Remember Farid’s challenge in 2019 to all extremist Shias who believe in the fake story that Fatima (ra) was killed, her unborn child killed and her house burned down by Omar (ra). The challenge was made easy: prove it just from Shia books. Watch as four Shias took up the challenge but failed miserably.
Shia preacher Mahdi Modaressi quotes around 30 so called Sunni references that he claims prove the attack on Fatima, the burning of her house and death of her unborn child at the hands of Abubakr and Omar but gets academically refuted by Farid (twitter.com/Farid_0v).
The biography (Seerah) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in Sunni and Shia sources. Who has the primary sources? Who relies on the other for the Seerah information?
Sunni & Shia Seerah Sources
A brief overview and comparison
One of the grave matters Sunni & Shi’ite theology fundamentally disagree upon is the historical narrative pertaining to the Prophet’s life.
This narrative is mostly the result of divergent primary historical sources.
Some of the most important texts in this context are Seerah/Maghazi works, which focus on the Prophet’s life and can contextualize reports found in other sources while providing the backbone for a historical/theological narrative.
Let’s evaluate both traditions in this light:
Notable Sunni Seerah Sources:
– The Seerah of Ibn Ishaq (d. 151)
– The Maghāzī of Ma’mar b. Rashid (d. 153)
– Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra by Ibn Sa’d (d. 230)
– Tarikh Khalifah b. Khayyāt (d. 240)
– Tarikh Ibn Abi Khaythamah (d. 279)
– Tarikh al-Tabari (d. 310) etc
The aforementioned sources are extant primary sources that have compiled a vast array of data pertaining to the Seerah through sources that intersected and diverged at various points.
Similarly, they have preserved data from earlier extant works as well, such as reports from:
– al-Zuhrī (d. 124)
– Musa b. ‘Uqbah (d. 141)
– Ali b. Muhammad al-Mada’ini (d. 225) and others etc.
As evident, “Sunni” literature is capable of reproducing a vast amount of data pertaining to the Prophet’s life, which would allow for a solid backbone for the seerah.
Individual reports from hadith sources would further add in this skeleton’s structure & context.
The question that would then arise is:
What about Shi’i seerah sources?
The reality of the matter is that there is not a single classical Twelver seerah source that can be cited in this context.
Many contemporary Shi’i authors cite:
1. al-Ya’qubī’s Tārīkh (d. 292).
Al-Ya’qubi clearly was a Shi’i-leaning historian; however, he actually is unknown to Twelver scholarship, as he was not mentioned in Twelver biographical sources.
Similarly, al-Ya’qubi rarely, if ever, mentions the source of his information, further rendering the book even more questionable.
It’s also quite a later source when compared to Sunni seerah sources that significantly predated it.
2. Murūj al-Dhahab wa-Ma’adin al-Jawhar by al-Mas’udi (d. 346)
This source embodies an extremely abridged summary of the seerah.
al-Mas’udi was mentioned by Ibn al-Najashi; however, his reliability was not endorsed by any early Shi’i authority.
He seemed to often depend on Sunni sources, as he cited Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa’d on some occasions.
What further demonstrates this is the alignment of decent portions of his seerah with the “Sunni seerah.”
He praised Abu Bakr and Umar, but he seemed to subtly criticize Uthman.
Other than that, Twelver scholarship has no classical Seerah works.
Thus, it is evident that not a single reliable Twelver seerah work exists to piece together the Prophet’s biography.
What is the end-result?
The end-result is that the only thorough Twelver seerah works were authored by contemporaries.
A good example is al-Amili’s الصحيح من سيرة النبي الأعظم
An enormous work.
Though one may be impressed with the book’s size, it’s author actually inflated its font size and spacing, which made the book seem much larger than it actually is.Nevertheless, in this book, one can observe a common phenomenon that can be seen in many Twelver seerah books.
The Shi’ite author, in reality, was not able to piece a thorough Prophetic biography without depending on Sunni sources.
Otherwise, he would be left with a very limited & unsubstantiated biography that is of little value.
Sunni sources fill the footnotes throughout the book.
What the author conveniently does is that he depends on Sunni sources for the general structure of his Seerah, & he then proceeds to appropriate aspects of it by citing individual reports from 12er sources.
He cannot reproduce a complete seerah from exclusively Twelver sources. The reason why such large gaps exist in Twelver sources pertaining to the Sirah is because it was mostly neglected among classical 12er scholarship.
Rather, efforts were mostly dedicated to post-Prophetic controversies, such as al-Jamal, Siffin, the deaths of some imams etc. 12er sources focused on a few events from the Prophet’s life, which pertained to Ali b. Abi Talib, ( Ghadeer Khumm etc)
Other than that, they are significantly lacking in this regard, which is why a Shi’i scholarship will forever be dependent on Sunni sources for Seerah/history.
The default stance or the general rule in the Imami Twelver Shia sect regarding the companions of the Prophet (saw).
Renowned Shia scholar `Ali al-Namazi a-Shahroudi says in his book “Mustadrakat `Ilm-ul-Rijal” 1/67:
[We conclude from the big quantity of narrations declaring that all companions are apostates except three or four, that the general rule for every companion who remained alive after the Prophet (saw) and did not become a martyr in his time, is that they are apostates for placing the non-chosen leader (means Abu Bakr) in authority over the chosen leader (means `Ali), or impious sinners for their short comings when it came to supporting him (means `Ali), thus it is not possible to assume the reliability of any of them except through a specific divine text.]
Shia Hadith about the time of Mahdi’s rise disproves the concept of 12 Imams.
Imam said: Allah (t) had set a time for this Order in 70 AH, but when al-Husayn (as) was killed, Allah’s (t) anger with the people of the Earth intensified. So He delayed it till 140 AH, and we narrated to you [regarding it] and you publicized the narration, so the secret was disclosed. Allah thereafter has not set any time for it that we know of. And, “Allah erases what He wills and establishes [what He wills]; and with Him is the Original Book” (13:39). [Al-Kafi. Bilal Muhammad’s grading: “mursal kal-sahih”.]
The narration refers to the time in which the Mahdi was supposed to rise to spread justice. Originally, he was going to appear in the year 70, however, allegedly, that timing has been pushed back due to the sins of man.
Significance of the report:
– it nullifies all earlier reports that speak of Imams after Al-Hussain, including the reports of Sulaym.
– it contradicts the Sunni hadith of Jabir bin Samura that there will be Twelve caliphs.
– it implies that Allah doesn’t know the future.
Taken from brother Farid’s twitter post.
I'm reading Bilal Muhammad's "Rise of the Qa'im" and I felt like sharing an important hadith.
I do recommend this book for those in learning about the uncensored Shia view of the Mahdi from the original sources. Bilal has truly put in a great effort into gathering these reports. pic.twitter.com/9TXUHIUgzg
Al-Mufeed said in Tasheeh Al-I’itiqadaat p.131-132:
“As for what Abu Ja’afar (ra) (Ibn Babawayh) said about the passing of our Prophet and Imams (as) through poison and murder, some of it occurred and some did not. What is certain is that the Commander of the Faithful (Ali), Al-Hasan, and Al-Hussain (as) left this world through murder and did not die naturally. As for those that passed away due to poison, it occurred to Musa bin Ja’afar (as) and it is likely that it occurred to Al-Redha (as), even though there is doubt in this. There is no way to declare that any of the others were poisoned, assassinated, or murdered. Such reports are a matter of emotional invocation and cannot be ascertained.”
For those that aren’t aware, most Twelver Shias today seem certain that all the Imams were killed/poisoned.
As we can see from the quote above, the most significant Shi’i historian of all time, Al-Mufeed, rejects this belief.
Taken from brother Farid’s twitter.
-=[Were ALL the Shia Imams Murdered?]
Al-Mufeed said in Tasheeh Al-I'itiqadaat p.131-132:
"As for what Abu Ja'afar (ra) (Ibn Babawayh) said about the passing of our Prophet and Imams (peace be upon them all) through poison and murder, some of it occurred and some did not…