Unethical Actions of Sunni Scholars: getting paid for lies

⚠️ ‘Awzai’ Sunni scholar :

👉 We were paid, to testify falsely that Ali bin Abi Talib is a hypocrite !

📌 PS:  M.R Dahabi, the great Rijali Sunni scholar, refers to “Awzai” with the titles: “Sheikh al-Islam” and “The scholar of Sham”.

📚 (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala Vol.7, p130)


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Controversial Testimony Claims: Awzai Alleges False Accusations Against Ali bin Abi Talib


The history of Islam is replete with instances of power struggles, animosity, and sectarian divisions. One such incident revolves around the renowned Sunni scholar, Awza’i, who allegedly engaged in false testimony against Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon Him), an esteemed figure in Islamic history. This article delves into the details of this controversial episode, shedding light on its historical context and implications.

Context and Historical Significance:

Ali bin Abi Talib peace be upon Him, was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Since he was an orphan kid, Prophet Muhammad (s) grew him up in his own house since early ages. He (s) used to play, and run after Ali (a), putting food in his mouth by His own hand. Therefore, Ali was the first Muslim man who accepted Islam when Muhammad PBUH became a Prophet. Ali (a) was with Him when the Prophet (s) received revelations from Angel Gabriel. Ali (a) spent the most of time with Prophet (s) among the companions, and played a crucial role in early Islamic history. He is revered by all Muslims, particularly by the Shia Muslims, who consider him the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. However, in the broader Sunni community, opinions about Ali bin Abi Talib (a) have varied throughout history. While the majority of Sunni Muslims hold him in high regard, there have been dissenting voices as well.

Hadith of the Seven Gardens:

To further emphasize the significance of Imam Ali in the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad, a Hadith is cited. Narrated by Fakhr e Razi, a strict narrator known for his reliability, the Hadith recounts a moment when the Prophet (s), accompanied by his companions, passed by seven gardens. On each occasion, the Prophet (s) praised Imam Ali (a), saying that his garden in Jannah is more beautiful, and observed the hidden animosity that his companions held towards Ali (a). Expressing his concern, the Prophet (s) cried out aloud and acknowledged the concealed hatred in the hearts of His companions towards Ali (a) that they would not reveal unless when He (s) Himself is dead.

The Testimony and its Source:

The statement attributed to Awzai is recorded in Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, a comprehensive biographical work compiled by Shams ad-Din al-Dhahabi, a very respected Sunni scholar. Awzai regarded as a prominent figure among the Sunnis, held the esteemed position of “Sheikh al-Islam” and “The scholar of al-Sham (Greater Syria)” indicating his prominence in Islamic scholarly circles. He was held in high regard, at the same level as the founders of different Sunni schools of jurisprudence, namely Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. According to the writings of Dhahabi, Awza’i himself admitted that he and others were allegedly paid to to engage in false testimonies against Imam Ali PBUH, casting doubt on his character as a faithful Muslim. Dhahabi recounts Awza’i’s words, stating that they did not receive gifts from rulers until they testified against Imam Ali PBUH with hypocrisy and expressed their disgust towards Him.

The Tragic Fate of Awza’i:

Ironically, Awza’i, who sought to express his aversion towards Imam Ali, met a tragic end. Dhahabi highlights an incident where Awza’i entered a public bath, and upon returning, the bath’s owner found him locked inside, naked and dead. This incident indicates the pathetic fate of the one who received gifts for insulting the holy Family of Prophet PBUH.

The Allegations and Potential Motivations:

Awzai’s claims of being paid to testify against Ali bin Abi Talib raise important questions about the motives behind such accusations. It is essential to consider the historical backdrop and the complex dynamics that characterized early Islamic society. Factionalism, power struggles, censorships on facts and misinterpretations of Islamic teachings undoubtedly played a role in shaping attitudes towards Ali PBUH and his legitimacy as a leader. Let’s remember that one of the first things that Mr. Abubakr did when he got in charge of Caliphate, was to collect all the written Hadithes from the Prophet (PBUH) and he burnt them all! He then forbade narrating Hadith of Prophet (PBUH) by Sahaba for 100 years! (Only few Sahaba were allowed to narrate, among which was Ayisha his own daughter and Abu Hurayra the jew). It is worth noting that allegations of hypocrisy were not uncommon during this period, as individuals vied for power and influence. However, the significance lies in the fact that one of these allegations has been revealed as potentially manufactured.

Insulting the Ahlulbayt and Imam Ali PBUT:

The act of insulting the Ahlulbayt, especially Imam Ali PBUH, has unfortunately found its way into contemporary times. However, it is important to recognize that this practice has its roots in Sunni history, particularly during the era known as the “era of the best centuries.” It was during this period that numerous Sunni scholars, motivated by the desire for favor from rulers, aimed to tarnish the reputation of Imam Ali PBUH. This was accomplished by accusing him of hypocrisy and expressing their disdain towards him.

Support for Ahlulbayt Among Sunni Muslims:

Despite the existence of a minority within the Sunni elite who harbor animosity towards Imam Ali PBUH, it is crucial to acknowledge that the majority of Sunni Muslims are lovers and avid supporters of the Ahlulbayt, particularly Imam Ali PBUH. However, it is disheartening to observe that some common people do follow the lead of those elites, thereby perpetuating the sectarian divide.

Historical Disputes and Interpretations:

Throughout history, Sunni and Shia scholars have often presented conflicting views about various events and personalities within Islamic history. The testimony highlighted in this article adds another layer of complexity to these debates. While some Sunnis may dismiss Awzai’s claims as unreliable or question his intentions, it is crucial to objectively analyze and evaluate all available sources to develop a comprehensive understanding of the historical context.

Implications for Understanding Islamic History:

The false testimony allegations made by Awzai regarding Ali bin Abi Talib emphasize the challenges involved in interpreting historical narratives. It serves as a reminder that historical accounts should be critically examined, keeping in mind the potential biases, motivations, and political circumstances that shaped them.


Awzai’s claims of being paid to testify falsely against Ali bin Abi Talib shed light on the contested sphere of historical narratives and the unfortunate chapter of sectarian division within Islamic history. It highlights the existence of a minority within Sunni scholars who resorted to such actions, tarnishing the reputation of an important figure in Islam, just for money. Nonetheless, it is essential to recognize that the majority of Sunni Muslims hold the Ahlulbayt, especially Imam Ali PBUH, in high regard. This testimony serves as a reminder that historical events and figures are not immune to manipulation and ideological biases, emphasising the need for unity, and to approach historical accounts with caution. By critically analyzing such testimonies, we can strive to unravel the complexities of the past and strive for a more accurate understanding of significant historical events.

Important Lessons

  • There have been attempts throughout history to manipulate narratives and cast doubt on important Islamic figures like Imam Ali (PBUH) for political or ideological reasons.
  • We should be cautious of accounts that aim to tarnish the image of respected personalities and critically analyze the motives behind them.
  • Sectarian divides and differences of opinion have existed since the early days of Islam. We must be careful not to perpetuate them.
  • Power struggles and pursuit of material gain can lead people to compromise principles and engage in unethical practices like false testimony.
  • Islamic history is complex and multi-faceted. There are often conflicting interpretations and perspectives. We must strive to understand context and gather different viewpoints.
  • The majority of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, revere and respect the AhlulBayt and the Imam Ali (PBUH). The extremist minority not only does not represent the mainstream view, but actually whoever doesn’t respect the AhlulBayt (a.s) isn’t a Muslim automatically.
  • Historical events and accounts highlight human flaws. We should focus on the teachings of Quran and the AhlulBayt (a.s) rather than the imperfections of fallible historical figures.
  • Truth and justice should be the ultimate aims in studying history. Dogma and sectarian bias will only lead to misconceptions.
  • Historical Context: The history of Islam is marked by power struggles, animosity, and sectarian divisions, as exemplified by the incident involving Awza’i and Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib.
  • Varying Opinions: Opinions about Imam Ali within the Sunni community have varied throughout history, highlighting the diversity of perspectives within Islam.
  • Hadith of the Seven Gardens: The Hadith emphasizes the significance of Imam Ali in the eyes of Prophet Muhammad and the concealed animosity some companions held towards him.
  • Testimony and its Source: The testimony attributed to Awza’i, a respected Sunni scholar, casts doubt on his character as a faithful Muslim and raises questions about the involvement of other scholars of that era.
  • Tragic Fate: Awza’i met a tragic end, which is seen as ironic considering his aversion towards Imam Ali. This incident serves as a reminder of the consequences of actions and intentions.
  • Motivations and Allegations: Awza’i’s claims of being paid to testify against Imam Ali prompt an exploration of the motivations and underlying factors behind such accusations.


Who was Awzai?Awzai was a prominent Sunni scholar who held esteemed positions like “Sheikh al-Islam” and “The scholar of al-Sham.” He was considered among the foremost Sunni authorities.
What controversial claim did Awzai make?According to the article, Awzai admitted that he and others were paid to provide false testimony against Imam Ali (PBUH) to cast doubt on his character and faith.
Who is Imam Ali PBUH?Imam Ali (PBUH) was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was one of the earliest Muslims and played a major role in early Islamic history. He is revered by both Sunnis and Shias.
What are some potential motivations behind the false testimony?Political dynamics like power struggles, pursuit of influence, ideological differences are potential reasons why some scholars engaged in discrediting Imam Ali (PBUH).
How did most Sunnis view Imam Ali (PBUH)?The majority of Sunnis hold Imam Ali (PBUH) in very high regard despite the questionable actions of some minority scholars.
What lessons does this article highlight?The need for unity, critical analysis of history, avoidance of dogma, integrity, and caution regarding biased accounts.
How did the Hadith of the Seven Gardens emphasize Ali’s significance?The Hadith highlighted Ali’s elevated position and exposed the hidden animosity among some companions towards him.
What was Awza’i’s position and reputation?Awza’i was a prominent Sunni scholar held in high regard, occupying esteemed positions and considered equal to other influential scholars.
What did Awza’i admit regarding his testimony against Imam Ali?Awza’i admitted that he and others were allegedly paid to engage in false testimonies against Imam Ali and expressed their disgust towards him.
What was the fate of Awza’i?Awza’i met a tragic end, being found locked inside a public bath, naked and dead, reflecting the consequences of insulting the holy Family of Prophet PBUH.
What do Awza’i’s allegations raise?Awza’i’s claims raise questions about the motives behind such accusations and prompt further exploration of the historical context.