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Uthman b. Madh`un - The Righteous Predecessor

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Islamic Salvation

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السلام على عثمان بن أمير المؤمنين، سمِي عثمان بن مظعون

Peace be upon Uthman the son of the Commander of the faithful, the namesake of Uthman b. Madh`un [The Final Imam in Ziyarat al-Nahiya]

           الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُمْ مُلَاقُو رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ نزلت في علي عليه السلام وعثمان بن مظعون وعمار بن ياسر وأصحاب لهم          

“Those who are assured that they are going to meet their Lord and that they are to be returned to Him” (2:46) was revealed about Ali عليه السلام, Uthman b. Madh`un, Ammar b. Yasir and their fellows [Ibn Abbas in Tafsir al-Hibari]

 

Lineage and Family

عثمان بن مظعون بن حبيب بن وهب بن حذافة بن جمح بن عمرو بن هصيص بن كعب بن لؤي بن غالب، الجُمحي القرشي. يكنّى أبا السائب

He was Uthman b. Madh`un b. Habib b. Wahb b. Hudhafa b. Jumah b. `Amr b. Hasis b. Ka`b b. Luayy b. Ghalib, al-Jumahi al-Qarashi. His Kuniyya was Aba al-Sa`ib.

He had two brothers - Qudama and Abdallah. His sister Zaynab bt. Madh`un was the wife of Umar b. al-Khattab and bore for him Abdallah b. Umar, Hafsa bt. Umar and the two Abd al-Rahman’s.

He married Khawla bt. Hakim and had with her Sa`ib and Abd al-Rahman [Siyar A`lam al-Nubala]

 

Physical Description

كان شديد الاَدمة، ليس بالقصير ولا بالطويل، كبير اللحية عريضها

He was very dark, neither tall nor short [medium-sized], having a beard wide in breadth [Usd al-Ghaba]

 

In Jahiliyya

He was considered one of the wise ones even in the period before Islam. Those who were not led astray by their desires but let their pure intellects guide them. It is because of this that he never touched intoxicants and said about them:

لا أشرب شراباً يذهب عقلي، ويضحك بي مَن هو أدنى منّي، ويحملني على أن أنكح كريمتي

I do not drink a liquid that makes my intellect disappear, causes someone who is inferior to me to laugh at me and can even lead me to perform intercourse with my own daughter! [al-Istiab fi Ma`rifat al-Ashab]

 

Conversion to Islam

It is said that Uthman b. Madh`un was the fourteenth man to accept Islam.

He relates:

كنتُ أسلمت استحياءً من رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله لكثرة ما كان يعرض عليّ الإسلام، ولم يقرّ الإسلام في قلبي، فكنتُ ذات يوم عنده حال تأمله، فشخص بصره نحو السماء كأنه يستفهم شيئاً، فلما سُري عنه سألته عن حاله، فقال صلّى الله عليه وآله: نعم، بينا أنا أُحدّثك إذ رأيت جبرئيلَ في الهواء، فأتاني بهذه الآية: إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ ... وقرأها عليّ إلى آخرها، فقرَ الإسلام في قلبي، وأتيتُ عمّه أبا طالب فأخبرته، فقال: يا آلَ قريش اتبعُوا محمداً ترشُدوا، فإنه لا يأمركم إلاّ بمكارم الأخلاق

I only accepted Islam because of the embarrassment I felt in front of the messenger of Allah صلّى الله عليه وآله for he used to invite me to Islam constantly [and I could not turn him down], however Islam had not yet settled in my heart. I was with him one day when he turned his eyes to the sky, as though he were listening to something, when he returned to a normal state I asked him about what had happened to him - he صلّى الله عليه وآله said: yes, while I was speaking with you I saw Jibril in the air, he came to me with this verse: “Allah orders you towards justice and doing good …” (16:90) and he recited the verse to its end. This is when Islam settled in my heart [I became fully convinced of it]. I went to see his uncle Abu Talib and informed him of this, he said: O people of Quraysh, follow Muhammad and you will be guided, for he does not invite you except to the most exemplary morals [Majma al-Bayan]

 

The two Hijras

When Uthman accepted Islam and announced it, the Quraysh began to persecute him as they did others who had done the same. Banu Jumah used to trouble and beat him despite his honourable station within their clan. When the trials intensified, Allah the Exalted permitted some early Muslims to migrate and make the first Hijra to Abyssinia. They came out secretly and found two merchant ships at the coast which carried them away leaving behind some of the Quraysh who were on their tracks.

وآل مظعون ممّن أوعَب في الخروج إلى الهجرة، رجالُهم ونساؤهم، ولم يَبقَ منهم بمكّة أحد، حتّى أُغلِقَت دورهم

The Family of Madh`un were among those who left no one behind when they came out to emigrate, neither men nor women, no one among them remained in Makka, even their houses in Makka were locked [Tabaqat of Ibn Sa`d]

They took such a drastic step because they trusted the words of the prophet about their being a just king who would give them refuge i.e. Najashi. This attests to their great faith in Islam.

Uthman subsequently returned to Makka when the false news spread that the Quraysh had embraced Islam only to find that they were unchanged in their ways and even harsher in their treatment of Muslims.

The only thing which helped him at this juncture was the relation of Jiwar [lit. neighbour] which he entered into with al-Walid b. al-Mughira. The Jahili Arabs were very scrupulous in maintaining this institution. It was considered the height of dishonour to let any harm befall someone whom you have accepted as a Jar.

 لمّا رأى عثمان بن مظعون ما عليه أصحاب رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله من البلاء وهو يغدو ويروح في أمان الوليد بن المغيرة، قال: واللهِ إنّ غُدُوّي ورَواحي آمناً بجوار رجلٍ من أهل الشرك، وأصحابي وأهل ديني يَلقَون مِن البلاء والأذى في الله ما لا يصيبني، لنَقصٌ كبير في نفسي! فمشى إلى الوليد فقال له: يا أبا عبدشمس، وَفَت ذمّتُك، قد رَدَدتُ إليك جوارك. قال: لِمَ يا ابنَ أخي؟! لعلّه آذاك أحدٌ مِن قومي، قال: لا، ولكني راضٍ بجوار الله ولا أريد أن أستجير بغيره، قال الوليد: فانطِلقْ إلى المسجد فاردُدْ علَيّ جواري علانيةً كما أجَرتُك علانية. فانطلقا فخرجا حتى أتيا المسجد ...

When Uthman b. Madh`un saw what the companions of the messenger of Allah صلّى الله عليه وآله were facing in terms of persecution while he was waking and going to sleep in safety because of the protection of al-Walid b. al-Mughira - he said: by Allah, my waking and sleeping in safety in the Jiwar of one of the men of Shirk - while my companions are facing persecution and mistreatment in the way of Allah which does not extend to me - is a great deficiency in my person! So he walked to al-Walid and said to him: O Aba Abd al-Shams, you have discharged your obligation, I have returned to you the protection you extended to me. He said: Why do you do this O the son of my brother? Has one of my kinsmen mistreated you? he said: no, but I am pleased with the protection of Allah, I do not want to seek protection from other than Him, al-Walid said: then go to the sanctuary [Ka`ba] and announce your repudiation of my protection to all, the way I had announced my protection of you in front of everyone. So they came out together until they reached the sanctuary … [Seera of Ibn Hisham]

Uthman began to taste again the difficulties faced by other Muslims as a result of this decision. Later, he and the other Muslims migrated to Yathrib upon the instruction of the prophet. Thus, he is counted among those who made two Hijras.

 

Injury in the way of Allah

ومرّ عثمان بن مظعون بمجلسٍ من قريش، ولبيد بن ربيعة بن مالك بن كلاب القيسي ينشدهم:

It is said that Uthman b. Madh`un passed by a gathering of the Quraysh in which Labid b. Rabi`a b. Malik b. Kilab al-Qaysi was reciting poetry to them:

ألا كلّ شيءٍ ما خلا الله باطل

Know that everything apart from Allah is a falsehood

فقال عثمان: صدقت

Uthman said: you have spoken the truth!

فقال لبيد:

Labid continued:

 وكلُّ نعيم لا محالة زائلُ

And every delightful thing must without a doubt come to an end

فقال عثمان: كذبت، نعيم أهل الجنة لا يزول. قال لبيد بن ربيعة: يا معشر قريش، والله ما كان يؤذى جليسكم، فمتى حدث فيكم هذا؟ فقال رجل من القوم: إن هذا سفيه في سفهاء معه قد فارقوا ديننا، فلا تجدن في نفسك من قوله، فرد عليه عثمان حتى سرى - أي: عظم - أمرهما، فقام إليه ذلك الرجل، فلطم عينه فخضرها، والوليد بن المغيرة قريب يرى ما بلغ من عثمان، فقال: أما والله يا ابن أخي إن كانت عينك عما أصابها لغنية، فقد كنت في ذمة منيعة. فقال عثمان: بلى، والله إن عيني الصحيحة لفقيرة إلى ما أصاب أختها في الله، وإني لفي جوار من هو أعز منك وأقدر يا أبا عبد شمس

Uthman interjected: you have lied! the delights of paradise will never cease! Labid said: O assembly of Quraysh, by Allah the one who sits for you [to recite poetry] was never disturbed in the past, when did this change come to pass among you? A man in the group said: this one [i.e. Uthman] is a fool among other fools who have abandoned our religion, so do not give mind to what he says. Uthman defended himself verbally until the argument became intense, then the man stood up, came to him and hit him in his eye such that it blackened. al-Walid b. al-Mughira who was nearby and seeing what happened to Uthman said to him: by Allah O son of my brother, your eye was more worthy than what has been done to it for you were in a secure pact [of protection]. Uthman said: rather by Allah, my healthy eye is less worthy when compared to what has befallen its counterpart in the way of Allah. I am in the protection of One who is mightier than you and more powerful O Aba Abd Shams!

فقال عثمان بن مظعون فيما أصيب من عينه:

فإن تك عيني في رضا الرب نالها     يدا ملحد في الدين ليس بمهتد

فقد عوض الرحمن منها ثوابه     ومن يرضه الرحمن يا قوم يسعد

فإني وإن قلتم غوي مضلل     سفيه على دين الرسول محمد

أريد بذاك الله والحق ديننا     على رغم من يبغي علينا ويعتدي

Uthman said about his eye which was injured:

So if my eye has been struck in seeking the pleasure of my Lord    by an unbelieving hand unguided in the religion

Then the All-Merciful has surely compensated in return for it its reward … and whomever the All-Merciful is pleased with than O people he is sure to be gladdened

And I, even though you have described me as misguided, astray  … and foolish, am upon the religion of the messenger Muhammad 

I only desire by that Allah, and our religion is the truth … despite the one who hates on us and becomes an enemy [Hilyat al-Awliya of Abu Nuaym]

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On 9/17/2017 at 5:49 AM, Panzerwaffe said:

Amazing ! He reminds me of khabbab b Aratt another righteous Sahabi largely overlooked by both major sects 

Indeed Khabbab b. Aratt is Madhlum despite being so early in Islam even before the prophet began preaching at Dar al-Arqam and was persecuted for it. He could well be the sixth person to enter into it.

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      علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ومحمد بن إسماعيل ، عن الفضل بن شاذان جميعا ، عن ابن أبي عمير ، عن إبراهيم بن عبد الحميد ، عن قيس أبي إسماعيل وذكر أنه لا بأس به من أصحابنا رفعه قال جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآلهفقال : يا رسول الله أوصني فقال احفظ لسانك قال يا رسول الله أوصني قال احفظ لسانك قال : يا رسول الله أوصني قال احفظ لسانك ويحك وهل يكب الناس على مناخرهم في النار إلا حصائد ألسنتهم.
      Grading: Marfu’ , however the content is corroborated by many authentic chains, such as: 
      محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى ، عن علي بن الحكم ، عن إبراهيم بن مهزم الأسدي ، عن أبي حمزة ، عن علي بن الحسين عليه‌السلام
    • By Qa'im in Imamology
         6

       
      The first creation of Allah is His will (mashi’a). The mashi’a is a created light that operates on the realm of the creation and interacts with the rest of creation. Since the mashi’a is subject to change and affect, it is separate from His Unified and Unknowable Essence.
      علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة.
      Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah created the will (mashi’a) by its self. Then, He created the things by the will.”
      The mashi’a is one entity (ذات بسيطة) with four degrees (معلقات). These four degrees are His will (mashi’a), His desire (irada), His determining (qadr), and His actualization (qada).
      3يا يونس تعلم ما؛ المشيئة قلت لا قال هي الذکر الاول فتعلم ما الارادة قلت لا قال هي العزيمة على ما يشاء فتعلم ما القدر قلت لا قال هي الهندسة و وضع الحدود من البقاء و الفناء قال ثم قال و القضاء هو الابرام و اقامة العين
      Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “O Yunus! Do you know what the will (mashi’a) is?” Yunus said, “No.” Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “It is the first utterance (الذکر الاول). So do you know what the wish (الارادة) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is the invitation to what He wants. So do you know what determining (qadr) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is designing and organizing the parameters from beginning to end. And actualization (qada) is the confirmation and the establishment of the thing.”
      The mashi’a and the desire (irada) both denote the same object. However, when used together, they refer to different degrees within the mashi’a’s process. The first degree is the wish for a thing, the second degree is the assertion of that wish, the third degree is the organization of the parameters needed to bring about that wish, and the fourth degree is its execution. All of these levels are really one process, but in our understanding, it takes place in four stages.
      Mashi’a is a unity of action (fi`l) and reception (infi`al). While irada, qadr, and qada are masculine activities, the mashi’a is feminine in its receptivity to all of these active phases. This way, the mashi’a constitutes both self-acting and self-receiving. This reality is called the Great Depth (العمق الأكبر). Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i uses the term “the Kaf that Encircles Itself” (الكاف المستديرة على نفسها) to describe the duality of the mashi’a, because a circled letter Kaf resembles the yin-yang, and a yin-yang represents the complementary nature of contrary forces. The mashi’a is compared to Adam and Eve, the first promulgators of their species, through whose dimorphic reproduction all people came into existence.
      There are two types of divine actions (ja`l ilahi) in the Quran: formative action (جعل تكويني) and designative action (جعل تشريعي). Formative action refers to creating, establishing, and building. Allah says, “[He] who made (ja`ala) for you the earth as a bed and the sky as a ceiling” (2:22). Designative action refers to divine selection and legislation. Allah says, “Allah has made the Ka`ba, the Sacred House, an establishment for mankind.” (5:97) These two actions are further duplicated inversely in a dialectical process, which we will describe later.
      The mashi’a exists on the sempiternal plain (سرمد), which is a created level of infinity that is beyond the rest of creation. Allah, however, is Eternal (أزل), and therefore beyond sempiternity. In Allah’s Essence (ذات), there is no action; and He is beyond understanding. In the hierarchy of creation, the mashi’a is the first barrier (hijab), and there is nothing beyond it.
    • By Islamic Salvation in A Marginalia to Mu'jam
         1
      كان من غلمان أبي شاكر الزنديق، وهو جسمي ردي
      He was a student of Abi Shakir the Zindiq and a wretched corporealist
      - Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi (d. 301) was not a fan of Hisham
       
      A Body Unlike Other bodies
      Would not considering God to be a body be likening Him to his creatures (who happen to be bodies)? It is to avoid this that Hisham formulated his compromise as demonstrated in the report below:
      محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن علي بن العباس، عن الحسن ابن عبدالرحمن الحماني قال: قلت لابي الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام: إن هشام بن الحكم زعم أن الله جسم ليس كمثله شئ، عالم، سميع، بصير، قادر، متكلم، ناطق، والكلام والقدرة والعلم يجري مجرى واحد، ليس شئ منها مخلوقا فقال: قاتله الله أما علم أن الجسم محدود والكلام غير المتكلم معاذ الله وأبرء إلى الله من هذا القول، لا جسم ولا صورة ولا تحديد وكل شئ سواه مخلوق، إنما تكون الاشياء بإرادته ومشيئته من غير كلام ولا تردد في نفس ولا نطق بلسان
      Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – Ali b. al-Abbas – al-Hasan b. Abd al-Rahman al-Himmani who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan Musa b. Ja’far عليهما السلام: Hisham b. al-Hakam asserts that ‘Allah is a body - there is nothing like Him. All-Knowing, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Master of Speech, Speaker. Speech, power and knowledge are of the same type (essential attributes), nothing of them is created’. He (the Imam) said: Woe be upon him! Does he not know that a body is limited, and that speech is distinct from the Speaker. I seek refuge in Allah and disassociate to Allah from this doctrine. (He is) Not a body nor a human form. No delimitation (applies to Him). Everything apart from Him is created. The things are brought into existence by His intention and will, without speech, or deliberating in Himself, or intoning by tongue.          This indicates that while Hisham maintained that God was a body he tried to escape the error of Tashbih (likening God to His creatures) by defining God as a body incomparable to any thing else and therefore beyond imagination. While we should affirm that He is a body (because God is something) we cannot describe the body further. This makes it clear that all the lurid anthropomorphic descriptions attributed to him are false.
      In fact, he was a severe opponent of some of the traditionalist among the Shia and the school of Hisham b. Salim which relied on spurious narrations to ascribe Human form (shape) to God i.e. they understood ‘God creating humans in His image’ literally.  
      أبي، عن البزنطي، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: قال لي: يا أحمد ما الخلاف بينكم وبين أصحاب هشام بن الحكم في التوحيد؟ فقلت: جعلت فداك قلنا نحن بالصورة للحديث الذي روي أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله رأي ربه في صورة شاب! فقال هشام ابن الحكم بالنفي بالجسم. فقال: يا أحمد إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لما اسري به إلى السماء وبلغ عند سدرة المنتهى خرق له في الحجب مثل سم الابرة فرأى من نور العظمة ما شاء الله أن يرى، وأردتم أنتم التشبيه، دع هذا يا أحمد لا ينفتح عليك منه أمر عظيم
      My father – al-Bazanti – al-Ridha عليه السلام who said: O Ahmad, what is the difference between you and the followers of Hisham b. al-Hakam concerning Tawhid? I (Ahmad) said: May I be made your ransom - we hold the position of ‘the human form’ because of the report which is narrated from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله that he saw his Lord in the form of a youth! While Hisham b. al-Hakam denies that and upheld ‘the body’. He said: O Ahmad, when the Messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وآله  was made to ascend to the heaven and reached the ‘Furthest Lote tree’, the veils were rent for him the size of a needle’s eye, and he saw of the Light of sublimity what Allah wished him to see. But you seek by this Tashbih (ascribe an image to him). Leave this O Ahmad, lest something dreadful befall you on account of it.   Hisham’s views came to be summed up in the famous dicta:
      He is a body unlike other bodies (هو جسم لا كالأجسام)
       
      An Example of Hisham’s Argumentation
      None of Hisham’s written works, including his Kitab al-Tawhid (كتاب التوحيد), are available to us. This makes it difficult to speak of his thought as a whole. Instead, we have to rely on fragmentary evidence, such as the report below, to provide insight into his mode of argumentation.
      This is done with the caveat that generalizations must be avoided because the narrators might not be conveying the nuance of Hisham’s complex system accurately. Furthermore, Yunus b. Dhabayn is a particularly unreliable narrator (accused of Ghulu) and could very well be biased against Hisham.
      محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الحسين بن الحسن، عن بكر بن صالح، عن الحسن بن سعيد، عن عبدالله بن المغيرة، عن محمد بن زياد قال: سمعت يونس بن ظبيان يقول: دخلت على أبي عبدالله عليه السلام فقلت له: إن هشام بن الحكم يقول قولا عظيما إلا أني أختصر لك منه أحرفا فزعم أن الله جسم لان الاشياء شيئان: جسم وفعل الجسم فلا يجوز أن يكون الصانع بمعنى الفعل ويجوز أن يكون بمعنى الفاعل فقال أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: ويحه أما علم أن الجسم محدود متناه والصورة محدودة متناهية فإذا احتمل الحد احتمل الزيادة والنقصان وإذا احتمل الزيادة والنقصان كان مخلوقا قال: قلت: فما أقول؟ قال: لا جسم ولا صورة وهو مجسم الاجسام ومصور الصور، لم يتجزء ولم يتناه ولم يتزايد ولم يتناقص، لو كان كما يقولون لم يكن بين الخالق والمخلوق فرق ولا بين المنشئ والمنشأ لكن هو المنشئ فرق بين من جسمه وصوره وأنشأه، إذ كان لا يشبهه شئ ولا يشبه هو شيئا
      Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – al-Husayn b. al-Hasan – Bakr b. Salih – al-Husayn b. Sai’d – Abdallah b. al-Mughira – Muhammad b. Ziyad who said: I heard Yunus b. Dhubyan saying: I entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: Hisham b. al-Hakam holds a grave position. I will summarize it for you in a few words - He claims that ‘Allah is a body, because there can only be two things: ‘body’ and the ‘action of a body’. It is not possible for the Maker to be defined as an action, but it is permissible to define him as an actor’. Abu Abillah عليه السلام  said: Woe be upon him - does he not know that a corporeal body is limited and transient (comes to an end), and that a human form is limited and transient. When he allows the possibility of limits (bounds) then he has allowed the possibility of increase and decrease, and if he allows the possibility of increase and decrease then that one is a created. He (Yunus) said: What should I believe? He said: Not a corporeal body nor a human form. He is the embodier of bodies and the fashioner of forms. He has no constituent parts nor does He perish. He does not increase nor decrease. If He were as they say then there would not be any difference between the creator and the created, nor a difference between the originator and the originated. However he is the originator who differentiated between those whom he made into a body, and others to whom He gave form and those He originated, for nothing is like Him nor is He like anything.  To Recap: Hisham’s view was that God is ‘something’ and as such ‘an existent body’. As a body, God can be a carrier of ‘characteristics’, namely His attributes (Sifat) which, are neither He Himself nor are they not He Himself; therefore, they have no independent existence and according to their nature are action.
      Or put somewhat differently: there is nothing except bodies and their action (fiʿl). But action is also always caused (fiʿl); for this reason God cannot be action (fiʿl). Therefore, He is a body. One can also turn this the other way round; action, can only come forth from a body; therefore, God must be a body.
       
      The Influence of Abu Shakir al-Daysani
      The argument above is so close to what is attributed to Abu Shakir al-Daysani that a link between the two cannot be avoided. Consider the words of the latter reproduced below (from Qadi Abd al-Jabbar’s Mughni):
      وحكى عن أبي شاكر انه ... يثبت الحركة ويزعم أنها صفة للتحرك لا هي هو ولا غيره وأنكر ان تكون شيئا او تكون لا شيء وقال ان التغاير والقول بأنه شيء لا يقعان الا على الأجسام والحركة ليست بجسم
      He held that there is action (movement) and maintained that it is an attribute of acting (by the Actor) and is neither identical with the latter (the Actor) nor different from Him. He would neither concede that it is something nor that it is nothing. By way of explanation he said: Mutual difference and being designated as ‘something’ are only valid for bodies; action, however, is not a body. Note the same dichotomy between body and the action of a body, as well as the notion that only a body can be referred to as ‘thing’.
      It is not surprising then to encounter a report that makes their association explicit:
      علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني محمد بن أحمد، عن العباس بن معروف عن أبي محمد الحجال، عن بعض أصحابنا، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: ذكر الرضا عليه السلام العباسي، فقال: هو من غلمان أبي الحارث يعني يونس بن عبد الرحمن، وأبو الحارث من غلمان هشام، وهشام من غلمان أبي شاكر الديصاني، وأبو شاكر زنديق
      Ali b. Muhammad – Muhammad b. Ahmad – al-Abbas b. Ma’ruf – Abi Muhammad al-Hajjal – one of our companions – al-Ridha عليه السلام. al-Ridha عليه السلام mentioned al-Abbasi and said: He is one of the students of Abi al-Harith, that is Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman, and Abu al-Harith is one of the students of Hisham, and Hisham is one of the students of Abi Shakir al-Daysani, and Abu Shakir is a Zindiq. This example of shared language should not be taken to mean that Hisham was a blind-follower for he was a theologian in his own right. Hisham sought to re-frame the statements of the Imam into a coherent system while interacting with other thinkers of the time. Proof of this can be demonstrated by the fact that he authored the book Radd ‘alal-zanadiqa (كتاب الرد على الزنادقة) refuting Abu Shakir and his peers.
      In fact, the main influence of Abu Shakir on Hisham was confined to his theories on the natural world, what we might label ‘physics’. His theory of the interpenetration (mudakhala) of bodies corresponds, as is known, to the dualist belief in the mixture of light and darkness. Hisham’s support of this theory entailed the rejection of atomism in favour of infinite divisibility of matter and the thesis that bodies may pass from one place to another without moving through the intervening space (tafra).   
       
      Who was Abu Shakir?
      It is appropriate at this juncture to delve a bit more into this enigmatic person. Abu Shakir figures in many debates with Imam al-Sadiq in our literature. The historicity of these encounters cannot be confirmed. He is presented as a proto-Atheist who doubts the createdness of the world. The most popular question he is supposed to have asked the Imam was whether God could fit the whole world in an egg without enlarging the egg or making the world smaller.  
      Abu Shakir has been labelled a Zindiq. The exact connotation of this term is open to debate as it lacks a precise definition and has been used in different contexts over time. The word generally means apostate or freethinker but can also have a much more precise meaning of ‘Manichean’ (followers of Mani). The latter was a religious movement well-known for its Dualist cosmology as a model for explaining the world i.e. the idea of two principles which ‘mixed together’ and caused everything to emerge from them.
      In this case, the latter interpretation seems better supported in light of the fact that Abu Shakir has been referred to with the title ‘al-Daysani’. The Daysanites were distant followers of one called Bardesanes (Ibn Daysan) who died six years before Mani was born. Ibn al-Nadim says that Bardesanes ‘was called Daysan after the river near which he was born’. Bardesanes (d. 223) had indeed lived in Edessa as ‘the son’ of the Daysan which flowed through the city and occasionally overflowed its banks. His school lived on in Edessa into the late 7th or early 8th century.
      Bardesanes was a major influence on Mani and his followers became virtually indistinguishable within the larger Manichean tradition. All these streams subscribed to variations of the same dualist cosmology.
      Abu Shakir lived in a Kufa that was a boiling pot wherein diverse traditions mixed. It was a mileu without rigid boundaries between different sects and where borrowing was rampant. What were seen as heresies and persecuted by certain rulers were tolerated by others. Abu Shakir became infamous for his polemics and was finally crucified in the Khilafa of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi before the year 785.
       
      The Correct Position
      What was the Aimma’s position in this debate? The answer is very clear from the reports presented. They never spoke using Greek-influenced neo-platonic terminologies. They rejected the use of the term ‘body’ for God, pointing out the fact that any ‘body’ would by definition be finite and mortal - qualities which do not apply to God.
      What is not understood is how Hisham answered this charge. How was he able to reconcile between the truism that every body by definition has constraints (limits) with his conception of God? It is possible that he felt his statement ‘a body unlike all other bodies’ was inclusive of transcending the limits inherent in other bodies. But if that were case then what would be the the sense of holding God to still be a body. Does not the term lose significance? God must share one or some aspects with other bodies for the word to retain meaning. What aspect would that be?
      It is possible that his acceptance of the system of Abu Shakir and Jahm was so complete that he felt that the definition of any ‘thing’ (shayy) as ‘existent body’ (jism mawjud) was axiomatic. A starting point which must be accepted before any further theological speculation can continue. God had to be a thing because if He was not then he was nothing, from which follows ‘God was a body’ in his system. What kind of body? A body unlike any other body. But still a body in at least some sense. And that is the rub of the problem. 
       
      To be continued ... 
    • By Abu Nur in Pearls of Wisdom
         1
      Then to Him belongs praise,
      in place of His every favour upon us
      and upon all His servants, past and still remaining,
      to the number of all things His knowledge encompasses,
      and in place of each of His favours,
      their number doubling and redoubling always and forever,
      to the Day of Resurrection;
      a praise whose bound has no utmost end,
      whose number has no reckoning,
      whose limit cannot be reached,
      whose period cannot be cut off;
      a praise which will become
      a link to His obedience and pardon,
      a tie to His good pleasure,
      a means to His forgiveness,
      a path to His Garden,
      a protector against His vengeance,
      a security against His wrath,
      an aid to obeying Him,
      a barrier against disobeying Him,
      a help in fulfilling His right and His duties;
      a praise that will make us felicitous
      among His felicitous friends,
      and bring us into the ranks
      of those martyred by the swords of His enemies.
      He is a Friend, Praiseworthy!
      Al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya Supplication 1
    • By Hameedeh in Think Positive
         13
      Two years ago I became a minimalist. I'm not talking about music, sculpture or painting, but minimalism in my life. I read about creating a minimalist home, but I did not buy the book:
      http://zenhabits.net/a-guide-to-creating-a-minimalist-home/
      So, I am thrifty and I buy very little. Whenever I am shopping and see a dozen things I want to own, I question myself. Do I have storage space for this? Is this really necessary? Will I really love it or is it just something that I never had before and always wanted to have one? Just wanting to possess something is not a good reason to buy it. Could I take a photo of it and just look at it, without spending my money? This must be a good reason to join Pinterest, to have all the things you want to look at, but never need to buy, store or move them. 
      As you have seen, my ShiaChat blog is minimalist by nature. I usually say very little, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I recognize great writing when I see it, but I am not a good writer. I hope to become a better writer some day, and in the meantime, I invite you to my tumblr. Please, if you can, start at the last page which shows my first post (a prayer for the safety of 12th Imam AJ) and then scroll your way up, and over to previous pages in chronological order, the way my brain was working. 
      http://hameedeh.tumblr.com/page/3
      ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
    • By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heaven
         0
      "Indeed Allah taught me and He taught me well"*
      *"ان الله ادبنی فاحسن تادیبی"

      During these thousands of years, God tested me frequently until I got permission to return to Him.
      Now, I am going to fly; but how can I do it without my wings?
      Everytime I committed a sin, I lost one of my feathers. I must find the feathers and rebuild my wings.
      I found a feather at the foot of the Rocky Mount and another feather in a rivulet, floating in the water. One feather was close to the Mirror of Truth and many feathers were around the Square House.
      I am going to fly towards paradise... Towards paradise?!... No!...Somewhere higher...much higher than paradise.
      Somewhere that even Gabriel cannot go...I need to make my wings stronger than Gabriel's.
      I am going to fly to Qab-e Qawsain...To Qab-e Qawsain and maybe closer**
       
      Footnotes:
      * a narration from the prophet (s)
      ** surah Najm: 8. Then he came near, and hovered around. 9. He was within two bows’ length, or closer.
       
      ------------------------------
      کاروانی از ملائک تا به عرش
      ردشان کرده فلک را نقش نقش

      میزبان بی نظیری شد بهشت
      از برای مردمان خوش سرشت
       
      تا بیاید بهر دیدار خدا
      کرد روح خویش را از تن جدا
      قیدها و بندها را باز کرد
      تا به اوج آسمان پرواز کرد
      چهره اش روشن تر از مهتاب شد
      آفتاب از خجالت آب شد
       
      اینک از منازل تاریک و ظلمانی نفس عبور کرده و از خود به سوی خدا مهاجرت میکنم...
      *********
      ان الله ادبنی فاحسن تأدیبی؛ خداوند مرا تربیت نمود و چه نیکو تربیت نمود!

      در این چند هزار سال پروردگار مرا به اموری فراوان امتحان فرمود تا اینکه سرانجام توانستم جواز عروج به سوی او را اخذ کنم. آیا رخداد خوشی که بهار خبرش را به من داده بود، همین نبود؟

      اینک عزم پرواز دارم ولی پرنده که بدون بال نمیتواند پرواز کند حتی اگر در قفس برایش گشوده باشد.
       باید چاره ای اندیشید. برای بازگشت به موطنم باید به سوی آسمان پرواز کنم. باید بالهایم را پیدا
      کنم.  
      هر بار که گناهی میکردم پری از بالهایم جدا میشد. باید پرها را پیدا کنم تا بتوانم بالهایم را بسازم.
      پری را در پای کوه سنگی یافتم و پری را در جویباری، روان بر روی آب. پری را در کنار آینه حقیقت و پرهای بسیاری را پیرامون خانه چهارگوش

      میخواهم به سوی بهشت پرواز کنم... به سوی بهشت؟! نه! نه! به جایی بالاتر، خیلی بالاتر، جایی که حتی جبرئیل هم نمیتواند به آنجا راه یابد. باید بالهایم را قدرتمندتر از بالهای جبرئیل بسازم...
      میخواهم به سوی قاب قوسین پرواز کنم... به سوی قاب قوسین و شاید هم نزدیکتر*
       
      * ثم دنی فتدلی. فکان قاب قوسین أو أدنی
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