Did Zayd b. Ali Not Know of His Father’s Imamah?

Zayd, the son of Imam al Sajjād (peace be upon them), is a landmark figure in Islamic history. He led an uprising against the government to avenge the blood of his grandfather, Imam al-Husayn (p). A theological school known as the Zaydiah separate from other Shīʿī denominations by their belief in the Imamah of Zayd. … Read more

The Importance of Pilgrimage (Ziyarah) in Shi’ism and Catholicism: Comparing and Contrasting

Below is a precis of an article in the Arabic journal al-Nuṣūs al-Mu’āṣirah (Contemporary Texts), written by Muḥammad Folādī, Muḥammad Jawād Nawrūzī, and Farqad al-Jazā’irī wherein the rite of pilgrimage in both faiths is discussed. The purpose of this investigation is to elucidate on the importance of pilgrimage (al-ziyārah) in Catholicism and Shī’ism while extracting … Read more

The Superiority of Imam Ali (a) in the Sirah

Shaykh Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi underlines the unparalleled virtue and station of Imam ʿAli (a) in reference to the historical moments before and after the passing of the beloved Messenger (s) in this segment taken from ‘The Six Decisive Months’ lecture series held by Northwestern University Shia Muslim Association (SMA). The event of the delivering … Read more

Umm al-Baneen – From Demise to Martyrdom

This post is a rough translation of a post written by an Iranian researcher and scholar Mahdi Masaeli. 13 Jumada al-Thani is recognized as the day of the demise of Umm al-Baneen, the wife of Imam ‘Ali (a), the mother of ‘Abbas (r). However, books of history and hadith do not record any date for … Read more

Role of Tribes in the Prophetic Seerah

Reflections & Thoughts | To know more about this format called “Reflections & Thoughts”, please read the first two paragraphs in this post. It is quite observable that the general community does not have much of an affinity with the Prophetic Seerah. Historically speaking there have been a few reasons for this, though whether those reasons … Read more

Mutahhar b. Tahir al-Maqdisi Commenting on the Impact of Storytellers

Storytellers (al-Quṣṣāṣ) have always remained an important segment of any society. Stories are an excellent way to sway people to a certain direction, to admonish them, or to simply pass on wisdom and lessons in the most attractive way possible. Indeed the Quran also narrates stories, though a vast majority of Muslim exegetes have generally … Read more

Conflicts Between Jurists and Ghulat in the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a)

By Muhammad Baqir Malekian Among the Shīʿa, two currents of thought are most prominent. One is the maʿārifī (gnostic) current, which is interested in issues of gnosis, not jurisprudence—as Muḥammad b. Sinān says: من أراد المعضلات فإليّ، و من أراد الحلال و الحرام فعليه بالشيخ، يعني صفوان بن يحيى Whosoever wants mu’ḍilāt [complicated narrations], come … Read more

The Shia, Rafida, and the Martyrdom of Lady Fatima in 2nd Century Hijri

From: Early Ibadi Theology: New Material on Rational Thought in Islam from the Pen of Al-Fazārī (2nd/8th Century) Al-Fazārī’s writings are a unique source of information about Ibadi teachings on ʿilm al-kalām and the early development of this branch of religious knowledge. It is for this reason that scholars of Islamic theology are particularly interested in early … Read more

Ibn Abi al-Hadid and the Prophet’s Demise

Reflections & Thoughts | For those interested in this new format called “Reflections & Thoughts”, please read the first two paragraphs in this post. Popularly, most Muslims seemed to agree that the Prophet (p) passed away due to some sort of illness. A large number of them seemed to have acknowledged this was due to … Read more

The Uprising of Abu al-Khattab in Nusayri Sources

This is an abridged and amalgamated translation of two of four entries written by Ustad Baqir Malekian on the Nuṣāyrīs. Introduction Our study and analysis of history are defective. From the one who believes Saqīfa was merely a historical incident that has no relevance for us today, to the one who thinks the Akhbārī and … Read more

The Reasons for the Conversion of Persia to Islam

By Shaykh Rasul Ja’fariyan [Source] Persia converted to Islam much more easily compared to other regions, although naturally it still took some time. The difference between Persians converting to Islam as opposed to people converting in other parts of the world was that almost all Persians converted to Islam over the course of three-four centuries. … Read more

The Concept of Superstitions (Khurafa) in Islamic Civilization

By Shaykh Rasul Jafariyan [Source] Kharaf (خرف) linguistically means ‘corruption of the ‘aql (reason) due to old age.’ However, the word has been used in meanings that convey similar concepts, such as stupidity and nonsensical. One of the closest concepts to this meaning is the phrase ‘ḥadīth of Khurāfa’, regarding a man named Khurāfa from … Read more

The Shi’a Community and the Sultan During Imam Rida’s Imamate

The belief that the caliph and anyone who holds a position on behalf of the caliph is essentially maintaining a role they have no right upon, and that these individuals are illegally managing the wealth and affairs of the community, naturally put the Shī‘ī Imami community during the time of Imam Riḍā (a) in opposition … Read more

The Biographies of the Infallibles and Theological Presuppositions

This is a summary of a presentation given by Dr. Ahmad Pakatchi on January 25th, 2017 at a workshop organized by the History, Sīrah and Islamic Civilization Department of Madrassah Imam Khomeini in Qom. — One of the discussions that always occupies the minds of scholars is the relationship between the sīrah of the infallibles … Read more

The Imams Against the Ghulat

Originally posted on Shiitic Studies. “We have woken up (i.e. a time has reached) and there is no one who is more inimical (an enemy to us) than those who claim to love us” – Imam al-Sadiq Introduction The most serious challenge to the school of Ahl al-Bayt came from the Ghulat. This is because, … Read more

Someone Save Ashura from Us!

Someone Save ʿĀshūrāʾ from Us! By Rasūl Jaʿfarīyān Translated by Shayan Shirazi These days, we are witness to an abundance of different socio-political analyses of ʿĀshūrāʾ. We all know that, for years, everyone has been presenting a particular political interpretation of ʿĀshūrāʾ by citing a single statement or action of Imām Ḥusayn—while the majority of … Read more

Di’bil’s Ode for Imam al-Rida (a)

Translated by Br. Muhammed Jaffer. Regarding the life of Di’bil, click here. This is the famous 120 stanza Taa’iyyah of Di’bil al-Khuzaa’i’s (d. 246 AH) translated into rhyming English couplets, adhering to the meter of iambic pentameter as much as possible. This poem is deeply rooted in early Shi’i identity and creed as it was … Read more

Seyyid Abd al-Azim al-Hasani

Seyyid ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī – His Life, Transmitted Traditions, Milieu, Authorities and Students By Āyatullah al-Shaykh Jaʿfar al-Subḥānī Translation and Detailed Annotations by Afzal Sumar I used to visit the grave of our master ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī occasionally and whenever good fortune permitted me, for he was one of the descendants of the eldest grandson … Read more

Plague and Pestilence in Safavid and Qajar Iran

The recent Covid-19 outbreak has caused a lot of discussion and debate amongst Iranians and non-Iranians on the nature of the disease and on the methods of containing it. Amongst the laity, some of these opinions range from extreme conspiracy theory level material to solutions being offered by pseudo-health experts wearing the garb of scholars, … Read more

19th Century Iranian Reactions to the Phenomenon of Unveiling

Critiques against the hijab in Muslim countries all occurred subsequent to Muslims getting introduced and exposed to Western culture and civilization. The first time Muslims saw uncovered women was when they travelled to Europe or on their own lands when these women would be accompanying Europeans. This is how the Egyptians first saw such women … Read more

Imam ‘Askari (a) and the Wakalah System

The 11th Imam (a) was able to remain in contact with the general Shī’ī community over a large geographical area through the Wakālah system. The Wakālah system comprised of a large number of agents and representatives who would serve as the point of contact between the Imam and their respective communities. The foundations of this … Read more

Did the Sahaba become Kafir? Pt. I

Originally posted on Shiitic Studies. Introduction There are reports which indicate that all the companions were destroyed except three, these were then joined by four others, and they became seven who were saved. Were the saved companions only seven? Furthermore, if this destruction is taken to be limited to their fate in the next world then we … Read more

Did the Imams praise Abu Bakr and Umar?

Originally posted on Shiitic Studies. ما على وجه الارض شئ أحب إلي من التقية There is nothing on the face of the Earth more beloved to me than Taqiyya – Imam al-Sadiq Introduction: This paper will be considered by some as belonging to the genre of Shi’i-Sunni polemics, but this would be a mis-characterization. It is … Read more

Muhammad b. Sinan: A Controversial Narrator (II)

By Ammaar Muslim – Originally posted on Shiitic Studies Was he Praised by the Imam? There exist narrations in which Muhammad b. Sinan is being praised by Imam al-Jawad عليه السلام عن أبي طالب عبد الله بن الصلت القمي قال: دخلت على أبي جعفر الثاني عليه السلام في آخر عمره فسمعته يقول: جزى الله صفوان بن … Read more

Muhammad b. Sinan: A Controversial Narrator (I)

By Ammaar Muslim – Originally posted on Shiitic Studies. Introduction Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Sinan (d. 220) was a descendant of Zahir the Mawla (client) of Amr b. al-Hamiq al-Khuzai, a close companion of Ali who was murdered by Mu’awiya. His grandson, Abu Isa Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sinan explains that his actual name was Muhammad … Read more

The Martyrdom of Lady Zahra (s) and Maintaining Respect on Both the First and Second Fatimiyyah

Historically speaking, amongst the laity, what was famous regarding the martyrdom of Fāṭimah (s) was the First Fāṭimīyyah – meaning 13th Jamādī al-Awwal. However, lately, the Second Fāṭmīyyah – meaning 3rd Jamādī al-Thānīyah has become popular. Perhaps the origin of this popularity goes back to Ḥājī Nūrī (d. 1902) or his students. The reason they … Read more

Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman: The Salman al-Farsi of his Times (I)

By Ammaar Muslim – Originally posted on Shiitic Studies. سمعت الرضا عليه السلام يقول: يونس بن عبد الرحمن في زمانه كسلمان الفارسي في زمانه  Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman in his times is like Salman al-Farsi was in his times [Imam al-Ridha] Prologue: A Day in the Life كان ليونس بن عبد الرحمن أربعون أخا يدور عليهم … Read more

The Two Different Approaches to Living with Sunnis

The following is a translation of a message written by renowned Iranian researcher and scholar Rasūl Ja’fariyān. Syed Ni’matullah Jazā’irī (d. 1112 AH) in his commentary on ‘Awāli al-La’ālī, for the reason that the author of this book was inclined to Philosophy and Wisdom, brings up a very interesting discussion. The subject of this discussion gradually … Read more

Is Abu Lulu Buried in Kashan?

Fīrūz Abū Lulu was an Iranian captured in the expansion wars after the demise of the Prophet (p). He was enslaved by Mughīra b. Shu’ba and was allowed to live inside the city of Medina due to his work experience and skill set. This is despite the second caliph’s ban preventing freed slaves from residing … Read more

We Are a Repeat of the Safavids – Rasul Ja’fariyan

This post was written by Rasul Ja’fariyan and originally published on both his Instagram and Telegram accounts. In the discussions leading up to the convention on Taṣawwuf, I had mentioned that conventions like these are, in a sense, a return to the historical experience the Ṣafavids went through to strengthen religious discourse in society, in … Read more

Popular – Unreliable – Accounts Related to Ashura

Recently a booklet of around 50 pages was published, researched and written by Muḥammad Tehrānī (researcher and teacher at the Hawzah) in which he goes over numerous accounts related to Āshūrā that are popularly retold from the pulpits or are part of our eulogies. In this work he mentions just over 90 such reports. Majority … Read more

History and Eras of Shi’i Imami Law (4)

The Occultation of the Imām (a) Towards and during the minor occultation we find certain reports that seem to indicate that the Imāms (a) were preparing the Shī’ā community for becoming highly dependant on scholars – more so than before. To this extent, there is a popular statement attributed to Imām al-‘Askarī (a) and there … Read more

Blood on Hisham b. al-Hakam’s Hands

By Br. Ammaar Was Hisham Responsible for the Murder of al-Kadhim (a)? Hisham Culpable There exist narrations in our sources which hold Hisham responsible (directly or indirectly) for the murder of al-Kadhim عليه السلام by the Abbasid authorities. He stands accused of continuing to engage in public debate despite an explicit order from the Imam for him to refrain from … Read more

History and Eras of Shī’ī Imāmī Law (1)

The upcoming series of posts are based on lecture notes taken in classes given by our respected teacher, Ustādh Rafī’īpūr, in the city of Qom. Ustādh Rafī’īpūr is a senior teacher in the Ḥawzah of Qom where he gives advance classes in jurisprudence and legal theory. Introduction The topic of our discussion is Shī’ī Imāmī … Read more

Assisting an ‘Alawīyyah

Chapter 115, volume 42 of ‘Allāmah Majlisī’s Biḥār al-Anwār is regarding dreams and miracles related to Imām ‘Alī (a) and while the reliability of these reports is extremely difficult to establish, some of the stories are simply interesting to read. Back in 2015 I had gone to Mashhad around springtime and was listening to a … Read more

Hisham b. al-Hakam: God = A Body Unlike Other Bodies? – Part 4

By Br. Ammaar كان من غلمان أبي شاكر الزنديق، وهو جسمي ردي He was a student of Abi Shakir the Zindiq and a wretched corporealist – Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi (d. 301) was not a fan of Hisham A Body Unlike Other bodies Would not considering God to be a body be likening Him to his creatures (who happen … Read more

Hisham b. al-Hakam: God is a Body? – Part 3

By Ammaar Hussein Click for Part 2 وأول من عرف في الإسلام أنه قال إن الله جسم هو هشام بن الحكم The First person in Islam known to have said ‘Allah is a Body’ is Hisham b. al-Hakam (Ibn Taymiyya) اليهود أكثرهم مشبّهة وكان بدء ظهور التّشبيه في الإسلام من الرّوافض مثل هشام بن الحكم … Read more

22nd of Rajab and Kūnḍay

Ibn Ṭāūs in his work al-Iqbāl, cites a tradition reported on the authority of the Prophet (p) he comes across in a work called Fatḥ al-Abwāb ila Dār al-Thawāb which says the following: On the night of 22nd Rajab, whoever performs 8 units of prayers, in which al-Ḥamd is recited one time, Sūrah al-Kāfirūn 7 … Read more

Ahl al-Sunnah & the Merits of Imam ‘Alī (a)

By Hassan Ansari (Original source in Farsi: https://t.me/barrasihayetarikhi/1012) Other than the ‘Uthmāni Shī’as and some movements within the Murji’a and early Mu’tazalīs, the general populace of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā’ah – including Sunnī Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth – all accepted and believed the merits and virtues exclusive to Amīr al-Mu’mineen (a). After Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal accepted the … Read more

The Movement of Ghuluw – Ayatollah Madadī

Source: Nigāhī beh daryā by Ayatollah Madadī, p. 126 to 131 At this stage of the school of Kufa the appearance and outburst of the movement of ghuluw [1] was extremely influential, as this was a school which to an extent had been crystallized and possessed a relatively large amount of cultural heritage. As per … Read more

Hisham b. al-Hakam: Founder of a Theological School – Part 2

By Ammaar Hussein Click for Part 1 دعا له الصادق عليه السلام فقال: أقول لك ما قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم لحسان: لا تزال مؤيدا بروح القدس ما نصرتنا بلسانك I say to you what the Messenger of Allah said to Hassan b. Thabit: You will never stop being aided by the … Read more

Hisham b. al-Hakam: Defender of the Madhhab – Part 1

By Ammaar Hussein Click for Part 2 ورفعه الصادق عليه السلام في الشيوخ وهو غلام. وقال: هذا ناصرنا بقلبه ولسانه ويده al-Sadiq عليه السلام elevated him to be at par with the elders while he was still a youth. He said: This is our defender by his heart, tongue and hand [Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashub] Hisham … Read more

Some Opinions on Imam Husayn’s (a) Movement

Roughly three-four years ago as I was going through some parts of Insān 250-Sāleh, a work based on the speeches of Sayyid ‘Alī Khāmeneī, it led me to look further into the discussion surrounding Imām al-Ḥusayn’s (a) movement. The work puts forth the idea that all the infallibles were essentially one person who would have acted … Read more

Chronology of Events on the Day of ‘Ashura

Chronology of Events on the Day of ‘Ashura In accordance with the interview held with the deceased Doctor Ahmad Birshak in Gashimari-ye Irani, the event of Karbala falls on the Solar calendar on the 21st of Mehr, year 59 (10th October 680) The Solar calendar is not like the Lunar calendar in the sense that … Read more

The Transfer of Kufa’s Hadith Heritage to Qom | History of Imami Shi’i Theology (5)

During the Imamate of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s), there was a lot of encouragement from the Imams to their students and companions to begin recording down traditions. As this shift from oral to a written tradition became a culture amongst them, there was naturally a large output of written works over the next … Read more

The Ash’ari Family II | History of Imami Shi’i Theology (4)

In this post we will continue with the list of scholars from the Ash’ari family who have been categorized into the second and third group, post-migration to Qom. Second Group Zakariyyah bin Idris bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha. Zakariyyah bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a … Read more

The Ash’ari Family | History of Imami Shi’i Theology (3)

With the decline of intellectual theological discourse in Kufa, Qom had become the base for the Shi’as and would remain influential during the course of the 3rd and 4th century. Before we begin discussing any further, it is important to take a brief glance over how and why Qom became to be such an important … Read more

The Traditionalist-Theologian Phenomenon | History of Shi’i Imami Theology (2)

The earliest distinct Shi’i Imami school was that of Kufa’s, which began taking form in the beginning of the 2nd century Hijri during the time of Imam Baqir (s). This era itself is worthy of being studied and as a matter of fact has been studied extensively by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike. The various … Read more

Time Concepts in the Qur’an – a Historical Perspective

This is based on my understanding of a recorded lecture posted online a few days ago, of Dr. Ahmad Pakatchi speaking at The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Quranic Studies in Tehran. I hope any written material by him or other researchers will become accessible on this subject, especially given that Dr. Pakatchi is one of Iran’s qualified and well … Read more

Celebrating 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal – What For?

Update 21st December/2015: There was a minor factual mistake in the section of Mukhtar & ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad which has now been corrected.


In many Shi’i communities, it is the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal that marks the end of the two-month mourning period that begins with the first of Muharram. The day is celebrated in most communities, for different reasons, and is referred to by a few names, such as Eid al-Zahra, Farhat al-Zahra, Eid-e Shuja, Taj Poshi-e Imam, Yawm Raf’ ul-Qalam, Umar Kushshun etc. The significance of the day is due to four different reasons, all of which have been attributed to it:

  • ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (the 2nd caliph) was killed on this day
  • The angels lift their pens up for the Shi’as and they do not record anything (i.e. one can commit sins and not be held accountable for them)
  • The transfer of the Imamate from Imam Hasan al-‘Askari to his son, Imam al-Mahdi
  • Mukhtar killed ‘Umar ibn Sa’d which resulted in the happiness of Imam Sajjad and the women of Bani Hashim

Some communities may celebrate the day for some of the reasons, while some misinformed ones may celebrate the day for all four reasons – particular the first two reasons. In this post, I will simply be looking at the historical validity of all four of these reasons.


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5th Hijri Shi’i Inscriptions In Northern Syria

The contents of this article were published in the magazine Payam-e Baharistan, in spring of the Iranian year 1390, on pages 781-786. The original Farsi written by Ahmed Khamehyar, supplemented by footnotes and references can be seen here. This is a translation of the general contents of that article, but not a complete translation of it. … Read more

Imam Ali [a] Describing the Caliphate

In the famous sermon of Shiqshiqiyah, Imam Ali (as) describes the difficult situation he was in with regards to the caliphate. In one of the statement,s he makes use of a metaphor of an unruly camel. This is a translation from the book Lessons from Nahj ul-Balagha by Ayatullah Montazeri [a sharh he did on Nahj … Read more

The Secret of Ashura’s Immortality

This is a translated summary of a speech given by Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi. — اَلْحَمْدُلِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعالَمين وَ الصَّلاةُ وَ السَّلامُ عَلي‏؛ سَيِّدِالْاَنْبِياءِ وَ الْمُرسَلين حَبِيبِ اِلهِ الْعالَمين اَبِي‌الْقاسِم مُحَمَّد وَ عَلي‏؛ آلِهِ الطَّيِبينَ الْطّاهِرِينَ الْمَعْصُومين We all believe that throughout human history, the event of Karbala holds a unique position and its value cannot … Read more

The Army of Imam al-Hasan ibn Ali

Imam Hasan ibn Ali (as) is known to have had some of the most troublesome companions. Many of them gave him problems due to which the Imam had to go through turbulent times after the martyrdom of his father Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). After his father’s demise, Mu’awiyah had still not been at … Read more

A Poem by Abu Muhammad al-Barqi

This is a poem by Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Ammar al-Barqi who was from the poets of the Ahl ul-Bayt (as). This is a famous poem by him referred to as al-Nuniyah (poems that rhyme in the Arabic letter nun). He was put to death due to it by the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil in 245 … Read more

Imam Ali and the Caliphs – Part 2

Imam Ali and the Caliphs: Their Relationship and Interaction – Part 2 of 2 [Click Here for Part 1] By Abd al-Karim Bi-Azar Shirazi | Translated by D.D. Sodagar Al-Shaykh al-Tusi and al-Saduq both narrate accounts of Umar’s dissatisfaction with anyone who would in any way speak ill of Imam AlI. In one such instance, … Read more

Imam Ali and the Caliphs – Part 1

Imam Ali and the Caliphs: Their Relationship and Interaction – Part 1 of 2 Click for Part 2 By Abd al-Karim Bi-Azar Shirazi | Translated by D.D. Sodagar Abstract Unknown to many Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, Imam ‘Ali had congenial relations and productive interactions with the three caliphs that preceded him. In practice, his … Read more