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  1. Some Glimpes of Ismail b. Ja`far in Twelver Sources His Boldness towards his Father Ismail was very daring in his interaction with the Imam. So much so that he could directly contradict his father to his face. جعفر بن أحمد بن أيوب، عن أحمد بن الحسن الميثمي، عن أبي نجيح، عن الفيض بن المختار، وعنه، عن علي بن إسماعيل، عن أبي نجيح، عن الفيض، قال: قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: جعلت فداك، ما تقول في الأرض، أتقبلها من السلطان ثم أؤاجرها آخرين على أن ما أخرج الله منها من شئ، كان من ذلك النصف أو الثلث أو أقل من ذلك أو أكثر؟ قال: لا بأس، قال له إسماعيل ابنه: يا أبه لم تحفظ! قال: فقال: يا بني أوليس كذلك أعامل أكرتي؟ إن كثيرا ما أقول ألزمني فلا تفعل، فقام إسماعيل، فقلت: جعلت فداك، وما على إسماعيل ألا يلزمك إذا كنت أفضت إليه الأشياء من بعدك كما أفضت إليك بعد أبيك، قال: فقال: يا فيض إن إسماعيل ليس كأنا من أبي، قلت: جعلت فداك، فقد كنا لا نشك أن الرحال ينحط إليه من بعدك، وقد قلت فيه ما قلت، فإن كان ما تخاف وأسأل الله العافية، فإلي من؟ قال: فأمسك عني، فقبلت ركبتيه، وقلت: إرحم سيدي، فإنما هي النار، إني والله لو طمعت أن أموت قبلك لما باليت، ولكني أخاف البقاء بعدك، فقال لي: مكانك، ثم قام إلى ستر في البيت فرفعه ... [al-Kashshi] Ja`far b. Ahmad b. Ayyub from Ahmad b. al-Hasan al-Maythami from Abi Nujayh from al-Faydh b. al-Mukhtar; and from him [Ja`far b. Ahmad b. Ayyub] from Ali b. Ismail from Abi Nujayh from al-Faydh who said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام - may I be made your ransom, what do you say about a piece of land which I accept from the Sultan then I lease it out to others [to cultivate therein] - with the condition that what Allah causes to be produced from it of anything then half or one-third of it or less than that or more is mine? He said: there is no harm in it, Ismail his son said to him: O father you haven’t remembered correctly [you have got it wrong]! He said: O my son, is this not how I too deal with my cultivators? How many times have I said that you should accompany me [to learn things] but you refuse? So Ismail got up and left, I said: may I be made your ransom, and what harm is upon Ismail if he does not accompany you considering you will hand over to him the things [books] after you the way they were handed to you after your father? he said: O Faydh, Ismail is not [to me] the way I was to my father, I said: may I be made your ransom - we never doubted that the saddles would be laid [journeys would be undertaken] to him after you [i.e. he would be the Imam], but you have just said about him what you have! so if it occurs that which we fear and I ask Allah to preserve you - then to whom? He said: he kept silent, I kissed his knees and said: have mercy O master, for it is the fire [if I fail to recognize the next Imam], by Allah if I expected to die before you then I would not have cared, but I fear that I may remain after you, so he said to me: remain where you are, then he stood until he reached a door-curtain in the room and raised it … This shows how independent minded Ismail was. It should be noted, however, that the remaining part of the Hadith and the exaggerations in it make one suspect whether the Hadith is not one of those proof-texts carefully invented to support the Imama of al-Kadhim. Was he involved in Political Intrigue? Ismail was summoned by al-Mansur (the Abbasid Caliph) for an unidentified reason. The fact that he was accompanied by one Bassam who was executed implies it had something to do with rebelling against the temporal powers. محمّد بن مسعود قال: حدثني محمد بن نصير قال: حدثنا محمّد بن عيسى، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن عليّ ابن حديد قال: حدثني عنبسة بن مصعب العابد قال: كنت مع جعفر بن محمد صلوات الله عليهما بباب الخليفة أبي جعفر بالحيرة، حين أتي ب‍: بسّام و إسماعيل بن جعفر فادخلا على أبي جعفر، قال: فاُخرج بسّام مقتولا، و اُخرج إسماعيل بن جعفر، قال: فرفع جعفر رأسه إليه قال: أفعلتها يا فاسق! أبشر بالنار! [al-Kashshi] Muhammad b. Masud who said: Muhammad b. Nusayr narrated to me saying: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to us from al-Husayn b. Sa`id from Ali b. Hadid who said: Anbasa b. Mus`ab al-Abid narrated to me saying: I was with Ja`far b. Muhammad صلوات الله عليهما at the door of the Caliph Abi Ja`far [al-Mansur] in al-Hira when Bassam and Ismail b. Ja`far were brought and made to enter in the presence of Abi Ja`far, he [Anbasa] said: so Bassam came out a dead man [sentenced to be killed], then Ismail b. Ja`far was brought out [unpunished], he [Anbasa] said: so Ja`far raised his head to him and said: have you done it you corrupt sinner! receive tidings of the fire! To whom did the Imam direct these words? It could very well be to Ismail . For getting himself mixed up with militants, even whilst the Imam’s official policy towards the rulers was queitism. Maybe Ismail is also being blamed for implicating Bassam and thereby freeing himself of suspicion and leaving unharmed. Some scholars have gone against this interpretation even if it might be the more literal one. توهّم أنّ الخطّاب متوجّه إلى إسماعيل بن جعفر، والجواب: أنّ الخطّاب متوجّه إلى ابو جعفر (المنصور) بتنزيله منزلة الحاضر، كما يظهر بأدنى تأمّل، al-Khoei: It is wrongly thought that that the speech was addressed to Ismail b. Ja`far, the answer is that: these words were directed at Abu Ja`far al-Mansur as though he were physically present [it is allowed in the language to address the non-present as though he were present], as is obvious with the least bit of thinking. Despite this, I maintain that the possibility [which is also most in line with linguistics] should not be rejected out-rightly. It may be for this very reason that he was struck off the Diwan [register] that lists people who were to be given stipends. محمد بن مسعود قال: حدثني أحمد بن جعفر بن أحمد قال: حدثني العمركي، عن محمد بن علي وغيره، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن مفضل بن مزيد أخي شعيب الكاتب قال: دخل علي أبي عبد الله عليه السلام، وقد أمرت أن أخرج لبني هاشم جوائز، فلم أعلم إلا وهو على رأسي وأنا مستخلي، فوثبت إليه فسألني عما أمر لهم، فناولته الكتاب، قال: ما أرى لإسماعيل ههنا شيئا، فقلت: هذا الذي خرج إلينا. ثم قلت له: جعلت فداك، قد ترى مكاني من هؤلاء القوم فقال لي: انظر ما أصبت فعد به على أصحابك، فإن الله جل وعلا يقول: إن الحسنات يذهبن السيئات [al-Kashshi] Muhammad b. Masud who said: Ahmad b. Ja`far b. Ahmad narrated to me saying: al-Amrikai narrated to me from Muhammad b. Ali and other than him from Ibn Abi Umayr from Mufadhal b. Mazid the brother of Shuayb the secretary who said: Abi Abdillah عليه السلام entered upon me and I had been ordered to take out the stipends for the Bani Hashim. I did not notice until he was stood over me and I was all alone at the time [no one was with me], so I sprung up [in deference] to him [and in attention]. He asked me about what had been apportioned for them [of the stipends], so I handed over the document to him. He said: I do not see for Ismail anything here? I said: this is what was given to us [from above], then I said to him: may I be made your ransom, you have seen my position [junior official] with these people [Banu Abbas] [how can I escape the tyranny involved in their financial activities]? He said: look at what you get [of payment] and transfer it to your fellows [oppressed Shias] for Allah Majestic and Elevated says: “the good drives away the evil” (11:114). Ismail was his own man Another potential piece in the puzzle that can shed light on Ismail’s character is a letter written by Ibn al-Siyaba to al-Sadiq. أحمد بن منصور، عن أحمد بن الفضل الخزاعي، عن محمد بن زياد، عن علي بن عطية صاحب الطعام قال: كتب عبدالرحمن بن سيابة إلى أبي عبدالله عليه السلام: قد كنت احذرك اسماعيل: جانيك من يجني عليك وقد * يعدي الصحاح مبارك الجرب فكتب اليه أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: قول الله أصدق * (ولاتزر وازرة وزر اخرى) * والله ما علمت ولا أمرت ولارضيت [al-Kashshi] Ahmad b. Mansur from Ahmad b. al-Fadhl al-Khuzai from Muhammad b. Ziyad from Ali b. Atiyya the seller of food who said: Abd al-Rahman b. Siyaba wrote to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام - I used to warn you about Ismail Your criminal is the one who commits a crime against you But mangy camels may often infect the healthy ones Abu Abdillah عليه السلام wrote back to him: the words of Allah are more truthful “and no bearer shall bear the burden of another” (35:18) by Allah - I did not know! nor did I command him to do it! nor was I pleased with it! When an Arab hears the first part of the couplet his memory immediately furnishes the next incriminating line: ولربّ مأخوذ بذنب عشيره * ونجا المقارف صاحب الذّنب Many a man may be accused of the crime of his familial relation While the one who really committed the crime gets away The poem notes how a crime by someone close to you can rub off on you and get you caught up in the accusation. The Imam makes clear, however, that the words of Allah are more truthful than this poem [as we say صدق الله وكذب الشاعر]. No one will bear the burden of another and the Imam did not endorse Ismail’s action in any way. Which act of Ismail is the Imam distancing himself from? Sayyid al-Damad says in his Ta`liqa: كتب ذلك ابن سيابة الى أبي عبد الله عليه‌ السلام حيث تجنى اسماعيل في أمر معلى ابن خنيس، على من هو بري‌ء من ذلك وتعرض له وتحرش به Ibn Siyaba wrote that to Abi Abdillah عليه‌ السلام after Ismail had committed a crime in the matter of Mualla b. Khunays against the one who was innocent of that after confronting him in a surprise attack. I highly doubt that it was in relation to that because what Ismail did there seems to have been sanctioned by the Imam. The Mualla incident عن ابن أبي نجران، عن حمّاد الناب، عن المسمعى قال: لما أخذ داود بن علي المعلّى بن خنيس حبسه، وأراد قتله، فقال له معلّى بن خنيس: أخرجني إلى الناس، فإنّ لي ديناً كثيراً ومالاً، حتى أشهد بذلك، فأخرجه إلى السوق فلما اجتمع الناس، قال: ياأيها الناس أنا معلّى بن خنيس فمن عرفني فقد عرفنى، اشهدوا أنّ ما تركت من مال، من عين، أو دين، أو أمة، أو عبد، أو دار، أو قليل، أو كثير، فهو لجعفر بن محمد عليه السلام، قال: فشدّ عليه صاحب شرطة داود فقتله. قال: فلما بلغ ذلك أبا عبد اللّه عليه السلام خرج يجرّ ذيله حتى دخل على داود بن على، وإسماعيل ابنه خلفه، فقال: ياداود قتلت مولاي وأخذت مالى. فقال: ما أنا قتلته ولا أخذت مالك. فقال: واللّه لادعون اللّه على من قتل مولاي وأخذ مالى. قال: ما قتلته ولكن قتله صاحب شرطتى. فقال: بإذنك أو بغير أذنك. قال: بغير إذني. فقال: ياإسماعيل شأنك به. قال: فخرج إسماعيل، والسيف معه حتى قتله في مجلسه [al-Kashshi] Ibn Abi Najran from Hammad al-Nab from al-Misma`i who said: when Dawud b. Ali [the governor of Madina] arrested al-Mualla b. Khunays, imprisoned him, and wanted to kill him - Mualla b. Khunays said to him: take me out to the people first, for I have a lot of debts and wealth which I want to declare, so he took him out to the market, when the people had gathered he [Mualla] said: O people, I am Mualla b. Khunays, whoever knows me has known me, I bear witness that what I leave of wealth, or debt, or slave-girl, or house, or less or more, then it is is for Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام, he [al-Misma`i] said: so Dawud’s head of security struck him and killed him. When the news reached Aba Abdillah عليه السلام he came out dragging his cloak [on the ground - in his hurry] until he entered upon Dawud b. Ali with his son Ismail behind him and said: Dawud you killed my Mawla [client] and usurped my property?! He said: I did not kill him nor have I taken your property. He said: By Allah I am going to pray to Allah against the one who killed my Mawla and took my property! He [Dawud] said: I did not kill him - it was the head of my guards, he [the Imam] said: by your permission or without? He [Dawud] said: without my permission, he [al-Sadiq] said: O Ismail have your way with him! he said: so Ismail came out with a sword and killed him in his seating place. Affection of the Imam after his Death What comes across in these narrations is the fact that Ismail was a fallible and in some ways flawed individual. Despite this, it is undoubted that he was greatly loved by the Imam who cared deeply for him [as a father is wont to do]. عن أبي رضي الله عنه قال: حدثنا سعد بن عبدالله، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن الحسن بن سعيد، عن فضالة بن أيوب، والحسن بن علي بن فضال، عن يونس بن يعقوب، عن سعيد بن عبدالله الاعرج قال: قال أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: لما مات إسماعيل، أمرت به، وهو مسجى، أن يكشف عن وجهه، فقبلت جبهته، وذقنه، ونحره، ثم أمرت به، فغطي ثم قلت: إكشفوا عنه، فقبلت أيضا جبهته، وذقنه، ونحره، ثم أمرتهم، فغطوه، ثم أمرت به، فغسل، ثم دخلت عليه وقد كفن فقلت: أكشفوا عن وجهه، فقبلت جبهته، وذقنه، ونحره، وعوذته، ثم قلت: أدرجوه، فقلت بأي شئ عوذته؟ قال عليه السلام : بالقرآن [Kamal al-Diin] From my father who said: Sa`d b. Abdallah narrated to us from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from al-Hasan b. Sa`id from Fadhala b. Ayyub and al-Hasan b. Ali b. Fadhal from Yunus b. Ya`qub from Sa`id b. Abdallah al-A`raj who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: when Ismail died, and was covered with a sheet, I ordered that his face be exposed, then I kissed his forehead, his chin, and his throat, then I ordered that he be covered again, then I said: unveil him, so I kissed his forehead, and his chin and his throat, then I ordered that he be covered again, then I ordered that he be washed, then I entered upon him and he was already enshrouded, so I said: uncover his face, I kissed his forehead, his chin and his throat then I supplicated for him [protection against evil], then I said: wrap him up, I [Sa`id] said: with what thing did you supplicate for him? he عليه السلام said: with the Qur’an. This shows the real affection that the Imam had for him, but there was another secondary more important reason he went through these motions. It was was to prove to everyone the reality of his death against the claim that would emerge that he was in hiding.
  2. Some Glimpes of Ismail b. Ja`far in Twelver Sources When dealing with a historical figure, that is to say, with an individual who lived ages ago, and in a socio-cultural milieu quite different from us, we must acknowledge the difficulties of trying to answer such questions about them as - who were they? what motivated them? etc. Who can trace the subtle changes that unfailingly occur over a life time while penetrating the barrier of inner thought? This is compounded when we have access to only a limited number of textual sources to work with. Despite admitting the challenges facing any such reconstruction, there is no reason why such attempts not be made, with one caveat: the mind is always looking to make patterns out of disparate dots, sometimes a whole emerges that is consistent and self-sustaining. If the prism through which a single piece of data is seen enables it to better explain other totally independent pieces of data, then the whole reconstruction is on safer grounds and the pieces of data more likely to be historical. Other times, one can skew the different pieces of evidence in trying to fit a pre-configured narrative, introduce bias, over-reach and form a conclusions that is far-removed from reality. In any case, what follows below is a collection of different Ahadith that involve Ismail in Twlever sources. It is felt that the incidental nature of some of them, where the details of his life are mentioned secondarily, consequently not tinged with polemical considerations, will yield the most qualitative results. This is purposely so because Ismail was a controversial figure. He was at the center of a polemical debate about the succession to al-Sadiq. There was no lack of people who would wish to besmirch his name with a “black legend” so as to justify his disqualification to the Imama. Similarly, and on the other side of the spectrum, there would be sectarians working to “white-wash” him having imbued theological meaning to his person. Introduction Ismail b. Ja`far b. Muhammad was the eldest son of al-Sadiq and was born in Madina in 100 AH. He died circa 138 AH before his father [this last piece seems to be the most strongly anchored piece of info. about him because even his supporters had to explain it away]. His mother was Fatima bt. al-Husyan b. al-Hasan b. Ali. His full brother was Abdallah al-Aftah who also claimed the Imama after their father for brief period of time. Did the Imam praise him? عبدالله بن محمد، عن الحسن بن علي الوشاء، عن أحمد بن عائذ، عن أبي خديجة الجمال قال: سمعت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام يقول: إني سألت الله في إسماعيل أن يبقيه بعدي فأبى ولكنه قد أعطاني فيه منزلة أخرى إنه يكون أول منشور في عشرة من أصحابه ومنهم عبدالله بن شريك وهو صاحب لوائه [al-Kashshi] Abdallah b. Muhammad from al-Hasan b. Ali al-Washsha from Ahmad b. A`idh from Abi Khadija the Cameleer who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: I asked Allah about Ismail - that he should preserve him to remain after me - but He refused, however He has given me another position for him, he (Ismail) will be the first one to be resurrected with ten of his companions, among them Abdallah b. Sharik, and he (Abdallah) will be the man who carries his banner. Abu Khadija in the chain is Salim b. Mukram about whom al-Najashi says <<Thiqa Thiqa>> and Ibn Fadhal says <<Salih>>. However, he has a pre-history which is significant to our study. وكان سالم من أصحاب أبي الخطاب، وكان في المسجد يوم بعث عيسى بن موسى بن علي بن عبد الله بن العباس وكان عامل المنصور على الكوفة إلى أبي الخطاب لما بلغه أنهم أظهروا الإباحات ودعوا الناس إلى نبوة أبي الخطاب وأنهم يجتمعون في المسجد، ولزموا الأساطين يرون الناس أنهم قد لزموها للعبادة، وبعث إليهم رجلا فقتلهم جميعا لم يفلت منهم إلا رجل واحد أصابته جراحات فسقط بين القتلى يعد فيهم فلما جنه الليل خرج من بينهم فتخلص وهو أبو سلمة سالم بن مكرم الجمال الملقب بأبي خديجة فذكر بعد ذلك أنه تاب وكان ممن يروي الحديث Salim’s original Kunniya was Aba Khadija but the Imam changed it to Aba Salama. He was someone who owned camels and rented them out for others to travel with. Salim was at one point in time among the followers of Abu al-Khattab. They were accused of libertinism (making the Haram to be Halal) and proclaiming Abu al-Khattab to be a prophet. They then rose in revolt and barricaded themselves in the mosque of Kufa. He was the sole individual who escaped the massacre in the mosque that followed and lived to tell the tale. This is because the Abbasid forces thought him to have died in the assault, so when it was the night he stood up and fled. Abdallah b. Sharik mentioned in the narration is considered a lying Mukhtari in proto-Sunni sources. He participated in Mukhtar’s revolt which indicates his militant bent. He then attaches himself to Ismail as can be seen here. The Hadith seems to be implying some status for Ismail in the Raj`a [eschatological return] and making this Abdallah b. Sharik al-Amiri as his chief liutenant. It is my thesis that Ismail himself is someone who was courted by Abu al-Khattab and associated with the Khattabiyya in some manner. Thus, we have a prior Khattabi [who could be narrating before his conversion] narrating praise of Ismail and his associate the former Mukhtari Abdallah b. Sharik. This is enough to raise skepticism. The Disapproval of the Imam الحسن بن احمد بن إدريس، عن أبيه، عن محمد بن احمد الاشعري، عن ابن يزيد والبرقي، عن احمد بن محمد بن ابي نصر البزنطي، عن حماد، عن عبيد بن زرارة قال: ذكرت إسماعيل عند أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقال: لا والله لا يشبهني ولا يشبه أحدا من آبائي [Kamal al-Diin] al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. Idris from his father from Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Ash`ari from Ya`qub b. Yazid and al-Barqi from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr al-Bazanti from Hammad from Ubayd b. Zurara who said: I mentioned Ismail to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام so he said: no by Allah - he does not resemble me or any one of my forefathers. والجواب أنّه سأل الامام عليه السلام عن إسماعيل من جهة لياقته للامامة، على ماهو المرتكز في أذهان العامة من الشيعة، فأجابه الامام عليه السلام بأنّه لايشبهه، ولايشبه آباءه في العصمة، فانّه تصدر منه المعصية غير مرّة، وهذا لا ينافي جلالته، فإنّ العادل التقي أيضاً قد تصدر منه المعصية، ولو كانت صغيرة، لكنه يتذكّر فيتوب al-Khoei claims that Ismail not resembling the `Aimma is just as far as the question of Isma (infallibility) is concerned i.e. he is not an Imam like them. However, there is a variant which has an addition that seems to indicate that this extended to his personal habits which were not deemed upright. ك: ابن المتوكل، عن محمد العطار، عن الاشعري، عن ابن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن الحسن بن راشد قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن إسماعيل فقال: عاص عاص لا يشبهني ولا يشبه أحدا من آبائي [Kamal al-Diin] Muhammad b. Musa b. al-Mutawakkil from Muhammad b. Yahya al-Attar from Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Yahya b. Imran al-Ash`ari from Ya`qub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from al-Hasan b. Rashid who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about Ismail, he said: disobedient! disobedient! he does not resemble me nor any one of my forefathers. Why would the Imam call him عاص if it was just about indicating that he is not infallible? Connections with the Ghulat Abu al-Khattab and Mufadhal Ismail was thought to be be his father’s successor even in the latter’s lifetime. There were some shady figures who coalesced around him like Abu al-Khattab [and the Khatabiyya incl. Mufadhal] who were spreading that rumour. Abu al-Khattab himself had a totally Gnostic and anti-nomian understanding of Islam underpinned by his Batini Ta`wil. He considered the recognition of the Imam to make Shari`a practices redundant. Abu al-Khattab led a rebellion in Kufa and was killed with seventy of his followers by the order of the governor Isa b. Musa (the nephew of the first two Abbasid Caliphs al-Saffah and al-Mansur) when they barricaded themselves in the mosque. [The incident alluded to above] al-Mufadhal was initially connected to Abu al-Khattab and the Khatabiyya before later dis-associating from them and renouncing his former position. It is clear that the later Ismailiyya, despite the various off-shoots and splinter sects that arose [and the picture is further complicated by activities to mystify their origins and problems of lack of primary documents] can be traced back to the Khattabi movement. Whether Ismail is directly implicated or was just a figure-head around whom they built their theology remains to be seen. حدثني حمدويه بن نصير، قال حدثنا يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن الحكم وحماد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل بن جابر قال: قال أبو عبد الله: ايت المفضل قل له يا كافر يا مشرك ما تريد إلى ابني تريد أن تقتله [al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh bin Nusayr who said: narrated to us Ya’qub bin Yazid from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham bin al-Hakam AND Hammad bin Uthman from Ismail bin Jabir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: go to Mufadhal and say to him - O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you want for my son Ismail (i.e. al-Sadiq's son)!? Do you want to kill him!? جبرئيل بن أحمد قال: حدّثني محمّد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: سمعت أبا عبداللّه عليه السلام يقول للمفضّل بن عمر الجعفي: يا كافر يا مشرك مالك ولابني، يعني إسماعيل بن جعفر، وكان منقطعا إليه، يقول فيه مع الخطابية، ثم رجع بعده [al-Kashshi] Jibrail b. Ahmad who said: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me from Yunus from Hamma b. Uthman who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying to al-Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju`fi: O Kafir, O Muhsrik, what do you have to with me son - meaning Ismail b. Ja`far? - and he [Mufadhal] was loyal to him [Ismail], believing about him [that he is the Imam and much more] together with the Khatabiyya, then he returned after him [Ismail’s death]. حدّثني حمدويه قال: حدّثني محمد بن عيسى، عن إبن أبي عمير، عن حمّاد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل ابن عامر (جابر) قال: دخلت على أبي عبد اللّه عليه السلام، فوصفت إليه الائمة، حتى انتهيت إليه، فقلت: إسماعيل من بعدك؟ فقال عليه السلام: أم‏ا ذا فلا، فقال حمّاد: فقلت لاسماعيل: ومادعاك إلى أن تقول: وإسماعيل من بعدك؟ قال: أمرني المفضّل بن عمر [al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh narrated to me saying: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hammad b. Uthman from Ismail b. Amir (should be Jabir) who said: I entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and named for him the `Aimma, until I reached him, then I said: Ismail after you? he said: as for that one then No, Hammad said: so I [Hammad] said to Ismail: what made you to say: ‘Ismail after you’, he said: Mufadhal b. Umar made me do it. ويذكر لويس « إن الكنية ( أبو إسماعيل ) التي يضيفها الكشي على أبي الخطاب إنما تشير إلى إسماعيل بن جعفر وأن أبا الخطاب كان المتبني لإسماعيل والأب الروحاني له Bernard Lewis quotes from his teacher the famous orientalist Louis Massignon the enigmatic claim that even the Kuniyya Abu Ismail, which al-Kashshi uses for Abi al-Khattab, actually refers to Ismail b. Ja`far. It originated from the fact that Aba al-Khattab considered himself a spiritual father to Ismail grooming him to assume leadership [see his: The Origins of Isma`ilism]. Nabidh Drinking حمدويه قال: حدثني محمد بن عيسى ومحمد بن مسعود قال: حدثنا محمد بن نصير قال: حدثني محمد بن عيسى، قال: حدثنا صفوان، عن أبي الحسن عليه السلام قال صفوان: أدخلت على إبراهيم وإسماعيل ابنا أبي سمال ... ما كانوا مجتمعين عليه، كيف يكونون مجتمعين عليه وكان مشيختكم وكبراؤكم يقولون في إسماعيل وهم يرونه يشرب كذا وكذا، فيقولون هذا أجود ... [al-Kashshi] Hamduwayh who said: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me; and Muhammad b. Masud who said: Muhammad b. Nusayr narrated to us saying: Muhammad b. Isa narrated to me saying: Safwan narrated to us from Abi al-Hasan (i.e. al-Ridha) عليه السلام, Safwan said: I arranged for Ibrahim and Ismail - the two sons of Abi Sammal (prominent Waqifis) to enter upon him (i.e. al-Ridha عليه السلام) … [the Imam said]: they were not united upon him (i.e. al-Kadhim), how could they be united upon him while your elders and leaders used to say about Ismail - even though they used to see him drink ‘so and so’ - they would still say - this is one is better … What is this ‘so and so’? It is Nabidh (intoxicating drink) [the narrator censors and obfuscates it because of sensitivity - but it is clear what is meant for those who are researchers in this field]. It was to explain this away that a Hadith like the one below was transmitted. ابن الوليد، عن سعد، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن ابن أبي نجران، عن الحسين بن المختار، عن الوليد بن صبيح قال: جاء ني رجل فقال لي: تعال حتى اريك أبن الرجل قال: فذهبت معه قال: فجاء ني إلى قوم يشربون فيهم إسماعيل بن جعفر فخرجت مغموما، فجئت إلى الحجر فاذا إسماعيل بن جعفر متعلق بالبيت يبكي، قد بل أستار الكعبة بدموعه، فرجعت أشتد فاذا إسماعيل جالس مع القوم، فرجعت فاذا هو آخذ بأستار الكعبة قدبلها بدموعه قال: فذكرت ذلك لابي عبدالله عليه السلام فقال: لقد ابتلي ابني بشيطان يتمثل في صورته [Kamal al-Diin] Ibn al-Walid from Sa`d from Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar from Ibn Abi Najran from al-Husayn b. al-Mukhtar from al-Walid b. Subayh who said: a man came to me and said: come with me so that I show you the son of the man, he [Walid] said: so I went with him until he brought me to a group who were drinking and among them was Ismail b. Ja`far, so I came out of there saddened, then I went o the Hajar [at the Ka`ba] and found Ismail b. Ja`far clinging to the House crying, until the cloth [covering the Ka`ba] was drenched because of his tears, so I returned quicly to the gathering and found Ismail seated with the group, then I returned and found him clinging to the cloth of the Ka`ba which had wettened because of his tears, he [Walid] said: so I mentioned this to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام, he said: my son is afflicted with a devil who assumes his form. This narration is also found in al-Imama wa al-Tabsira min al-Hayra of Ali b. al-Husayn b. Babawayh [al-Saduq’s father]. There the chain is Ahmad b. Idris and Muhammad b. Yahya > Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar > Ibn Abi Najran > al-Husayn b. al-Mukhtar > al-Walid b. Subayh. The Hadith has been put to use to nullify the claim of Ismail’s to the Imam. As al-Saduq comments: وقد روي أن الشيطان لا يتمثل في صورة نبي ولا في صورة وصي نبي، فكيف يجوز أن ينص عليه بالإمامة مع صحة هذا القول منه فيه And it has been narrated that the Shaytan does not assume the form of a prophet or the successor to the prophet, so how is it possible that he [Ja`far] would designate him [Ismail] for the Imama while he [Ja`far] is the same one who authentically stated this about him. However, it may have originally been circulated to explain Ismail’s Nabidh drinking in an apologetic manner.
  3. Salaam alaykum. Please keep in mind that I am merely studying Islam, so I am neither Shi'a or Sunni and I hold no biases about either. I'm friends with a Shi'a Muslim who has quoted the bible as a reference to the coming of the 12 Imams. I will ask him when I see him next but I'm interested in getting feedback from your fantastic community in the meantime! This aforementioned reference is where it says: "Twelve princes shall [ishmael] beget, and I shall make him a great nation." [Gen. 17:20] But later on, The Bible actually names these twelve men and says they are the twelve sons of Ishmael: "And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth: and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah; [Gen. 25:13-15] And right after that they make reference to the twelve princes again: "These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; these are the twelve princes according to their nations." [Gen. 25:16] Am I missing something deeper that he understands? Can anyone shed some light on this? Thank you so much for reading and I look forward to hearing your responses. - Alizée
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