Chapter 11

The Doctrine of the Imamate

It has been explained in detail in the preceding chapter how
the activist claimants of the House of 'Ali were crushed, their
apparently popular movements collapsed one after the other,
and the 'Abbasids finally managed to firmly establish
themselves as the sole authority of both the state and religion.
A process of assimilation was set into motion and most of the
cross-currents represented by a number of politic-religious
or religio-political groups were gradually being absorbed,
under the patronage of the state authority, into a synthesis to
be known as the Jama'a, which was supposed to support and
in turn was supported by the 'Abbasid caliphate.

In this setting the strategic task of the Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq
was to save the basic ideal of Shi'ism from absorption by the
emerging synthesis on the one hand, and to purify it from
extremist and activist tendencies within itself on the other.
Thus the circumstances in which the Imamate of Ja'far
happened to fall afforded him a unique opportunity, denied
to his father and grandfather, to firmly establish and explain
the principles of legitimacy. The rudiments of the concept
and function of the Imam had already been introduced by
'Ali in his speeches, by Hasan in his letters to Mu'awiya and
by Husayn in his correspondence with the Shi'ism of Kufa and
Basra, which we have discussed in the preceding chapters.
After the death of Husayn, the concept of legitimacy within
the family of Muhammad and of the function of the Imam
restricted to religious and spiritual guidance of the community
were laid down by Zayn al-'Abidin and Muhammad al-Baqir.
Now, after the removal of other contenders from the scene,
Ja'far enjoyed a strategically advantageous position, and it


was his task to elucidate the doctrine of the Imamate and
elaborate it in a definitive form.

In this attempt Ja'far put the utmost emphasis on two
fundamental principles. The first was that of the Nass that is,
the Imamate is a prerogative bestowed by God upon a chosen
person, from the family of the Prophet, who before his death
and with the guidance of God, transfers the Imamate to
another by an explicit designation (Nass). On the authority of
Nass, therefore, the Imamate is restricted, through all political
circumstances, to a definite individual among all the descendants
of 'Ali and Fatima, whether he claims the temporal rule
for himself or not. Naturally, the transfer of the Imamate
through Nass would be both incomplete and meaningless
unless it could be traced back to the person of 'Ali, who
should have been entrusted with the office of the Imamate by
the Prophet himself. The Nass thus initiated by the Prophet
came down from 'Ali to Hasan, from Hasan to Husayn, and
then remained strictly in the line of Husayn until through
successive Nass it reached Ja'far. This theory, as we shall see
presently, distinguished Ja'far's Imamate from all other
claimants, who did not claim a Nass from any preceding
Imam. Zayd clearly denied that there was an explicit Nass or
designation of 'Ali by Muhammad, (1) or that there was any
designation of the next Imam by the preceding one. Nor did
Muhammad an-Nafs az-Zakiya or his brother Ibrahim ever
resort to the principle of Nass from any preceding authority.
On the contrary, as Ash'ari points out,(2) the idea of Nass was
the key trait of the Rawafid (3) as opposed to the supporters of
Zayd and later on An-Nafs az-Zakiya. Ash'ari's statement is
in accordance with the unanimous reports given by the
Twelver writers themselves, such as Nawbakhti; Sa'd al-
Ash'ari, and Kashshi, of Muhammad al-Baqir's followers,
who upheld him against Zayd as the only legitimist 'Alid
authority on the principle of Nass though the doctrine of
Nass was not yet fully elaborated in his time. A comparison
between the traditions related from Al-Baqir and those from
Ja'far would demonstrate that Ja'far became increasingly
clear and emphatic in his expositions on the doctrine of the
Nass Imamate. As a result, a further comparison between the
attitudes of the followers of these two respective Imams
discloses a trend towards a clear acceptance of Ja'far as the


Imam largely on the principle of Nass This is evident from
the action of a group of the Kufan Shi'is who, after the death
of Al-Baqir, adhered for some time to Zayd, but soon
abandoned him and went over to Ja'far, whom they regarded
as the representative of Al-Baqir's claims.(4) Hodgson quotes
Strothmann's suggestion, "that the story of the Kufan Shi'is
abandoning Zayd for Ja'far shows that they already accepted
the idea of a line of Imams by inheritance."(5) The idea of the
Nass Imamate, however, became such a common instrument
that not only Ja'far, but a number of ghulat (extremist Shi'is
of Kufa, who will be discussed later), such as Bayan, Abu
Mansur, and Mughira, (6) claimed inheritance from Al-Baqir
and achieved some short-lived success. There are numerous
references in our sources to the effect that Ja'far repeatedly
condemned those fanatics and warned his followers not to
accept their traditions.

The second fundamental principle embodied in the
doctrine of the Imamate as elaborated and emphasized by
Ja'far was that of 'Ilm. This means that an Imam is a divinely
inspired possessor of a special sum of knowledge of religion,
which can only be passed on before his death to the following
Imam. In this way the Imam of the time becomes the
exclusively authoritative source of knowledge in religious
matters, and thus without his guidance no one can keep to the
right path.(7) This special knowledge includes both the external
(zahir) and the esoteric (batin) meanings of the Qur'an.(8) A
close scrutiny of the traditions related from Al-Baqir and
then mostly from Ja'far on the subject of the Imamate will
show that they rotate around these two principles of Nass and
'Ilm, which are not merely conjoined or added to one another,
but are so thoroughly fused into a unitary vision of religious
leadership that it is impossible to separate the one from the
other. Hence Nass in fact means transmission of that special
knowledge of religion which had been exclusively and
legitimately restricted to the divinely favoured Imams of the
House of the Prophet through 'Ali, and which can only be
transferred from one Imam to his successor as the legacy of
the chosen family. Thus, for the adherents of Ja'far, his claim
was not just that he was an Imam who ought to be a member
of the 'Alid family, but that he was the particular individual,
from the descent of the Prophet, designated by his father and


therefore inherently possessed of all the authority to guide
believers in all religious matters.

As we shall see presently in the traditions of Al-Baqir and
Ja'far as-Sadiq, this emphasis on the aspect of "special
knowledge" having been possessed by the Imams of the
House of the Prophet was a natural corollary of and a
necessary response to the situation and tendencies of the
epoch. This was the time when there was a wide search for
Hadith and a vigorous attempt was being made to construct
total systems of the pious life in Islam. These efforts eventually
issued in the formulation of a complete system of Shari'a law.
It was the time of Malik b. Anas and Abu Hanifa, the Imams
of Fiqh who were busy working out their legal systems in
their respective centres of Medina and Kufa. Ja'far as-Sadiq,
being the descendant of the Prophet and known for his and
his family's learning in religious matters, was evidently looked
upon by the community in general at least as an Imam of
Fiqh, like that of Malik and Abu Hanifa, concerned with
working out the proper details of how the pious should solve
the various cases of conscience that might arise. So he appears
in Sunni traditions to a degree, and even, as has been pointed
out earlier, Abu Hanifa is reported to have been his pupil.
But, unlike Malik and Abu Hanifa to the Sunni Muslims, to
the followers of the House of the Prophet Ja'far had a unique
authority in these matters by virtue of his position as Imam
by Nass; that is, to the Shi'a his was the final decision on earth
in these matters, whereas the others, as was indeed admitted,
had no more legal authority in principle than any of their
followers. (9)

"This claim was perhaps initially less a matter of the knowledge
he had (from his father) than of the authoritative use he could
make of it, or in other words, his hereditary authority to decide
cases. Any sovereign must be empowered to make the final
decisions in any legal matter; hence the Imam's very claim that
sovereignty was justly his could readily entail a claim to final
authority in legal, and in this case all religious, matters. Such a
claim would be readily transmuted to one of supernatural
knowledge in many minds. But in an Imam where the authority
was not in actual fact the sovereign, and his 'Ilm remained on a
theoretical level, that discernment, that 'Ilm which should guide
his decisions, took on a special sacredness and became a unique


gift inherited from Imam to Imam. Accordingly, as the exclusively
authorized source of the knowledge of how to lead a pious life, the
Imam had an all-important function whether he was a ruler or
not." (10)

With the Imamate thus based on Nass and 'Ilm, as
explained by Ja'far, it should no longer be difficult for us to
understand why Ja'far himself remained absolutely indifferent
in all those struggles for power which took place in his
lifetime. In his doctrine of the Imamate it was not at all
necessary for a divinely appointed Imam to rise in rebellion
and try to become a ruler. To him his place was above that of
a ruler, who should only carry out what an Imam decides as
a supreme authority of religion. It was on this basis that when
Zayd came out with his claims, Ja'far raised no protest and
even exalted Zayd's virtues before a delegation of Kufan
Shi'is. But at the same time he said to Fudayl b. Rassan that
had Zayd become a king, he would not have known how to
act and fulfil his duties. (11) In this way he implied that Zayd
had the right to political authority only. He made similar
remarks when Muhammad an-Nafs az-Zakiya rose to claim
the Imamate. Ja'far emphatically denied any share in the
religious leadership of the community for the descendants of
Hasan, (12) from whom Husayn inherited the Imamate, which
then remained in the latter's progeny.

According to the traditions related in this connection, Al-
Baqir designated Ja'far as his successor in many ways. He
called him "the best of all mankind in his time", and "the one
in charge of the family of Muhammad" (Qa'im Al Muham-
mad), and also trusted him with the books and scrolls and the
weapons of the Prophet, which were in his possession. (13)
These scriptures containing special knowledge of religion
and the weapons of the Prophet must only come into the
possession of the true Imam, who is designated by Nass by
the previous Imam. Thus by declaring that they were in his
trust, Ja'far denied the rights of An-Nafs az-Zakiya, who
asserted that he had the sword of the Prophet.(14) Whether
these family treasures were in the custody of Ja'far or were in
the possession of the Hasanid claimants, the fact remains that
Ja'far himself claimed the spiritual leadership of the community
which he based on the same principles as Al-Baqir,
namely on Nass.


Ja'far explained that the Imamate is bequeathed from
father to son, but not necessarily to the eldest son, for "as
Daniel selected Solomon from among his progeny," so an
Imam designates as his successor the son he considers really
worthy of the office. Thus Ja'far could annul the appointment
of his eldest son Isma'il, who died before him, pass over the
candidature of his next son, Abd Allah, and nominate the
third, Musa al-Kazim. (15)

In explaining the position of the Imam, Ja'far made
repeated declarations in unequivocal terms and proclaimed
that the Imamate is a covenant between God and mankind,
and recognition of the Imam is the absolute duty of every
believer. (16) "Whoever dies without having known and acknowledged
the Imam of his time dies as an infideL" (17) The
Imams are the proofs (Hujja) of God on earth, their words are
the words of God, and their commands are the commands of
God. Obedience to them is obedience to God, and disobedience
to them is disobedience to God. In all their decisions they are
inspired by God, and they are in absolute authority. It is to
them, therefore, that "God has ordained obedience" (18) (Qur'an
Iv, 59).

Ja'far goes on to declare that the Imam of the time is the
witness for the people and he is the gate to God (Bab Allah)
and the road (Sabil) to Him, and the guide thereto (Dalil),
and the repository of His knowledge, and the interpreter of
His revelations. The Imam of his time is a pillar of God's
unity (tawhid). The Imam is immune from sin (khata) and
error (dalal). The Imams are those from whom "God has
removed all impurity and made them absolutely pure"
(Qur'an, XXXIII, 33); they are possessed of the power of
miracles and of irrefutable arguments (dalil); and they are
for the protection of the people of this earth just as the stars
are for the inhabitants of the heavens. They may be likened,
in this community, to the Ark of Noah: he who boards it
obtains salvation and reaches the gate of repentance.(19) In
another tradition, "God delegated to the Imams spiritual
rulership over the whole world, which must always have such
a leader and guide. Even if only two men were left upon the
face of the earth, one of them would be an Imam, so much
would his guidance be needed." (20)


In fact, according to the Imam Ja'far's explanation, there
are always two Imams, the actual or "speaking" Imam (Natiq)
and his son-successor, who during the lifetime of his father is
"silent" (samit). (21) The silent Imam does not know of his
exalted position until his father's death, for only then is he
entrusted with the scriptures and the secrets of religion.
When the father expires, his son immediately steps into his
place and becomes the "proof" (al-Hujja) for mankind.(22)

As has been pointed out earlier, in order to prove his rights
to the Imamate on the principle of Nass it was only logical
that the utmost emphasis should be put first of all on 'Ali
rights to the spiritual leadership of the community as the
divinely favoured legatee of the Prophet. It was not a new
thing, however. 'Ali himself had put forward his claim time
and again after the death of the Prophet until his own
assassination ;and thereafter Hasan, Husayn, Zayn al-'Abidin,
and Muhammad al-Baqir never missed an opportunity to
pronounce 'Ali's rights and superiority to the heritage of the
Prophet. Ja'far, enjoying better circumstances than his
predecessors, only elucidated and systematized concepts and
ideals they had already introduced in rudimentary form.
Thus he, as indeed did his father before him, quoted many
verses of the Qur'an which in his interpretation proved the
appointment of 'Ali to the Imamate. The numerous verses
quoted in this connection by the Shi'i sources (23) are among
those which are accepted by all Muslims as the 'Ayn al
Mutashabihat: unclear verses which require interpretation
(ta'wil), as opposed to the Ayat al-Muhkamat: clear or firm
verses in which there is no room for any interpretation. In the
Qur'an we read:

"God, it is He Who has sent down to you the Book. Some of its
verses are perspicuous (muhkamat), these are the basis of the
Book: others are unclear (Mutashabihat)... No one knows their
interpretation except God, and those who are firm in their
knowledge say, 'We believe therein, it is all from our Lord."'(24)

It was at the time of Ja'far that such verses were being
interpreted by the religious leaders of the community. Ja'far,
by virtue of his birth and family background, perhaps had
better claims to explain the Qur'an than the other Muslims;
and it was, therefore, quite natural for a section of the
community adhering to the family of the Prophet to give


more weight to Ja'far's interpretations than to those who only
acquired knowledge through scholarship.

Like Nass, the "special knowledge" of religion ('Ilm) which
Ja'far declared for himself should also be traced back to 'Ali,
from whom it passed from Imam to Imam until it came into
Ja'far's possession. Thus Ja'far said that the Prophet entrusted
'Ali with the greatest name of God and the traditions
pertaining to the knowledge of prophethood (Athar an-
Nubuwwa). (25) This is only one of numerous traditions
recorded by the Shi'i sources regarding the extraordinary
knowledge with which 'Ali distinguished himself among all
those around the Prophet. There must, however, have been
some substance to the fame and widespread reputation of the
unparalleled knowledge of 'Ali; not only the Shi'i sources
and Ja'far's traditions, but most of the Sunni sources and
their standard collections of Hadith, have recorded a number
of traditions in regard to 'Ali's superior knowledge.(26) As has
been pointed out earlier, the Caliph 'Umar is frequently
quoted as saying that "'Ali is the best of all the judges of the
people of Medina and the chief of the readers of the Qur'an."(27)
Perhaps the most representative tradition of 'Ali's erudite
knowledge, recorded even by most of the Sunni sources, is
one which has the Prophet saying: "I am the city of knowledge
('Ilm), and 'Ali is its door." (28) With the overwhelming
testimony coming down to us from both Sunni and Shi'i
sources, there seems to be little doubt that 'Ali was
acknowledged as having extraordinary knowledge in religious
matters. Inheritance of this knowledge thus became a source
of the claim of special rights for the legitimist Imams of the

Another very relevant and rather difficult problem connected
with Ja'far's claims to the Nass and inheritance of
"special knowledge" was the question of the scope and
applicability of the term Ahl al-Bayt. On the one hand, all the
descendants of 'Ali, whether through Fatima or not, were
claiming membership of the "Sacred House". On the other
hand, the 'Abbasids, being the descendants of Hashim, also
claimed the prerogative of the Ahl al-Bayt and were revered
by their followers as God's inspired Imams and as the Mahdi.
Ja'far thus put his utmost emphasis on a tradition from the
Prophet which would limit the inclusive meaning of the


Qur'anic verse referring to the people of the House "from
whom [all kinds of] uncleanliness were removed" to 'Ali,
Fatima, and their progeny. This tradition is known as the
Hadith al-Kisa or as the Hadith Ashab al-Kisa. The Hadith
runs: "Muhammad made 'Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn
enter under his mantle (kisa) in the house of Umm Salima
and then said: 'Every Prophet has his family (ahl) and his
charge (thaql); these, O God, are my family and my charge.'
Hearing this, Umm Salima asked: 'Am I not from the people
of your House?' The Prophet replied: 'No, may you be well;
only these under the mantle are the people of my House and
my charge."' (29)

The tradition is a long one. But perhaps the most important
part of it is when the archangel Gabriel came down to
announce the "Verse of the Purification"(30) for the "Five of the
Mantle", (31) and Muhammad introduced them to the angel
saying: "There are, under the mantle, Fatima, her husband
'Ali, and her two children Hasan and Husayn." One can see
clearly that the point of gravity is laid here not on 'Ali, but on
Fatima, with reference to whom 'Ali, Hasan, and Husayn are
introduced. Pre-Islamic literature is not devoid of examples
where people are introduced through their mothers or wives.
In the case of Fatima, we have seen in the previous chapter
that An-Nafs az-Zakiya in his letter to Mansur made special
reference to his relationship to Fatima. The reference to her
was also made essential even by the Zaydis, who restricted the
Imamate to only those 'Alids who were Fatimids. But it was
Ja'far who in his elaborations put extreme emphasis on this
point. It had indeed an immense potential appeal for the
claims of the legitimist Imams. Eventually Fatima came to be
regarded, especially among the Twelver Shi'is, as one of the
most respected figures.

Through such traditions, Ja'far in his own lifetime
established for his line of Imams the sanctity of the Ahl al-
Bayt as an inherited quality confined only to those of the
children of Fatima who were ordained to be the Imams, and
in this way rejected the claims of all other Hashimites,
whether 'Alids or 'Abbasids.

Such an hereditary claim to the Imamate based on Nass
and "special knowledge", as elaborated by Ja'far and his father
Al-Baqir, however, greatly exposed the claimants to the


danger of persecution by the 'Abbasids, who also claimed
spiritual leadership of the community. Thus arose the famous
doctrine of Taqiya (dissimulation) on which Ja'far put the
utmost emphasis, raising it almost to the status of a condition
for Faith. It is interesting to note that there is not a single
tradition on Taqiya from any Imam prior to Al-Baqir, which
is a sufficient proof that the doctrine of Taqiya was first
introduced by him and was further elaborated by Ja'far, and
that it was, in fact, a need of the time and the circumstances
in which they were living and working out the tenets for their
followers. One may see that the theory of Taqiya suits very
well the theory of extraordinary knowledge embodied in the
Imams, which should be limited to a few selected persons
who inherited that knowledge through Nass. Thus Ja'far

"This affair (amr) [the Imamate and the esoteric meaning of
religion] is occult (mastur) and veiled (muqanna) by a covenant
(mithaq), and whoever unveils it will be disgraced by God."(32)

In a conversation with Mu'alla b. Khunays, one of the
extremists of Kufa whom Ja'far discredited, the Imam said:

"Keep our affair secret, and do not divulge it publicly, for
whoever keeps it secret and does not reveal it, God will exalt him
in this world and put light between his eyes in the next, leading
him to Paradise. O Mu'alla, whoever divulges our affair publicly,
and does not keep it secret, God will disgrace him in this world
and will take away light from between his eyes in the next, and
will decree for him darkness that will lead him to the Fire. O
Mu'alla, verily the Taqiya is of my religion and of the religion of
my father, and one who does not keep the Taqiya has no religion.
O Mu'alla, it is necessary to worship in secret as it is necessary to
worship openly. O Mu'alla, the one who reveals our affairs is the
one who denies them." (33)

The esoteric mysteries of religion were Wilayat Allah,
which God entrusted to Gabriel, who brought them to
Muhammad. The Prophet, in turn, handed them over to 'Ali,
and they became the inheritance of the Imams, who are
bound to keep them secret. (34) The duty, therefore, incumbent
on the Faithful is that they should not impart their faith to
those who do not share the same beliefs. Ja'far thus accused
the Kaysanites of betraying religion when they spread its


secrets among the common people: "Our secret continued to
be preserved until it came into the hands of the sons of Kaysan
(wuld Kaysan) [his followers] and they spoke of it on the roads
and in the villages of the Sawad." (35)

A careful examination of the development of the concept
and doctrine of the Taqiya would clearly reveal the fact that
it was a natural corollary of the prevalent circumstances of
the time and an inevitable necessity imposed by the danger of
following certain religious or political views. To announce
publicly that certain persons were divinely inspired Imams
and therefore the sole object of obedience was a direct
challenge to the authority of the 'Abbasid caliphs, who
claimed to have combined in themselves both the temporal
and religious sovereignty. Shi'ism thus had to find its own
means to preserve itself in that difficult situation. This was
accomplished through the introduction of the doctrine of
dissimulation, but this, according to the pattern of the epoch,
where the entire pattern of life was considered from a religious
standpoint, must be supported by certain passages from the
Qur'an or a Hadith indicating a precedent. According to
Ja'far, both Joseph and Abraham practised Taqiya when they
resorted to concealment of the truth: the first when he accused
his brother of theft, and the second when he asserted that he
was ill. (36) Muhammad himself, accordingly, is reported to
have practised Taqiya until the verse in which he was ordered
to preach publicly was revealed. It reads: "O you Apostle,
reveal the whole that has been revealed to you from your
Lord; if you do it not, you have not preached His message
and God will not defend you from wicked men."(37) Another
verse which was used to support the doctrine of Taqiya reads:
"And who disbelieves in God after believing in Him, except
under compulsion, and whose heart is confident in faith " (38)

In Al-Baqir's period the doctrine of Taqiya was established
in Shi'ism, and we may attribute the rudiments of its theory
to him. But it was left to Ja'far to give it final form and make
it an absolute condition of true faith: "Fear for your religion
and protect it [lit. veil it] with the Taqiya, for there is no faith
(Iman) in whom there is no Taqiya." (39) Goldhizer traces the
history of the doctrine of Taqiya and finds it practised without
being announced as a principle even by Muhammad b. al-
Hanafiya, though in his findings, too, it was Ja'far who so


elaborated Taqiya as one of the doctrines of Shi'i faith out of
the political needs of his time. (40)

It is, however, hardly disputable that the doctrine of Taqiya,
thus made a necessary part of faith by Ja'far, ultimately served
the Shi'is as a very useful instrument in the preservation of
their doctrinal discipline during all unfavourable and rather
hostile political circumstances. This is also evident from
another tradition from Ja'far quoted by Saduq in his Creed,
where the Imam says: "Mix with the people [i.e., enemies]
outwardly, but oppose them inwardly so long as the Amirate
is a matter of opinion." (41) On another occasion, when Zakariya
b. Sabiq enumerated the Imams in the presence of Ja'far and
reached Muhammad al-Baqir, he was interrupted by Ja'far's
exclamation: "That is enough for you. God has affirmed your
tongue and has guided your heart." (42) We may conclude from
all these traditions that the real meaning of Taqiya is not
telling a lie or falsehood, as it is often understood, but the
protection of the true religion and its followers from enemies
through concealment in circumstances where there is fear of
being killed or captured or insulted.

There is another important point which must be discussed
here briefly. A considerable number of traditions are to be
found, especially in the earliest Shi'i collection of hadith, Al-
Kafi, which describe the Imams as supernatural human
beings. What was the origin of these traditions, and to what
extent are the Imams themselves responsible for them? These
traditions are reported, as indeed are all Shi'i traditions, on
the authority of one of the Imams, in this case mainly from
Al-Baqir and Ja'far. But were these Imams really the authors
of such traditions, which describe their supernatural character?
The first thing which must be noted in this connection is
that while Al-Baqir and Ja'far themselves lived in Medina,
most of their followers lived in Kufa. This fact brings us to a
crucial problem. Kufa had long been a centre of ghulat
speculations and activities. Whether 'Abd Allah b. Saba', (43) to
whom the history of the ghulat is traced, was a real personality
or not, the name As-Saba'iya (44) is often used to describe the
ghulat in Kufa who believed in the supernatural character of
'Ali. According to the heresiographers, Ibn Saba was the first
to preach the doctrine of waqf (refusal to recognize the death
of 'Ali) and the first to condemn the first two caliphs in


addition to 'Uthmin. (45) Baghdadi says that As-Saba'iya
mostly consisted of the old Saba'iyans of South Arabia, who
survived all vicissitudes until the time of Mukhtar and
formed the nucleus of his "chair-worshippers".(46)

This early group of ghulat seems to have been absorbed by
the Kaysaniya, who believed in Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya's
Mahdism and followed his son Abu Hashim 'Abd Allah.
The death of Abu Hashim was the turning point in the
history of the ghulat, for it caused the split in consequence of
which they separated into two distinct groups. One upheld
the various successors of Abu Hashim and believed in his
concealment and return and eventually transplanted them-
selves into Iran, where they grew into the Kharramite
revolutionary movement towards the end of the Umayyad
period. The other group overlapped the Kaysanite stage,
remained in Kufa, and somehow connected itself with the
Husaynid Imams. The most conspicuous names in this
second group, who became the followers of Al-Baqir and then
of Ja'far as-Sadiq, are Hamza b. 'Umara al-Buraydi, Bayan b.
Sim'an, Sa'd an-Nahdi, Mughira b. Sa'id al-'Ijli, his Co-
tribesman Abu Mansur al-'Ijli, and Muhammad b. Abi
Zaynab Miqlas b. Abi'l-Khattab. It would be too lengthy to
even briefly describe their extremist teachings here; suffice it
to say that they preached that the Imams were the incarnations
of God, that the divine particle incarnate in 'All b. Abi Talib
enabled him to know the unseen, foretell the future, and to
fight against the infidels, that the power of the invisible
angelic world was in 'Ali like a lamp within a niche in a wall,
and that God's light was in 'Ali as the flame in a lamp.(47) In
connection with these ghulat and their teachings, here we will
only point out that from Al-Baqir onwards, all the subsequent
Imams always cursed them and repeatedly warned their
followers not to accept traditions from them.(48) Kashshi quotes
Ja'far, who complains of Mughira, for example, as misrepresenting
Al-Baqir, and adds that all the ghuluw ascribed to Al-
Baqir was from Mughira. (49) In fact Ja'far and all the Imams
who followed him were always unequivocal in violently
cursing the ghulat and condemning their teachings.

There was, however, another very active group in Kufa,
busy in advancing the cause of Al-Baqir and Ja'far. The most
important among them were people such as Jabir b. Yazid


al-Ju'fi, (50) Abu Hamza ath-Thumali; (51) and Mu'adh b. Farra
an-Nahwi. (52) Paying only occasional visits to the Imams in
Medina and enjoying their confidence, they severed their
relations with the ghulat of Kufa. On behalf of the Imams
they had doctrinal quarrels with the ghulat and preached
against the latter's excessive claims regarding the nature and
function of the Imams. They did remain faithful to a certain
doctrinal discipline, imposed by the Imams, while this was
aggressively violated by the ghulat. Yet, when we see the
traditions related by Jabir and his associates in this group, it
seems that they must have been influenced by some of the
ideas propagated by the ghulat, especially those of Bayan b.
Sim'an and Mughira b. Sa'id.

Perhaps no follower of Al-Baqir and Ja'far dared to go so
far in his assertions as Jabir. It will suffice to quote here only
one from a great number of traditions related by Jabir, which
indicates his semi-ghulat tendencies. Jabir related that Al-
Baqir said:

"'O Jabir, the first beings that God created were Muhammad
and his family, the rightly guided ones and the guides; they were
the phantoms of light before God.' I asked, 'And what were the
phantoms?' Al-Baqir said, 'Shadows of light, luminous bodies
without spirits; they were strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Ruh
al-Quds), through which Muhammad and his family worshipped
God. For that reason He created them forbearing, learned,
endowed with filial piety, and pure; they worship God through
prayer, fasting, prostrating themselves, enumerating His names,
and ejaculating: God is great."' (53)

If we compare the ideas of the ghulat concerning God's
light in 'Ali, pointed out above, with Jabir's description of the
Imams as the "shadows of light" and "luminous bodies", there
seems to be a common trend of thinking between the two.

It is perhaps for this reason that later ghulat groups accepted
Jabir as their forerunner. This is indicated by the assertions
of Abu'l-Khattab and his successors, who claimed Jabir as
their predecessor. Thus Umm at-Kitab is said to contain the
teachings of Al-Baqir, Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari, and Jabir
al-Ju'fl. (54) Another religious writing, Risalat al-Ju'fi, contain-
ing Isma'ili doctrines, is based mainly on the expositions of
Jabir on the authority of Al- Baqir. (55) Apparently neither the
doctrine of Umm al-Kitab nor that of Risalat al-Ju'fi represent


the views of Al-Baqir, and probably only little of what Jabir
himself taught. It is nevertheless an important point that he
was regarded as the spiritual forefather of the post-Khattabite

However, in spite of the fact that ghuluw was repeatedly
condemned by Al-Baqir, Jafar, and the successive Imams of
the Husaynid line, a number of traditions containing some
ghulat ideas found their way into Shi'i collections of hadith.
Most of these traditions are related from Jabir al-Ju'fi But it
is now by no means possible to ascertain whether Jabir
himself was the author of these traditions or whether these
were attached to his name by the later ghulat and were
circulated in the Imamate circles. In both the Sunni and the
Shi'i science of hadith, little attention was paid to the
substance of a tradition: usually a hadith was either accepted
or rejected according to the credibility and trustworthiness of
its transmitters. In the Shi'i science of hadith, the main
criterion was that if a person was proven to have been a
devoted and sincere adherent of the Imam of his time, his
traditions were acceptable. Jabir, in spite of his semi-ghulat
tendencies and exaggerations, whether authentic or forged,
nevertheless remained, throughout his life, faithful to Al-
Baqir and Ja'far. When Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni
(died 328/939) compiled the first collection of the Shi'i
traditions, Al-Kafi fi'l-'Ilm ad-Din, his purpose was to collect
whatever came to him on the authority of those who were
known as the adherents of any one of the Imams. In this way
a great many traditions ascribing supernatural and super-
human characteristics to the Imams, propounded by the
semi-ghulat circles in Ku fa, crept into the Shi'i literature.

There are, however, numerous traditions in Kafi in which
both Al-Baqir and Ja'far clearly denied that they possessed
supernatural powers and discounted the miracles attributed
to them. (56) It is thus most unlikely that Ja'far was personally
responsible for all those fantastic descriptions of the super-
natural character of the Imams which were circulated in his
name by his semi-ghulat followers in Kufa. Indeed, Ja'far did
not excommunicate them as he did, for example, in the case
of Abu'l-Khattab, and as Al-Baqir did in the cases of Bayan,
Abu Mansur, and Mughira. In Kafi itself, there are many
traditions from both Al-Baqir and Ja'far as-Sadiq in which


they declared that they were simply God-fearing men,
distinguished from others only because they were the
Prophet's nearest relatives and thus became the custodians
and trustees of his message. And by virtue of their devotion
to God and because of the fact that perfect knowledge of God
had come to them through Nass and 'Ilm, they were able to
live their lives in complete obedience to the will of God. (57)
Regarding the traditions pertaining to the supernatural
character of the Imams, perhaps the most decisive and
revealing is the statement of Ja'far himself in which he said:
"Whatever is in agreement with the Book of God, accept it;
and whatever is contrary to it, reject it." (58) When we recall
that Ja'far as-Sadiq was at least a century before the time of
Bukhari and Muslim, it is significant to find that it is the
Imam Ja'far who is credited with establishing this criterion
for testing hadith, one which came to be regarded as the most
important principle to observe in judging traditions.(59)

Moreover, the fact that the ghulat or semi-ghulat were
attributing their own thoughts to the Imams and that the
Imams were not responsible for these statements is further
illustrated by a report given by Kashshi. A follower of the
Imam 'Ali ar-Rida once read before him certain Hadith
which he had copied from the notebooks of those in Iraq who
had taken down sayings of Al-Baqir and Ja'far. The Imam
strongly rejected the authenticity of those traditions and
declared that Abu'l-Khattab and his followers had contrived
to have their lies accepted in those notebooks. (60) Similar
traditions have been noted earlier wherein Ja'far complained
of Mughira misrepresenting Al-Baqir.

We have so far been discussing the extremists and semi-
extremists of Ja'far's circle and their excessive claims for the
persons of the Imams. Not all of Ja'far's followers were
fanatics, however. A considerable number of them were
simply Shi'ism distinguished from the other Muslims only by
the higher degree of their devotion to the memory of 'Ali and
by their conviction that he was the best person after the
Prophet for the combined office of the spiritual and temporal
leadership of the community. Thus they considered the
Imamate as the right of 'Ali and his descendants, ordained to
them by God. The beat example of these forerunners of the
Shi'is, later to become the Twelvers, is 'Abd Allah b. Abi


Ya'fur, a resident of Kufa. He opposed his fellow Kufans,
such as Mu'alla b. Khunays, who asserted that the Imams
were prophets. Ibn Abi Ya'fur objected to this and said that
they were only pure, God-fearing, learned theologians
entrusted with guiding the community on the path of God. (61)
Very strict in his religious practices, he was highly favoured
and respected by Ja'far. (62) He enjoyed the respect of the
moderate traditionists' circles, and when he died during the
lifetime of Ja'far, many of the Ahl al-Hadith and pro-Shi'i
Murijtes accompanied his bier. (63)

There was still another group among the followers of Ja'far,
busy in the intellectual or dialectical questions of the day,
along the lines of the Mu'tazila. It is indicative of Ja'far's
leadership that he gathered around himself the men who
could stand with remarkable vigour among those of the
Muslim scholars who were speculating on the philosophical
problems of the time. This group of the first Shi'i speculative
theologians, to be discussed presently, who provided the
intellectual element in the Imamate of Ja'far, stand out from
the Shi'i extremists even in the hostile presentations of some
of the heresiographers. Ash'ari takes much interest in them
and clearly distinguishes them from the extremists or semi-
extremists among the Shi'is of Ja'far's following. It may also
be noted here in passing that a close study of the heresiographical
works, such as those of Ash'ari and Baghdadi, enable us to
discern the cross-currents and intermingling of ideas between
the Shi'i and Sunni schools of thought at their evolutionary
stages. However, the attachment of this group to the Imam
marked a great advance in the development of Shi'ism in its
own right. These speculative theologians of Ja'far's circle
were later regarded as the elite of the Shi'i mutakallimun,
though before the science of kalam became a definite branch
of learning the early Shi'i mutakallimun, who formed the
backbone of the future Twelver Shi'a, were speculative
theologians, traditionists, and jurists all at the same time.

In this group, mention should first be made of Abu'l-Hasan
b. A'yan b. Susan, better known by his kunya, Az-Zurara. He
was a mawla of the Banu Shayban of Kufa, and the grandson
of an enslaved Greek monk who adopted Islam. (64) Zurara
originally belonged to the supporters of Zayd b. 'Ali, for
together with his brother Humran b. A'yan and At-Tayyar,


great Mu'tazilite leader. This itself suggests that under
Mu'tazilite influence Zurara developed his interest in speculative
theology. Zurara and his two brothers later changed
their allegiance and attached themselves to Al-Baqir, Humran
being the first to take this step. (65)

After the death of Al-Baqir, Zurara belonged to the circle
of the closest adherents of Ja'far as-Sadiq, who spoke Of him
with great appreciation: "Four men are the best beloved by
me, whether alive or dead: Burayd b. Mu'awiya al-'Ijli,
Zurara, Muhammad b. Muslim, and Al-Ahwal". (66) Ibn Abi
'Umayr (67) said that he and his contemporaries were beside
Zurara "like children around their teacher". (68) It seems that
because of his vehement activities in the cause of Ja'far,
Zurara met with some difficulties and even dangers. Thus, to
spare him hardships, Ja'far, resorting to the principle of
Taqiya, apparently disavowed him and even cursed him.
Justifying this, he said that in order to save Zurara, he had
acted in the same way as the Prophet Khidr, when he sank a
ship to save it from being taken from its owners by a tyrannous
king. (69)

Zurara, who only occasionally paid visits to Ja'far in
Medina or met him in Mecca, lived in Kufa and there had a
large circle of disciples. Though Zurara was also regarded as
a traditionist, a lawyer, and a theologian, he attained his great
renown in the fields of the science of tradition and in kalam.
In fact, he was the founder of the Shi'i school of speculative
theology in the proper sense, and the first teacher of kalam (70)
from within the circle of Ja'far.

Among Zurara's pupils, who were all devoted followers of
Ja'far, were his own sons Hasan, (71) Husayn, (72) and 'Ubayd
Allah ; (73) his brother Hurman, the grammarian and one of the
foremost companions of Al-Baqir ; (74) Hamza, the son of
Hurman; (75) Bukayr b. A'yun (76) and his son 'Abd Allah; (77)
Muhammad b. al-Hakam ; (78) Humayd b. Rabbah; (79) Muhammad
b. an-Nu'man al-Ahwal, and Hisham b. Salim al-
Jawaliqi. (80) The circle of Zurara was usually known as Az-Zurariya
or At- Tamimiya, (81) and its intellectual activities in
the field of scholastic theology greatly strengthened the cause
of Ja'far and later that of Musa al-Kazim.(82)

Together with other theological and scholastic problems,


Zurara and his disciples evolved the theory that the knowledge
of God is an obligation on every believer and cannot be
attained without an Imam designated by God, and thus
complete obedience to the Imam is a religious duty. The
Imams by necessity are endowed with special knowledge.
Therefore, what other men can attain by discursive reason
(nazar), an Imam always knows owing to his special
knowledge and his superior and unequalled power of
reasoning. Zurara and his circle promulgated their views on
almost every question of what we now call scholastic
philosophy, such as the attributes of God, His Essence and
His Actions, His Intention or Will, and the human capacity. (83)
The impression we get of Zurara from the sources, especially
from Kashshi, is that he played a very important role in the
development of legitimist Shi'i thought and contributed a
great deal to the formation of the Imamate creed. He is one of
the most frequently quoted authorities in all the major books
of the Shi'is.

Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Nu'man al-Ahwal was another
striking personality among the speculative theologians of
Kufa who linked the question of the Imamate with other
fundamental scholastic problems. His circle is described by
the heresiographers as An-Nu'maniya, and he distinguished
himself among all the adherents of Ja'far for his excellence in
dialectics and learning in theology, as well as for the piquancy
of his answers in disputes with his adversaries. An extremely
committed Shi'i, Al-Ahwal was at first one of the most
devoted adherents of Al-Baqir, whose claims he defended
against Zayd. He later became an equally ardent supporter of
Ja'far as-Sadiq and finally of Musa al-Kazim.

The greater part of his intellectual activities in promoting
the Shi'i cause was perhaps spent during the Imamate of
Ja'far. He is counted among the most prominent companions
of Ja'far, and was one of those who accepted Musa al-Kazim
as their Imam immediately after the former's death, and
without considering the candidature of any other son of
Ja'far. (84) He is frequently reported to have held heated debates
with the great jurist Abu Hanifa, whom he despised for being
a Murjite. Abu Hanifa, on his part, treated him with scorn
and contempt. (85) Al-Ahwal is described as the most courageous
and vociferous in his convictions regarding the rights of the


legitimist Imams on rational grounds. (86) As a zealous
supporter of the legitimist line, he upheld the dogma of the
God-imposed duty of complete obedience to the Imams, and
of the supreme knowledge possessed by them, necessary for
the guidance of men. He is said to have been a prolific writer,
and a number of his works are mentioned by various
authorities. His writings include his Kitab al-Imama, his
Kitab ar-Radd 'ala'l-Mu'tazila fi Imamat al-Mafdul, and a
number of other treatises, probably of a polemical nature. (87)
The titles of the books ascribed to him suggest that the
question of the Imamate was one of the main issues between
the Mu'tazila and the Shi'i thinkers of that time. Kashshi
records a number of controversial debates held by him in
support of Ja'far's rights to the Imamate, and also quotes
Ja'far as saying: "Al-Ahwal is most beloved by me, whether
alive or dead." (88)

Another foremost supporter of Ja'far in this circle was
Hisham b. Salim al-Jawaliqi, who was brought up in his
childhood as a slave from Jurjan, and became a mawla of
Bishr b. Marwan. He also lived in Kufa, earning his living as
a seller of fodder ('allaf). Like his close friend Al-Ahwal, he
led a large circle of disciples and propounded his theories on
all questions of the nature and attributes of God. (89)

Perhaps the greatest of all the Shi'i thinkers of Ja'far's
following were Abu Muhammad Hisham b. al-H akam (90) and
'Ali b. Isma'il al-Maythami. (91) The former was originally a
disciple of Jahm b. Safwan, the Jubrite, but converted to the
Shi'i doctrine and became a most devoted follower of Ja'far
As-Sadiq. He must have been quite young at that time, for he
lived until the Imamate of 'Ali ar-Rida and was one of his
closest companions. (92)

The theories regarding God and other scholastic questions
propounded by these five most important thinkers of Ja'far's
period are too lengthy to be examined here. What mainly
concerns us at present is their contribution to the doctrine of
the Imamate, which they linked up with fundamental
principles of a scholastic nature. A remarkable fact is that
although these five thinkers often differ from each other on
many questions, their teachings and ideas concerning the
Imamate are almost the same. The essence of their doctrine
of the Imamate is that the Prophet appointed 'Ali to the


Imamate by an explicit designation (nass), and after him, his
sons Hasan and Husayn acceded to the Imamate in the same
way. This appointment was based on the principle that
mankind needs an Imam to lead it on the right path as much
as an individual needs intelligence to co-ordinate the activities
of his body and to guide him. To guide mankind and preserve
it from straying, an Imam must be infallible. This is because
the Imam, who is below the status of a Prophet, can receive no
revelation from God. Therefore, since he is the infallible
guide appointed through the Grace of God, obedience to him
is synonymous with obedience to God, while disobedience is
the same as infidelity. (93)

While so many speculative theologians from among the
followers of Ja'far were busy working out the scholastic
problems of the time, there were a good many in his circle
who concentrated their efforts mainly on legal questions. It
has been pointed out earlier that the distinction between
jurists and traditionists at this stage, especially among the
Shi'is, was not very clear. Nevertheless, there was a difference
in their respective interests. Some were more interested in the
traditions of a dogmatic and doctrinal nature, others in the
traditions concerning practical problems. Thus most of
the traditions dealing with legal matters are reported on the
authority of Jamil b. Darraj, 'Abd Allah b. Miskan, 'Abd
Allah b. Bukayr, Hammad b. 'Uthman, Hammad b. 'Isa, and
Aban b. 'Uthman. (94) All of them belonged to the close circle
of Ja'far and are unanimously accepted by all the Twelver
Shi'i writers as the most authoritative transmitters of legal
traditions and as the eminent jurists from among the disciples
of Ja'far. Kashshi describes them as "the six most reliable
authorities among all the followers of Ja'far on legal traditions;
on their trustworthiness and profound knowledge of law
there has been a complete consensus among the Shi'i
scholars." (95) Kashshi's statement is confirmed by examining
Kulayni's al-Kafi, Saduq's Man La Yahduruhu'l Faqih, and
Tusi's Istibsar and Tahdhib al-Ahkam. These "Four Standard
Books" (Al-Kutub al-Arba') have the same importance for the
Shi'ism as the six canonical collections of Sunni Hadith (Sihah
as-Sitta) have for the Sunnis.

To this list of the frequently quoted jurists of Ja'far's period
must be added the name of Aban b. Taghlib b. Riyah, (96) an


important and outstanding jurist-traditionist, and formerly
an associate of Zayn al-'Abidin and Al-Baqir. When he died
in 140/757, Ja'far is reported to have said, "I would love to
have my Shi'a like Aban b. Taghlib," and "his death grieved
my heart." (97) Aban's name appears in a good number of
traditions, mostly of a practical nature.

It is important to note that almost all these jurist-
traditionists of Ja'far's circle were in continuous attachment
to three or at least two generations of the legitimist Imams,
either Zayn al-'Abidin, Al-Baqir, and Ja'far, or Al-Baqir,
Ja'far, and Musa, while some others who joined Ja'far served
the line of the legitimist Imams till 'Ali ar-Rida.

From this brief summary of the activities of individuals
and groups working under the leadership of the Imam Ja'far
as-Sadiq in all the fundamental branches of religious learning,
we may deduce two conclusions. First, at that formative stage
of Islamic thought and institutions, the contributions made
by these people, based on the teachings of Ja'far and his
predecessors, provided a solid foundation for the elaboration
of the dogma and legal system of Imamate Shi'ism by the later
Twelver theologians and jurists. Second, the fact that so many
persons, working in various aspects of religious life, chose to
gather around Ja'far with the acceptance of his Imamate on
the Principle of Nass, set the Imamate stream of Shi'ism well
on the way to its own distinct character within Islam.

There are many Shi'i creeds preserved for us by the earliest
Shi'i sources, such as Kashshi, which explain the beliefs of
the Imamate Shi'is during the lifetime of Ja'far as-Sadiq. One
of these creeds, pronounced by 'Amr b. Hurayth before Ja'far,

"I would like to describe my religion (dini) and what I believe,
so that you may confirm me in my faith. My religion is that I
testify that there is no God but God, and Muhammad is His
Apostle and Servant. I testify that the coming of the Day of
Judgement is not subject to doubt, and that God will resurrect
those who are in their graves. I testify to the obligations of prayer,
the paying of the zakat, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and
the duty of pilgrimage to the House (Ka'ba) for those who have
the means for it. I testify to the wilaya of 'Ali b. Abi Talib, the
commander of the faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin) after the Prophet
of God, may the Blessings of God be upon them both, and the


wilaya of Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, the wilaya of 'Ali b. al-
Husayn and that of Muhammad al-Baqir, and after his, yours. I
testify that you are the Imams. In this religion I live, and in this
religion I shall die, and this is the religion by which I worship

Having heard this, Ja'far declared:

"This, by God, is indeed my religion and the religion of my
fathers, who worshipped God openly and in secret; so fear God
and hold your tongue from saying anything except that which is
good." (98)

Similar statements are recorded by Kashshi from Dawud
b. Yunus and Khalid b. Bajali. (99) A detailed account of the
Twelver Shi'i beliefs dealing with all articles of faith, whether
fundamental (usul) or non-fundamental (furu'), are given by
Shaykh Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi, better known as Shaykh
as-Saduq (died 381/991-2), in his creed entitled Risalat al-
'Itiqadat. Shaykh Saduq is universally acknowledged by the
Twelver Shi'a as one of their greatest authorities, and his
Risala, one of the earliest extant Shi'i creeds, is accepted as
the most authoritative statement of their beliefs. Comparing
this Shi'i creed with the standard Sunni creeds, such as Fiqh
Akbar I, Fiqh Akbar II, and the Wasiyat Abi Hanafa, one
finds that except on the question of the Imamate the
differences between the Sunnis and the Shi'is are of the same
nature as, say, the differences between the Asha'ira and the
Mu'tazila. The Shi'i views are in most cases the same as those
of the Mu'tazila, who certainly remained part of Sunni Islam,
though their rationalistic views were ultimately rejected by
the Jama'a.

The question of the Qur'an may serve as the best illustration
of this fundamental unity. The Shi'i belief, as stated by
Shaykh as-Saduq, reads:

"Our belief concerning the Qur'an is that it is the Word of God,
His revelation sent down by Him, His speech and His Book ...
'Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or behind it. It is a
revelation from the Wise, the Praiseworthy' (Qur'an, XLI, 42)...
And our belief is that God, the Blessed and Exalted, is its Creator
and Revealer and Master and Protector and Utterer. Our belief
is that the Qur'an, which God revealed to His Prophet
Muhammad, is [the same as] the one between the boards


(daffatayn). And it is that which is in the hands of the people, and
is not greater in extent than that. The number of Suras as
generally accepted is one hundred and fourteen."(100)

In this statement of Saduq on the Qur'an, two points are
worth noticing. First, the Shi'a, like the Mu'tazila, believe
that the Qur'an is the created word of God, and not uncreated
and eternal as taught by the Asha'ira and officially accepted
by Sunni Islam. The second and more important point is that
the text of the Qur'an as it is to be found in the textus receptus,
which is in the hands of everyone in the shape of a book, is
accepted wholly by the Shi'is, just as it is by the Sunnis. Thus
the assertion that the Shi'is believe that a part of the Qur'an
is not included in the textus receptus is erroneous.

We are not, however, concerned here with the details of the
Shi'i creed or the development of the Shi'i legal and
theological systems, which took place in progressive stages, as
indeed was also the case in Sunni Islam. Nor is this work
meant to discuss the contributions of the last six Imams after
Ja'far as-Sadiq, after which the Imamate Shi'a came to be
known as the Ithna 'Ashariya, or the Twelvers. Our purpose
has only been to trace the origins and early development of
those religious inclinations through which the Shi'is eventually
came to distinguish themselves from the rest of the
Muslim community.

Keeping in view what has been discussed throughout this
work, and looking at the activities of those who gathered
around. Ja'far as-Sadiq, we may conclude that the Imamate
Shi'is, by the time of Ja'far's death in 148/765, had acquired a
distinct character of their own. The actual disagreements
between the Shi'is and the Sunnis in certain details of
theology and legal practices were not as important as the
"Spirit" working behind these rather minor divergences. This
"Spirit", arising from the differences in the fundamental
approach and interpretation of Islam, as discussed in Chapter
I, issued forth in the Shi'i concept of leadership of the
community after the Prophet. It is this concept of divinely-
ordained leadership which distinguishes Shi'i from Sunni
within Islam; and thus it has been on the emergence of this
concept that our attention has been focused in these pages.


Notes to Chapter 11

(1) See Ibn Hazm's discussion in Friedlander, "The Heterodoxies
of the Shi'ites in the Presentation of Ibn Hazm", JAOS, XXVI II
('907), p.74

(2) Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyin, ed. Helmut Ritter (Istanbul,
1929), pp.16-17

(3) A title with which the Sunni heresiographers describe the
Twelver Shi'a. For the meaning and use of the term, see Watt, "The
Rafidites: A Preliminary Study", Oriens, XVI (1963)

(4) Tabari, II, p. 1700

(5) Hodgson, "How Did the Early Shi'a Become Sectarian ?",
JAOS ('955), p.10

(6) For such claims made by these ghulat, see Nawbakhti, Firaq,
pp. 25, 30, 39, 52-55; Sa'd al-Ash'ari, Maqalat:, pp. 33, 35, 37;
Shahrastani, Milal, 1, pp.178, 176. Sa'd al-Ash'ari (Maqalat, p.37)
writes that Bayan claimed the Imamate as the legatee of Aba
Hashim, and not as that of Al-Baqir.

(7) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p. 208

(8) ibid., I, p.261

(9) Hodgson, op. cit., p.11

(10) ibid.

(11) Kashshi, Rijal, p.285

(12) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p.274

(13) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p.356

(14) ibid., pp.265 f.; Kashshi, Rijal p.427

(15) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p.318

(16) Kulayni, Kafi

(17) ibid., p.462

(18) ibid., Pp.214-220

(19) See Kulayni, Kafi, I, pp.207 ff.; Saduq, Risalat al-Itiqadat,
trans. A. A. A. Fyzee, A Shi'ite Creed (London 1942), p.96

(20) Kulayni, Kafi, I, pp.205, 207, 304 f.

(21) ibid,, p.205

(22) ibid.

(23) See Kulayni, Kafi; "Kitab al-Hujja", passim; Mufid, Irshad, I,

(24) Qur'an, 111, 6

(25) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p.262

(26) See Wensinck, Handbook of Early Muhammadan Tradition
(Leiden 1960), under the heading "'Ali"


(27) Ibn Sa'd, II, p. lox

(28) ibid.

(29) Kulayni, Kafi, I, pp.330 f.

(30) "And God only wishes to remove from you [all kinds of]
uncleanliness, O Ahl al-Bay: [of Muhammad], and thoroughly
purify you."

(31) See Tha'labi, Tafsir, p.402

(32) Kulayni; Kafi, II, p.488

(33) ibid.

(34) ibid., p.487

(35) ibid., p. 486

(36) Kulayni, Kafi, I, p.483

(37) Qur'an, V, 67

(38) Qur'an, XVI, 106

(39) Kulayni, Kafi; I, p. 483

(40) "Das Prinzip der Takija im Islam" , ZDMG, LX (1996),

(41) Saduq, Creed, p.110

(42) Kashshi; Rijal p.419

(43) See E12 article "'Abd Allah b. Saba"'

(44) Sa'd al-Ash'ari; Maqalat, p.20; Nawbakhti, Firaq, p.22

(45) Sa'd al-Ash'ari, loc. cit.; Nawbakhti; loc. cit.

(46) Farq, p.32
(47) Kashshi, Rijal, p. 296; Shahrastani, Milal, I, p. 152; Ash'ari,
Maqalat, pp. 6-9

(48) See Kashshi, Rijal 44 p. 148, passim; Nawbakhti, Firaq, p.34

(49) Kashshi; Rijal, p.223

(50) See Sam'ani, Ansab, p. 113b; Kashshi, Rijal, pp. 191 ff.;
Najashi, Rijal pp.93 f.

(51) See Chapter 9

(52) Ha'iri; Muntaha, pp.202 f.; Ibn Nadim, Fihrist, p.66

(53) Kafi, I, p.279

(54) See Ivanow, "Notes sur Umm al-Kitab", REI, 1932

(55) See E. E. Salisbury, "Translation of an Unpublished Arabic
Risala", YAOS, 1853, pp. 167-3

(56) e.g., Kafi, pp. 365 ff.; Kashshi, Rijal pp. 324 f.

(57) e.g., Kafi, I, p.308, passim

(58) Ya'qubi, II, p.381; Kashshi, Rijal, p.224

(59) See Donaldson, The Shi'ite Religion, p.135

(60) Kashshi, Rijal, p. 224 See Hodgson, op. cit., p.13

(61) Kashshi, Rijal, p.247

(62) ibid.

(63) ibid.

(64) Tusi; Fihrist, pp.141 ff.; Ha'iri, Muntaha, pp. 135; Hill';
Rijal p.76


(65) Ha'iri; Muntaha, p.120

(66) Kashshi, Rijal, p.135; Tusi, Fihrist, p.146; Ha'iri, Muntaha,

(67) Abu Ahmad Muhammad b. Abi 'Umayr Ziyad b. 'Isa, a
traditionist and companion of Musa al-Kazim and 'Ali ar-Rida,
who is said to have written four books. See Najashi, p.228; Ha'iri,
Muntaha, p.254

(68) Kashshi, Rija1, p.135

(69) Kashshi; Rijal, p.138. For the reference to Khidr, see Qur'an,

(70) Ibn Nadim, Fihrist, p. 220; Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.136

(71) Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.93; Ibn Nadim, Ioc. cit.

(72) Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.110; Ibn Nadim, loc. cit.

(73) Ha'iri, Muntah4, p.99; Ibn Nadim, loc. cit.; Tusi; Fihrist,
p.202, referring to him as 'Ubayd b. Zurara

(74) Ibn Nadim, loc. cit.; Kashshi, Rijal, p.176

(75) Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.131; Tusi, Fihrist, p. "7

(76) Kashshi, Rijal, p. 18 I; Ha'iri, Muntah4, p.68; Ibn Nadim,
loc. cit.

(77) Tusi, Fihrist, p. 188; Ha'iri, Muntaha, p. 182; Ibn Nadim,
loc. cit.

(78) A brother of Hisham b. al-Hakam; see Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.271

(79) Ash'ari, Maqalat, I, p. 43

(80) For the last two, see below, pp.307-8

(81) Ash'ari, Maqalat, I, p.28, referring to At-Tamimiya

(82) See a detailed account of the activities of Zurara and his circle
in Kashshi, Rijal pp. 133-61
(83) Detailed accounts can be found in Ash'ari, Maqalat, II,
pp.36 f.; Baghdadi, Farq, p.43; Shahrastani; Milal, I, p. 186
(84) Kashshi, Rijal, pp. 185 ff; Najashi, Rijal, p.228; Sa'd al-
Ash'ari, Maqalat, p.88; Tusi, Fihrist, p.223; Ibn Nadim, Fihrist,
p.176; Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.295; Huh, Rijal p.138

(85) Najashi, Rijal p.228; Kashshi, Rijal p.187
(86) See Kashshi, Rija1, pp. '35 ff; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, 'Iqd, II, p.465

(87) See Ibn Nadim, Fihrist, p. 176; Najashi, Rijal p. 228;
Shahrastani, Milal, I, p.187

(88) Kashshi, Rijal p. 185

(89) Kashshi, Rijal pp.280 ff; Najashi, Rijal, p.305; Tusi, Fihrist,
p.354; Ha'iri; Muntaha, PP.323-4. For his ideas, also see Ash'ari,
Maqalat, I, p. 34; Baghdadi, Farq, p.139; Shahrastani, Milal
pp. 184. Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, I'tiqadat, p.64; Nawbakhti; Firaq,
p.66; Ibn Nadim, Fihrist, p.177

(90) A mawla of Kinda, but often described as the client of the Banu
Shayban, because he attached himself to that tribe. See Kashshi,


Rijal pp. 475 ff.; Tusi, Fihrist, p.353; Najashi, Rijal, p.304; Ibn
Nadim, Fihrist, p.175; Ha'iri Muntaha, pp.322 ff.
(91) A mawla of the Banu Asad, he lived in Basra, where he
frequented the circles of the local Mu'tazilite mutakallimun. See
Najashi, p. 176; Ha'iri Muntaha, pp. 207; Tusi, Fihrist, p.212;
Kashshi, Rijal, p.213

(92) Kashshi, Rijal p.214

(93) See Ash'ari, Maqalat, I, p.48, and index; Shahrastani, Milal,
I, pp. 184 ff., and index

(94) Kashshi, Rijal, p.375. For the biographical data and detailed
information on them, see Kashshi, Rijal, index; Najashi, Rijal
index; Ha'iri, Muntaha, passim

(95) Kashshi, Rijal, p.375

(96) See Kashshi, Rijal p.330; Ha'iri, Muntaha, p.17; Najashi,
Rijal pp.7-10; Dhahabi, Mizan, I, pp.4-s

(97) See Kashshi, Rijal p.330

(98) Kashshi, Rijal, p. 418

(99) See Kashshi, Rijal, pp. 419 f.

(100) Saduq, Creed, pp.84 f.

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