Friday, July 13, 2012

Quick introduction to Zaidiya

Zaidiya, Zaidia, Zaydiya, Zaidism...
So is it some strange cult in Islam? Do they believe in a completely different Quran? Are they even considered Muslim?

Much mystery shrouds Zaidiya, and in some ways its understandable since it is one of the smallest schools of thoughts in the present Muslim world, with followers in Yemen, the Indian Subcontinent and some areas of North Africa. There may only be a few million of Zaidis, but at one point in time in early Islamic history it was one of the predominate schools with Zaidi states established in at several geographies (including Morroco Idrissid, Yemen, Iran, Hijaz). There is a ocean of Zaidi scholarship, most still in the form of manuscripts, across all sciences of Islam including fiqh (jurisprudence), theology, philosophy, spirituality, Quranic Tafsir (exegesis), hadith compilations (one of the first hadith collections was the Musnad of Imam Zaid). So far from being an obscure blip in Islamic history, Zaidiya scholars, followers and leaders have had a major impact on the history and thought of the Muslim world.

We should mention that there are many with the last name is Zaidi who generally are descendents of Imam Zaid Bin Ali Zain Al Abideen. It's interesting to note that most of them in this day and age actually Jaafari (12ver shia).

Are Zaidis Muslim?
We will go into more detail in to the madhab/mazhab (school of thought), but at this point we thought it might be helpful to provide a very quick overview of what Zaidiya believe, especially in relation to Sunni and Jaafari (12vr Shia, the predominate Shia school of thought).

Let us being by stating clearly that Zaidiya are Muslim and share the same core beliefs that all Muslims profess. They believe in

i) Absolute Oneness of Allah (God)
ii) Allah sent Messengers and Prophets to humanity to guide them
iii) Some Messengers were given scripture (Moses, David, Jesus, Muhammad)
iv) Allah created humans, angels and jinn
v) After death, humanity will be resurrected for a final day of judgment which Allah will preside over
vi) heaven and hell are realities in the next life
vii) The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last and final messenger, with no exceptions and no human reaches his noble rank
viii) the Quran has been preserved since the Prophet's time, and nothing has been added, deleted or changed in it since the Prophets time.

Of course more can be added, but the point is that Zaidiya are Muslims, in what makes a person a Muslim there are no differences. The shahada (testimony of faith) is the same.

Why the Name?
Zaidis get their name from Imam Zaid bin Ali Zayn Al Abideen bin Imam Hussain Al-Shaheed bin Ameer al Mumineen Imam Ali bin Abu Talib. Imam Zaid (80 AH - 122 AH) was a luminary scholar, and contemporaries such as Abu Hanifa (r) studied under him. We will get into more details of his life, and death, at another time. Suffice to say that Zaidis view Imam Zaid as one of the Imams of his time, but he was not the last, nor the first, nor was he infallible. He was a righteous scholar, and a mujahid who died fighting the oppressive khalifa of his time. Much can be learned from this inspiring figure and we look forward to doing so.

Zaidiya vs. Sunni
Zaidiya are considered shia, which is a loaded term with many meanings for different people, each with a unique definition. For this brief post, we'll limit the definition to mean "those that confirm the importance of following the Ahl Bayt" (household of the Prophet, defined by Zaidis to be Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, Hussain and their righteous descendants). We will spend more time discussing why, and the historical context of this in forthcoming posts. Here are some reasons that Zaidiya are considered Shia, and then we will discuss what makes them unique among Shias.

i) The sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to be followed, and after the Quran is the major source that informs legal rulings and theological understanding. Though this is not a difference, it is worth mentioning since many people assume Shia's do not follow the sunnah.
ii) The early Ahl Bayt, based upon many hadiths that occur even in Sunni sources, are also an important source of knowledge and wisdom. Of course some Sunnis also affirm this, though the reality is that the Ahl Bayt takes a much less prominent role among most Sunnis.
iii) The Zaidiya believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did choose Imam Ali to be his successor. There is much interesting historical context around this issue which we hope to address.
iii) The Zaidiya do not believe everyone who saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a companion. There are varying definitions of what a companion is, and among most Sunnis, the belief is that anyone who saw him is considered a companion. Zaidiya believe anyone who saw the Prophet, followed him and died believing and following him is given the high rank of a companion of the best of creation. This is important for the next point
iv) The Zaidiya do not believe all companions were infallible. No doubt they were the first generation of Muslims and all Muslims are indebted to them for their sacrifice and establishment of the Muslim community, however they are not infallible and did make mistakes, and in some cases major errors. This differs with Sunnis, since when you combine this belief and (iii), by definition, anyone who saw the Prophet is a companion, and all companions were infallible, or at least above any scrutiny and reproach. This issue becomes very critical when looking at Islamic History.
v) Zaidiya believe Muslims can revolt against an unjust ruler, even if he is Muslim. Most Sunnis do not accept this, in fact it is written in the Aqidah Tahawiya as being not allowed. However it should be noted that some Hanafis in particular are closer with the Zaidi position on this (and as we will see, Imam Abu Hanifa in particular was very close to Imam Zaid). Again this is extremely important when looking at the historical context of how these different approaches to Islam developed.
There are aqidah (belief) differences as well, which we will get into in future posts.

Zaidiya vs. Other Shia
So Zaidiya are Shia, but how do they differ from other Shia? For our purposes here, we will limit it to Itha 'Ashariya, also known as 12vr or Jaafari madhab. Both believe Imam Ali (a) was the rightful successor of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the importance of following the Ahl Bayt, but they also have some major differences.

i) Zaidiya and Jaafaria diverge in their concept of Imam, or Immamate:
  • Infallibility: For Zaidiya, an Imam is not infallible, but is basically the same figure as the Sunni Khalifa. The Imam should be a righteous, knowledgeable, wise leader of the Muslims, but he is not infallible, and in fact the Imam could end up being replaced if they are unjust. Jaafari on the ohter hand consider all the Imams as infallible.
  • Number: The Jaafari limit the number of Imams to 12. For Zaidiya there is no limit, again the concept is basically the same as a Sunni Khalifa. In fact Zaidiya believe there can be two Imams in different geographies at the same time in history (and this did indeed happen).
  • Lineage: All of the Jaafari Imams after Hussain came from Imam Hussain (a) descendants. Zaidiya believe the Imam/Khalifa can be descendant of either Hasan or Hussain. It should be noted here that it has historically been 'Ijma among Sunnis that the Khalifa must be a descendant of the Quraish (read ahkam sultani for this reference).
  • Mahdi: Jaafari believe the 12th and final Imam, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, at the age of five went into occultation and is the promised Mahdi to return towards the end of time. While Zaidiya believe in Imam Mahdi (as do Sunnis), they do not belive the 12th Imam is the Mahdi.
ii) Fiqh:
  • Muta: Temporary marriage, Jaafari consider this halal while Zaidis do not
  • Matem: This is the self flagellation during Ashura commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a), one of the most tragic events of human history. Zaidis do believe in the importance of teaching people the realities of what happened that day, and keeping Imam Hussain's (a) legacy alive, however they do not consider it allowed to beat ones self to do so.
  • Cursing Sahaba: Zaydis do not consider all sahaba's as deviant, nor do they curse them, this includes Abu Bakr and Umar. Though they do consider Imam Ali (a) as the rightful first khalif/imam. How do they square this? Well, there is diff of opinion, but basically even the Nahj Al Balagha Imam Ali states that it was a mistake they made, but did not put them out of Islam (of course even Umar admitted in a sahih narration that the way Abu Bakr was elected was a 'falta', a disaster, and if someone gets elected like that again they should be killed).
These are just some very high level understanding of the Zaidiya madhab. As we move forward we will introduce more details on this and look forward to any feedback you may have.
If you love the Ahl Bayt, and believe they should be followed, you will find much in the Zaidiya that you find compelling. If you do not even understand why the Ahl Bayt needs to be followed, we will be covering the reason why. God Willing.

26 comments:

  1. as salaamu alaykum!

    It's great to see yet another English blog dedicated to Zaydism! May Allah give you tawfiq!

    IRS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
    2. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
    3. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
  2. Ameen! Thank you Brother, we inshaAllah Allah grants us all tawfiq to be true servants of Allah filled with love for all and malice towards none.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
    2. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
  3. Salaam,
    I really like your introduction to Zaidism, I hope you don't mind if I add it to my blog... I'll put "Zaidiya writes..." in front of it, and show the link, if you approve? w/salaam, Zaida

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    Replies
    1. Sallam and peace be upon you , can you people write me directly . shahtauqir@gmail.com
      It will be much thanks

      Delete
    2. Sallam and peace be upon you , can you people write me directly . shahtauqir@gmail.com
      It will be much thanks

      Delete
    3. Sallam and peace be upon you , can you people write me directly . shahtauqir@gmail.com
      It will be much thanks

      Delete
  4. Salaam,
    It good to see that there is another blog on here about Zaydism. I hope there are 100s blogs in the future. Anyway, I would like to make a correction on your blog. We Sunnis do not believe the sahaba are infallible. This is clearly kufr. It may not be kufr to say the Ahlul bayt are infallible, but it is kufr to say the sahabas are infallible. Please do not accuse us of ignorance.
    Here is the definition of a sahabi.
    1- Sahabi: arabic for companion of the Prophet, Sall Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam.

    The general term for a companion is one who:

    A- any kind of contact with the Prophet, visual, auditory, or just present in his presence even if it was for one minute.

    B- Or, the prophet saw him, even if he didn’t see the prophet; because of blindness or being an infant, etc.

    C- The amount of knowledge and piousness does not play a role.

    D- He must have died on the state of Islam.

    E- Age at the time of contact with the prophet, or he length of the contact does not matter.

    F- Narration of hadeeth or the lack thereof, or the amount thereof, does not play a role.



    Anyone who fits the above conditions is called a Sahabi in the general term. Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’a consider all the Sahabah to be just (udool). Being just does not mean that they all are on the same level of faith or practice. Indeed the companions, radiyallahu anhum, are divided into many categories, Imam As-Suyuti mentioned up to eleven levels. Being just(udool) means that they would not fabricate hadeeth on behalf of the Prophet, Sall Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam.


    However, I will agree with you that Sunnis have a vague view when it comes to the following sahabis.
    Muawiyah, Amru bin Al-Aas, Al-Mugirah bin Shu'bah, Samurah bin Jindub.
    Also we seem to defend Abdullah ibn Zubair when he was an open Nisabi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
    2. Sallam on you people . I m a sayyed and want to know more about zaidia , I believe sayydna ali as the imam and best of that time , same way I respect sahaba( companion ) of prophet , on the other hand could not understand theory of mehdi , why he hidden .. Etc . so if any have more knowledge about zaidia , and as reading history i beleive sayyedna zaid bin ali was true imam , but still know less so ,pls write me shahtauqir@gmail.com
      Allah will give u more right path

      Delete
  5. Also here is reply from Syed Ninowy's student on the issue of sahaba.

    Mentioning every Sahabi with respect is obligatory upon all of us.
    We need to keep few things in mind:

    1- Not all the Sahaba-e-Kiram ( radiya'Allahua nhum) are on the same level. In fact, scholars went to almost 30 some different levels of Sahaba-e-Kiram ( may Allah be pleased with all of them).

    2-We must remember that Sahaba-e--Kiram, though having the highest of honors that we cannot attain, are not infallible. Some made mistakes, as in Sahih Bukhari, Muslim and others.

    3- Learning from those mistakes so we can avoid them, is what is needed, and what the Shariah calls for. In other words, the sword of the Shariah is on the neck of everybody from the Sahaba on till the last Muslim on earth.

    4- Remember that the entire population at the time of the Beloved Prophet were Sahaba, from the infant (who never really sat or learned with the Prophet, till the oldest one who spent 23 years with the Prophet). That leads to a few things:
    A- One cannot say that a person who accompanied the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, casually for a few months, is equal to one who accompanied him, fought with him, defended him, for 23 years ( like Hazrat Siddiqq-e-Akbar )
    B- Since the Whole population were all considered Sahaba, one should have a realistic understanding that the people at the time of the Beloved Prophet are people. Not all the Sahaba-e-Kiram (radiya'Allahu anhum) were Mufti's, nor all of them were scholars.

    C- The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, was implementing the Hudud ( criminal law) throughout the whole time on those who have done wrong. These Hudud were Hudud varying from theft, drinking alcohol, cheating, committing adultery, to transgressing, etc..., On whom was the Holy Prophet implementing these Hudud?
    Of course, the big Sahaba-e-kiram, alhamdulillah have not committed these things, but the books of Hadiths are filled with these events, as the Qur'an clearly states.

    5- We believe that despite all that, ALL the Sahaba (i.e. those who met the Prophet even for a second and died on Islam) will be forgiven and enter Jannah.

    6- We also believe that insulting the Sahaba-e-kiram, cussing them, or belittling them, is a grave sin, that may lead to Nifaq and even Kufr is some instances. However, one must realize, that simply mentioning the Hadiths where some Sahaba made a mistake and learning from that, is Not cussing, or belittling them, because these things were mentioned by thre Prophet himself, the Sahaba, and Tabin, and the Ulema, and that does not mean cussing or belittling. may Allah be pleased with all of them.

    7- Unlike the 12'r Shia sect, we believe that the Sahaba-e-kiram did not reject Islam after the Passing away of the Holy Prophet, except a handful!!!.

    8- As for Mu'awiya, we do believe that he was among those Allah honored by being in the company of the Holy Prophet, even if its a little time, we also believe that he transgressed against Hazrat Ali ( as per the Sahih Mutawater Hadith of the Prophet)

    9- Unlike the 12r Shia's belief, just because we -Ahlus Sunnah- believe that Hazrat Ali was on the Haqq, it does not mean that all others were Kuffar -nauthu billah-.

    10- The best things -as recommended by the Ulema of Ahlus Sunnah- is not to get into these topics unless one is studying Fiqh, Usul, or Islamic History, and on the hands of a Scholar.

    Finally, we are the defenders of the Sahaba'-e-kiram, radiya'Allahu anhum, and we are light years away from their Maqaam, and we will defend them and their honor to the last drop, but we have to be careful not to go to extremes by imply, believe or think that the Sahaba-e-Kiram, radiya'Allahu anhum ajma'in, were infallible

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  8. Salam ProAhluBayt1,
    Thank you for your posts, we appreciate it.

    You are correct in that the Sunni belief is not 'infallibility' for companions from a *technical* perspective, meaning Sunnis would not say they are perfect, but *practically* speaking they do believe that. For example, it is still quite taboo to wonder out loud if Uthman etc. made mistakes. Most Sunni ulema wold shudder at that statement. Now of course the word 'sunni' like 'shia' are quite broad, and there are differences of opinion, such as the more nuanced statements of Sh Ninowy.
    But by in large this is a difference Zaidi and most present day sunni scholars.
    And may Allah guide us all.

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  9. Walaikum Salaam Zaydiyah.

    In cases like Uthmaan's (ra) errors, there are proofs in our own books which point this out. Like there are proofs that Imam Ali (as) supplicated against Muawiyah. A lot of people like to accuse Imam Ali (as) for not taking action, but what they failed to realize is that at the time 40,000 sahaba were present who didn't take any action. This means there were 40,000 sahaba who were in opposition to the Uthmaan (ra). When the Prophet (pbuh) said do not kill a calipah, this is pointing to a ruler who Muslims gave bayah too. It is not pointing to rulers who have taken power by the sword (ie Ummavis and Abbasids).
    Next, Imam Ali (as) said Uthmaan "did not die dhaliman or madhluman, and that the answer lies in the middle. (Tabari)

    Also, Imam Al Asi covers history in detail without any bias.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/THE_STREET_MIMBAR/msearch?query=UTHMAN+%28R%29+&submit=Search&charset=UTF-8

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  10. Turkan Fiver Riyashi: thank you for putting this. ymen needs to go back to its religion. Also i'd like to point out that MY DAD AINT ZAIDI MY GRANDPA WAS N SO M I BY CHOICE ... Zayism is right because Imam Bu Hanyfah Is the oldest sunni mazhab and its closest to Zaydism which means we are the oldest mazhab.

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  11. do the zaydi read or use the Nahjul balagha?and do they have the same law on eating fish with scale email me at bigwali33@aol.com

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  12. do the zaydi read or use the Nahjul balagha?and do they have the same law on eating fish with scale email me at bigwali33@aol.com

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  13. what about zaydi and sufism?is there any history of the connection?

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  14. do the zaydi do the qunut in there prayer like the jaferia?the zaydi do not say amin or amen at the end of sura hamd?than what do they say?i try to setup a email on Rassi Society and it been more than a month that anybody got back to me?and i want to be able to ask some questions?and also is there any sufi that are zaydi?and why is zaydi so hard on sufism?i am studying zaydism and want to be a zaydi and agree with everything they say"however i also like sufism

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  15. allama mohdoodi said in his book khilafat and maloqiat that four school of thought in early time of islamic history in shia.zaidi are better than all of them. he said that fatima s.a. ali a.s and her son beleive three companions and they aare aal right.but you donot mentioned in zaidi aakyed ?

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  16. Does Majmu Al Kabir/Fiqh have been translated to english? if so,then how can I find it?

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