Chapter One: General Measures Of The Security System

The general measures of the security system of the virtuous community can be summed up in the following four points:

1. Taqiyyah

2. Concealment of Secrets

3. Presence in the Ruling System

4. Immigration


Fields of Discussions of Taqiyyah

Taqiyyah1 was of special importance to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Numerous hadiths and narrations, many of which have been uninterruptedly and authentically reported, have cited taqiyyah as their subject matter, discussed it from various angles, and dealt with all its diverse aspects. As a matter of fact, taqiyyah is the most important measure of the security system and covers all other measures. The following are important aspects of taqiyyah:

• Its place in Islamic doctrine and evidence quoted from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah to prove its validity.

• The significance of taqiyyah in religion including commitments and covenants to Almighty Allah. In this respect, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are reported to have said:

التَّقِيَّةُ دِينِي وَدِينُ آبَائِي.

Taqiyyah is my religion and the religion of my fathers.

مَنْ لاَ تَقِيَّةَ لَهُ لاَ دِينَ لَهُ.

Faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah.

مَا عُبِدَ اللهُ بِشَيْءٍ أَفْضَلَ مِنَ التَّقِيَّةِ.

Almighty Allah has never been worshipped through a matter more appreciated by Him than (taqiyyah).

• The religious laws and duties appertaining to taqiyyah and cases where it is obligatory (wajib), recommended (mustahabb), or prohibited (haram); the limits of taqiyyah; and its religious consequences. This aspect is also related to the jurisprudential area of taqiyyah.

• The aspects of taqiyyah related to political and social security which will be our main concern in this discussion.2

Taqiyyah has wide-ranging significance if understood on the strength of traditions. In addition to abidance by the jurisprudential issues of one’s own sect while going through the motions of another, taqiyyah includes concealment of secrets in political, social, and cultural activities. It also implies showing courtesy and civility in association with others.3 However, in this discussion, I will concentrate on the first meaning; namely, concealment of beliefs and some jurisprudential duties while pretending belief in an opposing doctrine to evade persecution, harm, and loss.

When the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers faced persecution by the ruling authorities because of their doctrinal and sectarian commitments, the practice of taqiyyah was established by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) based on the principle of permission to avoid harassment. This permission has been originally granted by Almighty Allah in the Holy Qur'an which reads:

لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ

Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers—if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah—except by way of precaution that ye may guard yourselves from them; however, Allah cautions you to remember Him, for the final goal is to Allah. (3:28)

مَن كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ إِيمَانِهِ إِلَّا مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَٰكِن مَّن شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters unbelief—except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith; but whoso opens their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty. (16:106)

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) directed their followers to practice taqiyyah, as one of the important religious duties connected with faith, religion, and seeking nearness to Almighty Allah. They also emphasized this because they wanted to guarantee protection of the virtuous community, maintenance of its security, concord and capability of carrying out its functions as explained in the following narration of ‘Abdullah ibn Abi-Ya’fur who reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) to have said:

إتَّقُوا عَلَى دِينِكُمْ، وَأَحْيُوهُ بِالتَّقِيَّةِ. فَإِنَّهُ لاَ إِيمَانَ لِمَنْ لاَ تَقِيَّةَ لَهُ. إِنَّمَا أَنْتُمْ فِي النَّاسِ كَالنَّحْلِ فِي الطَّيْرِ، وَلَوْ أَنَّ الطَّيْرَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي أَجْوَافِ النَّحْلِ مَا بَقِيَ مِنْهَا شَيْءٌ إِلاَّ أَكَلَتْهُ. وَلَوْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ عَلِمُوا مَا فِي أَجْوَافِكُمْ أَنَّكُمْ تُحِبُّونَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ لأَكَلُوكُمْ بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ، وَلَنَحَلُوكُمْ بِالسَّرِّ وَالْعَلاَنِيَةِ. رَحِمَ اللهُ عَبْداً مِنْكُمْ كَانَ عَلَى وِلاَيَتِنَا.

Fear for your religion! Keep it alive by means of pious dissimulation. Verily, faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah. Among people, you (i.e. the Shi’ah) are just like bees among birds. Had birds known what there is in the abdomens of bees, they would have eaten them completely. Likewise, had people known what you carry in your hearts concerning your love for us—the Ahl al-Bayt—they would have eaten you with their tongues and disgraced you overtly and covertly. May Allah have mercy upon a servant from you who abides by (the terms of) loyalty to us.4

Why Taqiyyah?

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) adopted taqiyyah from among a number of major choices in the struggle against persecution, terrorism and even annihilation that was practiced on certain occasions against them and their partisans. These options were:

1. Seclusion from society

One option that the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) had was to order their followers to isolate themselves from Muslim society, retire or flee with their family members to remote regions where the ruling authorities could not reach them, such as mountains, caves, and jungles. If they did so, they would be able to practice their rituals as completely as required and openly voice their beliefs that opposed the beliefs of others in both details and particularities.5

Naturally, if they lived in seclusion away from the sight of people and the domination of the ruling authorities, they would be able to achieve this—a matter that was originated and carried out by Christian monasticism.

Regarding the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:

ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيْنَا بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ رِضْوَانِ اللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا ۖ فَآتَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Then We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent following in their footsteps Jesus, the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but they did not foster it as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors. (57:27)

Some exegetes of the Holy Qur'an have recorded that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported the following:

كُنْتُ رَدِيفَ رَسُولِ اللهِ، صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، عَلَى حِمَارٍ، فَقَالَ: يَا بْنَ أُمِّ عَبْدٍ، هَلْ تَدْرِي مِنْ أَيْنَ أَحْدَثَتْ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ الرَّهْبَانِيَّةَ؟ فَقُلْتُ: اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ. فَقَالَ: ظَهَرَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْجَبَابِرَةُ بَعْدَ عِيسَى، يَعْمَلُونَ بِمَعَاصِي اللهِ، فَغَضِبَ أَهْلُ الإِيمَانِ فَقَاتَلُوهُمْ، فَهُزِمَ أَهْلُ الإِيمَانِ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ، فَلَمْ يَبْقَ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ الْقَلِيلُ، فَقَالُوا: إِنْ ظَهَرْنَا لِهَؤُلاَءِ أَفْنَوْنَا وَلَمْ يَبْقَ لِلدِّينِ أَحَدٌ يَدْعُو إلَيْهِ، فَتَعَالَوْا نَتَفَرَّقْ فِي الأَرْضِ إَلَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَ اللهُ النَّبِيَّ الَّذِي وَعَدَنَا بِهِ عِيسَى (يَعْنُونَ مُحَمَّداً صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ). فَتَفَرَّقُوا فِي غِيرَانِ الْجِبَالِ وَأَحْدَثُوا رَهْبَانِيَّةً، فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ تَمَسَّكَ بِدِينِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ كَفَرَ. ثُمَّ تَلاَ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ:

وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ

I rode behind Allah’s Messenger (S) on a donkey and he said to me, “Son of Ummu-’Abd, do you know the source of monasticism that the children of Israel originated?” “Allah and His Messenger (S) know best,” I answered. The Holy Prophet (S) then said, “Overpowered by the tyrannical people who committed acts of disobedience to Almighty Allah after Jesus (‘a), the faithful believers among the children of Israel were angered by such acts and fought against these tyrants. However, the faithful believers were defeated three times and none of them survived except for a few of them.

So, they thought that if they were to stand against these tyrants once more, the tyrants would exterminate them and none would survive to propagate the religion, so they suggested that they should spread out in the lands until Almighty Allah would send the Prophet that Jesus had promised (i.e. Muhammad—peace be upon him and his Household). They fled to the caves of mountains and invented monasticism. However, some of these adhered to the original religion while others apostatized.” The Holy Prophet (S) then recited this holy verse: “But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them…6

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did not accept this option for their Shi’ah and followers for many reasons, some of which are as follows:

• This option is not feasible under all circumstances; in fact, it is out of the question in many cases as the followers would face a dead end and be annihilated in any case.

• This option could expose the virtuous community to deviation and straying from the right path when the period of isolation is extended, because long periods of isolation and remoteness from the sources of true guidance and knowledge open wide the door for personal inferences, inclination to individual views and resorting to heresies as in Christianity.7

• In the field of social relations, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) had already established the policy of mutual association, coexistence, and accord with other Muslims in general, and those not known for fanaticism and animosity against the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), in particular. This is because the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) knew that their followers would be in need of other people—as has been previously discussed—and, therefore, to abide by the option of seclusion would be contradictory to this policy and squander its objective, because such isolation would inevitably leave the virtuous community besieged, suppressed, and deprived of all collective religious, social and cultural services available in society.

• The virtuous community is required to ensure the safety of the Islamic entity and the Muslim nation. They would not be able to fulfill these responsibilities except by coexisting with other Muslims and being present in their gatherings. They would only be able to play this important leading role and make an impact on the common conditions of Muslims by presenting themselves as good examples for emulation, enlightening others and demonstrating responsible and difficult positions of steadfastness.

For these reasons and many others, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) rejected the option of isolation.

2. Conflict and Clash

The second option was that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) order their followers to proclaim their beliefs, perform their devotional rituals openly among communities of other Muslims and engage in direct conflict with other Muslims regarding secondary issues of Islamic life and primary issues like Imamate and Islamic rituals.

If the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers proclaimed their beliefs and performed their rituals openly, there would inescapably be social conflict because political and spiritual conditions would bring about intellectual discrepancies on interpretations of doctrines and transform jurisprudential issues into circles of conflict and clash. Hence, excessive fanaticism on an opinion could reach a dangerous extent and might justify the practice of persecution and become a common feature of the ruling class towards any sectarian affiliation that differed from them.8

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) obviously rejected this option and discommended practice of this method (of stimulating clashes and provoking conflicts) by their followers because it was inconsistent with the policy of coexistence with other Muslims and maintenance of Islamic unity against the enemies of Islam. More importantly, this option could potentially do more harm than good to the Shi’ah and followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in particular and the Muslim community and nation in general.

As for the dangers faced by the virtuous community, the option of direct clash could bring about its extermination and eradicate the components of its social existence. As a result, the role of this community in Islamic life would be nullified. A greater injury that could inflict the virtuous community might be that the surviving individuals of this community might be exposed to deviations in doctrine and behavior and turn into either esotericists or extremists or abandon practicing their religious duties and rituals and adopt their personal inclinations and spiritual practices.

Unfortunately, this fate was encountered by some deviating sects of Shi’ism because they forsook the policy of coexistence with other Muslims and took up isolation or embraced open conflict which led them to deviation.

Another danger might also be expected from adopting open conflict: the possibility of renunciation of religious faith and abandonment of the sect because of weakness, lack of steadfastness and devotion, or being caught between persecution, pursuit, and terrorism on the one hand and worldly seduction by the ruling authorities on the other.

As is generally understood from their traditions,9 the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), having analyzed the political and social conditions, believed that open conflict would cause the aforesaid injuries to the virtuous community. As a result, they rejected this option.

The dangers of these two options have been also mentioned in traditions concerning the history of Christianity and the invention of monasticism.10

As for harm done to Muslims in general, the option of open conflict gives rise to disorder, destabilization of Muslim society, and disunity. This weakens the general entity of Islam, especially when the virtuous community can withstand and continue in a state of equality in power. Such being the case, the external enemies of Islam and the internal opportunists and interest-seekers will unquestionably make use of this conflict at the expense of Islam.

This result can be noticed in the conditions that Muslims experienced in various ages of their history.(11) Because of this and due to their anticipation of these injuries, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) adopted positions of responsibility towards maintaining the unity of Islam and protecting the Muslim nation.

3. Taqiyyah and Forbearance

The third option is to adopt taqiyyah (pious dissimulation) and to conceal the secondary issues of one’s faith when such issues reveal ones political identity or arouse harsh reactions under the circumstances of fanaticism and persecution and also by performing the sectarian rituals in such a suitable form that upholds the genuineness of these rituals and, at the same time, corresponds with the general outlook of the Muslim nation so as to avoid persecution, terrorism or irritation due to an unjust or wrong interpretation of rituals and behavior.

This was the option that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) preferred when facing the difficult circumstances that they and their followers had to encounter.

Evidently, the adoption of taqiyyah was not on account of a psychological response to pressures such as fear and cowardice or feelings of political and spiritual defeat. This fact has been declared by Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi (‘a) in the famous ziyarah of al-Ghadir when he explains the situation of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) when he kept silent on the usurpation of his right of leadership. As a matter of fact, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their Shi’ah are the true people of self-sacrifice, struggle, steadfastness and persistence, and they educated their followers on these lines and foretold the coming tribulations and ordeals.12

In fact, they adopted this option on the strength of a clear objective attitude towards both political life and social struggle and the consequences of the various options. They adopted this option on the basis of their accurate evaluation of the common advantages and disadvantages, the priorities of Islam that controlled social progress and the principle of placing the most important before the less important of these priorities. Thus, the option of taqiyyah has come to express the intellectual and political line of action that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) practiced to protect the virtuous community and achieve the major goals of Islam.

The following points are indications of this understanding of taqiyyah and adoption of this option:

• The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) presented the principle of taqiyyah as the religion itself (“taqiyyah is my religion and that of my fathers”), as the true faith (“faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah”), and as light on the Day of Resurrection.

• Preventive measures and precautions against anticipated harm and danger are naturally generated by human beings. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) warned their followers against treating situations of precaution casually and encouraged them to adopt and practice taqiyyah, threatening those who abandoned it with punishment in this world and in the Hereafter, as well as many other instructions that are markedly cited in the traditions on taqiyyah.13

The one and only acceptable interpretation of such warnings and encouragements is the following:

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) educated their followers to reject injustice and persecution, be persistent, steadfast and sacrificing for the sake of the truth, endure all kinds of torture, ordeals, and pain for the sake of the principles of faith, and fulfill their covenants and pledges. By doing this they faced serious difficulties in controlling the actual implementation of these requirements, building the virtuous community and undertaking the major responsibilities towards Islam as a political entity and nation. As a result, they had to establish instruction on adherence to one’s faith, principles, and spirituality that needed to run parallel to training in high moral and spiritual standards of self-sacrifice, limitless giving, and readiness for martyrdom.

In the light of the above, taqiyyah is a security measure that guarantees protection of the virtuous community against persecution. In addition, taqiyyah has another educational, social and political significance that assures spiritual and psychological equilibrium for the virtuous community in their treatment of various events and circumstances and creates an opportunity for the community to contribute to the process of self-construction and social change.

Confirming this fact, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did not restrict taqiyyah to only situations of danger and anticipated harm; in fact, it was far more comprehensive.14

Limits of Taqiyyah

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did not leave the authorization for taqiyyah without limits; rather, they restricted it and set limits for it. The restrictions are that taqiyyah must not be practiced when it injures other believers, causes bloodshed or exposes others to dangers. In this respect, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) says, according to a valid (mu’tabar) tradition:

إنَّمَا جُعِلَ التَّقِيَّةُ لِيُحْقَنَ بِهَا الدَّمُ. فَإِذَا بَلَغَ الدَّمَ فَلَيْسَ تَقِيَّةً.

Taqiyyah has been determined in order to save blood from being shed. Hence, when the matter reaches bloodshed, taqiyyah becomes null.15

Likewise, taqiyyah is not acceptable in situations when its practice leads to being lax in supporting Islam and Muslims and when it violates the regulations and laws of striving for Almighty Allah’s sake (jihad fi sabilillah). On such occasions, taqiyyah becomes unlawful and unjustifiable.

According to a validly reported tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

لَمْ تَبْقَ الأَرْضُ إِلاَّ وَفِيهَا مِنَّا عَالِمٌ، فَإِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّقِيَّةُ الدَّمَ فَلاَ تَقِيَّةَ. وَأَيْمُ اللهِ، لَوْ دُعِيتُمْ لِتَنْصُرُونَا قُلْتُمْ: لاَ نَفْعَلُ، إِنَّمَا نَتَّقِي! وَلَكَانَتِ التَّقِيَّةُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ آبَائِكُمْ وَأُمَّهَاتِكُمْ، وَلَوْ قَدْ قَامَ الْقَائِمُ مَا إحْتَاجَ إِلَى مُسَاءَلَتِكُمْ عَنْ ذَلِكَ، وَلأَقَامَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَهْلِ النِّفَاقِ حَدَّ اللهِ.

The earth will not exist unless there is a knowledgeable one from us (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)) living on it. When taqiyyah reaches bloodshed, then it becomes null. By Allah I take an oath that when you are called to support us, you will not respond, claiming that you are practicing taqiyyah! And taqiyyah will then be dearer to you than your fathers and mothers. When the Qā’im (Imam Mahdi) comes (to undertake the mission)—and he shall unquestionably come—he will not need to ask you about this. He shall execute divine punishment on many hypocrites among you.16

According to another tradition, the Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) presents a general rule about the meaning of taqiyyah which is to save oneself from harm provided that such act will not bring about corruption in the religion or faith. He thus says:

لِلتَّقِيَّةِ مَوَاضِعُ مَنْ أَزَالَهَا عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهَا لَمْ تَسْتَقِمْ لَهُ، وَتَفْسِيرُ مَا يُتَّقَى مِثْلُ أَنْ يَكُونَ قَوْمُ سُوءٍ ظَاهِراً حُكْمُهُمْ وَفِعْلُهُمْ عَلَى غَيْرِ حُكْمِ الْحَقِّ وَفِعْلِهِ. فَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ يَعْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنُ بَيْنَهُمْ لِمَكَانِ التَّقِيَّةِ مِمَّا لاَ يُؤَدِّي إِلَى الْفَسَادِ فِي الدِّينِ فَإِنَّهُ جَائِزٌ.

Taqiyyah is permitted under certain situations. Whoever uses it in other than these situations, taqiyyah will not be accepted from him. An example of an acceptable situation under which taqiyyah may be adopted is that a believer may have to deal with people whose rules and deeds are evidently opposite to the true laws and deeds; hence, anything that is practiced by that believer in the presence of these people on the basis of taqiyyah is allowable provided that his acts do not cause corruption of his religion.17

As has been previously cited, the Holy Imams (‘a) instructed their followers to patiently bear all suffering and sacrifice their souls and properties for the sake of their religion, or faith.18

All such traditions confirm that taqiyyah is a practical means of security within the limits of the supreme interests of Islam and survival of the virtuous community. It is not blanket permission to flee reality or escape one’s enemy.

Concealment of Secrets

In addition to taqiyyah, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) founded another principle to ensure the security of the virtuous community. This principle includes “concealment of secrets”, “preservation of secrets”, “avoidance of divulging secrets”, and “evasion of revealing secrets to enemies”, whether the enemies were anti-Shi’ah tyrants and spiteful opponents, waylaying hypocrites and opportunists, or fickle acquiescent individuals among the public who incline with every wind.

This principle has been confused with taqiyyah to a great extent. Some narrations give the name of taqiyyah to both precaution and dissimulation on the one hand and concealment of secrets on the other and regard divulgence of secrets violation of taqiyyah. In view of this probable confusion, we must define the subject matter of ‘concealment of secrets’ as a security measure of the virtuous community which is adopted by all human societies that intend to protect their individuals from enemies and maintain their solidarity and capability to perform. Divulgence of secrets is usually considered the gravest danger that may be encountered by any community that is exposed to persecution and extermination.

Books of ethics have dealt with slips of the tongue and the momentous perils that such blunders cause in the social life of man and in man’s relationship with Almighty Allah, as well as the many sins, flaws, misfortunes, and injuries that arise from such slips.

As for this security measure, it deals with slips of the tongue from another angle—the divulgence and disclosure of secrets that expose the virtuous community to dangers and reveal its activities, inclinations, size, and the identies of individuals, endangering their lives.

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), their Shi’ah, and their followers stood for a “community” of Muslims that had its own particularities with doctrinal, intellectual, and cultural components in addition to confidential political inclinations. This community spread over various regions of the Muslim world and lived within other Muslim communities under their ruling regimes.

The tyrannical ruling authorities used to consider the Shi’ite community to be the opposition. As a result, they feared and harassed its people because they realized its influence, vitality and adherence to the leadership of the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)—those most rightful of leadership of the Muslim society and the most accepted and approved group by all Muslims.

Incitement of People against the Shi’ah

The community of the Shi’ah were exposed to not only harassment and persecution but also denouncement and defamation of its doctrines, activities and purposes in Islamic life with the aim of isolating and circumscribing it inside the Muslim nation and then putting it under pressure by inciting others against it.

The political aspect most perturbed the enemies of the Shi’ah—i.e., the tyrannical rulers, spiteful opponents, and anti-Shi’ah factions—and was the real reason for alliance against the Shi’ah. The sectarian affiliation of the individuals of the virtuous community was also important to the enemies of the Shi’ah, and its importance increased greatly when this affiliation revealed the political inclinations of individuals of the community.

The matter was somewhat different in the mind of the common milieus of the Muslims. They were provoked by the doctrinal aspect of the virtuous community (owing to their naive understanding of Islam and having been indoctrinated by the ruling authorities and deviant scholars with fanaticism and ill will) and were not concerned about political affiliation as much as the secondary and trivial details of doctrines. They insensitively rejected every trivial item that violated peripheral issues of doctrinal views and requisites prescribed by the ruling authorities.

Using their cadre, the ruling authorities exerted all possible efforts to keep the nation from realizing the truth appertaining to not only the corrupt deeds and manners of the tyrannical rulers but also the accurate political affiliations of other political trends. Moreover, they tried to incite and provoke the public against these trends, using all possible methods and means.

Instead of educating the Muslim nation in investigation, seeking knowledge, establishing freedom in scientific discourse and practical experimentation within the necessary postulates of its faith, the ruling authorities fed the public with fanaticism in personal views, encouraging accusation with “atheism,” “infidelity,” “apostasy from Islam,” and “fragmenting the congregation of Muslims” towards anybody who disagreed with them on even a secondary or trivial issue, demanded his rights, or stood against the tyrannical and oppressive rulers, rejecting their injustice and monopoly.

Describing this method of indoctrination used on Muslims by tyrants, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

إنَّ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ أَطْلَقُوا لِلنَّاسِ أَنْ يَتَعَلَّمُوا الإِيمَانَ، وَلَمْ يُطْلِقُوا لَهُمْ أَنْ يَتَعَلَّمُوا الشِّرْكَ، حَتَّى إذَا حَمَلُوهُمْ عَلَيْهِ لَمْ يَعْرِفُوا ذَلِكَ.

The children of Umayyah19 gave people freedom to learn faith, but they did not permit them to learn about polytheism such that if they were to lead them to polytheism, the people would not realize it.20

For this reason, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) determined that taqiyyah alone did not suffice; rather, they asked their followers not to reveal their beliefs and agitate others by practicing their rituals openly. They knew that such acts might lead to their isolation from Muslim society and political, social and economic siege. Of course, it was possible that the open practice of their rituals might lessen the extent of pressure from others; nevertheless, the Holy Imams’ (‘a) instruction was to avoid such acts.

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) paid addiitonal attention to an even more important issue: they ordered their followers to desist in arguing about political and religious issues, divulging private information, and showing feelings and sentiments21 that revealed their political and sectarian affiliation. The followers were also ordered not to reveal any information about the extent of influence and impact of the virtuous community and the nature of their political attitudes to the ruling regime or other oppositionist political movements that the community adopted because divulgence of such information could endanger the existence of the virtuous community and be used by enemies to pursue or annihilate its members.

The concealment of secrets and suppression of information about the reality of the virtuous community was, at some stage its most important security issue. It required a high degree of self-restraint and control over the tongue. The tyrannical rulers were extremely sensitive about their interests and felt threatened by the genuineness, truth and faithfulness of the individuals of the virtuous community as well as their willingness to sacrifice their lives; the plain, true concepts that they used to proffer to the Muslim nation; and the sound logic they used to elucidate these concepts.

Formulas of Warning

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) used many formulas and modes of warning, enlightenment, and education to express the crucial importance of this measure in ensuring the security of the virtuous community.

According to a validly reported tradition, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi-Nasr has reported that he, once asked Imam al-Ridha (‘a) about a definite issue, but the Imam (‘a) insistently refused to answer. He then said:

لَوْ أَعْطَيْنَاكُمْ كُلَّ مَا تُرِيدُونَ كَانَ شَرّاً لَكُمْ، وَأُخِذَ بِرَقَبَةِ صَاحِبِ هَذَا الأَمْرِ.

If we give you everything you want, this will definitely be bad for you; and this will cause problems for the person involved.

Abu-Ja’far (‘a) used to say:

وِلاَيَةُ اللهِ أَسَرَّهَا إِلَى جَبْرَئِيلَ، وَأَسَرَّهَا جَبْرَئِيلُ إِلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَأَسَرَّهَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَى عَلِيٍّ، وَأَسَرَّهَا عَلِيٌّ إِلَى مَنْ شَاءَ اللهُ. ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ تُذِيعُونَ ذَلِكَ! مَنِ الَّذِي أَمْسَكَ حَرْفاً سَمِعَهُ؟

The secrets of Allah were confidentially passed on to Archangel Gabriel who confidentially passed them on to (Prophet) Muhammad (S) who confidentially passed them on to ‘Ali (‘a) who confidentially passed them on to whom Almighty Allah willed to know. Now, you are divulging it! Which one of you can withhold a single letter of what he has heard?

Abu-Ja’far (‘a) said:

فِي حِكْمَةِ آلِ دَاوُودَ: يَنْبَغِي لِلْمُسْلِمِ أَنْ يَكُونَ مَالِكاً لِنَفْسِهِ، مُقْبِلاً عَلَى شَأْنِهِ، عَارِفاً بِأَهْلِ زَمَانِهِ. فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ وَلاَ تُذِيعُوا حَدِيثَنَا. فَلَوْلاَ أَنَّ اللهَ يُدَافِعُ عَنْ أَوْلِيَائِهِ وَيَنْتَقِمُ لأَِوْلِيَائِهِ مِنْ أَعْدَائِهِ، أَمَا رَأَيْتَ مَا صَنَعَ اللهُ بِآلِ بَرْمَكَ وَمَا إنْتَقَمَ اللهُ لأَِبِي الْحَسَنِ؟ وَقَدْ كَانَ بَنُو الأَشْعَثِ عَلَى خَطَرٍ عَظِيمٍ، فَدَفَعَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ بِوِلاَيَتِهِمْ لأَِبِي الْحَسَنِ. وَأَنْتُمْ بِالْعِرَاقِ تَرَوْنَ أَعْمَالَ هَؤُلاَءِ الْفَرَاعِنَةِ وَمَا أَمْهَلَ اللهُ لَهُمْ، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِتَقْوَى اللهِ، وَلاَ تُغَرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا، وَلاَ تَغْتَرُّوا بِمَنْ قَدْ أُمْهِلَ قَبْلَكُمْ، فَكَأَنَّ الأَمْرَ قَدْ وَصَلَ إِلَيْكُمْ.

The following is written in the wise book of (Prophet) David’s household: A true Muslim (i.e. one submissive to the religion) is required to be self-possessed, engaged with his own affairs, and aware of the people of his time. So, fear Almighty Allah and never announce our discourses. (What has saved you from the result of such divulgence is that) Almighty Allah defends His saints and takes revenge from His enemies for His saints.

Have you not seen what Almighty Allah did to the Barmak and how he retaliated for Abu’l-Hasan? The family of al-Ash’ath were about to encounter a great catastrophe, but Almighty Allah saved them from it because of their allegiance to Abu’l-Hasan. In Iraq, you are witnessing the evil deeds of these tyrants and the respite that Almighty Allah is granting them. So, fear Almighty Allah, do not be seduced by this worldly life, and do not be deceived by the bygone ones whom Almighty Allah had granted respite. I foresee this matter shall soon be in your hands.22

Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), according to another authentic report, demonstrated the worldly damage of divulgence of secrets, saying:

مَنِ إسْتَفْتَحَ نَهَارَهُ بِإِذَاعَةِ سِرِّنَا سَلَّطَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ حَرَّ الْحَدِيدِ وَضِيقَ الْمَجَالِسِ.

Whoever begins his day with divulgence of our secrets, Almighty Allah will expose him to the heat of iron and narrow sitting-places.23

Sometimes, warnings against divulgence of secrets reached such a great extent of obligation that Imam Abu’l-Hasan (‘a), as reported by ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa, said:

إِنْ كَانَ فِي يَدِكَ هَذِهِ شَيْءٌ، فَإِنِ إسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ لاَ تَعْلَمَ هَذِهِ (الأُخْرَى) فَافْعَلْ.

If there is something is your hand, make sure that as far as is possible the other hand does not know about it.

In his presence, some people talked about divulgence of secrets, so the Imam (‘a) instructed:

إحْفَظْ لِسَانَكَ تَعِزَّ، وَلاَ تُمَكِّنِ النَّاسَ مِنْ قِيَادِ رَقَبَتِكَ فَتُذَلَّ.

Withhold your tongue so as to attain dignity, and do not give people a chance to have a hold over your neck, lest you become humiliated.24

According to another validly reported tradition, the peril of divulging a secret is as fateful as killing the prophets. Abu-Basir has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

وَيَقْتُلُونَ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ

أَمَا وَاللهِ مَا قَتَلُوهُمْ بِأَسْيَافِهِمْ، وَلَكِنْ أَذَاعُوا عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَفْشَوْا سِرَّهُمْ فَقُتِلُوا.

Almighty Allah says (in the Holy Qur'an), “And they slay the prophets unjustly. (3:112)” By Allah I swear, they did not slay the prophets with swords; rather, they divulged their secrets and announced their activities and, as a result, prophets were slain.25

Through an authentic chain of authority, Sulayman ibn Khalid has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying to him:

يَا سُلَيْمَانُ، إِنَّكُمْ عَلَى دِينٍ مَنْ كَتَمَهُ أَعَزَّهُ اللهُ، وَمَنْ أَذَاعَهُ أَذَلَّهُ اللهُ.

O Sulayman, you (i.e. the Shi’ah) are following a faith that whoever conceals it will be honored by Almighty Allah, but whoever exposes it will be humiliated by Him.26

When one of the Holy Imams (‘a) observed an occurrence of rushing into the adoption of certain political attitudes or impulsive rashness to move and draw the attention of the public to the love for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the Imam would say the following, as reported from Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a):

وَدِدْتُ، وَاللهِ، لَوِ إفْتَدَيْتُ خِصْلَتَيْنِ فِي الشِّيعَةِ لَنَا بِبَعْضِ لَحْمِ سَاعِدِي: النَّزَقَ وَقِلَّةَ الْكِتْمَانِ.

By Allah, I wish I could give as ransom some of my arm’s flesh for two traits that our Shi’ah must get rid of: recklessness and lack of concealment (of our secrets).27

According to another tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) assigns the concealment of secrets such an important role that it is related to faith, belief, loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the undertaking of the mission of propagation.

‘Abd al-A’la has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (S) saying:

إنَّهُ لَيْسَ إحْتِمَالَ أَمْرِنَا التَّصْدِيقُ لَهُ وَالْقَبُولُ فَقَطْ، مِنِ إحْتِمَالِ أَمْرِنَا سَتْرُهُ وَصِيَانَتُهُ عَنْ غَيْرِ أَهْلِهِ. فَاقْرَأْهُمُ السَّلاَمَ وَقُلْ لَهُمْ: رَحِمَ اللهُ عَبْداً إجْتَرَّ مَوَدَّةَ النَّاسِ إلَيْنَا. حَدِّثُوهُمْ بِمَا يَعْرِفُونَ، وَاسْتُرُوا عَنْهُمْ مَا يُنْكِرُونَ.

To abide by our Issue is not merely to believe and accept it. Within the matters of abiding by our Issue is to hide it and to protect it from everybody except its people. So, convey my greeting to them (i.e. the Shi’ah) and say to them: May Allah have mercy upon (His) servant who attracts people’s love toward us. Say to those who understand and conceal from those who reject.28

According to another tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) sternly renounces those who divulge secrets and violate instructions, exposing their Imam and their companions to peril and perdition. The Imam (‘a) expressed his rage and denounced them.

Al-Qasim, the partner of al-Fadhl, who was a very honest man, has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:

خَلْقٌ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ يَشْهَرُونَنَا وَيَشْهَرُونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ. أُولَئِكَ لَيْسُوا مِنَّا وَلاَ نَحْنُ مِنْهُمْ. أَنْطِقُ فَأُدَارِي وَأَسْتُرُ فَيَهْتِكُونَ سِتْرِي! هَتَكَ اللهُ سُتُورَهُمْ. يَقُولُونَ: إِمَامٌ. وَاللهِ مَا أَنَا بِإِمَامِ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي. فَأَمَّا مَنْ عَصَانِي فَلَسْتُ لَهُمْ بِإِمَامٍ. لِمَ يُقَلْقِلُونَ بِإسْمِي؟ أَلاَ يَكُفُّونَ إسْمِي عَنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ. فَوَاللهِ لاَ يَجْمَعُنِيَ اللهُ وَإِيَّاهُمْ فِي دَارٍ.

Some individuals are exposing themselves and us in the mosque. They are not part of us nor are we part of them. When I speak, I try to hide my beliefs intentionally and when I keep matters covered, such people unmask me! May Allah lay them bare! They claim that I am their Imam. By Allah I swear, I am exclusively the Imam of him who obeys me. As for him who disobeys me, I am not his Imam. Why are they chattering using my name? Can’t they take my name out of their mouths? By Allah, He shall never join them to me in the abode.29

Presence in The Ruling System

The third measure that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took in the security system of the virtuous community was having a relative and limited presence in the unjust ruling regimes in order to apprise the virtuous community of the situations, plans, policies and suppressive or corruptive procedures of these ruling authorities, so that the virtuous community might take heed, avoid and observe their movements on the one hand and frustrate and fend off the harms that might afflict them and the Muslims on the other.

As previously cited, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) firmly prohibited their followers from any kind of cooperation with the unjust authorities—whether in offering general services that might contribute to strengthening their authority, result in any form of approval of their rule, or help them in wrongdoing and oppressive acts—and from accepting offices related to authority and government.

Abu-Basir has reported that he asked Imam al-Baqir (‘a) about the legality of occupying offices in the ruling regimes of unjust rulers. The Imam (‘a) answered:

يَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ، لاَ وَلاَ مُدَّةُ قَلَمٍ. إِنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ لاَ يُصِيبُ مِنْ دُنْيَاهُمْ شَيْئاً إِلاَّ أَصَابُوا مِنْ دِينِهِ مِثْلَهُ.

O Abu-Muhammad, never help them in any matter even if it be as trivial as handing them a pen. No one can obtain any worldly interests from them without loss of as large a part of his faith as the amount of that interest.30

Writing the life account of Safwan al-Jammal, al-Kashshi (in his book of biography) records the following narration:

Safwan said: One day, while I was paying a visit to Imam al-Kazim (‘a), he said to me, “Safwan, all your manners are acceptable and all right except one thing.”

“May Allah accept me as ransom for you! What is that?” I wondered.

The Imam (‘a) answered, “It is that you hire camels for this man. (i.e. the ruler Harun)”

Explaining my situation, I said, “I swear by Allah that I have never hired him a camel for luxurious, reckless, immoral or hunting purposes. Rather, I have hired out camels for him so that he can use them as riding animals on his way to Makkah. Moreover, I do not take charge of the camels myself, but employ some of my servants to do so.”

The Imam (‘a) asked, “Do they (i.e. the ruling authorities) pay you for this hiring?”

“Yes, they do,” I answered.

The Imam (‘a) asked further, “Do you wish that they would survive to pay you?”

“Yes, I do,” I answered.

The Imam (‘a) stated:

مَنْ أَحَبَّ بَقَاءَهُمْ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْهُمْ كَانَ وَرَدَ النَّارَ.

“Then, he who wishes survival for them is definitely one of them, and he who belongs to them will definitely be in Hellfire.”

Immediately after that, I sold all my camels.

When Harun was informed about this, he summoned me and said, “Safwan, I have been informed that you sold your camels.”

“Yes, I did,” I answered.

“Why?” he asked.

“I have become too aged to work, and my servant cannot perform the necessary jobs,” I answered.

Harun insisted, “No! I know him who advised you to do so. This is the advice of Musa ibn Ja’far.”

“What connects this to Musa ibn Ja’far?” I denied.

Harun said, “Leave this claim! By Allah I swear, I would kill you had it not been for your good conduct with us!”31

In spite of this stern prohibition, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) excluded certain situations for which they allowed working with the unjust ruling authorities and accepting offices and jobs in their governments. The most important of these were offices that served two essential services to the virtuous community: (1) warding off harm and injury to the community, and (2) provision of services and facilities, including defence of the rights of the virtuous community and paying them their entitlements.

In this respect, ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin is reported to have said that Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kazim (‘a) said to him:

إِنَّ للهِ، تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى، مَعَ السُّلْطَانِ أَوْلِيَاءَ يَدْفَعُ بِهِمْ عَنْ أَوْلِيَائِهِ.

Verily, among the company of the oppressors, Almighty Allah has some intimate servants by whom He repels (harm) from other cherished servants.32

Ziyad ibn Abu-Sulma is reported to have related the following:

One day, I visited Abu’l-Hasan (Imam) Musa al-Kazim (‘a) who asked me, “Ziyad, do you work with the ruling authority?”

“Yes, I do,” I answered.

The Imam (‘a) asked, “Why is that?”

I answered, “I have a sense of honor, dependants to provide, and no other resource.”

The Imam (‘a) commented, “Ziyad, if I were to fall from a high place and break to pieces, it would be more preferable to me than holding an office for any of these (unjust authorities) or even more preferable than being treading on like their rugs—except for one circumstance. Do you know what it is?”

I answered, “No, I do not. May Allah accept me as your ransom!”

The Imam (‘a) explained:

إِلاَّ لِتَفْرِيجِ كُرْبَةٍ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ، أَوْ فَكِّ أَسْرِهِ، أَوْ قَضَاءِ دَيْنِهِ. يَا زِيَادُ، إِنَّ أَهْوَنَ مَا يَصْنَعُ اللهُ جَلَّ وَعَزَّ بِمَنْ تَوَلَّى لَهُمْ عَمَلاً أَنْ يَضْرِبَ عَلَيْهِ سُرَادِقَ مِنْ نَارٍ إِلَى أَنْ يَفْرُغَ اللهُ مِنْ حِسَابِ الْخَلاَئِقِ. يَا زِيَادُ، فَإِنْ وُلِّيتَ شَيْئاً مِنْ أَعْمَالِهِمْ فَأَحْسِنْ إِلَى إِخْوَانِكَ، فَوَاحِدَةٌ بِوَاحِدَةٍ.

“Except in situations of relieving the anguish of a believer by releasing him from captivity or helping him settle his debts. O Ziyad, the lightest penalty that Almighty Allah places upon one that holds an office with unjust authorities is that He covers him with a canopy of fire until He finishes settling accounts with all other creatures. O Ziyad, if you have held any of their offices, then you must behave kindly with your brethren-in-faith as compensation for holding that office—an act for an act.”33

As is understood from some traditions, holding an office in governments of unjust authorities requires restricted permission given by the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) or by the religious legal authority who runs the affairs of the virtuous community in order that permission might be disallowed in cases of personal gain or taking on prohibited jobs that would expose individuals of the virtuous community to deviation.

According to a valid chain of authority, al-Hasan ibn al-Husayn al-Anbari34 has reported the following:

For fourteen years, I wrote letters to Imam Abu’l-Hasan al-Ridha (‘a) seeking his permission to hold a governmental office in the regime of the unjust rulers. In the last letter, I mentioned that I feared my neck would be cut off as the ruling authority threatened me, saying, “You are Rafidhi and you are refusing this office only for this reason!”

The answer of Imam al-Ridha (‘a) was the following:

فَهِمْتُ كِتَابَكَ وَمَا ذَكَرْتَ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ، فَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ إَذَا وَلِيتَ عَمَلَكَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللهِ، صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، ثُمَّ تُصَيِّرُ أَعْوَانَكَ وَكُتَّابَكَ أَهْلَ مِلَّتِكَ، وَإِذَا صَارَ إِلَيْكَ شَيْءٌ وَاسَيْتَ بِهِ فُقَرَاءَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَتَّى تَكُونَ وَاحِداً مِنْهُمْ، كَانَ ذَا بِذَا، وَإِلاَّ فَلاَ.

I understand your letter and I am conscious of your fear for your life. If you know that in holding this office you will do what you have been ordered by the Messenger of Allah (S), and will chose your brethren-in-faith to be your agents and clerks, and you share whatever you gain with the poor faithfuls as if you are one of them, then you may hold it under these conditions; otherwise, I do not permit it.35

Sometimes, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) would direct these persons in their jobs and confirmed the importance of keeping their doctrinal identities undisclosed.

Ibn Sinan has reported that Harun al-Rashid, the ‘Abbasid ruler, gifted ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin some garments as an expression of respect. Among these, there was a black silk garment embedded with much gold. ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin, in turn, sent most of these, including this silk garment, to Imam Abu’l-Hasan Musa ibn Ja’far (‘a) adding to them money for khumus taxes. When the gift reached the hands of the Imam (‘a), he accepted the money and the garments but rejected the silk garment and gave it back to ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin with the same messenger who had brought them. The Imam (‘a) also wrote a letter to ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin with the following content: “Keep this garment and don’t let it out of your hand. Soon you will encounter a matter and you will need this garment.”

Not too long after that, ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin became angry with one of his close servants and dismissed him. This servant, who had recognized ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin’s inclination to Imam al-Kazim (‘a) and knew every item that his master had sent to the Imam, informed al-Rashid of these matters against his master and added, “‘Ali believes in the Imamate of Musa ibn Ja’far and hands over to him funds of the khumus taxes every year. He, moreover, gave him the black silk garment that you gifted him as an expression of respect.”

Upon hearing this, al-Rashid became furious and decided to expose the matter, “If it is true, I will certainly take the life of ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin!” Immediately, he ordered his constabulary to bring ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin to him. When ‘Ali was brought before him, al-Rashid asked, “What have you done with the garment that I gave you?” He answered, “O commander of the believers, it is in my possession in a sealed chest. I have stored it there. I rarely miss a morning when I open it to take a look at the garment, seeking blessings and kissing it, and then I put it back there.”

Al-Rashid ordered him to present it at that very moment, so ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin summoned one of his servants and told him where to find the garment exactly as he had told al-Rashid beforehand. Before long, the servant fetched the chest and put it before al-Rashid who ordered the seal to be broken. As he looked at the garment, al-Rashid found it exactly as he had been told by ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin. He calmed down and ordered ‘Ali to put it back in its place. He then said to him, “You may leave with respect, for I will never believe any information that is given to me against you.” Moreover, he ordered that an abundant gift be given to ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin. As for the talebearing slave, al-Rashid ordered him to be given one thousand lashes. After five hundred, the slave died.36

Historical Background of this Policy

It is not inaccurate to say that this policy of security is the most crucial that the Holy Imams (‘a) planned for the virtuous community. There are some indications of this in the Holy Qur'an. Narrating the story of Prophet Moses (‘a), the Holy Qur'an mentions that “the believing man of Pharaoh’s family” protected Prophet Moses (‘a) from dangers that were conspired against him, before and after his mission, as he gave the Prophet information about conspiracies by Pharaoh and his people to kill him.

‘Ali ibn Yaqtin, the aforementioned, who was the commander-in-chief of the constabulary of Harun al-Rashid, and ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin’s father were famous models who adopted this policy in the history of the Holy Imams (‘a). Even though we have not received details of the lives of other such personalities, there were surely others who played this role throughout the history of the Holy Imams (‘a) because we believe that this strategy of security must have existed in all the stages of the Holy Imams (‘a) lives.

In a written account of the life of ‘Abdullah ibn Sinan, al-Najjashi introduces him as follows:

‘Abdullah ibn (i.e. the son of) Turayf was a manumitted slave of the Hashemites. Others claim that he had been manumitted by the offspring of Abu-Talib and others claim the same for the offspring of al-’Abbas. He worked as a secretary for al-Mansur, al-Mahdi, al-Hadi, and al-Rashid, the ‘Abbasid ruler. A trustworthy person and one of our companions, he lived in Kufah. He was so lofty that none could criticize him. He reported sayings from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a). Shaykh al-Tusi in his book, al-Fihrist, also counted him among the trustworthy reporters.37

The same thing has been said about Muhammad ibn ‘Umayr, who was introduced by both Shi’ites and Sunnis as one of the greatest master jurisprudents.38

Muhammad ibn Isma’il ibn Buzaygh was also one of the servants of al-Mansur, the ‘Abbasid ruler, and one of his assistants. He and his cousin, Ahmad ibn Hamzah, were among the most trustworthy Shi’ite reporters. One of the most righteous persons, he was of superior knowledge. Imam Abu’l-Hasan al-Ridha (‘a) once said to him:

إِنَّ للهِ تَعَالَى بِأَبْوَابِ الظَّالِمِينَ مَنْ نَوَّرَ اللهُ لَهُ البُرْهَانَ وَمَكَّنَ لَهُ فِي الْبِلاَدِ، لِيَدْفَعَ بِهِمْ عَنْ أَوْلِيَائِهِ وَيُصْلِحَ اللهُ بِهِمْ أُمُورَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ. إِلَيْهِمْ مَلْجَأُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنَ الضُّرِّ، وَإِلَيْهِمْ يَفْزَعُ ذُو الْحَاجَةِ مِنْ شِيعَتِنَا، وَبِهِمْ يُؤْمِنُ اللهُ رَوْعَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فِي دَارِ الظَّلَمَةِ. أُولَئِكَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقّاً. أُولَئِكَ أُمَنَاءُ اللهِ فِي أَرْضِهِ. أُولَئِكَ نُورُ اللهِ فِي رَعِيَّتِهِمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَيَزْهَرُ نُورُهُمْ لأَِهْلِ السَّمَاوَاتِ كَمَا يَزْهَرُ الْكَوَاكِبُ الدُّرِّيَّةُ لأَِهْلِ الأَرْضِ. أُولَئِكَ مَنْ نُورُهُمْ نُورُ الْقِيَامَةِ، تُضِيءُ مِنْهُمُ الْقِيَامَةُ. خُلِقُوا وَاللهِ لِلْجَنَّةِ وَخُلِقَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لَهُمْ. فَهَنِيئاً لَهُمْ. مَا عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ أَنْ لَوْ شَاءَ لَنَالَ هَذَا كُلَّهُ؟

Among the officials of the unjust rulers, there are those through whom Almighty Allah has made bright his path and given power in the countries so as to protect His intimate servants through them and set right the affairs of Muslims. To them do the faithful believers resort when harm is done to them and to them do the needy among our Shi’ah turn. Through them does Almighty Allah dispel the fear of the believers in lands controlled by tyrants. These are the true believers. These are Almighty Allah’s trustees in His lands. These shall be the source of Almighty Allah’s light among His subjects on the Day of Resurrection. Their light is visible to the inhabitants of the heavens just as the shining stars are visible to the inhabitants of the earth. Their light shall light up the Resurrection. By Allah I swear, they were created for Paradise and Paradise was created for them. Congratulations to them. What prevents you, if you wish, from gaining all that?

The reporter asked, “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! How can we gain all this?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

يَكُونُ مَعَهُمْ فَيُسِرُّنَا بِإِدْخَالِ السُّرُورِ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ شِيعَتِنَا، فَكُنْ مِنْهُمْ يَا مُحَمَّدُ.

One of you may join them (i.e. the unjust rulers) and, at the same time, please us by giving pleasure to the believers among our Shi’ah. So, Muhammad, try to be one of these.39

If a survey of the companions of Holy Imams’ (‘a) is made, one can find many such individuals.

This policy indicates a remarkably outstanding and errorless plan by the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) that left a strong impact on the protection, perfection, and development of the virtuous community which extended to the entire Muslim nation.

Refuge and Migration

The fourth measure of security that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took for the virtuous community was to choose and migrate to safe shelters in regions far from the sway of unjust ruling authorities, including rural areas where Arab tribes that were loyal to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) lived, mountainous regions, or other regions known for their insubordination to the ruling regime. The individuals of the virtuous community were able to resort to this policy only in exceptional cases of emergency, to seek security and elude danger to their lives on the one hand while propagating the Islamic mission, spreading true guidance and righteousness and teaching morals and divine laws on the other.

The Holy Qur'an has presented some examples and events of such migrations, such as in the story of Prophet Abraham (‘a). After he had encountered the aftermath of being thrown in the fire, he migrated with Prophet Lot (‘a):

فَآمَنَ لَهُ لُوطٌ ۘ وَقَالَ إِنِّي مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

He (i.e. Abraham) said: I am fleeing to my Lord. Surely, He is the Mighty, the Wise. (29:26)

Likewise, Prophet Moses (‘a) migrated to Madyan:

فَخَرَجَ مِنْهَا خَائِفًا يَتَرَقَّبُ ۖ قَالَ رَبِّ نَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

وَلَمَّا تَوَجَّهَ تِلْقَاءَ مَدْيَنَ قَالَ عَسَىٰ رَبِّي أَن يَهْدِيَنِي سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ

So he (i.e. Moses) went forth therefrom, fearing, awaiting, (and) he said: My Lord! Deliver me from the unjust people. And when he turned his face towards Madyan, he said: Maybe my Lord will guide me along the right path. (28:21-22)

Another example is the exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt to the Holy Land.

This policy of emigration in the security system of the virtuous community also has a historical root in the deeds of the Holy Prophet (S) who, in order to protect newly converted Muslims, ordered them to emigrate to Abyssinia and seek refuge therein, even though Abyssinia was not ruled by Islam.

These Muslims had been exposed to severe persecution and they lacked any suitable means of protection. Once more, Muslims were ordered to emigrate to Yathrib (later called al-Madinah al-Munawwarah—the luminous city) where Islam could find itself a center. The polytheists of this city had not yet taken an extremely hostile position against the Holy Prophet (S) before his migration.

This procedure of emigration and asylum-seeking is also adopted by political movements today when some of their members, being harshly chased by the ruling regimes, seek refuge in other countries that allow them asylum.

There is a set of indications proving that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) adopted this policy of security so as to guarantee the protection of their followers. Some of these indications are as follows:

Historical Examples of Emigration

Some historical examples of emigration include:

• The descendants and offspring of the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), as well as righteous scholars of the Shi’ah, spread widely in various regions of the world, including remote and mountainous regions such as Mazandaran and Gilan in present day Iran (in earlier times, the lands of the Turks and Daylam), some regions of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Caucasus, and the Malawi Islands. It is well worth mentioning that these Sayyids40 and righteous scholars propagated Islam and spread the Islamic culture in these regions, converting their inhabitants to Islam.

• The Shi’ah of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) spread out in the various countries of the Muslim world without exception, especially in the ages of the Holy Imams (‘a). This state existed in other time periods also, despite the fact that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers lived under political and social siege and were subjected to execution, pursuit and constant threat that did not grant them opportunities to engage in extensive communication. This proves that the Shi’ah abided by the policy of migration and seeking refuge as planned by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). This is also confirmed in a number of traditions.

Describing the manners of the true Shi’ah, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

إِنَّمَا شِيعَتُنَا مَنْ لاَ يَهِرُّ هَرِيرَ الْكَلْبِ، وَلاَ يَطْمَعُ طَمَعَ الْغُرَابِ، وَلاَ يَسْأَلُ النَّاسَ بِكَفِّهِ وَإِنْ مَاتَ جُوعاً... أُطْلُبْهُمْ فِي أَطْرَافِ الأَرْضِ. أُولَئِكَ الْخَشِنُ عَيْشُهُمُ، الْمُنْتَقِلَةُ دَارُهُمُ، الَّذِينَ إِنْ شَهِدُوا لَمْ يُعْرَفُوا، وَإِنْ غَابُوا لَمْ يُفْتَقَدُوا.

Our true Shi’ah are those who do not growl like a dog, do not covet like a crow, and do not beg from people even if they die of hunger….You can find them in the four corners of the world. They are those whose lives are simple, whose abodes move from one place to another, who, if seen, will not be known, and if absent, will not be missed… etc.41

• The reason for the emergence of some major events in the history of Islam was the adoption of this policy of emigration. For instance, the existence of Shi’ah emigrants in various countries gave rise to some great states, such as the Fatimid dynasty42 and the Hasanid dynasty in Tabristan, as well as some ‘Alawid political movements, especially those which rose during the ‘Abbasid dynasty. In conclusion, these Shi’ah emigrants gradually developed into great powers that threatened and disturbed the existence of despotic ruling regimes.

• Some traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) give a green light for resettlement in non-Muslim countries on the condition that there is an opportunity to announce and propagate one’s faith. However, such migration is regarded as a form of becoming a wanderer after migration to civility (al-ta’arrub ba’da al-hijrah),43 which is forbidden by the religious law of Islam. Moreover, a set of traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) decisively confirm that vagrancy after migration to civility is prohibited.

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) has reported his fathers as quoting the following from the Holy Prophet to Imam ‘Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a):

وَلاَ تَعَرُّبَ بَعْدَ الْهِجْرَةِ.

Do not return to nomadism after migration to civility.44

Muhammad ibn Sinan has reported that among answers to religious questions, Imam al-Ridha (‘a) wrote:

وَحَرَّمَ اللهُ التَّعَرُّبَ بَعْدَ الْهِجْرَةِ لِلرُّجُوعِ عَنِ الدِّينِ وَتَرْكِ الْمُؤَازَرَةِ لِلأَنْبِيَاءِ وَالْحُجَجِ، عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ، وَمَا فِي ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْفَسَادِ وَإِبْطَالِ حَقِّ كُلِّ ذِي حَقٍّ لِعِلَّةِ سُكْنَى الْبَدْوِ، وَلِذَلِكَ لَوْ عَرِفَ الرَّجُلُ الدِّينَ كَامِلاً لَمْ يَجُزْ لَهُ مُسَاكَنَةُ أَهْلِ الْجَهْلِ وَالْخَوْفِ عَلَيْهِ، لأَِنَّهُ لاَ يُؤْمَنُ أَنْ يَقَعَ مِنْهُ تَرْكُ الْعِلْمِ وَالدُّخُولُ مَعَ أَهْلِ پالْجَهْلِ وَالتَّمَادِي فِي ذَلِكَ.

Almighty Allah has forbidden vigrancy after migration to civility, because such an act may result in renunciation of one’s faith, abandonment of support of prophets and representatives (of Almighty Allah, i.e. Holy Imams), corruption, and denying the rights of others due to dwelling with Bedouins. Hence, a man who has fully recognized the religion is not permitted to live with the unschooled and put his faith under threat because it is not improbable that such a man will lose his familiarity with religion, decline into unenlightenment of religiously ignorant people, and go far into apostacy and ignorance.45

At the same time, other traditions refer to an exception of one case only from this religious law; that is, the case of the availability of an opportunity to propagate one’s faith and true beliefs when such opportunity is impracticable in Muslim countries.

Hammad al-Samandi has reported that he said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “I often travel to the cities of the polytheists, but some of our companions claim that if I die in these territories, I will be added to the group of their dwellers.”

The Imam (‘a) asked:

يَا حَمَّادُ، إذَا كُنْتَ ثَمَّ تَذْكُرُ أَمْرَنَا وَتَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ؟

O Hammad, do you proclaim our faith and invite people to it when you are there?

Hammad answered affirmatively, so the Imam asked again:

فَإذَا كُنْتَ فِي هَذِهِ الْمُدُنِ، مُدُنِ الإِسْلاَمِ، تَذْكُرُ أَمْرَنَا وَتَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ؟

When you live in the territories of Muslims, can you make known our faith and invite people to it?

Hammad answered negatively. The Imam then said:

إِنَّكَ إِذَا مِتَّ ثَمَّ تُحْشَرُ أُمَّةً وَحْدَكَ وَيَسْعَى نُورُكَ بَيْنَ يَدَيْكَ.

Therefore, if you die there, you will be resurrected alone in an independent group and your light will be running before you.46

  • 1. - Taqiyyah (self-protection) is the practice of concealing one’s belief and foregoing ordinary religious duties when under the threat of death or injury to oneself or ones brethren-in-faith.
  • 2. - The first and second points will be discussed in detail in one of the future volumes of this series. The third point is a jurisprudential thesis that has been discussed elsewhere by jurisprudents.
  • 3. - These meanings have been discussed in my book entitled, ‘al-wihdah al-islamiyyah min manzur al-thaqalayn (Islamic Unity from the Perspective of the Two Weighty Things—i.e. the Holy Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)).’
  • 4. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:461, S. 24 (wujub al-taqiyyah), H. 7 as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi.
    All Muslims and all rational people conform to this social and political behavior, yet generally, but some Muslim sects try to provide reasoning for this behavior even to the extent of forging and attributing falsities to the Holy Prophet (S) for making peace, acquiescing, and complying with unjust rulers, thus changing this policy into a fixed mode instead of an exception to be used in emergency. Nevertheless, this strategy was affixed to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) because in their times they were continually exposed to persecution. They proclaimed that this approach of keeping silent should be used only when necessary, not as a daily activity, and that taqiyyah is a strategy with restricted features. Further, yet general, details will be cited in future discussions.
  • 5. - In fact, there is no discrepancy between the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers and other Muslims in the basic doctrinal issues; rather, differences may be found in some secondary issues. However, the major difference is in the issue of the leadership of the Muslim society and the succession to the Holy Prophet (S).

    The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers believe that this position of leadership must be held by those who have been designated for it through sacred texts of Almighty Allah and His Prophet (S). In this respect, the Holy Prophet (S) designated Imam ‘Ali and the eleven Imams (‘a) from his offspring as the divinely commissioned leaders of Muslims. Others believe that the Holy Prophet (S) left the issue of subsequent leadership unsolved and relegated it to the Muslims so that they could put whomever they liked in this position and choose whomever they wished without reference to the religious code of law, or that the code of law has defined consultation to be the judge in this question.

    However, even if the latter were true in this case, true consultation was in fact not used by the Muslims to determine leadership. One method of consultation was used to determine the caliphate (i.e. leadership) of Abu-Bakr, another method for the caliphate of ‘Uthman, and a third in choosing Imam ‘Ali (‘a).

  • 6. - Shaykh al-Tabrisi, Majma’ al-Bayan 9:243.
    Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 6:177, has reported the same, yet with more details and partial difference in the purport. He then mentions other narrations confirming the same meaning.
  • 7. - Ibn ‘Abbas is reported to have said the following:
    After Prophet Jesus (‘a), kings distorted the Torah and the Gospel, but a few faithful believers remained among the public reciting the Torah and the Gospel exactly as they were revealed, so some talebearers said to the king, “The most difficult thing that we can ever bear is the insults that we receive from these people (i.e. the faithful believers). They recite the following before us: ‘If any fail to judge by the light of what God has revealed, they are no better than unbelievers.’ They recite such verses and refer to us as those intended by them. Therefore, summon them and ask them to recite these verses the same way we do and believe the same way we do.”

    The king summoned these faithful believers, gathered them in one place, and ordered them to choose one of two options: either to be killed or to stop reciting the original Torah and Gospel but rather the sections that had been distorted. Some of the faithful believers, however, asked the other party to leave them alone and made some suggestions. Some of them suggested, “You may build up a tower, put us there, and give us nothing more than food and drink. We will then stop arguing with you.” Others suggested, “Let us wander in the lands and live just like beasts, and if you find us on your lands, then you may kill us.”

    Others suggested, “Set up houses for us in the deserts and we will dig wells, plow lands, and plant herbs, and we will neither argue with you nor pass by you.” Each of those who made suggestions had a close friend with him. About this situation, Almighty Allah has revealed the following: “But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah, but that they did not foster as they should have done.”

    When Almighty Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (S), only a few of such people still survived. One came out of his hermitage, another returned from wandering, a third left his home, and they all believed in and gave credence to the Holy Prophet (S). Referring to this, the Holy Qur'an says,

    “O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and believe in His Messenger: He will give you two portions of His mercy, and make for you a light with which you will walk, and forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (57:28)

    These two portions of His mercy are given to them because they believed in Jesus (‘a), gave credence to the Torah and the Gospel, and then believed and gave credence to the Holy Prophet (S).

    The light with which they walk is the Holy Qur'an and their adherence to the Holy Prophet (S). Then, the Holy Qur'an says,

    “So that the followers of the Book may know that they do not control aught of the grace of Allah, and that grace is in Allah's hand, He gives it to whom He pleases; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. ” (57:29) (See Tafsir al-Tabari 27:138, Ed. Beirut)

  • 8. - This was one phenomenon of the politically retarded communities. Europeans passed through such retardation during the Medieval Ages because of clashes between the Catholics and the Protestants. At some stages in history, the East also passed through this phenomenon. However, Europeans are still practicing this persecution today, in another form, such as ban of hijab (Islamic veil), banishing refugees who practice their religious rituals, marking them with a political dye—a matter unbearable for Europeans. Likewise, some governments in the Muslim world are persecuting groups of people because they practice their religious rituals, both the general ones and those that indicate their political trend, even where these rituals are not themselves political.
  • 9. - Among these traditions is the previously mentioned one, which is reported by ‘Abdullah ibn Ya’fur from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), as well as other traditions that have described taqiyyah as “the protection of the faithful believer” and “the armor of the faithful believer.”
    For instance, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

    وَأَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَقَرُّ لِعَيْنِي مِنَ التَّقِيَّةِ؟ إِنَّ التَّقِيَّةَ جُنَّةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ.Is there anything more delightful to me than taqiyyah? Verily, taqiyyah is the protection of the faithful believer.
    (See Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:460, H. 4.)
    It has been authentically narrated that Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) has said:

    التَّقِيَّةُ تِرْسُ الْمُؤْمِنِ.Taqiyyah is the armor of the faithful believer.
    التَّقِيَّةُ حِرْزُ الْمُؤْمِنِ.Taqiyyah is the shelter of the faithful believer.لاَ إِيمَانَ لِمَنْ لاَ تَقِيَّةَ لَهُ.Faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah.إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَقَعُ إِلَيْهِ الْحَدِيثُ مِنْ حَدِيثِنَا فَيَدِينُ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِهِ فِيمَا بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهُ، فَيَكُونُ لَهُ عِزّاً فِي الدُّنْيَا وَنُوراً فِي الآخِرَةِ. وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَقَعُ إِلَيْهِ الْحَدِيثُ مِنْ حَدِيثِنَا فَيُذِيعُهُ، فَيَكُونُ لَهُ ذُلاًّ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَيَنْزِعُ اللهُ ذَلِكَ النُّورَ مِنْهُ.One of our discourses may fall in the hands of a servant (of Almighty Allah) who consequently adopts it as a devotional act by which he worships Almighty Allah confidentially such that it grants him dignity in this worldly life and light in the Hereafter. Another servant may receive one of our discourses, and he exposes it such that it causes him humility in this worldly life and Almighty Allah divests him of the light.(See Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:460, H. 6 as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni’s Usul al-Kafi.)

  • 10. - ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud has reported the Holy Prophet (S) as saying,
    “Those who were before us separated into seventy one sects; only three of them were redeemed while all the others were exposed to perdition. One of these three sects faced the kings and fought against them, following the true religion of Almighty Allah and the faith of Jesus, son of Mary—peace be upon him. As a result, they were killed by the kings. The other sect were too powerless to fight the kings, so they lived among their peoples inviting them to the religion of Almighty Allah and the faith of Jesus, son of Mary—peace be upon him. Consequently, the kings slew them and cut them up with saws. The third sect were also too weak to face the kings or to live among their peoples and invite them to the religion of Almighty Allah and the faith of Jesus, son of Mary—peace be upon him. Therefore, they fled to the wilderness and mountains and practiced monasticism therein. This is the interpretation of Almighty Allah’s saying: “But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them” means that they did not do it except to seek Almighty Allah’s pleasure. “But that they did not foster it as they should have done” means that the next generations of those monks did not continue the practice as it should have been performed. “So, We gave to those of them who believed their reward.” These are those who believed in and gave credence to me. “And most of them are transgressors.” The transgressors among them are those who denied me.”
    (See Tafsir al-Tabari 27:138-139, Ed. Beirut)
  • 11. - Clashes between Muslim sects took place in many periods throughout history, such as the clashes between the Hamdanites and the Ayyubids in Syria, the Fatimids and the Ayyubids in Egypt, the Umayyads and the ‘Alawids in the west of the Arab lands, and some Isma’ilis and ‘Abbasids in Iran.
  • 12. - Imam ‘Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) is reported to have said:
    مَنْ أَحَبَّنَا أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ فَلْيَسْتَعِدَّ لِلْفَقْرِ جِلْبَاباً.Whoever loves us must readily dress himself with poverty.(Nahj al-Balaghah, Aphorism No. 112)
    لَوْ أَحَبَّنِي جَبَلٌ لَتَهَافَتَ.Even if a mountain loves me, it will definitely collapse.(Ibid, No. 112)
    Confirming this fact, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are reported to have stated that ordeals and tribulations increase man’s nearness to Almighty Allah.
  • 13. - For instance, Abu-Basir is reported to have heard Imam al-Baqir (‘a) saying:
    لاَ خَيْرَ فِي مَنْ لاَ تَقِيَّةَ لَهُ. وَلَقَدْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ: {ﭜ ﭝ ﭞ ﭟ} وَمَا سَرَقُوا.Worthless is he who does not hold taqiyyah. (Prophet) Joseph (‘a) said (to his brothers), “O caravan! You are most surely thieves. (12:70)” In fact, they had not stolen anything (on that occasion).Dawud has reported Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi (‘a) as saying to him:
    لَوْ قُلْتُ إِنَّ تَارِكَ التَّقِيَّةِ كَتَارِكِ الصَّلاَةِ لَكُنْتُ صَادِقاً.Even if I say that the deserter of taqiyyah is the same as the deserter of (obligatory) prayer, I am surely honest.Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:466, H. 26.
  • 14. - In another section, we will talk about the principle of taqiyyah along with its various aspects to make this idea more clear.
  • 15. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:483, H. 1.
  • 16. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:483, H. 2.
  • 17. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:469, H. 6.
  • 18. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:451, H. 2 & 139, H. 2.
  • 19. - Rulers of the Umayyad dynasty.
  • 20. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:415, H. 1.
  • 21. - The Shi’ite community passed by such extremely critical times at which to merely mention Imam ‘Ali and Lady Fatimah—peace be upon them—admirably had political significance. A tradition reads that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:
    إِيَّاكُمْ وَذِكْرَ عَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ، عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ لَيْسَ شَيْءٌ أَبْغَضَ إِلَيْهِمْ مِنْ ذِكْرِ عَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ، عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ.Beware of mentioning ‘Ali and Fatimah! The most spiteful thing to people has become reference to ‘Ali and Fatimah—Peace be upon them.(Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:486, H. 2.)
    It goes without saying that those people who cannot bear the mention of ‘Ali and Fatimah (‘a) are quite different from those who proudly own their love for ‘Ali and Fatimah—peace be upon them.
    Ibn Hajar, mentioning the biography of ‘Ali ibn Rabah, has recorded that the Umayyad ruling authorities used to kill any newborn who had been given the name of ‘Ali. Therefore, Rabah (the father of the biographee) had to change his son’s name into ‘Ulay instead of ‘Ali. ‘Ali ibn Rabah would be angry if anyone called him ‘Ali. He once said, “I do not release from religious responsibility any one who calls me ‘Ali, because my name is ‘Ulay. (See Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 7:280-281, Ed. Dar al-Fikr)
    Al-Shafi’i referred to this same trend in his poetic verses.
  • 22. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:224-225, H. 10.
  • 23. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:493, H. 2.
  • 24. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:493, S. 34 (Prohibition of divulgence of the right when danger is anticipated), H. 5.
  • 25. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:494, S. 34, H. 7.
  • 26. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:484, S. 32 (Obligation of concealing the religion of Allah from other than its people along with taqiyyah), H. 1.
  • 27. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:484, S. 32, H. 2.
  • 28. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:484, S. 32, H. 5.
  • 29. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:484, S. 33 (Prohibition of saying the names of al-Mahdi and the other Imams), H. 1.
  • 30. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:129, H. 5; Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, 5:107, H. 5.
  • 31. - Shaykh al-Saduq, Man La Yahdhuruhu’l-Faqih 4:436; al-Kashshi, Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al-Rijal 2:740; al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah1 7:182, H.22305.
  • 32. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:139, H. 1.
  • 33. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:140, H. 9; Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 5:110, H. 1.
  • 34. - Al-Ardabili has asserted that this person is al-Hasan ibn al-Husayn al-Kindi.
  • 35. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:145, H. 1.
  • 36. - Shaykh al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad 2:225-227; al-Tabrisi, I’lam al-Wara bi-A’lam al-Huda 2:19-20; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 48:137-138, H. 12.
  • 37. - Al-Ardabili, Jami’ al-Ruwat 1:487.
  • 38. - Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Fihrist, pp. 142; al-Ardabili, Jami’ al-Ruwat 2:50-51.
  • 39. - Al-Ardabili, Jami’ al-Ruwat as quoted from al-Najjashi’s book of biography (rijal) 2:69.
    This excellent description of the rank of these individuals has come from the significance of the nature of this job as well as its risk, difficulty and need for accuracy of implementation. In addition, such an office entails much suffering that a righteous individual encounters due to associating with and being in close proximity with tyrants, while secretly at odds with them.
  • 40. - Sayyid is a title of respect given to the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) through Imam ‘Ali and Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (‘a).
  • 41. - Abu-Zaynab al-Nu’mani, Kitab al-Ghaybah, 203-204; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:165, H. 16.
  • 42. - The Fatimid Dynasty ruled in part of North Africa, Egypt, and Syria from AD 909 to 1171.
  • 43. - Al-ta’arrub ba’da al-hijrah indicates moving from a country where Islam is powerful, such as al-Madinah, to another country where Islam may be weak and inactive because of the social conditions of that country, such as western countries in the present day and nomadic regions in the past.
  • 44. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:75, H. 1.
  • 45. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:75-76, H. 2.
  • 46. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:76, H. 6.