Chapter Five – The stance of the remaining Shia scholars

The accusations against al ‘Alqami
October 13, 2022
Conclusion
October 13, 2022

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Chapter Five

The stance of the remaining Shia scholars

 

What happened to the Muslims in Baghdad is a catastrophe in every sense of the word as we have previously discussed. Some Shia state the same, such as al Tabataba’i, while some others regard it to be a triumph that brings joy to their hearts, such as al Khuwanasari and others.

Al Tabataba’i mentions the following in Riyad al Masa’il:

 

اولا سقوط بغداد في سنة 656 سقطت بغداد حاضرة العالم الإسلامي بيد التتار بقيادة هولاكو وكان سقوط بغداد واحدة من أعظم النكبات التي حلت بالعالم الإسلامي منذ ظهور الإسلام إلى اليوم الحاضر وكان التخريب الحضاري والثقافي والاقتصادي والسكاني الذي حل بعاصمة العباسيين في هذا الهجوم بمقاييس ذلك التأريخ من أوسع ما حل بالحواضر البشرية ، وقد قدر عدد القتلى في هذه المجزرة الرهيبة كما يقول اليافعي بألف ألف وثمانمائة وكسر وإذا كان في هذا التقدير ثمة شئ من المبالغة فمما لاريب فيه أن الخسائر البشرية كبيرة جدا وفادحة بمقاييس الخسائر الحربية في ذلك التاريخ . وقد استمر القتل والنهب سبعة أيام ثم رفعوا السيف وبطلوا السبي وقيل إن القتل والنهب والسبي استمر نيفا وثلاثين يوما وقيل أربعين يوما يقول الدكتور حسن إبراهيم حسن وقد أعمل جند المغول السيف في رقاب أهل بغداد أربعين يوما سلبوا فيها أموالهم وأهلكوا كثيرين من رجال العلم وقتلوا أئمة المساجد وحملة القرآن وتعطلت المساجد والمدارس والربط وأصبحت المدينة قاعا صفصفا ليس فيها إلا فئة قليلة مشردة الأذهان … فقد كانت بغداد مركزا من أعظم مراكز الإشعاع الفكري في العالم كله في ذلك التاريخ من دون مبالغة وقد أحرق التتار كلما وجدوا في بغداد من علم ومن مراكز للعلم كما قتلوا كل من عثروا عليه من العلماء أو كل من كان في بغداد من العلماء وليس بإمكان أحد أن يقدر ضخامة الخسارة التي لحقت بالفكر والثقافة الإسلامية والبشرية في هذه النكبة يقول قطب الدين الحنفي تراكمت الكتب التي ألقاها التتارحتى صارت معبرا يعبر عليه الناس والدواب واسودت مياه دجلة بما القي فيها من الكتب

In the year 656 AH, Baghdad which was the capital of the Islamic world fell into the hands of the Tartars which was headed by Halaku. The fall of Baghdad was one of the greatest calamities that befell the Islamic world since the presence of Islam right until this day. The cultural, intellectual, economical, and demographical damage that was done to the Abbasid capital in this invasion was in that time the worst that had ever been done to an inhabited city. The number of slain in this bloodbath were estimated to be in excess of eight hundred thousand. There might be some exaggeration in the number, but without a doubt the loss of lives were many and serious in light of war casualties of that era. The massacre and plunder continued for seven long days coming to a halt thereafter, together with freeing the captives. It is mentioned that the massacre and plunder continued for more than thirty or forty days.

The scholar Hassan Ibrahim Hassan mentions, “The Mongol army massacred the inhabitants of Baghdad for a period of forty days.”

They usurped their wealth, killed many scholars, Imams of Masajid and Huffaz of the Qur’an, and destroyed Masajid, schools, and caravansaries rendering the city an empty plain with just a few homeless individuals. Baghdad in that era was without exaggeration one of greatest centres of knowledge in the world. The Tartars set alight every item or place of knowledge that they came across just as they massacred every scholar they stumbled upon or was present in Baghdad at that time. It is impossible for one to even estimate the extent of damage that was done on an intellectual, cultural, Islamic, and humanitarian level in this disaster.

Qutb al Din al Hanafi mentions, “The books were dumped into the Tigris River. Due to the large amount, it piled up and became a bridge for people and animals to cross. The water of the Tigris also turned black due to the great number of books.”[1]

 

After hearing the above, if you have to hear someone conversely claiming this to be the beginning of great advancement, the flourishing of his creed, and the great preparation for his hard work, I wonder where were they during the war and how were they not among those who were killed.

All of this forces us to look into the condition of the Shia after the Mongol invasion and especially immediately after the capture of Baghdad, and were they inflicted similar to the infliction of others. Below are some statements which shed light on their condition during the Mongol invasion.

Ibn al ‘Abri mentions:

 

وأمر هولاكو البتيكتجية ليكتبوا على السهام بالعربية : إن الأركاونية – نسبة إلى دهقان – والعلويين والداذنشمدية وبالجملة كل من ليس يقاتل فهو آمن على نفسه وحريمه وأمواله

Halaku ordered the writers to write the following in Arabic upon the arrows, “The leaders (from the lineage of the Dihqan), Alawites, senior leaders, and in short all those who will not be slain have been granted safety and their wealth cannot be usurped.”[2]

 

It is mentioned that this was done to divide the rank. So, the reply has been given that although it may be true, the mere fact of including the Shia among them is proof of his recognising their susceptibility in assisting him and behaving treacherously towards the Khalifah.

‘Ali al Tabataba’i discusses the Shia movements and stance during the Mongol invasion in their most important city close to Baghdad, namely Hillah. He mentions:

 

 وكانت مدينة الحلة يومذاك … مركزا معروفا للشيعة يسكنها في أوان هذه المحنة علماء بارزون من الشيعة من أمثال المحقق الحلي والإمام سديد الدين يوسف بن علي بن مطهر والد العلامة والإمام رضي الدين ابن طاووس والسيد مجد الدين محمد بن الحسن بن طاووس والفقيه ابن أبي العز وغيرهم من رجال … فأدرك هؤلاء ضرو ة التحرك السريع لدرء الخطر المقبل ، وامتصاص ضراوة التتار ونقمتهم والعمل على دفع هجوم التتار من سائر بقاع العراق ولا سيما المراكز الدينية منها … فاستقر رأي علماء الشيعة وعلمائها في الحلة على أن يكتبوا إلى هولاكو كتابا يطلبون منه الأمان للحلة وما والاها من المناطق

The city of Hillah was at that time a well-known hub of the Shia which was inhabited by prominent Shia scholars during this ordeal, from the likenesses of Muhaqqiq al Hilli, Imam Sadid al Din Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Mutahhar (father of ‘Allamah al Hilli), Imam Radi al Din ibn Tawus, Sayed Majd al Din Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn Tawus, Faqih ibn Abi al ‘Izz, and others. They realised the need for quick action to prevent the approaching danger, absorb the virulence and vengeance of the Tartars, and work on preventing the Tartars from invading the entire Baghdad including its religious centres. So, the Shia scholars and those of Hillah unanimously agreed on writing a letter to Halaku seeking protection for Hillah and its surrounding areas.[3]

 

The First Delegation

‘Allamah al Hilli mentions the following in his book, Kashf al Yaqin fi Fada’il Amir al Mu’minin:

 

لما وصل السلطان هولاكو إلى بغداد قبل أن يفتحها هرب أكثر الحلة إلى الطبائح إلا القليل فكان من جملة القليل والدي والسيد مجد الدين ابن طاووس والفقيه ابن أبي العرفاء اجتمع رأيهم على مكاتبة السلطان بأنهم مطيعون داخلون تحت الايلية وأنفذوا به شخصا أعجميا فأنفذ السلطان إليهم فرمانا مع شخصين أحدهما يقال له نكلة والآخر يقال له علاء الدين وقال لهما قولا لهم إن كانت قلوبكم كما وردت به كتبكم تحضرون إلينا فجاء الأمير أن فخافوا لعدم معرفتهم بما ينتهي الحال إليه فقال والدي إن جئت وحدي كفي فقالا نعم فاصعد معهما فلما حضر بين يديه وكان ذلك قبل فتح بغداد وقبل قتل الخليفة قال له كيف قدمتم على مكاتبتي والحضور عندي قبل أن تعلموا بما ينتهي إليه أمري وأمر صاحبكم وكيف تأمنون أن يصالحني ورحلت عنه فقال والدي إنما أقدمنا على ذلك لأنا روينا عن أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام أنه قال في خطبته الزوراء وما أدراك ما الزوراء أرض ذات أثل يشيد فيها البنيان وتكثر فيه ا السكان ويكون فيها مهادم وخزان يتخذها ولد العباس موطنا ولزخرفهم مسكنا تكون لهم دار لهو و لعب يكون بها الجور الجائر والخوف المخيف و الأئمة الفجرة والأمراء الفسقة والوز اء الخونة تخدمهم أبناء فارس والروم لا يأمرون بمعروف إذا عرفوه ولا يتناهون عن منكر إذا نكروه تكتفي الرجال منهم بالرجال والنساء بالنساء فعند ذلك الغم العميم والبكاء الطويل والويل والعويل لأهل الزوراء من سطوات الترك وهم قوم صغار الحدق ووجوهن كالمجال المطوقة لباسهم الحديد جرد مرد يقدمهم ملك يأتي من حيث بدا ملكهم جهوري الصوت قوي الصولة عالي الهمة لا يمر بمدينة إلا فتحها ولا ترفع عليه راية إلا يكشفها الويل الويل لمن ناوأه فلا يزال كذلك حتى يظفر فلما وصف لنا ذلك ووجدنا الصفات فيكم رجوناك فقصدناك

When King Halaku got to Baghdad prior to invading it, the inhabitants of Hillah fled to the wide valleys apart from a few. Among the very few was my father, Sayed Majd al Din ibn Tawus and Faqih ibn Abi al ‘Urafa’. They unanimously agreed on writing a letter to Halaku informing him of their obedience and their joining with the eleatics and sent it with a foreign person. The King responded by sending them a laissez-passer with two men, one of them was called Naklah and the other ‘Ala’ al Din who said to them, “If your intentions are as your letter portrays, then you should come to us.” The two leaders went as they feared what would be the outcome.

My father then said, “Will it be sufficient if I come alone?”

They replied in the affirmative so he proceeded with them. When he came before Halaku, and this was prior to the invasion of Baghdad and the massacre of the Khalifah, he said to him, “What made you believe my message and come to me without knowing what I will decide regarding you and your companions? What makes you sure that I will make peace and leave?”

My father replied, “We have only taken this path as we are aware that ‘Ali ibn Talib once mentioned in his sermon, ‘The al Zawra’. Who knows what is the al Zawra’? It is a land of tamarisks with many erected buildings and many inhabitants. There will be servants and treasures in it. The progeny of ‘Abbas will make it their home and place of decoration. They will have a place for fun and play. The tyranny of the tyrant, dread of the dreadful, shameless scholars, dissolute leaders, and treacherous ministers will be in it. The offspring of Persia and Rome will serve them. They will not command with righteousness although having knowledge of it, nor will they prevent evil as they will be ignorant of it. Their men will be content with men and their women with women. During this prevalent distress, long cry and wailing misfortune, the power of the Turks will come to the aid of the inhabitants of al Zawra’. They will be a nation with small eyes, their faces will be like that of leather shields, their clothing will be of iron, they will be shabby, and beardless. They are presented by a king who comes from among them. He has a loud voice, fierce attack, and strong motivation. He does not pass a city without conquering it, nor is a flag raised against him except that he lowers it. Destroyed is he who makes him an enemy. He will remain like this until he is victorious.’ When this was mentioned to us and we found the qualities to be in you, we became hopeful and therefore came to you.’’[4]

 

Is this not an encouragement in his tyranny to continue his bloodshed?

He continues the story by saying:

 

فطيب قلوبهم وكتب لهم فرمانا لهم باسم والدي يطيب فيه قلوب أهل الحلة وأعما ﳍا

Their hearts were at ease and he gave them a laisser-passer with my father’s name so that hearts of the inhabitants of Hillah and their lives may be at ease.[5]

 

The Second Delegation

There is another narration concerning the second delegation that met Halaku from the city of Hillah. Based on this narration, the delegation consisted of a group of Alawite notables in the company of Sayed Majd al Din ibn Tawus, the scholar who later authored the book Al Basharah and gifted it to the Mongol king in an attempt to prevent his evil and harm from the Muslims. This narration has been narrated by the famous historian, Ibn al Futi in Al Hawadith al Jami’ah. Just as the first narration has been narrated by ‘Allamah al Hilli who was present and a witness to this incident, the matter relates to his father and there is no reason to have doubts regarding the attribution of the book Kashf al Yaqin to ‘Allamah al Hilli, similarly there is no reason to doubt the narration of Ibn al Futi as Sheikh Kamal al Din ‘Abdur Razzaq ibn al Futi was a contemporary to this disaster (646-700 AH) together with him being a trustworthy narrator, therefore there is no possibility to doubt the authenticity of his narration.

Based on the above, we conceive that Hillah sent two delegations to Halaku, and not just one. The first delegation in the leadership of Imam Sadid al Din ibn al Mutahhar, father of ‘Allamah (or just Imam Sadid al Din alone as it appears in the narration of ‘Allamah). The second delegation was headed by Sayed Majd al Din ibn Tawus and it is clear that this delegation met Halaku after getting confidence in him. Nonetheless, we will shortly review the incident of the second delegation from the narration of Ibn al Futi.

Ibn al Futi narrates that in the year 656 AH, King Halaku travelled from his city in the direction of Baghdad. The inhabitants of Hillah and Kufah emigrated to the valleys with their children leaving behind all their wealth. The Alawite seniors and jurists accompanied Majd al Din ibn Tawus al ‘Alawi into the company of the King requesting him to spare their lives. The King acceded to their request and appointed security for them. They then returned to their city and sent a message to all those in the valleys informing them of the security. They gathered their families and a fortune of wealth which they then handed over to the King.

The renowned genealogist, Sayed Jamal al Din Ahmed ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain who is known as Ibn ‘Inabah (d. 828 AH) mentions in the biography of Majd al Din ibn Tawus:

 

خرج إلى السلطان وصنف له كتاب البشارة وسلم الحلة والنيل والمشهدين الشريفين من القتل والنهب اماكن شيعية فقط ورد اليه حكم النقابة بالبلاد الفراتية فحكم في ذلك قليلا ثم مات

He presented him in front of the King and authored a book for him called Al Basharah. He saved Hillah, al Nil, and the two noble sights from bloodshed and looting (Shia sites only). The position of judgeship was handed over to him in the land of the Euphrates, he accepted the post but passed on after a short while.

 

The Third Delegation

The third delegation was the greatest which was led by the ascetic Imam, Radi al Din ibn Tawus. Almost a thousand individuals joined him in this delegation. It is apparent in the narration that Sayed Radi al Din visited Halaku on this occasion with the intention of meeting him, whereas Halaku entrusted him with the Alawites in this encounter. Below is the narration of Radi al Din ibn Tawus himself which is mentioned in his big book Al Iqbal in which he elaborates on the happenings of 28th Muharram:

 

وكان يوم الاثنين سنة ست وخمسين وستمائة فتح ملك الأرض بغداد وكنت مقيما بها في داري بالمقيدية وبتنا في ليلة هائلة من المخاوف الدنيوية فسلمنا الله جل جلاله من تلك الأهوال ولم نزل في حمى السلامة الإ لهية وتصديق ما عرفناه من الوعود النبوية… إلى أن استدعاني ملك الأرض إلى دركاته في صفر وولاني على العلويين والعلماء والزهاد وصحبت معي نحو ألف نفس ومعنا من جانبه من حمانا إلى أن وصلت الحلة ظافرين بالآمال وقد قررت مع نفسي أنني اصلي في كل يوم من مثل اليوم المذكور ركعتي الشكر للسلامة من ذلك المحذور

It was a Monday in the year 656 AH on which the King of the land conquered Baghdad. I was at that time residing there as my home was in Maqidiyyah. We spent the night filled with worldly fears but then handed matters over to Allah. We remained in divine safety and believing what we were aware of prophetic promises until the King of the land summoned me to his private quarters in Safar and entrusted me with the affairs of the Alawites, scholars, and ascetics. Almost a thousand individuals accompanied me and the King sent soldiers to protect us until we reached Hillah triumphant in our hopes. I made a promise to myself that I would perform two rak’ats of shukr every day for being saved from that harm.[6]

 

Al Hamdhani mentions:

 

وأثناء حصار  بغداد كان قد قدم إليه بعض العلويين والفقهاء من الحلة كلها شيعة و التمسوا إليه أن يعين لهم شحنة فأرسل إليهم هولاكوخان بوكله والأمير بجلي النخجواني وأوفد على أثرهما بوقاتيمور أخا اولجاي خاتون لجس نبض أهالي الحلة والكوفة وواسط والوقوف على مدى إخلاصهم فاستقبل أهل الحلة الجند و أقامو جسرا على الفرات وأقاموا الأفراح ابتهاجا بقدومهم ولما شاهد بوقاتيمور اخلاصهم و ثباتهم رحل في العاشر من صفر وتوجه إلى واسط فبلغها في السابع عشر ولكن أهلها لم يدخلوا في الطاعة فقتل ما يقرب من أربعين ألف شخص … وألتمس الأمير سيف الدين البيتكجي إلى الحضرة أن يرسل مائة مغولي إلى النجف ليحافظوا على مشهد أمير المؤمنين رضي الله عنه وعلى أهل تلك البلدة

During the Baghdad siege, some Shia Alawites and Jurists of Hillah came to him requesting security. Halaku dispatched his lieutenant Amir Bajli al Nakhjawani to them and sent after them Buqa Timur, the brother of ‘Uljay Khatun, to try and find out more about the people of Hillah, Kufah, and Wasit; and to determine their sincerity. The people of Hillah anticipated the army by constructing a bridge over the Euphrates and organised festivals in celebration of their coming. Upon seeing their sincerity and determination, on the 10th of Safar, Buqa Timur proceeded to Wasit arriving there on the 17th. The people there, however, did not surrender and he massacred as many as forty thousand individuals. Amir Saif al Din al Baytakji begged his eminence to send a hundred Mongols to Najaf to protect the tomb of the Amir al Mu’minin and the inhabitants of the city.[7]

 

As you can see, the protection was confined to Shia areas after the Mongol army assumed control.

Then comes those who attempt to prove the integrity of the Wazir by means of the Alawites and Shia who were slain. However, the futility of this is clear as many errors occur during battle especially considering the nature of the barbaric Mongols and their violation of cities. Furthermore, the nature of relationship that existed between Wazir and Halaku was secretive causing some Alawites and Shia to naturally defend themselves, which also resulted in them being slain. We have previously discussed how Ibn al ‘Alqami saved his colleague Ibn Abi al Hadid when the Mongols decided to assassinate him and his brother. There were also some who were not happy with this heinous treachery and had no knowledge of it.[8]

Al Muzaffar mentions:

 

ذهاب الوفد الشيعي برئاسة ابن طاووس

The Shia delegation was headed by Ibn Tawus.[9]

 

He also mentions:

 

فسلمت الحلة والمشهدان المقدسان

Hillah and the two sacred sites were saved.[10]

 

And:

 

وكلها شيعة

They were all Shia.[11]

 

As for Ibn Tawus, he has the following ruling which is mentioned in the footnote of the book Al Imam Jafar al Sadiq, authored by al Halim al Jundi:

 

لما فتح هولاكو بغداد استفتى العلماء أيهما أفضل السلطان الكافر العادل أو السلطان المسلم الجائر فجمعوا لذلك بالمدرسة المستنصرية وكان على بن طاووس حاضرا وهو المقدم المحترم فتناول الفتيا ووضع خطه عليها بتفضيل العادل الكافر على المسلم الجائر ووضع العلماء خطوطهم على ذلك

When Halaku invaded Baghdad, he posed the following question to the scholars: What is better, a just disbelieving king or a tyrant Muslim king? The scholars therefore gathered at the Mustansiriyyah college to discuss it. ‘Ali ibn Tawus was also present as he was the esteemed administrator. The matter was ruled upon and was sanctioned by him that a just disbelieving king is preferred over a tyrant Muslim king. The rest of the scholars were also in agreement.[12]

 

It is also mentioned that general masses of Baghdad sent Sharaf al Din al Maraghi and Shihab al Din al Zanjani to request security for them. However, not only were they not entertained in a manner similar to that of the people of Hillah and other Shia areas, they were looted from, jailed, and slain.[13]

What is also concerning is their justification for not assisting the Khalifah as the narration mentioned by al Hilli is part of this incident. If a person does not believe this interpretation of the narration to be authentic, then it will be distortion of the creed he follows and manipulation. And if he strongly believes in it, then in that case the motive of their assistance to the Mongols is legitimate in their perspective, which is that the Khalifah is deserving of divine punishment and the challenge was not of saving lives. It should be noted that this was them prior to entering Baghdad and massacring the Khalifah, to the extent that Halaku tested them to ascertain the honesty of their eagerness, and when they demonstrated their opinions with their narration, he believed them.

This is not the only narration used by them as proof for the Caliphate being worthy of collapse, rather al Majlisi mentions the following quoting Abu Basir:

 

كنت مع أبي جعفر عليه السلام جالسا في المسجد إذ أقبل داود ابن علي وسليمان بن خالد وأبو جعفر عبد الله بن محمد أبو الدوانيق فقعدوا ناحية من المسجد فقيل لهم هذا محمد بن علي جالس فقام إليه داود بن علي وسليمان بن خالد وقعد أبو الدوانيق مكانه حتى سلموا على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فقال لهم أبو جعفر ما منع جباركم من أن يأتيني فعذروه عنده فقال عند ذلك أبو جعفر محمد بن علي عليهما السلام أما والله لا تذهب الليالي و الأيام حتى يملك ما بين قطريها ثم ليطأن الرجال عقبه ثم ليذلن له رقاب الرجال ثم ليملكن ملكا شديدا فقال له داود بن علي وإن ملكنا قبل ملككم قال نعم يا داود إن ملككم قبل ملكنا وسلطانكم قبل سلطاننا فقال له أصلحك الله هل له من مد ة فقال نعم يا داود والله لا يملك بنو أمية يوما إلا ملكتم مثليه ولا سنة إلا ملكتم مثليها ولتتلقفها الصبيان منكم كما تتلقف الصبيان الكرة فقام داود ابن علي من عند أبي جعفر عليه السلام فرحا يريد أن يخبر أبا الدوانيق بذلك ، فلما نهضا جميعا هو وسليمان بن خالد ناداه أبو جعفر عليه السلام من خلفه يا سليمان بن خالد لا يزال القوم في فسحة من ملكهم ما لم يصيبوا منا دما حراما وأومأ بيده إلى صدره فإذا أصابوا ذلك الدم فبطن الأرض خير لهم من ظهرها فيومئذ لا يكون لهم في الأرض ناصر ولا في السماء عاذر ثم انطلق سليمان بن خالد فأخبر أبا الدوانيق فجاء أبو الدوانيق إلى أبي جعفر عليه السلام فسلم عليه ثم أخبره بما قال له داود بن علي وسليمان بن خالد فقال له نعم يا أبا جعفر دولتكم قبل دولتنا وسلطانكم قبل سلطاننا سلطانكم شديد عسر لا يسر فيه وله مدة طويلة والله لا يملك بنو أمية يوما إلا ملكتم مثليه ولا سنة إلا ملكتم مثليها ولتتلقفها صبيان منكم فضلا عن رجالكم كما تتلقف الصبيان الكرة أفهمت ثم قال لا تزالون في عنفوان الملك ترغدون فيه ما لم تصيبوا منا دما حراما فإذا أصبتم ذلك الدم غضب الله عزوجل عليكم فذهب بملككم وسلطانكم وذهب بريحكم وسلط الله عليكم عبدا من عبيده أعور و ليس بأعور من آل أبي سفيان يكون استئصالكم على يديه وأيدي أصحابه ثم قطع الكلام.

I was sitting with Abu Jafar in the Masjid when Dawood ibn ‘Ali, Sulaiman ibn Khalid, and Abu Jafar ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad Abu al Dawaniq walked in and sat in a corner of the Musjid. They were informed that Muhammad ibn ‘Ali was present, so Dawood ibn ‘Ali and Sulaiman ibn Khalid proceeded into his company but Abu al Dawaniq remained seated until they greeted Abu Jafar.

Abu Jafar then said, “What prevented your tyrants from coming to me?”

They replied with an excuse.

Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali then said, “Very soon he will take over the state, he will certainly execute many, people will become subservient to him and he will rule with force.”

Dawood ibn ‘Ali then said to him, “And our rule prior to your rule?”

He replied, “Yes O Dawood, Your rule prior to our rule and your king prior to our king.”

Dawood said, “May Allah save you. Will he have time?”

He replied, “Yes O Dawood, by Allah, the Banu Umayyah will not achieve anything without you achieving similar, nor a year without you having the same. The youngsters will snatch it from you just as a youngster snatches a ball.”

Dawood ibn ‘Ali got up from the company of Abu Jafar cheerful and desirous of informing Abu al Dawaniq. As he and Sulaiman were about to leave, Abu Jafar called them back saying, “O Sulaiman ibn Khalid, the people will continue living at ease in the empire as long as they do not spill blood unjustly, and he pointed to his chest. Once they spill that blood, the bottom of the earth will be better for them than the top and on that day, they will not have a helper in the earth nor a forgiver in the skies.”

Sulaiman ibn Khalid then set out and informed Abu al Dawaniq who then came to Abu Jafar, greeted him, informed him of what Dawood ibn ‘Ali and Sulaiman ibn Khalid conveyed and said, “Yes, O Abu Jafar, your turn before our turn and your rule before ours. Your rule is going to be severe and difficult with no ease and it’s going to be for a long time. By Allah, the Banu Umayyah will not rule for a day without you having similar and not for a year without you having similar. Youngsters will snatch it from you as well as your men just as a youngster snatches a ball. Do you understand?”

He then said, “You will remain carefree in the prime of power as long as you do not shed our blood unjustly. The moment you shed that blood, the wrath of Allah will befall you, he will snatch away your power and rule, take away your strength and he will establish as ruler over you an evil servant of his who will not be from the progeny of Abu Sufyan. Your extinction will occur at his hands and the hands of his companions.”

He then terminated the discussion.[14]

 

Al Majlisi further mentions:

 

قوله عليه السلام ما لم تصيبوا منا دما حراما المراد إما قتل أهل البيت عليهم السلا م و إن كان بالسم مجازا بأن يكون قتلهم عليهم السلام سببا لسرعة زوال ملكهم وإن لم يقارنه أو لزوال ملك كل واحد منهم فعل ذلك أو قتل السادات الذين قتلوا في زمان الدوانيقي والرشيد وغيرهما ويحتمل أن يكون إشارة إلى قتل رجل من العلويين قتلوه مقارنا لانقضاء دولتهم كما يظهر مما كتب ابن العلقمي إلى نصير الدين الطوسي رحمهما الله قوله عليه السلام وذهب بريحكم قال الجوهري قد تكون الريح بمعنى الغلبة و القوة ومنه قوله تعالى وتذهب ريحكم قوله عليه السلام أعور أي الدني الأصل السيئ الخلق وهو إشارة إلى هلاكو قال الجزري فيه لما اعترض أبو لهب على النبي صلى الله عليه وآله عند إظهار الدعوة قال له أبو طالب يا أعور ما أنت وهذا لم يكن أبو لهب أعور ولكن العرب تقول للذي ليس له أخ من أبيه وأمه أعور وقيل إنهم يقولون للردي من كل شيء من الأمور والأخلاق أعور وللمؤنث عوراء قوله عليه السلام وليس بأعور من آل أبي سفيان أي ليس هذا الأعور منهم بل من الترك

The part of the narration which says, “as long as you do not shed our blood unjustly,” refers to taking the life of the Ahlul Bayt in any manner, even if it may be by use of poison for instance, as their massacre will become a means of the rapid destruction of their empire although they may not have been united, or the destruction of every one of their empires who were involved or those who massacred the leaders during the era of al Dawaniqi, al Rashid, and others. It is also possible that it refers to the massacre of an Alawite individual whom they had killed towards the latter end of their rule as it appears in the correspondences between Ibn al ‘Alqami and Nasir al Tusi. As for the words, Dhahaba Rihukum, al Jawhari states that Rih is in the meaning of victory and strength like in the verse of the Qur’an, “and [then] your strength would depart.”[15] The word A’war refers to despicable behaviour and character which is an indication to Halaku. Al Jazari comments that when Abu Lahab stood up against Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam while giving Da’wah, Abu Talib said to him, “O A’war, what are you doing?” Abu Lahab was not one eyed; however, the Arabs would refer to the one with no traditional brother as A’war. It is said that it is used for the one who lacks basic character. And the words Laysa bi A’war min Al Abi Sufyan means that this ill-mannered individual will not be from the progeny of Abu Sufyan but rather from the Turks.[16]

 

The inception of their efforts was purely Shia legality, whereas the incident of Karkh just increased its hatred for the Caliphate.

Wherever al Tabataba’i speaks about the massacre of the scholars, Imams of Masajid, and others; why is it that there is never a mention of a Shia? It is because they began discussing the era of prosperity and growth for the creed immediately after the war.

‘Ali al Tabataba’i says the following regarding the college of Hillah:

 

كان واحدا من أبرز نتائج الخطة التي رسمها علماء الشيعة لمواجهة الغزو المغولي أن المغول لم يتمكنوا من القضاء على العلم في بغداد فقد كانت بغداد أعظم مراكز العلم في العالم الإسلامي على الإطلاق ولو كان التخريب الذي أصاب سائر مرافق الحياة في بغداد كان يصيب مراكز العلم في بغداد لعظمت محنة المسلمين في هذه الكارثة أضعافا مضاعفة ولكن الذي حدث أن الحلة استطاعت أن تكسب أمان السلطان المغولي واستطاع علماء الشيعة أن ينقلوا ما تبقى من مراكز العلم والكتب والعلماء في بغداد إلى الحلة وكان للمحقق نصير الدين الطوسي رحمه الله الذي احتبسه السلطان لنفسه والذي كان يحضى باحترام كبير من قبل هولاكو الدور الكبير في إنقاذ ما أمكن إنقاذه من العلماء والمكتبات في بغداد وقد أصبحت الحلة منذ هذا التاريخ مركزا علميا من كبريات مراكز العلم في العالم الإسلامي وازدهرت هذه المدينة بالفقهاء والمحدثين والمفسرين والحكماء والأدباء والشعراء وبالمدارس العلمية وحفلت هذه المدارس بأعداد كبيرة من شباب الطلبة الوافدين إلى الحلة من الشام وإيران والمدن العراقية والجزيرة وقد بنى السيد فخار بن معد الموسوي مجمعا سكنيا لطلبة العلوم الإسلامية وكان يحضر درس المحقق الحلي كما يقول السيد الصدر على ما في أعلام العرب المجتهدين الجهابذة وهكذا نعلم من العلماء والفقهاء الذين قتلوا … وكانت الحركة العلمية في عصره بلغت شأوا عظيما حتى صارت الحلة من المراكز العلمية في البلاد الإسلامية وهذه الفترة التي نتحدث عنها الفترة هي التي تعقبت كارثة سقوط بغداد مباشرة… ويقول السيد الصدؤ أيضا عن الحلة في نفس العصر عن تلامذة العلامة الحلي وخرج عن عالي مجلس تدريسه خمسما ة مجتهد… ولا نريد أن نطيل الحديث في مدرسة الحلة فإن هذه المدرسة جاءت بديلا عن مدرسة بغداد وخليفة لها وحلت محلها واستطاعت ان تجتذب ما تناثر من بغداد من العلم والعلماء بعد كارثة سقوط بغداد

One of the significant outcomes of the strategy that was outlined by the Shia scholars prior to the Mongol invasion was that the Mongols will not be able to eliminate the knowledge of Baghdad. Baghdad was by far the greatest centre of knowledge in the Muslim world and if the sabotage done to every facet of life in Baghdad has to be done to the centres of knowledge, the ordeal of the Muslims in this catastrophe will be magnified exponentially. However, what did happen was that Hillah was able to earn the security of the Mongol King and the Shia scholars managed to transfer what was left of the centres of knowledge, books, and scholars of Baghdad to Hillah. Muhaqqiq Nasir al Din al Tusi who the King had been keeping in close proximity and who was given great honour by Halaku, also played a major role in saving what could be saved of the scholars and libraries of Baghdad. Hillah since that day became recognised as one of the greatest centres of knowledge in the Muslim world. This city flourished with jurists, muhaddithin, mufassirin, judges, authors, poets, and science colleges. These colleges were filled with large numbers of young students who came to Hillah from Syria, Iran, cities of Iraq and the gulf. Sayed Fakhkhar ibn Ma’d al Musawi built a residential compound for the students of Islamic knowledge. He would also attend the lesson of Muhaqqiq al Hilli as is mentioned by Sayed al Sadr. A’lam al ‘Arab mentions that there were four hundred well-skilled mujtahidin which indicates to us the number of scholars and jurists who were slain. The scientific initiative in his era was so astounding that made Hillah a centre of knowledge among the Islamic states. This period in mention was the period immediately after the catastrophe of Baghdad. Sayed al Sadr also mentions regarding the students of ‘Allamah al Hilli who were in Hillah during that period, “Five hundred Mujtahids were produced from his assembly of higher learning. We do not wish to lengthen the discussion regarding the colleges of Hillah as it was a replacement for the colleges of Baghdad, a successor to it, and it superseded it. It was able to draw the scattered knowledge and scholars of Baghdad after the catastrophe of Baghdad’s collapse.”[17]

 

Muhammad al Muzaffar mentions:

 

وصار التشيع بعد أيام العباسية يقوى في العدة والعدد والمذهب في بغداد

After the Abbasid era, the Shia creed began growing in numbers.[18]

 

Due to Halaku’s concern for the Shia creed, some are of the opinion that he was also a Shia.

‘Abdur Rasul al Ghaffari is one of them who mentions the following:

 

توالت الأحداث على بغداد فالتجأ الشيعة فيها إ لى أن يتقوا خصومهم ويدفعوا شرهم بمختلف الأساليب ومع ذلك لم يسلموا من بطشهم والفتك بهم إلى أن جاء المغول ودخول هولاكو الذي لم يكن ليقيم وزنا للعقائد والأديان من قبل ثم اهتدى حتى أصبح زمنه باعثا لانتشار التشيع مرة أخرى وقد اعتنق بعض ملوك المغول مذهب التشيع كنيقولاوس بن آرغون بن بغا بن هولاكو

Many events took place in Baghdad which made the Shia fear their adversaries and stop their evil in different manners. With all of that, they were still not safe from their brutality and lethality, right until the Mongols arrived and the invasion of Halaku who never showed importance to beliefs and religion previously. He was guided and his era became a means of spreading Tashayyu’ once again. A few other Mongol Kings also embraced the Shia creed including Nikolas ibn Argun ibn Abaqa ibn Halaku.[19]

 

Muhaqqiq al Hilli mentions the following in the foreword of Khulasah al Aqwal:

 

ألف السيد مجد الدين محمد بن طاووس كتاب البشارة وأهداه إلى هولاكو فأنتجت هذه الخطوة أن رد هولاكو شؤون النقابة إلى هذا السيد وبعدها قام الخواجه نصير الطوسي بإقناع هولاكو باعتناق الدين الإسلامي فاسلم هولاكو ومن معه من المغول

Sayed Majd al Din authored the book Al Basharah and gifted it to Halaku. This act resulted in Halaku handing over the matters of cooperative society to Sayed. Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi thereafter began persuading Halaku to accept the Islam. Halaku together with those with him then embraced Islam.[20]

 

The foreword of Mukhtalaf al Shia has the following which is similar:

 

وأثمرت هذه الخطوة ببركة نصير الدين الطوسي أن أسلم الملك هولاكو وكثير من المغول

The fruits of this action through the blessing of Nasir al Din al Tusi was that King Halaku and many Mongols embraced Islam.[21]

 

Their senior Muhammad al Muzaffar refutes this saying:

 

ولما أطلق هولاكو للأديان والمذاهب الحرية ومنها مذهب أهل البيت ولم يتعرض بسوء لأهل الحلة والمشهدين الشريفين … وكلهم شيعة حسب البعض انه اسلم واعتنق مذهب التشيع إلا أن ذلك وهم

When Halaku became familiarised with the religions and the liberal sects, the creed of the Ahlul Bayt being one of them and he did not subject the people of Hillah and the two honoured sites to any harm … and they were all Shia. According to some he embraced Islam and embraced the Shia creed; however, it seems to be an assumption.[22]

 

Our intent is to portray the extent of influence achieved by these individuals after conquering Baghdad together with the level of privilege they obtained in the Mongol palace, as it makes us wonder why? Wasn’t it contrary to sincerity and loyalty!

Nevertheless, the languid or rather useful stance of the Shia has been exposed clearly from the Mongol conquer of Baghdad as they preceded their ideological interests over the interest of the Muslims. The picture is evident to anyone sensible that the stance of Ibn al ‘Alqami and al Tusi was exploited or rather provocative towards the Mongol invasion. It isn’t unprecedented nor any different from the general Shia stance of Iraq.

 

NEXT⇒ Conclusion


[1] Riyad al Masa’il, 2/7.

[2] Tarikh Mukhtasar al Duwal, pg. 237; A’yan al Shia, 9/88.

[3] Riyad al Masa’il, 2/21-25; Suqut al Dawlah al ‘Abbasiyyah, pg. 331-332. The above is a response to those who have doubts regarding the efforts of Shia scholars in making peace with Halaku arguing that the sources I have mentioned are all Sunni sources.

[4] Kashf al Yaqin fi Fada’il Amir al Mu’minin.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Al Hawadith al Jami’ah, pg. 360; Muntaha al Talab, 3/14.

[7] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 259-296; Muhaqqiq al Durus li al Shahid al Awwal, 1/13; Tarikh al ‘Iraq bayn Ihtilalayn, 1/205-206.

[8] Al Ghazw al Maghuli, pg. 102.

[9] Tarikh al Shia, pg. 94.

[10] Tarikh al Shia, pg. 94.

[11] Tarikh al Shia, pg. 313.

[12] Al Imam Jafar al Sadiq, pg. 324.

[13] Mukhtasar Tarikh al Duwal, pg. 237.

[14] Bihar al Anwar, 46/341.

[15] Surah al Anfal: 46.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Riyad al Masa’il, 2/27.

[18] Tarikh al Shia, pg. 77.

[19] Al Kulayni wa al Kafi, pg. 77.

[20] Muqaddamah Khulasah al Aqwal, pg. 7.

[21] Mukhtalaf al Shia, 1/15.

[22] Tarikh al Shia, pg. 213.