Written by brother Saad:
Assalam o alaykum,
Existence of Abdullah ibn Saba is both accepted by Sunnis, Shias and the Westener historians. Today some Shias try their best to even deny his existence, let alone the role he played in the foundation of Shiaism. He is to Shiaism, what Saint Paul is to Christianity.
1. It says in Anwar-ul-Na’umania, a Shia book,
Abdullah Ibn-i-Saba was the first who declared the faith in Imamat and that Hadhrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) is the true God [Na’uzubillah].
[Anwar-ul-Na’umania, Vol 2, Pg 234 – Published Iran]
2. The name of Abdullah bin Saba figures in the most reliable book of Shias on Isma ur-Rijal, entitledRijal-i-Kashshi and it is related in it from Imam Jafar Sadiq (may Allah have mercy on him) that Ibne Saba believed in the divinity of Hadhrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), and, ultimately, he was burnt alive at his command. About Abdullah bin Saba, Rijal-e-Kashshi says,
“Many knowledgeable people have stated that Abdullah bin Saba was a Jew who had accepted Islam and showed great devotion for Hadhrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). As a Jew, he used to exaggerated the personality of Joshua, the son of Nun, and the Wasi of Moses. After becoming a Muslim he began to exalt the personality of Hadhrat Ali much beyond the due limit, and he was the first person to declare that it was obligatory to believe in the Imamate of Hadhrat Ali, and completely dissociated himself form his enemies and he openly opposed them and denounced them as infidels”.
3. The earliest historian Tabri has sketched out the details in these words,
“Abdullah bin Saba was a Jew and lived in Sana. His mother was called Sauda. He embraced Islam during the period of Hadhrat Uthman. he roamed through the Muslim cities and tried to seduce the Muslims from the straight path. He launched his diabolical campaign from Hijaz and then visited Basra, Kufa and Syria. None of the Syrians cooperated with him. On the contrary, they drove him out of Syria. Thus he moved over to Egypt and settled down there permanently. He started drumming into the minds of the Egyptians that it was strange they believed in the return of Christ and denied the return of Hadhrat Muhammad [peace be upon him]. God himself had declared. Therefore he has a better claim to return to the world in comparison with Christ. He fabricated the concept of the ‘return’ or resurrection and the Egyptians turned in into a hot debating issue.”
4. Hafiz Ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) and Hafiz Ibn Athir (may Allah have mercy on him) have commented on it on similar lines and Allama Ibn Khaldun (may Allah have mercy on him) has also written about it,
“Abdullah bin Saba, who was popularly known as Ibn Sauda, was a Jew. He had left his country during the tenure of Hadhrat Uthman but he had not embraced Islam from the core of his heart. When he was honked out of Basra, he left for Kufa from where he made a bee – line for Syria. The Syrians also whipped him out of their country and he left for Egypt. He made Hadhrat Uthman (may Allah have mercy on him) the special butt of his critical remarks and secretly invited people to institute the Khilafat of the Ahl-i-Bait. He pressed upon people to launch the campaign and he spared no opportunity to criticize the rulers. Some of the people openly sided with him. They had come from different cities and therefore they kept up their links through correspondence. Khalid bin Maljim, Saudan bin Hamran and Kinana bin Basher supported the campaign launched by Abdullah bin Saba. They had also persuaded Ammar not to return to Madina. Ammar was one of those people who had openly lambasted Hadhrat Uthman (may Allah have mercy on him) for first turning Hadhrat Abu Zar (may Allah have mercy on him) out of Syria into Madina and then for pushing him out of Madina towards Abzah, though, under the circumstances, the action of Hadhrat Uthman was justified. Hadhrat Abu Zar (may Allah have mercy on him), out of the intensity of his piety and austerity, used to force people to lead their lives on similar lines and to learn to face the hardships of life. He persuaded people to stock for themselves not more than a day’s ration. He also illustrate ed with reasoning the undesirability of hoarding gold and silver. Ibn Saba used to instigate Hadhrat Abu Zar (may Allah have mercy on him) against Hadhrat Muawiyah by stressing that he supported the distribution of goods among the people. Hadhrat Abu Zar (may Allah have mercy on him) started condemning Hadhrat Muawiyah (may Allah have mercy on him). Hadhrat Muawiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) coaxed him a little and told him : I’ll also harp on the same turn that all goods belong to Allah.”
5. Hafiz ibn Hajr (may Allah have mercy on him) has related on the authority of Tarikh Abi Asakir,
“He belonged to Yemen. He was a Jew, but he had donned the guise of Islam and roamed through the Muslim cities to lead the Muslims astray and dissuade them from the obedience of their Imams and to sow dissension among them. He also visited Damascus with this end in view”.
[Tarikh Damishq, 7:430]
6. Allama Asfaraini (may Allah have mercy on him) has also commented on it in a similar vein,
“Ibn Sauda was a Jew who had donned the gown of Islam to addle the faith of the Muslims”.
7. Abu Muhammad Hassan bin Musa has unraveled these secrets. He is the earliest Shia historian who has given an account of the Shia sects. He is one of the most famous Shias of the third century A.H. He writes,
“Sabais are the companions of Abdullah bin Saba. Abdullah bin Saba made faces at Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and other companions (may Allah be pleased with them) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and disaffiliated himself from them and he imputed his acts to the command of Hadhrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). When Hadhrat Ali caught hold of him and asked him about it, he confessed to it. After his confession, he ordered him to be executed. On hearing the order, [quite a few people] made a humble submission to Hadhrat Ali : O Amir-ul-Momineen ! You have ordered the execution of a person who professes your friendship and the love of your Ahl-i-Bait. Hadhrat Ali complied with the submission and exiled him to Madain.”
8. The famous Shia biographer Istrabadi says,
“Abdullah bin Saba claimed that Hadhrat Ali is Allah and he is his Prophet. When the news reached the Amir-ul-Momineen, he sent for him and asked him about it. He owned it and insisted that he is really the one [who is the referee of his claim]. The Amir-ul-Momineen said : The devil has seduced you. Therefore you should repent at once. But he refused to repent and he put him behind the bars for three days. When he did not repent even after three days, he burned him alive”.
9. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jailani Baghdadi (may Allah have mercy on him) says,
“The followers of Abdullah bin Saba are called Sabains. Ibn Saba relied on exaggeration about the status of Hadhrat Ali and claimed that he was a prophet. Then, relying on further exaggeration he claimed that he [Hadhrat Ali] was God and he invited a party of the Kufi rebels to adopt these beliefs. When the news reached Hadhrat Ali, he had some of these people thrown into two pits of fire, as has been hinted at by a poet .”
10. All the Shia scholars have given an account of Ibn Saba, his views and beliefs and his party ; Sayyid Qummi [who died in 301 A.H.], Sheikh Taifah Tusi, Tastri in Qamus-ur-Rijal, Abbas Qummi inTohfat-ul-Ahbab, Khu Ansari in Raudhat-ul-Jannat, Sabhani in Nasikh-ut-Tawarikh and the author ofRaudhat-us-Safa, have all mentioned him and his party”.
11. Allamah Shahrastani (may Allah have mercy on him) writes under the heading of Sabaism,
“Sabais are the followers of Abdullah bin Saba who had told Hadhrat Ali [r.a]: you are you i.e., you are God, but he had extradited him to Madain The historians suggest that he was actually a Jew, but he had tacked on to himself the label of Islam. During the Jewish phase, he used to claim that Hadhrat Y’osha bin Nun was the executor of Moses [a.h].”
12. Ibn Asakar has cited a tradition of Hadhrat Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) in his history,
“When the oath of allegiance was taken at the hand of Hadhrat Ali and he delivered his address, Abdullah bin Saba stood up and said: you are “Dabat-ul-Ardh”
13. Allamah Baghdadi has touched the issue in his book Al-Firq Bain-ul-Firq. Similarly, Isfaraini in his book Kitab ut-Tabsir and Ibn Hazam in Al-Fasl have also mentioned ibn Saba.
14. Famous Shia scholar Nau Bakhti writes,
“It is known as the Sabai sect because Abdullah bin Saba was its ring leader. ”
[Khandan-i-Nau-Bakhti, page 275]
15. Historian Professor P.K Hitti writes,
“The enigmatic Abdullah ibn Saba who was convertered into Islam…embarrased Ali with his excessive venertion…”
[History of the Arabs, p.248 – London]
16. Famous historian Dweight M. Donaldon writes,
“Abdullah ibn Saba had travelled widely throughout the Empire, as Tabari says, “seeking to lead the Moslems into error…Another of his teachings that was more immediately, influential was that every Prophet has a wasi and that Ali was the wasi of Muhammed…”
[The Sheit Religion of Islam, Part. 6 p.41]
17. Historian Dr. J. N. Hollister writes,
“[Abdullah ibn Saba] He was the native of San’s in Yemen…He opened a campaign of behalf of Ali suggesting that Abu Bakar, Umar, and Usman were usurpers…”
[Shias of Hind p.15]
18. Famous historian Dr. Walter C. Klein writes,
“Abdullah ibn Saba had hailed Ali with the words, “Thou art Thou.”…
[Al-Ibanah alUsul al-Diyanah, p.7-8]
19 Historian Professor Nicholson writes,
“Now the Shi’ite theory of Divine Right certainly harmonised with Persian ideas, …Abdullah ibn Saba…went from place to place, seeking to lead Moslems into error…”
[The History of the Arabs, p.215]
20. Famous historian and former governer of U.P, India, William Moore writes,
“…ibn Saba, a Jew from the South of Arabia…he became the setter forth of strange and startling doctrines…Ali was his legate, Usmsn was a usurper…”
[Al-Khilafat, Us ka Urooj, Inhetit aur Zawaal, p.217]
21. The “Jewish Encyclopedia” says,
ABDALLAH IBN SABA
By : Hartwig Hirschfeld
Jew of Yemen, Arabia, of the seventh century, who settled in Medina and embraced Islam. Having adversely criticized Calif Othman’s administration, he was banished from the town. Thence he went to Egypt, where he founded an antiothmanian sect, to promote the interests of Ali. On account of his learning he obtained great influence there, and formulated the doctrine that, just as every prophet had an assistant who afterward succeeded him, Mohammed’s vizier was Ali, who had therefore been kept out of the califate by deceit. Othman had no legal claim whatever to the califate; and the general dissatisfaction with his government greatly contributed to the spread of Abdallah’s teachings. Tradition relates that when Ali had assumed power, Abdallah ascribed divine honors to him by addressing him with the words, “Thou art Thou!” Thereupon Ali banished him to Madain. After Ali’s assassination Abdallah is said to have taught that Ali was not dead but alive, and had never been killed; that a part of the Deity was hidden in him; and that after a certain time he would return to fill the earth with justice. Till then the divine character of Ali was to remain hidden in the imams, who temporarily filled his place. It is easy to see that the whole idea rests on that of the Messiah in combination with the legend of Elijah the prophet. The attribution of divine honors to Ali was probably but a later development, and was fostered by the circumstance that in the Koran Allah is often styled “Al-Ali” [The Most High].
Bibliography: Shahrastani al-Milal, pp. 132 et seq. (in Haarbrücken’s translation, i. 200-201); Weil, Gesch. der Chalifen, i. 173-174, 209, 259.H. Hir.
22. And it is narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah have mercy on him),
“Abdullah ibn Saba was a Jewish and he [supposedly] accepted Islam during the time of Hazrat Usman (may Allah have mercy on him) and he urged the people of Egypt to kill Hadhrat Usman (may Allah have mercy on him) and he would show musch love for Hadhrat Ali (may Allah have mercy on him). He was a khabis from inside and his only mission was to create fitna among the Muslims.”
عبد اللّه بن سبا كان يهوديا فاسلم ايام عثمان وهوالذى حمل اهل مصر على قتل عثمان واظهر
الميل الى على وكان خبيث الباطن غرض الفساد بين المسلمين
[Musnad Imam-i-Azam, p.158]
23. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jailani (may Allah have mercy on him) says,
“Sabain sect are attributed towards Abdullah ibn Saba and they said Hadhrat Ali is alive and will come back before Qiyamat.”
24. Famous Shia scholar Allamah Kashi narrates in his book from one of the Shia Imam Abu Abdullah (may Allah have mercy on him),
“May Allah curse Abdullah ibn Saba, he said that Hadhrat Ali is God. But Hazrat Ali was a servant of Allah.”
[Qamus al-Rijal, 5:46]
25. Allamah Shahrastani (may Allah have mercy on him) writes:
“Abdullah ibn Saba…was the first person who said that Imamat of Hadhrat Ali (may Allah have mercy on him) is proven from nas.”
[Al-Milal wa al-Nahal, 1:174]
26. Saad Bin Abdullah Al Ash’ari Alqummi said:
“Sabians are companions of Abdullah Ibn saba, …… Abdullah bin Saba’, was the first who slandered Abu Bakr [r.a], Omar [r.a], Othman [r.a] and the Companions and disowned them.”
[Al-Maqalat wal-Firaq, p.20]
27. Hadhrat Shah Waliullah (may Allah have mercy on him) has also written in details about ibn Saba in his book Izalat al-Khafa.