The following text is a translation of a lecture transcription by Sheikh Yasser al-Habib. The lecture is an episode of a series consists of nine episodes, were given originally in Arabic under the title Rafidhi slaps on the face of Batris, and the lectures were written by the Rafidhi Archive team, and finally I have translated it for the English-speaking audience.
Although we have explained the concept of Batri'ism before, and inspired researching on this topic, and, indeed, we have provided what can be called an awareness of this matter since we have applied this term on some folks who pretend to be Shia nowadays, and although we did this in numerous lectures and in our written answers as well, but today we ought to remind (the listeners) again with what have been said, and repeat it all here with more explaining and detailing, and this is because of some recent occurrences in the Shi'ite community, which made this an necessity upon us.
It has been said that the term Batri cannot be applied on those belong to the Twelver Shias, as long as Batris are historically a sub-sect of Zaydis, so, how we did apply this on some of Imamis and why? It has been claimed that this was a mistake, and that there is no reasonable reason for using it, so, due to this, we made the decision to answer this confusion in-detail, and to point out to this inattention and suspicion which some folks believe in.
We start first with mentioning that it has been disputed in defining Batri'ism. What you have learned from us is that, Batris are those who believe in Wilayah (befriending the friends of Allah), but not in the Bara'a/Tabarra (i.e. dissociate oneself from the enemies of Allah), meaning they mixed the love for Ahlul-Bayt (as) with the love of their enemies (la). But, if you would take a look at the books that are dedicated to present the origins of the different religious sects as well as their beliefs, and also , you would certainly know that there are varied views in defining Batri'ism.
For instance, Firouzabadi in his book Al-Qamoos, volume 1, page 366, says the following the in the entry of (BTR): «Al-Abtar is a nickname of al-Mughayra bin Sa'ad, and Butris of Zaydis belong to him». Pay attention here that the term itself is different somehow according to Firouzabadi in his Qamoos. We say Batris, but he says Butris, and he then claims that they belong to an individual called al-Mughayra bin Sa'ad, who is accurately al-Mughayra bin Sa'eed. He was one of Imam Sadiq (as)'s companions, but he was anyway deviant and has been cursed by the Imam.
Allama Majlisi (ra) quotes Firouzabadi's statement and comments on it in Bihar al-Anwar, volume 64, page 203: «It has been said that he is al-Mughayra bin Sa'ad, who was also called as al-Abtar», and because he was called al-Abtar, so his adherents were called Butris, so Butris/Batris of Zaydis belong to him. He (Majlisi) then says: «I don't know where he [Firouzabadi] got this explaination from», we found this comment in Bihar al-Anwar, it's either Allama Majlisi's comment or he quotes someone else. Anyway this is one of the different views in defining Batris, that they are the adherents of al-Mughayra bin Sa'ad or al-Mughayra bin Sa'eed.
Another definition can be found in the book al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, by Isfaraini, page 54, where he says: «They [Batris] are the followers of two men, one is al-Hassan bin Saleh bin Hay, and another is Katheer al-Nawa, better known as al-Abtar». Pay attention here that according to Isfaraini, Batris were called with such a name as long as they are following al-Abtar, but who actually he is? He is Katheer al-Nawa not al-Mughayra bin Sa'ad or al-Mughayra bin Sa'eed. So who is al-Abtar, this one or that one?! To whom Batris belong to? He says: «And their belief is as same as Sulayman bin Jareer's belief who believed in consultation as the only method of choosing the Imam, and he can be choosen by only two men of the [Islamic] nation, although Batris opposed choosing Uthman».
This belief is closer to the belief of the Bakris, not of the Batris as we know. We believe that Batris are those who believe that the Imamate after the Messenger of Allah (sawa) has to be for Amir al-Mominin(as) and Ahlul-Bayt (as), but they did not dissociate themselves from their early enemies especially Abu Bakr and Omar, they rather gave excuses for them, yes they believe they were mistaken yet excused.
If there is a sect believe in the theroy of consultation, then it is really evident that such belief is so far of the Shi'ite intellectual field, because Shias believe the Imams are chosen by texts (from the Prophet), and it is either an evident text or a non-evident one. The theroy of consultation is a Bakri theory, so the statment of Isfaraini includes misconceptions, and I am just mentioning it to let you know that there opinions vary in how to define Batri'ism.
Also, Shahrastani in his book Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, volume 1, page 142, says: «Batris are the followers of Katheer al-Nawa, al-Abtar».
There is also a comment on that by Sheikh Muhmmad Taqi Tustari (ra) in his book Qamoos al-Rijal, volume 10, page 193, after mentioning the above statements, says the following: «It is mentioned al-Sihah as well as in al-Qamoos that Batris are the followers al-Mughayra bin Sa'eed, and he is al-Abtar. This is, indeed, a mistake by those two, because the followers of al-Mughayra are called Mughayris». By the way, al-Mughayra believed in Bara'a/Tabarra, but he was Ghali, so his followers were called Mughayris not Batris. He continues: «Because the followers of al-Mughayra are called Mughayris, and this is a fact that Shias and non-Shias agreed on, and as for Batris, they are the followers of Katheer al-Nawa and Ibn Hay and others who mixed the love of Abu Bakr and Omar with the love of Ali (as), and they dissociate themselves from the enemies of Abu Bakr and Omar»!
A good example of an enemy of Abu Bakr and Omar is Abu Lolo aka Pirouz Nahavandi (ra), whom they dissociate themselves from him, and they say that he was a sinful criminal man! This is even today. For instance, I have read such a statement by Taskhiri in a Kuwaiti newspaper. Not Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, he is his brother Mohammad Mahdi. Shame on them both. I remember that he was going to Kuwait, and a Kuwaiti newspaper had an interview with him, and he attacked Abu Lolo (ra) harshly and said that we believe he he is the first terrorist in Islamic history! See from who he dissociates himself?! From an enemy of Omar (la), an enemy of Abu Bakr, and he believes that that he is the first terrorist, not that Omar was actually the first terroist as he led the attack on Zahra (as)'s house and killed her and her unborn child, this is what we have been taught by the pure household of Mohammad (sawa). So what would I call this man? He is Batri. You will see (in these lectures) that all qualities of early Batris are the same qualities of modern Batris. The only difference is that early Batris were excluded by the Imams (as), and the Imams had, indeed, purified the Shi'ite community from them, and they had discarded them until they vanished. Nowadays, Batris are mixed with us in one community and in our gatherings, Mosques, Hussainias, and there is almost no effort to excluded them from the Shi'ite community and purifiy it from them, by showing that those people have different beliefs of ours. On the contrary, we believe that Abu Lolo (as) was promised heaven, and he was no way a terrorist! This what the narrations of Ahlul-Bayt (as) states.
Tustari continues: «They dissociate themselves from the enemies of Abu Bakr and Omar, so Zayd bin Ali called them Batris, because their statement conducts them unintentionally to dissociate themselves from Fatima (as), because she being an enemy for them [Abu Bakr and Omar] and her death while she was angry with them is a consensual fact». He means that Fatima al-Zahra (as) is an enemy of Abu Bakr and Omar, so since they dissociate themselves from the enemies of Abu Bakr and Omar, they have actually dissociated themselves from Zahra (as). This what their statement conducts to, although they may not declare it themselves.
Batris believe that Amir al-Mominin (as) is no way to be compared with Abu Bakr and Omar (la), but since he, as they alledge, remain silent towards Abu Bakr and Omar and gave them the Imamate, so their ruling should be a good one, thus they do not dissociate themselves from them nor they believe that their fate is the hellfire, yes, they only say that they committed mistakes by not passing the ruling to Amir al-Mominin (as). What is also to be mentioned is that Batris were also different groups, they weren't united in one sect, rather they had many sub-sects. But what is the common factor between all Batri sects? It is the abovesaid mixing [of the love of Ahlul-Bayt with the love of Abu Bakr and Omar].
So, what is the correct definition of Batris? It is the definition provided by Sheikh Kashi (as). This man which Ilm al-Rijal (i.e. since of narrators) relies on him since he is the head of early Shias in this matter. Pay attention that many folks get confused with the book which is commonly known in our seminaries as Rijal al-Kashi which is actually not his book, and if you take a look at its cover, you'll see the title is Ikhtiyar Ma'rifat al-Rijal, by who? by Sheikh al-Tusi known as Sheikh al-Ta'ifa (ra) the Sheikh of the sect. Sheikh al-Ta'ifa al-Tusi abridged the book of al-Kashi, and named the abridged edition as Ikhtiyar Ma'rifat al-Rijal. But it is commonly known as Rijal al-Kashi, since all his contents were taken from the book of Sheikh al-Kashi. Unfortunately the manuscript of the latter did not survive, and we only have the abridged edition which is called Ikhtiyar Ma'rifat al-Rijal. In this book, in the entry 422, under the title (al-Batriyyah), what does Sheikh al-Kashi says?
He first narrates this narration: «Narrated Abu Omar Sa'ad al-Jallab, from Abu Abdillah/Imam Sadiq (as) who said: If Batris were one line from east to west», meaning that they are huge in their numbers till the degree that they are able to be one front from east to west, «Allah shall not cherish the religion by them». So Batris are out of religion at all, Allah shall never cherish His religion with such deviant people, even if they were huge in their numbers.
Anyway, Sheikh al-Kashi narrates this narration and Sheikh al-Tusi quotes it and comments: «Batris are the followers of Katheer al-Nawa, al-Hasan bin Saleh bin Hay, Salem bin Abi Hafsa, al-Hakam bin Uyayna, Salama bin Kuhayl and Abu al-Miqdam Thabit al-Haddad who believed in the Wilayat [love] of Ali (as), yet they mixed it with the love of Abu Bakr and Omar, wherein they believe in them being right guided rulers, but they also disparage Uthman, Talha and Zubayr. They also adhere to any revolting individual [against the unjust leadership] from Ali bin Abi Talib's offspring», Anyone from the pure offspring of Ali and Fatima raises a flag, they would follow him, «where they claim this is a part of the obligation of enjoining good and forbidding evil, and they believe in the Imamate of any revolting individual of Ali's offspring». If anyone belongs to Ali's offspring would revolt, they would say, this is our Imam. They have a big tendency towards revolutionism.