Short History of the Muslim Religious Schools and Sects
Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Husain Muzaffar
The days of Abu Abd Allah al- Sadiq, peace be on him, were the days of religious schools, sects, ideas, desires, theology, research, misguidance, suspicion, and doubts. Now, we will mention the origin of those groupings and schools in a brief manner, following the methods that we have adopted in this book because the enlargement upon the research will take us out of the plan of the book, and in the books on the religious schools and sects are many details.
The Origin of the Islamic Groupings:
Indeed, the Muslim nation divided into seventy- three groupings. That was what our Truthful Trusty Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: "My nation will divide into seventy- three groupings." (Sunan b. Majah: 2/1321).
In this chapter, we want to study the well- known groupings in the time of al- Sadiq. We will devote our research to the origins of those groupings. We may refer to sub- groupings after we have mentioned the origins. Of course, this will suit our purpose and plan.
All Muslim sects belong (The sects of Shi'a by Abu Mohammed al- Hasan al- Nobakhty: 17. In al- Fasl: 2/88, b. Hazm has mentioned that they are five because he regards the Sunnis as a grouping equivalent to the Murjeia and the Mu'tazila). to four groupings: the Murjeia, the Mu'tazila, the Shi'a, and the Kharijites. So every Muslim sect belongs to one of these origins. Also al- Ghulat, though the other sects have regarded them as unbelievers, is a subdivision of the above mentioned origins. These four origins are as follow:
1. The Murjeia:
We may say: Indeed, the Murjeia means today the Ash'aris only, and they are the sunnis in general according to the belief in this time, because there is no one who follows the school of the Mu'tazila in these times.
Before al- Ash'ary, the Murjeia were many sects, and those sets were subdivisions of the Sunnis equivalent to the Shi'a and the Kharijites. But when al- Ash'ry's school of thought appeared, the Murjeia became another title for the Sunnis or for al- Ash'ry's school in general. In (his book) al-Milal and al- Nihal, al- Shahristany said: "And it is said (that) al- Irja' (delaying) (means) the delaying of 'Ali, peace be on him, from the first degree to the fourth (degree)." As you see, this is the thought of the Sunnis in general.
It is not our purpose to research the gathering of these names in the Schools of al- Ash'ary or their departing from, rather our first purpose is to know the situation of al- Murjeia on that day. There is no doubt that the Murjeia in that time were sets and schools. They were gathered together by their opinion that said: it is enough (to show) faith with words even if there is no act, and even if the person who claims belief commits every atrocity still he is a believer and follows the faith of Jibra'il and Mika'il, and they delayed forgiveness for those who commit great sins. maybe, they were called the Murjeia for this reason or because Allah has delayed their punishment. (it is derived from the word al- irja' meaning delay) or because they delayed 'Ali, peace be on him, from the first degree to the fourth degree as al- Shahristany has mentioned.
What we have mentioned is the common idea among the groups of the Murjeia. This what the books of the two parties have reported, which has mentioned the meeting of the parties and departing of the religious sects.
Were Abu Hanifa and his fellower from the Masiryya Murjeia,( al- MilaI Wa al- Nihal, 1/147). who lived in Iraq? Were al- Shafi'y, Malik b. Anas, b. Abu Layla, Shurayk b. Abd Allah, and their fellower from the Murjeia who were called al-Shukkak or al- Batariya, and they were the people of al- Hashu and the great majority who were called al- Hashawiya?
We can not decide this, because the books of the sects are different about that ancestry. Also they did not depend on reliable references that may help us to understand the correct viewpoints. Besides the fanaticism of those authors for their sects and schools made the other sect a goal for them. Moreover, the men of the secular authorities in those times helped this crime to happen, because they propagated a sect and waged war against the other. To achieve this purpose, they hired, orators to preach and for them, so the person who has no knowledge or studies may miss the truth.
Maybe, those books have thrown many writers into snares of confusion. In short, it is not easy for us to depend on those books to understand the correct ancestry. So, the only sect which has correctly related to the Murjeia is al- Jahamyya, who were the followers of Jaham b. Safwan, because they frankly believed in what we have mentioned, and the authors have agreed on that. Also they (the authors) have reported (traditions) from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, which have cursed them, while we are innocent of their responsibility.
One of these traditions is: "The Murjeia had been cursed by the tongues of seventy prophets. It was said to him: Who are the Murjeia? He said: Those who said: Belief is speech." (Al- Farq Bayna al- Firaq: p. 190). In summary. There is no doubt who the Murjeia were at that time. Also they were a group of sects. We have mentioned their thoughts earlier. Their thoughts, which brought them together, was that words are enough to achieve belief even if there is no action to match these words, rather even if the action is contrary to the words. We are in no need to study thoroughly their subdivisions and their characteristics lest we should miss our aim and make mistakes. We ask Allah, the Exalted, to protect us from mistakes.
2. The Mu'tazila:
We have no doubt that al- I'tizal (isolation) was born at the time of al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and at that time it spread. That was when 'Amru b. Ubaid, Wasil b. 'Atta', and the like isolated themselves from the theological school of al- Hasan al- Basry, so they called them with this name (i.e. the Mu'tazila or the isolated.) It is not correct that al- I'tizal (isolation) was born during the time of Amir al- Mu'minin (the Commander of the Faithful) when Sa'ad b. Abu Waqas, b. 'Amr, and Usam b. Zayd isolated themselves from the battles of Amir al- Mu'minin, because that isolation was not due to an idea or suspicion in relation, rather it was deviation from (the right leadership) of Amir al- Mu'minin, peace be on him. Moreover, al- I'tizal was not know at that time, they were not called al- Mu'tazila (the isolated) on that day, and the Mu'tazila did not belong to their school.
After the Mu'tazila had agreed with each other on al- I'tizal, they divided into many sects, and in our present time, there is no one, as I think, belonging to this school. The author of the book 'Al- Farq bayna Al- Firaq', p.94, has reported from the Essays of al- Ka'by.
"Indeed, the Mu'tazila had unanimously agreed that Allah, the Great and Almighty, is a thing not like things, He is the Creator of bodies and spirits, He has created what He created out of nothing, and men do their acts with the fate, which Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, has created in them." He said: "And they had unanimously agreed that Allah does not forgive him who commits great sins without repentance."
This is what al- Ka'by has reported about the common thought of the Mu'tazila. We are satisfied with the above- mentioned text about their beliefs, and we are not concerning a thorough examination to put these words in the scales of criticism to know the correctness of what the author of the above- mentioned book has regarded as right towards this claim. Also this reason has summoned us to pass over what b. Hazm, al-Shahristany, and the author of 'Al- Farq bayan al- Firaq' have attributed to them. Worth mentioning, they have said many ideas about them.
After this, we do not want to treat exhaustively the sects of that grouping and their peculiar beliefs, because the enlargement in such a matter will take us out of the limited plan and we may make mistakes.
Are the fatalists the Mu'tazila? Or are they the Ash'ris themselves? This is an object of doubt, because if we regard the fatalists as those who say: "the acts of men are created for them, and they (the acts) are done and estimated by them, and Allah only creates power and ability with which men do their acts," then they are the Mu'tazila according to the earlier common thought which has been reported from them. And according to this, they are not the Ash'aris themselves, because the Ash'aris are contrary to this; they think that all acts are created and estimated by Allah, the Exalted, not by man.
If we mean the fatalists are those who say that the good and the evil of fate are from Allah, the Exalted, then they are surely the Ash'aris.
From the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, al- Shahrystany has reported: "The fatalists are the Magians of this nation." "The fatalists are the opponents of Allah in fate." (See Al- Milal wa Al- Nihal: 1/50-51).
3. The Shi'a:
Al- Tashayy' '(shiism) was at the time of the Holder of the Honorable Mission, and some of the companions had been called Shi'a since that day. Some of them were Salman, Abu Dharr,' Ammar, Hudhayfa, Khuzayma, Jabir, Abu Sa'id al- Khidry, Abu Ayyub, Khalid b. Sa'id b. al- 'As, Qays b. Sa'ad, and the like. (Ibin Abu al- Haddeed, Sharih Nahj al- Balagha, 4, 225. Mohammed Kurd 'Ali, Khutat al- Sham, 5, 251-256).
In Arabic, the word 'Shi'a' means al- atba' (followers), al- Ansar (supporters), and al- A'wan (helpers). It was derived from the word 'al-Mushaya'a which means al- Mutawa'a (obedience), and al- Mutaba'a (agreement). But this word is related to those who follow 'Ali and his family, may Allah bless him and his family.( Al- Qamus, Lisan al- 'Arab, Al- Nahayya by b. al- Athir, Al- Muqadama by b. Khaldun: p.138, and many others).
The first to utter the word 'Shi'ea', meaning those who follow 'Ali and the Imams, was the Owner of the Islamic law, the master of the prophets, may Allah bless him and his family, in this connection, many traditions have been mentioned from him. (See al- Sawa'iq after verse eight and verse ten of the verses concerning the outstanding merits of the members of the House (ahl al Bayt). Also See al- Nahaya by bin al- Athir in Qamh, and Al- Durr Al- Manthur by al- Syyuty about the Words of Allah, the Exalted: "(As for) those who believe and do good, surely they are the best of men.)"
The sects of the Shi'a were many. The books on the religious schools and sects .have mentioned more than we know about them. They have mentioned many sects and many men to whom those sects were related, for example, al- Hashmiya (the Hashymis) attributed to Hisham b al- Hakam, al- Zarariya ( the Zararis) ascribed to Zarara b A'yun,
Al- Shaytaniy a (the Shaytanis) related to Mu'min al- Taq, Mohammed b al- Nu'man b al- Ahwal, al- Yunisiy a (the Yunisis) attributed to Yunis b Abd al- Rahman, and so on In fact, we follow the members of the House ( ahl al Bayt ) And ahl al Bayt knew who were in the House. We know neither kinds nor traces of those sects, nor the heresies which have been ascribed to the above- mentioned men.
Whoever sees the books of traditions and the books of men by the Shi' a, will know that these men were among the chosen companions of the Imams, namely the Imams depended on them and the Shi' a refer to them. So if they had ideas and schools contrary to those of the Imams, then the Imams would have been angry with them and dismissed them. Whoever understands thoroughly these writings about the men who created heresies, will know that the foregoing men were innocent of what they have attributed to them. They disowned b. Saba', cursed him, and warned men against his heresies.
They disowned al- Baqir, peace be on him, and claimed the falsehood. Also al- Sadiq, peace be on him, disowned Abu al-Khattab and his company, and Abu al- Jarudy. Concerning banu Fudal, he said: "Take what they have reported, and leave what they have seen", and so on.( see al- Ghayba by al- Shaykh al- Tusy, may Allah be pleased with him). If such a choice had followed this misguidance which has been related to them, the Imams would have treated them as they treated those who went astray, namely they would have disowned, dispraised, and cursed them.
Yes, the Shi'a had sects before and after the time of al- Sadiq, peace be on him They have become bygone but three sects. They are:
1. The Imamis- they believe in the Imamate of the twelve (Imams), the birth of the twelve ( Imams). They believe that the twelfth Imam is still living now, and they look forward to his coming.
2. The Zaydis- they believe in the Imamate of Zayd and of the sons of Fatima, who rose with the sword and had outstanding merits.
3. The Isma'ilis- they believe that the Imam after al- Sadiq, peace be on him, was his son Isma'il, not Musa and his sons, peace be on them.
The above- mentioned sects are the only sects that have lasted till now. In his book, 'Firaq al- Shi'a', al- Nobakhty has studied those sects who were in the past. They all perished, except what we have mentioned above.
Here, we want to discuss the sects which were during the days of al-Sadiq, peace be on him, even if there is no one of them at present.
During the time of al- Sadiq, peace be on him, among the sects of the Shi'a were the Kaysanis, who adopted the Imamate of Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya. The authors differ about the reason why they are called the Kaysanis. And they (the Kaysanis) belonged to sects:
A sect said: "Mohammed is al- Mahdy. He is the trustee (wasi) of Amir al- Mo'minin (the Commander of the Faithful), and no one of his family has the right to disobey him. Al- Hasan, peace be on him, made peace with Mu'awiya with his permission. Al- Husayn, peace be on him, revolted (against Yazid) with his permissi'on. And al- Mukhtar revolted to revenge the blood (of al- Husayn) with his permission, too."
A sect said: "He (Mohammed b. al- Hanafiya) was the Imam after his two brothers al-Hasan and al- Husayn, peace be on them. He is al- Mahdy and his father called him with that (name). He never dies and (his death) is impossible. But he has disappeared and no one knows where he is. He will return and rule the earth. And there has been no Imam sine his disappearance till his return. "They (this sect) were the companions of b. Karb and they are called the Karbis.
A sect said: "He (Mohammed b. al- Hanafiya) lives among Radwa Mountains between Mecca and Medina. And he is the awaited Imam (al-Imam al- Muntazar)."
A sect said: "He died. The Imam after him was his son Abd Allah. His kunya (the latter) (i.e. the name by which an Arab is usually referred to and which refers to him as the father of someone, usually his eldest son) was Abu Hisham. He was the eldest of his sons. He was the trustee (wasi) of his father." This sect was called the Hashimites as attribution to Abu Hashim. This sect has mentioned about him as the first sects have mentioned about his father: "He is al- Mahdy. He is still living. And he enlivens the dead. But when Abu Hashim died, his companions subdivided."
Some famous intelligent men belonged to the Kaysanis. Among them was Kuthayr 'Azzah whose poetry is always reported.
The famous sayyid Isma'il al- Hymyary was one of them. Also his poetry supplies evidence for what they attributed to him. But he changed his mind and believed in the Imamate of al- Sadiq, peace be on him when al- Sadiq debated with him and overcame him. He has famous poetry concerning his refraining from his sect and his believing in the Imamate of al- Sadiq.
Among them was Hayyan al- Sarraj. One day he came to al- Sadiq, peace be on him. So Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq) said to him: "Hayyan, What do your companions say concerning Mohammed b. al- Hanafiya?" He said: "They say: 'He is still living." So, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: "My father, peace be on him, said to me: 'I was among those who visited him during his illness, and among those who shut his eyes, entered him his bit (grave), married his wives (to other men), and divided his heritage (among his children). So he said: "Abu Abd Allah, Mohammed in this nation is like '
Isa b. Maryam, men became uncertain to him, his followers or his enemies?" He said: "Rather, his enemies." So he, peace be on him, said: "Do you think that Abu Ja'far Mohammed b. 'Ali, peace be on them is the enemy of his uncle Mohammed b. al- Hnafiya?" So he said: "No." Then al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: "Hayyan , you have turned away from the Verses of Allah while He, the Blessed and Exalted, said: "We will reward those who turn away from Our communications with an evil chastisement because they turned away." (Al- Saduq, Ikmal Al- Din, 22. Al- Kashy, Al- Rijal, 203. Koran, al- An'am, 157).
Barid al- 'Ajali (One of the famous reliable companions of al- Sadiq) said: "I came to al- Sadiq, peace be on him, and he said to me: 'If you had come a little bit earlier, you would have met Hayyan al-Sarraj', and he pointed to a place in the house. Then he said: "He was sitting over here. He mentioned Mohammed b. al- Hanafiya and his life. And he praised him. So I said to him: "Hayyan, do you not claim and they claim, and you report and they report: this nation has the same things the children of Isra'il (banu Isra'il) had? So he said: "Yes." Then he said: 'Have you or they seen, you or they heard that a scholar died before men, his wives have been married (to others), and his properties have been divided (among his children), while he is living and never dies?" So, he stood up and did not answer any thing. (Al- Kashy, Al- Rijal, Hayyan, 202).
The Kaysanis are among the extinct sects, today, we do not know people who belong to them.
The Zaydis are among the groupings which are ascribed to the Shi'a. They belonged to Zaid b. 'Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them, because they believed in his Imamate.
Zayd, peace be on him, did not claim the Imamate for himself, rather men claimed it for him. Nothing summoned him to rise but that he wanted to support the truth and wage war against the falsehood. Zaid was far above asking what was not for him.
If he had overcome (his enemies), he would have known the place where to put it. Some traditions were attributed to him showing that he requested the Imamate for himself. But the reason in them is very clear, because al-Sadiq, peace be on him, was afraid the authority of the Omayyads would relate Zaid's revolt to him, so they would punish him, his family, and his followers (Shi'a) for that crime. So he drove away that danger with that attribution, and if Zayd had been as those traditions mentioned, then his two grandfathers al- Mustafa and al- Murtada, peace be on them and their families, would not have wept over him before he was created, and the memories of what would happen to him would not have brought about that great sadness and depression for them. Similarly, his ancestors had suffered from the sad memories when they remembered his killing and what happened to him after that.
It is enough that his revolt and innocence were far above what was attributed to him that al- Sadiq, peace be on him, wept over him and divided the properties among the families of those who were killed with him. Also, he blamed those who did not support him. And he called those who stood by him believers, and those who waged war against him unbelievers.
How he requested the Imamate for himself while al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: "May Allah have mercy on him. Truly, he was believing, knowing, knowledgeable, and truthful. Verily, if he had won a victory (over his enemies), he would have fulfilled (his promise). Indeed, if he had had authority, he would have known how to put it." (Al- Kashy, al- Rijal, 184).
And he said: "Do not say that Zayd deviated. Surely, Zayd was knowledgeable and truthful. He did not summon you for himself Rather, he summoned you for al- Rida from the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family. If he had overcome (his opponents), he would have fulfilled what he had summoned you for. He only revolted against the supreme authority of a group to change it." (Al- Wafi, 1,141).
Al- Rida, peace be on him, said to al- Ma'mun: "Do not compare my brother Zayd with Zayd b. 'Ali, peace be on them, for Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family. He became angry for Allah, the Great and Almighty. So, he waged holy war against His enemies till he was killed for Him. Indeed, Zayd b. 'Ali, peace be on him, did not request what he had no right to He was more devout than that to Allah. He said: "I summon you to al- Rida from the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family."( Al- Wafi, 1,141).
Al- Rida said these words frankly during the time of the Abbassids. His son Yahya said: "May Allah have mercy on my father. He was among the worshipers. He prayed at night and fasted at day. He strove for Allah sincerely." So, Umayr b. al- Mutawakil al- Balakhy said: "So, I said: "Son (i.e. grandson) of the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, is this the manner and quality of the Imam?" So, he said: "Abu Abd Allah, surely, my father was not an Imam. But he was among the noble master and their ascetics, and he was among the mujhahidin for Allah.
I said: "son of the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, surely, your father requested the Imamate for himself and waged holy war for Allah, and it has been mentioned from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, that whoever claims the Imamate is a liar." So, he said: "Slowly! Slowly! Abu Abd Allah, indeed, my father was more intelligent than to claim what he had no right to. However, he said: "I summon to al- Rida from the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family." He meant my cousin Ja'far, peace be on him. He said: "I said: 'So, today, he has knowledge." He said: "Yes, he is the most knowledgeable of Banu Hashim." (Kifayat Al- Athar, 304).
This tradition has shown the high position of Zayd in religion and virtue and denoted that what they attributed to him is baseless. Also the tradition has proven that Yahya had a high position in piety, science, and knowledge.
There are many traditions which show that Zayd was more sublime than that summons. He was more pious, and purer than to corrupt himself with the summons to the Imamate. But after his death, some people claimed that the Imamate was for Zayd, so they were called the Zaydis for that claim.
The Zaydis have many sects. The following opinion brings them together.
The Imamate is exclusive for the sons of Fatima, peace be on her. They have not permitted the sureness of the Imamate in other than they. But they have permitted every Fatimid, whether he is of the sons of al-Hasan, peace be on him, or of the sons of al- Husayn, peace be on him, to be an Imam with obligatory obedience, provided that he should be a scholar ascetic, brave, generous, waged holy war with the sword. Then a sect of them professed the Imamate of Mohammed and Ibrahim, the two sons of Abd Allah b. al- Hasan, peace be on him. (Al- Milal wa Al-Nihal, 1,159). I think that they have made the Imamate exclusive for the sons of Fatima for those who maybe Imams after Zayd, because some sects of them professed the sureness of the Imamate for the two Shaykhs as you will know.
The Batariya were among the sects of the Zaydis. They were the companions of Kathir al- Nawa, al- Hasan b. Salim b. Abu Hafsa, al-Hakam b. 'Ayyina, Salama b. Kuhail, and al- Miqdam Thabit al Hadad. They (the Batariya) summoned (people) to the Imamate of 'Ali, peace be on him, then they mixed 'Ali's Imamate with that of Abu- Bakr and 'Umar, and proved the Imamate for them. They dispraised 'Uthman, Talha, al- Zubayr, and 'A'isha. It is said: "They were called the Batariya when they mentioned their beliefs before Zayd b. 'Ali, so he said to them: 'You have cut off our instruction when you have left Allah." And it is said: "They were called the Bataris because they were attributed to Kathir al- Nawa whose hand was amputated."( Al- Shaykh Abu 'Ali al- Ha'ry, Manhaj al- Maqal Fi al- Alqab).
If this attribution was right, then they would be called al- 'Abtariya, not al- Batariya.
Among the Zaydis were the Sulaymanis, who belonged to Sulayman b. Jarir. They believed in the Imamate of the two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and 'Umar), but they dispraised 'Uthman, Talha, al- Zubar, and 'A'isha.
They ascribed these persons to unbelief They think that the Imamate is made with consultation (Shura), and it is concluded through a contract between two of the good men of the nation. They allowed the Imamate of the mafdul (less excellent) with the existence of the afdal (the most excellent), and they claimed that the nation left the most excellent during the homage when they recognized Abu Bakr and 'Umar as caliphs, and they left 'Ali, peace be on him, though he was worthier of Imamate than they. But the mistake that took place during their homage did not entail unbelief nor transgression.( Al- Farq Bayna Al- Firaq, 23. Al- Milal 'ala Al- Fasl, 1,164).
Consequently, we understand that the claim ascribed to the Zaydis, which says that the Imamate is not proved for other than the sons of Fatima, only concerns those who came after Zayd and who rose with the sword.
Also we do not know the reason why these two sects are regarded as Shi'tes.
The Jarudiya was a sect of the Zaydis. They belonged to Ziyad b. al-Mundhir Abu al- Jarud. They may also be called the Sarhubiyya. And it is said: "Indeed, the Sarhub is the name of a blind Satan, who lives in the sea, so Abu al- Jarud was called with his name. Abu al- Jarud was among the Companions of al- Baqir and al- Sadiq, peace be on them. When Zayd revolted, he changed his mind."
It has been reported that al- Sadiq, peace be on him, called him a liar and an unbeliever. With him were Kathir al- Nawa and Salim b. Abu Hafsah. Also it has been mentioned about him: "(He was called) 'Ama al- Basar (blind- sighted) and 'Ama al- Qalb (blind- hearted)."( See his life in the books of al- Rijal).
The Jarudiya think that men were neglectful when they did not try to research to know the Imam, because they were able to know him, rather they disbelieved when they paid homage to Abu Bakr. So, they (the Jarudiya) do not believe in the Imamate of the three caliphs, rather they believe in their unbelief because they requested the Imamate and did not pay homage to 'Ali, peace be on him. (Al- Farq Bayna al- Firaq, 22. Al- Milal 'ala Hamish Al- Fasl, 1,163).
It is said: Surely, among them (the Zaydis) were the Salihiya. They are ascribed to al- Hasan b. Salih. You have known that they were a group of the Batariya, because al- Hasan was among the men of the Batariya. So, there is no reason to regard them as an independent sect. Yes, there are small differences between him and Kathir al- Nawa, the first man of the Batariya.
Thus there is no need to part his sect from the Batariya.
In his book 'Firaq Al- Shi'a', al- Nobakhty has mentioned the Zaydis in another manner and increased it. But we think that what we have written is nearer to what the books of al- Milal and al- Nihal have mentioned. So see them if you want more explanation.
Among the sects of the Shi'a are the Isma'ilis. The view concerning the Imamate of Isma'il started during the days of al- Sadiq, peace be on him. Some of the Isma'ilis thought that the Imamate should be for the eldest (son) and Isma'il was the eldest of his brothers, and he had outstanding merit. When he died during the days of his father, they knew their mistake.
As for those who insisted on the Imamate of Isma'il, they divided into sects. Some of them denied his death during the lifetime of his father, peace be on him. So, they said: "His father has hidden him from men because he is worried about him." They claimed that Isma'il would not die till he rules the earth and assumes the affairs of men. (They thought that) he would be the one who will rise (qa'im), because his father designated him as Imam after his death. But when his death appeared, we knew that he (his father) was truthful and that the one who would rise(qa'im) would not die.
And some of them said that he died and that the Imamate was given to his son Mohammed, because the Imamate is not but for children, and it (the Imamate) is not for brothers except al- Hasan and al- Husayn, peace be on them. So, when Isma'il died, it was obligatory that the Imam after Ja'far, peace be on him, had to be Mohammed b. Isma'il, and it was not permissible for any of the brothers of Isma'il to be the Imam. Also Mohammed b. al- Hanafiya had no right with 'Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them. The followers of this view were called the Mubaraka. They were named after their leader al- Mubarak (the blessed).
As for the Khattabiya, the companions of Abu al- Khattab Mohammed b. Abu Zaynab al- Asady al- Ajda', they joined the sect that believed in the Imamate of Mohammed b. Isma'il after the killing of Abu al- Khattab. They were among the extreme groups. Then they divided into sects. The Qaramita were among them.( Firaq Al- Shi'a, 67 and 76).
Abu al- Khattab was a companion of al- Sadiq's, peace be on him. But when al- Sadiq knew that he told him lies, he (al- Sadiq) dismissed him, disowned him, and cursed him.
Then Abu al- Khattab claimed that he was a prophet and Mohammed b. Ja'far, peace be on him, was a god and that he was his messenger. Besides, he and his group issued heresies, desires, and permission (for unlawful things).
'Isa b. Musa, the governor of al- Mansur over Kufa, heard about the manners of Abu al- Khattab and his group, who were seventy men. While they were holding a meeting in the Mosque of Kufa, he (the governor) attacked them. No one was able to escape. He killed all but two persons, one of them was badly wounded.
He was regarded as among the killed, so he was able to escape. And the other was Abu al- Khttab himself. He was captured and killed by 'Isa b. Musa on the bank of the Euphrates. 'Isa b. Musa cut off their heads and burned their bodies. Then he sent their heads to al- Mansur,( Firaq Al- Shi'a, 69) who hung them on the gate of Baghdad for three days, then they were burnt.
Among the sects of the Shi'a are the Imamis. Also they are called the Ja'fariya because they are ascribed to Ja'far b. Mohammed, peace be on him, who became a school. (In the following pages you will know) how he has become a school out of the rest of the Imams while they were all a school in the rules.
The Imamis have believed in the Imamate of the twelve (Imams): 'Ali, al- Hasan, al- Husayn, 'Ali b. al- Husayn, Mohammed b. 'Ali, Ja'far b. Mohammed, Musa b. Ja'far, 'Ali b. Musa Mohammed b. 'Ali, 'Ali b. Mohammed, al- Hasan b. 'Ali, and his son al- Mahdy, the hidden, to whose coming they look forward the blessings of Allah be on them all.
The Imamis believe that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had decided the Imamate of the above- mentioned Imams with the clear public nomination from Allah, the Great and Almighty, and that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, nominated the Imamate and Caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al- Mu'minin) and he nominated him as his brother and testamentary trustee. The textual nomination (nass) by the Prophet was on several occasions, for example, the Day of al- Ghadir. Also the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, told (people) about the Caliphs and the Imams who would rule one by one after the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al- Mu'minin) peace be on him, as we have mentioned their names earlier.
Then the Imams handed down that textual nomination (nass) from one to another. So, 'Ali nominated al- Hasan, al- Hasan nominated al- Husayn, al- Husayn nominated his son 'Ali, In this manner the father nominated his son till the textual nomination ended at b. al- Hasan, (who called) al- Muntazar (the awaited one). Besides, the Imamis believe that al- Muntazar has been alive since he was born on the night of 15th of Sha'ban in the year 255 (A. H.) (869), and that he has been away from view because of the unjust rulers of his time, and that he is al- Mahdi (the most guided one), who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. (Many Sunnis mentioned Imam al- Mahdi b. al- Hasan al-'Askary. They have admitted his existence and that he is al- Mau'ud (the promised one) See: Matalib al-Sa'ul, Al- Hjja by b. 'Arab, Lawaqih Al- Anwar, Al- Tadhkira, Sharh Al- Da'ira, Al-Fusul Al- Muhima, Fara'id Al- Simtayn, and the like. Rather, some of them claimed that they had seen and met him).
53 Many Sunnis mentioned Imam al- Mahdi b. al- Hasan al-'Askary. They have admitted his existence and that he is al- Mau'ud (the promised one) See: Matalib al-Sa'ul, Al- Hjja by b. 'Arab, Lawaqih Al- Anwar, Al- Tadhkira, Sharh Al- Da'ira, Al-Fusul Al- Muhima, Fara'id Al- Simtayn, and the like. Rather, some of them claimed that they had seen and met him.
Also the Imamis believe that these Imams are protected from the sin, the mistake, forgetfulness, and heedlessness as it is in our Prophet and all the prophets, peace be on them, and that their knowledge is not acquisitive, rather it is inspiration and inheritance from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The son inherited it from his father and the brother from his brother as it is in al- Hasan and al- Husayn.
As the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was the Inheritor of the knowledge of Prophets and Apostles and had the knowledge of the past people and of the last people, so the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin) had all that knowledge, because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: "I am the city of knowledge and 'Ali is its gate." Apart from this tradition, there are many traditions and verses of the Book (the Koran).
Also, concerning the Imams, the Imamis believe that they were the servants of Allah, the Glorified, created by Him, provided with the means of subsistence by Him, and that they did not deal conclusively with the affairs of mankind, such as life, death, giving, forbidding, and the like but with the permission from Allah, the Exalted, just as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, did in connection with men. About 'Isa, peace on him, the Book (the Koran) reports: "That I determine for you out of dust like the from of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah's permission." (Al 'Umran, 48).
The Imamis have concluded that with the intellectual proofs, traditions, and reports. Some of these maybe mentioned in this book.
Also the Imamis have concluded the textual nomination concerning the Imams with the traditions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.
These traditions have been reported by the two parties (i.e., the Sunnis and the Shi'a). Among them is: "The Imams are from Quraysh, they are twelve,( Muslim, a part of the authentic tradition (reported by) Jabir. Ahmad, Musnad, 5/89, 2/29 and 129. Bin Hajar, Al- Sawa'iq, chapter 1, Part I, Al- Syyuty, Tarikh Al-Khulafa', and the like) they are from the sons of 'Ali and Fatima, and their nomination is with their names one by one." (Al- Qinduzy, Yanabi' Al- Mawada, 427 and 430 and 442).
Moreover, the Imamis produced Allah's favor (lutf) as evidence for the Imamate when he confined it to them (the Imams), then if there was an Imam, (people) should follow his Imamate, obey and know him.
The Imamis refer to these Imams to know the commandments of religion, so every commandment which has been proved by the Prophet or by them, they adopt it. But if the traditions are differ about a certain commandment, they apply the rules of equilibrium and preference according to the established fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence.
Concerning Islamic commandments, apart from the Book (the Koran) and the Sunna (the traditions and acts of the Prophet or Infallible Imams), the Imamis adopt the unanimous resolution and the irrefutable commandment of intellect. When these four sources are not able to give them the Islamic commandment, they refer to their practical fundamentals according to what situations require, which are general juridical rules proven with evidences.
The Imamis think that the traditions which have been reported (by men) from the Imams are some of the sunna, because they knew the knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, by heart, and protected his law (Shari'a), so what they had was from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, not from their own independent reasoning and ideas.
The sunna is one of the four sources which are used to deduce practical laws of Islam.
These four sources, as we have mentioned are: The Book (Koran), the Sunna (the traditions and acts of the Prophet or infallible Imams), consensus (ijma'), and intellect ('aql). The explanation of evidence of these sources and how to refer to them have been mentioned in the books of the fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence.
As for their belief in Allah, the most Exalted, the ImamÔs believe that He, the Glorified, is a thing but He is not similar to other things. He has no body or physical form, and cannot be seen by eyes in this world or the Hereafter."
Vision comprehends Him not, and He comprehends (all) vision. His Attributes are the same as His self He, the Exalted, is just, and He does not oppress anyone of His servants, because oppression is indecent by a sane mind, and He created all things out of nothing.
As for their belief in our Prophet Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, the Imamis believe that he was infallible from the error, the slip, forgetfulness, heedlessness, mortal and venial sins, that he did not commit any of them before or after his prophethood, and that he was sent for all the world. This is their belief in the infallibility of apostles and prophets
The Imamis believe that the Imamate is among the fundamentals (of Islam), which should be proved with the rational evidence in addition to the narrated texts, and of the rational evidence. is the rule of Allah's favor (qa'idat al- Lutf).
Concerning ma'ad (the Return), the Imamis believe that Allah, the Glorified, will return men for resurrection with those bodies which were in the world, and they are (the bodies) which will be rewarded and will live eternally in Paradise (janan) or will be punished and live eternally in hell (niran).
As for the acts of men, the Imamis believe that they are a matter between two matters; neither compulsion nor authorization. Namely, Allah, the Glorified, does not force men to achieve their action so as not to oppress them when He will punish them for their sins, rather they have the ability and option in what they do. Nor Allah has authorized them to act freely with the creation of their actions, then He has no ability to control His servants, rather He has the decision and the order, and He is able to do everything and encompasses His servants.
Also, He may hold back him from the factors of disobedience and misguidance as a favor from Him for His servant, and this is what we call tawfiq (Allah's blessing on someone for doing good actions).
These are some beliefs of the Imamis about the existence and the oneness of Allah, the attributes of Allah, prophethood, the Imamate, the hereafter, and the actions of men.
We have briefly mentioned the beliefs of the Imamis. But they have been explained in detail in the books of theology and beliefs.
Today, the Imamis constitute the great majority of the Shi'a all over the Islamic countries. Since the first day of the beginning of writing, their books about all sciences have been spread among nations. The urban, the Bedouin, the ignorant, and the scholar read their books.
At the present time, their is no obvious well known sect except that were during the time of al- Sadiq, peace on him, so we have neglected those sects that took place after him, peace on him, such as the Fatahiya, the Nawusiya, and the Waqifiya.
4. The Kharijites:
This sect appeared on the day of (the Battle of) Siffin due to the trick of b. al-'As when he advised Mu'awiya, who was feeble, to continue fighting to raise copies of the Koran and to summon (Imam 'Ali's Army) to resort to them. When they (Ma'awiyya's Army) raised the copies of the Koran, a group of the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin), peace be on him, mutinied against him saying that they (Mu'awiya's Army) were summoning them to the Book of Allah while he was summoning them to the sword.
So, he blamed them for that , tried to hold them back from being deceived by that trick, and said to them: "Woe unto You! I am the most knowledgeable in the Book of Allah." But his blame, his deterrence, and his evidence were all useless. Moreover; they said to him: "Prevent Malik from fighting the Muslims; otherwise we will do against you as we had done against 'Uthman." So, he was forced to order Malik to come back while he was about to defeat Mu'awiya's Army and the latter was about to escape. Then they (the Kharijites) forced him (Imam 'Ali) to accept the arbitration.
Thus, he wanted to send Abd Allah b. Abbas, but they ordered him to send Abu Musa al- Ash'ary. When the arbitration took place, the Khrijities said: "Why did you appoint the men as arbitrators in the religion of Allah? There is no rule but for Allah." From here, they were called al- Muhakima. The Commander of the faithful came back from (the Battle of) Siffin while they were insisting on their deviation and disobedience. Then they gathered at Harawra' near Kufa, so they were called the Harawriyya.
The Commander of the Faithful (Amir al- Mu'minin) opposed with argument all their claims, but they caused mischief in the land, killed Khabab- one of the good Companions- and cut open the bellies of the pregnant women. So, the Commander of the Faithful was forced to kill those who insisted on their deviation at (the Battle of) Nahrwan. But that battle was not able to destroy their opinions, rather there were still people who adopted their ideas and deviation. Such people annoyed the kings and the governors during those times.
Whenever a group of them perished, another group appeared. People were in a state of terror because they suffered from their quick assassination, ugly actions, cruelty, and violation of the forbidden. They waged war against the kings and the governors out of belief and tranquillity. They fought bravely, so men were not able to stand before them even if they were more than they because the men had no belief to resist that belief But if they (the followers of the Kharijites) felt that they were weak, they attacked people at night and ran away. For this reason, no place was safe from their evil actions.
They (the Kharijites) had external devotion and worship, they were still attracting the rabble with those righteous aspects, the propagation for disobeying the false supreme ruler, and the propagation for acting according to the Book and the Sunna, even if they contradicted those aspects and propagation through using oppression and causing mischief But the simple of men might be deceived by that phenomenon of devotion and righteousness.
Also some of the followers of the Divine Books (the Jews, the Christians, and the Magians), and those who did not believe in the correctness of the religion of Islam were deceived by those attractive phenomena, so they added them to their fighters and boasted of them.
After that the strength of the Kharijites became weak and their evil acts became calm, and people lived in peace for a period of time, but their importance appeared again during the days of al- Sadiq, peace be on him, when one of their leaders Abd Allah b. Yahya al- Kindy called Talib al-Haq rose in Hadramout after he had asked the advice of Abadiya- who were in Basrah. They made the rise incumbent on him. Among them were Abu Hamza al- Mukhtar b. 'Auf al- Azdy and Balakh b. 'Aqaba al- Mas'udy. Then two thousand men paid him homage. So, with their support, he appeared.
When his army became big, he wrote letters to the Kharijites in Sana, then he headed for it. So, battles took place between him and the governor of Sana. Abd Allah defeated the governor and controlled the treasuries of properties. Then he dominated Yemen. When the time of hajj (pilgrimage) came, he formed an army of a thousand fighters under the leadership of Abu Hamza. Among them were Balakh and Abraha b. al- Sabbagh. He ordered him to stay at Mecca when people came back from it and send Balakh to Sham (Syria). So, they entered Mecca on the 8th day of Dhu- Al-Hijja. At that time 'Abd al- Wahid b. Sulayman b. Abd al- Malik was the governor of Marwan al- Himar over Mecca and Medina.
So, Abd al- Wahid hated to fight them so as not to make people afraid of them. For this reason he wrote them some letters. He asked them not to prevent people from performing their hajj. Besides he assured them that they would be safe till people finished the third day of immolation. When that day was over, Abd al- Wahid left Mecca and allowed Abu Hamza to enter it without fighting.
Entering Medina, Abd al- Wahid prepared an army to fight Abu Hamza. The two armies met at Qadid. Abu Hamza defeated Abd al- Wahid. He killed 2230 men from the people of Medina. Then Balakh entered Medina without fighting. Abd al- Wahid left for Sham. So, Marwan formed an army of four thousand men, who were the horsemen and the great figures of his camp. He provided them with whatever they needed. The army was under the leadership of Abd al- Malik b. 'Atiya al- Sa'idy.
When the Kharijites heard about the movement of the Army of Sham, they quickly constituted an army of six hundred fighters headed by Balakh b. 'Aqaba al- Mas'udy. The two armies met at Wady al- Qura on some days of Jamadi al- 'ula in the year 130 (A.H.). The Army of Sham defeated the Army of the Kharijites All were killed except thirty people. They escaped to Medina. Al- Mufaddal al- Azdy was the governor of Medina. So, 'Amr b. Abd al- Rahman b. Zayd b. al- Khattab summoned people to fight the Kharijites in Medina but no one answered him. Any how, the Berbers, the ngroes, and common people supported him to fight the Kharijites. So, he killed al- Mufaddal and most of his companions and the rest ran away. Then b. 'Atiya came to Medina and stayed there for a month.
Then he went to Mecca. There a fierce battle took place between him and Abu Hamza. Many of the Kharijites were killed. Four hundred of them were captured and killed. And b. 'Atiya hanged Abu Hamza, Ibrahim and 'Ali b. al-Husayn on the Mountains of al- Khif. When the Abbasids took the reins of authority, they were brought down during the days of al- Saffah. Then b. 'Atiya went to Ta'if When Abd Allah b. Yahya Talib al- Haq, who was in Sana, heard about the killing of Abu Hamza and his group, he headed for b. 'Atiya to wage war against him. So, b. 'Atiya advanced towards him. When they met, a large group of the two parties was killed. Abd Allah and a thousand fighters dismounted.
They fought until they were all killed. Abd Allah was killed, too. Bin 'Atiya sent his head to Marwan. After he had defeated the Kharijites, b. 'Atiya stayed at Hadramout. A letter from Marwan came to him to go quickly to Mecca to lead people during the hajj. B. 'Atiya with nineteen horsemen went there quickly. But Marwan regretted and said: "I have killed b. 'Atiya. He will leave Yemen quickly to reach Mecca at the time of Hajj. So, the Kharijites will kill him." It was as he said. A disguised group of the Kharijites and others met him by chance. The Kharijites knew him and they attacked and killed him. (See Sharh Al- Nahj: 1/455-463. In this book, you will find the details of what we have briefly mentioned).
After that, the Kharijites were nothing but belief and idea. They had no strength to wage war against the kings. Till today, some of them have insisted on that deviation. And some of them are in Uman. But they have neither importance nor strength.
The Kharijites are deviated people. About them, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, told the Commander of the Faithful that he would wage war against them and defeat them.
The Kharijites were many sects. They agreed on the belief that 'Ali, 'Uthman, the two arbitrators, the Companions of the Camel, and all those who were satisfied with the arbitration of the two arbitrators were all unbelievers. They accused those who commit sins of unbelief They made it obligatory to disobey the oppressive Imam, as it has been mentioned from al- Ka'bi in the (book) Al- Farq bayna Al- Firaq, p.55.
But it has been reported on the authority of Abu al- Hasan al- Ash'ary that they denied their agreement on accusing those who commit sins of unbelief.
About that, many details have been mentioned on their authority. Many sects of the Kharijites have become bygone. Moreover, those who are in Uman today belong to the Abadiyya according to their beliefs.
The Extremists and Those who have disagreed with Islam on some Beliefs:
In the beginning of this chapter, we have mentioned that the origins of the Islamic sects were four groupings.
From them, all sects branched. The sects of the extremists belonged to the branches of those origins. So, every origin had extreme branches.
Such a matter is applied to those who adopt certain beliefs, for example, transmigration of souls, incarnation, and assimilation- which are regarded as unbelief by Muslim sects. But it is not easy to attack them with unbelief because of the belief which is ascribed to them. Whoever has little knowledge of religion should not accuse those who confess the Shahadatayn (the two testimonies by a Muslim- Ashhadu an la Ilaha illallah and Ash- haddu anna Mohammedar Rasulullah) of unbelief.
So, he should depend on a strong idea. As long as we are in no need of that, we will not discuss this matter and throw ourselves down a tremendous height, then look for a safe escape, especially those sects which are accused of disagreement with Islam because of their false beliefs have become bygone. Nothing has remained of them except small ones of no importance among the children of Islam, and no one is afraid of their corrupt beliefs. In the meantime, they have kept their beliefs secret because they know that the children of religion have the ability to overcome such beliefs with arguments and proofs and charge them with disbelief and deviation from Islam.
The carefulness of spreading these corrupt beliefs to the ignorant is more important than that of the past people who resisted those heresies and misguidance with every means. But, today, we are safe from the misleading ideas of their present sects. Just imagine how much less heresies of those dead sects are!
The Suspicions of Atheists:
Today, it is very important to take care of spreading suspicions of atheists whose selves try to get ride of the commandments of religion. While they have forgotten that these commandments put man in the classes of angels and the spiritual, takes him out of awful savageness and lethal desires, protects him from those who show enmity towards his most valuable aims in this life: his life, his reputation, and his property.
Also these Islamic commandments guard the above- mentioned valuable aims against any aggression. This is the freedom which they look for. With this freedom they have drawn away from the people of intellect and chastity and followed the people of cruelty, dissoluteness, and prostitution. This freedom has deceived some young men and made them fall into these snares, because young men quickly follow their desires and break the claimed shackles without resorting to their mind and using their intellect before they are deceived.
Muslims have unanimously agreed on the necessity of the Imamate. But they have different beliefs about it, because the Imam leads the Muslim community, guards it against misguidance, enforces the Islamic law, and spreads the teachings of Islam.
A part of the policy of the Owner of the religious law and the marvelous things of his rule is that he ordered (Muslims) to know the Imam, so he said: "Whoever dies and does not know the Imam of his time dies for jahiliya (pre Islamic paganism age)."( In this manner the tradition has been mentioned in the origin of the book. We have not found it in the available books. What we have found is this text: "Whoever dies without an Imam dies the death of jahiliya." Kanz Al- 'Umal: 1/103). Namely, he dies as if he did not adopt Islam.
59 In this manner the tradition has been mentioned in the origin of the book. We have not found it in the available books. What we have found is this text: "Whoever dies without an Imam dies the death of jahiliya." Kanz Al- 'Umal: 1/103.
If the Muslims act according to this religious duty and carry out what this obligation ordains, to know the Imam and listen to his words after they have known him, they will be one army and their leader is the Imam. Then no Muslim ignores the commandments of the religion or he knows them but he does not act according to them. Moreover, the flags of Islam will wage all over the world.
The caliphate and Imamate was a race course, no one takes its reins but the person who wins the race even if with blood shed and violating the forbidden, rather even if the caliph himself, after taking the reins of authority, is impudent and dissolute paying no attention to what he does.
But the Imami Shi'a, since the first era, have not attached importance to such an Imamate and not acknowledged such an Imamate. Rather they think that the caliph or the Imam should have all the qualities of perfection, free from all the traits of defect, carrying out the commandments of the Islamic Law secretly and openly, refraining from the outside and the inside forbidden things, and prevent people from doing them. He should be appointed according to the textual nomination by the Owner of the Islamic Law or by the Imam before him, to carry out the order of Allah, the Glorified, because He, the Exalted, is more than his servants in choosing the most righteous person for this sensitive position.
The Imam is not he who leads people, rather the Imam is the person whom the evidences support, even if people do not follow him or prevent him from carrying out the obligations of his Imamate and the duties of his leadership.
The resistance and apposition of people against the Imam does not decrease his ability to assume the obligations of the Imamate, rather they miss their chance and lose a way of guidance.
So, the Imam, according to the Imami viewpoint, is the person who is responsible for the obligations of the Imamate whether he rises or not, pronounces it or keeps silence, and advances for the race or falls behind, because his Imamate is not achieved through the borrowed clothing. Namely he become an Imam when he takes this clothing from the others and is out of the Imamate when the others take this clothing from him.
The Imam is the serious evidence, so he should inform people about his Imamate and provide evidences for it when there is a necessary need. Also people should know him and obey him when they know him.
As for providing evidences for the Imamate of the Imam, he should declare or hint it.
Enough for evidences that he should state his outstanding merits and miracles and show the knowledge which people are not able to show, except. when the swords prevent him from showing that; yet his acts and habits denote his position even if his tongue is silent.
The Imamate has been one of the researches which raise argument and dispute among Muslims since the first day of the Owner of the mission (the Prophet).
The argument and the disputes have taken place through the pen, the tongue, the sword, and the spearhead.
Today, the foundations of the Imamate is built on the ruins of the past. Also today and tomorrow it is the difference among the sects as it was yesterday, though the Muslim have agreed on the Prophet, the Book, and the qibla (the Ka'bah). Today and yesterday, among the sects are the owners of preferable intellect and correct ideas, who have the ability to unify these sects under one banner, tell them about the reasons which have led the Imamate to backwardness and disunity, inform them about the advantages of unity, warn them against the evil of disunity, and make them feel the disasters, the destruction, and the discord from which Islam has suffered because of that dispute and argument. As the Imamate is the crossways, so this disunity should gather at it.
If people knew today the reality of the Imamate and who the Imam is, they, even if some of them, would move quickly to form a unity to include all the sects at this critical hour when anarchy and discord prevailes.
I (the author) will try to point to some qualities the Imam should have, even if my word is in vain, to attract the attention of the heedless person and move the mindful one. This does not irritate me as long as the intention is right and the purpose is valuable, and it is to seek the pleasure of Allah, the Glorified.
I (the author) say: Indeed, the regime which the Last of the prophets has brought brings two manners together; the manner of the person with the Creator and his manner with the created, and whoever brings such a regime should be able to enforce and carry it out to spread his law all over the world. So, when the Prophet enforced and carried out his law, he had two temporal and spiritual powers. When he passed away, the community led eventually to the necessity which summoned him to conclude the Imamate during his lifetime.
The community thought that it was obligatory to carry out the functions of the owner of the mission, and no one would assume them but an Imam who had a general leadership over all the Muslim nation, and he had to have the two powers which the truthful Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had; otherwise the regime which ensured the two happy places (in this world and the hereafter) would be without execution. In the meantime all those efforts from which the Owner of the mission suffered would be useless.
As the Imamate is incumbent on the Muslim community on the account of necessity, then who is the worthiest of this great function? I wonder: Is the worthiest one who was like the Owner of the mission in knowledge and act, guided in himself and guides others, provided evidence for his ideas and no weakness comes upon his evidence? If people asked him for a miracle, acts in words and he would bring it easily and without hesitation, convinced easily the stubborn, knew all that which the Owner of the mission brought and acted upon it, knew the revelation and interpretation of the Koran, full of good qualities, rather the best of all men in every quality, had no bad quality, generally speaking the model of the Prophet in all his outstanding merits?
Or is the worthiest of it he who does not know the above- mentioned qualities and they do not know him or has some of them and empty of the others? Without doubt, you will say: the first person is worthier of the Imamate than the second person is.
But I (the author) think that you will say. Indeed, all the importance is to prove two matters in this respect: the first matter it is obligatory to appoint an Imam according to the above- mentioned qualities. The second matter is that he is in the Muslim community and he has all these qualities. If it is proved that the Imam should have these qualities and he is in the Muslim community, then to refuse his Imamate and orders is stubbornness which the possessor of religion and intellect does not accept.
I will prove these two matters for you hoping that you will hear and understand.
As for the first evidence, it maybe summarized as follows: Surely, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was aware of what he declared. He was not ignorant of what he was asked. His law is one. There is no disunity in it. It is immortal till the Day of Judgment. The law of Mohammed is lawful till the Day of Resurrection and what he declared unlawful is unlawful till the Day of Resurrection.
If he had given a free hand to the Muslim community to choose the Imam to carry out his obligations, we would have found the Muslim community ignorant about the commandments of the law, and not distinguish between the lawful and the unlawful, because the Muslim community had no sound judgment about the science of law to refer to it, nor did it have a just ruler who had the ability to enforce the punishments to obey him. For this reason, the Muslims divided into schools and sects. Each sect provided evidence for their ideas and beliefs.
Then the people chose one among themselves as a caliph and Imam for themselves. They chose the caliphs who did not know all what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, brought, and had no knowledge of what they were asked about. As those caliphs became, after they had been elected, the just ruler, and as people did not find their purpose concerning the government and the commandments, every sect began showing its beliefs and ideas. But no sect had assorted arguments and clear evidence to refute the suspicions of those schools and the doubts of those ideas. The sects opposed each other. Each sect attributed their beliefs to the Islamic Law and religion though the lawful and the unlawful are unchangeable till the last hour of this existence and the Islamic law is one and immortal throughout history. Nevertheless, after the Prophet of Islam, legislators, laws, beliefs, and schools have entered Islam.
This change and deviation was created by men because they had elected those who had little knowledge of the Islamic Law to be the scholar and ruler. At the same time they refuted sometimes the proofs of men with evidence and sometimes with the sword to force people to obey him and his beliefs. So it is incumbent upon the Muslim community to choose the Imam who is knowledgeable of what has come in the Prophetic Law, follows the acts of the Prophet, has knowledge of what he is asked, and has the evidence to remove doubts, falsehood, ignorance and misguidance so that the Islamic Law will last forever according to the orders of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the lawful and the unlawful of the Prophet are unchangeable throughout life. otherwise, there will be no laws, no legislators, no schools, and no beliefs.
But how can the Muslim community choose such a ruler? From where can it know him?
If they knew him, how would they agree on him because people have different trends and purposes?
So, it is incumbent on Allah, the Exalted, to appoint an Imam for the Muslim community and nominate that just successor and model scholar through the Prophet because Allah, the Glorified, knows the advantage of his servants and knows the person who is worthy of this sensitive function and great position.
Therefore, if the nomination of the Imam is incumbent on Allah, the Exalted, then it is impossible, according to the wise men, for Him, the Glorified, to neglect the incumbent that sets right his servants and guides his creation. It is also impossible for the Prophet to neglect Allah's nomination concerning this Imam. Then if it was possible for the Prophet to neglect such as an incumbent, it was possible for him to neglect other than that incumbent.
Consequently, as the Prophet is an incumbent, the Imam is an incumbent, too. As Allah sends a prophet, He appoints an Imam. So, there is no Prophet without an Imam and no law without explanation and execution.
As for the evidence for the second; which is the existence of this Imam, it is easy to prove it after what we have mentioned above, because if we believe that the appointment of the Imam according to the outstanding merits is obligatory, and that Allah, the Exalted, appoints him for His creation, we will believe that Allah does not make the name and ancestry of the Imam unknown, and that it is difficult for the Muslim nation to know him. We know that there is no Imam in the Muslim community for whom that incumbent is attributed and who claimed such an incumbent is attributed but 'Ali and his sons, peace be on them. If they themselves were not the Imams, the Imamate and that incumbent would be nonsense.
Therefore, we have to know that they were scholars who had no ignorance, the just persons who did not wrong people. As for justice, no one of them had the opportunity to apply it but the Commander of the Faithful, (Amir al- Mu'minin), and his matter is in no need of explanation. And as for their knowledge, their sayings and traditions denote it. So, study their knowledge and you will find that what has been reported about them is true. And this book, which is between your hands, is an extract of that abundant knowledge.