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In the Name of God بسم الله
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, The Greatest Companion of the Two Imams
يقول لك جعفر بن محمد: ما حملك على أن رددت شهادة رجل أعرف بأحكام الله منك و أعلم بسيرة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم منك
Ja’far b. Muhammad says to you - what made you reject the witness of a man [i.e. Muhammad b. Muslim] who is more aware of the Ahkam of Allah than you and more knowledgeable about the Sirah of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم than you!? [Imam al-Sadiq challenging Ibn Abi Layla who was the Qadhi of Kufa]
فما يمنعك من محمد بن مسلم الثقفي فإنه قد سمع من أبي و كان عنده وجيها
What prevents you from [going to] Muhammad b. Muslim al-Thaqafi - for he had heard [narrations] from my father and had a most favorable position with him [Imam al-Sadiq answering Abdallah b. Abi Ya’fur who had asked for a reference point to ask questions to when he cannot meet the Imam directly]
فقال: الثقفي الطويل اللحية ؟ فقلنا: نعم قال: أما إنه لقد كان مأمونا على الحديث و لكن كانوا يقولون إنه خشبي
He said: al-Thaqafi - the one with the long beard? We said: Yes. He said: as for him - then - he was trusted in the matter of Hadith, but they used to say that he is a Khashshabi (derogatory term for Shi’as) [Sharik voices his opinion of Muhammad b. Muslim inadvertently revealing the size of his beard]
The Greatest Companion of the Two Imams
If someone were to ask the question: Who was the greatest companion of the two Imams al-Baqir and al-Sadiq? What would be the answer?
The Big Four
The starting point has to be four individuals.
حمدويه، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، عن سليمان بن خالد الأقطع قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: ما أحد أحيا ذكرنا و أحاديث أبي عليه السلام إلا زرارة و أبو بصير ليث المرادي و محمد بن مسلم و بريد بن معاوية العجلي و لو لا هؤلاء ما كان أحد يستنبط هذا، هؤلاء حفاظ الدين و أمناء أبي عليه السلام على حلال الله و حرامه، و هم السابقون إلينا في الدنيا و السابقون إلينا في الآخرة
Sulayman b. Khalid al-Aqta said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: There is no one who has enlivened our remembrance and the narrations of my father عليه السلام except for Zurara, Abu Basir Layth al-Muradi, Muhammad b. Muslim and Burayd b. Muawiya al-Ijli. If it wasn’t for them then there wouldn’t be anyone who could derive these [i.e. the Ahkam]. They are the protectors of the religion and the trustees of my father عليه السلام upon the Halal of Allah and His Haram. They are the foremost to us in this world, and the foremost to us in the hereafter.
حمدويه بن نصير، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن جميل بن دراج قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: بشر المخبتين بالجنة بريد بن معاوية العجلي و أبو بصير ليث بن البختري المرادي و محمد بن مسلم و زرارة، أربعة نجباء أمناء الله على حلاله و حرامه، لو لا هؤلاء انقطعت آثار النبوة و اندرست
Jamil b. Darraj said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام say: Give glad tidings of paradise to the humble - Burayd b. Muawiya al-Ijli, Abu Basir Layth b. al-Bukhtari al-Muradi, Muhammad b. Muslim and Zurara. Four noble-ones and trustees of Allah upon his Halal and Haram. If it wasn’t for them the traces of prophethood would have perished and been destroyed.
حمدويه، عن محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد و يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن أبي العباس البقباق عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام أنه قال: أربعة أحب الناس إلي أحياء و أمواتا، بريد بن معاوية العجلي و زرارة بن أعين و محمد بن مسلم و أبو جعفر الأحول، أحب الناس إلي أحياء و أمواتا
Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: The most beloved persons to me - whether alive or dead - are four: Burayd b. Muawiya al-Ijli, Zurara b. A’yan, Muhammad b. Muslim and Abu Ja’far al-Ahwal. They are the most beloved persons to me - alive or dead.
If one wishes to narrow it down further then it has to be between Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim. This is because of their prodigious scholarly output.
With close to two thousand reports quoted on his authority in the four main collections of Shi‘ite Hadıth and many more in others, Muhammad b. Muslim was one of the most prolific transmitters of Shi‘ite Hadıth. This is why he was unanimously considered as one of the Ashab al-Ijma [‘People about whom there is consensus’].
قال أبو أحمد: فسمعت عبد الرحمن بن الحجاج و حماد بن عثمان يقولان: ما كان أحد من الشيعة أفقه من محمد بن مسلم
Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj and Hammad b. Uthman said: there was no one from the Shia more knowledgeable (in the Diin) than Muhammad b. Muslim.
His knowledge was not of the theoretical type, which in any case is not true knowledge, but of the type which is translated into action.
وقيل: إنه كان من العباد في زمانه
It is said that he was one of the greatest worshippers of his time.
His full name was Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Muslim b. Rabah (d. 150 AH, when he was about seventy years old). From Kufa. A Miller. The Client of Thaqif [a tribe based in Ta’if]. He was One-eyed.
al-Najashi says about him:
وجه أصحابنا بالكوفة، فقيه، ورع، صحب أبا جعفر وأبا عبد الله عليهما السلام، وروى عنهما، وكان من أوثق الناس
The eminent head of our companions in Kufa. Jurisprudent. Pious. He attached himself to Aba Ja’far and Aba Abdillah عليهما السلامand narrated from them. He was the most trustworthy of people.
Long Period of Study
Muhammad b. Muslim says about his tutelage under the Imams:
حدثني حمدويه بن نصير، قال: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، عن ياسين الضرير البصري، عن حريز، عن محمد بن مسلم قال: ما شجر في رأيي شئ قط إلا سألت عنه أبا جعفر عليه السلام، حتى سألته عن ثلاثين ألف حديث، وسألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن ستة عشر ألف حديث
Nothing crossed my mind except that I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام about it, until I had asked him about thirty thousand narrations. I also asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about sixteen thousand narrations.
قال محمد بن مسعود، حدثني علي بن محمد، قال حدثني محمد بن أحمد، عن عبد الله بن أحمد الرازي، عن بكر بن صالح، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، قال: أقام محمد بن مسلم بالمدينة أربع سنين يدخل على أبي جعفر عليه السلام يسأله، ثم كان يدخل على جعفر بن محمد يسأله
Hisham bin Salim said: Muhammad b. Muslim stayed in Madina for four years entering upon Abi Ja’far عليه السلام and asking him questions, then he used to enter upon Ja'far b. Muhammad عليه السلام to ask him.
Why Choose to be a Miller?
Muhammad b. Muslim chose the lowly profession of a miller not because of any material need, but because of the Imam’s command to ‘humble himself’. The Imam advised him to do this because he knew that his great knowledge combined with affluence could make him arrogant.
قال أبو النضر: سألت عبد الله بن محمد بن خالد عن محمد بن مسلم فقال: كان رجلا شريفا موسرا، فقال له أبو جعفر عليه السلام: تواضع يا محمد، فلما انصرف إلى الكوفة أخذ قوصرة من تمر مع الميزان، وجلس على باب المسجد الجامع، وصار (جعل) ينادي عليه، فأتاه قومه فقالوا له: فضحتنا، فقال: إن مولاي أمرني بأمر فلن أخالفه ولن أبرح حتى أفرغ من بيع ما في هذه القوصرة، فقال له قومه: إذا أبيت إلا أن تشتغل ببيع وشراء فاقعد في الطحانين، فهيأ رحا وجملا وجعل يطحن
Abu al-Nadhr said: I asked Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Khalid [al-Tayalisi] about Muhammad b. Muslim - he said: He was a noble and wealthy man so Abu Ja’far عليه السلام said to him: ‘humble yourself O Muhammad’, so when he returned to Kufa he took a date-basket and a weighing scale and sat down at the door of the central mosque and began calling out [for people to come buy]. His tribesmen came to him and said to him: You have disgraced us! He said: My master has ordered me [to do something] so I will not disobey him nor will I depart until I finish selling what is in this basket. His tribesmen said to him: If you refuse giving up buying and selling then at least sit together with the millers [a more respectable profession], so he prepared a mill-stone and a camel and began grinding.
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Did the Sahaba become Kafir?
هلك الناس أجمعون قلت: من في الشرق و من في الغرب؟ قال: فقال: إنها فتحت على الضلال
All the people were destroyed. I said: whomever was in the east and the west? he said: it (the whole earth) was opened up to misguidance
هلكوا إلا ثلاثة ثم لحق أبو ساسان و عمار و شتيرة و أبو عمرة فصاروا سبعة
All were destroyed except three - then they were joined by Abu Sasan, Ammar, Shatira and Abu Amra, so they became seven [Ja`far al-Sadiq]
Did the Sahaba Apostatize?
There are narrations which indicate that all the companions were destroyed except three, these were then joined by four others, so they became seven who were saved. However, most of the scholars have understood this Halak [destruction] to be that of Dhalal [misguidance] i.e. perished in Salvific terms, not Kufr [disbelief] - which is the opposite of Islam.
Who are the three?
They are the pillars of the Madhhab. They are explicitly named in some of the narrations below:
أبي بصير قال: قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: ارتد الناس إلا ثلاثة: أبو ذر، و سلمان، و المقداد؟ قال: فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: فأين أبو ساسان، و أبو عمرة الأنصاري؟
[al-Kashshi] Abi Basir said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام: all the people turned back except for three - Abu Dhar, Salman and Miqdad? Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: so where is Abu Sasan and Abu Amra al-Ansari?!
أبي بكر الحضرمى قال: قال أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ارتد الناس إلاثلاثة نفر سلمان وأبو ذر والمقداد. قال: قلت: فعمّار؟ قال عليه السلام: قد كان جاض جيضة ثم رجع ... ثم أناب الناس بعد فكان أول من أناب أبو ساسان الانصاري وأبوعمرة وشتيرة وكانوا سبعة فلم يكن يعرف حق أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام إلاّ هؤلاء السبعة
[al-Kashshi] Abi Bakr al-Hadhrami said: Abu Ja`far عليه السلام said: the people turned back except three individuals - Salman, Abu Dhar and Miqdad, I said: what about Ammar? He عليه السلام said: he wobbled a bit then he returned [to the truth] … then the people repented after that, so the first ones to return [to the truth] were Abu Sasan al-Ansari, Abu Amra, Shatira, and they became seven, none recognized the right of the commander of the faithful عليه السلام except these seven.
'then the people repented after that, so the first ones ...' This shows that it was not just these seven, rather, these were the foremost of them. علي بن أبي طالب عليهم السلام قال: خلقت الارض لبسبعة بهم ترزقون وبهم تنصرون وبهم تمطرون منهم سلمان الفارسي والمقداد وأبو ذر وعّمار وحذيفة رحمة اللّه عليهم. وكان علي عليه السلام يقول: وأنا إمامهم وهم الذين صلوا على فاطمة صلوات الله عليها
[al-Ikhtisas] Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام said: the earth was created for seven, because of them you are given sustenance, and because of them you are assisted, and because of them is rain made to fall on you, among them are Salman al-Farsi and al-Miqdad and Abu Dhar and Ammar and Hudhayfa - may Allah have mercy on them. Ali عليه السلام used to say: and I am their Imam, and they are the ones who prayed [Salat al-Mayyit] upon Fatima صلوات الله عليها
The Three had a higher status than the Four
حمران قال: قلت لأبي جعفر عليه السلام: ما أقلنا لو اجتمعنا على شاة ما أفنيناها قال: فقال: ألا أخبرك بأعجب من ذلك قال: فقلت: بلى قال: المهاجرون و الأنصار ذهبوا إلا (و أشار بيده) ثلاثة
[al-Kashshi] Humran said: I said to Abi Ja’far عليه السلام - how few we (the Shias) are! if we gather to eat a sheep we will not be able to finish it, he (Humran) said: so he عليه السلام said: should I not inform you of something even more bewildering? he (Humran) said: I said: yes (do so), he said: the Muhajirun and the Ansar all diverted (i.e. went astray) except for - and he gestured with his hand - three.
In al-Kulayni’s variant the narration continues:
قال حمران: فقلت: جعلت فداك ما حال عمار؟ قال: رحم الله عمارا أبا اليقظان بايع وقتل شهيدا، فقلت في نفسي: ما شئ أفضل من الشهادة فنظر إلي فقال: لعلك ترى أنه مثل الثلاثة أيهات أيهات
Humran said: may I be made your ransom - what is the status of Ammar? He said: may Allah have mercy on Ammar Aba al-Yaqdhan, he pledged allegiance and died a martyr, I said in my heart: what thing is better than martyrdom, so he [the Imam] looked at me and said: perhaps you think that he [Ammar] is like the three [in status], how far! how far! [from truth that opinion is].
Does this mean all others became apostates?
The crux is the meaning of Ridda (ردّة) in these narrations. Whether it is to be understood in a linguistic sense or the technical sense of apostasy. If the latter is taken then it means all the Sahaba became Kafir [out of Islam] for not sticking to Ali.
Irtidad in the linguistic sense refers to ‘turning back from something’. It has been used with this meaning in a number of verses such as:
فَلَمَّا أَن جَاء الْبَشِيرُ أَلْقَاهُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فَارْتَدَّ بَصِيرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
(i) So when the caravan herald [fore-runner] came he threw it on his face so he returned to seeing, he said: did I not say to you that I know from Allah what ye do not (12:96)
قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ
(ii) The one who had knowledge of a part of the Book said: I will bring it to you before your glance returns back to you [i.e. you blink and open your eyes again] (27:40)
مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لاَ يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاء
(iii) Racing ahead, their heads bowed down, their glances not returning back to them [i.e. unblinking] and their hearts void (14:43)
Whenever Irtidad from the Diin - ‘turning back’ from the Diin i.e. apostasy in the technical sense is meant, the Qur`an qualifies it by explicitly mentioning Diin.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ
(i) O you who believe, whoever turns back from his Diin from among you then Allah will bring about a people whom He loves and they love Him (5:54)
وَمَن يَرْتَدِدْ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَيَمُتْ وَهُوَ كَافِرٌ فَأُوْلَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ
(ii) And whoever among you turns back on his Diin and dies whilst being a Kafir then those are they whose deeds have been nullified in the world and the hereafter (2:217)
It is clear that the narrations about the Irtidad of the Sahaba are not qualified by Diin. To understand that meaning from it would require further proof.
The Chosen Interpretation
The Irtidad in the narrations should be understood [in light of other narrations] as people turning away, after the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله, from what they had made incumbent on themselves in his صلى الله عليه وآله lifetime, when they gave the Bay`a to Ali b. Abi Talib as the leader of the believers i.e. Irtidad from Wilaya not apostasy from Islam.
Instead, they decided to give the Bay`a to someone else because of expediency and other reasons. This was a betrayal of epic proportions that opened up the door of misguidance and innovation in the Diin, however, they had not exited the apparent Islam, nor were all on the same level of liability for this.
This interpretation is aided by the following texts:
أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: كان الناس أهل ردة بعد النبي صلى الله عليه وآله إلا ثلاثة. فقلت: ومن الثلاثة؟ فقال: المقداد بن الأسود، وأبو ذر الغفاري، وسلمان الفارسي، رحمة الله وبركاته عليهم، ثم عرَف أناسٌ بعدَ يسير. وقال: هؤلاء الذين دارت عليهم الرحا وأبوا أن يبايعوا، حتى جاؤوا بأمير المؤمنين مكرَهاً فبايع، وذلك قوله تعالى: وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
(i) [al-Kafi] Abi Ja`far عليه السلام said: the people were the people of Ridda after the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله except three. I said: who are the three? He said: al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad, Abu Dhar al-Ghiffari and Salman al-Farsi, may Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon them, then the people came to know after a while [the truth], these [three] are those around whom the banner revolved and they refused to give Bay`a [to Abu Bakr], until when they brought the commander of the faithful عليه السلام by coercion and he gave the pledge of allegiance, and that is His words the Elevated - “Muhammad is not but a messenger, messengers have come and gone before him, if he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heels, and whoever turns back on his heels then he will not harm Allah a thing and Allah will recompense those who are grateful” (3:144).
The narration indicates that the uniqueness of the three was that they did not give the Bay`a to the usurper because of knowing the true status of Ali, it was only when Ali was forced to give the Bay`a, and he did [for the Masliha which Allah willed], that the three also agreed to do it. The meaning of 'then the people came to know after a while ...' is that some people recognized their fault, and acknowledged that the commander of the faithful was the most rightful person to assume leadership. That all the others apart from the three were paralyzed by fear is shown in the narration below:
أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: جاء المهاجرون والأنصار وغيرهم بعد ذلك إلى علي عليه السلام فقالوا له: أنت والله أمير المؤمنين وأنت والله أحق الناس وأولاهم بالنبي عليه السلام هلم يدك نبايعك فوالله لنموتن قدامك! فقال علي عليه السلام: ان كنتم صادقين فاغدوا غدا علي محلقين فحلق علي عليه السلام وحلق سلمان وحلق مقداد وحلق أبو ذر ولم يحلق غيرهم؛ ثم انصرفوا فجاؤوا مرة أخرى بعد ذلك، فقالوا له أنت والله أمير المؤمنين وأنت أحق الناس وأولاهم بالنبي عليه السلام عليه السلام هلم يدك نبايعك فحلفوا فقال: إن كنتم صادقين فاغدوا علي محلقين فما حلق إلا هؤلاء الثلاثة قلت: فما كان فيهم عمار؟ فقال: لا؛ قلت: فعمار من أهل الردة؟ فقال: إنّ عمارا قد قاتل مع علي عليه السلام بعد ذلك
(ii) [al-Kashshi] Abi Ja`far عليه السلام said: the Muhajirun and Ansar and others came after that [the coup at Saqifa] to Ali عليه السلام and said to him: you are by Allah the commander of the faithful, and you are by Allah the most rightful person and closest to the prophet, put forth your hand so that we can pledge allegiance to you, for by Allah we are going to die in front of you [in your defense], Ali said: if you are truthful then come to me tomorrow having shaved your head [which would visually identify the ‘rebels’ to the authorities], so Ali shaved, so did Salman, Miqdad and Abu Dhar, and no one else did, then they came a second time after the first and said: you are by Allah the most rightful person and closest to the prophet, put forth your hand so that we can pledge allegiance to you, and they swore an oath, he said: come to me tomorrow having shaved your head if you are truthful, so no one shaved except three. I said: Ammar was not among them? He said: No, I said: Ammar is from the people of Ridda? He said: Ammar fought together with Ali after that.
This reaffirms that the uniqueness of the three is related to them not giving in and remaining with Ali to the end as far as his right is concerned. Note also how Ammar is not included among the Ahl al-Ridda, even in a historical sense, because of his later support for Ali. In fact, one of the reasons behind Ali accepting to give Bay`a after his show of dissent was so that the masses do not renounce the faith totally. Recall that the Islamic polity was still unstable and there were a lot of Arab tribes whose allegiance had been personally to the prophet and not the Diin per se, the Jahiliyya was not far from their psyche.
أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: إن الناس لما صنعوا ما صنعوا إذ بايعوا أبا بكر لم يمنع أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام من أن يدعو إلى نفسه إلا نظرا للناس و تخوفا عليهم أن يرتدوا عن الاسلام فيعبدوا الاوثان ولا يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وكان الاحب إليه أن يقرهم على ما صنعوا من أن يرتدوا عن جميع الاسلام وإنما هلك الذين ركبوا ما ركبوا فأما من لم يصنع ذلك ودخل فيما دخل فيه الناس على غير علم ولا عداوة لامير المؤمنين عليه السلام فإن ذلك لا يكفره ولا يخرجه من الاسلام ولذلك كتم علي عليه السلام أمره وبايع مكرها حيث لم يجد أعوانا
(iii) [al-Kafi] Abu Ja'farعليه السلام said: When the people did what they did - when they gave allegiance to Abu Bakr, nothing prevented the commander of the faithful عليه السلام from calling to himself (i.e. gather support to rival them publicly) except his fear for the people - that they would apostate from Islam, and begin worshiping the idols anew, and reject witnessing that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger; and it was more beloved to him to acquiesce to what they had done rather than them apostatizing from the whole of Islam. Verily, those who clambered upon this (opposing Ali for rulership) have been destroyed. As for the one who did not contribute anything to that (opposing Ali for rulership) and entered into what the people entered into without knowledge (about his status) nor enmity towards him then this act of his does not make him a disbeliever, and it does not remove him from Islam, and this is why Ali kept quiet about his matter (status), and gave allegiance while displeased, when he could not find any supporters.
The narration makes it clear that had the Imam fought for his leadership i.e. a civil war it would cause irreparable damage, this is because of the tenuous position that Islam had, even the outward Islam (the Islam of the Shahadatyn) would have been wiped out. There were a lot of external and internal enemies waiting for this infighting to make sure that the whole foundation of Islam crumbles.
The Umma became, for the most part, misguided after their prophet. This is something that had also happened to the communities of past prophets. But this misguidance should not be understood to have taken all of them out of Islam as a whole, rather, by ignoring a central commandment of the prophet they have done a great sin which struck a blow to the pristine Islam.
Furthermore, the protagonists differ relative to their role in the fiasco. Some were quite unaware of the whole thing and lacked full knowledge of the Haqq of Ali and his Ma`rifa, this could be because they were blind to the order of the prophet (total ignorance); had some doubts; did not have the ability to influence the outcome because of some constraints [swept away by the wave of events]; or because they showed cowardice and faltered in coming to Ali’s aid. Others later acknowledged their mistake and made up for it in the following years. All these in their different categories can be said to be the majority. Their fate in the next world of “realities” is left to Allah
On the other hand, there were those who administered the whole thing. They had full knowledge of what the prophet had ordered them and what the divine commandment required them to do. They also knew the position of Ali. Despite this, they fought against this explicitly. These are those who should be treated as apparent Muslims in the daily life in this world [according to most scholars]. This is, after all, how Ali himself treated them, praying in their mosques, visiting them in sickness, helping them out when they faced challenges, eating with them etc. part of which is Taqiyya and safeguarding the greater principles of Islam, but they are undoubtedly people of the fire in the next world.
Note that this interpretation is dependent on the position of differentiating between the Dharuriyat of the Diin and that of the Madhhab and considering the Shahdatayn alone to be enough in making someone a Muslim [unless taken out for some other reason]. Whilst this is a popular position among scholars today, it has had its detractors among the scholars of the past, one of them being someone like Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani, who considered the rejectors of the Wilaya as Kafirs with the fullest implication this has [even in this world].
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Distress Sales
المسلم أخو المسلم لا يظلمه ولا يخذله، إن كان عندك معروف، فعد به على أخيك
وإلا فلا تزده هلاكا إلى هلاكه
The Muslim is a brother of a Muslim, he is not unfair with him nor does he cheat him,
If you want to make him a good turn then hand it over to your brother, and if not then do not contribute to his financial destruction [The Messenger of God]
The Real Wolves of Wall-Street Pt. II
« ويبايع المضطر – وقد نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عن بيع المضطر »
<< deals are conducted with the one in distress, while the messenger of Allah prohibited transaction with the one in distress >>
Al-Tusi narrates from al-Sadiq a similar narration:
يأتي على الناس زمان عضوض يعضّ كلّ امرئ على ما في يديه ، و ينسى الفضل ، و قد قال تعالى و لا تنسوا الفضل بينكم ثمّ ينبري في ذلك الزمان أقوام يبايعون المضطرين اولئك هم شرار الناس
There will come upon people a severe age wherein every man will cling to what is in his hand, and forget giving, while Allah the Exalted said: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves” (2:237), then will arise in that age groups who will conduct business deals with the distressed and they are the worst of the people.
Some scholars have tried to interpret مضطر which I have rendered as ‘distressed’ to be مكره that is ‘compelled’ [to buy or sell]. They claim that it is this latter (compelling someone to buy or sell something) which is forbidden because all transactions must be entered in with full consent. They point out that even if someone is in distress it is still his decision to engage in the transaction.
But I consider this to be a limited definition restricting the range of the narration’s applicability, rather, I would say that the مضطر in the context of the society which these narrations describe and the stinginess they attribute to the wealthy - should be taken to mean those whom economical forces (completely out of their hands) exploit and make desperate enough to do anything including allowing the sharks to come out and take advantage of them.
Distress sale is particularly associated with not being able to cover mortgage payments and foreclosures. There are some who are always on the lookout for such deals. In fact they openly brag about finding such deals:
“The main reason to buy a distressed property is the price. In most cases, a foreclosure or short sale will be priced below market value, the valuation of the asset is artificial because it was not sold under open and competitive market conditions. From the buyer's perspective, however, property that is sold in a distressed sale can present an opportunity to purchase the asset at a substantial discount to market prices”.
Another example which is relevant to our modern age and would fall under the spirit of this Hadith is Big Pharma. Many of these global corporations hike up the prices of important and life-saving drugs to developing countries which cannot afford them. We have psychopathic CEO’s who claim to care only about the balance sheet and answerable only to the shareholders with no shred of mercy in their hearts, while the sick have no option but to pay up.
This interpretation is backed up by narrations such as the one found below:
إسماعيل بن عبد الله القرشي قال: أتى إلى أبي عبد الله عليه السلام رجل فقال له: يا ابن رسول الله رأيت في منامي كأني خارج من مدينة الكوفة في موضع أعرفه وكان شبحا من خشب أو رجلا منحوتا من خشب على فرس من خشب يلوح بسيفه وأنا أشاهده، فزعا مرعوبا فقال له عليه السلام: أنت رجل تريد اغتيال رجل في معيشته، فاتق الله الذي خلقك ثم يميتك فقال الرجل: أشهد أنك قد أوتيت علما واستنبطه من معدنه اخبرك يا ابن رسول الله عما فسرت لي إن رجلا من جيراني جاءني وعرض علي ضيعته فهممت أن أملكها بوكس كثير لما عرفت أنه ليس لها طالب غيري فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: وصاحبك يتولانا ويبرأ عدونا ؟ فقال: نعم يا ابن رسول الله رجل جيد البصيرة مستحكم الدين وأنا تائب إلى الله عز وجل وإليك مما هممت به ونويته فأخبرني يا ابن رسول الله لو كان ناصبا حل لي اغتياله فقال: أد الأمانة لمن ائتمنك وأراد منك النصيحة ولو إلى قاتل الحسين عليه السلام
Ismail b. Abdallah al-Qarashi who said: a man came to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said: O the son of the messenger of Allah I saw in a dream as though I am outside the town of Kufa in a place which I know, and there was something like an apparition made of wood or a man carved out of wood on a wooden horse brandishing his sword while I look on in fright and terror, so he عليه السلام said to him: you are a someone who wants to cheat a man out of his livelihood so be fearful of Allah who created you and will make you to die, so the man said: I bear witness that you have been given knowledge and have derived it from its real source (treasure-mine), I will inform you O the son of the messenger of Allah the background to that which you have interpreted for me, a man from among my neighbors came to me and offered me his walled-up land so I wished to own it at a very low price since I knew that there isn’t anyone else who wants to buy it, so Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to him: is your fellow someone who follows us and disassociates from our enemies? He said: yes - O the son of the messenger of Allah, he has good insight and follows the religion, and I repent to Allah Mighty and Majestic and to you from what I wanted and had intended to do, but inform me O the son of the messenger of Allah - if he was a Nasibi [a hater of the Ahl al-Bayt] could I have cheated him in this way? He said: return back the trust to whomsoever has placed his confidence in you and expects good-counsel from you - even if he be killer of al-Husayn!
--> Some of the people of Ilm in Ta’wil of Ru’ya (scholars learned in dream interpretation) claim that the Imam’s interpretation is wholly consistent with their methods. They interpret wooden things in dreams as having association to Nifaq (hypocrisy) because of the verse from Surat al-Munafiqun “as though they were pieces of wood propped up” (63:4). The sword as an allegory for his evil intention. That this intention harbors some financial aspect can be inferred from the horse which symbolizes “the world” and “livelihood” because it is in of itself a steady source of income and the potential to earn.
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, The Grandson of George and Temporary Marriage
Who is Ibn Jurayj?
Ibn Jurayj, ʿAbd al-Malik b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, was an early Meccan scholar considered to be from the Taba’ Tabi’ina. According to the sources he was born in the city in 80/699 and died in 150/767. His grandfather Jurayj (George) had been a slave of Byzantine origin who belonged to a woman of the Meccan Khālid b. Asīd clan, part of the Banū Umayya of Quraysh. Either Jurayj or his son was set free, and thus became a client (mawlā) of this clan, a legal status that their offspring inherited.
Despite his affiliation with Umayya, there is evidence that he had excessive love for the Ahl al-Bayt, as sometimes happens when a good fruit is borne of an accursed tree.
محمد بن إسحاق، ومحمد بن المنكدر، وعمرو ابن خالد الواسطي وعبد الملك بن جريح، والحسين بن علوان الكلبي هؤلاء من رجال العامة، إلا أن لهم ميلا ومحبة شديدة، وقد قيل إن الكلبي كان مستورا ولم يكن مخالفا
al-Kashshi says: Muhammad b. Ishaq, Muhammad b. al-Munkadir, Amr b. Khalid al-Wasiti, Abd al-Malik b. Jurayh (sic. Jurayj) and al-Husayn b. Ulwan al-Kalbi, these were men from the `Amma (proto-Sunnis), except that they had an inclination and excessive love (for the Ahl al-Bayt), and it is said that al-Kalbi was hiding (his faith) and was not of the Mukhalifin.
Praise for Ibn Jurayj
Many famous narrators narrated from him, among them Ibn Ulayya and Yahya b. Said al-Qattan, and the authors of the Sihah included his narrations in their compilations.
قال الذهبي: هو الإمام، العلاّمة، الحافظ، شيخ الحرم، وصاحب التصانيف، وأوّل من دوّن العلم بمكّة
al-Dhahabi: He is the Imam, the Allama, the Hafidh, the Shaykh of the sacred precinct, the author of works, and the first one to write down knowledge in Makka.
I say: the book of Ibn Jurayj has a very good claim at being the first written compilation of Hadith predating the Muwatta of Malik
وعن عطاء بن أبي رباح: إنّه: سيّد شباب أهل الحجاز
Ata b. Abi Rabah: He is the leader of the youths of the people of Hijaz.
وعن علي بن المديني: الإسناد يدور على ستّة، فذكرهم وذكر ابن جريج
Ali b. al-Madini: the Isnad revolves around six, so he mentioned them and he included in these Ibn Jurayj.
وعن يحيى بن سعيد: كنّا نسمّي كتب ابن جريج كتب الأمانة
Yahya b. Said: we used to call the books of Ibn Jurayj “the books of trust”.
وعن يحيى بن معين: ابن جريج ثقة في كلّ ما روي عنه في الكتاب
Yahya b. Main: Ibn Jurayj was Thiqa in all that which is narrated from him in the book.
أضاف الذهبي: الرجل في نفسه ثقة. وقد كان شيخ الحرم بعد الصحابة: عطاء ومجاهد،وخلفهما: قيس بن سعد وابن جريج، ثمّ تفرّد بالإمامة ابن جريج فدوّن العلم، وحمل عنه الناس، وعليه تفقّه مسلم بن خالد الزنجي، وتفقّه بالزنجي الإمام الشافعي
Al-Dhahabi concludes: the man is Thiqa in of himself, and the Shaykhs of the sacred precinct i.e. Makka after the Sahaba were - Ata and Mujahid, and after them came - Qays b. Sa’d and Ibn Jurayj, then he assumed sole leadership and wrote down knowledge, and the people carried it from him, and under him tutelaged Muslim b. Khalid al-Zanji and tutelaged under this al-Zanji the Imam al-Shafi’i.
وروايات ابن جريج وافرة في الكتب الستّة وفي مسند أحمد ومعجم الطبراني الأكبر، وفي الأجزاء
And the narrations of Ibn Jurayj are aplenty in the six books and in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and in the Mu’jam of al-Tabarani and etc.
قال عبدالرزّاق: كنت إذا رأيت ابن جريج علمت أنّه يخشى الله
Abd al-Razzaq said: if you saw Ibn Jurayj you could tell that he feared Allah.
[Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala 6/333]
قدم ابن جريج إلى العراق قبل موته وحدّث بالبصرة وأكثروا عنه
وعن يحيى بن سعيد: كان ابن جريج صدوقاً
Ibn Jurayj travelled to Iraq before his death and narrated in Basra and its denizens narrated a lot from him.
Yahya b. Said: Ibn Jurayj was truthful.
[Tahdhib al-Kamal 12/55]
Thus, as we can see - Ibn Jurayj is unanimously considered Thiqa according to the Sunnis, and he was depended upon by the Hadith scholars and the narrators, and he was truthful and God-fearing, despite all that he ruled on the permissibility of Mut’a and acted upon it.
قال التستري: وكما روى ـ اى ابن جريج ـ حلّيّة المتعة كالأماميّة، كذلك روى كون الأذان من وحي السماء لا من رؤيا عبدالله بن زيد
al-Tustari says: And just as Ibn Jurayj narrated the permissibility of Mut’a as the Imamiyya did, similarly, he narrated that Adhan was a heavenly revelation and not a dream seen by Abdallah b. Zayd [as the common Sunni view holds]. [Qamus al-Rijal 7/12]
Proof that Ibn Jurayj permitted Mut’a
قال الذهبي: هو أحد الأعلام الثقات... وهو في نفسه مجمع على ثقته مع كونه قد تزوّج نحواً من سبعين امراة نكاح متعة. كان يرى الرخصة في ذلك، وكان فقيه أهل مكّة في زمانه
al-Dhahabi: He was one of the most-knowledgeable scholars and from among the Thiqat … and he is in of himself agreed upon as far as his trust-worthiness is concerned despite having married approximately seventy women in Mut’a marriages. He considered it as permissible. And he was the jurist of the people of Makka in his time. [Mi’zan al-I’tidal 2/659]
وقال محمد بن عبدالله بن عبدالحكم: سمعتُ الشافعي يقول: استمتع ابن جريج بتسعين امراة، حتى إنّه كان يحتقن في الليل بأُوقية شيرج طلباً للجماع
Muhammad b. Abdallah b. Abd al-Hakim: I heard al-Shafi’I saying: Ibn Jurayj made Mut’a with 90 women, such that he would apply in the nights sesame oil to help him in intercourse. [Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 6/333, and in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 6/360: seventy women instead of ninety].
قال جرير: ... أمّا ابن جريج فإنّه أوصى بنيه بستّين امراة، وقال لا تزوّجوا بهنّ فإنّهنّ اُمّهاتكم وكان يرى المتعة
Jarir: … As for Ibn Jurayj then he willed to his son [the names of] seventy women and said: do not marry them for they are your mothers and he used to accept Mut’a. [Ta’rikh Baghdad 7/255, Sharh al-Zarqani 8/76]
الذهبي: و قيل: إنّه عهد إلى أولاده في أسمائهنّ لئلاّ يغلط أحدٌ منهم ويتزوّج واحدة ممّا نكح أبوه بالمتعة
al-Dhahabi: and it is said: he (Ibn Jurayj) gave his sons the names (of those women) so that they do not fall into the mistake of ever marrying a woman their father had married via Mut’a. [Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 6/331]
الماوردي: و حكى عن... وابن جريج والإماميّة جوازه ...
al-Mawardi: And it is attributed to … and Ibn Jurayj and the Imamiyya its permissibility … [al-Hawi al-Kabir 11/449]
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, An Ode to Scholarly Pursuits
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين حَمْدًا يُوافِي نعمه ويكافئ مزيده
Those who have spent time poring over old tomes in the way of medieval scribes can witness to the pleasure and solace that delving into their words can give. There is no greater joy in noticing hidden links and joining the dots as it were - gaining in confidence that the `Aimma were building for us a supra-structure of the Deen the bricks of which fit intricately.
It is hoped that through this blog: wisdom might be uncovered that jurists looking for the law might have overlooked, the socio-historical context of those times can be brought into sharp relief, obscure lexical etymology of words can be highlighted, but perhaps more importantly - an invitation can be given to all and sundry to aid a translator who can sometimes find himself at sea in the face of the daunting challenges such as having to explain away abstruse passages, mystical-philosophical language and the pre-modern cosmology that runs through our corpus.
The Ahadith of the `Aimma are rich in connotation and different individuals who come to it bring different perspectives based on their back-ground (no one can have all the tools to decode every implication). This should be encouraged as it enriches understanding and can flesh out meanings not considered before, especially those that are relevant to our times. Despite this, not every subjective thinking which we have can be elevated and considered definite. Caution should prevail and the Shuruh of the Ulama [as found in numerous Hashiya] should be given preference.
We have to adopt a highly critical attitude towards our own theories if we do not wish to argue in circles: the attitude of trying to refute them.
– Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, A Hadith 'Banning' Foreclosure?
The modern economic system and the immoral capitalism that it can engender have given rise to preposterous inequality, greed-based wars and rampant poverty.
The two engines for this exploitative system continue to be ‘interest’ and ‘gambling [stock speculation]’ both of which were outlawed by Islam in its quest to build a humane society. Take away both and most of the inflated ‘bubble’ will collapse hopefully to be replaced by a worth-based economy.
A pillar of this system is ‘debt’, millions tethered to their credit cards, having to service the seemingly ever-increasing burden on them whilst employed in under-paid jobs. The wealth floods upwards instead of 'trickling down' making a few fat cats richer without having to sweat a single drop.
Islam is more generous in its allowance for a grace period to the one struggling and even encouraging full cancellation of the debt as an act of charity.
وَإِنْ كَانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ مَيْسَرَةٍ ۚ وَأَنْ تَصَدَّقُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“And if the debtor is in straitened circumstances, then (let there be) postponement to (the time of) ease; and that you remit the debt as almsgiving would be better for you if you did but know” (2:280).
Sharks give loans to under-privileged and desperate people whom they prey on and then auction off their homes [which was placed as warranty] the moment they default or even before.
In under-developed countries, a wide-spread practice is for the house of the defaulter to be putatively sold off at a paltry price – equal to the loan and far below the real value of the house – but that is only as far as records on the books are concerned, everyone knows that in reality a sweet confidential deal has been agreed upon with a pre-selected buyer who pays a large commission for being given the privilege of first dibs.
This Hadith which al-Muhsini places in the Bab on Usul al-Fiqh - as it indicates the Hujiyya [authority] of Khabar al-Wahid [solitary report] because Ibn Abi Umayr is citing Dharih’s narration as evidence for his action, reveals another even more important principle in Islam as taught by the Imam i.e. creditors should not demand and take away someone’s home for the sake of recovering a loan.
A note of caution: Since the need to fulfill contractual obligations is stressed in Islam, and considering the technical nature of the subject, this narration should not be seen as a ruling [a field which is left to the Maraji who are the experts], however, we can still gleam from it a general spirit encouraged by Islam.
[-/11] الفقيه: بإسناده عن ابراهيم بن هاشم ان محمد بن ابي عمير كان رجلا بزازا فذهب ماله وافتقره وكان له على رجل عشرة آلاف درهم فباع دارا له كان يسكنها بعشرة آلاف درهم وحمل المال إلى بابه فخرج اليه محمد بن ابي عمير فقال: ما هذا؟ فقال: هذا مالك الذي لك علي قال: ورثته؟ قال: لا قال: وهب لك؟ قال: لا قال: فهل هو ثمن ضيعة بعتها؟ قال: لا قال: فما هو؟ قال: بعت داري التي اسكنها لاقضي ديني فقال محمد بن ابي عمير: حدثني ذريح المحاربي عن ابي عبدالله عليه السلام انه قال: لا يخرج الرجل عن مسقط رأسه بالدين، ارفعها فلا حاجة لي فيها والله اني لمحتاج في وقتي هذا إلى درهم واحد وما يدخل ملكي منها درهم واحد
[11/-] al-Faqih: Via his chain from Ibrahim b. Hashim that - Muhammad b. Abi Umayr was a cloth merchant whose wealth perished and he fell into indigence, he had however loaned out ten thousand silver coins to someone, so the one he owed sold his house which he used to live in at a price of ten thousand silver coins and carried the whole sum to his (Ibn Abi Umayr’s) door, so Muhammad b. Abi Umayr came out to him and said: what is this? he said: this is your money which was due upon me, he said: you have inherited it? he said: no, he said: it has been gifted to you? he said: no, he said: is it the price of a land you have sold? He said: no, he said: then what is it? he said: I sold my house in which I live in so that I can repay my debt, so Muhammad b. Abi Umayr said: Dharih al-Muharibi narrated to me from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام that he said: "a man is not driven out of his place of residence (home) because of debt" take it away for I have no need of it, by Allah even though I do have a need of even a single silver coin at this time - I will not take a single one of them into my possession.
rotten_coconut reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Et tu, Ismail? Pt. 1
Some Glimpes of Ismail b. Ja`far in Twelver Sources
When dealing with a historical figure, that is to say, with an individual who lived ages ago, and in a socio-cultural milieu quite different from us, we must acknowledge the difficulties of trying to answer such questions about them as - who were they? what motivated them? etc. Who can trace the subtle changes that unfailingly occur over a life time while penetrating the barrier of inner thought? This is compounded when we have access to only a limited number of textual sources to work with.
Despite admitting the challenges facing any such reconstruction, there is no reason why such attempts not be made, with one caveat: the mind is always looking to make patterns out of disparate dots, sometimes a whole emerges that is consistent and self-sustaining. If the prism through which a single piece of data is seen enables it to better explain other totally independent pieces of data, then the whole reconstruction is on safer grounds and the pieces of data more likely to be historical. Other times, one can skew the different pieces of evidence in trying to fit a pre-configured narrative, introduce bias, over-reach and form a conclusions that is far-removed from reality.
In any case, what follows below is a collection of different Ahadith that involve Ismail in Twlever sources. It is felt that the incidental nature of some of them, where the details of his life are mentioned secondarily, consequently not tinged with polemical considerations, will yield the most qualitative results. This is purposely so because Ismail was a controversial figure. He was at the center of a polemical debate about the succession to al-Sadiq. There was no lack of people who would wish to besmirch his name with a “black legend” so as to justify his disqualification to the Imama. Similarly, and on the other side of the spectrum, there would be sectarians working to “white-wash” him having imbued theological meaning to his person.
Ismail b. Ja`far b. Muhammad was the eldest son of al-Sadiq and was born in Madina in 100 AH. He died circa 138 AH before his father [this last piece seems to be the most strongly anchored piece of info. about him because even his supporters had to explain it away]. His mother was Fatima bt. al-Husyan b. al-Hasan b. Ali. His full brother was Abdallah al-Aftah who also claimed the Imama after their father for brief period of time.
Did the Imam praise him?
عبدالله بن محمد، عن الحسن بن علي الوشاء، عن أحمد بن عائذ، عن أبي خديجة الجمال قال: سمعت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام يقول: إني سألت الله في إسماعيل أن يبقيه بعدي فأبى ولكنه قد أعطاني فيه منزلة أخرى إنه يكون أول منشور في عشرة من أصحابه ومنهم عبدالله بن شريك وهو صاحب لوائه
[al-Kashshi] Abdallah b. Muhammad from al-Hasan b. Ali al-Washsha from Ahmad b. A`idh from Abi Khadija the Cameleer who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: I asked Allah about Ismail - that he should preserve him to remain after me - but He refused, however He has given me another position for him, he (Ismail) will be the first one to be resurrected with ten of his companions, among them Abdallah b. Sharik, and he (Abdallah) will be the man who carries his banner.
Abu Khadija in the chain is Salim b. Mukram about whom al-Najashi says <<Thiqa Thiqa>> and Ibn Fadhal says <<Salih>>. However, he has a pre-history which is significant to our study.
وكان سالم من أصحاب أبي الخطاب، وكان في المسجد يوم بعث عيسى بن موسى بن علي بن عبد الله بن العباس وكان عامل المنصور على الكوفة إلى أبي الخطاب لما بلغه أنهم أظهروا الإباحات ودعوا الناس إلى نبوة أبي الخطاب وأنهم يجتمعون في المسجد، ولزموا الأساطين يرون الناس أنهم قد لزموها للعبادة، وبعث إليهم رجلا فقتلهم جميعا لم يفلت منهم إلا رجل واحد أصابته جراحات فسقط بين القتلى يعد فيهم فلما جنه الليل خرج من بينهم فتخلص وهو أبو سلمة سالم بن مكرم الجمال الملقب بأبي خديجة فذكر بعد ذلك أنه تاب وكان ممن يروي الحديث
Salim’s original Kunniya was Aba Khadija but the Imam changed it to Aba Salama. He was someone who owned camels and rented them out for others to travel with. Salim was at one point in time among the followers of Abu al-Khattab. They were accused of libertinism (making the Haram to be Halal) and proclaiming Abu al-Khattab to be a prophet. They then rose in revolt and barricaded themselves in the mosque of Kufa. He was the sole individual who escaped the massacre in the mosque that followed and lived to tell the tale. This is because the Abbasid forces thought him to have died in the assault, so when it was the night he stood up and fled.
Abdallah b. Sharik mentioned in the narration is considered a lying Mukhtari in proto-Sunni sources. He participated in Mukhtar’s revolt which indicates his militant bent. He then attaches himself to Ismail as can be seen here.
The Hadith seems to be implying some status for Ismail in the Raj`a [eschatological return] and making this Abdallah b. Sharik al-Amiri as his chief liutenant.
It is my thesis that Ismail himself is someone who was courted by Abu al-Khattab and associated with the Khattabiyya in some manner. Thus, we have a prior Khattabi [who could be narrating before his conversion] narrating praise of Ismail and his associate the former Mukhtari Abdallah b. Sharik. This is enough to raise skepticism.
The Disapproval of the Imam
الحسن بن احمد بن إدريس، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن احمد الاشعري، عن ابن يزيد والبرقي، عن احمد بن محمد بن ابي نصر البزنطي، عن حماد، عن عبيد بن زرارة قال: ذكرت إسماعيل عند أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقال: لا والله لا يشبهني ولا يشبه أحدا من آبائي
[Kamal al-Diin] al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. Idris from his father from Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Ash`ari from Ya`qub b. Yazid and al-Barqi from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr al-Bazanti from Hammad from Ubayd b. Zurara who said: I mentioned Ismail to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام so he said: no by Allah - he does not resemble me or any one of my forefathers.
والجواب أنّه سأل الامام عليه السلام عن إسماعيل من جهة لياقته للامامة، على ماهو المرتكز في أذهان العامة من الشيعة، فأجابه الامام عليه السلام بأنّه لايشبهه، ولايشبه آباءه في العصمة، فانّه تصدر منه المعصية غير مرّة، وهذا لا ينافي جلالته، فإنّ العادل التقي أيضاً قد تصدر منه المعصية، ولو كانت صغيرة، لكنه يتذكّر فيتوب
al-Khoei claims that Ismail not resembling the `Aimma is just as far as the question of Isma (infallibility) is concerned i.e. he is not an Imam like them.
However, there is a variant which has an addition that seems to indicate that this extended to his personal habits which were not deemed upright.
ك: ابن المتوكل، عن محمد العطار، عن الاشعري، عن ابن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن الحسن بن راشد قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن إسماعيل فقال: عاص عاص لا يشبهني ولا يشبه أحدا من آبائي
[Kamal al-Diin] Muhammad b. Musa b. al-Mutawakkil from Muhammad b. Yahya al-Attar from Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Yahya b. Imran al-Ash`ari from Ya`qub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from al-Hasan b. Rashid who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about Ismail, he said: disobedient! disobedient! he does not resemble me nor any one of my forefathers.
Why would the Imam call him عاص if it was just about indicating that he is not infallible?
Connections with the Ghulat Abu al-Khattab and Mufadhal
Ismail was thought to be be his father’s successor even in the latter’s lifetime. There were some shady figures who coalesced around him like Abu al-Khattab [and the Khatabiyya incl. Mufadhal] who were spreading that rumour. Abu al-Khattab himself had a totally Gnostic and anti-nomian understanding of Islam underpinned by his Batini Ta`wil. He considered the recognition of the Imam to make Shari`a practices redundant. Abu al-Khattab led a rebellion in Kufa and was killed with seventy of his followers by the order of the governor Isa b. Musa (the nephew of the first two Abbasid Caliphs al-Saffah and al-Mansur) when they barricaded themselves in the mosque. [The incident alluded to above]
al-Mufadhal was initially connected to Abu al-Khattab and the Khatabiyya before later dis-associating from them and renouncing his former position. It is clear that the later Ismailiyya, despite the various off-shoots and splinter sects that arose [and the picture is further complicated by activities to mystify their origins and problems of lack of primary documents] can be traced back to the Khattabi movement. Whether Ismail is directly implicated or was just a figure-head around whom they built their theology remains to be seen.
حدثني حمدويه بن نصير، قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن الحكم وحماد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل بن جابر قال: قال أبو عبد الله: ايت المفضل قل له يا كافر يا مشرك ما تريد إلى ابني تريد أن تقتله
[al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh bin Nusayr who said: narrated to us Ya’qub bin Yazid from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham bin al-Hakam AND Hammad bin Uthman from Ismail bin Jabir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: go to Mufadhal and say to him - O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you want for my son Ismail (i.e. al-Sadiq's son)!? Do you want to kill him!?
جبرئيل بن أحمد قال: حدّثني محمّد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: سمعت أبا عبداللّه عليه السلام يقول للمفضّل بن عمر الجعفي: يا كافر يا مشرك مالك ولابني، يعني إسماعيل بن جعفر، وكان منقطعا إليه، يقول فيه مع الخطابية، ثم رجع بعده
[al-Kashshi] Jibrail b. Ahmad who said: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me from Yunus from Hamma b. Uthman who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying to al-Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju`fi: O Kafir, O Muhsrik, what do you have to with me son - meaning Ismail b. Ja`far? - and he [Mufadhal] was loyal to him [Ismail], believing about him [that he is the Imam and much more] together with the Khatabiyya, then he returned after him [Ismail’s death].
حدّثني حمدويه قال: حدّثني محمد بن عيسى، عن إبن أبي عمير، عن حمّاد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل ابن عامر (جابر) قال: دخلت على أبي عبد اللّه عليه السلام، فوصفت إليه الائمة، حتى انتهيت إليه، فقلت: إسماعيل من بعدك؟ فقال عليه السلام: أما ذا فلا، فقال حمّاد: فقلت لاسماعيل: ومادعاك إلى أن تقول: وإسماعيل من بعدك؟ قال: أمرني المفضّل بن عمر
[al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh narrated to me saying: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hammad b. Uthman from Ismail b. Amir (should be Jabir) who said: I entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and named for him the `Aimma, until I reached him, then I said: Ismail after you? he said: as for that one then No, Hammad said: so I [Hammad] said to Ismail: what made you to say: ‘Ismail after you’, he said: Mufadhal b. Umar made me do it.
ويذكر لويس « إن الكنية ( أبو إسماعيل ) التي يضيفها الكشي على أبي الخطاب إنما تشير إلى إسماعيل بن جعفر وأن أبا الخطاب كان المتبني لإسماعيل والأب الروحاني له
Bernard Lewis quotes from his teacher the famous orientalist Louis Massignon the enigmatic claim that even the Kuniyya Abu Ismail, which al-Kashshi uses for Abi al-Khattab, actually refers to Ismail b. Ja`far. It originated from the fact that Aba al-Khattab considered himself a spiritual father to Ismail grooming him to assume leadership [see his: The Origins of Isma`ilism].
حمدويه قال: حدثني محمد بن عيسى ومحمد بن مسعود قال: حدثنا محمد بن نصير قال: حدثني محمد بن عيسى، قال: حدثنا صفوان، عن أبي الحسن عليه السلام قال صفوان: أدخلت على إبراهيم وإسماعيل ابنا أبي سمال ... ما كانوا مجتمعين عليه، كيف يكونون مجتمعين عليه وكان مشيختكم وكبراؤكم يقولون في إسماعيل وهم يرونه يشرب كذا وكذا، فيقولون هذا أجود ...
[al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh who said: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me; and Muhammad b. Masud who said: Muhammad b. Nusayr narrated to us saying: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me saying: Safwan narrated to us from Abi al-Hasan (i.e. al-Ridha) عليه السلام, Safwan said: I arranged for Ibrahim and Ismail - the two sons of Abi Sammal (prominent Waqifis) to enter upon him (i.e. al-Ridha عليه السلام) … [the Imam said]: they were not united upon him (i.e. al-Kadhim), how could they be united upon him while your elders and leaders used to say about Ismail - even though they used to see him drink ‘so and so’ - they would still say - this is one is better …
What is this ‘so and so’? It is Nabidh (intoxicating drink) [the narrator censors and obfuscates it because of sensitivity - but it is clear what is meant for those who are researchers in this field].
It was to explain this away that a Hadith like the one below was transmitted.
ابن الوليد، عن سعد، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن ابن أبي نجران، عن الحسين بن المختار، عن الوليد بن صبيح قال: جاء ني رجل فقال لي: تعال حتى اريك أبن الرجل قال: فذهبت معه قال: فجاء ني إلى قوم يشربون فيهم إسماعيل بن جعفر فخرجت مغموما، فجئت إلى الحجر فاذا إسماعيل بن جعفر متعلق بالبيت يبكي، قد بل أستار الكعبة بدموعه، فرجعت أشتد فاذا إسماعيل جالس مع القوم، فرجعت فاذا هو آخذ بأستار الكعبة قدبلها بدموعه قال: فذكرت ذلك لابي عبدالله عليه السلام فقال: لقد ابتلي ابني بشيطان يتمثل في صورته
[Kamal al-Diin] Ibn al-Walid from Sa`d from Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar from Ibn Abi Najran from al-Husayn b. al-Mukhtar from al-Walid b. Subayh who said: a man came to me and said: come with me so that I show you the son of the man, he [Walid] said: so I went with him until he brought me to a group who were drinking and among them was Ismail b. Ja`far, so I came out of there saddened, then I went o the Hajar [at the Ka`ba] and found Ismail b. Ja`far clinging to the House crying, until the cloth [covering the Ka`ba] was drenched because of his tears, so I returned quicly to the gathering and found Ismail seated with the group, then I returned and found him clinging to the cloth of the Ka`ba which had wettened because of his tears, he [Walid] said: so I mentioned this to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام, he said: my son is afflicted with a devil who assumes his form.
This narration is also found in al-Imama wa al-Tabsira min al-Hayra of Ali b. al-Husayn b. Babawayh [al-Saduq’s father]. There the chain is Ahmad b. Idris and Muhammad b. Yahya > Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar > Ibn Abi Najran > al-Husayn b. al-Mukhtar > al-Walid b. Subayh.
The Hadith has been put to use to nullify the claim of Ismail’s to the Imam. As al-Saduq comments:
وقد روي أن الشيطان لا يتمثل في صورة نبي ولا في صورة وصي نبي، فكيف يجوز أن ينص عليه بالإمامة مع صحة هذا القول منه فيه
And it has been narrated that the Shaytan does not assume the form of a prophet or the successor to the prophet, so how is it possible that he [Ja`far] would designate him [Ismail] for the Imama while he [Ja`far] is the same one who authentically stated this about him.
However, it may have originally been circulated to explain Ismail’s Nabidh drinking in an apologetic manner.