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Alawide Uprisings

In Yemen, Ibrahim ibn Mousa ibn Ja'fer rose and took control of the government after banishing al-Mamoon's governor. In Mecca, al-Husayn ibn al-Hassan al-Aftas rose, and Muhammad ibn Ja'fer was named caliph. In Basrah, Zayd ibn Mousa ibn Ja'fer rose in rebellion. He was nicknamed "Zayd of the fire" due to the number of the homes of the Abbasides and their followers which he had burnt. Whenever he came across a man draped in black, he would burn him, and he confiscated a great deal of money from the merchants except Abbaside money. Ali ibn Sa'id marched towards him. Zayd requested him to give him an assurance to safeguard his life should he give up, and Ali did so. But he nevertheless arrested him142 and sent him to al-Hassan ibn Sahl who ordered to have him executed while al-Hajjaj ibn Khaythama was present, so he said, "Prince! Do not rush, for I have a piece of advice for you." He stopped the executioner and came close to him. He said, "Prince! Did you receive instructions from the commander of the faithful to do what you are about to?" He answered in the negative, so he asked again, "Then why are you executing the cousin of the commander of the faithful without his knowledge or consultation?" Then he narrated for him the story of Abu Abdullah al-Aftas whom al-Rashid put in jail under the watchful eyes of Ja'fer ibn Yahya. Ja'fer killed him without his knowledge and sent his head on a platter to him together with other Nawrooz presents.

When al-Rashid ordered Masrour to kill Ja'fer, he said to him, "If Ja'fer asked you about his crime for which you are killing him, tell him that you are killing him for his own killing of my cousin Ibn al-Aftas whom he killed without my knowledge." Then al-Hajjaj ibn Khaythama said to al-Hassan ibn Sahl, "O Prince! Do you feel secure should anything happen between you and the commander of the faithful if you kill this man and use it as an excuse just as al-Rashid used against Ja'fer ibn Yahya?" Al-Hassan said to al-Hajjaj, "May God reward you!" Then he ordered Zayd to be returned to his prison where he was kept till he was transported to al-Mamoon. When he was there, he sent him to his brother al-Rida (A.S.) who set him free.143


142 Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 5, pp. 175-177

143 Uyoon Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 233

Adapted from: "Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), A Historical and Biographical Research" by: "Muhammad Jawad Fadlallah"

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