In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
The Jews and Isra’ilyiat
Among the dangerous groups that lived during the time of the Infallible Imams (PBUT) in the Islamic society and had a remarkable influence on the Islamic culture were the Jews. Some Rabbis who had converted to Islam and others who still remained in their Jewish faith were dispersed throughout the Islamic nation, and they became the ideological reference of some ignorant Muslims. The effect of the Jews on the Islamic culture manifested itself in the form of fabricated narrations known as “Isra’ilyiat”. The majority of these fabricated narrations were about the life and characteristics of the previous Prophets. One of the Islamic scholars who used these fabricated narrations in his writings was “Tabari”, the well-known interpreter. Most of the narrations he has used to interpret the Holy Quran are taken from Jewish sources, either directly or indirectly (1).
The ideological movement of the Jews – within the Islamic nation and specifically among their scholars – was not limited to interpretation of the Holy Quran, rather it had an awful effect on Islamic jurisdiction and beliefs. This fact is so clear in the history that there is absolutely no doubt about it (2).
Confronting the Jews and their poisonous influences on the Islamic culture was among the priorities on the agenda of the Infallible Imams (PBUT). Denying the narrations fabricated by the Jews about the previous Prophets which snubbed the holy characters of the Divine Messengers is clearly observed in the actions of Infallible Imams (PBUT). They made effort to cut this undesirable cultural effect of the Jews on the Islamic culture which was about to deviate the original, pure Islamic culture by making statements such as “Do not resemble the Jews” (3).
The narrators among other Islamic sects welcome these fabricated narrations, entered them in their books, and contaminated their culture with them. However, through the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT), their followers stood cautious against these deviating ideas and were safe from their dreadful effects.
Among the Infallible Imams (PBUT), Imam Baqir (PBUH) played an important role in opposing Isra’iliyiat and the fabricated narrations. For example, the Jews who lived during the time of Imam Baqir (PBUH) –including those who had apparently converted to Islam and those who were still Jews – tried to convince the Muslims about the superiority of the Sacred House – which was the holy site of the Jews over Ka’aba. As such, the fabricated narrations in this regard and widely spread them in the Islamic nation.
Zurarah narrates that “I was sitting with Imam Baqir (PBUH), and as he was facing the Ka’aba, he said,” Looking at Ka’aba is an act of worship”. At this moment, a man from the tribe of “Bajilah” who was known as “Aa’sim bin Umar” came to the Imam (PBUH) and said,” Ka’ab al-Ahbar (4) says: ‘The Ka’ba prostrates towards the Sacred House every morning”. Imam Baqir (PBUH) said the man,’ What do you think about this statement of Ka’ab al-Ahbar?” The man replied, ‘He is right”. Imam Baqir (PBUH) said,’ You are both lying”. Then, being extremely angry, he continued,’ Allah (SWT) has not created a spot on the earth more beloved than the Ka’aba” (5).
The tireless endeavors of the Infallible Imams (PBUT), specifically Imam Baqir (PBUH) resulted on the fact that the heritage of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was passed on to the Shiites solely through the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT), without any interference from the Jews. When Imam Baqir (PBUH) was asked about the source of the Hadiths he narrated from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) without mentioning the chain of narrators, he replied by saying,” Whenever I narrate a Hadith without mention the chain of narrators, my reference for that is my father Zain al-Abidin (PBUH), from his father Hussain (PBUH), from his father Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH), from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), from Gabriel, from Allah (SWT)”(6).
This great heritage is what has saved the Shiites from the alterations and fabrications that was widely spread among other Islamic sects due to the influence of the Jews and the abandonment on writing Hadith during the time of the Caliphs.
(The above is a selection taken from “The Intellectual and Political Life of the Imams of the Shiites”, by Hujjat al-Islam Rasool Ja’farian (with some changes))
The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 3rd of Safar, the birthday anniversary of the heir of the knowledge of the Prophets and the fifth Divine guardian,
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir (PBUH).
Roshd Islamic Shia Webiste
1. Examples of Isra’ilyiat narrated in the Tafsir (interpretation) of Tabari which negate the infallibility of the Prophets can be found in the explanation of the following verses: Chapter 33, verse 37 (Tafsir Tabari, vol. 22, pp. 10-11); Chapter 38, verses 21-25 (Tafsir Tabari, vol. 23, pp. 93-96 and 174-179); Chapter 12, verses 24 (Tafsir Tabari, vol. 12, pp. 108-110 and 239-250).
2, Buhooth Ma’a Ahl Sunnah wa al-Salafyiah, by Sayyid Mahdi Rouhani, pp. 50-51.
3. Kaafi, vol. 6, p. 531
4. Abu Ishaaq, Ka’ab ibn Mata’ al-Himyari, known as “Ka’ab al-Ahbar”, was a Jew who converted to Islam during the rule of the second Caliph and has narrated many Hadiths, the majority of which are among Isra’ilyiat.
5. Kaafi, vol. 4, p. 240
6. Ilaam al-Wara, p. 270