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Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya And Imam Zainul Aabideen

Ahlul Sunnat say that Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya was the son of Ali (a.s.) and he denied the Imamate of Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) and himself claimed to be an Imam. In spite of that Shias praise him. Then why do they not praise the three Caliphs too? The only reason for this is because Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya was from Alawite Sadaat.

The reply of Shias is that when Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya said to Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.): “My father’s bequest was for Hasan and Husayn (a.s.) and your father died without making a bequest. I am more senior to you. So you must not oppose my Imamate.” Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) said: “O my Uncle! My father had made bequest regarding my Imamate. To prove this, I have the weapons of the Holy Prophet (S). It would be better if you do not oppose me in the matter of Imamate. Lack of age and wealth have no effect on this matter. You must know that Almighty Allah bestowed Imamate in the loins of Husayn (a.s.).”

This reply was sufficient for an intelligent person like Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya. After this he always considered Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) his Imam and his master. If only the three Caliphs had also agreed to the claim of Ali (a.s.), Shias would surely have praised them. The truth is that Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya committed one ‘mistake’ and then corrected himself in time. The three Caliphs were firm on their numerous mistakes till the end of their lives. In such a case, how can Shias accord respect to them?1

The detailed incident is that Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) proposed to Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya that they refer this matter to the Black Stone at Kaaba (Hajar al-Aswad). Muhammad accepted this and both came to Hajar al- Aswad. The Black Stone spoke up by the will of Allah that the bequest of Imam Husayn (a.s.) for Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) was proved true. On hearing the decision, Ibn Hanafiya gave up his claim and for the rest of his life, considered Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) as his Imam. In view of the writer, the claim of Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) was so strong that there was no need for him to refer the matter to Hajar al-Aswad.

  • 1. The report is from Ihtejaaj of Shaykh Tabarsi; Pg. 177.