The Historic Background of Shiism


The Historic Background of Shiism

This is a refutation to an article contained in the Ahlul- bait homepage – aimed at degrading the ‘true’ followers of the Ahl’ul bayt (as).

Click here to download the original article

Defining the word Shi’a

The writer of states:

“Shie’ah”, “Shi’ah”: a singular Arabic noun means group, party, sect, supporter”.

After citing the verses where Shi’a is mentioned the unnamed author writes: states:

“During the conflict between Hazrat Ali bin Abu T�leb (Karramallah wajhah) and Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan (Radhi Allahu Anh), both groups were referred to as Shi’atu Ali and Shi’atu Muawiyah. Hence, its early usage in the conflict between the two great companions Ali & Muawiyah [ra-both] was to denote who “sided” with who in its political context”.

It should be stressed that this was far more than just a political difference over the breakfast table. This WAS a difference that led to civil war.

Rather than watering the matter down to who “sided” with who, perhaps the writer should explain which ‘side’ was right and which ‘side’ was wrong. Were the Sahaba who ‘sided’ with Mu’awiya against Ali correct to do so?

It is indeed wrong to just water it down to a difference of opinion – this political context clearly had religious ramifications, because Allah (swt) says clearly in the Sura Al Nisa

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ

“Obey Allah, his Prophet and those in authority among you.”

We also read the following words of Prophet (s) in Al Mu’jam al-Kabir Vol 19, pg. 147 Hadith # 322 and Kanzul 'Ummal, Vol. 11 pg. 621 Hadith # 33016:

33016 - تكون بين الناس فرقة واختلاف فيكون هذا وأصحابه على الحق - يعني عليا.

33016 - “People shall experience fitna and they will split into groups, so this one and his companions will be on the truth.” - meaning Ali.

This is an absolutely clear hadith pointing to where the truth lay, again there is no room for the excuse that those who fought ‘Ali would also receive a reward as they thought they were on the right path!

The problem here is the writer is REFUSING to distinguish truth from falsehood, he is happy to portray an image that everything was rosy in the garden and there was a political dispute, but fails to pass comment on which party was right and which party was in the wrong.

The dispute between Mu’awiya and Imam ‘Ali (as) states:

“Was the dispute between Ali and Mu’awiyah religious in nature?

Absolutely not. The conflict started after the murder of the 3rd Khalif, Hazrat Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Radhi Allahu Anh), and the existence of the murderers in the camp of Sayyidina Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh). However, to answer this question, we’ll explore Nahjul Balaghah to see what Sayyidina Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) himself had to say about it, contrary to what the Shi’ah wish to present:

“The thing began in this way: We and the Syrians were facing each other while we had common faith in one Allah, in the same Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and on the same principles and canons of religion. So far as faith in Allah and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) was concerned we never wanted them (the Syrians) to believe in anything over and above or other than what they were believing in and they did not want us to change our faith. Both of us were united on these principles. The point of contention between us was the question of the murder of Uthman. It had created the split. They wanted to lay the murder at my door while I am actually innocent of it.”

Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 58, p. 474

If anything Imam Ali (as) is expressing, is his concern at the mentality of the people of the time, both believed in the principles of Deen and yet they sought fit to rebel against the Ul’il Umr whilst such an act contradicts the Qur’an. Whilst the spilt was over Uthman’s killers, there is no edict in Islam for an individual to rebel against the rightful Khalifa in order to get his own way.

Just a political dispute?

For the writer to assert that the matter was ‘political’ and not ‘religious’ in nature demonstrates his complete ignorance of even basic understanding of what Deen is. Islam is a complete ideology, political, judicial, economic etc, you CANNOT separate politics from Islam; it IS a part of Deen.

Had the writer actually sought to use logic rather than blindness, he would have been manifestly obvious that to deem the difference as political NOT religious carries serious ramifications for both sides. If it was not religious and political then he is in fact suggesting that both sides instigated fitnah based on personal enmity, leading to a 110-day battle in which thousands of people needlessly lost their lives. If these acts were based on political differences and NOT based on upholding religious rites then the end for both parties is the fire (astaghfirullah).

This is absolutely clear from the verses of Qur’an and hadith. We read in Sura Al Nisa, verse 93:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًۭا مُّتَعَمِّدًۭا فَجَزَآؤُهُۥ جَهَنَّمُ خَـٰلِدًۭا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُۥ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُۥ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًۭا

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense shall be hell, he shall abide therein and God’s wrath shall be on him and his curse, and is prepared for him a great torment.”

Further, we read the following words from Abdullah Ibn Umar as recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari 7077, who narrates that he heard Rasulullah (s) say:

"لاَ تَرْجِعُوا بَعْدِي كُفَّارًا، يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ."

“Do not revert to disbelief after me by striking (cutting) the necks of one another.”

Bukhari records in Sahih al-Bukhari 7078 that Abu Bakra narrated that the Holy Prophet said:

"فَإِنَّ دِمَاءَكُمْ، وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ، وَأَعْرَاضَكُمْ، وَأَبْشَارَكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ حَرَامٌ،"

.Your blood, property, honor and skin (i.e. body) are sacred to one another

Bukhari also narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari 6044 on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud that

"‏سِبَابُ الْمُسْلِمِ فُسُوقٌ، وَقِتَالُهُ كُفْرٌ."

The Prophet said, “Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief).” 

So these ahadith and verse make it clear:

  • To kill a Muslim is an act of kufr

  • The intentional killing of a momin places the perpetrator in hell

Now with these facts in mind we should ask ‘how many momins were intentionally killed at Sifeen?’

The ONLY way that these actions can be defended is if there is a clear provision in Islam that entitles an individual to fight and kill his Muslim brother. If no such provision exists and we accept Maulana’s preposterous notion that the differences were NOT religious then in light of the Qur’an and hadith ALL the participants committed kufr, they are murderers and are therefore in hell. (astaghfirullah)

It was incumbent to obey Imam ‘Ali (as)

To prove the religious dimension, we have the hadith of Rasulullah (s). We read in Al Hakim's Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain, Vol. 3, pg. 131, Hadith # 4617:

4617 - عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «‌من ‌أطاعني فقد أطاع الله، ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله، ومن أطاع عليا فقد أطاعني، ومن عصى عليا فقد عصاني» هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد، ولم يخرجاه."

‌‌(التعليق - من تلخيص الذهبي) 4617 - صحيح

Abu Dharr (RA) said: I heard Rasulallah (SAW) say “Whoever obeys Ali, obeys me, whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, whoever disobeys Ali disobeys me, whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah.”

Both Al Hakim and Al Dhahabi commented that this hadith is sahih. This hadith is absolutely explicit, obedience to Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) is unconditional, it is on par with obedience to Rasulullah (s) and Allah (swt). Hence any disobedience to him, IS RELIGIOUS because it is deemed disobedience to Allah (swt).

We also read in Al Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain Vol 3, pg. 134, Hadith # 4628 that Umm Salama (AS) narrated that Rasulullah (SAW) said:

"عَلِيٌّ مَعَ الْقُرْآنِ وَالْقُرْآنُ مَعَ عَلِيٍّ لَنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ"

 هَذَا حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحُ الْإِسْنَادِ وَأَبُو سَعِيدٍ التَّيْمِيُّ هُوَ عُقَيْصَاءُ ثِقَةٌ مَأْمُونٌ، وَلَمْ يُخَرِّجَاهُ "

‌‌[التعليق - من تلخيص الذهبي] 4628 - صحيح

“‘Ali is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with ‘Ali, the two shall not separate until they meet me at the Fountain (of Kawthar).” 

Both Al Hakim and Al Dhahabi said that this hadith is Sahih.

Al Hakim also recorded the following hadith in Al Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain Vol 3, pg. 129, Hadith # 4611:

 قالت لما سار علي إلى البصرة دخل على أم سلمة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يودعها فقالت سر في حفظ الله وفي كنفه فوالله إنك لعلى الحق والحق معك ولولا أني أكره أن أعصى الله ورسوله فإنه أمرنا صلى الله عليه وسلم أن نقر في بيوتنا لسرت معك ولكن والله لأرسلن معك من هو أفضل عندي وأعز علي من نفسي ابني عمر

When Ali was leaving for Basra, he came before Umm Salama. She said: ‘May you go under the protection of Allah. By Allah, you are with Truth (Haq) and truth is with you. If I did not dislike the disobedience of Allah and His Apostle, as they have directed us to stay in the house, I would have come along with you. But by Allah, I will dispatch with you someone who is the most precious to me and is more dearest to me than myself, that is my son Umar’.

Furthermore, this narration is corroborated by Umm Al Muminin Maymuna bt. Al Harith. We read in Majma al-Zawa'id, Vol. 9 pg. 129 - 130 Hadith # 14769:

14769 - وَعَنْ جُرَيِّ بْنِ سَمُرَةَ قَالَ: لَمَّا كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبَصْرَةِ الَّذِي كَانَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ انْطَلَقْتُ حَتَّى أَتَيْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ، فَأَتَيْتُ مَيْمُونَةَ بِنْتَ الْحَارِثِ - وَهِيَ مِنْ بَنِي هِلَالٍ - فَسَلَّمْتُ عَلَيْهَا، فَقَالَتْ: مِمَّنِ الرَّجُلُ؟ قُلْتُ: مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعِرَاقِ قَالَتْ: مِنْ أَيِّ الْعِرَاقِ؟ قُلْتُ: مِن أهل الكوفة قالت: من أي أهل الكوفة؟ قلت: من بني عامر قالت: مرحبا قربا على قرب، ورحبا على رحب، فمجيء ما جاء بك؟ قلت: كان بين علي وطلحة [والزبير] الذي كان، فأقبلت فبايعت عليا. قالت: فالحق به فوالله ما ضل ولا ضل به. حتى قالتها ثلاثا

رواه الطبراني، ورجاله رجال الصحيح غير جري بن سمرة، وهو ثقة

Jari bin Samra said: ‘When the conflict between the people of Basra and Ali bin Abi Talib took place, I traveled to Medina and met Maymuna bt. al-Harith – of the Bani Helal tribe. I greeted her, and she asked: ‘Where do you come from’? I replied: ‘From Iraq’. She asked: ‘From which part of Iraq?’ I replied: ‘From Kufa’. She asked: ‘From which tribe of Kufa?’ I replied: ‘From Bani Amer’. She replied: ‘You are most welcome, why have you come here?’ I replied: ‘There was a dispute between Ali and Talha and Zubayr, I therefore came to give bayah to Ali’. She replied: ‘By Allah, the truth is with him, he was never in error nor would ever lead to error’. She repeated that three times.

Haythami said: "Tabarani narrated it and its narrators are the narrators of the sahihs except Hurri Ibn Samura who is thiqah."

Lastly, Abu Sa’id Al Khudri also corroborated this report, as we read in Musnad Abi Ya’la Vol 3, pg. 318 - 319:

1052 - حدثنا : محمد بن عباد المكي ، حدثنا : أبو سعيد ، عن صدقة بن الربيع ، عن عمارة بن غزية ، عن عبد الرحمن بن أبي سعيد ، عن أبيه ، قال : كنا عند بيت النبي (ص) في نفر من المهاجرين والأنصار فخرج علينا ، فقال : ألا أخبركم بخياركم ، قالوا : بلى ، قال : خياركم الموفون المطيبون ، إن الله يحب الحفي التقي ، قال : ومر علي بن أبي طالب ، فقال : الحق مع ذا ، الحق مع ذا.


Abu Sa’id al Khudri narrated: We were at the house of the Prophet (SAW)... Then Ali b. Abi Talib passed by so he (the Prophet) said: the truth is with him, the truth is with him. 


Al Haythami confirmed that this hadith is Sahih in Majma Al Zawaed Vol 7, pg. 337.


Lastly, Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas also confirmed this hadith as recorded by Ibn Asakir with a Sahih chain in Tarikh Dimashq Vol 20, pg. 360 - 361.


These two ahadith (Ali is with the Quran and the Haqq is with Ali) make it clear that every decision that Imam Ali (as) takes is Haqq and is supported by the Holy Qur’an and hence will ALWAYS be a religious decision. In other words if he declares war on Mu’awiya, it is the truth supported by the Qur’an, not influenced by political decision making.

If these hadith are not sufficient then we also have this clear hadith of Rasulullah (SAW). Ibn Abi Shayba records in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba Vol 17, pg. 105:

32082 - حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي غَنِيَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ رَجَاءٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ: كُنَّا جُلُوسًا فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَخَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَيْنَا وَلَكَأَنَّ عَلَى رُءُوسِنَا الطَّيْرَ، لَا يَتَكَلَّمُ أَحَدٌ مِنَّا، فَقَالَ: «إِنَّ مِنْكُمْ رَجُلًا يُقَاتِلُ النَّاسَ عَلَى تَأْوِيلِ الْقُرْآنِ كَمَا قُوتِلْتُمْ عَلَى تَنْزِيلِهِ»، فَقَامَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَقَالَ: أَنَا هُوَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟، قَالَ: «لَا»، فَقَامَ عُمَرُ فَقَالَ: أَنَا هُوَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟، قَالَ: «لَا، وَلَكِنَّهُ ‌خَاصِفُ ‌النَّعْلِ فِي الْحُجْرَةِ»، قَالَ: فَخَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا عَلِيٌّ وَمَعَهُ نَعْلُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُصْلِحُ مِنْهَا


32082 - Narrated to us ibn Abi Ghania from his father from Isma'il ibn Rajaa from his father from Abi Sa'id Al-Khudri who said: We were sitting in the Masjid and then Allah's messenger (saw) entered and sat with us. We were just staring, no one of us was speaking, and then he (saw) said: "Verily among you there will be a man who will fight the people for the Ta'weel of the Quran just as I have fought for its Tanzeel." Then Abu Bakr stood up and said: "Am I the one O Allah's messenger (saw)?" He said: "No." Then Umar stood up and said: "Am I the one O Allah's messenger (saw)?" He said: "No, but rather it is the shoe repairer inside the house." Then Ali (a.s) came out towards us and he was holding the shoe of Allah's messenger (saw) that he had repaired.


Footnote: Its chain is Sahih (Authentic), Rajaa is ibn Abi Rabia Al-Zubaydi, scholars have authenticated him and they have not talked against him. 

The narration has been narrated also by Ahmad, Al-Nasa'i, and Abu Ya'la, and ibn Hibban, and Al-Hakim and he has authenticated it based on the criteria of the 

This hadith is found in the following sources:

  1. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. Vol. 17, pg. 390, Hadith # 11289

  2. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol 18, pg. 295 - 296  Hadith # 11773

  3. Musnad Abu Ya'la. Vol 2, pg. 341 - 342

  4. Al Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain, Vol. 3, pg. 132

  5. Silsilat Al-Ahadith Al-Sahiha Vol. 5, pg. 639

  6. Sahih ibn Hibban. Vol 15, pg. 385

  7. Kanz ul Ummal, Vol. 11, pg. 613, hadith number 32967

  8. Suyuti’s Tarikh Al Khulafa, pg. 139 (English)

This hadith is absolutely explicit every Jihad of Hardhat ‘Ali (as)’s is in defence of the Qur’an, to protect it from misinterpretation.

Mu’awiya’s opposition to the Imam made him a baghi

Mu’awiya’s opposition was clearly religious because it was a direct challenge to the Head of the State. This can be proven from the hadith of Rasulullah (s). We read in Kanz al Ummal, Vol 11, pg. 613, hadith # 32970 by Ali Muttaqi al Hindi quoting Ibn Asakir:

يا علي! ستقاتلك الفئة الباغية وأنت على الحق، فمن لم ينصرك يومئذ فليس مني

“O Ali! Soon a rebellious group will fight against you, you will be on the truth. Whoever does not support you on that day will not be from us” 

The very fact that Mu’awiya rebelled against the Ul Il Amr Ali (as) (you deem to be the 4th Rightly Guided Khalifa) clearly proves that it therefore was a religious dimension, hence Rasulullah (s)’s referral to this group as “Baghi”.

Mu’awiya’s open rebellion to the Khalifa in violation to the Qur’an clearly proves this was a religious matter, and Imam Ali (as) was entitled as Ul il Umar to quash his insurgency. Imam Ali (as)’s actions were religious and in accordance with the dictates of Allah. We read in Surah Al Hujuurat (Yusuf Ali’s translation):

وَإِن طَآئِفَتَانِ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ٱقْتَتَلُوا۟ فَأَصْلِحُوا۟ بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِنۢ بَغَتْ إِحْدَىٰهُمَا عَلَى ٱلْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلَّتِى تَبْغِى حَتَّىٰ تَفِىٓءَ إِلَىٰٓ أَمْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن فَآءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا۟ بَيْنَهُمَا بِٱلْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوٓا۟ ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ

“If two parties among the believers fall into a fight, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; But if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: For Allah loves those who are fair (and just).”

This verse is absolutely clear that it is a religious duty to fight baghis (rebels), of which Mu’awiya was the Head. So Imam Ali (as)’s decision to fight Mu’awiya was RELIGIOUS and was supported by the Qur’an. states:

“Therefore, if Hazrat Ali bin Abu T�leb (Radhi Allahu Anh) himself does not see the conflict religious nor his political opponents as Kafirs, then the love which Shi’ah claim to have for him and the claim that they follow him, is an unproven Chapter from their own sources. For if they do indeed love Hazrat Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) they will hold his views in this matter too, but they are people of no understanding”.

Fighting Imam ‘Ali (as) is on par with fighting Rasulullah (s)

The unnamed writer is absolutely right. Imam Ali (as) did not call them kaffirs, but fighting Imam Ali (as) is on par with fighting Rasulullah (s). This is proven by the testimony of Rasulullah (s):

Zaid b. Arqam narrates:

عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لِعَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ وَالْحَسَنِ وَالْحُسَيْنِ ‏ "‏أَنَا حَرْبٌ لِمَنْ حَارَبْتُمْ وَسَلْمٌ لِمَنْ سَالَمْتُمْ.‏"‏

“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said regarding Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn (Allah be pleased with them all): I am at peace with those with whom you make peace and I am at war with those with whom you make war.”

  1. Jami' at - Tirmidhi Book 49, Hadith 270

  2. Sunan Ibn Majah 145

  3. Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol 2, pg. 767, Tradition #1350

  4. Al-Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain Vol 3, pg. 161

  5. Tarikh Baghdad Vol 8, pg. 5

  6. Sahih Al Jami’ Al Saghir wa Al Ziyadah Vol 1 pg. 306 Hadith number 1462

Perhaps we should ask the author:

  1. What is your opinion about this hadith?

  2. What is his position of one who is at war with the Prophet, Muslim or Kaafir?

We read in Kanz ul Ummal, Vol 11, pg. 603, Hadith # 32910 Rasulullah (s) said:

علي بن أبي طالب باب حطة 1، ‌من ‌دخل ‌منه ‌كان ‌مؤمنا، ‌ومن ‌خرج ‌منه ‌كان ‌كافرا

“Ali is the door of forgiveness, whoever enters it is a momin, whoever leaves it is a kaafir.” 

This being the case what opinion should I hold on one who rather than enter the Gate turns his back on it and attacks it?

Abusing Imam ‘Ali (as)’s opponents states:

Furthermore, Sayyidina Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) instructed his men as follows:

“I dislike you starting to abuse them, but if you describe their deeds and recount their situations that would be a better mode of speaking and a more convincing way of arguing. Instead of abusing them you should say, “O’ Allah! save our blood and their blood, produce reconciliation between us and them, and lead them out of their misguidance so that he who is ignorant of the truth may know it, and he who inclines towards rebellion and revolt may turn away from it.”

Nahjul-Balaghah, Sermon 205

Are the Shi’ah in anyway, form or manner following the instructions of the one whom they hold dearest to them, Sayyidina Ali bin Abu T�leb (Radhi Allahu Anh)? Most certainly not. All we hear from them is slandering and cursing to the best men honored and chosen by Allah Ta’ala to be the Companions of His Holy Last Messenger, Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam”.

Imam ‘Ali (as) is telling his followers not to ABUSE his opponents, in that there is no doubt. The Shi’a don’t use swear words, we distance ourselves (Tabarra) from the enemies of the Ahl’ul bayt (as). As for abuse, it is haraam to use swear words. The followers of Imam Ali (as) don’t stoop to that depth because we follow those who never used abuse. Interestingly, abuse is the methodology of their beloved Imam Mu’awiya.

The late Deobandi scholar Sayyid Abu’l Ala Maudoodi records this fact in his “Khilafath aur Muluiqeyath”. On page 79 he writes:

“Ibn Kathir in al Bidayah records that one unlawful and outrageous practice started by Mu’awiya was that he and his governors would curse Hadhrath ‘Ali during the Friday sermon from the Imam’s position. This took such an extreme that this practice even took place in the Mosque of the Prophet, in front of the grave of the Prophet (saws), the cursing of the most beloved relative would take place, in the presence of Hadhrath ‘Ali’s family who would hear this abuse with their own ears (Tabari Volume 4 page 188, Ibn Athir Volume 3″ page 234, al Bidayah Volume 8 page 259 and Volume 9 page 80).

An Invitation to Ahl’ul Sunnah to ponder and think

Now the question we would like to ask the author is:

“Are the Sunnis in any way, form or manner following the instructions of the one whom they hold dearest to them. Are you following the words of Rasulullah (s)?”

You see these are the words of Rasulallah as narrated by Ali:

قَالَ عَلِيٌّ "وَالَّذِي فَلَقَ الْحَبَّةَ وَبَرَأَ النَّسَمَةَ إِنَّهُ لَعَهْدُ النَّبِيِّ الأُمِّيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَىَّ أَنْ لاَ يُحِبَّنِي إِلاَّ مُؤْمِنٌ وَلاَ يُبْغِضَنِي إِلاَّ مُنَافِقٌ‏.‏"

“'Ali observed: By Him Who split up the seed and created something living, the Apostle (may peace and blessings be upon him) gave me a promise that no one but a believer would love me, and none but a hypocrite would nurse grudge against me.”

  1. Sahih Muslim 78

  2. Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3736

  3. Sunan an-Nasa'i 5018 

  4. Musnad Ahmad 1062

The Messenger of Allah said:

"‏من آذى ‏عليا ‏ ‏فقد آذاني."

“Whoever hurts Ali, has hurt me.”

  1. Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba Vol 17, pg. 122 - 123

  2. Ansab Al Ashraf Vol 2, pg. 379

  3. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol 12, pg. 391 - 392

  4. Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, Vol 2, pg. 633, Tradition #1078

  5. Al Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain, Vol 3, pg. 131 - 132

  6. Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, pg. 360

  7. Musnad Al Bazzar, Vol 3, pg. 365 - 365

  8. Musnad Abu Ya’la Vol 2, pg. 109 - 110

  9. Majma’ al-Zawa’ed, by al-Haythami, Vol 9, pg. 121 - 122

  10. Tarikh Al Khulafa pg. 189 (Arabic)

The Prophet (SAW) also said:

"من سب عليا فقد سبني."

“Whoever reviles/curses Ali, has reviled/cursed me.”

  1. Al-Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain Vol 3, pg. 130 - 131, Hadith # 3615 - 3616, of al-Hakim who mentioned both traditions are Sahih, and Dhahabi concurred (with the first hadith, he remained silent on the second, which Al Suyuti confirmed is Sahih in Al-Jam’i al-Saghir, pg. 529 Hadith 8736

  2. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol 18, pg. 314

  3. Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, Vol 2, pg. 594, Tradition #1011

  4. Khasais Ali by Nasai pg. 79

  5. Tabarani’s Jami’ Al Saghir, Vol 2, pg. 83

  6. Musnad Abi Ya’la Vol 12, pg. 444

  7. Majma’ al-Zawa’ed, by al-Haythami, Vol 9, pg. 123 (authenticating the narrations of Ahmad, Tabarani, and Abu Ya’la)

  8. Mishkat al-Masabih, English version, Tradition #6092

  9. Tarikh al-Khulafa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, pg. 189 (Arabic)

Quoting Al Hakim’s report, The Messenger of Allah said:

مَنْ ‌سَبَّ ‌عَلِيًّا ‌فَقَدْ ‌سَبَّنِي، وَمَنْ سَبَّنِي فَقَدْ سَبَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى

“Whoever curses (or verbally abuses) Ali, he has, in fact, cursed me, and whoever has cursed me, he has cursed Allah, and whoever has cursed Allah.

We read in Kanz ul Ummal, Vol 11, pg. 614 hadith numbers 32974 - 32976, narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar {through two chains} and Abu Dharr Ghaffari (ra) that Rasulullah (s) said:

من فارق عليا فارقني، ومن فارقني فقد فارق الله

“Whoever leaves Ali, leaves me, whoever leaves me, leaves Allah.”

As we have already cited earlier from Al Hakim's Mustadrak Ala Al Sahihain, Vol. 3, pg. 131, Hadith # 4617 Rasulullah (s) also said:

"من ‌أطاعني فقد أطاع الله، ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله، ومن أطاع عليا فقد أطاعني، ومن عصى عليا فقد عصاني» هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد، ولم يخرجاه."

"Whoever obeys 'Ali, obeys me, whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, whoever disobeys 'Ali, disobeys me, whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah." 

So these hadith tell us:

  1. The sign of a Munafiq is hatred of Ali (as)

  2. Whoever leaves, disobeys and curses ‘Ali – in fact leaves, disobeys and curses Allah (swt)

Now we would like to ask this writer:

  1. Did Mu’awiya curse ‘Ali?

  2. Is an individual who leaves, disobeys and curses Allah (swt) a Muslim?

This being the case, could the author of this ‘masterpiece’ kindly explain why it is that he (and his Ahl’ul Sunnah brethren) insist on giving Mu’awiya the title (ra)? Is Allah (swt) pleased with someone that curses him?

Hadith praising the Shi’a of ‘Ali (as) states:

3 – Did the word Shi’ah (Sh�’atu-’Ali) exist during the era of Muhammad [saw]? “Anyone who claims that the word Shi’ah or Shi’ites was used by Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram (Sallallahu alayhi wa Salla) or during his era is a liar, and no proof whatsoever exists to support this claim”.

Hadith in which Rasulullah (s) praised Ali and his Shi’a can be found in many classical Ahl’ul Sunnah texts, and have even been recorded by Ulema like Ibn Hajar al Makki in their books written against the Shi’a. For the sake of brevity we will cite just a handful of traditions to prove our point.

It is in praise of the Shi’a of Ali that Allah (swt) sent down the following revelation in Surat Al Bayyina, Verses 7 - 8:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ ٱلْبَرِيَّةِ / جَزَآؤُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّـٰتُ عَدْنٍۢ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدًۭا ۖ رَّضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ رَبَّهُۥ

“Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creatures. Their reward from their Lord shall be everlasting gardens, below which flow rivers, they will abide there forever. Well pleased is God with them and they are well pleased with Him.”

We read in Tafsir Tabari Vol 24, pg. 556:

 حدثنا : ابن حميد ، قال : ثنا : عيسى بن فرقد ، عن أبي الجارود ، عن محمد بن علي : { إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ ( البينة : 7 ) } فقال النبي (ص) : أنت يا علي وشيعتك.

“On the authority of Ibn Humayd, from Isa b. Farqad, from Abil Jarud from Muhammad bin ‘Ali (Al Baqir) narrates ‘... Those people that are the best of creations’, the Prophet (SAW) narrates ‘O ‘Ali this refers to you and your Shi’a.”

Jalaludin Suyuti, (849 – 911 AH) is one of the highest ranked Sunni scholars of all time. In his commentary of this verse, he records through 3 asnad (chains) of narrators, that the Prophet (s) told his companions that the verse referred to Ali and his Shi’a. We read in Al Durr Al Manthur Vol 8, pg. 589:

فقال النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم): (والذي نفسي بيده ان هذا وشيعته لهم الفائزون يوم القيامة ونزلت (( إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِكَ هُم خَيرُ البَرِيَّةِ 

“I swear by the one who controls my life that this man (Ali) and his Shi’a shall secure deliverance on the day of resurrection.”

He also recorded that Abdullah b. Abbas narrated:

 عن ابن عباس قال: لما نزلت (( إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِكَ هُم خَيرُ البَرِيَّةِ )) قال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) لعليّ: (هو أنت وشيعتك يوم القيامة راضين مرضيين).

“That when this verse descended the Prophet (s) said, ‘Ali you and your Shi’a will be joyful on the Day of Judgement.” 

The 3 Sahaba who narrated this hadith are (1) Ali (as) himself (2) Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari (ra) (3) Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra). The majority school acknowledges them as truthful narrators of hadith. Had this been in a Shi’a book, you would have deemed it a forgery, but its presence in Sunni books has really confused your Ulema.

There are no hadith in which the Prophet (s) guaranteed paradise for a specific Sahaba and his followers, with the sole exception of Ali (as) and his Shi’a.

Other Sunni scholars have also recorded this hadith from Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari in their commentaries of the above verse.

Ahmad ibn Hajr al Makki quotes from Imam Daraqutni in his Al Sawaiq al Muhriqa Vol 2 pg. 468:

وَأخرج الدَّارَقُطْنِيّ "يَا أَبَا الْحسن أما أَنْت ‌وشيعتك فِي الْجنَّة…"

“O Abul Hasan, you and your Shi’a will attain paradise…”

Ibn Hajar al Makki in his anti Shia book, Sawaiq al Muhriqa Vol 2, 466, records this tradition from Imam Tabarani:

وَفِي حَدِيث ضَعِيف عَن عَليّ شَكَوْت إِلَى رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم حسد النَّاس فَقَالَ لي (أما ترْضى أَن تكون رَابِع أَرْبَعَة أول من يدْخل الْجنَّة أَنا وَأَنت وَالْحسن وَالْحُسَيْن وَأَزْوَاجنَا عَن أَيْمَاننَا وَشَمَائِلنَا وَذُرِّيَّتنَا خلف ‌أَزوَاجنَا)

“O Ali, four people will enter heaven first of all. Me, You, Hasan, and Hussain, your descendants will follow us and our wives will follow our descendants and our Shi’a will be to the left and right of us.”

The classical Shafii scholar al Maghazli records in Manaqib Ali al Murtaza, pg. 357 by al Maghazli al Shafii a tradition from Anas bin Malik that he heard the Prophet (s) say:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "يدخل من أمتي الجنة سبعون ألفاً لا حساب عليهم،" ثم التفت إلي علي عليه السلام فقال: "هم من ‌شيعتك وأنت إمامهم."

“Seventy thousand people will go to heaven without questions, the Prophet then turned to Ali and said ‘they will be from among your Shi’a and you will be their Imam.”

We could cite more traditions if the author so wishes, let us remind ourselves about the writers confident proclamation:

Anyone who claims that the word Shi’ah or Shi’ites was used by Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram (Sallallahu alayhi wa Salla) or during his era is a liar”.

Are the traditions of Ibn Hajar, Maghazli, Suyuti sufficient as proof or would you like us to present some more?

The origin of Hadith Compilation states:

“It is no wonder that Ibn Abil-Hadeed, an extremist Shi’i clergyman, admitingly writes in his Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah:

“The origin of lies in Ahadith of virtues, started with the Shi’ah who fabricated various Ahadith in the virtues of their Aimmah. It was the enmity they held against their adversaries that drove them to fabricate them” [Sharh Nahujul-Balaghah, vol.1, p.783 (Quoting from ash-Shi'a wat-Tashayyu', p.19)]“

This proves that this alleged scholar does NOT even know basic facts. Ibn Abil Hadeed was NOT a Shi’a he was a Mutazzali scholar, throughout the book he cites the works of grand Mutazzali teachers like ‘Abu Bakr Jahuri! It is indeed sad that when a Sunni praises Imam Ali (as) he is automatically labelled a Shi’a, if we follow this flawed premise then I guess the only Sunnis in the world would be Nasibis. Moreover the fact that he was not Shi’a is so obvious from the very quotation you cited, tell us if he was an extreme Shi’a why would he shoot himself in the foot by stating as follows:

“The origin of lies in Ahadith of virtues, started with the Shi’ah who fabricated various Ahadith in the virtues of their Aimmah.”

Would a Shi’a write this about himself? What utter nonsense. Now to counter Ibn al Hadid allow us to present the true facts re: the origin of hadith fabrication to you, from one of your own Sunni Ulema Shams al Hind Allamah Shibli Numani:

“Traditions were first formed in book form in the days of Ummayads, who, for about 90 years, throughout their vast dominions stretching from the Indus in India to Asia Minor and Spain, insulted the descendents of Fatima and got Ali openly censured in Friday sermons at the mosques. They had hundreds of sayings coined to eulogize Amir Muawiya 

taken from Siratun Nabi, By Allamah Shibli Numani English translation, Volume 1 page 60).

Now, lets see who started this tradition of writing:

“Amir Muawiya was the first to encourage writings” (taken from Siratun Nabi, By Allamah Shibli Numani English translation, Vol 1 page 18).

Now let me present to you the type of writings that he encouraged. Al-Tabari reported in History of Tabari, English version, events of year 51 AH, Execution of Hujr Ibn Adi, Vol. 18, pg. 122 - 123 (Arabic):

When Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan put al-Mughairah Ibn Shubah in charge of Kufah in Jumada 41 (September 2- October 30, 661), he summoned him. After praising and glorifying God, he said:”Now then, indeed a forbearing person has been admonished in the past… The wise might do what you want without instruction. Although I have wanted to advise you about many things, I left them alone, trusting in your discernment of what pleases me, what helps my regime and what sets my subjects [raiyyah] on the right path. I would continue to advise you about a quality of yours- do not refrain from ABUSING Ali and criticizing him, not from asking God’s mercy upon Uthman and His forgiveness for him. Continue to shame the companions of Ali, keep at a distance, and don’t listen to them. Praise the faction of Uthman, bring them near, and listen to them.”

The modern day Hanafi scholar Mufti Ghulam Rasul also makes this admission is his autobiography on the life of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as):

“During the Banu Umayya reign there was a complete prohibition on hadith and fatwas narrated by Ali (as)”. [Taken from Subhai Sadiq by Mufti Ghulam Rasul, page 355).

So what what do we learn from these narrations:

  1. Mu'awiya encouraged people to curse Ali (as)

  2. The tradition of cursing 'Ali was practiced throughout the Banu Ummaya Empire.

  3. At the same time hadith were first collected

  4. Hadith narrated by 'Ali were prohibited

This is the 'love' that the khalifas of the Jamaah had for Ahl'ul bayt (as).

The development of Shi'a Islam states:

"So when did Shi'ism evolve as a political party?

"Actually, neither the Shi'ah historians nor the Shi'ah clergymen have a consensus on the evolution of Shi'ism".

Now if the Shi'a emerged as a purely political party, why is it that Rasulullah (s) said that Ali and his Shi'a will attain Paradise (see Reply 6)?

The author cites the leading Nasibi Ehsan Ellahi for his references. Let us analyse these 'alleged' inconsistencies:

First alleged contradiction states:

In his Firaq al-Shi'ah (The Shi'ah Groups), Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Musa al-Nubakhti, one of the foremost known Shi'i historians, believes that Shi'ism did not start until the demise of the Holy Rasul, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam:

"The Messenger [sawa] died in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the year 10 of Hijra at age 63 and the duration of his prophethood was for 23 years, and his mother is Aaminah bint Wahab bin Abdi Manaaf bin Zuhra bin Kilaab bin Murra bin Ka’b bin Lu’ay bin Ghaalib. (At his death) The Ummah was divided into three groups. One group was called the Shi’ites, who were the Shi’ites of Ali bin Abi Taleb [as] and from them all Shi’i sects broke away. Another (group) claimed the right of succession, i.e., al-Ansaar, who called for the inauguration of Sa’d bin Ubadah al-Khazraji. A (Third) group tilted toward giving the Bay’ah (allegiance) to Abu Bakr bin Abi Qahaafah, with an excuse that the Messenger [sawa] did not name a particular successor rather left it for the Ummah to chose whom it wills….” [Firaq ash-Shi'ah: pp. 23-24]

So al-Nubakhti is stating:

  • Shia’ism was formed upon the death of Rasulullah (s)

  • Shi’as were those individuals who attached themselves to Hadhrath ‘Ali (as)

Remember Rasulullah (s) had already said that ‘Ali and his Shi’a would attain Paradise. Clearly during the life of Rasulullah (s) there was no reason for a separate group to call itself the Shi’a of ‘Ali. The Shi’as were those who right from the beginning viewed Imam Ali (as) the rightful successor of Rasulullah (s) and attached themselves to him. Hence that group that deemed Imam Ali (as) to be rightful successor of Rasulullah (s) and affiliated themselves with his cause were indeed his supporters – his Shi’a.

Second alleged contradiction states:

“Muhammad Hussain al-Muzaffari believes it was started by the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) himself, he thus wrote in his Tareekh al-Shi’ah (History of the Shi’ah):”The call for Shi’asm started with the day when Grand Savior Muhammad [sawa] shouted the word La Ilaha illallah in Makka’s sections and mountains….and hence, the call to become a Shi’ite for Abu al-Hasan [as] (Ali) by the Prophet [sawa] went side by side with the call for the two testimonies” [Tareekh ash-Shi'ah, pp. 8-9, printed in Qum, Iran.]

so al-Muzzafari is stating:

The ‘call’ for Shi’aism started at the beginning of the Prophetic mission.

The ‘call’ for Shi’aism did indeed begin here. The writer is stating that the root of Shi’a aqeedah, namely that Ali ibne abi Talib (as) is the wasi and khalifa of Rasulullah (s) began right at the beginning of the Prophetic Mission.

The first command ordering the Messenger (s) to first proclaim Islam was to his close relatives. Allah says in Sura Al Shu’ara, verse 214

وَأَنذِرْعَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلْأَقْرَبِينَ

“And warn your tribe of near kindred…” 

In accordance with the verse Rasulullah (s) summoned his close relatives and delivered this speech, the first call to Islam:

“Banu Abd-al Muttalib, I don’t know of any young man among the Arabs who has brought for his people something better than what I have. I bring the best of this world and the world after, since God has commanded me to summon you. Which of you will aid me in this matter, so that he will be my brother, my Wasi (guardian, caretaker) and successor (Khalifa) among you?” They all held back, and although I was the youngest and the most bleary eyed, pot bellied and spindly legged of them I said “I will be your helper Oh Prophet of God”. The Holy Prophet then put his hand on the back of my neck and said “This is my brother, caretaker and successor among you. Listen to him and obey him.”

This occasion is called the event of Dawat Al Ashira and countless Sunni scholars have narrated it, in a similar way. (Minhal is in bukhari, abdullah b harith is from rijal of the 6)

  1. Tarikh Tabari, (English translation) by W.M.Watt, Vol 6 pg. 90 - 91 (Arabic)

  2. Tafsir Tabari Vol 17, pg. 661 - 663 (Tabari censored this version)

  3. Tahdhib al Athar, Vol 4 pg. 60 - 61 (Tabari says its sahih)

  4. Al Kamil Fil Tarikh, by Ali Ibn Al Athir, Vol 1 pg. 660 - 661

  5. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol 1 pg. 545 (graded sahih by Al Haythami in Majma Al Zawaed Vol 8, pg. 381 - 382)

  6. Fadhail Al Sahaba by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal Vol 2, pg. 650 - 651, Hadith # 1108, Vol 2 pg. 700, Hadith # 1196, and Vol 2, pg. 812 - 813, Hadith # 1220

  7. Al Nasai’s Khasais, pg. 64 - 65, Hadith # 62.

  8. Al Nasai’s Sunan Al Kubra Vol 7, pg. 431 - 432, Hadith # 8397

  9. Al Durr Al Manthur, by Jalaladdin Suyuti, Vol 6, pg. 327

  10. Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 5, pg. 649

It was right at the beginning of his mission that Hadhrath Muhammad (sa) set out three guiding principles, that al-Muzzafari had correctly described as “the call for Shi’ism” namely that:

  1. There is only one God

  2. Muhammad (SAW) is God’s Messenger

  3. Ali is the brother, wasi and khalifa of Rasulullah (s)

In other words Shi’aism existed in all but name. The seed of Shi’a aqeedah was ‘planted’ at the Dawat as is stated by al-Muzzafari and blossomed as a clear group with the name Shi’a after the death of Rasulullah (s) as commented on by al-Nubakhti.

So (1) and (2) rather than contradict, in fact compliment one another.

Third alleged contradiction states:

“Abu Ishaq Ibn al-Nadim, a famous Shi’i writer, did not agree to neither of the above theories and wrote in his al-Fihrist that Shi’ism started at the Battle of Jamel”

Now these are the comments of Ehsan Ellahi NOT al-Nadim. Did he state he DID not agree with the above named scholars? He continues:

thus explained: “When Talha and Az-Zubair disagreed with Ali and accepted noless than the revenge for the blood of Othman, and Ali mobilized his forces to fight them, those who followed him were then given the title, Shi’ites.” [al-Fihrist, Ibn al-Nadim: p.249, from Ash-Shi'ati wat-Tashayyu' by Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, p.25

Nadim is stating:

� Those that sided with Ali (as) at Jamal were called Shi'a

Since Elahi is deceased could the scholar who copied this unashamedly show us the words where the author states that this was the FIRST time that the words Shi'a was used? Nadim is stating that during the period leading up to the Battle of Jamal, the word Shi'a of 'Ali became absolutely prevalent, not according to divine sanction but according to the opinions of the people. Hence this was based on political affiliation, those that sided with Ali were his Shi'a - his political allies, it DOES NOT mean that Shi'as never existed before that! It was here that the title became absolutely clear cut, those individuals who fought with khalifa Ali (as) were called his Shi'a. How is this inconsistent with the previous narrations?

Fourth alleged contradiction states:

Another Shi'i Alim, Kamil Mustafa al-Shaybi, wrote in his book:

"The independence of the term indicating Shi'ism came about only after the murder of al-Husain [bin Ali bin Abu T�leb] whereby Shi’ism became an independent entity with a distinctive identity” [The Link Between Sufism & Shi'asm, p.23]

Again this is where the term was a clear religious dimension for those who had an unremitting adherence to the Ahl’ul bayt (as). He is referring to the correct usage of Shi’a. During the khilafath of ‘Ali (as) there existed individuals who sided with Hadhrath ‘Ali (as) but they deemed him the ‘political’ head of State, rather than the ‘religious and political’ head of State. They did NOT view him as their Imam in terms of religious adherence. Despite this they were counted as Shi’a BECAUSE they fought alongside Hadhrath ‘Ali (as) in Sifeen. The clear proof of this comes from the example of the Khawaarij, were initially the Shi’a of ‘Ali in the sense that they fought under his helm, but then they rebelled against him. The true Shi’a, separate from those that simply deemed the Imams as Political Heads of State, were those who had an unfolding adherence to the Imams and deemed them as religious guides. The clearest existence of this group of Shi’as existed with Imam Hussain (as), the Shi’a who laid their lives in the cause of their Imam. It did indeed become an independent identity, in that it did not recognize the Khalifas as the legitimate Heads of State, they deemed Imamate to be the exclusive right of the Imams from the Prophetic Household and attached themselves to the Imams. Hence Shi’as were now a clear independent group distinct from the followers of the khalifas.

Hence NONE of the references cited by Ellahi contradict one another, if anything they show, is the progression of the Shi’a School of thought.

The root of Shi’a thought began at the start of the Prophetic Mission, when Rasulullah (s) declared ‘Ali (as) to be his wasi and khalifa. Shi’as were those individuals who (following Rasulullah [s]‘s death) attached themselves to Hadhrath ‘Ali (as), deeming him to be the legitimate khalifa. Those that sided with Imam ‘Ali (as) during the Battle of Jamal were likewise deemed to be his Shi’a. Following the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) the Shi’a (adherents of the Imams) were a clear distinct group easily identifiable from the majority.

Origins of the two sects

Now that we have clarified the matter on the origins of Shi’a thought, let us see where the Ahl’ul Sunnah pinpoints the original Shi’a to be.

What better interpretation can there be than Al Muhaddith Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dehlavi who in his book written against the Shi’a states:

“The title Shi’a was first given to those Muhajireen and Ansar who gave allegiance (bay’ah) to Ali (may Allah enlighten his face). They were his steadfast faithful followers during his (Ali’s) caliphate. They remained close to him; they always fought his enemies, and kept on following Ali’s commands and prohibitions. The true Shi’a are those who came in 37 Hijri” (NB 37 Hijri -the year Imam Ali (as) fought Mu’awiya at Sifeen). Tuhfa Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, (Gift to the Twelvers) (Farsi edition p 18, publishers Sohail Academy, Lahore, Pakistan).

The Muhajireen and Ansar (Sahaba) were the Shi’a of Ali (as).

As we have already stated, he (the unnamed author) is indeed wrong when he suggests that these were two political groups – The Shi’a of Ali and the Shi’a of Mu’awiya and no religious element came into it. Well that political link was inexorably linked to GUIDANCE because one party considered Mu’awiya their leader and adhered to his teachings, the other party considered Ali (as) to be their Leader / Imam and took their teachings from him.

As Shah Abdul Aziz states the true Shi’a were those who:

  • Regarded Imam Ali (as) as the Rightful Khalifa

  • They stayed close to him, following everything that he said

  • They fought his enemies

Alhamdolillah, the same virtues are inherent in today’s Shi’a. We have always remained loyal to Imam Ali (as), following his teachings and opposing his enemies. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the extravagant claim that the Ahl’ul Sunnah follows the Ahl’ul bayt (as). Had this indeed been the case then could they explain how it is that rather than oppose his opponents, they have taken his enemies close to their hearts, praising and declaring their affiliation with Nasibis like Marwan & Mu’awiya? Is this not a clear contradiction? On the one hand they allege they are following Ahl’ul bayt (as) and yet they still love their enemies who fought and cursed them.

These principles (adherence to the Imam) were clearly demonstrated by the Shi’as of Imam Hussain (as) as vouched for by his killers:

Following the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) Ibn Ziyad said as follows. We read in The History of al-Tabari, English translation by I.K.A. Howard, Vol 19 pg. 167 (Arabic):

“Praise be to God, who revealed the truth and the followers of truth. He has given victory to the Commander of the Faithful Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, and his party. He has killed the liar who is the son of a liar, al Husayn bin Ali and his Shiah.” 

Again in the Court of Yazid, Ibn Ziyad’s messenger proudly declared this to Yazid:

The History of al-Tabari, English translation by I.K.A. Howard, Vol 19 pg. 169 (Arabic):

“O Commander of the Faithful I bring good news of God’s victory and support. Al Husayn bin Ali came against us with 18 men of his House and 60 of his Shiah.”

Now, can the author explain to us, were the Shi’a of Imam Husain (as) who fought and were martyred with him a religious or political group?

Now what one should ask is where were the “Ahl’ul Sunnah at the time?” According to Shah Abdul Aziz:

“It should be known that the first Shias (who are the Sunnis and the Tafdiliyyah) in old days were known as Shias. When the Ghulat and the Rawafid Zaydiyyah and Ismailiyyah took the name for themselves, Sunnis and Tafdiliyyah did not like this name for themselves and so they took the name of Ahlu’s-Sunnah wa l Jamaah. ” [Shah 'Abdul 'l-'Aziz Dehlawi, Tuhfah Ithna Ashari] Nawalkishor Press, Lucknow, n.d; pp. 4, 11, 59]”

Now the absurdity of this argument has even been recognized by the Sunni scholar, Ubaydullah Amritsari, who after quoting the above claim in his book Arjahu ‘l Matalib, says:

“To say that Sunnis in the beginning were known as Shias is merely a Chapter for which no proof can be found. Had the Sunnis been called Shi’a, then at least some of the Sunni elders should have been known by this name before the advent of the Zaydiyyah (in 120 A.H.) Moreover, had the Sunnis been known by this name, the Zaydiyyah and Ismailiyyah would never have tolerated this name for themselves (because of the enmity) and would have selected some other name for themselves.” ‘Ubaydullah Amritsari, Arjahu ‘l-matalib, 2nd ed. Lahore, p. 608 (which is wrongly written as 164.)

Whilst according to Dehlavi this second group named itself Ahl’ul Sunnah at about 150 AH (following Zaid bin Ali (as)’s martyrdom) it is interesting that their ideology existed long before that. What ideology was that? Well let us see the comments of Mulla ‘Ali Qari:

“The belief in the eyes of Ahl’ul Sunnah and Muttazalis is that the duty to appoint an Imam is a duty of the public. In terms of hadith and logic this is a duty of the public. In accordance with this belief, there is a hadith in Sahih Muslim, narrated by Abdullah ibne Umar ‘He who dies without giving bayah to an Imam dies the death of one belonging to the days of jahiliyya’. This is why the Sahaba viewed the appointment of the Imam as so important that they preferred it to attending the Prophet’s funeral, because the Muslims need an Imam so that orders can be made on Jihad, and so that Islamic Laws can be implemented” [Sharra Fiqa Akbar, by Mulla Ali Qari, p 175 (publishers Muhammad Saeed and son, Qur'an Muhalla].

The foundation stone of Sunni aqeedah is set out here. The Imam is appointed by the public, individual character is of no relevance. Once ijma takes place, the khalifa is the legitimate Head of State. Once the people give bayya to the khalifa, ijma is obtained hence the ‘Jamaah’. So when did we have the first declaration of this Jamaah? This concept developed from the Shi’a of Mu’awiya as is proven from your own esteemed Ulema:

Al-Tabari recorded in History of al-Tabari, English version, Vol 10, pg. 97 (Arabic): 

“Sajah remained with Banu Taghlib untill Mu’awiya transferred them in his days on the “year of the union (al-Jama’ah)”. When the people of Iraq agreed [to recognize] Muawiyah [as caliph] after Ali, Muawiyah took to expelling from al-Kufa those who had been vehement in the cause of Ali, and to settle in their homes those people of Syria and al-Basrah and the Jazirah who were most vehement in his own cause; it was they who were called the “transfers” in the garrison towns”

[The translator of the work writes in reference to the year of the union as follows: ] Aam al-Jama’ah the year 40 A.H/A.D 660-661, so called because the Muslim Community came together in recognizing Muawiyah, ending the political division of the first civil war. Pace Caetani, 648; see Abu Zahrah al-Dimashqi, Tarikh, 188 (no. 101) and 190 (no. 105).

Jalaluddin al-Suyuti mentions this very fact, with the utmost clarity in his work, Tarikh ul Khulafa pg. 156 with the following words:

قال الذهبي: توفي كعب قبل أن يستخلف معاوية، قال: وصدق كعب فيما نقله، فإن معاوية بقي خليفة عشرين سنة لا ينازعه أحد الأمر في الأرض، بخلاف غيره ممن بعده، فإنه كان لهم مخالف، وخرج عن أمرهم بعض الممالك، وخرج معاوية على علي كما تقدم، وتسمى بالخلافة ثم خرج على الحسن، فنزل له الحسن عن الخلافة، فاستقر فيها من ربيع الآخر أو جمادى الأولى سنة إحدى وأربعين، فسمى هذا العام عام ‌الجماعة، لاجتماع الأمة فيه على خليفة واحد، وفيه ولى معاوية مروان بن الحكم المدينة

ِAl-Dhahabi says that Ka’ab died before Muawiyah was made caliph, and that Ka’ab was right in what he said, for Mu’awiyah continued for twenty years, and none of the princes of the earth contended with him, unlike others who came after him, for they had opponents and portions of their dominions passed out of their sway. Muawiyah went forth against Ali as has preceded, and assumed the title of Caliph. Then he marched against al-Hasan, who abdicated in his favor. He therefore became firmly established in his Caliphate from Rabi’iul Akhir or Jumadal Awwal 41 AH. The year was therefore called the Year of the Union (al-Jama’ah), on account of the gathering of the people under one Caliph. During this year Muawiyah appointed Marwan Ibn al-Hakam over Medina.

This is the Jamaah that the Ahlul Bait homepage proudly claims to be a part of. The Jamaah that embraced Mu’awiya and every khalifa after him, whatever his character. The Jamaah developed into the religion perpetuated by the State – the Ahl’ul Sunnah wa al Jamaah. This same Jamaah also gave bayya to Yazid, recognising him as the Ul il Umr Head of State. In the eyes of the Jamaah he WAS the legitimate Khalifa, hence it was NOT permissible to oppose him.

Indeed the clearest endorsement of this aqeedah came following the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as). People in Madina rebelled against Yazid, Abdul Malik bin Marwan urged a tough line against them. We read in The History of al-Tabari, English translation by I.K.A. Howard, Vol 19 pg. 207 (Arabic):

“…fight them and ask for God’s help against them. Indeed God will be your helper for they have opposed the Imam and left the unity of the community (jamaah).”

 So, by opposing the Imam Yazid, the people had left the Jamaah, the very Jamaah that the Ahlul bait Website proclaims to adhere to, a Jamaah that endorsed the khilafath of Yazid and stuck by him throughout his atrocities.

The most explicit endorsement of this aqeedah came from the mouth of Abdullah ibne Umar following the mass slaughter of the Sahaba who opposed Yazid and the mass rape of their women during the event of Harra. We read in Sahih al-Bukhari 7111:

Narrated Nafi’: When the people of Medina dethroned Yazid bin Muawiya, Ibn ‘Umar gathered his special friends and children and said, “I heard the Prophet saying, ‘A flag will be fixed for every betrayer on the Day of Resurrection,’ and we have given the oath of allegiance to this person (Yazid) in accordance with the conditions enjoined by Allah and His Apostle and I do not know of anything more faithless than fighting a person who has been given the oath of allegiance in accordance with the conditions enjoined by Allah and His Apostle , and if ever I learn that any person among you has agreed to dethrone Yazid, by giving the oath of allegiance (to somebody else) then there will be separation between him and me.”

So in the eyes of Abdullah ibne Umar the bayya of Yazid that Imam Hussain (as) opposed was “in accordance with the conditions enjoined by Allah and His Apostle” i.e. Completely legitimate, and breaking the Jamaah would lead to individuals being raised as betrayers on the Day of Judgement.

So, Yazid was the khalifa of the Jamaah (that this writer claims he is a part of) and no matter how much the proponents of this Site seek to distance themselves from Yazid, Abdullah ibne Umar deemed his station as Imam to be in accordance with conditions of Allah (swt) and his Rasul (s).

It is hence of little surprise that we read this proud admission by Maulana Akhund Dharweeza in Sharra Qaseeda Amali page 116:

“Curses can only be sent on Kaafirs and Yazeed was NOT a kaafir but was a Sunni Muslim”.

Alhamdolillah the Shi’a are happy keeping away from a Jamaah preferring to be declared ‘rafidis’ (dissenters’) than the followers of a Jamaah that endorses Yazid’s khilafath as valid and deems him as a Sunni Muslim. The Shi’a always remained aloof from these tyrannical rulers. Those that remained with Hadhrath Ali (as) and his descendants seeking guidance in the deen from them continued to declare themselves as the Shi’a of the Ahl’ul bayt (as).

From the time of Mu’awiya’s reign the two ideologies ran hand in hand, the State Religion (Sunni Islam) and the Religion of Ahl’ul bayt (as) – Shi’a Islam. It is clear that the Ahl’ul Sunnah wa al Jammah was and shall remain the religion perpetuated by the State, whilst the Shi’a of ‘Ali have and shall always remain those described by the Sunni Ibn Manzur, as “those people who love what the Prophet’s Progeny loves, and they are loyal to such Progeny” (Lisan al-’Arab, by Ibn Manzur, vol. 8, p189)

The religion of the state versus the religion of ‘Ali

Two clear belief systems ran parallel with one another, both claimed to adhere to the true teaching of Islam. One belief system was that propagated by the State. In this regard we have the words of Mu’awiya the first Ummayad Khalifa. Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Allmallakbul bil Mueen ibn Muhammad Sindhi (d. 1161 Hijri) in his Dhirasathul Labeeb page 97 states that:

“Mu’awiya had a forceful order that no one should approach him adhering to the madhab (religion) of ‘Ali”.

Had the words madhab of Rafidi been used here then there is no doubt that our opponents would have picked up on the fact that the rafidda did not adhere to mainstream Islam. In this reference Mu’awiya is stating his abhorrence to the madhab of ‘Ali. If Mu’awiya’s madhab was the same, why would he say such a thing? Clearly, he was opposed to the religion of ‘Ali and the religion of ‘Ali was undoubtedly the religion if Rasulullah (s) – pure unadulterated Islam. Mu’awiya’s comments are clear proof that his beliefs, propagated by him at the helm of the State, were not the same as the religion of Imam ‘Ali (as).

The clearest proof comes from the classical work of the renowned Hanafi Naqshbandi Scholars, Abdul Rahman Jami (ra):

“One day Hujjaj bin Yusuf said to his followers ‘Bring me a follower of ‘Ali so that I can attain closeness to Allah (swt). His guards replied “At the moment the only person that we know of is Kumber, and they brought him before Hujjaj. Hujjaj asked him, “Are you that Kumber?”, to which he replied “Yes”. Hujjaj then asked him “Are you a Servant of ‘Ali?” He replied “I am a Slave of Allah (swt) and ‘Ali is My Master”. Hujjaj then said “Disassociate yourself from his religion”, to which Kumber replied “Can you show me a religion better than his?”. Hujjaj then said, “I’ll kill you”. Kumber said “You can kill me today or tomorrow, my Master ‘Ali had foretold that I would be murdered by a brutal man”. Hujjaj signalled to his executioner, who then killed Kumber”. [Shawahid un Nubuwwa, by Abdul Rahman Jami page 285 (Urdu translation by Bashir. H. Nazim), publishers Maktaba Nabawiyya, Gunjbaksh Road, Lahore].

This PROVES that the religion of the State was not the same as the religion of Ali (as). Hujjaj was the Governor of the Eastern Province and was ordering Kumber to leave the ‘religion’ of ‘Ali. Nasibis and Khwarijees may be proud by theses references but alhamdolillah the Shi’a have, despite centuries of persecution and false propaganda, maintained their affiliation with the Imams from the Ahl’ul bayt clinging to the “two weighty things” – seeking solace in the guarantee of the Holy Prophet (s):

“Recognition of the family of Muhammad is freedom from the Fire. Love of the family of Muhammad is crossing over the Sirat. Friendship for the family of Muhammad is safety from the fire” (Ash-Shifa, page 142 by Qadi Iyad, (d.544 Hijri) English translation by Aisha Bewley, Madinah Press 1991; Yanabi al-Mawaddah, al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, section 65, p370)

Abdullah ibn Saba

The author then goes to enormous lengths to cite lengthy traditions in which Shi’a scholars have referred to Abdullah ibn Saba and his extreme views. The simple question is, what do any of these references have to do with Shi’a Islam? Can the author cite any traditions that the Shi’a have taken from him? Abdullah ibn Saba did NOT tell us to follow the Ahl’ul bayt (as) Rasulullah (s) did. Rasulullah (s) guaranteed that the followers of Ahl’ul bayt would NEVER go astray. As long as the Shi’a attached themselves to Ahl’ul bayt they would never fall into error. Hence the presence of Ibn Saba has no bearing on Shi’aism. Alhamdolilliah we can trace all of our teaching back to the Imams.

the Ithna Ashari Imams states:

“Who are the 12 Sayyid Imams of Ahlus-Sunnah that Rawafid Shi’ah claim to follow?

Abul-Hasan Ali bin Abi Taleb al-Murtada

Abu Muhammad al-Hassan bin Ali Az-Zaki

Abu Abdallah al-Hussain bin Ali Sayyid al-Shuhada

Abu Muhammad Ali bin al-Hussain Zainul-’Abideen

Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir

Abu Abdallah Ja’far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq

Abu Ibrahim Musa bin Ja’far al-Kazim

Abu al-Hasan Ali bin Musa al-Rida

Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali al-Jawaad

Abul-Hasan Ali bin Muhammad al-Hadi

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali al-Askari

Abul-Qasim Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Mahdi”

Not only do we the “Rawafid” claim to follow them, we practically do. The onus is in the author to prove the contrary. We can prove from our books of aqaid, hadith, tafsir, that all of our aqeedah is based upon the sayings of our Imams that go back to Rasulullah (s). Hence we would ask him to demonstrate what they have taken from the Imams. How many hadith from the Imams are there in the Saha Sittah? Which of their tafsir’s is based upon the commentaries of their Imams? Which aspects of their fiqh can be traced back to the saying of the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as)?

To suggest that the Imams were wal Jamaah” (read chapter 7 for the emergence of the Jamaah) is extremely flawed logic. Proof of this fallacy comes from the words found on the Home page of the Ahlul-Bait Homepage from where this article came. This is what it proclaims:

“It is to be made well-known that the Ahlul-Bayt Imams never promoted anything that would cause separation from the main body of the Ummah of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam. Thus Shi’ism was neither condoned nor propagated by these blessed A’immah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala”.

Yet again this site is re-iterating what we have proven throughout this article, namely that sticking to the Jamaah is the cornerstone of Sunni aqeedah. The problem is this conclusion falls flat on its face when we look at the revolution of Imam Hussain (as). Did he stick to the majority or did he separate from it? Did he follow the Sahaba and Tabieen and give bayya to Yazid the tyrant Nasibi? His very refusal is clear proof that he did NOT stick to the main body as the site you pasted from claims. And to prove this check out the comments of al Hafidh Jalaladeen Suyuti, in his Chapter on Yazid he states, “There was an absolute ijma in the Khilafath of Yazid ibn Mu’awiya save (except) Hussain ibne Ali (ra)”. So Imam Hussain REJECTED the ijma that forms the basis of Ahl’ul Sunnah aqeedah. Moreover, when according to your Sunni aqeedah, sticking to the Jamaah is shaped around sticking to the Khalifa, how did the Aima (as) such as Musa Kazim (as) stick to the Jamaah when they were imprisoned by the State?

Introducing the twelve Sunni Imams

Now that we have shown the fallacy of this claim let us introduce the actual 12 Imams of Ahl’ul Sunnah. As Shi’a we believe that the 12 Imams were Rasulullah (s)’s legitimate successors, appointed by Allah (swt). As part of the proof from Sunni traditions we cite hadith such as this:

“The Islamic religion will continue, until the hour has been established, or you have been ruled over by 12 Caliphs, all of them being from Quraish” [Sahih Muslim, hadith number 4483, English translation by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui]

Sharra Fiqa Akbar by Mulla ‘Ali Qari is the Hanafi Book of aqaid. On the very first page it is stated that the book sets out the aqeedah of Ahl’ul Sunnah wa al Jamaah. So there is no room for the adherents of the Ahlul-bayt Web page to make the excuse that this is JUST a viewpoint. Everything set out in this book is the aqeedah of Hanafi Sunni Muslims. Mulla Ali Qari sets out who the 12 khalifas are:

1. Abu Bakr

2. Umar

3. Uthman

4. Ali

5. Mu’awiya

6. Yazid

7. Abdul Malik bin Marwan

8. Walid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan

9. Sulayman bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan

10. Umar bin Abdul Aziz

11. Yazid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan

12. Hasham bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan

[Taken from Sharra Fiqa Akbar, by Mulla Ali Qari, p 176 (publishers Muhammad Saeed and son, Qur'an Muhalla)]“

Of course remaining faithful to Hanafi aqeedah, later Sunni Ulema have defined this hadith in the same way. We now present Siratun Nabi by Allamah Shibli Numani and Syed Sulaiman Nadvi.

Sufficient as to its rank are the words of the Sunni scholar Muhammad Atiqul Haque in his “Heroes of Islam”:

“Sirat an Nabi is a unique book on the life of the Prophet and is acclaimed as one of the best books in the world. He wrote only four volumes of this book and the remaining four volumes were written by his disciple, Syed Sulayman Nadvi”. (p130)

These are Nadvi and Numani’s comments taken from Volume 3 page 701:

In Sahih Muslim Kitab ul Imara Rasulullah (s) said, This Islamic Government would last until it has been ruled over by 12 people. This Rulership will not end until these 12 Rulers are at the helm of the State. Islam will be “protected and respectable” (the Urdu says Mahfooz aur muazziz) during their reigns. Abu Daud in Kitab al Mahdi records these words “The Deen will remain intact as long as 12 people have ruled it and the Ummah will recognize them”. Qazi Abbas explains these words (of Abu Daud) ‘The 12 khalifas who aided Islam were pious’, Hafidh Ibn Hajar counts the following as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Mu’awiya, Yazid, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Walid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Sulayman bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Yazid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Hasham bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan,

Finally we present a modern day commentary from a modern day Hanafi scholar, Hakeem Mahmood Ahmad Zafar Sialkoti. On page 261 of his book (Urdu) “Sayyadina Mu’awiya (ra), Shukhsiat aur kirdhaar”, he comments on the 12 khulafa hadith as follows:

“These 12 khalifas are good natured, pious men and in their reigns Islam shall be protected and respectable, their reign shall be in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah and in their reign the rule of justice shall be apparent. Mulla Ali Qari put forward these 12 as “Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Mu’awiya, Yazid, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Walid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Sulayman bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Yazid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Hasham bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan – taken from Sharra Fiqa Akbar page 184; Fathul Bari Volume 3 page 182) According to Mulla Ali Qari’s above statements its quite evident that Mu’awiya is a khalifa ai Rashid”.

By the same token, Yazid is also a rightly guided khalifa since he describes the twelve as rightly guided, ruling by the Qur’an and Sunnah. Interesting is the fact that in this Hanafi list, Mu’awiya is counted as an individual who fought against Hadhrath Ali (as) and introduced the practice of cursing him (as) in the mosques. This was not abolished until the reign of Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Hence, the Khalifas after Mu’awiya through to Sulayman bin Abdul Malik, all endorsed this cursing practice. Lets not forget the fine character of Yazid, the killer of Hadhrath Imam Hussain (as), who made captives of the Ahl’ul bayt. What fine upstanding lovers of the Ahl’ul bayt they were.

So what do we learn from the Hanafi Ulema, the alleged ‘true’ followers of Ahlulbayt (as)?

  1. Islam will exist until the Day of Judgment

  2. In that time 12 Caliphs will have been leaders of the Ummah.

  3. Islam will continue as long as these 12 have ruled.

  4. They shall protect and respect the religion

  5. They shall rule in accordance with the dictates of the Qur’an and Sunnah

  6. Yazid was the 6th from this respectable line of Khalifas.

On the one hand, the site proclaims that the Ahl’ul Sunnah are the TRUE adherents of Ahl’ul bayt and on the other their AQEEDAH is that Rasulullah’s 12 khalifa’s include those that cursed and endorsed the cursing of Ali (as) – the 6th great figure being none other than Yazid, murderer of Imam Hussain (as).


Somehow the passionate claims about following Ahl’ul bayt (as) don’t seem to match up with their actual aqeedah. Rather than focus their guns on the Shi’a, we suggest that they perform an autopsy on their own aqeedah.

bg-of-shia-Historical_Background_of_the_Religion_of_Shiism (1) Click here to download

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates on our new publications. Shia pen uses the "google groups" system for its newsletters.