Chapter 13: The Time of the Imam
The time of the Imam, peace be on him, was marked by terrible waves of racial, popular inclinations, religious creeds, and ideological trends that had no relationship with Islam and met it in no way. Those ideological movements conflicted with each other in a conflict that had neither calmness nor stability, to the extent that that conflicted included most of the times.
The reason for that is that the Islamic conquest carried the cultures and sciences of the nations to the Arab and Islamic world. Besides Islam brought a great wave of sciences and thoughts. In the meantime it urged the Muslims to be free and to be specialists in all kinds of knowledge. That brought about an ideological change in the Islamic society.
The thoughts appeared in different kinds of culture the like of which the society did not come to know in the bygone times. The scientific abilities that burst in that time headed for the ideological part of life. Accordingly, the Islamic doctrines and the religious sects were formed. The community was divided into parties that witnessed great disputes, quarrels, and arguments.
So the clubs were full of bloody fights and violent struggle, especially as it concerns proving the Creator, His positive and negative attributes, decree and determination, and the subject matter of the creation of the Qur’an. The most prominent group in this field was that of the theologians. Many books were written on this subject. They are full of many examples of those disputes and arguments.
Among the most dangerous and heated thoughts at that time was the atheistic thought propagated by those foreigners who harbored malice against the Muslims and Islam, for they were disturbed by the spread of Islam and its authority on the earth. Such people thought that they had no ability to face Islam through war and force.
So they spread their corrupt beliefs among those weak, young Muslims. They propagated vague errors and imaginations among the Muslims, to the extent that a group of those deceived and vainglorious responded to them. As for Imam Musa, peace be on him, and the great thinkers from among his companions faced those coming beliefs through criticizing them with strong, scientific proofs, explaining their corruption and their remoteness from reality.
Their arguments had the nature of loyalty to the truth and taking care of the interests of the Muslims. Large part of those who had such beliefs confessed their error and their corrupt trend. So they returned to the doctrine of the truth and correctness. Because of that, the movement of Shi‘ism appeared, and the scientific abilities of its leaders spread.
So great part of the Muslims adopted it. This affair disturbed the responsible, and they resisted it through persecuting and severely punishing its followers. They prevented them from speaking in the ideological fields. So Imam Musa, peace be on him, was forced during the days of al-Mehdi to send a letter to Hisham. He asked him to refrain from theology due to the dangerous situation, and Hisham refrained from that until al-Mehdi died.1
It is necessary to talk briefly about these subject matters; similarly, it is necessary to deal with some important events that happened at that time and to know the policy of the then government. That is because studying the life of the Imam, peace be on him, depends on having knowledge of these affairs.
Besides they show us great part of the political and social problems at that time. I (the author) think that a researcher is in need of having knowledge of such matters.
Rwait Ronaldson, an orientalist, maintained that the appearance of the movement of al- shi‘ubiya, intense conflict between the Arabs and the rest of other peoples were the most important events happened at the time of Imam Musa, peace be on him.2 This viewpoint is very surface. It indicates that its owner did not study the Islamic history deeply, that he did not understand the beginning and development of the events in history.
For al- shi‘ubiya was not born at that time. Rather it began before it for a long time. We will give proofs of that. It is necessary to pause to inquire into this important event, which is the greatest of all the events with which the Islamic world was afflicted.
That is as follows:
The linguists have differed over the definition of this word (al- shi‘ubiya). In the book al-Lisan, al- shi‘ubi is he who degrades the importance of the Arabs and sees that they have no excellence over other than them. In the book al-Sihah, al- shi‘ubiya is a sect that does not prefer the Arabs to non-Arabs.
So according to the first definition, al- shi‘ubi is he who degrades the value and dignity of the Arabs and sees that they have no excellence over those other than them. According to the second definition, al- shi‘ubi is he who regards the Arabs and those other than them as equal. Ibn ‘Abd Rabba maintained this definition in his al-‘Aqd al-Ferid, saying: “Surely, al- shi‘ubiya are the men of equality.”
The modern writers have differed over defining the meaning of al- shi‘ubiya. Al-‘Adawi has maintained that al- shi‘ubiya has been derived from al- shi‘ub, meaning the return to the past of peoples, vainglory throughout geographical and historical fanaticism, leaving the Arabs’ message aiming at creating new society evaluating man according to his work and service.3
As for al-Duri, he believes that the concept of al- shi‘ubiya is complicated, that the secret movements that affected Islam, did to demolish the Arabic, Islamic supreme authority or to demolish Islam or the trends that tried to destroy Islam from inside are called al- shi‘ubiya.4
Kurd ‘Ali sees that al- shi‘ubiya are the people who show fanaticism toward the Arabs and prefer the non-Arab to them.5 This is the meaning of al- shi‘ubiya in the viewpoints of the linguists and the modern writers. They all have not agreed on a certain definition for this word.
According to the historical inquiry, this destructive movement started at the time of the Second Caliph (‘Umar b. al-Khettab), to the extent that he was the victim of it. That was when he was assassinated by Abu Lu’lu’a as a result of the conspiracy among those forces who harbored malice against him.
As for the factors of its beginning, they resulted from that the supreme authority did not treat the Arabs and the non-Arabs equally in rights and duties. For the Second Caliph gave a religious verdict that none of the non-Arabs had the right to inherit except those who were born in the Arab land.6
He also harassed them through taxes. Moreover, through his money policy, created classes in Islam. For example, in giving, he preferred al-Badriyyin,7 and the Emigrants to the Ansar (the Supporters). This required classifying the people according to the tribes and their lineage. So the genealogists became active to record the lineage and classifying the tribes according to their origins. Of course, this made the non-Arabs hate the Arabs and look for their defects.
‘Uthman, the Third Caliph, also followed this policy. He ordered his governor over Baghdad to prefer the Arabs to non-Arabs.8 This unjust policy brought about many difficulties and discords to the Muslims. It divided their ranks and spread hatred and malice among them.
The movement of al- shi‘ubiya greatly developed during the days of the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid governments. This abominable fanatical instincts took place among the Muslims. The Arabs showed pride toward the rest of other peoples. They praised their qualities. They said: “Surely we have moral qualities by which we have been distinguished.
We are the greatest of all the people in entertaining guest, relieving the grieved, and helping the seeker of help. We slaughter for night comer our only she-camel. We have good intuition, proverbs, and wonderful speech. We are the greatest of the people in memorizing our lineage.
We know our lineage and name our forefathers. Besides Islam grew among us and spread at our hands. It is we who spread it and conveyed its message.” These are the most important proofs on which the Arabs depended in their excellence and precedence over those other than them.
This immoderate fanaticism of the Arabs disturbed the other peoples of the Islamic Empire. So they went too far in mentioning their qualities just as the Arabs did. They degraded their importance, mentioned their bad deeds and their defects such as burying a new-born girl alive for fear of poverty, and the dependence of their economic life on invasion and loot. They disparaged them for their arid land and their simple life.
In the meantime, they mentioned the greatness of the Roman Emperor, the Indian wisdom, the Greece logic and philosophy, the Chinese industry and arts, the Persian luxury and civilization. They said that the Arabs were the least of all the peoples in such things. So they have neither pride nor glory.
As for their declamation and boast of Islam, it is that Islam is not only the religion of the Arabs but also it is the religion of all people. Islam itself has fought against pre-Islamic inclinations, buried their thoughts, and destroyed their preferences. It has regarded all Muslims as equal and fear of Allah as the measure for supremacy and excellence. Allah, the Most High, says:
Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) (Qur'an, 49: 13).
Many books have been written on mentioning the defects of the Arabs and disparaging them. In this respect Abu ‘Ubayda Mu‘ammar b. al-Muthenna has written many books of which are: Arab Thieves (Lusus al-‘Arab), Arab Bastards (Add‘iya’ al-‘Arab), Good Qualities of the Persians (Fedaa’il al-Furs).
On this subject matter al-Haythem b. ‘Adi wrote several books of which are: Big Book of Defects (Kitab al-Methalib al-Kebeer), Book of Rabi‘a’s Defects (Kitab Methalib Rabi‘a), Names of the Qurayshi Unchaste Women in the Pre-Islamic, and the Names of their Children (Asma’ Beghaayaa Quraysh fi al-Jahiliya wa Isma’ men weledna).
Ahmed al-Bukhtkan wrote: Vengeance of Non-Arabs on the Arabs (Intisaaf al-‘Ejem ‘alaa al-‘Arab), Excellence of Non-Arabs over the Arabs and their Pride (Fedl al-‘Ejem ‘alaa al-‘Arab wa Iftikhariha).9 Spites became public among the Muslims and discords spread among them at that time.
The Persian poets boasted themselves on the Arabs and went too far in degrading their dignity. Abu Nu’as, a Persian poet on the side of his mother, satirized the Arabs, saying:
The wretched one stopped at the ruins to ask them; and I stopped to ask about the wine shop.
He wept over those bygone from among Asad. May your wealth be not much! Say: Who are the Banu Asad?
Who are Temeem? Who are Qays and the like? The Arabs are nothing with Allah!
Abu Nu’as talked again in his poetry about one of the Arabs’ qualities. He said that vainglory and dissension were famous among the members of their tribes. He also said that when two Arabs from two different tribes sat together, they quarreled and vied in glory with one another. So each of them boasted himself on his tribe and his family, whilst the Persians did not have such qualities. He says:
I drank with them (the Arabs) to get used to their morals. As for drinking wine with the Persians, it was normal and decided.
They revere each other and intone when they speak. Their hidden (words) are understandable.
The free of Persia have the most precious selves; and their pride is not available during their association.
When I drink with an Arab group, Temeem begin mentioning their vainglory. They prepare their bows for Qays. Tameem are captured; and their gathering is defeated.
I do not guard against the evil of children of the non-Arabs. For the way of their drinking wine is good.
They do not show haughtiness toward a drinking companion when they become drunk. They greet the Arabs when they aggress against them.
When I sit among them, they show humbleness and respect toward me.
That brought about the spread of disagreement between the Arabs and the rest of the people and the fanaticism of each party for his people. On top of those racists who continually satirized the Arabs was Bashshar b. Burd. He always disparaged them and degraded their position. A desert man came in to Majjza’a b. Thour al-Sudusi in Basrah. Bashshar was present at his gathering and wearing the uniform of poets. The Bedouin asked Bashshar, asking:
-What are you?
-Are you an Arab or non-Arab?
-There is no relationship between non-Arab and poetry! So Bashshar became angry. He kept silent for a while. Then he turned to Majjza’a and said to him: “Abu Thour, may I say something?”
“Say whatever you wish, Abu Ma‘adh,” replied Abu Thour.
O my friend, I do not overlook compulsion, nor do I disdain a non-Arab and a neighbor.
I will tell the one who boasts of the Arabs about me and about him when he has made pride known.
At the time when you were clothed in silk after nakedness and sat with the generous around the wine.
O one whose parents are shepherds, do you vie in glory with the sons of the free; sufficient unto you is a loss!
When you were thirsty for pure water, you made the dog take part in licking the rim.
You want to break the non-Arabs through an oration, and the hunting of a mouse makes you forget noble deeds.
You wear old clothes and graze the sheep in the desert.10
The movement of al- shi‘ubiya reached zenith during the days of al-Mehdi and of Harun. That was because of the influence and control of the Beramika over the government.
Anyway, this inclination created an enmity among the Muslims and divided their ranks. The Arab and non-Arab poets and writers satirized and cursed each other. Al-Khuzaymi says:
O Abu al-Seghd, when a camel lends me its glory, then that is a harm. And of my neighbor’s morals is ignorance.
O Camel, if you show vainglory or adorn yourself, then the religion and reason is far above pride.
I think that people are equal in life; and I think that no grave has exaltedness and excellence over another.
That Yehabir did not bear me, Jerm and ‘Aqel did not include me did not harm me.
If you do not protect the old with a new glory, then that which was before does not avail you.11
Indeed talking about al- shi‘ubiya is painful. For this quality and other corrupt qualities lead to the division of the Muslim, the split of their unity, the spread of enmity and hatred among them.
The attitude of Islam is distinguished by strictness toward all corrupt qualities that split the unity of the Muslims and spread disagreement among them. Since the appearance of its light, Islam has declared that the Muslims are one hand, the link of the religion is stronger than that of lineage.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, condemned all racial, fanatical instincts. A hypocrite sneered at the adhan of Bilal, for he was unable to pronounce the letter sheen, and he pronounced it seen. He would say: Ashed anna la ilaha illa Allah. Bilal went to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and told him about the sneering of the people at him. Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, became displeased and said:
“Indeed the seen of Bilal is sheen with Allah.”
Condemning the hypocrites, he, May Allah bless him and his family, said: “Indeed the seen of Bilal is better than your sheen.”
While the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was sitting with Selman al-Farisi, Bilal al-Hebeshi, Suhayb al-Rumi, and other weak believers, al-Eqre‘ b. Habis al-Temimi, ‘Uyayna b. Husayn al-Ferazi, and other Arab chiefs came and said to him:
“O Allah’s Apostle, put these (people) aside, that we may be alone with you. The Arabs delegates come to you, and feel shame when they see us sitting with these (people). When we go away, then you sit with them.”
So Allah, the Most High, revealed to his Prophet this verse: And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, they desire only his favor; neither are you answerable for any reckoning of theirs, nor are they answerable for any reckoning of yours, so that you should drive them away and thus be of the unjust. (Qur'an, Surat al-An'am, 6: 52).
Accordingly, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, approached them, talked with them, and paid no attention to the words of those hypocrites.12
One of those whose hearts reconciled boasted himself on his lineage and mentioned the days of his father during the pre-Islamic period before Selman al-Farisi. He repeated that on some other occasions, so Selman rose and told the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, about that.
Thus he, May Allah bless him and his family, went to his mosque in terror. He was sorrowful and astonished, so he declared before the people his famous words: “Selman is (one) of us, Ahl al-Bayt!”
He also said: “It is forbidden for Selman to take alms!”
He, May Allah bless him and his family, condemned all kinds of division among the Muslims. He, May Allah bless him and his family, said: “No Arab has an excellence over a non-Arab except through fear of Allah!”
Allah says in His Holy Book:
O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.(49:13)
This brilliant policy was followed by Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the testamentary of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and gate of the city of his knowledge. When he took the reins of government, he regarded all the Muslims as equal in giving and the like.
He treated them with one treatment. He did not make any distinction among them. He regarded them as equal in position. He, peace be on him, has declared that in his world document in which he has shown human rights. He, peace be on him, said to Malik: “People are two kinds: They are either your brother in the religion or your like in creation.
” A Qarashi lady came to him and asked him to increase her salary. She saw an old woman sitting by the gate of the mosque. She asked her about her salary, and she answered that she received it from the public treasury. She came to know that she received an amount equal to that the old woman did.
So she became displeased, caught the old woman, and shouted: “Is it an act of justice and fairness that ‘Ali gives me an amount equal to that of this Persian (old woman). She entered the mosque while she was repeating that at the top of her voice. When she reached the Commander of the faithful, she rudely said to him: “Why do you give me an amount equal to that of this salve woman?”
The Imam looked at her. Then he took a handful of earth. He turned the handful of earth with his hand and said: “Some of this earth is not better than some of it.” Then he recited these words of Him, the Exalted:
O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. .(49:13)
This policy exited the Arabs’ spites and Qurash’s grudge against him. So a companion of his asked him to change his policy, saying: “O Commander of the faithful, give these properties. Prefer these noble from among the Arabs and Quraysh to non-Arabs.” These cheap words hurt the Imam, and he said:
“Do you order me to seek victory through oppression?” Ali b. Abi Talib, the pioneer of justice and equality on earth, refused to prefer the Arabs to non-Arabs and regarded that as tyranny and aggression against the Muslims’ rights.
This policy made the unjust forces to unite in a bloc and to cooperate with each other to war against him. In this respect al-Meda’ini has said: “Indeed among the reasons for that the Arabs deserted ‘Ali b. Abi Talib was his following the principle of equality among the people. For he did not prefer the noble to those less noble, nor did he prefer an Arab to a non-Arab, nor did he flatter the heads and the tribes.”13
This brilliant policy was an extension to the message of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and following to his method. The Arabs and the non-Arabs witnessed this bright justice Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, followed. So they followed it and adopted it as a unique model.
They asked the Muslim rulers to follow it and to put its program into effect. Accordingly, they met different kinds of exhaustion and severe punishments from the tyrannical rulers who ruled the community with an abominable policy void of justice and truth.
Ahmed Amin is among those who harbored malice against the Shi‘ites. For he said: “Indeed Shi‘ism was the shelter and curtain of al-shi‘ubiya.”14 A handful of earth is on Ahmed Amin and on those other than him from among those who write for neither the truth nor for history nor for the interests of the community.
Rather they write according to certain objectives to whom the colonists dictate, that they may divide the ranks of the Muslims, to possess alone their wealth, and put them in the places of their influence. Indeed the Shi‘ites take their teachings from the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, who resisted all the destructive movements, took toward al-Shi‘ubiya and the like a decisive attitude marked by strictness and hardness.
Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, ordered the racists to be killed with the sword because they intended to split the unity of the Muslims.
Can Ahmed Amin and the like of him from among those who believe in his beliefs give proof of that the Shi‘ism was the shelter of al-Shi‘ubiya and other than it from among the destructive instincts?
With pride the Shi‘ites have hoisted the flag of Islamic justice and lightened the Islamic history through their heroic, brilliant struggle. Were it not for their great sacrifices and their noble attitude toward the tyrannical and the oppressive, Islam would have neither name nor trace. Therefore, they are the shelter of Islam, the truth, and justice. They are the shelter of every social movement aiming at establishing justice and putting an end to oppression.
Anyway, al-Shi‘ubiya and the rest of the slogans disagree with the Shi‘ite reality taken from the core and essence of Islam. Certainly these accusations fastened to the Shi‘ites have no purpose except creating a gap among the ranks of the Muslims to abase them, to undermine them, and to send them far from their true religion seeking for them exaltedness, dignity, and independence.
Surely the Muslims are in a dire need of unifying their words and ranks, getting rid of discords and fanatical instincts. That is because before them is the Imperialistic America and its ally, Israel, that schemes against the Arabs and the Muslims in broad daylight and at dark night, spares no effort to war against Islam, to usurp Arab homeland, to dismiss its inhabitants, and to establish a country for the Jews. Unfortunately, the Muslims are heedless of the great danger and the affliction surrounding them.
America and the western countries support Israel with all kinds of fatal weapons, supply it with the whole economic and military helps, that they may destroy the Arabs, control their oil and their minerals.
Therefore, it is incumbent on every writer to enlighten the Muslims and to warn them against this dangerous affliction. Anyhow, we are wide of the subject, but the painful circumstances, the misfortunes and disasters from which the community suffer have urged us to exceed this subject matter. After this let us return to deal with some problems took place at the time of the Imam, peace be on him.
They are as follows:
The atheistic movement appeared at the ‘Abbasid first time. The devious principles aiming at chaos and mischief spread during it. Some simple people the propagation colored whatever it wished adopted it. They followed them without awareness and guidance. However the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt along with their great students from among the Muslims thinkers resisted that ideological invasion, falsified the coming thoughts, refuted the vague errors of the atheists, and saved the Muslims from them.
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, spared no effort to save the Islamic country from the unbelievers and mischief-makers. His son Imam Musa, peace be on him, helped him in this holy field of jihad. A group of their students-who armed themselves with rational programs, famous for strong explanation, good opinion, sharp insight, and firm argument-cooperated with them.
They held gatherings and debates in the public places, in the houses of the ministers and the kings. They debated with the atheists on theological matters. Through strong proofs they proved that those beliefs were false, to the extent that some leading atheists withdrew from their creeds and followed the way of the truth and correctness.
In the meantime the local governments persecuted and severely punished the atheists. Unfortunately, they punished the innocent more than the hypocrites. They used the accusation of atheism as means for throwing the innocent into prisons. It is necessary to speak briefly about this important subject matter, which is the most important of the events to take place at the ‘Abbasid time.
Atheism is a psychological aspect. It is the most dangerous of all the social diseases and the greatest of them in destroying man’s civilization and progress. It urges men to deny the Great Creator, to deny the Day of Resurrection, to accuse the Apostles of lying, and to believe that man is not under the domination of another power, that he manages and creates all his life affairs.
This disease results from a violent excitement that separates the vigilant feeling from the thought and the faith in Allah. It results from either the desires of the soul or from the disease of deprivation clinging to it.15
When man is infected by this dangerous disease, the psychological deterrents that prevent him from committing sin and abominable deeds completely collapse, his soul is void of all good instincts, and he follows dark trends. In this respect the Holy Qur’an says:
And (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness. (Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:257)
When soul goes too far in committing sin, it rushes into the fields of vices and it is not prevented from that by any law in the world. For this reason social education is necessary, for it takes care of purifying conscience, directs man to the righteous way, plants in soul all good instincts that urge him to believe in Allah and the Day of Resurrection and prevents him from committing crimes and offences.
As such education is not available, a flood of problems faces man in the fields of behavior and morals, social links and other humane values disappear.
Anyway, atheism and all evil instincts subject man to danger and are a sign of destruction that includes all life elements.
There are various kinds of atheism such as denying the Creator, the Most High, denying His positive or negative attributes, disbelief in the Prophets and the Messengers, and denying the Day of Resurrection.
The title including them all is denying one of the requirements of the religion. The most dangerous of all kinds of atheism is denying Allah, the Exalted. This is the western atheism as Nietzsche says: “Allah has died!”16 The Marxist ideology stands on it.
I (the author) have explained it in one of my books.17 As for the atheism in the early Islamic times, it resulted from doubts about one of His attributes and denying Islam. We will explain that.
The marks of atheism appeared at the Umayyad time. For one of the Umayyad kings declared the word of atheism and apostasy from the religion. An example of that is Yazid b. Mu‘awiya. When he killed the grandson of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, his plant of sweet basil, master of the youth of the Garden, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, he recited the poetry line of Ibn al-Zub‘ra:
Hashim played with the dominion, so no news came, nor was a revelation revealed! He inherited this atheistic instinct from his grandfather, who said before ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan: “Catch it (the office of the Caliphate) just as the boys catch the ball with their own hands. By him by whom Abu Sufyan swears, there is neither garden nor fire!” However, ‘Uthman did not blame him, nor did he punish him.
Most their kings had such a belief. For example, when al-Waleed opened the Holy Book of Allah and read the verse any every insolent oppressor was disappointed, he became angry, placed the Holy Book as a target, and threw arrows at it, and said: You threaten me with an insolent oppressor, and I am an insolent oppressor!
When you come to your Lord on the Day of Resurrection, say: O My Lord, al-Waleed torn me up! This clearly indicates his atheism and his apostasy from the religion. Most Umayyad kings had such an atheistic instinct. They appointed some atheists to educate their children. ‘Abd al-Semed, the educator of al-Waleed, was an atheist.18
Merwan b. al-Ju‘d, the educator of the last Umayyad king, Merwan b. Muhammad, was an atheist. Ibn al-Nedeem says: “Surely, Ibn al-Ju‘d made Merwan and his children atheists.”19 Al-Duri said that Ibn al-Ju‘d was on top of those who propagated the Manawiya at his time.20
The most prominent atheist at the Umayyad time are Younis b. Abi Qurrah, ‘Ammarah b. Hems, al-Mutiee‘b. Ayas, those who lived through the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid governments, and who were called the three Hammads, namely, Hammad ‘Ajrad, Hammad al-Zubrqan, and Hammad al-Rawiya.21
Indeed the roots of the atheistic thought were formed during the Umayyad time that was the source of all the destructive movements.
During the first ‘Abbasid Age the summons to atheism clearly appeared, and all the destructive doctrines became active. Felhauzen maintains that there was a close relationship between the summons to the ‘Abbasids and atheism. He says: “The then ‘Abbasids gathered the atheists around them and did not neglect them but after that.”22
The summons to the Manawiya, the Mezdakiya, the Khuramiya, and the Zeradishtiya started. The Khuramiya carried the banner of the armed revolt and the summons to it spread in Persia. It summoned (the people) to the communism of Mezdek.23 We will deal with some of these doctrines as follows:
Mani’s thought was the greatest of the atheistic doctrines in spreading at that time. It was an old and was established by Mani, son of Fatiq, the Persian wise man. He was born in the year 215 or 216 A. D. He appeared at the time of Shahpoor. He was killed by Behram. He maintained the prophethood of al-Mesih (Jesus Christ) and denied that of Musa (Moses).
He claimed that the world was made and composed of two old origins: light and darkness, and that they were eternal. He dined all things except those resulted from an old origin.24
Manism maintained the transmigration of souls depending on what Mani mentioned in a book of his where he said: “The souls that leave bodies are of two kinds: the souls of the truthful and those of the devious. When the souls of the truthful leaves bodies, they go during the morning light to the light that is above the orbit and stay in that world with everlasting delight.
When the souls of the devious leave bodies and want to join the highest light, they come back down and transmigrate with the souls of the animals until they become free from the defects of darkness, and then they join the highest light.”25
Mani imposed on his followers one tenth in all the affairs, supplicating the Truth, leaving lying, murder, theft, fornication, magic, worshiping idols, and killing living things. He regarded the existence of man as a crime committed by his parents. He thought that man must cease to exist.
Besides he thought that man’s good deeds resulted from the god of good and his evil deeds resulted from the god of evil. His thoughts were described by Abu Nu’as when he satirized Aban, a leading member of this thought, saying:
One day I sat with Aban. May Aban’s good be not much.
We were present in the tent of the Emir at al-Nehrwan.
When the first (morning) prayer approached the adhan, he rose, showed fluency and eloquence.
We said whatever he said until the adhan came to an end.
He said: How did you bear witness for that while you were not eye-witnesses?
I will not bear witness forever until I be an eye-witness.
I said: “Glory belongs to my Lord!” And he said: “Glory belongs to Mani!”
I said: “‘Isa is the Apostle of Allah!” And he said: “From Satan!”
I said: “Musa is the one who secretly addressed the Guardian, the Benefactor (Allah)!” And he said: “Therefore, your Lord has an eye and a tongue!”
Did his soul create him? Or who (did create him)?
So I left my place because of an atheist who adorned himself through disbelieving in the Most Merciful (Allah).26
The Manism spread atheistic movement at the ‘Abbasid time. Ibn al-Muqaffa‘was among their prominent figures. He translated from Persian into Arabic Mani’s, Ibn Daysan’s, and Merqiyun’s books.27
He also wrote a book in which he propagated Manism and attacked the Islamic principles. He began the book in the name of the Light, the Most Merciful, and the Merciful. Al-Mehdi said: “All the books on atheism belong to Ibn al-Muqaffa‘.”28 He passed by a Persian’s fire house and recited the following poetry line:
O ‘Atiqa’s house, I praise you out of fear of the enemies and the heart is entrusted to you.
Surely I grant you alienation. I swear by you that I incline to alienation.29
It was said that he did not respect the Qur’an and tried to oppose it.30 Ferinshiko Gabriel doubted about the ascription of that to him.31 He claimed that he was killed not because of that he was accused of atheism, rather it was because of his demanding security from al-Mansur to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Ali. So he harassed al-Mansur, and he ordered him to be killed.32
Anyway, Manism was the greatest of all the principles in attacking the Muslims at that time.
The Mezdakiya (Mezdekism)
Mezdikism was among the principles that spread during the ‘Abbasid Age I.
It was a kind of communism and urged the people to free themselves from all the social values. Al-Sheristani has mentioned some of Mezdik’s principles, saying: “He made the people take part in it just as they take part in water, fire, and grass.”33 Al-Teberi has said: “Mezdek and his companions said: ‘Surely Allah has placed livelihoods on the earth, that people may divide it among themselves equally.
However, people have wronged each other in respect with them. They claimed that they took from the rich to the poor, regain from the wealthy to the needy, that whoever has additional money, women, and possessions, then he is not more appropriate than those other than him.’ So the lowly violated that and took it as booty.”34
Those who had malice against the Islamic values adopted these principles and spread them among the Muslims. Some people embraced them to satisfy their low desires and their dissoluteness. As a result immorality and abominable deeds spread among the people. We will mention that.
The Zeradishtiya was among the principles that appeared at the ‘Abbasid time. It maintains two gods: the god of good, and the god of evil. Al-Kherbutli talked about some of their principles, saying: “The essence of Zarathushtra’s principles is that there are many, various events in the world: Some of them are good, and some of them are evil; these events do not create themselves; rather they stand on an origin.
Zarathushtra thinks that it is impossible to ascribe good and evil to one origin. For this reason it was necessary for him to explain the world of faith through the existence of two different, contradictory forces. One force is pure and sacred, from which result life and natural elements. The other force is wicked and dirty from which issue blights, perishing, destruction, evil and affliction that befall man.
The first force is called Ihriman, meaning the god of evil or Satan. The other is called Mezad that means the god of good and light.”35
Zarathushtra thinks that life does not perish, that it is happy or unhappy through the pleasures in life, and that its ordeal is three days after death. Then the wind carries it until it reaches the straight path (sirat). It is judged therefore three days. The good souls go to the Garden, and the evil ones are driven to the fire.
The Zeradishtiya spread during the ‘Abbasid Time’. It was adopted by some simple, deceived persons. It spared no effort to war against the Islamic values, to untie the social links, and to make the Muslims abandon morals and the Islamic manners.
Anyway, these principles, which spread during the ‘Abbasid time, clearly show us that there was ideological emptiness, shallow thinking, that ignorance prevailed, that the Muslims had no knowledge of the reality of their religion, which urged them to be mentally aware and be free from all kinds of ignorance and inactivity.
Heresies and vague errors appeared at that time in astonishing and strange way. Al-Rawendiya, who claimed that al-Mansur al-Dewaniqi was their lord who feed and watered them, took place at that time.36 Al-Meqanna’ al-Khuresani created a heresy. He maintained the transmigration of souls and claimed that he was a god.
He claimed that Allah created Adam, and He turned into His form. Then he turned into the form of Nuh, then into Ibrahim. Then he turned into the form of the prophets, then into the form of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. Then he changed into the form of Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Tali, peace be on him.
After him he turned into the form of his children, and then into the form of Abu Muslim al-Khuresani. After him, He moved to him. He asked his followers to serve him and to prostrate themselves in prayer before him.37 He commanded them not to pray and not to pay zekat (alms). He made it lawful for them to sleep with women.38
Al-Muqanna‘was skillful in engineering. He made an artificial moon. The moon appeared and the people saw it from the distance of a month. Then it disappeared. Al-Muqanna‘deceived the people with that. Concerning that false moon, Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma‘rri says:
Beware, the moon whose head is veiled is misguidance and error; it is like Al-Muqanna’s moon.
Anyhow, these destructive movements divided the Islamic society and made the cultural movement disordered.
The summons to atheism and all the destructive principles at that time stood on some unknown people suffering from psychological diseases. Yezdan b. Badhan was one of them. He was famous for atheism and hypocrisy. He went to the Sacred House of Allah during the season of hajj. When he saw the people circumambulating the Kaaba, he said: “They look like cows treading on wheat.”
This statement of his created waves of anger and displeasure in the souls of the good and those clinging to their religion. Al-‘Alaa’ b. al-Haddad addressed caliph Musa al-Hadi and urged him to kill Yezdan b. Badhan, saying: O one entrusted by Allah over His creatures, inheritor of the Kaaba and the Pulpit, what is your opinion of an unbelieving man who likens the Kaaba to a threshing floor, and the people circumambulating the Kaaba to cows treading on wheat and darnel?
So Musa al-Hadi ordered him to be killed and to be crucified.39 Yet another examples of the unbelievers is Bashshar b. Burd. He went too far in summoning the people to atheism. He urged them to warship fire. He declared that when he said:
Iblis is better than your father Adam; therefore distinguish, o group of the wicked. Fire is his element; Adam is a piece of clay. Clay is not as high as fire. Clay is dark, and fire shines. Fire has been worshipped since it came into existence.40 He insisted on his creed until he was killed.41
Among them was Salih b. ‘Abd al-Qudus. He was among the most prominent atheists. Al-Mehdi ordered him to be executed, and he declared his repentance. When was about to release him, he heard him reciting:
The enemies cannot reach an ignorant one, O he who makes the ignorant reach you. The old man does not leave his morals until he is buried in the earth of his grave.
When al-Mehdi heard the last line, he ordered him to be killed and said to him: “You will not leave your manners until you die!”42 Among their great figures are the three Hammads: Hammad ‘Ajrad, Hammad al-Rawiya, and Hammad al-Zuberqan.
Among them are Ibn al-Muqaffa‘, Younis b. Abi Ferwa, Mutee‘ b. Ayas, ‘Abd al-Kareem b. Abi al-‘Awja’, ‘Ali b. Khaleel, and Yehya b. Ziyad al-Harithi. The biographers have mentioned many examples of their heresies and vague errors, which indicate their unbelief and their apostasy from the religion.43
Any way these atheists spared no effort to spoil the Islamic society, to spread chaos, and corruption among the Muslims. They also intended to distort Islam through fabricating traditions, that they might degrade the dignity of Islam. ‘Abd al-Kareem b. Abi al-‘Awja’ had confessed that before he was ordered to be killed, saying: “You want to kill me because I have fabricated four thousand hadiths (traditions).”
The atheists spoiled and distorted Arabic literature. Khelef al-Ahmer and Hammad al-Rawiya did that. Concerning the latter, al-Sayyid al-Murtadha has said: “Surely Hammad is famous for fabricating narration, composing poetry and ascribing it to the early poets, to the extent that the narrators have said:
‘Hammad has spoiled the poetry because he is able to compose it. He writes poetry similar to that of the poets and put it into theirs. So the correct poetry has mixed with that incorrect.”44
In this manner, they spoiled the religion, the language, and the rest elements of the Arab and Muslim community. They also prevented Islam from spreading all over the world.
The ruling authorities at the ‘Abbasid time officially persecuted the atheists in the last years of the caliphate of al-Mehdi and during the short-termed caliphate of al-Hadi. In the year 163 A. H. al-Mehdi ordered the atheists to be arrested. He ordered ‘Abd al-Jebbar, a Muslim inspector of market, to arrest all the atheists in the country.
He arrested some of them and brought them to the Caliph, and he ordered some of them to be killed and the rest to be severely punished. The atheists were severely persecuted between the year 166 A. H and the year 170 A. H. They were tortured by certain judges such as ‘Abd al-Jebbar, ‘Umar al-Kelwazi, ‘Umer, and Muhammad b. ‘Isa.
Al-Mehdi launched a wide-ranged campaign against the atheists. He ordered a divan to be established for them. The security forces and the detectives spared no effort to look for them. They killed all the atheists they arrested except those who announced their repentance.
Al-Mehdi himself went through some countries to look for them. He went to Syria to search for them. He came to know that some of them fled Iraq to Aleppo. So he ordered them to be arrested and to be driven to courts. Then he ordered them to be killed after their atheism had been proved.45
Al-Mehdi went too far in pursuing the atheists and killing them. Al-Seyuti says: “Al-Mehdi went too far in pursuing the atheists, destroying them, looking for them in all the cities, and killing them for an accusation.”46 When he was about to die, he ordered his son al-Hadi to kill them, saying:
O my little son, if this authority comes to you, then prepare yourself for this group (the atheists). For they summon the people to follow something apparently good such as refraining from criminal frauds, renouncing the world, working for the hereafter. Then they made it forbidden for them to eat meat and to touch pure water.
They order them to refrain from killing pests as a sign of clinging to (religion) and of giving up sins. Then they order them to worship two things: the first is light, and the other is darkness. Then they make it permissible for them to marry their sisters and their daughters, to wash (themselves) with urine and kidnap children from the road that they might bring them out of darkness into light.
Therefore execute them, kill them with the sword, and seek through them nearness to Allah, the One without partner. For I saw your grandfather al-‘Abbas in sleep giving me two swords and ordering me to kill the followers of the two (beliefs: light and darkness).47
Al-Hadi carried out his father’s will. He killed and executed all the atheists. Al-Rashid and the rest of the ‘Abbasid kings followed the same policy toward them. They gave no way to the destructive groups to spoil the Muslims. They put an end to all the summoners to atheism and hypocrisy.
The caliphs employed all ways to war against the atheists and to put an end to these wicked souls. When they arrested an atheist, they ordered him to spit at Mani’s picture or to slay a bird called pheasant.
As for spitting at Mani’s picture, it means degrading the creator of Mani’s thought. In the meantime it means that the unbeliever withdrew from his thought. As for slaying a bird, it means that slaying a bird was forbidden according to the Manism. As for slaying the bird pheasant, it has not been mentioned in the books we have, as professor Gorge Fida says.48
Anyway, the caliphs launched a violent campaign against the unbelievers. Unfortunately this campaign was against the innocent more than it was against the real atheists. We will explain that.
Those accused of atheism and apostasy from religion were not real atheists. Rather some of them were accused of atheism for some political reasons. The caliphs used this accusation as means to put an end to their opponents from among the Hashimites.
For example, one of the sons of Dauwd b. ‘Ali and of Ya‘qub b. al-Fadhl were accused of atheism and were brought to Al-Mehdi. As this Caliph had made a covenant not to kill them, he ordered them to be imprisoned. However, he ordered his son al-Hadi to kill them after his undertaking the caliphate.
The accusation of atheism included all those who opposed the caliphs and refused to perform the prayers behind them. An example of that is Shurayk al-Qaadi (the judge). He did not believe in performing the prayers behind al-Mehdi. So al-Mehdi ordered him to be brought.
He was brought before him and he said to him: “O son of the adulteress!” “Slow, Commander of the faithful,”Shurayk retorted, “she fasted and performed prayers!” “O atheist,” said al-Mehdi, “I will kill you!”
Shurayk smiled and said: “Commander of the faithful, the atheists have signs through which they are recognized. They drink wine and associate with songstresses!” So al-Mehdi kept silent and was unable to answer.49
This story indicates that the caliphs went too far in accusing people of atheism to the extent that they included all those whom they hated. Shurayk’s answer also indicates that the atheism were recognized through some marks such as drinking wine and associating with songstresses.
As a result the atheist was dissolute and mischievous. For this reason Adam, the grandson of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, was arrested. He was accused of atheism because he was dissolute and mischievous. He went too far in drinking wine. While he was drunk, he composed some poetry lines in which he violated the sacredness of the religion. He says:
Give me and my bosom friend to drink wine throughout the long night.
It has a clear, yellow color; it is like excellent musk.
It tastes like ginger on one’s tongue.
Its bright smell comes from a distance of a mile.
Whoever attains three (drinks) of it forgets the open road.
When he attains five (drinks) of it, it leaves him like the killed.
At that time he does not know who goes and who comes.
Surely my ear is heavy toward the words of him who blames me for it.
On account of the strong veneration, I am not obedient and submissive.
Say to him who reviles you because of it, whether a jurist or a noble, leave it and hope for another (kind) of the nectar of the fresh, cool water.
You feel thirst today, and tomorrow you will be given to drink delicious wine.
For this reason al-Mehdi took him and accused him of unbelief. He ordered him to be flogged three hundred times, that he might confess that, while he denied that and said: “By Allah, I have not associated with Allah in the twinkle of an eye. When have you come to know that a Qarashi becomes an atheist?
However, delight has overcome me, and poetry has controlled my heart. I am among the Qurayshi boys. I drink wine. I say what I said for dissoluteness.” Then he gave up wine. He hated seeing wine and said:
I drank (wine). When it was said (to me), ‘Do you not give up (wine)?’I gave up, and my garment is pure from the harm of meanness.50
Adam was accused of atheism, while he was not an atheist. He was overcome by poetry, that he might say obscene language through it. The caliphs did not restrict themselves to that, rather they regarded as an atheist everyone who discussed the traditions of the companions (of the Prophet) or refute them.51
The reason for that is that they wanted to accuse the Shi‘ites of apostasy from the religion, that they might legally shed their blood. ‘Abd al-Rahman Bedawi says: “Indeed the accusation of unbelief at that time went side by side with joining the decree of the Rafidites (Shi‘ites), as professor Fida sees.”52
Joining the Shi‘ite doctrine during those black periods was the most important of all crimes. This crime was more dangerous than that of atheism in the responsible’ viewpoint. The repentance of the one accused of atheism was accepted, and he was pardon. As for the one accused of showing friendship to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, he was regarded as an atheist and apostate from the religion, thought he believed in Allah and His Apostle and performed the Islamic duties.
Anyway, the ‘Abbasid caliphs often used the accusation of atheism as means to execute the Shi‘ites and to throw them into dark prisons. They showed oppression in respect with that, for the Shi‘ites declared war against all the oppressive and tyrannical people. They gave many sacrifices to put an end to the oppressors.
They regarded the rulers as among the Imams of oppression and error, so they resisted them and spared no effort to destroy their thrones. We will soon mention that in detail.
The answers of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, to the atheists was distinguished by scientific thinking and decisive proofs that proved the genuineness of the Islamic thought in all sides of its laws, the falsehood of the atheists and their invalid beliefs.
The effect of those debates on their souls was stronger than all the means used by the local governments to suppress them. As the government lacked thinking, they restored to the force of iron and fire and throwing into prisons to suppress and destroy them. However, this is the weapon of the feeble. For beliefs cannot be refuted by anything except by scientific means. It is impossible to be overcome by something other than that.
As for the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, they depended on scientific means during their debates full of all ways of conviction and that give no way to doubt in respect with the invalidity of their opponents’ beliefs. Accordingly many atheists confessed their invalid beliefs and came back to the way of the truth and correctness.
Besides some of them stated that the Imams were the masters of mankind, and that perfect humanity could not be ascribed to anyone other than them. Ibn al-Muqafa‘and ‘Abd al-Kerim b. Abi al-‘Awja’ acknowledged that. That was when Ibn al-Muqafa’ saw the Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba and said: “None of those (people) deserve the name of humanity except that (Imam Ja‘far b. Muhammad, peace be on him). As for the rest they are mobs and beasts.”
Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’ hurried to the Imam and asked him: “O Shaykh, may Allah have mercy on you! In which thing do we believe? In which thing do they believe? The thing in which they and we believe is one.”
The Imam, peace be on him, answered him saying: “The thing in which you believe may be similar to that in which they believe. They believe in the hereafter and the threat. They maintain that there is a god in the heaven, and that there is inhabitedness therein, while you claim that the heaven is destruction and there is none in it.”
‘Abd al-Kareem said: “If the affair was just as we believe, then what has prevented Allah from appearing before his creatures and summons them to serve Him that they may not differ over Him? Why has He disappeared and sent messengers to them? If He appeared, then it would be easy (for mankind) to believe in Him.”
The Imam answered him: “How has He who has shown His power in your soul and in your growth disappeared?” The Imam, peace be on him, gave him additional proofs of the existence of Allah. Then Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’ left the Imam and went running to his companions, saying to them:
“This is not a human being! In this world, he is outwardly a body, but inwardly he is a soul. ” Then he indicated with his hand to the Imam, peace be on him.53
It is necessary for us to pause to mention some of their debates as follows:
Hadith and theology books are full of Imam al-Sadiq’s many debates in this respect. The Imam gave firm proofs of the authenticity of the Islamic thought and the falsehood of the beliefs of his opponents. We will mention some of them as follows:
1. Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’ came in to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and he asked him:
-O Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’, are you created or not?
-I am not created.
-If you were created, then how would you be?
So Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’ became perplexed and gave no answer.54
2. Abu Shakir al-Daysani, an atheist, came in to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and said to him:
-O Ja‘far b. Muhammad, show me the way to the One whom should I worship!
Abu ‘Abd Allah said:
A boy came. The boy was carrying an egg in the palm of his hand. The Imam, peace be on him, ordered him to hand him the egg, and he handed it to him. Then he, peace be on him, said:
-O Daysani, this is a compact, protective container; inside it is the thin (substance of an) egg which is surrounded by what could be compared with fluid silver and melted gold. Neither the fluid silver mixes with the melted gold; nor does the melted gold mixes with the fluid silver.
So it is as it is. No reforming exterior comes out of it and tells (you) about its goodness, nor does a corrupt interior comes into it and tells you about its corruption. None knows that it has been created for a male or a female. Then it splits open showing a form like (for example) a peacock. Therefore, do you think that it has a Creator?”
Al-Daysani bowed his head and thought about the Imam’s words. Shortly after that, he raised his head and said: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the One without a partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Apostle. I bear witness that you are an Imam and Allah’s proof over His creatures. I have repented of what I had believed in!”55
3. Hisham b. al-Hekem narrated, saying: [An Egyptian atheist came to know that Imam Abu ‘Abd Allah had knowledge. So he went to Medina to debate with him. He did not find him. He was told that the Imam was in Mecca. So he went to it and met him. He approached and greeted him. Then Abu ‘Abd Allah (al-Sadiq) asked him:]
- What is your name?
- ‘Abd al-Malik.
- What is you kunya?
- Abu ‘Abd Allah.
-Who is the king whose servant is you? Is he among the kings of the earth or among the kings of the heaven? Tell me about your son: Is he the servant of the heaven god or of the earth one? The atheist kept silent and was unable to answer. So Abu ‘Abd Allah said to him:
“Say!” The atheist became perplexed. So the Imam, peace be on him, looked at him and said to him: “After you have finished circumambulating the Kaaba, come to me.” When the atheist had finished circumambulating the Kaaba, he went to the Imam. The Imam, peace be on him, asked him:
-Did you know that the earth has bottom and top?
-Did you go to its bottom?
-Did you know what was beneath it?
-I did not know. However, I imagine that there is nothing beneath it.
-Imagination is feebleness unless you are sure.
-Have you ascended to the heaven?
-Do you know what is therein?
-Have you gone to the east and the west and seen what is beyond them?
-Therefore, I wonder at you! You have not gone to the east and the west. You have not descended to the bottom of the earth, nor have you ascended to the heaven. You have not come to know what is there and what is beyond them. Nevertheless you have denied what is in them. Does the sane deny what they do not know?
-None has told about that except you!
-Therefore, you have doubt about Him. Perhaps, He is He. And perhaps, He is not He.
-Fellow, he who has no knowledge has no proof over him who has knowledge; and the ignorant have no proof over the knowledgeable. O brother of the inhabitants of Egypt, learn from me! Do you not see that the sun and the moon, day and night alternate and do not precede each other? They go and do not return. They are forced. They have no place except their place.
If they could go and not come, (they would do). If they were not forced, then why did night not become day, and day (become) night? O brother of the inhabitants of Egypt, by Allah, they are forced. Surely the thing in which you believe and of which you have an imagination is of time.
If it was it that which made them go, then why did it not make them return? If it made them return, then why did it not make them go? Do you not see that the earth and the heaven are raised? The heaven does not fall on the earth, nor does the earth slope down that which is beneath it. By Allah, their Creator and Manager has caught them.
The Egyptian kept silent and was unable to give an answer. He thought of the dimensions of the words of the Imam. He found in them guidance and truth, so he returned to correctness. He declared his faith and became Muslim.56
4. An atheist went to the Imam, peace be on him, and asked him:
-Did you see Allah when you worshipped Him?
-I am not one who worships someone whom I have not seen.
-Then how did you find Him when you saw Him?
-The eyes do not see Him in terms of human eye-sight. Rather the hearts see Him through the inner realities of faith (iman). He is not attained through sense perception, nor is He compared to people. He is known without comparison.57
5. An atheist went to the Imam, peace be on him, and asked him about many problems of which is:
-How do creatures worship Allah and do not see Him?
-The hearts see him through the light of faith. The intellects prove him through their alertness just as the eyes do. The eyes attain Him through what they see, such as good structure and firm creation, then the apostles and their communications, the Books and their clear verses. The knowledgeable have restricted themselves to what they have seen of His Greatness without seeing Him.58
Through this debate, the Imam, peace be on him, gave many proofs of the existence and oneness of Allah. Many debates have been narrated on his authority in this respect. To mention them requires elaborateness and being wide of the subject. So we are satisfied with these small debates narrated on his authority.
Imam Musa, peace be on him, played an important role in defending the Islamic thought, refuting the vague errors of the atheists, and falsifying their beliefs. We will deal with some theological questions about which the Imam was asked:
Through the chain of the authorities of the non-Shi‘ites (‘amma), it has been mentioned that Allah comes down in the last one third of night and calls out in the heaven: “Is there anyone who supplicates (Me) and asks (Me) for forgiveness?” Those who regard Allah as body deal with the surface structure of these traditions without interpreting them or carefully consider their chain of authorities, that they might establish that Allah had a body.
The Imam, peace be on him, was informed about that, and he said: “Surely Allah does not come down and is in no need of coming down. His existence is the same in nearness and remoteness.59 No close thing is far from Him, nor is a distant thing is close to Him. He is in no need of anything; rather all things are in need of Him; and He is the possessor of might.60 There is no god but Allah, the Mighty, and the Wise.”
“As for the words of the describers, ‘He, the Blessed and Exalted, comes down,’ they are of those who ascribe him to decrease or increase.61 All moving things are in need of that which moves them or that through which they move.62 Whoever has doubts about Allah perishes.63
Therefore, be careful in respect with His attributes lest you should define Him through increase, decrease, mobilization, movement, disappearance, coming down, rising, and sitting down. For Allah is far above the description of the describers, the depict of the depicters, the imagination of the imagining. And rely on the Mighty, the Merciful, Who sees you when you stand up and your turning over and over among those who prostrate themselves before Allah.(26:219).”64
The Imam, peace be on him, talked to his companions about negating movement from Allah, the Most High, saying: “I do not say that He is standing and remove Him from His place, nor can I find Him in a place where He is, nor can I find Him move through a thing such as foundations and limbs, nor can I define Him through a word.
However, that is as Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says: Be, so there it is (19:35) through His will without hesitation in a soul. (He is) eternal and signal. He is in no need of a partner to mention His kingdom to Him and to open to Him the doors to His knowledge.”65
The Imam, peace be on him, wanted not to describe Allah, the Most High, through the rising the linguists maintain, that His disappear from the place where He had been before His rising is required; similarly he did not describe Him through His being in a place, that His being a limited body is required.
He also did not describe Him through the movement of the whole His body or through the movement of the limbs, for this requires from Him change and the need of others; Allah, the Exalted, is above all of that. The Imam, peace be on him, explained Allah’s way of creating things that is not through speech; rather His command when he desires a thing, He says to it: Be, so there it is(19:35). Allah, the Most High does what He wills through His will without using any tool or a limb, without hesitation or thinking. In creating things He is in no need of a partner to help him nor a minister to manage for Him His affairs, seeks help from him or mention to Him His Kingdom and power.
Among the things maintained by the atheists at that time is: “Allah, the Most High, has a body just as the rest of beings.” Hisham b. al-Hakam believed in that before his repentance and his returning to the true way. Imam Musa was informed about his beliefs, and he said in the answer to him:
“Which obscenity and indecency is greater than the statement of him who describes the Creator of things with body or form or creation or limitation or limbs?! Allah, the Exalted, is far above that!”66
Al-Shahristani mentioned that Hisham b. al-Hakam had essays on comparing Allah to human being, and that Hisham b. Salim al-Jewaliqi agreed with him on that. Among the things they said is that “Allah, the Exalted, is seven spans (of the hand) in His own span, that He is in a certain place and a certain direction that He, the Most High, looks like human being.
His upper part is hollow; and his lower part is solid. He glares and shines. He has five senses, a leg, a nose, an ear, and an eye. He has black hair hanging down His ears. However, He is neither flesh nor blood.”67
Some researchers criticized ascribing that to Hisham, for that he was trustworthy and knowledgeable, and that he was on top of the Muslim thinkers. So how is ascribing that to him correct?
These beliefs might issued from him because he maintained some atheistic beliefs before he got acquainted with the Imam. However, when he communicated with the Imam, peace be on him, he returned to the way of the truth and correctness; he became among the great Muslim thinkers. We will explain that when we speak about his life.
‘Abd al-Rahman told the Imam, peace be on him, about Hisham’s statements on comparing Allah to human body as follows: “Surely Allah is a body; nothing like the likeness of Him. (He) is Knowledgeable, Hearing, Seeing, Powerful, Speaking, and articulate. The speech, the power, and knowledge proceed in the same manner; nothing of them is created.”
So the Imam refuted that, saying: “May Allah fight him! Did he not know that the body was limited, and that the speech was other than the speaker? Allah forbid! I am clear before Allah of this statement. (Allah) is neither a body, nor a form, nor a limitation. All things apart from him are created. All things happen according to His will and His desire without a speech nor hesitation in soul nor utterance through a tongue.”68
Among the things he, peace be on him, was asked about in respect with the attributes of Allah is that he was asked about the body and form of Allah, and he, peace be on him, answered: “Glory belongs to Him the like of Whom there is nothing! (He) is neither body nor form!”69
Vague errors and heresies spread during that time. The Imam, peace be on him, was asked many questions about the selfness and attributes of Allah. Among the questions about which he was asked is: “the meaning of Allah.” So he, peace be on him, answered: “He has controlled the small and the great.”70
This explanation the Imam expressed is the explanation of a thing through which that requires it. For the meaning of Godhood requires Him to control all things, small and great, present and absent, and all things wherein.
In the book al-Mehasin it has been narrated that he was asked about the meaning of these words of Allah: The Beneficent is firm in power71, and he, peace be on him, answered: “He has controlled all small and great things.”72
The Imam was asked about the knowledge of Allah, the Exalted: “Had Allah been knowledgeable of things before He created and formed them? Or had He been unknowledgeable of that until He created them and wanted to create and form them, so He came to know of what He created when He created and what He created when He created?”
So he, peace be on him, answered: “Allah had still been knowledgeable of things before He created them just as His knowledge of things after He came to know of the creation of things.”73
Muhammad b. Hamza wrote to him a letter in which he asked him about the knowledge of Allah. This is the text of the letter: “Surely, your followers have differed over the knowledge (of Allah). Some of them say: ‘We say that Allah had still been knowledgeable before creating things.
And some of them say: ‘We do not say that Allah had not still been knowledgeable, for the meaning of to know is to do. If we prove knowledge, then we will prove an eternal thing along with Him.’ So, I think, may Allah make me your ransom, that you must teach me of that to which I restrict myself and do not exceed it.”
Accordingly, the Imam, peace be on him, wrote him back: “Allah is eternally knowledgeable, may His name be blessed and exalted.”74
His answer to this question is very short due to the fact that the questioner was unable to understand the answer. For this question is among the most difficult philosophical questions. The early philosophers differed over it. The Aristotelians followed their teacher Aristotle.
They maintained that the knowledge of Him, the exalted, of things had been before them. Plato’s followers believed that the knowledge of Allah, may His name be exalted, is simultaneous to things. The two parties gave many proofs that included a kind of obscurity and vagueness. As the questioner was unable to understand such subjects, the Imam gave him a short answer.
Saffwan b. Yehya asked the Imam about Allah’s will: Does it (will) issue from Allah or from creatures?
He, peace be on him, answered: “The will of the creatures is the pronoun and the verb that seems to them after that. As for that of Allah, it is His creating (things) only, for He neither deliberates nor intends nor thinks. He does not have these attributes, for they are the attributes of the creatures. Therefore, Allah’s will is the verb only. He says to it: Be, so there it is (19:35) without a word nor utterance nor a tongue nor intention nor thinking. There is no howness to that just as there is no howness to Him.”75
The explanation of his statement is that man’s will is a psychological manner takes place after his imagining the thing appropriate for him and his believing in its being positive and useful with scientific believing not hypothetical one.
So when a thing reaches the level of superiority in the depth of one’s mind, the determination of finding it takes place. As for Allah’s will, it is not something new added to His Holy Selfness, for the occurrence of an attribute or a manner in His Selfness is impossible. The will for Him is nothing but His creating things, for He, the Exalted, is far above deliberation and reflection.
‘Ali b. Ibraheem said: [I heard Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, say:] “Nothing occurs except what Allah wills, desires, ordains, and decrees.”
“What is the meaning of desires?” I asked him.
“The beginning of the verb,” he replied.
“What is the meaning of ordains?” I asked him.
“To ordain the length and width of a thing,” he answered.
“What is the meaning of decrees?” I asked him.
“When He decrees (a thing), He says to it: be,” he replied, “Therefore, that is the thing which nothing can avert.”76
The short explanation to his speech is that man has optional deeds of which are will, desire, estimation, and carrying out. As He, the Most High, regarded the out beings as among His own verbs, they were preceded by desire, will, estimation, and carrying out, issued from His knowledge and His power.
Therefore, they should be preceded by desire, will, determination, and decree. The desire and the will must be achieved in finding an optional deed. The meaning standing in the soul through its relationship with the doer is called a desire, and through its relationship with the verb is called will; the estimation is the specification of the amount of the verb.
The decree is the final decision between which and the verb there is no means. When the decree of Him, the Most High, associated with a thing, He carried it out; it is the thing which nothing can avert.
The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Surely, Allah has two wills and two desires: the will of ordainment, and the will of determination. He prohibits and desires; He commands and does not desire. Did you not know that He prohibited Adam and his wife from eating of the tree?
He desired that. If he had not desired that they would not eat, their desire would have not overcome the desire of Allah, the Exalted. He commanded Ibrahim to slay (his son) Ishaq. He did not desire to make him slay him. If He had desired, the desire of Ibrahim would have not overcome the desire of Allah, the Most High.”77
The explanation of his statement is that will is divided into the real, formative will and the nominal, legislative will. So man’s will that associates with his own deed is a formative will that urges his limbs to find deed; along with it, it is impossible for limbs to refuse to obey except due to a certain obstruction.
As for the will that associates with the deeds of others such as that he orders a thing to be done or ordered it not to be done, it is not formative; rather it is legislative. For it does not affect finding or leaving the verb by others; rather it depends on his formative will.
As for the formative will of Allah, it is that which associates with a thing, there is no escape from finding the thing, and it is impossible for it to stay behind it. As for His legislative will, it is that which associates with the deed in respect of its being good and righteous.
As for Allah’s prohibiting Adam from eating and He willed that, and the command of Him, the Exalted, to Ibrahim to slay his son and He willed that, the command and prohibition in respect with them were legislative.
Similarly the meaning of the desire is the formative desire. The narration declared that Ibrahim was ordered to slay his son Ishaq, not Isma‘il. This opposes the traditions narrated on the authority of the Imams of guidance, peace be on them, and which indicated that Ibrahim was ordered to slay his son Isma‘il, and not Ishaq.
We are satisfied with this amount of his answers to the atheists and his refuting their vague errors. The Imam has another legacy related to the prophethood and the Imamate. Al-Mejjlisi has mentioned it in his book al-Bihar. Al-Kulayni has also mentioned it in his book al-Usool.
If we dealt with it, then we had to write a big book on it. For this reason we are satisfied with what we have mentioned as proof of his taking care of refuting the vague errors and confuting misleading thoughts that spread among the Muslims.
Anyway, an atheistic movement invaded the time of the Imam. The enemies of Islam and those who harbored malice against its victories led that movement. They thought that they had no means to resist it except through spreading destructive beliefs among the Muslims, that they might weaken the ideological side.
However, shortly after that, those thoughts disappeared; those misleading thoughts and heresies were buried through the good efforts of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, and the leading thinkers from among their students. That was when they set off with great enthusiasm to defend Islam and to protect it from the vague errors of the atheists and the misleading people.
Those atheistic waves, which spread during that time, clearly indicate that the society led a bad life full of ideological differences and doubts about the Islamic thought. Without doubt, the debates of the Imams, peace be on them, played an important role in returning the Muslims to the way of the truth and correctness.
With this point we will end our talk about the ideological invasion that befell the Muslims, and that was the most important event at that time.
In most of its periods, the ‘Abbasid time was the time of amusement and dissoluteness. During it the people were interested in delight and singing. They rushed to enjoy all kinds of the forbidden things such as drinking wine, playing gambling, drinking with slave girls and boys, and the like from among the things made forbidden by Allah. The ruling persons encouraged them to practice such abominable deeds. For they themselves were immersed in abominable deeds, sins and urging the people to that amusement.
We regard the poets of that time as a measure for the corrupt manners, for they correctly represented the whole trends and inclinations of the society. Their poetry represents neither earnestness nor activity in the public life, nor does it picture any reality of cultural life. Rather the poetry describes wine, songstresses, urging people to practice pleasures and low desires.
Their poems in this respect are black pages in Arabic literature. An example of this is that the poets of the ‘Abbasid royal palace met and said: “Where shall we spend our evening.” They invited each other to their houses. So Abu Nu’as suggested that that invitation should be poetry and not prose, and that the group had to decide the best of them in composing poetry.
Accordingly, Dawud b. Razeen al-Sabati said:
Rise (and go) to the house of amusement and the hidden shadow of a house in which are flowers, narcissus, jasmine, fragrant musk, redolent plants, a songstress with coquetry and sedate reason, who sings all the original, clear (poems) of Ibn Razeen.
They all composed poems urging (people) to practice pleasures, amusement, and dissoluteness. This kind of corrupt poetry indicates that mischief and bad manners, and that the people abandoned the religious teachings that forbade that. The poetry represents the characteristics of the life in that time. For their sentiments and feelings clung to amusement and dissoluteness.
Their hearts clung to wine. So they described and praised it. Abu Nu’as devoted his mental efforts to describing cups, glasses, vats (of wine), barmen, vintners, drinking companions, and grapevines. He mentioned different kinds of wine and how they were made. He made a distinction between this and that in taste, color, and smell.
He explained the intoxication and its movement in limbs and heads. He not only explained that in a technical way, but also he explained it with love. He loved wine so much that he adorned it.
Drinking wine was associated with singing and dancing at that time. The princes and the ladies from among the high life in Baghdad took part in certain concert parties. Private house prepared for wine, singing, beating tambourines and drums spread there.
The gardens in the outskirts of Baghdad were full of bars to which the poets, the youth, and the young ladies frequently went. In a poem of his, Muti‘b. Ayas described the bar in Sabah’s garden. The abbeys also became places of drinking wine, love, and dissoluteness.
Baghdad, rather all cities of Iraq, became houses of amusement, drinking wine, and dissoluteness. Accordingly, the people followed their low desires and abandoned the Islamic values that forbade that. That brought about bad manners. The people were absorbed in sin, abominable things, and corruption. Dissoluteness included celebrating boys in love poems.
Abu Nu’as and the like went too far in practicing such an art. This matter made bad manners spread among the people. Without doubt the policy of the ‘Abbasid First Time Government was responsible for this wave of corruption and dissoluteness. For those kings played an important role in spreading amusement, abominable things, and corruption.
The overwhelming majority in the Islamic countries suffered from poverty and deprivation. It was burdened with oppression and misery. Properties were piled-up with special groups of the singers and the dissolute. They practiced all kinds of pleasures and went too far in following their low desires.
As for the general populace, they suffered from hunger and poverty due to the oppression of the rulers and their tyranny in taking kharaj (land taxes). Persecuting the society and the bad economic life have been described by Abu al-‘Atahiya, a great social poet, in his poem he wrote to the king of Baghdad. In it he has mentioned.
Who gives on my behalf successive pieces of advice to the Imam?
Surely I see that the prices of the subjects are high.
I see that the earnings are insignificant. I see that the necessity is widespread.
I see that the worries of the time come and go.
I see that the orphans are miserable, empty houses.
They, hopeful male and female, yearn for you.
They complain (to you) of hard work with weak, loud voices.
They hope for your relief out of what they have faced that they may see well-being.
The misfortunes of hunger enter into evening and upon the morning (causing) hunger.
Who relieves the hungry stomachs and naked bodies?
I have reported to you conclusive news from the subjects.
This is the social conditional that prevailed the time of Harun. Millions of the subjects were naked and hungry, whilst the treasury in Baghdad was full of their properties. However, none had the right to use them except the caliphs, their children, and their oppressive, dissolute ministers.
As for those who did not flatter the rulers, they led a life of poverty and misery. Now, let Abu al-‘Atahiya tell us about that Golden Time, as the historians say: The dry loaf of bread you eat in a corner, and a narrow room where you are alone or a mosque far from the people is better than the hours in the shade of the high palaces.
This statement tells (you) about my state.
Blessed is he who hears it! By my life, it is sufficient.
Therefore, listen to the advice of the loyal one called Abu al-‘Atahiya.
These kinds of hopelessness, pessimism, and pain mentioned by the poet of the ‘Abbasid society resulted from the corruption of the then rulers and their bad power. For their crooked policy spread among the people poverty and deprivation, while it placed wealth among a special class that went too far in practicing pleasures. They decorated their palaces with excellent furniture and their walls with silk.
They planted flowers in their gardens, to the extent they brought to them excellent flowers from India. They went too far in creating different kinds of enjoyments. When they were tired of a certain enjoyment, they changed it into another. Abu al-Faraj al-Asfahani said: “Some of them were about to bang his head against an iron bar due to the good singing.” The result of that was the spreading of poverty among the popular classes.
Anyway, the ‘Abbasid governments at the ‘Abbasid Time plundered the properties of the Islamic peoples, spread poverty throughout their countries, spent the money in central budget on prostitution, amusement, and spoiling morals. So the masses were sure of the corruption of those authorities and of their illegal rule. In the meantime, they were sure that the ‘Alawids were the summoners to social justice, the shelter of the oppressed and persecuted.
During most of its times, the ‘Abbasid government stood on oppression and tyranny. It did not witness social and political justice. Through their governing, the ‘Abbasids followed a special dictatorial method. They controlled all the judicial and administrative authorities.
There was no administrative and consultative council to deal with the affairs of the subjects, their interests, the means of their development and progress. The nature of the government was dictatorial. The caliph decided according to his personal viewpoints, for he was the shadow of Allah on earth, as they say. So he went too far in practicing dictatorship, plundering properties, preventing freedoms, and forcing the people to do what they hated.
In most of its historical periods, the ‘Abbasid government was similar to the Umayyad one in material and form. Lithfy Dilla Fida says: “Certainly the administrative system followed by the ‘Abbasids was in essence the system of the Umayyads.”78
The official circles damaged the rights of the common people, while they flattered the notables, the heads, and the possessors of influence. Amin al-Rayhani says: “The oppressive did not suffer from adversities. Rather the miserable, those who paid taxes and answered the summons to jihad79 suffered from adversities.
It was they who suffered from oppression and tyranny. For their affair was simple with those rulers who alone possessed distributing good and evil among those whom they liked and disliked. They spent the wealth of the miserable Muslim peoples on their low desires and on their followers. They sometimes admired a song, so they gave to the singer a lot of money.
In the meantime they hated the word of a reformer, so they shed the reformer’s blood and confiscated his properties. When al-Mu‘tazid, the ‘Abbasid Caliph, was angry with a military commander, he ordered the military commander to be buried alive.80 Many ‘Abbasid rulers were famous for violence, oppression, and shedding blood.
Al-‘Atabi was asked the state of the then government: “Why do you not seek nearness to the ruler through your poems?” “I saw him give ten thousand (dirhams) for nothing, and he ordered someone to be thrown down the wall for nothing,” replied al-‘Atabi, “I do not know which of the two men I follow.”81
Muhammad b. al-Harith was ordered to go to al-Wathiq, and he said: “I was very afraid. I was afraid that someone had informed the Caliph against me or a certain misfortune had happened.”82
When al-Ma’mun killed his minister al-Fadhl b. Sahl, he entrusted the ministry with Ahmed b. Abi Khalid, but he refused to accept it and said: “All those who undertook the ministry were endangered.”83 The reason for that is that the caliphs did not follow a certain law; rather they decided according to their personal inclinations.
So they divided death and life among those whom they liked and disliked. The caliphs ordered people to be killed in group for a certain piece of information. An example of that Abu Ja‘far was informed against a man called al-Fudayl, the secretary of his son Ja‘far. He was informed that al-Fudal played with Ja‘far. So he sent two men and ordered them to kill him wherever they found him.
He wrote a letter to Ja‘far to inform him what he had ordered them. He said to the two men: “Do not give the letter to Ja‘far until you have killed al-Fudayl.” When they reached al-Fudayl, they beheaded him. Al-Fudayl was a righteous person. Al-Mansur was told that he was an innocent person, and that he was quick in killing him.
So he repented of that. He gave ten thousand dirhams to a messenger and ordered him to go to al-Fudayl before he had been killed. However, the messenger came and found him a motionless corpse. Accordingly, Ja‘far condemned that and said to his retainer: “What does the Commander of the faithful say in respect with the murder of a chaste, religious, Muslim man without a crime?”
So Suwayd answered him: “He is the Commander of the faithful. He does whatever he pleases. He is more knowledgeable of what he does.” The kings killed the people and shed their blood according to their low desires. They did whatever they wanted, for they were the Shadow of Allah on earth. They were not asked about sin or crime.
During the ‘Abbasid days, the Islamic countries suffered from oppression and tyranny. For the ‘Abbasids employed violence in carrying out their plans. For the first time in Islamic history the leather rug (for executing people) was put by the throne of the Caliph. The Caliph employed it and the headsman as means to ascend the throne, as Philip Hety says. The ‘Abbasid Caliphs followed this policy throughout their times.
They did not yield to the truth and justice; rather they yielded to their low desires and feelings. The boys, the women, and the corrupt drinking companions played an important role in managing the affairs of the government, distributing gifts and salaries among the people, and depriving them of them. All these things did not depend on the Law of Allah; rather they resulted from the caliph’s personal inclinations, which were very far from justice.
Perhaps the most important things took place at the ‘Abbasid Time were the Muslims sects, who differed over the origins and branches of the religion. The certain thing is that the ‘Abbasid authorities founded the Muslim sects, fed them, and made them grow. They forced the people to embrace them.
I (the author) think that they wanted to send the Muslims far from the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, who represented the true Islam and its revolutionary trends aiming at putting an end to social oppression, saving the people from the political tyranny.
During the ‘Abbasid time, the ‘Alawids went to the fields of the holy jihad, that they might protect the society from the Umayyads’ violence and severe punishments, and return to society the Islamic noble principles, which depended on spreading justice, freedom, equality, ease, stability, perfect faith in the individual’s rights, securing the means of his daily bread, and his security. Islam regarded that as a basic rule for developing the society and making it lead a free, noble life.
For these noble principles the ‘Alawids went to the fields of struggle and jihad. So they met difficult problems, their limbs were cut off, their blood was shed, and they were executed. The masses were sure that the ‘Alawids were the protectors and leaders of this community, that the society would obtain the means of its livelihood and its welfare except through their government.
Accordingly, they supported them. The slogans of the revolutionaries and of the demonstrators were the summons to al-Ridha’ from among the Family of Muhammad. The violent revolt that broke out all over the Islamic countries put an end to the Umayyad government, toppled it and removed its traces.
However, the ‘Abbasids usurped the authority. When the affairs went well with them, they spared no effort to destroy the ‘Alawids and their followers, who were the source of the aware forces in Islam.
The terrible plan the ‘Abbasid government drew to destroy the Shi‘a and all the opposing forces includes the following:
1. They founded the Islamic doctrines, divided the Muslims, and made them busy with ideological beliefs, that they might divert them from thinking of political affairs. Accordingly, the clubs in Baghdad, Kufa, Basrah, Medina, and all the cities of the Islamic world were full of theological debates and philosophical discussions.
All these debates and discussions were about the ideological frame in Islam. The scientific life at that time was directed to this side only; it was not direct to any side of the political life the Muslims led.
2. They wanted to isolate the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt from the Muslims, to impose supervision on them, to prevent the Muslims from communicating with them and taking the principal features of the religion from them.
The ‘Abbasids felt that the people were in need of understanding the affairs of their religion. So al-Mansur al-Dewaniqi entrusted Imam Malik, the head of a Muslim sect, with writing a book on Islamic jurisprudence, that he might force the people to follow it. However, Malik refused that, but he finally responded to him out of pressure and wrote al-Muwatta.84
The ‘Abbasid government supported the Imams of the doctrines and spread their jurisprudence. It forced the people to follow them. Besides it gave a lot of money to them and greatly honored them. Al-Rashid ordered his governor over Medina not to carry out any order without consulting Malik; similarly, he sat on the ground to hear his speech.85
He ordered the pilgrims to be told that none had the right to give religious decisions except Malik. So the people overcrowded around him, and the delegates came to him from all over the Islamic countries to listen to his speech and to take religious verdicts from him. None was able to approach Malik because he was officially respected.
Some strong black young men surrounded him. They severely punished him who intended to criticize him. Isma‘il al-Fezari said: “I came in to Malik and asked him to narrate me some traditions. He related to me twelve traditions, and then he ceased. So I said to him: ‘Relate to me more traditions, may Allah honor you.’ He had some black young men standing behind him. He commanded them to take me out of his house, and they did.”86
Certainly the ‘Abbasid government took great care of Malik and other than him from among the Imams of the sects, that it might undermine the entity of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, and put an end to the Shi‘ites, who were the greatest of all the people in opposing it.
It is important for us to pause to talk about the Shi‘ite sect, who carried the standard of righteousness, revolted against the tyrannical rulers, whose history is full of achievements, laudable deeds, and serving the Muslims. That is as follows:
In Arabic the Shi‘a means followers and supporters. This meaning includes all those who follow Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and his household. Al-Fayruz Abadi said: “Man’s Shi‘ites are his followers and supporters. This name includes all those who follow ‘Ali and his household, peace be on them, to the extent that it concerns them only.”87
Ibn Manzur said: “The origin of the Shi‘a is the sect of people; it includes one, two, plural, masculine, feminine. This name is used to those who follow ‘Ali and his household, May Allah be pleased with them all, to the extent that it concerns them. If it is said, ‘so-and-so is a Shi‘ite,’ it means that belongs to them.”88 The linguists have unanimously agreed on the explanation of the Shi‘a we have mentioned.
The certain thing is that the Shi‘a was formed during the time of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He was the first to put this good seed, to make it grow, and to take care of it. Imam Kashif al-Ghita’ said: “The leader of the Islamic Law (the Prophet) was the first to put the seed of Shi‘ism in the field of Islam.
This means that the seed of Shi‘ism was but beside that of Islam. The one who planted it (the Prophet) took care of watering it until it grew up and flourished during his life. Then it produced fruit after his death. My proofs of that are his holy hadiths (traditions).
(I will not mention them) through the chain of the authorities of the Shi‘ites and the Imami narrators lest it should be said: ‘they are invalid because the maintain the return or their narrator draws the fire to his own loaf of bread.’ Rather (I will mention) them from among the traditions of the Sunni scholars and their great figures and through their trustworthy chain of authorities.”
Then he, May Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned what al-Sayuti has narrated in his book al-Durr al-Mantur in respect with the explanation of these words of Him, the Exalted: Those are the best of mankind. He said: [Ibn ‘Asakr narrated on the authority of Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, who said:]
“We were with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. When ‘Ali, peace be on him, came, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘By Him in whose hand is my soul, surely this (‘Ali) and his Shi‘ites are the successful on the Day of Resurrection.’” Then he, May Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned a group of traditions confirming what we have mentioned.89
Abu Hatem al-Razi said: “The first name to appear in Islam was Shi‘a. This was the name of four companions (of the Prophet), who are Abu Dharr, Selman, ‘Ammar, and al-Muqdad. When the time of the (Battle of) Siffin came, the followers of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, were famous for this name.”90
This thought began at the dawn of Islamic history. It was founded by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and was embraced by his great companions, who believed in Islam and fought bravely for it, such as Abu Dharr, Selman, ‘Ammar, al-Muqdad, and the like of them from among the Muslims great figures.
All Shi‘ite researchers have confirmed the correctness of this viewpoint. The late Shaykh al-Muzaffari says: “Surely, the summons to Shi‘ism began on the day when the great savor Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, called out: ‘There is no god but Allah.’ When these words of Him, the Exalted, were revealed to him: And warn your nearest relations (26:214), he gathered the Hashimites and warned them, saying:
‘Whoever helps me in this matter will be my brother, my testamentary trustee (wasi), my helper (wazir), my heir and my successor after me.’ However, none answered him to what he wanted except al-Murtada (‘Ali). So the Prophet said to them: ‘This is my brother, my testamentary trustee (wasi), my helper (wazir), my heir and my successor after me. Therefore, listen to him and obey him.’”
Al-Muzaffary added: “The summons from the leader of the message (the Prophet) to following Abu al-Hasan (‘Ali) walked alongside the summons to the two witnesses. For this reason, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari was among the Shi‘ites of ‘Ali.”91
If we look at the reality with a look free from inclinations and sentiments and distinguished by scientific investigation, we will find the reality, originality, and depth of this statement. The following points confirm it:
1. The great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, left after him great principles that developed the individual and social life of his community. He left behind him great inheritance the like of which people have never found throughout their historical stages. He has declared human rights and brought high objectives aiming at man’s security, welfare, and happiness.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, took great care of spreading his message. So it was important for him to appoint someone after him to protect his principles, to keep his message, and to spread it among the peoples on earth. Of course, every leader of a message certainly takes this procedure.
2. There was a necessity that required the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to entrust the affair to someone after him. This necessity is that there were forces that harbored malice against Islam, schemed against it by day and night, and spared no effort to put out its light. These forces were the hypocrites the Holy Qur’an has dispraised and against whom the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, warned his community.
These forces were represented by Abu Sufyan, and most the Umayyads. Therefore, how did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, neglect the affair of the succession after him and leave his community lead a life of chaos? This means that he wanted to empower the wicked forces to destroy his objectives and put an end to his principles and message. It was impossible for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to do that.
In addition to that is that the Arab Peninsula was not familiar with the summons to regulation and stability of which the message of Islam took care of. For it contained great development in respect with world of economy, policy, administration, and all the regulations that take care of general security, keeping political stability, the general balance in the individual and social life.
The Arab Peninsula was not fully aware of this great development, nor was it fully aware of the real dimensions of the message of Islam and its great renaissance. So it was incumbent on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to appoint a successor after him, that his message might continue achieving its activities and objectives.
Yet there is a very important thing that required the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to appoint a successor after him. This thing was the outside situation. The Romans, the Persians, and the like from among the governments of the world were afraid of the progress and spread of Islam.
Their peoples were eager for embracing Islam, that it might save them from tyranny and oppression, protect them from despotism and dictatorship. Those countries waited for an appropriate opportunity to destroy Islam and were ready to send all their troops to put an end to it.
Of course, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was fully aware of that. Therefore, how did he neglect the affair of the caliphate, which was in the same position to backbone in respect with his community?
Certainly, the local chaos and the outside danger required the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to take great care of the affair of the succession after him. As for the statement that he, may Allah bless him and his family, neglected it, it has no aspect of scientific research, and it is very far from the thinking of the aware, wise personality of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the like of which people have never seen in awareness and understanding the realities of affairs.
I (the author) think that if a person is free from tribalism, imitation, reflects on the reality accurately and deeply, he will come to know that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, took great care of succession and regarded it on top of the important affairs.
3. If we carefully consider the events happened during the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, we will conclude that he appointed the pioneer and gave proofs of the leader who would undertake the cultural and political leadership after him, and that he definitely adopted and prepared this matter, that he might keep the future of his mission, protect its achievements from collapse and disappearance.
The great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, chose Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, to undertake the general and timely authorities; we will give proofs of that. This choice was not because of preference and love for relationship. For that is very far from the thinking of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, for he yielded to nothing except the truth, justice, and the interests of his community.
Rather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, over this important office because he had unique abilities, noble tendencies, and abundant power to undertake the huge responsibilities. Imam ‘Ali was nearest of all the people to Allah’s Apostle, the greatest of them in understanding and awareness of his objectives and principles, the most similar of them to him in clinging to the true Islam.
He accompanied the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when young. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, supplied him with his knowledge, and he, peace be on him, has expressed that, saying:
Certainly, you know my position of close kinship and special relationship with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. When I was only a child, he took charge of me. He used to press me to his chest and lay me beside him in his bed, bring his body close to mine and make me smell his smell.
He used to chew something and then feed me with it. He found no lie in my speaking, nor weakness in any act…. I used to follow him like a young camel following in the footprints of its mother. Every day he would show me in the form of a banner some of his high traits and commanded me to follow it.
Every year he used to go in seclusion to the hill of Hira, where I saw him but no one else saw him. In those days Islam did not exist in any house except that of the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, and Khadija, while I was the third after these two. I used to see and watch the effulgence of divine revelation and message, and breathed the scent of Prophethood.
Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, spent a great part of his life with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who took care of him and was kind to him. He took part beside him in the fields of jihad and the fields of the scientific experience of the success of the Islamic message, and his knowledge of its methods and its philosophy, his abilities and genius. All things required his nomination for the office of the caliphate, as preference the best to those other than him and as a guarantee for the interests of the community.
4. As for the events narrated from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning his nominating and appointing Imam ‘Ali as a successor after him, they are so many that many books have been written on them.
Among these books are al-Wasiya by al-Mas‘udi, al-Alfayn by al-‘Allama (al-Hili), Talkhis al-Shafi by al-Tusi, and others. Al-‘Allama (al-Hili) has mentioned in his book over thirty books on the will of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to Imam ‘Ali.92 The Shi‘ite theologians have mentioned many proofs of that. We will mention some of them as follows:
A. The Shi‘ites have proved their belief in this subject matter through Hadith al-Manzila (the Tradition of the Position) in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has said: “You are in the same position in respect with me as Harun was to Musa except that there is no prophet after me.”93
Shaykh al-Mufid think that this tradition is a proof of the Imamate of Imam ‘Ali, saying: “That is because Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, decided his (Imam ‘Ali’s) merit over the group, support, help, succession during his life and after his death, and the Imamate for him, due to the fact that Harun received all these positions from Musa during his lifetime.”94
B. Surely the most reliable, clearest, and the greatest of all the proofs in including the attitude the Shi‘ites maintain is The Hadith of Khum. For on that immortal day the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, as a successor after him and asked the Muslims to pledge allegiance to him. He took ‘Ali by the hand and addressed the Muslims, saying: “This is my successor after me among you; therefore, listen to him and obey him.”95
The Hadith of Khum is a decisive, unquestionable proof. It is part of Islam. Whoever denies it denies Islam, as al-‘Ala’ili says.
C. There is a group of traditions confirms that which the Shi‘ites maintain. Of this group is his statement before the Muslims: “This is my brother, my testamentary trustee, and my successor among you; therefore listen to him and obey him.”96 There are tens of traditions similar to this one. They clearly show that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, as a caliph over the Muslims.
D. The dangerous events that accompanied the demise of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, indicate that he at the last moment of his life time tried to reinforce the Imamate of Imam ‘Ali and to support it through all means. This is clear through the following:
Firstly, he, May Allah bless him and his family, took care of preparing the troops of Usama while he was in the last hours of his life time. He made it incumbent on the Muslims among whom were some of his great companions to join them immediately. He ordered them to leave Median soon.
Apparently, he intended to void Medina of those craved after the caliphate. However, the people tarried and did not obey the Prophet’s commands. They looked for some excuses.
Secondly, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, ordered ink and parchment, that he might write for the community a document after which it would never go astray. Those who craved after the government came to know of his purpose, so they created violent disputes. They accused the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, of delirium.
So they spoiled his command and they prevented him from his purpose. Accordingly, he, May Allah bless him and his family, rebuked them and ordered them to leave his house. Then he turned to those present and asked them to take care of his household. Of course, through this procedure he wanted to reinforce the pledge of allegiance to Imam ‘Ali at Ghadir Khum. However, the people prevented him from that.
E. The pure family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, protested against Abu Bakr and refrained from pledging allegiance to him, especially as it concerns the positive attitude Fatima, the mistress of the women of the world, peace be on her, took toward him. She wonderfully protested against him.
When she was about to die, she asked (her husband) Imam ‘Ali to bury her in the dark lest one of the members of the government of Abu Bakr should come to know of her burial. All these things clearly indicate that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imam ‘Ali as a successor after him.
The flagrant protests issued from Fatima, mistress of the women of the world, peace be on her, from the pure family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and from the Muslim great figures such as ‘Ammar b. Yasir, Abu Dharr, Selman al-Farisi, and al-Muqdad are among the most reliable proof of what we have mentioned.
I (the author) think that the protest of the daughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his sweet basil, against Abu Bakr and her strict, violent attitude toward him was the reason for focusing the Shi‘ite thought, providing it with originality and subsistence. For the Shi‘ites have used this protest as a reliable proof of what they believe in respect with that Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, were more appropriate for the succession (after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family).
With this point we will end our talk about the foundation of the Shi‘ites. According to these brief proofs, the Shi‘ism began at the time of the leader of the message (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, for it was he who planted its seed and made its origins grow.
The Shi‘ites maintain all the Islamic, ideological fundamentals whether they concern Allah’s positive and negative attributes or His decree and predetermination or other than that their theological books have mentioned. They also maintain the Imamate.
They believe that it is among the obligatory fundamentals of the religion. They have stipulated that the Imam should be infallible and the most knowledgeable of the people of his time. We have objectively mentioned that in the first part of the book.
As for the legislative side, they take the branches and affairs of the religion from the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt. They believe in all the traditions narrated or said by them. The traditions narrated or said by the Imams are among the four proofs a Shi‘ite jurist use when he gives a religious decision.
The Shi‘ites take their ideological frame in respect with the fundamentals and branches of the religion from the true Islam and from that which narrated on the authority of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt for whom love has been made obligatory by Allah and whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has regarded as equal to the Holy Qur’an.
Among the Shi‘ite principles is showing sincere love for Ahl al-Bayt (the members of the House), peace be on them. They deeply love and follow them as a sign of obedience to Allah, the Exalted, Who says: Say I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives.(42: 23)
Allah, the Most High, has limited the reward of the message of His great Apostle to the love for his near relatives.
Many traditions narrated on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, indicating that love for them is a sign of faith and detesting them is a sign of hypocrisy, that whoever loves them loves Allah and His Apostle, and that whoever detests them detests Allah and His Apostle.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has guaranteed that whoever clings to them will never deviate from the way of the truth and correctness, as it has been mentioned in Hadith al-Theqelayn. He, May Allah bless him and his family, has compared them to Noah’s Ark, saying: “The likeness of my family among you is like the likeness of Noah’s Ark.
Whoever embarked it was saved (from drowning); and whoever stayed behind it drowned and died.” For this reason love for the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, and faith in their Imamate are among the essential affairs with the Shi‘ites and among their true beliefs.
The Shi‘ites regard him who harbors malice against the Imams and denies their outstanding merits as like him who denies one of the Islamic, well-known necessities. “Rather he denies (the Islamic) message though he apparently confesses al-shehadetayn.”
The Shi‘ites are not excessive in their love for the Imams; rather they restrict themselves to the obligatory taking from that which narrated on their authority in respect with religious laws, and social, good manners. We have in detail mentioned that in the introduction of the book.
The history of the Shi‘ites is full of bitter struggle and violent revolts against the oppressive, tyrannical rulers. The Shi‘ites have set off to the fields of the brilliant jihad since the dawn of their history. They have raised the slogan of the Islamic justice and demanded it to be established on the arena of life. They have also resisted all kinds of social oppression. So, really, they are the flowing spring from which the revolts against the tyrannical flow.
The first summons to the inclusive reform started by the Shi‘ite men during those difficult periods when terrorism and tyranny prevailed, for the authorities imprisoned all those who talked about reform or summoned the people to it. However the Imams of the Shi‘ites and their great figures went to the fields of honor and sacrifice.
They criticized the deeds of the oppressive and condemned their behavior. They carried out violent revolutions history has recorded for them with a pen of honor and light. They have been provided by the essence of revolt and sacrifice by Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the leader of human justice on earth, for he was the first Muslim leader revolted against those arrogant, demanded justice and equality.
During the short period of his government, he created true awareness and a revolt in the souls of his followers against all the oppressive dictators.
Examples of that are: Hijr b. ‘Adi and his righteous companions revolted against Mu‘awiya. Some righteous people from among this community revolted against oppression, demanding Islamic justice and the Qur’anic precepts to be put into practice. The first one of their Imams to die a martyr was Imam al-Husayn, master of martyrs, peace be on him.
He refused the oppression prevailing at his time and revolted against Yazid b. Mu‘awiya, the dictator. Through his revolt, he, peace be on him, has changed the course of history and taught the oppressive a wonderful lesson which is not forgotten until the Day of Resurrection.
After him his grandsons and those of his brother al-Hasan, peace be on him, carried out continues revolutions that astonished the oppressive, divided the unity of the dictators, enlightened the public opinion, and provided it with the essence of revolt against all the tyrannical and despotic.
The Shi‘ites maintain that if government is not in the hand of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, the community will suffer from oppression and tyranny, that justice and equality will never spread among it. Al-Wardi says: “The Shi‘ites were the first to hold the cultural revolt in Islam against tyranny.
The essence of revolt is in their theory. The thought of the Imamate they maintain urged them to criticize the ruling class, (to declare) their opposition throughout the stages of their history, to regard all governments as usurping and oppressive except those undertaken by an infallible Imam. For this reason they continually carried out revolutions. They did not calm down, nor did they flag.”97
Through their continuous revolts, the Shi‘ite figures wanted to establish social justice, to put an end to all kinds of oppression and corruption. For this reason they offered many sacrifices to achieve this noble objective aiming at removing the corrupt government from the country.
According to these revolutionary doctrines the Shi‘ites have made it forbidden to cooperate with the oppressive rulers or to manage their official jobs. Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, said to his companions: “I dislike to make a contract with them (the oppressive)…. The oppressive and their helpers are in the Fire until Allah decides among his servants.”
Imam Musa, peace be on him, said to Ziyad b. Abi Selema: “O Ziyad, if I fell off a high mountain and cut into pieces, it would be better for me than undertaking a work for them (the oppressive) or walking on a carpet of a man from among them.” The Imam, peace be on him, made it forbidden (for Muslims) to present a case against each other (in the courts) of the rulers of the unjust states.
They gave a religious decision that what the judges did was invalid. Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, warned the jurists against communicating with those oppressive rulers, saying: “Jurists are the ones entrusted by the apostles. So, if you see them incline to the rulers, then beware of them!”98
The Muslim, good class responded to these verdicts of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. They refrained from communicating with the rulers. They made light of and disparaged all those who worked for them. An example of that is that Ibn al-Mubarek condemned Isma‘il b. Ibrahim al-Qereshi when he became a judge.
He wrote him the following poem:
O you who has appointed a falcon over knowledge to hunt the properties of the miserable!
You trick for the world and the pleasures wherein with a trick that destroys the religion.
You have become mad through it (job), while you had been the medicine of the mad.
Where are your bygone narrations on the authority of Ibn ‘Ayun and Ibn Sireen?
Where are your detailed narrations on leaving the doors of the rulers?
If you said that you were forced, then that would be invalid. The donkey of knowledge has slipped in clay!99 The Shi‘ites have offered Islam and Muslims all the valuable services, and hoisted the flag of justice on earth. They are the greatest of all the Muslim sects in going to the fields of jihad to make high the word of truth and justice.
The leader of the Shi‘ites and their great figures have strong courage and intrepidity. They are not afraid of authorities, nor do they yield to tyrannical governments. They bravely declare the Word of Allah and condemn abominable things. An example of them is ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Afif al-Azdi. He was blind, but Allah lighted his heart with the light of faith.
He revolted against ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad when he delivered a speech after the murder of Imam al-Husayn, master of the martyrs, peace be on him, and cursed him. He refused his statement before the people in the mosque of Kufa, saying: “You, your father, and he who has appointed you as a governor are liars, O retainer of Banu ‘Allajj!
Why have you killed the Prophet’s grandson and ascended the pulpits of the Muslims? Where are the children of the Emigrants and of the Ansar to take vengeance on you and on your tyrannical (leader), the cursed one, and son of the cursed one by the tongue of the trusted Prophet?” He referred to Yazid b. Mu‘awiya.
Through this great way people can put an end to oppression, remove unhappiness and tyranny from society, and achieve the objectives of the community. The Shi‘ite leaders condemned the deeds of the kings and of the governors throughout the stages of history. Al-Kumayt b. Ziyad al-Asadi, for example, satirized the Umayyads and made comparison between them and the ‘Alawids, saying:
They (the ‘Alawids) are politicians, but they are not like those who treat people and sheep in the same manner!
They are not like ‘Abd al-Malik, al-Waleed, Sulayman, and Hisham!
Another time he satirized Hisham and the sons of Merwan, saying:
The day of riding it is a misfortune upon the enemies. He is mistaken in what he has said about it.
Our speech is the speech of the guiding prophets; we perform the deeds of those people who lived before Islam.
He addressed the Umayyads through these brave poetry lines:
Say to the Umayyads even if you are afraid of the sword and estrangement:
May Allah make hungry him whom you have satisfied and make satisfied him who has been hungry through your oppression.
The Umayyads persecuted, tortured, and severely punished al-Kumayt, but he was firm in his thought and faith.
Al-Ferezdeq, a poet, appeared at that time. He criticized the Umayyads and openly dispraised them. He bravely defended his thought. Among his noble attitudes is that he praised Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and dispraised Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik when he pretended that he did not recognize the Imam. He said to him before the people:
This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca) recognizes, and whom the (Sacred) House recognizes (as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).
This is the son of the best of all Allah’s servants. This is the pure, pious man, the pure eminent man.
Your statement, ‘who is this?’ does hot harm him. The Arabs and the non-Arabs recognize him whom you have denied. So the Umayyads were displeased with al-Ferezdeq and took vengeance on him. However, he paid no attention to that. He went on mentioning their defects. He satirized Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik when he imprisoned him, saying:
He turns the head, which is not the head of a master; and he has a cross-eye whose defects are manifest.
The Shi‘ite writers and poets disparaged and satirized the oppressive. An example of that is Di‘bil al-Kheza‘i. He defamed the ‘Abbasids and exposed their bad deeds. He satirized them through a number of poems through which he shook their entity. He made the people displeased with them.
He satirized al-Rashid, al-Amin, al-Ma’mun, al-Mu‘tasim, and Ibrahim b. al-Mehdi. He satirized al-Mu‘tasim through these painful poetry lines, saying: He has become an Imam, while he is not rightly guided. He has neither reason nor mind. The ‘Abbasid kings are seven in the books. No book has come to us on their eighth one.
Similarly, the Companions of the Cave were seven good ones in the cave; and their eighth one was a dog. I regard their dog as higher than you in position, for you have a sin, and he had no sin. Through inspiration from his thought, Di‘bil disputed with the oppressive and took vengeance on them.
He satirized and condemned the ‘Abbasids, to the extent that they made him homeless. Terror and fear pursed him. He said his famous statement: “I have carried my gibbet on my shoulder for forty years; I have found none to crucify me on it!”
Surely the history of the Shi‘ites is full of heroism and mutiny against oppression, vengeance on social tyranny, demanding the people’s rights, defending the interests of the miserable and the weak whom those tyrannical circles deprived of their rights.
As the Shi‘ites were the strongest organizations who demanded the responsible to establish social justice, human values, they were subjected to severe vengeance by the governors and the kings. Those governors and kings practiced on the Shi‘ites all kinds of force and violence. They deprived them of life through throwing them into dark prisons.
The pursed them and practiced on them exemplary punishments. They cut off their hands and legs. They gouged their eyes and crucified them on the trunks of the date-palms.100 An example of that is that Mu‘awiya subjected them to oppression and tyranny. He wrote a letter to all his governors mentioning in it:
“If you come to know that someone loves ‘Ali and his household, then delete his (name) from the Divan and do not give a salary to him.” Then he sent them another letter saying: “If you accuse someone of loving these people (the ‘Alawids), then severely punish him and demolish his house.”101
Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, talked about the ordeals and misfortunes wreaked by the oppressive upon their Shi‘ites, saying: “Our Shi‘ites (followers) were killed in all the cities; their hands and their legs were cut off for a suspicion. All those who loved us were imprisoned, their properties were plundered, and their houses were demolished.”102
During those dark periods, the Shi‘ites met many political and social problems; there is no way to imagine them because they were horrible and bitter. Some poetry lines have been ascribed to an Imam of the Shi‘ites. In them he has mentioned the disasters that befell them, saying:
We, the sons of the chosen one, have ordeals our Kazim stand. Our ordeal is great among the people. The first and the last of us is inflicted. The people are delighted with their ‘Id, while our ‘Id is a funeral ceremony.
All the Muslims are delighted with their ‘Ids. However, the Shi‘ites felt that their ‘Ids were funeral ceremonies due to the ordeals they met. The accusation of Shi‘ism was among the most dangerous crimes that brought about exhaustion and severe punishments. Rather the mere communication with the Shi‘ites or greeting them brought about death and severe punishments.
When Ibrahim b. Herthema went to Medina, a man visited him. He said to the man: “Go away from me! Do not let them shed my blood!”103 Mansur al-Nimri has mentioned in a poem of his the harm and tyranny that befell the Shi‘ites, saying:
The Prophet’s family and those who love them hide themselves out of fear of killing.
They are isolated from the community of monotheism, while the Christians and the Jews are secure! Al-Fadhl b. Dukayn became a Shi‘ite. His son came to him crying. He asked him: “What wrong with you?” “Father,” he replied, “the people say that you are a Shi‘ite.”
He composed, saying:
I am still concealing (my being a Shi‘ite) to the extent that (I have become) a non-Arab in returning the answer to the askers. That I and you may be safe from the speech of the informers. Can a living thing be safe from the people?104
His son cried because of this accusation that brought about severe punishments by the responsible. All those who were accused of love for Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, were subjected to ordeal and tribulation. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amir, a poet, and better known as al-‘Abli, has referred in one of his poems to the exhaustion he met due to his love for them:
They exiled me when I praised ‘Ali, and they thought that that was a dangerous illness in me.
By my Lord, I will (love them) forever until my heart is full of love for ‘Ali and his children. I love them because of my love for the Prophet. The love is for religion, not for the world. The most wicked of all kinds of love is that which is for the world.
The love for the family of Musa is manifest and their friendship for the children of his brother is apparent. Their Imam is from among the progeny of the first Harun. They have become rightly guided through them; and every people have a guide. Similarly, the Christians honor a kind of stick.
However, when one loves the family of Ahmed (Muhammad), they kill him or accuse him of atheism. This is the dangerous illness. The reasons of those in the cities and in the deserts have gone astray. They have not kept the Prophet Muhammad’s right in respect with his family; and Allah is watching.
Another poet says:
Surely through their love for their Prophet, the Jews have become safe from the disgrace of their treacherous time. Through their love for ‘Isa, the possessor of the cross (the Christians), proudly walk in the villages of Nejran. However, the believers are thrown into the fires in the cities.
The authorities took all the procedures against those who praised the ‘Alawids or mentioned them in a good manner. Also they intentionally tired the ‘Alawids. A loyal decree issued from Baghdad and was sent to Egypt. It has been mentioned in the decree: “The ‘Alawids should not be given country estates. They should not ride horses nor should they go to any part of al-Fustat.
They should be prevented from taking slaves except one slave. If there is a dispute between an ‘Alawid and another person, then speech of the ‘Alawid should not be accepted, and the speech of his opponent should be accepted without any proof.”105
It incumbent on the ‘Alawids to go to the capital that they might be under the supervision of the government. Al-Rashid ordered his governor over Median to order the ‘Alawids to guarantee each other. He ordered them to be brought before the authority every day. If any of them had been absent, he should have been punished.106
The oppressive used all means to severely punish the ‘Alawids and their followers. They harbored so great malice against the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, that they severely punished all those who mentioned them.
Al-Meqrizi has mentioned: “Yazid b. ‘Abd Allah, the governor of Egypt, ordered a solider to be punished. When the solider felt the pain of whip, he adjured the governor by the right of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, to pardon him.
However, the governor ordered him to be flogged thirty times because of this oath. Then he wrote a letter to al-Mutawakil in Baghdad and informed him of the solider. So al-Mutawakil ordered him to be flogged a hundred times and ordered him to be sent to Baghdad.”107
A poet recited a poem before al-Mutawakil and dispraised the ‘Alawids and their followers. So al-Mutawakil ordered three thousand dinars to be scattered over his head and to be collected for him. He appointed him as a governor over al-Bahrain and al-Yemen and gave him four robes of honor.108
The ordeal of the Shi‘ites was difficult and hard, for they met violent political and social problems. They were afflicted with deprivation of all the natural rights. I (the author) think that no sect met the persecution and tyranny the Shi‘ites met. For the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid rulers went too far in abasing them and forcing them to do what they hated.
The Shi‘ites resisted the violent attacks of the rulers, defended their doctrines, and protected their message. They paid no attention to the tyranny and terrorism of the ruler. The carried out the following wonderful deeds:
The Shi‘ites secretly and continually resisted the tyranny and oppression of the ‘Abbasids. They made widespread propaganda against them. They exposed their arrogance, their disparaging the subjects, their possessing alone their affairs, and other things. They wanted to make the subjects hate the then standing government.
The Shi‘ite propaganda at the Umayyad time could create collective feelings against that government until it overthrew it. At the ‘Abbasid time it spared no effort to strip the ‘Abbasid government of legality. It indicated that all those who joined them or cooperated with them were sinful and were not clinging to their religion. Those campaigns enlightened the public opinion, opened the door to the continues revolt against those tyrannical rulers, and deprived them of the confidence of the masses in them.
During their first time, the Shi‘ites formed secret parties, and those parties formed groups of people and organizations. Each group and organization was headed by a person called al-Da‘i (the summoner).109 The Shi‘ites played an important role in moving the society. For they were able to establish some Shi‘ite governments in some Islamic countries.
They founded a state in Morocco. The state was founded by ‘Ubayd Allah al-Mehdi in the year 296 A. H. It included Siqlya and the south of Italy. They also formed a state in Egypt at the hand of the great leader Jawher al-Siqili in the year 358 A. H. They founded the Nezari State of Death (Dawlet al-Mout al-Nezariya) in Persia in the year 483 A. H.
This state was founded by al-Hasan b. al-Sebbagh. They founded a state in al-Bahrain in the year 270 A. H. This state was founded by al-Hasan al-Ahwazi, Hemdan b. al-Ash‘ath, and Abu Sa‘eed b. Merewayh al-Jenabi. The Fatimid state founded al-Ezher Mosque in Egypt. This mosque was the first science foundation to be founded by the Shi‘ites. The Shi‘ites built castles and strongholds in Syria (Sham).
The reason for this important political success was the secret organizations founded by the Shi‘ites in their first times. The Shi‘ites had records including the names of the Shi‘ite summoners. When Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah was deserted, he ordered the records to be burnt.110 Some companions of the Imams had secret records containing the names of the Shi‘ites.111 The then ruling authorities spared no effort to find them, but they failed.
Any way those secret parties and organizations played an important rule against the standing government, enlightened social thoughts, opened the way for the revolutionaries to help them liberate their countries from abasement and tyranny. They also did their best to spread Shi‘ite beliefs all over the Islamic countries.
So the Shi‘ites became so powerful that the authorities were unable to force them to follow their desires. This affair forced al-Ma’mun to appoint Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, as a successor after him.
Though the supervision over the Shi‘ite great figures was strict and pressure on them was strong, they debated with the Imams of the other Islamic doctrines on some theological affairs such as the Imamate. Those debates were hold in the public places, and in the house of Yehya al-Bermeki. Sometimes they were hold in the royal palace of Harun, who listened to them and admired them.
Those debates were hold by Hisham b. al-Hekem, Hisham b. Salim, and Mu’min al-Taqq. Thanks to the strong proofs given by these great figures, the beliefs of the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, spread. The Shi‘ites were the greatest of all the Islamic sects in the fields of the theological researches.
The fundamentals of their beliefs have depended on logic and objective research, so Kradfwa has described them: “The possessors of the free thoughts.”112 Anyway, the Shi‘ite great figures have given many wonderful proofs of the authenticity of their beliefs. These proofs have made people follow the Shi‘ite beliefs.
Because of the hard ordeals and difficult misfortunes in those black conditions, the Shi‘ites were unable to find a way to spread their pain and their sorrows. The strict supervision and the strong pursuit prevented them from presenting their misfortunes. So some of them resort to write their fears on walls to inform the people of them.
An ‘Alawid wrote on the wall by which al-Mehdi, the ‘Abbasid, passed the following poetry lines:
By Allah, when the people sleep, I do not sleep out of fear.
The men of aggression have made me homeless. I have committed no sin except mentioning the hereafter.
I have believed in Allah, while they have not believed (in Him). So they have regarded my faith as evil.
When I al-Mehdi saw that, he had pity on him and wrote under each poetry line: “Allah and I have given you security; therefore, appear whenever you wish.” A person asked him about the person who had written them, and he answered: “Surely he is ‘Isa b. Zayd.”113 Dhu al-Nun al-Mesri mentioned that he walked through a village, and that he saw some poetry lines had been written on a wall of its:
I am the son of Mina, al-Mish’arayn, Zamzam, Mecca, and the Magnified Kaaba.
My grandfather is the chosen Prophet; and my father is he whose authority is incumbent on all Muslims.
My mother is the chaste (one) from whom (men) seek light if we do not number her as equal to Maryam (Mary).
The grandsons of Allah’s Apostle are my uncles and (fore) fathers; and his pure (grand) sons are nine stars.
If you cling to the cord of their authority, you will be successful on the day when the successful will be rewarded and you will lead a life of ease and comfort.
The Imams of this creation after their Prophet; if you do not know that, then know (it).
I am the Alawid, the Fatimid who is full of fear; and days fill man with (fear).
Thus, I feel that the earth is narrow through it is wide; and I cannot obtain the sky through a ladder.
So I have stopped at the house in which I have written my poetry; therefore, read and acquaint yourself with whatever you like.
And submit to the Command of Allah in all circumstances; whoever does not submit (to His command) is not a follower of Islam.
Dhu al-Nun has said: “I have come to know that he was an ‘Alawid who escaped from the authority. That was at the time of Harun.” Al-Mejjlisi assumed that the poetry lines belonged to Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him. We have discussed that in the previous chapters of the book.
Anyway, the ‘Alawids and their followers met severe ordeals and misfortunes during those black periods of time, to the extent that they wrote on walls their sorrows, that the people might come to know of the oppression and persecution they met.
The last poetry lines picture a side of the protest of the ‘Alawids against the rulers, that they might obtain their rights in undertaking the caliphate and the affairs of the Muslims. For they were the most appropriate of the people in the great Prophet, May Allah bless him and his family. They were his successors over his community. So whoever cling to them will be successful on the Day of Resurrection.
This was mentioned by their grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The ‘Alawids have such clear lineage, outstanding qualities, and achievements; however, they were fearful and homeless. They were afraid of the oppressive who deprived them of their rights and usurped their legacy.
The ‘Abbasid officially intended to persecute the Shi‘ites in all the fields. They pursued and severely punished them. They endangered them and destroyed them. Accordingly, the then Imams of the Shi‘ites were forced to order their followers to practice Taqiyyah (precautionary dissimulation), that they might keep the lives of the remaining rest of them, their blood and their properties.
Taqiyyah is caution, alertness, hiding and concealing faith. The Holy Qur’an has referred to that Taqiyyah is permissible:
Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.(3:28)
The Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, strictly ordered their followers to hide their beliefs and not to show it and to conceal the love for them. Mu‘ammar b. Khallad has narrated, saying: [I asked Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, about undertaking the affairs of the Imam, and he, peace be on him, said: Abu Ja‘far, peace be on him, said:] “Taqiyyah (precautionary dissimulation) is me and my fathers’ religion.
He who has no Taqiyyah has no faith.”114 Durust b. Abi Mansur has related, saying: “I was with Abu al-Hasan Musa; and al-Kumayt b. Zayd was also with him. The Imam asked him: Are you who says:
“I have come to the Umayyads; and the affairs have destinies?” “I have said that,” replied al-Kumayt, “by Allah, I have not withdrawn from my religion. I am your follower and I hate your enemy; however, I have said it according to Taqiyyah.”
So the Imam, peace be on him, said that Taqiyyah was permissible even if (it led) to drinking wine.115
Taqiyyah brought about the strong displeasure of the Shi‘ites with their opponents. It also made them firmly cling to their beliefs and principles. Professor Ajnas Gold Teshir says: “The Shi‘ites were unable to express their thought openly. In the meantime they were displeased with their strong opponents. This displeasure resulted from the sentiment of extreme spite and revolutionary fanaticism.”116
Some stupid opponents criticized the Shi‘ites for the affair of Taqiyyah. Were it not for this wise plan, the Shi‘ite doctrine would not remain on the surface of the earth, and the name of Ahl al-Bayt would go in vain. That is because of the hard ordeals that surrounded them, and the black disasters that they met from the beginning of their history and accompanied them for many years.
Shaykh al-Tusi says: “No sect met (what the Shi‘ites met), nor did a doctrine was afflicted with which the Shi‘ites were afflicted….”117 The Taqiyyah was legislated to spare the blood of the Shi‘ites, to protect their properties and honors from those tyrannical rulers who spared no effort to destroy and put an end to them.
The Shi‘a was divided into many sects. Those sects happened due to the pressure practiced on them, their incapability to meet the Imam of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on him. Some hypocrites used that as means to divide their ranks. Dr. ‘Abd al-Rezaq Muhyi al-Din has talked about the reasons of their division, saying: “The thought (of Shi‘ism) was always liable to threat on the side of the caliphs.
This made its followers to spread it secretly and to put it into practice in the remote cities. The thought put into effect secretly is liable to confusion and division in respect with the number of the Imams. For this reason the Shi‘ite sects are many and they differ with each other.
Moreover, their Umayyad and ‘Abbasid opponents had the means of power and propagation. So they said many things about their doctrines and ascribed to them that of which they were innocent.
“Besides the Imams of the (Imami) Shi‘ites were afraid of spreading their beliefs openly. They were isolated from their followers due to the prohibition imposed on them. They put into effect Taqiyyah that required the Imam to keep pace with the jurisprudence and ideological fundamentals of the Sunnis, in addition to that a large number of the Shi‘ites were ignorant of the fundamentals of the Imami doctrine.”118
These factors mentioned by Professor ‘Abd al-Rezaq led to the division of the Shi‘ites into sects and tribes, their difference over the number of the Imams. The following is a brief account on their sects:
They were the followers of al-Mukhtar b. ‘Ubayd al-Theqefi. They were called so due the ‘name’ Kaysan. It was said that al-Mukhtar was called Kaysan. He was given this name by Muhammad b. Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, when he entrusted him with demanding the blood of Imam al-Husayn, master of martyrs, peace be on him.119 Other than that was also said.
This sect maintained that the Imam after al-Husayn, peace be on him, was Muhammad, that he was al-Mehdi, of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had given good news, who would fill the world with fairness and justice, that he is living and never dies, that he has disappeared in the Mountain of Redewa, and that there are with him honey and water. In this respect al-Sayyid al-Himyari says:
The Imams from among Quraysh, the rulers of the truth, are four equal ones.
(They are) ‘Ali and the three from among his well-known sons.
A grandson is a grandson of faith and kindness; a grandson Karbala’ made disappear; a grandson who will never dies, lead the horses, be followed by the standard; none has seen him for a time; he has disappear in (the mountain of Redewa); he has honey and water.
Some of them exaggerated when they said: “(Muhammad) b. al-Hanafiya was the Imam after Imam (‘Ali) the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. He was before al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Al-Hasan inwardly summoned (the people) through his command. Al-Husayn appeared with the sword through his permission.
They were two summoners to him, and were commanded by him.”120 The Kaysaniya believed in transmigration of souls. They took this belief from the Indian philosophy. They did not absolutely believed in the transmigration of souls; rather they restricted that to the Imams only.121 This sect came to an end and had no followers throughout the Islamic countries.
Al-Zaydiya have built their ideological frame on the revolt to remove oppressive governments and to establish justice. They have maintained that any ‘Alawid person comes out in revolt with the sword is an Imam to whom obedience is obligatory. All those who claim the Imamate and are sitting in their own houses are not Imams and it is not permissible to follow them.122
More likely, they maintained that due to the oppression and tyranny the Shi‘ites met during those terrible times. The Umayyad government regarded as atheistic all those who loved Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. To this meaning al-Kumayt, the poet of Islam, refers:
They indicate with their hands to me and their statement is: verily this is unsuccessful, while the indicters are more unsuccessful (than me). A sect has accused me of unbelief and a sect says that I am an evil-doer and guilty. They criticize me for (my) love for you out of their deception and deviation; rather they mock (at me), while I wonder at them. They say: His inclination and opinion are Turabi; (such was) I called and nicknamed by them.123
‘Abd Allah b. Kuthayr al-Sehmi refuted those who criticized him for his love for the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying:
I am the man whose defects are the love for the Prophet, the children of Abu al-Hasan, and their father, who was good in the wombs and the backbones. Is it a sin that I love them? Rather love for them is the expiation for sin.124 A person wanted to degrade the position of al-Sayyid al-Himyari. The person said to him: “O Rafidi!”125
So al-Sayyid al-Himyari said to him:
In spite of you, we refuse the men of error and abominable things!126
These oppressive measures hurt the feelings of the Shi‘ites and they urged them to believe in revolt as a basic rule to build their ideological entity. Al-Zaydiya maintained that. They believed that Zayd b. ‘Ali, a great revolutionary, was the Imam and after him was his son Yehya, who followed the example of his father in raising the flag of the revolt against the Umayyad government.
They did not follow the text (the tradition) which is a basic rule for the Imamate with the Shi‘ites. They refused to maintain the Imams of guidance. For they did not respond to them through going in revolt with the sword against the Umayyad government. Their justification for that was that the positive resistance was not useful, unsuccessful, and would bring to the Muslims hardships and misfortunes.
They adopted the negative resistance against the authority and made it forbidden for the Muslims to cooperate with it.
Al-Zaydiya maintained the Imamate of Zayd because he resisted the Umayyads and went to the fields of jihad saying: “When people hate the heat of the sword, they become lowly.” This was the slogan of al-Zaydiya. Zayd recited the words of his father, saying:
O Zayd’s son, did Zayd not say: Whoever loves life lives lowly?
Be like Zayd, for you are Zayd’s soul, and take a dense shade.127
This sect has clung to the essence and reality of Islam. They followed the Prophet’s pure family, from whom Allah took away uncleanness. They maintained all the traditions narrated from them in respect with the fundamental and branches of Islam, to the extent that their doctrines is better known as the doctrine of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. They are distinguished from the rest of the Islamic doctrines by the following:
A. They have opened the horizons of reason; they have not isolated reason from the real life. They have regarded the things perceived by it as one of the four proofs from which a jurist concludes a religious verdict. Moreover they regarded it as a referee among the contradictory traditions.
All the things agree with the decision of reason are regarded as proof; all the things deviate from it are worthless. For this reason the Shi‘ites are the greatest of all the Islamic sects in taking care of the decision and freedom of reason and in making use of it.
B. They have opened the door to ijtihad128. For this reason their jurisprudence keeps pace with the time development and treats all new events on which there is not Islamic text. This has brought about great development in the Shi‘ite jurisprudence and made it take the first place in the Islamic jurisprudence, for it is serious, deep, and developed.
Accordingly, the jurists and men of law in the world have admired it. Professor Muhammad Abu Zehra says: “They (the Shi‘ites) did not yield to the regime of the authority in closing the door to jurisprudence, nor did their education yield to the regime of the state, nor did their schools follow that program followed by most Islamic schools.
Rather they followed the way of Ahl al-Bayt in refusing cooperation with the government. Their door to ijtihad has not been closed; it is still open. This is among the things of which the Shi‘ites are proud before all the present Islamic groupings.129
C. They have a generous, huge inheritance of that which has been narrated from their Imams, peace be on them. This inheritance is full of all the elements of development and progress such as good manners, rules of conduct, society, short wise sayings, morals, and creative foundations of economic and social development of the community, taking care of administrative and political affairs.
All these things have been mentioned in Imam ‘Ali’s Nehjj al-Belagha, which is the greatest book after the Holy Qur’an, and which has different kinds of knowledge. Definitely some secrets of its chapters have not been discovered, especially as it concerns the creation of the heavens and others, for many explainers of the words of the Imam, peace be on him, have not understood them fully.
The Shi‘ites have al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, which is the Gospel of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. This great book is full of the most wonderful cultural legacy the like of which people have not found. It contains Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s supplications. The Imam has the Treatise on Rights (Risalet al-Huquq).
This treatise takes care of the rights of the community against the government, and vise-versa. It also takes care of the rights of the members of society against each other. Though the book is brief, it is the greatest of all the books written on Islam. If we review all that which narrated from Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and the rest of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, then we will find a flood of sciences and arts.
They split open the doors to them and put their foundations such botany, chemistry, medicine, and other sciences that have taken part in developing scientific and cultural life during those times, and whose waves included the rest of the times. The Imami sect has the greatest scientific inheritance the like of which no religious or social sect has.
D. They have objectively taken care of the philosophy of government. They have clung to the office of the Imamate. The theologians have limited the values and concepts of the Imamate aiming at the righteous government Islam has brought. This government stands on pure justice and truth through which the community is developed in economic and social fields, its rights and interests are protected.
The philosophy of the Imamate the Shi‘ites maintain positively takes care of the policy of government of the country. In their viewpoints it stands on a firm foundation of justice whose plans and objectives none can carry out except the infallible Imam who does not yield to sentiment and inclination; rather he follows the public interests.
We have witnessed that in the government of Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him. He adopted among the Muslims a kind of policy the like of which the Muslims and other than them have never witnessed throughout the stages of history. He treated the subjects with justice and equality. He denied his personal interests and others.
Any way the Imami Shi‘ites maintain that the Imamate stands on a deep foundation of awareness and understanding, that it is confirmed by the most wonderful reliable proofs from the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the decision of reason.
E. They renounce the excessiveness in respect with the Imams, peace be on him; and they decide that it is apostasy from the religion. These are the essential affairs that distinguish the Imami Shi‘ites from the rest of the Shi‘ite sects.
This sect maintained that ‘Abd Allah al-Afteh was the Imam after his father Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him. ‘Abd Allah al-Afteh was Isma‘il’s brother. He was the eldest son of the Imam. The Fetehiya supported their claim with a tradition. They took the beginning of the tradition and left its end.
This tradition is these words of Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him: “None has the right to undertake the office of the Imamate except the eldest son provided that he has no defect.” As for ‘Abd Allah, he was a broad-headed. It was said that he was broad-legged. However, his followers added to him some laudable deeds and achievements. ‘Abd Allah lived for seventy days after his father’s death.130
They claimed that the Imam after Ja‘far b. Muhammad was his son Muhammad. Then his sons after him undertook the office of the Imamate. They were ascribed to one of their heads who was called Yehya b. Abi Sumayt.133 It was said that he was called Yehya b. Shumayt, and that he was among the commanders of al-Mukhtar al-Theqefi’s troops.134 This sect claimed that the Awaited Imam would be among the children of Muhammad b. Ja‘far.135
They were the followers of Abi al-Khettab, Muhammad b. Abi Zayneb. They went out in revolt during the time of Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him. They warred against ‘Isa b. Musa, the governor over Kufa. They were seventy men. They were killed by ‘Isa. None escaped him except one man who was critically wounded.
This man was numbered as among the dead. So he escaped ‘Isa, and then he recovered. This man was called Abu Selema, Salim b. Mukerram al-Jemmal, whose nickname was Abi Khedija. Abu al-Khettab, the head of this sect was captured and brought before ‘Isa b. Musa, and he ordered him to be killed. So he was killed at Dar al-Rizq on the bank of the Euphrates.
‘Isa ordered him and a group of his companions to be crucified. Then he ordered them to be burnt. Then he sent their heads to al-Mansur, and he ordered them to be crucified on the gate of the city of Baghdad for three days. Then he ordered them to be burnt. One of the followers of Abi al-Khettab said: “Neither Abu al-Khettab nor his companions were killed.”
Al-Khettabiya also claimed that they warred against ‘Isa according to an order from Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and that he sent Abu al-Khettab as a prophet to the people.136
They claimed that Imam Ja‘far b. Muhammad, peace be on him, was alive and did not die, that he was al-Qa’im al-Mehdi. This sect was called al-Nawusiya because its head was called ‘Ajlan b. Nawus from Basrah.137
They maintained that the Imam after Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, was his son Isma‘il. They denied that Isma‘il died during the life time of his father and said: “Isma‘il will not die until he under takes the office of the Imamate.”138 Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, refused this idea during his life time. When his son Isma‘il died, he sent for some of his companions and made them bear witness for his death.
We have mentioned that in detail in the previous chapters of the book.
Al-Isma‘iliya insisted on denying the death of Isma‘il. They thought that Imam al-Sadiq made some of his Shi‘ites bear witness for the death of his son because he had felt the dangers that would threaten the life of his son, whom he had appointed as the successor after him. They said that he ordered him to hide himself.
So Isma‘il secretly left Medina and headed for Damascus. Al-Mansur came to know of that, and he order his governor there to arrest him. However, his governor there had already adopted the doctrine of al-Isma‘iliya. Accordingly, he showed the letter to Isma‘il. So Isma‘il left Damascus and headed for Iraq.
They claimed that he had been seen in Basrah in the year 151 A. H., and that he passed by an invalid person, and Allah healed him through him. They also claimed that Isma‘il secretly went to his followers until he died in Basrah in the year 158 A. H. Moreover, they said that he had children whose names were: Muhammad, ‘Ali, Fatima, and that he appointed his eldest son as an Imam after him in the presence of some loyal summoners.139
Any way, our sources have not confirmed these claims. They have unanimously agreed that Isma‘il died during the lifetime of his father, just as we have mentioned in the previous chapters of the book. Al-Isma‘iliya have regarded the Imamate as a high position and gone too far in sanctifying it. In his praising Imam al-Mu‘iz, an Isma‘Ili Imam, Ibn Hani has said:
What you please, not what the fates please, so decide, for you are the one, the supreme.
You look like the Prophet Muhammad; and your ansar (supporters) are like the Ansar.
You are the one of whom the religious scholars and the traditions have given good news in their books.
This is the Imam of the pious, who has stunned the tyrannical and the unbelievers.
This is he through love for him salvation is hoped, and through whom sins and burdens are forgiven.
This is he whose intercession is useful tomorrow; and the fire goes out when it sees him.
In his poem, Ibn Hani’ goes on giving high qualities to al-Mu‘iz li Dinillah. Through that he expresses the beliefs of al-Isma‘iliya, shows excessiveness toward their Imams and gives to them many attributes of Allah, the Most High. Another of their poets went too far in describing their Imams, saying:
Love for them is a religious duty obligatory on men. Disobedience to them is a ruinous disbelief leading to the fire. They are the firmest handle and way to guidance. They are the utmost objective which none can obtain. Were it not for them, Allah would not create his creation, light and splendor were not in the world.
They are the large tree of the religion that produces guidance, gives shade and is high through blessing and piety, defends him who sits in its shadow, releases and protects the ignorant from death.
Whoever carefully considers the beliefs of al-Isma‘iliya, he will find them full of excessiveness and immoderation in respect with the love for their Imams. They regarded their present young Imam as a world lamp, available everywhere, the one who will save souls from everlasting unhappiness, and lead the world to the Ideal Reality.
It was an errant sect, deviated from the religion, betrayed Allah and His Apostle, and plundered the wealth of the Muslims. They maintained that Imam Musa, peace be on him, was alive and did not die, that he was raised to the heaven just as al-Mesih ‘Isa b. Maryam, peace be on him.
They believed that he was al-Qa’im who would fill the world with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. They claimed that the person who was imprisoned in the prison of al-Sindi b. Shahik was not Imam Musa, peace be on him; rather he was someone like him. So it is necessary to give a brief account on the affairs of this sect:
They reason for that they restricted the Imamate to Imam Musa, peace be on him, and their denying his death is: “When the Imam, peace be on him, was in the dark prisons, he appointed some representatives to receive the money sent by some believers. Some of them could collect a lot of money. An example of that is that Ziyad b. Merwan al-Qendi had seventy thousand dinars.
‘Ali b. Hamza had thirty thousand dinars. Other than them had sums of money similar to these. When the Imam, peace be on him, died, these people denied his death. They bought country estates and house for the money they had. When Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, asked them to return the money, they refused to give it to him and denied the death of his father.”140
Al-Husayn b. Muhammad has mentioned: “The Ash‘athis collected thirty dinars from the zekat due on their properties and on the rest of the other rights. So they sent these funds of money to two agents of Imam Musa, peace be on him, in Kufa. One of them was called Hayyan al-Serrajj. The Imam, peace be on him, was then in prison.
When they received the money, they bought houses and corps for it. When the Imam died, they denied his death, announced that he would not die, and that he was the awaited al-Qa’im (al-Mehdi).”141 However, some of them returned to the way of the truth and correctness. They handed over the money they had taken to Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and acknowledged his Imamate.
The doctrine of al-Waqf spread and was adopted by many people. Among them were a large number from among the companions of the Imam, peace be on him, and the narrators of his traditions. We will mention them in detail when we speak about the group of the narrators and companions. The reason for spreading this idea is: “Those who propagated it had been known for their good conduct and their clinging to the religion.
So they deluded the simple Shi‘ites and greatly misled them. Besides they spent a lot of money buying consciences.” Yunus b. ‘Abd al-Rahman has narrated, saying: “When Abu Ibrahim Musa, peace be on him, died, most of his people had a lot of money. This was the reason for their restricting themselves to his Imamate and their denying his death. For they craved after the money.
For example Ziyad b. Merwan al-Qendi had seventy thousand dinars. ‘Ali b. Hamza had thirty thousand dinars. When I saw that and came to know of the truth and of the affairs of Abu al-Hasan al Rida, peace be on him, I talked about that and summoned the people to it. So they (Ziyad and ‘Ali) sent for me and said to me: ‘What has made you say that? If you want money, we will enrich you.’
They decided to give me ten thousand dinars and said to me: ‘Refrain (from saying that).’ However, I refused and said to them: ‘The two persons called al-Sadiq, peace be on them, told us: ‘When the heresies appear, the (religious) scholar should show his knowledge. If he does not do that, he is deprived of the light of faith.’ As I was not ready to leave jihad in the way of Allah, they showed enmity toward me and harbored malice against me.”142
Through these manners and tempting ways the doctrine of Waqf was spread. However, shortly after that this doctrine was destroyed; the believers came to know that it was false; and the lying of those who summoned the people to it appeared.
In many traditions the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, have condemned the thought of al-Waqf, criticized its leaders and the narrators of their traditions, and warned the people against their vague errors. Al-Hekem b. al-‘Ays has mentioned, saying: [I and my uncle Sulayman b. Khalid visited Abu ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, and he asked:]
-Who is this boy? He indicated with his hand to me.
-Does he have any knowledge of this affair (the Imamate)?
-Praise belongs to Allah, Who did not create him Satan. I seek refuge for your son with Allah from the discord of our Shi‘ites.
-What will be that discord?
-Their denying the Imams and their restricting themselves to the Imamate of my son Musa. They will deny his death and claim that he would be the Imam after me. Surely there will be no Imam after me. Those are the most wicked of the creation!143
Imam Musa, peace be on him, said to ‘Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Ta’i, a great figure of al-Waqifiya: “O Ali, You and your companions are like donkeys!”144 Muhammad b. al-Fudayl came in to Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha’, peace be on him.
Then he turned to him and said: “May I be your ransom, I am the successor after Ibn Abi Hamza, Ibn Mahran, and Ibn Abi Sa‘eed. They are the leaders of al-Waqifiya and are the greatest of the people of the world in showing enmity toward Allah, the Most High.”
So the Imam said to him: “If you are rightly guided, then you are not harmed by him who has gone astray. They have accused Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, of lying. They have accused so-and-so of lying. They have accused Ja‘far and Musa, peace be on them, of lying.
And I follow the example of my forefathers!”
-May I be your ransom, you said to Ibn Mahran: “May Allah take away the light of your heart and make poverty enter your house!”
-How is he? And how are his companions?
-My master, they are in the worst condition. They are grieved in Baghdad. Al-Husayn is unable to go (to Mecca) to perform (hajj) al-‘Ummrah!”145 A Shi‘ite wrote a letter to Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him. He asked him about al-Waqifiya, and he answered him: “A Waqifite is the one who deviates from the truth and insists on performing a bad deed.
If he dies while insisting on the bad deed, then the hell fire and evil destination will be his shelter!”146 Another Shi‘ite asked him whether it was permissible to pay zekat to the Waqifites, and he prohibited him from that and said to him: “They (al-Waqifiya) are unbelievers, polytheists, and hypocrites!”147
Many traditions on the authority of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, have been mentioned on dispraising them, criticizing their reports, regarding them as polytheists having no links with Islam and no relationship with Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them.
Accordingly, we should not regard this sect and the other previous sects as among the Shi‘ites. That is because some of them denied some of the fundamentals of the religion such as al-Khettabiya, who claimed that Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, sent Abu al-Khettab to the people as a prophet. Therefore, how this sect and the like could be regarded as among the Shi‘ites?
It is worth mentioning that the Shi‘ites worship Allah, the One without partner. They believe that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, is the last of the prophets and master of the apostles. Surely, regarding some of these sects, who have no faith in the Oneness of Allah, as among the Shi‘ite sects is flagrant oppression toward this sect who has adopted Islam and believed in all that which Allah has revealed, and who have spared no effort to raise high the word of monotheism.
Any way, as al-Waqifiya had bad beliefs and Ahl al-Bayt disparaged them, they were given the nickname of al-Memtura (covered with rain), as a sign of likening them to dogs. Generally speaking, al-Waqifiya invented the thought of al-Waqf, that they might plundered the money of the Shi‘ites. This sect has come to an end.
These are some sects which have been regarded and numbered as among the Shi‘ites. Some sects began and grew at that time and after it; they had nothing to do with the Shi‘ite beliefs which have been built on monotheism and faith in all that which Islam has brought.
This sect has been added to the Shi‘ites, while it does not belong to them; rather it does not have the nature of Islam. It has been given such a name because its founder was called Qermutewayh. They claimed that the Imam after Ja‘far al-Sadiq was his grandson Muhammad b. Isma’il, that he was alive and would not die until he ruled the earth, spread justice and good all over the world, and that he was al-Mehdi of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had given good news.148
They became strong during the caliphate of al-Mu’tazid Billah, the ‘Abbasid. They revolted against the then government and controlled many Islamic regions. They had many beliefs not similar to that of Islam. Their stories and days have been mentioned in many books of history.149
Among the most important problems they Shi‘ites met was that of the atheistic movement of the excessive. This accusation has been fastened on the Shi‘ites to distort the real meaning of Shi‘ism.
I (the author) firmly believe that the then authorities played an important role in creating that movement. They encouraged it and went too far in supporting it, that they might regarded as lawful shedding the blood of the Shi‘ites and prove against them apostasy from the religion.
It is important to mention some of their corrupt beliefs. They claimed that the Imams were gods. Some of them claimed that they were prophets. They believed in the transmigration of souls. The Imams of Ahl al-Bayt were displeased with such beliefs, so they condemned them and warned the Muslims against them.
It was reported on the authority of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that he said: “Unbelief has been based on four pillars: lasciviousness, excessiveness, doubt, and suspicion.”150
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, cursed Muhammad b. Muqlas al-Kufi, an excessive leader. Then he wrote to all the countries to curse and to renounce him.151 He, peace be on him, made it incumbent on his companions to boycott them. He said to them: “Do not sit with them, do not eat and drink with them, do not shake hand with them, and do not inherit them.”152
He, peace be on him, said: “The least thing through which one withdraws from faith is that he sits with an excessive person and listens to his speech and believes his words. Surely, my father related to me on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: ‘Two kinds of my community have no share in Islam: the excessive and the fatalists.’”153
When Abu al-Khettab was killed in Kufa, the Imam, peace be on him, said: “May Allah curse Aba al-Khettab, those killed with him, and those who had mercy on them.” Bashshar al-Shu‘ayri, a summoner to the excessive, came in to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and he said to him: “Go away! May Allah curse you! By Allah, I will never sit with you under a ceiling!”
Bashshar went out in shame. Then the Imam said to his companions: “Woe unto him! Did he not believe in that which the Jews did? Did he not believe in that which the Magians did? Did he not believe in that which the Sabians did? By Allah, none has belittled Allah as this sinful has done! He is Shaytan, son of Shaytan! He has come out of the sea to mislead my companions!
Therefore, beware of him! The present should tell those absent: ‘Surely, I am the servant of Allah, son of the servant of Allah! I was in the backbones and the wombs! Certainly I will die and be raised from the death! Then I will be questioned (by Allah)! By Allah, I will be questioned about what this liar has said in connection with me! What wrong with him! May Allah make him grieved! He is secure on his bed, while he has terrified me and deprived me of sleep!”154
He, peace be on him, said about al-Mughira b. Sa‘eed: “May Allah curse al-Mughira b. Sa‘eed and the Jewish woman to whom he went frequently! He learnt from her magic, jugglery, and fables. Surely, Mughira lied to my father, so Allah deprived him of faith. Some people have lied to me. What wrong with them? May Allah make them taste the heat of the iron!
By Allah, we are mere servants Allah created and chose. We can do neither harm nor benefit. If He has mercy on us, then (He does that) through His mercy. And if He chastises us, then that is because of our sins. By Allah, we have no proof against Allah. And Allah will not forgive us (our sins). We will die, be buried, raised from the dead, resurrected, stand (before Allah), and be questioned. What wrong with them?
May Allah curse them! They have hurt Allah, Allah’s Apostle in his grave, and the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, peace be on them. Here I am among you. I spend the night on my bed in fear and terror. They are secure while I am fearful. They sleep on their bed, while I am fearful, sleepless, and scared! Before Allah I renounce what al-Ajjda‘, and Abu al-Khettab have said in respect with me….”
Many traditions have been narrated on the authority of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, in this connection. The traditions indicate that the excessive are unbelievers and atheists. They also show that it is incumbent on the Muslims to combat them, not to associate with them, and isolate them. It is strange that some authors have criticized the Shi‘ites on account of this atheistic sect. They have regarded them as among the Shi‘ites though there is no relationship between the two parties.
Certainly the doctrine of Shi‘ism has been based on the Oneness of Allah, regarding Him as far above polytheism, and the equal. This true sect (the Shi‘ites) does not believe in excessiveness and other atheistic thoughts. Moreover it has spared no effort to keep and defend Islam since the dawn of its history.
With this topic we will end our speech about the ordeal of Islam during that time when the Muslims were divided into parties and sects by the then authorities, that they might suppress the movement of Shi‘ism and make the Muslims busy with some ideological problems.
A dangerous problem happened during the time of the Imam. The problem was that of the creation of the Qur’an. For the Muslims differed over it. Because of it some of them suffered from the displeasure and vengeance of the government, and the anger of the people. This thought happened at the end of the time of the Umayyad government. It was invented by al-Ju‘d b. Dirham, the teacher of Merwan, the last Umayyad Caliph. Al-Ju‘d was the first to speak about the creation of the Qur’an.
He wrote this subject matter and published it in Damascus. Then the authorities summoned him; so he escaped from them and went to Kufa. There al-Jahm b. Saffwan learnt this idea from him. It was said that he learnt that from Aban b. Sam‘an, who had taken it from Taloot b. ‘Asam, the Jewish.155
Khalid b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qesri, the governor of Kufa, killed al-Ju‘d on the day of ‘Id al-Adha. He said that al-Ju‘d had said: “To Musa Allah did not address His Word, speaking (to him), nor did He take Ibrahim as a friend!”156
After the death of al-Ju‘d some people secretly believed in this thought. They believed in it openly at the time of Harun al-Rashid when the affair of the Mu‘tazilites appeared and their thoughts spread. They openly said that the Qur’an had been created. Bishr al-Murisi was the most important person in summoning the people to this belief.
He wrote many books on it. Al-Rashid heard of that, and he said: “I have been informed that Bishr al-Murisi say that the Qur’an had been created. By Allah, if Allah made me find him, I would kill him in a way with which I had never killed a person!” When Bishr came to know of that, he hid himself throughout the days of al-Rashid.157
One of them said: “I came in to al-Rashid. There was a beheaded man before him. The swordsman was cleaning his sword on the man’s back. Then al-Rashid said: ‘I killed him because he said that the Qur’an had been created.” Then this thought grew and spread widely until the time of al-Ma’mun.
This movement became active during that time, and the people talked about it. The authority helped the Mu’tazilites and the Shi‘ites with that. Al-Ma’mun declared his opinion in respect with that belief, and then he forced the people to follow his viewpoint.
Anyway, those who maintained this thought revolted against mental inactivity. They freed and released reason, so they were liable to ordeal, torture, and severe punishment. This problem is regarded as among the dangerous events took place at that time. It was explained by the Mu’taziliti philosophers and others.
Imam Musa, peace be on him, predicted that the Bermekis would face misfortunes, disasters, the removal of favor, and a sudden vengeance. That was when he said: “Bermek’s family are miserable! They do not know what will happen to them!” That happened just as he predicted. The greatest disaster in history happened to them.
The world was in their hands. It flourished for them. They enjoyed the pleasures and ease wherein. However, the time invaded them through his disasters and made them lead a life full of abasement and disgrace. That was when their properties were confiscated, Ja‘far was killed, his father Yehya and the rest of his family were thrown into a dark prison. The following are some reasons for their disaster:
A historian thinks that the reason for the disaster of the Bermekis is the story of al-‘Abbas, daughter of al-Mehdi. The story can be summarized as follows: “When al-Rashid drank, he did not show patience toward Ja‘far b. Yehya and his sister al-‘Abbasa. So he decided to marry her to Ja‘far provided that the latter should not sleep with her.
However he did not fulfill his promise and stipulation. He slept with her and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to a baby, she had fear for her baby. So she sent it to Mecca. When al-Rashid came to know of that, he killed the baby and severely punished the Bermekis.”158
This story is incorrect for these reasons: firstly, al-Rashid did not pay attention to that, for he was dissolute and absorbed in his low desires. We have mentioned that in details. If he had had these religious or social feelings, he would not have permitted his sister ‘Aliya to sing him songs and send him wine as a gift, to the extent that her dissoluteness and treason spread all over the social circles.
Secondly, Ja‘far controlled al-Rashid. He possessed his heart and his feelings, to that extent that he sat with him in one uniform with two pockets.159 Ja‘far was so influential that he married al-‘Alya to Ibrahim b. ‘Abd al-Malik b. Salih al-‘Abbasi. Harun did not know that. When Ja‘far told him of that, he regarded his conduct as permissible. He also took hold of other affairs of Harun al-Rashid.
All these things indicate that he had great influence with him. Then how did he doubt him while he was the dearest of the people to him?
Thirdly, most reliable historical resources have refuted this story. For example, al-Jehshyary has confuted it quoting the statement of Mesrur, al-Rashid’s servant. That was when he was asked about the reason for that al-Rashid severely punished the Bermekis, and he said: “It seems that you want to say just as the common people say in respect with the affair of the woman?
By Allah, this is incorrect.”160 As for Ibn Khaldun, he has fully denied that and thought that it is a fable, saying: “Surely the social and religious position did not permit her to commit such a crime, and especially with one of her retainers.”161
Any way this is an imaginary story. However some historians have taken care of it and written it in an imaginary way.
Some historians think that the only reason for the disaster of the Bermekis is their inclination to the ‘Alawids. Al-Teberi has mentioned on the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Yezidi, who was the most knowledgeable of the people in respect with the Bermekis, saying: “Whoever says that al-Rashid killed Ja‘far for a reason other than that of Yehya b. ‘Abd Allah is mistaken.”
Al-Jehshyary: “Al-Rashid accused Yehya of his inclining to Yehya al-‘Alawi, and that he gave him two thousand dinars during his revolt.”162 In his book al-Aghani, Abu al-Ferajj al-Asfahani has said: “The Bermekis hated al-Rashid’s displeasure with the ‘Alawids and regarded this deed of his as forbidden.”163
This statement is similar to the previous one in weakness. For the Bermekis sought nearness to al-Rashid through informing him against the ‘Alawids. They were among those who brought about the imprisonment and murder of the Imam, peace be on him.
Al-Saduq has narrated on the authority of Saffwan b. Ma‘an, who said: “Surely Yehya al-Bermeki was not satisfied with provoking al-Rashid to kill Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him; rather he provoked him to Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him. So Harun said to him: ‘Does what we did toward his father not suffice us? Do you want me to kill them all?’”164
Sayyid Ni‘mat Allah al-Jaza’iri: “The real reason for the destruction of the Bermekis was the supplication of Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha’, peace be on him, when he stood at ‘Arafa. That is because they informed (al-Rashid) of his father, al-Kazim, peace be on him.”165 Without doubt the Bermekis had no affection toward the ‘Alawids.
They went too far in punishing them severely apart from al-Fadhl b. Yehya, for he inclined to Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him, entertained him when he was in his prison in Basrah, and permitted Yehya al-‘Alawi to go to the Sacred House of Allah (Mecca). Perhaps they said that the Bermekis inclined to Shi‘ism was because of him.
Perhaps, among the main reasons that urged al-Rashid to punish the Bermekis severely is their wide influence and their controlling the affairs of the government, to the extent that al-Rashid was afraid that his kingdom would come to an end. Professor Muhammad Kurd has maintained this viewpoint, saying: “The Bermekis were so kind to the people that the great figures devoted themselves to them.
They were in the same position in respect with the Caliph. When al-Rashid saw that his kingdom was liable to danger due to the influence of the Bermekis, he ordered them to be captured and killed, their properties to be confiscated. He had fear of them for his kingdom.”166
There are many attitudes indicate that they decided to revolt against al-Rashid and to hand over that caliphate to some people other than the ‘Abbasids. An example of that is that Ja‘far talked about Abu Muslim and his important role in taking the caliphate from the Umayyads and handing it over to the ‘Abbasids, saying:
“Surely Abu Muslim took the authority from some people and handed it other to others through killing and shedding blood. The (good) man is he who hands it over without shedding blood.” Al-Rashid was informed of his statement, so he was afraid and hurried to afflict them with disaster.167
Anyway, I (the author) think that the only reason for that al-Rashid severely punished Ja‘far and the rest of his family is their wide influence and their strong seizing the reins of government. In his house was twenty-five clerks who belonged to Yehya b. Khalid.168
Were it not for that al-Rashid surprised them, he would not be able to put an end to them, and they would destroy him because of their close relationship with the military commanders, and their abundant kindness to the people. If they had revolted against him, they would have found a great popular support from the Muslims who had harbored malice against the ‘Abbasid government. Besides they had perfect relationship with the Persians, who were the most important pillar in the Islamic government.
The historians have mentioned other reasons for their disaster. Some of them have mentioned forty reasons. A group of historians has inclined to each of the reasons for the disaster of the Bermekis such as that their enviers informed Harun against them. We are satisfied with this brief account of the reasons for the severe punishments they received.
Ja‘far was playing in his palace. He did not know what had been scheming against him. Abu Zekar al-‘Ama was singing him a song: Do not go away! Death will come to every young man! This poetry line contains a prediction on a dangerous event. While the singers were singing him this poetry line, Mesrur al-Khadim came into him carrying a weapon and without permission.
When Ja‘far saw him, he became afraid and shook all over. Mesrur told him about what he had been ordered to do. So Ja‘far begged him and reminded him of his kindness to him. He asked him to give him a respite until the following morning, that Harun might become calm and pardon him. However, he prevented from responding to him.
Then he ordered him to go to the palace of the Caliph to hear his statement and his decision concerning him. So he responded to him and went with him. Mesrur came in to Harun, and he angrily rose. He did not control himself, and his conditions had changed. So Mesrur quickly said to him: “O Commander of the faithful, all things have come to an end, Ja‘far’s head is close to you!”
So Harun understood the affair and promised to kill him because he was late in executing Ja‘far, saying: “If you came and did not bring me Ja‘far’s head, I would send someone to firstly bring me your head and his head secondly.” So Mesrur immediately came out and brought him Ja‘far’s head.
Al-Rashid spent that night without tasting sleep. He impatiently waited for the light of the morning. Before the light of the dawn, he ordered Herthema b. ‘Ayun to carry the corpse of Ja‘far and hand it over to al-Sindi b. Shahik, that he might crucify his head in the middle court of the city of al-Mansur, divide the corpse into two parts and crucify each part at a bridge head in Baghdad.
He also ordered him to announce the state of emergency and to command the military forces to be ready to face any popular revolt. In the meantime he ordered him to siege the houses of the Bermekis, to confiscate the movable and immovable properties, to arrest them, and to throw them in dark prisons.
The speech on the Bermekis spread in the east and west of the country. It was the talk among the gatherings. Rather the following generations talked about them. So the hearts of their supporters and their brothers melt. Their opponents and enviers gloated over them. For that high stronghold was destroyed; and the attack of the Bermekis was in vain.
With this point we will end our speech about the disaster of the Bermekis. It indicates that Harun employed violence, severe punishments, and tricks. He severely punished the dearest of all the people to him.
From this we can understand that he was very strict toward the ‘Alawid and their followers. For he used all his abilities to exhaust them, to scare them, and to punish them severely. According, Imam Musa faced severe, painful ordeal. That is because Harun was merciless.
With this we will end our talk about the time of the Imam, peace be on him. We have mentioned some important events at that time. As for the talking about all the affairs, it will make the book unduly long.
- 1. Al-Keshi, Rijal, p. 172.
- 2. 'Aqidat al-Shi'a, p. 163.
- 3. Al-Mujjtama' al-'Arabi wa Munahadat al-Shi'ubiya, p. 12.
- 4. Al-Judhur al-Tarikhiya lil shi'ubiya, p. 11.
- 5. Al-Islam wa al-Hidara al-'Arabiya.
- 6. Al-Muwatta', vol. 2, p. 12.
- 7. Those who took part in the Battle of Bedr.
- 8. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 63.
- 9. Ibn al-Nedeem, Fihrast, p. 123.
- 10. Ahmed Hasanayn, Bashshar b. Burd Shi'rahu wa Akhbarahu, p. 56.
- 11. Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 66.
- 12. Majjma' al-Bayyan, vol. 7, p. 305.
- 13. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 180.
- 14. Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 63.
- 15. Haqiqat al-Nafs wa Amradiha.
- 16. Tarikh al-Ilhad fi al-Islam.
- 17. I (the author) have objectively mentioned that in my books al-'Amal wa Huquq al-'Amil fi al-Islam, Nizam al-Hukum wa al-Idara fi al-Islam.
- 18. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani.
- 19. Ibn al-Nadeem, al-Fihrast, p. 472.
- 20. Al-Judhur al-Tarikhiya lil Shi'ubiya, p. 26.
- 21. Al-Amali, vol. 1, p. 134.
- 22. Al-Duwal al-'Arabiya, p. 489.
- 23. Al-Judhur al-Tarikhiya lil Shi'ubiya, p. 41.
- 24. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, vol. 1, p. 224.
- 25. Al-Ferq bayna al-Firaq, p. 271.
- 26. 'Abd al-Rahman Sidqi, Abu Nu'as Qisat Hayatihi, p. 63.
- 27. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 12, p. 87.
- 28. Mu'jam al-Udaba', P. 15. Al-Amali, vol. 1, pp. 93-94.
- 29. Al-Amali, vol. 1, p. 94.
- 30. Tarikh al-Ilhad fi al-Islam, p. 43.
- 31. Majallat al-Dirasat al-Sharqiya, vol. 13, p. 1932.
- 32. Jahshyari, p. 110.
- 33. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, vol. 1, p. 229.
- 34. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 88.
- 35. Al-Majus wa al-Majusiya, p. 149.
- 36. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 147.
- 37. Ibid. p. 367.
- 38. Wafayat al-A'yan, vol. 1, p. 453.
- 39. Al - Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 10, p. 15.
- 40. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 3, p. 24.
- 41. Abu al-Fida', the Events of the Year 166 A. H.
- 42. Tarikh al-Khulafa', p. 275.
- 43. Al-Murtada, Amali. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani.
- 44. Al-Amali, vol. 1, p. 132.
- 45. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 6, p. 67.
- 46. Tarikh al-Khulafa', p. 273.
- 47. Al- Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 388.
- 48. Al-Ilhad fi al-Islam, pp. 28-29.
- 49. Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 10, p. 53.
- 50. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 1, pp. 60-61.
- 51. Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 14, p. 7.
- 52. Tarikh al-Ilhad fi al-Islam.
- 53. Ibid.pp. 68-69.
- 54. Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijajj. Bihar al-Anwar.
- 55. Al-Ihtijajj.
- 56. Al-Tabari, al-Ihtijajj.
- 57. Ibid.
- 58. Ibid.
- 59. It means that Allah is far above movement and going from place to another. For the one distinguished by movement is possible, and for his existence in places is not one. When he is present in one place, he is absent from another. When he is close to one thing, he is far from another. When he has a purpose in a certain place, he must move and go to attain the purpose. As for Allah, the Most High, it is impossible for Him to do that. For His ratio to all places is one. None of the places is nearer to Him than another. Therefore, he is in no need of movement, and His existence is the same in nearness and remoteness.
- 60. Certainly all things are in need of Allah, the Exalted. For it is He who gives existence to them. If He, the Most High, was in need of a thing, then the lack of a thing required the thing of which it was in need through one whereness. That is impossible, for it requires the vicious circle, which is invalid.
- 61. The Imam, peace be on him, refers to the corrupt beliefs that result from maintaining that Allah, the Most High, comes down the heaven. For that requires movement.
- 62. He, peace be on him, refers to another proof of the invalid thoughts of those who claims that Allah comes down the heaven. For that also requires His movement.
- 63. He, peace be on him, warned against corrupt doubts, for it brings about destruction and apostasy from the religion, and for that Allah, the Exalted, is far above these corrupt beliefs whose incorrectness is known by all people even those who have little knowledge.
- 64. Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 125.
- 65. Ibid.
- 66. Ibid, p. 105.
- 67. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal.
- 68. Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 106.
- 69. Ibid. p. 104.
- 70. Ibid.p. 115.
- 71. Ibid. 20, 5.
- 72. Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijajj.
- 73. Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 107.
- 74. Ibid.
- 75. Ibid., p. 127.
- 76. Ibid., p. 150.
- 77. Ibid., p. 151.
- 78. Al-'Asr al-'Abbasi al-Awwal, p. 45.
- 79. Al-Nekebat.
- 80. Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 3, p. 18.
- 81. Al-Mustatraf, vol. 1, p. 215.
- 82. Abu al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 3, p. 215.
- 83. Tayfur, p. 215.
- 84. Al-Zarqani, Sharh al-Muwatta', vol. 1, p. 8.
- 85. Al-Zawi, Menaqib Malik.
- 86. Sharh al-Intiqa', vol. 2, p. 42.
- 87. Al-Qamus, vol. 3, p. 47.
- 88. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'Arab, vol. 10, p. 55.
- 89. Asl al-Shi'a wa Usoolaha, pp. 87-88, Beirut edition.
- 90. Roudat al-Jannat, p. 88.
- 91. Tarikh al-Shi'a, p. 9.
- 92. Ithbat al-Wasiya, pp. 3-4.
- 93. Iman Ahmed b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 179. Hulyat al-Awliya', vol. 7, p. 195. Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1, p. 324. Al-Nisa'i, al-Khasa'is, p. 14. Asad al-Ghaba, vol. 4, p. 46. Al-Turmidhi, Sahih, vol. 2, p. 301. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 368. Kanz al-'Ummal, vol. 3, p. 154. Majjma' al-Zawa'id, vol. 9, p. 109.
- 94. Al-Nikat al-I'tiqadiya, p. 51.
- 95. Al-Shafi, Telkhis, vol. 2, pp. 56-70.
- 96. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 63. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 2, p. 22.
- 97. Wa ''az al-Salateen, p. 293.
- 98. Hulyat al-Awliya, vol. 3, p. 194.
- 99. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 278.
- 100. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 3, p. 15.
- 101. Hayat al-Hasan b. 'Ali, vol. 2, pp. 302-307.
- 102. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 3, p. 15.
- 103. Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 127.
- 104. Ibid.,12, p. 351.
- 105. Al-Kindi, al-Wilat wa al-Qudat, p. 198.
- 106. Imam al-Sadiq wa al-Madhahib al-Arba'a, vol. 1, p. 117.
- 107. Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 4, p. 153.
- 108. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 7, p. 38.
- 109. Al-'Aqida wa al-Shari'a fi al-Islam, p. 177.
- 110. 'Umdat al-Talib, p. 82.
- 111. Al-Nejashi, Rijal.
- 112. Al-Hadara al-Islamiya, vol. 1, p. 127.
- 113. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, pp. 411-412.
- 114. Al-Wasa'il, Chapter on al-Amir bil Ma'ruf wa al-Nahy 'an al-Munker.
- 115. Ibid.
- 116. Al-'Aqida wa al-Shari'a fi al-Islam, p. 181.
- 117. Al-Shafi, Talkhis, vol. 1, p. 59.
- 118. Adab al-Murtada, p. 56.
- 119. Al-Sayyid al-Murtada, al-Fusool al-Mukhtara.
- 120. Al-Khaqani, Rijal, p. 129.
- 121. Al-Madhahib al-Islamiya, p. 70.
- 122. Firaq al-Shi'a, pp. 74-75.
- 123. Al-Hashimiyat.
- 124. Al-Jahiz, al-Bayan wa al-Tabiyyin, vol. 3, p. 360.
- 125. Rafidi is the one who refuses a certain thing.
- 126. Al-Murtada, al-Fusool, vol. 1, p. 61.
- 127. 'Aqa'id al-Zaydiya.
- 128. The capability of deriving religious decisions.
- 129. Al-Shafi'i, p. 234.
- 130. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, vol. 1, p. 274.
- 131. Al-Tabseer fi al-Deen, p. 23.
- 132. Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilaf al-Musalleen.
- 133. Ibid.
- 134. Firaq al-Shi'a, p. 77.
- 135. Al-Tabseer fi al-Deen, p. 23.
- 136. Firaq al-Shi'a, p. 71.
- 137. Al-Farq bayna al-Firaq. Al-Razi, I'tiqad Firaq al-Muslimeen.
- 138. Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilaf al-Musalleen, p. 98.
- 139. Tarikh al-Da'wa al-Islamiya, pp. 142-143.
- 140. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12, p. 308.
- 141. Ibid.
- 142. Ibid.vol. 11, p. 308.
- 143. Tanqeeh al-Maqal, vol. 1, pp. 359-360.
- 144. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12, p. 309.
- 145. Al-Keshi, Rijal.
- 146. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12, p. 309.
- 147. Ibid.
- 148. Al-Noubakhti, Firaq al-Shi'a.
- 149. Abu al-Husayn al-Melti, al-Tenbeeh. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh. Al-Farq bayna al-Firaq.
- 150. Al-Kafi, p. 369.
- 151. Da'a'im al-Islam, pp. 62-63.
- 152. Imam al-Sadiq wa al-Medhahib al-Arba'a, vol. 4, p. 151.
- 153. Al-Khisal, p. 37.
- 154. Imam al-Sadiq wa al-Medhahib al-Arba'a, vol. 4, p. 155.
- 155. Serh al-'Uyun p. 159.
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