In Islamic parlance deputyship means 'representation' and deputy means 'representative and plenipotentiary'. Hence the deputy of Imam (A. S.) means that he is an intermediary between the people and Imam (A.S.). This implies that he conveys the message of Imam (A. S.) to the people, refers the questions and problems of the people to Imam (A.S.) and in turn delivers the replies and solu¬tions given by Imam (A.S.) to the people. He is known as 'the Deputy of Imam (A.S.)
Hitherto we have read about the false claimants of' Mahdaviyat in various articles and more or less we are aware of their lives and times. In the history of Islam some men were such who claimed the 'Special Deputyship' of Imam-e-Zaman (A. S.) but the divine chastisement descended on them in such a way that their names disappeared into the oblivion. But history has neatly preserved their names in its indelible annals, only to expose their mischief for the common masses, so that they may become aware, learn a lesson and may not commit the formidable mistake of claiming the deputyship for themselves.
In Islamic parlance deputyship means 'representation' and deputy means 'representative and plenipotentiary'. Hence the deputy of Imam (A. S.) means that he is an intermediary between the people and Imam (A.S.). This implies that he conveys the message of Imam (A. S.) to the people, refers the questions and problems of the people to Imam (A.S.) and in turn delivers the replies and solu¬tions given by Imam (A.S.) to the people. He is known as 'the Deputy of Imam (A.S.)
The Types of Deputyship:
There are two types of Deputyship:
(1) Special Deputyship and
(2) General Deputyship.
Special Deputyship purports that some person isappointed as a deputy of Imam (A.S.), directly by Imam (A.S.) himself with his name. Then this person is the special deputy of Imam (A.S.). He is given the right to contact Imam (A. S.) directly whenever he deems fit or whenever they were faced with an unsolvable problem or some calamity befell them. The series of special deputyship continued upto 329 A.H.
This era, where special deputies met Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.) directly is known as Minor Occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sughra). The period since 329 A.H. upto this date and uptill the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) is called The Major Occultation (Ghaibat-e-Kubra). Those scholars who are executing their tasks as deputies of Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.).
in this era, are known as 'General Deputies' of lmam (A.S.). Particularly those highly learned jurists (Marjae-Taqleed) are 'General Deputies' of lmam (A.S.) then whosoever claims special deputyship in Ghaibat-e-Kubra is a blatant liar. Although the special deputyship was assigned by Imam (A. S.), but of course it was approved by Allah and since this status was regarded as very sublime and high and hence some wayward, greedy, wanton, power-crazy and naive persons who wanted to enjoy the privileges of this position claimed special deputyship.
Allah disgraced and defamed them by unmasking their true faces. In this article we shall briefly mention the life-sketch of such imposters, who mendaciously claimed the special deputyship and were declared as apostates forever. As the list of false claimants of Mahdaviyat is long in history, so is the list of false claimants of special deputyship.
The Special Deputies and Intermediaries:
Since the special deputies were an intermediary between the common populace and Imam (A.S.) and conveyed the messages and solutions to the problems from Imam (A. S.) to the people. Hence even these false claimants also claimed to be intermediaries and consequently a whole lot of naive people rallied around them. Shaikh Mufid (A.R.) and Shaikh Tusi (A.R.) in their respective books 'Al-Ghaibat', Saved Mohsin Jabal Aameli in his book 'Ayanush Shia' and Allama Majlisi in his book 'Beharul Anwar' have recorded the life-history of some of the false claimants of special deputyship. A few of those imposters are mentioned over here:-
1 - Abu Mohammed Hasan Shariee.
He was the first person to claim the special deputyship. He was regarded as the com¬panion oflmam Ali Naqi (A.S.) and Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.) during their respective times. Though he claimed the most coveted post but was not benefited to the least because he desired for such a position which was already decided by Allah andHis Prophet. This infamy and ignominy became his lot. Imam (A.S.) cursed him in his Epistle and Shias were told to keep aloof from him thus his infidelity was disclosed and his fate was sealed. (Ayanush-Shia, Persian Translation Vol. 4 pg. 59, Beharul-Anwar Vol. 5 pg. 367)
There is also a sect named after Shariee by the name of Shuraiyye. They are considered as Ghulaat (extremists) and Hululiye (believers in incarnation).
(Khandaane-Nauhakhti by Abhas Iqhal pg. 235)
2 - Mohammed bin Naseer Numairi:
He claimed deputyship in the tenure of the second special deputy Mohammed bin Usman, In short, he claimed for the position of Janab Mohammed bin Usman Amri but because of his apostasy and paganistic claim Allah the Almighty disgraced . him. Mohammed bin Usman Amri also cursed him. When he learnt of this he went to the house of Amri for apology but was not allowed to enter the house. He not only claimed the deputyship but also claimed for prophet hood. He was also one of the extremists, was convinced of the divinity of Imam Hadi (A.S.) and posed as a Prophet sent by him. Unfortunately some persons gathered around him too and a new sect came into existence by the name of 'Numairiyyah.
He opined that marriage was permitted with 'Mahram' (those ladies with whom Islam has forbidden the marriage viz. mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, granddaughters, nieces, aunts, etc.) also considered homosexuality as permissible. Mohammed bin Musa Hasan bin Furaat promoted his religion. When he grew old, his tongue was literally tied and hardly he could speak anything. When people inquired of him about his successor. He grumbled: "Ahmed", Nobody could understand anything and as a result his followers were divided into three groups. A group followed his son Ahmed, while another went after Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Musa Hasan bin Faraat and the third group made Ahmed bin Abil Husain bin Bashr their leader.(Ayaniish Shia, Persian translation, pg. 959-60, Behar, vol. 51, pg. 267)
3 - Abu Tahir Mohammed bin Ali bin Hilal:
Abu Tahir was enumerated among the companions of Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.). But he denied the deputyship of Mohammed bin Usman Amri and claimed the same for himself. It is reported that he was having some 'Sahme Imam' with himself which he did not give to Mohammed bin Usman Amri and claimed the deputyship for himself. The Shias rebuked and lambasted him and later an Epistle came foreboding his fate of destruction. (Al Ghaibat-Tusi, pg. 260)
4 - Husain bin Mansure Hallaj:
He was a Bezai Sufi and wanted to preach his ideals in the centers of Shias like Qum and Baghdad, which were prominent in the time of Ghaibate-Sughra. Thus to achieve his end he extensively traveled in Shia cities and made some followers. When he reached Qum and while during the course of meeting with Shia Scholars he introduced himself as a special deputy, he was condemned severely and had to flee from Qum.
Infact Hallaj harbored animosity towards the clan of Naubakhti and when in the year 305 A.H., Janab Abul Qasim Husain bin Rauh Naubakhti became the third special deputy then in order to give vent to his enmity he claimed the deputyship of Imam (A.S.). Hallaj was very cunning and crafty. He planned to win over Abu Sahl Ismaile-Naubakhti who was himself an honored elder, a pragmatic scholar and an influential statesman. He wielded a tre¬mendous clout among the masses and in the court. Hallaj knew that if he would convert then a big chunk of people will come under his command.
Thus he wrote to Abu Sahl: "I am a deputy of Sahebuz Zaman (A. S.) and am instructed by his honored self to write to you and whatever Imam (A.S.) has decided. I should aid and assist you so that you may believe in him and may not grope into doubt and skepticism." Abu Sahl was intel¬ligent enough to read between the lines. Hence he gave a quixotic reply. "I have heard a lot about your miraculous abilities and hence I seek a solution from you for a minor problem of mine.
I am in love with my maid and many of her clan-men are under my influence. But the problem is that I cannot express my love to her because on any Friday if I miss to dye my mane then perchance my old age will be revealed and she will dump me for good. This is the only problem which is constantly harassing me, I wish if I could get rid of this problem. If you could turn my grey hair into black then I will accept your invitation wholeheartedly. I will be convinced of your beliefs and moreover I will preach your ideology." When Hallaj read this shrewd reply of Abu Sahl, he understood that he could not achieve his aim and thus was disappointed from Abu Sahl. Abu Sahl scoffed at his apostasy and disbelief and castigated him to an immeasurable extent.(Khandane-Nauhakhfi hy Ahbas Iqbal, pg. Ill to 114 quoted from Ghaihat, pg. 261 & 262, Shaikh Tnsi and Fehriste Tusi.pg. 233)
5 - Abu Jafar Mohammad bin Ali Shalmaghani: He was popularly known as Ibn Abil Azaqir. He was very much revered among Bani Bastaam for Husain bin Rauh Naubakhti, the third deputy himself has accorded honor to him, because initially Shalmaghani was a genuine be¬liever and had written a lot many books based on Shia beliefs. The books were accumulated and approved by Hussain bin Rauh Naubakhti. He was astrayed from the right path when Hussain bin Rauh Naubakhti went in reclusion for awhile. In this period Hussain bin Rauh made him his deputy so that he may serve as a link between the masses and Hussain bin Ruh. His aberrations began inZilhajj of 312 A.H. and in the same year an Epistle was received from Imam (A.S.) cursing him to the core. (Khandane-Naubakhti pg. 418)
Whatever paganistic ideas and falsehood he was spreading among Bani Bastaan he was ascribing the same towards Hussain bin Ruh. When Hussain bin Rauh got this intelligence, he immediately wrote to Bani Bastaan to curse Shalmaghani and drive him off. But Bani Bastaan did not react because somehow Shalmaghani convinced them that because he had exposed Hussain bin Rauh hence he has written such a letter against me.
He also added that it is such a closely-guarded secret that its truth will not be grasped except by the Ulul-Azm Prophets or Great Angels or those believers whose faith has been tested. When Hussain bin Ruh learnt of such mendacious state¬ments of Shalmaghani he again wrote to Bani Bastaan to curse him and remain aloof from him. When Bani Bastaan showed this letter to Shalmaghani, he started weeping and wailing and said, "The meaning of Hussain bin Ruh's words are profound the depth of which could not be understood. As he had written curse (La'nat) upon mewhich implies'distancing from thewrath of Allah' and not from mercy of Allah. Nowlhave recognized my actual position." But when this crocodi Ie tears could not affect Bani Bastaan then he started dabbing his face with sand and started expressing remorse over himself in these words:
"Alas! If only you would have kept this secret.' When the people did not trust him anymore. He maintained a stiff silence for a while and then declared that the spirit of Holy Prophet (S.A.) had incarnated into Mohammad bin Usman Amri, the spirit of Hazrat Ali (A.S.) has entered into Hussain bin Ruhand the spirit of Fatema Zahra(S.A.)has incarnated into Umme Kulsum, the daughter of Mohammad bin Usman Amri. When Hussain bin Ruh heard of this he remarked that: "All such talks of Shalmaghani arepure infidelity and apos¬tasy. He wants to attract the people towards himself so that next he can claim of Divinity and say that Allah, he Almighty has entered into his body." The Epistle which was received from Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.) in 312 A.H. stated that:
"May Allah bestow on you recognition of
goodness, prolong your life, make you aware of all goodnesses. May you
end be on righteousness and your intentions be sincere. May Allah
provide your all brethren with desire of doing good. Well, Mohammad bin
Ali known as Shalmaghani has turned apostate and deserted Islam. He is a
heretic who ascribed falsehood to Allah. He has committed a major sin
of calumny." (Ghaibat, Shaikh Tusi,pg. 253 and BeharulAnwar.Vol.51/ 380)
No sooner this Epistle was received the Imamiyyah Scholars of Baghdad
dumped Shalmaghani. He was cursed and condemned in every gathering. When
he saw this, he approached some Shia veteran scholars and implored them
from arranging a meeting with Hussain bin Ruh. He proposed that it fire
descended from the skies and it does not engulf Hussain bin Ruh in
itself then he is on the right path otherwise my claim is genuine. When
the Abbaside Caliph Razi Billah heard this proposition he passed the
orders for slaying Shalmaghani. Thus in 323 A.H. he met his end.(Ayanush Shia (Persian), Kifab al ImamMahdi al Muntazar, pg. 63)
6 - Abu Bakr Mohammad bin Ahmad bin Usman Baghdad!:
was a nephew of Mohammad bin Usman Amri, the second deputy of Imam
(A.S.). He claimed the special deputyship and was consequently cursed by
Imam (A.S.) through his Epistle.
7 - Ahmed bin Helal Karkhi: He was
enu¬merated amongst the companions of Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.). He
rejected the deputyship of Mohammad bin Usman. Imam (A.S.) has cursed
him in his Epistle.
The Conclusion: When the lives of these false
claimants are observed closely then it can be inferred thatthe majority
of these imposters were once among the companions if Imam (A.S.) but at
the last moments of their life they were deprived of the love of
But Why? Only because they yearned for power, and
position and their craziness so in¬creased that they turned away from
the righteous representatives of Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.) and claimed the
special deputyship for themselves. It was here that their intellect
deserted them and their yearning for position sealed their fates
eter¬nally The first deputy - Hazrat Usman b. Saeed-e-Amri (r.a.)
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was the first special deputy of Imam Mahdi
(a.t.f.s.) in Ghaibat-e-Sughra. The renowned Shiite scholar, Shaikh
Muhammad b. Hasan Tusi (r.a.) records in his illustrious book, 'Ghaibat'
- Among the companions that the infallible Imams (a.s.) considered as
virtuous and pious, was Hazrat Usman b. Saeed-e-Amri (r.a.). Imam Ali
Naqi, Al Hadi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) have spoken highly of
him and he was their most trusted companion."(Ghaibat-e-Shaikh-e-Tusi, pg. 353)
His name and title:
was his name and his father's name was Saeed. His name in
Rijaal-e-Kashi is recorded as 'Hafs b. Amr', but other scholars of
Ilm-e-Rijaal (science of narrators of traditions) have considered this
erroneous. His name is widely recorded as Usman b. Saeed.He has been
attributed with 2 agnomens (Kunniyat) - Abu Amr and Abu Muhammad. He
was called Abu Amr since his grandfather's name was Amr. He was called
Abu Muhammad because of his son Muhammad. In books of Rijaal and
traditions he is referred to as Abu Amr. However, in Safinatul Behar and
Beharul Anwaar, he is referred to as Abu Muhammad.
Among Shias Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) is known by four titles.
1. Saman / Zayyat (Oil Vendor)
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) took up the profession of oil-vending to
camouflage his more critical duties and responsibilities of deputyship
from the masses in general and the tyrant kings of Bani Abbas in
particular. In this way, he protected his own life and the lives of
Shias from the persecution of the Bani Abbas. He had a very ingenious
way of operating. He would collect all the money and trusts from the
Shias for Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). Out of fear of the Bani Abbas
caliphs, he would conceal all money and trusts in his oil barrels so as
to escape the scrutiny of the common masses. In this way, he could
safely courier everything to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.).(Ghaibat-e-Shaikh-e-Tusi (r.a.), pg. 354)
To keep his position of deputyship secret, he used to supply oil and other goods to the army.(Rozgar Rehai Az Kaamil-e-Sulaiman, vol. 1, pg. 291)
He was a member of the Bani Asad clan and was therefore also famous as 'Asadi'.
He used to reside in Samarra, in a place called 'Askar'. This was the reason he was also called as Askari.
are unanimous that 'Amri' was one of his titles. However, scholars of
Ilme-Rijaal have given differing reasons for this title. The illustrious
scholar Muhammad b. Hasan - Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) has explained, 'First of
all he was referred to as Amri due to his grandfather whose name was
'Amr'. Some scholars have recorded that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) did not
like that the names Usman (name of third caliph) and Abu Amr should
combine in one person. That is why he ordered Usman to change his
Kunniyat from Abu Amr to Amri;(Ghaibat-e-Shaikh-e-Tusi (r.a.), pg. 354)
Special deputy of three Imams (a.s.)
(r.a.) records that at the tender age of 11 years, Hazrat Usman b.
Saeed (r.a.) swore allegiance to Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) and commenced
serving Imam (a.s.). Shaikh-e-Tusi (r.a.) has discussed the companions
of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) in detail. While mentioning about Hazrat
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.), he says - He was an oil trader famous as Abu Amr.
He was an esteemed and reliable companion in the eyes of Imam (a.s.),
and was also Imam's (a.s.) special deputy. The statement of Shaikh Tusi
(r.a.) makes ' it clear that he was deputy of three Imams (a.s.).
further records that he was also a special deputy of Imam-e-Zaman
(a.t.f.s.) and enjoyed an elevated and eminent status among the Shias of
that period. Likewise, Ibne Dawood-e-Hilli in his Rijaal,
Marhoom-e-Qahyaai in his Majmaul Rijaal, Syed Muhammad Mahdi Bahrul
Uloom (r.a.) in his Rijaal have recorded this fact. This has also been
mentioned in several other books of Rijaal like Tanqeehul Maqaal,
Qamoos-e-Rijaal, Mojamul Rijaalul Hadis.
(Pazoohashi Piraamun-e-Zindagani Nawwab-e-Khaas-e-Imam-e-Zaman(a.s.) by Ali Ghaffarzadeh, pg. 106)
Jasim Husain in his 'Tarikh-e-Siyaasi -e-Ghaibat-e-Imam-e-Dawazdahum
(a.t.f.s.)' has reported that Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was among the
companions of Abu Jafar-e-Saani -Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (a.s.).
Likewise Ibne Shahr-e-Ashob in 'Manaqib-e-Abi Talib (a.s,)', Shaikh
Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.) in Safinatui Behar and Allamah Hilli (r.a.) have
recounted this fact.
Ali Ghaffarzadeh in his 'Pazoohashi
Piraamun-e-Zindagani Nawwab-e-Khaas-e-Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.)' has
rejected the fact that Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was the deputy of
Imam Jawad (a.s.). He writes, 'Anyone who is even briefly acquainted
with the lives of the Imams (a.s.) and Ghaibat-e-Sughra will know that
Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was not a deputy nor a companion of Imam
Jawad (a.s.). This is not an established fact of history and there is no
chain of narration to support such an idea.'
After making this
claim, Ali Ghaffarzadeh has outlined the names of scholars who have
recorded in their books that Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was not a
companion of Imam Jawad (a.s.).
i. Haaj Muhammad Ardabeli (r.a.) in his book 'Jaameui Rowaat'
ii. Shaikh Abdullah Uqaani (r.a.) in Tanqeehul Maqaal'
iii. Allamah Shustari (r.a.) in 'Qaamoosul Rijaal'
iv. Ayatullah Uzma Khoie (r.a.) in 'Mojamul Rijaal'
referring to the books of these scholars Ali Ghaffarzadeh concludes
that Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) was not among the companions of Imam
Jawad (a.s.).(Pazoohashi Piraamun, pg. 109-10)
It is possible
that he did spend a few years under the Imamat of Imam Jawad (a.s.), but
may have been too young to qualify for companionship.His (r.a.) status in the words of Imams (a.s.):Ahmed
b. Ishaaq Qummi (r.a.) narrates, "I was in the presence of Imam Ali
Naqi, al-Hadi (a.s.). I said, 'O my master! At times I have the good
fortune of meeting you and at times I am deprived of this blessing. It
is not always possible for me to be in direct contact with you. Under
such circumstances, who should I contact and whose commands should I
obey?' Imam (a.s.) informed me,This man - Abu Amr (Hazrat Usman b.
Saeed (r.a.)) is a reliable, upright and trustworthy person. Whatever he
relates to you is from my side. Whatever he gives to you is from us.'(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg. 344)
(a.s.) narration in favour of Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) underlines
the level of Imam's (a.s.) trust and confidence in him. Moreover, it
underscores another important fact -Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.)
performed some critical duties i.e. to convey Imam's (a.s.) message and
commands to the Shias. The duty of the Shias was to accept this
communication and implement it.
After Imam Hadi's (a.s.) martyrdom,
Ahmed b. Ishaaq Qummi (r.a.) once again approached Imam Hasan Askari
(a.s.) and repeated his previous query who responded thus:
'This man -
Abu Amr (Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.)) is a reliable, upright and
trustworthy person. He was dependable for the previous Imam and is
dependable and reliable even for me in my lifetime and even after my
death. Whatever he conveys to you is from our side and everything he
gives to you is from us.'(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg. 344)
Deputyship of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.)Imam
Hasan Askari (a.s.) appointed Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) as the first
special deputy of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) in the presence of 40 Shias.Some
Shias like Jafar b. Muhammad b. Malik-e-Fazari, Alt b. Bilal, Ahmed b.
Helal, Muhammad b. Muawiyah b. Hakeem, Hasan b.Ayyub b. Nuh have all
narrated that they approached Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) specifically to
inquire from him about his successor. They recount - In addition to us,
there were 40 other people who were present with Imam (a.s.). Then
Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) rose and asked Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), 'O
son of Allah's Apostle! We wish to ask you a question of which we are
sure you are aware.' Imam (a.s.) replied, 'O Usman, be seated.' All of a
sudden the expression on Imam's (a.s.) face changed and he went
out of the room after ordering us to stay in our places and not follow
him outside. We did as Imam (a.s.) commanded us.
After some time,
Imam (a.s.) called out Usman b. Saeed's (r.a.) name and the latter rose.
Then Imam (a.s.) said, 'Should I inform you about the reason why you
all are here?' All of us said, 'O son of Allah's Apostle! Please inform
us.' Imam (a.s.) revealed, 'So that you may know who is the Imam after
me.' The members in the assembly replied, 'Yes. We just saw a young
child whose face was beautiful like the moon and looked very similar to
you.' Imam (a.s.) informed, 'After me, he is your Imam and my successor.
Obey him and do not scatter in confusion about him else your religion
will be destroyed. After this meeting you shall never see him again
until his appointed time. That is why take whatever news you get from
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.).'He is the deputy of your Imam and deputy ship is for him alone.'(Beharul Anwaar vol. 51, pg. 346)
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) - Deputy of deputies
Hasan Askari (a.s.) wrote a lenghty letter to Ishaaq b. Ismail
Nishapouri, stating, 'Don't leave the city until you meet Usman b. Saeed
(r.a.). Convey to him my salaam. He is trustworthy, pious and reliable
and is most proximate to us.
All the wealth that is collected from
various places for us, is first accumulated with Usman b. Saeed (r.a.)
so that it reaches us safely.'(Beharul Anwaar vol. 50, pg. 323)
(a.s.) letter emphasises an important point. All cities where the Shias
used to inhabit had deputies. These deputies accumulated money by way
of Khums, Zakaat, etc. from the Shias on behalf of Imam (a.s.). These
deputies collectively transmitted all this money to Hazrat Usman b.
Saeed (r.a.), who in turn finally submitted it to Imam (a.s.) himself.
The religious and political scenario of the time
one casts even a cursory glance at the political and religious scenario
at the time of Ghaibat-e-Sughra, he will appreciate the significance of
the deputyship of Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.). The government had
appointed spies in every nook and corner so as to keep a close watch on
the Shias of Imam (a.t.f.s.), especially the trusted and reliable Shias
who were known to be proximate to Imam (a.t.f.s.).
As if the
government's persecution was not enough, the differences between the
Shias and outbreak of various sects only added to the confusion. Under
such trying circumstances, deputyship was an impossible task. However,
under Imam's (a.t.f.s.) constant supervision and guidance, the Shias
were rescued from the darkness of doubt and uncertainty and were steered
towards the light of guidance and certainty. Being the special deputy
of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) played a very
important role in this regard.
The criticality of his role can never
be fully comprehended and appreciated. On the one hand, he had to unite
the Shias who had split into many sects. On the other hand, he had to
contend with Jafar ibn Ali Naqi the government's candidate for the role
of Shiite leadership. To challenge Jafar was a monumental task. On the
martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), Jafar usurped the mantle of
Imam's (a.s.) successorship, which gave him the right to lead the Shias
after Imam (a.s.).
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) writes in his book 'Kitabul
Irshad': 'After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) when Jafar b.
Ali Naqi (famous as 'Jafar-e-Kazzab') saw that their Imam (a.s.) did not
have a successor, he usurped his (a.s.) property, imprisoned his (a.s.)
maids and the women of the household and said evil things about his
(a.s.) companions who were steadfast in their faith that Imam (a.s.) had
a son and were waiting for his reappearance. He threatened them but
they did not pay attention to him. Finally, Jafar approached the Caliph
of the time and sought his assistance to claim the position of his
brother (Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)). He paid a huge amount to the
government by way of bribe, but failed miserably in his evil plans.'(Kitabul Irshad, chap. 34)
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) had to face the uphill task ofJafar's claim of
Imamat, his standing to lead the funeral prayers of Imam (a.s.) and
creating doubts about the Imamat of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). He provoked
the government of the time to help him in his cause, he imprisoned the
Ahle Bait (a.s.) and persecuted them and sought religious dues (khums,
zakat) from the people. Under these grievous circumstances Hazrat Usman
b. Saeed (r.a.) with the help of Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) humiliated Jafar
and protected the status and Imamat of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.).
the Shias heard of Jafar's claim and his usurping Imam's (a.s.) property
and seeking help from Bani Abbas, some of them consulted Hazrat Usman
b. Saeed (r.a.) and requested for a 'Tawqee' from Imam-e-Zaman
(a.t.f.s.) to clarify the matter and remove all suspicion and doubts
once and for all. Our readers should find the following incident very
Jafar b. Ali wrote a letter to a follower of Imam Mahdi
(a.t.f.s.) - I am the Imam after my brother and I have the knowledge of
the permissible and the prohibited and all other sciences with me. When
the companion received the letter, he became sorrowful. He took the
letter to Ahmad b. Ishaaq Ashari, a close confidante of Imam Hasan
Askari (a.s.). Ahmad b. Ishaaq wrote a letter to Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.)
enclosing Jafar's letter. He gave it to Usman b. Saeed (a.s.) to be
forwarded to Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Imam (a.t.f.s.) gave a very
strong-worded reply and refuted the Imamat of Jafar. Following is the
extract of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) letter:
This defrauder (Jafar) has
falsified Allah and has claimed Imamat. We do not know on what basis he
has made such a claim. If he claims knowledge in the Ahkam and Fiqh of
Allah's religion, then by Allah, he is not able to distinguish between
the permissible and the prohibited. He cannot distinguish between the
clear and ambiguous verses of the Holy Quran. He is not even aware about
the limits and timings of namaz. And if he is having certainty about
his piety then by Allah he has forsaken namaz for forty days. His claim
should be based on a miracle. Let him forward his miracle and if he has
proof then he should explain it.'
(Pazoohashi Piraamun, pg. 128, narrating from Ehtejaaj-e-Tabarsi, vol. 2, pg. 468)
was with the representation of Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) that such
letters could reach Imam (a.t.f.s.) and Jafar failed in his nefarious
plans. Once in a gathering Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) said The caliph
(Motamid-e-Abbasi) thought that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) left this world
without appointing his successor and gave his inheritance to such a
person (Jafar) who did not deserve it. The followers of Imam (a.s.) were
patient on it and were vacillating in state of confusion. Nobody dared
to recognise him and help him or to convey something to him.(Usule Kafi, vol.2, pg. 121, Persian edition)
Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) in Baghdad
the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), the first representative of
Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) came to Baghdad from Samarrah by the order of
Imam (a.s.). The reason being that the government vigilance and control
in Samarrah was very strict and it had relatively ignored Baghdad.
Samarrah was the capital of the Abbasi government. Motamid was appointed
as ruler on 12th Rajab, 256 A.H. Till the end of his rule, Samarrah
remained the capital. In 279 A.H., the capital was shifted to Baghdad.
Till that time Baghdad was the Shiite center. The migration to Baghdad
helped Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) to keep in touch with the Shias
residing in different places. In this way, his activities spread to
different areas and were not restricted only to Baghdad. If he was in
Samarrah or if Baghdad had been the capital of the Abbasides, then this
would have been very difficult.(Pazoohashi Piramun , Pg. 130)
His (r.a.) mode of operation
Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) had appointed some agents in Baghdad who used to
coordinate with the other agents of Iraq and other areas. People met
these agents in Baghdad, who collected the wealth and accepted the
letters and queries from the Shias and forwarded them to Hazrat Usman b.
Saeed (r.a.) and he in turn forwarded the same to Imam (a.s.)Hajiz
bin b. Yazid-e-Washsha, Ahmed b. Ishaaq Ashari, Mohammad b. Ahmad b.
Jafar Qattaan, Ahmad b. Ishaaq were initially the representatives of
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) in Qum, Iran. After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan
Askari (a.s.) they returned to Baghdad as helpers of Hazrat Usman b.
Mohammad b. Ahmad Qattaan had taken up the work of
selling clothes so that nobody could cast any doubt on his real purpose.
The other agents delivered the letters and wealth wrapped in a cloth to
him and he forwarded it to Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.).History is
replete with such incidents wherein the special representatives employed
such ingenious methods to protect Imam (a.t.f.s.) and his Shias. The
wealth used to reach Imam (a.t.f.s.) without anybody learning about his
(a.t.f.s.) actual abode.
His (r.a.) demise The duration of his
deputyship and the exact date of his demise has not got wide coverage in
books of history and traditions. But it is clear that the combined
duration of his own deputyship and that of his son - Hazrat Muhammad b.
Usman (r.a.) was 45 years.
Janabe Bahrul Uloom (r.a.) has recorded in Taaleqa-e-Rijal that Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) expired in 264 A.H. or 265 A.H.
Ghaffarzadeh in his book has narrated from historians and scholars -
the death of Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.) took place before 267 A.H.(Pazoohashi Piramun, pg. 144)
His grave He is buried near western Baghdad inside Shaare Maidan in Masjid Zarab.(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg. 347)
there is market near his grave and one has to pass through several
small lanes to reach the grave. Due to this, some visitors (Zaaireen)
avoid going for ziyarat. His ziyarat has a lot of merit and it is
similar to meeting him when one comes to meet Imam (a.t.f.s.), as he was
Imam's (a.t.f.s.) deputy.
Obituary After the demise of Hazrat Usman b. Saeed (r.a.), Imam (a.t.f.s.) wrote a condolence letter to his son, Muhammad:
we are from Allah and we will return to Him. We submit ourselves to His
command. Your father devoted his entire life to goodness and right till
the end he was praiseworthy. May Allah have mercy on him and include
him with His friends and the Imams (a.s.). He continuously endeavoured
and struggled in the affairs of his Imams (a.s.) till he met Allah, the
High, and the Imams (a.s.). May Allah make his face contented and
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg. 349)
THE FOUR SPECIAL DEPUTIES
After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) the mantle of Imamate fell on the young shoulders of Imam Mahdi (a.s).Due
to the severe restrictions imposed by the reigning Caliph, Imam Mahdi
(a.s) was forced to conceal himself from the eyes of the people. In the
initial stages of the minor occultation, some very special and selected
people among the Shias had the permission to meet their master whenever
the need arose. They presented the problems of the Shias in the service
of Imam who provided answers to them and conveyed them back to the
Such selected people were called as special representatives,
deputies, doors of Imam etc. Four persons had the honour of acquiring
this elevated status and all of them hailed from and resided in Baghdad.
A part from them, there were representatives another cities also. The
Shias either conveyed their messages to these representative or directly
to the special ones for it to reach to the Imam. These special deputies
performed innumerable extraordinary feats in the minor occultation
which are preserved in different traditional and historical books.
(1). The first deputy:-
Abu Amr Uthman Ibne Saeed Amri:
was from the Bani Asad clan. Due to his ancestral links, he was called
as Abu Amr but on the advise of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s), he changed his
title from Abu Amr to Amravi. He was also addressed as Askari and some
even called him as "Sammaan" (oil merchant).He was also famous as
the representative of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s). The title of "Sammaan" (Oil
merchant) itself is historical. He used to deliver the wealth,
possessions of Imam (a.s) in an oil can (In order that the intelligence
personnel of the Government could not detect his activities, he posed
himself as a businessman on Imam (a.s)'s order).
Till 254 A.H. he was
the representative of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) He (a.s) used to say "Abu Amr
is a reliable and trustworthy person, whatever he narrates, its on my
behalf and whatever he conveys is in fact my messages".After the
demise of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) in 254 A.H. he became the special
representative of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) who used to say "Abu Amr is a
reliable and trustworthy person. He was relied upon even by the previous
Imams and in my life as well as after my death, he is reliable whatever
he narrates is on my behalf and his messages are actually my messages".
also says: "Stand witness that Uthman bin Saeed is my representative.
His son, Mohammad Bin Uthman is Mahdi (a.s)'s representative." When a
son (Hazrat Mahdi (a.s) was born to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s), he ordered
Abu Mar to distribute ten thousand roties and ten thousand pieces of
meat among the Bani Hashim and also sacrifice sheep and goats for
In a congregation of forty reliable and selected people of
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) he introduced Imam Mahdi (a.s) to them. He
mentioned about his Imamate and occultation's. Then he emphasized about
the representation of Imam Mahdi (a.s) by Usman bin Saeed, thus "You
(all) accept whatever he says for he is the representative of your Imam
and affairs are with him".
He participated in all the funeral
proceedings of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) and executed all orders issued
unto him. In 260 A.H. after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) he
was appointed as the first special deputy of Imam Mahdi (a.s). For five
years he held this auspicious position. Before his death, on the order
of Imam (a.s) he appointed his son as Imam's representative infront of a
group of honorable Shias and handed over all has responsibilities to
him. After the death Uthman Bin Saeed his sons performed all the funeral
proceeding and buried him in west of Baghdad.
Shaikh Toosi (A.R)
says that till 447 A.H. people paid homage to him and read his Ziyarat
as a pious and righteous person and also as the foster brother of Imam
Askari (a.s). They also recognised him as the special representative of
Imam Mahdi (a.s). This shows that the extent to which his deputyship was
concealed that even after a passage of two hundred years, it was
difficult for the people to recognised him. He was a contemporary of the
Abbaside Caliph, Motamid.
(2) The Second Special Representative:
Abu Ja'far Mohammed Bin Uthman Bin Saeed Amravi.He
succeeded his father after the latter's demise. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
himself had emphasized for his deputyship. In his Tawqee (a signed
letter) to Mohammad Bin Mahziyar, Imam Zaman (a.s) said about Mohammad
bin Uthman, thus: "May God Protect him, He was our trustworthy person
even during his father's life time. May God be pleased with him and his
father and bless their souls. He is the successor to his father and has
taken his place. Whatever he says on our behalf, are our quotes and he
follows our orders dutifully. May God help him. Deeply follow his
instructions and seek our opinion through him".
In his Tawqee to
Ishaq Ibn Yaqoob Imam (a.s) said: "May God be pleased with Mohammad Bin
Uthman and his father He is my confidante and reliable man. His writings
are my writings". He was the special representative of Imam (a.s) for
approximately forty years. In the very first Tawqee which he received
there was a condolence message on the demise of his father. It's
contents were as follows: "We have come from Allah and unto Him shall we
return (Qur'an). We accept his orders and are satisfied with His
commands. Your father passed a decent life and faced a decent death. May
God have mercy upon him and enumerate him among His servants (Imams).
He was always engrossed in their work. He always strove unceasingly in
those works which elevated him in from of God and helped him gained
approximately to the Imam (a.s) May God make him happy and condone his
sins. May God increase your rewards and accept your difficulties. You
are grief stricken, so are we, his death has affected us as much as it
has affected you. May God make him happier in that life. It was due to
his sincerity and decency that he was honoured with a son like you who
has become his heir and successor.
May God send mercies upon him. I
praise the Almighty whose existence is clean from all indecencies of
disbelief (and polytheism) whatever God has been entrusted to you by
him, He will help you to achieve it. He will help you and grace you, for
He is the Master, the Protector and the Sufficer.
Ibn Nooh narrates
from the Abu Nasr, the nephew of Abu Ja'far that he had written many
books, one of which was on jurisprudence. He wrote whatever he had heard
from Imam-e-Zaman (a.s) and his father Usman. One of these books was
"Kitab-ul-ashrabah" which was passed on after his death to Husayn
Bin-Rooh and after him, probably to Ali Ibne Mohammed Seymouri.
Saduq (a.r) narrates the following tradition from Mohammed Ibne-Usman,
"I swear by God, Saheb-ul-Amr (A.J) comes to Mecca every year to perform
the rituals of Hajj He sees the people and recognizes them but they do
not recognise him even after seeing him".
Mohammad Bin Usman was once
asked if he had seen Imam-e-Zaman (a.s). He answered "Yes", the last
time that I saw him was in the Holy Kaba, praying "O Allah fulfil what
you have promised Me", then I saw him catching the curtain of
Mustajaar-a door opposite to the main door of Kaaba and praying "O
Allah" take revenge of your enemies through me". Abu Ali, Abul Hasan Ali
Ibn Ahmed narrates, "One day Mohammed Ibn Uthman took me and showed him
grave and said "I will die on such day. I will be buried here and this
tablet will be with me" (the tablet was inscribed with some Qur'anic
verses and the names of Imams). When asked about the cause of showing
his grave, he replied "I have been ordered to finish all my duties and
set things straight".
A few years before his death whenever he was
asked about his successor he used to send them to "Hussein Bin Rauh", he
expired in the month of Jamdi-ul-Awwal, 305 A.H. He is buried alongside
his respected mother in Baghdad, near Kufa Gate Where he resided. He
lived during the reign of Motamid, Mukhtafi and Muqtadir, the Abbaside
(3). The Third Special Representatives:
Husayn Ibn Rauh Nawbakhti He
succeeded Mohammad Bin Uthman, He was a leading personality from the
family of Nawbakht. Ali Ibn Mohammad narrates from his uncle that I was
sitting besides Mohammad Bin Uthman when he was in his death-bed and
talking to him. He says, Ibn-Rauh was sitting near his feet. At that
moment, Mohammad Bin Uthman told m. "I have been commanded to make a
Will to Husayn Ibh-Rauh" I got up and made Husayn to sit in my place and
myself sat near Mohammad Bin Uthman's feet. Mohammad Bin Uthman began
making a Will "Husayn Ibn Rauh Abu Ja'far, Nawbakhti, is my heir and
successor amongst you after me. He is the medium and channel between you
and Hazrat Saheb al Amr (A.J) You refer to him in your problems and
rely on his in your affairs, I was ordered to convey this message and
I've done my duty".
First Tawqee received by Husayn Ibn Rauh, was
as follow: "We know him (Husayn Ibn Rauh) May Allah grant him goodness,
his recognition and grace. We received his letter. He is our reliable
man he enjoys such a position near us with he is bound to be happy. May
Allah increase His obligations on him. Certainly, he a masterful and
powerful person. Praise be to the God who has no partner. Blessings of
Allah be on Mohammad (S.A) and his progeny". Sunday 6th Shawwal 305
A.H.To appoint Husayn Ibn Rauh after Mohammad Bin Uthman, had two basic
This position was granted to only him who was sincere to such an extent
that if the Imam was behind him, he would not reveal his where about
even if cut into pieces. Husayn Ibn Rauh, was very sincere.
remove the doubt in some people's minds that only those who had blood
relations or proximity with Mohammad Bin Uthman stood the chance of
None could even imagine that Husayn Ibn Rauh
would bag that coveted status. Even the spies of Bani Abbas could not
get a whiff of it because there were people who were very near to
Mohammad Bin Uthman. Everybody considered Husayn Ibn Rauh to be a very
knowledgeable person, whether friend or foe. He lived a life of
dissimulation. (Taqiyyah). Many incidents concerning his discussion with
the riling kings are narrated. He won the hearts of the people through
his methods. Many debates are also narrated from him and the source of
all his knowledge is the fountain of Ahle Bayt's knowledge. Therefore,
after one debate, he said "Even if I am thrown from the sky or torn in
to pieces by the vultures, I will not say a word of my own on the
religion of God whatever, I say, I have learnt from the Divine Proof,
God's Peace and blessing be on Him".
Whatever he did was based only
on the instructions of Imam Mahdi (a.s). Abdu Sahl Nawbakht was asked as
to why was Husayn Ibn Rauh appointed as the special representative and
why not he (Abu Sahl)? He replied, "The Imams knows better whom to
appoint. I have debates with the opponents of Shiasim, If I was knowing
the whereabouts of Imam (a.s) and during a debate if I could not prove
my point, I would reveal his hiding place. But Abul Qasim is not like
this If Imam was hiding behind him, he would allow himself to be
scissored into pieces but would not show his Imam to the enemies".
Ibn Rauh was Imam (a.s)'s special representative for about twenty one
years. He expired in Shaban, 326 A.H. and is buried in the courtyard of
Ali Ibn Mohammad Nawbakth's house in Baghdad. He was a contemporary of
Muqtadir and Raazi, the Abbaside Kings.
(4). The Fourth Special Representative
Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymouri:
was appointed as the fourth special deputy of Imam Mahdi (a.s) after
the demise of Husain Ibn Rauh. He is remembered as one of the companions
of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) and the special representative of Imam Mahdi
(a.s) in Baghdad. For three years, he held the coveted post of
deputyship. Unlike the previous deputies he could not perform any major
task due to his truncated tenure. One of his extra ordinary feats was
his prediction of Ibn Babway's demise.
The last Tawqee from Imam
(a.s) received by Ali Ibn Mohammad announced the termination of the
period of minor occultation Its contents are as follows:
IN THE NAME OF GOD THE BENEFICIENT, THE MERCIFUL:
Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymouri May increase the reward of your brothers on
account of the difficulties born by you. You will die within six days.
Regulate your affairs and sum them up. Do not make a will to any body.
After you, this chain (of special deputyship) will end and it will mark
the beginning of the major occultation. Now, I will re-appear on divine
command. But that will be after a long time when the hearts of the
people will become hardened and the world will become full of injustice,
tyranny and oppression. Yes! There will be some who will claim to be my
special deputes. Whoever claims to consult me before the emergence of
Sufyani and the heavenly Voice, he is a deceiver and liar. There is no
power and strength except that of Allah, the Al-mighty the High".
is the last letter received from Imam (a.s) in the minor occultation.
After three years of deputyship, Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymouri left this
world in Shaban, 329 A.H. He is buried on the Khanlanji High way near
Bab-jul-Mahool on the bask of the Abi Eqaab river. His last words were
"For God is the Affair and He will himself execute it". He lived during
the reign of Muttaqui, the Abbaside Caliph.
For 69 years between 260
A.H. till 329 A.H. four people acted as the medium between Imam (a.s)
and his followers. This duration is called as the Minor occultation.
Some people deem this duration to be 74 years. That is because they
calculate it from the birth of Imam (a.s) in 255 A.H. It is certain that
the birth of Imam (a.s) in 255 A.H. It is certain that the Imam Mahdi
(a.s) did not shoulder the responsibility of Imamat in the life time of
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s). Therefore, there was no need for Imam Mahdi
(a.s) to be in contact with the people directly, since his respected
father was executing it. Hence, the question of the commencement of
minor occultation does not arise right from the birth of Mahdi (a.s).
Some peculiarities about special Representation:
The name of the special deputies were not mentioned in the Tawqeeaat.
This was done in order to prevent the Ababside king's from knowing their
names. Also, because this relationship was based on sheer trust and
reliability, there arose no particular need to mention the names.
Alawis were kept away from deputyship and others were purposefully
granted this status because the Alawis were clearly marked in the
society and were under strict surveillance and scrutiny of the
3). All of the affairs of the deputies were conducted in Baghdad for the following reasons:-
At the time of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)'s martyrdom, those people who
had come from Qum to Sammarra, were told that some-one would be
appointed in Baghdad so that they could give their offerings to him and
received Imam (a.s) letter from him".
b) Their apparent involvement was in business, therefore, they did not have the time to go out of Baghdad.
c) These deputies were rarely engaged in social work due to the following reasons
(i) By indulging in social work one's identity doesn't remains secret. And they did not intend to reveal themselves.
If they participated in social work, they would be marked and become as
special representative, while their aim was only to pose as
businessmen. This is the cause for the rare information about their
lives. Even historians have hardly mentioned anything about them. It is
also possible that some historians have documented their biographies but
these documents have been destroyed by the enemies of Shi'ism.
4). They performed only those task which were ordered unto them.
5). They were informed of the Hidden knowledge only with the permission of Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (a.s).
All the tawqees received during the time of the four special deputies,
had only one hand-writing and people were recognising it. This
similarity in writing proved that all these letters were from Imam (a.s)
and people followed them diligently.
7). About the Tawqees one can say:-
a) They follow the pattern of traditions.
b) They were answer to questions.
c) Writing and concepts were fixed.
d) They were coming about 2-3 days after questions.
8).These deputies were keeping themselves concealed from public eyes and
lived in dissimulation (Taqaiyyah). For example where when Husayn Ibn
Rauh gave preference to the reigning caliph, on account of his
dissimulation then people prayed for him and the Government could not
become aware of his deputyship.
9). It was not necessary that
everybody should have had direct contacts with the special
representatives, they made their close friends and intimates as the
medium between themselves and the masses. For example, Mohammad Ibn
Husayn had appointed ten deputies in Baghdad to collect the offerings,
among them was Husayn Ibn Rauh.
The aims of Special representative can be summed up in the following words:
(I) To prepare the people for the major occultation and habituate them to live with their Imam inconcealment.
To take some steps in solving the problems and reformation of the Shia
Society. Note: All reference can be found in "Kitab-ul-Ghaibah" of
Shaykh Toosi and "Kamaaluddin" of Ibn Babuwayh.
THE TAWQEE OF IMAM-E-ZAMAN (A.S.) CONCERNING MANSUR-E-HALLAJ
the history of Islam, we find many personalities, who due to their
beliefs or propaganda or both, were able to influence the society to
such an extent that the common people were carried away by them. Erudite
scholars and renowned thinkers too were not exempted. One such person
was Abul Mugees al Husain Bin Mansur Muhammi Al Bayzaawi Al Hallaj, a
well-known SufI. AI-Hallaj is also known in Persian, Turkish and Urdu
literature as 'Mansur'. He was born in 244 A.H. in the district of Pars
at a place called "Tur' which is to the north - east to 'Al Bayza'. It
is said that Hallaj was the grandson of a fire-worshipper and was from
the progeny of Abu Ayyub, a companion of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). His
father was a (cotton) carder but he himself was not. His father left Tur
for Waasit. Waasit is a town which was founded by the Arabs whose
inhabitants were mostly Hanbalis. Some extremist Shias (Ghalis) also
resided in it's rural areas. In such an environment, Hallaj lost touch
of Persian conversation. An important Madressa of Quranic recitors
existed there. Here, he memorised the whole Quran before the age of
twelve. Even in that tender age, he was inclined to search for it's
hidden meanings. He aligned himself with the Sufi school of
Sahl-e-Tustari. At the age of twenty, he left Sahl-e-Tustari for Basra
where he joined the Sufi order of Amr bin Uthman Al Makki and wore the
sufi dress (kharqa). He married Ummul Husain, the daughter of Abu Yaqoob
Al Aqta. From her, he had three sons and a daughter.
Due to his wedlock
with Ummul Husain, Uthman Al Makki became jealous of him and began to
oppose him. Although Hallaj is accused to be a Ghali Shia at one time, a
deep research into the matter clearly shows that all along he ascribed
to the Sunni faith. (Ref: The History of Islamic Philosophy by M. M.
Sharif, Vol. I, p. 346) Hallaj was also in contact with the famous Sufi,
Junaid. He went to Baghdad for exchange of thoughts with him. Although
Junaid persuaded him to stay there, he refused. For, he was completely
fed up with the dispute between his father-in-law Al-Aqta and Amr
al-Makki. Therefore, he left Baghdad after the uprising of Zanjies was
quelled. From Baghdad, he came to Mecca where he performed his first
Haj. He vowed to remain inside the holy precincts for a year, praying
and fasting. In this way, he kept testing his personal method for
"divine unification". And opposing the principle of "Hifz-e-Sirr"
(Protection of Divine Secrecy-a Sufi doctrine), started propagating his
own ideologies. Amr al- Makki dissociated himself from him. Yet, Hallaj
managed to collect more disciples around him.
After he returned to
Khuzistan, he ceased wearing the Sufi dress. He began to dress like the
common people to enable him to speak and propagate more freely. His
method of propagation raised doubts and suspicions. The main plank of
his campaign was that each man should be made capable of finding Allah
in his own heart [It was for this that he received the title Halla) ul
Asrar (the Carder of Distinctions)] Hallaj gained popularity in
different towns under different titles in different periods of time.
According to lbn Kathir, he is known to Indians as Abul Mugees, the
Khorasanis remember him as Abul Mameez, the people of Pars as Abu
Abdullah Az Zahid, the Khuzistanis Hallaj ul Asrar, the Baghdadis as
Mustalim and the Basraites as Al Muhayyar. (Al Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol.
II, p. 133)
But he also acquired notoriety for a number of reasons.
Scholars, both Shia as well as Sunni, accused him of cheating and
showing false miracles. He performed his second Hajj with four hundred
disciples. There some of his former friends and Sufis accused him of
sorcery, magic and being in contact with the Jinns. Even after this
Haj), he made a long tour of Turkey and India. There he came in contact
with the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. (Ref: Tazkiratui Awliya : Essay on
Husain Bin Mansoor Al Hallaj) Around 290 A.H. he performed his third
and last Hajj. This time, he had a patched shawl on his shoulders and an
Indian Lungi tied to the lower part of his body. On the plains of
Arafat, he invoked, "0 Allah, annihilate me. Make me wretched in the
eyes of the people." After completing this Hajj, he returned to Baghdad
and made a replica of Kaaba in his house.
At nights, he prayed on tombs
and graves and during days, he roamed the bazaars and streets,
displaying his mad love for Allah. He used to show himself as a wretched
man in the eyes of the people and also expressed his wish to die. He
implored, "0 Muslims! Save me from Allah. He has permitted you to shed
my blood. Kill me!" Muhammad Bin Dawood Az-Zaaheri was infuriated with
He convicted Hallaj and wanted him to be put to death.
But the Shafaae jurist, lbn Surrayyij was of the view that the position
and condition of the Sufis was beyond the courts of law. It was during
this period that Hallaj announced his infamous slogan "Anal Haq" (I am
The Truth, [read God]) in the mosque of Al Mansur in the presence of
Ash-Shibli. In the last part of 290 A.H., the revenue officer of the
young Abbasid Caliph Muqtadir, Al Furat arrested Hallaj and filed a case
against him. Hallaj was brought to Baghdad. Here, he was subjected to
the ire of Hamid (a Sunni) and kept in jail for nine years. In 301 A.H.,
lbne Isa, nephew of a minister who was Hallaj's disciple, dismissed the
case against him. He also freed the jailed supporters of Hallaj. In 303
H., Hallaj cured successfully the chronic fever of the caliph. In 305
A.H., he brought to life the dead parrot of the crown prince. The
Mutazelis denounced him as a charlatan and a sorcerer. During the period
of 304-306 A.H. the charge of lbn Isa's ministry was taken up by lbn
Furat. He was a sworn adversary of Halla) but the Caliph's mother did
not allow him to revive the case against Hallaj. It seems that two
important writings of Hallaj belong to this period.
(1) Taaseenul Azal - which is a treatise on the argumentation of lblis.
A discussion on the Meraj (ascension) of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). He
expressed that due to the spiritual experience of the Holy Prophet
(S.A.W.), it is possible for man to be merged with Allah. Due to the
influence of Husayn lbn Rauh Nawbakhti, the case was revived. It was
debated upon in the years 308-309 A.H. Hallaj claimed, " (The real)
Kaaba is inside the heart. It is more important to circumambulate it
Due to this, he was convicted of being from the
Qeraametah (who were in favour of it's demolition). The Maliki judge of
this case, Qazi Abu Umar bin Yusuf passed, the following verdict, "It is
lawful to shed your blood." At last, the Abbasid caliph Muqtadir signed
the warrant for sending him to the gallows. On 24th Zilqad, at the gate
of Khorasan, Hallaj (who had a crown on his head) was lashed to
unconsciousness infront of a huge crowd. When he was nearly dead, he was
hung at the gate.
The order for beheading him was received from the
caliph late at night. Actually the verdict of his crucification was
postponed for the morrow. All those who had signed the verdict said
loudly, 'Whatever has been done is under the Islamic law. We are
responsible for his death." Later, Hallaj was beheaded and his body
charred by putting kerosene on his body. His ashes were consigned to the
river from a high tower. According to the eye-witnesses, his last words
were: "The most important thing for a Gnostic is, by the permission of
Allah, the Almighty, to achieve perfect physical unification (with
Allah)" During the case, Hallaj was accused of various conspiracies
against the religious and economic policies of the government. He was
accused of defaming Allah and propagating the concept of assimilation
(with Allah). His theory of giving importance to the religious symbols
only from the aspect of it's hidden meaning showed the confusion and
commotion of his mind.
It also indicated that he was advocating their
destruction. Regarding assimilation, Hallaj had actually written, "Your
(Allah's) soul has merged with my soul like amber fuses with the
fragrant musk." (Diwan-e-Hallaj translated by Massinon, p.41) He really
took the cake by claiming, "We are two souls who are put in one body..."
(Ibid) The above quoted statement clearly proves that Mansur Hallaj who
lived during the minor occultation of Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.) was a
polytheist. he had evidently violated the belief of Tawheed.
MANSUR HALLAJ AND THE CLAIM OF DEPUTYSHIP
Hallaj was one of those who had falsely claimed the special deputyship
during the minor occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sugra). lt is narrated by Husain
bin lbrahim Abul Abbas Ahmed Bin Ali Bin Nuh, from Abu Nasr Haibatullah
bin Mohammed, the scribe of lbne Binte Umme Kulsum binte Abi Jafar Amn:
"Allah intended to expose the fallacies of Hallaj and that he may be
degraded and insulted. Abu Sahl bin Ismail bin Ali Nawbakti (R.A.) was
among those who had become aware of the plots and deceit of Hallaj.
Hallaj thought that Abu Sahl was ignorant (of his charialanism) and
hence went to him to convince him of his claim. First, he wrote to Abu
Sahl that he (Hallaj) was the representative of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.) and
that the Imam had ordered him to correspond with the former. He offered
Abu Sahl to help him in his work so that the heart of Abu Sahl may rest
in peace. Abu Sahl replied, "I have a small problem which only you can
solve. I know that it is nothing in comparison to the extraordinary
feats that you have performed, I am highly desirous of young girls but
they are repulsed by my greying hair. And I find it too cumbersome to
apply henna (herbal dye).
If you can make my hair permanently black, I
shall help and assist you, and do whatever you desire". When Hallaj
received this reply, he at once realised that Abu Sahl had seen through
his fraud and discontinued the correspondence. Shaikh Sadooq says,
"Hallaj went to the city of Qom. There he wrote to the relatives of my
father and invited them to his cause. The relatives forwarded his letter
to my father, who tore up Hallaj's letter and wrote to them, "What is
this nonsense ! Which fool is trying to deceive you? Who is this cheat
who has instigated you?" - Due to these blatant assertions, Hallaj was
disgraced and expelled from the city of Qom. On account of his false
claims and nonsensical beliefs, Vali-e-Asr Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.) cursed
him and issued a Tawqee to denounce him. It read as follows:
refuge in Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.) from him (Hallaj). We invoke
one curse after another on him. secretly as well as openly, at all
times, in all conditions and on everyone who follows him despite getting
our message." (Kalematui Imam al-Mahdi p. 282)
After examining the
above Tawqee, it becomes clear that in the school of Ahiul Bayt la.s.],
there is no place for evil people like Husain Bin Mansur Hallaj. It was
the impact of this tawqee that during the minor occultation and till the
later centuries, Shia scholars continued to denounce Hallaj. But in the
seventh century, some people began to defend Hallaj, ignoring the
Tawqee of Imam (A.S.).
They began to call Hallaj, Wali of Allah. As if
this was not enough blasphemous, they even composed eulogies glorifying
him. Like him, they also repeated the words of "Anal Haq' (I am God).
Allah alone knows which facet of Mansur's personality has attracted them
that they ignored the clear Tawqee of an infallible Imam cursing Hallaj
and followed and expressed their love for this deceiver and cheat. Imam
(a.s.) has clearly stated that whosoever follows Hallaj is also
Let us pray to the Almighty Allah that may He give us the
ability to discern falsehood from 'truth. That we may not be misled by
any false claimant or charlatan. Amen.