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The Imamate Strategy

Another interesting and noteworthy point is the claims made by the infallible Imams which underline their Imamate strategy. In some cases, we come across certain claims and remarks in the statements of the infallible Imams which are unusual. Such remarks underline a specific goal and strategy, which is in fact the Imamate strategy. The debate of Imam Kadhim (as) and Harun about Fadak is among such issues:

Once Harun told Imam Kadhim (as): "Please mark the area of the "Fadak" (the land property of Hazrat-e Fatima (SA) which was unjustly usurped) so that we return it to you."

Harun was thinking that by returning the Fadak to the Imam, he would be able to disarm him of the slogan of Fadak, which was a proof of the injustice done to the Progeny of the holy Prophet (SA). He was also thinking that through this measure, he would be able to draw a comparison between the Abbasside and the Umayyad who had once taken away the Fadak from them.

The Imam first refrained from marking the limits of the Fadak, but when Harun insisted, he said: "If you are to return the Fadak, you must accept its true borders." Harun accepted the offer. Then the Imam started explaining the borders of the Fadak, saying: "Its first border is Aden."

This debate was going on between the Imam and Harun in Medina or Baghdad. The Imam continued: "Its other side is the Arabian Peninsula." Harun's face turned pale, and said, "oh!" The Imam said: "Its other border is Samarkant," that is, the eastern extremity of Harun's realm. Harun's face turned red. "And its third border is Africa," the Imam said. The third border, Africa (Tunisia), was the western extremity of Harun's realm. Harun's face turned black and exclaimed, "Strange!?" Finally, his holiness said, "Its fourth border is a coastline, behind the islands and Armenia," that is, the northern extremity of Harun's realm.

Infuriated Harun said satirically: "In this case nothing will remain for me, come and take my seat." Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) said: "I told you that if I mention the limits of the Fadak, you would not return it to me!" The tradition adds at the end: "it was here that Harun decided to assassinate the Imam."1

The most outstanding issue in this debate is the contention of Musa ibn Ja'far, which Harun realized well and decided to assassinate the Imam. Such remarks reveal the contentions of the Imams, which are clearly seen in the lives of Imam Baqir (as), Imam Sadiq (as) and Imam Ridha (as). An overall analysis of such claims delineates the Imamate strategy.

  • 1. Bihar-ul-Anwar, Vol. 48, P. 144, Tradition 20

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