Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ask a Zaidi: December Edition

Welcome to Ask a Zaidi, December edition. We encourage you to post your questions about Zaidism here, so that we may all benefit from the answers provided.


  1. 1) What does the Zaydi madhhab say regarding why Imam Hasan (AS) relinquished his khilafah to Mu'awiyah, and if jihad is incumbent upon a faasiq khalifah, then what is the difference between what Imam Hasan (AS) did with Muhammad Al-Baqir (RA) & Ja'far As-Sadiq (RA) not waging jihad against the faasiq Umawi khalifah of their time?

    2) If taqiyyah is not allowable, then what is the explanation of Ibrahim (AS) hiding the fact that Sarah (AS) was his wife out of fear with Nimrood or Ammar bin Yassir (RA) hiding his faith when being tortured and facing death, which the Qur'an mentions?

    3) Is it a belief that 'Isa (AS) will return or has he (AS) already died?

    4) Are the Tayyibi Isma'ilis (not Agha Khan followers) considered to be within the fold of mainstream Islam like Sunnis, Ja'faris and Ibadis?
    (from one of our readers)

  2. 1) How long will Imam Mahdi (as) rule ?
    2) How long will Prophet Isa (as) rule ?

  3. Bism allah Alrhaman Alraheem

    We ask Allah to teach us what will benefit us and benefit us with what he teaches us. Ameen.

    Sister Zaida,

    I think that we have discussed these points before. I suggest that maybe previous questions should be reviewed before asking new ones.

    Allah knows best, but I will try to answer the first question first. because I do not want to rush into providing the wrong answers.

    Imam Alhassan case is different than that of Imam Albageer and Imam Alsadeg. Imam Alhassan after the death of his father Imam Ali was named the Imam. Upon hearing this news, Mauwiayh became worried and prepared himself to fight Imam Alhassan. Imam Alhassan prepared his armies , drew plans, and he did move his army showing fully well that he did intend to fight mauwiyah. Until he noticed the following.

    1. his army commander Abouidallah ibn alabbas received bribes from mauwiyah and joined him.

    2.The tribal leaders of Alkufa, having mauwiyah rain them with lots of money, changed sides and promised to give Alhassan to mauwiyah.

    3. Mauwiyahs army became stronger and Imam Alhassan's army became distracted and their faith dwindled.

    4. the Many attempted to assassinate Imam Alhassan

    5.propaganda and rumors caused a great chaos and confusion on the hearts and minds of the Iraqis.

    Seeing such a highly unstable situation among his followers the Imam had to have some sort of peace treaty for the welfare of muslims in general and to avoid unnecessary blood shed among his followers.

    The peace treaty had these conditions from the Imam.

    1. that Mauwiyah: rule by the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet
    2. that after mauwiyahs death the leadership goes back to the sons of fatimah.

    So Imam AlHassan did began a jihad but he had to have a peace treaty for the reasons mentioned above. He also assumed that leadership will be back to Ahlulbayt immediately after mauwiyahs death. And muslims will recognize that Mauwiyah is not the right leader for the umah. So he did not leave the Umah without the knowledge that the leadership will return to the people who are fit for it. but unfortunatly Imam Alhassan died and Imam Alhussain had the misfortune of dealing with Mauwiyahs breach of treaty conditions.

    Imam Albageer and alsadeeg are both Imams for Zaidies. We also believe that Alsadeeg wanted to fight with his uncle zaid but his uncle advised him not to. So, imam Alsadeeg sent his sons to fight with him.

    It is important to note that an Imam cannot do jihad with out the access of the naser ( or group of shia big enough to support the Imam or the general ability to start the campaign.) Each Imam had a different situation. The actions of the Imams are to the best of their ability ,within these situations, using their own judgement.

    And Allah knows best.

  4. Here is a clip which explains why Imam Jafar As Sadiq (as) did not revolt.

  5. Related to Zaida's first question I wanted to know if the Zaidis consider 'Ali ibn Husayn (Zain al-Abidin or as-Sajjad) to be an imam? Is so, why if he never raised an army or fought?

    Secondly have Zaidi theologians engaged with modern philosophy in any substantial way, like the so called kalam e jadid originating in Iran or have they isolated themselves from it like most mainstream Sunnis and Shia?

    Thank you.

  6. Zabarah,

    What is your textual proof that Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) took bribes from Mu'awiyah and betrayed Imam Al-Hasan (AS)???

    Considering that ibn Abbas (RA) is considered a trustworthy narrator and mentioned in books of tafaseer in all madhaahib (Shi'i, Sunni & Ibadi) that I've read, I find this to be a very troubling assertion.

  7. To DawudWalid
    Zabarah meant to say Obaidullah ibn abbas, not Abdullah ibn Abbas.

    Also brother Devin the Zaydi definiton of imamate differs from the other Shia sects.

    e concept of imamate in Zaydiyya is slightly different from imamate in the other Shia groups. To the Zaydiyya, imams are divided into basically 3 categories:

    1. imam of knowledge
    2. imam of justice
    3. Imam of both knowledge and justice

    An imam of knowledge is basically a scholar of the family of the Messenger (saws) that is known for his piety and unparallelled for his knowledge of the sciences of the deen. Even though he may issue fatawa, he does not fight to establish justice.

    An imam of justice is a leader from the family of the Messenger (saws) that fights to establish justice on the Earth. He is charismatic and courageous but having extensive knowledge of the deen is not required.

    An Imam of knowledge and justice is a scholar and leader from the family of the Messenger (saws) that is known for his piety, unparallelled for his knowledge of the sciences of the deen, and fights to establish justice on the Earth.

    Even though all three are imams (lowercase "i"), it is only the third category that the Zaydiyya use a capital "I" for Imam. In other words, the Imam has to be knowledgeable and establish justice to be considered the Imam.

    Imams as-Sadiq and al-Baqir fall in the 1st category because they are known for their knowledge. But since they did not openly establish justice, they cannot be considered a capital I "Imam".

    Imams like Ali, al-Hasan, al-Hussein, Zayd ash-Shaheed, al-Hadi, and Mutawakkal fall into the 3rd category.

  8. I am interested in al-Zaydiyyah, but I feel that I need clarification on the position of Ahl al-Bayt.

    Of course, I respect this group - their historical role in preserving the faith, spiritual authority, etc. However, it seems that in the context of the lessening of ulama authority generally (aka a reduction of their monopoly on religious knowledge), as well as political democratization, Zaydis' emphasis on a single group is a bit outdated.

    Can you please explain? I don't mean to sound critical. I am just curious.

  9. Salaamz!

    Sorry. Due to family emergency, we have been out of commission for a while.

    Thanks to Zabarah and ProAhlalBayt for addressing some of the questions! Since they addressed the first question, it's unnecessary for us to address it.

    Regarding the second question, as far as I know, taqiyya is not allowed for an Imam. This is because an imam must be able to call to himself openly and without hiding or occultation.

    Regarding the third question, one of our contemporary scholars wrote a treatise regarding the return of Isa (as). He argues that Isa (as) will not return and such belief is carryover from Judeo-Christian belief. Insha-Allah, if we have time, we will try to translate it.

    Regarding your fourth question, as far as I know Tayyibi Isma'ilis (including Dawoodi Bohras and others) are considered to be a part of "mainstream Islam" (whatever that means).

    Maybe this is not related but in most cases, Zaydis do not make takfir of other groups. Historically, our imams' enemies included the Anthropomorphists (mutashabih), Fatalists (mujabbira), Extremist Shia (ghulat), and Haters of Ahl al-Bayt (nawaasib); however, even then, they were hesitant to label them as kuffar.

    I dont know about the length of time that Imam Mahdi (as) will rule.

    And Allah knows best!

    BTW, please forgive us but we may not be able to post much these coming days due to a family necessities. However, one of the brothers in the Imam Rassi Society, Zabarah, is more than qualified to answer questions and post information!

    Thank you for your understanding!


  10. Regarding Anonymous' question, we do see the exclusive authority of Ahl al-Bayt (as) in the preservation of the religion. However, we do respect scholars outside of the Ahl al-Bayt (as); esp. those who took knowledge from Ahl al-Bayt and supported them implicitly and explicitly.

    For example, one of our classical scholars, Amir Hussein Badrudeen in his Yanaabi' an-Naseeha mentioned Imams Abu Hanifa (ra), Malik bin Anas (ra), and Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shaaf'i (ra) in respectful terms and said "radiAllahu anhu" after Imam Abu Hanifa's name and "Rahmatullah alayhi" after Imams Malik and ash-Shafi's names.
    This shows that our imams and scholars respect other scholars. This is in variance with other groups who refer to the Sunni imams in disrepectful and unflattering terms.

    However, we must not forget the verses and ahadith that mention the Ahl al-Bayt (as) as the exclusive authorities! Please refer to our translation of Jawab ar-Raqi on our Scribd page. Remember, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, didnt just say these things out of caprice, rather, he said this out of revelation from the Lord! Therefore, the exclusive authority of Ahl al-Bayt is from Divine injunction!

    And Allah knows best!


  11. Imam Rassi said, "Regarding the second question, as far as I know, taqiyya is not allowed for an Imam. This is because an imam must be able to call to himself openly and without hiding or occultation."

    JazakAllahu khayran, but your answer didn't explain how taqiyyah isn't accepted on one hand yet Ibrahim (AS) hid that Sarah (AS) was his wife out of fear of harm from Nimrod or that Ammar ibn Yassar (RA) recanted Islam (not in his heart) out of fear of death.

    These are proofs of the Ibadis, Isma'ilis and Ja'faris that taqiyyah is acceptable if one fears being killed. Obviously, none of the Imams are of the stature of Nabi Ibrahim (AS). Can you elaborate on this point please.

    Thanks for the answer regarding 'Isa (AS). I can read Arabic; please forward that treatise regarding 'Isa (AS) not returning. I read in one of the books of `aqeedah written by an Ibadi scholar in which he stated that out of all of the madhaahib, Zaydis are the closest to them except on the issue of Imamah. I've have read an Ibadi work on `Isa (AS) not returning.

  12. what is opinion of the Zaydiyun about 'Ayshah?

    she warred against our Imam 'Ali
    she killed many Muslims
    she never let hasan (a) be buried with the Prophet (s)
    she may have poisoned the holy Prophet (s).

  13. Aysha accused the holy Prophet (s) of pedophilia (May the curse be upon her) in some ahadith.

  14. Anonymous,

    Regarding your last comment, you need to remember that Imam Zayd (AS) never cursed the Sahaba, and so your doing it of Aisha (RA) is wholly unacceptable. Yes, there are times when she may have erred, but she was the wife of our beloved Prophet (saw) and as such carried the title Ummu l-Mu'minīn.

    Please be respectful of such a fact in future.

  15. Anonymous, are you the same anonymous who commented on Dec. 3rd, above? It would be good if the anonymouses could attach some sort of name to themselves to avoid confusion (about who is genuinely interested in becoming a Zaidi and who isn't)

  16. To Anonymous
    Ayesha (ra) initially allowed Imam Hassan (as) to buried there. However, when the burial took place Marwan came along, and said I will only allow this to take place if Uthmaan's body is placed there first. Then Ayesha (ra) knew he was lying so she said nobody will be buried there.

  17. My name is Muhammad

    I have great respect for all of you (zaydis). Badr al-Din was a very pious man and their children also.

    But talk about the fact 'Aysha have said that the Prophet (sallalahu 'alayhi wa Alihi wa salam) married her to six years.

    How can you accept the ahadith of a liar?

  18. Muhammad talking

    Ayshah not provoked a war that has led many Muslims to death?

    She would not have killed the Imam 'Ali (as) in the war?

    There are only two reasons why I did not get Zaydi:

    1º not believe that the Mahdi (as) is in occultation

    2º respect to 'Ayshah

    God bless you all (zaydis)

  19. To Anonymous
    The ahadith you state says at the age of 6, Bibi Ayesha (ra) did not leave her house. She left her house when she reached puberty. This was at the age of 9. If you find this disgusting then you are also attacking the Ahlul Bayt (as). The reason is Bibi Fatima (sa) in spiritual traditions was married to Imam Ali (as) before she came to this world, and she moved in his house at the age of 9.

    As for Bibi Ayesha (ra) who says the Zaydis respect her for her transgressions. The Zaydis say she repented and Allah (swt) knows best. There is no narrations where any of the 12 imams have cursed her. Also, the story of her arrowing Imam Hassan (as) before his burial is a lie, which is restricted in the 12r Shia books. On top of that those traditions are weak. The incident of Imam Hassan (as) being arrowed by Ayesha (ra) they are narrated in Al Kafi and they are graded to be weak ahadiths.

    محمد بن سليمان بن عبدالله الديلمي ضعيف جدا " لايعول عليه في شيئ

    Both narrations daif a/c to Majlisi. Mohammed bin Suleiman bin Abdullah al-Dailami is very weak and unreliable.

  20. There is disagreement on the authenticity of that hadeeth and if Ummul Mu'mineen (RA) even said that, Mr/Ms Anonymous.

    The following is the opinion of some Sunni & Shi'i scholars/shuyookh in my area regarding her age of nikkah in which it is concluded that she was a teenager not 6 nor 9.

    They say Prophet (s) married Sayyida A’isha when she was very young.

    A’isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra), became a Muslim when her father accepted Islam in its early days. Also, it is reported that she died around the approximate age of 80, which means that she was between the ages of 16 to 19 at the time of moving in with the Prophet (s) during their marriage. This is the age of consent with parental permission currently in America.

  21. Muhammad talking to ProAhlulBayt

    assalamu aleykum

    Married when young is better. I do not think this is disgusting.

    I just said that:

    The marriage of 'Ayshah was between 18 and 20 years and she lied when he said that he married six, seven or nine years of age.

  22. To Muhammad, you can't be sure it was Aisha who lied, it may well have been a hadith fabricator who lied. I hope you don't remain a sunni or 12er just because of a dodgy hadith. And I hope Dawud doesn't remain a sunni because of a story about Ibrahim a.s. in a sunni hadith book.
    To be a Zaidi you need to take a fresh new approach; disregard non-zaidi hadith books for a while, focus on the message of the Qur'an, and be open and honest with other Muslims about your preference for Zaidism. Taqiyyah hasn't benefitted the 12ers (see how nobody trusts them?) so I hardly think it would benefit the Zaidis.

  23. Taqiyyah is more than just a Ja'fari belief. It's a belief among Ibadis and Isma'ilis and according to Zabarah, is acceptable Zaydis for "non-Imams" to a degree. Sunnis have zero acceptance for taqiyyah; therefore, my questions were not raised from a purely "sunni" perspective.

    For Sunnis, btw, stories from At-Tabari or books of taareekh and seerah are not authoritative for `aqeedah or for fiqhi opinions. Thus even if I was a traditional "sunni," such a story would have no influence on me being or not being one.

  24. Brother Dawud,

    I would think that zaidi idea of taqiyyahh is close to a sunni perspective than the jafari one.

    Tugyah in zaidism is done under Ikrah where by if it is not done you will be affected severely or be killed. As an example of Ikrah is if you fast and you have diabetes or eat a dead cow when there is nothing else and are starving to death.

    Allah does not burden except which it can bare

    Given the above: Zaidies prefer that one does not practice tuqyahh at all.

  25. salaamz all!

    Thanks to everyone for their submissions and posts. We have a little time to respond.

    As was mentioned, taqiya is necessary under certain circumstances. However, what must be differentiated is taqiya done to save one's life and taqiya done to avoid avoid inconvenience. Sis Zaida's article explains this well.

    In the case of Nabi Ibrahim (as), if the account concerning Nimrod is authentic, it has nothing to do with taqiya regarding one's faith. Saying that Sarah was his sister was not related to protecting his faith rather it was related to protecting his life.

    In the case of Ammar bin Yassir (ra), he did use taqiya but it was to protect his life regarding Islam. In his situation, he outwardly displayed kufr in the face of his disbelieving enemies who would have killed him otherwise. This is not related to protecting himself due to differing madhhab and sectarian strife. Besides, it could be said that he was permitted to do so under duress prior to the Opening of Mecca. However, after the Opening and once Islam has become victorious, it is less likely that one has to do taqiya in that sense.

  26. JazakAllahu khayran @ "Imam Rassi". This is the best explanation that I've heard thus far.

  27. Ive just noticed this new comment under the "A Reply to Ahlus Sunnah" August post, I'm copying it here in case anyone wants to respond...
    "This is Abu Asiyah reach me at
    I found many of the comments interesting but I am muqallid of AshShafi'i fiqh and uphold Ash'ari aqeedah and don't disparage the differences of the Ahl-us-Sunnah imams as I find their differences to be acceptable in that they only differ in what has not been made decisevly clear in the Quran and the Sunnah. But I am interested in what has been transmitted authentically from Muhammad AnNafs AzZakkiyah and other prominent Imams of the Zaydi tradition who were contempories of Imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, AshShafi'i, Ahmad, Layth Ibn Sad, Al Awzai, Sufyan Ath-Thawri, Jafar AsSadiq, Abdullah Mubarak,Abu Hasan Al-Ash'ari, Abu Mansur alMaturidi, Ghazzali and their companions. I think presenting their views of these various figures and these figures views of them would be rather interesting"
    December 5, 2010 8:11 PM

  28. Salam,

    Yes, I agree with Abu Asiyah, treatise or even sermons translated from luminary Imams that only the Zaidis claim such as Muhammad Nafs-Zakiya would be very powerful for people to read!

    By the way, as best as I have understood Sunnis do not say that the story of Ibrahim (AS) was taqiyaa. Because he said Sara was his sister, which was true, he didnt lie perse.

    The net of it is that from what I understand there isnt any signifigant difference between Zaidi and Sunni view on taqiya.


  29. salamalaykom. whats the zaidi way of praying salah? Do zaidi school follow fiqh of Imam Jaffar or is it different? is it the same fiqh twelvers follow? also do zaidis think of all Imams as infallible? and can you please name some awliya or tabieen who were zaidis?? and some books where i can read about zaidi aqaid in detail.