The Shia (Shiite) Religion (Sect) – Islamic Lecture on the History

This is a lecture by Sheikh-Uthman-Al-Khamees available at /watch?v=UgyllqJR-Pc translated and transcribed below.

The Struggle between Truth and Falsehood

The Sheikh said that the battle between truth and falsehood is a battle which is very old and it began from the day that our Allah SWT created our father Adam AS but from the moment that Iblees, May Allah AJ protect us from his evil, from the moment that he refused to prostrate to the Prophet adam So that is an old battle and Allah mentions in the Quran that this will continue until the day of judgment and that’s why Iblees, as reported in the Quran, said to Allah that through your might and your power, I will misguid all of them except for your sincere slaves. And as is also mentioned in the Quran, he sought the permission of Allah to be able to live up till the Day of Judgment so that he can continue to misguide people and Allah granted him his request.

Split of Religions in Different Sects

The Prophet SAW mentioned in authentic hadith as recorded by Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Ahmed and other than them that the Jews will split and they will differentiate 71 different sects and the Christians  will also split into 72 different sects and that this is ummah, the Muslim Ummah will split into 73  different sects. So this is a testament and this is something which the Prophet SAW informed us of that there would be sects and that there will be differences and then the prophet SAW made clear the path that is true and correct. When SAW was asked about that and about what is the correct way, he said it is that which I and my companions are upon today.

The sheikh said so therefore now that we know that there is going to be so many differences and so many sects, do not become grieved, do not become sad as a result of this. Rather what you should do is to place importance upon knowing about these different sects and how to deal with them. Know about what is the correct and the victorious group and set  amongst them so that you can be amongst them. This is something which Allah has decreed that there would be differences and there would be sects. So there is no point trying to oppose the decree of Allah SWT. Rather we know how to work with the decree of Allah by learning about these sects and by safeguarding our souls as well.

The Six Main Categories of Sects within Islam

The sheikh said that our prophet SAW therefore informed us that the people who ascribe themselves to this religion, the Muslims were split into 73 different sects. And the sheikh said some of the scholars of Islam were of the opinion that 73, the number 73, was not what was meant in itself, meaning that the number is not important, what the meaning is that there will be many many different sects. Either way, the sheikh said that that all of these sects can be categorized into six. These are the main 6 categories of sects and from them you have many offshoots that come as a result of them. These six main categories are

  1. Ahle-sunnah wal jamaaah/ ahle hadith
  2. The shia.
  3. The Khawarij
  4. The Qadariyyah
  5. The Murjiah
  6. The Jahameeya

And from these six main categories you have all of these various sects coming off as a result of them.

Primary Categories of the Shia Sect

The sheikh says that the topic and the theme of today’s seminar is to discuss one of those six main categories and that is the category of the Shia. This category, in and out of itself, split into seventy different options so there are seventy different sects that come just from the Shia in and of itself.  The shaikh said that from amongst the most famous of them is the Zaidiyyah, the Ithna Ashariya, the Ismailiyah, the Nusayriyyah, the Druze, [al bahaiyah, al babiya,] and al Qarameetah These are just some of the names of the most famous of the sects of the Shia but as he said there are almost seventy of them.

Abdullah Ibn Saba – The Person who started Shia Religion

The Shia went through a number of stages. The first stage started with a single person that began this concept of Shia was a man who was originally a Jew and was known as Abdullah ibn Saba. He was from Sanaa, the modern day capital of Yemen. He was the one who first came up with the concept and the saying, and the statement that (Caliph) Ali RA was in reality a God.

So, this man, Abdullah Ibn Saba claimed to be a Muslim and he made apparent that he was a Muslim and he was the one who first said Ali was Allah, and that Ali is God. And he was also the first person to say that Ali RA should have been the leader after the death of the Prophet SAW and that the other companions of the prophet SAW, may Allah be pleased with them, that they deceived and cheated Ali from his right of being the successor of the Prophet SAW. And Abdullah Ibn Saba appeared towards the end of the khilafa (caliphate) at the time of the Caliph Osman RA.

People attributing divinity to Ali (RA)

The sheikh said this was towards the end of the khilafah of Osman, when it came to the khilafah of Ali RA, a group of people came to Ali (RA) in Kufaa, and said to him that, “You are he, you are He.’You are He’ So he said “Who is he?” And they reply that you are Allah. So, he became angry at this and he rebuked them severely and he asked them “Do other people claim this other than you?” And they said “Yes there are a multitude of people who say this. So, he told them to go and bring all of those people. So, they came in Kufa where he was resident and he began to warn them from saying this and he said to them “Rather I am a servant from the many servants of Allah. If I obey Allah, then Allah will reward me, if he pleases and if I disobey Allah, Allah will punish me if he pleases. Instead I am a human. I eat and I drink. So, go back from the statement of yours (meaning retract what you’re saying).” So, they refused to do so. So he gave them three days. every single day he would come and he would warn them again but on the third day when he realized that they wouldn’t retract their statement, he ordered them to be killed that a number of pits be dug in the earth and he lit fire within those pits and he threw those people within the fire for associating a human as God.

The sheikh said that when Ali (RA) began to dig those pits and he lit fire within them and he threatened to throw them in the fire, those people divided into three groups. The first group comprised of people who retracted and said to him that if you say that you’re not a God then we take your word for it that you are not a God and they retracted from that statement. The second group, they threw themselves willingly into the fire and they said that only the God of fire can punish with the fire. So, therefore this is proof that you are a God. And the third group said that they will retract the statement but in reality, within their hearts they still had this belief. So openly they retracted but inwardly they still had this belief and continued to conceal their true beliefs for some time.

During this time (around 40 Hijrah) when these groups deviated from the mainstream Islam, they didn’t have their separate mosques, scholars, or Fiqh. Rather they didn’t have their a specific methodology of practicing religion. Instead, they lived with the Muslims as normal and regular people.

It should be noted that during these early times, the Shia were not known in this way (by this term ‘Shia’). This continued even until the  dispute that took place between Caliph Ali (RA) and Muawiya (RA) and the battle that took place in Siffin. At that time, people started to call supporters of Ali as the Shia of Ali, the supporters of Muawiya, and so on.

Death of Muawaiya as the Caliph of Muslims

And this state of affairs continued until the 60th year of Hijra . So they had no mosques, there was no such group known as the Shia and they had no scholars and so on and so forth. In the year sixty of the Hijrah, Muawiya (RA) passed away and before that he had appointed his successor his own son Yazeed. At that time, Hussein (Alayhis Salam), the grandson of the Prophet SAW who was also the son of Ali (RA), and Abdullah Ibn Zubair (RA) refused to give the Pledge of Allegiance to Yazeed. So, when the people of Kufaa (Iraq) heard that Hussain had refused to give the Pledge of Allegiance to Yazeed, they wrote him a great number of letters asking him to come to Iraq so that they could give him their Pledge of Allegiance instead.

So at this point again, there were not specific Shia group. The only difference was that these people believed that Ali (RA) and Hussain (AS), both from the family of the Prophet had more rights to the Khilafah (caliphate and rule) than the others.

The Sheikh said that as for the  story of Hussein and his story of travel to Kufa, he said that it’s a very long story and time doesn’t allow us to go into such details, but I will summarize in just two statements. The first is that after Hussain (RA) received letters which invited him to Kufa, he went with the intention of taking the pledge of allegiance from them to become a Khalifa (Caliph). However from those people who invited him, when he went to Kufa, the people deceived him and didn’t support him when Hussein’s forces were attacked in which Hussein was killed.

The Remorse of the People of Kufa

The sheikh said that at the death of Hussain (AS), many of the people of Kufa were remorseful, and had regret that how was it that this great companion and the grandson of the prophet comes to us and we did not support him despite the promises and assurances that we had sent to him.

And so they became extremely remorseful and this was in the year 61 Hijra. This continued for a number of years until the year 64 that they had this remorse and regret until the death of Yazeed and after the death of Yazeed they then formed an army so that they could repent for the sin and called this army as “the army of Tawwabeen”, which means those people who repented.

The Second stage of the formation of the Shia (Shiite)

So in the year 64 H when they formed the army of the Tawwabeen, this started the second stage in the development of the Shia religion. Up until this time they were still living with the people of Ahle Sunnah (Sunnis). So, we still didn’t have the situation where the Shias mistrusted the companions of the prophet and didn’t have their twelve imams, etc. However, at this stage they started to claim that the leadership of the Muslims should have passed to Caliph Ali and should have stayed with that family only.

The sheikh said that if we revisit the main categories of sects that were highlighted earlier, only the Shia and Khawarij split because of political issues. It had nothing to do with any religious beliefs and practices. So, it wasn’t about the creed, or the methodology, or the Aqeedah. The causes were primarily political. He said that as for the other three categories of sects, they started with the issue of creed.

So the sheikh said that from the year 64 hijrah and onwards the movements became political. They started to disagree with the leaders of their time whether they were the leaders from Banu Umaiyya or from Banu Abbas. And this continued for a few hundred of years until the fourth century of Islam. The only differences between them and the people of the Ahle Sunna (Sunnis) were the issues that they had with regarding the leaders of the ummah and politics. It was during the fourth century of Islam that they had a number of the scholars who surfaced and began to change this political issue into one about aqeedah and religious creed and made a different type of creed and methodology. There were a number of scholars during that time such as al-qulaini, al-mufeed, as-sudooq and al-noumaani. These were some of the scholars who at that time began to change the political ideology and changing into issues of creed and methodology.

Split of Shia on Aqeeda and Religious Creed

The sheikh said that during this time, from the fourth century onwards, when they began to change their political ideology into one of aqeedah, this is when they began to take on those opinions of Abdullah ibn Saba from the time of Caliph Othman (RA) and they began to incorporate those ideas and ideology into their religious creed. The sheikh said that as the Shia are split into a number of sects, the beginning of the split within the Shia movement began in the year 122 Hijri and that was when Zaid ibn Ali ibn Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib – one of the descendants of Caliph Ali (RA) wanted to fight and oppose the rule of Caliph Hisham ibn Abdul Malik when he made his intentions clear there were a number of people a group of people who came from Iraq and they came to support him just as they wanted to support his grandfathers and his forefathers. But before they supported him they asked him about his opinion concerning about Caliphs Abu Bakar and Umar. So Hisham ibn Abdula Malik replied that they were both from the companions of the Prophet SAW and as for Abu Bakar , he is the grandfather to me he is one of my forefathers. When they heard this response they said to him” Do you not free yourself from them” and he replied “No”. So when he said this, they said, “Therefore we will reject you”. And that was when the name Rafidha was attached to them. So those people who came they split into two groups. Some of them supported Zaid Ibn Ali and others from amongst them refused to support him and they rejected him. Those who supported him would later become known as the Zaidiya and those who rejected him and refused to support him, became to known as the Raafidah (the ones who reject).

The Becoming of Rafidah

So the sheikh said that around 122-123 Hijrah year within the Islamic history, the Shias would say that they didn’t believe that Abu Bakar and Umar should have been the leaders. They were against Abu Bakar and Umar and would free themselves from these two companions. But that was all that they believed. They didn’t say anything about the Quran being incorrect, nor they had adopted the practices of making tawaf of graves, etc.. They never had those different types of beliefs that they have today. This continued until the year 184 Hijrah. That is the year when Jafar as-Sadiq passed away, one of the descendants of Hussain and they believed that imams they have, have to be from the descendants of Hussain (RA). So once Jafar Al-Sadiq passed away they differed as to who should be his successor until some of them went for one of his sons by the name of Moosa. Others went to another one of his sons by the name of Abdullah. A third group went to a different son, the third son by the name of Mohammed and a fourth group went to a fourth son by the name of Ismail and from that group, those people that went towards Ismail Ibn Jaafar they were the ones who later become known as the Ismailiyah and it was from them that you have the Fatimid Dynasty that ruled Egypt for a number of years. So this is during the year 184 H. So up until this time they still had no set aqeedah, they had no complete set of belief and ideology, it was just the issue of Abu Bakar and Umar. This continued until the year 260 Hijri and that is the year when Al-Hassan Al-Askari passed away and the sheikh said that the Shia who had the twelve shias, the Itna Ashariyah they have the belief that the imam of their leadership has to be within the twelve imams and the sheikh said that he would  now expand about this.

The Belief of the Twelve Imams

So the sheikh said up until the year 260 H that is the year when Al-Hassan Al-Askari passed away. The problem was that he had no children and this is now where we begin to have another sect from amongst the Shia and those are the Twelvers of Shiites, the Ithna Ashariyah. They  said that the imamah, the leadership is in 12 imams. The first of them is Ali (RA) and the last of them would be the Mehdi. The 12 imams are, as sheikh has just mentioned. 1. Ali 2. His son, Hassan 3. Hussain (the rest are from the offsprings of Hussain) 4. Ali Ibn Hussain 5. Muhammad Ibn Ali also known as Al-Baqar 6. Jaffar As-Sadiq 7. Musa Al-Kazim 8. Ali Al-Ridza 9. Muhhamd al-Jawwad 10. Ali Al-Haadi 11. Al-Hassan Al-Askari and 12. Will be the Mehdi

About Mehdi in Shia Religion

The sheikh said that there is no mystery that the last Imam, the Mehdi is something which they had invented so that they could continue to propagate their views until the day of judgment. This is because Mehdi has not come yet and according to them will appear in some distant future.

The sheikh said that at this point history saw a major change in the mazhab (creed and aqeedah) and in the beliefs of the Shias. Before this, as we said, there was nothing major. It was all things that they would normally conceal. Some of them took from the beliefs and ideologies from Abdullah Ibn Saba others would take from some of the beliefs of ahle Sunnah (Sunnis) and they had all of these beliefs but most of them were concealed and they didn’t have a complete ideology or a complete aqeedah.

Attributing Lies to Islamic Personalities

The sheikh said that at this point a great change happened within their beliefs and in their mazhab. Before this what they would ascribe lies to people. They would lie upon Ali, upon Hassan, upon Hussain, upon Al-Baqar upon Jafar Al-Sadaq, they would attribute lies to them but those people (Ali, etc.) would free themselves from these lies (e.g. the lie they attribute to Ali that he was God but Ali freed himself from those lies by rejecting their claims). So when people would come to them saying that this is what those people say about you they would say no we’re free from this. We disagree with this. Those people, they don’t follow us and they’re not from amongst us.

The sheikh said that we can imagine at this point of time that what used to happen before was that they would ascribe something for example to Jafar Al-Sadaq or one of the Imams and so the people will go directly to that person and say did you say this and they would say “no, we free ourselves from what they say and what they’re saying is a complete lie.” And then they would go back to these people whose ascribed those lies and some of them would say “No, this is a type of taqeeyah, this is a type of hiding, the type of of twisting of truth or lying and so he didn’t really want to tell you the truth. And so some people would believe them, and some people would disagree and they would refuse to believe them. The problem that took place and the calamity that struck was after the death of Al-Hassan Al-Askari they invented a figment of the imagination. The son of his, Al-Mahdi, wasn’t born, doesn’t exist but they claimed that he was there and the only they had access to him and so they would take the questions of people and they would take their issues and they would go back and they would come back with answers. And when people would say we want to meet him they would say no. No one is allowed to go except us. These people were known as labwaab or sufara. There were four of these individuals, during that time, who for seventy years continued to do this. they would just go and claim that they were the only people that had access to this imam and they would then bring back answers and bring back issues that they would make up themselves.

So the sheikh said that these four people one after the other, they proclaimed that they had access to this Mehdi. So the first of them was Osman al-amri, then his son Mohammed and then a man by the name of Al-Hussain Ibn Rooh and then finally Ali As-samri. For seventy years, one after the other, so when one passed away, it was passed to the other one. For seventy years they claimed that they have access to this Imam. In year 330 H, at the time of the death of the fourth one- Ali AS-Samri, He said now our connection to this imam has finished. We have cut off from him, and he said now the great unseen has occurred, meaning that we no longer have access to this imam.

So sheikh said that this is when there was dangerous stage in the development of the shia as a sect . Previously they used to just ascribe their things to living people so those people would be able to reject what would be falsely attributed to them. But after the death of the eleventh Imam, they began to ascribe things to a person who doesn’t even exist, who isn’t even dead, who is just a figment of their imagination. This is when you have now many groups, different people coming out, each one claiming that he has the connection to this imam that is hidden. That’s where you have people lying and you have people beginning to now put together a new type of religion with a new type of belief and aqeedah and this is the time, as sheikh mentioned, before that you have many of the scholars that al khulaini, an-noumani, al- mufeet and at-toor and al-murtaza and others, they came out and step by step they began to give them a whole new aqeedah, a whole new belief and ideology. So this is when they began to say for example the role of the companions, or the vast majority of them are disbelievers, this is when they began to say that Quran is incomplete, that it is being changed. This is when they began to allow their people to go and make tawaafs around the graves of the imams and they began to say, you can make dua to imams, the imams know the unseen and they can change the universe and so on. This is when this began to take place and based upon this following on from this they also have a number of dynasties as well.

So the sheikh said that they had a number of dynasties. From the is the dynasty of the buhaiyah which was in the fourth century of Islam from the year 334-447H. So it lasted for approximately 150 years. And it is said in the books of history that when they took over, this dynasty caused a lot of evil and corruption upon the earth. Then there was another dynasty by the name al-Qaramitah and they had people like from Hamdan, qarmut and abu ali and Abu Ali was the one who stole the black stone from the Kaaba and he took the Kiswah, the covering of the Black Stone and he killed approximately thirty thousand people and in Makkah, near the haram, he buried the people within the wall of Zamzam. Another one of their dynasty was the Obaidiyah, also known as the Fatimid dynasty which began in Yemen and then it spread to Morocco and eventually settled in Egypt and that began in the year 260 H and it finished in the year 564H when Salahuddin al Ayyubi toppled over their dynasty . Another one of their dynasty was the Safawiyah which began in the year 906 Hijri and before this, the Sheikh said that Iran was a complete country of the Sunnis. So the Sunnis, the ehle sunnah (Sunnis) were in Iran until 906 Hijri when they had dynasty of the Safawiyah and they continued with Iran until the year 1146 Hijrah.

The sheikh said that one of the things to notice about this dynasties was that even though their time spans may be short there was a lot of evil that they would commit with in their rule. So for example you have the Qaramitah, and you have Abu Ali who went and he killed and he slaughtered a massacre of thousands of the pilgrims and he would say that I am Allah and Allah is me. He is the one who creates and I’m the one who kills and so he would then go and he took the black stone away and he went to Bahrain and there he lived for twenty years and he took the black stone and the covering of the Kabaa and that’s why the sheikh mentioned that imam al-qiraqi, who is one of the students of Imam Ahmad (RA) from his mazhab, he writes in his book of fiqh that if you go around the Kaaba, while making tawaf, you kiss the black stone, if you can find it because it was during the time that the black stone was removed and so that’s why he wrote this that if you find it and kiss it otherwise you don’t. The point being that there was a lot of evil that came as a result of them. Then you have the Obaidi, the Fatimid dynasty that went from Yemen to Morocco. What we mean by Morrocco is the old Morrocco which was Western Africa and southern Europe and then they went to Egypt as well. And these were the people who helped bring about the demise of the Abbaside Dynasty which was toppled in 656 Hijri and it is said that during that time in a short span, over 1.5 million Muslims were massacred and then you have another one of the dynasty, the Safawiyah, when they all took over in Iran, they killed and massacred a million Muslims and the sheikh said that even today, in the modern day Iran, you still have many problems resulting and emanating from them, as everyone knows.

So the Sheikh said that this was a very quick, brief summary. The sheikh said that in reality we should have given it a lot more importance, a lot more content, a lot more depth but time doesn’t allow and all praise to Allah SWT.

— End of lecture

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