Lesson 13: The Shi‘ah during the Period of ‘Abbasid Caliphate

Shi‘ism from the beginning of the ‘Abbasid period (132 AH) up to the end of the minor occultation {ghaybah as-sughra} (329 AH) was a longer period compared to the Umayyad period. The Shi‘ah were scattered in the furthest points of the vast Muslim land. For example, a complaint was lodged to (the ‘Abbasid caliph) Harun (ar-Rashid) against Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) for receiving khums1 from east and west.2

When Imam ‘Ali ibn ar-Ridha (‘a) arrived in Nayshabur, two hadith keepers named Abu Zar‘ah ar-Razi and Muhammad ibn Aslam at-Tusi came to the Imam (‘a) along with innumerable groups of knowledge seekers and requested that he face them. The Imam (‘a) faced them, in the presence of various classes of people, to narrate the silsilah adh-dhahab hadith. This hadith was recorded in 20 thousand books by different writers.3
Similarly, Imam ar-Ridha (‘a), in reply to (the ‘Abbasid caliph) Ma’mun who had many expectations from him after his (forced) acceptance of the heir-apparency, said: “…This affair (heir-apparency) has never added favor to me. When I was in Medina, amputation of the thief’s hand was used to be implemented in the east and west.”4
Also, the admission of the Sunni jurist {fuqih}, Ibn Abi Dawud, who was himself a stern enemy and adversary of the Shi‘ah, is significant. Following the ‘Abbasid caliph Mu‘tasim preference of Imam al-Jawad (‘a) view to that of the Sunni jurists regarding the amputation of the thief’s hand, Ibn Abi Dawud privately reminded the caliph that in the presence of the courtiers, governors, ministers, and scribes he preferred the view of a person whose Imamate is acknowledged by half of the ummah to the view of all ‘ulama of his assembly.5 Shi‘ism had even penetrated the ranks of the governors and dignitaries of the ‘Abbasid rule. As Yahya ibn Harthamah narrates,
The ‘Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil dispatched me to summon Imam al-Hadi (‘a) to Medina. When I arrived along with the Imam in Baghdad, I went to Ishaq ibn Ibrahim at-Tahiri, the governor of Baghdad. He said to me: “O Yahya! This man is the son of the Messenger of Allah (S). You also know Mutawakkil. If you would incite Mutawakkil to kill him, it is tantamount to declaring enmity with the Messenger of Allah (S).” I said: “I did not see anything in him but goodness.” Then, I proceeded to Samarra. When I arrived there, I went first to Wasif Turki.6 He also said to me: “If even a single strand of hair is taken from this man, I shall call you to account.7

In the first volume of his book, Sayyid Muhsin Amin has identified as Shi‘ah a number of ‘Abbasid statesmen such as Abu Salmah Khalal,8 the first vizier of the ‘Abbasid caliphate who was called the Vizier of the Prophet’s Progeny {wazir al Muhammad}; Abu Bukhayr Asadi al-Basri, one of the prominent governors and emirs during the time of (the ‘Abbasid caliph) Mansur; Muhammad ibn Ash‘ath, the vizier of Harun ar-Rashid, about whom there is a story during the detention of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) which demonstrates his being a Shi‘ah; ‘Ali ibn Yaqtayn, one of the viziers of Harun; Ya‘qub ibn Dawud, the vizier of the ‘Abbasid caliph Mahdi; and Tahir ibn Husayn Khaza‘i, the governor of Khurasan on behalf of Ma’mun and conqueror of Baghdad on account of which Hasan ibn Sahl did not dispatch him to the Battle of Abi’s-Saraya.9

Among the Shi‘ah judges were Sharik ibn ‘Abd Allah an-Nakha‘i, the judge of Kufah, and Waqidi, the renowned historian, who was a judge during the time of Ma’mun.10

Shi‘ism was so widespread even in the ‘Abbasid spheres of influence that it was considered a threat for them. For example, during the burial procession for Imam al-Kazim (‘a) Sulayman ibn Mansur, Harun’s uncle, participated in the procession barefooted in a bid to tone down the wrath of the Shi‘ah who formed an impressive assembly.11 Also, when Imam al-Jawad (‘a) attained martyrdom and they wanted to bury him secretly, the Shi‘ah were informed of it. Armed with swords, twelve thousand of them went out and buried the Imam with due respect and dignity.12

During the martyrdom of Imam al-Hadi (‘a) there was also a large number of the Shi‘ah and the extent of their weeping and wailing was such that the ‘Abbasids were forced to bury him within the confine of his house.13

After the period of Imam ar-Ridha (‘a), the ‘Abbasid caliphs were so meticulous in respectfully treating the pure Imams (‘a) so as not to face the wrath of the Shi‘ah. As such, during the reign of Harun, Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) enjoyed relative freedom and he was able to attend to the scientific and cultural activities of the Shi‘ah, to even declare openly his Imamate and desist from practicing dissimulation {taqiyyah}, to discuss and converse with the followers of other schools and religions, and convince some of them. As Ash‘ari al-Qummi narrates, “During the time of Imam al-Kazim and Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) a number of Sunni and Zaydi divines embraced Shi‘ism and recognized the Imamate of these two Imams.”14

Some of the ‘Abbasid caliphs had strived to monitor the pure Imams (‘a) with the aim of controlling them. When the Imams (‘a) were asked to move from Medina, the caliphs had tried their best not to allow the Imams (‘a) to pass by the Shi‘ah-populated regions. Along this line, pursuant to Ma’mun’s order, they brought Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) to Marv through the Basrah-Ahwaz-Fars route and not through the Shi‘ah-concentrated Kufah-Jabal-Qum route.15

As narrated by Ya‘qubi, when Imam al-Hadi (‘a) was brought to Samarra at the order of the ‘Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil, the ‘Abbasids who accompanied the Imam made a sojourn so to pass Baghdad by night to get to Samarra because as they arrived near Baghdad, they learned that a large group of people was waiting to meet the Imam.16

Since the Shi‘ah were mostly scattered across different regions and far-flung places during the ‘Abbasid period, the pure Imams (‘a) founded the proxy institutions of representation, appointing respective deputies and proxies in the different regions and cities to serve as a means of communication between them and the Shi‘ah.

This affair commenced at the time of Imam as-Sadiq (‘a). When the caliph’s apparatus gained a firmer grip over the pure Imams (‘a) making Shi‘ah’s access to the Imam of their time more problematic, the institution of proxy and the role of the Imam’s deputies gained more prominence.

It is thus recorded in the book, Tarikh-e ‘Asr-e Ghaybat {History of the Minor Occultation}: “The most important of all is the enhancement and spread of the covert institution of deputyship—an institution which was founded during the time of Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) and further developed during the time of ‘Askariyyin.”17

In this regard, Professor Pishva’i thus writes:
The critical conditions of the Shi‘ah Imams during the ‘Abbasid period prompted them to look for a new means of establishing and maintaining their contact with their followers. This new means was nothing but the communication network of representation and the Imam’s appointment of deputies and trustees in the various regions.

The main function of this institution was the collection of khums, zakat {alms-rate}, nadhr {vow endowments}, and gifts {hadaya} from the various regions through the deputies and remitting the same to the Imam as well as for the Imam to reply to the ideological and juristic questions and issues of the Shi‘ah and their political justification through the Imam’s deputies. This institution had pivotal role in advancing the objectives of the Imams.18

The places where the infallible Imams (‘a) had deputies and proxies are Kufah, Basrah, Baghdad, Qum, Wasit, Ahwaz, Hamedan, Sistan, Bast, Rey, Hijaz, Yemen, Egypt, and Mada’in.19

Shi‘ism during the 4th century AH was spread from the east to the west of the Muslim world and was at the peak of its spread and growth as it had never experienced before such a magnitude of growth. The list of the Shi‘ah-populated cities of the Muslim lands during that century presented by Muqaddasi points to this fact. Thus, we shall cite the facts from his book. Somewhere in his book, he says that many of the judges in Yemen, coast of Mecca and Sahar are Mu’tazilites and Shi‘ah.20

Accordingly, Shi‘ism is so widespread in the Arabian Peninsula.21 Regarding the inhabitants of Basrah, it is stated that “Most of the inhabitants of Basrah are Qadiri, Shi‘ah, Mu‘tazilites, and then Hanbalis.”22 During that century, the people of Kufah, with the exception of Kinasah, have been Shi‘ah.23 There are also a few Shi‘ah in the Musul district.24

The people of Nablus, Quds and most of Oman are Shi‘ah.25 The people of the upper village of Fustat and that of Sandfa are Shi‘ah.26 In the region along the Indus river the people of the city of Multan are Shi‘ah, and this fact is evident in their adhan and iqamah.27 In Ahwaz the conflict between the Sunnis and Shi‘ah would lead to war.28

By pointing to the rule of the Buyids and that of the Fatimids in Egypt, Maqrizi also writes:
The rafidhi (Shi‘ah) madhhab {school of thought} spread in Morocco, Sham, Diyar Bakr, Kufah, Basrah, Baghdad, the entire Iraq, Khurasan, Transoxiana,29 as well as Hijaz, Yemen and Bahrain, and there were conflicts between them (Shi‘ah) and Sunnis as a result of which those who were killed were countless.30

During that century, there was a large number of Shi‘ah even in Baghdad, the capital of the ‘Abbasid caliphate to such an extent that they could openly perform their mourning ceremony on the day of ‘Ashura. As Ibn al-Kathir says, “The Sunnis did not have the courage to stop this ceremony on account of the large number of the Shi‘ah and the support of the Buyid government for them.”31

During that time, the ground for the struggle of the Shi‘ah was paved to some extent as many Muslim territories were under Shi‘ah rulers. In the north of Iran, Gilan and Mazandaran, the ‘Alawis of Tabaristan were ruling. In Egypt the Fatimids, in Yemen the Zaydis, in the north of Iraq and Syria the Hamdanis, and in Iran and Iraq the Buyids were in the helms of power.

Of course, during the periods of some ‘Abbasid caliphs such as Mahdi, Amin, Ma’mun, Mu‘tasim, Wathiq, and Muntasir, the Shi‘ah had relative freedom of movement. At least, during the time of these caliphs the past repressions were mitigated. As narrated by Ya‘qubi, the ‘Abbasid caliph Mahdi had released Shi‘ah and Talibis (descendants of Abu Talib).32

The government of Amin unconsciously relaxed its suppression of and hostilities toward the Shi‘ah, for a five-year period, mostly because of Amin’s pleasure-seeking and his war with his brother Ma’mun. The ‘Abbasid caliphs Ma’mun, Mu‘tasim, Wathiq, and Mu‘tadhad had Shi‘i tendency, but Mutawakkil was one of the sternest enemies of the Prophet’s descendants and their Shi‘ah. Although the Shi‘ah were out of control during his reign, he used to prohibit nevertheless the visitation to the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a).33

Ibn Athir says:
Mutawakkil used to regard as his enemies the caliphs preceding him such as Ma’mun, Mu‘tasim and Wathiq who used to express affection to ‘Ali and his descendants. Persons such as ‘Ali ibn Juhm (a poet from Sham), ‘Umar ibn Faraj, Abu Samt—one of the descendants of Marwan ibn Abi Hafsah and sympathizers of the Umayyads—and ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Dawud Hashimi who were regarded as Nasibis and enemies of ‘Ali (‘a), were his boom companions and associates.34

During that period the Nasibi nonreligious poets had earned courage reciting poems against the descendants of the Prophet (S) in order to get closer to the (political) establishment of Mutawakkil. But Mutawakkil’s successor, Muntasir, adopted a contrary policy and gave freedom of action to the Shi‘ah, renovated the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and removed the prohibition on visiting it.35 Hence, Bahtari, a poet during his period has thus said:

إنّ علياً لاولى بكم وازكی يداً عنكم من عمر

Verily, ‘Ali compared to ‘Umar is nearer to you and he is purer.36

‘Abbasids Control over the Shi‘ah Leaders

Up to 329 AH the ‘Abbasid rule in general experienced two periods: ascendancy of Iranian viziers and officials, and prevalence of the Turkish army. Although during the period of the Turks the caliphate’s apparatus was weak and most of the times the ‘Abbasid caliphs were tools in the hands of the Turkish commanders, the government’s general policy was anti-Shi‘ism.

Owing to the great quantitative increase of the Shi‘ah during the ‘Abbasid period, the policy of the ‘Abbasid caliphs was to exert control over the Shi‘ah leaders although the caliphs differed in terms of treatment of the Shi‘ah. Some of them such as Mansur, Hadi, Rashid, and Mutawakkil were despotic, cruel and bloodthirsty. Others such as Mahdi, Ma’mun and Wathiq did not have the stringency of their respective predecessors, and during their caliphate the Shi‘ah had relative breathing space.

When Caliph Mansur sensed the danger posed by Muhammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and his brother Ibrahim, he apprehended and imprisoned his father, brothers and uncles.37 Mansur summoned Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) to his court many times with the intention of killing the Imam (‘a) but the will of God was other than that.38

The ‘Abbasid caliphs tried their best to remove the Shi‘ah leaders who were their rivals. Mansur even gave money and dispatched to Medina a certain Ibn al-Muhajir so as to go to ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan, Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) and a number of other ‘Alawis, and to say to them that the sum of money comes from the Shi‘ah of Khurasan, remit the same and take a receipt. Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) reminded him that the Imam knows that he was sent by Mansur and asked him to relay to Mansur, thus: “The ‘Alawis have been recently relived from the rule of the Marwanis and they are needy. Do not deceive and dupe them.”39

Asad Haydar says: “In order to have a pretext in eliminating Imam as-Sadiq (‘a), Mansur resorted to various means; he wrote letters to the Imam by using the names of the latter’s Shi‘ah and sent goods to the Imam under the names of his Shi‘ah. Yet, Mansur did not succeed in any of these ways.”40

When Mansur heard the news of the martyrdom of Imam as-Sadiq (‘a), he wrote a letter to the governor of Medina, Muhammad ibn Sulayman: “In case Ja‘far ibn Muhammad designated a certain person as the implementers of his will {wasiyy}, arrest him and cut off his head.” In reply to the caliph’s letter, the governor of Medina thus wrote: “Ja‘far ibn Muhammad designated these five persons as the executors of his will: Abu Ja‘far Mansur, Muhammad ibn Sulayman, ‘Abd Allah, Musa, and Hamidah.” Then Mansur said: “They cannot be killed.”41

Caliph Mahdi did not have his father’s callousness toward the ‘Alawis and Shi‘ah. Ya‘qubi narrates: “As soon as Mahdi assumed the caliphate, he ordered for the release of the imprisoned ‘Alawis.”42

As such, no ‘Alawi uprising took place during his reign. Abu’l-Faraj al-Isfahani has mentioned only two persons who died during the period of Mahdi; one of them was ‘Ali ibn al-‘Abbas while the other was ‘Isa ibn az-Zayd who transpired clandestinely and who used to live in hiding from the time of Mansur.43

During the reign of Caliph Hadi, intense pressure was exerted on the ‘Alawis and Shi‘ah figures. As Ya‘qubi writes,
Hadi persisted on treating the Shi‘ah and Talibis harshly, terrifying them extremely. He curtailed the right granted to them by Mahdi and wrote to the governors and rulers of the regions and cities to pursue and arrest the Talibis.44

In protest to the caliph’s wrongdoings, Husayn ibn ‘Ali, who was a descendant of al-Husayn (Shahid Fakh), staged an uprising. In that battle apart from Husayn a large number of the ‘Alawis were killed.45 This battle brought severe pressure to Imam al-Kazim (‘a). Caliph Hadi threatened the Imam and thus said: “By God! Husayn (Shahid Fakh) staged an uprising against me at the order of Musa ibn Ja‘far and he has followed him. It is because nobody could be the Imam and leader of this family except Musa ibn Ja‘far. May God kill me if I let him live.”46

Yet, the caliph failed to execute this threat due to the arrival of the time of his demise. During the second century hijri, Harun ar-Rashid was considered the most cruel caliph toward the ‘Alawis and Shi‘ah leaders after Mansur. Harun was despotic in relation to the ‘Alawis and treated them cruelly.

He mercilessly killed Yahya ibn ‘Abd Allah, Muhammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s brother, inside the prison after granting him amnesty. Similarly, there is a story recorded in ‘Uyun Akhbar ar-Rida that illustrates the extent of Harun ar-Rashid’s cruelty. Hamid ibn Quhtabah at-Ta’i at-Tusi narrates:

One night Harun summoned me and ordered me, thus: “Take this sword and carry out this slave’s order.” The slave took me in front of a certain house whose door was closed. He opened the door. There were three rooms and a well in that house. He opened the first room and asked twenty sayyids (or sadat) (descendants of the Prophet (S)) who had long and woven hair to go out. Young and old could be seen among them. He tied this group with chains and manacles. Harun’s slave then said to me: “The order of the Commander of the Faithful is for you to kill them.”

They are from among the offspring of ‘Ali (‘a) and Fatimah (‘a). I killed one after the other and the slave threw the corpses with heads to the well. Then I opened the second door. In that room there were twenty other people from the offspring of ‘Ali and Fatimah. I did to them what I had done to the previous twenty persons.

Thereafter, the slave opened the third room in which there were twenty other sayyids. They also met the fate of the previous forty persons through me. Only an old man was left who looked at me and said: “O sinister man! May God annihilate you! On the Day of Judgment, what excuse do you have in front of our forefather, the Messenger of Allah (S)?” At that moment, my hands trembled. The slave looked at me furiously and threatened me. I killed the old man and the slave threw his corpse into the well.47

Finally, though acknowledging the station of the Imam, Harun ar-Rashid arrested and imprisoned Imam al-Kazim (‘a) and in the end martyred him through poisoning.48

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) Harun ar-Rashid dispatched to Medina one of his commanders named Juludi so as to assault the houses of the descendants of Abu Talib, plunder the clothes of women and leave only one dress for every woman. Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) stood in front of the door and ordered the women to take their clothes.49

Ma’mun being the most clever of the ‘Abbasid caliphs devised a new method of controlling the Shi‘ah leaders and Imams and that was to monitor the pure Imams (‘a). It was precisely one of the main motives of Ma’mun in superficially designating Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) as his heir-apparent. In the same token, Ma’mun adopted this policy in a different form in dealing with Imam al-Jawad (‘a).

He gave his daughter in marriage to the Imam so that he could monitor the Imam’s activities in Medina. The caliphs after Ma’mun adopted the same method and compelled the infallible Imams (‘a) to live in the capital of the caliphate. Even the tenth and eleventh Imams (‘a) became known as ‘Askariyyin {soldiers} for living in Samarra which was a military city.

Lesson 13: Summary

Shi‘ism spread more during the ‘Abbasid period than during the ‘Umayyad period. During that period, the Shi‘ah were spread in both the east and west of the vast Muslim territory. During that time, Shi‘ism had found its way among the statesmen, judges and military commanders. Even in Baghdad which was the capital of the ‘Abbasid caliphate and influence, the Shi‘ah, on account of their great numbers, were deemed a serious threat to the ‘Abbasids.

It was for this reason that the caliphs tried their best to monitor and control the Shi‘ah Imams. As such, from the time of Imam ar-Ridha (‘a) onwards they compelled the pure Imams (‘a) to live at the caliphate’s capital.

On account of the scattering of the Shi‘ah in the various lands during this period, the pure Imams (‘a) utilized the institution of deputyship {wikalah}.

Finally, Shi‘ism reached the height of its growth and spread during the fourth century. It was during this period when the Zaydi and Isma‘ili states of the Buyids and Hamdanis were set up.

Of course, the ‘Abbasid caliphs differed from one another in their treatment of the Shi‘ah. Mansur, Harun and Mutawakkil were among the most cruel caliphs in dealing with the Shi‘ah.

Lesson 13: Questions

1. How was the spread of Shi‘ism during the ‘Abbasid period? And what role did the institution of deputyship {wikalah} play?

2. Briefly describe Shi‘ism during the fourth century.

3. Did the ‘Abbasid caliphs differ from one another in dealing with the Shi‘ah?

4. What was the policy of the ‘Abbasid caliphs in controlling the Shi‘ah?

  • 1. Khums: literally means one-fifth. According to the Shi‘ah school of jurisprudence {fiqh}, this one-fifth tax is obligatorily levied on every adult Muslim who is financially secure and has surplus in his income out of annual savings, net commercial profits, and all movable and immovable properties which are not commensurable with the needs and social standing of the person.

    Khums is divided into two equal parts: the Share of the Imam {sahm al-Imam} and the Share of the Sayyids/Sadat (descendants of the Prophet) {sahm as-Sadat}. Accordingly, the Share of the Imam is to be paid to the living Imam, and in the period of Occultation, to the most learned living mujtahid who is the giver’s marja‘ at-taqlid {Source of Emulation}.

    The other half of the khums, the Share of the Sayyids/Sadat, is to be given to needy pious Sayyids who lack the resources for one’s year respectable living in consonance with their various statuses. For more information, see Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Khums: An Islamic Tax, {Trans.}

  • 2. Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, trans. Muhammad Baqir Sa‘idi Khurasani, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitabfurushi-ye Islamiyyeh, 1376 AHS) p. 581.
  • 3. Shaykh as-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar ar-Rida, (Qum: n.p., 1377 AH), vol. 2, p. 135.
  • 4. ‘Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1358 AH), vol. 49, p. 155.
  • 5. Ibid., vol. 50, p. 6.
  • 6. Wasif Turki: one of the Turkish commanders.
  • 7. ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali Mas‘udi, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshurat Mu’assasah al-A‘lami Li’l-Matbu‘at, 1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 183.
  • 8. Of course, some authorities are of the opinion that if the evidence proving Abu Salmah as a Shi‘ah is a letter addressed to Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) regarding the proposal on caliphate, it is seemingly not a sufficient proof as they have considered it a (mere) political move. See Mahdi Pishva’i, Sireh-ye Pishvayan, 8th edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Tahqiqati va Ta‘limati-ye Imam Sadiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), p. 378.
  • 9. Sayyid Muhsin Amin, A‘yan ash-Shi‘ah (Beirut: Dar at-Ta‘aruf Li’l-Matbu‘at, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 191.
  • 10. Ibid., pp. 192-193. Of course, Waqidi’s being a Shi‘ah is a matter of dispute among the scholars.
  • 11. Ibid., p. 29.
  • 12. Asad Haydar, Al-Imam as-Sadiq wa’l-Madhahib al-Arba‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, p. 226.
  • 13. Ahmad ibn Abi Ya‘qub ibn Wadhih, Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, 1st edition (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 484.
  • 14. Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Qummi Ash‘ari, Al-Maqalat wa’l-Firaq, 2nd edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Intisharat-e ‘Ilmi va Farhangi, 1360 AHS) p. 94.
  • 15. See Sireh-ye Pishvayan, p. 478.
  • 16. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 503.
  • 17. Sayyid Majid Pur Aqa’i, Tarikh-e ‘Asr-e Ghaybat (Qum: Markaz-e Jahani-ye ‘Ulum-e Islami, n.d.), p. 84.
  • 18. Sireh-ye Pishvayan, p. 573.
  • 19. See Rijal-e Najjashi (Qum: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islami, 1404 AH), pp. 344, 797-800, 825, 847.
  • 20. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ahmad Muqaddasi, Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma‘rifah al-Aqalim, trans. Dr. ‘Ali Naqi Manzawi (n.p.: Shirkat-e Mu’allifan va Mutarjiman-e Iran, 1361 AHS), vol. 1, p. 136.
  • 21. Ibid., p. 144.
  • 22. Ibid., p. 175.
  • 23. Ibid., p. 174.
  • 24. Ibid., p. 200.
  • 25. Ibid., p. 220.
  • 26. Ibid., p. 286.
  • 27. Ibid., vol. 2. p. 707.
  • 28. Ibid., p. 623.
  • 29. Transoxiana {mawara’u’n-nahr (beyond the (Oxus) river)}: roughly corresponding to present-day Uzbekistan. {Trans.}
  • 30. Taqi ad-Din Abi al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Ali Maqrizi, Al-Mawa‘iz wa’l-I‘tibar bi Dhikr al-Khutut wa’l-Athar (famous as Al-Khutat al-Maqriziyyah), 1st edition (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, 1418 AH), vol. 4, p. 191.
  • 31. Al-Bidayah wa’n-Nihayah (Beirut, 1966), vol. 11, p. 243.
  • 32. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 404.
  • 33. Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir ibn Rustam at-Tabari, Tarikh at-Tabari, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 312.
  • 34. Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi’t-Tarikh (Beirut: Dar Sadir, 1402 AH), vol. 7, p. 56.
  • 35. Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 147.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 324.
  • 38. Ibn al-Jawzi narrates: When Mansur arrived in Medina from Mecca, he said to Rabi‘ Hajab, “Summon Ja‘far ibn Muhammad. May God kill me if I failed to kill him.” Rabi‘ used to delay summoning the Imam. Finally, with Mansur’s insistence, Rabi‘ summoned the Imam. When the Imam was present, he slowly moved his frankincense. He then went near Mansur and greeted him. Mansur said: “O enemy of God! May you be annihilated! Do you want to cause disorder within my jurisdiction? ...May God kill me if I would not kill you!”
    Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) reigned yet he was grateful {to God}. Ayyub (Job) experienced affliction yet he remained patient. Yusuf (Joseph) was oppressed yet he granted forgiveness. You are their successor, and it is more appropriate for you to emulate them.”
    Mansur looked down and looked up again and said: “You are one of our nearest of kin.” So he embraced the Imam (‘a), let him (‘a) sit beside him and engaged in a conversation with him (‘a). He then said: “Bring right now the gifts and garment for Ja‘far ibn Muhammad and let him go.”
    When the Imam (‘a) left, Rabi‘ followed him and said: “I have been defending you for three days, acting moderately and reservedly. When you were presented to him, I saw that you were silently uttering something, and Mansur failed to harm you. As I am working with the ruler, I need that supplication. How I wish you would teach it to me.
    The Imam said: “Say:
    اللهم احْرِسْنى بِعَيْنِكَ الَّتى لاتنام و اكْنِفْنى بِكَنَفِكَ الَّذى لايَرامُ اَوْ يُضامُ وَ اغْفِرْلى بِقُدْرَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَ لا اهْلِكُ
    وَ انْتَ رَجائي. اللّهمّ اِنّكَ اَكْبَرُ وَ اَجَلُّ مِمَّنْ أَخافُ وَ اَحْذرُ. اللّهُمَّ بِكَ اَدْفَعُ في نَحْرِه وَ اَسْتَعِيدُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِهِ.

    “O God! Protect me by Your eye that does not sleep and through the power that is free from affliction, protect me from perdition; for You are the source of my hope. O God! You have bestowed abundant blessings to me for which I failed to express gratitude. Yet, You did not deprive me of those blessings and in many cases You have afflicted me with calamities to which I showed little patience. You deliver me. O God! I seek protection in Your support and power of protection from his mischief and I seek refuge in You from his mischief.”
    Tadhkirah al-Khawas (Najaf al-Ashraf: Manshurat al-Matba‘ah al-Haydariyyah wa Maktabha, 1383 AH), p. 344.

  • 39. Ibn Shahr Ashub Mazandarani, Manaqib Al Abi Talib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intisharat-e ‘Allameh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 220.
  • 40. Al-Imam as-Sadiq wa’l-Madhahib al-Arba‘ah, 3rd edition (1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 46.
  • 41. Abi ‘Ali al-Fadhl ibn al-Hasan Tabarsi, I‘lam al-Wara bi A‘lam al-Huda (Qum: Mu’assasah Al al-Bayt Li Ahya’ at-Turath, 1417 AH), vol. 2, p. 13.
  • 42. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, vol. 2, p. 394.
  • 43. ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Abu’l-Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil at-Talibiyyin (Qum: Manshurat ash-Sharif ar-Radi, 1416 AH), pp. 342-361.
  • 44. Tarikh al-Ya‘qubi, p. 404.
  • 45. Maqatil at-Talibiyyin, p. 366.
  • 46. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 48, p. 151.
  • 47. ‘Uyun Akhbar ar-Rida (Qum: Dar al-‘Ilm, 1377 AH), p. 109.
  • 48. I‘lam al-Wara bi A‘lam al-Huda, vol. 2, p. 34.
  • 49. A‘yan ash-Shi‘ah, p. 29.