Reflecting on the Fundamentals – Imam Sadiq on Non-Shias going to Paradise | Sayyid Kamāl al-Ḥaydari | Lesson 12


The fourth tradition we will be looking at is from Kitāb Sulaym ibn Qays. As you know the discussions on the authenticity of this book are extensive, and there are a number of different opinions as to whether the book we have today is the same book attributed to Sulaym.[1] My opinion on this is as follows, I accept whatever is to be found within this book which can be supported and corroborated with other traditions and I reject whatever can only be found exclusively from this book. And this is the position of Shaykh Mufīd in regards to this book. The tradition I want to look at is this:

فإن الحق والله معي يا بن قيس كما أقول. وما هلك من الأمة إلا الناصبون والناكثون والمكابرون والجاحدون والمعاندون

Imām Alī said to him: “Indeed the Truth and God is with me. None has perished from this Ummah except the Nawāsib, those who broke their oath, those who waged war (on me) and those who were obstinate (against the Truth)…” [2]

What’s clear from this is that the descriptions of the people who perished were those who knew the real position of the Imām but despite this chose to fight against him. Some had even given an oath of allegiance to the Imām but later on broke their pledge. The word jahada is used for a person who rejects and opposes something which is established to them, go and look what Rāghib Isfahāni has to say about this word in his Mufradāt or other lexicons, like someone who knows Islam is the truth, knows the Prophet is the truth, but yet despite this rejects it all.

 فأما من تمسك بالتوحيد والإقراربمحمد صلى الله عليه وآله والإسلام ولم يخرج من الملة ولم يظاهر علينا الظلمة ولم ينصب لنا العداوة وشك في الخلافة ولم يعرف أهلها وولاتها ولم يعرف لنا ولاية ولم ينصب لنا عداوة، فإن ذلك مسلم مستضعف يرجى له رحمة الله

As for those who held on to Tawhīd and accepted the Prophethood of Mohammad and did not leave this nation nor did they act towards us oppressively nor show us enmity, however they doubted in the matter of the Caliphate, and they did not recognise us nor did they recognise our wilāyah, they are mustadh’af, (and they) hope for the Mercy of God.” [3]

Here the Imam discusses those people we are looking at, they accepted Islam, they accepted Prophethood, but what happened? They had doubts on the Imāmate. They believe it is not clear who the Prophet designated after him, and it’s unlikely that such a thing even happened. There is another tradition similiar to this in al-Kāfī:

قلت: فهل سلم أحد لا يعرف هذا الامر؟ فقال: لا إلا المستضعفين، قلت من هم؟ قال: نساؤكم وأولادكم ثم قال: أرأيت أم أيمن؟ فإني أشهد أنها من أهل الجنة وما كانت تعرف ما أنتم عليه

I asked (Imām Sādiq): Will anyone who does not recognise your command (amr) attain salvation? The Imām replied: No! Unless they are mustadh’af….Do you know Umm Ayman? I bear witness that she is from amongst the people of Jannah even though she doesn’t believe what you do. [4]

Here the Imām explicitly guarantees Paradise for someone who does not accept the wilāyah! And in the next talk we will look at this idea of mustadh’af, it’s not referring to someone who merely has no capacity to think but rather this is a term taken from the Qur’ān and the traditions to refer to a person who either hasn’t had evidence established upon them, or if it has been established it is either incomplete or incorrect. So clearly this tradition restricts the other tradition which says whoever dies without knowing the Imām of the time dies a death of ignorance. Yes, if the person died whilst proof was established on him and he recognised the truth yet still rejected it then he would die a death of ignorance, otherwise not at all.


1 – For further information on the discussion surrounding Kitāb Sulaym ibn Qays, refer to Sulaym bin Qays, The Thin Line between a Fictitious Name and a Loyal Companion.

2 – Kitāb Sulaym ibn Qays, p. 219

3 – ibid

4 – Shaykh Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, v. 2, p. 405

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