Monday, 12 June 2017

Confused Shi'ite Doctrine of Imamate (Part 3)


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

الصلوة والسلام على من لا نبى بعده



Confused Shi’ite Doctrine of Imamate

Part 3



As has been mentioned previously, the death of the sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq رحمة الله عليه was a critical moment in the history and development of Imamiya Shi’ism. It resulted in the division of the Imamiya into several sects; 1. Nawusiya 2. Aftahiya 3. Shumaitiya 4. Isma’iliya and 5. Musawiya, each sect disputing about the reality of the succession to Ja’far al-Sadiq. Three of these initial sects (Nawusiya, Aftahiya, Shumaitiya) are now extinct. We have already discussed in depth the Isma’iliya in the previous entry. In this entry I shall now discuss the Musawiya and their gradual development, weathering various schisms, into the contemporary Ithna Ashariya (Twelvers).
Likewise, I have already mentioned the Waqifa sect, who believed that the seventh Imam Musa al-Kadim رحمة الله عليه did not die, and that he will return as the Mahdi. This sect too is no more.

Now after the death of Musa al-Kadim, the Qat’iya differed as to his successor. Some recognised Musa’s son Ahmad as the eighth Imam, while others recognised his brother Ali al-Rida رحمة الله عليهما. The Ahmadiya may be termed “Eighters” because they are distinguished by differing with their contemporaries over the identity of the eighth Imam.

Reference: Firaq al-Shi’a (Nawbakhti), p.91; Bab-al-Shaytan (Abu Tamam), p.125




Ahmadiya Line

1. Ali b. Abi Talib
2. Hasan b. Ali
3. Hussain b. Ali
4. Ali b. Hussain
5. Muhammad b. Ali
6. Ja’far b. Muhammad
7. Musa b. Ja’far
8. Ahmad b. Musa

Opposing Line

1. Ali b. Abi Talib
2. Hasan b. Ali
3. Hussain b. Ali
4. Ali b. Hussain
5. Muhammad b. Ali
6. Ja’far b. Muhammad
7. Musa b. Ja’far
8. Ali b. Musa
9. Muhammad b. Ali

Likewise, among those who opted for the Imamate of Ali al-Rida and his young son, Muhammad al-Taqi, they differed as to the identity of the tenth Imam and successor of Muhammad al-Taqi. Some of them recognised the Imamate of Muhammad’s son Musa b. Muhammad (al-Mubarraqa’), while others recognised the Imamate of his brother Ali al-Naqi. Those who believed Musa al-Mubarraqa’ was the tenth Imam may be termed “Teners”.

Reference: Firaq-al-Shi’a (Nawbakhti), p.94; al-Milal wan-Nihal (Shahrastani), p.172




Those who went with the Imamate of Ali al-Naqi disputed about the identity of his successor and eleventh Imam. A faction asserted the Imamate of Ali’s son Muhammad b. Ali. Known as the Muhammadiya, they can also be termed “Eleveners” because they dispute with their contemporaries concerning the identity of the eleventh Imam. Interestingly, this Muhammad b. Ali al-Hadi passed away some seven years before his father (Imam Ali al-Hadi). The Muhammadiya, however, denied the apparent death of Muhammad b. Ali al-Hadi, instead claiming that he was really alive and the Mahdi.

Reference: Firaq-al-Shi’a (Nawbakhti), p.96


Muhammadiya Line

1. Ali b. Abi Talib
2. Hasan b. Ali
3. Hussain b. Ali
4. Ali b. Hussain
5. Muhammad b. Ali
6. Ja’far b. Muhammad
7. Musa b. Ja’far
8. Ali b. Musa
9. Muhammad b. Ali
10. Ali b. Muhammad
11. Muhammad b. Ali

Another faction believed that the true eleventh Imam was Ali al-Hadi’s son Ja’far. The Ja’fariya accepted the Imamate of Ja’far’s son Ali b. Ja’far after him, but after Ali b. Ja’far they differed excessively:

Ja’fariya Line

1. Ali b. Abi Talib
2. Hasan b. Ali
3. Hussain b. Ali
4. Ali b. Hussain
5. Muhammad b. Ali
6. Ja’far b. Muhammad
7. Musa b. Ja’far
8. Ali b. Musa
9. Muhammad b. Ali
10. Ali b. Muhammad
11. Ja’far b. Ali
12. Ali b. Ja’far
?

Then there were those from the Imamiya who accepted the Imamate of Ali al-Hadi’s son, Hasan b. Ali (al-Zaki). After the apparent death of Hasan b. Ali, the Imamiya who accepted him as the eleventh Imam differed excessively about the issue of his succession. Some of them believed that Hasan al-Askari did not die, or that he came back to life after his death, and that he is the Mahdi. They are also “Eleveners” in the sense that they believe the Imamate terminated with their eleventh Imam, Hasan b. Ali.

As for the believers in Hasan al-Askari as the eleventh Imam but accepting his death, they too differed greatly: (a) some said after Hasan al-Askari the Imamate was transferred to his brother Ja’far b. Ali (who is the twelfth Imam according to them. (b) some said that since Hasan al-Askari had no son, the Imamate is discontinued and it is not necessary that there should always be a living Imam (c) some said Hasan al-Askari had a secret son who is unknown but is yet to appear and he is the twelfth Imam (d) some said Hasan al-Askari’s successor is unknown, he may be a descendant of Hasan or a descendant of someone else and is yet to appear, and finally (e) some said Hasan b. Ali had a secret son named Muhammad. They believe he went into occultation and is the Mahdi.

The last faction developed into today’s contemporary Ithna Ashariya (Twelvers).

In conclusion, the reader should appreciate just how fragmented the Shi’a have been on the issue of Imamate, which for them is an Article of Faith. Virtually every time one of their Imams died, they disputed whether the Imam had really died or merely went into occultation, and almost without exception they disputed as to the identity of the Imam’s true successor. With so much confusion over what is the correct line of Imams among the Shi’a themselves, on what basis are they emboldened to call upon those Muslims who are upon the Sunnah to entangle themselves into the mess of Imamate? Why would any Muslim be motivated into leaving a creed that is clear and simple for something that is puzzling, disputed and illogical even among those who to subscribe to it?

1 comment:

  1. The Shumaitiya, ascribed to Yahya bin Shumait. They believed that the Imamate was inherited by Muhammad ad-Dibaj after his father, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq's death, and that the awaited Mahdi would be from among Muhammad ad-Dibaj's progeny.

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