Allegations against ‘Abdullah al Mahd
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah al Mahd has also had a number of baseless allegations cast against him, resulting in him being unfairly maligned and disparaged.
- ‘Abdullah al Mahd claimed to possess the sword of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
They claim that ‘Abdullah al Mahd rahimahu Llah claimed to possess the sword of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, a claim that was belied by Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah. Al Saffar reports in Basa’ir al Darajat from Sulaiman ibn Harun:
العجلية يقولون رهطان سيف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عند عبد الله بن الحسن قال والله ما رآه ولا رآه أبوه الذي ولده الا أن يكون عند علي بن الحسين ان صاحب هذا الامر لمحفوظ ومحفوظ له فلا يذهبن يمينا ولا شمالا فان الأمر واضح
He asked, “Two groups of the ‘Ajaliyyah are saying that the sword of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is in the possession of ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan.”
Imam Jafar replied, “By Allah, he has not seen it, nor has his father seen it except when it was with ‘Ali ibn Hussain. Verily the master of this matter guards it and it is safe with him; so do not move to the right or to the left, for the matter is clear.”
- ‘Abdullah al Mahd claimed that ‘Ali was not an Imam
Al Saffar reports in Basa’ir al Darajat from Muhammad ibn Muslim that Imam Jafar al Sadiq mentioned that ‘Abdullah al Mahd would say rewarding Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he was not the Imam until he rose up and drew his sword; and also that anyone from the Quraysh can be the Imam.
كنت جالسا عند أبي عبد الله عليه السلام وعنده محمد بن عبد الله بن علي إلى جنبه جالسا، وفي المجلس عبد الملك بن أعين ومحمد الطيار وشهاب بن عبد ربه، فقال رجل من أصحابنا: جعلت فداك، إن عبد الله بن الحسن يقول: لنا في هذا الامر ما ليس لغيرنا! فقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام) بعد كلام: أما تعجبون من عبد الله يزعم أن أباه علي لم يكن إماما، ويقول: إنه ليس لنا علم. وصدق والله ما عنده علم
I was sitting with Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) ‘alayh al Salam and sitting next to him was Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ali. In the gathering were also ‘Abdul Malik ibn A’yan, Muhammad al Tayyar, and Shihab ibn ‘Abd Rabbihi.
One of our companions said, “May I be sacrificed for you, ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan says, ‘We have in this matter what others do not have.’”
After a few words Abu ‘Abdullah said, “Are you not surprised by ‘Abdullah who thinks that his [great grand] father, ‘Ali, was not an Imam, and that we do not have any knowledge. He has spoken the truth, by Allah, he does not have any knowledge.”
- ‘Abdullah al Mahd differed in certain jurisprudic rulings
- ‘Abdullah al Mahd praised ‘Umar ibn al Khattab
Refuting the Allegations against Sayyidina ‘Abdullah al Mahd
As for those narrations in which Sayyidina Jafar al Sadiq disparages Sayyidina ‘Abdullah al Mahd—his cousin both paternally and maternally—they are all unfounded and highly improbable. These illustrious personalities are far above such petty statements and squabbles. Testifying to this is what is reported in Bihar al Anwar:
إن أبا عبد الله جعفر بن محمد (عليه السلام)، كتب إلى عبد الله بن الحسن – رضي الله عنه – حين حمل هو وأهل بيته يعزيه عما صار إليه : بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم. إلى الخلف الصالح والذرية الطيبة من ولد أخيه وابن عمه، أما بعد فلإن كنت قد تفردت أنت وأهل بيتك ممن حمل معك بما أصابكم ما انفردت بالحزن والغيظ والكآبة وأليم وجع القلب دوني ولقد نالني من ذلك الجزع والقلق وحر المصيبة مثل ما نالك ولكن رجعت إلى ما أمر الله جل وعز به المتقين من الصبر وحسن العزاء
Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar ibn Muhammad ‘alayh al Salam wrote to ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan when he and his family were taken captive, sympathizing with what they were going through. [He wrote:]
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
To the noble descendant and the pure progeny
From the son of your brother and cousin.
While you and your Ahlul Bayt who were taken with you might be facing the difficulties you are facing alone, I share in your grief, anger, mental torture, and pain. The same grief, distress, and misfortune that has befell you has befallen me. But I resort to the patience and consolation which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has ordered the God-Fearing to have.
This letter is brimming with love, concern, and true sympathy; and in another narration it is reported that he wept until his crying could be heard.
Even if we were to accept that the narrations of the alleged disagreement were true and that they did differ with each other, then too in no way does it necessitate that either one of them be permanently disparaged. In fact, each of them possesses abundant virtue and familial bonds with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As a result, it would be befitting to turn a blind eye to whatever shortcomings they might have possessed, and that too only if this alleged incident were true, which in this case it is not.
Concerning the book Basa’ir al Darajat of al Saffar, Hibat Allah al Sharistani says in Mujallah al Mushid al Baghdadiyah al Sanat al Rabi’ah (pg. 328):
غير أنني لا أعتمد على هذا الكتاب بصائر الدرجات إذ هو مشترك بين رجلين وفيه روايات عن الغلاة والضعفاء .
Besides I do not consider this book, Basa’ir al Darajat, to be reliable. As the name of the author is shared by two different individuals, and it contains reports from extremists and weak narrators.
Asif al Musini says about it in Mashra’at Bihar al Anwar (1/442):
وعمدة مصدرها بصائر الدرجات الصفار الثقة التي لم تصل نسختها إلى المجلسي بسند معتبر و لا دليل على سلامتها من التغيير و التبديل
The best of its sources is Basa’ir al Darajat of al Saffar—the reliable—the manuscript of which did not reach al Majlisi with a reliable chain, nor is there any proof that it has been preserved from alteration or change.
In the first allegation, the narrator Sulaiman ibn Harun has been severely criticized. Al Hilli says about him in Khulasat al Aqwal:
قال ابن الغضائري سليمان بن هارون النخعي أبو داود يقال له: كذاب النخع، روى عن أبي عبد الله ضعيف جدا
Ibn al Ghada’iri says, “Sulaiman ibn Harun al Nakha’i Abu Dawood: It has been said about him, ‘The Liar of Nakha’.’ His narrations from Abu Abdullah are extremely weak.”
In the second allegation, ‘Ali ibn Sa’id or Ibn Sa’d has not been deemed reliable. Refer to Mujam Rijal al Hadith of al Khu’i (# 8163).
As for the statement of ‘Abdulla ibn Hassan that anyone of the Quraysh is worthy of being Imam, this is supported by the Hadith of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
الأئمة من قريش
Rulers/leaders (Imams) are from the Quraysh.
As well as:
الناس تبع لقريش في هذا الشأن
The Quraysh has precedence over the people in this connection (i.e. the right of ruling).
As well as a number of other narrations which explicitly state that the right of Caliphate belongs to the Quraysh. So why then should this Imam be disparaged for following the clear authentic narrations of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? If the Caliphate were further restricted to only a specific branch or group amongst them then the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have explicitly stated it, and he would not have said Quraysh—which is general in its purport—in place of a specific group, family, or person; which goes against the eloquence of the language and in fact even contrary to the station of Nubuwwah, Allah forbid.
As for the Imamah of Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, it is known that his leadership was established when the pledge of allegiance was given to him; ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu was worthy of the Caliphate—there is no doubt in this—and counted amongst the Khulafa’ Rashidin who were upon guidance and the yardstick for all social and political standards.
Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the great grandfather of ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan al Muthanna, and thus it is extremely farfetched that he would disparage his own grandfather.
The only aspect which ‘Abdullah al Mahd denied was the claim that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was divinely appointed by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and instead asserted that he was appointed through the pledge of allegiance being given to him because of his ability to wage jihad, implement the punishments, lead the Hajj, and establish the laws of din; and if one is unable or unwilling to carry out these duties then what benefit is there in appointing such an Imam. Keeping this mind, one would not find any problem with the statements of ‘Abdullah al Mahd, but in fact what he said represents the absolute truth.
As for the alleged juriprudic differences; al Kulayni has reported in al Kafi from al Kalbi, the genealogist:
دخلت المدينة ولست أعرف شيئا من هذا الامر فأتيت المسجد فإذا جماعة من قريش فقلت: أخبروني عن عالم أهل هذا البيت؟ فقالوا: عبد الله بن الحسن، فأتيت منزله فاستأذنت، فخرج إلي رجل ظننت أنه غلام له، فقلت له: استأذن لي على مولاك فدخل ثم خرج فقال لي: ادخل فدخلت فإذا أنا بشيخ معتكف شديد الاجتهاد، فسلمت عليه فقال لي: من أنت؟ فقلت: أنا الكلبي النسابة، فقال: ما حاجتك؟ فقلت: جئت أسألك، فقال: أمررت بابني محمد؟ قلت: بدأت بك: فقال: سل، فقلت: أخبرني عن رجل قال لامرأته: أنت طالق عدد نجوم السماء، فقال: تبنى برأس الجوزاء والباقي وزر عليه وعقوبة، فقلت في نفسي: واحدة، فقلت: ما يقول الشيخ في المسح على الخفين؟ فقال: قد مسح قوم صالحون ونحن أهل البيت لا نمسح، فقلت في نفسي: ثنتان، فقلت: ما تقول في أكل الجري أحلال هو أم حرام؟ فقال: حلال إلا أنا أهل البيت نعافه فقلت في نفسي: ثلاث، فقلت: فما تقول في شرب النبيذ؟ فقال: حلال إلا أنا أهل البيت لا نشربه، فقمت فخرجت من عنده وأنا أقول: هذه العصابة تكذب على أهل هذا البيت فدخلت المسجد فنظرت إلى جماعة من قريش وغيرهم من الناس فسلمت عليهم ثم قلت لهم: من أعلم أهل هذا البيت؟ فقالوا: عبد الله بن الحسن، فقلت: قد أتيته فلم أجد عنده شيئا فرفع رجل من القوم رأسه فقال: ائت جعفر بن محمد عليهما السلام فهو أعلم أهل هذا البيت، فلامه بعض من كان بالحضرة – فقلت (2): إن القوم إنما منعهم من إرشادي إليه أول مرة الحسد – فقلت له: ويحك إياه أردت، فمضيت حتى صرت إلى منزله فقرعت الباب، فخرج غلام له فقال: ادخل يا أخا كلب فوالله لقد أدهشني
I entered Madinah, and I was not aware of anything concerning this matter… [until he said,] so I went to the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan and sought permission to enter. A man came out to me, who I assumed was his slave, so I said to him, “Seek permission for me to enter from your master.”
He left and then returned saying, “Enter.”
‘Abdullah said, “Did you pass my son, Muhammad?”
I said, “I began with you.”
He said, “Ask.”
I said, “Tell me about a man who says to his wife, ‘I divorce you as much as the number of stars in the sky.’”
He replied, “She is divorced with the first three and the remainder is a sin upon him.”
I said to myself, “That’s one.”
I then asked, “What does the Sheikh say about masah on Khuffayn (leather socks)?”
He replied, “A group of the righteous would make masah and we the Ahlul Bayt do not make masah.”
I said to myself, “That’s two.”
I then asked, “What do you say about the consumption of catfish; is it Halal or Haram?”
He answered, “It is Halal, but we the Ahlul Bayt do not eat it.”
I said to myself, “That’s three.”
I then asked him, “What do you say about the consumption of Nabidh.”
He replied, “It is Halal, but we the Ahlul Bayt do not drink it.”
I then stood and left, saying to myself, “These people lie upon the Ahlul Bayt.”
I then entered the Masjid and saw a group of the Quraysh and other people. I greeted them and then said, “Who is the most knowledgeable of the Ahlul Bayt?”
They replied, “‘Abdullah ibn Hassan.”
I responded, “I went to him but did not find him possessing any [knowledge].”
[He later said,] Until I went to the house of Jafar ibn Muhammad ‘alayh al Salam and knocked on the door. A slave came out to me and said, “Welcome, O brother of Kalb,” and by Allah he left me astounded.
Al Tusturi added to this, and disappointing indeed is what he added:
وقد رويت عنه أمور منكرة فوق عدم استبصاره ففي خبر انه قال للصادق (عليه السلام) ان الحسين كان ينبغي له إذا عدل ان يجعلها في الأسن من ولد الحسن، وقال ابن قتيبة رؤى عبد الله بن الحسن يوما يمسح على خفيه فقال مسح عمر ومن جعله بينه وبين الله فقد استوثق
Verily vile things have been reported from him, far worse than his lack of discernment, as it is mentioned in a report that he said to al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam, “Indeed it was befitting of Hussain when he recanted to place it in the eldest of Hassan’s children.” Ibn Qutaybah reported that ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan was seen performing masah on his Khuffayn one day after which he said, “‘Umar made masah, and the person who trusts ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding matters between him and Allah, he has indeed found a great trust.”
Responding to the allegations concerning his jursiprudic rulings
Firstly al Kalbi is not reliable, in fact he has been suspected for fabrication; in Tadhib al Kamal of al Mizzi it is mentioned:
Muhammad ibn Sa’ib al Kalbi
- Yahya ibn Sa’id and Ibn Mahdi suspected him of forgery.
- Ibn Ma’in said he is da’if.
- Sufyan al Thawri said, “Strange is the person who narrates from al Kalbi.”
In addition to many other disparaging remarks, how then can he be relied upon when disparaging the likes of this esteemed and venerable Imam.
Secondly, since when does jurisprudic differences in issues such as the consumption of al Nabidh, masah on khuffayn, permissibility of catfish, and three talaq result in one becoming disparaged and discarded?
There is no harm whatsoever in him regarding non-intoxicating Nabidh to be Halal, as it is indeed farfetched that he would permit the consumption of that which intoxicates as that falls under the same ruling as Khamar (wine), which he is far too noble to permit. In addition, the narration clearly states that he does not consume it personally.
If his antagonists insist that it is the intoxicating nabidh that was implied, then should we say the same about Imam Jafar al Sadiq that he too permits the consumption of Nabidh as is reported in al Istibsar?
سأل أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) عن النبيذ فقال حلال فقال إنا ننبذه فنطرح فيه العكر وما سوى ذلك فقال شه شه تلك الخمر المنتنة
Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam was asked about nabidh and he replied, “It is Halal.”
The questioner then said, “We make nabidh by throwing in some pulp [of olives] and other things.”
Imam al Sadiq replied, “Vile! Vile! Fermented wine!”
Imam Jafar explained the stance regarding nabidh in this narration: That which intoxicates is Haram and that which does not intoxicate is Halal and pure. Will he and his cousin, ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan, both be condemned for this?
As for masah on Khuffayn: there are more than 70 narrations from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about this; the narration is thus mutawatir. Amongst those who mentioned it to be mutawatir are:
In fact Ahmed ibn Hambal said:
ليس في قلبي من المسح شيء، فيه أربعون حديثاً عن أصحاب النبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ما رفعوا إلى النبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم، وما وقفوا
I have no misgivings whatsoever regarding masah on Khuffayn; there are 40 ahadith from the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, both marfu’ and mawquf.
Imam Ahmed was either referring to those narrations he regarded as Sahih or those that reached him.
Furthermore, is his testimony in favour of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu such a horrendous crime which necessitates his disparagement? His grandfather, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, praised ‘Umar, fought alongside him, executed the Islamic penalties in his presence, and even married his daughter, Umm Kulthum radiya Llahu ‘anha, to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, he even named one of his sons after him. Is it a crime now for him to follow the practice of his grandfather ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib?
These amicable relations between ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were not thumb sucked, but the books of history bear testimony to this in radiant words elucidated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself, which deserves to be written in gold. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, when the latter asked him about leading the Islamic army himself:
إنك متى تسير إلى هذا العدو بنفسك فتلقهم فتنكب، لا تكن للمسلمين كانفةٌ دون أقصى بلادهم، ليس بعدك مرجعٌ يرجعون إليه، فابعث إليهم رجلاً مجرّباً، واحفز معه أهل البلاء والنصيحة، فإن أظهره الله فذاك ما تحب، وإن تكن الأخرى، كنت رِدءاً للناس ومثابةً للمسلمين
If you yourself proceed towards the enemy and clash with them and fall into some trouble, there will be no place of refuge for the Muslims other than their remote cities, nor any place they would return to. Therefore, you should send an experienced man and send with him people well-seasoned and well-intentioned. If Allah grants you victory, then this is what you want. If it is otherwise, you would serve as a support for the people and a place of return for the Muslims.
He also said to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
فكن قطبا، واستدر الرحى بالعرب، وأصلهم دونك نار الحرب، فإنك إن شخصت من هذه الأرض انتقضت عليك العرب من أطرافها وأقطارها، حتى يكون ما تدع وراءك من العورات أهم إليك مما بين يديك إن الأعاجم إن ينظروا إليك غدا يقولوا هذا أصل العرب فإذا قطعتموه استرحتم، فيكون ذلك أشد لكلبهم عليك وطمعهم فيك.
Be the pivot and rotate the ‘mill’ (of government) with (the assistance of) the Arabs, and be their foundation. Avoid (direct) battle; for the Persians, if they see you tomorrow they will say, “This is the chief of Arabs. If we do away with him (today) we will be in peace.” In doing so, this will provoke them and they will be even more eager to attack you.
He also praised ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu after his demise:
لله بلاء فلان فقد قوم الأود وداوى العمد. خلف الفتنة وأقام السنة. ذهب نقي الثوب، قليل العيب. أصاب خيرها وسبق شرها أدى إلى الله طاعته واتقاه بحقه. رحل وتركهم في طرق متشعبة لا يهتدي فيها الضال ولا يستيقن المهتدي
To Allah belongs the credit for the efforts of so and so. He straightened the crookedness, cured the maladies, established the Sunnah, and left the Fitnah (trial) behind. He departed from this world with a clean garment and with very few faults. He partook of the good of this world and avoided its evil. He fulfilled the right of the obedience of Allah and feared as he was required to. He passed on and left them (the people) upon many paths, the misguided not finding his way and the guided not certain (about his fate).
Ibn Abi al Hadid said in his annotations to this narration in his commentary on Nahj Balaghah:
ويروى (لله بلاء فلان)، أي لله ما صنع! وفلان المكنى عنه عمر بن الخطاب، وقد وجدت النسخة التي بخط الرضى أبى الحسن جامع (نهج البلاغة) وتحت (فلان) (عمر) حدثني بذلك فخار بن معد الموسوي الأودي الشاعر
It is reported as Li Allah Bala’ Fulan, i.e. to Allah are his actions attributed. So-and-so refers to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. Verily I found a manuscript in the handwriting of al Radi Abu al Hassan, the compiler of Nahj al Balaghah, and below the word Fulan was the name ‘Umar. This was narrated to me by Fakhar ibn Ma’d al Musawi al Awdi, the poet.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu also praised ‘Umar saying:
ووليهم وال فأقام واستقام حتى ضرب الدين بجرانه
A ruler governed them who was just and steadfast, until religion reached the point of ultimate satiation.
Ibn Abi al Hadid said:
الجران مقدم العنق , وهذا الوالي هو عمر بن الخطاب
Al Jiran is the top of the throat. This ruler was ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.
As for the ruling about catfish or eel, ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan deemed it permissible; in accordance with the Book of Allah:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ مَتَاعًا لَّكُمْ
Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you.
So what crime is there in permitting what Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala Himself has permitted?
Even if differences of opinion do exist concerning sea creatures, how can he be condemned for adopting one view over the other, and then derided without any valid proof?
Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani said:
عبد الرزاق عن الثوري عن عبد الكريم الجزري عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس أنه سأل عن الجري فقال : لا بأس به ، إنما هـو كرهته اليهود ، وأخرجه ابن أبي شيبة عن وكيع عن الثوري به ، وقال في روايته : سألت ابن عباس عن الجري فقال : لا بأس به ، إنما تحرمه اليهود ونحن نأكله . وهذا على شرط الصحيح . وأخرج عن علي وطائفة نحوه
From’ Abdur Razzaq— from al Thawri ‘Abdul Karim al Jazari — from ‘Ikrimah — from Ibn ‘Abbas, “There is no problem with it; it was something which the Jews deemed reprehensible.” Ibn Abi Shaybah reported from Waki’ — from al Thawri with the same chain and in the narration it is mentioned that he asked Ibn ‘Abbas about catfish, to which he replied, “There is no problem with it; verily the Jews deemed it Haram, but we eat it.” This narration is upon the conditions of al Sahih [al Bukhari] and has been reported from ‘Ali and others as well.
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr says in al Tamhid:
وروي عن علي بن أبي طالب أنه كره الطافي من السمك ، وروي عنه أنه كره أكل الجري من وجه لا يثبت ، وروي عنه أنه لا بأس بأكل ذلك كله ، وهو أصح عنه
It has been reported from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib that he disliked dead fish. It has also been reported from a source that is unestablished that he considered the consumption of catfish to be makruh (disliked). Alternatively it has been reported that he said that there is no problem with consuming any of them; and that is authentic from him.
Thus we find ‘Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma ruling it permissible to consume, which is in harmony with the Qur’an. What crime has ‘Abdullah al Mahd committed if he passed the same verdict as his honorable forefathers from the Ahlul Bayt?
In fact, al Hilli has said in Mukhtalaf al Shia:
وقد روى زرارة في الصحيح، عن الباقر – عليه السلام – قال: سألته عن الجريث، فقال: وما الجريث؟ فنعته له، فقال: (لا أجد فيما أوحي إلي محرما على طاعم يطعمه إلا أن يكون… إلى آخر الآية) ثم قال: لم يحرم الله شيئا من الحيوان في القرآن إلا الخنزير بعينه، ويكره كل شئ من البحر وليس له قشر – مثل: الورق – وليس بحرام إنما هو مكروه (2).
وفي الصحيح عن محمد بن مسلم، عن الصادق – عليه السلام – قال: سألته عن الجري والمارماهي والزمير وما ليس له قشر من السمك حرام هو؟ فقال لي:
يا محمد إقرأ هذه الآية التي في الأنعام: (قل لا أجد فيما أوحي إلي محرما) قال: فقرأتها حتى فرغت منها، فقال: إنما الحرام ما حرم الله ورسوله في كتابه، ولكنهم قد كانوا يعافون أشياء فنحن نعافها
Zurarah has reported in al Sahih from al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam that he said, “I asked him about eel, and he enquired, ‘And what is eel?’ So I described it to him and he recited, “Say, ‘I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine—for indeed, it is impure—or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah.’” He then said, “Allah has not prohibited any animals in the Qur’an besides swine, and everything from the ocean that does not have scales is makruh (disliked),” which are not Haram but Makruh.
It is reported in al Sahih from Muhammad ibn Muslim — from al Sadiq: I asked him about catfish, eel, bagrid catfish, and those fish that do not have scales; are they Haram? He replied, “O Muhammad, read the verse in Surah al An’am (Say, ‘I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it…). So I recited it until I completed the verse, on which he said, “Verily only that is Haram which Allah and His Rasul have made Haram in His Book, but they disliked certain things so we too dislike them.”
This is a clear testimony from Imam al Baqir and Imam al Sadiq that catfish is disliked; which either refers to the Shar’i ruling—in other words it is makruh to consume and not Haram—or disliked according to their personal tastes, which has no effect on the rulings of Shari’ah. Should we ignore the profound knowledge of these two Imams and now disparage them in the same manner as ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan has been disparaged, since they voiced the same opinion as his?
حلال للطير من كل جنس
أحرام على بلابـله الدوح
Is it forbidden for its nightingales to seek shelter in its huge tress, when it is permissible for all other birds of all other types?
As for the issue of Talaq: Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has permitted the issuing of three Talaqs:
الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ
Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment.
In the next verse Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
فَإِن طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا تَحِلُّ لَهُ مِن بَعْدُ حَتَّىٰ تَنكِحَ زَوْجًا غَيْرَهُ
And if he has divorced her [for the third time], then she is not lawful to him afterward until [after] she marries a husband other than him.
A number of scholars consider three Talaqs issued at once to be valid as three, which is the view of al Shafi’i, Abu Thawr, and has been reported from Hassan ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Mas’ud, and Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It is also the view of the majority of scholars from the Tabi’in and those after them.
Sa’id ibn Jubayr and Mujahid report that Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was asked about a man who divorced his wife equal to the number of stars and he replied, “He has contradicted the Sunnah and his wife is Haram upon him.” Ibn Abi Shaybah reports, “Ra’s al Jawza’ (three) would have been sufficient for him.”
Then there is no doubt that the additional Talaqs exceeded what Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has permitted and as a result will be considered as a transgression on his part.
In fact, Mustadrak al Wasa’il of al Nuri reports from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu on the authority of al Jafariyat:
رفع إلى أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) رجل قال لامرأته: أنت طالق عدد العرفج فقال علي (عليه السلام) ثلاث عرفجات يكفيك من ذلك وفرق بينه وبين امرأته
A case was presented before Amir al Mu’minin ‘alayh al Salam of a man who said to his wife, “You are divorced equal to the number of Urfuj plants,” and ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam said, “Three Urfuj would have sufficed you.” He then separated him from his wife.
It is narrated from al Sadiq, as reported in al Istibsar of al Tusi:
عن محمد بن (سعد) الأموي قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن رجل طلق ثلاثا في مقعد واحد قال:
فقال أما انا فأراه قد لزمه وأما أبي فكان يرى ذلك واحدة
Muhammad ibn Sa’d al Umawi said, “I asked Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam about a man who gave his wife three Talaq in one sitting and he replied, ‘As for me, I see three to be incumbent; whereas my father saw it as one.’”
Would ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his grandson al Sadiq rahimahu Llah also be regarded as mistaken in the same manner as ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan? What harm can there be in ‘Abdullah Ibn Hassan adopting a position which the majority of the Ahlul Bayt and Sahabah adopted before him?
His critics should acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion concerning these rulings amongst the honourable scholars of Islam, and we do not regard anyone as infallible besides the beloved Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; so there is no issue if this Imam or anyone besides him erred in any of these matters. However, marking a scholar with perpetual disdain on account of some error, this we will never tolerate!
 Basa’ir al Darajat, pg. 174, section 4.
 Ibid, pg. 155, section 4.
 Ibid, pg. 153.
 Bihar al Anwar, 47/299.
 Bihar al Anwar, 47/302.
 Musnad Ahmed, # 19792. Shu’ayb al Arna’ut classified it as Sahih; Musnad Abi Ya’la, # 3633; Sunan Nasa’i al Kubra, # 5942; Kitab Sulaim ibn Qais, pg. 134; Sharah Usul al Kafi; 12/483; Al Ihtijaj, 1/211.
 Sahih al Bukhari, # 3305, Sahih Muslim, # 1820; Al Ihtijaj¸1/211; Kamal al Din wa Itmam al Ni’mah, 274; Sharah Usul al Kafi, 12/32.
 A drink which is prepared by leaving dates, raisins, etc., water overnight, giving it a sweet taste, and is consumed before fermenting.
 Al Kafi, 1/349; Qamus al Rijal, 6/315.
 Al Tusturi amazes us with his utter derision of those who disagree with his views, even if they be from the Ahlul Bayt.
 Tadhib al Kamal, #5763.
 Al Istibsar, 1/66.
 Mutawatir: A narration reported by such a large number of people that it is impossible to deny.
 Al Tanqih wa al Idah, 1/272.
 Fath al Bari.
 Fath al Mughith, 3/40
 Tadrib al Rawi, 2/179.
 Fath al Mughith, 3/40.
 Nahj al Balaghah, sermon: 132.
 Nahj al Balaghah, sermon: 144, pg. 203.
 Nahj al Balaghah, sermon: 144, pg. 222.
 Ibn Abi al Hadid: He is ‘Izz al Din ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Hussain ibn Abi al Hadid al Mada’ini, the poet and linguist. He has authored the lengthiest commentary on Nahj al Balaghah. He was born in 586 A.H and died in Baghdad 655 A.H. ‘Abbas al Qummi wrote a biography for him and praised him in al Kuna al Alqab, 1/192.
 Al Radi Abu al Hassan: He is Muhammad ibn Hussain ibn Musa ibn Ibrahim ibn Musa al Kazim, the scholar and linguist. He was born in 359 A.H and died in 456 A.H. ‘Abbas al Qummi wrote a biography for him and praised him in al Kuna al Alqab, 2/272. He also established him to be the author of Nahj al Balaghah, and refuted those who deny this.
 Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 3/12.
 Ibid, 20/218.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 96.
 Fath al Bari, 9/615.
 Dead fish found floating in the water.
 Al Tamhid, 16/225.
 Mukhtalaf al Shia, 8/204-205.
 Surah al Baqarah: 229.
 Surah al Baqarah: 230.
 Al MughnI, Chapter of Talaq.
 Sunan al Daraqutni, 4/21.
 Ra’s al Jawza’: Three stars of Orion’s belt.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, # 17813.
 A type of thorny bush that grows in the desert.
 Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 15/304.
 Al Istibsar, 3/286; Tahdhib al Ahkam, pg. 53.Back to top