Sunday, July 4, 2010

`Abd Allaah bin Saba

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السلام عليكم
This is an analysis of ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba. I have read around the internet a lot of lies concerning this figure, I will show you the true Shee`ah position regarding this figure, and what was he (ibn Saba) attempting to do.

Here are the scholarly opinion regarding ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba, by Shee`ah Rijaal scholars.

`Abd Allaah bin Saba is accursed / ghullah (exagerrator) according to:
·         Al-Toosi, Rijaal, pg. 75, person # 718 (in the book)
·         Al-Hillee, Al-KhulaaSah, pg. 237, person # 19 (section of ‘Abd Allaah)
·         Al-Khoei, Mu’jam Rijaal Al-Hadeeth, vol. 10, pg. 192, person # 6878

Here is what Al-Toosi has said concerning `Abd Allaah bin Saba (Al-Toosi, Rijaal, pg. 75, person # 718)
(Click to enlarge)

"`Abd Allaah bin Saba - returned to kufr (disbelief) and it showed that he was a ghullah (exagerrator)"

Now here are 3 SaHeeH aHaadeeth that talks about ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba, the first chain is one of the most impeccable chains you can get in Shee`ah hadeeth books. This is like our “golden” chain.

1.) حدثني محمد بن قولويه، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله، قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد و محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، قال : سمعت أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) يقول و هو يحدث أصحابه بحديث عبد الله بن سبإ و ما ادعى من الربوبية في أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب، فقال إنه لما ادعى ذلك فيه استتابه أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) فأبى أن يتوب فأحرقه بالنار.
Hishaam bin Salim, who said that he heard it from Imam Aboo `Abd Allaah (AS) when he told that `Abd Allaah bin Saba called (to people) the lordship/divinity of Imaam `Alee (AS). Upon that ‘Alee ordered him to repent, but he refused. Then Ali let him burn in fire."
·         Al-Kashee, Rijaal, pg. 107, hadeeth # 171

2.) حدثني محمد بن قولويه قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد و محمد بن عيسى عن علي بن مهزيار عن فضالة بن أيوب الأزدي عن أبان بن عثمان قال سمعت أبا عبد الله (ع) يقول لعن الله عبد الله بن سبإ إنه ادعى الربوبية في أمير المؤمنين (ع) و كان و الله أمير المؤمنين (ع) عبدا لله طائعا الويل لمن كذب علينا و إن قوما يقولون فينا ما لا نقوله في أنفسنا نبرأ إلى الله منهم نبرأ إلى الله منهم.
I heard Aboo `Abd Allaah (AS) saying: 'May Allaah curse `Abd Allaah bin Saba, he claimed a divinity / lordship for Ameer Al-Mu’mineen (AS). By Allaah, Amierul-Mu'mineen (AS) was volunterily the slave of Allah. Woe to him who lie about us, for there are people who say about us what we don't say about ourselves, we disassociate ourselves to Allah from them, we disassociate ourselves to Allah from them'."
·         Al-Kashee, Rijaal, pg. 107, hadeeth # 172

Here is another SaHeeH hadeeth about Ibn Saba, and him being cursed.
3.)و بهذا الإسناد عن يعقوب بن يزيد عن ابن أبي عمير. و أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى عن أبيه و الحسين بن سعيد عن ابن أبي عمير عن هشام بن سالم عن أبي حمزة الثمالي قال قال علي بن الحسين (ع) لعن الله من كذب علينا إني ذكرت عبد الله بن سبإ فقامت كل شعرة في جسدي لقد ادعى أمرا عظيما ما له لعنه الله كان علي (ع) و الله عبدا لله صالحا أخو رسول الله (ص) ما نال الكرامة من الله إلا بطاعته لله و لرسوله و ما نال رسول الله (ص) الكرامة من الله إلا بطاعته.
'May the curse of Allah be upon those who tell lies about us. I mentioned `Abd Allaah Ibn Saba and each hair in my body stood up, Allah cursed him. Ali was, by Allah, a proper servant of Allah, the brother of the Messenger of Allah . He did not earn the graciousness/honor from Allah except with the obedience to Allah and His Messenger. And (similarly) the Messenger of Allah did not earn the honor from Allah except with his obedience to Allah'."
·         Al-Kashee, Rijaal, pg. 107, hadeeth # 173

Each one of these aHaadeeth goes through multiple routes:
1st hadeeth = 2 different routes
2nd hadeeth = 2 different routes
3rd hadeeth = 3 different routes

2 + 2 + 3 = 7 different isnaads, all of them saying that Ibn Sabaa is mal`oon (accursed). Some people unfortunately say he is a "fake" or "myth". I HIGHLY doubt our Imaams will be giving la`n (curse) upon "thin air".

Now, here is the something that has been spread around the internet, and must be rejected.

ذكر بعض أهل العلم أن عبد الله بن سبإ كان يهوديا فأسلم و والى عليا (ع) و كان يقول و هو على يهوديته في يوشع بن نون وصي موسى بالغلو فقال في إسلامه بعد وفاة رسول الله (ص) في علي (ع) مثل ذلك و كان أول من شهر بالقول بفرض إمامة علي و أظهر البراءة من أعدائه و كاشف مخالفيه و أكفرهم فمن هاهنا قال من خالف الشيعة أصل التشيع و الرفض مأخوذ من اليهودية.
Some people of knowledge mentioned that `Abd Allaah bin Saba' was a Jew, who embraced Islam and supported Ali. While he was still a Jew, he used to go to extremism in calling Yousha' bin Noon as the appointee (successor) of Moses, thus after embracing Islam - after the demise of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله - he said the like about Ali. It was him who first publicly announced the mandatory Imaamah for Ali, rejected and disowned his enemies, debated his opponents and called them Kafirs. Hence, those who oppose the Shi'ites often say: The Shee`ah and Rejectors (Rafidah) have their roots in Judaism ".
·         Al-Kashee, Rijaal, pg. 107, hadeeth # 174

Some scholars have claimed that these are the words Al-Kashee, even if we take this into consideration, this statement is still rejected as there are MANY SaHeeH narrations saying that ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba called people to the divinity of Imaam `Alee (AS), not his Imaamah.

As you can see, ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba is a guy who has been cursed, by our Imaams (AS), because he tried to preach to the people the divinity of Imaam `Alee, and NOT the Imaamah of Imaam `Alee (AS), as this has been circulating the internet.

و عليكم السلام


  1. Salam,
    Great work there brother.
    From all the hadiths given by you it clearly shows that he l.a exixted.What is the reason that many including scholars view this ibn sabah to be a fictitious character?I am not sure but I believe that Ayatollah Murtaza askari is of the same view.

  2. Wa `Alaykum Assalaam,
    Thank you brother, Actually what I forgot to mention is that each hadeeth goes through multiple routes. So there is essention 7 different isnaad out there that are all SaHeeH that says the he is accursed. I don't know why, some of the scholars say that he is "fake" or a "myth". I guess this is a way to "duck" and "dodge" from the accusation, which is a very wrong way to pursue this.

  3. This is true that many shias reject his existance. Thanks for confirming his existance.

    Abudllah ibn Sabah laid the foundation of Imamate and Wilayat.

    He was the first person on earth who said that Ali(ra) was the successor of Muhammad (SAW).

  4. I don't think you've read the whole article. He was the one not claiming the Imaamah of Imaam `Alee (AS), but he was claiming the raboobiyyah of Imaam `Alee (AS), which is totally shirk. Hence why, he was burned.

  5. brother zaveri how IMAM ALI(A.S) can a burn a man(whether mushrik or not)?
    only ALLAh can burn some one at judgement day, and this is only attributed to ALLAh, not to any one else!as i konw.
    plz reply and remove my confusion!

  6. Where are you getting this information that ONLY Allaah (SWT) can burn someone? Which hadeeth? Do not give my a Bukhaaree or other Sunnee narrations, but please provide me with a Shee`ah hadeeth reference where it states that "burning people as a form of punishment is ONLY for Allaah (SWT), and no one else".

    If you can provide that, which I highly doubt you can brother.

    This is a known fact that Imaam `Alee (AS) burned the either `Abd Allaah bin Saba' or the Saba'iyyah (those who followed him). There is an ikhtilaaf regarding if he (ibn Saba') was exiled to Madaa'in.

    Inshaa'Allaah, I will be coming out with a Second Edition of this Blog post, showing from Historical books that deal specifically with sects.

  7. brother zaveri if it is not written in quran so u will say that Other then ALLAH some people also(or any one)have right to burn any one? well i dont know that it is written or not in quran! and i am just re searching on this topic and know much more than me.

    bro when i read that IMAM ALI bured some one, i got shocked that how IMAM can burn some one(he could some give some other punishment)!
    and is there any sahih hadith in our book that tells that IMAM ALI(A.S) burned some one?

  8. Burning someone is not only a punishment that Allaah (SWT) will do, but He (SWT) has ordered His (SWT) servants who follow the Sharee'ah to do.

    The act of Sodomy (homosexuality) has different punishments which the Imaam can choose from:
    "-To be thrown down a mountain
    -To be thrown from a high wall
    -Stoned by the Imaam and the People
    -Or burnt (alive)

    If he is not burnt in the first place, the Imaam may burn the remains of the perpetrators to emphasize the seriousness of the crime. But he does not have to do this and he can act as he sees fit."

    Source: Al-Nihaayah, Shaykh al-Toosee, pg. 704

  9. Brother you said:

    As you can see, ‘Abd Allaah bin Saba is a guy who has been cursed, by our Imaams (AS), because he tried to preach to the people the divinity of Imaam `Alee, and NOT the Imaamah of Imaam `Alee (AS), as this has been circulating the internet.

    This is a flawed statement. For the one who dares to claim divinity for Ali has not problems whatsoever to start with Imamah and what not. Yeah, maybe according to Shiite Ahadith he called to divinity only (which is btw called RUBUBIYYAH not RABUBIYYAH), but Muslim historians, and the scholars of the Sunnites have gathered many narration that include:

    Wilayah/Imamah of Ahl al-Bayt
    cursing of Abu Bakr and Omar
    Raj'ah belief (hold valid by the majority of classical and contemp. Shia scholars!)


  10. Assalaamu `Alaykum,

    It doesn't matter what other sources say. People claim he is some leader of the Shee`ahs, and if so, wouldn't Shee`ah sources talk good about the guy who so called "started" their sect and much of their beleifs? But it doesn't.

    That is like WaaSil bin `aTaa condemned by Mu`tazilah books. Which you won't find.

  11. Salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi, I am a Sunni and Maliki who loves the Ahl Bayt, alahim salam ajmaeen, and I note with pleasure your blog and your attempts to resurect the true understanding of the Imams and to fight any innovations that have crept in.

    Your blog has clarified my heart and put my mind at ease that most of the bidas that our Shia brothers are accused of must be recent affairs, only of the last couple of centuries, and that on the level of 'amal the Shia a few centuries ago were probably united with the Sunnis in 'Ibada.

    I've long suspected that the proper understanding of the Jaafari Ithnan'ashir must be close to the proper understanding of the Sunnis as well, when the bidas that have crept into Sunni practice as well are removed.

    Indeed there were Malikis who opposed the Ummayyids early as well as the Abbasids, and both of our groups usually make sadl in Salat.

    Though Sunni and Shia we differ, I believe that we Malikis are actually closer to you Shia, and you Shia closer to us, than the other 3 Sunni madhahib and I noticed with interest that the Maghrib al-Aqsa, where the Malikiyya are strongest, was founded by the Shia dynasty of Moulay Idries, Radillahu 'anhu.

    And that alone among the "Sunnis" the Malikiyya of the far West prefer to just call themselves Muslim, not Sunni nor Shia. And in a sense with the immense love of the Ahl ul-Bayt in the Maliki lands, in a sense are almost like "Sunni Shia" - which is another reason the Wahabiyya dislike us.

    We yearn for the return of the Awaited Mahdi (as) and may Allah hasten his return, and may Allah hasten the black flags of Khorasan and the restoration of the Hashimis.

    Reading your blog fascinates me and sets my mind at ease regarding the orthodoxy and the adherance to the Sunnah that your major earlier Shia scholars must have possessed. If I may ask a question, are the bidas that crept into daily Shia life post-Safavid? It was my suspicion that the Safavids where Ghulat who tried to corrupt the practice of the Shia in Persia.

    I would like to understand these issues, can you shed light on when the controversies between the Shia scholars who upheld the Sunnah against bida first came to light? Is this related to the "Athari" debate I've heard about?

    Jazak Allahu Khair,
    Ibn Abdul Shafi

  12. Wa `Alaykum Assalaam Ibn Abdul Shafi,

    Thank you for your kind words. The main attempts of the blog is to REVIVE the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWAS) and the Ahl Al-Bayt (AS) for the Shee`ahs, and to clear any misconceptions or bid`ah that have crept into Shee`ah Islaam.

    I believe we can talk better through email. Please email me:

  13. Shia source: The problem was presented to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and he asked her mother which sin she had committed. When the mother confessed, Imam (a.s.) said that earth would never accept her because she used to punish Allah’s creatures with the punishment that only Allah has the right to punish (That is, burning alive). Then Imam (a.s.) told them to place a little turbah in her grave. This was done and then the earth did not convulse when she was buried in it.(Mustanadush Shia) (greater sins the complete book by Ayatullah Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi , chapter 53)

    Sunni source: Abu Dawud in “Sunnan”: 2667 .Narrated Hamzah al-Aslami: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) appointed him commander over a detachment. He said: I went out along with it. He (the Prophet) said: If you find so-and-so, burn him with the fire. I then turned away, and he called me. So I returned to him, and he said: If you find so-and-so, kill him, and do not burn him, for no one punishes with fire except the Lord of the fire. [there are other narrations too which support this hadees]

    But we find from both Sunni and Shia sources that Ali(ra) punished people by burning Alive.

    Shia source:

    عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ أَتَى قَوْمٌ أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ع فَقَالُوا السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا رَبَّنَا فَاسْتَتَابَهُمْ فَلَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَحَفَرَ لَهُمْ حَفِيرَةً وَ أَوْقَدَ فِيهَا نَاراً وَ حَفَرَ حَفِيرَةً أُخْرَى إِلَى جَانِبِهَا وَ أَفْضَى مَا بَيْنَهُمَا فَلَمَّا لَمْ يَتُوبُوا أَلْقَاهُمْ فِي الْحَفِيرَةِ وَ أَوْقَدَ فِي الْحَفِيرَةِ الْأُخْرَى [نَاراً] حَتَّى مَاتُوا

    A group came to Ameer Al-Mu’mineen (عليه السلام), and they

    said: “Assalaamu `Alayka (Peace be upon you), O our Lord (rabbanaa)! So he asked for their repentance, but they did not repent. So he dug a ditch for them and lit a fire in it and dug a ditch to its other side and conveyed between them. So when they did not repent he threw them in the ditch and lit in the other ditch until they died.

    Source: Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 7, pg. 258-259, hadeeth # 18

    Grading: Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Hasan (Good) Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 23, pg. 401

    حدثني محمد بن قولويه، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله، قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد و محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، قال : سمعت أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) يقول و هو يحدث أصحابه بحديث عبد الله بن سبإ و ما ادعى من الربوبية في أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب، فقال إنه لما ادعى ذلك فيه استتابه أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) فأبى أن يتوب فأحرقه بالنار.

    Hishaam bin Salim, who said that he heard it from Imam Aboo `Abd Allaah (AS) when he told that `Abd Allaah bin Saba called (to people) the lordship/divinity of Imaam `Alee (AS). Upon that ‘Alee ordered him to repent, but he refused. Then Ali let him burn in fire.”

    Source: Al-Kashee, Rijaal, pg. 107, hadeeth # 171. The chain of this narration is one of the most impeccable chains one can get in Shee`ah hadeeth books. This is like “golden” chain. [narrations provided by Brother Nader Zaveri]

    Sunni source: sahi bukhari 4.260: Narrated `Ikrima:Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn `Abbas, who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’”

  14. bro,can u give the takhreej?how u know those hadiths about Abdullah bin Saba are sahih?

  15. Abdullah ibn Saba was calling to the Divinity of Ali, but this does not contradict calling to his Imamate; surely, a man who is, per impossibile, God is automatically an Imam.
    Hypothesis/Suggestion: Abdullah ibn Saba left behind him, as his legacy, a subculture of exaggeration and idealization concerning the Imams; this subculture had a massive influence on the subsequent development of Shi'ism.