The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Four: The Security System of the Virtuous Community

Book ID

In the Name of Allah,

the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

نام کتاب: دور أهل البیت (ع) فی بناء الجماعة الصالحة / ج 4

نویسنده: آیة الله سید محمد باقر الحکیم

تهیه کننده: اداره ترجمه، اداره کل پژوهش مجمع جهانی اهل بیت (ع)

مترجم: بدر شاهین

زبان ترجمه: انگلیسی

Title: The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Four: The Security System of the Virtuous Community

Author: Āyatullāh Sayyid Muḥammad Bāqir Al-ḥakim

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Badr Shahin

Editor: Iffat Shah and Carol Ahmadi

Revised by: Ashraf Carl Eastman Ahmadi

Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center

First Printing: 2011

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 5000


© Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

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قال الله تعالی:

﴿إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا ﴾

Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification. (Sūrat al-Aḥzāb 33:33).

Prophetic traditions mentioned in both in Sunni and Shi‘ah authoritative reference books of ḥadith and tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) have confirmed that this holy verse was revealed to exclusively refer to the People of the Cloak [ahl al-kisā’], viz. Muḥammad, ‘Ali, Fāṭimah, al-Ḥasan, and al-Ḥusayn (‘a) as the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Household).

For instance, refer to the following references:


Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241 AH), al-Musnad, 1:231; 4:107; 6:292, 304; Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim (d. 261 AH), 7:130; Al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 AH), Sunan, 5:361 et al.; Al-Dūlābi (d. 310 AH), Al-Dhuriyyah al-Ṭāhirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 108; Al-Nasā’i (d. 303 AH), Al-Sunan al-Kubrā’, 5:108; 113; Al-Ḥakim al-Nayshābūri (d. 405 AH), Al-Mustadrak ‘ala’ ṣ-Ṣahiḥāyn, 2:416, 3:133, 146-147; Al-Zarkashi (d. 794 AH), Al-Burhān, p. 197; Ibn Hājar al-Asqalāni (d. 852 AH), Fatḥ al-Bari Sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhāri, 7:104.


Al-Kulayni (d. 328 AH), Uṣūl al-Kāfi, 1:287; Ibn Babawayh (d. 329 AH), Al-Imāmah wa’ t-Tabṣirah, p. 47, ḥadith 29; Al-Maghribi (d. 363 AH), Da’ā’im al-Islām, pp. 35, 37; Al-Ṣādūq (d. 381 AH), Al-Khiṣāl, pp. 403, 550; Al-Ṭūsi (d. 460 AH), Al-Amali, ḥadith 438, 482, 783.

For more details, refer to the exegesis of the holy verse recorded in the following books of tafsir: Al-Jassās (d. 370 AH), Aḥkām al-Qur’ān; Al-Wāḥidi (d. 468 AH), Asbāb al-Nuzūl; Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH), Zād al-Masir; Al-Qurṭubi (d. 671 AH), Al-Jāmi‘ Li-Aḥkām al-Qur’ān; Ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH), Tafsir; Al-Tha‘labi (d. 825 AH), Tafsir; Al-Ṭabari (d. 875 AH), Tafsir; Al-Suyūṭi (d. 911 AH), Al-Durr al-Manthūr; Al-Shawkāni (d. 1250 AH), Fatḥ al-Qadir; Al-‘Ayyāshi (d. 320 AH), Tafsir; Al-Qummi (d. 329 AH), Tafsir; Furt al-Kūfi (d. 352 AH), Tafsir at the margin of the exegesis of Sūrat al-Nisā’ verse 59; Al-Ṭabarsi (d. 560 AH), Majma‘ al-Bayān, as well as many other sources.

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قال رسول الله |:

"إنی تارک فیکُمُ الثَقلین: کتاب الله، وعترتی أهلَ بیتی، ما إن تمسکتُم بهما لن تضلوا أبداً وأَنَّهُما لَن یَفترِقا حتّی یردا عَلیَّ الحوضَ"

The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said:

“Verily, I am leaving among you two precious things [thaqalayn]: The Book of Allah and my progeny [‘itrati], the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Pond [ḥawḍ] (of Kawthar).”

Some references:

q Al­Ḥākim an­Nayshābūri, Al­Mustadrak ‘alā’ṣ-Ṣaḥiḥayn (Beirut), vol. 3, pp. 109-110, 148, 533

q Muslim, Aṣ-Ṣaḥiḥ, (English translation), book 31, hadiths 5920-3

q At­Tirmidhi, Aṣ-Ṣaḥiḥ, vol. 5, pp. 621-2, hadiths 3786, 3788; vol. 2, p. 219

q An-Nasā’i, Khaṣā’iṣ ‘Ali ibn Abi Ṭālib, hadith 79

q Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 14, 17, 26; vol. 3, pp. 26, 59; vol. 4, p. 371; vol. 5, pp. 181-182, 189-190

q Ibn al­‘Athir, Jāmi‘ al­Uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 277

q Ibn Kathir, Al­Bidāyah wa’n­Nihāyah, vol. 5, p. 209

q Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’ān al-‘Aẓim, vol. 6, p. 199

Naṣir ad-Din al-Albani, Silsilāt al-Aḥādith aṣ-Ṣaḥiḥah (Kuwait: Ad-Dār aṣ-Ṣalāfiyyah), vol. 4, pp. 355-358

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Badr Shahin

Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt(‘a) World Assembly

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نام کتاب: دور أهل البیت (ع) فی بناء الجماعة الصالحة / ج 4

نویسنده: آیة الله سید محمد باقر الحکیم

تهیه کننده: اداره ترجمه، اداره کل پژوهش مجمع جهانی اهل بیت (ع)

مترجم: بدر شاهین

زبان ترجمه: انگلیسی

Title: The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Four: The Security System of the Virtuous Community

Author: Āyatullāh Sayyid Muḥammad Bāqir Al-ḥakim

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Badr Shahin

Editor: Iffat Shah and Carol Ahmadi

Revised by: Ashraf Carl Eastman Ahmadi

Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center

First Printing: 2011

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 5000


© Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

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Prelude: Significance of the Security System

Chapter One: General Measures of the Security System

Chapter Two: Policies of General Security

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This discussion regarding the security system of the virtuous community consists of a prelude and two chapters. The prelude discusses the significance and necessity of security in building the virtuous community. Chapter 1 examines the general features that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) instituted to operate this security system. Chapter 2 looks at the general policies that the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) followed to maintain the security system.

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There are many reasons the security system of the virtuous community was paid special importance by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in their program of building a virtuous community. Some of these reasons are examined in the following discussion:

Political Foundations and Conditions

The first reason was related to the political and social conditions faced by the individuals of the virtuous community. To explain, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers had to encounter harsh political and social conditions under which they were exposed to death penalties, banishment, pursuit, persecution, interrogation about their doctrines to ascertain their political tendencies, and false accusations of atheism, apostasy, skepticism, heresy, and fragmentation of Islamic unity.

The reasons for such harsh conditions can be summarized in the following points:

A. Most political regimes in the Muslim world have practiced political terrorism and persecution to defend their authority because of discrepancy in doctrines, political views and sectarian rituals. In most cases, the political states that have ruled Muslims have not allowed doctrinal, intellectual, sectarian or political pluralism except during

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the periods of the Holy Prophet and Imam `Ali—peace be upon them.(1)

B. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers faced difficult and painful political situations due to the fact that they, i.e. the virtuous community, took upon themselves the general responsibility of defending Islam and its true doctrine and resisting any attempt at misrepresentation and consequent deviation of the Muslim nation. In addition, they exclusively undertook the responsibility of resisting the injustice, persecution and tyranny of the ruling authorities towards Muslim communities as well as external dangers that threatened the nation.

This political stand of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers was doubtless the main reason for their persecution. However, the matter did not stop at this, and persecution extended to include even opposition to specific doctrines and rituals. The conflict therefore took a religious and sectarian form because the rulers saw these doctrines and rituals as positive evidence that verified political identity and affiliation to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Therefore, the actual stimulus of the persecution was political identity and loyalty to the religious personality representing the original truth. Sectarian discrepancies would naturally point to political identity; therefore, this identity became the impetus of accusations, persecution and pursuit because the political loyalty of the public was intermixed with their daily religious affairs. Moreover, religious issues and

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1- - I have discussed this topic 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)’, pp. 162-186 and in an independent lecture, to which I have referred in Book III, Chapter: Political Trends.

trends were actually political issues because society, in its entire detail, was based on religion and loyalty to one sect or another.

Consequently, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers suffered harsh ordeals regarding the practice of their rituals and acts of worship and their ways of expressing their beliefs, not because they disagreed with the ruling authorities and other Muslims in their beliefs, but because these rituals indicated their political identity—an identity that was rejected by the rulers who wanted to justify their actions before the public. Of course, the rulers knew that their justifications would not be acceptable to the public unless they were concealed under the garb of religion and sacredness. Nevertheless, in most cases opposition to the ruling authorities, rejection of injustice and oppression and love and loyally towards the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) were not acceptable justifications, because such matters were familiar and generally accepted by Muslims. A problem that existed though was that most Muslims did not have sufficient courage and ethical commitment to oppose and reject the practices of the ruling authorities and declare loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

In any case, an important point is that the justifications upon which the ruling authorities depended were false accusations against the true religious creed of Islam.(1)

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1- - An analytical view of this socio-political phenomenon clearly demonstrates the difference between the cruelty that the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) suffered because of some beliefs that were in disagreement with other sects and the harm suffered by the followers of some sects at the hands of other sects—despite the fact that the disagreements of the these sects with one another were not fewer, and were perhaps more, than the doctrinal or jurisprudential disagreements between these sects and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) school and its followers. Nevertheless, harsh persecution between the other sects and the ruling authorities did not exist in the same way nor continue for such a long period; however, persecution against the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers never stoped at all. Undoubtedly, the actual reason for such persecution was the political identity of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers and their protest against injustice and tyranny. Such being the case, doctrinal practices identified the individuals who supported this political protest. As a result, doctrinal commitments and denominational practice of rituals received the same harsh treatment even among other Muslim sects when they signified affiliation to a political trend opposing the ruling authorities, such as the conflict that took place between the Mu`tazilah and the Ash`ariyyah, or the conflicts between certain Muslim (Sunni) sects in some ages, or the present-day opposition to the Islamic veil (hijab) and other Islamic commitments that indicate the political identity of those loyal to them. The sectarian political condition could be deeply implanted and firmly established in the milieus of the Muslim nation and enjoy a firm social albeit non-political identity in spite of being the target of the ruling authorities’ persecution. This is accelerated because of malice, unfounded fanaticism as well as intellectual and social retardation of the nation, as seen between other Muslim sects in some periods of the history of Islam, however, among the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers this was seen throughout history because they (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt and their followers) were distinctively characterized by a firmly-rooted identity, faith and steadfastness in political situations.

C. All through the history of Islam, Muslim society witnessed political and religious uprisings and anarchy, with side effects injuring the virtuous community and followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Although they were not associated with these opposing groups, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers, who rejected anarchy in the

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community, tasted the blazing fire and suffered the consequences and negative effects of these uprisings because of malicious information, devious personal goals, or confusion in analysis due to the fact that most of these revolutions and uprisings raised mottos similar to those of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers, attracted large numbers of

followers and moved in the milieus of those who were politically classified as acting loyally towards or belonging to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

These harsh conditions forced the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to follow a policy and plan a system that would assure the security of the virtuous community and to opt for the most appropriate, yet perhaps undesireable(1), measures to protect the community from persecution, exile and even annihilation.

Requirements of Religious Law

The second reason special importance was paid to the security system of the virtuous community was related to the inevitable outcome of conformity to true religious laws by the virtuous community which necessitated existence as a financially independent entity in order to achieve its perfection through familiarity with the accurate religious laws and in order that authorities could perform their duties, including arbitration between disputing parties of the community and execution of authority of administration over private or communal properties that did not have a particular custodian. This developed from the doctrinal, political, and practical multidimensional acquaintance of

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1- - Such as the measures adopted by Imam hasan (‘a) when he concluded a truce with Mu`awiyah in order to maintain the existence and survival of the virtuous community.

the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) with the deviation and tyranny of the ruling authorities of the Islamic state, their inescapability from fulfilling their undertakings and their pledge to defend the general political entity of Islam and maintain the unity of the Muslim nation.

Naturally, such a political and social situation necessitated exactitude to contend with its intricacy and a special security system that would lead to perfection of the virtuous community, assist its activities and grant it flexibility in motion and adaptation with the surrounding circumstances.

Suppression of Destructive Efforts

The third reason special importance was paid to the security system of the virtuous community was to protect the virtuous community from individuals surreptitiously entering the community to damage, defame, or achieve futile personal benefits at the expense of common interests of the community, such as by use of siege and house arrest—under which the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) lived in the later ages—virtually imprisoning leaders and religious scholars of the virtuous community in their homes during various periods of tyrannical rule.

If we take a look at the goals of the security system of the virtuous community carefully, we discover that this system is not restricted to protecting the community against external persecution or achieving flexibility in activities; rather, it includes opposing the movements of the ghulat (extremists) and the opportunists who falsely claimed Shi`ism in order to attain personal interests. In the coming chapter, we will discuss these facts in more detail.

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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

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Fields of Discussions of Taqiyyah

Taqiyyah(1) 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:


دِینِی وَدِینُ آبَائِی.

Taqiyyah is my

religion and the religion of my fathers.


لاَ تَقِیَّةَ لَهُ لاَ دِینَ لَهُ.

Faithless is he who does

not practice taqiyyah.


عُبِدَ اللهُ بِشَیْءٍ أَفْضَلَ مِنَ التَّقِیَّةِ.

Almighty Allah has never

been worshipped through a matter more appreciated by Him than (taqiyyah).

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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.

· 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.(1)

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.(2) 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

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1- - 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.
2- - 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)).’

the principle of permission to avoid harassment. This permission has been originally granted by Almighty Allah in the Holy Qur'an which reads:

لَا یَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْکَافِرِینَ أَوْلِیَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ وَمَنْ یَفْعَلْ ذَلِکَ فَلَیْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِی شَیْءٍ إِلَّا أَنْ تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً وَیُحَذِّرُکُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَإِلَی اللَّهِ الْمَصِیرُ

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)

مَنْ کَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِیمَانِهِ إِلَّا مَنْ أُکْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِیمَانِ وَلَکِنْ مَنْ شَرَحَ بِالْکُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَیْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِیمٌ

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:

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إتَّقُوا عَلَی دِینِکُمْ، وَأَحْیُوهُ

بِالتَّقِیَّةِ. فَإِنَّهُ لاَ إِیمَانَ لِمَنْ لاَ تَقِیَّةَ لَهُ. إِنَّمَا

أَنْتُمْ فِی النَّاسِ کَالنَّحْلِ فِی الطَّیْرِ، وَلَوْ أَنَّ الطَّیْرَ

یَعْلَمُ مَا فِی أَجْوَافِ النَّحْلِ مَا بَقِیَ مِنْهَا شَیْءٌ إِلاَّ أَکَلَتْهُ.

وَلَوْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ عَلِمُوا مَا فِی أَجْوَافِکُمْ أَنَّکُمْ تُحِبُّونَ

أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ لأَکَلُوکُمْ بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ، وَلَنَحَلُوکُمْ بِالسَّرِّ

وَالْعَلاَنِیَةِ. رَحِمَ اللهُ عَبْداً مِنْکُمْ کَانَ عَلَی وِلاَیَتِنَا.


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.(1)

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1- - 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.

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.(1)

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1- - 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).

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 قَفَّیْنَا عَلَی آثَارِهِمْ بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّیْنَا بِعِیسَی ابْنِ مَرْیَمَ وَآتَیْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِیلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِی قُلُوبِ الَّذِینَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِیَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا کَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَیْهِمْ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ رِضْوَانِ اللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَایَتِهَا فَآتَیْنَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ وَکَثِیرٌ مِنْهُمْ 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.


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

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کُنْتُ رَدِیفَ رَسُولِ اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، عَلَی

حِمَارٍ، فَقَالَ: یَا بْنَ أُمِّ عَبْدٍ، هَلْ تَدْرِی مِنْ أَیْنَ أَحْدَثَتْ

بَنُو إِسْرَائِیلَ الرَّهْبَانِیَّةَ؟ فَقُلْتُ: اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ.

فَقَالَ: ظَهَرَتْ عَلَیْهِمُ الْجَبَابِرَةُ بَعْدَ عِیسَی، یَعْمَلُونَ

بِمَعَاصِی اللهِ، فَغَضِبَ أَهْلُ الإِیمَانِ فَقَاتَلُوهُمْ، فَهُزِمَ أَهْلُ

الإِیمَانِ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ، فَلَمْ یَبْقَ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ الْقَلِیلُ،

فَقَالُوا: إِنْ ظَهَرْنَا لِهَؤُلاَءِ أَفْنَوْنَا وَلَمْ یَبْقَ لِلدِّینِ

أَحَدٌ یَدْعُو إلَیْهِ، فَتَعَالَوْا نَتَفَرَّقْ فِی الأَرْضِ إَلَی أَنْ

یَبْعَثَ اللهُ النَّبِیَّ الَّذِی وَعَدَنَا بِهِ عِیسَی (یَعْنُونَ مُحَمَّداً

صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ). فَتَفَرَّقُوا فِی غِیرَانِ الْجِبَالِ

وَأَحْدَثُوا رَهْبَانِیَّةً، فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ تَمَسَّکَ بِدِینِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ

مَنْ کَفَرَ. ثُمَّ تَلاَ هَذِهِ الآیَةَ: {رَهْبَانِیَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا کَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَیْهِمْ}

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…”(1)

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1- - 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.

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.(1)

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1- - 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)

· 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

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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.

· 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

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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.(1)

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

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1- - 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.

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,(1) the Ahl

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1- - 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: وَأَیُّ شَیْءٍ أَقَرُّ لِعَیْنِی مِنَ التَّقِیَّةِ؟ إِنَّ التَّقِیَّةَ 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: التَّقِیَّةُ تِرْسُ الْمُؤْمِنِ. Taqiyyah is the armor of the faithful believer. التَّقِیَّةُ حِرْزُ الْمُؤْمِنِ. Taqiyyah is the shelter of the faithful believer. لاَ إِیمَانَ لِمَنْ لاَ تَقِیَّةَ لَهُ. Faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah. إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَیَقَعُ إِلَیْهِ الْحَدِیثُ مِنْ حَدِیثِنَا فَیَدِینُ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِهِ فِیمَا بَیْنَهُ وَبَیْنَهُ، فَیَکُونُ لَهُ عِزّاً فِی الدُّنْیَا وَنُوراً فِی الآخِرَةِ. وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَیَقَعُ إِلَیْهِ الْحَدِیثُ مِنْ حَدِیثِنَا فَیُذِیعُهُ، فَیَکُونُ لَهُ ذُلاًّ فِی الدُّنْیَا وَیَنْزِعُ اللهُ ذَلِکَ 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.)

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.(1)

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1- - `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)

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.((1)) 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

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1- - 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.

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.(1) In fact,

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1- - Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) is reported to have said: مَنْ أَحَبَّنَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ فَلْیَسْتَعِدَّ لِلْفَقْرِ جِلْبَاباً. Whoever loves us must readily dress himself with poverty. (Nahj al-Balaghah, Aphorism No. 112) لَوْ أَحَبَّنِی 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.

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.(1)

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1- - For instance, Abu-Basir is reported to have heard Imam al-Baqir (‘a) saying: لاَ خَیْرَ فِی مَنْ لاَ تَقِیَّةَ لَهُ. وَلَقَدْ قَالَ یُوسُفُ: {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 تَارِکَ التَّقِیَّةِ کَتَارِکِ الصَّلاَةِ لَکُنْتُ 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.

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

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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.(1)

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:


جُعِلَ التَّقِیَّةُ لِیُحْقَنَ بِهَا الدَّمُ. فَإِذَا بَلَغَ الدَّمَ فَلَیْسَ


Taqiyyah has been determined

in order to save blood from being shed. Hence, when the matter reaches bloodshed, taqiyyah becomes null.(2)

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

وَفِیهَا مِنَّا عَالِمٌ، فَإِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّقِیَّةُ الدَّمَ فَلاَ

تَقِیَّةَ. وَأَیْمُ اللهِ، لَوْ دُعِیتُمْ لِتَنْصُرُونَا قُلْتُمْ: لاَ

نَفْعَلُ، إِنَّمَا نَتَّقِی! وَلَکَانَتِ التَّقِیَّةُ أَحَبَّ إِلَیْکُمْ مِنْ

آبَائِکُمْ وَأُمَّهَاتِکُمْ، وَلَوْ قَدْ قَامَ الْقَائِمُ مَا إحْتَاجَ إِلَی

مُسَاءَلَتِکُمْ عَنْ ذَلِکَ، وَلأَقَامَ فِی کَثِیرٍ مِنْکُمْ 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.(3)

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1- - In another section, we will talk about the principle of taqiyyah along with its various aspects to make this idea more clear.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:483, H. 1.
3- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:483, H. 2.

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:


مَوَاضِعُ مَنْ أَزَالَهَا عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهَا لَمْ تَسْتَقِمْ لَهُ، وَتَفْسِیرُ

مَا یُتَّقَی مِثْلُ أَنْ یَکُونَ قَوْمُ سُوءٍ ظَاهِراً حُکْمُهُمْ

وَفِعْلُهُمْ عَلَی غَیْرِ حُکْمِ الْحَقِّ وَفِعْلِهِ. فَکُلُّ شَیْءٍ یَعْمَلُ

الْمُؤْمِنُ بَیْنَهُمْ لِمَکَانِ التَّقِیَّةِ مِمَّا لاَ یُؤَدِّی إِلَی

الْفَسَادِ فِی الدِّینِ 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.(1)

p: 39

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:469, H. 6.

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.(1)

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.

p: 40

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:451, H. 2 139, H. 2.

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

p: 41

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

p: 42

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:

p: 43

إنَّ بَنِی أُمَیَّةَ أَطْلَقُوا لِلنَّاسِ أَنْ

یَتَعَلَّمُوا الإِیمَانَ، وَلَمْ یُطْلِقُوا لَهُمْ أَنْ یَتَعَلَّمُوا

الشِّرْکَ، حَتَّی إذَا حَمَلُوهُمْ عَلَیْهِ لَمْ یَعْرِفُوا ذَلِکَ.


children of Umayyah(1)

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.(2)

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 sentiments(3) that revealed their

p: 44

1- - Rulers of the Umayyad dynasty.
2- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:415, H. 1.
3- - 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: إِیَّاکُمْ وَذِکْرَ عَلِیٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ، عَلَیْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ لَیْسَ شَیْءٌ أَبْغَضَ إِلَیْهِمْ مِنْ ذِکْرِ عَلِیٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ، عَلَیْهِمَا 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.

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.

p: 45

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-Riza (‘a) about a definite issue, but the Imam (‘a) insistently refused to answer. He then said:


أَعْطَیْنَاکُمْ کُلَّ مَا تُرِیدُونَ کَانَ شَرّاً لَکُمْ، 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:


اللهِ أَسَرَّهَا إِلَی جَبْرَئِیلَ، وَأَسَرَّهَا جَبْرَئِیلُ إِلَی مُحَمَّدٍ،

وَأَسَرَّهَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَی عَلِیٍّ، وَأَسَرَّهَا عَلِیٌّ إِلَی مَنْ شَاءَ

اللهُ. ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ تُذِیعُونَ ذَلِکَ! مَنِ الَّذِی أَمْسَکَ حَرْفاً


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:


حِکْمَةِ آلِ دَاوُودَ: یَنْبَغِی لِلْمُسْلِمِ أَنْ یَکُونَ مَالِکاً

لِنَفْسِهِ، مُقْبِلاً عَلَی شَأْنِهِ، عَارِفاً بِأَهْلِ زَمَانِهِ. فَاتَّقُوا

اللهَ وَلاَ تُذِیعُوا حَدِیثَنَا. فَلَوْلاَ أَنَّ اللهَ یُدَافِعُ عَنْ

أَوْلِیَائِهِ وَیَنْتَقِمُ لأَِوْلِیَائِهِ مِنْ أَعْدَائِهِ، أَمَا رَأَیْتَ

مَا صَنَعَ اللهُ بِآلِ بَرْمَکَ وَمَا إنْتَقَمَ اللهُ لأَِبِی الْحَسَنِ؟

وَقَدْ کَانَ بَنُو الأَشْعَثِ عَلَی خَطَرٍ عَظِیمٍ، فَدَفَعَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ

بِوِلاَیَتِهِمْ لأَِبِی الْحَسَنِ. وَأَنْتُمْ بِالْعِرَاقِ تَرَوْنَ أَعْمَالَ

هَؤُلاَءِ الْفَرَاعِنَةِ وَمَا أَمْهَلَ اللهُ لَهُمْ، فَعَلَیْکُمْ بِتَقْوَی

اللهِ، وَلاَ تُغَرَّنَّکُمُ الْحَیَاةُ الدُّنْیَا، وَلاَ تَغْتَرُّوا بِمَنْ

قَدْ أُمْهِلَ قَبْلَکُمْ، فَکَأَنَّ الأَمْرَ قَدْ وَصَلَ إِلَیْکُمْ.

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.(1)

p: 46

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:224-225, H. 10.

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 عَلَیْهِ حَرَّ الْحَدِیدِ وَضِیقَ


Whoever begins his day with divulgence of our secrets,

Almighty Allah will expose him to the heat of iron and narrow sitting-places.(1)

p: 47

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:493, H. 2.

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


کَانَ فِی یَدِکَ هَذِهِ شَیْءٌ، فَإِنِ إسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ لاَ تَعْلَمَ هَذِهِ

(الأُخْرَی) 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:


لِسَانَکَ تَعِزَّ، وَلاَ تُمَکِّنِ النَّاسَ مِنْ قِیَادِ رَقَبَتِکَ 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.(1)

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:

{ﯚ ﯛ ﯜ ﯝ} أَمَا وَاللهِ مَا

قَتَلُوهُمْ بِأَسْیَافِهِمْ، وَلَکِنْ أَذَاعُوا عَلَیْهِمْ وَأَفْشَوْا

سِرَّهُمْ فَقُتِلُوا.

Almighty Allah says (in

the Holy Qur'an), “And they slay the prophets unjustly. (3:21)” 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


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

p: 48

1- - 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.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:494, S. 34, H. 7.


سُلَیْمَانُ، إِنَّکُمْ عَلَی دِینٍ مَنْ کَتَمَهُ 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.(1)

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

إفْتَدَیْتُ خِصْلَتَیْنِ فِی الشِّیعَةِ لَنَا بِبَعْضِ لَحْمِ سَاعِدِی:

النَّزَقَ وَقِلَّةَ الْکِتْمَانِ.

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).(2)

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 لَیْسَ إحْتِمَالَ أَمْرِنَا

التَّصْدِیقُ لَهُ وَالْقَبُولُ فَقَطْ، مِنِ إحْتِمَالِ أَمْرِنَا سَتْرُهُ

وَصِیَانَتُهُ عَنْ غَیْرِ أَهْلِهِ. فَاقْرَأْهُمُ السَّلاَمَ وَقُلْ لَهُمْ:

رَحِمَ اللهُ عَبْداً إجْتَرَّ مَوَدَّةَ النَّاسِ إلَیْنَا. حَدِّثُوهُمْ بِمَا

یَعْرِفُونَ، وَاسْتُرُوا عَنْهُمْ مَا یُنْکِرُونَ.

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.(3)

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1- - 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.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:484, S. 32, H. 2.
3- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:484, S. 32, H. 5.

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-Fazl, who was a very honest man, has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:

خَلْقٌ فِی الْمَسْجِدِ

یَشْهَرُونَنَا وَیَشْهَرُونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ. أُولَئِکَ لَیْسُوا مِنَّا وَلاَ

نَحْنُ مِنْهُمْ. أَنْطِقُ فَأُدَارِی وَأَسْتُرُ فَیَهْتِکُونَ سِتْرِی! هَتَکَ

اللهُ سُتُورَهُمْ. یَقُولُونَ: إِمَامٌ. وَاللهِ مَا أَنَا بِإِمَامِ إِلاَّ

مَنْ أَطَاعَنِی. فَأَمَّا مَنْ عَصَانِی فَلَسْتُ لَهُمْ بِإِمَامٍ. لِمَ

یُقَلْقِلُونَ بِإسْمِی؟ أَلاَ یَکُفُّونَ إسْمِی عَنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ. فَوَاللهِ

لاَ یَجْمَعُنِیَ اللهُ وَإِیَّاهُمْ فِی 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.(1)

p: 50

1- - 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.

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:


أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ، لاَ وَلاَ مُدَّةُ قَلَمٍ. إِنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ لاَ یُصِیبُ مِنْ

دُنْیَاهُمْ شَیْئاً إِلاَّ أَصَابُوا مِنْ دِینِهِ 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.(1)

p: 51

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:129, H. 5; Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, 5:107, H. 5.

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 کَانَ مِنْهُمْ کَانَ 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.”

مَنْ أَحَبَّ بَقَاءَهُمْ فَهُوَ

مِنْهُمْ، وَمَنْ کَانَ مِنْهُمْ کَانَ 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.”

p: 52

“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!”(1)

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:


للهِ، تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی، مَعَ السُّلْطَانِ أَوْلِیَاءَ یَدْفَعُ بِهِمْ

عَنْ أَوْلِیَائِهِ.

Verily, among the company

of the oppressors, Almighty Allah has some intimate servants by whom He

repels (harm) from other cherished servants.(2)

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1- - Shaykh al-Saduq, Man La Yahzuruhu’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.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:139, H. 1.

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:


لِتَفْرِیجِ کُرْبَةٍ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ، أَوْ فَکِّ أَسْرِهِ، أَوْ قَضَاءِ

دَیْنِهِ. یَا زِیَادُ، إِنَّ أَهْوَنَ مَا یَصْنَعُ اللهُ جَلَّ وَعَزَّ بِمَنْ

تَوَلَّی لَهُمْ عَمَلاً أَنْ یَضْرِبَ عَلَیْهِ سُرَادِقَ مِنْ نَارٍ إِلَی

أَنْ یَفْرُغَ اللهُ مِنْ حِسَابِ الْخَلاَئِقِ. یَا زِیَادُ، فَإِنْ وُلِّیتَ

شَیْئاً مِنْ أَعْمَالِهِمْ فَأَحْسِنْ إِلَی إِخْوَانِکَ، فَوَاحِدَةٌ


“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.”(1)

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1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:140, H. 9; Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 5:110, H. 1.

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-Anbari(1) has reported the following:

For fourteen years, I wrote letters to Imam Abu’l-hasan al-Riza (‘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 Rafizi and you are refusing this office only for this reason!”

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


کِتَابَکَ وَمَا ذَکَرْتَ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ عَلَی نَفْسِکَ، فَإِنْ کُنْتَ

تَعْلَمُ أَنَّکَ إَذَا وَلِیتَ عَمَلَکَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللهِ،

صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، ثُمَّ تُصَیِّرُ أَعْوَانَکَ وَکُتَّابَکَ

أَهْلَ مِلَّتِکَ، وَإِذَا صَارَ إِلَیْکَ شَیْءٌ وَاسَیْتَ بِهِ فُقَرَاءَ

الْمُؤْمِنِینَ حَتَّی تَکُونَ وَاحِداً مِنْهُمْ، کَانَ ذَا بِذَا، وَإِلاَّ


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.(2)

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1- - Al-Ardabili has asserted that this person is al-hasan ibn al-husayn al-Kindi.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:145, H. 1.

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

p: 56

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.(1)

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,

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1- - 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.

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.(1)

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.(2)

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-Riza (‘a) once said to him:

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1- - Al-Ardabili, Jami` al-Ruwat 1:487.
2- - Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Fihrist, pp. 142; al-Ardabili, Jami` al-Ruwat 2:50-51.

إِنَّ للهِ تَعَالَی بِأَبْوَابِ الظَّالِمِینَ مَنْ نَوَّرَ

اللهُ لَهُ البُرْهَانَ وَمَکَّنَ لَهُ فِی الْبِلاَدِ، لِیَدْفَعَ بِهِمْ عَنْ أَوْلِیَائِهِ

وَیُصْلِحَ اللهُ بِهِمْ أُمُورَ الْمُسْلِمِینَ. إِلَیْهِمْ مَلْجَأُ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ

مِنَ الضُّرِّ، وَإِلَیْهِمْ یَفْزَعُ ذُو الْحَاجَةِ مِنْ شِیعَتِنَا، وَبِهِمْ

یُؤْمِنُ اللهُ رَوْعَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فِی دَارِ الظَّلَمَةِ. أُولَئِکَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

حَقّاً. أُولَئِکَ أُمَنَاءُ اللهِ فِی أَرْضِهِ. أُولَئِکَ نُورُ اللهِ فِی رَعِیَّتِهِمْ

یَوْمَ الْقِیَامَةِ، وَیَزْهَرُ نُورُهُمْ لأَِهْلِ السَّمَاوَاتِ کَمَا یَزْهَرُ

الْکَوَاکِبُ الدُّرِّیَّةُ لأَِهْلِ الأَرْضِ. أُولَئِکَ مَنْ نُورُهُمْ نُورُ الْقِیَامَةِ،

تُضِیءُ مِنْهُمُ الْقِیَامَةُ. خُلِقُوا وَاللهِ لِلْجَنَّةِ وَخُلِقَتِ الْجَنَّةُ

لَهُمْ. فَهَنِیئاً لَهُمْ. مَا عَلَی أَحَدِکُمْ أَنْ لَوْ شَاءَ لَنَالَ هَذَا



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:

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مَعَهُمْ فَیُسِرُّنَا بِإِدْخَالِ السُّرُورِ عَلَی الْمُؤْمِنِینَ مِنْ شِیعَتِنَا،

فَکُنْ مِنْهُمْ یَا 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.(1)

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.

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1- - 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.

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):

وَقَالَ إِنِّی مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَی رَبِّی إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِیزُ الْحَکِیمُ

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 یَتَرَقَّبُ قَالَ رَبِّ نَجِّنِی مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِینَ

وَلَمَّا تَوَجَّهَ تِلْقَاءَ مَدْیَنَ قَالَ عَسَی رَبِّی أَنْ یَهْدِیَنِی سَوَاءَ السَّبِیلِ

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.

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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

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mentioning that these Sayyids(1) 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 شِیعَتُنَا مَنْ لاَ

یَهِرُّ هَرِیرَ الْکَلْبِ، وَلاَ یَطْمَعُ طَمَعَ الْغُرَابِ، وَلاَ یَسْأَلُ

النَّاسَ بِکَفِّهِ وَإِنْ مَاتَ جُوعاً... أُطْلُبْهُمْ فِی أَطْرَافِ

الأَرْضِ. أُولَئِکَ الْخَشِنُ عَیْشُهُمُ، الْمُنْتَقِلَةُ دَارُهُمُ،

الَّذِینَ إِنْ شَهِدُوا لَمْ یُعْرَفُوا، وَإِنْ غَابُوا لَمْ یُفْتَقَدُوا.

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.(2)

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1- - Sayyid is a title of respect given to the descendants of the Holy Prophet (s) through Imam `Ali and Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (‘a).
2- - Abu-Zaynab al-Nu`mani, Kitab al-Ghaybah, 203-204; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:165, H. 16.

· 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 Fa(1)-

The Fa(2) 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),(3) 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

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1- imid dynasty
2- imid Dynasty ruled in part of North Africa, Egypt, and Syria from AD 909 to 1171.
3- -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.

quoting the following from the Holy Prophet to Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a):

وَلاَ تَعَرُّبَ بَعْدَ الْهِجْرَةِ.


not return to nomadism after migration to civility.(1)

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


اللهُ التَّعَرُّبَ بَعْدَ الْهِجْرَةِ لِلرُّجُوعِ عَنِ الدِّینِ وَتَرْکِ

الْمُؤَازَرَةِ لِلأَنْبِیَاءِ وَالْحُجَجِ، عَلَیْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ، وَمَا فِی

ذَلِکَ مِنَ الْفَسَادِ وَإِبْطَالِ حَقِّ کُلِّ ذِی حَقٍّ لِعِلَّةِ سُکْنَی

الْبَدْوِ، وَلِذَلِکَ لَوْ عَرِفَ الرَّجُلُ الدِّینَ کَامِلاً لَمْ یَجُزْ

لَهُ مُسَاکَنَةُ أَهْلِ الْجَهْلِ وَالْخَوْفِ عَلَیْهِ، لأَِنَّهُ لاَ

یُؤْمَنُ أَنْ یَقَعَ مِنْهُ تَرْکُ الْعِلْمِ وَالدُّخُولُ مَعَ أَهْلِ پالْجَهْلِ وَالتَّمَادِی فِی


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.(2)

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

p: 65

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:75, H. 1.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:75-76, H. 2.

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:


حَمَّادُ، إذَا کُنْتَ ثَمَّ تَذْکُرُ أَمْرَنَا وَتَدْعُو إِلَیْهِ؟

O hammad, do you proclaim our

faith and invite people to it when you are there?

hammad answered affirmatively, so the Imam asked again:


کُنْتَ فِی هَذِهِ الْمُدُنِ، مُدُنِ الإِسْلاَمِ، تَذْکُرُ أَمْرَنَا وَتَدْعُو


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:


إِذَا مِتَّ ثَمَّ تُحْشَرُ أُمَّةً وَحْدَکَ وَیَسْعَی نُورُکَ بَیْنَ


Therefore, if you die

there, you will be resurrected alone in an independent group and your light

will be running before you.(1)

p: 66

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:76, H. 6.



1. Coexistence with Other Muslims

2. Caution in Propagating the True Faith

3. Policy of Centralization

4. Observance of the Level of Toleration

p: 67


p: 68


The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) set forth a set of general policies to be followed in the area of security that supported the previously mentioned strategies of the security system of the virtuous community. This is because security procedures can be effective and useful only when they are carried out within the general policies of this discipline, especially when we realize that the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) intended to achieve a level of security which kept the virtuous community moving and existing within the borders of the unified Muslim society, to influence the Muslims and undertake the general responsibilities towards Islam and Muslim society. It is true that there are other significant objectives behind these general policies, but the goal of achieving security for the virtuous community is the most obvious and most significant. These policies may overlap the aforementioned measures and security procedures. In this discussion, we will refer to four general political policies and aspects that reflect bold security measures.

p: 69


p: 70

Coexistence with Other Muslims

The first general policy that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) set up for guaranteeing the security of the virtuous community was the construction of a well-established relationship with groups of Muslims and Muslim society as a whole. This policy represents the general principle followed by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and used by their followers as an effective two-edged instrument of pressure. Where campaigns of enlightenment are begun and good relations created with other groups of Muslims, those groups can be shifted from a pressure tool against the virtuous community—when the tyrannical ruling authorities incite them against the Shi`ah—to a pressure tool against the ruling authorities to put a stop to harassment of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers in particular and injustice and oppression against Muslims in general.

Actually, the majority of Muslims did put this change into effect despite the fact that many of them did not follow the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) sect. They, therefore, led a wide and influential opposition against such tyrannical authorities.

In fact, one of the most important goals of practicing taqiyyah was to achieve such coexistence with the other Muslims.(1)

In addition to enhancing the security of the virtuous community, coexistence with other Muslims has other

p: 71

1- - This topic has been previously discussed with some details. It is also discussed in our 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)’, pp. 140-144 159-162.

benefits, one of which is to ensure the cohesion and unity of Muslim society. This principle has another political goal, which is to protect the virtuous community from the probable negative reactions of other Muslims and ruling authorities.

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took the following measures:

A. They directed their followers to present themselves in general ceremonies and important rituals, which the religion of Islam has paid special attention to as pillars of Muslim society, including Friday and Congregational Prayers.

The Shi`ah community showed some reservations on participating in these congregations. For instance, various terms of validity of congregational prayers, like the specification of decency as a quality to be met by prayer leaders, might not have been met because the majority of prayer leaders were officials or agents of the unjust ruling authorities. Another reservation was that the Shi`ah jurisprudentially differ with other Muslim groups on the performance of prayers in terms of the timing of the daily prayers and other rulings and acts as well as in terms of certain cultural contents that the Shi`ah believe to have been distorted through history, such as insulting Imam `Ali (‘a) and reviling his followers in sermons and lectures delivered during such congregations.

Despite these issues, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) urged their followers, firmly and vigorously, to attend these congregations.

Al-halabi has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

p: 72

مَنْ صَلَّی مَعَهُمْ فِی الصَّفِّ الأَوَّلِ کَانَ

کَمَنْ صَلَّی خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ.


prays with them (i.e. other Muslim groups) in the first line (of their

congregational prayers) is regarded as one who prayed behind the Messenger of

Allah (s) in congregational prayer.(1)

`Abdullah ibn Sinan has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:


بِتَقْوَی اللهِ، وَلاَ تَحْمِلُوا النَّاسَ عَلَی أَکْتَافِکُمْ فَتَذِلُّوا.

إِنَّ اللهَ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، یَقُولُ فِی کِتَابِهِ: {وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا} عُودُوا مَرْضَاهُمْ،

وَاحْضُرُوا جَنَائِزَهُمْ، وَاشْهَدُوا لَهُمْ وَعَلَیْهِمْ، وَصَلُّوا

مَعَهُمْ فِی مَسَاجِدِهِمْ…

I instruct you to be

God-wary. Do not carry people on your shoulders (i.e. do not abase yourself

before others), lest you become humiliated. Verily, Almighty Allah says in

His Book, “Speak to men good words. (2:83)” Visit the sick among them, attend

their funeral ceremonies, bear witness for and against them, pray with them

in their mosques…(2)

B. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) urged their followers to comply with the social behavior common with other Muslims in general, and members of their (i.e. the followers) clans and tribes in particular, so that difference in doctrine and sect would not influence social relations. These common social behaviors included keeping in contact with relatives, attending their funeral and wedding ceremonies, visiting the sick, and other similar social activities and duties.

p: 73

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 5:381, H. 4.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:7, H. 6 (Ed. Al al-Bayt Foundation).

Mu`awiyah ibn Wahab has reported that he once asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “What should we do with respect to relationships among our people and associates who follow other faiths?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:


إِلَی أَئِمَّتِکُمُ الَّذِینَ تَقْتَدُونَ بِهِمْ، فَتَصْنَعُونَ مَا

یَصْنَعُونَ. فَوَاللهِ إِنَّهُمْ لَیَعُودُونَ مَرْضَاهُمْ وَیَشْهَدُونَ

جَنَائِزَهُمْ وَیُقِیمُونَ الشَّهَادَةَ لَهُمْ وَعَلَیْهِمْ وَیُؤَدُّونَ

الأَمَانَةَ إِلَیْهِمْ.

You must watch the Imams

you follow and do exactly as they do. By Allah (I swear), they (i.e. the

Imams) visit the sick among them, attend their funeral ceremonies, testify

for and against them, and fulfill their trusts.(1)

Kathir ibn `Alqamah has reported that he once asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) for advice. The Imam (‘a) said:


بِتَقْوَی اللهِ وَالْوَرَعِ وَالْعِبَادَةِ وَطُولِ السُّجُودِ وَأَدَاءِ

الأَمَانَةِ وَصِدْقِ الْحَدِیثِ وَحُسْنِ الْجِوَارِ. فَبِهَذَا جَاءَنَا

مُحَمَّدٌ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ. صِلُوا فِی عَشَائِرِکُمْ وَعُودُوا

مَرْضَاکُمْ وَاشْهَدُوا جَنَائِزَکُمْ، وَکُونُوا لَنَا زَیْناً وَلاَ

تَکُونُوا عَلَیْنَا شَیْناً. حَبِّبُونَا إِلَی النَّاسِ وَلاَ تُبَغِّضُونَا

إِلَیْهِمْ، فَجُرُّوا إِلَیْنَا کُلَّ مَوَدَّةٍ وَادْفَعُوا عَنَّا کُلَّ


I command you to fear

Allah, relinquish prohibitions, abide by devotional acts, prostrate yourself

as long as you can, fulfill your trusts, tell only the truth and treat your

neighbor kindly. This is exactly what has been brought to us by

Muhammad—peace be upon him and his Household. Build up good relations with

the members of your tribes. Visit the sick among them. Attend their funeral

ceremonies. Represent us excellently (before others) and do not create a bad

opinion of us. Make us beloved by people and do not make them upset at us. Attract

to us all love and repel from us every evil.(2)

p: 74

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 8:399, H. 3.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 8:400, H. 8.

C. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) highlighted the importance of their followers acting as excellent examples in Muslim communities so that they would be objects of others’ attention, sources of trustworthiness and reliability, the worthiest of keeping the trusts of others, and the persons people refer to for solving problems and judging disputes.

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


لَحَدَّثَنِی أَبِی، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ، أَنَّ الرَّجُلَ کَانَ یَکُونُ فِی الْقَبِیلَةِ

مِنْ شِیعَةِ عَلِیٍّ، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ، فَیَکُونُ زَیْنَهَا؛ آدَاهُمْ لِلأَمَانَةِ

وَأَقْضَاهُمْ لِلْحُقُوقِ وَأَصْدَقَهُمْ لِلْحَدِیثِ، إِلَیْهِ وَصَایَاهُمْ وَوَدَائِعُهُمْ.

تُسْأَلُ الْعَشِیرَةُ عَنْهُ فَتَقُولُ: مَنْ مِثْلُ فُلانٍ؟ إنَّهُ آدَانَا لِلأَمَانَةِ

وَأَصْدَقُنَا لِلْحَدِیثِ.

I swear by Allah, my

father (‘a) told me that a Shi`ite in a clan would be the best of its

individuals, the most trustworthy, the most observant of the rights of others,

and the most honest. The other individuals of that clan would always keep

their wills and trusts with him and when they were asked about him, they

would answer that he was unmatched among them: the most upright and the most


p: 75

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 8:399 H. 2. More details of this topic will be cited in the sixth book of this series, which deals with the relationships of the virtuous community.

Caution in Propagating the True Faith

The second general policy adopted by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) was caution and vigilance in propagating the true beliefs of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a),(1) including issues of loyalty to the Holy Imams (‘a), religious referential authority, doctrines, distinctive features of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the duties of Muslims towards them, etc.

The traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) demonstrate that the purpose behind adopting this policy of caution is to guarantee the security and protect the individuals of this community. Making a comparison between the advantages of inviting people to true faith and guiding them to the true path on the one hand and forbidding the divulgence of doctrinal secrets and the perils ensuing from such propagation when conditions are not appropriate or when this causes divulgence of a doctrinal secret on the other, the Holy Imams (‘a) said they would prefer banning propagation and postponing growth, leaving dissemination to its natural course.

Shaykh al-Saduq has recorded the following authenticated tradition:

Muhammad ibn `«sa has reported that he read the following in `Ali ibn Hilal’s message to Imam al-Riza (‘a): It has been reported from your fathers that they warned you against debating on religious affairs. However, some of your followers (theologians) interpreted this warning to be exclusively meant for those who are deficient in this field and believed those who could do it adeptly were excluded

p: 76

1- - Previous discussion has been made regarding this topic along with some traditions supporting the idea.

from this warning. Is this interpretation accurate or not?”

The Imam (‘a) replied:


وَغَیْرُ الْمُحْسِنِ لاَ یَتَکَلَّمُ فِیهِ، فَإِنَّ إثْمَهُ أَکْبَرُ مِنْ


Both, those who are

inexperienced and those who can debate adeptly are included in this ban.

Verily, its sin is greater than its advantage.(1)

To explain, the Imam (‘a) said that even though there were advantages in propagating the true faith, the political and psychological circumstances were at that time inappropriate; therefore, the drawbacks would be greater than the advantages.

According to another acceptably reported (hasan) tradition,(2) hamran has reported that the following dialogue was conducted between Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) and himself:

hamran: May I ask you something that Allah may lead you to more success?

The Imam: Yes, you may.

hamran: I now practice an approach quite opposite to my previous approach! I used to visit countries and invite one or two men or women to my faith and then Almighty Allah would save whomever He willed. Now, I can no longer invite anybody.

The Imam: What harms you if you leave people to their Lord? Whomever Almighty Allah decides to bring out of darkness into the light shall be so brought. To make sure of

p: 77

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:457, H. 26.
2- - A hadith is classified as hasan when it is reported by an Imami-Shi`ite reporter whose faith has been praised in such a manner that is acceptable by rational people although none has decided him as trustworthy or as faithless or deviant.

one’s receptiveness is better than casting (your faith) onto another arbitrarily.

hamran: Please, tell me about the interpretation of Almighty Allah’s saying, “And whoever keeps it (i.e. a soul) alive, it is as though he kept alive all men. (5:32)”

The Imam: To keep a soul alive is to save it from burning or drowning… However, its most profound interpretation is to invite an individual to the true faith and a positive response is received.(1)

Al-Fuzayl has reported that he asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “May we invite people to this matter (i.e. faith)?”

The Imam answered:


فُضَیْلُ، إِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِذَا أَرَادَ بِعَبْدٍ خَیْراً أَمَرَ

مَلَکاً فَأَخَذَ بِعُنُقِهِ حَتَّی أَدْخَلَهُ فِی هَذَا الأَمْرِ طَائِعاً

أَوْ کَارِهاً.

O Fuzayl, if Almighty

Allah intends to do (the) favor (of true guidance) to a servant (of His), He

orders an angel to grasp him by the neck and forcefully put him in this

matter, willingly or unwillingly.(2)

Kulayb ibn Mu`awiyah al-Saydawi has reported that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said to him:


وَالنَّاسَ! إِنَّ اللهَ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، إِذَا أَرَادَ بِعَبْدٍ خَیْراً نَکَتَ

فِی قَلْبِهِ نَکْتَةً فَتَرَکَهُ وَهُوَ یَجُولُ لِذَلِکَ وَیَطْلُبُهُ. لَوْ

أَنَّکُمْ إِذَا کَلَّمْتُمُ النَّاسَ قُلْتُمْ: ذَهَبْنَا حَیْثُ ذَهَبَ اللهُ،

وَاخْتَرْنَا مَنِ إخْتَارَهُ اللهُ؛ إِخْتَارَ اللهُ مُحَمَّداً وَإخْتَرْنَا

آلَ مُحَمَّدٍ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ.

Beware of (inviting)

people (to your faith)! Verily, if Almighty Allah intends to do (the) favor

(of true guidance) to a servant (of His), He casts something in his heart and

leaves him go after it from place to place and seek it…It would be better for

you if you say, while replying to those who blame you for choosing this sect,

“We have moved towards those whom Almighty Allah preferred and we chose them

whom Almighty Allah has chosen. Almighty Allah has chosen Muhammad (s) and we

have chosen Muhammad’s Household (‘a).”(3)

p: 78

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:446-447, H. 1.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:449, H. 1.
3- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:449, H. 1.

Thabit ibn Sa`id has reported that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said to him:


ثَابِتُ، مَا لَکُمْ وَلِلنَّاسِ؟ کُفُّوا عَنِ النَّاسِ. وَلاَ تَدْعُوا

أَحَداً إلَی أَمْرِکُمْ، فَوَاللهِ لَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ السَّمَاءِ وَأَهْلَ

الأَرْضِ إجْتَمَعُوا عَلَی أَنْ یُضِلُّوا عَبْداً هَدَاهُ اللهُ مَا

إسْتَطَاعُوا. کُفُّوا عَنِ النَّاسِ، وَلاَ یَقُولُ أَحَدُکُمْ: أَخِی وَابْنُ

عَمِّی وَجَارِی. فَإنَّ اللهَ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، إِذَا أَرَادَ بِعَبْدٍ خَیْراً

طَیَّبَ رُوحَهُ، فَلاَ یَسْمَعُ بِمَعْرُوفٍ إِلاَّ عَرَفَهُ، وَلاَ بِمُنْکَرٍ

إِلاَّ أَنْکَرَهُ. ثُمَّ یَقْذِفُ اللهُ فِی قَلْبِهِ کَلِمَةً یَجْمَعُ بِهَا


O Thabit! What do you want of people? Stop disputing with people

(attempting to convince them) and do not invite them to your faith. I swear

by Allah that if all the inhabitants of the skies and all the inhabitants of

the earth help each other to mislead a servant that Almighty Allah wants to

guide, they shall never be able to do it. Stop contending with people and do

not offer your faith to anyone even if you believe one will respond because

he is your brother, cousin, or neighbor. Verily, if Almighty Allah wants

somebody to join the truth, He will make his spirit responsive and then that

person will follow whatever good matter he encounters and reject any evil

that he encounters. Then, Almighty Allah will cast in his heart a word that determines

his decree.(1)

p: 79

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:450, H. 3; Shaykh al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, 2:213, H. 2.

`Ali ibn `Uqbah, on the authority of his father, has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

إجْعَلُوا أَمْرَکُمْ

هَذَا إِلَی اللهِ، وَلاَ تَجْعَلُوهُ لِلنَّاسِ، فَإنَّهُ مَا کَانَ للهِ

فَهُوَ للهِ، وَمَا کَانَ لِلنَّاسِ فَلاَ یَصْعَدُ إلَی السَّمَاءِ، وَلاَ

تُخَاصِمُوا بِدِینِکُمْ، فَإِنَّ الْمُخَاصَمَةَ مُمْرِضَةٌ لِلْقَلْبِ. إنَّ

اللهَ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، قَالَ لِنَبِیِّهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ: {إِنَّکَ لَا تَهْدِی مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَکِنَّ اللَّهَ یَهْدِی مَنْ یَشَاءُ} وَقاَلَ: {أَفَأَنْتَ تُکْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّی یَکُونُوا مُؤْمِنِینَ } ذَرُوا النَّاسَ،

فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ أَخَذُوا عَنِ النَّاسِ، وَإِنَّکُمْ أَخَذْتُمْ عَنْ رَسُولِ

اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَعَلِیٍّ، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ، وَلاَ

سَوَاءَ. وَإِنِّی سَمِعْتُ أَبِی، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ، یَقُولُ: إِذَا کَتَبَ

اللهُ عَلَی عَبْدٍ أَنْ یُدْخِلَهُ فِی هَذَا الأَمْرِ، کَانَ أَسْرَعَ إِلَیْهِ

مِنَ الطَّیْرِ إِلَی وَکْرِهِ.

Devote this matter (i.e. faith) to Almighty Allah alone and do not display

it before people. Verily, what is truly intended to Almighty Allah shall

permanently be to Him, but whatever is intended for people shall never ascend

to the heavens. Do not dispute with others in matters appertaining to your

faith. Verily, disputation ends in disease of the heart (spiritual disease).

Almighty Allah has said to His Prophet (s), “Surely, you cannot guide whom

you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases. (28:56)” He has also said, “Will

you then force men to become believers? (10:99)” Leave people alone. Verily,

they received from other people while you have received from Allah’s

Messenger (s) and `Ali (‘a) and none else. Indeed, I heard my father saying,

“If Almighty Allah decides for someone to join this faith, he will join it

swifter than a bird hurrying to its nest.”(1)

p: 80

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:450, H. 4.

On the other hand, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) allowed propagation for the true faith when they believed that there was good opportunity and positive ground available for people to receive it.

Sulayman ibn Khalid has reported that he said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “I have some relatives who usually listen to me. May I call them to this faith?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:


إِنَّ اللهَ یَقُولُ فِی کِتَابِهِ: {یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَکُمْ وَأَهْلِیکُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ}

Yes, you may. Almighty

Allah says in His Book, “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families

from a fire whose fuel is men and stones. (66:6)

Zayd ibn `Ali has reported the following from his ancestors:

One day, someone asked the Holy Prophet (s) for guidance and the Holy Prophet (s) advised him, saying:


أَنْ لاَ تُشْرِکَ بِاللهِ شَیْئاً، وَلاَ تَعْصِ وَالِدَیْکَ… وَادْعُ النَّاسَ

إِلَی الإِسْلاَمِ، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ لَکَ بِکُلِّ مَنْ أَجَابَکَ عِتْقَ

رَقَبَةٍ مِنْ وُلْدِ یَعْقُوبَ.

I advise you not to set

any partner (in godhead) with Almighty Allah. Never disobey your parents….Call

people to Islam. Be it known to you that you will win the reward of manumitting

a slave from the descendants of (Prophet) Jacob (‘a) for every single person

that responds to you.(1)

Abu-Basir has reported that he once asked Imam al-Baqir (‘a), “Am I permitted to call people to my faith?”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “No, you are not.”

p: 81

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:448, H. 5.

Abu-Basir further asked, “If one asks me to lead him to the true faith, will I then be permitted to do so?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:


مَنِ إسْتَرْشَدَکَ فَارْشُدْهُ، فَإِنِ إسْتَزَادَکَ فَزِدْهُ، وَإِنْ

جَاحَدَکَ فَجَاحِدْهُ.

Yes. If one asks for true

guidance, you may show him. If one asks for more details, you may give them

to him. If one does not believe you, you may reject him.(1)

At another time, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) urged their followers to propagate the true faith after they had defined a suitable environment for its acceptance; that is, youths who desire acquainting themselves with the truth and their minds and hearts are usually open to knowledge.

Isma`il ibn `Abd al-Khaliq has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) asking al-Ahwal, “You have come from Basrah, have you not?”

“Yes, I have,” answered al-Ahwal.

“How do you evaluate the people’s enthusiasm towards this matter and in joining it?” Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) asked.

“Well,” answered al-Ahwal, “There is a lack of enthusiasm. Some have joined, but they are still few.”

Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) instructed:


بِالأَحْدَاثِ، فَإِنَّهُمْ أَسْرَعُ إِلَی کُلِّ خَیْرٍ.

Concentrate on the youths,

because they always hurry towards every good thing more than others do.(2)

By comparing these situations and traditions with each

p: 82

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:450-451, H. 6.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:447-448, H. 4.

other and taking into consideration the circumstances under which they traditions were stated, we can conclude that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) set up a general policy for the propagation of the path of Almighty Allah and true faith. This policy is established on a number of levels:

(i) Responsibility towards one’s family members and clan (i.e. the private circle).

(ii) Full acquaintance with the person to whom the invitation is being extended. To put in simpler words, it is necessary that those persons are receptive and open minded.

(iii) Availability of suitable political and social security that assures protection of the virtuous community against potential injuries that could arise from rashness in propagation through examination of the circumstances exactly and accurately so as to avoid missing the opportunity to procure the common interests of Muslims, lead them to true guidance, and seek Almighty Allah’s nearness through acts of propagation.(1)

p: 83

1- - In a coming discussion, we will discuss in detail the promulgational aspect of this topic.

Policy of Centralization

The third measure adopted by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) for ensuring the security of the virtuous community was that they sternly instructed their followers not to respond imprudently to the calls of those who claimed reformation or revolution against adverse political and social conditions unless they received affirmation for such calls from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) directly or when the reformative movement was personally undertaken by the promised Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

This is because many so-called reformists have wicked intentions and their main goal is to come to power or achieve personal or illegitimate gains. Past examples of this include the `Abbasids who called for revolution against the Umayyad dynasty and some hasanid movements at their outset, which were led by Muhammad, the innocent souled (dhu’l-nafs al-zakiyyah), and his brother Ibrahim (the sons of `Abdullah al-Mahz ibn al-hasan al-Muthanna ibn al-hasan (‘a) ibn `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‘a)).

Other reformists may have been sincere in their intentions but were incapable of identifying political conditions because they lacked familiarity with the circumstances surrounding the situation, or they based their uprisings on foundations that seemed sound but were actually restricted to their adopters only.

Shaykh al-Kulayni, in al-Kafi, has quoted al-Mu`alla ibn Khunays to have narrated the following:

I carried the letters of `Abd al-Salam ibn Na`im, Sadir, and many others from our companions to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) at

p: 84

the time of the uprising of the Musawwidah(1) and just before the victory of the `Abbasids. These letters carried their determination to give power to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a). The Imam threw these letters down violently and said:


أُفٍّ! مَا أَنَا لِهَؤُلاَءِ بِإِمَامٍ. أَمَا یَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ إِنَّمَا

یَقْتُلُ السُّفْیَانِیَّ؟

Ugh! Ugh! I am not the

Imam of these. Do they not know that the Imam who shall undertake this matter

will kill al-Sufyani beforehand?(2)

In an authentic tradition reported by Shaykh al-Kulayni in his book of al-Kafi, al-`Ays ibn al-Qasim has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:


بِتَقْوَی اللهِ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِیکَ لَهُ، وَانْظُرُوا لأَِنْفُسِکُمْ، فَوَاللهِ

إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَیَکُونُ لَهُ الْغَنَمُ فِیهَا الرَّاعِی، فَإِذَا وَجَدَ رَجُلاً

هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِغَنَمِهِ مِنَ الَّذِی هُوَ فِیهَا یُخْرِجُهُ وَیَجِیءُ بِذَلِکَ

الرَّجُلِ الَّذِی هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِغَنَمِهِ مِنَ الَّذِی کَانَ فِیهَا. وَاللهِ

لَوْ کَانَتْ لأَِحَدِکُمْ نَفْسَانِ یُقَاتِلُ بِوَاحِدَةٍ یُجَرِّبُ بِهَا ثُمَّ

کَانَتِ الأُخْرَی بَاقِیَةً تَعْمَلُ عَلَی مَا قَدِ اسْتَبَانَ لَهَا، وَلَکِنْ

لَهُ نَفْسٌ وَاحِدَةٌ إِذَا ذَهَبَتْ فَقَدْ وَاللهِ ذَهَبَتِ التَّوْبَةُ. فَأَنْتُمْ

أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْتَارُوا لأَِنْفُسِکُمْ. إِنْ أَتَاکُمْ آتٍ مِنَّا فَانْظُرُوا

عَلَی أَیِّ شَیْءٍ تَخْرُجُونَ، وَلاَ تَقُولُوا خَرَجَ زَیْدٌ، فَإِنَّ زَیْداً

کَانَ عَالِماً وَکَانَ صَدُوقاً وَلَمْ یَدْعُکُمْ إِلَی نَفْسِهِ، وَإِنَّمَا دَعَاکُمْ

إِلَی الرِّضَا مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ. وَلَوْ ظَهَرَ

لَوَفَی بِمَا دَعَاکُمْ إِلَیْهِ. إِنَّمَا خَرَجَ إِلَی سُلْطَانٍ مُجْتَمِعٍ لِیَنْقُضَهُ.

فَالْخَارِجُ مِنَّا الْیَوْمَ إِلَی أَیِّ شَیْءٍ یَدْعُوکُمْ إِلَی الرِّضَا مِنْ

آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَنَحْنُ نُشْهِدُکُمْ

أَنَّا لَسْنَا نَرْضَی بِهِ وَهُوَ یَعْصِینَا الْیَوْمَ وَلَیْسَ مَعَهُ أَحَدٌ،

وَهُوَ إِذَا کَانَتِ الرَّایَاتُ وَالأَلْوِیَةُ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ لاَ یُسْمَعَ مِنَّا

إِلاَّ مَنِ إجْتَمَعَتْ بَنُو فَاطِمَةَ مَعَهُ، فَوَاللهِ مَا صَاحِبُکُمْ إِلاَّ

مَنِ إجْتَمَعُوا عَلَیْهِ. إِذَا کَانَ رَجَبُ فَأَقْبِلُوا عَلَی إسْمِ اللهِ،

وَإِنْ أَحْبَبْتُمْ أَنْ تَتَأَخَّرُوا إِلَی شَعْبَانَ فَلاَ ضَیْرَ، وَإِنْ أَحْبَبْتُمْ

أَنْ تَصُومُوا فِی أَهَالِیکُمْ فَلَعَلَّ ذَلِکَ یَکُونُ أَقْوَی لَکُمْ، وَکَفَاکُمْ

بِالسُّفْیَانِیِّ عَلاَمَةً.

Adhere to fear of Almighty Allah, the One, without setting any partner

with him and decide for yourselves. I swear by Allah, an owner of a flock of

sheep who has hired a shepherd must definitely dismiss his shepherd and

appoint another if he finds that the latter is more skilled in shepherding

his sheep than the earlier. Similarly, if you were to have two souls, you

might have used one as a trial and then directed your second soul according

to the trial of the first. However, you have only one soul. If it expires,

the opportunity to repent will definitely expire, too. So, you must decide for

yourselves. If one belonging to our community comes to you and invites you to

an uprising, you must first of all consider the reason for which you would rise.

Do not put forward the uprising of Zayd as your excuse! Verily, Zayd was

knowledgeable and honest. He did not call you to accept him as your leader;

rather, he called you to revolt for the sake of attaining the pleasure of

Muhammad’s Household (‘a). Had he succeeded (in his revolution), he would

have certainly fulfilled his pledge and the slogan to which he had called

you. However, he rose up against a well-fortified power trying to demolish it.

Now, if anyone from our community revolts and invites you (to his revolution)

raising the slogan of attaining the pleasure of Muhammad’s Household (‘a), we

call you (all) to bear witness that we do not approve of such a person

because he is disobeying us and none (of us) stands with him. When

(different) pennons and standards are raised, the followers must most

worthily listen to us and obey only him whom all descendants of Fatimah (‘a) join.

By Allah, the one to lead you (i.e. the promised Imam) is only the one whom

all these descendants join unanimously. When (the month of) Rajab falls, you

may gather in the Name of Allah. If you wish, you may postpone it to Sha`ban—there

is no objection in this. If you even wish to spend the month of fasting with

your families, this may be better for you. The advent of al-Sufyani will be a

sufficient sign for you.(3)

p: 85

1- - Musawwidah (the black-dressed revolutionaries) indicates the rebels who mutinied against the Umayyad dynasty before the `Abbasids came to power, calling for the rulership of `Abbasids such as Abu-Muslim al-Khurasani.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:37-38, H. 8. The Imam (‘a) intends to say that the Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) who would ‘undertake the matter’ would come after the killing of al-Sufyani (one from the descendants of Sufyan), and this had not yet happened. Therefore, the promised Imam was not Imam al-Sadiq (‘a).
3- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah, 11:35-36, H. 1.


p: 86

Similar to this tradition, Shaykh al-Saduq, in his book `Ilal al-Shara'i`, has reported that al-`Ays ibn al-Qasim, through a valid chain of authority, heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:


اللهَ وَانْظُرُوا لأَِنْفُسِکُمْ، فَإِنَّ أَحَقَّ مَنْ نَظَرَ لَهَا أَنْتُمْ.

لَوْ کَانَ لأَِحَدِکُمْ نَفْسَانِ فَقَدَّمَ إِحْدَاهُمَا وَجَرَّبَ بِهَا،

إسْتَقْبَلَ التَّوْبَةَ بِالأُخْرَی کَانَ، وَلَکِنَّهَا نَفْسٌ وَاحِدَةٌ

إِذَا ذَهَبَتْ فَقَدْ وَاللهِ ذَهَبَتِ التَّوْبَةُ. إِنْ أَتَاکُمْ مِنَّا آتٍ

لِیَدْعُوَکُمْ إِلَی الرِّضَا مِنَّا فَنَحْنُ نُشْهِدُکُمْ أَنَّا لاَ

نَرْضَی. إِنَّهُ لاَ یُطِیعُنَا الْیَوْمَ وَهُوَ وَحْدَهُ. فَکَیْفَ

یُطِیعُنَا إِذَا إرْتَفَعَتِ الرَّایَاتُ وَالأَعْلاَمُ؟

Fear Allah and decide for

yourselves. Those worthiest to choose for you are youselves. If you were to have

two souls, you might have used one as trial and used the other for repenting

according to the result of the trial of the first. However, there is only one

soul. If it expires, repentance will definitely expire, too. If one from us

comes to you raising the slogan of attaining the pleasure of Muhammad’s

Household (‘a), we now call you (all) to witness that we do not accept such a

person because he has not obeyed us—he is alone; how then can he obey us when

different pennons and standards will be raised?(1)

p: 87

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:38, H. 10.

In conclusion, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) believed that the decision to participate in an armed struggle, be it for conquest(1) or against an unjust ruling authority, must be centralized and under the direct personal authority of the Holy Imams (‘a). This is because such participation is related to the security of the virtuous community as a whole and might expose the interests and existence of the

p: 88

1- According to a tradition that is validly reported from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), `Abbad al-Basri met Imam `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) on his way to Makkah and said, “O `Ali, you have abandoned jihad and escaped its difficulty and come to hajj and its easiness. Almighty Allah says, “Surely, Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property so that they shall have Paradise. They fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain. This is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. And who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge, which you have made, and that is the mighty achievement. (9:111)” Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) commented, “You may recite what comes next.” So, the man recited, “They who turn to Allah, who serve Him, who praise Him, who fast, who bow down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and who keep the limits of Allah. Give good news to the believers. (9:112)” The Imam thus commented, “If we find persons demonstrating these characteristics, we will definitely leave hajj and perform jihad with them.” Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:32-33, H. 3. You may also refer to H. 1 2 of the same page.

community to danger. In addition, such a decision must be very accurate for it may expose participants (in such armed rebellion or struggle) to religious, moral and mortal danger.

Al-husayn ibn Khalid in a validly reported tradition has reported that he said to Imam al-Riza (‘a), “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! There is a tradition reported by `Abdullah ibn Bukayr on the authority of `Ubayd ibn Zurarah.”

“What is it?” asked the Imam (‘a).

Al-husayn said, “`Ubayd ibn Zurarah has reported that he met Abu-`Abdullah (‘a) (Imam al-Sadiq) in the same year of the uprising of Ibrahim ibn `Abdullah ibn al-hasan and asked him, ‘May Allah accept me as ransom for you! This man has composed verses and is inciting people to join him. What is your instruction in this regard?’

The Imam (‘a) said:


اللهَ وَاسْکُنُوا مَا سَکَنَتِ السَّمَاءُ وَالأَرْضُ.

Fear Almighty Allah and do

not make any move as long as the heavens and the earth are settling down.

“On receiving this instruction, `Abdullah ibn Bukayr said, ‘If `Ubayd ibn Zurarah is honest, there will be no advent of an Imam and no uprising!’”

Imam al-Riza (‘a) explained:


الْحَدِیثَ عَلَی مَا رَوَاهُ عُبَیْدٌ، وَلَیْسَ عَلَی مَا تَأَوَّلَهُ عَبْدُ

اللهِ بْنُ بُکَیْرٍ. إِنَّمَا عَنَی أَبُو عَبْدِ اللهِ، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ،

بِقَوْلِهِ "مَا سَکَنَتِ السَّمَاءُ" مِنَ النِّدَاءِ بِإسْمِ

صَاحِبِکَ، وَ"مَا سَکَنَتِ الأَرْضُ" مِنَ الْخَسْفِ بِالْجَیْشِ.

The tradition is true, as

exactly as what `Ubayd narrated, but its interpretation is not like what `Abdullah

has understood. Abu-`Abdullah (‘a) meant that you may keep silent as long as

the heavens had not yet released its call with the name of your companion

(i.e. the promised Imam) and as long as the earth had not yet swallowed the


p: 89

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:39-40, H. 14 (in the margin).

Zarr ibn hubaysh has reported that Imam `Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), delivered a speech at al-Nahrawan (or during the Battle of al-Nahrawan) in which he said:


الْفِتْنَةَ إِذَا أَقْبَلَتْ شَبَّهَتْ.

Verily, when sedition

comes (upon you), it will cause you to confuse (right with wrong).

The Imam (‘a) then referred to the coming seditions. When he finished, a man stood up and said, “O Commander of the Faithful, what should the people of that time do?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:


إِلَی أَهْلِ بَیْتِ نَبِیِّکُمْ، فَإِنْ لَبِدُوا فَالْبِدُوا، وَإِنِ

إسْتَصْرَخُوکُمْ فَانْصُرُوهُمْ تُؤْجَرُوا، وَلاَ تَسْتَبِقُوهُمْ

فَتَصْرَعُکُمُ الْبَلِیَّةُ.

You may observe the

Household of your Prophet (s); if they hide, you should hide, but if they

call for your aid, you must then support them that you may be rewarded. Never

embark upon a deed before they order it; lest you will be knocked out by


The Imam (‘a) then foretold the coming of relief at the advent of the Patron of the Matter (i.e. Imam al-Mahdi).(1)

In the aforementioned traditions, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) mentioned certain issues and instructed regarding how to take political positions towards these issues. Some

p: 90

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:41, H. 17.

oppositionists rebelled against ruling authorities and claimed Imamate or being the promised and expected Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), such as when people illusively thought that Muhammad ibn `Abdullah (dhu’l-nafs al-zakiyyah) was the promised Imam. Therefore, the Holy Imams (‘a) explained that such claims were baseless and it was unacceptable to respond to them and that any banner (i.e. political movement) founded on such false claims would certainly represent false deities that were worshipped in the place of Almighty Allah.

Thus, all these traditions confirm absolute impermissibility to participate in such reformative actions made before the advent of the Rising Imam (the Mahdi) in addition to other traditions which emphasize the duty of waiting in anticipation of the advent of the Rising Imam because it is futile to rise up or revolt before that since all such revolutions will inevitably end up in failure.

Imam `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) is reported to have said:


لاَ یَخْرُجُ أَحَدٌ مِنَّا قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ الْقَائِمِ إِلاَّ کَانَ مَثَلُهُ

مَثَلَ فَرْخٍ طَارَ مِنْ وَکْرِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ یَسْتَوِیَ جَنَاحَاهُ،

فَأَخَذَهُ الصِّبْیَانُ فَعَبَثُوا بِهِ.

By Allah I swear, any one of us who stages a revolution before the advent of the Rising Imam will most

certainly be like a nestling that leaves its nest before its wings are

grown-up enough to fly, so boys take it and play with it.(1)

Sadir has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) to have said to him:

p: 91

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:36, H. 2.

یَا سَدِیرُ، إِلْزَمْ بَیْتَکَ، وَکُنْ حِلْساً مِنْ

أَحْلاَسِهِ، وَاسْکُنْ مَا سَکَنَ اللَّیْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ، فَإِذَا بَلَغَکَ

أَنَّ السُّفْیَانِیَّ قَدْ خَرَجَ فَارْحَلْ إِلَیْنَا وَلَوْ عَلَی رِجْلِکَ.

O Sadir, stick to your house, as if you are one of its rugs, and keep still as

long as day and night keep still. If you are informed that al-Sufyani has

risen, then you must come to us, even if you have to come on foot.(1)

According to an authentic tradition, Abu-Basir has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:


رَایَةٍ تُرْفَعُ قَبْلَ قِیَامِ الْقَائِمِ فَصَاحِبُهَا طَاغُوتٌ یُعْبَدُ

مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.

As for every standard

(i.e. political movement) that is raised before the advent of the Rising Imam,

its bearer is (like) a deity that is worshipped in place of Almighty Allah.(2)

It is, however, necessary to understand these traditions in context with other traditions which have explained and clarified this matter along with details of the surrounding circumstances. In fact, some traditions have excepted certain political movements and even invoked Almighty Allah’s mercy upon their leaders, because they had not invited people to follow them as if they were an Imam—as an example the previously mentioned tradition of al-`Ays ibn al-Qasim about the movement of Zayd ibn `Ali.

Confirming and shedding light on this meaning, Shaykh al-Saduq, in his book of `Uyun Akhbar al-Riza, has reported the following narration on the authority of Ibn Abi-`Abdun on the authority of his father:

When Zayd ibn Musa ibn Ja`far revolted in Basrah and set

p: 92

1- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:37, H. 3.
2- - Al-hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:37, H. 6.

the homes of the `Abbasids on fire, they took him to Ma'mun. Ma'mun forgave him on behalf of his brother `Ali ibn Musa al-Riza (‘a) and told the Imam, “If your brother has revolted and has done this and that, so also did Zayd ibn `Ali before him and was killed. If you did not have the rank before me that you now have, I would have killed him because what he has done is not negligible.”

Imam al-Riza (‘a) said:


أَمِیرَ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ، لا تَقِسْ أَخِی زَیْداً إِلَی زَیْدِ بْنِ عَلِیٍ

عَلَیْهِ السَّلامُ فَإِنَّهُ کَانَ مِنْ عُلَمَاءِ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ غَضِبَ

لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَجَاهَدَ أَعْدَاءَهُ حَتَّی قُتِلَ فِی سَبِیلِهِ

وَلَقَدْ حَدَّثَنِی أَبِی مُوسَی بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ عَلَیْهِ السَّلامُ أَنَّهُ

سَمِعَ أَبَاهُ جَعْفَرَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ یَقُولُ رَحِمَ اللَّهُ عَمِّی زَیْداً

إِنَّهُ دَعَا إِلَی الرِّضَا مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَلَوْ ظَفِرَ لَوَفَی بِمَا

دَعَا إِلَیْهِ، وَقَدِ اسْتَشَارَنِی فِی خُرُوجِهِ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ یَا عَمِّ

إِنْ رَضِیتَ أَنْ تَکُونَ الْمَقْتُولَ الْمَصْلُوبَ بِالْکُنَاسَةِ فَشَأْنَکَ

فَلَمَّا وَلَّی قَالَ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَیْلٌ لِمَنْ سَمِعَ

وَاعِیَتُهُ فَلَمْ یُجِبْهُ.

O Commander of the Faithful, do not compare my brother with Zayd ibn

`Ali. Zayd was one of the scholars from the Household of Muhammad (s) and he

was angry for the sake of the Honorable and Exalted God. He fought with the

enemies of God until he was killed following His path. My father Musa ibn

Ja`far (‘a) narrated to me that he had heard his father Ja`far ibn

Muhammad (‘a) saying, ‘May Allah have mercy upon my uncle Zayd. He invited

the people to attain pleasure of Muhammad’s Household (‘a). He would have

fulfilled what he said if he had become victorious. He consulted with me

about his uprising and I told him, ‘O uncle, do it if you are pleased with

being killed and your corpse being hung up from the gallows in the district

of al-Kunnasah.’ After Zayd left, Imam al-Sadiq said, “Woe be to those who

hear his call but do not help him!’

Then, Ma'mun asked, “O Abu’l-hasan! Have there not been traditions blaming those who unrightfully claim to be the

p: 93

Divine Leaders (i.e. Imams)?”

Imam al-Riza (‘a) answered:


زَیْدَ بْنَ عَلِیٍ عَلَیْهِ السَّلامُ لَمْ یَدَّعِ مَا لَیْسَ لَهُ بِحَقٍّ

وَإِنَّهُ کَانَ أَتْقَی لِلَّهِ مِنْ ذَاکَ إِنَّهُ قَالَ أَدْعُوکُمْ إِلَی

الرِّضَا مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَإِنَّمَا جَاءَ مَا جَاءَ فِی مَنْ یَدَّعِی

أَنَّ اللَّهَ نَصَّ عَلَیْهِ ثُمَّ یَدْعُو إِلَی غَیْرِ دِینِ اللَّهِ

وَیَضِلُّ عَنْ سَبِیلِهِ بِغَیْرِ عِلْمٍ وَکَانَ زَیْدٌ وَاللَّهِ مِمَّنْ

خُوطِبَ بِهَذِهِ الآْیَةِ: وَجاهِدُوا فِی اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَباکُمْ…

Zayd did not make any such

unrightful claims. He was too pious to do so. He invited the people to attain

the pleasure of Muhammad’s Household (‘a). Those traditions are about the

people who claim that Allah has appointed them as leaders by name and then

invite the people to a religion other than Allah’s and mislead the people so

as to cause them to stray off the way of Allah. I swear by Allah that Zayd

was one of those addressed by the following verse: ‘Strive in His cause as

you ought to strive. He has chosen you…’(1)

Evidently, this tradition indicates that condemnation of revolt by the Holy Imams (‘a) is meant for those who, when calling to revolt, claim Imamate or divinely commissioned leadership of the Muslim nation.

There are also other traditions admiring the revolutionary movement of husayn ibn `Ali ibn al-hasan al-Muthallath ibn al-hasan al-Muthanna ibn al-hasan (‘a) ibn `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‘a), known as Sahib Fakhkh, whose martyrdom was predicted and praised by the Holy Prophet (s) as well as other Holy Imams, such as Imam al-Baqir (‘a), as is reported by

p: 94

1- - Shaykh al-Saduq, `Uyun Akhbar al-Riza 2:225-226, H. 1. (The translation of this tradition is quoted from Dr. `Ali Peiravi’s translation of `Uyun Akhbar al-Riza; published by Ansariyan Publications – 2006.)

Abu’l-Faraj al-Isfahani, in his book of Maqatil al-Talibiyyin.

According to the same reference book the allegiance to Sahib Fakhkh was as follows: “I swear allegiance to you that I will abide by Almighty Allah’s Book and His Messenger’s traditions (Sunnah), and that only Allah is to be obeyed and never disobeyed and I call on you to attain the pleasure of Muhammad’s Household (‘a).”

Moreover, the revolt of Sahib Fakhkh and Yahya ibn `Abdullah was preceded by a consultation with Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a), as affirmed by the rebels themselves.

Abu’l-Faraj has also reported the following narration on the authority of a number of his trustworthy reporters:

When the `Abbasids were able to extinguish the revolution of Sahib Fakhkh, they beheaded him and his allies and brought their heads before Musa ibn `«sa, the `Abbasid senior authority. A group of the descendants of Imam hasan (‘a) and Imam husayn (‘a) witnessed the scene. Musa ibn `«sa addressed Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) saying, “This is the head of husayn (i.e. Sahib Fakhkh), is it not?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

نَعْمْ! إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَیْهِ رَاجِعُونَ.

مَضَی، وَاللهِ، مُسْلِماً صَالِحاً صَوَّاماً آمِراً بِالْمَعْرُوفِ نَاهِیاً

عَنِ الْمُنْکَرِ. مَا کَانَ فِی أَهْلِ بَیْتِهِ مِثْلُهُ.

Yes, it is. We are Allah’s and unto Him shall we return. By Allah I

swear, he has passed away as a Muslim: righteous, observant of much fasting,

enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong. His like has not existed among

the members of his household.

The `Abbasid ruler could not answer the Imam (‘a).(1)

p: 95

1- -Refer to Al-Mamuqani, Tanqih al-Maqal 1:337, biography of al-husayn ibn `Ali (Sahib Fakhkh). In this reference book, the author displays all the narrations reported on this matter and then compares them with each other, concluding the same results that we have cited earlier.


p: 96

Observance of Level of Toleration

The fourth measure adopted by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to ensure the security of the virtuous community was the observance of the maximum degree of toleration and readiness to keep doctrinal secrets and details. In plain words, the Holy Imams (‘a) investigated the capability of each individual for keeping the secrets of the virtuous community, based on the reality that the individuals of this community were of various psychological and spiritual levels regarding their capability to stand burdens and pressures, abide by their covenants and pledges, keep secrets, comprehend the intellectual and doctrinal contents of such secrets, and exercise self-discipline. Accordingly, it is essential to deal with each individual in relation to his own potential.

Although all of the virtuous community are believers and share the same doctrine, commitments, general qualifications and are equal in rights and duties, it is important to consider the level of faith of each individual of the virtuous community concerning readiness to abide by their duties and responsibilities and deal with them cautiously and carefully, so as to maintain:

(i) a spirit of justice and impartiality by burdening individuals with only that which they can psychologically and spiritually bear,

(ii) firmness, progress and growth of relations among individuals, and

(iii) security of the virtuous community.

In many of their traditions and statements, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) stressed the necessity of following this policy.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

p: 97


التَّقِیَّةُ یَوْماً عِنْدَ عَلِیٍّ، عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ، فَقَالَ: لَوْ

عَلِمَ أَبُو ذَرٍّ مَا فِی قَلْبِ سَلْمَانَ لَقَتَلَهُ. وَقَدْ آخَی رَسُولُ

اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، بَیْنَهُمَا، فَمَا ظَنُّکَ بِسَائِرِ


One day, the issue of taqiyyah was discussed before Imam `Ali (‘a).

He thus commented, “Had Abu-Dharr known what was in Salman’s heart, he would

have killed him, although the Messenger of Allah (s) had concluded bonds of

fraternity between these two. What do you think about (the situation of)

other people?(1)

Expounding the doctrinal aspect of this fact in the personalities of his companions, Imam al-Baqir (‘a), according to an authentic tradition reported from Abu-`Ubaydah al-hadhdha' said:


إِنَّ أَحَبَّ أَصْحَابِی إِلَیَّ أَوْرَعُهُمْ وَأَفْقَهُهُمْ وَأَکْتَمُهُمْ

لِحَدِیثِنَا. وَإِنَّ أَسْوَأَهُمْ عِنْدِی حَالاً وَأَمْقَتَهُمْ لَلَّذِی

إِذَا سَمِعَ الْحَدِیثَ یُنْسَبُ إِلَیْنَا وَیُرْوَی عَنَّا فَلَمْ

یَقْبَلْهُ، إشْمَأَزَّ فِیهِ وَجَحَدَهُ وَکَفَّرَ مَنْ دَانَ بِهِ، وَهُوَ لاَ

یَدْرِی لَعَلَّ الْحَدِیثَ مِنْ عِنْدِنَا خَرَجَ وَإِلَیْنَا أُسْنِدَ.

فَیَکُونُ بِذَلِکَ خَارِجاً عَنْ وِلاَیَتِنَا.

By Allah (I swear), the

dearest to me among my companions are the most abstinent (from prohibitions

of Almighty Allah), the most skilled in jurisprudence (or knowledge in

general), and the most observant of concealing our secrets. The most evil of

them and the most despised by me are those who, when hearing a tradition

ascribed to us and reported from us fail to approve of it, are disgusted by

it and deny it and deem faithless those who believe it, even though they are

not actually sure whether this tradition has been said by and reported from

us. Such persons leave the circle of loyalty to us.(2)

p: 98

1- - Ikhtiyar Ma`rifat al-Rijal (known as Rijal al-Kashshi), 1:70.
2- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:223, H. 7.

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have also confirmed that faithful believers are of various ranks and levels and, according to these ranks, they differ from one another in capability and power to bear doctrinal issues. According to a validly reported tradition, Sadir has reported that Imam al-Baqir (‘a) addressed him as follows:

إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ عَلَی مَنَازِلَ؛

مِنْهُمْ عَلَی وَاحِدَةٍ وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی إثْنَتَیْنِ وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی ثَلاَثٍ

وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی أَرْبَعٍ وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی خَمْسٍ وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی سِتٍّ وَمِنْهُمْ

عَلَی سَبْعٍ. فَلَوْ ذَهَبْتَ تَحْمِلُ عَلَی صَاحِبِ الْوَاحِدَةِ ثِنْتَیْنِ لَمْ

یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الثِّنْتَیْنِ ثَلاَثاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الثَّلاَثِ

أَرْبَعاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الأَرْبَعِ خَمْساً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی

صَاحِبِ الْخَمْسِ سِتّاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ السِّتِّ سَبْعاً لَمْ یَقْوَ،

وَعَلَی هَذِهِ الدَّرَجَاتِ.

Verily, faithful believers are of various ranks. Some of

them hold one rank only, others two ranks, some three ranks, some four ranks,

some five ranks, some six ranks, and some seven ranks. If you impose (an act

that cannot be done except by those who hold) two ranks upon one who has one

rank only, he will certainly fail to undertake it, and if you impose three

ranks upon one who has two only, he will fail to undertake it, and if you

impose four ranks upon one who has three only, he will fail to undertake it,

and if you impose five ranks upon one who has four only, he will fail to

undertake it, and if you impose six ranks upon one who has five only, he will

fail to undertake it, and if you impose seven ranks upon one who has six

only, he will fail to undertake it. So also for other ranks of faith.(1)

p: 99

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, 2:45, H. 3.

Furthermore, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) shed light on the specifications and qualifications by which the ranks of faithful believers can be realized and which can be adopted as criterion for the capability to endure doctrinal issues and be trustworthy. It has been narrated on the authority of `Ammar ibn al-Ahwas that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:


اللهَ تَعَالَی وَضَعَ الإِیمَانَ عَلَی سَبْعَةِ أَسْهُمٍ: عَلَی الْبِرِّ

وَالصِّدْقِ وَالْیَقِینِ وَالرِّضَا وَالْوَفَاءِ وَالْعِلْمِ وَالْحِلْمِ.

ثُمَّ قَسَّمَ ذَلِکَ بَیْنَ النَّاسِ. فَمَنْ جُعِلَ فِیهِ هَذِهِ السَّبْعَةُ

الأَسْهُمِ فَهُوَ کَامِلٌ مُحْتَمِلٌ. وَقَسَّمَ لِبَعْضِ النَّاسِ السَّهْمَ،

وَلِبَعْضٍ السَّهْمَیْنِ، وَلِبَعْضٍ الثَّلاَثَةَ حَتَّی إنْتَهَوْا إِلَی

سَبْعَةٍ. لاَ تَحْمِلُوا عَلَی صَاحِبِ السَّهْمِ سَهْمَیْنِ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ

السَّهْمَیْنِ ثَلاَثَةً فَتَبْهَظُوهُمْ. کَذَلِکَ حَتَّی یَنْتَهِیَ إِلَی


Verily, Almighty Allah has

allocated faith in seven portions: piety, honesty, certitude, satisfaction,

loyalty, knowledge, and forbearance, and He distributes these among people.

He who gains all seven portions completely is definitely perfect (in faith)

and capable (of carrying all seven portions). Allah grants some people one portion,

two portions, and three portions up to seven. Do not impose two portions of

faith upon him who has been granted one portion only nor three portions upon

him who has been granted two portions only and so on up to seven portions,

lest you overburden them.(1)

p: 100

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, 2:42, H.1. Imposition of two portions of faith upon one who has been granted one portion only, means to charge a person that has a specific amount of faith with an act that cannot be done except by one who enjoys much more faith. A person of less faith would be incapable of undertaking the task.

According to another tradition, the Imam instructs his companions to investigate and differentiate those who claim Shi`ism.

It has been narrated that one of Imam al-Sadiq’s companions visited him and said, “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! By Allah, I love you and love whoever loves you. Master, how numerous your Shi`ah are!”

The Imam (‘a) asked, “Can you mention how numerous they are?”

“They are many,” answered the man.

“Can you count them?” asked the Imam (‘a).

“They are too many to be counted,” answered the man.

The Imam (‘a) then said:


لَوْ کَمُلَتِ الْعِدَّةُ الْمَوْصُوفَةُ، ثَلاَثُمِائَةٍ وَبِضْعَةَ عَشَرَ،

کَانَ الَّذِی تُرِیدُونَ. وَلَکِنَّ شِیعَتَنَا مَنْ لاَ یَعْدُو صَوْتُهُ

سَمْعَهُ، وَلاَ شَحْنَاؤُهُ بَدَنَهُ، وَلاَ یَمْدَحُ لَنَا غَالِیاً، وَلاَ

یُخَاصِمُ لَنَا وَالِیاً، وَلاَ یُجَالِسُ لَنَا عَائِباً، وَلاَ یُحَدِّثُ

لَنَا ثَالِباً، وَلاَ یُحِبُّ لَنَا مُبْغِضاً، وَلاَ یُبْغِضُ لَنَا مُحِبّاً.

Verily, if the predicted

number is achieved, which is a few more than three hundred men, the matter that you desire will definitely come to pass.

However, our true Shi`ah are only those whose voices do not exceed their ability

to hear (i.e., those who do not talk very loudly) and whose enmity does not

exceed their bodies (i.e., those who suffer themselves but do not make others

suffer or impose on them). They neither praise us exaggeratively, nor quarrel

with our loyalists, nor sit with one who criticizes us, nor love one who hates

us, nor hates one who loves us.

The man asked, “What should we then do with so many Shi`ah who claim that they follow the faith of Shi`ism?”

p: 101

The Imam (‘a) answered:


التَّمْیِیزُ، وَفِیهِمُ التَّمْحِیصُ، وَفِیهِمُ التَّبْدِیلُ...

May they be separated (the

good from the bad) and distinguished and transformed.(1)

p: 102

1- - Abu-Zaynab al-Nu`mani, Kitab al-Ghaybah pp. 203-204; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:164-165, H. 16.

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