Can we do tabarra by taking names of enemies?

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An attempt to curse the enemies of Islam is met with much protest from certain sections of Muslims. They begin by claiming that the practice of cursing enemies of Islam (tabarra) itself is baseless. Then in the face of overwhelming evidence from the Holy Quran and Prophetic Sunnah, they concede that tabarra is an Islamic practice but at a general level; therefore, no names must be taken while cursing the enemies. They argue that neither Allah the High nor the Noble Prophet nor the infallible Imams (a.s.) have taken names. So why should we? We cannot exceed them. Hence, like them we should also do general tabarra and avoid taking names.


There is no evidence to suggest that tabarra must be done only in general and we must avoid names. Just like tabarra is obligatory, taking names of the enemies of Islam and Aal-e-Muhammad (a.s.) is also admissible, unless exempted due to dissimulation (taqayya).

We will see the infallibles Imams (a.s.) have cursed with names and have ordered the Shias to take names while cursing.

1. Infallibles (a.s.) have given permission to specify names
2. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) does tabarra with names
3. Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) does tabarra with names
4. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) does tabarra with names
5. Has Imam Sadiq (a.s.) taken their names?

Back to TopInfallibles (a.s.) have given permission to specify names

Reputed scholars like Shaikh al-Hurr al-Aamili (r.a.) (expired 1104 A.H.) and Mirza Husain Noori (r.a.) (expired 1320 A.H.) have devoted an entire chapter in their respective books – ‘Wasaail al-Shia ila Tahseel Masaail al-Shariah’ and ‘Mustadrak al-Wasa’il wa Mustanbat al-Masaail’. They are among the two biggest authorities in the Shiite world and these two books are source books for Shiite jurisprudence.

Both have introduced a chapter in their books with the title –

بَابُ‏ جَوَازِ الدُّعَاءِ فِي الْقُنُوتِ‏ عَلَى الْعَدُوِّ وَ تَسْمِيته

‘Chapter of permissibility of cursing enemies in Qunoot and naming them’

Mentioned below are some of the traditions sourced from the chapters:

عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ: تَدْعُو فِي الْوَتْرِ عَلَى الْعَدُوِّ وَ إِنْ شِئْتَ سَمَّيْتَهُمْ وَ تَسْتَغْفِرُ الْحَدِيث‏

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said (by way of a command): Curse the enemies in the prayers of watr (in Salat al-Lail) and if you wish name them (enemies) and seek forgiveness….

  • Wasail al-Shiah, vol. 6 p. 283, H. 7,978 from Tahzeeb al-Ahkam of Shaikh al-Toosi (r.a.), vol. 2 p. 131 H. 504

Imam Sadiq (a.s.): Surely the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to curse the enemies in Qunoot of prayers with their names and names of their forefathers and their relatives and Ali (a.s.) did likewise after him (s.a.w.a.).

  • Wasail al-Shiah, vol. 6 p. 283 H. 7,979 narrating from al-Kaafi of al-Kulaini (r.a.), Chapter 17, H. 3 from Chapters of Prostration and Mustatrafaat al-Saraair of Muhammad Ibn Idris al-Hilli (r.a.)

Ibrahim b. Uqbah said: I wrote to him (meaning Imam Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza a.s.) – may I be sacrificed for you –I had known some of the Mamtoorah (the Waqifiyyah– those who rejected Imam Reza a.s.), then (can I) I curse them in the Qunoot of my prayers? Imam (a.s.), “Yes, curse them in the Qunoot of your prayers.”

  • Wasail al-Shiah, vol. 6 p. 283 H. 7,980 narrating from Rijaal al-Kashi, vol. 2 p. 762 H. 879

Back to TopHoly Prophet (s.a.w.a.) does tabarra with names

الشَّهِيدُ فِي الذِّكْرَى،: يَجُوزُ الدُّعَاءُ فِيهِ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ وَ الدُّعَاءُ عَلَى الْكَفَرَةِ وَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لِأَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ص دَعَا فِي قُنُوتِهِ لِقَوْمٍ بِأَعْيَانِهِمْ وَ عَلَى آخَرِينَ بِأَعْيَانِهِمْ كَمَا رُوِيَ أَنَّهُ ص قَالَ- اللَّهُمَّ أَنْجِ الْوَلِيدَ بْنَ الْوَلِيدِ وَ سَلَمَةَ بْنَ هِشَامٍ وَ عَيَّاشَ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ وَ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ اشْدُدْ وَطْأَتَكَ عَلَى مُضَرَ و رِعْلَ و ذَكْوَان‏

  • The first martyr (Shaheed-e-Awwal) al-Shaikh Muhammad b. Makki (r.a.) in his book – Al-Zikra (p. 84) writes:

“It is permitted to pray for believers with their names and also curse the apostates and hypocrites (with names), because the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed in Qunoot for the nation by naming their notable ones and likewise cursed the others by naming their notable ones. As it has been narrated that he (s.a.w.a.) said: O Allah deliver Al-Waleed b. al-Waleed and Salamah b. Hishaam and Ayyaash b. Rabee’ah and the weak believers and intensify your punishment on Muzar and Re’l and Zikwaan.”

  • Mustadrak al-Wasaail, vol. 4 p. 411, H. 5,038

Back to TopAmeerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi  Talib (a.s.) does tabarra with names

It is reported that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) used to pray Maghrib prayers with the people and recited the Qunoot in the second unit and cursed Muawiyah, Amr Aas, Abu Moosa Al-Ashari , Abu Al-A’war al-Sullami and their companions.

  • Mustadrak al-Wasaail, vol. 4 p. 411,H. 5,035 and 5,036

Back to TopImam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) does tabarra with names

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ بَزِيعٍ عَنِ الْخَيْبَرِيِّ عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ ثُوَيْرٍ وَ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ السَّرَّاجِ قَالا سَمِعْنَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع وَهُوَيَلْعَنُ‏ فِي دُبُرِ كُلِّ مَكْتُوبَةٍ أَرْبَعَةً مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَ أَرْبَعاً مِنَ النِّسَاءِ فُلَانٌ وَ فُلَانٌ وَ فُلَانٌ وَ مُعَاوِيَةُ وَ يُسَمِّيهِمْ وَ فُلَانَةُ وَ فُلَانَةُ وَ هِنْدٌ وَ أُمُّ الْحَكَمِ أُخْتُ مُعَاوِيَةَ

Al-Husain b. Thowairin and Abu Salamah al-Sarraaj recount: We heard Imam Sadiq (a.s.) while he cursed at the end of every obligatory prayer four men and four women. So and so, so and so, so and so and Muawiyah and he (Imam Sadiq a.s.) named each one of them and so and so, so and so, Hind and Umm al-Hikam – sister of Muawiyah.

  • Al-Kafi, vol.3, p. 342
  • Tahzeeb al-Ahkaam, vol.2 p. 321 with the exception that the narrator mentions al-Taymi (referring to Abu Bakr) and al-Adawi (implying Umar) for the first two males

Back to TopHas Imam Sadiq (a.s.) taken their names?

The skeptics raise baseless queries over this report that Imam (a.s.) has not named the enemies and only referred to the enemies as ‘so and so’.  So we should also refer to them as so and so (فلانا in Arabic).

This argument is baseless and shows poor understanding of traditions and basics of Arabic literature. The report clearly says – يُسَمِّيهِمْ meaning he (Imam a.s.) was naming them. The narrators have mentioned the ‘so and so’ in the report most likely due to dissimulation (taqayyah). As clarification, they say that Imam (a.s.) did name them.

Also on referring to the other versions of the report from Tahzeeb, vol. 2, p. 321, it is clear who Imam (a.s.) means from the reference to Al-Taymi and Al-Adawi – may Allah curse them.

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