Opposition to al-Jawaliqi for what he stated was not confined to the Imams, peace be upon them. Hisham ibn al-Hakam and his followers opposed al-Jawaliqi, as is stated in what ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim, with a sound chain of transmission, narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr al-Bazanti – the hadith has been cited previously – and by Hisham ibn al-Hakam.1
The biographers of Hisham ibn al-Hakam mention in a list of his books a Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala Shaytani’t-Taq.2 The book itself has not come down to us so that we might know whom Hisham intended by ‘Shaytanu’t-Taq,' and those who mention the book as his do not elaborate on it. Perhaps the explanation that suggests itself at first glance is that the person intended is Mu’minu 't-Taq, Abu Ja‘far al-Bajali, previously mentioned alongside Hisham al-Jawaliqi and al-Maythami; but I have ser- ious doubts about this explanation. Rather, I am almost certain of its incorrectness, and that it is a mistaken explanation.
The scholars of the Imamiyyah agreed that the naming by Abu Ja‘far of al-Ahwal al-Bajali as 'Shaytanu't-Taq' came in the first place from the adversaries of the Imamiyyah, and that the Imamiyyah called him 'Mu’minu't-Taq'3. Others apart from the Imamiyyah knew of this name of his, and related it on their authority.4 They cite other nicknames: 'Shah Taq/Shahu't-Taq' and 'Malaku't-Taq'.5 Ibnu 'n-Nadim said: "His followers called him Shaqu't-Taq as well."6Moreover, Ibn Hajar relates on the authority of Ibn Abi Tayyi’, the famous Imami scholar, one of the beliefs concerning his being named'Mu’minu 't-Taq', something only he quotes from him:
It is said that Hisham ibn al-Hakam, a shaykh of the Rafidah, on hearing that they [the adversaries of the Imamiyyah] had nicknamed him Shaytanu't-Taq, named him ‘Mu’minu’t-Taq'.7 This nickname, 'Mu’minu 't-Taq', was not maintained for him after his time, but his contemporaries called him by it, and it is stated on the authority of Hisham ibn Salim al-Jawaliqi himself,8 as also from Yunus ibn Ya‘qub9 Aban ibn ‘Uthman al- Ahmar10 Abu Malik al-Ahmasi,11 and Sharik ibn ‘Abdillah an-Nakha‘i.12
It is really very unlikely that someone like Hisham ibn al- Hakam should give him this derisory nickname which the adversaries of the Imamiyyah invented for him, and that the followers of the Imamiyyah should counter them with another nickname which was appropriate for a man of his prestige and rank. Rather, Hisham himself would have been the one who began the opposition to them and chose ‘Mu’minu’t-Taq' for him, as previously mentioned in one of the beliefs regarding the reason for his being given this nickname. In addition to this, I have not found anything in the Imami hadith which demonstrates the presence of adversity between Hisham and Mu’minu’t-Taq, nor any sort of clearly distinguishable divergence between them similar to the evidence which demonstrates a divergence between Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham al-Jawaliqi.
This sort of nicknaming has no justification, even when adversity and enmity is intensified, except in the case of insult and calumny. Indeed, I have previously mentioned, in a discussion about al-Jawaliqi, that Mu’minu't-Taq and al- Maythami followed al-Jawaliqi in his ideas; a refutation of him is a refutation of both of them, and that is what Hisham ibn al- Hakam did.
Further to all this, there are the numerous indications in what I have mentioned in the biography of Hisham ibn al-Hakam of his good character, that he befriended an Ibadi Kharijite in a way which lasted for years, which set an example of good companionship, and which was bestowed upon all opponents – as al-Jahiz states. This name-calling, arising from a level of character appropriate to someone who was not at Hisham's level, is quite inconceivable for him.
On the basis of all this, and for other reasons, I am con- vinced that Hisham, in this book of his, is refuting a person other than Mu’minu’t-Taq to whom this nickname ‘Shaytanu’t- Taq' was given before Mu’minu 't-Taq. This man's adversity towards the Imamiyyah reached a point where Hisham did not find it objectionable to nickname him with this sort of disgrace- ful nickname. However, the adversaries of the Imamiyyah took the nickname out of context, and directed it at Mu’minu’t-Taq, because he lived in Taq, in the region of Kufah. He was called 'at-Taqi' or ‘Sahibu’t-Taq'.13 The original holder of the nick- name has been neglected to the point where we have forgotten him and this sort of obscurity came to pass.
Another piece of evidence which shows that this nickname was not only applied to Mu’minu’t-Taq is that al-Khatib gives the biography of a non-Imami narrator, and says: "Ahmad ibn Harun, known as Shaytanu’t-Taq, from the people of Surra- man-ra’a."14