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Ahl Al-Bayt In Judeo-Christian Literature

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9 hours ago, E.L King said:

So there is a possibility that this book is simply the imagination of man? How can it then be possibly related to the Ahlulbayt (AS)?

All books in the Bible have dubious authorship, preservation, and content, and Revelations is no exception. The Bible is not binding upon us, and I would not consider it to be the verbatim word of God. But like a da`eef hadith, it's not worthless - these books come out of a time, atmosphere, and geography that would have inherited some of the prophetic message of that time. I think the author of Revelations was a fraud, but the book was written earlier than many of the components of the New Testament, and it draws on the Judeao-Christian exegesis of that time (i.e. it is not completely of the imagination of its author). It is a unique commentary of Judeao-Christian eschatology that may have inherited some of the oral tradition of that time, and resonated with many people. This thread is about finding connections between these scriptures - as problematic as they may be - and the Ahl al-Bayt. We believe that the Prophet and his family were central to the Islamic message, and so finding prophecies related to them would be commonplace but very noteworthy.

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New Jerusalem

There are many ancient references to the mystical cities of Jabulqa and Jabulsa, which are two cities (or realms) in the far east and the far west. They are related in Tabari and in Shi`i hadith books, and some Persian geographers would place them on the far ends of their maps. Both cities are given both tellurian and angelic properties in the hadith literature.

 

Amir al-Mu'mineen [a] said, "For Allah, there is a city behind the sunset called Jabulqa. In Jabulqa, there are seventy thousand nations that are unlike this nation. They do not disobey Allah, even for an instant. They do not do anything nor do they say anything except pray against the first two, disassociate from them, and pay allegiance to the Ahl al-Bayt of the Messenger of Allah." ( عن محمد بن الحسين، عن صفوان بن يحيي، عن بعض رجاله عن أبي عبد الله عن أبيه، عن علي بن الحسين، عن أمير المؤمنين عليهم السلام قال: إن لله بلدة خلف المغرب يقال لها (جابلقا) وفي جابلقا سبعون ألف أمة ليس منها أمة إلا مثل هذه الأمة، فما عصوا الله طرفة عين، فما يعملون عملا ولا يقولون قولا إلا الدعاء على الأولين (1) والبراءة منهما، والولاية لأهل بيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله.)

A man came to Imam Ja`far [a] and said, "May I be your sacrifice! Is this [atmosphere] the dome of Adam?" The Imam said, "Yes. For Allah, there are many domes. Surely, behind this sunset of yours, there are thirty nine sunsets. There is a white planet that is illuminated by His light, and it is filled with creatures that do not disobey Allah for a moment. They do not know whether or not Adam was created. They disassociate from the two." (عن محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد ، عن أبي يحيى الواسطي ، عن عجلان بن صالح [٢] قال : دخل رجل على أبي عبدالله 7 فقال له : جعلت فداك ، هذه قبة آدم؟ قال : نعم : ولله قباب كثيرة ، ألا إن خلف مغربكم هذا تسعة وثلاثون مغربا أرضا بيضاء مملوة خلقا يستضيئون بنوره ، لم يعصوا الله عزوجل طرفة عين ما يدرون خلق آدم أم لم يخلق ، يبرؤن من فلان وفلان

Imam as-Sadiq [a] said, "For Allah there is a city in the east. Its name is Jabulqa. It has twelve thousand gates made of gold. Between each gate there is a distance of five kilometres. Upon each gate, there is a tower that has twelve thousand soldiers milking their horses, sharpening their swords and weapons, and awaiting the rise of our Qa'im. For Allah there is a city in the west. Its name is Jabursa (sic). It has twelve thousand gates made of gold. Between each gate there is a distance of five kilometres. Upon each gate, there is a tower that has twelve thousand soldiers milking their horses, sharpening their swords and weapons, and awaiting the rise of our Qa'im. And I am the Proof upon them." (عن سعد، عن الحسين بن عبد الصمد، عن الحسن بن علي، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن أبي الهيثم خالد الأرمني، عن هشام بن سالم، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إن لله عز وجل مدينة بالمشرق اسمها (جابلقا) لها اثنا عشر ألف باب من ذهب، بين كل باب إلى صاحبه مسيرة فرسخ، على كل باب برج فيه اثنا عشر ألف مقاتل، يهلبون الخيل، ويشحذون السيوف والسلاح، ينتظرون قيام قائمنا، وإن لله عز وجل بالمغرب مدينة يقال لها (جابرسا) لها اثنا عشر ألف باب من ذهب بين كل باب إلى صاحبه مسيرة فرسخ، على كل باب برج فيه اثنا عشر ألف مقاتل، يهلبون الخيل، ويشحذون السلاح والسيوف، ينتظرون قائمنا، وأنا الحجة عليهم)

Imam as-Sadiq [a] said, "Surely, behind this sunset of yours, there are thirty nine sunsets. There is a white planet that is illuminated by His light, and it is filled with creatures that do not disobey Allah for a moment. They do not know whether or not Adam was created. They disassociate from the two." (ألا إن خلف مغربكم هذا تسعة وثلاثون مغربا أرضا بيضاء مملوة خلقا يستضيئون بنوره ، لم يعصوا الله عزوجل طرفة عين ما يدرون خلق آدم أم لم يخلق ، يبرؤن من فلان وفلان)

Imam al-Hasan عليه السلام said: Allah has two cities, one in the East and the other in the West. They have a boundary made of iron. Each of them has a million doors, and in them are seventy million languages. Each language is spoken differently from the language of its owner(?), and I know all of the languages – those in the two cities, and those between the two cities. Upon them is no hujja other than me and other than my brother al-Husayn. ( أحمد بن محمد ومحمد بن يحيى، عن محمد بن الحسن، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن رجاله، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إن الحسن عليه السلام قال: إن لله مدينتين إحداهما بالمشرق والاخرى بالمغرب، عليهما سور من حديد وعلى كل واحد منهما ألف ألف مصراع وفيها سبعون ألف ألف لغة، يتكلم كل لغة بخلاف لغة صاحبها وأنا أعرف جميع اللغات وما فيهما وما بينهما، وما عليهما حجة غيري وغير الحسين أخي. )

Imam as-Sadiq [a] said, "For Allah there are two cities: one in the West, and one in the East. They are called Jabulqa and Jabursa. The length of each city is twelve thousand parasangs. In every parsang there is a door, and seventy thousand [beings] enter each door every day, and the same amount exit from them, and they will not return until the Day of Resurrection. They do not know that Allah created Adam, Iblees, the Sun, or the Moon. They are, by Allah, more obedient to us than you are. They came to us with fruit outside of its season, and they constantly curse Pharaoh, Haman, and Qarun." ( وروى من كتاب الواحدة عن الصادق عليه السلام أن لله مدينتين: إحداهما بالمغرب، والأخرى بالمشرق، يقال لهما جابلقا وجابرسا، طول كل مدينة منهما اثنا عشر ألف فرسخ، في كل فرسخ باب، يدخلون في كل [يوم من كل] باب سبعون ألفا، ويخرج منها مثل ذلك، ولا يعودون إلى يوم القيامة، لا يعلمون أن الله خلق آدم، ولا إبليس، ولا شمس، ولا قمر، هم والله أطوع لنا منكم، يأتونا بالفاكهة في غير أوانها، موكلين بلعنة فرعون وهامان وقارون.)

 

Some references tie the cities to Gog and Magog, because Dhul Qarnayn went to the abode of the sunset (18:86) and built an iron garrison. Later sources have tied the city of Jabulqa to the Green Island, saying that it is the emerald abode of the Mahdi during his occultation.

Since we know that no such physical cities exist on this terrestrial Earth, we must conclude that these angelic cities are indeed "behind the sunset", or "forty sunsets" away (40 representing a large number); either on a distant planet or in a spiritual realm. There are a number of interesting characteristics to these cities: they are very large and very far, they have a close relationship with the Ahl al-Bayt, they have access to knowledge that we do not know, and they are awaiting the appearance of the Imam to assist him. Jabulqa shines with the light of God, just as the angels are created from noor, and just as the Earth will be illuminated by God's light upon the return of the Mahdi.

The description of these cities is strikingly similar to the Book of Revelations' description of New Jerusalem:

 

"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadiac in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.f The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."
(Revelations 21)

 

This is the most detailed description of New Jerusalem in the Bible. New Jerusalem is the Messianic capital, which is briefly described in the books of Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah with its walls, its twelve gates, its jewels, and its pure righteousness. The concept is then expounded upon in Jewish apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Book of Revelation. New Jerusalem is the celestial or earthly (or both) community of the righteous, which is beyond destruction and beyond corruption, whether by Babylonians, Romans, or the Jewish elite.

To be continued.

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The measurement, description, and dimensions of this mystical city is consistent across some Christian, Shi`i, and mystical Jewish books. The Galya Raza, a 16th century Kabbalist text, states that the real Holy Land of the Resurrection is an island, 600x600 parasangs, floating in a mystical ocean. Kabbalistic descriptions of the New Jerusalem tend to involve huge numbers of gates, towers, glowing jewels, and cosmic dimensions.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Jerusalem Scroll describes a vast city, square in shape, with twelve gates and encircled by golden walls. "He showed me the dimension of the twelve [gates] ... On either side of each of the doors were towers... All of it built of electrum and sapphire and chalcedony with beams of gold." (New Jerusalem Scroll, 4Q554)

Around the same time that the Book of Revelations was being authored, Jewish pseudepigrapha describes the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and the coming of a heavenly Jerusalem in 2 Esdras and 2 Baruch. "The heavenly Jerusalem: 2 [Dost you think that this is that city of which I said: "On the palms of My hands have I graven you" 3 This building now built in your midst is not that which is revealed with Me, that which prepared beforehand here from the time when I took counsel to make Paradise, and showed Adam before he sinned, but when he transgressed the commandment it was removed from him, as also Paradise. 4 And after these things I showed it to My servant Abraham by night among the portions of the victims. 5 And again also I showed it to Moses on Mount Sinai when I showed to the likeness of the tabernacle and all its vessels. 6 And now, behold, it is preserved with Me, as Paradise. 7 Go, therefore, and do as I command you.'" (2 Baruch 4:2-7)

We also see twelve heavenly gates to a square Paradise in the Book of Enoch, chapters 33-35.

The hadiths describe an intimate link between this heavenly city and the Ahl al-Bayt. Although its inhabitants know nothing of Adam and Iblees, they pay their allegiance to the Imams and disassociate from their enemies. This is an interesting understanding of the affect the Ahl al-Bayt have on other parts of the universe. There is also a notable relationship between this city and the messianic age. Its inhabitants await the Mahdi, and will support him upon his uprising.

to be continued.

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Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] said, "Surely, Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم with a scroll sealed with seven seals of gold. He instructed him to give them to `Ali b. Abi Talib when his life would expire so that he may act by what is in it, and not to permit anyone other than him [to read it]; and to order each deputy after him to detach his seal, act by what is in it, and not permit it to other than him." (ير: محمد بن الحسين عن موسى بن سعدان عن عبد الله بن القاسم عن عبد الله بن سنان قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) يقول: إن جبرئيل أتى رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) بصحيفة مختومة بسبع خواتيم من ذهب وأمر إذا حضره أجله أن يدفعها إلى علي بن أبي طالب فيعمل بما فيه، ولا يجوزه إلى غيره وأن يأمر كل وصي من بعده أن يفك خاتمه ويعمل بما فيه ولا يجوز غيره)

One of the most prominent and mysterious prophecies in the Book of Revelation is that of the Seven Seals. The notion appears in a few of our hadiths, delineating the challenges and tasks of the early Imams. If read closely, the prophecy can be understood as a foretelling of the Caliphal schism.

The following is Chapter 6 from the Book of Revelation:

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.  I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

On a side note: The cited hadith on this topic does not specify how many seals would be given to each Imam, nor does it say that every future Imam will receive a seal. Imam `Ali may have given himself several seals, and others to his children.

Anyway, let us interpret this prophecy line by line:

The first seal is opened. As the hadith says, this happens upon the Prophet's passing from this world. This is when the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse comes out. "I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." This description fits Abi Bakr, who is the first person to usurp the crown (i.e. the Caliphate). He rides a pale horse, symbolizing death. He sets to conquer: and indeed, Abi Bakr fights the zakat withholders, the false prophets, the Byzantines, and the Persians.

The second seal is opened. The Second Horseman comes out. "Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword." This description fits `Umar, who is fiery red. `Umar was known for his hot temper and aggressive behaviour. He was given a large sword, which symbolizes his fighting: he successfully conquers Byzantium and Persia by the sword.

The third seal is opened. The Third Horseman comes out. "Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” This description fits Uthman, because his nepotism was overt. He was a rich merchant who increased the allowances of governors, gave conquered lands to his soldiers, and gave large amounts of money from the public treasury to his relatives. `Uthman's fraudulent policies led to the revolt against him and his death.

The fourth seal is opened. The Fourth Horseman comes out. "I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." This description fits Mu`awiya, who was the fourth challenger of Imam `Ali's authority. He is called Death, as over forty thousand people would be killed during his rebellion, and thousands of others would be killed during his conquests. Hell follows him, as the Prophet said, the enemies of `Ammar b. Yasir (Mu`awiya and his forces) would be "callers to the Fire". He is given power over a fourth of the Earth - by the end of his rule, Mu`awiya reigns by the sword over the Mideast, Persia, and swaths of Central Asia, Asia Minor, and Africa.

The fifth seal is opened. A great tragedy occurs. "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been." This prophecy describes a massacre that takes place, where those who maintain God's word and testimony are slain. This is a reference to the Battle of Karbala, which takes place after the rule of Mu`awiya. Imam al-Husayn, 17 members of his family, and his companions - the life of which the Earth has never seen - were brutally killed. Their souls cry out, seeking God's vengeance - and this is a reference to the Mahdi, who is God's vengeance, and will avenge the blood that was shed at Karbala. However, God chooses to give the perpetrators respite, and gives the martyrs their white robes - which are their heavenly clothes. The prophecy foretells the killing of more martyrs during this respite.

The sixth seal is opened. "I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” After Imam al-Husayn was killed, there was an earthquake, the sun eclipsed, and the sky reddened. We know that the rest of these earthly events will occur before the coming of the Mahdi, whose revenge the people will fear. "The face of him who sits on the Throne" is the Face of God, who is the Mahdi, the one set to pursue the tyrants of the Earth.

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Another possible reference is in Revelation 12. A heavenly woman is described at the beginning of the chapter: "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head." (Revelation 12:1) The woman in this vision is clothed with the Sun, which is the Islamic symbol for the prophetic revelation ( الشمس رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله به أوضح الله عز وجل للناس دينهم ). The moon, which reflects the Sun's light, is a symbol for wasaya; and it is interestingly beneath her - perhaps to suggest that it would descend from her. The crown of twelve stars is obviously reminiscent of the 12 Imams, who are described as guiding stars ( إنما مثل أهل بيتي في هذه الأمة مثل نجوم السماء ).

This lady is strikingly similar to Lady Fatima (as), who also resided in heaven prior to her birth:

Imam Hasan al-`Askari [a] narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said, "When Allah created Adam and Eve, they strut through Paradise and said, 'Allah did not create anything better than us.' So the form of a young lady appeared to them, and no seer had seen anything better (more beautiful) than her. She had a brilliant light that blinded sights. She had a crown upon her head, and earrings in her ears. They asked, 'O Lord, who is this young lady?' Allah said, 'This is the form of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, the mistress of your descendants.' So Adam asked, 'What is this crown upon her head?' Allah said, 'This is her husband, `Ali b. Abi Talib.' Adam asked, 'What are these earrings?' Allah said, 'Her sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. They were present as shadows two thousand years before I created you.'" ( (حديث قدسي) أَنْبَأَنَا أَنْبَأَنَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي طَاهِرٍ الْبَزَّازُ ، أَنْبَأَنَا الْقَاضِي أَبُو الْحُسَيْنِ بْنُ الْمُهْتَدِي ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْفَرَجِ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ أَحْمَدَ ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ شَاذَانَ ، حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ مِهْرَانَ الْحَمَّالُ ، حَدَّثَنِي الْحَسَنُ بْنُ صَاحِبِ الْعَسْكَرِ ، حَدَّثَنِي عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُوسَى الرِّضَا ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ آدَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ وَحَوَّاءَ تَبَخْتَرَا فِي الْجَنَّةِ ، وَقَالا : مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ خَلْقًا أَحْسَنُ مِنَّا ، فَبَيْنَمَا هُمَا كَذَلِكَ إِذَا هُمَا بِصَورَةِ جَارِيَةٍ لَمْ يَرَ الرَّاءُونَ أَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا ، لَهَا نُورٌ شَعْشَعَانِيُّ يَكَادُ يُطْفِئُ الأَبْصَارَ ، عَلَى رَأْسِهَا تَاجٌ وَفِي أُذُنَيْهَا قِرْطَانِ ، فَقَالا : يَا رَبِّ ، مَا هَذِهِ الْجَارِيَةُ ؟ قَالَ : صُورَةُ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتِ مُحَمَّدٍ سَيِّدَةِ وَلَدِكَ ، فَقَالَ : مَا هَذَا التَّاجُ عَلَى رَأْسِهَا ؟ قَالَ : هَذَا بَعْلُهَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ . قَالَ : فَمَا هَذَا الْقِرْطَانِ ؟ قَالَ ابْنَاهَا الْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ ، وُجِدَ ذَلِكَ فِي غَامِضِ عَلِمْيِ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَخْلُقَكَ ، بِأَلْفَيْ عَامٍ " . )

The chapter continues: "She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a man child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne." (Revelation 12:2-6)

This prophecy is like that of Daniel, which foretold the coming of empires through the symbols of beasts and horns. Assuming the author of this book is doing the same, the dragon cited here could be describing an empire that is to arise that is juxtaposed to this heavenly woman. Interestingly, there are 17 heads and horns upon this beast, and there are exactly 17 Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphs altogether: (1) Abi Bakr, (2) `Umar, (3) `Uthman, (4) Mu`awiya, (5) Yazid, (6) Mu`awiya II, (7) Marwan b. al-Hakam, (8) `Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, (9) al-Walid, (10) Sulayman b. `Abd al-Malik, (11) `Umar b. `Abd al-`Aziz, (12) Yazid II, (13) Hisham b. `Abd al-Malik, (14) al-Walid II, (15) Yazid III, (16) Ibrahim b. al-Walid, (17) and Marwan II.

The beast is red, and red was the official colour of the Umayyad empire. "Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky" - one third of twelve is 4, and indeed, the Caliphs mentioned above killed 4 of the Imams: (1) al-Hasan (2) al-Husayn (3) Zayn al-`Abideen and (4) Muhammad al-Baqir. The first Imam was killed by the Kharajite Ibn Muljam, and the remaining Imams were killed by the Abbasids.

The dragon wished to devour the progeny of the heavenly woman, and indeed the Caliphate sought to kill each of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt. This continued until a "man child" appeared from the progeny of Lady Fatima. This man child, who would rule all of the nations with an iron scepter, was rescued by God and taken up - and this is indeed the Mahdi, who spoke in the cradle, behaved like a man in his childhood, and went into occultation immediately after his birth to protect himself from the oppressors. The Mahdi would later return to rule all of the nations.

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Ahl al-Bayt and the Davidic Exilarchs

It is typically expected that the kingly Messiah, who will establish justice and peace on Earth, will be a descendant of David (as). This is concluded through Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Psalms 89:31-38, 1 Chronicles 22:9-10, and the Zohar. This begs the question - if the Mahdi is the Davidic Messiah, is he a descendant of David? It may be enough to say that the Mahdi will embody the ethos of David, and rule in the way David and Solomon ruled:

Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, "When the Qa'im of the Family of Muhammad rises, he will judge by the judgment of David and Solomon, and will not ask for evidence." (إذا قام قائم آل محمد عليه السلام حكم بحكم داود وسليمان لا يسأل بينة.)

Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, "Allah will send a breeze that will call out in every valley, 'This is the Mahdi who will judge by the judgment of David and Solomon, and he will not ask for evidence." ( فيبعث الله تبارك وتعالى ريحا فتنادي بكل واد؟ هذا المهدي، يقضي بقضاء داود وسليمان عليهما السلام، [و] لا يريد عليه بينة. )

The point about the Mahdi not asking for evidence is to say that the Mahdi will be able to recognize whether a person is righteous or wicked. (إذا قام القائم عليه السلام لم يقم بين يديه أحد من خلق الرحمن إلا عرفه صالح هو أم طالح؟ لان فيه آية للمتوسمين وهي بسبيل مقيم.)

The Jewish Exilarchs were a line of leaders of the Jewish diaspora in Babylon. They were the descendants of King David, and when Jerusalem fell in 597 BCE, King Jeconiah went to Iraq. The exilarchs remained one after another until the tenth century CE. In Arabic sources, the exilarch was called ra's al-jalut, meaning, "the Head of Goliath", which was probably a derogatory play on words, because Goliath was slain by David.

Genealogical sources say that during jahiliyya, some Jewish nobles intermingled with the Arabs. The genealogist David Hughes, author of "The British Chronicles", claimed in his unpublished work "The Davidic Dynasty" that Zahna, a descendant of Hofnai the Jewish Exilarch of Baghdad in the second half of the 6th century, was a maternal ancestor of Ali b. Abi Talib.

The mother of Ali b. Abi Talib was Fatima bint Asad, and the mother of Fatima bint Asad was Fatima bint Qays (Tabaqat Ibn Sa`d, Volume 8 page 178). Her father was Qays b. Makhrama b. `Abd al-Mutallib, and according to al-Munammaq fii Akhbar Quraysh (by Ibn Habib, 245 AH), Qays married a Jewish woman by the name of Asma bint `Abdullah b. Subay` b. Maalik b. Junada b. `Inza (see this page and the previous page). The same source also discusses other intermarriages between Quraysh and Jewish nobles. Rabbi Ben Abrahamson proposed that Asma and Zahna are the same person, based on his genealogical research.

Ali b. Abi Talib had a notable relationship with the exilarchs. According to Iggeret Sherira Gaon (c. 900s CE) and Abraham ben David (1100s CE), Ali was greeted by the exilarch Rabbi Yitzhak Gaon, and was received well by the 90,000 Jews in the region. Ali b. Abi Talib provided a daughter of Yazdegerd III as a wife to the exilarch (c. 640 CE). This is interesting, considering another daughter of Yazdegerd, Shahrbanu, was probably given to Husayn b. Ali. https://books.google.ca/books?id=t2bJ1UqfNXAC&pg=PA266&lpg=PA266&dq=Mar+Yitzchak+of+Peroz-Shavur&source=bl&ots=SY2jMl2Xev&sig=uq-wO2FBYx58IaLzeiCRQwazWlM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiI3oXdvvLSAhXm24MKHRneBGUQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=Mar Yitzchak of Peroz-Shavur&f=false

According to Jewish sources, the tomb of Ali b. Abi Talib was situated next to the sepulchre of King Jeconiah, one of the last Davidic kings of Judah and the first Davidic exilarch: https://books.google.ca/books?id=1jT7jD1t8jAC&pg=PA350&lpg=PA350&dq=King+Jehoiachin+kufa&source=bl&ots=Z0M_YbVxdy&sig=IxmlmZ53jwkUu4mdOtCw0CKQHd8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiBxemRvfLSAhWJz4MKHWijBKwQ6AEINjAE#v=onepage&q=King Jehoiachin kufa&f=false

In Tabari, a Jewish exilarch says the following:

فمنهم العلامة الشيخ أبو جعفر محمد بن علي بن محمد الشهير بعماد الدين الطبري في " تاريخه " (ص 493) قال:
وحدثني العلاء بن أبي عائشة، عن أبيه قال: حدثني رأس الجالوت قال: ما مررت بكربلاء إلا وأنا أركض دابتي حتى أخلف المكان. قال: قلت: لم؟ قال: كنا نتحدث أن ولد نبي مقتول في ذلك المكان. قال: وكنت أخاف أن أكون أنا، فلما قتل الحسين قلنا هذا الذي كنا نتحدث.
قال: وكنت بعد ذلك إذا مررت بذلك المكان أسير ولا أركض.

The Jewish exilarch (ra's al-jalut) said, "Whenever I would pass through Karbala, I would speed up my riding animal until I would leave the area." The narrator asked, "Why?" The exilarch said, "We used to narrate that a descendant of a prophet would be killed in that area. I used to fear that it would be me, but when al-Husayn was killed, we said this is whom we used to narrate about. After that, if I passed through that area, I would traverse without hurrying."

Here, the exilarch claims to have access to a prophecy on the killing of a son of a prophet in Karbala. He first believed that this man was himself, but after Husayn was killed, he knew that the prophecy referred to Husayn.

It is clear that, in many accounts, Amir al-Mu'mineen (as) was frequently visited by Jews and rabbis, some of whom became his followers and devotees. The Jews had unanimously preferred Ali (as) over Mu`awiya, who had sat in the political seat of their former Byzantine oppressors. If the Imam truly did have Davidic blood from his mother's side, then it is likely that he was seen as more than just an ally. Messianic expectations existed almost exclusively in the Talibi line. The descendants of Husayn (as) specifically would have been the heirs of three royal bloodlines: Muhammadan, Sassanid, and Davidic. Mix that with the Imams' noble traits, and we may better understand why so much excitement surrounded the Ahl al-Bayt (as).

May Allah hasten the return of the Mahdi, al-Hujja b. al-Hasan (as).

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"Harun" comes from the Hebrew word "Aharon" (אַהֲרֹן‎), which may mean "exalted".

"Ali" has the same meaning in Arabic: high, exalted.

In Egyptian, Aharon meant "warrior lion". Ali's title is Haydar, which means "lion". It is certain that this meaning was long forgotten before the 19th century deciphering of the hieroglyphs.

Talk about providence ...

Prophet Muhammad (s) said to Ali (as), "You are to me as Aaron was to Moses."

(pictured: Aaron's name in hieroglyphs)

w5GADrh.jpg

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