May peace be upon you. You said in one of your blessed Islamic lectures that a ‘Nasibi’ is he who places Abu Bakr and Omar (may Allah’s curse be upon them both) above the Imam, the Commander of the Believers (may Allah’s blessings be upon him). I do agree with this opinion of yours, because I see that usurping the caliphate is one of the biggest ways of ‘Nusb’ against Ahlul-Bayt (may peace be upon him). However, what is the opinion of the great Shi’a Imami scholars in defining this meaning? I mean, can Your Eminence mention to us the sayings of the scholars who agree with this opinion of yours? And can you please mention the sources?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The most widely accepted opinion amongst our oldest scholars is that he who rejects the Divine Authority is a Nasib and a disbeliever, and hence he is a person upon whom the judgments of disbelief apply. However, they made an exception from these judgments for the ‘weaker’ ones among the ‘Sunnis’, i.e. the general, simple-minded and ignorant people who cannot increase their knowledge of religion.
Thereupon, the most widely accepted opinion amongst our latest scholars has become that he who rejects the Divine Authority is a Muslim – although he possesses an ‘apparent’ belief in Islam – and they applied the judgments of Islam on him. However, they do differentiate between such a person and between a believer who believes in the Divine Authority of Ahlul-Bayt. On this basis, they said that a regular ‘Sunni’ is not a Nasib or a disbeliever and that only he who openly expresses his enmity towards Ahlul-Bayt, through words and actions, is a Nasib and a disbeliever.
Among the scholars who declared the ‘Sunnis’ to be Nawasib (plural of Nasib) and disbelievers; are the following scholars:
• Sheikh al-Tousi. He said in his book, Al-Tahdheeb:
He who opposes the people of truth is a disbeliever, hence his ruling is the ruling of disbelief.
• Ibn Idrees al-Hilli, the author of the book Al-Sara’ir, said:
He who opposes the people of truth is a disbeliever, and there is no dispute among us concerning this issue.
• Mohammad Saleh al-Mazendarani, who said in his book, Sharh’ Usul al-Kafi:
Whoever rejects it (i.e. Divine Authority) is a disbeliever, because he rejects the greatest thing that was brought by the Messenger and a root principle from the root principles of religion.
• The martyr Nourullah al-Tusturi, who said in his book, Ihqaq-ul-Haqq:
It is known that the two testimonies alone are not sufficient (to be counted as a Muslim). Rather one has to stay strict to all that was brought by the Prophet concerning the Return (of the body) and the Imamate, as confirmed by his well-known saying – may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family: ‘He who dies and does not know the Imam of his age, he dies a death of ignorance.’ There is no doubt that he who denies anything from this is not a believer nor a Muslim because the Ghulat and the Khawarij – although they were Muslims by merely considering their acknowledgement of the two testimonies – they are still disbelievers by considering their rejection of known things in religion, nay, even one of its greatest root principles, which is the Imamate of the Commander of the Believers.
• Sheikh Abul-Hassan al-Sharif al-Futuni al-‘Amili, who spoke about the disbelief and Nusb of the ‘Sunnis’ in his book, Sharh’ al-Kifaya, on behalf of Murtadha Ilm-al-Huda :
I wish I would know what difference there is between disbelief in Allah (Exalted is He) and His Messenger and he who disbelieves in the Imams, despite that all of these things are among the root principles of religion. It might be that the misconception they had was their claim that an opponent (i.e. a ‘Sunni’) is a true Muslim, which is a corrupt delusion that is in contrary to the frequently recurrent narrations. The truth is what Ilm-al-Huda said regarding that they are disbelievers and that they are to abide in Hellfire. The narrations concerning this matter are more than to be counted, and this is not a place to mention them as they have exceeded the limit of frequent recurrency. According to me, the disbelief of these people is one of the clearest things in the sect of Ahlul-Bayt.
• The great scholar Al-Bahrani, the author of Al-Hada’iq, who said:
Our proof of what we mentioned is the quoted narrations, which confirm that the thing that defines Nusb and requires the execution of its ruling on those who fall under its category; is the preferring of the Idol and the Tyrant (Abu Bakr and Omar), or hatred towards the Shi’a, and there is no doubt that these things are present in these opponents.
He also said in the chapter of ‘Purity’ of his book, Al-Hadai’q al-Nadhira:
As for that which confirms the impurity of a Nasib – as I have learned, this is a term used to describe every opponent, except he who is a ‘weaker’ one…
In another part, he said:
…as we have clarified in the book ‘Al-Shihab-ul-Thaqib fi bayan mana al-Nasib’ concerning the disbelief of our opponents, as well as their Nusb and polytheism, and that a dog and a Jew is better than them.”
The scholar Al-Bahrani wrote a detailed epistle in which he addressed this field, entitled ‘Al-Shihab-ul-Thaqib fi bayan ma’na al-Nasib’ (meaning: The Clearly-sighted Star in Clarifying the Meaning of a Nasib), so refer to it.
• Sayed Ni’matullah al-Jaza’iri, who said in his book, Al-Anwar al-Nu’maniya, in which he mentioned the opinion of the Second Martyr, Zaynul-Deen al-‘Amili:
The conclusion whom most of the scholars came to, is that the meaning of this is he who makes an effort in antagonizing the Family of Mohammad and openly expresses his hatred towards them – as done by the Khawarij and some people beyond the river (west of the Euphrates and Tigris). They have carried out its rulings accordingly on he who is a Nasibi, within the chapters of their books discussing matters of purity, impurity, disbelief, belief, the permissibility- as well as impermissibility of conducting the marriage. Our Sheikh, the Second Martyr, was brilliant in his reading of the most extraordinary of our narrations, through which he concluded that a Nasibi is he who makes an effort in antagonizing the Shi’a of Ahlul-Bayt and openly expresses his defamation of them, which is committed by most of our opponents.
• The expression used by the Second Martyr can be found in the book Rawdh-ul-Jinan, within the chapter that discusses the impurity of the remainings of the water that is drunk by a disbeliever and a Nasib, which is the following:
The meaning of making an effort in antagonizing Ahlul-Bayt, or antagonizing one of them, or in expressing hatred towards them, either directly or indispensably – such as in the feeling of disgust in mentioning them and spreading their virtues, and neglecting their merits only because they are their merits, and enmity towards their lovers only because of their love. Al-Sadouq, the son of Babawayh, has narrated on behalf of Abdullah, son of Sinan, of Al-Sadiq, who said: ‘A Nasib is not he who antagonizes us, Ahlul-Bayt, because you will not find anyone who says: I hate Mohammad and the Family of Mohammad. However, the Nasib is he who antagonizes you, while he knows that you befriend us and that you are from our Shi’a.’ And in some narrations: ‘Indeed, everyone who makes superior the Idol and the Tyrant (Abu Bakr and Omar) (over Ali), he is a Nasib.’ This was the opinion of some scholars because there is no enmity greater than making a dishonourable person beneath the rank of perfection, become the superior, and preferring a person who stupidly walks the path of fools and ignorants, over he who reached the highest rank of magnificence to such a degree that some doubted that he was Allah, the Most Sublime.
As for those who judged that the ‘Sunnis’ are Muslims, among them was Al-Sadouq, who said within the chapter of Marriage, in his book, Man La Yahdhuruhul-Faqih:
The ignorants wrongly believe that every opponent is a Nasib, and it is not like this.”
The great scholar, Murtadha al-Ansari, gave a reply to the author of Al-Hada’iq within the chapter of Tahara (pureness), and he favoured the opinion which says that the ‘Sunnis’ are Muslims and not Nawasib. The same was done by most of our latest scholars because, in reality, they depend on the foundations and methods of Sheikh al-Ansari when it comes to principles of jurisprudence and jurisprudence as well.
As for the pieces of evidence used by the first group of scholars, they are plentiful and comprehensive within the narrations and reports of the Infallible Household. Among them is what’s narrated in Al-Kafi of Abi-Ja’far al-Baqir :
Allah (Glorious and Exalted is He) appointed Ali as a Sign between Him and His creation; he who knows him is a believer, and he who rejects him is a disbeliever, and he who is ignorant of him is a deviant.
Additionally, the following is also narrated in Al-Kafi on behalf of Al-Sahhaf, who said:
I asked Aba-Abdillah (Imam al-Sadiq – may peace be upon him) of the following Word of Allah (Exalted is He): ‘…so among you is a disbeliever, and among you is a believer…’ The Qur’an 64:3
He said: ‘Allah (Exalted is He) defined their belief by the befriending of us and the disbelief in it on that Day when He made a covenant with them while they were tiny particles in the backbone of Adam.
Moreover, the following narration is narrated by Al-Sadouq in Ma’ani al-Akhbar with a considerable chain of narrators of Mu’la, son of Khunays, who said:
I heard Aba-Abdillah say: ‘A Nasib is not he who antagonizes us, Ahlul-Bayt, because you will not find anyone who says: I hate Mohammad and the Family of Mohammad. However, the Nasib is he who antagonizes you, while he knows that you befriend us and dissociate yourselves from our enemies.
It might be that the main evidence above all that is used to conclude that every ‘Sunni’ is a Nasib, is what we have previously mentioned during our lectures; which is the narration of Ibn Idrees that is narrated in Mustatrafat al-Sara’ir, of Mohammad, son of Ali, son of Isa, who wrote a letter to Imam Abil-Hassan al-Hadi in which he asked him if one needs to test a person for more than merely preferring Abu Bakr and Omar and believing in their legal leadership to know whether or not he is a Nasib. The following reply was given by the Imam:
Whoever is as such, then he is a Nasib.
Some respected scholars of our age declare this narration to be weak due to Mohammad, son of Ali, being an unknown individual. However, such a conclusion is not strong enough as compared to when this narration is combined and joined with other similar and comprehensive pieces of evidence that are frequently recurrent in our sources. Anyhow, there is no problem in using the term ‘Nasib’ for every ‘Sunni’, but the problem, however, is to apply the judgments of Nusb and disbelief on him, which is a conclusion one can not come to – not because there are no existing pieces of evidence that forbid this matter, but because there is no specific evidence that motivates us to avoid them or stay cautious from them in this sense. The Nawasib – in this meaning – were great in number and were spread throughout all countries. If the rulings of Nusb and disbelief were to be applied on them, then the importance of avoiding them and staying cautious from direct contact with them due to their impurity – for example – would already have been clarified and explained by the Infallible Imams. There is no narration concerning this issue that has reached us, nor can we say that the Imams refrained from clarifying this issue due to Taqqiya circumstances because there were many specific rulings that were clarified during their secret gatherings, such as the rulings concerning a Nasib who is at war with Ahlul-Bayt. If some may say that the permissibility of coming in direct contact with them is merely a license, we stick to the claim in our age, and thus, we do not apply the rulings of Nusb and disbelief on them only due to the combination between their reality (of being Nawasib) and the ruling concerning Nusb.
Moreover, among the main pieces of evidence that are used to prove that every ‘Sunni’ is a Nasib, is the following narration that is narrated by Al-Kashi in his Rijal with his chain of narrators of Ibn Abi-Umayr, on behalf of those who told him:
I asked Mohammad, son of Ali al-Riza, of this verse: ‘Labouring, weary, thrown in the fire’ The Qur’an 88:3-4
He said: ‘It was revealed for the sake of the Nussab (Nawasib), and the Zaydis and the Waqifis among the Nussab.
Here we may see how the Imam declared these two groups to be Nawasib, despite that they seem to be closer to the people of truth than others due to their belief in some of the root principles of our religion and some of our Imams. So how can a ‘Sunni’, who neither believes in the root principles of our religion nor believes in the Divine Authority of all of our Imams, not be a Nasibi when he is more distant from the truth?
Also, we need to remind once again that by regarding the ‘Sunnis’ as Nawasib does not require from us to apply the rulings of Nusb on them all, but rather we incline towards the conclusions of some of our greatest scholars, both old and late scholars alike, who combined the noble narrations and excluded the ‘weaker’ ‘Sunnis’ to be from this judgment. Most of them in our age belong to this group, i.e. the ‘weaker’ and non-hostile ‘Sunnis’. Among the narrations that aided the scholars in researching this matter, is the narration which says that everyone who proclaims the two testimonies is a Muslim whose life, and property, and honour is protected, and whom the rulings of Islam apply on.
However, certain scholars replied to this conclusion by saying that the condition of the acceptance of the testimony of Allah’s oneness, is the testimony of the Divine Authority. Anyhow, such a ruling is very binding and restraining.
The term that was used by the Reviver, the deceased Imam al-Shirazi in his encyclopedia entitled Min Fiqh-ul-Zahra, volume 3, is that they (the ‘Sunnis’) are disbelievers in reality, but not in judgment; which was a new term used to combine the two meanings as well as resolves the juridical puzzle concerning this issue. I was also told by someone that Al-Kho’ei used another term to describe them; that they were theoretically disbelievers, but practically Muslims. However, I have not found the citation of this term in any of his works yet, and it might be that the man who told me this heard Al-Kho’ei utter this word orally during one of his lessons.
The result we may see by examining the narrations and the views of our scholars is that the signs of Nusb are the following: the rejection of the Divine Authority of the Imams, belief in the Imamate of the Idol and the Tyrant, Abu Bakr and Omar, enmity towards the Shi’a of Ahlul-Bayt, enmity towards Ahlul-Bayt themselves. Whoever fits one of these signs is a Nasib and a disbeliever in reality and in essence in the Eyes of Allah, and his fate his Hellfire. However, the rulings of Nusb and disbelief do not apply to him, but rather the rulings of Islam apply to him, except for he who makes an effort in antagonizing Ahlul-Bayt themselves; on him shall these rulings apply. As for a ‘weaker’ ‘Sunni’ who doesn’t deny the truth on purpose, he will return to Allah (Exalted is He) on the Day of Resurrection. Several narrations speak about this issue, among which is what Al-Kulayni has narrated in Al-Kafi with his chain of narrators on behalf of Imam al-Sadiq, who said:
He who knows us is a believer, and he who rejects us is a disbeliever, and he who does not know us nor rejects us is ignorant, till he returns to the right path whom Allah has made obligatory upon him to follow by the obligatory obedience to us. If he then dies on his deviation, Allah will do with him whatever He wishes.
Our believing brothers must be reminded that declaring the ‘Sunnis’ to be Nawasib and disbelievers is nothing to be ashamed of because they narrate that the Messenger of Allah said the following:
Whoever dies and does not know the Imam of his age; he dies a death of ignorance.
The meaning of this narration is that whoever dies and does not believe in the Divine Authority of the true Imam of his age who has been appointed by Allah; he dies on the religion of the disbelievers of the days of ignorance. So why do they defame us for declaring them to be disbelievers while they have judged themselves to be so within their authentic sources?! However, they do discuss who the Imam of their age is, so let them debate us if these people whom they’ve claimed their Imamate; are Imams of truth or Imams of falsehood and deviation! And, for what do they defame us, while the common followers of their faith believe that we are deviant and disbelieving people, and even apply rulings of disbelief on us, and hence, they permit shedding our blood, as we see in Iraq today?! There is a huge gap between us and them when it comes to declaring each other to be disbelievers.
Also, the ‘Sunnis’ and those who oppose us have to understand that despite that we carry such beliefs, we still wish good for them, and we wish them no harm, and we ask Allah (Exalted is He) to guide them, and nor do we make our beliefs become a barrier that alienates us from them and prevents us from living with them in peace. Rather we call to co-existence, and co-operation, and friendliness, and to preserve each part’s right in expressing their creed, as well as preserve other’s right to discuss them freely.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib