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The “Imam” who Killed al-Kadhim [as]

Islamic Salvation

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إذا وصلته وقطعني قطع الله أجله

If I maintain my ties with him and he cuts me off then Allah will cut off his life-time [Imam al-Kadhim about Muhammad b. Ismail]

 

Introduction

We all know of the summons of Imam Musa al-Kadhim to Baghdad in the year 179 by Harun al-Rashid, his subsequent imprisonment and ultimate death in the year 183. But what is less well known is the role of one of the relatives of the Imam, specifically his nephew Muhammad b. Ismail in bringing this tragic event about.

 

Who was Muhammad b. Ismail?

Muhammad is the seventh “Imam” of the Ismailiyya about whose life very little is known even in their pitiable sources. Muhammad was the eldest son of Ismaıl b. Ja’far [who died in the lifetime of al-Sadiq]. The Ismailiyya claim that he left Iraq after the recognition of the Imamate of Musa al-Kadhim by the majority of al-Sadiq’s followers, and went into hiding, henceforth acquiring the epithet al-Maktum, the Hidden. He is supposed to have continued to maintain close contacts with the Mubarakiyya, a radical Shı’ı group which followed him. According to the later Ismaılıs, this emigration marks the beginning of the period of concealment (Dawr al-Satr) in early Ismaılism, with no apparent Imam, until the Fatimi Da’wa came and re-established it.

 

What happened to the followers of Muhammad b. Ismail?

Most of the followers of Muhammad b. Ismail refused to acknowledge his death. For these immediate predecessors of the Qarmatıs, Muhammad b. Ismaıl was regarded as the last Imam and expected to reappear as the Mahdı or Qaim, ‘riser’. They were also called Sab'iyya [seveners i.e. believed in seven Imams] and Waqifiyya [stoppers i.e. who halted at Muhammad b. Ismail].

Later Ismailis claim that that there was another obscure group of followers of Muhammad b. Ismail who accepted his death and traced the Imamate in his descendants. However, the separate existence of this group is not recorded in any contemporary source, until Abd Allah, the future leader of the movement, publicly claimed the Imamate of the Ismaılıs for himself and his ancestors in the year 297. It is hard to conclude this to be anything other than a back-projection of the Fatimid Imams wishing to to place themselves in one continuous chain of Imams back to Muhammad b. Ismail and the early 'Aimma.

 

His Role in Sending al-Kadhim to his Death

The picture that emerges in a reliable narration in al-Kafi shows Muhammad b. Ismail to be quite a worldly and ambitious fellow who was instrumental in heightening Harun’s suspicion towards Musa al-Kadhim. This acts as another reminder that mere blood relation with the purified personalities is not enough to safeguard one from evil inclinations.

 

The Narration 

الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن موسى بن القاسم البجلي، عن علي بن جعفر قال: جاء ني محمد بن إسماعيل وقد اعتمرنا عمرة رجب ونحن يومئذ بمكة، فقال: يا عم إني أريد بغداد وقد أحببت أن اودع عمي أبا الحسن - يعني موسى بن جعفر عليه السلام - وأحببت أن تذهب معي إليه، فخرجت معه نحو أخي وهو في داره التي بالحوبة وذلك بعد المغرب بقليل، فضربت الباب فأجابني أخي فقال: من هذا فقلت: علي، فقال: هوذا أخرج - وكان بطئ الوضوء - فقلت: العجل قال: وأعجل، فخرج وعليه إزار ممشق قد عقده في عنقه حتى قعد تحت عتبة الباب، فقال علي بن جعفر: فانكببت عليه فقبلت رأسه وقلت: قد جئتك في أمر إن تره صوابا فالله وفق له، وإن يكن غير ذلك فما أكثر ما نخطي قال: وما هو؟ قلت: هذا ابن أخيك يريد أن يودعك ويخرج إلى بغداد، فقال لي: ادعه فدعوته وكان متنحيا، فدنا منه فقبل رأسه وقال: جعلت فداك أوصني فقال: اوصيك أن تتقي الله في دمي فقال مجيبا له: من أرادك بسوء فعل الله به وجعل يدعو على من يريده بسوء، ثم عاد فقبل رأسه، فقال: يا عم أوصني فقال: اوصيك أن تتقي الله في دمي فقال: من أرادك بسوء فعل الله به وفعل، ثم عاد فقبل رأسه، ثم قال: يا عم أوصني، فقال: اوصيك أن تتقي الله في دمي فدعا على من أراده بسوء، ثم تنحى عنه ومضيت معه فقال لي أخي: يا علي مكانك فقمت مكاني فدخل منزله، ثم دعاني فدخلت إليه فتناول صرة فيها مائة دينار فأعطانيها وقال: قل لابن أخيك يستعين بها على سفره قال علي: فأخذتها فأدرجتها في حاشية ردائي ثم ناولني مائة اخرى وقال: أعطه أيضا، ثم ناولني صرة اخرى وقال: أعطه أيضا فقلت: جعلت فداك إذا كنت تخاف منه مثل الذي ذكرت، فلم تعينه على نفسك؟ فقال: إذا وصلته وقطعني قطع الله أجله، ثم تناول مخدة أدم، فيها ثلاثة آلاف درهم وضح وقال: أعطه هذه أيضا قال: فخرجت إليه فأعطيته المائة الاولى ففرح بها فرحا شديدا ودعا لعمه، ثم أعطيته الثانية والثالثة ففرح بها حتى ظننت أنه سيرجع ولا يخرج، ثم أعطيته الثلاثة آلاف درهم فمضى على وجهه حتى دخل على هارون فسلم عليه بالخلافة وقال: ما ظننت أن في الارض خليفتين حتى رأيت عمي موسى بن جعفر يسلم عليه فالخلافة، فأرسل هارون إليه بمائة ألف درهم فرماه الله بالذبحة فما نظر منها إلى درهم ولا مسه

al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from Muhammad b. Isa from Musa b. al-Qasim al-Bajali from Ali b. Ja’far who said: Muhammad b. Ismail [b. Ja’far] approached me when we were in Makka and had just completed the Umra in the month of Rajab - he said: O uncle, I want to travel to Baghdad but  first I wish to bid farewell to my uncle Aba al-Hasan - that is Musa b. Ja’far. I would like it if you accompany me to meet him.

I came out with him heading towards my brother who was in his house in Huba. We reached a little after Maghrib. I knocked the door and was answered by my brother who said: who is that? I said: Ali, he said: I am just coming - he was someone who took long in making the ablution - so I said: make haste, he said: I will. Eventually he came out wearing a lower garment [waist-wrapper] dyed in an earthish hue, knotted at his neck and proceeded to sit at the threshold [step] of the door.

Ali b. Ja’far said: I bent towards him, kissed his forehead and said: I have come to you concerning a matter, if you find it to be appropriate then it is Allah who facilitated it, and if it is not [if you find it disagreeable] then how often do we err [as humans]. He said: what is it? I said: this is the son of your brother, he wishes to bid you farewell and depart towards Baghdad. He [the Imam] said to me: call him [Muhammad b. Ismail]. I called him and he was close by.

He [Muhammad b. Ismail] came near him, kissed his forehead and said: May I be made your ransom, advise me, he [the Imam] said: I advise you to fear Allah concerning my blood, he replied to him: May Allah do such to whoever wishes ill for you, and he began supplicating against the one who harbors ill-feeling towards him. Then he kissed his forehead a second time and said: O uncle, advise me, he said: I advise you to fear Allah concerning my blood, he said: May Allah do such and such to whoever wishes ill for you [and He has already done so]. Then he kissed his forehead a third time and said: O uncle, advise me, he said: I advise you to fear Allah concerning my blood, so he supplicated against the one who wishes ill towards him, then he turned away from him [to depart], I too began walking away with him, but my brother said to me: O Ali, [stop] where you are.  

I halted, he called me and I entered [the house]. He outstretched a pouch which contained a hundred gold coins and handed it to me and said: tell the son of your brother [nephew] to make use of it on his journey. Ali said: I took it and twisted it around the hem of my cloak, then he handed me another hundred and said: give it to him, then he handed me another pouch and said: give it to him also.

I said: may I be made your ransom, if you fear him doing what you described then why are you aiding him against yourself [by helping him]? he said: If I maintain my ties with him and he cuts me off then Allah will cut off his life-time. Then he took to hand a tanned leather pillow [hollowed out to store money] in which were three thousand fine silver coins and said: give this to him as well.

He [Ali b. Ja’far] said: I came out and gave him the first hundred whereupon he became extremely delighted and supplicated for his uncle, then I gave him the second and the third. He became so happy that I thought he will turn back and not depart [for Baghdad]. Lastly I gave him the three thousand silver coins.

Nevertheless, he departed on his mission until he went in to see Harun [the Abbasid Caliph] and greeted him by acknowledging his Caliphate [said: peace be upon you O Commander of the Faithful]. Then he said: I never thought that there could be two Caliphs on earth [at the same time] until I saw my uncle Musa b. Ja’far being greeted with the Caliphate [people referring to him as the Caliph when greeting him]. Harun sent him one hundred thousand silver coins [as a reward for his reporting about his uncle] but Allah afflicted him [Muhammad b. Ismail] with an ailment [in which an ulcer grows and chokes the passage in the throat] and he did not get the chance to even take a look at a single silver coin [that he had been gifted] let alone touch it.

 

Conclusion

The death date of Muhammad b. Ismail can be fixed to be the year 179, the year in which he betrayed his uncle to the authorities and was punished immediately by Allah for it. Muhammad sold his Akhera for the Dunya, despite the Imam supporting him from his own wealth to repel his evil and fulfill the ties of kinship. Such a person hardly meets the base requirements of a supposed Imam and the adulation that his followers direct towards him.



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I hope the ismailis research atleast their own religious personalities to whom they conferred the titles of imam, but I never read about a religious ismaili practicing at least some islamic activities, they seem to be easy-going, and cool-type mindset people mainly concentrating just on the business and worldly affairs from what I have seen.

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      His special position with al-Kadhim
      Hisham enjoyed an especially close relation with al-Kadhim عليه السلام
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      He was one of the intimates of our master Musa b. Ja’far عليه السلام
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      Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – al-Hasan b. Ali b. Yaqtin who said: Whenever Abu al-Hasan [al-Kadhim] عليه‌ السلام wanted some neccessities for himself, or something of a personal nature, he would write to my father Ali: ‘purchase for me this and that or acquire for me such and such, and the one to undertake that should be Hisham b. al-Hakam’. But if it had to do with his [the Imam’s] more general responsibilities he would just write: ‘purchase for me this and that’ and not mention Hisham unless it was personal.
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      Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the sons of Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Zuhl – Asad b. Abi al-Ala who said: Abu al-Hasan the First عليه‌ السلام wrote to those who had come up from his Shia in one of the years during the pilgrimage season [to make the Hajj] about fulfilling a certain need of his, no one took it up [responded positively] except Hisham b. al-Hakam. He [Asad] said: He [the Imam] later wrote to him - that is Hisham b. al-Hakam - ‘may Allah make your reward paradise’.
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      اشکت چو الماس
      قلب رئوفت
      سرشار از احساس
       
      بانوی خسته
      دلت شکسته
      زیر خاک سرد
      بخواب آهسته
       
      مسافر شب
      برو تا بهشت
      نیست جای تو
      این دنیای زشت
       
      عزم سفر کرد
      رفت تا افلاک
      خداحافظ ای
      دنیای ناپاک
       
      اگرچه هستی
      آرام و خاموش
      هرگز نگردد
      یادت فراموش
    • By Sisterfatima1 in Fatima
         0
      My dear sweet daughter as time goes by I feel more and more we are being disconnected your birth was truly a blessing for me after a difficult time 
      you were my everything watching you grow up and having people around you caring for you and loving you when I can’t be there hurts me alot
      i wish I could be the one holding your hand and helping you during hard times 
      I would give anything to have one more day with you and just play with you like we used to play 
       
      I miss your laughter I miss holding you when you were sad I miss you singing to your brother 
      I’ve missed out on so much in your life I hate living with this 
      i wish daddy would let me know you more 
      if you ever read this one day my sweet girl know that mummy loves you and wants you no matter what anybody says I never abandoned you 
      I hope one day we can be reunited 
      I pray Allah will always keep you safe my precious baby 
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      The vegetarian industry holds that killing animals is bad. No doubt killing an animal means that it suffers a premature death. However nowadays, at least, it is because of the human need for meat that millions of animals have a life that they otherwise would not have had - because there would not have been an economic reason for them to be bred.
      The issue then, is one of premature death vs. not having a life at all.
      If people believe that animals are sentient and have some level of intelligence and should not be slaughtered as a result - surely those very arguments can be used to against denying those animals life as a vegetarian lifestyle would. 
      So the solution to the ethical/sustainability issues around meat eating is not to ban the practice altogether, rather it is to do with proper animal husbandry and a level of animal protein consumption that is lower than at present.
    • By Ali in ShiaChat.com Blog
         14
      [This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]
      Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days!
      Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 year old me was still trying to make sense of it all. 
      In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial up modem was.  Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) -  I digress.
      Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in armchair jihadi-like debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia.  (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups.  This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”.  The “Hash tag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today).
      For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client.  It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as member of their chat room.  Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.).  Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years.  I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people.  Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15 year old.
      In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia.  As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggy backed on one of our member’s servers and domain name.
      The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam.  As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style.  Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way.
      A thought occurred to me.  Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use?  The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today.  The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at anytime from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users.  I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just setup was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com.
      [More to follow, Part 2..]
      So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?
    • By Islamic Salvation in A Marginalia to Mu'jam
         13

       
      A small collection of 82 reliable narrations concerning Intellect and Knowledge translated into English with annotated footnotes. 
      Download PDF: https://www.scribd.com/document/361632457/Book-of-Intellect-and-Knowledge-Mu-jam-1-1
      This is an UNSECURED version to aid copy and paste.
       
      Preamble
      The first book of the first volume is the book of Intellect and Knowledge. Some short words on the Islamic conception of both is in order.
      Aql is the vehicle through which the initial queries about the reality of life and nature of the world is made. It is also an essential component towards the Ma’rifa [recognition] of Allah. Thus it becomes the preliminary ‘inner prophet’ which can lead to ‘outward’ guidance and consequently obedience of Allah. It has been attributed to al-Sadiq that he said when asked to define Aql:
      ما عبد به الرحمن واكتسب به الجنان
      That by which the Rahman [Most Merciful] is worshipped and by which the Gardens are acquired[1]
      Aql is what will be held accountable. The more perfect the Aql of the one doing the deed the more complete it becomes and vice versa. The messenger of Allah is supposed to have said:
      إذا رأيتم الرجل كثير الصلاة كثير الصيام فلا تباهوا به حتى تنظروا كيف عقله؟
      If you see a man who prays a lot and fasts a lot then do not be overly impressed with him until you observe how his Aql is[2]
      Knowledge and its pursuit has been given such importance in Islam that a Western Scholar like Rosenthal could speak of the ‘Empire of Reason’. Knowledge is of many types, but the one which has been obligated is acquiring the knowledge which will make one succeed in this world and hereafter i.e. knowledge of the creator and one’s obligations towards Him.
      It is not enough to gain knowledge in theoretical terms, in fact the very definition of knowledge is the one which is put into practise. This is best summed up in a narration attributed to the Commander of the Faithful:
      حسبك من العلم أن تخشى الله، وحسبك من الجهل أن تعجب بعلمك
      It is enough to be considered knowledge that you be in awe of Allah, and it is enough to be considered ignorance that you feel proud with that which you know[3]
        [1] al-Kafi: 1/11
      [2] al-Kafi: 1/26
      [3] Amali of al-Tusi: 1/62
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      Every day there is news of some new aspect of animal intelligence that has been discovered. Whether it is elephants, orcas or lobsters we are finding out about how these creatures manifest different aspects of what we consider intelligence to be.
      Of course, the irony is that whatever intelligence we observe was always there, what has changed is the development of tests on our part in order to measure it. Some of these tests are very simple and elegant, but what they highlight is the evolution in man's ability to identify phenomena and then develop measures to assess it.
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