The Word Shia and its Meaning from Sunni sources

Shia in Arabic
Shia in Arabic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The term Shia literally means follower. It is a term that Allah used in the Quran to refer to the followers of his Prophets. An example was Prophet Abraham (as) who was mentioned in the Quran specifically as the shia of Noah (as):

“And most surely Abraham was among the Shia of him (Noah)” (Quran 37:83)

Imam Ali (as) said “Allah has favored the word Shia by using it in the Holy Quran. Then verily He says ‘And verily Ibrahim was one of the shia of Noah.’ And you are amongst the shia of Muhammad (sawa). This name is neither restricted to a particular group nor is it a newly adopted religion.” [1]

In another verse, the Quran talks about the Shia of Moses

“And he (Moses) went into the city at a time when people (of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his shia and the other being his enemy, and the one who was of his shia cried out to him for help against the one who was of his enemy” (Quran 28:15)

Thus shia is an official word used by Allah in His Quran for His high ranking prophets as well as their followers. This is also a term that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sawa) used for those who had love for Ali (as) and followed him as the successor after the Prophet (sawa).

The Messenger of Allah said to Ali: “Glad tidings O Ali! Verily you, your companions and your Shia (followers) will be in Paradise.”

Sunni references:

  • Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p655
  • Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v4, p329
  • Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v12, p289
  • al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani
  • Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haytami, v10, pp 21-22
  • al-Darqunti, who said this tradition has been transmitted via numerous authorities.
  • al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haytami , Ch. 11, section 1, p247

Therefore we see the Messenger of Allah (sawa) used to say the phrase “Shia of Ali.”

The Messenger of Allah (sawa) said: “The Shia of Ali are the real victorious on the day of resurrection”

Sunni references:

  • al-Manaqib Ahmad, as mentioned in:
  • Yanabi al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, p62

The Messenger of Allah said: “O Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your Shia will come toward Allah well pleased and well-pleasing, and there will come to Him your enemies angry and stiff-necked (i.e., their head forced up).

Sunni references:

  • al-Tabarani, on the authority of Imam Ali
  • al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p236

A more complete version of the tradition, which has also been reported by Sunni narrators, is as follows:

Ibn Abbas narrated: When the verse “Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creation (Quran 98:7)” was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (sawa) said to Ali: “They are you and your Shia.” He continued: “O Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your Shia will come toward Allah well pleased and well pleasing, and your enemies will come angry with their heads forced up.” Ali (as) said: “Who are my enemies?” The Prophet (sawa) replied: “He who disassociates himself from you and curses you. And glad tiding to those who reach first under the shadow of al-‘Arsh on the day of resurrection.” Ali asked: “Who are they, O the Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “Your Shia, O Ali, and those who love you.”

Sunni references:

  • al-Hafidh Jamaluddin al-Dharandi, on the authority of Ibn Abbas
  • al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 246-247


Excerpt from Mystery of the Shia by Mateen J. Charbonneau Available at:

[1] Shia Origin and Faith” by Ayatollah Kashif al-Ghita

Martyrdom of Hujr ibn Adi (ra) from Sunni sources

Martyrdom of Hujr ibn Adi (ra) from Sunni sources

References in relation to the killing of Hujr bin Adi can be located in the following Sunni texts:

al Bidaya wa al Nihaya, Volume 8 page 53 Dhikr 51 Hijri
Tarikh Kamil, Volume 3 page 249 Dhikr 51 Hijri
Tarikh ibn Asakir, Volume 12 page 227 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Tarikh ibn Khaldun, Volume 3 page 13 Dhikr 51 Hijri
al Isaba, Volume 1 page 313 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Asad’ul Ghaba, Volume 1 page 244 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Shadharat ul Dhahab, Volume 1 page 57 Dhikr 51 Hijri
Tabaqat al Kubra, Volume 6 page 217 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Mustadrak al Hakim, Volume 3 page 468-470 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Akhbar al Tawaal, page 186 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
Tarikh Abu’l Fida, page 166 Dhikr 51 Hijri
Muruj al Dhahab, Volume 3 page 12 Dhikr 53 Hijri
Tarikh Yaqubi, Volume 2 page 219
We read in Al Isaba:

After the battle of Qudsiya Hujr ibn Adi participated in Jamal and Sifeen, alongside Ali and was amongst his Shi’a. He was killed upon the orders of Mu’awiya in a village called Marj Adhra near Damascus. At the time of his execution he requested: ‘Do not remove these chains after I am killed, nor clean the blood. We will meet again with Mu’awiya and I shall petition my case against him’.

We read in Al Bidaya:

When the time of death approached Mu’awiya, he said to himself thrice: ‘Hujr bin Adi! The day of answering for your murder is very lengthy’

We read in Tarikh ibn Asakir:
“Ayesha said: ‘Mu’awiya you killed Hujr and his associates, By Allah! The Prophet told me ‘In the ditch of Adra seven men will be killed, due to this all the skies and Allah will be upset”.

We read in Asad’ul Ghaba:
“Hujr and his associates were arrested and taken to a ditch in Adhra which was near Damascus. Mu’awiya ordered that Hujr and his associates be executed in this ditch”

Hujr bin Adi al-Adbar was a pious lover of Maula Ali (as). Mu’awiya made his bastard brother the Governor of Kufa, he would disgrace the family of the Prophet (s) whilst standing on the pulpit, Hujr as a true lover of Maula ‘Ali (as) was unable to tolerate such insults. He would praise Maula ‘Ali (as) and object to such insults. Ibn Ziyad through his usual deception fabricated allegations to Mu’awiya who ordered that they be apprehended and sent to him. On route to Damascus Mu’awiya ordered their execution. This is a fact that the Nawasib cannot escape, a fact that has even been vouched for by the Salafi scholar scholar Hasan bin Farhan al-Maliki who on page 170 of his book ‘Qeraah fi Kutub al-Aqaed’ said:

“The Bani Umaya killed and humiliated the lovers of Ahl ul bayt, and ruthlessly killed Hujr bin Adi during Mu’awyia’s reign on account of his criticism of their act of cursing Ali from the pulpits”

It is also said that when the time came when they were about to murder Hujr they asked him according to the customs if there was one last request that they could grant him. Hujr asked them if they could kill his son in front of him before they killed him. The executioner asked what was the reason for this? Hujr said that he would like to see that his son would die with the love of Ali in his heart and that he was afraid that if he himself was killed first then his son might leave on account of fear and go over to the side of Muawiya and denounce Ali.

These cruel heartless people then murdered Hujr’s son in front of him and then proceeded to murder Hujr next.

May Allah bless Hujr ibn Adi, his son and his faithful companions!

This can be found in “The Suffering of the Ahl ul Bayt and their Followers throughout History” Chapter 13 by Mateen J. Charbonneau