Brief Life History of Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (a.s.) – Part # 9

BRIEF LIFE HISTORY OF IMAM MUSA AL-KADHIM (A.S.)- Part #9

 Imam Musâ ibn Ja‘far al-Kâdhim  (a.s.), also called Abul Hasan, and al-Kadhim (the one who controls his anger), was the seventh Shiite Imam after the death of  his father Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.). He is regarded even by Sunnis as a renowned scholar, and was a contemporary of the Abbasid caliphs Al-MansurAl-HadiAl-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid.

EARLY LIFE:

Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was born in Medina during the conflict between the Abbasids and Umayyads, and was four years old when As-Saffah, the first Abbasid Caliph, took the throne. His mother, Hamidah, was a former slave from either Berbery or Andalusia. Al-Kadhim was brought up in a large family, with several sisters and  brothers. His oldest brother, Ismail predeceased his father, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), who held the position of Imam. According to Twelver Shiites, Musa was chosen by divine order and decree of his father as the next Imam.

According to some sources, Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) was religiously minded as a child. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi relates an incident where Abū Ḥanīfa called on Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) to ask his advice. While there, he encountered al-Kadhim, who was then five years old. Abu Hanifa asked al-Kadhim the question meant for his father, saying: “Boy, from who does disobedience (issue)? Does it issue from Allah or from the servant?” Al-Kadhim answered, saying: “Neither it issues from God and nor from the servant at all, so God does not punish the servant for what he does not do; or it issues from the servant and God, and God is a stronger partner. Therefore, the stronger partner has no right to punish the weak for a sin in which they are equal; or it issues from the servant and not from God. So if He wills to pardon (him), (He will pardon him), and if He wills to punish (him), (He will punish him); and God is He whose help is sought.” Upon hearing this, Hanifa left, saying that the answer had been good enough for him. In another incident, Abū Ḥanīfa complained to Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), saying: “I have seen your son, Musa, pray while the people were passing (walking) before him. He did not prevent them from that.” The Imam ordered his son to be brought before him, and asked him whether it was true. Imam Al-Khadhim (a.s.) replied

             “Yes, father, the One to Whom I pray is nearer to me than them; Allah, the Great and  Almighty, says: We are nearer to him than the jugular vein.

 On hearing this response, the Imam rose, hugged his son, and said; “May my father and mother be your ransom, O he in whom secrets have been deposited!”

IMAM AL-KADHIM’s IMAMAT:

Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was said to be a gentle and tolerant man. He was called Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) because he was kind, forgiving and generous toward the people who treated him in a bad manner or were unfriendly towards him. Ibn Khallikan said “that when a man had spoken ill of him he sent him a purse of money.” An example of such an incident concerned a man who cursed Imam al-Kadhim’s (a.s.) grandfather, Imam Ali (a.s.). The Imam’s followers intended to kill the man, but Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) prevented them. He went to the man’s farm in the outskirts of Medina. He approached him, but the man shouted at him not to walk on his plants. The Imam paid no attention and when he reached him, sat beside him and treated him kindly; asking how much had the man paid to sow his land. “One hundred dinars,” said the man. “How much do you hope to acquire from it?” asked the Imam. “I do not know the unknown,” said the man. “I only asked you about what you hope it would bring you,” insisted the Imam. The man answered “two hundred dinars”, and the Imam gave him three hundred dinars, saying, “This three hundred dinars is for you, and your plants are as they are.”

The Imam then headed for the mosque of the holy prophet, where he saw that the man was already sitting there. When he saw the Imam, the man stood up and called out the verse: “Allah knows best where to put his (prophetic) mission.”  His companions were surprised at this change, but the man recited to them the noble deeds of the Imam and invoked Allah for him. Hence, the Imam turned to his companions and said: “Which was better – what you wanted or what I wanted? I have put right his attitude to the extent you have now become acquainted with.” Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was also called Abdu’ al-Salih (the Holy Servant) because his interests lay in religious rather than political matters. He was known to distribute money in the town of Medina despite his family being poor.

TIGHT RESTRICTIONS BY ABBASID CALIPHS:

The Shiite Imams frequently had to deal with persecution, and sometimes resorted to the practice of taqiyya, a form of religious dissimulation, for protection. When Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) was poisoned, the Caliph Al-Mansur wanted to end the imamah, and so he wrote to the governor of Medina to behead the person that Imam al-Sadiq Ibn Baqar (a.s.) had named as his successor in his last testament. When he read the testament, however, the governor of Medina saw that the Imam had chosen four people rather than one: the caliph himself, the governor of Medina, the Imam’s older son Abdullah al-Aftah, and Musa, his younger son. As a result, Mansur was unable to end the imamate. However, unlike his father who had been able to teach freely in Medina, Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) lived with tight restrictions set by Abbasid caliphs, such as al-Mansur and Harun al-Rashid. Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) never accepted Harun’s government, because he believed al- Rashid sought to destroy Islam by erasing the truth and effacing justice. Therefore, he forbade his Shi’ites from cooperating with Harun, excluding those Shia’s who, through their jobs, could help the believers and save them from oppression.

CALIPH HARUN AL- RASHID PRAISED IMAM AL- KADHIM (a.s.):

Caliph Harun al-Rashid, an opponent of the Imam, said that Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) had the qualities of a true Imam, and that he was better suited to inherit the Caliphate from Muhammad than al-Rashid. When his son al-Ma’mun asked him why he magnified the Imam, he said that Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was “the Imam of the people, the proof of Allah’s mercy to His creation and His caliph among His servants”. “I am”, Harun said, “outwardly the Imam of the masses by force and through oppression, while Musa ibn Ja’far is the Imam in truth.” However, he said that he would not deliver the Caliphate to the Imam: “by Allah, if you yourself attempt to take such caliphate from me, I shall take it away from you even if that means gouging your eyes, for power is blind.” He advised his son to get true knowledge from the Imam, saying: “This (Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.)) is the inheritor of the knowledge of the Prophets …. If you desire sound knowledge, you will find it with this.” It is interesting to note that afterwards when al-Ma’mun inherited the Caliphate from al-Rashid, he (al Ma’mun) insisted on giving it to Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s (a.s.) son, Imam Ali al-Ridha (a.s.), the eighth Shiite Imam, arguing that he found “no person on the face of earth more learned than this man.”

DIVISION AMONG SHIITES:

After the death of Imam al-Kadhim’s (a.s.)father, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), the sixth Imam, the majority of Shiites followed Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), while another group followed Isma’il, Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) eldest son, who had pre-deceased the Iman. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) had  tried hard to clarify that his son Isma’il will not have been the next Imam after his death because the Shi’a maintain that the infallibility of the Imam is a basic rule in the Imamate. “The theologians have defined the Imamate, saying: ‘Surely the Imamate is a grace from Allah, Who grants it to the most perfect and best of His servants’. This latter group separated afterwards from the majority of Shiites and became known as Ismailis. Some of them are also called the Seveners because they considered Ismail as their last Imam. Smaller groups accepted either Abdullah al-Aftah or Muhammad, other sons of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), as the Imam. Finally, another group considered Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) to be the last Imam, and were called the Sixers because they believed only in the first six imams. After the death of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), the majority, Shia  Ithna Ashari or the Jaferia Shia, followed his son, Imam Ali al-Ridha (a.s).

AN INCIDENT WITH CALIPH AL-RASHID:

One of the stories about Imam Ali al-Ridha (a.s.) concerns an incident where Caliph al-Rashid and the Imam were together before the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Medina. To show his family ties to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), al-Rashid had said, “Salutation unto thee, O Prophet of God, unto thee who art my cousin!” In response, the Imam said, “Salutation unto thee, o my dear father!” which made al-Rashid furious. “Abul-Hasan, such glory as thine is truly to be vaunted of” said al-Rashid. Later, al-Rashid found the opportunity to question him, asking why he had permitted people to ascribe him to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and to call him: “O Sons of Allah’s Apostle“, while he was actually the son of Ali (a.s.), and that one is ascribed to his father, and that Fatimah, his mother, was a container, and that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was his grandfather on the side of his mother. The Imam replied, asking “If the Prophet (pbuh) was raised from the dead and proposed to your daughter, would you respond to him?” “Rather I would through that pride myself on the Arabs, the non-Arabs, and Quraysh,” answered al-Rashid. “But he would not propose (to my daughter) and I would not marry (her) to him,” said the Imam, “because he begot me and did not beget you.” Al-Rashid, however, was not satisfied with this answer, insisting that “the progeny belongs to the male and not to the female”, and that the Imams were Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) daughter’s children.

The Imam quoted from the Quran, stating that in the Quran, God had said: “and of his descendants, (prophets) David and Solomon, JobJosephMoses and Aaron; and thus do We reward those who do good. And (prophets) Zechariah and John the Baptist, and Jesus and Elias: All in the company of the righteous”  “Who is (Prophet) Jesus’s father, O Commander of the faithful?” asked the Imam. “(Prophet) Jesus had no father,” said al-Rashid. The Imam (a.s.) argued that God had ascribed (Prophet) Jesus to the descendants of the prophets through Mary; “similarly, we have been ascribed to the descendants of the Prophet through our mother Fatimah,” said the Imam (a.s.). Nevertheless, al-Rashid asked the Imam to give him more evidence and proof, so he put forward another quote from the Quran, reciting the verse: “But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come, let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.” Then he said: “None claims that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) made someone enter under the cloak when he challenged the Christians to a contest of prayer to God (mubahala) except Ali (a.s.), Fatimah (s.a.), al-Hasan (a.s.), and al-Husain (a.s.). Therefore the explanation of the verse is: Our sons are al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.); our woman is Fatimah (a.s.); ourselves is Imam Ali (a.s.).

INCIDENT WITH  BISHR AL-HAFI:

 Another incident concerns Bishr al-Hafi, ( a Muslim saint  popularly known as Bishar The Bare Foot who led a righteous life under the influence of  Ahmed ibn Hanbal). Once in the midst of the noise, music, alcoholic drink and frivolity, Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) happened to pass by his house in Baghdad. Imam Al-Kadhim (a.s.) saw a slave girl coming out of the house carrying some sweepings. He turned to the slave and asked her: “Is the owner of this house free or a servant?” “He is free,” she replied. “You are right,” responded Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), “if he was a servant, he would fear his Lord.” The slave girl came into the house while al-Hafi was still at the wine table: “What delayed you?” asked al-Hafi. She informed him of what had happened between her and the Imam. It is said that al-Hafi rushed to the door barefooted but the Imam had already left, so he left in search of the Imam, and when he found him, asked him to repeat his words. Al-Hafi was so taken aback by the Imam’s words that he fell on the ground and began to cry. “No, I am a slave, I am a slave.” From then on, he would walk without shoes and people would call him Bishr al-Hafi (The barefooted one). When asked why he did not wear shoes, he would say that he was guided while he was barefoot, so he would remain in that condition till death.

INCIDENT WITH A MONK:

A final incident concerned a monk, Al-Abbas, who said to Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) that people admired those who ate simple food, wore coarse clothes, and showed reverence. For that reason, the Imam reminded him of Joseph (Yusuf), who had been a prophet; however, Joseph had worn silk mantles decorated with gold, and sat on the thrones of the Pharaohs. “The people were in no need of his clothes, but they were in need of his justice,” said the Imam. “An Imam is required to be just and fair; when he says something, he says the truth; when he promises something, he fulfills his promise; when he passes a judgement, he judges equitably. Allah has not forbidden wearing a particular type of clothes or eating a particular type of food earned through a lawful way; rather He has forbidden the unlawful, little or much.” Then he recited the verse: “Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah which He has produced for His servants, and the agreeable things of the sustenance.”

IMAM’S FIRST IMPRISONMENT:

Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was imprisoned multiple times during his lifetime. The first time, Caliph al-Mahdi had him arrested and brought to Baghdad. According to Ibn Khallikan, “This Caliph had a dream in which Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s.) appeared to him and said, ‘O Muhammad, were ye ready, therefore, if ye had been put in authority, to commit evil in the earth, and to violate the ties of blood?'”  Al-Fadl ibn al-Rabi’ says: “He sent for me at night and that put me in great dread. I went to him and found him chanting the above verse and no man had a finer voice than he. He said to me, ‘Bring me Musa ibn Ja’far.’ I did so and he embraced him, seated him by his side and said to him, ‘Abul-Hasan, I have just seen in a dream the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Abu Talib, and he has recited to me such and such a verse; give me the assurance that you will not revolt against me or against any of my children.’ He answered, ‘By Allah, I am incapable of revolting.’ ‘You say the truth!’ replied the Caliph, ‘give him three thousand pieces of gold and restore him to his family in Medina.’ I arranged the affair of his departure that very night, lest some obstacle should turn up, and before morning, the man was (free) on his journey.”

SECOND IMPRISONMENT:

Imam Al-Kadhim’s (a.s.) second imprisonment was a result of his argument with al-Rashid over descent from Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  Al-Khuzai, the head of the palace guards, narrated a dream the Caliph supposedly had, which made him release the Imam: “A messenger came to me (Al-Khuzai) from al-Rashid,” he said, “at an hour in which I never before received his visits; he pulled me from the place where I was, and would not even allow me to change my clothes. This put me in great fear. When I arrived at the palace, I found the Caliph sitting up in his bed. I saluted him, but he kept silent for some time; so my mind was much troubled and my fears greatly augmented. At length, he said, ‘Do you know why I sent for you at such an hour?’ I answered, ‘By Allah, I do not, Commander of the Faithful.’ ‘Know,’ said he, ‘that I just had a dream in which it seemed to me as if an Abyssinian came to me with a javelin in his hand and said to me: “Let Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.) be set at liberty this very hour, otherwise, I shall slay thee with this javelin.” Therefore go and set him free.’ I replied, ‘Commander of the Faithful, shall I then liberate Imam Musa the son of Ja’far (a.s.)?’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘go and set Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.) at liberty. Give him thirty thousand dirhems and say to him, in my name, if you would like to remain with us you will obtain from me whatever you desire, but if you prefer going to Medina, you have permission to do so.’ I went to the prison and found the Imam waiting for me. ‘Whilst I was asleep,’ he said, ‘behold the Apostle of God came to me and said, “O Musa, thou hast been imprisoned unjustly; so recite the words I am going to repeat to thee, for assuredly thou shalt not pass all this night in prison.'”

FINAL IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH:

Al-Fakhri states the reason for his final imprisonment was that “there were some of the relatives of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.) who were envious of him and carried false reports about him to caliph al-Rashid, saying, ‘The people are paying him the Khums, or one-fifth of their property, on accepting the Imamah, and he is about to come forth against you.’ They brought this report to al-Rashid so frequently that it made him anxious and agitated. In that year, al-Rashid went on the pilgrimage, and when he arrived in Medina, he arrested Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.), and brought him to Baghdad in a litter, and imprisoned him under the care of al-Sindi ibn Sha’hik.

Al-Fakhri adds “Al-Rashid was at Rakka when he sent orders that the Imam should be put to death. They then brought a number of reputable men to Karkh to act as coroners and to testify publicly that he had died a natural death. He, then, was buried in the cemetery of Quraish on the south side of Baghdad.” The implication made by the Shi’a is that he was poisoned. The place he was buried was a cemetery, but soon this place became the focus of pilgrimage to the grave of the Imam (a.s.). A town grew around the graveyard. The name of the town became Kadhimiya (the town of the Imam Kadhim (a.s.)). A reputed school of theology was founded in this town; the school is still a source of learning for many students from all over the world.

IMAM AL-KADHIM’S (a.s.) SELECTED SAYINGS:

  • “Allah has two proofs over men: outward proof and inward one. As for the outward proof, it is the messengers, the prophets, and the Imams. As for the inward proof, it is reason.”
  • “Little work from a scholar is doubly accepted; much work from the men of low desire and ignorance is refused.”
  • “Try hard that your time may be four hours: one hour is for supplicating Allah, one hour for the affairs of the livelihood, one hour for associating with the brothers (friends) and the reliable ones who let you know your defects and who are inwardly loyal to you, and one hour for that you are alone with yourselves (and) for non-forbidden things. Through this hour you have power over the three hours.”
  • “Tell yourselves of neither poverty nor a long lifetime, for whoever tells himself of poverty becomes miserly. Whoever tells himself of a long lifetime becomes greedy.”
  • The generous and polite is under the protection of Allah; He does not leave him until He makes him enter the Garden. Allah sends out none as a prophet except the generous.
  • “Misfortune is one for the patient and two for the impatient.”
  • “Silence is among the doors to wisdom; it brings about love and is a proof of all good things.”
  • “Good neighbor is not refraining from harm, but good neighbor is showing patience toward harm.”
  • When Harun al-Rashid threw him into the dark cells of prisons, he thanked Allah, saying: “O Allah, you know that I used to ask You to give me free time to worship You. O Allah, You have done that. To You be praise.”
  • “How base is the world for people, unless God give them joy; and how great is this life, if God is not angry with them.”

IMAM’S FAMILY: 

Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) lived 55 years. His birth and death dates are 7th Safar 128 AH and 25th Rajab 183 AH respectively.  He married with Ummul Banin Najmah and three others. He had over 35 children including about 16 daughters. Ali al-Ridha was his eldest son who subsequently became the 8th Shiite Imam. Festival of Imam Musa al Kadhim (a.s.) is a Twelver Shia Muslim festival dedicated to the memory of the Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) . It occurs on the seventh day of the month of Rajab in the Islamic calendar. It is widely celebrated in Iran.

                                                  Next Week, A Brief Life History of The 8th Imam – Part #9, inshaAllah.
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Brief Life History of Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (a.s.) Vol 2

IMAM JA’FAR AL-SADIQ  IBN IMAM  MUHAMMAD AL-BAQIR  (A.S.) – PART #8 (VOL. 2)

Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org.

Note: The Life History of The 6th Imam is Continued from Vol 1 ( See  www.shia-youth.org, Cat: Basic Education, for Vol 1, Part #7 or Prior Parts #1- #7).

 TAQIYYAH: 

Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) adopted Taqiyyah as a defensive tool against the violence and threats that were directed against him and the Shiites. Taqiyya was a form of religious dissimulation, or a legal dispensation whereby a believing individual can deny their faith while they are in fear or at risk of significant persecution. In other words, Taqiyya says that it is acceptable to hide one’s true opinions if by revealing them, one puts oneself or others in danger. The doctrine was developed by Imam al-Sadiq(a.s.), and served to protect the Shiites when Al-Mansur, the Abbasid caliph, conducted a brutal and oppressive campaign against Alids and their supporters. According to Moezzi, in the early sources, Taqiyya means “the keeping or safeguarding of the secrets of the Imams’ teaching.” “Divergence of traditions” is, therefore, sometimes justified by Shiite imams as a result of the need for using Taqiyya. “He who is certain that we [the imams] proclaim only the truth (Al-Haqq), may he be satisfied with our teaching,” asserts Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.); “and if he hears us say something contradictory to what he heard earlier, he should know that we are acting only in his own interest.” Practicing Taqiyya also had an esoteric significance for those who believed that their teachings should not be comprehensible to ordinary Ulama (scholars), and so hid their more profound teachings.

IMAM’S LEGACY:

According to Haywood, half a dozen religious works bear Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) name as an author, though none of them can be firmly described as being written by Imam al-Ṣadiq (a.s.). It is probable that Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was an author who left the writing to his students. Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (a.s.) is also cited in a wide range of historical sources, including al-Tabarial-Yaqubi and Al-MasudiAl-Dhahabi recognizes his contribution to Sunni tradition and Isma’ili scholars such as Qadi al-Nu’man[  recorded his traditions in their work.

Ketāb al-jafr is a commentary on the Holy Qur’an which, according to Ibn Khaldun, was first written on the skin of a young bull, which allowed Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) to reveal the hidden meaning of the Qur’an. Various versions of his will, and a number of collections of legal dicta, are attributed to him as well. There are many reports attributed to him in the early Shiite Hadith collections such as Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Kulayni‘s Kitab al-Kafi, where they are featured as central sources of Imami doctrine. “Al-haft wa’l-aẓella” and “Ketāb al-ṣerāṭ” which are containing “secret revelations” to Mofażżal are also attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), and had an important role in the elaboration of the esoteric doctrine of the Nosayris, for whom Imam al-Ṣadiq (a.s.) is an influential figure.

DISCOVERIES OF IMAM AS-SADIQ (a.s.):

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq presented numerous scientific discoveries, a few of which are described below:

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) besides being a religious leader, was a scientist, a philosopher, and a dedicated teacher.  He used to teach Theology, Philosophy, Science, and Literature. He was the first scholar in the world who separated science from Philosophy. .

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) had attacked the theories of famous world philosophers and scientists like Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid, and Lavoisier when he was a student in the Academy of his father, Imam Mohammad al-Baqar (a.s.) who died in 114 Hijra.  At that time, there were no scientific, mathematical, or philosophical books or research papers available in Madina for anyone to study or review.

Aristotle was a great thinker and a philosopher. His books Arganan and Physics, are the most precious literary treasures of mankind. His theory that earth was stationary and the sun and stars rotated around it, was widely supported by Ptolemy, the Egyptian Geographer and Astronomer. In the year 94 Hijra, when a model of the then assumed solar system was brought from Egypt to Madina, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), at that time a 11 year old boy, openly criticized and rejected that Theory. While rejecting the theory of rotation of sun, moon and planets around the earth, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that:

“When the sun, during its rotation around earth, passes through 12 Constellations in one year, and remains in each constellation for 30 days, why does it disappear from the sight during night time? It should remain visible from the earth during day time as well as night time.”  This was a very strong objection by a boy of 11 years of age”.

At the age of 12, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) also rejected the Theory of Four Elements of Aristotle and proved it to be totally wrong. Criticizing the theory, he said:

            “I wonder how a man like Aristotle could say that in the world there are only four elements Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The Earth is not an element. It contains many metals which are elements.  He said Water, Fire and Air were also not elements”.

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) was the first person to discover that one of the elements contained by air produces acidity which helps combustion. Without the presence of this material, a combustible material will not burn. He also said this element is essential for breathing and that it supports human life. This was also an important discovery.  Later on the future scientists confirmed the discovery and named this element as Oxygen..

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) described another important theory. This discovery is about the origin of the Universe. He said :

The Universe was created out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles, one with negative charge and other with positive charge. That particle produced Atom. In this way matter came into being. Then the matter diversified. The diversification was caused by density or rarity of the Atoms”.

In the 2nd century of the Hijra it was only in the Muslim countries that the people had the freedom to say and write freely about the heavenly bodies. That is why, Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) could discuss his new theories about the sun, moon and stars. At that time the scientists who had discovered the Laws of Planetary Motion had failed to discover as to what causes day and night phenomena. It is therefore highly surprising that Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) who lived in Madina, which was not a center of knowledge and learning, made an important discovery in the field of Astronomy. He clearly stated that the earth rotates on its own orbit, completing one full orbit in one day, thus creating day and night. He said one half of the earth that faces the sun creates the day and the other half not facing the sun creates the night..

As regards the shining stars in the Universe, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

 “Each star is a small universe within the great universe. It is a collection of heavenly bodies like a sun and its satellite. They are all in perpetual motion so that they may not fall down and breakup. If their movement stops, the universe will come to an end. The perpetual motion supports life. It is by the Will of Allah that the eternal motion never stops and life cycle continues.”  He further clarified that there are a few stars that are bigger than the sun and a lot brighter than the sun.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) also taught his students the science of medicine. His research and his theories had great impact on science of medicine. During the second and third centuries of Hijra most of the physicians in the Middle East followed the methods of diagnosis and treatment prescribed by him.

 In cases where condition of a patient was such that physician could not determine whether the patient is alive or dead, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq had suggested that a small incision should be made in his body, specially between his two fingers. If blood comes out, it was a sign that he was alive. There is an historical evidence that his theory was put to test and was found correct.

In addition to his vast knowledge of other subjects, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was well versed in the History of Christianity. He knew the origin of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches and the main cause of differences among Christians and their division into many sects. He did not want the divisive element to enter into Shia Theology, and diivide Shias like Christians. It was for that reason that he emphasized Shi’a unity stating that the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and the divinely appointed Leaders (Imams), possessed the divine knowledge relevant to the Universe and all other creations.

In the Eleventh century, Catholic Church was deadly against Astronomy, Philosophy, and other Sciences, and did not preserve any books written by the Philosophers of Greece, Rome and Alexandria. The Greek Philosophers would have been burnt alive if they dared to write about any of the sciences. Whatever ancient books and literature that were available, Muslims translated them in Arabic and preserved them in their libraries. Accordingly, Muslims became the real source of civilization in Europe. About nine hundred years ago, a majority of the Europeans were uneducated,  lived uncivilized life, and had no noble quality and character. Due to ignorance and illiteracy, there was not a single library in Europe. It was their contact with Muslims that changed their life style and became civilized. Muslims had big libraries and many large centers of knowledge and learning. It was Islamic civilization and culture that influenced European life and its culture. In the year 1130 A.D. a Translation Bureau was established in Italy where all books of famous Muslim writers were translated and preserved. These translations opened the eyes of Europeans, and opened a new gate to conduct scientific and philosophical research again in Europe. .

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) had attacked the theories of famous philosophers Aristotle and Ptolemy when he was a student in the Academy of his father, Imam Mohammad al-Baqar (a.s.), who died in 114 Hijra. At that time there were no scientific, mathematical, or philosophical books or research papers. Accordingly Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) knew that Muslim world would be flooded with books of  the philosophers of Greece and Alexandria and that Muslims would blindly accept everything as Gospel truth. Thus, many of their false and fallacious theories would catch their imagination, corrupt their minds, and keep them under total darkness for centuries, which actually did happen. For example, the theory of Aristotle and Ptolemy that earth was center of the Universe and that the sun and stars rotated around it, was generally accepted by the Muslims as correct. Therefore, Imam Mohammad al-Baqar (a.s.) and after his death Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) explained the correct theories of Universe and other creations to their students, and advised them  to spread their teachings and  the correct theories as presented by the two leaders, among other Muslims, and their generations. 

Marveling at the creation of Allah The Almighty, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) remarked:

            Allah, by His Knowledge and Power, created every living being and endowed each one of them with special power and instinct so that it may succeed in its struggle for survival. How wonderful are his creations. He created animals which can survive in severe cold weather of the frigid regions of the Poles and He created animals, which can live, prosper and propagate in the scorching heat of the tropics and sandy deserts. Many animals, which live in very cold region, sleep during long winters without eating and drinking, and also without having any adverse effect on their health. The hearts of these animals beat 5,000 times per hour when they are awake, and about  60 or 70 times while they sleep during winter. As regards the animals which live in deserts, like camels,  can survive for several days in deserts without water.  Allah gave special power to camels by which they can sense availability of water in deserts from a significant distance. “

Shi’as believe Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) was one of the divinely appointed Imam who had unlimited knowledge of all creations. Whatever theories and research he put forward about Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Medicines was through his divine knowledge. Every physician and scholar who reads his theories will realize and acknowledge that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was a genius and fully capable of making important discoveries using his great intellectual power. On one occasion, someone asked him as to when the Universe came into being, he replied that it was always there. He further added that the Universe is eternal.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has to his credit a number of maxims, sayings, and short quotations. Many of them have spread throughout the world. His following Maxim gained great popularity:

            ‘When someone is in pain, he thinks of himself”.

This maxim is so correct that it gradually spread all over the world. This maxim is so precise, true and exact that a Canadian scholar considered it as a Law of Psychology, and said that when we have some pain in our body we cannot forget ourselves, however, when we have no pain, mental or physical, we tend to forget ourselves.

IMAM’S FAMILY LIFE:

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) married Fatimah binte Al-Hasan, a descendent of of his ancestor Al-Hasan ibne Imam Ali (a.s.), with whom he had two sons, Isma’il and Abdullah al-Aftah. Following  Fatimah’s death, Imam as -Sadiq purchased a Barbery slave named Hamidah Khatun.  He freed her, trained her Islamic values and traditions, and then married her. She borne him two more sons, Musa al-Kadhim (the 7th Twelver Imam) and Muhammad al-Dubaj. Hamidah Khatun was revered by Shias especially by women, for her wisdom. She was known as Hamidah the Pure. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) had six other children namely, Ishaq, Ali al-Uraidhi, Al-Abbas, Fatimah, Umm Farwah, and Asmaa.

SELECTED QUOTATIONS OF IMAM AS-SADIQ (a.s.):

  • “The most perfect of men in intellect is the best of them in ethics.”
  • “Whoever attacks a matter without knowledge cuts off his own nose.”
  • “To forbid generosity is mistrust in Allah.”
  • “Three (things) with which Allah does not increase the Muslim person but glory: To forgive him who wrongs him; to give him who deprives him, to visit him who abandons him.”[
  • “(Religious) scholars are the trustees of prophets unless they come to the doors of supreme rulers.”
  • “The richest of rich is he who is not captive for greed.”
  • “Nothing is better than silence, no enemy is more harmful than ignorance, and no illness is more dangerous than telling lies.”
  • “Verily, envy eats belief as fire eats wood.”
  • “Three (things) cause affection: Religion, modesty, and generosity … three (things) cause hatred: hypocrisy, self-admiration, and oppression.”
  • “Charity is the Zakat (alms) of blessings, intercession is the Zakat of dignity, illnesses are the Zakat of bodies, forgiveness is the Zakat of victory, and the thing whose Zakat is paid is safe from taking (by Allah).”
  • “If the ill-natured (person) knows that he tortures himself, he will be tolerant in his manners.”
  • “He who answers all that he is asked, surely is mad.”
  • “Whomsoever God removes from the degradation of sin to the exaltation of piety, he it is whom God makes rich without property and noble without the help of family.”
  • “Whoever fears God, God makes all things fear him; and whoever does not fear God, God makes him fear all things.”

Next Week, A Brief Life History of The 7th Imam – Part #8, inshaAllah.
FREE ZIYARAAT PLAN (Update):   The DRAW #5 is Scheduled for May 30, 2020, insha’Allah. Last date to enter is

 May 28, 2020.  Total Entries received 61.( A tentative list of participants will be published on Monday, May 18, 2020). One Winner and two Alternate Winners will be randomly selected by the Molana. Each Winner shall have 18 months to complete the Ziyaraat journey. For more details please visit website: www.Shia-youth.org. To purchase Entries, select  Free Ziyaraat Plan, select Entry numbers, and make Payment @$25 per Entry number. Note: Entries purchased for Draw #5 shall also be valid and included free for Draw #6.

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Brief Life History of The 6th Imam -Vol 1

IMAM JA’FAR AL-SADIQ  IBN IMAM  MUHAMMAD AL-BAQIR  (A.S.) – PART #7 (VOL. 1)

Note: The Life History is divided in two volumes.
Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org.

IMAM AL-SADIQ AND HIS LINEAGE: 
Imam Ja’far ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (a.s.) also known as Imam as-Sadiq(a.s.) (the Truthful), is the sixth Shia Imam. He was a descendant of Imam Ali (a.s.) from his father Imam

Muhammad al-Baqir‘s (a.s.) side. He is the last individual to be recognized by all Shia sects as an Imam (except the Zaydiyyah), and is revered by Sunni scholars as a transmitter of

Hadith and a prominent jurist.

The sixth Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was a significant figure in the formulation of Shia doctrine. The traditions recorded from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) are said to be more numerous than all hadiths recorded from all other Shiite imams combined.  As the founder of “Ja’fari jurisprudence“, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) also elaborated the doctrine of Nass (divinely inspired designation of each imam by the previous imam), and Ismah(the infallibility of  each Imam), as well as that of Taqiyyah.

The question of succession after Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) death was the cause of division among Shiites some of whom considered his eldest son, Isma’il (who had died before his father) to be the next imam, and those who believed his third son Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) was the imam. The first group became known as the Ismailis and the second, larger, group was named Ja’fari or the Twelvers.

EARLY LIFE:

Ja’far al-Sadiq was born in Medina on 17th Rabiulawwal 83 AH. On his father’s side, he was a great-great grandson of Imam Ali (a.s.), the first Shiite imam. His mother, Farwah bint al-Qasim was a granddaughter of Mohammed Ibn Abu Bakr. During the first fourteen years of his life, he lived alongside his grandfather, Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.), and witnessed the latter’s withdrawal from politics. He also noted the respect that the famous jurists of Medina held toward Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.), in spite of his only a few followers.

In his mother’s house, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) also interacted with his grandfather, Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, who was respected by the people of Medina as a famous traditionalist. During this period, Umayyad power was at its climax, and the childhood of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) coincided with the growing interest of the people of Medina in prophetic science and interpretations of the Quran.

IMAM ASSUMED IMAMATE:

Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) inherited the position of imam from his father in his mid-thirties. He was thirty one years of age when he inherited the position of Imamah or imamate from his father, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.). He held the imamate for 34 years, longer than any other Shiite imam. His Imamate was a crucial period in Islamic history for both political and religious reasons. Prior to Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), the majority of Shiites had preferred the revolutionary politics of Zaid (al-Sadiq’s uncle) to the mystical quietism of Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) father and grandfather. Zaid had claimed that the position of an imam was conditional on his appearing publicly to claim his rights and fighting for these rights. As an imam, al-Sadiq (a.s.) stayed out of the political conflicts that embroiled the region, evading the many requests for support that he received from rebels. For a long period of time, he was the victim of mistreatment and harassment by the Abbasid caliphs. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), preferred to spend his time in elaboration of the doctrine of Imamate, which says “Imamate is not a matter of human choice or self-assertion,” but that each imam possesses a unique Ilm (knowledge) which qualifies him for the position. This knowledge was passed down from the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through the line of Imam Ali‘s(a.s.) immediate descendants. The doctrine of Nass or “divinely inspired designation of each imam by the previous imam”, therefore, was completed by Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.).  In spite of being designated as the imam, Imam al-Sadiq(a.s.) would hold, he would not lay claim to the Caliphate.

END OF UMAYYAD CALIPHATE:

Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) Imamate extended over the later half of the Umayyad Caliphate, which was marked by many revolts (mostly by Shiite movements), and eventually the violent overthrow of the Umayyad Caliphate by the Abbasids, who were descendants of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) uncle, Abbas. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) maintained his predecessors’ policy of quietism, and played no part in the numerous rebellions. He stayed out of the uprising of Zaydits who gathered around Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) uncle, Zayd, who had the support of Mu’tazilites and the traditionalists of Medina and Kufa. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) played no part in the Abbassid rebellion against the Umayyads.  His response to a message requesting his help from Abu Muslim, the Khorasani leader of the uprising against Umayyads, became famous. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) asked for a lamp and burned Abu Muslim’s letter, saying to the envoy who brought it, “Tell your master what you have seen. In burning Abû Muslim’s letter he had also said, “This man is not one of my men.” Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) also evaded other requests for assistance to other claims to the throne, without advancing his own claims. He had said that even though he, as the designated imam, was the true leader of the Ummah, he would not press his claim to the caliphate.

IMAM TRAINED ABOUT 4000 STUDENTS:

The end of the Umayyad dynasty and beginning of the Abbasid dynasty was a period during which central authority was weak, allowing Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) to teach freely in a school which trained about four thousand students. Among these were Abū Ḥanīfa and Malik ibn Anas, founder of two major Sunni schools of law, the Hanafiyah and the Malikiyah.  Wasil ibn Ata, founder of Mu`tazila school, was also among his pupils. After the Abbasid revolution had overthrown the Umayyad caliphate, it turned against Shiite groups who had previously been its allies against the Umayyads. The new Abbasid rulers, who had risen to power on the basis of their descent from Muhammad‘s uncle Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, were suspicious of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), because Shiites had always believed that leadership of the Ummah was a position issued by divine order, and which was given to each imam by the previous imam. Moreover, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) had a large following, both among scholars and among those who believed him to be the imam. 

CALIPH AL-MANDUR SUMMONS IMAM TO BAGHDAD:

 During the rule of Al-Mansur, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was summoned to Baghdad along with some other prominent men from Medina, in order for the Caliph to keep a close watch on them. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), however, asked the Caliph to excuse him from going there by reciting a hadith which said that “the man who goes away to make a living will achieve his purpose, but he who sticks to his family will prolong his life.”  Al-Mansur reportedly accepted his request. After the defeat and death of his cousin Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in 762, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) thought it advisable to obey al-Mansur’s summons. After a short stay in Baghdad, however, he convinced the Caliph that he was not a threat, and was allowed to return to Medina.

IMAM SUBJECTED TO HARRASMENTS BY ABBASID CALIPHS:

Toward the end of his life, he was subjected to  harassment by the Abbasid caliphs. The governor of Medina was instructed by the Caliph to burn down his house, an event which reportedly did Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) no physical harm.  To cut his ties with his students and followers, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was also watched closely and was occasionally imprisoned. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was arrested several times by Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs Hisham, Saffah, and Mansur.

IMAM POISONED BY ORDER OF CALIPH AL-MANSUR:

 According to some sources he was poisoned at the behest of Mansur  on 15th Rajab, 148AH, at the age of 65, leading to uncertainty about the future of the Imamate. He was buried in Medina, in the famous Jannat al Baqee cemetery, and his tomb was a place of pilgrimage until 1926. The Wahhabis conquered Medina for the second time in 1925, and razed many tombs to the ground, with the exception of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) tomb. According to scholar Tabatabai, upon hearing the news of Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) death, Caliph Mansur wanted to put an end to the Imamate. Mansur reportedly wrote to the governor of Medina, commanding him to read the imam’s testament, and to behead the person named in it as the future imam. However, the governor found that Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) had chosen four people rather than one: caliph Mansur himself, the governor, the imam’s oldest son Abdullah al-Aftah, and Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.), his younger son.

ORIGIN OF ISMA’ILI SECT:

The Shiite group had begun to split during the lifetime of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), when his eldest son Isma’il ibn Jafar predeceased him. His death occurred in the presence of many witnesses. After the death of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), his following fractured further, with the larger group, who came to be known as the Twelvers, following his younger son Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.). Another group, believed that Isma’il had been designated as the next imam, and that since he had predeceased his father, the imamate had passed to Isma’il’s son Muhammad ibn Ismail and his descendants. This latter group became known as the Isma’ilis. Some Isma’ilis believe that Isma’il had not actually died, but would reappear as Mahdi, the rejuvenator of Islam in the Shiite doctrine.

IMAM AL-SADIQ’S (a.s.) LEGACY:

Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) religious views are recorded as authority in the writing of a number of contradictory positions. Though most groups wished to recruit Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) legacy for their own cause, the most extensive source for his teachings is to be found within the imami Shiite tradition. For Twelver Shiites Imam Ja’far al-Ṣadiq (a.s.) is the sixth imam who established the Shiism as serious intellectual force in the late Umayyad and early Abbasid periods. According to  Shia scholar Tabatabai the number of traditions left behind by Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) and his father were more than all the hadiths recorded from Holy Prophet Muhammad and all the other Shiite imams combined.

Shiite jurisprudence became known as Ja’fari jurisprudence after Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), whose legal dicta were the most important source of Shiite law. LikeSunni law, Ja’fari jurisprudence is based on the Quran and the Hadith, and also based on the consensus (Ijma). Unlike the Sunnis, Shiites give more weight to reasoning (‘Aql), while Sunnis allow for a kind of analogical reasoning (Qiyas). Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) is presented as one who denounces personal opinion (Raʾy) and analogical reasoning (qiās) of his contemporaries, arguing that God’s law is occasional and unpredictable, and that the servants’ duty is not to embark on reasoning in order to discover the law, but to submit to the inscrutable will of God as revealed by the imam. In his book Maqbula, Omar ibn Ḥanẓala (who was a disciple of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.)) asks the imam how legal disputes within the community should be solved, and whether one should take such cases to the ruler (Sultan) and his judges. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq(a.s.) replies in the negative saying that those who take their disputes to the rulers and their judges get only soḥt (unlawful decision). Instead Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) recommends an unofficial system of justice for the community, and that the disputants should turn to “those who relate our [i.e., the imams’]Hadiths“. 

IMAM’S VIEWS ON THEOLOGY:

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) views on theology are transmitted through one of his students, Mufazzel, who recorded his own questions and Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) answers in a book known as Ketab al-Tawhid in which Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) gives proof of unity of God. This  is considered identical to the Ketāb al-ehlilaja which is a reply to Mufazzel’s request from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) for a refutation of those who deny God. Hesham ibn Ḥakam (d. 179 AH) is another famous student of the imam who proposed a number of doctrines that later became orthodox shiite theology, including the rational necessity of the divinely guided imam in every age to teach and lead God’s community.  Imm al-Sadiq (a.s.) is attributed with the statement: “Whoever claims that God has ordered evil, has lied about God. Whoever claims that both good and evil are attributed has lied about God”. This view which is in accordance with that of Mu’tazilite doctrine seems to absolve God from the responsibility for evil in the world. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) says that God does not “order created beings to do something without providing for them a means of not doing it, though they do not do it, or not do it without God’s permission”. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) expressed a moderate view between compulsion (Jabr), and giving the choice to man (Tafviz), stating that God decreed some things absolutely, but left some others to human agency. This assertion was widely adopted afterwards and was called “al-amr bayn al-amrayn” which meant” neither predestination nor delegation but a position between the two”.  Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) view, therefore, is recorded as supporting either position as it is reported in an exchange between him and an unknown interlocutor. The interlocutor asks if God forces his servants to do evil or whether he has delegated power to them. Imam al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) answers negatively to both questions. When asked “What then?” he replies, “The blessings of your Lord are between these two”.

The works attributed to Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) in Tafsir (Quranic exegesis) are mostly described as the Sufi-mystical works such as “Tafsir al-Qorʾān”, “Manāfeʿ ṣowar al-Qorʾān” and “ḴawāsÂs al-Qorʾān al-aʿẓam”. The attribution of these works to Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), however, is suspected. In his books Ḥaqāʾeq al-tafsir and Ziādāt Ḥaqāʾeq al-tafsir, ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Solami cites Imam al-Ṣadiq (a.s.) as one of his major (if not the major) source of knowledge concerning the meaning of Qur’anic verses. “Ketāb al-jafr”, an early mystical commentary on the Qur’an (Tafsir), is also attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.).  According to Ibn Khaldun, it was originally written on the skin of a young bull, allowing the imam to reveal the hidden meaning of the Qur’an.  Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) is said to have proposed a fourfold model of Qur’an interpretation. He said that “The Book of God comprises four things: the statement set down; the implied purport; the hidden meanings, relating to the supra-sensible world; and the exalted spiritual doctrines.” He said that the plain meanings were for the common people; the hidden meanings for the elite; the implied meanings for the “friends of God;” and the “exalted spiritual doctrines” were the “province of the prophets.”  He stated that Hadith, or traditional sayings of the Prophet, should be rejected if they contradicted contents of the Qur’an.

TAQIYYAH, SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES BY IMAM AS-SADIQ (a.s.), HIS FAMILY LIFE …..Continued in Vol 2, Part #8.

Next Week, inshaAllah.
FREE ZIYARAAT PLAN Update:   The DRAW #5 Scheduled for May 30, 2020 is confirmed. Last date to enter is May 28, 2020.  Total Entries received 61. One Winner
and two Alternate Winners will be randomly selected by the Molana, inshaAllah. Each Winner shall have 18 months to complete the Ziyaraat journey. For more details please visit website: 
www.Shia-youth.org

Shia Youth Inc. is a non profit organization having tax exempt status under IRS Section 501 3 (c). Additionally, His Eminence Syed Ali Sistani’s Office in USA has approved KHUMS Ijazah thus authorizing Shia Youth Inc. to collect KHUMS and provide authentic Marjaeya receipts to the Khums payers.  Khums is divided half and half between Marjaeya and Shia Youth Inc. Shia Youth Inc. accepts all donations via PayPal (Friends &Family), Zelle, Bank transfers or by Checks mailed to: Shia Youth Inc., 15216 Rockport Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20905

 

Brief Life History of The 5th Imam – Part#6

IMAM MUHAMMAD AL-BAQIR IBN IMAM ZAINUL ABIDIN  (A.S.)- PART #6

Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org

EARLY LIFE: 
Imam Muḥammad al-Bāqir (a.s.), (the one who splits open knowledge) was the fifth Shiite Imam, succeeding his father Imam Zain al-Abidin (a.s.). He was born on 1 Rajab 57 A.H. in Medina. Many traditions and abundant wisdom were reported on his authority. He is revered by Shiite Muslims for his religious leadership and highly respected by Sunni Muslims for his knowledge and Islamic scholarship as a leading jurist of Medina.

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) had a prominent lineage in that both his paternal and maternal grandfathers, Imam Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.) and Imam Husain ibn Ali (a.s.), were Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) grandsons. His mother, Fatima Umm Abd Allah, was a daughter of the second Imam al-Hasan (a.s.), the son of Imam Ali (a.s.). Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) was born, when Mu’awiyah  was trying to pursue the pledge of allegiance for his son, Yazid.  Imam al-Baqir while still a child, his family was troubled by the tragedy of Karbala. He was about three years old when his grandfather Imam Husain (a.s.), his companions and children were massacred in Karbala in 61 A.H.

IMAM AL-BAQIR (a.s.)’s IMAMAH:

According to scholars, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), in his youth  witnessed the struggle for power among the UmayyadsAbd Allah ibn al-Zubayr and different Shiite parties, while at the same time he saw his father remaining distant to local political activity.

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) was popularly known as Baqir al-‘ilm, which means “he who splits open knowledge”. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) was, therefore, said to have been famous for his heritage of knowledge. He received the nickname al-Baqir (the Ample) due to the “ample fund of knowledge” he collected. For the Shiites, however, Baqir al-‘ilm was not an ordinary title, for, they believe it was given to him by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). According to al-KulayniJabir ibn Abd Allah, the only living companion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), used to sit in the mosque and call out: Ya baqir al-ilm, Ya baqir al-ilm. Medinans thought that Jabir was insane; however, he assured them that he had heard from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who said: “O Jabir! You will meet a man from my family who will have the same name and the same characteristics as mine. He will split open knowledge extensively.” As for how Jabir ibn Abd Allah met Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), al-Kulayni relates that once while al-Jabir was passing a Quran school which Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.s.) attended as a child, he saw that the Imam was still a child and examined him to see if he has the features he had heard from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then Jabir explained: “Characteristics of the Messenger of Allah; by Him, in whose hands is my soul, O boy, what is your name”.  When Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.s.) answered that he was Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn (a.s.), Jabir “approached him, kissed his head and swore by his father and mother that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had recited greeting upon him.

During the Imamah of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), due to the oppressive manner of the Umayyads, riots broke out everywhere in the Islamic world. The disagreements within the Umayyad party kept them occupied among themselves such that they left members of the Prophet’s household undisturbed for some time. On the other hand, the tyranny placed on the members of household in the Battle of Karbala had drawn many people to the Imams. These conditions had permitted people, particularly the Shiite, to travel to Medina in large groups and to go into the Imam’s presence freely. The possibilities of spreading Islam, which had not existed for the previous Imams, was thus available to the fifth Imam. Numerous traditions related about the Imam and the numerous scholars who were trained under him obviously narrate these traditions.

BROTHER ZAYD ALSO CLAIMS IMAMATH:

After the death of Imam Ali ibn Husain Zain al-Abidin (a.s.), the fourth Imam, the majority of the Shiites agreed upon his son Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) as the next Imam, while a minority favored another son of the fourth Imam, Zayd ibn Ali, and became known as Zaidiyyah. According to the scholars, Zaid, the brother of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), called for people on his own behalf to back his cause. It is, however, believed  that he first asked the advice of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) who advised him not to rely on the people of Kufa, explaining how they had previously behaved toward the members of household. Zaid, however, did not listen to his brother’s advice and led the people of Kufa in useless riots.  Shia scholars state that a dispute had arisen between Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) and Zaid because Zaid had been following the lessons of the Mu’tazilite, Wasil ibn Ata. Zaid had also announced that the position of an Imam was conditional on his appearing publicly to claim his rights. In response, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said to Zaid, “Your faith then is merely in your father, as such, for according to your theory, he was not an Imam, for he certainly never came forth to assert his claims”. Zayd led an unsuccessful revolt gainst Ummayad Califate, in which he died. The event gave rise to Zaidiyyah sect of Shia Islam.

HARASSMENTS BY CALIPH HISHAM:

Imam al-Baqir (a.s.)  despite his not being involved in political activities, the Umayyad rulers harassed the 5th Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.). For they knew that a large number of Shia individuals and deputations, which were coming from Kufa to Medina, had no other intent but to attend Imam al-Baqir’s (a.s.) teaching and to ask him specific questions;  among these was the question of who had the right to rule. 

it is narrated that once Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, the caliph, made a pilgrimage to Mecca where Imam Mohammed al-Baqir (a.s.) and his son Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) were also present. There was a gathering where Imam Baqir (a.s.) delivered a sermon saying: “We are the favorite and chosen servants of God, and His vicegerents on the face of the earth. One who obeys us is successful and one who opposes would be evil and wretched”. Someone conveyed these statements to caliph Hisham. When he returned to his court in Syria, he wrote to his Governor of Medina instructing him to send Imam al-Baqir (a.s.)and his son Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) to Damascus. When they arrived, to humiliate them, he kept them waiting for three days without allowing people to meet them. On the fourth day, he called them to his court where he was practicing archery with his officials.

IMAM AL-BAQIR (a.s.)’s BOOKS:

In  Ma’athiru’l-Baqir, the Imam discussed many topics from the nature of the soul, and the qualities of the Ulama to the attributes of God and the divine nature explaining that it was not possible for men to understand it. To illustrate; one day a man asked him: “Should I think of anything (to understand Allah)?” The Imam replied: “Yes, but you have to imagine a thing which the mind cannot contain and which is without limit. He is unlike whatever comes into your mind. Nothing resembles Him nor can any thought reach Him”. It is also among his saying that: “Talk about the creation of Allah, but do not talk about Allah Himself, for that increases the owner of the talk nothing except perplexity. He defines a Rasul as a Prophet who both hears the voice of the angel of revelation and sees the angel in a bodily form or in a dream. As for Nabi, he says, it is a Prophet who hears the voice of the angel, but does not see him; and ‘the Imam‘s condition, he says, is like that of the Nabi. The Imam was frequently referred to explain particular teachings concerning the Imamate, which is also explained in Ma’athiru’l-Baqir, a summery of which is translated into English in Canon Sell‘s Ithna ʻAsharíyya or The Twelve Shiʻah Imams.

 His another book Umm al-Kitab  is in the form of a discussion between the Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) and three of his companions. It resembles the Gospel of the Infancy, and shows how Imamate is similar to gnostic Christology. Among major ideas of this work is the numinous science of letters. The central motif of the work is the psychological-philosophical explanation of spiritual symbols, and the believers are instructed to involve themselves in acts of self purification and renovation. A large number of colors are presented to symbolize different theories and the consistent levels of consciousness that one must recognize in oneself.
Tafsir al-baqir is Imam al-Baqir’s exegesis of the Quran is yet another highly noted publication. Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, particularly a religious text. This book is in fact a collection of quotations of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) written by his student Abu al-Jarud Ziad ibn Munthar.

IMAM AL-BAQIR (a.s.) FAMILY:

Imam al-Baqir had three marriages with Farwah bint Qasim, Umm Hakim bint Usayd, and Mughrila bint al-Thaqafi, and had six sons and two daughters, namely Ja’far al-Sadiq, Ibrahim, Ali, Abdullah, Ahmed, Ubaydullah, Zaynab, and Umm Salma.

IMAM DIED OF POISONING:

Imam al-Baqir (a.s.)  lived 57 years. He ended his 19 years long Imamat on 7 Ziqaad 114 A.H. He died of poisoning. The poison was given at the order of Caliph Hisham.

IMAM AL-BAQIR (a.s.)’s IMPORTANT SAYINGS:

  • “The virtue of knowledge is more lovable with Allah than the virtue of worship.”
  • “The believer does not spend an expense more lovable with Allah than saying the truth during consent and anger.
  • “Two kinds of my community have no share in Islam. (They are): the extremists and the fatalists.
  • “Whoever has three qualities or one of them will be in the shade of the throne of Allah: He should treat people with justice. He should do nothing unless he knows whether it pleases or angers Allah. He should seek no fault in his Muslim brother until he frees himself from that fault. For when he frees himself from a fault, he finds another fault in him. It is enough for the person that his own self diverts him from the people.” 

Next Week -Part #7 A Brief Life History of The 6th Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), insha’Allah.

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Brief Life History of The 4th Imam

IMAM ZAINUL ABIDIN IBN IMAM HUSAIN  (A.S.)- PART #5

Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org

EARLY LIFE:

 Imam Ali ibn Husain (a.s.) known as Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.), or Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.), or Imam al-Sajjad (a.s.)  was the fourth Shia imam.  He was born in Medina, in the year 38 AH. His mother, princess Shahrbanu, was the daughter of Yazdegerd, the last King of Persia.  In 61AH, the Holy Prophet Muhammad‘s (pbuh) grandson Imam Husain ibn Ali (a.s.) and a small group of supporters and relatives were killed at the Battle of Karbala by the large military forces of the Umayyad caliph Yazid, to whom Imam Husain (a.s.) had refused to give an oath of allegiance. Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) accompanied his father on a march toward Kufa; he was present at the Battle of Karbala but survived the battle because he was ill. Once the Umayyad troops had killed Imam Husain (a.s.) and his male followers, they looted the tents, humiliated women, and took the skin upon which he was laying. It is said that Shimr, commander of Yezid’s forces, was about to kill Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) but his aunt Sayyedah Zainab (s.a.) made Umar ibn Sa’ad, the Umayyad commander, spare his life. Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) and the enslaved women and children were taken to the Kuf

CAPTIVES’  JOURNEY  TO  KUFA:

On the   day after Ashura , Omar ibn Sa’d and his soldiers   abused, mistreated, and chained  the Imam and  all of the surviving women and children, and   placed  them on bare camel backs to travel to Kufa to be presented to the Governor, Obaidullah ibn Ziyad (also known as Ibn Ziyad). While on their way, they passed    through the battlefield to witness a heart rending sight. It was the bodies of the martyrs, cut in pieces, dusty and bloodied, wounded, without heads, laying on the sand. The enemy being so merciless had neither buried them,  nor gave  an opportunity to    the surviving  members  to bury their   loved ones. The scene of carnage was such that Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) wept and cried so much   that   his conditions   got on  the verge of death himself. The captives were riding on camels without saddles, their faces unveiled for all to see, while ahead of them their arrogant captors were carrying the severed heads of their loved ones atop spears. The terrifying journey and heat of the desert exhausted them. When they reached Kufa they were forced to march through public roads and  streets . The women were  without any chadar or scarf on their heads.   They were brought to the court where Ibn Ziyad turned to Imam Zainul Abidin (who was still sick), and he asked: “What is your name?” Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) answered, “Ali, son of Al Husain.” Ibn Ziyad retorted, “Was not Ali Ibn Al Husain slain by Allah?”.  Imam Zainul Abidin answered, “My brother’s name was the same as mine, and he was slain by Ibn Ziyad’s soldiers.”  Ibn Ziyad retorted to intimidate him, “But your brother Ali was killed by Allah.” Zainul Abidin then quoted  verses of   the Holy Quran”  Taken aback, the arrogant and vindictive Ibn Ziyad turned to Zainul Abidin (who was still sick), and he asked: “What is your name?” Imam Zainul Abidin  (a.s.) answered, “Ali, son of Al Husain.” Ibn Ziyad retorted, “Was not Ali Ibn Al Husain slain by Allah?” Imam Zainul Abidin answered, “My brother’s name was the same as mine, and he was slain by Ibn Ziyad’s soldiers.” Imam Zainul Abidin   (a.s.) retorted, “Do you threaten me with death, Ibn Ziyad? Don’t you know that for us (Ahlul Bayt) to be slain is our tradition, and that martyrdom is an honor from Allah?”.  Ibn Ziyad  ordered that Zainul Abidin be shackled and  kept with the women in detention. Ibn Ziyad sent a message to Yazid informing him about the killing of Al-Husain and his companions and the capture of his womenfolk. Of course the message would take several weeks to get to Demascus, then several weeks for a reply to arrive, since the message had to be carried over more than 700 miles each way.

CAPTIVES  JOURNEY TO  DAMASCUS:

After about a month and seven days of captivity in Kufa, the captives were set off for Damascus with a large army of horsemen and footmen so that no one could intercept their journey. The caravan left Kufa on the eighteenth day of Safar 61 AH. They suffered untold hardships on their way to Damascus. The journey was long, tough, and exhausting, more so for children such as Al-Baaqir, who was only 4 year old.  Sakeena about 7 year old was on a bare back camel, and at one point she slipped from her camel and fell, but  luc kily she was saved. After this incident, the pitiless army changed the formation of the prisoners. Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) was already in shackles, but they tied his son, Al-Baaqir, on his back. Then the same rope was tied on his sister Sakeena’s neck so that Imam Zainul Abideen could not stand up straight. If he did stand straight, the rope would become tight and strangle Sakeena. After about 28 days of the deadly journey, on the 16th of Rabi ul- Awwal, the caravan reached  Damascus.

When they reached the outskirts of Damascus they were made to halt. Yazid was informed of their arrival and he fixed a date for their entry into the city. On the morning of the appointed day, the members of the family of the Prophet (pbuh) and the companions were led into Damascus. The city streets were decorated and music filled the air to celebrate the victory of Yazid. People came out in festive clothes and they rejoiced when they saw the procession of the  shackled persons together with  the heads of the martyrs atop the spears. The women, without hijab, along with the children were paraded through the main bazaars of Damascus. People of Demascus were asked to celebrate the demise of the rebels. However, many people in the streets shocked at the brutal and merciless treatment of women and children.

  IMAM ZAINUL ABIDiN  (a.s.) FACE  TO  FACE  WITH YAZID:

Yazid’s court was very expensively decorated, and having numerous guards around. At the moment however, the atmosphere of the court was somber and gloomy, sensing that a very big mistake had been committed, since already people in the streets were outraged. Being face to face Yazid  said, “Son of Al Husain, your father refused to recognize my throne and authority. You have seen what Allah did with him as a result of it.” Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) retorted indignantly by quoting  verses of the Holy Quran, “You are visited with afflictions in this world, pre ordained for you.” Then he added, “May the curse of Allah be upon those            who killed my father.”  In the days of detention  a number of exchanges took place in the court of Yazid. Each time Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) gave very powerful reply, by mostly quoting the Holy Quran.

 On one occasion Yazid asked the Sermonizer to give a speech condemning Imam Ali. The person obliged, then Imam Zainul Abidin asked permission to speak up before the people. After some hesitation Yazid consented. Imam Zainul Abidin then said:

  •  “O’ people! Allah Almighty has especially endowed us with valor, wisdom, and knowledge.       In the same way Allah has filled the hearts of the faithful with love for us.
  •  Not only this, but Allah exalted us to a higher position in comparison with any other descendant of  Prophet   Muhammad (pbuh). (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 4, Page 164).
  •  I am hereby acquainting all, irrespective of whether you know me or not, of the honor and     privilege I occupy:
  •  I am the offspring of the Lord of Mecca and Medina .  
  •  I am the issue of the Lord of Zamzam and Safa,
  •  I am the lineal descendant of him whose forefather had lifted in his cloak the Black Stone.
  •  I am the child of the one who mounted the Buraq and gone through the regions of Heavens.
  •  I am the son whose father’s death was mourned by the Angels, and by men and Jinn, …..
  •  I am the son whose father’s head was mounted on a spear and taken from one town to another.

 O people! I take witness that I thank Allah that He involved Ahlul Bayt in serious trials and also that at the same time the standard of guidance was in our hands, while the misguidance in other people’s hands…” When Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) finished his speech, the stunned people were weeping and crying, while others were choked into utter silence. All felt ashamed, degraded, and very much humiliated. Yazid ‘s so called victory  celebration turned into a mockery.

SAYYEDAH SAKEEN DIES IN PRISON:

Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) loved his sister Sakeena very much. One night Sakeena started to cry in her sleep. When her mother Rabab asked her about the matter she replied that she saw her father in her dream telling her that he could not bear to see her in that grieving state any more. Hearing that. all women started to cry so loudly that the noise reached Yazid in the palace. He asked the guards what all the noise was about. When they told him what it was, Yazid ordered that Al-Husain’s head be taken to Sakeena in order to keep her quiet. When Sakeena saw the head she ran to it and hugged it. Sakeena complained to her father how the horrible men snatched her earrings, how they took away the women’s chadar (veils) and burned their tents. The loving daughter of Imam Husain (a.s.) suddenly, she got fainted and stopped breathing. She passed away in captivity in the dark prison. Her mother  started to cry loudly.  Sayyedah Zainab (s.a.)  held the body of Sakeena in her arms as Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) dug a grave for his sister Sakeena who was buried in the same burned, ripped clothes, right there in the prison. 

KARBALA SURVIVORS END OF CAPTIVITY:

Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) and  Sayyedah Zainab’s (s.a.) fearless speeches in the court, most of the Ummah came to know of the events of Karbala and its tragedy. Their hearts were stirred, they questioned, sympathized, and many  were mad at Yazid’s action. The continued captivity and humiliation of the family of the Prophet of Allah was bringing their cause to the attention of an ever increasing number of people of Demascus. This led some advisers to inform Yazid that there was dangerous unrest in Damascus. Yazid, though tyrant, got terrified. Even some members of his own family started to stay away from him. He               became worried and very restless, even sleepless. When it seemed to him that the family of the Holy Prophet had been so humiliated, and due to urgings of certain people about the public’s    growing dissension, he shifted the blame of Karbala massacre to Ibn Ziyad, the Governor of Kufa, and decided to release the captives. Surprisingly, Yazid sent for Imam Zainul Abidin, and when  he came Yazid treated him politely and respectfully, and informed him of his impending release  and asked if he wished for anything. The Imam said he would have to consult his aunt Zainab.  Arrangements were made to bring Zainab (s.a.) to Yazid. She arrived properly veiled. She asked, “O Yazid, since the day our leader Al-Husain was butchered, we have not had any opportunity     to mourn for him.” A large house was therefore provided for them in the residential sector of   Damascus. Sayyedah Zainab (s.a.) held her first gathering for the mourning and remembrance (Majlis e Azaa) of Imam Husain (a.s.). The women of the Quraish and Banu Hashim arrived clad in black for the mourning. Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) sat on the carpet and then Zainab told       the women of Syria some details of the atrocities dealt in Karbala, and some of its aftermath. This stirred their emotions, raised their sympathy, and they shed tears and mourned. They had not known about the events of Karbala and Kufa, but now when they went home and they told their men folk, all about the frightful events and the unparalleled unfairness. Thus the illusions of Yazid’s  victory gave way and his cover up was exposed and dispelled. The truth of Karbala became            known to almost every one in Demascus.

In Medina there was no news about the events of Karbala, but people were apprehensive, as if feeling there was  something dreadful impending. It was some time after Ashura when Yazid sent a messenger, Abdul Malik, to Medina to inform its governor Amr ibn Said al-Aas that Al-Husain ibn Ali and his companions had been killed in Karbala. The Governor, more conscious of the mood of the people, said that he himself could not make the news public, but that Abdul Malik, if he so wished, could make the public announcement. Accordingly, the following day Abdul Malik announced the news after the morning prayers. The news shocked every body, it was jarring, and it shook everyone to the core. There was an uproar and such an intense weeping from the homes of Banu Hashim, that women of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) came out screaming: “What will you say when the Prophet asks you: ‘What have you done with my family after I left them?'” Every afternoon the supporters of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), men and women would gather at Jannat al- Baqii cemetery for remembrance of the tragedy of Karbala. The mourning was so loud that the weeping and wailing could be heard from far away distance.

AHLUL BAYT (a.s.) RETURNING TO MEDINA:

Yazid gave Zainab the choice of remaining in Damascus or returning to Medina. When Zainab (s.a.) decided to return to Medina he called Nu’man ibn Bashir, who had been a companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and ordered him to make suitable arrangements for their journey. Horsemen, foot-soldiers, and adequate provisions were made available. Gaily decorated litters with velvet seats were provided, but Zainab ordered that these should be covered in black so that people would know the travelers were in mourning.Someone asked Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.), after they were released from Syria, as to what was the hardest calamity in that whole period of captivity. He replied that the hardest part was the time when the Ahlul Bayt caravan was made to stop outside Damascus for four days. They were treated very poorly, with their hands tied; and little food or water. And the hardest moment was when Sakeena died and buried in the dungeon. When the citizens of Damascus came to know that the members of the Holy Prophet’s family were leaving, the women went to the house they were staying in for a last farewell. Many people accompanied caravan for part of the journey and then returned to their homes with utmost grief and  sadness.

 During the journey Nu’man ibn Bashir showed the Imam and other travelers every consideration and respect they deserved.  When the caravan reached Karbala on Safar 20,Hijrah 62, they found that Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansaari and some of the chiefs of Banu Hashim werealready there for they had come to pay homage at the grave of Imam Al-Husain. It isspeculated that upon arrival in Karbala, the severed heads of the  martyrs that the caravanbrought from Damascus were respectfully  rejoined with their respective bodies by  Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.).  A Majlis e Aza was held to observe the martyrs first Arbaeen (40 Days mourning)  before they resumed their journey to Medina. Wherever the caravan stopped on its way, a Majlis e Azaa was held.  On learning of their arrival the people of Medina came out in large numbers to meet them.  When they reached the outskirts of Medina, Imam Zainul Abidin (a.s.) asked the women to ready themselves for entering Medina. Then they entered the city on foot, with black flags raised aloft. The caravan went straight to the grave of the Prophet (pbuh) where Zainab (s.a) prayed complaining to him about the massacre of his beloved grandson. Banu Hashim held Majlis every day to commemorate Imam Al-Husain (a.s) and his companions’ sacrifices in Karbala. The mourning and commemoration lasted for many days in Medina.

THE AFTERMATH OF KARBALA AND HIS IMAMAH:

People of Kufa  feeling themselves to be  responsible for the tragedy of Karbala and tried to compensate for it by throwing themselves into the struggle to obtain vengeance for Imam Husain’s (a.s.) blood. They were seeking an opportunity for action, until Mukhtar al-Thaqafi came to Kufa and claimed to represent Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.), who was still in Medina. Mukhtar soon gained the authority of a leader and took vengeance on those who were involved in Imam Husain’s (a.s.) killing.  Umar ibn Sa’ad and Shimr were executed and Ibn Ziyad killed in a battle..Their heads were sent to Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a,s,).  Around this time, the question of the right of succession between Imam Ali ibn al-Husain (a.s.) and Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah gained the most attention. Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (brother of Imam Husain a.s.) was a pious, brave man whom many considered as their Imam. The Shia sects said that Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.) had the right to inherit the Imamah, because his father, Imam Husain (a.s.) had designated him as the next Imam. Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah said he was more worthy because he was the son of Imam Ali (a.s.). But Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) replied to his uncle, “Fear God and make no such claim”. After the death of Ibn Zubayr, the governor of Medina, Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.) and Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah agreed to go to Mecca and appeal to the Black Stone to determine which one of them was the true successor. They went to Kaaba, where the Black Stone was placed. Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah prayed for a sign but no answer came. Afterwards, Imam Zayn al-Abedin(a.s.) prayed and the Black Stone became agitated and nearly fell off the wall; thus came the answer that Imam Zayn-al-Abidin (a.s.) was the true Imam after Imam Husain (a.s.), an answer to which Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah consented.  After this settlement, Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.) returned to Medina and led a quiet life with a few companions who referred to him for answers to religious questions.

Imam’s Social status:

Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn (a.s.) was respected by his followers, who considered him as the fourth imam, and by the circle of Medinan scholars who considered him as an eminent traditional. The lawyer Said ibn al-Musayyib and the jurist  al-Zuhri—though attached to the court of the Umayyad—were among his admirers. Al-Zuhri gave him the honorific title Zayn al-Abedin—the ornament of worshipers—and narrated many Hadiths from him. Evidence for his high position among people comes from an ode of an event told by the well-known Arab poet Farazdaq. This ode mentions an occasion when the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik was overshadowed by the respect people showed to the imam. It was the time of Hajj when both of them were trying to reach the Black Stone through the crowd turning around the Kaaba. The people gave way to Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.) while Hisham struggled desperately. This deeply offended the Caliph, who sarcastically asked to whom the people had shown such respect. Farazdaq, who was present there, composed an ode addressing Hisham’s question; it is considered a masterpiece of Arabic literature and the most reliable contemporaneous document describing Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.). It is also related when asked about asceticism, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) replied, “Asceticism is of ten degrees: The highest degree of asceticism is the lowest degree of piety. The highest degree of piety is the lowest degree of certainty. The highest degree of certainty is the lowest degree of satisfaction. Asceticism is in one verse of Allah’s Book: ‘Hence that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you”.
Several accounts record Imam Zainul Abidin’s (a.s.) deep sorrow over the massacre. It is said that for twenty years, he continued  weeping when food was placed before him. One day a servant said to him, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Is it not time for your sorrow to come to an end?” He replied, “Woe upon you! Jacob (Yaqub) the prophet had twelve sons, and Allah made one of them disappear”. Prophet Jacob cried so much that he went blind.”

IMAM POISONED BY RULER HISHAM:     
According to Shia belief, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) was poisoned by Umayyad ruler Al-Walid through the instigation of the Umayyad caliph, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in Medina. The date of his death is most often given as Muharram 25, 85AH.  He lived for 57 years, was buried next to his uncle, Imam Hasan (a.s.), in the cemetery of Al-Baqi’ in Medina.  After his death, many people discovered that their livelihoods had come from him. He would go out with a sack of food on his back, knocking at the doors of more than 100 families, and gave freely to whoever answered while covering his face to avoid being recognized.
 Next Week – Part #6,  A Brief Life History of the 5th Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.s.), insha’Allah.

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Brief Life History of Imam Husain (a.s) -Part #4

IMAM AL-HUSAIN IBN  ALI  (A.S.)- PART #4

Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org.
Early Life:
Imam Ḥusain ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (a.s.) , born on 10 October 625  (3 Sha’aban AH 4 ), also spelled as HusaynHussain or Hussein, was the son of Imam Ali ibn Abi Ṭalib (a.s.), the first Imam of Shia Islam , and  Fatimah Zahra (s.a.), the daughter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  He was the younger brother of the second Shia ImamHasan ibn Ali (a.s.). Imam Husain (a.s.) is an important figure in Islam, as he is a member of the Ahlul Bayt (the household of Muhammad) and Ahl al-Kisa, as well as being the third Shia Imam. According to most reports, Imam Husain (a.s.) and his brother Imam Hasan (a.s.) were the last descendants of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) living during his lifetime and surviving after his death. There are many accounts of his love for them which refer to them together. Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said that “He who loves me and loves these two, their father and their mother, will be with me at my place on the Day of Resurrection,” and that “Husain is of me and I am his. Allah loves those who love Husain”. Husain is a grandson among grandsons. One narration declares them the “Masters of the Youth of Paradise”. This statement has been particularly important for the Shia who have used it in support of the right of Prophet Muhammad’s (a.s.) descendants to succeed him. The Shias maintain that the infallibility of the Imam is a basic rule in the Imamate. “The theologians have defined the Imamate, saying: “Surely the Imamate is a grace from Allah, Who grants it to the most perfect and best of His servants to Him”. Other traditions record Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with his grandsons on his knees, on his shoulders, and even on his back during prayer at the moment of prostrating himself, when they were young.   Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) loved them and frequently declared them as his Ahlul Bayt. He has also said: “Every mother’s children are associated with their father (for lineage) except for the children of Fatima (s.a..) for I am their father and lineage”. Thus only the descendants of Fatima (s.a.) are the descendants and progeny of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Ahlul Bayt (see Holy Qur’an 33:33)

Imam Husain (a.s.) Assumes As 3rd Imam:

According to the Shia muslims,Imam Husain (a.s.) became the third Imam soon after the death of Imam Hasan (a.s.) in 50 AH. At that time he was 46 years old. He spent most of his time in his mission of teaching Islam. A large number of people kept coming to see him and to learn from him. This process continued for a period of about  ten years when people began to hear an ugly rumor that Mu’wiya wanted to designate his son, Yazid to succeed him.

Mu’awiya Commits Breach of Treaty:

Imam Hussain (a.s.) became the head of Shia Islam and the head of Banu Hashim after his older brother, Imam Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.), was poisoned to death by Mu’awiya in 670 (AH 50). Imam Hussain (a.s.)’s father’s supporters in Kufa accepted him to be his leader and gave their allegiance. However, he told them he was still bound by the peace treaty between Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Mu’awiya and they should wait until Mu’ awiya was dead. Mu’awiya began a campaign to introduce Monarchy into the structure of Islam. He sent his agents to prominent tribal Chiefs to obtain their loyalty to his son as his successor. A majority of public knew that Yazid was not fit to be Khalifa, so they protested vigorously. There was anger and protest every where. To control the situation temporarily, Mu’awiya decided to send his son to Mecca for the pilgrimage. Yazid went to Mecca taking with him alcohol as well as a chorus of girls to entertain him.

Imam Husain Refuses Allegiance To Yazid:

Upon Mu’wiya’s death, Yazid managed to impose himself upon the people and became Khalifa. Imam Husain (a.s.) did not accept the succession of Yazid, and considered this action a breach of the Imam Hasan–Mu’awiya treatyImam Husain (a.s.) refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. He insisted on his legitimacy to be the Khalifa based on his own special position as a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his legitimate legatee. Yazid ordered Waleed Ibn Ut’ba, his Governor over Medina, to ask for Imam Husain’s allegiance of Loyalty or else upon refusal, his head.  Imam Husain (a.s.) refrained from  giving his allegiance.  He strongly believed that Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public and changing the sunnah of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In his view, the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on re-establishment of the correct guidance for Ummah. He, therefore, accompanied by his household, his sons, brothers, nephews, and the companions left Medina to seek asylum in Mecca.

While in Mecca Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas advised Imam Husain Ibn Ali (a.s.) to make Mecca his base and fight against Yazid from Mecca. On the other hand, the people in Kufa who were informed about Mu’awiya’s death and his breaching of the Treaty that he had signed with Imam Hasan (a.s.), by appointing Yazid as his successor, sent letters urging Imam Husain ibn Ali (a.s.) to join them and pledged to support him against Umayyads. Imam Husain (a.s.) wrote back to them saying that he would send his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqeel, to report to him on the situation. If he found them united, as their letters indicated, he would speedily join them, because Imam should act in accordance with the Quran, uphold justice, proclaim the truth, and dedicate himself to the cause of God. The mission of Muslim ibn Aqeel was initially successful and according to reports 18,000 men pledged their allegiance to Imam Husain (a.s.). But situation changed radically when Yazid appointed Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad as the new governor of Kufa, ordering him to deal severely with Muslim Ibn Aqeel. Imam Husain (a.s.) while waiting in Mecca for any reply from Muslim, sensed some danger on his life, so he immediately decided to leave for Kufa without doing the pilgrimage. He assembled his caravan and set out for Kufa.

 Imam Husain(a.s.)’s Caravan Leaves For Kufa:

On the way, Imam Husain (a.s.) found that his messenger, Muslim ibn Aqeel, was killed in Kufa. He broke the news to his supporters and informed them that people in Kufa had deserted him. Then, he encouraged anyone among companions, who so wished, to leave him freely without guilt. Most of those who had joined him at various stages on the way from Mecca now left him.  On his journey towards Kufa, Imam Husain (a.s.) encountered the army of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad.  Imam Husain (a.s.) sent a message to the Kufans, reminding them that they had invited him to come because they were without an Imam. He informed them that he had intended to proceed to Kufa with their support, but if they were now opposed to his coming, he would return to where he had come from. However, the Ziyad’s army urged him to choose another way. Thus, he turned to left and reached a place called Karbala, where the army forced his caravan to stop at a location that was near the bank of river Euphrates.

Battle Of Karbala:

 Umar ibn Sa’ad, the head of Ziyad’s army, sent a messenger to Imam Husain (a.s.) to inquire about the purpose of his coming to Iraq. Imam Husain (a.s.) answered again that he had responded to the invitation of the people of Kufa but was ready to go back if they now disliked his presence. When Umar ibn Sa’ad reported it back to Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the governor, who instructed him to offer Ḥusain and his supporters the opportunity to swear allegiance to Yazid. He also ordered Umar ibn Sa’ad to cut off Husain and his followers from access to the water of the river Euphrates.

On the next morning, as Umar ibn Sa’d arranged the Kufan army consisting of over 30,000 soldiers in a battle order. Before the actual engagement was to take place, Al-Hurr ibn Yazid al Tamimi the previous commander of Yazid army enemy, felt his conscience violently stirring. He was in turmoil. Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, he suddenly challenged Umar ibn Sa’ad of his action, and broke away from Umar Sa’ad’s camp and went over to Imam Ḥusain (a.s.) to pledge his allegiance. He vainly addressed the Kufans, rebuking them for their treachery to the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For three days Umar Sa’ad cut off Imam‘s family and companions access to river Euphrates from which they they were to get water. Women, children, and all supporters spent three days without water. On the day of Ashura, Umar Sa’ad ordered his army to start the battle against Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions. The Battle of Karbala lasted from morning till sunset of Muharram 10, AH 61. Hurr was the first  person to fight the battle and got martyred. All of Imam Husain’s small group of companions and family members bravely fought and were brutally killed by Umar Sa’ad’s army. Imam Husain’s supporters insisted on being first to fight. Therefore, they took the brunt of the enemy attack. The battle was ferocious. Within a short time Imam‘s supporters slay a large number of the enemy fighters. They were on the offensive and enemy on the defensive. This caused apprehension and confusion in the enemy military. Worried and nervous, the enemy commander reinforced his fighters with more troops. The heroes began to fall. They were men of valor welcoming martyrdom, they fell one after another, for the enemy was overwhelming in number. Ali Akbar, Imam Husain’s son obtained permission to fight and dashed toward the enemy. He engaged them in fierce fighting, jumping on them like a thunder slaying numerous fighters. He continued to move forward, deep inside the enemy. The enemy surrounded him and threw swords and spears at him. His body became full of wounds all over gushing blood, until he embraced the martyrdom. Imam Husain (a.s.) rushed to the area and picked up the wounded body and brought it to the appalled camp. His sister Sayyedah Zainab (s.a) and other women were horrified and shocked at the scene. Hadhrat Abbas and four other brothers of Imam Husain (a.s.) went to fight. They all fought bravely and engaged the enemy in a fierce confrontation. Hadhrat Abbas went toward the river to bring some water for the thirsty children. While he was returning on his horse with the water, he was attacked by a large horde of the enemy throwing arrows at him, cutting off his one shoulder and wounding him severely. As much as he tried, Hadhrat Abbas could not save the water. He fell from his horse and breathed his last. There after three nephews, Qasim the son of Imam Hasan (a.s.) and two sons of Sayyedah Zainab (s.a) went to the battle field. They were all in their teens but each stood bravely and showed no less enthusiasm in their quest to embrace martyrdom.

Imam Husain (a.s.) And His Baby:

By the afternoon of the day of Ashura, 70 brave persons had sacrificed their lives in Karbala to save Islam. All had fought under nerve racking conditions, severe thirst, dehydration, exhaustion, and a desperate feeling of what would happen to the family of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) afterwards. Imam Husain (a.s.) endured all that and more, for that he saw all his beloved ones brutally massacred including children. Remaining the only one, Imam Husain (a.s.) was to face the enemy head on. Precisely at that moment Imam Husain (a.s.) heard his baby crying incessantly, agonizing because of thirst. He held this six months old babu, his youngest son (Ali Asghar) in his arms, and appealed to the enemy fighters for some water for the baby. Imam wanted to awaken their conscience and stir their human feelings but the stone hearted enemy, instead of giving water, zoomed an arrow toward the thirsty baby and killed him instantly. Imam Husain (a.s.) was shocked. He felt an unbearable wave of pain. The sight of the martyred baby in his arms was agonizingly painful. He filled his palm with the blood of the baby, and threw it upwards towards the sky, complaining Allah The Almighty:

                      ” O’ Allah, O’ my Lord! My consolation is the fact that Thou in Thine Majesty are witnessing what I am going through.”

Imam Husain By Himself Facing the Enemy:

Imam Husain (a.s.) was alone, one man against a large force of thousands of soldiers. After conferring Imama to his son  Zainul Abedin, and saying goodbye to the family members, Imam Husain(a.s.) proceeded to the battle with the enemy. He fought bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds in the process. Thousands of enemy fighters were surrounding him but none dared to move towards him. The silence was broken when Shimr screamed for attack and a sword fell on Imam‘s left wrist and deeply cut his left hand. The blood gushed like a fountain.Another sword attack hit his upper back. Imam Husain (a.s.) felt numb as he felt to the ground, bleeding profusely.He was near the point of shock, even though staggering he tried to stand by leaning on his sword. Imam decided to say his last prayer. He put his head on the ground for sujood. The prayer was still continuing that Shimr came forward and severed Imam Husain (a.s.)’s noble head from the body. The noble head was kissed often by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Umar Sa’ad ordered the horsemen to trample upon the severed body of Imam Husain (a.s.) and all others who were killed to disfigure them even further. For three days the holy bodies of the martyrs were left lying in the desert of KarbalaThe people of the tribe of Banu – Asad who were not away from the battle field, helped to bury them into the ground. The survivors included few ladies, children and Imam Husain’s young son, Ali Ibn Husain Zainul Abedin, who was severely ill during that battle. After killing 72 persons, Umar Sa’ad set fire to the camps of women and children’s and the martyrs’ bodies were trampled on by the hoofs of the horses; nobody in the history of the human kind has seen such atrocities.

 Lessons of Karbala:

Many famous and notable personalities of the world like Mahatma Gandhi, Sir William Muir and Edward Gibbon have praised highly Imam Husain (a.s.) for his stand for truth, justice, human dignity, and preservation of rights. The Battle of Karbala is a reflection of a collision of good versus evil, virtuous versus wicked, and a Holy Imam versus a devil Yazid.  Karbala proved to be a clash involving Islamic truths versus falsehood, right versus wrong, oppressed versus oppressor, and faith against a brute forceful force. Karbala’s battle was about standing in the face of oppression, regardless of the cost or sacrifice of one’s own life. Thus in Karbala, Al-Husain (a.s.) the 57 year old grandson of the Holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sacrificed himself, his children, his companions, and all he had for one goal. That goal was to let the truth triumph over falsehood eventually, and he did that brilliantly. Undoubtedly, the lessons of Karbala are not meant for any particular group or community, rather are meant for all humanity.

Marriages:

 

Imam Husain (a.s.) married four times and had six children. His wives were Shahr Banu, Umm Layla, Umm Rubab, and Umm Ishaq.  Shahr Banu gave birth to two children,including Ali ibn Husain (who was later designated the fourth Imam by Imam Husain (a.s.). Umm Layla gave birth to Ali Akbar and Fatima Sughra. Umm Rubab also gave birth to two children, Sukayna and Ali Asghar. (Note: Umm Ishaq was a widow of Imam Hasan (a.s.).

Next week’s installment – The Fourth  Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.) in Part #5.

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Brief Life History of Imam Hasan (a.s) -Part #3

Imam Al-Hasan Ibn Imam Ali  (a.s.) – Part #3

Source: “Shia Islam AT A Glance” BY: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee; and Shia Youth Inc. Website: www.Shia-youth.org.
Early Life :

Imam Ḥasan ibn Imam Ali (a.s.) was the second Shiite Imam, succeeding his father Imam Ali (a.s.) and preceding his younger brother, Imam Husayn ibn Ali (a.s.). He was the elder son of Imam Ali (a.s.) and Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) daughter, Fatima (s.a.). Muslims respect him as the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and a member of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.). Imam Hasan (a.s.) was born in the year 625 AD and grew up in Medina with his parents.  Both Shia and Sunni Muslims consider Imam Hasan (a.s.) to belong to the Ahlul-Bayt (literally: People of the Holy Prophet’s House),  to the Ahlul-Kisa (literally: People of the Cloak), and participants of the Event of Mubahala. It is said that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) slaughtered a ram for the poor on the occasion of Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) birth, and chose the name “Hasan” for him. Fatimah (s.a.) shaved the child’s head and gave the weight of his hair in silver as alms.

There are many narrations showing the love and respect of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) toward his grandsons, including the statements that his two grandsons would be the lords of the youth (sayyedā šabāb) of Paradise and that they were Imams, divinely chosen, and also his prediction that Imam Hasan (a.s.) would make peace between two factions of Muslims. During the year 10AH, Hasan was only about 6 years old when he participated in the event of Mubahala.

Imam Hasan As 5th Caliph:

Imam Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.) served his father Imam Ali (a.s.) during the Battle of Siffin. After Imam Ali (a.s.) was assassinated and following the custom established by Abu Bakr, Imam Hasan (a.s.) made a speech at the mosque of Kufa praising the merits of his family and quoting the verses of the Quran which exalt the special position of the Ahl-ul Bayt, and said “I am of the family of the Prophet from whom God has removed filth and whom He has purified, whose love He has made obligatory in His Book when He said: “Whosoever performs a good act, We shall increase the good in it. Performing a good act is love for us, the Family of the Prophet”.  Qays ibn Sa’d was the first to give allegiance to him and then stipulated the conditions on which the Bay’at should be based: 1) on the Quran, 2)  on the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, and 3) on the condition of the war (Jihad) against those who declared lawful (Halal) that which is sinful (Haram). Imam Hasan (a.s.), however, tried to avoid the last condition by saying that it was implicitly included in the first two.

There was not a significant difference between the idea of Imamate, or divine right, expressed by each Imam designating his successor and other ideas of succession at first. Imam Ali (a.s.), before he died, had, on several occasions, expressed his idea that “only the Prophet’s Ahlul Bayt (the members of the house) were entitled to rule the Community”; and Imam Hasan (a.s.), whom he had appointed his inheritor, must have been the obvious choice, as he was also chosen by the people as the 5th Caliph.

It is said that one day the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid questioned the seventh Shiite Imam, Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), saying why he had permitted people to call him “Son of Allah’s Apostle,” while he and his forefathers were Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) daughter’s children. And that “the progeny belongs to the male ((Imam Ali (a.s.)) and not to the female (Fatimah (s.a.))”. In response, Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) recited the verses, Quran, 6:84 and Quran, 6:85, and then asked, “Who is Jesus’s father, O Commander of the faithful?”. “Jesus had no father.” said Harun. Imam Al-kadhim (a.s.) argued that God in these verses had ascribed Jesus to the descendants of the prophets through Mary; “similarly, we have been ascribed to be the descendants of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) through our mother Fatimah (a.s.),” said Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.). It is related that Harun asked Imam Musa  al-Kadhim (a.s.) to give him more evidence and proof. Imam Al-Kadhim (a.s.) thus recited the verse of Mubahala arguing that “None claims that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) made someone enter under the cloak when he challenged the Christians to a contest of prayer to God (mubahala) except Imam Ali (a.s.), Fatimah (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.), and Imam Husayn (a.s.). So in the verse: “Our sons” refers to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husayn (a.s.).

Mu’awiya Refuses Allegiance To Imam:

As soon as the news of Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) selection reached Mu’awiya, who had been fighting Imam Ali (a.s.) for the caliphate, he condemned the selection, and declared his decision not to recognize Imam Hasan (a.s.) as the Caliph. Letters exchanged between Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Mu’awiya before their troops faced each other were to no avail. However, these letters, which are recorded in Shia books, provide useful arguments concerning the rights of his Caliphate. In one of his long letters to Mu’awiya, summoning him to pledge allegiance to him, Imam Hasan (a.s.) made use of the argument of his father, Imam Ali (a.s.), which the latter had advanced against Abu Bakr after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Imam Ali (a.s.) had said: “If Quraysh could claim the leadership over the Ansar on the grounds that the Prophet (pbuh) belonged to Quraysh, then the members of his family, who were the nearest to him in every respect, were better qualified for the leadership of the community.”

Mu’awiya’s response to this argument was irrelevant. For Mu’awiya, while recognizing the excellence of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) family, further asserted that “ he would willingly follow Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) request were it not for his own superior experience in governing:”…You are asking me to settle the matter peacefully and surrender, but the situation concerning you and me today is like the one between you [your family] and Abu Bakr after the death of the Prophet…I have a longer period of reign [probably referring to his governorship], and I am more experienced, better in policies, and older in age than you. …if you enter into obedience to me now, you will accede to the caliphate after (my death)”.

There was further correspondence between Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Mu’awiya with no result so the negotiations stalled.  Mu’awiya summoned all the commanders of his forces in Syria, Palestine, and Transjordan, and began preparations for war. Soon after he marched his army of sixty thousand men through Mesopotamia to Maskin, on the Tigris boundary of Mosul towards the Sawad. Meanwhile, he attempted to negotiate with Imam Hassan (a.s.), sending the young heir letters asking him to give up his claim.

As the news of Mu’awiya’s army reached Imam Hasan (a.s.), he sent someone to his local governors ordering them to get ready to set out, and then addressed the people of Kufa with a lukewarm war speech: “God had prescribed the jihad for his creation and called it a loathsome duty. There was no response at first, as some tribal chiefs, paid by Mu’awiya, were reluctant to move. Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) companions scolded them (tribal chiefs), asking whether they won’t answer to the son of the Prophet’s daughter? Turning to Imam Hasan (a.s.) they assured him of their obedience, and immediately left for the war camp. Imam Hasan (a.s.) admired them and later joined them at al-Nukhayla, where people were coming together in large groups.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) appointed Ubayd Allah ibn al-Abbas as the commander of his vanguard of twelve thousand men to move to Maskin. There he was asked to hold back Mu’awiya’s advance until Imam Hasan (a.s.) arrived with the main army. Ubayd Allah was advised not to fight unless attacked and should consult with Qays ibn Sa’d who was appointed as second in command, if he (Ubayad Allah) were killed.

Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) Sermon and its Aftermath:

While Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) vanguard was waiting for his arrival at Maskin, Imam Hasan (a.s.) himself was facing a serious problem at Sabat near al-Mada’in, where he gave a sermon after morning prayer. In the sermon he declared that he prayed to God to be the most sincere of His creation to His creation; that he bore no resentment nor hatred against any Muslim, nor did he want evil and harm to anyone; and that “whatever they hated in community was better than what they loved in schism”. He was, he continued, looking after their best interests, better than they themselves; and instructed them not to disobey whatever orders he gave them.

When Ubayd Allah arrived with the Kufan vanguard at al-Maskin where Mu’awiya had already reached, the latter sent an envoy to tell them that he had received letters from Imam Hasan (a.s.) asking for an armistice and that he asked the Kufans not to attack until he finished his negotiations with Imam Hasan (a.s.). Mu’awiya’s claim was untrue; since because of his larger military force, he had good reason to think that he could make Imam Hasan (a.s.) to give in. The Kufans, however, insulted Mu’awiya’s envoy and reviled him. Thereafter, Mu’awiya sent the envoy to visit the commander Ubayd Allah in private, and swore to him that Imam Hasan (a.s.) had requested Mu’awiya for a truce, and that Muawiya was offering Ubayd Allah 1,000,000 dirhams, half of which to be paid at once, the other half in Kufa, provided he went over to him. Ubayd Allah accepted the bribe and abandoned at night to Mu’awiya’s camp. Muawiya was extremely pleased and fulfilled his promise to him.

Next morning the Kufans waited for Ubayd Allah to emerge and lead the morning prayer. Then Qays ibn Sa’d took charge and, in his sermon, severely denounced Ubayd Allah, his father and his brother, from whom nothing good had ever come. The people shouted: “Praise be to God that He has removed him from us; stand up with us against our enemy. Believing that the abandonment of Ubayd Allah had broken the spirit of his enemy, Mu’awiyah sent Busr with a troop to make them give up. Qays attacked and drove him back. The next day Busr attacked with a larger troop but was kept back again. Mu’awiyah now sent a letter to Qays offering bribes but Qays replied that he “would never meet him except with a lance (a long arrow shaped weapon).  Suddenly, the news of the riot against Imam Hasan (a.s.) and of his having been wounded arrived, however, both sides abstained from fighting to wait for further news.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) Agrees To A Truce:

Muawiyah who had already started negotiations with Imam Hasan (a.s.), sent high-level envoys, while committing himself in a witnessed letter to appoint Imam Hasan (a.s.) as his successor and give him whatever he wished. Imam Hasan (a.s.) accepted the offer in principle and sent Amr ibn Salima al-Hamdani al-Arhabl and his own brother-in-law Muhammad ibn al-Ash’ath back to Muawiya as his negotiators, together with the envoys of the latter. Muawiyah then wrote a letter saying that he was making peace with Imam Hasan (a.s.) on the basis that Imam Hasan (a.s.) would inherit the reign after him. He swore that he would not seek to harm him; and that he would give him 1,000,000 dirhams from the treasury (Bayt al-mal) annually, along with the land tax of Fasa and Darabjird; to which Imam Hasan (a.s.) was to send his own tax agents to collect it. The letter was witnessed by the four envoys and dated in August 661.When Imam al-Hasan (a.s.) read the letter, he commented: “He is trying to appeal to my greed for a matter which, if I desired it, I would not surrender to him. Then he sent Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, whose mother Hind was Mu’awiya’s sister, to Muawiya, instructing him: “Go to your uncle and tell him: If you grant safety to the people I shall pledge allegiance to you.” Thereafter, Mu’awiya gave him a blank paper with his seal at the bottom, inviting Imam Hasan (a.s.) to write on it whatever he desired. Imam Hasan (a.s.) who was reluctant to engage in bloodshed of Muslims decided to agree to a truce in the interest of public peace and safety. He would surrender the reign over the Muslims to Mu’awiya on the basis that “Mu’wiya would act and abide by the four major conditions of the truce as described below:

  1. That Mu’awiya would follow the holy Qur’an and the tradition of the Holy Prophet.
  2. That Mu’awiya would stop abusing Ali ibn Abu Talib which he had enforced even from pulpits of the Mosques.
  3. That Mu’wiya would give protection of life, property, and honor of Shias, the devotees of Imam Ali.
  4. That Mu’wiya would not appoint any one as his successor to the throne.

The agreement was testified by Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, and Amr ibn Salima and transmitted by them to Muawiyah for him to take recognition of its contents and to confirm his acceptance. Imam Hasan (a.s.), thus, surrendered his control of Iraq in Rabi II 41 AH/August 661 AD after a reign of seven months.

Surrender Ceremony at Kufa:

After the peace treaty with Imam Hasan (a.s.), Mu’awiya set out with his troops to Kufa, where, at a public surrender ceremony, Imam Hasan (a.s.) rose and reminded the people that he and Imam Husayn (a.s.) were the only grandsons of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And that he had surrendered the reign to Mu’awiyah in the best interest of the community: “0 people, surely it was God who led you by the first of us and Who has spared you bloodshed by the last of us. I have made peace with Mu’awiya, and I know not whether this be not for your trial, and that ye may enjoy yourselves’ declared Hasan”.

In his own speech Mu’awiya told them, the reason why he had fought them was not to make them pray, fast, perform the pilgrimage, and give alms, because they had been already doing those. In fact he had fought to be their commander and leader (Amir), and God had bestowed him that against their will. According to some sources, he also said “The agreement I made with (ImamHasan (a.s.) is null and void. It lies trampled under my feet.” Then he shouted: “God’s protection is dissolved from anyone who does not come forth and pledge allegiance. Surely, I have sought revenge for the blood of Uthman, may God kill his murderers, and have returned the reign to those to whom it belongs in spite of the rancor of some people”.

Retirement to Medina

In the nine-year period between Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) abdication in 41 H/660 AD and his death in 49 H/669 AD, Imam Hasan (a.s.) retired in Medina trying to keep aloof from political involvement for or against Mu’awiya. In spite of that, however, he was considered the chief of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) house by the Banu Hashim and the partisans of Imam Ali (a.s.), who pinned their hopes on his final succession to  Mu’awiyah.

Occasionally, however, Shiite, mostly from Kufa, went to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) in small groups, and asked them to be their leaders, a request to which they declined to respond. Imam Hasan (a.s.) has been quoted as commenting, “If Mu’awiya was the rightful successor to the caliphate, he has received it. And if I had that right, I, too, have passed it on to him; so the matter ends there.”  Madelung has quoted Al-Baladhuri, as saying that Imam Hasan (a.s.), on the basis of his peace terms with Mu’awiya, sent his tax collectors to Fasa and Darabjird. The caliph had, however, instructed Abdullah ibn Aamir, governor of Basra, to incite the Basrans to protest that this money belonged to them by right of their conquest. And that they chased Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) tax collectors out of the two provinces. According to Madelung, however, that Imam Hasan (a.s.) would send tax collectors from Medina to Iran, after just having made plain that he would not join Mu’awiya in fighting the Kharijites, is entirely incredible. In any case, as Muawiyah came to know that Imam Hasan (a.s.) would not help his government. Relations between them became worse. Imam Hasan (a.s.) rarely, if ever, visited Mu’awiya in Damascus.

Family Life:

It is related that Imam Hasan (a.s.) spent most of his youth in “making and unmaking marriages”, so that “these easy morals gained him the title mitlaqthe divorcer, which involved Imam Ali (a.s.) in serious enmities”.  Even though he married several times, according to his grandson Abdullah ibn Ḥasan, he never exceeded the four wives  limit allowed by the law. Imam Hasan (a.s.) had 15 sons and 9 daughters. Many of these children died in their early years. It is said that most of these marriages had a political intent in his father’s interest to maintain peaceful and religious relations with different tribal chiefs. One of his daughter Fatima married Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) and became mother of the 5th Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.). Imam Hasan‘s(a.s.) one son Qasim participated in Battle of Karbala and got martyred along with 72 other devotees in 61 AH.

IMAM Poisoned By Wife Jo’da:

The early sources are nearly in agreement that Imam Hasan (a.s.) was poisoned by his wife, Ja’da bint al-Ash’at at the instigation of Mu’awiya and died in the year 670. Imam Husain (a.s.) is said to have refused to name his suspect to Imam Husain (a.s.) for fear that a wrong person be killed in revenge. He was 38 years old when he abdicated the reign to Mu’awiyah who was at the age of 58 at the time. This difference in age indicates a serious obstacle for Mu’awiya, who wanted to nominate his son Yazid as his heir-apparent. This was not possible due to the terms on which Imam Hasan (a.s.) had abdicated to Mu’awiya; and considering the big difference in age, Mu’awiyah had not hoped that Hasan would die before him. Hence, Mu’awiya would naturally be suspected of having a hand in a killing Imam Hasan (a.s.) to remove an obstacle to the succession of his son Yazid.

Imam Hasan‘s (a.s.) burial was another problem which was expected to lead to bloodshed. Imam Hasan (a.s.) had instructed his brothers to bury him near his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but if they feared evil, they were to bury him in Al-Baqi’ cemetery. The Umayyad governor, Saʿid b. al-ʿĀṣ, did not interfere, but Marwan I swore that he would not permit Imam Hasan (a.s.) to be buried near Prophet Muhammad with Abu Bakr and Umar. As the parties were about to fight, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah reminded Imam Husayn (a.s.) of Imam Hasan (a.s.) who made it conditional, saying “unless you fear evil”. “What evil could be greater than what you see?” Said Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah. And so the body was carried to Al-Baqi’  Marwan now joined those carrying the coffin and, when questioned, he said he gave his respect to a man “whose forbearance weighed mountains”.

 

 

Apology:   Last week, in Part #2 it was inadvertently stated Imam Al-Hasan (a.s.) as third Imam instead of the second Imam. Shia Youth Team regrets the error. Should you notice any error or discrepancy, please notify Shia Youth Team by email: Shiayouth.org@Gmail.com. Thank you.

Next week’s installment – The Third  Imam Al-Husain (a.s.) in Part #4.

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Brief Life History of Imam Ali (a.s.) -Part #2

Source: ” Shia Islam At A Glance” By: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee, and Shia Youth Inc. Website www.Shiya-youth.org.
Continued from Part 1.
IMAM ALI  IBN ABU TALIB (A.S.) – PART #2

Saqifah, Ijma – A Controversy:

Sunni Muslims believe that the selection of Abu Bakr as the first Caliph was unanimous at the ijma or the general consensus.  Shia Muslims disagree with that statement and note that there were only three individuals present at the Saqifah to elect the first caliph.  The three individuals were Abu Bakr, Umar bin Khattab, and Abu Ubaida Bin Jarra.   Since no other members of Muslim Umma was invited to Saqifah, Shias believe that it is very likely that a political conspiracy was hatched by these three persons even before the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was buried and while Imam Ali (a.s.) was busy giving final burial rites to the Holy Prophet (pbuh).  Neither Imam Ali (a.s.) nor any of his Bani Hashim tribe members were invited to the ijma. Imam Ali (a.s.) was deliberately not informed about the meeting at Saqifah.

Shia -Sunni Disagreements Over Saqifah:

Sunni Muslims made up several vague arguments for rushing the process of selection of the first caliph and deliberately not inviting Imam Ali (a.s.) or many other learned scholars and companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). They argued that Abu Bakr was more experienced and was a companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and hence he was selected.  This argument is rebutted in the book, Peshawar Nights (p.182), with reference to Tabuk expedition. It is noted that when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) left for the Tabuk expedition, the hypocrites had secretly planned to revolt in Medina during his absence. Therefore, he appointed an experienced man, Imam Ali (a.s.), in Medina as his successor and caliph in order to control the situation even though Abu Bakr and Umar were present.  Also, for the recitation of the verses of the Chapter Al Barra’s (Immunity) of the Holy Qur’an to the infidels of Mecca, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) called back the older Abu Bakr from his half-completed journey and instead sent young Imam Ali (a.s.) to perform this important task. Similarly, to guide the people of Yemen, Holy Prophet (pbuh) selected Imam Ali (a.s.) superseding Abu Bakr, Umar, and others. In short, if Holy Prophet (pbuh) trusted Imam Ali (a.s.) with such important missions over Abu Bakr and Umar, why wouldn’t the ijma select him for the caliphate?

Usama Bin Zaid  who was appointed Commander-In-Chief of the Muslim Army by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself, while designating  Abu Bakr and Umar to work as subordinate to Usama. When Usama learned that Abu Bakr had been appointed a caliph, he was upset and cried aloud, “With whose permission have you appointed a caliph? What was the significance of a handful of people, who, without consulting the companions, appointed a caliph?”.

Shia Scholars See No Justification:

Shia scholars argue that in 617 AD,  Banu Quraysh enforced a boycott against the Banu Hashim.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), along with his supporters from Banu Hashim, were totally cut off in a pass away from Mecca. All social relations with the Banu Hashim were also cut off and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his households were put to a state of imprisonment. Before the atrocities reached to its peak, many Muslims migrated to Ethiopia|Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Abu Bakr, feeling distressed, left the holy prophet, his wife Khadija, and Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) to their own fate in Mecca, and set out for Yemen and then to Abyssinia for shelter. After about two years, when situation somewhat calmed down and he found relief for him in the hands of Quraysh, he returned to Mecca.

Additionally, both Abu Bakr and Umar were sadly disappointed when Holy Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) did not give them the flag to lead an attack on Battle of  Khyber but instead gave it to Imam Ali (a.s.), as the prophet (pbuh) had done in almost all the battles fought during his prophethood. Shia scholars major complaint was that the caliph selectors at Saqifah did neither pay any heed to the Holy Prophet (pbuh)’s forceful declaration in front of a large gathering of Muslims at Ghadeer-e- Khum, where he declared ” Mau Kunto Maulaho fa Haza Aliyun Maulaho” (To whomsoever I am the Master, Ali is the Master) , nor to the numerous statements made publicly by the Holy prophet (pbuh) during his life time. A few such statements are:  “Ali is of me and I  am of Ali”. “We are of one and the same light”. “Ali is to me what Aaron was to Moses”. “Ali’s flesh is my flesh and Ali’s blood is my blood”.  “Ali is my brother in this world and hereinafter.” “I and Ali are fathers of this Muslim nation”. Ahl e Sunnah argue that Imam Ali (a.s.) was too young and too inexperienced to become the first caliph even though he was 33 years of age. As regards Imam Ali’s experience, his knowledge was as vast as that of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who had publicly said ” I AM MADINATUL ILMI WA ALIYUN BABUHA” ( I am city of knowledge Ali is its gate). Imam Ali’s knowledge was not only limited to Islam. Once he said to the Chief Priest (Jalut) of the Jews in a Mosque in Medina, ” I know Torah and Gospel better than thou knowest them. The followers of Moses were divided into seventy-one sects, one of them is safe, the others are lost. The followers of Jesus are divided into seventy -two sects, one of them is safe and rest are lost. And the people of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) will be divided into seventy-three sects, one of them will be on the safe side and others will be lost.” 

Imam Ali’s Refusal of Allegiance to Abu Bakr:

 Most of the scholars, ulemas, and companions of Holy Prophet (pbuh) did not give their allegiance to Abu Bakr.  These included not only Imam Ali (a.s.) but also eighteen persons who were prominent and distinguished companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).  These included veterans such as Salman Farsi, Abu Dhar Gaffari, Ammar-e-Yasir, Sa’d Bin Ubaida, and Abdulla Bin Abbas.

Abu Bakr’s Era:

  Shia sources claim that Imam Ali (a.s.) did not give his oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr at all even after the death of his wife, Fatimah (s.a.), in the year 633 AD. In Shia’s view, Imam Ali (a.s.) never fought in the Ridda wars which were prompted because the Muslims defied the caliphate of Abu Bakr by not paying taxes. In Sahih Bukahri, the daughter of Abu Bakr, wife of Holy Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), Aisha, narrates, after Fadak was taken away by Abu Bakr, Fatima (s.a.), the daughter of Allah’s last Apostle (pbuh), got angry and stopped speaking to Abu Bakr, and continued that attitude until she died.The narration also gives the reason for this anger: Abu Bakr refused to give Lady Fatima bint Mohammad (s.a.) her inheritance. The matter was put on trial where Abu Bakr was the judge. In the trial she gave her famous sermon wherein she asserted her own rights to Fadak, and the rights of her husband, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s.), as successor to her father. Part of the sermon in which the Lady of Light, Fatima Zahra (s.a.) addressing the masses in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the site of the trial, she said: “Nevertheless, I see that you are inclined to easy living; dismissed he who is more worthy of guardianship (Imam Ali (a.s.)); you secluded yourselves with meekness and dismissed that which you accepted… Here it is! Bag it (leadership) and put it on the back of an ill she camel, which has a thin hump with everlasting disgrace, marked with the wrath of Allah”.

After the Fadak trial, Imam Ali’s (a.s.) house was burnt down  in which his wife, Fatima Zahra (s.a.), sustained injuries causing her miscarriage and her eventual death. Abu Bakr had dispatched his nominator, Umar, to have Imam Ali (a.s.) swear the oath of allegiance but, Lady Fatima (s.a.) would not let him through the door so he forced his way into the house. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s.) was put in ropes and dragged like a camel with a rope around his neck and every kind of cruelty and humiliation was leveled against him…
In light of the above noted facts and the Holy prophet’s numerous declarations and statements all pointing towards Imam Ali (a.s.) to be the rightful successor after his death, it is not logical, from Shia point of view, to believe that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s.) gave the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, or to any other caliph.

Umar’s Succession:

Abu Bakr a few days before his death made an eloquent speech in which he insisted that there is no person better than Umar for succession after him. Soon after Abu Bakr’s death in 634AD, Umar became the 2nd caliph without any selection, election, or any kind of approval process by the Muslim Umma.

Ali Asgher Razwy a 20th-century Shia Twelver scholar states in his book (The Restatement of History….):  The second Khalifa, Umar bin Al- Khattab, lived in morbid fear, and expressed his utter hatred for Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), and never wanted him to become caliph of the Muslims. Once it was reported to him that some one said that after his (Umar’s ) death, he would acknowledge Imam Ali (a.s.) as the  3rd caliph. This greatly alarmed Umar, and he immediately warned the Muslims against doing so.

  Selection of Uthman as Khalifa:

Umar, on his deathbed,  appointed six Muhajireen as members of a panel which was to choose one out of themselves as the future khalifa of the Muslims. They were Imam Ali (a.s.), Uthman, TalhaZubayrAbdur Rahman bin Auf and Saad bin Abi Waqqas. Except Imam Ali (a.s.), all other members of the panel were capitalists, or rather, neo-capitalists. When they came from Mecca, they were penniless and homeless but within twelve years, i.e., from the death of Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh) in 632 to the death of Umar in 644, each of them, except Imam Ali (a.s.), had become filthy rich like Croesus. Between these two dates, they had accumulated immense wealth, and had become the richest men of their times. Imam Ali (a.s.) did not qualify as a member of this exclusive panel but Umar included him anyway. Apart from the fact that Imam Ali made his living as a gardener whereas his other five co-members lived on the revenues of their lands and estates, there was another gulf, even more unbridgeable, that separated him from them. In character, personality, temperament, attitudes, philosophy and outlook on life, Imam Ali (a.s.) and the rest of them were the antithesis of each other.

 Umar summoned Abdur Rahman bin Auf and gave him directives in private to select a successor to be the next caliph. Abdur Rahman sensed and knew exactly whar Umar wanted him to do. Umar called Abu Talha, a commander, and told him: God has given honor to Islam through you “the Ansar” , and now you take your 50 armed men to watch the members of electoral committee, and do not let them disperse without choosing a khalifa which they must do in three days. 

Abdur Rahman, being  the key figure of the electoral committee, made himself a chairman of the committee. Imam Ali (a.s.) hesitated to accept Abdur Rahman as the chairman, and  put a condition that  he (Abdur Rahman) will not be a slave to his lusts, and that his decision will be taken only to win the pleasure of God and His Messanger.  Abdur Rahman readily gave his pledge to do so.

 Abdur Rahman held a series of meetings with all candidates to find a satisfactory solution of the problem but his efforts bore no fruits. The first two days ended in stalemate. On the third day, the choice of becoming khalifa was narrowed down to only two men, Imam Ali (a.s.) and Uthman bin Affan.  Abdur Rahman consulted Amr bin Aas and  developed a plan which will checkmate Imam Ali (a.s.).

On the following morning, Muslims assembled in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet in Madina, where  Abdur Rahman made the announcement of the purpose of the gathering and called upon the Muslims to abide by the decision of  the electoral committee which Umar had appointed. The situation turned tense, and every one became anxious to learn of the Committee’s decision.  Abdur Rahman got up and  held Imam Ali (a.s.) ‘s hand and posed the following question:

            ” If we give you charge of the government of the Muslims and put you in authority over  their affairs, do you solemnly promise to act according to the Book of God, the Sunnah of His Apostle, and the precedents of Abu Bakr and Umar?”. Imam Ali replied: “I shall act according to the Book of  God, and the Sunnah of His Apostle. As for following the  precedents of Abu Bakr and Umar, I have a judgment of my own, and I am going to use it”  .

Imam Ali (a.s.) knew just what would happen next. Abdur Rahman turned to Uthman, and repeated the same question to him. Uthman immediately agreed and thus became the third  khalifa of Muslims. Imam Ali (a.s.) protested, and said to Abdur Rahman: “It is not the first time that you have deprived the heirs and children of  Muhammad, the Apostle of God, of their rights through treachery. For this you are answerable to God.  But for me it is better to put my trust in God Who Alone is Just, Fair, and Merciful”.  Imam Ali (a.s.) thus declared publicly that precedents of Abu Bakr and Umar were not  acceptable to him.  Once Uthman  approached Imam Ali (a.s.) to offer him some of his wealth,  Imam Ali then told him,  “by Allah, you have no right to give me any of it, nor do I have any right to take any of it.”

Khalifa Uthman’s Rule with Wide Spread Corruption:

When Uthman became khalifa, the happiness of Banu Umayya knew no limits. Life for them, they knew, would be all cream and peaches.  Abu Sufyan, 90 year old and blind, visited the new khalifa and congratulated him on his selection.  Abu Sufyan gave him the following advice:

            “It is after a long time that khilafat has come to us. Now kick it around, like a ball, and use it to strengthen Banu Umayya.  This new power which now you have in       your hands, is every thing…..” Uthman loved his own clan, the Banu Umayya. The Umayyads were the arch-enemies of Islam, and they had fought  against the Holy Prophet (pbuh) for more than two decades. Now suddenly, Uthman made them masters of the vast Muslim empire. Uthman opened the gates of public treasury to his relatives and friends. He gave them rich presents, vast estates, and high ranks and positions in the Government.  He appointed his uncle Hakkam as collector of taxes, Hakam’s son, Marwan, as his prime Minister. His two sons-in-law received gifts of 300,000 to 600,000 dirhams from public treasury.  Abdullah, his half-brother, whom the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) had ordered to be executed as an apostate, was appointed as Governor of Egypt, and Mu’awiyah, an enemy of Islam, Governor of Syria.  All the Government appointees including  governors were found abusing powers and plundering public treasury in every province of the Muslim empire.

The  corruptions and mismanagement brought a lot of anger and dissatisfactions among the general public. Abu Dharr El-Ghafari, a companion of the Prophet (pbuh), protested against the widespread injustices and embezzlement of public funds. Khalifa Uthman banished  him  to Rebza Desert.  Public dissatisfaction and anger gradually spread all over the khilaphat, including Medina. One day, a crowd of angry Muslims entered the palace, captured the Khalifa, and killed him, while his relatives like Marwan, and others, succeeded in escaping through a secret door.

Imam Ali (a.s.) Becomes 4th Khalifa:

After assassination of Uthman, the third Khalifa, in the year 656 AD, Imam Ali (a.s.) was offered to become the fourth khalifa. He first refused to become khalifa because his most vigorous supporters were rebels. However, when some notable companions of the Holy prophet (pbuh) and the residents of Medina urged him to accept the position, he finally agreed. After becoming the 4th khalifa, Imam Ali (a.s.) soon met with resistance from several factions, owing to his relative political inexperience. Imam Ali (a.s.) moved his capital from Medina to Kufa. The resulting conflict, which lasted from 656 AD until 661 AD, is known as the First Fitna (“civil war”). Mu’awiyah I, the governor of Syria, a relative of Uthman ibn al-Affan and Marwan I, wanted the murderers of Uthman arrested.  Marwan I manipulated everyone and created conflict.  Aisha, the wife of Holy Muhammad (pbuh), and Talhah and Al-Zubayr, two of the companions of  Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), went to Basra to tell Imam Ali (a.s.) to arrest the suspects who murdered Uthman.  Marwan I and other people who wanted conflict manipulated everyone to fight. The two sides clashed at the Battle of the Camel in 656 AD, where Imam Ali (a.s.) won a decisive victory.

Following this battle, Imam Ali (a.s.) fought a battle against Mu’awiyah, known as the Battle of Siffin. The battle was almost won by Imam Ali (a.s.) when it was stopped suddenly before either side had achieved victory, as the two parties agreed to arbitrate their dispute.  After the battle, Amr ibn al-As was appointed by Mu’awiyah as an arbitrator, and Imam Ali (a.s.) appointed Abu Musa Ashaari. Seven months later, in February 658, the two arbitrators met at Adhruh, about 10 miles northwest of Maan in Jordan. Amr ibn al-As convinced Abu Musa Ashaari that both Imam Ali (a.s.) and Mu’awiyah should step down and a new caliph be elected. Imam Ali (a.s.) and his supporters were stunned by the decision which had lowered the caliph, Imam Ali (a.s.), to the status of the rebellious Mu’awiyah I. Imam Ali (a.s.) was therefore outwitted by Mu’awiyah and Amr. Imam Ali (a.s.) refused to accept the verdict and found himself technically in breach of his pledge to abide by the arbitration. This put Imam Ali (a.s.) in a weak position even amongst his own supporters. The most vociferous opponents in Imam Ali’s (a.s.) camp were the very same people who had forced Imam Ali (a.s.) into the ceasefire. They broke away from Imam Ali’s (a.s.) force, rallying under the slogan, “arbitration belongs to God alone.” This group came to be known as the Kharijites (“those who leave”). In 659 AD, Imam Ali’s (a.s.) forces and the Kharijites met in the Battle of Nahrawan. Although Imam Ali (a.s.) won the battle, the Kharijites caused so much trouble that in both the early Sunni and the early Shia books Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “You should be beware of division because the one isolated from the group is a prey to Satan just as the one isolated from the flock of sheep is a prey to the wolf.”

While dealing with the Iraqis, Imam Ali (a.s.) found it hard to build a disciplined army and effective state institutions to exert control over his areas and as a result later spent a lot of time fighting the Kharijites.  Imam Ali (a.s.) was assassinated by Kharijites in 661 AD. On the 19th of Ramadan 40 AH, while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Imam Ali (a.s.) was attacked by the Kharijite Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam. He was wounded by ibn Muljam’s poison-coated sword while prostrating in the Fajr prayer.

Imam Ali (a.s.), who lived 59 years, spent all his life in inspiring the Muslim Ummah to practice the pillars of Islam, give charity, and be humble, truthful, patient, and obedient, specifically to parents and elderly. Those who possessed these qualities will be rewarded by Allah the Almighty, see the Quran verse 33:35. From his marriage with the Lady of Light Fatima Zahra (s.a.), he had five children, Al-Hasan, Al-Husain, Zainab, Umm Kulthum, and Mohsin.

 

United Nations Comments on NAHJ AL- BALAGHA

 

Un Secretariat, the Committee on Human Rights in New York under  the chairmanship of the Secretary General Kofi Annan issued, in 2002 AD the historic resolution.

“The Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib is considered the fairest governor who appeared during human history (After Prophet Muhammad)”.  UN declaration was based on document of 160 pages in English. UN was specifically impressed with  Quotations  and Letters in Nahj al- Balagha, specifically by content of  Letter No 53 which Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) wrote to his governor Malik ibn Ashtar describing in detail the rules of governance, more importantly the emphasis on just and fair treatment with minorities like Christian and Jews.

For this reason, the World Organizations for Human Rights called the rulers of the world to follow the example of his sound and humanitarian method in ruling which revealed the spirit of social justice and peace,.

The United Nations has advised Arab countries to take Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) as  an example in establishing a regime based  on justice and democracy and encouraging knowledge

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in its 2002 Arab Human Development Report distributed around the world, listed six sayings of Imam Ali (a.s.) about local governance.

1. He who appointed himself Imam (ruler) of the people must begin by teaching himself before teaching others. His teachings of others must be first by setting an example rather than with his words, for he who begins by teaching and educating himself is more worthy of respect than he who teaches and educates others”

2. “Your concern with developing the land should be greater than your concern for collecting taxes, for the latter can only be by developing, whereas he who seeks revenue without development destroys the country and the people”

3. “Seek the company of learned and wise in search of solving the problems of  your country and the righteousness of your people.”

4. ” No good can come out in keeping silent to the government or in speaking out of ignorance.”

5. The righteous are men of virtue, whose logic is straightforward , whose dress is unostentatious, whose path is modest,  whose actions are many to the needy, and who re undeterred by difficulties.”

6.” Choose the best among your people to administer justice among them. Choose someone who does not easily give up , who is unruffled by enmities, someone who will not persist in wrong doing , who will not hesitate to pursue right  once he knows it, someone whose heart knows no greed, who will not be satisfied with  a minimum of explanation without seeking the maximum of understanding, who will be the most steadfast when doubt is cast, who will be the least impatient  in correcting the opponent, the most patient in pursuing the truth,  the most stern in meting out judgment, someone who is unaffected by flattery and not swayed by temptation and these are but few.”

Ref:  UN  Arab Human Development Report 2002.

 ________..________

Next week – The Third Holy Imam Hasan (a.s.) in Part #3

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Brief Life History of Imam Ali (a.s.)

 

IMAM ALI  IBN ABU TALIB (A.S.) – PART #1

Sources: “Shia Islam At A Glance” By: Molana Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee, and Shia Youth Inc. website: www.Shia-youth.org.  

 

Under miraculous circumstances, Hadhrat Abu Talib’s wife, Fatima bint Asad, gave  birth to a baby boy in the most sacred sanctuary of Ka’bah, Mecca, on 13 Rajab 21 BH (Before Hijrat). Ka’bah is the holiest place in Islam. It was only two or three days after the birth, the Holy prophet (pbuh) took the new born into his arms.  The child immediately opened his eyes and the first person he saw was the Prophet of Islam (pbuh). The Holy  prophet named him “Ali” meaning the exalted one.  Imam Ali’s father, Abu Talib, who was uncle of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), was at that time custodian of Ka’bah and a Sheikh of Banu Hashm tribe. Imam Ali’s mother, Fatima bint Asad, also belonged to Banu Hashim, thus making Imam Ali a descendent of Prophet Ishmael (pbuh) who was the son of Prophet Abraham (pbuh).

When the Holy prophet was orphaned and later lost his grand father, Abdul Muttalib, Abu Talib took the nephew to his home and shouldered full responsibility of supporting him. The Holy prophet (pbuh)  thus had close relationship with his uncle Abu Talib. Imam Ali was born approximately three years after the Holy Prophet had married Khadija bint Khuwaylid. When Ali was five or six years old, a famine occurred in and around Mecca affecting seriously the financial conditions of his father Hadhrat Abu Talib.  The Holy prophet brought Ali to live with him in his home. Upon the Holy prophet’s declaration of Islam, Imam Ali was the first young male who accepted Islam.

For ten years the Holy prophet (pbuh) propagated Islam and guided the community in Medina. Imam Ali (a.s.) was active in his services as Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) deputy, serving in Muslim armies as bearer of banner in almost all battles. In the year 623 the Holy Prophet told Imam Ali (a.s.) that God had ordered him to give his daughter Fatima Zahra to Imam Ali (a.s.) in marriage.  After the marriage, the prophet said to Fatima, “I have married you to a noble person who is dearest to me”. Imam Ali (a.s.) had four children born to Fatima. The family is glorified by the holy prophet by declaring it his Ahlul-Bayt (holy household) in events such as Mubahila or the Hadith of Event of Cloak (referred to above). The family was also glorified in the Quran in several cases such as “The verse of purification”.  Imam Ali (a.s.) and Fatima’s two sons, Hasan and Husain, were cited by the Holy prophet as his own sons, and honored them numerous times in his life time, and titled them “the leaders of the youth of Jannah (the Heaven)” .Imam Ali’s (a.s.) and Fatima’s marriage lasted until Fatima’s death ten years later. Although polygamy was permitted, Imam Ali (a.s.) did not marry another woman while Fatima was alive. After Fatima’s death, Imam Ali (a.s.) had taken other wives and had fathered several children.

With the exception of Battle of Tabouk, Imam Ali (a.s.) took part in all battles fought for Islam. He distinguished himself as a superb warrior in 624 AH at the Battle of Badar by, defeating the Umayyad champion, Wali ibn Utba, and killing approximately 30 enemy soldiers.

Imam Ali (a.s.) was also prominent in the ”’Battle of Uhud”  which  was fought on 3 Shawwal  3 AH in the valley located in front of Mount Uhud, in what is now northwestern Arabian Peninsula. It occurred between a force from the Muslim community of Medina led by the Holy prophet (pbuh) and a force led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from Mecca, the town from which many of the Muslims had previously immigrated to Medina. The Battle of Uhud was the second military encounter between the Meccans and the Muslims, preceded by the Battle of Badr which had occurred 17 Ramadhan, 2 AH, where a small Muslim army had defeated a larger Meccan army.

Marching out from Mecca towards Medina on March 11, 625 AD, the Meccans desired to avenge their losses at Badr and strike back at Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers. The Muslims readied themselves for war soon afterwards, and the two armies fought on the slopes and plains of Mount Uhud.

Whilst outnumbered, the Muslims gained the early initiative and forced the Meccan lines to retreat, thus leaving much of the Meccan camp unprotected. When the battle looked to be only one step away from a decisive Muslim victory,  a serious mistake was committed by a part of the Muslim army, which altered the outcome of the battle. A breach of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) orders by the Muslim who left their assigned posts to despoil the Meccan camp, allowed a surprise attack from the Meccan cavalry, led by Meccan war veteran Khalid ibn al-Walid, which brought chaos to the Muslim ranks. Many Muslims were killed, and even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was badly injured. The Muslims had to withdraw up the slopes of Uhud. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory.

In legend, the exclamation ”lā fata ʾillā ʿAlī lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār” is attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who is said to have uttered it in the Battle of Uhud in praise of Ali’s exploit of splitting the shield and helmet of the strongest Meccan warriors, shattering his own sword in the same stroke. Thereafter, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is said to have given his own sword Dhu-l-Fiqar to Imam Ali (a.s.) to replace the broken sword.

According to the Shia Twelvers, Dhū al-Fiqār is currently in possession of the “hidden” Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (a.s.)

Imam Ali (a.s.) was commander of Muslim army in the Battle of Khyber. Following this battle, the Holy prophet (pbuh) gave Imam Ali (a.s.) the name Asadullah which in Arabic means “Lion of God”. Imam Ali (a.s.) is also known by other titles such as Al-Murtadha (The Chosen One), Amir Al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful),  Bab-e-Madinatul-ilm (Door to the City of Knowledge),   Abu Turab (Father of the Soil), and Hyder (Brave Heart).

Imam Ali (a.s.) also defended the prophet of Islam in the Battle of Hunayn in the year 630 AD. After the death of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Imam Ali (a.s.) had expected to be the leader and the first Khalifa of the Muslim Umma based on the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) pronouncement at Ghadir-e-Khum. Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had prepared Imam Ali (a.s.) to take the responsibility of protecting the Quran, preserving the principles of Islam, and guiding the Ummah to the right path.

 

Succession 

Saqifah:  After Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) death, a sudden panic overcame the many tribes within the Arabian Peninsula. The question was of succession as to who would receive the caliphate. Though it was well known through many traditions related by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and in the Quran as to who was to succeed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), viz. Imam Ali (a.s.), a small number of prominent companions went to the “Saqifah Banu Sa’ida” or Saqifah, a roofed building used by the tribe of Sa’ida, in the city of Medina, to decide amongst themselves as to who was going to lead the Muslims. Companions such as Abu BakrUmar ibn al-Khattab, and Sa’d ibn Ubadah, who was killed later, were present at the Saqifah. The small secret band of companions exchanged arguments until the majority gave their bay’at (allegiance) to Abu Bakr. All these maneuverings took place in a hurry while Imam Ali (a.s.) and the rest of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) close family were washing his body for burial. The choice of Abu Bakr as the first caliph was disputed by some of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) companions, who held that Imam Ali (a.s.) had been designated his successor by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself.

An 18th century mirror writing in Ottoman calligraphy depicts the phrase, ‘Ali is the vicegerent of God’, in both directions. Later when Fatima (s.a.) and Imam Ali (a.s.) sought aid from the companions in the matter of Imam Ali’s (a.s.) right to the caliphate, they answered, “O daughter of the Messenger of God! We have given our allegiance to Abu Bakr. If Imam Ali (a.s.) had come to us before this, we would certainly not have abandoned him. Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Was it fitting that we should wrangle over the caliphate even before the Prophet (pbuh) was buried?'”

Following his election to the caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar, with a few other companions, headed to Fatimah’s house to force Imam Ali (a.s.) and his supporters who had gathered there to take their allegiance for Abu Bakr as a Caliph. Thereafter, it is alleged that Umar Ibn Khattab threatened to set Imam Ali’s (a.s.) house on fire, unless they came out and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. It is also alleged that Umar Ibn Khattab set the house on fire and pushed the burnt door on Fatimah (a.s.), who was pregnant at the time, causing her to miscarry. Some sources say, upon seeing them, Imam Ali (a.s.) came out but was put in chains by Umar and his companions. Fatimah (s.a.), in support of her husband, started a commotion and threatened to “uncover her hair”, at which Abu Bakr relented and withdrew. Imam Ali (a.s.) is reported to have said repeatedly that had there been forty men with him he would have resisted. When Abu Bakr’s selection to the caliphate was presented as a fait accompli, Imam Ali (a.s.) withheld his oath of allegiance even after the death of Fatimah (s.a.) . Imam Ali (a.s.) did not actively assert his own right because he did not want to throw the nascent Muslim community into strife.

Fatimah (s.a.) had asked Imam Ali (a.s.) not to allow the caliphate or any of his followers to join in her burial. Six to seven months after her father’s death, Fatimah (a.s.) herself died. As Imam Ali (a.s.) was readying her body for burial, he felt her broken ribs (broken when she was wounded by Umar and those who tried to burn her house) and started crying. In the darkness of the night, Imam Ali (a.s.) took her body for burial. The next day the Caliph and his followers wanted to disinter her body to pray over it, but Imam Ali (a.s.) did not allow this. 

This contentious issue caused Muslims to later split into two groups, Sunni and Shia. Shias believe that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) explicitly named Imam Ali (a.s.) as his successor at Ghadir e Khumm and at many other occasions. Shia believe that Muslim leadership belonged to Imam Ali (a.s.) which had been determined by divine order.

The two groups also disagree on Imam Ali’s (a.s.) attitude towards Abu Bakr, and the two caliphs who succeeded him: Umar Ibn Khattab and Uthman Ibn Affan. Sunni Muslims tend to stress Imam Ali’s (a.s.) acceptance and support of their rule, while the Shia Muslims claim that he distanced himself from them, and that he was being kept from fulfilling the religious duty that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had assigned him. Sunnis maintain that if Imam Ali (a.s.) was the rightful successor as ordained by God Himself, then it would have been his duty as leader of the Muslim nation to make war with these people (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) until Imam Ali (a.s.) established the decree. Shias contend that Imam Ali (a.s.) did not fight Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman, because he did not have the military strength and, if he had decided to, it would have caused a civil war amongst the Muslims. Imam Ali (a.s.) also believed that he could fulfill his role of Imam’ate without fighting. Imam Ali (a.s.) defended his position on Caliphate in his book, Nahjul Balaga, Khutba or the Sermon (3) of ash-Shiqshiqiyyah, Amir al-mu’minih’s view about the First three Caliphs’rule, troubles created by the opponents during his own rule, p.105-118.

Imam Ali (a.s.) himself was firmly convinced of his legitimacy for caliphate based on his close kinship with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his intimate association with and his knowledge of Islam and his merits in serving its cause.

According to Shia historical reports, Imam Ali (a.s.) maintained his right to the caliphate and said:

“By Allah the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the Caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill…I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it… I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Umar Ibn al-Khattab after himself”.

 

Ali’s Proclamation to Infidels:

Imam Ali (a.s.) recalled one of the divine revelations pertained to him. In the end of the ninth year after migration (631 AD), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh and his Progeny) sent from Medina a delegation of over 50 Muslims to perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way. Abu Bakr was appointed as the leader of the delegates.

Some time after Abu Bakr and his party had left for Hajj, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received  a revelation through Archangel Gibrael about the regulations of the Hajj, and the ordering of disgust towards the infidels. It was also revealed (Qur’an Chapter IX) that the proclamation to infidels should come from Prophet himself or by one from him.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) summoned Imam Ali (a.s.), and asked him to proclaim the revealed verses to the people on the day of Eid al-Azha when they assembled at Mina, Saudi Arabia.  Imam Ali (a.s.) immediately went forth on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) slit-eared camel, and overtook Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr thought Imam Ali (a.s.) had brought special order or message of the Prophet (pbuh). Imam Ali (a.s.) said that he had  come to replace Abu Bakr and that his  mission  was to make a proclamation to the infidels.  

At Mecca, on the day of Eid ul-Adha, Imam Ali (a.s.) read the proclamation on behalf of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The main points of the proclamation were:

  1. Henceforward the non-Muslims were not to be allowed to visit the Ka’bah   or perform    the pilgrimage.
  2. No one should circumambulate the Ka’bah naked (as was a pagen custom).
  3. Polytheism was not to be tolerated. Where the Muslims had any agreement with the polytheists, such agreements would be honored for the stipulated periods. Where there were no agreements, a grace period of four months was provided and thereafter no  extention was to be given to the polytheists.

 

From the day this proclamation to infidels was made, a new era dawned in Arabia. Hence forward, Islam alone was to be supreme in Arabia.

Shia scholars advance an argument  that as on this occasion the proclamation was read by Imam Ali (a.s.) on behalf of  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), this establishes the precedence of Imam Ali (a.s.)’s over Abu Bakr for the succession as Khalifa. Therefore, after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), when Abu Bakr became the Khalifa, in disregard of the claims of Imam Ali (a.s.), Shia scholars claim Abu Bakr was an usurper………….

 

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART #2 NEXT WEEK. The Status of Free Ziyaraat Plan will also be provided next week  insha’Allah.
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Chart of The Infallible Holy Fourteen (a.s.)

Chart of The Infallible Holy Fourteen (a.s.)

 

 

The following ia a historical Chart which consists of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Ahlul-Bait (a.s.)  comprised of his daughter Fatema Zahra (s.a.) and the twelve Holy Imams. All of them are infallible since they are divinely purified (Holy Qur’an verse 33:33) and chosen by Allah the Almighty. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) stated: “Likeness of my Ahlul Bait is that of Arc of Noah, he who got into it is saved, he who turned away from it got himself drowned and lost”. 

In the following weeks, Shia Youth Inc. intends to provide brief life history of each of the twelve Holy Imams in short weekly installments by emails. The first part will be sent out on Friday March 27, 2020 insha’Allah. All parts will gradually posted under this Category.

Corrections: Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) death date is 7 Ziqaad and not 7 Zilhijja.