Tabarrī (Arabic: تبرّي) or bara'a (to dissociate oneself from the enemies of God and the enemies of religion's authorities, is a theological term and is one of the doctrinal and practical Islamic teachings especially among the Shi'a and some other Islamic denominations. This term has been adopted from the Holy Qur'an and has appeared in 20 Suras.
Shi'as believe that Imamate is the continuation of Risala (apostleship); thus it is the protector of Islam. The Prophet (s) introduced them (Imams). Later every Imam introduced and stipulated the next Imam. Therefore, people who were obstacles to the Imamate and implementation of the true form of Islam and the people who were the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt are equally the enemies of God and it is necessary for all believers to dissociate from them. Shi'as by referring to some Qur'anic verses -including Sura Hud verse no. 18-19, Sura al-Anfal verse no.25 and Sura al-Mujadila verse no.22- and authentic hadiths from both Shi'ite and Sunni sides about Imam Ali (a), recognize his enemies as the enemies of God and the Prophet (s) and consider tabarri from them as necessary.
Tabarri is an Arabic infinitive from the root "b-r-y". Tabarri means "avoiding and dissociating".
The term "tabarri" is originally derived from the Qur'an. Sura al-Tawba begins with the repudiation of the polytheists. More accurately, the paronyms of tabarri appear to be cited around 30 times in the holy Qu'ran. Some of them are: the dissociation from polytheism, the declaration of the Prophet (s) that he is dissociated from the actions of the polytheists (10:41, 26:216).
The general meaning of tabarri and its paronyms in the holy Qur'an is, basically, "avoiding and dissociating from the enemies of God".
In many hadiths from the Prophet (s), the importance of tabarri is stated and that he considers the "hate for God" as one of the most important pillars of faith. Imam al-Sadiq (a) clearly states the necessity of the separation of the enemies of the religion and their allies.
In hadiths, often, tabarri is mentioned alongside with tawalli (friendship for God).
In Islamic sects
Most of the Islamic sects, by realizing the emphasis of Qur'an and the hadiths from Prophet (s), confirm tabarri and there is no difference of opinion among them over this general Qur'anic concept and its necessity. However, there are differences in identifying the enemies of God and the criteria for apostasy in Islam. Some scholars have had radical views and considered Islamic sects like Imamyya and Zaydiyya as infidels but not all theologians and Muslim scholars have accepted it.
Throughout history, tabarri has either been rooted in theological differences over some issues including Imamate and succession to the Holy Prophet (s) or political intentions or even personal motives. Here, the principle of tabarri along with tawalli is of special position and meaning among the Shi'a and is considered as one of the main teachings of this sect.
Shi'as consider Imamate, based on divine designation, as one of the fundamental principles of faith and believe that designated Imamate is the continuation of Risala (apostleship) and thus protects Islam. The twelve Imams after the Prophet (s) are infallible and are designated by God, the Prophet (s) introduced them, and also every Imam introduced the next Imam. Therefore anyone who is an obstacle to the Imamate and implementation of the true form of Islam or people who were the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt; are the enemies of God and it is necessary for all believers to dissociate from them.
Shi'a by referring to the verses from the holy Qur'an as cited in 18 and 19 of sura Hud,[Note 1] 25 of al-Anfal[Note 2], 22 of al-Mujadila[Note 3]- and authentic hadiths from both Shi'a and Sunni books about Imam 'Ali (a), recognize his enemies as the enemies of God and the Prophet (s) and therefore consider their tabarri necessary.
In many suras of the holy Qur'an it is indicated that dissociating polytheism and its leaders by avoiding their gods are instances of tabarri. Including the sura al-Mumtahana in which the tabarri of Ibrahim (Abraham) is explained:
|“||There is certainly a good exemplar for you in Abraham and those who were with him, when they said to their own people, Indeed we repudiate you and whatever you worship besides Allah. We disavow you, and between you and us there has appeared enmity and hate forever, unless you come to have faith in Allah alone.||”|
|— The Qur'an, 60:4|
The Prophet (a) told Imam 'Ali (a): "Indeed I am at peace with who is at peace with you, and I am at war against who is at war against you." He also said the same phrase for Ahl al-Kisa'. The Prophet (a) said: "Imams after me are twelve, rejecting any of them is the rejection of me.
It should also be noted that in the opinion of Shi'as, not every non-Shi'a is an instance to tabarri. But only those people, who despite their knowledge to the rightfulness of Ahl al-Bayt, are their enemies.
Also there are people who consider Imam 'Ali (a) as god (Ghulat), they are also subjects to tabarri.
Those who oppressed Ahl al-Bayt and violated their dignity, those who changed the sunna of the Prophet (s), those who exiled the elite companions of the Prophet (s) and gave the wealth of the poor to the rich, Nakithun (those who broke their allegiance to Imam 'Ali (a), Qasitun (Mu'awiya and his army), Mariqun (Khawarij), all of those misleading scholars and cruel tyrants along with the killer of Imam 'Ali (a) and the killers of other Imams (a) are subjects to tabarri.
About how to implement this principle in the community, there are differences among Muslims. With the establishment of Sunni or Shi'a governments around the world, this principle has faced increasing and sometimes decreasing level of adoption among Muslims.
The usual manner of Shi'a scholars has been to regard the unity of Muslims and proximity of Islamic sects as held by Imam 'Ali (a), The true inheritor of Prophet (s).
In the life of past scholars like, al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Sayyid al-Murtada and Shaykh al-Tusi and also in the manner of late scholars like Mirza Hasan Shirazi, Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, Ayatullah Husayn Burujirdi and Imam Khomeini many instances of their manner for preserving the unity of Muslims are apparent.
Also there are some hadiths which suggest avoiding any provocation and pessimism between Muslims.
Some instances of contentions of some past Shi'a governments with Sunnis are reported. On the other hand, Wahhabis attacked the cities of Najaf and Karbala and other holy shrines of Imams. They demolished the shrines of the companions of the Prophet (a) and even the birthplace of the Prophet (s) in Mecca. They have slaughtered many people of different religions on the basis of their affiliations, especially Shi'as.
Islamic rules are provided in harmony with the nature (fitra) of human beings. Human is a creature that in addition to cognitive abilities, has positive and negative feelings. Obviously, the negative feelings in humans have profit otherwise their presence would be vain. When the nature of human is that he likes someone who does a service for him; on the opposite side, he hates someone who hurts him. Though the worldly benefits are not very important for a true believer, whoever wants to take away the religion and the eternal happiness from him is doing a harm.
|“||Satan is indeed your enemy, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his confederates so that they may be among the inmates of the Blaze.||”|
|— The Qur'an, 64:6|
When it is necessary to be friend with the friends of God, it is also necessary to be the enemy of the enemies of God. This is one of the important keys to redemption. If someone doesn't avoid the enemies of God, his behavior with them becomes gradually friendly. He or she would yield to their manners and their beliefs and eventually becomes one of them.
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللّهِ كَذِبًا أُوْلَئِكَ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَى رَبِّهِمْ وَيَقُولُ الأَشْهَادُ َؤُلاء الَّذِينَ كَذَبُواْ عَلَى رَبِّهِمْ أَلاَ لَعْنَةُ اللّهِ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ * الَّذِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَيَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَهُم بِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ كَافِرُونَ
وَاتَّقُواْ فِتْنَةً لاَّ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمْ خَآصَّةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ
The material for this article is mainly taken from تبری in Farsi Wikishia.