Al-Naubakhti and Al-Qummee (3rd Century Hijrah Shia Scholars) on Abdullah bin Saba'
This is a book authored by two contemporaries, Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Moosaa al-Naubakhti (d. before 300H) and Sa'd bin Abd Allaah bin Abee Khalaf al-Ash'ari al-Qummee (d. 301H). They are both third century Shi'i authorities and wrote on the sects and viewpoints of the Shia. On page 31 of this work (1st edition, 1412, Dar al-Rashaad) we see the following entry (see scan below) within which there occurs:
"And a sect (from amongst them) which said: Ali was not killed and nor did he die, and he will not die until he drives the Arabs forth with his staff and fills the earth with justice and equity just as it had been filled with oppression and tyranny. This was the first sect of this Ummah that spoke of (the position of) al-waqf (withholding) after the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and the first of them that spoke with exaggeration (al-ghuluww), 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." When Abdullah bin Saba and his companions heard the announcement of Alee's death whilst they were in al-Madaa'in, he said to the one who announced it, "You have lied O enemy of Allaah. Even if you came with Alee's brain in seventy bundles, and you tasked seventy just men to kill him, we would not believe you due to our knowledge that he has not died and was not killed and that he will not die unti he drives the Arabs forth with his staff and dominates the earth." From that day, he and his associates travelled until they came to the door (of the house of) Alee. They sought permission to enter from the one entrusted to look after him during his lifetime, hoping that they would reach him. Those who were present from his (Alee's) family and associates and children said to them, "Glorified by Allaah! Do you not that Amir al-Mu'mineen has been martyred?" They said, "We know that he was not killed and will not die until he drives the Arabs forth with his sword and staff, just as he ruled them with his proof and evidence, and indeed he hears the secret-conversations and he glitters in the darknesses, just as the polished sword-edge."