Story 51: Two Partners

Purity, sincerity and honest collaboration between Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Abdullah ibn Yazid Abazi had earned everyone's admiration in Kufah. They became a good example of two good partners and two honest intimate colleagues. They owned a trade shop together, storing and selling articles of a haberdashery. As long as they lived, they never quarreled, nor did they have any differences between them. What made the matter more noteworthy among people was the fact that these two personalities, from the point of view of religious belief, were situated in two quite opposite poles.

Hisham was among the famous Shi'ite scholars and orators, as well as a close companion of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) and he believed in the Imamate (Leadership) of the Holy Prophet’s (S) household.

As for Abdullah ibn Yazid, he was an Abazide1 scholar. As far as their beliefs were concerned, these two men were quite opposite to each other, but they were able to prevent religious prejudice from interfering in other aspects of their lives. They did their utmost to bring dignity to their collaboration, and they were able to carry out their commercial and business dealings with success.

The most surprising fact which frequently occurred was that the Shi’as, Hisham’s students, came to his shop in order to receive answers to their questions on the principles of Shi’ism, and Abdullah did not seem embarrassed when hearing remarks opposing his own religious doctrine.

And so, it was for the Abazides, who came to receive their own religious teachings, quite often the opposite, to the Shi’a school of thought, in front of Hisham and he was not annoyed with Abdullah at all.

Once Abdullah asked Hisham, “You know me very well. We are intimate friends and partners. I would like you to take me as your son-in-law and give your daughter Fatimah to me in marriage.”

Hisham said only one sentence in reply to Abdullah, “Fatimah is a believer.”

On hearing this reply, Abdullah did not utter a word, nor did he make this request again. Even this event did not break their friendship. Their collaboration in business continued its course. Only death succeeded in ending their friendship and distancing one from the other.2

  • 1. The ‘Abazides’ form one of the six branches of Seceders (Khawarij). As we know the Seceders appeared for the first time in the battle of Siffin. In the beginning, they were Imam Ali's (as) companions and then rose in rebellion and revolted against the Imam (as). On one hand, this group practiced religion in keeping with Islamic law, while on the other hand, they were ignorant and fanatical. They were considered to be the most dangerous Muslim community and they always rebelled against the government of the time.

    The Seceders (Khawarij) formed an alliance against both Imam Ali (as) and Usman. They considered other Muslims who did not agree with their beliefs to be infidels and polytheists. According to them, marriages made outside their own community with any other Muslims were considered unlawful and they did not bequeath to them. They essentially believed that it was lawful to shed their blood and usurp their property. However, the Abazide sect was more moderate than the other Seceder sects; recognizing marriage to other Muslims, accepting their testimony, and respecting their life and property. The Leader of the Abazides was a man called Abdullah ibn Abaz, who rose in rebellion at the end of Ummayad dynasty.
    Reference 'Al-Milal wa al-Nihal' v. 1, p. 172-212.

  • 2. Muruj al-Zahab, Masudi, v. 2, p. 174.