This article is a summarised translation of the article by Shaykh Hobbollah found in Arabic here

How authentic is the hadith which says: « Say about us what you like, and excuse us from Divinity » ?


What is your evaluation of the hadith mentioned, whose text is: « Say about us what you like, and excuse us from Divinity », does this hadith not give room to exaggeration about the Ahlulbayt (as), which we have already began to see signs of in the words of some preachers these days? Does this not result in the utilisers of this hadith lying upon the Ahlulbayt (as) if they said – as the hadith mentions – whatever they like?


Researching this hadith calls for a set of points:

Some contemporaries may God preserve them (See: al-Imamah al-Ilahiya, vol 1, pg 430), stated that this hadith is mustafeedh [1] or mutawatir [2], and we should – to confirm this claim, analyse this hadith from the angle of of hadith workmanship and historical research – we should observe this hadith in the Islamic tradition, there are several ahadith that meet with the concept referred to in your question, namely:

What came in the form:

نزّهونا عن الربوبيّة وقولوا فينا ما شئتم، ولن تبلغوا

Excuse us from Divinity and say about us what you want, and you will not reach us [in true description]

And this hadith was not mentioned with this wording, in any of the sources of hadith of the Muslims [Sunni and Shia], but rather its something that was circulated on the tongues of the people, and it was used in some books in the last two centuries..

Such as by Shaykh Ahmad al-Ta’n al-Qatifi (1315 AH / 1897 AD), in the book (al-Rasail al-Ahmadiyyah, vol 3, pg 361), and it was mentioned by Shaykh Muhammad Hussein al-Mudhafar (1381 AH / 1961 AD), in the book (‘Ilm al-Imam, pg 76) and others.

It has no source nor chain, and from here it is very likely that it is a transmission by meaning [3] of the other narrations that we will come to soon in sha Allah.

Like the following hadith, that contains the sentence:

لا تقولوا فينا ربّاً وقولوا ما شئتم ولن تبلغوا

Do not ascribe to us Lordship, but say about us what you like and you will not reach [in true description]

As mentioned by Allamah al-Majlisi in (Bihar al-Anwar, vol 25, pg 347), this is merely a summary of a group of narrations, and it is not an independent narration, although it was circulated by some people as an independent narration, so pay attention.

Similar to this it has also reached us as:

نزّلونا عن الربوبية وقولوا فينا ما شئتم

Put us below Divinity and say about us whatever you want

Mentioned by Mulla Ahmad al-Naraqi (1245 AH / 1829 AD) in the book (Rasail wa Masail, vol 3, pg 113), and Mullah Hadi al-Sabzawari (1289 AH / 1872 AD) in the book (Sharh nebras al-Huda, pg 226), and Mirza Hashim al-Amali (1412 AH / 1991 AD) in the book (al-Ma’alim al-Ma’thura, vol 2, pg 249),  and among some of our contemporaries as well.

And in these books it was not attributed to any book of hadith or history; because these books which mention this quote were authored very late, and there is no reference to a book of hadith or history, nor are the authors who mentioned this text known for this [the field of hadith and history], rather they are jurists and philosophers.  Thus it is likely to be transmission by meaning of all the aforementioned accounts.

And similarly it has also reached us as:

اسلبوا منّا الربوبيّة وقولوا فينا ما شئتم من الفضائل والمحاسن

Take from us Divinity and say what you want regarding us of virtues and merits

As mentioned by al-Wahid al-Behbehani (1205 AH / 1790 AD) in his fiqh book (al-Hashiya ‘ala Madarik al-Ahkam, vol 3, pg 321), and similarly the hadith:

أنفوا عنّا الربوبية وقولوا ما شئتم

Reject about us Divinity and say about us what you like

As mentioned by al-Dailami (8th century AH) in his book (Irshad al-Qulub, vol 2, pg 427) and the strongest opinion is that this is a transmission by meaning of the previous narrations, and it is not a new transmission, because they do not mention a source nor chain of narrators, rather al-Dailami said that this is what has reached us about them (as), which means that the quote is not from a particular narration.

It reached us from al-Hafidh Rajab al-Bursi (813 AH) in (Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqeen, pg 101) in a different form, and this is the text of the hadith:

وعنهم عليهم السلام أنهم قالوا: نزّهونا عن الربوبية وارفعوا عنّا حظوظ البشرية ـ يعني الخطوط التي تجوز عليكم ـ فلا يقاس بنا أحد من الناس، فإنّا نحسن الأسرار الإلهية المودعة في الهياكل البشريّة، والكلمة الربّانية الناطقة في الأجساد الترابيّة، وقولوا بعد ذاك ما استطعتم، فإنّ البحر لا ينزف، وعظمة الله لا توصف

And from them (as) that they said: excuse us from Divinity, and increase about us the fortunes of mankind […]

And it also reached us in the book (Musnad Imam Ali, vol 8, pg 74-75) of the contemporary Sayed Hassan al-Qabbanji with the text:

الشيخ فرج القطيفي: وجدت بخطّ الشيخ عبد الله بن أحمد البصري البحراني، على ظهر كتاب شرح التجريد ما يلي: روي عن أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام أنّه قال لسلمان الفارسي: يا سلمان نحن أسرار الله المودعة في هياكل البشريّة، ميتنا لم يمت، وغائبنا لم يغب، نزّهونا عن الربوبية وارفعوا عنّا الحظوظ البشريّة، فإنّا عنها مبعدون، وعما يجوز عليكم منزّهون، ثم قولوا فينا ما استطعتم، فإنّ البحر لا ينزف، وسرّ الغيب لا يعرف، وكلمة الله لا توصف، يا سلمان أمرنا صعب مستصعب لا يحتمله إلاّ ملك مقرّب أو نبي مرسل، أو من امتحن الله قلبه للإيمان

Sheikh Faraj al-Qatifi: I found the handwriting of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Basri al-Bahrani on the back of the book Sharh al-Tajrid as follows: It was narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, that he said to Salman Al-Farsi: « O Salman, we are the secrets of Allah […] excuse us from divinity, and increase about us the fortunes of mankind […]

This hadith is clearly the earliest appearance of it – in this form – which appeared in the 9th century AH, that is about 600 years ago only, and there is no source mentioned for it by any of the muslim scholars, and also it has no chain of narrators that it could perhaps depend on, and I do not wish to comment on the book (Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqeen) of al-Hafidh al-Bursi [4]

The third form in which it reached us is by al-Saffar:

عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن الحسن (الحسين) بن برده (بردة)، وأبي عبد الله، عن الجعفر بن الحسين (بشير) الخزاز، عن إسماعيل بن عبد العزيز، قال: قال لي أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: ضع لي في المتوضأ ماء، قال: فقمت، فوضعت له، فدخل، قال: فقلت في نفسي: أنا أقول فيه كذا وكذا ويدخل المتوضأ، فلم يلبث أن خرج، فقال: يا إسماعيل بن عبد العزيز، لا ترفعوا البناء فوق طاقتنا فينهدم، اجعلونا عبيداً مخلوقين، وقولوا فينا ما شئتم. قال إسماعيل: كنت أقول فيه وأقول (حدّثنا)

On the authority of Ahmad bin Muhammad on the authority of Al-Hussein bin Saeed, on the authority of Al-Hassan bin Bardah, and Abu Abdullah, on the authority of Al-Jaafar bin Al-Hussein (Bashir) Al-Khazaz, on the authority of Ismail bin Abdul Aziz, He said: Abu Abdullah (as) said to me: « […] O Ismail, do not build a construction higher than its strength for it will collapse. Make us to be as created servants, and then say about us whatsoever you like, you will not reach [us in true description].  […] »

In (Basair al-Darajat, pg 361), and it was transmitted by Hamza Ibn al-Tusi (560 AH) in his (al-Thaqib fi al-Manaqib, pg 402), without a chain to Ismail bin Abdul Aziz, and it is apparent that its a quotation from Basair al-Darajat.

However the same narration was transmitted by al-Rawandi in (al-Kharaij wa al-Jaraih, vol 2, pg 735) in which it says:

اجعلونا عبيداً مخلوقين، وقولوا فينا ما شئتم إلا النبوّة

Call us created servants and say about us what you want except for Prophethood

As also transmitted by al-Majlisi in (Bihar al-Anwar, vol 47, pg 68) this narration is on the authority of the book Kashf al-Ghumma from Kitab al-Dalail al-Humayri, on the authority of Abdul Aziz similarly. And it came with al-Arbili (693 AH) in (Kashf al-Ghumma, vol 2, pg 414) on the authority of Malik al-Jahni on the authority of Abi Abdillah al-Sadiq (as) that he said in a hadith:

… يا مالك ويا خالد، قولوا فينا ما شئتم واجعلونا مخلوقين..

… O Malik and O Khalid, say about us what you want but call us created beings …

Al-Majlisi and al-Rawandi and al-Arbili do net mention their source to this hadith, nor do they provide a chain, and they are relatively late scholars, and also Malik bin A’yans reliability is not established by none of the scholars as stated by Sayed al-Khoei (Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 15, pg 164), rather we do not even have a chain from al-Arbili to Malik and between them is 5 centuries, even with al-Humayri as intermediary.

As for al-Saffar, if we overlook the issue of the attribution of the book [Basair al-Darajat] to him [5] as Sayed Muhammad Baqir as Sadr has, there is still problems in the chain:

  1. Ja`far bin Bashir al-Khazaz: neglected narrator in the books of rijal, as researched by al-Namazi in (Mustadrakat ‘ilm Rijal al-Hadith, vol 2, pg 148), after he mentions that he is in the chain of this narration
  2. Hussein bin Burda: neglected narrator, not mentioned in the books of rijal, as acknowledged by Shaykh al-Namazi in (Mustadrakat ‘ilm Rijal al-Hadith, vol 3, pg 103), and by the weakness of these 2 men, the path to Ismail bin Abdul Aziz is weakened from 2 angles.
  3. Ismail bin Abdul Aziz: Nobody established his reliability (see: Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 4, pg 65 – 66; Mustadrakat ‘ilm Rijal al-Hadith, vol 1, pg 648-649), and al-Burujerdi said about him in (Taraif al-Maqal, vol 2, pg 9) the following: « There exists no praise for him so that we can rely on him […] » , and al-Shabestari acknowledged in (al-Faiq fi ruwat wa Ashab al-Imam al-Sadiq, vol 1, pg 172) that he is of unknown status, and there 4 people with this same name [Ismail bin Abdul Aziz] and all of them have this condition [of being unknown], so the narration is weak in its path to Ismail, while also Ismail himself has weakness.

The fourth form of this hadith is what al-Saffar mentioned in (Basair al-Darajat, pg 527), and what al-Hilli (9th century AH) transmitted in (Mukthasar al-Basair, pg 59, and al-Mukthasar, pg 65) and it states:

الحسن بن موسى الخشاب، عن إسماعيل بن مهران، عن عثمان بن جبلة، عن كامل التمّار، قال: كنت عند أبي عبد الله عليه السلام ذات يوم، فقال لي: يا كامل، اجعلوا لنا ربّاً نؤوب إليه وقولوا فينا ما شئتم، قال: فقلت: نجعل لكم ربّاً تؤوبون إليه ونقول فيكم ما شئنا؟ قال: فاستوى جالساً فقال: ما عسى أن تقولوا، والله ما خرج إليكم من علمنا إلا ألف غير معطوفة

Al-Hassan Ibn Musa Al-Khashab, on the authority of Ismail bin Mahran On the authority of Othman bin Jableh, on the authority of Kamil Al-Tamar, he said: I was with Abu Abdullah (as) one day, and he said to me: Oh Kamil, Make for us a Lord that is returned to [active], and then say about us whatever you wish […]

This hadith also suffers from problems:

  1. It ends with Kamil bin al-‘Ala al-Tammar al-Kufi, whom Shaykh al-Namazi al-Shahroodi – who is known for his observations and authentications – states about him in (Mustadrakat ‘ilm Rijal al-Hadith, vol 6, pg 297) that he is counted among the unknown narrators, while attempting to prove his goodness with a hadith like the one we quoted, claiming it implies his goodness.
  2. Uthman bin Jableh, a neglected narrator who is not mentioned in the books of Rijal nor his authentication (see: Mu’jam rijal al-Hadith, vol 12, pg 116; Mustadrakat ‘ilm Rijal al-Hadith, vol 5, pg 212). And it is possible that he is ‘Uthman bin Jableh who is authenticated by Ahlul Sunnah, who was associated with the division of Ibn al-Hajjaj, and was a contemporary to Imam al-Sadiq (as), and this raises doubt in this hadith here, in terms of the possibility that he [this narrator] wanted to say that Al-Sadiq (as) claims everything but divinity.

The fifth form of this hadith was transmitted by Rajab al-Bursi in (Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqeen, pg 257) which is from a long hadith on the authority of Salman and Abu Dharr, on the authority of Ali (as), that he said:

..فلا تدعونا (تجعلونا) أرباباً، وقولوا فينا (في فضلنا) ما شئتم (فإنّكم لا تبلغون كنه ما فينا ولا نهايته)..

.. Do not call us (make us) Lords, and say about us (about our virtues) whatever you want [..]

Allamah al-Majlisi quoted it in (Bihar al-Anwar, vol 26, pg 6), where he said at the beginning of it:

أقول: ذكر والدي رحمه الله أنّه رأى في كتاب عتيق جمعه بعض محدّثي أصحابنا في فضائل أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام هذا الخبر، ووجدته أيضاً في كتاب عتيق مشتمل على أخبار كثيرة..

I [Baqir al-Majlisi] say: My father [Taqi al-Majlisi], may God have mercy on him, mentioned that he saw this hadith in an old book compiled by some of our companions, whom are speakers of the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful (as), and I also found it in an old book that includes many reports [..]

It is clear that this hadith in this form (and it may be the same as with the previous ahadith but narrated by meaning) appeared – according to what is in our hands of information – in the 9th century AH, and that Allamah al-Majlisi quotes it from old books whom even he himself doesn’t know the author of, adding to not knowing whether he received them in a reliable way, all of this in addition to that there is no explanation for the source of this hadith, and there is no foundational chain for it.

Also we have what was stated in the the Tafseer attributed to Imam al-Askari (as):

وقال أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام: لا تتجاوزوا بنا العبوديّة، ثم قولوا ما شئتم، ولن تبلغوا، وإيّاكم والغلوّ كغلوّ النصارى، فإنّي بريء من الغالين

The Commander of the Faithful (as), said: Do not exceed with us (any more than) the servitude (to Allah), then you can say whatever you like, and you will never be reaching (our description). And beware of the exaggeration like the exaggeration of the Christians, for I am disavowed from the exaggerators

As mentioned in (Tafseer al-Askari, pg 50; and its quoted in al-Ihtijaj, vol 2, pg 438).

It is well known that Tafseer al-Askari in its entirety is narrated through a path that ends with both Abu Ya`qub Yusef bin Muhammad bin Ziyad and Abu al-Hasan Ali bin Muhammad bin Sayyar, and they are two men of unknown status, rather, very neglected (see: Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 13, pg 157 & vol 21, pg 186) And this amount of neglect, results in there being no value to the entire book

Hence, this tafsir did not gain much importance among the Shias, and some of our scholars declared it as being fabricated and a lie, Sayed al-Khoei says:

إنّ الناظر في هذا التفسير لا يشك في أنه موضوع، وجَلَّ مقام عالم محقّق أن يكتب مثل هذا التفسير، فكيف بالإمام عليه السلام!

Someone who looks into this tafseer would not doubt that it is a fabrication, even a learned scholar wouldn’t write something like this tafseer, so let alone the Imam (as) !

Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 13, pg 157

And the unreliability of this tafseer in its entirety is also attributed to:

  • Ibn al-Ghadhaeri
  • Allamah al-Hilli
  • al-Tafrishi
  • Muhaqiq al-Damad
  • Al-Astarabadi, author of Manhaj al-Maqal
  • Muhaqiq al-Ardebili
  • Sheikh Muhammad Jawad al-Balaghi
  • Muhaqiq al-Tustari
  • Mirza Al-Sha’rani
  • Sayed Hashem al-Khwansari

    and others…

And also what came in the form of:

.. إياكم والغلوّ فينا، قولوا: إنّا عبيد مربوبون، وقولوا في فضلنا ما شئتم…

I admonish you against exaggerating about us. You should say that we are servants of God, but say about our virtues whatever you want. [..]

In (al-Khisal by Shaykh al-Saduq, pg 614) and in the chain for this narration [which exists only in al-Khisal] there is Al-Qasim bin Yahya [6] and Al-Hassan bin Rashid [7], and they were not authenticated.

And also what came in the supplication of Rajab saying:

لا فرق بينك وبينها إلاّ أنهم عبادك وخلقك

There is no difference between Thee and them, save that they are Thy servants and Thy creation

Misbah al-Mutahajid, pg 803

Sheikh al-Tusi did not mention a chain of narrators for this supplication in the first place, but Sayed Ibn Tawus transmitted this narration while saying:

ومن الدعوات في كلّ يوم من رجب، ما رويناه أيضاً عن جدّي أبي جعفر الطوسي رضي الله عنه فقال: أخبرني جماعة، عن ابن عياش قال: مما خرج على يد الشيخ الكبير أبي جعفر محمد بن عثمان بن سعيد رضي الله عنه من الناحية المقدّسة، ما حدثني به خير بن عبد الله

And among the supplications for every day of Rajab, which we also narrated from my grandfather Abu Ja’far al-Tusi (ra) and he said: ‘A group told me, on the authority of Ibn Ayyash, that he said: From what came out at the hands of the great Sheikh Abi Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Uthman Bin Saeed (ra), what Khair bin Abdullah informed me about, […]’

Iqbal al-A’mal, vol 3, pg 214

Here, in addition to not knowing the group that told Sheikh al-Tusi, this Ibn Ayyash is far from being Muhammad bin Masoud bin Ayyash the trustworthy narrator; because he is seperated more than two layers from Sheikh al-Tusi. Also, it is far from being Aba Bakr bin Ayyash; as he is from the layer of Imam al-Sadiq (as), so how would he have narrated from al-‘Amri [the first deputy] from Imam al-Mahdi?! [8]

It is possible that he was Aba Abdullah bin Ayyash, who is Muhmal [Untraceable in Rijal works].

But it is more correct that it is Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Obaidullah bin Al-Hassan bin Ayyash bin Ibrahim bin Ayoub al-Jawhari, who Sheikh al-Najashi said about him:

سمع الحديث فأكثر واضطرب في آخر عمره… رأيت هذا الشيخ، وكان صديقاً لي ولوالدي، وسمعت منه شيئاً كثيراً، ورأيت شيوخنا يضعّفونه فلم أرو منه شيئاً، وتجنّبته

He heard the hadith and more and was confused at the end of his life … I met this Sheikh, and he was a friend of me and my father, and I heard many things from him, and I saw our Shaykhs weaken him, so I did not narrate anything from him, and avoided him.

Rijal al-Najashi, pg 85-86

And Sheikh al-Tusi, who narrated it from him with a group as intermediary, also said about him:

كان سمع الحديث وأكثر، واختلّ في آخر عمره

He heard the hadith and more, he became confused at the end of his life

Al-Fehrest, pg 79


These are the narrations that flow into the basic direct idea of ​​the topic, and it has been shown that all of them are weak in chain, in fact a part of the narrations has no chain at all, and the important ones are the ones by al-Saffar and al-Khisal, so if we confine our attention to the narrations that appeared in the first seven centuries after Hijri, we will see that what is hadith is nothing but – at best – seven reports, of whom 5 are musnad [have a full chain], and all of them are weak by their chain, none of them from the main books among the Shia except the narration of al-Saffar and the narration of al-Khisal, and with all this weakness in the chains, and with the presence of this small number of narrations, is it possible to call this narration mutawatir [wideley narrated], as mentioned by some contemporaries (may Allah preserve them) ?! 

And if this narration has tawatur, then what are the narrations that don’t have tawatur ?! [implying that by this standard, MANY narrations have tawatur] 

And if this [litle] amount of narrations is sufficient for reassurance of its issuance[9], then what is a solitary speculative report ?!

Is this the method of the scholars in jurisprudential and authentication sciences where they get reassurance of its issuance from this amount of weak reports?! 

How can reassurance of its issuance take place with the possibility that these narrations are fabricated by some of the ghulat [10] [exaggerators] ? Is this not a matter that possibly affects the strength of this narration?

Is it not possible for there to be common interests among the ghulat [exaggerators] to establish such hadiths in order to justify everything they wanted to say about the Ahlulbayt (as) ?!

So with the presence of this atmosphere, how can there be tawatur or a reassurance of its issuance, in addition to the absence of a report by a trustworthy narrators so one could argue by this?!

Especially the content of the hadith is extremely dangerous and establishes an absolutely unusual ideological view. 


Sayed al-Khoei

He has suggested a different interpretation than what is the famous understanding of this hadith nowadays, his view being that the hadith intends to prove their infallibility, and that we don’t need this hadith to prove this meaning, he gives this interpretation under the premise that the narration was reliable, and if it is weak, we cast it away:

لا يحتاج تنزيههم عن صفات الربّ المختصة به واتّصافهم بجميع ما عدا تلك من صفات الكمال التي يمكن أن تنالها البشرية في قدسيتها، كما هم منزَّهون عمّا لا يليق أن يتّصف به المخلوق المعصوم عن الزلل والمعاصي، لا تحتاج تلك إلى ورود روايةٍ حتى نثبته بمضمونها إنْ كانت معتبرة، أو نطرحها إنْ كانت ضعيفة غير معتبرة. والله العالم

They [the Imams] do not need to be excused from the attributes of the Lord which are specific to him, because save those attributes, they are described by all attributes of perfection that humanity can attain in its [innate] sacred capacity. They are also excused from what is unworthy of an infallible creation, from the mistakes and sins, and we don’t need a narration to establish this meaning, if it was mu’tabar [reliable], and we will cast it away if it is weak and not reliable, and Allah knows best

Sirat al-Najat, vol 2, pg 452

Sayed Ja’far Murtadha al-‘Amili

هذه الرواية ليس لها ـ فيما اطّلعنا عليه من نصوص وأسانيد ـ سندٌ يصحّ الاعتماد عليه.. فراجع نصوصها في بصائر الدرجات والبحار وغيرهما

this narration does not have – from what we have seen of its texts and chains – a valid chain for us to rely on.. so review its texts in Basair al-Darjat and Bihar and others

Mukhtasar Mufeed, vol 13, pg 52

Sayed al-Burujerdi

Just as Sayed al-Zanjani (ha) quoted the strong condemnation for this hadith by Sayed al-Burujerdi, in a meeting with Imam Khomeini. A translation of what he said:

كما نقل السيد الزنجاني حفظه الله ـ على ما جاء في تقريرات بحث النكاح (النكاح 2: 625، الهامش رقم 1) ـ الاستنكارَ الشديد للسيد البروجردي رحمه الله لهذا الحديث في لقاءٍ جمعه بالإمام الخميني، وكان الزنجاني حاضراً، قائلاً ـ أي البروجردي ـ ومستنكراً ما نصّ ترجمته: (أين هو هذا الحديث؟ أيّ كلام يقول؟!).

Where is this hadith? What words do you say?!

Al-Nikah, vol 2, pg 625, Margin No. 1

Sayed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr

الوجهُ الأوّل : إنّ مثل هذه الرواية غير تامّة سنداً ، ومعهُ لا تكون ثابتة أصلاً ، فالاستدلال بها ـ كما هو المشهور بينهم ـ غير جائز.

الوجهُ الثاني : إنّها مخدوشة في الدلالة أو التعبير وهو قوله فيها : (ونزّهونا عن الربوبيّة) ، في حين أنّ الربوبيّة كمال وعَظمة ، والتنزيه إنّما يكون عن النقص والخسّة والرذيلة ، فهذا إنّما يدلّ على ضعف سندها وعدم ورودها إطلاقاً.

The first aspect: A narration like this one does not have a complete chain, and in addition it is not established at all, as the inference of it – as is well known among the people – is not permissible.

The second aspect: It is tarnished by its expression in it: (And excuse us from Divinity), whereas Divinity is perfection and greatness, and excusing is in connection to deficiency, negativity, and immorality, so this indicates the weakness of its foundation and issuance at all.

Adhwa ‘ala thawrat al-Hussain (as), pg 150

Final words

According to the criteria of the scholars who view that the narration is weak, this hadith is contradicted by the majority of Imami scholars in the first nine centuries. No Shi’ite scholar in these centuries – except rarely – denies that; it is permissible to believe that the infallible can forget, or for the infallible to not know the unseen absolutely [absolute ‘ilm al ghayb], or that wilaya al takwiniya is not established for them [11], or the lack of establishment for the karamat and miracles that allegedly stem from it, or otherwise, and it is rare to find a Shiite scholar in these first ten centuries, who stated that the Prophet ﷺ and his Ahlulbayt (as) have all the qualities of perfection absolutely except divinity.

And if there are the likes of Sheikh Rajab Al-Bursi then we hope for you to mention their names and texts to us, so that we can see their words regarding the meaning of this hadith here with the meaning that is intended by those who take this hadith, and if this hadith was acceptable to them or mutawatir in meaning as it was said by some, it would have been the basis for each research that revolves around the perfection of the infallible, and they would’ve referred to this narration when they needed to prove complete perfection of the infallible, although we do not find this hadith mentioned in the books of theology of the Shia except very rarely, and only among the muta’akhireen [12] which is only at most 300 years ago, so pay close attention to this matter, that this hadith isn’t relied on in the Shia theology heritage.

The result is that by combining our previous points, and according to most of them, this hadith is not reliable, rather there is no evidence for the validity of its meaning either, but its content is contrary – according to my minor understanding – of the Noble Qur’an, the Noble Sunnah, facts of history, and the knowledge regarding this matter is with God.


1 Al-Mustafīḍ (Arabic: المُستَفیض)

If a hadith is transmitted by at least three narrators in every generation, it is called “al-mustafid”. Lexically istifada means abundant and large number. As a result, if an account is transmitted with more than three narrators it will become closer to al-mutawatir hadith. Al-Hadith al-mustafid is sometimes called “al-mashhur” (famous), although they have different meanings; as in al-hadith al-mustafid the account is transmitted with at least three narrators in every generation and al-hadith al-mashhur (the famous hadith) is transmitted with at least three narrators in only some generations, not necessarily all of them. For instance, the hadith “deeds are by intentions.” is regarded al-mashhur not al-mustafid.

2 Al-Mutawātir (Arabic: المُتَواتِر) hadith is one that has different numerous chains of narrators, such that it is practically impossible for all those chains to collude in giving a false report. Such a hadith gives us an assurance that it was really issued by an Infallible (a). Such hadiths are reliable both with respect to the principles of beliefs and fiqh or rulings of sharia.

3 A transmission by meaning is when a scholar or narrator chooses to not narrate the actual wording of the Imam but rather transmitting something in a way that still conveys the same meaning, and in this case these scholars may have chosen to summarise some other narrations, therefore this is not an actual hadith and transmission by itself.
4 In the words of Allamah Majlisi, this book is not to be relied upon in what it uniquely narrates and it contains elements of confusion, mixing up and exaggeration, (See: Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 1, pg 10)
5 This book has not reached us in a reliable way and we cannot ascertain that this book is indeed by al-Saffar (See: Buhuth Fi ‘Ilm al-Rijal by Shaykh Mohseni, pg 426), Sayed Kamal Haydari highlights some of the problems here:
6 القاسم بن يحيى بن الحسن بن راشد، مولى المنصور. روى عن جده. ضعيف.

al-Qāsim b. Yaḥyā b. al-Ḥasan b. Rāshid, client of al-Manṣūr. He narrated from his grandfather. Weak.

[Rijāl Ibn al-Ghaḍā’irī, pg 86]
7 الحسن بن راشد، مولى المنصور، أبو محمد. روى عن أبي عبد الله، وأبي الحسن موسى (عليهما السلام). ضعيف في روايته.

al-Ḥasan b. Rāshid, client of Manṣūr, Abū Muḥammad. Narrated from Abū ʿAbdillāh عليه السلام and Abū al-Ḥasan Mūsā عليه السلام . Weak in his narrations.

[Rijāl Ibn al-Ghaḍā’irī, pg 49]
8 Muhaqiq al-Tustari has mentioned explicitly that this dua is fabricated, he mentions several evidences for it, one of them being:

… وبالجملة لو لم يكن في الدعاء إلاّ فقرة (لا فرق بينك وبينها إلاّ أنهم عبادك وخلقك) لكفى دليلاً على وضعه

If there was only this one passage in the supplication it would suffice as evidence for its fabrication (There is no difference between Thee and them, save that they are Thy servants and Thy creation)

[Al-Akhbar al-Dakhila, vol 1, pg 265]

And he considers the general purport of this passage to be:

كفراً محضاً

Pure disbelief

[Al-Akhbar al-Dakhila, vol 1, pg 264]

After mentioning some details about the anonymity and weakness of some of the narrators of this supplication, Sayed al-Khoei says:

ومضمون التوقيع الذي أوله(اللهم إني أسألك بمعاني جميع ما يدعوك به ولاة أمرك)، غريب عن أذهان المتشرعة وغير قابل للإذعان بصدوره عن المعصوم عليه السلام.

And the meaning of the aforementioned narration is strange according to the religious minds and is not acceptable to their minds as being an issuance from an infallible, peace be upon him.

[Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 8, pg 87]

9 Meaning the level of certainty where a scholar has reassurance that what is conveyed in the hadith indeed comes from the Prophet ﷺ or the Imams (as)
10 Ghuluw (غُلُوّ) is a term that is generally translated as ‘exaggeration’ or ‘religious extremism’. Linguistically, it “refers to the transgression of boundaries, to exceed the limits or to exaggerate in (refer to al-Ghuluw by Sayed Kamāl al-Haydarī, p. 11)” [1]. In Shīʿī theology, ghuluw is to exaggerate “the status of the Imams in an undue manner by attributing to them divine qualities” [2] that can only be attributed to God or have not been established or claimed by the Imams themselves. An individual who engages in ghuluw is referred to as a ghālī (غالي) and those groups or sects who support such ideas are referred to as ghulāt (غلاة). [3]

[1] –
[2] – Heinz Halm, “ḠOLĀT”, Encyclopædia Iranica, XI/1, pp. 62-64; an updated version is available online at
[3] –
11 Some scholars are under the impression that Allāh granted His prophets and messengers al-wilāyah al-takwīniyyah. By means of this, they play a role in the universe, by changing matters and conditions, remove the effects of certain causes and add new causes and means to attain objectives, with the permission of Allah. This is done on account of the control over the universe that Allāh had granted to them. This is no different to the legal authority granted to them in the affairs of the people, passing judgments in their affairs, spreading the laws of the constitution (sharīʿah) amongst them and guiding them to His religion.

The theory of al-wilāyah al-takwīniyyah plays a strong role in many different ways as far as aqīdah (beliefs) is concerned. At times, it takes a matter to be extremely constrained so that it could be considered a miracle, whilst on other occasions, it is stretched to the point where it incorporates the entire universe. Some are even of the opinion that Allah handed over to the prophets and Imāms the authority to dictate the apparent and subtle occurrences of the universe. This means that they may change anything in the universe or in a human.

However, it is done by means of the authority or power that Allah gave them and not by means of their own power or abilities. In other words, they are the ones who are in control through the might of Allah and they are the guardians of the universe by His authority. This explanation, according to them (the proponents of the theory) absolves their belief from polytheism, extremism and deviance from the correct ideology.

[Naẓrah Islāmīyah ḥawla al-wilāyah al-takwīnīyah, pg 1-2]

A translation of this book here:
12 Liyakat Takim, “The Origins and Evaluations of Hadith Transmitters in Shi‘i Biographical Literature,” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 24, no. 4 (Fall 2007):

“The history of Shi`i law is usually divided into two periods: that of the ancient or early scholars (qudama’ or mutaqaddimun) and that of the modern or later scholars (muta’akhkhirun). However, the demarcating line between them has not been uniformly applied. At times, ancients is applied to Tusi and his predecessors while those after him are considered moderns. In some later sources, ancientsrefers to those who lived before al-Muhaqqiq or al-`Allama, and moderns is applied to those who lived after them. See Hossein Modarresi, An Introduction to Shi`i Law: A Bibliographical Study (London: Ithaca Press, 1984), 23-24.”

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