Friday, July 9, 2010

12-er Shi-ite discussion on Zaidism

This post has been moved to


  1. Assalamu Alaykum,

    I do not know how much information you have regarding the Zaydiyah. Leave some kind of email contact information and we may exchange our knowledge and documents insha'Allah.

  2. Here is the continuaton of the article above:
    Neither of these two find a match in Zaydism (or Isma`ilism for that matter). Instead we see the Zaydi dynasties produced little more than petty monarchies, often fighting themselves, even one “Imam” against the other. For example, the most famous book of Zaydi fiqh is al-Azhar written by one of their Imams, Ahmad b. Yahya b. al-Murtada. He composed it while he was imprisoned in the qal`a prison of the qasr of San`a. Thing is, he’d been thrown in jail by another of their “Imams”… What type of Imamate is that??

    Centuries of Zaydi rule left Yemen about one of the most backward and impoverished nations in the Muslim world. Their supposed Imams would declare jihads against other Muslims, particularly the Isma`ilis, if they weren’t busy fighting amongst themselves. When one studies the knowledge found amongst them, there’s very little of any apparent inheritance of knowledge as you would expect from the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله. Take for instance their hadith literature. Or rather, what little of hadiths they have. You have the very early Amali of `Isa b. Ahmad and you have the Majmu` al-Fiqh attributed to Zayd. The problem with the latter is that it’s almost certainly a forgery of Abu Khalid `Amr b. Khalid who attributed it to Zayd to give it more weight. Other than sporadic minor collections, that’s really about it for Zaydi hadiths. As such, you find they eventually became increasingly dependent on the Sunnis’ collections instead. Now compare that to the wealth of knowledge as has come down to us through the twelve Imams, with volumes upon volumes filled with their transmitted knowledge on everything from beliefs, tafsir, shari`a, akhlaq and so on, and there’s really little comparison.

    Another big problem with Zaydism is that it bears really very little resemblance to the earlier Zaydi madhhabs of yore. Their current adoption of Mu`tazili kalam came relatively later in their history, being initially very resisted in some quarters. While because of the Mu`tazili adoption they might appear to be more rationalist nowadays, the earlier Zaydis held onto some pretty weird doctrines that really stretch credulity. For me what stands out as an example would be the Jarudi belief (and as you might know, for a time the Jarudis were the dominant sect of the Zaydis) that all of the descendants of `Ali عليه السلام are equal in knowledge. Literally. That is, even a newborn baby contains within him the same amount of knowledge as an elderly `Alawid Shaykh, the knowledge having been transmitted through miraculous means to the entire progeny. The `Alawid just had to be reminded of what he already knew, I think the theory went.

    The Zaydi fiqh demonstrates to me the weakness of this madhhab and its distance from the actual teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt. Just to give two examples that set them apart from us Imamis, the Zaydis perform their wudu like the Sunnis, washing the feet. Also, they consider mut`a to be haram. Now I pick those two distinguishing examples because from what I believe, each of these are completely opposite what the Ahl al-Bayt in fact taught. There’s zero doubt that for instance they regarded the practice of mut`a to be halal, as several hadiths with various chains reported from them clearly demonstrate. And of course we could go into the Quranic proofs for each of these. But anyhow, I pick these as examples to show the distance between what the Zaydis practice and what the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt actually were.

    Doctrinally, numerous Zaydi tenets I find to be very dissatisfying. For instance the doctrine of implicit nomination of Amir al-Mu’mineen عليه السلام as opposed to explicit nomination from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله makes neither intellectual nor traditional sense. The doctrine of the unrepentant grave sinner, even if Muslim, going to Hell eternally with Allah not being able to ever forgive them is to me very much opposed to the belief in an all-powerful and merciful God.

  3. Imam Rassi Society, in response to 12er critique of Zaidism above, wrote:

    Regarding fiqh issues--We wash our feet because of authentic narrations on the authority of Imam Zayd, alayhi as salaam. Therefore, our opinion is attributed to the Ahl alBayt. Similarly, we prohibit mu'ta marriage because of narrations on the authorities of Ahl alBayt!
    It would be incorrect to assume that these doctrines are exclusively Sunnite. This is because, the Ismailis similarly prohibit mu'ta and early in their history they were divided whether to wash or wipe! Also a non-Sunni, non-Shiite group called the Ibadis wash the feet and prohibit mu'ta!

    . Regarding the eternality of the punishment of the major sinners--It isimmaterial whether you agree with it or not. This is explicit in the Quran and authentic hadiths of the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny. The issue is not that Allah is not ableto forgive them. It's that he won't. Because Allah's Mercy is reserved for those penitent sinners who make tauba before they die. However, once they die, their chance is over! This is why the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: ((Repent to Allah before you die))!
    If they do not repent, they will burn in hell forever. This is because of the explicit words of Allah and He does not abrogate His Own explicit statements!

    To see the rest of Imam Rassi Society's defence of Zaidism, see the post on "Imamate"

  4. To Anonmous: w/salaam. Do you have any articles about Zaidism written by Zaidis themselves? I think I have already included plenty written by Sunnis, Shi-ites and non-Muslims. If so, just add them as links in the comments sections under the relevant sub-heading. Then I can copy them and add them as new posts. Or, leave your email address here and I'll get back to you..

  5. the 12ers have fought each other fiercely.during Iran's revolution Khomaini killed many 12er Scholars.

    Zaidism hasn't changed in usul issues. 12ers on the other hand have changed alot. Their old texts claim that allah has a form like a human (Allah forbid such things.) they also used to claim that some people where created from heavenly mud while other from hells mud meaning that allah has chosen whether people would be sinners or pious (allah forbid.)
    They claim that they change text purposely to avoid torture from Abbasid rule. But Zaidis didn't need to change their texts!