Sayyid Abd al-Azim al-Hasani, One of the Greatest Defenders of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) - Part 7
The Harsh Circumstances of his TimeMa ‘mun ascended the throne after having defeated and killed his brother Amin. The prevailing atmosphere in the royal court during his reign was that of relative freedom for the Shi’ites and the Mu ‘tazilites, who were those who championed the ideas of divine transcendent monotheism and divine justice (اهل التوحيد والعدل).
When Ma ‘mun died in the year 218 AH/833 AD, al-Mu ‘tasim gained the pledge of allegiance for the caliphate and the royal court became a centre for intellectuals and theologians who would engage in polemical debates with each other. When he died in 227 AH/841 AD, it was Wathiq who took over the reins of the caliphate and he continued with the tradition of intellectual and religious freedom that he had inherited from his predecessors. Thus it was due to and during the reign of these caliphs that the fortunes of the proponents of divine justice (اهل العدل) shone luminously and polemical gatherings between adherents of different faiths and sects took place.
However, when Wathiq billah died and Mutawakkil assumed the throne from the year 232 AH/846 AD to 247 AH/861 AD, he promulgated a particularly harsh policy against the Shi’ites and the Mu ‘tazilites but a very favourable one with respect to the Hashawiyya.
He encouraged the dissemination of ideas favouring divine anthropomorphism and the doctrine of the physical manifestation of God as well as hatred and enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt to such an extent that the people of Baghdad cursed him, the poets satirised him and the following poem was found written on a wall of the city of Baghdad .
بالله إن كانت أمية قد اتت قتل ابن بنت نبيها مظلوما فلقد أتاه بنو أبيه بمثله هذا لعمري قبره مهدوما أسفوا على أن لا يكونوا شاركوا في قتله فتتبعوه رميما
By Allah! When the Umayyads came to power, the son of the daughter of their Prophet was murdered treacherously, Then the sons of his (i.e. Mutawakkil’s) father came forward with a similar treatment; this, by my life, is his (Hussain’s) grave desecrated, (It seems) as if they (i.e. the ‘Abbasids) were sorry that they had not been able to participate in his (Husayn’s) murder, so they decided to imitate them (the Umayyads) by desecrating his remains.
It is sufficient to cite the following anecdote as an example of his hatred and enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt. He had charged Ya’qub bin al-Sikkit,[ an authority in the Arabic language, with the responsibility of tutoring his two sons al-Mu’taz and al-Mu ‘ayyad. One day he was looking at his two sons and suddenly asked Ibn al-Sikkit: ‘who is more beloved to you, my (two) sons or al-Hasan and al-Hussain?’ Ibn al-Sikkit replied: ‘Qambar, the client of ‘Ali is better than them both!’ Outraged he ordered Ibn al-Sikkit’s tongue to be pulled out!
Historical records do not identify the year in which Sayyid ‘Abd al-Azim al-Hasani migrated to Ray and sought refuge there, nor do they inform us of the year in which he migrated from the Hijaz or ‘ Iraq to Ray.
However, some have imagined that he may have migrated to Fars with the purpose of visiting Imam ‘Ali bin Musa al-Ridha’ (‘a) and thereafter remained there throughout his remaining life till his death in approximately 252 AH/866 AD. But this supposition is difficult to accept.
This is because Imam al-Ridha’ arrived in Tus in the year 199 AH/814 AD due to the persistence of Ma ‘mun [and passed away in 203 AH/818 AD], thus to suppose that Sayyid ‘Abd al-Azim stayed in Fars from approximately that time till the year 252 AH/866 AD is difficult to accept especially when it is known that the prevailing circumstances during the reigns of the three caliphs mentioned above were favourable and positive for the Shi’ites. Therefore I think that Sayyid ‘Abd al-Azim fled the Hijaz or ‘ Iraq during the reign of Mutawakkil when the circumstances had changed and become particularly difficult for the Ahlul Bayt.
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