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In the Name of God بسم الله
Qa'im

Ahl Al-Bayt In Judeo-Christian Literature

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Part 6: The Book of Enoch

 

The Book of Enoch is a scripture attributed to the Prophet Idris (as). It is one of the most influential non-canonical Judeo-Christian works that has survived. For Ethiopian Jews and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Book of Enoch is considered canon. Despite the debate around its authenticity and its validity, the book was held in high regard by Jews and Christians alike, as its contents contributed to Judeo-Christian lore, gnosticism, and eschatology. The book survives in full in the Ethiopian Ge'ez (South Semitic) language, and in fragments in Aramaic in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

Enoch is Idris, who is the second Qur'anic prophet (after Adam and before Nuh) and an early biblical figure in Genesis. In Genesis, God takes up Idris. In the Qur'an, Allah also seems to have "lifted" him: "And remember Idris in the Book; he was indeed very truthful, a Prophet. And We lifted him to a lofty station". (19:56-57) What happens after this point in Idris' life is uncertain, and it has been elaborated upon by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In Judaism, Enoch is referred to as Hanokh ha-Tzadik (Enoch the Righteous, or the Sadiq - the significance of this will be elaborated upon in a later post). The Book of Enoch and other apocryphal literature describe him as hidden, up in the heavens, and appointed by God to be the guardian of all the celestial world and the angels, including the archangels. God imparts secret knowledge to Enoch, who then shares it in his alleged book. Rabbinical literature also refers to him as safra rabba (the Great Scribe), making him the first human to write that which God has taught. The Qur'an says, "He who taught by the pen, taught that which man knew not." (96:4-5) and some Sunni exegeses have noted that this "man" could be Idris, who was the first to use the pen, and who was taught that which "man knew not".

 

In Christianity, according to Paul in Hebrews 11, Enoch did not experience death, but was rather translated to the kingdom of heaven. Enoch is not a saint in Catholicism, but he is revered in the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition. The Book of Enoch was referenced and quoted by many of the scholastic church fathers of Christianity. It was even quoted once in the New Testament in the Epistle of Jude. This is very significant, because Jude was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus (as) and he was called "the brother of Jesus", implying that the two were blood relatives.

 

The Epistle of Jude is a very short and very interesting piece in the New Testament - it talks of hypocrites infiltrating the Christian community, which may be an allusion to Paul and his followers. By the end of Jude's Epistle, Jude says that God would take care of all of the hypocrites. He quotes a verse from the Book of Enoch, which says, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 14-15).

 

Jude's quotation of the Book of Enoch is like an affirmation of it, or at least an endorsement of this excerpt. As an apostle and relative of Jesus, that is significant. Although the early Christians and the Qumran Jews held the Book of Enoch with high esteem, Rabbinical Jews and the Catholics did not. So by the 7th century, the Enochian tradition was being circulated mainly by unorthdox Christian and Jewish sects in Persia, Arabia, and Africa, outside of Rome.

 

Now, I'm not saying that the Book of Enoch is an "authentic" work. Most academics have noted that the book was written in parts - the oldest parts maybe stretching back as early as the 4th century BCE, and placing the newer parts in the 1st century CE. To say that Idris (as) wrote the book would imply that it is tens of thousands of years old, and that is highly unlikely. Still, the book clearly resonated with Jews and Christians and their offshoot religions. So, it would be interesting to see if the book had any allusions to the ma`sumeen. After all, many of the communities that had upheld the Enochian tradition embraced Islam en masse as it spread further east.

 

The Book discusses fallen angels (possibly Harut and Marut from the Qur'an), the end of days, messianism, the kingdom of God, the angelic world, life after death, and unveiling the curtains from the eyes. I will be looking at the first five chapters of Enoch.

 

To be continued... stay tuned ;)

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He is like a tree planted by a stream of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalms 1:3)

 

In the previous post, we looked at the story of Adam (as), and the allegories of trees in the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Shi`i ahadith. Before Adam (as) was placed on Earth, he was already destined to be the khalifa there - that was the purpose of his creation. When he was created, he was taught all of the names, and the angels were ordered to prostrate to him. It could be that Adam was made a qibla, or it could be that Allah wanted to assert the superiority of His hujja over the angels and the jinn. After this, he was placed in the Garden, where he was to "eat freely", except from a particular tree. The lesson learned in the Garden was a necessary inauguration before beginning his prophetic mission. When Adam was placed in the Garden, he did not know nakedness, and most importantly, he did not recognize that Shaytan was his open enemy: or, at the very least, he had forgotten this (20:115).

 

The metaphysical world is beyond what the eye has seen, what the ear has heard, and what the mind has imagined. While the Qur'an describes Paradise with worldly terms (gardens, rivers, mansions, wine), these descriptions are somewhat ambiguous. If a mansion in this life and a mansion in the next life are dissimilar, then they share very little in common. If our limited minds cannot fathom the next life, then it would make sense for God to depict the hereafter in worldly terms so that we may have some comprehension of the world to come. Allah has chosen to depict Paradise with all of the wonderful things of this life, but in the end, all that this life shares with the next are the names and labels. You will be a new creation in the next life.

 

With that said, we see allegories for trees everywhere. We even have a tree in hell: the Tree of Zaqqum. In Arabic dictionaries, Zaqqum is described as a thorny plant with a bitter taste and foul aroma. Let us return back to the allegory of the tree in the Qur’an:

 

“And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, "Peace!" Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.” (14:24-26)

 

As we read earlier, according to many narrations, Allah gives the similitude (mathal) of the tree as an allegory of the Ahl al-Bayt and their Shi`a in Paradise. The passage continues by saying that this tree is always producing fruit – which, according to the ahadith, are either the Imams or the knowledge of the Imams. The verse then gives the example of a bad word (kalmia, which may be a person in Islamic metaphysics – just as Adam was a “word” and Jesus was a “word”).

 

Further, there are more explicit references to Zaqqum in the Qur’an:

 

“Verily, the Tree of Zaqqum is food for the sinful. Like murky oil, it burns within bellies like the boiling of scaling water”. (44:43-46)

 

“Is Paradise a better accommodation, or the Tree of Zaqqum? Verily, we have made it a torment for the wrongdoers. Verily, it is a tree issuing from the bottom of Hell. Its emerging fruit is as if it was the heads of devils. And verily, they will eat from it and fill their bellies with it. Then verily, they will have after it a mixture of scalding water. Then verily, their return will be to Hell.” (37:62-68)

 

“Then indeed you, O those astray and deniers, will be eating from the tree(s) of Zaqqum and filling your bellies with it”. (56:51-53)

 

There is also a reference to “the Cursed Tree in the Qur’an” (17:60) right before the story of Adam and Iblis.

 

The_tree_of_Zaqqum_%282012%29.jpg

 

A few notes. In Surah 44, the Tree of Zaqqum is described as the “food for the sinful”. After the food is consumed, its juices burn the stomachs of these sinners. In Surah 37, the tree sprouts from the pit of the Fire, and its fruits appear similar to the heads of devils. Interesting – if the fruits of the goodly tree of Paradise are Hasan, Husayn, and the Imams (as), then their counterparts in Hell would be the Leaders of Disbelief (A’immat al-Kufr). It would therefore make sense that the fruit of Zaqqum would take on the appearance of the devils, presumably both the human devils and the jinn devils. The people of hellfire followed these people in their lives, so they would be raised with them and suffer eternity with them.

 

The other narrations indicate that the fruit of the goodly tree was the knowledge of the Imams. The primary function of a hujja is to relay and explain Allah’s message to mankind. The ma`sumeen were the repository of Islamic knowledge, and every Muslim is obligated to seek knowledge from those who bear it. So to complete the metaphor, Allah has set us here so that we may eat from the right trees, much like how Adam was tested.

 

As Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

 

Let us apply to the allegory onto this verse. Here, Jesus instructs his followers to be wary of the frauds who may come in sheep’s clothing. He says that you will recognize them by their “fruits” – meaning, if the knowledge presented and the actions produced by a man are good, then we will be able to affirm that he is a good man. If his “fruits” are bad, then he will be recognized as a “bad tree”. Notice how these bad trees are “thrown into the fire” – this may be a reference to the impending punishment that awaits the imposters and usurpers. The bad trees are also compared to thornbushes and thistles, which are both [Edited Out]ly plants, like Zaqqum. While Christians have traditionally interpreted “fruits” to mean “works/actions”, the Ahl al-Bayt extend this over to the knowledge of a person and their familial successors. An evil person with malicious intentions may still produce good works to meet ungodly objectives. However, they will never be able to produce better knowledge (be it theology, jurisprudence, law, exegesis, and prophecy) than their divinely-appointed opponents.

 

Here are more ahadith that support our conclusions:

 

 محمد بن مسعود، قال حدثني علي بن محمد، قال حدثني أحمد بن محمد البرقي، عن أبيه، عمن ذكره، عن زيد الشحام، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام في قوله تعالى " فلينظر الانسان إلى طعامه " قال: إلى علمه الذي يأخذه عمن يأخذه

 

Muhammad b. Mas`ud said: `Ali b. Muhammad narrated. He said: Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi narrated from his father from he who he mentioned from Ziyad ash-Shahham from Abu Ja`far عليه السلام.

Regarding His تعالى saying: “So man should look to his food” (80:24). He said: [He should look] to his knowledge which he takes and whom he takes it from.

 

In this ayah, “food” is very explicitly a metaphor for knowledge. Mankind should consider who they are taking their knowledge from. What is the quality of the “food” they are consuming? Are they taking their food from good trees or bad trees?

 

And now, here is explicit proof that the Cursed Tree is indeed a representation of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt. In the following hadith, Banu Umayya is depicted as the tree:

 

حدثني أبو عبد الله محمد بن أحمد الكوفي الخزاز قال: حدثني أحمد بن محمد بن سعيد الكوفي، عن ابن فضال، عن إسماعيل بن مهران، عن أبي مسروق النهدي، عن مالك بن عطية، عن أبي حمزة، قال: دخل سعد بن عبد الملك وكان أبو جعفر عليه السلام يسميه سعد الخير وهو من ولد عبد العزيز بن مروان على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فبينا ينشج كما تنشج النساء (3) قال:
فقال له أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ما يبكيك يا سعد؟ قال وكيف لا أبكي وأنا من الشجرة الملعونة في القرآن، فقال له: لست منهم أنت أموي منا أهل البيت أما سمعت قول الله عز وجل يحكي عن إبراهيم: " فمن تبعني فإنه مني (١) ".

 

Abu `Abdillah Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Kufi al-Khazaz from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sa`eed al-Kufi from ibn Faddal from Isma`il b. Mehran from Abu Masrooq al-Hindi from Malik b. `Atiyya from Abu Hamza.

He said: Sa`d b. `Abd al-Malik entered upon us. Abu Ja`far عليه السلام would call him “Sa`d the Good”, and he was from the sons of `Abd al-`Aziz b. Marwan. He entered upon us whilst Abu Ja`far عليه السلام was present and he began to weep so much just like a woman would weep. Abu Ja`far عليه السلام said to him: Why do you cry, O Sa`d? He said: How can I not cry when I come from the lineage of the cursed tree of the Qur’an? So he (the Imam) said to him: You are not from them, you are an Umayyad from us, the Ahl al-Bayt. Have you not heard the saying of Allah عز وجل, speaking of Ibrahim? “Whosoever follows me is from me”. (14:36)

 

This beautiful narration describes an Ummawi man who wept to Imam al-Baqir (as) out of the feeling of guilt for belonging to the tribe of Banu Umayya. The Umayyads, who were the ruling tribe in that period, were responsible for usurping the Caliphate and killing Imam al-Husayn (as). Despite the man’s relation to the Umayyads, the Imam called him “the Good” (al-khayr) for his loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt. He then profoundly includes this man as a member of his own family. While a person cannot abandon his paternal lineage and his family in Islam, he was simultaneously a part of the spiritual family of Muhammad (pbuh) – much like how Salman al-Farisi was called a member of Ahl al-Bayt as well.

 

The Imam then lays out the principle: whoever follows Abraham is from his people. This is an important theme in the Qur’an and in Shiism. Every person will be resurrected with his or her group (99:6) on the Day of Judgment, and at the head of every group is its Leader (Imam –  17:71). There is an Imam at all times, and we are expected to follow him and make him our role model. Once we follow Allah’s hujja, we become safe from His chastisement; and this theme is repeated in the stories of Noah, Salih, Hud, Shu`ayb, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  Each of these prophets found opposition from amongst their people, who became the recipients of Allah’s punishment.

 

To be continued!

Edited by Qa'im

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Just a side note, before completing Part 7: The Tree of Life, these are some of the topics I plan on covering in the future inshaAllah. In no particular order:

 

  • The Exodus Temple: Medina and the Mosaic Tabernacle
  • The Divine Presence: Muhammad and the Shekhina
  • The Second Moses: Between the Mystics and the Jurists
  • Be with the Righteous: The Sadiqeen and the Tzadikim
  • The Jerusalem Church and Imamate
  • al-Mahdi: Moshiache ben Yosef, Moshiache ben David
  • The Face of God in the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Hadith
  • The Lamb of God: Imam al-Husayn (as) and the Sacrifice of the Covenant

So as you can see, we still have a long way to go and a lot to cover. Please pray that Allah gives me the strength, the wisdom, the zeal, and the time to complete this very important project.

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Finishing with the earlier theme: trees in the Qur’an, the ahadith, and Judeo-Christian literature have often been used to represent individuals. The tree of Zaqqum could represent the Satanic presence in the creation, including the leading demonic figures and Banu Umayya. The allegory can be further extended to the story of Adam in the Garden, where he is forbidden from eating from a certain tree. The Torah identifies two specific trees in the Garden: the first is the Tree of Life, and the second is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the Qur’an, Satan lies to Adam in 20:120, telling him that the forbidden tree is actually the Tree of Eternal Life (shajarat al-khuld) – this was obviously false, because Adam did not gain immortality. The Torah identifies the forbidden tree to be the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

In 7:22 of the Qur’an, it is said that Adam and his wife ate from this forbidden tree, and then became conscious of their nakedness. This verse can be used to support the idea that the forbidden tree was indeed related to knowledge, because after eating from it, Adam acquired an intuitive shame that he immediately tried to rectify by covering his genitals with leaves. Although this tree was forbidden, that does not necessarily mean it was an evil tree. Adam was meant to eat from this tree, it was Allah’s plan, and through it, he presumably gained a matured conscience. Prior to eating from this tree, he had no shame of his nakedness, and was not aware of the deceit of Satan. In many ways, he was childlike, and such a test was necessary before he could assume the position of khalifa on Earth. It was a preparatory test to insure than he can succeed in his prophetic mission. Moreover, the forbidden tree was indeed in the Garden, which may further indicate that the tree was not inherently evil.

 

Still, it was not a Tree of Life. The Tree of Life guarantees one an eternal spot in Paradise. I find it interesting how in all of the scriptures, the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt have been depicted as trees, or parts of the same tree. One hadith even interprets the fruits of a tree to be the knowledge of an individual. One can take this allegory and apply Adam’s story to our own lives. Life is about taking knowledge from the correct person – the hujja – or, in other words, eating from the correct tree. Satan does all that he can to trick us, like Adam, until eating from the wrong tree. While eating from the Tree of Knowledge was necessary, our subjective knowledge of good and evil is the source of all of the world’s religions and ideologies. Sometimes, applying the knowledge of our fitra can get us to the right conclusions. However, other times, Satan may get in between us and our fitra, resulting in bad moral decisions and worldviews.

 

Taking the fruit of the Tree of Life would lead to immortality; meaning, we would live happily without being destroyed by Allah or ourselves. To push the allegory further: grasping onto the light-bearers, taking knowledge from them, digesting that knowledge, and acting upon it would lead to an eternal life in Paradise. Recognizing the goodly Muhammadan tree is the source of peace in this world and the Hereafter. While the forbidden tree represents the conscience, the Tree of Life represents the divine authority – and Allah knows best.

 

In 2:37, when Adam was repenting for his action, Allah sent some words to him. According to some exegetes, these words were the names of the Prophet and is Ahl al-Bayt. Suyuti narrates the following hadith below:

 

عن ابن عباس قال سألت رسول الله عن الکلمات التی تلقاها آدم من ربّه فتاب علیه قال: سئل بحق محمد و علی و فاطمة و الحسن و الحسین إلا تبت علیّ فتاب علیه

 

Ibn `Abbas (ra) asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) about the words that Adam received from his Lord [that he used in his repentance] so He forgave him.

The Messenger replied, "He asked by the truth of Muhammad, and `Ali, and Fatima, and al-Hasan, and al-Husayn until he was forgiven, so He forgave him."

(Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, vo.1, p.60 and 61)

 

After Adam’s test, he was made to return back to that divine authority so that his repentance may be accepted. The authority of God is expressed through the light-bearers of His religion, the highest of whom in rank are the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the other four core members of Ahl al-Bayt. This narration and others like this support the idea that the Ahl al-Bayt preceded Adam in a primordial form. Adam had to recommit to his recognition of their wilaya before his supplication could be accepted.

 

There are other noteworthy places which describe the trees of Paradise. One reference is in the Gospel of Thomas; a Gnostic Christian work presumably of the early 100s CE. The book contains 114 esoteric quotations of Jesus (as). Many of these quotations coincide with those of earlier texts, and some academics have argued that the author of Thomas probably had access to earlier Christian works that have since been lost. The Gospel of Thomas is also not a biographical account of Jesus’ life – unlike the four canonical Gospels – but rather, it is organized a lot like what academics presume the Q document (hypothetically the earliest Christian document that quotes Jesus’ sayings and conversations) was like.

 

In the 19th quotation in the Gospel of Thomas, this is reported:

Jesus said, "Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being. If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you. For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death."

 

Let us deconstruct this possible saying of Jesus. “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being” – this is a benediction that is sent upon those who pre-existed the physical realm. This could be a reference to those whom Allah had created in a primordial form before they were born into human flesh. These are the Ahl al-Bayt. Jesus says, “there are five trees in Paradise for you” – these are references to five people, and who could they be other than the Ahl al-Kisa’ that Adam was made to recognize: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn. They are in Paradise, perhaps as trees in the Garden. He then says, “they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall” – this is much like the statement in Enoch, “Observe and see how (in the winter) all the trees seem as though they had withered and shed all their leaves, except fourteen trees, which do not lose their foliage but retain the old foliage from two to three years till the new comes”, and the hadiths that discuss the evergreen nature of the Tree of Ahl al-Bayt. The statement that these trees do not change in the seasons is an implicit indicator to their impeccable and immaculate nature, which does not change depending on the circumstances around them, and remain alive and undestroyed (like an evergreen in the winter) while giving life (like the fruit of a tree). The final statement is, “Whoever knows them will not taste death”, meaning, whoever recognizes the Ahl al-Bayt and their station shall be rewarded with eternal life.

 

The Tree of Life makes its final appearance in the Book of Revelations. While the book was authored by a false prophet who claimed the godhood of Jesus, it still may contain some authentic Judeo-Christian ideas that were present the culture of the author. Revelations 22:1-2 notes the following:

 

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”. (Revelations 22:1-2)

 

In this verse, the author claims to have spiritually ascended to this higher plain, and he describes Paradise. The Tree of Life is said to have twelve fruits; just as some ahadith note that the fruits of the Tree of Ahl al-Bayt are the Imams. This tree, again, is evergreen, and its leaves are described as a spiritual healing for the nations. In an earlier hadith, Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) says that the leaves of the Tree of Ahl al-Bayt are the Shi`a. The Shi`a, of course, refers only to those who recognize the Ahl al-Bayt and live righteously. In their righteous example, they heal the broken world around them.

 

As a final jab at the nawasib, who will rule as the Caliphs preceding the Mahdi’s rise, the following saying has been reported by Abu Tufayl (ra) – the seal of companionship – and the 6th Imam:

 

ابن عقدة، عن حميد بن زياد، عن الحسن بن محمد الحضرمي عن جعفر بن محمد(ع)، وعن يونس بن يعقوب، عن سالم المكي، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة أن الذي تطلبون وترجون إنما يخرج من مكة وما يخرج من مكة حتى يرى الذي يحب ولو صار أن يأكل الاعضاء أعضاء الشجرة .

 

ibn `Uqda from Hamid b. Ziyad from al-Hasan b. Muhammad al-Hadrami from Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام.

And from Yunus b. Ya`qub from Salim al-Makki from Abu’t Tufayl `Amer b. Wathila.

They (i.e. Imam as-Sadiq and Abu’t Tufayl) said: The one you seek and have hopes for will verily rise from Mecca. And he will not rise from Mecca until he sees what he loves, even if it happens that parts of a tree eats [its other] parts. (Nu`mani’s Ghayba)

 

In this narration, the Imam gives the allegory of a tree eating its other parts. Those who are familiar with Shi`i eschatology know that the Mahdi’s rise will be triggered by a schism in ruling family. It is possible that this tree eating itself represents the infighting of members of the Caliphal family. This is something that the Mahdi would definitely enjoy seeing.

 

May Allah help us recognize the Tree of Life and the Tree of Zaqqum in this life, and forever unite us with the Imams of Guidance.

Edited by Qa'im

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Part 8: The Exodus Temple: Medina and the Mosaic Tabernacle

 

In previous chapters, we established that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the Prophet like unto Moses, who was the law-giving Messenger that was expected to come. In Deuteronomy, this Prophet was compared to Moses (as), and God said that He would put His words in the mouth of the Prophet. In Isaiah, he would be described as the Chosen One, who would be assisted by the Holy Spirit to bear a new Law and be a light to the world. In John, he was one of three eschatological figures expected by the Jewish Pharisees. Later in John, he was described as the Spirit of Truth, who would speak of whatever he hears from God, and lead the world into all truth. Our Prophet (pbuh) is described in many different places in Judeo-Christian literature, and I would like to continue to examine these references inshaAllah.

 

One implication of there being a Second Moses is that, like the first Moses, he would lead an exodus (hijra). In the first century, some Jewish communities expected deliverance from the hands of their oppressors. Jewish zealots discussed a New Exodus, a New Law and Covenant, a New Temple, and a New Promised Land. These ideas are supported by some Old Testament verses:

 

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

 

Here, God describes a later covenant that would be unlike the Mosaic covenant, which the Jews had broken. Instead of writing the Law on stone tablets, it would be written in the hearts of the people of the covenant. Of course, the primary bearers of Allah's covenant are the Prophet (pbuh) and his Ahl al-Bayt, who are those firmly-rooted in the knowledge (rasikhuna fil `ilm) of the Qur'an and Sunna - this Scripture was not written on a tablet, but rather, it was a memorized, spoken tradition that Allah tells us to understand in our hearts and minds. Although this verse says that the covenant would be with the people of Israel, Isaiah 42 says that the Law would be awaited by the world, and that the Servant(s) would be a light to the people (goyim, gentiles - or the people altogether). It may not be exclusively with the Children of Israel - after all, it would be unlike the covenant made with their ancestors. This may also be a case of bada'.

 

It is interesting to note that Messenger (pbuh) had his own exodus. Hijra is the Arabic equivalent, which means migration, emigration, etc. Like Moses' hijra, it was miraculous, as the Prophet (pbuh) was able to escape certain death on two occasions (at his house, and in the cave). Like Moses, he was able to lead his people out of oppression and into a safer land. Like Moses, the legal and jurisprudential elements of his religion (shari`a and fiqh) were revealed mostly after his exodus. Like Moses, his military struggles only took place after his exodus. It was clear that Muhammad (pbuh) had been making overt parallels to the Mosaic example in fulfillment of the Second Moses prophecy. Upon his hijra, the Jews of the Aws and Khazraj tribes converted to Islam, as well as some from Banu Nadhir and other tribes. It seems that the Prophet's exodus and his pact with the Jews bore religious significance to many of them.

 

One of these overt parallels is the Exodus Temple. This temple was a portable sanctuary that was established by Moses and the Children of Israel while they wandered the desert. It housed the shekhina, which will be discussed in a future chapter. This temple represents the primary house of worship during the exodus period. This was a unique period in the history of the Children of Israel, because they were away from their old homeland in Egypt and heading to their Promised Land. See where I'm going with this?

 

This is an Israeli replica of the tabernacle:

 

Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg

 

The temple has some notable architectural features. Firstly, it is rectangular or cubical, and secondly, its ceiling was not plastered. Remember that this was a temporary sanctuary until the Jews could reunite with the Temple in Jerusalem, whose foundations were constructed by Abraham (as).

 

Below is Solomon's temple. The main, innermost structure is also notably rectangular or cubical, but because of its permanence, its was not a tent.

 

Fullsizewht1200.jpg

 

For the Prophet, Medina represented the place of exodus and refuge. It was not honoured as a holy city before the Prophet's coming, while the holiness of Mecca and the Ka`ba was revered by all Arabs. The Ka`ba, like the Temple in Jerusalem, has Abrahamic roots, and so it too is a permanent cubical structure with a plastered ceiling:

 

kaaba1.jpg

 

For Muslims, Mecca was the promised holy land, because it had been honoured even before Adam. Before the Muslims could enter Mecca, they had to be cleaned-up and taken out of their jahili mentality, just as the Jews were taken out of their polytheistic slave mentality. The sanctuary in Medina was a tabernacle: it was rectangular, made out of natural, makeshift materials, with no plastering. It was the Muhammadan sanctuary until Muslims regained access to God's universal sanctuary. We still honour it today as the burial place of the Prophet and the second holiest mosque.

 

The Prophet himself made this comparison in the hadith below:

 

 

محمد بن يعقوب ، عن علي بن محمد ومحمد بن الحسن جميعاً ، عن سهل بن زياد ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن أبي نصر وعن علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ، عن عبدالله بن المغيرة جميعاً ، عن عبدالله بن سنان ، عن أبي عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) ، قال : سمعته يقول : إن رسول الله ( صلى الله عليه وآله ) بنى مسجده بالسميط ، ثم إن المسلمين كثروا ، فقالوا : يا رسول الله ، لو أمرت بالمسجد فزيد فيه ، فقال : نعم ، فأمر به فزيد فيه ، وبناه بالسعيدة ، ثم ‎إن المسلمين كثروا ، فقالوا : يا رسول الله ، لو أمرت بالمسجد فزيد فيه ، فقال ، نعم ، فأمر به ، فزيد فيه ، وبني جداره بالأنثى والذكر ، ثم اشتد عليهم الحر ، فقالوا : يا رسول الله ، لو أمرت بالمسجد فظلل ، فقال : نعم ، فأمر به ، فأقيمت فيه سواري من جذوع النخل ، ثم طرحت عليه العوارض والخصف والأذخر ، فعاشوا فيه حتى أصابتهم الأمطار ، فجعل المسجد يكف عليهم ، فقالوا : يا رسول الله ، لو أمرت بالمسجد فطين ، فقال لهم رسول الله ( صلى الله عليه وآله ) : لا ، عريش كعريش موسى ( عليه السلام ) ، فلم يزل كذلك حتى قبض ( صلى الله عليه وآله ) : وكان جداره قبل أن يظلل قامة ، وكان إذا كان الفيء ذراعاً وهو قدر مربض عنز صلى الظهر ، فإذا كان ضعف ذلك صلى العصر.

وقال : والسميط : لبنة لبنة ، والسعيدة : لبنة ونصف ، والذكر والأنثى : لبنتان مخالفتان.

ورواه الشيخ بإسناده عن علي بن إبراهيم .

ورواه الصدوق في ( معاني الأخبار ) عن أبيه ، عن سعد ، عن إبراهيم بن هاشم وأيوب بن نوح ، عن عبدالله بن المغيرة ، مثله ، إلا أنه ترك قوله : وبناه بالسعيدة ـ إلى ـ فزيد فيه ، وقال : فإذا كان الفيء ذراعين وهو ضعف ذلك صلى العصر.

 

1 – Muhammad b. Ya`qub from `Ali b. Muhammad and Muhammad b. al-Hasan both from Sahl b. Ziyad from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr and from `Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from `Abdullah b. al-Mughira all from `Abdullah b. Sinan from Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام.  He said: I heard him saying:

 

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله built his masjid by sameet (see below).  Then the Muslims multiplied, and they said: O Messenger of Allah, were you to command the masjid would be expanded.  So he said: Yes, and he commanded it and it was expanded.  So he built it by sa`eeda.  Then the Muslim multiplied, and they said: O Messenger of Allah, were you to command the masjid would be expanded.  So he said: Yes, and he command it and it was expanded, and its walls were built untha and dhakar.  Then the heat became severe upon them, so they said: O Messenger of Allah, were you to command the masjid would be shaded.  So he said: Yes, and he commanded it, so columns of the trunks of the date palm were erected in it, then the beams, the matted palm-leaves, and lemon grass was cast on them.  So they lived in it until the rains hit them, and the masjid started dripping (?) on them.  So they said: O Messenger of Allah, were you to command the masjid would be plastered.  So the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said to them: No, a tabernacle like the tabernacle of Musa عليه السلام.  So it did not cease to be thus until he صلى الله عليه وآله passed away.  And before it was shaded its walls were standing, and when the shadow would be a cubit – and it is the amount of a lodging place of a goat – he would pray zhuhr, and when it would be double that he would pray `asr.

 

Here, we see that the Prophet did have the ability to plaster his mosque, but he purposely did not so that it may be like the tabernacle Exodus Temple of Moses.

 

Later, the mosque would be renovated to include the Prophet's grave and the houses of his wives, as well as plastering and a dome. In a hadith of Imam al-Baqir (as), he says that the Mahdi would smash its plastering and return it to its Mosaic form.

 

قال أبو جعفر ( عليه السلام ) : أول ما يبدأ به قائمنا سقوف المساجد ، فيكسرها ويأمر بها فتجعل عريشاً كعريش موسى.

 

Abu Ja`far عليه السلام said: The first thing that our Qa’im with begin with is the roofs of the mosques.  So he will smash them and command for them to be made a tabernacle like the tabernacle of Musa.

 

This is to maintain the mosque's original purpose and its simplicity. And Allah knows best.

 

Mosques-of-the-world-Masjid-al-Nabawi-is

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Part 10: Shining Forth from Mount Paran

 

Paran definition: strong, robust. Mighty ones, leaders, nobles. A strong robust tree, especially the oak or terebinth, sometimes the palm.

 

Many scholars are seemingly confused over the location of Mount Paran, a city in a desert that makes a few appearances in the Hebrew Scriptures. Most Christians and Jews place Paran in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, but a question mark is often noted on its location, because no trace of such a city has yet to be found. Much of biblical geography is uncertain and debated by theologians and academics alike.

 

In post #37, I proposed that the Egyptian Sinai was not the real Sinai, and that the real Sinai would instead be in Midian or Tabuk. I pointed out that the Mountain of Almonds in Midian is a good candidate for the authentic Sinai - God knows best. If this is true, then this completely changes biblical geography. It would make the Arabian Peninsula the real location of Israel's wandering, and it would change prophecy. So let us review the references to Paran in the Scriptures to see if we can find any hints to support our conclusion.

 

Location

 

Genesis 14:6 is the only time Paran is referred to as "El-Paran"; perhaps hinting its Arabic relation. In Moses' era, the Egyptians did not speak Arabic.

 

Genesis 21:21 mentions the story of Hagar, saying that she and her son Ishmael (as) were sent out to Paran, and he settled there. This, in our view, is Mecca, but Jews and Christians suggest that it is in Egypt. There are a few problems with that assertion. Firstly, no one disputes that the Kedar, who were the children of Ishmael, were Arabs living in the Arabian Peninsula - not Egypt. Secondly, the same verse says that Hagar got Ishmael a wife from Egypt, when really the Sinai is a part of Egypt - the only thing separating the two is a modern man-made canal. To say that Paran was in Egypt is to suggest that Egypt was the origin of Arabia, a claim that simply doesn't hold up.

 

Numbers 10:12 says that the Israelites came out from the Desert of Sinai and settled in Paran, where the shekhina settled. This doesn't say much, but it may hint that Paran is indeed outside of the Sinai desert (i.e. outside of the Peninsula, or outside of Midian, either way).

 

Deuteronomy 1:1 has Moses addressing the Israelites east of Jordan, "in the Arabah" (i.e. somewhere south of the Jordan River, in Arabia), "opposite Suph" (i.e. across/past/beyond the Red Sea and not in the Sinai), "between Paran" and "Hazeroth" (North Sinai). In other words: if Paran were in the Egyptian Sinai, then there is no way for Moses to have been both east of Jordan and in between Paran and Hazeroth. Paran would have to be in the Arabian Peninsula. Mecca actually fits this description perfectly, because the Arabah is across the Red Sea, south of the river, and in between Mecca and Hazeroth.

 

283zSHI.jpg

 

Prophecy

 

The location of Mount Paran is important, because not only does it identify the place where Ishmael's descendants settled (remember, God promised to make them a Great Nation in Genesis), but it pertains to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

 

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أنَا أُخْبِرُكَ بِهِ: أمَّا قَوْلُهُ: جَاءَ النُّورُ مِنْ قِبَلِ طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ، فَذَلِكَ وَحْيُ اللهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى الَّذِي أنْزَلَهُ عَلَى جَبَلِ طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ. وَأمَّا قَوْلُهُ: وَأضَاءَ لَنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ سَاعِيرَ، فَهُوَ الجَبَلُ الَّذِي أوْحَى اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إلى عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ. وَأمَّا قَوْلُهُ: وَاسْتَعْلَنَ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ فَارَانَ، فَذَلِكَ جَبَلٌ مِنْ جِبَالِ مَكَّةَ، بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا يَوْمٌ.

 

Imam ar-Rida (as) asked the High Rabbi, “Do you deny that the Torah says the following to you? ‘There came light from Mount Sina. Light shined upon us from Mount Sa’eer and it became apparent to us from Mount Faran.’” The High Rabbi said, “I am familiar with these words, but I do not know what they mean.’” Imam ar-Rida said, “I will inform you about them. What is meant when it says ‘There came light from Mount Sina’ is a reference to God’s revelations to Moses (as) on Mount Sina. And what is meant when it says, ‘Light shined upon us from Mount Sa’eer’ is a reference to the Mountain upon which God sent revelations to Jesus (as) son of Mary (as). Jesus was on that mountain. And what is meant when it says, ‘and it became apparent to us from Mount Faran’ is a reference to a mountain that is one day away from Mecca. (`Uyoon Akhbar ar-Rida)

 

to be continued ...

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Continued.

 

In this hadith, Imam ar-Rida (as) is referring to a prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. It's unclear if this conversation actually took place, but its details could be based on authentic Imami knowledge. It is one of the most elementary arguments for Muhammad's prophethood (pbuh) in the Bible, and from this hadith, we see that it could have been used at least as early as the 2nd Islamic century. It is based on the following verse:

 

He said, “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand. (Deuteronomy 33:2)

 

This verse refers to three theophanies; where God's light is made present and manifest. From the Sinai, this light (noor al-huda) came, representing the guidance of God in its infancy stage. Indeed, Moses (as) brought his Law from the Mount, but the Law did not represent the complete and universal message. The next ulil `azm prophet to come was Jesus (as), who brought forward a new, esoteric law. While the location of Seir is uncertain (again), the Dictionary of the Bible states that it was south of the Dead Sea in the Horite clan's plot of the Holy Land. Jesus was a Horite and Bethlehem was a Horite settlement. Here, the verse's imagery says that the Lord dawned upon the people - representing a greater manifestation of that light. Even though the surrounding verses are about Moses, this second theophany could not have been Moses, who did not enter Palestine - rather, this is a prophecy about the gradual rise of God's guidance.

 

The third manifestation of this light is shining - more manifest than its first two forms - and it comes forth from Mount Paran. The Imam attributes this to none other than Muhammad (pbuh), who brought forward God's complete message. The Prophet is a manifestation of Allah's metaphysical noor, and he shone forth to the people, guiding them to all truth in the matters of theology, life, death, and resurrection. If Paran is in Mecca, then no one can claim this prophecy except for the Prophet, for there is no other contender for this shining light coming out of Paran.

 

Furthermore, it states that the Lord will come out with ten thousand saints, the significance of which was discussed in post #37. Lastly, this flaming fire upon His right hand is also translated as "fiery law" (law here is the Hebrew "dath" דָּת). This is possibly a reference to that final Law, the Qur'an, which would be brought by the Servant (pbuh). The Law is represented as a shining fire, which is a further reference to Allah's guiding light.

 

"They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it." (61:8)

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Was thinking the exact same thing earlier. The Brother has put in a lot of effort in terms of time and research. It's unfortunate that many of us are not interested in such topics when in fact they are of significant importance. Especially so since Islam regards itself as the fruition of Christianity and Judaism. 

This topic is just amazing. It tells about the prophecy of Nabi Muhammad (saws), the importance of the family of the Nabi, the importance of divine succession and authority in Abrahamic religions that only the Shia's seems to follow. 

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Salam bro Qa'im,

You mentioned that `Isa (as) is a descendant of Yehudah. Do you have the materials on this? As far as I know, by blood, Maryam (as) was a Levite, that's why in al-Qur'an, she was called "sister of Harun" by her fellow Jews. This would make `Isa (as) as a Levite, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Moshiach ha-Kohen as mentioned in the DSS.

Now, the interesting part is how to explain the other part of the prophecy, i.e. Moshiach ha-Nasi because seemingly there are 2 contradictory passages in the Tanak on its identification:

1. The Beres*hit (Genesis) verse saying the sceptre will be in Yehudah until Shiloh comes (as you have quoted) which implies that Shiloh is not from the tribe of Yehudah.

2. Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 11:1 (ESV): "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch of his roots shall bear fruit." As Jesse (Yishay) was the father of Dawud (as), this creates the expectation among the Jews that the Messiah is the descendent of Dawud (as).

Perhaps you can also discuss Isaiah 11:1 since it is also relevant to the discussion.

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as-Salamu Alaykum bro what do you think of this article I wrote

Genesis 17:20

20 And regarding Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

They made the point that this could be seen as a prophecy of the 12 Imams (AS). Now unfortunately a Christian or Jew could easily refute this with these verses:

Genesis 25:13-16

13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael by their names, according to their births: the firstborn of Ishmael was Nebaioth, and Kedar and Adbe'el and Mibsam,

14 And Mishma and Dumah and Massa,

15 Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedmah.

16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names in their open cities and in their walled cities, twelve princes to their nations.

But let's raise an objection. In the 16th verse it says "twelve princes to their nations". Notice how it says their nations and not their nation. This is odd because it says in Genesis 17:20 it says "and I will make him into a great nation". Why would God say that he will make him into "a great nation" when they all divided into different nations?

Now this is a weak objection and just a speculation and we do not base conclusions off speculations.

But let's raise another objection.

For those who don't know the Jewish scholars have interpreted the Old Testament, or as it's called in Hebrew, the Tanach. One of the most well respected and most frequently used is the Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki's. His interpretation is so widely used and so popular that his name is abbreviated to "Rashi". Rashi's commentary on Genesis 17:20 is as follows:

"twelve princes: Heb. נְשִׂיאִים. They will disappear like clouds, as (Prov. 25:14): Clouds (נְשִׂיאִים) and wind. — [from Gen. Rabbah 47:5]"

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8212#v=20&showrashi=true

Rashi used an earlier commentary from the Genesis Rabbah which is generally seen as authored by Amora Hoshaiah, this would roughly date it to the early 4th century.

It is a very strange comment to make on the verse so let's see what is meant by "They will disappear like clouds as wind". Here is Proverbs 25:15 with Rashi's commentary underneath it:

15 Clouds and wind, but no rain-so is a man who boasts with a false gift.

Rashi's Commentary: Clouds and wind, etc.: When there is a false hope-when the heavens thicken with clouds and the wind blows-people hope that it will rain. Now if it does not rain, they are troubled and their eyes languish. So is a man who boasts, saying, “So much and so much charity I will give to the collector,” but he lies, and the eyes of the poor languish for his gift, but it does not come.

Now let's look at who this interpretation matches. The sons of Ishmael who established on their own great nations and who became great chiefs according to the Jewish Historian Josephus or the Imams of Ahlulbayt (AS) who were oppressed and served as spiritual and physical lights of the world but were martyred and the final one of which disappeared and who were are waiting for too this day.

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Petra is often identified with Sela but the Bible refers to it as "cleft in/ of the rocks".

My former prof told us that sela has to be understood as "rock" not as a place which was named sela.

So the proper translation is for example "you,who live in the clefts (meaning the entrance) of the rocks (sela)".

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Almost done this series!

  • The Exodus Temple: Medina and the Mosaic Tabernacle
  • The Divine Presence: Muhammad and the Shekhina
  • The Second Moses: Revisited
  • Be with the Righteous: The Sadiqeen and the Tzadikim
  • The Jerusalem Church and Imamate
  • al-Mahdi: Moshiache ben Yosef, Moshiache ben David
  • The Face of God in the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Hadith
  • The Lamb of God: Imam al-Husayn (as) and the Sacrifice of the Covenant

:D

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بسم الله تعالى

 

Beautiful, insightful post. It is interesting to see that the true believers are considered the Face, as well. This goes hand in hand with the fact that within our selves are signs of Allah تعالى

سنريهم آياتنا في الآفاق وفي أنفسهم حتى يتبين لهم أنه الحق

في أمان الله

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Salam

One thing to note, is that the name of God or God's greatest name is God's face per hadiths as well. So whenever the Quran and hadiths talk about God's Name, it's talking about the face of God or the light of his words (holy names) and signs.

 

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Part 13: The Jerusalem Church and Imamate

At the end of Jesus' ministry, he ascended to heaven. Upon his leave of us, he instructed his apostles to teach the Gospel to the nations. The Book of Acts depicts what occurs directly after Jesus' ascension: his followers form the Jerusalem Church, which is headed by the twelve apostles. The original twelfth apostle of Jesus was Judas, who according to most accounts, betrayed Jesus and was bribed to lead his enemies to his whereabouts. Immediately after Jesus' alleged crucifixion, Judas apparently kills himself (Matthew 27 says he hanged himself, and Acts 1 says he threw himself to his death. Some Christian apologists try to harmonize these two views. Some Muslim exegetes say that Judas was made to look to Jesus for his betrayal and was crucified). The Jerusalem Church gives Judas' apostolic seat to Matthias. It is interesting how the Jerusalem Church insisted on maintaining 12 leaders rather than 11, especially since Matthias was the only apostle not appointed by Jesus. The other apostles felt that they had the authority to do this anyway in Jesus' absence. It is also noteworthy that Paul was never considered a 13th apostle, though he claimed to be an apostle based on his visions of Jesus. The number 12 was maintained, as it would serve as an allusion to the 12 Israelite tribes, and, later, the 12 successors of Prophet Muhammad .

 

نص : علي بن الحسين ، عن التلعكبري ، عن الحسن بن علي بن زكريا ( 6 ) عن محمد بن إبراهيم بن المنذر ، عن الحسين بن سعيد بن الهيثم ، عن الاحلج الكندي عن أفلح بن سعيد ، عن محمد بن كعب ، عن طاوس اليماني ، عن عبدالله بن العباس قال :
قلت : يا رسول الله فكم الائمة بعدك ؟ قال : بعدد حواري عيسى وأسباط موسى ونقباء بني إسرائيل ، قلت : يا رسول الله فكم كانوا ؟ قال : كانوا اثني عشر ، والائمة بعدي اثنا عشر

Ibn `Abbas said, "O Messenger of Allah, how many Imams will there be after you?" He said, "The same number as the number of apostles of Jesus, the tribes of Moses, and the chiefs of the Children of Israel." Ibn `Abbas said, "O Messenger of Allah, how many were there?" He said, "There were twelve, and there are twelve Imams after me."

 

أبوالمفضل ، عن رجاء بن يحيى العبرتائي الكاتب ، عن محمد بن خلاد الباهلي ، عن معاذ بن معاذ ، عن ابن عون ، عن هشام بن زيد ، عن أنس بن مالك قال : سألت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عن حواري عيسى فقال : كانوا من صفوته وخيرته وكانوا اثني عشر مجردين مكمشين في نصرة الله ورسوله ، لازهو ( 4 ) فيهم ولا ضعف ولا شك ، كانوا ينصرونه على بصيرة ونفاذ وجد وعناء ، قلت : فمن حواريك يا رسول الله ؟ فقال : الائمة بعدي اثنا عشر

Anas b. Malik asked the Messenger of Allah about the apostles of Jesus, so he said, "They were of his elite and his best. They were twelve ascetic individuals who were eager to come to the aid of Allah and His messenger. They had no pride, no weakness, and no doubt. They would support him with insight, force, sternness, and suffering." Anas said, "So who are your apostles, O Messenger of Allah?" So he said, "The twelve Imams after me."

To be continued.

 

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