The Fourteen Luminaries of Islam


Title: The fourteen luminaries of islam

Author(s): Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi

Translator(s): Ahmad Rezwani

Publisher(s): Islamic Research Foundation Astan Quds Razavi

Category: Sunni amp; Shi’a Fatima al-Zahra Prophet Muhammad The 12 Imams

Featured Category: Introducing the Ahlul Bayt Resources for Further Research

Person Tags: 12 Imams (a.s.) Prophet Muhammad Fatima Al-Zahra

ISBN: 978-964-971-411-0

Appearance: 267 p

Congress Classification: BP36/5/الف 3چ 904952 1389

Dewey decimal classification: 297/95

National bibliography number: 2175139


سرشناسه : احمدی بیرجندی، احمد، 1301 - 1377.

Ahmadi Birjandi, Ahmad

عنوان قراردادی : چهارده اختر تابناک: زندگانی چهارده معصوم علیهم السلام. انگلیسی.

عنوان و نام پدیدآور : The fourteen luminaries of islam/ Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi; translated by Ahmad Rezwani.

مشخصات نشر : Mashhad: Islamic Research Foundation Astan Quds Razavi, 2010= 1389.

مشخصات ظاهری : 267ص.

شابک : 978-964-971-411-0

وضعیت فهرست نویسی : فاپا

یادداشت : انگلیسی.

یادداشت : کتابنامه : ص 265-267.

موضوع : چهارده معصوم -- سرگذشتنامه

شناسه افزوده : رضوانی، احمد، 1332-، مترجم

شناسه افزوده : Rezwani, Ahmad

شناسه افزوده : آستان قدس رضوی. بنیاد پژوهشهای اسلامی

رده بندی کنگره : BP36/5/الف 3چ 904952 1389

رده بندی دیویی : 297/95

شماره کتابشناسی ملی : 2175139


Biography of Prophet Muhammad (S), Hadhrat Fatimah Zahra (as), and the Twelve Holy Imams (as)

Publisher's Note

Studying the life and sira of the Infallible ones (as) is incumbent upon every Muslim, as their life is a full-length mirror reflecting the Islamic thought and they are considered as the symbols of the purified Prophetic Sunna. First of all, it is to be noted that both the Prophet Muhammad (S) and the Imams (as) have all enjoyed Divine and human virtues and excellences. From this perspective, there is no difference between them; and if a virtue is more saliently symbolized in one of them, it is due to the circumstances and conditions that the Imam has been situated in.

The Imams (as), themselves, say: “Whatever we have is from the Holy Prophet (S) and whatever the Holy Prophet (S) has is from Allah (S.W.T.).”

In Surat al-Shura, Allah (S.W.T.) says to His Apostle:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُکُمْ عَلَیْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّهَ فِی الْقُرْبَیٰ ۗ وَمَنْ یَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَهً نَزِدْ لَهُ فِیهَا حُسْنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ شَکُورٌ {23}

﴾Say, “I do not ask you any reward for it except love of [my] relatives.” Whoever performs a good deed, We shall enhance for him its goodness. Indeed Allah is All-forgiving, All-appreciative.

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﴿(Q: 42/23)

It may be said that over one fourth of the Holy Qur’an concerns the values which can be found in the Prophet (S.A.) and his pure and noble progeny, all enjoying a sublime status before God Almighty. The Holy Prophet (S.A.) states: “The parable of my Ahl al-Bayt among you is that of the Ark of Noah; whoever boards it is safe; and whoever remains behind, is drowned.”(1) He is also quoted as saying: “The parable of my Ahl al-Bayt is that of the Remission Gate (Bab Hitta) among the Israelites, whoever enters it is forgiven.”(2)

Accordingly, the Shi‘as believe that the Prophetic Mission is sealed with the Prophethood of Muhammad (S); however, the wilaya, which is the continuation of Prophetic Mission, would live on and sustain through holding on fast to the twelve Infallible Imams (as). Besides, continuity of Imamate and wilaya is secured with the existence of Imam al-Mahdi (as), who will one day fill the world with justice and equity with his reappearance.

The Islamic Research Foundation of Astan Quds Razavi is honored to undertake the promotion of the thoughts and words of the Infallible Imams (as), which represent the pure Islamic intellectual thought. Accordingly, with the translation of Chahardah Akhtar-i Tabnak into English (The Fourteen Luminaries of Islam) and publishing it in a single volume as well as fourteen separate volumes, this Foundation has tried to take a step, however small, toward the introduction of these luminary figures and the dissemination of Islamic and human values.

Chahardah Akhtar-i

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1- Bihar al-Anwar, 23/124.
2- Ibid, 23/119.

Tabnak, originally written by the late eminent researcher Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi (a member of the Islamic Research Foundation), is such a valuable and concise work that has managed to address a great number of seekers after perfection and has been published several times. Being decided to be published in English; however, the Persian version was assigned to the IRF Department of History of Islam to be revised and then handed over to the Translation Department to be rendered into English.

It is hoped that this English translation may pave the way for further familiarization of the interested readers with the profound and prominent Islamic culture.

Islamic Research Foundation of Astan Quds Razavi

The First Infallible Hadhrat Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah, the Holy Prophet of Islam


Over fourteen hundred years ago, a baby was born in Mecca on the 17th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal (April 25, 570 CE).

His father, ‘Abd Allah, died on the way back from Sham (Syria) in Yathrib (Medina), unable to meet his newly born son, Muhammad. ‘Abd Allah's wife, Amina, was the daughter of Wahb b. ‘Abd Manaf.

Based on a custom among the dignitaries of Mecca, Amina left his beloved son, Muhammad, with a wet nurse called Halima, to be reared on the vast expanse of the desert away from the corruptions of town.

The affectionate, pure-hearted Halima got highly attached to this lovely child whose presence in her tribe brought a source of blessing and abundance. Not for a single moment was she neglectful of taking care of him. Nobody knew that this orphan child, whom the other wet nurses had refused

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to look after, would one day become the Prophet of Mercy; his sublime name would be uttered by millions of Muslims throughout the world and from top of minarets, and become an honor to the world and its people.

When Muhammad was five, Halima took him back to Mecca as per his mother's insisting demand. Two years later, when Amina went to Medina to visit her parents and her husband's tomb, she took her beloved son with her. One month later, Amina and her son returned to Mecca, but on the way back she died at a place called Abwa’, and Muhammad who was now six years old, lost his mother too and his pure heart and delicate soul deeply felt the agonies of being orphaned.

Thereupon, a woman named Umm Ayman took this orphan boy, the withered newly-blown flower, back to Mecca with her. It was God's will that the boy be parted from his parents at the outset of his life having to taste the bitter and heart-rending sufferings of this world and be severely tested in the crucible of hardship so that in future he would be able to commiserate with the sufferings of mankind, and comprehend the way the underprivileged feel.

Since then, he was reared and looked after by his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib who treated, with deep kindness, his noble grandson whose forehead was radiant with greatness. Two years later, on the demise of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Muhammad was deprived of his grandfather as his guardian. ‘Abd al-Muttalib's great

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concern at the last moments of his life was about his grandson. Perforce, at the age of eight, Muhammad went to his uncle's house, Abu Talib (Ali's father), and lived under his guardianship.

Abu Talib protected and took care of his beloved nephew with utmost benevolence and kindness to the last moments of his life, i.e., for over forty years. Even in the most adverse and unpleasant events, when the nobles of Quraysh and black-hearted rebels had vilely associated to kill Muhammad, he made himself a shield of protection for him, as he was scared of nothing and took no heed of reproaches.

Muhammad's repose, grace, and thoughtful mien were fully recognized among his peers since adolescence. Abu Talib loved him to such an extent that he always wanted to be with him and caress him in order to remove the agony of being an orphan.

He was 12 when his uncle took him to Sham (Syria) on a business trip which at that time was common in Hijaz. On this trip, at a place called Busri, an area in Sham, Abu Talib visited a Christian monk called Buhayra. The latter, upon meeting Muhammad, assuredly found out the signs and cues he had read in the Holy Scriptures, that this boy would be the Prophet of the end of time.

In order to be further assured, the Christian monk asked him to swear on the Lat and Uzza – two of the idols of Mecca – to tell the truth in what he was

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asked about. Getting perturbed and agitated, Muhammad replied, “I am an enemy to the idols you just mentioned. Swear me on God.”

Buhayra was certain that he would be truly the great messenger of God, who believed in no one and nothing but the one God. So he strongly admonished Abu Talib to protect him against the evils of the enemies, especially the Jews since soon he would be assigned to a great mission to carry out. Muhammad passed through his days of adolescence and youth.

During this period of time, which for the common people is an age of pugnacity and indulgence in lustfulness and transient fads, for the young Muhammad was replete with purity, righteousness, and honesty. Truthfulness of words, honesty in manner, leniency, and patience were manifest in his behavior. He was aside from the corrupt milieu of Mecca and kept aloof from the impurity of idolatry to such an extent that everyone was amazed, and he was so trusted that he became renowned as “Muhammad the Trustworthy” (Muhammad al-Amin).

Since the very beginning of his youth, traces of grace, power, and bravery were evident in his countenance. At the age of fifteen, he took part in one of the battles of Quraysh with Hawazin clan, where he defended his uncles against arrows. This can reveal his spiritual and physical strength.

Later on, this bravery became more and more brilliantly evident in wars waged for Islam. Accordingly, ‘Ali (as), being himself one of the bravest in his time, has said

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about Muhammad (S):

“Whenever things got hard on us at the battlefront, we would seek refuge in the Apostle of Allah, and none of us was closer to the enemy than he was.”(1) However, he would always avoid useless and childish battles.

Arabia was the center of idolatry at that time. People or tribesmen used to carve idols out of woods, stones, or dates and worship them. The milieu in which Muhammad (S) lived was afflicted with promiscuity, obscenities, wine drinking, and war waging; in such an environment, however, Muhammad (S) was never indulged in any of such sins and impurities, and remained aloof from idols and idolatry. One day Abu Talib said to ‘Abbas, Muhammad (S)'s youngest uncle:

“I have never heard Muhammad (S) tell a lie and I've never seen him play with other children in the lanes and alleys.”

It is amazing that amid so much indecency and the presence of corrupt women and men who were even proud of their indecent acts, and the prostitutes who used to put up flags on the roof of their houses, Muhammad (S) lived so decently and innocently that nobody – not even his enemies – could find the smallest fault with him. How can one read about his life history (sira) and demeanor from childhood through youth and old age, without humbling himself before his greatness and purity of soul and body?

A Remembrance of the Brave Youth Pledge (known as half Al-Fudhul)

In the past, a covenant called half al-fudhul was established among some tribes based on defending the rights of the oppressed and

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1- Furugh-i Abadiyyat, vol. 3, p. 214.

the poor, and its founders were the ones whose names were either “Fadhl” or one of its derivatives. The Pledge which was later made by a group of Quraysh followed the same goal.

One of the features of this pledge was to defend Mecca and its inhabitants against foreign enemies. However, if someone other than Meccans and their confederates were living in that city and were treated with cruelty, nobody would come to their help. It is related that one day a man from Bani Asad tribe came to Mecca to sell his merchandise. A man from Ben Sahm tribe, called ‘Asi b. Wa‘il, bought the goods without paying off the money.

The defrauded man sought assistance from the Quraysh, but nobody helped him. He was forced to climb up the Abu Qubays Mountain near Ka‘ba for help. His plea for justice affected a number of Qurayshi youth, who, perforce got together in the house of ‘Abd Allah, son of Jad‘an to do something for the poor man. In this house, where Muhammad (S) was also present, they took a pledge to allow no injustice on others.

As for the man, they took back the money for his goods and returned it to him. Thenceforth, the Holy Prophet (S) used to speak highly of this pledge. He said, “In ‘Abd Allah Jad‘an's house I witnessed a pledge which if I am called to even now (that I am appointed to Prophethood), I will accept it. That is, I am still faithful to

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my covenant.”(1)

Muhammad (S) joined this covenant at the age of 20, but before that, as well as after that, he supported the poor, the helpless, orphans, and the women who had lost their husbands in wars, and did whatever he could for the deprived. His motive for joining this covenant was nothing but willingness to aid the poor and remove injustice from the oppressed.

Muhammad (S)'s Marriage

As Muhammad (S)'s honesty spread around, a wealthy woman from the people of Mecca called Khadija, daughter of Khuwaylid, who had married twice before and possessed plenty of wealth with matchless chastity and piety dispatched Muhammad (S) on a business trip to Syria offering him a share of its benefits. Muhammad (S) accepted that contract.

Khadija sent her retainer, Maysara, along with Muhammad (S). When they returned from that lucrative trip, Maysara reported the trip in detail to Khadija, telling her anecdotes about Muhammad (S)'s honesty and truthfulness. What he related to Khadija about him included this: “When we arrived in Busri, Amin sat in the shade of a tree to rest. At this time, a monk in his prayer house noticed Amin. He came forward, asked me his name, and then said: 'The man who is sitting under the tree is the same prophet the tidings about whom I have read in Torah and Gospel'.”

Khadija became enchanted with Muhammad (S)'s honesty and truthfulness. Sometime later, she offered to get married to Muhammad (S). He accepted the proposal. At this time she was 40 and he was 25.


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1- Furugh-i Abadiyyat, vol. 3, p. 152.

left all her wealth at Muhammad (S)'s disposal and gave her slaves up to him, who immediately freed them. It was his first step taken in a struggle against slavery. Muhammad (S) practically wanted to show that it is possible to live a simple life free from fleeting carnal desires and lust, and without any slaves and maids as well.

Khadija's house was a safe haven for the poor and the helpless before marriage, and remained exactly the same after marriage, since she would always be generous to the needy.

During the years of drought and famine, Halima, Muhammad (S)'s foster mother used to come to her foster son, who spread his mantle for her to sit on, would listen to her talk, and when she wanted to leave, he helped her in whatever way he could.

Once received the authority over Khadija's wealth, Muhammad al-Amin (S), instead of being entrapped in transient temptations, was engaged in charity matters and helping the poor. Most of his free time, he would go to the outskirts of Mecca and would spend hours in mountains and inside the cave of Hira’, contemplating on God's creation and wonders of the world and whispering lovingly to the Lord of the world. Several years passed in this way.

His beloved and faithful wife knew that whenever Muhammad (S) was not at home, he was in the cave of Hira’. This cave is located in a mountain north of Mecca where now longing pilgrims eagerly visit to enjoy the eye-refreshing

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effect of its soil.

This secluded place, being away from the tumult and idolatry and corruption of the city, was a witness to amorous whispers of Muhammad (S) especially in Ramadan, during which he would spend the whole month there. The cave and the black rocks have witnessed the descent of “Revelation” and the radiation of Divine Lights in the pure heart of the “Quraysh Beloved”. This is the same “illuminating mountain” (jabal al-nur) that is still diffusing light.

The Beginning of the Prophetic Mission (Bi‘tha)

Muhammad al-Amin (S) was engaged in worship and supplication to the Lord of the worlds in Hira’ before the night of Rajab 27, having true and dreams just like real world. His great soul was gradually getting ready to receive the Revelation. At that magnificent night, Gabriel, the angel of Revelation, was appointed to read some of the Qur’an to Muhammad (S) and to honor him with Prophethood.

Muhammad (S) was forty at this time, when, in silence and solitude and totally absorbed in the Beloved Creator of the world, was demanded by Gabriel to recite these verses:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّکَ الَّذِی خَلَقَ {1}

خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ {2}

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّکَ الْأَکْرَمُ {3}

الَّذِی عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ {4}

عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ یَعْلَمْ {5}

﴾Read! In the name of your Lord, who created; created man from a clinging mass. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know.﴿(1)


Being unlettered, Muhammad (S) said: I am not able to read. The angel enforced him to read the Tablet. But to this he

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1- Al-Qur’an, 96: 1-5.

gave a similar response. The third time, he felt he could read the Tablet in Gabriel's hand. These verses commenced his arduous and toilsome mission. Gabriel had carried out his task as Muhammad (S) descended Mount Hira’ and went to Khadija's house. There, he related his story to his kind wife.

Khadija found out that Muhammad (S)'s great mission had started. She comforted and encouraged him. “Undoubtedly the compassionate God would not allow evil on you because you are kind to your family and relatives, you help the poor, and assist the oppressed”, she added.

Then Muhammad (S) said: “Cover me!” Khadija covered him. He fell asleep for a while.

Khadija went to her cousin, Waraqat b. Nawfal, who was one of the learned Arabs, and told him the incident. The man said: What has befallen Muhammad (S) is the beginning of his Prophethood and the great honor of the Message.

Khadija returned home, confidant and assured.

The First Muslims

The Prophet (S) started the call to Islam from his own home. First, his wife, Khadija, and his cousin, ‘Ali acknowledged their faith in Muhammad (S). The first calls were totally secret.

Muhammad (S) and several of his companions said their prayers in remote and secluded places out of people's sight. One day Sa‘d b. Abi Waqqas was saying prayers together with some other Muslims in a valley outside Mecca. A group of idolaters saw them venerating their Creator. They began to ridicule and persecute them. The Muslims, however, set to defend themselves.

After three years, during which the Muslims

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were engaged in worshipping and calling people to Islam along with their Holy Prophet, a Divine command descended:

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِکِینَ {94}

(So proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the polytheists.﴿(1)

Thus, the Prophet (S) was urged to reveal his call. For this purpose he was ordered to begin with his nearest kinsfolk and close relatives through this Divine command:

وَأَنْذِرْ عَشِیرَتَکَ الْأَقْرَبِینَ {214}

﴾Warn the nearest of your kinsfolk.﴿(2)

When this command was given, the Prophet (S) ordered ‘Ali, who was around 15, to prepare a meal and invite the household of ‘Abd al-Muttalib so that the Prophet (S) would announce his call to them.

In this meeting about forty people, including Hamza, Abu Talib, and Abu Lahab, participated. Abu Lahab, whose heart was filled with hatred and jealousy, however, upset the gathering with his absurd and sarcastic remarks. The Prophet (S) deemed it advisable to repeat the call the next day.

When the people had their meals, the Holy Prophet began his words with the name of God, adoring Him and professing His Oneness: “…Verily no guide of a community tells lies to his kin. I swear by God Who is Unique and there is no god but Him that I am His Messenger to you and to the people of the world. My kinsmen! You die just as you go to sleep and as you wake up you are restored to life on the Day of Judgment and will see the outcome of your

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1- Al-Qur’an, 15: 94.
2- Al-Qur’an, 26: 214.

acts and deeds.

The everlasting paradise of God and eternal Hell are prepared respectively for the righteous and the wrongdoers. Nobody has ever brought better for their kin than what I have brought to you. I have brought to you the good of this world and the next. I am appointed by God to call you to Him. Anyone of you who supports me will be my brother, trustee (wasi) and successor”.

When the Prophet's words ended, silence prevailed over the whole session. Everybody was deep in thought. Finally, ‘Ali (as), then a fifteen-year-old youth, stood up and said: “O Prophet of God! I am ready to support you.” The Messenger of Allah beckoned him to sit down. He repeated his words three times, and each time ‘Ali (as) would stand up. Then, the Prophet (S) addressed his kinsmen and said:

“This young man (‘Ali) is my brother, wasi, and successor among you. Listen to his words and follow him.”

When the meeting was over, Abu Lahab and some others told Abu Talib, ‘Ali's father: “You see! Muhammad ordered you to follow your own son. He chose him your superior!”

It was evident from the very beginning of the prophet (S)'s call that these high-ranking Divine positions, i.e. Prophethood and Imamate (wasaya and wilaya) were not separate; it was also evident that ‘Ali's spiritual power and his faith and knowledge of Prophethood were so high that he, unhesitatingly and regardless of all the problems, declared his support for the Prophet (S) in a session attended

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by Arab chieftains.

General Call to Islam

Three years had passed the Prophetic Mission when, after calling his kinsmen to Islam, the Prophet (S) declared his Prophethood to the public. One day he climbed up the mountain of Safa and called out loudly; Ya Sabaha! (An expression used for warning and summoning.) Some tribesmen hastened towards the Prophet (S). Then, the Prophet (S) addressed the people as follows: “O people! If I tell you that your enemies are lying in ambush behind this mountain aiming to assault on your lives and property, will you believe me?”

They all replied: “We haven't heard a lie from you so far.” “O people! Save yourselves from the Hell Fire,” he continued.

I alarm you of God's painful punishment. Like a sentinel seeing the enemy in the distance and warning his folks of the danger, I too warn you of the hazards of the Judgment Day torments.”

People became more aware of the Prophet's (S) great mission. Here again, however, Abu Lahab responded light-mindedly to the critical issue of Prophetic Mission.

Early Muslims

As soon as the Prophetic Mission was publicly announced, many people's stance towards Muhammad (S) changed. Those who had pretended to like him began to persecute and harass him.

Those who were pioneers in accepting his call to Islam were the ones who knew him well, and believed in righteousness of his deeds and words. Apart from Khadija, ‘Ali, and Zayd (Haratha's son) – who was a liberated slave by the Holy Prophet (S) – others who were pioneers in faith like

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Ja‘far (Abu Talib's son), Abu Dhar Gaffari, ‘Amr b. ‘Abasa, Khalid b. Sa‘id, Abu Bakr, etc., would spare no time in making the youth of Mecca aware and encouraging them to become Muslims. Balal, Yasir and his wife (Sumayya), Khabab, Arqam, Talha, Zubayr, Othman, Sa‘d, etc., were among the early Muslims. Altogether, the number of Muhammad (S)'s followers within the first three years amounted to twenty people.

Persecution by the Opponents

Little by little the differences deepened. Those who had converted to Islam tried to summon idolaters to the One God. On the other hand, idolaters who saw their interests and their dominance over a bunch of people who were more ignorant than themselves as jeopardized attempted to persecute Muslims, forcing them to give up their new religion. Muslims, and above all the Holy Prophet (S) himself, were harassed by the idolaters.

Once, as the Prophet (S) was saying prayers in Ka'ba holding down his head, Abu Jahl – a stubborn enemy of Islam – emptied the content of a sacrificed camel's tripe over the Holy Prophet (S)'s neck. Since the Prophet (S) used to leave his house very early for morning prayers, some people put thorny bushes on his way to scratch his feet in the dark.

Sometimes, the infidels would throw dust and stones at him. One day, a number of Quraysh nobles assaulted the Prophet (S) and one of them called ‘Aqabat b. Abi Mu‘it threw a piece of cloth around the neck of the Prophet (S) and tied it so tight

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that the Prophet (S) was about to pass away. Such persecutions took place time and again.

As Islam became more and more widespread among people, the idolaters intensified their harassment and plotting. Muslim youth were persecuted by their infidel fathers and brothers. The truth-seeking youth who had abandoned their fathers' false and superstitious beliefs and had converted to Islam were thrown into jails, and even their own parents refused to give them food.

These faithful Muslims, however, went on worshipping God even though their lips were parched due to hunger and thirst, and their eyes were sunken and tearful. The infidels clothed the slaves in coats of mail and threw them on the hot sand in the scorching sunshine to burn their skin. They burned some of them with a hot iron bar, and tied a rope on some other's legs and pulled them on the burning pebbles.

Balal was an Abyssinian slave, whose master would in the burning heat of the midday sun throw him on the ground and put large boulders on his chest. Balal, however, would tolerate those persecutions. Repeatedly saying the One, the One, and remembering the One God.

Yasir, ‘Ammar's father, was tied with rope to two strong camels moving in opposite directions till his body was torn apart. Sumayya, ‘Ammar's mother, too was very painfully martyred. But, in spite of all the tortures, the pure-minded Muslims lovingly risked their lives almost to death, and didn't give up their faith in the One God.

Idolater's Confrontation with Muhammad (S)

Failing to achieve their goals

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through persecutions, the infidels started by way of threatening and allurement, since Muhammad (S) became more and more popular with all the tribes and people of the land, and found more and more followers.

The infidels first decided to have a meeting with Abu Talib, Muhammad (S)'s uncle, and his only supporter. At the meeting, they addressed him and said: “Abu Talib! You are superior to us by nobility and age. Your nephew insults our gods and speaks ill about us and our fathers’ religion and regards our beliefs as mean and worthless. Tell him to stop doing such things, not insulting our idols. Otherwise, leave him to us and withdraw your protection from him”.

When the Quraysh infidels felt that Islam was penetrating into tribes and among people, and the verses of the Qur’an were winning people's hearts and influencing them, they were more and more alarmed. Hence, to prevent that danger, they visited Abu Talib, the head of the Quraysh and the chief of Banu Hashim now and again, and each time Abu Talib talked to them gently and considerately, and promised to report their message to his nephew. Nevertheless, the Great Prophet of Islam replied to his uncle:

“Dear uncle, I swear by God if they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to make me give up the religion of God and its propagation, I would not accept. I should either achieve my goal, i.e., the spread of Islam, or sacrifice myself

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for it.”

Abu Talib said to his nephew: “By God, I will not withdraw my support from you. Go on and carry out your mission.”

Finally, the haughty Meccans in their illusions came up with allurement sending a message that they were ready to provide Muhammad (S) with whatever he wished, like wealth, kingship, and beautiful women, provided that he abandoned his new religion and gave up affronting their idols.

The Prophet (S), however, ignored their proposals which originated from thoughts worthy of themselves, and asked them to believe in Allah to attain mastery over Arabs and non-Arabs.

Being narrow-minded, they failed to accept worshipping the One God instead of 360 idols.

Thenceforth as mentioned before, Abu Jahl and others began to maltreat and persecute the Holy Prophet (S) and other Muslims, using whatever they had at their disposal to ridicule and harass the Prophet (S) and the believers in Islam.

Prophet (S)’s Perseverance

In spite of all the persecutions inflicted on him, the Prophet (S) stood against them as firm as a mountain. He talked of God, the Islamic rules and ordinances, and the Qur’an whenever and wherever he saw a few people gathering together, trying to soften their hearts and incline them towards Islam by reciting Divine verses to them.

He would say: “Allah is the One God and the Master of this world and the Hereafter. He alone should be worshipped and feared. All powers belong to God. We will all be restored to life again and will be rewarded for our good deeds and punished

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for our evil acts. O people! Beware of sins, lies, calumny, and abusive language.”

The Quraysh were so impressed by the Qur’anic verses that they had to ask for Walid's assistance to make a judgment in this regard. Walid, who was their judge in problems of life and their helper in difficulties, after hearing the Qur’anic verses, told them: “I heard a word from Muhammad today that is not the same kind as man's or jinn's words. It has special sweetness and beauty. It resembles a tree whose branches are laden with fruits and the roots with blessing. It is an outstanding word which no other word is superior to it”.(1)

When the infidels learned about the sweetness and attractiveness of God's words and felt humiliated before it, they found it inevitable to stigmatize the Divine words as “Sorcery”, and in order to evade believing in Muhammad (S)'s Prophethood, they started to make excuses. For example, they demanded from the Prophet (S) to make God and the angels available! They wanted him to display a golden palace with a garden full of streams! And so on. Muhammad (S) replied: “I am but a messenger, and cannot perform miracles without permission from Allah.

Emigration to Abyssinia

In the fifth year of the Prophetic Mission, a group of Prophet (S)'s companions numbering 80 people who were formerly persecuted and harassed by the infidels left for Abyssinia with the agreement of the Prophet (S). Abyssinia was a safe and peaceful land, and Najashi, the king of that country, was

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1- Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, vol. 1, p. 287.

a benevolent Christian. The Muslims wished to worship God there while leading their business. But even there they were persecuted by Meccans.

The latter asked Najashi to return the Muslims to Mecca, and in order to win his favor, they sent him some gifts. But the king of Abyssinia Said: “From among all lands, they have chosen mine. I must investigate to know what they say and what their complaint is about. “Then he ordered to summon the Muslims. Upon their arrival, he asked them to explain the reason for their emigration and to introduce their new religion. Ja'far b. Abi Talib, on behalf of the emigrants, stood up and said:

“We were ignorant people, worshipping idols, feeding on carcass, doing hideous acts, and violating our neighbors' rights. The powerful would trample the weak, until God selected from among us a Prophet whom we knew as righteous and honest. He urged us to abandon worshipping the wooden and stone idols; to be righteous, honest, kin-loving, well-behaved, and pious; to avoid evil acts and stop devouring orphan's wealth; to give up adultery; to say prayers; to fast; and to give alms.

Thus, we believed in him and became his followers, accepting such a religion, we were much oppressed and ill-treated by our tribesmen to give up the faith, return to idolatry, and restart evil doings. When the injustice and the distress inflicted on us became unbearable, we took refuge in your country and chose you from among the kings. We hope, with

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your support, we are protected from oppression.”

“Recite some of the divine verses that your prophet read to you.” Najashi said. Ja'far read the beginning verses of Surat al-Maryam. Najashi and his retinue were deeply impressed and began to weep. Najashi, a Christian himself, said: “I swear by God, those words have originated from the same source as the words of Jesus (as).” Then, Najashi told the infidels of Mecca: “I will never surrender them to you.” The infidels were intensely outraged by being defeated, and returned to Mecca.

Economic Sanction

In order to constrain Muhammad (S) and other Muslims, the infidels of Quraysh signed an agreement to break relations with him and his followers; to have no marriage and trade bonds with them; and to join hands with enemies of Islam in all events. They hung the agreement parchment inside the Ka‘ba and swore to observe its content.

Abu Talib, Prophet (S)'s supporter, asked children of Hashim and Muttalib to keep away from idolaters and settle in a valley named Shi‘b of Abu Talib. The Muslims started there, under straw parasols, a new life and built watchtowers to prevent the enemy's surprise attacks. This depressed and adverse sanction took three years.

Only in holy months (Rajab, Dhu’l Qa‘da, Dhu’l Hajja) would the Prophet (S) and the Muslims leave the “Shi‘b” in order to propagate the religion and shop for a little provisions, but the infidels, especially Abu Lahab, would buy out the goods or ordered the prices to be raised so that the

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Muslims fail to purchase anything. Hunger and hardship reached their highest degree. The Muslims, however, didn't give up their resistance.

One day the Prophet was informed through Revelation that the agreement parchment had been eaten up by termites and just the term “Bismik Allahumma” (In your name, O Allah!) was left intact. Abu Talib declared this event to the gathering of infidels. Verifying the incident and finding out the Prophet (S)'s truthfulness, they lifted the sanction.

Muslims gave a sigh of relief … but alas! In a few months Khadija, the Prophet (S)'s faithful wife and Abu Talib, his supporter passed away, and it was a great loss to the Prophet (S). Once again the infidels began their persecutions.

Spread of Islam in Yathrib (Medina)

At the time of Hajj pilgrimage a group consisting of six people from Medina met the Prophet (S) and learned about the pure doctrines of Islam. People of Medina, on account of wars and conflicts between the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj and the pressure inflicted upon them by the Jews, were supposedly awaiting this holy doctrine to impart to them its redemptive message. These six Muslims returned to Medina and talked a lot in favor of Islam and the Prophet (S) and prepared people to welcome Islam.

On a similar occasion the next year, twelve people got acquainted with the Prophet (S) himself and the holy doctrines of Islam. The Prophet (S) dispatched one of his companions with them to instruct the Qur’an and the Islamic ordinances. Similarly, the year after,

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those twelve people swore allegiance to the Prophet (S) at a place called ‘Aqaba and pledged to support Muhammad (S) just like their own kinsmen.

Following this allegiance, 73 other men and women swore allegiance to the Prophet (S) and promised to protect him against the enemies of Islam even at the cost of their own lives. Thereupon, the way was paved for the emigration to Yathrib, which later on was named Medina.

Mi‘raj (Ascension) – Journey to Ta’if

Before emigration to Medina which took place in Rabi‘ al-Awwal, 13 Years after the advent of Bi‘tha, two events came about in the Prophet (S)'s life, which will be pointed out briefly as follows:

The Mi‘raj of the Prophet (S) took place in the 10th year of Bi‘tha, which was a Journey commanded by Almighty God in the company of the Revelation Angel (Gabriel) resting on a swift flying mount named Buraq.

The Prophet (S) started this splendid Journey from the house of Umm Hani, ‘Ali (as)'s sister headed towards Jerusalem and visited Bethlehem, which is the birth place of the Prophet Jesus (as), as well as the residence of Prophets (as).

Then he began his heavenly journey, visiting celestial creatures and Paradise and Hell, as a result of which he became aware of the mysteries of existence and the vastness of the created universe and signs of Almighty God's infinite Power.

He finally reached Sidrat al-Muntaha (Cedar-Tree in Paradise) and found it totally covered with grandeur, magnificence, and majesty. Then, he returned to Mecca through the same way, and

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dismounted Buraq at Umm Hani’s house before daybreak. Shi‘as believe this journey has been made physically rather than only spiritually as believed by some other sects. In the Holy Qur’an, this magnificent journey is referred to as follows:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِی أَسْرَیٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَیْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَی الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَی الَّذِی بَارَکْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِیَهُ مِنْ آیَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِیعُ الْبَصِیرُ

﴾Immaculate is He who carried His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 17: 1).

It was in the same year and at the same night of the Mi‘raj that God enjoined the Prophet that his umma say prayers and worship the Lord of the two worlds five times a day; for saying prayers is the spiritual ascension for the faithful.

The other event is the Holy Prophet (S)'s Journey to Ta’if. In the eleventh year of his Prophetic Mission, due to the suffocating milieu of Mecca and persecution inflicted by idolaters and the hostility of the Meccans, he decided to move to another place. So, by himself, he set out for Ta’if to contact with Thaqif heads of tribes and introduce Islam to them. But those hard-hearted people didn't listen to the Holy Prophet (S) and even started to harass his Holiness.

The Holy Messenger (S) stayed in Nakhla, somewhere between Ta’if and Mecca, and since he was fearful of the idolaters’ vengeance

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and hostility, he considered finding someone to ask for quarter – according to the custom of that time – to secure his return to Mecca.

Thus, he sent someone to Mecca to ask for quarter from Mut‘im b. ‘Aday. Mut‘im took responsibility of protecting Prophet (S)’s life, and treated him with favor. Later on, the Holy Prophet frequently remembered Mut‘im’s favor and kindness to him.

Emigration to Medina

With the Prophet (S)’s permission, all Muslims went to Medina, except the Prophet (S) himself, ‘Ali (as), and several others who were either ill or in the prisons of the infidels.

When the idolaters found out about the Prophet (S)'s decision to emigrate, they made an arrangement, following meetings and negotiations, to assign forty people from among the tribes in order that on the eve of emigration they invade the Prophet (S)'s house and murder him, so that, in this way, all tribes share a hand in his blood, and consequently, his blood would be trampled on.

The Angel of Revelation, however, informed the Holy Prophet (S) of their ominous plot.

The night, when the Qurayshi murderers intended to carry out their devilish plan, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) slept in the Prophet (S)'s bed and the Prophet (S) secretly left the house. First, he entered in the Thawr Cave (south of Mecca), and from there, he emigrated, accompanied by Abu Bakr, to Yathrib or Madinat al-Nabi, which was later known as Medina.

Arrival in Medina

On Monday 12th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, the Holy Prophet (S) and his companions reached Quba, at

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a place about 12 kilometers to Medina. The Prophet (S) remained there till the end of the week (Thursday) for ‘Ali (as) to arrive. The Quba Mosque at this place is a reminder of those days.

After the emigration of Muhammad (S), ‘Ali was appointed to return people's deposits to them, and accompany to Medina the Hashemite women including Fatimah (as), the Prophet (S)’s daughter, Fatimah daughter of Assad, and the Muslims who had not managed to emigrate till that day. ‘Ali and the company began the trip, a hard and hazardous one.

With injured and swollen feet, ‘Ali (as) joined the Prophet (S) after three days, and was favorably and kindly welcomed by him.

The people of Medina, after three years of waiting anxiously, welcomed their Prophet exuberantly and with cries of exaltation.

The Importance of Emigration

The arrival of the Prophet (S) and the Muslims in Medina marked a new era in their life. It was actually like stepping out of a contaminated and suffocating environment, retreating into a fresh and healthy atmosphere. It is on this account that emigration in the way of God and for spreading His religion is considered equal to jihad (holy war) and is equally splendid.

Emigration means abandoning all your existing interests, leaving behind your old habits and customs, and move towards a new life. Moving from ignorance towards light and knowledge is also considered emigration. Moving from impurity towards purity is emigration as well.

The emigration of the Prophet (S) and that of the Muslims from Mecca (an atmosphere of suppression,

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contamination and hatred) to Medina (a city of purity, assistance, and brotherhood) and towards laying the foundations for an Islamic social life, was the first great step taken towards victory and spread of Islam as well as its being universalized. It was due to the importance of emigration that later on, in time of the second Caliph this year was suggested by ‘Ali (as) as the beginning of the Islamic calendar (Hijra).

The First Step

When the Prophet (S) noticed such warm reception and exultation from the people of Medina, the first thing he did was to propose the construction of a mosque for the Muslims. The mosque was not solely for saying prayers. Rather, all legal and social affairs of Muslims were taken care of there.

The mosque was to be the center for the Islamic education and assemblies. Muslims all together and the Holy Prophet (S) together with the Muslims eagerly and enthusiastically were busy constructing the mosque. The Holy Prophet (S) would personally carry stones on his shoulders and work like a simple laborer. That same mosque is still standing magnificently, only second to Masjid al-Haram, which is the first in the world.

The Prophet (S) made peace between the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj which were in battle for years. He established bonds of brotherhood between the Emigrants and the people of Medina, i.e., the Helpers (Ansar) who hosted the Emigrants (Muhajirun) in their houses.

The Prophet (S) stabilized the Islamic unity, ideological bonds, and brotherhood for tribal relations. By

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using a charter, he actually devised the constitution of the Islamic community in Medina, and declared the Muslim people equal in rights and limits. He granted quarters to Jewish tribes who were living both inside and outside Medina.

To sum up, the Prophet (S) created a unified, brotherly, high-minded, and self-sacrificing community out of a revengeful and misled people who were ignorant of laws and social systems. From the second year, gradually, defensive military measures were taken against attacks by enemies of Islam.

The Prophet (S)'s Battles

The old revengeful enemies of Islam, namely the infidels of Mecca, planned – in any possible way – to defeat the newly established Islamic community; thus, they waged several wars. Accordingly, the Prophet (S) ordered the Muslims to prepare for defense. So, since the development of Islam in Medina, several battles took place which will be briefly pointed out. It should also be mentioned that the wars in which the Prophet (S) attended in person were called ghazwa (battle), and the other ones taking place in his time were called sariyya (expedition).

Battle of Badr

The battle of Badr occurred in 2/623. In this unbalanced battle the number of enemy's army reached 950, being fully equipped; the number of Muslims, however, was only 313. The Muslims fought with the power of faith and full fidelity, defeating the enemy in a short time. The enemy retreated, leaving behind 70 killed and captives as well as lots of spoils. Abu Jahl, the bitter enemy of Islam, was also killed in this battle. This victory was

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the opening chapter to the later victories.

Change of the Qibla

In the same year, it was commanded by the Almighty Allah that the Muslims should change the direction of their prayer from Jerusalem towards Ka‘ba. The reason for this was that the Jews regarded the lacking of an independent qibla as a deficiency for Islam, which was known as a perfect religion, and thus they didn't believe in its universality. The Two-Qibla Mosque (Masjid Dhu Qiblatayn) is reminiscent of that significant event.

Battle of Uhud

A year after the battle of Badr, enemies of Islam, equipped three times as much as that of the battle of Badr, set out for Medina with the intention of taking revenge on the Muslims. The Prophet (S.A.W) consulted with his companions upon which it was decided to array the troops along the mountainside of Uhud. At the outset, the Muslims – weak in number but strong in faith – won the battle.

But, since the guards of the valley behind the battlefield left their trenches covetously to get their share of the spoils, the Islamic troops were defeated, and a number of them including Hamza, the Prophet (S)'s brave uncle, were killed. However, as a result of self-sacrifices by ‘Ali (as), who had received many injuries, and other brave combatants, as well as the new technique that the Prophet (S) applied in this battle, once again the Muslims gathered together and chased the despicable enemy, and finally achieved victory.

Battle of Kandaq (or Ahzab Confederates)

A group of Jews, including Bani Nadhir tribe, were living in Medina. At the

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beginning, the Prophet (S) entered into a friendship and cooperation alliance with them, but they were always, through hypocrisy and deception, attempting to strike Islam. In spite of all his kindness and mercy, the Holy Prophet (S) wouldn't overlook hypocrisy and conspiracy, and would punish the hypocrites and the plotters.

When the Bani Nadhir tribe found their plots brought to naught, they united with the infidels of Mecca and some other tribes and, in the fifth year of Hijra, a huge army consisting of ten thousand swordsmen commanded by Abu Sufyan was formed to invade Medina aiming at uprooting the Islam.

It was a time of trial and self-sacrifice. On the advice of Salman and agreement of the Prophet (S) a ditch was dug around Medina. When the enemy reached Medina, it faced a wide ditch. The Jews of Bani Qurayza, like other Jews, began to practice their hypocrisy and treachery. Severe and critical moments were impending.

With his appealing war plans, the Holy Prophet (S) dispersed the battle front of the enemy. ‘Amr b. ‘Abduwad, the peerless commander of Mecca, was killed by ‘Ali (as) in a person to person fight; the Prophet (S) described ‘Ali (as)'s strike that killed ‘Amr as more valuable than the worship done by jinn and mankind. After ‘Amr was killed, the enemy was struck with terror. Pessimism among the invaders and Jews, shortage of provision, severe night hurricanes, and fatigue, all in all led to the victory of the Islamic army, and made the infidel

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troops flee back to Mecca.

The 6th Year of Hijra – Hudaybiya Peace

In a dream, the Holy Prophet (S) saw that the Muslims were engaged in performing their Hajj Pilgrimage in Masjid al-Haram. He made the Muslims prepare for an 'Umra pilgrimage in Dhu’l Qa‘da.

Everybody got prepared for the pilgrimage and the caravan departed. Since this trip was being made in a Holy month and the Muslims had nothing with them but a single sword which every traveler carried with him, and on the other hand, since the Quraysh was informed of the Muslims’ intention to set out for the pilgrimage and prevented their entering Mecca, the Prophet (S) made a treaty with Meccans which was renowned as “Hudaybiya Treaty”.

According to this peace treaty, the Prophet (S) and the Muslims dispensed with the ‘Umra. They were supposed to perform ‘Umra the following year. This treaty demonstrated the peaceful spirit of Muslims to all. Accordingly, a ten year truce was agreed upon by the two sides that were also free to visit each other's territories. This peace was indeed a victory for Islam. Thus the Prophet (S) got relieved of the internal menace and found an opportunity to call the rulers of other countries to Islam.

The Holy Prophet (S)'s Letters to the Kings

We know from the Holy verses of the Qur’an that Islam is a universal religion and the Holy Prophet (S) is the last messenger divinely sent to people(1). According to this mission, the Holy Prophet (S) sent letters to the eminent heads of states, such as Khusrow Parviz, the king of Iran; Heracles,

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1- Al-Qur’an, 34; 18.

Roman Emperor; Muquqas, the king of Egypt, and so on, calling them to Islam.

His letters, still extant, were clear, decisive, and brief. These letters were delivered by faithful, devoted, and experienced couriers. The Prophet (S) has, through these letters called them to Islam, word of Truth, brotherhood, and equality and warned them in case of heedlessness, of God's chastisement. It was these messages that paved the way for universal development of Islam.

Battle of Khaibar

Khaibar, or better to say the oasis of Khaibar, consisted of seven citadels in a fertile land 200 kilometers north of Medina, and was a major shelter for the Jews. The Jews became more and more treacherous and bothersome to the Muslims. The Prophet (S) decided to teach these hypocrites their place and repel their evil. To this end, he ordered the Muslims to go to Khaibar to conquer it.

After great endeavor and resistance, their trenches were conquered one after another. Following the conquest of Khaibar citadels, the Jews who lived in the village 'Fadak”, 140 km to Medina surrendered without any fight and resistance, and accepted the leadership of the Holy Prophet (S).

According to the Islamic rules, places which surrender without war belong to the Prophet. The holy messenger granted this village to his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra (as). The story of its usurpation later on is recorded in the history up to the time of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, which we will talk about in the biography of Fatimah al-Zahra (as).

Conquest of Mecca

In 8/629, something happened that proved

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the perfidy of Quraysh. Hence, the Holy Prophet (S) decided to take over Mecca and cleanse it of the impurity of the idols and idolaters. Thus, in a quite unprecedented way, and without anybody knowing the time of command for departure and the course of movement and destination, the Prophet (S) ordered ten thousand Muslim troops to move toward Mecca on the tenth of Ramadan.

The city of Mecca surrendered without any resistance. The Prophet (S) accompanied by Muslims entered his hometown. Idols were smashed into pieces and a great victory was achieved for Islam.

In this conquest, the Prophet (S) who had full authority and was able to revenge his old stubborn enemies, granted them amnesty and mercy and showed the whole world that the goal of Islam was to tear away the chains of captivity and slavery from man's hands and feet and to call them toward Allah, and toward goodness, purity, and righteousness. From this year on, non-Muslims embraced Islam by groups and got familiar with its reviving and humanizing decrees.

Upon the conquest of Mecca, battles of Hunayn, Ta’if and Tabuk took place. In the first two, the Muslims defeated the enemy; in the battle of Tabuk, however, although the Prophet did not encounter the enemy and did not wage any war, a series of spiritual gains were attained by the Muslims in this extremely adverse battle. With such tortuous journey, the Prophet (S) paved the way for the conquest of Sham (Syria) and Rome, and taught methods of

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battle against great powers to his faithful companions.

The Death of the Holy Prophet (S)'s Beloved Son

In the early years the Prophet of Islam suffered the loss of his three sons named Qasim, Tahir and Tayyib as well as his three daughters Zaynab, Ruqayya and Umm Kulthum and was very impressed by their demise.

But once again the death of his beloved son, Ibrahim, an offspring of Mariya, intensely hurt the Holy Prophet (S)'s sensitive heart. The Prophet (S), while embracing Ibrahim who was as a newly blossomed flower surrendering his soul to God, uttered the following eloquent statements:

“My dearest Ibrahim! There is nothing we can do for you. Nor will God's destiny change, your father's eyes are tearful and his heart is mournful for your passing away, but I will never say a word which would outrage God…”

Some companions were surprised by the Prophet (S)’s weeping; the Prophet (S), however, like every time in the past taught the Muslims a great lesson, i.e., the lesson of affection and kindness to one's children.

Love of one's children is among the most sublime and purest manifestations of human soul and an indication of its health and gentleness. The Holy Prophet (S) would always say: “Honor your children and be kind to them.” However, the only child that survived and perpetuated the luminary lineage of Wilayat and Imamate was his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra (as), the wife of ‘Ali (as), i.e., the Prophet (S)'s executor of testament.

Farewell Pilgrimage – the Last Journey of the Prophet (S) to Mecca

A few years had been left of the Holy Prophet (S)'s blessed life. It was

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10/631 when the Prophet (S) announced to people to get prepared for performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Over one hundred thousand people were gathered. The Holy Prophet (S) donned the garb of a pilgrim (ihram) by wearing two pieces of white cloth from the Mosque of Shajara near Medina and so did the Muslims.

Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, La Sharika Laka Labbaik was the melodious chanting reverberating in the air. Thousands of people were repeating this heavenly call of the Prophet (S). It was a manifestation of the magnificence of the Islamic unity, equality, and brotherhood.

The Holy Prophet (S) taught the sacred rites of the Hajj pilgrimage to the Muslims for the first and the last time. This great Journey represented fruitful outcome of long time efforts of the Holy Prophet (S) who sincerely had dedicated his life and wealth to the actualization of the Islamic ideals and Divine decrees, and delivered Divine messages to the people of the world. On ‘Arafat, after noontime and afternoon prayers, the Holy Prophet (S) addressed thousands of pure-minded Muslims as follows:

“O people! Listen to me! Maybe I won't meet you again at this place. O people! Your blood and wealth are respected like this day and month, and any intrusion on them is unlawful, until the day you stand before the Exalted Allah.”

Then he called people to equality and brotherhood, advised them to observe women's rights, admonished them not to exceed Divine bounds, bewared them of violating one another's rights, and exhorted them to piety.

In the Arena of Ghadir Khumm

On the

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way back to Medina when the Holy Prophet (S) and tens of thousands of Muslims reached a place called Ghadir Khumm, the Revelation Angle, Gabriel, descended on the Prophet (S) and inspired the Divine Message in him as follows:

یَا أَیُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَیْکَ مِنْ رَبِّکَ ۖ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ یَعْصِمُکَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا یَهْدِی الْقَوْمَ الْکَافِرِینَ {67}

“O Messenger! Proclaim whatever (Message) has been sent to you from your Lord. If you do not, you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed your Mission. Allah will guard you against people's evil.”(1)

The people wondered what the fulfiller of religion was, without which the true religion would not be complete. That was truly the Prophet (S)'s last measure to determine the line of Executorship (wisaya) and Imamate. The Prophet was to – by God's command – clarify people's duty after his demise.

Under the scorching sun and on the hot sands of the desert, the Holy Prophet (S) introduced ‘Ali (as), through a long sermon, as his wali (guardian) and successor to the people, particularly by uttering this statement: “Whoever I am the master (mawla) of, ‘Ali is also the master of”, which has been narrated by both Sunni and Shi‘a scholars.

On that day, 18th of Dhu'l- Hajja, people swore allegiance to ‘Ali (as).

About two months later, that is, on the latter days of Safar 11 AH, the Holy Prophet (S) closed his eyes to the world and was laid to rest next to the

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1- Al-Qur’an 5; 67

mosque constructed by himself.

This Holy Shrine is now a center of pilgrimage for over a billion Muslims from all over the world.

The Qur’an and the Household of the Prophet (S)

A hadith has been related from the Prophet (S) as follows: “I leave two great and precious things among you; as long as you hold on to them, you will never be led astray: the Book of Allah and my ‘Itrat (Household).”

The Qur’an

the Qur’an consists of verses which gradually descended on Prophet Muhammad (S) within 23 years. It includes 114 short and long suras and about 6400 verses. All suras of the Qur’an begin in the name of Allah (Bismi’Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim) except Surat al-Tawbah (Repentance).

The verses of the Qur’an are arranged as ordered by the Prophet (S) himself.

The suras revealed in Mecca are called Makki and the ones revealed in Medina are called Madani. Each sura has a name which is taken from within the sura text such as: al-Nahl, al-Baqara, al-‘Alaq, etc. As soon as a sura, a verse, or several verses were revealed to the Prophet (S) some trusted people, called “Writers of Revelation”, would write them down. The most famous among these writers were ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as), ‘Abdullah b. Mas‘ud, Zayd b. Thabit, Mu‘adh b. Jabal, Ubayy b. Ka‘b, etc. The advantage of the Qur’an over other scriptures is that in the Qur’an not the slightest distortion or change has occurred.

The Qur’an is a perpetual and durable miracle of the Prophet (S). It is explicitly pointed out in some parts of the Qur’an that

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if you are in doubt of the Qur'an, then produce some suras, or even a single sura consisting of three verses like these; of course, the Qur’an itself has pointed out that the imposters will never be able to do so.

The Qur’an is a miracle not only in wording and eloquence, but also in meaning and in containing consistent decrees and ordinances and eternal laws. The more human knowledge develops and the more the world's secrets are unveiled, the mystery of the eternality of Islam and the Qur’an will be further clarified. The Qur’an has so far been translated into over one hundred world languages and several times into Persian, English, and French.

In the Qur’an attention is, above all, drawn to worshipping of the One God; Divine attributes of Beauty and Majesty; greatness of the creation order; going through quarters of the world and nature; studying the states and lives of the past; devotional, social, and legal ordinances laws; the Resurrection; great Divine Prophets’ biographies; and taking lessons from the past folks and generations.

In order to be able to comprehend the deep inner and outer aspects of the Qur’an, we should, first of all, get familiar with the eloquent and rhetorical language of the Qur’an, which is a benevolent, everlasting, and truthful guide.

‘Itrat or Ahl-al Bayt (as)

It includes ‘Ali (as), his children, and Fatimah al-Zahra (as), most dear and devoted daughter of the Holy Prophet (S), who was called by the latter as Umm Abiha, i.e, the mother of her father. ‘Ali

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(as) was several times introduced by the Prophet as his executor of will, successor, and an Imam, as was Aaron to Moses.

The children who were born to ‘Ali (as) and Fatimah (as), of whom the last one was the promised Mahdi (as), are all Infallible and far from impurity and sins. Other children from this noble tree are many and have always been sources of benevolence, blessedness, and virtue everywhere and at all times.

The Holy Messenger's Wives

The Holy Prophet (S) married nine wives throughout his life. It was, of course, due to the circumstances of the society then as well as the situation of the Prophet (S) himself. Before the advent of Islam, polygamy was widely common among various tribes. Later on, Islam allowed having up to four wives, provided that justice is maintained among them.

We know that the Prophet (S) did not get married until the age of 25, at which he married Khadija who was 15 years his senior and lived with her along for about 25 years. When she died, he married another widow called Suda. Afterwards he got married to ‘A’isha. Other wives that he married, were all after ‘A’isha; and except Suda, all were widows and not very young. The Prophet (S) would grant them their rights, do them justice, keep their due turns, and treat them all very kindly.

The women that the Prophet (S) married were either among the unattended widows whose husbands had been martyred in war, or of the war captives who were quite

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respectfully living in the Prophet (S)'s house. His Marriages, particularly in the last ten years of his life, were in general socially-oriented and were for producing affection among the hearts and creating kinship with the tribes to maintain relation with those whose conversion to Islam would have reinforced Islam and Muslims.

Contrary to what has been said by some enemies of Islam or foreign orientalists, the Prophet (S) had by no means intended to seek sexual pleasure – particularly since the Prophet (S), as mentioned in the Qur’an(1), would spend during daytime two thirds of the night worshipping and reading the Qur’an, and was busy engaged in social affairs and wars, and furthermore these marriages had not occurred at a young age.

The Prophet (S)'s Behavior and Temperament

God says about His Holy Messenger, Muhammad b. ‘Abdullah (S):

وَإِنَّکَ لَعَلَیٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِیمٍ {4}

﴾And indeed you possess a great character﴿ (68:4).

What can a man with a little knowledge say about a Messenger who is all piety, mercy and a source of benevolence and magnanimity? What I say here is a single drop out of an ocean.

The Prophet (S)'s temperament, behavior, and conduct are indeed a model for all Muslims and a paradigm for all human beings and are in fact manifestations of Islam. The Prophet (S) regarded all Muslims as brothers and treated them extremely kindly and lovingly.

He would be dressed so simply and would sit on the ground so humbly among the companions that if a stranger arrived, he could not realize which one of

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1- Al-Qur’an, 73: 25.

them was the Prophet (S).

Although always wearing simple clothes, he considered cleanliness of garment and body as very important. His performing ablution (wudhu) was always accompanied by brushing teeth. He would not exclude using perfume. He was always polite to the old and the young. He would always surpass others in saying salam. There was always a sweet smile on his face; however, he would avoid laughing loudly. He would frequently visit the sick and attend the Muslims’ funerals. He was hospitable.

He would specially favor the orphans and the distressed, and affectionately caress the heads of the orphans. He avoided sleeping on a soft bed, saying: “In the world, I am like a rider who is resting for a while in the shade of a tree and then leaving.” Although he was kind and gentle toward the subordinates, he was strongly harsh to the enemies and hypocrites.

He was never frightened in the wars and was closer in battle field to the enemy than all other soldiers. He pardoned stubborn enemies such as the Quraysh infidels in the conquest of Mecca, who, in turn, were attracted by the Prophet (S)'s character and converted to Islam in scores.

He would avoid worldly riches. He distributed public property among people as quickly as possible, and although he was a commander and the messenger of God, he would never take a bigger share for himself. His holiness was truly an example and a paradigm for all people.

Some Sayings of His Holiness Prophet Muhammad

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1. “The best things given to a person are a thanking tongue, a tolerant and patient body, and a God remembering heart.”

2. “It is true that you cannot attend to people by your wealth and satisfy them. Then try to attend to them with your good temper and speak kindly to them”.

3. “The worst people are those who do not accept an excuse and do not forgive a slip.”

B 4. “Imparting knowledge to the unfit is like hanging jewelry and pearls round the neck of a swine.”

5. “The best and the most valuable things that a person acquires are forbearance and knowledge.”

6. “Hope is a source of mercy for my followers; if there were no light of hope in the hearts, no mother would feed her baby, and no gardener would plant a young tree.”

7. “The one who goes shopping and buys gifts for his family is like the one who wants to help the needy; and when he wants to distribute the gifts among the family members he should first hand one to his daughter and then to his son.”

8. “Shall I not inform you of the things that if you do, the Satan will get as far away from you as the distance between west and east?” Prophet (S) asked. Those who were present replied: “Yes by all means.” The Prophet (S) said: “Fasting makes the Satan black-faced, giving alms breaks his back, and friendship only for God's sake and perseverance in good deeds eradicates his root. Asking

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for Divine pardon and repentance cuts off Satan's artery. For everything, there's a zakat, and the zakat of the body is fasting.”

The Second Infallible, Hadhrat ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, The First Imam


‘Ali (as) was Abu Talib's fourth son (i.e. after Talib, ‘Aqil and Ja‘far) who was born 23 years before Hijra. His mother was Fatimah, daughter of Asad b. Hashim b. ‘Abd Manaf. ‘Ali (as) is reported to have been born in the Ka‘ba on Friday, 13th of Rajab.

Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) lived with his own parents, then due to the drought that struck Mecca, Abu Talib's life underwent hardship. There must have been a wise reason for it, since it placed ‘Ali (as) in the full affectionate custody of the Prophet (S) and his school of thought. Being trained by Muhammad (S), ‘Ali (as) never in his life bowed before the idols, and was the first among men to believe in the prophethood of the Holy Apostle of Allah, since he lived with the Prophet (S) in his house for about seven years until the Prophetic Mission of the Holy Apostle (S) took place. ‘Ali (as) welcomed the Mission of the Prophet (S) whole-heartedly.

In this regard, ‘Ali (as) himself asserts: “Like a child running after his mother, I would always follow the Messenger of God who would each day teach me a new lesson of ethical virtues and enjoin me to follow him.”

Since the beginning of the Prophetic Mission, ‘Ali (as) was always with the prophet (S) and accompanied him in joys and sorrows and in ups and

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downs of life. He always did his best and made efforts and self-sacrifice during the thirteen years of hardships in Mecca, the battles of Badr, Uhud, and Khandaq, through the conquest of Mecca, Hunayn, etc., as well as in Medina.

Everyone knew ‘Ali (as) as a manifestation of justice, honesty, and self-sacrifice, and so was he. His strictness in carrying out justice and actualizing truthfulness has indeed become an example among both friends and foes.

In the early years of Islam, the Apostle of Allah used to go to the valleys around Mecca and take ‘Ali (as) with him, say prayers together and return at night. One day, Abu Talib saw his son saying prayers with his cousin. First he talked a little to the messenger of God, and then said to his son: “O dear son! What are you doing?” “I have welcomed Islam, my dear father, and am saying prayers to God with my cousin.” ‘Ali (as) replied. Abu Talib said: “Do not separate from him, since he has certainly called you to good and happiness.”

The Beginning of ‘Ali (as)'s Self-Sacrifices

His holiness ‘Ali (as) has self-sacrificed both at the beginning of the call to Islam and during the battles. When the Prophet (S) openly called people to Islam, the Quraysh too started their persecutions and atrocities towards him and his followers. At first, in most cases they would maltreat the messenger of God while in prayer and would inflict various cruel acts on him. On these occasions, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) and Zayd b.

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Haritha would by turn and sometimes together protect the Messenger (S).

In many battles, through self denial and suffering severe wounds, ‘Ali (as) did not leave the Prophet alone. He made himself a shield against the arrows of atrocities that the infidels shot upon the Prophet (S). In critical and hazardous moments, he would save the Prophet (S)'s life.

In the Fourth year of the Prophetic Mission

When the Prophet (S) was commanded by God “to inform your kin about the call and to warn them”, ‘Ali (as) tolerated reproaches from Abu Lahab and others patiently, and proclaimed, with a matchless bravery, his readiness to assist the Prophet (S) to the extent that the Holy Prophet (S) in the gathering of his kin – where ‘Ali (as) stood up for the third time to show his eagerness to protect the prophet – told him:

“Be seated! You are my brother and executor of my will and are my vizier and inheritor and vicegerent after me.” This heavy responsibility was laid upon ‘Ali (as)'s powerful shoulders since the very beginning of open call to Islam.

Another Self-Sacrifice

In order to confront the treaty signed and hung on the house of Ka‘ba by the Quraysh to suppress Beni Hashim and restrain the Prophet (S), the Messenger and his companions decided, on the first of Muharram, 7 years after Bi‘tha, to settle in the Shi‘b of Abu Talib. This economic sanction lasted for about three years and a half until the middle of Rajab, 10 years after Bi‘tha, during which the Holy Prophet, Khadija and their

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beloved daughter Fatimah were in extreme hardship and difficulty, so that sometimes several of them were forced to live on a single date.

To protect the Prophet (S) from any harm, a few hours after nightfall Abu Talib would take him somewhere else to sleep, and then would have his son ‘Ali (as) sleep in the Prophet (S)'s bed so that if the Quraysh ambushed, he would be killed in place of the Prophet (S).

The Night of Hijra and Self-Sacrifice by ‘Ali (as)

Only a few Muslims were left behind in Mecca. Some had migrated to Abyssinia and some others had migrated to Medina before the Prophet (S). So nobody was left in Mecca except Muhammad (S), ‘Ali (as), Abu Bakr, and a few women or some prisoners. Suppression had reached to its highest degree in Mecca. A number of Muslims were in prison, being repeatedly lashed. If there were some youth who secretly loved Muhammad (S) and Islam, they would not dare to express it.

Muhammad (S) had decided to migrate to Medina and had told the secret only to ‘Ali (as), i.e., his best confidant. ‘Ali (as) was supposed to sleep in place of the Prophet (S) at that horrible night and to cover himself with the Prophet (S)’s green striped sheet and act in a way that the Quraysh would not have the slightest suspicion of what was going on.

The criminal youth of Quraysh were lingering around the house of the Prophet (S) to commit the crime. A silence was pervading over the whole city. The unsheathed

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swords were glittering. The young traitors rushed to the sleeping room of the Prophet (S). Is that Muhammad or ‘Ali? They wondered. Is he asleep or awake? What should they do? … Muhammad (S) had by then gotten out of their reach!

They put ‘Ali (as) under pressure to reveal to them the hiding place of Muhammad (S). They threatened to kill him but all he said was that Muhammad (S) had left Mecca. ‘Ali (as) stayed in Mecca to do as he was advised to do by the Prophet (S).

He returned what had been entrusted to him to their owners. Then, together with some men and women, he set out for Medina. The whole self-sacrifice and hardship was for the sake of God and the Prophet (S). The following blessed verse is true for ‘Ali (as):

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یَشْرِی نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ رَءُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ {207}

﴾And among the people is he who sells his soul seeking the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is most kind to His servants.﴿(1)

In the battle of Uhud

‘Ali (as) displayed such bravery that amazed both friends and foes. Muslims, numbering seven hundred, and the Quraysh infidels, consisting of three thousand horsemen and two thousand foot-soldiers with full equipment entered the battle field. In this battle ‘Ali (as) killed many of the infidels with his piercing sword.

Every time the resentful enemy encircled the Holy Prophet (S), ‘Ali (as) would disperse them. When ‘Ali (as)’s sword got broken due to his powerful strikes in battle, the Prophet (S)

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1- Al-Qur’an, 2: 207

gave him his own sword called: “Dhulfaqar”. In this battle, ‘Ali (as)'s body was injured with over sixty wounds. It was in the same battle where the Prophet (S) saw the Angel of Revelation in the middle of the air, heralding: “There is no sword like Dhulfaqar and no brave youth like ‘Ali”.

In the Battle of Khandaq

The first war show of the enemy started this way: ‘Amr b. ‘Abduwad, a well-known Quraysh athlete, fully armed and equipped with armor along with several infidel troops crossed the trench (Khandaq). On the other side of Khandaq, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib(as) with several others set out to encounter them and block their way.

‘Amr challenged three times. ‘Ali (as) volunteered to fight with him. At the first and the second time, the Holy Prophet (S) did not allow him to step forward as a rival to ‘Amr. At the third time, however, the Messenger (S) allowed him to go. At this moment, the Prophet (S) remarked: “The entire faith is standing against the entire infidelity.” ‘Ali (as)'s extraordinary bravery resulted in ‘Amr b. Abduwad's total defeat. On this momentous occasion, the Holy Prophet (S) said: “‘Ali (as)’s stroke on the day of Khandaq will be superior to all the devotional acts of my umma until the Day of Judgment”.

This very evident victory and some other factors weakened the enemy's army consisting of ten thousand equipped troops, as a result of which they all fled to Mecca.

The Battle of Khaybar


In the 7th year of Hijra, the battle of Khaybar took

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place in which ‘Ali (as) accompanied the Holy Prophet (S). It was in this battle that the Prophet (S) said: “Tomorrow I will hand the army standard over to the one who loves God and His Messenger and God and His Messenger love him, too. In wars, he never flees; rather, he always attacks. He would not return until God resolves the problem through him.”

In the Conquest of Mecca

‘Ali (as) was with the Prophet (S) in this conquest. It is said that, in order to topple the idols inside the Ka‘ba and to uproot idolatry, he stepped on the Holy Prophet (S)'s shoulder to climb up for smashing the idols.

In the Battles of Hunayn and Ta’if

Here also ‘Ali (as) was alongside the Prophet (S). In the battle of Hunayn all troops escaped except nine soldiers including ‘Ali (as) who persevered in the war.

In the Battle of Tabuk

This battle took place in the 9th year of Hijra when ‘Ali (as) was ordered by the Prophet (S) to stay in Medina in place of the Prophet (S). This was the only battle that after 27 battles ‘Ali (as) did not accompany the Apostle of Allah (S). Although his staying in Medina was by the order of the Prophet (S), he was a little sad about it and wished he had been able to fight in the company of the Prophet (S). The Holy Messenger told ‘Ali (as): “Are you not satisfied that your relation to me is similar to that of Aaron to Moses? Except that there will be no prophet after me.” This hadith is

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known as “hadith of Status” (Hadith al-Manzilat).

In the 10th year of Hijra, on returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage to Mecca, the event of Ghadir Khumm happened. Before a vast crowd, the Prophet (S), through Divine order, selected ‘Ali (as) as his successor and executor of his will. Then, the third verse of Surat al-Ma’ida was revealed, which is known as “Perfection of Religion” and “Completion of Blessing”: ﴾Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.﴿

At the last moments of the Prophet (S)'s life, ‘Ali (as) was at his bedside. His holy head was leaning on ‘Ali (as)'s chest, when he closed his eyes to the world. ‘Ali (as) himself gave his sacred body the ritual washing (ghusl) and shrouded it and put it inside the grave with his own hands. ‘Ali was the last one who left the luminous grave of Muhammad (S).

The Visage of ‘Ali (as) in the Qur’an

Based on authentic documents, there are over 100 verses which have been revealed in relation to ‘Ali (as).

Several verses which, according to both Shi‘a and Sunni, are about ‘Ali (as), are as follows:

أَفَمَنْ کَانَ مُؤْمِنًا کَمَنْ کَانَ فَاسِقًا ۚ لَا یَسْتَوُونَ {18}

﴾Is someone who is faithful like someone who is a transgressor? They are not equal.﴿(1)

إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُنْذِرٌ ۖ وَلِکُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ {7}

﴾You are only a warner, and there is a guide for every people.﴿(2).

Fakhr al-Razi, in his interpretation of this verse, maintains that “a guide” is meant to be ‘Ali (as).(3)


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1- Al-Qur’an, 32: 18.
2- Al-Qur’an, 13: 7.
3- Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, vol.3, p. 129. See also: Tafsir-i Nimuna, vol. 10, p. 131. Al-Qur’an, 5: 55.

وَلِیُّکُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِینَ آمَنُوا الَّذِینَ یُقِیمُونَ الصَّلَاهَ وَیُؤْتُونَ الزَّکَاهَ وَهُمْ رَاکِعُونَ {55}

﴾Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down.﴿(1) (5:55).

Fakhr al-Razi quotes Abu Dharr al-Ghifari as saying that this verse is revealed for Amir al-Mu'minin ‘Ali (as). Similarly, Zamakhshari says in tafsir al-Kashshaf the same about this verse.(2)

‘Ali (as) was an interpreter of the Qur’an and knew its mysteries and secrets because he had drunk his fill and saturated from the fountainhead of the Prophet (S)'s knowledge and insight. ‘Ali (as) had been at all moments with the Prophet (S) and witnessed the revelation of the Holy verses. The Prophet (S) has told about ‘Ali:

“‘Ali is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is also with ‘Ali; the two will not separate until they arrive at Kawthar.”

‘Ali (as) was himself the Prophet (S)'s scribe of revelation, memorizing and recording, upon the Prophet (S)'s order, the verses revealed to the Apostle of Allah (S). Right after the Prophet (A.S.W.)'s demise, he stayed home and started compiling the verses of the Qur’an in order to prevent it from being dispersed and distorted.

Both Shi‘a and Sunni scholars agree that ‘Ali (as) was the most competent in the interpretation and commentary of the Nobel Qur’an.

After the Demise of the Holy Prophet (S)

According to the Prophet (A.S.W.)'s advice, ‘Ali (as) was to be the Caliph of the Muslims. But when other persons surpassed him in taking over the rule, although he viewed caliphate as his own right and some

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2- Tabari, Tafsir, vol. 6, p. 186. See also: Tafsir Nimuna, vol. 4, p. 428.

of comrades and companions admitted and even insisted on this, ‘Ali (as) practiced patience and tolerance in order to prevent differences and civil wars, interpreting the situation as “having thorn in his eyes and a sharp piece of bone in his throat”; and proceeded to defend his right by presenting logical reasons and proofs.

According to what is recorded in historical documents, ‘Ali (as) didn't swear allegiance to Abu Bakr until after Fatimah (as)'s death and refrained from interference in public affairs during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. For about 25 years (11-35 AH), during which the three caliphs ruled, ‘Ali (as) lived a thoroughly humble, benevolent, and reputable life. In this period, he attended to people's problems and teaching his companions.

He also spent his time in planting trees, farming, digging qanats (subterranean fresh water canals), doing charitable work, and worshipping the Almighty God, until his time for caliphate arrived.

As soon as ‘Ali (as), at the request of people, took over the rule, he declared: “I will take and return to public treasury whatever has been unduly given to you, even though spent on dowries or buying slave-maids”. Upon this, a group of people turned up in Basrah and the battle of Jamal started. In this battle, 13 thousand Muslims from both sides were killed. Later on, the battle of Siffin began and brought about so many problems for ‘Ali (as) and the world of Islam.

The event of arbitration, which inflicted a great loss on Islam, was the consequence of

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this war, leading to dominance of Mu‘awiya on Sham (Syria) with intrigue and deceit. Shortly afterward, the battle of Khawarij at Nahrawan broke out, and thereby another predicament came about for Imam ‘Ali (as).

He talked to the Khawarij and delivered an ultimatum onto them. Some repented and admitted the rightfulness of Amir al-Mu’minin (as), but others insisted on fighting and killed several of Imam ‘Ali (as)'s comrades. Thereupon, ‘Ali (as) was forced to order defense and war which finally led to the defeat of Khawarij.

These fights, indeed, materialized the Holy Prophet (as)'s foresight. He had told ‘Ali (as): “After my death you will wage war upon three groups. On nakithin, namely the breakers of pledge, i.e. companions of Jamal who first made a pledge and later broke it; on qasitin, that is the rebels and tyrants, Mu‘awiya and the people of Sham, who had since the beginning engaged in rebellion and mutiny; and on mariqin, i.e., those who disobeyed the Imam of their time and the legal rule and law, or the Khawarij of Nahrawan.

‘Ali (as)'s Murder and the End of His Rule

Three of the Khawarij vowed to kill three of the then rulers, namely Mu‘awiya, ‘Amr b. ‘As, and Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (as), and thus, supposedly redeem the Muslims from disturbances. Of the three evil-starred, Abdul Rahman b. Muljam Muradi agreed to kill Amir al-Mu’minin. Ibn Muljam arrived in Kufa and got acquainted with a beautiful woman called Quttam, daughter of Akhdhar Taimi, from among the tribe of Taim al-Rabab.

The woman, having a chronic vendetta

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against ‘Ali (as), demanded the murder of ‘Ali (as) as her bridal gift. Accepting the proposal, Ibn Muljam with two others and the seditious woman went into the Kufa Mosque on the eve of the 19th of Ramadan, the year 40 AH, and waited for ‘Ali's coming for the morning prayer. Ibn Muljam, with his sword already envenomed, jumped out of his hiding place, and cleaved ‘Ali (as)’s head open with his sword in his mihrab (prayer niche). ‘Ali (as) was in bed from the morning of 19th till some time before midnight of 21st of Ramadan.

Though he was badly injured and weakened, he would talk, give advice, especially to his dear sons, al-Hasan (as) and al-Husayn (as). He said to them: “Always be adorned with taqwa (piety), do not pursue the world [i.e., worldly attachments and pleasures], and do not pity for whatever of the world that you lose. Tell the truth…, fight with the tyrants, and help the oppressed.

He said to his beloved sons, al-Hasan (as) and al-Husayn (as): “Be enemy to the oppressor and supporter of the oppressed.”

Truly, ‘Ali (as) lived in purity and departed from the world in purity. He was always with the Truth, and the Truth was with him. Verily, as he himself said at his martyrdom “Fuztu wa Rabb al-Ka‘ba” (I triumphed, by the Lord of Ka‘ba), indeed he attained salvation.

His name is one of the holiest, greatest, and most respected of human names not only with God, God's angels and Muslims,

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especially Shi‘as, but also with all human beings by and large; the word “‘Ali” has given a fascinating luminosity to the pages of history, which is admitted not only by Muslims and Shi‘as but also by followers of other religions.

While on his deathbed, he opened his eyes and cast a look at his children one after another and then the following verse was uttered through his lips:

لِمِثْلِ هَٰذَا فَلْیَعْمَلِ الْعَامِلُونَ {61}

﴾Let all the workers work for the like of this!﴿(1)

Then, he bade farewell to all, and repeated the sacred Word, la ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah) so far as his spirit left his body and rushed to the Eternal Paradise. ‘Ali (as)'s sacred body was buried in Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq. May God's blessings be eternally with him.

Imam and Imamate

Those who, after the Prophet (S), undertook the guidance of people are called Imams. As the religion is provided – through the Prophet (S) – for the people and has a Divine origin, so also are the Prophet and Imams appointed by God. God chooses those who are competent enough for leading people. The Imam learns religious knowledge from the Prophet, who acquires it, through Revelation from God Almighty. People need Imams and religious leaders as much as they need the religion itself for the following reasons:

First, principles of ordinances and religious imperatives are conveyed to the Prophets through Revelation; however, in any period Imams and leaders are required to comment and elaborate on the Qur’anic verses and ordinances

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1- Al-Qur’an, 37: 61.

and solve people's various problems; and can also make people familiar with details of religious issues and prevent them from deviation.

Second, Islam is a perfect and comprehensive religion which both includes issues concerning religion and religious leadership and contains executive organization for ruling. It is the Imam who can and must, like the time of the Prophet (S), having the right to rule, supervise people's individual and social affairs; direct and solve their problems in exact line with Divine laws and rules; supervise the accurate execution of these laws and rules; and express his decisive comments on new issues.

The Imam possesses eminent features as follows:

1. As the Imam is a religious and intellectual leader, he is fully aware of religious, ideological, and social issues.

2. The Imam is Infallible and immune from sins and faults. The Imam, like the Messenger (S), is immune from flaws and deviations. He does not involve in disobedience toward God, nor does he indulge in carnal desires.

3. The Imam possesses piety and virtue; he is a paradigm of purity and righteousness, and is divinely endowed with moral and spiritual perfections. The Imam, who wishes to be a teacher for others, must himself be an example of virtue, piety, and truthfulness of speech and action for all people and in all ages. In administering Justice and preserving people's rights, the Imam does not fall into the slightest deviation, and never abandons righteousness in favor of expediency.

According to the conditions and requirements mentioned above, the Imam cannot be

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elected by people. Rather, he is appointed – through God's command – by the Prophet (S) for this position. As specified by some traditions, the Prophet (S) appointed ‘Ali (as), Imam al-Hasan (as), Imam al-Husayn (as), and his son and eight other grandsons including the awaited Mahdi (as), as Imams.

The immaculate Imams, in every period and era, through dissemination and interpretation of aspects of the Islamic knowledge and training scholars – who in turn have trained their own students – and by means of stating narrations and traditions compiled in Shi‘a and Sunni books, have maintained the ever radiating light of Islam to be handed over from generation to generation.

Nahj al-Balagha

This is a collection of ‘Ali (as)'s sermons, letters, and wise sayings which characterizes the most eloquent example of Arabic literature. It is lower in rank than the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (S)'s sayings, and much higher than human words. In his letters and instructions to the rulers and governors of his time, the most prosperous instructions are to be found. Nahj al-Balagha, as an exquisite literal and spiritual collection, has been translated into most of the world's living languages and has been given various commentaries and interpretations.

Sayyid al-Radhi, a descendent of Imam ‘Ali (as) and a peerless scholar of his time both in eloquence and poetic gifts, compiled a part of the Imam's sermons and letters of his own selection and taste in the second half of the fourth century A.H./eleventh century CE. The compilation is known as Nahj

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al-Balagha. Going through this work will truly reveal that ‘Ali (as) has not only been a man of sword but also a unique champion and a matchless orator in the field of eloquence, as well as a true Imam and an infinite man in other dimensions.

Imam ‘Ali (as)'s Wives and Children

Sons and daughters of ‘Ali (as) are said to be twenty seven, of whom four belong to Fatimah (as), i.e. Imam al-Hasan (as), Imam al-Husayn (as), Zaynab Kubra, and Umm Kulthum. His other children include:

Muhammad (Abu al-Qasim), whose mother was Khawla Hanafiyya. He was known as Muhammad Hanafiyya and was a brave and strong man who displayed great bravery in the battles of Jamal and Siffin in the company of his noble father.

‘Umar and Ruqayya were twins born to Umm Habib, daughter of Rabi‘a.

Hadhrat ‘Abbas, Ja‘far, ‘Uthman and ‘Abd Allah Akbar, whose mother was Umm al-Banin, were all martyred in Karbala tragic event. The bravery, valor, self-sacrifice, and loyalty shown by Abu al-Fadhl al-‘Abbas and other nobles are exemplary in the tragedy of Karbala. Muhammad Asghar and ‘Abd Allah, whose mother was Layla daughter of Mas‘ud Darmiyya and who were martyred in Karbala. Yahya whose mother was Asma’ daughter of ‘Umays.

Umm al-Hasan and Ramla, whose mother was Umm Sa‘id.

His other children were: Nafisa, Zaynab Sughra, Ruqayya Sughra, Umm Hani, Umm al-Karam, Jumana, Umama, Umm Salama, Maymuna, Khadija, Fatimah.

It is worth mentioning that Imam ‘Ali (as) did not marry any other women as long as Fatimah (as) was alive; when she died, according to her will,

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‘Ali (as) got married to Umama, Hdhrat Zahra (as)'s niece (her step-sister's daughter).

Some Sayings of His Holiness Imam ‘Ali (as) in Nahj al-Balagha:

1. Surely jihad (holy struggle) is one of the doors of Paradise, which God has opened for His own friends. Jihad is a garment of virtue, a protective armor of God, and His trustworthy shield.

The one who refrains from jihad, God will afflict him with humiliation and misery, and overwhelm him by predicaments and inflictions, and make him mean and abject. He will also be deprived of God's Mercy and will turn unwise. By turning ones back on jihad, one would distance from Truth, be degraded, and deprived of justice and equity.

2. Through changes of situations, the truth and inner nature of people will be exposed.

3. Any day on which God is not disobeyed, will be a feast day (‘id).

4. In the company of the Apostle of Allah (S) we used to fight even against our parents, sons, brothers and uncles, and this fight increased our faith, our submission, our obedience to Allah, our endurance over the pangs of pain and our fight against the enemy.

5. Allah sent the Prophet (S) at a time when the people were going astray in perplexity and were steeped in mischief. Carnal desires had deflected them and self-conceit had swerved them. They were perplexed and misled in their affairs and overwhelmed by the evils of ignorance. Then the Prophet (S) did his best in guiding and instructing them, and called them to

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the right path and towards wisdom and good counsel. (Extracted from Nahj al-Balagha)

The Third Infallible, Hadhrat Fatimah al-Zahra


For Muslim women, Fatimah al-Zahra (as) is undoubtedly the most popular religious, moral, pious, and literary figure among the Muslims and other people of the world. The personality of Fatimah al-Zahra (as) is superior to all women of the world; she is a perfect paradigm for all the women who are enamored with chastity and piety.

It was on her chaste and immaculate lap that the two dignified and eminent Imams, i.e., Imam al-Hasan (as), the manifestation of tolerance and grace, and Imam al-Husayn (as), the master of the martyrs, were raised and brought up; so was also Zaynab Kubra (as), a corporeal epic, an embodiment of bravery, who was matchless in eloquence and a truth-seeker who proclaimed the message of ‘Ashura to the world and removed the mask of hypocrisy, polytheism, meanness, and worldliness from the face of Yazid and members of his sect.

Nobody denies that a mother has much more participation in rearing children, especially her daughters. And it was Fatimah al-Zahra (as) who imparted the Islamic spirit of education to her sons and daughters in pure atmosphere of chastity and piety of family.

Her Parents

Born to Khadija, Fatimah was the only child survived from her marriage to the Holy Prophet (S). What can be said about a father who was the seal of the prophets, beloved of Allah and a savior for mankind? A father, whose moral perfections and dispositions may not be described even

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by the most eloquent orators.

As for her mother, Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid was one of the most virtuous women before the advent of Islam; and in the Islamic era she was the first lady to acknowledge her faith in her husband, the Holy Prophet (S), and to embrace Islam, and generously bestow her wealth on the development of this religion.

The history of Islam will never forget the degree to which Khadija was faithful and loyal to the Prophet (S) in giving out her wealth and soul lavishly to Islam.

‘A’isha, the Prophet (S)'s wife, is quoted as saying: “No other women were as much respected as Khadija was. The Apostle of Allah (S) used to recall her with fondness and so much respect as if there existed no one like her.”

‘A’isha further said: “One day I told the Prophet (S) that she [Khadija] had been only a widow. Hearing this, he got so upset that his face turned red. Then he said: I swear by Allah there existed no other woman better than Khadija to me. The day when all people were infidels and idolaters she acknowledged her faith in me. The days when everybody accused me of sorcery and telling lies, she confirmed me.

When everybody had turned their back on me, Khadija put all her wealth at my disposal and spent it generously in my way. God bestowed a daughter on me through her, who was a manifestation of purity, chastity, and piety.” Then, ‘A’isha said: “I told

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the Prophet (S) that I did not mean to talk evil about her, and I repented my words.”

It is said that Khadija gave birth to seven children from the Prophet (S):

Qasim, whose name brought forth the nickname Abu al-Qasim for the Prophet (S), and died before the Bi‘tha (Prophetic Mission) of the Prophet (S) at the age of two. ‘Abd Allah, or Tayyib, who was born at the outset of Bi‘tha and died after that. Zaynab, who was married to Abu al-‘As.

Ruqayya, who got married first to ‘Ataba and then to ‘Uthman b. Affan, and died in the second year after Hijra. Umm Kulthum, who also married ‘Uthman – after Ruqayya's death – and died four years after Hijra. The seventh one was Fatimah al-Zahra (as) who got married to Hadhrat ‘Ali (as). The fruits of this blessed and noble marriage were the holy progeny consisting of our honorable and Infallible Imams.

The birthday of Fatmat al-Zahra (as) is known to be on Jamadi al-Thani 20, 5 years after Bi‘tha in Mecca. Thus, at the time of Hijra she was about nine years old.

Her names and nicknames, which all represent her heavenly characteristics and moral virtues, include: Siddiqa Tahira, Zakiyya, Zahra, Sayyidat al-Nisa al-‘Alamin, Khayr al-Nisa, Batul, and so forth.

The most amazing name she is famous for is Umm Abiha, i.e. “mother of her father” which indicates her intense love for her great father, and that from early childhood and in spite of her young age she was – like

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Khadija – a spiritual haven and mental support.

The nickname Umm Abiha was given by the Prophet (S) to his beloved daughter. In Arabic, Umm has a second meaning besides mother i.e. source and origin. As in Umm al-Khaba’ith (the source of all evils) which is used for wine, and Umm al-Qura, which is attributed to Mecca, so Umm Abiha also means the origin and source of Nubuwwa (Prophethood) and Wilaya (Guardianship). And, in truth, Zahra was like a shady tree, giving forth sweet fruits of Imamate and Wilayat.

Lifetime of Fatimah al-Zahra (as)

Fatimah al-Zahra (as) inherited eminent features from her great mother, e.g. generosity, benevolence, and instructiveness; and Divine and Heavenly characteristics from her noble father. She was a compassionate, kind, and devoted wife for her husband ‘Ali (as). In her heart, there was nothing inscribed except monotheism, worshipping God Almighty, and love of the Prophet (S); and she stood aloof from the impurity of paganism and idolatry.

She lived nine years of her early life in her parents' peaceful and serene house and another nine years with her honorable husband ‘Ali al-Murtadha (as), engaging in dissemination of the Islamic doctrines and social services, as well as doing the exhausting housework.

She used to spend her time educating her children, doing household chores, and in worship and remembrance of God. Fatimah (as) was a lady who grew and fostered within the Islamic educational school of thought, with faith and piety being permeated into all aspects of her life.

Fatimah (as) was raised at her mother's side and in

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the warm-hearted bosom of her father. She learned Divine knowledge and sciences from the fountainhead of Prophethood; and in her husband's house, she put into action what she had learned for years.

Like an aged mother and an experienced housewife who has left behind all her life span, Fatimah (as) would give her full attention to her household and well-being of her husband and education of her children. She would also take into consideration whatever took place outside their house, and would defend her own and her husband's rights.

How Fatimah (as) and ‘Ali (as) Got Married

From the beginning it was known to all that no man was there to match Fatimah (as) as a spouse except ‘Ali (as). Nevertheless, many of the Prophet (S.A.W)'s companions and those who thought to be close to him, cherished marriage with her, and fostered this aspiration in their minds.

It is reported that, following all these aspirations, a number of the companions asked ‘Ali (as): “Why do you not make an effort to marry with the only daughter of the Prophet (S.A.W)?”

‘Ali (as) said: “I have no [financial] means to step forward for this purpose.” And they commented: “The Prophet (S) will not ask for anything from you.” Eventually, ‘Ali (as) found a chance to bring up the request.

One day he went to the house of the Holy Prophet (S) for his proposal, but was held back due to bashfulness. This was repeated for a couple of times, it is said. At the third visit, the Holy Prophet (S) asked ‘Ali (as):

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“Do you require something?” Yes, replied ‘Ali (as). The Prophet said: “Perhaps you came to seek Zahra's hand in marriage?” ‘Ali (as) said he did. Since this marriage was ordained by God and the Prophet (S) was informed through revelation about its importance, he was to let his daughter know about this proposal and asked her opinion in this relation.

The Prophet (S) said to his daughter Fatimah (as): “You know ‘Ali very well; he is the closest person to me. He has precedence over others in service and virtue. I besought God to choose the best husband for you.”

“God ordered me to give you in marriage to ‘Ali (as). Tell me what you think.” Fatimah kept silent. The Prophet (S) interpreted her silence as consent and became happy, starting to say takbir [Allahu Akbar]. The Prophet (S), then, gave the glad tidings to ‘Ali (as), and determined a bridal gift as an equivalent of 2000 grams of silver. Then in a gathering where some of the companions were present, the Prophet (S) recited the marriage sermon and the auspicious contract of marriage was concluded.

It can be said that ‘Ali (a.s.) did not own anything but a sword, a coat of armor, and a camel for carrying water. The Prophet (S) told ‘Ali: “Keep the sword for jihad and the camel for carrying water and trips, but sell your armor to provide means for the marriage.” The Prophet (S) told Salman to sell the armor, and he sold it for five

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hundred dirhams. Then a sheep was slaughtered and the marriage banquet was held. It took place in the month of Dhu'l Hijja, 2 years after Hijra. All the objects brought into Fatimah (as)'s house as dowry did not exceed 14 items as follows:

A scarf; two pieces of cloth; a bath towel; a piece of wool chadur (top to toe cover); four pillows; a straw mat; a wooden bowl; a clay jar; a water goatskin; a water pitcher; a wooden bed; a laundry basin; a ewer; a couple of hand mills; and some fragrance and perfume.

These included all the dowry and household of Fatimah (as), chief of the ladies of the world, and the wife of ‘Ali (as). At the night of consummation, Sulami, ‘Umays's daughter undertook taking care of Fatimah (as) in place of her mother, Khadija, who had passed away.

The Holy Apostle of Allah (S) together with a number of his companions from among both Muhajirun and Ansar took part in the wedding ceremony. The chanting of takbir and tahlil (saying la ilaha illa Allah = there is no God but Allah) had filled the lanes and streets of Medina with Divinity, and waves of felicity had been delighting people's hearts.

The Holy Prophet (S) put the hand of her daughter in the hand of ‘Ali (as) and prayed for good blessing to them and bade farewell to them. Thus, the wedding ceremony of the best of men and women in the world was held in such a

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simple way.

From Delight to Sorrow

In the year 11/632, at the end of Safar/May, the heart-breaking demise of the Holy Prophet (S) occurred, and how painful it was for Fatimah (as) to part from her father, who, before all his travels, the last one he hugged and kissed goodbye was his beloved daughter, and when he returned, the first one he visited was also his daughter. He would always inquire after her state and health and whispered secrets in her soul's ear. Since childhood, she had been constantly next to her father and taking care of him.

Sometimes she would rush along with Hashemite women to the battleground to inquire about her father's state. In the battle of Uhud, for example, where a rumor was spread that the Prophet (S) had been killed, she rushed to the slope of Uhud Mountain to wash blood off her father's face and take care of the wounds by pouring some ashes from a burnt mat on them for remedy.

She was such a woman that whenever she found free time from her housework and child-rearing, she would go over to his father to enjoy his company. But alas! The moment for separation of the father and daughter had come too soon. The Prophet (S) fell sick in his bed, with his face getting pale implying his last moments.

‘A’isha is quoted as saying that at the last moments of his life, the Prophet (S) called for his beloved daughter and seated her next to himself and whispered something in

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her ear, at which she burst into crying. Then, he told her something else that suddenly made her delighted and smiling. Everybody was bewildered by these two conflicting reactions.

When asked what secret she was whispered to, she said: “The first time my father told me of his death; I got very sad and lost my patience and wept. He became sad too, and whispered again in my ear: ‘My dear daughter! Know that you are the first in the family who will soon join me’. I got very delighted to hear this good tiding. My father said: ‘Are you pleased to be the Chief of the Ladies of the World and the Chief of the Ladies of this umma?” And the Fatimah (as)’s answer was: “I am pleased with what God and you are pleased with.”

To sum up, Fatimah (as), the chief of the ladies of the world and the ladies of this umma, and the freshly blossomed flower of the garden of Prophethood, soon started to wither and after a while joined her beloved father. Alas! How short was the blessed life of the most pious and paramount lady of Islam.

Indeed, her father's death and the events which followed made Fatimah (as) weary in body and soul. The days following her father's demise passed over her in bitter grief and unending weeping. She could not tolerate being separated from her father, and thus when she heard from her father about her death, she smiled. She would rather

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die than outlive him.

Finally, disturbances and sorrows became more and more debilitating for her to the extent that the daughter of the Prophet (S) fell seriously ill. In this dire situation, obviously nobody, except a couple of the oppressed and underprivileged like Balal and Salman, sympathized with this honorable lady.

However, the women, both of the Muhajirun and Ansar, especially the latter, who were informed of her illness, rushed to her bedside to visit and appease her sympathetically. At her sickbed, in reply to those who inquired about her health, the Prophet (S)'s daughter would speak eloquent words, which in those days seemed to be the laments and complaints of a bereaved and tyrannized lady, but were actually warnings to Muslims against disunion and mischief coming up in future.

Indeed, she said what should have been said, and upon the painful affliction of bereavement of her beloved and affectionate father, she hastened to Paradise to join her noble father (S) by the pond of kawthar.

The passing away of the Prophet (S)'s daughter made ‘Ali (as) very distressed and mournful. This separation and “deep affliction” is too vast to be explained here.

The Story of Fadak as a Historical Reality

Fadak was a cultivated piece of land 140 km off Medina. It was a personal property since it was not obtained in a war or taken over as spoils of war. Rather, when the story about Khaybar reached the village of Fadak, all the people there consented to make peace with the Prophet (S), providing him with half of Fadak and

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keeping the other half for themselves, for which they demanded to hold their own religious rites quite freely and the security of their territory to be maintained by the Islamic state.

It is said that when the verse, ﴾And give the kinsman his right…﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 17: 26), was revealed, the Prophet (S) presented Fadak as a gift to her beloved daughter, Fatimah (as).

It was barely ten days after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S) when Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was informed that the caliph's agents have expelled her workers from Fadak and taken over the land. Thereupon, along with a group of Hashemite women, Fatimah (as) went to the caliph to take back her usurped land, and some talk was exchanged between them accordingly.

The Prophet (S)'s daughter asked Abu Bakr why he had deprived her of her right and dismissed her workers from the land. The caliph said, “I have heard your father say that the Prophets bequeath nothing.” “My father bestowed Fadak on me while he was still alive and it was since then that I have been the owner”, said Fatimah (as).

The caliph asked. “Do you have any witnesses for this?” Fatimah (as) said, “My witnesses are ‘Ali (as) and Umm Ayman, [and as some believe, al-Hasan (as) and al-Husayn (as)] who have all borne witness. Then ‘Ali (as), who was present as a witness, said to Abu Bakr, “Whom do you ask for witness when I lay claim to a property which is in the hand

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of a Muslim? Do you ask me, who am a claimant, for a witness or the other person who is in possession of the property?” The caliph said, “In this case I would call you to witness.” ‘Ali (as) said: “It is a long time since Fadak has been in our possession and disposal; now that the Muslims claim it to be a public property, they should bring in their witnesses.”(1)

In order to appropriate Fadak, the caliph appealed to a hadith which is in brief as follows: “Prophets do not bequeath anything, and whatever they leave behind after death is alms.”

Contrasted to the Qur’an, this hadith proves to be incorrect. It is also rationally incorrect to believe that the prophets bequeath nothing to their children, as it is pointed out in Surat al-Maryam, (verses 5 and 6) reflecting Zechariah's supplication: ﴾Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the House of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].﴿

Also in Surat al-Naml, verse 16, God says: ﴾Solomon inherited from David﴿. Instigated by the people surrounding him, the then caliph intended to deprive the Prophet (S)'s daughter and ‘Ali (a.s.) of the revenue from Fadak, so that they become unable to give alms to the poor and the needy and as a result those who gathered around them intending to gain alms would disperse.

Furthermore, under Abu Bakr, some people shunned

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1- According to the Islamic law, the claimant has to bring in a witness and the denier has to utter an oath.

paying alms tax and thus the incomes to the public treasury began to subside. A fertile and cultivated piece of land with numerous palm groves, Fadak yielded about seventy thousand dinars. Consequently, Abu Bakr took over Fadak from the daughter of the Prophet (S) and many of other Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs followed him. For the first time, however, Fadak was returned to the offspring of Fatma (as) and Hashemites by ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz.

When the news about the usurpation of Fadak reached Fatimah (as), she called in her kindred and kinfolks. As they gathered in the Mosque of the Apostle of Allah (S), Fatimah (as) took a seat behind the curtain. Hearing her anguished cries and lamentation due to her father's absence and tyranny of the Muslims, both the Emigrants and the Helpers began to weep vehemently. Fatimah (as) paused a while for the silence to prevail and then delivered a fervent sermon.

She began by praising and glorifying Allah the Almighty, as follows: “Praise and glory belongs to the Lord whose generous Hand brought into the world of being the creatures abiding in the desert of non-existence. Praise is to God who taught us – His servants – the lesson of thankfulness and assigned gratefulness as our obligation.

He is the Lord who has existed before everything and will exist after everything.”' Then she went on to say: “Here I am, the daughter of the Prophet, professing the Oneness of Allah and acknowledging that Muhammad (S), my father, is

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His servant and messenger. O you, the group of Emigrants and Helpers! You pledged allegiance to your Prophet (S) to spread around his religion with your own hands and have the world of mankind turn round the pivot of his faith.”

She then proceeded to talk about Islam and the Book of Allah, the Household of the Prophet (S), performing prayers, fasting, Hajj, and jihad, and said:

''O Muslims! You are advised not to leave us and not to leave your Prophet's children alone and to be faithful to his Household.”

Introducing herself for the second time, she said: “...standing before this sacred tomb nobody can tell lies. I am not exaggerating... this is my father lying in his grave... My father, Muhammad (S), was sent to teach you morals, virtues, and the codes of humanity at the school of piety and ethics. You are the ones who slipped back to your old faith and the time of paganism as soon as he passed away... then you took to incompatibility and practiced hypocrisy and detachment... I assume Satan has overshadowed your minds and diverted your heedless steps from the straight path.”

Then she uttered some words that hit down like a sledge hammer on the heads of the usurpers of her right, saying: “Who has said that Fatimah is to be deprived of her father's inheritance? Who is the one who has broken apart the lawful limits of inheritance and has interpreted the verses of the Qur’an to his own whims? O Emigrants and

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Helpers! I am astonished by what this old man says.

Abu Bakr supposes he can take over the inheritance of Abu Qahafa, whereas the inheritance of Muhammad (S) is unlawful for Fatimah. Nobody is allowed to quote a hadith from my father as against the Qur’an.” Then Fatimah al-Zahra (as) recited some verses from the Surat al-Naml, in which the Qur’an talks about Solomon's inheriting from David, and David bequeathing to Solomon. Then she read Zechariah's words from Surat Al-i Imran, and inheritance rules from Surat al-Nisa, to the Emigrants and Helpers and then she continued:

“O Emigrants and Helpers! What do you say on these manifest verses and how do you want to weaken a general law by a single hadith? How do you want to deprive Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad (S) and his dear one who was reared and trained by him, of her father's inheritance?'' And then she faced Abu Bakr and said indignantly: “On the day of Resurrection, I will seize your collar to demand my right from you which is trampled on today.”

Then she turned toward the youth of Medina and after that turned toward the tribesmen and the Helpers and said: “O Zealous youth! O loyal comrades and helpers of Islam! What lassitude and negligence you are engaged in! O group of Helpers! Why are you as bleak and dormant as ice, while a bunch of hypocrites and inept have taken away my rightful lot and my father's memorial to me? O you who have

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power in your arms and gold in your palms! What has become of you that you would not move on? What has happened to those stern muscles and mountain-crasher fists which you used to fight with the infidels? How admirably you rose up and how contemptibly you sat back and kept quiet!”

Against such scathing logic given by the daughter of the Prophet (S), Abu Bakr had no choice but submission. The malevolent, however, did not let the right reach the rightful and the caliphate and Wilayat settle in their deserved position. The fervent words of Fatimah (as) were so impressive and influential that the powerful and authoritative people present there were feared lest a rebel and revolution would ensue.

Fatimah (as) swore not to talk to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar any longer. Then, turned her face away from the crowd to the sacred grave of her honorable father and fell grievously on it, saying: “My father! They tyrannized me and will soon get the punishment for their actions on the Day of Resurrection. My father! I will cry for you as long as I live, and my eyes will not fail shedding tears...”

The women from the Bani Hashim wept a lot and took the daughter of the Prophet (S) away from her father's grave and took her home, creeping along.

‘Ali (as), Fatimah (as)'s husband, also asked her to be patient and tolerant in this gloomy time when the sun of the truth is covered with clouds of conspiracy. He himself,

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in order to prevent the newly planted tree of Islam from drying up, got along with patience.

Fatimah al-Zahra (as) gradually became emaciated due to the tragic events and sorrows, which if poured upon bright days, they would turn into dark nights, and passed away on 3rd of Jamadi al-Thani, 95 days (or, according to some sources, 75 days) after her father's demise.

Fatimah al-Zahra (as) advised her dear husband to bury her body at night-time. And it was done as she had wished. The most heart-rending of all was the fact that the resting place of the Holy Prophet (S)'s daughter is still unknown; some consider it to be in Baqi‘cemetery, others say it is besides the resplendent Shrine of the Holy Apostle of Allah (S). With tears in his eyes, ‘Ali laid the body of his beloved wife secretly in grave and without leaving a trace or sign filled it up with earth, whispering the following lines distressfully with tearful eyes:

“My soul is imprisoned in my bitterly painful sighs and laments. I wish the bird of my soul would fly out of this cage and take my laments along. Verily, there's no use in my life without your presence (my dear wife). My tears are flowing down because I fear lest my life after you would last long (and I would keep on burning in separation from you).”

Then, he took the hands of his dear children, the orphans of Zahra (as) – al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthum –

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and returned to the sad house, from where Zahra (as) was absent for ever.

Some Sayings of Her Holiness Fatimah al-Zahra (as):

“God has ordained the faith a means for purifying from paganism; prayer (salat) a means for refraining from arrogance and rebelliousness; following the household of the Messenger a factor for the solidarity of the Islamic community; Imamate as preventive of disunity; and jihad (holy war) as a way of maintaining the glory of Islam.

Praise and glory belongs to the Lord whose generous Hand brought into the world of being the creatures abiding in the desert of non-existence.

Praise and glory belongs to the Lord who taught us to be grateful and decreed thankfulness as our duty. Allah is the Lord who had existed before everything and will exist after everything.

O Muslims! You have been advised not to abandon us and not to leave the children of your Prophet alone and to be faithful to his progeny.

My father, Muhammad (S), came to teach you virtuousness and morality in the school of piety and ethics and taught you the doctrine of humanity.”

(Part of her Scathing Sermon in the Mosque of Medina)

The Fourth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba, The Second Imam


The Second Imam Imam al-Hasan (as) is the son of Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) and Fatimah Zahra (as), the best of women, and daughter of the Holy Prophet (S).

Imam al-Hasan (as) was born in Medina on the eve of Ramadan 15, in the year 3 A.H. He was the first son born to ‘Ali (as) and Fatimah (as).


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Holy Prophet (S) took hold of him right after his birth and recited adhan in his right ear, and iqama in the left one. Then, he sacrificed a sheep for him, cut short his hair and gave its equivalent weight in silver – a bit more than a dirham – to the poor.

The Prophet (S) had his head perfumed; and since then the rituals of sacrificing a sheep (‘aqiqa) and giving alms equal to the weight of the head hair of the newly born babies became a tradition. He named this baby Hasan, a name which had been unprecedented in Jahiliyya (during pagan period). He was also given his only patronymic, Abu Muhammad.

His nicknames include: Sibt, Sayyid, Zaki, Mujtaba, the last being his most well-known one.(1)

The Holy prophet (S) was especially interested in al-Hasan (as) and his brother, al-Husayn (a.s.), frequently saying that al-Hasan and al-Husayn are my children, in respect to which ‘Ali (as) would say to his other children: “You are my children and al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the Prophet (S)'s.

Imam al-Hasan (as) lived on for some seven years close to his honorable grandfather, enjoying his warm embrace until the latter's demise followed by his mother's passing away after two or three months, when he was taken care of solely by his noble father.(2)

Upon the martyrdom of his esteemed father, and by God's ordain and his father's will, Imam al-Hasan (as) attained Imamate and took over the apparent caliphate as well, managing the Muslim's affairs for about

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1- Sulh-i Imam Husayn, p. 37.
2- Shi‘a dar Islam, p. 130.

six months. In the meantime, Mu‘awiya who was an obstinate enemy of ‘Ali (as) and his family, and had for years fought with him (first under the pretext of revenging ‘Uthman's blood and in the end seeking explicitly for the caliphate), led an army to Iraq which was the seat of Imam al-Hasan (as)'s caliphate and started a war. Later on, we will talk more about this issue.

Imam al-Hasan (as) was very similar to the Holy Prophet (S) in countenance, morality, physical figure and nobility. He has been characterized as follows:

Having whitish countenance mixed with a light shade of red, black eyes, flat cheeks, a bushy beard, dense curly hair, silvery neck, a proportionate stature, broad shoulders, large bones, a narrow waist, a medium height – neither too tall, nor too short – a handsome face regarded as among the most good looking and charming.

lbn Sa‘d is quoted as saying that al-Hasan and al-Husayn (as) used to dye their hair black.

Human Perfections

In his human perfections, Imam al-Hasan (as) was a reminder of his father and a replica of his honorable grandfather. During the lifetime of the Prophet (S), al-Hasan (as) and his brother were close to him. Sometimes, he would let them ride on his back, and he would kiss and caress them.(1)

The Holy Prophet is quoted as saying about Imam al-Hasan (as) and Imam al-Husayn (as): “These two sons of mine are Imams whether they are sitting or standing (referring to the fact that in any case and condition they

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1- Shi‘a dar Islam, p. 131.

are Imams).

Imam al-Hasan (as) performed Hajj pilgrimage as many as twenty five times on foot, while fine horses were being led behind. Whenever he remembered death and grave, he would weep and as he recalled that he would stand trial on the Judgment Day he would let out such a loud cry that he would fall unconscious; when he was reminded of Paradise and Hell, he would writhe like a snake-bitten one.

He would ask for Paradise from God and seek His protection from the Fire. When he performed ablution and stood up for saying prayers, his body would start trembling and his face would turn pale. Three times he shared his property with God [i.e. gave part of it away for the cause of Allah] and two times gave up all his wealth in the way of Allah. It is said that, Imam al-Hasan (as) was the most pious and the most heedless of his time toward the worldly ornaments.

In his inner disposition and nature lay the topmost indications of humanity. Whoever saw him would regard him as great, whoever associated with him was treated with kindness and whoever, whether friend and foe, heard his talk or sermons, would simply become all ears until he ended his speech. Muhammad b. Ishaq said: “No one, except the Messenger (S), was superior to Hasan b. ‘Ali (as) in status, nobility, and eminence.

When he would come out of his house to sit in front of the house, where a rug had

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already been spread for this purpose, the way would be blocked and nobody would pass there out of respect for him, and when he would find this out he would return into the house, easing people's passage.” On the way to Mecca, he dismounted his horse and walked on the way. All people in the caravan, even Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, followed him and started walking along with him.

Ibn ‘Abbas, who was older than Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn (as), would take hold of the stirrups of their horses and was proud of this, stating: “These are the sons of the Messenger of Allah.”With such status and dignity, Imam al-Hasan (as) was so humble and modest that once he was passing by a number of the poor and needy who were eating pieces of bread before them on the ground. As they saw Imam al-Hasan (as), they said:

“O son of the Messenger of Allah come and share food with us”. Imam al-Hasan (as) dismounted the horse immediately, saying: “God doesn't like the haughty”, and started eating with them. Then invited them to his house, and gave them both a meal and clothes.

There have been many stories about his generosity and liberality, including one narrated by Mada’ini:

“Al-Hasan, al-Husayn and ‘Abd Allah b. Ja‘far were on the way to Hajj, when their provisions got lost. Thirsty and hungry, they arrived at a tent in which an old woman was living. They asked her for water. She told them to milk the sheep

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and mix the milk with water and drink it. They did so, and then asked for food. She said, ‘I have only got this sheep, you can slaughter and eat it.’ One of them slaughtered the sheep and roasted some of its meet and all ate it, after which they fell asleep.

When departing, they told the old woman: ‘We are from Quraysh and are going on Hajj; when we return, come to visit us; we will treat you benevolently’. And they left. When the woman's husband arrived and found out what had happened, said, ‘Woe to you! You killed my sheep for strangers and you say they were from Quraysh?’

After a while, when the situation became difficult for the old woman, she migrated from that place and happened to pass through Medina. Hasan b. ‘Ali (as) saw her and recognized her. He went near and told her ‘Do you know me? ‘No,’ she said. ‘I am the one who was your guest on such and such a day.’ He said, and then had a thousand heads of sheep and a thousand gold dinars given to her. After that he sent her to his brother Husayn b. ‘Ali (as), and he also treated her same. When she was sent to ‘Abd Allah b. Ja‘far, she was also granted the same gifts.”(1)

Imam al-Hasan (as)'s forbearance and forgiveness was such that, according to Marvan, it was comparable to mountains.

People's Allegiance to Imam al-Hasan (as)

When the abominable and horrible assassination of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) occurred in the

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1- Sulh-i Imam Husayn, p. 43.

mosque of Kufa and ‘Ali (as) fell in his sick bed, he ordered al-Hasan (as) to lead people in congregation prayers. At the last moments of his life, he chose him as executor of his will (wasi) by these words: “My son! After me, you are the successor to my position and the claimant of my blood.”

He had al-Husayn (as), Muhammad and his other children as well as the chiefs of his followers and the elders of his kin witness this last will, and then handed over his Book and arms to him and said: ''My son!

The Messenger of Allah has ordered me to make you my executor and give my Book and arms to you, as His Holiness has made me his executor and given me his Book and arms and has commissioned me to order you to hand them over to your brother al-Husayn in the last moments of your life”.

Imam al-Hasan (as) joined the gathering of the Muslims and stood upon his father's pulpit to talk about the great tragedy of his father's martyrdom to people. After praising God the Almighty and the Holy Prophet (S), he said: “At this night, a man was martyred that nobody in the past had emulated him nor in the future will anybody catch up with him.”

He, then, talked about Imam ‘Ali (a.s.)'s bravery, jihad, and his endeavors for Islam as well as the victories achieved by him in wars, pointing out that when he passed away all he

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possessed was seven hundred dirhams, that was his share of the public treasury, by which he intended to provide his household with a servant.

At this moment in the Friday Mosque which was crowded with people, ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Abbas rose to his feet and encouraged people to swear allegiance to Hasan b. ‘Ali (as). People enthusiastically swore allegiance to him. This happened the same day as his father's martyrdom, i.e. twenty first of Ramadan, 40 A.H.

People of Kufa, Mada’in, Iraq, Hijaz, and Yemen, all swore allegiance to Hasan b. ‘Ali, except Mu‘awiya who wished to go another way and treat him the same way as he had treated his father.

After people's allegiance, he delivered a sermon and enjoined people to obey the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (S) who are the lesser of the two weights (thaqalayn) – the greater being the Qur’an – and warned them against the Satan and the satanic ones.

Anyhow, Imam al-Hasan (as)'s lifestyle during his residence in Kufa made him focus of attention, popular with the hearts, and a source of hope for people. Requirements of leadership were all met in him since he was, first of all, from among the household of the Prophet (S) and loving him was a requisite of faithfulness; and besides that, swearing allegiance to him necessitated their obedience to him.

Imam al-Hasan (as) put everything in proper order and appointed governors in different cities, taking over the rule of the state. Very soon, however, when people found Imam al-Hasan (as)

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as decisive in implementation of justice, ordinances, and Islamic penal laws as his father, a great number of influential individuals appealed to secret conspiracies and even wrote secretly to Mu‘awiya and promoted him to move toward Kufa. They even assured him that as his army approaches Hasan b. ‘Ali (as)'s camp, they will either surrender him handcuffed to Mu‘awiya, or kill him at once.(1)

The Khawarij, too, due to their enmity with the rule of the Hashemite, conspired with them in this intrigue.

Against this gang of hypocrites, were the Shi‘ites of ‘Ali (as) and a number of Emigrants and Helpers who had come to Kufa and had settled there. These noble figures proved their sincerity and intimacy in all stages – both right after allegiance or during the time the Imam (as) ordered jihad.

When Imam al-Hasan (as) saw Mu‘awiya's rebellion against himself, he sent him letters enjoining obedience to him to give up conspiracy and bloodshed. Mu‘awiya, however, in reply to Imam (as) merely argued: “I am more experienced in ruling than you are and have been involved in this affair for a longer time and I am your senior in age, that is all!”

Sometimes admitting Imam al-Hasan (as)'s competence, Mu'awiyah would write in his letters: “After me, caliphate will be yours since you are the most deserved of all”. The last response that he gave to an envoy from Imam al-Hasan (as) was: “Go back, between you and us lies but a sword.”

Thus it was Mu‘awiya who started animosity and

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1- Sulh-i Imam Husayn, p. 100.

mutiny and rebelled against his Imam of the time. Mu‘awiya, through morbid conspiracies and choosing appropriate occasions and creating a climate of violations and hypocrisy, succeeded in his ominous plans. He paved the road for himself through buying off the mean consciences and scattering various kinds of lies and slanders around and weakening the morale of the unfaithful. On the other hand, he had all his troops mobilized.

Imam al-Hasan (as), in return, made his decision to respond to the belligerency of Mu‘awiya and formally declared jihad. Contrary to the army of Mu‘awiya, in which some had gathered coveting position and gold, the army of Imam al-Hasan (as) consisted of outstanding Shi‘ites such as Hujr b. ‘Adi, Abu Ayyub Ansari, ‘Adi b. Hatam... who as described by the Imam (as), “Each was stronger than an army”.

However, against these noble figures were also weaklings who responded to battles by fleeing and were capable only in hypocrisy, and who were enamored by the worldly gains. Imam al-Hasan (as) was, from the beginning, worried about this incongruity.

The total number of Iraqi military troops is reported to have been 350 thousands.

Imam al-Hasan (as) spoke in the mosque of Kufa, urging the troops to move on towards “Nakhila.” ‘Adi b. Hatam was the first one who accompanied the Imam (as) and made obeisance to him. Many others also followed him.

Imam al-Hasan (as) dispatched ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Abbass who was one of his relatives and the first persons who encouraged people to swear allegiance to Imam,

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along with twelve thousand troops to Maskan, located in the northernmost part of the Hashemite Iraq.

But temptations from Mu‘awiya deluded him as the most trusted of the Imam's commanders, and attracted him to Mu‘awiya's camp in return for a million dirhams, half of which was paid immediately. Consequently, following him, eight thousand out of twelve thousand troops rushed into Mu‘awiya's camp and thus sold their faith for the worldly gains.

After ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Abbas, commandership was handed over to Qays b. Sa‘d, who was later on rumored by troops of Mu‘awiya and hypocrites to have been killed, degrading the morale of Imam al-Hasan (as)'s troops. A group of Mu‘awiya's functionaries who arrived in Mada’in to hold a meeting with Imam al-Hasan (as), also spread the rumor of the Imam's acceptance of peace among the people.

In the meantime, it happened that one of the Khawarij assassins pierced Imam's thigh by throwing a lance at him, injuring his thigh very seriously. Imam al-Hasan (as) got into such a dire situation, however, that left him with no choice but “making peace” with Mu‘awiya.

Finding the circumstances favorable, anyhow, Mu‘awiya brought up the issue of making peace with Imam al-Hasan (as). In order to consult his troops, the Imam (as) delivered a sermon and prompted them to choose either of the ways – sacrificing their lives or yielding to peace. A large number of them demanded peace.

Some also persecuted the Infallible Imam with their tongue-lashings. At last, Mu‘awiya's peace proposal was accepted by

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Imam al-Hasan (as), but it was only intended to bind the former in conditions and commitments which would obviously not be abided by him and in near future he would disregard all of them one after another; and as a result, Mu‘awiya's vicious nature and non-commitment to faith and treaties would become manifest to all people.

By accepting the peace proposal, Imam al-Hasan (as) also prevented the fratricide and bloodshed which was Mu‘awiya's main target, by which he planned to uproot, by any possible means, the Shi‘ism and the Shi‘ites of ‘Ali (as)'s household. In this way, the brightly shining feature of Imam al-Hasan (as) – as predicted by his noble grandfather the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) – emerged in the horizon of Islam as the “Great peacemaker.”

In offering peace, Mu‘awiya had no other goal than material gains as well as clutching at the hukuma (rule over the Muslims). But Imam al-Hasan (as) agreed to this peace only to safeguard his school and principles of thought against extinction and protect his followers (Shi‘ites) against being wiped out.

Among the terms included in the peace agreement were:

Mu‘awiya was required to act according to the Book of God, the tradition of the Prophet (S) and the conducts of the competent caliphs; not to appoint anybody as his successor after his death; not to devise any tricks and treachery against Imam al-Hasan (as), the progeny of ‘Ali (as), and their followers all over the Islamic lands. He was also obliged to abandon cursing

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‘Ali (as) and not to inflict any loss on any Muslim.

They called God, the Apostle of God, and a great number of people as witness to this agreement. Mu‘awiya came to Kufa to have the peace agreement carried out in the presence of Imam al-Hasan (a.s.) and let the people be informed about the event. Throngs of people headed towards Kufa.

First, Mu‘awiya mounted the pulpit and said a few words, some of which are as follows. “O people of Kufa! Do you suppose I fought with you for the sake of prayers, fasting, alms tax, and Hajj pilgrimage? Actually, I knew you would observe all these. I waged the war upon you only to rule over you and to take over your affairs. God has now granted me this wish, though you are not pleased with it. Now I tell you, any blood that is shed in this revolt would be wasted and any treaty I have signed with anybody is trampled under my feet.”

Thus, he disregarded the treaty that he himself had concluded, proposed, and signed. How fast he disgraced himself!

Then, Hasan b. ‘Ali (as), in full splendor and dignity of Imamate – being gazed at respectfully by those present – climbed up the pulpit to deliver his critical and historic sermon.

After glorifying and praising the Lord of the worlds and lauding the Apostle of Allah (S), he said:

“... By God I swear I hope to be the most benevolent to people and thanks and praise God that

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I have no hatred in my heart of any Muslim and wish them no malice...” Then he continued: “Mu‘awiya suspects that I regard him as befitting caliphate and do not regard myself as such. He is telling a lie.

According to the Book of God the Almighty and as judged by His Apostle (S.A.W), we have priority over everyone else in rulership, and have, since the demise of the Prophet (S.A.W), constantly suffered tyranny and oppression”. Then he proceeded to point out the event of Ghadir Khum and the usurpation of his father's caliphate, and deviation of caliphate from the right path, saying: “This deviation prompted some freed slaves and their children, i.e. Mu‘awiya and his cronies, to covet the caliphate.”

And as in his talk Mu‘awiya insulted ‘Ali (a.s.), so did Imam al-Hasan (as) after introducing himself and the superiority of his ancestry and status, cursed Mu‘awiya and a large number of people said amen. And we say so, too!

A few days later, Imam al-Hasan (as) set out for Medina.

In this way, Mu‘awiya took over the Islamic caliphate and entered Iraq, violating the peace terms by a public formal address. He used every possible way to inflict the most adverse pressures and tortures on Imam's household and the Shi‘ites.

During the entire period of his ten years of Imamate, Imam al-Hasan (as) lived in intense distress and political strangulation, having no security and peace of mind. Finally, in the year 50/670, he was poisoned and martyred by his wife, Ja‘da, who was

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instigated by Mu‘awiya and was laid to rest in Baqi‘.

Wives and Children of Imam al-Hasan (as)

Enemies and mercenary historians have fabricated stories about the number of Imam al-Hasan (as)'s wives; even simple-minded friends have made up words in this regard. According to what the genuine histories have recorded, however, the Imam's wives are as follows:

Umm al-Haqq, daughter of Talha b. ‘Ubayd Allah.

Hafs, daughter of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr.

Hind, daughter of Suhayl b. Amr.

Ja‘da, daughter of Ash‘ath b. Qays.

It is not recalled that the number of the Imam's wives has ever in his life exceeded eight or ten, according to two traditions, and concerning that his slave-wives (umm walad) are also included in this enumeration.

Umm walad is a woman retainer who gives birth to a baby from her master and this would result in her freedom after her master's death.(1)

Imam al-Hasan (as) had 15 children, both daughters and sons, by the following names:

Zayd, Hasan, ‘Amr, Qasim, ‘Abd Allah, ‘Abd al-Rahman, Hasan Athram, Talha, Umm al-Hasan, Umm al-Husayn, Fatimah, Umm Salama, Ruqayya, Umm ‘Abd Allah, and Fatimah [from a different mother].

From among his children, only his two sons, Hasan and Zayd, had progeny; so except through these, relating others to Imam al-Hasan (as) is invalid.(2)

Some Sayings of Imam al-Hasan (as):

1. Avoid evils by doing benevolence.

2. Get over hardships and problems through forbearance.

3. Preserve your religion and attract people's affection to yourselves.

4. Remove the plights of the distressed before they express them.

5. Do not refrain from consultation in affairs.

6. A relative is one who is kind to you,

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1- Sulh-i Imam Husayn, p. 38.
2- Sulh-i Imam Husayn, p. 39.

even though he or she is a stranger.

7. Put up with people in life, so that they become tender to you.

8. Beware of idle talk.

9. Avaricious people are poor (since they are never satisfied and should always be striving).

10. It is base and ignoble not to be thankful for blessings.

11. That which doesn't contain evil is thankfulness for blessings and forbearance in the face of the mishaps.

12. Any time you meet your brother in faith you should kiss him on the forehead, where there is the trace of light (i.e., the place of prostration on the forehead).

13. No people will be guided aright unless they counsel each other.

14. Practicing avarice (in earning one's livings) is like committing sins. (Tuhaf al-‘Uqul)

The Fifth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam al-Husayn, Sayyid al-Shuhada, The Third Imam


Imam al-Husayn (as), second child of ‘Ali (as), whose mother was Fatimah (as) daughter of the Holy Prophet (S), was born on the third of Sha‘ban in the year 4 AH (January 8, 626). After martyrdom of his honorable brother, Imam al-Hasan (as), he attained Imamate by the command of Allah and his brother's last will.

As pointed out in the life account of the fourth Infallible, Imam al-Hasan (as) was forced to accept Mu‘awiya's peace proposal due to hypocrisy of many of his troops; the escape of ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Abass, his chief of army to Mu‘awiya’s military headquarters; deception of a large number of his troops which, by historical evidences, included two thirds of his whole army; apostasy of the rest of his troops; intrigue of the Khawarij;

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and the culmination of slanders and false charges against him.

By signing the peace agreement, Mu‘awiya conceded that: companions of ‘Ali (as) and his followers and the Shi‘ites in all cities be secure and protected from aggression, no trickery or deception be made against them, and nobody be appointed as Mu‘awiya's successor after him.

Shortly after peace agreement, however, he showed that he is truly disloyal to his pledge.

Imam al-Hasan (as) had accepted Mu‘awiya's peace treaty proposal for the interests of Islam and the unfavorable circumstances for the household of ‘Ali (as) and prevention of fratricide, and Mu‘awiya had apparently agreed on all items of the peace treaty but he actually did not believe in Islam, and like his father Abu Sufyan, had accepted the outward of Islam out of fear or for the sake of worldly pleasures, gradually revealing his plan which was gaining power and taking over the rule and thus exposing the falsity of his faith.

After making peace with Imam al-Hasan, Mu‘awiya was the absolute ruler of Sham (Syria), ten years of which being during the life of Imam al-Hasan (as), and ten years during the Imamate of Imam al-Husayn (as).

Because of the popularity and influence of Imam al-Hasan (as) and his own peace treaty, Mu‘awiya had to restrict his rebellion and aggression – although ostensibly – and at times procure some friends for himself through fraudulence and compromise.

And since he viewed Imam al-Hasan (as) as in a way opposed to many of his anti-Islamic and ambitious

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goals, he plotted the murder of the Holy Imam (as) with the help of Ja‘da, the wife of Imam al-Hasan (as) and martyred the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S) in the final days of Safar, 50 A.H (March, 670 CE). Upon the martyrdom of Imam al-Hasan (as), Mu‘awiya found it more convenient to carry out his ominous intentions.

First of all he commenced a series of persecutions, tortures, and murdering of the Shi‘ites and followers of Imam ‘Ali (as). This horrific era coincided with the Imamate of Imam al-Husayn (as), who was an Imam for ten years. All his Imamate period – except his last six months of life – was spent during the caliphate of Mu‘awiya.

The circumstances then were of an extremely adverse nature and toughest strangulation. Among the elements which prompted the great uprising of Imam al-Husayn (as) were: reappearance of the paganism (jahiliyya); increasing spread of monarchy and royal luxury; wasting and embezzling of public treasury of the Muslims; unduly liberality; oppressions and cruelties done in the name of Islam; deprivation of the followers of ‘Ali (as)'s household of their undeniable rights in the public treasury and granting them to the sycophant of the court; and above all, invalidation of religious rules and the Islamic laws and violation of divine precepts and indifference to commands and prohibitions of Allah and of the Messenger of Allah (S).

Mu‘awiya and his cronies made great efforts to force Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) into seclusion, eradicate the Shi‘ites by any means,

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and obliterate the name of ‘Ali (as) and his progeny. When they uttered his name, they did it with curse and abuse. At the same time the propaganda system (of Sham) was to convince people that cursing such a great man as ‘Ali (a.s.) was regarded as worship and would be rewarded in the next world!

With his vile and crafty plans, Mu‘awiya intended to gradually establish the foundations of the rule and kingship of his lewd, nasty, and drunkard son, Yazid. When gradually Mu‘awiya's intention about his son, who was notorious as a despicable and lewd person, was revealed, a group of Muslims were unhappy about it and began to express their dissidence. Mu‘awiya, however, proceeded with new crackdown and severities to prevent the widespread dissidence.

Imam al-Husayn (as) was well aware that the Abu Sufyan's clan basically opposed Islam and the name of Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah (S) and had done their best to extinguish the light of Islam. This vile intention was most of all pursued by Mu‘awiya. To understand this we quote a hadith related in reliable sources:

“... Mutrif b. Mughayra said: “My father and I were guests to Mu‘awiya in Sham. My father used to frequent Mu‘awiya's court. One night when he returned from Mu‘awiya's palace I found him very disappointed and upset. I asked him about the cause of his sadness. He said: 'this man, i.e., Mu‘awiya is an evil-doer and the filthiest man of all times'. 'What has happened'? I asked him.

He replied, 'I suggested

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Mu‘awiya now that his wishes had been fulfilled and he had taken over the Islamic caliphate, he had better treat the people with justice and not to mistreat the Bani Hashim so harshly, as they are also your kindred and nothing much is left with them to scare you of revolting against you.' Mu‘awiya replied: 'Alas! Abu Bakr practiced caliphate and spread justice and nothing happened except that he died and his name also faded out as well as ‘Umar and ‘Uthman who died similarly, even though they were benevolent and well-behaved toward the people.

However, they left but a name and passed away. But the name of this Hashemite man (i.e., the Hoy Prophet (S) is called out five times a day from atop the minarets of the world of Islam: ‘Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah’ (I profess that Muhammd (S) is the Messenger of God).

Now that the caliphs' names have died and Muhammad's name lives on, nothing is left to be done but the name 'Muhammad' to be buried and obliterated.”(1)

Imam al-Husayn (as) and Mu‘awiya

As long as his brother was alive, Imam al-Husayn (as) was not to oppose the decisions made by his brother who was a proof (hujja) of God and an Imam, to whom obedience was incumbent on every Muslim and obeying him was the same as obeying God. On the other hand, Imam al-Husayn (as) was well aware of the reasons forcing Imam al-Hasan (as) to accept peace treaty.

Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (as) never did anything opposed to wisdom and the

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1- Barrasi-yi Tarikh-i ‘AShura, p. 17.

expediency of the Muslims to which his brother would have disagreed. If Imam al-Husayn (as) had been in his brother's place, he would have done the same as what Imam al-Hasan (as) had done in his time.

The Imamate and leadership are, in any case, in the same line; but in different times they differ in tactics: a time is for peace, a time for war; a time is for supplication, a time for guidance and teaching. In any era, each one of the noble leaders has somehow struggled against the tyrant rulers and held up the banner of the Truth.

Anyhow, little by little Mu‘awiya exposed his filthy plan and paved the way for its implementation. He intended to make monarchy and authority over Muslims hereditary in his dynasty and, through this devastating act, thoroughly uproot Islam.

He wanted to appoint his son Yazid as Amir al-Mu‘mimin and the ruler of Muslims. Yazid actually had no art except hedonism and wearing flamboyant clothes. He was so reckless that he would easily and frankly declare lawful the things proclaimed as unlawful by the Prophet (S). Following is what he has been quoted as saying:

“If wine has been made unlawful in the religion of Ahmad, let's then turn the goblet around by the religion of Jesus, son of Mary.”

Yazid was such a person to perpetrate incest in his drunken state(1). He was constantly indulged in seeking pleasures, drinking, playing with monkeys, and engaged in other amusements. Whenever indulged in drinking, he was apt

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1- Zaynab (as) Himasa-i Abadi Bar Faraz Tarikh, p. 59.

to whisper what was hidden in his heart as follows:

“My companions! Come over and listen to the intoxicating tune of the singers. Pour yourselves cups after cups of wine and let go of your scholarly rhetoric. The pleasant tune reverberated from a harp and lute distracts me from the call of Allahu Akbar. I have exchanged the paradise houris with the dregs of wine. This exciting tune of music, these dancers with their enticing bodies, and the goblets of ruby-colored wine suffice me; I neither wish for houris nor other such things.”

It was for such a mean and nasty son of his that Mu‘awiya wanted to secure allegiance from people.

First, Mu‘awiya pursued this goal in cities other than Medina, since he knew the latter was more significant than other cities. At first, he ordered Marwan b. Hakam to take allegiance from the people of that city… even from Husayn b. ‘Ali (as).

In order to pave the way, Mu‘awiya left Sham to go on Hajj but went to Medina and spoke harshly to Husayn b. ‘Ali (as), Zubayr's son and ‘Umar's son. Then, he gathered the people in the mosque and talked to them about Yazid's competence, asserting that “all Muslims except you have sworn allegiance…”

Interrupting him, Imam al-Husayn (as) stood up and said: “I swear by God, you are putting aside, in favor of Yazid, the one whose father and mother are better and more competent than Yazid's father and mother and he himself is better than Yazid.”

Mu‘awiya said: “It

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sounds you mean yourself?”

Husayn (as) retorted: “Yes.”

Mu‘awiya went on: “Verily, your saying that your mother is better than Yazid's mother is true because Fatimah is the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, and her religiosity and bright lifespan is evident to everybody... As for your saying that your father was better than Yazid's father, however, God made his father superior to your father.”

The Imam (as) said: “The ignorance suffices you that you regard the transient world as superior to the Eternal World.”

Mu‘awiya said: “As for your opining that you are better than Yazid, I swear by God that Yazid is better and more competent for the umma of Muhammad (as) than you.”

The Imam (as) replied furiously: “This is a lie and calumny. Is the drunkard and negligent Yazid better than me?”

When Mu‘awiya noticed this open opposition, he ordered to station two armed agents in each allegiance center so that if anyone uttered any word of dissidence, they would do away with him. This was not acceptable to Imam al-Husayn (as), however, and Mu‘awiya's attempts did not come through.

A study on the states of Imam al-Husayn (as) shows that during the reign of Mu‘awiya, Imam al-Husayn (as) would always consider rebelling against the tyrannical rule of the Abu Sufyan's clan and constantly pointing out Mu‘awiya's innovations (bid‘a) and wrong doings.

However, he would regard his noble brother's peace agreement and the presence of Mu‘awiya as a barrier to his uprising and waited for a time when the people would get informed

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about the corruption in the Umayyad ruling system and would become well-aware of the poisonous propaganda against the household of ‘Ali (as).

It would take years for the people to feel the bitter taste of the despotic rule, so that they could appreciate the uprising of such a pious man as al-Husayn (as) and make it their paradigm for ever.

If Imam al-Husayn (as) had started his movement in time of Mu‘awiya, the latter would have been able to, by his trickery and cunning tricks, murder the Imam and neutralize the efficacy of his spilled blood. However, the collapse of Mu‘awiya's ruling system by way of unlawful acts, tyranny, and impurities, gradually paved the way which reached its peak in the time of Yazid. Perforce the bloody uprising and the immortal epic of the Prophet (S)'s grandson was matured enough to get ready to emerge.

Preparation for the Everlasting Epic of Karbala

Mu‘awiya died on the fifteenth of Rajab, 60 and his son, Yazid, succeded to the throne. First of all, he decided to secure al-Husayn (as)'s allegiance. To this end, he wrote a letter to Walid b. ‘Ataba, the governor of Medina, and demanded him to elicit allegiance from Husayn b. ‘Ali (as) as soon as possible, not allowing any delay in this respect. The same night, Walid sent an envoy to Imam al-Husayn (as) to invite him to his palace.

The Imam called a group of his kin and told them to get armed and accompany him to the governor's seat of rule, telling them that Walid had

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sent for him supposedly to ask him do something which he would be unable to do.

He advised them to keep his company to the gate of the palace and as soon as they heard him raising his voice enter the house and get rid of Walid. Then, Imam al-Husayn (as) went to Walid who received him warmly and humbly, then he read the letter and brought the issue of allegiance. Marwan b. Hakam was also present.

Imam al-Husayn (as) addressed Walid: “I do not suppose you would be content with my secret allegiance. If you want my allegiance, let it be sworn in the presence of people.” “Yes it is better,” responded Walid. To which the Imam (a.s.) added: “So, you'd better wait until tomorrow morning.'' Walid asked him to leave then to attend a public meeting the next day. Marwan said sycophantically: “Do not let Husayn b. ‘Ali leave. You will not find another chance like this. Either incarcerate him or have him swear allegiance, or behead him!” The Imam (as) rose to his feet, signs of fury in his countenance, saying:“Oh son of the blue-eyed woman, is that you or Walid who will kill me? I swear by God that you lied and sinned.” Having said this, he left them.

Since Imam al-Husayn (as) did not agree with allegiance, within a day, i.e. Friday night of Rajab 19, 60 AH (Dec. 29, 679), he left Medina for Mecca.

Before Imam al-Husayn (as) together with his family and some of his

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relatives left Medina, he bade farewell to the tomb of his noble grandfather (S), Fatimah (as), and his brother and wrote a testament to his brother Muhammad Hanafiya who was a noble, brave, and pious man, proclaiming in it both his uprising and the reason for his movement, clarifying that in this movement he had no goal but enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and reviving the Religion of God and the way of his grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (S) and his father, ‘Ali Murtadha (as).

He also wrote a letter to Bani Hashim and called for help, and another letter to the people of Basra, explicating the philosophy of his movement.

Anyhow, Imam al-Husayn (as) who was the guardian of truthfulness and Islamic justice entered Mecca, which was frequented by Muslims from all over the Islamic lands, to take the required measures and to inform people, by eloquent sermons and letters and talks, of the hazards threatening Islam.

For several months he stayed in Mecca and made many negotiations and wrote many letters to introduce Yazid and to uncover his evil and ill-famed face and the wrongdoings of his functionaries.

Imam al-Husayn (as)'s stay in Mecca lasted until the time of Hajj pilgrimage.

Muslims from all over the Muslim world were entering Mecca in groups and were preparing to perform Hajj rituals. At this time, the Imam (a.s.) took advantage of any moment and position to propagate the religion, to guide the people and to clarify his sacred goals and the

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chaotic situation of Islam and the Muslims through giving speeches and writing letters. It was then that he found out that a number of Yazid's agents had set out for Mecca, apparently to perform Hajj but actually to assassinate Imam al-Husayn (as).

They had the mission to carry arms hidden under their pilgrimage garments to shed the pure blood of the Prophet (S)'s grandson in the Sanctuary of Ka‘ba. Consequently, the Imam performed the ‘Umra (minor Hajj) in lieu of Hajj of Tamattu‘ (major Hajj), after which he gave a short talk to a group of people and told them of his preparedness for martyrdom in order to revive his grandfather's religion, and asked the Muslims for help to this end.

The next day, Dhu'l Hijja 8, he set out for Iraq with a group of his companions and kindred. Some of the dignitaries tried to prevent his journey, however, the Imam (as) said: I will not swear allegiance to Yazid and confirm the rule of tyranny and corruption. Now, I leave Mecca to preserve the sanctity of the House of Allah.

Letters of Invitation from the People of Kufa

In the five-year period of ‘Ali (as)'s fair and impartial rule, the people of Kufa had partly become familiar with his virtues and had witnessed his piety, asceticism, and justice. They heard of Imam al-Husayn (as)'s abstention from swearing allegiance to Yazid and his going to Mecca. Thus, they wrote many letters to him and invited him to Kufa.

First, Imam al-Husayn (as) sent his cousin, Muslim b. ‘Aqil, who

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was an efficient, brave, and self-sacrificing man to Kufa to verify the genuineness of their invitation. The Kufans apparently welcomed him warmly and 12 thousand of them swore allegiance to him, eagerly looking forward to the arrival of Imam al-Husayn (as). Muslim b. ‘Aqil wrote to the Imam informing him of the favorable situation of Kufa and the people's enthusiasm for his visit.

On the other hand, the administration of the Umayyads which was frightened by this invitation got embarrassed and appointed ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, who was a ruthless and murderous man, as the governor of Kufa. ‘Ubayd Allah went to Kufa and dispersed the people from around Muslim b. ‘Aqil by threat and deception, so that the latter was eventually left alone.

At last, the blood thirsty troops of ‘Ubayd Allah besieged Muslim who stood up to them bravely and with amazing resistance, but finally was arrested and killed as a martyr. Hurr b. Yazid Riyahi, who later on joined the companions and martyrs of Karbala, was assigned to block the road on Husayn b. ‘Ali (as) who was on the way to Kufa; however, being decisive in self-sacrifice and fighting against Yazid, although he got informed on the way to Kufa of his cousin's death, he continued his way toward Kufa.

Hurr planned, by the order of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, to persuade Imam al-Husayn (as) to surrender, but the Prophet (S)'s grandson refused to give up. He turned his way to another direction and arrived in a land

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called “Karbala” on the second of Muharram.

Before arriving in Karbala, Imam al-Husayn (as) delivered a sermon in a place called “Baydha” addressing Hurr and his troops and those present at the place, and elaborated on his sacred movement and its causes. The following are excerpts of that sermon:

“O people! Whoever sees that a ruler is tyrannizing and violating the Divine laws, committing perjury and opposing the traditions and sira of the Apostle of Allah (S), and not to prevent his wrongdoing, verily God will punish him along with the tyrant.” Then, pointing out Yazid's despotism, he went on to say: “They have given up the obedience to God and taken to obey Satan.

They regard as lawful what is ordained unlawful by God and as unlawful what is ordained lawful by God. Now, as the son of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) and Fatimah al-Zahra (as) daughter of the Apostle of Allah (S), I am the most competent of all to make a stand against all these... If you are ready, as you have written in your letters, to help me, you will achieve eternal bliss.”

Imam al-Husayn (as), then, said the noon and afternoon prayers in the residence of Sharaf together with his companions and troops of Hurr b. Yazid. After prayers the Imam (as) said:

“O people! If you are pious and regard the truth as belonging to the people of truth, this will please God. We, the household of the Prophet (S), are more competent to be your leaders

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and Imams than the ones who are now in charge and practicing tyranny and oppression. If your opinion is different from what is implied from your letters, I will return.”

Hurr b Yazid said: “I swear by God that I am not aware of these letters.” The Imam (as) ordered one of his companions to bring two packs of the Kufans’ letters to Hurr. He said he did not know anything about those letters and that he was commissioned to take him to Ibn Ziyad. The Imam (as) told him: “Death is closer to you than this mission.”

Then he ordered his companions to mount the horses and return. Hurr tried to stop the Imam (as) and supposedly began to advise him, saying: “I swear you by God not to wage war; otherwise, you will be killed.” The Imam (as) retorted indignantly: “Are you frightening me of death? Do you think you will be relieved and your problems solved by killing me?”

All those who were present heard the precious words of the Imam (as). But there was only one conscious and living heart that heard him and was influenced, and that was Hurr himself, who joined the camp of al-Husayn (as) in the morning of ‘Ashura and was martyred in the way of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.).

On Thursday of Muhararm 2, 61 AH/ October 2, 680, Imam al-Husayn (as) stopped in an area of Naynawa called Karbala, where he set up the tents of his pure household. The next day four thousand

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troops led by ‘Umar b. Sa‘d arrived from Kufa and positioned before the Imam (as).

From that day on, frequent negotiations took place which resulted in proposing that Imam al-Husayn (as) get prepared to surrender and to swear allegiance to Yazid. Husayn b. ‘Ali (as) said: “I will not tolerate baseness, neither will I go hand in hand with Yazid. I regard death in the path of Allah nothing but happiness, and life with the tyrants nothing but destruction and wretchedness.”

As the poem goes:

The man of God does not submit to degradation,

Man is free to acquire dignity or disgrace.

Finally, on the day of ‘Ashura (Muharram 10, 61 AH), the most tragic event and at the same time the most outstanding epic in the history of Islam and the world occurred. Imam al-Husayn (as) and his children and companions stood out firmly to the cost of their lives and embraced all kinds of afflictions and hardships in order to restore Islam and to set up the truth; they sacrificed their loved souls to pull down the tyranny palace of the cruel and corrupt dynasty of the Umayyads and to reveal to people the hideous face of the oppressors.

Throughout the day of ‘Ashura, Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) encountered disasters and hardships, the smallest of which would have been enough to render a man helpless. However, this man of truth, with his thorough faith and trust in God, stood up to all those afflictions and sufferings honorably and did not surrender his body and soul

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to disgrace and degradation. With full bravery he said:

“I swear to God that I will not stretch my hand in begging before you, and will not flee from you like slaves.” Anyhow, the battle started quite fiercely on the day of ‘Ashura. The retainers, companions, and the Bani Hashim, each in turn, fought with several of the enemy troops, while chanting brief rhetoric epic verses by means of which they would clarify the reality of their uprising and express the reasons for their support of Imam al-Husayn (as).

Hadhrat Zaynab (as), Imam al-Husayn (as)'s sister, was, in this awesome situation, engaged in pacifying the women and children of Imam al-Husayn (as) and helping him and assisting in gathering the sacred bodies of the martyrs, and above all, taking care of Imam's son, Hadhrat Sajjad (as), who was due to Divine expediency sick and feverish in those days. She did all this as steadfastly as a mountain, and at the same time maintained her patience and tolerance as she was aware of the ending and the secret of Imam al-Husayn (as)'s great uprising.

The more the pressures intensified and the close companions of the Imam were martyred and their number decreased, the more would Imam al-Husayn (as) become cheerful and smile at the beauty of martyrdom. The battle continued until the afternoon of ‘Ashura. Almost eight hours of incessant hand-to-hand fighting and attacking of thirty thousand troops against seventy two people, was carried out.

What an astonishing event! One person versus a full

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scale army! Indeed, Husayn (as) drank up the bitter goblet of love and lay down his head on the hot soil of Karbala, while all his body was strewn with painful wounds and blood was flowing down as if from fountains. In this state, however, he was – as always – in remembrance of his Beloved, the Almighty Allah, and praying as follows:

“I am content with your ordinance and decree, and patient with the disasters You send on me; I have no beloved and goal but You, O Helper of those who call for help.”

After that, the tents were set on fire, the pure household of Sayyid al-Shuhada were taken captive, and then taken to Kufa, Sham, and finally to Medina. These are events which are heart-rending and bringing blood to the eyes of his Shi‘ites and lovers.

Some Sayings of Hadhrat Sayyid al-Shuhada (as):

1. People are slaves of the world, with the religion only at the tip of their tongues; as long as it provides for their material life they stick to it but once they are afflicted (and the religion contradicts their interests), then the number of real religious people will diminish.

2. When there comes a trial, people can be known (it will then be known who is really faithful).

3. Benevolence and good-doing must like the rain of mercy fall upon both the acquainted ones and the strangers.

4. On the journey to Karbala, he said: “Verily, this world has turned upside down and bizarre; its good has vanished and

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nothing is left but a little moisture like that remaining inside a bowl, and a troublesome life. Truly, I see death but happiness and life with tyrants but misery...

5. He said to the man in his presence who was speaking ill behind another man: “Keep away from backbiting, since it is the food for the dogs of the Hell.”

6. God's gradual leading man to perdition (istidraj) is in that He gives him abundant bounties and takes away from him the [chance of] thankfulness.

7. He said: It is not that doing favor to the unworthy is wasteful, benevolence is like a fast rain which falls upon both good and evil.

The Sixth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, The Fourth Imam


The name of the sixth Infallible is ‘Ali (as). He is the son of Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as), and is nicknamed as Sajjad and Zayn al-‘Abidin (ornament of the pious). Imam al-Sajjad (as) was born in Medina in 38/659. He was present in the tragedy of Karbla but due to his illness his life was spared, because jihad is not incumbent on the ailing and his noble father did not let him fight, even though he was very eager to participate in that tragic battle.

It was the Divine expediency to hold on the link and preserve Imam al-Sajjad (as) as the heir to the great mission, i.e., Imamate and Wilayat. His sickness lasted no more than a few days. After that he lived 35 years, during which he spent his lifetime in battle, serving people, worshipping,

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and communing with Allah.

Imam al-Sajjad (as), according to different narrations, was about twenty four years old on the day of ‘Ashura of Muharram 61 (A.H.), when following his father's last will and testament and the command of Allah and the Messenger of Allah (S) he assumed the Imamate. His mother is known to be Shahrbanu, the daughter of Sassanid Yazdgird.(1)

What was required in the event of Karbala was the exploitation of this unique uprising and matchless epic as well as the dissemination of Imam al-Husayn (as)'s martyrdom message, which was spoken out loud enough with unrivaled valor, bravery, and strength by Imam al-Sajjad (as) and by his aunt Zaynab (as) in their captivity. It was a cry which is still resonating over the past centuries and will remain so for ever.

The ‘Ashura tragic event with all its great and matchless aspects filled with epical fervent and fidelity and pure faith apparently ended in the evening of ‘Ashura; however, the mission of Imam al-Sajjad (as) and Zaynab Kubra (as) began thenceforth.

The captives of the Ahl al-Bayt were rendered apart from the site of “love-martyrs” and the travelers toward Allah and from beside the mutilated bodies lying in their blood. Imam al-Sajjad (as), who was sick, was placed on a bare camel's back with his two feet fastened from under the belly of the animal with fetters.

The other captives were also placed on camels and sent toward Kufa. The Kufans were quite perplexed under the heavy strangulation over the

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1- Imam al-Sajjad (as)'s mother, i.e., Shahrbanu daughter of Yazdgird the last Sassanid King of Iran, had died about 24 years before Karbala tragedy. See: Barrasi-yi Tarikh-i ‘AShura, p. 122.

city, not daring to utter a single word, since Ibn Ziyad had ordered the chiefs of tribes to be thrown into jail and the people to leave their houses unarmed.

Meanwhile, he ordered the sacred severed heads of the martyrs to be handed out among the chiefs of the tribes who were in Karbala carrying the head of Imam al-Husayn (as) in front of the caravan. In this way, they led the caravan into the city of Kufa. ‘Ubayd Allah Ziyad intended to create terror in people's minds and to show off this manifest conquest before their eyes.

But with all these intense security measures, why couldn't they prevent the unwavering and fiery statements and impressive message of the irresistible lady of history, Hadhrat Zaynab (as)? As if waking from a deep slumber, people began to find out that the captives were children of ‘Ali (as) and the progeny of the Prophet (S), whose men were killed in Karbala with the sword of injustice.

There appeared a great commotion among those people, which little by little turned into bursts of weeping. Fatigued and sick and in captivity, Imam al-Sajjad (as) looked at those people and said: “Are they weeping for us? Who has killed our dear ones then?” Zaynab (as) called people to silence and after praising the Almighty Allah, and greeting His Holy Messenger, Hadhrat Muhammad (S), said: “...O people of Kufa! O impostors and plotters and traitors! May this weeping of yours be never soothed! You are like that

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woman who spins her cotton into thread from dawn till dusk and then starts unraveling it all along till dawn. Beware that you have founded your faith on fraudulence and trickery...!”

Hadhrat Zaynab (as), thereupon severely reproached the Kufans, asserting: “Verily, you have defiled yourselves with such a great disgrace and infamy that it could not be erased from you till the Resurrection. May baseness and abjection be upon you! Do you not know how you beheaded the beloved grandson of the Apostle of Allah (S), broke off so many pledges, took captive the nobles of his household and the freeborn of his progeny, and shed his pure blood unjustly...?”

The Kufans kept so silent and motionless as if birds had perched on their heads!

Zaynab's scathing words, as if uttered through ‘Ali (as)'s pure mouth astonished the unfaithful Kufans. It surprisingly sounded like ‘Ali (as)'s voice reverberating in Kufa...

Imam al-Sajjad (as) called his aunt to silence.

Ibn Ziyad ordered Imam al-Sajjad (as), Zaynab al-Kubra (as), and the other captives to be brought into his court, where he hurled the most contemptible insults at the sacred head of Imam al-Husayn (as) and the captives of Karbala, and displayed his meanness and baseness to its highest degree, and exposed his nasty nature as vividly as it really was.

The Message of Blood and Martyrdom

Upon having conversed with the captives of Karbala in his court, Ibn Ziyad, or as he is famous with, son of Marjana, ordered his men to transfer them to a jail next to the Grand Mosque of Kufa,

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and ordered the sacred head of Imam al-Husayn (as) to be carried around in town in order to intimidate the people.

In reply to the letter from Ibn Ziyad who had written to him about the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as) and his companions and capturing his household, Yazid demanded that Imam al-Husayn (as)'s head and those of his companions together with captives be sent to Sham. Imam Sajjad (as) was chained on the hands, feet, and neck and seated on a camel, and the household were placed on unsaddled camels like the captives of Byzantine and Zanzibar and dispatched to Sham.

The Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (as) arrived in Sham through Ba‘albak. The first day of Safar, 61 A.H, while Damascus was filled with rejoice and exultation because Yazid had introduced captives of Karbala, the pure progeny of the Prophet (S), as alien rebels in his claws. Yazid had the captives and heads of the martyrs passed by Jayrun, which was his countryside amusement place and debauchery resort. With much pleasure and delight, he watched the captives led by “Jayrun,” feeling like an indisputable conqueror.

Along the streets, people stood watching the captives. A Shami old man stepped forward and stood before the caravan of the captives and said:

“Thanks God your men were killed and the cities of Islam got rid of their evil and Yazid the commander of the faithful became victorious over you.”

In reply to the old man who had at that age not been secure from the Umayyads' poisonous

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propaganda, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (as) said: “O Shaykh! Have you read the Qur’an?” “Yes,” replied the old man. Imam (as) asked him if he had read this verse, ﴾Say, “I do not ask you any reward for it except love of [my] near of the kin.”﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 42: 23). The man said, “Yes.”

The Imam (as) said: “Those near of the kin love of whom Allah Almighty has ordered and regarded as the reward for the Prophethood of the Messenger (S), are we.” Then, he recited the verse of tathir which had been revealed to the Prophet (S) concerning his own household

إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا {33}

﴾And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 33: 33).

Then the Imam said: “We are the ones referred to in this verse, and whom Allah has made pure of any external and internal impurity.” The old man got astonished and wept, admitting how negligent he had been. Then he asked the Imam (as) “Will I be forgiven if I repent? The Imam reassured him of this. Then he was killed as a martyr for this awareness.

In any case, the caravan of the Godly captives was halted in front of Damascus Grand Mosque. Then, being roped together, the captives were transferred to a prison. They spent several days in that prison which was like a ruin. However, Yazid intended to invite the prominent of every

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school, ambassadors, dignitaries, and the court's flatterers to a ceremonial feast to display his ostentatious triumph.

In this meeting, Yazid did the same insults as his vile hireling, lbn Ziyad, had done in Kufa. That is, with his walking stick he hit on the lips and teeth of Imam al-Husayn (as) which were frequently kissed by the Apostle of Allah (S), ‘Ali Murtadha (as), and Fatimah al-Zahra (as). When Zaynab (as) noticed this impudence was being done by Yazid who at the same time said to Imam al-Sajjad (as),

“Thanks God that He finally disgraced you,” she rose to her feet at once. Extremely outraged, she started to chide and reproach Yazid and his followers, stating eloquently the message of the Martyr's blood and exposing the wrongdoings and meanness of Yazid and his gang. In this way, she degraded Yazid even more notoriously than the Kufans. Yazid, however, cast his head down, tolerating the scathing and defaming words which ruined his false personality, and in reply he only recited a couplet as follows:

“Wailing and lamenting by the bereaved is permissible, and the death of the dead one sounds easy for the hired women mourners.”

Imam al-Sajjad (as) in Damascus

Besides the words Imam al-Sajjad (as) uttered with reference to the Holy Qur’an and exposed the truth, when he encountered Yazid and as he was chained all the way down to Damascus, he said: “O Yazid! By God what do you think the Messenger of Allah (S) would do if he saw us in this poor condition? This

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statement had such a deep impact on Yazid that he ordered the chain removed from him and then all the companions wept over that.

A better chance that the fourth Imam (as) found was a day when the formal preacher got on the pulpit and started to speak ill of ‘Ali (as) and his pure progeny and praise Mu‘awiya and Yazid. Imam al-Sajjad (as) asked Yazid: “Would you allow me, too, to go upon this pile of wood to say words which would both please Allah and bring forth reward for the people?” Yazid did not like to permit, since he was aware of the knowledge and eloquence of the infallible household (as) and was scared.

The people insisted, so he had to agree, and the fourth Imam (as) got upon the pulpit and spoke in such a way that rent their hearts and brought tears to the eyes of both men and women. Following is a brief summary of what the holy Imam (as) said:

“O people! Allah has granted six privileges to us and our superiority over others is based on seven things. Knowledge is with us, so also are forbearance, generosity, eloquence, bravery, and heartfelt friendship of the believers. Allah has ordained that the faithful people love us, and this is what our enemies cannot prevent.”

He went on to say: “The Apostle of Allah (S) belongs to us, so are also his successor and legatee (wasi), ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as), Hamza Sayyid al-Shuhada, Ja‘far al-Tayyar, the two grandsons

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of the Prophet (S), al-Hasan and al-Husayn (as), and the Mahdi of this umma and the Lord of Time.”

Then the Imam introduced himself, causing such a commotion that forced the agents present around to interrupt and to silence the Imam (as) by ordering the muezzin (man who calls to prayer) to recite the call to prayer (adhan).

The Imam kept silence, but as soon as the muezzin said: “Ashhadu anna Muhamadan rasul Allah (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah)”, he took the turban off his head and said: “O muezzin I swear you by this Muhammad to get silent.” Then, facing Yazid, he said:

“Is this noble Prophet your ancestor or ours? If you say he is your ancestor, everybody knows you are telling a lie; and if you admit he is ours, then why did you kill his son al-Husayn (as)? Why did you kill his children? Why did you plunder his property? Why did you take his women and children as captive?”

Then the Imam (as) took hold of his own collar and tore it down [as a sign of disgust and protest], and those present in the gathering burst into wailing and tears. A commotion rose up again. This was indeed an epic message of ‘Ashura being delivered to all ears; and the call of the truth addressed to the history.

Upon hearing these protests, Yazid started cursing and damning Ibn Ziyad and even – apparently – reprimanded some of the troops that had accompanied the

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captives. At last, being apprehended, he turned away from them and tried to contact less with people.

However, owing to the disclosures by the Imam (as) and the distressing conditions, Yazid decided to console the captives. He asked Imam al-Sajjad: “Would you like to stay with us in Sham or go to Medina?” Imam al-Sajjad (as) and Zaynab Kubra replied: “We like to be near our ancestor's grave in Medina.”

Leaving for Medina

In Safar 61/October 680 the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (as) left for Medina with dignity and honor. Nu‘man b. Bashir, along with five hundred men, accompanied the caravan. Imam al-Sajjad (as) and the other members of Ahl al-Bayt (as) were approaching Medina when the Imam (as) selected a place in the outskirt and ordered the caravan settle there.

He ordered some tents be pitched there. Then, he told Bashir b. Jadhlam to write an elegy and inform people of Medina of their arrival. Bashir went straight to Medina and to the tomb of the Prophet (S) and stood there before the Madinans, reciting his poems as follows:

“Behold! O people of Medina! There is no chance here for you to stay any longer, for Imam al-Husayn (as) has been killed, and now here are my tears rolling down. Alas! His pure body, smeared with blood and dust, was left behind in Karbala, and his head on top of a spear was carried around cities.” The people at once burst into a frenzied wailing, among whom were the Hashemite women wailing and lamenting with the most

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heart rending cries.

The people left their houses and raced outside the city. Bashir said: “I abandoned the horse and hastened to the tents of the Ahl al-Bayt. At this time Imam al-Sajjad (as) came out of his tent and while wiping his flowing tears motioned people to silence.

Then, after praising Almighty Allah, he started talking about the heart-rending tragedy of Karbala. Here is part of what he said: ‘If our ancestor, the Apostle of Allah (S) had ordered to murder and plunder and persecute us, there would have been no more cruelty than this on us; whereas there had been clear instructions for protecting and respecting us. We implore Allah to have mercy and blessing on us and revenge our enemies.”

Thereafter, Imam al-Sajjad (as), Zaynab Kubra (as) and their companions and the bereaved mourners of Imam al-Husayn (as) entered Medina. First, they went to the holy mausoleum of their ancestor, the Apostle of Allah (S) and then to Baqi‘cemetery, complaining with tearful eyes of the disdainful people.

For a long time there were mourning rituals held in Medina for Imam al-Husayn (as), during which Imam al-Sajjad (as) and Zaynab Kubra (as) talked about the appalling tragedy of Karbala and clarified to people the purposeful martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as) and his message to people, exposing the corruption of the Umayyads ruling system so that the people would know the extent of the tragedy and tyranny and learn how to take revenge of the oppressors of their time.

In that era,

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there were four extremely sensitive and important spots in the Muslim world: Damascus; Kufa; Mecca; Medina, i.e. the Holy Shrine of the Apostle of Allah (S) and the center for preserving the memories of the adorable Islam and the respected Prophet (S). In all four spots, Imam al-Sajjad (as) played an influential role, following which people's awakening and different kinds of revolts and dissidence ensued.

Thenceforth, the history of Islam witnessed uprisings which were inspired by Imam al-Husayn (as)'s great uprising in Karbala, including the battle of Harrah,(1) taking place a year later in which Yazid'a agents committed a tragic massacre against the uprising of the people of Medina. ‘Ali (as)'s children, each in a corner of the Muslim world, were planning to revolt and take revenge, which finally led to the uprising of Abu Muslim Khurasani and the overthrow of the corrupt dynasty of the Umayyads.

Fighting with and criticizing the selfish and unjust conducts of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs gradually mounted in various ways among Muslims, especially among the Shi‘ites of Imam ‘Ali (as) throughout the history, whereby Shi‘ism was introduced as a combating and resistance movement delivering the message of martyrdom. Although the Shi‘ites have always suffered atrocities and tortures, they have retained this revolutionary spirit to the present after over fourteen centuries.

Although Imam al-Sajjad (as) was apparently staying at home, he would always express the message of martyrdom and fight against tyrants through his supplications and sermons and keeping in touch with his close Shi‘ite followers

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1- See: Chenarani, Muhammad Ali, The Battle of Harrah, translated into English by Ahmad Rezwani, Islamic Research Foundation, Mashhad, 2009.

such as Abu Hamza Thumali and Abu Khalid Kabuli.

At the same time, he was also engaged in enjoining good and forbidding evil; his sincere followers received religious knowledge and Islamic decrees from his holiness and spread them among others. Thus, Shi‘ism developed in many aspects. It was due to these overt and covert campaigns that Imam al-Sajjad (as) was for the second time captured and sent to Sham in chains by order of ‘Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad ruler, and returned to Medina after a while.(1)

During his 35 years of Imamate, Imam al-Sajjad (as) would, wherever necessary, attempt in awakening the people and inciting them against tyranny and aberration and in many cases rendered plenty of social services in support of the poor and the unattended families, as well as dissemination of the Islamic knowledge, purification of people's souls and morality, and awakening them by means of supplications compiled in Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya.

Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya

Ranking among the most valuable Islamic works, Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya includes 57 supplications containing the most accurate theistic, devotional, social, and ethical issues, known as Psalms of the Household of the Prophet (S).

One of the historical events that reflects a perspective of Imam al-Sajjad (as)'s bright character is the elegy that Farazadaq, the poet, recited in praise of the Imam (as) before the House of Ka‘ba.

Historians have stated: “During the rule of Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik, the heir apparent (wali ahd) and his brother went to Mecca with the intention of performing Hajj pilgrimage and stepped into the Holy Mosque

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1- Jala’ al-‘Uyun.

to perform circumambulation (tawaf). As they approached the Ka‘ba to pay tribute to the Black Stone (by touching and kissing), the pressing crowd obstructed their way to the Hatim, forcing them to retreat and sit on the pulpit to wait for the crowd to recede.

Around them also gathered the dignitaries of Sham who accompanied them and watched the circumambulation ritual. At this moment the majestic light of Imam ‘Ali b. Husayn (as), whose countenance was the most glorious and whose attire was the neatest and whose fragrance was the most pleasant of all those attending the circumambulation ritual, appeared from one corner of the Mosque and began to circumambulate the Ka‘ba.

As he got near the Black Stone, the huge crowd stepped back at the sight of his grandeur and majesty to open the way to the Black Stone for the Imam (as) and his retinue, so he could touch and kiss the Stone in convenience.

Watching this scene incited a wave of fury and jealousy in the heart and soul of Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, and while he was burning in disgust, one of the nobles of Sham faced him and asked with astonishment: “Who is this person to whom all the people turned in adoration and respect and cleared the way for him to go on with the circumambulation?”

Although he knew the Imam (as) and his status quite well, Hisham feigned ignorance and replied that he did not know him out of intense hatred and for the fear

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that his courtiers might be impressed and enchanted by the Imam (as) and his position and words.

At this moment, Abu Faras (Farazdaq) who witnessed this scene became very agitated by Hisham's feigning ignorance and although he was a court poet himself and without feeling endangered by the wrath and violence of that arrogant prince, he addressed the Shami man and said: “If you want to know who that person is, ask me as I know very well who he is.”

Then, Farazdaq, in a moment of great sublimation and manifestation of faith and ascension of soul, recited his everlasting ode revealed to him by his fully awake conscience with utmost fever. Here is a part of that ode:

“The one you know not is the one whose footsteps are known by the land of Batha’ and the one who is known by the Ka‘ba and the sanctuary, inside and out.”

“He is the one whose grandfather is Ahmad Mukhtar upon whom be peace and Mercy of Allah as long as destiny prevails… He is the son of Fatimah (as), the chief of the ladies of the world, and ‘Ali (as), the legatee and successor of the Prophet (S) from whose sword would brightly blaze Allah's wrath fire and revenge flames.”

When Farzdaq ended his recitation, Hisham, like someone awakened from a deep sleep, retorted to Farzdaq: “Why have you not written such eulogies in praise of us?” He replied: “Bring an ancestor like his, a father the same in rank as his and

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a purely virtuous mother as his, then I will praise you, too.”

Hisham got outraged and ordered the name of the poet be eliminated from the award list, and himself be imprisoned in the land of ‘Asfan, somewhere between Mecca and Medina.

When the news reached Imam al-Sajjad (as), he sent twelve thousand Dirhams to Farzdaq as an award and apologized for not being able to send more. Farzdaq did not accept the award and sent him the following message: “I wrote this ode to please Allah and his Apostle (S), and to defend the Truth, not wanting an award.” The Imam (as) sent back the award and swore him to accept it and reassured him that its real value would not be belittled before Allah.

Anyhow, it was these values that provoked the enemy's spite and vindictiveness.

It is written that finally Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin – Sayyid al-Sajidin – (as) was poisoned by Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik who was instigated by Hisham, the Umayyad ruler, and was buried in Baqi‘cemetery.

Some Sayings of Imam al-Sajjad (as)

Glory be to Thee, Outdazzling in signs, Creator of the heavens, Author of the spirits! To Thee belongs praise, a praise that will be permanent with Thy permanence! To Thee belongs all, the praise everlasting through Thy favor! To Thee belongs praise, a praise that will parallel Thy benefaction!

My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household, those whom Thou hast chosen for Thy command, the treasurers of Thy knowledge, the guardians of Thy religion, Thy vicegerents in Thy earth, and Thy arguments against Thy servants,

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purified from uncleanness and defilement through a purification by Thy desire, and made the mediation to Thee and the road to Thy Garden!

My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which makes plentiful Thy gifts and generosity, perfects for them Thy bestowals and awards, and fills out their share of Thy kindly acts and benefits! My Lord, bless him and his Household with a blessing whose first has no term, whose term has no limit, and whose last has no utmost end!

My Lord, bless them to the weight of Thy Throne and all below it, the amount that fills the heavens and all above them, the number of Thy earths and all below and between them, a blessing that will bring them near to Thee in proximity, please Thee and them, and be joined to its likes forever!

O God, surely Thou hast confirmed Thy religion in all times with an Imam whom Thou hast set up as a guidepost to Thy servants and a lighthouse in Thy lands, after his cord has been joined to Thy cord! Thou hast appointed him the means to Thy good pleasure, made obeying him obligatory, cautioned against disobeying him, and commanded following his commands, abandoning his prohibitions, and that no forward-goer go ahead of him or back-keeper keep back from him! So he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds!(1)

The Seventh Infallible, Hadhrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, The Fifth Imam


The blessed name of the fifth

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1- William C. Chittick (tr.), The Psalms of Islam, Al-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya, (Supplication 47) Muhammadi Trust, London, 1988.

Imam is Muhammad. His nickname is Baqir or Baqir al-‘Ulum, as he split knowledge and uncovered the mysteries of sciences. Certain other nicknames have also been mentioned for him, each one of which indicating an attribute of that noble Imam, such as Shakir (grateful), Sabir (the one who patiently endures), and Hadi (guiding to the right)

Abu Ja‘far was his patronymic. His mother was Fatimah daughter of Imam al-Hasan; therefore, his lineage from mother side traces back to Imam al-Hasan (as) and from his father's side to Imam al-Husayn (as). His father was Sayyid al-Sajidin, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as).

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) was born on Friday, Safar 3, 57/December 16, 676 in Medina. In the tragic event of Karbala, he was in the company of his grandfather Imam al-Husayn (as), near the age of four.

His Imamate began in 95/714, upon the martyrdom of his father Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (as), and lasted until 114/733, that is, some months over nineteen years. During the Imamate of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) and his son, Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as), such events as the fall of Umayyad dynasty, seizure of power by the Abbasids, disruption of political disputes, the appearance of imposters and commanders like Abu Salma Khallal and Abu Muslim Khurasani, etc. took place; some books on philosophy were translated, and theological debates initiated; a number of Sufi Shaykhs, ascetics, and wandering dervishes affiliated to the ruling caliphate also came into being.

Judges and theologians were installed arbitrarily by formal officials and authorities to expound

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and interpret jurisprudence, ideology, theology, and ethics to the expediencies of the caliphate and the ruling centers, and to deviate the teachings of the Qur’an, especially the issue of Imamate and Wilayat which had after the tragedy of ‘Ashura attracted the attention of many truth-seeking people toward the righteousness of the Household of ‘Ali (as) and revealed the ugly-featured Umayyad tyrants and those who bartered their Hereafter with the worldly gains and also to throw the Prophet (S)'s traditions into oblivion.

Some had also forged traditions in favor of the ruling system or were busy forging some, or transforming them to the benefit of the tyrant usurpers of caliphate. These were really menacing factors which were to be withstood by the protectors and guardians of religion.

To this end, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) and after him, Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as) took advantage of the favorable political milieu to disseminate the true Islamic teachings and truthful knowledge and founded the Academy of Shi‘ism and Islamic Sciences.

That was because these noble Imams and their disciples were in fact inheritors and the true guardians of the teachings of the Prophet (S) and the Islamic laws and justice; they were to train knowledgeable and practical disciples and competent and self-sacrificing companions, and to gather, compile, and teach the jurisprudence of Muhammad (S)'s progeny. That was why Imam al-Baqir (as) was always surrounded by scholars, scientists, and narrators of hadith, and famous orators and poets.

In his didactic school, knowledge and piety were taught to

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people. Abu Ja‘far Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) was the “custodian of alms” of the Prophet (S) and Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (as) and distributed those alms among Bani Hashim and the poor and the needy, and managed them financially. Imam al-Baqir (as) possessed praiseworthy features and was characterized by Islamic courteous behavior.

He was always well-dressed and would walk around with utmost dignity and grace. When he was asked why he put on costly garments while his ancestor would wear inexpensive clothes, he replied: “My ancestor's piety and governance demanded so in the times when the poor and the deprived were in great number. If I wore those clothes, I would not be able to enhance the religious rites in such a revolution of thought.

The fifth Imam (as) was very light-hearted and cheerful to the believers and friends. He would shake hands with all companions and encourage others to practice it, too. He would somehow mention in his talks that: “Shaking hands will eradicate internal indignations and will cause the sins of both sides to fall off as leafs of trees do in the fall.

Imam al-Baqir (as) was quite observant of giving away alms and donations and Islamic manners such as helping the needy, performing the funeral processions of the believers, visiting the patients, and respecting the courtesy and Islamic code of conducts and religious norms. He wanted to revive the traditions of his ancestor, the Apostle of Allah (S), among the people and impart noble moral traits to them.

On hot

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days, he would go out to manage the farms and palm groves, and would help workers and farmers with plowing the land. Whatever he earned from the farm products – with his hardworking and labor – he would give away for Allah's sake.

Whenever he went to the mosque of his ancestor, the Apostle of Allah (S), to say prayers, people would gather around him to benefit from the bright rays of his knowledge and virtue.

For twenty years Mu‘awiya (in Sham) and his functionaries (in other Islamic lands) did their best by means of force, money, trickery, and hiring mercenary scholars to misrepresent the Islamic truths.

Therefore, after the tragic event of Karbala and the unprecedented oppressions by the children of Abu Sufyan, when people realized the righteousness of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (as), Imam al-Sajjad (as) and his noble son, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), exerted great attempts in correcting people's beliefs, especially in Imamate and leadership, which only the Infallible Imams (as) deserved, and taught the true knowledge in different aspects to people.

As a result, the dissemination of the Islamic jurisprudence and ordinances became so widespread that Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as), the honorable son of Imam al-Baqir (as), established a university with four thousand students and spread the Islamic traditions (hadiths) and doctrines all over the Muslim world of that time.

Imam al-Sajjad (as) had paved the way for this significant endeavor through invocations, supplications, and reminding the tyrannies of the Umayyad and by commanding good and forbidding evil.

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Similarly, Imam al-Baqir (as) further prepared the ground by holding teaching circles and clarifying the relevant religious problems for people.

Through his insight and in light of his divinely revealed intuition, the Holy Prophet (S) had determined the duties his progeny and Ahl al-Bayt would be holding as well as the role they were to play in identifying and introducing the true knowledge in the years to come, as the following hadith indicates:

One day, Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah Ansari, who had lost his eyesight late in his life, had an audience with Imam al-Sajjad (as). Hearing a child, he asked, “Who are you?” The child answered: “I am Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.” Jabir called him near, took hold of his hand, kissed it, and said:

“One day I had an audience with your grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (S). He told me: You may live so long as to see Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, one of my grandsons. Give my greetings to him and tell him: May Allah grants you the light of wisdom; disseminate the faith and knowledge!” Commanded by his grandfather, the fifth Imam embarked on a life-long dissemination of religious science and Islamic knowledge, as well as teaching the Qur’anic truths and Prophetic traditions.

Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah Ansari is the one who on the arba‘in (the fortieth day of Imam al-Husayn's martyrdom), the first year after the tragic event of Karbala, went there together with ‘Atiyya, who was also one of the pious scholars and noble interpreters,

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made ghusl (major ablution) and while ‘Atiyya was holding his hand, he sat down beside the holy grave of the master of martyrs, Sayyid al-Shuhada (as), and recited the ziyara of that Holy Imam.

Anyhow, Imam al-Baqir (as) was a source of radiant divine wisdom and a reservoir of divine ordinance. His celebrated name is on hundreds of traditions and wise sayings and exhortations which he had expressed to guide his talented and competent disciples and pupils, especially during his 13 years of Imamate. As it is related, in no other scholastic circles had the scholars been more humble and modest than the ones in the presence of Muhammad b. ‘Ali (as).(1)

In the time of Imam ‘Ali (as), it was as though the status of science and value of knowledge was not – as it had to be – clear for the people yet. It seemed that the Muslims had not stepped out of the restricted material world; had not drunk from Imam ‘Ali (as)'s transparent spring of knowledge; had remained thirsty at the infinite ocean of ‘Ali (as)'s presence; and no one but a few had appreciated such precious jewel as him.

That was why the Master of the Faithful (as) had repeatedly said: “Ask me [questions] before you lose me!” And he would often say: “I am more familiar with the routes of the heaven than those of the earth.” Alas! Nobody would appreciate his precious presence.

However, people gradually began to taste the pleasure and joy of

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1- Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, p. 175.

the knowledge of Ahl al-Bayt (as) and the Islamic teachings, particularly in the time of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as); and like thirsty ones who had been deprived of fresh water or who had not appreciated it, they began to quench their thirst with the splendid and palatable divine knowledge of Imam al-Baqir (as) and gave in to his scholarly status. According to a historian, “At this point, the Muslims turned away from battle fields and warfare to conquering the doorways of knowledge and culture.”

Since there was no possibility at the time for armed uprising – due to intense stranglehold and a lack of chivalrous combatants – Imam al-Baqir (as) deemed as more appropriate the dissemination of the Islamic knowledge and scholarly activities as well as ideological and spiritual struggle against the Umayyad ruling system, and since a full course of Islamic law had not yet been instructed in details and comprehensively, he undertook the fruitful scholarly endeavors in this respect.

However, as the personality of the Imam (as) and the nature of his teachings – in different dimensions and directions – were considered detrimental to the ruling authorities, he was often persecuted and offended by them. Nonetheless, Imam al-Baqir (as) never neglected the importance of his dutiful role in starting a rebellion against the oppressive ruling system, but encouraged it in another way, i.e., by admiring and confirming his rebellious brother Zayd b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.

There are narrations denoting that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), who was the greatest intellectual and

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cultural pioneer of his time, had a significant role in promulgation of ethics, genuine Islamic philosophy, specific worldview of the Qur’an, training such disciples as Imam Shafi‘i, and formulation of the Islamic school of thought. He is also said to have confirmed his brother Zayd's revolutionary position; e.g., he is quoted as saying: “O Lord! Strengthen my back by [my brother] Zayd.

It is also said that one day Zayd paid a visit to Imam al-Baqir (as). On visiting Zayd, the Imam (as) recited the following verse: ﴾O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of Allah﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 4: 135). He then continued: “O Zayd! By God you are an example of the one who acts according to this verse.”

It is known that Zayd, who under the instruction of his brother, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), had undertaken an uprising to establish justice and faith, was finally ruthlessly murdered by the despotic ruling system of the Umayyad Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik in 120 (or 122)/737 (or 739), when he revolted against the latter during the Imamate of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as). Zayd's sacred body was held hanging from the gallows for years and then set on fire.

And as related in history, although Zayd's movement ostensibly did not lead to victory and neither did other uprisings and endeavors in this period, these revolts and movements in the history of Shi‘ism prompted awakening an activism; initiated the culture of martyrdom targeted against tyrannical rules; kept the pure

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blood of the Shi‘a seething; and carried on the red line of martyrdom through the history of the Shi‘a up to the present time.

Even though Imam al-Baqir (as) and Imam al-Sadiq (as) apparently did not involve in the above uprising for they did not regard the situation as appropriate, they attempted, at any chance they found, to correct the outlook for the society on the statehood and to teach and disseminate the Islamic principles and to illuminate people's minds and thoughts, being in itself an alternative to battle and warfare against the enemy.

Since in this era the Umayyad rule was fading out and the ‘Abbasid rebellion was cracking down on them, the best circumstances had risen for promulgation of dynamic thoughts and training disciples and dignitaries as well as demarcating the right lines of statehood, which was indeed a political struggle laying the foundation for and formulation of the Islamic doctrine and principles.

However, as maintained above, wherever the caliphate system's benefits were concerned and the rulers felt that the Imam (a.s.) was unveiling their cruel faces and teaching the right path to recognition of the “Infallible Imam” and Imamate which followed “Prophethood” and finally the “Rule of Allah”, they would proceed to persecute and even torture the Imam (as), and sometimes would exile and incarcerate him.

To give an example of the above, a historical event is narrated as follows:

“One year when Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad ruler, was going on a Hajj pilgrimage, Ja‘far b. Muhammad, Imam al-Sadiq

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(as) together with his father, Imam al-Baqitr (as) were also on the pilgrimage. One day, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was giving a speech in an assembly in Mecca, emphasizing the issue of leadership and that the Imams, rather than others, are the true leaders and caliphs of Allah on earth, and that following their footsteps and swearing allegiance to them rather than to others would bring forth social happiness and salvation.

These words, being uttered in the period of Hisham's full power and during the Hajj rituals in Mecca, began to echo widely around and reached Hisham. In Mecca, Hisham did not dare to interfere, nor was it advisable for him to do so. But when he arrived in Damascus, he dispatched an envoy to Medina asking the governor there to send Imam al-Baqir (as) and his son to Damascus, which was done accordingly.

Imam al-Sadiq (as) said in this regard: “When we arrived in Damascus, Hisham called us to his court. When we entered, we saw him sitting on his throne and having his men fully armed, arrayed in two rows by his sides. He also had a target board installed before him on the other end of the hall, and the dignitaries among his entourage were engaged in an archery match.

As we entered the courtyard of Hisham's palace, my father was in front and I was following him. When we got near, Hisham asked my father: 'Why don't you take part in the match?' My father replied: 'I have

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become old and am not in a position to do this. It would be better if you exempt me from this.' Hisham swore: 'By God who honored us by His Religion and Messenger, I won't exempt you.' He then commanded one of the Umayyad nobles to hand his bow and arrow over to my father [Imam al-Baqir (as)] so that he too could take part in the match.

My father took the bow from the man, picked an arrow, put it in the bow, pulled the string powerfully, and shot it right to the center of the target. Then, he took another arrow and shot it at the notch of the previous one… numbering to nine successive shots. Infuriated by this event, Hisham said: 'You did a great job O Abu Ja‘far! You are the most skilful among the Arab and non-Arab archers. Why did you say you were not able to do it? Tell me who taught you the archery?' My father replied: 'You know that this sport is common among Medinans. I used to practice it when I was young'.”

Then, Imam al-Sadiq (as) pointed out that: “Hisham got mad with the whole affair and made up his mind to murder my father. At the same gathering, Hisham talked to Imam al-Baqir (as) over leadership and caliphate. Imam al-Baqir (as) expressed his opinion on the leadership of the faithful leaders and how an Islamic community is run and what characteristics a leader of an Islamic society must have.

All this

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further perplexed Hisham who lacked those requirements and who had usurped that position.” It is reported by some that Imam al-Baqir (as) was incarcerated in Damascus. When Hisham got informed that the prisoners of Damascus have turned into Imam al-Baqir (as)'s disciples and followers, he freed the Imam and hastened to have him sent to Medina.

Before the Imam's departure, Hisham sent forth a courier to spread ill rumors against them (i.e., Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Sadiq – A.S.) in the villages and towns en route, so that people would not get in touch with them and might not be influenced by their sermons and conducts. Nevertheless, on this journey the Imam did not spare any chance to contact people – even the Christians – and to make them aware of the whole situation.

It is interesting and instructive to know that in his last will, Imam Muhmmad al-Baqir (as) enjoined his son Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as) to allocate after his demise a part of his property to be spent during Hajj pilgrimage at mourning ceremonies for him for ten years in Mana, where Hajis gather for throwing stones at Satan and making sacrifices.

Drawing attention to the issue and determining the location is considered very important. According to the author of al-Ghadir – the well-known ‘Allama Amini – the purpose of this testament is to make the great Islamic community acquainted with the true leader of the religion at that Holy Land and guide them to the right path, so

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that they would break away from others and join these leaders; and this is the utmost eagerness for guiding people and rescuing them from the claws of tyranny and misguidance.(1)

Martyrdom of Imam Muhmmad al-Baqir (as)

Imam Muhmmad al-Baqir (as) lived on for 19 years and ten months after the martyrdom of his father, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (as). During this time he was engaged in doing his crucial duty of Imamate, spreading and propagating the Islamic culture, teaching disciples, leading companions and people, implementing traditions of his noble ancestor among the people, drawing the attention of the usurping ruling system toward the right line of leadership and guiding people in realizing the real leader and the Infallible Imam who is the genuine vicegerent (caliph) of Allah and His Apostle (S) on earth, and spared no moment in accomplishing his duties.

Finally, on Dhul Hijja 7, 114/January, 28, 733, when he was 57 years old, he was poisoned by the order of Hisham in Medina and departed to the Heavens. His sacred body was buried in Baqi‘cemetery next to his honorable father.

His Wives and Children

The children of His Holiness are reported to be seven: Abu ‘Abd Allah Ja‘far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq (as) and ‘Abd Allah who were born to Umm Farvah, daughter of Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr. Ibrahim and ‘Ubayd Allah, who were born to Umm Hakim and both died during the lifetime of their noble father. ‘Ali, Zaynab, and Umm Salama, whose mother was an umm walad [a concubine].

Some Sayings of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as):

1. Islam is founded on

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, from page 53 on (with slight changes).

five pillars: Prayers (Salat), alms tax (zakat), Hajj pilgrimage, fasting, and Wilayat (allegiance to the Imam). When asked about Wilayat, the Imam answered: by Wilayat the Muslims' affairs will be put into order and discipline.

2. Nothing is better liked by Allah than requesting Him and begging requirements from Him.

3. Nothing is better for fending off calamities and dire accidents than supplication.

4. The worst defect is to stare at others' faults and ignore one's own faults; to enjoin people to do things which one is unable to do oneself; and to persecute one's friend or companion who has no supporter and helper, and not to hasten to assist him.

5. When you are sitting in the presence of a scholar, be more eager to listen than to talk; learn to listen well as well as you learn to talk well, and do not interrupt the speaker.

6. The servants will not turn infidel if they do not state any ideas when having no knowledge, and do not deny what they have not understood.

7. A scholar whose knowledge is beneficent to people is superior to seventy thousand worshippers.

8. Whoever is not appointed as his own preacher by God, others’ exhortation will not have any effect on him.

The Eighth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, The Sixth Imam


Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as), the chief of Ja‘fari School of thought (Shi‘ism) was born on Rabi‘ al-Awwal 17, 83/April 20, 702 in Medina.

His father was Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) and his mother was Umm Farvah, daughter of Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr. His patronymic was

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Abu ‘Abd Allah and his nickname was al-Sadiq.

Up to the age of 12, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was contemporary to his noble grandfather Imam al-Sajjad (as) and was primarily trained under his supervision and gleaned from the knowledge stack of his grandfather.

After the demise of the fourth Imam (as), he lived in the service of his honorable father, Imam al-Baqir (as) for 19 years amounting to 31 years of spending his life serving his grandfather and father who were each at his own time a proof of Allah obtaining light directly from the Divine source.

Thus, in addition to the Divine aspects and Holy blessings that every Imam receives, enjoying the presence of his noble father and grandfather caused Imam al-Sadiq (as) who possessed innate talent, scholarly sense and abundant brilliance, to achieve perfection in knowledge and ethics and to become the greatest figure on knowledge and learning.

After his father's demise, his Imamate lasted 34 years, during which he founded Ja‘fari School (Madhhab al-Ja‘fari) and contributed to the reconstruction and revival of Muhammad (S)'s law (shari‘a).

The prolific and productive life of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as) coincided with the rule of five Umayyad caliphs (Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, Walid b. Yazid, Yazid b. Walid, Ibrahim b. Walid, and Marwan Himar), each one of whom inflicted much persecution and sorrow upon the lofty soul of the Infallible Imam (as); two of the ‘Abbasid caliphs (Saffah and Mansur) also usurped the caliphate in the time of the Imam (as) and proved to be more tyrannical

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and unjust than the Umayyads. Consequently, Imam al-Sadiq (as) lived his last ten years of life in insecurity and discomfort.

The Era of Imam al-Sadiq (as)

Imam al-Sadiq (as)’s era is characterized as one of the most turbulent periods in the history of Islam, during which, on one hand, frequent rebellions of different groups, particularly by revenges for Imam al-Husayn (as)'s blood, took place, including the uprising by Abu Salama in Kufa and Abu Muslim in Khurasan, which were the most important of all.

It was this revolution that finally toppled down the ominous rule of the Umayyads and liberated the people from their injustice and tyranny. But finally, the Abbasids took over the rule and caliphate with fraudulence and conspiracy. The transference period of the Umayyad rule to Abbasids was the most violent and chaotic time in the life of Imam al-Sadiq (as).

On the other hand, his era was a time of clashes among schools and ideologies and an age of contradiction of different philosophical and theological thoughts which were raised by the encounter of the Islamic nations and those of the conquered lands as well as through the relations between Islamic centers and the rest of the world, creating enthusiasm and eagerness in Muslims for understanding and researching.

It was an age in which the slightest negligence or unawareness and inactivity by the true guardian of Islam, i.e., Imam al-Sadiq (as), would have ruined the faith and marred the life-giving teachings of Islam, both from inside and out.

It was then that the Imam (as) was facing

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great troubles and bearing topmost responsibility. In such a critical situation, the sixth Imam (as) had to be concerned with the salvage of the thoughts of Muslim masses from atheism and infidelity as well as preventing the Islamic principles and knowledge from deviating from the right path and the religious decrees from being wrongly and reversely interpreted and articulated by the caliphs of his time.

In addition, he had to skillfully and with accurate planning liberate the Shi‘a from being annihilated and wiped out, which was, amid the stranglehold and tortures by the previous rule, taking the last breaths and its great men and scholars were either hiding or absorbed by the pomposity and gaudiness of the tyrannical occupying regime and did not dare to reveal their faith.

The new rule was no better in murder and injustice than the previous one and the situation was so adverse and dire that all of the Imam (as)'s companions were in danger of being killed, with their elite being already on the blacklist.

Jabir Ju‘fi, one of the Imam (as)'s special companions and envoys, was dispatched by his holiness to Kufa on a certain mission. On the way, the swift-riding courier of the Imam (as) caught up with him and said: “The Imam advises you to feign insanity.” Following this advice, his life was spared; that is, the governor of Kufa who had secretly received a command from the caliph to assassinate him refrained from killing him on the ground of madness.

An intimate companion

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of Imam al-Baqir (as), Jabir Ju‘fi has said: “Imam al-Baqir (as) has taught me seventy thousand hadiths, which I have not narrated to anyone and will never do.

One day he humbly said to the holy Imam (as): “You have told me some secrets, which neither I can endure, nor I have a confidant to entrust them to; and I am about to go insane.”

“Go to the desert,” the Imam (as) said to him, “and dig a well, put your head onto it and say in the quiet of the well: “Muhammad b. ‘Ali – i.e., Imam al-Baqir (as) – related such and such to me…”

Truly, the Shi‘a s were about to be wiped out, i.e., the genuine Islam was going to take the color of the caliphs and turn into an Umayyad and Abbasid Islam.

In such a dire situation, the Holy Imam (as) undertook the revivification and reconstruction of the Islamic knowledge, and set up a great scholarly school whose end-product and output was fourteen thousand expert disciples (such as Hisham, Muhammd b. Muslim, etc.) in various disciplines, who spread over the extended Islamic lands of the time.

Each one of them were, on the one hand, the representative of Imam (as)'s logic which denoted the logic of Islam, the guardian of religious and scientific legacy, as well as the protectors of the true Shi‘ism, and on the other hand, were defenders against infiltration of anti-Islamic and destructive thoughts among the Muslims.

The establishment of such a school of thought and such

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reconstruction and revival of the Islamic teachings, made Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as) known as the head of Ja‘fari school (i.e., Shi‘ism).

Shortly afterwards, however, upon reinforcement of their influence and foundations, the Abbasids assumed the same tyrannical procedure as the Umayyads, and even surpassed them in their atrocities.

Having always been an untiring combatant and a radical revolutionary in the arena of thought and action, Imam al-Sadiq (as) did what Imam al-Husayn (as) had done in his bloody uprising, albeit in the form of teaching and setting up a school of thought, training people, and, putting up an all-out jihad.

Scientific Movement

Political discrepancies among the Umayyad and the Abbasids, division of Islam into different sects, and the appearance of materialistic ideas and the influence of Greek philosophy in the Islamic countries gave rise to a scientific movement, which was founded on indisputable facts.

Such a movement was crucial both for purging the religious truths of superstitions and forged traditions and resisting against the heretics and materialists with the power of reasoning to condemn their shaky opinions. His Holiness' scholarly talks and debates with atheists and materialists such as Ibn Abi al-‘Awja’ and Abu Shakir al-Daysani, and even with Ibn Muqaffa‘, are well-known.

Nobody was capable of creating such a scientific movement in that chaotic and dark era; the only one deserving this great status was the one having Divine mission and being upheld by Allah, so that he would be able to relate to the unseen through revelation power, purity of soul, and God-fearing,

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and to obtain the truths of knowledge from the boundless ocean of Divine knowledge, and impart them to those who would appreciate their value.

It was only the Holy Imam al-Sadiq (as) who was worthy of having such a position, and it was just he who by withdrawing from politics and political controversies since the beginning of his Imamate, made great efforts in spreading the Islamic knowledge, the genuine traditions of the true religion, and disseminating the ordinances and teachings as well as training the Muslims.

The era of Imam al-Sadiq (as) was actually the golden age of knowledge and promulgation of divine ordinances and education of disciples who would each carry the brilliant torch of knowledge to the nooks and corners of the world and, like their honorable teacher and leader, make endeavors to guide people through self-knowledge and knowledge of their Lord.

It was in this splendid era that the Islamic theology and philosophy – in contrast to Greek philosophy – thrived and great philosophers and sages were trained in the world of Islam.

Simultaneous to the scientific movement and development of knowledge by Imam al-Sadiq (as) in Medina, Mansur, the Abbasid caliph, out of hatred and envy thought of establishing another school which would be able both to be scientifically independent against the Ja‘fari school and keep the people busy and distracted from plucking flowers of knowledge from the rose-garden of the Imam (as)'s school of knowledge. To this end, Mansur set up a school in Karkh neighborhood of Baghdad.

In this

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school, Mansur utilized Abu Hanifa in legal issues and had scientific and philosophical books brought from India and Greece and had them translated. He also installed Malik, the chief of the Maliki sect, as the head of jurisprudence department. However, these schools were unable to carry out their guiding duties as expected.

Imam al-Sadiq (as) compiled and formulated the dispersed juristic, scientific, and theological issues, and in every discipline trained numerous disciples who later on spread the Islamic knowledge throughout the world. That was the beginning of Imam (as)'s worldwide spreading of different disciplines such as jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, natural sciences, etc. Ja‘fari jurisprudence is the same as Muhammadan jurisprudence of religious rulings, which were revealed by Allah to the noble Prophet (S) through the revelation of the Qur’an.

Contrary to other sects in which views and ideas were arbitrarily manipulated, the Ja‘fari jurisprudence was indeed the elaboration and elucidation of the same principles and laws set forth from the beginning in Islam. Abu Hanifa, the head of Hanafi sect, has stated about Imam al-Sadiq (as): “I have neither seen nor known anyone more learned in jurisprudence than Ja‘far al-Sadiq.”

The legal judgment (fatwa) by the greatest contemporary jurist of the Sunni world, Shaykh Muhammad Shaltout, the dean of Al-Azhar university, who explicitly proclaimed as permissible the practice of Ja‘fari jurisprudence just like that of other schools, is in itself an acknowledgment of the rightfulness of Ja‘fari jurisprudence. These are but the outcome of Imam al-Sadiq (as)'s endeavors in those days.

Imam al-Sadiq

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(as) frequently debated on philosophy and hikma with his companions and even with those who were away from religion and belief in Allah. An example of his statements, which proves the existence of the Almighty Allah is addressed to one of his disciples called Mufadhdhal b. ‘Umar. These statements are reported in a book called Tawhid al-Mufadhdhal.

The debates of Imam al-Sadiq (as) with the Indian physician, which is the subject of a book called Ihlilaja, also includes sagacious points which are a small portion of Imam al-Sadiq (as)'s unfathomable ocean of knowledge. In order to know a master (ustad) there are normally two ways: first, getting to know his works and words; second, getting to know his disciples and the ones educated in his school.

A great number of wise sayings, writings, and traditions are related from Imam al-Sadiq (as), which cannot be represented except as a drop from an ocean.

As for the disciples and students of Imam al-Sadiq (as), they number over four thousand, of whom one is Jabir b. Hayyan. He was from Khurasan. His father was a druggist in Tus and was murdered by the followers of the Umayyads. After his father's murder, Jabir b. Hayyan went to Medina. First, he studied with Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), then, he joined the students of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as). Jabir is actually one of the wonders of the time and a great genius of the Muslim world.

Having written numerous books on sciences and arts, especially chemistry, he stated

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everywhere in his treatises that Ja‘far b. Muhammad (as) told him or taught him or related to him so and so. Among his discoveries are nitric acid, aqua regia, and alcohol. He has also discovered several metals and metalloids. In the Renaissance period in Europe, around 300 treatises of Jabir b. Hayyan have been translated into German and are preserved in Berlin and Paris libraries.(1)

By the intrigues of Mansur ‘Abbasi, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was fatally poisoned and buried in Baqi‘ cemetery in 148/765, when he was 65 years old. Because he lived a longer life than other Imams (as), he is named as Shaykh al-A’imma.

Imam al-Sadiq (as) had seven sons and three daughters.

Following Imam al-Sadiq (as), the position of Imamate was ordained by Allah to be handed over to Imam Musa al-Kazim (as).

Isma‘il was the eldest of Imam al-Sadiq (as)'s sons, who died before the Imam (as)'s martyrdom. The Isma'ilis believe that he is the next Imam after his father.

The Temperament of Imam al-Sadiq (as)

Like his noble ancestors, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was eminent amongst his contemporaries in all his dignified traits and moral qualities. He was endowed with a heart radiant with divine light and was like his ancestors in benevolence and infaq (helping out the poor) toward the needy. He also enjoyed great wisdom and knowledge and influential speech with powerful eloquence.

He would quite humbly and at the same time with the highest magnanimity do his own work in person, and do farming with a spade in his hand on his farm in

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1- Sadiq ‘Alayh al-Salam.

the scorching sun of Hijaz, saying: “If in this state I meet my Lord, I will be very delighted, as I am earning my own living and that of my family through manual labor and hardworking.”

Ibn Khallakan wrote: “Imam al-Sadiq (as) is one of the twelve Imams of the Imamiyya School and one of the descendants of the Holy Apostle of Allah (S). He was called al-Sadiq for whatever he said was true; his piety is beyond description.” Malik said: “I was accompanying Imam al-Sadiq (as) on a Hajj pilgrimage when we arrived at the ihram location (where pilgrimage garb is put on).

The Imam, who was riding a camel, was so awe-stricken that he was about to fall off the camel and unable to utter labbayk (here I am) however he tried. I told him, “O son of the Prophet! You have perforce to say labbayk.” He replied: “How would I dare to say labbayk, as I fear that my Lord would say in response: ‘La labbayk and la sa‘dayk (you are not here for Me and you are not given blessedness)’.”

Some Sayings of Imam al-Sadiq (as):

1. The most content people are those who are not trapped in avarice.

2. Apathy toward this world brings about comfort of soul and well-being of the body.

3. When Allah wishes well for a person, He would make them indifferent to the world, aware and knowledgeable on religion, and conscious of their flaws. Whoever is given these traits, they are given the good of

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this world and the next.

4. Our followers are those who initiate good deeds and avoid evil acts. They make goodness known and take the lead in doing good for their love of the Almighty Allah's mercy. They are of us, and wherever we are they are with us.

5. How repulsive it is for the faithful when they have a request that ends in their humiliation.

6. A believer is harder than iron, for if iron is melted in fire its color will change, but if believers are killed and restored to life and are killed again, their hearts will not swerve from their faith.

7. In his deathbed, where his relatives were gathering around him, Imam al-Sadiq (as) said: “Our intercession (shifa‘a) will not include those who take their prayer (salat) lightly.

The Debate of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as) with Abu Hanifa

There are references to arguments or debates in the biographies of the noble Imams (as) that they have had with the atheists and people of different faiths and denominations. For example, we relate here one of Imam al-Sadiq (as)'s scathing, decisive, and at the same time, brief arguments to display his vast power of speech and logic, as a little indicates much:

One day Abu Hanifa went to Imam al-Sadiq (as)'s house and asked for an audience with him, but the Imam (as) denied him admittance. Abu Hanifa said: “I lingered a while at the doorway until a number of the Kufans turned up and sought an audience, which was granted.

I went

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in with them too. When I was in his presence I said: ‘It is worthwhile that you send an envoy to Kufa and prohibit the people there from abusing the companions of Muhammad (S), as there are over ten thousand people in this town giving bad names to the Prophet (S)'s companions.”

The holy Imam replied: “People will not accept it from me.” Abu Hanifa said: “How is it possible that the people will not accept it from you as you are the grandson of the Prophet (S)? The Imam said: “You are yourself one of them who did not pay attention to me. Did you not enter the house without any permission? And did you not sit without my allowing you? And did you not start talking without asking for permission? I have heard that you give fatwa (legal ruling) by analogy.” To which Abu Hanifa nodded.

The Imam (as) went on to say: “Woe to you! The first one who judged this way was Satan. When Allah ordered him to prostrate before Adam, he said he would not do that, for he had been created of fire and Adam of earth (i.e., fire is more precious than earth).”

Then, (in order to falsify the analogical fatwa, he pointed out some instances of the Islamic laws contradicting this principle,) he said: “Which one do you think is more criminal, murdering or adultery?”

Abu Hanifa replied: “Murdering.”

Imam: “So, if judging according to analogy is right, why then two witnesses are required to prove a

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murder case, but for proving adultery four witnesses are needed? Is this Islamic law compatible with analogy?”

Abu Hanifa: “No.”

Imam: “Which one is filthier, urine or semen?”

Abu Hanifa: “Urine.”

Imam: “Then why has Allah ordained wudhu (minor ablution) in the former case and ghusl (major ablution) in the latter one? Is this ordinance compatible with analogy?”

Abu Hanifa: “No.”

Imam: “Is prayer more important or fasting?”

Abu Hanifa: “Prayer.”

Imam: “Why then is it mandatory for menstruous women to make up fasting but not praying? Is this ordinance compatible with analogy?”

Abu Hanifa: “No.”

Imam: “I heard that you have interpreted the verse

ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ یَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِیمِ {8}

(Then, that day, you will surely be questioned concerning the blessing﴿(1) as:

“Allah will call the people to account for the delicious foods and cool water they had in summer.”

Abu Hanifa said: “That is right; I interpreted the verse that way.”

The Imam said: “If someone invited you to his house and served you with tasty food and cool water and then held you indebted for his favor, what would be your judgment about such a person?”

Abu Hanifa replied: “I would say he was a miserly one.”

The Imam said: “Is Allah so miserly so as to call us to account for the foods that he has given to us?”

Abu Hanifa asked: “What is then meant by the blessings and favors that the Qur’an says man will be questioned about?”

The Imam said: “It is the blessing of loving us, the household, and the Ahl al-Bayt of the Holy Apostle of Allah (S).”(2)

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1- Al-Qur'an, 102: 8.
2- Munazira dar Rabita ba Masa’il-Ideology.

The Ninth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam Musa b. Ja‘far, The Seventh Imam


The name of our seventh Imam is Musa and his nickname is Kazim; Abu al-Hasan and Abu Ibrahim are his patronymics. The Shi‘as and advocates have named him Bab al-Hawa’ij (the gate to the fulfillment of needs). Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) was born on Sunday, Safar 7, 128/November 8, 745 in Abwa’. His period of Imamate was simultaneous with the later part of the caliphate of the Abbasid Mansur and in the period of Hadi's caliphate and thirteen years of Harun's caliphate, which was the most adverse time of his life.

At the age of around 21, Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) undertook the exalted position of Imamate by the will of his father and the command of the Almighty Allah. His Imamate lasted a short while more than thirty five years, which was longer than other Imams except for the twelfth Imam, the Lord of the Time (as).

The Appearance, Traits, and Morals of Imam Musa al-Kazim (as)

Imam al-Kazim (as) was of a medium stature. His countenance was radiant and his hair black and thick.

His noble body had become emaciated due to copious worship. However, he still enjoyed a powerful spirit and a resplendent heart. According to most of the historians Imam al-Kazim (as) was well-known for his asceticism and devotion. In worship and assiduity, he was known as ‘Abd al-Salih (pious servant); in generosity and munificence, he was like his honorable ancestors. He would bring along bags of 300, 400, and 2000 dinars to give out to the needy and the disabled. Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) is quoted as

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saying: “My father (Imam al-Sadiq – A.S.) would constantly enjoin me to be generous and gracious.”

Despite his graciousness and generosity to others, he would always wear coarse clothes, being described as “coarse-clothed and simple-dressed”, which is another indication of his lofty soul, purity of the heart, and detachment from the deceitful gaudiness of the world.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) was very affectionate and kind toward his wife and children and the inferior. He was always concerned with the poor and the desperate, helping them secretly or openly. Some of the poor people in Medina had recognized him, but others found out about his generosity and grandeur and realized who he was only after he was exiled to Baghdad.

Imam al-Kazim (as) was very fond of reciting the Holy Qur’an. He would recite it with such a doleful and fine voice that people would gather around his residence to listen to his recitation tearfully and earnestly. There were some malevolent people who would curse him and his noble ancestors and say rude words to him. Encountering them with patience and tolerance, however, he would guide them and draw their attention to the moral rectitude and virtue.

Some anecdotes in this respect have been historically recorded. The nickname Kazim, meaning the one who restrains [and suppresses] his anger, is rooted in these events. That was his treatment of those who, out of ignorance or being instigated by the enemies, committed indecent and vile actions toward him. His wise and tolerant behavior gradually made the

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rightfulness of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (as) clear and evident to them.

However, whenever it so happened that the word of Truth was to be expressed against a tyrant caliph or sultan, Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) would say: “Speak out the Truth even if it leads to your perishing.” Truth is so highly valued that people could be sacrificed to preserve it. He was a paradigm of humbleness, as he was in his other competent traits. He would associate with poor, soothe and comfort the helpless, consider the slave and the free as equal, and would say: “We are children of Adam and created by the One God.”

Abu Hanifa is quoted as saying: “I saw him in his childhood and asked him some questions to which he gave such answers as if he had been nurtured from the fountainhead of Wilayat. Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) was indeed a learned and competent jurist and a skilful and authoritative orator.” Similarly Muhammad b. Nu‘man said: “I viewed Musa b. Ja‘far as a vast and fathomless ocean that was effervescing and dispersing seeds of knowledge around.”

Imam al-Kazim (as) in the Bastion of Teaching Truths and Struggle

The promulgation of the Ja‘fari jurisprudence and ethics as well as exegesis and theology which had commenced since the time of Imam al-Sadiq (as) and throughout the era of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), was carried on in the time of Imam Musa al-Kazim (as), who followed the footsteps of his noble ancestors to make people more and more familiar with the straight line of Imamate and the

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truth of Ja‘fari school of thought; and to hand over this glowing torch through ages to the coming generations.

The Abbasid caliphs were always, by way of oppression and over-indulgence in pleasure seeking, intending to wipe out the Hashemites so that they would put the progeny of ‘Ali (as), away from the political arena, and curtail their power over the Islamic states. To achieve this malicious purpose, they encouraged and sponsored some of the Ja‘fari school disciples to establish another school against the Ja‘fari School. In this way, different schools of Hanafites, Hanbalites, Shafi‘ites, and Malikites were founded, each with its own juristic method. The governments of the time and the ones that followed them supported these schools in order to achieve power and considered their discrepancies to the benefits of their own ends.

Toward the end of Mansur Dawaniqi's caliphate, coinciding with the early years of the Imamate of Imam Musa al-Kazim (as), “many of the rebellious Sayyids who were typically from among the scholars and the brave and pious followers of the Holy Prophet (S)'s household and were closely related with the Imams (as), were killed as martyrs.

These noble figures would rise up to fend off oppression and to disseminate the charter of justice and to enjoin right and forbid wrong, and would finally give their lives for the essentials of the Islamic teachings; thus awakening the sleeping souls. They would sacrifice their own souls and let their own bloodshed in the Islamic cities and towns to keep the

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call to prayer (adhan) reverberating from the minarets of the mosques.”(1)

In Medina, the functionaries of Mahdi ‘Abbasi, the son of Mansur Dawaniqi took up the same vile behavior as that of the evil dynasty of the Umayyad, and mistreated the progeny of Imam ‘Ali (as) as harshly as they could. The tragic event of Fakh (a place about 7 kms from Mecca on the way to Medina) took place in the era of Hadi ‘Abbasi.

The event started when Husayn b. ‘Ali b. ‘Abid, who was an honorable descendant of Imam al-Hasan (as) and a noble scholarly chief of a clan in Medina, revolted with the help of a number of the Sayyids and Shi‘as against the cruelties of ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Umari, who was dominating Medina, and with utmost bravery killed many of the opponents in the land of Fakh. Eventually, the brutal enemies besieged this brave Sayyid and murdered him and a number of his companions and captured some others. Mas‘udi wrote: “The bodies remained in the desert were eaten up by beasts of prey.”

The wickedness of the Abbasid was not restricted to this event. These cruel caliphs literally plastered hundreds of Sayyids under the walls or inside the pillars, and incarcerated hundreds of others in the dark of the dungeons or murdered them. Surprisingly enough, all these crimes and murders were perpetrated under the guise of Islam, in order to quell the riots.

Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) was never at peace and quiet in such critical situations,

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 57.

witnessing and hearing all those painful scenes and widespread outrages. The holy Imam (as) evidently witnessed that the tyrannical caliphs intended to ruin and wipe out the human and Islamic principles. For years he was chased and persecuted and spent, reportedly, between four to fourteen years of his life under arrest, in exile, in prison, or in solitary confinements in Baghdad dungeons in shackles.

Without being by any means apprehensive of the despotic ruling system of Harun, Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) would attend to the affairs of his household and those of the Sayyids who survived the genocide; and spared no time in gathering, protecting, and organizing their survivors.

When the Imam (as) was in Medina, Harun had assigned someone to spy on the movements in and out of Imam (as)'s house and to keep him posted on whatever happened there. Harun was extremely afraid of the Imam (as)'s popularity and spiritual influence. He is reported as saying about Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as): “I fear that he will set up a revolt and cause bloodshed.”(1)

It was quite evident that even these “holy uprisings” led by the ‘Alawi Sayyids and devoted Shi‘ites, and sometimes attended directly themselves on the front line of the uprising and gallant ventures, were called fitna (sedition) by the rulers who were plunged in worldly pleasures and self-indulgence.

The above statement by Harun, on the other hand, shows that the Imam (as) had never been a single moment negligent of abolishing tyranny and pulling down

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 59, (quoted from Shaykh ‘Abbas Qumi’s Muntahi al-Amal.)

the despotic regime. When Mahdi ‘Abbasi asks the Imam (as): “Would you grant me security from your rebellion?”(1), it proves the fear that the tyrannical Abbasid regime had of the Imam (as) and his companions and Shi‘ites.

Actually, Imam Musa al-Kazim (as)'s spiritual influence on the ruling system was to such an extent that people like ‘Ali b. Yaqtin, the chief minister of the Abbasid government, were among the advocates of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) and would follow his order.

The informers of the government took words to Harun about ‘Ali b. Yaqtin and spoke ill behind him. The Imam (as), however, enjoined him to stay on in the Harun ruling system by way of skillful tactics and misleading strategies such as taqiyya (precautionary dissimulation) which, in some case, is necessary to fend off the enemies' treachery and is a kind of secret combat, and to persevere in propagating the Faith and improving the spiritual endeavors of truth-seekers with the help of the Shi‘ites and the advocates of Imam ‘Ali’s progeny without letting the blood-thirsty enemy know about it.

Eventually, however, evil-speaking by Harun's courtiers about Imam al-Kazim (as) worked and in a Hajj pilgrimage in 179/795, Harun learned more and more about Imam (as)'s great spirituality and the respect the people showed for him. Thus, Harun was very perplexed in this respect. As he arrived in Medina, having visited and making a ziyara of the Holy Shrine of the Prophet (S), he made his decision to arrest the Imam (as), namely

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1- Wafiyat al-A‘yan wa Inba’ Abna’ al-Zaman, vol.2, p.256.

the grandson of the Prophet (S).

As the owner of fabulous palaces on the banks of the Dijla and the ruler of the empire of the Islamic lands, Harun was so afraid of the Imam (as) that when the Imam (as) was supposed to be taken from Medina to Basra, he ordered several other camel-litters be sent along with the Imam's litter and on the way several of them be diverted and sent other ways so that people would get confused about the real destination and exile place of the Holy Imam (as), be disappointed with him, gradually get accustomed to the absence of their true leader, and be prevented from revolting and rebellion.

All this indicates the regime's apprehension of the Imam (as) and his faithful companions who were always under alert and ready to unsheathe their swords to help their Imam (as) return to Medina. That was why the companions of his Holiness were deprived of this opportunity due to the fraudulent dispatching of camel-litters to different directions by Harun's men who thereby carried out his exile very cautiously and cunningly.

That was, indeed, the way Harun exiled the seventh Imam (as) with such deceitful and wary plots.

Harun first had Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) shackled and taken to Basra and wrote to ‘Isa b. Ja‘far b. Mansur, governor of Basra, to incarcerate the Imam (as) for one year and then at the end of this period kill him. ‘Isa refused to do so. Harun transferred the Holy Imam (as) to

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Baghdad surrendered him to Fadhl b. Rabi‘. For a while, Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) was in Fadhl's prison, where he spent his time worshipping and praying to Allah Almighty. Harun also ordered Fadhl to murder the Imam (as), but he too declined.

Anyhow, the Imam (as) was for years transferred from one prison to another. In dark prisons and dreadful dungeons, the honorable Imam (as) would be engaged in supplication and pray to his real Beloved (Allah) and was thankful to Allah Almighty for having granted him this chance of Divine worship in solitary.

Finally, the honorable Imam (as) was poisoned to death by a tyrant called Sindi b. Shahak by the order of Harun at the age of 55 in 183/799. Surprisingly, being well aware of the high personality of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) and his popularity among people, Harun tried after Imam (as)'s martyrdom to convince people that he had died a natural death and not poisoned; however, the truth never remained veiled.

His sacred body was laid to rest in the Quraysh cemetery near Baghdad. Since that time, his resting place gained grandeur and magnificence and appealed to people of all classes; the city of Kazimayn was built up there and began to develop and flourish afterwards.(1)

Wives and Children of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as):

The number of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as)'s wives is not clear. Most of them were from among the captive retainers who were bought by the Imam (as) and either freed or married to him.

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1- Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, p. 145.

His first wife was Tuktam, also known as Hamida and Najma, who was a pious, God-fearing, chaste, and honorable woman and was the mother of the eighth Imam, ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as).

The children of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) are reported to have been 37, including 19 sons and 18 daughters, the eldest of whom was Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as), the spiritual heir and successor to his honorable father.

Among his other sons are:

Ahmad b. Musa (Shah Chiragh) who is buried in Shiraz;

Muhammad b. Musa who is also buried in Shiraz;

Hamzat b. Musa whose mausoleum is in Rey, near Tehran.

Among his daughters is Hadhrat Fatimah Ma‘suma, who is buried in Qum where her magnificent mausoleum is a cynosure to the devotees of Wilayat. The Imam (as)’s other children (who are known as Sadat-i Musawi) were all the torch-bearers of knowledge and piety of their time, whose resting places have been dispersed all over Iran and other Islamic lands. May their pure souls rest in peace!

Traits and Dispositions of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as):

Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) was incarcerated for speaking the truth and because of his piety and people's love for him. He was imprisoned for his virtuousness and his superiority over Harun al-Rashid in all traits and dispositions and spiritual virtues. Shaykh al-Mufid has said about him: “He was the most devoted, knowledgeable, generous, and honorable man of his time and would make earnest supplications and submissive prayers to the Exalted Allah.”

He used to repeat

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the following very much: “O Allah! Grant me comfort when death comes to me and bestow forgiveness on me when You summon me on the judgment Day.” Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as) would most often attend to the poor people's problems. At night, he would put money and some dates and flour in a container and deliver it to the poor without being known by them.

He was the best qualified memorizer of the Qur’an and its most melodious reciter; when he recited the Qur’an, his voice would stir a pleasant melancholy in the hearts, and cause the listeners to weep. He was named Zayn al-Mujtahidin (the ornament of the legal experts) by the Medinans. The day they were informed of their Imam's exile to Iraq, they broke into tears and wailing. It was just then that the poor and needy of Medina found out who had been calling on their houses to offer them comfort and relief day and night.

Some Sayings of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as):

1. Try to divide your day and night into four parts: one part for worship to Allah, another for earning a living, the third part for associating with brothers in faith, whom you trust and those who can remind you of your slips and are benevolent to you, and the last part for engaging in harmless entertainment and legitimate pleasures, in light of which you can carry out your duties in the other three parts quite efficiently.

2. Never be apprehensive of your poverty,

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and never think of a long life, for anyone who deems himself poor or concerns himself with poverty in future is in fact exercising parsimony, and whoever thinks of a long life, he will become covetous. Enjoy lawful pleasures and whatever that will not disgrace you and is not considered extravagance, and take advantage of all this in performing your religious duties, for, whoever gives up his world for his faith or leaves his faith in favor of his world is not a true follower of ours.

3. Beware of Allah's wrath and speak the truth intrepidly, even if it leads to your destruction. However, you should know that the truth is not destructive, rather, it is liberating. Always beware of falsehood even if your liberation is in it; though there is never any salvation in falsehood, it will eventually be destructive.

4. Honor a scholar for his knowledge and avoid debating with him, and look down on an ignorant for his ignorance; however do not reject him, instead, draw him near and teach him knowledge.

The Tenth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha, The Eighth Imam


The tenth Infallible and the eighth Imam of the Shi‘a, Imam ‘Ali b. Musa, was named as al-Ridha (as).

Imam al-Ridha (as) was born on Dhu'l-Qa‘da 11, 148/December 29, 765 in Medina. His honorable mother was Tuktam who was also called Najmah.

When the seventh Imam (as) was martyred in Baghdad prison, ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as) took over the Imamate and leadership of the Muslims as well as the guardianship and promulgation of the Islamic Ma‘arif

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and truth at the age of 35 by Allah's command and his noble ancestors’ appointment.

At the beginning of his Imamate, Imam Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as) was contemporary with Harun al-Rashid and later on with his son, Amin, and finally with Ma’mun.

The holy Imam's residence was in Medina, wherefrom his holiness later on left for Iraq and Iran.

The Imamate of his holiness lasted 20 years, of which the first 10 years coincided with the caliphate of Harun, the next 5 years with that of Amin and the last part with the caliphate of Ma’mun in Khurasan. His Martyrdom is recorded to have happened in 203/818, indicating that he lived to the age of 55.

After Harun's death, a severe conflict erupted between his two sons, Amin and Ma’mun, eventually leading to bloody fighting. Amin was killed and an apparent peace was established. This way, Ma’mun could take over the rule and dominate over the Islamic lands.

The Abbasid caliphs were very antagonistic toward ‘Ali (a.s.)'s household, i.e. the ‘Alawi Sadat. Frequent uprisings by the ‘Alawi Sadat would sporadically threaten the ruling system. Although the noble Imams (as) and the real successors of the Holy Prophet (S) would not go along with these uprisings, but the caliphs who had spread out and cherished an aristocratic and hedonistic way of life, were weakened and alarmed by these uprisings.

Followers of the pure Imams (as) who were rapidly increasing in number detested the aristocratic ruling system of the Abbasids and held obeisance

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to the Infallible Imams (as) as obligatory.

The injustice and tyranny by Harun and other Abbasid caliphs had also caused the Iranians to acquire a very deep and hearty liking for ‘Ali (as)'s household. Among the Abbasid's atrocities was that Harun had given his governor, Humaid b. Qahtaba, full authority to assassinate the Shi‘as and the followers of ‘Ali (as)'s household wherever he might find them. This ruthless and bestial governor brutally beheaded sixty innocent and respectful Shi‘as in the prison overnight and dropped their bodies down into a well.(1)

Similarly, the same governor incarcerated ‘Abd Allah Aftas, Imam al-Ridha (as)'s brother, in the time of Harun and ordered his son, Yahya, to be given a hundred lashes every day although apparently he was granted a respite. And finally, they had Yahya, grandson of Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as), starved to death and buried his body under the foundation of a building.(2) These atrocities made people more disgusted with the Abbasid caliphate.

Although at first it was supposed that the Abbasids were attempting to promulgate Islam and love of and friendship with ‘Ali (as)'s progeny who were their cousins and kin, but gradually and in practice it so happened that the simplicity of the life of the Holy Prophet (S) and the early caliphs, equality, brotherhood, justice, and belief in piety and virtue and the Day of Judgment began to be forgotten and ignored among the Abbasids as it did among the Umayyads before them.

As a result, the pagan beliefs and aristocracy

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1- Yadbud-i Hashtumin Imam-i Shi‘ayan Imam Ridha ‘Alayh al-Salam, p. 17 (Quoted from ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, vol. 1, p. 108.).
2- Ibid.

were revived under the guise of pretension as Muslims. Consequently, the noble Imams (as), who followed in the footsteps of the Holy Apostle (S) and their pure ancestors and who were in all instances the advocates of Justice and truth and actualization of the Islamic ideals in the society, were actually living under torture and persecution and under the surveillance of spies and tyrannical rulers of the pretentious Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. Having piety, knowledge and virtue was considered sinful for our great leaders who were greatly envied and hated by the Abbasid caliphs.

Why was Imam al-Ridha (as) Invited to Khurasan?

When Amin was defeated and killed – with the help of Ma’mun's Persian advocates – the way was paved for his rule. In the era of Harun, Ma’mun who was supposed to accede to the throne after his brother Amin, had already been appointed as the governor of Khurasan. When Amin was driven out of the scene of caliphate, Ma’mun occupied the vacant seat and transferred the center of caliphate from Baghdad to Merv.

In order to add scholarly grandeur and status to his court and on the other hand, reduce voices of dissent from the advocates of ‘Ali (as)'s household and compensate the atrocities he had committed in the past, Ma’mun decided to invite Imam al-Ridha (as) to Merv upon consultation with his close companions, especially Fadhl b. Sahl, a smart man who managed the state and military affairs. Ma’mun asked Imam al-Ridha (as) importunately to go to Merv from Medina.

He had in mind, by this

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invitation, to reinforce the pillars of his rule and perhaps to discourage the Imam (as)'s position by drawing him to the core of the ruling system. Ma’mun, himself a learned and clever man, was more than anybody else aware of Imam al-Ridha (as)'s vast field of knowledge and piety and virtue. Fadhl b. Sahl, too, knew about the spiritual power of the the Imam (as) and was well-aware that the intuition, purity, and sincerity of the descendant of the Holy Prophet (S) had so widely spread around that people were spiritually prepared to welcome his leadership wholeheartedly.

Having decided to invite the Holy Imam (as), Ma’mun dispatched Raja’ b. Abi Dhahhak along with some trusted courtiers to Medina to persuade Imam al-Ridha (as) to travel to Khurasan. At first, Imam al-Ridha (as) did not give his consent to their invitation, letting people infer what secret and covert plans the ruling system was harboring by inviting him.

Finally, upon much insistence from Ma’mun, Imam al-Ridha (as) agreed to leave for Khurasan through Mecca and Iraq. Imam al-Ridha (as) said a heartrending and distressful farewell to the illuminated tomb of his noble ancestor, the Holy Prophet (S), all members of his family, and even his cherished only-child and successor Imam Muhammad al-Taqi al-Jawad (as).

The luxurious camel-litters and the retinue provided by the ruling system together with the entourage consisting of the governor and the nobles of Medina accompanied the Holy Imam (as) with utmost grandeur and splendor to Basra. How was it possible for

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Ma’mun, who had decided on killing his brother Amin and bringing his head to the capital to hold a festival for rewarding a bounty to the one who would manage to murder the latter, to renounce caliphate and turn it over to ‘Ali (as)'s household?! It was unbelievable.

However, everything he apparently did in honor and as homage to Imam al-Ridha (as) was a means to boost his own power and glory in caliphate that was actually the plans and plots carried out by the order from his cunning vizier, Fadhl b. Sahl.

At last, the eighth Imam (as), traveling through Basra, Khurramshar, Ahwaz, Arak, Qum, Rey, and Neyshabur arrived in Merv on Shawwal 10, 201/May 1, 817.

People of all these cities enthusiastically welcomed and appreciated visiting the only descendant of the Holy Apostle (S) and took advantage of this opportunity to seek Imam (as)'s assistance in solving their religious and worldly problems.

Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab in Neyshabur

Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab (Golden Chain)(1) in Neyshabur

People of Neyshabur were eagerly looking forward to seeing Imam al-Ridha (as). At his arrival they asked him to stay on for a while longer so they could better see the charming and dignified countenance of the Prophet (S)'s grandson. Having dressed quite simply, the holy Imam (as) stood before the people.

Upon seeing the Imam (as), those people let out a cheerful chanting. When Imam al-Ridha (as) began to speak, two of the hadith memorizers named Abudhar‘a and Muhammad b. Aslam bade people to keep silent, and restated the graceful and elegant

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1- A tradition whose narrators are all Infallible Imams (as), relating one after another from the Holy Prophet (S).

words of the holy Imam (as) loudly enough for all to hear. Imam al-Ridha (as) expressed a hadith regarding the unity and oneness of the Exalted Allah as follows:

“The statement La illaha illa Allah is My strong fortress, whoever says it will enter this fortress, and if he enters it, he will be safeguarded from the punishment of the Judgment Day.” And then, when his retinue were about to set off, he looked out of the camel litter. People found out that the Imam (as) intended to say something. Once again silence prevailed, and then Imam al-Ridha (as) concluded the above hadith by the following words:

“But yet on some conditions, and I am one of the conditions”.

By this Divine Hadith,(1) the holy Imam (as) intended to state three points:

Firstly, by naming his ancestors who had each quoted the hadith from the previous ones back to the Holy Prophet (S) who had himself heard it through the trusted Gabriel from the Exalted Lord, he could remind people of his honorable ancestors who were all Shi‘ite Imams and rightful Caliphs of the true path.

Secondly, to remind people of monotheism and theology, which are the cornerstones of all beliefs and contentions to avert them from getting duped by illegitimate rulers, taghuts, and the tyrannical bullies.

Thirdly, real and non-idolatrous monotheism and theology free from hypocrisy requires and accompanies the Wilayat of Ahl al-Bayt (as), and that unless a just leadership is not set up in the Muslims' community, the idols and pseudo-idols and

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1- Hadith Qudsi: a hadith revealed to the sacred heart of the Prophet from Divinity.

the illegitimate rulers will not allow Divine Unity turn in the right path.

Historically, it is recorded that when writing down this hadith, the eager people were so prepared that they had in their disposal 24 thousand pen-holders to be used in writing the precious words of the Holy Prophet (S)'s descendent.(1)

In Merv

When Imam al-Ridha (as) and his retinue approached Merv, Ma’mun and Fadhl b. Sahl accompanied by a large number of courtiers and state dignitaries marched toward his arrival direction for several kilometers to welcome him.

A few days later, Ma’mun told the Imam (as) what he had in mind, i.e. to hand over his caliphate to Imam al-Ridha (as), having in mind to kill two birds with one stone: both to put an end to the revolt of the ‘Alawis against the government or scale it down, and to mar the Holy Imam's (as) spiritual and pious image by bringing him in the ruling system which had always been criticized and protested by Imam ‘Ali (a.s.)'s progeny who always regarded the functionaries of the state as corrupt and impure.

He also planned to melt down the religious solidarity of the ‘Alawis and the Imam ‘Ali (as)'s Shi‘ites, so that the caliphate would no longer be endangered. Then Ma’mun and his cronies could carry on the ruling with a free mind.

However, contrary to what Ma’mun and Fadhl b. Sahl and the flattering worldly-minded people expected, Imam al-Ridha (as) refused to accept this offer.

The Holy Imam (as) was well-aware of the Abbasid's

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1- Muntahi al-Amal, p. 40 (Section on the biographical account of Imam al-Ridha – A.S.).

corrupt and disorderly ruling system; of the lavish and extravagant largesse which had started since half a century back in the aristocratic Abbasid governance being given away as hush money to certain people; of deviation of the governance from the right path under the guise of Islam and religiousness; and of handing over the crucial Islamic and ruling affairs to corrupt gold-hoarders and hypocrite individuals. How could have a friend of Allah and Infallible Imam tolerated such an unruly and chaotic situation?

The Imam (as) would take over the governance only when he can cut a tyrant's hands off an oppressed person and when he can help the wronged person take back his usurped rights, otherwise he would give up governance and caliphate.

Crown Princeship

When Ma’mun got disappointed of the Imam (as)'s acceptance of the caliphate, he plotted another scheme with the help of his counselors to make him justify his good and evil deeds as righteous with the implied consent of the Imam (as) and thereby deceive the people. What should he do? He had better ask the Imam (as) to accept his crown princeship and, of course, to take over the affairs of Muslims when Ma’mun dies.

The Imam (as), however, did not consent to this proposal, either. What should be done? Upon much insistence, Ma’mun forced the Imam (as) to accept the crown princeship. Imam al-Ridha (as) perforce consented under the condition that he would not interfere in installing or expelling officials and in other state affairs and would leave

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such kinds of tasks to the relevant authorities and statesmen.

On Ramadan 9, 201/March 31, 817, Ma’mun penned a writing in his own handwriting introducing Imam al-Ridha (as) as a manifestation of purity, piety, learnedness, and chastity; and then added that all Muslims must swear their allegiance first to Amir al-Mu’minin (Ma’mun), and then to ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as).

Imam al-Ridha (as) wrote the following on the back of the Ma’mun’s writing: “Praise be to the Lord of the worlds who will do as He wishes to do and there is nobody to avert His decree and commandment. He is aware of the treacheries of the eyes and the secrets hidden in the chests; and Allah's blessing be on Muhammad (S) who is His last of the Messengers and his progeny who are the virtuous and the noble.”

Then on Ramadan 10, 201/April 1, 817, all civil and military dignitaries swore allegiance to the Holy Imam (as). From this time on it was ordered that the black colored garment which was a token of the Abbasids to be transformed into the green one, a token of ‘Ali (as)'s progeny and the ‘Alawi Sadat.

The Consequence of Transferring Caliphate and its Tendency Toward the ‘Alawis

The jealous and the world adorers in different parts of the Islamic Empire whose hands were stained with the innocents' blood and who enjoyed well-to-do and luxurious lives were discontent with such a transfer. They knew well that Imam al-Ridha (as) would not tolerate tyranny and oppression for even a single moment.

This ‘Ali [b. Musa al-Ridha] (as) is the

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son of the same ‘Ali (as) who did not value the worldly matters and the caliphate, and if he accepted to rule, it was because he regarded it as a means for restoring and carrying out justice, serving the society and the oppressed people, and nothing else.

Therefore, this decisive and invincible method could not satisfy the lovers of worldly gaudiness and the servile flatterers. Ma’mun, his vizier and cronies tried from the very beginning to misrepresent the acceptance of crown princeship by Imam al-Ridha (as) as a weak point and convince people that he was infatuated with worldly issues and the superfluous attractions. Far from it! How this way of thinking was far from the sublime goal of the Holy Imam (as).

Anyhow, the sun of truthfulness would not remain under clouds: Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as)'s simplicity and immaculate behavior as well as his vast field of knowledge and scholarship began to gain more and more popularity, and soon his righteousness and comprehensive learnedness were known to all. Debate sessions held in the presence of Ma’mun and others like the well-known court jurist, Yahya b. Aktham, who boasted of being knowledgeable and well-informed, lighted up the reality of Wilayat and Imamate.

Throughout these debates, everybody, even the leaders of other religions, found out about the extent of the Imam (as)'s omniscience and insight and realized that they had no power of speech and self-expression against the Prophet (S)'s descendants. That was why they had no choice but to surrender

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to the Imam (as). Perforce, the enemy's plots to mar the Holy Imam (as)'s status were not only abortive, but they also gave way to a reverse effect.

As an educated and a knowledgeable man, Ma’mun was well-aware of Imam al-Ridha (as)'s spiritual and scholarly elevated position, but suppressed his inner feelings and views and pretended to be caring and friendly toward the Imam (as).

On the ‘Id al-Fitr, 202 A H, Ma’mun implored Imam al-Ridha (as) to lead the congregational prayer. At first, he refused it, so that Ma’mun and his cronies as well as the people might know that he could not and wouldn't act as a puppet doing what the state intended him to do. Besides, the Imam (as) would not like to be a performer of the ostensible formalities of religion, knowing that the building [of religion] was tottering to its foundation.

Ma’mun, his courtiers, and other people insisted on the Imam (a.s.) to lead the prayer, to which he finally consented on the condition that: “I would lead ‘Id al-Fitr prayer but only with the same tradition that my ancestor, the Apostle of Allah (S) performed it in his own time.” People were very anxious to see that the way of the Prophet (S) would substitute the superfluous ceremony of the court. Ma’mun ordered all courtiers to wear their finest attires, ride on ornamented and gold-bridled horses with all pomp and circumstances to accompany the Imam (as) to participate in ‘Id al-Fitr prayer.

Imam al-Ridha (as), however, performed

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ablution, wore a simple white cotton shirt, put on a white turban, letting its two ends from over his chest down his shoulder, just in the way his noble ancestor did.

He perfumed himself, fastened the tail of his shirt to his waist, and set off bare-footed. When he reached the open land he called out with a loud voice: Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (Allah is the Greatest).

When people heard the Imam (as)'s voice, they began to chant Allahu Akbar altogether in a magnificent way, to the extent that the military officials and the civilian nobles as well as the courtiers were so influenced by the Imam (as)'s spiritual attraction that they dismounted from their horses, took off their boots and followed the Imam (as) bare-footed. The number of the crowd mounted minute by minute.

The Imam (as)'s heavenly voice and others' reverberated in the open air. The congregation was flooding toward the desert [gathering place for saying prayer]. The situation had turned unusual.

The news was reported to Ma’mun. He got perplexed, thinking if he let Imam al-Ridha (as) go on to the desert as such and then deliver his eloquent and important sermons, his fiery words would definitely be accepted whole-heartedly by people and this will tremble the pillars of his governance. Something should be done; for it is probable that the Imam (as)’s influential words would lead to a revolution in the ruling system.

Thus, in the middle of the way, Ma’mun sent a message to the

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holy Imam (as) stating that performing prayers in such a situation would make trouble for him. The Imam (as) returned from the middle of the way and someone else was appointed to lead the Fitr prayer in his place. God knows how this interference by Ma’mun had added to people's cynicism toward his monarchy and exposed the true nature of his ruling system.

The Last Intrigues and Deceptions

Some who saw Imam al-Ridha (as)'s just and scholarly manners detrimental to their worldly benefits, began to plot intrigues to annihilate both Imam al-Ridha (as) and Ma’mun as well as Fadhl b. Sahl. First, they Killed Fadhl in the well-known public bath of Sarakhs. In order to exonerate himself from this murder, Ma'mun mobilized his forces to look for and arrest the murderers of Fadhl b. Sahl and even offered an award for their arrest.

Nevertheless, eliminating Fadhl b. Sahl from the political arena was a source of hope for the Abbasids, but it was not sufficient. Thus, Ma’mun sought to assassinate Imam al-Ridha (as), so he poisoned and martyred the noble Imam (as) whom he had himself invited to Khurasan.

Surprisingly enough, Ma’mun and his caliphate system tried to show the Imam (as)'s martyrdom as natural death. He pretended to be extremely sorrowful of that heart-rending event, and that was actually due to his great fear of the followers of the Holy Imam (as) and the descendants of ‘Ali (as).

Burial Place of Imam al-Ridha (as)

We know that Harun al-Rashid fell sick in a trip toward the end of his life to Khurasan in

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order to suppress the popular rebellion there, and died after a little while and was buried in a garden belonging to Humaid b. Qahtaba.

When Imam al-Ridha (as) was martyred with the fatal poison that Ma’mun gave him, the latter had his Holiness buried next to his father, Harun. In the time, Humaid's garden was located in a place called Sanabad, where after the martyrdom of Imam al-Ridha (as) was re-named Mashhad al-Ridha and later on was called simply Mashhad.

Since the time of burial (in 203/818.), his holy tomb turned into a place for manifestation of favors and bounties and divine blessings, as well as a pilgrimage place for the Shi‘ites and the devoted and faithful people. Gradually, it so happened that the grandeur and magnificence of the Holy Threshold overshadowed all other manifestations.

Works Relating Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (as)'s Traditions:

As mentioned before, on many occasions Imam al-Ridha (as) held debates and arguments with the leaders of other religions such as Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians and even naturalists and materialists. Luckily, those debates and arguments are handed down to us in reliable volumes under the title, Al-Ihtijajat (Argumentations).

His precious traditions (ahadith), and wise sayings which were recorded in ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha by Shaykh Saduq in the fourth century (A.H.), ‘Ilal al-Sharayi‘, Tuhaf al-‘Uqul and other reliable books are at present available and illuminating the world of Islam and Shi‘ism.

Some Sayings of Imam al-Ridha (as):

I. Man's friend is his intellect while ignorance is his enemy.

2. Expressing friendship to people is a

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half of intellect.

3. Those that are bestowed with a bounty must be open-handed and liberal to the members of their own family.

4. Imam al-Ridha (as) was asked about trust (in Allah); he answered such a trust is that you fear none but Allah.

5. Your helping out the weak is better than giving alms.

6. It is worthwhile that people provide the required facilities for their families and behave in such a way that the members of their families would not wish death for them.

7. Try to divide your night and day into four sections: one for worship and communion with Allah; one for earning livelihood; one for association with trustworthy friends who remind you of your deficiencies and who are sincere in their friendship; and one for resting and enjoying legitimate and healthy recreations, as desirable utilization of this section will enable you to carry out the other three sections.

8. Make utmost endeavor in satisfying the needs of the faithful, making them happy, and removing their distress; and know that apart from performing the religious obligations, nothing is better in the sight of the Exalted Allah than making the faithful people happy.

9. Do good to every good and bad person; if someone is worthy of that good, much the better, if he or she is not, it is you who are worthy of doing good.

10. No piety is more useful than to abstain from unlawful things and to avoid hurting the believers.(1)

The Eleventh Infallible, Hadhrat Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, Jawad al-A’imma, The Ninth Imam


Imam al-Jawad (as), the ninth Imam of the

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1- Durar al-Kalam.

Shi‘ites, was born in Medina in 195/811. His name is Muhammad, also known as Jawad and Taqi.

His other nicknames are Radhi and Muttaqi, but Taqi is the most popular of all.

His noble mother was called Sabika or Khayzaran, both of which have been recorded in his biographies. When his father died, Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (as) was about eight years old.

After the heartrending martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha (a.s.) which took place late in the month of Safar, 203/September, 818, the office of Imamate was transferred to his honorable son Imam Jawad al-A’imma (as).

The Abbasid Ma’mun, who like other Abbasid caliphs was fearful of the Infallible Imam (as)'s spiritual popularity and innate influence as well as the spread of his virtues among the people, tried to take the son of Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) under his own special care.

To this end, Ma’mun married her daughter Umm al-Fadhl off to Imam al-Jawad (as) so that he might have someone watch him from inside his own house. Pains and offences that Imam al-Jawad (as) has suffered from this domestic agent are all recorded in the history.(1)

Among the methods Ma’mun applied against Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha (a.s.) was holding debate sessions. Ma’mun and later Mu‘tasim ‘Abbasi wanted – to their false supposition- to force him thereby into tight corners. They applied the same method to his son, Imam al-Jawad (as), too, especially at the beginning of his Imamate, when he was too young. Ma’mun would not realize that Wilayat and Imamate which are Divine blessings, are

p: 182

1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 76.

not dependent upon young or old age.

Anyhow, although at an early age and in his short life, Imam al-Jawad (as) entered scholarly debates in a period when different Islamic and non-Islamic sects were thriving, great scientists were there, sciences and arts had developed in other nations, and many books had been translated and published in Arabic.

With the Divine gift of Imamate, which had originated from his absolute Wilayat and Divine revelation, he promulgated Islamic precepts like his noble father and ancestors, teaching and guiding Muslims and undertaking to answering various questions. As an example, one of his debates is related as follows:

In his Tafsir, ‘Ayyashi quotes Dharqan who was a companion and friend of Ahmad b. Abi Du’ad as saying: “One day his friend (Ibn Abi Du’ad) returned from the court of the Abbasid Mu‘tasim and looked very distressed and troubled. I asked him why he was so upset that day.

He replied: ‘Something shameful and belittling happened to us in the presence of the caliph and Abi Ja‘far (as), son of ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha (a.s.).’ I asked how come? He replied: ‘A thief was brought to the caliph and his theft was evident and he had confessed the stealing. The caliph asked how the penal law (hadd) would be carried out. A number of jurists were present. The Caliph ordered other jurists to be present too. He also sent for Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Ridha.”

The caliph asked: “How should the Islamic hadd be carried out?”

I said: “The hand

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must be cut off at the wrist.”

The caliph said: “For what reason?”

I said: “Because a hand includes fingers as well as a palm which extends to the wrist; and it is read in the verse about tayammum; ﴾And wipe a part of your faces and your hands with it [clean ground]﴿. (Al-Qur’an, 5: 6)” Many of the jurists present in the court confirmed my view.

A group of scholars stated: “A hand must be cut off at the elbow.”

The caliph asked: “For what reason?”

They said: “Because of the verse about wudhu in the Qur’an which reads: ﴾... and your hands up to the elbows﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 5: 6). And this verse indicates that a thief's hands must be cut off at the elbow.”

Another group asserted that the arm should be cut off at the shoulder because an arm has all these parts.

As dispute erupted, the caliph faced Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali (as) and said: “O Abi Ja‘far! What do you say on this issue?”

The Holy Imam said: “Your scholars talked in this regard, spare me from further talk.”

The caliph replied: “I swear you to God that you too should express your opinion.”

Imam al-Jawad (as) said: “Now that you are swearing me, I will answer you. What was expressed by the Sunni scholars about theft penalty is flawed. The proper Islamic penalty is that the fingers of a hand, except the thumb, must be cut off.”

The Caliph asked: “Why?”

The Holy Imam (as) replied: “Because the Apostle of Allah (S) has said that prostration

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(sujud) should be made with seven parts of the body, namely, forehead, the palms of the hands, both knees, and the tips of the toes; so if the hand is cut off either at the wrist or elbow or from shoulder, then there will remain no limb for prostration before Almighty Allah, and it is mentioned in the Qur’an as follows: ﴾The places of prostration belong to Allah ...﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 72: 18); therefore no one should cut them off.”

Mu‘tasim got very delighted at this logical and Divine precept. He approved it and commanded the amputation of the thief's fingers to be carried out according to Imam al-Jawad (as)'s precept.”

Dharqan goes on to say: “lbn Abi Du’ad was intensely upset as to why his opinion had been rejected in the presence of the caliph.” Three days later, he went to Mu‘tasim and said: “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I have come here to admonish you, and I do this as a token of gratitude for your favors on me.” “What is it?” Asked Mu‘tasim.

lbn Abi Du’ad said: “When you hold a meeting consisting of the jurists and scholars to bring up a question or two, all the civil and military nobles are present, and even the retainers and doormen and guards witness the meeting and the debates being carried out in your presence. As they see that your great scholars' opinions are worthless vis-à-vis those of Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Jawad, little by little people will get attracted to him and the caliphate will

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slip from your dynasty to the household of ‘Ali (as), which will tremble the foundations of your power and glory.”

This slanderous and spiteful admonition left its impact on Mu‘tasim, who since then had been seeking to extinguish this glazing torch and block up this overflowing fountain of science and piety.(1)

Before Mu‘tasim, Ma’mun too had applied the same procedure to Imam al-Jawad (as), as at the beginning of Imam al-Jawad (as)'s Imamate, Ma’mun proceeded again to hold debate sessions and among other things he asked Yahya b. Aktham, the grand Judge in his court, to propound some questions to the Imam (as) hoping he would be able to mar the Imam (as)'s reputation and status. It was of no avail, however, and the Imam left behind all these sessions with pride and confidence.

Once, as a compromise between Yahya b. Aktham and Ma’mun, a meeting was convoked and Imam al-Jawad (as) and all nobles and scholars were called in to witness what questions Aktham was going to ask the Holy Imam (as) and how he would manage to answer them.

Upon arrival the Imam (as) was respectfully welcomed by Ma’mun. The latter asked Yahya to raise whatever questions he wanted to ask. Yahya, an elderly man, upon permission from Ma’mun and Imam al-Jawad (as), turned his face to the Imam (as) and inquired: “Do you permit me to ask you a question on jurisprudence?” The Imam (as) replied: “Ask whatever you wish”.

Yahya b. Aktham asked: “What do you say about a muhrim

p: 186

1- Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, p. 511.

(one who is in his/her pilgrim's garb) who kills a game”?

Imam al-Jawad (as) said: “Did the muhrim kill the game in the Holy Precinct or out of it? Was he discerning or ignorant? Was this killing willful or unintentional? Was he a slave or a master? Was he a boy or an adult? Was it the first time or not? Was the game bird or not? Was the muhrim insisting – after killing the game – or regretful? Did he kill the game at night when it was in its nest or in daylight and openly? Was the muhrim intending to perform the Hajj or the ‘Umra?”

Yahya was extremely amazed and perplexed, not knowing how to answer. He cast his head down shamefully. The courtiers exchanged glances. Being greatly disturbed, Ma’mun addressed the Abbasids and those present that were all in total silence: “Did you see what he did? Did you get to know Abu Ja‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Ridha?”(1)

Then he changed the topic to disperse the amazement of the audience.

Imam al-Jawad (as)'s position, however, got more deeply rooted following these debates.

During his 7 years of Imamate, Imam al-Jawad (as) dealt with dissemination and instruction of the truths of Islam, and had eminent disciples and companions, each being a pinnacle of the Islamic culture and scholarship. Some of them are as follows:

lbn Abi ‘Umayr Baghdadi, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad b. Sanan Zahiri, Ahmad b. Abi Nasr Bizanti Kufi, Abu Tammam Habib Aws Ta’i, the well-known Shi‘ite poet Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali b.

p: 187

1- Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, p. 511. For the Imam’s answers, see the same source p. 505.

Mahziyar Ahwazi, and Fadhl b. Shadhan Neyshaburi who all lived in the 3rd century.

Like their Holy Imam (as) who was continually kept under surveillance, they too were somehow persecuted and annoyed. Fadhl b. Shadhan was expelled from Neyshabur by ‘Abd Allah b. Tahir who then searched through the content of his books. When he was informed about the topics of the books which were on monotheism and the like, he was not convinced, and insisted to further know about his political views, as well.

The poet, Abu Tammam was not an exception in this respect, either. The Amirs who were themselves among writers and poets refused to hear his poems or have a copy of them, though he was the best poet of his time and well-known in the Islamic and Arabic history of literature.

When his poems were read to them unprecedentedly, they would enjoy and praise them, but as soon as they found out that the poems belonged to Abu Tammam, that is, the Shi‘ite poet who was faithful to Imam al-Jawad (as) and an advocate of his school, they would order the poems to be torn up. lbn Abi ‘Umayr, the most reliable scholar, also was extremely annoyed, incarcerated, and flagellated in the eras of Harun and Mu’mun.

His books, which were the Major sources in science of religion, were taken away from him and destroyed, and so on.(1) This was the way the despotic ruling system of the Abbasids treated advocates of scholarship and virtue, and how

p: 188

1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, from page 77 on (with slight changes).

tyrannical it was!

Martyrdom of Imam al-Jawad (as)

This newly blossomed flower of Wilayat and infallibility, though living but a short while, would refresh the souls with his fragrant aura. The intellectual works and traditions narrated from Imam al-Jawad (as), as well as the problems answered and the wise sayings left behind by His Holiness will forever remain as ornaments to the leaves of history of Islam. He lived 25 years, of which 17 years were spent in his Imamate.

The Abbasid Mu‘tasim invited Imam al-Jawad (as) to go to Baghdad from Medina. Imam al-Jawad (as) arrived in Baghdad in Muharram, 220/January, 835. Mu‘tasim connived with his niece Umm al-Fadhl, i.e., Imam al-Jawad (as)'s wife, and Ja‘far son of Ma’mun, to murder the Holy Imam (as).

As mentioned before, this connivance was a result of the ominous thought that the caliphate was likely to be transferred from the Abbasids to the ‘Alawis. That was why they began to spur Umm al-Fadhl, telling her that she was the daughter and niece of caliphs and respecting her was obligatory in every aspect; and that her husband, Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Jawad (as), preferred his son ‘Ali al-Hadi's mother to her.

They both kept coaxing Umm al-Fadhl to the extent that, as is the case with barren women, she was instigated by jealousy and got annoyed with his honorable young husband and finally surrendered to Mu‘tasim and his brother's plot.

Then the two criminals inserted fatal poison in some grapes and sent them to the Imam (a.s.)'s house for Umm al-Fadhl, the disgraced

p: 189

woman, to feed them to his husband. She placed the dish of grapes before Imam al-Jawad (as), and began to commend them, persuading and insisting the Imam (as) to eat from the grapes. Imam al-Jawad (as) had some. In a short while he felt the effect of poison inside him and an intense pain took him over. The disgraced woman got repented and began to cry as she saw her young husband in that agonizing state, though her repentance was of no avail.

Imam al-Jawad (as) asked her: “Why are you crying? Now that you are killing me, your crying is of no use. Know that in these few days of your worldly life, the Almighty Allah will inflict such ailment on you and you will find yourself in such a state that you will not be able to relieve yourself from.”

There are some other reports on how Imam al-Jawad (as) was poisoned.(1)

Imam al-Jawad (as)'s Wives and Children

Imam al-Jawad (as)'s wife was Umm al-Fadhl, daughter of Ma’mun. She did not bear him any children. Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (as) had another spouse who was an umm walad named Samana Maghribiyya. His children are reported to have been four sons and four daughters as follows:

1. Hadhrat Abu al-Hasan Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (Hadi) (as)

2. Abu Ahmad Musa Mubarqa‘

3. Abu Ahmad Husayn

4. Abu Musa ‘Imran

5. Fatimah

6. Khadija

7. Umm Kulthum

8. Hakima

Like his ancestress Fatimah al-Zahra (as), Imam al-Jawad (as) lived a short life which was replete with sufferings and oppressions. The malevolent prevented this blazing torch from shining on. The

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1- Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, p. 520.

ninth Imam (as) left the transient world for the Eternal one late in the month of Dhu'l Qa‘da, 220/October, 835. His sacred tomb is in Kazimayn (or Kazimiyya), Iraq, at the rear of the radiant tomb of his grandfather Imam Musa b. Ja‘far (as), which is a pilgrimage center for the Shi‘ite and lovers of the Infallible Imams (as).

Some Sayings of Imam al-Jawad (as):

1 .Trust in the Almighty Allah is the cost to every valuable thing, and a ladder to any lofty height.

2. Believers' honor is in their independence from others.

3. Beware of being Allah's lover and friend in public and His enemy in private.

4. Whoever does favor to a brother in Faith, will be granted an abode in the Paradise [in return].

5. How would a person be ruined and wasted when Allah has accepted his devotion? How may anyone be salvaged when broken away from Allah and joined others? The one who acts in an unscholarly way (i.e., through the way of ignorance and naivety) will cause devastation rather than improvement.

6. Beware of friendship with ignorant and evil people, for they are like unsheathed swords, which look beautiful but produce ugly results.

7. Being the traitors' trustee suffices someone to show his fraudulence and roguery.

8. A believer is in need of three virtues: success from Allah, a self-preacher who constantly admonishes him from within, and access to advisers who would help him to attain guidance.(1)

The Twelfth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi, al-Hadi, The Tenth Imam


Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (as), the tenth Imam of the Shi‘ites, has reportedly been born

p: 191

1- Muntahi al-Amal.

on mid-Dhu'l Hijja, 212/March 6, 828. His father was Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, Jawad al-A’imma (as) and his mother was Samana, a righteous and chaste woman who had been divinely commissioned to bring up and train him for the sublime position of Wilayat and Imamate; a mission she carried out most diligently and with the highest efficiency.

His name was ‘Ali, his patronymic was Abu al-Hasan, and his popular nicknames were Hadi and Naqi. Upon his noble father's martyrdom, Imam al-Hadi (as) attained the position of Imamate which lasted 33 years. During this time, Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (as) took high steps in disseminating the Islamic precepts and teachings, and introducing the Ja‘fari school as well as training honorable disciples and companions.

Not only was the tenth Imam (as) involved in teaching and guarding the Islamic culture in Medina and never retreated from familiarization of people with religious truths, but he was untiringly engaged in encouraging the good and prohibiting the evil and in secret and open struggled with the tyrannical caliph of his time, i.e., the Abbasid Mutawakkil.

That was why ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar, the governor of Medina wrote a letter to Mutawakkil, the caliph of the time, replete with animosity due to his chronic enmity and innate malevolence, maligning and abusing the Holy Imam and accusing him of conspiracy and even tyranny; the accusations being more fit to Mutawakkil, which were unjustly and tyrannically made against the Infallible Imam (as).

This was all because the charisma of the Holy Imam

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(as) and his Wilayat, erudition, and piety brought people from all over the world of Islam to Medina; however the narrow-minded and debased world-lovers who were seeking physical rule and worldly-oriented governance, were unable to see the Imam (as)'s spiritual splendor. “The historians and scholars of hadith are quoted as saying that the prayer leaders of the two Holy Mosques (of Mecca and Medina), installed by the caliphate, wrote to the Abbasid Mutawakkil: If you still need Mecca and Medina, expel ‘Ali b. Muhammad (Hadi) from this land, which has mostly been dominated and subdued by him.”(1)

This letter and the one written by the ruler of Medina indicate the spiritual influence that Imam Hadi (as) had in the strong opposition to the tyrannical Abbasid ruling system.

Since the time of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) and Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (a.s.) and the formation of the four-thousand-seat seminary of that fruitful era, many disciples have been trained in the field of Islam, of whom each had been a torch-bearer of Ja‘fari jurisprudence and different knowledge fields of that time, thus guarding generation by generation the foundations of Ja‘fari academy and the Islamic culture position.

Since the era of Imam al-Ridha (as), the Shi‘ite Muslims have somehow enjoyed peace of mind concerning the promulgation of Ja‘fari Islamic knowledge (Ma‘arif). However, if this invaluable opportunity had not come up in the era of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (as), it would be unknown where this Ja‘fari Ma‘arif would wind up.

Particularly that, since the time of Imam Musa

p: 193

1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 82.

b. Ja‘far (as)’s imprisonment, such widespread chances for teaching and dissemination of Islamic knowledge did not come up as they should have for our noble Imams (as) who were under restrictions and control of the tyrannical rulers.

In these years, however, lovers of this school and companions and adherents of the pure Imams (as) would go to see their dignified Imams (as) by any means possible in order to solve their religious problems, to receive instructions and take measures, to strengthen the opposition and to achieve their goal, to break through the caliphate's superficial power, and would benefit from the fountainhead of their knowledge and insight.(1)

Thus the tyrannical ruling system and their functionaries were constantly scared of the Imam (as)'s cultural and revolutionary position. This endless fear is reflected in the letter written by the governor of Medina and the like.

The ruling system found out little by little that the two holy sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina) might fall under the obedience of Imam (as) and rebel against the caliph of the time. Therefore, a series of letters started to be written and sent to Mutawakkil Abbasi until he ordered Imam al-Hadi (as) to be transferred from Medina to Samarra, the seat of the caliphate.

Mutawakkil commanded his special chamberlain to incarcerate Imam al-Hadi (as) near himself and then to detain him in the quarter of ‘Askar for several years so that his life could remain under surveillance of the caliphate.

Some noble scholars have reported the length of this imprisonment and

p: 194

1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, pp. 84-85 (summarized and slightly changed).

surveillance to be twenty years. When Imam al-Hadi (as) arrived in Samarra accompanied by Yahya b. Harthama, who had been commissioned by Mutawakkil to carry out this mission, the governor of Baghdad, Ishaq b. Ibrahim Tahiri, learned about the Imam (as)'s coming to Baghdad and told Harthama: “Man! This Imam al-Hadi is the son of the Apostle of Allah (S) and you know that Mutawakkil has no liking for him, so if he kills him, the Prophet (S) will call you to account.” Yahya replied, “I swear to Allah that Mutawakkil does not have a bad attitude toward him”. Similarly, in Samarra, Mutawakkil had a Turk functionary called Wasif Turki, who also advised Yahya to be tolerant and merciful to the Imam (as).

It was this Wasif who informed Mutawakkil of the arrival of Imam al-Hadi (as). He trembled at the news of Imam al-Hadi (as)'s arrival and was overwhelmed by an inexplicable fear.

This event, narrated by Yahya b. Harthama, who was commissioned to arrest Imam al-Hadi (as) clearly illustrates the spiritual magnificence and influence of the Imam (as) on Mutawakkil and his courtiers; and it also shows deep apprehension that the tyrannical regime of Baghdad and Samarra felt of the Imam (as)'s situation and his specific position among his adherents and Shi‘ites.

Anyway when the Imam (as) entered the house that had already been allotted to him, Mutawakkil asked Yahya: “How was ‘Ali b. Muhammad living in Medina?” Yahya replied: “I saw nothing in him but good character,

p: 195

healthy personality, pious manners, virtuousness, indifference to the world, and perseverance in going to the mosque and performing prayers and fasting. And when I inspected his house, as you had instructed, I found nothing but the Holy Qur’an and scholarly books.” Mutawakkil became happy to hear this and felt relieved.

Although Mutawakkil was an obstinate enemy of Imam ‘Ali (as)'s household, who had the resplendent tomb of Imam al-Husayn (as) inundated, banned the pilgrims from performing pilgrimage at his holy shrine, and revived the enmity of Yazid and his followers against the household of the Holy Prophet (S), he was always fearful and humble before Imam al-Hadi (as)'s majesty.

Chroniclers have reported: Mutawakkil's mother heartily believed in Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (as). Once Mutawakkil fell sick with an injury and the physicians were unable to cure him. His mother made a vow that if the caliph recovered; she would send plenty of property to Imam al-Hadi (as) as gift.

Then, she ordered Fath b. Khaqan, one of the courtiers of Mutawakkil, to send someone to ‘Ali b. Muhammad (as) to ask for her son's remedy. Fath dispatched someone to his Holiness. Imam al-Hadi (as) said: “Put such and such drug on his wound, he will get well with the consent of Allah. They did so, and the wound got healed.

Mutawakkil's mother sent a sealed leather bag containing one thousand dinars to Imam al-Hadi (as). A few days after this event, one of the adversaries of the Imam (as) informed Mutawakkil that a considerable amount

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of dinars had been found in the house of ‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Naqi (as). Mutawakkil sent Sa‘id Hajib to his Holiness' house to see into the matter.

This man climbed onto the roof of the Imam's (as) house. Upon seeing him, his Holiness ordered him to halt where he was until a lantern was brought, lest he would be injured. The man said: “When the lantern was brought I noticed that Imam al-Hadi (as) was sitting on his prayer rug engaged in saying midnight prayers.” The Imam (as) then told the man that the house was at his disposal.

At this moment he ransacked the house and found nothing but the bag of dinars sent to the Imam (as) by Mutawakkil's mother and another sealed bag, which had her seal on it. The Imam (as) said to the man: “There is a sword under the mat, take it together with these two bags to Mutawakkil.” This made Mutawakkil and the malevolent agent extremely abashed.

Being unwilling and indifferent to the world and the worldly gains, the Imam (as) would always wear woolen clothes and a headgear and sit on a mat spread on sands, in a similar manner to his honorable ancestor ‘Ali (as), and like him would give away whatever he had in Allah's way.

However, Mutawakkil was always apprehensive of Imam al-Hadi (as)'s revolt against him and thus of losing his caliphate and superficial chairmanship. This was further instigated by talebearers and opponents of the Imam (as).

One day Mutawakkil was

p: 197

informed that: “‘Ali b. Muhammad had gathered a large quantity of arms and wealth and there are lots of letters sent to him by his followers from Qum.” Being shocked by this news, Mutawakkil ordered Sa‘id Hajib, who was one of his close relatives, to enter the Imam (as)'s house without prior notice to verify the news. Such intrusions and keeping close watches were common during the twenty years of Imam al-Hadi (as)'s stay in Samarra.

It is also reported that: “Mutawakkil commanded his troops, consisting of 90 thousand Turks residing in Samarra, to fill up their horses' nosebags with roses and pile up on one spot in a vast desert. They did so, making a mound as high as a hill, which they called Makhali (i.e., nosebags).

Then the caliph climbed up the mound and asked Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (as) to join him up there, stating: “I called you here to witness my troops.” He had already ordered his troops to appear in complete military array and fully armed, planning to show off his power and glory lest the holy Imam (as) or one of his Ahl al-Bayt (as) would revolt against him.”(1)

In the twenty years of the Imam (as)'s stay in Samarra, his life events and the people who frequented his house were, directly or indirectly, watched over by the functionaries of the Abbasid rule. For instance, the presence of a group of Abbasids in the funeral procession of Imam's (as) son, Hadhrat Sayyid Muhammad, whose burial place is

p: 198

1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 95.

near Samarra renowned as Balad is just one of many examples. This also implies that some relatives and agents of the caliph would frequently call on Imam (as)'s house.”(1)

The Tenth Imam (as)'s Companions

Among the tenth Imam (as)'s companions, we see figures like ‘Ali b. Ja‘far Minawi who was imprisoned by Mutawakkil with the intention to kill him. Another of his companions was the famous literary scholar, Ibn al-Sikkit who was martyred by Mutawakkil.

The reason for his martyrdom is reported to be as follows: When Mutawakkil's two children were studying with him, Mutawakkil found out through his children that Ibn Sikkit was an advocate of Imam ‘Ali (as) and his progeny (as). Being an adamant enemy of ‘Ali's household (as), Mutawakkil once summoned Ibn Sikkit to his court and asked him: “Who are more honorable and superior, my children or ‘Ali's sons, Hasan and Husayn?”

Being a Shi'ite and a loyal lover of ‘Ali's household (as), Ibn Sikkit fearlessly replied: “Your children are not comparable to Imam al-Hasan (as) and Imam al-Husayn (as) who are two newly blossomed flowers of Allah's Garden of Eternity. How can your kids be compared with the beloved sons of Mustafa (S)? They cannot be compared even with Qanbar, the retainer of Imam ‘Ali (as).”

Extremely disturbed by this reply, Mutawakkil immediately ordered to cut off Ibn Sikkit's tongue, thus killing as martyr the pure Shi‘a and the genuine companion of the tenth Imam (as).

Hadhrat ‘Abd al-‘Azim Hasani is among other companions of Imam al-Hadi (as). As Muhaddith Qummi has stated

p: 199

1- Ibid, p. 88.

in Muntahi al-Amal, “His noble lineage is traced through four generations back to Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (as). He was among the great transmitters of hadith and the most pious scholar of his time. He was also a companion and comrade of Imam Jawad (as) and Imam al-Hadi (as). Sahib b. ‘Ibad has written a short treatise on his noble life.”

It has been written that, Hadhrat ‘Abd al-‘Azim was scared by the caliph of his time and was forced to wander from town to town as a courier and messenger until he arrived in Rey and took shelter in a Shi‘ite man's house.”(1)

“Hadhrat ‘Abd al-‘Azim enjoyed an ardent belief in Imamate. It is implicated that the fear this great scholar of hadith and ascetic had of the authority of the time was not due to his being an ascetic or a transmitter of hadith, rather it was because of his political culture and outlook.

Like other great propagators and mujahids of truth and justice, he made attempts in dissemination of genuine political culture and rectification of leadership principles in the Islamic community; probably being sent on such missions by the Imam (as), because it is not likely that a man of such status, religiosity, and piety – the one who used to present his ideas to the Imam (as) to be verified and reassured – to have had social and positional actions contrary to the Imam (as)'s ideas, and without his consent. This has been the case, whether the consent has

p: 200

1- Muntahi al-Amal, (with a slight change).

been asserted, or Hadhrat ‘Abd al-‘Azim had himself attained it by religious culture and political jurisprudence”.(1)

Imam al-Hadi (as)'s Countenance and Conduct

The 10th Imam (as) was neither short nor lanky and his cheeks were slightly chubby and whitish pink. He had large eyes and bushy eyebrows. He was very generous. He was so awe-inspiring that whenever he entered the court of Muttawakkil the tyrannical caliph of the Abbasids, the latter and his courtiers would immediately rise to their feet as a sign of respect and reverence.

The caliphs contemporary to Imam al-Hadi (as) were: Mu‘tasim, Wathiq, Mutawakkil, Muntasir, Musta‘in, Mu‘tazz, and Mu‘tamid, who were all old enemies of the ‘Alawi family and Imam al-Hadi (as) out of their infatuation with temporal power and the worldly pleasures.

Although they somehow openly displayed their enmity, yet they admitted the competent features and the high piety and erudition of the Holy Imam (as). They had also tested and observed by experience his virtues, scholarly insight, and mastery over Islamic and jurisprudential issues and had witnessed his vast field of knowledge, like that of his honorable ancestors (as), in debates and argument sessions.

At nights, his time was mostly spent in prayers, supplication, reading the Qur’an and communion with the Beloved Allah. He used to wear a rough robe and sit on a straw mattress. Any gloomy person who glanced at him would get delighted. He was loved by all. There was always a smile on his lips, though it was his awe-inspiring charactre that greatly captured people's hearts.

Imam al-Hadi (as)'s Martyrdom

Imam al-Hadi (as) was martyred

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyyat-i Jami‘a.

with poison by the Abbasid Mu‘tamid in Samarra in 254/868, in a house where only his son Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was at his bedside. From this year on Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari rightfully attained leadership and shouldered the trusted responsibility of Imamate. Imam al-Hadi (as) was finally buried in the same house where he had been under home arrest for twenty years.

Imam al-Hadi (as)'s Wife and Children

Imam al-Hadi (as) had married a woman named Susan or Salil, and had five children:

1. Abu Muhammad al-Hasan (as) (Imam al-‘Askari, the eleventh Infallible Imam).

2. Husayn.

3. Sayyid Muhammad, who died a year before his father's Martyrdom. He was a refined and virtuous young man who was thought by many to be appointed as the next Imam. Frequently visited by Shi‘ites, his sanctified grave is near Samarra

4. Ja‘far.

5. ‘A’isha, or as quoted by Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, ‘Aliyya.

Some Sayings of His Holiness Imam al-Hadi (as):

I. Whoever is selfish and self-satisfied, people will soon be infuriated at them.

2. The grievance for the person who is patient is single, but for the one who laments and wails is double.

3. Idle talking and joking is a character of the unwise and the feature of the ignorant.

4. Staying awake for long makes sleeping enjoyable and bearing much hunger increases the joy and delight of eating.

5. Divine decrees will show you things which have never struck your mind.

6. Wisdom will not have any impact on corrupt natures.

7. To Allah belongs shrines in which He likes to be prayed and to answer to prayers. Imam al-Husayn (as)'s

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burial place is one of them.

8. He who takes heed of Allah, people will take heed of him. He who obeys Allah, will be obeyed by people. The one who is obedient to Allah does not fear the created ones, and anyone who enrages Allah, would certainly be enraged by people.

9. Verily, it is not possible to describe Allah, except through what He has described Himself. How could He be described, whereas senses fail to perceive and imaginations cannot reach Him.

The Thirteenth Infallible, Hadhrat Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari, The Eleventh Imam


Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was born in Medina in 232/846. His dignified mother, Susan or Salil, was a competent and virtuous woman who took extreme care to rear her son, the Hujja (proof) of Haqq as he really deserved. This pious lady accompanied Imam al-‘Askai (as) to Samarra and passed away there.

The patronymic of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was Abu Muhammad.

Countenance and Conduct of Imam al-Hasan ‘Askari (a.s.)

The eleventh Imam had a swarthy face and a moderate stature. He also had black curved eyebrows, large eyes and a broad forehead, as well as large and bright white teeth. He had a mole on his right cheek. Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was attractively eloquent and of a divine and dignified personality, and was a matchless interpreter of the Holy Qur’an. In his short life, he clarified the straight path of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and the appropriate way of interpreting the Qur’an to the people and particularly to his noble companions.

The Period of His Imamate

In general, the 29 year life-span of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) is divided into three periods:

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The first period consisted of 13 years which was spent in Medina.

The second period included 10 years in Samarra before Imamate.

The third period covered the six years of the Imamate of his Holiness.

The Imamate period of his Holiness was contemporary with the superficial authority of the Abbasids, who imitated Harun in their ambitions to acquire and wield power.

During his six years of Imamate, Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) spent three years in prison. His jailor, Salih b. Wasif, assigned two tyrannical retainers over him so that he could further persecute him. The two retainers, however, closely observing the state and the manners of the holy Imam (as), were impressed by that noble Imam (as) and treated him in a peaceful and decent manner.

When asked about the Imam (as)'s state, these retainers said the prisoner fasted during the day and was engaged in prayers and supplications to his Beloved Allah all night long till dawn, not speaking to others.

‘Ubayd Allah Khaqan, vizier to the Abbasid Mu‘tamid, with all his arrogance, would always rise to his feet whenever he met Imam al-‘Askari (as) and would offer him his own seat to sit on. He would always say: “I never saw anybody like him in Samarra, he is the most pious and knowledgeable man of the time.”

‘Ubayd Allah Khaqan's son said: “I always asked people about the state of the Imam. I would find people humble toward him and noticed them admitted to his nobility and would love him.”

Although the Holy Imam (as)

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would not associate with others except his devoted Shi‘as, the Abbasid ruling regime had him most of the time imprisoned and banned him from contact with others in order to maintain the caliphate in peace and quiet.

“One of the problems in the time of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was that the property and endowments belonging to the Shi‘as were trusted by the caliphate to the enemy of the Prophet's progeny so as to prevent the Shi‘ite movements would not be financially strengthened. It is reported, for example, that Ahmad b. ‘Ubayd Allah b. Khaqan was assigned by the caliph as the custodian of the endowments and alms in Qum. He inflicted the severest atrocities on the household of the Prophet (S).

Also, Imam ‘Askari (as)'s companions were dispersed and it was impossible to gather in one place. Some like Abu ‘Ali Ahmad b. Ishaq Ash‘ari lived in Qum and others like Abu Sahl Isma‘il Nowbakhti lived in Baghdad.

The pressure and surveillance exerted by the Abbasid caliphate following the martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha (as) was so extensive that it had driven the opposite front into the most extreme challenges. Believing in the truth and calling to comprehensive principles of justice, the latter tolerated all the atrocities and hardships and never neglected to guard and defend their position.”(1)

That we said Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) was under intense control by the caliphate and not allowed to meet with people, and that all our noble Imams (as) would rarely associate with anyone except their

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 91.

devoted companions or those who referred to them to consult their financial and religious problems, was because the occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (as) was drawing near and people had to gradually get used to it and receive their political directions and solution to their problems from the devoted companions who were the flag-bearers of the religious frontiers, and not to find the occultation period astonishing.

Anyhow, Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) lived only 29 years, but during his six years of Imamate and the spiritual leadership, he left behind significant works of the Qur’an interpretation, legal rulings, and clarification of jurisprudential issues, and directed the revolutionary movements of Shi‘as who came to him from far distances to enjoy his favors and presence.

In the time of the eleventh Imam's leadership, the sublime Qur’anic teachings, dissemination of Divine ordinances, and theological disputes revived a particular scholarly movement. Similarly, the Shi‘ite culture – which was already well known – in other fields such as philosophy and theology presented such great men as Ya‘qub b. Ishaq Kindi, who was a contemporary and disciple of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as).

Many things have been related on the Imam (as)'s scholarly authority, which had been originated from the splendor of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (as)'s Divine knowledge. For example, the above-mentioned Ya‘qub b. Ishaq al-Kindi the great Arab philosopher – to whom Abu Nasr Farabi, the well-known Iranian scholar, was a disciple – became helpless in a debate with the Holy Imam (as) and burnt up the book he

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had written against the Qur’an, and later on joined the lovers and followers of his Holiness (as).

The Martyrdom of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as)

The martyrdom of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) is reported to be on Friday, Rabi al-Awwal 8, 260/January 1, 874. The way that noble Imam (as) was martyred is related as follows: ‘Ubayd Allah b. Khaqan's son said: “One day my father (who was the vizier to the ‘Abbasid Mu‘tamid) was informed that Ibn al-Ridha, i.e., Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) had fallen sick. Upon hearing this, my father rushed to the caliph to tell him the news.

The caliph sent five of his trustees and courtiers along with him. One of them, called Nahrir the retainer who was one of the special trustees to the caliph, ordered the rest to keep a constant watch over the house of that Holy Imam, and to keep him posted on the things happening to the Imam. He also assigned a physician to visit and check him every morning and evening.

After two days my father was informed that the Imam's illness had been deteriorated and weakness had overwhelmed him. So, early in the morning, he personally went to the Imam (as) and ordered the physicians – mostly Christian and Jewish – not to leave the Imam (as) and summoned the supreme judge and ordered him to bring ten well-known scholars to remain constantly in his company. He did all this in order to conceal from people the poison he had given him and to pretend to the people

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that his Holiness (as) had died a natural death.

They were continually in and around the Imam (as)'s house until a few days after the beginning of Rabi al-Awwal, 260/January, 874, when the tyrannized Holy Imam (as) gave up his carnal body and joined the Eternal Abode of Allah at the age of 29. Thereupon, the caliph launched a thorough search for the Imam (as)'s son, having heard that his son would one day dominate the entire world and overthrow the wrongdoers and false-minded. This search continued for two years.(1)

The inquiry and searching was the outcome of the fear nested in the heart of the Abbasid Mu‘tasim and the caliphs before and after him regarding the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (as). They had heard through traditions related from the Holy Prophet (S) that a pure-natured child would be born to Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) and Nargis Khatun by the name of al-Mahdi of the

End of the Time, who has the same appellation of the Holy Apostle (S), and would overthrow the despotic rule of the tyrannical powers and put an end to their domination and sovereignty. On this ground, they frequented the Holy Imam (as)'s house by various pretexts, looking around to find any possible sign of that noble baby in order to kill him.

Verily the story of Nimrud and Pharaoh in the advent of the Prophets Abraham (as) and Moses (as) was repeated. Even midwives were assigned to look into this crucial matter. But as you will read

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1- Imam dar ‘Ayniyat-i Jami‘a, p. 92 (related from Muntahi al-Amal).

in the next chapter, Allah Almighty has secured His Hujja (proof) from receiving any harm by the enemies and any detriment from the inflicts of time; and He will keep doing so until he gets his Divine mission accomplished.

Anyway, the martyrdom of the Holy Imam (as) has been reported to be due to the poison Mu‘tamid had fed him in his meal; later on, however, he repented for this sordid action. Perforce, he called for Christian and Jewish physicians who were practicing medicine then in Baghdad and Samarra, especially for the purposes like plotting the murder of such a noble Imam (as) as Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as). Nevertheless, he had other intentions by this ostentatious compassion, and that was pleasing people and keeping them unaware of the true event.

When the Shi‘as were informed of the heart-rending demise of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as), the whole city of Samarra was overshadowed with deep sorrow and lamentation being heard from every corner. People prepared to carry out the funeral and mourning processions.

The Rightful Successor to Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as):

Abu al-Adyan said: “I was at the service of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as). I used to deliver his letters to various cities. One day, on his deathbed, he called me and gave me several letters to be delivered to Mada’in. Then he said: ''You will return to Samarra only to hear wails and laments from my house; at that time my body will be given ghusl (major ablution).”

Abu al-Adyan said to the Imam (as): “O

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my master, whenever this tragic event occurs, to whom the Imamate shall be handed over?”

“Whoever demands from you the reply to my letter.” The Imam answered.

Abu al-Adyan asked again: “Present me with another sign.”

The Imam (as) said: “The one who performs funeral prayer for me.”

Abu al-Adyan further requested: “Let me know one more sign.”

The Imam (as) responded: “The one who can tell what is in the satchel will be your Imam.”

Abu al-Adyan goes on to say: “The bravery and dignity of the Imam (as) was so awe-inspiring that I could not ask further questions. I set off to deliver the letters and returned in fifteen days. When I reached the door of the Holy Imam (as)'s house, a loud wailing and crying was heard from the house.

Once inside, I saw Ja‘far Kadhdhab, the Imam (as)'s brother, sitting down and the Shi‘as who were expressing their condolences to him and congratulating him on his Imamate. I was so surprised at this. I approached him and expressed my condolences and congratulations. He did not say anything and asked nothing.

When the sacred body of the Imam (as) was shrouded and prepared for funeral prayer, a retainer came in and called on Ja‘far Kadhdhab to perform the prayer for his brother's body. When Ja‘far stood up to say the funeral prayer, a very handsome child, with curly hair, wide apart teeth and swarthy face went toward him, held on the Ja‘far's robe, and said : “O uncle step aside, for I am more

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deserved to perform the prayer.”

Ja‘far's face paled at the sight of his nephew. He stepped back, then the boy came to the front, said prayer for his father's body and then had the sacred body buried next to the grave of Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (as).

He then faced me and told me to hand him the answers to the letter that were with me. I gave the answers to that child. After a while, Hajiz Washsha’ asked Ja‘far who that child was. Ja‘far said: “By Allah I do not know him and I have never seen him.”

At this time, a group of Shi‘as arrived in from the city of Qum. When they found out about the Holy Imam (as)'s death, the people present there beckoned them to ask Ja‘far. Several of them went to Ja‘far and inquired: “Tell us who the letters we are holding are from and how much the money is.” Ja‘far said: “Look people! They are asking me the knowledge of the hidden things! Thereupon a retainer of the Imam of the age (as) came along and quoted the Imam (as) as saying:

“O people of Qum! There are letters with you from so and so as well as a satchel in which there are a thousand gold coins and among them there are ten coins coated with gold.”

The Shi‘as who had come from Qum said: “Whoever has sent you is the Imam of the age (as). Hand in these letters and the satchel to him.”

Ja‘far Kadhdhab went to

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caliph, Mu‘tamid, and related the event. The latter told his agents to search into the house of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) to find the child. They did so but of no avail. Perforce they arrested Sayqal, the woman retainer to Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) and kept her under arrest for a long time imagining that she was pregnant. But the more they searched the less they found.

Allah Almighty preserved that blessed and auspicious child who has been under His protection up to the present time and is apparently hidden from views.(1) May the praise of Allah keep showering upon him.

Some Sayings of His Holiness Imam al-‘Askari (as):

I. There are two attributes that have no superior: Believing in the Lord of the world and helping out brothers in faith.

2. No powerful authority gives up the Truth unless they fall into baseness and misery; and no miserable one sticks to the Truth unless they turned into powerful authorities.

3. How evil is the one who is double-faced and is double-tongued toward his brothers in faith; the one who praises them in their presence and reproaches and slanders them in their absence. If the same brother in faith is generous to him, he will envy him, and if he falls into trouble, he will betray him.

4. Anger is the key to all kinds of vices.

5. The most pious and most God-fearing people are those who abstain from the unlawful.

6. People attributing partners to Allah is more unnoticed than the movement of an ant

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1- Muntahi al-Amal, (with a slight change).

on a black rock at a dark night.

7. Constantly remember Allah and death and attend to reciting the Qur’an and sending greetings to the Holy Prophet (S).

8. Acts of devotion are not merely restricted to fasting and saying prayers, but it also includes deliberating on the signs of the magnificence of God and the world of creation.(1)

The Fourteenth Infallible, Hadhrat Hujjat b. al-Hasan al-‘Askari, The Twelfth Imam


Imam al-Mahdi (as), the Lord of the Time, was born on Thursday eve, Sha‘ban 15, 255 or 256/July 29, 869 or 870.

When about two centuries had elapsed since the Hijra of the Holy Prophet (S) and after the Imamate had been handed over to the tenth and eleventh Imams, i.e., Imam al-Hadi (as) and Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as), little by little the rulers and tyrannical ruling establishments began to be stirred by worries and apprehensions.

And that was due to the traditions and reports quoting that, “A boy would be born to Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) who would overthrow the rules of the despots and tyrants and would spread justice and equity on the ruins of oppression and dictatorship.” This has been frequently stated in traditions, especially from the Holy Prophet (S), and heard by the office-holders.

At this time, i.e. the birth of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.), the Abbasid Mu‘tasim, the eight Abbasid caliph, whose reign had started in 218/833, chose the newly built Samarra as his capital.

This idea – that the advent of a savior would tremble the pillars of the ruling power of tyrants and therefore the birth of infants is

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1- Tuhaf al-‘Uqul ‘an Al al-Rasul, p. 516.

to be prevented, and even the innocent mothers must be killed, and midwives should be secretly sent to houses to identify the pregnant women – has some parallels in history.

In the time of the Prophet Abraham (as), Nimrud did so. In the time of Moses (as), Pharaoh followed the same path. But in each case, Allah's will worked against their plots. The tyrants always seek to put out Allah's Light, not knowing that Allah completes and accomplishes His Light, although the infidels and tyrants wish it otherwise.

As for Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as)'s newly born blessed baby, the historic story was amazingly and miraculously repeated, too.

The tenth Imam was under home arrest in Samarra for twenty years, and after him, the eleventh Imam was also under control and constant watch by the ruling system there.

“When the time of the birth of this bright star, Imam al-Mahdi (as), drew near and his threat to the despots thus intensified, they sought to prevent the birth of the infant, or if he would have been born, to put an end to his life. That was why everything about al-Mahdi (a.s.)'s whereabouts, the time before and after his birth, were all hidden from people. Nobody would see him except some of the relatives, disciples, and close companions of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as), who only saw him once in a while.”(1)

Devoted Shi‘as Saw Imam al-Mahdi (as)

In the early four or five years of al-Mahdi (as)'s life, during which his noble father was still alive, the devoted Shi‘as had audience with

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1- Khurshid Maghrib, pp.21-22.

him. Of these, forty had audience with the eleventh Imam (as) and requested him to show them the Hujjah and the next Imam after him, so that they would get to know him.

The Imam did so, and they managed to see the boy, elegant and handsome as his father. Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) said: “After me, this boy will be your Imam and my vicegerent among you. Obey him, and do not disperse from around his leadership, lest you perish and your religion be demolished. Also, let it be known that you will not see him from today on, until the lapse of a long time. Thus, obey his deputy, Uthman b. Sa‘id.”(1) And this way, the eleventh Imam, asserting explicitly the event of major occultation, introduced Imam al-Mahdi (as) to the group of Shi‘as, and proclaimed the continuation of the chain of Imamate.

One of the thinkers and philosophers of the third/ninth century, who has had audience with the Imam, is Abu Sahl Nowbakhti.

Anyway, Imam al-Mahdi (as) lived in hiding until his noble father Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (as) passed away on Rabi‘ al-Awwal 8, 260/January 1, 874. According to the Islamic tradition, on this day Imam al-Mahdi (as) was supposed to say funeral prayers for the sacred body of his father, so that the tyrannical Abbasid caliphs could not declare the Imamate as terminated, or the malevolent divert it from its main path; and to delegate the spiritual heritage, Islamic mission, and religious authority to others.

Thus, people saw a

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1- Ibid, p. 24.

boy like a shining moon, so elegantly came out of the Imam (as)'s house, set back his uncle, Ja‘far Kadhdhab, who was preparing to say prayers, and himself said prayers over the sacred body of his father.

Necessity of the Last Imam's Occultation

The appearing of Imam al-Mahdi (as) and his saying funeral prayers was widely spread around. Abbasid Mu‘tamid's functionaries and agents assaulted Imam al-‘Askari (as)'s house, but the more they searched the less they found.

It was in such a situation that for the purpose of preserving the life of Hujja of the Almighty Allah, the occultation of the twelfth Imam (as) took place, which was the only practical way left to preserve the life of “Allah's caliph on earth.” That was because his presence among people would leave him open to being assassinated.

Thus, divine decree destined his Holiness to be hidden from sight so that the enemies' hands would be away from him and the intermediary of Divine blessings for the people of the whole world would remain safe and sound. In this way, although not being present, the guiding light of Allah's Hujja is directing his lovers and friends from behind the curtain of occultation.

Meanwhile, this was a punishment for the Muslim community who had not only deviated from the straight path of Wilayat and obedience to Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (as) and his Infallible progeny, but also committed persecution and murder to them, which all in all led to the necessity of living a hidden life for the last Imam (as).


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is much to be said in this respect, but due to being pressed by time and in order to make the reader briefly acquainted with the importance of the hidden Imam in the Shi‘a worldview, we here relate what was stated by professor Henry Corbin in his meeting with ‘Allama Tabataba’i:

“To my opinion Shi‘ism is the only school which has constantly maintained a relation of Divine guidance between Allah and mankind and is continuously keeping Wilayat revived and firmly rooted…. It is only the Shi‘ism that considers prophethood as sealed with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S), but regards Wilayat, i.e. the relation between guidance and completion, after his Holiness as existing forever.

That is a relation emerged out of connection of human world to Divine world, due to religious missions before Moses (as), in his era and the eras of Jesus (as) and Muhammad (S), and after him through the Wilayat of his successors (according to the Shi‘as), which has been and will be a living reality that can never be called superstitious and eliminated from the list of realities by scientific theories... Anyway, it is Shi‘ism which has actualized the continuation and permanence of this reality, and contends that this reality will remain eternal and everlasting – between human world and Divine world.”(1) That is of course based on believing in the living Hidden Imam.

Countenance and Conduct of al-Mahdi (as)

Shi‘a and Sunni narrators have described al-Mahdi (as)'s countenance and appearance as follows: “He has a swarthy complexion, arched eyebrows, attractive black large eyes, broad

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1- Maktab-i Tashayyu‘, Almanac No. 2 (Ordibehesht 1339 Sh/1960), interview of Ustad ‘Allama Tabataba’i with Professor Henry Corbin about Shi‘ism, pp. 2021.

shoulders, slightly apart shining teeth, beautifully elongated nose, and high, bright forehead. His bone structure is firmly set and hard as a rock, and his fingers are large.

His cheeks are not plump and his face is a little pale – due to nocturnal vigilance – and there is a beauty spot on his right cheek. His muscles are twisted and firm; his hair hanging over his ears; he has a moderate, good-looking, and charming stature, and a face haloed in a dignified and glorified prudence. His countenance radiates with grandeur and magnificence of leadership, his look is penetrating, his uproar like an ocean and his outcry overwhelming.”(1)

Imam al-Mahdi (as) possesses vast knowledge and wisdom and is endowed with the legacy of the prophets. He is the ninth Imam from among the progeny of Imam al-Husayn (as) and is now hidden from people's eyes. He is the absolute Wali, the last of Saints, the legatee of the legatees, the universal Riser and the greatest revolutionary man. When he appears, he will lean against the Ka‘ba and, holding the Holy Prophet (S)'s standard in hand, will revive the faith in Allah and spread His ordinances all over the world. He is the one who will fill the world with justice and affection.

Imam al-Mahdi (as) is humble before Allah Almighty and His Majesty. Allah with His Grandeur is manifested in him and has permeated all through his being. Al-Mahdi (as) is just, blessed, and purified. He will not neglect even one iota

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1- Khurshid Maghrib, pp. 32, 34 (summarized and slightly changed).

of truth. Allah will strengthen and glorify Islam at his hands. In his sovereignty no one will be troubled except in cases the Divine punishment needs to be executed.

Imam al-Mahdi (as) will restore the right of every rightful person and will give it back to him. Even if someone's right is between the clenched teeth of any invader and usurper, he will pull it out and give it back to the possessor of the right. In his rule, the rule of the despots and the arrogant and political dominion of hypocrites and traitors will be abolished. Mecca – the Qibla of the Muslims – will become al-Mahdi (as)'s revolutionary ruling center. His First comrades will gather there to join him.

Some people will join him and others will fight him. And there will remain no possessors of power or holders of high office; there will run no more politics or governments worldwide, except the rightful rule and the just politics of the Holy Qur’an. When al-Mahdi (as) rises, no land will be left but reverberating the muezzins' call to prayer: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah”, and, “I bear witness that Muhammad [S] is Allah’s Apostle.”

In the time of al-Mahdi (as)'s rule all people will be taught wisdom and knowledge, to the extent that women at homes will judge with the Book of Allah and the tradition of the Prophet (S). In that time the rational power of the masses will be concentrated. With Divine confirmation, al-Mahdi

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(as) will perfect people's wisdom and generate sagacity in all.

Imam al-Mahdi (as) is a savior designated by Allah to defend people of the world. In his time all people will attain matchless abundance, welfare, and peace of mind. Even animals will multiply and will live in peace with other beasts. There will flow plenty of water in the rivers and a great deal of plants and grass will grow. Buried treasures and other minerals will be uncovered. In the time of al-Mahdi (as) the fire of intrigues and riots will be extinguished; oppression, onslaught, and plundering will be abandoned; and wars will be abolished.

There will remain no ruins in the world, except that al-Mahdi (as) will reconstruct them. In his judgments, verdicts, and rule not a bit of injustice and oppression will be inflicted on anyone and no one will be offended by any means.(1) Al-Mahdi (as) will bring justice into homes just as heat and cold enter homes. His righteousness will pervade the whole world.

Imam al-Mahdi (as)'s Sword

Imam al-Mahdi (as)'s sword is the “Sword of Allah” (Sayfullah) and the “Sword of Allah, the Avenger.” It is a Divine Sword for avenging the tyrants and the arrogant. His sword will be revenging all criminals throughout the history. He will kill the civilized murderer beasts, while showering the weak and the oppressed with mercy and blessing.

In his time, there will be no more room for preaching and delivering sermons. Prophets, Imams, and saints have already given people whatever advice they needed. Many of the

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1- Khurshid Maghrib.

people did not hear it and took their own false path and even killed the saints of Allah with poison. In the time of Imam al-Mahdi (as) however, they will all be taken revenge on.

Imam al-Mahdi (as) will allegedly kill such a great number of the oppressors that some will say: this man does not belong to the family of Muhammad (S). But he is in fact a descendant of Muhammad (S), that is, a descendant of righteousness, of justice, of infallibility, and of humanity.

One of the astonishing traditions narrated about Imam al-Mahdi (as) is quoted from Imam al-Baqir (as) as saying: “Riding in roaring vehicles in which fire and light are devised, al-Mahdi (as) will travel through skies, all skies.”

Also Imam al-Baqir (as) is quoted as saying that most skies are inhabitable. This Islamic astronomy which is adopted from the Infallible Imams (as), however, has nothing to do with the Greek astronomy and Ptolemaic system of astronomy. In Greek astronomy more emphasis is placed on the limitedness of constellations, skies, and stars.

In the Islamic astronomy, however, the great expanse and dimensions of the universe and innumerable stars, satellites and galaxies are talked about. Talking about such issues by the Holy Prophet (S) and Imam al-Baqir (as) has not been possible except through relation with the Unseen World and through Divine knowledge.(1)

Short-time or Minor Occultation

Minor occultation lasted no longer than seventy years (from 260/873 to 329/940), during which special deputies used to take audience with Imam al-Mahdi (as) and deliver his replies to

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1- See: Khurshid Maghrib, p. 46 onward.

the letters and questions sent through them to the Holy Imam (as). There have been four deputies who had the honor to take audience with Imam al-Mahdi (as). They are known as “special deputies”:

1. The first special deputy of al-Mahdi (as) is ‘Uthman b. Sa‘id al-Asadi. He is said to have died apparently after 260/873, and been buried in Baghdad. He was a trusted companion and disciple of the tenth and eleventh Imams (as), and was personally trained in the school of Imamate.

2. Muhammad b. ‘Uthman b. Sa‘id was Imam al-Mahdi (as)'s second deputy and representative who died in 305/917 and was buried in Baghdad. His deputyship lasted about forty years.

3. Husayn b. Ruh al-Nowbakhti was the third representative who died in 326/937.

4. ‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Samari was the fourth and the last deputy of Imam Hujjat b. al-Hasan (as) who died in 329/940 and was buried in Baghdad. His burial place is near the tomb of the great scholar and traditionist Muhammad b. Ya‘qub Kulayni.

These prominent, pious, and knowledgeable nobles, scholars, and clergymen were the mediators between the people and the occulted Imam (as) and helped in solving their problems through Imam al-Mahdi (as) during his minor occultation.

The Long-term or Major Occultation and the General Deputyship

This period began after the minor occultation and is still going on. This time is for testing and measuring people's faith and their deeds.

For the time of general deputyship, the holy Imam (as) has provided codes and rules, so that in each era a prominent person who is fully qualified in those

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codes and rules can be a deputy of the Imam (as) and represent him in the community both in worldly and religious affairs.

Therefore, in no periods has there been dissociation between Imam (as) and the people. Similarly, now, that is the period of general deputyship, a great scholar who is fully qualified in jurisprudence and knowledge of religion as well as in leadership is at the head of society and is referred to by people as the possessor of legal guardianship (wilayat al-shar‘iyya) and as a deputy of Imam al-Mahdi (as).

Thus, if in this period the Imam (as)'s deputy does not view a ruling system as righteous, that system is tyrannical, for it has no relation with Allah, His religion, Imamate, and the Islamic legal supervision. As enjoined by the Lord of Time (may Allah hasten his reappearance), in order to preserve and lead Shi‘ism and the religion of Allah, there must always be a righteous scholar and a competent jurisprudent at the head of the Shi‘a community.

And when such a knowledgeable and superior scholar is placed at the head of the religious and Islamic community, he should be respected by other mujtahids and scholars, and be assisted by them to preserve Islamic unity and the integrity of religious power. In this way, the corrupt powers fail to topple it down or to weaken it.

Although our separation from the savior of the oppressed and the deprived and the earnest seekers – i.e. Imam al-Mahdi (as) – is very

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painful, yet our belief is that Imam al-Mahdi (as) is alive by the power and under the protection of Allah, living hidden from the eyes of the people of the world. He will reappear once it is “fully expedient” and through an all-out revolution; a bloody and pervasive uprising will release the oppressed humanity from the claws of tyrants, and will bring back glory and power to monotheism and the Islamic doctrines.

Belief in Mahdism in the Past Periods

Belief in the End of Time and expecting the reappearance of a savior has been accepted as an undeniable principle by other religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and the claimants of prophethood in general and the Holy Faith of Islam in particular.

Belief in Imam al-Mahdi (as) is not Confined to Shi‘ism

Belief in the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi does not belong only to the Shi‘as and Shi‘ism, but many of the Sunni schools (e.g., the Malikite, the Hanafite, the Shafi'ite, and the Hanbalite) believe in this principle and their scholars have mentioned it in their numerous books, knowing the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) about al-Mahdi (as) as among the widely transmitted and sound traditions.(1)

The Holy Qur’an and Imam al-Mahdi (as)

There exist some verses in the Holy Qur’an about Imam al-Mahdi (as) and the advent of a savior as well as the ruling of the righteous and the triumph of the good-doers over the evil-doers. Following are some of such verses:

﴾Certainly We wrote in the Psalms, after the Torah: “Indeed My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.”﴿ (22:105)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) has stated that the “righteous servants” are meant to be the companions

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1- See: Khurshid Maghrib, p. 76 onward.

of Imam al-Mahdi (as) in the End of Time.

Also, ﴾And We desired to show favor to those who were abased in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs.﴿ (28:5)

﴾Indeed We sent it down on the Night of Ordainment. What will show you what is the Night of Ordainment? The Night of Ordainment is better than a thousand months. In it the angels and the Spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, with every command. It is peaceful until the rising of the dawn.﴿ (97:1-5)

As clearly understood by the verses of Surat al-Qadr, there is a night in every year which is better than a thousand months in value and in excellence. What is also understood from the traditions in interpretation of this Sura and of the opening verses of Surat al-Dukhan is that on the night of al-Qadr the angels present the Divine decrees (muqaddarat) to the Absolute Guardian of time and surrender them to him. In the time of the Holy Prophet (S) the descent place of the angels at al-Qadr night was the threshold of Holy Prophet Mustafa (S).

As we conclude, through the Qur’anic knowledge, that al-Qadr night does exist in every year, we should therefore notice that the “Lord of al-Qadr night” must also exist, otherwise on whom should the angels descend? So, as the Holy Qur’an will exist until the Resurrection Day and is the Hujja of Allah, so will the Lord of al-Qadr night who is the Hujja

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of Allah. The Hujja of Allah at this time is none but his Holiness the Lord of the Age (Wali al-Asr) (as).

As Imam al-Ridha (as) has stated: “The Imam is Allah's trustee on earth, Allah's Hujja among people, and Allah's Vicegerent in towns and lands...”

Khwaja Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, the well-known philosopher, theologian, and mathematician said:

“To the wise people it is clear that Divine grace is exclusive in the appointment of the Imam (as), and the existence of the Imam (as) is by itself a Divine Grace, and his domination over everything is another Grace. His occultation, however, is dependent on us.”(1)

The length of Imam (as)'s Life

The Imam (as)'s long life is by no means something impossible, comparing the long lives mentioned by the Qur’an as well as the numerous long-aged people pointed out in history books. Rather, by reason and through scientific deliberation, it is by no means impossible to happen. Besides, in view of Divine power, this is by no means impossible.

By the power of Allah, which prevails over everything, long age, like that of the Prophet Noah (a.s.) and those longer or shorter than his are entirely feasible. To the All-Powerful and the All-Wise Allah all and everything, whether small or big, little or much, are equal. Thus, His perfect and mature wisdom will preserve his devotee in perfect health for as long as He deems fit.

So, according to Divine wisdom, the twelfth Imam, the Awaited Imam al-Mahdi (as) must be hidden from view, living a long life, keeping the secrets of

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1- Khurshid Maghrib, p. 195.

the world, and be a mediator of Divine blessings for the world peoples, waiting to reappear whenever Allah wills. He will spread justice all over the world after it is filled with injustice and cruelty.

Awaiting the Reappearance of the Qa’im (as)

It is totally false to suppose that awaiting the reappearance of the Hidden Imam (as) means doing nothing, withdrawing from social reforming movements, only getting over one's own difficulties, and remaining indifferent to the trends in social and religious issues. On the contrary, awaiting means making attempt in search of justice, broad-mindedness, and freedom; and rejecting injustice, falsehood, slavery, and vulgarity; as well as standing out against any untruthfulness, tyranny, and despotism.

The tireless struggles and bloody insurgencies by the Shi‘as throughout the history bear witness to the fact that there is no place for compromise or laxity in this school. In relation to “awaiting”, i.e., awaiting the prevalence of truth over falsehood, justice over injustice, knowledge over ignorance, and piety over sinfulness, the Shi‘as are constantly prepared to participate in the puritan and sacred movements, carrying the blood stained torch of great struggles high above their heads in remembrance of the devoted Shi‘a combatants throughout their bloody and epic history.

That the Shi‘as as the awaiting ones are enjoined to constantly keep their weapons prepared and to rise to their feet as they hear the name of the Qa’im of the household of Muahmmad (S), reflects the preparedness and movement as mentioned above.

We wind up our discussion here with a part of writing by the well-known struggling

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Muslim scholar, Ayatollah Taliqani:

“… Drawing people's attention to the bright future and the rule of Haqq and to promise them the full implementation of social justice, the establishment of the Islamic rule (hukuma), and the appearance of an eminent Godly Figure who is the founder and leader of that rule and government is among the doctrines of the founders of religions, and it is considered as a part of the creed in Shi‘ism, which is the true school of Islam and the principal preserver of its spiritualities….

It has encouraged its followers to await such a day, and has even considered “awaiting the reappearance” as a part of Divine worship just to keep true Muslims encouraged and help them not to lose heart and hope due to the oppression and injustice by egotistic office holders and rulers, domination of false rules, social vicissitudes and the rule of materialistic states, both eastern and western, and to keep the community always alert.

And it is this idea which still keeps the Muslims hopeful and active. Such pressures and plights from the beginning of the abject and mean dynasty of Umayyads, to the Crusades and Mongol invasion, as well as the stranglehold and wrongdoings by the colonizing states would have totally killed off any nation. However, such a religion whose true leaders enjoin you to rise to your feet whenever the very name Qa’im, the founder of the true Islamic state, is uttered, and to display your power and preparedness to obey all ordinances, will

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never die out….”(1)


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‘Ali Akbar Dihkhuda, Lughatnama, under supervision of Muhammad Mu‘iin, Ja‘far Shahidi, Tehran: Tehran University, 1330 sh/1951.

Ayati, Muhammd Ibrahim, Barrasi-yi Tarikh-i ‘Ashura (lectures), with an introduction by ‘Ali Akbar Ghaffari, Tehran: Saduq Library, 1347 sh/1968.

Balkhi, Jalal al-Din Muhammad, Mathnavi, ed. R. A. Nicholson, Tehran, Amir Kabir Publication, 1363 sh/1984.

Bayhaqi, Abu Bakr Ahmad b. Husain, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, tr. Dr. Mahdavi Damghani, Tehran: Intisharat-i ‘Ilmi va Farhangi, 1361 sh/1982.

Chenarani, Muhammad Ali, The Battle of Harrah, translated into English by Ahmad Rezwani, Islamic Research Foundation, Mashhad, 2009.

Chittick, William C. (tr.), The Psalms of Islam, Al-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya, (Supplication 47) Muhammadi Trust, London, 1988.

Dabir Haj Sayyid Javadi, Hasan, Zaynab Himasa-i Abadi Bar Faraz Tarikh, Tehran, Nuvin Publication, 1360 sh/1981.

Imadzada, Husayn, Majmu‘a-yi Zindigi-yi Chahardah Ma‘sum ‘Alayhim al-Salam, Tehran, Maktab-i Qur'an, 1323 sh/1944.

Ghafuri, ‘Ali, Yadbud-i Hashtumin Imam-i Shi‘ayan Imam Ridha ‘Alayh al-Salam, Tehran, Daftar-i Nashr-i Farhang-i Islami, nd.

Ha’iri Kirmani, Husayn, Durar al-Kalam (treasured sayings of Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha), Sazman Chapp-i Mashhad, 1363 Sh/1984.

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Kumpani, Fadhlullah, Hadhrat Sadiq ‘Alayh al-Salam, Tehran, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya,

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1- Khurshid Maghrib, p. 338.

1353 sh/1974.

Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al- Anwar, Beirut, Mu’assisat al-Wafa’, 2nd edition, 1404/1983

------------, Jala’ al-‘Uyun, Tehran, np. 1332 sh/1953.

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About center

In the name of Allah

Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
al-Zumar: 9

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
Our Goals are:
-propagating the culture and teachings of Thaqalayn (Quran and Ahlulbayt p.b.u.t)
-encouraging the populace particularly the youth in investigating the religious issues
-replacing useful contents with useless ones in the cellphones, tablets and computers
-providing services for seminary and university researchers
-spreading culture study in the publich
-paving the way for the publications and authors to digitize their works

-acting according to the legal licenses
-relationship with similar centers
-avoiding parallel working
-merely presenting scientific contents
-mentioning the sources
It’s obvious that all the responsibilities are due to the author.

Other activities of the institute:
-Publication of books, booklets and other editions
-Holding book reading competitions
-Producing virtual, three dimensional exhibitions, panoramas of religious and tourism places
-Producing animations, computer games and etc.
-Launching the website with this address:
-Fabricatingdramatic and speech works
-Launching the system of answering religious, ethical and doctrinal questions
-Designing systems of accounting, media and mobile, automatic and handy systems, web kiosks
-Holding virtual educational courses for the public
-Holding virtual teacher-training courses
-Producing thousands of research software in three languages (Persian, Arabic and English) which can be performed in computers, tablets and cellphones and available and downloadable with eight international formats: JAVA, ANDROID, EPUB, CHM, PDF, HTML, CHM, GHB on the website
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Introduction of the Center – Ghaemiyeh Digital Library