In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
If a researcher reviews any side of the life of Imam Musa, peace be on him, he will surely find a generous, brilliant legacy full of good and beauty, having bountiful giving and a brilliant guidance for the community.
Surely Imam Musa’s life in all dimensions is distinguished by firmness for the right, steadfastness in front of events, luminous behavior concerning which no deviation and crookedness have been reported. It is marked by balance and is harmonious with that of the great Prophet, with his line and direction, and with his literal sticking to Islam.
Among the unique aspects that marked his personality is the steadfastness in front of the difficult events and the hard ordeals showered upon him by his contemporary tyrants, who went too far in persecuting him and punishing him severely.
(For example), Harun al-Rashid insisted on wronging him; he intentionally arrested him and threw him in dark prisons where he remained for many years suffering from pain and misfortunes; nevertheless he showed no grumble, no complain, and no impatience toward that which had befallen him; on the contrary he showed gratitude to Allah and praised Him very much for giving him devotion to serve Him and giving him dedication to obey Him.
The biographers have unanimously agreed that Imam Musa was the greatest of the people in obeying and worshiping Allah to the extent that he had calluses like that of a camel because of too much prostration (for Allah); he had calluses just as his grandfather, Imam Zayn al-Abidin had and had been given the nickname of Dhu al-Thafanat (the one with calluses).
He stunned the intellects through his too much worship when he was a prisoner. He fasted by day and spent the night sleeplessly for worshiping Allah, so al-Fadhl b. al-Rabi‘made a statement about the worship of the Imam, peace be on him, when he was a prisoner in his house. This shows that the Imam freed himself from the world and devoted himself to Allah.
We will mention this statement when we speak about the imprisonment of the Imam.
Harun was astonished at the Imam’s too much piety and worship. He showed his astonishment when he said: “Surely, Musa is one of the monks of the Hashimites.”
When Imam Musa was imprisoned in al-Sindi’s house, he dedicated himself to worshiping Allah; he was always busy remembering Him, the Exalted. Al-Sindi’s family looked down upon the Imam and saw his behavior which was similar to that of the Prophet’s, so al-Sindi’s sister believed in the Imamate, and as a result of the Imam’s behavior, Kashajim, al-Sindi’s grandson, became one of the eminent Shi‘ites of his time.
Surely, this behavior dominates hearts and feelings, for it is full of the meanings of highness, nobility, renouncing the world, and devotion to Allah.
Yet among the qualities of the Imam’s noble personality is generosity. The historians have unanimously agreed that he was the most generous of the people, the greatest of them in giving to the needy; his purses were proverbial, so the people said: “We wonder at him to whom Musa’s purses come while he complains of poverty.”
He bestowed upon the poor and the deprived in the dark night lest someone should recognize him; he generously spent what he had on the weak and the afflicted; he showered them with too much giving; and he saved many of them from the bitterness of poverty and deprivation.
The narrators have unanimously agreed that Imam Musa, peace be on him, had immense abilities of knowledge; he was the most knowledgeable of the Muslims of his time.
The (religious) scholars and the reporters surrounded him; they hurried to write down his religious edicts concerning all mishaps and events; they reported on his authority all kinds of knowledge and art, especially as concerning Islamic legislative system; he provided them with his own generous abilities. In this respect he is regarded as the first of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt to split open the chapter of the lawful and the forbidden1.
After his father Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, Imam Musa, peace be on him, managed the affairs of his science university. The university is regarded as the first cultural foundation in Islam and the first institute from which a group of great scholars on whose top were the Imams of the Islamic school graduated. It played an important role in developing the intellectual life and growing the scientific movement in that time.
It lasted for many times conveying the sprit, guidance and message of Islam. It aimed at spreading awareness and an intellectual renaissance. We will talk about its results in the chapters that follow. Imam Musa was the most brilliant of the Imams of the Muslims in knowledge, taking care of spreading the Islamic culture and displaying the Islamic reality.
In addition to his many unique tendencies is his clemency and his restraint of anger; clemency was among his qualities and elements. The historians have unanimously agreed that he repelled offence with kindness and guilt with pardon just as his grandfather the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had done.
He repelled offence, harm, and detested things issued from those who had harbored malice against him with patience and beautiful forgiveness, to the extent that he was nicknamed al-Kazim (the restrained); this nickname is the most famous of all his nicknames.
If we review the Imam’s unique tendencies and abilities and what has been reported on his authority in the fields of behavior and morals, we will find him full of all the elements of humanity and its constructive, good concepts. I (the author) hope that this book will include some sides of the Imam’s brilliant tendencies or at least shed light upon him.
The Shi‘a do not sanctify the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, with sanctification void of deep awareness; rather with sanctification really and essentially depends in all dimensions on accuracy, scrutiny, and perception according to their reliable proofs that are far from argument and discussion.
Surely the faith of the Shi‘a, rather of all the Muslims, concerning the requirement of showing love toward Ahl al-Bayt is taken from the reality and essence of Islam and from the core of its message. For Islam has made it incumbent on all Muslims to have in their souls and inner souls the deepest affection and the sincerest love. This has been shown in Ayat al-Mawada, in which Allah, the Exalted, says:
“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relative.” (Qur’an, 42:23)
The explainers of the Qur’an have unanimously agreed that this verse has been revealed concerning Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them2. Imam al-Shafi‘i refers to the meaning of the verse through his statement:
O Family of Allah’s Messenger, love for you is a religious duty revealed by Allah in the Qur’an.
Authentic hadiths on the requirement of the love for Ahl al-Bayt have been ensured by many lines of transmission. The Prophet said: “I fight him who fights them and make peace with him who makes peace them.” He compared them to the Holy Qur’an when he, May Allah bless him and his family, said:
“I leave behind me among you two things which, if you cleave to them, you will never go astray, one is greater than the another-that is Allah’s Book which is a rope extended from the heaven to the earth, and my family, my household. They never scatter until they come to me at the (sacred) waters (of Heaven). Take care how you follow me with regard to them.”3
The Muslims have unanimously agreed on reporting Hadith al-Thaqalayn, which is the most authentic of the prophetic traditions and most famous of them. It contains one of the important sides of the Islamic faith. Besides it is the clearest of all the proofs on which the Shi‘ites depend regarding devoting the Imamate to Ahl al-Bayt and regarding their being protected from errors and inclinations.
For the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, compared them to the Holy Qur’an, to which falsehood shall not come from before it nor from behind it; they do not leave each other. It is natural that any disobed465ience issued from (Ahl al-Bayt) in respect with the religious precepts was regarded as scatter from the Holy Qur’an, for the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family had negated their leaving each other until they would come to him at the sacred waters (of the Heaven).
Therefore, the meaning of the tradition about the infallibility of Ahl al-Bayt and the requirement of love for them is manifest and clear. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, repeated this tradition in other places, for it aims at saving the community and its straightness from deviation in the ideological fields and others. That is if it does not cleave to Ahl al-Bayt, does not go before them and does not stay behind them.4
He, May Allah bless him and his family said: “My household is like Noah’s Ark. Whoever embarked it was safe and whoever remained behind it drowned. My household among you is like the gate of forgiveness (Baab Hitta) among the children of Israel; whoever entered through it was forgiven.”5
In his valuable book al-Muraja‘at, Imam Sharaf al-Din has said: “And you know that the meaning of their being like Noah’s Ark is that whoever resorts to the blessed Imams to take the fundamentals and branches of the religion from them is safe from the chastisement of the fire.
Whoever remains behind them is like him who took refuge in the mountain on the Day of the Flood that it might protect him from Allah’s punishment; yet that drowned into the water and this is in the fire; I seek refuge in Allah.
“The meaning of their compared to the Gate of Forgiveness (Baab Hitta) is that Allah appointed that gate as one of the aspects of humbleness before His magnificence and as a sign of submitting to His decree; in this manner it was a reason for forgiveness. This is the point of resemblance. Ibn Hajar tried it when he said: ‘After he had mentioned these traditions and the like.’
“And the point of their being compared to the Ark is that whoever loves and magnifies them as gratitude for the favor of Him Who has honored them and follows the guidance of their scholars is safe from the darkness of the acts of disobedience.
Whoever remains behind them drowns in the see of the ingratitude for the favors and perishes in the deserts of tyranny. And as for the Gate of Forgiveness (Baab Hitta), it is that Allah had regarded entering that gate, the Gate of Ariha or Bayt al-Maqdis, along with humbleness and seeking forgiveness as a reason for forgiveness. And He has appointed for this community the love for Ahl al-Bayt as a reason for it (forgiveness).”6
These are some traditions in respect with Ahl al-Bayt. They are clear in their meaning about the requirement of the love for them. The Muslims have unanimously agreed on this matter. However, the thing that concerns us is that we should mention the aspects of this sincere love the Shi‘a have and which really has the mark of excessiveness and immoderation toward Ahl al-Bayt, just as their opponents have accused them while they are innocent of that.
I (the author) think that the speech about such researches is one of the reasons for spreading friendship among Muslims and making peace among them. Meanwhile it removes from our way the evil enmities, the results of disunity and division the generations have left behind them.
Surely the aspects of the love the Shi‘a show toward the pure family (of the Prophet) are as follows:
Firstly, surely the Shi‘a take the fundamentals and branches of the principal features (ma’alim) of the religion from the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt. They have unanimously agreed that the worship according to their sayings, their deeds, and their justificatives are part of the Sunna which should in kind be put into practice. In this manner the Shi‘a have built their ideological frame on what has been handed down from Ahl al-Bayt.
In the legislative fields they do not follow other than them from among the rest of the Muslim schools. That is not because of the partiality or fanaticism for Ahl al-Bayt. Rather, this has been stipulated by the decisive traditions reported from the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.
Among these hadiths is Hadith al-Thaqalayn and other authentic ones. The hadiths are ensured by many lines of transmission. The Muslims have unanimously agreed on them. The hadiths clearly indicate the requirement of cleaving to the pure family (of the Prophet). They also require the Muslims to worship according to what has been reported from them after dogmatization or regarded supposition regarding issuing them (the hadiths) from them.
This meaning has fully been clarified, explained, and proved by His Eminence, the late, Sharaf al-Din, may Allah have mercy on him. He has said in his valuable book al-Muraja‘at:
“Surely, our worship in the basics of jurisprudence (Usool) through other than al-Ash‘ari’s school and in branches through other than the four schools is not because of partiality, fanaticism, doubt about the independent reasoning (ijtihad) of the Imams of these schools. (And not because) the fact that they have no justice, no faithfulness, no honesty, and no exaltedness in knowledge and deed.
“But it is due to the fact that the religious proofs have made it incumbent on us to adopt the school of the Imams from among the Prophet’s household, (who were) the place of the message, frequently visited by the angels, place of descent of inspiration and revelation.
So we have devoted ourselves to them in the branches and beliefs of the religion, the principles and rules of jurisprudence, the knowledge of the Sunna and the Book, the sciences of ethics and behavior and good manners. (That is out of) yielding to the rule of the evidences and proofs, and (due to) worshiping according to the Master of the prophets and the messengers, may Allah bless them all.
“If the proofs allow us to oppose the Imams from among Muhammad’s family or if we are able to obtain the intention of seeking nearness to Allah, the Glorified, in the place of performing (worship) according to the school of other than them, we will follow the majority (jamhur).
For that is as a sign of confirming the agreement of friendship and of strengthening the bonds of brotherhood. However it is the proofs that interrupts the believer’s viewpoint and come between him and what he desires.”
And he added: “I do not think that someone dare to say that they (the Imams of the schools) are better in knowledge or deed than our Imams. For our Imams belong to the pure family (of the Prophet). They are the life ships of the community, the gate for its forgiveness, security for it from difference in religion, eminent men for guiding it, the important men of Allah’s Apostle, and his survival ones among his community.
And he (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, had said: ‘Do not go before them nor remain behind them, lest you should be perished, for they are more knowledgeable than you.’ However, it is policy, and what will make you realize what it required in the early stage of Islam!’’7
The head of al-Azhar, Shaykh Saleem, has confirmed this brilliant side of Imam Sharaf al-Din’s speech. He has said: “Rather, it may be said that your twelve Imams are better to be followed than the four Imams and other than them. For all the twelve (Imams) are in agreement on one school they had clarified and confirmed while the difference in all the chapters of the jurisprudence of the four (schools) is famous.
So its sources cannot be understood and set right; and it is well-known that what one person clarifies is not exactly equal to what twelve Imams clarify, all this is of (the things) concerning which the just has no pause and the unjust has no viewpoint.”8
Shaykh Shaltut, head of al-Azhar Mosque, has confirmed this aspect. He has declared that the Imami jurisprudence is the firmest of all Islamic jurisprudence in original thought, deep reasoning, and closeness to reality. It is natural that this aspect to which the Shi‘a have cleaved and declared in all fields has no side of immoderation; yet it is distinguished by moderation and has no deviation in all dimensions.
Secondly, the Shi‘ites have unanimously agreed that the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, are from among the honored servants of Allah, that they say nothing before Him and act according to His commands, and that they are the followers of the Reminder. They maintain that their Imams were charged with authority, Allah’s residue, His choice, His party and containers of His knowledge, that they are the rulers over mankind, pillars of the country, and gates of faith.
They think that Allah preserved them from temptations, purified them from defilement, kept away the uncleanness from them, and thoroughly purified them. Imam ‘Ali, the commander of the faithful has described them in his statement: “They are the life of knowledge and death of ignorance; their clemency tells you of their knowledge; their outward (tells) you of their inward, and their silence (tells you) of their wise reason; they do not oppose the truth nor do they differ over it; they are the supporters of Islam, intimate friends for seeking refuge; through them the truth has returned to its origin, the falsehood has been removed from its place and its tongue has been cut off from its source; they have comprehended the religion with the mind of awareness and care, not with the mind of hearing and narration, for the narrators of knowledge are many (while) those who take care of it are few.”9
The great poet of Islam, al-Kumayt, has described them in one of his wonderful poems, saying:
They are close to generosity and far from the injustice in the ties of the precepts.
They give right answer on the matter over which the people differ. They have established the rules of Islam.
They are sufficient protectors at war when it becomes hot.
They are like rain when the people suffer from drought; they are like a shelter for the nursemaid of orphans.
They are overweighing in opinion, having perfect justice in behavior, and knowledgeable at heavy affairs.
They are leaders, but they are not like those who rule the people and the sheep in the same way.10
These are some qualities of Ahl al-Bayt described by the poet of faith, al-Kumayt. It is worth mentioning that al-Kumayt was a contemporary of them. He associated with them, tried their ethics, so he believed in them, Allah’s peace be on them, as a copy having no second in the history of mankind in knowledge, generosity, and taking care of the religion.
He hurried to struggle for them, composing on them his poems called al-Hashimiyat, which give an account of a great side of the Shi’ite beliefs giving proofs of them, sometimes through verses of the Holy Qur’an and sometimes through the Prophet’s traditions (Sunna).
Anyway, the Imami Shi‘a renounce immoderation concerning their Imams and they have unanimously agreed that the excessive are deviated and rebels against the religion.
Surely the reality of excessiveness means raising the Imam to the rank of Allah, the Worshiped. The excessive said to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him: “You are! You are!”
“What am I,” he asked them.
“You are Allah, the Creator,” they answered.
He asked them to repent, but they did not withdraw from their error, so he intended to burn some of them. While they were driven to the fire, they said: “Surely, he is Allah! It is He who chastises with fire!”11 This is the thinking of the excessive: atheism in the religion, rebellion against worshiping Allah, and apostasy from Islam.
As for the attitude of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt toward them, it was severe and violent. They decided that the excessive had to be killed, that it was forbidden for the Muslims to associate with them, and that they had to be isolated from Muslim masses. Imam Musa, peace be on him, cursed Muhammad b. Bashir when he was excessive in respect with him. He invoked Allah against him and renounced him.12
Surely, the belief of the Shi‘a concerning the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt has been taken from the spirit and core of Islam, and it has, praise belongs to Allah, has no excessiveness nor deviation from wise thinking, but it is clear and pure; besides it is distinguished by originality, logic, and proof.
Thirdly, surely the most prominent aspect of worshipping the Shi’a show toward their Imams is that they commemorate their remembrance and praise their outstanding merits. They hold commemorative ceremonies to mention the heavy misfortunes and calamities that had befallen their Imams.
They review their behavior and their ideals full of fear of Allah, love for good, general deeds, devotion to the way of truth and service of the community. The Shi‘a also visit their pure shrines in order to ask the blessing of them and to seek nearness to Allah through them, for such visitations are the greatest of all kind of aspects of love Allah has made incumbent on Muslims to show toward the Prophet’s family.
These are some aspects of the friendship the Shi‘a show toward the Imams, peace be on them; such friendship has neither defect of excessiveness nor immoderation in love for them; according to this moderate love, we will talk about Imam Musa, peace be on him, with faithfulness and sincerity. In this respect I am (the author) a researcher loyal to truth through every possible way.
The thing that requires a question is that we find no Imam from among the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt could peacefully and tranquilly live and was far from fear, terror, and exhaustion. All the Imams suffered from the severest kind of wrong, injustice, and persecution; their sorrowful end was either killing or poison. Perhaps, the most important reasons for that, as we think, are as follows:
According to their social rank and their general authority over the community, the Imams, peace be on them, were responsible for taking care of the community, keeping its rights, and securing its interests. They did not confirm the surfeit of the oppressive and the hunger of the oppressed. They criticized the rulers of their times for their policy.
It is worth mentioning that the rulers paid no attention to good, general acts. They depended on selfishness, enslavement, and forcing the people to do what they had disliked. Many of those rulers such as Muawiya b. Abu Sufyan, Yazid b. Muawiya, Merwan b. al-Hakam, and the like were not earnest in the affairs of the subjects or were loyal to their matters or looked after their interests.
Rather it has been reported that they were serious in spreading social oppression and showing injustice toward their subjects, that they devoted themselves to pleasures and impudence; for example, their palaces were full of a sector of singers, songstresses, and wine.
They did not remember Allah and the hereafter though they claimed that they represented Islam, which entrusted them with undertaking the affairs of the religion. However, they did not represent it at any way, for their behavior was contrary to all its laws and precepts; that is according to the unanimous agreement of all the historians.
The attitude of the infallible Imams, peace be on them, toward the ruling tyrants of their times was distinguished by severity and strictness; toward them they did not incline to peace and silence; rather they declared resistance and opposition against them, and that is of two kinds:
Yazid b. Mu‘awiya, the tyrant of his time, made public unbelief and atheism. He rebelled against the will of the community. He decided to debase it, to enslave it, and to force it to do what it disliked. So Imam Husayn, peace be on him, chose this revolutionary way. He, peace be on him, was forced to declare the revolution.
For he, peace be on him, came to know that his supporters were few in number, that his friends would desert him, that the swords and the spears would compete with each other to plunder his holy body. He stated that when he was in Holy Mecca, saying: “I am as longing for my ancestors as Ya’qub was longing for Yousif.
The death I will meet is better for me; I can see the desert wolves cutting off my limbs between al-Nawawis and Karbala, filling their empty stomachs with my own flesh; there is no escape from the day has been written by the pen.”13
Imam al-Husayn told the people about what he would meet in Karbala’ such as cutting off his limbs on its highland, his yearning for this brilliant fate through which his beliefs aiming at achieving social justice among people won a victory.
The Master of Martyrs, Imam al-Husayn, performed this great sacrifice to remove from the body of the community that error practiced by the Umayyad government. His holy martyrdom played an effective role in waking and enlightening the Muslim masses, for revolutionary operations were increased to the extent that they were able to overthrow the Umayyad government and remove all its traces from the Arab and Muslim world.
This sound way was chosen by some pure Imams because they knew that the positive resistance would be not useful for overcoming the events due to the standing political conditions which would certainly abort the revolution and damage the Islamic matter.
Accordingly they declared the negative resistance of whose aspects were that it was forbidden to cooperate with the ruling machinery of government and to plead cases in its courts just as it has been written down by the Imami jurists in the book of judgment.
This was a useful way with a great effect on achieving the sound objectives the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, wanted. This negative way was confirmed by Imam Musa, peace be on him during his talk with Saffwan al-Jammal; we will mention it in the chapters that follow.
This brilliant policy was followed by Mr. Ghandi during his liberating India, for he made it forbidden for the Indians to cooperate with the British Colonialism and to respond to it. This policy was wonderfully successful, for the colonists were forced to withdraw from India and to grant it a political independence.
Unfortunately, the ‘Alawid revolutionists from among the Hassanid and the like did not follow this moderate, constructive policy whose slogan the Imams, peace be on them raised; for they hoisted the flag of the revolution against the Umayyad and the Abbasid governments.
Their revolution was unsuccessful because they did not carry it out according to some sound plans, so their revolution failed and brought about to them many problems and difficulties and made them lead a life full of immortal pain and misfortunes.
The ruling authorities were fully aware of this negative resistance on which the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, depended. For this reason they spread detectives among all the circles and they in detail informed them about what happened in the country. They reported to Harun al-Rashid the story of Saffwan al-Jammal when he intended to sell his camels he hired out to him during the season of the hajj responding to the advice of Imam Musa, peace be on him.
So Harun sent for him and wanted to kill him, but he changed up his mind; any way, the then standing governments used all their organs to work against Ahl al-Bayt and used against them all the following ways:
1. They met them with increasingly violence and persecution. They went too far in abasing and wronging them to the extent we cannot describe because of its atrocity and bitterness. Concerning this Abu al-Ferajj al-Asfahani has singled out a book called “Maqatil al-Talibiyyin”, in which he has mentioned all kind of the hard ordeals and heavy punishments that included all the ‘Alawids.
2. They laid an economic siege to the ‘Alawids to undermine their power. For example, Harun al-Rashid intended to practice this policy against Imam Musa. When he traveled to Yethrib (Medina), he generously gave to the children of the Prophet’s companions except Imam Musa. He did not give him anything suitable to his rank. So (his son) al-Ma’mun asked him about that and he answered: “Surely, his poverty is more loveable to me than his riches; if I gave him something of which he is worthy, he would mutiny against me.”
He appointed observers and spies over the people who gave money to the Imam. This measure brought to him severe financial straits and troubles. Such was the policy of those rulers toward the infallible Imams. It was marked by imposing poverty on them; all the ‘Alawids suffered from abject poverty during the days of al-Mutawakil, who subjected to displeasure and vengeance all those who gave money to them; the Imams were so poor that they had nothing in their houses except one cloak. When one of them wanted to go out, he put on the cloak as a garment.14 Al-Mutawakil intended to stop all their economic incomes.
3. They veiled them from the Islamic world, imposed severe observation and fearful pursuit on all those who cooperated with them. Of course, this led to the appearance of different tendencies among the Shi‘a, and the Imam of guidance had no room to unite the ranks of the Shi‘ites and to remove the ideological tendencies that took place among them.15
4. They went too far in practicing severity against the Shi‘a and poured upon them severe kind of painful torture. Imam al-Baqir spoke of the hard ordeals the Shi‘a faced during the days of the Umayyad government. He said: “Our Shi‘ites (followers) are killed everywhere.
Their hands and their legs are cut off due to suspicion and accusation. Those who show love toward us and devote themselves to us are imprisoned; their money is plundered and their houses are demolished.”16
All the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid governments employed their propaganda organs against the Shi‘a to the extent that the love for Ahl al-Bayt became shame and defect. The Shi’ite was regarded as unsuccessful and loser. Some Umayyads and ‘Abbasids decided that love for Ahl al-Bayt was an apostasy from the religion and rebellion against Islam. To all of this, the poet of the faith and struggle, al-Kumayt, 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.”17
Anyway, the authorities opposed the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when they took severe measures against the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. For the Prophet ordered the community to show love toward his family, to take care of them, and to honor them in all things.
The ruling authorities of those times thought that the Imams had no objectives in government except that they aimed at spreading justice and equality, applying the precepts of the Qur’an on the general, real life of the Muslims. However, this did not agree with their policies aiming at selfishness, enslavement, and spending the money in the public treasury on the dissolute and the mischievous. They harbored malice against all those who demanding social reform and justice.
In addition to all of that, many of those rulers harbored malice against the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt because the Muslims unanimously agreed on honoring, magnifying, and praising them and their merits. Al-Mansur was fully aware that Imam al-Sadiq was away from the political movements of his time, that he did not intend to assume a government or an authority, and that he prevented the ‘Alawids from declaring a revolution against him.
Besides he came to know that the Imam had given him good news of his assuming the Caliphate. Nevertheless, he did not leave him to lead a life of tranquility and security that he might spread the knowledge of his grandfather among the Muslims. He brought him more than one time to his capital trying to assassinate him. There was no reason for that except having malice against him due to his great personality and rank among the Muslims.
Yet another example of that is Harun al-Rashid. He knew that Imam Musa did not intend to dispute with him for his authority or to transgress against him. That is because the Imam had no forces on whom he depended to dispute with him and to revolt against him. Nevertheless, he severely punished him, threw him into dark prisons, put poison in food and gave it to him to eat in order to put an end to him. The reason for that is that he envied the Imam and had grudge against him because of his high rank among the Muslims.
The time of Imam Musa was full of heavy crises and events of which were the revolts marked by violence and shedding blood. The most important revolt was that which overthrew the Umayyad government, for the Muslim people enthusiastically hurried to declare a revolt against that government that spared no effort to debase them and to deprive them of all the life requirements.
The slogan of the revolt was the summons to al-Ridha’ from among Muhammad’s family; the people responded to him, for their hearts were thirsty for him, and for Muhammad’s family were the first base of great objectives the Muslim society wanted, such as justice, freedom, and equality.
The masses supported this revolution to protect and preserve it, and to offer for it much more sacrifices; for they believed that there was no way for their dignity and protection from selfishness and persecutions except assuming government by the ‘Alawids, the rulers of justice, protectors of truth, the refuge for the oppressed and the persecuted.
None thought that the revolt implied the summons to the ‘Abbasids, for this family had no positive deed for serving the masses. They met no oppression or persecution from the Ummayad family. They were happy and tranquil because the authorities spent too much money on them, secured for them livelihood and wealth as well as they had no brilliant past; rather the history of some of them was full of perfidy and treason toward the community.
Any way the revolt deviated from its original plan and headed for conveying the government to the ‘Abbasids, who appointed Abu Muslim al-Khuresani as a general leader of the revolt and trusted him, but he went too far in shedding blood for no reason. So the historians have unanimously agreed that he was a sinful blood-shedder.
They have maintained that he paid no attention to any crime he committed, regarded as easy destroying selves and souls, punished the innocent because of the guilty, and punished those who came to him due to those who turned away from him, killed out of suspicion and accusation.
They have said that he killed thousands of people. This indicates that he had no faith in Allah and the hereafter; nevertheless, the ‘Abbasids adopted all his terrorist plans; some sources show that it was the ‘Abbasid who entrusted him with that.
Anyway, the ‘Abbasids undertook the government through shedding seas of blood and heaping up mountains of the bodies of the innocent. When they took the reins of government, they massacred the ummayyads and their followers, spread among them murder and severe punishment.
As for Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, he did not confirm that; he asked the authorities to pardon and forgive them. This shows us the unique humanity of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. For they did not incline to quenching their thirsty for revenge upon their enemies whatever their offences toward them were, for their custom was pardon, gentleness, and kindness to those who showed enmity toward them and wronged them.
Abu Salama, a head in the ‘Abbasid government and an active member in leading their revolution, tried to entrust the caliphate to the ‘Alawids. Whether this was as a deception and a trick of him or out of seriousness and loyalty, he sent messages to Yethrib (Medina) and his messenger handed one of his messages to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, who ordered the message to be burnt in a fire was in front of him.
The messenger demanded him of a reply and he said to him: “The answer is just as you have seen.” Then the messenger went to Dhu al-Nafs al-Zakiya and his brother handed to them the letters of Abu Salama; he found in them an urgent response to his request.
Imam al-Sadiq advised them not to be deceived by that, for they would not assume the affair, but they did not take his advice and thought that it was as sign of envy of him toward them, as the narrators say. Shortly after that, the ‘Alawids declared their revolt against al-Mansur; the masses surrounded them; the jurists and the eminent Muslim thinkers confirmed their revolt, but it failed because the Abbasid forces were able to suppress it and put an end to it-this has fully been explained in this book.
When the ‘Alawids lost their revolt, their heads were carried on the tops of the spears and were displayed in all countries and cities just as was the condition during the days of the Umayyad government. Al-Mansur paid no attention to the bonds of the womb relationship between him and the ‘Alawids.
For, after that, he spared no effort to kill and pursue them. In this respect, he excluded neither old men nor children; rather he included them all in a torture which cannot be described because it was very severe to the extent that the ‘Alawids wished that the Umayyad government would return though it was severe and torturing.
These severe measures taken by al-Mansur against the ‘Alawids left deep sadness in Imam al-Sadiq’s and his son, Imam Musa’s souls, for they saw al-Mansur severely punishing their cousins, while they had no way to support and save them from that in which they were.
Among the problems of which the time of Imam Musa was full of destructive intellectual movements such as unbelief and the like that aimed at putting an end to Islam and to demolish its supports. These movements extended too many Islamic countries and did their best to play with the philosophy of the Islamic ethics, to deny all the religions, to urge the people to perform the forbidden, to play with the general manners, and to corrupt the rest of the social regulations.
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and his son Imam Musa faced and resisted those beliefs and to refute them with scientific proofs. In addition to these destructive beliefs there were other beliefs attacked the Islamic world in those times. The beliefs summoned their followers to disunite the social ties, to divide the Muslims, and to mislead the public opinion in many sides of their ideological life, so Imam Musa and his father Imam al-Sadiq undertook enlightening the Muslims and warning them against them. The book has objectively contains a speech about all of that.
In the fields of the social service, there is nothing more important than spreading the merits of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be of them, display their behavior and affairs, for they supply the society with the requirements of renaissance and progress. The Muslims are in need of a brilliant guidance arising from the message of Ahl al-Bayt aiming at self-denial, sacrifice in the way of Allah, and the movement toward the fruitful, constructive deeds.
Surely, the Muslims live in bitter conditions; they lead a life of discords and disorders. For the colonial forces have played with their own constituents, deprived them of their fates, and strengthened among them all factors of weakness and corruption to the extent that they have led a life of abasement and disgrace.
We believe that the Muslims cannot make any progress unless they follow the behavior and teachings of Ahl al-Bayt, for in every side of them there is a meeting of original, free awareness, ideals, and perfect belief in the rights of the community. Perhaps, we participate in the field of the social service through our research on the life of Imam Musa, peace be on him.
This book was published in 1378 A. H. and was out of print. Those who are concerned in such researches asked me to reprint it; I (the author) put their request before the great beneficent, al-Hajj Muhammad Jewad ‘Ajeena, the son of the notable Hajj, Muhammad Jewad Ajeena, and he responded to me, may Allah protect him. We thank him and may he be successful in printing the book. I ask Allah to grant him a success that he may give life to the remarkable deeds of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, and to give him much more reward. Surely He, the Exalted, is the Guardian of that and has power over it.
My brother, His Eminence, great Shaykh, Hadi al-Qarashi did me a favor through revising the chapters of the book; His Eminence also did me a favor through revising many books and benefited me in finding some information relating to the life of Imam Musa, peace be on him. After the serious research, I have found that some chapters of the book I have written are in need of re-writing and analyzing; also I have changed my mind concerning some researches of the book. The reader will find that this edition is different from the previous one because it contains an addition; moreover it is distinguished by the good printing of which al-Adab Press is famous.
In the end of the introduction, I hope that those who are concerned in these researches will do me a favor through criticizing and re-writing this work, that we may all be able to serve this community; surely He, the Exalted, has power over rightness and success.
Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi
Dhu al-Hijja 1st, 1389 A. H.
- 1. Al-Fiqh al-Islami, Medkhel li Diraset Nizam al-Mu'amelat, p. 160.
- 2. Al-Razi, Tefseer, vol. 7, p. 406. Al-Durr al-Menthur, vol. 7, p. 7. Al-Nisaburi, Tefseer. Abu Na'eem has narrated through his chain of authority on the authority of Jabir, who said: "A Bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said to him: 'O Muhammad, show me Islam, and he said to him: 'You should bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the One without a partner, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle.' He asked: 'Do you ask of me any reward for it?' He answered: 'No, but love for near relatives.' He asked: 'My or your relatives?' He replied: 'My relatives.' Give (me your hand) to pledge allegiance to you. May Allah's curse be upon those who do not love you and your relatives. The Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: 'Amen!'"
- 3. Al-Turmidhi, Seheeh, vol. 2, p. 308. Asad al-Ghaba, vol. 2, p. 12.
- 4. Heyat al-Imam al-Hasan, vol. 1, p. 90.
- 5. Mejjma' al-Zewa'id, vol. 9, p. 168.
- 6. Al-Muraja'at, p. 54.
- 7. Ibid., pp. 40-41.
- 8. Ibid. p. 144.
- 9. Shaykh Muhammad 'Abda, Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 259.
- 10. Al-Hashimiyat.
- 11. Al-Tenbih wa al-Radd 'alaa Ahl al-Buda', p. 14.
- 12. Al-Kashi, Rijal, p. 298.
- 13. Al-Luhuf, p. 33.
- 14. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin.
- 15. 'Aqa'id al-Zaydiya.
- 16. Sharh al-Nahjj, vol. 3, p. 15.
- 17. Al-Hashimiyat.