The Origins of Shia Sect

[By Ibn al Hashimi (]

Jews of Yathrib

Prior to the advent of Islam, the Arabian Peninsula was inhabited by various warring tribes. The Arabs were plagued with to their lack of unity and their incessant inter-tribal warfare. The motley Arabs were trapped in between two regional super-powers; to the West was the powerful Roman Empire and to the East was the mighty Persian Empire, and both would terrorize neighboring Arab provinces at will.

It was then that a Prophet arose by the name of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who unified the various Arab tribes under the banner of Islam. The Islamic ethos shattered the Jahiliyyah concept of Assabiyyah (tribalism/bigotry) and unified the Muslims under the newly defined concept of the Islamic Ummah. The Prophet unified the city of Yathrib (Madinah) which was a hotbed of inter-tribal warfare.

The Jews of Yathrib feared the unification of the Arabs, because they used to play on the differences between the various groups. The Jews thus conspired with a group of people, the Munafiqoon (the hypocrites), who claimed to be Muslim but were really disbelievers. Their leader was a man named Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool. This was the first attempt of the Jews to subvert Islam from the inside, using Abdullah ibn Ubayy and his lot to create schisms within the Ummah. Later, a Jew by the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba would use this same technique to create schisms within the Ummah.

First, the Prophet unified the city of Yathrib (Madinah) and he expelled the conspiring Jews. Then, he conquered Makkah and set about unifying all of Arabia. The Prophet sent invitation letters to the nations of the world, inviting them to the Call of Allah.

 The Persians

The Persian King, Chosroes, tore up the letter and declared that he would never follow what he regarded as “the lowly” Arabs. The Persians considered themselves a superior race. Theirs was a nation of racial haughtiness and supremacism. They were not willing to submit to the way of the ‘inferior’ Arabs, nor were they ready to accept the radical Islamic call for racial equality.

After the death of the Prophet, Caliph Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) quelled the apostate tribes in the Wars of Riddah (Apostasy), and he thereby maintained the unity of the Arabian Peninsula. Two years later, Umar bin Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) assumed power and at this time, the Islamic nation-state was coming of age. Border skirmishes between Rome and Persia eventually erupted into an all-out war.

Under the guidance of the Commander of the Faithful Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) , the Muslim armies defeated Rome and blitzed across Persia, dealing both empires a crushing blow. The Persians, with their haughty attitude of superiority, were sourly humiliated. The Muslims took the Persians as POWs (Prisoners of War).


The defeated Persian governor and former military commander, Harmuzan, was brought before Caliph Umar. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said to the defeated Persian:

“Harmuzan, we Arabs are the desert-dwellers you considered too lowly for even fighting with. We used to get licked by small columns of your troops. Now you see your King’s throne and crown lying at our feet while he is running about places to save his life. How did that happen?”

Harmuzan replied:

“Sir, then it used to be a war between the Persians and the Arabs. Now you have your God with you.”

In another narration, Harmuzan declared that before it was merely the Arab forces against the Persian forces, and the Persian forces were stronger. But now, it was the Arab forces and Allah, and it was impossible to defeat both at the same time. It was thus that Harmuzan and his Persian confederates realized that the power of the Republic of Madinah lay in its religious beliefs. To destroy the religious beliefs of the Muslims would be to destroy the Muslims.

Harmuzan was to be executed for war crimes by Caliph Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) , but he saved his life through an ingenious trick. He asked for water to drink, and requested Caliph Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for a reprieve for his life until he could finish his drink of water. Umar granted him this request, and upon this, Harmuzan spilled the water on the ground. Because he was unable to drink the water, therefore technically his royal reprieve would never lapse. Caliph Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) upheld his word, and thereby pardoned Harmuzan.

Assassination Plot

Harmuzan “converted” to Islam and moved to Madinah, whereupon he planned the Persian revenge on the Arab Muslims. Harmuzan blamed the Commander of the Faithful Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for the downfall of the Persian Empire, and it was thus that Harmuzan hatched the plan to assassinate the Caliph.

In Madinah, Harmuzan became close companions with a staunch Christian named Jafeena Al-Khalil. Jafeena was a political pawn of the Roman ruler and had served as an official in Damascus, Palestine and Heerah; the defeat of Rome by the Muslims left its mark on Jafeena who, like Harmuzan, swore revenge.

The third partner was a Jew by the name of Saba bin Shamoon (whose son would be Abdullah Ibn Saba, the notorious founder of the Shia movement). Saba despised the Muslims who had expelled the Jews on charges of conspiracy. All three of these individuals–Harmuzan (the Zoroastrian), Jafeena (the Christian), and Saba (the Jew) – belonged to peoples who had grievances against the rise of Muslim dominance.

They hired Feroz Abu Lulu, a Persian, who had recently been captured by the Muslims as a POW; he was a slave under a Muslim master. Abu Lulu stabbed Caliph Umar bin Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) to death.

A day before Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had been assassinated, Abdur Rahman (radhiyallahu anhu) -–Abu Bakr’s (radhiyallahu anhu) son-–had seen Abu Lulu standing with Harmuzan and Jafeena. The three men were whispering to one another. As Abdur Rehman (radhiyallahu anhu) passed by, the three got startled and a double edged dagger fell to the ground. Abdur Rahman would later confirm that this was the same dagger that killed Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . The murder of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was thus instigated by a coalition of a Roman Christian, a Jew, and a Persian Zoroastrian. It should be noted that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had prophesied that the Christians, Jews, and pagans would always be united against the Muslims.

Today, the modern day Shia venerate Abu Lulu, and they call him “Baba Shuja-e-din” which can be translated as “Honored Defender of Religion.” These Shia have a shrine erected for this murderer, located in the Iranian city of Kashan called the Abu Lulu Mausoleum wherein he is buried. The Shia travel from far distances to pray inside this shrine, and many of the Shia fast on the day that Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was killed, and even pass out sweets. Feroz Abu Lulu is one of the venerated founding figures of Shia ideology; the same people who conspired to kill Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) were the ones who planted the seeds of the Shia movement.

 Ubaidullah’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Revenge and Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Decision

Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) son, Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu), was infuriated by the murder of his father. Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) killed both Harmuzan and Jafeena. Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) was thus charged with murder and brought to the court of the new Caliph, Uthman bin Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) . Ali bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu), Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) vizier, advised that Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) should be executed for murder because there was not enough evidence to convict Harmuzan and Jafeena of any crime. Furthermore, reasoned Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , extra-judicial vigilante justice was not permitted in Islam; Harmuzan and Jafeena should at least have been entitled to a fair trial and-–if found guilty–-be executed by none other than the state.

However, the other Sahabah–-including Amir bin al A’as (radhiyallahu anhu) -–differed with Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) position , because they sympathized with Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) , who was the son of the great Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . His father had just been murdered in cold blood, and so they wished that Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) be forgiven due to the fact that he was acting out of distress. Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) thus ruled that Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) must pay blood-money. But because Harmuzan and Jafeena had no relatives, Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) declared that the blood-money should be given to charity and the Baitul Mal. However, Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) was unable to pay the blood-money due to lack of funds, and so it was that Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) paid this money out of his own pocket.

This was one of his first acts as Caliph, and the conspirators (in particular Abdullah Ibn Saba’s father) viewed Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) decision very unfavorably. It was in this atmosphere that Uthman bin Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) came to power, and the machinations of the conspirators continued in full force. Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) had killed Harmuzan and Jafeena, but Saba bin Shamoon remained alive. His son, Abdullah Ibn Saba, “converted” to Islam and he would uphold the task of destroying Islam from within.

The fact that Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) showed mercy upon Ubaidallah (radhiyallahu anhu) angered Saba bin Shamoon and his son, Abdullah Ibn Saba. These two men looked sympathetically towards Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , due to the fact that Ali had taken a harsh stance towards Ubaidallah’s actions. It was thus that Abdullah ibn Saba “converted” to Islam and founded the Shia sect, calling the masses to adore Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and agitating them against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . It was Abdullah Ibn Saba’s propaganda against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) that helped fan the flames of civil discontent and caused the people to rise against the Caliph. And so it was that the Saba’ites (followers of Abdullah Ibn Saba) assassinated Uthman.

 Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Caliphate

The murder of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) by the Persians created an air of rebellion of suspicion. Under the rule of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), the Islamic state expanded far and wide, but the conquered people posed the constant threat of rebellion. Despite these amazing victories for the Muslims, it turned out to be that the management of these vast territories became a more difficult task than conquering them. During Caliph Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) rule, the Islamic empire had grown so large that it was crushing itself under its own weight; the state was experiencing grave financial troubles.

Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was faced with the management of these conquered peoples who were by nature rebellious and unruly. He had the task of appointing governors as well as tax collectors; Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , an Umayyad, trusted very few people and rightfully so considering the atmosphere of civil discontent at the time, not to mention the assassination of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) by the conquered Persians. So it was that Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) appointed his family and friends to government positions. For example, during his reign, Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) cousin Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) remained the governor of Syria.


Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) acts as Vizier of the Caliph

Many poor Bedouins felt that the Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) policies were tilted in favor of the Umayyad elite. They wrongfully accused Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) of nepotism. (Today, the Shia also accuse him of this. The irony should not be lost that the Shia are the ones who said that the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam believed in nepotism, by restricting the Caliphs in the Ahlel Bayt only.)

The Bedouins found a spokesman in Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) . Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) prevented these Bedouins from resorting to violent rebellion and to instead use peaceful negotiation. As the Vizier and top advisor of Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had the ability to bring the case of the Bedouins to the Caliph, and by doing so, he brought these Bedouins to the negotiating table, instead of the war table.

 The Partisans of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu)

Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) supporters were a myriad of disenchanted people, some of whom had grievances with Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . These became the “Partisans of Ali” or the Shia’t Ali. (It should be noted that this is not the same group as the Ithna Ashari of today. In fact, the truth is that the Ithna Asharis did not exist back then, and the doctrine of Ithna Ashari Shi’ism would only emerge centuries later.) Indeed, these Partisans of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) were simply recently converted Bedouins as well as conquered Persians. They were not a religious sect, but rather a political party. The term “Shia’t Ali” was not used to denote a distinct religious sect; in fact, the partisans of Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) would be called “Shia’t Muawiyyah.”

Within the Partisans of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) were a myriad of different groups; many of which were Bedouins who had just recently converted from a Mushrik faith, as well as recently conquered Persians who clung to their Zoroastrian ways. They were weak in faith, ignorant, and barbaric. Both the Bedouins and the Zoroastrians were accustomed to their former pagan beliefs and had a difficult time adjusting to Islam, and often-times they would mix Islam with pagan thought.

 The Saba’ites

The Zoroastrians (of the defeated Persian Empire), the Christians (of the defeated Eastern Roman Empire), and the Jews (who had been expelled by the Muslims) grieved for the old days. In their private counsel, these defeated elements had reached the conclusion that it was not possible to fight Muslims on the battlefield. Therefore, they resolved to sow the seed of discord amongst Muslims, using the model of the Jews of Yathrib. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had called the Muslims to unite under the banner of Islam and the Qur’an; the disunited Arabs had unified and defeated their enemies. Thus, these conspirators decided to undo this process; they reasoned that to remove the Muslims from Islam and the Quran would also cause disunity and weakness.

The first step of these conspirators was the assassination of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) son Ubaidallah took revenge and killed Jafeena the Christian and Harmuzan the Persian. It was then that Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) demanded that Ubaidallah be given the death penalty for murdering Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) assassins. Abdullah Ibn Saba, whose father had been a companion of Jafeena and Harmuzan, thus took a liking for Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and declared himself a Partisan of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) .

Ibn Saba carried a grudge against Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) -–it had after all been his father responsible for Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) death; he also carried a grudge against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) who pardoned the killers of his father’s companions.

Abdullah Ibn Saba saw an opportunity to exploit the disunity of the Muslims during the time of civil unrest during Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Caliphate. Ibn Saba “converted” to Islam, and tried to gain a following amongst Ali’s more extreme supporters. These followers of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) were using him in their appeals to Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . They were already upset with Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , and thus they were the perfect target audience for Ibn Saba who would convince them of Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) superiority over Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu).

Ibn Saba first called the masses to show their love and devotion to the Ahlel Bayt (Prophetic Household). He then started claiming that none could exceed the Ahlel Bayt in status. When he gained some popularity at this, he boldly claimed that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was the most superior person after the Prophet. When he saw that some of his followers had indeed believed him, he confided in them that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was in reality the appointed successor of the Prophet, but that the Three Caliphs had usurped this right from him. Ibn Saba then unleashed a campaign of vilification against the Sahabah, and he is the first to start the practice of Tabarra,or ritualistic cursing of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. He then told his staunch supporters that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had powers above those of a normal human being.

To appeal to the recent Persian converts, Ibn Saba infused Zoroastrian beliefs into Islam. The Zoroastrians believed that God’s spirit was in their Chosroes (king), and that this spirit moved from one king to another, through his descendants. Ibn Saba declared that the divinity of Imamah also moved from one Imam to another through the descendants of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu). Many of the exaggerations in Shi’ism in regards to the powers of Imams take their inspiration from the Chosroes.

Ibn Saba’s ideas appealed to the pagan side of the new converts from amongst the Bedouins and Persians; these pagans were accustomed to worshipping idols and people, so the exaltation of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) appealed to them. Eventually, Ibn Saba would take it to the ultimate extreme and he applied in full force the concept of the Persian Chosroes, declaring Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to be Allah incarnated.

Up until then, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had not paid much attention to Ibn Saba’s antics, but once he heard of this news, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was furious. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) threatened to burn all of Ibn Saba’s followers (called Saba’ites) to the stake including Ibn Saba; Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) asked them to repent and he would eventually exile them to Mada’in (modern day Iran) when he was Caliph.

However, the Saba’ites adopted the concept of Taqiyyah (lying) and Kitman (hiding one’s faith); this allowed the Saba’ites to avoid detection from the authorities, infiltrating the ranks of the Shia’t Ali.

Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , who before becoming Caliph spent most of his time in Makkah and Madinah, remained oblivious to the Saba’ites who were mostly in Iraq (i.e. Kufa), Persia, and Egypt.

With the practise of Taqiyyah and Kitman, the Saba’ites functioned much like a secret society or cult, such as the Free Masons, Illuminati, and other clandestine organizations. The Saba’ites operated under a strict code of secrecy and hid their identities for fear of reprisal from the government. This created a situation such that the authorities could not clamp down on the Saba’ites due to their elusiveness, and the secret society continued to grow in numbers and fill the ranks of the Shia’t Ali, without even Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) knowledge.

The Saba’ites were the originators of the Shia faith. Generations later, these Saba’ites would branch out into the various Shia sects we know of today: the Druze, Bohras, Nizaris, Zaydis, Jarudis, Sulaymanis, Butris, Ismailis, Kaysaniyyas, Qaddahiyyas, Ghullat, Aga Khanis, Ithna Asharis, Usoolis, Akhbaris, Shaykis, and so on.

Saba’ites Organize Attack on Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)

It should be noted that these Saba’ite Bedouins were only one segment of the Shia’t Ali; they were an extremist fringe group. With the goading of Abdullah Ibn Saba, the Egyptian Bedouins (led by the Saba’ites) were planning on rebelling against Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . However, news of this imminent treason by the extremist wing of the Shia’t Ali reached the ears of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) thus ordered the Egyptian governor to pre-emptively take action against the malcontents. But when the Egyptian Bedouins found out that the governor was to punish the malcontents on orders of Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , Abdullah Ibn Saba convinced the Bedouins to siege the Caliph’s home in Madinah.

Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did not take part in the siege, nor did he approve of it. In fact, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) sent his own sons to protect Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , and he even offered 500 men to protect Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) . How is it then that the Shia claim that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) hated Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) when he sent his own beloved sons to defend him and to prolong his Caliphate?,

Indeed, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did not support the Saba’ite Bedouins who favored Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) over Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) -–much like Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) would not support the modern day Shia today. The modern day Shia can never explain why Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did not raise his sword against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , and they can only say that perhaps he was preventing bloodshed. But then why was Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) ready to shed blood in the defense of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) ? Truly, the Shia cannot explain this: a man does not send his sons to defend a tyrant.


Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Caliphate

In any case, Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was assassinated by the Saba’ite Bedouins. Once Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was slain, the Shia’t Ali urged Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to become the next Caliph. Ali, however, did not approve of the actions taken by his extremist followers and he asked his Shia’t Ali to find someone else to be Caliph. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) became reclusive and shunned his followers severely. This is recorded in Nahjul Balagha, which the Shia consider one of the most authentic sources of Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) lectures.

Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 91

When people decided to swear allegiance at Amir al-mu’minin’s hand after the murder of Uthman, Ali said:

“Leave me and seek someone else. We are facing a matter which has (several) faces and colors, which neither hearts can stand nor intelligence can accept. Clouds are hovering over the sky, and face are not discernible. You should know that if I respond to you that I would lead you as I know and would not care about whatever [anyone else] may say. If you leave me, then I am the same as you are. It is possible I would listen to and obey whoever you make in charge of your affairs. I am better for you as a counselor than as chief.”


However, the people pressured him and finally Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) became the Fourth Caliph. If Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had really been appointed to the Imamah by Allah, then why would Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) have refused this appointment at first? Why would he dislike a position that was supposedly granted to him by Allah? If Imamah was destined for him, why is Ali claiming that he wasn’t even going to be the Caliph until the people put him up to it?

We see that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) says the following in Nahjul Balagha:

Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 205

Ali said:

“By Allah, I had no liking for the caliphate nor any interest in government, but you yourselves invited me to it and prepared me for it.”



Battle of the Camel Instigated by Saba’ites

There was a public demand for Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to find the killers of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , especially since it was known that the killers were part of the Shia’t Ali. However, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) found himself too busy preventing a civil war to invest time and resources into finding the killers, so he planned on delaying it. This angered many people who wanted justice immediately. They found a spokeswoman in Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) , the Prophet’s widow. She sympathized with the people who wanted to find the killers of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) .

The reality is that both Ali and Aisha (radhiyallahu anhum) had equally convincing arguments. On the one hand, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) wanted to delay spending time and resources to find the killers because he had to prevent a civil war. On the other hand, Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) cannot be blamed for feeling hurt and loss at the murder of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , and surely the murderers should be brought to justice!

Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) went to see Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) in order to resolve the issue peacefully through arbitration. She feared that if she did not intercede on behalf of the malcontents by convincing Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to find the murderers, they would rebel against Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) . She thus adopted the previous role of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) : it had, after all, been Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who would take the case of the people to Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in order that their demands be heard.

Both Aisha and Ali (radhiyallahu anhum) wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. However, the extremist portion of the Shia’t Ali [i.e. the Saba’ites] that were responsible for the murder of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) did not want Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) to convince Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to prosecute the murderers, since of course it was they themselves.

So these Shia’t Ali decided to attack Aisha’s contingent thereby provoking a counter-response. Soon, Ali and Aisha (radhiyallahu anhum) found themselves in a battle that nobody even knew who started it. This was the Battle of the Camel, and both Ali and Aisha (radhiyallahu anhum) found themselves enmeshed in a battle that they did not want to fight.

Aisha’s (radhiyallahu anha) contingent was defeated. She apologized to Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) for the trouble she had caused, and Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) forgave her and safely returned Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) to her home. Both Ali and Aisha  (radhiyallahu anhum) are considered Sahabah, and this is a shining example of how although Sahabah get into disputes, they can resolve them in a civil manner. Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) had the humility to apologize, despite the fact that she really didn’t do anything wrong, and Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had the nobility not to hold any ill-feelings towards her and to walk her safely home.

During this chaotic time of civil war, all of the Sahabah were being pulled and manipulated by their ardent followers, many of whom were rabble-rousers like the followers of Ibn Saba in the Shia’t Ali. In the confusion of all of this, the Sahabah found themselves facing a civil war, despite the verse in the Qur’an which stated that the Ummah should remain united. It was a sad time in the history of Islam, with great Sahabah fighting other great Sahabah. But it should be remembered that the Battle of the Camel was concluded with the eventual reconciliation between Umm al Mu’mineen Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) and Amir al Mu’mineen Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) .

 Battle of Siffin and the Saba’ite Revolt Against Ali

Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) cousin Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) , then the governor of Syria, was not pleased with this outcome because Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) still did not prosecute the criminals within his own ranks. Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) was a blood-relative of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and he was very upset that the murderers were not apprehended. Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) refused to recognize Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) as Caliph, and he demanded the right to avenge Uthman’s (radhiyallahu anhu) death. In what was perhaps the most important battle fought between Muslims, Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) forces met Muawiyyah’s (radhiyallahu anhu) in the Battle of Siffin.

The Shia say that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) fought Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) for denying the Shia concept of the Imamah, and that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was the first Infallible Imam. And yet the Shia’s own books say that this was not the cause of the Battle of Siffin, but rather the cause was purely political, not religious. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) clearly said in Nahjul Balagha:

“In the beginning of our matter, the people of Syria [Muawiyyah’s forces] and us met. It is obvious that our God is one, our Prophet is one, and our call in Islam is one. We do not see ourselves more in faith in Allah or more in believing His messenger than them, nor they do. Our matter is one, except for our disagreement in Uthman’s blood, and we are innocent from his murder.” [Nahjul Balagha, vol.3, p.648]

So it was that the Shia’t Ali met the Shia’t Muawiyyah. Caliph Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) forces were decimating the forces of Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) . It would have been a decisive victory for Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , but the Shia’t Muawiyyah used a rouse to fool the Shia’t Ali. Muawiyyah’s (radhiyallahu anhu) Syrians adorned the tips of their swords with pages from the Qur’an. This confused the Shia’t Ali, who did not want to bring harm to the Qur’an.

The Shia’t Ali stopped fighting due to this trick, and the Shia’t Muawiyyah asked for a cease-fire and to resolve the issue through arbitration. Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , being the noble man that he was, agreed to  Shurah (consultation) for determining who would be Caliph. This greatly upset a contingent of his ardent followers, the Saba’ites, who did not agree that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) should use arbitration. The Saba’ites had been convinced by Abdullah Ibn Saba that Allah had appointed Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) as Caliph. So they accused Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) of going against the Will of Allah by resorting to negotiation on the matter. How could there be negotiation on a matter that is decreed by Allah Almighty??

A portion of the Saba’ites defected and turned against Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) . They declared vociferously: “No rule but to Allah!” These defectors came to be known as the Khawaarij, which literally translates to “those who go out” or “those who secede.” For so long, these people had been the most ardent supporters of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , calling themselves the Shia’t Ali and the Lovers of Ahl el Bayt, but look now where their doctrinal innovation had taken them. They defected against the very man they had claimed to follow!

This event in Islamic history is one that the Shia of today cannot explain away. They try to hide it under a rug, since it shows the falsehood of their beliefs. The Khawaarij, former Saba’ites, were of the same belief as today’s Ithna Ashari Shia (Twelver Shia, those who believe in 12 Imams) , namely that Allah had appointed Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to be Caliph. And yet, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) agreed to arbitration with Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) . The million-dollar question is: how could Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) agree to arbitration if it was a matter decreed by Allah?

How could Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) agree to negotiation on this matter if Allah Himself had chosen Ali to be this supposed “Infallible Imam”? Would Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) agree to arbitration and negotiation on the matter of his Prophethood? So why would Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) arbitrate and negotiate on the matter of his Imamah? In matters decreed by Allah, there can be no negotiation! For example, we cannot negotiate on the matter of eating pork or Salah, since these matters are already decreed by Allah.

This event proves without a shadow of doubt that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did not believe he was not divinely appointed by Allah nor by His Messenger(sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), since he agreed to arbitration and agreed to Shurah (consultation) to decide who would be the Caliph. This proves that what the Ahl Sunnah’s (Sunnis) beliefs are correct: namely that Shurah is the way to elect a leader, much like how Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was selected.

The Shia belief system is diametrically opposed to the very Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) they claim to follow, and soon will they also be faced against Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , much like the Khawaarij (former Saba’ites) would turn against and confront Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) ; Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) is he who denied all claims of divine appointment and of Infallible Imamah.

Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) eventually fought against the Khawaarij Shia and defeated them and was not successful in uprooting the beliefs of their followers. However, the Shia became a secret cult initially.

 Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) Murdered by Saba’ites

In any case, the Khawaarij Shia turned against Caliph Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and killed him. So it was that Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) became the fifth Caliph. The irony should not be lost that the Khawaarij Shia are the ones who killed Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , allowing Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) to be the Caliph, and now look at the Shia today lamenting about Muawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) stealing the Caliphate! There can be no denying that the Saba’ites and the Khawaarij are the fore-fathers of Shi’ism, since the Shia today hold the same opinion that Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was divinely appointed and thus arbitration (i.e. with Abu Bakr or Muawiyyah) cannot be accepted.

After Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) death, the Khawaarij went back into hiding, using Taqiyyah (lying) and Kitman (hiding). Abdullah ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) , a relative of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), attempted to persuade them to reject the Khawaarij doctrine, and so some of them did reject it. Unfortunately, most of them continued to hold onto their Saba’ite Shia beliefs, initially secretly, and later more openly.


This article has traced the origins of the Shia, which date back to the assassination conspiracy of Umar by the Persian Harmuzan, the Christian Jafeena, and the Jew Saba. The latter’s son, Abdullah Ibn Saba, would carry on his father’s work by adopting the subterfuge tactics of the Jews of Yathrib. Ibn Saba was successful in weakening the Muslims from the inside by creating the Shia sect. Throughout its turbulent history, the Shia (who originated from the Saba’ites) have spread Fitnah to every corner of the Muslim world.

These Saba’ites killed Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , attacked Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) , and killed Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) . They also supported Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) assassin Abu Lula. Then, these Shia betrayed Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) son Hasan (radhiyallahu anhu) . The Shia also deceived Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) second son Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu) to seek the Caliphate by giving him the impression they they would support him, but they abandoned him and many of them actually fought against him, in the battle that lead to his brutal death. Later, Hussain’s (radhiyallahu anhu) grandson would also die due to the betrayal of the Shia.

The ancestors of the Shia were a hate-mongering people, responsible for creating disunity and disarray amongst the Muslim Ummah. Today, this tradition lives on in the Shia, who carry on the practice of Tabarra, cursing and insulting the pious pioneers of Islam, rabble-rousing and trying to create hatred and disunity amongst the believers.



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