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A Comprehensive Compilation of Reliable Narrations


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3.109. - 3.14. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, others and al-Mahdi



[1/228] رجال الكشي: محمد بن قولويه و الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القميان، عن سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، عن الحسن بن موسى الخشاب و محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن علي بن أسباط، عن عبد الله بن سنان قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: كان مع أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام من قريش خمسة نفر و كانت ثلاثة عشر قبيلة مع معاوية فأما الخمسة محمد بن أبي بكر رحمة الله عليه أتته النجابة من قبل أمه أسماء بنت عميس، و كان معه هاشم بن عتبة بن أبي وقاص المرقال، و كان معه جعدة بن هبيرة المخزومي، و كان أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام خاله و هو الذي قال له عتبة بن أبي سفيان: إنما لك هذه الشدة في الحرب من قبل خالك فقال له جعدة: لو كان خالك مثل خالي لنسيت أباك، و محمد بن أبي حذيفة بن عتبة بن ربيعة، و الخامس سلف أمير المؤمنين أبي العاص بن الربيع و هو صهر النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم

[1/228] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Qulawayh al-Qummi and al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi from Sa’d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf al-Qummi from al-Hasan b. Musa al-Khashshab and Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd from Ali b. Asbat from Abdallah b. Sinan who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: There were five individuals from the Quraysh with the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام while there were thirteen clans [i.e. of the Quraysh] with Muawiya. As for the five [they were]: Muhammad b. Abi Bakr - Allah’s mercy be upon him - his noble descent was from his mother Asma bt. Umays [not his father], and with him was Hashim b. Utba b. Abi Waqqas al-Mirqal, and with him was Ja’da b. Hubayra al-Makhzumi, the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام was his maternal uncle [i.e. Ja’da’s mother - Umm Hani bt. Abi Talib - was the sister of Ali], and he is the one to whom Utba b. Abi Sufyan said: You are undergoing all these hardships in war because of your maternal uncle [i.e. Ali], so Ja’da said to him: If your maternal uncle was like my maternal uncle you would have forgotten your father, and with him also was Muhammad b. Abi Hudhayfa b. Utba b. Rabia, and the fifth was the husband of the sister of the wife of the Commander of the Faithful [i.e. the husband of Zaynab bt. Muhammad - the sister of Fatima]: Abi al-As b. al-Rabi, and he was the son in law of the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم


[2/229] رجال الكشي: حمدويه و إبراهيم ابنا نصير، عن أيوب، عن صفوان، عن معاوية بن عمار و غير واحد، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: كان عمار بن ياسر و محمد بن أبي بكر لا يرضيان أن يعصي الله عز و جل

[2/229] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh b. Nusayr and Ibrahim b. Nusayr from Ayyub from Safwan from Mu`awiya b. Ammar and more than one from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Ammar b. Yasir and Muhammad b. Abi Bakr could never tolerate that Allah Mighty and Majestic be disobeyed.


See the discussion under No. [1/-] in 3.95 for the context behind this declaration of the Imam.


[3/230] رجال الكشي: حمدويه بن نصير، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن أذينة، عن زرارة بن أعين، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام: أن محمد بن أبي بكر بايع عليا عليه السلام على البراءة من أبيه

[3/230] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh b. Nusayr from Muhammad b. Isa from Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from Umar b. Udhayna from Zurara b. A’yan from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام that: Muhammad b. Abi Bakr gave the pledge of allegiance to Ali عليه السلام upon the condition of disassociating from his father [Abu Bakr].


The pledge of allegiance [Bay’a], like any other agreement, entailed certain conditions either on the one receiving the Bay’a or the one giving the Bay’a, which are normally declared vocally before the act is sealed with the placing of hands one on top of the other.

For example, those giving the pledge to the prophet at Aqaba swore to uphold certain things, Abd al-Rahman b. al-Awf was willing to swear fealty to Ali on the condition that he follow the example of the two previous Caliphs, the Khawarij were willing to give Bay’a to al-Hasan with the condition that he fight their enemy.

In this case, Muhammad  b. Abi Bakr gave the pledge while imposing on himself disassociation from his father’ as a part of the pledge because he knew that Ali was the most rightful from the beginning.


[-/4] رجال الكشي: محمد بن مسعود، عن علي بن الحسن، عن عباس بن عامر، عن أبان بن عثمان، عن زرارة، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام: أن المهدي مولى عثمان أتى فبايع أمير المؤمنين و محمد بن أبي بكر جالس، قال أبايعك على أن الأمر كان لك أولا و أبرأ من فلان و فلان و فلان، فبايعه

[4/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Masud from Ali b. al-Hasan from Abbas b. A’mir from Aban b. Uthman from Zurara from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام who said: al-Mahdi the client of Uthman came to pledge allegiance to the Commander of the Faithful [Ali] while Muhammad b. Abi Bakr was seated. He [al-Mahdi] said: I pledge allegiance to you that the matter [Khilafa] was for you from the start and I disassociate myself from Fulan, Fulan, and Fulan, then he pledged allegiance to him.


The three Fulans are well-known. Their names expunged because of Taqiyya.

This should be considered a reliable narration but al-Muhsini claims that Ali b. al-Hasan b. Fadhal cannot narrate from Aban - a companion of al-Sadiq - via one intermediary [Abbas b. A’mir], but this is quite strange because there is nothing preventing it from happening. Further, al-Muhsini himself has graded this same chain as reliable in other instances.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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3.15. - 3.127 Muhammad b. Abi Zaynab Miqlas Abu al-Khattab, Hafs, Ja’far b. Waqid, Hashim, Musaylama, Mukhtar, Sa’id, Hamza, Abu al-Ghamr and Others




Abu al-Khattab, Muhammad b. Miqlas of the Bani Asad, was initially a close companion of al-Sadiq and even performed some official duties on his behalf. He then fell from grace and became the chief heresiarch of the so-called Khattabiyya, a sect of extremist esoterics [Ghulat] in Kufa. This caused considerable consternation among some of the Shia because they could not reconcile it with his previous status [See Nos. 4/233 and 7/236 below]

The reason for the Imam’s public cursing of Abu al-Khattab was his ascribing of falsities to the Imam while spreading  perverted teachings which included elevating the Imam to divinity, claiming prophethood, and libertinism [considering the prohibited to be licit]. The Imam’s stern language should be seen in light of these grave beliefs and his desire to save the Shia from falling into them.

A major technique of such groups was to substantiate their claims by resorting to allegorical interpretation of the verses of the Qur’an.

حمدويه، قال حدثني محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن عن بشير الدهان، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: كتب أبو عبد الله عليه السلام إلى أبي الخطاب بلغني أنك تزعم أن الزنا رجل و أن الخمر رجل و أن الصلاة رجل و أن الصيام رجل و أن الفواحش رجل، و ليس هو كما تقول أنا أصل الحق و فروع الحق طاعة الله، و عدونا أصل الشر و فروعهم الفواحش، و كيف يطاع من لا يعرف و كيف يعرف من لا يطاع

Hamduwayh – Muhammad b. Isa – Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman – Bashir al-Dahhan – Abi Abdillah. He [Bashir] said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام wrote to Abi al-Khattab saying: It has reached me that you claim that Zina [adultery] is a man, Khamr [wine] is a man, that Salat [daily prayer] is a man, Sawm [fasting] is a man, and the Fawahish [abominable acts] is a man, but it is not as you say! Verily I am the root of truth and its branches is obedience to Allah [by performing all the Wajibat and abstaining from the Muharramat], and our enemy is the root of falsehood and its branches are the abominable acts. How can One who is not recognized be obeyed? How can He be recognized One who is not obeyed?

Abu al-Khattab and other like-minded Gnostics claimed that the true meaning of negative words in the Qur’an such  ‘adultery’ and ‘wine’ is a ‘man’. Similarly, the true meaning of positive words in the Qur’an like ‘prayer’ and ‘fasting’ is another ‘man’. What they mean by this is that: Provided you are initiated to the higher reality of recognizing the ‘man of light’ and allying with him, and disassociate yourself from his enemy the ‘man of darkness’ then you have no need to adhere to the Sharia which is a lowly subjugation for the ignorant masses. In this understanding, there is nothing forbidden in the acts of adultery or drinking wine [the literal meaning].

The last statement of the Imam is the most beautiful summation of belief + deed as being essential components for salvation. Tawalla is the root which must be translated into devotional acts as its branches. Tabarra is the root which must be translated into keeping away from the shameless acts of the enemies as its branches.


[-/1] رجال الكشي: محمد بن قولويه و الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، عن سعد بن عبد الله، عن محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن - أن بعض أصحابنا سأله و أنا حاضر ... قال لي: إن أبا الخطاب كذب على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام لعن الله أبا الخطاب و كذلك أصحاب أبي الخطاب يدسون هذه الأحاديث إلى يومنا هذا في كتب أصحاب أبي عبد الله عليه السلام ...

[1/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Qulawayh and al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi from Sa’d b. Abdallah from Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd from Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman - One of our companions asked him [i.e. Yunus] while I was present … He [i.e. al-Ridha] said: Verily Aba al-Khattab lied about Abi Abdillah عليه السلام - may Allah curse Aba al-Khattab, and likewise, the companions of Aba al-Khattab do insert these narrations into the books of the companions of Aba Abdillah عليه السلام to this day of ours …


Abu al-Khattab’s followers succeeded in introducing spurious narrations into the books of Hadith that were in circulation at that time. This should be enough to dispense with the claim that all our narrations are reliable and should be accepted without scrutiny.


[2/231] رجال الكشي: حمدويه و إبراهيم ابنا نصير، عن الحسن بن موسى، عن إبراهيم بن عبد الحميد، عن عيسى بن أبي منصور قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام و ذكر أبا الخطاب فقال: اللهم العن أبا الخطاب فإنه خوفني قائما و قاعدا و على فراشي اللهم أذقه حر الحديد 

[2/231] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the sons of Nusayr from al-Hasan b. Musa from Ibrahim b. Abd al-Hamid from Isa b. Abi Mansur who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying - and Aba al-Khattab had just been mentioned: O Allah curse Aba al-Khattab for he has made me fearful whilst standing, sitting and lying down. O Allah make him taste the heat of the iron [i.e. die by the sword].


How could the Imam not fear when Abu al-Khattab was uttering such serious things about him while he is not but a slave of Allah. The supplication of the Imam was answered for Abu al-Khattab was indeed put to the sword.


[3/232] رجال الكشي: حمدويه و إبراهيم ابنا نصير، عن الحسن بن موسى، عن إبراهيم بن عبد الحميد، عن أبي أسامة قال: قال رجل لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: أؤخر المغرب حتى تستبين النجوم؟ قال: فقال: خطابية، إن جبريل أنزلها على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله حين سقط القرص 

[3/232] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the sons of Nusayr from al-Hasan b. Musa from Ibrahim b. Abd al-Hamid from Abi Usama who said: A man said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام: Should I postpone the Maghrib until after the stars can be seen? So he عليه السلام said: [this is the belief of the] Khattabiyya! Verily Jibrail brought it [i.e. the start time of Maghrib] to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله when the disk [of the sun] disappears.


A distinctive feature held by the Khattabiyya and for which they became notorious was delaying to pray the Maghrib until the stars could be seen


[4/233] رجال الكشي: محمد بن مسعود، عن علي بن الحسن، عن معمر بن خلاد قال: قال أبو الحسن عليه السلام: إن أبا الخطاب أفسد أهل الكوفة فصاروا لا يصلون المغرب حتى يغيب الشفق و لم يكن ذلك إنما ذاك للمسافر و صاحب العلة، و قال: إن رجلا سأل أبا الحسن عليه السلام فقال: كيف قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام في أبي الخطاب ما قال ثم جاءت البراءة منه؟ فقال له: أكان لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام أن يستعمل و ليس له أن يعزل

[4/233] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Masud from Ali b. al-Hasan from Muammar b. Khallad who said: Abu al-Hasan عليه السلام said: Verily Aba al-Khattab corrupted the people of Kufa so they used not to pray the Maghrib until the redness of the sky disappears, but that is not appropriate except for the traveller or someone who has a problem. He [al-Ridha] also said: A man asked Aba al-Hasan [al-Kadhim] عليه السلام and said: How did it happen that Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said about Abi al-Khattab what he said about him at first [in commissioning him] and then came the command to disassociate from him? So he said to him: Is it only for Abi Abdillah عليه السلام to appoint but not to depose!


It is clear that Abu al-Khattab was teaching that Maghrib should be delayed until the redness in the western horizon disappears and the stars appear. This is contrary to the position of the Madhhab which advices waiting until the redness in the eastern horizon disappears as a precaution. .


[5/234] رجال الكشي: حمدويه، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن النضر بن سويد، عن يحيى الحلبي، عن أبيه عمران بن علي قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: لعن الله أبا الخطاب و لعن من قتل معه و لعن من بقي منهم و لعن الله من دخل قلبه رحمة لهم 

[5/234] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh from Muhammad b. Isa from al-Nadhr b. Suwayd from Yahya al-Halabi from his father Imran b. Ali who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: May Allah curse Aba al-Khattab, may He curse those who were killed with him, may He curse those who are remaining [alive] from them, and may He curse the one to whose heart enters mercy for them.


Abu al-Khattab convinced his followers to revolt and they barricaded themselves in the mosque of Kufa. The governor of Kufa on behalf of al-Mansur [the second Abbasid Caliph] i.e. Isa b. Musa b. Ali b. Abdallah b. al-Abbas sent forces against them which resulted in their massacre. It is in this context that we see the Imam speaking of  ‘those who were killed with him’. 


[6/235] رجال الكشي: حمدويه، عن أيوب بن نوح، عن حنان بن سدير، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: كنت جالسا عند أبي عبد الله عليه السلام و ميسر عنده، و نحن في سنة ثمان و ثلاثين و مائة، فقال ميسر بياع الزطي جعلت فداك عجبت لقوم كانوا يأتون معنا إلى هذا الموضع فانقطعت آثارهم و فنيت آجالهم قال و من هم قلت أبو الخطاب و أصحابه، و كان متكئا فجلس فرفع إصبعه إلى السماء ثم قال على أبي الخطاب لعنة الله و الملائكة و الناس أجمعين، فأشهد بالله أنه كافر فاسق مشرك، و أنه يحشر مع فرعون في أشد العذاب غدوا و عشيا، ثم قال أما و الله إني لأنفس على أجساد أصيبت معه النار

[6/235] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh from Ayyub b. Nuh from Hanan b. Sadir from Abi AbdillahHe [Hanan] said: I was seated at Abi Abdillah’s عليه السلام together with Muyassir - this was in the year one hundred and thirty eight - when Muyassir the seller of clothes made by Jats [of India] said: May I be made your ransom, I am bewildered at a group who used to come with us to this place but their traces have been cut-off and their terms have ended. He [the Imam] said: Who are they? I said: Abu al-Khattab and his fellows [who had been massacred]. He [the Imam] was resting on a cushion but sat up-straight [when he heard me say this] and raised his fingers to the sky and said: Upon Abi al-Khattab be the curse of Allah, His angels and all the people together, for I swear by Allah that he is a Kafir, Fasiq and Mushrik. He will be resurrected with Firaun in the most severe punishment by morning and night [allusion to 40:46]. Then he said: by Allah - I feel pity on the bodies that have entered the fire with him.


[7/236] رجال الكشي: حمدويه، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن، عن ابن مسكان، عن عيسى شلقان قال: قلت لأبي الحسن عليه السلام و هو يومئذ غلام قبل أوان بلوغه: جعلت فداك ما هذا الذي يسمع من أبيك أنه أمرنا بولاية أبي الخطاب ثم أمرنا بالبراءة منه؟ قال: فقال أبو الحسن عليه السلام من تلقاء نفسه: إن الله خلق الأنبياء على النبوة فلا يكونون إلا أنبياء و خلق المؤمنين على الإيمان فلا يكونون إلا مؤمنين و استودع قوما إيمانا فإن شاء أتمه لهم و إن شاء سلبهم إياه، و إن أبا الخطاب كان ممن أعاره الله الإيمان فلما كذب على أبي سلبه الله الإيمان، قال: فعرضت هذا الكلام على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: قال: لو سألتنا عن ذلك ما كان ليكون عندنا غير ما قال

[7/236] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh from Muhammad b. Isa from Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman from Ibn Muskan from Isa Shalqan who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan [al-Kadhim] عليه السلام when he was still a boy before he reached puberty: May I be made your ransom, what is this we hear from you father, first he ordered us to associate with Abi al-Khattab then he ordered us to disassociate from him? So Abu al-Hasan عليه السلام said of his own volition: Allah created the prophets on prophethood, so they do not become except prophets. He created the believers on belief, so they do not become except believers. But he deposited belief in a group, so if He wishes He completes it for them, and if He wishes He takes it away from them. Abu al-Khattab was one of those to whom faith was loaned out by Allah, so when he lied about my father - Allah took away that faith from him. He [Isa] said: I repeated these words to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام so he said: If you had asked us about that [the same question] we would not have anything different to say to you.      


[8/237] رجال الكشي: محمد بن قولويه و الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، عن سعد بن عبد الله، عن إبراهيم بن مهزيار و محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن علي بن مهزيار قال: سمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يقول و قد ذكر عنده أبو الخطاب: لعن الله أبا الخطاب و لعن أصحابه و لعن الشاكين في لعنه و لعن من قد وقف في ذلك و شك فيه، ثم قال: هذا أبو الغمر و جعفر بن واقد و هاشم بن أبي هاشم استأكلوا بنا الناس و صاروا دعاة يدعون الناس إلى ما دعي إليه أبو الخطاب، لعنه الله و لعنهم معه و لعن من قبل ذلك منهم، يا علي لا تتحرجن من لعنهم لعنهم الله فإن الله قد لعنهم، ثم قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: من تأثم أن يلعن من لعنه الله فعليه لعنة الله

[8/237] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Qulawayh and al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi from Sa’d b. Abdallah from Ibrahim b. Mahziyar and Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd from Ali b. Mahziyar who said: I hear Aba Ja’far [al-Jawad] عليه السلام say when Abu al-Khattab was mentioned in his presence: May Allah curse Aba al-Khattab, curse his companions, curse those who question his cursing, and curse those who abstain from doing it [cursing him] doubting its propriety. Then he said: Here are Abu al-Ghamr, Ja’far b. Waqid and Hashim b. Abi Hashim! They have used us [our name] to take wealth from the people and have become callers calling the people to what Abu al-Khattab used to call to! May Allah curse him [Abu al-Khattab] and curse them with him, may He curse whoever accepts that [their doctrine] from them. O Ali - do not feel any discomfort in cursing them - may Allah curse them - for they have been cursed by Allah. Then he said: the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: Whoever refrains from cursing the one who is cursed by Allah [considering it a sin] then upon him be the curse of Allah.   


Abu al-Khattab's influence did not die with him, rather the heresiographers record a number of splinters that post-date him, these continued to cherish his memory and develop his heretical ideas further. They included some contemporaries of al-Jawad عليه السلام mentioned above.


[-/9] رجال الكشي: محمد بن قولويه و الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، عن سعد بن عبد الله، عن محمد بن خالد الطيالسي، عن عبد الرحمن بن أبي نجران، عن ابن سنان قال: قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: إنا أهل بيت صادقون لا نخلو من كذاب يكذب علينا فيسقط صدقنا بكذبه علينا عند الناس، كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم أصدق البرية لهجة و كان مسيلمة يكذب عليه، و كان أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام أصدق من برأ الله من بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم و كان الذي يكذب عليه و يعمل في تكذيب صدقه بما يفتري عليه من الكذب عبد الله بن سبإ لعنه الله، و كان أبو عبد الله الحسين بن علي عليه السلام قد ابتلى بالمختار، ثم ذكر أبو عبد الله الحارث الشامي و بيان، فقال: كانا يكذبان على علي بن الحسين عليه السلام ثم ذكر المغيرة بن سعيد و بزيعا و السري و أبا الخطاب و معمرا و بشارا الشعيري و حمزة البربري و صائد النهدي فقال: لعنهم الله إنا لا نخلو من كذاب أو عاجز الرأي، كفانا الله مؤنة كل كذاب و أذاقهم الله حر الحديد

[9/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: Muhammad b. Qulawayh and al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi from Sa’d b. Abdallah from Muhammad b. Khalid al-Tayalisi from Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Najran from Ibn Sinan who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: We the Ahl al-Bayt are always truthful but do not lack a liar lying against us and degrading our truthfulness by his lies to the masses. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was the most truthful of people in speech but Musaylama used to lie about him. The Commander of the Faithful  عليه السلام was the most truthful of men created by Allah after the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم, but the one who used to lie against him and work in negating his truthfulness by forging things against him was Abdallah b. Saba - may Allah curse him. Abu Abdillah al-Husayn b. Ali عليه السلام was put to trial [afflicted] by al-Mukhtar. Then Abu Abdillah mentioned al-Harith the Syrian and Bayan [b. Sam’an] and said: they used to lie upon Ali b. al-Husayn عليه السلام. Then he mentioned al-Mughira b. Sa’id, Bazi`, al-Sarri, Aba al-Khattab, Muammar, Bashshar the barley seller, Hamza the Berber and Sa’id al-Nahdi and said: May Allah curse them - we do not lack a liar or one deficient in intellect [tormenting us]. May Allah suffice us against ever needing the help of any liar and may Allah make them taste the heat of the sword [put them to the sword].


A list of Imams with their corresponding opponents is given in this narration.

Each divinely appointed envoy had enemies who opposed him. This is a dualistic principle attested to in the Qur'an. 

 وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ

“And thus did We assign for every prophet an enemy, the satans from humans and jinn ...” (6:112)

The inescapable conclusion from studying the narration must be that the Ghulat were a perennial bane to all the Imams.

The chain has only been considered unreliable because of Muhammad b. Khalid al-Tayalisi [the father of the Thiqa Abdallah] being Majhul. I would still give it some credence in spite of this. It has wide-reaching ramifications because it identifies Mukhtar b. Abi Ubayda al-Thaqafi as an impostor and the main thorn to al-Husayn’s عليه السلام legacy. A notion that is also found in other narrations.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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3.128. - 3.130. Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hammad Abu Ali al-Mahmudi, his father and al-Bilali



[1/238] رجال الكشي: حكى بعض الثقات بنيسابور: أنه خرج لإسحاق بن إسماعيل من أبي محمد عليه السلام توقيع: ... و يا إسحاق اقرأ كتابنا على البلالي رضي الله عنه فإنه الثقة المأمون العارف بما يجب عليه، و اقرأه على المحمودي عافاه الله فما أحمدنا له لطاعته ...

[1/238] Rijal al-Kashshi: One of the Thiqat in Naysabur relayed that: there came out a signed rescript from Abi Muhammad عليه السلام to Ishaq b. Ismail saying: ... O Ishaq - read this letter of ours to al-Bilali - may Allah be well pleased with him - for he is the Thiqa and trusted one, the one who recognizes what is incumbent on him, and read it too to al-Mahmudi - may Allah grant him health - our praise of him [even in referring to him as al-Mahmudi i.e. the praised one] is because of his obedience …


Abu Tahir Muhammad b. Ali b. Bilal, famously called al-Bilali, was at one point in time a highly trusted agent for al-Askari [as indicated in the above Tawqi].

To get a glimpse of his elevated status one need only note that al‘Askari revealed to alBilali the birth of his son, the Twelfth Imam, not less than two times.

عليّ بن محمّد، عن محمّد بن عليّ بن بلال قال: خرج إليّ من أبي محمّد عليه السّلام قبل مضيّه بسنتين يخبرني بالخلف من بعده، ثمّ خرج إليّ من قبل مضيّه بثلاثة أيام يخبرني بالخلف من بعده.

[al-Kulayni] Ali b. Muhammad from Muhammad b. Ali b. Bilal who said: It came to me [a letter] from Abi Muhammad [al-Askari] عليه السّلام two years before his death [in the year 258] informing me of the identity of the successor after him, then it came out to me three days before his death, informing me of the successor after him.

In spite of this, we have evidence that alBilali went on to deny that Abu Ja’far al-Amri was the Safir of the lesser occultation and claimed the position for himself. He kept the money of the Twelfth Imam in his own hands and refused to relinquish it to Abu Ja’far. al-Bilali’s claim led to a serious split among the Imamis, since a considerable number of them accepted his claim and followed him.

This explains why we find him named together with other disparaged figures in a Tawqi of the Twelfth Imam concerning al-Shalmaghani:

و أعلمهم أنّنا في التوقّي و المحاذرة منه يعني الشلمغاني على مثل ما كنّا عليه ممّن تقدّمه من نظرائه من الشريعي و النميري و الهلالي و البلالي ...

Inform them that we are on guard against him, that is al-Shalmaghani, the same way we were towards those who came before him such as al-Shari`i, al-Numayri, al-Hilali, al-Bilali

al-Tusi reveals in his Ghayba that Abu Ja’far had to arrange a secret meeting with the Twelfth Imam in Baghdad to put an end to the doubts raised by alBilali about his candidacy.

It is because of this that al-Bilali’s life was divided into two phases, as encountered in the terminology used below:

ففي الغيبة: روى الحسين بن روح عن أبي طاهر بن بلال في حال استقامته ...

al-Husayn b. Ruh al-Nawbakhti narrated from Abi Tahir b. Bilal in the period of his steadfastness [i.e. before his deviation] …


 [2/239] رجال الكشي: ابن مسعود، عن أبو علي المحمودي قال: كتب أبو جعفر عليه السلام إلي بعد وفاة أبي: قد مضى أبوك رضي الله عنه و عنك، و هو عندنا على حال محمودة و لم يتعد من تلك الحال

[2/239] Rijal al-Kashshi: Ibn al-Masud from Abu al-Mahmudi who said: Abu Ja’far [al-Jawad] عليه السلام wrote to me after the death of my father: Your father passed away - may Allah be pleased with him and with you - having a praiseworthy position in our estimation, you too are not far-off from that position.


Refer to No. 2/121 and the comments found therein. It was seen that the Imams words of praise in this narration were the basis for the Laqab al-Mahmudi (praiseworthy one) to be applied to Ahmad b. Hammad and his son Abu Ali Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hammad.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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3.131. Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi`



[1/240] تهذيب الاحكام: باسناده عن سعد بن عبدالله عن أحمد بن محمد عن محمد بن اسماعيل ابن بزيع قال سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام ان يأمر لي بقميص أعده لكفني فبعث به إلى فقلت كيف أصنع؟ فقال انزع ازراره

[1/240] Tahdhib al-Ahkam: Via his chain to Sa’d b. Abdallah from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi` who said: I asked Aba Ja’far [al-Jawad] عليه السلام to send me a long shirt [of his] which I could use as my shroud which he proceeded to do. I asked: how should I prepare it? he said: remove its buttons.


The clothes which have touched the holy bodies of the `Aimma were very prized by their Shia for their blessing. Being buried with a relic of the Imam was seen as a safeguard against fire. Not everyone had access to such items apart from the most intimate companions.

Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi` was a companion of Abi al-Hasan Musa عليه السلام and lived to the times of Abi Ja’far al-Jawad عليه السلام

al-Najashi records that Abu al-Abbas b. Sai’d [Ibn Uqda] says in his Ta’rikh that he asked Ali b. al-Hasan [b. Ali b. Fadhal] about his opinion of him [i.e. Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi’] and the latter replied:

ثقة، ثقة عين

Which is the highest grading in terms of Rijal.

أخبرنا والدي رحمه الله، قال: أخبرنا محمد بن علي بن الحسين، قال: حدثنا محمد بن علي ماجيلويه، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن علي بن معبد، عن الحسين بن خالد الصيرفي قال: كنا عند الرضا عليه السلام ونحن جماعة فذكر محمد بن إسماعيل بن بزيع، فقال عليه السلام: وددت أن فيكم مثله

[al-Najashi] My father may Allah have mercy on him – Muhammad b. Ali b. al-Husayn – Muhammad b. Ali b. Majilwayh – Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – Ali b. Ma’bad – al-Husayn b. Khalid al-Sayrafi who said: A group of us were assembled at al-Ridha’s عليه السلام place when Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi` was mentioned so he [the Imam] said: I would love it if there were [more] like him among you.

Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi’ was known for his book on Hajj among other authored works. He occurs in about 229 chains of the narrations found in Wasail al-Shia.

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3.133. Muhammad b. Ismail b. Ja’far al-Sadiq



[-/1] 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

[1/-] 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.


This Muhammad is the seventh “Imam” of the Ismailiyya about whose life very little is known even in their own sources. This narrations fills in some pieces of the puzzle. The picture it reveals is of an ambitious fellow who was instrumental in heightening Harun’s suspicion towards Musa al-Kadhim leading to the latter’s summons, arrest and eventual killing. Muhammad sold his Akhera for the Dunya, despite the Imam supporting him with his own wealth to alleviate his evil and fulfill the ties of kinship. He faced the consequences of this betrayal.

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3.134. Muhammad b. Hukaym



[1/241] رجال الكشي: عن حمدويه، عن محمد بن عيسي، عن يونس، عن حماد قال: كان أبو الحسن عليه السلام يأمر محمد بنحكيم أن يجالس أهل المدينة في مسجد رسول الله صلى الله عليه واله وأن يكلمهم ويخاصمهم حتى كلمهم في صاحب القبر وكان إذا انصرف إليه قال: ما قلت لهم وما قالوا لك ويرضى بذلك منه

[1/241] Rijal al-Kashshi: Hamduwayh from Muhammad b. Isa from Yunus from Hammad who said: Abu al-Hasan عليه السلام used to order Muhammad b. Hukaym to sit with the people of Madina in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله and talk to them and debate with them - such that he even debated with them regarding the companion of the grave [i.e. Abu Bakr] - and when he [Muhammad b. Hukaym] used to go to meet him [the Imam] - he [the Imam] would ask: How did you argue with them [which points did you use]? How did they argue with you? and he used to be pleased with that from him.


Debates required on the spot reasoning. It would be easy to stray from the firm groundings of revelatory knowledge into error. This explains the 'Aimma’s general disapproval  of them. 

The narration confirms however that this was not an absolute stance but that there were some companions like Muhammad b. Hukaym who were allowed to engage in them because of their knowledge [mastery of the subject] and ability to negotiate tricky aspects without contravening Taqiyya. The Imam trusted Muhammad b. Hukaym to represent authentically the Imami positions on a wide range of issues including controversial ones.

This narration had already been numbered before [See: No. 4/69] and should not have been given one here.

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3.135. - 3.138. Muhammad b. Sinan al-Zahiri, Safwan b. Yahya, Zakariyya b. Adam, and Sa’d b. Sa’d



[-/1] رجال الكشي: عن أبي طالب عبد الله بن الصلت القمي قال: دخلت على أبي جعفر الثاني عليه السلام في آخر عمره فسمعته يقول: جزى الله صفوان بن يحيى و محمد بن سنان و زكريا بن آدم عني خيرا فقد وفوا لي و لم يذكر سعد بن سعد، قال: فخرجت فلقيت موفقا، فقلت له: إن مولاي ذكر صفوان و محمد بن سنان و زكريا بن آدم و جزاهم خيرا، و لم يذكر سعد بن سعد قال: فعدت إليه فقال: جزى الله صفوان بن يحيى و محمد بن سنان و زكريا بن آدم و سعد بن سعد عني خيرا فقد وفوا لي

[1/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: From Abi Talib Abdallah b. al-Salt al-Qummi who said: I entered in to see Abi Ja’far the Second [al-Jawad] عليه السلام towards the end of his life. I heard him saying: ‘May Allah grant a goodly recompense to Safwan b. Yahya, Muhammad b. Sinan and Zakariyya b. Adam on my behalf - for they have been loyal to me’, but he did not name Sa’d b. Sa’d. He [Abu Talib] said: I encountered Muwaffaq [a servant of al-Jawad] while leaving and said to him: My master mentioned Safwan, Muhammad b. Sinan and Zakariyya b. Adam supplicating for their good, but he did not name Sa’d b. Sa’d. He [Abu Talib] said: then I returned to him [i.e. the Imam] a second time and he said: ‘May Allah grant a goodly recompense to Safwan b. Yahya, Muhammad b. Sinan, Zakariyya b. Adam and Sa’d b. Sa’d on my behalf - for they have been loyal to me’.


  • Is this narration reliable?

The chain as provided by al-Kashshi contains only the primary narrator [Abu Talib al-Qummi] who is narrating directly from the Imam. Scholars who argue for its reliability [such as al-Khoei among others] contend that the lower part of the chain is identical to the one found in the previous narration [al-Kashshi has been known to truncate his chains in this way].

al-Muhsini does not consider it reliable because he cannot rule out the possibility that it is an entirely independent narration whose narrators are missing. He points to the fact that al-Kashshi begins the chain saying: عن أبي طالب عبد الله بن الصلت القمي instead of وعن أبي طالب. That is, he begins without a connective ‘و’ which you would expect if he wanted to indicate that the second chain is based on the first chain.

  • How do we reconcile the import of the narration with the negative assessment of Muhammad b. Sinan in the books of Rijal?

The narration seems to contain straight-forward praise for the four individuals mentioned. The first thing to note is that all four happen to be Wakils [agents of the Imam].

A similar themed narration which mentions Safwan b. Yahya and Muhammad b. Sinan together puts it as follows:

محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني أحمد بن محمد، عن رجل، عن علي بن الحسين بن داود القمي قال: سمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يذكر صفوان بن يحيى ومحمد بن سنان بخير وقال: رضي الله عنهما برضاي عنهما، فما خالفاني وما خالفا أبي عليه السلام قط

Muhammad b. Masud – Ali b. Muhammad – Ahmad b. Muhammad – a man – Ali b. al-Husayn b. Dawud al-Qummi who said: I heard Aba Ja’farعليه السلام mention Safwan b. Yahya and Muhammad b. Sinan with positive words, and he [the Imam] said: may Allah be pleased with them because of my pleasure with them, for they never disobeyed me or my father ever.

The picture that emerges from both narrations is that these men were loyal agents of the Imam. So far so good, but there follows a parenthetical statement, presumably belonging to al-Kashshi, whose interpretation had always eluded me.

He says:

   بعد ما جاء فيهما ما قد سمعه غير واحد

This [praise] after it had come about them that which was heard by more than one

What had come about them [from the Imam] which was heard by more than one?

An answer to this question was only obtained when parts of the parenthetical statement above was found in another narration, proving the importance of scrutinizing the inter-textuality between narrations [i.e. reading them together].

محمد بن مسعود، قال حدثني علي بن محمد القمي، قال حدثني أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى (عن ابيه محمد بن عيسى القمي) قال: بعث إلي أبو جعفر عليه السلام غلامه و معه كتابه، فأمرني أن أصير إليه فأتيته فهو بالمدينة نازل في دار بزيع، فدخلت عليه و سلمت عليه، فذكر في صفوان و محمد بن سنان و غيرهما مما قد سمعه غير واحد، فقلت في نفسي أستعطفه على زكريا بن آدم لعله أن يسلم مما قال في هؤلاء، ثم رجعت إلى نفسي فقلت من أنا أن أتعرض في هذا و في شبهه مولاي هو أعلم بما يصنع، فقال لي يا أبا علي ليس على مثل أبي يحيى يعجل، و قد كان من خدمته لأبي عليه السلام و منزلته عنده و عندي من بعده، غير أني احتجت إلى المال الذي عنده (فلم يبعث) فقلت جعلت فداك هو باعث إليك بالمال، و قال لي إن وصلت إليه فأعلمه أن الذي منعني من بعث المال اختلاف ميمون و مسافر، فقال احمل كتابي إليه و مره أن يبعث إلي بالمال فحملت كتابه إلى زكريا، فوجه إليه بالمال، قال، فقال لي أبو جعفر عليه السلام ابتداء منه ذهبت الشبهة ما لأبي ولد غيري فقلت صدقت جعلت فداك

Muhammad b. Masud – Ali b. Muhammad al-Qummi – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa – his father Muhammad b. Isa al-Qummi who said: Abu Ja’far [al-Jawad] عليه السلام sent a servant to me with a letter ordering me to go to him. I came to him while he was in Madina residing in the house of Bazi`. I entered in to see him and greeted him. He [the Imam] spoke about Safwan, Muhammad b. Sinan and others in the way which more than one had heard from him. I said to myself:  I will try to excuse Zakariyya b. Adam so that he may be saved from being included in that which he says about these others. Then I reproached myself saying: who am I to intervene in this matter and its like, my master is more aware of what he is doing. He [the Imam] said to me: O Aba Ali, the likes of Abi Yahya [Zakariyya] are not to be hurried [in normal circumstances], for he has a long record of serving my father and had an esteemed status with him, and with me after him, but I have a need of the money which is with him [but he hasn’t sent it]. I [Muhammad] said: may I be made your ransom, he is sending you the amount! he [Zakariyya] had said to me ‘if you reach him [the Imam] then inform him that the thing which prevented me from sending the money to him [before] was the controversy between Maymun and Musafir [two servants of the Imam]’. He [the Imam] said: carry this letter of mine to him and order him to send me the amount. I carried his letter to Zakariyya and he went on to send him the amount. He [Muhammad] said: Abu Ja’far عليه السلام also said to me without my prompting him: the doubt has abated, my father did not have any other son except me, I said: you have spoken the truth may I be made your ransom.   

The narration holds the key to unlocking the whole puzzle by providing context for the Imam’s praise of Muhammad b. Sinan and the others. It becomes clear that the Imam was initially angry at Muhammad b. Sinan, Safwan b. Yahya and the other agents including Zakariyya because of their delay in sending him the collected amount. This is why Muhammad b. Isa al-Qummi wanted to intervene to defend Zakariyya [who happens to be his relative] and make an excuse for him. al-Kashshi’s motive to include the parenthetical statement was to note that the praise of the Imam was coming after what had come before i.e. criticism from the Imam ‘which had been heard by more than one’.

The historical context shows that Imam al-Jawad assumed the position of Imama at a very young age and there was controversy about his succession. Furthermore, the Imam was called away to the court of Ma’mun in Baghdad and returned to Madina many years later. Throughout this period, the Wikala continued its activities as independently as it could. Many agents had got used to the long years of relative non-interference and did not want to relinquish their autonomy.

When the Imam was allowed to return to Madina he wished to assume full command of the machinery and demanded his dues from Safwan b. Yahya, Muhammad b. Sinan and the other agents. They were tardy in meeting this instruction. This led to the Imam’s criticism of them at first, but they soon sent it to the Imam who became pleased with their conduct. Since the companions took the words of the Imam very seriously, his initial criticism became widespread, and the Imam had to go out of his way to praise them to show that they had not rebelled outright. 

Thus, the narrations of praise have to be understood in the context of rapprochement between al-Jawad and his Wukala who ultimately proved loyal to him.

Confirmation that the Imam was initially displeased with these agents is found in another narration:

حدثني محمد بن قولويه، قال: حدثني سعد، عن أحمد بن هلال، عن محمد بن إسماعيل بن بزيع أن أبا جعفر عليه السلام كان يخبرني بلعن صفوان ابن يحيى، ومحمد بن سنان فقال: إنهما خالفا أمري، وقال: فلما كان من قابل قال أبو جعفر عليه السلام لمحمد بن سهل البحراني: تول صفوان بن يحيى ومحمد بن سنان فقد رضيت عنهما

Muhammad b. Qulawayh – Sa’d – Ahmad b. Hilal – Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi` that: Abu Ja’far عليه السلام used to inform me about his cursing of Safwan b. Yahya and Muhammad b. Sinan and say: they disobeyed my command. He [Muhammad b. Ismail b. Bazi`] said: when it was a new year Abu Ja’far عليه السلام said to Muhammad b. Sahl al-Bahrani: associate [consider your ally] with Safwan b. Yahya and Muhammad b. Sinan for I am pleased with them. 

In conclusion, the Imam’s subsequent praise of Muhammad b. Sinan and the other agents should be seen solely in context of their obedience in delivering the dues after an initial delay. It has nothing to do with their status as narrators. Trying to exonerate the weak status of Muhammad b. Sinan [as found in the books of Rijal] on the basis of this narration is misplaced. Being a loyal Wakil does not necessitate being a reliable narrator, especially if one is accused of lying and Ghulu.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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3.139. - 3.140. Muhammad b. Salih b. Muhammad al-Hamdani al-Wakil al-Dihqan and his father



[-/1] رجال الكشي: حكى بعض الثقات بنيسابور أنه خرج لإسحاق بن اسماعيل من أبي محمد عليه السّلام توقيع: يا اسحاق بن اسماعيل سترنا اللّه و اياك بستره ... فإذا وردت بغداد فاقرأه على الدهقان وكيلنا و ثقتنا و الذي يقبض من موالينا ...

[1/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: One of the trustworthy narrators in Naysabur reported that a Tawqi [signed rescript] came out addressed to Ishaq b. Ismail from Abi Muhammad عليه السلام saying: O Ishaq b. Ismail, may Allah protect both you and us with His protection … so when you reach Baghdad then read it [this Tawqi] to al-Dihqan, our Wakil [agent], our Thiqa [trustworthy one], and the one who receives from our followers [the dues] …


This narration has already come under Urwa b. Yahya al-Nakhkhas. It is being repeated here because it is not clear whether the al-Dihqan mentioned references Urwa or Muhammad b. Salih, both of whom were Wukala and shared the same descriptor.

al-Muhsini assumes that it is Muhammad thereby establishing his Wathaqa. He is then free to accept Muhammad’s personal testimony as in the two narrations below.


[2/242] الكافي: علي بن محمد، عن محمد بن صالح قال: لما مات أبي وصار الامر لي، كان لابي على الناس سفاتج من مال الغريم، فكتبت إليه اعلمه فكتب: طالبهم واستقض عليهم، فقضاني الناس إلا رجل واحد كانت عليه سفتجة بأربعمائة دينار فجئت إليه اطالبه فماطلني واستخف بي ابنه وسفه علي، فشكوت إلى أبيه فقال: وكان ماذا؟ فقبضت على لحتيه وأخذت برجله وسحبته إلى وسط الدار وركلته ركلا كثيرا، فخرج ابنه يستغيث بأهل بغداد ويقول: قمي رافضي قد قتل والدي، فاجتمع علي منهم الخلق فركبت دابتي وقلت: أحسنتم يا أهل بغداد تميلون مع الظالم على الغريب المظلوم، أنا رجل من أهل همدان من أهل السنة وهذا ينسبني إلى أهل قم والرفض ليذهب بحقي ومالي، قال: فمالوا عليه وأرادوا أن يدخلوا على حانوته حتى سكنتهم وطلب إلي صاحب السفتجة وحلف بالطلاق أن يوفيني مالي حتى أخرجتهم عنه

[2/242] al-Kafi: Ali b. Muhammad from Muhammad b. Salih who said: When my father died and the matter [i.e. Wikala] devolved to me - I found to have been in his possession bills of exchange [given] by some people [instead of money] as part of the wealth owed to al-Gharim [i.e. the Twelfth Imam]. I wrote to him [the Imam] informing him of that so he wrote: ‘Seek them out and demand  payment from them’. All of them paid me except a single individual who had a bill worth four hundred gold coins. I went to him to request it [the amount] but he put me off [sought postponement] while his son made light of me and ridiculed me. I complained to his father but he said: What was that? I grabbed his beard, took hold of him by his legs and dragged him to the middle of the house and began kicking him quite a number of times. His son came out shouting for help from the people of Baghdad saying: A Qummi Rafidhi has killed my father! A large number of them gathered around me so I got on my horse and said [sarcastically]: Well done O people of Baghdad! You side with the oppressor against an oppressed stranger! I am a man from the people of Hamadan and of the Ahl al-Sunnah, this one is ascribing me to the people of Qum and Rafdh as a pretext to usurp my rights and wealth. He said: they [the crowd] turned against him and wanted to enter his shop until I quietened them down. The man whose bill of exchange it was sought me out and swore at the point of divorce that he will return the wealth to me if I could take them away from him.


al-Gharim was a code-word for the Twelfth Imam. It was widely used by the Shia instead of the personal name to keep the Imam's identity secret for the purposes of Taqiyya [Refer to al-Mufid in his Irshad]. Al-Gharim literally means the one who owes a debt [creditor], the twelfth Imam was given this name because to him belongs a portion of the wealth of the Shia e.g. Khums etc. Note how strongly Qum was linked to Rafdh even in that time. Muhammad b. Salih did not lie but made Tawriyya for he was originally from Hamdan and we the Shia are the true followers of the Sunna.


[3/243] كمال الدين: أبي و ابن الوليد معا، عن الحميري، عن محمد بن صالح الهمداني قال: کتبت إلي صاحب الزمان عليه السلام إن أهل بيتي يؤذونني و يقرعونني بالحديث المروي عن آبائک عليهم السلام أنهم قالوا: قوامنا و خدامنا شرار خلق الله فکتب عليه السلام: ويحکم أما قرأتم قول الله عز و جل وَ جَعَلْنا بَيْنَهُمْ وَ بَيْنَ الْقُرَى الَّتِي بارَكْنا فِيها قُرىً ظاهِرَةً و نحن و الله القري التي بارک الله فيها و أنتم القري الظاهرة

[3/243] Kamal al-Diin: My father and Ibn al-Walid together from al-Himyari from Muhammad b. Salih al-Hamdani who said: I wrote to the Master of the Age عليه السلام: the people of my household disturb and rebuke me using the narration narrated on the authority of your forefathers that they said: ‘Our managers [who oversee the wealth i.e. agents] and servants are the worst creatures of Allah’. He wrote: Woe be upon you! have you not read the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “and We placed between them and the cities which We had blessed [many] visible cities” (34:18) – We are by Allah the cities that Allah has blessed and you [i.e. our agents] are the cities that are visible.   


While it is undeniable that proximity to power and influence corrupted a number of the Wukala of the Imam, who became deceived by this lowly world and sold guidance to buy perdition, not all of them succumbed in this way. There was a core of very faithful servants of the ‘Aimma who served them loyally, achieving through this an incomparable status. As the Imam points out using an allegorical interpretation of a Qur’anic verse, if the Imams are the ‘blessed cities’ then they need interfaces through whom they can get their message across to the believers, these are the ‘cities which are visible’, the agents who perform the irreplaceable work of taking their teaching to the laity.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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