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An Extract of the Proofs, Signs, Indications and Miracles which Abu al-Hasan Musa

An Extract of the Proofs, Signs, Indications and Miracles which Abu al-Hasan Musa

 

[Abu al-Qasim Jafar b. Muhammad b. Qulawayh informed me, on the authority of Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni, on the authority of Muhammad b. Yahya, on the authority of Ahmad b.Muhammad b. Isa, on the authority of Abu Yahya al- Wasiti, on the authority of Hisham b. Salim, who said:]
I (i.e. Hisham b. Salim) and Muhammad b. Numan (known as) Sahib al-Taq were in Medina after the death of Abu Abd Allah, peace be on him. The people had agreed that Abd Allah b. Jafar was the leader of the affair (sahib al-amr) after his father. We went to visit him and the people were with him. We questioned him about how much poor-tax (zakat) had to be paid.

"Five dirhams on two hundred dirhams," he answered.
"How much on a hundred dirhams?" we asked.
"Two and a half dirhams," he answered.
"By God, you are declaring the doctrine of the Murji'a," we said.

"By God," he retorted, "I do not know the doctrine of the Murji'a."
We, Abu Jafar al-Ahwal (i.e. Muhammad b. Numan) and myself, left, wandering without knowing where to go. We sat in one of the lanes in Medina weeping. We did not know where we should go or to whom we should turn. We spoke about (joining) the Murji'ites, the Qadarites, the Mu`tazilites, and the Zaydites.
We were in this situation when I saw a venerable man whom I did not know. He indicated to me with his hand. I was afraid that he was one of the spies of (the Abbasid caliph) Abu Jafar al-Mansur. There were spies in Medina for him (to find out) who the people agreed on to succeed Jafar. Then that man (i.e. the Imam) would be captured and executed. I was afraid that that man was one of them.

"Go aside," I said to al-Ahwal, "I am afraid for myself. You be careful. He only wants me. He does not want you. Leave me, for you will lead (him) to yourself."
(Al-Ahwal) went some distance away from me and I went over to the venerable man. That was because I thought that I would not be able to escape from him. As I followed him, I was certain of my own death until he brought me to the door of Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him. Then he left me and went away. There was a servant at the door. He said to me: "Come in, may God have mercy on you."

I went in. There was Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him. He spoke to me before ( I could speak): "To me, to me; not to the Murji'ites, nor to the Qadarites, nor to the Mutazilites, nor to the Zaydites."
"May I be your ransom," I replied, "your father has gone."
"Yes," he answered.
"He has left through death," I said.
"Yes," he retorted.

"Then who is in charge of the people after him?" I asked.
"If God wills, He will guide you to that man," he answered.
"May I be your ransom," I said, "your brother Abd Allah claims that he is the Imam after his father."

"Abd Allah intends that God should not be worshipped (properly)," he declared.
"May I be your ransom, who is in charge of us after him?" I asked (again).
"If God wills, He will guide you to that man," he repeated.
"May I be your ransom, are you him?" I questioned.
"I am not saying that," he replied.

I thought to myself that I had not used the correct method of questioning. So I said to him: "May I be your ransom, do you have an Imam over you?"
"No," he replied. Something came to me which only God knew with regard to honouring and showing respect (to Musa). So I said to him: "May I be your ransom, may I question you like
I used to question your father?"
"Question," he said. "You will be informed but do not spread (the answer) around. For if you do spread it around, then slaughter will take place."

I questioned him. Indeed he was like a sea (of knowledge) which could not be exhausted. I said to him: "May I be your ransom, the Shia of your father is lost (without a leader). May I put this matter to them and summon them (to follow) you? For you have taken (a promise of) secrecy from me."

"Tell those of them whose righteousness you are familiar with," he said, "but take (a promise of) secrecy from them. For if it gets spread around, there will be slaughter," and he pointed to his neck with his hand.
I left him and met Abu Jafar al-Ahwal.
"What happened to you?" he asked.
"Guidance,' I said and I told him the story.

Then we met Zurara and Abu Basir. They went to him, listened to his words and questioned him. They asserted his Imamate. We met wave after wave of the people. Everyone who went to him, declared (his Imamate) except for the group of Ammar al-Sabati. Abd Allah persisted in his claim but only a few of the people came to him.

[Abu al-Qasim Ja'far b. Muhammad b. Qulawayh informed me on the authority of Muhammad b. Yaqub on the authority of 'Ali b. Ibrahim on the authority of al- Wafiqi who said:]
I (al-Wafiqi) had an uncle called al-Hasan b. Abd Allah. He was an ascetic and one of the most pious people of his time. The authorities were wary of him because of his earnestness and his vigour towards religion. Sometimes he would approach the authorities concerning enjoining the good and forbidding the evil because of something which had angered him. They accepted that because of his righteousness. The state of affairs continued until one day he went into the mosque. There was Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him. He beckoned to him and (my uncle) went to him.

(Musa) said to him: "Abu Ali, nothing is more pleasing to me and gives me greater joy than the way you behave. Despite that, you do not have true knowledge (marifa). Seek for true knowledge."
"May I be your ransom," he said to him, what is true knowledge?"
"Go so that you may learn," he told him. "Seek out traditions."
"From whom?" he asked.

"From the jurists of Medina," he answered, "and then bring the additions to me."
He went and wrote down (what he learnt). Then he came and read to him. However (Musa) invalidated all of it. He told him: "Go and learn."

The man was concerned about (his own attitude to) his religion. He continued to search for Abu al-Hasan until he went to (visit) an estate of his. On the road he met him. He said to him: "May I be your ransom, I have sought for you (by begging) God. Guide me to what is necessary for me to know."

Then Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, informed him about the authority and rights of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and what it was necessary for him to know. (He told him of) the authority of al-Hasan, al- Husayn, Ali b. al-Husayn, Muhammad b Ali and Jafar b. Muhammad. Then he was silent.

(Al-Hasan) said to him: "May I be your ransom, who is the Imam today?"
"If I tell you," he answered, "will you come close to me?"
"Yes," he replied.
"I am he," he said.

"Is there anything by which this could be proved?" he asked.
"Go to that tree," he said - and he pointed towards one of the trees of Umm Ghaylan, "and tell it that Musa b. Jafar tells you to draw near."

[He reported:] I went to it and I saw it furrow through the ground until it stopped in front of him. Then he indicated to it to go back and it went back.
He went up to him and cleaved to silence and worship. No one ever saw him talking after that.
[Ahmad b. Mihran reported on the authority of Muhammad b. Ali, on the authority of Abu Basir, who said:]
I (i.e. Abu Basir) said to Abu al-Hasan Musa b. Jafar, peace be on them: "May I be your ransom, by what is the Imam known?"

"By special characteristics,' he answered. "The first of them is something by which preference has been given him by his father and an indication (has been made) by his (father) that he should be proof (hujja) (to the world). When he is asked (anything), he can answer it. If (a person) holds back from speaking to him, he may begin (the conversation) by telling him what will happen tomorrow and speaking to each person in his own tongue."

Then he said: "Abu Muhammad (i.e. Abu- Basir) I will give you a sign before you rise to go."
I did not wait long before a man from the people of Khurasan entered. The Khurasani spoke to him in Arabic and Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, answered him in Persian.
"By God, what prevented me speaking to you in Persian was that I thought you were not fluent in it," the Khurasani said to him.

"Praise be to God," he replied, "if I was not fluent enough to reply to you, I would not have the merit over you, by which I am entitled to the Imamate."
Then he said: "Abu Muhammad, no speech of the people is hidden from the Imam, nor the language of birds, nor the speech of anything which has a soul."
Abd Allah b. Idris reported on the authority of Ibn Sinan, who said:]

One day al-Rashid sent some robes to Ali b. Yaqtin to honour him. Among their number was a black woollen cloak adorned with gold like the robes of kings. Ali b. Yaqtin dispatched those robes to Musa b. Jafar, peace be on them. Among their number he (also) sent that cloak. He added some money which he had already prepared specifically for him as the fifth of his money (khums - tax for the Imams) which he was going to pay him.

When that reached Abu-al- Hasan Musa, peace be on him, he accepted the money and the robes but returned the cloak by the hand of the messenger to Ali b. Yaqtin. He wrote to him: "Keep it and do not let it leave your hands. For an event will occur to you because of it when you will have the need of it with him (al-Rashid)."

Ali b. Yaqtin was suspicious about it being returned to him and did not understand the reason for that. Some time later, Ali b. Yaqtin changed (his attitude) towards a servant who had a special position with him and he left his service. The servant knew about Ali b. Yaqtin's inclination towards Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him. He was acquainted with the money, garments and other things (Ali) had sent to (Musa) on every occasion.

He (went and) informed on him to al-Rashid. He told (al-Rashid) that (Ali) maintained the Imamate of Musa b. Jafar and paid him a fifth of his money each year, and also that he had given him the cloak with which the Commander of the faithful (al-Rashid) had honoured him at such-and-such a time Al-Rashid burned with anger and was furious.

He declared: "I will expose this situation. If the matter is as you say, his life will be destroyed."

He immediately sent for Ali b. Yaqtin to be brought. When he appeared before him, he said: "What have you done with the cloak which I bestowed upon you?"
"Commander of the faithful," (Ali) replied, "I still have it in a sealed chest and there I keep perfume with it. In the mornings I open it and look at it to gain blessings from it. I kiss it and then put it back in its place. Every night I do the same thing."
"Bring it, immediately," he ordered.

"Yes, Commander of the faithful," he answered. He summoned one of his servants and told him: "Go to such-and-such a room in my house. Take the key for it from my custodian and open it. Open such-and-such a box and bring me the sealed chest which is in it."
It was not long before the servant returned with the chest still sealed. He put it before al-Rashid and told him to break the seal and open it. When he opened it, he saw the cloak in it folded and laid out in perfume.

Al-Rashid's anger became pacified and he said to `Ali b. Yaqtin: "Return it to its place and go away righteously. I will never disbelieve you again on the word of an informer."
He ordered a magnificent gift to be sent after him and he had the informer flogged with a thousand lashes. After he had been flogged about a hundred lashes, he died.

[Muhammad b. Ismail reported on the authority of Muhammad b. al-Fadl, who said:]
The tradition concerning rubbing the two feet (mash al-rijlayn) in the ritual ablution (wudu') was a subject of dispute among our companions - whether (it should be done) from the toes to the ankles or from the ankles to the toes. Ali b. Yaqtin wrote to Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him: "May I be your ransom, our companions are in dispute over rubbing the feet. If you would think fit to write to me in your own handwriting what my practice should be with regard to it, I would carry it out, God, the Exalted, willing."

Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, wrote back to him: "I have understood what you have mentioned about the dispute concerning ritual ablution. What I order you to do with regard to that is: you should rinse your mouth three times; you should sniff water into your nostrils three times; you should wash your face three times; you should rub between the interstices of the hair of your beard; you should wash your arms from the finger to the elbows; you should rub the whole of your head and the outside and inside of your ears; you should wash your feet up to the ankles three times. Do not transgress that for anything else."

When the letter came to Ali b. Yaqtin, he was surprised at the details he had given in it which were different from what the group had agreed upon. He said: "My master (mawla) knows better what he has said and I will obey his command."

He used to practise it in his ablution and was in conflict with the practice of all the Shi'a out of submission to the command of Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him.

Information was given to al-Rashid against 'Ali b. Yaqtin and he was accused of being a Rafidite, who is opposed to (al-Rashid). Al- Rashid said to one of his close associates: "Much talk is coming to me about 'Ali b. Yaqtin, and the suspicion of him being in opposition to me and being of Rafidite leanings. Yet I cannot see any deficiency in his service to me. I have examined him several times and have not been able to find any suspicious thing about him. I would like to examine his (position) without him being aware of it and thus being able to guard himself against me."

He was told: "Commander of the faithful, the Rafidites oppose the general view (jamaa) with regard to ritual ablution and reduce its form. They do not accept washing the feet. Therefore examine him-without his knowledge - on his practice in ritual ablution."
"Yes," he replied, "this method will reveal his views."

He left it for a while. Then when 'Ali was away at his house doing some work, he came at the time for prayer. 'Ali b. Yaqtin was alone in one of the rooms of the house in order to perform his ablution and prayer. Al-Rashid stood behind the wall where he could see 'Ali b. Yaqtin without him seeing him.

He ('Ali) called for water for the ablution. He rinsed his mouth out three times; he sniffed water into his nostrils three times; he washed his face three times; he rubbed between the interstices of his beard; he washed his arms to the elbows three times; he rubbed his head and his ears; and he washed his feet three times.

Al-Rashid watched him. When he saw him do that, he could not contain himself from looking down on him from a position where ('Ali) could see him and calling to him: "Ali b. Yaqtin, those who claim that you are one of the Rafidites are liars."

Thus ('Alis) situation with (al-Rashid) was restored. A letter came to him from Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him: "Beginning from now 'Ali b. Yaqtin, you will perform the ablution as God ordered it. Wash your face once as is mandatory and another time (as a voluntary act) within the ablution; similarly wash your arms from the elbows and rub the front of your head and the outer part of your feet with the remnants of the dampness from the ablutionary water (on your hands). What was feared for you has now been removed. Greetings."

[Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Batayini reported:]

One day Abu al-Hasan Musa; peace be on him, left Medina for one of his estates outside the town. I (i.e. Ali b. Abi Hamza) accompanied him. He, peace be on him, was riding on a mule and I was on a donkey of mine. As we were going along one of the paths, a lion blocked our way. I stared at it in terror but Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, went forward without worrying about it. I saw the lion become subdued and mutter before Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him. Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, stood as if he was listening to the muttering.

The lion put its paw on the saddle of his mule. My soul trembled at that and I was absolutely terrified. Then the lion turned away to the side of the road. Abu al-Hasan turned his face toward the qibla (direction of Mecca) and began to pray. He moved his lips in such a way that I could not understand him. Then he indicated to the lion with his hand that it should go. The lion muttered for a long time and Abu al-Hasan said: "Amen, amen."

The lion went away until it disappeared from our sight. Abu al Hasan, peace be on him, went straight on and I followed him. When we were far from the place, I came up to him and said: "May I be your ransom, what was that business of the lion? By God, I was frightened for you and surprised at its attitude towards you."

"He came out to complain of the difficulty his lioness was having in giving birth," Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, told me. "He asked me to ask God to make it easier for her and I did that for him. He asked whether (I knew) in my heart if she would bear a male and I told him that. Then he told me: "Go in the protection of God. God will never impose on you, nor on your offspring, nor on any of your Shia, any trouble from wild beasts.' I said: Amen."
Reports of this kind are numerous. What we have set out of them is sufficient according to the scheme which has been set out, through the grace of God, the Exalted.

A Sample of his Virtues, Outstanding Qualities and Merits by which he was distinguished from others

Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, was the most religious of the men of his time, the most knowledgeable in law, the most generous and the noblest in spirit.
It is reported that he used to pray superogatory prayers throughout the night so that he would make them extend until the morning-prayer, then continue them until the sun rose. He would remain prostrating himself before God without raising his head from prayer and praising God until the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith). Frequently when he used to pray he would say:

O God, I ask of you ease at death and forgiveness on the Day of Reckoning.
He would repeat that. Another of his prayers, peace be on him was:
How great is sin to You. Therefore let forgiveness seem good to You.
He used to weep so much out of fear of God that his beard would be wet with tears. He was
the kindest of men to his family and his kin. He used to search out the poor of Medina during the night and take them a basket, in which was money, flour and dates. He would bring that to them without them knowing in any way that it was from him.
[Al-Sharif Abu- Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. Yahya informed me: My grandfather Yahya b. al-Hasan b. Ja'far told us: Isma'il b. Yaqub told us: Muhammad b. Abd Allah al-Bakri told us.]

I (i.e Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah) came to Medina to ask for repayment of a debt and it made me weary. I said (to myself): "If I had gone to Abu al-Hasan Musa , peace be on him, and complained to him."So I went to him at Naqma at his estate. He came out to me. With him was a servant carrying a basket in which there was some chopped-up meat. He had no one else with him. He ate and I ate with him. Then he asked me what I wanted. So I told him my story. He went inside and it was only a short time before he came out to me. He told his servant to go and then he stretched out his hand towards me. He gave me a purse in which was three hundred dinars. Then he arose and turned away. I mounted my animal and went away.

[ Al-shar-if Abu Muhammad al-Hassan b. Muhammad on the authority of his grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan), on the authority of another of his colleagues and teachers, (who said:)]
A man from the family of Umar b. al-Khattab was in Medina trying to harm Abu al-Hasan Masa, peace be on him. Whenever he saw (Abu al-Hasan) he would curse him and curse `Ali, peace be on him. One day some of those who used to attend his gatherings said to him: "Let us kill this sinner."

He forbade them from (doing) that most firmly and rebuked them severely.
He asked about the descendant of Umar and was told that he had a farm on the outskirts of Medina. He rode out to him and found him at his farm. As he entered the farm with his donkey, the descendant of

Umar cried out: "Do not tread on my sown land."
Yet Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, continued to tread on it with his donkey until he reached him. He dismounted and sat with him. He greeted him with a smile and laughed at him.
"How much have you paid to sow your land?" he asked.
"One hundred dinars,'' (the other man) answered.

"How much do you hope to acquire from it?"
"I do not know the unknown," was the reply.
"I only asked you about what you hope it would bring you," retorted (Abu al-Hasan).
"I hope that it will bring me two hundred dinars,'' he answered. Abu al-Hasan took out a purse in which was three hundred dinars and said: "This is (the price) of what you have sown in its present condition (i.e. what you have spent to sow it and what you hope to gain from it.) May God provide you with what you hope for from it."

The descendant of Umar kissed his head and asked him to forgive his (former) hasty words about him. Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, smiled at him and went away.

In the evening he went to the mosque and found that descendant of 'Umar sitting there. When the latter saw him, he called out: "God knows best where to put his (prophetic) mission."
His companions jumped (in surprise) towards him and said to him: "What is the story (behind what you say), for you used to speak quite differently from this."
"You have heard what I have said now," he replied and began to speak on behalf of Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him. They opposed him and he opposed them.

When Abu-al-Hasan returned to his house, he said to those who attended his gatherings and who had asked about killing the descendant of 'Umar: "Which was better? what you wanted or what I wanted? I put right his attitude to the extent which you have now become acquainted with. I was sufficient for the evil that was in him."

A group of the traditionists (ahl al-'ilm) mention that Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, always used to travel with two hundred to three hundred dinars to give away. The purses of Musa, peace be on him, were proverbial.
[Ibn Ammar and other narrators record:]

When al-Rashid set out to go on the pilgrimage and was approaching Medina, the leading men among the inhabitants met him. Musa b. Ja'far, peace be on them, came out to (al-Rashid's group) on a mule.

"What ! Is this the animal on which you will meet the Commander of the faithful" al-Rabi' asked him. "If you were seeking (something) on it, you would not obtain it and if you were being sought (while you were) on it, you would not escape."
"It is beneath the vanity of horses and above the lowliness of asses and the best of matters are those which are moderate," he replied.

When Harun al-Rashid entered Medina, he went to pay a visitation to (the tomb of) the Prophet, may God bless him and his family. The people went with him. Al-Rashid went forward to the tomb of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, and said:

"Greetings to you, Apostle of God! Greetings to you, cousin." He was seeking to show his proud position over the others by that. But then Abu al-Hasan, peace be on him, went forward to the tomb and said: "Greetings to you, Apostle of God! Greetings to you, father." (The expression on) al-Rashid's face changed and the anger in it became transparently obvious.
[Abu Zayd reported: 'Abd al-Hamid told me:]

Muhammad b. al-Hasan asked Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, about attending al-Rashid while they were in Mecca.

"Is it permitted of the person consecrated as a pilgrim (muhrim) to be shaded (from the sun) by his camel train?" (Muhammad b. al-Hasan) asked him.
"It is not permitted for him if there is any choice available for him," Musa, peace be on him, told him.
"Is it permitted for him to walk in the (natural) shade by choice?" Muhammad b. al-Hasan asked.
"Yes," replied Musa.

Muhammad b. al-Hasan laughed at that. Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, said: "Does the sunna of the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, surprise you and are you scoffing at it? The Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, took advantage of the (natural) shade during his state of ritual consecration (ihram) and walked in the (natural) shade while he was consecrated for the pilgrimage (muhrim). The laws of God, Muhammad, are not subject to analogy. Anyone who makes analogies of some of them on the basis of others, has strayed from the straight path."

Muhammad b. al-Hasan was silent and did not ask any more questions.
The people have reported traditions on the authority of Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, and they have become very numerous; for, as we have said before, he was the most knowledgeable in the law during his time, and the most versed in the Book of God, the best of them in voice for recitation of the Qur'an. Whenever he recited, those who were listening to his recitation, would become sad and weep.

The people in Medina named him "the ornament of those who spend nights in prayer" (mutahajjidin). He was also called al-Kazim (the one who holds back) because of his restraint of anger and the patience (which he showed) in the face of the acts of the oppressors right up until the time he died, murdered in their prison and bonds.

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