One day ‘Amr ibn Hind said to his friends, “Whose mother would dislike having to serve my mother?” It was said to him, “‘Amr ibn Kulthum.” So ‘Amr ibn Hind, under the pretext of soliciting their support sent for ‘Amr ibn Kulthum and his mother, whereas his actual motive was to humiliate the mother of Ibn Kulthum.
‘Amr bn Hind beckoned to his mother to send the servants aside when the food would be brought, and to then seek some assistance from the mother of Ibn Kulthum. Ibn Hind then called for a table and placed it, after which they began to eat. He then called for different containers that were laden with food. So Hind, the mother of ‘Amr ibn Hind said, “Laylu (the mother of Ibn Kulthum), hand me that plate.” At this, Layla replied “The woman who requires something should tend to her own need.” Hind repeated what she said and persisted, to which Layla raised her voice, “What disgrace, O family of Taghlib!”
When ‘Amr ibn Kulthum heard this, he realized what was transpiring, and the blood in his veins boiled as he stared at ‘Amr ibn Hind, whose face revealed the sinister motive behind the entire affair. Instinctively so he rose, grabbed hold of the sword of ‘Amr ibn Hind which was hanging by the curtain, and struck the head of Ibn Hind. He spontaneously recited these couplets:
And the tribes of Ma’add have known well, when tents are erected in its valleys,
That we are the ones who will feed when we are at ease, yet we are also the ones who will destroy when tested.
When the king imposes oppression on the people, we refuse to allow disgrace to come to us.
When any boy of ours reaches weaning, the tyrants fall down to him in prostration.
How beautiful is this portrait of honour, self-respect, and defiance with gallantry! The nature of the Arabs would never accept humiliation. Contrast this with the repugnant portrait that has been wrongfully painted of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam.
The Imam was a person of proverbial bravery and honour, he never knew cowardice. Is it even conceivable that ‘Amr ibn Kulthum was more courageous than Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam? Is it remotely conceivable that someone could forcefully enter the house of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, whereupon he hides behind his wife and sends her to fend of the attackers? Where is the bravery of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam? Where are the Muhajirin? Where are the Ansar? Where are the Banu Hashim? Are they all scared of ‘Umar? Are they all cowards?
Could it happen that the honourable Fatimah ‘alayha al Salam, ‘Ali’s wife, and the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam daughter be accosted whilst the Imam simply looks on?
Is it possible for the most honourable and courageous of the Arabs to be dragged by a rope around his neck?
How deplorable is this scene? It is a scene that could only be imagined by a Nasibi who hates the Imam and wishes to defame him. No one who loves the Imam and knows his true character would ever dare to think of the Imam in such cowardly behaviour!
In fact, it is believed by some that ‘Umar slapped Fatimah ‘alayha al Salam on her face so hard that her earring was ripped from her ear. All the while Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam watches what happens but does not retaliate! Do these people think the Imam to have no honour?
Can ‘Umar be a disbeliever, having barged into the home of the Imam and breaking the rib of his wife, and, worse still, killing her unborn child; only to have the Imam marry his daughter Umm Kulthum off to him?
When I searched for a suitable explanation for this marriage from the scholars, I only found the worst of disasters!
Some of them said that Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam married her off to ‘Umar against his will and against her will! This is the epitome of defamation of Imam ‘Ali and his pure daughter ‘alayhima al Salam!
I say: Fear Allah in regards to our Imam, O people! Fear Allah, O scholar! You stripped the Imam of all bravery and revealed him as an incompetent coward!
Others have said that ‘Umar married a Jinn who assumed the form of Umm Kulthum, and that it was not the real Umm Kulthum, the daughter of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam! Dear God! Allah has bestowed man with intellect and reason by which he can understand the religion; yet the best our scholars could come up with is a Jinn? We just heard the story of flying elephants and the vanishing of Imam Khomeini, only to be entertained with a tale of a Jinn!
It was not enough for them to detract from the status of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam by inventing this tale; they went ahead and said regarding Imam ‘Ali ibn Hussain ‘alayh al Salam that he became a disgraced slave of Yazid.
‘Allamah Majlisi writes in Bihar al Anwar:
It is related from Imam Baqir ‘alayh al Salam that Yazid ibn Muawiyah entered Madinah on his way for Hajj, so he sent for a man from the Quraysh, who came to him. Yazid then said to him “Do you accept that you are a slave to me, such that if I wish I can sell you and if I wish I can retain you?”
The man replied, “By Allah O Yazid, your lineage is not more noble than my own, nor was your father better than mine in Jahiliyyah and Islam. You are not more virtuous than me in faith and neither are you a person of better than me (in any way). How, then, can I accept what you have asked of me?”
Yazid then said to him, “If you do not accept this from me then by Allah, I will kill you.”
The man said, “Your killing me is not greater than your killing of Hussain ibn ‘Ali, the son of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
Yazid ordered for him to be killed. He then called ‘Ali ibn Hussain ‘alayh al Salam and said to him what he told the man from Quraysh whom he had just killed. So, ‘Ali ibn Hussain ‘alayh al Salam said to him, “Tell me, if I do not accept, will you kill me as you killed that man yesterday?”
Yazid replied, “Yes,” to which ‘Ali ibn Hussain then said, “I have accepted from you what you asked; I am a slave that is coerced, if you so wish then keep me, and if you so wish then sell me.”
The great intellectual and thinker ‘Ali Shari’ati writes in his book Al Tashayyu’ Al ‘Alawi wa al Tashayyu’ Al Safawi regarding this narration:
What is strange is that ‘Allamah Majlisi did not suffice with narrating these disgusting reports that were fabricated by hired hands of Banu Umayyah. Rather, he began defending this report and refuting the objections that could be raised against it. He alluded to an objection raised by the historians on this report, which is that Yazid did not go for Hajj, and, in fact, did not leave the borders of al Sham for the entire period of his rule. This is correct, especially because Yazid was unable to go to Makkah due to the presence of ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair. ‘Abdullah had set out for Makkah the same as Imam Hussain, out of refusal to pledge allegiance to Yazid. The only difference being the fact that Imam Hussain ‘alayh al Salam left Makkah for Kufah, whereas ‘Abdullah remained stationed in Makkah, making it as the centre of his power. He had eventually established his rule there, as did his brother Mus’ab after him. So how, and when, did Yazid find the opportunity to go for Hajj?
Notwithstanding this, ‘Allamah Majlisi did not accept admission of the fact that this report is indeed fabricated. Instead, he went out of his way to support it and rejected the position of the historians arguing that “The claim of a historian cannot be relied upon,” in total disregard for all the historical and rational proofs that disprove the narration. Eventually claiming that this is how the objection against the narration is put to rest. If only he would have sufficed with that, instead of volunteering his absurd point of view and his strange conclusion that he arrived at for this specific narration. This conclusion of his that aroused my anger to such an extent that I could not sleep that night until the morning, as I remained tossing and turning in my bed like one who has been bitten by a viper, screaming inside, “He isn’t even an Imam! He isn’t even a wali or a child of Hussain, ‘Ali, Fatimah, and Muhammad, he is simply an Arab from the Quraysh.”
As for you that support this narrative, you do not have to be a scholar, or a spiritual person, or a Shia, or a Muslim, at least be a human! How, then, do you have the audacity to accuse the Imam of this lowly insinuation?
The other apprehension that I experienced was that if I intended to call ‘Allamah Majlisi into question then I would have to prepare myself mentally as I was about to dive head first into a battle of life and death. Initially I could not bring myself to question the sanctified personality of ‘Allamah Majlisi, but when I realized that upholding the sanctified status of ‘Allamah Majlisi was mutually exclusive to that of the Imam, I resolved to give preference to the latter, regardless of what the consequences. Moreover, I came to realize that I had nothing to lose effectively, so why the apprehension and silence?
 Al Kulayni: Al Kafi, 6/115-116.
 Al Majlisi, Mir’at al ‘Uqul, 2/45.
 See the earlier chapter “Between Us and Greek Mythology”.
 Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 34/137.
 ‘Ali Shari’ati: Al Tashayyu’ al ‘Alawi wa al Tashayyu’ al Safawi, pg. 198-203.Back to top