As far as I know, Abdullah Bin Saba' (عبد الله بن سبأ) was a Jew who pretended to be Muslim, and claimed that Ali was God, but in some research I realized that the Shia do not view him as a hypocrite, so how do the shia view Abdullah Bin Saba' (عبد الله بن سبأ)? who was he?

  • I think some shias will disagree with your last remark. I will need to dig a little more about this before I post an answer. Remember that my answer will be a neutral one. So if you are looking for a specific answer from a shia reader, then I wont post an answer at all. – Noah Mar 24 '13 at 22:10
  • @Noah I am looking for a shia answer. also you mean by last sentence "who was he?" ? – مجاهد Mar 24 '13 at 22:11
  • @AlUmmatمجاهد According to some accounts, Shias deny his existence altogether. Taha Husaien and Ali Alwardi claim that Saba was the creation of Ummayad propaganda. The book seems to go to great lengths to find what the different historical accounts say about this man. Here's the link if you want to read if for yourself. Search for Saba once the book is loaded. – Noah Mar 24 '13 at 22:35
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    This has been an old question and the answers given could be still more comprehensive. But there's been recently a novel view put forth by an Iraqi scholar who has apparently argued that the vague and controversial personality of a man named Ibn Saba who opposed Uthman's rule and was loyal to Ali might have been mixed and confused with the personality of Abudhar al-Ghaffari who was sometimes referred to by his Ummayad enemies as "Ibn Sawda". – infatuated Jan 3 '16 at 12:07
  • But Abudhar as we know was not a Jew but a close companion of the Holy Prophet who remained a strong supporter of Ali ibn Abi Talib and a fierce opposition to Uthman and later Umayyad caliphs. – infatuated Jan 3 '16 at 12:09

In the name of Allah

The story of Abdullah Ibn Saba is not valid because there are many contradictions his story. Shia scholars do not accept him never. But there are some Hadiths about him in the Sunni sources. For example, Tabari who is a famous Sunni historian about him says:

ﮐﺎﻥ ﻋﺒﺪﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﻦ ﺳﺒﺄ ﻳﻬﻮﺩﻳﺎ ﻣﻦ ﺃﻫﻞ ﺍﻟﺼﻨﻌﺎﺀ ﻭ ﺃﻣﻪ ﺳﻮﺩﺍﺀ"

Abdollah Ibn Saba was a jew from Sanaa of Yemen and his mother was a black woman .(The History of al-Tabari,vol:3.page:378)

Abdolghaher Baghdadi says:

“He is a jew and from Hireh , a city of Iraq “(ﺍﻟﻔﺮﻕ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﻔﺮﻕ ﻟﻌﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮ ﺍﻟﺒﻐﺪﺍﺩﻱ، (ﺹ143

It means that someone says he is from Iraq and another says he is from Yemen. , Someone says, he is from Rome. Tabari says:

“He was a jew and became a Muslim apparently in the time of Osman and revolt against Osman that leads to Osman’s death . “(The History of al-Tabari,vol:3,page:378)

Abdolghaher Baghdadi says:

“He was a Jew and became Muslim in the time of Ali ibn Abitaleb .” ( ﺍﻟﻔﺮﻕ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﻔﺮﻕ ﻟﻌﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮ ﺍﻟﺒﻐﺪﺍﺩﻱ، ﺹ15 )

But in the Shia books there are some information about him, too but as a liar , accursed and humble . Kashi says from Aban Ibn Osman and he says from Imam Sadiq that :

Allah damns on Abdollah Ibn Saba that said Ali Ibn Abitalib is Allah . Ali Ibn A bitaleb was an obedient servan of Allah . damn on whom says lie about us and things which we do not have any claims about us . I seek refuge in Allah for this word . ( rajal koshi(رجال کشی) ، volume:1, page 324 , hadith 172 )

“ ﻟﻌﻦ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﻦ ﺳﺒﺈ، ﺇﻧﻪ ﺍﺩﻋﻰ ﺍﻟﺮﺑﻮﺑﻴﺔ ﻓﻲ ﺃﻣﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ (ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﺍﻟﺴﻼ‌ﻡ) ﻭ ﻛﺎﻥ ﻭﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺃﻣﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ (ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﺍﻟﺴﻼ‌ﻡ) ﻋﺒﺪﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻃﺎﺋﻌﺎ، ﺍﻟﻮﻳﻞ ﻟﻤﻦ ﻛﺬﺏ ﻋﻠﻴﻨﺎ ﻭ ﺇﻥ ﻗﻮﻣﺎ ﻳﻘﻮﻟﻮﻥ ﻓﻴﻨﺎ ﻣﺎ ﻻ‌ ﻧﻘﻮﻟﻪ ﻓﻲ ﺃﻧﻔﺴﻨﺎ، ﻧﺒﺮﺃ ﺇﻟﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻣﻨﻬﻢ ﻧﺒﺮﺃ ﺇﻟﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻣﻨﻬﻢ

Also in Hadith , number 173 , Imam sajjad says :

ﻟﻌﻦ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻣﻦ ﻛﺬﺏ ﻋﻠﻴﻨﺎ، ﺇﻧﻲ ﺫﻛﺮﺕ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﻦ ﺳﺒﺈ ﻓﻘﺎﻣﺖ ﻛﻞ ﺷﻌﺮﺓ ﻓﻲ ﺟﺴﺪﻱ، ﻟﻘﺪ ﺍﺩﻋﻰ ﺃﻣﺮﺍ ﻋﻈﻴﻤﺎ ﻣﺎ ﻟﻪ ﻟﻌﻨﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ

I remembered Abdollah Ibn Saba and feel disgust about him . he claimed that he is important , Allah damns him .

In hadith , number 171 ,Imam Sadiq says :

ﻭ ﻫﻮ ﻳﺤﺪﺙ ﺃﺻﺤﺎﺑﻪ ﺑﺤﺪﻳﺚ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﻦ ﺳﺒﺈ ﻭ ﻣﺎ ﺍﺩﻋﻰ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﺮﺑﻮﺑﻴﺔ ﻓﻲ ﺃﻣﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ ﻋﻠﻲ ﺑﻦ ﺃﺑﻲ ﻃﺎﻟﺐ، ﻓﻘﺎﻝ ﺇﻧﻪ ﻟﻤﺎ ﺍﺩﻋﻰ ﺫﻟﻚ ﻓﻴﻪ ﺍﺳﺘﺘﺎﺑﻪ ﺃﻣﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ (ﻉ) ﻓﺄﺑﻰ ﺃﻥ ﻳﺘﻮﺏ ﻓﺄﺣﺮﻗﻪ ﺑﺎﻟﻨﺎﺭ

Ali Ibn Abitalib wanted him to repent about what he claimed about him , but he refused so Ali Ibn Abitalib burned him .

Sheikh Sadoogh in Arbaameh (ﺍﺭﺑﻌﻤﺎﺋﺔ ) hadith says about him that:

he has some question About Ali Ibn Abitalim that they were exaggerated so Ali Ibn Abitalib behaved severely with him . (ﺍﻟﺨﺼﺎﻝ ﻟﻠﺸﻴﺦ ﺍﻟﺼﺪﻭﻕ , page 628 )

We have a lot of Hadiths about him that he is a liar and accursed, but the one who introduce him was Seif Ibn Omar that was a liar historian in the Tabari book.

ﺗﻬﺬﻳﺐ ﺍﻟﺘﻬﺬﻳﺐ ﻹ‌ﺑﻦ ﺣﺠﺮ ﺍﻟﻌﺴﻘﻼ‌ﻧﻲ، ﺝ4، ﺹ259

ﻣﻴﺰﺍﻥ ﺍﻹ‌ﻋﺘﺪﺍﻝ ﻟﻠﺬﻫﺒﻲ، ﺝ2، ﺹ255

ﺗﻬﺬﻳﺐ ﺍﻟﮑﻤﺎﻝ ﻟﻠﻤﺰﻱ، ﺝ12، ﺹ324


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According to a Shi'a scholar Allameh Askari1, Abdullah Bin Saba is an imaginary Jew who is claimed to have created the Shia. You will find his name in a lot of Islamic Sunni history books[2], but extensive research of Allameh Askari has revealed more than 150 imaginary names from the early history of Islam, and Abdullah Bin Saba is one of them.

Other shia scholars also reject that a man called Abdullah Bin Saba has any role in the creation of Shia. Muslim became Shia and Sunni when they disagreed on who would be the leader after Prophet Muhammad. So, the history of Shia and Sunni goes back to the time of Prophet Muhammad, not the 7th century. On top of that, there are several contradictory reports about his birthplace, his life, and even his beliefs in the Sunni books that show such claims cannot be true.

  • 1 English reference here: http://en.rafed.net

  • [2] Tarikh Tabari, volume 3, page 378, Kamil Ibn Asir, year 30, page 36, etc

This is an excerpt from a Shia Encyclopedia that has a taqrib view:

Enemies of Islam whose goal were/are to split the Muslims, in their effort to explain the emergence of Shia, claim that the Shia are a sect which was originated by Abdullah Ibn Saba, a Jew who embraced Islam during the reign of Uthman Ibn Affan, the third caliph. They further state that Abdullah Ibn Saba traveled in Muslim cities and towns, from Damascus to Kufa to Egypt, propagating among Muslims that Ali is the Prophet's successor. He provoked Muslims to kill Uthman since he believed Uthman had occupied the seat of Imam Ali. He also made mischief in the armies of Ali and his opponents in the battle of Camel. He was also responsible for all the false ideas of the Shia forward. These mercenary writers believe that Abdullah Ibn Saba is the ORIGIN of Shia; and since he himself was a hypocrite and a falsifier of tales, then all the knowledge and beliefs of the Shia are also false. In fact, Abdullah Ibn Saba is the best scapegoat for all the claims of some Sunnis.

While the existence of a person in the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba in the early history of Islam is seriously under question, what is clear after extensively researching this topic is that even if a poor man with such name ever existed at that time, the stories propagated about this person are legendary, false, fabricated, and fictitious, and there exists no proof for the validity of these stories attached to him. This point will be studied in this discussion, by the willing of Allah.

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Abdullah Bin Saba , is neither a imam nor an important figure among Shia Muslims. Any person who says anything that goes against holy Quran or hadith of ahal-e-bait (a.s). Be it Abdullah Bin Saba or any other name. Nobody (Shia or Sunni) will believe him or have any soft corner for him.

Shias also have the same view about him that he was a Jew who pretended to be Muslim, and claimed that Ali was God.

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    provide some references to your answer Please. – Azik Abdullah Apr 17 '13 at 12:19
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    Salam and Welcome to Islam.SE, we suggest you read the FAQ. We ask/suggest that you edit your answer to back up your answer with citations/reference, thank you. – مجاهد Apr 17 '13 at 21:02

Many of the classical and contemporary scholars are of the view that Shi‘ism or partisan support for ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) began with the murder of ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with him), and that the one who planted the seed of Shi‘ism was the Jew ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, at the end of ‘Uthmaan’s caliphate. This is something that is even admitted in the books of the Shi‘ah themselves.

See, for example: al-Maqaalaat wa’l-Firaq by al-Qummi (p. 20); Firaq ash-Shi‘ah by an-Nawbakhti (p. 22); Rijaal al-Kashshi (p. 108)

‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was an extreme heretic and was the leader of the Saba’iyyah sect which said that ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was divine.

He was the first one to state that ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) should have been the ruler on the basis of religious texts, and that he would return before the Day of Resurrection. He was also the first to openly cast aspersions upon the first three caliphs and the Sahaabah. All of these beliefs are fundamental to the view of the Raafidis.

Abdullah ibn Saba’ was a Jew who pretended to be Muslim. He was originally from Yemen, and travelled to spread his fitnah (turmoil) in the Hijaz, then Basra and Kufah. He went to Damascus during the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him) and was expelled by its people, then he went to Egypt and started to openly promote his bid‘ah (innovation).

The scholars, in the past and more recently, transmitted reports of his fitnah and the efforts undertaken by him and his group to conspire and cause division among the Muslims. This is discussed in detail in the books that speak of sects, history and biography, by both Sunni and Shi‘i authors.

See, for example Maqaalaat al-Islamiyyeen by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari (1/32); al-Milal wa’n-Nihal by ash-Shahrastaani (1/174); Tareekh at-Tabari (4/340); al-Maqaalaat wa’l-Firaq by the Shi‘i al-Qummi (p. 20); Firaq ash-Shi‘ah by at-Nawbakhti (p. 22)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The first one to introduce the innovated view that ‘Ali was infallible and that he should have been the caliph on the basis of religious texts was the leader of these hypocrites, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, who was originally Jewish, then pretended to be Muslim and aimed to corrupt the Islamic religion as Paul had corrupted the Christian religion.

The view that the Jew ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was the founder of the Raafidi sect, and that he established it in an effort to conspire against the Muslims and widen divisions among them, is a valid opinion that carries weight, with which the books of history and the study of sects and groups are filled, and it is not even denied by the Raafidis themselves.

With regard to the attempt of some of them to deny the existence of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, that is pure propaganda by means of which they are trying to refute what has become widely known among their opponents of the fact that this Jew was the founder of their madhhab.

The earlier scholars among both Sunnis and Shi‘ah alike were unanimously agreed that Ibn Saba’ was a real historical figure, so how can that which is agreed upon by both sides be denied?

For more information, please see the essay ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ wa Atharuhu fi Ihdaath al-Fitnah fi Sadr al-Islam by Dr Sulayman ibn Hamad al-‘Awdah, which is one of the most important studies on this topic.

For more information, please see the book: Usool Madhhab ash-Shi‘ah al-Imaamiyyah al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah: ‘Ard wa Naqd by Dr Naasir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Qifaari (1/71, 82)

Allaah knows best

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This man Abdullah bin Saba exist but for false faith all are denying his existance. He defaced Islam n he belongs to Jews. He was a satirist n enemy of Islam n prophet Muhammad (sawaw) in this hate to prophet n Islam he introduced false faith n wrong info about Ali RA n based the Shia sect.

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    Did you care to read the past answers by that reject the idea that Ibn Saba had anything to do with creation of Shiism? – infatuated Jan 3 '16 at 12:01

Abdullah Bin Saba' (عبد الله بن سبأ) is a drama character of one famous Liar Saif . Who creat this character only for sake of Amir Maamiya. For detail every one have to study a Book of " AFSANA ABDULLAH IBN E SABA" by scholar Sayyid Murtaza Askari as a impartial reader.

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  • Welcome to Islam.SE!Answers here should be elaborate, and focused on addressing the question. Claims should be supported by evidence. Please visit our tour in the help center, and refer to how to answer questions. – III-AK-III May 18 '17 at 22:56

When 1St khalif of Islam Hazrat Abo Bakr (RA) became the Head of Muslim umah. Abdullah bin Saba had come to Hazrat Ali(As) and said (,Nauz billah )small cast man had bacame Caliph; It is your right.Hazrat Ali (AS) said you was a false Muslim and always against Islam get out from here.He came to Faras where he made Fall stories. He was a root of quarrel.. (History of Banu Umeh)

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