teacher and student


Are the Shia (Rafidis) unbelievers?

I [GFH] had cited a passage of al-Tabari's life in which he had pronounced the Rafidis to be unbelievers. The passage in question stated:

In one of his classes al-Tabari asked: "What is the status of one who says: Abu Bakr and ʿUmar are not two Imams of guidance?" Ibn al-Aʿlam replied: "He is an innovator." Al-Tabari said: "An innovator? Just an innovator? Such a person is put to death! Whoever claims that Abu Bakr and ʿUmar are not two Imams of guidance is definitely put to death!"1

1 In Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan (5:101).

A reader in soc.religion.islam reacted and wrote:

"Do you think you can intimidate us by quoting such statements into believing that Abu Bakr and Umar were appointed as successors to the Prophet by God Himself or something?"

If the Prophet ﷺ says: "Take for your leaders the two that come after me: Abu Bakr and ʿUmar" then yes, this is a divine appointment to which the believers say: We hear and obey. I will discuss this sahih hadith [elsewhere] insha Allah.

The purpose of these biographical notices is to give a glimpse of the life and works of the pious imams of the past. If the respondent or others feel intimidated by some of their contents then they have to ask themselves where they stand if they do not stand with the likes of al-Tabari.

The "us" in the outburst above indicates that sadly the respondent considers himself a Rafidi, which is to say he rejects the guidance of Ahl al-Bayt imams such as Jaʿfar al-Sadiq and Zayd ibn ʿAli - Allah be well-pleased with them. For the definition of "rafidi" is none other than those who reject such guidance. Al-Fayyumi in al-Misbah al-Munir under the article r-f-d defined the Rafida as "one of the sects of the Shiʿa of Kufa, who rejected Zayd ibn ʿAli - peace upon him - after he forbade them to revile the Companions and refused to dissociate himself from the Two Shaykhs, Abu Bakr and ʿUmar. Then the term was used for anyone in this school that went to extremes and allowed attacking the Companions." See also the chapters on Zayd ibn ʿAli in al-Dhahabi's Siyar and other biographical/historical works.

Ibn ʿAsakir narrated in his Tabyin (p. 164-165) that the hadith master Ibn Shahin al-Hanbali (d. 385) said: "Two righteous men have been afflicted due to evil people: Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad and Ahmad ibn Hanbal." Ibn al-Salah (d. 643) said: "Two imams have been afflicted because of their followers although they are innocent of them: Ahmad ibn Hanbal was tried with the anthropomorphists (al-mujassima), and Jaʿfar al-Sadiq with the [Shiʿi] Rejectionists (al-Rafida)." Quoted by Ibn al-Subki in his Qaʿida (p. 43), also found in his Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya al-Kubra (2:17).

There is a huge difference between those Shiʿa who respect Ahl al-Bayt _and_ the Companions beginning with Abu Bakr and ʿUmar, such as the Shiʿi narrators in Bukhari and Muslim whom the same respondent cites [in question 14], and the likes of the Rawafid who have gone beyond all bounds. With the Shiʿa of old, Ahl al-Sunna have no quarrel. It is extremism of all kinds, whether clothed in Shiʿi or Sunni garb, that Ahl al-Sunna stand against.

[GFH] ©




latest update: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
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