Question # 369: Shaykh, I used to be shia i changed 3 years ago to sunnah (al-hamdulillah); while i was shia, i did many horrible sins like insulting the sahaba of the prophet such as abu bakr, umar, uthman, aisha, etc (may allah bless them all). i have just repented and returned to the sunnah and i am a sunni muslim insha’allah and alhamdulillah! i’m crying in repentance, may allah accept it. i live with my parents. should i leave them and move or should i continue living with them? many scholars of islam have said not to have anything to do with Shias. furthermore, i need clarity to many many questions about shias because my parents keep referring to these which i cannot answer for lack of sufficient knowledge. shaykh, if you do not mind, i will keep bothering you with my questions as and when and every now and then. one such question is they say shia is mentioned in the quran to prove its authenticity and existence…. plz help me out as i am having a tough time to debate with them. Also, they tell me bad things about the rightly guided caliphs and they keep trying to corrupt my mind with insults.

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Being dutiful to one’s parents is a religious duty even if they are disbelievers. You should try calling them to the Sunnah with good manners and at the same time, do not obey them in any matter that involves disobedience towards Allah like defaming the Companions of the Prophet (رضي الله عنهم) because of the stern warning of Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

The word ‘Shiah’, (meaning faction or sect) appears in four out of eight cases in the Qur’an (Soorah Al-An’aam, 6:65, 6:159; Soorah Ar-Rum, 30:32; Soorah Maryam, 19:69) in a negative sense. All these ayat warn people against the punishment of Allah on dividing or splitting into various groups and sects.

Furthermore, according to Shi’ites own books, neither the Shi’ites’ historians nor the Shi’ites’ Scholars have a consensus on the evolution of the term ‘Shia’ to describe ‘Ali’s followers. Contrary to their differing statements in this regard, Ibn Abil-Hadeed, an extremist Shi’a, admittedly writes in his Commentary on Nahjul-Balaghah: “The origin of lies in Ahadith of virtues, started with the Shi’ites who fabricated various Ahadith in the virtues of their Imams. It was the enmity they held against their adversaries that drove them to fabricate them

To sum up, it is the wisdom of Allah of having used the word “Shi’ah” instead of other words available in the Arabic language to mean party, sect or faction, knowing that a sect known by this name will emerge, dividing people against the Sunnah.

(Note: I genuinely request the readers to go through the longer version of the answer to have a better perspective which will help them to invite Shi’ites to the correct Sunnah)

Long Answer: First of all, being dutiful to one’s parents is a religious duty even if they are non-Muslims. This is more emphatic if they are Muslims. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly…” (Soorah Luqman,  31:15)

The one who informed you that you had nothing to do with them is not right, instead they have many rights over you. Therefore, we advise you to live with them, not to leave them, to try your best to be kind hearted toward them, and call them to the Sunnah with good manners as this is a form of being kind and dutiful to them. Moreover, you should be a good example of Sunnah in your faith, conduct and practices.

So, you must treat your parents kindly even if they are kaafirs, but with regard to religious matters, you should follow the true religion even if it is different from your parents’ religion but do not obey them in any matter that involves disobedience towards Allah. One such matter is defaming the Companions of the Prophet (رضي الله عنهم); speaking ill of Companions is a sign of loss and deprivation. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has said concerning those who insulted a group of the Companions:

  • “Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were criminals.” (Soorah Al-Tawbah, 9:66)

Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said in the following ahadith:

  • “Do not insult my companions, do not insult my companions, for by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, if one of you spent the likes of [Mt.] Uhud in gold, it would not reach a mudd [a small measure] of one of them, nor its half.” (Related by Muslim)
  • “Whoever insults my companions has upon him the Curse of Allah, the Angels and all the people.” (Related by Al-Tabarani in his Al-Mu`jam al-Kabir, classed as authentic by Al-Albani in his Al-Silsilat ul-Sahihah)

Hence, it is not allowed for a Muslim, if he does not have enough knowledge to refute and respond to doubts, to mix with those who trigger doubts since this affects his religion badly. We ask Allah to help you and guide your parents to the Sunnah.

Meaning and Origin of word ‘Shi’ah’

The term ‘Shi’ah’ comes from the verb “Shaa’a” which means to spread. Hence Shi’ah means a faction or sect and is used with that meaning in the Qur’an in both singular and plural forms many times. [Historically,] the term was first used to describe both ‘Ali’s followers (Shi’ah ‘Ali) as well as those of Mu’aawiyah (Shi’ah Mu’aawiyah). However, after ‘Ali’s death and Mu’aawiyah’s nomination, ‘Ali’s followers retained the name exclusively and Mu’aawiyah, his descendants, and followers were known as the Umayyads, because he was from the Umayyah clan.

Anyone who claims that the word “Shi’a” or “Shi’ites” was used by the Apostle of Allah or during his era is a liar, and no proof whatsoever exists to support this claim. To illustrate as a proof, the Shi’ites themselves never agreed on when Shi’ism actually started:

  • In his book “Asl al-Shi’a wa Usooliha” p. 87, Grand Scholar Aal Kaashif-al-Ghataa’ wrote: “The first (person) who planted the seed of Shi’ism in the field of Islam, is no other than the Prophet himself. In other words, the seed of Shi’ism was placed side by side with the seed of Islam coequally. Its planter (the Prophet [saw]) continued to care for it by irrigating it until it grew and prospered during his life time, then bore fruits after his death” [This is an absolute false statement, which he supported by a false Hadith (Hadith of the Bird) to which he falsely claimed exists in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslims, or the Hadith “Verily it is Ali and his Shi’ites who are the winners” as most of Shi’ites writers do, to give the reader the impression that they are supporting their falsehood with authentic narrations from our Sihaah.]
  • It is no wonder then, that Ibn Abil-Hadeed (586 – 656 Hijri), an extremist Shi’a, admittedly writes in his Commentary on Nahjul-Balaghah: “The origin of lies in Ahadith of virtues, started with the Shi’ites who fabricated various Ahadith in the virtues of their Imams. It was the enmity they held against their adversaries that drove them to fabricate them” (See Sharh Nahujul-Balaghah, vol.1, p.783 (Quoting from al-Shi’a wat-Tashayyu’, p.19))

Actually, neither the Shi’ites’ historians nor the Shi’ites’ Scholars have a consensus on the evolution of Shi’ism:

  • In his “Firaq al-Shi’a” (The Shi’a Groups) Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Musa al-Nubakhti, one of the foremost known Shi’i historian, believes that Shi’ism did not start until the demise of the Apostle (صلى الله عليه و سلم): “The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) died in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the year 10 of Hijra at age 63 and the duration of his prophethood was for 23 years, and his mother is Aaminah bint Wahab bin Abdi Manaaf bin Zuhra bin Kilaab bin Murra bin Ka’b bin Lu’ay bin Ghaalib. (At his death) The Ummah was divided into three groups. One group was called the Shi’ites, who were the Shi’ites of Ali bin Abi Taleb [as] and from them all Shi’i sects broke away. Another (group) claimed the right of succession, i.e., al-Ansaar, who called for the inauguration of Sa’d bin Ubadah al-Khazraji. A (Third) group tilted toward giving the Bay’ah (allegiance) to Abu Bakr bin Abi Qahaafah, with an excuse that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not name a particular successor rather left it for the Ummah to choose whom it wills….” (Firaq al-Shi’a: pp. 23-24)
  • Muhammad Hussain al-Muzaffari thinks it was started by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) himself, he thus wrote in his Tareekh al-Shi’a (History of the Shi’ites): “The call for Shi’ism started with the day when Grand Savior Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) shouted the word La Ilaha illallah in Makka’s sections and mountains….and hence, the call to become a Shi’ite for Abu al-Hasan [as] (Ali) by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went side by side with the call for the two testimonies” (Tareekh al-Shi’a: Muhammad Husain al-Muzaffari, pp. 8-9, Qum, Iran)
  • Abu Ishaaq Ibn al-Nadim, (297-385 h), a famous Shi’i writer, did not agree to neither of the above theories, he wrote in his “al-Fihrist” that Shi’ism started at the Battle of Camel, thus explained: “When Talha and Az-Zubair disagreed with Ali and accepted no less than the revenge for the blood of Othman, and Ali mobilized his forces to fight them, those who followed him were then given the title, Shi’ites.” (Al-Fihrist, Ibn al-Nadim: p.249, from Ash-Shi’a wat-Tashayyu’: Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, p.25)
  • Kamil Mustafa al-Shaybi, a Shi’a, wrote in his book: “The independence of the term indicating Shi’ism came about only after the murder of al-Husain whereby Shi’ism became an independent entity with a distinctive identity” (The Link Between Sufism & Shi’ism: Mustafa Kamil al-Shaybi, p.23, From Ash-Shi’a wat-Tashayyu’, Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, p.26)

Word ‘Shi’ah in the Qur’an

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has mentioned the word Shi’ah, eight times in the Qur’an, four in the sense of historical events pertaining to Prophets before Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and the other four cases, in a negative sense. Refer to the following ayat in the Qur’an (their transliteration, translation and exegesis):

  • Soorah al-An’aam 6:65: “Qul Huwa Al-Qādiru `Alá ‘An Yab`atha `Alaykum `Adhābāan Min Fawqikum ‘Aw Min Taĥti ‘Arjulikum ‘Aw Yalbisakum Shiya`āan Wa Yudhīqa Ba`đakum Ba’sa Ba`din Anžur Kayfa Nuşarrifu Al-‘Āyāti La`allahum Yafqahūna” (Say: “He has power to send torment on you from above or from under your feet, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, and make you to taste the violence of one another.” See how variously We explain the Ayaat, so that they may understand)

Explanation: There is a…kind of punishment mentioned in this verse, and that is: “‘Aw Yalbisakum Shiya`āan” (or put you in confusion through divisions…). It means that you may be split into parties confronting each other and it becomes a punishment from within. The word, R. “yalbisakum” translated as ‘put you in confusion’) used here comes from the root: “labasa” which basically means to hide or cover up. It is in that sense it is used to refer to clothes which cover the human body. And for this reason, its derivation: “iltibas” is used in the sense of doubt, where the meaning of what is said remains hidden, that is, it is not open and clear.

As for the word: “shiya’”, it is the plural form of: “shi’ah” which means to be a follower, adherent or partisan of someone. …in common usage, the word: “shi’ah” is used to denote a group which gets together for a particular purpose, and its members help each other in achieving that purpose. In the current idiom, it would mean a faction or party. So, the verse [is] translated in the sense that one kind of “Adhab” (punishment) is that a nation or community breaks up into factions and parties and starts confronting each other. Therefore, when this verse was revealed, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) addressed Muslims and told them: “Do not renege after me becoming like disbelievers striking at the necks of each other.” (Deduced by lbn Abi Hatim from Zayd ibn Aslam as in Mashari)

Sa’d ibn AbI Waqqas (رضي الله عنه) says: Once we were going with the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) When we reached Masjid BanI Mu’awiyah, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went into the Masjid and offered two rak’ah of Salah. We too offered two rak’ah. After that, he became busy with Du’a, and kept praying for a fairly long time. After that, he said: ‘I asked my Rabb for three things: (1) My Ummah may not be destroyed by drowning: Allah answered this prayer; (2) My Ummah may not be destroyed by famine and hunger: This too was answered; (3) My Ummah may not be destroyed by infighting: I was stopped from making this prayer.’ [Muslim, but not Al-Bukhari, recorded this Hadith in the book on Fitan (trials) (of his Sahih)]

The [above] narrations prove that, though the kind of punishments which visited earlier communities from above them and from beneath them and which destroyed all of them, will not visit the Ummah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم); but, there is one ‘Adhab’ (punishment) which will keep visiting this Ummah too during their life in the present world. That ‘Adhab’ is their infighting and the mutual confrontation between their factions and parties. It was for this reason that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has emphatically forbidden his Ummah from becoming divided in sects, factions and parties and from challenging and fighting each other among themselves. Actually, he has, on every possible occasion, tried to put the fear of Allah in every heart by warning that the Divine punishment, if it has to come upon Muslims within their life in this mortal world, it will come because of nothing else but their mutual confrontation and infighting. This subject has been further clarified in a verse of Soorah Hud where it is said: “But they will continue in their differences, except those whom Allah has blessed with mercy” (Soorah Hud, 11:118)

In this light, it becomes all the clearer that those who differ with each other are either deprived of Divine mercy, or far-removed from it. …Below are two verses from Surah ‘Al Imran which would make the problem easier to understand:

    • “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves…” (Soorah Al-Imran, 3:103)
    • And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment. (Soorah Al-Imran, 3:105)
  • Soorah al-An’aam 6:159: “‘Inna Al-Ladhīna Farraqū Dīnahum Wa Kānū Shiya`āan Lasta Minhum Fī Shay’in ‘Innamā ‘Amruhum ‘Ilá Allāhi Thumma Yunabbi’uhum Bimā Kānū Yaf`alūna” (Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you (O Muhammad) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do)

Explanation: The verse carries a general address included wherein are the disbelievers of Arabia, the Jews and Christians and Muslims, all of them. Addressing them, stated there is the sad end of those who turn away from the straight path of Allah – and the instruction given to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), is that he should have nothing to do with those who take to the ways of error. Then, out of these, there are those ways of error which take one in a direction totally opposite to what the straight path is, such as the ways of the disbelievers, polytheists and the people of the Book. Then, there are other ways too, which do not, though, take one all the way in the opposite direction, but misguide them any way by pulling them away from the straight path and putting them on ways to the right and left. These are ways of ‘doubts’ and ‘innovations’ in the true and settled faith (Shubhat and Bid’at). They too lead one astray.

In this verse, made clear first was that the Messenger of Allah was free of any responsibility concerning those who land themselves into the ways of error. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) had nothing to do with them. Then, they were given the notice of warning that their case was, sufficient to say, in the hands of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and it was He who would punish them on the day of Qiyamah.

As for ‘having made divisions in religion and turning into factions’ mentioned in the verse is concerned, it refers to the practice of not following the basic principles of established religion, rather electing to follow personal whims and desires, or become willing victims of Satanic instigations and deceptions, as an outcome of which, one would add something new to it, or leave some of that which is already there.

According to Tafsir Mazhari, included here are the peoples of the past communities as well, those who had abandoned their basic religion and had added to it things on their own – and with them, there are the deviators and innovators (the partisans of Bid’ah). of this Ummah too, who keep adding baseless things, on their own, into the Deen of Islam.

About this, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has said: “My Ummah will face the same conditions faced by the Bani Isra’il. The kind of evil practices in which they got involved will also affect the people of my Ummah. The Bani Isra’il had split into seventy-two sects. My Ummah will break up into seventy-three sects – all of them will go to Hell, except one. The Sahabah asked about the group which would be so blessed with salvation. He said: That on which am I and my Companions” (This narration from Ibn ‘Umar has been reported by Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

Based on a narration from Al-‘lrbaq ibn Sariyah, Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and others have reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Those who live after me will see many differences. Therefore, (I order you that) you should, abiding by my Sunnah (way) and the Sunnah of my rightly-guided successors (Khulafa ar-Rashidin) strictly, keep doing what you do while adhering to nothing but these, avoid the temptation of falling for new methods because everything introduced anew into the religion is Bid’ah, and every Bid’ah is error and straying.’

In another hadith, he said: ‘One who stood separated from the Jama’ah, even to the measure of a span between the extended thumb and the little finger, he has taken out the band of allegiance to Islam from around his neck. (Abu Dawud and Ahmad) According to Tafsir Mazhari, ‘Jama’ah‘ in this hadith means ‘the Jama’ah of Sahabah,’ that is, the collective body or group of the noble Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). The reason is that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) sent our master, Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as His Messenger, and gave him the Qur’an, and blessed him with another (kind of) Wahy (revelation) – which is called the Hadith or Sunnah. Then, there are many difficult or brief or ambiguous verses in the Qur’an. For their Tafsir or explanation, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) promised that He shall have these clarified through His Messenger. The verse: “After that, to make it clear to you is on Us (Soorah Al-Qiyamah, 75:19) means exactly this.

So, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) explained the difficulties and ambiguities of the Qur’an and groomed his direct disciples, that is, the Sahabah into the many modes of his Sunnah through his word and deed. Therefore, the conduct of the Sahabah as a major collective entity (placed by Divine design into a trail-blazing role as mirrors of their blessed master) is in itself the statement and the explanation of the Divinely-ordained Shari’ah of Islam.

Unfortunately, as a result of people ignoring this sacrosanct rule of conduct, Islam had to see the emergence of different sects which would set aside the proven conduct and explanations of the Sahabah and take the liberty of saying what they wished and declare it to be the very meaning of the Qur’an and Sunnah. These are the ways of error the Qur’an has repeatedly warned against and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has emphatically prohibited it throughout his blessed life.

  • Soorah Ar-Rum, 30:32: “Mina Al-Ladhīna Farraqū Dīnahum Wa Kānū Shiya`āan Kullu Ĥizbin Bimā Ladayhim Fariĥūna” (Of those who split up their religion, and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.)

Explanation: The Natural Faith was based on the Oneness of Allah, by following which the entire human kind should have been one solid unit and one party. But it so happened that people split out from this unity and started following the personal views of their own leaders. Since the personal views and opinions of different people may always vary from person to person, different groups of people invented their own beliefs and religion. As a consequence, people were divided into various groups and sects, and the Shaytan made them believe that they were the only people on the right path. That is, each group is happy and contended in its own beliefs and declare others being wrong, although they all are astray and treading the wrong path.

  • Soorah Maryam, 19:69: “Thumma Lananzi`anna Min Kulli Shī`atin ‘Ayyuhum ‘Ashaddu `Alá Ar-Raĥmāni `Itīyāan” (Then indeed We shall drag out from every sect all those who were worst in obstinate rebellion against the Most Beneficent (Allah))

Explanation: The word Shi’ah [in the above verse] is applied to a particular person or the followers of a particular faith, and it also means a sect. The meaning of the verse is that the most rebellious from amongst the different sects of the infidels will be picked out. Some commentators say that the sinners will be committed to Hell in the order of the intensity of their sins, i.e. those sinners will be driven in first whose sins are most intense and those with less intense sins, will follow them, and so on.

To sum up, it is the wisdom of Allah of having used the word “Shi’ah” instead of other words available in the Arabic language to mean party, sect or faction, knowing that a sect known by this name will emerge, dividing people against the Sunnah.

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • ‘Ma’ariful Qur’an’ by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’
  • Tafseer Ibn Kathir
  • ‘Ibn al-Jawzee’s The Devil’s Deception’, Translated by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
  • Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America
  •, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.