Hadeeth Explanation: “Whoever died without an Imam he dies a death of jahilyyah”

Correct Meaning and Interpretation of the hadeeth.

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Below is the narration usually misinterpreted by Shias:

حدثنا عبد الله حدثنى أبى ثنا أسود بن عامر انا أبو بكر عن عاصم عن أبى صالح عن معاوية قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من مات بغير امام مات ميتة جاهلية
Prophet(saw) said: Whoever died without an Imam he dies a death of jahilyyah(pre-islamic times). (MusnadAhmed volume 4 page 96).

This hadeeth is usually misunderstood and misinterpreted by Shias, they cherry-pick the hadeeth and interpret it as per their desires, and ignore the other related authentic ahadeeth which provides the correct understanding of this hadeeth.

Insha Allah! In this article we will explain this narration with the help of authentic narrations which are related to this hadeeth, because the best explanation could only be derived from the Prophetic narrations, as they would further explain and clarify the actual meaning of the narration misinterpreted by Shias.Here are few narrations which provide the correct understanding of the narration misinterpreted by Shias:

Prophet (peace be upon him) said – as related by `Abd Allah b. `Umar – “Whoever dies without being bound by the oath of allegiance (bay`ah), dies the death of the time of jahiliyya(pre-islamic times).” [Sahîh Muslim (1851)]

The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: ‘Whoever parts from obedience, and splits away from the Jama’ah and dies, then he has died a death of Jahiliyyah. Whoever rebels against my Ummah, killing good and evil people alike, and does not try to avoid killing the believers, and does not pay attention to those who are under a covenant, then he is not of me. Whoever fights for a cause that is not clear, advocating tribalism, getting angry for the sake of tribalism, and he is killed, then he has died a death of Jahiliyyah. [Sunan an-Nasa’i Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4119 ]

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that the messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: One who found in his Amir something which he disliked should hold his patience, for one who separated from the main body of the Muslims even to the extent of a hand span and then he died would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya(pre-islamic times).[Sahi Muslim Bk 20, Number 4559]

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: One who defected from obedience (to the Ruler) and separated from the main body of the Muslims−if he died in that state−would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya(pre-islamic times).[Sahi muslim Bk 20, Number 4555]

إن عبد الله بن عمر أتى ابن مطيع فقال : اطرحوا لأبي عبد الرحمن وسادة فقال : ما جئت لأجلس عندك ولكن جئت أخبرك ما سمعت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سمعته يقول : من نزع يدا من طاعة أو فارق الجماعة مات ميتة الجاهلية
الراوي: زيد بن أسلم المحدث: أحمد شاكر – المصدر: مسند أحمد – الصفحة أو الرقم: 9/23
خلاصة الدرجة: إسناده صحيح

Abdallah Ibn Omar came to Ibn Mutee’and said: “Ask Abi Abdul-Rahman for a cushion.” He said: “I didn’t come to sit with you, rather I came to inform you what I’ve heard from the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I heard him saying: “Whoever removes his hands from the obedience (i.e. disobeys the legal authorities of the Muslim rulers) or creates differences in the Jama’ah dies the death of the Jaahiliyyah.”[Musnad Ahmad vol 9, page 23, Isnad Sahih)

Thus in the light of these authentic reports which are related to the hadeeth in question, we found that, Prophet(saw) actually meant “whoever dies without giving allegiance and removing himself from obedience to the Imam will die the death of jahiliiya”. This hadeeth is regarding allegiance(bay’ah) and obedience to the Ruler. When there is a legitimate head of state for the Muslims (Imam), then it is not permissible for a Muslim to refrain from accepting him by not giving an oath of allegiance(bay’ah) to that Head of state, this is what the hadeeth means.

The oath of allegiance(bay`ah) is directly incumbent upon the leaders of the Muslim community(ahl al-hall wa al-`aqd) and must be given on the authority of the Qur’ân and Sunnah according to the conditions set forth in Islamic Law. As far as the general public is concerned, most scholars agree that the pledge of allegiance given by their community leaders will suffice them, so it is not necessary for every single individual to do so. This is what Abû Ya`lâ says in his work al-Mu`tamad (p. 254) and in his al-Ahkâm al-Sultâniyyah (p. 27). It is also the opinion stated by al-Mâwardî in his book by the same name (p. 15). Even though the individual in this case does not give the oath of allegiance directly, he is bound by it. He is required to obey in all matters that do not entail disobedience to Allah.

Imam Ibn Hajr Asqalani(rah) stated:

“To die as those who died in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance(Jahiliyya) means the state of death: to die in a state of misguidance with no ruler to obey, as the inhabitants of that era had no such system of ruling. The hadith doesn’t mean that the Muslim will die as a kafir but as a disobeying Muslim. This Hadith has possible definitions:To resemble between the state of death between the disobeying Muslim and the Jahil, even if the Muslim was not in reality a Jahil; or, To frighten and reprimand, and this meaning is not the apparent one. Ibn Battāl said: this hadith is an argument to not disobey the ruler even if he is wronged. The scholars agreed unanimously on the obligation of obeying the empowered ruler and fighting under his commandment. As well as the scholars consider that obeying the ruler is better than disobeying him as this act prevents bloodshed and mitigates masses. “ (Fath Al-Bari,  commentary of #6530).

So to conclude, the death of Jahiliyyah means a death similar to those people who lived in pre-Islamic times, they were divided and not united upon one leadership, rather each tribe ruled itself and they declared wars on each-other. Islam stressed upon unity and loyalty for the sake of the greater good of the nation and this narration reflects this perfectly, it doesn’t mean that the disobedient person will become an idol worshiper like the people of Jahiliyyah.

Now after understanding the meaning of this hadeeth, it’s quite clear from these narrations which group of people are upon Jahiliyyah(ignorance), out of all groups the Imami Shiites have been the most popular for disobeying the rulers, not pledging allegiance to them and separating from the main body of Muslims to form their own small sect that opposes the rest of the Muslims politically and religiously.


The hadeeth about dying without an Imam isn’t applicable when the Muslim Ummah(community) is without an Imam[Such as the current situation].

From the authentic Prophetic narrations we presented above, it was clear that the phrase “whoever dies without an Imam dies the death of jahiliyya(pre-islamic times)” meant whoever died without removing himself from obedience to the Imam and without giving him allegiance, then he dies death of jahiliyya(pre-islamic times). This is only possible when Imam or the Caliph is present, if there is no Imam present then this hadeeth won’t be applicable.

Often Shias misinterpret this hadeeth and try to argue that this narration proves that every human being must die with an Imam, otherwise his/her death is upon Jahilliya(pre-islamic times). Shias also claim that this narration is referring to their 12 Imams whom they picked, their belief is that the world will always have an infallible divinely appointed Imam in it, without Imam world cannot exist and that everyone must pledge allegiance to the Imam of their time; they claim that their hidden Imam Mahdi is the Imam of this era, who from more than 1000 years is holding this position. This is false, incorrect and unrealistic  interpretation and belief of Shias.

The refutation to false Shia belief was given by Prophet(Saw), as one of his companions asked him about the days of the future and the Prophet(Saw) didn’t negate the idea that the Muslim Ummah could be WITHOUT an Imam, which nullifies the Shia misinterpretation.

In an authentic report from Sahi Muslim we read:

كان الناس يسألون رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الخير ، وكنت أسأله عن الشر مخافة أن يدركني ، فقلت : يا رسول الله ، إنا كنا في الجاهلية وشر ، فجاءنا الله بهذا الخير ، فهل بعد هذا الخير من شر ؟ قال : ( نعم ) . قلت : وهل بعد ذلك الشر من خير ؟ قال : نعم ، وفيه دخن ) . قلت وما دخنه ؟ قال : ( قوم يهدون بغير هديي ، تعرف منهم وتنكر ) . قلت : فهل بعد ذلك الخير من شر ؟ قال : ( نعم ، دعاة إلى أبواب جهنم ، من أجابهم إليها قذفوه فيها ) . قلت : يا رسول الله ، صفهم لنا ؟ فقال : ( هم من جلدتنا ، ويتكلمون بألسنتنا ) . قلت : فما تأمرني إن أدركني ذلك ؟ قال : تلزم جماعة المسلمين وإمامهم ، قلت : فإن لم يكن لهم جماعة ولا إمام ؟ قال : ( فاعتزل تلك الفرق كلها ، ولو أن تعض بأصل شجرة ، حتى يدركك الموت وأنت على ذلك )

It has been narrated on the authority of Hudhaifa b. al−Yaman who said: People used to ask the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) about the good times, but I used to ask him about bad times fearing lest they overtake me. I said: Messenger of Allah, we were in the midst of ignorance and evil, and then God brought us this good (time through Islam). Is there any bad time after this good one? He said: Yes. I asked: Will there be a good time again after that bad time? He said: Yes, but therein will be a hidden evil. I asked: What will be the evil hidden therein? He said: (That time will witness the rise of) the people who will adopt ways other than mine and seek guidance other than mine. You will know good points as well as bad points. I asked: Will there be a bad time after this good one? He said: Yes. (A time will come) when there will be people standing and inviting at the gates of Hell. Whoso responds to their call they will throw them into the fire. I said: Messenger of Allah, describe them for us. He said: All right. They will be a people having the same complexion as ours and speaking our language. I said: Messenger of Allah, what do you suggest if I happen to live in that time? He said: You should stick to the main body of the Muslims and their Imam(leader). I said: If they have no (such thing as the) main body and have no Imam(leader)? He said: Separate yourself from all these factions, though you may have to eat the roots of trees (in a jungle) until death comes to you and you are in this state.(Sahi Muslim Bk 20, Number 4553)

Comment: This narrations shows that there could be a time when there will be no Imam(as this is happening in this era). Which shows that Prophet(Saw) destroyed the innovated beliefs of the Shias, that earth can’t survive without an Imam. Notice that He(saw) wasn’t surprised when questioner asked what should be done when there is no Imam. He(saw) didn’t reject the question of people saying how could earth survive with without an Imam. This is sufficient to understand the falsification of the home-made beliefs of Shias.

Moreover, Ibn Majah recorded that the Prophet’s(saw) last statement was, “Then if you die while you are biting on a stump of a tree, that is better for you than following one of them.” Al-Baydawi states that this expression means, “If there is no khalifah on earth, then you are obligated to be detached and endure the harshness of the time.” “Fiercely biting the roots of a tree” is allegorical for “suffering through and enduring difficulties.” This is similar to someone biting on a stone to cope with pain.

Here is a simple example to understand this in better way:

Suppose someone states: “Whoever dies without treating his wife in a good manner dies the death of jahiliyya”.

Now it would be stupidity to conclude from this statement that it proves each and every Man of this world should die treating his wife in a good way. However the fact is that, this statement is only directed towards married people, it doesn’t include bachelors in it.

Similarly, the narration in question explains us that, when there is a legitimate Ruler, then disassociating from his obedience and dying in that manner will mean the death of Jahiliyah. But this condition is not applicable to those people among whom there is no Ruler or Imam, like we explained in our example that the condition was not applicable to people who were bachelors(without a wife). Importantly Prophet(Saw) even affirmed that there could be a time when there would be no community and no Imam or Caliph, which leaves no space for Shia misinterpretations.

{Note: This Hadeeth which talks about the time when Muslim Ummah is without an Imam, is applicable in the present era we are living, where there is NO Imam/Caliph over the Muslim Ummah. Also note that, the self-proclaimed Caliph, Al-Baghdadi the fraud, the Khawariji is NOT recognized as a Caliph and doesn’t even qualify to be a Caliph, because Prophet(saw) said: We do not appoint to this position one who asks for it nor anyone who is covetous for the same.(Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Hadith 4489).}

Authentic Prophetic hadeeth destroys the Shia claim from its roots:

Hudhaifah (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated in a long hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “There will come Imams(leaders) who will not follow my guidance nor will they follow my Sunnah. There will be amongst them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of humans.” He (Hudhaifah) asked, “What should I do O Messenger of Allaah if I reach that?” He replied, You should hear and obey the ruler. Even if he flogs your back and takes your wealth you should still hear and obey.”( Sahih Muslim book 20,Hadith 4554)

Comment: This hadeeth cleanly refutes the Shia belief that earth will always have a divinely appointed Imam by  the prophecy that there would be Imams who would be evil and deviant. If Shias believe that Imamah was only meant for their 12 Imams and no one else, then this prophesy would apply on them, which the Shias will never agree upon. This shows that Imamate(Rulership) was not restricted to certain infallibles, as the Shias claim.


The baseless and denounced version of this hadeeth.

Sheikh Nasiruddin al-Albani(rah) says in his book ‘Silsila ad-da’eefa’:
” من مات ولم يعرف إمام زمانه مات ميتة جاهلية “.
لا أصل له بهذا اللفظ.
وقد قال الشيخ ابن تيمية: والله ما قاله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هكذا، وإنما المعروف ما روى مسلم أن ابن عمر قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: ” من خلع يدا من طاعة لقي الله يوم القيامة ولا حجة له، ومن مات وليس في عنقه بيعة مات ميتة جاهلية “، وأقره الذهبي في ” مختصر منهاج السنة ” (ص 2 وكفى بهما حجة، وهذا الحديث رأيته في بعض كتب الشيعة، ثم في بعض كتب القاديانية يستدلون به على وجوب الإيمان بدجالهم ميرزا غلام أحمد المتنبي، ولوصح هذا الحديث لما كان فيه أدنى إشارة إلى ما زعموا، وغاية ما فيه وجوب اتخاذ المسلمين إماما يبايعونه، وهذا حق كما دل عليه حديث مسلم وغيره.
ثم رأيت الحديث في كتاب ” الأصول من الكافي ” للكليني من علماء الشيعة رواه (1 / 377) عن محمد بن عبد الجبار عن صفوان عن الفضيل عن الحارث بن المغيرة عن أبي عبد الله مرفوعا، وأبو عبد الله هو الحسين بن علي رضي الله عنهما

“He who dies and does not know the Imam of his time dies the death of ignorance”.
The Hadith has no basis in this current form.
Ibn Taymiyyah said: By Allah the prophet (saw) never said it in this way, what is popular is what’s in Muslim from ibn `Umar: I heard the prophet (saws) say: The one who removes his hand from obedience, will meet his Lord with no argument in his defense. And the one who dies not having given an oath of allegiance will die a death of ignorance. al-Dhahabi agreed with him in Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Sunnah pg2 and they are sufficient as proof, and I saw this narration in some of the books of the Shia, then in some Qadiyani books and they used it as proof for people to believe in their liar Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, even if this narration was authentic it has no proof for them, it simply says the Muslims must appoint a leader and pledge allegiance to him, and this is true as we read in Sahih Muslim.
Then I saw the narration in (Shia book)Usoul al-Kafi 1/377 from Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Jabbar, from Safwan from al-Fudayl, from al-Harith bin al-Mugheerah, from abu `Abdullah (as), Marfou`, and he is al-Husayn bin `Ali (ra). (Silsila ad-da’eefa 305).

Comment: Thus as per Sheikh Nasiruddin al-Albani(rah), this version of hadeeth, which is about “not knowing or not recognizing the Imam ” is baseless.


How did companions of Prophet Muhammad(Saw) understand the word ‘Imam’?

We read in an authentic report from Sahi Bukhari:

دخل أبو بكر على امرأة من أحمس يقال لها زينب ، فرآها لا تكلم ، فقال : ما لها لا تكلم ؟ قالوا : حجت مصمتة ، قال لها : تكلمي ، فإن هذا لا يحل ، هذا من عمل الجاهلية ، فتكلمت ، فقالت : من أنت ؟ قال : امرؤ من المهاجرين ، قالت : أي المهاجرين ؟ قال : من قريش ، قالت : من أي قريش أنت ؟ قال : إنك لسؤول ، أنا أبو بكر ، قالت : ما بقاؤنا على هذا الأمر الصالح الذي جاء الله به بعد الجاهلية ؟ قال : بقاؤكم عليه ما استقامت بكم أئمتكم ، قالت : وما الأئمة ؟ قال : أما كان لقومك رؤوس وأشراف ، يأمرونهم فيطيعونهم ؟ قالت : بلى ، قال : فهم أولئك على الناس .

Narrated Qais bin Abi Hazim: Abu Bakr went to a lady from the Ahmas tribe called Zainab bint Al-Muhajir and found that she refused to speak. He asked, “Why does she not speak.” The people said, “She has intended to perform Hajj without speaking.” He said to her, “Speak, for it is illegal not to speak, as it is an action of the pre-islamic period of ignorance. So she spoke and said, “Who are you?” He said, “A man from the Emigrants.” She asked, “Which Emigrants?” He replied, “From Quraish.” She asked, “From what branch of Quraish are you?” He said, “You ask too many questions; I am Abu Bakr.” She said, “How long shall we enjoy this good order (i.e. Islamic religion) which Allah has brought after the period of ignorance?” He said, You will enjoy it as long as your Imams keep on abiding by its rules and regulations.” She asked, “What are the Imams?” He said, “Were there not heads and chiefs of your nation who used to order the people and they used to obey them?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “So they (i.e. the Imams) are those whom I meant.(Sahi Bukhari Vol. 5, Book 58, Hadith 175)

Comment: From this report we came to know that, as per the understanding of companions of Prophet Muhammad(saw), Imams were the fallible rulers and leaders who weren’t divinely appointed.  

Mullah Ali Qari in his book “Sharh Fiqh Akbar”, Chapter “Masala Nusbul Imamah” (Issue of appointment of the Imam) states:
“It is the majority opinion that there is a duty to appoint an Imam. But there is a difference, as to whether this is Allah’s duty or whether this is incumbent on the public. The belief in the eyes of Ahl’ul Sunnah and Muttazalites is that the duty to appoint an Imam is a duty of the public. In terms of hadith and logic this is a duty of the public.“(Sharh Fiqh Akbar, by Mullah Ali Qari, p 175).


Ahlelbayt rejected and refuted the Shia belief.

In an authentic hadith we read that, Member from Ahlelbayt, the great grandson of Imam Ali(ra) rejects and refutes the Shia belief.

في (الطبقات الكبرى) لابن سعد: حدثنا محمد بن عاصم حدثنا شبابة بن سوار عن الفضيل بن مرزوق قال: سألت عمر بن علي وحسين بن علي عمي جعفر قلت: هل فيكم أهل البيت إنسان مفترضة طاعته تعرفون له ذلك ومن لم يعرف له ذلك فمات مات ميتة جاهلية؟ فقالا: لا والله ما هذا فينا. من قال هذا فينا فهو كذاب. قال فقلت لعمر بن علي: رحمك الله، إن هذه منزلة تزعمون أنها كانت لعلي إن النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) أوصى إليه. ثم كانت للحسن إن عليا أوصى إليه. ثم كانت للحسين إن الحسن أوصى إليه. ثم كانت لعلي بن الحسين إن الحسين أوصى إليه، ثم كانت لمحمد بن علي إن عليا أوصى إليه. فقال: والله لمات أبي فما أوصى بحرفين. قاتلهم الله! والله إن هؤلاء إلا متأكلون بنا، هذا خنيس الخرؤ ما خنيس الخرؤ؟ قال قلت: المعلى بن خنيس، قال: نعم المعلى بن خنيس، والله لفكرت على فراشي طويلا أتعجب من قوم لبس الله عقولهم حين أضلهم المعلى بن خنيس. (الطّبقات الكبرى: 05/324)

(ibn Sa’ad) said in “al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 5/324″: Muhammad ibn ‘Asim from Shubabah bin Siwar from al-Fudayl ibn Marzuq; he said: I asked ‘Umar bin ‘Ali and Husayn bin ‘Ali the Uncles of Ja’far; I said, “Is there among you, Ahl al-Bayt, a person whose obedience (ie obedience to him) is obligatory and that whoever doesn’t recognize him dies the death of Jahiliyya(pre-Islamic times)?”
Both of them said: “No, by Allah! This is not from us! Whoever says that about us is a liar.”
I said to ‘Umar bin ‘Ali: “May Allah have Mercy on you. [It is said] that you claim that the Prophet (pbuh) appointed Ali as his successor, and then Ali appointed al-Hasan to be his successor, then al-Hasan appointed al-Husayn to be his successor, then al-Husyan appointed Ali bin al-Husyan as his successor then Ali appointed Muhammad bin Ali as his successor.“ So he said, “By Allah, my father died without uttering two letters with regards to succession. May Allah destroy them! By Allah, surely these people are nothing but a burden on us. This is (from) Khunays al-Kharu’?, was it Khunays al-Kharu’?” I said, “He is al-Mu’alla ibn Khunays.” He said, “Yes, al-Mu’alla bin Khunays, by Allah, I thought long in my bed wondering about people whom God had given knowledge as they were being lead astray by this al-Mu’alla bin Khunays. [(al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 5/324 ; Shaykh abi Nasr Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Imam in  Book, Tu`oun Rafidhat al-Yaman on  page 17 says ” sanad Hasan”(chain is good).]

Comment: Thus from this authentic report we came to know that, as per member from Ahlelbayt (i.e) al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥasan b. ‘Alī – the great grandson of Ali(ra), there was no person present amongst his family(during his time) whose obedience was obligatory nor  anyone failing to recognize whom would be death of pre-islamic times.

Similarly Imam from Ahlelbayt rejected the view that, He was divinely appointed Imam.

In his “Siyar A’laam un-Nubulaa” at page 259 Dhahabi narrated:

كتب إلي عبد المنعم بن يحيى الزهري، وطائفة قالوا: أنبأنا داود بن أحمد، أنبأنا محمد بن عمر القاضي، أنبأنا عبد الصمد بن علي، أنبأنا أبو الحسن الدارقطني، حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن إسماعيل الادمي، حدثنا محمد بن الحسين الحنيني، حدثنا مخلد بن أبي قريش الطحان، حدثنا عبد الجبار بن العباس الهمداني، أن جعفر بن محمد أتاهم وهم يريدون أن يرتحلوا من المدينة، فقال: ” إنكم إن شاء الله من صالحي أهل مصركم، فأبلغوهم عني: من زعم أني إمام معصوم مفترض الطاعة، فأنا منه برئ، ومن زعم أني أبرأ من أبي بكر وعمر، فأنا منه برئ “.

From Abdul Jabar ibn Al-Abbas al-Hamadani: ”Jafar as-Sadiq came to them when they were leaving Madinah and told them: You are inshallah from amongst the best of people from your country (or from your Egypt)  So report to them from me: He who claims that I’m an infallible imam who must be obeyed, I disassociate myself from him and he who claims that I disassociate myself from Abu Bakr and Umar, I disassociate myself from him.”

Also, we read in Shia book:

Shaykh at-Tabrasi in his book “al-Ihtijaj” (1/371) reports:
عن سعيد بن سمان قال :كنت عند أبي عبد الله إذ دخل عليه رجلان من الزيدية .فقالا له : أفيكم إمام مفترض الطاعة ؟ فقال الصادق :لا !!
“From Saeed ibn Samaan: I was near Abu Abdullah, when two men from zaydiyah entered upon him, and said: “Amongst you is there Imam, obedience to whom obligatory?”. As-Sadiq said: No”. [Shia book, “al-Ihtijaj” (1/371)]


The hidden Imam of Shias doesn’t fit in the criteria of Imam mentioned in Shia Hadeeth.

The Shias argue that their hidden 12th Imam is the Imam of this era and anyone who dies without believing in him dies death of jahiliyyah. So let us verify from Shia hadeeth that, does the hidden 12th Imam of Shias fit into the criteria of the Imam, without whom one would die death of jahiliyya?

We read in Shia books:
أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن أبي نصر قال: كتبت إلى الرضا عليه السلام …… وقد قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: من مات وليس عليه إمام حي يعرفه مات ميتة جاهلية. وقال أبوجعفر عليه السلام: إن الحجة لا تقوم لله عزوجل على خلقه إلا بإمام حي يعرفونه.
Ahmed ibn mohammed ibn issa from Ahmed ibn mohamed ibn abi nasr he said : I wrote to Ridha(as) …..Ridha(as) answered : Abu jafar (as) said : Rasool allah(saw) said : whoever died without a living Imam that he knows then he dies a death of jahiliyah. Abu jafar(as) said: hujja cannot be used by Allah upon his creation without a living imam that they know.( Qurb al-Isnad).

Comment: This shows that Imam is living so that creation would know him.  But Shias cannot prove from any factual evidence that their hidden Imam is living, and due to this lack of evidence, He can’t even be known by people.

عن عمر بن يزيد، عن أبي الحسن الاول (عليه السلام)، قال: سمعته يقول: ” من مات بغير إمام، مات ميتة جاهلية، امام حي يعرفه ” قلت: لم أسمع اباك يذكر هذا، يعني إماما حيا، فقال: ” قد والله قال ذلك رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله)، قال: وقال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله): من مات وليس له امام يسمع له ويطيع، مات ميتة جاهلية ».

( بحارالانوار ج23 ص92 و الاختصاص شیخ مفید صص 268-269 و

Abi al-Hassan (as) said: One who dies without a living and known Imam, dies the death of ignorance. The narrator said: I never heard this from your father, I mean the living Imam? He replied: By Allah the Messenger of Allah said this, and said: One who dies without an Imam, who can be heard and obeyed, dies the death of ignorance.
– Mufid in al-ekhtisas p268-289
– Bihar al-Anwar v23 p92.

Comment: Can the hidden Imam of Shias be heard and obeyed? Surely not!  

ال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: من مات وليس عليه إمام حي ظاهر مات ميتة جاهلية»
(بحارالانوار مجلسی ج23 ص 93 _ بیروت و مفید در الاختصاص ص269 _ بیروت)
Abu Abdilllah (as) said: One who dies without the living and Zahir (visible . i.e which can be seen) Imam, dies the death of ignorance.
– al-Mufid in Al-ekhtisas p269 Beirut
– Bihar al-Anwar v23 p93 Beirut.

«عن أبي الجارود قال: سمعت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام يقول: من مات وليس عليه إمام حي ظاهر مات ميتة جاهلية، قال: قلت: إمام حي جعلت فداك ؟ قال: إمام حي، إمام حي»
(بحارالانوار ج23 ص93 و مفید در الاختصاص ص269 و مستدرک وسائل و..)
Abu Abdillah (as) said: One who dies without having a living and Zahir (visible, i.e which can be seen) Imam dies the death of ignorance. The narrator asked: May I be sacrificed for you, the living Imam? He replied: the living Imam, the living Imam.
– al-Mufid in al-ekhtisas p269
– Bihar al-Anwar v23 p93
– Mustadrak Wasail

Comment: Is the hidden Imam of Shias, visible(Zahir)? Not at all!

From these Shia ahadeeth we came to know that, the Imam is the one who can be Heard, who is visible(Zahir), and who is living. But unfortunately the current hidden Imam of Shias, can neither be heard nor seen, and there is no factual proof which proves that he is living due to which we cannot know him. Thus the non-existing twelfth Imam of Shias in no way considered as the Imam without whom one would die death of jahiliyyah.


Death of jahiliyya(pre-islamic death) does not mean dying as a Kafir(disbeliever).

Shias have a serious misconception that, the hadeeth in question means that whoever died without an Imam, would die as Kafir. This is completely wrong definition of hadeeth. The death of Jahiliyyah here implies the death of the pre-islamic times, meaning if a person refuses to integrate himself into Islamic society and follow the Muslims and their leader, but he rather decides to cause division and set a bad example, these are from the habits of pre-Islamic times, or the times of ignorance as we call them, one who does this risks Allah’s wrath on the day of judgment. This is a sin, but this doesn’t take one out of the fold of Islam nor does it make him Kafir.

Insha Allah! we will try to clear this confusion using other authentic narrations and also by presenting some historical reports.

We read in Sunan an-Nasa’i:

The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: ‘Whoever parts from obedience, and splits away from the Jama’ah and dies, then he has died a death of Jahiliyyah. Whoever rebels against my Ummah, killing good and evil people alike, and does not try to avoid killing the believers, and does not pay attention to those who are under a covenant, then he is not of me. Whoever fights for a cause that is not clear, advocating tribalism, getting angry for the sake of tribalism, and he is killed, then he has died a death of Jahiliyyah. [Sunan an-Nasa’i Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4119 ]

In this report we found that, the one who is killed fighting for the sake of tribalism, would die a death of jahiliyyah(pre-islamic death). Here death without obedience to Imam and death for the sake of tribalism BOTH have been considered as death of Jahiliyyah. Now it would be illogical to believe that a person who fought and was killed for the sake of tribalism died as a Kafir(disbeliever), how could this effect the faith of a Muslim?

Sheikh Abu Muhammad Mahmud ibn Ahmad explains that a pre-Islamic(jahiliyya) death is not one in which a Muslim dies as a kafir, but one in which one dies in a state of disobedience. Therefore, a pre-Islamic killing does not mean a killing in a state of kufr. Rather, it means a killing in a state of disobedience. (See Umdah al-Qari, Kitab al-Fitn, Bab 2 Qawl an-Nabi(S) : Satarawna Ba’di Umuran).

Ibn Hajar Asqalani stated: The hadith doesn’t mean that the Muslim will die as a kafir but as a disobeying Muslim.(See Ibn Hajar’s Fath Al-Bari, commentary of #6530.)

Al-Nawawi commented on the hadith in his commentary of Saheeh Muslim by saying:

أي : على صفة موتهم من حيث هم فوضى لا إمام لهم .

They will die in a fashion similar to theirs (the people of Jahiliyyah) since they were in chaos and had no leader.

Al-Suyuti commented on the hadith in his explanation of Sunan Al-Nasa’ee:

أي كما يموت أهل الجاهلية من الضلال والفرقة

They die like the people of Jahiliyyah, lost and divided

Thus the correct understanding of hadeeth is that, death of jahiliyyah means death in a state of disobedience towards the Caliph or Imam.

As for the faulty Shi’ee interpretation, then this can be refuted using the Shia sources. We find in Shia book Al-Kafi in the second hadith in Next Chapter after the Chapter of Drinkers of Intoxicants:

Abu Ali Al-Ash’ari from Al-Hasan bin Ali Al-Kufi from Al-Abbas bin Amer from Dawud bin Al-Husain from Abi Abdullah (as): “Whosoever drinks an intoxicant, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days. If he dead within those forty days, then he will die a death of the jahiliyyah, but if he repented then Allah will forgive him.” (Al Kafi, H 11914, Ch. 5, h 2; Al-Majlisi declares this hadith reliable in Mir’at Al-Uqool).

As we know, Shias do not declare apostasy for those that drink intoxicants, so it makes perfect sense that what is meant here is not a death of apostasy, but a death of jahiliyyah, since people in the pre-Islamic ages used to drink a lot of intoxicants.

Moreover, we find in Shia book  Jami Ahadith al Shia, there is a whole chapter as:
باب ما ورد في أن الوصية حق على كل مسلم ، وأن من مات بغير وصية مات ميتة جاهلية
Chapter on what has been narrated regarding that will(wasiyyah) is haqq on all the Muslims , and who died without making will dies upon the death of jahiliyyah.

Here is one hadeeth from the above chapter of Shia book:
المقنعة 101 – قال صلى الله عليه وآله من مات بغير وصية فقد مات ميتة جاهلية.
(9) al-Muqni`ah 101- He Peace be upon him and his family said: He who dies without a Will then he died a death of Jahiliyyah.

Now if we go by the faulty Shia interpretations then, any Shia who died without making a will would die as a Kafir. Will the Shias agree with this interpretation? We believe, they won’t, because this would be an illogical conclusion, similarly even in regards to the hadeeth in question, they should stop applying the illogical and incorrect interpretations to it, because death of jahiliyyah doesn’t mean dying as Kafir even in the case of dying without an Imam.

Even Ahlelbayt understood this hadeeth the same way as Ahlesunnah does, that is why these were their view regarding those who fought fourth Caliph of Muslims Ali(ra) as found in Shia books.

Jafar Sadiq narrates from his father (Baqir) that Ali never accused the ones with whom he fought of Shirk (i.e polytheism) or hypocrisy, rather he would say , they are our brothers who  rebelled against us. [(shia books) Wasail Shia, 15/83 , also Qurbul Asnad p. 45, Majleese reported in “Biharal anwar” 32/324]

فلقد كنا مع رسول الله صلى
الله عليه وآله وإن القتل ليدور على الآباء والابناء والاخوان والقرابات ،
فما نزداد على كل مصيبة وشدة إلا إيمانا ، ومضيا على الحق ، وتسليما
للامر ، وصبرا على مضض الجراح . ولكنا إنما أصبحنا نقاتل إخواننا
في الاسلام على ما دخل فيه من الزيغ والاعوجاج والشبهة والتأويل

Hz Ali addressing his companions and his opponents said: We were with prophet(saw) , that time our fathers and sons were killed , our near one and brothers were killed ,but after every problem and calamity our Eman used to get increase. We used to standstill on truth, We used to obey the commands, at times of difficulties we used to do sabr(patience). But now we are fighting our own Muslim brothers.(nahjul balagha tahqeeq subhi saleh, page 179)

Shia scholars Majlisi in “Bihar” (32/324); Burjardi in “Jamiu ahadeth ash-shia” (13/93) transmitted:
٢٩٧ – قرب الإسناد: ابن طريف عن ابن علوان عن جعفر عن أبيه أن عليا (عليه السلام) كان يقول لأهل حربه: إنا لم نقاتلهم على التكفير لهم ولم نقاتلهم على التكفير لنا ولكنا رأينا أنا على حق ورأوا أنهم على حق

Furat by his chain: ibn Tareef – Ibn Alwan – Jafar – Father – Ali (alaihi salam) who said about those who fought against him: We don’t fight with them due to their takfir, and don’t fight with them due to their takfir of us. But we see that we are upon truth, and they see that they are upon truth.


Refutation of Shia arguments.

Shia Argument 1:

According to Shia and Sunni sources, Fatima Al Zahraa, rejected Abu Bakr and never gave him allegiance. She was the first women in Islam rejecting the leadership of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr was the Imam of the Islamic Nation. Have Fatima died the death of Jahiliyyah (Ma’azAllah)?


Regarding the issue of Bay`ah or in English “Pledge of allegiance”, it was not recorded in history that women gave allegiance to the Caliphs, usually it is Ahlul-Hall wal-`Aqd who give the pledge then the women and children just follow along, what is meant by Ahlul-Hall wal-`Aqd are the leaders of the society, and it is common knowledge that the leader of the Islamic society at that time were the closest companions of The Prophet (SAWS), the Mouhajirun and the Ansar and they all gave Abu Bakr (ra) a pledge of allegiance.

Aside from the fact that women do not give a pledge of allegiance, In Islam not every single person is required to go and give the pledge of allegiance, so for the women it was enough that their husbands or male relatives or tribal leaders went and gave a pledge of allegiance, also there was no need for every single man to go and give a pledge and put his hand in the hand of the Caliph.

Let us give an idea to the readers, of what we are talking about, let’s say that the tribe of bani Hanifa in the land of Hijaz had a population of 5,000 people, and let’s say that they wanted to give allegiance to Abu Bakr (ra), does it means that the entire tribe of 5,000 men, women and children would travel all the way to Madinah, and each of them would give Abu Bakr (ra) allegiance and place their hands in his hand one by one? That is unheard of in Islam, what actually happens is that each tribe would send some representatives, maybe 13 men, maybe 4, and these men who are considered the leaders of those tribes would then give allegiance to Abu Bakr (ra), as for distant lands let’s say for example in the city of Kufa in `Iraq there would be a governor appointed by the Caliph, and the leaders of each tribe in `Iraq would meet up with this appointed governor and give him allegiance.

So for Fatima (ra) and all other women from bani Hashim, it was enough that the head of the family would go and give Abu Bakr (ra) allegiance, that would basically mean that all of them gave allegiance. And we know `Ali (ra) was appointed as head of bani Hashim, he was responsible for their affair and he gave Abu Bakr (ra) a Bay`ah.

And `Ali (ra) gave Abu Bakr (ra) Bay`ah(allegiance) on the very first day as is recorded in the authentic narration:

Abu Sa’eed al Khudri may Allah be pleased with him said: When the Prophet’s (SAWS) soul passed away and when the people gathered at the place of Sa’ad bin Ubadah and amongst them were Abu Bakr and `Umar, a Khatib(Speaker) from the Ansar(Supporters) spoke: “You know that the Prophet of Allah (SAWS) was from the Mouhajirun(immigrants) and his Caliph(Successor) must also be from the Mouhajirun, we were the supporters of the Prophet (SAWS) and we will be the supporters of his successor(Caliph) just as we were his supporters”. then `Umar bin al Khattab stood up and said: “This Man from amongst the Ansar speaks truth, and if it were anything other than this then we would not give you a bay’ah(Pledge of allegiance).” Then he grabbed the hand of Abu Bakr and said: “This is your close companion so give him Bay’ah.” Then `Umar and the Mouhajirun and the Ansar all gave him Bay’ah. Abu Bakr stood on the Mimbar and he looked at the faces of all the people there but he never saw al-Zubair so he called for him and and he came so he told him: “O son of the Prophet’s (SAWS) aunt and his disciple would you want to split the cause of the Muslims?” al-Zubair said: “Not at all O Caliph of the Prophet of Allah.” then he stood up and gave him Bay’ah, Then he looked at the faces of the people again but did not spot `Ali so he called for `Ali bin abi Talib and he came to him so he said: “O cousin of the prophet of Allah and the husband of his daughter would you want to split the cause of the Muslims?” So `Ali replied: “Not at all O Caliph of the Prophet of Allah.” then he stood and gave him Bay’ah.

-Mujama’a al Zawa’ed (5/183) with its Rijal being those of the SAHIH.
-Al Bidayah wal nihayah (5/281) with its Isnad being Thabit and SAHIH.
-Al Mustadrak (3/76) and al Sunan al Kubrah (8/143) with two SAHIH Isnads.

So we came to know that, in the case of Fatima(ra) it was her husband(ra) who gave a pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr (ra) and she just followed along, the Caliphs never demanded or asked for the pledge of allegiance from women, so whether she went or didn’t go doesn’t matter.

Moreover, We read in an authentic narration from “Ithaf al-Khayarah al-Maharah” by al-Bouwaysiri, that
وَقَالَ أَبُو يَعْلَى الْمُوصِلِيُّ حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ صَالِحٍ ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ فُضَيْلٍ ، عَنِ الْوَلِيدِ بْنِ جُمَيْعٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ ، قَالَ : جَاءَتْ فَاطِمَةُ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ ، فَقَالَتْ : يَا خَلِيفَةَ رَسُولِ الله.
Abi al-Tufayl said: Fatima came to Abu Bakr and said: “O Khalipha of Rasool-Allah (SAWS)

This is a clear proof that like her husband(Ali) and the rest of believers, even Fatima(ra) accepted Abubakr(ra) as the Khalipha of Prophet(saw). Had it been that she didn’t accept Abubakr(ra) as the Khalipha, she wouldn’t have used those terms, since we know that dignified Arabs would never call a person with a sacred title, unless they truly believe that the person deserves that sacred title. For example, Suhail bin Amr who was a disbeliever at the time of treaty of Hudaibiyah, didn’t allow Muslims to write the words “(Messenger of Allah)” after name Muhammad(saw) in the treaty. So how could Fatima(ra) the leader of women in paradise call Abubakr(ra) Khalipha of Rasool Allah, if she don’t consider him to be so.

Also one of the biggest scholars of the Muslims and Fatima’s (ra) great-grandson Muhammad bin `Ali stated that he does not know of anyone from his family was not loyal and obedient to Abu Bakr (ra), it is narrated:
from Bassam bin `Abdullah al-Sayrafi: I asked Abu Ja`far(al-Baqir): “What do you say about Abu Bakr and ‘Umar may Allah be pleased with them?” He replied: “By Allah I am loyal to them and I ask Allah to forgive them and we never knew anyone from our family who was not loyal to them. (“Fadael al-Sahaba wa Manaqibihim wa Qawl Ba’adihim fi Ba’ad” by al-Imam al-Darqutni.
grading: Hadith Hassan(good).

Based on the above the matter is as clear as daylight. Fatima(ra) was pleased with Abu Bakr(ra) and loyal to him and so was her entire family, how can she not be pleased with the beloved companion of her father (SAWS)?

Thus, as for Fatima(ra) giving Abubakr(ra) a pledge of allegiance or a Bay`ah, this is not required from women in Islam and we have never read any Caliph demanding women to offer such a pledge. Moreover, it was never recorded in any instance that Fatima (ra) disobeyed Abu Bakr (ra).

Moreover, the report from Sahi bukhari, which states that Fatima(ra) was angry and didn’t speak to Abubakr(ra) until she died, is usually used by Shias to assume that Fatima(ra) didn’t give allegiance to Abubakr(ra), but the fact is that this report is from the idraaj(interpolations) of famous narrator Zuhri, who was criticized for interpolations. The part which Shias use from the hadeeth is from his interpolations, because he misunderstood and equated silence with anger. A detailed research has been done in our article on this subject where we have proven that, this part is not reliable. (Refer this link).

Secondly even if supposedly one accepts this unreliable interpolation then too, this is not a proof that Fatima(ra) removed herself from obedience to Caliph Abubakr(ra). It would be considered as a disagreement between them, and the history is filled with cases where people disagreed with the decision of their Caliphs, but this doesn’t imply in any way that they refused to give allegiance nor that they broke their allegiance. Especially, when we know the noble character of Fatima(ra) and Abubakr(ra), as these were the people who never preferred worldly possessions over the hereafter. It’s in fact thinking low of Fatima(ra), that because of a worldly possession(land of fadak), Fatima(ra)  didn’t give allegiance or broke it. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal(rah) was tortured by the Caliph of his time, but this doesn’t implies that He broke allegiance from the Caliph. These are assumptions of Shias which has no basis.


Shia Argument 2:

A common Shia argument is that, what is the Islamic verdict on Imam Hussain’s rebellion against the corrupt leadership of Yazeed? Was this permissible according to the Shariah?


As far as Sayyiduna Imam Husain’s (Allah be pleased with him) uprising against Yazid is concerned, firstly, it should be understood that according to the majority of scholars, the status of a heir to the throne (wali al-ahd) is only one of recommendation that requires approval from the nations prominent and influential figures after the demise of the Khalifa.

Qadhi Abu Ya’la al-Farra al-Hanbali states in his Ahkam al-Sultaniyya:

Khilafah (leadership) is not established merely with the appointment of the Khalifa, rather (after his demise) it requires the approval of the Muslim Ummah. (al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya, p. 9).

In view of the above, the majority of the Umma’s scholars are of the view that if a Khalifah or ruler appoints his successor without the approval of those in power, then this is permissible, but it will only serve as an suggestion. After his demise, the nation’s influential and powerful people have a right to accept his leadership or reject it.

Keeping this in mind, the leadership of Yazid was also subject to the same criterion other leaderships are. His leadership could not be established after the demise of Sayyiduna Mu’awiya (Allah be pleased with him) until it was approved by the major personalities of the nation.

Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) from the outset did not approve of Yazid being designated a leader. This was his personal opinion that was based on purely religious grounds and there was nothing wrong in holding this view.

After the demise of Sayyiduna Mu’awiya (Allah be pleased with him), Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) saw that the major personalities of Hijaz including Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) had not yet approved of Yazid’s leadership. Furthermore, he received heaps of letters from Iraq which made it clear that the people of Iraq had also not accepted Yazid as their leader. The letters clearly stated that they had not given their allegiance to anyone. (See: Tarikh al-Tabari, 4/262 & al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 8/151).

In such circumstances, Sayyiduna Husain’s (Allah be pleased with him) stand with regards to Yazid’s leadership was that the pledge of allegiance by the people of Sham can not be forced upon the rest of the Muslims. Therefore, his leadership was as yet not established.

In Sayyiduna Husain’s view, Yazid was a tyrant ruler who desired to overcome the Muslims, but was not yet able to do so. In such a circumstance, he considered his religious duty to prevent a tyrant ruler prevailing over the Muslim Ummah.

For this reason, Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) sent Muslim ibn Aqeel (Allah be pleased with him) to Kufa in order to investigate the truth about Yazid’s rule. His journey was not of an uprising nature, rather to discover the truth.

Had Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) thought that Yazid had imposed his rule and established his power all over the Muslim lands, the case would have been different. He would certainly have accepted his leadership without choice and would not have opposed it. But he thought that this was a tyrant ruler that had no authority as of yet, and can be stopped before he establishes his authority.

This is the reason why when he came close to Kufa and discovered that the inhabitants of Kufa have betrayed him and succumbed to Yazid’s rule, he suggested three things, of which one was Or I give my hand in the hand of Yazid as a pledge of allegiance. (See: Tarikh al-Tabari, 4/313).

Similar can be read in Shia books:

لما رأى الحسين نزول العساكر مع عمر بن سعد بنينوى ومددهم لقتاله أنفذ إلى عمر بن سعد: ” اني أريد أن ألقاك فاجتمعا ليلا فتناجيا طويلا، ثم رجع عمر بن سعد إلى مكانه وكتب إلى عبد الله بن زياد: أما بعد: فإن الله قد أطفأ النائرة وجمع الكلمة وأصلح أمر الامة، هذا حسين قد أعطاني أن يرجع إلى المكان الذي أتى منه أو أن يسير إلى ثغر من الثغور فيكون رجلا من المسلمين، له ما لهم وعليه ما عليهم،أوأن يأتي أمير المؤمنين يزيد فيضع يده في يده، فيرى فيما بينه وبينه رأيه، وفي هذا لكم رضى وللامة صلاح.

When al-Husein saw the coming of the soldiers of ‘Umar bin Sa’ad and their reinforcements, he sent him a message saying: I want to meet you, and they met at night and negotiated for a long time, then ‘Umar bin Sa’ad went back and wrote to Ibn Ziad: Allah has put out the fire and has united the word of the Muslims and fixed the affair of the nation, al-Husein has given me three options: either we let him return to the place that he came from, or that he may head to make Jihad against the Kouffar in the distant lands like any other Muslim, or that he may go to Ameer al-Mumineen Yazid and place his hand in his hand and discuss with him the differences in opinion, with this you and the nation shall be pleased.( al-Mufid in al-Irshad 2/87).

ولما رأى أن لا سبيل له إلى العود ولا إلى دخول الكوفة، سلك طريق الشام سائرا نحو يزيد بن معاوية لعلمه عليه السلام بأنه على ما به أرق من ابن زياد وأصحابه، فسار عليه السلام حتى قدم عليه عمر بن سعد في العسكر العظيم، وكان من أمره ما قد ذكر وسطر، فكيف يقال إنه القى بيده إلى التهلكة؟ وقد روى أنه صلوات الله وسلامه عليه وآله قال لعمر بن سعد: اختاروا منى إما الرجوع إلى المكان الذي أقبلت منه، أو ان أضع يدي في يد يزيد ابن عمى ليرى في رأيه، وإما ان تسيروني إلى ثغر من ثغور المسلمين، فأكون رجلا من أهله لي ماله وعلي ما عليه. وان عمر كتب إلى عبيد الله بن زياد بما سئل فأبى عليه

When he (al-Husein) saw that he had no means of returning or entering al-Kufa, he took the road of al-Sham heading towards Yazid bin Mu’awiyah as he knew that he was much softer than Ibn Ziad and his men, he walked until ‘Umar bin Sa’ad met him with a great army, what happened then is known so how can some say that he cast himself with his own hand towards ruin? and it was narrated that he (as) said to ‘Umar bin Sa’ad: “Choose for me one of three: either I go back from where I came, or I put my hand in the hand of my cousin Yazid so that I may change his opinion, or that you lead me to one of the battle fields of Jihad so that I can be a like any man.” ‘Umar bin Sa’ad then wrote to Ibn Ziad and he refused it.( al-Sharif al-Murtada in Tanzeeh al-Ambiyaa page 229).

This clearly shows that when Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) discovered that Yazid had established his authority, he agreed to accept him as a leader. However, Ubaid Allah ibn Ziyad was not ready to listen to Sayyiduna Husain and ordered him to come to him unconditionally. Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) was in no way obliged to obey his command and he also feared his life, thus had no option but to fight him. This was the beginning of the unfortunate incident of Karbala. (See, for details, Imam Tabari’s Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk & Imam Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya).

In conclusion, it is impermissible to rebel against authority even if the ruler is oppressive or a sinner. The opposition of Sayyiduna Husain (Allah be pleased with him) was due to the fact that Yazid’s rule had not yet been established and he intended to prevent his rule before it being established.


Shia Argument 3:

Sa’ad ibn ‘Ubaadah(ra) didn’t except the caliphate of Abu Bakr(ra) and died in that state.


The answer to this argument was taken from the book of Dr. Ali Muhammad Sallaabee -“The biography of Abu Bakr as-siddeeq”.

We read:

{Certain fabricated and weak narrations indicate that there was a serious crisis and power struggle that occurred in the courtyard of Banu Saa’idah. Based on authentic narrations, however, we know that no crisis or power struggle took place; rather, in a very short span of time everyone came to a unanimous agreement that Abu Bakr(ra) should become the Leader of the Believers.

So in spite of what is claimed in certain false narrations, Sa’ad ibn Ubaadah(ra) was among the first to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr(ra). Yes, it is true that, prior the arrival of Abu Bakr(ra) and ‘Umar(ra) to the courtyard of Banu Saa’idah, Sa’ad(ra) did indicate that he should be appointed ruler of the Muslim nation. But no sooner did Abu Bakr(ra) remind him of what the Prophet(SAW) had said about the matter than Sa’ad (ra) yielded and said, “You are the leaders, and we are your ministers”. Also, I should point out that Abu Bakr(ra), ‘Umar(ra), and Abu ‘Ubaidah (ra) did not conspire among themselves to make sure that one of them would be appointed the Khaleefah of the Muslim nation. I mention such lies only because they are mentioned in false accounts that are related in certain history books.

Some historians paint an unfair and dark picture of Sa’ad ibn ‘Ubaadah(ra), claiming that he plotted against the Muhaajiroon, so as to prevent them from taking away his right to the caliphate. The claims such historians make are founded upon accounts that are not only fabricated, but that also contradict Sa’ad’ s past and lifelong dedication to the cause of Islam. To be sure, Sa’ad(ra) was among the best of the Prophet’s Companions; he participated in the Second Pledge of Al-‘Aqabah; he was perhaps the sole native inhabitant of Al-Madeenah that was tortured in Makkah because of his beliefs; he took part in the Battle of Badr; and he was a paragon of generosity and righteousness. The Prophet(SAW)depended on his counsel, as well as the counsel of Sa’ad ibn Mu’aadh(ra), during the Battle of Al-Khandaq, and with the counsel they gave the Prophet(SAW), they both proved their willingness to make sacrifices for the cause of Islam. It is inconceivable that a man with such a past could have had rekindled feelings of xenophobic tribalism, resenting the fact that the leader of all believers was chosen from a different tribe.

The false narrations I am referring to state that, after Abu Bakr(ra) became Khaleefah of the Muslim nation, Sa’ad(ra) refused to pray behind Abu Bakr(ra), acting as if he was completely withdrawing himself from Muslim society. This is categorically false. It is clearly mentioned in authentic narrations that Sa’ad(ra) pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr(ra) and that, when Abu Bakr(ra) said to Sa’ad(ra), “And you indeed know, O Sa’ad, that the Messenger of Allah(SAWS) said while you were sitting down (and listening to him), ‘The people of the Quraish are in charge of this matter (i.e., of the caliphate): all righteous people are followers of their righteous people, and all evildoers are followers of their evildoers,” Sa’ad replied, “You have spoken the truth. We are your ministers, and you are our leaders.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad (18). This narration is authentic by dint of other narrations that strengthen it.]  One cannot rely on a false narration that smears the reputation of Sa’ad(ra) and ignore many authentic narrations that remind us of the many sacrifices that Sa’ad(ra) made for the cause of Islam. As for the aforementioned false narration, we know that it is false for two main reasons: First, its narrator was one of the people of desires, and his narrations were universally rejected by the scholars of Hadeeth.[ Meezaan Al-‘Aitidaal Fee Naqd Ar-Rijaal,by Adh-Dhahabee (3/2992)] As Imam Adh-Dhahabee said about his narration, “As you can clearly see, its chain is utterly weak.”[ Siyyar ‘Alaam An-Nubalaa (1/277). ] And second, the actual text of the narration contradicts every piece of information we know about Sa’ad ibn ‘Ubaadah(ra) regarding his upright character and his lifelong dedication to promoting the cause of Islam.}

(Source:“The biography of Abu Bakr as-siddeeq” by Dr. Ali Muhammad Sallaabee, pages 213-215.)


May Allah’s (swt) blessings be upon Messenger of Allah, his household, and his companions.


13 thoughts on “Hadeeth Explanation: “Whoever died without an Imam he dies a death of jahilyyah”

  1. So does this mean that Aisha, Muawyah and all their followers died the death of a jahil for not paying allegiance to the caliph of their time which was Ali?

    • Not at all, Ayesha(as) acknowledged the correct stance of Ali(ra) after battle of Jamal, which implies she accepted Caliphate of Ali(ra). And women were never known for giving allegiance to the Caliphs. As for Muawiyah(ra) then, he didn’t die during the Caliphate of Ali(ra), infact he himself became the leader Muslims, eventually.

  2. A baseless article. Saad bin UBada(ra) didnt except the caliphate of both Abu Bakr(ra) and Omar(ra), did he die the death of jahiliya. As far as your recording that Hussain(ra) wanted to give his hand in the hand of yazid as allegiance it is false. By stating three conditions it is evident that Hussain was not ready to offer bayyah to Yazid. Uqba bin Sumaan(ra) an eye witness at karbala said that Hussain(ra) never said i give my hand in the hand of yazid but he said i move to the expanse of the region or return back. this is validated by the statement of Hur(ra) on the battlefield of Karbala in Ashura. Secondly, Sulaiman ibn Suroo(ra) the sahabi who invited Hussain(ra) to kerbala attested to this fact that Hussain wanted to return or move to the expanse of the land. Sulaiman didnt pay allegiance to yazid himself. Lastly, please study history correctly. Hazrat Adi bin Hatim(ra) was pursued by the Kufan governor and in order to discuss the matter personally with him he said to his representative, i want to put muy hand in the hand of Ziyad. Now everyone recognizes that it meant discussion not bayyah or allegiance. Same was the case with Hussain if you accept this narration of hands in hands of yazid. Furthermore, ibn Hajar Asqalani, Ibn Kather, Ibn Taimiyah, Abul faraj ibn al Jauzi etc who recorded this narration didnt deem it bayyah to Yazeed. IN FACT NO HISTORIAN HAS TERMED IT BAYYAH OR ALLEGIANCE. Lastly, how can transgessors be imams when Quran says, dont accept the dictates of transgessors and at other place Ibrahim(as) is promised Imamah in his progeny except for tyrants. Clearly, these hadith of even following tyrants as obligatory is against Quran.

    • An article rich with authentic Sunni traditions and views of notable Sunni scholars is Baseless? Well this just exposes where you are coming from.

      (1) – Sa’ad ibn Ubaadah(ra) did accept the Caliphate of Abu Bakr(as). Get your facts straight. And we are aware of certain reports which state otherwise, however those reports are weak and forged therefore unreliable. For a detailed answer, refer the book “The biography of Abu Bakr as-siddeeq” by Dr. Ali Muhammad Sallaabee, pages 213-215.

      (2) – As for your arguments which are without any reference, then the simple answer is that, by admitting that, “Sayyiduna Imam Hussain(as) wanted to move to the expansion of the land”, you indirectly admitted that Hussain(as) accepted the leadership of Yazeed, because the expansion of land was going on under the ruler-ship of Yazeed.

      (3) – Also by attesting that Hussain(as) made two choices one of returning and one of moving to the expansion of land, you destroyed the myth propagated by Shiites that, this was a fight between Islam or Kufr, or a Jihad, because retreating from a battle field is considered a sin.

      (4) – Yazid was not narrating ahadeeth or news, which Quran prohibits. As for the Imamah of Ibrahim(as) then Quran states:{My covenant includes not Zalimoon}; the word Zulm(injustice) is defined in several ways, in Quran Shirk(polytheism) was considered a great Zulm(injustice). We read: {Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice(Zulm). (31:13).

      (5) – If you believe that giving bayah to Tyrant is against Quran, then please let us know what is your stance on Muawiyah(ra), because we have proved in our article on relationship between Muawiyah(ra) and Ahlelbayt that, Hassan(as) did give bayah(allegiance) to Muawiyah(ra). Due to which some extremist Shia insulted Hasan(as).

      • 1/ Saad ibn Ubaada didnt pay allegiance to Abu Bakr(ra) and Omar(ra). It is a fact testified by nearly all classical and formative historians and muhaditheen. If the reports according to you are weak please bear in mind that the chains of transmission in this regard are many. As Bukhari has recorded his intitial opposition to the caliphate also.
        2/ As regards moving in the expansion of reign is recorded you seem to have lost common sense here. As Quran mentions that in times of fitna migrate, this is exactly what Syeddina Hussain (ra) was trying. Ibn Omar didnt allow Hafsa(ra) to go to the battle of Jamal, does it mean then that he was accepting the caliphate of Ali(ra)? If Hussain accepted Yazid as caliph why was he moving in the expanse of land.
        3/ Prophet Muhammad(saw) didnt fight the battle of tabuk and returned without fighting the kuffars, does it deem it devoid of jehad. Besides, study hadith. Anas bin Harith(ra) records that Prophet (saw) said that my son Hussain will be killed in karbala, aid him. This is deemed sahih by ibn Hajar Asqalani, Ibn Athir, Ibn Kathir etc.
        4/ As for the tyrants are considered there is explicit verse of Quran that dont even incline towards the unjust people, leave aside paying allegiance to them. that is why Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafii, Imam Malik supported the opposition to the fasiq rulers.
        5/ As far as your article about Hassan(ra) giving bayya to Muawiya is recorded let me clarify that Muawiya(ra) was no tyrant. He did committ mistakes though. Besides, as ibn Kathir has himself admitted that Muawiya repented going against Ali(ra) to Umme Salma(ra), it makes his rebellion subject to the mercy of Allah, as he forgives anyone who repents.

        Besides, my brother study the science of hadith and you will come to know that obedience to tyrants is rejected in many of them. Kaanb ibn Ujra(ra) records that Prophet (saw) told us that there will be rule of unjust young men. People who are from me and i am from them will oppose it. I give you in the refuge of Allah from that rule of 60 AH. ( Tirmizi, Kanzul Ammal, Sahih Nisai). that is exactly what happened Kaab died before the rule of yazid and Hussain went against it. For your information, all the sons of Kaab(ra) were matyred fighting against the rule of Yazid. (Ibn Saad in Tabaqat).

        Furthermore, study the hand of rulers in hadith formulation.

        Wasalam brother

      • 1. Brother, had you bothered to look up the source we recommended you would have realized that as per authentic reports Sa’ad did pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr(ra). As for you claim that the chains of the weak/forged reports many then it doesn’t helps your case because these reports are Munkar, regardless of their number they would still be considered unreliable. Anyways please present those chains in Arabic, so that we could scrutinize them for your benefit. Meanwhile, we again recommend you to refer the book “The biography of Abu Bakr as-siddeeq” by Dr. Ali Muhammad Sallaabee, pages 213-215, which dealt this issue perfectly.

        2. We don’t get your point for you bringing up the example of Ibn Umar(ra) and Hafsa(as). As for Hussain(ra) then let us quote what was the option he gave{…or that he may head to make Jihad against the Kouffar in the distant lands like any other Muslim…}. But we know that the Jihad that was going on at that time was under the ruler-ship of Yazeed, hence Hussain(ra) asking to join the forces under the rulership of Yazeed would imply that He(ra) is under the ruler-ship of Yazeed. As for migrating(hijrah) at time of Fitnah, then Hussain(ra) didn’t wish to go to a place where the rule of Yazeed was not implemented but rather the place which where the Muslims were fighting against the Kuffar under the rulership of Yazeed; Hence you are comparing apples with oranges.

        3. As for Prophet(SAWS) not fighting the battle of Tabuk, then it was because upon learning of the Muslims march, the Byzantines and their allies were so terrified that none of them dared set out to fight. The Muslim army returned from Tabuk victoriously, undeceived or wronged. [For Details refer the book Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum] .So please gain some proper knowledge before making these ridiculous claims. As for the hadeeth which talks about aiding Hussain(ra), then this seems to be dubious, because we know from history that Sahaba who were alive that time didn’t join Hussain(ra) infact they themselves advised him not trust the Kufi shia of his, as they were treacherous people. So please provide the Arabic text along with the chain of this hadeeth you mention.

        4. The verse you are quoting is (11:113), it is about not helping the unjust, it shows the illegality of helping the unjust. Because if even a slight inclination towards unjust people is prohibited, then how can helping them be permitted. As helping them would be the greatest form of inclining towards them. So there is no need to make your batil Qiyas(false analogy) and equate helping the unjust with paying allegiance to tyrant ruler. Because your qiyas goes against the authentic traditions of Prophet Mohammad(SAWS). Also take example of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who suffered oppression from the tyrant ruler of his time but did not revolt against him.

        5. It is good to hear that you don’t consider Muawiya(ra) as a tyrant but only a fallible Muslim, because all the Sahaba including Ahlulbayt were fallible Muslims, who did commit mistakes.

        As for your advice to study science of hadeeth, then my brother, We’re not just studying the science of hadeeth but we’re also implementing on it, but you seems to have not made a good study. Let us show how you failed in implementing one of the basic of hadeeth sciences, that is to understand a hadeeth based on the other related ahadeeth about that topic. You referred the hadeeth from Kab ibn Ujra. Here is the full hadeeth:

        It was narrated that Kab bin Ujrah said: “The Messenger of Allah came out to us, and there were nine of us. He said; ‘After me there will be rulers, whoever believes in their lies and helps them in their wrongdoing is not of me, and I am not of him, and he will not come to me at the Hawz. Whoever does not believe their lies and does not help them in their wrongdoing, he is of me, and I am of him, and he will come to me at the Hawz.”‘ [Sunan an-Nasa’i #4207].

        So brother if you read this hadeeth properly then you find that its about not helping the rulers in their wrongdoing, and this is agreed upon issue. This no where says that one shouldn’t give a tyrant allegiance. Now let us present some other reports which disapproves your misunderstanding.

        It his been narrated through a different chain of transmitters, on the authority of Hudhaifa b. al-Yaman who said: Messenger of Allah, no doubt, we had an evil time (i. e. the days of Jahiliyya or ignorance) and God brought us a good time (i. e. Islamic period) through which we are now living Will there be a bad time after this good time? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. I said: Will there be a good time after this bad time? He said: Yes. I said: Will there be a bad time after good time? He said: Yes. I said: How? Whereupon he said: There will be leaders who will not be led by my guidance and who will not adopt my ways? There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human beings. I said: What should I do. Messenger of Allah, if I (happen) to live in that time? He replied: You will listen to the Amir and carry out his orders; even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you should listen and obey.[ Sahih Muslim #1847]

        Comment: This hadeeth clearly shows that tyrant ruler is to be obeyed, however this doesn’t contradict the hadeeth which says that one shouldn’t help the ruler in his wrongdoing or the one which says if ruler orders to commit sin then there is no obedience to the ruler in that command.

        Sayyiduna Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: A Muslim must listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) in things that he likes or dislikes, as long as he is not ordered to commit a sin. If he is ordered to disobey Allah, then there is no listening and no obedience. (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 6725 & Sahih Muslim, no. 1839).

  3. Asalamun Alykum, dear brother i am preparing answers with references and will soon get to you. i will only say here that the analogy between ibn Omar (ra) and Hussain(ra) is that ibn Omar didnt accept Ali as caliph but prevented opposition to him. it cant be deemed his acceptance of Ali as caliph. similarly, Hussains going to the expanse does deem it bayyah to yazid.
    i am busy with my exams. I will get back to you soon InshAllah after a week or two. Stay blessed.

    • Wa’alaykum salam.

      Respected brother, you are comparing apples with oranges. Ibn Umar(ra) took a neutral position he neither opposed him nor join him, even when insisted by Ali(ra). So the example of neutral position doesn’t helps you, because in the case of Imam Hussain(ra), he(ra) wanted to participate in a process which was being done under the ruler-ship of Yazeed.

      As for the claim He stopped Hafsa(ra) from joining battle of Jamal or prevented opposition to him, then please elaborate on this, what are your views, do you believe that it was a deliberate battle or deliberate opposition? Because we don’t believe that it was an opposition or deliberate battle. If you are confused about this battle then please refer this link: https://youpuncturedtheark.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/part-2-defence-of-ahlelbaytwives-of-prophetmothers-of-believers-from-the-religious-slanderers/

  4. Bro.Islam is a complete religion, it is the misguided who take a certain hadeeth. To prove he is teaching Islam by only proving on a certain hadeeth. It is a duty of every muslim to learn Islam and living to its best ability.

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