What does Al Kulaini say in his book?


Al-Kulaini states in his al-Kafi: “That the Imams know the times of their deaths, and that they only die if they so wish”[1].  And we find al-Majlisi – in his ‘Bihar al-Anwar’ – mentioning a hadith which says: “None of the Imams died a natural death; each of them was either killed or poisoned”[2].

Now, if the Imam knows the unseen (ghaib), as purported by al-Kulaini and al-Hurr al-‘Amili, he would definitely know which food or drink he was given, and if it happened to be poisoned, he would know and decline to eat or drink it.  But if he goes on to eat or drink it, knowing fully that it was poisoned, then he must be seen as committing suicide, and the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam has expressly stated that whoever kills himself will be in the Hell fire.  Would the Shi’ites, then, accept this fate for their Imams?

Al-Kulaini says in his Al-Kafi[3]: “On the authority of a number of our comrades from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from ‘Abdullah ibn al-Hajjal from Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Halabi from Abu Basir, he said: “I called on Abu ‘Abdillah (meaning Ja’far as-Sadiq) alaih as-salam, and said to him: ‘May I be made your ransom! I would like to ask you a question in privacy.  Is there anybody here that may overhear us? The narrator said: ‘Abu Abdillah raised a curtain that was between him and the adjoining room, and looked into the room, then said: “Oh, Abu Muhammad, now, ask whatever you so wish”.  He said: ‘I said to him: ‘ May I be made your ransom! … ‘ He then kept silent for a moment, then said: “Certainly we have the mushaf(copy of the Qur’an) of Fatimah alaiha as-salam, do they realize what is the Mushaf of Fatimah?”. He said: ‘I said to him: ‘what is the Mushaf of Fatimah?’. He said: “It is a Mushaf which contains three times the like of this Qur’an of yours, and I swear by Allah, it does not contain a single word of your Qur’an”.  He said: ‘I said to him: ‘I swear by Allah, this is Knowledge’. He replied: “Of course, this is Knowledge: but that is not the end of it all”.

The question here is: Was the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam aware of this Mushaf of Fatimah? If he, being the Messenger of Allah, did not know about it, how did the Al al-Bait know it? If he did know, why did he conceal it.  Allah, The Most Exalted, says: {O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message} [Suratul Ma’idah: 67].

In the first volume of Kulaini’s ‘al-Kafi’ a list is mentioned of the names of the reporters that narrated for the Shi’ites the hadiths of the Messenger sallallahi alaihi wa alihi wa sallam, and the sayings of the Ahl al-Bait, among whom are:

Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar, Ahmad ibn ‘Umar Al-Halabi, ‘Umar ibn Aban, ‘Umar ibn Udhainah, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd Al-Aziz, Ibrahim ibn ‘Umar, ‘Umar ibn Hanzalah, Musa ibn ‘Umar, Al-Abbas ibn ‘Umar …etc.  The common factor between these names is the name UMAR, either being the narrators name or the name of his father.

Why would these Shi’ite narrators have the name ‘Umar?

Al-Kulaini in his al-Kafi assigned a specific chapter to which he gave the title:

“Women Do Not Inherit Anything of Real Estate”

He reported from Abu Ja’far, that he said: “Women do not inherit anything of land and real estate”[4].

Al-Tusi, in his ‘al-Tahdhib’[5], also reported from Maysar, that he said: ‘I asked Abu Abdillah alaihis salam about women, what are they entitled to with regards to inheritance?’ He said: “They are entitled to the equivalent of the value of the blocks, labour cost of the building, the wood and the canes.  As for the land itself and the real estate, they have no right of inheritance in them”.

He also reported on the authority of Muhammad ibn Muslim from Abu Ja’far alaihis salam that he said: “Women do not inherit anything of land and real estate”.  And on the authority of ‘Abd al-Malik ibn A’yun from one of them alaihima as-salam, that he said: “Women are entitled to nothing in houses and real estates”.

These narratives are generic in their nature and context, to include all women of all degrees and calibres, and they contain nothing to indicate one woman is exempt from the generalized rule, neither Fatimah radiyallahu ‘anha nor any other woman.

Based on this, and according to the Shi’i madhhab, Fatimah radiyallahu ‘anha has no right to demand any share of the Prophet’s sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallaminheritance.  Furthermore, according to the Shi’i doctrine, whatever belongs to the Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam belongs to the Imam.  Al-Kulaini reports ‘on the authority of Muhammad ibn Yahya from Ahmad ibn Muhammad, from ‘Amr ibn Shimr from Jabir from Abu Ja’far alaihis salam, he said: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam said: “Allah created Adamalaihis salam and granted him the whole world as a fief.  And whatever belongs to Adam belongs to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam, and whatever belongs to the Messenger belongs to the imams among the household of Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam[6].

The first imam after the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam – based on the Shi’i belief – was ‘Ali ibn abi Talib radiyallahu ‘anhu.  As such, he was the right person to ask for the land of Fadak not Fatimah radiyallahu ‘anha, and he did not do that.  Instead we find him saying: “If I so wish, I would lay my hands on the most purified of this honey, the best part of that wheat and the best fabric of that silk, but no, my whims will never defeat me, and my greediness will never lead me to the stage of being selective in what I eat.  May be there is in Hijaz or Yamamah someone that has no hope of getting a loaf of bread, and has never eaten his fill”[7].

Al-Kulaini reports in his al-Kafi[8] ‘on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Abu Abdillah alaihi salam, that he said: “Wearing black is reprehensible except in three things: the shoe, the turban and the cloak”.

It is also reported from him (Abu Abdillah) in the Book of Dressing from the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam that he detests wearing black except in three: the shoe, the cloak and the turban”[9].

Al-Hurr al-‘Amili reports in his al-Wasa’il from as-Saduq from Muhammad ibn Sulaiman in the form of mursal[10] from Abu Abdillah alaihis salam, that he said: ‘I said to him: “Can I pray with a black cap? He sai: “No, do not pray with it, for it is the dress of the people of Hell”[11].

He (al-Hurr al-‘Amili) also reported from as-Saduq in al-Faqih from amir al-mu’minin (leader of the Faithful, meaning ‘Ali radiyallahu ‘anhu), in a mursalreport, also in the book ‘al-‘Ilal’ and ‘al-Khisal’, as mentioned in al-Wasa’il but in amusnad[12] report, that he said to his companions: “Do not wear black dresses, because it is the dress of Pharaoh”.

He also reported via his own chain of narration, as in his ‘al-Wasa’il’ on the authority of Hudhaifah ibn Mansur, he said: ‘I was with Abu Abdullah alaihis salamin al-Heerah when the messenger of the caliph Abu al-‘Abbas came to call him, and he demanded to be given a raincoat[13].

Nay, some narratives in the Shi’ite literature even clearly state that black is the favourite colour of their enemies, that is the Abbasids.

An example of such narratives is what is reported from as-Saduq in his ‘al-Faqih’ that he said: It has been reported that Angel Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam while he (Gabriel) was wearing a blackqaba (an outer garment with full-length sleeves), and a girdle in which there was a dagger. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam said to him: O Gabriel, what dress is this? He said: this is the dress of the progeny of your uncle ‘Abbas.  The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam went to ‘Abbas and said to him: “O uncle, woe to my progeny from yours”.  He said: O Messenger of Allah, should I castrate myself?.  The Prophet said: “The Pen has written whatever has been determined to happen”.  It is apparent from this that the term ‘people of Hell’ in the previous narratives refers to those who would be tortured in the hell and those who have been destined to enter Hell as their permanent abode on the day of Judgement, meaning, Pharaoh and his likes among the parties of oppression and rebellion.  And the likes of the Abbasid caliphs and others from among the infidels of this blessed Ummah and the early preceding nations that used to wear black dresses”[14].

Another example is what is reported from as-Saduq in ‘al-Faqih’ on the authority of Isma’il ibn Muslim from as-Sadiq (Ja’far), that he said: “Allah said to one of His Prophets alaihim assalam: ‘Tell the believers: Do not wear the dress of my enemies, and do not eat the food of my enemies, and do not follow the steps of my enemies, lest you become my enemies like them”[15].

In the book ‘Uyun al-Akhbar’, after mentioning the aforementioned narrative through a different isnad from ‘Ali ibn abi Talib radiyallahu ‘anhu from the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam, the author added: ‘The dress of the enemies is black in colour, their food is wine, liquor, fiqa’, clay andjari fish, the marmahizamir and tafi, and any fish that has no scales, and the flesh of dabb and rabbit … . The ways of the enemies are places of suspicion, of drinking liquor, and places of amusement and play, the places of those that judge unjustly, and where the Imams and the believers are being vilified, and places of sinners, oppressors and mischief makers”[16].

After all these narratives that condemn and discourage dressing in black, and that it is the colour of the enemies of the Shi’ites, why do the Shi’ites wear black and are very fond of that, nay, regard it to be the dress of the Masters?


[1] Al-Usul Min al-Kafi (1/258); and Al-Fusul Al-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-‘Amili (p. 155).

[2] Bihar al-Anwar (43/364).

[3] Usul Al-Kafi (1/239).

[4] Furu’ Al-Kafi (7/127).

[5] (2/254).

[6] Usul Al-Kafi, the Book of Hujjah, under the Chapter titled: “The Whole Earth Belongs To The Imam” (1/476).

[7] Nahj Al-Balaghah (1/211).

[8] Reported from him by al-Hurr al’Amili in his al-Wasa’il (3/278); See also Furu’ al-Kafi (6/449).

[9] Reported in al-Kafi (2/205), chapter on Wearing Black, published in Teheran in the year 1315 A.H., but the wording there is : “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam detests wearing black except in three things”, and the turban is mentioned before the cloak.

[10]mursal is the chain of narrators in which one or more narrators from the beginning are missing.

[11] Al-Wasa’il (3/281, chapter No. 20, Hadith No. 3, on the dress of the praying person); and as-Saduq in his al-Faqih (2/232), he said: as-Sadiq was asked about praying with a cap, and he said: Do not pray wearing it, because it is the dress of the people of Hell’.  See: Wasa’il as-Shi’ah (3/281).

[12] Musnad here is the opposite of mursal, meaning the chain of narrators in which no narrator is missing.

[13] As-Saduq, Man La Yahduruh al-Faqih (1/251); al-Hurr in his al-Wasa’il (3/278) reported that from as-Saduq, from the chapters on the dress of the praying person.  The second narrative is in al-Wasa’il (3/279), hadith No. 7, chapters on the dress of the praying person; See al-Faqih (2/252), and al-Kafi (2/205).

[14] Aufa al-‘Ilal Wa al-Khisal, as reported in al-Wasa’il, see also al-Faqih (Man La Yahduruh al-Faqih (2/252).

[15] Al-Faqih (1/252), see ‘Wasa’il as-Shi’ah’ (4/384); and ‘Bihar al-Anwar (2/291), (28/48).

[16] Uyun al-Akhbar (1/26).