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In the Name of God بسم الله
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Divine Will
The first creation of Allah is His will (mashi’a). The mashi’a is a created light that operates on the realm of the creation and interacts with the rest of creation. Since the mashi’a is subject to change and affect, it is separate from His Unified and Unknowable Essence.
علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة.
Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah created the will (mashi’a) by its self. Then, He created the things by the will.”
The mashi’a is one entity (ذات بسيطة) with four degrees (معلقات). These four degrees are His will (mashi’a), His desire (irada), His determining (qadr), and His actualization (qada).
3يا يونس تعلم ما؛ المشيئة قلت لا قال هي الذکر الاول فتعلم ما الارادة قلت لا قال هي العزيمة على ما يشاء فتعلم ما القدر قلت لا قال هي الهندسة و وضع الحدود من البقاء و الفناء قال ثم قال و القضاء هو الابرام و اقامة العين
Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “O Yunus! Do you know what the will (mashi’a) is?” Yunus said, “No.” Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “It is the first utterance (الذکر الاول). So do you know what the wish (الارادة) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is the invitation to what He wants. So do you know what determining (qadr) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is designing and organizing the parameters from beginning to end. And actualization (qada) is the confirmation and the establishment of the thing.”
The mashi’a and the desire (irada) both denote the same object. However, when used together, they refer to different degrees within the mashi’a’s process. The first degree is the wish for a thing, the second degree is the assertion of that wish, the third degree is the organization of the parameters needed to bring about that wish, and the fourth degree is its execution. All of these levels are really one process, but in our understanding, it takes place in four stages.
Mashi’a is a unity of action (fi`l) and reception (infi`al). While irada, qadr, and qada are masculine activities, the mashi’a is feminine in its receptivity to all of these active phases. This way, the mashi’a constitutes both self-acting and self-receiving. This reality is called the Great Depth (العمق الأكبر). Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i uses the term “the Kaf that Encircles Itself” (الكاف المستديرة على نفسها) to describe the duality of the mashi’a, because a circled letter Kaf resembles the yin-yang, and a yin-yang represents the complementary nature of contrary forces. The mashi’a is compared to Adam and Eve, the first promulgators of their species, through whose dimorphic reproduction all people came into existence.
There are two types of divine actions (ja`l ilahi) in the Quran: formative action (جعل تكويني) and designative action (جعل تشريعي). Formative action refers to creating, establishing, and building. Allah says, “[He] who made (ja`ala) for you the earth as a bed and the sky as a ceiling” (2:22). Designative action refers to divine selection and legislation. Allah says, “Allah has made the Ka`ba, the Sacred House, an establishment for mankind.” (5:97) These two actions are further duplicated inversely in a dialectical process, which we will describe later.
The mashi’a exists on the sempiternal plain (سرمد), which is a created level of infinity that is beyond the rest of creation. Allah, however, is Eternal (أزل), and therefore beyond sempiternity. In Allah’s Essence (ذات), there is no action; and He is beyond understanding. In the hierarchy of creation, the mashi’a is the first barrier (hijab), and there is nothing beyond it.
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Individualism
If Islam is measured with liberal democratic criteria, it will not be fully consistent.
Western colonial powers reached a point of hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through hard power (direct intervention) and soft power (media influence), they imposed their standard of morality onto the rest of the world. This moral framework is not Christianity, it is Western Individualism.
Secularism, humanism, and feminism are all just logical conclusions of Individualism. They are branches from the same tree. But to what extent can we say that Individualism is the objective truth? Did the original philosophers of this ideology even intend for it to be the objective truth? Go through Hobbes or John Stuart Mill, they don't claim that Individualism is an objective universal truth, but rather that they are experiments of freedom that are most practical. So measuring Islam by this would be like measuring an object with a stretchy ruler - you'll never get a precise measurement.
Just a few years ago, gay marriage was illegal in America, and now there is all this noise about homophobia and transphobia. Just a few years ago, marijuana was taboo, but it is now gradually being legalized. Some bite-the-bullet secularists are even questioning whether incest should be illegal, because certain forms of incest are not "directly harmful". Of course Islam will not be compatible with a measurement that is constantly fluid, changing, and in flux. Liberalism does not even attempt to falsify itself, rather it is focused on falsifying others. It salvages aspects of Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity that is consistent with individualism, and it discards everything else.
The liberal thesis prioritizes the human being above everything else. The Islamic thesis prioritizes Allah.
So what is the root of this tree of Individualism? Funny enough, it actually may be the Christian concept of Imago Dei - that man was created in the image of God. It is this idea that makes the individual the centre of the universe, whose will is sanctified above everything else. Hence, you have the concept of human rights, which itself is a contradiction, because rights are bestowed onto people by a higher power, not arrogated by the same people onto themselves. Humanism itself is a quasi worship of the human being, because everything including God Himself is cast aside in the name of human rights, liberty, democracy, and freedom.
This is why I always say that secular humanism actually grew out of the carcass of Western Christianity. It uses Christian concepts of the soul and the divinity of personhood to build an entirely new moral framework that discards its root. It is a paradox.
The identity of man in Islam is that he is a created servant. This is the same identity as all biotic and abiotic elements around us. We are a part of the ayah that is the great ayah of the creation. All is fleeting and all will perish but the face of Allah (28:88), which is simultaneously everywhere that we turn (2:115). He is recognized everywhere and behind everything, for He is the Apparent (al-Thahir) and the Hidden (al-Batin). The cosmological Creator, the everlasting Sustainer, and the ontological Perfection that we are all after. The individual is powerless on his own, and is only empowered by the Powerful.
أعوذ بالله من كلمة أنا
I seek refuge in Allah from the word "me".
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Freedom!
Western fixation on freedom has a long, crystallizing history. In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in England, which ended the unilateral authority of the King. The King was imposing heavy taxes on the barons, who were wealthy aristocratic men, to fight a failed war. The barons rebelled against the King, and demanded that a committee of barons be established. The King would need to consult this committee before introducing new taxes. Certain legal rights were also introduced to the barons. This was the first big step towards freedom.
Fast forward to the 1500s; a new continent was "discovered" (i.e. Europeans found out about it). A major motivation for men to risk the high seas and migrate to an entirely New World was to avoid taxation and government overreach. They were able to seize vast, fertile properties without much nuisance. Freedom.
Around the same time, the Protestant Reformation was taking place, and most North-Western Europeans were using it as an opportunity to break away from church tithes and indulgences. Freedom.
Fast forward to the 1700s. The American Colonies rebel against the British because of "taxation without representation." Freedom.
Then in the 1800s. The Confederates rebel against the Union to prevent the North from intervening in their textile industry. The Union abolishes slavery. Freedom.
Here, we see a crystallization of yeomanry in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture, which peaks in the American South. They have a strong distrust in government, public programs, and taxation. There is a strong "what's mine is mine" culture, where clichés like "the only things you can't avoid is death and taxes" thrive. "Conservative" to them mostly means "smaller government, lower taxes". In short, they believe that the freer they are, the happier they will be. Debates in American politics, from abortion to gay marriage to taxes, are all based on conceptions of freedom. It is also the theme of so many Hollywood films.
Feminism is rooted in the same freedom-seeking individualist liberalist mindset. Whatever gets in the way of women's liberation - even if it is God Himself - must be cast aside.
Freedom in Islamic literature would be "huriyya", which is really just a legal technicality - you are either a slave, or you are "free". Otherwise, our books do not take much stock in the concept. We do have treatises on "huquq", which is often translated as "rights", but a more accurate translation is "responsibilities towards". For example, the haq of a woman is the responsibilities of an Islamic society towards that woman. It is an onus.
Responsibility and duty often fly in direct contradiction to freedom. Yes, we have free will, but Islam legislates things that we *should* and *ought* to do, and there are consequences to not fulfilling those responsibilities.
Does freedom lead to happiness? It is actually our responsibilities that often make us happy. There is no growth in a care-free life with no schedule, no family, no commitments, and no work. These things tie us down, but they also build us up, fulfill us, and make us better people. No pain, no gain. Likewise, despite the fact that women's rights have increased over the past few decades, women's happiness has decreased according to many studies. Individualism teaches us that self-sufficiency is the key to happiness, when in actuality, success is sometimes found in submission.
Islam literally means Submission, because it is the recognition that we are all imperfect servants. We do not choose which family we are born into, nor our race, nor our health, nor our age, nor our genes, and often, not even our social conditions. None of us are truly free, and the most free of us is not necessarily the happiest. Rather, true, heartfelt contentment is in knowing God. We are born to look for Perfection; we seek it in our looks, our grades, our power, our status, our spouse, our children; but we all - sooner or later - realize that Perfection lies only in Him alone. Trust in Him gives you that true contentment, the ability to let go of the wheel, fear nothing but Him and accept all that He allots for you. Contentment.
If you are a believer, then your worldview should reflect your belief. We cannot import a cultural ideology that convolutes our belief. In many respects, jahiliyya represented what many of us today consider to be "freedom". But the Prophet Muhammad (s) came with accountability, and that turned the entire world around.
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Do all religions teach the same thing?
"All religions deep down teach the same thing" - A typical modern day Muslim intellectual ("muthaqqaf").
No, they don't, unless we redefine and selectively choose what a religion is, and here you run into the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.
This train of thought is an easy option for lazy thinkers who have never found good enough reasons to justify following the tradition they do. The Quran can be cut apart to appear to support this claim, but the Quran also makes exclusivist claims to authority, and it routinely refutes and discredits the claims of other religions.
But hey, everything is "arrogant" or "dogmatic" except for the absolute universalist, who is the only one who can really see the "full picture". By the way, that too would be an arrogant and exclusivist claim that invalidates other worldviews. It is inherently paradoxical.
This is called a dialetheism. "A dialetheia is a sentence, A, such that both it and its negation, ¬A, are true". This, of course, is unscientific, and it opposes the Law of Non-Contradiction.
Next time someone tries to sell you religious universalism, ask yourself, at what cost are you willing to believe this? Should you just put your cognitive faculties and intellect aside? Should you deny that there are red lines, and deny any evil and misguidance? Should you deny the corruption, interpolation, and abrogation of pre-Muhammadan faiths? Should you deny that the true founders of many post-Muhammadan faiths were imposters, charlatans, and false prophets?
And yes, I understand that the fitra (natural human intuition) points one toward God, and that all nations have received prophets. That does not make all modern religions equally valid, even if they may have a kernel of truth somewhere. I also understand that modern extremists have often misused takfeer and excommunication, and engage in su' ath-thann. That does not mean we should run towards the opposite extreme.
"It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may uplift it above every religion, though the polytheists be averse." (9:33)
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Halloween is for the Dead
Halloween was a Celtic and Gaelic festival which would mark the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the winter. The "darker" half of the year has begun, the frigid season of death. The pagan Celts believed that the dead spirits visited them on this day, and so they gave them an offering of food as an appeasement, so that they may not incur their curse during this season.
In the past few centuries, people began dressing up as these dead spirits to pay homage to them.
And so when you see a slutty Halloween outfit on your timeline, know that this is just a senseless and ignorant person - a "dead" person; dead in spirit, dead in their heart, paying homage to the darkness within themselves, toiling after the fleeting frills of this world, in need of spiritual resuscitation. Whether they know it or not, they are imitating demon spirits whom they love and fear. "Surely, they had taken the devils as masters instead of Allah while they thought that they were guided." (7:30)
We have no reverence and no fear of the dead. We seek protection in Allah and no one else.
"But no one believes this anymore, all that's left are these symbols". Yes, and symbols are powerful, and thus we must not internalize symbols that have their lineage in hell.
So while people imitate the dead - both the physically dead (zombies, ghouls, skeletons, grim reapers), and the spiritually dead (materialists) - remember that Allah brings life. A person may be heedless today, but when Allah gives the gift of guidance, he will awake to his responsibilities, and be resurrected in faith.
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Believe Anything
This is part two of my blog on the cultural paradigm of the postmodern West. You can check out part one here.
Islamic re-education starts with assessing the problems of postmodernism. Once we understand the problem, we can begin to derive real solutions from the revelation.
Identity Politics is Neo-Tribalism
French philosopher Michel Foucault (d. 1984) inspired a system that divided the world into two camps: "dominant" and "marginalized". The dominant narrative was the Eurocentric heteronormative neoliberal patriarchal narrative. The marginal narrative would be that of the people of colour, minorities, the poor, the disabled, women, children, and homosexuals. His ideas became the basis of activist groups after the 1960s.
Upper-middle-class academics in the West were thrilled that they could now speak for the marginalized groups, which they couldn't really do when communism was popular among the dispossessed. So they formed their own marginalized narratives of history. Each narrative was aimed at deconstructing the dominant narrative's "artifacts" - its pop culture, its founding literature, and its theorists. Each marginal group then formed its own history, literature, and artifacts. This process was in full swing by the 1980s.
At first sight, it appears compassionate to give a voice to marginalized people. But this postmodernist system comes with the exact same assumptions about the world that the dominant system has: (1) the belief that the world is controlled by power and chance, (2) the belief that truth is relegated to the observable natural sciences, (3) the belief that pre-modern spirituality is superstitious and ritualistic, (4) the belief that suffering is all evil, all natural, and does not have meaning, (5) and no formal end-goal or salvation, unlike Islam, Christianity, and Marxism.
For Foucault, there is no way out of the suffering - only a means to "resist" the dominant powers and survive on the margins. Postmodernists believe only in power and the fight over it. They are experts in jargon, little catch phrases, intended to gain an audience and battle the oppressor class. They disintegrate much, but they construct nothing. When all is said and done, they ultimately put their faith in the free market, and fall back onto the Anglosaxon individualist naturalist yeomanry - making them very similar to the dominant paradigm.
Foucault offered the educated bourgeoisie the opportunity to side with and speak for the working class. They are not awaiting some proletarian revolution - they are more bent on co-opting the current political and economic system to give themselves a bigger piece of the pie.
The Intersection of Power and `Asabiyya
Intersectionality is the idea that the liberation of these all "marginalized" groups (women, homosexuals, people of colour, minorities, the poor, the incarcerated) is bound together, because they have a common, oppressive, dominant enemy: heteronormative patriarchal cis-gendered Eurocentric capitalist males. For this reason, we see an alliance between feminists, LGBT activists, Black Lives Matter activists, communists, anarchists, and liberal Muslim activists. This alliance exists in student unions, labour unions, university departments, lobby groups, political parties, and protest movements.
There is a lot wrong with this:
1. The enemy of your enemy is NOT necessarily your friend. We cannot leave our ethics aside for the sake of dunyawi politics. While Muslim activists like Linda Sarsour try to push for their own marginalized Muslim liberation in America, they have taken the feminists and homosexuals as allies in their struggle. This is while they pass laws that either contradict our beliefs or hurt us directly. In the case of Linda Sarsour, we now see a direct clash between her and feminist zionists, who argue that Israel is more feminist than the Muslim world. The point is, each group as its own interests, and while they may overlap in some areas, our "liberation" is not "bound" with theirs at all.
2. Race and sex are NOT essential attributes. They are accidental attributes. Yes, we belong to certain tribes and races, but these are adjectives that should not define our worldview or ideology. We don't accept the notion that "only women can speak on women's issues", or "only blacks can speak on black issues" - the Messenger of Allah (s) spoke for all people, and the inheritors of his knowledge are the Scholars. If we belong to a certain group, we may have some extra insight into that group's issues, but it does not make us a spokesperson for that group, nor does it mean others cannot comment on the issues of that group.
3. Not all suffering comes from the dominant "system". In Islam, most suffering comes from hard-heartedness and ignorance. Any group, regardless of colour or sex, is capable of becoming an oppressor if they are hard-hearted or ignorant.
4. People of faith have always accepted the redemptive affects of suffering. All people suffer, regardless of whether they belong to the "marginal" groups or "dominant" groups. This suffering has meaning: it is either a trial (like in the case of Prophet Ayyub), a purification from sins (like the ill Muslim), a tool for our maturation and personality-building, or a divine chastisement (like the communities of Nuh, Lut, Salih, Shu`ayb, Hud, and others).
5. Not all political grievances are solved by rebellion. Allah does not change the affair of a people until they change what is in themselves. Muslim scholars have traditionally been averse to rebellions and schisms, because they are often ill-advised, violent, and divisive.
6. Power is not all that exists. Intersectional libertines only believe in power - they don't believe in dialogue, patience, or the supernatural.
How did we even get here?
Ideologues speak of the "Overton Window", which is the range of discourse that the public will accept. The window is constantly shifting.
There are issues of discussion that are unpopular and unacceptable - such as the legalization of pedophilia - and so it is not within the Overton Window of discourse. There are other issues that have recently crept into the window, such as the legalization of marijuana, which less than 10% of Americans supported in the 1950s, but now over 58% of Americans accept, and it has become legal in several states. Another example: the legalization of incest and necrophilia would have been unthinkable in modern Europe, but the youth branch of the Swedish Liberal People's Party supported it, and more "bite the bullet" secularists are accepting its possibility.
In the last few decades, the window has shifted due to the clever ideological pushes of postmodernists. In 2008, President Obama ran against the legalization of gay marriage, and 60% of Americans were also against it. In 2015, gay marriage was legalized, and 60% of Americans accepted it - within just 7 years of media promotion and lobbying. In 1988, that number was 12%. The pride march went from being an isolated one-day event to being a month-long city-wide celebration that national politicians must attend.
Postmodernists know that their ideas can only gain political acceptance if they are introduced gradually. In conversation, they take baby steps, and stop right at the point where you will resist them. Then, they'll come back in a few days, weeks, or months, and take a few more steps. In a few years time, you find yourself talking about things that you would've never considered before.
Not only is same-sex marriage celebrated in the centre of the Overton window, but other non-binary, transsexual and furry identities are slowly being introduced. It starts in sociology class or in a corner on the web, then it moves to a comedy hall, then once it is more normal, it is presented on television and in movies, and eventually, it becomes the prevailing narrative. We're told to simply get with the times instead of analyzing its consequences. You go from rejection, to apathy, to support; till your former rejection of it becomes despised, illegal, taboo, and unacceptable.
“The long march through the institutions”
This was the memorable slogan of infiltration, created by Rudi Dutschke, a New Left activist in the late 1960s. His ideas were influenced by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School.
The plan? A violent proletarian revolution was out of the question. Bourgeois capitalism had deluded the proletariat into not rebelling against their "oppression". The only solution then was to invade the areas of life that were most directly responsible for opinion-forming and the bending of minds: to “work from within” and alter the consciousness of the masses, who would then be made to see the reality of their own situation and become more receptive to the message of revolution.
Comrades of the postmodern New Left would become professors, union officials, journalists, teachers, etc. They would then push a counter culture that resulted in the sexual revolution (free love, homosexuality), the dropping of "bourgeois" subjects from school curricula (Latin, violin classes), and the introduction of Social Justice Warrior deconstructivism and activism. The long-term goal would be social emancipation from the dominant capitalist Eurocentric heteronormative conservative culture.
Now, the postmodernists are in control of most Western universities, school boards, media conglomerates, publishers, unions, activist groups, advocacy groups, and some political parties. Their ideology is cultural Marxism and Foucaultianism, and their goal is to take down Abrahamic religion and the patriarchy through education and programming.
There is no easy solution to this problem, and any solution will require the collaboration of our greatest minds. This is an information war that has destroyed the faith of millions of Muslims, knowingly and unknowingly. We must all be attentive and constantly seeking guidance from Allah. But there are a few things we must all keep in mind:
1. Our ally is Allah. Allah is our God, our Saviour, and our Deliverer. We must remember to seek His truth, to love what He loves, to hate what He hates, and to put Him first. We do not need to seek allies outside of Allah, His Messenger, His hujja, their Shi`a, and the Muslim Umma. As long as we stick to our ethics, Allah will give us the ultimate success. We have the Ark of Salvation that will carry us through the darkness. We can always dialogue with other groups, and work together towards common goals, but never in a way that will compromise our ethics and change our religion. If we tolerate deviation for the sake of political alliances, then we haven't truly tasted faith.
2. Recognize the signs when you see them. Know the terminology - terms like "allies, appropriation, identity politics, trigger, intersectionality, cis-gendered, heternormative, social justice, oppression, phobia, progressive, patriarchy, toxic masculinity, melanin, white supremacy, wage-gap, rape-culture, micro-aggression, privilege, shaming, and victim blaming" are common go-to jargon that dominate western universities, schools, unions, HR departments, activist movements, and political parties. Once you recognize a sign, your antennas should go up, and you should try to understand their goal. You will see the devolution happen very gradually - a person identifying with neither gender, a queer Muslim character on a TV show, a transsexual who wins the "Woman of the Year" award, a gender-neutral bathroom, a gay nikah, a Muslim comedian who jokes about his drinking, a Buzzfeed video about Muslims doing "ordinary" (i.e. haram) things that non-Muslims can relate to, a shaykh allowing women to marry non-Muslims. You may say to yourself, none of this is a big deal, it doesn't harm me. But perhaps someday, within a few more baby steps, we may get pushed off the cliff completely.
3. Our job as always is amr bil ma`ruf wa nahi `an al-munkar. Remember the AsHab as-Sabt. There were those who disobeyed God, those who tolerated their disobedience, and those who spoke out against it. Only the third group was saved.
4. Read! Don't just eat up what your newsfeed, your sociology professor, and your television give you. Follow the money, question everything, and pray for guidance.
5. Remember that Muslims are not just some minority culture in need of Western acceptance. We are not part of this marginal coalition fighting "Islamophobia". We are doing da`wa - calling to the way of our Lord, with justice, good voice, patience, and in the best manner. That da`wa will either be accepted or rejected, but Allah will preserve our destinies. We Western Muslims have been put here to either call to Islam or to lose it completely.
6. Raise awareness in the community about the importance of understanding Nietzsche and the problems of postmodernism, if they really want to be able to correctly recognize the time that we are and the challenges that we face. Then, we need to continue developing our own distinct worldview, and support leaders in our community who are driving towards that change.
7. We are a people of intellect (aql), patience (sabr), prayer (salat), character (akhlaq), glad tidings and warnings. We must manifest those things at all times.
By the Time! Man is surely in loss, except those who believed and did good works, and exhorted one another to Truth, and exhorted one another to patience (Quran, chapter 103)
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Reliable Narration: Wilaya and Thaqalayn
It is sometimes claimed that the Shia do not have reliable narrations from their own books for the centerpieces of their faith. All this does is expose the ignorance of the claimant. Below is one such reliable narration which includes parts of the prophet’s speech when returning from Hijjatul Wida. It includes both Hadith al-Wilaya and Thaqalayn. This is not to say that this event relies on the analysis of an individual chain, in fact, it is so widely dispersed in our corpus and theirs, making it a viable candidate to be deemed Mutawatir.
The Text of the Hadith
محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد، عن محمد بن الحسن الصفار، عن محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب ويعقوب بن يزيد جميعا، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن عبد الله بن سنان، عن معروف بن خربوذ، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة، عن حذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري قال: لما رجع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله من حجة الوداع ونحن معه أقبل حتى انتهى إلى الجحفة فأمر أصحابه بالنزول فنزل القوم منازلهم، ثم نودي بالصلاة فصلى بأصحابه ركعتين، ثم أقبل بوجهه إليهم فقال لهم: إنه قد نبأني اللطيف الخبير أني ميت وأنكم ميتون، وكأني قد دعيت فاجبت وأني مسؤول عما ارسلت به إليكم، وعما خلفت فيكم من كتاب الله وحجته وأنكم مسؤولون، فما أنتم قائلون لربكم؟ قالوا: نقول: قد بلغت ونصحت وجاهدت فجزاك الله عنا أفضل الجزاء ثم قال لهم: ألستم تشهدون أن لا إله إلا الله وأني رسول الله إليكم وأن الجنة حق؟ وأن النار حق؟ وأن البعث بعد الموت حق؟ فقالوا: نشهد بذلك، قال: اللهم اشهد على ما يقولون، ألا وإني اشهدكم أني أشهد أن الله مولاي، وأنا مولى كل مسلم، وأنا أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم، فهل تقرون لي بذلك، وتشهدون لي به؟ فقالوا: نعم نشهد لك بذلك، فقال: ألا من كنت مولاه فإن عليا مولاه وهو هذا، ثم أخذ بيد علي عليه السلام فرفعها مع يده حتى بدت آباطهما ثم قال: اللهم وال من والاه، وعاد من عاداه، وانصر من نصره واخذل من خذله، ألا وإني فرطكم وأنتم واردون علي الحوض، حوضي غدا وهو حوض عرضه ما بين بصرى وصنعاء فيه أقداح من فضة عدد نجوم السماء، ألا وإني سائلكم غدا ماذا صنعتم فيما أشهدت الله به عليكم في يومكم هذا إذا وردتم علي حوضي، وماذا صنعتم بالثقلين من بعدي فانظروا كيف تكونون خلفتموني فيهما حين تلقوني قالوا: وما هذان الثقلان يا رسول الله؟ قال: أما الثقل الاكبر فكتاب الله عزوجل، سبب ممدود من الله ومني في أيديكم، طرفه بيد الله والطرف الآخر بأيديكم، فيه علم ما مضى وما بقي إلى أن تقوم الساعة، وأما الثقل الاصغر فهو حليف القرآن وهو علي بن أبي طالب و عترته عليهم السلام، وإنهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا علي الحوض. قال معروف بن خربوذ: فعرضت هذا الكلام على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فقال: صدق أبوالطفيل رحمه الله هذا الكلام وجدناه في كتاب علي عليه السلام وعرفناه.
[al-Saduq from] Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid from Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Saffar from Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and Ya`qub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from Abdallah b. Sinan from Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh from Abi Tufayl `Amir b. Wathila from Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari who said:
We were with the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله when he was returning from his farewell pilgrimage. He went forth until he reached Juhfa where he ordered his companions to decamp. The call for prayer was made and he led his companions in a two-unit prayer. After that he turned his face to them and said: The Kind and All-Aware has informed me that I am to die and you too will one day die. It is as though I have been called and have responded. I am to be asked about that which I was sent with for you and also what I leave behind in your midst including the Book of Allah and His proof - and you too shall be asked - so what are you going to reply to your Lord? They said: we will say ‘you have conveyed, counselled and struggled, so may Allah reward you on our behalf the best of rewards’.
Then he said to them: do you bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah? that the Paradise is a reality, the Fire is a reality and the resurrection after death is reality? They said: we bear witness to that, he said: O Allah witness what they say. Behold! I make you witnesses that I myself bear witness that Allah is my Mawla, and that I am the Mawla of every Muslim, and that I have a greater claim over the believers than their own selves, do you admit to that and bear witness to it about me? They said: yes, we witness that to be true about you. He said: Behold! To whomsoever I am a Mawla then Ali is also his Mawla, and he is this one, and he took Ali by the hand and raised it with his own hand until their armpits became visible, then he said: O Allah – be a guardian to whomever takes him to be a guardian, and be an enemy to whomever takes him to be an enemy, aid the one who aids him and abandon the one who abandons him.
Behold! I will proceed you but you will catch up with me at the reservoir – my Lake-fount – tomorrow. It is a Lake-fount whose breadth is like the distance between Busra and San`a. In it are goblets made of silver like the number of stars in the sky. Behold! I will ask you tomorrow about what you did in regards that which I made Allah bear witness to - over you - in this day of yours when you reach my Lake-fount.
And also about what you did with regards the ‘Two Weighty Things’ after me, so take care of how you will preserve my legacy in them when you meet me. They said: and what are these ‘Two Weighty Things’ O the messenger of Allah? he said: as for the greater weighty thing then it is the Book of Allah Mighty and Majestic, a rope extending from Allah and myself in your hands, one end of it is by the hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands, in it is the knowledge of what has passed and what is left until the Hour comes. As for the smaller weighty thing it is the ally of the Qur`an, and that is Ali b. Abi Talib and his descendants عليهم السلام – the two will not separate until they return to me at the Lake-fount.
Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh said: I relayed these words to Abi Ja`far عليه السلام so he said: Abu Tufayl has spoken the truth - may Allah have mercy on him - we have found this speech in the book of Ali and do recognize it.
أبي، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن أبي عمير
جعفر بن محمد بن مسرور، عن الحسين بن محمد ابن عامر، عن عمه عبد الله بن عامر، عن محمد بن أبي عمير
محمد بن موسى بن المتوكل، عن علي بن الحسين السعد آبادي، عن أحمد بن أبي عبد الله البرقي، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن عبد الله بن سنان، عن معروف بن خربوذ، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة، عن حذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري بمثل هذا الحديث سواء
قال مصنف هذا الكتاب أدام الله عزه: الاخبار في هذا المعنى كثيرة وقد أخرجتها في كتاب المعرفة في الفضائل.
My father – Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr
Ja`far b. Muhammad b. Masrur – al-Husayn b. Muhammad b. A`mir – his uncle Abdallah b. A`mir – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr
Muhammad b. Musa al-Mutawakkil – Ali b. al-Husayn al-Sa`dabadi – Ahmad b. Abi Abdillah al-Barqi – his father – Muhammad b. Abi Umayr
---> Abdallah b. Sinan – Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh – Abi al-Tufayl A`mir b. Wathila – Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari
The author of this book [al-Saduq] said: the reports with the same meaning are numerous, and I have gathered them in the book ‘al-Ma`rifa fi al-Fadhail’
Al-Saduq, Al-Khisal, ed. `Alī Akbar al-Ghaffārī, 2 vols., (Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmi, 1403 AH), vol. 1, pg. 65, Hadīth # 98 [Chapter on the Number Two: The Questioning about the ‘Two weighty Things’ on the day of Judgment]
Breakdown of Narrators
i. al-Saduq (d. 380)
جليل القدر ... حافظاً للاحاديث، بصيراً بالرجال، ناقداً للاخبار، لم ير في القمّيين مثله في حفظه وكثرة علمه
[al-Tusi] Esteemed in status … had mastery over the Hadith and insight about the narrators [of Hadith]. His like has not been seen among the Qummis in terms of memorization and extent of knowledge.
ii. Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid (d. 343)
شيخ القميين وفقيههم ومتقدمهم ووجههم ... ثقة ثقة، عين، مسكون إليه
[Najashi] The Shaykh of the Qummis, their jurist, foremost representative and eminent head …Thiqatun Thiqa, Ayn, relied upon …
iii. Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Saffar (d. 290)
كان وجهاً في أصحابنا القميّين، ثقة، عظيم القدر، راجحاً، قليل السقط في الرواية
[Najashi] He was an eminent head among our Qummi associates, Thiqa, great in station, given precedence, having very few lapses in narration.
iv.a Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab (d. 262)
جليل من أ صحابنا، عظيم القدر، كثير الرواية، ثقة، عين، حسن التصانيف، مسكون إلى روايته
[Najashi] Esteemed among our companions, great in station, prolific in narration, Thiqa, Ayn, able in authorship, his reports are relied upon.
iv.b Ya`qub b. Yazid (d. n/a)
كان ثقة صدوقا
[Najashi] He was Thiqa, truthful.
v. Ibn Abi Umayr (d. 217)
كان من أوثق الناس عند الخاصة والعامة، وأنسكهم نسكا، وأورعهم وأعبدهم، وقد ذكر الجاحظ في كتابه في فخر قحطان على عدنان بهذه الصفة التي وصفناه، وذكر أنه كان واحد أهل زمانه في الأشياء كلها
[Tusi] He was the most trust-worthy of people from both the Khassa [Shias] and `Amma [Sunnis], the most ascetic of them, the most scrupulous in abstaining from sins, and the most worshipful. al-Jahiz mentioned him in his books about the superiority of Qahtan compared to Adnan with this description which we have quoted and also said: he was matchless among his contemporaries in all aspects.
vi. Abdallah b. Sinan (d. n/a)
ثقة، من أصحابنا، جليل لا يطعن عليه في شئ له كتاب ... روى هذه الكتب عنه جماعات من أصحابنا لعظمه في الطائفة، وثقته وجلالته
[Najashi] Thiqa, from among our companions, esteemed, he is not criticized in anything, he authored the book … a large number of our companions transmitted these books on his authority because of his greatness in the sect and his trust-worthiness and merit.
vii. Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh (d. n/a)
أجمعت العصابة على تصديق هؤلاء الاولين من أصحاب أبي جعفر، وأصحاب أبي عبداللّه عليهما السلام وانقادوا لهم بالفقه، فقالوا أفقه الاولين ستّة: ... ومعروف بن خرّبوذ ...
[Kashshi] The whole sect is unanimous in deeming truthful the following foremost ones amongst the companions of Abi Ja`far and Abi Abdillah and yielding to them in matters of jurisprudence, so they said: the most judicious of the foremost ones are six: … Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh … [He is from Ashab al-Ijma]
viii. `Amir b. Wathila (d. 100)
أدرك ثماني سنين من حياة النبي صلى الله عليه وآله ولد عام أحد
[Tusi] He experienced eight years in the life of the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله having been born in the year of the battle of Uhud (3 AH)
وكان أبو الطفيل رأى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، وهو آخر من رآه موتا
[Kashshi] Abu Tufayl saw the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله and he was the last one to die among those who had seen him.
Al-Barqi included his name among the closest companions [Khawass] of Ali. He participated in all the three battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan. He later joined Mukhtar’s uprising and was the carrier of the banner in that army.
ix. Hudhayfa b. Asid
محمد بن قولويه قال: حدثني سعد ابن عبد الله ابن أبي خلف، قال: حدثني علي بن سليمان بن داود الرازي، قال: حدثنا علي بن أسباط، عن أبيه أسباط بن سالم قال: قال أبو الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام: إذا كان يوم القيامة نادى مناد: أين حواري محمد بن عبد الله رسول الله، الذين لم ينقضوا العهد ومضوا عليه؟ ... ثم ينادي المنادي: أين حواري الحسن بن علي عليهما السلام ابن فاطمة بنت محمد بن عبد الله رسول الله؟ فيقوم ... وحذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري ...
[Kashshi] Muhammad b. Qulawayh – Sa`d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf – Ali b. Sulayman b. Dawud al-Razi – Ali b. Asbat – Asbat b. Salim: Abu al-Hasan Musa b. Ja`far عليهما السلام said: when it will be the day of judgment a caller will cry out: where are the disciples of Muhammad b. Abdallah the messenger of Allah who did not break the covenant and passed on while faithful to it? … then a caller will cry: where are the disciples of al-Hasan b. Ali عليهما السلام the son of Fatima the daughter of Muhammad b. Abdallah the messenger of Allah? then will stand up … and Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari …
Corroboration for Connection of the Chain
A part of the upper chain [Ma`ruf > Abu Tufayl & Abu Tufayl > Hudhayfa] have occurred in a number of narrations in Sunni sources some of which are highlighted below:
وقال علي حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون أتحبون أن يكذب الله ورسوله حدثنا عبيد الله بن موسى عن معروف بن خربوذ عن أبي الطفيل عن علي بذلك
[al-Bukhari] Ali said: report to the people what they recognize – do you wish that Allah and his messenger be rejected. Ubaydullah b. Musa narrated this from Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh from Abi Tufayl from Ali.
As a sidenote, the later `Aimma spoke several statements similar to this which we understand to be about Taqiyya. However, since they do not see this Athar from Ali in this interpretive lens they have become confused about its exact meaning.
This is also the only time Bukhari narrates from Abu Tufayl [this is because he was a ‘Rafidhi’ companion].
وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ دَاوُدَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَعْرُوفُ بْنُ خَرَّبُوذَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا الطُّفَيْلِ، يَقُولُ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ وَيَسْتَلِمُ الرُّكْنَ بِمِحْجَنٍ مَعَهُ وَيُقَبِّلُ الْمِحْجَنَ
[Muslim] Muhammad b. al-Muthanna: narrated to us Sulayman b. Dawud: narrated to us Ma`ruf b. Kharrabudh who said: I heard Aba al-Tufayl saying: I saw the messenger of Allah circumambulating around the House and touching the Rukn with his stick and then kissing the stick.
This proves Sima`a between Ma`ruf and Abu al-Tufayl [i.e. that the former had indeed hear directly from the latter and that they were contemporaries] and also the Suhba of Aba al-Tufayl [i.e. that he was a companion].
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَيْثَمَةَ، زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ وَإِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ الْمَكِّيُّ - وَاللَّفْظُ لِزُهَيْرٍ - قَالَ إِسْحَاقُ أَخْبَرَنَا وَقَالَ الآخَرَانِ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ الْقَزَّازِ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ الْغِفَارِيِّ، قَالَ اطَّلَعَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ فَقَالَ " مَا تَذَاكَرُونَ " قَالُوا نَذْكُرُ السَّاعَةَ قَالَ " إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَقُومَ حَتَّى تَرَوْنَ قَبْلَهَا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ " فَذَكَرَ الدُّخَانَ وَالدَّجَّالَ وَالدَّابَّةَ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنُزُولَ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَيَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَثَلاَثَةَ خُسُوفٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَآخِرُ ذَلِكَ نَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنَ الْيَمَنِ تَطْرُدُ النَّاسَ إِلَى مَحْشَرِهِمْ
[Muslim] Abu Khaythama Zuhayr b. Harb narrated to us, also Ishaq b. Ibrahim and Ibn Abi Umar al-Makki – and the wording is from Zuhayr – Ishaq said: Ishaq reported to us and the rest said: narrated to us Sufyan b. Uyayna from Furat al-Qazzaz from Abi Tufayl from Hudhayfa b. Asid al-Ghiffari who said: the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم looked in on us while we were discussing, he said: what are you discussing? They said: we are discussing the Hour, he said: it will not come about until you see ten signs before it, then he mentioned the Smoke, the Dajjal, the Beast, the rising of the sun from its setting place, the descent of Isa b. Maryam صلى الله عليه وسلم, Gogg and Maggog, and three sinkings of land, a sinking in the East, a sinking in the West, and a sinking in the Arabian peninsula, and the last of them is a fire which originates from Yemen and rushes the people to their gathering place [Mahshar].
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Matrix is a System
If I told you that missionaries were going to your child's school everyday, preaching their religion and teaching that Islam is backwards and evil, you would be deeply concerned, right?
Well, libertine missionaries have already infiltrated the schools, the universities, the textbooks, the TV shows, the labour unions, and the HR departments. Their ideology teaches your kids everyday:
1. Naturalism: Everything that exists is material. All that is true must be observable to the five senses, repeatable in a lab setting, and published recently by a secular Western university. This sidelines ethics, metaphysics, and spirituality as unimportant, folkloric, superstitious, metaphorical, or simply mad. All non-naturalistic truths are just perspectives and opinions that are equally valid or invalid.
2. Power and chance control the world. There is no Logos, no dialogue, and no supernatural force. Suffering is meaningless, and comes from individuals, institutions, and nature - it is not a trial, it is not a purification, it is not person-building, and it is not a supernatural punishment.
3. Individualism: Everyone is in constant competition for their own material interests. Society is just an amalgamation of individuals with their own independent goals. Forget the "Umma", the "Church", or even familial or tribal associations. Economic prosperity is more important than family and community. If you decide to get married - if it suits your selfish interests - then "economic independence" must precede marriage, even though Allah encouraged early marriage and promised to give sustenance to couples and parents.
4. History must only be observed through a socio-economic lens. Muhammad (s) was, at most, a "social reformer", military leader, and founder of a global religion. Anything more is just a personal belief and perspective beyond the scope of reason.
5. Religion is a non-rational private conviction, practiced only at home and in a place of worship. It is completely separate from all public affairs, even though politics should never be separated from ethics, and ethics is related to religion. Most religion is mythology, and mythology is no different than storytelling.
6. Your identity is whatever you individually feel. It is not negotiated with your surroundings, nor is it demarcated by anything physical. You can choose your name (first and last), your racial/ethnic/tribal affiliation, your sex, your gender, your style, and your mode of expression. "As long as you're not hurting anyone" (a very relative statement), anything goes.
7. Your sexuality should be celebrated and expressed publicly, no matter how deviant it is from global norms. Thou shalt not judge anyone's sex life or lack thereof. Sexual identity permeates our politics, our associations, and our fashion, and is either just as important or more important than our religious identity.
These 7 values are reinforced everyday, and have become the basis of our conscious and subconscious beliefs and actions. Not only is it difficult to transcend this matrix, but it is resilient to change and unyielding to resistance.
So, how will our children maintain an Islamic worldview amidst all of this noise? If their schools, universities, and workplaces all operate under these 7 values, then wouldn't they simply see the way of their parents as old-fashioned and socially irrelevant? According to Pew, 77% of children who are raised Muslim in America still identify with Islam as adults. That means 23% leave Islam altogether. How much of that remaining 77% actually maintain an Islamic worldview; how many even practice their religion? What will our communities look like in a few generations?
The answer to these looming problems must be in the formation of Islamic re-education. Not a simple reactionary return to dogma, but an intellectual re-evaluation of the problems of modernity and postmodernism, and an intelligent integration of Islamic education and spiritual rehabilitation.
Hassan- reacted to yasahebalzaman.313 for a blog entry, Define Happiness
Brothers and sisters.
What words you use nowadays to define happiness in this life? Do you seek to achieve it? What do you do to achieve it?
This concept have made people go astray just to obtain it, they have quit their religion and commitment and have fallen into this trap that the western culture always point at.
This topic is a reminder for all of us, including me, to remember the very Purpose we came here for.
Before I became a Shia i met many individuals who always wanted to hear about the truth and always wanted to acquire this ultimate feeling that we call happiness. Only they don't understand that they can't have it in this life.
A friend of mine used to always talk about owning a house next to a lake, work in a job that she likes, that is true happiness she says, but yet this lifestyle is temporary. She doesn't think well okay after I've done all that what is next? What is the meaning behind it?
Or another one that used to always tell me she wants to travel the whole world and camp in every mountain, forest, valley, beach, or any outdoor place she could ever find. Imagine you have the whole money in the world and you went on to do this endless trip you talk about and then after you almost discovered every country, every civilization, you'd probably feel that life has no purpose now and you'd decide to end it. Because simply there is nothing new for you to do anymore, everything is repetitive in this life and everything is temporary.
I had friends who quit their jobs and went on a 6months trip to India living like homeless people. When they came back they claimed that this trip changed their life, but i just didn't see it, it wasn't genuine to me. Many people go to places now, pretend to do things or even feel like they Have to do certain activities just to show the world how cool and happy they are. But trust me behind their smile they are miserable.
Happiness is overrated, it's just some other weapon that they use against us.
It's normal that we slip sometimes but it's important to get back up, because True happiness comes from religion and from God, and the ultimate happiness is founded in the hereafter, not here.
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Did the Imam Curse Zurara?
قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: رحم الله زرارة بن أعين لو لا زرارة و نظراؤه لاندرست أحاديث أبي عليه السلام
Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: May Allah have mercy on Zurara b. A`yan, if it was not for Zurara and his peers the narrations of my father عليه السلام would have perished
سمعت أبا عبد اللّه عليه السلام يقول: لعن اللّه زرارة!
I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: may Allah curse Zurara!
Did the Imam Curse Zurara?
Zurara is such an important narrator in the Madhhab. No one has narrated more narrations than him. There are more than two thousand surviving Hadiths attributed to him in our books. No surprise then to find that we have a lot of reports of praise from the `Aimma confirming his esteemed status. A bit more difficult to explain away is the not insignificant number of narrations that portray him in a negative light. These have been latched onto by polemicists who believe that they can damage the Madhhab by weakening this man who transmitted such a lot of knowledge from the `Aimma that he became a cornerstone of our Fiqh. How do we defend him? There is a reliable text preserved by al-Kashshi in his book which I believe is useful in explaining this phenomenon preserving as it does a candid assessment by the Imam of the real situation.
The words of the Imam are indented and a relevant commentary is provided directly below each section. The text can be accessed in its entirety here https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-narrators/zurara-b-ayan [See No. 17/172]
Abdallah b. Zurara said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to me: convey my salutations of peace to your father and say to him …
The letter that the Imam dictates to this son of Zurara is done in confidence and with the expectation that no one else will come to know of its contents. It seems to have been prompted by Zurara’s grief, conveyed directly to the Imam, for censuring him to fellow companions and others, such that word reached back to him. Zurara seeks to clarify what the Imam’s true opinion of him is.
I only defame you as a way of defending you, for the masses and the enemy hasten to whomever we draw near and praise his station so as to cause harm to the one we love and bring close. They accuse such a one because of our love for him and his closeness and intimacy with us, and they consider causing him harm and even killing him as justified. On the other hand, they praise every one whom we fault even if his affair is not praiseworthy. Thus, I fault you because you have become notorious as a result of your association with us and your inclination towards us, which have caused you to become blamable in the eyes of the people and your works to be looked upon unfavourably, all this because of your love for us and your inclination towards us. So I wished to fault you so that they can praise your religious stand as a result of my denigrating and diminishing you, and this becomes a way of warding off their evil from you.
This narration is important because it is the lens through which all the negative narrations about Zurara should be seen. The Imam explains his rationale for publicly cursing Zurara i.e. the Imam is defending his companion through Taqiyya. As he notes, the enemy wishes to bring down everyone they draw near, a fate which he does not wish for Zurara. Zurara was particularly at risk because of how many narrations he had from them and how closely he was associated to them.
Allah Majestic and Mighty says: “as for the boat then it belonged to the poor working at sea so I wished to damage it because there was a king after them who seizes every good boat by force” (18:79) … No by Allah! he did not damage it except that it be saved from the king and is not ruined in his hands. It was a ‘good’ boat which had no question of being defective Allah be praised, so comprehend the parable, may Allah have mercy on you!
The Imam likens his act of criticizing Zurara to Khidhr damaging the fisherman’s boat, both seem ostensibly cruel on the surface but they are ultimately done to secure the very person they seem to hurting.
… this is a revelation from Allah [including the word] ‘good’ …
The Qira’a of the Ahlulbayt includes the word صالحة in the verse which is not there in our existing copies. This can be seen as an interpretive addition which happens to be quite straightforward and does not go against conventional understanding. This is also how Ibn Mas`ud and Ubay b. Ka`b read the verse [See Tafsir al-Tabari].
You are by Allah! the most beloved of people to me and the most beloved of the companions of my father in my estimation both in life and after death. Indeed you are the best boat in that tumultuous and stormy sea, and there is a tyrannical and usurping king after you, keeping watch for the crossing of every good boat returning from the sea of guidance so that he can take it for himself and seize it and its owners, so may the mercy of Allah be upon you in life and His mercy and pleasure be upon you after death.
This is the true status of Zurara in the eyes of the Imam. It becomes very clear that Zurara is the principal companion of al-Baqir and al-Sadiq and the closest to them. This tallies with the Madhhab’s conception of his status where he is seen as the greatest of their companions barring Muhammad b. Muslim which is arguable.
Let not your heart constrict in grief if Abu Basir comes to you with the opposite of that which you were instructed by my father and by me, for by Allah! we did not instruct you and him except with an instruction that is fitting to act upon both for us and for you, and for each [instruction, even if seemingly contradictory] we have diverse expressions and interpretations which all agree with the truth. And if we were allowed [to explain] you would come to know that the truth is in that which we have instructed you.
The Imam acknowledges a second problem which Zurara seems to have raised which is the Ikhtilaf [differences] of instructions which are attributed to them. The Imam accepts that these may indeed go back to them but notes that they have a reason for every instruction they give even if the companions cannot fully comprehend the reasons behind them. However, the Imam is very clear that despite the seeming diverse answers there is a way to reconcile them and all agree with the truth.
The one who has divided you is your shepherd who has been given authority by Allah over His creation. He [the shepherd] is more aware of what is in the interest of his flock and what can corrupt it. If he wishes he divides between them to safe-guard them, then he unites them once more so that it is secure from destruction and the fear posed by its enemy, in such a time as Allah permits, bringing it thereby safety from His place of safety and relief from Him. Upon you is to submit and to refer back to us and to await our affair and your affair and our relief and your relief.
The significance of these words of the Imam cannot be overstated. It reveals that the `Aimma would purposely teach different things to different Ashab aiming to purposely divide them. Elsewhere it is explained that they saw Madhhabic uniformity among their followers especially in rituals as being a distinctive marker that would make them a target. What the companions have to understand is that answering differently to different people is the prerogative of the Imam. No one can question this practice. What the companions have to do is submit fully to whatever they receive from the `Aimma and know that it has an explanation behind it for which the time is not ripe. All will be finally revealed when the time comes.
However [if you do not submit wholly then], if our Riser were to rise and our Speaker speak and he recommences teaching you the Qur’an, the Laws of religion, the rulings and inheritance shares the way Allah revealed them to Muhammad the ‘people of insight’ among you will repudiate it on that day a bitter repudiation, then you will not remain steadfast upon the religion of Allah and his path except under the threat of the sword over your necks!
If the companions cannot submit now, when they have lived through a chain of living Imams, then it augurs badly for the reaction of the self-appointed ‘people of insight’ who will be the first to line up against the One al-Sadiq calls ‘our Riser’ and alternatively ‘our Speaker’. When he comes back after a long period of occultation and recommences teaching them the religion as it is supposed to be the opposition to him from the Shia themselves be deafening! Those scholars who have cherished their dusty books will still cling to them even though the Imam who is the living embodiment of the Sharia is himself telling them otherwise.
The people after the prophet of Allah were left to embark by Allah the same example as those who came before you, so they changed, altered, distorted, and added to the religion of Allah and reduced from it, consequently there is not a thing which the people are upon today [following] except that it is distorted when compared to that which was revealed from Allah. Respond then my Allah have mercy on you away from what you are calling for to what you are being called to, until comes the one who will renew the religion anew.
Why did it have to come to this? This is the unfortunate consequence of the Umma betraying the will of the prophet. It has become utterly divided. Not having the correct leaders has meant that the authentic message of Muhammad has been irredeemably altered. There is not a single act of worship or belief that has been left un-corrupted because every middling scholar can peddle his interpretation. The temporal rulers are also more than happy to take advantage of the confusion and extend patronage to scholars whose interpretations were power friendly. The Imams themselves cannot openly propagate the actual version without repercussions.
To be continued ...
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, An Instance of Imami Ta`wil
An Instance of Imami Ta`wil
There is a difference between Tafsir and Ta`wil. The Qur'an has many interpretive layers and no one knows them all except Allah himself and the 'Rasikhuna fil Ilm' [those deeply entrenched in knowledge].
Below is one instance of the Imam unveiling an inner meaning of a part of the verse which is not at all apparent upon a literal reading. It should make us all take a step back from the claim that we can fully understand the Qur`an without their guidance.
الفقيه: باسناده عن عبدالله بن سنان قال: أتيت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام فقلت له: جعلني الله فداك ما معنى قول الله عزوجل: ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ قال: أخذ الشارب وقص الاظفار وما أشبه ذلك، قال: قلت: جعلت فداك فإن ذريحا المحاربي حدثني عنك أنك قلت: ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ لقاء الامام وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ تلك المناسك، قال: صدق ذريح وصدقت، إن للقرآن ظاهرا وباطنا ومن يحتمل ما يحتمل ذريح
al-Faqih: Via his chain to Abdallah b. Sinan who said: I came to Aba Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: may Allah make me your ransom, what is the meaning of the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “then they should remove their untidiness” (22:29), he said: trimming the mustache and cutting the nails, I said: may I be made your ransom, Dharih al-Muharibi narrated to me quoting you as saying: “then they should remove their untidiness” means ‘visit the Imam’ and “fulfill their vows” refers to ‘[perform] the pilgrimage rites’, he said: Dharih was right and so are you, verily for the Qur’an there is an exoteric and esoteric [layered meanings], and who can bear what is borne by Dharih?
The verse in question is in Surat al-Hajj. It contains instructions to those making the Hajj. It says: “Then they should remove their untidiness, fulfill their vows and circumambulate the Ancient House” (22:29)
The apparent meaning of ‘remove their untidiness’ is for a pilgrim to groom himself, and this would involve acts like trimming the mustache and cutting the nails, this is also what we find in the answer of the Imam to Abdallah b. Sinan. However, he had given a different answer to Dharih consonant with the latter's spiritual maturity. As is well known - the `Aimma used to answer the people based on the levels of their ability. Abdallah b. Sinan had heard this different meaning from Dharih and wanted to confirm it from the Imam himself. This is when the Imam reveals to him the exterior and interior meaning of the verse. The Imam also notes that he does not disclose the inner meaning to everyone but only those who have the capacity to handle it.
و على هذا فالمراد بالتفث أو قضائه تطهير البدن و القلب و الروح من الأوساخ الظاهرة و الباطنة، فيدخل فيه المعنيان معا إذ الغسل و حلق الشعر و قص الأظفار تطهير للبدن من الأوساخ الظاهرة، و لقاء الإمام تطهير للقلب من الأدران و الأوساخ الباطنة التي هي الجهل و الضلال و الصفات الرديئة و الأخلاق الدنية
al-Majlisi: The point of intersection between the two meanings is to interpret removal of dirt as achieving cleanliness from all that which blemishes a human whether it be in his physical body, his heart or soul. Bathing, trimming the hair and cutting the nails would be cleanliness of the body from physical dirt, while meeting the Imam and hearing his piercing words would be cleaning the heart from spiritual dirt such as ignorance, misguidance, repulsive attributes and base character.
وجهة الاشتراك بين التفسير والتأويل التطهير فإن أحدهما تطهير للبدن عن الأوساخ الظاهرة وما يجري مجراها والآخر تطهير للقلب من الأوساخ الباطنة التي هي الجهل والضلال والعمى
Faydh al-Kashani: The two meanings are related one being Ta`wil and the other is Tafsir both related to cleanliness. One is through removing the outward dirt while the other is through removing ignorance and blindness [spiritual defects].
ووجه الاشتراك التطهير فان ما قاله عليه السلام لذريح فهو تطهير الباطن وما قاله لعبد الله بن سنان هو تطهير الظاهر والاول هو التأويل والباطن والثانى هو التفسير والظاهر
Sayyid Hassan Khorasan: What the Imam said to Dharih is a purification of the inner self and what he said to Abdallah b. Sinan is a purification of the outer self. The former is an example of an esoteric Ta`wil while the latter is an example of an exoteric Tafsir.
One of the most important obligations to be fulfilled during the pilgrimage is to meet the Imam. This is what the Ashab used to do, taking advantage of the crowds to seek out the Imam and ask him questions without any fear. Hajj season is also where the early Sufara used to meet up with the Last Imam.
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Abu Amra al-Ansari - A Forgotten Man Pt. II
Abu Amra al-Ansari - A Forgotten Man in Early Shi`ism
“I Swear to Thee … Obedience unto Death”
و عدّه البرقي في أولياء أصحاب أمير المؤمنين عليه السّلام و في شرطة خميسه
Al-Barqi confirms that he was among the closest companions of the commander of the faithful عليه السّلام and adds that he was part of his Shurta al-Khamis.
There has been an ongoing debate about the etymology of Shurta al-Khamis and its origins.
The most convincing explanation is that Khamis, meaning five, is a synonym for the whole army, because armies at the time were normally divided into five divisions. Thus the ‘Shurta of the army’ would be its elite vanguard. Our sources inform us that Ali’s Shurta al-Khamis consisted of around 6000 soldiers. The Shurta would be at the tip of the formation bearing the brunt of any offensive. They would see the riskiest action being the first to penetrate enemy lines.
A clue as to what made them distinct from the rest of the army is provided by a narration in al-Ikhtisas of pseudo-Mufid where a man asks al-Asbagh b. Nubata, himself a member of the Shurta, the secret behind the name:
قلت له: كيف سميتم شرطة الخميس يا أصبغ؟ فقال: إنا ضمنا له الذبح وضمن لنا الفتح
I said to him: how was it that you came to be called the Shurta al-Khamis O Asbagh? He said: we guaranteed to fight for him and he guaranteed victory for us [in this world or the next].
This indicates that the Shurta were Ali’s most loyal soldiers because they had sworn a personal oath to him in their zeal for him. Agreeing to join the Shurta meant fighting Ali’s enemies until death or victory, whichever comes first, without turning back.
The Shurta were the backbone of Ali’s force whom he could expect to remain steadfast when others faltered. This contingent fought not for worldly gain or political expedient but because they recognized him as their only leader. They were always around him like worker bees around their queen. He said to them once:
أنتم الأنصار على الحقّ، والإخوان في الدين، والجُنَن يوم البأس، والبِطانة دون الناس، بكم أضرب المُدبِر، وأرجو طاعة المُقبِل، فأعينوني بمناصحةٍ خَلِيّة من الغشّ، سليمة من الريب؛ فوَاللَّه إنّي لأولى الناس بالناس
You are supporters of truth, brothers in religion, shields on the day of attack, you are the faithful apart from the rest, by you do I strike the one lagging behind, and by you do I compel the outriders to obedience, so aid me with an assistance free of any deception and safe from any doubt, for by Allah I am the most rightful of men among all men [Nahj al-Balagha]
If Ali could not mobilize enough men to renew his attack against Muawiya after Nahrawan it is only because most of the Shurta had already given their lives in previous battles. A fact which he never stopped grieving over.
Contribution to the War Effort
عمرو بن محصن ... هو الذى جهز أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام بمائة ألف درهم في مسيره إلى الجمل
Al-Tusi notes in his Rijal that Amr b. Mihsan [sic. Abu Amra b. Amr b. Mihsan] … supplied the commander of the faithfulعليه السلام with one hundred thousand Dirhams when he began his march to Jamal.
Delegate to Muawiya
He was chosen by Ali to be part of the team that makes first contact with Muawiya at Siffin. This shows the level of trust the Imam had on this old hand [Ta`rikh al-Tabari]:
تاريخ الطبري عن عبدالملك بن أبي حرّة الحنفي - بعد ذكر القتال على الماء -: مَكث عليّ يومين لا يرسل إلى معاوية أحداً، ولا يرسل إليه معاوية. ثمّ إنّ عليّاً دعا بشير بن عمرو بن محصن الأنصاري، وسعيد بن قيس الهمداني، وشبث بن ربعي التميمي، فقال: ائتوا هذا الرجل، فادعوه إلى اللَّه، وإلى الطاعة والجماعة
Ali did not send anyone to Muawiya for two whole days nor did Muawiya send anyone to him. Then Ali called Bashir b. Amr b. Mihsan al-Ansari, Sa`id b. Qays al-Hamdani and Shabath b. Rib`i al-Tamimi and said to them: go to this man and call him to Allah and to obedience and unity.
فقال له شبث بن ربعي: يا أميرالمؤمنين!ألا تُطمعه في سلطان تولّيه إيّاه، ومنزلة يكون له بها اُثرة عندك إن هو بايعك؟
Shabath b. Rib`i said to him: O commander of the faithful! won’t you tempt him with a rule which you could promise to hand over to him or by appointing him to a position which he desires so that he can incline towards you - if he were to give you the pledge of allegiance?
فقال عليّ: ائتوه فالقوه واحتجّوا عليه، وانظروا ما رأيه. - وهذا في أوّل ذي الحجّة
Ali said: go meet him, reason with him, and observe what he intends. [This was in the beginning of Dhul Hijja]
فأتوه، ودخلوا عليه، فحمد اللَّه وأثنى عليه أبوعمرة بشير بن عمرو، وقال: يا معاوية! إنّ الدنيا عنك زائلة، وإنّك راجع إلى الآخرة، وإنّ اللَّه عزّوجلّ محاسبك بعملك، وجازيك بما قدّمت يداك، وإنّي أنشدك اللَّه عزّوجلّ أنْ تفرّق جماعة هذه الاُمّة، وأن تسفك دماءها بينها
They went and entered upon him, then Abu Amra Bashir b. Amr praised and extolled Allah and said: O Muawiya! this world will recede away from you and you are to be returned to the next abode wherein Allah the Mighty and Majestic will take you to account for your deeds, and recompense you for what your hands sent before. I beseech you in the name of Allah Mighty and Majestic that you shatter the unity of this Umma and you shed blood between them.
فقطع عليه الكلام، وقال: هلّا أوصيت بذلك صاحبك؟
He (Muawiya) interrupted his speech and said: didn’t you say all this to your man [Ali]?
فقال أبوعمرة: إنّ صاحبي ليس مثلك، صاحبي أحقّ البريّة كلّها بهذا الأمر في الفضل والدين والسابقة في الإسلام، والقرابة من الرسول صلى اللّه عليه وآله وسلم
Abu Amra said: my man is not your equal, my man is the most rightful of all men in this matter [Khilafa] if you are to look at merit, religion, precedence in accepting Islam and closeness in ties to the messenger صلى اللّه عليه وآله وسلم
قال: فيقول ماذا؟
He (Muawiya) said: what does he (Ali) say?
قال: يأمرك بتقوى اللَّه عزّوجلّ، وإجابة ابن عمّك إلى ما يدعوك إليه من الحقّ، فإنّه أسلم لك في دنياك، وخير لك في عاقبة أمرك
He (Abu Amra) said: he (Ali) orders you to fear Allah Mighty and Majestic, and to submit to your cousin (Bani Hashim and Umayya are related afterall) in what he calls you towards which is the truth, for that is more secure in your worldy affairs and better for you in terms of your final destiny.
قال معاوية: ونُطلّ دم عثمان! لا واللَّه، لا أفعل ذلك أبداً
Muawiya said: and we are to leave the blood of Uthman unavenged! No by Allah! that will never happen!
فذهب سعيد بن قيس يتكلّم، فبادره شبث بن ربعي فتكلّم، فحمد اللَّه وأثنى عليه، وقال: يا معاوية! إنّي قد فهمت ما رددت على ابن محصن، إنّه واللَّه، لا يخفى علينا ما تغزو وما تطلب
Sa`id b. Qays wanted to speak but was beaten to it by Shabath b. Rib`i who praised and extolled Allah and then said: O Muawiya! I have understood your answer to Ibn Mihsan, by Allah it is not hidden from us what you are fighting for and what you seek!
کان ابن محصن من اعلام اصحاب علي (ع)، قتل في المعرکه، و جزع علي (ع) لقتله
Nasr b. Muzahim: He was among the most knowledgeable of Ali’s companions. He died in battle [of Siffin]. Ali was greatly saddened by his death.
روى عبادة بن زياد عن محمد ابن الحنفية قال: رأَيت أَبا عَمرَةَ الأَنصاري يوم صِفَّيْن، وكان عَقَبيًا بَدْرِيًّا أُحُدِيًّا، وهو صائم يتلوّى من العَطَش، فقال لغلام له: تَرِّسْنِي، فَتَرَّسَه الغُلاَم، ثم رمى بسهم في أَهل الشام، فنزع نزعًا ضعيفًا، حتى رمى بثلاثة أَسهم، ثم قال: إِني سَمِعتُ رسول الله صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم يقول: مَنْ رَمَى بِسَهْمٍ فِي سَبِيْلِ الله، فَبَلَّغَ أَوْ قَصَّرَ، كَانَ ذَلِكَ الْسَّهْمُ لَهُ نُورًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وقتل قبل غروب الشمس
Ubada b. Ziyad narrates from Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya who said: I saw Abu Amra al-Ansari at Siffin, he was an Aqabi [was there at the pledge at Aqaba], a Badri and an Uhudi, he was fasting and bent-over [weak] because of thirst, he said to a servant of his: shield me, and the servant shielded him, then he placed the arrow to his bow very weakly, and could only throw three of them, then he said: I heard the messenger of Allahصَلَّى الله عليه وسلم say: whoever throws an arrow in the way of Allah, whether he hits the target or not, that arrow will be for him a light in the day of judgment, he was killed before the setting of the sun [al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihayn]
There could not be a greater honour among the Arabs then to have your death being important enough to merit poetry on your behalf. This is what happened for Ibn Mihsan. It came from opposing sides.
Najashi the poet of Iraq [who was on the side of Ali] composed a long poem mourning his death, it begins:
لنعم فتى الحيّين عمرو بن محصن
What a good man was Amr b. Mihsan …
On the other hand, an anonymous Syrian woman taunted Ali and his followers with this invective:
لا تعدموا قوما أذاقوا ابن ياسر
Do not deem as insignificant a people who have sent Ibn Yasir to his death
And ends with:
فنحن قتلنا اليثربي ابن محصن خطيبكم و ابني بديل و هاشم
For we are the ones who killed the Yathribi Ibn Mihsan … your pre-eminent speaker, and the two sons of Badiyl and Hashim [b. Mirqal] too
In conclusion, any historical study of early Islam must take into account the wealth of poetry we have about the period. These have not been analyzed thoroughly because of the difficulty of dealing with the highly complex language involved. An argument can be made that that these can serve as more reliable than prose documentation because of the difficulty of fabricating things in the medium. A treasure trove awaits any historian brave enough to delve into them.
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Abu Amra al-Ansari - A Forgotten Man Pt. I
Abu Amra al-Ansari - A Forgotten Man in Early Shi`ism
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 عمرة الأنصاري؟
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 Amra al-Ansari?
Who was Abu Amra?
There exists Ikthilaf over the real name of Abu Amra among the scholars but it is most likely Bashir. The problem is compounded when he is confused in the sources for his father Amr b. Mihsan.
al-Kalbi gives it as follows [See: Nasab Ma`ad wa al-Yaman al-Kabir]
ابو عمرة بشير بن عمرو بن مِحصن بن عَمرو بن عَتِيك بن عمرو بن مَبْذول، واسمه عامر بن مالك بن النجار بن ثعلبة بن عمرو بن الخزرج الأَنصاري
Abu Amra Bashir b. Amr b. Mihsan b. Amr b. Atik b. Amr b. Mabdhul - and his i.e. Mabdhul’s name was A`mir - b. Malik b. al-Najjar b. Tha`laba b. Amr b. al-Khazraj al-Ansari.
This means he was from the Ansar, helpers who welcomed the prophet in Madina, specifically, from the Amr b. Mabdhul of the Banu al-Najjar who were Khazraji.
Abu Nuaym says [See: Ma`rifat al-Sahaba]:
شهد بدرًا وأُحدًا والمشاهد
He witnessed Badr, Uhud and the rest of the battles.
He was a very early convert to Islam and participated in all the battles which gives him a station that we cannot fathom. He has a few narrations from the prophet recorded in the books of Hadith.
The Banu Najjar Connection
The Muslim sources on genealogy assert that Ali and Muhammad’s great grandmother, the mother of Abd al-Muttalib b. Hashim, was Salma bint Amr from the clan of Banu Najjar of the Khazraj. Abd al-Muttalib spent his childhood with his mother in Madina, before he was claimed by his uncle Muttalib and brought to Makka after the death of his father Hashim.
This explains why the Banu Hashim always saw the Banu Najjar of the Khazraj as their Akhwal [maternal uncles].
Abd al-Muttalib said in verse [See: Ta`rikh al-Tabari]
أبلغ بني النجار إن جئتهم ... أني منهم وابنهم والخميس
Tell the Bani al-Najjar if you reach them … That I am one of them, their son and of their company
يا طول ليلي لأحزاني وأشغالي ... هل من رسول إلى النجار أخوالي
O how long is my night due to my sorrows and worries … Would someone serve as a messenger to my maternal uncles (the Bani) Najjar
Another piece of evidence is that most accounts regarding the circumstances preceding the death of the prophet’s father, Abdallah, place his final illness in Madina, where he is said to have stayed with his maternal uncles, the Banu Adiyy b. al-Najjar, among whom he eventually died and was buried
This pre-existing relation helps explain why this particular branch of the Khazraj were overly represented in the move of the prophet from Makka to Madina. A move which gave him safety when all other doors were closed.
As`ad b. Zurara of the Bani Najjar was critical to the prophet’s migration to Madina. He was the first to accept Islam from among the inhabitants of Yathrib. This happened when he and a small group of five others [all from Khazraj, including another member of the Bani Najjar] happened to meet the prophet when they went to seek settlement for a dispute from the Qurayshi elders [specifically Utba b. Rabi`a]. They returned next year in what is called the first pledge of Aqaba [delegation of the inhabitants of Yathrib that pledged their support to Muhammad prior to the Hijra].
In the accounts of the first pledge of Aqaba, 10 of the 12 men listed were from the Khazraj and 3 of those were from the Banu al-Najjar. Of the 70 or so men and 2 women who pledged their allegiance to Muhammad during the second meeting of Aqaba, 62 men and one woman were from the Khazraj and 12 of these were of the Banu al-Najjar.
The prophet initially resided with them when he emigrated to Madina [specifically with Abi Ayyub al-Ansari who was of the Banu Najjar], similarly, his Masjid and later homes were built in the Najjari quarter.
No surprise then that the prophet said [See: Sahih al-Bukhari]:
خير دور الأنصار بنو النجار
The best of the Ansari homes [in terms of genealogical honour] are those of the Banu Najjar.
It is my thesis that Abu Amra being from the Najjar would have added reason to support Ali because there was a familial relation between them. But this is not the main reason why most of the Ansar placed their hope in Ali.
How do we explain Ansari support? There is no doubt that the major driving force behind it was the coalescing of grievance felt by the Ansar as a result of the consolidation of the Qurayshi monopoly. They saw in the sympathetic figure of Ali [who had also been sidelined by the Qurashis] someone who could redress that balance.
A Witness at Ghadir
وفي اسد الغابة لابن الاثير روى بسنده عن الاصبغ بن نباتة قال: نشد علي (ع) الناس في الرحبة: من سمع النبي (ص) يوم غدير خم ما قال الا قام، ولايقوم الا من سمع رسول اللّه (ص) يقول، فقام بضعة عشر رجلا فيهم ابو ايوب الانصاري، وابو عمرة بن عمرو بن محصن ... فقالوا: نشهد انا سمعنا رسول اللّه (ص) يقول: الا ان اللّه عزوجل وليي، وانا ولي المؤمنين، الا فمن كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه، اللهم وال من والاه، وعاد من عاداه، واحب من احبه، وابغض من ابغضه، واعن من اعانه
Ibn Athir reports in Usd al-Ghaba via his chain to al-Asbagh b. Nabata who said: Ali عليه السلام called out to the people in al-Rahba: whoever heard what the prophet صلى الله عليه واله وسلم said on the day of Ghadir should stand, no one should stand except if he heard the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله وسلم directly. More than ten men stood up among them Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and Abu Amra b. Amr b. Mihsan … they said: we bear witness that we heard the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله وسلم saying: Verily Allah Mighty and Majestic is my master, and I am the master of the believers, whomsoever’s master I am then Ali is also his master, O Allah be a guardian to the one who takes him as a guardian, and be an enemy to the one who makes him an enemy, and love the one who loves him and hate the one who hates him and aid the one who comes to his aid.
The Secret Bay`a
We are told that the first Bay`a [pledge of allegiance] to Ali was given at Abu Amra’s home by a few of the closest Ashab. Kufan tradition maintains that it was al-Ashtar who extended his hands first. This happened, in one of the greatest ironies of history, on Friday the 18th of Dhul Hijja 35 AH. It was followed by the public pledge at the Masjid the next day.
The fact that he got this private Bay`a from the Ansari warriors of the Bani Najjar [who were the core of the early Muslim armies] is significant. Ansari support in Madina was critical to nullifying the claims of Talha and Zubayr in that period of paralysis when Madina was over-run by forces from the provinces.
قال ابن السَّمَرْقَنْدِي: أخبرني العباس بن هشام عَن أبيه قال: بويعَ علي بن أبي طالب بن عَبْد المُطَّلِب بن هاشم بن عَبْد مَنَاف بالمدينة، يوم الجُمعة حين قُتِل عُثْمَان، لاثنتي عشرة ليلة بقيت من ذي الحجة فاستقبلَ المُحرم سنة ستّ وثلاثين وقال غير عباس: وكانت بيعتهُ في دار عمرو بن محصن الأنصاري ثم أحد بني عمرو بن مبذول يوم الجمعة، ثم بويع بيعة العامة من الغد، يوم السبت في مسجد رَسُول اللَّه (ص)
Ibn al-Samarqandi said: al-Abbas b. Hisham narrated to me from his father that: Ali b. Abi Talib b. Abd al-Muttalib b. Hashim b. Abd Manaf was given the Bay`a in Madina, on Friday, the day Uthman was murdered, twelve nights remaining from the month of Dhul Hijja, the coming Muharram being the new year thirty six [after Hijra]. And someone other than Abbas said: His Bay`a was in the house of Amr b. Mihsan al-Ansari whereupon Bani Amr b. Mabdhul swore fealty on a Friday, then the public oath was on the next day, Saturday, in the Masjid of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله وسلم
ابي المليح قال: لما قتل عثمان، خرج علي الى السوق، وذالك يوم السبت لثماني عشره ليلة خلت من ذى الحجة، فاتبعه الناس وبهشوا في وجهه، فدخل حائط بني عمرو بن مبذول، وقال لأبي عمرة بن عمرو بن محصن: اغلق الباب فجاء الناس فقرعوا الباب فدخلوا ...
Ibn Mulayh said: when Uthman was killed, Ali came out to the market, and that was on Saturday, eighteen nights having passed from Dhul Hijja, the people followed him and thronged in front of him, so he entered the walled garden of Bani Amr b. Mabdhul and said to Abi Amra b. Amr b. Mihsan: close the door, but the people came and banged on the door and entered …
To be continued ...
Hassan- reacted to Hameedeh for a blog entry, ♥ Marriage ♥
Marriage is not easy. You have to get to know each other. You are used to doing everything your own way. Now you need to compromise. Share with each other. Give and take. If you take more than you give, it won't be as sweet. Do not expect more from your spouse than your spouse will need from you. Life is good. It's better when you are together. If you both do your best.
♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Islam and Feminism
Lady Khadija, Lady Fatima, and Lady Zaynab are exemplary models of Islamic femininity. Their virtue, intelligence, patience, and strength is celebrated in Muslim civilization, alongside other reputable women. These women stood up to the sociopolitical injustices of their time, making their permanent mark in history. Without these paragons, the religion of Islam falls apart. Throughout the Quran, God explicitly addresses both men and women, because they are both necessary in the establishment of good societies and families. The Prophet elevated the status of women, from being buried alive beneath the Earth, to having Paradise beneath their feet.
But today, we live in a time where it is almost easier to say that you are a cannibal than to say that you are not a feminist. People look at you as though you are in favour of rapists, sexual assault, inequity, and bad behaviour to women. The truth is that we live in a very individualistic society, where competing individuals are pitted against each other in all aspects of life. There are constant clashes between economic classes, races, religions, sects, and now, even genders. As individuals, we stand largely on our own, with little communal or neighbourly support. Instead of viewing society in a familial, tribal, or communal lens, we view society as a collection of selves in constant competition for jobs, grades, wealth, reputation, and territory. As Muslims, it is true that we have individual responsibilities, but we are also commanded to be selfless - not greedy, stingy, territorial, or combative - and genuinely look for the collective interests of our communities.
Faith in God, Trust in God
A Muslim is one who has become convinced, through reason and intuition, that there is no god except the One Creator, Sustainer, and Nurturer of the cosmos. We then accept the prophethood of the final Messenger (s) due to his inimitable character and revelation. After we have established the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet as our ethical foundation, we are to follow the moral guidelines and principles that they espouse. It is our belief as Muslims that Muhammad (s) was the last prophet and messenger, and that the system that he brought would be one that would be in our best interests in every era and every place. Our God, in His boundless compassion and mercy, wants us to live out the most fulfilled, natural, and productive life, so that we may achieve the best of this world and the next. Islam recognizes that men and women are different, but equal, and so different instructions and obligations have been given to each gender for our own best interest. God has also warned us of what happens to communities that transgress these natural balances - dogmatism, nihilism, and eventually destruction.
Feminism vs Women's Rights
Feminism is much like the Marxist dialectic, except the proletarian class is replaced with women, and the bourgeoisie is replaced with men. Feminists advocate for women's rights, but its underlying theory is that men have collectively oppressed women by monopolizing all forms of power: political, economic, cultural religious, physical, and sexual. Its goal, therefore, is to destroy the patriarchy - which it says has been built to keep women down - and redistribute the power. Historically, feminism addressed some serious issues: suffrage (women's right to vote), economic independence, and generalizations against women. There is no doubt that some aspects of pre-modern society and developing countries have been very oppressive towards women in particular, including violence and economic oppression.
There is, however, such a thing as being an advocate for women's rights without being a feminist. All of the prophets uplifted and defended the rights of females, but they were also proponents of a patriarchal system. Islam advocated for the right of women to own property, take leading roles in commerce, choose their husbands, and take part in politics. Societies still addressed domestic violence, and chivalry instated the respect of women, the removal of their burdens, and holding them in protection and honour. Women were even exempted from religious and economic responsibilities to make their lives easier. In reality, a good man wants the best for his mother, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. Similarly, a good woman wants the best for her father, her husband, her brother and her son. These "patriarchal" civilizations consisted mostly of women who would reinforce these values in their sons and daughters. It's inconceivable that a worldwide system would collectively dupe and oppress all women for thousands of years.
But the underlying premise of feminism is that the two genders are at war with one another, and the only way to stop that is to destroy the patriarchal power structure. This simplistic worldview sees all aspects of patriarchy - including Abrahamic religions - to be oppressive and designed to put women down. It generalizes all men, it ignores any good that came out of traditional communities, and it puts the world on a dangerous course. The gender war basically pits the two genders against one another, perpetuates misconceptions about men ("mansplaining", "manspreading", "toxic masculinity", unhinged objectification) while ignoring men's issues (graduation, suicide, poverty, drug addiction, gang violence, work-related injuries, conflict, imprisonment, unfair divorce settlements and custody cases). The movement presupposes that men are privileged just by being men, and then ignores the many ways that men suffer.
Feminism is Changing
This is not an argument for weak women, there is no women in my mind stronger than Fatima, Zaynab, Umm al-Baneen, Sakeena, Ruqayya, Khadija, Asiya, and Maryam. They all displayed strength in their life and were often killed or imprisoned for their strength. I do not believe that all women must be submissive, gentle, meek, or put up with male abuse. Pre-modern societies had their misogyny: preventing women from owning property (how is that any different from Fadak?), forcing women into marriages, having women pay dowries, and having women put up with brutally violent husbands - all of this is haram and reprehensible.
However, supporting third-wave feminist ideology is different from supporting women's rights. As Muslims, we should be against an ideology that preaches Free Love, which is promoted by some of feminism's pioneers ( such as Mary Nichols), and promoted by popular modern feminists like Gloria Steinem. We should be against the idea that marriage and the patriarchy are a plot to keep women down, which is the position of Wollstonecraft. We should be against a feminism that shames stay-at-home mothers as uneducated and brainwashed. We should be against the simplistic idea that males are privileged just for being male, which leads to policies and customs that ignore the issues of our young men and boys. We should be against a raunchy feminism that would like to normalize female sexuality (the Vag.ina Monologues, #freethenipple campaign, slu.twalk, Femen) and legalize prostitution (Margo St. James, Norma Jean Almodovar, Kamala Kempadoo, Laura Maria Agustin, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Leigh, Carol Queen, Audacia Ray). We should be against a feminism that enshrines discredited narrative over fact (the wage gap, rape culture) and silenced those that disagree with it. We should be against an ideology that promotes the legalization of late-term abortion. We should be against queer-focused, anti-nuclear family feminists that have sway over the LGBT and Black Lives Matter movements. We should be against a feminism that denies any biological, anatomical or psychological basis for gender, and promotes gender-fluidity, non-binary and nongendered identities, genderless bathrooms, and cross-dressing. We should be against any ideology that promotes censorship on campus or among academics; including the idea of a safe-space. We should be against an ideology that attacks the hijab and separates harassment from clothing (a clear contradiction of 33:59 in the Quran). As someone who works with young people, I can say that all of these ideas are very influential among millennials, including young Muslims.
Freedom to Work, or Freedom from Work?
While feminist ideology has often run against capitalism and the free market, there is a strong aposteriori link between feminism and capitalism. It's an unintended unholy alliance: just as feminism encourages emancipation through economic independence, the free market will always want more consumers, more workers, more students paying tuition, longer hours of operation, more bank accounts (more revenue from interest), and more people relying on outside food. Most feminists today realize that there will not be a proletarian utopia, at least not any time soon, and so co-opting the current system is good enough for now. Many policies are being proposed and implemented to give women an edge in the business world. Today, women have a 2-1 advantage getting a STEM job (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) at an American college (Cornell 2015 study). A lot of this is because of the oft-repeated statistic that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The problem with this statistic however is that it does not take into account career choices, degrees, hours in the work place, men being more likely to ask for raises, and female CEOs less likely to give themselves a higher salary. When you account for these factors, the gender pay gap is only about 4 cents, and there is no way to verify if those 4 cents are because of gender discrimination or other reasons. Wages are different from earnings.
Although feminist tropes can be good for upper-middle class white women, who want to escape the boredom of being a housewife or mother to work in bookstores, offices, and schools; it can be extremely detrimental to working-class women, who are now forced to work as maids and babysitters while raising their own children at the same time. Many women must support their children and their parents, often without the support of a man, whilst working overtime. All households in the future will definitely require two full-time incomes just to make ends meet. The problem, however, is that women no longer have the freedom not to work. They are basically forced to work to upkeep a home, because their husband's salary is now likely worth significantly less than it used to be. They will no longer have the option to stay home and raise their kids: nursing them, teaching them, and safeguarding them. Now, they must rely on babysitters, the television, the internet, coaches, and out-of-touch retired relatives. Leaving children unattended also gives predators and abusers more chances to get to these children. In general, naturally, a mother has the best interest for her children. When she is removed from the picture, many children grow up unloved, abused, suffering from mental health issues, behind in school and filled with the media's filth.
I can understand the reasons for female economic independence, but it comes with several costs: delaying marriage, raising one's chance of fornication and casual relationships, and having less family time during marriage. Especially today, economic independence is taking much longer to achieve, because more people are attaining university degrees. As Muslims, we must brainstorm as a community and find a more Islamic middle ground and moderate path.
Islam is not against working women whatsoever. Lady Khadija was a rich businesswoman, and the Prophet was her employee. A woman can do whatever she wants with her own money, while a man is obligated to spend his money on his family. In our fiqh, a wife can even demand to be paid by her husband for any housework or childrearing that she does. Many women in the history of Islam were known for their knowledge in the Islamic sciences and their personal virtues. But this all happened in "patriarchal societies".
You cannot rely on the education system to teach your children ethics or practical life skills. On the contrary, you may even have to reverse some of the negative affects that public schooling can have a child. How much energy can realistically you give to them when you are working and under stress, on top of other responsibilities? There must be a middle way: take the first few years off, then work part-time (or go to school) until they hit adolescence. In our religion, a woman can also demand a wage for household responsibilities, demand a dower of her choice, and demand a maid for cleaning or nursing. These tools need to be revitalized for the modern age, even if it means that men work longer hours and families live within humble means.
As a child, I was able to do extra reading and math, French, Arabic, Islamic classes, Quran, sports, and eat only home-cooked meals, all because my mother took those years off. Most of all, she gave me the love, attention, and energy I needed as a child, without relying much on babysitters. She was able to become a teacher, memorize the Quran, volunteer at my school, exercise, have a social life, and have time for my father. Any lifestyle we choose will require some sacrifices, it's about what you prioritize. As a highschool teacher, I learned a lot about the parent-child relationship and how it affects their school and social life.
Feminism plays right into the hands of misogynists
In feminist circles, marriage is constantly attacked as a patriarchal institution designed to oppress women. Stay-at-home mothers are mocked and seen as weak and brainwashed. This is completely irreconcilable with Islam, which promotes marriage and motherhood as means to reaching God and a balanced, fulfilled life. Instead, free love is pushed for both genders, and a strong effort is being made to take all shame away from all forms of sexual deviation. Advising our sisters is now considered "sl.ut-shaming". But free love is incredibly oppressive towards women. Men can now have as many sexual partners as they want, without their parents' permission or knowledge, without being responsible for children, for food and shelter, or for other marital responsibilities. If sex is freely available, then men can do this indefinitely, without getting married, and they will become more adept at this with age, which is usually coupled with economic stability and maturity.
Furthermore, with feminists pushing to legalize "sex work" (prostitution), they believe that they are trying to free sex workers from the patriarchal law enforcement. But does this really help women? Paving the way towards legalizing prostitution means that cheating will be accessible to more men. More men will just rely on the sex industry, and less men will need to commit to a woman through marriage. With free love and immodest clothing and behaviour, women open themselves to the objectification of players, without those men paying any consequences. God created women to be the most sentient and empathetic of beings, and there is no doubt that being used, abused, and heartbroken repeatedly inflicts permanent scars. With more men checking out of marriage than ever before, and a 50% divorce rate in some parts of the world, it is not a mystery that older ladies with many past partners - and even children - will not be able to find the most desirable spouses. Islam recognizes the power of sexuality, which can either build or destroy communities. A woman is most fulfilled with a strong, stable man by her side - this is conventional wisdom in every culture - and so Islam recommends early marriage. But instead, feminism encourages women to get a full education and climb the corporate ladder, only to find that there is a lack of suitable male partners that can stimulate their intellect. With drug abuse, suicide, war, homelessness, and other crises that affect men in particular, there is always a natural imbalance in society. God hates bachelorhood and divorce, because they destroy the family, which is the basic unit of society. Men potentially lose most of their assets in a divorce, and often lose custody of their children, which causes more men to just keep a girlfriend.
Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it is the oldest oppression. Sex in Islam is enshrined in the protection of women, while free love victimizes women in many different ways. it is true that 1980s Second Wave Feminists were against prostitution and pornography, because they objectified women. But feminism today is changing, and its campaigns play right into the hands of perverted men.
Feminism is Anti-Scientific
Feminism ignores tons of conventional wisdom, science, psychology, and evolutionary biology. One of the faults of feminism is that it assumes that all feminine and masculine traits are socially constructed. Meaning, any characteristic of a gender is a product of culture and society, rather than nature. This flies in the face of everything we know about gender through biology, psychology, chemistry, and anthropology. The reality is that we are hardwired with certain traits, which allowed the human race to survive and thrive for thousands of years. Human nature does not change overnight due to an ideology. Political correctness and gender politics is silencing the academic process ("trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are the most unacademic and unintellectual concepts in modern universities). The reality is that male and female brains are different. Men and women excel in different subjects and they tend to [refer different careers. Male domination of the STEM fields or physical labour is seen as a sexist social construct by feminists, rather than just respecting the different skills men and women have. Males and females compliment one another; they are not supposed to be exact copies of one another. In today's sanitized politically-correct culture, we can no longer highlight these differences without being silenced or shamed.
The question we are brainstorming is: is gender a social construction and a function, or is it biologically/neurologically/chemically/anatomically/psychologically rooted? Most reasonable people would say that it is both. Even the LGBT movement, which argues that people can be born with a male or female brain, would therefore agree that there is such a thing as a male or female brain, or a male and female anatomical appearance ("lipstick feminism"). So we must ask ourselves, do these differences have social consequences? Are we attracted to the same things in the other gender? Is motherhood and fatherhood exactly the same - and if they are different, what are the consequences or growing up without a mother or a father in a divorced or gay household? Why have almost all cultures used the exact same division of labour for generations? My view is, in answering these questions, we will conclude that men and women should have the same rights, but that their behaviour and affect in society will generally differ. And this is a good thing - it brings balance to the system. Men and women need one another to live a fulfilled life.
Not to mention the current LGBTQ trend (i.e. gender politics), which are a spin-off of identity politics. I can now identify as a 6'10" grade 1 lesbian Chinese female fox without being challenged in most academic or work settings. We can debate the roles or stereotypes of men or women, but if we are silenced from questioning basic identifiable realities, then what does that say about our ability to answer the real questions?
Addressing Women's Issues
I firmly believe that the issues of domestic violence, forced marriages, and unfair treatment of women needs to be openly addressed in our community. Domestic violence is a symptom of a diseased heart. It destroys families, and it cannot be taboo in our communities to openly challenge its reality. The caveat, however, is that we must address these issues in a way that does not give credence to movements that are set on destroying our civilization as well. As Muslims, we should rise above the domestic power dynamic and learn how to be compassionate, merciful, and loving. God created marriage as a sign so that we may know Him. But we can reproach these serious issues without compromising our futures.
Allah's Hijab: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/blogs/entry/65-allahs-hijab/
Feminism and Islamic Epistemology: http://almadinainstitute.org/blog/feminism-recalibrating-faith-according-to-an-islamic-epistemic/
Feminist outrage: http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/17/the-hypocrisy-of-feminist-outrage/
The Gender Pay-Gap Myth: http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-the-gender-pay-gap-is-just-a-myth-2011-3?op=1
The Decline of "Marriageable" Men: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/308654/
Women who have more sexual partners have unhappier marriages down the road: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/21/more-sexual-partners-unhappy-marriage_n_5698440.html
Violence against men: http://www.sciencevsfeminism.com/the-myth-of-oppression/violence-by-women/a-historical-review/
Same-Sex Science: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/02/same-sex-science
Same-Sex Attraction: http://muslimmatters.org/2016/08/22/from-a-same-sex-attracted-muslim-between-denial-of-reality-and-distortion-of-religion/
Marriage will never be a Feminist Choice: http://www.xojane.com/issues/unpopular-opinion-marriage-will-never-be-a-feminist-choice
Is feminism destroying the institution of marriage? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11824814/Is-feminism-destroying-the-institution-of-marriage.html
Egyptian women number 1 beaters of husbands: UN study http://tribune.com.pk/story/1158555/egyptian-women-number-one-beating-husbands-shows-un-study/
More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence
Ashura march for LGBT victims: http://i.imgur.com/otAHWTD.jpg
MSA Gay Pride Month: http://i.imgur.com/eACrFns.jpg
University of Toronto professor attacked for refusing to use "genderless pronouns": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4R0bWC41g4
Why as Muslims we cannot support Noor Taghouri: https://themuslimvibe.com/muslim-current-affairs-news/why-as-muslims-we-cant-support-noor-tagouris-decision-to-feature-in-playboy
Hassan- 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].
Hassan- reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Possessionist Imamology
إن بيانا تراءى له الشيطان في أحسن ما يكون صورة آدمي من قرنه إلى سرته
The Devil appeared to Bayan in the most handsome form that a human can have from the top of the head to the navel [Ja`far al-Sadiq]
God caused the holy pre-existent spirit which had created the whole of creation to dwell in flesh that He desired [Shepherd of Hermas]
He keeps appearing every now and again ... he takes Adam’s clothes off and puts it on again [Epiphanius]
Bayan b. Sam`an and the Bayaniyya
The status of the Imam was a question that was fiercely debated in the second century of the Islamic Era before the different positions crystallized. It is important to go back to history to hear the different voices in the debate. This is relevant because we find some unease to this day between what is believed in the popular Shi`i consciousness and our literary sources. One such key figure who participated in developing a peculiar Imamology was Bayan b. Sam`an.
Who was Bayan?
Bayan b. Sam`an (most likely from the South Arabian tribe of Nahd) was a seller of straw in Kufa. We would classify him as a Ghali and he was indeed cursed by the `Aimma. He is said to have associated himself with Hamza b. `Ammara, a speculator about the divinity of Ibn al-Hanafiyya [heading a splinter of the Kaysaniyya]. Bayan later attached himself to the claim of Abu Hashim the son of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya.
What did the Bayaniyya believe?
We do not have any extant documentary evidence that comes directly from Bayani circles, but we have early statements of contemporaries reformulating their beliefs, we also have the entries of the heresiographers whose work it was to classify different sects based on their belief-systems.
The concept of a Demiurge
In a report in al-Kashshi, Hisham quotes Bayan as saying:
إن بيانا يتأول هذه الآية وَ هُوَ الَّذِي فِي السَّماءِ إِلهٌ وَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلهٌ، أن الذي في الأرض غير إله السماء، و إله السماء غير إله الأرض، و أن إله السماء أعظم من إله الأرض، و أن أهل الأرض يعرفون فضل إله السماء و يعظمونه فقال: و الله ما هو إلا الله وحده لا شريك له إله من في السماوات و إله من في الأرضين
'Bayan interprets this verse “and He is the one who is God in Heaven and God on Earth” (43:84) that the one on Earth is not the God of Heaven, and the God of Heaven is not the God of Earth, and that the God of Heaven is greater than the God of Earth, and that the people of the Earth recognize the merit of the God of Heaven and magnify Him'
This is an important piece of evidence, because it shows that the sectarians were influenced by the concept of the Demiurge in their cosmology. I use this word in the sense of a second divine power in heaven. This power could assume many different names like Wisdom of God, Spirit of God, Logos, Metatron etc. It owes its origins to Gnosticism [and Middle-platonic notions], which had a long pre-Islamic pedigree in the melting pot that was Kufa. Gnosticism presents a distinction between the highest, unknowable God and the lesser power that was pre-existing with the unknowable God. The latter is the ilah al-ard [lesser god] in Bayan’s terminology, the site of God's power on the Earth. The real unknown God is so distant and incomprehensible to humans that they can only know him through a lesser being which can interact with matter.
Who is the Lesser God on Earth?
The Bayaniyya held that the Imam was deified because of housing the indwelling Demiurgic divine-light particle. This particle transmigrated (Tanasukh) i.e. passed down - from the Biblical patriarchs, to the Prophet Muḥammad, to the Shiʿi Imams.
قال بيان بالهية علي عليه السلام، وأن جزءا إلهيا متحد بناسوته، ثم من بعده في ابنه محمد بن الحنفية ثم في أبي هاشم ولد محمد بن الحنفية، ثم من بعده في بيان هذا
In other words, the bodies of prophets and `Aimma were receptacles to be filled with a divine spark or Spirit. It would at some point leave the body of the Imam when he dies and transmigrate to another. All the supernatural abilities of the Imam derives from being a host to the divine particle, without it the Imam is just an ordinary human.
I term this a “possessionist” Imamology. Anyone who has studied early Jewish-Christian Christologies will notice how closely those parallel what has been presented here.
This particle is said to have passed through Ali > Ibn al-Hanafiyya > Abu Hashim and potentially Bayan himself.
Al-Baghdadi says in al-Farq bayn al-Firaq:
ان بَيَانا قَالَ لَهُم: ان روح الْإِلَه تناسخت فى الانبياء والائمة حَتَّى صَارَت الى ابى هَاشم عبد الله ابْن مُحَمَّد بن الْحَنَفِيَّة ثمَّ انْتَقَلت اليه مِنْهُ يعْنى نَفسه فَادّعى لنَفسِهِ الربوبية على مَذْهَب الحلولية
Bayan said: the Divine Spirit transfused into the prophets and the `Aimma until it reached Abi Hashim Abdallah b. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya then it went into me [i.e. he deified himself].
al-Shahristani says in al-Milal wa al-Nihal:
قال بيان: حل في علي جزء إلهي، واتحد بجسده، فيه كان يعلم الغيب اذا اخبر عن الملاحم وبه قلع باب خيبر
Bayan said: The divine particle transfused into Ali, and united with his physical body, with it [in this divine particle] did he know the knowledge of the Unseen when he used to inform others about the trials [at the end of times] and by it [not his physical body] was he able to uproot the door of Khaybar.
What is the Implication of this?
In essence, the Bayaniyya and many other Ghulat were marked out from other 'orthodox' Muslim communities in that they did not close the door to prophecy. Prophecy continues because the access to the divine realm did not end with the Muhammad. Since they deified the Imams, anyone who is a legitimate deputy of this Imam-god would be a “prophet”. At first, Bayan saw himself as the “prophet” of the one with the divine spark.
Sa`d b. Abdallah says in his al-Maqalat that Bayan sent a letter to al-Sadiq announcing his prophethood and commanding him among other things “to surrender so as to be safe … for you cannot know where God will place his prophethood .. and whoever warns has been excused”. The Imam ordered the messenger who brought the letter, a hapless man called Umar b. Abi Afif al-Azdi, to eat the letter in front of him, and that was his reply.
There are clues, however, that he later evolved from this position and claimed to have possessed the spark himself. Consequently, he claimed to have access to special kind of knowledge which enabled him to predict the future [as a corollary] among other powers.
Interpretation of the Qur`an
The Ghulat in general are characterized by dabbling in Ta`wil [esoteric interpretation of the Qur`an]. The Bayaniyya, in particular, developed a literalist anthropomorphic interpretation of the Qur`an. They considered the unknowable God as being a Man of Light based on Q. 24:35. This Man of Light has various constituent parts e.g. having a hand based on Q. 48:10. In this vein, they considered that all will be destroyed [including God’s other parts] except for His face based on Q. 28:88.
A key feature of most of the Ghulati groups was the belief in the return of the dead before the day of judgment initiated by the eschatological return of of the expected messianic deliverer. The Bayaniyya believed in the Raj`a of Abu Hashim as the Mahdi.
In 119/737 AD, Bayan and another Ghali al-Mughira b. Sa`id joined forces and rose in revolt against the Umayyad governor of Iraq, Khalid b. `Abdallah al-Qasri. The rebellion was quickly put down and the leaders as well as some of their followers were executed and then burned.
As the Imam says:
كان بيان يكذب على علي بن الحسين عليه السلام، فأذاقه الله حرَّ الحديد، وكان المغيرة بن سعيد يكذب على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فأذاقه الله حرَّ الحديد
Bayan used to lie about al-al-Sajjad عليه السلام and al-Mughira b. Sa`id used to lie about al-Baqir عليه السلام so Allah made them to taste of the heat of the iron [put to the sword].
Hassan- reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, The Transfer of Kufa’s Hadith Heritage to Qom (5)
Original full post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-transfer-of-kufas-hadith-heritage-to-qom-history-of-imami-shii-theology-5/
During the Imamate of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s), there was a lot of encouragement from the Imams to their students and companions to begin recording down traditions. As this shift from oral to a written tradition became a culture amongst them, there was naturally a large output of written works over the next century. Kufa being the hub for Shi’i activity naturally possessed the most written works at the time.
As scholars from Qom would initially travel to Kufa to acquire traditions of the Imams from the various scholars and companions that resided there, the tables would eventually turn as Kufa’s scholarly circles began to diminish and its heritage began being transferred to Qom. Scholars who played a role in transferring this heritage to Qom include personalities such as Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari, Ibrahim bin Hashim and others. To analyze this phenomenon in a little more detail, bibliographical works are utilized to see how books were being moved around from one place to another.
Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi and his son Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Barqi are two other individuals who played a role in this transfer. Most of their teachers appear to be from Kufa, whereas their students appear to be from Qom. Both father and son also seem to have traveled to Kufa like Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and tooks narrations from there and then returned back to Qom to transmit them. Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi seems to be the earliest person to have brought over some of the Kufan hadith heritage to Qom. However, he does not seem to have very cautious in who he would take narrations from and was accused of even narrating from weak narrators. There are also hardly any traditions that he narrates from reliable scholars such as Hasan bin Mahbub or Ibn Abi ‘Umayr. This eventually even leads to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari (the next scholar) exiling Muhammad al-Barqi out of Qom.
Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari who was one of the greatest scholars of Qom during his time, played a great role in bringing over the Kufan heritage by traveling to Kufa himself. Some of the works that he was able to bring back to Qom with himself were the book of ‘Ala bin Zarin, Aban bin ‘Uthman al-Ahmar, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr al-Bazanti, Hasan bin Mahbub al-Kufi, Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal, Safwan bin Yahya al-Bajali, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Najran, ‘Ali bin Hadid al-Mada’ini, Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, and Muhammad bin Sinan Zahiri.
What is of interest here is that the books Ahmad was bringing with him were those that were famous, well-known and reliable works within Shi’i scholarly circles. This indicates that Ahmad was very cautious of the narrations he accepted and transmitted, and we see this translating into him exiling many narrators from Qom (like the aforementioned al-Barqi) who he found to be narrating from weak narrators.
Husayn bin Sa’eed bin Hammad bin Sa’eed bin Mehran al-Ahwazi was another Kufan scholar who played a role in bringing over some works to Qom. Him and his brother Hasan first leave Kufa and travel to Ahwaz and then migrate to Qom. They bring with themselves the works of Rib’iyy bin ‘Abdillah al-Basri, Shu’ayb al-‘Aqr Qufiyy, Hamid bin Muthanna, Qasim bin Muhammad Jawhari al-Kufi, Qasim bin Sulayman al-Baghdadi, Qasim bin ‘Urwah al-Baghdadi, Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, Zur’ah bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami and more. Husayn also brings with himself thirty of his own written works to Qom and transmitted them to various students.
Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Ibrahim bin Musa al-Sayrafi – known as Abu Sumaynah, a Kufan narrator who was eventually exiled from Qom by Ahmad bin Muhammad as well, brought with him the book of Ishaq bin Yazid bin Ismail al-Ta’i, some books of Ismail bin Mehran bin Abi Nasr al-Sakuni, book of Hafs bin ‘Asim Salami, book of Sulaym bin Qays, book of Salam bin ‘Abdillah al-Hashimi, book of Haytham bin Waqid Jazari, book of Abu Badr al-Kufi and the book of Nasr bin Mazahim al-Kufi. He will be referred to again in a later post when we discuss the phenomenon of certain narrators being exiled from the city of Qom.
Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Jabbar al-Qumi – known as Ibn Abi al-Sahban, a companion of Imam Jawwad, Hadi, and ‘Askari. He was also one of those scholars who traveled to Kufa and brought back with him some of Kufa’s hadith heritage. His most important teachers in Kufa were Safwan bin Yahya, Muhammad bin Ismail Bazi’, and Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal. It doesn’t seem like he had any book of his own, and was merely recognized as someone who was able to transfer over some of the hadith works from Kufa to scholars in Qom. Most of his narrations in Qom are narrated by Ahmad bin Idris, ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Himyari, Muhmmad bin al-Hasan al-Saffar and Muhammad bin Yahya al-‘Attar.
Perhaps the most prolific scholar who is renowned for bringing much of Kufa’s hadith heritage to Qom is Ibrahim bin Hashim. He is remembered as the first scholar to bring Kufa’s hadith to Qom and to have spread it. Some of the works he brought with him were: the Asl of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Hamid, books of Ismail bin Abi Ziyad al-Sakuni, books of Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, book of ‘Abdullah bin Sinan, books of Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, books of Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, Asl of Hisham bin Salim, some books of Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar, book of Zayd Narasi, book of Sulaym Farra’, book of Yahya bin ‘Imran bin ‘Ali bin Abi Shu’ba al-Halabi just to name a few.
For at least the next 150 years, Qom would become the most important city when it came to Shi’i theological discourse. Eventually much of Qom’s hadith heritage does return back to Iraq, to the city of Baghdad when the likes of Shaykh Mufid begin gaining authority.
With regards to the topic of Kufa’s heritage moving over to Qom, Ibrahim bin Hashim is notably remembered by multiple scholars as being the first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom was him. However, when we look at the list above, we see that Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa were all scholars who had already brought with them a lot of traditions from Kufa much before Ibrahim bin Hashim. So why is it that the latter scholars gave this honour to Ibrahim rather than those who were prior to him? There could be a few possible reasons for this and a closer look at the other three scholars may help us in determining this.
One thing to note is that the attribution given to Ibrahim bin Hashim is that the works he brought to Qom were widely-spread, not that he merely transmitted them or passed them down to his students. That being said, when we consider al-Barqi, it is known that one of the reasons he was exiled from Qom by Ahmad al-Ash’ari was because he would narrate from unknown or weak people. This would have been enough of a reason for many of the scholars of Qom to act cautiously with regards to his narrations, leading to his narrations not having spread to such an extent where it would be deemed as spreading the Kufan heritage. Some have suggested that it is possible al-Barqi may have returned back to his own town on the outskirts of Qom called Barqah-Rud, and that would have been a plausible reason why his ahadith did not spread in Qom – however this seems far-fetched, simply because Qom seems to be the most sensible location for a scholar of hadith to have returned back to, and also when we see that Ahmad al-Ash’ari exiled him from Qom it indicates that he was in Qom to begin with.
As for Husayn bin Sa’eed, he had thirty of his own written works in Kufa which he brought with him to Qom. His main focus had been to spread these narrations which he had compiled himself, and not the rest of the heritage he had brought with him. Furthermore, Husayn bin Sa’eed did not live too long after coming to Qom, dying a short while after, which could mean that he simply didn’t have enough time to spread and transmit all the works he had brought with him to such an extent that would merit him the status of being the first one to widely-spread the heritage of Kufa in Qom.
When it comes to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari – who was also the authority in Qom – it seems that there may been another reason he is not given this description. He not only had more of an opportunity to widely spread the heritage of Kufa that he had brought back with him to Qom, but he also had many of the same teachers as Ibrahim bin Hashim and both were living during the same era. The one factor that could have caused the scholars to still give Ibrahim bin Hashim the credit for spreading the heritage of Kufa in Qom the fact that Ibrahim was someone who was brought up and raised in Kufa, whereas Ahmad was originally a scholar of Qom. In other words, Ibrahim was the first Kufan scholar who have come to Qom and have the Kufan heritage widely-spread in the city.
Another side point that should be mentioned here is that Ibrahim bin Hashim is credited for carrying over the theological teachings of the school of the great theologian and companion Hisham bin Hakam from Kufa to Qom as well. Ibrahim bin Hashim is claimed to have been the student of Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman who himself was one of the strongest students of Hisham bin Hakam. Whether Ibrahim was indeed a student of Yunus or not is disputed as there is no narration which Ibrahim narrates directly from Yunus (as is the natural case in a student-teacher relationship), and every narration from Yunus appears to have an individual between them. Nevertheless, Ibrahim does seem to have been influenced by this school of thought, and likewise his son Ali bin Ibrahim who will be discussed in a later article as well.
This is important to know because figures such as Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and many later Qom scholars were staunchly against some of the theological ideas of Hisham bin Hakam, and had even written books against him and Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman. Despite this, they were still welcoming of Ibrahim bin Hashim and his narrations which indicates the level of trust and respect Ibrahim must have had in the city of Qom.
 One of the works I have heavily relied on for this blog post is the research paper: Sayr-e Intiqal-e Mirath-e Maktub-e Shi’eh dar Ayeneh-ye Fihrist-ha written by Ruhullah Shaheedi and Dr. Muhammad Ali Mahdawi-Raad.
 Al-Fihrist of Shaykh Tusi, pg. 52
 Refer to Najashi’s al-Rijal and Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist. About 19 more works can be found in Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist and 3 more in Najashi’s al-Rijal.
 The famous line as recorded in Najashi’s al-Rijal is this: أصحابنا يقولون: أوّل من نشر حديث الكوفيين بقم, هو (Our scholars have said: The first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom, was him)
Hassan- reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, The Ash’ari Family II (4)
Original full post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-ashari-family-ii-history-of-imami-shii-theology-4/
In this post we will continue with the list of scholars from the Ash’ari family who have been categorized into the second and third group, post-migration to Qom.
Zakariyyah bin Idris bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha. Zakariyyah bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim, Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad, but his narrations are all from Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. He was an important figure, to the extent that Imam Ridha (s) had informed one of his companions to refer to Zakariyyah for any religious inquiries. Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: A narrator of hadih from Imam Kadhim and Ridha. We have 11 narrations from him in our four-primary works of hadith. Isma’il bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in certain narrations where he is narrating directly from Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha. Marzban bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha. Idris bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha. Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha. Isma’il bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He most probably lived during the life of Imam Kadhim. Even though we have no records to show that he narrated anything directly from any of the Imams, he has still been described as an important scholar of Qom by Najashi. Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He had heard narrations from Imam Ridha and also narrates from Imam Jawwad. Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Malik bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: From the companions of Imam Kadhim, Ridha and Jawwad. His name appears in 74 chains of narrations in the four-primary books. Isma’il bin Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Ridha. 20 of his narrations from Imam Ridha appear in the four-primary books. Hamzah bin Yasa’ bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq and Kadhim and possibly had met Imam Ridha as well. ‘Imran bin Muhammad bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha. Muhammad bin Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. His name appears in 380 narrations in the four-primary works. There are about 30 more names that can be added to this list. This list brings us to the end of the middle of the 3rdcentury Hijri. During this time period, Kufa had already severely declined, and while there is activity happening in Baghdad amongst the Shi’as, it is nothing compared to what had taken place in Kufa in the previous century. All narrators in this list were travelling to different cities to meet the Imams (depending on where the Imams were) and then coming back to Qom and spreading their narrations.
This list of forthcoming Ash’ari scholars begins from around the beginning of the 3rd century Hijri. These scholars were naturally influenced by the teachings of the previous two groups.
Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was known as Wafid ul-Qomiyyeen (the envoy of the Qomis) implying that he would travel often to meet the Imams with questions from Qom, and bring back what he had learned and heard. He was one of those individuals who had seen Imam Mahdi (s) and is deemed very reliable. ‘Ali bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: It appears he did not directly narrate from any of the Imams, but he did possess his own book of hadith. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha, Jawwad and Hadi. He was one of the greatest scholars of Qom and is recognized as the main authority during his time. His name appears in 2290 narrations in the four-primary works. He is known to have been strict when it came to accepting narrations and exiling individuals who he deemed problematic. He will be discussed in greater lengthy in future posts. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Ya’qub bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, and had various books. Muhammad bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad. ‘Ali bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was one of the financial-agents of Imam Hadi in Qom, and his name appears in the chains of 27 narrations. Sa’d bin ‘Abdullah bin Abi Khalf al-Ash’ari: His name appears in the chains of 1142 narrations in the four-primary books. There is confusion over whether he was a companion of Imam ‘Askari or someone who did not narrate from any of the Imams. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He has also been recognized as Ahmad bin Abi Zahir Musa Abu Ja’far al-Ash’ari. He is someone who did not narrate from the Imams directly, but was one of the great scholars of Qom. Adam bin Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abadullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 13 narrations in the four-primary books. ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 110 narrations in the four-primary books. ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 2 narrations in the four-primary works. Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Mahbub al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 1118 narrations in the four-primary books and Najashi considered him a senior scholar in Qom. With this, we end the list of some of the most important names that left their mark in the history of Qom, and who helped shape religious discourse in the city. With the third group, we see an increase in scholarly activity within Qom, partly due to the Kufan heritage being transferred over in extensive amounts through important Kufan personalities like Ibrahim bin Hashim. With the first two groups, the trend more so for these scholars of Qom was to either meet the Imams directly, or visit Kufa to take narrations from teachers that were still present there. However, in the third century Hijri, and with the emergence of the third group, it was the physical transfer of Kufa’s heritage – such as books and manuscripts of various works – that played a huge role in giving Qom its authoritative position. This is not to say that some of the scholars were no longer traveling to meet the Imams, but rather this had slowly diminished, and after the occultation of the 12th Imam, no longer had any meaning.
Over here we should also point out that with the presence of the Ash’ari family in Qom, which was in essence a Shi’i presence, many individuals from the lineage of Ali (s) and Fatima (s) also migrated and settled in Qom. The Ash’aris were known to have welcomed them into the city and gave protection to those who were merely seeking refuge in Qom. The work Muntaqalah al-Talibiyyah of Ibn Tabataba (d. end of 5th century Hijri), records the name of thirty such individual who migrated to Qom with their families, many of these were either scholars of hadith themselves, or their children became scholars of hadith. Some of these individuals include Hamza bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Zayd (who Shaykh Saduq narrates a lot from), Hamza bin ‘Abdillah bin Hasan, ‘Ali bin Hamza, and Abu al-Fadhl Muhammad bin ‘Ali.
As mentioned above, during the years when scholars from the third group lived, Qom had slowly become an authority for Shi’i religious discourse, to such an extent that scholars had now begun traveling to Qom to hear and record traditions. For example, we see important figures like Rayyan bin Shabib, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Hasan bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Qasim bin Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Yaqtin, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Hammad Sayrafi and more traveling to Qom for this very reason. In the next few articles we will try to address the role and influence of specific individuals, and as well as certain trends that were prevalent in Qom. For this reason, I have created a rough timeline showing when certain specific scholars who will be mentioned in subsequent articles were living and who their contemporaries were. Most dates are rough, as they are either unknown or there are multiple dates given for them.
 Page 251-258 | Book can be downloaded here. The book has also been translated into Farsi as: مهاجران آل ابوطالب
Hassan- reacted to ireallywannaknow for a blog entry, Update + 2 more coloring pages
Here are some thoughts and updates about how my coloring page is coming along.
- It had some momentum at first... I was averaging 1 finished coloring page a month. Now it's been like 5+ months and nothing... I just feel like I have little time and even littler inspiration these days. Deep down I am still passionate about the idea... but it doesn't manifest itself.
- I hired my niece a few months ago to help me produce more pages more quickly and offer a variety of styles. She is an artist herself, so the idea was that she can come up with sketches/ designs, send them to me, and then I turn them into a finished coloring page. She gets $5 per finished design and a % of every sale of that coloring page. She did do one for me so far, but she is very busy as well so I understand if she can't produce much. (Anyone else interested?)
- I actually am working on a design right now. I am excited about it, I think I will like how it comes out when finished. Probably because it is based off of one of my old (and favorite) paintings.
- I learned that I am absolutely terrible at promoting myself. I just don't like it. I even made an Instagram because I heard that it's good for this type of stuff, but I dislike posting. I'm very shy and hate attention. Hmm... how will that work with my entrepreneurial side?
- I've made 8 sales in all. Every time I get an email saying I made a sale, I get so happy! Even though I literally make pennies off of every sale lol. But that's fine, I don't do this for the monies.
I think that's all for now. Here are the 2 coloring pages that I have completed since my last blog.
Link to shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TzahArt
Hassan- reacted to ShiaMan14 for a blog entry, 10 Days in Iran
I had been planning to go to Iran for a long time and finally made it a priority for me in 2016. Since I wanted to mix in sightseeing and pilgrimage in the same trip, I decided to go on my own instead of in a group.
As it turned out, getting an individual visa for Iran when traveling from the US is a real hassle. We need to get permission from the Iran Foreign Ministry and then apply for the visa at the Iran Mission housed within the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC. After struggling for almost 3 weeks, I was able to find Taha Ziyarat Group (email@example.com) based out of Toronto that obtained the necessary approval for me for $90.
Once I got my approval, I sent my passport off to the Iran Mission in Washington. I did have to follow up with them almost daily to ensure they processed my visa application expeditiously. I received my passport 4 days before flying out.
While I was waiting for the visa approval, I booked my flights on Qatar Airways for a bargain price of $700 return to/from US-Tehran. For in-country arrangements, I know a maulana (NAJ) there who arranged everything for me based on my budget.
Finally, the big day came and I left for Iran on Wed Mar 23rd arriving in Tehran late Thu evening (Mar 24th). NAJ had arranged for a driver to pick me up and drive straight to Qum instead of spending the night in Tehran. The drive from IKA (Imam Khomeni Airport) to Qum took about 90 minutes. The driver barely spoke English but knew where to pick me up from and where to drop me. We arrived at Qum International Hotel around 1245am (Fri Mar 25th). The hotel was about a *** US hotel, higher for Iran.
Day 1 (Fri):
We prayed fajr in our room and went back to bed. Since breakfast was included in our price, we went down for breakfast around 9a – nice long buffet.
NAJ contacted me around 10am and picked me up from the QIH around 1030a to take me to the Roza of Masooma-e-Qum. We walked to the roza and were there at 1035a. The hotel is the closet one to the roza.
NAJ showed us around the haram and provided us some background about Masooma and her roza. From 1130a – 2p, we were on our own to recite ziyarat, salah-e-jumah and dua. I wandered around the roza and made my way to the masjid adjoining the roza. It is an absolutely beautiful mosque.
They had beautiful recitations of the quran and then some speeches followed by Azaan. The Jumah khutba was recited by an Ayatollah in Farsi (of course) and then namaz-e-jumah. Although I did not understand most of the khutba, one thing that was unmistakable was the ‘marg-al-Amreeka’ chants (down with America or death to America). They were loud and boisterous.
Shrine of Bibi Masooma Qum (as).
After salah-e-jumah, NAJ took us to the Suffrah of Masooma where were had a decent meal of rice with spinach with potatoes.
We went to our hotel after lunch for some R&R and then returned to the haram for maghribain. After namaz, NAJ took us around the bazaar outside the haram. The clothing looked like they were from the 70s and 80s. Religious paraphernalia including irani chador were well stocked and affordably priced. Almost evey other shop sold halwa-suhan.
Day 2 (Sat):
We spent most of this day driving around to the various ziarats around Qum.
Bait Al-Noor. Musallah of Masooma (as). This is where she spent time praying.
Shrine of an Imamzadeh (Son of an Imam).
Shrine of Hz. Hamza bin Musa Kazim (as).
Day 3 (Sun):
This was by far the most hectic day of the trip. We left around 5am to drive from Qum to Isfahan. It was about a 4-hour drive. I was surprised how much of the Iranian country was desert. The deserts in the Middle East countries (UAE, Saudi) have a lot of fine yellow sand. Iranian deserts are more rocky than sandy.
Upon entering Isfahan, we visited the shrine of Masooma Zainab bint Imam Musa Khadim (as) – Masooma Qum’s younger sister.
Next stop was the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan. We spent a few minutes here and then walked to Allama Majlisi’s tomb nearby. His house and surrounding are well preserved.
Next was the more secular part of the Ishafan visit.
We went to Naqsh-e-Jahan (half of the world) which is the main plaza of Isfahan. The weather was great and since the Nawroz holidays were still going on, it was packed with people.
Within Naqsh-e-Jahan is the Ali Qapu Palace
Panamoric View from Ali Qapu Palace Balcony of Naqsh-e-Jahan
Since it was almost lunch time, we stopped by a street restaurant selling A’ash
After lunch, we went to the Vank Cathedral. This Christian monastery was established in 1606. It contains some amazing art work.
From here, we went to Khaju Bridge for some more sightseeing.
At this point, we were too tired to do anything else so we headed back to Qum – 4 hour journey mostly spent napping.
Day 4 (Mon):
After a hectic day, sleep was going to be the primary thing on the agenda for this day but there was too much to do. We prayed fajr at the mosque next to Masooma-e-Qum’s shrine:
Mosque adjacent to Masooma-e-Qum's shrine
And then went back to our hotel for more sleep. We had breakfast and got ready for another fun-filled travel day.
We started off by going from Qum to Mashad-e-Ardehal. This site contains the tomb of Sultan Ali son of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) and brother of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Sultan Ali was brutally killed here by his enemies.
From here we drove to a hilltop/mountaintop with streams running down. We had to walk down about 500 meters and got a great view of a waterfall.
The most distinct feature of this area of the smell of rose water distilleries all over the place. You could get rose water for a variety of needs including simple hot rose water tea. The other distinct item being sold was fresh bee hives dripping with honey. And yes, we tried hot rose water tea with honey.
From here, we went to the city of Kashan. Our first stop was an ancient archeological site called Tepe Sialk. The Sialk ziggurat
Note: Entrance for most places have an Iranian Rate and a Foreigner rate (up to 3X in places). We had our driver buy the tickets and we would walk in with him talking to us in Farsi. Yes – very sneaky indeed. I excused myself by convincing myself that since both my wife and I are of Iranian descent, we qualify for the discount.
Final stop of our day trip to Kashan was to the oldest extant garden in Iran known as the Bagh-e-Fin or Fin Garden.
Although this was a less hectic day than the trip to Isfahan, we were still pretty tired so we drove back to Qum, had a 12-in falafel sandwich, prayed maghraibain at the haram and went to bed.
Day 5 (Tue):
The past couple of days had left us tired so we decided to take it easy.
We went to the haram for fajr then went back to bed. We woke up just in time to catch breakfast and then went to the local market (wish I took pictures). From there we went for zohrain at the mosque adjacent to Masooma’s shrine.
After a quick bite to eat, we left for the Koh-e-Khizr aka Mountain of Khizr. What was supposed to be a light day in terms of exercise became a very intense and steep climb to the top of Koh-e-Khizr. It was well worth it in the end because we got a great view of the entire city of Qum if not the whole province.
Got more daunting as we got closer.
For the record, the old gentleman in the pic IS NOT ME
City/Province of Qum.
Needless to say the climb down was nowhere near as arduous as the climb up. There was a small food vendor about half from the top. On our way up, we bought some water from him and then ice cream on the way down.
After resting by the car for a few moments, we drove nearby to the Masjid-e-Jhamkaran, located on the outskirts of Qum. A brief history of this grand mosque is that it has long been a sacred place, at least since 373 A.H., 17th of Ramadan (22 February 984 C.E.), when according to the mosque website, one Sheikh Hassan ibn Muthlih Jamkarani is reported to have met Muhammad al-Mahdi along with the prophet Al-Khidr. Jamkarani was instructed that the land they were on was "noble" and that the owner — Hasan bin Muslim — was to cease cultivating it and finance the building of a mosque on it from the earnings he had accumulated from farming the land.
As we had been told, the mosque starts getting filled up from about 5pm and gets fuller and fuller as the evening progresses. I am not sure if it was because of Nawruz season but it definitely had a very 'carnival' and festive feel to it. People had spread out their rugs all across the mosque courtyard and were reveling with family and friends. There was hot tea brewing and koobideh with naan being shared by one and all.
Quran and then different duas were being recited, followed by maghribain and then more duas. We left around 830p to go back to our hotel.
Mosque sparely populated around 4pm.
Day 6 (Wed):
Today was the big day when we would finally make our way to Mashad. We had packed the previous night so we left right after fajr – and yes, I skipped breakfast!!!
First stop was First stop was an almost 2 hour drive to Ayatollah Khomenei’s mausoleum. It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra (the Paradise of Zahra) cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year. It is still under construction, but when completed will be the centerpiece in a complex spread over 5,000 acres, housing a cultural and tourist center, a university for Islamic studies, a seminary, a shopping mall, and a 20,000-car parking lot. The Iranian government has reportedly devoted US$2 billion to this development. It is definitely one of the largest and most beautiful mausoleums I have come across.
Visitors reciting fatiha for Ayatollah Khomenei.
Please recite surah fatiha for Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini.
Next stop was the Astana Bibi Shehr Bano. On the ground level there is a cave which according to legends was the place where Zuljinah brought Bibi from Kerbala, and she was there until hostile people to Bani Hashim got news of her being there, and they tried to catch her. She climbed the hillock and then vanished in a mountainous wall. Now a zarih has been constructed together with prayer rooms for men and women.
Zarih of Hz. Shehr Bano. View of other side of Tehran.
who was a fifth generation descendant of Hasan ibn ‘Alī and a companion of Muhammad al-Taqī. A piece of paper was found in his pocket outlining his ancestry as being: ‘Abdul ‘Adhīm son of ‘Abdillāh son of ‘Alī son of Husayn son of Zayd son of Hasan ibn ‘Alī.Shah Abdul AzeemNext stop was the Shrine of
Adjacent to the shrine, within the complex, include the mausolea of Imamzadeh Tahir (son of the fourth shia Imam Sajjad) and Imamzadeh Hamzeh (brother of the eighth Twelver Imām - Imām Reza).
From here, we drove around the City of Tehran including the famed part known as Rey. I am fairly well traveled but I have to say that Tehran is one of the most picturesque cities I have visited. Situated in close proximity of the Alborz range and its majestic peak Mount Damavand , being the highest in Iran with a height of 18,550 feet ,it is a mega city of about Thirty Million People.
You can see hundreds of buildings at the foot of the mountain. Not a bad view to wake up to every morning.
After driving around for a couple of hours, our driver dropped us of at Tehran’s Mehrabad Intl Airport which is primarily used for domestic travel. The airport is in the heart of Tehran or at least within the city.
The airport has a small cafeteria that serves hot meals of the local variety. They also have a coffee shop and ice cream parlor.
After a 2-hour wait, we finally boarded our short (1-hr) flight to Mashad. The flight was as uneventful as all flights can be. I did enjoy a small boxed-meal they offered everyone despite the short flight. It made up for the breakfast that morning J.
Naj had arranged a friend of his (Ali) to be our tour guide for the stay in Mashad. Since Ali’s English was a little weak, he brought along his sister (Afsanay) who was quite fluent in English.
We checked into our Hotel (Hotel Omid). It is definitely one of the nicer hotels in Mashad.
View of shrine from our hotel room balcony.
We quickly refreshed and headed over to the Shrine of Imam Reza (as). Much to our pleasant surprise, the shrine was not as packed with zawar as we expected. It could have been the weather or Nawruz.
About to enter the main hallway of the Shrine for the first time. Goose bumps.
As salaam alai ka Ya Ghareeb Al Ghuraba (as)
One of the many courtyards within the Shrine Complex of Imam Ali Reza (as).
Day 7 (Thu):
Although our intention was to go to the haram in Imam Al-Reza (as) for fajr, it was raining too hard with heavy winds to walk so we prayed in our rooms and went back to sleep.
We woke up to this view:
After a world class buffet breakfast, we met up with Ali and Afsanay to go to Nishapour. Once again, it was a very scenic drive. The mountain-desert country just has a certain serenity about it. On the way, we saw small villages celebrating nawroz in their own way.
Our first stop was at the Qadamgah – where the footprints of the Holy Imam Al-Reza (as) can be found. Adjacent to it is a small stream said to bring benefits of all kinds to the zawar.
Panoramic view of the building housing the footprint.
Just before entering the area of the qadamgah is a small caravansary which use to house people back in the day.
There were probably abour 20-25 room like the one shown above. Very basic room with a hearth in the middle. The rooms were considered high end. Outside the caravansary, there was just the open shelter (pretend there is no room just the outer part).
Next stop was to the mausoleum of Bibi Shatitay. The legend goes that Imam himself came there and led the Namaz-e-janaza prayers for her.
We made a brief stop at the historic Shah Abbas Inn/Caravansary which has been converted into several small shops selling jewelry or souvenirs. Nishapur is famous for its turquoise stone (firoza).
Next stop was the shrines of Imamzade Mahruq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Sajjad (as) and Ebrahim bin Ahmad bin Moosa bin Jafar (as).
A short walk from here was the tomb of Omar Al-Khayam – one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy.
A short drive from here was the mausoleum of Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim aka Attar Nishapuri - a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.
If memory serves me right, next to Attar’s tomb was an archeological site from thousands of years ago. It was going through extensive renovations at the time.
Our last stop was a very famous local restaurant called Emirat Restaurant. Undoubtedly the best lamb koobideh I have ever had!!! My wife and I had some very interesting conversations with Ali and Afsanay. They were both fascinated by our lives in America. They had no qualms about asking me my salary; the size and cost of our house; they were surprised if not shocked that it was okay for my wife to go grocery shopping by herself and it was perfectly safe. They were under the impression that any woman who stepped out of her house by herself was 'asking for it'. I thought it was hilarious. Now that I think about it, everything the Western media does to paint Muslims in a certain light happens in Iran too but backwards. The Western media takes 1 bad Muslim story and tries to apply it to all Muslims. The Iranian media takes a bad Western story and applies it to all Westerners. This was just my observation and nothing more.
We had some other interesting conversations but those are for another day and another time.
We drove back to Mashad and spent the evening the haram of Imam Al-Reza (as).
Day 8 (Fri):
We prayed fajr at the haram and went back to bed; then woke up to this beautiful view.
Beautiful view of Roza of Ima Ali Reza (as).
Since it was Friday, we stayed in our room until 11a or so and then headed to the haram again. Good thing we went early because it was fuller than we had seen since we got there.
So I got a good spot in the mosque adjacent to the haram. I heard the Friday sermon (understood bits and pieces) and the “Death to American” chants, then prayed juma followed by Asr.
Mosque adjacent to Imam Ali Reza's (as) shrine.
Next was one of the most essential parts of the trip. One may not get this opportunity all the time. We had to take our passport to the office of Pilgrims situated in the Haram of Imam Ridha’s (as). They marked our passport and gives us a ticket for the meal. At the restaurant, they feed almost 4000 Zuwar each day. Thousands of Iranians must wait for years before they get a chance to have a meal at this restaurant.
Lunch at Imam's restaurant (dastakhawan)
Following lunch, Ali and Afsanay picked us up for some sightseeing. We drove around Mashad, saw her university and then went to ziarat nearby
Ziarat near Mashad
Iranian country side. Notice the marked difference in scenery from the previous pictures.
On our way back, we stopped at an ice cream parlor for some traditional Persian ice cream. The last stop was a nearby pewter mountain. I was amazed to see people climbing it without any concern for safety. It was rainy and slick. Mrs ShiaMan14 bought a very nice souvenir.
We came back, rested for a bit and then went to the haram for salah.
Day 9 (Sat):
This was the day to head back to Tehran. We spent the entire night at the haram until fajr. Then came back to get some rest. We got up after a couple of hours, had some breakfast and packed. We took all our luggage downstairs and went back to the haram for zuhrain. We also did the farewell ziarat, rushed back to the hotel since Ali was waiting for us.
We got to the Mashad International Airport around 245pm for a 530p flight - plenty of time.
Just as Ali left us, NAJ gave me a call informing me that my flight had been cancelled so he booked me on the last flight to Tehran (happened to be the cheapest option). This is when panic set in. If the last flight got cancelled, I would miss my flight from IKA to Doha and the subsequent flight to US.
I could see on the monitors that there were several flights from the time now until my new flight time although all of them were on a different airline than mine. I called NAJ to ask if my ticket could be changed and he said it would not be possible. So I saw the flight I wanted about 1.5 hours later and went to their sales office. First, they couldnt understand why I wanted another ticket when I already had one. My farsi and their english were too awful to understand each other but nevertheless they allowed me to buy 2 tickets.
Next problem - I did not have any Iranian Rials on me and the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT did not have a Money Exchange! So I had to call Ali back to see if he had any rials that he could give me in exchange for dollars. By this time, he was about 20 minutes away so we had to wait for him to come back. In the meanwhile, the Sales Agent agreed to take my dollars at a fairly decent exchange rate. Basically, I bought 2 one-way tickets from Mashad to Tehran for about $100. Just as we finalized the transaction, Ali came back and I had to explain the whole thing to him as well. He, too, was confused as to why I would buy another ticket when I already had one.
Anyway, we finally put all that behind us, checked-in and were on our way to Tehran.
After an uneventful journey to Tehran, we drove all the way to Qum to sepnt about 3-4 hours in Qum at NAJ's house. We freshened up, ate a really nice meal and got ready to leave.
Day 10 (Fri):
We left Naj's house around 1am and reached IKA by 215am. Since this was the last or day after Nawruz holidays, the airport was jam packed. It took an hour to check-in, the security lines were considerably shorter so in another 15 minutes, we were at our gate. Boarding started just around fajr, so we prayed quickly and boarded our Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
I was a bit nervous about returning to the US from Iran but had no problems whatsoever.
A very placid end to a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable trip.
Iranians are a very joyous and happy people. There was no patch of grass where we didn't see a family setting up a picnic be it as a roadside or a courtyard of a shrine. I really wish relations between Iran and the West improves so the people can really experience the rich, colorful and impressive history, geography and culture Iran has to offer.
Our entire 10 day trip cost about $1,600/pp. It was money well spent.
Hassan- reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Spread by the Sword?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Not only is Islam the second-largest religion in the world, but it is the world’s fastest growing religion. With globalization and the influx of Muslim immigration to the West, many people are reluctantly meeting Muslims for the first time. Fear of the unknown is common, but that fear is constantly perpetuated by images of violence in the Muslim world. As a visible minority with little political leverage, the Muslim community is an easy target for xenophobes, warmongers, and nationalists. The Muslim world is the needed bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, private security companies, and isolationist politicians to thrive. Rather than trying to understand the complex imperial and economic variables that cause violence in the Muslim world, it is both simpler and more cunning to resort to generalized arguments about Islam. This view, however, overlooks the many scientific and philosophical contributions Muslims have made to Western civilization. More importantly, it distorts the reality of the Muslim civilization’s mostly-tolerant history. The centuries-old narrative that Islam was “spread by the sword” is still popular today, and it causes Muslims living in the West to be looked at as a suspicious Trojan horse waiting to Islamize the world. It is therefore necessary for us to deconstruct this worldview. This paper will briefly explore the rise and expansion of Islam, and demonstrate that tolerance and plurality were founding principles of Islamic ethics.
Since the early days of the Prophet Muhammad’s ministry, Islam’s relationship with non-Muslim communities has been notable. Shortly after the Muslim migration to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in 622 CE, the Prophet drafted the Constitution of Medina. This charter put an end to tribal infighting in Medina, created a new judicial system, guaranteed the mutual protection of Muslims and non-Muslims, and established a new “Community of Believers (mu’mineen)”. (Gil, 2004, pp. 21) This community would include the Jewish tribes of Medina, while still recognizing their distinct identity and laws. Although Bernard Lewis claims that the Constitution of Medina was a unilateral proclamation by Muhammad, (Lewis, 1993, pp. 22) Muslim sources generally referred to it as a pact between the Muslims and the Jews following the two pledges at `Aqaba. Furthermore, Wellhausen, a German orientalist, regarded this charter to be a multilateral agreement negotiated between all of the involved groups. (Gil, 2004, pp. 22)
The Prophet Muhammad also ratified writs of protection to other communities. The Ashtiname of Muhammad, which was written by `Ali b. Abi Talib upon the commission of Muhammad, granted privileges to the Christian monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. (Ratliff, 2012, pp. 63) The document guarantees that Christians are not to be overtaxed, plundered, disturbed, or coerced into marriages. (Morrow, 2013) These covenants demonstrate that the Prophet pursued a peaceful and tolerant coexistence with other communities, and made his followers accountable to ethical principles of justice.
The Prophet Muhammad very plainly stressed the equality of all people, regardless of tribe, colour, class, or ethnicity. While rights differed among subgroups of society, the Islamic civilization held no concept of the natural subordination of individuals or groups. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127) Conversion to Islam only required a simple declaration of faith, while becoming a member of the ancient Greek polity was only possible for Greek male property owners. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127) The egalitarianism of the Quranic message was attractive to many who sought social refuge from the caste system and other forms of subordination. (Eaton, 1992, pp. 117)
The Caliphate’s medieval conquests, which occurred after the Prophet Muhammad, are the main source of agitation among those suspicious of Muslims. It should be noted that `Ali b. Abi Talib, who is considered the rightful successor to Muhammad by Shia Muslims, refrained from taking part in these conquests, despite being renowned as a great warrior. There should be no doubt that there were incidents that occurred during early expansion that are not in line with the teachings of the Prophet, especially during the ridda wars and the Battle of `Ulays. The Shia Imams consistently held the Caliphate accountable during mistrials and in moments of nepotism; and they struggled to establish social and economic justice in the Muslim world. But, the frame that the Islamic conquests were wholly or mostly negative is a Eurocentric view that does not account for other pieces of the puzzle.
Many ancient texts document extensive Judeo-Christian support for the Muslim conquests of Byzantium and Persia. Jews in the Levant had expected a redeemer who would deliver them from the Roman occupiers. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3-6) The Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 134 CE, outlawed Jews from living within ten miles of Jerusalem, disbanded the Jewish high court, taxed the Jews heavily, and persecuted them for siding with the Persians. This torment ignited a messianic fervour among medieval Jews, leading to a widespread anticipation of a saviour. One of the earliest non-Muslim references to the rise of Islam is the Doctrina Jacobi, a Greek Christian anti-Jewish polemical text written in 634 CE, just two years after the passing of Prophet Muhammad. The text describes “overjoyed” Jews celebrating the Muslim arrival in Byzantium. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3) Moreover, The Secrets of Simon ben Yohai, a Jewish apocalyptic text written between the seventh and eighth centuries CE, tells of the emergence of an Ishmaelite “prophet according to God’s will” who would save the Jewish people from their oppressors. (Crone, 1977, pp. 4-5)
The Islamic conquest of the Levant would restore Jewish access to Jerusalem and establish a polity that would include Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. The Pact of Umar II, a writ of protection extended by `Umar b. `Abd al-`Aziz in the seventh century, promised safety and the right to worship to Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in exchange for the payment of the poll tax (jizya). (Berger, 2006, pp. 88) While some orientalists have criticized the Pact’s prohibition on riding horses, Muslim clothing and building high structures, these stipulations may have been placed to prevent insurrections against Muslim garrisons, rather than to humiliate or subordinate non-Muslims.
The Muslim treatment of non-Muslims was similarly commended by Near Eastern Christians. John bar Penkaye, an East Syriac Nestorian writer of the late seventh century, praised the Muslim overthrow of the Sassanid dynasty. In his Summary of World History, he writes, “We should not think of the advent [of the children of Hagar] as something ordinary, but as due to divine working. Before calling them, [God] had prepared them beforehand to hold Christians in honour, thus they also had a special commandment from God concerning our monastic station, that they should hold it in honour … God put victory in their hands.” (Pearse) This early Christian account documents the just conduct of Muslim rulers, likening it to divine intervention. Furthermore, after the Byzantines had seized control of Egypt and put the Coptic Patriarch Benjamin I of Alexandria into exile, the Muslim conquerors restored Benjamin I’s authority and brought order to the affairs of the Coptic Church.
Many cultures were drawn to Islam’s magnetic social appeal. Indonesia, which is the country with the highest population of Muslims, encountered Arab merchants in the thirteenth century. Along with the arrival of Muslim commercialism, Islamic stories and symbols were introduced to the population through traditional wayang puppet shows. (Hamish, 2011, pp. 46-51) In the Indian subcontinent, Islam provided social mobility to lower castes, giving people equal rights and freeing them from total subservience to the Brahmans. The transformative power of Sufism was also attractive to many Hindus who sought ascetic, mystical brotherhoods. (Lapidus, 1988, pp. 363) Sufi and Shia saints continue to be revered by Hindu and Sikh poets in India.
Although the Muslim empires had a tumultuous relationship with European Christians over the centuries, sizable Christian and Jewish communities with ancient origins continued to thrive in the Muslim world. Moorish and Ottoman confrontations with Christendom have propelled the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword. The fact is, however, that the conversion of the Near East to Islam occurred very gradually. By 800 CE, only 18% of Iraq’s population was Muslim. (Brown, 2016) Furthermore, Egypt, Spain, and the Levant did not attain a Muslim majority until the eleventh century. (Brown 2016) This means that the Muslims were a minority in the heartlands of their own civilization for hundreds of years. While poll taxes and other social pressures certainly promoted conversion to Islam, ancient churches, synagogues, temples, and other relics were maintained. Judeo-Christian populations even had rights to printing presses and European books in the Ottoman Empire – a privilege rarely granted to Muslims. (Brown, 2016) 14% of the Middle East remained Christian by 1910, with significant populations in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. (Brown, 2016)
On the other hand, Christendom had a relatively poor record with minorities. Although Iberia was mostly Muslim in the fifteenth century, all Muslims were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1526. (Brown, 2016) In 1609, 3-4% of Spain’s population consisted of Christian descendants of Muslims, who were also expelled under King Philip the Third. Anti-Jewish pogroms were also common in pre and post-Enlightenment European history. While there are many ancient Christian communities in the Muslim world, there are practically no ancient Muslim communities in the Christian world, despite Islam’s long history in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Eastern Europe.
In recent decades, the Muslim world’s relationship with its non-Muslim minority communities has suffered. Colonialism, neo-imperialism, military dictatorships, and poor economies have sometimes caused the alienation and scapegoating of ethnic and religious minorities in the Muslim world. In June 2014, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which rose out of the destabilization of Iraq and Syria, routed Christians out of Mosul. This genocide marked the end of over a thousand years of continuous Muslim-Christian coexistence in the region. While ISIL’s actions are a black mark on modern Islamic history, ISIL’s main military and ideological opponents are other Muslims in the region and around the world. This paper demonstrates that normative Islam seeks unity under common ethical principles. It is vital for Muslims to revive an equitable, pluralistic and tolerant worldview, not just because diversity is strength, but because it is the ethos of our civilization.
Berger, Julia Phillips., and Sue Parker. Gerson. Teaching Jewish History. Springfield, NJ: A.R.E. Pub., 2006. Print.
Pearse, John Bar Penkaye, Summary of World History (Rish Melle) (2010). N.p., n.d. Web. 9 July 2016.
Crone, Patricia, and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1977. Print.
Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4L23Z_agh1qeV_odQfV6Vg. "Dr. Jonathan AC Brown - The Message of Peace Spread by the Sword - UMaine IAW 2016." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 9 July 2016.
Eaton, Richard Maxwell. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: U of California, 1993. Print.
Gil, Moshe, and David Strassler. Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Print.
Harnish, David D., and Anne K. Rasmussen. Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print
Lewis, Bernard. The Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.
Morrow, John A. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Ratliff, Brandie, and Helen C. Evans. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th-9th Century. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. Print.
ʻInāyat, Ḥamīd. Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: U of Texas, 1982. Print.
Hassan- reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, The Ash’ari Family (3)
The Ash’ari Family | History of Imami Shi’i Theology (3)
Original full post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-ashari-family-history-of-imami-shii-theology-3/
With the decline of intellectual theological discourse in Kufa, Qom had become the base for the Shi’as and would remain influential during the course of the 3rd and 4th century. Before we begin discussing any further, it is important to take a brief glance over how and why Qom became to be such an important city. This is by no means meant to be a thorough detailed analysis, and I have intentionally chosen not to mention many things and keep it as straightforward as possible.
The Ash’ari tribe of Yemen can be given credit for bringing Shi’ism to the city of Qom. This tribe’s history can be traced back to the days of Jahiliyyah, and they were even then known for their nobility and virtuous status in Yemen. The first person from this tribe to convert to Islam was Malik bin ‘Amir after having met the Prophet (s) in Makkah. In any case, many members of the Ash’ari tribe later converted to Islam, the most notable one from early Islamic history being Abu Musa al-Ash’ari.
After the death of ‘Uthman, the Ash’ari tribe were divided into three factions. A group supported Mu’awiyah, another followed the lead of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, and a third group stayed loyal to Imam ‘Ali (s) and also formed part of his army during the civil wars. This last group, would become important as it was through them that Shi’ism was brought to the city of Qom.
There are multiple reasons given for why the progeny of this last faction moved to Qom. The Ash’aris may have had some familiarity with the city from the time of ‘Umar’s caliphate, since it is reported that Qom and Kashan were conquered by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari. Malik bin ‘Amir also played a role in the conquest of Iran during the caliphate of ‘Umar, and thus his progeny may have had familiarity with the various cities. Nevertheless, most historians place the official migration of the Ash’ari family to Qom near end of the 1st century Hijri, during the reign of al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, who is infamous in history for his brutal political policies.
Its relevant here to mention that Malik bin ‘Amir had two important sons named Sa’ib and Sa’d. Sa’ib was vehemently anti-Umayyad, whereas not much is known about Sa’d besides a few anecdotes and that he was also a notable figure in Kufa.
Some of the reasons given for why the Ash’aris moved to Qom do not appear to be historically accurate, so we will suffice with mentioning two of them. One possible reason for their migration is that al-Hajjaj exiled Muhammad the son of Sa’ib bin Malik to Azerbaijan, but he instead hid in Kufa. After al-Hajjaj found out about this, he ordered for him to be killed and it was then that the sons of Sa’d bin Malik (namely ‘Abdullah and Ahwas), as well as their nephews and nieces escaped to Qom.
Another reason given is that the Ash’aris were supporting ‘Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad bin Ash’ath bin Qays during his revolt against al-Hajjaj. When the latter’s revolt was crushed, al-Hajjaj had given them a few days to leave Kufa. Overall, it seems that the support and affinity this side of the family had towards the Alids as well as their anti-Umayyad stance, caused al-Hajjaj to crack down on them. It was thus a forced migration as they were no longer safe in the city of Kufa.
Whether ‘Abdullah and Ahwas intentionally decided to go to Qom, or whether they were on their way to a different city, but ended up in Qom, is not known with certainty. There are different reasons mentioned as to how the Ash’aris ended up Qom:
It is said that when Malik bin ‘Amir was accompanying Abu Musa al-Ash’ari in the conquest of some of the Iranian cities, a group of fighters from Tabaristan had attacked Taghrud – a village located between Qom and Aveh – and had taken their people as prisoners. Malik had fought this army off, and freed the prisoners as well as returned back their stolen property to them. After Malik returned to Kufa, he had narrated the incident to his sons. ‘Abdullah and Ahwas (the grandsons of Malik) would have known that these people would be willing to welcome them as they were given protection and safety by their grandfather during the conquests. Another report mentions that it was Ahwas who chose Qom as a destination, but ‘Abdullah (who apparently joined the caravan late) instead wished to go to Isfahan or Qazwin. Ahwas informed his brother that those cities have been hit by cholera and convinced ‘Abdullah to remain in Qom. The Daylamites would often send forces to attack various cities even after the conquest of Persia by the Muslims. On one occasion when they decided to attack Qom, they were unaware that the Ash’aris were in the region, who came out to defend the city. Their victory caused the residents of Qom to request them to stay as residents with them, and a contract was formed between the residents and the Ash’aris. Nevertheless, what we can say for sure is that the Ash’aris were well informed about the various regions of Iran, including Qom. However, it isn’t very clear that they set off from Kufa to go to Qom, rather it is highly likely that they intended on going to Isfahan or Qazwin, and due to unforeseen circumstances were forced to stay in Qom.
Theological Views of the Ash’aris
It is not clear as to how the Ash’ari residents of Qom essentially all turned towards Shi’ism in the theological sense. Given that one of the main reasons why certain Ash’aris had to leave Kufa was their support for the Alids, it is only natural that these individuals brought with them their ideologies as well. It seems that moreso than being mere political Shi’as (i.e. followers of a certain camp due to political reasons – a trend that was common in Kufa), those who moved to Qom also had a basic understanding of Shi’i theology – whose details of course were in their infancy. There is no doubt that belief in the Imamate of the Imams would have transferred over to Qom from Kufa because of the Ash’ari family. One report mentions that Musa bin ‘Abdullah bin Sa’d was the first person to express his theological belief in Shi’ism, which encouraged others to also express their beliefs in it. Musa was an Imami who had been brought up in Kufa, and migrated to Qom with his father.
Regardless of which member of the Ash’ari family spread Shi’ism in Qom and its surrounding villages after their migration, what is certain is that it quickly became a major Shi’i city where Shi’i teaching and learning circles became active. In fact, the Shi’ism of the Ash’aris was so obvious that they were known for sending occasional gifts and Khumus money to the Imams from the income received through surrounding farms and gardens. The Imams were also known to have sent gifts to them and as well as coffins. It makes sense then, that we began seeing narrations like the ones below from Imam Sadiq (s):
قم بلدنا و بلد شيعتنا – Qom is our city, and the city of our Shi’as.
أَهْلُ قُمَ أَنْصَارُنَا – The residents of Qom are our helpers.
These and many other similar narrations by the Imams show that Qom was indeed a city the Imams deemed important. The residents were Imami Shi’as who believed in the special role of the Imams as a source of guidance, and this formed the basis of their theology. With their continuous communication and relationship with the Imams, their theological understanding gained depth over the centuries, and this slowly began giving Qom a distinct identity.
Three Generations of Ash’ari Narrators
Even though Qom had become an important city after the Ash’aris migrated to it in 94 Hijri, it was still going to be Kufa that would dictate the norms of Imami theology for the next one-and-a-half century. As it was mentioned in the previous post, it was only after the decline of Kufa that Qom became the hub for such intensive discourse. Nevertheless, before we begin discussing Qom as a spearhead for Imami theological discourse, following the decline of Kufa, it is imperative that we learn about certain influential people of the city so we can later see how and why it was easy for Kufan scholars in the middle of the 2nd century Hijri to migrate to Qom.
The first group of Ash’aris are those who lived during the lifetime of Imam Baqir (s), Imam Sadiq (s) and Imam Kadhim (s). Some of these important figures are as follow:
Musa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: It was previously mentioned that he was the first person to express his Shi’ism in the city of Qom. Shaykh Tusi says that he narrated ahadith from both Imam Baqir (s) and Imam Sadiq (s). Shu’ayb bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Also a narrator and companion of Imam Baqir (s) and Imam Sadiq (s). ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He was an Imami scholar in Qom, and some of his meetings with Imam Sadiq (s) during Hajj and in Medina have been recorded in Rijal al-Kashi. Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s). Abu Bakr bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s). ‘Abdul Malik bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: A companion of Imam Sadiq (s) and has been praised by the Imam himself. Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Although his name hasn’t appeared in primary Rijal works, nevertheless there are two ahadith reported on his authority from Imam Sadiq (s) which implies that he had met the Imam. Ya’qub bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s) – though not much is known about him, Yaqut al-Hamawi in his Mu’jam al-Buldan says he was one of the scholars of Qom. Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s) and Imam Kadhim (s). It is possible he may have met Imam Baqir (s) as well – the confusion is due to another similar name who has been deemed a companion of Imam Baqir (s). Idris bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s) and Imam Kadhim (s). Najashi also considers him to have narrated from Imam Ridha (s). ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq (s) and Imam Kadhim (s). There is a report in Rijal al-Kashi from Imam Sadiq (s) who says about him: Surely you are from us, the Ahl ul-Bayt. Ahmad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in the chain of two narrations in Usul al-Kafi and one narration in Tahdhib ul-Ahkam of Shaykh Tusi where he is seen to be narrating directly from Imam Sadiq (s). As it can be seen in the brief list above, all individuals are the immediate sons of ‘Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Malik. There are some children of Ahwas who are recorded to have been scholars as well who are part of this generation, but not a lot is known about them. We have not mentioned them here as the intent was not to produce an exhaustive list of narrators, rather to show that there was a group of active individuals in Qom that was in contact with the Imams and had heard ahadith from them. In any case, below is a genealogy tree of the children of ‘Abdullah which is resourceful – taken from my personal copy of the Shi’a Atlas by Rasul Jafariyan:
In our next post, we will continue to build this list of scholars who lived during the two subsequent generations. Thereafter, we will return back to some of these individuals – such as Sa’d bin Abdullah al-Ash’ari, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa – and focus on their life in a bit more detail and attempt to describe some of their methods and views which would have played an influential role in shaping the theological school of Qom. As we chronologically reach the end of the middle of the 2nd century Hijri, we will begin discussing other influential figures such as Ibrahim bin Hashim, Ali bin Ibrahim, ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Himyari, Muhammad bin Hasan al-Saffar etc. We will also have to briefly discuss certain trends that formed in Kufa – that of Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar al-Ju’fi and Hisham bin Salim al-Jawaliqi – and then show how those impacted theological discourse amongst Shi’i scholars in Qom.
Eventually we will also discuss some thematic issues such as discussions pertaining to knowledge of the Imams, infallibility of the Prophet and Imams, phenomenon of Ghuluww (exaggeration), role of the intellect in theology etc.
 A detail account of his conversion is recorded in the book Tarikh Qom by 4th century Hijri scholar Hasan bin Muhammad bin Hasan al-Qumi. Much information regarding the Ash’ari family and the history of Qom in general for this article and subsequent articles, is taken from this book.
 Origins of the Islamic State (English translation of Futuh al-Buldan) by al-Baladhuri, Volume 1, pg. 487. Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, 1916
 All reasons are reported in the book Tarikh Qom
 This village still exists today. See: https://goo.gl/maps/XSB4i6ZFzdP2
 For more information on this aspect of history, please see the section Iraqi Shi’ism in Rasul Jafariyan’s work Shiism and its types during the early centuries available online here: https://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/general-al-tawhid/shiism-and-its-types-during-early-centuries-part-1-rasul-jafariyan-0#iraqi-shi-ism
 Tarikh Qom, Pg. 278-279
 Safinah al-Bihar, Volume 7, Pg. 359
 Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 57, Pg. 214
 Rijal al-Kashi, Hadith #610, Pg. 334
Hassan- reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, The Traditionalist-Theologian Phenomenon (2)
Original post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-traditionalist-theologian-phenomenon-history-of-shii-imami-theology-2/
The Traditionalist-Theologian Phenomenon | History of Shi’i Imami Theology (2)
The earliest distinct Shi’i Imami school was that of Kufa’s, which began taking form in the beginning of the 2nd century Hijri during the time of Imam Baqir (s). This era itself is worthy of being studied and as a matter of fact has been studied extensively by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike. The various theological trends that existed in Kufa for a century-and-a-half, were without a doubt some of the earliest and most influential trends that shaped the future of Shi’i thought and identity.
During this period, companions of the Imams considered the Imams to be sources of guidance and recognized their authority when it came to being the source of true knowledge. A large network of students and companions of the Imams were involved in narrating their teachings and spreading their teachings. This group of individuals generally came to be known as Muhaddithun (narrators). Many of these narrators however, were also considered Mutakallimun (theologians) and are deemed some of the greatest Imami companions of the time. While many definitions have been given for what constitutes a theologian, at the very least it can be said that it was someone who attempted to work out their religious beliefs within a given epistemological framework. Unlike a Muhaddith, a theologian would generally have been more attentive towards contradictory narrations and would pay closer attention to the words being narrated in order to argue for whether such information fits within their established framework or not. Furthermore, most theologians were heavily involved in debates and discussions against opponents in order to defend their beliefs.
Thus, we can identify three major trends in Kufa during the era of Imam Baqir (s) and Imam Sadiq (s): 1) those who were merely deemed as narrators of traditions and would generally avoid getting into theological disputes, 2) those who were deemed pure theologians, and 3) those who happened to be narrators of traditions and as well as theologians at the same time. This last group is what we refer to as the traditionalist-theologian. The Shi’i companions of the Imams (s), whichever segment they fit into, would still consider themselves bound to the teachings of the Imams in all cases, and would often refer back to them for assistance and guidance. This can be seen in the numerous reports that have been preserved in primary Shi’i texts like Usul al-Kafi.
The fundamental difference between the traditionalist-theologians and the narrators was that the former would attempt to rationalize, justify and fit the teachings of the Imams in a specific established framework of thought. The narrators generally speaking, would not involve themselves in such activities, and would suffice with simply quoting the traditions as evidence for their views when it required. In other words, what was deemed sufficient as guidance for them was the Nass (words of the Imam – orally narrated or written down) on its own, and they saw no necessity in adding their own opinions to the subject matter as it would be deemed irrelevant in front of the words of someone divinely appointed as a source of guidance. Despite this, it must be said that this group, just like the traditionalist-theologians and the theologians, did indeed have a framework in which they would understand things. That framework was the Nass it self. Therefore we find many examples where narrators were seen attempting to explain the contents of a Nass by utilizing other traditions themselves.
Though Shi’i traditionalist-theologians were different from mere theologians as far as the former would often narrate traditions from the Imams (s), in essence it seems that this method was simply an extension of the theologians and the difference was not as extensive. Many companions were considered traditionalist-theologians, such as Zurarah bin A’yun and others from his family, Abu Basir, Muhammad bin Muslim, Ibn Abi ‘Umayr etc.
Both these movements – after having benefited from the presence of the Imams in 2nd century Hijri – had very different fates by the middle of the 3rd century. Theological discourses that had given life to Kufa’s highly engaged society, eventually died out. This is largely to be blamed on certain decisions made by the ‘Abbasid government, such as the implementation of various sanctions, restrictions, and limitations on the Imamis in Kufa and certain theologians who held specific views in general. However, the Imami traditionalist-theologians were able to preserve a lot of their written works and transfer much of their heritage to the next generation as the middle of the 3rd century Hijri approached.
As activity in Kufa slowly died out, another school began taking form as the Kufan traditionalist-theological heritage transferred over to it, and slowly became a substitute for Kufa. This school found its home in the city of Qom.
In the next few posts we will try to address a range of different topics, including – but not limited to: how Qom became the hub for Shi’i theological discourse, why was it seen as the most reasonable destination after the decline of Kufa, a brief history of the earliest Shi’as to have migrated there, the transfer of Kufa’s hadith heritage to Qom, important companions and scholars who lived in Qom and their theological methodologies, the case of scholars exiling Imami narrators of hadith who were accused of certain flaws, prevalent theological views in Qom, the role of the intellect amongst scholars of Qom.
 See for example see Usul al-Kafi, Volume 1, Book 3, Chapter 1, Hadith #4; Book 4, Chapter 1, Hadith #3, #4. The examples are too many to list here.
 The political situation had become so tense that that Imam Kadhim (s) eventually had to tell Hisham bin Hakam to stop any theological debates and discussions. See Rijal al-Kashi, Hadith #479, Page 265-26
Hassan- reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, History of Shi'i Imami Theology (1)
This is intended to be the first of many posts on the history of the development of Shi’i Imami theology.
There are various reasons why being familiar with the history of Imami theology can be of benefit for not just a Shi’a, but as well as a student of Shi’i Islam. As its history begins with the era of the Imams (s), to know how they and their companions dealt with various theological issues, challenges, and what sort of responses would they provide to those questions acts as a window through which we can attempt to learn about the religion itself. The presence of the Imams pre-Ghaybah itself makes it an important time-period to study as companions would engage in theological discussions and debates, while often bouncing off ideas and opinions off the Imams
, who were of course seen as sources of guidance. While there were companions whose views and opinions were incorrect at times, and we find reports where the Imams (s) had to correct them or point their errors out, nevertheless we also find that many of the companions had views which were a direct result of the teachings of the Imams (s). Furthermore, without being familiar with the history of the development of Imami theology, particularly the era during the lifetime of the Imams (s), it is difficult to understand the numerous theological narrations that exist in the hadith corpus, as we would be reading them without any context.
The history of Imami theology shows that it went through various phases and encountered numerous challenges during the course of these phases. We see various factions of companions forming due to differing methodologies, approaches, and understanding of religious teachings. As such, we can identify a few distinct groups forming during the lifetime of the Imams (s) themselves, such as that of Hisham bin Hakam, Hisham bin Salim and Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar. Each of these figures influenced later individuals (for example: Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman, Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Yaqtin, and Muhammad bin Sinan respectively) and this transmission of methodology and inclinations was carried on until the next few centuries. On the other hand, we also see that various cities were the hub for these debates and discourses, in different time periods. In this series, we intend on covering some aspects of the history of some of these schools from the perspective of their geographic location.
In this introductory piece, we will very briefly glance over the most important cities where the Imamis were active (or at times inactive) in theological discourse during the course of time, and impacted subsequent generations (positively or negatively). These schools can be narrowed down to the following cities:
1) Medina: Generally speaking, historians will begin their discussions on the history of the development of Imami theology after the incident of Karbala with the Imamate of Imam Sajjad (s). After the incident of Karbala, two Shi’i theological schools of thought were prevalent in Medina, one that was centered upon Imam Sajjad (s) and one on the personality of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (son of Imam Ali). This time period has not been heavily studied unfortunately, even though recent efforts have been made by some scholars to research this time period.
2) Kufa: Without much delay, the hub of the Imami theological school moved to the city of Kufa. While it is true that the presence of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s) was in Medina, for various reasons, it was Kufa where Imami theological discourse was prevalent and took a distinct form and shape. This shift took place in the beginning of the 2nd century Hijri, and various Muslim sects, such as the Khawarij and Mu’tazalites, were participating in theological dialogue in this city. It was in the city of Kufa where the earliest foundations for a distinct Imami identity were laid and extremely important figures were taught and trained by the Imams (s) themselves. Many Kufans would travel back and forth between Kufa and Medina in order to access the Imams (s) directly and then bring their teachings to the city of Kufa.
3) Baghdad: After theological discourse in Kufa began diminishing, Baghdad slowly began to flourish. However, the Shi’as – who were generally located in the suburbs of Karkh – had no substantial influence, nor participation for at least a century between 180 to 280 Hijri. Due to various political restrictions imposed on the Shi’ias, many companions of the Imams (s) were unable to participate in any theological dialogue nor defend their beliefs. Thus, we see narrations indicating that an Imam may have prohibited certain companions from further engaging in theological debates – evidently a political and strategic move. Important figures such as Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman and others were imprisoned during this time for their activities. All in all, we find no significant progress nor theological discourse by the Imamis during this century. A few names that appear here and there are also of those whose identify and biography is relatively unknown.
It was only a century later when we see the Nawbakhtis (such as Abu Sahl and Abu Muhammad) lifting up the fallen reins and re-enter theological discourse. Interestingly, we have no record of whose students the Nawbakhtis were and neither do they point towards any teacher. Although it is known that they had access to a personal library, so it is possible that they heavily utilized the heritage that had been passed down to them. In any case, this new phase in Baghdad reaches its climax during the time of Shaykh Mufid and Sayyid Murtadha, and ends with the departure of Shaykh Tusi to Najaf.
4) Qom: As the Kufan school was coming to its end, it was the city of Qom that slowly become its substitute. The Kufan heritage was transferred over to Qom by various different scholars. Although the Kufan school had both a theologian and traditionalist-theologian movement, in Qom it was primarily a traditionalist-theologian methodology that had importance. So while many of the scholars of Qom did have a methodology and a framework within which they would intellectualize, they were still distinct from someone who would be deemed a pure theologian.
5) Rey: A lot of Baghdad and Qom’s heritage was transferred to Rey with the immigration of some of the Imami scholars to the city. Thus it is seen as an important city where Imami theological discourse was prevalent for about one-and-half to two centuries.
6-7) Hilla and Jabal al-Amel: Much of Rey’s heritage was transferred over to Hilla, and the theological developments within Hilla were transmitted to Jabal al-Amel by Shahid Awwal and Shahid Thani. However, since there were no important works produced within the latter city on theology, Jabal al-Amel is essentially considered an extension of Hilla and not seen as a city where significant progress was made.
8) Najaf: One stream from Hilla’s theological school of thought moved to Najaf through the efforts of Fadhil Miqdad – a student of Shaheed Awwal. The former would accompany him till Damascus before the latter was martyred.
9/10) Fars & Isfahan: After Najaf, it was the school of Fars and Isfahan during the Safavid dynasty that took charge of being the hub of Imami theological discourse.
These 10 cities were without a doubt the most influential when it comes to discussing the history of the development of Imami theology. While the starting point of this historical timeline may be seen in Medina chronologically speaking, it was in the city of Kufa where a distinct Imami Shi’i theology was born. As much work has been done on the city of Kufa and Baghdad – some of it also available in English – we wish to begin our series of posts with the city of Qom, a city less discussed or often cast aside as insignificant. As the histories of some these schools are tightly connected (particularly that of Kufa, Qom and Baghdad’s), we will of course at times be forced to discuss certain aspects of the Kufan or Baghdad school in order to better understand certain aspects of Qom’s role and influence on Imami theology.