As for the research about the Sharifs from the brothers and children of Imam al-Baqir and about their relationship with him, it is necessary according to modern studies. That is because it denotes a side of his life under the wing of his family and it is numbered among the educational factors that affect the individual's character as the educationalists say. That is as follows:
As for the Imam's relationship with his brothers, it was very strong. Love and familiarity prevailed. It was far from bitter obscene language. It was said to him: “Which of your brothers is the most lovable to you?”
He, peace be on him, replied that he did not discriminate against anyone of them and that he loved them all and was loyal to them all. He said: “As for ‘Abd Allah, he is my hand with which I assault.1 As for ‘Umar, he is me eye through which I see. As for al-Husayn, he is clement. He walks calmly on the earth. When the ignorant address them, they say: greetings.”2
The Imam's brothers had all the noble qualities such as piety, God-fearingness, and righteousness. Their father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, fed them from his guidance and bestowed on them rays from his soul. Thus, the rays enlightened their hearts through the true Islam and the true belief. Now, we will give a brief idea about their affairs:
As for Zayd the martyr, he filled the world with his knowledge and his outstanding qualities. He was among the notables of the Prophet's family who raised Allah's Words high in the earth and sacrificed their souls for Allah to establish Islamic justice, to repeat the Quranic government among people, and to end the social oppression which the Umayyad regime spread among the people. Now, we will mention some of his life and his affairs.
Zayd the martyr was born in the year 78 A. H.3 It was said that he was born in the year 75 A. H.4 When his father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was given good news, he took the Holy Quran and opened it. Thus, the holy verse appeared:
He closed the Quran and then he opened it again, so this verse appeared:
He closed the Quran and opened it, so this verse appeared:
The Imam was dazzled and began saying: “I have been condoled concerning this boy. Surely he will be among the martyrs.”5 The Imam, peace be on him, predicted the martyrdom and told his companions about it. Thus, they had no doubt about that.
Zayd grew up in the Houses of Prophethood and of the Imamate. His father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, who was the best human being during his time, fed him with the essence of wisdom. He took care of his manners. He drew the way of guidance and good for him. He affected his behavior. Thus, his father's bright habits were impressed in his mind. The historians said: “Zayd's most prominent qualities were asceticism, piety, and conforming to the religion. He did not follow the leadership of himself. Rather he preferred the pleasure and obedience of Allah to all things. ”
From his childhood, Zayd had a close relationship with his brother al-Baqir who was the successor and trustee of his father and the inheritor of his knowledge. It is natural that this relationship had a great effect on his behavior and his character. That is because his behavior and his character were similar to those of his grandfathers whom Allah purified from uncleanliness and made far from them the sins of this world.
Zayd was loyal to Allah in worship and turned to Him in repentance. '‘Asim b. ‘Ubayd al-‘Umari said: “When Zayd was a young man in Medina, I saw him praise Allah to the extent that he fainted. Thus, the people said that he would not come back to this world.”6 With the people of Medina, he was known as the Ally of the Quran.7 The prostration (in prayer) affected his face8 because of his many prayers during whole the night.9 With his sentiments and his feelings, he turned his face toward Allah. Moreover, he followed everything that brought him near Allah in station.
Zayd was among the prominent scholars of his time. He was an encyclopedia of traditions, jurisprudence, the explanation (of the Quran), language, literature, and theology. Jabir asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him, about Zayd. He, peace be on him, replied: “You asked me about a man who is full of belief and knowledge from the ends of his hair to his foot.”10
He, peace be on him, said: “Indeed Zayd was given abundant knowledge.”11 Zayd talked about his vast knowledge and education when he prepared himself to lead the community and to revolt against the Umayyad government. He said:
”By Allah, I did not go out nor did I make this uprising of mine till I have read the Quran, mastered the religious duties, have command of the sunna (the Prophet's practices), and morals, known the interpretation as I have known the Quran, understood the abrogating (verse) and the abrogated, the specific and general, the clearly defined and the ambiguous, and the necessary needs of the community. Indeed I know my Lord clearly.”12
Surely Zayd was among the most prominent jurists and among the greatest reporters of tradition. He learned his knowledge from his father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and from his brother, Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, who split open knowledge as his grandfather, the Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said. They fed him with all kinds of knowledge. Moreover, he learned from them the principles and branches of the thought and the explanation (of the Quran). Thus, he was among the first-class figures in his outstanding merits and knowledge.
Al-Shahristani thought that Zayd studied under Wasil b. ‘Ata' and learned al-i‘tizal (seclusion) from him. He said: “He (Zayd) wanted to know the principles and the branches to be endowed with knowledge, so he learned the principles from Wasil b. ‘Ata', the head of the Mutazilites. Worth mentioning, Wasil b. ‘Ata' thought that Zayd's grandfather, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, was not sure of correctness during his battles against the Companions of the Camel and the Syrians and that one of the two parties was wrong. For this reason, Zayd learned al-i‘tizal (seclusion) from him.”13
This idea is incorrect, for Zayd did not take his religious knowledge from Wasil. Rather he learned it from his father and his brother, who enlightened the scientific intellectual life of Islam.
The jurists and the heads of the Islamic Schools took their religious knowledge directly from the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, or from one of their students. So, why would Zayd go to Wasil to take knowledge from him?14 Shaykh Abu Zahra said: “Zayd met Wasil to debate with him. He was not his student, for they were of the same age. Zayd was grown-up. “He added: “Zayd learned the branches of the rules from his family. That was in Medina, the cradle of the science of the branches.”15
Zayd learned his religious knowledge from his father and his brother. He was among the prominent jurists during his time. Abu Khalid al-Wasity reported a group (of traditions) on his authority. They are about jurisprudence such as worships and transactions. He called them ‘Musnad Ahmed'. We have mentioned the criticisms of this book in our study on the beliefs of the Zaydis.
As for Zayd's literary position, he was among the first-class in literature and eloquence. He was similar to his grandfather, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, in eloquence.16 The historians said: “Zayd debated upon a bequest with Ja‘far b. al-Hasan. When they debated upon the bequest with each other, the people overcrowded around them to hear their debate. The people memorized and wrote Ja‘far's and Zayd's words. Then they learned them as they learned the obligatory religious duties, rare poetry, and proverbs.”17 Sibawayh quoted Zayd's poetry. Zayd's opponent, Hisham the tyrant, acknowledged his literary abilities and his skillful speech. He said: “Zayd has a sweet tongue and a strong style. He is appropriate for hiding the speech.”18 History and literature books are full of his wonderful wise sayings, which are among eloquent Arabic speech.
Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, revered and admired his brother, Zayd. He showed the deepest affection and the sincerest love towards him. That is because Zayd was among the peerless men and was a living example of unique heroism. The historians reported examples of that affection and admiration. The following are some of them:
1. Imam al-Baqir said: “Indeed, Zayd, the mother who bore you was highborn. O Allah, strengthen my back by Zayd.”19 This indicates that the Imam revered and admired his brother, Zayd.
2. Sudayr al-Sayrafi reported: “I (Sudayr) was with Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be on him. Suddenly, Zayd b. ‘Ali entered. Abu Ja‘far patted him on the back and said to him: 'This is the Lord of the Hashimites. When he orders you, then obey him. When he asks you for the support, then support him.'”20 This indicates that the Imam summoned (the people) to support and defend him. He also regarded his uprising as legal.
3. The historians reported on the authority of a man from the Hashimites, who said: “We were sitting with Muhammad (al-Baqir) b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. His brother, Zayd, was also sitting. Then a man from Kufa came in. Muhammad b. ‘Ali said to the man: 'You narrate original poetry. What did al-Ansari say to his brother?'“The man recited for the Imam some lines of poetry having noble qualities.
Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) put his hand on Zayd's shoulder and said to him: “My brother, these are your qualities. I ask Allah to protect you so as not to be killed in Iraq.”21
The above-mentioned lines denote that Zayd had a strong will and resolution. He was obedient to his brother. His qualities were noble. He was appropriate for carrying out great tasks. Nobody has such qualities but the matchless ones.
Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, gave the highest qualities to his brother and granted him his loyal love. The factor of brotherhood did not motivate al-Baqir to treat his brother in such a way. That is because his spiritual position did not permit him to follow sentiments and desires. Rather he thought that his brother was among the most perfect human beings. So, he granted him such love and honor.
Hisham bore malice against the Prophet's family and harbored hatred against them. He ordered his security agents to keep an eye on the ‘Alids and to know their political activities. His security agents informed him of Zayd's high social rank and his remarkable abilities. They told him that the people followed Zayd and that they looked forward to his government. Thus, Hisham plotted against him. He ordered his governor over Medina (Yathrib) to send Zayd to Damascus. When Zayd arrived in Damascus, Hisham did not receive him to weaken and disdain him.
When the Syrians saw that Zayd had high morals, eloquent speech, strong proofs, and religious devoutness, they followed him. Hisham heard of that, so he burst into anger. Then he asked the advice of some of his followers to abase and weaken Zayd before the Syrians. They said to him: “Permit all the people to come to meet you. Prevent Zayd from coming with them. Then let him enter after them all. When he enters and greets you, do not greet him and do not order him to sit down.”Hisham did that. He thought that such an action would decrease Zayd's importance and weaken his character. Some historians said: “Zayd came in and greeted Hisham. However, Hisham did not greet him. Thus, Zayd burst into anger. He addressed him violently, saying: ‘Cross-eyed, greetings! Indeed you see yourself appropriate for this name!’”22 These words destroyed the tyrant's might and abased his haughtiness. So, he shouted at Zayd, saying: “I have heard that you mention the caliphate and wish for it. Still, you are inappropriate for it. Moreover, you are the son of a slave-wife.”
Zayd opposed Hisham. He mocked at him. He brought proofs to refute Hisham's words, saying: “Surely, mothers do not hold back men from their aims. Indeed Ismael's mother was a slave for Isaac's mother. However, Allah appointed him prophet, made him the father of the Arabs, and brought out from his back the best of prophets, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family.”23
Hisham could not control himself because of these wonderful words. He shook all over. Thus, he attacked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, saying: “What does your brother, the cow (al-baqara), do?”
Nobody uses these obscene words except the ignorant ones who have no proof. Zayd felt pain when Hisham abused his brother. So, he turned to the tyrant and said to him: “Allah's Apostle has called al-Baqir (the one who splits open knowledge). Why do you call him al-baqara (the cow)? That is because of the great difference between you and him. You will oppose him in the hereafter as you have opposed him in this world. So, he will enter Paradise and you will enter the Fire.”24
These words shook the tyrant's throne. They made the Syrians know that the tyrant was the worst creature and that he was not worthy of being a police man. He opposed Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. So, why was he the Caliph over the Muslims? Hisham was unable to control himself, so he ordered his police to take Zayd out of his meeting.25 Zayd went out. His heart was full of anger and pain. The tyrant (Hisham) began saying to his family: “Do you not claim that the members of this House have perished? No, by my life, the people whose descendant is this have not perished.”26
Zayd went out. He was very eager to announce his uprising against the Umayyad government that denied all human values and disdained the people's dignity. Zayd declared his uprising through his immortal words that became a motto and anthem for the revolutionists who entered the fields of armed struggle. He said: “If people hate the heat of the swords, they become low.”
This confrontation between Zayd and Hisham took place during the lifetime of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him. The books have not mentioned the Year when this confrontation occurred. However, from that moment, Zayd decided to revolt against the Umayyad regime. Some of his followers said that they went to him and heard reciting the following words of the poet:
Whoever seeks the forbidden glory with the spear
lives glorious or the spears tear him.
When you gather together a clever heart and a sword
and a refusal soul, the oppressive will avoid you.
When a group of people invade me, I invade it.
O Family of Hamadan, am I oppressive in that?27
These lines of poetry indicate that Zayd decided to revolt against the Umayyad regime through entering the field of armed struggle. He chose this method to live glorious and noble, to make the oppressive avoid him, and to protect himself from the plot of the aggressors. Oh you! who are great revolutionary, you are not oppressive nor are an aggressor. Rather you are the one who saved and freed the Arabs and the Muslim community from oppression, injustice, and despotism.
It is certain that Zayd was not joyful nor ungrateful nor oppressive nor corruptive when he announced his uprising. Rather he wanted to obtain Allah's pleasure and the hereafter. Surely he saw prevailing oppression and general injustice. He saw the Umayyad rulers violate all the things Allah prohibited. Thus, he revolted against them for Allah and the truth. The reporters said: “When Zayd decided to revolt (against the Umayyads), Jabir b. Zayd al-Ju‘fi came and said to him:‘ I heard your brother, Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), say:‘ Indeed my brother, Zayd b. ‘Ali, will revolt and he will be killed. He is right. Woe unto him who betrays him! Woe unto him who fight against him! Woe unto him who kills him. '”
So, Zayd said to him: “I cannot keep silent. That is because they have disobeyed Allah's Book. Moreover, they have believed in idols and false deities. I saw a man with Hisham. The man was abusing Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Thus, I said to the man: ‘Unbeliever, woe unto you. When I meet you, I will kill you and send you quickly to the Fire. '“So, Hisham said to me: “Zayd, keep silent. He is our friend. “Then I (Zayd) said: “By Allah, if there was nobody except me and my son, Yahya, I will go out and fight against him till I have perished.”28
Imam Abu Allah al-Sadiq, peace be on him, praised his uncle (Zayd) very much. He also glorified his reformative uprising. “The narrators said: “Al-Sadiq said to his companions: ‘Do not say that Zayd disobeyed. Surely, Zayd was a religious scholar. He was very truthful. He did not summon you for himself. Rather, he summoned you to follow al-Ridha’ from the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. If he had appeared, he would have fulfilled what he had promised you. Surely, he revolted against the supreme authority to change it.”29 Al-Sadiq, peace be on him, gave ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Sayyaba a thousand dinars to divide them among the families of those who were wounded with Zayd.30
If the uprising had been illegal, Zayd would have not done that. That is because he was far above emotions and sentiments.
Some reports have condemned Zayd's uprising. They have regarded it as illegal. However, our master sayyid Imam al-Khu'i has discussed Zayd's uprising. He has proven that the chain of the reporters is weak. So, nobody can rely on such a chain to defame Zayd's character and uprising.31
However, Zayd's uprising made intellectual social change in the Islamic society and made it ready to revolt against the Umayyad government. Few years passed, then the black standards waved in Khurasan. Then they crept to conquer the Islamic countries and to purify them from the hirelings of the Umayyad authority. Thus, they overthrew the Umayyad throne and put an end to its haughtiness and despotism.
Zayd revolted against the Umayyad rule through his faith that represented the essence and guidance of Islam. Indeed he saw a liar living, a truthful one was accused of lying, riches without piety, common injustice, and despotism in the affairs of the Muslims. So, he was unable to keep silent. Some of his Shi'ties said: “We went out with Zayd. When it was mid night and the Pleiades appeared, he said to us: ‘Do you not see the Pleiades? Do you thing that there is anyone who can reach them?'”
“By Allah, I wish that my hand was attached to them and I fell on the ground or where I fell and cut into pieces and that Allah reformed the community of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family.”32
These words of his indicate his reformative nature and his great loyalty to the community of his grandfather, may Allah bless him and his family and his full dedication to general reform.
‘Isa b. ‘Abd Allah reported on the authority of his grandfather Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, who said: “I was with Zayd b. ‘Ali when Hisham sent us to Yousif b. ‘Umar. When we left Hisham, we headed for Qadisiya (a province in Iraq). When we arrived there, Zayd said: ‘Isolate my provision from yours. ‘So, his son said to him: ‘What do you want to do?' 'I want to return to Kufa. By Allah, if I know that Allah is pleased with me when I strike fire with my hand to throw myself into it when it is ablaze, I will do so. However, I know that there is nothing that pleases Allah, the Great and Almighty, more than striving against the Umayyads.33
Zayd did not revolt against the Umayyads for the Caliphate or the supreme authority. Rather he revolted to obtain Allah's pleasure and the hereafter. He thought that striving against the oppressive was among the greatest things that would make him near him to Allah. Then he headed for Kufa, for it was the general center of the Shi‘ites who asked him to come to them to pledge allegiance to him to revolt against the Umayyad government and to overthrow it. The historians said that a group of his loyal companions warned him of going to Kufa and blamed him for having trust in the Kufans who were known for treason and breaking promises. However, he did not pay attention to that, for he found no strategic place for his uprising other than Kufa. He was reciting the following words of ‘Antara al-‘Absi:
She got up early in the morning to make me afraid of death.
It was as if I was in isolation from the accidents of life.
So, I answered her that death was a watering place and that
I would be surely watered by the glass of the watering place.34
These lines of poetry indicates that Zayd decided to enter the field of armed struggle and that he strove bravely to drink out of the glass of death to get rid of abasement, as his grandfather, Imam Husayn, the Lord of the free, and of the abstinent ones in Islam.
When Zayd arrived in Kufa, the Kufans received him warmly and hurried to pledge allegiance to him. The number of those who pledged allegiance to him was fifteen thousand people. It was said that their number was more than this. Moreover, the jurists, the judges, the great thinkers, and the prominent poets pledged allegiance to him. Among them were al-A‘mash, Sa‘d b. Kaddam, Qays b. al-Rabi‘, al-Hasan b. ‘Ammara, and the like.35 Abu Hanifa was asked about Zayd's going out, so he said: “His going out was similar to the going out of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, at the Battle of Badr.”He added: “If I had known that the people would not abandon him as they had abandon his father, I would have fought alongside him. However, I helped him with money.”36
As for the form of the pledge of allegiance which Zayd took from those who pledged allegiance to him, it is as follows: “I summon you to (follow) the Book of Allah, the Sunna (practices) of His Apostle, to strive against the oppressive, to defend the oppressed, to give to the deprived, to divide booty among its people, to pay the rights to their owners, to support the people of the truth, and the like.”37
This form gives a picture about the original principles for which Zayd revolted. They are:
1. He summoned (the people) to enliven the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet. That is because the Umayyad policy drove them away from life.
2. He summoned them to strive against the Umayyad oppressive rulers who led the Muslims through oppression and injustice and forced them to adopt what they hated.
3. He summoned them to defend the rights of the oppressed and to give to the deprived. Indeed this class of people were deprived of all their legal rights throughout the Umayyad rule.
4. He summoned them to divide equally booty and all financial rights among the Muslims. The Umayyads blundered such rights and spent them on their pleasures and their private desires.
5. He summoned them to support the righteous people who took care of the lawful affairs of the community. They were the guides from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
Zayd revolted (against the Umayyads) to achieve these great aims in the Islamic homeland and to save the community from injustice, oppression, and severe punishments of the Umayyads.
The historians said: “Zayd had a large armed force. Their number was forty thousand people. Thus, he thought that he had to announce his uprising and to creep with his armies to occupy Kufa and to over throw the Umayyad government.
His armies started from Jabbanat Salim.38 They were hailing their great leader, Zayd. They were very eager to over throw Umayyad rule. They were shouting: Ya Mansur, amit. “O He who is victorious, bring death.”39
When Zayd saw the standards waving over his head, he said: “Praise belongs to Allah who has guided me. By Allah, if I do not enjoin (the people) to do good, I will feel shame of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, when I meet him at al-Hawd (holy water in Heaven).40 Then he addressed his armies, saying: “Cleave to the behavior of the Commander of the Faithful in Basrah and Syria. Do not follow the fugitive, do not kill the wounded, and do not open a closed thing.”41
The war broke out at a very cold night.42 That was in Muharram 23rd, in the year 122 A. H. Armed clashes occurred between Zayd's followers and the Umayyad armies headed by the Governor of Kufa, Yousif b. ‘Umar.
The Kufans betrayed Zayd after they had made a covenant with Allah to support and defend him. They abandoned him at the battle. They left him with the few of his companions in the field of armed struggle (jihad). When Zayd knew of their treason, he said:
“They have done towards me as they had done towards al-Husayn.”
The Kufans betrayed him as they had betrayed his grandfather, al-Husayn, before. Zayd was sure of the failure of his uprising. It seemed to him that the Kufans had no protection nor had they loyalty. Thus, he and his companions took part at the battle that happened in the streets of Kufa. He proved himself brave. The people did not see a knight braver than him.43
Zayd showed bravery and heroism which nobody can depict. He pursued the armies and inflicted on them heavy causalities. So, the Umayyad army was unable to resist Zayd's successive attacks. He attacked them and recited the following words of a poet:
I abase life and honor death.
I see them both unhealthy taste.
If one of them is necessary,
then I will walk towards death in a pretty way.
Surely Zayd preferred the glory of death to the abasement of life, as his grandfathers preferred that. He did not yield to abasement and enslavement. Rather, he died honorably under the shade of swords.
When it got dark, an arrow hit Zayd in the forehead.44 The arrow reached his noble brain that thought of nothing but of man's righteousness and happiness.
The disaster befell his companions. They were full of sorrow and sadness. Thus, they sent for a doctor. The doctor took the arrow out of Zayd's forehead. However, Zayd died immediately. With that the glowing candle that illuminated the way and made clear the purpose for the Muslims went out.
Zayd died as a martyr to achieve social justice in the earth, to secure equal chances for the Muslims, and to divide the blessings of the earth among the poor and the deprived whose rights the Umayyad authority denied.
The historians said: “Indeed Zayd's companions were perplexed at burning his body. That is because the Umayyad authority would maim it in a sinful way. After a discussion, they decided to bury his body in a river. They went to the river and stopped its water. They dug a grave in it and buried the pure body in it. They made the water flow on it. Then they went away weeping over the great leader who took care of the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted.
One of the spies of the authorities was among Zayd's companions. The spy saw their movements. Thus, he hurried to Kufa to tell its governor about the place of the grave. So, the governor ordered the grave to be dug up to take the body out of it. Thus, the body was taken out and carried to the Palace of Kufa. There the governor ordered the body to be hung upside-down at al-Kanasa Market. Then he ordered the head to be cut off to be sent as a gift to the Syrian tyrant, Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik. The cruel tyrant ordered the head to be put at his meeting. He ordered those who came to him to step on it with their shoes to abase it very much.45 Then he made the hens peck its brain. In this connection, the poet said:
Dismiss the rooster from Zayd's brain as long as the chickens did not tread on him.46
(He is) the grandson of the Prophet, the noblest of all Allah's creatures, the adornment of the delegations and pilgrims.
They carried running his head to Syria in the early morning.47
The tyrant (Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik) ordered the head to be hung on the gate of Damascus. Then the head was sent to Medina.48 It was installed at the grave of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, for a day and a night.49 Then it was sent to Egypt. All that was done to spread fear and terrorism among the people and to make them know that the authorities were able to suppress any anti-government opposition.
The tyrant of Damascus wrote to the assassin, Yousif b. ‘Umar, the governor of Kufa, to let Zayd hang. With that he intended to abase the ‘Alids and to disdain their Shi‘ites. It escaped him that such an action lighted the fire of revolution in their souls. Thus, they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their doctrines.
The Umayyads boasted of hanging Zayd's body. Al-Hakim b. ‘Ayyash, an Umayyad hireling, boasted of that, saying:
We have hung Zayd for you on the trunk of a date-palm.
We have never seen a Mahdi hung on the trunk.
You have compared ‘Uthman with ‘Ali owing to foolishness.
While ‘Uthman is better than ‘Ali.
A handful of earth is in al-Hakim's mouth. Surely Zayd was hung because he wanted to achieve the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted. He was hung because he wanted to establish social justice in the earth and to put an end to social oppression and the playing with the fate and blessings of the community.
When Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq heard of these lines of poetry, he felt pain very much. So, he raised his hands to supplicate (Allah), saying: “O Allah, if your servant is a liar, then empower your dog. “Allah accepted the Imam's supplication. A lion ate al-Hakim when he was walking in the streets of Kufa. When the Imam heard of that, he prostrated himself in prayer to thank Allah, saying: “Praise belongs to Allah who has fulfilled His promise.”50
When the Umayyad authority had suppressed Zayd's uprising, it went too far in spreading panic and fear in Kufa. It punished the innocent person because of the guilty one and the comer because of the fugitive. It resorted to punishing Zayd's supporters severely. It went to extremes in doing that. It tortured not only the men but also the women. That was forbidden even with the people who lived before Islam. However, the authorities regarded that as lawful to achieve their political aims. The historians said: “The bloody tyrant, Yousif b. ‘Umar, ordered a woman to be arrested, for the woman supported Zayd. When she stopped before him, he ordered her hand and her leg to be cut off. However, she asked them to cut off her leg first to gather her clothes. When they responded to her, they cut off her hand and her leg. So, she bled till she died. Then the bloody tyrant ordered her husband to be summoned to behead him.51 He also ordered a woman to be arrested, for the woman married her daughter to Zayd. He ordered her clothes to be torn. Then he ordered her to be whipped. She was whipped till she died. Then her body was thrown into the desert. A group of people took it and buried it in their cemetery.52
The tyrant committed many crimes of such a kind. All these crimes indicate that he had neither conscience nor feelings.
The Muslims were annoyed when Zayd was killed. They harbored malice against the Umayyads who violated the holiness of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when they killed Zayd. Worth mentioning, the Prophet ordered the community to treat his progeny kindly.
The Umayyads committed the Karbala' terrible massacre. Only few years after that, they murdered Zayd, who was among the notables of the Prophetic family. They were not content with his murder. Thus, they dug up his grave and hung his body on the trunk of a tree. They did not permit (his family) to bury his body. They did that to avenge themselves sinfully on the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. With that they disobeyed the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who ordered them to love his Household. Moreover, they disobeyed Islam that ordered them to respect the dead and not to maim them.
Zayd's painful disaster was among the heavy events from which the Muslims feared and which they regarded as great. Thus, their poets began praising Zayd to the extent that they depicted the sorrow and the agony that befell the Muslims. So, al-Fadl b. al-‘Abbas composed:
O Eye, shed abundant tears!
The grandson of the Prophet has been hanged at al- Kanasa.53
These are some lines of the poem. Through them the poet has depicted his deep sadness over the great martyr the Muslims lost. The poet asked his eyes to shed abundant tears. That is because the misfortune was great and heavy. Then he regarded as great taking out Zayd of his grave and hanging him. Though the Umayyads maimed the body of the great revolutionary, they were unable to force his pure soul that resisted falsehood, abominable deeds, and injustice and that it has resided in the gardens with the souls of the immortal martyrs who were killed at Karbala' to defend the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted. That made the misfortune easy for the poet. Then he blamed the Kufans for betraying Zayd, as they had betrayed before his grandfather, al-Husayn, peace be on him. Thus, treason was among the traits of the Kufans. It was said: “The Kufan does not fulfill (his promise).”
Abu Thumayla al-Abbar was among those who praised Zayd. He said:
You are always killed in the way of Allah.
The people are safe, while the members of the family of
Muhammad are killed or are made homeless.54
In these lines the poet has described his exhausting sorrow over Zayd, the great revolutionary. He has mentioned the heavy loss that was inflicted on the community when it lost Zayd. That is because the community wanted him to solve its hardships and crises. The poet added that Zayd illuminated the way for the free combatants through his martyrdom. He filled their hearts with content and pleasure through his mighty uprising that aimed at achieving the decisive affairs of his community. Through his martyrdom, Zayd obtained the maximum rank obtained by the glorious martyrs from his grandfathers who raised the banner of truth, which was stained with their pure blood. The poet added that Allah wanted Zayd to die a martyr and to behave among the people through the behavior of those who save and free their communities and their homelands. That is because being murdered for Allah was the nature of the ‘Alids. It has been reported on the authority of one of them: “Being murdered is our custom and martyrdom is our dignity from Allah.”
In his last lines, Abu Thumayla has mentioned the severe persecutions which the Umayyad rulers imposed on the ‘Alids. That is because the Umayyad rulers killed the ‘Alids, made them homeless, and filled them with fright. The bird spent the night peacefully while the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, did not spend their night peacefully because they were afraid of the Umayyads. He censured those who rejoiced at the murder of Zayd who revolted (against the Umayyads) to establish social justice in the earth. He also condemned those who pledged allegiance to him and then deserted him. That was when they entered the mosque of Kufa. Then Zayd asked them to support him and to defend his uprising. However, they did not respond to him.
Zayd's body remained hung on the gallows. It was illuminating the way of freedom and dignity for the people. It urged them to refuse abasement and submission. It renewed in their souls the uprising against oppression and injustice. Thus, the authorities put guards around it. Their number was four hundred people. The authorities appointed a hundred guards to watch the body every night. It built a house for the guards around the trunk (of the date palm). That is because it thought that the people would take the body and bury it.55
Hisham died. Then al-Walid b. Yazid, the licentious one of the Umayyads, succeeded him. The latter wrote to the governor of Kufa, Yousif b. ‘Umar, to bring down the holy body from the gallows and to burn it with fire.56 The murderer carried out al-Walid's orders. Thus, the pure body was burnt, for Zayd wanted to purify the earth from the oppressive and to return man's dignity and rights.
When the great body had been burnt, Yousif b. ‘Umar, the licentious one, sprinkled it into the Euphrates. Then he said (to the Kufans): “By Allah, Kufans, I will make you eat it in your food and drink it in your water.”57
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, freed his community from the life of straying in the desert. However, the Umayyads rewarded him when they killed his progeny and his family. They maimed them sinfully, for they (the Prophet's progeny) wanted to achieve the community's rights, security, and welfare.
Here one thing has remained. The great historian, al-Mas‘udi, has mentioned: “Zayd asked the advice of his brother, Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), when he wanted to go to Iraq to revolt against the Umayyads. Thus, the Imam advised him not to trust the Kufans, for they were perfidious and cunning. Indeed, they killed his grandfather, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be no him, stabbed his uncle al-Hasan, and killed his grandfather al-Husayn. However, Zayd insisted on asking (the Umayyads) for the truth. So, Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) said to him: 'I am afraid that you will be killed at al-Kanasa, in Kufa tomorrow. ‘Then Abu Ja‘far saw him off and told him that they would not meet each other.”58
These words of al-Mas‘udi make the person understand that Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) was alive when Zayd decided to revolt (against the Umayyads). Some of those who wrote about Zayd mentioned that, too. This is incorrect, for Imam Abu Ja‘far died in the year (114 A. H.)59, and Zayd was killed in the year (122A.H.). Perhaps al-Mas‘udi wanted to say that Zayd had a hunch of revolting against the Umayyads at that time. This is also incorrect. With this we end our talk about Zayd's life and his uprising that was the brightest of all the uprisings at that time and the most useful of them in serving the community.
Al-Husayn the younger was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin's son. His mother was a slave-wife (umm walad).60 He was among the glorious figures of the Prophetic family, for he was meritorious, pious, and talented. The following are some of his affairs:
He was among the prominent scholars of his time. He reported many traditions on the authority of his father, his aunt, Fatima, daughter of Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, and his brother, Imam Abi Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him.61 His son, Muhammad, reported on his authority the tradition of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning the murder of his son, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him.62
Al-Husayn was clement and sober. The dignity of the pious and the righteous presented itself in him. The lineaments of light appeared on his face. Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) described him, saying: “As for al-Husayn, he is clement. He walks on the earth in humbleness. When the ignorant address him, he says: Peace”63
He was pious and devout. He feared Allah very much. Sa‘id, the companion of al-Hasan b. Sahib, said: “I did not see anyone who feared Allah more than al-Hasan b. Salih till I came to Medina. So, I saw al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. I saw that nobody feared Allah more than he did. (It was) as if he had been taken into the fire (of Hell) and then taken out of it because of the intensity of his fear.”64
Ahmed reported on the authority of his father, who said: “I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn pray, so I said: ‘He will not put down his hand until his prayer for all creatures is answered.’”65
Al-Husayn grew up in the center of piety and devotion and in the origin of wisdom and virtue of Islam. His father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, fed him with his ideals and his psychological perfect qualities. Thus, he was similar to his father in cleaving to Allah, refraining from this world, and conforming to the religion.
He died in Medina (Yathrib) at the age of about (57 years).66 It was said that he died at the age of (74 years).67 He was buried beside his father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, and his brother, al-Baqir, at the (cemetery) of Baqi‘ al-Gharqad.
He was the son of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He was Imam al-Baqir's full brother. He was among the glorious children of the pure Imams, for he was knowledgeable, pious, and devout. We will mention briefly some of his affairs:
He was nicknamed al-Bahir because he was handsome. The historians said: “(The people) looked at his handsomeness when he attended a certain meeting. Everybody respected and admired him.”68
He was among the prominent scholars. His father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, took care of educating him. He fed him with his sciences and his outstanding qualities. The historians said: “He was among the jurists of the members of the house (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. “He reported many traditions on the authority of his grandfathers on the authority of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family. He related traditions to the people. Thus, they reported the traditions on his authority.69 He reported directly on the authority of his grandfather, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, and on the authority of his grandfather, Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him. ‘Ammara b. Ghuzayya, Musa b. ‘Aqaba, ‘Isa b. Dinar, and Yazid b. Abi Zyyad reported on his authority. Ibn Hayyan numbered him among the reliable (narrators). Al-Turmidhi and al-Hakim regarded his traditions as correct.70
‘Abd Allah assumed on behalf of his brothers the heirlooms of the Prophet, peace be on him, and of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him.71 He divided their revenues according to the will of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful.
He died at the age of (57 years).72 The references have not mentioned the year when he died or the place where he was buried.
He was the son of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. His mother was a slave-wife. Al-Mukhtar bought her for a hundred thousand dirhams. Then he sent her to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. She bore him ‘Umar, Zayd, and ‘Ali.73 ‘Umar al-Ashraf was among the most meritorious people. His affairs are as follows:
He was given the kunya of Abu ‘Ali. It was said that he was given the kunya of Abu Ja‘far.74 The Shaykh (al-Tusi) said: “He was given the kunya of Abu Hafs.”
He was nicknamed al-Ashraf to distinguish him from ‘Umar al-Attraf, the uncle of his father. Sayyid al-Muhanna said: “(He was nicknamed so) because he obtained honor and outstanding merit from his grandfather, al-Husayn, peace be on him, who was born from the Mistress of the Women of the World, Fatima the Chaste, peace be on her, while ‘Umar al-Attraf obtained honor from his father, Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful. “Our master, Imam al-Khu'i, commented on this, saying: “Through his lineage, his outstanding merit, his piety, ‘Umar al-Ashraf is more honorable than ‘Umar al-Attraf.”75
He was a meritorious (religious) scholar. The Shaykh (al-Tusi) numbered him among the companions of his brother, Imam al-Baqir. He reported on the authority of his father. Fatr b. Khalifa reported on his authority.76
He undertook the heirlooms of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. Al-Husayn b. Zayd said: “I saw my uncle, ‘Umar, make a condition on him he bought (Imam) ‘Ali's heirlooms that he should break so-and-so in the wall and should not prevent those who entered them from eating.”77 This indicates his generosity, his nobility, and his humanity.
He passed away at the age of (65 years).78 The references have not mentioned the year when he died or the place where he was buried. They have neglected that.
He was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin's son. He died at Yanbu‘ and was buried there.79 He was thirty years old.80 We have not found a full biography about his life. Biography and lineage references have neglected him. With this we end our talk about the righteous Sharifs from the brothers of the Imam.
As for the Imam al-Bqir's children, they were from the good ones of the Prophetic family and from the glorious figures of the Muslims, for they were rightly-guided and righteous. Moreover, they refrained from the sins of the world. The Imam educated them with his noble morals. He planted in their souls his outstanding natures and his high ideals. Thus, they represented his great soul whose aroma prevailed the world. As for his pure male descendants, they are as follows:
He was the son of Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him. His mother was Umm Hakim, the daughter of Usayd b. al-Mughira b. al-Akhnas al-Thaqafi.81 We have found no information about him.
He was the master of the children of his father, the leading Imam after him, among the glorious figures of this world, and the vanguard of the geniuses of the world. That is because he made an immense development on the intellectual and the scientific levels. Among them was his creation in chemistry. Jabir b. Hayyan, who was the glorious figure of the Arab east, studied this science under him. This science is regarded as the creative means for the technological progress in the world. Modern sciences have not discovered many of the chemical theories which the Imam made nor have the specialists known.82 Imam Ja‘far (al-Sadiq) is regarded among the early theologians and philosophers. Hisham b. al-Hakam, who is regarded as a wonderful example of these studies, studied under him.
Imam Ja‘far founded the rules and principles of the Islamic jurisprudence after his pure grandfathers. He took care of this science very much. Rather he devoted himself to it. The juristic encyclopedias are full of what has been reported on his authority. Thus, most chapters and branches has been reported on his authority. Moreover, he took care of other Islamic sciences, such as the science of tradition, interpretation (of the Quran), and morals. History has never known a person more knowledgeable and meritorious than him, except his grandfathers, peace be on them. If we want to talk in detail about his character, then we are in need of a big encyclopedia.
He was the son of Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him. His mother was Umm Farwa, daughter of al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Bakr.83 His father brought him up and took care of educating him. So, he was among the virtuous ‘Alids. He died a martyr. A sinful Umayyad gave him poison to drink. The historians said: “The Umayyad came to him. However, ‘Abd Allah was afraid of him and said to him: ‘Do not kill me. I will intercede for you with Allah.’”84
However, the Umayyad paid no attention to him and forced him to drink the poison. When he was given the poison to drink, his bowels were cut off. He remained alive for a short time, and then he passed away.85 He went as a martyr to Allah. He was similar to his grandfathers whom the evil powers and the sinful souls killed. Those evil souls killed them because they belonged to the original lineage that raised the banner of human dignity.
He was the son of Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him. He lived under the care of his father. He followed his father's guidance and behavior. Thus, he was an example of virtues and perfection. He was nicknamed al-Tahir (the pure one), for his soul was pure and his position was great. He died in a village, at al-Khalis near Baghdad. In his (book) al-Tarikh, Muhib al-Din b. al-Najar said: “The shrine of al-Tahir is in a village, at al-Khalis near Baghdad. An old grave has appeared in it. A stone is on it.
On the stone it has been written: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is the shrine of al-Tahir ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him. “The rest of the stone broke down. So a dome of adobes has been built over it. There was a shaykh called ‘Ali b. Na‘im. The Shaykh was among the secretaries. He assumed writing the Divan of al-Khalis. So, he decorated the shrine and hung brass lamps in it. Then he built a wide courtyard around it. Thus, the shrine has become among the shrines which are visited.86 It was reported on the authority of the author of ' Riyad al-‘Ulama' that the grave of ‘Ali is in Kashan and that there is a great dome over it and that it has clear miracles.87
As for the ladies of virtue from his daughters, they are as follows: Zaynab whose mother was a slave-wife. Umm Salama90 whose mother was a slave-wife. She was the mother of Isma‘il b. al-Arqat. Her son, Isma‘il, became ill. So, she hurried frightened to Imam al-Sadiq. He ordered her to go into the house and say two ruk‘as and supplicate with this supplication: “O Allah, surely you granted him to me while he was nothing. O Allah, I ask you to grant him to me. So, lend him to me.”91 She did that, and Allah healed him.
With this we end our talk about the righteous Sharifs from the children of the Imam, peace be on him.
- 1. ‘Abd Allah was Imam al-Baqir’s full brother
- 2. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.2, p.273
- 3. Ibn ‘Asakir, al-Tahdhib, vol.6, p.18
- 4. Al-Hada’iq al-Wardiya, vol.1, p.143
- 5. Al-Roud al-Nadir, vol.1, p.52
- 6. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p.128
- 7. Ibid, p.130
- 8. Ibid, p.128
- 9. Al-Khara’ijj wa al-Jara’ih, p.328
- 10. Imam Zayd, Muqaddamat al-Musnad, p.8
- 11. Ibid, p.7
- 12. Al-Maqrizi, Al-Khutat wa al-Athar, vol.2, p.440
- 13. Al-Millal wa al-Nihal, vol.2, p.208
- 14. Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol.5, p.60
- 15. Muhammad Abu Zahra, Imam Zayd, p.225
- 16. Al-Hada’iq al-Wardiya, vol.1, p.144
- 17. Zahr al-Adab, vol.1, p.87
- 18. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol.2, p.390
- 19. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.127
- 20. Ibid
- 21. Zahr al-Adab, vol.1, p.118
- 22. Ibn ‘Asakir, al-Tahdhib, vol.6, p.22
- 23. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol.5, p.84
- 24. Sharh al-Nahjj, vol.1, p.315
- 25. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol.5, p.84
- 26. ‘Umdat al-Talib
- 27. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p.129
- 28. Taysir al-Matalib, pp.108-109
- 29. Roudat al-Kafi
- 30. Al-Majjlisi, al-Amali, p.54
- 31. Mu‘jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol.7, pp.350-358
- 32. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p.129
- 33. Taysir al-Matalib, pp.108-109
- 34. Al-Roud al-Nadir, vol.1, p.75
- 35. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin
- 36. Al-Kamil, vol.5, p.56
- 37. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin
- 38. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.203
- 39. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.8, p.273
- 40. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.127
- 41. Al-Hada’iq al-Wardiya, vol.1, p.148
- 42. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.202
- 43. Ibid
- 44. Al-Muqrim, Zayd al-Shahid
- 45. Ibn Abi al-Haddid, Sharh
- 46. Al-Niza‘ wa al-Takhasum, p.7
- 47. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.292
- 48. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.8, p.77
- 49. ‘Umdat al-Talib, p.258
- 50. Al-Sira al-Halabiya, vol.1, p.327
- 51. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.255
- 52. Ibid
- 53. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, pp. 148-149
- 54. Ibid, p.150
- 55. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.256
- 56. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, pp. 147
- 57. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol.2, p.391
- 58. Murujj al-Dhahab, vol.3, p.139
- 59. Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol.4, p.217
- 60. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.29
- 61. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.302
- 62. Mu‘jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol.6, p.44
- 63. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.2, p.273
- 64. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.302
- 65. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.29
- 66. Mu‘jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol.6, p.44
- 67. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.29
- 68. Ibid, p.127
- 69. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.300
- 70. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol.5, p.324
- 71. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.300
- 72. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.127
- 73. Ibid
- 74. Mu‘jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol.13, p.54
- 75. Ibid
- 76. Ibid
- 77. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.2, p.273
- 78. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.127
- 79. Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol.5, p.450. Yanbu‘ is to the right of Radwa for those who leave from Medina to the sea. It belonged to the sons of al-Hasan. It has abandunt fresh springs, water and plants. Some of them said that it was a fort with date-palms. In it there were the religious endowments of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. His sons inherited them.
- 80. ‘Umdat al-Talib, vol.2, p.129
- 81. Mir'at al-Zaman fi Tawarikh al-A‘yan, vol.5, p.78. Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat, vol.5, p.320
- 82. Dr. Muhammad Yahya al-Hashimi has mentioned that in his book Imam al-Sadiq Mulhim al-Kimya'
- 83. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.303
- 84. In his speech:" I will be a helper for you against Allah." He meant that he would be an intercessor for him with Allah.
- 85. Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p.64. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.1, p.309
- 86. Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p.63
- 87. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.1, p.309
- 88. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.303. Sayyid Kazim Yamani, al-Nafha al-‘Ambariya. It is among the manuscripts of Imam Kashif al-Ghita' Public Library. ‘Abd Allah has not been mentioned in Jamharat Ansab al-‘Arab nor has he been mentioned in ‘Umdat al-Talib nor has he been mentioned in Mir'at al-Zaman
- 89. Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p.194
- 90. Mir'at al-Zaman fi Tawarikh al-A‘yan, vol.5, p.78. Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat, vol.5, p.230. In al-Nafha al-‘Ambariya, his daughters were Zaynab the elder, Zaynab the younger, and Umm Kulthum
- 91. Safinat al-Bihar, vol.1, p.309