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['Aalim Network QR] Muhammad Dhu-Nafs Azakiya

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Assalamu 'alaykum

The following question was answered by Syed Muhammad Rizvi.

Salaams & Duas,
Ummulbanin Merali - Moderator - 'Aalim Network


What is the 12vr view of Muhammad Dhu-Nafs Azakiya bin Abdullah Al-Kamel 
bin Hasan Al-Muthanna bin Hasan bin Ali bin Abu Talib?

I talked to a zaidi and he claims that Nafs Azzakiya was the rightful Imam
of his time, and it can be proven historically that he did claim the imamate
for himself. What is our response? 


In answer to your question, please note the followings:

FIRST: A Brief Background on Muhammad Nafs az-Zakiyya:

Muhammad bin 'Abdullah bin Hasan al-Muthanna bin Hasan bin 'Ali, known as
Muhammad Nafs az-Zakiyya--Muhammad, master of the pure soul, was
promoted by his father 'Abdullah as the Mahdi.

        In a meeting of some 'Alids and some 'Abbasids (including Abu Ja'far
al-Mansur who later on became the 2nd 'Abbasid caliph), in Abwa, outside
Medina, the plot to overthrow the Umayyids was hatched. It was in this
gathering that 'Abdullah presented his son as the Mahdi to whom all should
pledge allegiance.

        When Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was informed about the meeting and
its purpose, he went there and advised against the plot, and also rejected
--very openly and clearly-- the claim of Mahdism by Muhammad Dhu Nafs
az-Zakiyya. Upon this rejection, 'Abdullah bin Hasan accused Imam as-Sadiq
of envy and jealousy.

        The group did not listen to the Imam's advice; they went ahead with
their plan in which the 'Abbasids treacherously usurped the power, and
killed or pushed aside all those who were instrumental in bringing down the
Umayyid dynasty. 'Abdullah bin Hasan al-Muthanna was arrested on Mansur's
orders and put in prison. His sons, Muhammad Nafs Zakiyya and Ibrahim, went
into hiding. Finally Muhammad organized an uprising, took over Mecca and
Medina; but he was unable to defend himself against the 'Abbasid forces sent
to crush the uprising. Muhammad Nafs Zakiyya was killed in the battle
outside Medina in 145 A.H. (See al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, pp. 417-419,
'Abbas al-Qummi, Muntahal Amal, volume 1; Abul Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatilut
Talibiyin, and other books on Islamic history).

SECOND: "The Zaidi friend claims that Muhammad Nafs Zakiyya did claim the 
Imamate for himself. What is our response?"

First of all, your Zaidi friend has made a claim. Your response should be to ask 
for evidence to back up his claim, and then respond to his evidence.
Secondly, there are other issues which must be discussed before
reaching to the claim of imamate for Muhammad Nafs Zakiyya: is Imamate by
nass (divine designation) or not? If yes, who was named in the nass after
the Prophet? Who was named by the first Imam as his successor?

Thirdly, from what I have briefly described above, it was 'Abdullah
bin Hasan al-Muthanna, the father, who introduced his son, Muhammad Nafs
Zakiyya, as the Mahdi. Obviously claiming to be the Mahdi also means that he
was claiming to be an Imam. If you can prove that he was not the Mahdi, it
follows that he was not an Imam either. It is a well-known fact among the
Muslims that when the Mahdi appears, he will establish God's rule on the
earth; there will be peace and harmony in the human society. Muhammad Nafs
Zakiyya was killed in the battle; he never established the kind of
government which is expected from the Mahdi. So he was not the Mahdi, and,
therefore, not an Imam.

I hope this is sufficient.

Yours in Islam,

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi 

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