Tawalla and Tabarra


By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi

It is obligatory on us to cultivate the love of Allah (S.w.T.) and affection for those who love Allah (S.w.T.) (or whom Allah (S.w.T.) loves). At the head of this list are our fourteen Ma’sūmīn (a.s.), then come their Shias and those who love them, their righteous children and due to their relationships the Sadāts and Sayyids. Their love and affection is the recompense for the Messengership of the Holy Prophet (S) according to the Holy Qur’an:


“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…”

 (Surah Ash-Shūrā 42: 23)


Tabarra or Barāt means to consider the enemies of Allah (S.w.T.) and the friends of the enemies of Allah (S.w.T.) as our enemies. The persons heading this list are those have usurped the rights of Āli Muhammad (a.s.), and those who had oppressed and troubled them. It denotes harbouring enmity towards all those whom Allah (S.w.T.) and the Holy Prophet (S) consider enemies. A large number of ayats and traditions mention the significance of these two duties and they are among the necessities of faith. A few of these are presented below.

“The foundation of Islam rests on five things: Prayer, Fast, Zakat, Hajj and Wilāyat. Among them none have been emphasized more than Wilāyat.”

(al-Kāfi Vol. 2 page 18)


In another tradition it is mentioned,

“Love for Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.), enmity towards their enemies, Obedience of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) and following their guidance is included among the foundations of religion.”

(al-Kāfi Vol. 2 page 18)


Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says that the Messenger of Allah (S) asked his companions about the strongest relationship of belief (that will bring salvation and good consequences for the one who acts upon it)?”


“Allah and His Messenger (S) know better,” replied the companions. Some of them said, ‘Prayer’, some ‘Fast’, some guessed ‘Zakat’ a few thought it was Hajj and Umrah and some even thought it was Jihad. The Messenger of Allah (S) said,


“All the things mentioned by you are virtuous but they are not reliable channels of intercession (wasila). The best and the strongest channel is to have friendship for the sake of Allah and to harbour enmity for the pleasure of Allah. Loving the friends of Allah and expressing dislike for the enemies of Allah.”

(al-Kāfi Vol. 2 page 125)


Imam Riďa (a.s.) writes in a letter about the commandments of Islam and says,

 “Dissociation with those who have oppressed the Progeny of the Prophet (S) is Wajib. It is also obligatory against those who confronted ‘Ali (a.s.) in the battles of Jamal, Siffīn and Nahrawan, and those who deny his mastership (Wilāyat). It is Wajib to despise them all from the first to the last.”

Obligatory (for you) is the love of ‘Ali (a.s.) and those who followed him like, Salman, Abu Zar, Miqdad, Ammar, Abul Haytham, Sahal bin Hunaif, Ubadah bin al-Samit, Abu Ayyub Ansari, Khuzayma bin Thabit, Abu Saīd Khudri etc. And also obligatory is the love of those who were like them.”

(Uyun al-Akhbar ar-Riďa page 268)


One who desires to meet Allah (S.w.T.) with correct belief, must love Allah (S.w.T.), the Messenger of Allah and the believers (foremost among them being the twelve Imams), and he must harbour enmity with their opponents.”

(Rawdatul Kāfi)


Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says:

“By Allah! Even if a stone befriends us, Allah will raise it with us (in Qiyāma). Is religion anything except friendship and hatred?”

(Bihār al-Anwār)


Denying the Rights of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.)

In Wasa’il ul-Shia, in the Chapter of ‘Taīn’ we find a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) which mentions that denying the rights of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) is also a Greater sin.


 In another hadith Imam (a.s.) says,

“Denying whatever Allah has revealed.”

Rights of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) clearly means the Wilāyat of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). Thus denying whatever Allah (S.w.T.) has revealed means denying the Wilāyat and rights of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). According to some scholars it implies “warring against the friends of Allah (S.w.T.),” which is a Greater sin according to other traditions. This also means opposing the Āle Muhammad (a.s.) and being hostile to them.


In other words, the traditions mentioned earlier are speaking of Wilāyat.

Further research indicates that Wilāyat of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) means to consider them ‘Ūli’ l-’Amr’ (holders of authority). Belief in Imamat is a confirmed article of faith. One who denies it goes beyond the pale of belief. In the same way walayat (with an ‘a’ as the second letter) denotes love and help of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). It is one of the necessities of religion. One who denies it, is like the Nasibis, outside the pale of Islam and ritually dirty (Najis).


“Whatever Allah has revealed”, clearly means all those things that the Almighty has sent down to us and whatever Allah (S.w.T.) has revealed must be accepted. If a person denies even a single thing he would be committing a greater sin. Since the most important thing sent by Allah (S.w.T.) and the most emphasized article of faith is Wilāyat, its denial is the most serious of greater sins. As already mentioned, some of its forms (like bearing enmity to Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) absolutely makes one a Kafir.


As far as fighting the friends of Allah (S.w.T.) is concerned, anyone who bears enmity to them knowing that they are the loved ones of Allah (S.w.T.), has committed a greater sin. Since Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) are the foremost among friends of Allah (S.w.T.), their enmity and opposition and fighting them is the most serious form of infidelity. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says,


“On the day of Qiyāma the announcer will announce: Where are those who opposed and confronted our friends? Some people without flesh on their faces will stand up. It will be said: They are the ones who pained the believers, opposed them, were inimical to them and harmed their religion. Command will be issued to cast them into Hell.”

(al-Kāfi Vol. 2 page 351)


The Almighty Allah said to the Holy Prophet (S) in Miraj:

“O Muhammad (S)! Whoever insults one of My friends has certainly launched an attack on Me. And whoever makes war on Me, I make war with him.”

The Holy Prophet (S) said,

“My Lord! Who is Your friend? Although I have understood that You will fight those who fight You.”

The Almighty said,

“Those from whom I have taken the covenant of Wilāyat for you, and for your wasi (‘Ali a.s.), and your progeny (and that of ‘Ali (a.s.).”

(al-Kāfi. Vol. 2 page 353)