History of Shī‘ism from The Advent of Islam up to The End of Minor Occultation

Book ID

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,

The All-Beneficent, The All-Merciful

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Point

قال الله تعالی:

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

“Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.”

Sūrat al-Aḥzāb 33:33

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History of Shī‘ism

from

The Advent of Islam

up to

The End of Minor Occultation

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قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ:

إنِّی

تَارِکٌ فِیکُمُ الثَّقَلَیْنِ: کِتَابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتِی أهْلَ بَیْتِی، مَا

إنْ تَمَسَّکْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِی أبَداً، وَإنَّهُمَا لَنْ

یَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّی یَرِدَا عَلَیَّ الْحَوْضَ.

The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said:

“Verily,

I am leaving among you two weighty things [thaqalayn]: The Book of Allah and

my progeny [‘itratī], the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. If you hold fast to

them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each

other until they meet me at the Pond [ḥawḍ] (of Kawthar).”

Some references:

- Al­Ḥākim an­Nayshābūrī, Al­Mustadrak ‘alā’ṣ-Ṣaḥīḥayn (Beirut), vol. 3, pp.109-110, 148, 533

- Muslim, Aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ,

(English translation), book 31, hadīths 5920-3

- At­Tirmidhī, Aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ, vol. 5, pp. 621-2, hadīths 3786, 3788; vol. 2, p. 219

- An-Nasā’ī, Khaṣā’iṣ ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, hadīth 79

- Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 14, 17, 26; vol.

3, pp. 26, 59; vol. 4, p. 371; vol. 5, pp. 181-182, 189-190

- Ibn al­‘Athīr, Jāmi‘ al­Uṣūl, vol. 1,p. 277

- Ibn Kathīr, Al­Bidāyah wa’n­Nihāyah, vol. 5,p. 209

- Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-‘Aẓīm , vol. 6,p. 199

- Naṣīr ad-Dīn

al-Albanī, Silsilāt al-Aḥādīth aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥah (Kuwait:

Ad-Dār aṣ-Ṣalāfiyyah),

vol. 4, pp. 355-358

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History of Shī‘ism

from

The Advent of Islam

up to

The End of Minor Occultation

Ghulām-Hasan Muḥarramī

Translator

Mansoor Limba

Cultural Affairs Department

Ahl al-Bayt(‘a) World Assembly

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نام کتاب: تاریخ تشیع از آغاز تا پایان غیبت صغری

نویسنده: غلام حسن محرمی

مترجم: منصور لیمبا

زبان ترجمه: انگلیسی

Title: History of Shī‘ism: From the Advent of Islam up to the End of Minor Occultation

Author: Ghulām-Hasan Muḥarramī

Translator and typesetter: Mansoor Limba

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department

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

Editor: Tahereh Ansari

Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing

Center

First Printing: 2008

Printed by: Laylā Press

Copies: 5,000

ISBN: 978-964-529-333-6

___________________________

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

www.ahl-ul-bait.org

info@ahl-ul-bayt.org

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Table of Contents

Foreword ............................................................................................................... 1

Preface .................................................................................................................... 3

Chapter One .......................................................................................................... 7

A Cursory Glance at the References ....................................................................... 7

Lesson One ............................................................................................................. 9

Special References ................................................................................................. 9

1. Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn .................................................................................10

2. Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah .............................................11

3. A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah ..........................................................................................12

4. Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah .........................................................................................13

5. Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh .........................................................................................14

6. Jihād ash-Shī‘ah ...........................................................................................15

7. Tārīkh-e Tashayyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Haftum-e Hijrī ...............16

@ Lesson 1: Summary ..........................................................................................17

@ Lesson 1: Questions .........................................................................................17

Lesson Two ...........................................................................................................19

General References ...............................................................................................19

1. General History ............................................................................................19

2. Biography of the Imāms (‘a) ........................................................................20

3. Books on Revolts and Wars ..........................................................................21

4. Books on Rijāl and Classes ..........................................................................21

5. Books on Geography ....................................................................................22

6. Books on Narrations.....................................................................................22

7. Books on Genealogy .....................................................................................23

8. Books on adīth ...........................................................................................24

9. Books on Nations and Religions ...................................................................24

@ Lesson 2: Summary ..........................................................................................26

@ Lesson 2: Questions .........................................................................................26

Chapter Two ........................................................................................................27

The Manner of Emergence of the Shī‘ah ...............................................................27

Lesson Three ........................................................................................................29

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“Shī‘ah” in the Lexicon and the Qur’an ................................................................29

@ Lesson 3: Summary ..........................................................................................34

@ Lesson 3: Questions .........................................................................................34

Lesson Four ..........................................................................................................35

The Origin of Shī‘ism ...........................................................................................35

@ Lesson 4: Summary ..........................................................................................44

@ Lesson 4: Questions .........................................................................................44

Lesson Five ...........................................................................................................45

The Other Terms for the “Shī‘ah” .........................................................................45

The Status of ‘Alī (‘a) among the Companions [ a ābah] .................................48

@ Lesson 5: Summary ..........................................................................................59

@ Lesson 5: Questions .........................................................................................59

Lesson Six ..............................................................................................................60

The Role of the Quraysh in the Event of Saqīfah..................................................60

The Reasons behind the Quraysh’s Enmity toward the Family of the Prophet ( )............................................................................................................................61

1. The Quraysh’s Ambition for Leadership ......................................................61

a. Economic Clout.................................................................................................. 62

b. Spiritual Position............................................................................................... 62

2. Tribal Rivalry and Envy ...............................................................................64

3. The Quraysh’s Enmity toward ‘Alī (‘a) ........................................................65

@ Lesson 6: Summary ..........................................................................................68

@ Lesson 6: Questions .........................................................................................68

Lesson Seven ........................................................................................................69

The Silence of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) .......................................69

1. The Discord among Muslims ........................................................................70

2. The Danger Posed by the Apostates [murtaddīn] ........................................70

3. The Safety of the Progeny of the Prophet ( ) ..............................................72

The Concrete Political Formation of the Shī‘ah after the Event of Saqīfah ..........72

@ Lesson 7: Summary ..........................................................................................76

@ Lesson 7: Questions .........................................................................................76

Lesson Eight .........................................................................................................77

The Shī‘ah among the Companions [ a ābah] ...................................................77

@ Lesson 8: Summary ..........................................................................................82

@ Lesson 8: Questions .........................................................................................82

Chapter Three .....................................................................................................83

The Periods of Historical Development of the Shī‘ah ...........................................83

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Lesson Nine ..........................................................................................................85

1. The Shī‘ah during the Period of the First Four Caliphs ....................................85

Manifestation of Shī‘ism during the Caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a) ...................................87

2. The Shī‘ah during the Period of the Umayyad Caliphate..................................89

@ Lesson 9: Summary ..........................................................................................93

@ Lesson 9: Questions .........................................................................................93

Lesson Ten ............................................................................................................95

The Spread of Shī‘ism during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate .........................95

a. The Period of Imām al- asan and Imām al- usayn (‘a) ............................95

The Impact of the Karbalā’ Movement on the Spread of Shī‘ism.........................98

@ Lesson 10: Summary ......................................................................................102

@ Lesson 10: Questions .....................................................................................102

Lesson Eleven ....................................................................................................103

b. The Period of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) .............................................................103

The Shī‘ah Uprisings ..........................................................................................106

Stabilization of the Rule of Marwān’s Descendants (Period of Strangulation)...108

@ Lesson 11: Summary ......................................................................................111

@ Lesson 11: Questions .....................................................................................111

Lesson Twelve ...................................................................................................113

The Beginning of the ‘Abbāsid Campaign and Its Effect upon the Spread of

Shī‘ism ................................................................................................................113

1. Shī‘ism during the Period of Imām al-Bāqir and Imām a - ādiq (‘a) ....115

The University of Imām a - ādiq (‘a) ..............................................................118

@ Lesson 12: Summary ......................................................................................122

@ Lesson 12: Questions .....................................................................................122

Lesson Thirteen ................................................................................................123

3. The Shī‘ah during the Period of ‘Abbāsid Caliphate ......................................123

‘Abbāsids Control over the Shī‘ah Leaders ........................................................129

@ Lesson 13: Summary ......................................................................................134

@ Lesson 13: Questions .....................................................................................134

Lesson Fourteen ...............................................................................................135

The Reasons behind the Burgeoning of the Shī‘ah during the Period of ‘Abbasid

Caliphate .............................................................................................................135

1. The Hāshimīs and ‘Alawīs during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate ............135

2. The End of the Umayyad Caliphate and the Succession to Power of the

‘Abbāsids ............................................................................................................137

3. The Migration of the ‘Alawīs ..........................................................................137

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The Reasons behind the Emigration of the Sādāt [Sayyids or Descendants of the

Prophet ( )] ........................................................................................................140

a. The Defeat of the ‘Alawī Uprisings ............................................................140

b. Pressure Exerted by Governments Agents .................................................141

c. Existence of Favorable Circumstances ......................................................141

@ Lesson 14: Summary ......................................................................................142

@ Lesson 14: Questions .....................................................................................142

Chapter Four .....................................................................................................143

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings..........................................................................143

Lesson Fifteen ...................................................................................................145

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate ......145

a. The Uprising of Zayd..................................................................................146

b. The Uprising of Ya yā ibn Zayd ...............................................................148

@ Lesson 15: Summary ......................................................................................150

@ Lesson 15: Questions .....................................................................................150

Lesson Sixteen ...................................................................................................151

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of ‘Abbāsid Caliphate .......151

1. The Uprisings of the Zaydīs ............................................................................151

a. The Uprising of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah .........................................153

b. The Uprising of Ibn abā abā’ī al- asani ..............................................154

c. The Uprising of asan ibn Zayd (the ‘Alawīs of abaristān) ...................155

d. The Uprising of Ya yā ibn al- usayn (the Zaydīs of Yemen) ...................156

@ Lesson 16: Summary ......................................................................................157

@ Lesson 16: Questions .....................................................................................157

Lesson Seventeen .............................................................................................159

2. Sporadic Uprisings ..........................................................................................159

a. The Uprising of Shahīd Fakh .....................................................................159

b. The Uprising of Mu ammad ibn al-Qāsim ................................................160

c. The Uprising of Ya yā ibn ‘Umar a - ālibī ...........................................161

Factors behind the Failure of the Uprisings ........................................................161

@ Lesson 17: Summary ......................................................................................163

@ Lesson 17: Questions .....................................................................................163

Chapter Five .....................................................................................................165

The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism ..............................................................165

Lesson Eighteen ................................................................................................167

The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism ............................................................167

@ Lesson 18: Summary ......................................................................................170

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@ Lesson 18: Questions .....................................................................................170

Lesson Nineteen ...............................................................................................171

The Demographic Concentration of the Shī‘ah ...................................................171

1. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the First Century Hijrī ...........................171

a. Medina .......................................................................................................172

b. Yemen .........................................................................................................173

c. Kūfah ..........................................................................................................176

d. Basrah ........................................................................................................180

e. Madā’in ......................................................................................................182

f. Jabal ‘Āmil ..................................................................................................183

@ Lesson 19: Summary ......................................................................................184

@ Lesson 19: Questions .....................................................................................184

Lesson Twenty ..................................................................................................185

2. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the Second Century Hijrī ......................185

a. Khurāsān ....................................................................................................186

b. Qum ............................................................................................................187

c. Baghdad .....................................................................................................188

3. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the Third Century Hijrī .........................189

@ Lesson 20: Summary ......................................................................................191

@ Lesson 20: Questions .....................................................................................191

Lesson Twenty One .........................................................................................193

Shī‘ism among the Different Tribes ....................................................................193

@ Lesson 21: Summary ......................................................................................199

@ Lesson 21: Questions .....................................................................................199

Chapter Six ........................................................................................................200

The Rifts within Shī‘ism ........................................................................................200

Lesson Twenty Two ........................................................................................201

The Rifts within Shī‘ism .....................................................................................201

@ Lesson 22: Summary ......................................................................................209

@ Lesson 22: Questions .....................................................................................209

Lesson Twenty Three .....................................................................................211

Factors behind the Rifts within Shī‘ism ..............................................................211

1. Repression ..................................................................................................212

2. Taqiyyah [Dissimulation] ..........................................................................214

3. Ambition for Leadership .............................................................................215

4. The Existence of Mentally Weak Individuals ..............................................217

The Infallible Imāms’ (‘a) Campaign against Extreme Views ............................218

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@ Lesson 23: Summary ......................................................................................220

@ Lesson 23: Questions .....................................................................................220

Chapter Seven ...................................................................................................221

The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah ...................................................................221

Lesson Twenty Four ......................................................................................223

The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah .................................................................223

adīth .................................................................................................................226

First Category......................................................................................................227

Second Category .................................................................................................227

Third Category ....................................................................................................227

Fourth Category ..................................................................................................228

@ Lesson 24: Summary ......................................................................................229

@ Lesson 24: Questions .....................................................................................229

Lesson Twenty Five .......................................................................................231

The Science of Jurisprudence [‘ilm al-fiqh] ........................................................231

The State of Jurisprudence during the Period of the Companions [ a ābah] and

the Followers [ ābi‘ūn] ......................................................................................232

The State of Jurisprudence among the Shī‘ah .....................................................232

The Beginning of Ijtihād .....................................................................................234

The Jurists [fuqahā] among the Companions of the Imāms (‘a) .........................234

@ Lesson 25: Summary ......................................................................................236

@ Lesson 25: Questions .....................................................................................236

Lesson Twenty Six ..........................................................................................237

The Science of Scholastic Theology [‘ilm al-kalām] ..........................................237

@ Lesson 26: Summary ......................................................................................242

@ Lesson 26: Questions .....................................................................................242

Chapter Eight ....................................................................................................243

The Role of the Shī‘ah Poets in the Spread of Shī‘ism .......................................243

Lesson Twenty Seven .....................................................................................245

The Shī‘ah Poets and the Station of Poetry .........................................................245

The Shī‘ah Poets Till the End of Minor Occultation [ghaybah a - ughrā] ......248

The Leading Shī‘ah Poets ...................................................................................251

@ Lesson 27: Summary ......................................................................................253

@ Lesson 27: Questions .....................................................................................253

Lesson Twenty Eight .....................................................................................255

The Subjects of the Poems of the Shī‘ah Poets ...................................................255

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1. Argumentation against the Usurpers of the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) Rights .......255

2. The Shī‘ah Poets’ Confrontation with the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid Poets ..259

@ Lesson 28: Summary ......................................................................................263

@ Lesson 28: Questions .....................................................................................263

Lesson Twenty Nine ......................................................................................264

3. Elegy-Recitation .........................................................................................264

a. Elegies for Imām al- usayn (‘a) and the Other Martyrs in Karbalā’............. 264

b. Elegies for the Other Martyrs among the Descendants of the Prophet ( )..... 269

4. The Virtues and Merits of the Descendants of the Prophet ( ) .................270

5. The Demerits of the Enemies of the Prophet’s ( ) Descendants ...............272

@ Lesson 29: Summary ......................................................................................276

@ Lesson 29: Questions .....................................................................................276

Bibliography ...........................................................................................................277

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Transliteration Symbols

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Foreword

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

The invaluable legacy of the Household [Ahl al-Bayt] of the Prophet (may peace be upon them all), as preserved by their followers, is a comprehensive school of thought that embraces all branches of Islamic knowledge. This school has produced many brilliant scholars who have drawn inspiration from this rich and pure resource. It has given many scholars to the Muslim ummah who, following in the footsteps of Imāms of the Prophet’s Household (‘a), have done their best to clear up the doubts raised by various creeds and currents within and without Muslim society and to answer their questions. Throughout the past centuries, they have given well-reasoned answers and clarifications concerning these questions and doubts.

To meet the responsibilities assigned to it, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly (ABWA) has embarked on a defence of the sanctity of the Islamic message and its verities, often obscured by the partisans of various sects and creeds as well as by currents hostile to Islam. The Assembly follows in the footsteps of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the disciples of their school of thought in its readiness to confront these challenges and tries to be on the frontline in consonance with the demands of every age.

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The arguments contained in the works of the scholars belonging to the School of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are of unique significance. That is because they are based on genuine scholarship and appeal to reason, and avoid prejudice and bias. These arguments address scholars and thinkers in a manner that appeals to healthy minds and wholesome human nature.

To assist the seekers of truth, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly has endeavored to present a new phase of these arguments contained in the studies and translations of the works of contemporary Shī‘ah writers and those who have embraced this sublime school of thought through divine blessing.

The Assembly is also engaged in edition and publication of the valuable works of leading Shī‘ah scholars of earlier ages to assist the seekers of the truth in discovering the truths which the School of the Prophet’s Household (‘a) has offered to the entire world.

The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly looks forward to benefit from the opinions of the readers and their suggestions and constructive criticism in this area.

We also invite scholars, translators and other institutions to assist us in propagating the genuine Islamic teachings as preached by the Prophet Muhammad (ṣ).

We beseech God, the Most High, to accept our humble efforts and to enable us to enhance them under the auspices of Imām al-Mahdī, His vicegerent on the earth (may Allah expedite his advent).

We express our gratitude to Ḥujjat al-Islām wa’l-Muslimīn Shaykh Ghulām-Husayn Muharramī, the author of the present book,(1)

and Mansoor Limba, its translator. We also thank our colleagues who have participated in producing this work, especially the staff of the Translation Office.

Cultural Affairs Department

Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly

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1- Ghulām-Ḥusayn Muḥarramī, Tārīkh-e Tashayyu‘ az Āghāz tā Pāyān-e Ghaybat-e Kubrā (Qum: Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, Spring 1382 AHS (2003), 279 pp.

Preface

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

أَلْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِیْنَ

وَ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلیٰ سَیِّدِنَا وَ نَبِیِّنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ الطَّاهِرِیْنَ وَ لَعْنَهُ اللهِ عَلیٰ أَعْدَائِهِمْ أَجْمَعِیْنَ

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and may the blessings of Allah be upon our Master and Prophet, Muḥammad, and his pure progeny, and may the curse of Allah be upon all their enemies.

History of Shī‘ism as the History of a Living School and Combatant Followers

The history of Shī‘ism [tashayyu‘] is inseparable from the history of Islam as it is the continuation of Islam of the Prophetic period under the stewardship of the successors of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ)(1)—the

members of his Household [Ahl al-Bayt] (‘a).(2) Furthermore, the origin of the term Shī‘ah(3)

is traceable back to the Holy Prophet (ṣ) himself.

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1- The abbreviation, “s”, stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa ālihi wa sallam [may God’s salutation and peace be upon him and his progeny], which is used after the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s). [Trans.]
2- The abbreviation, “‘a” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, ‘alayhis-salām, ‘alayhimus-salām, or ‘alayhās-salām [may peace be upon him/them/her], which is used after the names of the prophets, angels, Imāms from the Prophet’s progeny, and saints (‘a). [Trans.]
3- In this volume, I maintained the word “Shī‘ah” to refer to both the group (single collective unit) and the individuals constituting the group (plural). [Trans.]

The initial nucleus of the Shī‘ah was composed of the great and distinguished Companions [ṣaḥābah](1)

of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) who, as per instruction of the Prophet (ṣ), believed in the expediency of the leadership of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a) after the Prophet (ṣ).

After the demise of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), the formation of [the selection in] Saqīfah and the climate that emerged in the selection of the caliph, the path of Shī‘ism took a different turn in history. It is because the Shī‘ah insisted on the leadership of ‘Alī (‘a) and remained around the members of the Prophet’s Household [Ahl al-Bayt] (‘a). By enduring the difficulties and adversities, they did not abandon their ideals and beliefs. Thus, they kept their distance from government affairs, causing them to face much enmity and disfavor from the governments of the time. Although the Shī‘ah difference of view with the supporters of the de facto caliphate was first on the question of caliphate and succession to the Prophet (ṣ), they also called on the Imāms from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)—the genuine fountainhead of Islamic knowledge and learning—after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) for matters relating to the principles of beliefs [‘aqā’id], jurisprudence [fiqh], hadīth,(2)

tafsīr [exegesis of the Qur’an], and other Islamic sciences. Over time, the Imams became renowned in these fields compared to the followers of the de facto caliphate, and the trend of their intellectual and cultural path took a different course. This affair itself had an eminent effect on the historical and cultural trend in Shī‘ism, continuously protecting it from distortion [taḥrīf] and other forms of setbacks.

In the light of adherence to the Imāms from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the Shī‘ah actually became the repository of Ahl al-Bayt’s knowledge and their spiritual inheritors throughout history. The culture of Shī‘ism has always been an effulgent, dynamic, prolific, and authentic culture such that even some of their opponents have acknowledged this fact. For example, Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad adh-Dhahabī (born 748 AH), one of Ahl as-Sunnah’s distinguished eighth century (hijrī) scholars (known for his anti-Shī‘ah sentiment) in describing the status of Abān ibn Taghlib, one of the towering pupils of Imām Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), bitterly acknowledges this fact and after accusing him of “innovation in religion” (Shī‘ism), approves of and introduces him as truthful, and thus writes:

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1- Companions [ṣaḥābah] refer to the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). In earlier times, the term was restricted to his close friends who had close contact with him. Later, the term was extended to include the believers who had seen him, even if only for a brief moment or at an early age. [Trans.]
2- Hadīth (pl. ahādīth): tradition or report, specifically the traditions of the Prophet (ṣ) and the infallible Imāms (‘a), i.e. their sayings, actions and tacit approvals of others’ actions, or the narrations of these. [Trans.]

Inclination to Shī‘ism among the religious, pious and honest followers, and their followers, are plenty. In case the hadīths they are narrating are rejected, a great portion of the Prophetic works and hadīths will be lost and this evil is serious enough.(1)

On the other hand, like any other madhhab [sect] and maktab [school], the Shī‘ah, throughout these historical straitened circumstances and the ups and downs that transpired, was not immune from internal splits, which brought about immense predicaments. The infiltration of the ghulāt(2)

into Shī‘ah ranks had also exacerbated these predicaments notwithstanding the rejection of the former by the Imāms (‘a) of the Shī‘ah.

Keeping this background in mind, one can guess what stages and pathways the Shī‘ah have treaded during the past fourteen centuries in different realms and spheres.

This book, a relatively comprehensive, elegant and worthy glance at the historical trend of Shī‘ism, is a product of relentless efforts and studies of the diligent researcher, Hujjat al-Islām Shaykh Ghulām-Husayn Muharramī, and has many distinguishing merits compared to other similar works—whose number is unfortunately few. Fortunately, it has now earned the kind attention of the authorities and is about to be published, after passing (with an excellent grade) as a master’s thesis. We are currently awaiting other significant works from this author. ?

Mahdī Pīshvā’ī

Qum

Khordād 1380 AHS

Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1422 AH

Circa May-June 2001

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1- Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad adh-Dhahabī, Mīzān al-I‘tidāl (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 4.
2- Ghulāt (sing. ghālī) are those who declare their faith in Islam but exaggerate in their beliefs about some prophets or Imāms, e.g., those who believe that an Imām is an incarnation of God. This is against the fundamental Islamic belief that God does not incarnate into anyone or any­thing. [Trans.]

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Chapter One

A Cursory Glance at the References

Lesson One

Point

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In this writing, I do not claim to be able to comprehensively study and analyze everything that is relevant to the history of Shī‘ism. Instead, I shall try to cite the most important references and citations, and to present and analyze them concisely. Since there have been many books on history and books about the life account of the Infallibles [ma‘ṣūmīn](1)

(‘a) as well as books on hadīths and rijāl,(2) which are related to the history of Shī‘ism, I have divided the references dealing with the history of Shī‘ism into two: (1) special references and (2) general references, which we shall deal with in two lessons.

Special References
Point

In this lessons, some of the references on the history of Shī‘ism have been cited. These references which have been introduced in brief are the following:

1. Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn;

2. Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah;

3. A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah;

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1- Ma‘ṣūmīn: those possessing the quality of ‘ismat (see n. 67 above); i.e., the Prophet, Fātimah, and the Twelve Imāms. See A Brief History of the Fourteen Infallibles (Tehran: WOFIS); Sayyid Murtadā al-‘Askari, The Twelve Successors of the Holy Prophet (s), http://www.al-islam.org/twelve. [Trans.]
2- Rijāl or ‘Ilm ar-Rijāl: a branch of the science of hadīth dealing with the biography of the hadīth transmitters or reporters. [Trans.]

4. Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah;

5. Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh;

6. Jihād ash-Shī‘ah; and

7. Tārīkh-e Tashayyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Haftum-e Hijrī.

1. Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn

One of the most significant references dealing with the history of Shī‘ism is the book Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn. Its author, Abū’l-Faraj ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn al-Isfahānī, was born in 284 AH in the city of Isfahān. He grew up in Baghdad and was educated under the guidance of scholars and learned men there. His genealogy can be traced back to the Umayyads but he is a Shī‘ah [‘alawī madhhab].(1)

As indicated in its title, the book deals with the descendants of Abū Ṭālib [ṭālibiyyūn] who were killed at the hands of the oppressors and tyrants of the time, as the author thus writes:

In this book of mine, by the help and will of Allah, I shall give a summary of the reports on the murdered ones among the descendants of Abū Ṭālib from the time of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) up to the moment when I started writing this book in Jumādī al-Awwal 313 AH (circa July-August 925 CE). It includes those who were killed by means of eating or drinking poison; those who escaped from the ruler of the time, hid somewhere else and died there; and those who died while languishing in prison. And in mentioning them, I observed the chronological order of their deaths and not their merits…(2)

This book is generally divided into two parts. The first part covers the period from the time of the Prophet (ṣ) up to the establishment of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate while the other part covers the ‘Abbāsid period.

Although this book deals only with the life account and martyrdom of the martyrs among the descendants of Abū Ṭālib [āl abī ṭālib], including life account of the Imāms (‘a), martyred leaders and leading figures among the ‘Alawīs (descendants of ‘Alī (‘a)) and their own followers, a part of the history of Shī‘ism can be extracted from every part of it. Of course, since this book is more relevant to Shī‘ism’s political history, it is less beneficial with respect to other aspects of the history of Shī‘ism.

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1- Sayyid Ahmad Ṣaqar, “Introduction to Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn”, 2nd edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH, p. 5.
2- Abū’l-Faraj ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, 2nd edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH, p. 24.
2. Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah

The author of this book is Sayyid ‘Alī Khān Shīrāzī who was born on Jumādī al-Awwal 5, 1052 AH (August

2, 1642) in the holy city of Medina where he was educated. In 1068 AH (circa 1657-8) he migrated to Hyderabad, India where he lived for 48 years. He then went to Mashhad, Iran for the ziyārah [visitation] of Imām ar-Ridā (‘a). During the reign of Shāh Sulṭān Husayn Ṣafawī, he went to Isfahān in 1117 AH (circa 1705-6) where he stayed for two years. Thereafter, he proceeded to Shīrāz where he shouldered the religious and educational management of the city.(1)

The book, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, is one of the works of this high-ranking Shī‘ah scholar. Although the subject of this book is a description of the condition of the Shī‘ah and their history, general history of Shī‘ism can also be deduced from it for two reasons. One reason is that it is a study of the conditions of the Shī‘ah in the different periods and places, while the other reason is that the author himself has dealt briefly with the history of Shī‘ism especially during the Umayyad period of strangulation. He thus says in the introduction:

Be aware that—may God be merciful to you— in every epoch and period the Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful [Amīr al-Mu’minīn] (‘Alī) (‘a) and other Imāms (‘a) from among his descendants were hiding in the nook and corner, keeping away from the attention of the rulers…(2)

Then, he described the beginning of repression from the time of the Umayyads up to the period of the ‘Abbāsids.

This book, as it is noted by the author in the introduction, has been arranged in 12 classes. That is, he has classified and then examined the Shī‘ah into the following 12 classes: (1) Aṣ-Ṣāḥābah [Companions of the Prophet (ṣ)]; (2) Aṭ-Ṭābi‘ūn [Followers];(3) (3) Al-Muḥaddithūn alladhī rawū ‘an al-A’immah aṭ-Ṭāhirīn [Scholars of Ḥadīth who Narrated Traditions from the Pure Imāms (‘a)]; (4) ‘Ulamā’ ad-Dīn [Religious Scholars]; (5) Al-Ḥukamā’ wa’l-Mutakallimīn [Philosophers and Scholastic Theologians]; (6) ‘Ulamā’ al-‘Arabiyyah [Scholars of Arabic Language]; (7) As-Sādah aṣ-Ṣawfiyyah [Commoners]; (8) Al-Mulūk wa’s-Salāṭīn [Kings and Sultans]; (9) Al-Umarā’ [Rulers]; (10) Al-Wuzarā’ [Viziers and Ministers]; (11) Ash-Shu‘arā’ [Poets]; and (12) An-Nisā’ [Women].

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1- Sayyid ‘Alī Jān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Wafā’, n.d.), pp. 3-5.
2- Ibid., p. 5.
3- Tābi‘ūn [‘Followers’ or ‘Successors’] refers to the second generation of Muslims who came after the Companions, who did not know the Prophet (ṣ) but who knew his Companions. [Trans.]

What is available so far from this valuable reference is the first class, i.e. the Class of the Companions in complete form, part of the fourth class, and a small portion of the 11th class.

This book is considered the most significant reference on the subject of Shī‘ism among the Companions and in this respect, it has also a good sense of comprehensiveness. The writer of this book was able to compile the views and opinions of the Shī‘ah scholars and biographers [rijāliyyūn] regarding the Shī‘ah among the Companions, and as such, he has not much engaged in expressing his own views, opinions, analyses, and investigations.

3. A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah

The writer of this unique book is the great Shī‘ah researcher and scholar, the late Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn. The book, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, as its title indicates, is a book concerning the life account and description of the leading Shī‘ah figures. This book has three introductions. The first introduction explains the author’s method of writing. The introduction begins thus: “In stating our method in this book which is as follows…” and then he explains in detail in 14 parts the method of his writing.

The second introduction, meanwhile, is about the general history of Shī‘ism, which is consisted of 12 discussions. The third introduction deals with the references and authorities used in the book:

Discussion 1: The meaning and connotation of the word Shī‘ah; other Shī‘ah terminologies; criticizing the view of the Ahl as-Sunnah writers regarding the Shī‘ah sects.

Discussion 2: The emergence of the Shī‘ah and their expansion; the Shī‘ah among the Companions; Shī‘ah Companions; growth of the Shī‘ah.

Discussion 3: Points to the some of the oppressions perpetrated against the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their Shī‘ah.

Discussion 4: Unjust treatment of the Shī‘ah of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

Discussion 5: Incessant attacks against the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

Discussion 6: The existence of many calumnies against the Shī‘ah and a summary of the Ja‘farī Shī‘ah Ithna ‘Asharī beliefs.

Discussion 7: Factors behind the spread of Shī‘ism in the Muslim lands.

Discussion 8: The virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their services to Islam.

Discussion 9: On the beliefs of the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah.

Discussion 10: Concerning the Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’, poets, men of letters, and writers, and their works.

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Discussion 11: Viziers and ministers, rulers, judges, and chiefs among the Shī‘ah.

Discussion 12: Enumeration of the Shī‘ah-populated cities.(1)

It must be beyond our responsibility to talk about the importance, reputation and value of the book, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, as it is an ocean of historical knowledge and information which we cannot fathom, overcome, or measure. Rather, we can benefit from it in proportion to our capability. The articulacy of writing, depth of the subjects, approach to the subjects, arrangement of the topics, logical order, and the like are among its merits.

With regard to the points of criticism that can be made against it, secondary cases may be indicated such as the following:

On the discussion of the other terms for the Shī‘ah, they are mentioned very briefly and only the names such as Imāmiyyah, Muta’awwalah, Qizilbāsh, Rāfiḍiyyah, Ja‘fariyyah, and Khāṣṣah have been enumerated,(2) whereas the names applied to the Shī‘ah are more than these. Only in the first century hijrī, the labels such as ‘Alawī, Turābī, Husaynī, etc. have been applied to the Shī‘ah.

The other criticism that can be made with respect to this book is related to the meaning of Shī‘ah. The Shī‘ah writers of rijāl do not regard as Shī‘ah some of the people whom he counted as Shī‘ah because although these people were Shī‘ah in the political sense, they cannot be considered as such in the ideological sense. That is to say that in the political disputes they took the side of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), but in terms of belief, they did not benefit from that fountainhead [of knowledge] (Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)). A separate section is supposed to be allotted to this discussion, and the beginning should have stated to whom the label Shī‘ah refers.

4. Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah

The book, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, written by the late great ‘Allāmah Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Muẓaffar, is one of the important references and authorities on the history of Shī‘ism. This book, reprinted many times, has been translated into Persian by Prof. Sayyid Muhammad Bāqir Ḥujjatī. The late Muẓaffar has surveyed and discussed in 82 headings the history of Shī‘ism from the time of the Prophet (ṣ) up to his own time. In general, the topics of this book can be summed up in three parts: (1) periods of the spread of Shī‘ism, (2) Shī‘ah-populated places, and (3) Shī‘ah governments.

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1- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, pp. 18-209.
2- Ibid., pp. 20-21.

The late Muẓaffar has been an able writer and erudite scholar whose pen, apart from being versatile and fluent, has the necessary power and firmness.

One of the most important merits of the book, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, is its comprehensiveness as it has examined the presence of the Shī‘ah in all parts of the world. This book can be one of the most important references and authorities for the researchers dealing with the history of Shī‘ism in every period and epoch.

In spite of all these merits that Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah does possess in comparison with other books, on account of its brevity, it fails to present the absolute truth except in topics such as the meaning of Shī‘ah, the specific time when the label Shī‘ah was applied to the sympathizers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the beginning of Shī‘ism, and the spread of Shī‘ism, which are related to the main discussions about Shī‘ah. In these cases, he has engaged in giving a detailed account, which is appropriate to the subjects. The late Muẓaffar thus says in the introduction of this book:

“I have no other aim but to let the people know that Shī‘ism commenced at the time of the Receiver of Message (Muhammad al-Mustafā (ṣ)), and the Iranians and Ibn Saba’ had no hand in founding it.”

The other defect of this book that can be cited is its lack of scholarly character. Due to the observance of brevity, the honorable writer has failed to quote and analyze the views of others.

Parts of this book dealing with the formation of Muslim states are supposed to be completed. For, with the passage of time, main changes and developments in the Shī‘ah states under discussion have occurred and some of them have even ceased to exist, but the honorable translator of the book has not discussed some of the new states and not conducted up-to-date research. As a result, it has been translated in such a form that the sections dealing with the Shī‘ah states gives an impression of antiquity.

5. Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh

The book, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh [Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh], written by Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, has been translated into Persian by Muhammad Ridā ‘Aṭā’ī and published by Āstān-e Quds-e Raḍawī (Custodianship of Imām ar-Ridā’s Holy Shrine). As one of the authorities on the history of the Shī‘ah, this book consists of five chapters and the concluding part:

The first chapter is about the meaning, concept, background, and a summary of the Shī‘ah beliefs.

The second chapter deals with the sects and groups that have separated from the Shī‘ah.

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The third chapter covers the history after the Prophet (ṣ) up to the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) and an analysis of the events and occurrences during that period.

The fourth chapter is about the position of the Shī‘ah during the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid caliphates.

The fifth chapter deals with the Shī‘ah disavowal [barā‘ah] of ghulū [extremism] and ghulāt [extremists].

The book, Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh, is a good authority on the discussion of the splits within the Shī‘ah, it has especially analyzed various factors behind the separation of groups and sects from the Shī‘ah.

As a book on the history of Shī‘ism, it does not cover all the topics and subjects dealing with the Shī‘ah. This is because at times the discussion drifts away from the subject of Shī‘ism, embarking on such subjects as the Khawārij (Kharijites)(1)

and the history of caliphate, which are not so relevant to the history of Shī‘ism.

6. Jihād ash-Shī‘ah

Another reference for the history of the Shī‘ah is the book Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (even though its main focus is the armed struggles and movements of the Shī‘ah). This book is written by Dr. Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, university professor at the ‘Ayn Shams University, Egypt. The Beirut-based Dār al-Jayl publisher has published Jihād ash-Shī‘ah in 1396 AH (1976) with 424 pages, 16.2x22.9 cm size, and hard-bound cover. After the introduction, this book has been arranged into 5 parts and a conclusion, and its subject is the jihād of the Shī‘ah. It has examined and discussed the subject approximately up to the end of the 2nd century hijrī. In other words, the author of the book, on one hand, talks about the armed struggles and movements of the Shī‘ah against the ‘Abbāsids, states the ‘Alawī uprisings and factors for their defeat, and discusses the role of the Shī‘ah movements and sects in the socio-political currents and conditions of that period. On the

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1- Khawārij (Kharijites or dissenters) were a group of quasi-holy, narrow-minded Muslims who were originally followers of Imām ‘Alī (‘a) and fought with him at the Battle of Siffīn. Initially they supported arbitration, pushing Imām ‘Alī to accept it; however, later they revolted against it arguing that because God was the only true arbitrator, Imām ‘Alī and those who agreed with him in the arbitration were not just wrong they were unbelievers, hence they could have no dealings with them. On Imām ‘Alī’s return to Iraq from Siffīn, this group split off from his army and set up camp on the banks of the Nahrawān canal where they began terrorizing the people whom they regarded as unbelievers. Imām ‘Alī was at first able to talk to them and persuade some of them to cease in their hostilities, but eventually he was forced to take up arms against them. In 659 CE he attacked their army under the leadership of ‘Abdullāh ibn Wahhāb al-Rasībī at Nahrawān almost annihilating them. Nahrawān was the third and last battle Imām ‘Alī had to wage with his enemies. [Trans.]

other hand, she has also analyzed the policy of the caliphs toward the Holy Imāms (‘a) and the Shī‘ah. Topics on the general history of the Shī‘ah have been discussed in a certain section of the first part which covers such topics as: Shī‘ah in the lexicon; the concept of Shī‘ah; history of the emergence of the Shī‘ah; the impact of the jihād of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) in the emergence of the Shī‘ah; the Shī‘ah jihād in Iraq; the emergence of the Kaysāniyyah sect; and the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah. In discussing the emergence of the Shī‘ah, she has advanced various views and opinion regarding the history of the Shī‘ah.

One problem that can be cited with respect to the book is in elucidating the “political theory” of the Holy Imāms ('a) whom the author has described as “the Imāms of the Imāmiyyah sect”. As the author is not a Shī‘ah, she has failed to discern and explain the foundation of the political thought of the Imāms (‘a). As such, she describes the basis of Imamate after Imām al-Husayn (‘a) as spiritual and intellectual Imamate, regarding their method as different from that of the Commander of the Faithful, Imām al-Hasan and Imām al-Husayn (‘a).(1)

7. Tārīkh-e Tashayyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Haftum-e Hijrī

The writer of this book, Mr. Rasūl Ja‘fariyān, is among the valuable researchers of the Islamic Theological Center in Qum. This book is a well-researched and distinctive one in its own right, and it is one of the best writings and literary works of this author. It is also one of the most important research references on the history of Shī‘ism. This book has valuable historical information and data, which no researcher on the history of Shī‘ism will be needless of. Among the merits of this book is its rich content. If it has any defect, it (only) pertains to the form and appearance. For example, its footnotes have not been printed in a standard and technical manner. The other one is that some subjects such as critique of the references used in the book are inserted in the (main) subjects, which gives confusion to the readers. Of course, it would have been better to discuss them in a separate chapter with the same heading, or at least, they must have been mentioned in the footnotes so as to cause no disruption to the main subjects.

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1- Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 36.
* Lesson 1: Summary

All history books can be good references for the research on the history of Shī‘ism. Among the special references on the history of Shī‘ism, however, are the following:

o Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn – the life account of the descendants of Abū Ṭālib [ṭālibiyyīn] who were murdered at the hand of the tyrants of their respective times.

o Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah – the history of the Shī‘ah and not history of Shī‘ism, but a part of the history of Shī‘ism can be learned from its survey of the conditions of the Shī‘ah as well as from its introduction.

o A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah – Although it is about the conditions of the Shī‘ah, its second introduction is about the general history of Shī‘ism.

o Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah –“This book has surveyed the periods of the spread of Shī‘ism, the Shī‘ah-populated places, and Shī‘ah states.” [The late Muẓaffar]

o Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh – “It has explained the meaning and concept of Shī‘ah, the Shī‘ah beliefs and its sects.” [Muhammad Husayn Zayn al-‘Āmilī]

o Jihād ash-Shī‘ah – Examines Shī‘ah uprisings till the end of the 2nd century hijrī.

o Tārīkh-e Tashayyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Haftum-e Hijrī – This book contains precious information regarding the history of Shī‘ism in Iran, which no researcher can be needless of in his research.

* Lesson 1: Questions

How many types do

references on the history of Shī‘ism have?

What is the subject

of the book Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn?

Give a brief

description of the book, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah.

What is the

relationship between the book A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, and the history of

Shī‘ism?

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Lesson Two

General References

After having a general survey of some of the special references on the history of Shī‘ism, we shall examine the general references for this history. The general references with respect to their subjects are as follows:

Tārīkh-e ‘Umūmī [General History];

Zendegīnāmeh-ye Imāmān (‘a)

[Biography of the Imāms (‘a)];

Kitab-hā-ye Fitan va Ḥurūb [Books on

Revolts and Wars];

Kitab-hā-ye Rijāl va Ṭabaqāt [Books on Rijāl

and Classes];

Kitab-hā-ye Jughrāfiyā [Books on

Geography];

Kitab-hā-ye Akhbār [Books on

Narrations];

Kitab-hā-ye Nasab [Books on

Genealogy];

Kitab-hā-ye Hadīth [Books on Hadīths];

and

Kitab-hā-ye Milal va Nihal [Books

on Nations and Religions].

1. General History

In this book’s survey of the history of Shī‘ism, the most widely used books are those relating to the general history of the first centuries hijrī and the history of the caliphate, such as Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh, Al-‘Abr, Al-Imāmmah wa’s-Siyāsah, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah of Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, including even the analytical history research and books written by contemporary writers. Among the general history books, I have used Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī and Murawwij adh-Dhahab extensively. In these two books,

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Lesson Two

General References
Point

After having a general survey of some of the special references on the history of Shī‘ism, we shall examine the general references for this history. The general references with respect to their subjects are as follows:

Tārīkh-e ‘Umūmī [General History];

Zendegīnāmeh-ye Imāmān (‘a)

[Biography of the Imāms (‘a)];

Kitab-hā-ye Fitan va Ḥurūb [Books on

Revolts and Wars];

Kitab-hā-ye Rijāl va Ṭabaqāt [Books on Rijāl

and Classes];

Kitab-hā-ye Jughrāfiyā [Books on

Geography];

Kitab-hā-ye Akhbār [Books on

Narrations];

Kitab-hā-ye Nasab [Books on

Genealogy];

Kitab-hā-ye Hadīth [Books on Hadīths];

and

Kitab-hā-ye Milal va Nihal [Books

on Nations and Religions].

1. General History

In this book’s survey of the history of Shī‘ism, the most widely used books are those relating to the general history of the first centuries hijrī and the history of the caliphate, such as Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh, Al-‘Abr, Al-Imāmmah wa’s-Siyāsah, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah of Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, including even the analytical history research and books written by contemporary writers. Among the general history books, I have used Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī and Murawwij adh-Dhahab extensively. In these two books,

p: 19

historical events and occurrences have been recorded fairly impartially and without any attempt at concealing the truth. Ya‘qūbi has expressed in detail the oppositions of Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) with the caliphate of Abūbakr, criticizing the groupings after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ).(1)

He has embarked, as far as he could, on mentioning the events relevant to the history of the Shī‘ah such as the government of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a),(2) the peace treaty of Imām al-Hasan (‘a),(3)

the martyrdom of Ḥujr ibn al-‘Addī,(4)

‘Amrū ibn Ḥamq(5)

and that of Imām al-Husayn (‘a),(6)

more or less presenteing the truth of the matter.

Mas‘ūdī is also among the historians who had no intention of concealing the truth. Although he has only dealt in passing with the event of Saqīfah in the books Murawwij adh-Dhahab and At-Tanbiyyah wa’l-Ashrāf, he nevertheless has mentioned the differences of the Companions and the Banū Hāshim’s refusal to pay allegiance to Abūbakr.(7) In another part of the first book, Mas‘ūdī wrote the issue of Fadak(8) and discussed in detail the events that took place during the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and the martyrdom of Imām al-Hasan (‘a).(9) He has mentioned the names of the Shī‘ah and their tribes as well as the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in various parts of Murawwij adh-Dhahab.(10) Also, in the years of the Holy Imāms’ (‘a) demise, he has given a short account of their lives.(11)

He has, in particular, detailed the uprisings of the ‘Alawīs during the 2nd century hijrī.(12)

2. Biography of the Imāms (‘a)

Among the books relevant to the life accounts of the Imāms (‘a), the book, Al-Irshād, by Shaykh al-Mufīd and Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ by Ibn al-Jawzī occupy (special) importance. Al-Irshād is the first and most important available Shī‘ah reference authority on the life account of the twelve Imāms

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1- Ahmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH0, vol. 2, p. 123-126.
2- Ibid., pp. 178-179.
3- Ibid., pp. 214-215.
4- Ibid., pp. 230-231.
5- Ibid., pp. 231-232.
6- Ibid., pp. 243-246.
7- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 2, p. 316; At-Tanbiyyah wa’l-Ashrāf (Cairo: Dār aṣ-Ṣāwī Li’ṭ-Ṭab‘ wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Ta’līf, n.d.), p. 427.
8- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 262.
9- Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 246-266.
10- Ibid., vol. 3, pp. 59, 74.
11- Ibid., pp. 180, 243, 313, 388.
12- Ibid., pp. 324-326, 358.

(‘a). In view of the fact that part of ‘Alī’s (‘a) life overlapped that of the life of the Prophet (ṣ), the life account and conduct [sīrah] of the Prophet (ṣ) has also been included in this book, especially his battles in all of which ‘Alī (‘a) had been present, with the exception of the Tabūk expedition. Concerning the book, it is enough to say that no researcher on the history of Shī‘ism and the biography of the infallible Imāms (‘a) is needless of it.

The Tadhrikah al-Khawāṣ of Ibn al-Jawzī occupies special importance in the sense that the biography of the Shī‘ah Imāms (‘a) has been expressed through the language of a Ḥanafī and non-Shī‘ah person, but no sort of negligence of the truth and concealment of the reality has taken place.

3. Books on Revolts and Wars

These references deal particularly with the wars that have great importance in the historiography of Muslims. The Waq‘ah aṣ-Ṣiffīn of Nasr ibn Mazāḥim al-Munqarī (born 212 AH), which deals with the event and confrontation at Ṣiffīn, can be regarded as the oldest among them. This book contains valuable information regarding the correspondence between ‘Alī (‘a) and Mu‘āwiyah as well as the various sermons and speeches of the former. Valuable information concerning the opinion of the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) regarding ‘Alī and the influence of Shī‘ism among the different tribes can be acquired from the different parts of the book.

The book, Al-Ghārāt, written by Ibrāhīm Thaqafī al-Kūfī (283 AH), is one of the other references written about this subject. This book is related to the events that occurred during the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), and examines the plunders and pillages committed by Mu‘āwiyah’s agents in the realm of ‘Alī’s (‘a) government. The conditions and situations of the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) Shī‘ah can be extracted from various sections of the book.

Al-Jamal or Nuṣrah al-Jamal of Shaykh al-Mufīd, which examines the event of the Battle of Jamal (Camel) is yet another valuable references in this regard. As it is about the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) first battle during his caliphate, this book illustrates ‘Alī’s (‘a) station among the people of Iraq prior to his arrival there.

4. Books on Rijāl and Classes

‘Ilm ar-Rijāl is one of the sciences mentioned in relation to the science of hadīth. Its utility is in the study of the chain of transmission of hadīth through which it deals with the life account and background of the hadīth narrators and on the rectification of the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). In the Shī‘ah rijāl, apart from the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ), the companions of the infallible Imāms (‘a) have also been discussed. The

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science of rijāl started in the 2nd century hijrī and continues to exist to the present, having acquired perfection with the passage of time. Some of the most famous and reputable writings of the Ahl as-Sunnah in this context are Al-Isti‘āb fī Ma‘rifah al-Aṣḥāb, written by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr al-Qurṭubī (463 AH); Asad al-Ghābah fī Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah, authored by Ibn Athīr al-Juzrī (630 AH); Tārīkh Baghdād, penned by Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī (392-463 AH); and Al-Iṣābah fī Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah, written by Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalāni. Similarly, the most important Shī‘ah rijālī books are Ikhtibār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl, written by Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (385-460 AH); Rijāl an-Najāsī (Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣannif ash-Shī‘ah) better known as Rijāl, Kitāb ar-Rijāl, and Kitāb al-Fihrist of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (385-460 AH); Rijāl al-Burqā, authored by Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid al-Burqā (280 AH); Al-Mashaykhah of Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq (381 AH); Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ of Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī (488-588 AH); and Rijāl Ibn Dāwūd of Taqī ad-Dīn Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Dāwūd al-Ḥillī (647-707 AH). Of course, the science of rijāl has acquired greater perfection among the Shī‘ah and has been divided into various branches.

Some books on rijāl such as Asad al-Ghābah, Fihrist Shaykh, Rijāl an-Najāshī, and Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ have been written in (Arabic) alphabetical order while some others such as Rijāl Shaykh and Rijāl al-Burqā have been arranged according to the classes of the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) and the Imāms (‘a).

There are other types of rijāl books in which the people are surveyed according to various classifications, and the most important of them is the Tabaqāt of Ibn Sa‘d.

5. Books on Geography

Some of the geography books are travelogues most of which have been written after the third century hijrī. Since in this book the history of Shī‘ism has been examined in the first three centuries hijrī, a number of them have not been used so much, but other geography books which have presented documents are among the references used in this research. Among them, Mu‘jām al-Buldān has been used most on account of its comprehensiveness. The writer of the book, Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, has treated the Shī‘ah with bias; mentioning the names of the great families in Kūfah, he has failed to mention any of the names of the great Shī‘ah scholars and families.

6. Books on Narrations

What is meant by references and books on narrations [akhbār] is not the books on hadīth that dealt on the lawful [ḥalāl] and the prohibited [ḥarām]. They referred instead to history books based on the method of writing history

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during the period of Islam in which historical events and news have been mentioned in narrative form with the inclusion of the chain of narrators; that is, following the method of the people of hadīth in recording and narrating historical events. This kind of history writing has some salient features. Firstly, any set of news regarding isolated event is mentioned distinct from other events, and it is by itself complete without any link with other news and events. Secondly, literary characteristics can also be observed in it; that is, sometimes the writer makes use of poem, story and debate. In most cases, this feature can be seen particularly in narrative works which were influenced by the form of Ayyām al-‘Arab narrations. On account of this, some researchers have regarded the historiography of khabar [news, report, narration] to have originated from the khabar of the stories about the period prior to the advent of Islam. Thirdly, the chain of narrators is mentioned. In reality, this method of history writing, particularly during the first two centuries hijrī, was in most cases the way of presenting the primary sources of history. Significant corpus of the written works of the Islamic period is through this method.

Among the books on narrations [akhbār], Al-Akhbār al-Mu’affaqiyyāt of Zubayr ibn Bakkār occupies special importance. The writer of this book, Zubayr ibn Bakkār, apart from being among the descendants of Zubayr who had ancient hostility to the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (ṣ), had good relations with Mutawakkil, the ‘Abbāsid caliph, who was a staunch enemy of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and his descendants; the teacher of his children(1)

and had been appointed as the judge in Mecca.(2)

In spite of this, valuable information regarding the Companions of the Prophet’s (ṣ) protest against the caliphate of Abūbakr has been recorded in this book. The narration of their poems, in particular, which contain their belief on the guardianship [waṣāyah] of ‘Alī (‘a), is an expression of these protests.

7. Books on Genealogy

Among the books on genealogy, Ansāb al-Ashrāf of Balādhurī, which is the best reference in this regard, has been used most. On the other hand, this book can be considered as among the books on (personal) backgrounds [aḥwāl]. This is in spite of the fact that in terms of genealogical knowledge, the book Jumharah Ansāb al-‘Arab is the most comprehensive book, which has also presented a brief explanation of the description of some individuals.

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1- Al-Ḥāfiẓ Abūbakr Ahmad ibn ‘Alī Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād (Egypt: Maṭba‘ah as-Sa‘ādah, 1349 AH), vol. 8, p. 467.
2- Ibn Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), p. 160.

The book, Muntaqilah aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, has examined the migration of sādāt (sing. sayyid) and descendants of the Prophet (ṣ). By utilizing its subjects, the trend of Shī‘ism during the first centuries hijrī in the Muslim lands can be examined.

8. Books on Ḥadīth

Another set of the references on the history of Shī‘ism includes the books on hadīth. Ḥadīth in the Sunnī usage refers to the Prophet’s (ṣ) sayings, actions and tacit approvals of others’ actions, but the Shī‘ah regards the infallible Imams (‘a) as also attached to the Prophet (ṣ), treating their sayings, actions and tacit approvals as proofs [ḥujaj] as well. The hadīth books of the Ahl as-Sunnah such as Aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ of al-Bukhārī (194-256 AH), Al-Musnad of Ahmad ibn Ḥanbal (164-241 AH), and Al-Mustadrak ‘alā’ṣ-Ṣaḥīḥayn of Ḥākim an-Nayshābūrī (d. 450 AH) are good references for the study of Shī‘ism among the Companions and of the rightfulness of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) which is the basis of Shī‘ism.

The Shī‘ah books on hadīth such as the “four books” [kutub al-arba‘ah], viz. Al-Kāfī of al-Kulaynī (d. 329 AH); Man Lā Yaḥḍuruh al-Faqīh of Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq (d. 381 AH); and Tahdhīb al-Aḥkām and Al-Istibṣār of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (d. 360 AH); and other books such as Al-Amālī, Ghurar al-Fawā’id and Durar al-Qalā’id of Sayyid Murtadā (355-436 AH); Al-Iḥtijāj of aṭ-Ṭabarsī (6th century hijrī); and the bulky encyclopedia of hadīth, Biḥār al-Anwār of ‘Allāmah Majlisī (d. 1111 AH), apart from having the merit of the books of the Ahl as-Sunnah, can be utilized, by referring to the hadīths of the infallible Imāms (‘a), in knowing about the scattering of the Shī‘ah, their resident places, their social relations, and their mode of communication with the infallible Imāms (‘a).

9. Books on Nations and Religions

One of the most important references and authorities in this regard is the book, Al-Milal wa’n-Nihal of Shahristānī (479-548 AH). In terms of comprehensiveness and oldness, this book is considered a good reference and as a reference authority of researchers and scholars. This is in spite of the fact that the author has approached the subject with bias. In the beginning of the book, he has quoted the hadīth on “73 sects” and introduced the Ahl as-Sunnah as the “saved sect”. As such, he tried his best to highlight the spread of “Shī‘ah sects” so as to prove that the plentitude of the “Shī‘ah sects” is a proof of the falsehood of this school of thought [madhhab]. He has regarded the sects such as Mukhtāriyyah, Bāqiriyyah, Ja‘fariyyah, Mufḍalah, Nu‘māniyyah, Hishāmiyyah, and Yūnusiyyah as “Shī‘ah” although these sects do not exist in reality. Similarly, in the book, Khuṭaṭ, Maqrīzī has

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said that the “Shī‘ah sects” are 300 all in all, but at the time of enumerating them he failed to mention more than 20 sects.

Among the oldest and most important books on nations and religions are Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq of Ash‘arī al-Qummī and Firaq ash-Shī‘ah of Nawbakhtī. Ash‘arī al-Qummī and Nawbakhtī are among the Shī‘ah scholars who lived in the second half of the 3rd century hijrī. The book, Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, in terms of presenting information, is so extensive and has good comprehensiveness, but its subjects are diverse with any proper classification.

According to the views expressed by some researchers, the book, Firaq ash-Shī‘ah of Nawbakhtī is actually the same book as Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq.

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* Lesson 2: Summary

General references for the history of Shī‘ism are the following:

o Books on general history, which have been written in the first centuries hijrī, and among them Murawwij adh-Dhahab and Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, occupy special importance;

o Books on the biography of the Imams (‘a) such as Al-Irshād of Shaykh al-Mufīd;

o Books on revolts and wars such as Waq‘ah aṣ-Ṣiffīn;

o Books on rijāl and classes as well as books written about (personal) backgrounds [aḥwāl];

o Books on geography such as travelogues and history of cities;

o Books on narrations which have been the same in form with the first history writing;

o Books on genealogy such as Jumharah Ansāb al-‘Arab; and

o Books on hadīth as well as books on nations and religions.

* Lesson 2: Questions

Among the books on

general history, which of the earlier books that have dealt more with the

history of Shī‘ism?

Briefly describe the

books, Al-Irshād and Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ.

Which type of books

does Wāqi‘ah aṣ-Ṣiffīn belong to?

Briefly describe the

books on rijāl.

How many types do the

books on geography have?

What are the salient

features of the books on narrations [akhbār]?

Name two books on

genealogy.

What is the

relationship between the books on hadīth and the history of

Shī‘ism?

What is the title of

one of the most important books written on nations and religions?

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Chapter Two

The Manner of Emergence of the Shī‘ah

Lesson Three

“Shī‘ah” in the Lexicon and the Qur’an

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The word “Shī‘ah” in the lexicon is derived from the root-word شیع [shaya‘a] which means escorting [mushāyi‘ah], victory and bravery [shujā‘ah].(1)

It is equally applied to the followers and supporters as it is usually applied to the followers and supporters of ‘Alī (‘a).(2)

As Azharī has said, “Shī‘ah refers to a group that loves the progeny [‘itrah] and descendants of the Prophet (ṣ).”(3)

Ibn al-Khaldūn says:

Be aware that ‘Shī‘ah’ in the lexicon means ‘followers’ and ‘supporters’, and in the parlance of the past and present jurists [fiqh] and scholastic

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1- For example, this poem: والخزرجی قلبه مشیع لیس من الامر الجلیل یفزع Indeed, the Khazrajī man has a brave heart and is not afraid of performing a great task. Al-Khalīl ibn Ahmad al-Farāhidī, Tartīb Kitāb al-‘Ayn (Tehran: Instishārāt-e Asweh, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 960.
2- Fīrūz-Ābādī, Qāmūs al-Lughah (Lithography), p. 332.
3- Abū Fayḍ as-Sayyid Murtadā al-Husaynī al-Wāsiṭī az-Zaydī al-Ḥanafī, Tāj al-‘Arūs, vol. 11, p. 257.

theologians [mutakallimūn], it is applied to the followers of ‘Alī and his descendants.(1)

But Shahristānī limits the definitional scope of the word ‘Shī‘ah’, saying:

‘Shī‘ah’ is referring to those who follow ‘Alī alone and believe in his Imamate [imāmah] and caliphate [khilāfah] to be based on revelation [nass],

and they say: ‘Imamate shall not bypass him except [that it is done] through injustice [ẓulm]’.(2)

There are also many cases in the Qur’an in which “Shī‘ah” connotes “followers” and “supporters” such as:

﴿ وَإِنَّ مِنْ شِیعَتِهِ لإبْرَاهِیمَ ﴾

“Indeed Abraham was among his followers [shī‘ah]”(3)

and the verse,

﴿ فَاسْتَغَاثَهُ الَّذِی مِنْ شِیعَتِهِ عَلَی الَّذِی مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ ﴾

“The one who was from his (Moses’) followers [shī‘ah] sought his help against him who was from his enemies.”(4)

The word “Shī‘ah” has also been mentioned in the Prophetic traditions to mean “followers and friends of ‘Alī (‘a)”.(5)

“Shī‘ah” in the Shī‘ah references does not have more than one meaning and conception and that is belief in the succession of ‘Alī (‘a) and his eleven descendants in which no change has ever taken place since the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) up to the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā]. Just as the Shī‘ah of the second half of the third century hijrī believed in all the twelve Imāms (‘a), the pioneering Shī‘ah among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) also believed in this affair because they had been informed of the names of these Imāms from the Prophetic traditions.(6)

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1- ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muhammad ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 196.
2- Shāhristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 131.
3- Sūrah aṣ-Ṣāffāt 37:83.
4- Sūrah al-Qasas 28:15.
5- We shall quote these traditions in the next chapter.
6- Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī, one of the Sunnī scholars, mentions the hadīth on the twelve Imāms, and with respect to its authenticity, he claims to have consensus of opinion as it has been narrated through various chains. Then, he embarks on interpreting the hadīth quoting contradictory statements from Ahl as-Sunnah scholars and ‘ulamā’, ultimately failing to reach a decisive conclusion. For example, Qāḍī ‘Iyād al-Yahsubī has said: “Perhaps, it means the twelve caliphs who were rulers during the glorified period of caliphate and grandeur of Islam, i.e. up to Walīd ibn Yazīd’s reign.” Others have said: “It refers to the twelve caliphs in truth who shall rule till the Day of Resurrection, some of whose reigns have already passed, such as the Righteous Caliphs [khulafā’ ar-rāshidūn], Imām al-Hasan, Mu‘āwiyah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, and Mahdī al-‘Abbās. Two more shall come, one of whom is the Awaited Mahdī [mahdī al-muntaẓar] from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).” Some ‘ulamā’ have also interpreted the hadīth on the twelve Imāms to refer to the twelve Imāms, in which after Mahdī (‘a), accordingly, six shall come from the descendants of Imām al-Hasan (‘a) while the other five shall come from the descendants of Imām al-Husayn (‘s). Aṣ-Ṣawā‘iq al-Muḥriqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), pp. 20-21.

Although many of the Shī‘ah had no access to these traditions due to the atmosphere of strangulation maintained by the tyrant rulers, what was obligatory (for them) was to recognize the Imām of their respective times. As the Holy Prophet (ṣ) said, “He who will die without recognizing the Imām of his time dies in a state of ignorance [jāhiliyyah].”(1)

As such, we can see that when Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) attained martyrdom, Zurārah who was an old man sent his son, ‘Ubayd, to inquire about the successor of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). But before ‘Ubayd was able to return to Kūfah, Zurārah, who was about to die, took hold of a copy of the Qur’an and said: “O God! Be my witness that I testify to the Imamate [imāmah] of the one who has been designated in this Qur’an.”(2)

Of course, with the passage of time, the meaning and concept of Shī‘ah assumes an explicit form and its scope is determined. Thus, the infallible Imāms (‘a) have regarded those who are identified with the false sects and faiths as outside Shī‘ah circles, as Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī narrates from Ḥamrān ibn A‘īn:

I asked Imām al-Bāqir (‘a): “Am I really among your Shī‘ah?” The Imām (‘a) replied: “Yes, you are among our Shī‘ah in this world and in the hereafter, and the names of the Shī‘ah and their fathers are written for us. Why, are there those who turn their back to us?” I replied: “May I be your ransom! Is it possible for somebody to be your Shī‘ah and to have knowledge of your being in truth, and then to turn his back from you?” The Imām (‘a) said: “Yes, O Ḥamrān! You will not perceive them.”

Ḥamzah az-Zayyāt, who is one of the narrators of this hadīth, thus says:

Concerning this hadīth we made a discussion and we were not able to understand the purport of the Imām (‘a). As such, I wrote a letter to Imām

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1- Al-Kulaynī, Uṣūl al-Kāfī, 5th printing (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1363 AH), vol. 1, p. 377.
2- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Aḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 371.

ar-Ridā (‘a) and I asked him (‘a) (about this). The Imām (‘a) said: “Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) was referring to the Wāqifiyyah (a deviant sect).”(1)

It is for this reason that in the parlance of the Shī‘ah rijāl writers, the title Shī‘ah is only applied to the Shī‘ah believing in the twelve Imāms (‘a) and in the language of the jurists [fuqahā], they are sometimes described as “our companions” [aṣḥābunā] or “our Imāmī companions” [aṣḥābunā al-imāmiyyah]. And those who had inclined toward the deviant sects and drifted away from the course of Shī‘ism have described with such labels as Faṭḥī, Wāqifī, Nāwūsī, etc. and if ever the names of some of them are mentioned in the Shī‘ah books on rijāl, the reason is that they had narrated these traditions prior to their deviation, just as the names of a number of Sunnī narrators who have narrated from the infallible Imāms (‘a) have been mentioned in these books.

The Sunnī scholars and rijāl writers, however, have used the word Shī‘ah in broader sense and they have applied it to all the sects that have separated from the body of Shī‘ism and even to the ghulāt as well.

In addition, they also refer to those who love and admire the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) as “Shī‘ah”. This is while some of these people do not have any sort of belief in the infallibility [‘iṣmah] and Imamate [imāmah] of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), such as Sufyān ath-Thawrī, a rector [muftī] in Iraq who issued edicts [fatāwā] based on the Ahl as-Sunnah, but Ibn al-Qutaybah has enlisted him along with the Shī‘ah.(2)

Regarding ash-Shāfi‘ī, who is the founder of one of the four Sunnī schools of thought [madhāhib], Ibn Nadīm thus says:

کَانَ الشَّافِعِی شَدِیْداً فی التَّشَیُّع.

“Ash-Shāfi‘ī had extreme Shī‘ism [tashayyu‘].”(3)

Of course, during the second and third centuries hijrī, besides the Shī‘ah Imāmī, the Zaydīs constituted the greatest number of Shī‘ah. They were “Shī‘ah” more in the political sense than in ideology because, in terms of jurisprudence [fiqh], they were not followers of the Ja‘farī fiqh; rather they were followers of the Ḥanafī fiqh.(4)

From the viewpoint of the ideological principles also, as narrated by Shahristānī, “For sometime, Zayd was a student of Wāṣil ibn ‘Aṭā’, the founder of the Mu‘tazilah (Mu‘tazilite)

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1- Ibid., vol. 2, p. 763.
2- Ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1410 AH), p. 624.
3- Ibn an-Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 295.
4- Shahristānī, Al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 143.

madhhab and has learned from him the principles of the Mu‘tazilah madhhab.”

Therefore, the Zaydīs are Mu‘tazilites in principles [uṣūl]. It is for this reason that they used to regard as permissible [jāyiz] the Imamate [imāmah] of a deserving person [mafḍūl] in the existence of the more deserving person [afḍal] and in that they do not disrespect the two sheikhs [shaykhayn] (Abūbakr and ‘Umar).(1)

And in terms of beliefs, they are closer to the Ahl as-Sunnah, as Ibn al-Qutaybah thus says: “Among the rāfiḍī (Shī‘ah) sects, the Zaydīs have the least extremism [ghulū].”(2)

It was for this reason that the uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah—one of the Zaydī leaders—was praised by some jurists [fuqahā] of the Ahl as-Sunnah, and as narrated by Wāqidī, Abūbakr ibn Sīrah,(3)

Ibn ‘Ajlān,(4)

and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far(5)—who

were among the great ḥadīth scholars [muḥaddithūn] of the Medina school [maktab] and from whom Wāqidī himself has narrated ḥadīth—were involved in the uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah. Also, Shahristānī says: “Abū Ḥanīfah was among the followers of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah.”(6)

The Mu‘tazilites of Baṣrah also agreed with the uprising of Muḥammad and based on Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī’s narration, “A group of the Mu‘tazilites in Baṣrah such as Wāṣil ibn ‘Aṭā’ and ‘Amrū ibn ‘Ubayd have paid allegiance to him.”(7)

As such, the Zaydīs can be regarded as Shī‘ah only from the political viewpoint although they believe in the superiority of the descendants of Fāṭimah (‘a).

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1- Ibid., p. 138.
2- Ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, p. 623.
3- Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, 2nd edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1416 AH/1374 AHS), p. 251.
4- Ibid., p. 254.
5- Ibid., p. 256.
6- Shahristānī, Al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 140.
7- Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 258.
* Lesson 3: Summary

Shī‘ah, according to the lexicon, refers to the followers and supporters of ‘Alī (‘a). In the Shī‘ah references, “Shī‘ah” does not have more than one meaning and that is belief in the succession of ‘Alī (‘a) and his eleven descendants. The infallible Imāms used to consider those who were identified with the deviant sects as outside the circle of Shī‘ism, but the Sunnī scholars and rijāl writers have used the word Shī‘ah in broader sense and they have applied it to all the sects that have separated from the body of Shī‘ism as well as to the admirers of the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ). Of course, during the second and third centuries hijrī, next to the Shī‘ah Imāmī, the Zaydīs had been regarded by them to have constituted the greatest number of Shī‘ah.

* Lesson 3: Questions

1. In the lexicon, what does the word “Shī‘ah” mean? Explain.

2. What is the meaning and connotation of the word “Shī‘ah” in the Shī‘ah references?

3. Were those who were identified with the deviant sects regarded as “Shī‘ah” by the infallible Imāms (‘a)? Explain.

4. How the Sunnī scholars have been defining the word “Shī‘ah”?

5. Which of the sects is more akin to the Shī‘ah in the political perspective? Why?

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Lesson Four

The Origin of Shī‘ism

Diverse views have been expressed with respect to the origin and beginning of Shī‘ism, but in general, these views can be divided into two:

1. The writers and researchers who believe Shī‘ism was created after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) and who themselves can be subdivided into the following subgroups:

a. Those who believe that Shī‘ism has come into being during the day of Saqīfah—that day when a group of prominent Companions explicitly said: “‘Alī is the most deserving one to the office of Imamate [imāmah] and caliphate [khilāfah].”(1)

b. Those who regard the emergence of the Shī‘ah as being related to the latter part of Uthmān’s caliphate, connecting the spread of the views of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ at this period with the beginning of Shī‘ism.(2)

c. Those who believe that the Shī‘ah has come into being on the day of Fitnah ad-Dār (the day when the third caliph was murdered). Thereafter, accordingly, the followers of ‘Alī (‘a) who were the very Shī‘ah who confronted the so-called “‘Uthmānīs”, those who were avenging the murder of ‘Uthmān. As Ibn an-Nadīm thus writes:

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1- Ya‘qūbī said: “A number of distinguished Companions refused to pay allegiance to Abūbakr saying, ‘‘Alī is the most deserving one in the office of caliphate’.” Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 124.
2- Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 25.

When Ṭalḥah and Zubayr opposed ‘Alī and nothing could convince them but to take revenge for the murder of ‘Uthmān, while ‘Alī also wanted to fight them so as to establish the truth, on that day those who followed him were called “Shī‘ah” and he himself thus described them: “They are my Shī‘ah”.(1)

Ibn ‘Abd ar-Rabbih al-Andalusī also says: “The Shī‘ah are those who regarded ‘Alī as superior to ‘Uthmān.”(2)

d. Those who believe that Shī‘ism had come into existence from the coming into power, up to the martyrdom of ‘Alī (‘a).(3)

e. Those who link the origin of Shī‘ism with the event at Karbalā’ and the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).(4)

2. The researchers who are of the opinion that Shī‘ism can be traced back to the period of the Messenger of Allah (‘a). Apart from all the Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’,(5) some of the Sunnī scholars also hold such a belief, just as Muhammad Kird-‘Alī—one of the distinguished Sunnī ‘ulamā’—says: “A number of the Companions during the time of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) were known as Shī‘ah of ‘Alī.”(6)

Keeping in view of the opinions presented so far, it can be said that the event of Saqīfah, the latter part of the caliphate of ‘Uthmān, the Battle of Jamal (Camel), the rule of ‘Alī (‘a), and the events at Karbalā’ are phases of the events that have influenced the history of Shī‘ism. Although the existence of a person named ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ is doubtful, the formation of Shī‘ism at these stages seems incorrect because studying the Prophetic traditions, we find that the term “Shī‘ah”, has been applied by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad al-Mustafā (ṣ), to the sympathizers of ‘Alī (‘a) before all these events, as recorded in many hadīths, some of which we shall cite below.

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1- Ibn an-Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), p. 249.
2- Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 2, p. 230.
3- Abū Manṣūr ‘Abd al-Qādir ibn Ṭāhir ibn Muḥammad al-Baghdādī, Al-Firaq bayn al-Firaq (Cairo: n.p., 1397 AH), p. 134.
4- Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah, p. 35, quoting Bernard Lewis, Uṣūl al-Ismā‘iliyyah [The Principles of Ismā‘iliyyah], p. 84.
5- Ja‘far Kāshif al-Ghiṭā’, Difā‘ az Ḥaqqāniyyat-e Shī‘eh [In Defense of the Truthfulness of the Shī‘ah], trans. Ghulām-Hasan Muḥarramī, 1st edition (n.p.: Mu’minīn, 1378 AHS), p. 48; Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, trans. Muhammad-Ridā ‘Aṭā’ī, 2nd edition (Mashhad: Bunyād-e Pazhūhesh-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Āstān-e Quds-e Raḍawī, 1375 AHS), 34.
6- Muhammad Kird-‘Alī, Khaṭaṭ ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403 AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 245.

All these hadīths are accepted by the Ahl as-Sunnah as authentic and have been recorded in their hadīth references. Take, for example, the hadīths which have been recorded by Suyūṭī—one of the Sunnī exegetes [mufassirūn] of the Qur’an—from the Holy Prophet (ṣ) on the commentary of the verse:

﴿ إِنَّ الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِکَ هُمْ خَیْرُ الْبَرِیَّهِ ﴾

“Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds—it is they who are the best of creatures.”(1)

Among them is this hadīth of the Prophet (ṣ) when he said:

والّذی نفسی بیده إنّ هذا و شیعته لهم الفائزون یوم القیامه.

“By He in Whose hand my life is! Verily, this man (‘Alī) and his Shī‘ah shall secure deliverance on the Day of Resurrection.”(2)

The Holy Prophet (ṣ) said to ‘Alī (‘a): “God has forgiven the sins of your Shī‘ah and the followers of your Shī‘ah.”(3)

The Prophet (ṣ) also said to ‘Alī (‘a): “You and your Shī‘ah will meet (on the Day of Resurrection) at the Pool [ḥawḍ] of Kawthar while having drank from it and having bright faces, whereas your enemies will meet me while they are thirsty and enchained.”(4)

In a long hadīth regarding the virtues of ‘Alī (‘a), the Holy Prophet (ṣ) thus says to his daughter Fātimah (‘a): “O Fātimah! ‘Alī and his Shī‘ah are the saved ones of tomorrow.”(5)

Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: “O ‘Alī! Your sins as well as that of your progeny, your Shī‘ah and the followers of your Shī‘ah have been forgiven…”(6)

Again, the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: “O ‘Alī! During the Day of Resurrection, I shall cling to God while you shall hold fast to me; your

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1- Sūrah al-Bayyinah 98:7.
2- Jalal ad-Dīn as-Suyūṭī, Ad-Durr al-Manthūr fī’t-Tafsīr bi’l-Ma’thūr (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘Uẓmā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1404 AH) vol. 6, p. 379.
3- Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Muḥriqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 232.
4- Ibid.; Nūr ad-Dīn ‘Alī ibn Abībakr al-Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, 1414 AH), vol. 9, p. 177.
5- Akhṭab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1385 AH), p. 206.
6- Ibid., p. 209; Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al-Ḥanafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1418 AH), vol. 1, p. 302.

descendants shall hold fast to you; and the Shī‘ah of your descendants shall hold fast to them.”(1)

The Prophet (ṣ) again said to ‘Alī (‘a): “In the hereafter, of all the people, you are the nearest one to me… and the Shī‘ah are on pulpits on light…”(2)

Ibn al-‘Abbās narrated that Jibra’īl (Archangel Gabriel) (‘a) gave the news that ‘Alī (‘a) and the Shī‘ah shall be brought to Paradise along with Muhammad (ṣ).”(3)

Salmān al-Fārsī narrates that the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) said to ‘Alī (‘a):

O ‘Alī! Put a ring on your right hand so as to be with the nearest ones [muqarrabīn].” ‘Alī (‘a) asked: “Who are the nearest ones?” He (ṣ) replied: “Jibra’īl and Mīkā’īl.” ‘Alī (‘a) again asked: “Which kind of ring shall I put on?” He (ṣ) replied: “A ring whose stone is a red ‘aqīq because ‘aqīq is a testimony that one has acknowledged and accepted the divine servitude [‘ubūdiyyah], my prophethood [nubuwwah], your guardianship [wiṣāyah], and your descendants’ Imamate [imāmah]. Your followers are people of Paradise and the abode of your Shī‘ah is the Garden

of Firdaws [jannah al-firdaws].(4)

The Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) again said: “Eighty thousand from my ummah shall be admitted to Paradise without reckoning.” ‘Alī (‘a) asked: “Who are they?” He (ṣ) replied: “They are your Shī‘ah and you are their Imām.”(5)

Anas ibn Mālik thus narrates from the Holy Prophet (ṣ):

Jibra’īl said to me: “God, the Exalted, loves ‘Alī to such a degree that is not expressed to any angel. Just as the taṣbīḥs [glorifications to Allah] that are being uttered, God creates angels to seek forgiveness for the admirers and Shī‘ah of ‘Alī till the Day of Resurrection.”(6)

Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī narrates that the Prophet (ṣ) said: “By God Who sent me in truth as the Prophet! The angels are regularly seeking forgiveness for ‘Alī and they pity him and his Shī‘ah as a father does (with respect to his child).”(7)

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1- Akhṭab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib, p. 210.
2- Ibid., vol. 188, p. 158.
3- Ibid., chap. 19, hadīth 329, p. 322.
4- Ibid., p. 234.
5- Ibid., p. 235.
6- Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al-Ḥanafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, p. 301.
7- Ibid.

‘Alī (‘a) himself narrates that the Prophet (ṣ) said: “O ‘Alī! Give glad tidings to your Shī‘ah that I am [their] intercessor [shafī‘] on the Day of Resurrection—the day when neither wealth nor child is of any benefit except my intercession [shafā‘ah].”(1)

The Holy Prophet (ṣ) said to ‘Alī (‘a): “The first four persons to enter Paradise are I, you, Hasan, and Husayn; our descendants are behind us; our spouses are behind our descendants and our Shī‘ah are on our right and left sides.”(2)

Finally, many of the Sunnī muḥaddithūn and historians such as Ibn al-Jawzī, Balādhurī, Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al-Ḥanafī, Khwārazmī, and as-Suyūṭī have narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) thus said while addressing ‘Alī (‘a): “Verily, this man (‘Alī) and his Shī‘ah shall secure deliverance on the Day of Resurrection.”(3)

There are even recorded traditions from the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) about some of the Shī‘ah and what is interesting here is that these have been narrated by the opponents of the Shī‘ah! For example, there is a tradition about Ḥujr ibn ‘Adī al-Kindī which has been narrated by ‘Ā’ishah. When Mu‘āwiyah performed Ḥajj after killing Ḥujr and his companions and came to Medina, ‘Ā’ishah said to him:

O Mu‘āwiyah! Where was your forbearance at the time of killing Ḥujr and his companions? Be aware that I heard that the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: “There is a group that shall be killed in a place called Marj ‘Adhrā’ for which Allah and the inhabitants of heaven will be filled with wrath.”(4)

Since these hadīths are undeniable and have been narrated by prominent Sunnī muḥaddithūn, some Sunnī writers have resorted to unjust interpretation of them. For instance, Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd says:

What is meant by the Shī‘ah in many hadīths who have been given the glad tidings of Paradise are those who believe in the superiority and preeminence of ‘Alī (‘a) over others. For this reason, our Mu‘tazilite ‘ulamā’

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1- Ibid., p. 302.
2- Nūr ad-Dīn ‘Alī ibn Abībakr al-Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id, p. 178.
3- Ibn al-Jawzī, Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1383 AH), p. 54; Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1349 AH), vol. 2, p. 182; Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al-Ḥanafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1418 AH), vol. 1, p. 301; Akhṭab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1385 AH), p. 206; Jalal ad-Dīn as-Suyūṭī, Ad-Durr al-Manthūr fī’t-Tafsīr bi’l-Ma’thūr (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘Uẓmā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1404 AH) vol. 6, p. 379.
4- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 231.

have thus written in their books and treatises, “We are truly the Shī‘ah” and this statement is nearer to reality and more akin to truth.(1)

Also, in the book, Aṣ-Ṣawā‘iq al-Maḥriqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl al-Bid‘a waz-Zindiqah, which is a book rejecting the Shī‘ah creeds and beliefs, while quoting this hadīths, Haythamī has said:

What is meant by the Shī‘ah in these hadīths are the Shī‘ah that no longer exist. It refers to progeny and followers of ‘Alī who are neither afflicted with innovation [bid‘ah] nor curse and abuse the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ).(2)

In reply to him, the late Muẓaffar says:

It is strange that Ibn Ḥajar imagined that what is meant here by the Shī‘ah are the Ahl as-Sunnah! And I do not know if the reason behind this is the similarity of “Shī‘ah” and “Sunnī”. Or, it is because these two sects are identical. Or, it is for the reason that the Ahl as-Sunnah follow and love the family of the Prophet (ṣ) more than the Shī‘ah do!(3)

The late Kāshif al-Ghiṭā’ also says: “By applying the term “Shī‘ah” to the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a), its purport can be understood because other than this group, there is no other Shī‘ah.”(4)

The existence of the term “Shī‘ah” in the hadīths and sayings of the Prophet (ṣ) is clear and indisputable, and with these (unjust) interpretations, they wanted to conceal the truth but in the end they have deceived nobody but themselves. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the connotations of “Shī‘ah” has been clarified during the time of the Prophet (ṣ) and a number of the Companions were known at the time as “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī”.(5)

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1- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 20, p. 226.
2- Aḥmad Ibn Ḥajar Haythamī al-Makkī, Aṣ-Ṣawā‘iq al-Maḥriqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl al-Bid‘a waz-Zindiqah (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1384 AH), p. 232.
3- Muhammad Husayn Muẓaffar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.), p. 5.
4- Ja‘far Kāshif al-Ghiṭā’, Difā‘ az Ḥaqqāniyyat-e Shī‘eh [In Defense of the Truthfulness of the Shī‘ah], trans. Ghulām-Hasan Muḥarramī, 1st edition (n.p.: Mu’minīn, 1378 AHS), pp. 48-49.
5- Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ash‘arī thus says in this regard: “The first sect is the Shī‘ah and it is the sect of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a) which had been called the “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī” during the time of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) and after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) they were known to have belief in his Imamate. Among them are Miqdād ibn Aswad al-Kindī, Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr, and ‘Ammār. They used to prefer obedience to him to any other thing and they used to follow him. There were also others whose inclination is harmonious with that of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and they were the first group from this ummah to be called “Shī‘ah”; for, Shī‘ah as an appellation is an old one such as the Shī‘ah of Nūḥ (Noah), Ibrāhīm (Abraham), Mūsā (Moses), ‘Īsā (Jesus), and other prophets.” Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, 2nd edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Intishārāt-e ‘Ilmī va Farhangī, 1360 AHS), p. 3.

The Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) also referred to ‘Alī’s (‘a) followers as “Shī‘ah”. Hāshim Marqāl thus writes concerning a person named “Maḥal ibn al-Khalīfah aṭ-Ṭā’ī”: “O Commander of the Faithful! He is among your Shī‘ah.”(1) The Shī‘ah themselves used to call one another as Shī‘ah. As Shaykh al-Mufīd narrates, some people came to ‘Alī (‘a) and said: “O Commander of the Faithful! We are among your Shī‘ah.” He (‘a) in turn said: “The faces of my Shī‘ah turn pale on account of night vigil and their eyes weak due to weeping…”(2)

In many instances, Hadrat(3) ‘Alī (‘a) himself, as in the abovementioned case, used to apply the word “Shī‘ah” to his followers. For example, when he heard the news of martyrdom of some of his Shī‘ah in Baṣrah at the hand of Ṭalḥah and Zubayr, he (‘a) cursed the two and said: “O God! They have killed my Shī‘ah. Kill them too.”(4)

Even the opponents of ‘Alī (‘a) used to refer to his followers as “Shī‘ah”, just as what ‘Ā’ishah, Ṭalḥah and Zubayr said during their conversation about their route from Mecca to Iraq: “We shall go to Baṣrah and expel the governor [āmil] of ‘Alī and kill his Shī‘ah.”(5)

In any case, the truth of Shī‘ism, which is the same love and fellowship to ‘Alī (‘a) and to regard him as superior (to others), is related to the time of the Prophet (ṣ). He (ṣ) used to enjoin the people in his speeches to follow ‘Alī and his family as exemplified by the event in Ghadīr Khumm. As Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd says: “This report [akhbār] has been narrated by muḥaddithūn none of whom has been accused of rafḍ and Shī‘ism [tashayyu‘] and they have not even believed in the superiority and preeminence of ‘Alī (‘a) over others.”(6)

Now, we shall quote some of these hadīths. Buraydah Aslamī says:

The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: “God, the Exalted, has ordered me to love four persons and said to me that He also loves them.” They asked: “O

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1- Muḥammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān (Shaykh al-Mufīd), Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-‘Ulūm al-Islāmī (Central Publication), 1416 AH), p. 243.
2- Muḥammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān (Shaykh al-Mufīd), Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), p. 228.
3- Hadrat: The Arabic word Hadrat is used as a respectful form of address. [Trans.]
4- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, p. 285.
5- Ibid., p. 235.
6- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 349.

Messenger of Allah! Tell their names.” He (ṣ) said thrice: “‘Alī and then Abū Dharr, Miqdād and Salmān.”(1)

Aṭ-Ṭabarī narrates that in the course of the Battle of Uḥud, the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) said: “‘Alī is from me and I from him.”(2)

It has thus been narrated on the authority of Umm Salmah: “When the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) was angry, no one could dare to speak except ‘Alī.”(3)

Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqāṣ narrated that the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) said: “He who loves ‘Alī loves me and he who loves me loves God. Also, he who is hostile to ‘Alī is hostile to me, and he who is hostile to me is hostile to God.”(4)

Ibn al-Jawzī narrated that the Holy Prophet of Islam (ṣ) said: “O ‘Alī! You are the separator of heaven and hell. And you shall open the door of heaven and enter it without any reckoning.”(5)

Khwārazmī narrated in Al-Manāqib on the authority of Ibn al-‘Abbās that the Holy Prophet (ṣ) said:

When I was brought to the heavenly ascension [mi‘rāj], I saw that it is thus written on the gate of heaven:

لا الٰه الاّ الله، محمّد رسول الله، علیّ حبیب الله، الحسن والحسین صفوه الله، فاطمه امه الله، علی مبغضهم لعنه الله.

Lā ilāha illallāh, Muhammadan Rasūlullāh, ‘Aliyyun Ḥabīb Allāh Al-Hasan wa’l-Husayn Ṣifwat Allāh, Fātimah Ummat Allāh, ‘alā mabghaḍuhum la‘nat Allāh.(6)

Zubayr ibn Bakkār—who is among the grandchildren of Zubayr and known for deviation from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a)—has narrated that the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) said: “I enjoin anyone who believe in God and confirm my apostleship [risālah] to love ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and recognize his guardianship [wilāyah]. He who loves him loves me and he who loves me loves God.”(7)

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1- Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Muḥriqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 122.
2- Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 2, p. 65.
3- Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Muḥriqah, p. 123.
4- Ibid.
5- Sabṭ ibn al-Jawzī, Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1383 AH), p. 209.
6- Akhṭab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1385 AH), p. 214.
7- Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt, researched by Dr. Sāmī Makkī al-‘Ānī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 312.

Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd narrates on the authority of Zayd ibn al-Arqam that the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) said: “I shall guide you to something which if it would be known to you, you shall never go astray. Your guardian [walī] and Imām is ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Acknowledge him as Jibra’īl thus informed me of it.”

After narrating this hadīth, Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd thus says:

If they would say, “This is an explicit proof for (Imām ‘Alī’s) Imamate [imāmah],” how will then the Mu‘tazilites solve this problem? In reply, we say: It is possible that the Prophet means that ‘Alī is their Imām in religious edicts [fatāwā] and laws [aḥkām] and not in caliphate [khilāfah]. Similarly, what we quoted in the explanation of the statements of the great and leading Mu‘tazilite figures of Baghdad can be the answer, the gist of which is as follows: The Imamate and caliphate belonged to ‘Alī with the condition that he would show inclination to it and fight others for it. As he relinquished it to somebody and kept silent, we do accept the guardianship [wilāyah] of the other person and believe in the legitimacy of his caliphate. As the Commander of the Faithful did not raise any opposition against the three caliphs, did not unsheathe his sword and call on the people against the three, it follows then that he has approved their caliphates. It is based on this that we do accept them and believe in their purity, goodness and righteousness. If he would have waged war against them and called on the people to fight them, we would then believe in their transgression, deviation and misguidance.(1)

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1- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378), vol. 3, p. 98.
* Lesson 4: Summary

Some writers regard Shī‘ism to have emerged on the day of Saqīfah while others regard the same to be on the latter part of ‘Uthmān ibn al-‘Affān’s caliphate. The third group believe that Shī‘ism came into being after the murder of ‘Uthmān while the fourth group say that it has come into existence after the martyrdom of ‘Alī (‘a). The fifth group is of the opinion that Shī‘ism originated after the event in Karbalā’.

Apart from the Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’ as a whole, some Sunnī scholars such as Muhammad Kird-‘Alī maintain that the root of emergence of Shī‘ism is during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) and it was the Prophet (ṣ) who first applied the term “Shī‘ah” to the comrades of ‘Alī (‘a).

A number of Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) were also known during that time as “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a)”.

In addition to this, Shī‘ism is the same love and fellowship to ‘Alī (‘a) to which the Prophet (ṣ) had enjoined his Companions on many occasions.

* Lesson 4: Questions

How many views have

been expressed regarding the emergence of Shī‘ism? Explain.

Who was the first

person to apply the name “Shī‘ah” to the comrades of ‘Alī (‘a)?

Write two hadīths

from the Messenger of Allah (ṣ)

regarding the Shī‘ah.

What has Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd said regarding

the hadīths pertaining to the Shī‘ah?

What is Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī’s

opinion with regard to the hadīths relating to the Shī‘ah?

What is the truth of

Shī‘ism?

Write the opinion of

Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd

concerning the hadīth narrated by Zayd ibn al-Arqam.

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Lesson Five

The Other Terms for the “Shī‘ah”

After the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) and with the spread of Shī‘ism, in addition to the name “Shī‘ah”, other appellations such as ‘Alawī, Imāmah, Husayniyyah, ‘Ithnā ‘Asharī, Khāṣṣah, Ja‘farī, Turābī, and Rāfiḍī were gradually applied to the friends of the family of the Prophet (ṣ). Although the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) adherents as a whole were called “Shī‘ah” as usual, these appellations and titles were also applied to the Shī‘ah on various occasions.

Sometimes, the enemies also used to give certain titles to the Shī‘ah with the aim of belittling and degrading them. During the time of Mu‘āwiyah, for example, the Banū Umayyah and the people of Shām(1)

used the epithet “Abū Turāb” [literally, “Father of the Earth/Soil”] for ‘Alī (‘a) among all his epithets and sobriquets and they used to call his Shī‘ah as “Turābīs”. After the Battle of Ṣiffin and the rule of ‘Alī (‘a), whenever Mu‘āwiyah wanted to dispatch ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥaḍramī to Baṣrah, he would give instructions regarding the tribes but concerning the tribe of Rabī‘ah, he said: “Leave alone the Rabī‘ah as all of them are turābīs.”(2) According to Mas‘ūdī, Abū

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1- Shām or Shāmāt: up until five centuries ago, included Syria of today, Lebanon and parts of Jordan and Palestine. It was then the capital of the Umayyad caliphate. [Trans.]
2- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 423.

Mikhnaf had a book entitled, Akhbār at-Turābiyyīn, from which he has narrated the event of ‘Ayn al-Warad.(1)

The enemies of the Shī‘ah used to apply to them the label, “Rāfiḍī” and in most cases, whenever they liked to accuse somebody of abandoning religion, they would brand him a rāfiḍī, just as ash-Shāfi‘ī says:

إن کان رفضاً حبّ آل محمّد فلیشهد الثّقلان أنّی رافضی

If loving the progeny [āl] of Muhammad is rafḍ, the two worlds (of mankind and jinn) shall therefore be the witness that I am indeed a rāfiḍī.(2)

It has been recorded in history that after the uprising of Zayd ibn ‘Alī, the Shī‘ah were then called Rāfiḍī. Shahristānī thus says:

When the Shī‘ah of Kūfah learned from Zayd ibn ‘Alī that he does not declare disavowal against the two sheikhs [shaykhayn] (Abūbakr and ‘Umar) and regard as permissible the Imamate of a deserving one [mafḍūl] in the existence of the most deserving one [afḍal], they abandoned him. Therefore, they were then identified as Rāfiḍī because rafḍ means “abandonment”.(3)

Regarding the label, ‘Alawī, Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn says:

After the murder of ‘Uthmān and the confrontation between Mu‘āwiyah and ‘Alī (‘a), the supporters and followers of Mu‘āwiyah were called “‘Uthmānīs” as they used to love ‘Uthmān and be inimical to ‘Alī (‘a). In addition to “Shī‘ah”, the followers of ‘Alī (‘a) were also called “‘Alawīs”, and this practice persisted till the end of the Umayyad rule. During the ‘Abbāsid period, the labels ““‘Uthmānī” and “‘Alawī” were abrogated and only “Shī‘ah” and “Sunnī” were used.(4)

“Imāmīs” was another term applied to the Shī‘ah usually in contradistinction to the Zaydīs. As Ibn al-Khaldūn writes,

Some Shī‘ah believe in explicit traditions substantiating the proposition that Imamate [imāmah] is solely in the person of ‘Alī and after it will also be transferred to his descendants. They are Imāmiyyah with aversion toward the two sheikhs [shaykhayn] (Abūbakr and ‘Umar) for not considering ‘Alī as superior and not paying allegiance to him. They do not accept the

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1- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 110.
2- Haythamī al-Makkī, Aṣ-Ṣawā’iq al-Muḥriqah, p. 123; Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 21.
3- Shahristānī. Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 139.
4- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 19.

Imamate of Abūbakr and ‘Umar. Other Shī‘ah believe that God did not appoint a specific person but described the characteristics of the Imām which conform to the personality of ‘Alī and the people were at fault in not recognizing this. They do not abuse the two sheikhs and they are Zaydīs.(1)

Keeping in view of the surviving poems from the supporters and companions of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), it can be discerned that after his martyrdom, his Shī‘ah and supporters were also called “Husaynīs”. In many of their poems they introduced themselves as “Husaynīs” or “of the religion of Husayn”.(2)

In this regard, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih thus says: “Among the rāfiḍīs are the Husayniyyah and they are companions of Ibrāhīm al-Ashtar who used to roam around the alleys of Kūfah shouting: “Yā lithārāt al-Ḥusayn!” They were called Husayniyyah.”(3)

Meanwhile, the term “Qaṭ‘iyyah” [lit. “Decisiveness”] was applied to the Shī‘ah after the martyrdom of Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim (‘a) in contradistinction to the Wāqifiyyah. That is to say that they were certain and decisive with respect to the martyrdom of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) and believed in the Imamate of Imām ar-Ridā (‘a) and the Imāms after him, whereas the Wāqifiyyah were not convinced of the death of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a).(4)

Nowadays, the label “Ja‘fariyyah” is applied to the Shī‘ah more on account of jurisprudence in contradistinction to the four Sunnī schools of jurisprudence [madhāhib]. The reason for this term is that the Shī‘ah jurisprudence took form more through Imām Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) compared to all the Imāms (‘a) and most traditions on our jurisprudence are narrated by him (‘a). Nonetheless, keeping in view a poem we have from Sayyid Ḥumayrī, it can be understood that only on account of jurisprudence during Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq’s (‘a) period the term “Ja‘farī” was applied to the Shī‘ah, but this term has also been applied to them in terms of principles of religion [uṣūl] in contradistinction to other sects. The poem of Ḥumayrī is as follows:

تجعفرت باسم الله و الله أکبر

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1- ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad Ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 197.
2- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 102.
3- Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad. Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd. Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH
4- Shahristānī. Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 150.

In the Name of Allah, I became a Ja‘farī, and Allah is the great.(1)

By becoming a Ja‘farī, Sayyid Ḥumayrī is referring to the correct course of the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah in contradistinction to the Kaysāniyyah.

The Status of ‘Alī (‘a) among the Companions [ṣaḥābah]

The Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) occupied a special position among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). Mas‘ūdī says:

In terms of all the virtues and merits that the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) possessed, such as precedence in Islam; hijrah [emigration]; helping the Prophet; kinship with him; contentment [qinā‘ah]; sacrifice [īthār]; knowledge of the Book of Allah; jihād; piety [wara‘]; asceticism [zuhd]; judgment [qaḍā’]; jurisprudence [fiqh]; etc., ‘Alī (‘a) had abundant share and perfect delight. This is apart from the fact that some of the virtues are possessed by him alone such as brotherhood [ukhuwwah] of the Prophet and statements of the Prophet such as: “You are to me as Hārūn (Aaron) is to Mūsā (Moses),” “Of whomsoever I am master [mawlā], ‘Alī is also his master. O God! Befriend him who befriends him and be inimical to him who is inimical to him”; and also the supplication of the Prophet for him; when Anas brought a cooked bird to the Prophet (ṣ), he said: “O God! Let the most beloved creature (after him) come in so as to partake with me.” Then, ‘Alī (‘a) came in and partook with the Prophet. This is while the other Companions did not possess those virtues.(2)

Among the Banū Hāshim, ‘Alī (‘a) was also the nearest person to the Prophet (ṣ). He grew up in the house of the Prophet (ṣ) and under his training.(3) He (‘a) slept in the Prophet’s (ṣ) bed during the night of hijrah, returned to their respective owners the possessions entrusted to the Prophet (ṣ) and joined the Prophet (ṣ) in Medina.(4)

The most important of all is ‘Alī’s (‘a) position in Islam. The Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) determined this position at the very beginning of the Prophetic mission.

When the Prophet received instruction from God to invite his kith and kin, it was only ‘Alī in the assembly who was ready to assist and accompany the Holy Prophet (‘a). Then, in that very assembly, the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) announced before the elders among his relatives that ‘Alī is the

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1- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 92.
2- Ibid., vol. 2, p. 446.
3- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 41.
4- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 294.

executor of his will [waṣī], minister [waẓīr], caliph [khalīf], and successor notwithstanding the fact the he was the youngest among those who were present.(1)

The Holy Prophet (ṣ) informed his Companions on several occasions of the status and position of ‘Alī (‘a), admonishing them to recognize his position. The Holy Prophet (ṣ) was watchful of his their attitude toward ‘Alī (‘a) particularly after the spread of Islam when many individuals with diverse motives joined the ranks of Muslims. This is especially true with respect to the Quraysh whose envy toward the Banū Hāshim had amplified by then. Ibn Shahr Āshūb thus narrates on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb:

I used to annoy ‘Alī, the Prophet (ṣ) once came to me and said: “You are annoying me, O ‘Umar!” I said: “I seek refuge in God from annoying the Messenger of Allah!” He said: “You are annoying ‘Alī and he who annoys him annoys me”.

Muṣ‘ab ibn Sa‘d has narrated from his father, Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ, that: “I and another person were in the mosque and we were abusing ‘Alī. Infuriated, the Prophet came to us and said: ‘Why do you annoy me? He who annoys ‘Alī annoys me’.”(2)

Haythamī has narrated:

Buraydah al-Aslamī, who is one of those who had gone to Yemen under the commandership of ‘Alī, says: “I went back to Medina earlier than the army. The people asked me: ‘What news?’ I said: ‘There is news. God made the Muslims victorious.’ They asked: ‘Why did you come earlier (than the army contingent)?’ I said: ‘‘Alī has allocated a bondwoman from the khums for himself. I have come to inform the Prophet of it…’ When the Prophet was informed of it, he was annoyed and said: ‘Why are some people belittling ‘Alī? Anyone who finds fault with ‘Alī finds fault with me. Anyone who would separate from ‘Alī has separated from me. ‘Alī is from me and I from him. He has been created out of my essence and I from the essence of Ibrāhīm (Abraham) though I am superior to Ibrāhīm… O Buraydah! Don’t you know that ‘Alī deserves more than one bondswoman? He is your guardian [walī] after me.(3)

Ibn Shahr Āshūb also narrates a similar hadīth from Sunnī muḥaddithūn such as Tirmidhī, Abū Na‘īm, al-Bukhārī, and Mūṣallī.(4)

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1- Muhammad Hādī Yūsufī Gharawī, Mawsū‘ah at-Tārīkh Islāmī, 1st edition (Qum: Majma‘ al-Fikr al-Islāmī, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 410.
2- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 211. [Trans.]
3- Ḥāfiẓ Nūr ad-Dīn ‘Alī ibn Abībakr Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ṭ-Ṭibā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, 1414 AH), vol. 9, p. 173.
4- Ibn Shahr Āshūb, Munāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, pp. 211-212.

As such, ‘Alī (‘a) had earned special respect among the Companions. Again, Ibn Shahr Āshūb has thus narrated from Anas ibn Mālik:

During the period of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) whenever we wanted to know if a certain person is a bastard or not, we would know it from the spite of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib. After the Battle of Khaybar, every man would hug his child and go. If ever he would see ‘Alī along the way, he would point to ‘Alī with his hand to the child and ask him: “Do you like this man?” If the child would say, “Yes,” he would kiss his child and if the child would say, “No,” he would put the child on the ground and say, “Go to your mother!” ‘Ubādah ibn Ṣāmit also says: “We used to test our children with the love for ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib. If we found out that one of them does not like him, we would know that he will never be an upright person.”(1)

During the latter years of the Prophet’s (ṣ) life, the issue of ‘Alī’s (‘a) position was more publicized so much so that the title waṣī [executor of one’s will] became one of his widely known titles, which was accepted by both his friends and foes especially after the Holy Prophet (ṣ) said to ‘Alī (‘a) before going to the Tabūk expedition:

أنت منّی بمنزله هارون من موسیٰ إلاّ أنّه لانبیّ بعدی.

“You are to me as Hārūn (Aaron) is to Mūsā (Moses) with the only difference that there shall be no prophet after me.”(2)

In the course of the Farewell Pilgrimage [Ḥajj al-Widā‘] in Mīnā and in ‘Arafah also, the Holy Prophet (ṣ) informed the people in several speeches about twelve persons shall be his successors and all of whom are from Banū Hāshim.(3) Finally, on the return from Mecca in Ghadir Khumm, he (ṣ) received instruction from God to announce the succession of ‘Alī (‘a) to all the Muslims. He ordered the Muslims to halt and mounting a pulpit made out of the camel saddles he delivered a long speech. He then said:

من کنت مولاه فهذا علیّ مولاه اللّهمّ وال من والاه و عاد من عاداه وانصر من نصره واخذل من خذله.

Of whosoever I am Master [mawlā], then ‘Alī is also his Master [mawlā]. O Allah! Be Thou a Friend of him who is a friend of him (‘Alī), and be Thou

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1- Ibid., p. 207.
2- Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, vol. 2, pp. 62-63; Tārīkh al-Kāmil, vol. 2, pp. 40-41; Musnad Ahmad ibn Ḥanbal, vol. 1, p. 111; Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 13, pp. 210-212.
3- Sayyid Ja‘far Murtadā al-Āmilī, Al-Ghadīr wa’l-Mu‘āriḍūn, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār as-Sīrah, 1418 AH), pp. 62-66.

an Enemy of him who is his enemy. Help him whoever helps him, and forsake him whoever forsakes him.

Then, he asked the people to pay allegiance to ‘Alī (‘a). ‘Allāmah al-Amīnī has given a comprehensive explanation of this subject in the first volume of the book, Al-Ghadīr.

In this manner, the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) asserted his successor’s identity to the people. Thus, the public was of the opinion that after ‘Alī (‘a) would succeed (as the leader of Muslims) the Prophet (ṣ) after his demise. In this regard, Zubayr ibn Bakkār says: “All the Muhājirūn(1) and the Anṣār(2) had no doubt that ‘Alī will be the caliph and master of the affairs after the Messenger of Allah (ṣ).”(3)

This subject is so clear in the poems that have been recorded from the time of Saqīfah and these poems bespeak of a smaller degree of distortion that has ever happened in poetry. ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab recited this poem after the event of Saqīfah and Abūbakr’s inauguration:

ما کنت أحسب أن الأمر منصرف عن هاشم ثمّ منها عن أبی حسن

ألیس أوّل من صلّی لقبلتکم و أعلم النّاس بالقرآن و السّنن

و أقرب النّاس عهداً بالنبی و من جبرئیل عون له فی الغسل و الکفن

ما فیه ما فیهم لایمترون به و لیس فی القوم ما فیه من الحسن

ماذا الّذی ردهم عنه فنعلمه ها أن ذاغبناً من أعظم الغبن

I was not imagining that the caliphate affair would be withdrawn from the Banū Hāshim and much less to Abū’l-Ḥasan (‘Alī).

Is he not the first person to pray facing your qiblah and of the people the most knowledgeable of the Qur’an and the Sunnah?

He is the last person to look at the face of the Prophet; Jibra’īl (Archangel Gabriel) was his aid in bathing and enshrouding him (the Prophet).

They do not think about what he has and what they have; whereas within the community [qawm] there is nobody who possesses his points of goodness.

What is it that made them withdraw from him? Say that this loss of ours is the gravest of all losses!

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1- Muhājrūn (lit. “Emigrants”): The Meccan Muslims who accompanied the Prophet (ṣ) in his hijrah [emigration] to Medina. [Trans.]
2- Anṣār (lit. “Helpers”): The Muslims of Medina who invited the Prophet (ṣ) and Muslims of Mecca to migrate (hijrah) to Medina. [Trans.]
3- Zubayr ibn Bakkār. Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 580.

After ‘Utbah’s recitation of this poem, ‘Alī (‘a) asked him not to recite it again and said: “For us the safety of religion is more important than anything else.”(1)

Ibn Abī ‘Abrah Qurshī has also said:

شکراً لمن هو باثناء قیق ذهب اللّجاج و بویع الصدیق

کنّا نقول لها علی و الرضا عمر و أولاهم بذاک عتیق

Thanks to Him Who is worthy to be praised! The dispute was no more and the allegiance was paid to Ṣadīq (Abūbakr).

We were saying: “‘Alī is the owner of caliphate; we were also pleased with ‘Umar; but the best of them in this case is the old [‘atīq] (Abūbakr)!”(2)

During the course of the dispute between the Anṣār and Quraysh that had surfaced on the event of Saqīfah, ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Āṣ has spoken against the Anṣār. In reply to him, Nu‘mān ibn al-‘Ajlān—one of the poets of the Anṣār—has recited a poem in which ‘Alī’s (‘a) right has been emphasized:

فقل لقریش نحن أصحاب مکّه و یوم حنین و الفوارس فی بدر

و قلتم حرام نصب سعد و نصبکم عتیق بن عثمان حلال أبابکر

و أهل أبوبکر لها خیر قائم و أن علیاً کان أخلق بالأمر

و کان هوانا فی علیٍّ و أنه لأهل لها یا عمر و من حیث لاتدری

فذلک بعون الله یدعو إلی الهدی و ینهی عن الفحشاء و البغی و النّکر

وصیّ النّبی المصطفی و ابن عمه و قاتل فرسان الضلاله و الکفر

Say to the Quraysh: “We are the army of (the Conquest of) Mecca and the Battle of Ḥunayn, and the cavalry of Badr!”

You said that appointment of Sa‘d to the caliphate is unlawful [ḥarām], but your appointment, ‘Atīq ibn ‘Uthmān, of Abūbakr is lawful [ḥalāl].

[And you said:] Abūbakr is the man of this task and can perform it well, but ‘Alī was the most deserving of people to the caliphate.

We were on ‘Alī’s side and he was the man for this job, but you do not understand, O ‘Amrū!

This man (‘Alī), by the help of Allah, calls (us) toward guidance, and forbids perversion, oppression and evil.

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1- Zubayr ibn Bakkār. Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt, p. 581.
2- Ibid., p. 580.

He is the executor of will [waṣī] of al-Mustafā the Prophet, his cousin, and the killer of the champions of disbelief [kufr] and misguidance [ḍalālah].(1)

With the aim of thanking Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās who, under ‘Alī’s (‘a) order, had defended the Anṣār, Ḥassān ibn Thābit has recited this poem:

جزی الله عنّا و الجزاء بکفّه أبا حسن عنا و من کان کابی حسن

سبقت قریشاً بالذی أنت أهله فصدرک مشروح و قلبک ممتحن

حفظت رسول الله فینا و عهده إلیک و من أولی به منک من و من

ألست أخاه فی الهدی و وصیّه و أعلم منهم بالکتاب و بالسّنن

May God give good reward to Abū’l-Hasan for us as the reward is in his hand. Who, by the way, is like Abū’l-Hasan?

Concerning which you were a member, you were ahead of the Quraysh. Your breast is expansive and your heart tested (pure and sincere).

You preserved what the Messenger of Allah instructed regarding us. Except you, who could be foremost for him, and who could be?

Are you not his brother [akh] in guidance and the executor of his will [waṣī], and among them, the most knowledgeable of the Book and the Sunnah?(2)

Initially, Abū Sufyān opposed the institution of (Abūbakr’s) as caliphate and defended the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). Apart from the speeches he delivered in this regard, he also composed the following poem:

بنی هاشم لا تطمعوا النّاس فیکم و لا سیّما تیم بن مرّه أو عدی

فما الأمر الاّ فیکم و إلیکم و لیس لها الاّ أبو حسن علیّ

O Banī Hāshim! Do not allow others to get involve in your affair especially Taym ibn Murrah or ‘Adī.(3)

The affair of caliphate belongs to you alone and it is only Abū’l-Hasan ‘Alī who is its man.(4)

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1- Ibid., p. 592.
2- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 128.
3- Taym is the tribe to which Abūbakr belongs while ‘Adī is the tribe of ‘Umar.
4- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 126.

Finally, on that very day of Ghadīr Khumm, the Prophet’s poet, Ḥassān ibn Thābit, asked the Messenger of Allah’s (ṣ) permission to narrate the event of Ghadīr in poetry, and thus recites:

ینادیهم یوم الغدیر نبیّهم بخمّ واسمع بالرّسول منادیا

وقد جاء جبرئیل عن أمر ربّه بانّک معصوم فلاتک وانیا

و بلغهم ما أنزل الله ربّهم إلیک و لا تخش هناک الأعادیا

و قام به اذ ذاک رافع کفّه بکف علیّ معلن الصوت عالیا

فقال فمن مولاکم و نبیّکم؟ فقالوا و لم یبدا أهناک التّعامیا

إلهکَ مولانا و أنت نبیّنا و لم تلق منّا فی الولایه عاصیا

فقال له: قم یا علیّ فإنّنی رضیتک من بعدی إماماً و هادیا

فمن کنت مولاه فهذا ولیّه فکونوا له اتباع صدق موالیا

هناک دعا: أللّهمّ وال ولیّه وکن للّذی عادی علیّاً معادیا

فیا ربّ انصر ناصریه لنصرهم إمام هدی کالبدر یجلو الدیاجیا

Their Prophet calls on them on the day of Ghadīr Khumm; now, listen to the call of the Prophet:

Jibra’īl brought a message from God that “You are under the protection of God; so, do not be dejected.”

Convey what has been revealed by Allah, their Lord, and here do not be afraid of the enemies.

He raises ‘Alī along with him; while he raises the hand of ‘Alī along with his hand, he announces in a loud voice.

Then he said to the people: “Who is your Master [mawlā] and your guardian [walī]? Then, without showing inattention, they said:

“Your Lord is our Master [mawlā] and you are our guardian [walī], and no one among us today disobeys you.”

Then he said: “Stand up O ‘Alī! For, I am indeed well pleased that you are the Imām and guide after me.”

[He then said:] “Therefore, of whomsoever I am master, ‘Alī is his master also. May you be their true supporters!”

He then prayed, saying: “O Allah! Be Thou a Friend of those who are his [‘Alī’s] friends, and be Thou an Enemy of those who are his enemies.

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So, O Lord! Help his supporters as they help the Imām of guidance who is like the moon during a dark night”(1)

As is evident from this poem, in transcribing the Prophet of Islam’s (ṣ) speeches about ‘Alī (‘a), Ḥassān has called him Imām, guardian [walī] and guide [hādī], which clearly stipulates the leadership and headship of the ummah.

Yes, the masses of Muslims did not imagine that after the Holy Prophet’s (ṣ) demise, somebody would contest ‘Alī (‘a) on the issue of caliphate and succession to the Prophet (ṣ). As Mu‘āwiyah has written in reply to the letter of Muḥammad ibn Abūbakr,

We and your father during the period of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) used to consider obedience to the son of Abū Ṭālib as expedient for us and his virtues were not concealed to us. After the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), your father and ‘Umar were the first persons to trample upon his position and called on the people to pay allegiance to them.(2)

This is why those who were not around Medina during the last months of the Prophet’s (ṣ) life and were uninformed of the conspiracies—such as Khālid ibn Sa‘īd and Abū Sufyān—were vehemently agitated when they returned to Medina, after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), to see Abūbakr sitting in the Prophet’s (ṣ) lieu introducing himself as the Prophet’s (ṣ) caliph.(3) Even Abū Sufyān—when he returned from a journey and saw the situation as such—came to ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and ‘Alī (‘a) and asked them to revolt in order to get their rights but they refused.(4)

Of course, Abū Sufyān has no intention in these moves.

In conclusion, although most of the Prophet’s (ṣ) Companions recognized the caliphate of Abūbakr officially, they did not forget ‘Alī (‘a) as being the most deserving [afḍal]. Whenever he was in the mosque, no know except him would issue edict [fatwā] on religious issues as they used to regard him as “the leading judge of the ummah” [aqḍī’l-ummah] as

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1- ‘Abd al-Husayn Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 1, p. 11; vol. 2, p. 39. See also Khwārazmī al-Mālikī, Al-Manāqib, p. 80; Sibṭ ibn Jawzī al-Ḥanafī, Tadhkirah Khawāṣ al-Ummah, p. 20; Ganjī Shāfi‘ī, Kifāyah aṭ-Ṭālib, p. 170; and others. [Trans.]
2- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 396.
3- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 126.
4- ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kiram Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 12; Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 126.

stipulated by the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ).(1) ‘Umar used to say: “May God forbid that day when a problem would arise and Abū’l-Hasan is not present.”(2)

As he used to say to the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ): “Whenever ‘Alī is in the mosque, no one except him has the right to issue any religious edict.”(3)

Although after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), ‘Alī (‘a) was not able to acquire political power, his virtues and distinctions were narrated by the same Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). Ibn Haythamī—who is one of the staunched Sunnī ‘ulamā’—regarded the number of narrators of the hadīth about Ghadīr as 30 persons from among the Companions,(4) but Ibn Shahr Āshūb has counted 80 narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr from among the Companions.(5)

Meanwhile, the late ‘Allāmah Amīnī has counted the following 110 narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr from among the Companions: Abū Hurayrah; Abū Laylā al-Anṣārī; Abū Zaynab al-Anṣāri; Abū Fuḍālah al-Anṣārī; Abū Qudāmah al-Anṣārī; Abū ‘Umra ibn ‘Amrū ibn Muḥṣīn al-Anṣārī; Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Abū Rāfi‘; Abū Dha’īb; Abūbakr ibn Abī Quḥāfah; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Ubā ibn Ka‘b; As‘ad ibn Zurārah al-Anṣārī; Asmā’ bint ‘Umays; Umm Salmah; Umm Hānī; Abū Ḥamzah Anas ibn Mālik al-Anṣārī; Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib; Zubaydah Aslamī; Abū Sa‘īd Thābit ibn Wadī‘ah al-Anṣārī; Jābir ibn Sumayrah; Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī; Jublah ibn ‘Amrū al-Anṣārī; Jabīr ibn Muṭ‘am al-Qurshī; Jarīr ibn ‘Abd Allāh Bajlī; Abū Dharr Jundab ibn Junādah; Abū Junaydah al-Anṣārī; Ḥubbah ibn Jawīn ‘Arnī; Ḥabashī ibn Junādah as-Salūlī; Ḥabīb ibn Badīl ibn Warqā’ Khazā‘ī; Ḥudhayfah ibn Asīd Ghaffārī; Abū Ayyūb Khālid ibn Zayd al-Anṣārī; Khālid ibn Wālid al-Makhzūmī; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Abū Sharīḥ Khuwaylid ibn ‘Amrū Khazā‘ī; Rafā‘ah ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir al-Anṣārī; Zubayr ibn ‘Awwām; Zayd ibn al-Arqam; Zayd ibn Thābit; Zayd ibn Yazīd al-Anṣārī; Zayd ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī; Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ; Sa‘d ibn Junādah; Salmah ibn ‘Amrū ibn Akū‘; Samrah ibn Jundab; Sahl ibn Ḥanīf; Sahl ibn Sa‘d al-Anṣārī; Ṣadī ibn ‘Ajlān; Ḍamīrah al-Asadī; Ṭalḥah ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh; ‘Āmir ibn ‘Amīr; ‘Āmir ibn Laylā; ‘Āmir ibn Laylā al-Ghaffārī; ‘Āmir ibn Wāthilah; ‘Ā’ishah bint Abībakr; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-

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1- Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 97.
2- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378 AH), vol. 1, p. 18.
3- Ibid.
4- Ṣawā’iq al-Muḥriqah (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 122.
5- Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, pp. 25-26.

Anṣārī; ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf al-Qurshī; ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Ya‘mur ad-Daylā; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī ‘Abd al-Athar al-Makhzūmī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Badīl; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Bashīr; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Thābit al-Anṣārī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far al-Hāshimī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥunṭab al-Qurshī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Rabī‘ah; ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī ‘Awf; ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Yāmīl; ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān; ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Āzib al-Anṣārī; Abū Ṭarīf ‘Adī ibn Ḥātam; ‘Aṭiyyah ibn Basar; ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Āmir; ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib; ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir; ‘Umārah al-Khazrajī; ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Āṣ; ‘Amrū ibn Murrah Jahnī; Fātimah bint Rasūl Allāh (ṣ); Fātimah bint Ḥamzah; ‘Umar ibn Abī Salmah; ‘Umrān ibn Ḥaṣīn al-Khazā‘ī; ‘Amrū ibn Ḥumq al-Khazā‘ī; ‘Amrū ibn Sharāḥīl; Qays ibn Thābit al-Anṣārī; Qays ibn Sa‘d al-Anṣārī; Ka‘b ibn ‘Ujrah al-Anṣārī; Mālik ibn Ḥuwayrath al-Laythī; Miqdād ibn ‘Amrū; Nājiyah ibn ‘Amrū; al-Khazā‘ī’ Abū Burzah Faḍlah ibn ‘Uṭbah Aslamī; Nu‘mān ibn ‘Ajlān al-Anṣārī; Hāshim Marqāl; Waḥshī ibn Ḥarb; Wahhab ibn Ḥamzah; Abū Juḥayfah; Wahhab ibn ‘Abd Allāh; and Yu‘lā ibn Murrah.(1) Among the narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr, individuals who had hostile relationship with ‘Alī (‘a)—such as Abūbakr, ‘Umar ‘Uthmān, Ṭalḥah, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf, Zayd ibn Thābit, Usāmah ibn Zayd, Ḥassān ibn Thābit, Khālid ibn Walīd, and ‘Ā’ishah—can also be noticed. Even those Companions who sometimes disagreed with him defended him against his enemies. For example, Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ—who was among those who voted in favor of ‘Uthmān and against ‘Alī (‘a) at the 6-man council after the death of ‘Umar, and did not extend cooperation with ‘Alī (‘a) during his caliphate and preferred neutrality—in his conversation with Mu‘āwiyah, thus said to Mu‘āwiyah:

“You fought and waged war with a person who was more deserving than you to the caliphate.” Mu‘āwiyah asked: “Why?” He replied: “One reason is that the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said concerning: ‘Of whosoever I am Master [mawlā], then ‘Alī is also his Master [mawlā]. O Allah! Be Thou a Friend to him who is a friend of him (‘Alī), and be Thou an Enemy to him who is his enemy,’ and other reasons are his virtues and merits.”(2)

Similarly, ‘Abd Allāh, the son of ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Āṣ, along with his father was in the army of Mu‘āwiyah. When ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir was killed and his head was brought before Mu‘āwiyah, two persons were in dispute as each of them was claiming to have killed ‘Ammār. ‘Abd Allāh said:

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1- ‘Abd al-Husayn Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab, vol. 1, pp. 14-16.
2- Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 109; Akhṭab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1385 AH), pp. 59-60.

“It is better for one of you to relinquish his right to the other because I heard the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) say: ‘‘Ammār shall be killed by a tyrant group’.” Mu‘āwiyah was annoyed and said: “So, what is he doing here?!” ‘Abd Allāh replied: “Since the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) ordered me to obey my father, I am here with you, but I will not fight.”(1)

The presence of ‘Ammār in the ranks of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) whose killers had been described by the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) as a tyrant group during that chaotic period was a clear testimony to the truthfulness of ‘Alī (‘a) so much so that even the son of ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Āṣ admitted it.

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1- Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 312-313.
* Lesson 5: Summary

After the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a), other names have also been given to the Shī‘ah. Contemptuous labels such as Rāfiḍī and Turābī were used by the enemies of the Shī‘ah with the aim of debasing them. Some other labels such as ‘Alawī, Imāmī, Husayniyyah, ‘Ithnā ‘Asharī, Khāṣṣah, and Ja‘farī were applied to them as well.

‘Alī (‘a) had a distinguished position among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) as well as being the nearest one to the Prophet (ṣ) among the Banū Hāshim. He grew up in the Prophet’s (ṣ) house, and most important of all, the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ) had appointed him as his minister [wazīr] and successor [khalīfah] and the masses of people were aware of it.

* Lesson 5: Questions

1. Briefly list the terms used to refer to the Shī‘ah.

2. What labels did the enemies of the Shī‘ah address them with?

3. Why were the Shī‘ah called ‘Alawī or Ja‘farī?

4. What is the statement of Mas‘ūdī regarding ‘Alī’s (‘a) position?

5. How many narrators are there for the hadīth on Ghadīr from among the Companions of the Prophet (‘a)?

6. The poems that were recited on the event of Saqīfah bespeak of which subject?

7. What was the position of the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) vis-à-vis abusing ‘Alī (‘a)?

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Lesson Six

The Role of the Quraysh in the Event of Saqīfah

In spite of the event in Ghadīr Khumm and the efforts of the Prophet (ṣ) for the succession of ‘Alī (‘a), the gathering in Saqīfah took place. The command of God was not executed and the family of the Prophet (ṣ) was confined at home. In this event, the role of the Quraysh must be pointed out. It is because the Quraysh were the people who wanted and succeeded in trampling upon the right of the Prophet’s (ṣ) progeny. On many occasions, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) emphasizes the acts of oppression and injustice of the Quraysh and their endeavors in gaining access to the caliphate.(1)

In one of his correspondence with Mu‘āwiyah, Imām al-Hasan

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1- For instance, in Sermon 170 of Nahj al-Balāghah, Imām ‘Alī (‘a) says: “O my Allah! I seek Thy succor against the Quraysh and those who are assisting them, because they are denying me (the rights of) kinship, have lowered my high position, and are united in opposing me in the matter (of the caliphate) which is my right, and then they said, “Know that the rightful thing is that you have it and also that you may leave it.” Nahj al-Balāghah (Fayḍ al-Islām), p. 555. Similarly, in his reply to the letter of his brother ‘Aqīl, Imām ‘Alī (‘a) says: “Do not take to heart the behavior of Quraysh. To talk about their skepticism, their enmity of Islam, their revolt against the cause of Allah and their desire to bring harm to me are a waste of time. They now are as much bent upon doing me injustice and fighting against me, as they were unanimously against the Holy Prophet (ṣ). May Allah punish them for their sins! They have not even paid any consideration to the relationship that existed between them and me. They have deprived me of the estate of my mother’s son.” Ibid., Letter 36, p. 974.

(‘a) also described in detail the role of the Quraysh in the Saqīfah event, saying:

After the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), the Quraysh considered themselves as the tribe and the most nearest to him, and with this proof, they sidetracked the other Arabs and took hold of the affair of caliphate. When we, the Ahl al-Bayt of Muhammad (ṣ), advanced the proposition to them, they did not behave justly with us and they deprived us of our right.(1)

Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) thus also says to one of his companions:

What should we say about the oppression and injustice of the Quraysh against us, and our Shī‘ah and supporters? The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) passed away while the people were asked, “Who are the most preeminent of people?” Yet, the Quraysh turned away from us to such an extent that they changed the course of caliphate. They utilized our argument against the Anṣār and assumed the caliphate one after the other. When it was returned to us, they broke their oath of allegiance and waged war against us…(2)

Yes, the Quraysh had behaved this way since long time ago, so much so that the people knew they would take possession of the caliphate. For this reason, the Anṣar rushed to the Saqīfah so as to prevent the Quraysh from obtaining power because they were a monopolistic people.

The Reasons behind the Quraysh’s Enmity toward the Family of the Prophet (ṣ)
Point

Now, this question is posed: Why did the Quraysh have enmity toward the family of the Prophet (ṣ)? Did they not owe their religion and the worldly life to this family? Was it not through the blessings of this family that they had attained salvation from perdition? In answering these questions, we shall indicate some points:

1. The Quraysh’s Ambition for Leadership
Point

During the period of jāhiliyyah [pre-Islamic ignorance] the Quraysh had an excellent position among the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula. In this regard, Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī says: “The Arab tribes used to consider the

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1- Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1416 AH), p. 65.
2- Kitāb Salīm ibn Qays al-‘Āmirī (Beirut: Mansurāt Dār al-Funūn, 1400 AH), p. 108; As-Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Wafā’, n.d.), p. 5.

Quraysh as superior in everything except poetry.”(1)

This status was attained through two means:

a. Economic Clout

From the time of Hāshim, the great grandfather of the Prophet (ṣ), Quraysh had already started trading with neighboring lands such as Yemen, Shām, Palestine, Iraq, and Abyssinia. The Quraysh nobles had amassed legendary wealth under the aegis of this trade.(2)

God, the Exalted, described this commerce as the source of the Quraysh’s welfare and comfort, saying:

﴿ لإیلافِ قُرَیْشٍ ٭ إِیلافِهِمْ رِحْلَهَ الشِّتَاءِ وَالصَّیْفِ ٭ فَلْیَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَذَا الْبَیْتِ ٭ الَّذِی أَطْعَمَهُمْ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ ﴾

“[In gratitude] for solidarity among Quraysh, their solidarity during winter and summer journeys, let them worship the Lord of this House, who has fed them [and saved them] from hunger, and secured them from fear.”(3)

b. Spiritual Position

Due to the existence of the Ka‘bah, the pilgrimage site of the Arab tribes in their territory, the Quraysh occupied a special spiritual position among the Arabs. Especially after the event of the Companions of the Elephant and the defeat of Abrahah(4) the honor of the Quraysh, the custodians of the Ka‘bah, was further enhanced and this event turned to be in their favor. They called themselves as Āl Allāh [Family of Allah], Jīrān Allāh [Neighbors of Allah] and Sakkān Ḥaram Allāh [Residents of the House of Allah] and in doing so, they consolidated their religious position.(5)

As such, on account of sense of power, the Quraysh were inclined to exclusivity and they tried to prove their superiority. Since Mecca was a sort of capital for the Arabs, owing to the presence of the Ka‘bah, and most of the denizens of the Arabian Peninsula used to come and go there, the Quraysh imposed their customs and traditions to those who came to Mecca. One example regards the garment used when circumambulating the Ka‘bah

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 74.
2- Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Tārīkh-e Islām az Jāhiliyyat tā Ḥajjah al-Widā‘ (1) (Arāk: Islamic Āzād University (Arāk Branch), n.d.), pp. 50-51.
3- Sūrah al-Quraysh 106:1-4.
4- See Surāh al-Fīl 105 and its commentary. [Trans.]
5- Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Tārīkh-e Islām az Jāhiliyyat tā Ḥajjah al-Widā‘ (1), p. 52.

[ṭawāf], which the pilgrims were required to purchased from them.(1) Therefore, whenever they sensed, during the advent of the Most Noble Messenger (ṣ), that teachings of Islam are not compatible with their sense of exclusivity and superiority, they refrained from accepting the teachings vehemently opposing these precepts with all their might and utilizing all their power to annihilate Islam. But the will of God was something else, and in the end, He made His prophet (ṣ) prevail over them. From the 8th year after hijrah, a number of the Quraysh nobles went to Medina and joined the ranks of Muslims, but they did not desist from their hostility. For instance, Ḥakam ibn Abī’l-‘Āṣ used to ridicule the Prophet (ṣ) and on account of which the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) exiled him to Ṭā’if.(2)

As the Quraysh were not able to confront the Prophet (ṣ), they conceived a new plot and that was to confront his successor. Time and again, ‘Umar said to ‘Abbās: “The Arabs did not want prophethood [nubuwwah] and caliphate [khilāfah] to be confined to the Banū Hāshim.”(3)

The Quraysh also said:

If anyone from the Banū Hāshim took the reign of caliphate, caliphate will never slip out of this family and it will never be relinquished to us. But if a non-member of the Banū Hāshim assumed it, it will move around us and be assigned to all of us.(4)

The people at that time were also aware of this mentality of the Quraysh. As narrated by Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib, “I was sympathetic toward the Banū Hāshim. When the Holy Prophet (ṣ) passed away, I was afraid that the Quraysh was thinking of taking the caliphate out of the Banū Hāshim and I was at a loss to understand.”(5)

The Quraysh’s approval of the caliphate of Abūbakr and ‘Umar was motivated by their own benefits. For, at the time of his death, Abūbakr said a number of Quraysh who have come to his support: “I know that each of you imagines that the caliphate shall belong to him, but I chose the best among you.”(6)

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1- Muḥammad Ibn Sa‘d, Aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1405 AH) vol. 1, p. 72.
2- ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kiram Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 34.
3- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378 AH), vol. 1, p. 194.
4- Ibid.
5- Ibid., vol. 2, p. 51.
6- Ibid., vol. 1, p. 310.

Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd says: “Quraysh was displeased by the prolongation of the caliphate of ‘Umar, and ‘Umar was aware of this issue and he was not permitting them to go out of Medina.”(1)

2. Tribal Rivalry and Envy

One of the dire spin-offs of the tribal structure was intense struggle among the tribes, and God, the Exalted, points to this issue in some sūrahs of the Qur’an such as Sūrah at-Takāthur(2) and Sūrah as-Saba’.(3)

Since the period of jāhiliyyah, there had been a power struggle between the Banū Hāshim and the rest of Quraysh tribes. On the event of digging the Zamzam well by ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, the entire Quraysh tribes rallied together against the Banū Hāshim and they were not ready to allow the honor of digging the Zamzam well to go to ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib alone.(4)

Therefore, Abū Jahl used to say:

We used to compete with the Banū Hāshim over the possession of nobility. They fed people; we fed them too. They gave riding animals to people; we also gave. They gave money; we also gave. It was to such an extent that we closely competed with each other, and we became like two racing horses. Then, they said: “There emerged from among us a prophet who receives revelation from heaven.” Now, how could we compete with him? By God! We shall never believe in him or recognize him.(5)

Umayyah ibn Abī’ṣ-Ṣalt, one of the nobles and great men of Ṭā’if and one of the Ḥunafā,(6)

did not embrace Islam for the same reason. For many years, he had been waiting for the promised prophet to come. But he had been waiting as such so as to acquire this position himself. After becoming aware of the beginning of the Prophet’s (ṣ) mission, he refrained from

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1- Ibid., vol. 2, p. 159.
2- Sūrah at-Takāthur 102:1-2: ﴿ أَلْهَاکُمُ التَّکَاثُرُ ٭ حَتَّی زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ﴾ “Rivalry [and vainglory] distracted you until you visited [even] the graves.”
3- Sūrah as-Saba’ 34:35-37: ﴿ وَقَالُوا نَحْنُ أَکْثَرُ أَمْوَالا وَأَوْلادًا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِینَ ٭ قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّی یَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَنْ یَشَاءُ وَیَقْدِرُ وَلَکِنَّ أَکْثَرَ النَّاسِ لا یَعْلَمُونَ ٭ وَمَا أَمْوَالُکُمْ وَلا أَوْلادُکُمْ بِالَّتِی تُقَرِّبُکُمْ عِنْدَنَا زُلْفَی إِلا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ﴾ “And they say, ‘We have greater wealth and more children, and we will not be punished!’ Say, ‘Indeed my Lord expands the provision for whomever He wishes and He tightens it, but most people do not know.’ It is not your wealth, nor your children, that will bring you close to Us in nearness, except those who have faith and act righteously.”
4- Ibn Hāshim, As-Sīrah an-Nabawiyyah (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, pp. 143-144.
5- Ibid.
6- Ḥunafā (sing. Ḥanīf): those Arabs during the period of pre-Islamic ignorance [jāhiliyyah] who were not worshipping idols. [Trans.]

following him identifying the reason for this as shame of the women of Thaqīf, saying: “For a long time, I was telling them: ‘I shall be the promised prophet.’ Now, how could I bear for them to see me following a youngster of Banū ‘Abd al-Manāf (referring to the Prophet (ṣ))?”(1)

Yet, despite their will and envy, God lead His Prophet (ṣ) to triumph crushing their pomp. After the 8th year hijrah, when most Quraysh nobles had emigrated to Medina, their irritation and envy toward the family of the Prophet (ṣ) were mostly the result of instigation of these “new Muslims”.

Ibn Sa‘d has narrated thus:

One of the Muhājirūn said many times to ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib: “Your father ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and Ghayṭalah, Banū Sahm’s female fortune-teller, were both in the fire. Finally, ‘Abbās was infuriated and slapped him. As a result, his nose bled. That person came to the Prophet (ṣ) and made a complaint against ‘Abbās. The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) asked his uncle ‘Abbās to explain and ‘Abbās complied. Thereafter, the Prophet (ṣ) said to that man: “Why are you annoying ‘Abbās?”(2)

Due to his special position, ‘Alī (‘a) was the most envied by them. Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) says: “Whenever the Holy Prophet (ṣ) mentioned the virtues of ‘Alī (‘a) or recited a verse of the Qur’an which was revealed concerning him, some of those who were in the assembly would stand up and leave.”(3)

As such, the Holy Prophet (ṣ) has been reported many times to have said: “He who is envious of ‘Alī is envious of me and he who is envious of me is an infidel [kāfir].”(4)

Even during the time of the Prophet (ṣ), some would even express their envy and would actively annoy and disturb ‘Alī (‘a). Along this line, Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ has thus narrated: “Another person and I were in the mosque and we were abusing ‘Alī. While furious, the Prophet came to us and said: ‘Why do you annoy me? He who annoys ‘Alī annoys me’.”(5)

3. The Quraysh’s Enmity toward ‘Alī (‘a)

Finally, the most important reason for depriving ‘Alī (‘a) was Quraysh’s opposition and enmity toward him as they had suffered heavy losses from him, for, in battles during the time of the Prophet (‘a), ‘Alī (‘a) had killed

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1- Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Ridā, 1415 AH), 60; Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Tārīkh-e Islām az Jāhiliyyat tā Ḥajjah al-Widā‘ (Arāk: Islamic Āzād University (Arāk Branch), n.d.), p. 88.
2- Muḥammad Ibn Sa‘d, Aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā, vol. 4, p. 24.
3- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 214.
4- Ibid., pp. 213-214.
5- Ibid., p. 211.

their unbelieving fathers, brothers and relatives. As Ya‘qūbī writes concerning the events on the initial days of the caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a):

All the people paid allegiance to him except three persons from among the Quraysh: Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam, Sa‘īd ibn al-‘Āṣ and Walīd ibn ‘Uqbah. On their behalf, Walīd said to Commander of the Faithful (‘a): “You have inflicted a blow to all of us. You slaughtered my father after (the Battle of) Badr. You killed the father of Sa‘īd in the battle and as Marwān’s father returned to Medina,(1)

you complained to ‘Uthmān.”(2)

Similarly, during ‘Alī’s (‘a) caliphate ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn ‘Umar requested Imām al-Hasan (‘a) to visit him and he has appointment with him. When Imām al-Hasan (‘a) paid him a visit he said: “Your father has inflicted a blow to the first and last person of Quraysh and the people are hostile to him. Help me to depose of him and let you come in his stead.”(3)

When Ibn al-‘Abbās was asked why the Quraysh are hostile to ‘Alī (‘a), he said: “It is because ‘Alī sent the first among them to the fire [of hell] (by killing them in battles while in a state of unbelief [kufr]) and put to shame the last among them.”(4)

The rivals of ‘Alī (‘a) also kindled the fire of this displeasure of Quraysh toward him thus taking advantage of it. For instance, ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb said to Sa‘d ibn al-‘Āṣ: “You are staring at me in such a manner as if I killed your father, but I did not. It is ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib who has killed him!”(5)

After receiving a fatal blow at Ibn al-Muljim’s hand, ‘Alī (‘a) himself pointed out the magnitude of Quraysh’s enmity toward him in a poetical line:

تکم قریش تمنای لتقتلنی فلا و ربّک مافازوا و ما ظفروا

“The Quraysh wished to kill me, but they did not succeed to do so.”(6)

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1- Due to certain grave offenses, Marwān’s father, Ḥakam ibn al-‘Āṣ, was among the people of Banū Umayyah who were banished from Medina at the Prophet’s (ṣ) orders. During the ‘Uthmān’s caliphate, a relative of his, he was allowed to return to Medina and rally around him. For details, see inter alia Mustadrak al-Ḥākim, vol. 4, p. 481; Tafsīr al-Qurtubī, vol. 16, p. 197; Tafsīr al-Fā‘iq Zamakhshārī, vol. 2, p. 352; Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, vol. 4, p. 159; Tafsīr al-Kabīr, vol. 7, p. 491; Asad al-Ghābah of Ibn Athīr, vol. 2, p. 34, An-Nihāyah of Ibn Athīr (Egypt), vol. 3, p. 23; Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 55; Tafsir Nayshābūrī on the marginal note of Ṭabarī, vol. 26, p. 13, Sawā‘iq al-Muḥriqah, p. 108. [Trans.]
2- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 178.
3- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 498.
4- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 220.
5- Muḥammad Ibn Sa‘d, Aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā, vol. 5, p. 31.
6- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 312.

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* Lesson 6: Summary

The role of the Quraysh in the event of Saqīfah cannot be overlooked. It is because the Quraysh were the only people who could appropriate from themselves the right of the Prophet’s (ṣ) progeny. On many occasions, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) points to the wrongdoings he experienced from Quraysh. Quraysh’s enmity toward the family of the Prophet (ṣ) was motivated by the following:

1. Quraysh’s ambition for leadership which prompted them to refuse to accept his invitation as such an acceptance was inconsistent with their leadership.

2. The existence of rivalry between Banū Hāshim and the rest of Quraysh tribes and the latter’s envy toward the former.

3. Quraysh’s enmity toward ‘Alī (‘a) for inflicting major blows to them.

* Lesson 6: Questions

What was the role of the Quraysh in the event of Saqīfah?

What were the reasons behind Quraysh’s enmity toward the family of the Prophet (ṣ)?

Explain the tribal rivalry and envy.

What was the nature of Quraysh’s enmity toward ‘Alī (‘a)?

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Lesson Seven

The Silence of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a)
Point

Now, let us examine why after the event of Saqīfah and the commencement of Abūbakr’s rule, ‘Alī (‘a) did not insist on claiming his indisputable right, and why after obtaining certainty on the ineffectiveness of some months of arguments and proofs, he did not resort to armed struggle. In view of the fact that a number of the Prophet’s (ṣ) great Companions were his staunch supporters and that the common Muslims had also no opposition to him, it can be said in general that the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) took into account the interest of Islam and the Muslims and preferred to keep silent. As he (‘a) says in his Khutbah ash-Shaqshaqiyyah,

فَسَدَلْتُ دُونَهَا ثَوْباً، وَطَوَیْتُ عَنْهَا کَشْحاً ، وَطَفِقْتُ أَرْتَئِی بَیْنَ أَنْ أَصُولَ بِیَد جَذَّاءَ ، أَوْ أَصْبِرَ عَلَیٰ طَخْیَه عَمْیَاءَ، یَهْرَمُ فیهَا الکَبیرُ، وَیَشِیبُ فِیهَا الصَّغِیرُ، وَیَکْدَحُ فِیهَا مُؤْمِنٌ حَتَّی یَلْقَیٰ رَبَّهُ. فَرَأَیْتُ أَنَّ الصَّبْرَ عَلَیٰ هَاتَا أَحْجَیٰ ، فَصَبَرتُ وَفی الْعَیْنِ قَذیً، وَفی الحَلْقِ شَجاً ، أریٰ تُرَاثی نَهْباً.

I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it. Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the grown-up are made feeble and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So I adopted patience although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation (of mortification) in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance…(1)

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1- Najh al-Balāghah (Fayḍ al-Islām), Sermon 3 [Khutbah ash-Shaqshaqiyyah].

Of course, keeping ‘Alī’s (‘a) speech in view, other secondary factors concerning his silence can be pointed out:

1. The Discord among Muslims

The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) says:

إنّ الله لَمّا قَبَضَ نَبِیَّهُ اِسْتَأثَرَثْ عَلَیْنا قُرَیشٌ بِالاَمْرِ وَ دَفَعَتْنا عَنْ حَقٍّ نَحْنُ اَحَقُّ بِهِ مِنَ النّاسِ کافَّهً فَرَأیْتُ اَنَّ الصَّبْرَ عَلیٰ ذٰلِکَ اَفْضَلُ مِنْ تَفریقِ کَلِمَهِ المُسْلِمِینَ وَ سَفْکِ دِمائِهِمْ وَ النّاسُ حَدِیثُو عَهْدٍ بِالاِسلام وَالدّینِ یُمْخَضْ مَخْضَ الوَطْبِ، یُفسَدهُ اَدْنیٰ وَهَنٍ وَ یَعکسه اَقَلُّ خُلْفٍ.

When God took the soul of His Prophet, the Quraysh self-centeredly considered themselves superior to us and deprived us—who were the most deserving for the leadership of the ummah—of our own rights. But I saw that patience and forbearance with respect to this affair is better than the dissension of Muslims and shedding of their blood. It is because the people then had newly embraced Islam and the religion was like a goatskin full of milk which has frothed and the least sluggishness and negligence would spoil it and the most trivial difference would turn it upside down.(1)

2. The Danger Posed by the Apostates [murtaddīn]

After the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), a large number of the Arab tribes that had accepted Islam during the last years of the Prophet’s (ṣ) life turned back from the religion and became apostate, and this danger always seriously threatened Medina. As such, in order not to weaken the government in Medina in front of them, ‘Alī (‘a) was forced to keep silent. ‘Alī (‘a) says:

فَوَاللهِ مَا کَانَ یُلْقَی فِی رُوعِی، وَلاَ یَخْطُرُ بِبَالِی، أَنَّ الْعَرَبَ تُزْعِجُ هذَا الاََْمْرَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ صلی الله علیه وآله عَنْ اَهْل بَیْتِهِ، وَلاَ أَنَّهُمْ مُنَحُّوهُ عَنِّی مِنْ بَعْدِهِ فَمَا رَاعَنِی إِلاَّ انْثِیَالُ النَّاسِ عَلَی فُلاَنٍ یُبَایِعُونَهُ، فَأَمْسَکْتُ یَدِی حَتَّی رَأیْتُ رَاجِعَهَ النَّاسِ قَدْ رَجَعَتْ عَنِ الاِِْسْلاَمِ، یَدْعُونَ إِلَی مَحْقِ دِینِ مُحَمَّدٍ صلی الله علیه وآله فَخَشِیتُ إِنْ لَمْ أَنْصُرِ الاِسْلامَ وَ اَهْلَهُ أَنْ أَرَی فِیهِ ثَلْماً أَوْ هَدْماً، تَکُونُ الْمُصِیبَهُ بِهِ عَلَیَّ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ فَوْتِ وِلاَیَتِکُمُ الَّتِی إِنَّمَا هِیَ مَتَاعُ أَیَّامٍ قَلاَئِلَ، یَزُولُ مِنْهَا مَا کَانَ، کَمَا یَزُولُ السَّرَابُ، اَوْ کَمَا یَتَقَشَّعُ السَّحَابُ، فَنَهَضْتُ فِی تِلْکَ الاََْحْدَاثِ حَتَّی انزَاحَ الْبَاطِلُ وَزَهَقَ وَاطْمَأَنَّ الدِّینُ وَ تَنَهْنَهَ.

I swear by Allah that at that juncture it could not even be imagined that the Arabs would snatch the seat of the caliphate from the family and descendants of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) and that they would be swearing the oath of allegiance for the caliphate to a different person. At every stage, I kept myself aloof from that struggle of supremacy and power-politics till I found the heretics had openly taken to heresy and schism and were trying to

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1- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 308.

undermine and ruin the religion preached by our Holy Prophet (ṣ). I felt afraid that, even after seeing and recognizing the evil, if I did not stand up to help Islam and the Muslims it would be a worse calamity to me than my losing authority and power over you, which was only a transient and short-lived affair. Therefore, when I stood up amidst the sweeping surge of innovations and schism the dark clouds of heresy dispersed, falsehood and schism were crushed and the religion was saved.(1)

Imām al-Hasan (‘a) also writes in a letter to Mu‘āwiyah: “Since we were afraid that the hypocrites and the other Arab parties could render a blow to Islam, we ignored our right.”(2)

Even a number of those in whose heart faith had not entered, as testified by the Qur’an, and had accepted Islam out of compulsion, as demanded by their inner hypocrisy, they did not accept the guardianship [wilāyah] of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). They even complained about this guardianship during the Prophet’s (ṣ) lifetime. On the commentary of the Qur’anic verse, “An asker asked for a punishment bound to befall,”(3) Ṭabarsī has thus narrated from Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a):

After the event of Ghadīr Khumm, a nomadic Arab by the name of Nu‘mān ibn al-Ḥārith al-Fihrī came to the Prophet (ṣ) and said: “You commanded us to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah. You ordered us to perform jihād, fast, pray, and pay zakāh and we obeyed. But you are not satisfied with all this and you raised your cousin by your hand and imposed him upon us as our master by saying ‘‘Alī is the master [mawlā] of whom I am mawlā.’ Is this imposition from Allah or from you?” The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: “By Allah who is the only deity! This is from Allah, the Mighty and the Glorious.” On hearing this reply Nu‘mān ibn al-Ḥārith turned back and proceeded toward his she-camel saying: “O Allah! If what Muḥammad said is correct then fling on us a stone from the sky and subject us to severe pain and torture.” He had not reached his she-camel when Allah flung at him a stone which struck him on his head, penetrated his body and left him dead. It was on this occasion that Allah, the Exalted, caused to descend this verse.(4)

In the event of Saqīfah, these people were also siding with the Quraysh. As narrated by Abū Mikhnaf, a number of nomadic Arabs, who had to the vicinity of Medina for transactions and were present in Medina during the

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1- Najh al-Balāghah (Fayḍ al-Islām), Letter 62.
2- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 65.
3- Sūrah al-Ma‘ārij 70:1.
4- Abī ‘Alī al-Faḍl ibn al-Hasan Ṭabarsī, Majma‘ al-Bayān, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’t-Tibā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, 1408 AH), vol. 10, p. 530.

demise of the Prophet (ṣ), had actual physical role in urging the people to pay allegiance to Abūbakr.(1)

3. The Safety of the Progeny of the Prophet (ṣ)

The original inheritors of the Prophet (ṣ) and the upright adherents of the religion are the members of the Prophet’s (ṣ) family. They were the partner of the Qur’an, the second previous legacy of the Prophet (ṣ) and the interpreters of the religious laws, and they showed to the people the pristine and genuine Islam after the Prophet’s (ṣ) demise. Their extinction would be an irreparable loss. The Commander of the Faithful said:

فَنَظَرْتُ فِإِذا لَیسَ لی مُعینٌ إلاّ أهلُ بَیتی فَضَنَنْتُ بِهِمْ عَنِ المَوْتِ.

“Then, I looked and found that there is no supporter for me except my family [ahla baytī], so I refrained from thrusting them unto death.”(2)

The Concrete Political Formation of the Shī‘ah after the Event of Saqīfah

Although ‘Alī (‘a) distanced himself from the political scene with the formation of Saqīfah, the Shī‘ah in the form of a particular group with a particular political orientation was formed after the event in Saqīfah and were collectively or individually defending the truthfulness of ‘Alī (‘a). They first gathered in Fātimah’s (‘a) house and refused to pay allegiance (to Abubakr) as they faced the onslaught of the Saqīfah architects.(3)

But since ‘Alī (‘a) was not pleased to act violently against them for the sake of the preservation of Islam, he challenged them to a debate and argumentation. Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib thus narrates:

I missed the cases regarding Saqīfah. As I went to the Mosque of the Prophet (ṣ) [Masjid an-Nabī], I saw Miqdād, ‘Ubādah ibn Ṣāmit, Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr, Ḥudhayfah, and Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihām were talking about the event that took place after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ). He went together to the house of Ubayy ibn Ka‘b who said that his view is the same with whatever Ḥudhayfah would say.(4)

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1- Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Central Publication), 1416 AH), pp. 118-119.
2- Najh al-Balāghah (Fayḍ al-Islām), Sermon 26.
3- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 126.
4- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 51.

Finally, on that Friday, the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) went to the Prophet’s (ṣ) Mosque to debate with and condemn Abubakr. In this regard, Ṭabarsī thus narrates:

Abān ibn Taghlib asks Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a): “May I be your ransom! When Abūbakr sat in the place of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), was there anyone who protested?” The Imām (‘a) said: “Yes; there were twelve persons from among the Muhājirūn and the Anṣār such as Khālid ibn Sa‘īd; Salmān al-Fārsī; Abū Dharr; Miqdād; ‘Ammār; Buraydah Aslamī; Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Sahl ibn Ḥanīf; ‘Uthmān ibn Ḥanīf; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahadatayn; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b; and Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī. They gathered in a certain place and discussed together the event in Saqīfah and were thinking of a solution. Some said: “We shall go to the mosque and let Abūbakr come down from the pulpit. Some others did not agree with this idea, considering it unadvisable. They then came to ‘Alī (‘a) and said: “We will go and pull Abūbakr down from the pulpit.” The Imām (‘a) said: “They are many. Once you go ahead with this and act violently, they will come and say: “You pay allegiance otherwise we shall kill you.” Instead, you have to go to him and tell him what you have heard from the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) and this is all of the proof. They came to the mosque and the first person among them who spoke was Khālid ibn Sa‘īd al-Umawī, saying: “O Abūbakr! You are aware that after the Battle of Banū Naḍīr, the Holy Prophet (ṣ) said: ‘You have to know and keep my will. After me, ‘Alī shall be my caliph and successor among you. My Lord has thus ordered me’.” After him, Salmān stood up and made his famous statement in Persian language: “Kardīd, nakardīd.”(1) After their argumentation, Abūbakr descended from the pulpit, went to his house and did not go out for three days until such time that Khālid ibn Walīd, Sālim Mawlā Abū Ḥudhayfah and Mu‘adh ibn Jabal along with many others went to Abūbakr’s house and gave him will power. ‘Umar went along with this group to the mosque entrance and said: “O Shī‘ah and supporters of ‘Alī! Be aware that if you would utter these words again, I will behead you.”(2)

Similarly, a number of those Shī‘ah from among the Companions who, at the time of the Prophet’s (ṣ) demise, were on a mission outside Medina, such as Khālid ibn Sa‘īd and his two brothers, Abān and ‘Amrū, protested against Abūbakr after their return from their place of mission. As a sign of protest, all the three brothers did not continue their function which was

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1- Kardīd, nakardīd: Literally, “You did; you didn’t.” That is, “You determined the caliphate but you did not do the right thing.”
2- Abī Manṣūr Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib Ṭabarsī, Al-Iḥtijāj (Tehran: Intishārāt-e Usweh, n.d.), vol. 1, pp. 186-200.

collection of zakāh, saying: “We shall not work for someone else after the Prophet (ṣ).”(1)

In addressing ‘Alī (‘a), Khālid ibn Sa‘īd said: “Come forward so that I could pay my allegiance to you as you are the most deserving person in the position of Muhammad (ṣ).”(2)

Throughout the 25 years of the three caliphs’ rule, The Shī‘ah from among the Companions were always introducing ‘Alī (‘a) as the caliph and commander of the faithful in truth. ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd used to say, “Based on the injunction of the Qur’an, there are four caliphs, viz. Ādam (Adam), Dāwūd (David), Hārūn (Aaron), and ‘Alī.”(3)

Ḥudhayfah also used to say: “Anyone who wants to witness the Commander of the Faithful in truth shall meet ‘Alī.”(4)

Ḥārith ibn Khazraj, the standard-bearer of the Anṣār in the battles of the Prophet (ṣ), used to narrate that the Holy Prophet (ṣ) said to ‘Alī (‘a): “The inhabitants of the heavens have called you ‘Commander of the Faithful’ [Amīr al-Mu’minīn]’.”(5)

Ya‘qūbī writes:

After the six-man council proposed by ‘Umar and the selection of ‘Uthmān, some were showing inclination toward ‘Alī and speaking against ‘Uthmān. A certain person thus narrates: “I entered the Mosque of the Prophet [Masjid an-Nabī]. I saw a man sitting on his two knees so impatiently as if he was shouldering the entire world, and while being taken by them, he was addressing the people: ‘How surprising the Quraysh are! They took out the caliphate from the family of the Prophet while among this family was the first believer, cousin of the Messenger of Allah, the most learned and knowledgeable of people about the religion of God, and most insightful of

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1- ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 83.
2- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1413 AH), vol. 2, p. 11.
3- Regarding Ādam (Adam) (‘a), God, the Exalted, says: “Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on earth” Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:30. Concerning Dāwūd (David) (‘a), God, the Exalted, states: “Indeed We have made you a vicegerent on the earth” Sūrah Ṣād 38:26. With regard to Hārūn (Aaron) (‘a), God, the Exalted, says through the tongue of Mūsā (Moses) (‘a): “Be my successor among my people” Sūrah al-A‘rāf 7:142. As regards ‘Alī (‘a), God, the Exalted, says: “Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the earth, just as He made those who were before them successors” Sūrah an-Nūr 24:55. Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwā’, 1405 AH), vol. 3, pp. 77-78.
4- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 115.
5- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 54.

people to the right course and the Straight Path [Siraṭ al-Mustaqīm]. They took the caliphate from the Imām of guidance, the guided [mahdī], pure [ṭāhir] and chaste [naqī], and their objective was not for the reformation of the ummah and religiosity. They rather preferred the world to the hereafter’.” The narrator says: “I approached and asked him: ‘May Allah be merciful to you! Who are you? And who is the person you are talking about?’ He said: ‘I am Miqdād ibn ‘Amrū and that person (I am referring to) is ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.’ I said: ‘You stage an uprising and I will help you.’ Miqdād said: ‘My son, this work cannot be done by just one or two persons’.”(1)

During the caliphate of ‘Uthmān, Abū Dharr al-Ghaffārī also used to stand by the door of the Mosque of the Prophet (ṣ) and say:

Anyone who knows me has recognized me and anyone who does not know me should then know that I am Jundab ibn Junādah, Abū Dharr al-Ghaffārī… Muhammad (ṣ) is the inheritor of the knowledge of Ādam (Adam) (‘a) and all virtues of the prophets (‘a), and ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a) is the successor of Muhammad (ṣ) and the inheritor of his knowledge. O confounded and wandering ummah after the Prophet (ṣ)! Be aware that if you would have made superior the person who had been made superior by God and have fixed the wilāyah [guardianship] on the family of your Prophet, blessings from above and below will be bestowed on you and every matter you would want the information about which will be obtained from them from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet. But now, you did something else, you would see the consequences of what you have done.(2)

Yes, the group of the first Shī‘ah and its formation had been initiated by the great Companions of the Prophet (ṣ), and through these same Shī‘ah from the Companions that Shī‘ism was transferred to the next generation of the Tābi‘ūn [Followers]. And it was the result of their efforts that at the end of the rule of ‘Uthmān, from the political perspective, the ground for ‘Alī’s (‘a) caliphate was paved.

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 57.
2- Ibid., p. 67.
* Lesson 7: Summary

1. Hadrat ‘Alī (‘a) overlooked his right and kept silent for the sake and interest of Islam. Keeping in view his statements in this regard, the following factors can be identified:

a. The discord among Muslims;

b. The danger posed by the apostates [murtaddīn]; and

c. The safety of the progeny of the Prophet (‘a).

2. After the event of Saqīfah, Shī‘ah was formed as a special group with a particular political orientation, and they individually and collectively defended the truthfulness of ‘Alī (‘a).

They gathered in the house of Fātimah (‘a), interpolated Abūbakr in the mosque, and for the period of 25 years, they used to persistently introduce ‘Alī (‘a) as the rightful caliph to the people.

* Lesson 7: Questions

1. List the reasons for the silence of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).

2. After the event of Saqīfah, at what stage were the Shī‘ah in?

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Lesson Eight

The Shī‘ah among the Companions [ṣaḥābah]

We said earlier that the first person to call the followers of ‘Alī (‘a) as “Shī‘ah” was the receiver of the divine revelation, Muhammad al-Mustafā (ṣ). During the time of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) a number of his Companions were known as “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī”. In Khaṭaṭ ash-Shām, Muhammad Kird ‘Alī thus writes:

During the period of the Holy Prophet (ṣ), a number of the great Companions was known for their fellowship and friendship with ‘Alī such as Salmān al-Fārsī who used to say: “We pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) that we would be the well-wishers of Muslims and that we follow and befriend ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib”; and Abū Sa‘īd al-Khudrī who used to say: “We were ordered five things, of which the people acted upon the four but have abandoned one of them.” He was asked: “What are the four?” He replied: “Prayer, zakāt, fasting in the month of Ramadān, and Ḥajj” He was again asked: “What is the thing that the people abandoned?” He replied: “The wilāyah [mastership] of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.” The person asked: “Is this also obligatory like the others?” [Among the Shī‘ah were] also Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir, Khadīqah ibn Yamān, Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahadatayn, Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī, Khālid ibn Sa‘īd, and Qays ibn Sa‘d.(1)

Regarding the pioneering Shī‘ah, Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd also says, thus:

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1- Muhammad Kird ‘Alī, Khaṭaṭ ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403 AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 245.

The talk on the superiority of ‘Alī is an old subject in which a great number of the Companions and Followers [tābi‘ūn] believed. Among the Companions were ‘Ammār; Miqdād; Abū Dharr; Salmān; Jābir; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b; Ḥudhayfah; Buraydah; Abū Ayyūb; Sahl ibn Ḥunayf; ‘Uthmān ibn Ḥunayf; Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Abū’ṭ-Ṭufayl ‘Āmir ibn Wāthilah; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; and all members of the Banū Hāshim and Banū Muṭṭalib. At the beginning, Zubayr also believed in ‘Alī’s superiority. They were a few from among the Banū Umayyah such as Khālid ibn Sa‘īd and later on, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz.(1)

In Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī has allotted a certain part to the Shī‘ah among the Companions. He has first mentioned the members of the Banū Hāshim and then the other Shī‘ah among the Companions. In the first section which is related to the Shī‘ah Companions among the members of the Banū Hāshim, it is thus stated:

Abū Ṭālib; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; Qithm ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn al-‘Abbās; Tamām ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Aqīl ibn Abī Ṭālib; Abū Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; Nawfal ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far; ‘Awn ibn Ja‘far; Muhammad ibn Ja‘far; Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; Ṭufayl ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; Mughayrah ibn Nawfal ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab; ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; and Ja‘far ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib.(2)

In the second section (the non-Banū Hāshim Shī‘ah among the Companions), Sayyid ‘Alī Khān has thus recorded:

‘Amr ibn Abī Salmah; Salmān al-Fārsī; Miqdād ibn Aswād; Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī; ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir; Ḥudhayfah ibn Yamān; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī; Abū’l-Haytham Mālik ibn Tayyihān; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b; Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubādah; Qays ibn Sa‘d; Sa‘d ibn Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubādah; Abū Quṭādah al-Anṣārī; ‘Udayy ibn Ḥātam; ‘Ubādah ibn Ṣāmit; Bilāl ibn Rubāḥ; Abū’l-Ḥumarā’; Abū Rāfi‘; Hāshim ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Waqqāṣ; ‘Uthmān ibn Ḥunayf; Sahl ibn Ḥunayf; Ḥakīm ibn Jablah al-‘Adwī; Khālid ibn Sa‘īd ibn al-‘Āṣ; Walīd ibn Jābir ibn Ṭalīm aṭ-Ṭā’ī; Sa‘d ibn Mālik

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1- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378 AH), vol. 2, pp. 221-222.
2- Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Wafā’, n.d.), pp. 41-197.

ibn Sinān; Barā’ ibn Mālik al-Anṣārī; Ibn Ḥaṣīb Aslamī; Ka‘b ibn ‘Amrū al-Anṣārī; Rafā‘ah ibn Rāfi‘ al-Anṣārī; Mālik ibn Rabī‘ah Sā‘idī; ‘Uqbah ibn‘Umar ibn Tha‘labah al-Anṣārī; Hind ibn Abī Hālah at-Tamīmī; Ju‘dah ibn Hubayrah; Abū ‘Umrah al-Anṣārī; Mas‘ūd ibn al-Aws; Naḍlah ibn ‘Ubayd; Abū Burzah Aslamī; Mardās ibn Mālik Aslamī; Musūr ibn Shidād Fahrī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Budayl al-Khazā‘ī; Ḥujr ibn ‘Adī al-Kindī; ‘Amrū ibn al-Ḥumq al-Khazā‘ī; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Abū Laylā al-Anṣārī; Zayd ibn al-Arqam; and Barā ibn ‘Āzib Awsī.(1)

The author of Rijāl al-Burqā has also mentioned the Shī‘ah and supporters of ‘Alī (‘a) among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) in a certain part of his book, thus:

Salmān, Miqdād, Abū Dharr, and ‘Ammār, and after these four persons, Abū Laylā, Shabīr, Abū ‘Umrah al-Anṣārī, and Abū Sinān al-Anṣārī, and after these four persons, Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī; Abū Sa‘īd al-Anṣārī whose name is Sa‘d ibn Mālik al-Khazrajī; Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī al-Khazrajī; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b al-Anṣārī; Abū Burzah Aslamī al-Khazā‘ī whose name is Naḍlah ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh; Zayd ibn al-Arqam al-Anṣārī; Buraydah ibn Ḥaṣīb Aslamī; ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Qays whose epithet Safīnah Rākib Asad; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Salām; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far; Mughayrah ibn Nawfal ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib; Ḥudhayfah al-Yamān who is included among the Anṣār; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Anas ibn Mālik; Abū’l-Humrā’; Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib al-Anṣārī; and ‘Arafah Azdī.(2)

A number of the Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’ and rijālī scholars believes that the Shī‘ah among the Companions were more than this number. For example, Shaykh al-Mufīd regards all the Companions who have pledged allegiance to ‘Alī (‘a) in Medina especially those Companions who accompanied him in the battles as among the Shī‘ah and those who believed in his Imamate [imāmah]. In the Battle of Jamal (Camel), one thousand five hundred Companions were present.(3)

It is thus recorded in Rijāl Kashī:

Among the pioneering Companions who traversed the path of truth and believed in the Imamate of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) are the following: Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Abū Ayyūb; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh; Zayd ibn al-Arqam; Abū Sa‘īd Sahl ibn Ḥunayf; Barā’ ibn Mālik; ‘Uthmān ibn Ḥunayf; ‘Ubādah ibn Ṣāmit, and

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1- Ibid.., pp. 197-455.
2- Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid Burqā, Rijāl al-Burqā (n.p.: Mu’assasah al-Qayyūm, n.d.), pp. 31-39.
3- Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Publication Center), 1416 AH), pp. 109-110.

after them are Qays ibn Sa‘d; ‘Udayy ibn Ḥātam; ‘Amrū ibn Ḥamq; ‘Umrān ibn Ḥaṣīn; Buraydah Aslamī; and others who are described as “basharun kathīr” [many people].(1)

In the marginal note of Rijāl Kashī on the definition and explanation of the term “basarun kathīr”, the late Mīrdāmād says: “It means many people from among the prominent Companions and leading Followers [tābi‘ūn].”(2)

Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn has also said:

Be aware that many of the Companions believed in the Imamate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) to count them is not possible for us to do and the narrators of traditions have consensus of opinion that most of the Companions accompanied and sided with the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) in the battles.(3)

In one of his letters to Mu‘āwiyah, Muhammad ibn Abūbakr identifies the presence of the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) at the side of ‘Alī (‘a) as one of the signs of his rightfulness.(4)

Muhammad ibn Abī Ḥudhayfah, a loyal supporter of ‘Alī (‘a) who was a maternal cousin of Mu‘āwiyah, and owing to his friendship with ‘Alī (‘a), languished in the prison cell of Mu‘āwiyah and finally died there, thus addressed Mu‘āwiyah in one of their conversation:

From the moment I have known you, whether during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance [yawm al-jāhiliyyah] or during the advent of Islam, you have never changed and Islam has not been added to you. And one of the manifestations of this fact is that you are condemning me for loving ‘Alī notwithstanding the fact that all the ascetics and devoted worshippers of the Muhājirūn and Anṣār are in his company while in your company are perverts and hypocrites.(5)

Of course, not all of those who were enlisted in the army of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) can be considered Shī‘ah. But since he (‘a) was the official caliph, they accompanied him (‘a). This statement can be said to be correct with respect to the other people, for the Companions who accompanied him (‘a) were always assisting the Imām (‘a) in proving his rightfulness. As Salīm ibn al-Qays has narrated,

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1- Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, pp. 181-188.
2- Ibid., p. 188.
3- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 24.
4- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 395.
5- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), p. 278.

The Commander of the Faithful mounted the pulpit in Ṣiffīn and everyone including the Muhājirūn and Anṣār enlisted in the army gathered around the pulpit. The Imām praised and glorified Allah and then said: “O people! My virtues and merits are more than that which can be counted. It is enough to say that when the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) was asked about the verse, “And the Foremost Ones are the foremost ones: they are the ones brought near [to Allah],”(1) he (ṣ) said: ‘God has revealed this verse about the prophets and their successors [awṣiyā’]. I am superior to all prophets and messengers and my successor [waṣī] ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib is the foremost among the successors’.” At that moment, seventy persons from among the Companions who participated in the Battled of Badr, most of whom were from the Anṣār, stood up and testified that they have heard the same thing from the Messenger of Allah (ṣ).(2)

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1- Sūrah al-Wāqi‘ah 56:10-11.
2- Salīm ibn Qays al-‘Āmirī (Beirut: Manshūr Dār al-Funūn Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, 1400 AH), p. 186; Abī Manṣūr Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭabarsī (Al-Iḥtijāj. Tehran: Intishārāt-e Usweh, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 472.
* Lesson 8: Summary

The pioneering Shī‘ah were prominent Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). Muhammad Kird-‘Alī in Khaṭat ash-Shām has recorded that a number of the Companions were known as the “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī” during the lifetime of the Prophet (ṣ).

Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī in Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah has examined the Shī‘ah among the Companions in two sections: the Shī‘ah Companions from among the Banū Hāshim, and the Shī‘ah Companions who were not members of the Banū Hāshim.

The writer of Rijāl al-Burqā has also allotted a certain part of his book to the supporters of ‘Alī (‘a) from among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ).

In Al-Jamal, Shaykh al-Mufīd regards all the Companions who accompanied and sided with ‘Alī (‘a) in the battles as Shī‘ah.

In Rijāl Kashī, after enumerating the Shī‘ah from among the Companions, Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī thus says: “A large number believed in the Imamate of ‘Alī (‘a).”

The supporters of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) also used to point out to Mu‘āwiyah the presence of the Companions of the Prophet (‘a) on the side of ‘Alī (‘a) as one of the indications of his righteousness.

* Lesson 8: Questions

1. Explain something about the Shī‘ah among the Companions.

2. How many of the Companions were present on the side of ‘Alī (‘a) at the Battle of Jamal (Camel)?

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Chapter Three

The Periods of Historical Development of the Shī‘ah

Lesson Nine

1. The Shī‘ah during the Period of the First Four Caliphs

,

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The Shī‘ah during the reigns of the first three caliphs, viz. Abūbakr, Umar and ‘Uthmān, has distinctive features which can be expressed in the following manner:

1. During the reigns of these three caliphs, the Shī‘ah were subjected to many pressures with the exception of the initial days after the event of Saqīfah. It can even be said that many of the Shī‘ah were deprived of key positions on account of their being Shī‘ah.(1)

2. After the event of Saqīfah which brought about dichotomy on the issue of leadership over the Muslims and led to the division of Muslims into two main groups, the Ahl as-Sunnah were referring to the caliphs of the time on the scientific, jurisprudential, ideological, and other problems, whereas the Shī‘ah were referring to ‘Alī (‘a).

The Shī‘ah’s practice of referring to ‘Alī (‘a) regarding scientific issues, jurisprudence and other Islamic sciences in general, continued with the pure Imāms (‘a) after the martyrdom of ‘Alī (‘a). The reason behind the Sunnī-Shī‘ah difference in jurisprudence [fiqh], hadīth, tafsīr [exegesis of the

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1- For example, when Abūbakr initially appointed Khālid ibn Sa‘īd as the commander in the Battle of Shām, ‘Umar said to him: “Have you forgotten Khālid’s refusal to pay allegiance to you and his solidarity with the Banū Hāshim? I do not think it’s appropriate for him to be appointed as commander.” As such, Abūbakr withdrew his appointment of Khālid as the commander and appointed another person in his stead. Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 133.

Qur’an], kalām [scholastic theology], among others is this very fact that the reference authorities of these two groups were different and distinct from each other.

3. Just as ‘Alī (‘a) had unofficial political and military cooperation from afar with the caliphs of the time as far as protection of the lofty interests of Islam was concerned,(1) a number of distinguished Shī‘ah among the Companions also assumed military and political positions with the consent of Imām ‘Alī (‘a). For example, Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās—‘Alī’s (‘a) cousin and defender during the event in Saqīfah—held a military position in the army of Shām and passed away in 18 AH in Palestine.(2)

Ḥudhayfah and Salmān became the governors of Madā’in one after the other.(3)

‘Ammār ibn Yāsir was appointed by the second caliph as the governor of Kūfah after the tenure of Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ.(4)

Hāshim Mirqāl, who was one of the sincere Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and was martyred in the Battle of Ṣiffīn on the side of the Imām (‘a),(5)

was one of the outstanding commanders during the periods of the three caliphs and conquered Azerbaijan in 22 AH.(6)

‘Uthmān ibn Ḥunayf and Ḥudhayfah ibn Yamān were commissioned by ‘Umar to measure the lands of Iraq.(7)

‘Abd Allāh ibn Badīl ibn Waraqā’ al-Khazā‘ī, one of the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) Shī‘ah whose son was one of the first martyrs in the Battle

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1- For instance, we may cite the recommendation of ‘Alī (‘a) to Abūbakr concerning the dispatch of army to Shām (Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 133) and his instructions to ‘Umar when he was consulted by the caliph about his plan for himself to go to the battle against the Byzantines. The Imām (‘a) said: “If you yourself will proceed towards the enemy and clash with them and fall into some trouble, there will be no place of refuge for the Muslims other than their remote cities, nor any place they would return to. Therefore, you should send an experienced man and send with him people of good performance who are well-intentioned. If Allah grants you victory, then this is what you want. If it is otherwise, you would serve as a support for the people and a returning place for the Muslims.” (Nahj al-Balāghah, Sermon 134) Also, when ‘Umar consulted the Imām (‘a) about the caliph himself partaking in the Battle of Persia, he (‘a) said: “You should remain like the axis for them (Arabs), and rotate the mill (of government) with (the help of) the Arabs, and be their root. Avoid battle, because if you leave this place the Arabs will attack you from all sides and directions till the unguarded places left behind by you will become more important than those before you. If the Persians see you tomorrow they will say, “He is the root (chief) of Arabia. If we do away with him we will be in peace.” In this way this will heighten their eagerness against you and their keenness to aim at you.” (Nahj al-Balāghah, Sermon 146)
2- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 151.
3- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 2, p. 323.
4- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 155.
5- Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 401.
6- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 156.
7- Ibid., p. 152.

of Jamal (Camel),(1) was one of the military commanders and conquered Isfahān and Hamedān.(2)

Similarly, individuals such as Jarīr ibn ‘Abd Allāh Bajallī(3)

and Qurẓah ibn Ka‘b al-Anṣārī(4)

who were among the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) distinguished men during his caliphate, held administrative and military positions during the periods of the three caliphs. Jarīr conquered the territory of Kūfah(5) and became the governor of Hamedān during ‘Uthmān’s reign.(6)

Qurẓah ibn Ka‘b al-Anṣārī also conquered Shahr-e Rey during the period of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb.(7)

Manifestation of Shī‘ism during the Caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a)

Although the root of Shī‘ism can be traced back to the time of the Prophet (ṣ), its manifestation came after ‘Uthmān’s assassination and ‘Alī’s (‘a) caliphate. During this period the demarcating line became clear as ‘Alī’s (‘a) supporters and followers openly declared and expressed their Shī‘ism. Shaykh al-Mufīd narrates, thus:

A group of people came to ‘Alī (‘a) and said: “O Commander of the Faithful! We are among your Shī‘ah.” The Imām (‘a) looked carefully at their faces and said: “But why can’t I see the countenances of the Shī‘ah in you?” They asked: “O Commander of the Faithful! How should countenances of the Shī‘ah be?” He (‘a) said: “Their faces are pale from excessive acts of worship at night; their eyes are weak from weeping profusely; their backs have curvature for standing for long time in prayer; their stomachs can reach their backs for fasting a lot; and the dust of humility and lowliness has settled in them.”(8)

Also, poems were recited during the caliphate of Imām ‘Alī (‘a) in which ‘Alī (‘a) has been described as the rightful Imām and successor, and the leader after the Prophet (ṣ). As Qays ibn Sa‘d was saying,

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1- Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Publication Center), 1416 AH), p. 342.
2- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 157.
3- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 275.
4- ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 202.
5- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 143.
6- Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1415 AH), p. 586.
7- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 154.
8- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), pp. 227-228.

و علیّ إمامنا و إمام لسوانا أتی به التن_زیل

‘Alī is our Imām and that of others. The Qur’an has been revealed for this purpose.(1)

Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahadatayn used to say:

فدیت علیّاً إمام الوری سراج البریّه مأوی التّقی

وصیّ الرّسول و زوج البتول إمام البریّه شمس الضّحی

تصدق خاتمه راکعاً فاحسن بفعل إمام الوری

ففضّله الله ربّ العباد و أنزل فی شأنه هل أتی

May I be the ransom of ‘Alī! He is the Imām of the people, the light of creation and the asylum of the God-conscious ones.

He is the successor [waṣī] of the Prophet, the husband of Baṭūl (Fātimah), the Imām of creation, and radiant sun.

He is the Imām of creation and gave in alms [ṣadaqah] his ring while he was in the state of bowing [rukū‘], and what a good deed he performed!

God, the Exalted, made him superior to others and revealed the Sūrah “Hal atā” about him.(2)

In some poems, the Imām’s (‘a) Shī‘ah also introduced themselves to the religion of ‘Alī (‘a). For example, while engaged in a fight against a person named ‘Amrū ibn Yathribī from among the army of Jamal [camel] during the Battle of Jamal, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir recited thus:

لا تبرح العرصه یا ابن یثربی حتی اقاتلک علیٰ دین علی نحن و بیت الله اولی بالنّبی

O Ibn Yathribī! Leave not the battlefront so that we could fight against you over the religion of ‘Alī. I swear to the House of God that we are the foremost ones to the Prophet.(3)

Even the enemies and adversaries were using the same descriptions for the Shī‘ah. For example, in a poem, proud of killing the supporters of ‘Alī (‘a), ‘Amrū ibn Yathribī says:

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 28.
2- Ibid., p. 6.
3- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Publication Center), 1416 AH), p. 346.

ان تنکرونی فانا ابن یثربی قاتل عِلباء و هِند الجملی ثمّ ابن صوحان علیٰ دین علیّ

If you do not know me, I am Ibn Yathribī, the killer of ‘Ilbā’ and Hind al-Jamalī.(1)

I am also the killer of Ibn Ṣawḥān for the crime of following the religion of ‘Alī.

2. The Shī‘ah during the Period of the Umayyad Caliphate

The period of the Umayyad caliphate was the most difficult time for the Shī‘ah, starting from 40 AH up to 132 AH. All the Umayyad caliphs with the exception of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz were sworn enemies of the Shī‘ah. Of course, after caliph Hishām the Umayyads were preoccupied with the campaign against internal revolts and the ‘Abbāsid movement and the past harsh treatments of Shī‘ah were lessened. The Umayyad caliphs were living in Shām, the capital of the Umayyad rule, and in most cases, the rulers adopted the policy of bloodshed with respect to the Shī‘ah-populated territories, exerted pressure on the Shī‘ah. Among all the enemies, it was the Umayyad rulers who focused most on the Shī‘ah relentlessly annoying and disturbing them, with ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād and Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf being most notorious among them.

Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, the well-known scholar in the Sunnī world, thus writes:

The Shī‘ah were being killed wherever they were. The Umayyads used to mutilate the hands and feet of individuals for being suspected as Shī‘ah. Anyone who was noted for his love and attachment to the family of the Prophet would either be imprisoned, his possessions be plundered, or his house be demolished. The pressure and restrictions imposed upon the Shī‘ah reached a point where the charge of friendship with ‘Alī (‘a) was considered as worse than the accusation of disbelief [kufr] and infidelity, entailing severer punishments.

In adopting this violent policy, living conditions for the people of Kūfah was the worst because Kūfah was the Shī‘ah capital of the time.

Mu‘āwiyah designated Ziyād ibn Sumayyah as the ruler of Kūfah and later on assigned the governorship of Baṣrah to him. Ziyād was once in the rank of the supporters of ‘Alī and he knew them all very well. He pursued the Shī‘ah and found them in whatever nook and corner they would hide. He killed them; threatened them; mutilated their hands and feet; blinded them; hung them on palm trees; and expelled them from Iraq so much so that not a single well-known Shī‘ah remained in Iraq.(2)

Abū’l-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Alī ibn al-Jawzī has said:

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1- ‘Ilbā’ and Hind al-Jamalī were among the supporters and Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a).
2- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabī, 1961), pp. 43-45.

When a number of the Shī‘ah protested against Ziyād, who was then delivering sermons from the pulpit, he ordered the mutilation of the hands and feet of eighty persons. He used to gather the people in the mosque and ask them to curse ‘Alī and if anyone refused to do so, Ziyād would order that his house be demolished.(1)

Ziyād, who ruled alternately for six months in Kūfah and the next six months in Baṣrah, appointed Samurah ibn Jundab as his deputy in Baṣrah so that he could administer the city during his absence. During that period Samurah killed 8,000 people. Ziyād once asked him: “Are you not afraid that you might have killed one innocent person among them?” He replied: “Even if I have to kill two times that figure, I am not afraid of such a thing.”(2)

Abū Suwār ‘Adwī says: “One morning, Samurah [killed] 47 persons from among relatives, all of whom were memorizers of the Qur’an [ḥufaz].”(3)

Mu‘āwiyah, in a directive to his officials and workers, wrote that they should not accept the testimony of even one of ‘Alī’s (‘a) Shī‘ah or family members. In another directive, he thus wrote:

If two individuals would give testimony that a certain person is among the friends of ‘Alī and his family, his name should be erased from the record of the public treasury [bayt al-māl] and his salary and stipend should be cut off.(4)

After subjugating Mecca and Medina,Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf, the bloodthirsty and cruel Umayyad agent, was appointed as the governor of Iraq, the center of the Shī‘ah gathering, in 75 AH by the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwān. Having covered his head and face, Ḥajjāj entered the mosque of Kūfah incognito. He passed by the line of people and mounted the pulpit. He remained silent for a long moment. Murmuring among the people started as to who he is. One person said, “He is the new ruler.” The other one said, “Let us pelt him with stone.” Many others said, “No, let us listen to what he will say.” When the crowd silenced, he uncovered his face and uttering a few sentences, he terrified the people so much so that the small stones in the hands of those who were ready to pelt him fell on the ground spontaneously. At the beginning of his speech, he thus said:

O people of Kūfah! It has been for many years that you have taken chaos, sedition [fitnah] and insubordination as your slogan. I can see heads similar

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1- Abū’l-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Alī Ibn al-Jawzī, Al-Muntaẓim fī Tārīkh al-Umam wa’l-Mulūk, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1412 AH), vol. 5, p. 227.
2- Muhammad ibn Jarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Umam wa’l-Mulūk (Beirut: Dār al-Qāmūs al-Ḥadīth, n.d.), vol. 6, p. 132.
3- Ibid.
4- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 45.

to ripe fruits that must be separated from the body. I shall strike on your heads to such an extent that you would find the way to submission.(1)

Ḥajjāj implemented a rule of terror throughout Iraq and the eastern districts and unjustly killed many prominent figures of Kūfah and pious people.

Mas‘ūdī thus writes about the crimes of Ḥajjāj:

Ḥajjāj ruled for twenty years and the number of those who were killed during this period by the swords of his headsmen or torturers exceeded 120,000 people. This figure does not include those who were killed by Ḥajjāj’s forces in the war against him.(2)

At the time of Ḥajjāj’s death, 50,000 men and 30,000 women were languishing in his infamous prison. Among them 11,000 were naked. Ḥajjāj used to imprison men and women in one cell. His prison cells were roofless. As such, the prisoners were not secure from the summer heat or the winter rain and cold.(3)

The Shī‘ah were usually victims of Ḥajjāj’s prison, torture, persecution, and murder. The best evidence that reflects the miserable plight of the Shī‘ah during the Umayyad period and the intensity of the Umayyad policy of strangulation is the complaint of the Shī‘ah to Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) about the oppression and tyranny perpetrated against them. The late Majlisī has narrates:

The Shī‘ah came to Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (‘a) complaining about the pressure and strangulation, saying: “O son of the Messenger of Allah! We were expelled from our cities and eliminated by atrocious killing. They cursed the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) in the cities as well as in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), on top of his pulpit. No one prevented it and if any of us would protest, they would say, “This is a turābī (i.e. Shī‘ah); they would report it to the ruler, writing to him that so-and-so has said something good about Abū Turāb (Imām ‘Alī (‘a)). The ruler would order them to beat that person, imprison him and finally kill him.”(4)

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1- Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 99; Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī [An Analytical History of Islam till the End of the Umayyad Rule] (Tehran: University Press Center, 1363 AHS), p. 184; Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Sīreh-ye Pīshvāyān, 8th Edition. Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Taḥqīqātī va Ta‘līmātī-ye Imām Ṣādiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), p. 246.
2- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 187.
3- Ibid.
4- Muhammad Bāqir (‘Allāmah) Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 275.

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* Lesson 9: Summary

After the event of Saqīfah, the Shī‘ah would refer to the pure Imāms (‘a) with respect to scientific, jurisprudential and ideological issues. Although they were cooperating with the caliphs of the time in line with the interests of Islam, most of them were deprived of administrative positions.

During the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), expression of Shī‘ism was one of the distinctive features of the Shī‘ah.

The period of the Umayyad rule was one of the most difficult times for the Shī‘ah. All the caliphs, with the exception of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, were sworn enemies of the Shī‘ah, and the Shī‘ah-populated regions the bloodthirsty and cruel governors were ruling over.

* Lesson 9: Questions

1. What were the distinctive features of the Shī‘ah during the reign of the first three caliphs?

2. What was the salient feature of the Shī‘ah during the caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a)?

3. What was the condition of the Shī‘ah during the Umayyad rule?

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Lesson Ten

The Spread of Shī‘ism during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate
Point

In spite of severe strangulation and oppression perpetrated against the Shī‘ah during the Umayyad rule, the spread of Shī‘ism continued unabated. The reason behind this was the state of oppression of the family of the Prophet (ṣ) which prompted the people to incline emotionally toward them, causing new individuals to continuously embrace the creed of Shī‘ism. This point was completely conspicuous during the end of the Umayyad rule. The spread of Shī‘ism during the Umayyad rule had several stages, each of which had its own salient features. The overall stages can be divided as follows:

1. From 40 AH to 61 AH (the period of Imām al-Hasan and Imām al-Husayn (‘a));

2. From 61 AH to approximately 110 AH (the period of Imām as-Sajjād and Imām al-Bāqir (‘a)); and

3. From 110 AH to 132 AH, i.e. till the end of the Umayyad rule (the period of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

a. The Period of Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a)

From the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), the Shī‘ah was gradually formed into a distinct group and the line of the Shī‘ah was obviously clear.

For this reason, in the peace treaty with Mu‘āwiyah, Imām al-Hasan (‘a) stipulated the guarantee of the Shī‘ah of his father’s safety as one of the

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articles of the peace treaty, and nobody should protest against them.(1)

The Shī‘ah gradually trained themselves to accept that obedience to the Imām does not depend on the Imām’s actual grip on power. As such, when the people were pledging allegiance to Imām al-Hasan (‘a), he made it a condition for them to obey him both in war and in peace.

In the same manner, it was made clear that Imamate [imāmah] is not necessarily equal to governance and that a tyrant ruler such as Mu‘āwiyah cannot be the Imām, obedience to whom is obligatory. For example, in the sermon that he delivered in the mosque of Kūfah after the peace treaty at the insistence and in the presence of Mu‘āwiyah, Imām al-Hasan (‘a) said:

The caliph is he who practices the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (ṣ), and he who is practicing injustice cannot be the caliph. He is rather a king who controls a kingdom. He shall enjoy for a short period and after that, his joy shall be curtailed and he must be called to account.(2)

Among the salient features of the Shī‘ah’s society at this stage is the unity and solidarity among them, which resulted from the status of the Shī‘ah leaders. Until Imām al-Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom, we cannot see of any split among the Shī‘ah. Imāms al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a) had a certain status in the sight of Muslims which none of the pure Imāms (‘a) after them ever attained. They were the well-established progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). During the Battle of Ṣiffīn, when he saw that Imām al-Hasan (‘a) was enthusistically rushing toward the battlefront, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said:

“Hold back this young man on my behalf, lest he causes my ruin, because I am unwilling to send these two (al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn) toward death, lest the descending line of the Prophet (ṣ) is cut away by their death.”(3)

Imāms al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a) also occupied a position of respect among the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ). This fact was demonstrated in the people’s pledge of allegiance to Imām al-Hasan (‘a) in which the Companions of the Prophet (ṣ) accepted his caliphate and none protested. As such, during Imām al-Hasan’s (‘a) caliphate we cannot see any problem (in terms of his legitimacy being challenged) except from Shām. When the Imām (‘a) concluded a peace treaty and wanted to leave Kūfah to return to Medina, the people wept profusely. In Medina also, his position is clear from

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 33.
2- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 82.
3- Nahj al-Balāghah, Sermon 167, p. 660.

a Qurayshī’s report to Mu‘āwiyah. In his report to Mu‘āwiyah, a Qurayshī man thus wrote:

O Commander of the Faithful! Hasan performs his dawn prayer in the mosque and he remains in the state of prostration till the sun rises. Then, he inclines to one of the mosque’s pillars and anyone who is in the mosque can benefit from his services and talks to him until the rising of the sun [at noon]. He performs a two-rak‘ah prayer, stands up, goes out, asks about the condition of the wives of the Prophet (ṣ), and then returns to his house.(1)

Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), like his distinguished brother, occupied a highly respectable position such that even ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr, a staunch enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), could not deny the station of Imām Husayn (‘a). While the Imām (‘a) was still in Mecca, the people were not paying attention to Zubayr halting the progress of his campaign. Thus, he wanted the Imām (‘a) to leave Mecca as soon as possible. He said to Imām al-Husayn (‘a), hence: “If I had the same position you have in Iraq, I would have hastened to go there.”(2)

The station of the Imām (‘a) was such that his refusal to pay allegiance to the caliph rendered the government of Yazīd to be questioned. It was for this reason that the ruling authority insisted on him giving his pledge.

These two persons were held in such high esteem and respect among the Banū Hāshim that not only could none from Banū Hāshim have a leadership claim during their lifetime, but also none could even claim to be the chief of the Banū Hāshim. When Imām al-Hasan (‘a) passed away on the account of the effect of poison given by Mu‘āwiyah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās was then in Shām. Mu‘āwiyah said to him: “Ibn al-‘Abbās, Hasan died and you became the chief of the Banū Hāshim.” Ibn al-‘Abbās said: “So long as Husayn is there, I am not.”(3)

Even Ibn al-‘Abbās, in spite of his intellectual and political position, being a reporter of hadīth and exegete of the Qur’an and, according to the Sunnīs, even higher in rank than Imams al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a), was offering services to them. It is thus narrated in the document of Ibn Abī Ziyād:

Ibn al-‘Abbās prepared the riding horses of Hasan and Husayn, keeping the stirrup until they rode. I said: “Why are you keeping stirrup for them even

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1- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 21.
2- Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 366.
3- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 9.

though you are older than them?” He said: “You fool! Don’t you know who they are? They are the sons of the Messenger of Allah. Is it not a great honor that God has granted me the opportunity to keep the stirrup for them?”(1)

The Impact of the Karbalā’ Movement on the Spread of Shī‘ism

After Imām al-Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom the Shī‘ah, owing to the loss of one of their key supporters, were extremely frightened losing hope in an armed confrontation with the enemy. With the occurrence of the heart-rending event of ‘Ashūrā’ the Shī‘ah movement received a devastating blow within a very short period of time. As the news of this event spread within the Muslim lands, especially in Iraq and Ḥijāz, intense fear prevailed in the Shī‘ah communities. This was because it became increasingly clear that Yazīd is determined to stabilize his rule even to the extent of killing the son of the Prophet (ṣ), taking as captives his women and children, and that he would not refrain from any crime in order to strengthen the pillars of his government.

The effect of this intense apprehension was most obvious in Kūfah and Medina, and it multiplied with the Ḥirrah tragedy and the intense and merciless crackdown of the popular ‘Medina movement’ by Yazīd’s forces. Severe strangulation in the Shī‘ah-populated territories of Iraq and Ḥijāz especially in Kūfah and Medina, was rampant shattering the Shī‘ah cohesion and formation. In describing this sorrowful condition, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) says: “After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the people dispersed from around the family of the Prophet (ṣ) except three persons, viz. Abū Khālid Kābulī, Yaḥyā ibn Umm aṭ-Ṭawīl and Jabīr ibn Muṭ‘am.”(2)

In describing this period, Mas‘ūdī the historian also says: “‘Alī ibn al-Husayn assumed the Imamate secretly with utmost dissimulation [taqiyyah] at a difficult time.”(3)

This state of affairs persisted till the end of Yazid’s rule. After Yazīd’s death, the Shī‘ah movements started and continued till the stabilization of the Umayyad rule during the caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik. This period was a good opportunity for the spread of Shī‘ism.

One of the important impacts of the Karbalā’ movement was the delegitimization of the Umayyad rule in the public opinion. The infamy of the government reached a point where the position of caliphate was in its

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 400.
2- Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 338.
3- Ithbāt al-Waṣiyyah, 4th edition (Najaf: Al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1373 AH), p. 167.

lowest degree and the people were no longer viewing it as a sacred institution. The poem below addressed to Yazīd’s grave in Ḥawārīn expresses this infamy:

أیّها القبر بحوارینا قد ضمنت شر النّاس أجمعینا

O grave that is in the city of Ḥawārīn! The worst of people is inside you.(1)

At that time, with the exception of the people of Shām, the Muslims—both Sunnīs and Shī‘ah—were opposing the Umayyad caliphate and Sunnī and Shī‘ah revolts were frequently happening.(2) Ya‘qūbī thus writes:

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwān wrote to his governor Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf: “Do not afflict us with the shedding of the blood of the progeny of Āl Abī Ṭālib because we saw what fate the Sufyānīs (descendants of Abū Sufyān) met as the result of their killing.”(3)

Finally, the blood of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) demolished the palace of the Umayyads. Muqaddasī says: “As God saw the oppression and injustice of the Umayyads against the family of the Prophet (ṣ), He gathered an army from the different parts of that Khurāsān and sent it to them at the darkness of the night.”(4)

Meanwhile, the state of oppression of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) and the martyrs in Karbalā’ expressed the love for the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) in the hearts of the people and strengthened their position as the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) and the true protectors of Islam. Most of the uprisings during the Umayyad period took place in the name and for the sake of avenging their blood, and revolutions used to be formed under the slogan, “Ya lithārāt al-Husayn” [O helpers of Husayn!]. Even the uprising of a person like Ibn Ash‘ath in Sīstān(5)

was formed under the name of Hasan al-Muthannā (son of

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1- Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 65.
2- Ibid., pp. 81-99.
3- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 304.
4- Muqaddasī, Aḥsan at-Taqāsīm fī Ma‘rifah al-Aqālīm, trans. Dr. ‘Alī Naqī Manzawī (n.p.: Shirkat-e Mu’allifān va Mutarjimān-e Īrān, n.d.), vol. 2, pp. 426-427.
5- ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muhammad ibn Ash‘ath was appointed ruler of Sīstān by Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf. Sīstān was considered the border separating the Muslims from the Hindus and the Muslims there clashed with the Hindu rulers. On account of his enmity toward ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, Ḥajjāj conceived of a plot to eliminate him. As he was informed of this plot, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān revolted against him in 82 AH. Since the masses of people were disgustful of Ḥajjāj, many of the inhabitants of Baṣrah and Kūfah joined him. A great number of the Qur’an reciters [qārīs] of Kūfah and Shī‘ah were among those who staged the uprising. In this manner, he left Sīstān abound for Iraq. His objective was to depose Ḥajjāj and then to depose ‘Abd al-Malik from the caliphate as well. He defeated the armies of Ḥajjāj and advanced as far as Kūfah. As the danger he was posing turned serious, ‘Abd al-Malik dispatched a large contingent of army from Shām to assist Ḥajjāj. The armies of Shām subdued Ibn Ash‘ath in a place called Dayr al-Jamājam seven farshangs (42 kilometers) away from Kūfah. He fled toward India and took refuge with one of the rulers there. But he was finally killed by the agents of Ḥajjāj. Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 148; Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt Ḥamwī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 4, p. 338.

Imām al-Hasan (‘a)).(1) For this reason, the hadīths regarding Imām al-Mahdī (‘a) as the avenger [muntaqam] of the progeny of Muhammad (ṣ) gained prominence.(2)

The people were waiting for the avengers against the Umayyads(3) and due to impatience and the peak of waiting, they would sometimes conform the name “Mahdī” to the name of leaders of the movements and uprisings.(4) In the meantime, the pure Imāms (‘a) and the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) kept on reviving the memory and reminiscence of the martyrs of Karbalā’. Whenever he desired to drink water, Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) would shed tears profusely when he set his sight on the water. When he was asked about the reason behind this reaction, he (‘a) said:

“How could I not cry when the water was set free for the wild animals and beasts of prey of the deserts, but it was denied to my father?” One day, a servant of the Imām (‘a) said: “Is there no end for your agony?” The Imām (‘a) said: “Woe unto you! Ya‘qūb, who on account of the disappearance of only one of his twelve sons, so cried a lot during their separation that his eyes turned blind and on account of his agony his back bent. This is while his son was alive. But I was an eyewitness to the killing of my father, brothers, uncles and 18 persons from among my relatives whose corpses were scattered on the ground. So, how could it be possible for my agony and anguish to end?”(5)

Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) was encouraging the poets to recite poetry as elegy to Imām al-Husayn (‘a), saying: “Whoever would keep on reciting poem about al-Husayn (‘a) and prompt the people to cry, paradise shall be incumbent upon him and his sins shall be forgiven.”(6)

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1- Ibn ‘Anbah, ‘Umdah aṭ-Ṭālib fī Insāb Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Intishārāt ar-Ridā, n.d.), p. 100.
2- Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 216.
3- Ya‘qūbī thus narrates: In reply to the complaints of a person named ‘Āmir ibn Wāilah whose stipend was cut off by the government, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz during his reign said: “It has been reported to me that you have unsheathed your sword, sharpened your spear, and prepared your bow and arrow, and that your are waiting for the advent of Imām al-Qā’im. Keep waiting so that once he appeared, he would release your stipend.” Ya‘qūbī, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 307.
4- Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 210.
5- Muhammad Bāqir (‘Allāmah) Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 275.
6- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 574.

In this way, Imām al-Husayn (‘a) became the symbol of Shī‘ism. As such, in many stages of history such as the period of caliph Mutawakkil visitation [ziyārah] to the grave of the Imām (‘a) was forbidden.(1)

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1- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 312.
* Lesson 10: Summary

From the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), the Shī‘ah gradually formed into a particular group and party, and the rank of the Shī‘ah became completely distinct. Meanwhile, on account of the station of Imams al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a), the Shī‘ah of the time enjoyed unity and solidarity and no split was yet observed.

After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the Shī‘ah lost their key support and experienced intense fear and apprehension. Only a small number remained beside Imām as-Sajjād, but after the death of Yazīd, this state of affairs changed. The movement of Karbalā’ removed the legitimacy of the Umayyad rule and dragged the position of caliphate from its sanctity to its lowest ebb. In the meantime, the love for the progeny of the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) was manifested in the hearts of the people.

* Lesson 10: Questions

1. What were the stages of the spread of Shī‘ism during the Umayyad period?

2. What was the salient feature of the Shī‘ah during the period of Imām al-Hasan and Imām al-Husayn (‘a)?

3. What was the impact of the Karbalā’ movement on the spread of Shī‘ism?

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Lesson Eleven

b. The Period of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a)

The period of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) can be divided into two (2) stages:

The first stage covers the events after the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the destabilization of the Umayyad rule and finally the end of rule of the Sufyānīs (descendants of Abū Sufyān) and the succession to power of the Marwānīs (descendants of Marwan ibn al-Ḥakam), the internal struggle among the Umayyads and their entanglement with the uprisings and revolts up to the stabilization of the rule of the Marwānīs. The second stage covers the time of governorship of Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf and the defeat of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr(1) in Mecca up to the commencement of the ‘Abbāsid movement,

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1- The rule of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr in Mecca—from the time of his refusal to pay allegiance to Yazīd and his call to the people to rally behind him up to 72 AH when he was killed at the hand of Ḥajjāj’s army—lasted for 12 years. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih mentions it in the book, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd, as the disturbance of Ibn Zubayr. After the death of Mu‘āwiyah, when the governor of Medina asked Ibn Zubayr to give allegiance to Yazīd, he went to Mecca simultaneous with the departure of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) so as to refuse giving his allegiance to Yazīd. In Mecca, the people were not paying much attention to him. As such, it was not in Imām al-Husayn’s (‘a) favor to stay in Mecca. He therefore used to say to the Imām (‘a): “If I were you, being invited by them, I would have gone to Iraq.” After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), he hoisted the banner of opposition to Yazīd. As such, in 62 AH Yazīd dispatched Muslim ibn ‘Uqbah along with an army to repress the uprising of the people of Medina and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr (in Mecca) first to Medina and then to Mecca. But after the event of Ḥirrah, Muslim died on his way to Mecca. Ḥaṣīn ibn Numayr, his successor, arrived in Mecca with the army of Shām and in 64 AH they showered Mecca with catapulted stones of fire burning the clothe covering the Ka‘bah. During the course of the battle, however, the news of Yazīd’s death was reported in Mecca weakening the fighting spirit of the Shām army. Ḥaṣīn advised Ibn Zubayr to pay allegiance to him, bring him to Shām and install him in the seat of power. Ibn declined this offer. After the death of Yazīd, all the Muslim lands, with the exception of Jordan, paid allegiance to Ibn Zubayr as the caliph and recognized his government (in Mecca). Yet, the Umayyads on the side of Marwān installed him as the caliphate. He in turn removed all those who opposed him in Shām along his way to power and after him, his son ‘Abd al-Malik became the caliph. After defeating Muṣ‘ab ibn Zubayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr’s brother, ‘Abd al-Malik dispatched Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf from Iraq to Mecca in order to repress ‘Abd Allāh. For sometime, Ḥajjāj besieged Mecca, put catapults on top of Mount Abū Qubays, and destroyed the city of Mecca and the Ka‘bah by showering catapulted stones. In this battle the supporters of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr abandoned him, but ‘Abd Allāh resisted until he was finally killed. In this manner the work of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr came to an end after 12 years. Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 366; ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, pp. 78-96; Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī [An Analytical History of Islam till the End of the Umayyad Rule], 6th edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Nashr-e Dāneshgāhī, 1365 AHS), p. 183.

which is also related to the initial period of the Imamate [imāmah] of Imām al-Bāqir (‘a).

After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the Umayyads were, on the one hand, entangled with the uprisings of the people of Iraq and Ḥijāz, and experiencing internal struggle on the other. The government of Yazīd did not last long. Yazīd died in 64 AH after three years of rule.(1)

After Yazīd, his son Mu‘āwiyah II came to power. He ruled for not more than 40 years when he stepped down from the office of the caliphate and died soon after.(2)

With his death the internal squabble among the Umayyads began. Mas‘ūdī describes the event after the death of Mu‘āwiyah II which indicates the intense greed and rivalry among the Umayyads over the leadership, as thus:

Mu‘āwiyah [II] died at the age of 22 and was buried in Damascus. With the burning ambition of becoming the next caliph, Walīd ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Sufyān came to the front to lead the prayer for the corpse of Mu‘āwiyah [II], but even before finishing the prayer he received a fatal blow and was killed. Then, ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Sufyān led the prayer for him, but he was also not approved by them to assume the office of the caliphate. So, he was forced to go to Mecca and join Ibn Zubayr.(3)

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1- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 252.
2- Ibid., p. 256.
3- Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, pp. 85-86.

Three years had not yet passed when the rule of the Sufyānīs came to an end. Many of the people throughout the Muslim lands including a number of the Umayyad chiefs and governors such as Ḍaḥāq ibn Qays and Nu‘mān ibn Bashīr had inclined toward Ibn Zubayr. It was at this time when Ibn Zubayr drove the resident Umayyads out from Medina including Marwān. The Umayyads proceeded toward Shām and since there was no caliph in Damascus, the Umayyads elected Marwān for the caliphate, followed by Khālid ibn Yazīd and after him ‘Amrū ibn Sa‘īd as his successor. After sometime, Marwān removed Khālid ibn Yazīd and appointed his son ‘Abd al-Malik as his successor. For this reason, Khālid’s mother who was married to Marwān poisoned Marwān killing him. ‘Abd al-Malik also removed ‘Amrū ibn Sa‘īd on his way and appointed his son instead as his heir apparent.(1)

Meanwhile, the Umayyads were gripped by revolts and uprisings. These upheavals can be divided into two distinct types: One type was the uprisings without Shī‘ah underpinning. The Ḥirrah uprising and the revolt of Ibn Zubayr belonged to this type. The essence of Ibn Zubayr’s revolt is obvious because the leader of the revolt, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr was a staunch enemy of the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). He nursed this grudge in his heart owing to the defeat he and others, including his father, suffered in the Battle of Jamal (Camel) and the ensuing events. His brother Muṣ‘ab, however, had Shī‘ah inclination and married the daughter of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), Sakīnah.(2)

As such, his campaign gained momentum in Iraq and the Shī‘ah of Iraq joined with him in the resistance against the Umayyads. After Mukhtār Ibrāhīm al-Ashtar was in his company and was killed beside him.

The Ḥirrah uprising had also no Shī‘ah underpinning(3)

and Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) had no hand in it. When Muslim ibn ‘Uqbah was asking the

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1- Ibid.
2- Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1415 AH), p. 214.
3- The Ḥirrah uprising took place in 62 AH. Mas‘ūdī identified the reason and source of it as the displeasure of the people toward the pervert practices of Yazīd and the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a). In Medina which was the residential center of the relatives of the Prophet (ṣ), the Companions and the Followers [tābi‘ūn], the people were agitated. The governor of Medina, ‘Uthmān ibn Muhammad ibn Abī Sufyān, who was a recklessly immature young man, sent a group of the prominent men of Medina in representation of the people of the city to Damascus in order for them to personally meet Yazīd and receive his blessing so that upon their return to Medina, they can encourage the people to submit to his rule. Pursuant to this design, ‘Uthmān sent off to Damascus a delegation of the leading figures of Medina in which ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓalah Ghasīl al-Malā’ikah was also a part. Since he had no Islamic training or any policy of maintaining proper decorum, Yazīd, without any inhibition, kept on his acts of perversion and debaucheries in front of them, though he gave them an extravagant reception and granted each of them previous gifts and robes of honor with the hope that they would praise him on their return to Medina. All these measures, however, had an opposite effect. Upon their return to Medina, they announced in front of the people that they had been in the presence of a person who has no religion, drinks wine, plays on the tar and tambourine, plays with dogs, and engages in drinking spree overnight, while his musicians and lady singers are doing coquetry in his assemblage. Addressing the people of Medina, the members of the delegation said: “Now, bear witness that we deposed him (Yazīd) from the office of the caliphate.” ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓalah said: “I had been in the presence of a person against whom I will wage war with the support of these sons that I have, even if no one assists me. He gave me presents and gifts, and accorded me due respect, but I accepted his presents and gifts only for the intention of spending it in the campaign against him.” Following this trend, the people of Medina paid allegiance to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓalah, and expelled from the city the governor of Medina and all the Umayyads residing there. Having received this news, Yazīd dispatched to Medina Muslim ibn ‘Uqbah, who was a well-experienced man and among the stalwarts of the Umayyads, along with a large contingent of army. Yazīd instructed him, thus: “Give them three days of respite. If they do not surrender, wage war against them. Once you emerge victorious, plunder whatever possession they have for three days and leave the same at the disposal of the soldiers.” The army of Shām attacked Medina and a bloody war between the two parties ensued. Finally, the people of Medina were defeated and the leaders of the movement were killed. Muslim issued the order of massacring the people of the city for three days. The army of Shām committed crimes which the pen is ashamed to describe. Because of these crimes, Muslim earned the labeled “musrif” [squanderer]. After the end of killing and pillage, Muslim obtained the allegiance of the people as slaves for Yazīd. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd, vol. 4, p. 362; Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 250; Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 82; ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kirām ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh (Beirut: Dār Ṣadir, 1402 AH), vol. 4, pp. 102-103, 255-256.

allegiance of the people in Medina, compelling them to pay allegiance, like slaves, to the Umayyad caliph (Yazīd), he accorded him due respect to Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) and did not complain against the Imām (‘a) (for not expressing allegiance).(1)

The other uprisings had Shī‘ah underpinning.

The Shī‘ah Uprisings

The uprising of the tawwābūn [the repentant ones] and that of Mukhtār were Shī‘ah uprisings. The base of these two uprisings was Iraq, Kūfah in particular, and the constituent forces were Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). In the army of Mukhtār, non-Arab Shī‘ah could also be amply noticed.

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1- Aḥmad ibn Dāwud Abū Ḥanīfah ad-Daynūrī, Akhbār aṭ-Ṭuwāl (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Ridā, n.d.), p. 266.

There is no doubt about the essence of the uprising of the tawwābūn. This uprising was based upon correct motives and yearning for martyrdom, and it had no objective other than avenging the blood of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) and wiping off their sin for not assisting the Imām (‘a) by being killed in the way of fighting against his murderers. After leaving Kūfah, the tawābūn proceeded toward Karbalā’, rushing toward the grave of Imām Husayn (‘a) for ziyārah and at the beginning of their movement, they thus said:

O God! We did not assist the son of the Prophet (ṣ). Forgive our past sins and accept our repentance [tawbah]. Shower mercy [raḥmah] upon the soul of Husayn (‘a) and his righteous and martyred votaries. We bear witness that we believe in the things for which Husayn (‘a) was killed. O God! If You would not forgive our sins and reckon us under the scale of mercy and clemency, we will be doomed to perdition and wretchedness.(1)

After the arrival of Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl in Kūfah Mukhtār was collaborating with him. But because of this collaboration, he was apprehended and imprisoned by ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād. After the event of ‘Ashūrā’ he was freed through the mediation and petition of ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar, his brother-in-law (his sister’s husband). He arrived in Kūfah in 64 AH and after the tawwābūn movement, he started his movement and by using the slogan, “Ya lithārāt al-Husayn” [O helpers of Husayn!] he was able to gather the Shī‘ah, the non-Arabs in particular, around him. With these forces, he succeeded in punishing the murderers of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) for what they had done, such that in one day he was able to kill 280 of these criminals and destroy the houses of those who escaped such as that of Muhammad ibn Ash‘ath, and on the contrary, he mended Ḥujr ibn ‘Addī’s house, a loyal supporter of ‘Alī (‘a), which was destroyed by Mu‘āwiyah.(2)

Contradictory views have been expressed about Mukhtār. Some have regarded him as a true Shī‘ah while others have said that he was a liar. Ibn Dāwūd thus says about Mukhtār in his book on rijāl:

Mukhtār is son of Abū ‘Abīd ath-Thaqafī. Some Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’ have accused him of Kaysāniyyah and in this regard, they have cited Imām as-Sajjād’s (‘a) refusal of his gift. But this cannot be a reason for rejecting him because Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) thus said about him: “Do not speak ill of Mukhtār because he killed our murderers, did not allow our spilled blood to be disregarded, gave our daughters in marriage, and at the time of difficulty he distributed properties among us.

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1- Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh, vol. 4, pp. 158-186.
2- Akhṭab Khwārazmī. Maqtal al-Husayn (Qum: Manshūrāt al-Mufīd, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 202.

When Abū’l-Ḥakam, son of Mukhtār, came to Imām al-Bāqir (‘a), the Imām (‘a) showed him a great deal of respect. Abū’l-Ḥakam asked about his father, saying: “The people are talking about my father, but your view, whatever it is, is the criterion.” At that moment the Imām (‘a) praised Mukhtār and prayed for God to have mercy on him, saying: “Glory be to Allah! My father said that the affection of my mother was from the property that Mukhtār sent to my father.”

And the Imām (‘a) said many times: “May God have mercy upon your father! He did not allow for our right to be trampled. He killed our murderers and did not permit our blood to be disregarded.”

Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) also said: “In our family there was a woman who did not comb and apply henna to her hair until Mukhtār sent the heads of the murderers of al-Husayn (‘a).”

It has been narrated that when Mukhtār sent the head of the accursed ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād to Imām as-Sajjād (‘a), the Imām (‘a) prostrated and made benevolent prayer for Mukhtār.(1)

Meanwhile, the reports that have been transmitted to reproach Mukhtār are fabrications of the enemies.

With regard to the charge of Kaysāniyyah against Mukhtār and his alleged role in the creation of the Kaysāniyyah sect, while defending Mukhtār and rejecting this accusation against him, Āyatullāh al-Khū’ī thus writes:

Some Sunnī ‘ulamā’ associate Mukhtār with the Kaysāniyyah sect and this is definitely a false statement because Muhammad al-Ḥanafiyyah never claimed Imamate [imāmah] for himself for Mukhtār to call on the people to recognize his Imamate. Mukhtār was killed prior to Muhammad al-Ḥanafiyyah’s demise and the Kaysāniyyah sect came into being after Muhammad al-Ḥanafiyyah’s death. But as to the fact that they regard Mukhtār as “Kaysān” (it is not because he was following the Kaysāniyyah sect), granting that this label is appropriate for him, its origin is traceable to the same questionable report from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) who is alleged to have said: “O Kays! O Kays!” Thus, he was called, “Kaysān”.(2)

Stabilization of the Rule of Marwān’s Descendants (Period of Strangulation)

As mentioned earlier, the second phase of Imām as-Sajjād’s (‘a) period was the stabilization of the rule of the Marwānīs (descendants of Marwān ibn

p: 108


1- Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Raḍī, n.d.), p. 277.
2- Sayyid Abū’l-Qāsim al-Khū’ī, Mu‘jam Rijāl al-Ḥadīth (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 18, pp. 102-103.

al-Ḥakam). After the killing of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr in 73 AH,(1)

the clan of Marwān stabilized its own rule, and on this path, they took advantage of the existence of notorious headsmen such as Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf. Ḥajjāj would not spare from committing any crime in the way of eliminating an enemy. He even targeted the Ka‘bah destroying it by a shower of catapulted fire stones. He would kill the opponents of the Umayyads, Shī‘ah or non-Shī‘ah, wherever he would find them. The uprising of Ibn Ash‘ath against him in 80 AH gained nothing,(2)

and Ḥajjāj’s despotism engulfed the whole of Ḥijāz and Iraq until 95 AH.(3)

Imām as-Sajjād lived during that period, conveying the Islamic and Shī‘ah knowledge and teachings through supplications. During that period, the Shī‘ah were either fugitives, languishing in prison, killed at the hands of Ḥajjāj, or exercising extreme dissimulation [taqiyyah] by hiding their true faith. As such, the people had no courage to approach Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) and his close supporters were very few. The late Majlisī thus narrates: “Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf killed Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr because of his contacts with Imām as-Sajjād (‘a).”(4) Of course, during that time, on account of the

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 267.
2- In 80 AH Ḥajjāj appointed ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Ash‘ath as the governor of Sīstān and Zābulistān, though the former was nursing a grudge against the latter. Ḥajjāj instructed Ibn Ash‘ath to expel Ratbīl who has assaulted Sīstān. ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān went there, dispatched an army to repress the aggressors, and restored peace and order to Sīstān. After that, since Ḥajjāj was tired of him, Ḥajjāj ordered him again to face another enemy. Ibn Ash‘ath and his soldiers interpreted it as a form of conspiracy of Ḥujjāj for them to be killed at the hand of the enemies. So, they defied Ḥajjāj and went toward Iraq instead. In Khūzistān a confrontation ensued between them and Ḥajjāj’s army. The army of Ḥajjāj was initially defeated and thus, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān was able to arrive in Iraq occupying Kūfah. Many of the chiefs of Baṣrah also cooperated with him. Ḥajjāj sought the assistance of ‘Abd al-Malik (the then Umayyad caliph based in Damascus). A legion of soldiers from Shām was dispatched to him, and with the arrival of this force, Ḥajjāj went back into the battle. In this fierce fighting, which later became to be known as the “Dayr al-Jumājum Event”, the people of Kūfah and Baṣrah, including Qur’an reciters [qārīs], assisted ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān on account of their enmity toward Ḥajjāj. The contingent of the son of ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān was so large that ‘Abd al-Malik, clearly worried, sent a message to the Iraqis expressing his willingness to remove Ḥajjāj if that is what they were demanding. The people of Iraq, however, did not accept the compromise announcing the dismissal of ‘Abd al-Malik from the office of caliphate. In this manner, he declared war against them, deceiving a group of Ibn Ash‘ath’s army chiefs. One night he launched a surprise assault against Ibn Ash‘ath’s army disintegrating them. As such, Ibn Ash‘ath was forced to flee and seek asylum in Ratbīl. Later Ratbīl killed him, owing to gifts and promises made to him by Ḥajjāj, sending his head to Ḥajjāj. Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, pp. 148-149; Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī [An Analytical History of Islam till the End of the Umayyad Rule], pp. 185-186.
3- Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 187.
4- Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 335.

pressures exerted against the Shī‘ah, they migrated to the various parts of the Muslim lands and became the agents of the spread of Shī‘ism. During the same period, some Shī‘ah in Kūfah migrated to territories surrounding Qum, stayed there and contributed to the spread of Shī‘ism in that place.(1)

The initial period of Imām al-Bāqir’s (‘a) Imamate also coincided with the persistent dominance of the Umayyad rule. During at time, Hishām ibn ‘Abd al-Malik, an authoritative and despotic caliph, summoned Imām al-Baqīr (‘a) along with his son, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), to Shām. He did not neglect to annoy and vex them.(2) During his reign, Zayd ibn ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn staged an uprising and was martyred. Although the restraints and pressures exerted on the Shī‘ah were somehow mitigated during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, the period of caliphate was, nevertheless, short. After two odd years of rule, he passed away in a suspicious manner.

Of course the Umayyads were not able to extinguish the light of truth through pressure and restriction, and failed to erase the virtues and excellence of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) from the people’s memory, and that was the will of God. Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd thus says in this regard:

If God, the Exalted, had not endowed leadership to this man (‘Alī), even a single hadīth concerning his virtues and excellences would not have been narrated because the Marwānīs were so harsh in relation to the narrators of his virtues.(3)

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1- Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt Ḥamwī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 7, p. 88.
2- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam aṭ-Ṭabarī, Dalā’il al-Imāmah (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭbū‘āt al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1383 AH), p. 105.
3- Muhammad ‘Abduh, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 73.
* Lesson 11: Summary

Imām as-Sajjād’s (‘a) period can be divided into two stages. The first stage covered the instability of the Umayyad rule, the downfall of the Sufyānīs (descendants of Abū Sufyān) and the ascendance to power of the Marwānīs (descendants of Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam). The second stage covered the stabilization of the rule of the Marwānīs.

During the first stage, the Umayyads were grappling with the Shī‘ah and non-Shī‘ah uprisings in Ḥijāz and Iraq.

The second stage began with the murder of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr in 73 AH in which the Umayyads made use of the existence of notorious headsmen such as Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf in a bid to stabilize their grip.

* Lesson 11: Questions

1. How many stages can Imām as-Sajjād’s (‘a) period be divided into?

2. How many types of uprisings were there during Imām as-Sajjād’s (‘a) period?

3. Describe the period of strangulation and stabilization of the Marwānīs’ rule.

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p: 112

Lesson Twelve

The Beginning of the ‘Abbāsid Campaign and Its Effect upon the Spread of Shī‘ism
Point

The campaign of the ‘Abbāsids started in 111 AH.(1) On the one hand, it contributed to the spread of Shī‘ism in the various territories of the Muslim world, and on the other, the acts of strangulation of the Umayyads were lessened. As a result, the Shī‘ah were able to have a relative breathing space. During this period, the infallible Imāms (‘a) laid down the Shī‘ah juristic and scholastic foundations and Shī‘ism entered a new stage.

In general, during the Umayyad period there was no split between the descendants of ‘Alī (‘a) and the descendants of ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and there was no quarrel between them. In this regard Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn says: “The descendants of ‘Alī (‘a) and the descendants of ‘Abbās during the Umayyad rule were treading the same path. The people who assisted them believing them to be more qualified to the caliphate than the Umayyads were known as the Shī‘ah of Muhammad’s (ṣ) progeny. During this period, there was no difference in religious opinion between the descendants of ‘Alī (‘a) and that of ‘Abbās. But when the ‘Abbāsids came to power, Satan hatched the seed of discord between them and the descendants of ‘Alī (‘a), and they perpetrated numerous acts of oppression against the

p: 113


1- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 319.

descendants of ‘Alī (‘a).(1)

For this reason, the ‘Abbāsid campaigners were calling the people to please the progeny of Muhammad (ṣ) while recounting the states of oppression the Prophet’s (ṣ) progeny were enduring. Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī says:

After the killing of Walīd ibn Yazīd and the emergence of differences among the Marwānīs (descendants of Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam), Banū Hāshim’s campaigners and propagandists went to various places, and the first thing they were expressing was the merits of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and his descendants. The said to the people: “How could the Umayyads afford to kill and displace the descendants of ‘Alī?”(2)

As a result, during this period Shī‘ism remarkably spread. Even the hadīths related to Hadrat al-Mahdī (‘a) spread rapidly among the people of various regions. Khurāsān was the main sphere of activity of the ‘Abbāsid campaigners. For this reason, the Shī‘ah numbers there increased rapidly to such an extent that, as narrated by Ya‘qūbī,

After the martyrdom of Zayd (ibn ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn) in 121 AH, the Shī‘ah in Khurāsān were agitated and stirred up. The Shī‘ah publicized their belief. Many of the ‘Abbāsid campaigners used to approach them and recount the crimes committed by the Umayyads against the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). This subject and news was imparted to people in every city in Khurāsān by ‘Abbāsid campaigners who went there and dreams and aspirations in this regard were seen and books were taught.(3)

Mas‘ūdī also narrates a subject which expresses the spread and prevalence of Shī‘ism in Khurāsān. He thus writes: “In 125 AH when Yaḥyā ibn Zayd was killed in Jūzjān, the people named all the male infants born in that year were named Yaḥyā.”(4)

The influence of the ‘Abbāsids in Khurāsān was greater as Abū’l-Faraj thus says while stating the profile of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib:

The Khurāsānī Shī‘ah thought that ‘Abd Allāh was his father Muhammad al-Ḥanafiyyah’s heir and that he was the Imām, and appointed Muhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās as his successor, and that the

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1- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 19.
2- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 207.
3- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 326.
4- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 236.

successor of Muhammad, Ibrāhīm, was the Imām from whom the Imamate extents to the ‘Abbāsids through inheritance.(1)

As such, the bulk of the ‘Abbāsid army was constituted by the Khurāsānīs. In this regard, Muqaddasī says:

As God saw the oppression and injustice of the Umayyads against the family of the Prophet (ṣ), He gathered an army from the different parts of that Khurāsān and sent it to them at the darkness of the night. During the advent of the Mahdī there is more expectation from the people of Khurāsān.(2)

Given this, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) of the Prophet (ṣ) had occupied a distinct position among the people such that after the victory of the ‘Abbāsids, a person named Sharīk ibn Shaykh al-Mahdī in Bukhārā staged an uprising because of the ‘Abbāsids’ acts of injustice against the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ), saying: “We did not pay allegiance to them for us to commit oppression, shed the blood of people unjustly and commit acts against the truth.” He was repressed and killed by Abū Muslim.(3)

1. Shī‘ism during the Period of Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a)

The second period of the Imamate of Imām Muhammad al-Bāqir (‘a) and the initial period of Imām Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq’s (‘a) Imamate coincide with the ‘Abbāsid campaigns and ‘Alawī uprisings such as that of Zayd ibn ‘Alī, Yaḥyā ibn Zayd, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah—one of the grandchildren of Ja‘far ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭayyār(4)—and the emergence of Abū Muslim al-Khurāsānī as the deputy of the ‘Abbāsid campaigners in Khurāsān in inciting the people against the Umayyads.(5) Meanwhile, the Umayyads had internal factional disputes and problems among their supporters because there was a serious clash between the Muḍirīs and Yamanīs among the Umayyad supporters in their respective spheres of influence.(6) These revolts and entanglements made the Umayyads negligent of the Shī‘ah. As such, the Shī‘ah were able to enjoy a relative breathing space; relaxation from the state of intense dissimulation [taqiyyah]; reorganize themselves; and reestablish contacts with their leaders. It was at this period when the people turned

p: 115


1- Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 133.
2- Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Muqaddasī, Aḥsan at-Taqāsīm fī Ma‘rifah al-Aqālīm, trans. Dr. ‘Alī Naqī Manzawī (n.p.: Shirkat-e Mu’allifān va Mutarjimān-e Īrān, 1361 AHS), vol. 2, pp. 426-427.
3- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 345.
4- Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, vol. 2, p. 345.
5- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 332.
6- Ibid., p. 333.

toward Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) to benefit from the blessings of which they had been deprived for many years. The Imām (‘a) rose up in order to keep alive the school [maktab] of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). He (‘a) engaged in guiding and enlightening people conducting teaching sessions in Medina and Masjid an-Nabī in particular. He served as the reference authority for people, solving their scientific and juristic problems, as such his view served as proof for them. Qays ibn Rabī‘ narrates that he asked Abū Isḥāq about wiping [masa’] of slippers (during the performance of ablution [wuḍū‘]) and Abū Isḥāq said:

Like other people, I used to wipe my slippers (in ablution) until such time that I met a man from the Banū Hāshim whose equal I have never met before. I asked him about the case of wiping the slippers (in ablution). He prohibited me from doing it, saying: “The Commander of the Faithful did not do it.” From then on, I stopped doing it.

Qays ibn Rabī‘ also says: “After hearing this statement, I also stopped wiping my slippers (in ablution).”

A certain man from among the Khawārij (Kharijites) came to Imām al-Bāqir (‘a). While addressing the Imām (‘a), he said: “O Abū Ja‘far! What do you worship?” The Imām (‘a) said: “God.” The man asked: “Can you see Him?” The Imām (‘a) replied: “Yes, but the vision cannot witness Him while hearts with the truth of faith can see Him. He cannot be discerned through analogy [qiyās]. He cannot be perceived through the senses. He is not like human beings…” The Kharijite man left the Imām (‘a) while saying: “God knows well to whom He shall entrust His message [risālah].”

The scholars such as ‘Amrū ibn ‘Ubayd, Ṭāwūs al-Yamānī, Hasan al-Baṣrī, and Nāfi‘ Mawlā ibn ‘Umar used to refer to the Imām (‘a) for solving scientific and juristic problems and issues.(1)

When the Imām (‘a) would arrive in Mecca, people would rush to ask him questions on matters pertaining to the lawful [ḥalāl] and the prohibited [ḥarām], considering the chance of asking the Imām (‘a) a boon and a means of acquiring more knowledge. Imām al-Bāqir’s (‘a) teaching sessions were attended not only by students but also the scholars of the time.(2)

When Hishām ibn ‘Abd al-Malik arrived in Mecca for Ḥajj, he witnessed these teaching sessions that were an opportunity for him. He sent someone to ask the Imām (‘a) on his behalf as to what the people will be eating on the Day of Judgment [maḥshar]. In reply the Imām (‘a) said: “On the Day of Judgment

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1- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, pp. 452-453.
2- ‘Allāmah Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 355.

there are trees whose fruits shall be eaten by the people and rivers whose water the people shall drink so as to feel easiness for the Reckoning.” Hishām again sent that person to ask the Imām (‘a), hence: “Shall the people have time to eat and drink?” The Imām (‘a) said: “Even in hell there shall be opportunity to eat and drink, and the dwellers of hell shall also ask for water and other graces of God.”

Zurārah (ibn A‘yan) says:

I, along with Imām al-Bāqir (‘a), was sitting beside the Ka‘bah, while the Imām (‘a) was facing the Ka‘bah. The Imām (‘a) said: “Looking at the Ka‘bah is indeed an act of worship.” Then a certain man (from Bajīlah) came and said: “Ka‘b al-Aḥbār used to say: ‘The Ka‘bah prostrates to the Temple

of Jerusalem everyday’.” The Imām (‘a) said to the man: “What do you think about what Ka‘b was saying?” The man answered: “Ka‘b was telling the truth.” The Imām (‘a) was annoyed and retorted, saying: “No, you have lied and Ka‘b has lied.”(1)

Great ‘ulamā’, jurists [fuqahā] and hadīth scholars [muḥaddithūn] were trained under the blessed feet of the Imām (‘a), such as Zurārah ibn A‘yan about whom Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) said: “If it were not for Zurārah, there was a probability for the hadīths of my father to be lost forever.”(2)

Muhammad ibn Muslim heard thirty thousand hadīths from Imām al-Bāqir (‘a).(3)

Another scholar who learned from the Imām (‘a) was Abū Baṣīr about whom Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) said: “Had it not been for them, the works of prophethood [nubuwwah] will be terminated and be antiquated.”(4)

Other prominent figures such as Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiyah al-‘Ajalī, Jābir ibn Yazīd, Ḥamrān ibn A‘yan, and Hishām ibn Sālim were among those who were trained in the school [maktab] of the Imām (‘a).

In addition to the Shī‘ah scholars, many of the Sunnī ‘ulamā’ have also studied under the Imām (‘a) and narrated hadīths on the authority of the Imām (‘a). As Sabṭ ibn al-Jawzī says, “(Imām) Ja‘far used to narrate hadīths of the Prophet (ṣ) from his father.” As such, a number of the Followers [tābi‘ūn] such as ‘Aṭā’ ibn Abī Rubāḥ, Sufyān ath-Thawrī, Mālik ibn Anas (founder of the Malikī school of thought [madhhab]),

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1- Ibid.
2- Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 345.
3- Ibid., p. 386.
4- Ibid., p. 398.

Shu‘bah, and Abū Ayyūb Sijistānī have narrated hadīths from the Imām (‘a).(1)

Furthermore, thousands of learned men in jurisprudence and hadīth attained progress in the Imām’s (‘a) school and his hadīths were spread far and wide so much so that Jābir al-Ju‘fī, who was a great muḥaddith, has narrated seventy thousand hadīths on the authority of the Imām (‘a).(2)

This state of affairs continued until Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) attained martyrdom on Dhū’l-Ḥijjah 7, 114 AH.(3)

The University of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a)

In view of the then prevailing conducive political atmosphere, Imām Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) pursued his father’s scientific movement and established a large university and center of learning whose horizon reached far and wide. Shaykh al-Mufīd says:

The knowledge of the Imām (‘a) has been so widely narrated that it became proverbial to various many and its fame spread to every nook and corner. None of the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) match him (in this regard) whose knowledge and learning have been so widely transmitted.(4)

Amīr ‘Alī thus writes about the Imām (‘a):

Those philosophical discussions and debates in all the Islamic centers became widespread and the guidance and instructions given in this regard were made possible only by the university that has been established in Medina under the supervision of Hadrat Ṣādiq, a great grandchild of Hadrat ‘Alī. He has been one of the great ‘ulamā’ with precise views, a deep understanding, and well-versed in all the branches of knowledge of the time. In reality, it is he who is the founder of the rational academy in Islam.(5)

As such, those who were lovers of knowledge [‘ilm] and thirsty for the Muhammadan (ṣ) gnosis [ma‘rifah] rushed from different parts of the then Muslim world to that heroic Imām (‘a) in multitude, and benefited from his abundant spring of knowledge and wisdom. Sayyid Ilāhil says: “In Kūfah,

p: 118


1- Sabṭ ibn al-Jawzī, Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Raḍī, 1376 AHS/1418 AH), p. 311.
2- Muhammad Husayn Muẓaffar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah. Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.
3- Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb ibn Isḥāq Kulaynī, Uṣūl al-Kāfī (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1363 AHS), vol. 1, p. 472.
4- Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), p. 525.
5- Amīr ‘Alī, Tārīkh-e Gharb va Islām [History of the West and Islam], trans. Fakhr Dā‘ī Gīlānī, 3rd edition. Tehran: Intishārāt-e Ganjīneh, 1366 AHS), p. 213.

Baṣrah, Wāsiṭ, and Ḥijāz, people of every tribe sent their children to Ja‘far ibn Muhammad. Many of the Arabs and Persians, the people of Qum in particular, came to him.”(1)

In his Al-Mu‘tabar, the late Muḥaqqiq (al-Ḥillī) thus writes:

During the period of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) various branches of knowledge that were transmitted from him astonished the great thinkers. A group of about four thousand rijālī scholars have narrated hadīths from him, and by his teachings a great number of people in the various sciences attained mastery to such an extent that his answers to their questions were compiled in four hundred books [muṣannafāt], which were called “Uṣūl”.(2)

In his book, Dhikrā, Shahīd al-Awwal also says: “Four thousand people from Iraq, Ḥijāz, Khurāsān, and Shām put into writing the answers of Abū ‘Abd Allāh Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) to the questions.”(3)

In this manner, the seekers and lovers of knowledge and learning used to benefit from the Imām (‘a). Outstanding scholars in various branches of the revealed [naqlī] and rational [‘aqlī] sciences of the day such as Hishām ibn Ḥakam, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Ābān ibn Taghlib, Hishām ibn Sālim, Mu’min Ṭāq, Mufaḍḍal ibn ‘Umar, Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, etc. were trained under the blessing of his presence.

Their compilations which are known as the Uṣūl Arba‘ami’ah, are the basis of the four Shī‘ah books on hadīth, viz. Al-Kāfī, Man Lā Yaḥḍarah al-Faqīh, At-Tahdhīb, and Al-Istibṣār.

The disciples of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) were not all Shī‘ah as most of the Sunnī scholars of the day have also studied under his guidance. Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī, a Sunnī author, thus writes in this regard: “The leading figures (in jurisprudence and hadīth) such as Yaḥyā ibn Sa‘d, Ibn Jarīḥ, Mālik, Sufyān ath-Thawrī, Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah, Abū Ḥanīfah, Sha‘bī, and Ayyūb Sijistānī have narrated hadīths on his authority.”(4)

Abū Ḥanīfah, the founder of the Ḥanafī school of thought, has said:

I used to go to Ja‘far ibn Muhammad for sometime. I used to see him in one of the three conditions: either he was praying, in the state of fasting, or reading the Qur’an. I never saw him narrating the hadīth without

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1- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1403 AH).
2- Abū’l-Qāsim Ja‘far ibn al-Hasan ibn Yaḥyā ibn Sa‘īd Muḥaqqiq al-Ḥillī, Al-Mu‘tabar (Lithography), pp. 4-5.
3- Muhammad ibn Makkī Shahīd al-Awwal, Dhikrā (Lithography), p. 6.
4- Aḥmad Ibn Ḥajar Haythamī al-Makkī, Aṣ-Ṣawā‘iq al-Maḥriqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl al-Bid‘a waz-Zindiqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 201.

performing ablution.(1) The one superior to Ja‘far ibn Muhammad in knowledge, devotion and piety has not been seen by any eye, heard by any ear, or perceived by any heart.(2)

The Imām’s (‘a) teaching sessions were attended by those who later founded schools of jurisprudence attending as philosophers, as well as students of philosophy from far and wide. After learning the sciences from their Imām (‘a), they would return to their homelands and conduct teaching sessions of their own. The Muslims used to gather around them and they in turn impart the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) propagating Shī‘ism. When Ābān ibn Taghlib would come to Masjid an-Nabī, the people would reserve for him the pillar against which the Prophet (ṣ) used to lean, and he would narrate hadīths to them. Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) used to say to him: “Sit in the mosque of Medina and issue religious edicts to the people as I like persons like you to be seen among my Shī‘ah.”

Ābān was the first person to have written something on the sciences of the Qur’an [‘ulūm al-Qur’ān] and he was also so well-versed in hadīth that he used to sit in Masjid an-Nabī and the people would come and ask him. Through his various styles of speaking, he would answer them and impart the hadīths of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to them.(3)

In Mīzān al-I‘tidāl, adh-Dhahabī thus says regarding him: “If the hadīth of individuals such as Ābān who are accused of being Shī‘ah is rejected, a great part of the Prophetic works would have perished.”(4)

Abū Khālid al-Kābulī says: “I saw Abū Ja‘far Mu’min Ṭāq sitting in Masjid an-Nabī while the people of Medina gathered around him and posed their questions on jurisprudence [masā’il] to him and he would answer them.”(5)

Shī‘ism during that period was so spread that some people, in a bid to acquire social standing among the people, resorted to fabricating hadīths from the Imāms (‘a) to draw people’s attention by interpreting the traditions in their own favor. For example, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a)—in reply to one of his companions named Fayḍ ibn Mukhtār who asked about the reason behind the contradiction in hadīths—thus says: “These people are not seeking the

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1- Shahāb ad-Dīn ibn ‘Alī Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī, Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 88.
2- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, vol. 1, p. 53.
3- Ibid., vol. 1, p. 55.
4- Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad adh-Dhahabī, Mīzān al-I‘tidāl (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 4.
5- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 581.

pleasure of Allah in narrating the hadīths and expressing our views. They are rather seeking the world and each of them is aspiring to be leader.”(1)

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1- Ibid., vol. 1, p. 347.
* Lesson 12: Summary

The ‘Abbāsid campaign started in 111 AH. During that time, there was no division between the descendants of ‘Alī [‘Alawī] and the descendants of ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib [‘Abbāsī]. The Umayyads were busy repressing the ‘Abbāsid uprisings as a result of which Shī‘ism spread remarkably. Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) in this opportune time trained their disciples establishing the Jafarī

University, and many jurists [fuqahā] and scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn] benefited from these two personages. Shaykh al-Mufīd regards the number of the disciples of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq to be four thousand.

* Lesson 12: Questions

1. What was the impact of the ‘Abbāsid campaign upon the spread of Shī‘ism?

2. What was the trend of Shī‘ism during the period of Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a)?

3. How did Imām aṣ-Ṣadiq (‘a) take advantage of the then existing opportune time?

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Lesson Thirteen

3. The Shī‘ah during the Period of ‘Abbāsid Caliphate

Shī‘ism from the beginning of the ‘Abbāsid period (132 AH) up to the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā] (329 AH) was a longer period compared to the Umayyad period. The Shī‘ah were scattered in the furthest points of the vast Muslim land. For example, a complaint was lodged to (the ‘Abbāsid caliph) Hārūn (ar-Rashīd) against Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim (‘a) for receiving khums(1)

from east and west.(2)

When Imām ‘Alī ibn ar-Riḍā (‘a) arrived in Nayshābūr, two ḥadīth keepers named Abū Zar‘ah ar-Rāzī and Muḥammad ibn Aslam aṭ-Ṭūsī came to the Imām (‘a) along with innumerable groups of knowledge seekers and requested that he face them. The Imām (‘a) faced them, in the presence of various classes of people, to

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1- Khums: literally means one-fifth. According to the Shī‘ah school of jurisprudence [fiqh], this one-fifth tax is obligatorily levied on every adult Muslim who is financially secure and has surplus in his income out of annual savings, net commercial profits, and all movable and immovable properties which are not commensurable with the needs and social standing of the person. Khums is divided into two equal parts: the Share of the Imām [sahm al-Imām] and the Share of the Sayyids/Sādāt (descendants of the Prophet) [sahm as-Sādāt]. Accordingly, the Share of the Imām is to be paid to the living Imam, and in the period of Occultation, to the most learned living mujtahid who is the giver’s marja‘ at-taqlīd [Source of Emulation]. The other half of the khums, the Share of the Sayyids/Sādāt, is to be given to needy pious Sayyids who lack the resources for one’s year respectable living in consonance with their various statuses. For more information, see Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Khums: An Islamic Tax, http://www.al-islam.org/beliefs/practices/khums.html. [Trans.]
2- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS) p. 581.

narrate the silsilah adh-dhahab ḥadīth. This ḥadīth was recorded in 20 thousand books by different writers.(1)

Similarly, Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a), in reply to (the ‘Abbāsid caliph) Ma’mūn who had many expectations from him after his (forced) acceptance of the heir-apparency, said: “…This affair (heir-apparency) has never added favor to me. When I was in Medina, amputation of the thief’s hand was used to be implemented in the east and west.”(2)

Also, the admission of the Sunnī jurist [fuqih], Ibn Abī Dāwūd, who was himself a stern enemy and adversary of the Shī‘ah, is significant. Following the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mu‘taṣim preference of Imām al-Jawād (‘a) view to that of the Sunnī jurists regarding the amputation of the thief’s hand, Ibn Abī Dāwūd privately reminded the caliph that in the presence of the courtiers, governors, ministers, and scribes he preferred the view of a person whose Imamate is acknowledged by half of the ummah to the view of all ‘ulamā’ of his assembly.(3) Shī‘ism had even penetrated the ranks of the governors and dignitaries of the ‘Abbasid rule. As Yaḥyā ibn Harthamah narrates,

The ‘Abbāsid caliph Mutawakkil dispatched me to summon Imām al-Ḥādī (‘a) to Medina. When I arrived along with the Imām in Baghdad, I went to Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm aṭ-Ṭāhirī, the governor of Baghdad. He said to me: “O Yaḥyā! This man is the son of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ). You also know Mutawakkil. If you would incite Mutawakkil to kill him, it is tantamount to declaring enmity with the Messenger of Allah (ṣ).” I said: “I did not see anything in him but goodness.” Then, I proceeded to Sāmarrā. When I arrived there, I went first to Wāṣīf Turkī.(4) He also said to me: “If even a single strand of hair is taken from this man, I shall call you to account.(5)

In the first volume of his book, Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn has identified as Shī‘ah a number of ‘Abbāsid statesmen such as Abū Salmah Khalāl,(6)

the first vizier of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate who was called the Vizier of the Prophet’s Progeny [wazīr āl Muḥammad]; Abū Bukhayr Asadī al-Baṣrī, one of the

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1- Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq, ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā, (Qum: n.p., 1377 AH), vol. 2, p. 135.
2- ‘Allāmah Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1358 AH), vol. 49, p. 155.
3- Ibid., vol. 50, p. 6.
4- Wāṣīf Turkī: one of the Turkish commanders.
5- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 183.
6- Of course, some authorities are of the opinion that if the evidence proving Abū Salmah as a Shī‘ah is a letter addressed to Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) regarding the proposal on caliphate, it is seemingly not a sufficient proof as they have considered it a (mere) political move. See Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Sīreh-ye Pīshvāyān, 8th edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Taḥqīqātī va Ta‘līmātī-ye Imām Ṣādiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), p. 378.

prominent governors and emirs during the time of (the ‘Abbāsid caliph) Manṣūr; Muḥammad ibn Ash‘ath, the vizier of Hārūn ar-Rashīd, about whom there is a story during the detention of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) which demonstrates his being a Shī‘ah; ‘Alī ibn Yaqṭayn, one of the viziers of Hārūn; Ya‘qūb ibn Dāwūd, the vizier of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mahdī; and Ṭāhir ibn Ḥusayn Khazā‘ī, the governor of Khurāsān on behalf of Ma’mūn and conqueror of Baghdad on account of which Ḥasan ibn Sahl did not dispatch him to the Battle of Abī’s-Sarāyā.(1)

Among the Shī‘ah judges were Sharīk ibn ‘Abd Allāh an-Nakha‘ī, the judge of Kūfah, and Wāqidī, the renowned historian, who was a judge during the time of Ma’mūn.(2)

Shī‘ism was so widespread even in the ‘Abbāsid spheres of influence that it was considered a threat for them. For example, during the burial procession for Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) Sulaymān ibn Manṣūr, Ḥārūn’s uncle, participated in the procession barefooted in a bid to tone down the wrath of the Shī‘ah who formed an impressive assembly.(3) Also, when Imām al-Jawād (‘a) attained martyrdom and they wanted to bury him secretly, the Shī‘ah were informed of it. Armed with swords, twelve thousand of them went out and buried the Imām with due respect and dignity.(4) During the martyrdom of Imām al-Hādī (‘a) there was also a large number of the Shī‘ah and the extent of their weeping and wailing was such that the ‘Abbāsids were forced to bury him within the confine of his house.(5) After the period of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a), the ‘Abbāsid caliphs were so meticulous in respectfully treating the pure Imāms (‘a) so as not to face the wrath of the Shī‘ah. As such, during the reign of Hārūn, Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) enjoyed relative freedom and he was able to attend to the scientific and cultural activities of the Shī‘ah, to even declare openly his Imamate and desist from practicing dissimulation [taqiyyah], to discuss and converse with the followers of other schools and religions, and convince some of them. As Ash‘arī al-Qummī narrates, “During the time of

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1- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 191.
2- Ibid., pp. 192-193. Of course, Wāqidī’s being a Shī‘ah is a matter of dispute among the scholars.
3- Ibid., p. 29.
4- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, p. 226.
5- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 484.

Imām al-Kāẓim and Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) a number of Sunnī and Zaydī divines embraced Shī‘ism and recognized the Imamate of these two Imāms.”(1)

Some of the ‘Abbāsid caliphs had strived to monitor the pure Imāms (‘a) with the aim of controlling them. When the Imāms (‘a) were asked to move from Medina, the caliphs had tried their best not to allow the Imāms (‘a) to pass by the Shī‘ah-populated regions. Along this line, pursuant to Ma’mūn’s order, they brought Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) to Marv through the Baṣrah-Ahwāz-Fārs route and not through the Shī‘ah-concentrated Kūfah-Jabal-Qum route.(2) As narrated by Ya‘qūbī, when Imām al-Hādī (‘a) was brought to Sāmarrā at the order of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mutawakkil, the ‘Abbāsids who accompanied the Imām made a sojourn so to pass Baghdad by night to get to Sāmarrā because as they arrived near Baghdad, they learned that a large group of people was waiting to meet the Imām.(3)

Since the Shī‘ah were mostly scattered across different regions and far-flung places during the ‘Abbāsid period, the pure Imāms (‘a) founded the proxy institutions of representation, appointing respective deputies and proxies in the different regions and cities to serve as a means of communication between them and the Shī‘ah.

This affair commenced at the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). When the caliph’s apparatus gained a firmer grip over the pure Imāms (‘a) making Shī‘ah’s access to the Imām of their time more problematic, the institution of proxy and the role of the Imām’s deputies gained more prominence. It is thus recorded in the book, Tārīkh-e ‘Aṣr-e Ghaybat [History of the Minor Occultation]: “The most important of all is the enhancement and spread of the covert institution of deputyship—an institution which was founded during the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and further developed during the time of ‘Askariyyīn.”(4)

In this regard, Professor Pīshvā’ī thus writes:

The critical conditions of the Shī‘ah Imāms during the ‘Abbāsid period prompted them to look for a new means of establishing and maintaining their contact with their followers. This new means was nothing but the communication network of representation and the Imām’s appointment of deputies and trustees in the various regions. The main function of this institution was the collection of khums, zakāt [alms-rate], nadhr [vow endowments], and gifts [hadāyā] from the various regions through the

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1- Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Qummī Ash‘arī, Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, 2nd edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Intishārāt-e ‘Ilmī va Farhangī, 1360 AHS) p. 94.
2- See Sīreh-ye Pīshvāyān, p. 478.
3- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 503.
4- Sayyid Majīd Pūr Āqā’ī, Tārīkh-e ‘Aṣr-e Ghaybat (Qum: Markaz-e Jahānī-ye ‘Ulūm-e Islāmī, n.d.), p. 84.

deputies and remitting the same to the Imām as well as for the Imām to reply to the ideological and juristic questions and issues of the Shī‘ah and their political justification through the Imām’s deputies. This institution had pivotal role in advancing the objectives of the Imāms.(1)

The places where the infallible Imāms (‘a) had deputies and proxies are Kūfah, Baṣrah, Baghdad, Qum, Wāsiṭ, Ahwāz, Hamedān, Sīstān, Bast, Rey, Ḥijāz, Yemen, Egypt, and Madā’in.(2)

Shī‘ism during the 4th century AH was spread from the east to the west of the Muslim world and was at the peak of its spread and growth as it had never experienced before such a magnitude of growth. The list of the Shī‘ah-populated cities of the Muslim lands during that century presented by Muqaddasī points to this fact. Thus, we shall cite the facts from his book. Somewhere in his book, he says that many of the judges in Yemen, coast of Mecca and Ṣaḥār are Mu’tazilites and Shī‘ah.(3)

Accordingly, Shī‘ism is so widespread in the Arabian Peninsula.(4)

Regarding the inhabitants of Baṣrah, it is stated that “Most of the inhabitants of Baṣrah are Qadirī, Shī‘ah, Mu‘tazilites, and then Ḥanbalīs.”(5) During that century, the people of Kūfah, with the exception of Kināsah, have been Shī‘ah.(6) There are also a few Shī‘ah in the Mūṣul district.(7)

The people of Nāblus, Quds and most of Oman are Shī‘ah.(8) The people of the upper village of Fusṭāṭ and that of Ṣandfā are Shī‘ah.(9)

In the region along the Indus river the people of the city of Multān are Shī‘ah, and this fact is evident in their adhān and iqāmah.(10) In Ahwāz the conflict between the Sunnīs and Shī‘ah would lead to war.(11)

By pointing to the rule of the Būyids and that of the Fāṭimids in Egypt, Maqrīzī also writes:

The rāfiḍī (Shī‘ah) madhhab [school of thought] spread in Morocco, Shām, Diyār Bakr, Kūfah, Baṣrah, Baghdad, the entire Iraq, Khurāsān,

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1- Sīreh-ye Pīshvāyān, p. 573.
2- See Rijāl-e Najjāshī (Qum: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islāmī, 1404 AH), pp. 344, 797-800, 825, 847.
3- Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Muqaddasī, Aḥsan at-Taqāsīm fī Ma‘rifah al-Aqālīm, trans. Dr. ‘Alī Naqī Manzawī (n.p.: Shirkat-e Mu’allifān va Mutarjimān-e Īrān, 1361 AHS), vol. 1, p. 136.
4- Ibid., p. 144.
5- Ibid., p. 175.
6- Ibid., p. 174.
7- Ibid., p. 200.
8- Ibid., p. 220.
9- Ibid., p. 286.
10- Ibid., vol. 2. p. 707.
11- Ibid., p. 623.

Transoxiana,(1) as well as Ḥijāz, Yemen and Bahrain, and there were conflicts between them (Shī‘ah) and Sunnīs as a result of which those who were killed were countless.(2)

During that century, there was a large number of Shī‘ah even in Baghdad, the capital of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate to such an extent that they could openly perform their mourning ceremony on the day of ‘Ashūrā. As Ibn al-Kathīr says, “The Sunnīs did not have the courage to stop this ceremony on account of the large number of the Shī‘ah and the support of the Būyid government for them.”(3)

During that time, the ground for the struggle of the Shī‘ah was paved to some extent as many Muslim territories were under Shī‘ah rulers. In the north of Iran, Gīlān and Māzandarān, the ‘Alāwīs of Ṭabaristān were ruling. In Egypt the Fāṭimids, in Yemen the Zaydīs, in the north of Iraq and Syria the Ḥamdānīs, and in Iran and Iraq the Būyids were in the helms of power. Of course, during the periods of some ‘Abbāsid caliphs such as Mahdī, Amīn, Ma’mūn, Mu‘taṣim, Wāthiq, and Muntaṣir, the Shī‘ah had relative freedom of movement. At least, during the time of these caliphs the past repressions were mitigated. As narrated by Ya‘qūbī, the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mahdī had released Shī‘ah and Ṭālibīs (descendants of Abū Ṭālib).(4)

The government of Amīn unconsciously relaxed its suppression of and hostilities toward the Shī‘ah, for a five-year period, mostly because of Amin’s pleasure-seeking and his war with his brother Ma’mūn. The ‘Abbāsid caliphs Ma’mūn, Mu‘taṣim, Wāthiq, and Mu‘taḍad had Shī‘ī tendency, but Mutawakkil was one of the sternest enemies of the Prophet’s descendants and their Shī‘ah. Although the Shī‘ah were out of control during his reign, he used to prohibit nevertheless the visitation to the tomb of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).(5)

Ibn Athīr says:

Mutawakkil used to regard as his enemies the caliphs preceding him such as Ma’mūn, Mu‘taṣim and Wāthiq who used to express affection to ‘Alī and his descendants. Persons such as ‘Alī ibn Juhm (a poet from Shām), ‘Umār ibn Faraj, Abū Samṭ—one of the descendants of Marwān ibn Abī Ḥafṣah

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1- Transoxiana [māwarā’u’n-nahr (beyond the (Oxus) river)]: roughly corresponding to present-day Uzbekistan. [Trans.]
2- Taqī ad-Dīn Abī al-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Alī Maqrīzī, Al-Mawā‘iẓ wa’l-I‘tibār bi Dhikr al-Khuṭut wa’l-Āthār (famous as Al-Khuṭaṭ al-Maqrīziyyah), 1st edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1418 AH), vol. 4, p. 191.
3- Al-Bidāyah wa’n-Nihāyah (Beirut, 1966), vol. 11, p. 243.
4- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 404.
5- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam aṭ-Ṭabarī, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 312.

and sympathizers of the Umayyads—and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn Dāwud Hāshimī who were regarded as Nāṣibīs and enemies of ‘Alī (‘a), were his boom companions and associates.(1)

During that period the Nāṣibī nonreligious poets had earned courage reciting poems against the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) in order to get closer to the (political) establishment of Mutawakkil. But Mutawakkil’s successor, Muntaṣir, adopted a contrary policy and gave freedom of action to the Shī‘ah, renovated the tomb of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and removed the prohibition on visiting it.(2) Hence, Bahtarī, a poet during his period has thus said:

إنّ علیاً لاولی بکم وازکی یداً عنکم من عمر

Verily, ‘Alī compared to ‘Umar is nearer to you and he is purer.(3)

‘Abbāsids Control over the Shī‘ah Leaders

Up to 329 AH the ‘Abbāsid rule in general experienced two periods: ascendancy of Iranian viziers and officials, and prevalence of the Turkish army. Although during the period of the Turks the caliphate’s apparatus was weak and most of the times the ‘Abbāsid caliphs were tools in the hands of the Turkish commanders, the government’s general policy was anti-Shī‘ism. Owing to the great quantitative increase of the Shī‘ah during the ‘Abbāsid period, the policy of the ‘Abbāsid caliphs was to exert control over the Shī‘ah leaders although the caliphs differed in terms of treatment of the Shī‘ah. Some of them such as Manṣūr, Hādī, Rashīd, and Mutawakkil were despotic, cruel and bloodthirsty. Others such as Mahdī, Ma’mūn and Wāthiq did not have the stringency of their respective predecessors, and during their caliphate the Shī‘ah had relative breathing space. When Caliph Manṣūr sensed the danger posed by Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and his brother Ibrāhīm, he apprehended and imprisoned his father, brothers and uncles.(4) Manṣūr summoned Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) to his court many times with the intention of killing the Imām (‘a) but the will of God was other than that.(5)

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1- Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh (Beirut: Dār Ṣadir, 1402 AH), vol. 7, p. 56.
2- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 147.
3- Ibid.
4- Ibid., vol. 3, p. 324.
5- Ibn al-Jawzī narrates: When Manṣūr arrived in Medina from Mecca, he said to Rabī‘ Ḥajab, “Summon Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad. May God kill me if I failed to kill him.” Rabī‘ used to delay summoning the Imām. Finally, with Manṣūr’s insistence, Rabī‘ summoned the Imām. When the Imām was present, he slowly moved his frankincense. He then went near Manṣūr and greeted him. Manṣūr said: “O enemy of God! May you be annihilated! Do you want to cause disorder within my jurisdiction? ...May God kill me if I would not kill you!” Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) said: “Prophet Sulaymān (Solomon) reigned yet he was grateful [to God]. Ayyūb (Job) experienced affliction yet he remained patient. Yūsuf (Joseph) was oppressed yet he granted forgiveness. You are their successor, and it is more appropriate for you to emulate them.” Manṣūr looked down and looked up again and said: “You are one of our nearest of kin.” So he embraced the Imām (‘a), let him (‘a) sit beside him and engaged in a conversation with him (‘a). He then said: “Bring right now the gifts and garment for Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad and let him go.” When the Imām (‘a) left, Rabī‘ followed him and said: “I have been defending you for three days, acting moderately and reservedly. When you were presented to him, I saw that you were silently uttering something, and Manṣūr failed to harm you. As I am working with the ruler, I need that supplication. How I wish you would teach it to me. The Imām said: “Say: اللهم احْرِسْنی بِعَیْنِکَ الَّتی لاتنام و اکْنِفْنی بِکَنَفِکَ الَّذی لایَرامُ اَوْ یُضامُ وَ اغْفِرْلی بِقُدْرَتِکَ عَلَیَّ وَ لا اهْلِکُ وَ انْتَ رَجائی. اللّهمّ اِنّکَ اَکْبَرُ وَ اَجَلُّ مِمَّنْ أَخافُ وَ اَحْذرُ. اللّهُمَّ بِکَ اَدْفَعُ فی نَحْرِه وَ اَسْتَعِیدُ بِکَ مِنْ شَرِهِ. “O God! Protect me by Your eye that does not sleep and through the power that is free from affliction, protect me from perdition; for You are the source of my hope. O God! You have bestowed abundant blessings to me for which I failed to express gratitude. Yet, You did not deprive me of those blessings and in many cases You have afflicted me with calamities to which I showed little patience. You deliver me. O God! I seek protection in Your support and power of protection from his mischief and I seek refuge in You from his mischief.” Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣ (Najaf al-Ashraf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah wa Maktabhā, 1383 AH), p. 344.

The ‘Abbāsid caliphs tried their best to remove the Shī‘ah leaders who were their rivals. Manṣūr even gave money and dispatched to Medina a certain Ibn al-Muhājir so as to go to ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and a number of other ‘Alawīs, and to say to them that the sum of money comes from the Shī‘ah of Khurāsan, remit the same and take a receipt. Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) reminded him that the Imām knows that he was sent by Manṣūr and asked him to relay to Manṣūr, thus: “The ‘Alawīs have been recently relived from the rule of the Marwānīs and they are needy. Do not deceive and dupe them.”(1)

Asad Ḥaydar says: “In order to have a pretext in eliminating Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), Manṣūr resorted to various means; he wrote letters to the Imām by using the names of the latter’s Shī‘ah and sent goods to the Imām under the names of his Shī‘ah. Yet, Manṣūr did not succeed in any of these ways.”(2)

When Manṣūr heard the news of the martyrdom of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), he wrote a letter to the governor of Medina, Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān: “In case Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad designated a certain person as the implementers of his will [waṣiyy], arrest him and cut off his head.” In reply to the caliph’s letter, the governor of Medina thus wrote: “Ja‘far ibn

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 220.
2- Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 46.

Muḥammad designated these five persons as the executors of his will: Abū Ja‘far Manṣūr, Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān, ‘Abd Allāh, Mūsā, and Ḥamīdah.” Then Manṣūr said: “They cannot be killed.”(1)

Caliph Mahdī did not have his father’s callousness toward the ‘Alawīs and Shī‘ah. Ya‘qūbī narrates: “As soon as Mahdī assumed the caliphate, he ordered for the release of the imprisoned ‘Alawīs.”(2)

As such, no ‘Alawī uprising took place during his reign. Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī has mentioned only two persons who died during the period of Mahdī; one of them was ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās while the other was ‘Īsā ibn az-Zayd who transpired clandestinely and who used to live in hiding from the time of Manṣūr.(3)

During the reign of Caliph Hādī, intense pressure was exerted on the ‘Alawīs and Shī‘ah figures. As Ya‘qūbī writes,

Hādī persisted on treating the Shī‘ah and Ṭālibīs harshly, terrifying them extremely. He curtailed the right granted to them by Mahdī and wrote to the governors and rulers of the regions and cities to pursue and arrest the Ṭālibīs.(4)

In protest to the caliph’s wrongdoings, Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī, who was a descendant of al-Ḥusayn (Shahīd Fakh), staged an uprising. In that battle apart from Ḥusayn a large number of the ‘Alawīs were killed.(5)

This battle brought severe pressure to Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a). Caliph Ḥādī threatened the Imām and thus said: “By God! Ḥusayn (Shahīd Fakh) staged an uprising against me at the order of Mūsā ibn Ja‘far and he has followed him. It is because nobody could be the Imām and leader of this family except Mūsā ibn Ja‘far. May God kill me if I let him live.”(6)

Yet, the caliph failed to execute this threat due to the arrival of the time of his demise. During the second century hijrī, Hārūn ar-Rashīd was considered the most cruel caliph toward the ‘Alawīs and Shī‘ah leaders after Manṣūr. Hārūn was despotic in relation to the ‘Alawīs and treated them cruelly. He mercilessly killed Yaḥyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh, Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s brother, inside the prison after granting him amnesty. Similarly, there is a story recorded in ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā that illustrates the extent of

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1- Abī ‘Alī al-Faḍl ibn al-Hasan Ṭabarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Aḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 2, p. 13.
2- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 394.
3- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), pp. 342-361.
4- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, p. 404.
5- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 366.
6- Biḥar al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 151.

Ḥārūn ar-Rashīd’s cruelty. Ḥamīd ibn Quḥṭabah aṭ-Ṭā’ī aṭ-Ṭūsī narrates:

One night Ḥārūn summoned me and ordered me, thus: “Take this sword and carry out this slave’s order.” The slave took me in front of a certain house whose door was closed. He opened the door. There were three rooms and a well in that house. He opened the first room and asked twenty sayyids (or sādāt) (descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)) who had long and woven hair to go out. Young and old could be seen among them. He tied this group with chains and manacles. Ḥārūn’s slave then said to me: “The order of the Commander of the Faithful is for you to kill them.” They are from among the offspring of ‘Alī (‘a) and Fāṭimah (‘a). I killed one after the other and the slave threw the corpses with heads to the well. Then I opened the second door. In that room there were twenty other people from the offspring of ‘Alī and Fāṭimah. I did to them what I had done to the previous twenty persons. Thereafter, the slave opened the third room in which there were twenty other sayyids. They also met the fate of the previous forty persons through me. Only an old man was left who looked at me and said: “O sinister man! May God annihilate you! On the Day of Judgment, what excuse do you have in front of our forefather, the Messenger of Allah (ṣ)?” At that moment, my hands trembled. The slave looked at me furiously and threatened me. I killed the old man and the slave threw his corpse into the well.(1)

Finally, though acknowledging the station of the Imām, Hārūn ar-Rashīd arrested and imprisoned Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) and in the end martyred him through poisoning.(2)

After the martyrdom of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) Hārūn ar-Rashīd dispatched to Medina one of his commanders named Julūdī so as to assault the houses of the descendants of Abū Ṭālib, plunder the clothes of women and leave only one dress for every woman. Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) stood in front of the door and ordered the women to take their clothes.(3)

Ma’mun being the most clever of the ‘Abbāsid caliphs devised a new method of controlling the Shī‘ah leaders and Imāms and that was to monitor the pure Imāms (‘a). It was precisely one of the main motives of Ma’mun in superficially designating Imām ar-Riḍa (‘a) as his heir-apparent. In the same token, Ma’mun adopted this policy in a different form in dealing with Imām al-Jawād (‘a). He gave his daughter in marriage to the Imām so that he could monitor the Imām’s activities in Medina. The caliphs after Ma’mun adopted the same method and compelled the infallible Imāms (‘a) to live in the

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1- ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā (Qum: Dār al-‘Ilm, 1377 AH), p. 109.
2- I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā, vol. 2, p. 34.
3- A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, p. 29.

capital of the caliphate. Even the tenth and eleventh Imāms (‘a) became known as ‘Askariyyīn [soldiers] for living in Sāmarrā which was a military city.

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* Lesson 13: Summary

Shī‘ism spread more during the ‘Abbāsid period than during the ‘Umayyad period. During that period, the Shī‘ah were spread in both the east and west of the vast Muslim territory. During that time, Shī‘ism had found its way among the statesmen, judges and military commanders. Even in Baghdad which was the capital of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate and influence, the Shī‘ah, on account of their great numbers, were deemed a serious threat to the ‘Abbāsids.

It was for this reason that the caliphs tried their best to monitor and control the Shī‘ah Imāms. As such, from the time of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) onwards they compelled the pure Imāms (‘a) to live at the caliphate’s capital.

On account of the scattering of the Shī‘ah in the various lands during this period, the pure Imāms (‘a) utilized the institution of deputyship [wikālah].

Finally, Shī‘ism reached the height of its growth and spread during the fourth century. It was during this period when the Zaydī and Ismā‘ilī states of the Būyids and Ḥamdānīs were set up.

Of course, the ‘Abbāsid caliphs differed from one another in their treatment of the Shī‘ah. Manṣūr, Ḥārūn and Mutawakkil were among the most cruel caliphs in dealing with the Shī‘ah.

* Lesson 13: Questions

1. How was the spread of Shī‘ism during the ‘Abbāsid period? And what role did the institution of deputyship [wikālah] play?

2. Briefly describe Shī‘ism during the fourth century.

3. Did the ‘Abbāsid caliphs differ from one another in dealing with the Shī‘ah?

4. What was the policy of the ‘Abbāsid caliphs in controlling the Shī‘ah?

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Lesson Fourteen

The Reasons behind the Burgeoning of the Shī‘ah during the Period of ‘Abbasid Caliphate
Point

Shī‘ism experienced ever-increasing expansion during the period of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate. This fact had some reasons and factors, some of which are the following:

1. The Hāshimīs and ‘Alawīs during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate

During the Umayyad period, the Hāshimīs—including both the ‘Abbāsids and the ‘Alawīs—were united, and from the time of Hāshim when the ‘Abbāsid campaigns started and coordination with the uprising of Zayd and his son, Yaḥyā, they commenced their tasks based on Shī‘ism. As Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says,

When Walīd ibn Yazīd, the Umayyad caliph, was killed, and there was disagreement among the Marwānīs, the Hāshimite propagators and campaigners went to the districts (rural areas) and the first thing they expressed was the superiority of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and his progeny as well as their being oppressed.

The ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr was one of the first narrators of the ḥadīth on Ghadīr.(1) As such, when some of the ‘Abbāsid forces saw that ‘Abbāsid policy turned against the ‘Alawīs, they did not accept it and opposed the

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 207.

‘Abbāsids. For example, Abū Salmah Khalāl, who was a leading campaigner of the ‘Abbāsids in Iraq,(1) was killed by the ‘Abbāsids on account of his inclination toward the ‘Alawīs.(2) Although this person was not a Shī‘ah ideologically, his inclination toward the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) cannot be denied especially that he belonged to the tribe of Ḥamdān and was a resident of Kūfah.(3)

Among the Qaḥṭānī tribes, the tribe of Ḥamdān was preeminent in terms of inclination toward Shī‘ism. As such, Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn has considered him (Abū Salmah) one of the Shī‘ah viziers.(4)

Even the ‘Abbāsids themselves did not refrain initially from expressing love toward the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ):

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1- Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tarīkh Baghdād, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1417 AH), vol. 12, p. 340.
2- After the death of Ibrāhīm Imām, Abū Salmah Khalāl who was a leading campaigner in Iraq and later became a vizier of Ṣafāh turned against the ‘Abbāsids. Thus, he wrote letters to the three prominent figures of the ‘Alawīs: Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥasan ibn Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (‘a), and ‘Amr ibn al-Ashraf ibn Zayd al-‘Ābidīn and entrusted these letters to one of his friends with this instruction: “Go first to Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and should he accept it, then give the other two letters. And if he does not accept, you meet ‘Abd Allāh Maḥḍ, and if does not accept too, you have to approach ‘Amr. The messenger of Abū Salmah first went to Imām Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad (‘a) and gave the letter of Abū Salmah to the Imām. Ḥaḍrat Ṣādiq (‘a) said: “What is our business with Abū Salmah who is a follower [shī‘ah] of others?” The messenger replied: “Kindly read the letter.” Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) asked his attendant to give him a lamp. The Imām then placed the letter just above the lamp and it burned! The messenger asked: “Will you not give a reply?” The Imām retorted: “The reply for it is what you saw!” Thereafter, the messenger of Abū Salmah went to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥasan and handed to him the letter. As soon as ‘Abd Allāh finished reading the letter, he kissed it and immediately went to Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and said: “This letter received through one of our Shī‘ah from Khurāsān is from Abū Salmah who is inviting us to the caliphate. The Imām said to ‘Abd Allāh: “Since when have the people of Khurāsān become your Shī‘ah? Have you sent Abū Muslim to them? Do you know any of them? You don’t know them and they don’t know you, how did they become your Shī‘ah?” ‘Abd Allāh said: “Your statement indicates your opinion regarding this matter!” The Imām said: “God knows that I regard it incumbent upon myself to wish well for every Muslim; how could it be that I would not do so toward you? O ‘Abd Allāh! Keep aloof from these false ambitions, and you should know that this state will remain in the hands of the ‘Abbāsids and that a similar letter has been sent to me. Being displeased, ‘Abd Allāh left Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). ‘Amr ibn Zayd al-‘Ābidīn also acted negatively toward the letter of Abū Salmah. He refused to accept it and said: “I do not know the sender of the letter to whom I should reply.” See Ibn Ṭaqṭaqā, Al-Fakhrī (Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1368 AH), p. 154; ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 280.
3- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 190.
4- Ibid.

When the head of Marwān ibn Muḥammad, the last Umayyad caliph, was brought in front of Abū’l-‘Abbās as-Safāḥ, he performed a long prostration. He then rose up and said: “Praise be to God who made us victorious over you. Now, I do not worry when I shall die because on behalf of Ḥusayn, his brothers and companions, I killed two hundred Umayyads. On behalf of my cousin, Zayd ibn ‘Alī, I burned the bones of Hāshīm. On behalf of my brother, Ibrāhīm, I killed Marwān.(1)

After the stabilization of the ‘Abbāsid rule, on the one hand a gap emerged between them, and the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) and their Shī‘ah on the other. From the time of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr, the ‘Abbāsids adopted the attitude and policy of the Umayyads toward the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). In fact, they exceeded the Umayyads in their enmity toward the Prophet’s progeny.

2. The End of the Umayyad Caliphate and the Succession to Power of the ‘Abbāsids

The end of the Umayyad period, the ascension to power of the ‘Abbāsids, and the disputes and conflicts between them were a good opportunity for Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) to propagate the fundamentals of Shī‘ism considerably and to a great extent. This was especially true in the case of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) who trained students in different fields and sciences. Many outstanding scholars such as Hāshim ibn al-Ḥakam, Muḥammad ibn Muslim, Ābān ibn Taghlib, Hishām ibn Sālim, Mu’min Ṭāq, Mufaḍḍal ibn ‘Umar, Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, and others were trained by the Imām. According to Shaykh al-Mufīd, their companions all together totaled four thousand approximately in number.(2) They used to come to Imām aṣ-Ṣadiq (‘a) from the different parts of the vast Muslim territory, bringing bounty and removing their doubts and skepticism. The Imām’s students were scattered across various cities and regions and it is natural that they played an important role in the spread of Shī‘ism to the various regions that they reached.

3. The Migration of the ‘Alawīs

One of the most important factors involved in the spread of Shī‘ism during the ‘Abbāsid period was the migration and scattering of the sādāt and ‘Alawīs across the different parts of the Muslim territories. Most of them had no faith other than Shī‘ism. Although some of them had Zaydī inclination so

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1- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, pp. 283-284.
2- Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Irshād, trans. Muḥammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī (n.p.: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1367 AHS), p. 525.

much so that, according to some sources, some of the sādāt were even Nāṣibīs,(1) it can certainly be stated that most of the sadāt had been Shī‘ah, their suffering at the hands of anti-Shī‘ah governments clearly substantiate this contention.

The sādāt were scattered in many regions of the Muslim territories stretching from Transoxiana and India to Africa. Although these migrations had started during the time of Ḥajjāj (ibn Yūsuf), they were accelerated during the ‘Abbāsid period owing to the uprisings of the ‘Alawīs that mostly ended in failure. The north of Iran and the difficult to reach regions of Gīlān and Māzandarān as well as the mountainous places and far-flung lands of Khurāsān were considered secure places for the ‘Alawīs. For the first time, during the time of Hārūn ar-Rashīd, Yaḥyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ḥasanī went to Māzandarān which was then called Ṭabaristān. Although he held power and flourished in his work, through his vizier Faḍl ibn Yaḥyā who brought a letter, Hārūn was able to convince him to conclude a peace treaty.(2) Many ‘Alawīs settled there after him and Shī‘ism spread there day by day. The people there embraced Islam through the ‘Alawīs so much so that during the second half of the third century AH, the ‘Alawī rule in Ṭabaristān was established by Ḥasan ibn Zayd al-‘Alawī. At the time, it is regarded as a conducive place for the sādāt just as Ibn Asfandiyār says,

…At the time, so many ‘Alawī and Hāshimite sādāt from Ḥijāz, suburbs of Shām, and Iraq went to him. Verily, he had so much authority there that whenever he would ride, three hundred ‘Alawīs armed with swords were around him.(3)

When Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) was appointed by Ma’mūn as his heir-apparent, the brothers and relatives of the Imām went to Iran. As Mar‘ashī writes,

Because of the rumor of the heir-apparency spread by Ma’mūn about the Imām (‘a), many sādāt came here (Iran) and the Imām had twenty one brothers. This group of the Imām’s brothers and [their] sons consisting of Ḥasanī and Ḥusaynī sadāt arrived in the villages of Rey (old Tehran) and Iraq.

And as they heard of the treachery Ma’mūn committed against Ḥaḍrat Riḍā, they took refuge in the mountainous Daylamistān and Ṭabaristān. Some of them were martyred and their tombs and shrines are famous and since the people of Māzandarān were directly Shī‘ah when they embraced

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1- Ibn ‘Anbah, ‘Umdah aṭ-Ṭālib (Najaf: Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1961), pp. 71, 200, 253.
2- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 389-395.
3- Mar‘ashī, Tārīkh Ṭabaristān wa Rawāyān (Tehran: Nashr-e Kostareh, 1363 AHS), p. 290.

Islam and believed in the goodness of the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ), sādāt were held in high esteem there.(1)

After the failure of the uprising of Shahīd Fakh, Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī during the time of ‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī, Idrīs ibn ‘Abd Allāh, brother of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah went to Africa. The people there rallied around him and he set up the rule of the Idrīsīs in Maghrib. Although he was poisoned soon after that by ‘Abbāsid agents, his sons ruled there for a period of about one century.(2) As such, the sādāt became familiar with the mentioned settlement. It was for this reason that the ‘Abbāsid caliph, Mutawakkil, wrote a letter to the governor of Egypt asking him to expel the ‘Alawī sādāt with the payment of 30 dinars for every male and 15 dinars for every female. They were transferred to Iraq and from there they were sent to Medina.(3)

Muntaṣir also wrote the following to the governor of Egypt: “No ‘Alawī could own property; he could not ride on horse; he could not move away from the capital; and he could not have more than one attendant.”(4)

‘Alawīs could easily occupy a distinguished status among the people to such an extent that they could assume an air of dignity vis-à-vis the ruling authority. As Mas‘ūdī narrates, “Around 270 AH, one of the Ṭālibīs named Aḥmad ibn ‘Abd Allāh staged an uprising in the Ṣa‘īd region of Egypt. But he was finally defeated and killed by Aḥmad ibn Ṭūlūn.”(5)

In this manner, the ‘Alawīs were considered to have constituted the most important challenge for the ‘Abbāsid caliphate. In 284 AH the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mu‘taḍad decided to issue an order for Mu‘āwiyah to be cursed on the pulpits. In this regard, he wrote an order but his vizier warned him of the public commotion. Mu‘taḍad said: “I will brandish my sword in their midst.” The vizier replied:

Then, what shall we do with the Ṭālibīs who are present everywhere, and with whom the people are sympathetic on account of love for the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ)? This order of yours will praise and accept them, and as the people will hear it, they will tend to be more sympathetic with them (the Ṭālibīs).(6)

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1- Ibid., pp. 277-278.
2- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 406, 409.
3- Adam Mitch (?), Tamaddun-e Islāmī dar Qarn-e Chahārum-e Hijrī [Islamic Civilization in the Fourth Century Hijri], trans. ‘Alī Ridā Dhakāwatī Qarāgzelū (Tehran: Mu’assaseh-ye Intishārāt-e Amīr Kabīr, 1364 AHS), p. 83, citing Kandī, Al-Walāh wa’l-Qaḍāh, p. 198.
4- Ibid., quoting from Al-Walāh wa’l-Qaḍāh, pp. 203-204.
5- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 326.
6- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam aṭ-Ṭabarī, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 620-625.

The ‘Alawīs were respected by the people in every region they were residing. It was for this reason that after their deaths, the people used to build mausoleums and shrines on their graves as they used to gather around them (‘Alawīs) during their lifetime. When Muḥammad ibn Qāsim al-‘Alawī went to Khurāsān during the caliphate of Mu‘taṣim, about four thousand people gathered around him after only a short period and housed him inside a very formidable stronghold.(1)

On one hand, the ‘Alawīs were generally good and pious people while the transgression of the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid rulers were known to the people. On the other hand, the oppression experienced by the ‘Alawīs made them occupy a special place in people’s hearts. As Mas‘ūdī has narrated, “During the year when Yaḥyā ibn Zayd was martyred, every baby that was born in Khurāsan was named either Yaḥyā or Zayd.”(2)

The Reasons behind the Emigration of the Sādāt [Sayyids or Descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)]
Point

Three factors can be identified with respect to the migration and scattering of the sādāt in the different parts of the Muslim territories: (a) the defeat of the ‘Alawī uprisings; (b) the pressure exerted by the agents of the government; and (c) the existence of good opportunities for migration.

a. The Defeat of the ‘Alawī Uprisings

As a result of the defeat of the uprisings staged by the ‘Alawīs, they could not stay in Iraq and Ḥijāz which were accessible to the capital of the caliphate, and they were forced to go to far-flung places and thus save their lives. As Mas‘ūdī says about the scattering of the brothers of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah,

The brothers and children of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah were spread across diverse lands and called on the people to accept his leadership. His son, ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad, went to Egypt where he was killed. His other son, ‘Abd Allāh went to Khurāsān where he was imprisoned and later died in prison. His third son, Ḥasan, went to Yemen where he was also put behind bars and died there. His brother, Mūsā, went to Mesopotamia. His brother, Yaḥyā, went to Rey and then proceeded to Ṭabaristān. Another brother of his, Idrīs, went to Maghrib and the people rallied behind him…(3)

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1- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 60.
2- Ibid., vol. 3, p. 236.
3- Ibid., vol. 3, p. 326.
b. Pressure Exerted by Governments Agents

In the regions of Ḥijāz and

Iraq which were near the capital, the ‘Alawīs were constantly under pressure exerted by government agents. As narrated by Mas‘ūdī, Muḥammad ibn Qāsim al-‘Alawī’s travel from Kūfah to Khurāsān prompted the pressure exerted by the agents of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mu‘taṣim.(1)

c. Existence of Favorable Circumstances

Another factor for the migration of the ‘Alawīs was the existence of pleasant opportunities and their good social standing in the regions such as Qum and Ṭabaristān.

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1- Ibid., vol. 4, p. 60.
* Lesson 14: Summary

The reasons and factors behind the spread of Shī‘ism during the ‘Abbāsid period are as follows:

1. The Hāshimīs—including both the ‘Abbāsids and the ‘Alawīs—were united up to the period of Manṣūr and the first thing expressed by the ‘Abbāsid campaigners was the superiority of ‘Alī (‘a).

2. During the time of the bloody confrontations between the Umayyads and the ‘Abbāsids, it was a good opportunity for Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) to undertake considerable activities in propagate the fundamentals of Shī‘ism.

3. One of the most important factors for the spread of Shī‘ism was the migration of sādāt and ‘Alawīs and their scattering across diverse parts of Muslim territories. The sādāt were spread in most parts of the Muslim territories extending from Transoxiana and India to Africa.

The people of Ṭabaristān were among those who embraced Islam through the Ḥusaynī sādāt and were Shī‘ah from the very beginning.

* Lesson 14: Questions

1. Enumerate the factors for the increase in the Shī‘ah numbers during the ‘Abbāsid period.

2. What is the impact of the migration of the ‘Alawīs upon the spread of Shī‘ism?

3. What were the reasons behind the migration of the ‘Alawīs?

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Chapter Four

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings

Lesson Fifteen

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate
Point

p: 143

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The Shī‘ah uprisings and armed confrontations commence at Karbalā’ and the ‘Āshūrā’ movement, but we shall not touch on the topic of Karbalā’ for the meantime.

After the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) in the 60s AH, two Shī‘ah uprisings—that of the Tawwābūn and Mukhtār—took place whose leaders were not ‘Alawīs but rather common pious Shī‘ah. (We discussed them at length earlier.)

As these two uprisings were staged by Shī‘ah, they boasted a completely Shī‘ī nature. There is no difference of opinion concerning the leaders of the Tawwābūn that they were from among the companions of the Prophet (‘a) and Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).(1) We have also stated in detail the view of leading Shī‘ah figures and rijāl scholars who unanimously believed in his good intention and the authentic narrations identified the slander against him coined by his opponents.

With respect to the impact of the movements in the spread of Shī‘ism, it must be said that the Tawwābūn movement was short-lived and as such, it had no opportunity to propagate Shī‘ism though it was important in terms of

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1- See Dr. Sayyid Ḥusayn Ja‘farī, Tashayyu‘ dar Masīr-e Tārīkh, trans. Sayyid Muhammad Taqī Āyatullāhī, 9th edition (Tehran: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islāmī, 1378 AHS), pp. 268-273.

the qualitative spread of the Shī‘ah faith, deepening the love for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in the hearts making the Shī‘ah more devoted and firm in their beliefs. The uprising of Mukhtār, however, was effective in the spread of Shī‘ism and Mukhtār was able to add non-Arabs in the ranks of the Shī‘ah as it was not like that earlier.(1) Since that time, Shī‘ism spread in the eastern part of the Muslim territories, and we could see its peak in the movement of the black-wearing ones and the ‘Abbāsids.

The chain of ‘Alawī uprisings which took place during the latter part of the Umayyad rule had a sort of relationship with the movement of the ‘Abbāsids because Banū Hāshim—including both the ‘Alawīs and the ‘Abbāsids—were united during the period of the Umayyad caliphate and there was no conflict between them. In fact, the first two ‘Abbāsid caliphs, Safāḥ and Manṣūr, had earlier paid allegiance to Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah who was one of the descendants of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a). After the victory of the ‘Abbāsids, however, the same Muḥammad along with a number of his family members was killed by the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr. Throughout the second century AH, the ‘Alawī uprisings were related to one another more on the basis of the Zaydī ideology though the ‘Abbāsids capitalized greatly on the uprising of Zayd. As Amīr ‘Alī, one of the contemporary historians, says in this regard:

The death of Zayd strengthened the ‘Abbāsid campaigners and confirmed the campaigns in full swing at the time for the caliphate of the descendants of ‘Abbās. That barrier of probable competition was removed from their way and it turned well suitable with the trend of the events related to Abū Muslim such that it was built for the overthrow of the Umayyads.(2)

a. The Uprising of Zayd

Zayd, the noble son of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) and brother of Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) rose up and staged an uprising against the cruelties of the Umayyad caliph Hāshim and his agents. Zayd who went to Damascus to complain against Yūsuf ibn ‘Amrū, the then governor of Iraq, was belittled and reproached by Hāshim, and upon his return from Shām, he was surrounded by the Shī‘ah in Kūfah, urging him to rise up against the Umayyads. But because of the wound he suffered at the heat of his fight, his uprising did not succeed and he himself attained martyrdom.(3)

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1- Rasūl Ja‘fariyān, Tārīkh-e Tashuyyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Hashtum-e Hijrī, 5th edition (Qum: Shirkat-e Chāp wa Nashr-e Sāzmān-e Tablīghāt-e Islāmī, 1377 AHS), p. 76.
2- Amīr ‘Alī, Tārīkh-e Gharb va Islām [History of the West and Islam], trans. Fakhr Dā‘ī Gīlānī, 3rd edition (Tehran: Intishārāt-e Ganjīneh, 1366 AHS), pp. 162-163.
3- ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, pp. 228, 230.

Regarding the personality and uprising of Zayd, various narrations have been transmitted with a group of narrators who reproach him. The Shī‘ah scholars and authorities, however, are of the opinion that Zayd was a noble and meritorious man and strong evidence fails to prove his deviation. Shaykh al-Mufīd has this to say concerning him:

Many of the Shī‘ah regard him as Imām and the reason for this is that Zayd rose up and called on the people for the pleasure of Muḥammad’s progeny. The people thought that he was referring to himself though it was not the case because he knew that his brother, Imām al-Bāqir (‘a), was the rightful Imām and the Imām also introduced to him the Imamate [imāmah] of his son, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).(1)

After reporting the narrations related to Zayd, ‘Allāmah Majlisī also writes, thus:

Be it known that the reports concerning the status of Zayd are varied and contradictory but there are more reports expressing his dignity, grandeur and merit and that he had no incorrect assertions and most of the Shī‘ah ‘ulamā’ have praised him. Therefore, it is appropriate for us to regard him positively and avoid reproaching him.(2)

Āyatullāh al-Khū’ī thus says about Zayd: “The narrations praising Zayd and indicating his dignity and grandeur and that he rose up to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil are much benefited while the narrations vilifying him are weak [ḍa‘īf].”(3)

Ample proof and evidence bear witness to the fact that Zayd’s uprising had the secret permission and tacit approval of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). One of these proofs was the statement of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) in response to Ma’mun, when the Imām said:

My father Mūsā ibn Ja‘far narrated that he heard his father Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad to have said: “…Zayd consulted me about his uprising and I said to him, ‘My dear uncle, if you like to be that person who shall be hung in Kināsah,(4)

then that is your way’.” When Zayd left Ja‘far ibn

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1- Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Irshād, trans. Muḥammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī (n.p.: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1367 AHS), p. 520.
2- Muḥammad Bāqir al-Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 205.
3- Sayyid Abū’l-Qāsim al-Khū’ī, Mu‘jam Rijāl al-Ḥadīth (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), pp. 102-103.
4- Kināsah had been one of the places in Kūfah. See Yāqūt ibn ‘Abd Allāh, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Tūrāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 4, p. 153.

Muḥammad, Ja‘far said: “Woe to him who will hear the call of Zayd but will not respond to it.”(1)

Yes, Zayd was a true Shī‘ah and one of those who believed in the Imamate of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). As he used to say,

In every period, one person from among us, Ahl al-Bayt, is the proof [ḥujjah] of God and the proof at our time is my nephew, Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad. He who follows him shall never be misled and he who opposes him shall never be guided.(2)

Concerning the fact that Zayd was not regarding himself the Imām and not calling the people toward himself, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) says:

May God have mercy upon my uncle Zayd. If he only emerged victorious, he would remain faithful (to his promise). My uncle Zayd was calling the people toward the leadership of the person chosen from among the progeny of Muḥammad and I am that person.(3)

In particular, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) assumed the guardianship of the family of Zayd after his martyrdom,(4) and he used to attend to the families of those who were martyred alongside Zayd and once distributed one thousand dinars among them.(5)

It can be said, therefore, that Zayd’s uprising, like that of the Tawwābūn and Mukhtār, was completely Shī‘ī and justifiable; that it was against oppression and for the purpose of enjoining that which is good and forbidding that which is evil; and that his method was separate from that of the Zaydī sect.

b. The Uprising of Yaḥyā ibn Zayd

After Zayd’s martyrdom in 121 AH, his son Yaḥyā continued his father’s struggle. He went to Khurāsān through Madā’in and remained in disguise for sometime in the city of Balkh until he was arrested by Naṣr ibn Sayyār. He was imprisoned for sometime until he was able to escape after the death of the Umayyad caliph Hāshim, and many people from among the

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1- Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq, ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā, 1st edition (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 225, section [bāb] 25, ḥadīth 1.
2- Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq, Al-Amālī (Qum: Al-Maṭba‘ah, 1373 AH), p. 325.
3- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), p. 2 and see Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Sīreh-ye Pīshvāyān, 8th edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Taḥqīqātī va Ta‘līmātī-ye Imām Ṣādiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), pp. 407-409.
4- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 331.
5- Al-Irshād, p. 345.

Shī‘ah of Khurāsān gathered around him. He headed toward Nayshābūr and engaged in a battle with its governor, ‘Umar ibn Zurārāh al-Qasrī and defeated him. But, at last, in 125 AH at Jawzjān, he was wounded in the forehead and was killed at the battle arena while his forces dispersed.(1)

In contrast to Zayd’s uprising, his son Yaḥyā’s uprising was tainted by Zaydism. This fact can be discerned from the dialogue that took place between him and Mutawakkil ibn Hārūn, one of the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), in which he somehow expressed his belief in the Imamate of his father while regarding himself as his father’s successor. In addition to other requisites, he considered fighting by sword as a requisite of Imamate.(2)

It is at this point that the Zaydī sect takes form and its way becomes separate from that of the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah and Ithnā Ash‘arī. The followers of the Zaydī sect do not even refer to the infallible Imāms (‘a) on juristic questions [masā’il al-fiqhiyyah].

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, pp. 326-327, 332.
2- Mutawakkil ibn Hārūn says: “I paid a visit to Yaḥyā ibn Zayd when he went to Khurāsān after his father was killed. I greeted him and he asked where I come from and I replied that I come from Ḥajj pilgrimage. Then he asked about the condition of his relatives and cousins in Medina and he particularly asked about the condition of Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad (‘a). I also told him about the condition of the Imām and his lamentation for his (Yaḥyā’s) father Zayd. He then said: ‘My uncle, Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī prevented my father from waging war against the Umayyads and relayed to him the would-be end of my father’s plan. Did you pay a visit to my cousin, Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad?’ ‘Yes,’ I retorted. He asked, ‘Did you hear him telling something about my activity?’ ‘Yes,’ I responded. He said, ‘What did he say about me? Please inform me.’ I said: ‘May I be your ransom! I do not like to tell you that which I have heard from him.’ He said, ‘Are you frightening me with death? You tell whatever you have heard.’ I said: ‘I heard the Imām saying that you shall be killed and be hung in the same manner that your father was killed and hanged.’ So, the color of his face changed and said: ‘Yamhū’llāh mā yashā’ wa yuthabbit wa ‘inda umm al-kitāb. O Mutawakkil! God, the Exalted, confirmed His religion through us and gave us knowledge and sword, and we possess both of them. But our cousins possess knowledge only.’ I said: ‘May I be your ransom! The people incline more toward your cousin Ja‘far than you.’ He said: ‘My uncle, Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī and his son, Ja‘far, are calling the people toward life while we call them toward death.’ I said: ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! Who is more knowledgeable, you or he?’ He lowered his head for sometime and then raised it, saying: ‘All of us have knowledge. The only difference is that that which we know is also known to them and that which they know is not known to us.’ He then asked me: ‘Have you recorded something from my cousin?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. He said: ‘Show (them) to me.’ I showed to him some of the ḥadīths of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq to him and some of the supplications in Ṣaḥīfah as-Sajjādiyyah…” Ṣaḥīfah al-Kāmilah as-Sajjādiyyah, trans. ‘Alī-Naqī Fayḍ al-Islām (n.p.: Intishārāt-e Fayḍ Islām, n.d.), pp. 9-12.
* Lesson 15: Summary

The uprisings of the Shī‘ah begun with the movement of ‘Āshūrā’. The uprisings of the Tawwābūn and that of Mukhtār were obviously staged to take vengeance for the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). None of the leaders of these two uprisings was an ‘Alawī. Rather, they were distinguished Shī‘ah and they had a great impact on the spread of Shī‘ism.

The uprising of Zayd ibn ‘Alī was against the cruelties of Hāshim, the tyrant Umayyad caliph. Zayd was a noble and meritorious person, and he rose up in order to enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong. Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) has validated him.

Yaḥyā ibn Zayd went to Khurāsān after the martyrdom of his father and rose up there against the Umayyads, but he, like his father, was wounded in the battle and died. The uprising of Yaḥyā, in contrast to that of his father, was completely Zaydī in nature.

* Lesson 15: Questions

1. When did the Shī‘ah uprisings commence?

2. What motivated the uprising of Zayd?

3. How did the uprising of Yaḥyā differ with that of Zayd?

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Lesson Sixteen

The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of ‘Abbāsid Caliphate
Point

The uprisings during the period of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate up to the first half of the fourth century AH can be divided into two—the well-organized and programmed Zaydiyyah uprisings and the earlier unplanned and sporadic uprisings.

1. The Uprisings of the Zaydīs
Point

The Zaydīs who constituted a large portion of the Shī‘ah population during the first, second and three centuries AH and regarded the right to caliphate and Imamate as belonging to the descendants of Fāṭimah (‘a) and the ‘Abbāsids as usurpers, staged well-organized, cohesive and preplanned uprisings some of which had led to the establishment of governments in places such as Ṭabaristān, Maghrib and Yemen.

The Zaydīs regarded Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and Ibrāhīm as among the Zaydī Imāms because Yaḥyā ibn Zayd had designated them as his successors. It is here that close relationship emerged between the Zaydīs and the descendants of Zayd, on the one hand, and the offspring of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a), the so-called Banū al-Ḥasan, on the other. Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Abd Allāh, who was his brother’s successor, Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and hoisted the banner of revolution against the ‘Abbāsids in Baṣrah, introduced another son of Zayd, ‘Īsā, as his successor. ‘Īsā fled after the assassination of Ibrāhīm and died in secrecy during the caliphate of the ‘Abbāsid caliph

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Mahdī.(1)

After the death of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and Ibrāhīm, the Zaydīs failed to agree on the leadership of a particular person and they were always looking for a brave and pugnacious Imām from the descendants of Fāṭimah (‘a) who could lead them. But until 301 AH they were not able to agree on the identity of the Imām until such time that Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī, known as Aṭrūsh, staged an uprising in Khurāsān in that year, went to the regions of Gīlān and Māzandārān, and succeeded in settling the task of the Zaydīs.(2) It is for this reason that the ‘Abbāsids were harsh against the Zaydīs and were trying to eliminate the individuals who were capable of leading them, particularly the descendants of Zayd among them. To this end, the ‘Abbāsids hired spies and set up rewards for the capture of such individuals.(3) For instance, when ‘Īsā ibn Zayd passed away secretly, Hārūn arrested and imprisoned his son, Aḥmad ibn ‘Īsā merely on the basis of suspicion.(4)

Of course, the distinguished men among the Banū al-Ḥasan who were regarded as leaders of uprisings did not follow the Zaydī way and modus operandi and were not much attached to Zaydiyyah fundamental beliefs. For this reason, when conditions during battles became unfavorable and defeat seemed probable, the Zaydīs would abandon their leaders in the battle arena and ending their uprisings in failure (similar to what happened to Yaḥyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh).

Idrīs, Yaḥyā’s brother, was the only one among them who was able to achieve relative victory(5) and that was because he fled to Africa which was far

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 345.
2- ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, pp. 393, 394; Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 139.
3- For example, after receiving the news of Aḥmad ibn ‘Īsā’s escape from prison, Hārūn (ar-Rashīd) commissioned a certain person named Ibn Kurdiyyah to go to the districts of Kūfah and Baṣrah, to feign Shī‘ism, and distribute money among the Shī‘ah and Zaydīs so as to become informed of Aḥmad ibn ‘Īsā’s hiding place. He was able to identify this hiding place through much effort and distribution of large amounts of money, but in the end, Aḥmad was not arrested. Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 492, 496.
4- Ibid.
5- Idrīs ibn ‘Abd Allāh, brother of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, participated in the uprising of Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī Shahīd Fakh which took place during the time of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī. After Ḥusayn’s defeat, he went to Egypt disguised among Ḥajj pilgrims (on their way back home) and from there he proceeded toward Maghrib. In Maghrib people gathered around him, and thus he acquired power and set up a government, but a certain person poisoned him at the order of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Hārūn. Thereafter, people named his small child “Idrīs”. When Idrīs II grew up, he ruled there and the Idrīsī rule in Maghrib lasted for about one century. Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 326.

from the ‘Abbāsids’ reach. He campaigned against the Abbasids there and succeeded in forming a government.(1)

Among the leaders of the uprisings who did not accept the fundamentals of the Zaydī belief and follow the way and method of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) was Yaḥyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh, brother of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, who went to Khurāsān after Muḥammad’s defeat and from there he headed toward the land of Daylam— present day Gīlān and Māzandarān—but the ruler there, who was not a Muslim yet, wanted to arrest Yaḥyā and turn him over to the agents of Hārūn on account of his threats. At the time, Yaḥyā was compelled to seek the protection of Faḍl Barmakī, Hārūn’s vizier. Faḍl also offered him protection, but instead of protection and security, he was imprisoned in Baghdad until his death.(2)

He was one of the students trained by Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and whenever narrating a ḥadīth from the Imām, he would say: “My dear Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad thus said…”(3)

Finally, since he was following the way and method of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in terms of jurisprudence [fiqh], the Zaydīs opposed him and distanced themselves from him. So, he was forced to surrender himself to Faḍl ibn Yaḥyā, Hārūn’s vizier.(4)

a. The Uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah

The zenith of the ‘Alawī uprising was during the second century AH. One of the most noted of these uprisings was during the time of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr which was led by Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah. His activity had started prior to the victory of the ‘Abbāsids and with the exception of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), the Banū Hāshim generally pledged allegiance to him. Even the Sunnī scholars and jurists such as Abū Ḥanīfah, Muḥammad ibn ‘Ajlān, the jurist of Medina, Abū Bakr ibn Abī Sabrah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far, Hāshim ibn ‘Urwah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar, Wāṣil ibn ‘Aṭā’, ‘Amrū ibn ‘Ubayd, among others swore allegiance to him, attributing to him the transmitted Prophetic sayings about the uprising of al-Mahdī (‘a).(5) But his uprising during the period of the ‘Abbāsids was defeated because it was launched prematurely. In Baṣrah his brother Ibrāhīm’s uprising also ended in failure due to the treachery of the Zaydīs, but his brothers were scattered and this state of affairs continued up to the time of Hārūn. Idrīs ibn ‘Abd Allāh fled to Maghrib and he was accepted

p: 153


1- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 406-408.
2- Ibid., p. 393.
3- Ibid.
4- Ibid., pp. 392-393.
5- Ibid., pp. 251, 254-255, 347.

there by the people. Yet, he was in the end poisoned by the agents of Hārūn. After him, his followers installed his young child to replace him naming him “Idrīs ath-Thānī”. For sometime, the government of the Idrīsīs flourished in North Africa. Yaḥya, another one of Muḥammad’s brother, went to Ṭabaristān after his death.

Yet another one of Muḥammad’s brother named Mūsā ibn ‘Abd Allāh fled to the north of Iraq and Mesopotamia. Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s sons, named ‘Alī, ‘Abd Allāh and Ḥasan, went to Egypt, India and Yemen, respectively, and were for some time the source of concern for the ‘Abbāsid caliphate.(1)

b. The Uprising of Ibn Ṭabāṭabā’ī al-Ḥasani

After the death of Hārūn and the conflict over the issue of succession between his two sons, Amīn and Ma’mūn, the Shī‘ah taking advantage of this opportunity staged more uprisings with the uprisings of the ‘Alawīs reaching their climax at this time. During that period, the whole of Iraq (with the exception of Baghdad), Ḥijāz,

Yemen, and south of Iran were detached from the ‘Abbāsid control owing to the existence of competent military commanders such as Abū’s-Sarāyā on the side of the ‘Alawīs.(2) The army of Abū’s-Sarāyā shattered every contingent they encountered and overrun every city they visited. It is said that in the battle fought by Abū’s-Sarāyā two hundred thousand soldiers of the ‘Abbāsid caliph were killed although the interval between the day of the uprising and the day when he was beheaded was not more than 10 months. Even in Baṣrah which was the demographic concentration of the Uthmānīs, the ‘Alawīs earned support such that Zayd an-Nār staged an uprising in the mentioned city. In Mecca and the districts of Ḥijāz, Muḥammad ibn Ja‘far known as Dībāj who was called “Amīr al-Mu’minīn” [Commander of the Faithful] staged an uprising. In Yemen Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā ibn Ja‘far revolted against the ‘Abbāsid caliph. Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān ibn Dāwūd ibn Ḥasan rose up in Medina. In Wāsiṭ where most of the people inclined toward the ‘Uthmānīs, there was the uprising of Ja‘far ibn Zayd ibn ‘Alī as well as that of Ḥusayn ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī. In Madā’in Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Muḥammad launched a rebellion. In sum, there was no place (in the Muslim territories) where the ‘Alawīs by their own initiatives or at the request of the people did not revolt against the ‘Abbāsids. It went to the extent that the people of Mesopotamia and Shām, who were known for having cooperation with the

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1- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 326.
2- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 445.

Umayyads and the descendants of Marwān, gathered around Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-‘Alawī, the intimate friend of Abū’s-Sarāyā, and in a letter to him they wrote that they have been waiting for his envoy to deliver his message.(1)

c. The Uprising of Ḥasan ibn Zayd (the ‘Alawīs of Ṭabaristān)

In the year 250 AH during the caliphate of Musta‘īn, an ‘Abbāsid caliph, Ḥasan ibn Zayd, who was formerly residing in Rey, went to the districts of Ṭabaristān, called on the people to seek the pleasure of Prophet Muḥammad’s (‘a) progeny, took control of the regions in Ṭabaristān and Jurjān after a series of skirmishes,(2)

and founded the government of the ‘Alawīs in Ṭabaristān which lasted up to 345 AH.(3)

Throughout his two decades of rule, Ḥasan ibn Zayd overran the regions of Rey, Zanjān and Qazwīn many times. During the same year of his uprising, he dispatched one of the ‘Alawīs named Muḥammad ibn Ja‘far to Rey who after sometime was captured by the Ṭāhirīs.(4) In 251 AH he sent Ḥusayn Aḥmad al-‘Alawī who rose up in Qazwīn and expelled the agents of the Ṭāhirīs.(5)

Similarly, Ḥasan ibn Zayd’s brother, Ḥusayn ibn Zayd overran the regions of Lārijān and Qaṣrān, north of present day Tehran, and earned the allegiance of the people there for his brother.(6)

As Ṭabarī says regarding the events in 50 AH, “In addition to the government in Ṭabaristān, the government of the region of Rey extending roughly as far as Hamedān was under the control of Ḥasan ibn Zayd.”(7)

As such, in addition to the northern regions of Iran which were near the sphere of influence of Ḥasan ibn Zayd and in which uprisings took place in his name, the ‘Alawīs in Iraq,(8)

Shām(9)

and Egypt(10)

found courage too, gathering the people around them and staging uprisings, until such time that in 270 AH Ḥasan ibn Zayd passed away. After his death his brother,

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1- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 435-436.
2- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam Ṭabarī, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 364.
3- Jalāl ad-Dīn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān Suyūṭī, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’ (Qum: Intishārāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1411 AH), p. 525.
4- Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, vol. 5, p. 365.
5- Ibid.
6- Ibid.
7- Ibid.
8- Ibid., pp. 36, 395, 430.
9- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 327.
10- Ibid., p. 326.

Muḥammad ibn Zayd succeeded him and ruled Sāmān until 287 AH. Finally, in that year (287 AH) he attained martyrdom in a battle between him and Muḥammad ibn Hārūn, a Sāmānide commander.(1)

In 287 AH, after the martyrdom of Muḥammad ibn Zayd, Nāṣir Kabīr know as Aṭrūsh in the region of Gīlān and Daylam rose up in the midst of the people, calling them to Islam and ruled there for 14 years(2)

until such time that he went to Ṭabaristān in 301 AH and took control of government there.(3)

d. The Uprising of Yaḥyā ibn al-Ḥusayn (the Zaydīs of Yemen)

In 288 AH Yaḥyā ibn Ḥusayn al-‘Alawī, known as “Al-Hādī ilā’l-Ḥaqq” [The Guide toward the Truth], staged an uprising in Ḥijāz and the Zaydīs gathered around him. On the same year he entered San‘ā with the cooperation of Yemeni tribes, and was addressed as the Zaydī Imām. Although he had skirmishes with Yemeni tribes, in the end he was able to take control of the region and establish a government. Yet, in 298 AH he died from poisoning. He had been remembered as one of the greatest Zaydī figures. In terms of knowledge and learning, he also had an excellent station. As such, the Zaydī sect in Yemen became known with his name: “Hādawiyyah”.(4) His sons were Zaydī Imāms and rulers of Yemen.(5)

The leadership and rule of Zaydiyyah in Yemen continued through the children and grandchildren of “Al-Hādī ilā’l-Ḥaqq” until 1382 AH when Arab republicanism in Yemen was established.

p: 156


1- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 542.
2- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 283.
3- Ibid., p. 327.
4- See ‘Alī Rabbānī Gulpāygānī, Firq va Madhāhib-e Kalāmī, 1st edition (Qum: Markaz-e Jahānī-ye ‘Ulūm-e Islāmī, 1377 AHS), vol. 1, p. 134.
5- Tārīkh al-Khulafā’, p. 525.
* Lesson 16: Summary

The Zaydīs during the first three centuries AH constituted a large number of the Shī‘ah, and they staged regional uprisings which led to the formation of governments.

The leadership of the Zaydīs was transferred from the line of Yaḥyā ibn Zayd to the grandchildren of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a). As such, they were always leading the uprisings in spite of the fact that they did not believe in the Zaydī fundamental beliefs.

One of the highlights of the ‘Alawī uprisings took place during the time of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr and was led by Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah. The second one was during the time of Ma’mūn when on account of the existence of military commanders such as Abū’s-Sarāyā, the ‘Alawīs attained success after success. The third one was after 250 AH when the ‘Alawīs of Ṭabaristān were able to set up a government, with which other ‘Alawīs found courage to stage uprisings in various regions.

* Lesson 16: Questions

1. Describe the Zaydī uprisings.

2. What is the basis of the uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah?

3. When did the uprising of Ibn Ṭabāṭabā’ī take place?

4. In what year did the uprising of the ‘Alawīs of Ṭabaristān happen?

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p: 158

Lesson Seventeen

2. Sporadic Uprisings
Point

Most of these uprisings were staged without prior organization and based on individual decisions against the tyranny of caliphs and rulers toward the Shī‘ah and ‘Alawīs. Mostly reactionary and intransigent in nature, the most important of these uprisings were the following:

a. The Uprising of Shahīd Fakh

It was Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī (known as Shahīd Fakh) who revolted during the caliphate of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī. His uprising was against the extreme cruelties of the caliph of the time vis-à-vis the Shī‘ah and ‘Alawīs. Narrates Ya‘qūbī, “The ‘Abbāsid caliph Mūsā al-Ḥādī was pursuing the Ṭālibīs. He seriously threatened them, curtailing their stipends and grants, and wrote to [the rulers of] the different regions and districts to be harsh toward the Ṭālibīs.”(1)

‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī had also appointed as ruler of Medina a person from among the descendants of ‘Umar who was very harsh against the Ṭālibīs, interrogating them daily. It was in protest of these cruelties that Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī rose up and ordered the recital of “ḥayya ‘alā khayri’l-‘amal” [“Come to the best of deeds”] in the adhān [call to prayer] in Medina, asking the people to give their allegiance on the basis of the Book of

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 404.

God and the Sunnah of the Prophet (ṣ), and called on them to the leadership of the chosen one from the progeny of Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ). His policy was agreed upon by Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) though the Imām said that he will be killed.(1)

For this reason, the Zaydīs kept aloof from him and he along with less than 500 men stood against the ‘Abbāsid army under the command of Sulaymān ibn Abī Ja‘far, and in the end, he and a number of his companions attained martyrdom in a place between Mecca and Medina called “Fakh”.(2)

Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) said, “besides Karbalā’ there was no tragedy more severe and tragic than [the tragedy in] Fakh.”(3)

In general, ‘Alawīs leaders, with the exception of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh Nafs az-Zakiyyah, did not possess popularity. The Imāmī Shī‘ah and companions of the pure Imāms (‘a), with the exception of only a few, did not participate in those uprisings.

b. The Uprising of Muḥammad ibn al-Qāsim

Muḥammad ibn al-Qāsim’s revolt had taken place in 219 AH. He was a descendant of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a), a resident of Kūfah, and had been regarded as one of the ascetic, devoted and pious ‘Alawīs and sādāt. The reason behind his uprising was the pressure exerted by Mu‘taṣim against him and as such, he was compelled to leave Kūfah for Khurāsān. As Mas‘ūdī says,

In this year, that is, 219 AH, Mu‘taṣim threatened Muḥammad ibn al-Qāsim. He was truly ascetic and pious and when Mu‘taṣim threatened him, he went to Khurāsān. He stayed in the cities of Khurāsān such as Marv, Sarkhis, Ṭāleqān, and Nasā.(4)

As narrated by Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, a population of around forty thousand men gathered around him. In spite of this, his uprising did not succeed and this huge population deserted him and in the end, he was arrested by the Ṭāhirīs, sent to Sāmarrā and imprisoned.(5) Of course, he was freed by the Shī‘ah and his followers, but after that there was no news of him and he passed away secretly.(6)

p: 160


1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 372.
2- Ibid., pp. 380-381.
3- Sayyid Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān Kiyā’i-Gilānī, Sirāj al-Ansāb (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘Uẓmā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1409 AH), p. 66.
4- ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 60.
5- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 464-467.
6- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 60.
c. The Uprising of Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī

Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī, a descendant of Ja‘far ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭayyār, enjoyed an unprecedented position among the people of Kūfah on account of his asceticism and piety. Because of the cruelty and belittlement of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mutawakkil and the Turkish soldiers against him, he was forced to rise up in Kūfah against them and when he was taking control of the helm of affairs, he implemented justice and equity. As such, he earned extraordinary popularity in Kūfah, but his uprising was thwarted by Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ṭāhir. The people were in commotion when they were mourning for him.(1) As Mas‘ūdi says, “People from near and far recited elegies for him, and the young and old cried for him.”(2)

And as narrated by Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, in terms of elegy, none of the ‘Alawīs who had attained martyrdom during the ‘Abbāsid period equaled him in the number of poems recited for him.(3)

Factors behind the Failure of the Uprisings

Two factors behind the failure of these uprisings can be identified: weakness in leadership and lack of coordination and cohesion of the forces. In most cases, the leaders of these movements had no proper plan or program and their activity was not based on the correct Islamic standards. As such, most of these revolts were not endorsed by the infallible Imāms (‘a). If ever some other uprisings whose leaders were competent figures ended in failure, it was because their plan and program were such that their defeat was predictable. Therefore, if the infallible Imām of the time would openly endorse them, in case of the failure of the uprising, the basis of Shī‘ism and Imamate and the principal nucleus of the Shī‘ah forces will be in jeopardy.

On the other hand, the forces of the uprisings generally lacked coordination and cohesion. Although there were sincere and true Shī‘ah among them who remained faithful to the objective up to the point of death, most of these people did not believe in their objective, or they did not agree with the leaders of the ‘Alawīs, and most of them abandoned their commander and leader at the scene of the battle. In this regard, ‘Allāmah Ja‘far Murtaḍā writes:

The reason behind these failures is nothing except that the Zaydī uprisings were political movements par excellence, and their only peculiarity was that they were campaigning to follow anyone from among

p: 161


1- Ibid., p. 160.
2- Ibid.
3- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 511.

the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) who would brandish his sword against the government, and they lack the intellectual purity and ideologically strong beliefs emanating from the profundity of the soul and depth of conscience. These (uprisings) were based on such a stupid feeling and shallow cultural awareness which are not even an amalgamation of emotion with reasoning and conscience that could constitute a firm foundation of commitment and mission. On account of this, these (uprisings) were sucked down into the whirlpool (of breakdown) and many lives were wasted along their path. Rather, contrary to the factors of defeat which stem from within the revolutionary forces, relying on such an emotional and intellectual force is like the thirty one’s reliance on a mirage.

And it is exactly this point that clearly shows how a people would seriously and decisively encounter events and when the water was already turning the wheels of mill and the time for harvest nigh, they would incline toward “peaceful” and “quiet” life.(1)

p: 162


1- Sayyid Ja‘far Murtadā al-Āmilī, Zindigānī-ye Siyāsī-ye Imām Jawād (‘a), trans. Sayyid Muhammad Husaynī, 8th edition (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1375 AHS), p. 19.
* Lesson 17: Summary

The sporadic uprisings were mostly without any prior planning, and were undertaken with one individual’s decision. They were usually staged as a form of reaction to the cruelties of the tyrant caliphs and rulers. Among these uprising was that of Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Ḥasanī known as Shahīd Fakh which was against the extreme harshness and cruelties of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī.

On account of the pressure exerted on him by the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mu‘taṣim, Muḥammad ibn al-Qāsim who was one of the ascetic and pious ‘Alawīs, was compelled to go to Khurāsān and stage an uprising there.

The revolt of Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī was also the results of the tyranny of the agents of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mutawakkil.

And as to why most of the uprisings of the ‘Alawīs ended in failure, one must seek the reasons behind this in the weakness of leadership and the lack of cohesion of the forces.

* Lesson 17: Questions

1. Briefly describe the sporadic uprisings.

2. What are the reasons behind the failures of these uprisings?

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p: 164

Chapter Five

The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism

Lesson Eighteen

The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism

p: 165

p: 166

It is certain that the first center of Shī‘ism had been the city of Medina and the pioneering Shī‘ah among the companions [ṣaḥābah] of the Prophet (ṣ) lived in that city. During the reign of the first three caliphs, the Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah were scattered in the different cities and regions, with some of them holding political and military positions. In this regard, ‘Allāmah Muḥammad Jawād Mughniyyah writes:

The Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah played a pivotal role in the propagation and spread of Shī‘ism. Wherever they went, they were calling on the people toward Shī‘ism within the framework of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and through patience and fortitude, and on account of their companionship with the Prophet (ṣ), they were held in high esteem and regard by the people, and their speech had tremendous impact.(1)

Even the place like Jabal ‘Āmil (in present day Lebanon) which was part of Shām, Mu‘āwiyah’s sphere of influence, would become one of the most important centers of Shī‘ism by the grace of the presence of the great companion of the Prophet (ṣ), Abū Dharr (al-Ghiffārī).(2)

p: 167


1- Muhammad Jawād Mughniyyah, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’l-Mīzān (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1413 AH), pp. 26-28.
2- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 25.

During the latter part of the caliphate of ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān, many Shī‘ah were living in the Muslim territories such that the name of ‘Alī (‘a) was always mentioned for caliphate. For this reason, ‘Uthmān used to send requests to ‘Alī (‘a) during rebel gatherings in Madina, asking him to stay out of Medina for sometime and to go to his farm in Yanbu‘ with the hope that the rebels would be motivated less.(1)

There were many Shī‘ah in Iraq especially during the time of ‘Uthmān. For example, when the Shī‘ah of Baṣrah—in spite of the fact that the city was under the occupation and influenced by the Jamal [camel] Army propaganda—heard the news that the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) along with Muhājirūn and Anṣār was heading toward them, three thousand men only from the tribe of Rabī‘ah joined the Imām in Dhīqār.(2)

Their decision to join ‘Alī (‘a) was ideologically motivated, regarding the Imām as the caliph appointed by the Prophet (ṣ) just as Balādhurī has this to say: “Among the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī were those from the tribe of Rabī‘ah.”(3)

After ‘Alī (‘a) himself took control of the helm of government and went to Iraq, there was an extraordinary impact upon the spread of Shī‘ism in the region. Similarly, the rulers and governors of the Imām, most of whom were appointed from among the Shī‘ah, had remarkable contribution in the spread of Shī‘ism in other places. As Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn says, “Wherever the trustees of ‘Alī (‘a) went, the people there would become Shī‘ah.”(4)

Of course, during that period, in addition to Shām which was totally under the influence of the Umayyads, other regions, such as Baṣrah and north of Iraq, also had inclinations toward ‘Uthmān. The people in those places were inclined toward ‘Uthmān(5) on account of the settlement of ‘Uthmān’s relatives there, and this inclination in the north of Iraq continued till the end of the second century AH.

Mecca also had anti-Hāshimī and anti-‘Alawī tendencies since the Age of Ignorance [yamw al-jāhiliyyah]. Similarly, both during the Age of Ignorance and the Islamic period, Ṭā’if was the same as Mecca. The other tribes of Quraysh were always competing with Banū Hāshim and not willing to accept the leadership of Banū Hāshim, and this is one of the reasons for Quraysh’s opposition to the Holy Prophet (ṣ). The people of Ṭā’if, too, like

p: 168


1- Nahj al-Balāghah, Fayḍ al-Islām, Sermon 235.
2- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 237.
3- Ibid.
4- A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 25.
5- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 178.

that of Mecca, rejected the Prophet’s (ṣ) invitation although they submitted after Islam’s acquisition of power.

From the time of Ḥajjāj, Shī‘ism was extended beyond the realm of Iraq and Ḥijāz. During that period, as a result of the extreme pressure and harshness of Ḥajjāj, Shī‘ah went out of Iraq and settled in other Muslim territories. Especially in the eastern part of the Muslim lands at the end of the first century AH, the Shī‘ah centers in Iran were gradually formed. In Khurāsān, the ‘Abbāsids took advantage of the people’s love for the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) and through the slogan, “the appointed one from among the progeny of Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ),” they gathered the people around themselves and utilized them in the struggle against the Umayyads.

The scattering of the Shī‘ah during the ‘Abbāsid period was very obvious. In the east, in addition to Iran, the Shī‘ah went to Central Asia, India and the Caucasus, among others, and with the collapse of the Umayyad dynasty, the Shī‘ah were also able to exert influence in the west, especially in Africa where a Shī‘ah government of the Idrīsīs was established during the second century AH. Although their government was a Zaydi one, it can be regarded as a ground for the efforts of the Shī‘ah. Of course, their contact with the capital (Baghdad) and Medina had been less due to the existence of the Aghlabī government in Egypt which was formed to counter them.(1)

In this manner, Shī‘ism during the second century AH was spread in both the eastern and western parts of the Muslim world, and in addition to Khūzestān, the mountainous region [jabal] (the regions around the Zagros mountain ranges) and central Iran, Shī‘ism was also spread in far-flung regions such as Central Asia, present day Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Maghrib (Morocco), India, and Ṭabaristān.(2)

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1- Amīr ‘Alī, Tārīkh-e Gharb va Islām [History of the West and Islam], trans. Fakhr Dā‘ī Gīlānī, 3rd edition (Tehran: Intishārāt-e Ganjīneh, 1366 AHS), pp. 241, 245; ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 408.
2- Among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a), we can find people from cities and regions such as Ḥalab, Egypt, Madā’in, Qazwīn, Rey, Kāshān, Armenia, Sābāṭ, Iṣfahān, Hamedān, Samarqand, and Kābul. Rijāl Najāshī (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, n.d.), pp. 8-9, 66, 130, 161, 208, 233, 236, 290, 344, 367; Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1380 AH), p. 31.
* Lesson 18: Summary

The first center of Shī‘ism is Medina and the pioneering Shī‘ah used to live in this city. During the period of the first three caliphs, the Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah (companions of the Prophet (ṣ)) was scattered in the different cities and regions and calling people toward Shī‘ism on the basis of the Qur’an. The transfer of ‘Alī (‘a) to Iraq had a tremendous impact on Shī‘ism in Iraq.

From the time of Ḥajjāj, Shī‘ism was extended beyond the realm of Iraq and Ḥijāz. During the ‘Abbāsid period, the Shī‘ah in the east, in addition to Iran, also found their way into Central Asia, India, and the Caucasus, and in the west also, with the establishment of the Idrīsī government in Maghrib, a fertile ground was paved for the influence of Shī‘ism.

The Shī‘ah-populated regions during the first century AH were confined to Ḥijāz and

Iraq. Owing to the residence of the pure Imāms (‘a) and Banū Hāshim there, Medina was the first city where the Shī‘ah gathered together.

The second Shī‘ah-concentrated region next to Medina was Yemen because the people embraced Islam through ‘Alī’s (‘a) hand.

* Lesson 18: Questions

1. Where was the first center of Shī‘ism? Whom is the initial spread of Shī‘ism associated to?

2. Which regions were Shī‘ah-populated during the first century AH?

3. What was the reason behind the inclination of the Yemenīs toward Shī‘ism?

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Lesson Nineteen

The Demographic Concentration of the Shī‘ah

As stated earlier, during the first three centuries AH, the Shī‘ah were scattered across and living in many parts of the Muslim lands. Yet, the demographic concentration and center of the Shī‘ah were in certain regions, which during the first century AH were places such as Medina, Yemen, Kūfah, Baṣrah, Madā’in, and Jabal ‘Āmil. During the second century AH, in addition to these regions, places such as Qum, Khurāsān, Ṭabaristān, Baghdad, Jabal, and Africa became among the regions where the Shī‘ah were demographically concentrated. Now we shall explain these regions one by one.

1. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the First Century Hijrī
Point

During the first century AH, Shī‘ah-populated places were confined to Ḥijāz, Yemen and Iraq. The residents of these regions were Arabs and considered to be the pioneering Muslims. Shī‘ism in Ḥijāz and

Yemen was traceable back to the period of the Holy Prophet (ṣ). Iraq which was conquered after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) also became the residence place of Yemenī tribes and the government of Ḥaḍrat ‘Alī (‘a) accelerated the spread of Shī‘ism in that place.(1)

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1- See Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī [An Analytical History of Islam till the End of the Umayyad Rule], 6th edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Nashr-e Dāneshgāhī, 1365 AHS), vol. 2, pp. 137-138.
a. Medina

The name of Medina [Madīnah] was “Yathrīb” before the hijrah and the people there consisted of two Yemenī tribes, the Aws and Khazraj, re-named “Anṣār” after the advent of Islam (after the hijrah to be exact), and three Jewish tribes, namely the Banū Qaynuqā‘, Banū Naḍīr and Banū Qurayḍah. When the Noble Messenger (ṣ) migrated there, its name was changed into “Madīnah an-Nabī” [the City of the Prophet] and on account of the constant mention of the word “Madīnah” [Medina] it was called as such.

Medina was the political capital of the first three caliphs (Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān), and Quraysh who were the staunchest adversaries of the Prophet’s Household [ahl al-bayt] lived there. Despite this, the Anṣār still constituted the majority of the inhabitants of Medina who were always sympathetic to the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) and during the political squabbles, they took Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) the side. The distinguished Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah living in the mentioned city were constantly telling the truth to the people. Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī, a great companion of the Prophet (ṣ), while leaning on his staff, used to roam around the alleys of Medina and say,

‘Alī is the best of people. Whoever would not accept him will become an infidel [kāfir]. O the assembly of Anṣār! Train your children to love ‘Alī. Anyone of them who does not accept this love, then you have to ask his mother concerning the fetus.(1)

The same Jābir used to sit in Masjid an-Nabī and say, “O Bāqir al-‘Ulūm [He who cleaves asunder all knowledge]! Where are you?” The people were saying, “Jābir, you are talking nonsense.” Jābir would reply, “No, I am not talking nonsense. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said to me: ‘After me, you shall meet a person from among my descendants whose name will be the same as mine and whose facial appearance will be the same as mine. He shall open to the people tens of knowledge’.”(2)

When he met Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) for the first time, he visited the Imām twice everyday.(3) Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī used to stand by the door of Masjid an-Nabī and say,

Anyone who recognizes me has recognized me, and he who does not recognize should know that I am Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī, Jundab ibn Junādah… Muḥammad is the heir of the knowledge of Ādam (Adam) and

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1- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 237.
2- Ibid., p. 218.
3- Ibid., p. 222.

all the virtues of the prophets, and ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib is the executor of will [waṣī] of Muḥammad and heir of his knowledge.(1)

Meanwhile, most members of Banū Hāshim lived in that city and were held in high esteem. The infallible Imāms (‘a) lived in the same city and people benefited from their teachings. In particular, the study circles of Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) extended to as far as Masjid an-Nabī. Narrates Abū Ḥamzah ath-Thumālī:

I was sitting in the Masjid an-Nabī when a man approached and greeted me, and asked about Abū Ja‘far (Imām al-Bāqir (‘a)). I asked, “What is your business (with him)?” He replied, “I listed down forty questions I wanted to ask Abū Ja‘far.” He hardly finished his statement when Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) entered the mosque. A number of people from Khurāsān gathered around him and asked the Imām about the rituals of Ḥajj.(2)

Some of the students of these two personages such as Ābān ibn Tughlab also gave lessons in Masjid an-Nabī. Whenever Ābān would enter the Masjid an-Nabī, he would sit at the place of the Prophet (ṣ), give lessons to the people, and narrate ḥadīths to them. Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) used to tell him, “Sit at the Mosque of Medina and give edicts [fatāwā] to the people because I want persons like you to be seen among my Shī‘ah.”(3)

b. Yemen

Prior to the conquest of Iraq and the founding of Kūfah, Shī‘ah were living in Yemen. Next to Medina, Yemen was the second place where the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) were located after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) because the people there embraced Islam through ‘Alī (‘a). Writes Ibn Shahr Āshūb, thus:

The Noble Messenger (ṣ) dispatched Khālid ibn Walīd to Yemen to invite the people there to Islam and it so happened that Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib was also included in the forces of Khālid. Khālid stayed there for six months but he was not able to convince a single person to become Muslim. The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) was not happy about this state of affairs and recalled Khālid, and instead the Prophet (ṣ) sent the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a). When the Imām arrived there, he performed the dawn [ṣubḥ] prayer and read to the people of Yemen the letter of the Prophet (ṣ). All members of

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 171.
2- Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 357.
3- Abū’l-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī) (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1407 AH), p. 10.

the tribe of Ḥamdān became Muslim in one day and after Ḥamdān the rest of the tribes in Yemen embraced Islam. When this news was relayed to the Holy Prophet (ṣ), he performed prostration of gratitude [sujūd shukr].(1)

The first house where ‘Alī (‘a) stayed while in Yemen was the house of a woman called Umm Sa‘ad Barzakhiyyah where the Imām gave Qur’an lessons. The said house was converted into a mosque later and it was named as “Masjid ‘Alī”.

Particularly at the last moments of the Prophet (ṣ), people from the different tribes of Yemen went to Medina to meet the Prophet (ṣ), and in their conversation the Prophet (ṣ) introduced to them ‘Alī (‘a) as his successor(2) and thus, this fact remained in their memory.(3) And after the

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 129.
2- Muhammad Husayn Muẓaffar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.), p. 122.
3- Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī narrates: “A number of the various tribes of Yemen came to the Holy Prophet (ṣ). The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said: ‘There shall be a softhearted people with strong faith Manṣūr (one of the companions of Imām al-Mahdī (‘a)) along with seventy thousand from whom shall rise up to help my successor and the successor of my executor of will [waṣī] even while their swords carried (diagonally across the body) with the staple of palm-tree!’ They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who is the executor of your will?’ He retorted: ‘It is he to whom God, the Exalted, ordered (the people) to hold fast when He said, “Hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves” (Sūrah Āl ‘Imrān 3:103).’ They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell us what this ‘rope’ [ḥabl] is.’ He said: ‘This rope is exactly the statement of God when He says, “…save (where they grasp) a rope from Allah and a rope from men” (Sūrah Āl ‘Imrān 3:112). The rope from Allah is the Qur’an while the rope from men is the executor of my will!’ They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who is the executor of your will?’ He answered: ‘It is he about whom God, the Exalted, says, “Lest any soul should say, ‘Alas, my grief that I was unmindful of Allah’” (Sūrah az-Zumar 39:56).’ They inquired: ‘What is this command of God?’ He responded: ‘He is the executor of my will and the guide of the people toward me after I depart!’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! By He who has sent you down in truth! Point him to us as we are indeed eager to see and know him!’ He said: ‘God has appointed him for the faithful. If you would look at him with the vision of the heart, you shall know that he is indeed the waṣī [executor of will] just in the same manner that you recognized your Prophet. Thus, go and check within the ranks of the people in the mosque. Anyone who shall draw your hearts toward him is the waṣī; for, God, the Exalted, says: “So incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them” (Sūrah Ibrāhīm 14:37).’ As such, Abū ‘Āmir Ash‘arī from the tribe of Ash‘ariyyīn, Abū ‘Izzah Khawlānī from among the Khawlāniyān, Uthmān ibn Qays from Banū Qays, Gharyah Dawsī from the tribe of Daws, and Lāḥiq ibn ‘Alāfah rose up and they checked the ranks of the people in the mosque. They took ‘Alī (‘a) by the hand and presented him to the Holy Prophet (ṣ) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! This is the person who drew our hearts toward him and inclined toward him.’ The Holy Prophet (ṣ) said: ‘All praise is due to Allah! You recognized the executor of will of the Prophet even before seeing him.’ So, the Yemenis wept and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! We looked at the people, but our hearts did not get calm with them; when we saw him our hearts experienced tranquility as if we have seen our respective fathers’.” Ibid., pp. 124-125.

demise of the Prophet (ṣ), they did not officially recognize the government in Medina and refrain from remitting their zakāt to Abū Bakr, the caliph of the time.(1) As stated in one of their poems,

أَطَعْنا رَسولَ الله ما دام وسطنا فیا قوم ما شأنی وَ شأنُ أبی بکر؟

أیورثها بکراً إذا کانَ بَعْدَه فتلک لعمر الله قاصمه الظُّهر

When the Messenger of Allah was in our midst, we obeyed him.

O people! Where are we and where is Abū Bakr?

If Abū Bakr had a son named Bakr, shall he inherit the caliphate after him?!

I swear to my soul! This is backbreaking.(2)

During the caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a), in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Yemenīs who were residing in Iraq(3) and thousands of whom were considered part of the Imām’s army, most of the people of Yemen were also Shī‘ah. The ‘Uthmānīs and sympathizers of the Umayyads living there were very small in number and the evidence of it is the treatment of Busr ibn Arṭāt, as per instruction of Mu‘āwiyah, toward them.(4) While Busr was with the people of the regions sympathetic to the Quraysh and the Umayyads, he did nothing. For example, he passed by Mecca and Ṭā’if, he did nothing against these two cities.(5) But when he arrived in the cities of Yemen such as Arḥab, Ṣan‘ā and Ḥaḍramawt, he engaged in mass murder. In Ṣan‘ā he beheaded a hundred Iranian nobles. He had no mercy toward the representatives of Ma’rab who had come to conquer Oman as he killed them all. When he arrived in Ḥaḍramawt, he said: “I want to slaughter one fourth of the people of this city.”(6)

In Jayshān in particular, which according to Ya‘qūbī, all its inhabitants were Shī‘ah, Busr committed widespread massacre.(7) Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd had estimated the number of those killed by Busr to have exceeded thirty thousand people most of whom were Yemenīs.(8) This shows that the

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1- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 132.
2- Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt Ḥamawī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 3, p. 158.
3- Ibid., vol. 7, p. 161.
4- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 197.
5- Ibid.
6- Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad Thaqafī Kūfī, Al-Ghārāt, trans. Muḥammad Bāqir Kamare’ī (n.p.: Farhang-e Islām, n.d.), pp. 325, 331.
7- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 199.
8- ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1961), vol. 2, p. 17.

population of the Shī‘ah at the time had been considerable. At any rate, following the devastation made by Busr in Yemen, Ḥaḍrat Amīr (‘a) sent Jāriyah ibn Qudāmah (as-Sa‘dī) and Busr fled from Yemen. The people of Yemen and the Shī‘ah there then killed ‘Uthmānīs and sympathizers of the Umayyads wherever they found them.(1)

After the martyrdom of ‘Alī (‘a), Yemen still remained a place where the Shī‘ah were demographically concentrated, and when Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) was setting off from Mecca to Kūfah, Ibn ‘Abbās suggested to the Imām not to go to Iraq, but to proceed instead to Yemen “where there are Shī‘ah of your father.”(2)

It must be noted that with the beginning of victories and expansion of the Muslim domain, Yemen (and the Arabian Peninsula in general) had reached its geographical limit and played a secondary role in the political and military matters. Although the two cities of Mecca and Medina had some social impact on account of their religious standing, Yemen, which during the time of the Prophet (ṣ) was considered one of the most important parts of the Islamic domain, was located approximately in one corner of the Muslim territories and their southern tip after the victories of the Muslims in the neighboring countries. In view of this, the spirit of Shī‘ism was dominant there. During the uprising of Abū’s-Sarāyā at the end of the second century, Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā entered there without encountering any local resistance and occupied it.(3) And in the end, the Zaydī sect prevailed in Yemen. Even now, many of its residents are Zaydīs.(4)

c. Kūfah

Kūfah is a city that had been founded after the advent of Islam by the Muslims there. The ancient city of Ḥīrah near Kūfah was always ruled by the Lakhmiyān.(5)

In 17 AH Sa‘ad ibn Abī Waqqāṣ, the commander of the Iranian front, founded this city at the order of the second caliph (‘Umar) and thereafter, eighty of the ṣaḥābah resided there.(6) At the beginning, the city of Kūfah was more of a military camp and accommodation for the forces of the eastern front. Most of its inhabitants were Muslim mujāhidūn who were mostly from

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1- Al-Ghārāt, p. 333.
2- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 161.
3- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 435.
4- Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, p. 132.
5- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, p. 162.
6- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 150.

the Qaḥṭānī and Yemenī tribes. For this reason, Kūfah always had the Qaḥṭānī and Yemenī atmosphere.(1) Among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ), Anṣār with Yemenī root were residing there mostly. The Khazraj, one of the two tribes of Anṣār, had a particular district there. Yāqūt Ḥamawī says, “During the time of Ziyād (ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh), most of the houses made of bricks were houses of (the tribes of) Khazraj and Murād.(2)

Of course, a number of non-Arabs and Iranians were also living in Kūfah who, during the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), were busy trading in the Kūfah market.(3) It was the same non-Arabs who constituted most of the force during Mukhtār’s uprising.(4)

Concerning the merit of Kūfah, there are many pertinent ḥadīths transmitted, one of which is from ‘Alī (‘a) when he said:

What a good city Kūfah is! The soil there loves us and we love it also. On the Day of Resurrection, seventy thousand people whose faces are like the moon in radiance shall be raised at the outside of Kūfah (the cemetery of Kūfah which was located outside the city). Kūfah is our city and the place and residence of our Shī‘ah.

Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) says, “O God! Be inimical to him who shall be inimical to Kūfah.”(5)

The record of Shī‘ism in Kūfah is traceable to the time even prior to the transfer of ‘Alī (‘a) there. The two factors that can be identified for this is first, the residence of the Yemenī tribes there, most of whom, as we have said earlier, were sympathetic to the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ), and the other one is the existence of distinguished Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah such as ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd and ‘Ammār Yāsir. ‘Ammār was sent by ‘Umar there as governor and Ibn Mas‘ūd as Qur’an teacher. For many years, Ibn Mas‘ūd was busy teaching jurisprudence [fiqh] and the Qur’an to the people there.(6)

We can observe the impact of the teachings of these distinguished men at the beginning of the caliphate of ‘Alī (‘a). The sermon of Mālik al-Ashtar when the people pledged their allegiance to the Imām shows the spirit of Shī‘ism among the people, when Mālik says:

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1- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, p. 161.
2- Ibid.
3- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 126.
4- Rasūl Ja‘fariyān, Tārīkh-e Tashuyyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Hashtum-e Hijrī, 5th edition (Qum: Shirkat-e Chāp wa Nashr-e Sāzmān-e Tablīghāt-e Islāmī, 1377 AHS), p. 71.
5- Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 3, p. 198.
6- ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fī Ma‘rifah aṣ-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 258.

O people! This successor of the successors and heir to the knowledge of the prophets… is a person to whose faith the Book of Allah gives testimony and the Prophet to his being a dweller of paradise. He is the one the virtues about whom are perfected; with regard to his precedence in knowledge and merit, the latter ones and the pioneering ones have not cast doubt.(1)

When ‘Alī (‘a) dispatched his son Ḥasan (‘a) and ‘Ammar to ask the assistance of the people of Kūfah in the battle against the Nākithūn [those who broke their allegiance] (in the Battle of Jamāl [Camel]), nine thousand men joined the ranks of the Imām even despite a person like Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī, the ruler there, who prevented people from assisting the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).(2)

With ‘Alī’s (‘a) migration to Kūfah, this city had become the most important Shī‘ah-populated city up to the end of the third century AH. Dr. Sayyid Ḥusayn Ja‘farī thus says in this regard:

Since the time when ‘Alī (‘a) transferred to Kūfah in 36 AH and even earlier than that, this city had become the main center of the movements, inspirations, hopes, and at times, coordinated struggles of the Shī‘ah. Inside and around Kūfah, tumultuous events that construct the early history of Shī‘ism took place. The events such as the preparation of the forces of ‘Alī (‘a) for the battles of Jamal and Ṣiffīn; the appointment and stepping down from caliphate of Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (‘a); the uprising of Ḥujr ibn ‘Uday al-Kindī; the killing of Ḥusayn (‘a) and his votaries; and the Tawwābūn movement and the uprising of Mukhtār are among these events. Given this, Kūfah is the place of hopelessness, deprivations, and even treachery and failure in the attainment of goals of the Shī‘ah on the part of those who do not want to seen the descendants of ‘Alī in the stewardship of the Muslim society.(3)

Although the killers of Imām al-Ḥusayn were Kūfans,(4)

the distinguished Shī‘ah at the time were languishing in the prison of Ibn Ziyād.(5) Besides, with the martyrdom of Muslim and Hānī, the Shī‘ah were left without commander against a tough enemy such as Ibn Ziyād and had no match for his power. After the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), however, the Shī‘ah came to their senses and launched the Tawwābūn movement and the uprising of Mukhtār.

p: 178


1- Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 189.
2- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 262.
3- Sayyid Husayn Ja‘farī, Tashayyu‘ dar Masīr-e Tārīkh, trans. Sayyid Muhammad Taqī Āyatullāhī, 9th edition (Tehran: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islāmī, 1378 AHS), p. 125..
4- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 73.
5- Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, p. 67.

Kūfah had been known for friendship and love of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and enmity toward the Umayyads. Even Muṣ‘ab ibn az-Zubayr feigned love for the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) in order to win the hearts of the Kūfans. As such, he married a daughter of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).(1) By the end of the first century AH, although there were then new Shī‘ah-populated centers, Kūfah was still considered the most important Shī‘ah-populated city. While advising his supporters during the initial stage of the uprising against the Umayyads, for example, Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās, the leader of the ‘Abbāsid uprising, said: “But (the people of) Kūfah and its districts are Shī‘ah of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.”(2)

During the second and third centuries AH, the uprisings of some Ṭālibīs also took place in Kūfah. Notwithstanding the existence of an important city such as Baghdad during the ‘Abbāsid period, Kūfah did not lose its political importance and the most noted uprising of the ‘Alawīs during the second half of the second century AH, i.e. the uprising of Ibn Ṭabāṭabā under the military commandership of Abū’s-Sarāyā was staged in the same city.(3)

As such, the Umayyads monitored Kūfah closely and bloodthirsty individuals such as Ziyād, Ibn Ziyād and Ḥajjāj would be designated to rule there. The rulers there were always supposed to be inimical to the ‘Alawīs, and in the event that a ruler like Khālid ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Qasrī had little compassion for the Shī‘ah, he would immediately be dismissed and even be imprisoned.(4)

Apart from its political aspect, Kūfah was also regarded as the most important Shī‘ah-populated city in terms of knowledge and the Shī‘ah culture was dominant there. The majority of students of the pure Imāms (‘a) were Shī‘ah of this city. Great Shī‘ah clans were living in Kūfah. They offered remarkable services to the Shī‘ah culture. For example, from the time of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) up to the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā] men of the House of A‘yan were among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a).

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1- Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, researched by Tharwah ‘Akkāshah, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1415 AH), p. 214.
2- Fakhrī has narrated that Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī said to his supporters and campaigners: “But there are Shī‘ah of ‘Alī ibn Ṭālib in Kūfah and its districts. The people of Baṣrah gave their loyalty to an ‘Uthmāni group, but the people of Mesopotamia were not yet Muslims then. The people of Shām would not recognize anyone except the descendants of Abū Sufyān and not obey anyone except Marwān. But the people of Mecca and Medina were more on following the line of Abū Bakr and ‘Umar. Therefore, it should not be forgotten that from among the people of Khūrāsān there were many individuals who were active, pure-hearted and had peace of mind. They were neither inclined to this group nor that group, and neither did they adhere to the different sects nor attach to peity. Ibn Ṭabāṭabā, Al-Fukharā fī Ādāb as-Salṭaniyyah (Egypt), p. 104.
3- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 424-431.
4- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 233.

Sixty prominent scholars of ḥadīth [muḥaddithūn] emerged from this clan. It had stalwarts such as Zurārah ibn A‘yan, Ḥamrān ibn A‘yan, Bakīr ibn A‘yan, Ḥamzah ibn Ḥamrān, Muḥammad ibn Ḥamrān, and ‘Ubayd ibn Zurārah—the same ‘Ubayd who went to Medina as the representative of the people of Kūfah after the demise of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) to dispel any skepticism regarding the matter of Imamate, before going back to Kūfah.(1)

The House of Abī Shu‘bah was another great Shī‘ah clan in Kūfah whose forefather, Abū Shu‘bah, had narrated ḥadīth from Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). Najāshī claims that all of those narrations are reliable.(2)

Similarly, the House of Nahīk is also one of the great Shī‘ah clans in Kūfah from which ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad and ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān Samarī belong.(3)

In the mosques of Kūfah, particularly in its central mosque, ḥadīths of the pure Imāms (‘a) used to be taught there. Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī Washshā’, a companion of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a), says: “I saw in Masjid Kūfah nine hundred people who were transmitting ḥadīths from Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).”(4)

d. Basrah

Baṣrah is a city founded by the Muslims in 17 AH simultaneous with the founding of Kūfah.(5) Although the people of Baṣrah were known for inclination toward ‘Uthmān for supporting Ā’ishah, Ṭalḥah and Zubayr, at the same time that the Jamal [Camel] Army was in Baṣrah, the Shī‘ah there fought against it and a large number of them attained martyrdom. As narrated by Shaykh al-Mufīd, from (the tribe of) ‘Abd al-Qays alone, five hundred of the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) were martyred.(6) According to Balādhurī, three thousand men from among the Shī‘ah of the tribe of Rabī‘ah joined the ranks of the Imām at Dhīqār.(7) After the Battle of Jamal, notwithstanding the atmosphere of inclination to ‘Uthmān in Baṣrah, many Shī‘ah were still living there. As such, when Mu‘āwiyah dispatched Ibn Ḥaḍramī to create unrest there, he informed him that some people in Baṣrah are Shī‘ah and advised him to avoid some tribes such as that of Rabī‘ah notwithstanding the great number of the ‘Uthmānīs, and if ‘Alī (‘a) would not send off any force

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1- Abū Ghālib Zurārī, Risālah fī Āl A‘yan (Iṣfahān: Maṭba‘ah Rabbānī, n.d.), pp. 2-18.
2- Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), p. 230.
3- Ibid., p. 232.
4- Ibid., p. 39-40.
5- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 340.
6- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Publication Center), 1416 AH), p. 279.
7- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 237.

from Kūfah, by means of unrests he would take control of Baṣrah through the ‘Uthmānīs.(1)

During the event of Karbalā’, Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) also wrote a letter to some distinguished men of Baṣrah. Among them, Yazīd ibn Mas‘ūd Nahshalī accepted the invitation of the Imām, responded positively to him, gathered the tribes of Banū Tamīm, Banū Sa‘ad and Banū Ḥanzalah, and called on them to assist Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). He then wrote a letter to the Imām, informing him of these tribes’ readiness. But when they were already to join the ranks of the Imām, they heard the news of his martyrdom.(2)

During the uprising of the Tawwābūn, as narrated by Mas‘ūdī, a number of the Shī‘ah of Baṣrah together with the Shī‘ah of Madā’in had also joined the army of the Tawwābūn. Of course, when they arrived at the scene, the battle was over.(3)

During the Umayyad period, the Shī‘ah of Baṣrah experienced sufferings at the hands of cruel and bloodthirsty rulers such as Ziyād and Samarah ibn Jundab. Ziyād came to Baṣrah in 45 AH and delivered the Baṭrā’(4) Sermon saying:

I swear to God that I shall call to account the guardian for the fault of the guarded one; the resident for the crime of the traveler; and the healthy one for the sin of the sick one to such as extent that when one of you would see another, he will say that his own Sa‘ad is the proof that Sa‘īd is guilty. From then on, beware lest somebody went out at night as I will shed his blood… Keep your tongues and hands away from me so as for you to remain safe from my tongue and hands.(5)

Later on, Kūfah also became under the governorship and administration of Ziyād, and he would stay for six months in Kūfah and the next six months in Baṣrah. Every time he was in Kūfah, he would designate Samarah ibn Jundab to administer Baṣrah on his behalf. Samarah was an atrocious man and never desisted from shedding blood. During the absence of Ziyād, he butchered eight thousand people.(6)

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1- Al-Ghārāt, p. 166.
2- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 590.
3- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 109.
4- Baṭrā’ is the feminine form of abṭar which means ‘defective’ and ‘incomplete’. According to the ḥadīth, every statement which does not begin with the name of Allah is called abṭar [defective and incomplete]. Since Ziyād began to deliver the said sermon without invoking the name of Allah, it became known thereafter as baṭrā’.
5- Tārīkh-e Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī, p. 156.
6- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Umam wa’l-Mulūk (Beirut: Dār al-Qāmūs al-Ḥadīth, n.d.), vol. 6, p. 132.

With the passage of time, the spirit of Shī‘ism in Baṣrah became stronger so much so that during the beginning of the ‘Abbāsid rule, the second ‘Alawī uprising—the uprising of Ibrāhīm, brother of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah—took place there.(1)

e. Madā’in

In contrast to Kūfah and Baṣrah, Madā’in is a city which has been existing even prior to the advent of Islam and conquered by Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ in 16 AH during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb. It is said that Anūshīrawān founded this city and its Persian name was Tīsfūn which was considered one of the capitals of the Sassanid Empire. Ṭāq-e Kisrā(2) was also located there. For the reason that it was composed of seven large places each of which was as large as a city, the Arabs called it “Madā’in” which is the plural form of “madīnah” [city] (its other plural form being “mudun”). Of course, by founding new cities such as Kūfah, Baṣrah, Wāsiṭ, Baghdad, and Sāmarrā, this city was gradually abandoned.(3) Madā’in had been one of the Shī‘ah-populated cities during the first, second and third centuries AH, and the reason behind it was the rule of distinguished Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah such as Salmān al-Fārsi and Ḥudhayfah ibn Yamān there. And as such, the people of Madā’in, from the beginning, had accepted Islam through the hands of Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah. In the uprising of the Tawwābūn, names of Shī‘ah from Madā’in can be noticed. Mas‘ūdī says:

After the martyrdom of Sulaymān ibn Ṣard Khazā‘ī and Musayyab ibn Najbah Fazārī ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sa‘d ibn Nufayl assumed the commandership of the Tawwābūn. Given this, the Shī‘ah of Baṣrah and Madā’in, who were approximately five hundred people and whose commanders were Muthannā ibn Mukharramah and Sa‘d ibn Ḥudhayfah, quickly came to the front and personally tried to join the Tawwābūn but they failed.(4)

Shī‘ism had always been dominant in this city. In this regard,Yāqūt Ḥamawī says, “Most of the people of Madā’in are Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah.”(5)

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1- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 292.
2- Tāq-e Kisrā: the most famous construction that the Sassanid kings built and it is rumored that this palace was built by Khosroe I and still others believe that it was one among other palaces built by Shāhpūr, the first Sassanid king. [Trans.]
3- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, vol. 7, pp. 221-222; Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 267.
4- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 109.
5- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, vol. 7, pp. 222.
f. Jabal ‘Āmil

Jabal ‘Āmil was another Shī‘ah-populated region during the first century AH. Shī‘ism of the people of this place started when Abū Dharr was exiled by ‘Uthmān ibn al-‘Affān to Shām. The late Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn says,

Mu‘āwiyah also banished Abū Dharr to the villages of Jabal ‘Āmil. Abū Dharr engaged in guiding the people. Thus, the people there became Shī‘ah. In the villages of Ṣarfand and Mays of Jabal ‘Āmil, there are two mosques named “Abū Dharr Masjid”. Even during the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), [the inhabitants of] a certain village called “As‘ār” were Shī‘ah.(1)

With regard to Shī‘ism there, the late Muẓaffar had also said: “The origin of Shī‘ism in Jabal ‘Āmil is traceable to the call of the mujāhid [struggler] in the path of Allah, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī.”(2)

Kird-‘Alī also says that the record of Shī‘ism in Damascus, Jabal ‘Āmil and north of Lebanon can be traced back to the first century AH.(3)

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1- A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 25.
2- Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, p. 149.
3- Kird-‘Alī, Muhammad. Khaṭaṭ ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403 AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 246.
* Lesson 19: Summary

The root of Shī‘ism in Kūfah is traceable even prior to the transfer of ‘Alī (‘a) because most of the residents there belonged to Yemenī tribes most of whom were Shī‘ah. Besides, distinguished Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah lived there.

With the transfer of ‘Alī (‘a) to this city toward the end of the third century AH, Kūfah became the most important Shī‘ah-dominated city. As such, during the second and third centuries AH, the uprisings of a number of Ṭālibīs were launched there, and the Shī‘ah culture was always dominant there.

Notwithstanding the spirit of inclination toward ‘Uthmān in the city of Baṣrah, there were also Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) such as the tribe of Rabī‘ah living there and they fought against the Companions of the Camel (forces of Ṭalhāh, Zubayr and ‘Ā’ishah). With the passage of time, the influence of Shī‘ism in the city of Baṣrah became stronger.

On account of the rule there of great Shī‘ah ṣaḥābah such as Salmān al-Fārsī and Ḥudhayfah ibn al-Yamān, Madā’in was considered one of the Shī‘ah-populated cities.

With the banishment of Abū Dharr to Shām, the seed of Shī‘ism was planted in the region of Jabal ‘Āmil.

* Lesson 19: Questions

1. How did Kūfah become a Shī‘ah-dominated city?

2. Were there Shī‘ah living in Baṣrah?

3.The root of Shī‘ism in Jabal ‘Āmil can be traced back to which period?

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Lesson Twenty

2. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the Second Century Hijrī
Point

At the beginning of the second century AH, Shī‘ism extended beyond the frontiers of the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq as it encompassed the entire Muslim domain. In view of the scattering of the Shī‘ah and ‘Alawīs in the Muslim territories, this matter can be discerned. From the time of Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf, the migration of the Shī‘ah and ‘Alawīs to the other regions had begun. These migrations were further expedited during the second century AH with the beginning of the propaganda and movements by the ‘Alawīs. After the failure of the uprising of Zayd in Kūfah, his son Yaḥyā along with a number of his supporters went to Khurāsān.(1) After him, the uprising of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah, a descendant of Ja‘far ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭayyār, covered the regions such as Hamedān, Qum, Rey, Qirmis, Iṣfahān, and Fārs, and ‘Abd Allāh himself lived in Iṣfahān. Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says, “The notables of Banū Hāshim went to him and he designated each of them to rule over a district. Even Manṣūr and Safāḥ (who later became the first two ‘Abbāsid caliphs) had connivance with him and this continued till the time of Marwān Ḥimār and the emergence of Abū Muslim.”(2)

During the ‘Abbāsid period, the ‘Alawī movements always emerged, one definite consequence of which was the scattering of the ‘Alawīs in the

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 146.
2- Ibid., p. 157.

different regions. For example, after the uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah during the reign of Manṣūr and his defeat, the descendants of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a) were scattered in the different places. In this regard, Mas‘ūdi thus says:

The brothers of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh (Nafs az-Zakiyyah) were scattered in the different places. His son, ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad, went to Egypt where he was killed later. His other son, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, went to Khurāsān and from there proceeded to

Sind where he was killed. His third son, Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad went to Yemen where he was put behind bars and passed away while in prison. His (Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s) brother, Mūsā, went to Mesopotamia. Another brother of Nafs az-Zakiyyah, Yaḥyā, went to Rey and from there he proceeded to Ṭabaristān. Another brother of his, Idrīs, went to Maghrib. Yet another brother, Ibrāhīm, went to Baṣrah where he formed an army composed of men from Ahwāz, Fārs among other cities, but his uprising ended in failure.(1)

Although most of them were pursued by the ‘Abbāsid agents and were unable to remain in one place and were later killed, their impact remained. Sometimes, their children lived in those places. For example, ‘Abd Allāh, son of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, as narrated by Mas‘ūdi, was not able to remain in Khurāsān and thus, he went to Sind.(2)

Yet, the author of the book, Muntaqilah aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, narrates that the son of ‘Abd Allāh, Ibrāhīm, remained in Khurāsān and had two sons named Qāsim and Muḥammad.(3)

Similarly, there was a group in Transoxiana which was tracing itself back to Irahim ibn Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah.(4)

Now, we shall survey the condition of the cities and regions in which the Shī‘ah lived in large number during the second century AH.

a. Khurāsān

At the beginning of the second century AH, the movement of the campaigners of Banū Hāshim(5) commenced in Khurāsān and many people there embraced Shī‘ism. Ya‘qūbī narrates,

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1- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 326.
2- Ibid.
3- Abū Ismā‘īl ibn Nāṣir ibn Ṭabāṭabā, Muntaqilah aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, trans. Muḥammad Ridā ‘Aṭā’ī, 1st edition (Mashhad: Intishārāt-e Āstān-e Quds-e Raḍawī, 1372 AHS), p. 207.
4- Ibid.
5- It must be noted that the term, “Banū Hāshim” or “Hāshimiyān” at the time also included the ‘Abbāsids as they were also grandchildren of Hāshim.

When Zayd was martyred, the Shī‘ah in Khurāsān were in great commotion and expressed their faith in Shī‘ism. The preachers were openly stating the atrocity and tyranny of the Umayyads against the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ).(1)

It remained so until such time that Yaḥyā ibn Zayd went to Khurāsān and lived there in disguise for sometime. And when he rose up, many people gathered around him.(2)

Mas‘ūdī narrates, “On the year when Yaḥyā was killed, every infant that was born in Khurāsān was named Yaḥyā.”(3)

Of course, due to the presence of Zaydīs and ‘Abbāsid campaigners, Shī‘ism of the people of Khurāsān had more Zaydī and Kaysānī color. This is particularly true in view of the fact that in the beginning, the ‘Abbāsids laid the foundation of their legitimacy upon the succession of Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī to Abū Hāshim, son of Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah. As Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī writes in describing ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah:

He is the same person whom the Shī‘ah of Khurāsān were thinking to be the heir of his father whom they thought was the Imām. His heir in turn was Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās while Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī designated Ibrāhīm as his successor. In this manner, succession among the Abbasids was institutionalized.(4)

The Khurāsānīs had always been supporters of the ‘Abbāsids, and when the dichotomy between the ‘Alawīs and ‘Abbāsids occurred, they sided with the latter. For example, during the battle against Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah most of the ‘Abbāsid soldiers were Persian-speaking Khurāsānīs. Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī narrates,

When Khuḍayr Zubayrī, one of the commanders of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, was coming to the battlefield from Medina, the Khurāsānīs were saying in Persian, “Khuḍayr āmad; Khuḍayr āmad” [Khuḍayr came; Khuḍayr came].(5)

b. Qum

Qum has been one of the most important Shī‘ah-populated cities since the second century AH. This city, apart from being founded after the advent of Islam, has been founded by the Shī‘ah and Shī‘ah resided in and populated it from the very beginning. It is Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah that has always been there

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1- Ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 171.
2- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 149.
3- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 336.
4- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 123.
5- Ibid., p. 238.

without experiencing any deviation. Not only have Sinyān ever lived there but also the Ghulāt did not find their way there, and even if they had, the people would have rejected them.(1) Many of the people there used to come to the pure Imāms (‘a) to learn from these great personages, always maintaining contact with their Imāms.

In 82 AH when the revolt of Ibn Ash‘ath against Ḥajjāj was crushed and he fled to Kābul,(2) a number of his soldiers were also Shī‘ah such as ‘Abd Allāh, Aḥwaṣ, Na‘īm, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, and Isḥaq, sons of Sa‘d ibn Mālik ibn ‘Āmir al-Ash‘arī, who went to the districts of Qum after the defeat of Ash‘ath. There were seven villages there one of which was known as “Kamandān”. After these brothers’ stay in this village, their kith and kin joined them and resided in all the seven villages. Gradually, these seven villages merged together and they all become “Kamandān”. Kamandān was Arabized and shortened into “Qum”.(3)

From then on, Qum has become one of the most important concentration centers of the Shī‘ah, and the ‘Alawīs in particular, who arrived and resided there from everywhere.(4) At the end of the second century AH, the arrival of Lady Fāṭimah al-Ma‘ṣūmah (Imām ar-Riḍā’s (‘a) sister) is considered the turning point in the history of this city, bringing about ample blessings to it.

c. Baghdad

Baghdad was founded during the second century hijrī, 145 AH in particular, by Manṣūr, the second ‘Abbāsid caliph, and soon became one of the demographic concentration centers of the Shī‘ah.(5)

This fact was unambiguously proved in Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) burial procession. The huge number of attendants seriously alarmed the ‘Abbāsids so much so that Sulaymān ibn Manṣūr, Hārūn ar-Rashīd’s uncle, participated in it barefooted just to appease the people.(6) Baghdad was founded in Iraq and most of the people of Iraq were Shī‘ah. Although Baghdad at the beginning was a military and political city, with the passage of time the intellectual center of the Muslim world was also transferred there and Shī‘ah of the neighboring cities such as Kūfah, Baṣrah, Madā’in among others took residence there and very quickly constituting a large population. After the minor occultation

p: 188


1- Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Raḍī, n.d.), pp. 240, 270.
2- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 149.
3- Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt Ḥamawī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 7, p. 88.
4- Muntaqilah aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, pp. 333-339.
5- Mu‘jam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 361.
6- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 29.

[ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrah], Baghdad became the intellectual and religious center for the Shī‘ah who flourished there by virtue of the Shī‘ah government of ĀlBūyah (Būyeds), until such time that Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī transferred the Shī‘ah center to Najaf.

3. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the Third Century Hijrī

The geographical expansion of Shī‘ism in the third century AH can be discussed and studied in two ways; the first is through the formation of the Shī‘ah states in the Muslim territories. In 250 AH the ‘Alawīs in Ṭabaristān formed a government.(1)

During the latter part of the third century AH, descendants of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) set up a Zaydī government in Yemen. In 296 AH the Fāṭimid state was established in the north of Africa.(2)

These governments were not based on Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah fundamentals, but their existence showed the extent of Shī‘ism and indicated the fertile ground for its acceptance in the Muslim territories—an opportunity which had been utilized by the Ismā‘īlīs and Zaydīs.

The second way is through the list of regions where the pure Imāms (‘a) designated proxies. The institution of deputyship [wikālah] had been founded since the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), and during the time of Imām al-Hādī and Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a) the activity of this institution had reached its climax. The regions where the Imāms’ (‘a) deputies were dispatched included Ahwāz, Hamedān, Sīstān, Bust, Rey, Baṣrah, Wāsīṭ, Baghdad, Egypt, Yemen, Ḥijāz, and Madā’in.(3)

Of course, Kūfah, Qum, Sāmarrā, and Nayshābūr were considered as the most important Shī‘ah-dominated cities till the end of the third century AH, and the Shī‘ah jurisprudence based on the traditions of the pure Imāms (‘a) was taught there. After the third century, nevertheless, Kūfah declined in importance being gradually replaced by Baghdad, and with the arrival of the Āl Būyah and the presence of distinguished figures such as Shaykh al-Mufīd, Sayyid Murtaḍā, Sayyid Raḍī, and Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, the religious seminary in Baghdad flourished.

Regarding the Shī‘ah influence in Baghdad during the fourth century AH, Adam Mitch (?) thus writes:

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1- Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam Ṭabarī, Tārīkh aṭ-Ṭabarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 365.
2- Jalāl ad-Dīn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān Suyūṭī, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’ (Qum: Intishārāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1411 AH), p. 524.
3- See Sayyid Majīd Pūr Āqā’ī, Tārīkh-e ‘Aṣr-e Ghaybat (Qum: Markaz-e Jahānī-ye ‘Ulūm-e Islāmī, n.d.), p. 19.

But in Baghdad which was the capital of Islam in its true sense and where the waves of all intellectual currents were strong, all schools of thought had followers. Of all these schools of thought, two were the strongest and most uncompromising—Ḥanbālī and Shī‘ah. The followers of Shī‘ism were particularly concentrated around the market of Karakh and only at the end of the fourth, this direction to the major bridge in Bab aṭ-Ṭāq was also populated. In places west of Dajlah, especially Bāb al-Baṣrah, Hāshimīs (‘Abbāsid sādāt) constituted a strong community with intense enmity toward the Shī‘ah.

Yāqūt thus writes: “The residents of the district of Bāb al-Baṣrah, between Karakh and Qiblah, were all Ḥanbalī Sunnīs, and those on the left and western parts of Karakh were also Sunnīs. But the people of Karakh were entirely Shī‘ah and no Sunnī could be found among them.”

…As recorded by historians, the first time the Shī‘ah of Baghdad gathered in Barāthā Masjid in 313 AH, it was reported to the caliph that a group is gathering there to collectively curse the caliphs. The caliph ordered for it to be besieged on Friday at the time of congregational prayer, and thirty worshippers were arrested and searched. Baked clays [muhr] with the name of the Imām engraved therein were found on them… In 321 AH, ‘Alī ibn Yalbakh, the Turkish commander, ordered for the cursing of Mu‘āwiyah and Yazīd on the pulpits. The public made a hullabaloo, and Barbahārī, the leading Ḥanbalī, and his supporters were identified as the ones responsible for the unrests. On account of the seditions and attitudes of the Ḥanbalīs toward the people in 323 AH, it was ordered that two Ḥanbalīs should not be seen together anywhere in Baghdad, and the ‘Abbāsid caliph Rāḍī issued an order in which the offenses to be committed by the Ḥanbalīs and their corresponding punishments were indicated.(1)

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1- Adam Mitch (?), Tamaddun-e Islāmī dar Qarn-e Chahārum-e Hijrī [Islamic Civilization in the Fourth Century Hijri], trans. ‘Alī Ridā Dhakāwatī Qarāgzelū (Tehran: Mu’assaseh-ye Intishārāt-e Amīr Kabīr, 1364 AHS), pp. 85-86.
* Lesson 20: Summary

During the ‘Abbāsid period, the ‘Alawī movements constantly emerged, a definite consequence of which was the diaspora of the ‘Alawīs in the different regions. As such, during the second century AH, Shī‘ism transcended beyond the frontiers of the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq.

The journey of the ‘Abbāsid campaigners to Khurāsān began at the beginning of the second century AH, where many people initially embraced Shī‘ism though Shī‘ism with more Kaysānī influence.

Since the second century AH, Qum has become one of the most important Shī‘ah-dominated cities. This city was founded by the Shī‘ah and Shī‘ism there has always been Ithnā ‘Ash‘arī Imāmiyyah. Although Baghdad was the capital of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate, by the transfer of Shī‘ah from the neighboring cities such as Kūfah, Baṣrah and Madā’in, it became one of the demographic concentration centers of the Shī‘ah.

During the third century AH, Shī‘ism was extended in many regions in the Muslim territories. This fact is clearly illustrated from the list of the regions where the pure Imāms (‘a) had their representatives. It was for this reason that the Shī‘ah governments in Ṭabaristān, Yemen and Africa were set up.

Up to the end of the third century AH, Kūfah, Qum, Sāmarrā, and Nayshābūr were regarded as the most important Shī‘ah-populated cities.

* Lesson 20: Questions

1. Name the regions populated by the Shī‘ah during the second century AH.

2. In what periods did Shī‘ism in Khurāsān start?

3. Which type of Shī‘ism has been in Qum?

4. How did Baghdad become one of the Shī‘ah-populated cities?

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Lesson Twenty One

Shī‘ism among the Different Tribes

Basically, ‘Alī (‘a) had more Shī‘ah and sympathizers from the ‘Adnānīs from among the Qaḥṭānī tribes, and Shī‘ism among the Qaḥṭānīs had enormously expanded. The main Shī‘ah who constituted the historians and soldiers of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) were Arab tribes from the south (Yemen) and Qaḥṭānīs. For instance, the Imām (‘a) thus said in Rajzī, one of the battle arenas in Ṣiffīn:

أنا الغلام القرشی المؤتمن الماجد الأبیض لیث کالشّطن

یرضی به السّاده من اهل الیمن من ساکنی نجد و من اهل عدن

I am a Qurayshī youth—trustworthy, great, pure, and like a lion—with whom the distinguished men of the people of Yemen from among the residents of Najd and ‘Aden are pleased.(1)

Similarly, after the demise of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), most of ‘Alī’s (‘a) supporters among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) were Anṣār who were Qaḥṭānī in origin, and constituted most of those who accompanied ‘Alī (‘a) from Medina up to the Battle of Jamal.(2) In the same vein, when

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1- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 178.
2- Ahmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 161.

Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) set off toward Kūfah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās said to him:

If the people of Iraq like you and want to assist you, you write to them, “The enemy shall expel you from your city. Then, you come here.” Instead, you move toward Yemen where there are mountains, strongholds and forts that Iraq does not have. Yemen is a vast land and your father have Shī‘ah there. You go there and then send your preachers to the neighboring places to invite the people to come to you.

The companions of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), with the exception of Banū Hāshim and some Ghaffārīs, also belonged to Yemenī tribes.(1)

As Mas‘ūdī has said, “From among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ), only four persons attained martyrdom at the lap of the Prophet (ṣ) and these four were from the Anṣār.”(2)

The descent of the Anṣār to Yemenī tribes is also obvious.

In contrast, the chiefs and nobles of Quraysh were hostile to ‘Alī (‘a) and his descendants (just as they were hostile to the Prophet (ṣ)), while the sympathizers of the Imām (‘a) among them were few. Even the tribes that had close relations with the Quraysh, such as the tribe of Thaqīf and the people of Ṭā’if who were supporters of Mu‘āwiyah during and after the Battle of Ṣiffīn, had always been in the ranks of those who opposed ‘Alī (‘a). For example, when Mu‘āwiyah dispatched Busr ibn Arṭāt to pillage the cities of Ḥijāz and Yemen, as Busr was approaching Ṭā’if, Mughayrah ibn Shu‘bah went to welcome him, saying: “May God give you pleasant reward! I heard the news of your harshness toward the enemies and benevolence toward the friends.” Busr said, “O Mughayrah! I want to put pressure on the people of Ṭā’if so as for them to pledge allegiance to the Commander of the Faihtful Mu‘āwiyah.” Mughayrah said, “O Busr! Why do you want to do to your friends what you did to your enemies? Do not do it lest everybody turned into your enemy.”(3)

There were also very few besides the Banū Hāshim from among the Quraysh, such as Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr and Hāshim Mirqāl, who were on the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) side although from among the clans of Quraysh and opponents of ‘Alī (‘a), there were also some who accompanied him. For instance, Khālid ibn Walīd was one of the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) adversaries, but his son, Muhājir ibn Khālid was among the soldiers of the Imām in the Battle of Ṣiffīn. Another case is that of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Ḥudhayfah, Mu‘āwiyah’s maternal cousin, who was one of the

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1- Kalbī, Jumhurah an-Nasab (Beirut: ‘Ālam al-Kutub, n.d.), p. 88.
2- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 84.
3- See Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Taḥlīlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī [An Analytical History of Islam till the End of the Umayyad Rule], 6th edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Nashr-e Dāneshgāhī, 1363 AHS), p. 137.

sincere Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a), and in the end attained martyrdom at the hands of Mu‘āwiyah’s agents.

‘Alī (‘a) had followers and supporters from among all the Yemenī tribes such as the tribes of Kindih, Naka‘, Azd, Juhaynah, Ḥimīr, Bujaylah, Khath‘am, Khuzā‘ah, Ḥaḍramūt, Mudhḥaj, Ash‘ar, Ṭay, Sadūs, Ḥamdān, and Rabī‘ah.(1) But among them, the two tribes of Ḥamdān and Rabī‘ah were leading. The Ḥamdānīs who embraced Islam during the time of the Prophet (ṣ), through ‘Alī’s (‘a) efforts, had always been sympathetic to him, and were considered as among the Imām’s sincere Shī‘ah. Mas‘ūdī says, “During the Battle of Ṣiffīn, not a single person from among them was in the army of Mu‘āwiyah.”(2)

Regarding Ḥamdān, ‘Alī has said:

ولو کنت بوّاباً علی باب الجنّه لقلت لِحَمْدان أدخلوا بسلام

If I were the gatekeeper of paradise, I shall say to the tribe of Ḥamdān, “Enter in peace!”(3)

Mu‘āwiyah held a great grudge against the Ḥamdānīs. One day during the Battle of Ṣiffīn, he went to the battle arena and recited this poem:

لا عیش الاّ فلق الهام من أرحب و یشکر شبام

قوم هم اعداء اهل الشام کم من کریم بطل همام

وکم قتیل و جریح ذام کذاک حرب السّاده الکرام

I shall not live unless I rip the heads of those of (the clans of) Arḥab, Yashkar and Shabām (from the tribe of Ḥamdān).

They are people who are enemies of the people of Shām. So many of them are great, heroic and brave men.

So many they have killed, injured and handicapped. Yes, such is the battle of the gallant noblemen.

Then, by reciting this epic verse,

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1- Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid Burqā, Rijāl al-Burqā (n.p.: Mu’assasah al-Qayyūm, n.d.), pp. 37-40; ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabī, 1961), vol. 3, p. 193.
2- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 99.
3- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 322.

اللهم رب الحلّ والحرام لا تجعل الملک لاهل الشام

O Lord of ḥall and ḥarām! Do not bestow the rule to the people of Shām,

Sa‘īd ibn Qays Ḥamdānī attacked Mu‘āwiyah while holding forward his spear, and Mu‘āwiyah fled from him toward the center of the army of Shām. And he sent Dhū’l-Kalā‘ (one of the commanders of Shām) to confront Sa‘d ibn Qays and the ensuing combat lasted till night. In the end, the people of Shām accepted defeat and fled. At this juncture, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) recited this poem to encourage the Ḥamdānīs:

فوارس من حمدان لیسوا بعزل غذاه الوغی من شاکر و شبام

یقودهم حامی الحقیقه ماجد سعید بن قیس و الکریم محام

جزی الله همد ان الجنان فانهم سهام العدی فی کلّ یوم حمام

Horsemen of Ḥamdān from (the tribes of) Shākir and Shabām do not slacken in the morning battle.

The advocate of truth and great man, Sa‘id ibn Qays, leads them. The kind people themselves shall also be protected.

May Allah grant the reward of paradise for (the tribe of) Ḥamdān as they are all arrows to the hearts of the enemies during battles.(1)

As such, we can see poems composed by the army of Shām against Ḥamdān especially during the Battle of Ṣiffīn. For instance, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ addressed the tribe of Ḥamdān on one of the days of the Battle of Ṣiffīn, saying:

الموت یغشاه من القوم الانف یوم لهمدان و یوم للصّدف

و فی سدوس نحوه ما ینخرف نضربها بالسّیف حتی ینصرف

و لتمیم مثلها او یعترف

It shall receive death from this tribe; one day, Ḥamdān is victorious while another day it is just a shell.

The tribe of Sadūs is also like them; as if it is not becoming old, but we shall strike them with the sword so as to restore the condition.

We shall treat (the tribe of) Tamīm in the same manner, unless they confess submission.(2)

A number of women of the tribe of Ḥamdān had also incited the supporters and soldiers of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) during the

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1- Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, pp. 170-171.
2- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 323.

Battle of Ṣiffīn against Mu‘āwiyah. Among these women were Sawdah Ḥamdāniyyah and Zurqā’ Ḥamdāniyyah, daughters of ‘Addī ibn Qays.(1) Sawdah addressed his father saying:

شعر کفعل ابیک یابن عماره یوم الطّعان و ملتقی الاقران

وانصر علیّاً و الحسین و رهطه واقصد لهند و ابنها بهوان

ان الإمام اخا النّبی محمّد علم الهدی و مناره الإیمان

فقد الجیوش و سره امام لوائه قدماً بأبیض صارم و سنان(2)

Given this, Mu‘āwiyah nursed a grudge against them. And after the martyrdom of ‘Alī (‘a) they were summoned to Shām. They were asked to explain about their poems and they were reproached.(3)

The second Yemenī tribe which had many Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) among its members was the tribe of Rabī‘ah. For example, in enumerating the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) Burqā has allocated a certain part to the companions of ‘Alī (‘a) from the tribe of Rabī‘ah while allocating the rest of the Yemenī Shī‘ah in another part.(4)

When ‘Alī (‘a) heard that a number of the tribe of Rabī‘ah in Baṣrah attained martyrdom at the hands of the army of ‘Ā’ishah, he said:

یا لهف نفسی علی ربیعه ربیعه السّماعه المطیعه

I pity the Rabī‘ah, the obedient and submissive Rabī‘ah!(5)

Mas‘ūdī also says, “‘Alī (‘a) had many talks about Rabī‘ah and eulogies to them because they were his helpers and supporters as well as his pillar among pillars.” Among ‘Alī’s (‘a) statements about Rabī‘ah is the poem below which he recited during the Battle of Ṣiffīn:

لمن رایه سوداء یخفق ظلها إذا قیل قدمها حضین تقدماً

فیوردها فی الصف حتی یعلها حیاض المنایا تقطر الموت و الدّما

جزی الله قوماً قاتلوا فی لقائه لدی الموت قدماً ما اعروا کرماً

واطیب أخباراً و اکرم شیمهً اذا کان اصوات الرجال تغمغما

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1- Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 1, pp. 335-337.
2- Ibid., p. 332.
3- Ibid., p. 335.
4- Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid Burqā, Rijāl al-Burqā (n.p.: Mu’assasah al-Qayyūm, n.d.), p. 37.
5- Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt, researched by Dr. Sāmī Makkī al-‘Ānī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 159.

ربیعه أعنی إنَّهم أهل نجده و بأس إذا لاقو، خمیساً عرمرما

The one who has the black banner and it is hoisted—once it is said to him to bring forward the banner,

He will then join the ranks so as to bring forth the spears for death and blood drop from them.

May Allah bestow reward to the community that fought in the battle, welcomed death, and never opposed goodness.

They are the most well-dressed and beautiful-faced of people, when the voices of men at the battlefield are winded together.

I am referring to (the tribe of) Rabī‘ah. When confronting a huge army, they are brave and powerful.(1)

It was one of the chiefs of Rabī‘ah, Jamīl ibn Ka‘b Tha‘labī who was considered one of the Shī‘ah and supporters of ‘Alī (‘a). When he was captured by Mu‘āwiyah, the latter told him: “Which blessing is greater than this that God made us prevailed over a man who within an hour killed a large number of our supporters!”(2)

Shaqīq ibn Thawr Sudūsī also said during the Battle of Ṣiffīn while addressing the tribe of Rabī‘ah: “O group of Rabī‘ah! Once ‘Alī is killed, there will be no excuse for even a single person from you to remain alive.”(3)

Also, after the death of Yazīd, the people of Kūfah expelled the Umayyad governor from their city and wanted to install somebody in his stead. Some people suggested ‘Amr ibn Sa‘d to be the amīr. Mas‘ūdī narrates that at that moment, the women of Ḥamdān, Kahlān, Anṣār, Rabī‘ah, and Nakha‘ entered the central mosque. While weeping for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), they were saying: “Is it not enough that ‘Amr ibn Sa‘d killed Ḥusayn and now he wants also to be our amīr?”

With this statement, they made the people weep and persuaded them to abandon ‘Amr ibn Sa‘d.(4)

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1- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 59.
2- Ibid., p. 60.
3- Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 306.
4- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, pp. 98-99.
* Lesson 21: Summary

Most of the supporters and Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful were from the Qaḥṭānī and Yemeni tribes.

Among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ), most of ‘Alī’s (‘a) sympathizers were from among the Anṣār who had Yemenī origin.

Imām al-Ḥusayn’s (‘a) main supporters were from among the Yemenī tribes, with the exception of the Banū Hāshim and some Ghaffārī men.

In contrast, the chiefs and nobles of Quraysh were inimical to ‘Alī (‘a), and his descendants and supporters among them were very few.

Among the Yemenī tribes, the two tribes of Ḥamdān and Rabī‘ah were leading in Shī‘ism.

* Lesson 21: Questions

1. Name the tribes in which Shī‘ism was more dominant.

2. Among the Yemeni tribes, which tribes are leading compared to the rest in Shī‘ism?

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Chapter Six

The Rifts within Shī‘ism

Lesson Twenty Two

The Rifts within Shī‘ism

p: 200

There were major rifts within Shī‘ism during the first and second centuries AH, and at the end of the second century remarkable splits among the Shī‘ah had emerged. As such, members of the different nations and religions, in dealing with Wāqifiyyah, have called the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah who believed in the Imamate of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) as Qaṭ‘iyyah and Ithnā ‘Ashariyyah for believing in Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) and the Imams after him up to the Imām of the Time (‘a).(1) Of course, during the first century AH up to 61 AH (i.e. up to the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a)) these splits had not occurred within Shī‘ism, although Shahristānī regards the Ghulāt Saba’iyyah sect that emerged during the time of Ḥaḍrat Amīr (‘a) as Shī‘ah.(2)

This is while there is doubt concerning the existence of a person named ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’.(3)

At any rate, according to Rijāl Kashī, there had been some Ghālīs

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1- Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 150.
2- Ibid., p. 155.
3- See Sayyid Murtaḍā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ wa Asāṭīr Ukhrā, 6th edition (1413 AH/1993), vol. 2, pp. 328-375. Its abridged English version is Sayyid Murtaḍā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abdullāh ibn Saba’ and Other Myths, trans. M.J. Muqaddas (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1984). [Trans.]

during the time of ‘Alī (‘a) who were asked by him to repent, and since they had not repented, he ordered for their execution.(1)

Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) had excellent positions in the sight of Muslims and have been considered as progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). Apart from the Shī‘ah, other Muslims also regard them worthy of the caliphate. As such, there was no doubt concerning the matter of the Imamate and no rift whatsoever had ever occurred during the lifetime of these two personages. After Imām al-Ḥusayn’s (‘a) martyrdom, we witness rifts within Shī‘ism, and some of those sects that split from mainstream Shī‘ism are the following:

Kaysāniyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah.

Zaydiyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Zayd ibn ‘Alī.

Nāwūsiyyah: They believe in the occultation [ghaybah] of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and in his being the Mahdī.

Faṭḥiyyah: They believe in the Imamate of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Afṭaḥ, son of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Samṭiyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Muḥammad Dībāj, another son of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Ismā‘īliyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Ismā‘īl, yet another son of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Ṭafiyyah: They believe that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate to Mūsā ibn Ṭaffī.

Aqmaṣiyyah: They believe that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate to Mūsā ibn ‘Umrān al-Aqmaṣ.

Yarma‘iyyah: They believe that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate to Yarma‘ ibn Mūsā.

Tamīmiyyah: They believe that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sa‘d at-Tamīmī.

Ju‘diyyah: They believe that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate to a person named Abū Ju‘dah.

Ya‘qūbiyyah: They reject the Imamate of Mūsā ibn Ja‘far (‘a), saying that Imamate could be entrusted to other than the sons of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), and their leading figure is a person named Abū Ya‘qūb.

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1- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 325.

Mamṭūrah: They suspend their judgment concerning Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a), saying that they are not sure if the Imām really passed away or not.(1)

Wāqifiyyah: They believe that Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) did not die and that he shall remain alive till the Day of Resurrection (‘a).(2)

Of course, some of these sects had also split into smaller sects. For example, Kaysāniyyah has two groups regarding the Imamate of Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah:

Some believed that Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah was the Imām after Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) while another group was of the opinion that he was supposed to be the Imām after his father, ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a), and after ascribing the Imamate to pass to his son, Abū Hāshim after him, they were again divided into some groups:

A group believed that Abū Hāshim had entrusted the Imamate to Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-‘Abbāsī. The second group maintained that Abū Hāshim had entrusted the Imamate to his brother, ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah. The third group opined that Abū Hāshim had entrusted the Imamate to his nephew, Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī. The fourth group held that Abū Hāshim had entrusted the Imamate to ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Amrū al-Kindī.(3)

Zaydiyyah is also divided into three main groups:

Jārūdiyyah:(4) They believe that after the Holy Prophet (‘a), ‘Alī (‘a) was the one worthy of the caliphate but the Prophet (‘a) introduced him to the people for the caliphate only by descriptions and not by name, and that due to the people’s failure to recognize him correctly, they chose Abū Bakr and for doing so, the people became infidels [kuffār].

Sulaymāniyyah:(5) They believe that Imamate is determined through consultation [shūrā] and that the Imamate of ‘a deserving one’ [mafḍūl] while ‘the most deserving one’ [afḍal] is present is permissible. It is by means of this notion that they are proving the legitimacy of the caliphate of Abū Bakr and ‘Umar and that the ummah erred in not choosing ‘the most deserving one’ (viz., ‘Alī (‘a)) but their error does not reach the level of transgression [fisq]. Also, they declare ‘Uthmān as an infidel [kāfir].

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1- Maytham ibn ‘Alī ibn Maytham al-Baḥrānī, An-Najāh fī’l-Qiyāmah fī Taḥqīq al-Imāmah, 1st edition (Qum: Majma‘ al-Fikr al-Islāmī, 1417 AH), pp. 172-174.
2- Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 150.
3- Ibid., pp. 131-135.
4- They were the companions of Ziyād ibn Abī Ziyād, better known as Abī’l-Jārūd. Hence, their group was called “Jārūdiyyah”.
5- Their leader was a person named Sulaymān ibn Jarīr. Thus, their group was known as “Sulaymāniyyah”.

Batriyyah:(1) Their beliefs are similar to that of Sulaymāniyyah with the only difference that they suspend their judgment concerning ‘Uthmān.(2)

Ismā‘iliyyah is also divided into three groups:

One group is of the opinion that the Imām after Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) is Ismā‘īl who did not die as he is alive and the promised Mahdī.

The second group believes that Ismā‘īl died and the Imamate transferred to his son, Muḥammad, who is in occultation [ghaybah] and shall appear and fill the world with justice and equity.

The third group, like the second one, believes in the Imamate of Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl with the only difference that Muḥammad died and the Imamate has remained in his offspring.(3)

Of course, most of these sects did not last long, and they could hardly be called “sects”. Rather, they were groups that faded away with the death of their respective leaders, and they had no appearance in the sociopolitical scenes. Among these sects, Kaysāniyyah, Zaydiyyah and Ismā‘īliyyah emerged and remained in the first, second and third centuries AH. Of course, although during the second century AH and after the martyrdom of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) the Ismā‘īlī sect was separated from the body of Shī‘ism, it had no appearance up to the middle of the third century AH, and in a sense, their Imāms were in hiding.(4)

During the first century AH, next to the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah and prior to the emergence of Zaydiyyah, Kaysāniyyah had been the most influential Shī‘ah sect. Kaysāniyyah emerged and made its appearance in the uprising of Mukhtār. Although we do not regard Mukhtār himself as a Kaysānī, many of his forces were adhering to Kaysāniyyah.(5) This sect struggled politically until the end of the first century AH, and Abū Hāshim, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥanafiyyah, who was the leader of this sect, had for the first time used the terms “dā‘ī” [propagator] and “ḥujjat” [proof] for his preachers. Later on, these terms were used by other groups such as the ‘Abbāsids, Zaydīs and Ismā‘īlīs. He was also the one who founded the “office of propagation” which was later imitated by the ‘Abbāsids.(6)

When the Umayyad caliph Sulaymān ibn ‘Abd al-Malik felt threatened by Abū

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1- Their leader was a person named Kaythar an-Nawī Abtar. So, their group was labeled as “Batriyyah”.
2- Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, pp. 140-142.
3- Muhammad Karīm Khurāsānī, Tārīkh va ‘Aqā’id-e Ferqeh-ye Āqākhāniyyeh, abridged and compiled by Husayn Husaynī (Qum: Nashr al-Hudā, 1377 AHS), pp. 2-3.
4- Ibid., p. 43.
5- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 91.
6- Dr. Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 87.

Hāshim, he invited him to Shām and poisoned him. When Abū Hāshim realized that that was his end, he went to Ḥamīmah, the living place of his ‘Abbāsid cousins, declared Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-‘Abbāsī as his successor, and introduced to his successor his preachers and forces.(1)

From then on, the Banū ‘Abbas assumed the leadership of the followers of Kaysāniyyah and focused their activities in Khurāsān. As Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says,

The people of Khurāsān believed that Abū Hāshim was the successor of his father and that his father inherited the right of succession [waṣāyah] from his father (viz., ‘Alī (‘a)). He in turn appointed Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-‘Abbāsī as his successor and who, in turn, designated his own son, Ibrāhīm, as the Imām. In this manner, they were proving the right of succession of Banū ‘Abbās.(2)

Even Shahristānī believes that Abū Muslim al-Khurāsānī had been a Kaysānī at the beginning but after the triumph of the ‘Abbāsids, they established their legitimacy based on the alleged right of succession of their forefather, ‘Abbās, from the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) himself.

In retrospect, the sociopolitical appearance of the Kaysānīs can be found in the uprising of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah, a descendant of Ja‘far ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭayyār. As Shahristānī says,

A number of the Kaysānīs believed in the right of succession of ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Amrū al-Kindī and when they found him committing treachery and making lies, they believed in the Imamate of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far aṭ-Ṭayyār… There was a serious difference over the issue of Imamate between the companions of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah and the companions and followers of Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī.(3)

Besides the Kaysāniyyah, the second sect that was active in the sociopolitical scene, was the Zaydiyyah, which emerged after the uprising of Zayd and the most politicized Shī‘ah sect. Of all the Shī‘ah sects, it is the closest to the principles of Ahl as-Sunnah. For example, in addition to acknowledging the caliphate of Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān, Batriyyah Zaydiyyah was not also considering Ṭalḥah, Zubayr and ‘Ā’ishah as infidels.(4)

For this reason, many of the Sunnī jurists [fuqahā] used to approve the uprising of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah who was a Zaydī.(5)

Mas‘ar ibn

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 124; Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 438.
2- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 123.
3- Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 135.
4- Ibid., p. 142.
5- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 247.

Kudām, a leading Murjite [murja’ah] figure, had written to Ibrāhīm, brother of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, to come to Kūfah.(1) Abū Ḥanīfah, the Imām of the Ḥanifī school of thought [madhhab] participated in Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s uprising, encouraging the people to support the leader of the uprising.(2)

Regarding the Zaydiyyah Batriyyah sect, Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh Ash‘arī al-Qummī thus says, “They mix together the guardianship [wilāyah] of Abū Bakr and ‘Umar.”(3)

In particular, regarding the roots of religion [uṣūl ad-dīn], they follow Mu‘tazilism [mu‘tazilah] and concerning the branches of religion [furū‘ ad-dīn], they follow Abū Ḥanīfah while some follow Shāfi‘ī.(4)

The Zaydī school of thought, that is Shī‘ism in a general sense, does not differ much from the Sunnī beliefs. It is for this reason that in some Zaydī uprisings, such as that of Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and his brother Ibrāhīm, a number of the Sunnī ‘ulamā’ and prominent figures had participated. Similarly, the Shī‘ah who had participated in the Zaydī uprisings were probably of the opinion that the ‘Alawī leaders of the uprisings were designated by the infallible Imāms and perhaps the scattering of Shī‘ah and their being away from the Imām of the time were the reasons behind it. In the end, only the Zaydīs had remained with their leaders. For example, as narrated by Mas‘ūdī, Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Abd Allāh, Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s brother, had fought in the end with only four hundred Zaydīs on his side who were all killed.(5)

The third sect which had presence and been active in the sociopolitical scenes is the Ismā‘īlī sect. This sect separated from the body of Shī‘ism during the second half of the second century AH. Yet, until the end of the third century AH, they did not have much public appearance and their leaders remained in hiding until 296 AH, i.e. the year of appearance of ‘Abd Allāh al-Mahdī, the first Fāṭimid caliph in North Africa. For this reason, the evolutionary phases of this sect remained completely unknown. Nawbakhtī who lived during the third century AH used to link their initial activities with the Ghulāt and followers of Abī’l-Khaṭṭāb.(6)

Their beliefs have also remained in the halo of ambiguity. In this regard, Mas‘ūdī thus writes:

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1- Ibid., p. 314.
2- Ibid.
3- Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Qummī Ash‘arī, Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, 2nd edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Intishārāt-e ‘Ilmī va Farhangī, 1360 AHS) p. 10.
4- Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, vol. 1, p. 143.
5- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 326.
6- Abī Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Mūsā Nawbakhtī, Firq ash-Shī‘ah (Najaf: Al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1936), p. 71.

The scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn] of the various sects—Shī‘ah, Mu‘tazilah, Murja’ah, and Khawārij—have written about the sect and reputation of the objections against it… But none of them has expressed opposition against the doctrines of the Qarāmaṭah (Ismā‘īlī) sect. There are also those who have written against them such as Qudāmah ibn Yazīd an-Nu‘mānī, Ibn ‘Abdak al-Jurjānī, Abī’l-Ḥasan Zakariyya al-Jurjānī, Abī ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ar-Razzāq aṭ-Ṭā’ī al-Kūfī, and Abū Ja‘far al-Kalābī. Each of them had described the creeds of the people of falsehood. Yet, others have not discussed those matters. Besides, the followers of this sect disregarded the claims of these writers, not confirming them.(1)

This is the reason why the followers of this sect have been referred to by diverse names in the different regions. In this regard, Khwājah Niẓām al-Mulk has thus written:

They had been called by different names in every city and every province; “Ismā‘īlī” in Ḥalab and Egypt; “Saba‘ī” in Qum, Kāshān, Ṭabaristān, and Sabzewār; “Qarmaṭī” in Baghdad and Mesopotamia; “Khalafī” in Rey; and in Iṣfahān…(2)

Prior to the establishment of the Fāṭimīd state, the Ismā‘īlīs were less engaged in political struggles, and instead focused on drawing people’s attention toward them, propagation, training and education. As such, we are witnesses to the travel of the Ismā‘īlī leaders, such as Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, Aḥmad ibn ‘Abd Allāh, and Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad, to the regions such as Rey, Nahāvand, Damāvand, Syria, Jabāl Qandahār, Nayshābūr, Daylam, Yemen, Hamedān, Istanbul, and Azerbaijan where they dispatched their preachers and propagators.(3)

It was by considering these grounds that the Qarmaṭīs [qarmaṭiyān] designated “Ismā‘īliyyah” for themselves. Given such an expansion, they used to try their best for the ‘Abbāsid not to be able to extinguish the fire of their sedition.(4)

In 296 AH the Fāṭimid state, based on the Ismā‘īlī sect, was established in North Africa and a vast part of the Muslim territories was detached from the ‘Abbāsid sphere of influence.

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1- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, At-Tanbiyyah wa’l-Ashrāf (Cairo: Dār aṣ-Ṣāwī Li’ṭ-Ṭab‘ wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Ta’līf, n.d.), p. 341.
2- Siyāsatnāmeh (Tehran: Intishārāt-e ‘Ilmī va Farhangī, 1364 AHS), p. 311.
3- See Rasūl Ja‘fariyān, Tārīkh-e Tashuyyu‘ dar Īrān az Āghāz tā Qarn-e Hashtum-e Hijrī, 5th edition (Qum: Shirkat-e Chāp wa Nashr-e Sāzmān-e Tablīghāt-e Islāmī, 1377 AHS), pp. 207-209.
4- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 297.

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* Lesson 22: Summary

The most prominent Shī‘ah sects emerged during the first and second centuries AH, and notable rifts within Shī‘ism had occurred after the end of the second century AH. As such, in contrast to Wāqifiyyah, the Shī‘ah Imāmī who believed in the Imamate of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) were called Qaṭī‘ah and Ithnā ‘Ashariyyah.

No rift within Shī‘ism occurred during the time of Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) on account of their towering station.

Most sects mentioned in the books about nations and religions could hardly be called “sects”. Rather, they were groups that eventually faded away with the death of their respective leaders and founders.

But the sects that have appeared in the sociopolitical scenes are the Kaysāniyyah, Zaydiyyah and Ismā‘īliyyah.

* Lesson 22: Questions

1. From which period up to which period did sects emerge within Shī‘ism?

2. Name the sects that had a presence in the sociopolitical scenes?

3. In terms of the roots [uṣūl] and branches [furū‘] of religion, which way and method does the Zaydiyyah sect follow?

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p: 210

Lesson Twenty Three

Factors behind the Rifts within Shī‘ism
Point

The blessed names of the twelve Imams (‘a) have been recorded in the Prophetic traditions and Shī‘ah had learned of their names before personally seeing them. As Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh, a devoted companion of the Prophet (ṣ) narrates,

When the verse, “O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you,”(1)

was revealed, I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! We know Allah and His Apostle and we do obey them, but who are ‘those vested with authority’ [ūli’l-amr] obedience to whom has been mentioned by God alongside the obedience to Himself and obedience to you?” He said: “‘Those vested with authority’ are my successors and the leaders after me. The first of whom is ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib; after him, Ḥasan and then Ḥusayn; after him, ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn; and after him is Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī who is known in the Torah [tawrāt] as “Bāqir” [he who cleaves something asunder] and you shall see him. Once you meet him, extend my salutations to him. After him is aṣ-Ṣādiq, Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad, and then Mūsā ibn Ja‘far followed by ‘Alī ibn Mūsā; after him is Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī; after him is ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad and then Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī, and after him is his son who shall have the same name and epithet as mine. It is he who shall conquer the east and west of the world. He shall be hidden from the visible ones—a long occultation on account of

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1- Sūrah an-Nisā’ 4:59.

which the people will doubt his Imamate except those whose hearts shall be endowed with untainted faith by God…(1)

The same Jābir used to sit at the Masjid an-Nabī and say: “O Bāqir al-‘Ilm [he who cleaves knowledge asunder]! Where are you?” People who heard him would say: “Jābir, you are talking nonsense.” He would reply, “I am not talking nonsense. Rather, the Holy Prophet (ṣ) has informed me that “You shall meet a man from my descendants whose name and physical appearance is like that of mine who will cleave knowledge asunder.”(2)

The infallible Imāms (‘a) also used to prove their rightfulness by showing manifest miracles and wonders. In spite of this, a series of reasons and factors caused some Shī‘ah to commit error concerning the matter (of Imamate) and a number of them deviated from the straight path. These factors can be stated as follows:

1. Repression

After 40 AH intense persecution and repression of the descendants of the Prophet (‘a) and their followers prevailed. This suppression hindered some Shī‘ah from establishing a link with their Imāms to have enough acquaintanceship with them.

During the second half of the first century, in particular after 72 AH and the defeat of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr who was anti-Shī‘ah, Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ruled over Iraq and Ḥijāz for twenty years, brutally suppressed, killed and imprisoned the Shī‘ah, expelling them from Iraq and Ḥijāz.(3) Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) was exercising dissimulation [taqiyyah] and he could express the Shī‘ah teachings only within the framework of supplication [du‘ā]. The Kaysāniyyah sect emerged during that time.

Although Imām al-Bāqir and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) enjoyed relative freedom and were able to propagate the Shī‘ah fundamentals and teachings, when the ‘Abbāsid caliph assumed power, he focused his attention on the Shī‘ah. And when he heard the news of the martyrdom of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), he wrote a letter to his governor in Medina instructing him to identify and behead the successor of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a). Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) designated five persons as his “successors”—Abū Ja‘far al-Manṣūr,

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1- Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Shakhṣiyyat-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Shī‘eh, 1st edition (Qum: Intishārāt-e Tawḥid, 1359 AHS), p. 63 as quoted from Tafsīr Ṣāfī, vol. 1, p. 366; Kamāl ad-Dīn wa Tamām an-Ni‘mah with Persian translation (Tehran), vol. 1, p. 365.
2- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsi, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 218.
3- Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, trans. Muhammad-Ridā ‘Aṭā’ī, 2nd edition (Mashhad: Bunyād-e Pazhūhesh-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Āstān-e Quds-e Raḍawī, 1375 AHS), p 120.

Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān, ‘Abd Allāh, Mūsā, and Ḥamīdah.(1) Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) languished in prison for a long time. Initially, the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mūsā al-Hādī imprisoned the Imām and released him after sometime. Hārūn arrested the Imām four times and prevented the Shī‘ah from visiting him.(2) The Shī‘ah remained in limbo and without a guardian paving the way for Ismā‘īliyyah and Faṭḥiyyah preachers. At the time, the Shī‘ah had nobody to clarify their doubts. The ‘Abbāsid rule’s control and surveillance over Imām al-Kāẓim’s (‘a) activities were such that even ‘Alī ibn Ismā‘īl, the Imām’s nephew, was relaying information regarding him.(3)

Yes, most of the Shī‘ah at the time were not sure whether Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) was alive or not. As Yaḥyā ibn Khālid Barmakī used to say,

I uprooted the religion of the rafiḍīs [dissidents] (pejoratively referring to the Shī‘ah) because they were thinking that religion without the Imām will not survive and remain alive, while today they do not know whether their Imām is alive or not.”(4)

During the moment of Imām al-Kāẓim’s (‘a) martyrdom, none of the Shī‘ah were present on the scene. This matter seems to be the reason why the Wāqifiyyah would deny the death of the Imām though financial issues contributed more to the emergence of this sect.

Yes, the infallible Imāms (‘a) were under constant ‘Abbāsid surveillance. They even coerced Imām al-Hādī and Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a) to live in the military city of Sāmarrā so as to keep them under constant surveillance. After the martyrdom of Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a), the ‘Abbāsids imprisoned his spouses and bondwomen with the aim of identifying the Imām’s successor (the Master of the Age, Imām al-Mahdī (‘a)). Even Ja‘far ibn ‘Alī, known as Ja‘far al-Kadhdhāb (Ja‘far the Liar) used to act against his brother Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a). As such, the Ghulāt doctrines were spread through Naṣīriyyah founded by Muḥammad ibn Naṣīr Fihrī. A number of them gathered around Ja‘far and then he started claiming for the Imamate.(5)

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1- Abī ‘Alī al-Faḍl ibn al-Hasan Ṭabarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Iḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 2, p. 13.
2- Muhammad Husayn Muẓaffar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.), p. 47.
3- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 414.
4- Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, p. 123.
5- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 325.
2. Taqiyyah [Dissimulation]

Taqiyyah [dissimulation] means expression of what is contrary to the truth when there is fear for the life of a Muslim. It is adopted in following previous laws and the law of Islam as dictated by both the text and reason. For example, ‘the believer among the family of Pharaoh’ [mu’min āl fir‘āwn] kept his faith in secret out of fear of Pharaoh and his men. Among the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), ‘Ammār also exercised taqiyyah on account of torture and persecution perpetuated against him by the polytheists [mushrikūn] (of Mecca). When he was crying (for repentance) beside the Prophet (ṣ) for doing so, the Prophet (ṣ) said to him: “You have to do the same if they torture you again.”(1)

Since the Shī‘ah have always been few in numbers, they practiced taqiyyah in a bid to survive and save their lives. This method was responsible for the preservation of the school

of Shī‘ism. As Dr. Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī writes,

Among the contributory factors for the perpetuation of the Shī‘ah movement are taqiyyah and the clandestine propagation, which gave opportunity to the nascent Shī‘ah movement to advance away from the attention of the ‘Abbāsid caliphs and their governors.(2)

But on the other hand, taqiyyah has been one of the causes of rifts within Shī‘ism because the Shī‘ah used to conceal their beliefs out of fear of the tyrants of the day. Even the Imāms (‘a) used to do so. On account of the atmosphere of strangulation, the infallible Imāms (‘a) somehow refrained from explicitly declaring their Imamate. This matter is indicated clearly in a dialogue between Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) and some followers of Wāqifiyyah:

‘Alī ibn Abī Ḥamzah who was a Wāqifī asked Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a): “What happened to your father?” The Imām replied: “He passed away.” Ibn Abī Ḥamzah said: “Whom did he appoint as the successor after him?” The Imām answered: “It is me.” He said: “So, are you the Imām ought to be obeyed?” The Imām responded: “Yes.” Ibn Sirāj and Ibn Makārī (two other Wāqifīs) inquired: “Has your father determined it for you?” Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a): “Woe to you! There is no need for me to say, ‘He has designated me.’ Do you like me to go to Baghdad and say to Hārūn, ‘I am the Imām ought to be obeyed’? By God! I do not have such a duty.” Ibn Abī Ḥamzah said: “You expressed something which had never been expressed by any of your forefathers.” The Imām said: “By God! My best grandfather, namely, the

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1- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), p. 199.
2- Dr. Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 394.

Prophet, expressed it when the verse was revealed and God commanded him to convey the message to his nearest of kin.”(1)

During the time of Imām al-Bāqir (‘a), a number of the Shī‘ah abandoned their belief in his Imamate, on account of his exercise of taqiyyah in dealing with some issues, and embraced Zaydiyyah Batriyyah.(2)

Meanwhile, some people who could not grasp the expediency of taqiyyah accused the pure Imāms (‘a) of error for not explicitly expressing their Imamate. They were in a sense radical and extremist. This motive had far-reaching contribution in the emergence of Zaydiyyah.

As such, when the pressure and repression were lessened and there were some opportunity for the pure Imāms (‘a) to prove their Imamate, sprouting of Shī‘ah groups were minimal. During the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) when there was good opportunity and the Imām had freedom of action due to the conflicts between the Umayyads and the ‘Abbāsids, we witnessed the least number of rifts that take place, but after his martyrdom when the pressure and persecution of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr prevailed, the Nāwūsiyyah, Ismā‘īliyyah, Khaṭābiyyah, Qarāmaṭah, Samṭiyyah, and Faṭḥiyyah sects emerged.(3)

During the time of Imām ar-Ridā (‘a), the condition was again favorable and even during the caliphate of Hārūn, the Imām enjoyed relative freedom of action. At the time, a number of the leading figures of Wāqifiyyah such as ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Ḥajjāj, Rafā‘ah ibn Mūsā, Yūnus ibn Ya‘qūb, Jamīl ibn Dibāj, Ḥamād ibn ‘Īsā, and others abandoned their faith and believed in the Imamate of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a).

Similarly, after the martyrdom of the Imām, notwithstanding the young age of Imām al-Jawād (‘a), less rifts within Shī‘ism took place due to the efforts of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) in introducing his son as his successor.

3. Ambition for Leadership

Whenever repression was prevalent and the pure Imāms (‘a) were practicing taqiyyah for the preservation of the foundation of Shī‘ism and protecting the lives of the Shī‘ah, opportunist and power-greedy individuals within the ranks of the Shī‘ah, though without much belief in religion, used to take advantage of this condition. For example, in reply to one of his companions who asked about the contradiction of ḥadīths, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq

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1- Ibid., p. 763.
2- Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Qummī Ash‘arī, Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, 2nd edition (Tehran: Markaz-e Intishārāt-e ‘Ilmī va Farhangī, 1360 AHS), p. 75.
3- Ibid., p. 79.

(‘a) said: “There are those who want to possess the world and acquire leadership by means of personally interpreting [ta’wīl] our ḥadīths.”(1)

For this reason, during the second century AH and after the spread of Shī‘ism as well as after the martyrdom of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq, Imām al-Kāẓim and Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a), such opportunist and leadership-greedy individuals multiplied in the midst of the Shī‘ah and founded different sects for financial and political motives. After Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) Mughayrah ibn Sa‘īd claimed that he is the Imām and he has been designated by Imām as-Sajjād and Imām al-Bāqir (‘a). Hence, his supporters were called followers of Mughayriyyah.

After the martyrdom of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) the Nāwūsiyyah and Khaṭābiyyah sects came into existence whose founders used to utilize the names of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and his son Ismā‘īl in a bid to draw the people’s attention toward themselves. Ibn Nāwūs was the founder of Nāwūsiyyah; his followers denied Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq’s (‘a) death and pointed to him as the Mahdī. The followers of Khaṭābiyyah rejected the death of Ismā‘īl, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq’s (‘a) son, and introduced their leader as the Imām after these two personages.(2)

The peak of financial motives in founding a certain sect was after the martyrdom of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a). Yūnus who was one of the companions of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) narrated that when Abū’l-Ḥasan Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) passed away, each of his deputies acquired abundant possessions and wealth. As such, they suspended their judgment concerning the Imām and denied his death. For example, Ziyād Qanadī had a deposit of seventy thousand dinars while ‘Alī ibn Ḥamzah had three thousand dinars. Yūnus thus wrote:

When I saw that condition and the truth became clear to me and also, I learned of the issue of Imamate of Ḥaḍrat Riḍā (‘a), I started relaying the truths and inviting the people toward the Imām. Those two persons pursued me, asking: “Why are you are calling on the people toward the Imamate of Riḍā? If your motive is to acquire money, we shall make you rich” and they offered ten thousand dinars to me but I refused. They became angry with me and expressed enmity and hostility toward me.(3)

Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ash‘arī also says:

After the martyrdom of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a), the followers of Hasmawiyyah sect believed that Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) did not die and was never imprisoned rather he was in occultation and he is the Mahdī. Their leader was Muḥammad ibn Bashīr who claimed that the seventh Imām

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1- Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 1, p. 374.
2- Ibid., p. 80.
3- Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, p. 123 as quoted from Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Al-Ghaybah, p. 46.

appointed him as the successor; that rings and all things that the people need in the affairs of the religion and the world had been granted to him; that all prerogatives had been given to him; and that he assumed the position of the Imām. Then, he was allegedly the Imām after Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) and at the time that this Muḥammad ibn Bashīr was about to die he designated his son, Samī‘ ibn Muḥammad, as his successor, alleging that obedience to him is obligatory till the appearance of al-Kāẓim (‘a). He also urged people to give to Samī‘ ibn Muḥammad whatever they want to offer in the way of God. These people were labeled as “mamṭūrah”.(1)

4. The Existence of Mentally Weak Individuals

There were coward individuals among the Shī‘ah who, when they would see a miracle from the Imām of their time, their intellect could not digest it and they would start expressing extreme beliefs notwithstanding the fact that the pure Imāms (‘a) themselves used to strongly combat such beliefs. As narrated in Rijāl Kashī, seventy black-skinned persons residing in Baṣrah expressed extreme beliefs about ‘Alī (‘a) after the Battle of Jamal.(2) Opportunist and leadership-greedy elements also exploited the spirit of these people, misguiding them and letting them do things for their own benefit. For example, Abī’l-Khaṭṭāb founded the Khaṭṭābiyyah sect, introduced Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) in the position of prophethood, allegedly bestowed on him by God, and claimed himself to be the Imām and successor of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).(3) Also, during the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrah] of the Imām of the Time (‘a), Ibn Naṣīr initially introduced himself as the ‘door’ (medium) [bāb] and deputy [wakīl] of the Imām in explaining the religions laws and collecting the religious funds. Later on, he started claiming prophethood and finally went to the extent of claiming divinity.(4) His followers also accepted him as such. As a matter of fact, it was on account of such a mentality of his followers that he made such claims. In essence, extremist sects were founded under such grounds.

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1- Al-Maqālāt wa’l-Firaq, p. 91.
2- When the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) was relieved of the Battle of the Jamal, seventy black-skinned persons residing in Baṣrah came to the Imām and talked to him in their vernacular. ‘Alī (‘a) talked to them in their vernacular, too. Hence, they started expressing extreme views about the Imām. ‘Alī (‘a) told them, “I am a servant of God and His creature.” They did not believe and even insisted that the Imām is equal to God. So, the Imām asked them to repent to God for holding such a deviant view, but they violently refused to repent. As such, they had been executed. Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 1, p. 325.
3- Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 160.
4- Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 805.
The Infallible Imāms’ (‘a) Campaign against Extreme Views
Point

One of the potent dangers that threatened the Shī‘ah throughout history is the issue of the extremists [ghālīs] and the attribution of their views to the Shī‘ah. The state of affairs is such that the adversaries and enemies of the Shī‘ah have always accused them of committing extremism and fanaticism with respect to their Imāms. At this juncture, we shall not engage in talking about the different extremist [ghullah] sects, discussing their views and beliefs. Of course, it must be noted that the most salient feature and point of convergence of all the extremist sects is their extremism with respect to the right of the Imāms by blasphemously elevating their station to the station of divinity.

The existence of the extremists [ghullāt] among the Muslims is caused more by external factors than internal ones. Through direct and face-to-face confrontations and encounters, the enemies of Islam were not able to strike a blow to Islam while Islam enlightened their lands and defeated its enemies. As such, they decided to strike a blow to Islam from within. So, they targeted the principal principles of Islam. The political establishments were also not disinterested in encouraging, or at least tolerating, such individuals to emerge from among the Shī‘ah and followers of the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (ṣ) so as to attribute these individuals’ views to the Shī‘ah, and in so doing, the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt could be presented as extremists and outside the community of Muslims.

Although this trend had started since the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and a number of mentally weak elements held extreme views regarding him (who were executed for not recanting their deviant views),(1)

‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ is a fictitious and imaginary figure. The first person to have mentioned him is Ṭabarī the historian. He, in turn, has taken the account of this Ibn Saba’ from Sayf ibn ‘Umar, whose being known as a liar has been unanimously agreed upon by the scholars of rijāl.(2)

The pure Imāms (‘a) had always faced this problem and strongly combated it, constantly cursing the extremists and informing the people of the danger posed by these extremists. The Imāms (‘a) used to order the Shī‘ah not to socialize with them nor establish relationship with them.(3) Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) had mentioned the names of a number of chief extremists [ghālīs] such

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1- Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 1, p. 325.
2- See Sayyid Murtaḍā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ wa Asāṭīr Ukhrā, 6th edition (1413 AH/1993), vol. 2, pp. 328-375. Its abridged English version is Sayyid Murtaḍā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abdullāh ibn Saba’ and Other Myths, trans. M.J. Muqaddas (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1984). [Trans.]
3- Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 586.

as Mughayrah ibn Sa‘īd, Bayān, Ṣā’id Nahdī, Ḥārith Shāmī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ḥārith, Ḥamzah ibn ‘Ammār Barbarī, and Abū’l-Khaṭṭāb, and cursed them.(1)

As the effect of the pure Imāms’ (‘a) curse, they suffered from pain and torment and were killed under terrible conditions. As Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) says,

Banān used to tell lies about Imām as-Sajjād (‘a); God made him taste the sharpness of the sword. Mughayrah ibn Sa‘īd used to tell lies about Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) and he also tasted the sharpness of the sword. Muḥammad ibn Bashīr used to lie about Abū’l-Ḥasan al-Kāẓim (‘a) and God, the Exalted, also made him perish via the sword. Abū’l-Khaṭṭāb used to lie about Abū ‘Abd Allāh Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and he was also killed via the sword. And the one telling lies about me is Muḥammad ibn Furāt.(2)

The period of Imām Ḥasan al-‘Askarī had been one of the periods when the trend of extremism [ghullah] gained optimal momentum. It is for this reason that the Imām had cursed individuals such as Qāsim Yaqṭīnī, ‘Alī ibn Ḥaskah Qummī, Ibn Bābā Qummī Fihrī, Muḥammad ibn Naṣīr Numayrī, and Fārs ibn Ḥātam Qazwīnī who were considered among the chiefs and leaders of extremism.(3)

Therefore, in Shī‘ah-populated regions such as Qum there had always been an anti-extremism [ghullah] atmosphere and the extremists were not permitted to reside there. For this reason, in describing the personal characters of Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh Muḥarrar, Ibn Dāwūd has said: “It is reported that he always expelled from the city of Qum those who were accused of extremism.”(4)

As narrated by Ibn Ḥajm, Abū’l-Ḥasan Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, a son of Imām al-Kāẓim (‘a) who, during the third century AH, lived in Azerbaijan where he was held in high esteem, was so strict against the preachers of extremist sects that they provided the means for his murder and they persuaded Mufallaḥ Ghulām ibn Abī’s-Sāj, the governor of Azerbaijan, to kill him.(5)

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1- Ibid., p. 577.
2- Ibid., p. 591.
3- Ibid., p. 805.
4- Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Raḍī, n.d.), p. 240.
5- Abū Muḥammad ‘Alī ibn Aḥmad ibn Sa‘īd ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī, Jumhazah Insāb al-‘Arab, 1st edition (Beirut: n.p., 1403 AH), p. 63.
* Lesson 23: Summary

Although the blessed names of the twelve Imāms (‘a) are recorded in the Prophetic traditions and the Shī‘ah were familiar with their names prior to meeting them, a series of reasons and factors caused some Shī‘ah to commit error with respect to the matter (Imamate) and to deviate from the straight path. Among these factors are the following:

1. Repression: After 40 AH when the Umayyads assumed power, repression of the Shī‘ah community was the order of the day. The same state of affairs prevailed during the ‘Abbāsid period, and this condition caused the Shī‘ah not to be able to acquire the necessary knowledge about their Imāms.

2. Taqiyyah [dissimulation]: Taqiyyah contributed to the preservation of the Shī‘ah school. Yet, it has also been one of the factors for the emergence of rifts within Shī‘ism because the pure Imāms (‘a) used to avoid explicitly declaring their Imamate.

3. Ambition for leadership and love of the world: There were always opportunist individuals in the ranks of the Shī‘ah who used to take advantage of the atmosphere of strangulation prevalent in the Shī‘ah community and create sects to advance their personal interests.

4. The existence of mentally weak individuals: There were mentally weak individuals among the Shī‘ah whose minds could not properly grasp the miracles that they witnessed from the Imāms and would start to hold extreme views.

The issue of extremism [ghullah] was one of the most serious dangers that had threatened the Shī‘ah. The pure Imāms (‘a) always confronted this matter, intensely informing the people of its peril.

* Lesson 23: Questions

1. What were the reasons behind the rifts within Shī‘ism?

2. How did the Imāms (‘a) combat extremist trends?

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Chapter Seven

The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah

Lesson Twenty Four

The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah

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p: 222

The importance of writing and compilation in the sacred laws of Islam is proverbial to all and sundry. For, one of the most significant ways of transferring knowledge and learning is through writing. The Arab society, prior to the advent of Islam had acquired the least benefit from this blessing, and only very few were able to read and write.(1) But the need to record and put into writing the verses of the Qur’an for learning and teaching were only felt immediately after the Prophetic mission and the receipt of revelations. As Ibn Hishām has narrated,

Before ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb became Muslim, his sister, Fāṭimah bint al-Khaṭṭāb and her husband Sa‘īd ibn Zayd had become Muslims and covertly and away from the attention of ‘Umar, Khabbāb ibn Irt was teaching them Sūrah Ṭā Hā on a writing parchment which was called ṣaḥīfah.(2)

In Medina, the Noble Messenger (ṣ) had selected a group of Muslims who were able to put into writing the divine revelation. The Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a), in addition to being the regular scribe of the revelation, the Holy Prophet (ṣ) constantly explained to him the definitive verses

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1- ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 417.
2- Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Hishām, As-Sīrah an-Nabawiyyah (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 344.

[muḥkamāt] and allegorical verses [mutashābihat](1)

as well as the abrogator [nāsukh] and abrogated [mansūkh] verses. ‘Alī (‘a) had also written a book entitled, “Ṣaḥīfah al-Jāmi‘ah” as dictated by the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), which encompassed the lawful [ḥalāl] and the unlawful [ḥarām], obligatory [wājib] and recommended [mustaḥab] acts, as well as laws and that which the people need in this world and in their life in the hereafter.(2) Two other books—one entitled “Ṣaḥīfah” about penalties [diyyāt] and another book entitled “Farā’iḍ”—have also been attributed to the Imām.(3)

Other companions of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) also compiled collections of his sayings and traditions, which they called “ṣaḥīfah”. Abū Hurayrah has been narrated by Bukhārī to have said:

Of all the companions of the Prophet, I have the most number of narrating the Prophet’s ḥadīths with the exception of ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Amrū because he used to write whatever he would hear from the Prophet while I was not writing them.(4)

After the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), however, the second caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb prohibited the writing of ḥadīth.(5)

This state of affairs persisted until such time that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz during the latter part of the first century AH annulled this prohibition and he wrote to Abū Bakr ibn Ḥazm to record in writing the ḥadīths of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ).(6) This task was not realized until the end of the first half of the second century AH because according to Ghazzālī, the first writers of books on ḥadīth among the Ahl as-Sunnah were Ibn Jarīḥ, Mu‘ammar ibn Rāshid, Mālik ibn Anas, and Sufyān ath-Thawrī(7) who were related to the second half of the second century AH and the years of their demise were 150, 152, 179, and 161 AH respectively. Yet, this process was never suspended among the

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1- Sūrah Āl ‘Imrān 3:7: “It is He who has sent down to you the Book. Parts of it are definitive verses, which are the mother of the Book, while others are metaphorical.”
2- Abū’l-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī) (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1407 AH), p. 360; Abī ‘Alī al-Faḍl ibn al-Hasan Ṭabarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Iḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 536.
3- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Tahdhīb al-Aḥkām (n.p: Maktabah aṣ-Ṣadūq, 1376 AHS/1418 AH), vol. 1, pp. 338, 342.
4- Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 36.
5- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, p. 544.
6- Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 36.
7- Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1380 AH), p. 2.

Shī‘ah, and great Shī‘ah among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) such as Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī and Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qibṭī made the pioneering steps in the field of writing and composition. Ibn Shahr Āshūb says,

Ghazzālī believes that the first book written in the Muslim world is the book of Ibn Jarīḥ on the works and types of exegeses [tafāsīr] narrated from Mujāhid and ‘Aṭā’ in Mecca. Next to his book is the book of Mu‘ammar ibn Rāshid Ṣan‘ānī in Yemen; then, the book Muwaṭṭa’ of Mālik ibn Anas in Medina; followed by the book Jāmi‘ah of Sufyān ath-Thawrī. This is not correct, however, for the first book in the Muslim world is written by the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) who compiled the Qur’an. Next to him, Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī, Aṣbagh ibn Nubātah, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Rāfi‘ had also made steps in writing and composition. And after them, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (‘a) composed the Ṣaḥīfah al-Kāmilah.(1)

Ibn Nadīm also regard the first account of writing among the Shī‘ah as related to the first century AH.(2) In view of the Shī‘ah’s lead in writing, composition and compiling the Prophetic works, Dhahabī in describing the status of Ābān ibn Taghlib thus says: “If the reliability of persons such as Ābān is not accepted because of his inclination to Shī‘ism, so many of the Prophetic works and ḥadīths will perish.”(3)

As such, the jurists and ḥadīth scholars [muḥaddithūn] of the Ahl as-Sunnah, particularly the founders of the four schools of thought [madhāhib], in addition to utilizing intermediaries to Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), had also learned from the Shī‘ah muḥaddithūn and received ḥadīths from them.(4)

Meanwhile, regarding the number of books written by Shī‘ah during the first three centuries AH, the author of Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah has said:

“The scholars and muḥaddithūn during the period of the pure Imāms (‘a), from the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) up to the time of Imām Ḥasan al-‘Askarī (‘a), have written six thousand and six hundred books.”(5)

The Shī‘ah during those periods made remarkable accomplishments in the various fields of knowledge of the day such as literature, lexicography,

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1- Ibid.
2- Ibn Nadīm. Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashar, n.d.), p. 307.
3- Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad Dhahabī, Mīzān al-I‘tidāl (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 4.
4- ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, researched by Muḥammad Abū’l-Faḍl Ibrāhīm (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378 AH), vol. 1, p. 18.
5- Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Ḥurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th edition (Tehran: Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 20, p. 49.

poetry, sciences of the Qur’an [‘ulūm al-qur’ān], exegesis [tafsīr], ḥadīth, principles of jurisprudence [uṣūl al-fiqh], scholastic theology [‘ilm al-kalām or simply kalām], history, life conduct of the Prophet (ṣ) [sīrah], rijāl, and ethics. They have made many writings and literary works while leading in most fields. Abū’l-Aswad Daw’ilī, a Shī‘ah poet, was the founder of the science of Arabic syntax [naḥw].(1)

He was the first to put the dots in the copies of the Qur’an.(2) The first book on lexicography among the Muslims is Kitāb al-‘Ayn written by Khalīl ibn Aḥmad(3) who has been one of the Shī‘ah scholars.(4)

In the field of the life conduct [sīrah] and battles [maghāzī] of the Prophet (ṣ), the first book was written by Ibn Isḥaq who, according to Ibn Ḥajr, was a Shī‘ah.(5)

After undertaking this cursory glance, we shall now explain a bit about the sciences of ḥadīth, jurisprudence and scholastic theology that the Shī‘ah school has a particular disposition, keeping into account its fundamentals and principles in these fields.

Ḥadīth

Next to the Qur’an, the ḥadīth or the sunnah which is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, means the saying, action and tacit approval of the Infallibles (‘a). The Ahl as-Sunnah confine the ḥadīth to only the saying, action and tacit approval of the Prophet (ṣ). The Shī‘ah, however, regard the saying, action and tacit approval of the infallible Imāms (‘a) as proof [hujjah] and part of the corpus of ḥadīth.(6)

Now, we shall survey the works on ḥadīth during the period of the presence of the Imāms (‘a) in four categories, which consist of four phases:

First Category
Point

Based on the opinion of Najāshī, the first category of the Shī‘ah ḥadīth recorders were Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qibṭī, ‘Alī ibn Abī Rāfi‘, Rabī‘ah ibn Sumī‘, Sulaym ibn Qays Hilālī, Aṣbagh ibn Nabātah Majāshi‘ī, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn

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1- Al-Fihrist, p. 61.
2- Bastānī, Dā’irah al-Ma‘ārif (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 788.
3- Al-Fihrist, p. 63.
4- Muhammad ibn ‘Alī Ardebīlī al-Gharawī al-Ḥā’irī, Jāmi‘ ar-Ruwāh (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘Uẓmā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 298.
5- Shahāb ad-Dīn ibn ‘Alī ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī, Taḥrīr Taqrīb at-Tahdhīb, 1st edition (Beirut: Mu’assasah ar-Risālah, 1417 AH/1997), vol. 3, pp. 211-212.
6- Shaykh Zayn ad-Dīn Shahīd ath-Thānī, Dhikrā ash-Shī‘ah fī Aḥkām ash-Sharī‘ah, lithography, p. 4; Ar-Ri‘āyah fī ‘Ilm ad-Dirāyah, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘Uẓmā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1408 AH), pp. 50, 52.

Ḥurr Ju‘fī.(1) They were among the companions of the Commander of the Faithful, Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).

Second Category

According to some scholars, there were twelve persons who had written books and treatises among the companions of Imām as-Sajjād and Imām al-Bāqir (‘a).(2)

One may mention Ābān ibn Taghlib among them. He occupied a special station in the eyes of the pure Imāms (‘a) so much so that Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) said to him: “In the mosque of Medina you give religious edicts [fatāwā] to the people as I want individuals like you to be seen among my Shī‘ah.”(3)

Najāshī says, “Ābān ibn Taghlib, may Allah be pleased with him, was one of the forerunners in the various fields of knowledge such as the Qur’an, jurisprudence, ḥadīth, literature, lexicography, and syntax.” Ābān has written about these fields such as his Tafsīr, Gharīb al-Qur’ān and Kitāb al-Faḍā’il.(4)

The same is true regarding Abū Ḥamzah ath-Thumālī about whom Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) has said: “Abū Ḥamzah was like Salmān (al-Fārsī) of my time.”(5)

Among his books and treatises are Kitāb an-Nawādir, Kitāb az-Zuhd and Tafsīr al-Qur’ān.(6)

Third Category

The time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) was a period of scientific progress and advancement in the Muslim society while the Shī‘ah had enjoyed relative freedom. According to Shaykh al-Mufīd, the number of students of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) was approximately four thousands.(7)

Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī Washā’, a companion of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) says that he has seen nine hundred people in Masjid Kūfah who have all been narrating ḥadīths from Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).(8)

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1- Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), pp. 4-9.
2- These twelve persons were Bard al-Askāf, Thābit ibn Abī Ṣafiyyah Abū Ḥamzah ath-Thumālī, Thābit ibn Hormuz, Bassām ibn ‘Abd Allāh Ṣayrafī, Muḥammad ibn Qays Bajlī, Ḥujr ibn Zā’idah Ḥaḍramī, Zakariyyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh Fiyāḍ, Abū Juham al-Kūfī, Ḥusayn ibn Thawīr, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Qāsim al-Anṣārī, ‘Abd al-Ghaffār ibn Qāsim al-Anṣārī, and Ābān ibn Taghlib. See ‘Abd ar-Raḥīm Rabbānī Shīrāzī, Muqaddamah Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th edition (Tehran: Maktabah Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), p. ی.
3- Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), p. 10.
4- Ibid., p. 11.
5- Ibid., p. 115.
6- Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 30.
7- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), p. 525.
8- Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), pp. 39-40.

So, out of the Imām’s replies to the questions posed to him, four hundred books have been written(1) all of which have been known as Al-Aṣl [The Principle or Essence]. There have also been other books, apart from the ones mentioned, in various fields and sciences written by the companions and students of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Fourth Category

During this period which was after the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), many books on ḥadīth have been written. For example, Ḥusayn ibn Sa‘īd al-Kūfī, a companion of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a), has written thirty books on ḥadīth.(2)

Muḥammad ibn Abī ‘Umayr, another companion of Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a), has written ninety four books while Ṣafwān ibn Bajlī, a companion of both Imām ar-Riḍā and Imām al-Jawād (‘a), have authored thirty books most of which have the titular appellation of Jāmi‘ [collection, compendium or anthology]. The latter compilers of ḥadīth such as Thiqat al-Islām al-Kulaynī, Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq and Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī have benefited from those books in writing their own collections.

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1- Abī ‘Alī al-Faḍl ibn al-Hasan Ṭabarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Iḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 535.
2- Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 40.
* Lesson 24: Summary

The importance of writing in the sacred laws of Islam is proverbial to all and sundry. With the receipt of the divine revelation, the need for recording it in writing was felt, and a number of scribes of the revelation were known.

The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and a number of other companions of the Prophet (ṣ) had compiled some collections of the ḥadīths of the Prophet (ṣ) which were known together as Ṣaḥīfah.

Among the Ahl as-Sunnah, the first books on ḥadīth have been related to the second half of the second century AH because the second caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb had prohibited the writing of ḥadīth. This prohibition among the Shī‘ah, however, did not prevail, and the first writers among the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) were Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī and Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qibṭī.

Shī‘ah up to the time of Imām Ḥasan al-‘Askarī (‘a) had written six thousand and six hundred books.

We shall survey the works on ḥadīth written by the Shī‘ah during the whole period of the presence of the pure Imāms (‘a) in four categories that consist of four phases.

First category: Companions of the Commander of the Faithful, Imām al-Ḥasan and Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).

Second category: Companions of Imām as-Sajjād and Imām al-Bāqir (‘a).

Third category: Companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Fourth category: Companions of Imām al-Kāẓim, Imām ar-Riḍā, Imām al-Jawād, Imām al-Hādī, and Imām Ḥasan al-‘Askarī (‘a).

* Lesson 24: Questions

1. How was the writing of the Qur’an during the time of the Prophet (ṣ)?

2. Were the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) keeping written records of his ḥadīths?

3. Which period were the first writers of the books on ḥadīth among the Ahl as-Sunnah related to?

4. Who were the pioneers in writing among the Shī‘ah?

5. What is the number of the books written by the Shī‘ah up to the time of Imām Ḥasan al-‘Askarī (‘a)?

6. The first category of the Shī‘ah scholars of ḥadīth [muḥaddithūn] was the companions of which of the infallible Imāms (‘a)?

7. How was the writing of ḥadīth during the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a)?

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8. The books on ḥadīth collectively known as Jāmi‘ [collection, compendium or anthology] were related to which period?

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Lesson Twenty Five

The Science of Jurisprudence [‘ilm al-fiqh]

The totality of man’s actions, which is his relationship with God and fellow men, is in need of rules that embrace the science of jurisprudence. The laws of Islam have a divine origin emanating from the will of God. Of course, the will of God is never dependent upon contract and consent. It is rather based on intrinsic and true felicity and adversity. The Noble Messenger (ṣ) is the messenger of God and his decree is the decree of God:

﴿ وَ ما یَنْطِقُ عَنِ ٱلْهَوَی إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ وَحْیٌ یُوْحی ﴾

“Nor doth he speak of (his own) desire. It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired.”(1)

And it is based on the verse, “Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you”(2) that obedience to ‘those vested with authority’ [ūli’l-amr]—the true successors of the Prophet (ṣ)—has been placed along with obedience to God and the Messenger (ṣ). The statements of the infallible Imāms (‘a) are nothing but an inspiration from God, and like the statements of the Prophet (ṣ), obedience to them is obligatory.

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1- Sūrah al-Najm 53:3-4.
2- Sūrah an-Nisā’ 4:59.
The State of Jurisprudence during the Period of the Companions [ṣaḥābah] and the Followers [ṭābi‘ūn]

But after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) when the true path of Islam was changed and people were kept away from the rightful successors of the Prophet (ṣ), they refer to the companions [ṣaḥābah] of the Prophet (ṣ) concerning religious issues and problems. Of course, a number of the ṣaḥābah were forerunners in this matter. As Ibn Sa‘d says, during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān, ‘Alī, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, and Zayd ibn Thābit issued religious edicts [fatāwā].(1) The pure Imāms (‘a) and a number of the Shī‘ah among the ṣaḥābah such as ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās and Abū Sa‘īd al-Khudrī were also recognized generally by the Ahl as-Sunnah as jurists and well-informed of the laws of Islam, and were referred by them.(2)

Of course, during that period, the Shī‘ah used to refer to the infallible Imāms (‘a) and leaders of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in matters of jurisprudence and Islamic teachings in general. So, jurisprudence and ijtihād(3), as they are applied today, were not existent then. But after the end of the period of the ṣaḥābah, on account of the emergence of new issues in jurisprudence, a number of the Followers [tābi‘ūn] (the generation succeeding the ṣaḥābah) had engaged in matters of jurisprudence [fiqh] and the term faqīh [jurist or jurisprudent] was applied to them. Among them were the “seven jurists” of Medina.(4)

The State of Jurisprudence among the Shī‘ah

The state of jurisprudence among the Shī‘ah was different owing to the presence of the infallible Imāms (‘a) and ijtihād, then discussed among the Ahl as-Sunnah, was not developed among the Shī‘ah. It can be said in general that the Shī‘ah jurisprudence during the periods of the presence of the infallible Imāms (‘a) up to the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā] has been at the period of settlement and preparation for ijtihād.(5)

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1- Muḥammad ibn Sa‘d, Aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1410 AH), vol. 2, p. 267.
2- Ibid., pp. 279, 285.
3- Ijtihād: juristic derivation of laws applicable to new conditions on the basis of the general principles laid down in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. [Trans.]
4- Ibn Sa‘d has said: “Those who were referred to by the people in Medina and whose statements were trusted by the people were Sa‘īd ibn Musayyab, Abū Bakr ibn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, ‘Urwah ibn Zubayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Utbah, Qāsim ibn Muḥammad, Khārijah ibn Zayd, and Sulaymān ibn Sayyār. Ibid., p. 23.
5- Āyatullāh Ibrāhīm Jannātī believes that the Shī‘ah jurisprudence from the advent of Islam up to the present has passed through eight periods: First period: the period of the emergence of the elements of ijtihād starting from the migration [hijrah] of the Prophet (ṣ) to Medina up to 11 AH. Second period: the period of contrivance and preparation for the application of ijtihād starting from the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) up to the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā]. Third period: the period of conceiving the fundamental rules and common elements of ijtihād beginning with the time of Ibn Abī ‘Aqīl (died 329 AH) up to the time of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (died 460 AH). Fourth period: the period of application of the common elements of ijtihād in the textual sources commencing from the time of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī up to the time of Nawādah Aw Ibn Idrīs (died 598 AH). Fifth period: The period of expansion of the argument concerning issues on ijtihād starting from the time of Ibn Idrīs up to the time of Waḥīd Behbahānī (died 1205 AH). Sixth period: The evolutionary period of ijtihād beginning with the time of Waḥīd Bahbahānī up to the time of Shaykh al-Anṣārī (died 1281 AH). Seventh period: The period of profound thinking in matters of ijtihād commencing from the time of Shaykh al-Anṣārī up to the time of Imām Khomeinī. Eight period: The period of general application of ijtihād with modern methodology started by Imām Khomeinī. Āyatullāh Ibrāhīm Jannātī, Idwār-e Ijtihād, 1st edition (Tehran: Sāzmān-e Intishārāt-e Kayhān, 1372 AHS), starting from chapter 2.

With the presence of the infallible Imāms (‘a), keeping open the door of knowledge and accessibility of the textual sources, the need for ijtihād, which largely depends on intellectual bases, had not been much felt then.

Shī‘ah jurisprudence on the basis of ijtihād was first founded by Ibn Abī ‘Aqīl ‘Ummānī (died in the first part of the fourth century AH), a contemporary of al-Kulaynī. After him, Muḥammad ibn Junayd Askāfī (died mid-fourth century AH) continued his way and fortified the edifices of ijtihād and juristic deduction [istinbāṭ]. They are known as the “Qadīmayn” [the two seniors]. Shaykh al-Mufīd (died 413 AH) and Sayyid Murtaḍā ‘Alam al-Hudā (died 436 AH) also followed the path of ijtihād until it was the turn of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (460 AH). The Shī‘ah jurisprudence attained a glorious stage through this great man. Apart from writing reliable books on ḥadīth, At-Tahdhīb and Al-Istibṣār, he also strived to collect books on jurisprudence and ijtihād, authoring such books on jurisprudence as An-Nihāyah, Mabsūṭ and Khilāf.

Of course, it does not mean that ijtihād and jurisprudence had never been discussed during the presence of the pure Imāms (‘a). As a matter of fact, some people had no direct access to the pure Imāms (‘a) due to location and peculiar conditions. So, in this regard, the pure Imāms (‘a) presented to the people the criteria by which to identify the jurists to whom they could refer in case of necessity, dealing in a sense with the preliminary ijtihād as well as answering the inquiries of people. For example, it is stated in the Maqbūlah of ‘Umar ibn Ḥanzalah that he asked Imām aṣ-Sādiq (‘a) about two persons from among the Shī‘ah who were in conflict over religious issues such as liability and debt [dayn] and inheritance [mīrāth]. The Imām said, “They have to look for a person who could narrate our ḥadīths, give opinion about what we declared lawful [ḥalāl] and unlawful [ḥarām], and know our

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decrees [aḥkām] for I declare such a person as the judge and arbiter for you.”(1)

Sometimes also the pure Imāms (‘a) would appoint certain persons to whom the Shī‘ah refer in matters of jurisprudence and religious laws. For instance, according to Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, ‘Alī ibn Musayyab said to Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a): “There is a long way and I cannot come to you whenever I want. From whom should I ask about your religious decrees?” The Imām replied: “[You may ask] from Zakariyyā ibn Ādam as he is trustworthy in [matters of] religion and the world.”(2) Similarly, Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) commanded Ābān ibn Taghlib to sit in the mosque and issue religious edicts [fatāwā] for the people.(3)

The Beginning of Ijtihād

During the period of the pure Imāms (‘a), they used to teach their students the principles of jurisprudence [uṣūl al-fiqh] and the rules of deducing them. For this reason, books attributed to the infallible Imāms (‘a) have been written by Shī‘ah scholars; for example, the book Uṣūl Āl ar-Rasūl written by Hāshim Khwānsārī; Uṣūl Aṣliyyah authored by Sayyid ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad-Riḍā Ḥusayn; and the book Fuṣūl al-Muhimmah on the principles of the Imams (‘a) penned by Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan Ḥurr al-‘Āmilī.(4)

In the books on rijāl, some of the great companions of the pure Imāms (‘a) have been described as jurists [fuqahā]. For example, Najāshī thus says about Faḍl ibn Shādhān: “…He was one of our reliable companions among the jurists [fuqahā] and scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn].”(5)

The Jurists [fuqahā] among the Companions of the Imāms (‘a)

Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq, Imām al-Kāẓim, and Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) as the Imāms’ jurist-companions, describing them as “jurists

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1- Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Ḥurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th edition (Tehran: Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 18, p. 99, kitāb al-qaḍā’, abwāb ṣifāt al-qāḍī, bāb 11, ḥadīth 1.
2- Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), researched by Sayyid Mahdī Rajā’ī (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 2, p. 857.
3- Abū’l-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī) (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1407 AH), p. 10.
4- Sayyid Ḥasan Ṣadr, Ta’sīs ash-Shī‘ah Li ‘Ulūm al-Islām (Tehran: Manshūrāt al-A‘lamī, n.d.), p. 310.
5- Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), p. 307.

among the companions of Abū Ja‘far (‘a),” “jurists among the companions of Abū ‘Abd Allāh (‘a),” ),” and “jurists among the companions of Abū Ibrāhīm and Abū’l-Ḥasan ar-Riḍā (‘a).”

In continuation, Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsi has added that the Shī‘ah have consensus of opinion regarding the authenticity of their narrations and acknowledge their expertise in jurisprudence among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a). He then introduced them in three categories. First category: The jurists among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) such as Zurārah known as Kharbūd, Barīd, Abū Baṣīr Asadī, Faḍīl ibn Yasār, and Muḥammad ibn Muslim aṭ-Ṭā’ifī, among whom Zurārah was the most learned. The six were also considered among the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a).

Second category: The jurists among the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) such as Jamīl ibn Darrāj, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Maskān, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Bakīr, Ḥammād ibn ‘Īsā, and Ḥammād ibn ‘Uthmān.

Third category: The jurists among the companions of Imām al-Kāẓim and Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) such as Yūnus ibn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, Ṣafwān ibn Yaḥyā, Biyā‘ as-Sābirī Muḥammad ibn Abī ‘Umayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Mughayrah, Ḥasan ibn Maḥbūb, and Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Abī Naṣr.(1) In the section about the reports [akhbār] of the Shī‘ah jurists and their written books, Ibn Nadīm has also mentioned a number of the jurists among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a), saying: “They are sheikhs who have narrated fiqh from the Imāms.” He has then mentioned them, viz. Ṣāliḥ ibn Abū’l-Aswad, ‘Alī ibn Ghurrāb, Abū Yaḥyā Layth Murādī, Zurayq ibn Zubayr, Abū Salmah al-Baṣrī, Ismā‘īl ibn Ziyād, Abū Aḥmad ‘Umar ibn ar-Raḍī‘, Dāwūd ibn Farqad, ‘Alī ibn Ri’āb, ‘Alī ibn Ibrāhīm Mu‘allī, Hishām ibn Sālim, Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan al-‘Aṭṭār, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Qāsim al-Anṣārī, Sayf ibn ‘Umayrah Nakha‘ī, Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Umar Ṣan‘ānī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Maymūn, Qadāḥ, Rabī‘ ibn Madrak, ‘Umar ibn Abī Ziyād Abzārī, Zaykār ibn Yaḥyā Wāsiṭī, Abū Khālid ibn ‘Amrū ibn Khālid Wāsiṭī, Ḥarīz ibn ‘Abd Allāh Azadī Sijistānī, ‘Abd Allāh Ḥalabī, Zakariyyā Mu’min, Thabit Ḍararī, Mathnā ibn Asad Khayyāṭ, ‘Umar ibn Adhīnah, ‘Ammār ibn Mu‘āwiyah Dahnī ‘Abdī Kūfī, Mu‘āwiyah ibn ‘Ammār Dahanī, and Ḥasan ibn Mahbūb Sarād, for each of whom one book has been mentioned.(2)

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1- Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, pp. 376, 507, 830.
2- Ibn Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 308.
* Lesson 25: Summary

The totality of actions of man is in need of rules which embrace the science of jurisprudence.

After the Holy Prophet (ṣ) when the people were kept away from the rightful successors, they referred to the companions [ṣaḥābah] of the Prophet (ṣ).

By the end of the period of the ṣaḥābah, a number of jurists [fuqahā] emerged from among the Ahl as-Sunnah.

But the condition of jurisprudence [fiqh] among the Shī‘ah was different because the Infallibles (‘a) were present and the need for ijtihād was not so much felt. Jurisprudence during these periods was at the stage of preparation for ijitihād. In fact, jurisprudence base on ijtihād was first discussed at the time of Ibn Abī ‘Aqīl ‘Ummānī during the fourth century AH.

Of course, during the periods of the Imāms (‘a) a sort of ijtihād was also discussed. At times, the pure Imāms (‘a) would teach the way and method of ijtihād to their companions. For this reason, books on the principles of jurisprudence [uṣūl al-fiqh] attributed to those personages were written.

Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq, Imām al-Kāẓim, and Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) as “jurists among the companions of the Imāms (‘a)”.

* Lesson 25: Questions

1. What was the condition of jurisprudence during the period of the ṣaḥābah, and who did the Shī‘ah refer to in matters of jurisprudence?

2. What was the condition of jurisprudence among the Shī‘ah during the presence of the Infallible Imāms (‘a)?

3. How has the initiation of jurisprudence taken place among the Shī‘ah?

4. How many were the jurists [fuqahā] among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a)?

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Lesson Twenty Six

The Science of Scholastic Theology [‘ilm al-kalām]

The science of scholastic theology [‘ilm al-kalām] is the science about the totality of doctrines that every Muslim must believe. In other words, it is the science that deals with the discussion and study of the principles of religion [uṣūl ad-dīn]. The first difference in the principles of religion over the issue of Imamate [imāmah] emerged immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet (ṣ). Shahristānī says, “The most significant difference in Islam is the difference over the Imamate, and over none of the other principles of religion was swords unsheathed.”(1)

Nawbakhtī also says:

The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) passed away in Rabī‘ al-Awwal(2) ten years after the migration [hijrah] at the age of 63 and with 23 years of apostolic mission… At the time, the ummah of Islam was divided into three groups: A group was called “Shī‘ah” which was composed of the followers [shī‘ah] of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a) from which all the Shī‘ah subgroups separated. The second group claiming leadership and rule were the “Anṣār” and the third group was inclined toward Abū Bakr ibn Abī Quḥāfah, saying: “The

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1- Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 30.
2- What is more popular is that the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) passed away on the 27th of the lunar month of Ṣafar.

Holy Prophet (ṣ) did not specified a certain person as the successor, and left the decision for it to the ummah.”(1)

As such, there have always been discussions and debates between the Shī‘ah and other Muslims over the issue of Imamate.

Yet, the difference on other principles and fundamentals of the religion emerged during the latter part of the first century and early second century AH. As Shahristānī says,

Difference on the principles emerged during the last days of the ṣaḥābah such as Ma‘bad Jahannī, Ghīlān Damishqī and Yūnus Aswārī regarding predestination [qadr], the relationship of good [khayr] and evil [sharr] to predestination. Wāṣil ibn ‘Aṭā’, a student of Ḥasan al-Baṣrī and ‘Amrū ibn ‘Ubayd, had added things to the questions of predestination.(2)

Among the scholastic [kalāmī] sects during those periods were the Wa‘īdiyyah, Khawārij, Murji’ah, and Jabariyyah.

Of course, the scholastic discussion had reached its optimal point when Wāṣil ibn ‘Aṭā’ separated from the assembly of Ḥasan al-Baṣri and founded the Mu‘tazilah sect.(3) In this manner, the Mu‘tazilah school, based mainly on rational deductions, was against the Ahl al-Ḥadīth which was called “Ḥashawiyyah”. It was so until such time that at the end of the third century AH, Abū’l-Ḥasan al-Ash‘arī separated from the Mu‘tazilah school and engaged in defending the Ahl al-Ḥadīth school of thought within rational frameworks, and his school became known later as the Ash‘arī school.(4)

After that, the Mu‘tazilah made no progress, and kept on withdrawing in face of the Ahl al-Ḥadīth so much so that now, the official scholastic theology of the Ahl as-Sunnah is the Ash‘arī scholasticism.

The Shī‘ah scholastic theology is the oldest of all Muslim scholastic shools. ‘Alī (‘a), the first infallible Imām acknowledged by the Shī‘ah has discussed the questions on beliefs such as monotheism [tawḥīd], predestination and freewill, and Attributes of God, and this kind of discussions has been recorded in Nahj al-Balāghah in the language of the Imām himself.

The scholastic discussions about Imamate among the Shī‘ah, however, commenced immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet (ṣ) in defending the right of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) (over the issue of Imamate and caliphate). As narrated by Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq, the first to

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1- Nawbakhtī, Abī Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Mūsā. Firq ash-Shī‘ah. Najaf: Al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1355 AH/1936.
2- Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 35.
3- Ibid., p. 500.
4- Ibid., pp. 85-86.

defend the right of ‘Alī (‘a) vis-à-vis the architects of Saqīfah were twelve persons from among the great companions of the Prophet (ṣ). Few days after the event of Saqīfah, they debated with Abū Bakr at the Mosque of the Prophet (ṣ) and cornered him.(1)

After them, a person such as Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī had also not remained silent vis-à-vis the usurpers of the right of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) to such an extent that ‘Uthmān ibn al-‘Affān was finally convinced to banish him to Shām and Rabdhah.

‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās, the Prophet’s (‘a) cousin, a student of ‘Alī (‘a), exegete [mufassir] of the Qur’an, scholar, and an outstanding Hāshimite statesman, was one of the defenders of the Shī‘ah school and always championing the rightfulness of ‘Alī (‘a) to such an extent that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb found fault with him for always saying, “Our right has been usurped.” Ibn al-‘Abbās became blind in his old age and one day he heard some people in a certain place uttering abusive language against the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). He said to his son ‘Alī: “Hold my hand and take me there.” When he was near them, he addressed them, saying: “Which of you was abusing God?!” They replied, “None.” He asked, “Which is you was abusing the Prophet?” “None,” they answered. He inquired, “Which of you was abusing ‘Alī?” This time they responded, “All of us.” He said, “Bear witness that I heard the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) saying: “He who abuses ‘Alī abuses me, and he who abuses me abuses God, and he who abuses God shall be thrown in an inverted position by God to the hellfire.” He then returned and while walking, he asked his son, “How do you see them?” His son recited this poem:

نظروا الیک باعین محمّره نظر التیوس الی شفار الجازر

They are looking at you with a ‘reddish look’ like the gaze of the animal to be slaughtered to the lancet of the slaughterer.

Ibn al-‘Abbās said, “You continue.” His son said:

خزر الحواجب ناکسی اذقانهم نظر الذّلیل إلی العزیز القادر

They were humiliated and disgraced; they are looking at you like that of the subject to his master.

Ibn al-‘Abbās said, “You continue!” His son answered, “I can say nothing more.” Ibn al-‘Abbās himself recited this poem:

احیاؤهم خزی علی أمواتهم و المیتون فضیحه للغابر

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1- Shaykh aṣ-Ṣadūq, Al-Khiṣāl (Qum: Manshūrāt Jāmi‘ah al-Mudarrisīn fī al-Ḥawzah al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1403 AH), pp. 461-465.

Their living ones are the source of abjectness for their dead ones while their dead ones were the source of disgrace for their ancestors.(1)

Among the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), prominent figures such as Ṣa‘ṣa‘ah ibn Ṣawḥān, Maytham at-Tammār, Kumayl ibn Ziyād, Awīs Qarnī, Salīm ibn Qays, Ḥārith Ḥamdānī, and Aṣbagh ibn Nabātah also engaged in defending the right of ‘Alī (‘a), debating with the enemies of the Imām in this regard.

Meanwhile, concerning the first person among the Shī‘ah to have written a book about scholastic theology, Ibn Nadīm and Ibn Shahr Āshūb regard Ismā‘īl ibn Maytham at-Tammār to be the first author on Shī‘ah scholastic theology as he has written the books Al-Imāmah and Al-Istiḥqāq on this subject.(2) The late Sayyid Ḥasan Ṣadr, however, considers ‘Īsā ibn Rawḍah as the first Shī‘ah writer on scholastic theology.(3) Of course, the oldest existing book on Shī‘ah kalām is the book Al-Ayḍāḥ of Faḍl ibn Shādhān an-Nayshābūrī (died 260 AH) who was among the companions of Imām al-Hādī and Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a).

During the period of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a), this science, like other sciences, also flourished tremendously and a number of his students such as Hishām ibn Ḥakam, Hisham ibn Sālim, Mu’min Ṭāq, Faḍāl ibn Ḥasan, and Jābir ibn Yazīd Ju‘fī, among others, excelled in this field writing many books and treatises in this regard. They had discussions and debates with the scholars of other schools.

Faḍl ibn Shādhān an-Nayshābūrī has been among the most outstanding Shī‘ah scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn]. He met Imām ar-Riḍā, Imām al-Jawād and Imām al-Hādī (‘a), and has written many book on the subjects of kalām, beliefs and deviant schools of thought.(4)

Ḥasan ibn Nawbakhtī (died 310 AH) was one of the Shī‘ah mutakallimūn and among his books is Firq ash-Shī‘ah.(5)

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1- Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shirāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.), p. 127.
2- Ibn Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’ṭ-Ṭabā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 249; Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1380 AH/1961), p. 62.
3- Sayyid Ḥasan Ṣadr, Ta’sīs ash-Shī‘ah Li ‘Ulūm al-Islām (Tehran: Manshūrāt al-A‘lamī, n.d.), p. 350.
4- Abū’l-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Muṣanfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī) (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1407 AH), p. 306.
5- Ibid., p. 63.

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* Lesson 26: Summary

Scholastic theology [kalām] deals with the discussion about the principles of religion [uṣūl ad-dīn]. The first difference in religion was over the question of Imamate [imāmah] which emerged immediately after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) and the event of Saqīfah. But the difference on other principles and fundamentals is related to the end of the first century AH.

Scholastic [kalāmī] discussions reached their optimal point after the founding of the Mu‘tazilah school of thought.

The Shī‘ah kalām is the oldest Muslim scholastic school because the scholastic discussions about the Imamate started immediately after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) on account of defending the rightfulness of ‘Alī (‘a).

The first book on kalām among the Shī‘ah was written by ‘Īsā ibn Rawḍah while the oldest existing book on kalām is Al-Ayḍāḥ of Faḍl ibn Shādhān.

The Shī‘ah kalām flourished much during the period of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and some of his companions excelled in it.

* Lesson 26: Questions

1. The first difference among the Muslim has been over which principle?

2. When did the scholastic discussions among the Shī‘ah commence?

3. The first Shī‘ah book on kalām has been written by whom?

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Chapter Eight

The Role of the Shī‘ah Poets in the Spread of Shī‘ism

Lesson Twenty Seven

The Shī‘ah Poets and the Station of Poetry

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During the past periods, poetry occupied a special station, and in addition to its literary and aesthetic dimensions, it had been considered the most important instrument of propaganda, playing the role of today’s mass media such as printed matters, radio and television. During the pre-Islamic period of ignorance [yawm al-jāhiliyyah], this fact was conspicuously prevalent among the Arabs because they used to give ample importance to eloquence, fluency and beauty of speech. For this reason, one of the significant forms of the miracle of the Qur’an is its eloquence and fluency; hence, poetry occupied a special place among the Arabs. As Ya‘qūbī says in this regard,

The Arab people used to regard poetry as equal to knowledge and wisdom. If in a certain tribe a sagacious and ingenious poet emerged, his presence at the annual trade fairs and the Ḥajj ceremony and its assemblies would be provided so as for him to recite his poetry and be heard by other tribes and clans, and thus, his tribe would be proud of his poetry.

The Arab tribes used to refer to poetry in all their works. They would also express enmity through poetry; give example through poetry; give honor to one another through poetry; find fault with one another through poetry; and extol and eulogize one another through it.(1)

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1- Aḥmad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wāḍiḥ, Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1414 AH), vol. 1, p. 262.

After the event of Saqīfah and the overt formation of Shī‘ism, Arabic poetry maintained its station and the Shī‘ah made use of it in propagating their viewpoint regarding Imāmate and guardianship [wilāyah]. Poets who were upholding the wilāyah on the rightfulness of the Shī‘ah school whose foundation was the rightfulness of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) over the caliphate recited poems and had pivotal role in the spread and propagation of Shī‘ism. Notwithstanding his anti-Shī‘ah tendency, Zubayr ibn Bakkār has mentioned some of these poems. Among these were the poems of ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab which run as follows:

ما کنت احسب أن الأمر منصرف عن هاشم ثم منها عن أبی حسن!

ألیس اولی من صلی لقبلتکم و أعلم الناس بالقرآن و السنن؟

و أقرب الناس عهداً بالنبی ومن جبریل عون له فی الغسل و الکفن؟

ما فیه و ما فیهم لا یمترون به و لیس فی القوم ما فیه من الحسن

ماذا الذی ردهم عنه فنعلمه

ها ان ذاغبنا من اعظم الغبن

I did not imagine that they would take away the matter of caliphate from the Banū Hāshim and among whom from Abū’l-Ḥasan (‘Alī)!

Is he not the first person to pray toward your qiblah and the most learned of people about the Qur’an and the Sunnah?

Was he not the last person to see the Prophet? And has he not been assistant of Jibra’īl in bathing (for the dead) and enshrouding the Prophet?

Why do you not think about the difference between you and ‘Alī? Among the people, no one possesses his good qualities.

What has been the reason behind their deviation from him? Make him aware of this fact as this loss is the greatest of losses.(1)

The pure Imāms (‘a), who were also aware of the utility and influence of poetry, used to satisfactorily appreciate and honor Shī‘ah poets. One day, Kumayt Asadī came to Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) and recited his elegy until he reached this couplet:

و قتیل بالطف غودر منهم بین غوعاء أمّهٍ و طغام

And the killed one among them in the land of Ṭaf has been abjectly and miserably abandoned by people.

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1- Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 581.

Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) wept and said: “O Kumayt! If we only had wealth we shall give it to you. Yet, I will tell you whatever the Messenger of Allah (‘a) said to Ḥassān ibn Thābit: ‘So long as you defend us Ahl al-Bayt, you are confirmed by the Holy Spirit [rūḥ al-qudus]’.”(1)

Similarly, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) used to say: “O assembly of the Shī‘ah! Teach the poems of ‘Abdī(2) to your children as he is with the religion of God.”(3)

For this reason, the truth-speaking Shī‘ah poets were held in high esteem and regard by the Shī‘ah and devotees of the Prophet’s (ṣ) descendants. As Ibn al-Mu‘tazil has narrated, “The people of Qum used to make it incumbent upon themselves to allocate fifty thousand dirhams for Da‘bal Khazā‘ī, a Shī‘ah poet.”(4)

As such, the Shī‘ah poets were always subjected to persecution and harassment by the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid rulers. Due to the poems he has recited in praise of Banū Hāshim and the pains experienced by the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ), Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadī fell prey to the bigotry of the Umayyads and was imprisoned.(5) Because of poems he had recited in acknowledging Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah,(6)

Sadīf ibn Maymūn(7)

earned

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1- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 254.
2- ‘Abdī was among the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and has been mentioned in Rijāl Kāshī as Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab with the epithet of Abū Muḥammad. Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li Iḥyā’ at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 2, p. 704. Ibn Shahr Āshūb has mentioned Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab in the category of “”muqtaṣad” poets while erroneously mentioned as ‘Alī ibn Ḥammād ‘Abdī in the category of “mujāhir” poets. Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Maṭba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1380 AH/1961), pp. 147, 151.
3- Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 147.
4- Dr. Shawqī Ḍayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘Aṣr al-‘Abbās al-Awwal (Egypt: Dār al-Ma‘ārif, n.d.), p. 321.
5- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 17, pp. 1-8.
6- Muḥammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah was one of the grandchildren of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a) and his father was ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan Muthannā. During the concluding part of the Umayyad rule, the Banū Hāshim pledged allegiance to him though Imām aṣ-Ṣadiq (‘a) had then believed that his work would lead to nowhere. After the ‘Abbāsids’ ascension to the office of caliphate, Nafs az-Zakiyyah staged an uprising during the reign of the second ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr, but he was defeated by the ‘Abbāsid forces and was killed.
7- Sadīf ibn Maymūn was one of the attendants of Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) and Ibn Shahr Āshūb has mentioned him in the category of “mudqaṣid” poets of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Through his poems, it was also he who urged Saffāḥ, the first ‘Abbāsid caliph, to kill the surviving Umayyads. Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 169.

the tirade of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr and by the caliph’s order, ‘Abd aṣ-Ṣamad ibn ‘Alī, the then governor of Medina, buried Ṣadīf alive.(1)

Ibrahim ibn Hurmah was also one of the silver-tongued Shī‘ah poets who composed beautiful poems in praise of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). When he entered the court of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Manṣūr, Manṣūr spoke to him harshly and said: “After this, if you would recite poems which we do not accept, I will kill you.”(2)

Nonetheless, the self-sacrificing poets such as Du‘bal paid less attention to these threats. Du‘bal used to say, “For fifty years, I have been carrying a gallows but I cannot find anyone who would hang me in it.”(3)

The Shī‘ah Poets Till the End of Minor Occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā]

As indicated earlier, from the very first few days after the event of Saqīfah, there were those among the truth-speaking poets who defended the school of Shī‘ism through their eloquent tongues. During the rule of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and at the Battle of Jamal and the Battle of Ṣiffīn, apart from the poets of Iraq who were among the followers of ‘Alī (‘a), many of the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) such as ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir, Khuzaymah ibn Thābit, Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās, and others recited poetry in defending the right of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). During the Umayyad period, some poets had also kept their attachment to the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). During the Umayyad period compared to the ‘Abbāsid period, however, there were fewer poets who were present on the scene because during that period an extreme atmosphere of strangulation was prevalent in the Shī‘ah community. As Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says, “The preceding poets of the Umayyad period recited fewer poems in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).”(4) When Kumayt al-Asadī recited the poetry in praise of Banū Hāshim [hāshimiyyāt], ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah who was one of the descendants of Ja‘far ibn Abī Ṭālib aṭ-Ṭayyār addressed the Banū Hāshim, saying: “O Banū Hāshim! At the time when the people refrained from expressing your superiority, this Kumayt

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1- Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 5, pp. 72-73.
2- Asad Ḥaydar, Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 452.
3- Dr. Muṣṭafā Ash-Shak‘ah, Al-Adab fī Mawkib al-Ḥaḍārah al-Islāmiyyah, Kitāb ash-Shu‘arā 1 (Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-Lubnāniyyah, n.d.), pp. 162-163.
4- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH), p. 121.

recited poetry for you and risked his live vis-à-vis the Umayyads.” The same poetry was the cause of the trouble that Kumayt endured.(1)

Prior to him, Farazdaq was also sent to the Umayyad prison because of his eulogy to Imām as-Sajjād (‘a).(2)

During the ‘Abbāsid period, sensitivity toward the truth-speaking poets was also strong, but since the Shī‘ah community had expanded then, less control was exerted against them compared to that of the Umayyad period. When the ‘Abbāsids gradually became weak, more poets were present on the scene for defending the school of Shī‘ism. As Dr. Shawkī Ḍayf says, “During the second ‘Abbāsid period, more Shī‘ah poems were recited, and the Shī‘ah poets during that period were of two groups: ‘Alawī poets and non-‘Alawī poets.”(3)

Meanwhile, scholars and notables such as Ibn Shahr Āshūb, ‘Alī Khān Shīrāzī and the late ‘Allāmah Amīnī have written about the numbers of Shī‘ah poets. Yet, the most comprehensive work in this regard is by Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn who has counted the number of Shī‘ah poets according to their year of death up to 329 AH, i.e. the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā].(4)

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1- Al-Aghānī, vol. 17, pp. 1-8.
2- Quṭb ad-Dīn Rāwandī, Al-Kharā’ij wa’l-Jarā’iḥ, 1st edition (Qum: Mu’assasah al-Imām al-Mahdī, 1409 AH), vol. 1, p.267.
3- Shawkī Ḍayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘Aṣr al-‘Abbās ath-Thānī (Egypt: Dār al-Ma‘ārif, n.d.), p. 386.
4- The Shī‘ah poets according to the computation of the late Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn are as follows: The Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a); Fāṭimah az-Zahrā bint Rasūlullāh (‘a); Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās (died 12 or 15 AH); Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (died 23 AH); ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (died 32 AH); Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī (‘a); Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī (‘a); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (martyrdom 61 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās (died 68 AH); Umm Ḥakīm bint ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (died 1st century AH); Arwā bin ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. Among the non-Banū Hāshim and companions of the Prophet (ṣ): Nābi‘ah Ju‘dī Qays ibn ‘Abd Allāh (died 1st century AH); Abū’l-Ḥaytham ibn Tayyahān al-Anṣārī (martyrdom 37 AH); Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahādatayn (martyrdom 37 AH); ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir (martyrdom 37 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Badīl ibn Waraqā’ al-Khazā‘ī (martyrdom 37 AH); Kharīm ibn Fātik al-Asadī (died 1st century AH); Ṣa‘ṣa‘ah ibn Ṣawḥān al-‘Abdī (died 1st century AH); Labīd ibn Rabī‘ah al-‘Āmirī (died 41 AH); Ka‘b ibn Zuhayr al-Aslamī (died 45 AH); Ḥujr ibn ‘Udayy al-Kindī (martyrdom 51 AH); Ka‘b ibn Mālik al-Anṣārī (1st century AH); Qays ibn Sa‘d al-Anṣārī (died 60 AH); Mundhir ibn Jārūd ‘Abdī (died 61 or 62 AH); Sulaymān ibn Ṣard al-Khazā‘ī (martyrdom 65 AH); Aḥnaf ibn Qays at-Tamīmī (died 67 or 68 AH); ‘Uday ibn Ḥātam aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 68 AH); Abū’ṭ-Ṭufayl ‘Āmir ibn Wāthilah Kanānī (died 100 AH). Among the Followers [tābi‘ūn] (the generation after the ṣaḥābah), Followers of the Followers [tābi‘ūn at-tābi‘ūn] and the succeeding generations: Hāshim Mirqāl (martyrdom 37 AH); Mālik al-Ashtar (martyrdom 38 or 39 AH); Thābit ibn ‘Ajlān al-Anṣārī (1st century or 50 AH); Najāshī Qays ibn ‘Amrū Ḥārithī (one of the Iraqi poets in the Battle of Ṣiffīn); Qays ibn Fahdān al-Kindī (died 51 AH); Sharīk ibn Ḥārith A‘war (died 60 AH); Sa‘yah ibn ‘Arīḍ (died 1st century AH); Jarīr ibn ‘Abd Allāh Bajlī (died 1st century AH); Rabbāb bint Imra’ī al-Qays, wife of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) (died 62 AH); Umm al-Banīn Fāṭimah Kalābiyyah, wife of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) (died 1st century AH); ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ḥurr Ju‘fī (died 1st century AH); Muthannā ibn Mukharramah ‘Abdī (died 1st century AH); Abū Dahbal Jamḥī (died 1st century AH); Abū’l-Aswad ad-Da’ulī (died 69 AH); ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amrū as-Sahamī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Awf ibn Aḥmar; Musayyab ibn Najbah al-Fazārī (martyrdom 65 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sa‘d ibn Nufayl (martyrdom 65 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Khaḍal aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 1st century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Wāl at-Tamīmī (martyrdom 65 AH); Rafā‘ah ibn Shadād Bajlī (martyrdom 66 AH); A‘shā Ḥamdān (died 1st century AH); Ibrāhīm al-Ashtar (martyrdom 66 AH); Ayman ibn Kharīm al-Asadī (died 90 AH); Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abī Lahab (died 90 AH); Abū’r-Ramīḥ al-Khazā‘ī (died 100 AH); Khālid ibn Ma‘dān aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 103 AH); Kuthayyir ‘Azzah (105 AH); Farazdaq Hammām ibn Ghālib at-Tamīmī (died 110 AH); Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab ‘Abdī (120 AH); Zayd ibn ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn (‘a) (martyrdom 122 AH); Sulaymān ibn Qutaybah ‘Adawī (died 126 AH); Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadī (died 126 AH); Mustahil ibn Kumayt (died 2nd century AH); Yaḥyā ibn Ya‘mar (died 127 AH); Faḍl ibn ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn al-‘Abbās ibn Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (died 129 AH); Mālik ibn A‘yan Jahnī (died mid-2nd century AH); Ward ibn Zayd, brother of Kumayt (died 140 AH); Qāḍī ‘Abd Allāh ibn Shabramah al-Kūfī (died 144 AH); Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥasan (killed in Bākhmarā 145 AH); Mūsā ibn ‘Abd Allāh (died 2nd century AH); Sadīf ibn Maymūn (died 147 AH); Muḥammad ibn Ghālib ibn Hudhayl al-Kūfī (died 2nd century AH); Zurārah ibn A‘yan (died 150 AH); Ibrāhīm ibn Hurmah (died 150 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah, a descendant of Ja‘far aṭ-Ṭayyār (died 2nd century AH); Abū Hurayrah ‘Ajlī (died 2nd century AH); Abū Hurayrah al-Abār (died 2nd century AH); Qudāmah Sa‘dī; Ja‘far ibn ‘Affān aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 150 AH); Abū Ja‘far Mu’min Ṭāq (died 2nd century AH); Sharīk ibn ‘Abd Allāh Nakha‘ī (died 2nd century AH); ‘Alī ibn Ḥamzah Naḥawī Kasā’ī (died 189 AH); Manṣūr Numrī (died 2nd century AH); Mu‘ādh ibn Muslim Harā’ (died 188 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ghālib al-Asadī (died late 2nd century AH); Muslim ibn Walīd al-Anṣārī (died at the end of 2nd century AH); Abū Nu’ās Mutawallid (died 198 AH); Sayyid Ḥumayrī (died 199 AH); ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh Khawāfī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ‘Alī Marānī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ayyūb Ḥuraybī (died 3rd century AH); Mashī‘ Mā’ī (died 3rd century AH); Qāsim ibn Yūsuf Kātib (died 3rd century AH); Ashja‘ ibn ‘Amrū Salmī (died 210 AH); Muḥammad ibn Wahīb Ḥumayrī (died 3rd century AH); Abū Dalf ‘Ajlī (died 255 AH); Abū Ṭālib al-Qummī (died 3rd century AH); Abū Tammām Ḥabīb ibn Aws aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 3rd century AH); Dīk al-Jinn (died 236 AH); Ibrāhīm ibn al-‘Abbās aṣ-Ṣawlī (died 234 AH); Ibn Sakīt Ya‘qūb ibn Isḥāq (died 244 AH); Abu Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Ammār Barqī (died 245 AH); Da‘bal ibn ‘Alī al-Khazā‘ī (died 246 AH); Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Khazā‘ī, cousin of Da‘bal (died 3rd century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Khazā‘ī (died 3rd century AH); Ḥusayn ibn Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī (died 3rd century AH); Mūsā ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (died 246 AH); Aḥmad ibn Khalād Ashrawī (died 3rd century AH); Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm (died 3rd century AH); Bakr ibn Muḥammad an-Naḥawī (died 248 AH); Aḥmad ibn ‘Umrān Akhfash an-Naḥawī (died 250 AH); Abū ‘Alī Ḥusayn ibn Ḍaḥāk (died 250 AH); Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl Sumayrī (died 255 AH); Faḍl ibn Muḥammad (mid-3rd century AH); Ḥummānī ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad (died 260 AH); Dāwūd ibn Qāsim Ja‘farī (died 261 AH); Ibn Rūmī ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās (died 283 AH); Baḥtarī Walīd ibn ‘Ubayd aṭ-Ṭā’ī (died 284 AH); Sharīf Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ (died 3rd century AH); Naṣr ibn Naṣīr Ḥalwānī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn Manṣūr ibn Bassām (died 302 AH); Aḥmad ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh (died 314 AH); Khubz-Ārzī Baṣrī Naṣr ibn Aḥmad (died 317 AH); Khabbāz al-Baldī Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (died 4th century AH); Aḥmad ibn ‘Alawiyyah al-Iṣfahānī (died 320 AH); Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Darīd (died 321 AH); Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm Ṭabāṭabā’ī al-Ḥasanī (died 322 AH); Muḥammad ibn Muzīd Būshanjī (died 325 AH); Mufajja‘ Baṣrī Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (died or martyred 327 AH); ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās Nawbakhtī (died 329 AH). See A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, pp. 166-172.

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The Leading Shī‘ah Poets

In every period, some renowned and famous Shī‘ah poets were the vanguards of Shī‘ah poetry and thawed themselves in the guardianship [wilāyah] of and love for the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). Among these poets were Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadī, Kuthayyir ‘Azzah, Farazdaq and Sayyid Ḥumayrī during the Umayyad period. As Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih says, “Kumayt and Kuthayyir were among the staunch and extreme Shī‘ah.”(1) The son of Kumayt, Mustahil, says: “At the time of death, the last time that he opened his eyes, Kumayt said three times, ‘Allāhumma āl Muḥammad’.”(2)

Ibn Mu‘taz has said: “Sayyid Ḥumayrī expressed in poetry all the famous virtues of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a).”(3)

Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī also says, “The poems of Sayyid Ḥumayri are mostly in praise of Banū Hāshim and reproach to their enemies. Two thousand three hundred odes in praise of Banū Hāshim have been reported from him.”(4) For this reason, Sayyid Ḥumayrī occupied a lofty station among the Shī‘ah and there was a special seat for him in Masjid al-Kūfah.(5)

During the first ‘Abbāsid period, the two great silver-tongued and eloquent Shī‘ah poets were Manṣūr Namrī and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī. Hārūn ar-Rashīd issued Namrī’s execution order but he was not found when still alive.(6) Dr. Muṣṭafā Shak‘ah says regarding Da‘bal:

Da‘bal used to praise the Household of the Prophet (ṣ) describing them in his poems in such a manner that as if they were part of his family. He used to harass the Umayyads and the ‘Abbāsids, and if they would intimidate him, he would say, “For fifty years, I have been carrying a gallows but I cannot find anyone who would hang me in it.”(7)

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1- Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd, vol. 5, p. 290.
2- Al-Aghānī, vol. 17, p. 40.
3- ‘Allāmah Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 1, p. 242.
4- Ibid., p. 241.
5- Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd, vol. 4, p. 320.
6- Al-Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, vol. 1, p. 254, as quoted in Zahrā’l-Ādāb, vol. 3, p. 70.
7- Al-Adab fī Mawkib al-Ḥaḍārah al-Islāmiyyah, Kitāb ash-Shu‘arā 1, pp. 162-163.

Concerning this, Dr. Shawqī Ḍayf thus says:

During the second ‘Abbāsid period,(1)

Shī‘ah poems had been much recited some of which had been recited by ‘Alawī poets while others had been recited by other Shī‘ah poets. Among the most prominent ‘Alawī poets during that period were Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-‘Alawī al-Ḥummānī and Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī from among the descendants of ‘Abbās ibn ‘Alī. During the reign of Mutawakkīl, this Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī used to take pride in his forefathers and reflect the Shī‘ah views in his poems.(2)

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1- The second ‘Abbāsid period refers to the beginning of the third century AH starting from the time of Mu‘taṣim with the entrance of the Turks in the ‘Abbāsid court.
2- Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘Aṣr al-‘Abbās ath-Thānī, p. 386.
* Lesson 27: Summary

Poetry in the past occupied a special place and apart from its literary dimension, it had been considered the most significant means of propaganda.

After the event in Saqīfah, the Shī‘ah made use of poetry in spreading their viewpoint concerning the Imamate, and the poets played a key role in strengthening and spreading Shī‘ism.

The pure Imāms (‘a) who were completely aware of the use and influence of poetry appreciated and acknowledged the Shī‘ah poets satisfactorily. Meanwhile, on account of the impact of their words, the Shī‘ah poets had always been subjected to persecution and harassment by the hostile Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid rulers.

During the rule of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and in the Battle of Jamal and the Battle of Ṣiffīn, apart from Iraqis, many of the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) had also recited poems in defense of the right of ‘Alī (‘a). On account of the intense atmosphere of strangulation during the Umayyad period, however, less number of poets had kept on expressing their attachment to the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ).

During the first ‘Abbāsid period, the same condition was prevalent, but during the second period, more Shī‘ah poets were present on the scene due to the weakening of the caliphate. The most comprehensive work on the number of the Shī‘ah poets has been done by the late Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn.

* Lesson 27: Questions

1. What was the station of poetry among the Arabs?

2. After the event of Saqīfah, what service did the Shī‘ah poets offer?

3. How was the pure Imāms’ (‘a) treatment of the Shī‘ah poets?

4. How did the hostile Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid rulers deal with the Shī‘ah poets?

5. Which of the scholars has performed the best computation of the number of Shī‘ah poets?

6. Who were the leading Shī‘ah poets during the Umayyad period?

7. Who were the leading Shī‘ah poets during the first and second ‘Abbāsid periods?

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p: 254

Lesson Twenty Eight

The Subjects of the Poems of the Shī‘ah Poets
Point

The Shī‘ah poets have recited poetry in various arenas and diverse themes, which may be classified into the following:

1. Argumentation against the Usurpers of the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) Rights

The Shī‘ah poets and orators, believing in the guardianship [wilāyah] of ‘Alī (‘a) and his progeny, spoke out immediately after the event of Saqīfah and the oppression against ‘Alī (‘a), defending the right of the Imām and trying to describe the course the Holy Prophet (ṣ) specified with respect to the Imamate and guardianship through the language of poetry. In this regard, it was known that Kumayt al-Asadī was the first to open the gate of argumentation for the Shī‘ah poets. ‘Allāmah Amīnī attributes this fact to Jaḥīẓ and then continues thus:

Long before the fetus of Kumayt was to be formed, a number of the great ṣaḥābah and tābi‘ūn such as Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahādatayn, ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās, Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī, Qays ibn Sa‘d al-Anṣārī, Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, Zafar ibn Zayd ibn Ḥudhayfah, Najāshī ibn Ḥārith ibn Ka‘b, Jarīr ibn ‘Abd Allāh

p: 255

Allāh Bajlī, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Janbal had defended the right of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) through their poems.(1)

Among the first persons to have recited poetry in defence of ‘Alī (‘a) was ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. Shaykh al-Mufīd says, “When the Prophet (ṣ) passed away, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān was not in Medina. When he arrived in Medina, I saw that the people had pledged allegiance to Abū Bakr. As such, he stood at the middle of the mosque and recited this poem:

ما کنت احسب أن الأمر منصرف عن هاشم ثم منها عن أبی حسن!

ألیس اولی من صلی لقبلتکم و أعلم الناس بالقرآن و السنن؟

I did not imagine that they would take away the matter of caliphate from the Banū Hāshim and among whom from Abū’l-Ḥasan (‘Alī)!

Is he not the first person to pray toward your qiblah and the most learned of people about the Qur’an and the Sunnah?(2)

Similarly, a number of other Hāshimite poets from among the ṣaḥābah and tābi‘ūn had also recited poetry in defence of the right of ‘Alī (‘a). For instance, while reciting poetry Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās has thus said:

الا ان خیر الناس بعد محمد وصی النبی المصطفی عند ذی الذکر

و اول من صلّی و صنونبیه و اول من اردی الغواه لدی بدر

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1- ‘Allāmah Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 1, p. 191.
2- Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islāmī (Publication Center), 1416 AH), p. 118. The identity of the one who recited this poem is a source of disagreement among historians and writers. Shaykh al-Mufīd has attributed this poem to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. In Al-Iṣābah, Ibn Ḥajar has regarded Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab as the one who recited it. In the book Al-Manāqib, Muwayyid ad-Dīn Khwārazmī has identified ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, the Prophet’s (ṣ) uncle, as the composer of this poem. In the book Al-Majālis, Sharīf ar-Raḍī has attributed it to Rabī‘ah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. Qāḍī Bayḍāwī, in his exegeses [tafāsīr] of the Qur’an, has considered it belonging to Ḥassān ibn Thābit. Zubayr ibn Bakkār has said, “One of the children of Abū Lahab had recited this poem.” Finally, Qāḍī Nūr Allāh has rejected the view of Ibn Ḥajar, saying that the one who recited must be prior to the event of Saqīfah and he could not be Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Utbah because he was born later. So, the one who recited it bore the name of Faḍl; hence, Faḍl ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab. Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shirāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Baṣīratī, n.d.), p. 193. At any rate, this difference in opinion has no contrary effect on our discussion because it is obvious that the one who recited it had been one of the Shī‘ah.

Be aware that the best of people after Muḥammad in the sight of God is the successor of Prophet al-Muṣṭafā (ṣ).

He is the first performer of prayer, the brother of the Prophet, and the first person to drive away the tyrants in (the Battle of) Badr.(1)

Mughayrah ibn Nawfal ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib addressed the supporters of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) during the Battle of Ṣiffīn and poetically said:

فیکم وصی رسول الله قائدکم و صهره و کتاب الله قد نشرا

Among you is the successor of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ)—your commander—and his son-in-law, and the Book of Allah is scattered.(2)

Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab has been one of the famous poets at the end of the first century AH. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih has narrated: “When Walīd ibn ‘Abd al-Malik was circumambulating [ṭawāf] the Ka‘bah, Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās was reciting this poem while getting water from the well of Zamzam:

یأیها السائل عن علیّ تسأل عن بدرٍ لنا بدریٍّ

مُرَدَّدٍ فی المجد ابطحی سائلهٍ غرّه مضیٍّ

O he who is asking from ‘Alī! You are asking from the moon of Banū Hāshim and the one present at the Battle of Badr.

Are you doubtful in praising the greatness of the ‘abṭaḥī’ man, or asking about his precedence in Islam?(3)

Among the first persons to have recited poetry in defending the right of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) was a woman named Umm Masṭaḥ ibn Athāthah. Historians have narrated, thus:

After Abū Bakr and ‘Umar treated ‘Alī harshly to acquire his allegiance by force, Umm Masṭaḥ came to the mosque, stood in front of the grave of the Prophet and recited this poem:

قد کان بعدک انباء هنبثهً لو کنت شاهدها لم تکثر الخطب

انا فقدناک فقد الأرض و ابلها فاختل قومک فاشهدهم و لا تغب

After you, an event and differences have occurred that would never happen if you were present.

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1- Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, p. 143.
2- Ibid., p. 187.
3- Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 5, p. 75.

We lost you just as the soil would lose water. Your community is going astray. Be witness and neglect not.(1)

Among the poets who used to engage in argumentation and defend the right of ‘Alī (‘a) was the great Arab poet and man of letter, Abū’l-Aswad Daw’ilī who lived in Baṣrah at the place of the tribe of Banū Qashīr that were sympathetic to ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān. None of them could surpass Abū’l-Aswad in speech. So, they instead persecuted and harassed him, throwing stones at his house every night. He gave this reply to them:

یقول الأرذلون بنوقشیر طوال الدهر لا تنسی علیّاً!

فقلت لهم و کیف یکون ترکی من الأعمال مفروضاً علیّاً؟

أحب محمداً حبّاً شدیداً و عباساً و حمزه و الوصیّاً

بنی عم النبی و اقربیه أحب الناس کُلهم إلینا

فان یک حُبُّهم رشداً اصبه و لست بمخطیء ان کان غیاً

هم اهل النصیحه غیر شک و اهل مودتی ما دمت حیّاً

رایت الله خالق کل شی هداهم واجتبی منهم نبیّاً

و لم یخصص بها احداً سواهم هنیئاً ما اصطفاه لهم مریّاً

The vile people such as Banū Qashīr say, “With the passage of time, why have you not forgotten ‘Alī?”

I said to them, “How could I abandon deeds that are incumbent upon me?”

I love Muḥammad so much, and ‘Abbās, Ḥamzah and the successor [waṣī] (i.e. ‘Alī) as well.

The cousins and nearest of kin of the Prophet are the most beloved of people for me.

If love for them is guidance, I have attained it then, and if this love is useless, then I have lost nothing.

Undoubtedly, they are the people of admonition and my beloved ones so long as I live.

I regard God as the Creator of everything. He has guided them and appointed the Prophet from among them.

Except them, nobody is worthy of it. May this God’s choice of them be pleasant!(2)

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1- ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabī, 1961), vol. 6, p. 43.
2- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 12, p. 321.

This continued until finally, at the end of the Umayyad rule, great and famous poets such as Kumayt al-Asadī, Kuthayyir ‘Azzah and Sayyid Ḥumayrī who thawed themselves in the guardianship [wilāyah], have recited more poems in defense of ‘Alī’s (‘a) right.

2. The Shī‘ah Poets’ Confrontation with the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid Poets

The second subject about which Shī‘ah poets have recited poetry is the poems they have composed to counter the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid poets. After 35 AH when ‘Uthmān ibn al-‘Affān was murdered, the Umayyads used to utilize the weapon of poetry to attain their wicked objectives and incite people against the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). Among those who had recited poetry against the Imām was Walīd ibn ‘Uqbah, maternal brother of ‘Uthmān, who has been described by the Qur’an as fāsiq [transgressor].(1) He had accused Banū Hāshim, the head of which was ‘Alī (‘a), of killing ‘Uthmān, saying:

بنی هاشم ردوا سلاح ابن اختکم

و لا تنهبوه لا تحل نهائبه

بنی هاشم کیف الهواده بیننا و عند علی درعه و نجائبه

بنی هاشم کیف التودد منکم ودم ابن اروی فیکم و حرائبه

O Banū Hāshim! Return the weapon of your maternal cousin and do not usurp his property as his property is not lawful for you.

O Banū Hāshim! How could harmony be established between you and us while the chain mail and camels of ‘Uthmān are with ‘Alī?

O Banū Hāshim! How could I accept your friendship while the spears of Ibn Arwā (‘Uthmān) are with you?(2)

Then, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib answered him, saying thus poetically:

فلاتسألونا سیفکم ان سیفکم اضیع و القاه لدی الروع صاحبه

و شبهته کسری و قد کان مثله شبیهاً بکسری هدیه و ضرائبه

منا علیٌّ الخیر صاحب خیبر و صاحب بدر یوم سالت کتائبه

و کان ولی الأمر بعد محمد علیّ و فی کل المواطن صاحبه

p: 259


1- Sūrah 32:18: “Is he then who is a believer like he who is a transgressor [fāsiq]? They are not equal.” For the commentary of this verse, see the following Sunnī references: Al-Qurṭubī, Tafsīr (Cairo, 1947), vol. 14, p. 105; Aṭ-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr Jāmi‘ al-Bayān, under commentary for this verse; Al-Waḥīdī, Asbāb an-Nuzūl (Dār ad-Diyān Li’t-Turāth edition), p. 291. [Trans.]
2- Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī Ṭabaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, p. 188.

وصی النبی المصطفی و ابن عمه وأول من صلی و من لان جانبه

You may not get your sword from us because when its owner was frightened, he threw it and it was lost.

You likened him to Khosroe, and in fact he was like him. And his horses and properties were like that of his (Khosroe).

‘Alī, the good, is from us; the victor of Khaybar and Badr when the hostile army came.

‘Alī is the one vested with authority after Muḥammad and the companion of the Prophet in all the wars.

He is the successor of Prophet al-Muṣṭafā and his cousin. He is the first person to perform prayer and the one who is so well-mannered.(1)

Walīd ibn ‘Uqbah composed his next poem against the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) when he wrote a letter to his brother, ‘Umārah ibn ‘Uqbah who was then living in Kūfah, inciting him to be inimical to the Imām, saying thus:

ان یک ظنّی فی عماره صادقاً ینم و لا یطلب بذحل و لا وتر

یبیت و اوتار ابن عفان عنده مُخیمهً بین الخورنق و القصر

تمشی رخیّ البال متشزر القوی کانک لم تسمع بقتل ابی عمر

الا إِنَّ خیر الناس بعد ثلاثه قتبل النجیبی الذی جاء من مصر

If my guess is ever correct about ‘Umārah, he is sleeping and does not take revenge!

He is sleeping comfortably while the murderers of ‘Uthmān are near him encamping between the Khawarnaq [magnificent building] and the Palace!

He is walking with a peace of mind and sound body, as if he has not heard of the killing of Abū ‘Amrū (‘Uthmān).

Be aware that the best of people after the three persons(2) is the one who has been killed by the ‘tajībī’ who came from Egypt.(3)

Then, Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib replied to him reciting thus:

أتطلب ثاراً لست منه و لاله و مالابن ذکران الصفوری و الوتر

کما افتخرت بنت الحمار بامّها و تنسی اباها إذا تسامی او لوالفخر

p: 260


1- Ibid., p. 189.
2- It alludes to the Prophet (ṣ), Abū Bakr and ‘Umar. [Trans.]
3- Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 114.

الا ان خیر الناس بعد نبیهم وصی النبی المصطفی عند ذی الذکر

و اول من صلی و صفونبیّه و اول من اردی الغواه لدی بدر

Are you taking revenge for a person who has no relationship with you? Ibn Dhakrān Ṣafūrī is one thing while taking revenge for ‘Uthmān is another.

You can still remember that you were suffering from poverty, he forgot the father of his donkey while taking pride in the mother of his horse.

Be aware that the best of people after the Prophet in the sight of God is the successor of Prophet Muṣṭafā.

He is the first to have performed the prayer, the brother of the Prophet, and the first person to have driven away the oppressive contingent in (the Battle of) Badr.(1)

Sometime during the Battle of Jamal when the supporters of the Umayyads and the so-called ‘Uthmānīs were reciting rajaz-metered(2)

verses in affirming their movement and inciting their supporters, the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) were also answering them in return. Among these persons were ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir and Mālik al-Ashtar. For example, some members of the tribe of Banū Ḍabbah who had surrounded the camel of ‘Ā’ishah would take the reins of camel and would be killed. The last person to have taken the bridle of camel said, thus:

نحن بنو ضبّه أصحاب الجمل ننعی ابن عفّان باطراف الاسل

رُدّوا علینا شیخنا ثم بجل

We are the Banū Ḍabbah, supporters of (the Army of) Jamal, and are taking ‘Uthmān’s revenge with our spears.

Return to us our sheikh in safety.(3)

Mālik al-Ashtar rushed to confront him and said, thus:

کیف نَرُدُّ نعثلاً و قد قخل سارت به أُمُّ المنایا و رَحَل

How could we return Na‘thal (‘Uthmān) while he is enshrouded, swords having penetrated his body, and is dead?!

Then, Mālik al-Ashtar gave a strike to him and killed him.(4)

p: 261


1- Ibid.
2- Rajaz: name of several meters, two of which are the most important. [Trans.]
3- Al-Jamal, p. 118.
4- Ibid.

During the Battle of Ṣiffīn, due to the prolongation of the battle, in addition to military combat and confrontation, there was also confrontation in poetry in its broadest sense between the two belligerent armies. Naṣr ibn Muzāḥim has mentioned great poets such as Mālik al-Ashtar, Khuzaymah ibn Thābit, Faḍl ibn al-‘Abbās, Qays ibn Sa‘d ‘Udayy ibn Ḥātam, ‘Amrū ibn Ḥamq al-Khazā‘ī, Ḥujr ibn ‘Udayy al-Kindī, Nu‘mān ibn ‘Ajlān al-Anṣārī, Muḥammad ibn Abī Sabrah Qurayshī, Mughayrah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, Jundab ibn Zuhayr, Abū Zubayd aṭ-Ṭā’ī, Aḥmar (an Iraqi poet), Abū Ḥabbah ibn Ghuzayyah al-Anṣārī, and others who had recited poetry in countering the poets of the people of Shām. The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) himself had been giving replies to individuals such as ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ.

Ibn Abī’l-Ḥadīd thus says: “Najāshī was one of the Iraqi poets in (the Battle of) Ṣiffīn who had been ordered by ‘Alī to confront the poets of the people of Shām such as Ka‘b ibn Ju‘ayl and others.”(1)

p: 262


1- Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 4, p. 87.
* Lesson 28: Summary

The Shī‘ah poets had recited poetry in various arenas:

1. Argumentation: After the event of Saqīfah, the truth-speaking Shī‘ah poets spoke out in defense of the Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) right, among whom were the leading orators of the Banū Hāshim such as ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and Mughayrah ibn Ḥārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib.

2. Confronting the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid poets: After ‘Uthmān’s murder in 35 AH, the Umayyads used to recite poetry against the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). From then on, the Shī‘ah poets responded through poetry.

For example, during the Battle of Ṣiffīn there was also a battle of poetry between the two warring parties.

* Lesson 28: Questions

1. What does ‘Allāmah Amīni say about the argumentation of the Shī‘ah poets?

2. Since when did the Shī‘ah poets’ confrontation with the poets affiliated to the enemies of the Shī‘ah start?

p: 263

Lesson Twenty Nine

3. Elegy-Recitation
Point

Another important arena about which the Shī‘ah poets have recited poetry and delivered speeches extensively is the commemoration of the tragedy experienced by the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) and elegy-recitation for the martyrs among them. This arena came into being after the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) in 61 AH. In this regard, two parts may be discussed and examined:

a. Elegies for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and the Other Martyrs in Karbalā’

From the beginning of Islam, no tragedy more serious and painful than the event of Karbalā’ has happened in the history of Islam, and after the lapse of one thousand and four hundred years, it still has the greatest impact upon the hearts of the devotees of the Prophet’s (‘a) descendents. Since then, anyone who has the love of the Prophet’s (ṣ) Ahl al-Bayt and talent in composing poetry has recited poetry in this regard.

The pioneering poems pertaining to the event of Karbalā’ have been recited from the end of the first century AH and the commencement of the Umayyad decline. As Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says,

Many of the latter poets have recited poetry in mourning for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) about which we do not tend to complain as we are fond of long speech. Yet, on account of the harshness of the Umayyad’s atmosphere of

p: 264

strangulation, the earlier poets during the Umayyad period have recited fewer elegies about the tribulation of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).(1)

For example, ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ḥurr was chased by ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād for reciting elegy for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and was forced to flee.(2)

Of course, many poems have been composed during the first century AH about the tribulation of the Doyen of the Martyrs (‘a) though they are lesser in number compared to the quantity of poems that have been recited since the second century AH.

The bereaved women of Banū Hāshim were among the pioneering people who have recited elegies in lamentation of their lost loved ones. When the news of the martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) reached Medina, Zaynab bint ‘Aqīl came out wailing amidst the women of Banū Hāshim while reciting the following poem:

ماذا تقولون إذ قال النبی لکم ماذا فعلتم و انتم آخر الامم

بعترتی و باهلی بعد مُفُتَقَدی نصف اساری و نصف ضُرِّ جُوا بدم

ما کان هذا جزائی إذ نصحت لکم أن تخلفونی بشرِّ فی ذوی رَحِمی

What shall you say in reply to the Prophet when he will ask from you, “O the latter ones of the ummah! What have you done?”

“[What did you do] with my descendants and Household after I passed away? Half of them were taken as captives while the other half was weltered in blood.”

“It was not my reward for my admonition to you that you would do the worst treatment to my nearest of kin.”(3)

Among the most heartrending elegies ever recited for the martyrs of Karbalā’ are the elegies of Umm al-Banīn, the mother of Ḥaḍrat Abū’l-Faḍl. Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī has narrated that Umm al-Banīn was holding the hand of ‘Ubayd Allāh, son of Ḥaḍrat al-‘Abbās and going to the Baqī‘ Cemetery while the people of Medina were gathering around her and weeping because of her elegies. Even an enemy such as Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam used to weep with of her elegies.(4)

Umm al-Banīn was thus saying:

یا من رأی العباس کر علی جماهیر النقد

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1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH/1374 AHS), p. 121.
2- Abū Mikhnaf, Maqtal al-Husayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, researched by Hasan Ghaffārī, 2nd edition (Qum: n.p., 1364 AH), p. 245.
3- Ibid., pp. 227-228.
4- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 90.

وورائه من أبناء حیدر کل لیث ذی لبد

انبئت أن ابنی اصیب براسه مقطوع ید

ویل علی شبلی اما ل براسه ضرب العمد

لوکان سیفک فی ید یک لمادنا منک احد

I wished I saw (with my own eyes) how ‘Abbās was assaulting the groups of vile people!

Behind him were the sons of Ḥaydar (Imām ‘Alī (‘a)) standing like lions.

I have been informed that his hands have been amputated while his head has received a blow.

Woe to my son whose head has received a strong blow!

If your sword were in your hand, no one could have ever come near you.(1)

When the caravan of the captives of Karbalā’ was heading toward Medina and arrived near the city, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (‘a) dispatched Bashīr ibn Jadhlam to Medina ahead of them, and Bashīr informed the people of their arrival in the city through this poem:

یا اهل یثرب لامقام لکم بها قتل الحسین فادمعی مدرار

الجسم منه بکربلاء مضرّج و الرأس منه علی القناه یدار

O people of Yathrib! No more opportunity for you to stay there. Ḥusayn was killed; shed your tears.

His corpse has been weltering in blood in Karbalā’ and his head is placed on top of spear.(2)

Khālid ibn Ma‘dān, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amrū, Abū’r-Ramīḥ al-Khazā‘ī, Sulaymān ibn Quttah al-‘Adawī, ‘Awf ibn ‘Abd Allāh Aḥmar al-Azdī, and ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ḥurr were among the elegists of the first century AH who have recited poetry about the tribulation of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). It has been narrated that when Khālid ibn Ma‘dān saw in Shām the Imām’s head on top of the spear, he recited this poem:

جاؤا برأسک یا ابن بنت محمد مترملاً بدمائه ترمیلا

و کانّما بک یا ابن بنت محمد قتلوا جهاراً عامدین رسولاً

p: 266


1- Maqtal al-Husayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, p. 181.
2- ‘Alī ibn Mūsā ibn Ṭāwūs, Al-Luhūf ‘alā Qatlī aṭ-Ṭufūf, trans. Muḥammad Ṭāhir Dezfūlī, 1st edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Farhang va Intishārātī-ye Anṣārī, 1378 AHS), p. 284.

قتلوک عطشاناً و لم یترقبوا فی قتلک التن_زیل و التأویلا

و یکبرون بان قتلت و أنّما قتلوا بک التکبیر و التهلیلا

O son of the daughter of Muḥammad! They have made your head weltering in blood.

O son of the daughter of Muḥammad! By overtly killing you, as if they wanted to take revenge from the Prophet!

They have killed you while thirsty and they have not observed the interpretation and injunction of the Qur’an about killing.

And that they have killed you, they are uttering “Allāhu akbar” [Allah is the greatest] while uttering “Allāhu akbar,” they have also killed your companions!(1)

Among the first poets to have recited poetry in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) is ‘Ubayd Allāh in Ḥurr whose ode starts with the following couplet:

یقول امر غادر ای غادر ألاکنت قاتلت الشهید بن فاطمه

The treacherous chief, son of a traitor asks [me]: “Did you not fight against the martyr, the son of Fāṭimah?”

When Ibn Ziyād heard this poem, he chased ‘Ubayd Allāh who immediately rode on a horse and escaped, thus saving his life.(2)

Sulaymān ibn Quttah al-‘Adawī has been one of the most prominent elegists for the tribulation of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). The following poem is attributed to him:

مررتُ علی أبیات آل محمّد فلم أرها کعهدها یوم حُلَّتِ

و کانوا رجاءً ثم صاروا رزیَّهً و قد عظمت تلک الرزایا و جَلَّت

ألم تر أن الشمس اضحت مریضه لفقد حسین و البلاد اقشعرت

و قد اعولت تبکی السماء لفقده و انجمها ناحت علیه و صلَّت

I roamed around the house of Muḥammad’s progeny and I saw them not fully occupied as before.

They were the House of hope and later became the House of tribulation—grave and serious tribulations.

p: 267


1- Sayyid Muḥsin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 6023.
2- Maqtal al-Husayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, p. 245.

Can you not see that due to the loss of Ḥusayn the sun turned lackluster and the cities melancholic?!

Can you not see that owing to the loss of Ḥusayn the sky has wept and wailed and its stars lamented and invoked salutations?(1)

But after the end of the first century AH when the repression of the Umayyad rulers diminished because of their confrontation with the ‘Abbāsid movement and other revolts and were finally defeated by the ‘Abbāsids, the pure Imāms (‘a) revived the recitation of elegies for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and great poets such as Kumayt al-Asadī, Sayyid Ḥumayrī, Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab ‘Abdī, Manṣūr Namrī, and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī used to recite poetry in their presence for the tribulation of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). As Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab ‘Abdī narrates,

I visited Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and the Imām said to his attendant, “Tell Umm Farwah to come and listen to what happened to his (great) grandfather.” Umm Farwah came and sat behind a curtain. Then, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) said to me: “You recite.” I started reciting an elegy which commences with this couplet:

فرو جودی بدمعک المسکوب

O Umm Farwah! Render tears to your eyes.

At this point, Umm Farwah and other ladies burst into tears.(2)

Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī also narrates from Ismā‘īl at-Tamīmī, thus:

I was with Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) when Sayyid Ḥamayrī asked for permission and entered. The Imām asked the members of his household to sit behind a curtain. He then asked Sayyid Ḥumayri to recite poetry in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a). Sayyid recited this poem:

امرر علی جدث الحسین فقل لاعظمه الزکیه

یا اعظماً لازلت من وظفا و ساکبه رویّه

فاذا مررت بقبره فاطل به وقف المطیّه

و ابک المطهَّر للمطهَّر و المطهره النقیه

کبکاء معوله اتت یوماً لواحدها المنیّه

You pass by the grave of Ḥusayn and tell to his pure bones:

“O bones! Be always sound and glutted.”

As you pass by his grave, make a long stopover as the camels do.

Let the pure [muṭahhar] Imām weep for the pure Ḥusayn.

Your cry must be like the cry and lamentation of the mother of a dead son.

p: 268


1- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 121.
2- ‘Abd al-Husayn Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 2, pp. 294-295.

The narrator says, “I saw the tears of the Imām fall on his cheek and weeping reigned in the house.”(1)

Sometimes also others such as Faḍīl Rasān and Abū Hārūn Makfūf would recite the poems of Sayyid Ḥumayrī in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) near Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and make the Imām cry. As reported by Ibn Qawlawiyyah, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) asked one of his companions named Abū ‘Ammār to recite for him the poems of ‘Abdī in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).(2)

Poet such as Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī who recited many poems in lamentation for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) also engaged in reciting elegies near Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a) for his great grandfather.(3)

b. Elegies for the Other Martyrs among the Descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)

As a deeply touched Shī‘ah poet is witnessing the scene of martyrdom of Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl and Hānī ibn ‘Urwah, he recites this poem and this poem is thereafter recited by many:

إذا کنت لا تدرین ما الموت فانظری إلی هانی فی السوق و ابن عقیل

إلی بطل قد هشَّمَ السیف وجهه و آخر یهوی فی طمار قتیل

اصابهما أمر الأمیر قأصبحا أحادیث من یسعی بکل سبیل

ایترک أسماء المهایج آمِناً و قد طلبته مذحج بذحول

If you do not know what is meant by death, look at Ibn ‘Aqīl and Hānī at the market.

His (Ibn ‘Aqīl’s) face was heroically cut into pieces by swords while the other one (Hānī) was thrown from the top (of palace) and was killed.

By the order of the emir, this happened to them on this day and the news about them was relayed by the travelers.

You can see a corpse whose color has been changed by death and every part of which has been weltering in blood.

Will the names of Mahāyij be in safety? This is while the tribe of Madhḥaj is about to be punished.(4)

p: 269


1- Ibid., p. 235.
2- Ibid., p. 295.
3- ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 327; Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Raḍī, n.d.), p. 92.
4- Ibid., vol. 3, p. 71.

While reciting a long elegy in lamentation for the martyrs of the Tawābūn [the Penitents], a certain poet named A‘shā Ḥamdān thus says:

توجه من دون ثنیه سائراً إلی ابن زیاد فی الجموع الکتائب

فیاخیر جیش للعراق و اهله سقیتم روایا کل اسحم ساکب

From that direction, soldiers rushed toward Ibn Ziyād.

O the best of Iraqi army! You filled every gutter for rainwater.(1)

The Shī‘ah poets also used to recite poetry in mourning for Zayd ibn ‘Alī, his son Yaḥyā, and the descendants of Imām al-Ḥasan (‘a) who staged uprisings during the ‘Abbāsid period and attained martyrdom.

The poets such ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Khawāfī, Mashī‘ Madanī, Ashja‘ ibn ‘Amrū Salmī, and Abū Ṭālib al-Qummī have also recited poetry in mourning for Imām ar-Riḍā (‘a).(2)

But after Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), among the murdered descendants of Abū Ṭālib, the greatest number of elegies has been recited in mourning for Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī. He staged an uprising in 248 AH and was killed by Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ṭāhir.(3)

Mas‘ūdī says, “People from near and far recited elegies for him while young and old wept for him.”(4)

Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī says, “Of all the descendants of Abū Ṭālib killed during the ‘Abbāsid period, I do not find anyone about whom poems and elegies have been recited as much as what has been done to Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī.”(5)

4. The Virtues and Merits of the Descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)

Since the second century AH, the Shī‘ah poets used to recite poetry more about the virtues and merits of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), and in this manner, engaging in the information drive and spread of the school of Shī‘ism whose basic foundation is the succession and Imamate of ‘Alī (‘a). The great poets such as Kumayt al-Asadī, Ḥumayrī, Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab ‘Abdī, and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī were forerunners in this affair.

Sayyid Ḥumayri spent his time expressing the merits of the Commander of the Faithful, and he was one of the prominent preachers of the school of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) during his time. As narrated by Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, he recited two thousand three hundred odes in praise of Banū Hāshim, while

p: 270


1- Ibid., p. 110.
2- A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, p. 170.
3- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, pp. 159-160.
4- Ibid., p. 162.
5- Maqātil aṭ-Ṭālibiyyīn, p. 511.

none of his poems has been devoid of praise for Banū Hāshim and reproach for their enemies. Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī has also said that in Kūfah, Sayyid Ḥumayrī used to go to the house of Sulaymān ibn Mihrān known as A‘mash from whom he would learn about and write the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a), and thereafter, he would express them in poetry.

Ibn Mu‘taz says,

Sayyid Ḥumayrī has transformed into poetry all the virtues of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (‘a) and he would easily become tired sitting at any assembly where the progeny of Muḥammad was not pleasantly mentioned. For example, someone has thus narrated: “We were sitting beside ‘Amrū ibn ‘Alā’ when Sayyid Ḥumayrī came. And we were then busy talking about common affairs such as farming and date palms. Sayyid stood up as he wanted to go. When we asked for the reason why he wanted to leave, he gave this reply to us:

إنّی لاکره أن اطیل بمجلس لا ذکر فیه لفضل آل محمّد

لا ذکر فیه لاحمد و وصیه و بنیه ذلک مجلس نطف ردی

ان الذی ینساهم فی مجلس حتی یفارقه لغیر مسدد

I abhor sitting at an assembly in which none of the virtues of the progeny of Muḥammād is ever mentioned.

Any assembly in which there is no mention of Aḥmad, his successor and his offspring is a worthless assembly.

Anyone who shall not mention them in the assembly shall leave that assembly without gaining any benefit.(1)

Similarly, one day, one of the chiefs of Kūfah gave a horse and a gift to Sayyid Ḥumayrī. He mounted the horse and took the gift, and went to the working place of Kūfah. He then addressed the Shī‘ah, saying: “O Kūfans! If anyone could mention any of the virtues of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib about which I have not expressed in poetry yet, I shall give this horse and gift to him.”

People from every direction would mention each of the superiorities of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and in return he would recite the poem he composed about it. Finally, someone said:

One day, ‘Alī (‘a) wanted to wear his shoes and go out. He had already worn one pair of his shoes when an eagle came, picked up the other pair of shoes and brought it up. But it suddenly abandoned as a black snake went out of the shoe and entered into a ground hole. ‘Alī (‘a) then wore the other pair of his shoes.

p: 271


1- Ibid., p. 242.

At this point, Sayyid Ḥumayrī thought for sometime and then said, “I have not composed a poem about it so far.” As such, he gave the horse and the gift to the man, and recited the following poem:

الا یا قوم للعجب العجب لخفّ ابی الحسن و للحباب

عدوٌ من عداه الجن وغدٌ بعید فی المراد من صواب

اتی خفاً له انساب فیه لینهش رجله منه بناب

لینهش خیر من رکب المطایا أمیر المؤمنین أباتراب

فخرَّ من السَّما له عقاب من العقبان او شبه العقاب

و دوفع عن ابی حسن علی نقیع سمامه بعد انسیاب

Be aware O people that there is a miracle in the shoe of Abū’l-Ḥasan.

One of the hostile jinns among the imprudent and strayed from the path

Hid in the shoe of ‘Alī himself so as to bite him with its fangs—

So as to bite the one who rides on four-footed animals—the Commander of the Faithful, Abū Turāb.

At that moment, one of the eagles of the sky or a bird that looks like an eagle descended upon his head.

In this manner, its (the hostile jinn’s) venom and wickedness were warded off.(1)

Sufyān ibn Muṣ‘ab ‘Abdī is among the poets who have spent their time in mentioning the merits of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). ‘Allāmah Amīnī says, thus: “I never found any poem of his that was in praise of other than the progeny of Muḥammad (ṣ).”

He used to learn the ḥadīths about the merits and virtues of the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ) from Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) and immediately composed pertinent poems.(2) For this reason, Ibn Shahr Āshūb narrates that Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) says, “O assembly of the Shī‘ah! Teach the poetry of ‘Abdī to your children as he is with the religion of God.”

5. The Demerits of the Enemies of the Prophet’s (ṣ) Descendants

One of the ways of fighting the enemies is propaganda war, which is tremendously rampant today through the mass media. In the past, the

p: 272


1- Ibid., pp. 441-442.
2- Ibid., p. 295.

demerits of the enemies in the context of poetry also had a very significant propaganda impact.

In defending the school of Shī‘ism, the Shī‘ah poets used to also deal with the demerits of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). At any opportune time, they could destroy an enemy and break his back through some couplets. Persons such as Mu‘āwiyah, Walīd ibn ‘Uqbah and ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ who were enemies of God and the Messenger (ṣ) have been dispraised many times by the poets of Banū Hāshim, and the supporters and poets of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). Without revealing his name and thus be pursued by the Umayyads, a certain poet has soothed the hearts of the Shī‘ah by dispraising Yazīd after his death by saying, thus:

یا أیّها القبر بحوّارینا ضممت شرَّ النّاس أجمعینا

O grave which is in “ḥawārīn”! The worst of all people is in your bosom.(1)

One of the best satires about the Umayyads is a poem which has been recited by Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadī concerning them:

فقل لبنی أمیّه حیث حلُّوا و إن خِفْتَ المهندَّ و القطیعا

اجاع الله من اشبعتموه

و اشبع من بجورکم اجیعا

بمرضیَّ السیاسه هاشمیٍ یکون حیاً لامّته ربیعاً

Tell the Umayyads wherever they are, if you are afraid of sword and scourge.

May God make him hungry he who has satiated you and satiate him he who has remained hungry because of your tyranny.

With the pleasant Hāshimī policy, there shall be the spring of life for the ummah.(2)

Dr. Shawqī Ḍayf says: “The Shī‘ah in Iraq, Khurāsān and Ḥijāz used to transmit to one another the poems of Kumayt. For this reason, the Umayyads and their governor in Iraq, Yūsuf ibn ‘Umar ath-Thaqafi, felt seriously threatened by Kumayt.”(3)

Abū’l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī has thus said about Kumayt:

p: 273


1- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 65.
2- Abī ‘Uthmān ‘Amrū ibn Baḥr Jāḥiẓ, Al-Bayān wa’t-Tabyīn, 1st edition (Cairo: Maṭba‘ah Lajnah at-Ta’līf wa’t-Tarjamah wa’n-Nashr, 1367 AH/1948), vol. 3, p. 365.
3- Dr. Shawqī Ḍayf, Ash-Shi‘r wa Ṭawāba‘ah ash-Sha‘biyyah ‘alā Murr al-Ma‘ṣūr (Cairo: Dār al-Ma‘ārif, n.d.), p. 36.

Kumayt al-Asadī, the great Shī‘ah poet during the Umayyad period of repression would not hesitate to reply in whatever form to the poets inimical to ‘Alī (‘a), affiliated to the Umayyads and were reciting poetry against the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ). For example, a certain poet named Ḥakīm ibn al-‘Abbās al-Kalbī who was considered one of the Qaḥṭānīs had dispraised ‘Alī (‘a). Kumayt seriously assaulted him and in his poems he placed Ḥakīm vis-à-vis the notables of Quraysh and ‘Adnānīs. In this way, Kumayt dispraised and defeated him.(1)

Sometimes also, without divulging their names, poets used to reply to the court poets, dispraising and crushing them. For example, Sa‘īd ibn Ḥamīd who was one of the enemies of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) during the rule of Musta‘īn had been humiliated by the Shī‘ah poets on various occasions.

On the same period, a certain poet named ‘Alī ibn Jahm who had been one of the Nāṣibīs and enemies of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) has been dispraised by the Shī‘ah poet, ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn Ja‘far al-‘Alawī. He had rejected the genealogy of ‘Alī ibn Jahm, regarding him connected to Sāmah ibn Lawī.

In dispraising Ibn Ziyād, Abū’l-Aswad Da’ūlī has said:

اقول و ذاک من جَزَع و وَجْدٍ ازال الله ملک بنی زیاد

و ابعدهم بما غدروا و خانوا کما بَعدتْ ثمود و قوم عاد

Out of agony and anguish I am saying that may God destroy the dominion of the offspring of Ziyād!

And cause them to perish for their deceit and treason just as the people of Thamūd and Ād have been ruined!(2)

Sayyid Ḥumayrī has humiliated one of the ‘Abbāsid judges who had dismissed his testimony on account of his faith in Shī‘ism, and he has said:

ابوک ابن سارق عن_زالنبی

و انت ابن بنت أبی جحدر

و نحن علی رغمک الرافضون لاهل الضلاله و المنکر

Your father steals the sheep of the Prophet while you are maternal grandchild of Abū Jaḥdar!

And notwithstanding your whim, we shall abandon the people of misguidance and deviation.(3)

p: 274


1- ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 17, p. 36.
2- Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 81.
3- Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab, p. 256.

Abū Nu‘āmah Daqīqī al-Kūfī, one of the poets during the third century AH, had dispraised the notables of the ‘Abbāsid rule, attributing to them the commission of abominable acts until such time that he had been killed by one of the ‘Abbāsid Turkish commanders named Mufallaḥ.(1)

p: 275


1- Dr. Shawqī Ḍayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘Aṣr al-‘Abbās ath-Thānī (Egypt: Dār al-Ma‘ārif, n.d.), p. 388.
* Lesson 29: Summary

3. One of the most important areas about which the Shī‘ah poets have recited poetry was the elegy-recitation for the martyrs of the progeny of the Prophet (ṣ). This area can be divided into two parts:

a. Elegies for Imām al-Ḥusayn

The first persons to have recited poetry in mourning for the martyrs of Karbalā’ were the bereaved women of the Banū Hāshim.

Among them was Lady Umm al-Banīn, the mother of Ḥaḍrat Abū’l-Faḍl. He used to recite elegies for her sons at the Baqī‘ Cemetery while the people of Medina gathered around her and wept. Due to the Umayyad policy of repression, the elegists of the martyrs of Karbalā’ were lesser in number during the Umayyad period compared to that of the ‘Abbāsid period except during the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) when the condition was conducive for the Imām to revive the elegy for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a).

b. Elegies for the martyrs among the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)

The descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) were oppressed and have always been killed by the tyrants. Poets used to recite poems in lamentation for them. Next to the martyrs of Karbalā’, among the offspring of Abū Ṭālib, the most number of poems has been recited in mourning for Yaḥyā ibn ‘Umar aṭ-Ṭālibī.

4. The merits and virtues of the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)

The poets such as Farazdaq, Kumayt, Sayyid Ḥumayrī, and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī used to recite poetry to express the virtues of the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ).

5. Dispraising the enemies of the descendants of the Prophet (ṣ)

Shī‘ah poets used to engage in dispraising the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in defending the school of Shī‘ism.

* Lesson 29: Questions

1. When did the recitation of elegies start?

2. Who were the poets who recited poetry regarding the event of Karbalā’?

3. After the end of the first century AH, how did the elegies for Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) flourish?

4. Next to Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), about whom among the murdered offspring of Abū Ṭālib were so many elegies recited?

5. How did the Shī‘ah poets benefit from the use of dispraising?

p: 276

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أ

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ع