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The Term "Shia" in Quran and Hadith
The word "Shia" means "followers; members of party".
As such, the term "Shia" alone has no negative or positive
meaning unless we specify the leader of the party. If one is a
Shia (follower) of the most righteous servants, then there is
nothing wrong with being Shia, specially if the leader of such
party has been assigned by Allah. On the other hand, if one becomes
the Shia a tyrant or a wrong-doer, he shall meet with the fate
of his leader. In fact, Quran indicates that on the day of Judgment
people will come in groups, and each group has its leader in front
of it. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said:
One day We shall call every group of people by their respective
Imams. (Quran 17:71)
In the day of judgment, the destiny of the "followers"
of each group highly depends on the destiny of his Imam (provided
that they really followed that Imam). Allah mentioned in Quran
that there are two types of Imams. Some Imams are those who invite
people to Hell fire. They are tyrannical leaders of each era (like
And We made them (but) Imams inviting to the Fire; and on the
Day of Judgment no help shall they find. In this world We continued
to curse them; and on the Day of Judgment they will be among the
hateful. (Quran 28:41-42).
Certainly, being the members of the parties of such Satanic Imams
has been severely denounced in Quran, and the followers of such
parties will meet the fate of their leaders. However, Quran also
reminds that there are Imams who are appointed by Allah as Guides
for the mankind:
"And We ASSIGNED from among them some Imams who GUIDE by
Our authority since they were patient and believed firmly in Our
Signs." (Quran 32:24)
Certainly, the true followers (Shia) of these Imams will be the
real prosperous on the day of resurrection. Thus being a Shia
does not mean anything, unless we know the Shia of whom. Allah
mentioned in Quran that Some of His righteous servants were Shia
of His other righteous servants. An example was Prophet Abraham
who was mentioned in Quran specifically as the Shia of Noah:
"And most surely Abraham was among the Shia of him
(i.e., Noah)" (Quran 37:83)
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(Notice that the word "Shia" is explicitly used, letter
by letter, in the above verse as well as the following verse.)
In another verse, Quran talks about the Shia of Moses versus the
enemies of Moses:
"And he (Moses) went into the city at a time when people
(of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting,
one being of his Shia and the other being his enemy,
and the one who was of his Shia cried out to him for help
against the one who was of his enemy" (Quran 28:15)
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In the above verse of Quran, one is named the Shia of Moses (AS)
and the other one is named the enemy of Moses, and the people
at that time were either the Shia or the enemy of Moses (AS).
Thus Shia is an official word used by Allah in His Quran for His
high rank prophets as well as their followers. Do you want to
say Prophet Abraham was sectarian? How about Prophet Noah and
If somebody calls himself a Shia, it is not due to any sectarianism,
nor any innovation. It is because Quran has used the phrase for
some of His best servants. The above verses that I mentioned in
support of Shia, has used this term singular form (i.e., one group
of followers). This means that it has special meaning, such as:
THE Shia of Noah (AS), THE Shia of Moses (AS). Also in the History
of Islam, Shia has been specially used for the "followers
of Ali". The first individual who used this term was the
Messenger of Allah himself:
The Messenger of Allah said to Ali: "Glad tiding O Ali! Verily
you and your companions and your Shia (followers) will
be in Paradise."
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. (_S : / . / / . (_S :
Thus the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) used to say the phrase
of "Shia of Ali". This phrase is not something invented
later! Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) said that the TRUE followers
of imam Ali will go to Paradise, and this is a great felicity.
Also Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "The Shia of
Ali are the real victorious in the day of resurrection/rising"
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The "day of rising" may also refer to the day of rising
of al-Mahdi (AS). But in more general term, it means the day of
judgment. Also it is narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah said: "O Ali! On the Day of Judgment
I shall resort to Allah and you will resort to me and your children
will resort to you and the Shia will resort to them. Then
you will see where they carry us. (i.e. to Paradise)"
Sunni reference: Rabi al-Abrar, by al-Zamakhshari
Furthermore, it is narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah said: "O Ali! (On the day of Judgment)
you and your Shia will come toward Allah well-pleased and
well-pleasing, and there will come to Him your enemies angry and
stiff-necked (i.e., their head forced up).
A more complete version of the tradition which has also been reported
by the Sunnis, is as follows:
Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: When the verse "Those who believe
and do righteous deeds are the best of the creation (Quran
98:7)" was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF)
said to Ali: "They are you and your Shia." He
continued: "O Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your
Shia will come toward Allah well-pleased and well-pleasing, and
your enemies will come angry with their head forced up. Ali said:
"Who are my enemies?" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) replied:
"He who disassociates himself from you and curses you. And
glad tiding to those who reach first under the shadow of al-'Arsh
on the day of resurrection." Ali asked: "Who are they,
O the Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "Your Shia,
O Ali, and those who love you."
Then Ibn Hajar provides a bizarre commentary for the first tradition,
The Shia of Ali are the Ahlussunnah since they are those who love
Ahlul-Bayt as Allah and His Prophet ordered. But others (i.e.,
other than Sunnis) are the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt in reality for
the love outside the boundary of law is the great enmity, and
that was the reason for their fate. Also, the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt
were al-Khawarij and their alike from Syria, not Muawiyah and
other companions because they were Muteawweloon, and for them
is a good reward, and for Ali and his Shia is a good reward!
And this is how Sunni scholars cope with the prophetic traditions
in favor of "Shia of Ali"! They say that they are the
Let us look at one more tradition in this regard:
The Messenger of Allah said to Ali: "The first four individuals
who will enter the Paradise are me, you, al-Hasan, and al-Husain,
and our progeny will be behind us, and our wives will be behind
our progeny, and our Shia will be on our right side and
in our company."
From the above pieces of evidence, the word "Shia" is
used by Allah in Quran for His prophets as well as their followers.
Further, His blessed Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH&HF) has repeatedly
used this word for the followers of Imam Ali (AS). The word Shia
is used here in its special meaning, and moreover, it is not in
plural form (Parties), rather the above verses and traditions
are referring to a special party, i.e., one single party. If Shia
meant sectarian, neither Allah would use it for His high rank
prophets nor Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) would have praised
However there are some verses in Quran which uses the plural form
of Shia that is "Shi-ya'a" which means "Parties/groups".
This is a general meaning of this term, and not the special meaning
in singular form which has been given in previous examples. Of
course, only one single party is accepted by Allah and the rest
are severely denounced because they have separated from that unique
party. So it is clear why Allah denounced "Groups/Parties/sects"
(plural form) who separated from that unique group in some verses
of Quran. There can't be two righteous groups (with conflicting
ideas) at the same time, because between the two leaders one is
surely better and more qualified, and thus the claims and the
motives of the other leader goes under question.
However I did not locate the exact term of "Ahlussunnah wal-Jama'ah",
nor did I find "al-Wahhabiyyah", "al-Salafiyyah"
anywhere in the Holy Quran or the traditions of the Prophet. I
agree that we should follow the Sunnah of Prophet, but I would
like to discover the origin of the exact term here. We Shia are
proud to follow the Sunnah of Prophet. However, the question is
that which Sunnah is genuine and which one is not. The word "Sunnah"
by itself does not serve the purpose of knowledge. All Muslims
irrespective to their persuasions claim that they follow the Sunnah
of Prophet (PBUH&HF). Please refer to the article titled "Quran
and Ahlul-Bayt" for a detailed discussion in this regard.
It should be emphasized that the Messenger of Allah never wished
to divide Muslims into groups. Prophet ORDERED all people to follow
Imam Ali (AS) as his agent during his life time, and as his Caliph
after him. Prophet wished everybody does that. But unfortunately
those who heeded him were few and were known as "Shia of
Ali" who were subject to all sort of discrimination and prosecution,
and suffered from day one of the demise of the Mercy to Mankind,
Muhammad (PBUH&HF). If every one (or say the majority Muslims)
had obeyed what prophet wished, then there wouldn't exist any
group or school within Islam. Allah said in Quran:
"Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together and
do not separate" (Quran 3:103)"
The Rope of Allah which we should not separate from, are the Ahlul-Bayt.
In fact, some Sunni scholars narrated from Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq
"We are the Rope of Allah about whom Allah has said:
'Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together and do not
Thus, if Allah denounces the sectarianism, He denounces those
who separated from His Rope, and not those who hold fast to it!
Also some said the Rope of Allah is Quran. This is also true.
But by looking at the following tradition narrated by Umm Salama
The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran
is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they
both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."
Then we can conclude that Imam Ali is * the Quran verbatim *.
That is, Imam Ali is the Strong Rope of Allah also, because they
(Quran and Ali) are non-separable. In fact, there are a huge number
of traditions in authentic Sunni sources where Prophet said Quran
and Ahlul-Bayt are inseparable and if Muslims want to remain in
the right path, they should stick to BOTH of them. (Please refer
to the article titled: Quran and Ahlul-Bayt). Therefore, one can
conclude that those who separated from Ahlul-Bayt are the sectarian
who divided into sects and were denounced by Allah and His prophet
due to their divergence.
In fact, the opinion of majority is not a good criteria to distinguish
the false from the truth. If you look at the Quran, you will see
that Quran severely denounces the majority of by frequently saying
that "the majority do not understand", "the majority
do not use their logic", "the majority follow their
In another verse, Allah said:
"You are the best nation (Ummah) that has been raised up
for the (benefit of) people. You enjoin the good and forbid the
evil..." (Quran 3:110).
The best nation is also the Ahlul-Bayt. Let us remember that according
to Quran, "nation" does not mean the whole people. This
is even clear from the above verse that such Ummah (nation) are
raised FOR benefiting the people. Thus Ummah can be only a subset
of people and not the whole people. In fact one person can be
a nation. Sometimes the act of a single person is worthier than
the deeds of the whole nation. This was the case for Prophet Muhammad,
Imam Ali, as well as the case for Prophet Abraham, peace be upon
them all. Quran states that Abraham (AS) was a nation (Ummah),
meaning that his deeds was more valuable than all other people.
"Lo! Abraham was a nation (Ummah) who was obedient to Allah,
by nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters" (Quran
Thus, one single individual can be a nation in the language of
Quran. As for the Verse 3:100, it is interesting to note that
some Sunni scholars have narrated from Abu Ja'far (Imam Baqir
Abu Ja'far (AS) said about the verse 'You are the best nation
raised up for the (benefit of) people...(3:110)': "The
Members of the House of the Prophet."
Also Allah mentioned in Quran:
"O' you who believe! Fear Allah and be with the truthful"
According to some Sunni Commentaries, "the truthful"
means Imam Ali (AS):
This means that people should have feared Allah and should not
have separated from Imam Ali (AS) after the demise of Prophet
(PBUH&HF). This unfortunately did not happen at large, and
therefore, unfortunate divisions followed it.
With respect to the world al-Siddeeq -- "The Truthful",
there are many Sunni narrations in which the Messenger of Allah
The Truthful are three: Hazqeel (who was) the believer of the
family of Pharaoh (see Quran 40:28), and Habeeb al-Najjar (who
was) the believer of the family of Yaasin (see Quran 36:20), and
Ali Ibn Abi Talib who is the most virtuous one among them (see
In conclusion, we have shown in this article that the term Shia
has been used in Quran for the followers of the great servants
of Allah, and in the traditions of the Prophet for the followers
of Imam Ali (AS). One who follows such divinely appointed Guide
is safe from the disputes in the religion and has grasped the
Strong Rope of Allah, and has been given the glad tiding of Paradise.
A Sunni brother wrote: Sunni means the one who follows the traditions
(Sunnah) of the Prophet, and this is supported by the following
verse of Quran:
Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar
(beautiful pattern of conduct) for him who hopes in Allah and
the latter day and remembers Allah much. (Quran 33:21)
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(_) / (_| / / (_S ( (_)
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/: / / / ( /: / /. /: (_)
My comment was as follows:
"Indeed, there is for you an excellent exemplar (beautiful
pattern of conduct) in Abraham..." (Quran 60:4)
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( : /. (_S / (
Notice that in the above verse, the phrase which has been used
for Prophet Abraham (AS) is exactly the same as that of the previous
quoted verse used for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF). That is
true for the following verse as well:
Certainly there is for you in them (Abraham and his followers)
an excellent exemplar (beautiful pattern of conduct) for him who
fears Allah and the last day; and whoever turns back, then surely
Allah is the Self-sufficient, the Praised. (Quran 60:6)
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: (_S / (_) (_| / : (_) / / ( /: /
Now please tell us if we can be called a Sunni because we follow
Abraham's traditions? Certainly Prophet Muhammad followed the
tradition of Prophet Abraham, yet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) was never
called Sunni, as that result. Similarly, Prophet Abraham followed
the traditions of Prophet Noah, but he was never called a Sunni.
Quran mentioned that he was a Shia of Noah.
XXXXX by definition
XXXXX by label
All Muslims are Sunni by definition, but only a group of people,
which are famous to this name, are Sunni by label. How they got
such label needs to be investigated though.
Also, all Muslims are "obedient" by definition, but
there is no special group among Muslims who are called "obedient".
This shows that having a certain characteristic by definition
does not force us to specify such characteristic in our label.
In fact, in most cases (not all cases) the label is just a stereotype
and does not reflect the real attributes of the holder of such
label. Sometime the label is used to allure people to specific
version of something which is found in various versions, each
of which is claimed to be genuine one, by different groups. As
such, it wouldn't be an intelligent practice, in general, to identify
the genuineness of something with its label.
Surely, the followers of the Prophet are supposed to follow his
Sunnah by definition. But were they called Sunni when Prophet
Muhammad was alive? or even few years after his demise? In other
words, the question to be answered is: When did the title "Ahlussunnah
wal Jama'ah" come into existence in the history of Islam
for a specific group of Muslims?
Al-Iman Foundation NZ.
Iman foundation represents Islam under the teachings of Ahlulbayt. Special services for persian speaking brother and sisters are avaiable
Ahlulbayt center North Shore
This center is located in North Shore and serves the followers of Ahlulbayt in Islam. Their website can be accessed through following link
Al-Mustafa Charitable trust.
In western Auckland this center facilitates followers of Ahlulbayt in Islam. To visit their website please click below
Facilitates followers of Ahlulbayt to commemorate majalis of Imam Hussain(a.s) and days of remembrance for Holy Infalables. All programs are conducted in Urdu.
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C27 Ben Lomond Cresent
Near Cascades Rd.
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He is at his office every Friday and Sunday from 7:30 PM to 9.00 PM,
And you can get in touch with him through the following ways:
Every Thursday night, there is a Dua-E-Komail at Hosseiniyeh which will be held after salat Maghrib.
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