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Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) and the Uprising of Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al-Hassan (al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah) ( 145 A.H.)

The third important event which took place during the Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was the uprising of Muhammad Dhil-Nafs al-Zakiyyah against Abu-Ja'far al-Mansoor, who assumed power in 136 A.H. succeeding his brother, Abul-Abbas al-Saffah. He was more hostile to and spiteful of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.).

Muslims, in general, suffered from his repression, a fact which urged Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al-Hassan, a cousin of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) to revolt against al-Mansoor. We have explained Imam's attitude toward the attempt of Abdullah bin al-Hassan and his son to assume the caliphate Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was sure that any of the Alawite attempts to seize power would fail. Thirteen years earlier, he met Abdullah bin al-Hassan and told him that the Abbasids would seize power, and his son, Muhammad, would be killed by al-Mansoor.

"This one (Abu-Ja'far al-Mansoor)." the ?mam (a.s.) said to him," will murder him on the oily stones. Then he will kill his brother after him at al-Tufoof whole his horse is wading through the water.

The Imam angrily rose to his feet. dragging his clock. Abu-Ja'far al-Mansoor who was present, followed him and asked: .'Do you know what have you said, O Abu-Abdullah?" "Certainly, I know, it." "By Allah. This shall certainly be" 28

"When Abu-.Ja'far al-Mansoor assumed the caliphate he nicknamed Ja'far al-Sadiq" (The Truthful). Whenever he mentioned him afterwards, he would say: 'Al-Sadiq Ja'far bin Muhammad said to me such and such.' He became to be known by this name." 29

When Muhammad Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiy Tyah revolted against the injustices and oppression of Abu-Ja'far al-Mansoor, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) had the same feeling and the very desire for change which Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al-Hassan had. Rut there was a difference. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) clearly saw the future. He knew full the failure to overthrow the regime, while his cousin, Muhammad, was ignorant of it. Because of the failure of the attempt and the grave consequences it would entail regarding Ahlul-Bait, the Imam disapproved of the revolt.

Muhammad Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiyyah called the people to support him in his bid to seize power. For some time he went in to hiding. No sooner were his father, his family and the sons of his uncle arrested, then he revolted in the city of Madinah. The uprising failed and Muhammad was killed. Later, his son, Ali, was murdered in Egypt. So was his son Abdullah in al-Sind. His son al-Hassan was arrested in Yemen and thrown into prison where he died. Poisoned, Idris, his brother, died in Morocco. Yahya, another brother declared war on the regime in Basrah. Heading a small army of his followers, he moved toward Kufah, but was slain before entering it. And thus ended the Alawite revolution, which brought so much woes and disasters on Ahlul-Bait (a.s.). Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was not spared. Al-Mansoor, the Abbasid caliph, who was haunted by fear and doubts about Imam's activities, thinking him to be the driving force behind every hostile anti-Abbasid act, sent for Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), when the movement of Muhammad Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiyyah gained ground. He accused the Imam (a.s.) of supporting Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiyyah. Al-Mansoor harassed the Imam (a.s.), and put him on trial. After hearing the answers of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) al-Mansoor became sure that the reports and complaints about Imam's alleged hostile activities were false. He eventually released him. Once more, after Muhammad Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiyyah's death, al-Mansoor sent for him. He accused him of collecting money and weapons, and gathering followers in preparation for a revolt. Al-Mansoor brought the spy who had made up these false reports about Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) so as to repeat his allegations in the Imam's face. When the man came, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) asked him to swear that what he had told al-Mansoor about him was true. "By Allah.'" said the man," who there is no god but Him, the All- Powerful, the Living and the Eternal one...'"

"Do not hasten in your oath, I adjure you.."

Interrupted the Imam (a.s.), "What wrong do you see in this oath?"', al-Mansoor asked Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.):

"Allah is so merciful and bountiful, that when a servant of Him praises Him, He dose not hasten him with punishment," replied the Imam (a.s.), "but, O man, say, I renounce Allah's power and authority and resort to my own power and authority and what I have said is true..."

'Take the oath which Abu-Abdullah has just asked you to take," al-Mansoor ordered the man. No sooner did the man swear the oath than he dropped dead. Al-Mansoor, witnessing all that, trembled and fear gripped him.

"O Abu-Abdullah." he said to Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), "you can take your departure from me and go to the sanctuary of your grandfather, if you choose so. But if you like to stay with us, we will not hesitate to be generous and kind to you. By Allah, I will never believe anything said about you by anybody henceforth." 30

In such an atmosphere filled with animosity, terror, spying and persecution, the Imam (a.s.) lived, But, turbulent, though the political scene was, he succeeded in carrying out his great task of spreading knowledge and teaching, and graduating a whole generation of scholars, jurisprudents, and preachers.


28. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, al-lsfahani p.256.

29. Ibid.

30. Al-Imam al-Sadiq, Muhammad Abu-Zahrah, p.46.

Adapted from the book: "Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.)"

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