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Chapter 122

The Birth ofabu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali, the Second (a.s.)

Abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.) was born in the month of Ramadan in the year one hundred ninety five and passed away in the year two hundred twenty at the end of the month of Dhu al-Al-Qa‘da at the age of twenty five and two months and eighteen days. He was buried in Baghdad in the grave yard of Quraysh near the grave of his grandfather, Musa ibn Ja‘far (a.s.). Al-Mu‘tasam had summoned him to Baghdad at the beginning of the year in which he left this world. His mother was ’Umm Walad, called, Sabika Nuwbiyya. It is also said that her name was Khizuran. It also is narrated that she was from the family of Maria, mother of Ibrahim, son of the Messenger of Allah."

 

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Ahmad ibn Idris has narrated from Muhammad ibn Hassa’n from ali ibn Khalid who has said the following.

"Muhammad who belonged to Zaydi sect said to me this. "I was in the army camp and I was told that there was a prisoner brought from the area of al-Sham (Syria) tied up and that he has proclaimed himself a prophet." Ali ibn Khalid has said, "I went to him and found my way through the guards until I reached him. I found him to be a man of understanding. I asked him, "O you, what is your story and your case?" He said, "I am a man from al-Sham, worshipping Allah at a place called the ‘place of the head of al-Husayn’. During my worshipping a man came to me and said, "Come with me." I went with him and I found myself in theMosque of al-Kufa. He asked me, "Do you recognize this Mosque?" I replied, "Yes, I recognize it." He said, "He prayed and I prayed with him. Then I found us in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah in Madina. He offered greeting of peace to the Messenger of Allah and I did the same. He prayed and I prayed with him. He offered the special prayer for the Messenger of Allah. I was with him and found us in Makka. I continued to find myself with him until we finished all the acts to be perform there. Then I found myself with him at the place that I would worship in al-Sham. The man left. The next year I was with him again and we did as in the year before. When we finished all of the forms of worship and returned me back to my place of worship in al-Sham and was about to leave I asked him this. "I swear you the one who has given all these capabilities, tell me who are you?" He said, "I am Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Musa (a.s.)." The news spread and it reached Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik al-Zayyat. He sent his people who arrested me and tied me up in chains and transferred me to Iraq." The narrator has said, "I asked him to send a petition to Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. He did so explaining the whole story but the answer to his petition bearing the signature of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik said, "He should ask the one who took him from al-Sham to al-Kufa, then to al-Madina then to al-Makka then back to al-Sham to release him from prison also."

I felt very sad for him with a great deal of sympathy. I tried to cheer him up and asked him to exercise patience. Next early morning when went to see him I found people from the army, the chief of the security men and the prison guard and the crowd of people around and in the area. I asked, "What is thematter?" They said, "The prisoner from al-Sham who had proclaimed himself as a prophet has disappeared and no one knows if the earth has swallowed him or the birds have snatched him away."

 

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Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Ash‘ari has said that a shaykh from our people called ‘Abdallah ibn Razyn narrated to me the following. "I lived in al-Madina of the Messenger of Allah. Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) would come every day to the mosque at noon time. He would enter the compound and would turn to the shrine of the Messenger of Allah and offer his greeting of peace. He would then turn to the house of Fatima (a.s.), take off his shoes, stand up and pray. Satan induced temptation in my heart and said, "when he (the Imam (a.s.) would come go and pick up from the dust on which he has just stepped." I waited that day for that purpose. When it was noontime he came on his donkey but he did not dismount at the place that he would do so before. He came and dismounted on the rock in front the door of the Mosque. He then entered the Mosque, turned to the Shrine of the Messenger of Allah and offered his greeting of peace to the Messenger of Allah. his disembark." The narrator has said that then he then turned to the place where he would pray. He did the exact thing for several days. I then said to myself, "When will come this time and will remove his shoes I will go and pick up from the gravel on which he has jus stepped.." When he came next day at noontime he dismounted on the rock then entered the Mosque, turned to the Shrine of the Messenger of Allah and offered his greeing of peace then came to the place where he would pray but prayed without removing his shoes and did the same thing for several days. I then said to my self, "I could not succeed this way but now I must find which public bathhouse he uses to take a shower. I must wait at the door of the place and when he would come to enter the public bathhouse I will pick up the dust from the spot on which he has just stepped. I asked about such public bathhoue and found out that it is such a place in al-Baqi‘ that belongs to man from the family of al-Talha. I found out about the day that he would go this bathhouse. I then on that day went to the place and met the man from the family of al-Talha and began to talk to him while waiting for him (the Imam (a.s.) to come. The owner of the place said to me, "If you want to use the bathhouse you must do now because latter on it will not be available." I asked, "Why is that?" He said, "Ibn al-Rida will come to use it." I then asked, "Who is ibn al-Rida ?" He said, "A man from the family of Muhammad (s.a.). He is very pious and well discilpined." I then asked, "Is it unlawful to use the public bathhouse at the time that he is there?" He said, "We just vacate the place and leave it just for him." The narrator has said that at that time he came with a few of his slaves. In front of him there was a slave who carried a piece of mat and brought it in all the way to the dressing-room where he spread it down. He (the Imam) also came in offered his greeting of peace and entered the dressing-room while stile riding on the donkey. He then dismounted on the mat. I then said to the man from the family of al-Talha, "Is this the one whom you mentioned with all the superlatives?" He said, "O you, by Allah, he had never done this before. It only has happened today." I said to my self, "This is because of what I have committed against my own soul." I then said to myself, "I will wait until he comes out perhaps I will succeed in my plan." When he came out he asked his people to bring the donkey. The donkey was brought in the dressing-room and he rode on the donkey from the top of the mat. And left. I said to my self, "By Allah, this is enough I have troubled him so much and I will not do any such thing again and will not even thing about doing such things." My decision was complete and solid. When it became noontime of that day he came to the Mosque while riding on his donkey and dismounted on the spot in the compound of the Mosque where he had usually been doing. Then he turned to Shrine of the Messenger of Allah and offered his greeting of peace and went to the place where he prayed in the house of Fatima (a.s.). He took off his shoes and stood for prayer."

 

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al-Husayn ibn Muhammad has narrated from Mu‘alla ibn Muhammad from Ali ibn Asbat who has said the following "He (abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida (a.s.) came out to me and I looked at his head and legs so I would be able to describe him physically to our people in Egypt. I kept looking until he sat down and said, " O Ali, Allah’s presentation of proofs in support of Imam’s Imamat (Leadership with Divine Authority) is the same as those in support of the prophet-hood of a prophet. Allah has said, ". . . We gave knowledge and wisdom to John during his childhood (19:12). ". . . When he attained maturity, God gave him strength, wisdom and knowledge. Thus, do We reward those who do good. (12:22) ". . . When he grew-up to manhood and became forty years old,. . ."(46:15). Allah may give authority to a child and He may do so when he is a fortyb years old man."

 

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Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from certain persons of our people from Muhammad ibn al-Rayyan who has said the following "Al-Ma’mun did all he could to prove that abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida (a.s.) was only a young man of worldly desires. However Al-Ma’mun could not succeed. When he became frustrated he gave his daughter in marriage to abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida (a.s.). For the ceremony he sent two hundred most beautiful entertaining girls each with a bowl in her hand with a precious pearl in it to well come abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida (a.s.) when he would sit on the special seat prepared for him. They, however, were not of any attraction to the Imam (a.s.) to disturb him. There was a man called Mukhariq who had a voice, musical skills, a guitar and a tall beard. Al-Ma’mun called him and he said, "O Amir al-Mu’minin, if he is a worldly man I will prove myself as dealing him deadly blows on your behalf." He sat in front of abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida (a.s.) and began to bray a hee-haw that made all the people of the house gather around him. He began to play his guitar and sing. He did it for an hour but abu Ja‘far (a.s.) did not pay any attention to the right or left. Then he (a.s.) raised his head and said, "O you, tall bearded one, be pious before Allah." The narrator has said that the musical instrument and guitar fell off his hand and he could not use his hands thereafter until he died. When Al-Ma’mun asked him about his condition he said, "When abu Ja‘far (a.s.) expressed his disappointment at me it struck me with a huge degree of fear from which I have not been able to relieve myself ever since."

 

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Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Sahl ibn zd from Dawud ibn al-Qasim al-Ja‘fari who has said the following "Once I went to see abu Ja‘far (a.s.) and I had a few questions on three pieces of materials with proper markings and they were mixed as such that I could not distinguish. I felt sad. He picked one and said, "This is the letter of Ziyad ibn Shabib." Then he picked up the other one and said, ".This is the letter of so and so." I became awe struck. He looked at me and smiled." The narrator has said that the Imam (a.s.) then gave me three hundred Dinars and asked me to deliver them to the certain persons of the sons of his uncle and said, "He will ask you to show him a professional person who would help him to buy goods, help show him one." The narrator has said that I then went to him and gave him the Dinars and asked me, "O abu Hashim, can you show me a professional person who would help me to buy goods." I said, "Yes, I can do so."

The narrator has said that a camel man asked me to speak on his behalf to abu Ja‘far (a.s.) to take part in certain matters of his affairs. I went to see him (abu Ja‘far (a.s.) to speak to him but he was having meal with a group of people and I did not get a chance to speak to him. He (abu Ja‘far (a.s.) said, "O abu Hashim, eat. He placed food before me. Then he said, initiating and without any question from me, "O slave, take good care of the camel-man that abu Hashim has brought for us. Keep him with you." The narrator has said that one day I entered a garden along with him and said, "May Allah take my soul in service for your cause, I am addicted to eating fig. Pray to Allah for me." He was quite and then after three day on his own initiation he said, "O abu Hashim, "Allah has removed your addiction." Ever since it is the thing that I hate most."

 

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Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad from Mu‘alla ibn Muhammad from Muhammad ibn Ali from Muhammad ibn Hamza al-Hashimi from Ali ibn Muhammad or Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hashimi who has said the following " I went tot see abu Ja‘far (a.s.) in the morning of his marriage to the daughter of al-Ma’al-Ma’mun. The night before I had taken medicine and I was the first to meet him that morning. I was thirsty but did not like to ask for water. Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) looked at me and said, "I think you are thirsty." I said, "Yes, I am thirsty." He called, "O Ghulam (male slave or servant) or Jariya (female slave orservant) bring us water." I said to myself, "They may poison the water. For this reason I became depressed. The servant then came with water. He (abu Ja‘far (a.s.) looked at me with a smile and, "O Ghulam, give the water." He drank from it and gave the rest to me and I drank. I became thirsty again and did not like to ask for water. He then did as he had done before. When the Ghulam (servant) came with the bowl of water I thought as I thought before. He then took the bowl, drank from it and gave the rest to me with a smile." Muhammad ibn Hamza has said that this Hashimi told me, "I think what they (Shi‘a ) say (that Imams possess Divine Authority) about him is true."

 

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Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father who has said the following. "Once a group of Shi‘a from the suburbs asked permission to meet abu Ja‘far (a.s.). He granted them permission and they came in his presence. In one meeting they asked him thirty thousand questions. He answered them all and at that time he was ten years old."

 

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Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Salj ibn Ziyad from Ali ibn al-Hakam who has said the following. "Di‘bil ibn Ali once went to see abu al-Hassan al-Rida (a.s.) and he ordered his people to give him a certain gift but he did thank Allah." The narrator has said that the Imam (a.s.) said to him, "Why did you not thank Allah?" The narrator has said that then I went to see abu Ja‘far (a.s.) and ordered his people to give a gift and I said, "All praise belongs to Allah." The Imam (a.s.) said, "You just demonstrated your discipline."

 

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Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad has narrated from Mu‘alla ibn Muhammad from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah from Muhammad ibn Sinan who has said the following. "Once I went to see abu al-Hassan (a.s.). He said, "O Muhammad, has something happened to the family of al-Faraj (the governor of al-Madina )?" I said, "Yes, ‘Umar (a member of al-Faraj family) has died." The Imam (a.s.) said, "All thanks and praise belongs to Allah." He said it twenty four times. I then said, "My master, had known it would make you this happy I would have come to running and bare foot with the news (to congratulate you)." The Imam (a.s.) said, "Do you not know what he –may Allah condemn him- once had said to Muhammad ibn Ali, my father?" The narrator has said that I said, "No, I do not know it." The Imam (a.s.) said, "He spoke to my father about an issue and then said to him, "I think you are drunk." My father then had said, "O Lord, if you know that I have been fasting this day, then make him test the taste of al-A ‘war, and the humiliation of captivity." By Allah, in just a few days his belongings were looted and he was captured and know he is dead-may Allah deprive him of His mercy. Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most gracious, has exacted revenge from him and He continues to exact revenge for His friends from His enemies.

 

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Ahmad ibn Idris has narrated from from Muhammad ibn Hassa’n from abu Hashim Ali-Ja‘fari who has said the following. "Once I prayed with abu Ja‘far (a.s.) in the Mosque of Ali-Musayyib. He lead the prayer with us and as to the direction of Makka he stood up facing straight. He also has said that a berry tree that was in the Mosque had dried up and had no leaves. The Imam (a.s.) asked for water and prepared himself under that tree for prayer. The berry tree came alive with leaves and fruits in that year."

 

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A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Ali-Hajjal and ‘Amr ibn ‘Uthman from a man of the people of al-Madina from Ali-Mutrifiy who has said the following. "Abu al-Hassan al-Rida (a.s.) passed away and owed my four thousand dirhams. I said to myself, "My money is lost." Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) sent me a message to come to him the next day and bring with me a balance and weighing stones." I went to see hiom and he said, "Abu al-Hassan has passed away. Did he owe you four thousand Dirhams?" I said, "Yes, he did." He then lifted up his prayer rug on which was sitting and there were Dinars and he give them to me."

 

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Sa‘d ibn ‘Abdallah and Ali-Himyari all have narrated fom Ibrahim ibn Mahziyar from his brother Ali from al-Husayn ibn Sa‘id from Muhammad ibn Sinan who has said the following. "Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.) passed away at the age of twenty five years, three months and twelve days. He died on a Tuesday on the sixth of Dhil Hajj in the year two hundred twenty AH. He lived nineteen years less twenty five days."

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