Rebuttal of Answering-Ansar’s Article
“Who Killed Imam Hussain? (AS)”


The Shia propagandists feel the heat when the Sunnis remind them that it was the Shia of Kufa who betrayed Hussain, and that it was this betrayal that led him to his death. To counter this, Answering-Ansar wrote an article defending Shi’ism by claiming that the Kuffans were not really Shia. The basic premise of Answering-Ansar’s article is that while the Kuffans were called “Shia”, they were not the Shia’t Ali but rather the Shia’t Umar, Shia’t Uthman, or the Shia’t Muawiyyah. Anything other than the Shia’t Ali.

However, this is a ridicolous interpretation of history, and no historian would claim that Kuffans were anyone other than the Shia’t Ali. But let us provide you with a historical source that the Shia considers authoratative. I kindly refer the reader to “The Origins and Early Development of Shi’a Islam” by SHM Jafri. Establishing this book’s authenticity in the eyes of the Shia is not difficult since it is available on, the most reliable Shia website on the internet. The book may be found here:

The book “The Origins and Early Development of Shi’a Islam” by SHM Jafri is so authoratative that it is endorsed by the Iranian government. The book is published in Qum with the blessing of the highest scholars (Maraje’) in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Please go to this Shia website and scroll down to the bottom to confirm this.

It is also available on; you can view this here: praised the book: says
The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 5

Kufa: Stage of Shi`i Activities

From the time `Ali moved to Kufa in 36/656, or even earlier, the city became the main centre of Shi`i movements, aspirations, hopes, and sometimes concerted efforts. It was in and around Kufa that so many of the stormy events which make up the early history of Shi’i Islam took place:

events such as the mobilization of forces by `Ali for the battles of Al-Jamal and Siffin the election and abdication of Hasan, the uprising of Hujr b. `Adi al-Kindi, the massacre of Husayn and his companions, the movement of the Tawwabun, and the revolt of Mukhtar.

Yet Kufa also proved to be a source of setbacks, disappointments, frustrations, and even treachery and failure in the Shi`i desire to see the house of `Ali in command of the affairs of the Muslim community.

This chapter, therefore, endeavours to examine in brief the nature and composition of the city of Kufa and the characteristic tendencies of its people.

SHM Jafri, the well-reputed Shia scholar and historian, declares that Kufa became the “center of the Shia movement” and characterized the “history of Shia Islam”. Is there any doubt now which Shia we are talking about here? The clear distinction is made that it is Shia Islam, and not Sunni Islam. Therefore, how can Answering-Ansar claim that these were Shia’t of anyone other than Ali? Answering-Ansar has tried very hard to deny the fact that it was the Shia’t Ali who betrayed Hussain, but here we read that SMH Jafri says “treachery and failure in the Shi`i desire to see the house of Ali in command of the affairs of the Muslim community.” Clearly, the treachoury is from people who had a desire to see the house of Ali in power. Therefore, it is painfully obvious that we are talking about the Shia here (yes, those Shia).

Answering-Ansar says
Kufa was a city that was founded by the second khalifa, Arab tribes settled there. No doubt they were loyal to him. They deemed him to be the legitimate khalifa, so much so that Umar deemed Kufa to be the head of Islam…The Kufan Arabs accepted the concept of khilafath that had been established at Saqifa, and expanded by Hadhrath Umar. The Kufans were those that deemed Ali (as) to be the fourth khailfa, which is not the belief espoused by the Shi’a who deem him (as) to be the rightful khalifa after Rasulullah (s).

Yes, Kufa was definitely founded by Caliph Umar bin Khattab who also adored the city. But this was in 638 AD. After many years, there was a great influx of the Shia’t Ali into Kufa, many of whom came with Ali himself. By 656 AD, Kufa had become the center of the Shia movement. This is recorded in the same Shia historical text written by SHM Jafri. says
The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 5

Kufa: Stage of Shi`i Activities

The city of Kufa was founded in the year 17/638, about three years after `Umar b. al-Khattab assumed the caliphate at Medina…

…It is against this background that the third and most critical phase of Kufan history began. The first phase had seen the city’s foundation in 17/638 and extended until the death of ‘Umar in 24/644; the second ended with the death of’`Uthman in 35/655; this ushered in the third phase, which was dominated by the rise of `Ali to the caliphate in the same year…

The Kufan contingent was the first to pay homage to `Ali under the leadership of Malik al-Ashtar…’Ali was thus left with no choice but to leave Medina for Iraq and count on the support of the Kufans, who had shown their inclinations towards him…

When ‘Ali came to Kufa, there was another influx of newcomers to the city, those who came with ‘Ali himself, and he treated them with equality irrespective of their early domicile…

He arrived in the neighbourhood of Kufa with about 1,000 men who accompanied him from Medina, and was readily joined by about 12,000 Kufans….

They formed the main part of his army at the battle of Al-Jamal. The Meccan-Basran alliance was defeated, and ‘Ali was able to bring Basra well under his control and appointed ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abb~s as his governor.

‘Ali then entered Kufa, not to make it his capital, but only to mobilize further support and organize the Kufans for another much more serious encounter with Mu’awiya…

In order to consolidate his power in Kufa, ‘All had to establish a purely Islamic socio-political system…Leaders such as Al-Ashtar, Hujr, and `Adi, together with their following,
especially from the newcomers of their tribes, formed the backbone of `Ali’s supporters and were the nucleus of the Shi`i of Kufa.

…From the time `Ali moved to Kufa in 36/656, or even earlier, the city became the main centre of Shi`i movements, aspirations, hopes, and sometimes concerted efforts.

There should thus be no doubt that the city of Kufa went through various phases, and the fourth phase–according to SHM Jafri–was the establishment of the Shia movement in Kufa. Therefore, Answering-Ansar showing us that Umar bin Khattab founded the city or that the Kuffans supported the first three Caliphs is all extraneous and we already accept this as a fact. It was during the time of Uthman’s assassination that Abdullah ibn Saba’s followers began their propaganda in Kufa. Thereafter the beliefs of the Kuffans would shift from the mainstream and many would adopt the Saba’ite beliefs which are the basis of the modern day Shia followers.

Letters to Hussain

Answering-Ansar has tried to imply that it was the Sunnis who sent letters to Hussain to come to Kufa and that they would support him once he got there. However, the truth is that it was the Shia of Kufa who sent him letters asking him to come to Kufa. says

The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 7

The Martyrdom of Husayn

This was emphasized by the leaders of the movement when they wrote:
“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate; to al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, from his Shi`a, the faithful Muslims: Further make haste, for the people are awaiting you, as they have no Imam other than you! So haste, and again haste! Peace.”

This last letter was signed by a number of people and was sent with a delegation consisting of Hani b. Hani as-Sabi’i and Sa’id b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hanafi, the two most trusted Shi`is of Kufa.

In fact, SHM Jaffri recounts so many different letters written by prominent Shia of Kufa that I think the reader should just read this chapter for himself: Clearly, we see after reading this, that it was the Shia of Kufa who enticed Hussain to leave his safety in Mecca and come to Kufa instead.

The Tawwabun

There can be no doubt that the Tawwabun were the penitent Shia of Kufa. Answering-Ansar has tried to claim that these were actually Sunnis. However, the truth is that the predominant element in the Tawwabun were radicalized Shia many of whom had Saba’ite-oriented beliefs. We again use as proof SHM Jafri’s book, in which he clearly says that the Tawwabun helped consolidate Shia Islam: says
The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 8

The Reaction after Karbala

The martyrdom of Husayn was of great religious significance and had a deep heart-searching after-effect upon the Shi’is, giving a new turn to the mode and nature of the Shi’i movement.

The tragic fate of the grandson of the Prophet stirred religious and moral sentiments, particularly among those of the Kufan followers of the House of the Prophet who had so zealously asked Husayn to come to Iraq to guide them on what they considered to be the path of God. But when Husayn came to Iraq they did not or could not stand with him in the hour of trial.

Soon afterwards, however, they realized that their inability, or rather weakness, had been the cause of the tragedy. A deep sense of repentance set in, provoking their religious conscience; and in order to expiate their negligence and obtain God’s forgiveness, they thought they must make similar sacrifices. They believed that they could only prove their real repentance by exposing themselves to death while seeking vengeance for the blood of Husayn.

Hence they named themselves the Tawwabun (penitents) and are known in Islamic history by this self-imposed title. This movement, as will be seen below, proved to be an important step forward in the consolidation of Shi’i Islam.

In a desperate attempt to deny that the Tawwabun were Shia, Answering-Ansar has made the following argument:

Answering-Ansar says
The Sahabi Sulayman bin Surad and al Mussayab bin Najabah led the Tawabun

Answering-Ansar is trying to say that the Tawwabun were led by Sunnis. But there can be no doubt that Sulayman bin Surad is considered a staunch Shia, according to the Shia themselves. In fact, he is called “Shaikh as-Shia” (the Shaikh of all Shias). Mussayab bin Najabah was also a Shia. SHM Jafri makes this abundantly clear in his book: says

The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 8

The Reaction after Karbala

The (Tawwabun) movement began under the leadership of five of the oldest and most trusted associates of ‘Ali, with a following of a hundred diehard and devoted Shi’is of Kufa, none of whom was below sixty years of age.

This age factor should particularly be noted, as it indicates the maturity of their religious thinking and behaviour. The five leaders of the movement:

1. Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza`i,
2. Al-Musayyab b. Najaba al-Fazari;
3. `Abd Allah b. Sa`d b. Nufayl al-Azdi
4. Abd Allah b. Walin at-Tami,
5. Rifa`a b. Shaddad al-Bajali)

had always been in the forefront of all Shi’i activities in Kufa, and were highly respected by the Shi’a for their sincerity of purpose and unshaken devotion to the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt.

Similarly, the other hundred who joined these leaders of the movement are described as “the most select from among the followers of ‘Ali”. Towards the end of 61/680 they held their first meeting in the house of Sulayman b. Surad….

Rifa`a b. Shaddad al-Bajali, another senior member of the five leaders, then spoke, appealing passionately to the religious sentiments of those present. After emphasizing further what Al-Musayyab had said, he proposed:

“Let us give command of our affairs to Shaykh ash-Shi`a, the companion of the Prophet, possessor of priority in Islam, Sulayman b. Surad, the one praised for his intrepidity and for his religion and the one who has been dependable and reliable in his judiciousness and prudence (Hazm).”

The other three leaders named above spoke in the same vein and seconded the proposal to choose Sulayman as their leader on the same grounds as mentioned by Rifa`a. It is important to note that the qualifications for the leadership of the movement, which was indeed dedicated to the Shi’i cause, were companionship with the Prophet and priority or precedence in Islam (sabiqa).

This, like many other instances, means that the main emphasis of the Shi’is was to enforce the Islamic ideal, which they thought could only be achieved through the Ahl al-Bayt, the people nearest to the Prophet.

Sulayman b. Surad, accepting the responsibility of leading the movement, made a forceful speech in which he laid down the severest standards required of those who wanted to participate and emphasized that they should be ready to sacrifice their lives for the noblest task ahead of them.

…Circumstances took a sudden turn in favour of the movement with the unexpected death of Yazid in 64/683, encouraging the Tawwabun to come out in the open. Some of the leading members urged Sulayman to rise publicly, Oust `Amr b. Hurayth, deputy of ‘Abd Allah b. Ziyad, from the city, pursue those responsible for the blood of Husayn, and call the people to support the Ahl al-Bayt.

…They said that they would follow only Shaykh ash-Shia Sulayman b. Surad

It therefore abundantly clear that Sulayman bin Surad and Mussayab bin Najabah were Shia, according to the Shia scholarship. Therefore, Answering-Ansar’s attempts to pass them off as Sunni is sophomoric at best. The Tawwabun movement was clearly a Shia movement with Shia ideals. In fact, SHM Jafri clearly says just this, that the Tawwabun movement possessed the ideals of Shi’ism. says

The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 8

The Reaction after Karbala

In all the preceding chapters dealing with the developments from the time of the death of the Prophet till the death of Husayn, the Shi’i doctrinal stand and their religio-political aspirations have repeatedly been pointed out…mission was the same as that of the Tawwabun insofar as the revenge for the blood of Husayn and establishing the rights of the Ahl al-Bayt…

The Tawwabun were definitely Shia because they believed in the concept of Imamah which is distinct to the Shia faith. says
The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam


Chapter 8

The Reaction after Karbala

there are strong indications that they [the Tawwabun] believed that the rightful Imam was now Husayn’s surviving son ‘Ali, later known as Zayn al-’Abidin. There are many factors that support this view.

To completely end the debate about wether or not the Tawwabun were Shia, let us refer you to which categorically declares that they were indeed Shia movements. says
Question: how did Islam change for the majority of the Muslims, did they still follow Yazid and his companions, or did they realize that Imam Hussain(A.S) was the true calipha?


…There were 2 main revolts which challenged the Umayyad regime soon after the events in Kerbala - the Tawwabun movement led by Sulayman b. Surad and Mukhtar’s revolt against those who had perpetrated the crimes in Kerbala


The bottom line is that it was the Shia who pledged support to Hussain, which caused him to leave Mecca for Kufa. At the last minute, the Shia of Kufa betrayed Hussain and allowed Yezid’s men (who were much fewer in number than the Kuffans) to attack and defeat Hussain’s contingent. The ceremony of Matam can be traced to the Tawwabun, who were the penitent Shia who felt guilty for leading their Imam to his imminent death. This, my friends, is the illustrious history of the Shia.

Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, | Email : ahlelbayt[a] | English Version