The Shia (Shiite) Religion (Sect) – Islamic Lecture on the History: Part 1


The Struggle between Truth and Falsehood
The Sheikh said that the battle between truth and falsehood is a battle which is very old and it began from the day that our Allah SWT created our father Adam AS but from the moment that Iblees, May Allah AJ protect us from his evil, from the moment that he refused to prostrate to the Prophet adam So that is an old battle and Allah mentions in the Quran that this will continue until the day of judgment and that’s why Iblees, as reported in the Quran, said to Allah that through your might and your power, I will misguid all of them except for your sincere slaves. And as is also mentioned in the Quran, he sought the permission of Allah to be able to live up till the Day of Judgment so that he can continue to misguide people and Allah granted him his request.

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Split of Religions in Different Sects
The Prophet SAW mentioned in authentic hadith as recorded by Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Ahmed and other than them that the Jews will split and they will differentiate 71 different sects and the Christians will also split into 72 different sects and that this is ummah, the Muslim Ummah will split into 73 different sects. So this is a testament and this is something which the Prophet SAW informed us of that there would be sects and that there will be differences and then the prophet SAW made clear the path that is true and correct. When SAW was asked about that and about what is the correct way, he said it is that which I and my companions are upon today.

The sheikh said so therefore now that we know that there is going to be so many differences and so many sects, do not become grieved, do not become sad as a result of this. Rather what you should do is to place importance upon knowing about these different sects and how to deal with them. Know about what is the correct and the victorious group and set amongst them so that you can be amongst them. This is something which Allah has decreed that there would be differences and there would be sects. So there is no point trying to oppose the decree of Allah SWT. Rather we know how to work with the decree of Allah by learning about these sects and by safeguarding our souls as well.

The Six Main Categories of Sects within Islam
The sheikh said that our prophet SAW therefore informed us that the people who ascribe themselves to this religion, the Muslims were split into 73 different sects. And the sheikh said some of the scholars of Islam were of the opinion that 73, the number 73, was not what was meant in itself, meaning that the number is not important, what the meaning is that there will be many many different sects. Either way, the sheikh said that that all of these sects can be categorized into six. These are the main 6 categories of sects and from them you have many offshoots that come as a result of them. These six main categories are
1. Ahle-sunnah wal jamaaah/ ahle hadith
2. The shia.
3. The Khawarij
4. The Qadariyyah
5. The Murjiah
6. The Jahameeya
And from these six main categories you have all of these various sects coming off as a result of them.

Primary Categories of the Shia Sect
The sheikh says that the topic and the theme of today’s seminar is to discuss one of those six main categories and that is the category of the Shia. This category, in and out of itself, split into seventy different options so there are seventy different sects that come just from the Shia in and of itself. The shaikh said that from amongst the most famous of them is the Zaidiyyah, the Ithna Ashariya, the Ismailiyah, the Nusayriyyah, the Druze, [al bahaiyah, al babiya,] and al Qarameetah These are just some of the names of the most famous of the sects of the Shia but as he said there are almost seventy of them.
Abdullah Ibn Saba – The Person who started Shia Religion

The Shia went through a number of stages. The first stage started with a single person that began this concept of Shia was a man who was originally a Jew and was known as Abdullah ibn Saba. He was from Sanaa, the modern day capital of Yemen. He was the one who first came up with the concept and the saying, and the statement that (Caliph) Ali RA was in reality a God.

So, this man, Abdullah Ibn Saba claimed to be a Muslim and he made apparent that he was a Muslim and he was the one who first said Ali was Allah, and that Ali is God. And he was also the first person to say that Ali RA should have been the leader after the death of the Prophet SAW and that the other companions of the prophet SAW, may Allah be pleased with them, that they deceived and cheated Ali from his right of being the successor of the Prophet SAW. And Abdullah Ibn Saba appeared towards the end of the khilafa (caliphate) at the time of the Caliph Osman RA.

People attributing divinity to Ali (RA)
The sheikh said this was towards the end of the khilafah of Osman, when it came to the khilafah of Ali RA, a group of people came to Ali (RA) in Kufaa, and said to him that, “You are he, you are He.’You are He’ So he said “Who is he?” And they reply that you are Allah. So, he became angry at this and he rebuked them severely and he asked them “Do other people claim this other than you?” And they said “Yes there are a multitude of people who say this. So, he told them to go and bring all of those people. So, they came in Kufa where he was resident and he began to warn them from saying this and he said to them “Rather I am a servant from the many servants of Allah. If I obey Allah, then Allah will reward me, if he pleases and if I disobey Allah, Allah will punish me if he pleases. Instead I am a human. I eat and I drink. So, go back from the statement of yours (meaning retract what you’re saying).” So, they refused to do so. So he gave them three days. every single day he would come and he would warn them again but on the third day when he realized that they wouldn’t retract their statement, he ordered them to be killed that a number of pits be dug in the earth and he lit fire within those pits and he threw those people within the fire for associating a human as God.

The sheikh said that when Ali (RA) began to dig those pits and he lit fire within them and he threatened to throw them in the fire, those people divided into three groups. The first group comprised of people who retracted and said to him that if you say that you’re not a God then we take your word for it that you are not a God and they retracted from that statement. The second group, they threw themselves willingly into the fire and they said that only the God of fire can punish with the fire. So, therefore this is proof that you are a God. And the third group said that they will retract the statement but in reality, within their hearts they still had this belief. So openly they retracted but inwardly they still had this belief and continued to conceal their true beliefs for some time.

During this time (around 40 Hijrah) when these groups deviated from the mainstream Islam, they didn’t have their separate mosques, scholars, or Fiqh. Rather they didn’t have their a specific methodology of practicing religion. Instead, they lived with the Muslims as normal and regular people.
It should be noted that during these early times, the Shia were not known in this way (by this term ‘Shia’). This continued even until the dispute that took place between Caliph Ali (RA) and Muawiya (RA) and the battle that took place in Siffin. At that time, people started to call supporters of Ali as the Shia of Ali, the supporters of Muawiya, and so on.

Death of Muawaiya as the Caliph of Muslims
And this state of affairs continued until the 60th year of Hijra . So they had no mosques, there was no such group known as the Shia and they had no scholars and so on and so forth. In the year sixty of the Hijrah, Muawiya (RA) passed away and before that he had appointed his successor his own son Yazeed. At that time, Hussein (Alayhis Salam), the grandson of the Prophet SAW who was also the son of Ali (RA), and Abdullah Ibn Zubair (RA) refused to give the Pledge of Allegiance to Yazeed. So, when the people of Kufaa (Iraq) heard that Hussain had refused to give the Pledge of Allegiance to Yazeed, they wrote him a great number of letters asking him to come to Iraq so that they could give him their Pledge of Allegiance instead.
So at this point again, there were not specific Shia group. The only difference was that these people believed that Ali (RA) and Hussain (AS), both from the family of the Prophet had more rights to the Khilafah (caliphate and rule) than the others.

The Sheikh said that as for the story of Hussein and his story of travel to Kufa, he said that it’s a very long story and time doesn’t allow us to go into such details, but I will summarize in just two statements. The first is that after Hussain (RA) received letters which invited him to Kufa, he went with the intention of taking the pledge of allegiance from them to become a Khalifa (Caliph). However from those people who invited him, when he went to Kufa, the people deceived him and didn’t support him when Hussein’s forces were attacked in which Hussein was killed.

The Remorse of the People of Kufa
The sheikh said that at the death of Hussain (AS), many of the people of Kufa were remorseful, and had regret that how was it that this great companion and the grandson of the prophet comes to us and we did not support him despite the promises and assurances that we had sent to him.
And so they became extremely remorseful and this was in the year 61 Hijra. This continued for a number of years until the year 64 that they had this remorse and regret until the death of Yazeed and after the death of Yazeed they then formed an army so that they could repent for the sin and called this army as “the army of Tawwabeen”, which means those people who repented.

The Second stage of the formation of the Shia (Shiite)
So in the year 64 H when they formed the army of the Tawwabeen, this started the second stage in the development of the Shia religion. Up until this time they were still living with the people of Ahle Sunnah (Sunnis). So, we still didn’t have the situation where the Shias mistrusted the companions of the prophet and didn’t have their twelve imams, etc. However, at this stage they started to claim that the leadership of the Muslims should have passed to Caliph Ali and should have stayed with that family only.

The sheikh said that if we revisit the main categories of sects that were highlighted earlier, only the Shia and Khawarij split because of political issues. It had nothing to do with any religious beliefs and practices. So, it wasn’t about the creed, or the methodology, or the Aqeedah. The causes were primarily political. He said that as for the other three categories of sects, they started with the issue of creed.

So the sheikh said that from the year 64 hijrah and onwards the movements became political. They started to disagree with the leaders of their time whether they were the leaders from Banu Umaiyya or from Banu Abbas. And this continued for a few hundred of years until the fourth century of Islam. The only differences between them and the people of the Ahle Sunna (Sunnis) were the issues that they had with regarding the leaders of the ummah and politics. It was during the fourth century of Islam that they had a number of the scholars who surfaced and began to change this political issue into one about aqeedah and religious creed and made a different type of creed and methodology. There were a number of scholars during that time such as al-qulaini, al-mufeed, as-sudooq and al-noumaani. These were some of the scholars who at that time began to change the political ideology and changing into issues of creed and methodology.

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at


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