Are you a Kāfir?


Ml Mohammad Taha Karaan

20 July 1997
Shīʿism claims that Imamah, just like Tawheed and Nubuwwah, is one of the fundamentals of Imaan. To believe in the Twelve Imams is therefore just as important as to believe in the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Sayyidina Muhammad (S.A.W). Therefore, in the Shīʿah religion, anyone who does not believe in the divinely appointed line of Twelve Imams as the immediate successors of the Nabi (S.A.W) is a Kāfir. This is clearly attested to in the writings of ten of the most eminent `ulama of the Shīʿah over the centuries.

1. Abu Jaʿfar al-Kulayni narrates:

Imam Jaʿfar as-Saadiq said: There are three people to whom Allah will not look on the day of Qiyaamah, nor will He purify them: (1) he who claims from Allah an Imamah that is not his, (2) he who rejects an Imam from Allah, and (3) he who claims “the two of them” (Abu Bakr and ʿUmar) have any share in Islam.

 (al-Kaafi volume 1 page 436)

2. Ibn Baabawayh al-Qummi writes:

Our belief about one who rejects the Imamah of Amir al-Muʾmineen (ʿAli) and the Imams after him is that he is exactly the same as one who rejects the Nubuwwah of the Ambiyaa.

(I`tiqaadaat as-Sadooq, cited in Bihaar al-Anwaar volume 27 page 62)

3. Shaykh Mufeed writes:

There is consensus among the Imamiyyah (Twelver Shiʿah) that one who denies the Imamah of any of the Imams, and denies the duty of obedience to them which Allah ordained, that such a person is a Kaafir, misguided and worthy of eternal damnation in Jahannam.

(al-Masaaʾil, cited in Bihaar al-Anwaar volume 8 page 366)

4. Sayyid Murtada writes:

To know the Imams is (as important) as to know Allah., because it is Imaan and Islaam. To be ignorant of the Imams or to have doubt about them is is similar to being ignorant or having doubt about Allah. It is Kufr, and amounts to leaving the fold of Islaam. Amongst all mankind, this special status is reserved only for our Nabi and the Imams after him, i.e. ʿAli and his progeny. The thing which indicates that knowledge of the Imams is part of Imaan, and that failure to know them is Kufr and reversion from Imaan, is the consensus of the Imamiyyah (Twelver Shiʿah).

(ar-Risaalah al-Baahirah, cited in the introduction to Tafseer al-Burhaan page 20)

5. Abu Jaʿfar al-Toosi writes:

The rejection Imamah is Kufr, just as the rejection of Nubuwwah is Kufr.

(Talkhees ash-Shaafi volume 4 page 131-132)

6. Ibn Mutahhar al-Hilli writes:

Imamah is a Universal Grace, and Nubuwwah is a Special Grace, because it is possible that a given time can be void of a Nabi, but not of an Imam. Rejection of the Universal Grace is worse that rejection of the Special Grace.

(al-Alfayn page 3)

7. al-Hurr al-`Aamili writes:

Anyone who unrightfully lays claim to being an Imam, or denies the Imamah of a true Imam is a Kaafir.

(al-Fusool al-Muhimmah page 142)

8. Nimatullaah al-Jazaairi writes:

We (the Shiʿah) have nothing in common with them (the Ahlus Sunnah): neither the same God, nor the same Prophet, nor the same Imam. That is because they say their Rabb is He whose Nabi was that Muhammad whose khalifa was Abu Bakr. We do not believe in that Rabb or that Nabi. We say that the Rabb whose Nabi’s khalifa was Abu Bakr is not our Rabb, nor is that Nabi our Nabi.

(al-Anwaar an-Nu`maaniyyah volume 2 page 279)

9. Muhammad Baaqir al-Majlisi writes:

The (Shiʿah) ahaadeeth which indicate that the rejectors of Imamah will remain in Jahannam forever are mutawaatir (so abundant as to leave no room for doubt).

(Bihaar al-Anwaar volume 8 page 365)

10. Abul Hasan al-`Aamili writes:

To accept the Nubuwwah of the Nabi and the Imamah of the Imams, to love and obey them, and to hate their enemies and their opponents is the foundation of Imaan, together with Tawheed. It is so inseparable from Tawheed that Deen cannot be correct except with all of it. In fact, it is the cause behind the existence of the universe, the basis of responsibility, the condition for the acceptance of deeds, and for exclusion from the bounds of Kufr and Shirk. It was this that was presented to all creation, together with Tawheed. It was upon this that the Covenant was taken. The Ambiyaa were sent with it. It was revealed in the Heavenly Scriptures. It is a responsibility all Ummahs were charged with, although it may have been implicit. The relationship that exists between Imamah and Nubuwwah is like the relationship between Nubuwwah and Tawheed, in that belief in the one is inseparable from belief in the other. Thus rejection of the one is tantamount to rejection of the other. Imaan in one of the two is of no use if it is not accompanied by Imaan in the other.

(Muqaddimah Tafseer al-Burhaan page 19)
Considering the above, the question is not so much whether the Ahl al-Sunnah regard the Shīʿah as Kāfir, but rather whether the Shīʿah regard the Ahl al-Sunnah as Kāfir. Could this be the reason why they are converting Sunnīs to Shīʿism?