Investigating Badaa’, part 2: A Whirlwind

Note: Some websites disingenuously copy information / analysis listed without credit. Anything presented in my articles is fully original.


Twelver Shi’ism is conceived by its adherents in an image of a smooth, tradition-based kingdom of twelve rulers in succession.

Yet when put to the test –

It struggles in facing the backdrop of evidence in which the nass (divine will of appointment) of their Imams could be measured against, however.

Ever-steadfast in proving the Imamate of the later Musawi Imams (al-Kadhim onward), there are two ways in which Twelver clergy prove their Imams:

1- Narrations

2- Miracles

Scrambling to salvage their line of Imamate and rid any suspicion of artificial manufacturing, in the eyes of the believer –

Narrations are extensively utilized by Twelver scholarship to prove the Imamate of the Musawi Imams.

The problem with such narrations however, is that they are “secret evidence”, which seemingly no one knew about – 

Not even the fuqaha’ of the Shi’a knew about it, as after the death of Imam al-Sadiq – most Shi’a and their clergy followed Abdullah ibn Ja’far instead of Musa ibn Ja’far

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 524-525

“Al-Fathiya, they are those believing in the Imamate of Abdullah ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad.

And those who said that Abdullah was imam - were the majority of the scholars and jurists of the sect (of Imamiyya). They were attracted to this belief, as suspicion entered upon them about what was narrated from them, peace be upon him, that they said: Imamate is in the eldest of the imam’s children if he (previous Imam) passes.”

هم القائلون بامامة عبد الله بن جعفر بن محمد، وسموا بذلكلأنه قيل إنه كان أفطح الرأس، وقال بعضهمكان أفطحالرجلين، وقال بعضهمانهم نسبوا إلى رئيس من أهل الكوفة يقال لهعبد الله بن فطيح

والذين قالوا بإمامته عامة مشايخ العصابة وفقهاؤها مالوا إلى هذه المقالة، فدخلت عليهم الشبهة لما روي عنهم عليه السلام أنهم قالواالإمامةفي الأكبر من ولد الامام إذا مضى

Or there is a problem in continuity. If hypothetically I can establish, through narrations, that Muhammad al-Jawad is truly the appointed successor to al-Ridha –

It doesn’t change the fact that the ‘Imamate’ of Musa al-Kadhim and Ali al-Ridha is based purely in “secret”, unverifiable evidence (such as narrations).

Indeed –

Narrations alone are not enough to prove Imamate, even if transmitted by a “reliable narrator”.

We can see this in the words of Shaykh al-Tusi (one of the most foremost classical Twelver scholar), who goes on to describe the narrator Abdullah ibn Bukayr in the following way:

Abdullah ibn Bukayr:

Of the Fathiyya (Shi’i) doctrine, except that he is thiqa (trustworthy) in narration.

We narrate a book from him, on the authority of Ibn Battah, on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa, on the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Faddal, from the Imam”

عبد الله بن بكيرفطحي المذهب، إلا أنه ثقة، له

كتاب رويناه بالاسناد الأول، عن ابن بطة، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن

الحسن بن علي بن فضال، عنه ".

Surprisingly however – 

Shaykh al-Tusi writes below on how Abdullah ibn Bukayr, despite being thiqa, manufactured his personal views as ‘ahadith’ and falsely attributed them to the companion Zurara.

(Al-Istibsar, vol 3, page 286)

Abdullah ibn Bukayr would say:

‘This (report) is what God has blessed me with ra’y (personal opinion)’.

Any person with such way of thinking, it is possible that he attributed his personal opinion to a hadith by Zurarah - as a way of supporting the viewpoint of his sect for which he issued fatwas with.

However, when he saw that his companions did not accept what he said from his personal opinion – he claimed his opinion was a hadith and attributed its chain to companions who are known to have narrated on the authority of Abi Jaafar, peace be upon him (such as Zurarah)

Indeed, Abdullah ibn Bukayr is not infallible for this action to be impossible for him.

After all, the very fact that he turned away from the the doctrine of truth to the belief of the doctrine of the Fatihiyah sect what it

is known from his school of thought

And the error in that is greater than the error in the attribution of a young man who believes that he is correct due to a suspicion that entered upon him to some of the companions of the imams, peace be upon them.”

ذا مما رزق الله من الرأي ومن هذه صورته يجوز أن يكون أسند ذلك إلى زرارة نصرة لمذهبه الذي أفتى به وأنه لما رأى أن أصحابه لا يقبلونما يقوله برأيه أسنده إلى من رواه عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام وليس عبد الله بن بكير معصوما لا يجوز هذا عليه بل وقع منه من العدول عناعتقاد مذهب الحق إلى اعتقاد

مذهب الفطحية ما هو

If Shi’a free of ghuluw (extreme elevation of the Imams’ status), and were well regarded by Twelver clergy in their correct transmission of the Imams’ ahadith could fabricate in support of their sect.

Who’s to say Twelver clergy can’t do the same? They are both fallible humans, after all – despite their knowledge.

Neither are miracles enough. If Ali al-Ridha presents miracles to prove his Imamate –

Then Muhammad ibn Bashir showed miracles witnessed by the Shi’a, to prove (in his words) that Ali al-Ridha is an “accursed son of zina” – and we disassociate from and strongly condemn such description:

(Firaq al-Shi’a by al-Qummi)

“(Muhammad ibn Bashir and his followers) claimed that Ali ibn Musa and all those who claimed the Imamate from among his sons and the sons of Musa bin Ja’far are falsifiers, liars, not of pure birth, and denied them from their genealogies (i.e, that they are not truly the biological children if Musa), and excommunicated (takfir) them in their claim of the Imamate, and excommunicated those who believed in their Imamate”

وزعموا أن علي بن موسى وكل من ادعى الإمامة من ولده وولد موسى بن جعفر مبطلون كاذبون غير طيبي الولادة ونفوهم عن أنسابهموكفروهم في دعواهم الإمامة وكفروا القائلين بإمامتهم

Being so, after the death of al-Kadhim –

Muhammad ibn Bashir seemingly produced a miracle in which al-Kadhim was manifested to the Shi’a and he spoke to him. 

To the extent that the Shi’a viewing this scene, “they do not deny anything from him (i.e, that Ibn Bashir truly brought back al-Kadhim to life).”

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 778)

“So he (Muhammad b Bashir) used to say to his companions: Abu al-Hasan (al-Kadhim) is with me, so if you would like to see him and identify him, and to prove that I am a (reincarnation of) prophet. Come, I will present him to you.

He used to bring them to his house, holding a folded image, and ask:

Do you see anybody residing in the room, or see in it anybody except you and me?

They say: No, and there is no one in the house. 

So he (Ibn Bashir) says: Go out, and they go out of the room, so he is behind the curtain (i.e, he is facing the audience).

He lowers the curtain between him and them.

Then he presents that image, raises the curtain between him and them.

And then the image becomes standing and a person appears looking like Abu Al-Hasan (al-Kadhim), peace be upon him, and they do not deny anything from him (i.e, that it is actually the Imam). 

He (Ibn Bashir) stands near him, and he shows them - through magic - that he is talking to him and engaging in secret conversation.

Then he winks to them (the audience) to step away, and closes the curtain and reopens, and they do not see anybody there.”

فكان يقول لأصحابهإن أبا الحسن عندي فان أحببتم أن تروه وتعلموه وأنني نبي (9) فهلموا أعرضه عليكم، فكان يدخلهم البيت والصورةمطوية معه فيقول لهم:

هل ترون في البيت مقيما أو ترون فيه غيركم وغيري؟ فيقولونلا، وليس في البيت أحد فيقولفاخرجوا فيخرجون من البيت فيصير هو وراءالستر ويسبل الستر بينه وبينهم، ثم يقدم تلك الصورة ثم يرفع الستر بينه وبينهم، فينظرون إلى صورة قائمة وشخص كأنه شخص أبيالحسن عليه السلام لا ينكرون منه شيئا، ويقف هو منه بالقرب فيريهم من طريق الشعبذة أنه يكلمه ويناجيه ويدنو منه كأنه يساره (1) ثميغمزهم أن يتنحوا فيتنحون ويسبل الستر بينه وبينهم فلا يرون شيئا.

قال أبو عمرووحدث بهذه الحكاية محمد بن عيسى العبيدي رواية له،

وبعضهم عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن، وكان هاشم بن أبي هاشم قد تعلم منه بعض

تلك المخاريق، فصار داعية إليه من بعده ".

Who’s to say whose miracle is factual, while the other is magic or illusion? 

Only the correct Imam between them truly performed a miracle.

To assess who the true Imam in the midst of reports of badaa’, secret evidence, and miracles – what one will indubitably need is a consistent methodology. 

2 ) The Road to Imamate: Altering the Doctrine

The concept of badaa’ is an integral part of the Imamate of Musawi Imams (i.e, Musa al-Kadhim onward) – 

After all, the sources of their religious legitimacy are derived from this very act. 

Whenever there is stronger evidence in the Imamate of Imam appointees such as Ismail vis a vis Musa al-Kadhim,claimants assert a continuity from Imam predecessors through claiming the will of God changed.

In other words, the claim is that the appointee whose Imamate has stronger evidence was indeed appointed. 

However, God changed his will and placed it into a contendor with no verifiable evidence.

Does such a continuity necessarily exist, however?

Firstly, to answer this – we must ask: 

Is a Musawi Imam affirming that a “change of will” regarding Imamate is possible, necessarily reflective of the teachings of pre-Musawi Imams?

(Al-Ihtijaj by al-Tabrasi)

“Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib al-Tabarsi in (al-Ihtijaj) on the authority of Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Jaafar al-Himyari on the authority of Sahib al-Zaman (peace be upon him) that he wrote to him asking him about the last two rak’ahs of prayers:

There are many narrations on this topic. This makes some people that believe that reciting al-Fatiha in the last two rak’ahs in better, whereas others think performing Tasbih is better, so which one is better for us to use?” 

Sahib al-Zaman replied: 

The performing of Tasbih  in these two rak’ahs has been abrogated by recitation of the Mother of the Book (i.e, Surat al-Fatiha), and the one who abrogated the Tasbih is the saying of the al-‘Alim (peace be upon him): 

Every prayer in which there is no recitation of Surat al-Fatiha (in the last two rak’at is deficient), except for the sick person or for the one who forgets a lot and fears the invalidity of the prayer for him”

(7522) 14 - أحمد بن علي بن أبي طالب الطبرسي في (الاحتجاجعن محمد بن عبد الله بن جعفر الحميري عن صاحب الزمان (عليهالسلامأنه كتب إليه يسأله عن الركعتين الأخيرتين قد كثرت فيهما الروايات فبعض يرى أن قراءة الحمد وحدها أفضل وبعض يرى أنالتسبيح فيهما أفضل فالفضل لأيهما لنستعمله؟ فأجاب (عليه السلامقد نسخت قراءة أم الكتاب في هاتين الركعتين التسبيح والذي نسخالتسبيح قول العالم (عليه السلامكل صلاة لا قراءة فيها فهي خداج إلا للعليل أو من يكثر عليه السهو فيتخوف بطلان الصلاة عليه.

The editor of Bihar al-Anwar clarifies:

“The popular term used by the companions (i.e, Shi’a) to refer to Imam al-Kadhim is “al-‘Alim.”

المصطلح عند الأصحاب أنهم يطلقون " العالم " على الإمام الكاظم عليه السلام 

From the hadith above, we can see that the “Twelfth Imam” claims that Tasbeeh (exhaltation of God) is impermissible in the final two rak’at. Only reciting Surat al-Fatiha is permitted.

Yet – what is for this?

The “Twelfth Imam” claims that Musa al-Kadhim abrogated the act of Tasbeeh, in the final two rak’at – 

That the reason for why some narrations permit it is because the act was not permitted prior to al-Kadhim.

This shows that that the Musawi Imams (al-Kadhim onward) had created new concepts and systems, for which their predecessors had not affirmed. 

If al-Kadhim can abrogate the words of his Imam predecessors (which is permissible for an Imam), why could he not bring concepts  and ideas contradicting them as well?

The idea that God can change his will regarding Imamate would, by virtue, be a likely contendor for these new Musawi concepts.

Second, could the Musawi Imams affirm their own Imamate while also affirming the Imamate of predecessors from whom there is no continuity?

Such as Musa al-Kadhim and Ismail?

Let us see!

(Qusas al-Anbiya’ by al-Saduq)

“On the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Talha, he said: I said to al-Ridha (peace be upon him): 

Do the messengers bring something from God and you (al-Ridha) then bring something contradicting it? 

Al-Ridha said: Yes, if you wish, I will show you from hadith, and if you wish, I will show you from the Book of God Almighty. 

God Almighty said, "Enter the holy land that God has ordained for you," the verse.

Yet, the Jews of that time did not enter it, but the children of their children entered.

Also, Imran (father of Lady Maryam) said: God promised me that he would grant me a prophet boy in this year of mine and this month. 

Then Imran and his wife gave birth to Maryam and Zakariya took care of her her. 

A group said: The Prophet of God spoke the truth, and the others said: He lied.

The group which affirmed the truthhood of Imran said: ‘This (birth of Maryam) is what Allah has promised us’”

5 - قصص الأنبياءبالاسناد إلى الصدوق باسناده عن ابن أورمة عن محمد بن أبي صالح عن الحسن بن محمد بن أبي طلحة قالقلتللرضا (عليه السلام): أيأتي الرسل عن الله بشئ ثم تأتي بخلافه؟ قالنعم إن شئت حدثتك وإن شئت أتيتك به من كتاب الله تعالى؟ قال اللهتعالى جلت عظمته: " ادخلوا الأرض المقدسة التي كتب الله لكم " الآية، فما دخلوها ودخل أبناء أبنائهم.

وقال عمرانإن الله وعدني أن يهب لي غلاما نبيا في سنتي هذه وشهرى هذاثم غاب وولدت امرأته مريم وكفلها زكريا فقالت طائفةصدقنبي الله، وقالت الآخرونكذب، فلما ولدت مريم عيسى قالت الطائفة التي أقامت على صدق عمرانهذا الذي وعدنا الله 

In this hadith, al-Ridha agrees that the Imam can bring something contradicting the messengers of Allah – saying:

“Do the messengers bring something from God and you (al-Ridha) then bring something contradicting it? 

Al-Ridha said: Yes, if you wish, I will show you from hadith, and if you wish, I will show you from the Book of God Almighty.”

Proving his point from the Quran, al-Ridha claimed that Imran gave a specific prophecy:

“Also, Imran (father of Lady Maryam) said: God promised me that he would grant me a prophet boy in this year of mine and this month.

A prophet boy would be born in the exact year and exact month, Imran told the Jews.

Yet – unlike what Imran proclaimed, a female, a nonprophet was born:

“Then Imran and his wife gave birth to Maryam..

The group which affirmed the truthhood of Imran said: ‘This (birth of Maryam) is what Allah has promised us.”

Using this same hermeneutics he used to show how Imran’s prophecy of a prophet boy does not amount to anything, and instead produces a female nonprophet – all the while being the truth.

Al-Ridha says regarding the ahadith of the Waqifa about Musa al-Kadhim being the Qa’im:

(Qurb al-Isnad by Abdullah ibn Ja’far al-Qummi, prominent 3rd century AH Shi’a scholar)

“He (Waqifi leader Ibn Abi Hamza) thought that if my fathers’ words did not come true (regarding al-Kadhim being القائم بالسيف the Qa’im who rises by the sword) -

Then he does not know - perhaps what he narrated from the Imams (that al-Kadhim would be al-Qa’im) would be like the reports of Al-Sufyani and others — 

That they are destined but nothing would come to reality from them.”

واما ابن أبي حمزة فإنه رجل تأول تأويلا لم يحسنه، ولم يؤت علمه، فألقاه إلى الناس فلج فيه، وكره إكذاب نفسه في إبطال قوله، بأحاديثتأولها ولم يحسن تأويلها، ولم يؤت علمها، ورأى أنه إذا لم يصدق آبائي بذلك لم يدر لعل ما خبر عنه مثل السفياني وغيره أنهكان، لا يكون منه شئ، وقال لهمليس يسقط قول آبائي شئ، و لكنه قصر علمه عن غايات ذلك وحقائقه، فصار فتنة أو شبهة عليه، وفرمن أمر فوقع فيه

The foundation of badaa’ is laid. Even if there is explicit, very specific evidence that Ismail was appointed as Imam.

Al-Ridha could still claim Ismail’s legacy claiming a ‘change in God’s will’.

(Rijal al-Kashi)

Ismail was in the will of Imam al-Sadiq in Kitab al-Sadaqa, and he (Ismail) was an Imam!”

الحسن عليهما السلام، وهم اليوم مختلفون، قالما كانوا مجتمعين عليه، كيف يكونون مجتمعين عليه وكان مشيختكم وكبراؤكم يقولونفيإسماعيل وهم يرونه يشرب :كذا وكذا، فيقولون هذا أجود، قالواإسماعيل لم يكن أدخله في الوصية؟ فقال

قد كان أدخله في كتاب الصدقة وكان إمام

But we cannot take al-Ridha’s claim of a change of will seriously because his Imamate is not established. 

Thus, any criteria to establish Imamate of the 7th Imam – and whether badaa’ did take place, must come from the 6 Imams preceding him and whose Imamate can be verified objectively.

Not from the Musawi Imams (Musa al-Kadhim onwards), who are unverifiable and may have developed systems and principles different from their predecessor Imams.


As one would surmise from the article thus far, our discussion of badaa’ doesn’t look at the concept as a volatile manifestation of God’s will. 

Rather, it looks at the concept as an artificially interwoven invention by the Musawi Imams and Twelver clergy to hide the Imamate of Ismail ibn Ja’far (as).

This perspective can only be understood as we explore that far from modern mainstream view of Twelvers today, in which badaa is “God revealing his true will to the public, after initially hiding it” –

Badaa’ is actually an inconsistent concept, ridden with contradictory definitions and ahadith. Only through cross-analysis of tbe concept, can deduce the eternal hidden lying beneath it.

Being so –

The first definition we will display is badaa, as a form of abrogation.

A) Abrogating Imamate

  1. (Al-Tusi’s Ghayba)

It is narrated from Fadhl from Muhammad bin Ismail from Muhammad ibn Sinan from Abu Yahya Tamtaam Salmi from Uthman Nawa that he said: 

I heard Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq say: 

Initially, this matter (i.e, becoming the Qa’im) was appointed to me.

However, later - the Almighty Allah postponed it (i.e, removed my Qa’imhood) and he decides to do - after this - in my progeny whatever he wishes.

غيبة الشيخ الطوسيالفضل، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن محمد بن سنان، عن أبي يحيى التمتام (1) السلمي، عن عثمان النوا (2) قالسمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقولكان هذا الامر في فأخره الله ويفعل بعد في ذريتي ما يشاء

  1. (Al-Imama wal Tabsira, page 61)

Imam al-Baqir said:

“When Imam Hasan partook in a peace treaty with Mu'awiyah, Allah did badaa’ to prevent the Imamate from going to the progeny of Hasan – 

And He swore that the wasiya (divine will of appointment) and Imamate will only be in the progeny of Husayn

إن الله - تعالى - لما صنع مع معاوية ما صنع، بدا لله فآلى أن لا يجعل الوصية والإمامة إلا في عقب الحسين عليه السلام

  1. (Al-Kafi)

“Narrated Abu Hamza al-Thumali who has said the following.

“I heard abu Ja’far  say, “O Thabit, Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, had set up a time-limit for the Qa’im to rise in the year 70 AH.

However, when al-Husayn was murdered Allah’s anger became more intense on the people on earth. 

This led Allah to delayed the matter (i.e, the Qa’im’s rise) to the year 140 AH. 

When we (Imams) spoke to you Shi’a about it and you Shi’a publicized this hadith and disclosed the secret. 

Allah thereafter has not set up a time limit for the Qa’im to rise available.

Allah deletes whatever He wants and establishes whatever He wants, with Him is the original book.

سمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يقوليا ثابت إن الله تبارك وتعالى قد كان وقت هذا الامر في السبعين، فلما أن قتل الحسين صلوات الله عليهاشتد غضب الله تعالى على أهل الأرض، فأخره إلى أربعين و ومائة، فحدثناكم فأذعتم الحديث فكشفتم قناع الستر (1) ولم يجعل الله له بعدذلك وقتا عندنا ويمحو الله ما يشاء ويثبت وعنده أم الكتاب

  1. (Ghayba of al-Nu’mani)

Muhammad ibn Hammam narrated from Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abdullah al-Khalanji that Abu Hashim Dawood ibn al-Qassim al-Ja’fari had said:

“Once we were with Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad (as) when al-Sufyani was mentioned and that his matter was inevitable. 

I said to Abu Ja’far al-Jawad (as): “Does Allah change His determination concerning the inevitable matters?

He said: “Yes, He does.”

We said to him: “We fear that He may change his determination (badaa) concerning the matter of al-Qa’im!

He said: “The matter of al-Qa’im is a part of the promise of Allah and Allah does not fail to perform His promise.””

الغيبة للنعمانيمحمد بن همام، عن محمد بن [أحمد بنعبد الله الخالنجي، عن داود بن أبي القاسم قالكنا عند أبي جعفر محمد بنعلي الرضا عليهما السلام فجرى ذكر السفياني وما جاء في الرواية من أن أمره من المحتوم، فقلت لأبي جعفر عليه السلام:

هل يبدو لله في المحتوم؟ قالنعم، قلنا لهفنخاف (2) أن يبدو لله في القائم قال

B) Removing Imamate out of Regret

The second definition we will display is badaa’ nadama (badaa of regret)

There existed a variety of ahadith which specified that Allah had removed Imamate from Ismail, out of regret – after Ismail had become disobedient.

We do not include this under the definition of “abrogation”, as the reports always classify it separately - perhaps due to its negative connotations of Allah’s regret.

Only one hadith survives of this sort:

Allama Majlisi quotes Nasir al-Deen al-Tusi, a well recognized Twelver scholar from the 1200s CE.

“Al-Muhaqqiq Al-Tusi”, as Majlisi terms him in recognition of his high scholarly status - states that the idea of badaa changing Allah’s will regarding Ismail cannot be found except through one narration.

(Bihar al-Anwar, vol 4, page 123)

They do not believe in Bada’ [in the sense of Allah changing his will] –

[Allah changing his will regarding Ismail] cannot be deduced except from one narration reported from Jafar al-Sadiq – that he appointed his son Ismail as his successor. But when it appeared from Ismail certain things which Jafar did not like about him, he (Imam al-Sadiq) thus appointed Musa as his successor. 

And when he was asked about that he said, ‘Allah performed badaa in the matter (i.e, Imamate) of Ismail.’

This is just a mere narration; it has been transmitted to us through a single transmission which does not give the benefit of certainty and does not necessitate the requirement of practice.”

إنهم لا يقولون بالبداء وإنما القول بالبداء ما كان إلا رواية رووها عن جعفر الصادق أنه جعل إسماعيل القائم مقامه، فظهر من إسماعيل مالم يرتضه منه، فجعل القائم موسيفسئل عن ذلك فقالبدا لله في أمر إسماعيل وهذه رواية وعندهم أن الخبر الواحد لا يوجب علما ولا عملا

C) Allah defying the will of the Imam

The third definition we will analyze is Allah choosing the successor to Imam, in contradiction to the Imam’s wish.

When Abu Basir and his companions went to Imam al-Sadiq to confirm his faith with him –

The companions mentioned the first 6 Imams, and Abu Basir then said that Ismail is the 7th.

Imam al-Sadiq’s response was shown below:

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 277)

“On the authority of Abi Basir, he said: 

I was with Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq), and the companions mentioned the Imams’ names and I mentioned Ismail.

Imam al-Sadiq then said: No, by God, O Aba Muhammad, the matter of Imamate is not decided by us. 

The matter is only decided by God, the Almighty, deciding one Imam after another.”

الحسين بن محمد، عن معلى بن محمد، عن الحسن بن علي الوشاء، قالحدثني عمر ابن أبان، عن أبي بصير قالكنت عند أبي عبد الله(عليه السلامفذكروا الأوصياء وذكرت إسماعيل، فقال لا والله يا أبا محمد ما ذاك إلينا وما هو إلا إلى الله عزوجل ينزل واحدا بعد واحد

The Imam’s response dazzled Abu Basir. How can the Imam not decide to appoint whom he wishes? Is the Imam’s will not the same as Allah’s will?

Imam al-Sadiq then clarifies to Abu Basir:

(Basa’ir al-Darajat)

Narrates Abu Basir:

Abi Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said:

I asked Allah, requested from him and strongly urged him to make Ismail my successor. However, Allah refused only to make Abu al-Hasan Musa my successor”

14 - بصائر الدرجاتأحمد بن محمد، عن علي بن الحكم، عن أبيه، عن البطائني، عن أبي بصير، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قالسألتهوطلبت وقضيت إليه (3) أن يجعل هذا الامر إلى إسماعيل، فأبى الله إلا أن يجعله لأبي الحسن موسى عليه السلام

We can see that the Imam gave other companions this same response:

(Rijal al-Kashi, in a sahih hadith according to Shaykh Asif Mohseni):

“On the authority of Abi Khadija Al-Jammal, he said: 

I heard Aba Abdullah, peace be upon him, say: I asked Allah regarding Ismail - to keep him after me, but He refused.

عن أبي خديجة الجمّال، قالسمعت أبا عبد اللّه عليه السلام، يقولإنّي سألت اللّه في إسماعيل أن يبقيه بعدى، فأبى

(Asl Zayd al-Narsi)

Narrated Zayd al-Narsi:

Imam al-Sadiq said:

“I strongly urged and begged Allah to make Ismail - my son - to be the successor after me. However, Allah refused for the position to go except to Musa - my son”

منهعن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قالإني ناجيت الله ونازلته في إسماعيل ابني أن يكون من بعدي فأبى ربي إلا أن يكون موسى ابني

In giving context to this act, Imam al-Sadiq cites precedent to this in the form of prophet Ismail – in which an Imam (Ismail ibn Ibrahim) appoints a son as Imam, other than the son he loves. 

This is because Allah refused to appoint the figure which the Imam personally chose.

(Basa’ir al-Darajat)

“On the authority of Abd al-Rahman al-Khazaz, on the authority of Abi Abdullah, peace be upon him, he said: 

Ismail ibn Ibrahim had a small son whom he loved very intensely, however God refused to make him Ismail’s successor.

So Allah said: O Ismail, your successor is so-and so - (not your beloved son).

So when God decreed death upon Ismail, Ismail said to his successor son (who was not his beloved):

My son, if death approaches, do as I did, for that is why no Imam dies except that God tells him to whom he will recommend”

16 - بصائر الدرجاتمحمد بن الحسين، عن الحسن بن علي، عن علي بن منصور، عن كلثوم، عن عبد الرحمان الخزاز، عن أبي عبد اللهعليه السلام قالكان لإسماعيل بن إبراهيم ابن صغير يحبه وكان هوى إسماعيل فيه، فأبى الله ذلك، فقاليا إسماعيل هو فلان، فلما قضىالله الموت على إسماعيل فجاء وصيه (6) وقاليا بني إذا حضر الموت فافعل كما فعلت، فمن أجل ذلك ليس يموت إمام إلا أخبره الله إلى منيوصي (7).

And who was the most beloved son of Imam al-Sadiq – whom al-Sadiq wished to make his successor, but “Allah refused”?

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 315)

“Rasul Allah tells Imam al-Kadhim in a ru’yah (vision):

If choice of Imam was based on love, then Ismail was more beloved to your father than you [O Musa ibn Jafar]. But that (your choice for Imamate) was from Allah.” 

ولو كانت الإمامة بالمحبة لكان إسماعيل أحب إلى أبيك منك ولكن ذلك من الله عز وجل.

The hadith of prophet Ismail ibn Ibrahim conspicuously makes mistakes in the historic time line, assuming Ismail willed the Imamate to his own son instead of his brother Ishaq.

Yet however, the report is clearly intended to use a precedent of prophet Ismail reflect on the idea that Imam al-Sadiq appointed Musa al-Kadhim.

That despite Imam al-Sadiq loving his son Ismail so much and wishing to appoint him, “Allah refused it” and made the Imam appoint al-Kadhim instead.

D) Allah revealing his true will to the public, after initially hiding it

It may shock the reader to know that the overwhelmingly accepted definition among Twelver clergy of badaa’ is:

Allah revealing his true will to the public, after initially hiding it”

To be more specific, the belief is that Allah made the public believe Ismail is the Imam – then revealed he is not, but that the true Imam is Musa al-Kadhim.

Shaykh al-Saduq clarifies, in explaining the hadith of “There is no badaa’ like that of Ismail”:

(Kamal al-Deen Wa Tamam al-Ni’ma)

Allah never revealed to the public something so great, after initially hiding it, like he did when he showed that Ismail is not an Imam.

This is because Allah made him die before Imam al-Sadiq, so that the people do not think he is an Imam after him.”

أن الله تعالى ما أظهر شيئا كان مخفيا للخلق مثل ما أظهره من عدم إمامة ابني إسماعيل إذ اخترمه وأماته قبلي ليعلم الناس أنه ليس بإمامبعدي.

The problem with this definition is the hadith evidence for it - to the meaning Twelver clergy are trying to convey -  is null. Non-existent.

The closest report is a rendition of the al-Ghayba of Tusi hadith which was the topic of discussion in our last article on badaa’.

The report states:

“Yes, Abu Hashem, Allah did badaa’ to Abi Ja’far, and put in his place Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan al-Askari).

Just like Allah did badaa’ in Ismail after Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) after having indicated him (as successor) and appointed him.”

However, in Shaykh al-Mufid’s rendition – the hadith becomes:

“Yes, Abu Hashem, Allah did badaa’ to Abi Ja’far, and put in his place Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan al-Askari).

Just like Allah did badaa’ in Musa after death of Ismail, from what he revealed about him (i.e, that Ismail is not an Imam)”

نعم - يا أبا هاشم - بدا لله في أبي محمد بعد أبي جعفر ما لم يكن يعرف له، كما بدا له في موسى بعد مضي إسماعيل ما كشف به عنحاله

The problem now becomes:

How is this definition truly contradictory to abrogation? To badaa’ nadama? To the Imam wanting Ismail to be Imam, but Allah refusinf it?

No one ever expects Allah to abrogate something, until Allah does it.

Thus, Allah’s will was hidden to the public until he revealed it. Allah never ‘changes his mind’, so He always intended to issue a command and then abrogate it at the right time.

Being so, it would not be proper to characterize “Allah revealing his true will” truly as a category of its own. 

This is because it does not contradict any of the previous three categories, when one examines closely.

To demonstrate, we will end this section by quoting Allama Majlisi as he mentions three categories in which Imam al-Ridha defined badaa’.

(Bihar al-Anwar)

“Know that badaa’ has meanings which Imam al-Ridha affirmed.

The first meaning described by the Imam: 

Creating something that did not exist, and to bring about something after its non-existence, and denial of this concept is attributed to the Jews, as they said: 

God created all things in eternity and finished the matter, and that is why they said: God’s hand is tied.

In response against the Jews, the Imam cited God’s verse: (Did man not contemplate his creation?)

The second definition:

Abrogating commandments, and the Imam referred to this definition by citing the verse: (And remember, for remembrance benefits the believers).

The third definition: 

Allah decreeing matters and establishing them in the heavenly tablets, but erasing them, and changing them according to what is in the best interest of creation.”

بيان اعلم أنه لما كان للبداء معان أثبتها (عليه السلامبمعانيها:

الأولأن يكون المراد به إحداث أمر لم يكن، وإيجاد شئ بعد عدمه، وهذا الذي نسب إلى اليهود نفيه، حيث قالواخلق جميع الأشياء فيالأزل وفرغ من الامر، ولذا قالوايد الله مغلولة، وإلى نفيه أشار بقوله: (أولم ير الانسانوقوله تعالى:

(وهو الذي يبدؤ الخلقوقوله: (بديع السماوات والأرضوقوله: (وبدأ خلق الانسانوقوله: (وآخرون مرجون).

الثانينسخ الاحكام وإليه أشار بقوله: (وذكر فإن الذكرى تنفع المؤمنين). (3) والثالثتقدير الأشياء وإثباتها في الألواح السماوية ومحوهاوتغييرها بحسب المصالح،


With regards to 

A) Abrogating Imamate –

We reply:

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 287)

“Amr ibn al-Ash‘ath who said: I heard Abu ‘Abdallah  say the following: 

“Do you think that a testator of us wills to whomever he wishes?

No, I swear by Allah, it is not so. It is a covenant from Allah and His Messenger to a man and then to the next man until the matter is delivered to its rightful owner.”

عثمان، عن عمرو بن الأشعث قالسمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقولأترون الموصي منا يوصي إلى من يريد؟لا والله ولكن عهد من اللهورسوله صلى الله عليه وآله لرجل فرجل حتى ينتهي الامر إلى صاحبه

To back this, the Bab (gate) of Imam al-Sadiq - al-Mufaddal ibn Umar, narrates from Imam al-Sadiq:

(Kamal al-Deen Wa Tamam al-Ni’ma)

“The Qa’im will bring about a book stamped with a seal of gold, his Imamate a covenant by Rasul Allah

أهل بدر، وهم أصحاب الألوية وهم حكام الله في أرضه على خلقه، حتى يستخرج من قبائه كتابا مختوما بخاتم من ذهب عهد معهود منرسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فيجفلون عنه إجفال الغنم البكم

Thus, any person willed the Imamate cannot be removed from it:

“Do you think that a testator of us wills to whomever he wishes?”

This is because only the figures named in a covenant from the Prophet can be willed by the Imam:

“It is a covenant from Allah and His Messenger to a man and then to the next man until the matter is delivered to its rightful owner.”

Therefore, Imamate cannot be abrogated and an Imam cannot be removed.

B) Removing Imamate out of Regret

Allah is not a mere human, he does not learn new things. He is All-Knowing and omniscient, thus the very suggestion of this variety of badaa’ is blasphemous.

Imam al-Sadiq says:

“Whomever claims that Allah performs badaa’ in something which he did not know yesterday, then disassociate from him.”

من زعم أن الله بدا له في شئ ولم يعلمه أمس فأبرأ منه

Thus, Allah cannot remove Imamate of an Imam - out of regret.

C) Allah defying the will of the Imam

How can the Imam wish something, which Allah does not wish?

Twelvers may find the answer to this question from the words of the “Twelfth Imam”.

(Al-Khara’ij wal Jara’ih)

The Qa’im was asked regarding the Mufawidda. 

He said: ‘They have lied. Our hearts follow the will of Allah. So if he wills [something], we will it.’ 

Then he recited this verse: 

وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

And you do not will except that Allah wills - Lord of the worlds” (81:29)

في الخرائجعن القائم (عليه السلامإنه سئل عن المفوضة قالكذبوا، بل قلوبنا أوعية لمشيئة الله عز وجل فإذا شاء شئنا، ثم تلا هذه الآية(2).”

The answer is simple:

If the reports are true about Imam al-Sadiq beggining Allah to make Ismail his successor. Then this is taqiyya, and it shows that Ismail is in fact the true successor.

As an Imam only wishes what Allah wishes.

If the reports are not true, they show Imamiyya narrators and scholarship were clearly aware that Ismail is the favorite son and choice of Imam al-Sadiq for succession as Imam.

D) Allah revealing his true will to the public, after initially hiding it

Given that the hadith-free Twelver conception is that Ismail was not truly appointed, but Allah only revealed this to the Shi’a after Ismail died.

Then we ask:

What is the evidence?

How could Allah reveal Musa is the true Imam after Ismail’s “death” – whereas the majority Shi’a believed Abdullah ibn Ja’far is the Imam, after Imam al-Sadiq died?

This would mean that no badaa’ happened after Ismail “died” to show that Musa is Imam.

Moreover, Mufaddal ibn Umar – Bab (gate) of Imam al-Sadiq – narrates from Imam al-Sadiq saying:

(Al-Kafi, vol 2, page 400)

“Whomever has doubt or belief without evidence – and bases his religion on either, then his deeds are useless.

The hujja (evidence) of Allah is the clear hujja.”

33470) 7 - وعنهم عن أحمد قال في وصية المفضل بن عمر قال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): من شك أو ظن فأقام على أحدهما فقد حبط (1) عمله، إن حجة الله هي الحجة الواضحة

And what is the clear hujja  - apparent to the scholar and ignorant among the Shi’a - by which the Shi’a discerned who their Imam’s successor is?

The dhahir wasiya.

Narrated Abdul ‘Ala ibn A’yan narrated:

I asked as-Sadiq about the criteria to disprove one who falsely claims to be a Trustee of the Divine Leader. 

The Imam said, ‘There are three signs which should all exist in anyone who truly claims to be a Trustee (successor) of the Divine Leader. 

He should be the closest to the Divine Leader. He should possess the Prophet’s armaments and he should be so clearly the one declared by the Divine Leader to be his Trustee that when you enter the town and ask the children or the common people about whom the Divine Leader has established as his Trustee, everyone refers to him(i.e, the dhahir wasiya)

Who was the favorite son of Imam al-Sadiq, and thus the fulfiller of the criterion: 

He should be the closest to the Divine Leader.”?

None but Ismail ibn Ja’far!

And whom did the Shi’a commoners and children of Medina (and all the followers of Imam al-Sadiq) know as the successor to Imam al-Sadiq?

“When you enter Medina and ask the children or the common people about whom the Divine Leader has established as his Trustee, everyone refers to him”

None but Ismail ibn Ja’far!

Could Ismail’s brother Abdullah claim the al-Wasiya al-Dhahira, after the disappearance of Ismail – considering the people of Medina believed in him?

Definitely not. This is because after Ismail, Imam al-Sadiq abolished the dhahir wasiya, as he added the Caliph al-Mansur, two sons, and a slave into his public will (dhahir wasiya):

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 310)

Imam al-Sadiq gave his wasiya to Abu Ja’far al-Mansur (the caliph), Abdullah, Musa (ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq), and Muhammad ibn Ja’far (slave of Imam al-Sadiq)

Abu Ja’far (al-Mansur) said: “These people are not susceptible to be killed (by me)”

علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن النضر بن سويد بنحو من هذا إلا أنه ذكر أنه أوصى إ لى أبي جعفر المنصور وعبد الله وموسى ومحمدبنجعفر مولى لأبي عبد عبدالله يه ال سلام قالفقال أبو جعفرليس إلى قتل هؤلاء سبيل

By performing this act, and placing al-Mansur first in the will (signifying he is the executor of the Imam’s estate) – Imam al-Sadiq ensured that no one will have objective evidence to claim Imamate, after Ismail.

If al-Kadhim claims to be Imam by being in this dhahir wasiya, so can Abdullah. They both cannot be Imam. 

Only be claiming to be sole executors in unverifiable reports, can al-Kadhim (as) or Abdullah claim Imamate. But never objectively, as Ismail (as) had done.

Thus, the ahadith of badaa’ are all inapplicable to Ismail and likely manufactured. There is no such thing as badaa’ with regards to Imamate, in any definition, shape or form.

Yet however, such ahadith are crucial in pinpoint to the belief of Twelver Imams and Twelver narrators in the Imamate of Ismail.

More evidence of Ismail’s Imamate was discussed more in my book Misguiding the Shi’a.

I hope this benefitted you all

May Allah bless you

John Andaluso