Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
salam alaikom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
allahumma salli ala muhammad wa aale muhammad wa ajjil farajahum wa al'ana adaihum
Now, I know I posted this topic before, however I want to use a new format for this. I'm going to do this in the style that shiapen.com uses, because its easy to read and understand. I debated this topic with a sunni brother about 2 weeks ago, and these points are raised frequently by sunni's debating Shia hadith methodology.
The Imam cursed Zurarah
If you want to see the ahadith quoted by brother @Islamic Salvation, which I will quote at the end. Anyways, the ahadith is Sahih, however Shia scholars have said this hadith was Taqiyya. I will divide this accusation into two parts. 1. Sahih ahadith which are in praise of Zurarah, and 2. The necessity and logic behind using Taqiyya during the rule of Al Mansur.
1. Ahadith praising Zurarah
Among the ahadith that praise Zurarah, is one letter, also quoted by Islamic Salvation, which explains exactly the ijtihad used by our scholars in their explanation in saying the cursing was done in the pretext of taqiyya
[17/172] Rijal al . Kashshi-: Hamduwayh From . B by Muhammad. Isa from Yunus from Abdallah b. Zurara AND Muhammad b. Qulawayh and al-Husayn b. al-Hasan from Sa`d from Harun b . al-Hasan b. Mahbub from Muhammad b. Abdallah b. Zurara and his [Zurara's] two sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn from Abdallah b. Zurara WHO COMPLETE by said : by Abu Abdillah peace be upon him said to me: convey my salutations of peace to your father and say to him: Verily, I only defame you as a way of defending you, for the masses and the enemy hasten to whomever we draw near and praise his station so as to cause harm to the one we love and bring close. They accuse such a one because of our love for him and his closeness and intimacy with us, and they consider causing him harm and even killing him as justified. On the other hand, they praise every one whom we fault even if his affair is not praiseworthy. Thus, I fault you because you have become notorious as a result of your association with us and your inclination towards us, which have caused you to become blamable in the eyes of the people and your works to be looked upon unfavourably, all this because of your love for us and your inclination towards us. So I wished to fault you so that they can praise your religious stand as a result of my denigrating and diminishing you, and this becomes a way of warding off their evil from you.
there are even more sahih ahadith praising him.
حمدويه قال حدثني محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد ويعقوب بن يزيد عن ابن ابي عمير عن ابي العباس البقباق عني ابي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: أربعة أحب الناس إلى أحياءا وأمواتا ، بريد بن معاوية العجلي ، وزرارة بن اعين ، ومحمد بن مسلم ، وأبوجعفر الأحول ، أحب الناس إلي أحياءا وأمواتا
Imam Jaffar al-Sadiq said: ‘Four people are the most lovable to me during their lives and after their deaths. Buraid bin Mu’awyia al-Ejli, Zurara bin Ayun, Muhammad bin Muslim and Abu Jaffar al-Ahwal, they are the most lovable people to me during their lives and after their deaths.’
Graded as Sahih by Sayed al Khoei in Mu’ajam Rijal al Hadith
So we can obviously see that he was loved by the Imam's. And now onto the validity of his ahadith. That can be based on two things. 1. His reputation among the people and 2. The words of our 6th Imam (as).
Rijal al Tusi Volume 1 Page 123
وروي أن زرارة كان وسيما جسيما أبيض. وكان يخرج إلى الجمعة وعلى رأسه برنس أسود، وبين عينيه سجادة، وفي يده عصا، فيقوم له الناس سماطين ينظرون اليه لحسن هيئته، فربما رجع عن طريقه، وكان خصما جدلا لا يقوم أحد -
It is narrated that Zurarah (ra) was handsome and white, and when he went out on Friday with a burnus (hooded cloak) on his head and a prostration mark between his eyes, and in his hand a stick, and people who would give him gifts just to look at him [sic] and there was no competition against him (meaning nobody was of his rank.
sorry if translation is incorrect
Zurarah (ra) was not only loved by the Imams (as), but by all the people around him, who recognized him as an honorable man. It even says there was no competition for him. Others paled in comparison to him, so who is more trustworthy to rely on for narrations than him?
This speaks for itself. There was NOBODY who was similar in rank to Zurarah (ra). That is one good reason to accept his narrarations as Sahih, Then of course, the clear testification of the Imam (as), that without him the prophetic traditions would be lost.
Rijal al Kashi
Jami bin Daraj said: ‘I heard Abu Abdullah Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã saying ‘Give glad tidings to the humble ones of Paradise, Buraid bin Abi Mu’awyia al-Ejli, Abu Basir Laith bin al-Bakhtari al-Muradi, Muhammad bin Muslim and Zurara, four pious and faithful to Allah in (the matters of) Halal and Haram, without them the prophetic traditions would have been lost’’
So now we know that obviously the narrations of Zurarah should be valued greatly. He was recognized as truthful and trustworthy by the infalliable Imam (as). But here is the next point which was raised by the brother.
Why would the Imam need to perform Taqiyya?
The oppression and the harassment that happened towards imam ja3far ÑÍãå Çááøå did not happen until towards the end of his lifetime.. The problem with me accepting whether his narrations were done in taqiyyah or done in truthfulness is that it is mainly guess work at best. obviously in much of his time under Abassid rule he was not oppressed as he was known as a great teacher and was known to have taught many many people including Abu Hanifa Malik ibn Anas and Wasil ibn Ata. how do we know when he said these things and how do we actually know what was done with taqiyyah or not? that is the point we can't really know at the end of the day which has created a big problem for shia scholars and it comes down to guess work. Taqiyyah to the shia was not only limited to "preserving the life of the imam and his shia" rather shia scholars applied it to just about anything as in this example: from as-Sadiq: “Ismail (as) died at 130 years of age”. Al Majlisi said: This news is considered Taqiyya. Source: “Bihar al Anwar” 12/113
I have no problem if someone did taqiyyah in order to save themselves and their students, the problem is when you want me to take them as an infallible imam that I must follow him and whose word is law. I view Imam Ja3far ÑÍãå Çááøå as an exceptionally pious and brilliant friend of Allah filled with wisdom and spiritual insight but still a fallible human who I am not obligated to take my religion from
Now the issue is whether or not oppression of the Imam (as) happened during his earlier days. All of what I am saying can be traced to an Al Islam. The murderous nature of the ruler of that time, Al Mansur, was well known.
Masa’ibush Shia Volume 5 Page 93
About al-Mansur’s cruel nature, Allama Abdur Rabbah reports, “When al-Mansur sat in his court, the executioners will bring row upon row of people and behead them so mush so that the blood used to flow in the court and splatter on to al-Mansur’s cloak. Al-Mansur then ordered his chaplain to preach to him. When the chaplain preached, al-Mansur used to sit with his head bowed down as if he were ashamed, but in no time another group of persons would be brought and beheaded as before.”
This was the nature of the Abbasid ruler. He would not hesitate to slaughter any of his enemies, and the Shia were definitely among his enemies. Even when the Imam (as) was teaching his students in Medina, he was treated with suspicion, was summoned by Al Mansur who had the intention of killing him, and he wasn't even allowed to travel out of Medina in some cases. That's actually when the Imam's (as) started having Wakeel's, or representatives. The oppression of the Imam occured throughout his lifetime, meaning he would have to perform Taqiyya to save himself and his students. And to be more specific on why he would have to perform taqiyya in regards to Zurarah:
Rijal Sayed Bahrul Uloom:
Sayyid Bahr al-‘Ulum states that the family of A‘yan, of which Zurarah was a scion, was the largest Shi‘i family of Kufa.
Zurarah (ra) was of the largest Shia family of Kufa, which makes him a high-profile target for the government, especially given his staunch support for the Ahlulbait (as). The Imam (as) obviously had knowledge of this and took the protect measures to protect Zurarah (ra) and his family. Sunnis for some reason can not get their heads around this even when their own scholars like Abu Hanifa approve of Taqiyya when done to save lives.