IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,

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Transcript

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,
THE ALL-BENEFICENT, THE ALL-MERCIFUL
:قال اهللا تعاىل
﴾إِنما يرِيد اللَّه ليذْهب عنكُم الرجس أَهلَ الْبيت ويطَهركُم تطْهِريا﴿
“ Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O
People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough
purification.”
Sūrat al-A zāb 33:33
HISTORY OF SHĪ‘ISM
from
The Advent of Islam
up to
The End of Minor Occultation
ولُ اِهللاقَالَ رس:
كتاب اِهللا وعترتي أهلَ : إني تارِك فيكُم الثَّقَلَينِ
بيتي، ما إنْ تمسكْتم بِهِما لَن تضلُّوا بعدي أبداً،
ضوالْح لَيا عرِدى يترِقَا حفْتي ا لَنمهإنو.
The Messenger of Allah ( ) 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 [ aw ]
(of Kawthar).”
Some references:
q Al­ ākim an­Nayshābūrī, Al­Mustadrak ‘alā’ - a ī ayn (Beirut), vol. 3,
pp. 109-110, 148, 533
q Muslim, A - a ī , (English translation), book 31, hadīths 5920-3
q At­Tirmidhī, A - a ī , vol. 5, pp. 621-2, hadīths 3786, 3788; vol. 2, p. 219
q An-Nasā’ī, Kha ā’i ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib, hadīth 79
q A mad ibn anbal, Al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 14, 17, 26; vol. 3, pp. 26, 59; vol.
4, p. 371; vol. 5, pp. 181-182, 189-190
q Ibn al­‘Athīr, Jāmi‘ al­U ūl, vol. 1, p. 277
q Ibn Kathīr, Al­Bidāyah wa’n­Nihāyah, vol. 5, p. 209
q Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-‘A īm , vol. 6, p. 199
q Na īr ad-Dīn al-Albanī, Silsilāt al-A ādīth a - a ī ah (Kuwait: Ad-Dār
a - alāfiyyah), vol. 4, pp. 355-358
HISTORY OF SHĪ‘ISM
from
The Advent of Islam
up to
The End of Minor Occultation
Ghulām-H asan Mu arramī
Translator
Mansoor Limba
Cultural Affairs Department
Ahl al-Bayt(‘a) World Assembly
Title: History of Shī‘ism: From the Advent of Islam up to the End
of Minor Occultation
Author: Ghulām-Hasan Mu arramī
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: 2007
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
تشی ع از : كتاب نام تاریخ
آغازتا پایان غیبت صغرى
حمر مى نحس غالم: نویسنده
لیمبا منصور: مرتجم
انگلیسى: ترمجه زبان
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
“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
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
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
@ 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
@ 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 ......................................................................................241
@ Lesson 26: Questions .....................................................................................241
Chapter Eight ....................................................................................................242
The Role of the Shī‘ah Poets in the Spread of Shī‘ism .......................................242
Lesson Twenty Seven .....................................................................................243
The Shī‘ah Poets and the Station of Poetry .........................................................243
The Shī‘ah Poets Till the End of Minor Occultation [ghaybah a - ughrā] ......246
The Leading Shī‘ah Poets ...................................................................................249
@ Lesson 27: Summary ......................................................................................251
@ Lesson 27: Questions .....................................................................................251
Lesson Twenty Eight .....................................................................................253
The Subjects of the Poems of the Shī‘ah Poets ...................................................253
1. Argumentation against the Usurpers of the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) Rights .......253
2. The Shī‘ah Poets’ Confrontation with the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid Poets ..257
@ Lesson 28: Summary ......................................................................................261
@ Lesson 28: Questions .....................................................................................261
Lesson Twenty Nine ......................................................................................262
3. Elegy-Recitation .........................................................................................262
a. Elegies for Imām al- usayn (‘a) and the Other Martyrs in Karbalā’ ............... 262
b. Elegies for the Other Martyrs among the Descendants of the Prophet ( ) ....... 267
4. The Virtues and Merits of the Descendants of the Prophet ( ) .................268
5. The Demerits of the Enemies of the Prophet’s ( ) Descendants ...............270
@ Lesson 29: Summary ......................................................................................274
@ Lesson 29: Questions .....................................................................................274
Bibliography ...........................................................................................................275
Transliteration Symbols
Symbol Transliteration Symbol Transliteration
a أ ’ ء
t ت b ب
j ج th ث
kh خ ح
dh ذ d د
z ز r ر
sh ش s س
ض ص
ظ ط
gh غ ‘ ع
q ق f ف
l ل k ك
n ن m م
w و h هـ
ah ة y ي
Long Vowels Short Vowels
a َـ ā آ
u ُـ ū و
i ِـ ī ي
Persian Letters
Symbol Transliteration Symbol Transliteration
ch چ p پ
g گ zh ژ
Foreword
&
O
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.
History of Shī‘ism
2
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 ( ).
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 ujjat al-Islām wa’l-Muslimīn Shaykh
Ghulām-Husayn Muh arramī, 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. c
Cultural Affairs Department
Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly
1 Ghulām- usayn Mu arramī, 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
&
O
In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful
نيالَمالْع بِهللا ر دمأَلْح
نديلٰى سلَّى اُهللا عص ونيعمأَج هِمائدلٰى أَعةُ اِهللا عنلَع و نرِيالطَّاه هآل و دمحا منبِين ا و
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and may the blessings
of Allah be upon our Master and Prophet, Mu ammad, 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 ( )1—the members of
his Household [Ahl al-Bayt] (‘a).2 Furthermore, the origin of the term Shī‘ah3
is traceable back to the Holy Prophet ( ) himself.
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 Muhammad (s). [Trans.]
2 The abbreviation, “‘a” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, ‘alayhis-salām, ‘alayhimussalām, 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.]
History of Shī‘ism
4
The initial nucleus of the Shī‘ah was composed of the great and
distinguished Companions [ a ābah]1 of the Prophet of Islam ( ) who, as
per instruction of the Prophet ( ), believed in the expediency of the
leadership of ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib (‘a) after the Prophet ( ).
After the demise of the Prophet of Islam ( ), 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 ( ), 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 ( ) for
matters relating to the principles of beliefs [‘aqā’id], jurisprudence [fiqh],
h adīth,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 [ta rīf] 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 Muh ammad 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 a - ādiq (‘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:
1 Companions [ a ābah] refer to the Companions of the Prophet ( ). 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 Hadīth (pl. ahādīth): tradition or report, specifically the traditions of the Prophet ( ) and the
infallible Imāms (‘a), i.e. their sayings, actions and tacit approvals of others’ actions, or the
narrations of these. [Trans.]
Preface
5
Inclination to Shī‘ism among the religious, pious and honest followers, and
their followers, are plenty. In case the h adīths they are narrating are
rejected, a great portion of the Prophetic works and h adīths 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 ghulāt2 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, Hujjat al-Islām Shaykh Ghulām-Husayn Muharramī, 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
.
1 Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ah mad 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.]
Chapter One
A Cursory Glance at the References
,
.
Lesson One
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‘ ūmīn]1 (‘a) as well as
books on hadīths 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
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 a - ālibiyyīn;
2. Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah;
3. A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah;
1 Ma‘ ūmīn: 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 h adīth dealing with the biography of the
h adīth transmitters or reporters. [Trans.]
History of Shī‘ism
10
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 a - ālibiyyīn
One of the most significant references dealing with the history of Shī‘ism
is the book Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn. Its author, Abū’l-Faraj ‘Alī ibn alHusayn 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
ālib [ ālibiyyūn] 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 ālib
from the time of the Messenger of Allah ( ) 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 ( ) 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 ālib [āl abī ālib], 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.
1 Sayyid Ah mad aqar, “Introduction to Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn”, 2nd edition (Qum:
Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH, p. 5.
2 Abū’l-Faraj ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn al-Isfahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, 2nd edition (Qum:
Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Radī, 1416 AH, p. 24.
Lesson 1
11
2. Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt 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-Rid ā (‘a). During the reign of Shāh
Sul ān Husayn afawī, 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 abaqāt 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) A - ā ābah [Companions of the
Prophet ( )]; (2) A - ābi‘ūn [Followers];3 (3) Al-Mu addithūn alladhī
rawū ‘an al-A’immah a - āhirīn [Scholars of adīth who Narrated
Traditions from the Pure Imāms (‘a)]; (4) ‘Ulamā’ ad-Dīn [Religious
Scholars]; (5) Al- ukamā’ wa’l-Mutakallimīn [Philosophers and Scholastic
Theologians]; (6) ‘Ulamā’ al-‘Arabiyyah [Scholars of Arabic Language]; (7)
As-Sādah a - awfiyyah [Commoners]; (8) Al-Mulūk wa’s-Salā īn [Kings
and Sultans]; (9) Al-Umarā’ [Rulers]; (10) Al-Wuzarā’ [Viziers and
Ministers]; (11) Ash-Shu‘arā’ [Poets]; and (12) An-Nisā’ [Women].
1 Sayyid ‘Alī Jān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt 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 ( ) but who knew his Companions.
[Trans.]
History of Shī‘ism
12
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 Mu sin 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.
Lesson 1
13
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, Rāfi iyyah, Ja‘fariyyah, and Khā ah 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, Husaynī, 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
Muhammad Husayn Mu affar, 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 Muhammad Bāqir ujjatī. The
late Mu affar has surveyed and discussed in 82 headings the history of
Shī‘ism from the time of the Prophet ( ) 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.
1 Sayyid Mu sin 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.
History of Shī‘ism
14
The late Mu affar 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 alBayt (‘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
Mu affar 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 (Muh ammad al-Mus t afā ( )), 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
Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, has been translated into Persian by
Muhammad Rid ā ‘A ā’ī and published by Āstān-e Quds-e Ra awī
(Custodianship of Imām ar-Rid ā’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.
Lesson 1
15
The third chapter covers the history after the Prophet ( ) up to the
martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘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 ashShī‘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
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 S iffīn.
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 S iffīn, 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.]
History of Shī‘ism
16
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-Husayn (‘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 alHusayn (‘a) as spiritual and intellectual Imamate, regarding their method as
different from that of the Commander of the Faithful, Imām al-Hasan and
Imām al-Husayn (‘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 wellresearched 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.
.
1 Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 36.
Lesson 1
17
@ 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 a - ālibiyyīn – the life account of the descendants of Abū
ālib [ ālibiyyīn] who were murdered at the hand of the tyrants of
their respective times.
o Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt 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
Mu affar]
o Shī‘eh dar Tārīkh – “It has explained the meaning and concept of
Shī‘ah, the Shī‘ah beliefs and its sects.” [Muhammad Husayn 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
1. How many types do references on the history of Shī‘ism have?
2. What is the subject of the book Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn?
3. Give a brief description of the book, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī
abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah.
4. What is the relationship between the book A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, and the
history of Shī‘ism?
.
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:
1. Tārīkh-e ‘Umūmī [General History];
2. Zendegīnāmeh-ye Imāmān (‘a) [Biography of the Imāms (‘a)];
3. Kitab-hā-ye Fitan va urūb [Books on Revolts and Wars];
4. Kitab-hā-ye Rijāl va abaqāt [Books on Rijāl and Classes];
5. Kitab-hā-ye Jughrāfiyā [Books on Geography];
6. Kitab-hā-ye Akhbār [Books on Narrations];
7. Kitab-hā-ye Nasab [Books on Genealogy];
8. Kitab-hā-ye Hadīth [Books on Hadīths]; and
9. 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 adhDhahab, Tārīkh a - abarī, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh, Al-‘Abr, Al-Imāmmah
wa’s-Siyāsah, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah of Ibn Abī’ladīd, 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,
History of Shī‘ism
20
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 ( ) with the caliphate of
Abūbakr, criticizing the groupings after the demise of the Prophet ( ).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-Hasan (‘a),3 the martyrdom of
ujr ibn al-‘Addī,4 ‘Amrū ibn amq5 and that of Imām al-Husayn (‘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 Fadak8 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-Hasan (‘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-Khawā by Ibn alJawzī occupy (special) importance. Al-Irshād is the first and most important
available Shī‘ah reference authority on the life account of the twelve Imāms
1 Ah mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī,
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-Husayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 2, p. 316; At-Tanbiyyah wa’l-Ashrāf (Cairo: Dār a āwī Li’ - ab‘ 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.
Lesson 2
21
(‘a). In view of the fact that part of ‘Alī’s (‘a) life overlapped that of the life
of the Prophet ( ), the life account and conduct [sīrah] of the Prophet ( )
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-Khawā 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 anafī 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 a - iffīn of Nasr
ibn Mazā im al-Munqarī (born 212 AH), which deals with the event and
confrontation at iffīn, 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 ( ) 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 Nu rah 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
h adīth. Its utility is in the study of the chain of transmission of hadīth
through which it deals with the life account and background of the hadīth
narrators and on the rectification of the Companions of the Prophet ( ). In
the Shī‘ah rijāl, apart from the Companions of the Prophet ( ), the
companions of the infallible Imāms (‘a) have also been discussed. The
History of Shī‘ism
22
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-A āb, written by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr al-Qur ubī
(463 AH); Asad al-Ghābah fī Ma‘rifah a - a ābah, authored by Ibn Athīr
al-Juzrī (630 AH); Tārīkh Baghdād, penned by Kha īb al-Baghdādī (392463 AH); and Al-I ābah fī Ma‘rifah a - a ābah, written by Ibn ajar al‘Asqalāni. Similarly, the most important Shī‘ah rijālī books are Ikhtibār
Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl, written by Shaykh a - ūsī (385-460 AH); Rijāl anNajāsī (Fihrist Asmā’ Mu annif ash-Shī‘ah) better known as Rijāl, Kitāb arRijāl, and Kitāb al-Fihrist of Shaykh a - ūsī (385-460 AH); Rijāl al-Burqā,
authored by Ah mad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid al-Burqā (280 AH); AlMashaykhah of Shaykh a - adūq (381 AH); Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ of Ibn
Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī (488-588 AH); and Rijāl Ibn Dāwūd of Taqī adDīn Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Dāwūd al- illī (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 anNajāshī, 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 ( ) 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- amawī, 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 hadīth that dealt on the lawful [ alāl] and the prohibited [ arām].
They referred instead to history books based on the method of writing history
Lesson 2
23
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 hadīth 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 ( ), 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
children1 and had been appointed as the judge in Mecca.2 In spite of this,
valuable information regarding the Companions of the Prophet’s ( ) 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 [wa āyah] 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
[a wāl]. 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.
1 Al- āfi Abūbakr Ah mad ibn ‘Alī Kha īb al-Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād (Egypt:
Ma ba‘ah as-Sa‘ādah, 1349 AH), vol. 8, p. 467.
2 Ibn Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), p. 160.
History of Shī‘ism
24
The book, Muntaqilah a - ālibiyyīn, has examined the migration of
sādāt (sing. sayyid) and descendants of the Prophet ( ). By utilizing its
subjects, the trend of Shī‘ism during the first centuries hijrī in the Muslim
lands can be examined.
8. Books on adīth
Another set of the references on the history of Shī‘ism includes the books
on h adīth. adīth in the Sunnī usage refers to the Prophet’s ( ) sayings,
actions and tacit approvals of others’ actions, but the Shī‘ah regards the
infallible Imams (‘a) as also attached to the Prophet ( ), treating their
sayings, actions and tacit approvals as proofs [ ujaj] as well. The hadīth
books of the Ahl as-Sunnah such as A - a ī of al-Bukhārī (194-256
AH), Al-Musnad of Ahmad ibn Ḥanbal (164-241 AH), and Al-Mustadrak
‘alā’ - a ī ayn of ākim 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 h adīth such as the “four books” [kutub al-arba‘ah],
viz. Al-Kāfī of al-Kulaynī (d. 329 AH); Man Lā Ya uruh al-Faqīh of
Shaykh a - adūq (d. 381 AH); and Tahdhīb al-A kām and Al-Istib ār of
Shaykh a - ūsī (d. 360 AH); and other books such as Al-Amālī, Ghurar alFawā’id and Durar al-Qalā’id of Sayyid Murtadā (355-436 AH); Al-I tijāj
of a - abarsī (6th century hijrī); and the bulky encyclopedia of hadīth,
Bi ār 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
h adīths 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 hadīth on “73 sects” and introduced the Ahl asSunnah 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, Muf alah,
Nu‘māniyyah, Hishāmiyyah, and Yūnusiyyah as “Shī‘ah” although these
sects do not exist in reality. Similarly, in the book, Khu a , Maqrīzī has
Lesson 2
25
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’lFiraq.
.
History of Shī‘ism
26
@ 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 a - iffīn;
o Books on rijāl and classes as well as books written about (personal)
backgrounds [a wāl];
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 hadīth as well as books on nations and religions.
@ Lesson 2: Questions
1. Among the books on general history, which of the earlier books that
have dealt more with the history of Shī‘ism?
2. Briefly describe the books, Al-Irshād and Tadhkirah al-Khawā .
3. Which type of books does Wāqi‘ah a - iffīn belong to?
4. Briefly describe the books on rijāl.
5. How many types do the books on geography have?
6. What are the salient features of the books on narrations [akhbār]?
7. Name two books on genealogy.
8. What is the relationship between the books on hadīth and the history
of Shī‘ism?
9. What is the title of one of the most important books written on
nations and religions?
.
Chapter Two
The Manner of Emergence of the Shī‘ah
,
.
Lesson Three
“Shī‘ah” in the Lexicon and the Qur’an
The word “Shī‘ah” in the lexicon is derived from the root-word شيع
[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 ( ).”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
1 For example, this poem:
یفزع الجلیللیس من االمر والخزرجى قلبھ مشیع
Indeed, the Khazrajī man has a brave heart and is not afraid of performing a great task.
Al-Khalīl ibn Ahmad 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 Fay as-Sayyid Murtad ā al-H usaynī al-Wāsi ī az-Zaydī al- anafī, Tāj al-‘Arūs, vol.
11, p. 257.
History of Shī‘ism
30
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 [ ulm]’.2
There are also many cases in the Qur’an in which “Shī‘ah” connotes
“followers” and “supporters” such as:
﴿ و يماهرإلب هتيعش نإِنَّ م﴾
“ Indeed Abraham was among his followers [shī‘ah]” 3
and the verse,
﴿ وِّهدع ني ملَى الَّذع هتيعش ني مالَّذ اثَهغتفَاس﴾
“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 ( ) up to the minor occultation [ghaybah a - ughrā]. 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 ( )
also believed in this affair because they had been informed of the names of
these Imāms from the Prophetic traditions.6
1 ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn Muhammad ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ atTurāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 196.
2 Shāhristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1364 AHS),
vol. 1, p. 131.
3 Sūrah a - āffāt 37:83.
4 Sūrah al-Qasas 28:15.
5 We shall quote these traditions in the next chapter.
6 Ibn ajar al-Haythamī, one of the Sunnī scholars, mentions the hadīth 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 hadīth quoting
contradictory statements from Ahl as-Sunnah scholars and ‘ulamā’, ultimately failing to reach
a decisive conclusion. For example, Qā ī ‘Iyād al-Yahsubī has said: “Perhaps, it means the
Lesson 3
31
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 ( ) 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 a - ādiq (‘a) attained martyrdom, Zurārah who was an old
man sent his son, ‘Ubayd, to inquire about the successor of Imām a - ādiq
(‘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 a - ūsī narrates from amrān
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 amrān! You will not perceive them.”
amzah az-Zayyāt, who is one of the narrators of this hadīth, thus says:
Concerning this h adīth 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
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-H asan, 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-munta ar] from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).” Some ‘ulamā’ have
also interpreted the hadīth 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-H asan (‘a) while the
other five shall come from the descendants of Imām al-H usayn (‘s). A - awā‘iq alMu riqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), pp. 20-21.
1 Al-Kulaynī, U ūl al-Kāfī, 5th printing (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1363 AH), vol.
1, p. 377.
2 Shaykh a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li A yā’ atTurāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 371.
History of Shī‘ism
32
ar-Rid ā (‘a) and I asked him (‘a) (about this). The Imām (‘a) said: “Imām
a - ādiq (‘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” [a ābunā] or “our Imāmī companions” [a ābunā alimāmiyyah]. And those who had inclined toward the deviant sects and drifted
away from the course of Shī‘ism have described with such labels as Fa ī,
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 [‘i mah] 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:
.التشيعيف داًيشد يانَ الشافعكَ
“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 anafī fiqh.4 From the viewpoint of the ideological
principles also, as narrated by Shahristānī, “For sometime, Zayd was a
student of Wā il ibn ‘A ā’, the founder of the Mu‘tazilah (Mu‘tazilite)
1 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 763.
2 Ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Ra ī, 1410 AH), p.
624.
3 Ibn an-Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’l-Ma bū‘āt wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 295.
4 Shahristānī, Al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Ra ī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1,
p. 143.
Lesson 3
33
madhhab and has learned from him the principles of the Mu‘tazilah
madhhab.”
Therefore, the Zaydīs are Mu‘tazilites in principles [u ūl]. It is for this
reason that they used to regard as permissible [jāyiz] the Imamate [imāmah]
of a deserving person [maf ūl] in the existence of the more deserving person
[af al] 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 asSunnah, as Ibn al-Qutaybah thus says: “Among the rāfi ī (Shī‘ah) sects, the
Zaydīs have the least extremism [ghulū].”2
It was for this reason that the uprising of Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah—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‘far5—who were among the great adīth
scholars [mu addithūn] of the Medina school [maktab] and from whom
Wāqidī himself has narrated adīth—were involved in the uprising of
Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah. Also, Shahristānī says: “Abū anīfah was
among the followers of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah.”6
The Mu‘tazilites of Ba rah also agreed with the uprising of Mu ammad
and based on Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī’s narration, “A group of the
Mu‘tazilites in Ba rah such as Wā il ibn ‘A ā’ 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
Fā imah (‘a).
.
1 Ibid., p. 138.
2 Ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, p. 623.
3 Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, 2nd edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf
ar-Ra ī, 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-Ra ī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1,
p. 140.
7 Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 258.
History of Shī‘ism
34
@ 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 ( ). 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?
.
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 ( ) 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:
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-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 124.
2 Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 25.
History of Shī‘ism
36
When al ah 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- usayn (‘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
Muhammad Kird-‘Alī—one of the distinguished Sunnī ‘ulamā’—says: “A
number of the Companions during the time of the Holy Prophet ( ) 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, Muhammad al-Mus tafā ( ), to the sympathizers of ‘Alī (‘a) before
all these events, as recorded in many h adīths, some of which we shall cite
below.
1 Ibn an-Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), p. 249.
2 A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār
I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 2, p. 230.
3 Abū Man ūr ‘Abd al-Qādir ibn āhir ibn Mu ammad 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, U ūl alIsmā‘iliyyah [The Principles of Ismā‘iliyyah], p. 84.
5 Ja‘far Kāshif al-Ghi ā’, Difā‘ az aqqāniyyat-e Shī‘eh [In Defense of the Truthfulness of
the Shī‘ah], trans. Ghulām-Hasan Mu arramī, 1st edition (n.p.: Mu’minīn, 1378 AHS), p. 48;
Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, trans. Muhammad-Rid ā ‘A ā’ī, 2nd
edition (Mashhad: Bunyād-e Pazhūhesh-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Āstān-e Quds-e Ra awī, 1375 AHS),
34.
6 Muhammad Kird-‘Alī, Kha a ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403
AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 245.
Lesson 4
37
All these hadīths are accepted by the Ahl as-Sunnah as authentic and
have been recorded in their hadīth references. Take, for example, the hadīths
which have been recorded by Suyū ī—one of the Sunnī exegetes
[mufassirūn] of the Qur’an—from the Holy Prophet ( ) on the commentary
of the verse:
﴿ كأُولَئ اتحاللُوا الصمعوا ونآم ينإِنَّ الَّذ ةرِيالْب ريخ مه﴾
“ Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds—it is they who
are the best of creatures.” 1
Among them is this hadīth of the Prophet ( ) when he said:
. القيامة يوم الفائزون هلم شيعته و هذا نّإ بيدهي نفسي والّذ
“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 ( ) said to ‘Alī (‘a): “God has forgiven the sins of
your Shī‘ah and the followers of your Shī‘ah.”3
The Prophet ( ) also said to ‘Alī (‘a): “You and your Shī‘ah will meet
(on the Day of Resurrection) at the Pool [ aw ] 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 hadīth regarding the virtues of ‘Alī (‘a), the Holy Prophet ( )
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 ( ) 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 ( ) said: “O ‘Alī! During the Day of
Resurrection, I shall cling to God while you shall hold fast to me; your
1 Sūrah al-Bayyinah 98:7.
2 Jalal ad-Dīn as-Suyū ī, Ad-Durr al-Manthūr fī’t-Tafsīr bi’l-Ma’thūr (Qum: Manshūrāt
Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘U mā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1404 AH) vol. 6, p. 379.
3 Ibn ajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Mu riqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah alQāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 232.
4 Ibid.; Nūr ad-Dīn ‘Alī ibn Abībakr al-Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr
Li’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, 1414 AH), vol. 9, p. 177.
5 Akh ab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1385
AH), p. 206.
6 Ibid., p. 209; Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al- anafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, 1st edition
(Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1418 AH), vol. 1, p. 302.
History of Shī‘ism
38
descendants shall hold fast to you; and the Shī‘ah of your descendants shall
hold fast to them.”1
The Prophet ( ) 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
Muhammad ( ).”3
Salmān al-Fārsī narrates that the Most Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ( ) replied:
“Jibra’īl and Mīkā’īl.” ‘Alī (‘a) again asked: “Which kind of ring shall I put
on?” He ( ) 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 [wi āyah],
and your descendants’ Imamate [imāmah]. Your followers are people of
Paradise and the abode of your Shī‘ah is the Garden of Firdaws [jannah alfirdaws].4
The Most Noble Messenger ( ) again said: “Eighty thousand from my
ummah shall be admitted to Paradise without reckoning.” ‘Alī (‘a) asked:
“Who are they?” He ( ) replied: “They are your Shī‘ah and you are their
Imām.”5
Anas ibn Mālik thus narrates from the Holy Prophet ( ):
Jibra’īl said to me: “God, the Exalted, loves ‘Alī to such a degree that is not
expressed to any angel. Just as the ta bī s [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-An ārī narrates that the Prophet ( ) 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
1 Akh ab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib, p. 210.
2 Ibid., vol. 188, p. 158.
3 Ibid., chap. 19, hadīth 329, p. 322.
4 Ibid., p. 234.
5 Ibid., p. 235.
6 Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al- anafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, p. 301.
7 Ibid.
Lesson 4
39
‘Alī (‘a) himself narrates that the Prophet ( ) 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 ( ) said to ‘Alī (‘a): “The first four persons to enter
Paradise are I, you, Hasan, and Husayn; 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 mu addithūn and historians such as Ibn alJawzī, Balādhurī, Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al- anafī, Khwārazmī, and
as-Suyū ī have narrated that the Messenger of Allah ( ) 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 ( )
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 ujr ibn ‘Adī al-Kindī which has been narrated by ‘Ā’ishah. When
Mu‘āwiyah performed ajj after killing ujr and his companions and came
to Medina, ‘Ā’ishah said to him:
O Mu‘āwiyah! Where was your forbearance at the time of killing ujr and
his companions? Be aware that I heard that the Messenger of Allah ( )
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 hadīths are undeniable and have been narrated by prominent
Sunnī mu addithūn, some Sunnī writers have resorted to unjust
interpretation of them. For instance, Ibn Abī’l- adīd says:
What is meant by the Shī‘ah in many h adīths 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’
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-Khawā (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1383
AH), p. 54; Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by
Muhammad Bāqir Ma mūdī (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1349 AH), vol. 2,
p. 182; Shaykh Sulaymān al-Qandūzī al- anafī, Yanābī‘ al-Mawaddah, 1st edition (Beirut:
Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1418 AH), vol. 1, p. 301; Akh ab
Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1385 AH), p. 206;
Jalal ad-Dīn as-Suyū ī, Ad-Durr al-Manthūr fī’t-Tafsīr bi’l-Ma’thūr (Qum: Manshūrāt
Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘U mā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1404 AH) vol. 6, p. 379.
4 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p.
231.
History of Shī‘ism
40
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, A - awā‘iq al-Ma riqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl al-Bid‘a wazZindiqah, which is a book rejecting the Shī‘ah creeds and beliefs, while quoting
this hadīths, Haythamī has said:
What is meant by the Shī‘ah in these h adīths 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 ( ).2
In reply to him, the late Mu affar says:
It is strange that Ibn ajar 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 ( ) more than the Shī‘ah do!3
The late Kāshif al-Ghi ā’ 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 hadīths and sayings of the
Prophet ( ) 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
( ) and a number of the Companions were known at the time as “Shī‘ah of
‘Alī”.5
1 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol.
20, p. 226.
2 A mad Ibn ajar Haythamī al-Makkī, A - awā‘iq al-Ma riqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl alBid‘a waz-Zindiqah (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1384 AH), p. 232.
3 Muhammad Husayn Mu affar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī,
n.d.), p. 5.
4 Ja‘far Kāshif al-Ghi ā’, Difā‘ az aqqāniyyat-e Shī‘eh [In Defense of the Truthfulness of
the Shī‘ah], trans. Ghulām-Hasan Mu arramī, 1st edition (n.p.: Mu’minīn, 1378 AHS), pp. 4849.
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 ālib (‘a) which had been called the “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī” during the time
of the Holy Prophet ( ) and after the demise of the Prophet ( ) 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
ālib and they were the first group from this ummah to be called “Shī‘ah”; for, Shī‘ah as an
Lesson 4
41
The Companions of the Prophet ( ) also referred to ‘Alī’s (‘a) followers
as “Shī‘ah”. Hāshim Marqāl thus writes concerning a person named “Ma al
ibn al-Khalīfah a - ā’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, Had rat3 ‘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 Ba rah at the hand of
al ah 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, al ah and Zubayr said during their conversation
about their route from Mecca to Iraq: “We shall go to Ba rah 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 ( ). He ( ) 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- adīd says: “This report [akhbār] has been narrated by mu addithūn
none of whom has been accused of raf 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 hadīths. Buraydah Aslamī says:
The Messenger of Allah ( ) said: “God, the Exalted, has ordered me to love
four persons and said to me that He also loves them.” They asked: “O
appellation is an old one such as the Shī‘ah of Nū (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.
1 Mu ammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān (Shaykh al-Mufīd), Al-Jamal, 2nd edition
(Qum: Maktab al-‘Ulūm al-Islāmī (Central Publication), 1416 AH), p. 243.
2 Mu ammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān (Shaykh al-Mufīd), Al-Irshād, trans.
Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376
AHS), p. 228.
3 Had rat: The Arabic word Hadrat 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- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol.
2, p. 349.
History of Shī‘ism
42
Messenger of Allah! Tell their names.” He ( ) said thrice: “‘Alī and then
Abū Dharr, Miqdād and Salmān.”1
A - abarī narrates that in the course of the Battle of U ud, the Most
Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ( ) was angry, no one could dare to speak except ‘Alī.”3
Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqā narrated that the Most Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ( ) 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 ( ) said:
When I was brought to the heavenly ascension [mi‘rāj], I saw that it is thus
written on the gate of heaven:
. فاطمة امة اهللا، على مبغضهم لعنة اهللا ال اٰله االّ اهللا، حممد رسول اهللا، على حبيب اهللا، احلسن واحلسني صفوة اهللا،
Lā ilāha illallāh, Muh ammadan Rasūlullāh, ‘Aliyyun abīb Allāh Al-Hasan
wa’l-Husayn ifwat Allāh, Fātimah Ummat Allāh, ‘alā mabgha uhum
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 ( ) said: “I enjoin anyone who believe in
God and confirm my apostleship [risālah] to love ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib and
recognize his guardianship [wilāyah]. He who loves him loves me and he
who loves me loves God.”7
1 Ibn ajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Mu riqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah alQāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 122.
2 Tārīkh a - abarī, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 2, p. 65.
3 Ibn ajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, Sawā’iq al-Mu riqah, p. 123.
4 Ibid.
5 Sab ibn al-Jawzī, Tadhkirah al-Khawā (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah,
1383 AH), p. 209.
6 Akh ab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1385
AH), p. 214.
7 Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt, researched by Dr. Sāmī Makkī al-‘Ānī
(Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 312.
Lesson 4
43
Ibn Abī’l- adīd narrates on the authority of Zayd ibn al-Arqam that the
Most Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ālib. Acknowledge him as Jibra’īl thus informed me
of it.”
After narrating this hadīth, Ibn Abī’l- adīd 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 [a kām] 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
.
1 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, 1378), vol. 3, p. 98.
History of Shī‘ism
44
@ 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
Muhammad Kird-‘Alī maintain that the root of emergence of Shī‘ism is
during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah ( ) and it was the Prophet ( )
who first applied the term “Shī‘ah” to the comrades of ‘Alī (‘a).
A number of Companions of the Prophet ( ) 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 ( ) had enjoined his Companions on many occasions.
@ Lesson 4: Questions
1. How many views have been expressed regarding the emergence of
Shī‘ism? Explain.
2. Who was the first person to apply the name “Shī‘ah” to the comrades
of ‘Alī (‘a)?
3. Write two hadīths from the Messenger of Allah ( ) regarding the
Shī‘ah.
4. What has Ibn Abī’l- adīd said regarding the hadīths pertaining to
the Shī‘ah?
5. What is Ibn ajar al-Haythamī’s opinion with regard to the h adīths
relating to the Shī‘ah?
6. What is the truth of Shī‘ism?
7. Write the opinion of Ibn Abī’l- adīd concerning the hadīth narrated
by Zayd ibn al-Arqam.
.
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, Husayniyyah, ‘Ithnā ‘Asharī, Khā ah, Ja‘farī,
Turābī, and Rāfi ī were gradually applied to the friends of the family of the
Prophet ( ). 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 Shām1 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 iffin and the rule of ‘Alī (‘a), whenever Mu‘āwiyah wanted to
dispatch ‘Abd Allāh ibn a ramī to Ba rah, 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
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 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir
Ma mūdī (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 423.
History of Shī‘ism
46
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, “Rāfi ī” and
in most cases, whenever they liked to accuse somebody of abandoning
religion, they would brand him a rāfi ī, just as ash-Shāfi‘ī says:
فليشهد الثّقالن أنى رافضى كان رفضاً حب آل حممد إن
If loving the progeny [āl] of Muhammad is raf , the two worlds (of mankind
and jinn) shall therefore be the witness that I am indeed a rāfi ī.2
It has been recorded in history that after the uprising of Zayd ibn ‘Alī,
the Shī‘ah were then called Rāfi ī. 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 [maf ūl]
in the existence of the most deserving one [af al], they abandoned him.
Therefore, they were then identified as Rāfi ī because raf means
“abandonment”.3
Regarding the label, ‘Alawī, Sayyid Mu sin 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
1 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 110.
2 Haythamī al-Makkī, A - awā’iq al-Mu riqah, p. 123; Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ashShī‘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-Rad ī, 1364 AHS),
vol. 1, p. 139.
4 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 19.
Lesson 5
47
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-Husayn (‘a), it can be discerned that after his
martyrdom, his Shī‘ah and supporters were also called “Husaynīs”. In many
of their poems they introduced themselves as “Husaynīs” or “of the religion
of Husayn”.2 In this regard, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih thus says: “Among the rāfi īs
are the Husayniyyah and they are companions of Ibrāhīm al-Ashtar who used
to roam around the alleys of Kūfah shouting: “Yā lithārāt al- usayn!” They
were called Husayniyyah.”3
Meanwhile, the term “Qa ‘iyyah” [lit. “Decisiveness”] was applied to
the Shī‘ah after the martyrdom of Imām Mūsā al-Kā im (‘a) in
contradistinction to the Wāqifiyyah. That is to say that they were certain and
decisive with respect to the martyrdom of Imām al-Kā im (‘a) and believed
in the Imamate of Imām ar-Rid ā (‘a) and the Imāms after him, whereas the
Wāqifiyyah were not convinced of the death of Imām al-Kā im (‘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 a - ādiq (‘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
umayrī, it can be understood that only on account of jurisprudence during
Imām a - ādiq’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
[u ūl] in contradistinction to other sects. The poem of umayrī is as
follows:
رت باسم اهللا و اهللا أكرب جتعف
1 ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn Mu ammad Ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ atTurāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 197.
2 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī. Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 102.
3 Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, A mad ibn Mu ammad. Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd. Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth
al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH
4 Shahristānī. Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 150.
History of Shī‘ism
48
In the Name of Allah, I became a Ja‘farī, and Allah is the great.1
By becoming a Ja‘farī, Sayyid umayrī is referring to the correct course
of the Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah in contradistinction to the Kaysāniyyah.
The Status of ‘Alī (‘a) among the Companions [ a ābah]
The Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a) occupied a special position
among the Companions of the Prophet ( ). Mas‘ūdī says:
In terms of all the virtues and merits that the Companions of the Prophet
( ) 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 [qa ā’]; 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 ( ), 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 ( ). He grew up in the house of the Prophet ( ) and under his
training.3 He (‘a) slept in the Prophet’s ( ) bed during the night of hijrah,
returned to their respective owners the possessions entrusted to the Prophet
( ) and joined the Prophet ( ) in Medina.4
The most important of all is ‘Alī’s (‘a) position in Islam. The Most
Noble Messenger ( ) 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
( ) announced before the elders among his relatives that ‘Alī is the
1 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 92.
2 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 446.
3 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 41.
4 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 294.
Lesson 5
49
executor of his will [wa ī], minister [wa īr], caliph [khalīf], and successor
notwithstanding the fact the he was the youngest among those who were
present.1
The Holy Prophet ( ) informed his Companions on several occasions of
the status and position of ‘Alī (‘a), admonishing them to recognize his
position. The Holy Prophet ( ) 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-Kha āb:
I used to annoy ‘Alī, the Prophet ( ) 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”.
Mu ‘ab ibn Sa‘d has narrated from his father, Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqā ,
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 hadīth from Sunnī mu addithūn
such as Tirmidhī, Abū Na‘īm, al-Bukhārī, and Mū allī.4
1 Muhammad Hādī Yūsufī Gharawī, Mawsū‘ah at-Tārīkh Islāmī, 1st edition (Qum: Majma‘ alFikr al-Islāmī, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 410.
2 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib, vol. 3, p. 211. [Trans.]
3 āfi Nūr ad-Dīn ‘Alī ibn Abībakr Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr
Li’ - ibā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, 1414 AH), vol. 9, p. 173.
4 Ibn Shahr Āshūb, Munāqib Āl Abī ālib, pp. 211-212.
History of Shī‘ism
50
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 ( ) 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 ālib. 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 āmit also says: “We used to test our children with the love
for ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib. 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 ( ) life, the issue of ‘Alī’s (‘a)
position was more publicized so much so that the title wa ī [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 ( ) said to ‘Alī
(‘a) before going to the Tabūk expedition:
. بعدي النيب هأن إالّ موسٰى من هارون مبرتلة مني نتأ
“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 [ ajj al-Widā‘] in Mīnā and in
‘Arafah also, the Holy Prophet ( ) 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 ( )
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 نصره واخذل من م وال من وااله و عاد من عاداه وانصر اللّه مواله علي فهذا مواله كنت 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
1 Ibid., p. 207.
2 Tārīkh a - abarī, vol. 2, pp. 62-63; Tārīkh al-Kāmil, vol. 2, pp. 40-41; Musnad Ahmad ibn
anbal, vol. 1, p. 111; Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 13, pp. 210-212.
3 Sayyid Ja‘far Murtad ā al-Āmilī, Al-Ghadīr wa’l-Mu‘āri ūn, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār asSīrah, 1418 AH), pp. 62-66.
Lesson 5
51
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 alAmīnī has given a comprehensive explanation of this subject in the first
volume of the book, Al-Ghadīr.
In this manner, the Messenger of Allah ( ) 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 ( ) after his demise.
In this regard, Zubayr ibn Bakkār says: “All the Muhājirūn1 and the An ār2
had no doubt that ‘Alī will be the caliph and master of the affairs after the
Messenger of Allah ( ).”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:
عن هاشم مثّ منها عن أيب حسن ما كنت أحسب أن األمر منصرف
السننو أعلم الناس بالقرآن و كمتلقبل أليس أول من صلّی
جربئيل عون له يف الغسل و الكفن النيب و منو أقرب الناس عهداً ب
و ليس يف القوم ما فيه من احلسن ما فيه ما فيهم الميترون به
من أعظم الغنب ناًها أن ذاغب عنه فنعلمهماذا الّذي ردهم
I was not imagining that the caliphate affair would be withdrawn from the
Banū Hāshim and much less to Abū’l- asan (‘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!
1 Muhājrūn (lit. “Emigrants”): The Meccan Muslims who accompanied the Prophet ( ) in his
hijrah [emigration] to Medina. [Trans.]
2 An ār (lit. “Helpers”): The Muslims of Medina who invited the Prophet ( ) and Muslims of
Mecca to migrate (hijrah) to Medina. [Trans.]
3 Zubayr ibn Bakkār. Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1416
AH), p. 580.
History of Shī‘ism
52
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:
ع الصديقلّجاج و بويذهب ال شكراً ملن هو باثناء قيق
عمر و أوالهم بذاك عتيق ا نقول هلا على و الرضاكن
Thanks to Him Who is worthy to be praised! The dispute was no more and
the allegiance was paid to adīq (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 An ār and Quraysh that
had surfaced on the event of Saqīfah, ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Ā has spoken against
the An ār. In reply to him, Nu‘mān ibn al-‘Ajlān—one of the poets of the
An ār—has recited a poem in which ‘Alī’s (‘a) right has been emphasized:
و يوم حنني و الفوارس يف بدر فقل لقريش حنن أصحاب مكّة
عتيق بن عثمان حالل أبابكر قلتم حرام نصب سعد و نصبكمو
و أن علياً كان أخلق باألمر و أهل أبوبكر هلا خري قائم
ألهل هلا يا عمر و من حيث التدري هوانا يف علي و أنهن و كا
و ينهى عن الفحشاء و البغي و النكر ىبعون اهللا يدعو إىل اهلدلك فذ
قاتل فرسان الضاللة و الكفرو وصي النيب املصطفى و ابن عمه
Say to the Quraysh: “We are the army of (the Conquest of) Mecca and the
Battle of unayn, and the cavalry of Badr!”
You said that appointment of Sa‘d to the caliphate is unlawful [ arām], but
your appointment, ‘Atīq ibn ‘Uthmān, of Abūbakr is lawful [ alāl].
[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.
1 Zubayr ibn Bakkār. Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt, p. 581.
2 Ibid., p. 580.
Lesson 5
53
He is the executor of will [wa ī] of al-Mustafā the Prophet, his cousin, and
the killer of the champions of disbelief [kufr] and misguidance [ alālah].1
With the aim of thanking Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās who, under ‘Alī’s (‘a)
order, had defended the An ār, assān ibn Thābit has recited this poem:
أبا حسن عنا و من كان كاىب حسن جزى اهللا عنا و اجلزاء بكفّه
فصدرك مشروح و قلبك ممتحن سبقت قريشاً بالذي أنت أهله
إليك و من أوىل به منك من و من حفظت رسول اهللا فينا و عهده
منهم بالكتاب و بالسننو أعلم ألست أخاه يف اهلدى و وصيه
May God give good reward to Abū’l-Hasan for us as the reward is in his
hand. Who, by the way, is like Abū’l-Hasan?
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
[wa ī], 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:
و ال سيما تيم بن مره أو عدي شم ال تطمعوا الناس فيكمبين ها
و ليس هلا االّ أبو حسن علي فما األمر االّ فيكم و إليكم
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-Hasan ‘Alī
who is its man.4
1 Ibid., p. 592.
2 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 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.
History of Shī‘ism
54
Finally, on that very day of Ghadīr Khumm, the Prophet’s poet, assān
ibn Thābit, asked the Messenger of Allah’s ( ) permission to narrate the
event of Ghadīr in poetry, and thus recites:
خبم وامسع بالرسول مناديا غدير نبيهميناديهم يوم ال
بانك معصوم فالتك وانيا اء جربئيل عن أمر ربهوقد ج
إليك و ال ختش هناك األعاديا و بلغهم ما أنزل اهللا ربهم
بكف علي معلن الصوت عاليا قام به اذ ذاك رافع كفّهو
عاميافقالوا و مل يبدا أهناك الت فقال فمن موالكم و نبيكم؟
و مل تلق منا يف الوالية عاصيا إهلك موالنا و أنت نبينا
رضيتك من بعدي إماماً و هاديا قم يا علي فإنين: فقال له
فكونوا له اتباع صدق مواليا ذا وليهفمن كنت مواله فه
وكن للّذي عادى علياً معاديا أللّهم وال وليه: هناك دعا
إمام هدى كالبدر جيلو الدياجيا رهمنصر ناصريه لنصفيا رب ا
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.
Lesson 5
55
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 ( )
speeches about ‘Alī (‘a), assān 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
( ) demise, somebody would contest ‘Alī (‘a) on the issue of caliphate and
succession to the Prophet ( ). As Mu‘āwiyah has written in reply to the
letter of Mu ammad ibn Abūbakr,
We and your father during the period of the Messenger of Allah ( ) used to
consider obedience to the son of Abū ālib as expedient for us and his
virtues were not concealed to us. After the demise of the Prophet ( ), 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 ( ) 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 ( ), to see Abūbakr
sitting in the Prophet’s ( ) lieu introducing himself as the Prophet’s ( )
caliph.3 Even Abū Sufyān—when he returned from a journey and saw the
situation as such—came to ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib 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 ( ) Companions
recognized the caliphate of Abūbakr officially, they did not forget ‘Alī (‘a) as
being the most deserving [af al]. 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” [aq ī’l-ummah] as
1 ‘Abd al-H usayn 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; Sib ibn Jawzī al- anafī, Tadhkirah
Khawā al-Ummah, p. 20; Ganjī Shāfi‘ī, Kifāyah a - ālib, p. 170; and others. [Trans.]
2 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’lMa bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 396.
3 Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 126.
4 ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad Abī’l-Kiram Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi
Ma‘rifah a - a ābah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 12; Tārīkh alYa‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 126.
History of Shī‘ism
56
stipulated by the Most Noble Messenger ( ).1 ‘Umar used to say: “May God
forbid that day when a problem would arise and Abū’l-Hasan is not
present.”2 As he used to say to the Companions of the Prophet ( ):
“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 ( ), ‘Alī (‘a) was not able to
acquire political power, his virtues and distinctions were narrated by the
same Companions of the Prophet ( ). Ibn Haythamī—who is one of the
staunched Sunnī ‘ulamā’—regarded the number of narrators of the hadīth
about Ghadīr as 30 persons from among the Companions,4 but Ibn Shahr
Āshūb has counted 80 narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr from among the
Companions.5
Meanwhile, the late ‘Allāmah Amīnī has counted the following 110
narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr from among the Companions: Abū
Hurayrah; Abū Laylā al-An ārī; Abū Zaynab al-An āri; Abū Fu ālah alAn ārī; Abū Qudāmah al-An ārī; Abū ‘Umra ibn ‘Amrū ibn Mu īn alAn ārī; Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Abū Rāfi‘; Abū Dha’īb; Abūbakr ibn
Abī Qu āfah; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Ubā ibn Ka‘b; As‘ad ibn Zurārah alAn ārī; Asmā’ bint ‘Umays; Umm Salmah; Umm Hānī; Abū amzah Anas
ibn Mālik al-An ārī; Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib; Zubaydah Aslamī; Abū Sa‘īd Thābit
ibn Wadī‘ah al-An ārī; Jābir ibn Sumayrah; Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-An ārī;
Jublah ibn ‘Amrū al-An ārī; Jabīr ibn Mu ‘am al-Qurshī; Jarīr ibn ‘Abd
Allāh Bajlī; Abū Dharr Jundab ibn Junādah; Abū Junaydah al-An ārī;
ubbah ibn Jawīn ‘Arnī; abashī ibn Junādah as-Salūlī; abīb ibn Badīl ibn
Warqā’ Khazā‘ī; udhayfah ibn Asīd Ghaffārī; Abū Ayyūb Khālid ibn Zayd
al-An ārī; Khālid ibn Wālid al-Makhzūmī; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Abū
Sharī Khuwaylid ibn ‘Amrū Khazā‘ī; Rafā‘ah ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir alAn ārī; Zubayr ibn ‘Awwām; Zayd ibn al-Arqam; Zayd ibn Thābit; Zayd
ibn Yazīd al-An ārī; Zayd ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-An ārī; Sa‘d ibn Abī
Waqqā ; Sa‘d ibn Junādah; Salmah ibn ‘Amrū ibn Akū‘; Samrah ibn
Jundab; Sahl ibn anīf; Sahl ibn Sa‘d al-An ārī; adī ibn ‘Ajlān; amīrah
al-Asadī; al ah 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-Mu alib; ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al 1 Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 97.
2 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378
AH), vol. 1, p. 18.
3 Ibid.
4 awā’iq al-Mu riqah (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 122.
5 Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Intishārāt-e ‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, pp. 25-26.
Lesson 5
57
An ārī; ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn ‘Awf al-Qurshī; ‘Abd ar-Ra mān 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-An ārī; ‘Abd Allāh
ibn Ja‘far al-Hāshimī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn un ab 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-An ārī; Abū arīf ‘Adī ibn ātam; ‘A iyyah
ibn Basar; ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Āmir; ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib; ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir;
‘Umārah al-Khazrajī; ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Ā ; ‘Amrū ibn Murrah Jahnī; Fātimah
bint Rasūl Allāh ( ); Fātimah bint amzah; ‘Umar ibn Abī Salmah; ‘Umrān
ibn a īn al-Khazā‘ī; ‘Amrū ibn umq al-Khazā‘ī; ‘Amrū ibn Sharā īl;
Qays ibn Thābit al-An ārī; Qays ibn Sa‘d al-An ārī; Ka‘b ibn ‘Ujrah alAn ārī; Mālik ibn uwayrath al-Laythī; Miqdād ibn ‘Amrū; Nājiyah ibn
‘Amrū; al-Khazā‘ī’ Abū Burzah Fa lah ibn ‘U bah Aslamī; Nu‘mān ibn
‘Ajlān al-An ārī; Hāshim Marqāl; Wa shī ibn arb; Wahhab ibn amzah;
Abū Ju ayfah; Wahhab ibn ‘Abd Allāh; and Yu‘lā ibn Murrah.1 Among the
narrators of the hadīth on Ghadīr, individuals who had hostile relationship
with ‘Alī (‘a)—such as Abūbakr, ‘Umar ‘Uthmān, al ah, ‘Abd arRa mān ibn ‘Awf, Zayd ibn Thābit, Usāmah ibn Zayd, assān 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 Waqqā —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 ( ) 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-‘Ā , 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:
1 ‘Abd al-H usayn 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; Akh ab Khwārazm, Al-Manāqib (Najaf:
Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1385 AH), pp. 59-60.
History of Shī‘ism
58
“It is better for one of you to relinquish his right to the other because I
heard the Messenger of Allah ( ) 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 ( ) 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 ( ) 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-‘Ā
admitted it.
.
1 Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 312-313.
Lesson 5
59
@ 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
Rāfi ī and Turābī were used by the enemies of the Shī‘ah with the aim of
debasing them. Some other labels such as ‘Alawī, Imāmī, Husayniyyah,
‘Ithnā ‘Asharī, Khā ah, and Ja‘farī were applied to them as well.
‘Alī (‘a) had a distinguished position among the Companions of the
Prophet ( ) as well as being the nearest one to the Prophet ( ) among the
Banū Hāshim. He grew up in the Prophet’s ( ) house, and most important of
all, the Most Noble Messenger ( ) 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 hadīth 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 ( ) vis-àvis abusing ‘Alī (‘a)?
.
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 ( )
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 ( ) 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 ( ) 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-Hasan
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 (Fay 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 ( ). 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.
Lesson 6
61
(‘a) also described in detail the role of the Quraysh in the Saqīfah event,
saying:
After the demise of the Prophet ( ), 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 Muhammad ( ), 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 ( )
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
An ār 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 An ar 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 ( )
Now, this question is posed: Why did the Quraysh have enmity toward
the family of the Prophet ( )? 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
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
1 Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Ra ī, 1416
AH), p. 65.
2 Kitāb Salīm ibn Qays al-‘Āmirī (Beirut: Mansurāt Dār al-Funūn, 1400 AH), p. 108; AsSayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut:
Mu’assasah al-Wafā’, n.d.), p. 5.
History of Shī‘ism
62
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 ( ),
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:
الَّذي أَطْعمهم من جوعٍ ٭فَلْيعبدوا رب هذَا الْبيت ٭إِيالفهِم رِحلَةَ الشّتاِء والصيف ٭إليالف قُريشٍ ﴿
نم مهنآمو فوخ﴾
“ [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 Abrahah4 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 aram 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
1 ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 74.
2 Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Tārīkh-e Islām az Jāhiliyyat tā ajjah 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 ajjah al-Widā‘ (1), p. 52.
Lesson 6
63
[ awāf], which the pilgrims were required to purchased from them.1
Therefore, whenever they sensed, during the advent of the Most Noble
Messenger ( ), 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 ( ) 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, akam
ibn Abī’l-‘Ā used to ridicule the Prophet ( ) and on account of which the
Messenger of Allah ( ) exiled him to ā’if.2 As the Quraysh were not able
to confront the Prophet ( ), 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 ( ) 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
1 Mu ammad Ibn Sa‘d, A - abaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār ādir, 1405 AH) vol. 1, p. 72.
2 ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad Abī’l-Kiram Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi
Ma‘rifah a - a ābah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 34.
3 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378
AH), vol. 1, p. 194.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 51.
6 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 310.
History of Shī‘ism
64
Ibn Abī’l- adīd 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-Takāthur2 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-Mu alib, 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-Mu alib 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’ - alt, one of the nobles and great men of ā’if and
one of the unafā,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 ( ) mission, he refrained from
1 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 159.
2 Sūrah at-Takāthur 102:1-2:
﴿ كَاثُرالت اكُم٭أَلْه قَابِرالْم مترى زتح﴾
“Rivalry [and vainglory] distracted you until you visited [even] the graves.”
3 Sūrah as-Saba’ 34:35-37:
ي نمل قطُ الرِّزسببِّي ي٭ قُلْ إِنَّ ر ذَّبِنيعبِم نحا نما والدأَواال ووأَم أَكْثَر نحقَالُوا نونَ ﴿ ولَمعاسِ ال يالن أَكْثَر نلَكو رقْدياُء وش
ال أَوو الُكُموا أَمما ﴾٭ وحاللَ صمعو نآم نلْفَى إِال ما زندنع كُمقَرِّبي تبِالَّت كُمالد
“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 unafā (sing. anīf): those Arabs during the period of pre-Islamic ignorance [jāhiliyyah]
who were not worshipping idols. [Trans.]
Lesson 6
65
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 ( ))?”1
Yet, despite their will and envy, God lead His Prophet ( ) 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 ( ) 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-Mu alib:
“Your father ‘Abd al-Mu alib and Ghay alah, 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 ( )
and made a complaint against ‘Abbās. The Messenger of Allah ( ) asked
his uncle ‘Abbās to explain and ‘Abbās complied. Thereafter, the Prophet
( ) 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 ( ) 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 ( ) 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 ( ), some would even express their
envy and would actively annoy and disturb ‘Alī (‘a). Along this line, Sa‘d
ibn Abī Waqqā 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
1 Abū Mu ammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum:
Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Ridā, 1415 AH), 60; Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Tārīkh-e Islām az Jāhiliyyat tā
ajjah al-Widā‘ (Arāk: Islamic Āzād University (Arāk Branch), n.d.), p. 88.
2 Mu ammad Ibn Sa‘d, A - abaqāt al-Kubrā, vol. 4, p. 24.
3 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 214.
4 Ibid., pp. 213-214.
5 Ibid., p. 211.
History of Shī‘ism
66
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- akam, Sa‘īd ibn al-‘Ā 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-Hasan (‘a) to visit him and he has appointment with him. When
Imām al-Hasan (‘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-Kha āb
said to Sa‘d ibn al-‘Ā : “You are staring at me in such a manner as if I killed
your father, but I did not. It is ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib 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:
فال و ربك مافازوا و ما ظفروا تكم قريش متناى لتقتلين
“The Quraysh wished to kill me, but they did not succeed to do so.”6
.
1 Due to certain grave offenses, Marwān’s father, akam ibn al-‘Ā , was among the people
of Banū Umayyah who were banished from Medina at the Prophet’s ( ) 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- ākim, 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 alKabīr, vol. 7, p. 491; Asad al-Ghābah of Ibn Athīr, vol. 2, p. 34, An-Nihāyah of Ibn Athīr
(Egypt), vol. 3, p. 23; Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 55; Tafsir Nayshābūrī on the
marginal note of abarī, vol. 26, p. 13, Sawā‘iq al-Mu riqah, p. 108. [Trans.]
2 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 178.
3 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 498.
4 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib, vol. 3, p. 220.
5 Mu ammad Ibn Sa‘d, A - abaqāt al-Kubrā, vol. 5, p. 31.
6 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib, vol. 3, p. 312.
Lesson 6
67
@ 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 ( ) 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 ( ) 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
1. What was the role of the Quraysh in the event of Saqīfah?
2. What were the reasons behind Quraysh’s enmity toward the family
of the Prophet ( )?
3. Explain the tribal rivalry and envy.
4. What was the nature of Quraysh’s enmity toward ‘Alī (‘a)?
.
Lesson Seven
The Silence of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a)
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 ( ) 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,
لْتدحاً فَسا كَشهنع تيطَوباً، وا ثَوهونذَّاَء دد جولَ بِيأَنْ أَص نيي بئتأَر قْتطَفلَٰى ، وع بِرأَص أَو ،
رأَيت أَنَّ فَ .ربه يها مؤمن حتى يلْقَٰىعمياَء، يهرم فيها الكَبري، ويشيب فيها الصغري، ويكْدح ف طَخية
.نهباً تراثي أرٰى ، فَصبرت ويف الْعينِ قَذى، ويف احلَلْقِ شجاً ، هاتا أَحجٰى الصبر علَٰى
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
1 Najh al-Balāghah (Fay al-Islām), Sermon 3 [Khutbah ash-Shaqshaqiyyah].
History of Shī‘ism
70
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:
فَرأيت كافَّةً قُريش بِاالَمرِ و دفَعتنا عن حق نحن اَحق بِه من الناسِ ثَرثْ علَينالَما قَبض نبِيه استأ إنّ اهللا
هيثُو عدح اسالن و هِممائد فْكس و نيملاملُس ةمفريقِ كَلت نلُ ماَفْض كلٰى ٰذلع ربسالم اَنَّ الصبِاال د
ضخم ضخمينِ يالدا ولْفعكسه اَقَلُّ خي نٍ وهٰىن واَد دهفسطْبِ، يلو .
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 ( ), a large number of the Arab tribes
that had accepted Islam during the last years of the Prophet’s ( ) 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:
وآله عليه اهللا صلى بعده من االَْمر هذَا تزعج عربالْ أَنَّ بِبالي، يخطُر والَ، روعي في يلْقَى كَانَ ما فَواِهللا
فَأَمسكْت يبايِعونه، فُالَن علَى الناسِ انثيالُ إِالَّ راعنِي فَما بعدهمن عني منحوه أَنهم والَ بيته، عن اَهل
وآله عليه اهللا صلى محمد دينِ محقِ إِلَى يدعونَ االِْسالَمِ، عنِ رجعت قَد سِالنا راجِعةَ رأيت حتى يدي
يتشإِنْ فَخ رِ لَمصلَ أَناَه و المساال ى أَنْهأَر يهثَلْماً ف ماً، أَودكُونُ هةُ تيبصالْم بِه لَيع ظَمأَع نم تفَو
كُمتيا وِالَيا لَّتمإِن يه اعتامٍ ملَ، أَيولُ قَالَئزا يهنا ما كَانَ، مولُ كَمزي ،ابرالس ااَوكَم عقَشتي
،ابحالس تضهي فَنف لْكت اثدى االَْحتان حاحلُ زاطالْب قهزأَنَّ واطْمو ينالد و هنهنت .
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 ( ) 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
1 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 308.
Lesson 7
71
undermine and ruin the religion preached by our Holy Prophet ( ). 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 shortlived 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-Hasan (‘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 ( ) lifetime. On the commentary of the
Qur’anic verse, “An asker asked for a punishment bound to befall,” 3 abarsī
has thus narrated from Imām a - ādiq (‘a):
After the event of Ghadīr Khumm, a nomadic Arab by the name of Nu‘mān
ibn al- ārith al-Fihrī came to the Prophet ( ) 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 ( ) 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- ārith turned back and proceeded toward his shecamel saying: “O Allah! If what Mu ammad 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
1 Najh al-Balāghah (Fay al-Islām), Letter 62.
2 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 65.
3 Sūrah al-Ma‘ārij 70:1.
4 Abī ‘Alī al-Fa l ibn al-H asan abarsī, Majma‘ al-Bayān, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār alMa‘rifah Li’t-Tibā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, 1408 AH), vol. 10, p. 530.
History of Shī‘ism
72
demise of the Prophet ( ), had actual physical role in urging the people to
pay allegiance to Abūbakr.1
3. The Safety of the Progeny of the Prophet ( )
The original inheritors of the Prophet ( ) and the upright adherents of
the religion are the members of the Prophet’s ( ) family. They were the
partner of the Qur’an, the second previous legacy of the Prophet ( ) and the
interpreters of the religious laws, and they showed to the people the pristine
and genuine Islam after the Prophet’s ( ) demise. Their extinction would be
an irreparable loss. The Commander of the Faithful said:
تنِ املَوع بِهِم تننيىت فَضإالّ أهلُ ب عنييل م إِذا لَيسف تظَرفَن .
“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 ( ) [Masjid an-Nabī], I saw Miqdād, ‘Ubādah ibn āmit, Salmān
al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr, udhayfah, and Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihām were
talking about the event that took place after the demise of the Prophet ( ).
He went together to the house of Ubayy ibn Ka‘b who said that his view is
the same with whatever udhayfah would say.4
1 Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān Mufīd, Al-Jamal, 2nd edition (Qum: Maktab alA‘lām al-Islāmī (Central Publication), 1416 AH), pp. 118-119.
2 Najh al-Balāghah (Fay al-Islām), Sermon 26.
3 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 126.
4 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 51.
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73
Finally, on that Friday, the Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a) went to the Prophet’s ( )
Mosque to debate with and condemn Abubakr. In this regard, abarsī thus
narrates:
Abān ibn Taghlib asks Imām a - ādiq (‘a): “May I be your ransom! When
Abūbakr sat in the place of the Messenger of Allah ( ), was there anyone
who protested?” The Imām (‘a) said: “Yes; there were twelve persons from
among the Muhājirūn and the An ār such as Khālid ibn Sa‘īd; Salmān alFārsī; Abū Dharr; Miqdād; ‘Ammār; Buraydah Aslamī; Abū’l-Haytham ibn
Tayyihān; Sahl ibn anīf; ‘Uthmān ibn anīf; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit
Dhū’sh-Shahadatayn; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b; and Abū Ayyūb al-An ārī. 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 ( ) 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 Na īr, the Holy
Prophet ( ) 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 udhayfah
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 ( ) 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
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 Man ūr Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib abarsī, Al-I tijāj (Tehran: Intishārāt-e Usweh,
n.d.), vol. 1, pp. 186-200.
History of Shī‘ism
74
collection of zakāh, saying: “We shall not work for someone else after the
Prophet ( ).”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 Muhammad ( ).”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
udhayfah also used to say: “Anyone who wants to witness the
Commander of the Faithful in truth shall meet ‘Alī.”4
ārith ibn Khazraj, the standard-bearer of the An ār in the battles of the
Prophet ( ), used to narrate that the Holy Prophet ( ) 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
1 ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi
Ma‘rifah a - a ābah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 83.
2 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb Ibn Wā i , 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 ād 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 ālib
(Beirut: Dār al-A wā’, 1405 AH), vol. 3, pp. 77-78.
4 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’lMa bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 115.
5 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 54.
Lesson 7
75
people to the right course and the Straight Path [Sira al-Mustaqīm]. They
took the caliphate from the Imām of guidance, the guided [mahdī], pure
[ āhir] 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 ālib.’ 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 ( ) 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 alGhaffārī… Muhammad ( ) is the inheritor of the knowledge of Ādam
(Adam) (‘a) and all virtues of the prophets (‘a), and ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib (‘a)
is the successor of Muhammad ( ) and the inheritor of his knowledge. O
confounded and wandering ummah after the Prophet ( )! 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 ( ), 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.
.
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 57.
2 Ibid., p. 67.
History of Shī‘ism
76
@ Lesson 7: Summary
1. Had rat ‘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?
.
Lesson Eight
The Shī‘ah among the Companions [ a ābah]
We said earlier that the first person to call the followers of ‘Alī (‘a) as
“Shī‘ah” was the receiver of the divine revelation, Muh ammad al-Mus tafā
( ). During the time of the Holy Prophet ( ) a number of his Companions
were known as “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī”. In Kha a ash-Shām, Muhammad Kird
‘Alī thus writes:
During the period of the Holy Prophet ( ), 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 ( ) that we would be the well-wishers of Muslims and
that we follow and befriend ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib”; 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 Ramad ān, and
ajj” He was again asked: “What is the thing that the people abandoned?”
He replied: “The wilāyah [mastership] of ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib.” 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-An ārī,
Khālid ibn Sa‘īd, and Qays ibn Sa‘d.1
Regarding the pioneering Shī‘ah, Ibn Abī’l- adīd also says, thus:
1 Muhammad Kird ‘Alī, Kha a ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403
AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 245.
History of Shī‘ism
78
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; udhayfah; Buraydah; Abū Ayyūb; Sahl ibn unayf; ‘Uthmān ibn
unayf; Abū’l-Haytham ibn Tayyihān; Khuzaymah ibn Thābit; Abū’ ufayl ‘Āmir ibn Wāthilah; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; and all
members of the Banū Hāshim and Banū Mu alib. 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 abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ashShīrāzī 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 ālib; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās;
Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; Qithm ibn al-‘Abbās;
‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn al-‘Abbās; Tamām ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Aqīl ibn Abī
ālib; Abū Sufyān ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; Nawfal ibn ārith
ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib;
‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far; ‘Awn ibn Ja‘far; Muhammad ibn Ja‘far; Rabī‘ah ibn
ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; ufayl ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib;
Mughayrah ibn Nawfal ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; ‘Abbās ibn
‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab; ‘Abd al-Mu alib ibn Rabī‘ah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd
al-Mu alib; and Ja‘far ibn Abī Sufyān ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd alMu alib.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 alGhiffārī; ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir; udhayfah ibn Yamān; Khuzaymah ibn
Thābit; Abū Ayyūb al-An ārī; 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 Qu ādah al-An ārī; ‘Udayy ibn ātam; ‘Ubādah ibn āmit; Bilāl ibn
Rubā ; Abū’l- umarā’; Abū Rāfi‘; Hāshim ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Waqqā ;
‘Uthmān ibn unayf; Sahl ibn unayf; akīm ibn Jablah al-‘Adwī; Khālid
ibn Sa‘īd ibn al-‘Ā ; Walīd ibn Jābir ibn alīm a - ā’ī; Sa‘d ibn Mālik
1 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378
AH), vol. 2, pp. 221-222.
2 Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut:
Mu’assasah al-Wafā’, n.d.), pp. 41-197.
Lesson 8
79
ibn Sinān; Barā’ ibn Mālik al-An ārī; Ibn a īb Aslamī; Ka‘b ibn ‘Amrū
al-An ārī; Rafā‘ah ibn Rāfi‘ al-An ārī; Mālik ibn Rabī‘ah Sā‘idī; ‘Uqbah
ibn ‘Umar ibn Tha‘labah al-An ārī; Hind ibn Abī Hālah at-Tamīmī; Ju‘dah
ibn Hubayrah; Abū ‘Umrah al-An ārī; Mas‘ūd ibn al-Aws; Na lah ibn
‘Ubayd; Abū Burzah Aslamī; Mardās ibn Mālik Aslamī; Musūr ibn Shidād
Fahrī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Budayl al-Khazā‘ī; ujr ibn ‘Adī al-Kindī; ‘Amrū
ibn al- umq al-Khazā‘ī; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Abū Laylā al-An ārī; 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 ( ) 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-An ārī, and Abū Sinān al-An ārī, and
after these four persons, Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-An ārī; Abū Sa‘īd alAn ārī whose name is Sa‘d ibn Mālik al-Khazrajī; Abū Ayyūb al-An ārī
al-Khazrajī; Ubayy ibn Ka‘b al-An ārī; Abū Burzah Aslamī al-Khazā‘ī
whose name is Na lah ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh; Zayd ibn al-Arqam al-An ārī;
Buraydah ibn a īb Aslamī; ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn Qays whose epithet
Safīnah Rākib Asad; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Salām; ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd alMu alib; ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās; ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far; Mughayrah
ibn Nawfal ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib; udhayfah al-Yamān who is
included among the An ār; Usāmah ibn Zayd; Anas ibn Mālik; Abū’lHumrā’; Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib al-An ārī; 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
unayf; Barā’ ibn Mālik; ‘Uthmān ibn unayf; ‘Ubādah ibn āmit, and
1 Ibid.., pp. 197-455.
2 Ah mad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid Burqā, Rijāl al-Burqā (n.p.: Mu’assasah al-Qayyūm,
n.d.), pp. 31-39.
3 Muhammad ibn Muhammad 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.
History of Shī‘ism
80
after them are Qays ibn Sa‘d; ‘Udayy ibn ātam; ‘Amrū ibn amq;
‘Umrān ibn a īn; 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 Mu sin 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, Muhammad ibn Abūbakr identifies
the presence of the Companions of the Prophet ( ) at the side of ‘Alī (‘a) as
one of the signs of his rightfulness.4
Muhammad ibn Abī udhayfah, 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 An ār 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,
1 Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al- asan ibn ‘Alī Shaykh a - ūsī, 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 Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 2,
p. 24.
4 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 395.
5 Shaykh a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), p. 278.
Lesson 8
81
The Commander of the Faithful mounted the pulpit in iffīn and everyone
including the Muhājirūn and An ār 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 ( ) was asked about the verse,
“And the Foremost Ones are the foremost ones: they are the ones brought
near [to Allah],” 1 he ( ) said: ‘God has revealed this verse about the
prophets and their successors [aw iyā’]. I am superior to all prophets and
messengers and my successor [wa ī] ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib 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 An ār, stood up and testified that they have heard the same thing
from the Messenger of Allah ( ).2
.
1 Sūrah al-Wāqi‘ah 56:10-11.
2 Salīm ibn Qays al-‘Āmirī (Beirut: Manshūr Dār al-Funūn Li’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’tTawzī‘, 1400 AH), p. 186; Abī Man ūr Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib a - abarsī (AlI tijāj. Tehran: Intishārāt-e Usweh, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 472.
History of Shī‘ism
82
@ Lesson 8: Summary
The pioneering Shī‘ah were prominent Companions of the Prophet ( ).
Muhammad Kird-‘Alī in Kha at ash-Shām has recorded that a number of
the Companions were known as the “Shī‘ah of ‘Alī” during the lifetime of
the Prophet ( ).
Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shīrāzī in Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ashShī‘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 ( ).
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 a - ūsī 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)?
.
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
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 SunnīShī‘ah difference in jurisprudence [fiqh], hadīth, tafsīr [exegesis of the
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. A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i ,
Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 133.
History of Shī‘ism
86
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, Fa l 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
udhayfah 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 Waqqā .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 iffīn 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 unayf and udhayfah 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
1 For instance, we may cite the recommendation of ‘Alī (‘a) to Abūbakr concerning the
dispatch of army to Shām (Ibn Wā i , 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 wellintentioned. 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 alBalāghah, 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 Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 151.
3 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 2, p. 323.
4 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 155.
5 Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 401.
6 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 156.
7 Ibid., p. 152.
Lesson 9
87
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 Bajallī3 and Qur ah
ibn Ka‘b al-An ārī4 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 Kūfah5 and became the governor of Hamedān during ‘Uthmān’s reign.6
Qur ah ibn Ka‘b al-An ārī also conquered Shahr-e Rey during the period
of ‘Umar ibn al-Kha āb.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 ( ), 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 ( ). As Qays ibn Sa‘d was saying,
1 Muhammad ibn Muhammad 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 Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 157.
3 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 275.
4 ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fi
Ma‘rifah a - a ābah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 202.
5 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 143.
6 Abū Mu ammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum:
Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1415 AH), p. 586.
7 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 154.
8 Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran:
Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), pp. 227-228.
History of Shī‘ism
88
يللسوانا أتى به التنـز منا و إمامو علي إما
‘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:
قى مام الورىإاً فديت علية مأوى التسراج الربي
إمام الربية مشس الضحى وصي الرسول و زوج البتول
ىفاحسن بفعل إمام الور ه راكعاً تصدق خامت
و أنزل يف شأنه هل أتى ففضله اهللا رب العباد
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 [wa ī] of the Prophet, the husband of Ba ūl
(Fāt imah), the Imām of creation, and radiant sun.
He is the Imām of creation and gave in alms [ adaqah] 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:
حنن و بيت اهللا اوىل بالنيب ين علي حىت اقاتلك علٰى د تربح العرصة يا ابن يثريب ال
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:
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (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.
Lesson 9
89
دين علي مثّ ابن صوحان علٰى قاتل علباء و هند اجلملى يثريب تنكروين فانا ابن ان
If you do not know me, I am Ibn Yathribī, the killer of ‘Ilbā’ and Hind alJamalī.1 I am also the killer of Ibn aw ān 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 ajjāj ibn Yūsuf being
most notorious among them.
Ibn Abī’l- adīd, 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 Ba rah 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-Ra mān ibn ‘Alī ibn al-Jawzī has said:
1 ‘Ilbā’ and Hind al-Jamalī were among the supporters and Shī‘ah of ‘Alī (‘a).
2 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār I yā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabī, 1961), pp.
43-45.
History of Shī‘ism
90
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 Ba rah, appointed Samurah ibn Jundab as his deputy in Ba rah
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 [ ufaz].”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, ajjāj 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, ajjāj 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
1 Abū’l-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn ‘Alī Ibn al-Jawzī, Al-Munta im fī Tārīkh al-Umam wa’lMulūk, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1412 AH), vol. 5, p. 227.
2 Muhammad ibn Jarīr a - abarī, Tārīkh al-Umam wa’l-Mulūk (Beirut: Dār al-Qāmūs aladīth, n.d.), vol. 6, p. 132.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 1, p. 45.
Lesson 9
91
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
ajjāj 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 ajjāj:
ajjāj 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
ajjāj’s forces in the war against him.2
At the time of ajjāj’s death, 50,000 men and 30,000 women were
languishing in his infamous prison. Among them 11,000 were naked. ajjāj
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 ajjāj’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 ( ), 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
.
1 Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1416
AH), p. 99; Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh Ta līlī-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 Ta qīqātī va
Ta‘līmātī-ye Imām ādiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), p. 246.
2 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 187.
3 Ibid.
4 Muhammad Bāqir (‘Allāmah) Majlisī, Bi ār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah
al-Islāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 275.
History of Shī‘ism
92
@ 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?
.
Lesson Ten
The Spread of Shī‘ism during the Period of Umayyad Caliphate
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 ( ) 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-Hasan and Imām alHusayn (‘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 a - ādiq (‘a).
a. The Period of Imām al- asan and Imām al- usayn (‘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-Hasan (‘a)
stipulated the guarantee of the Shī‘ah of his father’s safety as one of the
History of Shī‘ism
94
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-Hasan (‘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-Hasan (‘a) said:
The caliph is he who practices the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the
Prophet ( ), 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-Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom, we cannot see of any split
among the Shī‘ah. Imāms al-Hasan and al-H usayn (‘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 ( ). During
the Battle of iffīn, when he saw that Imām al-Hasan (‘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- asan and al- usayn)
toward death, lest the descending line of the Prophet ( ) is cut away
by their death.”3
Imāms al-Hasan and al-H usayn (‘a) also occupied a position of respect
among the Companions of the Prophet ( ). This fact was demonstrated in the
people’s pledge of allegiance to Imām al-Hasan (‘a) in which the
Companions of the Prophet ( ) accepted his caliphate and none protested.
As such, during Imām al-Hasan’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
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 33.
2 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 82.
3 Nahj al-Balāghah, Sermon 167, p. 660.
Lesson 10
95
a Qurayshī’s report to Mu‘āwiyah. In his report to Mu‘āwiyah, a Qurayshī
man thus wrote:
O Commander of the Faithful! H asan 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 ( ), and then returns to his house.1
Imām al- usayn (‘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 Husayn (‘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-Husayn (‘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-Hasan (‘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, Hasan died and you
became the chief of the Banū Hāshim.” Ibn al-‘Abbās said: “So long as
Husayn is there, I am not.”3
Even Ibn al-‘Abbās, in spite of his intellectual and political position,
being a reporter of h adīth and exegete of the Qur’an and, according to the
Sunnīs, even higher in rank than Imams al-H asan and al-H usayn (‘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 H asan and H usayn, keeping the
stirrup until they rode. I said: “Why are you keeping stirrup for them even
1 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 21.
2 A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’
at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 366.
3 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 9.
History of Shī‘ism
96
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-Husayn’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 heartrending 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 ijāz, 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 ( ), 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 irrah 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 ijāz
especially in Kūfah and Medina, was rampant shattering the Shī‘ah cohesion
and formation. In describing this sorrowful condition, Imām a - ādiq (‘a)
says: “After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the people dispersed
from around the family of the Prophet ( ) except three persons, viz. Abū
Khālid Kābulī, Ya yā ibn Umm a - awīl and Jabīr ibn Mu ‘am.”2
In describing this period, Mas‘ūdī the historian also says: “‘Alī ibn alHusayn 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
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib, vol. 3, p. 400.
2 Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al- asan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl
(Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 338.
3 Ithbāt al-Wa iyyah, 4th edition (Najaf: Al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1373 AH), p. 167.
Lesson 10
97
lowest degree and the people were no longer viewing it as a sacred
institution. The poem below addressed to Yazīd’s grave in awārīn
expresses this infamy:
ضمنت شر الناس أمجعيناقد حبوارينا القرب أيها
O grave that is in the city of awārīn! 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 ajjāj ibn Yūsuf: “Do not
afflict us with the shedding of the blood of the progeny of Āl Abī ālib
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-Husayn (‘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 ( ), 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-Husayn (‘a) and the
martyrs in Karbalā’ expressed the love for the progeny of the Prophet ( ) in
the hearts of the people and strengthened their position as the descendants of
the Prophet ( ) 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-Husayn” [O helpers of Husayn!]. Even the uprising of a person like Ibn
Ash‘ath in Sīstān5 was formed under the name of H asan al-Muthannā (son of
1 Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 65.
2 Ibid., pp. 81-99.
3 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 304.
4 Muqaddasī, A san 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-Ra mān ibn Muhammad ibn Ash‘ath was appointed ruler of Sīstān by ajjāj 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 arRa mān, ajjāj conceived of a plot to eliminate him. As he was informed of this plot, ‘Abd
ar-Ra mān revolted against him in 82 AH. Since the masses of people were disgustful of
ajjāj, many of the inhabitants of Ba rah 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 ajjāj and then to depose
‘Abd al-Malik from the caliphate as well. He defeated the armies of ajjāj and advanced as
History of Shī‘ism
98
Imām al-Hasan (‘a)).1 For this reason, the hadīths regarding Imām al-Mahdī
(‘a) as the avenger [muntaqam] of the progeny of Muh ammad ( ) gained
prominence.2 The people were waiting for the avengers against the
Umayyads3 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 ( ) 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 a - ādiq (‘a) was encouraging the poets to recite poetry as elegy
to Imām al-Husayn (‘a), saying: “Whoever would keep on reciting poem
about al-Husayn (‘a) and prompt the people to cry, paradise shall be
incumbent upon him and his sins shall be forgiven.”6
far as Kūfah. As the danger he was posing turned serious, ‘Abd al-Malik dispatched a large
contingent of army from Shām to assist ajjāj. 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 ajjāj. Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 148; Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd
Allāh Yāqūt amwī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī,
1417 AH), vol. 4, p. 338.
1 Ibn ‘Anbah, ‘Umdah a - ālib fī Insāb Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Intishārāt ar-Rid ā, n.d.), p. 100.
2 Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, 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 a - ālibiyyīn, p. 210.
5 Muhammad Bāqir (‘Allāmah) Majlisī, Bi ār al-Anwār (Tehran: Al-Maktabah alIslāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 275.
6 Shaykh a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 574.
Lesson 10
99
In this way, Imām al-Husayn (‘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
.
1 Abū Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Jarīr a - abarī, Tārīkh a - abarī, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 312.
History of Shī‘ism
100
@ 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-Hasan and al-H usayn (‘a), the Shī‘ah of the time enjoyed unity and
solidarity and no split was yet observed.
After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘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 ( ) 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-Hasan and Imām al-Husayn (‘a)?
3. What was the impact of the Karbalā’ movement on the spread of
Shī‘ism?
.
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-Husayn
(‘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- akam), 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 ajjāj ibn Yūsuf and the defeat of ‘Abd Allāh
ibn Zubayr1 in Mecca up to the commencement of the ‘Abbāsid movement,
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 ajjāj’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-H usayn
(‘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-H usayn’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-H usayn (‘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 irrah, Muslim died on his way to
Mecca. a īn 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
History of Shī‘ism
102
which is also related to the initial period of the Imamate [imāmah] of Imām
al-Bāqir (‘a).
After the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a), the Umayyads were, on
the one hand, entangled with the uprisings of the people of Iraq and ijāz,
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
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. a īn 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 Mu ‘ab ibn Zubayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr’s brother,
‘Abd al-Malik dispatched ajjāj ibn Yūsuf from Iraq to Mecca in order to repress ‘Abd Allāh.
For sometime, ajjāj 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.
A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’
at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 366; ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij
adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, pp.
78-96; Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Ta līlī-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.
1 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 252.
2 Ibid., p. 256.
3 Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, pp. 85-86.
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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 a āq 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 irrah 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 ( ). 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 Mu ‘ab, however, had
Shī‘ah inclination and married the daughter of Imām al-Husayn (‘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 irrah uprising had also no Shī‘ah underpinning3 and Imām asSajjād (‘a) had no hand in it. When Muslim ibn ‘Uqbah was asking the
1 Ibid.
2 Abū Mu ammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muslim ibn al-Qutaybah, Al-Ma‘ārif, 1st edition (Qum:
Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Radī, 1415 AH), p. 214.
3 The irrah 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-H usayn (‘a). In Medina which was the residential center of the relatives of the
Prophet ( ), the Companions and the Followers [tābi‘ūn], the people were agitated. The
governor of Medina, ‘Uthmān ibn Muhammad 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 an alah Ghasīl al-Malā’ikah was also a part. Since he had
no Islamic training or any policy of maintaining proper decorum, Yazīd, without any
History of Shī‘ism
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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.
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 an alah 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 an alah, 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 alFarīd, vol. 4, p. 362; A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 250;
Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 82; ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad
Abī’l-Kirām ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh (Beirut: Dār adir, 1402 AH), vol. 4, pp. 102103, 255-256.
1 A mad ibn Dāwud Abū anīfah ad-Daynūrī, Akhbār a - uwāl (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rid ā, n.d.), p. 266.
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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-Husayn (‘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 Husayn (‘a)
for ziyārah and at the beginning of their movement, they thus said:
O God! We did not assist the son of the Prophet ( ). Forgive our past sins
and accept our repentance [tawbah]. Shower mercy [ra mah] upon the soul
of H usayn (‘a) and his righteous and martyred votaries. We bear witness
that we believe in the things for which Husayn (‘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-Husayn” [O helpers of Husayn!] 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-Husayn (‘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
Muhammad ibn Ash‘ath, and on the contrary, he mended ujr 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 asSajjād’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.
1 Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī’t-Tārīkh, vol. 4, pp. 158-186.
2 Akh ab Khwārazmī. Maqtal al-H usayn (Qum: Manshūrāt al-Mufīd, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 202.
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When Abū’l- akam, son of Mukhtār, came to Imām al-Bāqir (‘a), the
Imām (‘a) showed him a great deal of respect. Abū’l- akam 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 a - ādiq (‘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-Husayn (‘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 Muh ammad al- anafiyyah never
claimed Imamate [imāmah] for himself for Mukhtār to call on the people to
recognize his Imamate. Mukhtār was killed prior to Muhammad alanafiyyah’s demise and the Kaysāniyyah sect came into being after
Muhammad al- anafiyyah’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
1 Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Ra ī, n.d.), p. 277.
2 Sayyid Abū’l-Qāsim al-Khū’ī, Mu‘jam Rijāl al- adīth (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 18, pp. 102-103.
Lesson 11
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al- akam). 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 ajjāj ibn Yūsuf. ajjāj 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 ajjāj’s despotism engulfed the whole of ijāz 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 ajjāj, or exercising extreme dissimulation [taqiyyah] by hiding
their true faith. As such, the people had no courage to approach Imām asSajjād (‘a) and his close supporters were very few. The late Majlisī thus
narrates: “ ajjāj 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
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 267.
2 In 80 AH ajjāj appointed ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn Ash‘ath as the governor of Sīstān and
Zābulistān, though the former was nursing a grudge against the latter. ajjāj instructed Ibn
Ash‘ath to expel Ratbīl who has assaulted Sīstān. ‘Abd ar-Ra mān went there, dispatched an
army to repress the aggressors, and restored peace and order to Sīstān. After that, since ajjāj
was tired of him, ajjāj ordered him again to face another enemy. Ibn Ash‘ath and his soldiers
interpreted it as a form of conspiracy of ujjāj for them to be killed at the hand of the
enemies. So, they defied ajjāj and went toward Iraq instead. In Khūzistān a confrontation
ensued between them and ajjāj’s army. The army of ajjāj was initially defeated and thus,
‘Abd ar-Ra mān was able to arrive in Iraq occupying Kūfah. Many of the chiefs of Ba rah
also cooperated with him. ajjāj 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, ajjāj 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 Ba rah,
including Qur’an reciters [qārīs], assisted ‘Abd ar-Ra mān on account of their enmity toward
ajjāj. The contingent of the son of ‘Abd ar-Ra mān was so large that ‘Abd al-Malik, clearly
worried, sent a message to the Iraqis expressing his willingness to remove ajjāj 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 ajjāj, sending his head to ajjāj. Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adhDhahab, vol. 3, pp. 148-149; Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Ta līlī-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 Muhammad ibn al- asan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl
(Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt at-Turāth, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 335.
History of Shī‘ism
108
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 alBaqīr (‘a) along with his son, Imām a - ādiq (‘a), to Shām. He did not
neglect to annoy and vex them.2 During his reign, Zayd ibn ‘Alī ibn alHusayn 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- adīd thus says in this
regard:
If God, the Exalted, had not endowed leadership to this man (‘Alī), even a
single h adīth 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
.
1 Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt amwī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār
I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 7, p. 88.
2 Abū Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam a - abarī, Dalā’il al-Imāmah (Najaf:
Manshūrāt al-Ma bū‘āt al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1383 AH), p. 105.
3 Muhammad ‘Abduh, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār I yā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah,
n.d.), vol. 4, p. 73.
Lesson 11
109
@ 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- akam). 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 ijāz 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 ajjāj 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.
.
Lesson Twelve
The Beginning of the ‘Abbāsid Campaign and Its Effect upon the Spread
of Shī‘ism
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 alMu alib and there was no quarrel between them. In this regard Sayyid
Mu sin 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 Muhammad’s ( ) 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
1 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 319.
History of Shī‘ism
112
descendants of ‘Alī (‘a).1 For this reason, the ‘Abbāsid campaigners were
calling the people to please the progeny of Muh ammad ( ) while recounting
the states of oppression the Prophet’s ( ) progeny were enduring. Abū’lFaraj al-Is fahānī says:
After the killing of Walīd ibn Yazīd and the emergence of differences
among the Marwānīs (descendants of Marwān ibn al- akam), Banū
Hāshim’s campaigners and propagandists went to various places, and the
first thing they were expressing was the merits of ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib 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
h adīths related to Hadrat 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-H usayn) 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 ( ). 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 Ya yā
ibn Zayd was killed in Jūzjān, the people named all the male infants born in
that year were named Ya yā.”4
The influence of the ‘Abbāsids in Khurāsān was greater as Abū’l-Faraj
thus says while stating the profile of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn
Abī ālib:
The Khurāsānī Shī‘ah thought that ‘Abd Allāh was his father Muhammad
al- anafiyyah’s heir and that he was the Imām, and appointed Muhammad
ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās as his successor, and that the
1 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 19.
2 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 207.
3 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 326.
4 ‘Alī ibn H usayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah
al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 236.
Lesson 12
113
successor of Muhammad, 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 ( ), 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 ( ) 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 ( ), 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 a - ādiq (‘a)
The second period of the Imamate of Imām Muh ammad al-Bāqir (‘a) and
the initial period of Imām Ja‘far a - ādiq’s (‘a) Imamate coincide with the
‘Abbāsid campaigns and ‘Alawī uprisings such as that of Zayd ibn ‘Alī,
Ya yā ibn Zayd, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah—one of the grandchildren
of Ja‘far ibn Abī ālib a - ayyār4—and the emergence of Abū Muslim alKhurāsānī 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 Mu irīs 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
1 Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 133.
2 Abū ‘Abd Allāh Mu ammad ibn A mad Muqaddasī, A san at-Taqāsīm fī Ma‘rifah alAqālīm, trans. Dr. ‘Alī Naqī Manzawī (n.p.: Shirkat-e Mu’allifān va Mutarjimān-e Īrān, 1361
AHS), vol. 2, pp. 426-427.
3 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 345.
4 Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, vol. 2, p. 345.
5 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 332.
6 Ibid., p. 333.
History of Shī‘ism
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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 anNabī 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 Is āq about wiping [masa’]
of slippers (during the performance of ablution [wu ū‘]) and Abū Is āq
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 alBāqir (‘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, āwūs al-Yamānī, Hasan alBa rī, 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 [ alāl] and the prohibited
[ arām], 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 ajj, 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 [ma shar]. In reply the Imām (‘a) said: “On the Day of Judgment
1 Asad aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, pp. 452-453.
2 ‘Allāmah Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī, Bi ār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah alIslāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 355.
Lesson 12
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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-A bār 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 hadīth scholars [mu addithūn] were
trained under the blessed feet of the Imām (‘a), such as Zurārah ibn A‘yan
about whom Imām a - ādiq (‘a) said: “If it were not for Zurārah, there was
a probability for the hadīths of my father to be lost forever.”2
Muhammad ibn Muslim heard thirty thousand hadīths from Imām alBāqir (‘a).3 Another scholar who learned from the Imām (‘a) was Abū Ba īr
about whom Imām a - ādiq (‘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, amrān 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 hadīths on the authority of the
Imām (‘a). As Sab ibn al-Jawzī says, “(Imām) Ja‘far used to narrate
hadīths of the Prophet ( ) from his father.” As such, a number of the
Followers [tābi‘ūn] such as ‘A ā’ ibn Abī Rubā , Sufyān ath-Thawrī,
Mālik ibn Anas (founder of the Malikī school of thought [madhhab]),
1 Ibid.
2 Abī Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al- asan ibn ‘Alī (Shaykh) a - ūsī, 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.
History of Shī‘ism
116
Shu‘bah, and Abū Ayyūb Sijistānī have narrated hadīths from the Imām
(‘a).1
Furthermore, thousands of learned men in jurisprudence and hadīth
attained progress in the Imām’s (‘a) school and his hadīths were spread far
and wide so much so that Jābir al-Ju‘fī, who was a great mu addith, has
narrated seventy thousand hadīths on the authority of the Imām (‘a).2 This
state of affairs continued until Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) attained martyrdom on
Dhū’l- ijjah 7, 114 AH.3
The University of Imām a - ādiq (‘a)
In view of the then prevailing conducive political atmosphere, Imām
Ja‘far a - ādiq (‘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 ( ) 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 H ad rat ādiq, a great grandchild of H ad rat
‘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
Muhammadan ( ) 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,
1 Sab ibn al-Jawzī, Tadhkirah al-Khawā (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Ra ī, 1376
AHS/1418 AH), p. 311.
2 Muhammad Husayn Mu affar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah. Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī,
n.d.
3 Abī Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Ya‘qūb ibn Is āq Kulaynī, U ūl al-Kāfī (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub
al-Islāmiyyah, 1363 AHS), vol. 1, p. 472.
4 Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an-Nu‘mān al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad
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.
Lesson 12
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Ba rah, Wāsi , and ijāz, people of every tribe sent their children to Ja‘far
ibn Muhammad. Many of the Arabs and Persians, the people of Qum in
particular, came to him.”1
In his Al-Mu‘tabar, the late Mu aqqiq (al- illī) thus writes:
During the period of Imām a - ādiq (‘a) various branches of knowledge
that were transmitted from him astonished the great thinkers. A group of
about four thousand rijālī scholars have narrated h adīths 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 [mu annafāt], which were called “U ūl”.2
In his book, Dhikrā, Shahīd al-Awwal also says: “Four thousand people
from Iraq, ijāz, Khurāsān, and Shām put into writing the answers of Abū
‘Abd Allāh Imām a - ādiq (‘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
akam, Muh ammad ibn Muslim, Ābān ibn Taghlib, Hishām ibn Sālim,
Mu’min āq, Mufa al ibn ‘Umar, Jābir ibn ayyān, etc. were trained
under the blessing of his presence.
Their compilations which are known as the U ūl Arba‘ami’ah, are the
basis of the four Shī‘ah books on hadīth, viz. Al-Kāfī, Man Lā Ya arah alFaqīh, At-Tahdhīb, and Al-Istib ār.
The disciples of Imām a - ādiq (‘a) were not all Shī‘ah as most of the
Sunnī scholars of the day have also studied under his guidance. Ibn ajar alHaythamī, a Sunnī author, thus writes in this regard: “The leading figures (in
jurisprudence and hadīth) such as Ya yā ibn Sa‘d, Ibn Jarī , Mālik, Sufyān
ath-Thawrī, Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah, Abū anīfah, Sha‘bī, and Ayyūb Sijistānī
have narrated hadīths on his authority.”4
Abū anīfah, the founder of the anafī school of thought, has said:
I used to go to Ja‘far ibn Muhammad 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 h adīth without
1 Asad aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1403 AH).
2 Abū’l-Qāsim Ja‘far ibn al-Hasan ibn Ya yā ibn Sa‘īd Mu aqqiq al- illī, Al-Mu‘tabar
(Lithography), pp. 4-5.
3 Muhammad ibn Makkī Shahīd al-Awwal, Dhikrā (Lithography), p. 6.
4 A mad Ibn ajar Haythamī al-Makkī, A - awā‘iq al-Ma riqah fī’r-Radd ‘alā Ahl alBid‘a waz-Zindiqah, 2nd edition (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qāhirah, 1385 AH), p. 201.
History of Shī‘ism
118
performing ablution.1 The one superior to Ja‘far ibn Muhammad 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 ( ) used to lean, and he would
narrate h adīths to them. Imām a - ādiq (‘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 hadīth 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
h adīths of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to them.3 In Mīzān al-I‘tidāl, adh-Dhahabī
thus says regarding him: “If the hadīth 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 āq 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 hadīths
from the Imāms (‘a) to draw people’s attention by interpreting the traditions
in their own favor. For example, Imām a - ādiq (‘a)—in reply to one of his
companions named Fay ibn Mukhtār who asked about the reason behind
the contradiction in hadīths—thus says: “These people are not seeking the
1 Shahāb ad-Dīn ibn ‘Alī Ibn ajar al-‘Asqalānī, Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār
al-Fikr, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 88.
2 Asad aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, vol. 1, p. 53.
3 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 55.
4 Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ah mad adh-Dhahabī, Mīzān al-I‘tidāl (Beirut: Dār alMa‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 4.
5 Shaykh a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 581.
Lesson 12
119
pleasure of Allah in narrating the hadīths and expressing our views. They are
rather seeking the world and each of them is aspiring to be leader.”1
.
1 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 347.
History of Shī‘ism
120
@ 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-Mu alib [‘Abbāsī]. The Umayyads were busy
repressing the ‘Abbāsid uprisings as a result of which Shī‘ism spread
remarkably. Imām al-Bāqir and Imām a - ādiq (‘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
a - ādiq 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 a - ādiq (‘a)?
3. How did Imām a - adiq (‘a) take advantage of the then existing
opportune time?
.
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 a - ughrā] (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-Kā im
(‘a) for receiving khums1 from east and west.2 When Imām ‘Alī ibn ar-Ri ā
(‘a) arrived in Nayshābūr, two adīth keepers named Abū Zar‘ah ar-Rāzī
and Mu ammad ibn Aslam a - ūsī 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
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 Muh ammad Rizvi, Khums: An Islamic Tax,
http://www.al-islam.org/beliefs/practices/khums.html. [Trans.]
2 Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran:
Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS) p. 581.
History of Shī‘ism
122
narrate the silsilah adh-dhahab adīth. This adīth was recorded in 20
thousand books by different writers.1
Similarly, Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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‘ta im 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 Ya yā ibn Harthamah narrates,
The ‘Abbāsid caliph Mutawakkil dispatched me to summon Imām al- ādī
(‘a) to Medina. When I arrived along with the Imām in Baghdad, I went to
Is āq ibn Ibrāhīm a - āhirī, the governor of Baghdad. He said to me: “O
Ya yā! This man is the son of the Messenger of Allah ( ). You also know
Mutawakkil. If you would incite Mutawakkil to kill him, it is tantamount to
declaring enmity with the Messenger of Allah ( ).” I said: “I did not see
anything in him but goodness.” Then, I proceeded to Sāmarrā. When I
arrived there, I went first to Wā īf 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 Mu sin 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 Mu ammad]; Abū Bukhayr Asadī al-Ba rī, one of the
1 Shaykh a - adūq, ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā, (Qum: n.p., 1377 AH), vol. 2, p. 135.
2 ‘Allāmah Majlisī, Bi ār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1358
AH), vol. 49, p. 155.
3 Ibid., vol. 50, p. 6.
4 Wā īf Turkī: one of the Turkish commanders.
5 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘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 a - ādiq (‘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 Ta qīqātī va Ta‘līmātī-ye
Imām ādiq (‘a), 1378 AHS), p. 378.
Lesson 13
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prominent governors and emirs during the time of (the ‘Abbāsid caliph)
Man ūr; Mu ammad ibn Ash‘ath, the vizier of Hārūn ar-Rashīd, about
whom there is a story during the detention of Imām al-Kā im (‘a) which
demonstrates his being a Shī‘ah; ‘Alī ibn Yaq ayn, one of the viziers of
Hārūn; Ya‘qūb ibn Dāwūd, the vizier of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Mahdī; and
āhir ibn usayn Khazā‘ī, the governor of Khurāsān on behalf of Ma’mūn
and conqueror of Baghdad on account of which asan 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-Kā im (‘a) Sulaymān ibn Man ūr, ārūn’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-Ri ā (‘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-Ri ā (‘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
1 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘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 aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, p. 226.
5 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 2, p. 484.
History of Shī‘ism
124
Imām al-Kā im and Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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-Ri ā (‘a) to Marv through the Ba rah-AhwāzFārs 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 farflung 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 a - ādiq (‘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 ‘A r-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 a - ādiq (‘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
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 ‘A r-e Ghaybat (Qum: Markaz-e Jahānī-ye ‘Ulūm-e
Islāmī, n.d.), p. 84.
Lesson 13
125
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, Ba rah, Baghdad, Qum, Wāsi , Ahwāz, Hamedān, Sīstān, Bast,
Rey, ijāz, 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‘ahpopulated 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 a ār are Mu’tazilites and Shī‘ah.3
Accordingly, Shī‘ism is so widespread in the Arabian Peninsula.4
Regarding the inhabitants of Ba rah, it is stated that “Most of the inhabitants
of Ba rah are Qadirī, Shī‘ah, Mu‘tazilites, and then anbalīs.”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 Mū ul district.7 The people of
Nāblus, Quds and most of Oman are Shī‘ah.8 The people of the upper village
of Fus ā and that of andfā 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 Fā imids in Egypt,
Maqrīzī also writes:
The rāfi ī (Shī‘ah) madhhab [school of thought] spread in Morocco, Shām,
Diyār Bakr, Kūfah, Ba rah, Baghdad, the entire Iraq, Khurāsān,
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 Mu ammad ibn A mad Muqaddasī, A san at-Taqāsīm fī Ma‘rifah alAqālīm, 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.
History of Shī‘ism
126
Transoxiana,1 as well as ijāz, 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 abaristān were ruling.
In Egypt the Fā imids, in Yemen the Zaydīs, in the north of Iraq and Syria
the amdānīs, 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‘ta im, Wāthiq, and Munta ir, 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 ālibīs (descendants of Abū ālib).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 pleasureseeking and his war with his brother Ma’mūn. The ‘Abbāsid caliphs
Ma’mūn, Mu‘ta im, Wāthiq, and Mu‘ta ad 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- usayn
(‘a).5
Ibn Athīr says:
Mutawakkil used to regard as his enemies the caliphs preceding him such as
Ma’mūn, Mu‘ta im 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 Sam —one of the descendants of Marwān ibn Abī af ah
1 Transoxiana [māwarā’u’n-nahr (beyond the (Oxus) river)]: roughly corresponding to
present-day Uzbekistan. [Trans.]
2 Taqī ad-Dīn Abī al-‘Abbās Ah mad ibn ‘Alī Maqrīzī, Al-Mawā‘i wa’l-I‘tibār bi Dhikr alKhu ut wa’l-Āthār (famous as Al-Khu a 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 Muh ammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam a - abarī, Tārīkh a - abarī, 2nd edition
(Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 312.
Lesson 13
127
and sympathizers of the Umayyads—and ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu ammad ibn
Dāwud Hāshimī who were regarded as Nā ibīs and enemies of ‘Alī (‘a),
were his boom companions and associates.1
During that period the Nā ibī nonreligious poets had earned courage
reciting poems against the descendants of the Prophet ( ) in order to get
closer to the (political) establishment of Mutawakkil. But Mutawakkil’s
successor, Munta ir, adopted a contrary policy and gave freedom of action
to the Shī‘ah, renovated the tomb of Imām al- usayn (‘a) and removed the
prohibition on visiting it.2 Hence, Bahtarī, a poet during his period has thus
said:
يداً عنكم من عمر وازكی علياً الوىل بكمإنّ
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 Man ūr, 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 Man ūr
sensed the danger posed by Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and his brother
Ibrāhīm, he apprehended and imprisoned his father, brothers and uncles.4
Man ūr summoned Imām a - ādiq (‘a) to his court many times with the
intention of killing the Imām (‘a) but the will of God was other than that.5
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 Man ūr arrived in Medina from Mecca, he said to Rabī‘ ajab,
“Summon Ja‘far ibn Mu ammad. May God kill me if I failed to kill him.” Rabī‘ used to delay
summoning the Imām. Finally, with Man ūr’s insistence, Rabī‘ summoned the Imām. When
the Imām was present, he slowly moved his frankincense. He then went near Man ūr and
greeted him. Man ūr 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!”
History of Shī‘ism
128
The ‘Abbāsid caliphs tried their best to remove the Shī‘ah leaders who were
their rivals. Man ūr even gave money and dispatched to Medina a certain
Ibn al-Muhājir so as to go to ‘Abd Allāh ibn al- asan, Imām a - ādiq (‘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
a - ādiq (‘a) reminded him that the Imām knows that he was sent by
Man ūr and asked him to relay to Man ūr, 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 aydar says: “In order to have a pretext in eliminating Imām a ādiq (‘a), Man ūr 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, Man ūr did not succeed in any of these
ways.”2 When Man ūr heard the news of the martyrdom of Imām a - ādiq
(‘a), he wrote a letter to the governor of Medina, Mu ammad ibn Sulaymān:
“In case Ja‘far ibn Mu ammad designated a certain person as the
implementers of his will [wa iyy], arrest him and cut off his head.” In reply
to the caliph’s letter, the governor of Medina thus wrote: “Ja‘far ibn
Imām a - ādiq (‘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.”
Man ūr 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 Mu ammad 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 Man ūr 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:
ي و ال اهلكاللهم احرِسىن بِعينِك الَّىت التنام و اكْنِفْىن بِكَنفك الَّذى اليرام اَو يضام و اغْفرىل بِقُدرتك علَ
.و اَستعيد بِك من شرِه ههم بِك اَدفَع يف نحرِاللّ. اللّهم انك اَكْبر و اَجلُّ ممن أَخاف و اَحذر. و انت رجائي
“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-Khawā (Najaf al-Ashraf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah al- aydariyyah wa
Maktabhā, 1383 AH), p. 344.
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 4, p. 220.
2 Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 46.
Lesson 13
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Mu ammad designated these five persons as the executors of his will: Abū
Ja‘far Man ūr, Mu ammad ibn Sulaymān, ‘Abd Allāh, Mūsā, and
amīdah.” Then Man ūr 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 alI fahānī 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 azZayd who transpired clandestinely and who used to live in hiding from the
time of Man ūr.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 ālibīs 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
ālibīs.4
In protest to the caliph’s wrongdoings, usayn ibn ‘Alī, who was a
descendant of al- usayn (Shahīd Fakh), staged an uprising. In that battle
apart from usayn a large number of the ‘Alawīs were killed.5 This battle
brought severe pressure to Imām al-Kā im (‘a). Caliph ādī threatened the
Imām and thus said: “By God! usayn (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
Man ūr. Hārūn was despotic in relation to the ‘Alawīs and treated them
cruelly. He mercilessly killed Ya yā ibn ‘Abd Allāh, Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah’s brother, inside the prison after granting him amnesty. Similarly,
there is a story recorded in ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā that illustrates the extent of
1 Abī ‘Alī al-Fa l ibn al-H asan abarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah
Āl al-Bayt Li A yā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 2, p. 13.
2 Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 394.
3 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), pp. 342-361.
4 Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, p. 404.
5 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 366.
6 Bi ar al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 151.
History of Shī‘ism
130
ārūn ar-Rashīd’s cruelty. amīd ibn Qu abah a - ā’ī a - ūsī
narrates:
One night ārūn 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 ( )) 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. ārūn’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 Fā imah (‘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 Fā imah. 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 ( )?” 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-Kā im (‘a) and in the end martyred him
through poisoning.2
After the martyrdom of Imām al-Kā im (‘a) Hārūn ar-Rashīd dispatched
to Medina one of his commanders named Julūdī so as to assault the houses of
the descendants of Abū ālib, plunder the clothes of women and leave only
one dress for every woman. Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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-Ri a (‘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
1 ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā (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.
Lesson 13
131
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.
.
History of Shī‘ism
132
@ 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-Ri ā (‘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 amdānīs were set up.
Of course, the ‘Abbāsid caliphs differed from one another in their
treatment of the Shī‘ah. Man ūr, ārūn 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?
.
Lesson Fourteen
The Reasons behind the Burgeoning of the Shī‘ah during the Period of
‘Abbasid Caliphate
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, Ya yā, they commenced their tasks based on Shī‘ism. As
Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī 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 ālib and his progeny as well
as their being oppressed.
The ‘Abbāsid caliph Man ūr was one of the first narrators of the adīth
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
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 207.
History of Shī‘ism
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‘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 ( ) cannot
be denied especially that he belonged to the tribe of amdān and was a
resident of Kūfah.3
Among the Qa ānī tribes, the tribe of amdān was preeminent in
terms of inclination toward Shī‘ism. As such, Sayyid Mu sin 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 ( ):
1 Kha īb 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 afāh turned against the ‘Abbāsids. Thus, he wrote letters to the
three prominent figures of the ‘Alawīs: Ja‘far ibn Mu ammad a - ādiq (‘a), ‘Abd Allāh ibn
asan ibn asan 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 Mu ammad a ādiq (‘a) and should he accept it, then give the other two letters. And if he does not accept,
you meet ‘Abd Allāh Ma , and if does not accept too, you have to approach ‘Amr.
The messenger of Abū Salmah first went to Imām Ja‘far ibn Mu ammad (‘a) and gave the
letter of Abū Salmah to the Imām. a rat ādiq (‘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 a - ādiq (‘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 asan and handed to him
the letter. As soon as ‘Abd Allāh finished reading the letter, he kissed it and immediately went
to Imām a - ādiq (‘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 a - ādiq (‘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 aq aqā, Al-Fakhrī (Beirut: Dār ādir, 1368 AH), p. 154; ‘Alī ibn al- usayn
Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt,
1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 280.
3 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 190.
4 Ibid.
Lesson 14
135
When the head of Marwān ibn Mu ammad, the last Umayyad caliph, was
brought in front of Abū’l-‘Abbās as-Safā , 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 usayn, 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 ( ) and their Shī‘ah
on the other. From the time of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Man ūr, the ‘Abbāsids
adopted the attitude and policy of the Umayyads toward the progeny of the
Prophet ( ). 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 a - ādiq (‘a) to propagate the
fundamentals of Shī‘ism considerably and to a great extent. This was
especially true in the case of Imām a - ādiq (‘a) who trained students in
different fields and sciences. Many outstanding scholars such as Hāshim ibn
al- akam, Mu ammad ibn Muslim, Ābān ibn Taghlib, Hishām ibn Sālim,
Mu’min āq, Mufa al ibn ‘Umar, Jābir ibn ayyān, 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 a - adiq (‘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
1 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, pp. 283-284.
2 Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Irshād, trans. Mu ammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī (n.p.: Kitābfurūshīye Islāmiyyeh, 1367 AHS), p. 525.
History of Shī‘ism
136
much so that, according to some sources, some of the sādāt were even
Nā ibīs,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 ajjāj (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, Ya yā ibn ‘Abd Allāh al- asanī went
to Māzandarān which was then called abaristān. Although he held power
and flourished in his work, through his vizier Fa l ibn Ya yā 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 abaristān was
established by asan 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 ijāz, 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-Ri ā (‘a) was appointed by Ma’mūn as his heirapparent, 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
asanī and usaynī sadāt arrived in the villages of Rey (old Tehran) and
Iraq.
And as they heard of the treachery Ma’mūn committed against a rat
Ri ā, they took refuge in the mountainous Daylamistān and abaristān.
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
1 Ibn ‘Anbah, ‘Umdah a - ālib (Najaf: Ma ba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1961), pp. 71, 200, 253.
2 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 389-395.
3 Mar‘ashī, Tārīkh abaristān wa Rawāyān (Tehran: Nashr-e Kostareh, 1363 AHS), p. 290.
Lesson 14
137
Islam and believed in the goodness of the descendants of the Prophet ( ),
sādāt were held in high esteem there.1
After the failure of the uprising of Shahīd Fakh, usayn ibn ‘Alī alasanī during the time of ‘Abbāsid caliph Hādī, Idrīs ibn ‘Abd Allāh,
brother of Mu ammad 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 Munta ir 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 ālibīs named
A mad ibn ‘Abd Allāh staged an uprising in the a‘īd region of Egypt. But
he was finally defeated and killed by A mad ibn ūlūn.”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‘ta ad 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‘ta ad said: “I will brandish my sword in their
midst.” The vizier replied:
Then, what shall we do with the ālibīs who are present everywhere, and
with whom the people are sympathetic on account of love for the progeny
of the Prophet ( )? 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
ālibīs).6
1 Ibid., pp. 277-278.
2 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 406, 409.
3 Adam Mitch (?), Tamaddun-e Islāmī dar Qarn-e Chahārum-e Hijrī [Islamic Civilization in
the Fourth Century Hijri], trans. ‘Alī Rid ā Dhakāwatī Qarāgzelū (Tehran: Mu’assaseh-ye
Intishārāt-e Amīr Kabīr, 1364 AHS), p. 83, citing Kandī, Al-Walāh wa’l-Qa āh, p. 198.
4 Ibid., quoting from Al-Walāh wa’l-Qa āh, pp. 203-204.
5 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 326.
6 Abū Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam a - abarī, Tārīkh a - abarī, 2nd edition
(Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 620-625.
History of Shī‘ism
138
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 Mu ammad ibn Qāsim al-‘Alawī went
to Khurāsān during the caliphate of Mu‘ta im, 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 Ya yā ibn Zayd was martyred, every baby that was
born in Khurāsan was named either Ya yā or Zayd.”2
The Reasons behind the Emigration of the Sādāt [Sayyids or Descendants
of the Prophet ( )]
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 ijāz 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 Mu ammad
Nafs az-Zakiyyah,
The brothers and children of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah were spread
across diverse lands and called on the people to accept his leadership. His
son, ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad, 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, asan, went to Yemen where he was also put
behind bars and died there. His brother, Mūsā, went to Mesopotamia. His
brother, Ya yā, went to Rey and then proceeded to abaristān. Another
brother of his, Idrīs, went to Maghrib and the people rallied behind him…3
1 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 60.
2 Ibid., vol. 3, p. 236.
3 Ibid., vol. 3, p. 326.
Lesson 14
139
b. Pressure Exerted by Governments Agents
In the regions of ijāz and Iraq which were near the capital, the ‘Alawīs
were constantly under pressure exerted by government agents. As narrated by
Mas‘ūdī, Mu ammad ibn Qāsim al-‘Alawī’s travel from Kūfah to Khurāsān
prompted the pressure exerted by the agents of the ‘Abbāsid caliph
Mu‘ta im.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 abaristān.
.
1 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 60.
History of Shī‘ism
140
@ 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 Man ūr 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
a - ādiq (‘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 abaristān were among those who embraced Islam
through the usaynī 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?
.
Chapter Four
The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings
,
.
Lesson Fifteen
The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of Umayyad
Caliphate
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- usayn (‘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
1 See Dr. Sayyid usayn Ja‘farī, Tashayyu‘ dar Masīr-e Tārīkh, trans. Sayyid Muhammad
Taqī Āyatullāhī, 9th edition (Tehran: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islāmī, 1378 AHS), pp. 268273.
History of Shī‘ism
144
the qualitative spread of the Shī‘ah faith, deepening the love for the Ahl alBayt (‘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,
Safā and Man ūr, had earlier paid allegiance to Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah who was one of the descendants of Imām al- asan (‘a). After the
victory of the ‘Abbāsids, however, the same Mu ammad along with a
number of his family members was killed by the ‘Abbāsid caliph Man ūr.
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
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- usayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, pp. 228, 230.
Lesson 15
145
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 Mu ammad’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 a - ādiq (‘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 [ a‘īf].”3
Ample proof and evidence bear witness to the fact that Zayd’s uprising
had the secret permission and tacit approval of Imām a - ādiq (‘a). One of
these proofs was the statement of Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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
Mu ammad 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
1 Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Irshād, trans. Mu ammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī (n.p.: Kitābfurūshīye Islāmiyyeh, 1367 AHS), p. 520.
2 Mu ammad Bāqir al-Majlisī, Bi ār al-Anwār, 2nd edition (Tehran: Al-Maktabah alIslāmiyyah, 1394 AH), vol. 46, p. 205.
3 Sayyid Abū’l-Qāsim al-Khū’ī, Mu‘jam Rijāl al- adīth (Beirut: Dār I yā’ 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 I yā’ at-Tūrāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 4, p. 153.
History of Shī‘ism
146
Mu ammad, 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 a - ādiq (‘a). As he used to say,
In every period, one person from among us, Ahl al-Bayt, is the proof
[ ujjah] of God and the proof at our time is my nephew, Ja‘far ibn
Mu ammad. 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 a - ādiq (‘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 Mu ammad and I am that person.3
In particular, Imām a - ādiq (‘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 Ya yā ibn Zayd
After Zayd’s martyrdom in 121 AH, his son Ya yā 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 Na r 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
1 Shaykh a - adūq, ‘Uyūn Akhbār ar-Ridā, 1st edition (Beirut: Ma’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’lMa bū‘āt, 1404 AH), vol. 1, p. 225, section [bāb] 25, adīth 1.
2 Shaykh a - adūq, Al-Amālī (Qum: Al-Maṭ ba‘ah, 1373 AH), p. 325.
3 Shaykh a - ūsī, 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, Sīrehye Pīshvāyān, 8th edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Ta qīqātī va Ta‘līmātī-ye Imām ādiq (‘a),
1378 AHS), pp. 407-409.
4 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 331.
5 Al-Irshād, p. 345.
Lesson 15
147
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 Ya yā’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
a - ādiq (‘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].
.
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, pp. 326-327, 332.
2 Mutawakkil ibn Hārūn says: “I paid a visit to Ya yā 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 ajj 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 Mu ammad (‘a). I also
told him about the condition of the Imām and his lamentation for his (Ya yā’s) father Zayd.
He then said: ‘My uncle, Mu ammad 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 Mu ammad?’ ‘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, Mu ammad 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 adīths of Imām a - ādiq to him and
some of the supplications in a īfah as-Sajjādiyyah…” a īfah al-Kāmilah as-Sajjādiyyah,
trans. ‘Alī-Naqī Fay al-Islām (n.p.: Intishārāt-e Fay Islām, n.d.), pp. 9-12.
History of Shī‘ism
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@ 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- usayn (‘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 a ādiq (‘a) has validated him.
Ya yā 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 Ya yā, 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 Ya yā differ with that of Zayd?
.
Lesson Sixteen
The Shī‘ah and ‘Alawī Uprisings during the Period of ‘Abbāsid
Caliphate
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
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 Fā imah (‘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 abaristān, Maghrib and Yemen.
The Zaydīs regarded Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and Ibrāhīm as
among the Zaydī Imāms because Ya yā 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 alasan (‘a), the so-called Banū al- asan, on the other. Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Abd
Allāh, who was his brother’s successor, Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah and
hoisted the banner of revolution against the ‘Abbāsids in Ba rah, 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
History of Shī‘ism
150
Mahdī.1 After the death of Mu ammad 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
Fā imah (‘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 asan ibn ‘Alī alasanī, known as A rūsh, 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, A mad ibn ‘Īsā merely on the basis of
suspicion.4
Of course, the distinguished men among the Banū al- asan 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 Ya yā ibn
‘Abd Allāh).
Idrīs, Ya yā’s brother, was the only one among them who was able to
achieve relative victory5 and that was because he fled to Africa which was far
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 345.
2 ‘Alī ibn al- usayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, pp. 393, 394; Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal
(Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1364 AHS), vol. 1, p. 139.
3 For example, after receiving the news of A mad ibn ‘Īsā’s escape from prison, Hārūn (arRashīd) commissioned a certain person named Ibn Kurdiyyah to go to the districts of Kūfah
and Ba rah, to feign Shī‘ism, and distribute money among the Shī‘ah and Zaydīs so as to
become informed of A mad 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, A mad was
not arrested. Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 492, 496.
4 Ibid.
5 Idrīs ibn ‘Abd Allāh, brother of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, participated in the uprising
of usayn ibn ‘Alī al- asanī Shahīd Fakh which took place during the time of the ‘Abbāsid
caliph Hādī. After usayn’s defeat, he went to Egypt disguised among ajj 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.
Lesson 16
151
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 Ya yā ibn ‘Abd Allāh, brother of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, who
went to Khurāsān after Mu ammad’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 Ya yā and turn him
over to the agents of Hārūn on account of his threats. At the time, Ya yā
was compelled to seek the protection of Fa l Barmakī, Hārūn’s vizier. Fa l
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 a - ādiq (‘a) and whenever narrating a adīth from the Imām, he
would say: “My dear Ja‘far ibn Mu ammad 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 Fa l ibn
Ya yā, Hārūn’s vizier.4
a. The Uprising of Mu ammad 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 Man ūr which was led by Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah. His
activity had started prior to the victory of the ‘Abbāsids and with the
exception of Imām a - ādiq (‘a), the Banū Hāshim generally pledged
allegiance to him. Even the Sunnī scholars and jurists such as Abū anīfah,
Mu ammad ibn ‘Ajlān, the jurist of Medina, Abū Bakr ibn Abī Sabrah,
‘Abd Allāh ibn Ja‘far, Hāshim ibn ‘Urwah, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar, Wā il
ibn ‘A ā’, ‘Amrū ibn ‘Ubayd, among others swore allegiance to him,
attributing to him the transmitted Prophetic sayings about the uprising of alMahdī (‘a).5 But his uprising during the period of the ‘Abbāsids was defeated
because it was launched prematurely. In Ba rah 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 there by the
1 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 406-408.
2 Ibid., p. 393.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., pp. 392-393.
5 Ibid., pp. 251, 254-255, 347.
History of Shī‘ism
152
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 athThānī”. For sometime, the government of the Idrīsīs flourished in North
Africa. Ya ya, another one of Mu ammad’s brother, went to abaristān
after his death.
Yet another one of Mu ammad’s brother named Mūsā ibn ‘Abd Allāh
fled to the north of Iraq and Mesopotamia. Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah’s
sons, named ‘Alī, ‘Abd Allāh and asan, 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 abā abā’ī al- asani
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), ijāz, 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 Ba rah 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
ijāz, Mu ammad ibn Ja‘far known as Dībāj who was called “Amīr alMu’minīn” [Commander of the Faithful] staged an uprising. In Yemen
Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā ibn Ja‘far revolted against the ‘Abbāsid caliph.
Mu ammad ibn Sulaymān ibn Dāwūd ibn asan rose up in Medina. In
Wāsi 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 usayn ibn Ibrāhīm
ibn asan ibn ‘Alī. In Madā’in Mu ammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Mu ammad
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
1 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 326.
2 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, p. 445.
Lesson 16
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Umayyads and the descendants of Marwān, gathered around Mu ammad ibn
Mu ammad 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 asan ibn Zayd (the ‘Alawīs of abaristān)
In the year 250 AH during the caliphate of Musta‘īn, an ‘Abbāsid caliph,
asan ibn Zayd, who was formerly residing in Rey, went to the districts of
abaristān, called on the people to seek the pleasure of Prophet
Mu ammad’s (‘a) progeny, took control of the regions in abaristān and
Jurjān after a series of skirmishes,2 and founded the government of the
‘Alawīs in abaristān which lasted up to 345 AH.3
Throughout his two decades of rule, asan 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 Mu ammad ibn Ja‘far to
Rey who after sometime was captured by the āhirīs.4 In 251 AH he sent
usayn A mad al-‘Alawī who rose up in Qazwīn and expelled the agents of
the āhirīs.5
Similarly, asan ibn Zayd’s brother, usayn ibn Zayd overran the
regions of Lārijān and Qa rān, north of present day Tehran, and earned the
allegiance of the people there for his brother.6 As abarī says regarding the
events in 50 AH, “In addition to the government in abaristān, the
government of the region of Rey extending roughly as far as Hamedān was
under the control of asan ibn Zayd.”7
As such, in addition to the northern regions of Iran which were near the
sphere of influence of asan ibn Zayd and in which uprisings took place in
his name, the ‘Alawīs in Iraq,8 Shām9 and Egypt10 found courage too,
gathering the people around them and staging uprisings, until such time that
in 270 AH asan ibn Zayd passed away. After his death his brother,
1 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 435-436.
2 Abū Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam abarī, Tārīkh a - abarī, 2nd edition (Beirut:
Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 364.
3 Jalāl ad-Dīn ‘Abd ar-Ra mān Suyū ī, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’ (Qum: Intishārāt ash-Sharīf arRad ī, 1411 AH), p. 525.
4 Tārīkh a - abarī, 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.
History of Shī‘ism
154
Mu ammad 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 Mu ammad ibn Hārūn, a Sāmānide commander.1
In 287 AH, after the martyrdom of Mu ammad ibn Zayd, Nā ir Kabīr
know as A rūsh in the region of Gīlān and Daylam rose up in the midst of
the people, calling them to Islam and ruled there for 14 years2 until such time
that he went to abaristān in 301 AH and took control of government there.3
d. The Uprising of Ya yā ibn al- usayn (the Zaydīs of Yemen)
In 288 AH Ya yā ibn usayn al-‘Alawī, known as “Al-Hādī ilā’laqq” [The Guide toward the Truth], staged an uprising in ijāz 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- aqq” until 1382 AH when Arab
republicanism in Yemen was established.
.
1 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, 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
155
@ 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 Ya yā ibn
Zayd to the grandchildren of Imām al- asan (‘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 Man ūr and was led by Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah. 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 abaristān 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 Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah?
3. When did the uprising of Ibn abā abā’ī take place?
4. In what year did the uprising of the ‘Alawīs of abaristān happen?
.
Lesson Seventeen
2. Sporadic Uprisings
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 usayn ibn ‘Alī al- asanī (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- ādī was pursuing the
ālibīs. 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 ālibīs.”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
ālibīs, interrogating them daily. It was in protest of these cruelties that
usayn ibn ‘Alī al- asanī rose up and ordered the recital of “ ayya ‘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
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, p. 404.
History of Shī‘ism
158
God and the Sunnah of the Prophet ( ), and called on them to the leadership
of the chosen one from the progeny of Prophet Mu ammad ( ). His policy
was agreed upon by Imām al-Kā im (‘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-Ri ā (‘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 Mu ammad 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 Mu ammad ibn al-Qāsim
Mu ammad 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‘ta im 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‘ta im threatened Mu ammad ibn alQāsim. He was truly ascetic and pious and when Mu‘ta im threatened him,
he went to Khurāsān. He stayed in the cities of Khurāsān such as Marv,
Sarkhis, āleqān, and Nasā.4
As narrated by Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī, 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 āhirīs, 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
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 372.
2 Ibid., pp. 380-381.
3 Sayyid Ah mad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Ra mān Kiyā’i-Gilānī, Sirāj al-Ansāb (Qum:
Manshūrāt Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘U mā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1409 AH), p. 66.
4 ‘Alī ibn al- usayn Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah alA‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 4, p. 60.
5 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 464-467.
6 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 60.
Lesson 17
159
c. The Uprising of Ya yā ibn ‘Umar a - ālibī
Ya yā ibn ‘Umar a - ālibī, a descendant of Ja‘far ibn Abī ālib a ayyār, 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
Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn āhir. 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-I fahānī, 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 Murta ā 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
1 Ibid., p. 160.
2 Ibid.
3 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 511.
History of Shī‘ism
160
the descendants of the Prophet ( ) 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
.
1 Sayyid Ja‘far Murtadā al-Āmilī, Zindigānī-ye Siyāsī-ye Imām Jawād (‘a), trans. Sayyid
Muhammad Husaynī, 8th edition (Qum: Islamic Publications Office affiliated to the Society of
Teachers of the Islamic Seminary in Qum, 1375 AHS), p. 19.
Lesson 17
161
@ 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 usayn ibn ‘Alī al- asanī 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‘ta im, Mu ammad 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 Ya yā ibn ‘Umar a - ālibī 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?
.
Chapter Five
The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism
,
.
Lesson Eighteen
The Geographical Expansion of Shī‘ism
It is certain that the first center of Shī‘ism had been the city of Medina
and the pioneering Shī‘ah among the companions [ a ābah] of the Prophet
( ) lived in that city. During the reign of the first three caliphs, the Shī‘ah
a ābah were scattered in the different cities and regions, with some of
them holding political and military positions. In this regard, ‘Allāmah
Mu ammad Jawād Mughniyyah writes:
The Shī‘ah a ābah 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 ( ), 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 ( ), Abū Dharr (al-Ghiffārī).2
1 Muhammad Jawād Mughniyyah, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’l-Mīzān (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī,
1413 AH), pp. 26-28.
2 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 25.
History of Shī‘ism
166
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
Ba rah—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 An ār 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 ( )
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 Mu sin 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 Ba rah and
north of Iraq, also had inclinations toward ‘Uthmān. The people in those
places were inclined toward ‘Uthmān5 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, ā’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 ( ). The people of ā’if, too, like
1 Nahj al-Balāghah, Fay al-Islām, Sermon 235.
2 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir
Ma mūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 2, p. 237.
3 Ibid.
4 A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 25.
5 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, p. 178.
Lesson 18
167
that of Mecca, rejected the Prophet’s ( ) invitation although they submitted
after Islam’s acquisition of power.
From the time of ajjāj, Shī‘ism was extended beyond the realm of Iraq
and ijāz. During that period, as a result of the extreme pressure and
harshness of ajjāj, 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 ( ) and through the slogan, “the appointed one
from among the progeny of Prophet Mu ammad ( ),” 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 abaristān.2
.
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 alHusayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī,
1416 AH), p. 408.
2 Among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a), we can find people from cities and regions
such as alab, Egypt, Madā’in, Qazwīn, Rey, Kāshān, Armenia, Sābā , I fahān, 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 alMa ba‘ah al-Ḥaydariyyah, 1380 AH), p. 31.
History of Shī‘ism
168
@ 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
a ābah (companions of the Prophet ( )) 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 ajjāj, Shī‘ism was extended beyond the realm of Iraq
and ijāz. 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 ijāz 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?
.
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, Ba rah, Madā’in, and Jabal ‘Āmil. During the second century AH, in
addition to these regions, places such as Qum, Khurāsān, abaristān,
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
During the first century AH, Shī‘ah-populated places were confined to
ijāz, Yemen and Iraq. The residents of these regions were Arabs and
considered to be the pioneering Muslims. Shī‘ism in ijāz and Yemen was
traceable back to the period of the Holy Prophet ( ). Iraq which was
conquered after the demise of the Prophet ( ) also became the residence
place of Yemenī tribes and the government of a rat ‘Alī (‘a) accelerated
the spread of Shī‘ism in that place.1
1 See Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Ta līlī-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.
History of Shī‘ism
170
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
“An ār” after the advent of Islam (after the hijrah to be exact), and three
Jewish tribes, namely the Banū Qaynuqā‘, Banū Na īr and Banū Quray ah.
When the Noble Messenger ( ) 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 An ār
still constituted the majority of the inhabitants of Medina who were always
sympathetic to the descendants of the Prophet ( ) and during the political
squabbles, they took Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) the side. The distinguished Shī‘ah
a ābah living in the mentioned city were constantly telling the truth to the
people. Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-An ārī, a great companion of the Prophet
( ), 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 An ār! 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 ( ) 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… Mu ammad is the heir of the knowledge of Ādam (Adam) and
1 Shaykh a - ūsī, 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.
Lesson 19
171
all the virtues of the prophets, and ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib is the executor of will
[wa ī] of Mu ammad 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 a - ādiq (‘a) extended to as far as Masjid an-Nabī.
Narrates Abū amzah 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 ajj.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 ( ), give lessons to the
people, and narrate adīths to them. Imām a - ādiq (‘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 ( ) because
the people there embraced Islam through ‘Alī (‘a). Writes Ibn Shahr Āshūb,
thus:
The Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ( ) was not happy about this state of affairs and recalled Khālid,
and instead the Prophet ( ) sent the Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a).
When the Imām arrived there, he performed the dawn [ ub ] prayer and
read to the people of Yemen the letter of the Prophet ( ). All members of
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, p. 171.
2 Bi ār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 357.
3 Abū’l-‘Abbās Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ah mad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā
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.
History of Shī‘ism
172
the tribe of amdān became Muslim in one day and after amdān the rest
of the tribes in Yemen embraced Islam. When this news was relayed to the
Holy Prophet ( ), 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 ( ), people from the
different tribes of Yemen went to Medina to meet the Prophet ( ), and in
their conversation the Prophet ( ) introduced to them ‘Alī (‘a) as his
successor2 and thus, this fact remained in their memory.3 And after the
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 129.
2 Muhammad Husayn Mu affar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī,
n.d.), p. 122.
3 Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-An ārī narrates: “A number of the various tribes of Yemen came to
the Holy Prophet ( ). The Messenger of Allah ( ) said: ‘There shall be a softhearted people
with strong faith Man ūr (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 [wa ī] 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’ [ abl] 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 wa ī [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 wa ī; 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 Lā iq 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 ( ) and said: ‘O
Messenger of Allah! This is the person who drew our hearts toward him and inclined toward
him.’ The Holy Prophet ( ) 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
Lesson 19
173
demise of the Prophet ( ), 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,
؟شأين و شأنُ أيب بكرما فيا قوم اهللا ما دام وسطنا رسولَأَطَعنا
فتلك لعمر اهللا قاصمة الظُّهر أيورثها بكراً إذا كانَ بعده
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 Iraq3 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
Ar āt, 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 ā’if, he did nothing
against these two cities.5 But when he arrived in the cities of Yemen such as
Ar ab, an‘ā and a ramawt, he engaged in mass murder. In an‘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 a ramawt, 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- adīd 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
our hearts experienced tranquility as if we have seen our respective fathers’.” Ibid., pp. 124125.
1 Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 132.
2 Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt amawī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār
I yā’ 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 Is āq Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad Thaqafī Kūfī, Al-Ghārāt, trans. Mu ammad 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- amīd ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār al-Kutub al‘Arabiyyah, 1961), vol. 2, p. 17.
History of Shī‘ism
174
population of the Shī‘ah at the time had been considerable. At any rate,
following the devastation made by Busr in Yemen, a rat 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- usayn (‘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 ( ) 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 īrah near Kūfah was always ruled by the
Lakhmiyān.5
In 17 AH Sa‘ad ibn Abī Waqqā , the commander of the Iranian front,
founded this city at the order of the second caliph (‘Umar) and thereafter,
eighty of the a ābah 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
1 Al-Ghārāt, p. 333.
2 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir
Ma mūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 161.
3 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 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.
Lesson 19
175
the Qa ānī and Yemenī tribes. For this reason, Kūfah always had the
Qa ānī and Yemenī atmosphere.1 Among the companions of the Prophet
( ), An ār with Yemenī root were residing there mostly. The Khazraj, one
of the two tribes of An ār, had a particular district there. Yāqūt amawī
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 adīths
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 a - ādiq (‘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 ( ), and the other
one is the existence of distinguished Shī‘ah a ābah 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:
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- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 3, p. 198.
6 ‘Izz ad-Dīn Abū’l- asan ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad Abī’l-Kirām Ibn Athīr, Asad al-Ghābah fī
Ma‘rifah a - a ābah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 258.
History of Shī‘ism
176
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 asan (‘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 alAsh‘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 usayn 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 iffīn; the appointment and stepping down
from caliphate of asan ibn ‘Alī (‘a); the uprising of ujr ibn ‘Uday alKindī; the killing of usayn (‘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- usayn 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- usayn (‘a), however, the Shī‘ah came to
their senses and launched the Tawwābūn movement and the uprising of
Mukhtār.
1 Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, vol. 2, p. 189.
2 Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 262.
3 Sayyid Husayn Ja‘farī, Tashayyu‘ dar Masīr-e Tārīkh, trans. Sayyid Muhammad Taqī
Āyatullāhī, 9th edition (Tehran: Daftar-e Nashr-e Farhang-e Islāmī, 1378 AHS), p. 125..
4 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 73.
5 Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, p. 67.
Lesson 19
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Kūfah had been known for friendship and love of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)
and enmity toward the Umayyads. Even Mu ‘ab ibn az-Zubayr feigned love
for the descendants of the Prophet ( ) in order to win the hearts of the
Kūfans. As such, he married a daughter of Imām al- usayn (‘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, Mu ammad 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 ālib.”2
During the second and third centuries AH, the uprisings of some ālibīs
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 abā abā 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 ajjāj 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 a - ughrā] men
of the House of A‘yan were among the companions of the pure Imāms (‘a).
1 Abū Mu ammad ‘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 Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī said to his supporters and campaigners: “But
there are Shī‘ah of ‘Alī ibn ālib in Kūfah and its districts. The people of Ba rah 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 abā abā, Al-Fukharā fī Ādāb as-Sal aniyyah
(Egypt), p. 104.
3 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 424-431.
4 Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 233.
History of Shī‘ism
178
Sixty prominent scholars of adīth [mu addithūn] emerged from this clan.
It had stalwarts such as Zurārah ibn A‘yan, amrān ibn A‘yan, Bakīr ibn
A‘yan, amzah ibn amrān, Mu ammad ibn amrān, and ‘Ubayd ibn
Zurārah—the same ‘Ubayd who went to Medina as the representative of the
people of Kūfah after the demise of Imām a - ādiq (‘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 adīth from Imām al- asan and
Imām al- usayn (‘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 Mu ammad and ‘Abd ar-Ra mān
Samarī belong.3
In the mosques of Kūfah, particularly in its central mosque, adīths of
the pure Imāms (‘a) used to be taught there. asan ibn ‘Alī Washshā’, a
companion of Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a), says: “I saw in Masjid Kūfah nine hundred
people who were transmitting adīths from Imām a - ādiq (‘a).”4
d. Basrah
Ba rah is a city founded by the Muslims in 17 AH simultaneous with
the founding of Kūfah.5 Although the people of Ba rah were known for
inclination toward ‘Uthmān for supporting Ā’ishah, al ah and Zubayr, at
the same time that the Jamal [Camel] Army was in Ba rah, 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 Ba rah, many Shī‘ah were still
living there. As such, when Mu‘āwiyah dispatched Ibn a ramī to create
unrest there, he informed him that some people in Ba rah 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
1 Abū Ghālib Zurārī, Risālah fī Āl A‘yan (I fahān: Ma ba‘ah Rabbānī, n.d.), pp. 2-18.
2 Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā 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.
Lesson 19
179
from Kūfah, by means of unrests he would take control of Ba rah through
the ‘Uthmānīs.1
During the event of Karbalā’, Imām al- usayn (‘a) also wrote a letter to
some distinguished men of Ba rah. 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 anzalah, and
called on them to assist Imām al- usayn (‘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 Ba rah 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 Ba rah experienced
sufferings at the hands of cruel and bloodthirsty rulers such as Ziyād and
Samarah ibn Jundab. Ziyād came to Ba rah in 45 AH and delivered the
Ba rā’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 Ba rah. Every time he was in Kūfah, he would designate Samarah ibn
Jundab to administer Ba rah 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
1 Al-Ghārāt, p. 166.
2 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 590.
3 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 109.
4 Ba rā’ is the feminine form of ab ar which means ‘defective’ and ‘incomplete’. According
to the adīth, every statement which does not begin with the name of Allah is called ab ar
[defective and incomplete]. Since Ziyād began to deliver the said sermon without invoking the
name of Allah, it became known thereafter as ba rā’.
5 Tārīkh-e Ta līlī-ye Islām tā Payān-e Umawī, p. 156.
6 Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam abarī, Tārīkh al-Umam wa’l-Mulūk (Beirut:
Dār al-Qāmūs al- adīth, n.d.), vol. 6, p. 132.
History of Shī‘ism
180
With the passage of time, the spirit of Shī‘ism in Ba rah became
stronger so much so that during the beginning of the ‘Abbāsid rule, the
second ‘Alawī uprising—the uprising of Ibrāhīm, brother of Mu ammad
Nafs az-Zakiyyah—took place there.1
e. Madā’in
In contrast to Kūfah and Ba rah, Madā’in is a city which has been
existing even prior to the advent of Islam and conquered by Sa‘d ibn Abī
Waqqā in 16 AH during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Kha āb. 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. āq-e Kisrā2 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, Ba rah, Wāsi , 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 a ābah such
as Salmān al-Fārsi and udhayfah ibn Yamān there. And as such, the people
of Madā’in, from the beginning, had accepted Islam through the hands of
Shī‘ah a ābah. 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 ard 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 Ba rah and Madā’in, who were
approximately five hundred people and whose commanders were Muthannā
ibn Mukharramah and Sa‘d ibn udhayfah, 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
amawī says, “Most of the people of Madā’in are Shī‘ah Imāmiyyah.”5
1 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, 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.
Lesson 19
181
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 Mu sin 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 arfand 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 Mu affar 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
.
1 A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, p. 25.
2 Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah, p. 149.
3 Kird-‘Alī, Muh ammad. Kha a ash-Shām, 3rd edition (Damascus: Maktabah an-Nūrī, 1403
AH/1983), vol. 6, p. 246.
History of Shī‘ism
182
@ 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 a ābah 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
ālibīs were launched there, and the Shī‘ah culture was always dominant
there.
Notwithstanding the spirit of inclination toward ‘Uthmān in the city of
Ba rah, 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 alhāh, Zubayr and ‘Ā’ishah). With the passage of
time, the influence of Shī‘ism in the city of Ba rah became stronger.
On account of the rule there of great Shī‘ah a ābah such as Salmān
al-Fārsī and udhayfah 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 Ba rah?
3. The root of Shī‘ism in Jabal ‘Āmil can be traced back to which
period?
.
Lesson Twenty
2. The Shī‘ah-Populated Places during the Second Century Hijrī
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 ajjāj 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 Ya yā 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 ālib a - ayyār,
covered the regions such as Hamedān, Qum, Rey, Qirmis, I fahān, and Fārs,
and ‘Abd Allāh himself lived in I fahān. Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī says, “The
notables of Banū Hāshim went to him and he designated each of them to rule
over a district. Even Man ūr and Safā (who later became the first two
‘Abbāsid caliphs) had connivance with him and this continued till the time of
Marwān imār 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
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 146.
2 Ibid., p. 157.
History of Shī‘ism
184
different regions. For example, after the uprising of Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah during the reign of Man ūr and his defeat, the descendants of
Imām al- asan (‘a) were scattered in the different places. In this regard,
Mas‘ūdi thus says:
The brothers of Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh (Nafs az-Zakiyyah) were
scattered in the different places. His son, ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad, went to
Egypt where he was killed later. His other son, ‘Abd Allāh ibn
Mu ammad, went to Khurāsān and from there proceeded to Sind where he
was killed. His third son, asan ibn Mu ammad went to Yemen where he
was put behind bars and passed away while in prison. His (Nafs azZakiyyah’s) brother, Mūsā, went to Mesopotamia. Another brother of Nafs
az-Zakiyyah, Ya yā, went to Rey and from there he proceeded to
abaristān. Another brother of his, Idrīs, went to Maghrib. Yet another
brother, Ibrāhīm, went to Ba rah 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 Mu ammad 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 a - ālibiyyīn, narrates that the son of ‘Abd Allāh,
Ibrāhīm, remained in Khurāsān and had two sons named Qāsim and
Mu ammad.3
Similarly, there was a group in Transoxiana which was tracing itself back
to Irahim ibn Mu ammad 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 Hāshim5 commenced in Khurāsān and many people
there embraced Shī‘ism. Ya‘qūbī narrates,
1 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 326.
2 Ibid.
3 Abū Ismā‘īl ibn Nā ir ibn abā abā, Muntaqilah a - ālibiyyīn, trans. Mu ammad Rid ā
‘A ā’ī, 1st edition (Mashhad: Intishārāt-e Āstān-e Quds-e Ra awī, 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.
Lesson 20
185
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 ( ).1
It remained so until such time that Ya yā 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 Ya yā was
killed, every infant that was born in Khurāsān was named Ya yā.”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 Mu ammad ibn
‘Alī to Abū Hāshim, son of Mu ammad al- anafiyyah. As Abū’l-Faraj alI fahānī writes in describing ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu ammad al- anafiyyah:
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
Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās while Mu ammad 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 Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah most of the ‘Abbāsid soldiers were Persian-speaking Khurāsānīs.
Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī narrates,
When Khu ayr Zubayrī, one of the commanders of Mu ammad Nafs azZakiyyah, was coming to the battlefield from Medina, the Khurāsānīs were
saying in Persian, “Khu ayr āmad; Khu ayr āmad” [Khu ayr came;
Khu ayr 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
1 Ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Shārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH),
vol. 2, p. 171.
2 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 149.
3 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, p. 336.
4 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 123.
5 Ibid., p. 238.
History of Shī‘ism
186
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 ajjāj was crushed and
he fled to Kābul,2 a number of his soldiers were also Shī‘ah such as ‘Abd
Allāh, A wa , Na‘īm, ‘Abd ar-Ra mān, and Is aq, 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 Fā imah al-Ma‘ ūmah (Imām ar-Ri ā’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 Man ūr, 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-Kā im (‘a) burial procession. The huge
number of attendants seriously alarmed the ‘Abbāsids so much so that
Sulaymān ibn Man ūr, 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, Ba rah, Madā’in among others took residence there
and very quickly constituting a large population. After the minor occultation
1 Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Ra ī, n.d.), pp. 240, 270.
2 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 149.
3 Shahāb ad-Dīn Abī ‘Abd Allāh Yāqūt amawī, Mu‘jam al-Buldān, 1st edition (Beirut: Dār
I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1417 AH), vol. 7, p. 88.
4 Muntaqilah a - ālibiyyīn, pp. 333-339.
5 Mu‘jam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 361.
6 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 29.
Lesson 20
187
[ghaybah a - ughrah], Baghdad became the intellectual and religious
center for the Shī‘ah who flourished there by virtue of the Shī‘ah government
of Āl Būyah (Būyeds), until such time that Shaykh a - ūsī 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 abaristān
formed a government.1 During the latter part of the third century AH,
descendants of Imām al- usayn (‘a) set up a Zaydī government in Yemen. In
296 AH the Fā imid 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 a - ādiq (‘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, Ba rah, Wāsī , Baghdad,
Egypt, Yemen, ijāz, 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 Murta ā, Sayyid Ra ī, and Shaykh a - ūsī, the religious seminary
in Baghdad flourished.
Regarding the Shī‘ah influence in Baghdad during the fourth century
AH, Adam Mitch (?) thus writes:
1 Abū Ja‘far Muh ammad ibn Jarīr ibn Rustam abarī, Tārīkh a - abarī, 2nd edition (Beirut:
Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1408 AH), vol. 5, p. 365.
2 Jalāl ad-Dīn ‘Abd ar-Ra mān Suyū ī, Tārīkh al-Khulafā’ (Qum: Intishārāt ash-Sharīf arRad ī, 1411 AH), p. 524.
3 See Sayyid Majīd Pūr Āqā’ī, Tārīkh-e ‘A r-e Ghaybat (Qum: Markaz-e Jahānī-ye ‘Ulūm-e
Islāmī, n.d.), p. 19.
History of Shī‘ism
188
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— anbālī 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 a āq was also populated. In places west of Dajlah, especially Bāb alBa rah, 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-Ba rah,
between Karakh and Qiblah, were all anbalī 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 anbalī, and his supporters were identified as the ones responsible
for the unrests. On account of the seditions and attitudes of the anbalīs
toward the people in 323 AH, it was ordered that two anbalīs should not
be seen together anywhere in Baghdad, and the ‘Abbāsid caliph Rā ī
issued an order in which the offenses to be committed by the anbalīs and
their corresponding punishments were indicated.1
.
1 Adam Mitch (?), Tamaddun-e Islāmī dar Qarn-e Chahārum-e Hijrī [Islamic Civilization in
the Fourth Century Hijri], trans. ‘Alī Rid ā Dhakāwatī Qarāgzelū (Tehran: Mu’assaseh-ye
Intishārāt-e Amīr Kabīr, 1364 AHS), pp. 85-86.
Lesson 20
189
@ 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, Ba rah 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 abaristān, 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?
.
Lesson Twenty One
Shī‘ism among the Different Tribes
Basically, ‘Alī (‘a) had more Shī‘ah and sympathizers from the ‘Adnānīs
from among the Qa ānī tribes, and Shī‘ism among the Qa ānīs 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 Qa ānīs. For instance, the Imām (‘a) thus said in
Rajzī, one of the battle arenas in iffīn:
املاجد األبيض ليث كالشطن املؤمتن القرشيأنا الغالم
من ساكين جند و من اهل عدن السادة من اهل اليمن يرضى به
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 ( ), most of ‘Alī’s
(‘a) supporters among the companions of the Prophet ( ) were An ār who
were Qa ānī 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
1 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī ālib (Qum: Mu’assasah Intishārāt-e
‘Allāmeh, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 178.
2 Ah mad ibn Ya yā ibn Jābir Balādhurī, Insāb al-Ashrāf, researched by Muhammad Bāqir
Ma mūdī (Beirut: Manshūrāt Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1394 AH), vol. 3, p. 161.
History of Shī‘ism
192
Imām al- usayn (‘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- usayn (‘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 ( ), only four persons
attained martyrdom at the lap of the Prophet ( ) and these four were from
the An ār.”2
The descent of the An ār 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 ( )), 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 ā’if who were supporters of Mu‘āwiyah during and after the
Battle of iffīn, had always been in the ranks of those who opposed ‘Alī
(‘a). For example, when Mu‘āwiyah dispatched Busr ibn Ar āt to pillage the
cities of ijāz and Yemen, as Busr was approaching ā’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 ā’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 Mu ammad 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
1 Kalbī, Jumhurah an-Nasab (Beirut: ‘Ālam al-Kutub, n.d.), p. 88.
2 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 84.
3 See Sayyid Ja‘far Shahīdī, Tārīkh-e Ta līlī-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.
Lesson 21
193
Commander of the Faithful’s (‘a) adversaries, but his son, Muhājir ibn
Khālid was among the soldiers of the Imām in the Battle of iffīn. Another
case is that of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī udhayfah, Mu‘āwiyah’s maternal cousin,
who was one of the 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, imīr, Bujaylah,
Khath‘am, Khuzā‘ah, a ramūt, Mudh aj, Ash‘ar, ay, Sadūs, amdān,
and Rabī‘ah.1 But among them, the two tribes of amdān and Rabī‘ah were
leading. The amdānīs who embraced Islam during the time of the Prophet
( ), 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 iffīn, not a single person from among them was in the army of
Mu‘āwiyah.”2
Regarding amdān, ‘Alī has said:
لقلت لحمدان أدخلوا بسالم نت بواباً على باب اجلنةلو كو
If I were the gatekeeper of paradise, I shall say to the tribe of
amdān, “Enter in peace!” 3
Mu‘āwiyah held a great grudge against the amdānīs. One day during
the Battle of iffīn, he went to the battle arena and recited this poem:
من أرحب و يشكر شبام يش االّ فلق اهلام ال ع
كم من كرمي بطل مهام الشام وم هم اعداء اهلق
ك حرب السادة الكرامكذا وكم قتيل و جريح ذام
I shall not live unless I rip the heads of those of (the clans of) Ar ab,
Yashkar and Shabām (from the tribe of amdān).
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,
1 Ah mad ibn Muhammad ibn Khālid Burqā, Rijāl al-Burqā (n.p.: Mu’assasah al-Qayyūm,
n.d.), pp. 37-40; ‘Abd al- amīd ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār I yā’
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.
History of Shī‘ism
194
ال جتعل امللك الهل الشام هم رب احللّ واحلرام الل
O Lord of all and arām! Do not bestow the rule to the people of Shām,
Sa‘īd ibn Qays amdānī 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 amdānīs:
اة الوغى من شاكر و شبامغذ فوارس من محدان ليسوا بعزل
سعيد بن قيس و الكرمي حمام يقودهم حامى احلقيقة ماجد
سهام العدى يف كلّ يوم محام د ان اجلنان فام جزى اهللا مه
Horsemen of amdān 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) amdān 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
amdān especially during the Battle of iffīn. For instance, ‘Amr ibn al‘Ā addressed the tribe of amdān on one of the days of the Battle of
iffīn, saying:
مدان و يوم للصدفيوم هل املوت يغشاه من القوم االنف
نضرا بالسيف حىت ينصرف و يف سدوس حنوه ما ينخرف
و لتميم مثلها او يعترف
It shall receive death from this tribe; one day, amdān 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 amdān had also incited the
supporters and soldiers of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) during the
1 Manāqib Āl Abī ālib, vol. 3, pp. 170-171.
2 Insāb al-Ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 323.
Lesson 21
195
Battle of iffīn against Mu‘āwiyah. Among these women were Sawdah
amdāniyyah and Zurqā’ amdāniyyah, daughters of ‘Addī ibn Qays.1
Sawdah addressed his father saying:
يوم الطّعان و ملتقى االقران شعر كفعل ابيك يابن عمارة
واقصد هلند و ابنها وان وانصر علياً و احلسني و رهطه
علم اهلدى و منارة اإلميان ان اإلمام اخا النيب حممد
٢سنانض صارم و يبقدماً بأ فقد اجليوش و سره امام لوائه
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 Ba rah
attained martyrdom at the hands of the army of ‘Ā’ishah, he said:
يا هلف نفسي على ربيعة ربيعة السماعة املطيعة
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 iffīn:
إذا قيل قدمها حضني تقدماً ملن راية سوداء خيفق ظلها
حياض املنايا تقطر املوت و الدما فيوردها يف الصف حىت يعلها
لدى املوت قدماً ما اعروا كرماً جزى اهللا قوماً قاتلوا يف لقائه
اذا كان اصوات الرجال تغمغما واطيب أخباراً و اكرم شيمةً
1 A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’
at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 1, pp. 335-337.
2 Ibid., p. 332.
3 Ibid., p. 335.
4 Ah mad ibn Muhammad 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-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 159.
History of Shī‘ism
196
و بأس إذا القو، مخيساً عرمرما ربيعة أعىن إنهم أهل جندة
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 iffīn 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 amdān, Kahlān, An ār, Rabī‘ah, and Nakha‘
entered the central mosque. While weeping for Imām al- usayn (‘a), they
were saying: “Is it not enough that ‘Amr ibn Sa‘d killed usayn 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
.
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
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@ Lesson 21: Summary
Most of the supporters and Shī‘ah of the Commander of the Faithful
were from the Qa ānī and Yemeni tribes.
Among the companions of the Prophet ( ), most of ‘Alī’s (‘a)
sympathizers were from among the An ār who had Yemenī origin.
Imām al- usayn’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 amdān 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?
.
Chapter Six
The Rifts within Shī‘ism
,
.
Lesson Twenty Two
The Rifts within Shī‘ism
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-Ri ā (‘a) as Qa ‘iyyah and Ithnā
‘Ashariyyah for believing in Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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- usayn (‘a)) these splits had not
occurred within Shī‘ism, although Shahristānī regards the Ghulāt Saba’iyyah
sect that emerged during the time of a rat 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
1 Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1364 AHS),
vol. 1, p. 150.
2 Ibid., p. 155.
3 See Sayyid Murta ā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ wa Asā īr Ukhrā, 6th edition (1413
AH/1993), vol. 2, pp. 328-375.
Its abridged English version is Sayyid Murta ā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abdullāh ibn Saba’ and Other
Myths, trans. M.J. Muqaddas (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1984).
[Trans.]
History of Shī‘ism
200
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- asan and Imām al- usayn (‘a) had excellent positions in the
sight of Muslims and have been considered as progeny of the Prophet ( ).
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- usayn’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 Mu ammad alanafiyyah.
Zaydiyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Zayd ibn ‘Alī.
Nāwūsiyyah: They believe in the occultation [ghaybah] of Imām a ādiq (‘a) and in his being the Mahdī.
Fa iyyah: They believe in the Imamate of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Af a ,
son of Imām a - ādiq (‘a).
Sam iyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Mu ammad Dībāj, another
son of Imām a - ādiq (‘a).
Ismā‘īliyyah: They believe in the Imamate of Ismā‘īl, yet another son of
Imām a - ādiq (‘a).
afiyyah: They believe that Imām a - ādiq (‘a) entrusted the Imamate
to Mūsā ibn affī.
Aqma iyyah: They believe that Imām a - ādiq (‘a) entrusted the
Imamate to Mūsā ibn ‘Umrān al-Aqma .
Yarma‘iyyah: They believe that Imām a - ādiq (‘a) entrusted the
Imamate to Yarma‘ ibn Mūsā.
Tamīmiyyah: They believe that Imām a - ādiq (‘a) entrusted the
Imamate to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sa‘d at-Tamīmī.
Ju‘diyyah: They believe that Imām a - ādiq (‘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 a - ādiq
(‘a), and their leading figure is a person named Abū Ya‘qūb.
1 Shaykh a - ūsī, 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.
Lesson 22
201
Mam ūrah: They suspend their judgment concerning Imām al-Kā im
(‘a), saying that they are not sure if the Imām really passed away or not.1
Wāqifiyyah: They believe that Imām al-Kā im (‘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
Mu ammad al- anafiyyah:
Some believed that Mu ammad al- anafiyyah was the Imām after
Imām al- usayn (‘a) while another group was of the opinion that he was
supposed to be the Imām after his father, ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib (‘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
Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī al-‘Abbāsī. The second group maintained that Abū
Hāshim had entrusted the Imamate to his brother, ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad alanafiyyah. The third group opined that Abū Hāshim had entrusted the
Imamate to his nephew, asan 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’ [maf ūl]
while ‘the most deserving one’ [af al] 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].
1 Maytham ibn ‘Alī ibn Maytham al-Ba rānī, An-Najāh fī’l-Qiyāmah fī Ta qīq 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”.
History of Shī‘ism
202
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 a - ādiq (‘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, Mu ammad, 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
Mu ammad ibn Ismā‘īl with the only difference that Mu ammad 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
a - ādiq (‘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
Mu ammad al- anafiyyah, who was the leader of this sect, had for the first
time used the terms “dā‘ī” [propagator] and “ ujjat” [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
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 Muhammad Karīm Khurāsānī, Tārīkh va ‘Aqā’id-e Ferqeh-ye Āqākhāniyyeh, abridged and
compiled by H usayn Husaynī (Qum: Nashr al-Hudā, 1377 AHS), pp. 2-3.
4 Ibid., p. 43.
5 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘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.
Lesson 22
203
Hāshim, he invited him to Shām and poisoned him. When Abū Hāshim
realized that that was his end, he went to amīmah, the living place of his
‘Abbāsid cousins, declared Mu ammad 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-I fahānī says,
The people of Khurāsān believed that Abū Hāshim was the successor of his
father and that his father inherited the right of succession [wa āyah] from
his father (viz., ‘Alī (‘a)). He in turn appointed Mu ammad 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 ( ) 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
ālib a - ayyār. 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 a - ayyār… 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 Mu ammad 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 al ah, Zubayr and ‘Ā’ishah as
infidels.4 For this reason, many of the Sunnī jurists [fuqahā] used to approve
the uprising of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah who was a Zaydī.5 Mas‘ar ibn
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 124; A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 4, p. 438.
2 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 123.
3 Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 135.
4 Ibid., p. 142.
5 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 247.
History of Shī‘ism
204
Kudām, a leading Murjite [murja’ah] figure, had written to Ibrāhīm, brother
of Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah, to come to Kūfah.1 Abū anīfah, the
Imām of the anifī school of thought [madhhab] participated in Mu ammad
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 [u ūl
ad-dīn], they follow Mu‘tazilism [mu‘tazilah] and concerning the branches
of religion [furū‘ ad-dīn], they follow Abū anīfah 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 Mu ammad 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, Mu ammad 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 Fā imid 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-Kha āb.6
Their beliefs have also remained in the halo of ambiguity. In this regard,
Mas‘ūdī thus writes:
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 Muhammad al-H asan ibn Mūsā Nawbakhtī, Firq ash-Shī‘ah (Najaf: Al-Ma ba‘ah alḤaydariyyah, 1936), p. 71.
Lesson 22
205
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 Qarāma ah (Ismā‘īlī) sect. There are
also those who have written against them such as Qudāmah ibn Yazīd anNu‘mānī, Ibn ‘Abdak al-Jurjānī, Abī’l- asan Zakariyya al-Jurjānī, Abī
‘Abd Allāh Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ar-Razzāq a - ā’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 Ni ām alMulk has thus written:
They had been called by different names in every city and every province;
“Ismā‘īlī” in alab and Egypt; “Saba‘ī” in Qum, Kāshān, abaristān, and
Sabzewār; “Qarma ī” in Baghdad and Mesopotamia; “Khalafī” in Rey; and
in I fahān…2
Prior to the establishment of the Fā imīd 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 Mu ammad ibn
Ismā‘īl, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu ammad, A mad ibn ‘Abd Allāh, and usayn
ibn A mad, 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 Qarma īs [qarma iyān]
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 Fā imid 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.
1 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, At-Tanbiyyah wa’l-Ashrāf (Cairo: Dār a - āwī Li’ ab‘ 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. 207209.
4 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 4, p. 297.
History of Shī‘ism
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.
Lesson 22
207
@ 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-Ri ā (‘a) were called Qa ī‘ah and
Ithnā ‘Ashariyyah.
No rift within Shī‘ism occurred during the time of Imām al- asan and
Imām al- usayn (‘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 [u ūl] and branches [furū‘] of religion, which
way and method does the Zaydiyyah sect follow?
.
Lesson Twenty Three
Factors behind the Rifts within Shī‘ism
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
( ) 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
ālib; after him, asan and then usayn; after him, ‘Alī ibn al- usayn;
and after him is Mu ammad 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 a - ādiq, Ja‘far
ibn Mu ammad, and then Mūsā ibn Ja‘far followed by ‘Alī ibn Mūsā; after
him is Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī; after him is ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad and then
asan 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
1 Sūrah an-Nisā’ 4:59.
History of Shī‘ism
210
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 ( ) 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, ajjāj ibn Yūsuf
ruled over Iraq and ijāz for twenty years, brutally suppressed, killed and
imprisoned the Shī‘ah, expelling them from Iraq and ijāz.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 a - ādiq (‘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 a - ādiq
(‘a), he wrote a letter to his governor in Medina instructing him to identify
and behead the successor of Imām a - ādiq (‘a). Imām a - ādiq (‘a)
designated five persons as his “successors”—Abū Ja‘far al-Man ūr,
1 Mahdī Pīshvā’ī, Shakh iyyat-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Shī‘eh, 1st edition (Qum: Intishārāt-e Taw id,
1359 AHS), p. 63 as quoted from Tafsīr āfī, vol. 1, p. 366; Kamāl ad-Dīn wa Tamām anNi‘mah with Persian translation (Tehran), vol. 1, p. 365.
2 Shaykh a - ūsi, 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 Muhammad Husayn Zayn ‘Āmilī, Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, trans. Muhammad-Rid ā ‘A ā’ī,
2nd edition (Mashhad: Bunyād-e Pazhūhesh-hā-ye Islāmī-ye Āstān-e Quds-e Ra awī, 1375
AHS), p 120.
Lesson 23
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Mu ammad ibn Sulaymān, ‘Abd Allāh, Mūsā, and amīdah.1 Imām alKā im (‘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 Fa iyyah preachers. At the time, the Shī‘ah had
nobody to clarify their doubts. The ‘Abbāsid rule’s control and surveillance
over Imām al-Kā im’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 alKā im (‘a) was alive or not. As Ya yā ibn Khālid Barmakī used to say,
I uprooted the religion of the rafi īs [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-Kā im’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 Na īriyyah
founded by Mu ammad ibn Na īr Fihrī. A number of them gathered around
Ja‘far and then he started claiming for the Imamate.5
1 Abī ‘Alī al-Fa l ibn al-H asan abarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah
Āl al-Bayt Li I yā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 2, p. 13.
2 Muhammad Husayn Mu affar, Tārīkh ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī,
n.d.), p. 47.
3 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 414.
4 Ash-Shī‘ah fī’t-Tārīkh, p. 123.
5 Shaykh a - ūsī, 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.
History of Shī‘ism
212
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 ( ), ‘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 ( ) for doing so, the Prophet ( ) 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 alLaythī 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-Ri ā (‘a) and some followers of Wāqifiyyah:
‘Alī ibn Abī amzah who was a Wāqifī asked Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a): “What
happened to your father?” The Imām replied: “He passed away.” Ibn Abī
amzah 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-Ri ā
(‘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 amzah said:
“You expressed something which had never been expressed by any of your
forefathers.” The Imām said: “By God! My best grandfather, namely, the
1 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, n.d.), p.
199.
2 Dr. Samīrah Mukhtār al-Laythī, Jihād ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1396 AH), p. 394.
Lesson 23
213
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 a - ādiq (‘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 Man ūr prevailed, the
Nāwūsiyyah, Ismā‘īliyyah, Kha ābiyyah, Qarāma ah, Sam iyyah, and
Fa iyyah 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-Ra mān ibn ajjāj, Rafā‘ah ibn Mūsā, Yūnus ibn Ya‘qūb, Jamīl ibn
Dibāj, amād ibn ‘Īsā, and others abandoned their faith and believed in the
Imamate of Imām ar-Ri ā (‘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-Ri ā (‘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 adīths, Imām a - ādiq
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.
History of Shī‘ism
214
(‘a) said: “There are those who want to possess the world and acquire
leadership by means of personally interpreting [ta’wīl] our adīths.”1
For this reason, during the second century AH and after the spread of
Shī‘ism as well as after the martyrdom of Imām a - ādiq, Imām al-Kā im
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 a - ādiq (‘a) the Nāwūsiyyah and
Kha ābiyyah sects came into existence whose founders used to utilize the
names of Imām a - ādiq (‘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 a - ādiq’s (‘a) death and pointed
to him as the Mahdī. The followers of Kha ābiyyah rejected the death of
Ismā‘īl, Imām a - ādiq’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-Kā im (‘a). Yūnus who was one of the companions
of Imām al-Kā im (‘a) narrated that when Abū’l- asan Imām al-Kā im
(‘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 amzah 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 a rat Ri ā (‘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 Ri ā? 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-Kā im (‘a), the followers of
Hasmawiyyah sect believed that Imām al-Kā im (‘a) did not die and was
never imprisoned rather he was in occultation and he is the Mahdī. Their
leader was Mu ammad ibn Bashīr who claimed that the seventh Imām
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 a - ūsī, Al-Ghaybah, p. 46.
Lesson 23
215
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-Kā im (‘a) and at
the time that this Mu ammad ibn Bashīr was about to die he designated his
son, Samī‘ ibn Mu ammad, as his successor, alleging that obedience to
him is obligatory till the appearance of al-Kā im (‘a). He also urged people
to give to Samī‘ ibn Mu ammad whatever they want to offer in the way of
God. These people were labeled as “mam ūrah”.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 Ba rah
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-Kha āb founded the Kha ābiyyah sect, introduced
Imām a - ādiq (‘a) in the position of prophethood, allegedly bestowed on
him by God, and claimed himself to be the Imām and successor of Imām a ādiq (‘a).3 Also, during the minor occultation [ghaybah a - ughrah] of
the Imām of the Time (‘a), Ibn Na īr 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.
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 Ba rah 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-Rad ī, 1364 AHS),
vol. 1, p. 160.
4 Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 2, p. 805.
History of Shī‘ism
216
The Infallible Imāms’ (‘a) Campaign against Extreme Views
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 ( )
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 abarī 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 a - ādiq
(‘a) had mentioned the names of a number of chief extremists [ghālīs] such
1 Ikhtiyār Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī), vol. 1, p. 325.
2 See Sayyid Murta ā al-‘Askarī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Saba’ wa Asā īr Ukhrā, 6th edition (1413
AH/1993), vol. 2, pp. 328-375.
Its abridged English version is Sayyid Murta ā 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.
Lesson 23
217
as Mughayrah ibn Sa‘īd, Bayān, ā’id Nahdī, ārith Shāmī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn
ārith, amzah ibn ‘Ammār Barbarī, and Abū’l-Kha āb, 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-Ri ā (‘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. Mu ammad ibn
Bashīr used to lie about Abū’l- asan al-Kā im (‘a) and God, the Exalted,
also made him perish via the sword. Abū’l-Kha āb used to lie about Abū
‘Abd Allāh Imām a - ādiq (‘a) and he was also killed via the sword. And
the one telling lies about me is Mu ammad ibn Furāt.2
The period of Imām asan 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 Yaq īnī, ‘Alī ibn
askah Qummī, Ibn Bābā Qummī Fihrī, Mu ammad ibn Na īr Numayrī,
and Fārs ibn ātam 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 usayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh Mu arrar, 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 ajm, Abū’l- asan Mu ammad ibn A mad, a son
of Imām al-Kā im (‘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 Mufalla Ghulām ibn Abī’s-Sāj, the governor of Azerbaijan,
to kill him.5
.
1 Ibid., p. 577.
2 Ibid., p. 591.
3 Ibid., p. 805.
4 Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum: Manshūrāt ar-Ra ī, n.d.), p. 240.
5 Abū Mu ammad ‘Alī ibn A mad ibn Sa‘īd ibn azm al-Andalusī, Jumhazah Insāb al‘Arab, 1st edition (Beirut: n.p., 1403 AH), p. 63.
History of Shī‘ism
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@ 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?
.
Chapter Seven
The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah
,
.
Lesson Twenty Four
The Intellectual Legacy of the Shī‘ah
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-Kha āb became Muslim, his sister, Fā imah bint
al-Kha āb 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 ā Hā on a writing parchment which was called
a īfah.2
In Medina, the Noble Messenger ( ) 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 ( ) constantly explained to him the definitive verses
1 ‘Abd ar-Ra mān ibn Mu ammad ibn al-Khaldūn, Al-Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār I yā’ atTurāth al-‘Arabī, 1408 AH), p. 417.
2 Abū Mu ammad ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Hishām, As-Sīrah an-Nabawiyyah (Beirut: Dār alMa‘rifah, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 344.
History of Shī‘ism
222
[mu kamāt] and allegorical verses [mutashābihat]1 as well as the abrogator
[nāsukh] and abrogated [mansūkh] verses. ‘Alī (‘a) had also written a book
entitled, “ a īfah al-Jāmi‘ah” as dictated by the Messenger of Allah ( ),
which encompassed the lawful [ alāl] and the unlawful [ arām], obligatory
[wājib] and recommended [musta ab] 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 “ a īfah” about penalties [diyyāt] and another book
entitled “Farā’i ”—have also been attributed to the Imām.3
Other companions of the Holy Prophet ( ) also compiled collections of
his sayings and traditions, which they called “ a īfah”. 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 adīths 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 ( ), however, the second caliph ‘Umar
ibn al-Kha āb prohibited the writing of adīth.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 azm to record in writing the adīths of the Messenger of Allah ( ).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 adīth
among the Ahl as-Sunnah were Ibn Jarī , Mu‘ammar ibn Rāshid, Mālik ibn
Anas, and Sufyān ath-Thawrī7 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
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 Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ah mad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā
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-Fa l ibn al-H asan
abarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li I yā’ at-Turāth,
1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 536.
3 Shaykh a - ūsī, Tahdhīb al-A kām (n.p: Maktabah a - adūq, 1376 AHS/1418 AH), vol.
1, pp. 338, 342.
4 a ī al-Bukhārī (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 36.
5 Asad aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 2nd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1390 AH), vol. 1, p. 544.
6 a ī al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 36.
7 Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah alḤaydariyyah, 1380 AH), p. 2.
Lesson 24
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Shī‘ah, and great Shī‘ah among the companions of the Prophet ( ) such as
Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr al-Ghiffārī and Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qib ī 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 Jarī on the works and types of exegeses [tafāsīr] narrated from
Mujāhid and ‘A ā’ in Mecca. Next to his book is the book of Mu‘ammar
ibn Rāshid an‘ānī in Yemen; then, the book Muwa a’ 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, A bagh 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 a īfah 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 adīths will perish.”3
As such, the jurists and adīth scholars [mu addithūn] of the Ahl asSunnah, particularly the founders of the four schools of thought [madhāhib],
in addition to utilizing intermediaries to Imām a - ādiq (‘a), had also
learned from the Shī‘ah mu addithūn and received adīths 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 mu addithūn during the period of the pure Imāms
(‘a), from the time of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) up to the
time of Imām asan 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,
1 Ibid.
2 Ibn Nadīm. Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashar, n.d.), p. 307.
3 Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ah mad Dhahabī, Mīzān al-I‘tidāl (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr Li’ abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr wa’t-Tawzī‘, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 4.
4 ‘Abd al- amīd ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, researched by Mu ammad
Abū’l-Fa l Ibrāhīm (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1378 AH), vol. 1, p. 18.
5 Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al- urr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th edition (Tehran:
Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 20, p. 49.
History of Shī‘ism
224
poetry, sciences of the Qur’an [‘ulūm al-qur’ān], exegesis [tafsīr], adīth,
principles of jurisprudence [u ūl al-fiqh], scholastic theology [‘ilm al-kalām
or simply kalām], history, life conduct of the Prophet ( ) [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 [na w].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 A mad3 who has been one of the Shī‘ah
scholars.4
In the field of the life conduct [sīrah] and battles [maghāzī] of the
Prophet ( ), the first book was written by Ibn Is aq who, according to Ibn
ajr, was a Shī‘ah.5
After undertaking this cursory glance, we shall now explain a bit about
the sciences of adīth, jurisprudence and scholastic theology that the Shī‘ah
school has a particular disposition, keeping into account its fundamentals and
principles in these fields.
adīth
Next to the Qur’an, the adīth 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 adīth to only the saying,
action and tacit approval of the Prophet ( ). 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 adīth.6
Now, we shall survey the works on adīth during the period of the
presence of the Imāms (‘a) in four categories, which consist of four phases:
First Category
Based on the opinion of Najāshī, the first category of the Shī‘ah adīth
recorders were Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qib ī, ‘Alī ibn Abī Rāfi‘, Rabī‘ah ibn Sumī‘,
Sulaym ibn Qays Hilālī, A bagh ibn Nabātah Majāshi‘ī, and ‘Abd Allāh ibn
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 Muhammad ibn ‘Alī Ardebīlī al-Gharawī al- ā’irī, Jāmi‘ ar-Ruwāh (Qum: Manshūrāt
Maktabah Āyatullāh al-‘U mā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 298.
5 Shahāb ad-Dīn ibn ‘Alī ibn ajar al-‘Asqalānī, Ta rīr 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 A kām ash-Sharī‘ah,
lithography, p. 4; Ar-Ri‘āyah fī ‘Ilm ad-Dirāyah, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah
Āyatullāh al-‘U mā al-Mar‘ashī an-Najafī, 1408 AH), pp. 50, 52.
Lesson 24
225
urr Ju‘fī.1 They were among the companions of the Commander of the
Faithful, Imām al- asan and Imām al- usayn (‘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 alBāqir (‘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 alBāqir (‘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, adīth, literature, lexicography, and syntax.” Ābān has
written about these fields such as his Tafsīr, Gharīb al-Qur’ān and Kitāb alFa ā’il.4
The same is true regarding Abū amzah ath-Thumālī about whom Imām
a - ādiq (‘a) has said: “Abū amzah 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 a - ādiq (‘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
a - ādiq (‘a) was approximately four thousands.1 asan ibn ‘Alī Washā’, a
companion of Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a) says that he has seen nine hundred people
in Masjid Kūfah who have all been narrating adīths from Imām a - ādiq
1 Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), pp. 4-9.
2 These twelve persons were Bard al-Askāf, Thābit ibn Abī afiyyah Abū amzah athThumālī, Thābit ibn Hormuz, Bassām ibn ‘Abd Allāh ayrafī, Mu ammad ibn Qays Bajlī,
ujr ibn Zā’idah a ramī, Zakariyyā ibn ‘Abd Allāh Fiyā , Abū Juham al-Kūfī, usayn ibn
Thawīr, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Qāsim al-An ārī, ‘Abd al-Ghaffār ibn Qāsim al-An ārī, and
Ābān ibn Taghlib. See ‘Abd ar-Ra īm Rabbānī Shīrāzī, Muqaddamah Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th
edition (Tehran: Maktabah Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), p. ي.
3 Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), p. 10.
4 Ibid., p. 11.
5 Ibid., p. 115.
6 Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 30.
1 Shaykh al-Mufīd, Al-Irshād, trans. Muhammad Bāqir Sā‘idī Khurāsānī, 2nd edition (Tehran:
Kitābfurūshī-ye Islāmiyyeh, 1376 AHS), p. 525.
History of Shī‘ism
226
(‘a).1 So, out of the Imām’s replies to the questions posed to him, four
hundred books have been written2 all of which have been known as Al-A l
[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 a - ādiq (‘a).
Fourth Category
During this period which was after the time of Imām a - ādiq (‘a),
many books on adīth have been written. For example, usayn ibn Sa‘īd alKūfī, a companion of Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a), has written thirty books on
adīth.3 Mu ammad ibn Abī ‘Umayr, another companion of Imām ar-Ri ā
(‘a), has written ninety four books while afwān ibn Bajlī, a companion of
both Imām ar-Ri ā 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 adīth such as Thiqat al-Islām alKulaynī, Shaykh a - adūq and Shaykh a - ūsī have benefited from those
books in writing their own collections.
.
1 Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), pp. 39-40.
2 Abī ‘Alī al-Fa l ibn al-H asan abarsī, I‘lām al-Warā bi A‘lām al-Hudā (Qum: Mu’assasah
Āl al-Bayt Li I yā’ at-Turāth, 1417 AH), vol. 1, p. 535.
3 Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 40.
Lesson 24
227
@ 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 ( ) had compiled some collections of the adīths of the
Prophet ( ) which were known together as a īfah.
Among the Ahl as-Sunnah, the first books on adīth have been related
to the second half of the second century AH because the second caliph
‘Umar ibn al-Kha āb had prohibited the writing of adīth. This
prohibition among the Shī‘ah, however, did not prevail, and the first writers
among the companions of the Prophet ( ) were Salmān al-Fārsī, Abū Dharr
al-Ghiffārī and Abū Rāfi‘ al-Qib ī.
Shī‘ah up to the time of Imām asan al-‘Askarī (‘a) had written six
thousand and six hundred books.
We shall survey the works on adīth 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 alasan and Imām al- usayn (‘a).
Second category: Companions of Imām as-Sajjād and Imām al-Bāqir
(‘a).
Third category: Companions of Imām a - ādiq (‘a).
Fourth category: Companions of Imām al-Kā im, Imām ar-Ri ā, Imām
al-Jawād, Imām al-Hādī, and Imām asan al-‘Askarī (‘a).
@ Lesson 24: Questions
1. How was the writing of the Qur’an during the time of the Prophet
( )?
2. Were the companions of the Prophet ( ) keeping written records of
his adīths?
3. Which period were the first writers of the books on adīth 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 asan al-‘Askarī (‘a)?
6. The first category of the Shī‘ah scholars of adīth [mu addithūn]
was the companions of which of the infallible Imāms (‘a)?
7. How was the writing of adīth during the time of Imām a - ādiq
(‘a)?
History of Shī‘ism
228
8. The books on adīth collectively known as Jāmi‘ [collection,
compendium or anthology] were related to which period?
.
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 ( ) is the messenger of God and his decree is the decree of God:
و ما ينطق عنِ ٱلْهوى إِنْ هو إِالَّ وحي يوحى ﴾﴿
“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 ( )—has been
placed along with obedience to God and the Messenger ( ). The statements
of the infallible Imāms (‘a) are nothing but an inspiration from God, and like
the statements of the Prophet ( ), obedience to them is obligatory.
1 Sūrah al-Najm 53:3-4.
2 Sūrah an-Nisā’ 4:59.
History of Shī‘ism
230
The State of Jurisprudence during the Period of the Companions
[ a ābah] and the Followers [ ābi‘ūn]
But after the demise of the Prophet ( ) when the true path of Islam was
changed and people were kept away from the rightful successors of the
Prophet ( ), they refer to the companions [ a ābah] of the Prophet ( )
concerning religious issues and problems. Of course, a number of the
a ābah were forerunners in this matter. As Ibn Sa‘d says, during the
caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān, ‘Alī, ‘Abd ar-Ra mān 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
a ābah 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 ijtihād3, as they are
applied today, were not existent then. But after the end of the period of the
a ābah, on account of the emergence of new issues in jurisprudence, a
number of the Followers [tābi‘ūn] (the generation succeeding the a ābah)
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 a ughrā] has been at the period of settlement and preparation for ijtihād.5
1 Mu ammad ibn Sa‘d, A - abaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār I yā’ 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 arRa mān, ‘Urwah ibn Zubayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Utbah, Qāsim ibn Mu ammad,
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 ( ) to Medina up to
Lesson 25
231
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, Mu ammad ibn Junayd Askāfī (died
mid-fourth century AH) continued his way and fortified the edifices of
ijtihād and juristic deduction [istinbā ]. They are known as the “Qadīmayn”
[the two seniors]. Shaykh al-Mufīd (died 413 AH) and Sayyid Murta ā
‘Alam al-Hudā (died 436 AH) also followed the path of ijtihād until it was
the turn of Shaykh a - ūsī (460 AH). The Shī‘ah jurisprudence attained a
glorious stage through this great man. Apart from writing reliable books on
adīth, At-Tahdhīb and Al-Istib ār, he also strived to collect books on
jurisprudence and ijtihād, authoring such books on jurisprudence as AnNihāyah, Mabsū 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 anzalah that he asked Imām a -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 adīths, give opinion about
what we declared lawful [ alāl] and unlawful [ arām], and know our
11 AH. Second period: the period of contrivance and preparation for the application of ijtihād
starting from the demise of the Prophet ( ) up to the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah
a - ughrā]. 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 a - ūsī (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 a - ūsī 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
Wa īd Behbahānī (died 1205 AH). Sixth period: The evolutionary period of ijtihād beginning
with the time of Wa īd Bahbahānī up to the time of Shaykh al-An ārī (died 1281 AH).
Seventh period: The period of profound thinking in matters of ijtihād commencing from the
time of Shaykh al-An ārī 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.
History of Shī‘ism
232
decrees [a kām] 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 a - ūsī, ‘Alī ibn Musayyab said to Imām arRi ā (‘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 [u ūl 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 U ūl Āl arRasūl written by Hāshim Khwānsārī; U ūl A liyyah authored by Sayyid
‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu ammad-Ri ā usayn; and the book Fu ūl alMuhimmah on the principles of the Imams (‘a) penned by Mu ammad ibn
al- asan urr 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 Fa l 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 a - ūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the
companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām a - ādiq, Imām al-Kā im, and Imām
ar-Ri ā (‘a) as the Imāms’ jurist-companions, describing them as “jurists
1 Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al- urr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, 6th edition (Tehran:
Maktabah al-Islāmiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 18, p. 99, kitāb al-qa ā’, abwāb ifāt al-qā ī, bāb
11, adīth 1.
2 Shaykh a - ūsī, 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 Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ah mad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā
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 asan adr, Ta’sīs ash-Shī‘ah Li ‘Ulūm al-Islām (Tehran: Manshūrāt al-A‘lamī,
n.d.), p. 310.
5 Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā ash-Shī‘ah (Rijāl Najāshī), p. 307.
Lesson 25
233
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- asan ar-Ri ā (‘a).”
In continuation, Shaykh a - ūsi 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 Ba īr Asadī, Fa īl ibn Yasār, and
Mu ammad ibn Muslim a - ā’ifī, among whom Zurārah was the most
learned. The six were also considered among the companions of Imām a ādiq (‘a).
Second category: The jurists among the companions of Imām a - ādiq
(‘a) such as Jamīl ibn Darrāj, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Maskān, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Bakīr,
ammād ibn ‘Īsā, and ammād ibn ‘Uthmān.
Third category: The jurists among the companions of Imām al-Kā im
and Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a) such as Yūnus ibn ‘Abd ar-Ra mān, afwān ibn
Ya yā, Biyā‘ as-Sābirī Mu ammad ibn Abī ‘Umayr, ‘Abd Allāh ibn alMughayrah, asan ibn Ma būb, and A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn Abī
Na r.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. āli ibn
Abū’l-Aswad, ‘Alī ibn Ghurrāb, Abū Ya yā Layth Murādī, Zurayq ibn
Zubayr, Abū Salmah al-Ba rī, Ismā‘īl ibn Ziyād, Abū A mad ‘Umar ibn arRa ī‘, Dāwūd ibn Farqad, ‘Alī ibn Ri’āb, ‘Alī ibn Ibrāhīm Mu‘allī, Hishām
ibn Sālim, Mu ammad ibn asan al-‘A ār, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Qāsim
al-An ārī, Sayf ibn ‘Umayrah Nakha‘ī, Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Umar an‘ānī, ‘Abd
Allāh ibn Maymūn, Qadā , Rabī‘ ibn Madrak, ‘Umar ibn Abī Ziyād Abzārī,
Zaykār ibn Ya yā Wāsi ī, Abū Khālid ibn ‘Amrū ibn Khālid Wāsi ī,
arīz ibn ‘Abd Allāh Azadī Sijistānī, ‘Abd Allāh alabī, Zakariyyā Mu’min,
Thabit ararī, Mathnā ibn Asad Khayyā , ‘Umar ibn Adhīnah, ‘Ammār ibn
Mu‘āwiyah Dahnī ‘Abdī Kūfī, Mu‘āwiyah ibn ‘Ammār Dahanī, and asan
ibn Mahbūb Sarād, for each of whom one book has been mentioned.2
.
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’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 308.
History of Shī‘ism
234
@ Lesson 25: Summary
The totality of actions of man is in need of rules which embrace the
science of jurisprudence.
After the Holy Prophet ( ) when the people were kept away from the
rightful successors, they referred to the companions [ a ābah] of the
Prophet ( ).
By the end of the period of the a ābah, 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 [u ūl al-fiqh] attributed to those personages were written.
Shaykh a - ūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the
companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām a - ādiq, Imām al-Kā im, and Imām
ar-Ri ā (‘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
a ābah, 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)?
.
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 [u ūl 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 ( ). 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 ( ) passed away in Rabī‘ al-Awwal2 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 ālib (‘a) from which all the Shī‘ah subgroups separated.
The second group claiming leadership and rule were the “An ār” and the
third group was inclined toward Abū Bakr ibn Abī Qu āfah, saying: “The
1 Shahristānī, Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1364 AHS),
vol. 1, p. 30.
2 What is more popular is that the Messenger of Allah ( ) passed away on the 27th of the lunar
month of afar.
History of Shī‘ism
236
Holy Prophet ( ) 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 a ābah
such as Ma‘bad Jahannī, Ghīlān Damishqī and Yūnus Aswārī regarding
predestination [qadr], the relationship of good [khayr] and evil [sharr] to
predestination. Wā il ibn ‘A ā’, a student of asan al-Ba rī 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
Wā il ibn ‘A ā’ separated from the assembly of asan al-Ba ri and
founded the Mu‘tazilah sect.3 In this manner, the Mu‘tazilah school, based
mainly on rational deductions, was against the Ahl al- adīth which was
called “ ashawiyyah”. It was so until such time that at the end of the third
century AH, Abū’l- asan al-Ash‘arī separated from the Mu‘tazilah school
and engaged in defending the Ahl al- adīth 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- adīth 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 [taw īd],
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 ( ) in
defending the right of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) (over the issue of
Imamate and caliphate). As narrated by Shaykh a - adūq, the first to
1 Nawbakhtī, Abī Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Mūsā. Firq ash-Shī‘ah. Najaf: Al-Ma ba‘ah alaydariyyah, 1355 AH/1936.
2 Kitāb al-Milal wa’n-Nihal, p. 35.
3 Ibid., p. 500.
4 Ibid., pp. 85-86.
Lesson 26
237
defend the right of ‘Alī (‘a) vis-à-vis the architects of Saqīfah were twelve
persons from among the great companions of the Prophet ( ). Few days after
the event of Saqīfah, they debated with Abū Bakr at the Mosque of the
Prophet ( ) and cornered him.1 After them, a person such as Abū Dharr alGhiffārī 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 alKha āb 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 ( ) 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:
نظر التيوس اىل شفار اجلازر نظروا اليك باعني حممره
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 احلواجب ناكسي اذقام نظر الذّليل إىل العزيز 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:
احياؤهم خزى على أموام و امليتون فضيحة للغابر
1 Shaykh a - adūq, Al-Khi āl (Qum: Manshūrāt Jāmi‘ah al-Mudarrisīn fī al- awzah al‘Ilmiyyah, 1403 AH), pp. 461-465.
History of Shī‘ism
238
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 a‘ a‘ah ibn aw ān, Maytham at-Tammār,
Kumayl ibn Ziyād, Awīs Qarnī, Salīm ibn Qays, ārith amdānī, and
A bagh 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-Isti qāq on this
subject.2 The late Sayyid asan adr, however, considers ‘Īsā ibn Raw ah
as the first Shī‘ah writer on scholastic theology.3 Of course, the oldest
existing book on Shī‘ah kalām is the book Al-Ay ā of Fa l ibn Shādhān
an-Nayshābūrī (died 260 AH) who was among the companions of Imām alHādī and Imām al-‘Askarī (‘a).
During the period of Imām a - ādiq (‘a), this science, like other
sciences, also flourished tremendously and a number of his students such as
Hishām ibn akam, Hisham ibn Sālim, Mu’min āq, Fa āl ibn asan, 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.
Fa l ibn Shādhān an-Nayshābūrī has been among the most outstanding
Shī‘ah scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn]. He met Imām ar-Ri ā, 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
asan ibn Nawbakhtī (died 310 AH) was one of the Shī‘ah
mutakallimūn and among his books is Firq ash-Shī‘ah.5
.
1 Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shirāzī, Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Qum:
Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī, n.d.), p. 127.
2 Ibn Nadīm, Al-Fihrist (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah Li’ - abā‘ah wa’n-Nashr, n.d.), p. 249; Ibn
Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt al-Ma ba‘ah alaydariyyah, 1380 AH/1961), p. 62.
3 Sayyid asan adr, Ta’sīs ash-Shī‘ah Li ‘Ulūm al-Islām (Tehran: Manshūrāt al-A‘lamī,
n.d.), p. 350.
4 Abū’l-‘Abbās Ah mad ibn ‘Alī ibn Ah mad ibn al-‘Abbās Najāshī, Fihrist Asmā’ Mu anfā
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.
Lesson 26
239
@ Lesson 26: Summary
Scholastic theology [kalām] deals with the discussion about the
principles of religion [u ūl ad-dīn]. The first difference in religion was over
the question of Imamate [imāmah] which emerged immediately after the
demise of the Prophet ( ) 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 ( ) on account of defending the rightfulness of ‘Alī
(‘a).
The first book on kalām among the Shī‘ah was written by ‘Īsā ibn
Raw ah while the oldest existing book on kalām is Al-Ay ā of Fa l ibn
Shādhān.
The Shī‘ah kalām flourished much during the period of Imām a - ādiq
(‘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?
.
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
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 ajj 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
1 A mad ibn Abī Ya‘qūb ibn Wā i , Tārīkh al-Ya‘qūbī, 1st edition (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1414 AH), vol. 1, p. 262.
History of Shī‘ism
242
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:
!عن هاشم مث منها عن أيب حسن ما كنت احسب أن األمر منصرف
و أعلم الناس بالقرآن و السنن؟ أليس اوىل من صلى لقبلتكم
جربيل عون له يف الغسل و الكفن؟ يب ومن و أقرب الناس عهداً بالن
و ليس يف القوم ما فيه من احلسن ما فيه و ما فيهم ال ميترون به
ها ان ذاغبنا من اعظم الغنب علمه ماذا الذي ردهم عنه فن
I did not imagine that they would take away the matter of caliphate
from the Banū Hāshim and among whom from Abū’l- asan (‘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 قتيل بالطف غودر منهم بني غوعاء أمة و طغام
And the killed one among them in the land of af has been abjectly
and miserably abandoned by people.
1 Zubayr ibn Bakkār, Al-Akhbār al-Muwaffaqiyyāt (Qum: Manshūrāt ash-Sharīf ar-Rad ī, 1416
AH), p. 581.
Lesson 27
243
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 assān ibn Thābit: ‘So long as you defend us Ahl al-Bayt, you are
confirmed by the Holy Spirit [rū al-qudus]’.”1
Similarly, Imām a - ādiq (‘a) used to say: “O assembly of the Shī‘ah!
Teach the poems of ‘Abdī2 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 ( ) 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 ( ), 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 Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah,6 Sadīf ibn Maymūn7 earned
1 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 254.
2 ‘Abdī was among the companions of Imām a - ādiq (‘a) and has been mentioned in Rijāl
Kāshī as Sufyān ibn Mu ‘ab with the epithet of Abū Mu ammad. Shaykh a - ūsī, Ikhtiyār
Ma‘rifah ar-Rijāl (Rijāl Kashī) (Qum: Mu’assasah Āl al-Bayt Li I yā’ at-Turāth, 1404 AH),
vol. 2, p. 704. Ibn Shahr Āshūb has mentioned Sufyān ibn Mu ‘ab in the category of
“”muqta ad” poets while erroneously mentioned as ‘Alī ibn ammād ‘Abdī in the category
of “mujāhir” poets. Ibn Shahr Āshūb Māzandarānī, Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’ (Najaf: Manshūrāt alMa ba‘ah al- aydariyyah, 1380 AH/1961), pp. 147, 151.
3 Ma‘ālim al-‘Ulamā’, p. 147.
4 Dr. Shawqī ayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘A r al-‘Abbās al-Awwal (Egypt: Dār alMa‘ārif, n.d.), p. 321.
5 ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 17, pp. 1-8.
6 Mu ammad Nafs az-Zakiyyah was one of the grandchildren of Imām al- asan (‘a) and his
father was ‘Abd Allāh ibn al- asan Muthannā. During the concluding part of the Umayyad
rule, the Banū Hāshim pledged allegiance to him though Imām a - adiq (‘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
Man ūr, 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 “mudqa id” poets of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Through his
poems, it was also he who urged Saffā , the first ‘Abbāsid caliph, to kill the surviving
Umayyads. Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt,
n.d.), vol. 1, p. 169.
History of Shī‘ism
244
the tirade of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Man ūr and by the caliph’s order, ‘Abd
a - amad ibn ‘Alī, the then governor of Medina, buried adīf 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 Man ūr, Man ūr 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 a ughrā]
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
iffīn, apart from the poets of Iraq who were among the followers of ‘Alī
(‘a), many of the companions of the Prophet ( ) such as ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir,
Khuzaymah ibn Thābit, Abū Ayyūb al-An ārī, ‘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 ( ). 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 alI fahānī says, “The preceding poets of the Umayyad period recited fewer
poems in lamentation for Imām al- usayn (‘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 ālib a ayyār addressed the Banū Hāshim, saying: “O Banū Hāshim! At the time
when the people refrained from expressing your superiority, this Kumayt
1 A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’
at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 5, pp. 72-73.
2 Asad aydar, Al-Imām a - ādiq wa’l-Madhāhib al-Arbā‘ah, 3rd edition (Beirut: Dār alKutub al-‘Arabiyyah, 1403 AH), vol. 1, p. 452.
3 Dr. Mu afā Ash-Shak‘ah, Al-Adab fī Mawkib al- a ārah al-Islāmiyyah, Kitāb ashShu‘arā 1 (Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-Lubnāniyyah, n.d.), pp. 162-163.
4 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH), p. 121.
Lesson 27
245
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 ayf 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
Mu sin 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 a - ughrā].4
1 Al-Aghānī, vol. 17, pp. 1-8.
2 Qu b ad-Dīn Rāwandī, Al-Kharā’ij wa’l-Jarā’i , 1st edition (Qum: Mu’assasah al-Imām alMahdī, 1409 AH), vol. 1, p.267.
3 Shawkī ayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘A r 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 Mu sin Amīn are as
follows:
The Commander of the Faithful ‘Alī (‘a); Fā imah az-Zahrā bint Rasūlullāh (‘a); Fa l ibn
al-‘Abbās (died 12 or 15 AH); Rabī‘ah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭ ṭ alib (died 23 AH);
‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭ ṭ Ḥalib (died 32 AH); asan ibn ‘Alī (‘a); usayn ibn ‘Alī (‘a); ‘Abd
Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib (martyrdom 61 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn
al-‘Abbās (died 68 AH); Umm akīm bint ‘Abd al-Mu alib (died 1st century AH); Arwā
bin ‘Abd al-Mu alib.
Among the non-Banū Hāshim and companions of the Prophet ( ): Nābi‘ah Ju‘dī Qays ibn
‘Abd Allāh (died 1st century AH); Abū’l- aytham ibn Tayyahān al-An ārī (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); a‘ a‘ah ibn aw ān al-‘Abdī (died 1st
century AH); Labīd ibn Rabī‘ah al-‘Āmirī (died 41 AH); Ka‘b ibn Zuhayr al-Aslamī (died 45
AH); ujr ibn ‘Udayy al-Kindī (martyrdom 51 AH); Ka‘b ibn Mālik al-An ārī (1st century
AH); Qays ibn Sa‘d al-An ārī (died 60 AH); Mundhir ibn Jārūd ‘Abdī (died 61 or 62 AH);
Sulaymān ibn ard al-Khazā‘ī (martyrdom 65 AH); A naf ibn Qays at-Tamīmī (died 67 or
68 AH); ‘Uday ibn ātam a - ā’ī (died 68 AH); Abū’ - ufayl ‘Āmir ibn Wāthilah Kanānī
(died 100 AH).
Among the Followers [tābi‘ūn] (the generation after the a ābah), Followers of the
Followers [tābi‘ūn at-tābi‘ūn] and the succeeding generations:
History of Shī‘ism
246
Hāshim Mirqāl (martyrdom 37 AH); Mālik al-Ashtar (martyrdom 38 or 39 AH); Thābit ibn
‘Ajlān al-An ārī (1st century or 50 AH); Najāshī Qays ibn ‘Amrū ārithī (one of the Iraqi
poets in the Battle of iffīn); Qays ibn Fahdān al-Kindī (died 51 AH); Sharīk ibn ārith
A‘war (died 60 AH); Sa‘yah ibn ‘Arī (died 1st century AH); Jarīr ibn ‘Abd Allāh Bajlī (died
1st century AH); Rabbāb bint Imra’ī al-Qays, wife of Imām al- usayn (‘a) (died 62 AH);
Umm al-Banīn Fā imah Kalābiyyah, wife of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) (died 1st
century AH); ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn urr Ju‘fī (died 1st century AH); Muthannā ibn Mukharramah
‘Abdī (died 1st century AH); Abū Dahbal Jam ī (died 1st century AH); Abū’l-Aswad adDa’ulī (died 69 AH); ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amrū as-Sahamī; ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Awf ibn A mar;
Musayyab ibn Najbah al-Fazārī (martyrdom 65 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sa‘d ibn Nufayl
(martyrdom 65 AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Kha al a - ā’ī (died 1st century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn
Wāl at-Tamīmī (martyrdom 65 AH); Rafā‘ah ibn Shadād Bajlī (martyrdom 66 AH); A‘shā
amdān (died 1st century AH); Ibrāhīm al-Ashtar (martyrdom 66 AH); Ayman ibn Kharīm alAsadī (died 90 AH); Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abī Lahab (died 90 AH); Abū’rRamī al-Khazā‘ī (died 100 AH); Khālid ibn Ma‘dān a - ā’ī (died 103 AH); Kuthayyir
‘Azzah (105 AH); Farazdaq Hammām ibn Ghālib at-Tamīmī (died 110 AH); Sufyān ibn
Mu ‘ab ‘Abdī (120 AH); Zayd ibn ‘Alī ibn al- usayn (‘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); Ya yā ibn Ya‘mar (died 127 AH); Fa l ibn ‘Abd ar-Ra mān
ibn al-‘Abbās ibn Rabī‘ah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭ ṭ alib (died 129 AH); Mālik ibn A‘yan
Jahnī (died mid-2nd century AH); Ward ibn Zayd, brother of Kumayt (died 140 AH); Qā ī
‘Abd Allāh ibn Shabramah al-Kūfī (died 144 AH); Ibrāhīm ibn asan (killed in Bākhmarā
145 AH); Mūsā ibn ‘Abd Allāh (died 2nd century AH); Sadīf ibn Maymūn (died 147 AH);
Mu ammad 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 a - ayyār (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 a - ā’ī (died 150
AH); Abū Ja‘far Mu’min āq (died 2nd century AH); Sharīk ibn ‘Abd Allāh Nakha‘ī (died 2nd
century AH); ‘Alī ibn amzah Na awī Kasā’ī (died 189 AH); Man ūr 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-An ārī (died at the end of 2nd century AH); Abū
Nu’ās Mutawallid (died 198 AH); Sayyid umayrī (died 199 AH); ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh
Khawāfī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ‘Alī Marānī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn
Ayyūb uraybī (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); Mu ammad ibn Wahīb
umayrī (died 3rd century AH); Abū Dalf ‘Ajlī (died 255 AH); Abū ālib al-Qummī (died 3rd
century AH); Abū Tammām abīb ibn Aws a - ā’ī (died 3rd century AH); Dīk al-Jinn (died
236 AH); Ibrāhīm ibn al-‘Abbās a - awlī (died 234 AH); Ibn Sakīt Ya‘qūb ibn Is āq (died
244 AH); Abu Mu ammad ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Ammār Barqī (died 245 AH); Da‘bal ibn ‘Alī alKhazā‘ī (died 246 AH); Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Khazā‘ī, cousin of Da‘bal (died 3rd
century AH); ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu ammad al-Khazā‘ī (died 3rd century AH); usayn ibn
Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī (died 3rd century AH); Mūsā ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (died 246 AH); A mad ibn
Khalād Ashrawī (died 3rd century AH); A mad ibn Ibrāhīm (died 3rd century AH); Bakr ibn
Mu ammad an-Na awī (died 248 AH); A mad ibn ‘Umrān Akhfash an-Na awī (died 250
AH); Abū ‘Alī usayn ibn a āk (died 250 AH); Mu ammad ibn Ismā‘īl Sumayrī (died 255
AH); Fa l ibn Mu ammad (mid-3rd century AH); ummānī ‘Alī ibn Muḥ ammad (died 260
AH); Dāwūd ibn Qāsim Ja‘farī (died 261 AH); Ibn Rūmī ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās (died 283 AH);
Ba tarī Walīd ibn ‘Ubayd a - ā’ī (died 284 AH); Sharīf Mu ammad ibn āliḥ (died 3rd
Lesson 27
247
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 ( ). Among these poets
were Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadī, Kuthayyir ‘Azzah, Farazdaq and Sayyid
umayrī 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 Mu ammad’.”2 Ibn
Mu‘taz has said: “Sayyid umayrī expressed in poetry all the famous virtues
of ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib (‘a).”3 Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī also says, “The poems
of Sayyid umayri 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 umayrī 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 Man ūr Namrī and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī. Hārūn arRashīd issued Namrī’s execution order but he was not found when still
alive.6 Dr. Mu afā Shak‘ah says regarding Da‘bal:
Da‘bal used to praise the Household of the Prophet ( ) 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
century AH); Na r ibn Na īr alwānī (died 3rd century AH); ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad ibn
Man ūr ibn Bassām (died 302 AH); A mad ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh (died 314 AH); Khubz-Ārzī
Ba rī Naṣ ḥr ibn A mad (died 317 AH); Khabbāz al-Baldī Muḥ ḥammad ibn A mad (died 4th
century AH); A mad ibn ‘Alawiyyah al-I fahānī (died 320 AH); Abū Bakr Mu ammad ibn
asan Darīd (died 321 AH); Mu ammad ibn A mad ibn Ibrāhīm abā abā’ī al- asanī
(died 322 AH); Mu ammad ibn Muzīd Būshanjī (died 325 AH); Mufajja‘ Ba rī Mu ammad
ibn Aḥ mad (died or martyred 327 AH); ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās Nawbakhtī (died 329 AH).
See A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 1, pp. 166-172.
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 alIslāmiyyah, 1366 AHS), vol. 1, p. 242.
4 Ibid., p. 241.
5 Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd, vol. 4, p. 320.
6 Al-Imām a - ādiq 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- a ārah al-Islāmiyyah, Kitāb ash-Shu‘arā 1, pp. 162-163.
History of Shī‘ism
248
Concerning this, Dr. Shawqī ayf 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 Mu ammad ibn āli al-‘Alawī al- ummānī and
Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī from among the descendants of ‘Abbās ibn ‘Alī.
During the reign of Mutawakkīl, this Mu ammad ibn ‘Alī used to take
pride in his forefathers and reflect the Shī‘ah views in his poems.2
.
1 The second ‘Abbāsid period refers to the beginning of the third century AH starting from the
time of Mu‘ta im with the entrance of the Turks in the ‘Abbāsid court.
2 Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘A r al-‘Abbās ath-Thānī, p. 386.
Lesson 27
249
@ 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 iffīn, apart from Iraqis, many of the companions
of the Prophet ( ) 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 ( ).
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 Mu sin 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?
.
Lesson Twenty Eight
The Subjects of the Poems of the Shī‘ah Poets
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 ( ) 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
Ja ī and then continues thus:
Long before the fetus of Kumayt was to be formed, a number of the great
a ābah and tābi‘ūn such as Khuzaymah ibn Thābit Dhū’sh-Shahādatayn,
‘Abd Allāh ibn al-‘Abbās, Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir, Abū
Dharr al-Ghiffārī, Qays ibn Sa‘d al-An ārī, Rabī‘ah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd alMu alib, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Abī Sufyān ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib,
Zafar ibn Zayd ibn udhayfah, Najāshī ibn ārith ibn Ka‘b, Jarīr ibn ‘Abd
History of Shī‘ism
252
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 ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib. Shaykh
al-Mufīd says, “When the Prophet ( ) 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 كنت احسب أن األمر منصرف عن هاشم مث منها عن أيب حسن
أليس اوىل من صلى لقبلتكم 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- asan (‘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 a ābah
and tābi‘ūn had also recited poetry in defence of the right of ‘Alī (‘a). For
instance, while reciting poetry Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās has thus said:
ري الناس بعد حممد وصي النيب املصطفى عند ذي الذكراال ان خ
لدى بدر و اول من اردى الغواةونبيه و صن و اول من صلّی
1 ‘Allāmah Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab (Tehran: Dār al-Kitāb alIslāmiyyah, 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-Mu alib. In Al-I ābah, Ibn ajar has regarded Fa l 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-Mu alib, the Prophet’s ( ) uncle, as the composer of this
poem. In the book Al-Majālis, Sharīf ar-Ra ī has attributed it to Rabī‘ah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd
al-Mu alib. Qā ī Bay āwī, in his exegeses [tafāsīr] of the Qur’an, has considered it
belonging to assān ibn Thābit. Zubayr ibn Bakkār has said, “One of the children of Abū
Lahab had recited this poem.” Finally, Qā ī Nūr Allāh has rejected the view of Ibn ajar,
saying that the one who recited must be prior to the event of Saqīfah and he could not be Fa l
ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Utbah because he was born later. So, the one who recited it bore the name
of Fa l; hence, Fa l ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abī Lahab. Sayyid ‘Alī Khān ash-Shirāzī, Ad-Darajāt
ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah (Qum: Manshūrāt Maktabah Ba īratī, 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.
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Be aware that the best of people after Mu ammad in the sight of
God is the successor of Prophet al-Mu afā ( ).
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 ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib addressed the
supporters of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) during the Battle of iffīn
and poetically said:
و كتاب اهللا قد نشرافيكم وصي رسول اهللا قائدكم و صهره
Among you is the successor of the Messenger of Allah ( )—your
commander—and his son-in-law, and the Book of Allah is scattered.2
Fa l 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 [ awāf]
the Ka‘bah, Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās was reciting this poem while getting water
from the well of Zamzam:
يأيها السائل عن علي تسأل عن بدرٍ لنا بدري
درمه مضيغر د ابطحي سائلةيف ا د
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 ‘ab a ī’ 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
Mas a ibn Athāthah. Historians have narrated, thus:
After Abū Bakr and ‘Umar treated ‘Alī harshly to acquire his allegiance by
force, Umm Mas a came to the mosque, stood in front of the grave of the
Prophet and recited this poem:
لو كنت شاهدها مل تكثر اخلطب ةًقد كان بعدك انباء هنبث
ختل قومك فاشهدهم و ال تغبانا فقدناك فقد األرض و ابلها فا
After you, an event and differences have occurred that would never happen
if you were present.
1 Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, p. 143.
2 Ibid., p. 187.
3 A mad ibn Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Andalusī, Al-‘Aqd al-Farīd (Beirut: Dār I yā’
at-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1409 AH), vol. 5, p. 75.
History of Shī‘ism
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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 Ba rah at the place of the tribe of Banū Qashīr that
were sympathetic to ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān. None of them could surpass Abū’lAswad in speech. So, they instead persecuted and harassed him, throwing
stones at his house every night. He gave this reply to them:
!طوال الدهر ال تنسى علياً يقول األرذلون بنوقشري
روضاً علياً؟ألعمال مفمن ا فقلت هلم و كيف يكون تركي
و عباساً و محزة و الوصياً أحب حممداً حباً شديداً
أحب الناس كُلهم إلينا بين عم النيب و اقربيه
و لست مبخطىء ان كان غياً فان يك حبهم رشداً اصبه
و اهل موديت ما دمت حياً ري شك هم اهل النصيحة غ
منهم نبياً هداهم واجتبی رايت اهللا خالق كل شى
هنيئاً ما اصطفاه هلم مرياً و مل خيصص ا احداً سواهم
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 Mu ammad so much, and ‘Abbās, amzah and the successor
[wa ī] (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!1
1 ‘Abd al- amīd ibn Abī’l- adīd, Shar Nahj al-Balāghah (Cairo: Dār I yā’ al-Kutub al‘Arabī, 1961), vol. 6, p. 43.
1 ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 12, p. 321.
Lesson 28
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This continued until finally, at the end of the Umayyad rule, great and
famous poets such as Kumayt al-Asadī, Kuthayyir ‘Azzah and Sayyid
umayrī 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:
و ال تنهبوه ال حتل ائبه بىن هاشم ردوا سالح ابن اختکم
و عند على درعه و جنائبه بىن هاشم كيف اهلوادة بيننا
هابن اروى فيكم و حرائبودم بىن هاشم كيف التودد منكم
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 ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib
answered him, saying thus poetically:
قاه لدى الروع صاحبهاضيع و ال فالتسألونا سيفكم ان سيفكم
شبيهاً بكسرى هديه و ضرائبه و شبهته كسرى و قد كان مثله
و صاحب بدر يوم سالت كتائبه منا علي اخلري صاحب خيرب
علي و يف كل املواطن صاحبه و كان وىل األمر بعد حممد
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: AlQur ubī, Tafsīr (Cairo, 1947), vol. 14, p. 105; A - abarī, Tafsīr Jāmi‘ al-Bayān, under
commentary for this verse; Al-Wa īdī, Asbāb an-Nuzūl (Dār ad-Diyān Li’t-Turāth edition), p.
291. [Trans.]
2 Ad-Darajāt ar-Rafī‘ah fī abaqāt ash-Shī‘ah, p. 188.
History of Shī‘ism
256
من صلى و من الن جانبهوأول وصي النيب املصطفى و ابن عمه
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 Mu ammad and the
companion of the Prophet in all the wars.
He is the successor of Prophet al-Mu afā 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:
ينم و ال يطلب بذحل و ال وتر ان يك ظني يف عمارة صادقاً
مخيمةً بني اخلورنق و القصر يبيت و اوتار ابن عفان عنده
كانك مل تسمع بقتل اىب عمر متشى رخى البال متشزر القوى
جيىب الذي جاء من مصرقتبل الن الثة اال إِنَّ خري الناس بعد ث
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 persons2 is the one
who has been killed by the ‘tajībī’ who came from Egypt.3
Then, Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib replied to him reciting
thus:
و ماالبن ذكران الصفورى و الوتر أتطلب ثاراً لست منه و الله
و تنسى اباها إذا تسامى او لوالفخر كما افتخرت بنت احلمار بامها
1 Ibid., p. 189.
2 It alludes to the Prophet ( ), Abū Bakr and ‘Umar. [Trans.]
3 Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 114.
Lesson 28
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وصي النيب املصطفى عند ذي الذكر د نبيهم اال ان خري الناس بع
لدى بدر و اول من اردى الغواة و اول من صلى و صفونبيه
Are you taking revenge for a person who has no relationship with
you? Ibn Dhakrān afūrī 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 Mu afā.
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-metered2 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 abbah 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:
ننعى ابن عفّان باطراف االسل حنن بنو ضبة أصحاب اجلمل
ردوا علينا شيخنا مث جبل
We are the Banū abbah, 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:
الً و قد قخل سارت به أُم املنايا و رحلثكيف نرد نع
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.1
1 Ibid.
2 Rajaz: name of several meters, two of which are the most important. [Trans.]
3 Al-Jamal, p. 118.
1 Ibid.
History of Shī‘ism
258
During the Battle of iffīn, 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. Na r ibn
Muzā im has mentioned great poets such as Mālik al-Ashtar, Khuzaymah
ibn Thābit, Fa l ibn al-‘Abbās, Qays ibn Sa‘d ‘Udayy ibn ātam, ‘Amrū ibn
amq al-Khazā‘ī, ujr ibn ‘Udayy al-Kindī, Nu‘mān ibn ‘Ajlān al-An ārī,
Mu ammad ibn Abī Sabrah Qurayshī, Mughayrah ibn ārith ibn ‘Abd alMu alib, Jundab ibn Zuhayr, Abū Zubayd a - ā’ī, A mar (an Iraqi
poet), Abū abbah ibn Ghuzayyah al-An ārī, 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-‘Ā .
Ibn Abī’l- adīd thus says: “Najāshī was one of the Iraqi poets in (the
Battle of) iffīn 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
.
1 Shar Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 4, p. 87.
Lesson 28
259
@ 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 ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib and Mughayrah ibn
ārith ibn ‘Abd al-Mu alib.
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 iffīn 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?
.
Lesson Twenty Nine
3. Elegy-Recitation
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 ( ) and elegyrecitation for the martyrs among them. This arena came into being after the
martyrdom of Imām al- usayn (‘a) in 61 AH. In this regard, two parts may
be discussed and examined:
a. Elegies for Imām al- usayn (‘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 ( ) 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-I fahānī says,
Many of the latter poets have recited poetry in mourning for Imām alusayn (‘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
Lesson 29
261
strangulation, the earlier poets during the Umayyad period have recited
fewer elegies about the tribulation of Imām al- usayn (‘a).1
For example, ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn urr was chased by ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn
Ziyād for reciting elegy for Imām al- usayn (‘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- usayn (‘a) reached Medina, Zaynab
bint ‘Aqīl came out wailing amidst the women of Banū Hāshim while
reciting the following poem:
ماذا فعلتم و انتم آخر االمم ماذا تقولون إذ قال النيب لكم
نصف ضر جوا بدم نصف اسارى و بعترتى و باهلي بعد مفُتقَدى
أن ختلفوين بشر يف ذوى رحمي ما كان هذا جزائي إذ نصحت لكم
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 a rat Abū’lFa l. Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī has narrated that Umm al-Banīn was holding
the hand of ‘Ubayd Allāh, son of a rat 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 alakam used to weep with of her elegies.4 Umm al-Banīn was thus saying:
قدعلى مجاهري الن يا من رأى العباس كر
1 ‘Alī ibn al-H usayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn (Qum: Manshūrāt ashShārīf ar-Rad ī, 1416 AH/1374 AHS), p. 121.
2 Abū Mikhnaf, Maqtal al-Husayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, researched by H asan Ghaffārī, 2nd edition
(Qum: n.p., 1364 AH), p. 245.
3 Ibid., pp. 227-228.
4 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 90.
History of Shī‘ism
262
كل ليث ذي لبد وورائه من أبناء حيدر
براسه مقطوع يد انبئت أن ابىن اصيب
ل براسه ضرب العمد ويل على شبلى اما
يك ملادنا منك احد لوكان سيفك يف يد
I wished I saw (with my own eyes) how ‘Abbās was assaulting the
groups of vile people!
Behind him were the sons of aydar (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:
قتل احلسني فادمعى مدرار يا اهل يثرب المقام لكم ا
و الرأس منه على القناة يدار اجلسم منه بكربالء مضرج
O people of Yathrib! No more opportunity for you to stay there.
usayn 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-Ramī al-Khazā‘ī,
Sulaymān ibn Quttah al-‘Adawī, ‘Awf ibn ‘Abd Allāh A mar al-Azdī, and
‘Ubayd Allāh ibn urr were among the elegists of the first century AH who
have recited poetry about the tribulation of Imām al- usayn (‘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:
مترمالً بدمائه ترميال جاؤا برأسك يا ابن بنت حممد
قتلوا جهاراً عامدين رسوالً و كانما بك يا ابن بنت حممد
1 Maqtal al-H usayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, p. 181.
2 ‘Alī ibn Mūsā ibn āwūs, Al-Luhūf ‘alā Qatlī a - ufūf, trans. Mu ammad āhir Dezfūlī,
1st edition (Qum: Mu’assaseh-ye Farhang va Intishārātī-ye An ārī, 1378 AHS), p. 284.
Lesson 29
263
زيل و التأويالـيف قتلك التن قتلوك عطشاناً و مل يترقبوا
قتلوا بك التكبري و التهليال كربون بان قتلت و أنما و ي
O son of the daughter of Mu ammad! They have made your head
weltering in blood.
O son of the daughter of Mu ammad! 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 alusayn (‘a) is ‘Ubayd Allāh in urr whose ode starts with the following
couplet:
يقول امر غادر اى غادر أالكنت قاتلت الشهيد بن فاطمه
The treacherous chief, son of a traitor asks [me]: “Did you not fight
against the martyr, the son of Fā imah?”
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- usayn (‘a). The following poem is
attributed to him:
فلم أرها كعهدها يوم حلَّت مررت على أبيات آل حممد
مت تلك الرزايا و جلَّتو قد عظ و كانوا رجاًء مث صاروا رزيةً
لفقد حسني و البالد اقشعرت أمل تر أن الشمس اضحت مريضة
و اجنمها ناحت عليه و صلَّت و قد اعولت تبكي السماء لفقدة
I roamed around the house of Mu ammad’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.
1 Sayyid Mu sin Amīn, A‘yān ash-Shī‘ah (Beirut: Dār at-Ta‘āruf Li’l-Maṭbū‘āt, n.d.), vol. 1,
p. 6023.
2 Maqtal al-H usayn ‘Alayhi’s-Salām, p. 245.
History of Shī‘ism
264
Can you not see that due to the loss of usayn the sun turned
lackluster and the cities melancholic?!
Can you not see that owing to the loss of usayn 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- usayn (‘a)
and great poets such as Kumayt al-Asadī, Sayyid umayrī, Sufyān ibn
Mu ‘ab ‘Abdī, Man ūr Namrī, and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī used to recite poetry
in their presence for the tribulation of Imām al- usayn (‘a). As Sufyān ibn
Mu ‘ab ‘Abdī narrates,
I visited Imām a - ādiq (‘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 a ādiq (‘a) said to me: “You recite.” I started reciting an elegy which
commences with this couplet:
فرو جودي بدمعك املسكوب
O Umm Farwah! Render tears to your eyes.
At this point, Umm Farwah and other ladies burst into tears.2
Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī also narrates from Ismā‘īl at-Tamīmī, thus:
I was with Imām a - ādiq (‘a) when Sayyid amayrī asked for
permission and entered. The Imām asked the members of his household to
sit behind a curtain. He then asked Sayyid umayri to recite poetry in
lamentation for Imām al- usayn (‘a). Sayyid recited this poem:
فقل العظمة الزكيةجدث احلسني امرر على
وظفا و ساكبة روية يا اعظماً الزلت من
فاطل به وقف املطيةفاذا مررت بقربه
و املطهرة النقية ابك املطهر للمطهر و
يوماً لواحدها املنية كبكاء معوله اتت
You pass by the grave of usayn 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 [mu ahhar] Imām weep for the pure usayn.
Your cry must be like the cry and lamentation of the mother of a dead son.
1 Maqātil a - ālibiyyīn, p. 121.
2 ‘Abd al-H usayn 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.
Lesson 29
265
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 Fa īl Rasān and Abū Hārūn Makfūf
would recite the poems of Sayyid umayrī in lamentation for Imām alusayn (‘a) near Imām a - ādiq (‘a) and make the Imām cry. As reported
by Ibn Qawlawiyyah, Imām a - ādiq (‘a) asked one of his companions
named Abū ‘Ammār to recite for him the poems of ‘Abdī in lamentation for
Imām al- usayn (‘a).2
Poet such as Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī who recited many poems in lamentation
for Imām al- usayn (‘a) also engaged in reciting elegies near Imām ar-Ri ā
(‘a) for his great grandfather.3
b. Elegies for the Other Martyrs among the Descendants of the Prophet ( )
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:
إىل هاين يف السوق و ابن عقيل ما املوت فانظري إذا كنت ال تدرين
و آخر يهوي يف طمار قتيل إىل بطل قد هشم السيف وجهه
أحاديث من يسعى بكل سبيل ا ما أمر األمري قأصبحاصا
و قد طلبته مذحج بذحول ايترك أمساء املهايج آمناً
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
Madh aj is about to be punished.4
1 Ibid., p. 235.
2 Ibid., p. 295.
3 ‘Alī ibn Husayn ibn ‘Alī Mas‘ūdī, Murawwij adh-Dhahab, 1st edition (Beirut: Manshūrāt
Mu’assasah al-A‘lamī Li’l-Ma bū‘āt, 1411 AH), vol. 3, p. 327; Rijāl ibn Dāwūd (Qum:
Manshūrāt ar-Ra ī, n.d.), p. 92.
4 Ibid., vol. 3, p. 71.
History of Shī‘ism
266
While reciting a long elegy in lamentation for the martyrs of the
Tawābūn [the Penitents], a certain poet named A‘shā amdān thus says:
إىل ابن زياد يف اجلموع الكتائب ثنية سائراً توجه من دون
تم روايا كل اسحم ساكبيسق فياخري جيش للعراق و اهله
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 Ya yā, and the descendants of Imām al- asan (‘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 ālib al-Qummī have also recited poetry in
mourning for Imām ar-Ri ā (‘a).2
But after Imām al- usayn (‘a), among the murdered descendants of Abū
ālib, the greatest number of elegies has been recited in mourning for
Ya yā ibn ‘Umar a - ālibī. He staged an uprising in 248 AH and was
killed by Mu ammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn āhir.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-I fahānī says, “Of all the descendants of Abū ālib
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 Ya yā ibn
‘Umar a - ālibī.”5
4. The Virtues and Merits of the Descendants of the Prophet ( )
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, umayrī, Sufyān ibn Mu ‘ab
‘Abdī, and Da‘bal al-Khazā‘ī were forerunners in this affair.
Sayyid umayri 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-I fahānī, he
recited two thousand three hundred odes in praise of Banū Hāshim, while
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 a - ālibiyyīn, p. 511.
Lesson 29
267
none of his poems has been devoid of praise for Banū Hāshim and reproach
for their enemies. Abū’l-Faraj al-I fahānī has also said that in Kūfah, Sayyid
umayrī 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 umayrī has transformed into poetry all the virtues of ‘Alī ibn Abī
ālib (‘a) and he would easily become tired sitting at any assembly where
the progeny of Mu ammad was not pleasantly mentioned. For example,
someone has thus narrated: “We were sitting beside ‘Amrū ibn ‘Alā’ when
Sayyid umayrī 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:
إني الكره أن اطيل مبجلس ال ذكر فيه لفضل آل حممد
ال ذكر فيه المحد و وصيه و بنيه ذلك جملس نطف ردى
حىت يفارقه لغري مسدد ان الذي ينساهم يف جملس
I abhor sitting at an assembly in which none of the virtues of the progeny of
Mu ammād is ever mentioned.
Any assembly in which there is no mention of A mad, 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 umayrī. 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 ālib 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.
1 Ibid., p. 242.
History of Shī‘ism
268
At this point, Sayyid umayrī 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:
اال يا قوم للعجب العجب خلف اىب احلسن و للحباب
د من صوابعدو من عداة اجلن وغد بعيد يف املرا
اتى خفاً له انساب فيه لينهش رجله منه بناب
أمري املؤمنني أباتراب لينهش خري من ركب املطايا
فخر من السما له عقاب من العقبان او شبه العقاب
و دوفع عن ايب حسن علي نقيع مسامه بعد انسياب
Be aware O people that there is a miracle in the shoe of Abū’lasan.
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 Mu ‘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 Mu ammad ( ).”
He used to learn the adīths about the merits and virtues of the progeny
of the Prophet ( ) from Imām a - ādiq (‘a) and immediately composed
pertinent poems.2 For this reason, Ibn Shahr Āshūb narrates that Imām a ādiq (‘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 ( ) 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
1 Ibid., pp. 441-442.
2 Ibid., p. 295.
Lesson 29
269
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-‘Ā who
were enemies of God and the Messenger ( ) 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:
ضممت شر الناس أمجعينا يا أيها القرب حبوارينا
O grave which is in “ awārīn” ! 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:
ث حلُّوا و إن خفْت املهند و القطيعافقل لبين أمية حي
بعتموه و اشبع من جبوركم اجيعااجاع اهللا من اش
يكون حياً المته ربيعاً مبرضي السياسة هامشىٍ
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 ayf says: “The Shī‘ah in Iraq, Khurāsān and ijāz 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-I fahānī has thus said about Kumayt:
1 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 65.
2 Abī ‘Uthmān ‘Amrū ibn Ba r Jā i , Al-Bayān wa’t-Tabyīn, 1st edition (Cairo: Ma ba‘ah
Lajnah at-Ta’līf wa’t-Tarjamah wa’n-Nashr, 1367 AH/1948), vol. 3, p. 365.
3 Dr. Shawqī ayf, Ash-Shi‘r wa awāba‘ah ash-Sha‘biyyah ‘alā Murr al-Ma‘ ūr (Cairo:
Dār al-Ma‘ārif, n.d.), p. 36.
History of Shī‘ism
270
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 ( ). For example, a certain poet named akīm
ibn al-‘Abbās al-Kalbī who was considered one of the Qa ānīs had
dispraised ‘Alī (‘a). Kumayt seriously assaulted him and in his poems he
placed akīm 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 amīd
who was one of the enemies of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and the
descendants of the Prophet ( ) 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 Nā ibīs and enemies of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) has
been dispraised by the Shī‘ah poet, ‘Alī ibn Mu ammad 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:
اهللا ملك بين زيادال اقول و ذاك من جزع و وجد از
و ابعدهم مبا غدروا و خانوا كما بعدت مثود 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 umayrī has humiliated one of the ‘Abbāsid judges who had
dismissed his testimony on account of his faith in Shī‘ism, and he has said:
زالنيب و انت ابن بنت أيب جحدرابوك ابن سارق عنـ
غمك الرافضون الهل الضاللة و املنكرو حنن على ر
Your father steals the sheep of the Prophet while you are maternal
grandchild of Abū Ja dar!
And notwithstanding your whim, we shall abandon the people of
misguidance and deviation.1
1 ‘Alī ibn al-Husayn Abū’l-Faraj al-Is fahānī, Al-Aghānī (Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al‘Arabī, n.d.), vol. 17, p. 36.
2 Murawwij adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 81.
Lesson 29
271
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 Mufalla .2
.
1 Al-Ghadīr fī’l-Kitāb wa’s-Sunnah wa’l-Adab, p. 256.
2 Dr. Shawqī ayf, Tārīkh al-Adab al-‘Arabī al-‘A r al-‘Abbās ath-Thānī (Egypt: Dār alMa‘ārif, n.d.), p. 388.
History of Shī‘ism
272
@ 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 ( ). This area can be divided into two parts:
a. Elegies for Imām al- usayn
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 a rat Abū’lFa l. 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 a - ādiq (‘a) when the condition was conducive
for the Imām to revive the elegy for Imām al- usayn (‘a).
b. Elegies for the martyrs among the descendants of the Prophet ( )
The descendants of the Prophet ( ) 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 ālib, the
most number of poems has been recited in mourning for Ya yā ibn ‘Umar
a - ālibī.
4. The merits and virtues of the descendants of the Prophet ( )
The poets such as Farazdaq, Kumayt, Sayyid umayrī, and Da‘bal alKhazā‘ī used to recite poetry to express the virtues of the descendants of the
Prophet ( ).
5. Dispraising the enemies of the descendants of the Prophet ( )
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- usayn (‘a) flourish?
4. Next to Imām al- usayn (‘a), about whom among the murdered
offspring of Abū ālib were so many elegies recited?
5. How did the Shī‘ah poets benefit from the use of dispraising?
.
Bibliography
Note: With the exception of the Holy Qur’an, the following author-based bibliographical
entries are arranged in Arabic-Persian alphabetical order, as in the original version. [Trans.]
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أ
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_____. Al-I ābah fī Tamyīz a - a ābah. Beirut: Dār I yā’ at-Turāth al-‘Arabī,
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