Chapter 5: The Bloody History
The Shi'i history is replete with blood-anointed pages, abundant with tribulations, pains and teardrops... a history telling - through its tragedies - about a suffering with no parallel throughout man's life.
The Shi'ah have hoisted the standard of revolution against all forms of oppression, suppression and deprivation, condemning deviation, however hard the circumstances be. On this way they were inspired by the events of Karbala, when Al-Husayn (a.s) stood alone fighting an arrogant fully armed regime.
The Shi’ah real history began at that very moment, i.e. the year 61 H., when resistance and revolt vital force were ignited inside the heart of millions of Ahl Al-Bayt followers.
Al-Shahid Al-Awwal (may Allah be pleased with him), was not the first to sacrifice his life on the way of Allah, but his painstaking life marked with struggle and tragic end, deserves meditation and making a halt to contemplate this sanguine page in history.
Efforts were exerted by the governments historians to obliterate his life record, distort his reputation, with laying a curtain of vagueness over the way of his martyrdom. Nevertheless, the truth sun, apparently, cannot be hidden, managing always to find its way through the clouds.
Let's contemplate the following text harbouring grudge, that was uttered by Abd Al-Hayy Ibn Al-Imad Al-Hanbali, recording the chronicles of the year 786 (H): "In it, Muhammad Ibn Makki Al-Iraqi, the Rafidite, was killed. He had full knowledge of Usul and Arabic grammar ... in Damascus it was testified against him of being charged with loose belief, believing in the Nasiri creed, legalizing the drinking of wine, beside other villainies, so his neck was smitten in Jumada Al-Ula."1
It is out of scope to discuss such insipidities indicating lowly natures. Al-Shahid too, was not the first to be deprived his right by government-laid history, as the real history is that which is recorded by peoples through their revolutions, suffering, pains and tears.
The most important reason leading to Al-Shahid's murder may lie in his gigantic unique character, as in Damascus he entertained a lofty social status on the official and popular levels. His fame has even exceeded the frontiers of Syria and Iraq, turning to be a renowned personality of good fame among the Islamic countries.
Naturally this fact was met with the displeasure of the influential men, particularly those working in a languished government device, being frightened of and sensitive against any personage at Al-Shahid's level.
Despite Al-Shahid's keenness to abstain from anything provoking the Sunnah's emotions, he was viewed by all people as a Shi'i personage, held in high veneration.
When probing into the general circumstances entailing the slaying of Al-Shahid, one will be confronted with two points: First the personality of Burhan Al-Din Ibn Jama'ah, one of the royal courtly Ulama, and the second one being the intimate links Al-Shahid had with the King of Khurasan Ali Ibn Mu'ayyad, not to forget the results of his encounter with the aforementioned Yalush movement.
The question raised now is: Who is this Ibn Jama'ah, that managed to liquidate Al-Shahid?
He was just one of the courtly Fuqaha, seemingly a plaything at the hands of the rulers, who exploited his dazzleness by the false temptations of rule and power. Therefore he was always viewing Al-Shahid with ill will, regarding him a rival that should be removed from the arena. Ibn Jama'ah had an opportunist character, infatuated with bombastic titles and posts, even at the cost of passing over others' corpses.
His inside devil roused from sleep when witnessing how Al-Shahid was respected by people, and honoured by the Ulama. So he started conspiring and planning to destroy him, through humiliating and belittling his position, spoiling his fame and status. Once upon a day, he met AlShahid while being engaged in compilation, raising a controversial issue, for which Al-Shahid gave indisputable proofs that couldn't be refuted by Ibn Jama'ah.
So it was so difficult for Ibn Jama'ah to experience the bitter taste of defeat before people. Consequently he intended to insult Al-Shahid, through alluding to his slimness by saying: l sense a sound behind the inkhorn, never knowing its meaning?
Immediately Al-Shahid replied: Yes, the son of only one can never be greater than this. Thereat lbn Jama'ah folt so disgraced, that he was about to burst in rage and rancour. Added to this, the intrigues hatched by Yalush's followers and their attempts to do away with Al-Shahid, whom they held responsible for the plan to destroy their movement and aspirations.
So they embarked on instigating the government against him. And since Bidamur government was extremely weak, being terrified from any movement, the fact that resulted in Al-Shahid being put under severe surveillance, with counting his breaths.
Undoubtedly the letters he sent to the King of Khurasan, and the latter's reply letters to him, have prompted the government to exterminate and do away with him before intending to oust the ruling regime, and establish a Shi'i government identical to Al-Sarbidaran Government.
This fact is more affirmed when knowing that Al-Shahid was enjoying the full support and backing of the people masses, beside a vast sector of Ahl AlSunnah, who used to frequent his house in case of facing any problem.
The first step for liquidating Al-Shahid had been throwing him in prison, with distancing him from the arena of life, severing all his links and connections with everyone. Thus AlShahid was imprisoned for one year at Damascus Castle.
Al-Shahid tried to soften the King's stand, and disperse the suspicions of his government, through sending him some poetry lines:
O the victorious King Bidamur,
Of you Khawazam and lands are proud,
I am esteeming you all the lines,
I have never sinned, so as to apologize,
Don’t heed calumniators’ words about me,
As they uttered unlimited false and slander,
I swear by Allah, a firm oath,
I am innocent of the slander they mentioned,
Figh, grammar and exegesis know me,
Then the two sources, and the Qur’an and trace.
This explicit complaint is sufficient to disperse the fears of thosein power, had they not been owning such mean souls blinded by keen love for domination and influence, with lust for being in power. But Bidamur with Ibn Jama'ah and their likes, were quite aware that Al-Shahid was never thinking of seizing power and authority or other spurious titles.
Nevertheless, they made up their minds to liquidate Al-Shahid due to his attaining more and more people's support, that could never be curbed by all artificial barriers and obstacles. He has gained the hearts of all people - Shi'ah and Sunnah - with having a fame that transcended all limits.
Thus, all these factors altogether have brought such a tragic end for Al-Shahid, after which the chain of events started with Yusuf Ibn Yahya's forging a report full of false claims which he ascribed to Al-Shahid, signing it with seventy of his followers. After him it was the turn of lbn Jama'ah, who added to it a thousand testimonies he gathered from his followers, sending it then to the Maliki Judge of Beirut, with threatening him if not issuing a death sentence against Al-Shahid.
Then a fictitious trial was held, in which a long list of fabricated claims and slanders were cited, with charging AlShahid with several accusations, that were vainly denied by Al Shahid.
One of the tribunal members commented by saying: According to law, your conviction is proven, and there is no way to reverse the judge's sentence.
Al-Shahid, refutingly, replied: The argument is with the absent, if he brings in that which contradicts the judgement, it can be invalidated, otherwise it is not. He added: Here I am annulling the testimonies of those who witnessed to (my) indiction, having an evidence for each one of them.
But, in spite of the logical defence given by Al-Shahid, the sentence had been previously issued, through a plot hatched in darkness. Then the jury members have exchanged purposeful glances, whereat the Maliki judge, with a scenical move, stood up, taking ablution, performing two-Rak'ah prayer and issuing his sentence, saying: The court has judged to take away your life.
At that moment, all modes of virtue, piety and bravery were manifested, when Al-Shahid so courageously and confidently accepted his fate, with a determined will.
His foes attempted to compel him to surrender and submit, offering him to proclaim repentance; but Al-Shahid strongly refused this offer, saying: I have never perpetrated a sin to repent for.
Al-Shahid was quite aware that the trial was not meant for his person, but for his character that was built on the principles, values and creed of Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them), so no way was there for retreat and submission.
Al-Shahid encountered his fate through the first blow by a spiteful Umayyad sword; but were his enemies satisfied with this? Never, as all villainies and evils have spurted inside them, pushing them to perpetrate so filthy acts indicating their despiteful nature and degraded morals.
This fact was exposed when they gave orders to crucify his pure corpse at a public place, with imposing intense surveillance around it, lest it should be delivered by his followers.
More than this, they ordered their mercenaries to pelt him with stones, after which the smashed body was brought clown from the cross to be burnt. Here man may be bewildered when watching such savagery, and pondering upon the extent of meanness man may reach when his inside devil rouses from sleep.
But history is replete with such bloody events and tragedies. The example of Karbala' tragedy is still engraved on the memory of human race while indicating the death of Al-Husayn – the heavens foster child - at the hands of executioners peoples.
Such was the tragic end of Al-Shahid's life, that was full of prides and glories, through which he entered history from its spacious gates. Peace be upon him on the day of his birth, the day in which he was martyred, and that in which he will be resurrected to life.
Al-Shahid has left behind three sons and one daughter, who all became later on among the Ulama and Fuqaha being as follows:
Al Shaykh Radi Al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad, the eldest son.
Al-Shaykh Diya Al-Din Abu Al-Qasim Ali, the middle son.
Al-Shaykh Jamal Al-Din Abu A1 Mansur Hasan, the youngest son.
They were previously referred to, while introducing Shahid's disciples.
Concerning his daughter, she was called Sitt Al-Mashayikh Fatimah, who was an ideal true believing woman, deserving her father's appraisal and urging other women to follow her guide. She was highly venerated by all people, that on her death seventy Mujtahids from Jabal Amil have participated in her funeral procession.
No information about her biography are available, except a document shedding scanty light upon her character, with the respect she was holding to knowledge (Ilm) and Ulama. Also the document included her cession of her share in her father's heritage in Jizzan to her two brothers, in return of some Fiqhi books.
Following is the full text of the document:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful
"Praise belongs to Allah Who granted His bondmen what He willed, showering His bounty upon followers of knowledge and labour with that He willed, imparting on them honour, value and dignity. He has preferred them over all creatures with their lofty acts, elevating their ranks in the world and Hereafter, whose grace was acknowledged by mankind and Jinn.
Perfect benediction and peace be upon our master Muhammad, the son of Adnan, who was addressed by the most comprehensive good words, and upon his Household and Companions, the owners of eloquence and language, those dragging the postscripts of fluency over clouds, and also upon their followers and those who followed them as long as night and day differed, and the sun and moon shone.
After that, Al-Sitt Fatimah Umm Al-Hasan has donated her two brothers: Abu Talib Muhammad and Abu Al-Qasim Ali, the offspring of the auspicious dignified, the greatest Faqih, the doyen of pride and unique and single of time, the revivalist of the rituals of the Pure Imams, may Allah's peace be upon them all, our Mawla the sun of cult and religion, Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hamid Ibn Makki (may Allah sanctify his soul), who descends from Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh the head of Aws, may Allah sanctify their souls all. Concerning her share of her father's heritage in Jizzin and others being a legal donation for seeking Allah's pleasure, and begging His abundant reward.
In return, they have given her the books: Al-Tabdhib of AlShaykh may Allah's mercy be upon him; Al-Misbah by him, Al-Dhikra by her father, may Allah's mercy be upon him, and Al-Qur'an that is known as the gift of Ali Ibn Mu'ayyad.
Every one of them has disposed of his share, Allah be witness over them, on the 3rd of the Month of Ramadan, the great worthy month of the year 823 H. And Allah is warrantor over what we say. This was attested by their bold maternal uncle Alwan Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yasir, Al-Shaykh Ali Ibn Al Husayn Ibn Al-Sa'igh, and Al-Shaykh Fadil Ibn Mutafli Al Ba'labakki."
Al-Shahid was killed, crucified, stoned and burnt by the executioners, whose aim was doing away with him, while they were in fact reinforcing his eternity forever. They have annihilated his lean body, while his pure spirit remained hovering over the hillocks of Jabal Amil, and his works constituted a school for the generations to learn from, and his offspring holding a brand of his fervent spirit.
Some of his descendants arc the following:
1. Al-Shaykh Fakhr Al-Din Ahmad, the grandson of Diya Al-Din Ali.
2. Al-Shaykh Ibrahim Ibn Diya Al-Din, one of Jabal Amil Ulama.
3.Al-Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Sharaf Al-Din, who was a litterateur, a reputed scholar and a sensitive poet. He resided at Qum for a short time, then at Makkah.
4. Al-Shaykh Jawad Ibn Sharaf Al-Din Muhammad, who was a celebrated scholar and a well-versed poet.
5. Al-Shaykh Abu Al-Ma'ali Baha Al-Din Muhammad, one of the renowned Ulama: who had been contemporary to AlSayyid Babr Al-Ulum.
6. Al-Shaykh Khayr Al-Din Ibn Al-Shaykh Abd Al-Razzaq Al Amili. He resided at Shiraz, being contemporary to Al-Shaykh Al-Baha'i who gifted him his book Al-Habl Al-Matin.
7. Al-Shaykh Khayr Al-Din, who left several works on Fiqh and mathematics, beside other sciences. To him belongs the household of Shaykh Al-Islami in Tehran.
8. Al-Shaykh Mahdi Ibn Al-Shaykh Ali Al Shams Al-Din AlAmili, who was living in one of South Lebanon villages. He was an all-inclusive Faqih, a political leader, and a religious authority at Jabal Amil, beside being a litterateur and a poet.
9. Al-Shaykh Shams Al-Din Ibn Al-Shaykh Muhammad, who was residing in Al-Faw'ah, one of the suburbs of Halab in Syria. He was among the most eminent Ulama of his time. He passed away in 1333 H.
10. Al-Shaykh Hasan Ibn Salim Al Shams Al-Din, who dwelled at Al-Hanawiyyah, a village belonging to the City of Sur. He resided at the holy City of Najaf for seventeen years, practising the profession of teaching.
11. Al-Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams Al-Din, the Deputy President of the Supreme Shi'i Council in Lebanon, since the abduction of Al-Imam Musa Al-Sadr in the year 1978.
12. Al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida Shams Al-Din, the author of the valuable book Hayat Al- Imam Al-Shahid Al-Awwal.
Of his contemporary descendants there are Ulama and literary men living in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, holding different nicknames all belonging to the same goodly tree.
True al-Shahid was:
"...as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven." (14:24)
- 1. Shadharat al-dhahab fi akhbar min dhahab, vol. VI, p. 294.