Previously, I mentioned the position of both al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding the sects that oppose the Imamiyyah. In reality, the narrators in these sects are, according to them, wanting in ‘adalah since they disagree with the philosophy of Imamah. This section is specific to narrators who are wanting in ‘adalah, not because of creedal differences, rather, on account of committing sins, such as lying, consuming alcohol, theft, and malevolence. Many Imami scholars rebuked the Ahlus Sunnah for accepting narrations of those who are wanting in ‘adalah. Now, here before you are the opinions of senior Imami scholars on the narration of someone who is wanting in ‘adalah. Before commencing with this, it is necessary to explain what the meaning of ‘adalah is according to both al Hilli and al Khu’i. Al Hilli states:
التحقيق أن العدالة كيفية نفسانية راسخة تبعث المتصف بها على ملازمة التقوى و المروة ويتحقق باجتناب الكبائر وعدم الإصرار على الصغائر
It is a matter of fact that ‘adalah is a deep-rooted psychological condition that causes the person described with it to maintain both a steady consciousness of Allah and a state of moral probity. It comes about through abstaining from major sins and not persisting on minor ones.
Generally speaking, this is what ‘adalah is. There is no doubt that acknowledging major sins such as lying, drinking alcohol, and other such sinful acts impairs it.
Al Khu’i believed that:
أن العدالة المعتبرة في الراوي أن يكون ثقة متحرزا في روايته عن الكذب وإن كان مخالفا في الاعتقاد فاسقا في العمل
The considered ‘adalah in a narrator is that he should be a thiqah (reliable) and on guard against lying in his narrations, even though he disagrees in creed and commits sinful acts.
And so, you can see that al Khu’i does not regard physical sinful acts as something that negatively affects ‘adalah. On the other hand, we see al Hilli considering such acts as violating ‘adalah.
In general, the difference of opinion between the Imamiyyah regarding the meaning of ‘adalah is many-sided. They have many opinions, all of which nullify one another.
The purpose here is not to explain the difference in the meaning of ‘adalah according to the Imamiyyah; rather, it is to point out the fact that everyone agrees “the liar, the consumer of alcohol, the violator of the infallible’s command, the stealer, and the malicious” is committing a sin. As such, it is important for us to know the opinion of al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding such narrators in terms of accepting or rejecting their narrations.
It is important to note that what I am about to mention in the next section is based on the idea of ilzam (forcing proof on the Imamiyyah to accept an argument). This is to say that they, as will be mentioned, make tawthiq of a group of narrators while they criticize the Ahlus Sunnah and condemn them whenever they find the tawthiq of a person who has been accused of bid’ah (heresy) or committing a sinful act. As such, it is necessary to explain the reality of their own condition and explain that for whatever reason they slander the Ahlus Sunnah, it too is found recorded in their books.
Al Hilli wrote a biography on ‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr and made tawthiq of him. He ignored everything that was mentioned by most people who also wrote his biography. This Ibn Bukayr is accused of lying about Zurarah; he attributed to him that which he did not say. The strange thing is that al Kashshi states:
إن عبدالله بن بكير ممن اجتمعت العصابة على تصحيح ما يصح عنه واقروا له بالفقه
‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr is among those whom the group (i.e., the Shia) agree upon regarding the authenticity of what is authentically transmitted from him and also approve of him in relation to issues of jurisprudence.
Therefore, al Hilli turned a blind eye to his lying. However, he states:
وأما ما ذكره الشيخ في الاستبصار فلا ينافي الحكم بوثاقته غايته أن الشيخ احتمل كذب عبد الله بن بكير في هذه الرواية بخصوصها نصرة لرأيه ومن المعلوم أن احتمال الكذب لخصوصية في مورد خاص لا ينافي وثاقة الراوي في نفسه
As for what al Sheikh mentioned in al Istibsar, it does not negate ruling him as reliable. The most that can be said is that al Sheikh took into consideration the lying of ‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr in this narration specifically so as to support his opinion. It is well-known that the possibility of lying due to a specificity in a particular instance does not negate the narrator’s reliability in and of itself.
Here we see al Khu’i’s explicitness regarding the person who lies in a specific instance in support of his opinion is acceptable in narration. This does not negate the narrator’s reliability! It is worth noting that this is the same Ibn Bukayr that al Kashshi transmits a consensus on regarding his tawthiq. Thus, they are in agreement regarding the tawthiq of a narrator who they know to be involved in clear lies.
Clearer than this is what al Khu’i stated under the biography of Ahmed ibn Hammad al Marwazi. This is one of the strangest statements of al Khu’i:
وأما ما في كتاب أبي عبيد الله الشاذاني (محمد بن نعيم) من قول فضل بن شاذان من أنه ظهر له منه (أحمد بن حماد) الكذب فهو لم يثبت لأن محمد ابن نعيم لم تثبت وثاقته على أن ظهور الكذب أحيانا لا ينافي حسن الرجل فإن الجواد قد يكبو
As for the statement of Fadl ibn Shadhan in the book of Abu ‘Ubaidullah al Shadhani (Muhammad ibn Nuaim) that it appeared to him that he lies, it is not proven. This is because Muhammad ibn Nuaim’s reliability is not proven. Although, the appearance of lying, at times, does not negate the uprightness of the person. For sometimes, even the horse stumbles.
It is necessary to note that al Khu’i does not consider the statement of al Fadl ibn Shadhan regarding the accusation of Ahmed lying as established. However, after rejecting the statement of al Fadl, he established the following principle saying, “The appearance of lying, at times, does not negate the uprightness of the person. For sometimes, even the horse stumbles.” Thus, when al Khu’i wants to make tawthiq of a narrator, he is even willing to accept lying from him. In fact, he considers it “stumbling from a horse.” If this is not the situation, what is the meaning of the statement, “The appearance of lying, at times, does not negate the uprightness of the person. For sometimes, even the horse stumbles?”
I do not know how his statements regarding the tawthiq of someone who lies is consistent with:
إن ارتكاب المحرم مع ثبوت وثاقة شخص وتحرزه عن الكذب لا يوجب الحكم بضعفه
Committing the impermissible while it is proven that the individual is reliable and abstains from lying does not necessitate a judgement that he is weak.
Thus, we see al Khu’i regarding the narrator who abstains from lies as not indicative of a judgement of weakness. Therefore, the contrary understanding is that if a narrator does not abstain from lying, as in the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr and Ahmed ibn Hammad, then this necessitates a judgement indicating to his weakness. However, al Khu’i abandoned such analogous thinking and principles that he established and judged both narrators to be reliable. He considered the first to support his own opinion and the other as a horse’s stumbling!
I did not find any additional commentary from al Hilli on Ibn Bukayr aside from the fact that he made tawthiq of him. However, Hammad al Marwazi placed him in the section of weak narrators and stated about him:
روى [الكشي] عنه أشياء ردية تدل على ترك العمل بروايته
Al Kashshi narrated bad things from him which indicate that his narrations are not to be acted upon.
Among the issues that al Kashshi mentioned was his suspecting him of lying, which al Khu’i justified as the “stumbling of a horse.”
It is possible to say that al Hilli drops the tawthiq of a narrator when it is proven that he lies. This is according to the places I have come across. Al Khu’i does not consider the pronouncement of certain forms of lying a reason to reject the narrator’s narration, except in what they fabricate against the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Previously, we have seen that al Hilli’s definition of ‘adalah excludes those who commit major sins. However, under the biography of Abu Hurairah al Bazzaz, he states:
قال العقيقي ترحم عليه أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام) وقيل إنه كان يشرب النبيذ فقال أيعز على الله أن يغفر لمحب علي (عليه السلام) شرب النبيذ والخمر
Al ‘Aqiqi states: Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam supplicated to Allah asking Him to have mercy on him. It is said that he used to consume nabidh and he responded, “Is it difficult for Allah to forgive a lover of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam who consumed nabidh and alcohol?”
And so, al Hilli placed him in the first section despite the fact that he used to consume nabidh. A person cannot say that the nabidh spoken about here is the halal (permissible) one since the text of the narration reads, “Is it difficult for Allah to forgive a lover of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam who consumed nabidh and alcohol?” He regarded the consumption of nabidh among the things that Allah can forgive for a lover of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Had this nabidh been the permissible type, it would not require Allah to forgive him for consuming it since he did not commit a sin. In fact, more than this is the fact that the text of the narration also mentions alcohol. Has alcohol also become permissible? It may be said that the reason for al Hilli including him in the first section is because of the infallible’s supplication which interceded for him, according to al Hilli. This is merely a possibility; however, the original position is to accept him despite his drinking alcohol.
Despite this, we see al Hilli including Abu Najran in the second section of his book. He mentioned that he used to consume nabidh. This indicates that al Hilli’s position is unclear regarding the narrator who consumes nabidh. At times, we find such a narrator in the first section, and, other times, he includes him in the second section.
Whoever examines the books of narrator criticism of the Shia will see them mentioning the reasons for impugning narrators and regarding the “consumption of nabidh” among such reasons. However, when they are faced with “reliable” narrators of the Imamiyyah whom it is proven that they consumed nabidh, they look for endless excuses on their behalf.
As for al Khu’i, he does not regard verifying sin—be it major or minor—a valid reason to make tad’if of a narrator and reject his narration. He states:
أن العدالة المعتبرة في الراوي أن يكون ثقة متحرزا في روايته عن الكذب وإن كان مخالفا في الاعتقاد فاسقا في العمل
The considered ‘adalah in a narrator is that he should be a thiqah (reliable) and on guard against lying in his narrations, even though he disagrees in creed and commits sinful acts.
This text clearly shows that sinful acts have no bearing on narration. Based on this, proving that a narrator drinks alcohol or nabidh—whether halal or haram—does not affect the accepting or rejecting the narration of a narrator. Therefore, we see al Khu’i stating under the biography of ‘Amr ibn Muslim Abu Najran al Tamimi:
عن حنان بن سدير عن أبي نجران قال قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام إن لي قرابة يحبكم إلا أنه يشرب هذا النبيذ قال حنان وأبو نجران هو الذي كان يشرب النبيذ إلا أنه كنى عن نفسه قال فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام فهل كان يسكر فقال قلت أي والله جعلت فداك إنه ليسكر فقال فيترك الصلاة قال ربما قال للجارية صليت البارحة فربما قالت له نعم قد صليت ثلاث مرات وربما قال للجارية يا فلانة صليت البارحة العتمة فتقول لا والله ما صليت ولقد أيقظناك وجهدنا بك فأمسك أبو عبد الله عليه السلام يده على جبهته طويلا ثم نحى يده ثم قال له قل له يتركه فإن زلت به قدم فإن له قدما ثابتا بمودتنا أهل البيت
On the authority of Hannan ibn Sudayr from Abu Najran who said:
I said to Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam, “I have a relative that loves you (i.e., the Ahlul Bayt), but he drinks nabidh.”
Hannan said, “Abu Najran was the one who used to drink nabidh; however, he used to express this (about himself) indirectly.”
Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam asked, “Does he get intoxicated?”
He said, “Yes, by Allah. May I be sacrificed for you; he does get intoxicated.”
Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam asked, “Does he leave salah?”
He said, “At times, he would say to his maid, ‘Did I read salah last night?’ And she would sometimes say to him, ‘Yes, you read salah three times.’ Other times, he would say to his maid, ‘O, so-and-so, did I read ‘isha salah last night?’ And she would say, ‘No, by Allah, you did not read salah. We woke you up and tried very hard with you.’”
Abu ‘Abdullah held his hand on his forehead for a long time. Thereafter, he removed his hand and said to him, “Say to him that he should abandon it. If a foot slips, verily, he has another foot grounded in our, the Ahlul Bayt’s, love.”
And like this, al Khu’i mentioned the biography of ‘Amr ibn Muslim—whose text I have transmitted in its entirety. He cites a narration that states the infallible’s praise for the narrator. Furthermore, al Khu’i remains silent and does not even comment one word further! As such, he did not disapprove of the isnad nor the matn (text). When he came to the section on agnomens, he stated:
أبو نجران تقدم في عمرو بن مسلم
Abu Najran: He was already mentioned in (the biography of) ‘Amr ibn Muslim.
And like this without the slightest indication of disapproval for him drinking the impermissible nabidh by virtue of the narration’s text, as is his habit in pursuing the reprehensible statements. This emphasizes the fact that proving that has no effect on the accepting of a narration. However, despite this ambiguity, and al Khu’i’s acknowledgement of the narration, both Bisam Murtada and al Jawahiri that ‘Amr ibn Muslim, Abu Najran, is majhul according to al Khu’i.
In another place, al Khu’i attempted to refute the accusation of drinking nabidh from Abu Hamzah al Thumali—which is established with an authentic chain. He sought many excuses on his behalf. However, he did not do this because he regards it as something which negatively affects his narration; rather, as it seems, it was simply a matter of trying to verify whether it was proven to be true or not.
The Imamiyyah regard the defiance of an infallible’s statement as among the major sins since, in reality, it is a rejection of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and a violation of His command. This is because the infallible does not speak except what he is commanded to by Allah. Ibn Qulawayh narrated in Kamil al Ziyarat on the authority of al Kazim Musa ibn Jafar ibn Muhammad that he said:
ألا و إن الراد علينا كالراد على رسول الله جدنا ومن رد على رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله) فقد رد على الله
Truly, the person that defies us is like the person that defies the Messenger of Allah, our grandfather. And the person that defies the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has indeed defied Allah.
Al Kulayni (d. 329 AH) narrated on the authority of Jafar al Sadiq that he said:
الراد علينا الراد على الله وهو على الله حد الشرك بالله
The person who defies us defies Allah. And he is on the brink of committing shirk (polytheism) with Allah.
And like this, the Imamiyyah establish a foundational principle for defying an order of the infallible imam. The problem leads to defying Allah and then committing shirk with Him subhanahu wa ta ‘ala!
Based on this, what is the position of al Hilli and al Khu’i on the narrator who defies an order of the infallible?
Firstly, al Hilli mentions the biography of ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Aban al Razi (known as ‘Allan) and includes it in the first section saying:
He mentioned nothing of his condition (i.e., as a narrator). This very ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Aban al Razi (known as ‘Allan) has a situation that al Najjashi mentioned under his biography. He states:
وقتل علان بطريق مكة وكان استأذن الصاحب عليه السلام في الحج فخرج توقف عنه في هذه السنة فخالف
In other words, he sought permission from the infallible before going for Hajj. He received permission and rather decided to hold off. He ignored the order of the infallible. In fact, it may even be perceived as a display of indifference to the opinion of the infallible, or a ridicule of thereof since he is asking him in order to oppose him!
It is not possible for al Hilli to have not known of ‘Allan’s disobedience in this regard. Al Najjashi mentioned it in his book—which is the most important source of his book, al Khulasah. Al Hilli mentioned the entire text of al Najjashi; however, he omitted the incident of the narrator’s disobedience to the infallible’s command!
Based on this, it is possible to say that al Hilli does not consider the narrator’s defiance of an infallible’s command as having any negative affect on the acceptance or rejection of his narration. If this was not the case, he would not have included the narrator in the first section without any comment on the story. However, al Hilli stated:
إن مخالفة علي بن محمد علان لأمر الحجة سلام الله عليه بتوقفه عن الخروج لا ينافي وثاقته
‘Ali ibn Muhammad ‘Allan’s defiance of the Hujjah’s ‘alayh al Salam command by desisting from going out does not negate his reliability (as a narrator).
This is clear from al Khu’i; defying the infallible does not negate the person’s reliability. According to al Khu’i, a narrator’s reliability is the basis for accepting his narration.
Secondly, regarding Hariz ibn ‘Abdullah al Sijistani, al Najjashi states:
كان ممن شهر السيف في قتال الخوارج بسجستان في حياة أبي عبد الله عليه السلام وروي أنه جفاه وحجبه عنه
He was among those who used the sword to fight the Khawarij in Sijistan in the life of Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam. It is narrated that he shunned and avoided him.
The reason for the infallible Imam’s shunning and avoiding Hariz goes back to his defying the infallible’s command that stated he should not go out and fight the Khawarij. In a narration, there were those who wanted to intercede for Hariz by Jafar al Sadiq after he avoided him. However, he did not permit it. Al Kashshi narrated:
عن عبد الرجمن بن الحجاج قال استأذن فضل البقباق لحريز على أبي عبد الله (ع) فلم يأذن له فعاوده فلم يأذن له فقال له أيّ شييءٍ للرجل أن يبلغ من عقوبة غلامه؟ قال على قدر جريرته فقال قد عاقبت و الله حريزا بأعظم ممّا صنع فقال ويحك أنا فعلت ذلك أنّ حريزا جرّد السيف قال ثم قال لو كان حذيفة ما عاودني فيه بعد أن قلت له
On the authority of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn al Hajjaj who said: “Fadl al Baqqaq sought permission for Hariz from Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam. He did not grant him permission. He went back to him. He did not grant him permission.
He said to him, ‘To what extent can a man exact punishment on his servant?’
Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam said, ‘According to the extent of his crime.’
He said, ‘I punished him, by Allah, more than what he did!’
Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam said: ‘Woe unto you! Why did you do that! Hariz unsheathed the sword.’
Then Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam said, ‘If it was Hudhayfah, he would not come back to me regarding him after I already told him.’”
When al Hilli came to his biography, he commented on the statement of al Najjashi that the infallible “avoided him” saying:
وهذا القول من النجاشي لا يقتضي الطعن فيه لعدم العلم بتعديل الراوي للجفاء وروى الكشي أن أبا عبدالله حجبه عنه وفي طريقه محمد بن عيسى مع قول فيه أن الحجب لا يستلزم الجرح، لعدم العلم بالسر فيه
This statement of al Najjashi does not necessitate a criticism of him because of the lack of knowledge regarding the ta’dil of the narrator who narrated the hadith (i.e., of the Imam avoiding him). Al Kashshi narrated that Abu ‘Abdullah shunned him. In its chain is Muhammad ibn ‘Isa; in addition to what was stated about him, the Imam’s shunning him does not necessitate a jarh because there is no knowledge as to what was the secret in doing so.
In summary, al Hilli attempted to blemish the isnad of this shunning. Despite this, he did not regard the act of shunning—the actual reason for it being the disobedience of the infallible’s command—as negatively affecting the narrator. He justified that because of not knowing the secret of the Imam’s shunning him.
As for al Khu’i, he was clearer and more obvious. In the biography of Hariz, he states:
إن تجريد السيف من دون إذن الإمام (عليه السلام)، وإن كان ذنبا كما يظهر من الصحيحة إلا أنه قابل للزاول بالتوبة ولا شك
Unsheathing the sword without the Imam’s ‘alayh al Salam consent, even though it is a sin as it appears from the authentic reports, it is, without a doubt, possible to remove it through the act of repentance.
Thereafter, he took to vindicating Hariz.
This emphasizes that al Khu’i does not regard the narrator’s act of disobeying the command of an infallible Imam as a reason to disqualify his narration from being accepted. This is especially the case if we consider his earlier definition of ‘adalah, a definition that does consider sinful acts a means of diminishing (a narrator’s) ‘adalah.
We have already seen that disobeying a command of the infallible is regarded as a sin, according to the Imamiyyah. What then is the situation of denying him his wealth? As such, what is the opinion of al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding the person who is described as such?
Under the biography of Mansur ibn Yunus ibn Barzaj, it comes that he denied the money of ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Jafar al Rida. In this regard, al Kashshi states:
حدثني حمدويه قال حدثنا الحسن بن موسى قال حدثني محمد بن أصبغ عن إبراهيم عن عثمان بن القاسم قال قال لي منصور برزج قال لي أبو الحسن عليه السلام ودخلت عليه يوما يا منصور أما علمت ما أحدثت في يومي هذا قلت لا قال قد صيرت عليا ابني وصيي والخلف من بعدي، فادخل عليه فهنئه بذلك وأعلمه أني أمرتك بهذا قال فدخلت عليه فهنأته بذلك وأعلمته أن أباه أمرني بذلك قال الحسن بن موسى ثم جحد منصور هذا بعد ذلك لأموال كانت في يده فكسرها وكان منصور أدرك أبا عبد الله عليه السلام
Hamdawayh narrated to me — al Hassan ibn Musa narrated to us — Muhammad ibn Asbagh narrated to me — from Ibrahim — from ‘Uthman ibn al Qasim who said, Mansur Barzaj said to me:
Abu al Hassan ‘alayh al Salam said to me when I met him one day, “O, Mansur. Do you not know what I did on this day?”
I said: ‘No.’
Abu al Hassan ‘alayh al Salam said, “I have made ‘Ali, my son, my wasi (legatee) and the successor after me. Go to him and congratulate him on this. And also inform him that I ordered you to do this.”
He said, “I went to him, congratulated him, and informed him that his father ordered me to do this.”
When al Hilli came to this biography, he including it in the second section and said:
الوجه عندي التوقف فيما يرويه و الرد لقوله لوصف الشيخ [الطوسي] له بالوقف
The correct position, according to me, is to suspend judgement in what he narrates and to reject what he states because of al Sheikh’s (al Tusi’s) describing him with Waqf (i.e., being a Waqifi).
Thereafter, al Hilli mentioned the story of denying the money. Except that his words were explicit in the reason for rejecting him, suspending judgement on him, and including him in the second section: disagreeing in (creedal) school of thought—the school of the Waqifah. Thus, as it appears, the rejection was not because of him denying the infallible’s money.
Al Khu’i was even more obvious than al Hilli in making tawthiq of someone who denies (the Imam) money. He states:
إن صريح الكشي أن الحسن بن موسى هو الذي نسب الجحد وأخذ الأموال إلى منصور ولكن ظاهر الصدوق أن هذه النسبة إما من نفسه أو من أبيه وكيف كان فالرواية مرسلة والنسبة غير ثابته وعلى تقدير الثبوت فهو لا ينافي الوثاقة وعليه فالرجل ثقة، إمامي كما هو ظاهر كلام النجاشي أو غير إمامي كما صرح به الشيخ
Al Kashshi explicitly stated that al Hassan ibn Musa is the one to attribute the denial and taking of money to Mansur. However, the apparent meaning of al Saduq’s (i.e., his words) is that this attribution is either from himself, or from his father. In any case, the narration is mursal and the attribution is not proven. Even if it is assumed proven, it does not negate (the individual’s) reliability. Accordingly, the man is an Imami and he is reliable. This is according to the apparent meaning of al Najjashi’s words. Or, as al Sheikh stated, he is a non-Imami.
This clearly shows the narrator’s tawthiq, even if it is proven that he denied the infallible’s wealth!
Al Tusi mentioned in his book, al Ghaybah, a number of reprehensible sufara’ (representatives) of the awaited Mahdi. And among them, he counted Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Bilal Abu Tahir. Al Hilli including him in the first section of al Khulasah saying:
ثقة قال الشيخ في الغيبة أنه من المذمومين أبو طاهر محمد بن علي بن بلال فنحن في روايته من المتوقفين
Reliable. Al Sheikh stated in al Ghaybah that Abu Tahir, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Bilal is among the reprehensible ones. Accordingly, we suspend judgment on his narrations.
He mentioned him in the second section citing al Tusi that he is among the reprehensible ones.
Here, it appears to us that al Hilli was not absolutely certain regarding the narrator’s condition, though he stated his tawthiq, and then suspended judgement on him, and then stated that he is reprehensible! That is because he mentioned him once in the first section and another time in the second section. Al Hilli’s suspending judgement on the narrator could be because of what al Tusi mentioned in al Ghaybah in that he claimed wakalah (agency) and the Imamiyyah disavowed themselves from him, cursed him, and other such things. All of which, according to him, would be a reason to diminish the narrator’s credibility.
However, al Khu’i was clearer about this narrator. After citing some of the Imami scholars praise for him, he states:
ومع هذا كله فقد أخلد إلى الأرض واتبع هواه وادعى البابية قال الشيخ [الطوسي] ومنهم (المذمومين الذين ادعوا البابية لعنهم الله) أبو طاهر محمد بن علي بن بلال وقصته معروفة فيما جرى بينه وبين أبي جعفر محمد بن عثمان العمري نضر الله وجهه وتمسكه بالأموال التي كانت عنده للإمام وامتناعه من تسليمها وادعائه أنه الوكيل حتى تبرأت الجماعة منه ولعنوه وخرج فيه من صاحب الزمان ما هو معروف [ثم عقّب الخوئي قائلا] … والمتلخص من جميع ما ذكرنا أن الرجل كان ثقة مستقيما وقد ثبت انحرافه وادعاؤه البابية ولم يثبت عدم وثاقته فهو ثقة فاسد العقيدة فلا مانع من العمل برواياته بناء على كفاية الوثاقة في حجية الرواية كما هو الصحيح
Despite all of this, he “adhered (instead) to the earth and followed his own desire” and claimed to be a ‘door (i.e., representative)’ of the Imam. Al Sheikh (al Tusi) stated, “Among them (the reprehensible ones who claimed representative, may the curse of Allah be upon them) is Abu Tahir Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Bilal. His story is famous regarding what transpired between him and Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman al ‘Amri (may Allah enlighten his face) and his holding the money he had for the Imam and refusing to hand it over. It is also famously known that he claimed to be the wakil (agent) until the jama’ah (group) disowned him, cursed him, and what is famously known from Sahib al Zaman (i.e. the awaited Mahdi) was said about him. (Thereafter, al Khu’i commented saying) … Summarizing from everything we have mentioned, the man is reliable (and) upright. His deviancy and claiming to be a ‘door’ (i.e., a representative of the Imam is established, and him being unreliable is not established. Therefore, he is a thiqah with a false belief. As such, there is no impediment to acting on his narrations. This is premised on the correct opinion that only a narrator’s reliability determines the authoritative value of his narration.
Therefore, the narrator, if he withheld the infallible’s wealth and followed his desires, and the Imamiyyah cursed him, and “he adhered (instead) to the earth,” there is still no impediment, according to al Khu’i, in making his tawthiq!
Al Tusi states in al Ghaybah:
روى ابن عقدة عن علي بن الحسن بن فضَّال عن محمد بن عمر بن يزيد وعلي بن أسباط جميعا قالا: قال لنا عثمان بن عيسى الرواسي حدثني زياد القندي وابن مسكان قالا كنا عند أبي إبراهيم عليه السلام إذ قال يدخل عليكم الساعة خير أهل الأرض فدخل أبو الحسن الرضا عليه السلام وهو صبي. فقلنا خير أهل الأرض ثم دنا فضمه إليه فقبله وقال يا بني تدري ما قال ذان؟ قال نعم يا سيدي هذان يشكان فيّ قال علي بن أسباط فحدثت بهذا الحديث الحسن بن محبوب فقال بتر الحديث لا ولكن حدثني علي بن رئاب أن أبا إبراهيم عليه السلام قال لهما إن جحدتماه حقه أو خنتماه فعليكما لعنة الله والملائكة والناس أجمعين يا زياد لا تنجب أنت وأصحابك أبدا قال علي بن رئاب فلقيت زياد القندي فقلت له بلغني أن أبا إبراهيم عليه السلام قال لك كذا وكذا فقال أحسبك قد خولطت فمر وتركني فلم أكلمه ولا مررت به قال الحسن بن محبوب فلم نزل نتوقع لزياد دعوة أبي إبراهيم عليه السلام حتى ظهر منه أيام الرضا عليه السلام ما ظهر ومات زنديقا
Ibn ‘Uqdah narrated on the authority of ‘Ali ibn al Hassan ibn Faddal — from both Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn Yazid and ‘Ali ibn Asbat — ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa al Rawasi said to us — Ziyad al Qindi and Ibn Muskan narrated to me:
We were with Abu Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam when he said, “The best of the people of the world has come to you at this time.”
Abu al Hassan al Rida ‘alayh al Salam entered and he was a child.
We said, “The best of the people of the world!”
Then he came near, embraced him, kissed him and said, “O, my son. What did they say?”
He said, “Yes, my master, these two are having misgivings about me.”
‘Ali ibn Asbat stated, “I narrated this hadith to al Hassan ibn Mahbub and he said, ‘He omitted from the narration. No! Rather, ‘Ali ibn Ri’ab narrated to me that Abu Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam said to them, ‘If you two are denying him his right, or cheated him, then may the curse of Allah, all the angels, and all the humans be upon you. O Ziyad, You and your companion will never be successful ever.’ ‘Ali ibn Ri’ab said, ‘I met Ziyad al Qindi and said to him, ‘It has reached me that Abu Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam said this and that to you.’ He said, ‘I think you are confused. He passed and left me. I did not speak to him nor pass by him.’ Al Hassan ibn Mahbub stated, ‘We never expected Abu Ibrahim’s supplication against Ziyad to actually materialise until the actions he perpetrated in the days of al Rida came to the fore and he died a zindiq.’”
The man died as an accursed apostate. However, al Khu’i has an opinion regarding him. He states:
فالرجل من الثقات وإن كان قد جحد حق الإمام عليه السلام وخانه طمعا في مال الدنيا فإن قلت إن شهادة الشيخ المفيد راجعة إلى زمان روايته النص على الرضا عليه السلام ولذا قد وصفه بالورع فلا أثر لهذه الشهادة بالنسبة إلى زمان انحرافه قلت نعم إلا أن المعلوم بزواله من الرجل هو ورعه وأما وثاقته فقد كانت ثابتة ولم يعلم زوالها
The man is from among the reliable narrators, even though he denied the right of the Imam ‘alayh al Salam and deceived him in hope of the wealth of this world. If you say that Al Sheikh al Mufid’s testimony in his favour goes back to the time of his narration of the text on al Rida ‘alayh al Salam and for this reason he described him with possessing a high level of Allah-consciousness, then this testimony is of no affect in relation to the time of his deviance. I say: Yes; however, what is known about the man is that his Allah-consciousness disappeared. As for his reliability, it is (still) proven and it is not known that it disappeared!
The man left believing in Imamah hoping for the ephemeral things of this world. Consequently, he preferred his dunya over his din. He denied and deceived the Imam. However, according to al Khu’i, this does negatively affect his ‘adalah. Accordingly, there is no problem in the man deceiving the Imam, yet, according to al Khu’i, he is a thiqah!
 Al Hilli: Mukhtalif al Shia, 8/484, “fima tatahaqqaq bihi al ‘adalah”.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7/159. no. 3818.
 To know the Imamiyyah’s differences in the meaning of ‘adalah, see: Mujam Mustalahat al Rijal wa al Dirayah of Muhammad Rida Jadidi, p. 101; Usul al Hadith wa Ahkamuhu of Jafar al Subhani, p. 134; Usul al Hadith of ‘Abdul Hadi al Fadli, p. 109; and Buhuth fi Fiqh al Rijal of al Fani al Asfahani, p. 62.
 Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal, (Rijal al Kashshi), p 375, no. 705.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 11/132, no. 6744.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 2/113. no. 542.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7/141, no. 3781.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 323, no. 1267 in the second section.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 306, no. 1155 in the first section of agnomens.
 Ibid., p. 422, no. 1722, in the second section under “Agnomens”.
 See: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah of Mahdi al Kajuri, p. 128 and Tara’if al Maqal of ‘Ali al Burujirdi, 2/271.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7/159, no. 3818.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 14/139, no. 9002.
 Ibid., 23/69, no. 14886.
 As he did in the biography of Di’bil ibn ‘Ali al Khuza’i. He only criticized the isnad of the narration that proves Di’bil drank alcohol. al Mujam, 8/151, no. 4465.
 Bisam Murtada: Zubdat al Maqal min Mujam al Rijal, 1/118; al Jawahiri: al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith, p. 437.
 Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Qulawayh: Kamil al Ziyarat, p. 553 (Nawadir al Ziyarat).
 Al Kulayni: al Kafi, 1/67, Kitab Fadl al ‘Ilm, Bab: Ikhtilaf al Hadith, hadith no. 10. In Mir’at al ‘Uqul, 1/221; al Majlisi states, “Reliable, the companions have accepted him.”
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 187, no. 558.
 According to the Imamiyyah, “al Sahib (the Companion),” “Sahib al Bayt (Companion of the House)” refers to Muhammad ibn al Hassan, the awaited Mahdi, as mentioned by Muhammad Rida in Mujam Mustalahat al Dirayah (p. 85).
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 261, no. 682.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 13/138. no. 8403.
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 144, no. 375.
 Al Najjashi states, “Al Fadl ibn ‘Abdul Malik, Abu al ‘Abbas (al Baqqaq). Mawla. Kufan. Reliable. Prominent.” (Rijal al Najjashi, p. 308 no. 843) Despite al Fadl acting boldly towards the infallible imam—to such an extent that under the commentary following the text of the narration, it reads in the marginalia of al Tiffarishi’s book, Naqd al Rijal (1/410, edited by Mu’assasat Al al Bayt li Ihya’ al Turath), “The indication of Abu al ‘Abbas’s bad manners is clearer, unless it is because of his lack of knowledge regarding good etiquette.” (I say) As the narration attests to, if al Baqqaq was impolite with the imam, how can al Najjashi judge him to be “reliable (and) prominent?”
 Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 383, no. 717.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 134, no. 360
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 5/232, no. 2645.
 In explaining the words ‘broke it,’ al Majlisi in Bihar al Anwar, 49/14, states, “It is metaphor for disposing and spending it carelessly.” Al Nuri al Tabarsi in Khatimat Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 5/341 states, “The words from Hassan (ibn Musa) are clear in that the denial was for consuming the wealth, not because of him lacking understanding and other similar reports. This does act does not support the quality of reliability. In spite of this, it is necessary to give preference to al Najjashi’s words in order for his supporting the narration of Safwan, Ibn Abi ‘Umair, and all the venerable others.” Similarly, al Nuri (p. 342) states, “You know that the narration is regarded as being from among the reasons of Mansur’s praise. The attribution of denying the emphatic statement and consuming the money to him is from al Hassan, the teacher of Hamdawayh. Therefore, the attributing that statement to ‘Uthman, as it appears in al Khulasah, is very doubtful. The weakness of the narration on account of him and Ibrahim being majhul is another doubt. Thereafter, dividing the reports of denial (of his appointment) and that it was (actually) because of wanting to consume the wealth—despite being a possibility—is a third problem. Opening this door (of criticism) necessitates closing the door of accepting (criticism) in many other instances. Even if it was done and it was necessary based upon what we have mentioned regarding the disconnection and weakness (of the report) as well as the scholars not censuring him. And Allah knows best.” What is meant by disconnection is that al Hassan ibn Musa did not meet al Rida, as he mentioned that earlier in the same source.
 Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 468, no. 893.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 408, no. 1650.
 As it appears on ‘Uyun Akhbar al Rida of al Sadiq, 2/32.
 Contrary to the opinion of al Khu’i, Muhammad al ‘Amili made tawthiq of the narration. He states: “Al Kashshi narrated a comprehensive hadith with a valid isnad. This is because he denied the text concerning the explicit appointment of al Rida due to wealth that he had in his possession.” (Madarik al Ahkam, 6/47, under the commentary of “al Imsak ‘an al Kadhib”.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 19/383, no. 12716. Al Najjashi, p. 366, no. 989; and al Tusi mentioned it in Rijal al Tusi, p. 343, no. 5119.
 Al Tusi: Kitab al Ghaybah, p. 400, narration no. 375. Al Hilli enlisted them in his work, al Khulasah, p. 432.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 242, no. 825.
 Ibid., p. 405 (no. 1638).
 In describing him, Bisam Murtada states in Zubdat al Maqal (2:348): “They ‘adhered (instead) to the ground” and were desirous of and took Sahib al Zaman’s/imam’s wealth.”
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 17/333-335, no. 11305.
 Al Tusi: Kitab al Ghaybah, p. 68, narration no. 71. Bahr al ‘Ulum states in al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 2/353, “The last narration has a considered isnad like the first. The chain of narration up to Ibn Mahbub is reliable. As it seems from him his words in al Fihrist under his biography, al Sheikh took it from Ibn ‘Uqdah’s work.”
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7/330, no. 4811.