Hafiz ‘Ali Bahadar Khan, editor of Hilal, Bombay has written an article about Janabe Sakina in the issues dated 11, 13 and 15 May. This article is having two characteristics. Firstly, from the beginning to the end it is brimming with hatred for Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) which as per the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) is the easiest method of reaching to Hell. Secondly, nowhere has he provided any reference.
There were two advantages of not giving any references. One is that due to the mention of references there would have been no opportunity of showing wit and it would have been impossible to publish fabricated incidents. Secondly, it would have exposed the actual academic level of the writer because the whole article is based on Shar Lakhnavi’s novel, Sakina Binte Husayn and to give the reference of a novel would have discredited the article. In addition to this, another fallout of this would have been that the people’s mind would at once have been led to the teeth-breaking rebuttal titled, Jawabe Shar. That is why the Hafiz considered it best to write in this way so that the ignorant public could be made to believe that whatever he has written is in fact the truth.
All incidents mentioned in this article, as we have already stated, (except for one) are taken from Shar’s novel and for the readers it is necessary that to know that a refutation of this book, titled Jawabe Shar1 by Maulana Sayyid ‘Ali Azhar, has already been published from Islah Press, Khajwa, (Saran, India). I would like to briefly state that Shar has taken his material from Abul Faraj Isfahani, the Umayyad’s book, Aghani.
The position of Aghani in Arabic literature, as far as the authenticity of its matter is concerned, is same as that of Tilism Hosharba, Dastan Amir Hamzah etc. (They were fictions). Like these books, Aghani was also written with a view to entertain the readers. If Dastan Mir Hamzah could be made the basis of the biography of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), the Aghani can be taken as a source on the life history of Sakina and other personages. However, if the matter is judged with perception and intelligence the worth of that book and that of its writer becomes clear.
In addition to this, the writer of Dastan Mir Hamzah had no animosity towards His Eminence, Hamzah. Therefore, at every place he has attributed only courage and dignified aspects to his biography. On the other hand Abul Faraj was the enemy of the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and a supporter of Umayyad rulers. That is why he has associated such incidents with Janabe Sakina that degrade her personality in every way though later researches may prove all this to be baseless. If the Hafiz had any shame he would not have taken from this novel anything after its refutation has already been written. But he had to anyhow create a controversy in order to boost the circulation of his paper even though he may have to remain under the banner of Yazid on the Day of Judgment.
Abul Faraj Isfahani who is the main source of all these calumnies was the grandson of Marwan al-Himar (the donkey) the last ruler of the Umayyad dynasty. He lived in Baghdad during the time of the Abbasids. In the same period the Merwanid caliphs laid the foundation of their rule in Andalusia. He was inclined towards them due to family relations but due to the fear of the Abbasids he could not state anything openly. So he used to disguise his malice in the veil of entertainment and write all the degrading things about Ahl al-Bayt (a.s). Then he used to have his writings secretly smuggled to his real patrons and receive rewards and money from them. The volumes of Aghani are part of these series in which he has associated useless and improper incidents to Sakina. The Hafiz has quoted these same events in his article. His double-dealing is obvious from the fact that in addition he also wrote books for Bani Abbas that praised the Banu Hashim. Abul Faraj Isfahani was a prolific liar, fiction maker and a drunkard. It is regrettable that right now I could not obtain all the references that I needed from his writings, but I present here whatever I have been able to obtain.
(1) Whatever Hujjatul Islam Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Khwansari has said is as follows:
“I have briefly seen the book of Aghani. It is full of incidents and accounts about the people involved in all types of vain pastimes and lustful occupations and deviations from the sciences of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and nothing else. In addition to this, this person was from the family tree, which has been cursed in the Qur’an. That is, he was the member of Banu Umayyah and progeny of Marwan. Then how is it possible for a believer to be born in a group all of whose members are cursed and that too by the one who is considered the most perfect (the Holy Prophet)?2
(2) Hujjatul Islam Maulana Sayyid Rahat Husayn Sahab Qibla Gopalpuri has written in his book, Rafaut Tabaas:
“Ibn Dawood (a.r.) in his Rijal has categorized him as follows: ‘Abul Faraj Isfahani; Aghani Kabeer, no tradition is taken from it. It is written in Fihrist that he was a Zaidi. May Allah curse him.”3
3) Allamah Hilli has also included him among the weak narrators.
4) One of our ancient scholars, Hasan bin Husayn has called him, ‘the greatest liar’.
5) Sadr has said regarding the Aghani specially that: Even if the above-mentioned point had not been mentioned against him, I still would have considered him a forger and an accursed one due to his reports in Aghani.4
6) Allamah Sayyid Sibtul Hasan Hansavi writes in his journal, Kashful Dahiya regarding Aghani that: The book of Aghani is absolutely unreliable. Abul Faraj has written it in the style of traditionists and historians but it is a collection of false and untrue things, which was written to appease the Merwanid rulers of Andalusia.
7) Allamah Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes about him:
“Abul Faraj Isfahani was the greatest liar. He used to purchase a lot of story books and base traditions on them.”
8) Now read the confession of Abul Faraj Isfahani, himself, about this books:
“I have done this without any restraint although I detested that my writings should contain such illogical things that would endure forever and be associated with my name.”
But it is regrettable that due to his greed for pelf and position he accepted all this for the sake of pleasing the Umayyads, and he has put the collar of eternal humiliation around his neck. This can be understood from the above statement as well as the confession of Abul Faraj Isfahani himself. Shar5 Lakhnavi who has informed about his original nature in his nom-de-plume itself has brought these sparks of mischief from Arabic to Urdu world and Hafiz ‘Ali Bahadar is blowing to make them into flames although the Jawab Shar has put such dew upon them that they could never be ignited.
This was the historical value of those incidents, now let us apply logic to them and see whether they don’t prove that:
“It seems Sakina had made her home a stage for dramatics and poetics. Such a woman could never have any connection with religiosity. She must have been deprived of all shame and dignity. Please ponder upon it that the position of the family of the Prophet (s.a.w) is so much lofty while even a lady of an ordinary household could not act in this way. Even if it is proved that Sakina lived after the imprisonment, she had in addition to the family honor and dignity some additional qualities. For example she was an eyewitness to all that occurred in Karbala’ and herself bore those difficulties. All her life she saw her brother, Imam Sajjad (a.s) and her sisters and aunts weeping and lamenting. Did she forget all these things so soon and said farewell to all the family values and religious commands? She belonged to a family, which had itself initiated the rules that a lady must not even let a stranger hear her voice, except when it is absolutely necessary. They should remain in their houses in such a way that strangers may not look at them and they may not look at the strangers. They must not even wear jewellery in such a way that others may hear the tinkles. In such circumstances, one who is familiar with the family of Prophethood, can he ever even imagine that Princess Sakina could commit such deeds? The aim of the Nasibi, Abul Faraj Isfahani in writing such things was only to malign the family of the Prophet (s.a.w) due to his (Abul Faraj Isfahani’s) affiliation with the enemies of Islam.”6
It is surprising that Imam ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (a.s) continued to weep upon Imam Husayn (a.s) all his life. When food was brought before him, he wept. He wept when he wanted to drink water. He swooned when he saw the severed head of a slaughtered goat. Lady Rabab (Sakina’s mother) had recited the following dirge on Husayn (a.s) all her life as accepted even by Abul Faraj Isfahani and Hafiz ‘Ali Bahadar:
“Husayn who was such brilliance that people obtained light from him. He is lying slain in Karbala’, unburied and un-shrouded.
O Prophet’s grandson, may God give you a good recompense and keep you safe from the loss of the balance.7
You are for me such a lofty mountain, which had given me strength and refuge, and you lived with us with mercy and piety.
Now after you, who can fulfill the needs of orphans and beggars?
And who should the poor and the deprived people approach?
By Allah! In place of your relationship, I would not look for another relationship, until I am hidden in the grave.”
On one hand were such circumstances at home and on the other hand the terrible calamity has befallen. Is it possible that Sakina could have forgotten all this as if she has absolutely no connection with Husayn (a.s)?
May Allah give us refuge:
…these are the words of their mouths…8
Readers should pay attention to the following words of Lady Rabab:
“And you lived with us with mercy and piety.”
On the other hand see what nonsense the Hafiz writes: “Rabab was the daughter of Imrul Qais. She was extremely beautiful and intelligent. She gave birth to a daughter called Sakina. Imam Husayn (a.s) loved the two of them so much that he used to remain careless of many necessary things due to this love. One day the elder brother, Imam Hasan (a.s) scolded Imam Husayn (a.s) for his excessive love for Sakina and Rabab. Instead of correcting, the scolding of the brother made him recite the following couplets:
“I swear by your life, I love the house itself where Sakina and Rabab reside.
I love both of them and am prepared to sacrifice all I own on them and if someone punishes me for it, I would not care for that.
And if I am criticized, I cannot improve for my whole life until I am concealed in the dust.”
In Aghani these couplets are attributed to Imam Husayn (a.s) and they are narrated from Sakina. Anyway whatever may be the case, the writing of the incident, its style and choice of words all show the evil and dirty nature of the writer and his inclination to the worship of Yazid. He has tried to show Imam Husayn (a.s) as worse than an ordinary religious person. Abul Faraj has taken the chain of narrators of these couplets upto Malik bin Ayyin. First of all Allamah Ibn Hajar Asqalani has exposed the value of Abul Faraj’s traditions that he has based his writings on fictional works. On top of that it was the style of Arabic literature of that time that even fictional incidents were written on the authority of supposed reporters, though they had no external existence. Thus merely because they had chain of narrators those reports were not considered reliable. Now, you should know that this Malik bin Ayyin was also an imaginative character. Allamah Ibn Hajar Asqalani has written in Lisanul Mizan,9 that:
“He was unknown: Now who can trust a report of Aghani, penned by Abul Faraj, the greatest liar and that too from a fictional character? Especially, when the matter is against the dignity of the family of the Prophet and also against the testimony of their infallibility and purity. And in addition to this, you will also have to accept that this character used to frequent Sakina’s place and she had contact with such an enemy of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)! All this is against logic and reason.
In such circumstances, the selection of these couplets is wrong and artificial. And if for the sake of argument we accept them, the incident mentioned in this connection is definitely fabricated.
…and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.10
Now see what he writes in the marginal notes: Her love made Imam Husayn (a.s) compose some couplets that became famous in the Arab world and they were sung in a special tune in various programs. Our poets would be astonished to know that the famous Arab artist, Ibn Sarih had composed a tune for those couplets on Imam Husayn (a.s) and it was sung in that special tune mostly, though other tunes also existed for it.
Even if for the sake of argument it is agreed that these couplets were composed by Imam Husayn (a.s), the matter of singing them in tune, which is an unlawful act is not something that could be admired. Islam has made music unlawful and the teachers of Islam never used to compose couplets for people to sing. First of all their couplets had nothing but morals and lessons. Even if for the sake of argument we accept them to be couplets of Imam Husayn (a.s) we really pity the mentality of the people of that time and Ibn Sarih.
Now I would like to present another passage of the Hafiz where he has tried to display his common sense. He says:
“The whole family of Imam Husayn (a.s) was the center of knowledge, literature and poetry. Very few people know that not only Rabab, the wife of Imam Husayn (a.s) was the daughter of the famous poet Imrul Qais…”
Here it seems that the Hafiz wants to say that Lady Rabab was the daughter of the famous poet, Imrul Qais, whose ‘hanging poem’ is very well-known and who was the best poet of the Arabs. By saying all this the Hafiz wants to show on one hand that the poetical expertise of Sakina was hereditary and secondly since all know that Imrul Qais was a libertine and a man of vice, his daughter must also have been very liberal minded. But it is a pity that by presenting this research the Hafiz has provided the proof of his ignorance and foolishness. If a blind man goes out unaided he would definitely stumble and fall. One who has no information about Arabic literature would indeed commit such blunders. Now please consider this:
The famous poet Imrul Qais bin Hujr Kandi was the king of the Kandi tribe. This kingdom began with his father and ended on Imrul Qais. The Caesar of Rome had him poisoned in 530 or 540 A.D. and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) was born at least thirty years after his death in 570 A.D. Imam Husayn (a.s) was born at least 88 years after the death of Imrul Qais in 628 A.D. corresponding to 4. A. H. His marriage to Lady Rabab took place during the apparent caliphate of Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s) in 36 A.H. But according to the Ahl al-Sunnah traditions it was only during the time of the second caliphate.
Even if we accept it to be true it could not be before 19 A.H. because in that year Imam Husayn (a.s) became 15 and before that his marriage is not logically acceptable. Thus at that time Imrul Qais had already been dead for 103 years. Hence, if Rabab were really the daughter of Imrul Qais. At the time of her marriage she must have been at least 103 years old! What a beautiful invention indeed!
And also look at the coincidence that historians have said that Imrul Qais following the custom of the period of ignorance used to bury his daughters alive. His wives used to send away their daughters to other tribes secretly to save their lives but he used to reach everywhere and did not leave them alive. On daughter, Hind, by chance, survived and later Imrul Qais also accepted her.
I am leaving the reference only because I want to test the Hafiz whether he could locate such popular facts in the Arabic literature or not.
The only fact is that the name of the father of Lady Rabab was also Imrul Qais and he is also referred to as Kandi in some places. Just this much was sufficient for his imagination to fly and the Hafiz took to the skies. Actually the genealogy of Lady Rabab is as follows: Rabab binte Imrul Qais bin Adi bin Jabir bin Kaab bin ‘Ali bin Barra bin Thalaba bin Imran bin al-Haaf bin Qazaat. Since he lived in the Kanda locality of Kufa he was called Imrul Qais Kandi. He had no connection with the tribe of Kanda.
Wrong association may not be considered improper by the Hafiz because the elders of his faith and senior religious leaders have often been victims of this with regard to the Holy family of the Prophet and he may escape the divine chastisement applicable for such sins. The doors of repentance are not closed yet.
And peace be upon those who follow the guidance.