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Definition of Shiah

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Q. I would like to know what is the definition of Shiah Rawafid Ulama ul Haqq as we can provide quotes referenced ahl ul sunnah of the definition of Rawafid Shiah.


A. The Shiahs have been divided into many groups, each having their own beliefs and ideologies. One group is known as the ‘Sabaiya’ or Saba’ites, who are the followers of Abdullah bin Saba. He (Ibn Saba) was a Jew who made a display of Islam. He was one of the strongest agitators against Uthman (RA), and made up many false things about Ali (RA). Another group is that of the Kaisaniya (Kaysanites) who are the followers of Kaisan. One group was that of the Zaidiya (Zaydites), the followers of Zaid ibn Ali. One major group is that of the Imamiyah (Imamites) who is generally referred to as the Rawafidh. They believe that the Imamate of Ali (RA) was confirmed by stipulation from the Prophet (AS) by a clear text and certainty, and that it was a definite and specific appointment. They agree that Hasan, and then Husain were the Imams after Ali (RA). At this point, however, there is disagreement and they became divided into many smaller groups, the largest of which is the Ithna Asharites (twelvers) and Ismailis.

In summary, the Shites have become divided into (approximately) thirty two different groups as stated by Allama Shahrastani, each with its own dogmas and beliefs. Some were excessive in their love for Ali (RA) and his descendants, while others were more balanced. Some elevated Ali (RA) to the rank of prophethood, and some went to the extent as to deify him. Some of them claimed that God was incarnated in the Imams, Ali and his sons, adopting a doctrine similar to the Christian incarnation. Some of them believed that every Imam had divinity incarnate in him which then transmigrated to the next Imam.

Most of the Imami Shites (Rawafidh) agree that the last Imam did not die but is still alive and will return and fill the earth with justice, as it is now filled with injustice. One group, the Seveners claimed that Ali bin Abi Talib is alive and will not die, and another group said that Muhammad ibn Al Hanafiyya (a son of Ali by a wife other than Fatima) is alive and being nourished by water and honey. Various groups claimed that certain prominent people were not dead or killed, but were still alive.

The twelvers say that the twelft Imam, Muhammmad ibn Al Hasan Al Askari, called al Mahdi, entered the cellar of his house and disappeared when he was arrested with his mother. They believe that he is the Mahdi and will emerge at the end of time and fill the earth with justice, and they are still waiting for him.

So we see that the shi’ites were an amalgam of opinions and confused ideas into which a great number of false concepts from ancient religions crept wearing Islamic guise. (Al Milal wan Nihal-Ash Shahrastani vol. 1 pgs.144-192; Tuhfa Ithna Ashariya- Muhaddith Shah Abdul Aziz pgs 52, 53).

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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