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More Shi'ite Authorities on the Existence and Reality of Abdullah Bin Saba'
Posted by Abu.Iyaad, Editor in History
Topics: Abdullah Bin Saba'

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Abdullah bin Saba' al-Yahoodi

Al-Maamqaani (another Shia scholar) from his work Tanqih al-Maqaal Fi Ilm al-Rijaal (2/183-184):

عبد الله بن سبأ الذي رجع إلى الكفر وأظهر الغلو ... غال ملعون، حرقه أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام بالنار، وكان يزعم أن علياً إله، وأنه نبي

Abdullah bin Saba' who returned to kufr (disbelief) and manifested ghuluww (exaggeration)... Exaggerator, cursed one, Amir al-Mu'mineen burned him with the fire, and he used to claim that Alee is a deity adn that he (Abdullah bin Saba') is a prophet.

Al-Nawbakhti, from his book Firaq al-Shia, which we have documented in this article:

وهم أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ، وكان ممن أظهر الطعن على أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان والصحابة وتبرأ منهم وقال: "إن علياً عليه السلام أمره بذلك" فأخذه عليّ فسأله عن قوله هذا، فأقر به فأمر بقتله فصاح الناس إليه: يا أمير المؤمنين أتقتل رجلاً يدعو إلى حبكم أهل البيت وإلى ولايتك والبراءة من أعدائك؟ فصيره إلى المدائن.

وحكى جماعة من أهل العلم أن عبد الله بن سبأ كان يهودياً فأسلم ووالى علياً وكان يقول وهو على يهوديته في يوشع بن نون بعد موسى عليه السلام بـهذه المقالة، فقال في إسلامه في علي بن أبي طالب بمثل ذلك، وهو أول من شهر القول بفرض إمامة علي عليه السلام وأظهر البراءة من أعدائه .. فمن هنا قال من خالف الشيعة: إن أصل الرفض مأخوذ من اليهودية

...and this sect is called the Sab'iyyah, the associates of Abdullah bin Saba', and he used to display revilement of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and the Companions and would free himself from them. And he said tha Ali (alayhis salaam) commanded him to do so. Ali took hold of him and asked him about this saying of his and he affirmed it, so he ordered that he be killed, but then the people protested, "O Amir al-Mu'mineen! Will you kill a man who calls to love of the Ahl al-Bayt, to your loyalty and disassociation from your enemies?" So instead, he exiled him to al-Madaa'in. A group from the people of knowledge from the associates of Alee (alayhis salaam) judged that Abdullah bin Saba' was a Jew who then became Muslim and showed loyalty to Alee (alayhis salaam) and whilst he was a Jew he used to say the same of Joshua bin Nun after Moses (alayhis salaam) [as he said about Alee], and in his Islam, he (Ibn Saba') would say the same of Alee (alayhis salaam) after the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), with what is similar to that (what he used to say as a Jew). He was also the first to witness with the saying of the obligation of the leadership (imaamah) of Alee (alayhis salaam), and he openly announced his disavowal of his enemies and declared them disbelievers. It is from here that whoever opposed the Shia said, "The foundation of al-Rafd is taken from the Jews."

From Sa'd bin Abdullah al-Ash'ari al-Qummi who was speaking of the Sab'iyyah (in al-Maqaalaat wal-Firaq p. 20):

السبئية أصحاب عبد الله بن سبأ، وهو عبد الله بن وهب الراسبي الهمداني، وساعده على ذلك عبد الله بن خرسي وابن اسود وهما من أجل أصحابه، وكان أول من أظهر الطعن على أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان والصحابة وتبرأ منهم

Al-Sab'iyyah are the associates of Abdullah bin Saba' and he is Abdullah bin Wahb al-Raasibee al-Hamdaanee, and he was supported in that by Abullah bin Khurasee and Ibn Aswad and they are the loftiest of his companions, and the first of what he manifested was revilement upon Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and the Companions and he freed himself from them.

From Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, another of their famous scholars from his work Sharh Nahj al-Balaaghah (5/5):

أن عبد الله بن سبأ قام إلى علي وهو يخطب فقال له: أنت أنت، وجعل يكررها، فقال له - علي - ويلك من أنا، فقال: أنت الله، فأمر بأخذه وأخذ قوم كانوا معه على رأيه

Abdullah bin Saba' stood addressing Ali saying, "You, You" and he began repeating it, so Ali said to him, "Woe be to you, and who am I?" He said, "You are Allaah." So he ordered that he be captured and a group of people with him upon his view."

Ni'matullah al-Jazaa'iree, another of their famous scholars from his book al-Anwaar al-Nu'maaniyyah (2/234):

قال عبد الله بن سبأ لعلي عليه السلام: أنت الإله حقاً، فنفاه علي عليه السلام إلى المدائن، وقيل أنه كان يهودياً فأسلم، وكان في اليهودية يقول في يوشع بن نون وفي موسى مثل ما قال في علي

Abdullah bin Saba' said to Ali (alayhis salaam), "You are the deity in truth." So Ali (alayhis salaam) banished him to al-Madaa'in, and it is said that he was a Jew who accepted Islam and whilst upon his Judaism he used to say about Joshua bin Noon and about Moses the likes of what he said about Ali.


From all of the above, we have corroboration of the existence of the personality of Abdullah bin Saba' and the existence of a faction who aided him and pronounced his call and they are known as al-Sab'iyyah. That Ibn Saba' was a Jew who proclaimed Islam, and even though he proclaimed Islam, it was simply a cover to spread his poison. He is the one who first manifested revilement upon Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and the Companions. And he is the first one who spoke of the Imaamah (leadership) of Amir al-Mu'mineen (alayhis salaam), and he is the one who said that he (alayhis salaam) is the wasiyy of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa aalihi) (i.e. the one with whom the people were advised as a legacy) and (he claimed) he never said this except out of love for Ahl al-Bayt, and calling to their allegiance and disavowing from their enemies, and they are the Companions and whoever allied with him upon his claim. After this it is not possible to reject the person of Abdullah bin Saba' as a reality. There are other (Shia) sources which have been mentioned where one can look to see further mention of him in their books:

  • Al-Ghaaraat of al-Thaqafi
  • Rijaal al-Toosee
  • al-Rijaal of al-Hillee
  • Qaamoos al-Rijaal of al-Tustaree
  • Daa'irah al-Ma'aarif al-Musammaa bin Muqtabas al-Athar of al-A'lamee al-Haa'iree
  • al-Kunaa wal-Alqaab of Abaas al-Qummee
  • Hall al-Ishkaal of Ahmad bin Taawus (d. 673H)
  • al-Rijaal of Ibn Daawuood
  • al-Tahreer of al-Taawoosee
  • Majma' al-Rijaal of al-Qahbaa'ee
  • Naqd al-Rijaal of al-Tafrishee
  • Jaami al-Ruwaat of al-Maqdisee al-Irdibeelee
  • Manaaqib Aal Abi Taalib of Ibn Shahr Ashwab
  • Mir'aat al-Anwaar of Muhammad bin Taahir al-Aamilee.

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