Definition of Ghuluw (Exaggeration) and its condemnation
(please note that this and the blogs after this are chapters from the book “Ghuluw” which can be downloaded from the “PDF Download Files” section.)
Hadith 1: This is a narration in Usul al Kafi,
Hamid ibn Ziyad has narrated from al-Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Sama’a from certain individuals of his people from Aban from ‘Amr ibn Khalid from abu Ja’far, recipient of divine supreme covenant, who has said the following:
“Abu Ja’far (Imam Baqir a.s), has said, ‘O the community of Shi’a of the household of Muhammad (s), be the central support (take the middle path) so that both al- Ghali (exxagerators) and al-Tali (those left behind) refer to you.
’ A man from Ansar (people of Madina) called Sa’d, said, ‘May Allah keep my soul in service for your cause, what is the meaning of al-Ghali?’ The Imam said, ‘They are the people who say about us what we do not say about ourselves. Thus, they are not of our people and we are not of their people.’
The man then asked, ‘Who are al-Tali?’ The Imam said, ‘They are those who search for good. They receive the good and are rewarded for it.’
The Imam then turned to us and said, ‘I swear by Allah that we do not possess any amnesty from Allah and there is no family relation between Allah and us nor do we possess any authority over Allah. We do not seek nearness to Allah through any other means but obedience to Him. Whoever of you is obedient to Allah, it will benefit him, and whoever of you is disobedient to Allah, our guardianship, Wilayah, will not benefit him. What is the matter with you? Do not be misled! What is the matter with you? Do not be misled!’”
Hadith 2: Same narration has been quoted in the book Mishkat al Anwar
Hadith 3: A similar narration with different words has been narrated in Bihar al Anwar, from Imam Sadiq (as).
From Aban bin Othman Abu ‘Abdullah (Imam Sadiq a.s) said: Curse of Allah be on Abdullah bin Saba, he claimed Lordship for the Commander of Faithful (Imam Ali a.s), and the Commander of faithful was not but a servant of Allah (swt), woe to those who lied against us, and surely those who say about us what we do not say about ourselves, we dissociate ourselves from them in front of Allah (swt), we dissociate ourselves from them in front of Allah (swt)!!!
Hadith 4: While condemning a Ghali (exaggerator) called Mughira ibn Sa’eed, Imam Sadiq (as) repeats the definition of “Ghuluw”. In Rijal al Kashi, Ch 98 – On Mughira ibn Sa’eed, Hadith 400.
The Imam (as) says “…..May the curse of Allah (swt) be on those who claim about us what we have not claimed about ourselves…”
Hadith 5: In saying no. 116 of Nahjul Balagha, and also in Bihar al Anwar, and numerous other books, Imam Ali (as) is quoted to have said:
يهلك في اثنان: محب غال و مبغض قال.
Two kinds of people will be damned on my account.Those who form exaggerated opinion about me out of love and those who under-estimate me because of hatred.
Hadith 6&7: Bihar al Anwar, Vol 25, there is a full chapter about those who exaggerate (Ghulat), we will just quote two narrations from it.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran “Do not exaggerate in your religion and do not say about Allah (swt) except the truth”, and Imam Ali (as) said “O Allah (swt), I dissociate myself from the Ghulat (exaggerators) like Jesus (as)’s dissociation from the Christians.
Imam Sadiq (as) says “The Ghulat (exaggerators) are the worst of Allah’s creation, they belittle Allah (swt) and they claim lordship for his servants, I swear by Allah (swt), the Ghulat are worse than the Jews, Christians, Majoos and all those who associate with Allah (swt).
Hadith 8: In Al Amali of Sheikh Toosi, pg 650, it has been narrated
Through Abdul Rahman bin Muslim, from Fudhayl bin Yasaar, who said: Imam Sadiq (as) said: “Watch out for your youth and be vigilant in protecting them from the Ghulaat (extremists) lest they corrupt their minds, because the Ghulaat are the worst of God’s creation: they belittle
the greatness of Allah, and they claim divine attributes and qualities for the servants of Allah.
I swear by Allah, the Ghulaat (extremist Shias) are worse than the Jews and the Christians and the Majoos and the (conventional) polytheists……”
Similarly in many other narrations which will be quoted in the coming chapters, the Imams (as) clearly say that those who exaggerate our position (The Ghulat) are disbelievers (Kuffar) and they are worse than all other deviated people.
The Imams (as), due to their experience of the Ghulat in their own time, and due to their far sightedness, knew how dangerous this disease of Ghuluw is, and how it can take people away from the correct religion and make them busy in innovations and rituals which have no basis in Islam.
This is the reason why the Imams (as) warned us, by harshly condemning and cursing the Ghulat, so that we take all the necessary precautions in order to keep ourselves safe from this deadly disease of Ghuluw, but unfortunately, these warnings of the Imams (as) were not narrated from the pulpits (mimbar) and hence the people remained unaware of them and did not take the necessary precautions to save themselves from Ghuluw.