al-Hafiz al-Dhiya.(3)
Obviously, al-Hafiz only declares the much shorter chain of Sufyan in his Jami’ as sahih. However, he confirms that what we find in al-Ahadith al-Mukhtarat of al-Dhiya is the same as that which was recorded by Sufyan in his book. Meanwhile, al-Hafiz’s tashih actually
comes before his mention of al-Dhiya’s book, contrary to the erroneous submission of our professor. In any case, this sahih report is, apparently, an additional strengthening mutaba’ah for the riwayah of Habib b. Abi Thabit.
Imam Ibn Abi Asim (d. 287 H) here presents the seal of these athar:
حدثنا أبو بکر بن أبی شیبه نا وکیع عن بسام عن أبی الطفیل عن علی رضی الله عنه قال کان ذو القرنین عبدا صالحا نصح الله عز و جل فنصحه فضرب علی قرنه الأیمن فمات فأحیاه الله عز و جل ثم ضرب علی قرنه الأیسر فمات فأحیاه الله عز و جل وفیکم مثله
Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Waki’ – Bassam – Abu al-Tufayl – ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:
Dhu al-Qarnayn was a righteous man. He sought the guidance of Allah the Almighty, and He guided him. So, he was struck on his right qarn, AND HE DIED. But, Allah the Almighty RESURRECTED him. Then, he was struck on his left qarn, AND HE DIED, and Allah the Almighty RESURRECTED him (again). And among you is an example of him.(1)
Concerning the first narrator, al-Hafiz says:
عبد الله بن محمد بن أبی شیبه إبراهیم بن عثمان الواسطی الأصل أبو بکر بن أبی شیبه الکوفی ثقه حافظ صاحب تصانیف
Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Abi Shaybah Ibrahim b. ‘Uthman, of Wasiti origin, Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy), a hadith scientist, author of books.(2)
On the second narrator, he states as well:
وکیع بن الجراح بن ملیح الرؤاسی بضم الراء وهمزه ثم مهمله، أبو
سفیان الکوفی ثقه حافظ عابد
Waki’ b. al-Jarah b. Malih al-Ruwasi, Abu Sufyan al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy), a hadith scientist, a devout worshipper of Allah.(1)
And, about the last narrator, al-Hafiz submits:
بسام بن عبد الله الصیرفی الکوفی أبو الحسن صدوق
Bassam b. ‘Abd Allah al-Sayrafi al-Kufi, Abu al-Hasan: Saduq (very truthful).(2)
So, the isnad is hasan, due to Bassam, and the hadith itself is sahih on account of its mutaba’at and shawahid.
In the above athar, we read two interesting phrases:
وفیکم الیوم مثله.
And among you today is an example of him.
And among you is an example of him.
In simpler words, there was someone alive at that very moment who was an example of Dhu al-Qarnayn. That person too:
1. was not a prophet, but a righteous, sincere servant loved by Allah;.
2. sought the guidance of Allah and was guided by Him;
3. though not a prophet, was “sent” by Allah to his people; and
4. would be hit on the head and thereby killed, but would be resurrected by Allah and then hit on the head again and murdered a second time.
Who was it? The answer is apparent, of course. If Allah were to send any non-prophet to the Ummah at that point in time, it would have been none other than Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, ‘alaihi al-salam. He was the best creature alive – in all good qualities, especially in terms of piety, knowledge and guidance - at that moment. Therefore, ‘Ali could not have been referring to anyone except to himself in those statements,
anyway. Besides, he was martyred by Ibn Muljam, la’natullah ‘alaihi, who struck him on the head, like Dhu al-Qarnayn was. So, that too is a clear indication.
Imam Ibn Salam (d. 224 H), a grand ancient Sunni hadith linguist, has the same conclusion as well:
وإنما اخترت هذا التفسیر علی الأول لحدیث عن علی نفسه هو عندی مفسر له ولنا وذلک أنه ذکر ذا القرنین فقال: دعا قومه إلی عباده الله فضربوه علی قرنیه ضربتین وفیکم مثله. فنری أنه أراد بقوله هذا نفسه - یعنی أنی أدعو إلی الحق حتی أضرب علی رأسی ضربتین یکون فیهما قتلی.
I have only chosen this explanation instead of the first due to a hadith from ‘Ali himself. It (the hadith), in my view, explains it to us. And that is, he (‘Ali) mentioned Dhu al-Qarnayn and said, “He called his people to the worship of Allah, and they struck him on his qarn twice. And among you is an example of him”. So, we see that he (‘Ali) was referring to himself with this statement of his – he meant: I will call to the Truth until I will be struck on my head twice. My death will be in them.”(1)
Imam Ibn al-Athir (d. 606 H), a leading classical Sunni hadith linguist, also submits:
ومنه حدیث علی وذکر قصه ذی القرنین ثم قال وفیکم مثله فیری أنه إنما عنی نفسه لأنه ضرب علی رأسه ضربتین إحداهما یوم الخندق والأخری ضربه ابن ملجم
And from it is the hadith of ‘Ali. He mentioned the story of Dhu al-Qarnayn, and
then said: “And among you is an example of him.” So, it is seen that he was only referring to himself because he was struck on his head twice: one of them on the Day of al-Khandaq and the other was the strike of Ibn Muljam.(1)
This explanation of Ibn al-Athir is slightly misleading. Dhu al-Qarnayn was given two fatal blows, which resulted in his deaths twice. Since ‘Ali was an example of him, then he too would be fatally struck twice. The blow on the Day of al-Khandaq was NOT fatal. So, it is automatically ruled out. Amir al-Muminin was, of course, martyred by Ibn Muljam, who struck him on his head. But, he has not been resurrected by Allah yet – as He did with Dhu al-Qarnayn. Therefore, the incident will definitely happen in the future. ‘Ali will come back, and will be fatally hit again on his death. He will die a second time, on the surface of this earth. Dhu al-Qarnayn was revived once more after the second death, and our mawla, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, will still “return” after his own second death as well.
Imam al-Nasafi (d. 710 H) has this comment about the words of ‘Ali too:
وعن علیّ رضی الله عنه أنه قال : لیس بملک ولا نبی ولکن کان عبداً صالحاً ضرب علی قرنه الأیمن فی طاعه الله فمات ثم بعثه الله فضرب علی قرنه الأیسر فمات فبعثه الله فسمی ذا القرنین وفیکم مثله أراد نفسه
It is narrated that ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased
with him, said (about Dhu al-Qarnayn): “He was neither an angel nor a prophet. But, he was a righteous servant. He was struck on his right qarn due to his obedience of Allah. So, he died. Then, Allah resurrected him. But, he was (again) strucked on his left qarn and he died. Then, Allah resurrected him (once more). As a result, he was named Dhu al-Qarnayn. And there is an example of him among you.” He meant himself.(1)
Meanwhile, there is a shahid from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, for the words of Amir al-Muminin in the athar. Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H) records:
حدثنا عبد الله حدثنی أبی ثنا عفان ثنا حماد بن سلمه ثنا محمد بن إسحاق عن محمد بن إبراهیم التیمی عن سلمه بن أبی الطفیل عن علی بن أبی طالب رضی الله عنه ان النبی صلی الله علیه و سلم قال له یا علی ان لک کنزا من الجنه وانک ذو قرنیها
‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – ‘Affan – Hamad b. Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taymi – Salamah b. Abi al-Tufayl – ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him:
Verily, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “O ‘Ali! Surely, you are the owner of a treasure in Paradise, and you are its Dhu al-Qarnayn.”(2)
Shaykh al-Arnaut comments:
Hasan li ghayrihi(3)
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) too says:
Hasan li ghayrihi(4)
Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) also documents:
حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن یعقوب ثنا الحسن بن
علی بن عفان العامری ثنا عبد الله بن نمیر أخبرنا أحمد بن سهل الفقیه ببخاری ثنا أبو عصمه سهل بن المتوکل البخاری ثنا عفان وسلیمان بن حرب قالا : ثنا حماد بن سلمه عن محمد بن إسحاق عن محمد بن إبراهیم التیمی عن سلمه بن أبی الطفیل أظنه عن أبیه عن علی رضی الله عنه قال قال لی رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم یا علی إن لک کنزا فی الجنه وإنک ذو قرنیها
Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ya’qub – al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. ‘Affan al-‘Amiri – ‘Abd Allah b. Numayr – Ahmad b. Sahl al-Faqih – Abu ‘Ismah Sahl b. al-Mutawakil al-Bukhari – ‘Affan and Sulayman b. Harb – Hammad b. Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taymi – Salamah b. Abi al-Tufayl – perhaps his father – ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said to me: “O ‘Ali! Verily, you are the owner of a treasure in Paradise, and you are its Dhu al-Qarnayn.”(1)
هذا حدیث صحیح الإسناد
This hadith has a sahih chain.(2)
And Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) agrees with him:
So, what does this hadith mean, especially the last part? The determining factor is the (ها) [“its”] in (قرنیها) [“its Dhu al-Qarnayn”]. To what does it refer. On the apparent, it refers to (الجنه) [“Paradise”] mentioned earlier in the hadith, especially since it also has a feminine grammar. If it is a reference to Paradise, then Amir al-Muminin will be its Dhu al-Qarnayn, and that is, its emperor.
This is because the comparison then would be about kingdom, as opposed to personal merits or qualities. Dhu al-Qarnayn was the emperor of the earth during his lifetime, as the Qur’an testifies:
ویسألونک عن ذی القرنین قل سأتلو علیکم منه ذکرا إنا مکنا له فی الأرض وآتیناه من کل شیء سببا
And they ask you about Dhu al-Qarnayn. Say: “I shall recite to you something of his story: ‘Verily, We established him over the earth, and We gave him the means of everything.’”(1)
Therefore, if Imam ‘Ali is the Dhu al-Qarnayn of Paradise, then he will be its emperor. Allah will establish him over Paradise, and will give him the means of everything there. This, indeed, is an extremely great virtue of Amir al-Muminin. He will be the emperor over all the awliya, prophets, messengers and Imams except his own master, Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah – who naturally will be the Grand Emperor. Some scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah agree on this too. However, the stronger opinion among them is that Imam ‘Ali is the Dhu al-Qarnayn of this Ummah only, according to the hadith. Imam Ibn Salam for instance states about the riwayah:
قد کان بعض أهل العلم یتأول هذا الحدیث أنه ذو قرنی الجنه - یرید طرفیها، وإنما یأول ذلک لذکره الجنه فی أول الحدیث، وأما أنا فلا أحسبه أراد ذلک - والله أعلم، ولکنه أراد إنک ذو قرنی هذه الأمه، فأضمر الأمه
One of the people of knowledge interpreted this hadith to mean that he (‘Ali) will be the Dhu
al-Qarnayn of Paradise – intending its entire territories, and he made this interpretation only because of the mention of Paradise at the beginning of the hadith. As for me, I do not think that he (the Prophet) intended that, and Allah knows best. Rather, he (the Prophet) intended that “You are the Dhu al-Qarnayn of this Ummah”, and thereby pronounised the Ummah.(1)
Since the lifetime of the Ummah has exceeded that of ‘Ali and his rule for more a millennium, obviously this alternative interpretation cannot be about political authority. He is the only Dhu al-Qarnayn of this Ummah, but not its only ruler. As such, the comparison between ‘Ali and Dhu al-Qarnayn – as far as our Ummah is concerned - is apparently about their shared personal merits and qualities, and not about their political histories. Imam al-Mundhiri (d. 656 H) gives some further explanation:
قول صلی الله علیه و سلم لعلی وإنک ذو قرنیها أی ذو قرنی هذه الأمه وذاک لأنه کان له شجتان فی قرنی رأسه إحداهما من ابن ملجم لعنه الله والأخری من عمرو بن ود
His statement, peace be upon him, to ‘Ali “and you are its Dhu al-Qarnayn”, that is, the Dhu al-Qarnayn of this Ummah. And this is because he had two head wounds on the two qarns of his head: the first of them from Ibn Muljam, may Allah curse him, and the other from ‘Amr b. Wudd.(2)
‘Ali Shiri, the annotator of Tarikh Madinah Dimashq, quotes a similar exegesis for the hadith:
جاء فی الفائق للزمخشری ٣/١٧٣
فی ماده قرن): قال صلی الله علیه وسلم لعلی رضی الله عنه: إن ذلک بیتا فی الجنه وإنک لذو قرنیها (الضمیر للأمه وتفسیره فیما یروی عن علی رضی الله عنه: إنه ذکر ذا القرنین فقال: دعا قومه إلی عباده الله فضربوه علی قرنیه ضربتین وفیکم مثله یعنی نفسه الطاهره لأنه ضرب علی رأسه ضربتین: إحداهما یوم الخندق والثانیه ضربه ابن ملجم.
It is in al-Faiq of al-Zamakhshari 3/173 under the entry “Qarn”:
(He, peace be upon him, said to ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him: “Verily, that is a house in Paradise, and you are its Dhu al-Qarnayn”. The pronoun (i.e. “its”) refers to the Ummah and its explanation is in what it narrated from ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, that he mentioned Dhu al-Qarnayn and said, “He called his people to the worship of Allah, and they struck him on his qarn twice, and among you is an example of him”, he meant his pure self, because he was struck on his head twice: one of them on the Day of Khandaq and the second, the strike of Ibn Muljam.(1)
This escapist diversion, however, does not help either. Dhu al-Qarnayn was so named because he received two fatal blows to his head. Amir al-Muminin is his example in this Ummah, and our own Dhu al-Qarnayn. Therefore, the non-fatal strikes on ‘Ali’s head do not count in the comparison. He too must receive two fatal blows to his head. We know as a fact that he already was
fatally struck by Ibn Muljam. We now await his raj’ah, and a second fatal blow to his head. After his second death, he is expected to resurrect again, and then die, perhaps naturally.
So, Amir al-Muminin is not coming back to this earth only once in the future, but actually twice; and he will die three times before the end of the world – like Dhu al-Qarnayn. This was ‘Ali’s own belief about himself.
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47) Shihab al-Din Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (Dar al-Fikr; 1st edition, 1404 H)
48) Shihab al-Din Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifah li al-Taba’ah wa al-Nashr; 2nd edition)
49) Taqiy al-Din Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Halim b. ‘Abd al-Salam b. ‘Abd Allah b. Abi al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Taymiyyah al-Harrani al-Hanbali al-Dimashqi, al-Sarim al-Maslul ‘ala Shatim al-Rasul (Saudi Arabia: al-Haras al-Watani al-Sa’udi) [annotator: Muhammad Muhy al-Din ‘Abd al-Hamid]
In the name of Allah
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
Our Goals are:
-propagating the culture and teachings of Thaqalayn (Quran and Ahlulbayt p.b.u.t)
-encouraging the populace particularly the youth in investigating the religious issues
-replacing useful contents with useless ones in the cellphones, tablets and computers
-providing services for seminary and university researchers
-spreading culture study in the publich
-paving the way for the publications and authors to digitize their works
-acting according to the legal licenses
-relationship with similar centers
-avoiding parallel working
-merely presenting scientific contents
-mentioning the sources
It’s obvious that all the responsibilities are due to the author.
Other activities of the institute:
-Publication of books, booklets and other editions
-Holding book reading competitions
-Producing virtual, three dimensional exhibitions, panoramas of religious and tourism places
-Producing animations, computer games and etc.
-Launching the website with this address: www.ghaemiyeh.com
-Fabricatingdramatic and speech works
-Launching the system of answering religious, ethical and doctrinal questions
-Designing systems of accounting, media and mobile, automatic and handy systems, web kiosks
-Holding virtual educational courses for the public
-Holding virtual teacher-training courses
-Producing thousands of research software in three languages (Persian, Arabic and English) which can be performed in computers, tablets and cellphones and available and downloadable with eight international formats: JAVA, ANDROID, EPUB, CHM, PDF, HTML, CHM, GHB on the website
-Also producing four markets named “Ghaemiyeh Book Market” with Android, IOS, WINDOWS PHONE and WINDOWS editions
We would appreciate the centers, institutes, publications, authors and all honorable friends who contributed their help and data to us to reach the holy goal we follow.
Address of the central office:
Isfahan, Abdorazaq St, Haj Mohammad JafarAbadei Alley, Shahid Mohammad HasanTavakkoly Alley, Number plate 129, first floor
Central office Tel: 09132000109
Tehran Tel: 88318722 ـ 021
Commerce and sale: 09132000109
Users’ affairs: 09132000109
Introduction of the Center – Ghaemiyeh Digital Library