Published time: 13 ,March ,2017      19:38:24
Several questions always come to minds every time the word “Shi’a” is mentioned and some of which are: why do Shi’ites call themselves “Shi’a”? Were there Muslims known as “Shī’ah” during the lifetime of the Messenger (Peace be upon him and his family) or is the term only a later invention?
Code news: 24


Image result for shia in the quran 


The word "Shia" literally means a group, a follower or a partisan of a particular course and it appears several times (both singular and plural) in the Qur'an with these meanings. However, in a terminological sense, the word "Shia" is used for someone who believes in the leadership of Ali Ibn Abu-Talib and his pure Household immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) based on a Divine selection.

"Shia” in the Qur’an

In the first instance, it is pertinent to know that appellations such as Salafiyyah, Ahl al-Hadith, Ahl al-Sunnah, Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā’ah, Ash’ariyyah, Māturīdiyyah, ūfiyyah, anafiyyah, Mālikiyyah, Shāfi’iyyah, anbaliyyah etc. were post-Muammad innovations. In another word, those appellations were later innovations after the demise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Moreover, there is no evidence in the Qur’an or any reliable Hadīth of the Prophet, which stated that members of the Muslim community should be called or identified with any of those names.

On the contrary, there are evidences in the Qur’an, which established that the adherents of each of the Messenger of God were collectively known as their Shī’ah (i.e. followers). For instance, concerning Prophet Nūḥ (Peace be upon him), Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) was described as his Shiah.

It is said:

وإن من شيعته لإبراهيم

And indeed, Ibrāhīm was one of his Shī’ah.[1]

Imām al-Ḥākim documents concerning this verse:

حدثنا أبو سعيد أحمد بن يعقوب الثقفي ثنا الحسن بن المثنى العنبري ثنا أبو حذيفة ثنا شبل بن عباد عن ابن أبي نجيح عن مجاهد عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما : في قوله عز و جل: {وإن من شيعته لإبراهيم} قال من شيعة نوح إبراهيم على منهاجه و سنته

Abū Sa’īd Amad b. Ya’qūb al-Thaqafī – al-asan b. al-Muthannā al-‘Anbarī – Abū udhayfah – Shibl b. ‘Abbād – Ibn Abī Najī – Mujāhid: Concerning His Words, the Almighty, the Most Glorious: {And indeed, Ibrāhīm was one of his Shī’ah}, Ibn ‘Abbās, may Allāh be pleased with them both, said: "From the Shī’ah of Nū, upon his religious principles and his Sunnah.”[2]

Al-Ḥākim comments:

هذا حديث صحيح على شرط الشيخين

This adīth is aī upon the standard of the two Shaykhs.[3]

And Imām al-Dhahabī agrees:

على البخاري ومسلم

Upon (the standard of) al-Bukhārī and Muslim.[4]

Apparently, Allāh explicitly referred to all the adherents of Prophet Nūḥ as his Shī’ah, and one of them was Prophet Ibrāhīm (Peace be upon him). Meanwhile, this has been the unchanged precedent of Allah with His Messengers (Peace be upon them).

فلن تجد لسنة الله تبديلا ولن تجد لسنة الله تحويلا

For you shall not find any alteration in the course of Allah; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah.[5]

In the same way, it is safe to conclude that Allāh also referred to the adherents of Prophet Ibrāhīm and that of Prophet Mūsā as their Shī’ah respectively. He equally named the adherents of Prophet Mūsā, peace be upon him, too as his Shī’ah:

و دخل المدينه على حين غفلة من اهلها فوجد فيها رجلين يقتتلان هذا من شيعته و هذا من عدوه فاستغاثه الذى من شيعته على الذى من عدوه فوكزه موسى فقضى عليه قال هذا من عمل الشيطان انه عدو مضل مبين

[One day] he entered the city at a time when its people dwelt in distraction. He found there two men fighting, this one from among his Shī’ah, and that one from his enemies. The one who was from his Shī’ah sought his help against him who was from his enemies. So Mūsā hit him with his fist, whereupon he expired. He said, ‘This is of Satan’s doing. Indeed he is an enemy, manifestly misguiding.’[6]

Imām al-Nasafī gives this exegesis of this āyah, thus:

{فَوَجَدَ فِيهَا رَجُلَيْنِ يَقْتَتِلاَنِ هذا مِن شِيعَتِهِ} ممن شايعه على دينه من بني إسرائيل قيل هو السامري

{He found there two men fighting, this one from among his Shī’ah} from those who followed him in his religion from Banū Isrāīl.[7]

Imām al-Naysābūrī also submits:

قال: هذا من شيعته وهذا من عدوه. عن مقاتل: أن الرجلين كانا كافرين إلا أن أحدهما من بني إسرائيل والآخر من القبط. واحتج عليه بأن موسى قال له إِنَّكَ لَغَوِيٌّ مُبِينٌ والمشهور أن الذي من شيعته كان مسلما كأنه قال ممن شايعه على دينه.

He says: {…this one from among his Shī’ah}. Maqātil said: "Both men were infidels, except that one of them was from Banū Isrāīl while the other was a Copt.” Then, he argues in support of it with the fact that Mūsā said to him {You are indeed manifestly perverse} [28:18]. However, the widely known position is that the one who was from his Shī’ah was a Muslim. It is like He (Allāh) saying: {from among those who followed him in his religion}.[8]

Imām al-Nu’mānī reiterates the same point:

{هذا مِن شِيعَتِهِ} من بني إسرائيل، {وهذا مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ} من القبط. قال مقاتل: كانا كافرين إلا أنَّ أحدهما من القبط والآخر من بني إسرائيل، لقول موسى عليه السلام له {إِنَّكَ لَغَوِيٌّ مُّبِينٌ} [القصص: 18] . والمشهور أَنَّ الإسرائيلي كان مسلماً، قيل: إنه السامري، والقبطي طبَّاخ فرعون.

{…this one from among his Shī’ah} from Banū Isrāīl, and {and that one from his enemies} from the Copts. Maqātil said: "Both were infidels, except that one of them was from a Copt while the other was from Banū Isrāīl due to the statement of Mūsā, peace be upon him {You are indeed manifestly perverse}[28:18].” However, the widely known position is that the Israelite was a Muslim. It is said that he was ‘Sāmirī’, while the Copt was the cook of Fir’awn.[9]

Then, in accordance with the unchanged precedent of Allah, the adherents of Prophet ‘Īsā, (Peace be upon him) were his Shī’ah too. On the same premise, the adherents of Prophet Muḥammad are definitely his Shī’ah in the Sight of the Lord of the worlds. Moreover, each of these four ‘Ulul ‘azm’ Messengers was literally the Shī’ah of another. So, the appellation "Shī’ah” applied to them as well. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) in particular, was among the Shī’ah of Prophet Ibrāhīm.

ثم أوحينا إليك أن اتبع ملة إبراهيم حنيفا وما كان من المشركين

"Then We revealed to you: Follow the faith of Ibrahim, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists.”[10]

Thus, based on several historical facts, the Shi’ism is as far back as the time of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) due to the following reasons:

1. After the revelation of verse 7 of Qur’an 98, it was documented in both the Sunni and Shia sources that the Prophet (s.a.w.a) while referring to Ali and his partisan (Shiites) said: "I swear by Him Who controls my life that this man (i.e. Ali) and his partisans (Shia) are indeed the prosperous ones on the Day of resurrection” [Tafsir Tabari, Vol. 3, P. 171; Dur al-Mathur (Suyuti), Vol. 6, P. 379; Kifayatu-t-Talib P. 119; Shawaidu Tanzil Vol. 2, P 357 etc.]

2. During the life time of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), some notable companions such as Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr, Ammar Ibn Yasir and Miqdad Ibn Aswad were known as the partisans (Shiah) of Ali.

Thus, based on these and so many other evidences, one concludes that Shiism is not a sect in Islam, rather it was the pristine Islam sowed, nurtured and preached by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) of Islam.

[1] Qur’ān 37:83

[2] Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muammad b. ‘Abd Allāh al-ākim al-Naysābūrī, al-Mustadrak ‘alā al-aīayn (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Mutafā ‘Abd al-Qādir ‘Aā], vol. 2, p. 468, # 3612

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Qur’ān 35:43

[6] Qur’ān 28:15

[7] Abū al-Barakāt ‘Abd Allāh b. Amad b. Mamūd al-Nasafī, Madārik al-Tanzīl wa aqāiq al-Tawīl (Beirut: Dār al-Kalam al-ayyib; 1st edition, 1419 H) [annotator: Yūsuf ‘Alī Badyawī], vol. 2, p. 633

[8] Niām al-Dīn al-asan b. Muammad b. usayn al-Qummī al-Naysābūrī, Gharāib al-Qur’ān wa Raghāib al-Furqān (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1416 H) [annotator: Zakariyyā ‘Umayrāt], vol. 5, p. 332

[9] Abū af Sirāj al-Dīn ‘Umar b. ‘Alī b. ‘Ādil al-anbalī al-Dimashqī al-Nu’mānī, al-Lubāb fī ‘Ulūm al-Kitāb (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1419 H) [annotators: ‘Ādil Amad ‘Abd al-Mawjūd and ‘Alī Muammad Mu’awwad], vol. 15, p. 226

[10] Qur’ān 16:123

* Opinion: