Chapter 50: Report of Muammar al-Maghribi

1 - Narrated to us Abu Saeed Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab bin Nasr Sijzi that he said: Narrated to us Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Fath Raqqi and Abul Hasan Ali bin Hasan bin Ashki, son-in-law of Abu Bakr said:

“Once we met a person in Mecca who was from Maghrib. We had come to the House of Allah for Hajj along with a group of traditionalists and went to that person. It was three hundred and nine Hijra then. We saw that all the hairs of the head and beard of that person were black. However, he was a skeleton covered with skin like a dry water-bag. He was surrounded by his grandchildren and elderly people of his homeland.

They informed that they lived in the far most region of the north-west Afica near Bahirah Ulya. Those elderly persons testified and said: ‘We have heard from our forefathers and they from their ancestors that they are watching this person who is called Abu Duniya Muammar whose name is Ali bin Uthman bin Khattab bin Marra bin Muwayyad from a long time. He is Hamadani and a resident of highland of Yemen.’

We asked that aged person, ‘Have you seen Ali (a.s.)?’ He pointed with his hand. His eyebrows were hanging in front of his eyes. When his eyes were opened, it appeared as if two lamps were lighted. He told us, ‘I have seen him with these eyes of mine. I was his servant. I accompanied him in the Battle of Siffeen and this injury was caused by the leg of his mount.’ We saw the mark of injury on his right eyebrow.

All the grandsons and other relatives of that elderly person surrounding him testified for his long life and said, ‘We have seen him in the same state since the time we were born and began to understand things and we have heard the same from our forefathers also.’

When we talked to him, we came to know that he was not of unsound of mind and whatever was asked to him, he replied after thinking. We asked him about himself. He related, ‘My father used to read ancient books and Sahaifs (scriptures).

Thus, he read about Aab-e-Hayat (Life-giving water) in one of the books that it is in darkness and whoever drinks this water will have a very long life. After reading this, he developed interest in visiting the darkness. We gathered essential items for the journey and took a few servants, milch camels and camels as beast of burden and departed.

I was thirteen years old then. After continuous traveling, we reached darkness and entered the darkness. We traveled in it continuously for six days. We used to differentiate day and night by a faint light, which slightly reduced the darkness of night. After continuous travel, we descended between some mountains and valleys and my father went around searching for a spring of life everywhere. He had read that the spring of Aab-e-Hayat was at that spot.

We stayed at that place for a few days and the water we had with us was depleted. We lived on the milk of she-camel. If we had not the she-camels with us we would have died of thirst. My father continuously went about here and there in search of Spring of Life and he had ordered us to keep the fire burning so that the way remains visible and he does not have difficulty in reaching us.

We stayed there for five days and my father remained busy continuously searching but the spring was not found. At last, he gave up and intended to return. Our provisions for journey were exhausted. When servants feared for their lives, they insisted my father to move out of the darkness. One day, I came out of my caravan to relieve myself and went a little far away. Incidentally, I saw a spring, which had white and sweet water.

That spring was neither too small nor too big and was of medium size, which was gushing forth slowly. I went near it and drank two or three fistfuls of water, which was very sweet and tasty and cool. I came back running to my caravan and gave the good news to servants that I had found out a spring of water. They took along water-bags and came along with me. I did not realize at that time that my father was searching for a spring.

Instead I was happy that water was exhausted in our caravan and I found a spring. My father was not present at that time and had gone in search of the spring. We searched for that spring a lot but could not find it. The servants falsified me and said, ‘You did not speak the truth.’ When we returned to our camp, we saw that my father had also returned. I narrated the entire episode to him.

He said, ‘My son, I bore all these calamities for the sake of this spring only but I could not find it and you found it. Now your life would be so long that you would become wary of living.’ Eventually, we returned to our home. My father remained alive for a few years and passed away after that. May Allah be pleased with him.

When my age reached nearly thirty years, the Messenger of Allah (S) and two of his caliphs had passed away. When I came to Mecca during the last days of third caliphate, my heart was attracted to Ali among all the companions of Holy Prophet (S). Thus, I joined his service and was present along with him in all the battles. This is the mark of the injury caused to me in the Battle of Siffeen by the leg of his horse.

I continued to serve him after that also till he passed away. Then his children and household members insisted that I stay with them but I returned to my homeland. I set out for Hajj again during the time of Bani Marwan and came back with my fellow countrymen. Whenever I go on a journey, the kings of western countries who know about my long life summon me to their court and ask me about my long life and what I had witnessed and experienced.

I wished that I perform Hajj for last time and as you see my grandsons gathered around me have brought me here.”

Muammar Maghribi said: “My teeth fell two or three times and grew once again.” We asked him, “Please narrate the traditions heard by you from The Commander of faithful, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).” He said, “I had no interest or enthusiasm in seeking knowledge and his companions were seeking a lot of knowledge from him.

As I loved the master very much, I used to remain busy serving him. Then too, whatever I had heard from master, I narrated to knowledge-loving people of western countries, Egypt and Hijaz and all of them have passed away but these grandsons of mine have recorded them all. Then he took out a book and read aloud a few traditions from it (which are narrated below).

Narrated to us Abul Hasan Ali bin Uthman bin Khattab bin Murra bin Mazeed Hamadani famous as Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi (May Allah be pleased with him in his life as well as after his demise):

Ali Ibne Abi Talib told me that the Messenger of Allah had said: “Whoever loves the people of Yemen loves me and whoever hates the people of Yemen hates me.”

And Narrated to us Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi that Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) narrated to him that Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“If someone helps a troubled person Allah will grant him ten rewards, forgive ten of his sins and increase his status by ten levels.”

Then the Commander of faithful said that Holy Prophet (S) also said:

“If someone fulfills the wish of a brother-in-faith for the sake of Divine pleasure then it is as if he has served Almighty Allah for one thousand years and did not disobey Him even for a moment.

Narrated to us Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi that he heard Ali Ibne Abi Talib saying:

“One day, the Messenger of Allah (S) was very hungry. He was in the house of Lady Fatima then. He told me, ‘O Ali! Please lay the food.’ When I laid the food, it comprised of a few loaves of bread and roasted meat.”

Narrated to us Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi that one day he heard the Commander of faithful say:

“I got twenty-five injuries on my body in the Battle of Khaiber. When I came to Holy Prophet (S) in this state, he saw me and started crying and applied his tears to my wounds and those injuries healed immediately.

Narrated to us Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi that Ali Ibne Abi Talib said that Holy Prophet (S) said:

“If a person recites Surah Ahad once, it is as if he has recited one-third of Holy Quran. If a person recites it twice, it is as if he has recited two-third of Holy Quran. If a person recites it thrice, it is as if he has recited the entire Holy Quran.”

Narrated to us Abu Duniya Muammar Maghribi that Ali Ibne Abi Talib said that Holy Prophet (S) said:

“One day I had taken my goats for grazing when a wolf came in front of me. I asked it, “What are you doing here?” It said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “I am flock-keeping here.” Then it went away.” Then, he said, “One day I was making my flock of goats drink water. Suddenly, a wolf came and caught hold of a goat and tore it. I caught hold of its neck, slaughtered it and took it in my custody.

Then I took it (slaughtered goat) to market and suddenly, three angels appeared in front of me viz. Jibraeel (a.s.), Mikaeel (a.s.) and the Angel of Death. When they saw me, they said, “He is Muhammad. Whom Allah has granted abundance.” They made me lie down and tore open my chest with a knife they were carrying and removed the heart from my chest, washed it with cool water they were carrying in a bowl so much that all the blood on my heart was cleansed.

Then they kept it back in my chest and moved their hand on it and my chest became normal by the order of Almighty Allah. I did not feel pain or hurt because of that knife. I came back to my foster-mother, Halima. She asked me, “Where are the animals?” When I narrated the entire incident to her, she said, “Very soon you would be given a high rank in Paradise.”

2. Narrated to us Abu Saeed Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab that he said: Mentioned Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Fatah Riqqi and Abul Hasan Ali bin Husain Ashki that:

“When the governor of Mecca came to know about Abu Duniya, he objected and told him, ‘You would compulsorily have to come along with me to Muqtadir in Baghdad. If he comes to know then he would be displeased with me for I let you go.’

The people of North-west Africa, Egypt and Syria who had come for Hajj said, ‘Please forgive him and do not take him on a journey because he is an old man and would not remain alive after bearing the difficulties.’ Then, his life was spared. Abu Saeed says, ‘If I would have gone for Hajj that year I would have surely met Abu Duniya.

His fame had spread in all cities and the narrators of Egypt, Syria, Baghdad etc. narrated traditions from him. I too was interested in meeting him and narrating traditions from him.’”

3. Narrated to me Abu Muhammad Hasan bin Muhammad bin Yahya bin Hasan bin Ja’far bin Abdullah bin Hasan bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali Ibne Abi Talib gave me the licensed narrate traditions which were authentic and according to me, the tradition of Abu Abdillah Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ishaq bin Husain bin Musa bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali Ibne Abi Talib is correct.

He said that he performed Hajj in 313 A.H. and the same year the chamberlain of Muqtadir Billah, Nasr Qishwari had also come for Hajj. He was accompanied by Abdullah bin Hamadan whose agnomen is Abul Hijaa. We all reached Medina in the month of Zilqad and found an Egyptian caravan there.

Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ali Maazrai was also present among them. He was accompanied by a person who was among the inhabitants of west about whom it came to be known that he had seen (one of) the companions of Holy Prophet (S). There was a large crowd of people who had come to see and meet him. People had surrounded him and looked at him with astonishment and touched him. Soon his soul was going to depart from his body because of crowd and pushing and pulling.

My paternal uncle, Abul Qasim Tahir bin Yahya (r.a.) ordered his slaves to disperse the crowd. Thus, slaves did as ordered and Muammar Maghribi was moved to the house of Ibne Abu Sahl Tifli. My uncle came there and permitted people to meet him one by one. Muammar Maghribi was accompanied by five persons who were sons of his sons. One of them was also an old man whose age was more than eighty years, about whom it came to be known that he was the grandson of Muammar Maghribi.

Another one was seventy years old and two more persons were of fifty or sixty years old who were his grandsons. The fifth one was seventeen years old who was his great grandson. There was no one younger than him. Muammar Maghribi did not appear more than thirty or forty years old. All the hairs of his head and beard were black and he was thin and slim, short in height and had small legs and flat cheeks.

Abu Muhammad Alawi says that this person named Ali bin Uthman bin Khattab bin Marrah bin Muwayyad narrated a few traditions to me, which I have written using the same words. When I looked carefully, I saw that the hair present between his lower lip and chin were white. After he had his meals, they used to turn black.”

Abu Muhammad Alawi says: If prestigious people of Medina, a congregation of Pilgrims and many such persons would not have heard this tradition I too would not have narrated it. I have heard a few traditions from him in Medina and Mecca in the renowned house of Sahmiyyin, which is famous by the name Mukabbiriyah, which belongs to Ali bin Isa bin Jarrah and also in the tents of Qishwari and Mazrai near Baab-e-Safa.

Nasr Qishwari wanted to take along Muammar Maghribi and his children with him to Muqtadir in Baghdad. However, the people of Mecca came and said, “May Allah keep you safe! Among all the traditions, which have reached us through our ancestors, one of them says that if Muammar Maghribi enters Baghdad it would be destroyed and the kingdom would fall.” Hearing this, he dropped the idea of taking him along and turned him towards western countries.

When we asked the chiefs of the people of North-west Africa and Egypt, they said, “We have heard the name of this person and name of his homeland, Tunjah from our ancestors and we have narrated many traditions from him in this book owned by us.

Abu Muhammad Alawi narrates that that elderly person, Ali bin Uthman Muammar Maghribi narrated about his first journey as follows: “My father and my paternal uncle took me along with an intention of performing Hajj and Ziyarat and set out from the Hadhramaut. They forgot the way during journey.

They could not find the way for three days and three nights. After traveling constantly, we got stuck in knolls of sand, which is called Ramal-e-Aalij and which is before Ramal-e-Iram Dhaatul Imad.

We were still involved in this difficulty and we saw large footprints. We followed those marks and reached a village. We saw that two persons were sitting near a well or a spring. As soon as they saw us, one of them got up, filled a bucket of water from the well, came to us and offered it to us.

My father said, “We would stay tonight at this well only and would do Iftar with it only.” Then that person came to my uncle and said, “Drink this water.” He too gave the same reply as my father. Then he offered the bucket to me and said, “Take this and drink water from it.” When I drank water from it, the person said, “Congratulations, you would meet Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).

When you meet him, say that Khizr and Ilyas have conveyed salutation to him and narrate this event to him. O son! You would remain alive for such a long period that you would meet Imam Qaim (a.t.f.s.) and Prophet Isa (a.s.). When you meet them, convey our salutation to them.” Then they asked me, “What relation do you have with these two persons?”

I said, “My father and my uncle.” They said, “Your uncle would not be able to reach Mecca but you and your father would reach. However, your father would pass away. You will get a long life. You would not be able to meet Holy Prophet (S) because he is going to pass away.”

I swear by God, after saying this, I don’t know where both of them disappeared – towards the heaven or inside the earth. Then we saw that there were neither any marks of footsteps nor a spring or water. We were surprised at this incident a lot. We all returned to Najran. My uncle fell ill and died over there. I and my father performed Hajj and went to Medina.

My father fell ill there and he willed to Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) about me and passed away. Ali (a.s.) brought me up. I was with the Commander of faithful Ali Ibne Abi Talib during the time of three caliphs and during the apparent caliphate of Ali (a.s.). Then Ibne Muljim martyred him. May Allah curse him.

When the house of Uthman was besieged, he called me and handed over a letter and a mount and asked me to take that letter to Ali (a.s.). Ali (a.s.) was in Medina at that time. He had gone to his lands. I took that letter and departed.

When I reached the wall of Abaya, I heard a voice reciting Holy Quran. I saw that Master Ali Ibne Abi Talib was coming from Maqam-e-Yambu’ reciting the verse of Holy Quran:

أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ

“What! did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?”1

When he saw me, he said, “O Abu Duniya! How did you come here?” I said, “I have brought a letter given to me by Uthman.” When Imam (a.s.) opened the letter, he found the following two lines quoted in it: “If I am worthy of being eaten up then please do eat me. Otherwise help me before I am torn apart.”

After reading this letter, Imam said, “Lets go.” However, when we reached Medina, Uthman was already murdered. He turned towards the walled garden of Bani Najjar. When people came to know about his arrival, they came running towards him. Before that, it appeared that people would pay allegiance to Talha but when they saw Imam (a.s.), they came running to his side like a flock of goats, which runs after being attacked by a wolf. First, Talha and then Zubair and then Muhajireen and Ansar paid allegiance. I was busy serving the Imam. I was present in the Battle of Jamal and Battle of Siffeen.

Once, the whip fell down from Imam’s hand in Siffeen. I was standing on his right hand side. When I tried to bend and pick up the whip, I was struck on my eyebrow by the iron bridle and this injury was caused as a result. The Commander of faithful Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) called me and applied the wetness of his mouth on my injury and put a pinch of dust on it. I swear by God, my pain disappeared immediately because of its blessing.

I continued to serve the Imam (a.s.). Then I served Imam Hasan (a.s.) till he was injured in Hall of Madayn and came to Medina along with him. I remained busy in his service till Joada binte Ashath Ibne Qais Kindi (may Allah curse her) conspired with Muawiyah and martyred Imam Hasan (a.s.) by poisoning him.

Then I reached Kerbala along with Imam Husain (a.s.). When Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred, I feared Banu Umayyah and escaped to Maghrib and now I am awaiting the reappearance of Imam-e-Qaim (a.t.f.s.) and emergence and descent of Prophet Isa (a.s.).”

Abu Muhammad Alawi narrates: I saw a strange thing that when he was narrating these events in the house of my uncle, Tahir bin Yahya, the hair between his lower lip and chin became red and then turned white. I had seen (earlier) that there was no white hair on his head and beard. When that elderly person saw my amazement, he said, “What are you looking at? It happens

whenever I am hungry; and when my stomach is full, these hair turn black.” Eventually, my uncle ordered food and three trays full of food were brought. One of the trays was kept in front of Muammar Maghribi and I joined him along with a few other persons. The other two trays were kept between rest of the people.

My uncle told people: “I have right upon you then why don’t you eat? Why do you make my food unlawful for yourselves?” Thus, some people ate food and some people did not. My uncle was sitting on the right hand side of Muammar Maghribi. He used to eat himself and forward it to him also. I saw that he ate food as much as a young man eats. I saw that the hair between his lower lip and chin were blackening. When he ate enough that his stomach was full, all his hairs became black.

4. Narrated to us Ali bin Uthman bin Khattab from Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“Whoever loved the people of Yemen has loved me and whoever hates the people of Yemen has hated me.”