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T he Charismatic Community

Shi>ite Identity in Early Islam

Maria Massi Dakake

The Charismatic Community

SUNY series in Islam Seyyed Hossein Nasr, editor

The Charismatic Community

Shiite Identity in Early Islam


State University of New York Press

On the cover is a piece of calligraphy bearing the message, Al is the wal Allh (friend of God), stamped in copper. From the personal collection of Maria Massi Dakake. Published by State University of New York Press, Albany 2007 State University of New York All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. For information, address State University of New York Press, 194 Washington Avenue, Suite 305, Albany, NY 12210-2384 Production by Ryan Hacker Marketing by Michael Campochiaro Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dakake, Maria Massi, 1968 The charismatic community : Shiite identity in early Islam / Maria Massi Dakake. p. cm. (SUNY series in islam) Includes bibiographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-7914-7033-6 (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN-13: 978-0-7914-7034-3 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. ShiitesHistory. 2. ShiahHistory. I. Title. II. Series. BP192.D35 2007 297.8'.209dc22 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


This book is dedicated, in loving memory, to Dominic Anthony Massi and Mary Synnott Massi

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Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Authors Note Introduction Part I: Chapter 1: Chapter 2: Chapter 3: Chapter 4: The Principle of Wala yah and the Origins of the Community Walyah in the Islamic Tradition The Ghadr Khumm Tradition: Walyah and the Spiritual Distinctions of Al b. Ab lib Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community in the First Civil War The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War Wala yah, Faith, and the Charismatic Nature of Shiite Identity Walyah as the Essence of Religion: Theological Developments at the Turn of the Second Islamic Century Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation Predestination and the Mythological Origins of Shiite Identity The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 15 33 49 71 ix xi xii 1

Part II: Chapter 5:

103 125 141 157

Chapter 6: Chapter 7: Chapter 8:



Part III: Chapter 9: Chapter 10: Chapter 11: Chapter 12:

Creating a Community within a Community Shiites and Non-Shiites: The Distinction between mn and Islm Degrees of Faith: Establishing a Hierarchy within the Shiite Community Rarer than Red Sulfur: Womens Identity in Early Shiism Perforated Boundaries: Establishing Two Codes of Conduct 177 191 213 237 253 301 313

Notes Bibliography Index



The present work grew out of my Ph.D. dissertation on the early development of the Shiite community, completed at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. The work has been completely revised and significantly expanded, with new chapters or sections on the relationship between Shiite and Sufi mystical conceptions of walyah, on certain first century Shiite movements and on womens identity in early Shiism. I would like to thank the faculty of the Department of Near Eastern Studies for all of their guidance and assistance during my years of graduate study and dissertation writing, with special thanks to Professor Michael Cook and Professor Hossein Modarressi, who first suggested the topic to me and introduced me to Shiite sources. I would also like to thank Dr. Gholamreza Avani for offering me a position as a visiting scholar at the Academy of Philosophy in Tehran, from which I conducted much of my original research, and Ms. Pari Riyahi for all of the help and direction she provided me during my stay in Iran, as well as the directors and staff of the Astan-e Qods Library in Mashhad and the Marashi Library in Qum for making their collections accessible to me. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the Mathy Foundation, which generously provided a grant to support my research leave in 2002, allowing me time to develop the newer sections of the book. Very special gratitude is owed to Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr who first encouraged me to pursue the study of Shiism many years ago, and I am greatly in his debt for all of the guidance he has given me over these many years. I am also grateful to him for agreeing to publish this work in his series. I wish to thank the anonymous readers, especially Reader A, who made a number of valuable suggestions for improving the work. I would also like to thank Nancy Ellegate at SUNY Press for her support of this project, as well as Ryan Hacker and all of the people at SUNY Press for their work on the publication of the book. I am also grateful to Sarah Hernandez for her photograph of the calligraphy on the cover. ix


Finally, I would like to thank my family for their understanding and support during this long project, especially my husband, David, and son, Gabriel, who will hopefully get to see a bit more of me now.

List of Abbreviations
Ansb Baldhur, Amad b. Yay b. Jbir. Ansb al-ashrf (10 vols., ed. Mamd al-Firdaws al-Am), Damascus: Dr al-Yaqah al-Arabiyyah, 1996. Majlis, Muammad Bqir. Bir al-anwr (110 vols.), Tehran: Dr al-Kutub al-Islmiyyah, 1957. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Encyclopedia of Islam, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 19862004. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. al-Kulayn, Ab Jafar Muammad b. Yaqb b. Isq al-Rz. al-Kf (7 vols., ed. Muammad Jafar Shams al-Dn), Beirut: Dr al-Taruf lil-Mabt, 1990. al-Barq, Amad b. Muammad b. Khlid. Kitb almasin (ed. Jall al-Dn al-usayn al-Muaddith), Tehran: Dr al-Kutub al-Islmiyyah, 1951. Ab Mikhnaf, L b. Yay. Maqtal al-usayn (ed. asan al-Ghaffr), Qum: Ilmiyyah, 1985. al-Ahwz, al-usayn b. Sad. al-Mumin, Qum: Madrasat al-Imm al-Mahd, 19831984. abar, Ab Jafar Muammad b. Jarr. Tarkh alrusul wal-mulk (Annales, ed. M.J. De Goeje), Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1964.



Maqtal Mumin ab.


Authors Note
Islamic dating is used throughout the text, except in reference to modern scholars, their works and dates of publication. All Quranic translations are taken from M.M. Pickthalls The Meaning of the Glorious Quran (occasionally with some minor changes), unless otherwise noted.


he emergence and existence of the Shiite community within the larger body of the Islamic ummah is a rather unique phenomenon in the history of Islamic civilization. Shiism cannot adequately be described as either a sect or a school of Islam or Islamic thought. Shiites have always considered themselves to be an integral part of the fabric of the Islamic religious communityand in fact, to represent the elite believers within that communityrather than a detached sect or offshoot of Islam. At the same time, they represent more than merely one of the many schools of Islamic thought. It is true that one can speak of a Shiite theology, a Shiite school of law or system of jurisprudence, or a Shiite philosophy or mysticism as one of so many other perspectives within these respective disciplines. But these are really aspects of a larger and more comprehensive phenomenon. Shiism embodies a completely independent system of religious and political authority and historical interpretation that profoundly informs its views within the various religious disciplines and is perpetuated through its own highly structured intellectual and religious hierarchy. It thus exists as a kind of permanent and well-established minority within the Islamic religious universea kind of loyal (or occasionally not-so-loyal) opposition to the majority Sunni consensus. However, it is a minority that has made no small contribution to Islamic civilization; and the intellectual achievements of this group far outweigh its relative size. In fact, the impact of Shiite ideas and beliefs on early Islamic political and religious thought can hardly be overestimated, and to ignore this contribution, or to dismiss Shiite ideas as merely those of a heterodox sect, is to profoundly misunderstand the nature and development of early Islamic society. Marshall Hodgson was the first to state this so explicitly, in his early and important article How Did the Early Shia Become Sectarian?, in which he notes that, in its reverence for the descendants of the Prophet (and therefore also Alid descendants), Sunnism can be considered at least half Shiite.1 Most Western studies of Shiism have been concerned with Shiite political history and theory or else with the distinctive points of Shiite 1

The Charismatic Community

theology, law, or philosophy. Moreover, until recently, relatively little of this research has concerned Shiism in its earliest incarnation. Most general studies of Shiism focus primarily on Twelver Imm Shiism, although Imm Shiism cannot really be dated before the establishment of a recognized and coherent doctrine of the immate in the time of Jafar al-Sdiq (d. 148); and, as the work of Etan Kohlberg has . clearly established, Twelver Shiism cannot be dated much before the onset of the major occultation in the early fourth Islamic century.2 Etan Kohlberg3 and Wilferd Madelung4 have done some of the most substantial work in early Shiism, bringing to light many of the more obscure and difficult aspects of early Shiite theology. More recently, a number of scholarly monographs on the early and formative periods of Shiite thought have appeared, including Hossein Modarressis Crisis and Consolidation (1993), Amir-Moezzis penetrating study of the spiritual and mystical conceptions of the immate in The Divine Guide in Early Shiism (1994), Meir Bar-Ashers Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imm Shiism (1999), Arzina Lalanis study of the legacy of the fifth Imm, Muammad al-Bqir, in Early Sh Thought (2000), and Andrew Newmans The Formative Period of Twelver Shiism (2000). Many of these studies have made pioneering use of very early source material, supplementing the more formulaic and systematic information found in heresiographical literature with material drawn from a variety of early adth and tafsr works; and many have deepened our understanding of the religious and spiritualrather than narrowly politicalcontent of early Shiite tradition. However, surprisingly little research has been done on one of the most interesting and unique aspects of Shiism, namely, the emergence of a distinct Shiite communal identity within the larger Islamic ummah in the early centuries of Islamthat is to say, a specific Shiite awareness of their own group as constituting a community within a community. Very little indeed has been written about the spiritual meaning or cosmological significance they attached either to the reality of the Shiite community as a whole or to individual membership in that community. The present work attempts to reconstruct the intellectual and social premises of a developing sense of Shiite identityboth as individual believers and as a believing communityfrom the origins of a historically identifiable Shiite movement (which we date from the First Civil War) until the latter part of the second Islamic century, and to analyze the ways in which the boundaries of the Shiite community were determined and the nature of Shiite identity was conceived through the late second and early third Islamic century. This book puts forth three central and interrelated theses about


the development of Shiite individual and communal identity in the first two centuries of Islam. The first major thesis is that, despite the apparently political origins of Shiism in the legitimist struggle between Al b. Ab lib and other candidates for the caliphate, Shiism also represented a genuinely religious perspective, rooted in a set of basic principles that remained essentially unchanged from its inception in the first Islamic century through the period of its doctrinal solidification in the late second and early third centuries. Those principles include the belief that the leadership of the Islamic community (the immate) is rightly a charismatic authoritythat is, the legitimate leader of the community is an individual divinely chosen and supported through a number of spiritual giftsand that the first and greatest of these leaders, and the paradigmatic embodiment of this spiritual charisma, is Al b. Ab lib. While many view Shiism as a perspective based primarily on the genealogical transmission of Prophetic charisma through Muammads bloodline, it is important to remember that Alwho was not himself a descendant of Muammadis often considered to be the greatest and most important of all the Shiite Imms.5 The Imms who succeeded Al were all legimitate candidates for the immate both because they were descendants of the Prophet (through Al and his wife, Fimah, who was the daughter of the Prophet) and because they were heirs to the special charisma of Al, himself. The importance of both Prophetic and Alid descent was one of the crucial ideas that separated Shiites from other non-Shiite Muslims, who have long recognized some social and spiritual distinction for both the descendants of Muammad specifically and Muammads Hshimite clan generally. Our argument for a continuously religious and a continuously Alid conception of rightful authority represents a significant shift from the perspective generally put forward by other scholars of the early Shiite community. Much of the scholarship on the earliest development of Shiism in the first and second Islamic centuries argues that Shiism began as a primarily political movement and only later emerged as a religious or sectarian group. Depending on ones understanding of the terms political as opposed to religious in an Islamic contexta context that makes the use of such terms complicated if not decisively problematicthe theory of a political-to-religious pattern of development for Shiism can provide a reasonable understanding of the spheres of activity of earlier and later Shiites, respectively, although it represents an oversimplification of Shiite development. The apparent shift from the political to the religious in early Shiite ideology probably reflects, to some extent, the different source material

The Charismatic Community

that is used as a basis for studies of first-century Shiism, on the one hand, and second-century Shiism, on the other. Studies of firstcentury Shiism necessarily rely substantially on material found in the early historical chronicles, most of which draw heavily on the account of the pro-Iraqi chronicler Ab Mikhnaf. If first-century Shiism seems to be based on a primarily political attachment to Al in the interest of Kufan or Iraqi patriotism, then this may be due in no small part to the biases one would expect from Ab Mikhnaf himself. Secondcentury Shiite developments, except to the extent that they are related to the Abbsid movement or to that dynastys ideological consolidation, figure much less prominently in the historical chronicles. That is, while the emergence of the Shiite community in the first century is a development that unfolds largely in the public eye, the internal consolidation of the Shiite community in the second century takes place somewhat shy of the view of the general chronicler. Thus, studies of the latter period have been forced to rely predominantly on more sectarian literature, and especially on later heresiographical accounts. It is true that the paucity of general historical material for second-century Shiite activity argues for a Shiite withdrawal from the political spherewhich is the primary subject of historical chroniclesand is strong evidence that second-century Shiite activity was particularly or exclusively related to internal doctrinal and sectarian developments. However, this does not altogether prove the absence of sectarian/religious sentiment among first-century Shiites, even if they also happened to be more active on the political stage at that time than in later periods. Another common assumption related to the theory of the political-to-religious development of early Shiism is the idea that the martyrdom of al-usayn at Karbala was one of the crucial turning points along that developmental continuum. There are two bases for this claim. The first is that martyrdom (at least at this time) must have represented a particularly religious concept. Indeed, the Tawwbn (Penitent) movement, which followed on the heels of the Karbala massacre, seems to illustrate the degree to which the religious ideal of martyrdom had penetrated the Shiite movement. There can be little doubt that the ideal of martyrdom was given a significant boost by the dramatic and tragic events at Karbala, but one can hardly make an absolute case for the absence of the martyr ideal in pre-Karbala Shiite events. A similar sentiment, for example, informs the accounts (also drawing heavily on Ab Mikhnaf) of the arrest and murder of the Kufan Shiite activist ujr b. Ad in 51. More importantly, the idea of martyrdom was hardly a purely passive, religious concept in early Shiite thought. The martyrdom of al-usayn did not merely engen-


der passive resistance or patient suffering among contemporary Shiitesfostering a quietism that facilitated the internal doctrinal developments of second-century Shiism; initially, it inspired movements of revenge. Revenge was, after all, the reported watchword even of the Tawwbn movement;6 and vengeance for al-usayn represented an important ideological basis for the arguably political movements of al-Mukhtr and al-usayns grandson, Zayd b. Al. The other, more frequently cited reason to consider al-usayns movement as a catalyst in the trend toward a more sectarian Shiism has to do with his descent from the Prophet. It was the massacre of the beloved grandson of Muammad that is often assumed to have awakened a powerful religious groundswell against the Umayyads and their supporters. However, the notion that the Karbala event marked a critical turning point in the movement toward a more religiously motivated Shiism specifically because it involved someone who could claim descent from the Prophet is hard to justify in light of the wholly different reaction on the part of these same Iraqi Shiites to the earlier claims of al-usayns brother, al-asan. Al-asan was not only the Prophets grandson, but his eldest; and the same Iraqi Shiites who are reported to have been affected so deeply and moved to such remorse by al-usayns appeal and his later martyrdom as grandson of the Prophet, reveal no similar feelings of remorse for the betrayal and even physical attack upon al-asan as he is going to battle for his fledgling caliphate against Muwiyah (i.e., even before he sells his birthright, in the opinion of some), or a strong desire for vengeance upon his death, which was widely assumed in Shiite circles to be the result of a surreptitious poisoning arranged by the Umayyad caliph Muwiyah. It is true that the circumstances of al-usayns martyrdom are far more dramatic, but then it is also these circumstances, and not solely descent from the Prophet, that contribute to the powerful religious sentiments evoked by this event. Even more revealing is the fact that the Shiite movement of al-Mukhtr that emerged only shortly after Karbala championed the non-Fimid son of Al, Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, who had no such blood connection to the Prophet. Indeed, throughout the later Umayyad period, the Alid but not Prophetic line of Muammad b. al-anafiyyah continued to be revered by many or most of those with Shiite inclinations, and Kufan Shiites in particular. As terrible and shocking as the bloody massacre at Karbala must have been at the time, the profound tragedy of this event was further amplified over the course of centuries of continuing Shiite persecution. The brutal murder of al-usayn at Karbala came to represent and encapsulate the long, sad history of Shiite suffering and martyrdom, to the extent that the rise of the awaited Qim or Mahd,

The Charismatic Community

in the person of the Twelfth Imm, is often envisioned as having the primary purpose of avenging the blood of al-usayn, who stood, in many ways, for every Shiite martyr. Because of the deep emotional and spiritual significance attached to the Karbala massacre, its commemoration through the elaborate mourning rituals that developed in later centuries came to be emblematic of Shiite sectarian particularism and a ritual confessional marker for the Shiite community as a whole. Yet, despite the importance of these later ritual developments for the formation and preservation of Shiite consciousness, there is actually little evidence that the Karbala tragedy inspired an immediate or radical shift in Shiite thought from a political to a more explicitly religious iteration of their cause and movement. If we are not convinced that the Karbala event marked the sudden introduction of a newly religious sentiment into the Shiite movement, we also do not entirely accept the related implication that in order to be religious, Shiite sentiment had to be centered on the genealogically transmitted charisma of the Prophet, as opposed to the charisma of Aloften assumed to be more political in nature. Rather, we would argue that there was a discernible religious aspect to the early Shiite movement, but that it was oriented toward and based upon the charisma of Al personally, which was undoubtedly founded upon his close relationship withbut not descent fromthe Prophet Muammad. There is considerable evidence for the fact that at least some of Als early followersand especially those who remained loyal to him to the endviewed their support for him in religious rather than exclusively political terms. Most of this evidence comes from the speeches of Als close companions as reported in both Sunni and Shiite historical sources. The declarations of allegiance to Al by his most loyal supporters recorded in these sources tend to be expressed in terms of their unshakeable bond of walyah (allegiance) to him. In fact, it seemed to us that the most effective way to avoid the problematic dichotomies between the political and the religious in early Shiite thought, and between Alid and Prophetic descent as a basis of charisma or spiritual authority in Shiism, would be through a closer examination of the somewhat ambiguous and elusive notion of walyaha term that (1) has both political and spiritual connotations, (2) plays an important role in Shiite thought from at least the time of the First Civil War to the present, and (3) is rather specifically connected with loyalty to the person of Al b. Ab lib in both historical and sectarian sources. Even in later Shiite adth literature, the term most frequently refers to a sense of allegiance toward Al b. Ab lib or his descendants generally (i.e., not toward any other individual Imm), and the earliest Sunni and Shiite historical


accounts for the period of Als caliphate give evidence of the importance of this term among Als earliest supporters. In fact, in the early chronicles for Als caliphate, the term seems to be used by his supporters to denote not only allegiance to Al and his cause but also a kind of brotherly unity among themselves, as his supporters. This brings us to the second major thesis of this work, namely that this concept of walyah represents a principle of spiritual charisma that lies at the heart of all major Shiite sectarian beliefs and most comprehensively embodies the Shiite religious ethos. It is a concept that has been part of Shiite rhetoric and doctrine from its earliest incarnation, and therefore represents the core concept linking generations of Shiite believers over centuries of substantial doctrinal and political change. However, while the term walyah has definite political usages in Arabic, its meaning in the Shiite context goes beyond a simple designation of loyalty between the Alid Imm and his followers. Rather, the term in Shiite usage seems to refer to something broader, more basic, and hence more comprehensive than this: It denotes an all-encompassing bond of spiritual loyalty that describes, simultaneously, a Shiite believers allegiance to God, the Prophet, the Imm and the community of Shiite believers, collectively. This concept, therefore, suggests a profound spiritual connection and ontological affinity between the Imms and their followers, between Shiite leadership and Shiite community, between the ahl al-bayt and those who made their cause with them. This concept, I will argue, was the ideological conduit for extending a belief in the charisma and elite spiritual status of Al and the succeeding Imms to the community collectively and to ordinary Shiites, individually. Hence, it is quite accurate and appropriate to speak about the Shiite community as a charismatic community, not simply in the sense that it is a community founded upon the notion of charismatic leadership but also in that it considered its lay membership as a whole to participate in this charisma and to have been granted certain spiritual distinctions and powers that set it hierarchically above the rest of the Muslim community. To speak about the Shiite principle of walyah as a signifier of charisma immediately raises the issue of Shiisms correspondence or noncorrespondence to various sociological analyses of religion wherein the notion of charisma plays a significant role. The first and most well-known sociologist to employ the term charisma in relation to the establishment of religious communties is, of course, Max Weber. Webers theories have occasionally been applied to Islam and Islamic sectarian movements (including Shiism) by both Weber himself and later Islamicists, but with questionable success. Michael Cook, for example, published a short article in an edited volume on Weber and

The Charismatic Community

Islam, in which he rather decisively rejects Webers chuch/sect dichotomy as having much relevance for the case of Islamic sectarian movements, with the possible exception of the Kharijite phenomenon (which he notes, Weber himself does not consider).7 It is quite clear that Shiism does not fit the Weberian notion of a sect, which he bases largely on the phenomena of sect formation within European Christianity. Webers theory of charisma, however, while still an uneasy fit with the Shiite case, nonetheless presents some interesting parallels that we should examine in closer detail. Weber defines charisma, in one of his writings, as a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional qualities.8 It seems clear that this basic, and relatively intuitive, description of the phenomenon of charisma can be applied in a general sense, and with some explanatory power, to the leadership of the early Shiite community. Scholars of Shiism will quickly recognize this description of charisma as applying quite precisely to Shiite beliefs regarding their Imms. The Shiite adth tradition clearly ascribes specifically exceptional qualities to the Imms; and to the extent that some Shiite traditions consider the Imms to have the powers of physiognomy and the knowledge of all languages, to be recipients of a kind of divine inspiration, and in some extremist views, to have been delegated a certain divine creative and legislative power over the world, it is perhaps permissible to see them as possessed of supernatural if not explicitly superhuman characteristics. There is, of course, a wide range of views about the nature and capabilities of the Imms, with the more extremist views having been clearly denounced and rejected by the majority of Shiite scholars, but it seems clear that at least some influential Shiite thinkers held these views at particular historical junctures. Weber also observed that religious (and nonreligious) societies characterized by charismatic leadership tended to make recognition of the charismatic leader a compelling duty on all membersa phenomenon clearly reflected in the Shiite imperative to know ones Imm as a central, indeed foundational, requirement of true belief (mn). Webers theories about the inherent instability of societies based on charismatic leadership, because of the lack of clear succession mechanisms9 would also fit the Shiite community which, despite the second-century development of the theory of explicit designation (na) of every Imm by his predecessor, continued to be plagued by succession disputes until the disappearance of the Twelfth and last Imm in the Imm Shiite line. Weber also notes that because charismatic societies invest so much faith in the salvific power of the char-


ismatic leader and his ability to distribute grace (an idea with a clearly Christian basis), they frequently develop antinomian attitudes that are opposed to forms of traditional morality.10 Such antinomian attitudes developed in their crudest and most vulgar form among certain extremist Shiite groups who were clearly denounced even by the Imms themselves, as well as all later Imm authorities, but more subtle and less morally offensive forms of these ideas can be found even among more mainstream lines of Shiite thought (see Chapter 8). The explanatory value of the concept of charisma in relation to Islamic sectarian movements, and Shiism in particular, has been explored by a number of Islamic scholars, including W. Montgomery Watt. Watts contributions are primarily found in his two early studies: Shiism under the Umayyads (1960) and The Rafidites: a Preliminary Study (1963), both of which form the basis of the Shiite sections of his masterful survey in The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (Edinburgh, 1973). In these studies, Watt suggests a new theoretical framework for understanding both the political and the religious nature of early Islamic sectarian movements through his discussion of the role and function of charisma in the thinking of the Shiites and Kharijites alike. Watts general thesis is that the ranks of both the Shiites and the Kharijites were filled with recently settled nomadic Arab tribesmen whose lives had been seriously disturbed by the social changes brought about by the coming of Islam and the Islamic state. These tribesmen were seeking a kind of charisma that would recall the charisma of the Prophet Muammad and his early community, in which they had placed so much trust. Watt then observes that those who were drawn to the Shiite perspective at this time were predominantly South Arabian tribesmen, who had a pre-Islamic legacy of belief in priestly families with a hereditary line of spiritual authority. Thus, Watt hypothesizes, these tribesmen were inclined to look for salvation through the leadership of an individual with some kind of hereditary claim to spiritual authorityand hence their attraction to the spiritual charisma of Al b. Ab lib. The Kharijites, on the other hand, were predominantly Northern Arabs who, by contrast, had traditionally found meaning in loyalty to and membership in the collectivity of the tribe. Watt, therefore, suggests that they found spiritual meaning in the notion of salvation through membership in the charismatic community of believers which, he argues, the early Kharijites had so radically attempted to create. The notion of the importance of charisma has also been studied by Hamid Dabashi in his published dissertation Authority in Islam (Transaction, 1989), in which he gives a heavily Weberian analysis of the three major Islamic sectarian divisionsSunnism, Shiism, and


The Charismatic Community

Kharijismaccording to how each dealt with the passing of the charismatic leadership of Muammad. According to his highly schematic analysis, the Sunnis sought to routinize charisma and develop more normalized patterns of leadership and legitimacy, while the Shiites sought rather to perpetuate charisma in the leadership of the family of the Prophetmuch as Watt suggests. In his examination of the Kharijites, however, Dabashi refutes the idea that the Kharijite point of view was dominated by the notion of a communal charisma; he instead argues that they rejected the notion of charisma entirely in favor of a kind of radical moral individualism. Wilferd Madelung has likewise sought to discredit Watts emphasis on the Kharijite attachment to community in favor of a more rigorous individualism apparent in the Islamic sources.11 Watts ideas with regard to the charismatic community are of interest for our study, however, because many of the arguments he gives to support the notion of a charismatic community among the Kharijites can also be used to support such a notion among the Shiites. As mentioned above, and as we hope to demonstrate in detail in later chapters, Shiite literature recognized a charismatic quality for the Shiite religious community itself that clearly echoed the charismatic quality the literature ascribes to the Shiite leadership or immate. Thus, if Dabashi and Madelung would accept Watts theory regarding the Shiite view of charismatic leadership while discrediting his arguments for the Kharijite notion of charismatic community, we would argue that, for Shiites, both the leadership and the ordinary, or lay, members of the community were possessed of a charismatic quality. The kind of communal charisma described by Watt for the Kharijitescentering largely on absolutist notions of loyalty and dissociation (walyah and barah) and salvation through membership in the saving sect (al-firqah al-njiyyah)applies equally well, and in some ways more accurately, to the Shiite case. Finally, we come to the third major thesis of this book, namely that the Shiite sense of their own charisma and elite spiritual status, both as individuals and as a community, eventually became the ideological foundation for a set of rules of social and intellectual interchange between themselves and the larger Islamic ummah that both reflected and enhanced their own sense of unique sectarian identity. As Shiite theological development advanced, from late Umayyad times onward, the principle of walyah came to be connected in an essential way with the Shiite notion of faith or true belief (mn). Walyah was both the foundational basis and the outward manifestation of a true believer (mumin); and because mn, in Quranic terminology, was often directly juxtaposed with kufr, or unbelief, there was a tendency to see those Muslims who did not manifest walyah toward Al



and the ahl al-bayt as kuffrif only in the limited sense of not believing in the rightful, spiritual authority over the community. A polemical division of the Islamic community itself into true believers and unbelievers, however, was something that seems to have been limited to the politically charged environment of late Umayyad Shiism, and even within this context, to have been significantly mitigated or softened by the teachings of the Imm Imms of that timenotably the fifth and sixth Imms, Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar al-diq. In the latter half of al-diqs immatethat is, in the early Abbsid perioda less polemical and more nuanced view of spiritual hierarchies between Shiite and non-Shiite Muslims began to emerge. A more accommodationistand hence more sustainableattitude toward the non-Shiite Muslim community was beginning to develop. While only Shiites could be considered true believers or muminn, non-Shiite Muslims were still to be considered legitimate Muslims (muslimn) and all of the rights and protections afforded to them as part of the Muslim ummah had to be respected by Shiites, even if their religious belief was not complete. They enjoyed the possibility of salvation that was guaranteed to all Muslims by virtue their observance of the basic laws and rituals of Islam, but they did not participate in the particularly powerful and salvific grace that was only granted to a Muslim through the acceptance of, and participation in, the state of walyah. Shiites, then, considered themselves to be the spiritual elite of the Islamic ummaha notion adequately conveyed by the fact that they often referred to themselves as the khah (elite, priveleged) as opposed to the mmah or simply ns, meaning the commoners. At the same time, as the Shiite community increased in both size and internal organization, and as events served to highlight ideological and political differences among some of its members, a certain spiritual hierarchy seems to have developed within the Shiite community itself. In this view, walyah, as the comprehensive expression of loyalty to God, Prophet, Imm, and Shiite community, came to signify basic membership in the Shiite community, but could only be described as true faith (mn) when it was based on a clear theological understanding of the nature of these four realities. As Imm theological positions on these issues become more complex, we witness the emergence of an intellectual and scholarly class of Shiites that is increasingly differentiated from what one might term lay members of the Shiite communitythose with profound allegiance to the Shiite leadership and community but incomplete intellectual or theological understanding of Shiite principles.12 The development of such theologically precise and systematic notions for understanding the spiritual meaning of Shiite identity was indicative of the growing institutionalization and


The Charismatic Community

organization of the Shiite community as an established and definable minority within the Islamic ummah. Yet between Shiite and non-Shiite Muslims, between the khah and the mmah, there was no impermeable boundary of separation. Shiites did not separate themselves in any dramatic fashion from their non-Shiite neighbors, but rather developed a subtle set of rules of social exchange between the two groups that served to create something of a perforated boundary between themselves and the rest of the Islamic ummah.


The Principle of Walyah and the Origins of the Community

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Walyah in the Islamic Tradition

n the search for an understanding of Shiite identity in the earliest period of Shiite history, few concepts are more important or more elusive than that of walyaha term that may designate, at one and the same time, the nature of the authority of the Shiite Imm, the principle underlying the relationship of the disciple to the Imm, and the common bond between all persons who considered themselves to be members of the shat Al. Despite the importance of this concept in Shiite thought and consciousness, it is one that has received relatively little scholarly treatment in the field of Shiite studies. While there is considerable material available on the concept of immah or the Shiite doctrine of the immate, and while the concepts of walyah and immah are intimately related in Shiite thought, it is only quite recently that serious study is beginning to be devoted to the religious and spiritual implications of walyah, most importantly and recently in the work of Amir-Moezzi.1 Amir-Moezzis analysis of the term in its Shiite context is detailed and profound, and examines the concept of walyah as it relates to the ontological reality of the Imm, the Shiite disciples love and devotion to the Imm, and what he refers to as the theology of the metaphysical Imm.2 The concept of walyah, however, is both more comprehensive and more prevalent than immah in the earliest period of Shiite history,3 and, as we aim to demonstrate, is also intimately connected to notions of Shiite individual and communal identity. In this chapter, we examine the meaning of the term walyah and its related cognates within the broader Islamic traditionfrom its usage in the Quran and early Islamic society, to its esoteric interpretation in 15


The Charismatic Community

Sufi or Islamic mystical discourse, as well as in some later Shiite theosophical writings that were heavily influenced by the mystical traditionin order to elucidate its full connotation in Shiite thought. In this way, we hope to demonstrate that walyah, far from being an amorphous term with multiple meanings in different forms of Islamic discourse, is a fundamental and unitive concept that underlays notions of spiritual identity and community in a variety of Islamic contexts, even if one is hard-pressed to find a single English word that can adequately convey its rich and nuanced meaning.

THE MEANING OF WALYAH The word walyah is one of several nouns that can be formed from the Arabic root w-l-y, and while this root can have numerous meanings depending on its context, all of its related cognates can be said to designate a type of relationship between persons of either equal or unequal stature. It can, for example, be used for the relationship between lord and servant, patron and client, ruler and subject, as well as between paternal relations or friends. Due to the peculiarity of this root, both parties to these various relationshipseven those of a nonsymmetrical charactercan be designated as mawl, such that in classical Arabic the word mawl may denote both master or lord, servant or dependent. The other personal noun that is frequently formed from this root is wal, which can be synonymous with mawl, but which is most commonly used to denote parties to a relationship of friendship or near kinship, or to relationships entailing inheritance. There are two verbal nouns derived from this Arabic root, walyah and wilyah, and while these two are indistinguishable in an unvocalized text, they are not entirely coterminous in meaning. Both words may serve as verbal nouns expressing the action of waliya/yal, which can mean: (1) to be near, adjacent or close to something; (2) to be a friend or relative of someone; and (3) to manage, administer, rule or govern, to have authority, power or command. While the two words walyah and wilyah generally refer to different aspects of the verbs meaning, the boundaries between the two are not always clear. The word walyah may refer to all three actions covered by this verb, as well as the state of being a wal or a mawl, but it is most commonly applied to the first two types of actions or states expressed by the verb waliya/yalthat is, the state of closeness and nearness, or of friendship and kinshipalthough it may also be used for the meaning of rule or command.4 Most Arabic authorities understand the noun wilyah, on the other hand, as referring specifically to a ruling or managerial office (imrah, suln, tadbr).5

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


Of course, to fully understand the connection between these two meanings derived from the root w-l-y, we should bear in mind the kind of authority or power that is expressed in the word wilyah. In its common usage in Islamic historical texts, the term does not imply the kind of absolute authority denoted by other Arabic terms such as mulk, which the Quran uses to denote kingshipeither the divine sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, or that of the prophets6 or immah, a kind of spiritual and temporal authority tied to the state of prophecy, as when the Quran refers to Gods having designated Abraham as an imm over mankind (al-ns),7 or to Isaac and Jacob as having been made imms in a spiritual or religious sense.8 Wilyah refers, by contrast, to a kind of authority that is limited and circumscribed, confined within a particular locality or jurisdiction, and subject to a higher authority. In early Islamic tradition it most commonly denoted governorships to which the caliph appointed men whom he trusted, and whom he could remove at will, if he were dissatisfied with their performance. It is perhaps the local nature of this authority that accounts for its relation to the verb w-l-y, meaning nearness or closenessthe wl (preferred to wal when used to denote governorship) was, in principle, merely the local or near representative of the distant authority of the caliph, residing within the principality that he controlled on the caliphs behalf. In fact, there was no wl located in the province in which the caliph resided, as he himself fulfilled the position of local authority there in addition to his general authority over all provinces of the Islamic state. Such authority was not usually interpreted as spiritual authority; it represented, above all, managerial control over the economic and military affairs of the principality and the responsibility of maintaining order and executing but not interpretingthe divine law, the sharah, on the one hand, and the will of the caliph, on the other. It seems that we need to look beyond the connection between walyah and ordinary forms of authority to understand the true significance of this term in Shiite thought. We might also consider that, despite the various relationships to which the words walyah and wilyah can refer, they can all be said to have a common denominator in the idea of nurah, meaning support, aid, backing, or assistance. In traditional Arab culture, a lord was bound to protect his servant just as a servant was to defend his lord; a rulers legitimacy depended on his ability to aid and protect his subjects just as they were bound to support him in times of war, the wl of the caliph was his ruling support in the distant parts of the Islamic state, and friends and relations were obviously obligated by love and mutual respect to defend one another against any threat or danger. Thus, the relationships that fall under the category of walyah can be said, in most cases, to involve


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the idea of mutual aid and support (nurah) and usually entail the idea of a strong attachment of loyalty and devotion to the other party. This attitude is deeply tied to the culture and patterns of social organization of Arab tribal society, in which such an attachment to tribe and clan was necessary for survival. But, like other Arab cultural features, this, too, was incorporated into Islamic religious norms, to the point that the breaking of these kinds of bonds of attachmentin Islamic times, to the family or to the Islamic ummahwas considered both socially and religiously blameworthy.9 Therefore, walyah in its most generally applicable sense can be said to denote a reciprocal, but not necessarily symmetrical, relationship between two parties, entailing the responsibility of mutual aid and support as well as the principle of profound loyalty and attachment. We would argue that it is this basic meaning of walyahperhaps as much or moreso than its relationship to authoritythat accounts for its role in the formation of Shiite identity. Throughout the remainder of this study, we will use the term walyah to express the state of being a wal or mawl, in a general way, and only use the term wilyah to express the aspect of this word that relates specifically to authority or jurisdiction.

WALYAH IN THE QURAN The connection between walyah and nurah is more well-established in the Quran than the relationship between walyah and authority, and it is reasonable to presume that it is the Quranic sense of the term that underlies its religious significance in the Shiite tradition particularly in its earliest formation. In the Quran, al-Wal and alMawl are frequently cited names of God, and the term wal or mawl is often presented in conjunction with the term nar in describing Gods relationship to His creatures,10 relations between human beings themselves,11 or between human beings and Satan. For example, the Quran frequently repeats the warning that, apart from God, the believers have no wal (or mawl) and no nar,12 that God is sufficient as a wal and nar for the believers against their enemies,13 that the kuffr have no wal or nar in this life save the fickle Satan,14 or, variously, that they have none at all or will have none in the next life.15 While there are instances where the terms wal or mawl are used in the Quran to mean guardian, lord, or master, both in relation to God and in the context of human relations,16 they are not used to refer explicitly to earthly authority over a particular human collectivity or religious community. The reciprocal and relational nature of walyah is obvious in the Quran as well, given that the term wal is used not

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


only for God, but also (in its plural form, awliy) for those who show absolute devotion to God. Such friends of God, the Quran tells us, experience neither fear nor grief17 in the face of divine judgment. In the Quran, the concept of walyah is also frequently juxtaposed, directly or indirectly, with that of enmity (adwah), forming a subtle rhetorical pair, similar to, but not as explicit as other Quranic pairs, such as mn and kufr (faith and unbelief) or jannah and nr (Paradise and Hell). God is the only true wal, or friend, of the believers. He knows who the enemies [of the believers] are, and He is a sufficient wal and nar against them.18 The believers should trust that Gods protecting friendship overcomes the enmity of all their opponents. Humanitys greatest enemy, however, is Satan, and this enmity is providentially established in the Quranic account of the creation and fall of man. God forewarns Adam of the treachery and inherent enmity of Satan, but when, despite this warning, Adam and his wife fall prey to Satans deception, God simultaneously casts Adam, Eve, and Satan out of the Garden, saying in multiple Quranic renditions of the story: Go (you, pl.) down, with enmity between you!19 Satan is repeatedly identified as humankinds clear enemy (aduww mubn) throughout the Quran,20 and human beings are warned not to take Satan and his followers (literally, offspring) as awliy.21 It is frequently noted in discussions of the nature of evil in Quranic and Islamic discourse that Satan is rightly viewed as the enemy of humankind, not of God, personally. However, the Quran tells us God and the believers do share another mutual enemynamely, the unbelievers and rejecters of Gods messengers. God is said to be the enemy of the unbelievers, as they are his. Quran II: 9798 reads:
Say: Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed [this Scripture] to thy heart by Gods leave, confirming that which came before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers; Who is an enemy to God, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael! Then lo! God is an enemy to the disbelievers.

The unbelievers (and hypocrites) are those who show enmity toward God and His emissaries (be they angels or prophets) and earn, thereby, the reciprocal enmity of God.22 The unbelievers and the hypocrites, however, are identified as the enemies of the believers as well,23 and God aids the believers against these enemies.24 Moreover, the believers are expected to separate themselves from, and if necessary to fight, these enemies of God on His behalf. God and the believers, then, are united in a bond of mutual friendship and support (walyah) against a mutual enemythe unbelieversand true belief requires that the division between friend and enemy be clearly drawn. The believers


The Charismatic Community

are warned: O you who believe! Do not take My enemies and your enemies as awliy.25 Anyone who is an enemy of God must be understood to be an enemy of the believer, and this enmity must not be clouded by personal relationships. The prototype for this is the Quranic Abraham, who prayed for his father until it became clear to him that [his father] was the enemy of God,26 at which point Abraham definitively dissociated (tabarraa) from him. As we shall see, the notion of dissociation (tabarru or barah), like that of enmity, is often rhetorically juxtaposed to walyah in both early Shiite and Kharijite polemics. The reciprocal nature of the walyah between God and the believers means that God will support the believers against their common enemy, but also that the believers must set themselves militarily, or at least socially, against the enemies of God as well. In this way true faith and the walyah of God are inextricably linked to relationships between human beings and, more directly, to the notion of a sacred community united in both faith and mutual worldly protection. The Quran states that the believers have no wal save God and those who believe,27 and the believers are warned on more than one occasion that they should not take awliy (protecting friends) from among the unbelievers in preference to the believers;28 the unbelievers and the evildoers (zlimn) are protecting friends (awliy) to one another.29 Thus walyah is connected to the more general principle that an individuals most intense social loyalties should be to the members of his/her own faith community, and conversely, that ones social associations have implications for ones religious identity. The Quran also tells the believers not to take Jews and Christians as awliy, for they are awliy of one another, and he among you who takes them for protecting friends is [one] of them (minhum).30 However, this does not mean that Jews and Christians are to be identified with the unbelievers, with whom believers are also supposed to avoid relationships of walyah, since the Quran makes an explicit distinction between the two in other similar contexts. In a passage that follows soon after the one just quoted, for example, the Quran tells the believers that they should take neither the People of the Book who belittle Islam nor the unbelievers (kuffr) as awliy;31 and later in this same srah, the Jews and Christians are themselves criticized for having taken the unbelievers as their awliy.32 The emergence of the idea of community based upon religious belief, rather than on tribal or genealogical ties, is a theme found subtly in the Quran and more explicitly in the events of the first Islamic communityparticularly in its heroic, early Medinan phase. Although the ties of tribal relationships continued to dominate Arab politics for

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


more than a century after the death of Muammad, and strong notions of family loyalty continue to remain central to Islamic societal norms, the idea that common religious faith was the basis of ones most obliging social loyalties emerged, at least temporarily, in the extraordinary situation of this first Muslim community. These early believers, many of whom were forced to leave their families behind when they emigrated to Medina, were warned not to take even their fathers and brothers as awliy if the latter preferred unbelief to belief.33 The idea of loyalty based on religious brotherhood, rather than on blood relations, was also reinforced by the Prophet in the second pact (the bayat al-arb, or pledge of war) that he concluded with the Yathrib delegation prior to his emigration there. A member of the Yathrib delegation expressed anxiety over the fact that, having cut their ties with the Jews of their city in order to join the religious community of the Prophet, they might later be abandoned by their Meccan coreligionists when their cause had been won and they had reconciled with their own people in Mecca. Muammad, however, reassured them, saying: I am of you and you are of me; I am at war with the one with whom you are at war, and at peace with the one with whom you are at peace.34 While the word walyah is not mentioned explicitly here, the phrase I am of you and you are of me recalls the Quranic passage that states that whoever takes members of other religious communities as awliy is of them. As we noted earlier in this discussion, the root w-l-y and its cognates are often connected to the idea of inheritance and to relationships entailing inheritance. In the Quran, derivatives of this root are used in this sense as well. For example, in Quran XIX:5, the prophet, Zakariyy, implores God to give him a wal, who will inherit from him and protect his legacy from his other relatives. While the notion of walyah as inheritance, based traditionally on family relations, may seem to be quite different from the notion of social relations based exclusively on common faith, the two connotations of walyah come together in an extraordinary verse found near the end of the eighth srah, which reads:
Lo! Those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of God [i.e., the Emigrants or muhjirn], and those who took them in and helped them [i.e., the Medinan Helpers, or anr]; these are the awliy one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, you have no duty of walyah toward them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help [them] except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. God is Seer of what you do.35


The Charismatic Community

Here a relationship of walyah is explicitly ordained between the Meccan Emigrants and the Medinan Helpers who sheltered and assisted them. But what did this relationship entail, precisely? A quick reading of the verse suggests that walyah, here, involved a duty to support, aid, and protect one another against outside threats and harm, since these represent the parameters of the Emigrant-Helper relationship established in the bayat al-arb between the Meccan and Yathrib Muslims, discussed above. While there are some tafsr traditions that understand the relationship of walyah mentioned here as pertaining to mutual aid and support (nurah),36 the majority of tafsr traditions state that this verse established relationships of mutual inheritance between the muhjirn and the anr,37 and many tafsr traditions connect this verse to the famous incident of the brothering between the two groups that occurred shortly after the Emigrants establishment in Medina.38 In this incident, Muammad paired each Emigrant with a Medinan Helper as his brothera relationship that explicitly included mutual inheritance and that was meant to compensate the Emigrants, in part, for their loss of family relations in Mecca. This walyah between the brothered pairs meant that each would be as close and as obligated to the other as to any of their blood or clan relations, helping to create bonds of real solidarity between these two groups within the fledgling Islamic community. As one tafsr tradition notes, it created a new kind of walyah, a walyah fil-dn or walyah in religion, between the two groups and within the community at large.39 It is perhaps worth noting here that on this occasion the Prophet specifically exempted himself and his family from this brothering, because, as one modern biographer has noted, it would have been too invidious for him to choose as his brother one of the Helpers rather than another. . . .40 The Prophet therefore made Al his own brother (and his uncle amzah the brother of his adopted son, Zayd), effectively establishing a walyah fil-dn between himself and Al, something we will discuss further in the next chapter. This relationship of inheritance established between the Emigrants and the Helpers in preference to their own blood relations, and exclusive of those believers who had not emigrated to Medina to join the community physically, was nullified with the conquest of Mecca in the year 8. A verse officially abrogating the arrangement can be found a few verses later in the same srah (Quran VIII:7475), where brothers who have fought together for the cause of Islam are said to be of one another, but that blood relationships (ulul-arm) entail greater mutual obligation than relationships of religion. In any case, competition between these two loyalties was obviated by the conversion of the Meccan Quraysh, and eventually much of the Arabian Peninsula, to Islam.

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


Thus we can see that the Quranic usage of walyah and its related cognates pertains to an interrelated set of ideas, including a variety of intimate relationships entailing mutual protection, loyalty, and inheritance. The Quranic concept of walyah relates to the bonds of loyalty and trust between God and those who believe in Him, as well as among all those united in their belief in a religion sent by Him (be it Muslims, Christians or Jews)or in their rejection of it (as in the case of the unbelievers). As such, it is a term that establishes a profound link between faithfulness to God and loyalty or attachment to ones religious community.

WALYAH, CHARISMA, AND SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY IN SUFISM AND SHIISM It is clear from the foregoing discussion that walyah is connected with notions of religious brotherhood and spiritual community in its Quranic and Prophetic context. Insofar as the Quran urges the believers to consider God as their primary wal or protecting friend and Satan as their clear enemy, the Quranic notion of walyah demands an unhypocritical stance in favor of God and His cause, and against the deceptive lure of Satan and his supporters, thereby linking sincere devotion to God with unshakeable loyalty to the community of believers. This connection plays an important role in the relationship between faith and walyah in Shiite discourse, as we will discuss later. But in what sense are all of these things linked to the notion of charisma, or a charismatic community? Within religious studies discourse, a charismatic leader may denote an individual whose followers consider him/her to have been chosen to enjoy a privileged relationship with the divine. This perception is often based on unique and observable powers or distinctions that the individual is considered to possess by virtue of this privileged relationship. The charisma is believed not only to draw followers in, but also to radiate outwardly, such that his/her followers may be considered to benefit from the charisma of their leader, and in some cases, to possess a kind of derivative charisma by virtue of their association with him/her. Note the paradigmatic case of Christ, whose miraculous powers of forgiveness and healing were conveyed to his disciples, even during his own lifetime. In similar fashion, a charismatic community could be said to denote a community whose memberseither individually or collectively, or bothhave been chosen to enjoy a privileged relationship with the divine, and whose closeness and privileged status is reflected in qualities and powers believed to


The Charismatic Community

be uniquely possessed by its members by virtue of their membership in the community. Conversely, it may also be that their membership in the community is considered to be the result of their prior or inherent possession of such qualities and powers as individuals. The charisma of a particular community may be a derivative charisma that exists by virtue of its association with a recognized charismatic leader, or else this charisma may be thought to reside primarily in the individual members or collectivity of the community, independent of a recognized leadership. In the Shiite case, we find elements of both, for while the spiritual distinctions of the Shiites are inextricably linked to their association with the spiritual figure of the Imm, their attraction to the Imms leadership in the first place is often considered to be the result of an inherent spiritual qualification and distinction on the part of the individual Shiite that sets him/her apart from the larger society of Muslims. Both the Imms and their disciples can be referred to as awliy and their spiritual distinctions, as we will demonstrate in Chapter 8, are clearly related to one another and rooted in a sometimes very mystical conception of walyah. Given the more esoteric conceptions of walyah that pertain to the spiritual position of the Imms and their followers in some strains of Shiite adth, it would be instructive to briefly examine similar conceptions of walyah pertaining to spiritual leadership and spiritual community in the context of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism. The affinity of Shiism and Sufism have long been legitimately noted by scholars of both traditions, and with regard to the issues of walyah, charisma, and spiritual community, the similarities are particularly evident. Just as the term wal/awliy can be used in Shiism to denote both the Imm and his disciples, these terms in Sufism may likewise refer both to fully realized Sufi masters and to Sufi disciples and aspirants. The technical use of this term in Sufi literature can be traced to at least the third century in the writing of the Sufi al-akm al-Tirmidh, although there is evidence that this term was used among earlier Sufi thinkers who did not leave systematic, doctrinal works on the subject.41 This is perhaps more interesting in light of the fact that many Sufi chains of authority (silsilah, pl. salsil) include the first eight Imm Shiite Imms (the last of whom died in the early third century) and consider all eight to have been important or even axial links in their spiritual geneaologies. Although this direct link between Shiite and Sufi authorities appears to be broken after the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri and indeed some animosity between Shiite and Sufi figures appears later in the third centuryShiism and Sufism would continue along overlapping paths throughout Islamic history. This is clear enough in the intellectual and esoteric elements of Isml Shiite thought, in certain pre-Safavid Iranian Shiite thinkers, such as Haydar al-mul,

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


and most productively in the Sufi-Shiite synthesis engendered by the establishment of the Safavid Empire in Iran in the tenth Islamic century. In this last period, one witnesses the emergence of a school of Shiite theosophy, a type of mystical Shiite philosophy, that is frequently referred to as irfn, in order to distinguish its highly intellectual perspective from that of the more ecstatic, popular, and often antinomian strains of Sufi mysticism that also flourished in this period.

Walyah and Esoterism The notion that the outward or literal message of the Quran, as brought by the Prophet, does not encompass the entirety of the Prophets spiritual heritage and teaching is common to both the Shiite and the Sufi perspectives, while this notion has historically been somewhat anathema to the nonmystical Sunni view. The strongly egalitarian emphasis in mainstream Sunnism stresses the clear and accessible nature of the spiritual message of Muammad, as well as the open and public manner in which this message was conveyed by Muammad to his community. Both Shiites and Sufis, however, hold that Muammad also brought an inner, esoteric teaching that was not intendednor indeed bearablefor all of his followers, and that he therefore bestowed it exclusively upon an elite inner circle of disciples. For both Shiites and most Sufis, Al b. Ab lib is the central figure, or one of the central figures, in the transmission of this esoteric teaching from the Prophet, and his authority over this esoteric knowledge, and that of his spiritual successors, can be referred to as walyah (or wilyah) in both traditions. In both Sufism and Shiism, the term walyah is frequently discussed in relation to rislah or nubuwwah (messengerhood or prophecy), with rislah or nubuwwah referring to the particular commission of the Prophet to publicly proclaim the exoteric revelation, and walyah referring to the specific vocation of either the Shiite Imms or the Sufi mystical authorities to transmit and explain its inner meaning.42 The two spiritual offices are complementary but hierarchically ordered, for while the transmission of the inner meaning of the revelation represents the necessary fulfillment of the Prophets exoteric mission, prophecy remains the primary human source of both exoteric and esoteric teachings, and the authority of every wal is, therefore, dependent upon that of the prophet (rasl or nab). At the same time, the spiritual emphasis placed by both Shiites and Sufis on the inner tawl, or esoteric interpretation of the Islamic message, occasionally left the impression that they considered walyah to represent a higher or nobler state than prophecyand one can indeed find passages in both Shiite and Sufi literature that seem to suggest the superiority of


The Charismatic Community

the Imms or realized Sufi masters, respectively, over the preMuammadan prophets.43 Thus, in response to their outside critics and, perhaps also to their own overly enthusiastic adherents, both Shiite and Sufi authors occasionally felt it necessary to explicitly assert the hierarchy between the prophets and the awliy and to provide a theoretical systemization of this hierarchy.44

Walyah as Spiritual Inheritance We have already noted that walyah is etymologically connected to relationships of inheritance, and that this meaning is important to its Quranic usage. In both Shiism and Sufism, walyah is connected to a spiritualized notion of inheritance that applies to both its leadership and its membership as a whole. The idea of spiritual inheritance is fundamental to Shiite views of their Imms, who are, after all, the biological descendants of the Prophet and of Al. In Imm literature the Imms are clearly identified as the heirs, not only of the Prophet Muammad, but of all prophets. In this way, the Imms are also frequently referred to as the awiy (pl. of wa, legatee), and are considered in some Shiite traditions to have inherited many sacred prophetic artifacts, from the original revelations given to the earlier prophets, to the armor and weapons of Muammad, to the Ark of the Covenant (tbt) and the tablets of Moses.45 The well-known adth that states that the scholars (ulam) are the heirs of the prophets is repeated in Imm Shiite traditions,46 and given the numerous traditions that assert the Imms inheritance of all the knowledge of Muammad and previous prophets, this tradition would seem to pertain most fully to them. It is important to remember, however, that this inheritance is not a purely genealogical one, for not all descendants of the Prophet or Al are considered to have a share in this. Rather there is an initiatic element as well, in that only the descendants designated as the Imm by their immediate predecessor, through a clear and unambiguous pronouncement of successorship, are heirs to this sacred knowledge and these sacred artifacts. In Sufism, the term awliy is also related to the idea of spiritual inheritance, and this inheritance may pertain to all those who have undertaken the Sufi path, as seekers after the esoteric bequest of the Prophet, or more exclusively, to those masters and realized saints whose spiritual authority over this esoteric tradition has been transmitted to them by preceding masters leading back to Al and then Muammad, himself. For Sufis, however, this notion of spiritual inheritance is purely initiatic in nature. While there have been Sufi brotherhoods in which the membership and leadership of the order have been connected to

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


particular familieseven through generationsthis transferral ideally takes place through a conscious act of spiritual transmission, and is not inherited automatically; and as in the case of the Shiite Imms, the transmission of spiritual authority from one Sufi master to his successor or successors sometimes includes the symbolic transmission of itemsparticularly clothinginvested with sacred meaning. Ibn alArab considers the awliy, or the realized Sufi saints, to be the Prophets true spiritual heirs, and even went so far as to consider himself the seal of the sainthood (khatm al-awliy), as Muammad was the seal of prophethood (khatm al-anbiy). For both Shiites and Sufis, then, walyah is profoundly related to notions of spiritual inheritance, although for Shiites this special inheritance is transmitted through Al and the designated genealogical descendants of Muammad through Al, whereas for Sufis, it refers to a more widely diffused legacy passing through multiple initiatic lines. These two notions of spiritual inheritance come together in the writing of later Shiite theosophers of the Safavid period, with adr al-Dn al-Shrz, perhaps the most prominent theosopher of the School of Isfahan in Safavid Iran, arguing that the term awliy refers both to the genealogical descendants of Muammad and to his spiritual heirs. As an Imm Shiite, however, he gives a uniquely prominent position to the Shiite Imms by noting that when the genealogical and spiritual lines of inheritance convergeas they do in the case of the twelve Imm Immsthis represents a particularly luminous spiritual station; it is, as he says, like light upon light.47 If the term wal can be understood as a kind of spiritual heir in Sufism and Shiism, and esoteric knowledge is considered the essential content of that inheritance, then walyah can be said to refer to a kind of initiationthat is, to a process through which that spiritual inheritance is transmitted and assumed. If the reciprocal nature of the term wal allows it to denote both the master empowered to initiate and the initiates themselves, walyah can be said to refer, quite specifically, to the functional and initiatic bond between them.48 This, however, is a particularly Sufi usage of the term. Most Sufi orders are known to have some sort of initiatic procedure that results in a transfer of spiritual power or grace (barakah) from master to disciple; and although walyah is not the common term for such a mystical initiation (the preferred terms being tasharruf or tabayyu), it has been connected to the more initiatic aspects of mystical practice by a number of scholars working in the field of Sufism. For example, Michel Chodkiewicz writes, in his study of the concept of sainthood in the writing of Ibn al-Arab, that walyah is the foundation of all that is initiatic in the thought of this prominent Sufi thinker,49 and that the realm or sphere of walyah in Ibn al-Arabs writing is unquestionably


The Charismatic Community

an initiatic one. Henry Corbin, the great twentieth-century scholar of both Sufism and mystical Shiism, occasionally preferred to translate walyah as initiation rather than sanctity, arguing that the Western notion of sanctity or sainthood did not convey the full significance of the term.50 In one instance he applied this meaning to the term as it was used in the mystical Shiite writings of Haydar almul, translating awliy as [Shiite] initiates and walyah as the initiatic function of the Imm.51 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a prominent scholar of both Sufism and Shiism, and an intellectual associate of Henry Corbin, has also translated walyah as initiation in his discussions of Sufism and mystical Shiism.52 The connection between walyah and initiation also exists within medieval Isml Shiism. The Ismls developed an elaborate proselytization and indoctrination process that seems to have been instituted at least by the late third century to recruit and train new members for their growing movement; and within this system, awliy was the technical term for new initiates undergoing training in the esoteric doctrines of Isml thought.53 Despite the presence of a connection between walyah and some form of initiation in Isml or more mystical forms of Imm Shiism, there is little evidence to support the notion of a formal initiatic process between Imm and disciple in mainstream Imm Shiismalthough if such a process did exist, it was likely to be surrounded by even more secrecy than was the case in Sufism, given the politically controversial nature of Shiite affiliation, particularly during the lifetime of the Imms themselves. Whether or not such a formal initiatic rite cemented the spiritual relationship between the Imm and his inner circle of disciples, a subtle parallel does exist between the formal spiritual bond linking the Sufi master and his disciples, and that linking the Shiite Imm and his followers, for the initiatic rite in Sufism usually represents not only a formal undertaking of the spiritual path (arqah) but also an implicit oath of spiritual obedience to the master administering the initiation.

Walyah, Divine Proximity and Sanctity Just as the mundane understanding of walyah as inheritance or a relationship entailing inheritance was imbued with spiritual and esoteric meaning in Sufi and mystical Shiite thought, its basic etymological connection to notions of nearness, closeness, and mutual love and support made it an important concept in mystical discussions of the divine-human relationship. Ibn al-Arab assigned metaphysical and mystical significance to the fact that wal was a name shared by both God and human beings in the Quran, and considered walyah to

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


represent a spiritualized form of mutual support (nar) between God and His faithful devotees. Corbin also translated walyah in particular contexts as Divine predilection54 toward particular human devotees, and as spiritual nearness55 between God and the faithful. He also connected it to the notion of reciprocal love between God and the believers, citing, as did many Sufis, the Quranic verse that speaks of God replacing the rebellious peoples of the world with a new people, whom I will love, and who will love Me.56 It will be remembered that all such notions of walyah in the context of the divine-human relationship have a firm basis in the Quran, which identifies God as the wal and nar, par excellenceor exclusivelyof the believers. Undoubtedly the most complete, theoretical study of the significance of the terms wilyah and walyah for Sufi notions of spiritual nearness, divine proximity, and consequent spiritual authority, is found in the recent, seminal study by Vincent Cornell, The Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism. In the detailed introduction to this work, and in subsequent discussions of the notion of Sufi sainthood in its Moroccan context, Cornell argues for a clear, functional distinction between the related terms wilyah and walyah, with wilyah relating to the spiritual authority of the realized Sufi saint as apparent and as exercised outwardly both among his disciples and within his community at large, and walyah referring to the principles of metaphysical closeness to God and [divine] intimacy that represent the true source of the Sufi masters spiritual authority (wilyah).57 While wilyah, or spiritual authority, belongs only to the recognized Sufi master, walyah represents the divine proximity enjoyed by all Sufi aspirants in varying degrees, correlated to their level of spiritual attainment, and derived from their relationship/proximity (walyah) to the spiritual master himself. Thus walyah, in Cornells analysis has a more comprehensive nature than wilyah, relating to the idea of closeness to God on the part of all devoted Sufis as well as to the relationship between master and disciple that facilitates this increased closeness to the divine.58 As we shall demonstrate in the following chapters, the Shiite tradition shares with Sufism this multifaceted and comprehensive view of walyah as a term relating simultaneously to the domain of the spiritual masters (here, the Imms) esoteric authority, to the particular proximity to God and the Prophet on which his authority is based, and to the spiritual status and benefits that the Imms Shiite disciples enjoy by virtue of their proximity to him. Finally, for Sufis, the relationship of spiritual inheritance or divine proximity denoted by the term walyah is understood to be one that is sanctifying for the individual privy to such a relationship, and most scholars of Sufism prefer the term sanctity (Fr. sanctit) as a translation of the Sufi or mystical conception of walyah. Seyyed


The Charismatic Community

Hossein Nasr, in one instance, defines walyah as that spiritual presence which enables men to reach a state of sanctity;59 while Corbin interprets it as that divine love or favour that renders eternally sacred the Friends of God. 60 As a result of having entered the esoteric and initiatic realm, and consequently into a profoundly reciprocal relationship of love with God, the wal is sanctified and enters into the state of sainthoodanother, related definition of walyah, and one that is perhaps most popular with modern scholars of Sufism, such as Chodkiewicz and Cornell. In some Sufi doctrinal works, walyah can refer to a particular station along the Sufi path, with this sanctified or saintly state being variously understood as something that God bestows freely upon select individuals,61 or else as the result of ones individual efforts on the path, or both. In a Shiite context, the Imms and their descendants may be compared to the realized saints of Sufism, given the moral infallibility (imah) attributed to the Imms in Shiite doctrine,62 as well as the notions of intercession and the popular shrine culture that consequently developed around the Imms and their descendants generally. Similar notions of sanctity, however, were not considered to apply to the Shiite community at large. For although Shiites, as we shall see, considered themselves to represent the true believers, and something of a spiritual elite within the larger Muslim community, their participation in walyah and their status as the awliy had less to do with a kind of moral attainment or moral perfection than with their special access to divine guidance through their spiritual predilection for the Imm,63 and their special access to divine forgiveness and leniency as a result of their loyalty to, and efforts on behalf of, the divinely chosen Imm. Thus, while Vincent Cornell argues that walyah in its Sufi context is better translated as sanctity than as charisma, in the Shiite case, the reverse seems to be true. Walyah, as it pertained to lay members of the Shiite community, signified, in part, an innate attraction to the Imms that provided them with a particularly expedient path toward salvation, and even certain spiritual powers and distinctions that echoed those of the Imms to whom they attached themselves; but it did not represent, in itself, the kind of moral attainment usually understood as fully realized sainthood, or sanctity in English. Yet, like the notion of individual sanctity in Sufism, the individual Shiites spiritually beneficial and salvific attraction to right guidance in the form of the Imm was sometimes considered to be the result of a kind of divine selection or privileging. Such notions of spiritual privilege separating the awliy from the rest of the Muslim community whether understood as sanctity or as charismaare generally at odds with the more egalitarian emphasis of nonmystical Sunni Islam,

Walyah in the Islamic Tradition


but deeply embedded in both the Shiite and the Sufi sense of religious identity and spiritual purpose. We have examined the relationship between walyah and esoteric knowledge in both Sufism and mystical Shiism, as well as its connection to notions of spiritual inheritance, initiation, divine proximity, and sanctity or sainthood. We have also demonstrated how the various meanings assigned to walyah in Sufi and Shiite contexts are profoundly related both to one another and to the basic etymology and Quranic usage of term. Walyah, therefore, should be understood not simply as a term assigned different technical meanings in various contexts but rather as a comprehensive term encompassing a set of meanings that are intimately related to one another, but for which no single English translation suffices. Only when the full breadth of the concepts and ideas it signifies are considered holistically, and in relation to its use across the spectrum of the Islamic tradition, can we hope to arrive at some understanding of the power and meaning of this term for the Shiites of the first Islamic centuries, for whom this concept was central to all that related to their spiritual identity.

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The Ghadr Khumm Tradition

Walyah and the Spiritual Distinctions of Al b. Ab Tlib

f the more well-developed Shiite and Sufi notions of walyah as a kind of spiritual distinction based upon proximity to the divine, or else to the intermediate figure of the spiritual master or Imm, have a basis in Quranic terminology, the two views of walyah also share a fundamental and personal connection to Al b. Ab lib. The idea that Al is the wal Allh in its most perfect sense, and that he represents the ideal prototype for all other awliy,1 can be found in both traditions. While a doctrine outlining the related nature of prophecy (nubuwwah) and walyah would not be worked out systematically until much later, the unique connection between Al and the concept of walyah seems to have been established quite early. The concept of walyah as an expression of Alid legitimacy, or belief therein, is present in the earliest periods of Shiite history, before the full theological development of the Imm conception of the immate with all of its doctrinal complexity. Whereas the Imm theory of the immate entails an extensive and detailed set of beliefs about this office and who should possess it, the concept of walyah is much simpler, if at the same time more elusive in meaning, designating some kind of allegiance or attachment to Al and/or the ahl al-bayt without specifying the exact limits and nature of that relationship. The particular usage of the term walyah to refer to Als position in relation to the Prophet and the believing community, as well as to the state of a persons allegiance to Al and his descendants, may be said to derive from the famous statement attributed to the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm, in which he reportedly designated Al as the mawl or wal of the believers. This reported event and the 33


The Charismatic Community

Prophets statement on the occasion have been the subject of much controversy and competing interpretations, but it is interesting to note that despite the pro-Alid nature of the tradition, the sources in which it is found, and those in which it is (often conspicuously) absent, do not always divide neatly along SunniShiite lines. The source history for the Ghadr Khumm tradition is, in fact, quite peculiar, and has been rather under-studied in Western scholarship, with perhaps the best and most comprehensive analysis of the tradition being found in the Encyclopedia of Islam II article Ghadr Khumm by L. Veccia Vaglieri.2 However, a fresh and thorough analysis of the source history for this event and its different literary contexts and interpretations in Shiite and Sunni tradition provides strong evidence for the early provenance of the tradition and the controversies it engendered. The literary evidence suggests that the Ghadr Khumm tradition was known among the Medinan Muslim community from the time of the Rshidn caliphate, even if relatively little sectarian or political significance seems to have been attached to the tradition by Al, his supporters, or his opponents in this period. The tradition apparently acquired its earliest sectarian significance as the source of the Shiite concept of walyah during the time of the First Civil War, sowing the seeds for what would become a foundational element of the Shiite perspective in Umayyad times. In fact, our analysis suggests that the Ghadr Khumm tradition circulated widely in Umayyad times, but was partially eclipsed or even suppressed by other sectarian and religiopolitical developments in the Abbsid era. Despite the sectarian controversy over the interpretation of the Prophets statement about Al at Ghadr Khumm, reports found in both Shiite and Sunni sources generally agree on the basic outlines of the event. As the Prophet was returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage in the year 10, he halted the caravan, gathered the returning pilgrims for communal prayer and began to address them. At some point he called Al b. Ab lib to his side, took his hand and raised it up, declaring: For whomever I am their lord (mawl, or variously wal), Al is their lord; O God, befriend (wli) the one who befriends him (wlhu) and be the enemy (di) of the one who is his enemy (dhu).3 In some versions of the tradition, the Prophet makes this declaration after asking the gathered crowd: Am I not closer (awl) to the believers than they are to themselves? . . . Are not my wives their mothers? This query represents a rhetorical invocation of Quran XXXIII:6, which reads: The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves, and his wives are [as] their mothers. And the owners of kinship are closer to one another in the ordinance of Allh than [other] believers and emigrants, except that you should do kindness to your friends. . . .4 Both

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


Sunni and Shiite commentators note that an alternate version of this Quranic verse reads: The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves, and he is a father for them, and his wives are their mothers.5 In exchange for the Prophets fatherly responsibility toward his followers, they were expected to treat him with the filial piety and devotion that they would show toward their own fathers. Then, after establishing his own relationship of responsibility toward the believers and receiving an affirmation of their loyalty and affection toward him, he declared: For whomever I am their lord (mawl) Al is their lord (mawl), apparently suggesting that they should show the same loyalty and affection toward Al. However one interprets this tradition, it is hard to deny that it confers on Al a kind of spiritual distinction that sets him apart from the other close companions of the Prophet, and the strongly pro-Alid nature of the tradition has led some Western scholars to see it primarily as a Shiite tradition,6 promoted by Shiite scholars as a clear example of the Prophets unambiguous designation (na) of Al as his intended successor. Yet, as some other scholars have noted, and as many Shiite writers have observed with great delight, many of the principal or initial transmitters of the Ghadr Khumm adth were not Shiites aligned with Als legitimist cause;7 and while the meaning and importance of the statement regarding Al differs significantly in Shiite and Sunni interpretation, the Ghadr Khumm tradition is, in fact, widely accepted as valid by both groups. It should also be noted that while the tradition offers strong support for the Shiite claim of Als unique position and unrivaled closeness to the Prophet, the actual wording of the standard tradition is hardly unambiguous as to the precise nature of Alid authority, and it makes for a somewhat uneasy fit with the later Imm Shiite doctrine of the immate as it emerged in the second and third Islamic centuries. First, Al is referred to by the term mawl (or in some versions, wal),8 rather than the more doctrinally precise term imm. Second, no reference is made to Als familial connection with the Prophet as a source of his spiritual distinction or legitimacy, nor does the tradition, in its basic form,9 indicate that Als descendants should be considered legitimate successors to this honorary position or title. Such lacunae could hardly be imagined for a tradition deliberately forged by Imm Shiite activists from the mid-second century onward; and we would thus suggest that if the tradition does have a Shiite origin, it certainly predates the Shiite doctrinal formulations of the time of Jafar al-diq, or even of his predecessor, Muammad al-Bqir, and was likely put into wide circulation sometime during the Umayyad period.



As regards major Sunni works of history, it is perhaps not surprising that we find no mention of the Ghadr Khumm tradition in Ibn Hishms recension of Ibn Isqs Srah, nor is it found in the major Sunni histories of abar or Ibn Sad. The absence of the tradition in the major works of these established and well-respected Sunni authorities would indeed seem to be strong evidence of the Shiite provenance of the tradition. However, further examination reveals that the tradition is found in other works by authors with equally well-established Sunni credentials. For example, the tradition is given thorough coverage in Baldhurs third-century historical work, al-Ansb al-ashrf, where several accounts of the Prophets statement are given;10 and the most extensive coverage of the event is found in the Musnad of the Sunni traditionist, Ibn anbal,11 and in the very late, staunchly pro-Sunni histories of Ibn Askir, Tarkh madnat Dimashq,12 and Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah walnihyah.13 In fact, in the latter two works, one finds extensive analyses of the various recensions and sources for this tradition that rival what is found in many Shiite works until the modern period.14 The coverage of Ghadr Khumm in Shiite sources is also somewhat uneven. The tradition plays a prominent role in a number of works linked to a variety of late Umayyad Shiite intellectual circles, such as Kumayt b. Zayds poetic compilation, al-Hshimiyyt, and the highly polemical, and almost certainly Umayyad-era, Shiite compilation, Kitb Sulaym b. Qays al-Hill, which includes no fewer than three lengthy, narrative accounts of the incident, supplemented by numerous references to it in other passages.15 By contrast, the tradition does not figure as prominently, in its own right, in major works of Shiite adth compiled from the late third century onward, such as Kulayns al-Kf. In these works, Ghadr Khumm is presented almost exclusively in connection to its implications for the Imm Shiite doctrine of nathe notion that all of the Imms, from Al onward, were designated in clear and unambiguous pronouncements of their successorship.16 Perhaps because these later Imm adth compilers assumed a general knowledge of the Ghadr Khumm event on the part of their (largely Shiite) readers, relatively little ink was spent on presenting various authorities and recensions for the tradition. It is also interesting to note that Ghadr Khumm is not given wide coverage in certain well-known pro-Shiite histories. It is not mentioned at all in Masds Murj al-dhahab, and is given only a brief mention, not a narrative account, in Yaqbs Tarkh.17 The appearance of the Ghadr Khumm tradition in some Sunni accounts and its absence in other Shiite ones, as peculiar as it may at first seem, is not entirely random. A closer analysis of this source

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


history reveals that both the Sunni and Shiite sources in which the Ghadr Khumm tradition figures most prominently are those that either originate in the Umayyad era, or else rely heavily on, and therefore preserve, the earlier Umayyad-era historical tradition. The Sunni historian Baldhur, for example, is sometimes considered to have been somewhat pro-Umayyad in his perspective, particularly because of the wealth of material he transmits about the Umayyads in his genealogically arranged history, Ansb al-ashrf. Baldhur undoubtedly acquired much of this information during an extended stay in Damascus, where he likely encountered material from the earlier pre-Abbsid historical tradition that was preserved by Syrian transmitterssomething that makes his works a particularly valuable resource for the earliest periods of Islamic history.18 His substantial coverage of the Ghadr Khumm event, in contrast to its relative absence in Abbsidera histories that do not extensively incorporate the older Umayyadera historical tradition, suggests that his knowledge of this event derives from those earlier sources. The later Damascene scholar, Ibn Askir, who provides one of the most extensive discussions of the Ghadr Khumm tradition in Sunni sources, was known to have relied largely on the Syrian historical tradition that preserved some of the older, Umayyad-era historical material; and Ibn Kathr, an even later Sunni historian who discusses the tradition at length, relies heavily on Ibn Askir. The Sunni traditionist Ibn anbal was not a historian and was not apparently influenced by the Umayyad-era historical tradition per se, yet the presence of multiple recensions of the Ghadr Khumm tradition in his massive adth compilation can be attributed to a number of different factors that are nonetheless related to the Umayyad-Abbsid intellectual and ideological divide. First, Ibn anbal, a staunchly Sunni traditionist, was an advocate of an intellectual perspective that relied primarily on transmitted (naql) sources, rather than on theological and rational speculation. To this end, his Musnad represents a largely uncritical compilation of all the available traditions he could find. If he could find multiple authorities and authoritative chains of transmission for a particular adthas he did for Ghadr Khumm and a number of other pro-Alid traditionsthen he included them in his compilation. Second, Ibn anbal is considered the primary architect of what could be called the Sunni compromise, wherein Alwho was cursed and rejected in some non-Shiite circleswas included along with Ab Bakr, Umar, and Uthmn as one of the Rshidn (Rightly-guided) caliphs, and his preservation of numerous praise traditions (fail) regarding Al would certainly have assisted him in supporting this position. Finally, Ibn anbal is well known to have been strongly opposed to certain dominant aspects of the early Abbsid intellectual and ideological perspective,


The Charismatic Community

and was willing to suffer physical persecution in defense of his positions. He thus does not seem to have been particularly susceptible to the intellectual influence of his contemporaries, nor to political and ideological coercion on the part of the Abbsid authorities.19 By contrast, many of the prominent intellectual authorities who omit or underplay the Ghadr Khumm tradition, such as abar, Ibn Sad, Masd, and Yaqb, are leading representatives of the Abbsid historical tradition. Despite their varying pro-Sunni or proShiite leanings, therefore, they may have been influenced by ideological forces favorable to the promotion of Abbsid legitimacy, which would not have been well-served by a tradition, such as Ghadr Khumm, that promoted the personal legitimacy of Al, over that of the Hshimite clan in general. Scholars of the early Abbsid era have made it clear that the Abbsid regime took great pains to promote its own legitimacy over that of its Alid rivals, and this effort, coming at the crucial stage when the earliest extant compilations of history and tradition were being recorded, may have left a lasting effect on Islamic historiography.20 Moreoever, both the Abbsid court and a number of Imm Shiite theologians of the early Abbsid era sought to dissociate themselves from their earlier connections to the more radical Shiite movements that flourished in the sectarian atmosphere of the late Umayyad period. Given the apparent ideological importance of Ghadr Khumm in polemical works associated with some of these late Umayyad Shiites, and its lack of central importance in the developing Imm theology of the immate, the tradition may have suffered a corresponding (if inadvertent) decline in scholarly attention. This strongly suggests, as we noted above, that the tradition originated very early and gained particular prominence in the political and sectarian atmosphere of the late Umayyad period, only to be downplayed or ignored in early Abbsid intellectual circles, and perhaps even politically suppressed in the Abbsid states effort to establish a general Hshimite, rather than Alid, legitimacy for its own authority. Moreover, there is some interesting textual evidence to suggest that the Ghadr Khumm tradition continued to be known in the Abbsid period, even among those historians and traditionists who omitted its mention directly, and that a conscious effort had been made to replace the Ghadr Khumm tradition in its original form with more politically acceptable versions. Our first case in point concerns the universal history of abar. As noted above, in the history of this prominent Sunni authority, we find no mention of the standard Ghadr Khumm tradition that has come down to us through other sources. Yet abar does include a very different praise tradition for Al in connection with the Farewell Pilgrimage. abar reports that a number of complaints had been made against Al by the men under his com-

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


mand on an expedition to Yemen just prior to the Farewell Pilgrimage, and that the Prophet wished to resolve the dispute in Als favor. The same context is usually given in Sunni sources to explain the Prophets words in the standard Ghadr Khumm tradition as well. In abars account of the events that take place on this same day and occasion as the Ghadr Khumm event, the Prophet makes a public statement in support of Al, but in a way that bears no textual relation to the standard Ghadr Khumm tradition. According to this report, which is related from Ab Sad al-Khudr (also one of the major transmitters of the standard Ghadr Khumm tradition), the Prophet said: O people, do not complain about Al, for by God, he is harsh (akhshan) for [the sake of] God or in the path of God.21 Here, a praise tradition has been provided for Al in the same chronological slot where we would have expected to find the Ghadr Khumm account, and narrated by an individual who was also one of the major authorities for the standard Ghadr Khumm tradition, but without the spiritual and legitimist implications of that tradition. The textual seams along which one tradition was likely excised and another substituted in its place are nearly palpable; and this apparent substitution seems all the more deliberate when we consider that both Shiite and Sunni bibliographical works report that abar wrote an entire monograph on the event of Ghadr Khumm and the controversy over the Prophets words on that occasion. This work, which is no longer extant, was entitled, according to various accounts, Kitb Ghadr Khumm or Kitb al-walyah.22 His omission of the event in his prominent historical chronicle, therefore, was not likely due to lack of knowledge. Perhaps more revealing is a tradition recorded in the work of the Sunni canonical adth compiler Muslim b. ajjj. This tradition reports that the Prophet made some kind of a public statement at a grove called Khumm, but presents this statement as a praise tradition about the Hshimite clan in general. In this tradition Yazd b. ayyn, uayn b. Sabrah, and Umar b. Muslim come to Zayd b. Arqam, one of the transmitters of the standard Ghadr Khumm adth, seeking knowledge of what this venerable old companion of the Prophet had heard from Muammad. Zayd begins his response by issuing the disclaimer that he has forgotten some [of what he had heard from the Prophet], and implores his listeners to accept as truth what he tells them, but to forgive him for what may have mistakenly omitted. He then gives the following account of a speech he claims the Prophet uttered at the watering place of Khumm:
. . . I leave you two weighty things (thaqalayn): the first is the Book of God, in which there is guidance and light. Take the Book of God and cling to it. . . . Then he said: and the people of my


The Charismatic Community

house (ahl al-bayt). I will be remembered to you through the people of my house. I will be remembered to you through the people of my house. I will be remembered to you through the people of my house. uayn said to [Zayd]: Who are the people of his house, O Zay Are not his wives among the people of his house? He said: His wives are among the people of his house. But the people of his house are those forbidden from [receiving] charity after him. [uayn] said: And who are they? He said: They are the family of Al, the family of Aql [b. Abd al-Mualib], the family of Jafar [b. Ab lib], and the family of Abbs [b. Abd alMualib]. [uayn] said: All of them are forbidden from [receiving] charity? He said: Yes.23

Here we have a situation that is similar to what we find in abars history, where the major, contextual parameters of the Ghadr Khumm event are providedthe location of Khumm, the temporal context of the return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, and the narration by one of the leading transmitters of the Ghadr Khumm traditionbut here, the standard pro-Alid declaration is replaced by a version of the thaqalayn tradition that privileges the Hshimite clan as a whole. There are a number of important details to be noted in this tradition. First, the elderly Zayds claim of having forgotten certain things may be an attempt either to call into question the more standard Ghadr Khumm traditions that Zayd also relates (suggesting he became feebleminded with age), or else to deflect blame from the current tradition, if it is found to be incompatible with others he had related. Second, the version of the famous thaqalayn statement that Zayd gives here closely approximates the standard Shiite version, since the phrase ahl al-bayt can be taken as a synonym for the term (i trah, or kin dred), that is usually cited as the second thing to which Muslims should cling in most Shiite (and some Sunni) traditions. What is odd about the tradition, however, is the rather pedantic way in which each line of the Hshimite clan is specifically named in response to uayns question about the identity of the ahl al-bayt. This appears to be a less than subtle endorsement of the Abbsid argument that ruling legitimacy was located within the clan of Hshim generally, not in Alid/ Fimid lineage exclusively.24 Finally, despite the absence of a full account of the Ghadr Khumm incident in many important early sources, we do find a number of indirect references or allusions to the reported words of the Prophet on that occasion, scattered throughout various historical and adth compilations, even when those same sources have provided no narrative account of the event. One such reference comes in the context of Als argument for his right to the caliphate made to the members of the shr convoked after the death of the second caliph, Umar b. al-

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


Khab. Als speech is reported by the pro-Alid companion, Ab ufayl mir b. Wthilah, and is recorded in a number of sources, including Ibn Abil-adds Shar Nahj al-balghah. Ibn Abil-adds account of Als speech reads, in part, as follows:
I adjure you, by God (anshudukum Allh)! Is there anyone among you whom the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) made his brother when he made bonds of brotherhood between the Muslims, other than me?25 They said: No. So he said: Is there anyone among you about whom the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: For whomever I am their lord (mawl), this one is their lord (mawl), other than me? They said: No. And he said: Is there anyone among you about whom the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: Your position in relation to me is as the position of Aaron to Moses, except that there is no prophet after me, other than me? They said: No. . . .26

While the authenticity of Als reported speech is questionable,27 the inclusion of this reference to the Ghadr Khumm statement in a report found in both Shiite and non-Shiite sources, without comment or particular emphasis, argues for the traditions acceptance as one of Als well-known and widely accepted spiritual distinctions (fail) among a variety of early Islamic compilers. There is another incident reported in several sources in which Al is said to have addressed a large crowd assembled in the central public square (rabah) of Kufa during his tumultuous caliphate. He requestsperhaps in response to strong challenges to his legitimacy as caliphthat all those who were present on the day of Ghadr Khumm and heard the Prophet say: For whomever I am their lord, Al is their lord, should stand and bear witness to this. According to various accounts, twelve or thirteen persons stood to heed his call all of them members of the first Muslim community in Medina, and in some versions, all veterans of the Battle of Badr.28 This seems to be a rather small number indeed, given that some reports state that as many as seventy veterans of the Battle of Badr were with Al at the Battle of iffn,29 the overwhelming majority of whom were likely to have made the Farewell Pilgrimage with the Prophet, and so to have been part of the caravan addressed by the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm. Somewhat inexplicably, a Shiite account of this event adds that alBar b. zib, who was a loyal supporter of the Alid cause since the time of the Prophets death,30 one of the main transmitters of the Ghadr Khumm adth, and a participant in all of the battles of Als caliphate, refused to testify to the adth on this particular occasion.31 There is another reported incident in which a group of Medinan Helpers (anr), including Ab Ayyb al-Anr , approach Al in the


The Charismatic Community

same central rabah of Kufa and address him as their mawl. Al expresses surprise, and asks them how he could be their mawl when they were all Arab freemen. They then cite the adth of Ghadr Khumm and the Prophets words man kuntu mawlhu fa-Al mawlhu.32 It should be noted that both of these reports concerning the rabah are found only in adth sources and are not included in any of the prominent, early historical chronicles. They are reported in the historical work of Ibn Kathr; but here he includes the reports in a general discussion about the Ghadr Khumm adth itself, rather than within his account of the historical events during Als caliphate and the First Civil War. None of the traditions include a precise reference to when either of these events at the rabah occurred, and since they are not placed in chronological context in the later chronicles in which they appear, it is difficult to ascertain when these events should have taken place.33 More interesting, however, is that both of these reports suggest that while the Ghadr Khumm tradition was known to a number of prominent early Medinan companions, there was still a certain ambiguity surrounding the spiritual and political implications of this tradition among Al and his close companions. Al-Bar b. zib and other Medinan companions may have hesitated to publicly affirm the Prophets statement about Al at Ghadr Khumm because they were uncomfortable with its public use as a legitimist argument for Als political position, despite their support for his caliphate in the First Civil War; and even Al himself seems bewildered when he is addressed as mawl by his supporters. In other cases, we find affirmations of the Ghadr Khumm tradition among Als enemies in the First Civil War. In one incident, the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm are invoked in the context of a discussion between Muwiyah b. Ab Sufyn, Als chief opponent in the First Civil War, and Sad b. Ab Waqq, a close companion of the Prophet, participant in the shr, and notable abstainer from the conflicts of the First Civil War. In this report, Sad confronts Muwiyah after Al had been defeated and killed and Muwiyah had already assumed the caliphate. He berates Muwiyah for his opposition to Als leadership, saying: You fought Al while you knew that he had greater right to authority (amr) than you. When Muwiyah asks Sad how he knows this is so, Sad responds by reciting the words of the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm among a list of Als particular virtues and distinctions in Islam. Muwiyah confidently responds: Then you [Sad] are no better [than me] . . . for you failed to give him support (nurah) and abstained from him, even though you knew this about his authority.34 Muwiyahs argument seems to be that his own direct opposition to Al is less blameworthy than Sads neutrality, given that he, unlike Sad, had no prior knowledge of the Ghadr

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


Khumm event. Another report, uniquely found in the work of the proShiite historian Masd (who, as noted above, does not include the Ghadr Khumm event itself in his narrative), includes a reference to the Prophets Ghadr Khumm statement in his account of the Battle of the Camel in Murj al-dhahab. In this account, Al comes face to face with the Medinan notable alah b. Ubayd, during the latters rebellion against him, and on the eve of the first battle of the civil war. In this private encounter Al warns alah of the spiritual consequences of persisting in the rebellion against him by reminding him of the latter half of the Ghadr Khumm statement, where the Prophet implores God to befriend the friend of Al, and to be the enemy of his enemy. With this, alah is reportedly persuaded to abandon his rebellion against Al, and the battle ensues without his leadership.35 In assessing the authenticity of these various references to Ghadr Khumm, note there is a certain consistency to the reports. First, the tradition is acknowledged in these early reports almost exclusively by members of the first Muslim community at Medina, suggesting that it was not widely known or publicized outside this group until the time of the First Civil War. Whenever Al makes reference to the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm in support of his cause, he is addressing members of the Medinan communitywhether it be among the prominent muhjirn who composed the shr or in a private confrontation with the early Medinan rebel alah b. Ubayd. When the tradition is affirmed on Als behalf by otherswhether it be the veterans of Badr among his camp, Ab Ayyb al-Anr and his associates in the central square of Kufa, or the prominent companion, Sad b. Ab Waqq, confronting the late Meccan convert Muwiyahit is the Medinans who are expected to know the tradition, and those outside that community who need to be informed of it. The idea that the tradition was known more or less exclusively to the Medinan communityand perhaps known primarily to the elite members of that communityis consistent with the alleged timing and context for this Prophetic statement. In all accounts, the Prophet is reported to have uttered this statement on the return journey from Mecca to Medina after the completion of the Farewell Pilgrimage.36 This would mean that the Muslim residents of Mecca and many of the Muslim tribesmen not settled in Medina, may not have been present for the announcementand indeed the Meccan Muwiyah claims to have been ignorant of it. Second, the references made to the Ghadr Khumm statement in these various incidents suggest something about the way the tradition was understood. The Prophetic endorsement of Al on this occasion was undoubtedly seen as a notable falah (claim to spiritual nobility) that could be adduced on his behalf, sufficient to give pause even to


The Charismatic Community

his professed enemies, including alah and Muwiyah. However, there is nothing in any of the references just cited to indicate that Al, or anyone else for that matter, considered the Ghadr Khumm event as direct evidence of his political designation as the Prophets successor. Even when Al is allegedly defending his right to the leadership of the community at the shrnot just rhetorically, but as one of two possible candidates to succeed the second caliphhe only cites the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm as one of a long list of merits (fail) to which he could lay claim. Certainly if he and his early supporterslike Ab ufaylrecognized the event at Ghadr Khumm as a clear designation of Al as the Prophets successor, then there should have been no need to go on at length about his other merits. Moreover, while Al often defends his legitimacy during his troubled caliphate in terms of the legality of his election as caliph,37 it is only when he is alone with one of the notables of Medina that he adduces the Ghadr Khumm tradition on his own behalfand again, as a warning against open enmity toward himself, not as proof of the legitimacy of his political leadership of the community. These various references, albeit primarily in Sunni sources, seem to belie the Shiite view that Ghadr Khumm represented both a political and a spiritual appointment for Al that was well-known to the Prophets companions, and suggest that the more far-reaching Shiite understanding of the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm represents a significant departure from the way it was viewed, even by Alid supporters, in the first Islamic century.

SUNNI AND SHIITE INTERPRETATIONS OF GHADR KHUMM Having examined the varied nature of the source material for the Ghadr Khumm tradition, and its presence in both Shiite and Sunni works of adth and history, we should turn to an examination of the different interpretations of this tradition among the two groups. The most prominent Sunni interpretation of the events of that day minimizes the significance of the Prophets words and locates them within a very particular context. As great and broad as the Prophets statement about Al on this occasion would seem to be, Sunnis argue that it comes as a response to a reported complaint about Al that had been made to the Prophet, and should be understood specifically within that context. Al had commanded a military expedition into Yemen just prior to the pilgrimage, later meeting the Prophet outside Mecca just before the pilgrimage rites were to begin. On the journey back to Medina, a group who had been under Als command during the military expedition complained to the Prophet about Als harshness

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


as their commander.38 According to Sunni interpretations, it is at this point, and specifically in response to this complaint, that the Prophet makes his statement: For whomever I am their lord, Al is also their lord. . . .39 Thus, the meaning of the walyah that the Prophet commands for Al is not considered to be wilyah in the sense of political authority, but rather the walyah that demands love (maabbah) or support (nurah) on the part of those who recognize it;40 and the statement was specifically intended to thwart negative feelings that Als soldiers, or anyone else, may have harbored against him. Shiite tradition, of course, rejects this limited view of the significance of Ghadr Khumm. The modern Shiite scholar al-Amn, in his copious compilation of material regarding this event in his work, alGhadr, presents the Shiite case for the absolute spiritual and political significance of Ghadr Khumm. He argues, for example, that the meaning of walyah in the context of this tradition could hardly be the support (nurah) or love (maabbah) that the Sunnis claim, for such support and love is the obligation of every Muslim toward every other Muslim, not something unique to Al;41 and the dramatic nature of the eventi.e., the fact that the Prophet gathered the tens of thousands of pilgrims42 in the heat of the day to listen to his statement indicates that the Prophet was making an extraordinary and highly significant announcement, and that it represented something entirely new, and very specifically in reference to Al b. Abi lib. If the Sunnis worked to downplay the significance of Ghadr Khumm by placing it in the limited context of a situation of tension between Al and some of the men he commanded, Shiite tradition places Ghadr Khumm in a context that suggests a much more absolute and far-reaching pronouncement than the standard version of the adth would suggest. In the version of this adth as found in canonical Shiite sources, the Prophets injunction regarding the walyah of Al is preceded and followed, respectively, by two different verses of the Quran, which Shiites generally believe to have been revealed for the first time that day. The verse that precedes the Prophets statement is said to be Quran V:67: O Messenger! Make known that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord, for if you do not, you will not have conveyed His message. God will protect you from mankind. . . .43 For Shiites, the fact that this verse immediately precedes the statement of the Prophet suggests that this statement regarding the walyah of Al represented something that had been revealed to the Prophet through a kind of divine inspiration, and that it was something he had been withholding for a time out of fear of opposition from certain members of his community. Thus, the Prophets Ghadr Khumm statement did not reflect merely his personal attachment to Al, or his desire for peaceful relations among his close companions, but rather


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a divine command that had to be issued despite the Prophets personal fear of the consequences. Coming at the very end of the Prophets life, it represents one of the Prophets final instructions to his community; and the notion that this pronouncement gave a kind of finality to the Prophets mission is bolstered by the words from Quran V:3 that Shiites believe were revealed immediately after the Prophets statement at Ghadr Khumm: . . . This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion, Islam. . . . The Shiites interpret the reported revelation of this Quranic verse immediately after the Prophets statement as confirmation that the walyah of Al was the final piece that perfected the religion of Islam, that it represented the completion of Gods favor toward the Muslim community and the final commandment of the religion, binding upon all of its adherents.44 Needless to say, none of the Sunni sources record any connection between Ghadr Khumm and the revelation of these verses, nor is such a connection alluded to in Sunni Quranic commentary, which almost universally considers Quran V:3 (This day I have completed for you your religion . . .) to have been revealed during the Prophets sermon at Arafat, in the midst of the Farewell Pilgrimage. It is also interesting to note that in the Shiite historical, rather than dogmatic, work of Yaqb, the connection of the Ghadr Khumm incident with these Quranic verses is likewise omitted. In fact, Yaqb reports, as do Sunni authors, that Quran V:3 was revealed at Arafat, suggesting his agreement with Sunni commentators on this verse that the completion of religion mentioned here refers to the definitive establishment of the Islamic pilgrimage rites, not to the walyah of Al.45 Somewhat later Imm tradition was not only concerned to assert a divine origin for the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm, but also to define the term mawl, in the context of the tradition, as synonymous with imm.46 From the early fourth-century Shiite theologian al-Shaykh al-Mufd, to the modern compiler al-Amn, Shiite scholars have spent much time arguing about the true understanding of the word mawl in this tradition. The standard exercise is to examine all possible etymological definitions of the term mawl, and then eliminate them one by one as meaningful usages in the context of Ghadr Khumm until only the meaning of authority remains.47 Thus, they argue, while mawl may mean heir, it could not possibly have this meaning in the Prophets Ghadr Khumm statement, since the Prophet had no relationship of inheritance with the community at large, and was clearly not establishing one for Al either; a similar argument can be made to eliminate the meaning of kinsman in general; and the patron-client relationship denoted by the term mawl

The Ghadr Khumm Tradition


in an Arab tribal context would likewise have no meaning in relation to the Prophets Ghadr Khumm statement. Thus, they argue, the relationship of walyah between the Prophet and the community that was transferred to Al on this occasion could only be one of comprehensive spiritual and political authority. They therefore view the incident as a specific designation (na) of Al as the Prophets successor, providing Prophetic precedent for what would become a central tenet in Imm Shiite immology regarding the transmission of authority from one Imm to the next. Moreover, versions of the Ghadr Khumm tradition found in canonical Shiite sources do not limit the Prophets statement to the designation of Al personally, but rather present it as a statement regarding the authority of all the Imm Imms by specifically extending the Prophets statement regarding Al to his eleven successors by name. Of course, any tradition that purports a Prophetic designation by name of all twelve Imm Imms can be assumed to be spurious, and to have been forged in the fourth century at the earliest, since it was not until this time that even authoritative Imm scholars could agree on the exact line of succession and its apparent end with the disappearance of the Twelfth Imm. All of this is evidence that some Shiite circles, even in the early second century, and certainly those in which Imm doctrine was being developed from the early and mid-second century onward, recognized certain difficulties in trying to interpret the Ghadr Khumm tradition within the context of its emerging doctrine of the immate, and that some of the details they provided regarding the circumstances surrounding this event were meant to present the incident in a manner that would support their developing theological conception of this office. Regardless of the very divergent contextualizations and interpretations of the Ghadr Khumm statement and its religious import, the fact remains that the rather cryptic Prophetic words, For whomever I am their mawl, Al is [also] their mawl forms the core of all its various recensions, Shiite and Sunnithe only textual variant being the substitution of the cognate wal for mawl in certain versions. The fact that the integrity of this statement has been preserved despite the widely divergent sectarian explanations for it in Sunni and Shiite tradition, suggests the existence of a very real event, or the existence of a very early tradition purporting such an event, whose overall presentation had to be modified by both Sunnis and Shiites in order to make it consistent with their respective theological and political positions, as they were increasingly defined in opposition to one another in the second and third centuries. Both the source history and interpretative tradition for the Ghadr Khumm adth suggest that it was known and circulated in a very early period of Islamic history,


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and there is therefore good reason to believe that the unique connection this adth establishes between the concept of walyah and the person of Al b. Ab libgiven such elaborate play in later Shiite and Sufi writingwas in fact part of learned Islamic consciousness from the earliest times.


Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community in the First Civil War

he Prophets designation of Al as the mawl of the believers in his reported statement at Ghadr Khumm indicated some kind of authority for Al, but it is significant that this authority was expressed in terms of walyah rather than immaha term that more precisely denotes the absolute political and spiritual authority envisioned by later Imm Shiite doctrine, and the preferred term expressing the authority of Al and the ahl al-bayt. If walyah lacked the precision and clarity of other terms denoting authority, it was also a far richer term, with multiple levels of meaning that often intersected with one another, and one that had deep psychological roots in the tribal nature of pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arab society. The richness of the term is apparent in its Quranic usage, as we have seen, and the concept of walyah/wilyah continued to play an important role in the contentious issues of authority and religious communal identity that emerged in the early caliphate, particularly in the events surrounding Als caliphate and the First Civil War. Although the term walyah would later come to be associated largely with Al and his genealogical and spiritual descendants, in the context of Als own lifetime and caliphal reign, the terminology of walyah/wilyah was used by rival parties in the First Civil War to express their views on the nature of religious and political authority, and on the bonds of loyalty that bound individual Muslims to their chosen leader and to fellow partisans of their cause.1 An examination of the historical sources for the period of the First Civil War reveals that a deep ideological schism had developed among several groups in the young Islamic community. The conventional wisdom among Islamic historians has been that during the caliphates of 49


The Charismatic Community

Ab Bakr and Umar, authority over the community was not a major issue for the Prophets companions. Among the members of the Medinan community, the leadership of these two close companions of the Prophet went essentially uncontestedsave for an initial but temporary refusal on the part of Al and a number of his close companions and family members to give the bayah to Ab Bakr. In his book Succession to Muammad, Wilferd Madelung challenges this long-held view and traces the roots of the authority issue from the time of the caliphate of Ab Bakr. He argues for a more serious and deep-set schism between Ab Bakr, Umar and their allies, and those who backed either Als prior right to the caliphate or some other notion of authority. Yet, even for Al, the real crisis of authority in the early community seems to have begun with the contentious nomination and problematic reign of the third caliph, Uthmn,2 and the authority issue that arises in the context of the First Civil War represents more than a reawakening of this initial schism, long smoldering under the guise of Als apparent acquiescence to his caliphal predecessors. It seems rather to be the result of the rise of a new set of competing ideas that developed around such fundamental issues as the role of the larger Muslim community in nominating and evaluating its leadership, the extent to which the caliphal office represented a divine investiture of authority that was either conveyed through, or irrespective of, the popular will of the ummah, and whether or not the caliphate should be the preserve of the Medinan religious elite or of religiously and socially prominent families. With regard to all of these issues, those who supported Als right to the caliphate represented only one point of viewalbeit a major oneamong others in the conflict. During the time of the first two caliphs, leadership of the community was generally understood to be the prerogative of the Prophets inner circle of companions. Both Ab Bakr and Umar were essentially nominated by the other for leadership of the communityUmar nominated Ab Bakr for the leadership at the meeting at the Saqfat Ban Sidah after the Prophets death, and Ab Bakr, in turn, named Umar as his successor at the time of his own death. Although both nominations were ultimately conditional on the bayah of the members of the community, the question of authority was not really a matter open to all members of the Islamic state, but only to the leading members of the Medinan community, the Emigrants (muhjirn), and, to a lesser extent, the Helpers (anr). While the conflict between Ab Bakr and Al over succession to the Prophet had some repercussions throughout the Medinan and Meccan communities, it still remained, essentially, a disagreement among brothers. However, there is evidence that this state of affairs had already changed considerably by the time of the nomination of the third caliph, Uthmn. The shr

Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community


committee that was established by Umar on his deathbed to determine the successor to the caliphate opened the question of authority to a small delegation of leading companions of the Prophet; but in the process, it seems to have opened the issue to a still wider group. There is a report that the prominent early companion, Abd al-Ramn b. Awf, addressed a crowd gathered outside the closed door of the shr deliberations, and asked them to indicate their preference for one of the two leading candidates, Al or Uthmn. Ammr b. Ysir and Miqdd b. al-Aswad responded by saying that Al was the best choice to unite the community and that they would only give the oath of hearing and obeying to Al. Abd Allh b. Ab Sar and Abd Allh b. Ab Rabah al-Makhzm argued that only the choice of Uthmn would unite Quraysh and that they, for their part, would only give the bayah of hearing and obeying to their kinsman, Uthmn.3 The split in the crowds response reflects and amplifies the division among the shr participants themselves, and suggests that social and ideological tendencies among different sectors of the Muslim community were becoming increasingly polarized. As these different perspectives and interests developed clear ideological links with particular members of the Medinan religious elite, the sheer popular pressure of the expanding Muslim community and empire created centripetal forces that pulled at the rifts among this elite inner circle and eventually eroded the unified control they once enjoyed over the ummah. It was perhaps his awareness of these dangerous forces of division that led Umar to issue his strict command that should the shr committee be unable to unanimously agree on a candidate, the minority dissenters were to be executed. Umars harsh edict did prevent an initial split among the shr members themselves, with the pro-Alid minority reluctantly giving allegiance to Uthmn, but it could not long contain the growing pressures of powerful and conflicting interests among the members of the ummah at large. As grievances regarding nepotism and injustice on the part of Uthmn arose over the course of his caliphate, the discussion as to who was most qualified or deserving of authority over the community, once confined to the muhjirn and anr of Medina, came to be joined by voices not part of this long-recognized elite. The Arab tribesmen, who had submitted en masse to Islam at the end of the Prophets life, forced themselves to the forefront of the Islamic polity with their assassination of Uthmnalbeit with some Medinan encouragementand their prominent role in securing the succession of Al to the caliphate. The rebellion of alah b. Ubayd, al-Zubayr b. al-Awmm, and ishah bt. Ab Bakr against Al, although meant to challenge the state of affairs brought into being by the rebels, in effect only further enfranchised these tribal elements in the political


The Charismatic Community

life of the community, as the rival Medinan factions looked to the tribesmen of the garrison cities (amr) to support their respective causes. This initial challenge to Als rule by his fellow Medinans was defeated on the battlefield, but in the process, the caliphate had geographically left Medina, symbolizing what would come to be a permanent loss of control for the Medinan religious elite over the affairs of the community. Widespread discontent with the caliphate of Uthmn among both the Medinan elite and the tribesmen of the garrison towns did not arise in response to reservations about his right to the caliphate or doubts about the fairness of the process by which he was put in power. The grievances against him originate solely from his questionable conduct as caliphcharges of nepotism with regard to the Umayyad clan and charges of injustice in everything from his administration of the add punishments to the distribution of the booty (fay). Thus, in the charges of the rebels against Uthmn, authority over the community is presented as something that its holder must not only deserve, initially, but which he also must continue to earn through his just and competent actions. During the siege of Uthmn, the beleaguered caliph argued for his ruling legitimacy, reminding the rebels of his seniority in Islam and his important contributions to the struggle for the victory of Islam in its fledgling state. But they answered him:
As for what you said regarding your precedence and seniority with the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, this was so, and you were deserving of authority (wilyah), but you know what has come to pass, and we will not abandon the truth [which stands] against you,4 for fear of civil war (fitnah).5 (emphasis mine)

In the above statement, the word that we have translated as authority should probably be vocalized as wilyah, the noun that relates more specifically to authority, rather than nearness, friendship, or attachment. We should look, however, at just what kind of authority is being spoken of here. As discussed in Chapter 1, the term wilyah was most commonly used in relation to the authority of governors or deputies, that is, persons given limited authority over a particular jurisdiction by the real holder of power. This is not an authority that is in any way absolute or divinely ordained, but an authority given in trust to one considered worthy of it, and one that can be withdrawn when that trust is perceived to have been broken. The rebel view of caliphal authority is sharply contrasted by the counterclaims made by the Caliph Uthmn, himself. At one point,

Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community


Uthmn apparently conceded that he had made some errors but rejected the rebel demand that he abandon the office, declaring that he would rather submit himself to public punishment for his offenses than take off this robe that God has placed upon me.6 This is a statement that he would make repeatedly, and it betrays a more absolute and divinely-ordained understanding of the caliphate than had previously been recognized. It was God, not his subjects, Uthmn seemed to be arguing, who had invested him with this authority; he was Gods representative and God alone could remove him.7 Thus it seems that the conflict and crisis of authority that would develop into the First Civil War was not merely the rivalry between Alid and rival Medinan or Qurayshi (Umayyad) claims to the caliphateor even between the political authority of the Medinan community and the military power of tribal groups in the amrbut was also, ideologically, a conflict between two conceptions of the caliphate. Personal and political self-interest clearly motivated many, but at its core, the conflict reflected a difference of principle regarding the nature of the caliphate itself. While existing accounts of this conflict were undoubtedly shaped by the clearer ideological boundaries established only much later between such groups as the Kharijites, Uthmnites, proto-Sunnis, and Shiites in their second- and third-century incarnations, the fact remains that the terminology of the authority debate that plays out in the historical sources for this period revolves around the concept of wilyah/walyah, rather than around the later more prevalent concept of immah. This is significant, in our view, because as we indicated above, wilyah/walyah cannot be understood as a pure synonym for immaheven when the former is construed only in its connotation of authority, it is a very different kind of authority than that denoted by the term immahand it cannot be limited to notions of authority, given its profound Quranic connection to issues of both inheritance and communal religious loyalty. As we shall see, the debate over the nature of authority that emerges in the context of the First Civil War, like the terminology of walyah/wilyah through which it was largely expressed, is fundamentally linked to issues of inheritance and the formation of sectarian and communal identities. Thus, the crisis of authority that emerges from the historical accounts of this first fitnah is not simply a reflection the second- and third-century authority debate dressed in earlier terminology and retrojected into an earlier period, although the later debates may have shaped the accounts to some degree. Rather, it is a debate that distinctly arises in the context of the unique challenge posed to the early Islamic community by the onset of the First Civil War.



Although Muwiyah b. Ab Sufyn only converted to Islam after the fall of Mecca, and despite the fact that his father, Ab Sufyn, was one of the Prophets greatest enemies, he was also the cousin of the Caliph Uthmn. As such, Muwiyah claimed to be the wal of Uthmn8 after the latters assassination, that is to say, his nearest kinsman and the one most entitled to exact blood revenge on his behalfa claim that would become even more salient in the face of the failure of the Medinan rebels alah, al-Zubayr and ishah to do the same. Muwiyah was able to justify his rebellion against Aland ultimately, his very right to the caliphateon the basis of his quest to bring the killers of Uthmn to justice. Muwiyah originally appears to use the term wal merely in the sense of the nearest kinsman to a deceased person, entitled to the blood money for his death and primarily responsible for avenging his murder. It seems, however, that Muwiyah had seen early on the possibilities such a claim could have for broadening his authority; and he makes a deliberate connection between his right as heir or near kinsman to Uthmn and his right to authority in general, when he cites the Quranic verse: . . . Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power (suln) unto his heir (walhi). . . .9 While the political (rather than military) victory of Muwiyah in the arbitration that ended the Battle of iffn, and his eventual accession to the caliphal title was achieved largely through a series of deceptive and opportunistic tactics, we should not entirely dismiss the, albeit logically flawed, ideological connection he makes between walyah (kinship) and authority in his rhetoricnot least, because it is clearly related to the Caliph Uthmns own idea of the divine designation of caliphal authority and his documented desire to pass the title of caliph through his own hereditary line.10 At the arbitration after the Battle of iffn, Muwiyahs representative, Amr b. al-, explicitly translated this claim into an argument for granting Muwiyah authority over the Muslim community. Amr began by confirming some things upon which he and his counterpart, Ab Ms, could agree: Uthmn was the wal hdhal-amr (the possessor of this authority) after Umar, according to the common agreement (ijm) of the Muslims and a consultation (shr) of the companions of the Messenger of God, and that he was the one chosen from among them (al-ri minhum). He then secured agreement that Uthmn was a believer (mumin). Finally he and Ab Ms agreed that Uthmn was killed unjustly (mazlm). Amr was then able to quote the Quranic verse which grants suln (authority) to the wal of the one killed unjustly.11 Ab Ms rejected this line of reason-

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ing, agreeing that Muwiyah was the wal dam Uthmn (i.e., the one most entitled to seek vengeance for the murder of Uthmn), but arguing that this did not give him the right to authority over the Muslim community in preference to the muhjirn with seniority in Islam.12 Ab Ms stated that authority over the community should be decided by a shr among the Muslims, so that they may give wilyah over their affairs to whomever they like, and at the supposed conclusion of the arbitration he reportedly sought to remove both Al and Muwiyah from power, telling the Muslims to give authority to the one you consider deserving.13 Nevertheless, Amr b. al- would have the final word at what is probably the second arbitration meeting at Adhruh, which was apparently not attended by a representative of Al b. Ab lib. At this meeting, the wal of Uthmn would be granted suln after all.14 In the reported debate between Amr and Ab Ms, we can clearly discern two competing interpretations of the concepts of walyah or wilyah and their connection to the authority issue. For Ab Ms, wilyah is the authority to be granted to one of the Prophets companions as caliph, although it is apparently to be granted by the Muslim community at large, since he calls for a shr among the Muslims in which they would grant authority to the one they deem worthy (ahl) of it. For Muwiyah and Amr, wilyah as authority is related to walyah as kinship, and no matter how disingenuous their line of argument may have been, they were able to find semantic evidence for their case in the Quran itself. Whatever its justification, this latter interpretationalthough rejected by Ab Ms and never endorsed by Sunni law and political theorywould nonetheless become the unspoken and pragmatic modus operandi for the transmission of caliphal authority, not only during the Umayyad dynasty but throughout the history of the Abbsid dynasty as well, as the caliphal title passed in hereditary, agnatic succession until the end of the historical caliphate.

THE KHARIJITES: A CONTINUATION OF POPULAR RULE AND RADICALISM If it was Muwiyahs rebellion against Al that was ultimately victorious, the most frustrating and disturbing development of the First Civil War for Al and his camp was undoubtedly the secession of the Kharijites, which represented a challenge to Als authority from some of those Iraqi tribesmen who had most enthusiastically championed it.15 The Kharijites held that in conceding to arbitration, rather than allowing the battle to be the vehicle of Gods judgment between the two parties, Al had transferred the right of judgment in this matter


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from God to men. Hence their famous rallying cry: Judgment belongs to God alone (l ukma illa li-llh). The denial of Gods right as judge constituted, for the Kharijites, a grave sin, requiring that its perpetrator repent or else be considered an unbeliever (kfir). Both the Kharijite demands for Als repentance and the language they used to formulate these demands are clearly reminiscent of the words the rebels addressed to the Caliph Uthmn. However, Al, unlike Uthmn, reportedly refused even to countenance repentance, defending both his caliphate and his actions as absolutely legitimate. On the basis of Als refusal to answer their calls for repentance, the Kharijites no longer considered the authority of Al binding upon them, and so selected a leader from among themselves. The process by which the Kharijite leader is given authority, both at the inception of the Kharijite movement, and in its later history, is almost always expressed in terms of walyah, with the act of recognizing a particular individual as leader, and the act of assuming political authority oneself, being most commonly denoted in Kharijite discourse by the second and fifth verb forms of the root w-l-y, respectively.16 The Kharijite understanding of the nature of this leadership was that it was a relative, rather than absolute, authorityconditional upon the performance, justice, and religious soundness of the leader, as judged by the governed, themselves. This is really a continuation of the spirit and principle behind the revolt of the tribesmen of the garrison towns against Uthmn, and the connection between the two is sometimes clear in the words of the Kharijites themselves:
[Kharijite leader speaking]: We accepted Uthmn while he called upon God and repented from his rebelliousness [against God], and this sufficed us until he sentenced [us to punishment] after he had recognized his [own] sins. When [we saw that] his repentance was insincere and his actions contradicted his apparent repentance we said: We turn away from you and give authority (nuwall) over the believers to a man who will suffice you and us; for verily it is not permissible that we should give authority over the believers to a man whom we suspect regarding our blood and our property. But he refused this and persisted [in his disobedience and hypocrisy], and so when we saw this, we killed him and those who continued to demonstrate allegiance to him (man tawallhu) after we had killed him.17

Here, the second verb form of w-l-y (wall/yuwall) is used to designate the process by which the community invests its leader with authority, and this wilyah may be revoked when its possessor is deemed to be undeserving of it. It is also significant that the Kharijite

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speaker claims to have killed not only Uthmn but also those who continued to demonstrate allegiance to him (man tawallhu) after his assassination. The fifth form of the root w-l-y makes no sense, here, if it is interpreted to mean that they continued to recognize Uthmn as leader of the community, given that he was dead. Thus, it should probably be understood in the more general sense of loyalty to the notion of Uthmns legitimacy (even posthumously), the upholding of his reputation and perhaps even the rights of his progeny. Thus, in Kharijite rhetoric, as reported in historical chronicles, the concept of walyah is tied both to leadership of the community (understood as a kind of limited authority) and to a sense of deep loyalty to a particular leader, living or dead. This dual connection should be kept in mind, as should the general Kharijite notion of the relationship of the ruler to the ruled, as we turn to examine the Shiite point of view as it gradually developed and distinguished itself against the background of these other perspectives. THE SHI AT ALI : WALYAH AND UNQUESTIONING ALLEGIANCE The role of walyah in the discourse of the Alid camp during the First Civil War differs from what we have seen from the Umayyad and Kharijite camps. For the supporters of Al in this conflict, walyah was more commonly used in connection with expressions of absolute loyalty to Al, personally, than in connection with legitimist arguments for his leadership; and while the concept of walyah was invoked by his supporters in a manner that clearly echoed the Prophets reported words at Ghadr Khumm, the latter is never explicitly cited as a legitimist argument on his behalf. Als support base was considerably more disparate and fragmented than that of his rival, Muwiyah, but both Sunni and Shiite accounts of the Battle of iffn give evidence that loyalty toward Al among a certain segment of his followers was exceptionally strong and beginning to develop absolutist tendencies. In the discourse of Als loyal supporters in the First Civil War, there is much literary evidence to support the idea that Al represented, for many of them, an absolute and divinely guided leader who could demand of them the same kind of loyalty that would have been expected for the Prophet. Some earlier studies have suggested that the large number of South Arabian tribesmen in Als camp, and the Southern Arabian heritage of charismatic and absolute leadership, accounts for this phenomenon. However, this tendency can be seen even among those of his supporters who did not hail from southern


The Charismatic Community

tribal groups. Sahl b. unayf,18 for example, declares to Al before setting out for the Battle of iffn: . . . we are at peace with the one with whom you make peace, and we are at war with the one with whom you make war; our opinion (rayun) is your opinion and we are in the palm of your right hand.19 This statement is one of many similar pledges of absolute loyalty to Al, but the formulation here clearly recalls the words of the Prophet himself to the anr of Medina just prior to his emigration there.20 This is likely an intentional recollection of that event by Sahl, and the connection he makes between his allegiance to the Prophet and his allegiance to Al is almost certainly not coincidental, given that he himself was an early member of the anr, and one of those who proved his loyalty to the terms of the bayat al-arb during its initial testing at the Battle of Badr. Another illustration of the spiritual absoluteness with which some of his men viewed their loyalty to him in the conflict is the frequently repeated phrase that Al (and, in some cases, they as his followers) were acting upon clear guidance from [the] Lord (al bayyinah min rabbihi or rabbin). The use of this phrase in connection with Al suggests a certain knowledge, on his part, of the divine will, and perhaps even access to divine inspiration, and gives him a standing that approaches that of the prophets. The word bayyinah is often used in the Quran to refer either to Scripture, or to divine inspiration in one form or another,21 and the claim to have a clear guidance from the Lord is made repeatedly by various prophets in the Quran, including Muammad,22 Moses,23 Shuayb,24 li,25 and Noah.26 While the sources provide examples of other terms used to convey Als followers absolute trust in his guidancethere are statements referring to him as mahd (guided)27 or claiming that he calls only to truth and commands only right guidance (rushd)28the statement that Al was acting on clear guidance from his Lord took this allegiance to a new level, seemingly putting him in the company of the prophets, at least in this regard. Moreover, it is apparently in the context of the First Civil War, and particularly from the period of iffn onward, that it becomes popular among Als supporters to refer to him as the wa or legatee of the Prophet, and numerous lines of poetry from the Battle of iffn refer to Al in this way.29 The idea is based, in large part, on the Shiite view that Al held in trust the final will and testament of the Prophet, as delivered to his daughter Fimah on his deathbed and written down by Al at her dictation. The particular importance of the concept of Als relationship of waiyyah to the Prophet at this time, however, is that it implied Als exclusive knowledge of the Prophets will for his community, and consequently, Als right to the leadership of that community immediately following the death of

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the Prophetan idea that does not seem to have been universally held at the time, even within Als camp. Even if there were those in Als camp who supported his legitimist claims from the time of the death of Muammad, the harshly negative views of Ab Bakr and Umar deliberately and maliciously thwarting the Prophets own will regarding his successor, as found in later Shiite sources, are not in evidence in the speeches of Al himself, nor in the rhetoric of his followers, as recorded in the historical chronicles for this period.30 In fact, a number of events at the Battle of iffn seem to confirm that the two caliphs were generally held in high esteem by most members of Als camp; and it should also be noted that the Kharijites, who openly and explicitly approved of the caliphates of Ab Bakr and Umar in the historical sources for this same period, do not indicate that their views on this issue represented a radical break with the opinions held by their former comrades in Als camp.31 Even if the idea that Al should have immediately succeeded the Prophet, and thus that Ab Bakr and Umar were at least misguided in their acceptance of the office, was gaining ground among the pro-Alid camp as the increasingly tragic events of the First Civil War unfolded, there does seem to have been some confusion over this issue, as is evident when some of Als closest supporters question him about his opinion of Ab Bakr and Umar, shortly after the death of Muammad b. Ab Bakr.32 What is conspicuously absent from the pro-Alid discourse recorded in historical sources for the First Civil War is any direct reference to the Ghadr Khumm tradition as an indication of Als ruling legitimacy. As discussed in the previous chapter, the Ghadr Khumm tradition, while reportedly known and referenced in this early period, was not explicitly invoked by Alid supporters as a clear designation of Als right to the caliphate, even if it was counted among his important spiritual distinctions (fail). Yet, it is strange that in the context of the First Civil Warwith Als leadership so widely under attack, even as his followers made extraordinary spiritual claims on his behalfneither Al himself nor his followers are reported to have made any reference to Ghadr Khumm specifically as evidence of his right to the caliphate. Als pleas for his legitimacy, as well as his supporters arguments defending their loyalty to him, are based almost exclusively on his personal virtues and his claim to precedence (sbiqah) in Islam.33 Even if Ghadr Khumm was not put forward as a legitimist argument by Al or his supporters, a number of passages in the historical accounts of this period seem to reflect the conceptual or terminological influence of the Prophets Ghadr Khumm statement. Recall Masds report, cited above, in which Al reminds alah at the Battle of the Camel that the Prophet asked God to be the friend of Als friend and the enemy of his enemy. In a similar vein, one of


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Als supporters, Zayd b. n, claims, as he is dying at the Battle of the Camel, to have fought for Al because, after hearing the Ghadr Khumm account from Umm Salamah, he feared that if he abandoned Al, God would abandon him.34 Far more widely recorded and more convincingly rendered in the historical sources, however, is the incident of the second bayah taken for Al b. Ab lib by his closest companions toward the end of his life and caliphate. After the arbitration arrangements were set and the Kharijites had made their final break with Al, the latter stood between two enemies: the external enemy (the Syrians) and the enemy within (the Kharijites) who had split the ranks of his support base among the tribesmen of Iraq and demoralized many of those who remained loyal to him. It is at this most desperate moment in Als caliphate that a number of his closest and most loyal supportersnumbering as many as 40,000 according to abarmake a dramatic show of allegiance and devotion to their embattled leader. A group, referred to in the sources only as his shah, stand up and take an unsolicited second bayah to Al in words strongly reminiscent of those uttered by the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm:
We swear ourselves to a second bayah: We are the friends (awliy) of the one you [Ali] befriend (man walayta) and the enemies (ad) of the one whom you make your enemy (man adayta).35

This is an extraordinary and defining moment for the shat Al. The frequently reported pledge given by individual supporters of Al that they will support him and fight his enemies without hesitation now becomes the essential condition of their new bayah to him, the first (caliphal) bayah to go beyond the bounds of Kitb and sunnah. Their bayah to him was no longer merely a function of his upholding established precedent, or of his conformity to the example of the Prophet as judged by themselves; rather it was an oath of unconditional and unquestioning allegiance, indicating that they would surrender their own will to that of their leader, whom they considered to be acting under divine guidance and sanction. Moreover, this oath of absolute loyalty is formulated in terms of walyah, and is expressed in a manner that directly echoes the Prophets reported statement at Ghadr Khumm, imploring God to be the friend of Als friend and the enemy of his enemy. If it is indeed a reference to the adth at Ghadr Khummwhich seems likelythen this would represent the first widely recorded, public affirmation of the adth beyond the limits of the Medinan communitythat is to say, a recognition of the significance of the Ghadr Khumm event by those who would not necessarily have been present on the occasion.

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Most importantly, this second bayah defined and solidified the relationship between the Shiites and their leader. On the one hand, it was a relationship that was voluntary at the outsetthe bayah was spontaneous, unsolicited, and freely entered into only by those of his party who chose to do so. On the other hand, it entailed absolute obedience to Al, since they had effectively sworn upon their lives that they would ally themselves with those whom Al chose to ally with, and make war with any and all of his enemies. Therefore, their conception of authority can be sharply distinguished from that of the Kharijites, who felt that having chosen their leader, they remained his constant and ever-vigilant judgeand if need be, executioner with the right to question his judgment at every turn.36 In this early declaration of allegiance to Al, however, the Shiites vow to stand by their leader and support him in all that he decides and undertakes to do. Proper action is determined by looking with confidence to a leader considered to be acting with divine support, rather than proper leadership being determined by evaluating the leaders actions against some ostensibly objective and impersonal standard of right action. The second and internal front that the Kharijites opened against Al was particularly divisive and brutal. Opposing both Muwiyah and Al, the Kharijites believed that they alone represented the true and unadulterated Muslim community, and considered anyone who was loyal to either leader in the conflictindeed, anyone who did not accept the Kharijite positionto stand outside the believing community and to be liable to physical attack. As pious Muslims, such as the elderly Prophetic Companion Abd Allh b. Khabbb, fell victim to their brutality, and as their secession continued to cause angst in his camp, Al decided that before pursuing further action against Muwiyah, the Kharijites needed to be brought under control. However, prior to this outrageous murder of Abd Allh b. Khabbb and his family, Al had preferred to leave the Kharijites behind and continue the fight against Muwiyah, while many of his men preferred to fight the Kharijites instead. When Al initially rejected their suggestion, and insisted on fighting Muwiyah first, they acquiesced to his command and openly reaffirmed the content of the second bayah. ayf b. Fasl al-Shaybn says:
O Commander of the Faithful, we are your party and your supporters. We oppose those whom you oppose and join together with those who are obedient to you. Lead us against your enemies whoever they are, wherever they are.37

Muriz b. Shihb al-Tamm, expresses a similar sentiment:


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O Commander of the Faithful, your Shiites are as one man in their agreement to unite together to support you and in their eagerness to strive against your enemies. Rejoice at the help we give and lead us against whichever of the two bands you wish. We are your party that hopes for a just reward for obeying you and striving against those who oppose you. And we fear the consequences of betraying and opposing you.38 (emphasis mine)

The sentiment in both of these reported statements is that of full surrender to Als commands, and in the second case, a nearly euphoric moral certitude that in following Al they have chosen the righteous path. Despite their personal reluctance, and the apparent need for at least some of Als supporters to reconfirm the commitment they made at the second bayah, the Shiites have determined that they will fight the enemy of Als choosingnot their own. The taking of the second bayah clearly distinguished the Shiite point of view from that of the Kharijites, and in taking this bayah, Als supporters may have intended to make just such a distinction between themselves and the Kharijites. Both the Kharijites and the majority of Als tribal supporters in Kufa hailed from the same rebellious group who had traveled from the amr to Medina to pressure the Caliph Uthmn to repent of his injustices or abdicate. They are from that same group who, when two messengers came from Muwiyah demanding that Al turn over the killers of Uthmn, defiantly replied: We are all the killers of Uthmn.39 But now, Als loyal followers stood before their former alliesthe primarily Basran tribesmen who made up the first group of Kharijitesas Al demanded that they hand over the killers of Abd Allh b. Khabbb and his family;40 and when the Kharijites similarly took collective credit for the murder, responding that they were all responsible for their deaths,41 the Shiites were able to fight their former brothers in arms with the clear conviction that the blood of every one of them had become licit (all). Group loyalty, for them, was now defined by their common commitment to Al, whom they considered to be, without question, on the side of righteousness. It is true that the historical accounts of the conflict between the Shiite and Kharijite elements of the Iraqi camp serve to highlight the ideological distinctions between the two groupsdistinctions that were only fully formed in theologically precise terms in a later period. However, if these accounts represent nothing more than a compilers attempt to write into the conflicts of this early period, ideas that were only fully developed later, then one would also expect such a compiler to present or frame his account in terminology that more adequately conveys those later ideas. By the time the earliest accounts

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of the First Civil War were put in writing in their extant form, the terminology of walyah and adwah (enmity) or barah (dissociation) was certainly more generally associated with the Kharijite position than with that of the Shiites, whose political and religious thought by that time revolved around the doctrine of the na immate. In fact, in the Shiite doctrinal literature contemporary to the time period in which most of the historical chronicles of the First Civil War were written, the Ghadr Khumm tradition was directly connected with the imperative of na in the Shiite doctrine of the immate. In Shiite adth literature compiled from the Abbsid period onward, Ghadr Khumm is almost exclusively invoked as the prototypical example of na, being the specific nomination of Al by the Prophet, without reference to its implications for defining group loyalty around the personal charisma and divine succor established for Al in the second part of the Prophets statement (Allhum wli man wlhu wa-di man dhu.) But in the historical accounts of the rhetoric of the Alid camp during the First Civil War, it is this second part of the Ghadr Khumm statement, and the moral certitude that it apparently instilled in Als followers, that is emphasized, while the idea that the statement represented a specific nomination of Al as his immediate successor does not seem to have been voiced by anyonenot even by Al himself.

WALYAH AND COMMUNAL IDENTITY As we have demonstrated, the term walyah played some role in the authority disputes of the First Civil War and in the religio-political rhetoric of multiple parties to the conflict. However, for the fledgling Shiite community represented by the Alid camp in the First Civil War, this term did not simply relate to issues of authority. Rather, the term walyahusually paired with that of adwah or barahalso played a role in expressions of group loyalty and the formation of some notion of communal identity among this earliest group of Shiites. When the Shiites took an oath to be the friends of Als friends and the enemies of his enemies, they were not just making a statement about their obedience to their leader; they were also establishing a profound division of the Muslim community, as they knew it, into two separate camps: the friends of Al and his enemies. This bayah therefore involved a declaration of their relationship to the rest of the Muslim community, effectively breaking their bonds of walyah with those in the community who could be counted among Als enemies. The juxtaposition of the concepts of walyah and adwah had a clear and literal applicability in the context of the existing situation, wherein Al and his party found themselves threatened with war on


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two fronts. At the same time, in the divisiveness of the civil war, there were many prominent figures who maintained neutrality between Al and Muwiyah, and even between Al and the Kharijite separatists from within his own camp, along with many others on Als side who supported his cause half-heartedly and/or with severe doubts as to the correctness of his position. In this atmosphere, the black-and-white view of the world entailed in the opposing concepts of walyah and adwah, especially when invoked between members of the Muslim community, must have been considered radical, and seems to have made many uneasy. For example, when Al chastised Sad b. Ab Waqq, a prominent abstainer from the civil war, for his failure to support his cause, Sad responded: Give me a sword with keen insight (sayf bar), with which one can distinguish enmity (adwah) from friendship (wal).42 Even those who chose to fight on Als side were not always comfortable with these terms. Ab Zabb, a member of Als camp at iffn,43 for example, reportedly said to him:
. . . if we are in the right, then it is you who have guided us on the path and you will receive a greater portion of reward; and if we are in the wrong, then your back will be weighed down more heavily and your burden greater. You commanded us on the road to this enemy and we have broken the walyah between us and them, and shown them open enmity (adwah), seeking, in this, that which God has made known.44 (emphasis mine)

It is clear that it was only his belief that following Al represented the will of God that allowed Ab Zabb to justify breaking his bonds of walyah with other members of the Muslim community. Indeed, it seems that clinging to the will of Al and following him absolutely was the way in which some of his closest companions had decided to wade through the murky issues involved in the civil war, as Hshim b. Utbah45 says to Al:
Our souls (anfusun) gladly support you (tanuruka) against the one who breaks with you, and gives authority over their affairs to someone other than you. By God, I would not want for myself all that the earth can bear and all that is shaded under the heavens, [if I had to] befriend your enemy or be the enemy of your friend.46

Thus, it seems that this formulation of support for Al in terms of walyah and adwah was a defining concept for the early Shiites, and their nearly unquestioning loyalty to Al stood in stark contrast to the positions of both those who abstained from the conflict, while

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retaining respect for Al, and the more uncertain supporters within Als own camp. If walyah was often opposed to adwah (enmity)something which made perfect sense in the atmosphere of civil war that plagued the whole of Als caliphateit was also juxtaposed with the concept of barah, or dissociation. In Arabian tribal custom, barah denoted the excommunication of a tribal or clan member, or a situation in which a tribe or clan would rescind its obligations to a particular individual who had previously been under its protection.47 In the context of the Islamic polity, however, barah was taken by many to mean the cutting of the ties of walyah or mutual support that had been ordained between all Muslims. We do not see this term or pair of terms used widely in the traditions regarding the events of the Battle of the Camela battle between Al on the one hand, and two of the closest companions of the Prophet and his favored wife, ishah, on the other. Rather, the common juxtaposition of the terms walyah and barah seems to originate in the context of Als conflict with Muwiyah, the Battle of iffn, the arbitration, and its aftermath.48 In the narrative accounts of iffn, it is recorded that a member of Muwiyahs camp, Shurabl b. Man b. Yazd, approached Al and asked him to bear witness to the fact that the Caliph Uthmn was killed unjustly (mazlm). When Al refused, Shurabl and his men responded: Whoever does not say that Uthmn was killed unjustly, we dissociate (nahnu burr) from him.49 The Sunni historian abar, on the other hand, records an early use of the term by two of the more radical members of Als own camp, Muammad b. Ab Bakr50 and Muammad b. Awn. According to this report, the two were sent to Kufa as messengers for Al, ahead of his army. When they learned of the governor, Ab Mss, neutrality and his conviction that the murderers of Uthmn be executed, they reportedly dissociated from him and criticized him.51 Although the term barah is also used by other members of Als camp with regard to Muwiyah and the Syrians, and later with regard to the Kharijites,52 Al seems to have disapproved of the practice of his followers dissociating from and cursing the members of the opposing army, and to have considered it a dangerous innovation. According to one report, when Al learned that ujr b. Ad and Amr b. al-amiq were openly dissociating from and cursing the Syrians, he ordered them to cease this practice. When they protested that they were in the right, and therefore justified in vilifying their enemies, Al replied: I do not wish you to be cursers and vilifiers, abusing [the enemy] and dissociating [from him]. Should you [wish to] describe the evil of their actions, then say: They are in the habit of this and that, and they do this and that . . . ; that is more proper and


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excusable.53 In addition to this incident, there is the famous admonition of Al to his followers, in which he tells them that they may openly curse him, should they be forced to do so, under duress, but that they should not, under any circumstances, dissociate themselves from him.54 Many of his most loyal followers, including ujr b. Ad and Amr b. al-amiq, were later arrested and executed by Muwiyah for refusing to do either. If it was the more radical members of Als party who first made use of the practice of barah in their rhetoric, it was the Kharijitesthemselves among the more radical of Als men before their secessionwho are the first to use this term in a regular and doctrinal manner.55 They considered walyahand barah toward appropriate persons to be a mandatory religious duty (far) for both the believing individual and the faithful community as a whole.56 Moreover, they connected the notion of walyah to their leader with that of walyah to other members of their community; and conversely, barah was invoked, not only against Uthmn, Al, Muwiyah, and rival leaders, but also against the supporters of these figures and those described as quietists, whether or not they sympathized with the movement.57 When the Kharijites made this position clear by killing the companion of the Prophet Abd Allh b. Khabbb, along with his family, simply for refusing to agree with their point of view, Al was clearly taken by surprise, and he addressed the Kharijites, saying:
If you insist on claiming that I have erred and gone astray, why do you [also insist] upon claiming that the ummah, in general, has gone astray, and hold them responsible for my error and declare them unbelievers on account of my sins? Your swords are at the ready, and you bring them down upon innocent heads!58

Al is apparently shocked, not only by the viciousness of the Kharijite actions, but also by their holding the community responsible for the actions of its leader. For Kharijites, recognizing walyah both for their chosen leader and for the other members of their community and declaring dissociation (barah) from Uthmn, Al, and Muwiyah, as well as from those who supported them, was considered not only mandatory for membership in their community, but indeed for membership in the Islamic community itself.59 That is to say, to be within their walyah was to be a member of the community of believers, to possess faith (mn); and conversely, to receive a sentence of barah from them was to enter the ranks of the unbelievers, the kfirn. Even if this Kharijite theological position regarding walyah and its connection to notions of mn and kufr represents a later theological elaboration, and not nec-

Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community


essarily the ideas of the earliest Kharijites, their extension of walyahand adwah to include not only rival leaders but the members of their communities as well, is evidenced by the widespread accounts of Kharijite violence against civilians. Regardless of later doctrinal developments, it seems clear that the religio-political use of the concept of barah emerged within the Iraqi camp at some point during the First Civil War. The practice is connected in several reports with the more radical and vocal of Als supportersMuammad b. Ab Bakr, ujr b. Ad, etc.even if Al, himself, seems to have discouraged it.60 The Kharijites, on the other hand, no longer subject to Als authority, embraced the concept as the necessary concomitant to walyah, and promoted it as one of their central tenets. Thus walyah and barah, for the Kharijitesand probably also for these first Shiites, who originated in the same Iraqi campwere concepts that defined not only ones attachment to or dissociation from a particular claimant to authority but also to or from the communities associated with them. As we will see in detail in the next chapter, after the assassination of Al by the Kharijite, Ibn Muljam, and the defeat of the shortlived claim to the caliphate of Als son, al-asan, the primitive conception of the Shiites as a community united through walyah toward Al and his supporters and adwah toward his enemies does not seem to have continued. The name of Al b. Ab lib was cursed from the pulpit across the Islamic state, and all Muslims, including Als Shiite followers, were expected to participate. According to Als own apparent orders, cursing was excusable; it was only barah from him which was forbidden. Thus, when al-asan surrendered his caliphal rights to Muwiyah, the Iraqi camp, including even the most loyal supporters of Al, gave the bayah to Muwiyah as well. Some former members, even leaders, of Als party, reportedly addressed Muwiyah as Amr al-muminn (a term later Imm Shiite tradition reserves for Al b. Ab lib exclusively), and some of Als most trusted companions participated in military expeditions on the Umayyad Caliphs behalf.61 Indeed, during Als caliphate, the Shiites sharply dichotomous image of their world, divided into the friends and enemies of Al, seemed to increase in resolution and absoluteness as Als political situation grew more and more desperate. Yet, after his death, and in the absence of a clear leader who would take up the cause against Muwiyah, their image seemed to lose focus. The line between friend and enemy was blurred, and the unity which had been founded among Als supporters during his darkest hour, largely dissipated. In the First Civil War, we see several competing notions of authority over the community, many of which involved some discussion of the


The Charismatic Community

term walyah in connection with notions of loyalty and devotion to ones religious leadership and religious community. To be sure, not all parties to this conflict used the term walyah with the same meaning, and the manner in which the term is used by non-Shiite factions during the First Civil War may seem decidedly mundane in relation to the profoundly spiritual connotation walyah would come to have in Shiite thought. Yet, as we argued in Chapter 1, it is important to understand the full range of political and religious meanings this term had when it first emerged as a sectarian concept within the discourse of the Shiite camp in the First Civil War. We cannot simply read later Shiite elaborations on the full spiritual meaning of walyah back into this early period. Rather, we must try to understand how the term would have been understood by the Shiite contemporaries to this conflict, and why they found it so meaningful and expressive of their religio-political views, by examining the usage of the term within the wider context of the competing discourses of the First Civil War. Against the background of these competing claims to loyalty and authority, it seems that the supporters of Al should have raised the issue of Ghadr Khumm, and the special relationship of walyah it established between the Prophet and Al, to justify his legitimacy as caliph. As Als situation grew increasingly difficult, the loyalty of a small group of his closest supporters grew increasingly strong, as did their conviction that, in following Al, they were following the indisputable truth, even the divine will. Yet, even in this context, they do not invoke Ghadr Khumm as proof of Prophetic designation for the caliphate of Al; rather, they invoke the second part of the Ghadr Khumm adth, wherein the Prophet asks for divine protection for the friends of Al and divine support against his enemies. This is the theme most clearly expressed in the words of the second bayah, the bayah of walyah and adwah, taken by his supporters before the Battle of Nahrawan. This bayah, and many other related statements of loyalty to Al made by his strongest supporters in the conflict, emphasized his position, not as the undisputed and immediate successor to the Prophet, but as a figure who represented, for them, the sole criterion for determining right from wrong, truth from error, and friend from enemy. This black-and-white view of the world, emerging in the context of a civil war wherein right and wrong were not always clear, indicates something of the charismatic nature of the figure of Al and the strong influence he was able to exert over the communal solidarity and commitment of his closest followers. Once Al had been assassinated, however, and the criterion for determining friend from enemy was gone, the line between the two was no longer clearly recognizable, and the unity of the Shiites, so evident in Als most difficult hour, was seriously diminished. It seems, then, that walyah, in this

Walyah, Authority, and Religious Community


context, did not pertain solely to authority or leadership as such. In its earliest conceptionin the Quran, in the Ghadr Khumm tradition, and in the rhetoric of the early Alid campit was a notion that expressed a bond of solidarity with, and attachment to, both a given leader and the community that follows him. As we will see in the second part of this work, the significance of the term walyah in connection to both spiritual leadership and religious community was perpetuated and further elaborated in the more doctrinal uses of the term that developed in the Shiite discourse of the early second century.

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The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War

f the historical sources indicate that the Shiite camp united fiercely behind Al toward the end of his life, expressing their absolute devotion, or walyah, toward him and adwah or barah toward all of his many enemies, they also detail the gradual disintegration of this unity in the ideological and leadership confusion that followed his death. The figure of al-asan b. Al, his successor, could not command a similar degree of loyalty, nor could the non-Alid Shiite leader ujr b. Ad unite the scattered Shiite discontents of Kufa in a successful protest against the official desecration of Als name under the Umayyad regime. The poisoning of al-asan b. Al, allegedly through the designs of the Caliph Muwiyah, and the arrest and execution of ujr b. Ad and his associates drew no effective reaction from Shiite sympathizers in Kufa, and only powerless statements of protest from al-usayn b. Al and other Medinan notables.1 When al-usayn himself made his stand against the Umayyad Yazd b. Muwiyah, largely at the instigation of Shiite sympathizers in Kufa, the Kufan support failed to materialize, and he and his small band of followers were infamously massacred on the plains of Karbala. A group of Kufan Shiites were later remorseful for their failure to aid al-usayn in his plight and organized a small, but morally significant, movement that sought to exact revenge for al-usayn, even if it meant their own deathfor many of them, it did, and little vengeance was accomplished. Al-usayns death was indeed avenged, but only later, by the ambivalent and controversial figure of al-Mukhtr b. Ab Ubayd, who successfully hunted down and killed many of the perpetrators of the murder of the grandson of the Prophet, but all 71


The Charismatic Community

the while calling for allegiance to a non-Fimid son of Al (and therefore, a non-Prophetic descendant), Muammad b. al-anafiyyah. In fact, much, if not most, of the Shiite activity in Iraq through the end of the first century and early decades of the second was focused on the spiritual heritage of this non-Fimid son of Al; while the Fimid descendants of Al and al-usaynAl b. al-usayn Zayn al-bidn and Muammad al-Bqirled quiet, pious, and scholarly lives in Medina. Al Zayn al-bidn seems to have been surrounded primarily by nonactivist sympathizers with the cause of his family in Medina, while Muammad al-Bqir, still based in Medina, became the focus of Shiite loyalties among a growing number of Iraqis. Shiite sources indicate that numerous Shiite individuals and delegations traveled from Kufa to Medinaoften under the cover of, or in conjunction with, their fulfillment of the ajj ritualto attend al-Bqirs teaching circle, and ask him specific questions on their own behalf or on behalf of their Shiite brothers back in Kufa. It is only under the influence of al-Bqir that we begin to see the more activist Shiite community in Kufa emerging (or reemerging) along proto-Imm lines, even as devotion to the figure of Muammad b. al-anafiyyah and his spiritual descendants continued for several more decades in Iraq. The period between the death of Al b. Ab lib and the rise to prominence of Muammad al-Bqir was undoubtedly a painful and troubled one for those with Shiite sympathies, and it is a confusing one for the student of early Shiism. Imm doctrine portrays a clear and unbroken line of Shiite Imms from Al b. Ab lib to Muammad al-Bqir, but even Imm sources contend that the intervening Imms had relatively few close followers who fully recognized their authority;2 and Shiite adth sources clearly reflect this. The overwhelming majority of Shiite traditions are related from the Prophet and Al on the one hand, and al-Bqir and his successor, aldiq on the other, while significantly fewer traditions are related from Al Zayn al-bidn, and only a relative handful are related from either al-asan or al-usayn. Despite the apparent retirement of the Alid-Fimid line to Medina following the end of the First Civil War, and then again after their brief but catastrophic reengagement in al-usayns stand against the Umayyad, Yazd b. Muwiyah, Shiite loyalties and activities apparently continued in Kufaalbeit under constant threat of brutal Umayyad repression. If the Kufan Shiites did maintain some sectarian communal connections, despite having outwardly rejoined the Muslim community at large and given their bayah to Muwiyah, then on what ideological or religious principles was their notion of community baseda continuous and posthumous devotion to Al personally, or a transferred loyalty to his descendants? Whether it was the former or the latter, why were al-usayn,

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


and later Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, more popular recipients of these loyalties than al-asan, who as the eldest son of Al and eldest grandson of the Prophet would seem to have had a greater claim to both? How was the Shiite leader al-Mukhtr able to build a Kufan following on the twin bases of vengeance for the grandson of the Prophet and the immate of the non-Prophetic descendant, Muammad b. al-anafiyyah? To what extent did the posthumous charisma of Al factor into later Shiite devotion toward his sons, alusayn and Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, and to what extent did these two figures draw on their own personal charisma? In this chapter we will look at the significant events that followed the death of Al, examining both the individuals and the religious concepts and rhetoric connected with these events, in order to gain some understanding of the extent to which the spiritual principles and sectarian communal identity that distinguished Als camp in the First Civil War continued to influence Shiite movements and sympathies through the end of the first Islamic century.

THE SURRENDER TO MUWIYAH In the previous chapter, we noted that walyah and adwah or barah were frequently invoked by Als supporters in the historical accounts of the First Civil War, and that for them walyah apparently designated both an absolute attachment to their spiritually charismatic leader and their self-identification as a community unto themselves and separate from that of Als enemies. The two ideas were inextricably connected, and with the death of Alwhose spiritual authority in life remained undiminished in the eyes of his closest followers, even in the face of deepening political defeatthose sectarian communal bonds based on his personal charisma began to weaken as well. Not immediately, however, and not completely. As Al was dying from the mortal wound inflicted by his Kharijite assassin, Ibn Muljam, he is said, in some historical accounts, to have named his eldest son as his caliphal successorin one account indicating that al-asans legitimacy stemmed from his membership in the ahl al-bayt that was marked by special purity in the Quran.3 In the most widely transmitted account, however, Al is asked by those around him whether they should give their allegiance to al-asan after his death, and Al indicates that while this would be acceptable to him, the ultimate decision rests with the Muslim community.4 Whichever version is more historically accurate, the sources maintain that al-asan was indeed given the bayah by Als loyal Kufan camp after his death. This bayah was not without controversy, however.


The Charismatic Community

Qays b. Sad, the leader of Als elite guard (shurat al-khams), and the de facto military leader of Als camp in the interval between Als death and his successors installment, is said to have offered his bayah to al-asan on the conditions that he uphold the Book of God and the sunnah of the Prophet, but also that he fight the violators (muilln)5meaning the Syrians. Al-asan rejected this, replying that allegiance to the Book and the sunnah was sufficiently inclusive6but Qays concern turned out to be legitimate. Another account notes that after al-asan accepted the bayah of the Iraqis, he demanded a degree of loyalty from them, similar to that which they had shown his father, insisting that they make peace with the one I make peace with, and make enmity with my enemy.7 The Iraqis were uncomfortable with this, suspecting he would use their oath to lead them into a quick reconciliation with Muwiyah. The Iraqis that Al had previously struggled to motivate for war were now reluctant to trust al-asans desire for peace. As their suspicions mounted and rumors circulated, the Iraqis turned on al-asan as he was camped at Madain, behind the advancing armies he had sent to seek out Muwiyah. In a mutinous fury, they plundered their leaders tent and physically attacked his person. The sources differ significantly on the issue of al-asans eventual abdication in favor of Muwiyah. Sources hostile to al-asan portray him as weak, cowardly, and opportunistic, abhorring the idea of war and secretly harboring an intention of surrender from the beginning, making no more than a mere show of resistance by sending out Qays b. Sad and Ubayd Allh b. Abbs (who eventually joins Muwiyah) with advanced regiments to meet the Syrians.8 Al-asan is shown as reluctant to move toward war himself, even after repeated warnings; and when Muwiyah offers him the opportunity for honorable surrenderand is apparently ready to grant him a literal blank check on which to name the terms of his abdicational-asan opts for substantial, personal financial compensation, in addition to the promise that he would succeed to the caliphate uncontested upon Muwiyahs death, and that his fathers name would not be reviled within his hearing.9 In other words, while securing financial comfort and political protection for himself, he neglected to seek terms that would adequately protect his father from dishonor or the community loyal to him from oppression. In several historical accounts, even alasans brother, al-usayn, and cousin, Abd Allh b. Jafar, question his judgment in surrendering and beg him not to bring shame upon his father. Al-asan refuses to heed their advice, however, and they dutifully follow him into surrender.10 More favorable accounts portray al-asan as a wise and selfsacrificing leader, whose actionsfar from being cowardlywere

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


inspired by the noble example of his father. These accounts suggest his early moves toward confronting Muwiyah were sincere and whole-hearted, and he backed away from them and began to negotiate a surrender only upon the unexpected mutiny of the Kufans.11 Just as the discontent and divisions within Als camp led him to acquiesce to the arbitration against his better judgment, so too does this mutiny force al-asans hand. In speeches similar to those attributed to his father in defense of the temporary abandonment of his claim to authority vis--vis Ab Bakr in the months after the Prophets death, al-asan invokes his concern for unity and peace within the ummah, dismissing the importance of caliphal authority as a worldly matter in which there may be a great trial . . . and enjoyment [only] for a while.12 While al-asan acknowledges that his decision may call down derision and scorn upon his person, he believes that it is his duty to halt the terrible bloodshed that had plagued the community for the last four years; and some favorable accounts make reference to a adth in which the Prophet predicts that through his grandson, al-asan, two warring factions of Muslims would be reconciled.13 Yet, even the prominent members of Als camp who gave an apparently unconditional bayah to al-asan (the bayah of hearing and obeying)including Qays himself, as well as ujr b. Ad, Jundab b. Abd Allh, Sad b. Qays, Ad b. tim, Ziyd b. Khaafah, and Maqil b. Qaysare profoundly dismayed by al-asans surrender. 14 ujr b. Ad confronts al-asan to tell him that his actions have blackened the faces of the believers.15 Another supporter, Sufyn b. Layl, addresses him mockingly and disparagingly as the mudhill al-muslimn (the humiliator of the Muslims).16 Both portraits of al-asan stand in marked contrast to the sources portrayal of Qays b. Sad, the head of Als elite forces and later commander of al-asans advancing army, whom Muwiyah seems to have viewed as his most serious threat. Qays is entirely unyielding in the face of Muwiyahs bribes, insults, and threats; he responds by comparing the Iraqi camps struggle against Muwiyah to the Medinan Muslims struggle against the pagan Meccans in the Prophets timeapparently viewing the former as a continuation of the latter. In one letter, Qays refers to Muwiyah as an idol-worshipper, son of an idol-worshipper, telling him:
You entered Islam reluctantly and left it gladly; your faith (mn) is not old and your hypocrisy (nifq) is not new . . . we are the supporters (anr) of the religion that you abandoned, and the enemies of the religion you are moving towards.17

Here, Qays invokes the rhetoric of precedence (sbiqah) in Islam and the rivalry between the Medinan anr (who Qays, as son of the


The Charismatic Community

leading anr claimant to authority, Sad b. Ubdah, personally represents) and the Meccan Quraysh, who entered Islam belatedly and reluctantly (epitomized by Muwiyah). More importantly, he identifies Muwiyah and his followers as those who had left Islam and abandoned true religionthat is, as those who lie outside the community of believerscontinuing the sense of sectarian separation that marked the Shiite struggle against Muwiyah under Al himself. Even when Qays learned of al-asans surrender, he was not ready to relinquish the notion that the Shiites had a communal religious vocation to resist Muwiyah. He offers them a choice between fighting without a leader, or surrendering to a misguided one. To Qays dismay, they choose the latter,18 but Qays remains defiant. In contrast to al-asan, in even the most flattering accounts, Qays refuses to surrender to Muwiyah without first securing an amnesty for his men, and the supporters of Al generally.19 In a rather humorous account, Qays verbally agrees to give Muwiyah the bayah, but refuses to physically offer his hand, thereby forcing Muwiyah to lean forward and take it for himself.20 Despite Qays reportedly spirited resistance, he and his men, along with the Iraqis as a whole, gave the bayah to Muwiyah and joined the newly unified community shortly after Als death. While the Shiites were granted an official amnesty, Muwiyah skillfully employed a variety of tacticsfrom appeasement to the threat of brutal repressionto defuse and dilute whatever strong pro-Alid communal sentiments may have remained. He decapitated Shiite leadership by lavishing monetary compensation, not only upon alasan b. Al but also upon Als governors to encourage them to freely relinquish their posts, as well as upon the more noble and wellrespected sympathizers with Als cause, such as the Basran al-Anaf b. Qays.21 In one particularly dramatic move, he managed to bring Als defiant governor of Fars, Ziyd b. Abhi, fully into his own camp, by attaching Ziyds lineage to his own, thereby making him an honorary member of the Sufynid clan.22 Muwiyah and his local governors also succeeded in diverting the martial and rebellious energies of some of Als most trusted military commanders toward an enemy they hated perhaps even more than Muwiyah himselfthe Kharijites. When the Kharijite leader al-Mustawrid rebeled in Iraq shortly after Muwiyahs full accession to power, Muwiyah advised his governors in Kufa and Basra to put together an army of Shiites to fight him. The Shiites, he correctly estimated, had more experience with the Kharijitestheir former brothers in armsand more cause to hate them, as the seditious murderers of Al and many of their fellow comrades.23 Indeed, one of Als leading commanders, Maqil b. Qays, volunteered for and was given the leadership of the

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


Kufan contingent sent against the Kharijite rebels, and he, along with the Shiite leader of the Basran contingent, were both killed in a battle against the Kharijite rebel al-Mustawrid.24 Through these various tactics, Muwiyah was able to loosen, to some degree, the sinews that had held the early Shiite camp together, both during Als lifetime and in the months following his death. Not everyone was reconciled to the new situation, however. The early Islamic historian al-Baldhur includes a report that only two years after al-asans surrender to Muwiyah, a group of Kufan Shiites led by Sulaymn b. urad wrote to him, encouraging him to renew the struggle against Muwiyah, and assuring him that he would have the loyalty of 40,000 Kufan fighters, along with their sons and retainers, in addition to [his] supporters in Basra and the Hijaz.25 Al-asan rejects their plea, however, and open Shiite resistance to the Umayyads would not come to the fore again until after the death of al-asan in the year 49.

UJR B. AD AND THE ART OF PASSIVE RESISTANCE Many scholars of Shiism, as noted in the introduction, have seen the massacre of al-usayn and his supporters at Karbala in the year 61 as the prototype and real beginning of the notion of passive resistance to oppression and the virtue of martyrdom within the Shiite religious perspective, replacing the primarily political and intertribal activism of earlier Kufan Shiism. While there is little doubt that the twin ideals of passive resistance and martyrdom were given their most dramatic and significant form and meaning in the horrific spectacle of Karbala, as described even in the earliest extant chronicles of the event, both of these ideals are prefigured in the arrest and execution of the Shiite loyalist ujr b. Ad,26 and his supporters in Kufa in the year 51, a decade earlier. Accounts of ujrs saga are characterized by the same deep sense of pathos that informs the Karbala accounts, revealing the deft narrative hand of their primary Kufan chronicler, Ab Mikhnaf. But ujrs movement made no legitimist claims for any of Als descendants and had nothing to do with the notion of the inviolability of the Prophets blood descendants, nor did it have any clear political agenda. Rather, this protest against Umayyad policy seems to have been motivated by posthumous loyalty to Al and the desire to preserve the honor of his memory and legacy. Like numerous other conflicts in early Islam, it became entangled in inter- and intratribal issues, as well as economic complaints that seem to have motivated some. But in its origin and brutal conclusion, the central issue of the conflict seems to have been ujr and his supporters determination to honor their oath of walyah to


The Charismatic Community

Al, even as they vigorously (and futilely) insisted that they remained true to their bayah to Muwiyah. Despite the various appeasements and incentives Muwiyah employed to lower Shiite resistance to his assumption of authority, he did apparently order the regular cursing of Al b. Ab lib from the pulpit. The city of Kufa, where a majority of Als loyal camp remained after the conclusion of the First Civil War, was governed for Muwiyah by the moderate al-Mughrah b. Shubah, a known abstainer from the civil war who was required, like all other Umayyad governors, to praise Uthmn and curse Al from the pulpit. Not surprisingly, this seems to have raised some unrest in the largely proAlid Kufan crowd on more than one occasion, and ujr is reported to have been the most vocal in this regard. Al-Mughrahs tolerant governing style allowed ujrs protests to go on without serious repercussion, which seems to have emboldened ujr, and perhaps to have encouraged others to join him. Al-Mughrah was eventually replaced, largely because of his passivity, by Ziyd b. Abhithe formerly Alid governor won over by Muwiyah shortly after Als death. Ziyd had ujr arrested, charged, and sent to Muwiyah for execution within months of assuming the governorship. There are conflicting reports with regard to ujrs actual guilt in relation to the charges initially brought against him. In the less sympathetic reports of the early narrator Hishm, ujr is a disruptive and increasingly insolent heckler of al-Mughrah and later Amr b. urayth (Ziyds deputy in Kufa) and Ziyd himself.27 He is something of a rabble-rouser, at one point descending from his more noble opposition to the cursing of Al to complain about the withholding of stipends and rations, and thereby inciting many of his fellow Kufans to raise their voices with his own.28 The point is made that ujrs public rejection of the cursing of Al was openly seditious in that environment, regardless of whether he intended to take further action, and his protest and the support of his fellow Kufans may have had baser and more economic motivations. Ab Mikhnaf, on the other hand, paints a more dramatic and sympathetic account of ujrs actions. Here, ujr is patiently loyal to the memory of Al, protesting the cursing of Al with only the most sincere and apolitical intentionsall the while remaining absolutely loyal to his bayah to Muwiyah. While ujrs protests at the cursing of Al had become well-known by the time Ziyd arrives in Kufa, it was ujrs pious protest that the Friday sermon (which probably included a good dose of Umayyad propaganda) had gone on too long, and that the time of the prayer was about to be missed, that finally pushed Ziyd to take concerted action against him. Trumped up charges were compiled against ujr by well-known Umayyad sympathizers or tribal rivals in Kufa, at the slightly threat-

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


ening insistence of Ziyd29who is also reported to have manipulated or fabricated the testimony of those he could not intimidate.30 In Ab Mikhnafs account, the charges brought against ujr are made to seem almost ridiculous. In addition to openly praising and invoking Gods mercy upon Al, ujr is charged with publicly slandering and dissociating from Muwiyah, attacking Umayyad officials and the city itself, and inciting the Kufans to open rebellion. In a separate list of charges that Ziyd has drawn up in order to bolster his case, ujr is further accused of separating himself from the Muslim ummah and rejecting belief in God.31 Ziyd has dozens of the leading men of Kufa testify to ujrs actions, and has a detailed list of the charges and the accusers sent to Muwiyah. While Ab Mikhnaf may have employed some narrative hyperbole hereno other account gives such a lengthy and comprehensive list of charges drawn up by Ziyd his point is clear: Ziyd wanted ujr and his supporters dead, or at least out of Kufa permanently, and he was not taking any chances with Muwiyahs reputation for occasional forbearance. All of the accounts of ujrs stand against the Umayyad governors of Kufa share several important features. First, they all consider ujrs public rejection of the cursing of Al and praise of Uthmn to be the cause of his arrest and eventual execution. None of the accounts of his protestfrom the most hostile to the most flatteringsuggest that he was acting on behalf of any living claimant to power. Although the list of charges brought against ujr in Ab Mikhnafs account includes the vague accusation that he supported a member of the family of the Prophet to lead the community, ujr made no reported reference to the recently deceased al-asan, to his brother, al-usayn, or to any specific figure among the family of the Prophet. This was a protest about Als memory and legacy, not an attempt to resurrect the caliphate in the Alid or Hshimite line. Before he was killed, he was given a chance to renounce the views for which he had been sentenced, and in all accounts, those views are limited to his refusal to curse and dissociate from Al, indicating that this was the true crime for which he was executed. Second, despite the fact that the real charge against him was his failure to disavow Al b. Ab lib, he was also accused of dissociation (barah) and enmity (adwah) toward Muwiyah, and in some accounts, of breaking his ties to the Muslim ummah at large. Whether or not these additional charges are accurateand Ab Mikhnaf denies that they are by reporting that ujr repeatedly affirmed his bayah to Muwiyah as the Amr al-muminn32it is significant that all of the narrators assume a connection between loyalty to Al and the notions of dissociation and enmity toward those who openly oppose him. Continuing loyalty to Al on the part


The Charismatic Community

of his known supporters, seems to have carried with it the suspicion that they did not feel themselves to be fully part of, or reconciled to, the Muslim ummah united under Muwiyah, and that a secessionist tendency lay just below the surface of their outward acquiescence to Umayyad authority. Regardless of the veracity of these charges against ujr and the suppositions on which they were based, the decisiveness and harshness of Ziyd and Muwiyahs treatment of ujr and his supporters likely reflects a deep and abiding fear that the communal sentiment that marked the loyalist Alid camp during the First Civil War had not been fully dissipated. After all, many of those directly involved in supporting ujr, and those who were arrested and killed alongside him, were, like ujr himself, prominent veterans of Als camp in the First Civil War, and a significant number were among the delegation sent by Al to witness the arbitration agreement.33 Thus there may well have been an underlying suspicion that the Shiite camp could be quickly reconstituted to present a substantial threat to Umayyad leadership and the forcibly unified ummah that Muwiyah worked so assiduously to maintain. Finally, all accounts of ujrs execution view it as a kind of martyrdomstressing the passive nature of his resistance. The historian al-Masd states that ujr was the first Muslim killed in captivity (abran) in Islam,34 and all accounts report his pious request that his executioners give him a few minutes to pray before he is killed. Ab Mikhnaf certainly emphasizes the tragedy and injustice of his saga, and there are also reports that figures as varied as al-usayn b. Al35 and ishah bt. Ab Bakr36 reproached Muwiyah for the killing of ujr. Furthermore, Hishm reports that prior to his execution ujr requested that he not be washed before buriala particular prerogative of martyrsand that his chains not be removed, apparently so that his status as a passive and helpless victim of Umayyad brutality might be properly remembered.37 All of these similarities in the various reports of his protest, arrest, and execution indicate that ujrs movement was about pious loyalty to Al, not a legitimist political struggle on behalf of the Alid or Hshimite clan in general and certainly not on behalf of any Alid candidate in particular. If ujr made no leadership claims on behalf of an Alid candidate, and does not seem to have been seeking the leadership for himself, then the swift and brutal Umayyad reaction to his protest is likely explained by a deep Umayyad fear of perceived Shiite sectarian loyalties and the concomitant secessionist tendencies that might be resurrected by the public invocation of Als spiritual station and an open rejection of the regimes practice of cursing him. Moreover, both Shiite and non-Shiite contemporaries, as well as later chroniclers, seem to view the event as a kind of passive martyrdom

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


that is, an essentially nonviolent witnessing to error and injustice that served to highlight the depravity of its perpetratorssuggesting that this notion does not enter into Shiite rhetoric only when the inviolable blood of al-usayn, the grandson of the Prophet, is involved. It would seem that the posthumous cause of Als honor and reputation, more than anything else, inspired ujr and his associates to risk Umayyad wrath, motivated the Umayyad regime to brutal repression, and inspired what al-Masd tells us was the first instance of such passive martyrdom in Islamic history. The actions of Als loyal Shiites after his death suggest something about what their vows of walyah meant. To the extent that they continued to uphold their vow of allegiance to him, they did so, neither by practicing open subversion against Muwiyah nor by seeking posthumous authority for him or (initially) for his posterity, but rather by seeking simply to honor his memory and his reputation. Despite the charges brought against ujr and his supporters, the Shiites do not appear to have invoked barah against Als former enemies, and ujr repeatedly insists that he has not broken his bayah to Muwiyahand by extension, that he has not severed his ties to the ummah as a whole. It seems, then, that during Als caliphate and while he lived, these early Shiites used the language of walyah and adwah/barah to express their attachment to Al both collectively and individually; and under the aegis of this walyah to him and his supporters, they were prepared to sever their bonds of walyah with the rest of the Islamic community (although they did not refer to these other members of the Islamic community as unbelievers, or kfirn). But this radical state had been brought about largely through the personal charisma or spiritual authority that Al had in the eyes of his closest supporters. When Al died, and the source of that charisma was no longer there, his followers ceased their claims of barah, or dissociation, from Als enemies and rejoined the rest of the Islamic community, even if the most loyal of them were not willing to sever their intense bonds of loyalty (walyah in its nonpolitical sense) to Al, himself.

AL-USAYNS STAND AT KARBALA The crisis leading up to the Second Civil War can be said to have begun with the refusal of Ibn al-Zubayr and al-usayn b. Al to give their bayah to Yazd upon Muwiyahs death, and their flight to Mecca to take refuge in the aram of the city in the year 60. Both alusayn and Ibn al-Zubayr would make separate stands against the Umayyadsal-usayn, seeking the promised aid of his supporters in


The Charismatic Community

Kufa, left Mecca and was eventually slaughtered with a small band of followers at Karbala; Ibn al-Zubayr remained in Mecca, fortifying his position in the sacred sanctuary surrounding the Kabah, but was much later attacked and killed by the Umayyad commander, al-ajjj b.Ysuf in the year 73. Ab Mikhnafs account of these events portrays Ibn al-Zubayr as cynically encouraging al-usayn to go to Iraq in an underhanded attempt to remove his greatest rival for a potential Hijazi stand against Umayyad rule.38 While Ibn al-Zubayr may have been glad to have al-usayn out of Mecca, he could hardly have predicted the disastrous turn of events at Karbala or that the Kufan forces or the Umayyads themselves, for that matterwould have had the desire or the courage to shed the blood of the grandson of the Prophet. After all, Ibn al-Zubayrs own stand against the Umayyads relied upon the similarly mistaken assumption that the Umayyads would not attack Mecca, the inviolable city, and that as long as he remained there, he would be immune from Umayyad attack.39 In fact, the Umayyads attacked both al-usayn and the Kabah sanctuary, and it was the violation of these two sacred things, rather than any particular argument about what constituted legitimacy for an Islamic leader, that would earn the Umayyads (and the Sufynids in particular) their infamous reputation in Islamic historiography. If we examine the discourse surrounding the failed revolt of alusayn in the prominent historiesthat is, in the letters, speeches, and quotations they recordwe see two prevalent themes: (1) the notion that current Umayyad rule was not only oppressive but also religiously misguided, and that the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on the reestablishment of right guidance (hud) for the community as a whole, and (2) the notion of al-usayns special positionindeed, his inviolabilityas a direct descendant of the Prophet and as a member of the noble clan of Hshim. It is notable, however, that neither the general claims about the need for right religious guidance nor the anti-Umayyad rhetoric about their violation of the sacred blood of the Prophet or the honor of the Hshimite clan are linked to the more sectarian Shiite notion of walyah, which figured so prominently in the rhetoric of the Alid camp in the First Civil War and in the movement of ujr b. Ad. The use of the terms walyah and adwah do occur in quotations from the participants in the battle of Karbala, but very rarely and in their most general sense. They are in no way absolutized, as they are in the rhetoric of Als supporters during the battles of the First Civil War; and there is no suggestion that the statements of the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm with regard to the walyah of Al somehow also applied to his son, al-usayn, as well.40 In fact, in many instances

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where one would expect a reference to walyah, in the general sense of support, aid, backing, or assistance, the term that is used is nar or nurah, which is synonymous with walyah, when used in that sense, but which has none of the sectarian, charismatic, or absolutist connotations of the term walyah. For example, usaynid supporter al-Zuhayr b. al-Qayn declared to the opposing army at Karbala that the children of Fimah are more deserving of friendship (wudd) and support (nar) than Ibn Sumayyah (= Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd, Umayyad governor of Iraq).41 Later, when al-usayn was urging his friends and family to return to their homes and save themselves from inevitable slaughter, his supporters refused to leave him, making a pledge to sacrifice themselves for his sake. The account reads: Then they stood before him as a group [demonstrating] their support for him (qma . . . al nuratihi) and said: We sacrifice ourselves for you (nafdka anfusan). 42 The tone and style of this report is quite reminiscent of the declarations of self-sacrifice and walyah for Al which we noted in the previous chapter, but here the terminology of nurahhas apparently replaced that of walyah. In fact, it is to nurah that the primary call or dawah is made by al-usayn and his allies. For example, al-Zuhayr b. al-Qayn finishes his speech to the opposing army at Karbala, cited above, with a call to support (nar) for the family of the Prophet:
O people of Kufa! A warning for you of the punishment of God, a warning that a Muslim is obligated to give as advice to his fellow Muslim. Until now, we are brothers and partisans of a single religion and part of a single religious community, given that the sword has not come between us, and you are deserving of sincere advice. But should the sword be drawn, the safeguard (imah) will be broken; we will be an ummah and you will be an ummah. Verily God has tried us through the offspring of His Prophet Muammad (s.), to see what you and we will do. Verily we call you to support of them (narihim) and to the abandonment (khidhln) of the tyrant, Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd. . . .43

Perhaps what is most interesting is that even here, where alZuhayr is threatening an explicitly communal break between those supporting al-usayn and those supporting his opponents, the use of the obvious terminology of walyah and barah is avoided in favor of the less sectarian dichotomy of support (nar) and abandonment (khidhln). At an earlier point, before al-usayn leaves for Kufa, Ibn Abbs goes so far as to declare that nurah for al-usayn is a religious duty (far), just as prayer (alh) and alms-giving (zakh) [were religious duties].44 While this may simply be a figurative way of


The Charismatic Community

speaking (Ibn Abbs, after all, did not accompany al-usayn to Karbala), he nonetheless seems to refer to it as a specific thing, just as alh and zakh were quite specific obligations for a Muslim. Even so, the frequency with which reference is made to so general a concept as nurah or nar for al-usayn throughout the Karbala account, despite the passions and emotions that must have infused the supporters of al-usayn for his cause, suggests that Karbala was seeneither at the time or through the later historiography of the incidentas a nonsectarian event.45 The standard Islamic historical tradition presents the death of al-usayn as a Muslim tragedy, and not an exclusively Shiite one, and it is perhaps for this reason that the historical sources do not record any polemical or ideological use of the concept of walyah or walyah and adwah for al-usayn and his supporters. One might also argue that al-usayn, as the grandson of the Prophet, had an essential legitimacy and needed no statement of walyah to bear witness to his closeness to the Prophet and his legitimate succession to him; as the bearer of the bloodline of the Prophet, his blood was considered inviolable, and his defense on this basis alone should have been a rallying cry for all Muslims. This is certainly the argument presented in the Islamic historiography surrounding the Karbala incidentwhich is striking for its almost thorough unanimity regarding the correct interpretation of the event.46 Perhaps because of this unanimity, prominent Western scholars have also generally seen the event in this light.47 But whether a kind of consensus as to the sacerdotal nature of the descendants of the Prophet was really well-established at the time that Karbala occurred is open to question. After all, al-asan b. Al was likewise the grandson of the Prophet, yet the pro-Alid Kufans apparently had no qualms about physically attacking him just as he was making his way to confront the Syrian army;48 and the historical accounts of this event certainly focus on the notorious perfidy of the Kufans, rather than on the deep offense of shedding the blood of the eldest grandson of the Prophet.49 If the loyalties of the Kufans lay anywhere, it was in the cause of Al, and so one would certainly expect that any attempt by a descendant of Al to gain their support would have involved the invocation of the walyah of Al, in a general sense. The fact is that, according to the historical sources, the revolt of al-usayn does not do this in any substantial way. Alusayns followers rarely invoke the walyah of Al, specifically, or the polemical rhetoric of walyah and adwah/barah, in general, in arguments defending their support of al-usayns cause. While they do refer to themselves in their letters as al-usayns shah and the shah of his father, no reference is made to the notion of walyah toward Al as entailing, in itself, an obligation to aid his son.

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


Rather, certain reports scattered throughout the historical sources suggest that al-usayn may have already established his own legitimacy and leadership potential during, or shortly after, his fathers death. We have already noted that al-usayn, along with Abd Allh b. Jafar, was reportedly uncomfortable with al-asans decision to seek peace with Muwiyah, and there are reports that other members of Als camp, unhappy with al-asans peace deal with Muwiyah, approached al-usayn to encourage him to take up the banner of the Shiite cause in the face of his brothers abdication. Two separate delegationsone including Jundab b. Abd Allh, al-Musayyab b. Najabah, Sulaymn b. urad, and Sad b. Abd Allh, and the other consisting of Muammad b. Bishr al-Hamdn and Sufyn b. Layl al-Hamdncomplain to alusayn about his brothers actions. On both occasions al-usayn refuses to act against his brothers decision.50 Al-usayn informs them that he himself has given the bayah to Muwiyah in deference to his brother, and quotes the Quranic verse: Verily you may hate a thing in which God has placed much good.51 Yet in one account he seems to leave the door open for future action, telling Jundabs group that they should make contact with him again, when this man is dead.52 It is unclear if he is referring to Muwiyah or al-asan, but other reports state that certain Shiites contacted al-usayn shortly after al-asans death and before Muwiyahs.53 In any case, al-usayn may have offered them some hope, telling them to keep a low profile until he contacted them again at a more propitious time, even if he continuously refused to condemn his brothers actions, expressing his hope elsewhere that both al-asans decision in favor of peaceful surrender and his own decision to fight injustice were well-guided and proper.54 It is impossible to determine whether these stories should be considered factual or whether they represent later interpolations into the historical record from a time after al-usayns brave but tragic stand at Karbala had already well distinguished him from his quietist older brother. But given the hope that these Shiites seemed to have had in al-usayns ability to revive the Shiite cause, and al-usayns absolute and immediate rejection of Yazds succession to the caliphate, it seems plausible that al-usayn had established his reputation as an activist upholder of the Shiite cause even before his brothers death. In a letter that Sulaymn b. urad reportedly sent to al-usayn after al-asans death he writes:
Verily God has made, in you, a greater offspring than the one who has passed away. We are your shah; we are afflicted by what afflicts you, saddened by what saddens you and gladdened by what gladdens you. We await your command.55


The Charismatic Community

It seems, then, that simple descent from either Al or the Prophet himself was not sufficient criteria to secure the respect or even the loyalties of the Shiites. Although membership in the Prophets family (perhaps quite widely construed, as we shall see below, to include all of the Ban Hshim) seems to have been an important or even essential legitimist criterion for these Shiites, their attraction to al-usayn was also likely a function of al-usayns individual personal qualitiesmost notably, his perceived strength and his (albeit cautious) determination to uphold the Shiite cause against Umayyad usurpation and oppression. If there was one thing the Shiites desperately needed in the wake of al-asans abdication, it was a leader to rally around, and even al-usayns tempered responses to their inquiries may have given them great hope.56

The Beginning of al-usayns Rebellion and the Shiite Quest for Right Guidance After Muwiyahs death, the sources indicate that the Shiites in Kufa began to regroup. Having heard of al-usayns rejection of Yazd as caliph and his having taken refuge in the sanctuary of Mecca, they seem certain that their time has come. Both as individuals and as groups, numerous Shiites in Kufa are said to have written to alusayn in the year 60 to express their loyalty to him and their desire for him to come to them. Three joint letters are sent to al-usaynone written by Sulaymn b. urad and signed by a number of veterans of Als Shiite camp; one composed by the Ban Jadah (the sons of Jadah b. Hubayrah, son of Als aunt, Umm Hni); and a separate letter from a number of Kufan tribal nobles (ashrf), none of whom represented strongly pro-Alid figures in earlier conflictsand as many as fifty-three other letters from individuals or small groups were reportedly delivered to him from Kufa by Sulaymn b. urads messengers. The letters all assure al-usayn that he has a substantial and loyal following in Kufa standing ready and willing to support him in his resistance to Yazd and Umayyad control generally. But their urgency in asking him to come to them indicates something of their dependence upon al-usayn to organize and lead their forces, and suggests their relative helplessness or unwillingness to act in the absence of his leadership. In the letter sent to al-usayn from Sulaymn, the plea of the Kufan Shiites to al-usayn is: We have no imm, so come and perhaps God will lead us, with you, to the truth; while Numn b. Bashr57 occupies the governors palace we will not join with him in communal prayer and we will not go out with him for the

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religious holiday (d). . . .58 Although the Kufan Shiites use the term imm which, of course, later becomes the central concept in Imm Shiite doctrine, there can be no doubt that the term is used here in a general rather than sectarian sense. In this case, the term imm undoubtedly signifies both religious and political leadership, but not in the specific meaning it would acquire in later Imm doctrine. It is this plea for an imm that al-usayn addresses most directly in his response to the Kufans, when he says: . . . on my life, the imm is none other than the one who acts according to the Book and who undertakes justice, and the one who follows the religion of Truth, and who devotes his soul to the cause of God.59 The prevalent theme in this exchange is the need for just and legitimate leadership, not only for the Shiites, but for the community as a whole. But such an imm, according to al-usayns comments in this letter, is simply one capable of upholding the basic requirements of Islamic leadership and providing correct religious guidance for his followers. No mention is made of more sectarian Shiite qualificationsfor example, that the leader uphold the walyah of Al, that he be the recipient of Als (or the Prophets) legacy or his waand the issue of al-usayns descent from the Prophet and from Al are not invoked.60 The desire for proper religious guidance characterizes other statements from the supporters of al-usayn at Karbala, and their apparent belief that in al-usayns leadership they had found a replacement for what seemed so irrevocably lost with Al may have motivated many of those supporters to lay down their lives in his defense. For example, one of his non-kinsman supporters at Karbala, Abs b. Ab Shabb, declares:
O Ab Abd Allh! By God, there is no place I lay myself down on the face of the earth, be it near or far, that is dearer and more beloved to me than you, and if I can defend you in the least against harm and death, than to do that would be dearer to me than my own soul and my own blood. Peace be upon you, O Ab Abd Allh, God be my witness that I am following your guidance and the guidance of your father.61

The fatalistic and sacrificial tone of this speech and its invocation of right religious guidance follows a general pattern for such statements of support by the members of al-usayns camp as they reportedly took turns defending him and his family until they had all been killed.62 It should be noted that al-usayn also claims the prerogative of right guidance, but for the Ban Hshim in general, in a poem attributed to him as he stands in the face of the Kufan army.63


The Charismatic Community The Right of the Family and the Sacredness of Prophetic Blood

While neither al-usayn nor his followers seem to have held an absolute view of his religio-political authority, al-usayn does invoke his own unique heritage in appeals both to potential followers and to his enemies. At an earlier point in this saga, after al-usayn had received the letters of support from the Kufan Shiites and the Kufan tribal nobles (ashrf) but before he had set out toward Iraq, al-usayn sent his own letter to the ashrf of Basranot all of whom were committed supporters of his family64soliciting their support for his movement by appealing to his rights as both a descendant of the Prophet and a scion of the noble clan of Hshim. It is quite clear from this letter, and other statements to be examined below, that these two claims to nobilitymembership in the clan of Hshim and descent from the Prophetwere not rigorously distinguished in the appeals of al-usayn or in the ideals of his followers, at least not until the dramatic and shocking conclusion of his movement had become an imminent reality. In his letter to the Basran ashrf, al-usayn writes: . . . we are [the Prophets] family, his supporters (awliy), his executors (awiy), his heirs (warthah) and the most deserving of his station (aaqq al-ns bimaqmihi fil-ns). . . .65 It is interesting to note the difference between al-usayns letter to the Kufan Shiites, on the one hand, and his letter to the Basran ashrf, on the other. In the letter to the Shiites, there is no explicit discussion of Alid legitimacy or al-usayns own legitimacy by virtue of his descent from the Prophet or Al. The letter is concerned only with right guidance for the community in religious matters. By contrast, in the letter to the Basran ashrf, al-usayn does use the terms awliy, awiy, and warthah to refer to the ahl al-bayt, and clearly expresses his belief in their legitimate right to the leadership of the Islamic ummah. Still, it seems unlikely that he is using these terms in a specific, sectarian sense. By identifying himself as a member of the awliy of the Prophet, he seems simply to be making the point that he is among the Prophets kinsmen, and his reported use of the terms waiyyah and warthah may simply refer to the idea that the Ban Hshim were privy to the last testament of the Prophet and were the rightful heirs of his legacy. Indeed, given the audience for the letter, al-usayn may here be making an argument for his legitimacy on the basis of nasab, or noble lineage, an idea that would have resonated with the Basran tribal nobility to whom it was addressed. During the course of the battle of Karbala, al-usayn occasionally argued for his own legitimacy in similar terms when addressing the members of his camp. At one point he declares to his supporters: [W]e are the People of the House (ahl al-bayt), more deserving of this

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authority over you (awl bi-wilyat hdhal-amr alaykum) than these false pretenders (hulil- muddan)!66 However, once disastrous defeat on the plains of Karbala seemed to be the only possible conclusion to the standoff, al-usayn reportedly requested to be allowed to return to the Hijaz in peace in exchange for abandoning his military resistance and, apparently, his legtimist claims to rightful leadership over the Islamic community. At this point, his descent from the Ban Hshim, in general, and from the Prophet, in particular, becomes an argument, not for his religious and political authority but rather for the inviolability of his person, his family, and his blood. He appeals to the leaders of the opposing armymost of them representing the tribal nobility of Kufaon the basis of his noble legacy:
Consider whether killing me and your violation of my sanctity is lawful. Am I not the son of the daughter of your Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and the son of his wa and his cousin and the first to believe in God and to confirm what His Messenger brought from his Lord? Is not amzah, the Lord of the Martyrs (sayyid al-shuhad), the uncle of my father? Is not Jafar al-ayyr Dhul-Janayn my uncle? . . . Verily the Messenger of God (blessings and peace be upon him) said of me and my brother: These two are the lords of the youth of the people of Paradise. (emphasis mine)67

Here, the moral argument against the Kufan army and the Umayyads who had sent them does not exclusively involve the issue of legitimate authority over the community but is rather framed as a protest against their violation of the inviolable: the blood and honor of the Prophets family. The theme of inviolability is also anticipated in a metaphor al-usayn uses elsewhere, comparing his future treatment by the Muslim community to the Jews violation of the Sabbath.68 Yet, note that even when the rhetorical emphasis shifts toward the sacredness or inviolability of al-usayn, this is presented as a function of his descent from both the Prophet and Al. In the quotation cited above, al-usayn appeals to the nobility of other members of the Hshimite clan known for their dedication and fearlessness in the cause of the early Islamic community, not for their blood descent from Muammad. Indeed, he mentions his own brother, the only other direct male descendant of Muammad, only at the very end, and then not by name. In other words, even when the issue of al-usayns personal inviolability is mentioned, it seems to be based at least as much on his Hshimite heritage as on his more specifically Prophetic descent. Nonetheless, the idea that the massacre of al-usayn and his supportersmany of whom were his direct relatives and other


The Charismatic Community

Hshimite clansmenrepresented not just a tragedy or an act of excessive and wanton violence but also a violation of something held sacred in the Islamic community, becomes part of the lens through which this event is viewed in both Sunni and Shiite sources. It is this theme of the inviolability of Muammads family (broadly construed) and the Umayyads as the violators of inviolablerather than the earlier notions of the walyah of Althat will become the rallying point of the Shiite movements throughout the remainder of the first Islamic century, and will continue to resonate throughtout later Kufan antiUmayyad movements.69 Nobility and religious inviolability were the claim of the Ban Hshim generally, and perhaps of the descendants of Muammad particularly, but walyah was clearly a concept of loyalty and attachment specifically connected to the person of Al b. Ab Tlib. As time went on, and as the memory of Ali b. Ab Tlib dimmed somewhat behind new Hshimite claimants, the concept of walyah seems to have correspondingly (but temporarily) lost its central importance in Shiite discourse.

The Aftermath: The Movement of the Penitents In the aftermath of the slaughter of al-usayn, his family members and his supporters at Karbala, two movements arose among the Shiites of Kufa to claim vengeance for the blood of al-usayn, son of Al and grandson of the Prophet. The first of those movements, that of the Tawwbn or Penitents, (6465)70 was led by the prominent members of what could be called the old guard of the Kufan Shiites Sulaymn b. urad and al-Musayyab b. Najabah, two veterans of the Alid camp during the First Civil War. The second movement, by contrast, was led by the ambitious and, it appears, opportunistic alMukhtr b. Ab Ubayd, a figure with loose and questionable historical loyalties to the Shiite cause, who nonetheless was able to rally the Kufan Shiites after the defeat of the Penitents, exact vengeance for alusayn and his family, and temporarily turn Kufa into a Shiite citystate in opposition to both Umayyad and Zubayrid claims (6667). The movement of the Penitents, as its name suggests, was undertaken by a group of contrite Kufan Shiites who deeply regretted their failure to aid al-usayn at Karbala, after having invited him to Kufa. Its stated and apparent purpose was vengeance for al-usayn, on the one hand, and seeking martyrdom as expiation for the sin of having abandoned al-usayn, on the other. Their name, Tawwbn, or Penitents, was adopted in explicit reference to the Quranic passage wherein the followers of Moses responsible for making and worshipping the idolatrous golden calf are told to kill themselves in expiation for

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their sin.71 The Penitent movement and its rhetoric reflect the continuing ethos of patient suffering and martyrdom that informs the accounts of both ujr b. Ad and al-usayn. Clear references are made by Sulaymn and his supporters to the martyrdoms of both ujr72 and al-usayn, who is at one point referred as the martyr son of the martyr73thereby coloring the tragedy of Als own battles and eventual death with the ideal of martyrdom, and establishing martyrdom as a continuing theme in the tragic history of Alid Shiism. At the same time, Sulaymns notion of martyrdom or self-sacrifice as expiation for sin represented a new and original take on the concept of martyrdom, that was, indeed, something rather unique to this event. In fact, the notion of martyrdom as the expiation of sin was so central to this movement that it can be seen to have at times clearly conflicted with the other stated purpose of the movementvengeance for alusayn. If Sulaymn b. urad and his Shiite followers truly sought to exact vengeance for al-usayn, one would assume they would have taken some care to identify and locate the major perpetrators of the massacre and would have made sufficient preparations to carry out their mission. Yet the sources portray Sulaymn b. urads preparations for his expedition as almost willfully negligient and ill-considered, and he rejects calls from some of his own followers to prepare more thoroughly.74 Moreover, he makes the questionable decision to direct his attack against the powerful Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd, who would no doubt be reinforced with strong and capable Syrian troops. Ubayd Allh certainly bore a major share of responsibility for Karbala, having prevented al-usayns supporters from leaving Kufa to join him, and having dispatched the army of Kufan tribesmen to encircle and attack al-usayn. Nevertheless, Ubayd Allh did not himself participate in the battle of Karbala, and was the only major participant in the tragedy to be found in Syrian territory; the other major parties to alusayns slaughter, including the leaders of the army that actually attacked and killed al-usayn, resided in Sulaymns home city of Kufa. Vengeance could certainly have been served had Sulaymn and his followers decided to attack the Kufan tribesmen who had actual blood on their hands and were well within reach. Indeed, in many ways, the Penitents seem to have had little hope of success to begin with, and their religious rhetoricwhich made reference to Quranic passages about God having purchased the lives and property of the believers in exchange for paradise,75 a notion frequently associated with Kharijite calls to martyrdom76suggests that martyrdom and self-sacrifice, not vengeance, were the primary goals of the Penitents. At one point, the Zubayrid governors in Kufa sent a message to Sulaymn, pointing out that the true perpetrators of the Karbala massacre resided in Kufa, and promising support if


The Charismatic Community

Sulaymn were to rise against them, but Sulaymn rejected their offer (which in any case may have been only a ploy). Indeed, the Pentitents succeeded in their quest for martyrdom, facing Ubayd Allh with the full wrath of his Syrian troops at Ayn al-Wardah, between Iraq and Syria in the year 65. Most of the group, including their two leaders, Sulaymn and al-Musayyab b. Najabah, were killed; those that survived fled and made their way back to Kufa, where many would join the movement of al-Mukhtr. Before turning to al-Mukhtrs movement, however, we should examine the other ideals that informed the Penitent movement. The discussion above makes clear that the Penitents had little hope of success, and martyrdom seems to have been the primary goal and expected outcome of their expedition. But what if they had succeeded? What would they have sought then? In a passionate speech to the Kufan Shiites, Sulaymn declares: If we are victorious, we will return this authority to its rightful possessors; if we are struck down, then we are holding to our intention to repent of our sins.77 Before the battle is joined with Ubayd Allh, the Penitents call on their opponents to break their allegiance to Abd al-Malik b. Marwn. They likewise express their rejection of the Zubayrid governors currently ruling over Kufa and their desire to see authority over the community returned to the family of our Prophet, from among whom God brought us blessing and honor.78 Who, precisely, were they referring to under the rubric of the family of the Prophet and whose leadership among this family would they have sought? Their call was for vengeance for al-usayn, but al-usayn was dead, and thus any analysis of their hypothetical loyalties must be based on the parameters of legitimacy and righteousness within which they viewed al-usayns movement and the tragedy of its failure. It should be remembered that the two major organizers and leaders of the Penitent movement were veterans of Als camp in the First Civil War, and therefore partisans to the bayah of walyah and adwah that was so central to that camps notions of sectarian religious identity as discussed in Chapter 3. Although they, like other Kufan Shiites, gave their bayah to Muwiyah and joined the unified community after Als death, it is clear that they still harbored a deeply religious attachment to Al. While Sulaymns original letter to al-usayn made no explicit reference to Al as the source of the Kufan Shiites loyalty to al-usayn, the rhetoric of the Penitent movement connected alusayns legacy and legitimacy closely to that of Al. For them, it seemed, al-usayns status depended as much on his descent from Al as it did on his descent from the Prophet. At one point al-usayn is described as the son of the first Muslim in Islam [i.e., Ali] and the son of the daughter of the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds.79

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


Elsewhere, Sulaymn states that he considers al-usayn, his father and his brother to be the best of Muammads community.80 It is clear that al-usayns spiritual status was intimately tied to Als, at least in the minds of the Penitent leadership; before the battle was joined, Sulaymn b. urad recited for his troops the rules of engagement, noting that the rules represent the tradition of Al b. Ab lib, the Amr al-muminn,81 thus placing this battle rhetorically within the framework of the Alid struggle against the Umayyad usurpation of authority. Given the invocation of explicitly pro-Alid sentiments in this movement and the separationist flavor of Sulaymns rhetoricperhaps emboldened by the relative anarchy engendered by the death of Yazd b. Muwiyahwe do see some use of the rhetorical dichotomy of walyah and adwah among the Penitent leadership. In his letter to the leader of the Madain Shiites, Sad b. udhayfah, Sulaymn implored him to call upon the awliy Allh (friends of God) among your brethren to support the cause.82 Later, Sulaymn would state: We are the enemies of the murderers of [Al and al-usayn] and the awliy of those who love them.83 Al-Musayyab b. Najabah, for his part, vowed to kill the killers of both Al and al-usayn, and declared his dissociation from and enmity toward them and those who supported their views.84 The leader of the Basran Penitent contingent, Muthann b. Mukharribah, stated that Al and al-usayn were killed by a group with whom we are enemies and from whom we have dissociated (nanu . . . minhum burr).85 However, it should be noted that the only Penitents who use the rhetorical structure of walyah and adwah (or barah) are the prominent veterans of Als camp in the First Civil War, and it is clear that, for such as these, the concepts of walyah and adwah or barah remained ideologically powerful, and continued to be the primary framework through which right moral action and communal (rather than merely personal) allegiance was understood and expressed. However, the Penitent movement and the ideas connected with it really represent a merging of the Shiite concept of the sacred and charismatic nature of Als authority, and its claim on their allegiance, with a new concept of the sacredness of the blood and lineage of the Prophet Muammad, as epitomized in the unforeseen and incomprehensibly brutal slaughter of the Prophets younger grandson. As often as Sulaymn b. urad places al-usayns right in the context of his fathers, he also displays and calls forth the particular emotions aroused by al-usayns special status as the grandson of the Prophetevocatively referring to al-usayn as the descendant of our Prophet, his offspring and his progeny, flesh of his flesh and blood of his blood.86 More interesting, however, is the apparent pilgrimage that the


The Charismatic Community

Penitents make to the tomb of al-usayn at Karbala on their way to Syria. We are told that the Penitents spent an entire night camped at the site, engaged in mournful prayer and remembrance of al-usayns death.87 While Sulaymn was likely seeking to bolster the courage and determination of himself and his troops as they faced almost-certain death, the incident is significant. It represents the first recorded instance in Islamic history of organized communal mourning and prayer at the tomb of a deceased and saintly person. There are no references in Islamic sources to such a pilgrimage, for example, to Muammads tomb in Medina at this early point in Islamic history, and Als tomb was reportedly not widely known or publicized at this time (for fear of Umayyad desecration, no doubt). On this occasion Sulaymn b. urad delivered a public prayer, placing both Al and al-usayns religious significance within the conceptual framework of right guidance and martyrdom, saying: O God! Have mercy on al-usayn, the martyr (shahd), son of the martyr, the mahd (rightly-guided one) son of the mahd, the righteous one (iddq), son of the righteous one. . . .88 Ab Mikhnafs account of this event also symbolically connects the sanctity of al-usayn and his blood lineage to that of the sacred aram in Mecca, telling us in richly pictorial language that the Penitents swarmed around the tomb of alusayn more intensely than people swarm around the Black Stone [of the Kabah]. 89 The Black Stone is considered by Muslims to be the most sacred stone embedded in the most sacred structure within the most sacred sanctuary. To connect this stone with the tomb of alusayn is a statement of immense symbolic significance for understanding the concept of the sanctity of al-usayn as the bearer of Prophetic blood. Sulaymn refers to his Umayyad enemies as those who violated the sacred person of al-usayn,90 while another Penitent addresses his opponents on the battlefield of Ayn al-Wardah as destroyers of the sacred House (al-bayt al-arm).91 Thus, the Penitent movement led by Sulaymn b. urad and alMusayyab b. Najabah seems to continue the older pro-Alid emphasis on Als unique personal charisma and the language of walyah and adwah as the framework for determining and expressing communal religious loyalties. But it also shows that it has been emotionally enriched by the newer framework of charismatic legitimacy established in connection with the Karbala ordealincluding notions of the moral imperative of martyrdom first seen in ujrs movement but given unprecedented power by al-usayns, as well as of the concept of the sanctity of the Prophets blood and blood lineage. Both of these would continue to influence the Shiite sense of their own religious vocation and destinyto our own times. But Sulaymn and his fellow Shiites were clearly distraught by the lack of a leader on whom to focus their

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


loyalties after the death of Al and his son, al-usaynwhom they had implored to come to them because of their need for right guidance. While the discourse of the Penitents paid homage to both Al and al-usayn as rightly guided (mahd), and rejected both Umayyad and Zubayrid claimants to authority, it made no claims on behalf of any living Alid or usaynid descendant. Their vague call for the authority of the family of the Prophet reflected, perhaps, a sense of loss and even despair at having no individual source of charismatic or spiritual authority to turn to; and it is perhaps this despair that drove the Penitents to seek redemption in an act of deliberate self-sacrifice.

THE SHIITE UPRISING UNDER AL-MUKHTR B. AB UBAYD If Sulaymn b. urads claims for the family of the Prophet as the rightful possessors of authority was vague and did not put forward the name of any individual candidate, his successor to Shiite leadership in Iraq, al-Mukhtr b. Ab Ubayd, clearly viewed this as a mistakealbeit one that worked very much to his advantage. Throughout this chapter we have suggested that in the aftermath of the First Civil War, the fledgling Shiite community composed of the remnants of Als camp, seemed to be in need of nothing so desperately as leadershipsomeone to fill the void left by Als controversial but charismatic leadership. From Qays plea to his men that they continue the struggle against the Syrians without an imm, to the Shiites bitter disappointment over al-asans abdication, to the Kufan Shiites invitation to al-usayn to be the imm that they lacked, to the sentimental despair of the Penitents, the Shiite community seemed deeply paralyzed without a source of charismatic leadership. Al-Mukhtr was a man of action, if nothing else, and he seems to have correctly assessed the deep and abiding longing of the Kufan Shiites for moral leadership and right guidance, and understood that mobilizing them successfully depended upon this. Al-Mukhtr began his resistance to the Umayyads fighting with Ibn al-Zubayr in Mecca; but he soon realized that his career potential in Zubayrid service was limited. While he was in Mecca mulling his opportunities, al-Mukhtr learned of the situation of the Shiites in Iraq, and decided to go to them, promising to call them to right guidance and communal solidarity.92 Al-Mukhtr was a figure with somewhat dubious links to the Shiite movement. He first appears in the sources as the nephew of the governor of Madain during al-asans brief claim to the caliphate. When the Shiites attacked al-asans camp at Madain, al-Mukhtr cynically advised his uncle to arrest al-asan and turn him over to Muwiyah to gain political (and perhaps monetary) advantage. He


The Charismatic Community

appears again in connection with the Karbala drama when he supports al-usayns emissary to Kufa, Muslim b. Aql, and gives him temporary shelteronly to abandon him (like countless other Kufans) under the threat of Ubayd Allhs repression. Both mainstream historical sources and later Imm Shiite works portray him as a shameless liar who exaggerated or fabricated claims to his own spiritual authority. He was undoubtedly an opportunist, but one who pursued his agenda with great personal vigor and at substantial risk to his own life. Perhaps it was ruthless ambition and self-delusion that led him to risk so much, but he did achieve some significant success, and reportedly drew some favorable comments from important Shiite and Alid figures, including three of the Imm Imms.93 After initially challenging Sulaymn b. urad for the leadership of the Shiites in Kufa, he succeeded in re-organizing and inspiring the demoralized survivors of the Penitent movement, as well as those Shiites who had sat it out in Kufa, by appealing to their need for legitimate and active leadership. He told the returning survivors of the Penitent movement that Sulaymn was a righteous leader who had attained the station of martyrdom, but that he was not the one who could grant them victory over their enemies and properly avenge the death of al-usayn. Rather, he claimed that he himself represented the commissioned leader, the trustworthy and entrusted one, the commander of the army, the killer of tyrants, the one who takes vengeance from the enemies of religion.94 He would indeed make good much more so than Sulaymn b. uradon his promise to exact vengeance for the death of al-usayn. After mobilizing a successful Shiite take-over of Kufa in the year 66, he and his men reportedly killed hundreds of the main perpetrators of the Karbala massacre, including Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd, as well as Umar b. Sad and Shamir b. Dhil-Jawshan, two prominent leaders of the Kufan army. Al-Mukhtrs claim to authority, however, was based upon the (apparently) false premise that he was acting as the designated emissary of Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, the well-known and widely respected but non-Fimid son of Al b. Ab lib. Muammad b. alanafiyyah was present at the battles of the First Civil War, but like al-asan and al-usayn, he had retired to the Hijaz. On the whole, Muammad seems to have espoused the quietist views of al-asan rather than the more activist ones usually attributed to al-usayn and the Shiites of Kufa. He did not, for example, participate in the battle of Karbala, and reportedly submitted without resistance to Umayyad authority, giving his bayah to Yazd and eventually developing modestly good relations with the Marwnids who succeeded to Umayyad leadership after the Second Civil War. Ibn al-anafiyyah did not send al-Mukhtr, and there is little indication that the two had even met

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


prior to al-Mukhtrs campaign. Yet, when a small group of skeptical Shiites from Kufa journeyed to Mecca to ask Ibn al-anafiyyah about al-Mukhtr, he gave a vague endorsement of his activities, by way of offering encouragement and gratitude to anyone capable of avenging al-usayn and sating his familys desire for vengeance. This apparently convinced the members of the delegation, who returned to Kufa to bolster al-Mukhtrs leadership claims among their Shiite brethren in the citymuch to al-Mukhtrs pleasure (and surprise).95 How is it, though, that al-Mukhtr could rally the hitherto fearful and reluctant Shiites of Kufa to rise up so effectively in the name of a non-Fimid, and thus non-Prophetic, descendant of Al, when the outrage over al-usayns massacre at Karbala had apparently given rise to a new emotional and legitimist concern over the sacred lineage of the Prophet? Al-Mukhtr seems to have done this by framing the tragedy of Karbala as a grave injustice to the family of the Prophet whose leading figure remained, in the eyes of the Kufan Shiites, Al himselfand as another lost opportunity for the return of moral leadership and right guidance to the community. Al-Mukhtr promoted the legitimacy of Muammad b. al-anafiyyah to his Kufan Shiite audience by invoking his Alid lineage in rhetorical terms that played skillfully on the sentiments of the Kufan Shiite community. He famously referred to Muammad b. al-anafiyyah by the titles of mahd (rightly-guided) and imm of guidance,96 and frequently referred to him as al-mahd ibn al-mahd (rightly guided, son of the rightly guided), thereby presenting him as a natural candidate to restore rightly-guided leadership in the Alid line. After gaining control of Kufa, al-Mukhtr ascended the minbar and called the crowd to a rightlyguided bayah, telling them that it represented the most rightly-guided bayah entered into since those given to Al and his family; and a local poet triumphantly declared after al-Mukhtrs victory: Right guidance has returned to its seat . . . to the Hshimite [i.e., Muammad b. alanafiyyah], the rightly guided, son of the rightly guided.97 Right guidance, it would seem then, still belonged properly to the Hshimite clan in the eyes of many Kufan Shiites. There can be little doubt that the tragedy at Karbala had raised new concern over the particular sanctity of the bloodline of the Prophetan idea that would become, in many ways, the cornerstone of Shiite legitimism, the emotional center of Shiite sentiment, and the basis of later nonShiite notions of the distinct nobility (sharfah) of Prophetic descent and had established the ideal of martyrdom as central to the communitys sense of religious purpose and identity. But perhaps these things had still to be processed by the battle weary Kufan Shiite community. Al-Mukhtrs success makes it quite clear that at this point Al continued to be the paradigmatic embodiment of rightly-guided,


The Charismatic Community

legitimate, and activist leadership, and the Kufans seem perfectly willing to accept the idea that such charismatic spiritual authority passed through Alid, as well as Prophetic, lineage. Al-Mukhtr connected the spiritual authority of Al with that of his son, Muammad b. alanafiyyah, largely through the concept of waiyyah, or testament. One of the popular titles assigned to Al in the extant poetry and discourse of the First Civil War was that of wa or legatee/executor [i.e., of a will or final testament] of the Prophet. At Als deathbed, al-asan, al-usayn, and Muammad b. al-anafiyyah were reportedly present to receive his waiyyah. By the time of al-Mukhtrs campaign, Muammad was the only living witness to that final testament, and so could legitimately and uniquely be referred to as Als wa, and al-Mukhtr called him the wa ibn al-wa (the legatee, son of the legatee).98 The passing of spiritual authority via testament or waiyyah (rather than blood lineage) would continue to play an important role in the rhetoric of succession and legitimacy in the Kaysn Shiism that begins with al-Mukhtrs movement and culminates in the Abbsid revolution many decades later. Muammad b. alanafiyyahs son, Ab Hshim, would claim the mantle of his fathers legitimacyand through him, that of Al and the Prophet himself on the basis of waiyyah; and this spiritual leadership was later reported to have been passed (again, as a waiyyah) from Ab Hshim to the Abbsid family through Muammad b. Al b. Abd Allh b. Abbs. The concept of the transmission of spiritual and charismatic authority through waiyyah or deliberate designation of an executor of ones legacyconnected with, but not limited to, notions of a family inheritanceappears to have been an equally compelling idea to that of the passage of spiritual authority through the bloodline of the Prophet among many Kufan Shiites throughout the Umayyad period. It is interesting, however, that despite the fact that putting forward the legitimacy of a non-Fimid son of Al required an emphasis on Alid rather than Prophetic descent, al-Mukhtr does not raise the issue of Als own legitimacy as it is tied to the event of Ghadr Khumm or the notion of walyah that is so intimately connected with the person and personal spiritual authority of Al. The polemical notions of walyah and adwah/barah, so prevalent among all parties in the First Civil War as the framework within which loyalty to legitimate leadership and religious community were defined, are invoked with increasing rarity after Als death, and then specifically among veterans of the First Civil War. This terminology is conspicuously absent from the Shiite rhetoric of al-Mukhtr and his supporters, which focused instead on the concepts of right guidance (hud) and testament (waiyyah), although later Kaysn poets, notably al-Sayyid al-imyar, did invoke Ghadr Khumm and the concept of walyah. In the decades between the First

The Shiite Community in the Aftermath of the First Civil War


and Second Civil Wars, however, as well as during the period of the Second Civil War itself, it is Kharijites, rather than Shiites, who make the most systematic, polemical use of walyah and barah, as seen particularly in the rhetoric of Nfi b. al-Azraq.99 Given the particular connection of walyah to Al personally and to his camp in the First Civil War, it is perhaps natural that as the Shiite community became increasingly separated in time from Als leadership, as new candidates for leadership of the community arose, and as the passionate veterans of Als camp died off, the concept lost some of its importance in Shiite rhetoric; eventually, among certain Shiite groups, it seems to have been largely eclipsed by other notions of spiritual authority and spiritual community. Yet, Al remained the primary, if symbolic, locus of charismatic authority for the Shiite community. It is perhaps because of the continued centrality of Al and Alid legitimacy that the concept of walyah, that was so intimately associated with him, was never entirely forgotten. In the early second century, the concept would be restored to its central prominence in Shiite discourse, forming the intellectual basis of a theologically complex construction of Shiite authority and community developed under Muammad al-Bqir and his son, Jafar al-diq.

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Walyah, Faith, and the Charismatic Nature of Shiite Identity

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Walyah as the Essence of Religion

Theological Developments at the Turn of the Second Islamic Century

n the early decades of the second centurya period that encompasses the immate of Muammad al-Bqir and the early part of the immate of Jafar al-diqthe concept of walyah seems to become important once again, not only as an expression of Alid authority but also as a principle of membership in a loose Shiite community, or even, from the Shiite perspective, a prerequisite for full membership in the Islamic community itself. As discussed in the previous chapter, the concept of walyah as an expression of Alid devotion and Shiite solidarity plays a less central role in the recorded speeches and discourse of pro-Alid activists after the failure of ujr b. Ads protest and through the end of the first Islamic century. It does not play a major role in the reported rhetoric of al-usayns stand against the Umayyads, the Penitent movement that followed it, or in the temporarily successful seizure of Kufa by al-Mukhtr and the early Kaysn Shiite movement. Yet a variety of Shiite literary and adth sources originating in the early second century suggest that, by this time, walyah had once again become a fundamental concept in Shiite discourse across the ideological divide between moderate (or proto-Zayd), Kaysn and Rfi (or proto-Imm) groups. Moreover, the concept of walyah, especially in its connection with Ghadr Khumm, was not merely resurrected in this period but was also substantially embellished and fundamentally reinterpreted. 103


The Charismatic Community

Walyah continues, even in this period, to be associated primarily with Al b. Ab lib personally, or with the ahl al-bayt collectively. If the reference is not to walyat Al, then it is to walyat ahl al-bayt or walyat l Muammad. In the case of the individual Shiite, the concept of walyah denoted a state of absolute allegiance and devotion to the ahl al-bayt and a recognition of their exclusive right to legitimate leadership of the community, but it also implied membership in a community that increasingly viewed itself as a spiritually privileged elect. As it pertains to the Imm, walyah refers, on the lowest level, to his state as the deserving recipient of Shiite spiritual and political allegiance, and on the highest level, to the cosmic station conferred upon Al and his descendants in preeternity (see our discussion in Chapter 7). What I hope to demonstrate here is that this fuller elaboration of the nature of walyah, drawn primarily from a more doctrinal interpretation of the statement of the Prophet at Ghadr Khumm, is a theological development that takes place in the context of early second-century Shiite thought, perhaps during the lifetime of Muammad al-Bqir, and certainly before the systematic doctrinal formulation of the Shiite immate in the time of Jafar al-diq and the early Abbsid period.

REINTERPRETING GHADR KHUMM The relationship between the walyah of God, the walyah of the Prophet, and the walyah of Al b. Ab lib was clearly established in the words of the Ghadr Khumm tradition as the Prophet is reported to have spoken them: Man kuntu mawlhu fa-Al mawlhu. Allhumma wli man wlhu wa di man dhu (For whomever I am their mawl, Al is their mawl; O God, be the friend of the one who is his friend and be the enemy or the one who is his enemy). In these reported words, the Prophet attributes to both Al and himself the station of mawl of the believers. That is, from the point of view of walyah, the Prophet and Al would hold the same station, although the Prophets superiority could be found in the aspect of nubuwwah, or prophecy, that none after him, according to Islamic doctrine, would possess. At the same time, the Prophet implores God to equate Als friends and enemies with His own, thereby making the supporters of Al the possessors of the rank of awliy Allh (friends of God). The Shiite interpretation of the Ghadr Khumm tradition that apparently emerged in the early decades of the second century consisted of two main ideas: first, that the Prophets words on this occasion established walyah as an obligatory religious duty (farah) with the same importance as prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage,

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


meaning that only with the practice of walyah was ones religion complete; and second, that Ghadr Khumm represented a Prophetic nomination of Al and his descendants as the immediate political and spiritual successors to the Prophet, not only challenging the legitimacy of the caliphates of Ab Bakr and Umar but also accusing them of flagrant disobedience to the Prophetan idea which, as we observed previously, neither Al himself nor most of his early followers seem to have held. The standard Shiite presentation of the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm as found in Imm adth sources places them between the revelation of two separate Quranic versesQuran V:67, O Messenger! Make known that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord, for if you do it not, you will not have conveyed His message and Quran V:3, This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion, Islam. The contextualization of the Prophets widely reported words on this occasion between these two Quranic verses forms the basis of the Shiite argument that the walyah of Al was divinely ordained, and therefore represented much more than a particular, sectarian, or religio-political affiliation: It was an intrinsic part of the very outward submission to the message of God in the Quran (islm), and was, in fact, its perfection. There is good reason to believe that both the standard Shiite interpretation of the Ghadr Khumm tradition and its contextualization between these two Quranic verses was developed in the first decades of the second century. A comparative study of the various treatments of the event of Ghadr Khumm in different literary and adth sources indicates that while the event was universally important for all types of Shiite discourse in this period, its sectarian and doctrinal interpretation was still under construction. The Hshimiyyt of the famous early second-century Shiite poet Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asad is perhaps the earliest datable source that mentions Ghadr Khumm explicitly. Kumayt (d. 126) lived into the immate of Jafar al-diq, according to Shiite sources,1 but he apparently flourished during the time of Muammad al-Bqirs tenure (95114/117). There are numerous traditions that record al-Bqirs personal encounters with Kumayt, including occasions on which he personally praised Kumayt for his laudatory poems about the ahl al-bayt.2 The Hshimiyyt is essentially a collection of pro-Alid, or more accurately, pro-Hshimite,3 verses composed by this early poet, that has existed as a unit at least since the early fourth century, when a Basran philologist wrote a commentary on it4although the material it contains is clearly earlier than that. Ghadr Khumm is an essential argument for this poet in his defense of Shiite sentiment and support for Al b. Ab lib, and in his poetic accounts he presents Ghadr Khumm as the occasion on which


The Charismatic Community

the Prophet made walyah toward Al an explicit duty incumbent upon all members of his community. The sixth poem of this collection reads:
And the day of the outspreading, the outspreading of Ghadr Khumm, He clearly announced walyah for him [i.e., Al], had he been obeyed. But the men sold it [walyah], And I have not seen a selling as significant as this. And I do not bring a curse upon them, but The first of them to do this did harm, For the nearest of them to justice turned To injustice, and the most heedful of them, became prodigal. They neglected (or squandered) the matter of their leader, and thus The most upright among them strayed from the road in the face of the two events.5

Kumayts verses stress the importance of the issue of walyah toward Al in the eyes of the Prophet, and for the good of the community as a whole. Yet the announcement at Ghadr Khumm is presented as a prophetic announcement, not as a divine command as it would be in later Imm interpretation. There is no allusion to any kind of direct or indirect divine provenance for the Prophets words on that occasion, and its wording suggests that a rejection of the walyahof Al constitutes disobedience toward the Prophet rather than toward God. The verses also contend that those who initially rejected or neglected the command regarding the walyah of Al should not be cursed, even if they have done harm to the community in thwarting the assumption of power by its legitimate authority. Thus, the position of Kumayt in this poem seems to be either prior to, or a reaction against, the emergence of the Rfi or proto-Imm point of view in the early decades of the second century. In another poem, he takes a similarly moderate position regarding the first two caliphs:
I love Al, the Commander of the Faithful But I am not pleased with the reviling (shatm) of Ab Bakr and Umar. And I do not say, even if those two did not give Fadak Or the inheritance to the daughter of the Messenger, that they have disbelieved. God knows what excuse they will bring On the Day of Resurrection, when they plead their defense. Verily the Messenger, the Messenger of God said to us Verily the wal is Al, regardless of what he renounces.

Walyah as the Essence of Religion

In the [same] position in which God has placed the Prophet He did not give [this position] to anyone of His creatures previously. He [Al] is the imm, the immof truth, we know, Not like those two [Ab Bakr and Umar] who seek our error in what they plot. Whoever compelled him out of spite, he will persist in it Until his nose is seen covered in dust.6


Here, Kumayt leaves no doubt that the announcement at Ghadr Khumm (alluded to in the words: Verily the Messenger . . . told us that Al is the wal . . . in the [same] position in which God put the Prophet) represented a political as well as a spiritual appointment for Al as leader of the community, referring to Al as the Amr almuminn (a title of the reigning caliphs from the time of Umar), and later as the imm; and he definitely espouses the perspective common to both Zayd and Rfi/Imm Shiites that despite the actions of Ab Bakr and Umar, Al represents the rightful imm. Yet he takes a slightly contradictory approach toward Ab Bakr and Umar, refusing to accuse them of kufr, but also expressing considerable disdain for their actions and suggesting that they engaged in conscious plotting to lead the community into error on the issue of its rightful leadership and to compel Al to acquiesce to it. This would seem to place him somewhere between the moderate Zayd perspective, which held that the first two caliphs may have been acting in good faith, despite their error,7 and the Rfi perspective which considered their actions tantamount to kufr. Whether Kumayt leaned more heavily toward the Zayd or Rfi perspective, however, he clearly considered Ghadr Khumm to be central to the Shiite perspective. In this poem, as in the previous one, he presents it as a prophetic rather than divine pronouncement, but also tells us that by establishing Al as wal, the Prophet in effect placed Al in the same position in which God placed the Prophet himself, and that this position had not been given to any other human being previously. The second-century Shiite poet most concerned with Ghadr Khumm, however, is the slightly later figure of al-Sayyid al-imyar (died between 173 and 179), who was not a proto-Imm but rather a Kaysn Shiite, awaiting the return of the mahd, Muammad b. alanafiyyah. (Reports of his conversion to the Jafar Shiite school should probably be discounted.)8 Ghadr Khumm is a theme that runs throughout his poetry,9 which is largely comprised of praise traditions (fail) about Al in particular. The treatment of Ghadr Khumm by this Kaysn Shiite poet is closer to the Rfi or Imm Shiite


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interpretation of the event than what we have seen in Kumayts poetry. Like Kumayt, he considers the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm to have established the walyah of Al as a religious duty for all Muslims, but here he directly states that this represents a divine, rather than merely prophetic, command:
And at Khumm, since God said, with resolution: Establish, O Muammad, walyah, and address [them] And appoint Abul-asan [= Al] for your people, verily he is a guide and I did not tell you [this] that you should refrain from appointing [him]. So [the Prophet] called him and then called them and stood him before them, and explained truth from falsehood.10

This poem emphasizes the divine provenance of the Ghadr Khumm announcement, and also suggests a certain hesitance on the part of the Prophet about making the announcement. Both these ideas figure prominently in the more embellished Rfi/Imm versions of the event, but not in more moderate Shiite interpretations, such as those offered in the Hshimiyyt of Kumayt. While al-Sayyids poetry never explicitly says that this divine command is in the category of tanzl, or direct Quranic revelation, he refers to it as a kind of way11a word which may, in some Imm Shiite contexts, refer to nonscriptural inspiration, but which is more commonly used for Quranic revelation. He asserts elsewhere that Gabriel was the bearer of this divine inspiration to the Prophet,12 and in one case he describes this divine mandate regarding the walyah of Al as a rislah13a term usually reserved for scriptural revelation. Similar thematic concerns regarding Ghadr Khumm can be found in the early Shiite work, Kitb Sulaym b. Qays.14 In this text, as in the work of the second-century Shiite poets, Ghadr Khumm is an important theme, and various versions and interpretations of the Prophets words on that occasion can be found throughout the work. Nearly all of the accounts of Ghadr Khumm in Kitb Sulaym include lengthy extrapolations from the standard text of the tradition, as recorded in the majority of sources. Like the poetic elaborations found in the work of Kumayt and al-Sayyid al-imyar, the narrations in Kitb Sulaym are concerned with showing that walyah toward Al, as announced at Ghadr Khumm, represented the final religious duty (farah) revealed by God through the Prophet and that this announcement represented an official nomination of Al as immediate successor to the Prophet. The accounts in Kitb Sulaym move even further toward what would become the Imm perspective on this issue by extending the

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


walyah established for Al at Ghadr Khumm to his descendants as well. In Kitb Sulaym, the divine provenance of the Ghadr Khumm pronouncement is consistently stressed by situating the Prophets announcement between the revelation of the two Quranic verses (V:67 and V:3) that form part of the Imm Shiite version of the event.15 In one version of the Ghadr Khumm tradition found in Kitb Sulaym, the Prophet is asked about certain Quranic verses that Shiite tradition considers to pertain specifically to Al and the ahl al-bayt. They include: . . . obey God and obey the Messenger and the possessors of authority among you (ulul-amr minkum)16 and verily you have no wal save God, His Messenger, and those who believe, who perform the prayer, giving alms while they are bending down [in prayer]. . . .17 The Prophet is asked whether these verses refer to all believers or only some of them. In response to their confusion, we are told, the Prophet was commanded to make known the possessors of authority among them and to explain walyah to them, as he had explained prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage to them.18 Walyah thus represents a farah as specific as these other four, and is one of Gods decrees for the Muslim community at large. The notion that the Prophets statement at Ghadr Khumm represented an official designation of Al as the immediate political successor to the Prophet takes the form of arguments allegedly made by Al and his supporters to those who challenged his authority. In one narration, Al makes his case to the members of the shr convened after Umars death who opposed his candidacy. Addressing alah b. Ubayd, he argues:
The proofO alahof the falseness of their testimony, is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) on the day of Ghadr Khumm: For whoever it is the case that I am closer (awl) to him than he is to his very self, Al is [also] closer to him than he is to himself. Thus, how can it be that I am closer to them than they are to their very selves while they have authority over me?!19

This report represents a different version of Als speech on his own behalf before the shr committee than that which was quoted and discussed in Chapter 3. In this account, the context of Ghadr Khumm is specifically mentioned as the location of the Prophets words regarding Als walyah, and Al explicitly argues that these words represent an irrefutable basis of his own authority. The walyah of Al, as announced by the Prophet, is portrayed as entirely incompatible with any


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other member of the Islamic community exercising political authority over hima point of view that Al does not express in sources outside of Shiite doctrinal literature (it is not found, for example, even in pro-Shiite histories or in the Nahj al-balghah). In another narration found in Kitb Sulaym, Abd Allh b. Jafar [b. Ab lib] recounts for Muwiyah b. Ab Sufyn, a version of the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm that identifies the walyah commanded for Al with his political authority, and extends this authority to his descendants as well. After a standard narration of the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm, Abd Allh b. Jafar attributes the following additional statements to the Prophet on this occasion:
. . . O people! I am closer to the believers than they are to their very selves, they have no authority over me. After me, Al is closer to the believers than they are to themselves, they have no authority over him. Then my son al-asan [b. Al] is closer to the believers than they are to themselves, they have no authority over him. Then my son al-usayn [b. Al] after his brother is closer to the believers than they are to themselves, they have no authority over him. . . . If my son al-usayn should be martyred, then my son Al b. al-usayn . . . and if he is martyred, then his son, Muammad [al-Bqir] . . . Then there will be men from the offspring of Muammad [al-Bqir], one after the other and [the people] will have no authority over them.20

Even if such a confrontation did take place between Abd Allh b. Jafar and Muwiyah, Abd Allhs reported extension of the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm to specific descendants of Al must clearly be considered spurious. However, the anti-Zayd line the adth takes (i.e., limiting authority to the usaynid descendants of Al, and then further limiting authority after Muammad al-Bqir to his offspring, thereby excluding his brother Zayd), as well as the fact that the adth does not go on to mention the name of Jafar aldiq or later Imms, argues for dating the origin of the tradition shortly after the rebellion of Zayd, but before Jafar al-diq had definitively established himself as al-Bqirs successor. Moreover, the emphasis on the usaynid line in this tradition may represent a reaction to growing support for asanid claimants to the immate, notably for Muammad b. Abd Allh (al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah), whose father reportedly began making claims on his behalf some time between the death of Zayd (122) and the onset of the Abbsid revolution (132).21 Thus, there is good textual evidence to suggest that this reference to Ghadr Khumm, like those discussed earlier in this chapter, is authentically early, almost certainly originating in the early second century. Taken together, these references provide sub-

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


stantial evidence for the importance of Ghadr Khumm and the sectarian concept of walyah in the early, and as yet unsystematic, Shiite thought of the late Umayyad period.

GHADR KHUMM AND WALYAH IN CANONICAL IMM ADITH Turning to later Imm Shiite compilations, we find the notion of walyah as a divinely ordained religious duty linked to the event of Ghadr Khumm in several canonical traditions with varying isnds. Most of these adth come in the context of Muammad al-Bqirs commentary on the two Quranic verses associated with Ghadr Khumm in Shiite accounts: O Messenger, make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord (V:67) and This day I have perfected for you your religion (V:3). While there are some traditions attributed to Jafar al-diq on this same subject, these traditions are generally short and cursory by comparison with those attributed to alBqir, which tend to be lengthy, narrative, and explanatory.22 Traditions containing al-Bqirs commentary on these two verses are related almost exclusively by Abul-Jrd Ziyd b. Mundhir, a close disciple of the fifth Imm and a principal transmitter of his tafsr. Abul-Jrd also reportedly became a follower of Jafar al-diq after al-Bqirs death, but later supported the rebellion of al-diqs uncle, Zayd b. Al in the year 122. He is the eponymous founder of the Jrdiyyah, the Zayd Shiite sect that is closest in doctrine to the Imms.23 In Madelungs early study Der Imm al-Qsim ibn Ibrhm, he notes that even after Abul-Jrds adoption of the Zayd point of view, he and other prominent Jrd Zayds, who had also been members of Muammad al-Bqirs circle of disciples, continued to propagate al-Bqirs personal teachings on theological and legal issues,24 which explains the similarity between the Jrd and Imm perspectives.25 Despite this ideological closeness, however, AbulJrd was decisively repudiated by the followers of al-diq.26 More importantly, Abul-Jrd, unlike other disciples of al-Bqir who lived into the time al-diq, rarely relates traditions from al-diq or from anyone but al-Bqir or the fifth Imms prominent contemporaries, suggesting that he remained outside Imm Shiite circles after his decision to support Zayd b. Al.27 Most of the material related from him in Imm sources is in the form of tafsr traditions, which were likely taken from his book of tafsr, related on the authority of al-Bqir, which was well-known in Imm circles.28 For all of these reasons, traditions related on Abul-Jrds authority in Imm Shiite sources almost certainly originate in Abul-Jrds own lifetime and likely


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reflect the Shiite views put forward specifically by al-Bqir and his circle of disciples. Thus, it is thus significant that Abul-Jrd is the principal transmitter of the two lengthy traditions from al-Bqir that present the most detailed and direct connection between walyah as a religious duty (farah) and the Prophets statements about Al in connection with the Farewell Pilgrimage.29 In one of these traditions, the revelation about walyah comes on the day of Araft, the second day of the pilgrimage rites, and the same day on which the Prophet, in Sunni tradition, is said to have given a different farewell sermon before the revelation of the verse This day I have perfected for you your religion (V:3).30 In fact the way in which the walyah of Al is revealed according to this particular Shiite tradition is in many ways identical to the manner in which the Prophet is said to have delivered the last sermon at Araft, according to Sunni tradition, particularly in his thrice calling upon God to witness that he has delivered the message to the community and that they have understood:
[Al-Bqir] said: God made five duties incumbent upon His servants: They follow four of them and abandon one. [Abul-Jrd] said: Can you name them for me, may I be your ransom? He said: Prayer; and they did not know how to pray, so Gabriel was sent down and he said: O Muammad, inform them about the times of their prayer. Then alms-giving was revealed and [Gabriel] said: O Muammad, inform them about their alms-giving as you informed them about their prayer. Then the fast was revealed, and the Messenger of God used to send to those in the outlying regions on the day of shr31 and they would fast this day; then the month of Raman between [the months of] Shabn and Shawwl was revealed. Then the pilgrimage was revealed, so Gabriel descended and said: Inform them about their pilgrimage as you informed them about their prayer and their alms-giving and their fasting. Then walyah was revealed and this only came to [the Prophet] on the Friday at Araft [during the Farewell Pilgrimage]. God revealed: This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor unto you, and the perfection of religion was through walyah to Al b. Ab lib . . . and it was revealed: O Messenger, make known that which has come to you from your Lord, so the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him) took the hand of Al and said: O people! Verily no prophet has come before me, except that God extended his life until He called upon him [to take him from this world] and he responded; and the time is nigh that He will [call upon me] and I will respond. I will be questioned and you will be questioned,32 so what will you say? They said: We bear witness that you have

Walyah as the Essence of Religion

made known to us and advised [us] and called us to that which you were charged with; may God reward you with the best of the rewards of the messengers. So [the Prophet] said: O my God, bear witnessthree times. Then he said: O family of Muslims, this one [Al] is your wal after me, so let those of you who are present inform those who are absent. 33


The adth later mentions the afah of Fimah, which, according to Shiite tradition, records the personal names of all the Imms. This juxtaposition of the revelation of the duty of walyah with the notion of the Prophets waiyyah specifying the names of all the Imms from among Als descendants makes the point that the Prophets statement about walyah, as revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage, pertained not only to Al but to his descendants as well. The other standard version of this tradition found in Imm Shiite sources is related by Abul-Jrd in conjunction with a number of other prominent disciples of Muammad al-Bqir, who, unlike Abul-Jrd, later became important disciples of al-diq. In this version, the pronouncement regarding walyah is situated at Ghadr Khumm, rather than at Araft,34 and the divine provenance of the statement at Ghadr Khumm is made clear through references to Gods command for the walyah of Al, as well as through references to other Quranic verses that Shiites understand as pertaining to the walyah of Al, including (V:55), You have no wal save God, His Messenger, and those who believe. . . . Both of these traditions demonstrate the importance of the Prophets statement at Ghadr Khumm (even if one of the traditions does not locate the announcement at Ghadr Khumm specifically) to the Shiite perspective of al-Bqir and his close disciples, since their transmission through Abul-Jrd makes it almost certain that they authentically originated in these circles, and as part of alBqirs well-known Quran commentary of which Abul-Jrd was an important transmitter. WALYAH AS ONE OF THE PILLARS OF ISLAM The idea of walyah as an obligatory religious duty (farah) is also explicitly asserted in Shiite adth narrations about the pillars (daim) of Islam. In these Shiite daim traditions, as in the Ghadr Khumm traditions already discussed, walyah is not simply an abstract theological or political point of view but is considered a duty incumbent upon every Muslim as part of fundamental religious practice. The most common formulation of the Shiite daim tradition is attributed primarily to al-Bqir. In its most basic form, this tradition reads:


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Islam is built upon five: prayer, alms-giving, fasting, pilgrimage and walyah; and not one of them was proclaimed, the way walyah was proclaimed.35

This version is not only the simplest, and therefore likely the earliest, but it also seems to be directly related to those Ghadr Khumm traditions just discussed, in that it ends with the curious phrase and not one of them was proclaimed the way that walyah was proclaimed. This proclamation is almost certainly a reference to the Prophets announcement at Ghadr Khumm; in fact, one variant of this tradition adds: and not one of them was proclaimed the way that walyah was proclaimed on the day of Ghadr.36 There are other variations of the tradition,37 including one that places walyah first in the list.38 But in the multiple versions of this tradition attributed to al-Bqir, there is no variation in the content of the pillarsthey all include walyah. In other versions of the daim tradition attributed to al-Bqir, variants upon the basic tradition tend to emphasize the polemical nature of the inclusion of walyah in a list of the pillars of Islam. In one tradition, for example, al-Bqir notes that while the ordinary people (nsi.e., non-Shiite Muslims) practice the first four pillars, they neglect the duty of walyah39an idea that also appears in the second Ghadr Khumm tradition attributed to al-Bqir from Abul-Jrd, mentioned above.40 In a version of the daim tradition related by Ab amzah al-Thuml from al-Bqir, it is said that while God allows for an easement of the first four pillars, under certain conditions, there is no such easement for walyah41emphasizing the essentiality and importance of walyah in relation to the other four. In another tradition, al-Bqir states that walyah is the best (afal) of the five pillars and, in fact, the key (mift) to the other four.42 Undoubtedly the most striking aspect of this tradition is the absence of the dual testament of Islamic faith (shahdatayn), which has long been recognized as the first pillar of Islam in standard Sunni and Shiite doctrinal formulations. The prominent Safavid-era Shiite adth scholar Majlis is apparently concerned about this omission and addresses the issue in a commentary on this tradition in his massive adth collection, Bir al-anwr. He gives three possible explanations for the omission of the shahdatayn in this tradition: (1) that the intended meaning of islm in this tradition is the shahdah itself, and that the intention of the Imm is that the five things mentioned in this traditionprayer, alms-giving, fasting, pilgrimage, and walyahrepresent the pillars of the shahdah; (2) that when the Imm says that these five things are the pillars of islm, he really means that they are the pillars of mn, and that walyah, in this list, includes the shahdatayn as well; or (3) that the shahdahis omitted because it is

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


assumed or obvious, and walyah, which is (for Majlis) a doctrine relating to belief (min al-aqid al-mniyyah) is listed with acts of worship (al-ibdt al-fariyyah), either to match the Sunni tradition or to exaggerate the love of the Imms, which he notes, is the perfection of faith . . . for it is one of the principles (ul) of religion because it is one of its requirements, and denial of it is kufr.43 Majlis indicates his preference for the first explanation, namely that these five things (prayer, alms-giving, fasting, pilgrimage, and walyah) are pillars of the shahdah itself. This is perhaps not suprising, given that Majlis was one of the major Shiite authorities of the Safavid period, during which, as other authors have shown, the walyah of Al was actively promoted as a third tenet of the Shiite shahdah, and was included in the Shiite adhn, or call to prayer, as part of the Safavid dynastys campaign to establish Shiism as the official religion of the Safavid empire.44 Moreover, as Liyakat Takim has shown, Majlis himself was one of the most important apologists for and promoters of the inclusion of walyah in the Shiite shahdah and call to prayer.45 However, it is perhaps a combination of the second and third explanations that makes the most sense. It is significant that Majlis, in his third explanation, considers walyah to be a notion that applies to belief and to creed and that walyah may have been put in to match the Sunni traditioni.e., as a replacement for the shahdah in the Sunni version of the traditionsuggesting that the concepts of shahdah and walyah may, in certain circumstances, have an interchangeable quality in Shiite thought. Majliss second explanation, namely that walyah includes the shahdatayn, may be the most accurate for the period in which these traditions initially emerge. In other words, walyah was a term that referred not only to a recognition of the authority of Al or the ahl al-bayt, but also a priori to a recognition of the authority of God and the Prophet as well.46 After all, the Quran, as noted in Chapter 1, implies a relationship of walyah between the believers and God when it repeatedly describes God as their mawl and their wal, while the Ghadr Khumm statement man kuntu mawlhu fa-Al mawlhu establishes a connection between walyah toward Al and walyah toward the Prophet. In fact, the idea that the Shiite concept of walyah includes a recognition of the authority of God, the Prophet, and the ahl al-bayt, and that it was a more comprehensive idea than merely a recognition of this or that Imm as ones spiritual authority, is well-supported in Shiite tradition, and will be discussed in detail below. One might assume that Shiite traditions that list walyah rather than the shahdah as a pillar of Islam represent a polemical distortion of the Sunni tradition. However, an examination of Sunni adth traditions about the pillars of Islam also reveals a certain variety in these


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traditions that contrasts with the rigidity that surrounds the issue in later Sunni and Shiite doctrine. It is true that in canonical Sunni adth collections we find a Sunni version of the five pillar tradition that matches the Shiite version word for word, except that the shahdatayn appear in the place of walyah. The version which is found in Bukhrs a, reads:
Islam is built upon five (buniyal-islm al khams): the testament that there is no god but God and that Muammad is the Messenger of God, and performing prayer, and giving alms, and pilgrimage, and fasting Raman.47

Yet, further investigation of this and other Sunni canonical compilations reveals that the shahdatayn were not always explicitly listed as one of the pillars of Islam or mn in Sunni versions of the adth. For example, one version found in the a Muslim lists the more general concept of tawd in the place of the shahdatayn as the first pillar of Islam. While tawd may simply be another way of referring to the first testament of faith (regarding the oneness of God), it does seem to exclude the second (regarding the prophecy of Muammad) and at least suggests that the wording of the tradition had not yet been definitively established, even by the third century, when this collection was compiled. There are also traditions found in Sunni adth compilations that antedate or are contemporary to Bukhrs a, in which Islam is based upon only four pillars, or three, or more than five; and there are traditions that exclude the shahdah, or else contain it but exclude something else.48 All of these variants suggest that a great deal of fluidity characterized both the wording and the content of the daim traditions in Sunni as well as Shiite tradition. Thus, Shiite daim traditions, in all likelihood, do not represent a sectarian reaction against an already fixed and essentially orthodox (Sunni) tradition but rather constitute the Shiite contribution to a communitywide debate over the criteria of membership in the Islamic ummaha debate that probably began in the late first century, with the divisive effects of the Second Civil War, and that continued into the early second, in conjunction with the growing issue of the status of non-Arab converts to Islam. Returning to Shiite versions of the daim adth, we note that a similar set of traditions is also transmitted on the authority of Jafar al-diq, but with some revealing changes to, and elaborations upon, the original content of the adth as attributed to al-Bqir.49 First, in the majority of the traditions attributed to al-diq there are actually six pillars listed, apparently because the shahdah has been added to alBqirs original list of alh, zakh, awm, ajj and walyah.50 In one

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version of this tradition with the shahdah addition, al-diq seems somewhat hesitant to mention walyah as the last farah, and does so only after a long silence:
[Ab Bar] said: May I be your ransom. Tell me about the religion (dn) that God has required of His servants . . . what is it? . . . He said: Testament (shahdah) that there is no god but God and that Muammad (peace and blessings upon him) is the Messenger of God, performing prayer, giving alms, pilgrimage to the House, if one has the means, fasting the month of Raman. He was silent for a while and then said: And walyah. [He said it] twice. Then he said: This is what God has required of His servants . . . verily in the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him) you have a good and beautiful example, it is incumbent upon people to follow it.51

Al-diqs reported reticence regarding walyah may simply indicate that he was relating the tradition in a public place and wanted to make sure he would not be overheard by potential enemies before invoking a term with clear sectarian implications. There is, nonetheless, a certain hesitancy about the reference to walyah that is simply not found in the traditions related from al-Bqir; and in other pillar traditions related from al-diq, there seem to be attempts to clarify or qualify the requirement of walyah.52 In one case, the word walyah is replaced by the more specific notion of obedience or ah toward the Imms.53 In another report, al-diq concludes the daim tradition by defining walyah as a duty toward a specific list of Imms: Al b. Ab lib, al-asan b. Al, al-usayn b. Al, Al b. al-usayn, and Muammad b. Al (al-diq does not list himself, as it was his habit to avoid openly acknowledging that he was the Imm).54 Here, then, walyah is presented as synonymous with, and limited to, the doctrine of the na immateor the authority of a very specific line of Alid descendantsthat was only fully developed in the time of al-diq. The earlier daim traditions of al-Bqir present no such limitation or specificity regarding the requirement of walyah. Our analysis of the Shiite daim traditions suggests three conclusions. First, the notion of walyah as a pillar of Islam seems to derive from the interpretative Ghadr Khumm traditions attributed to Muammad al-Bqir by Abul-Jrd. Not only are Abul-Jrd and other prominent disciples of the fifth Imm some of the main transmitters of both the Ghadr Khumm and the daim traditions, but there are also compelling textual similarities between the two. Second, the original versions of these daim traditions seem to be those attributed to al-Bqir, since the simplest versions of these traditions and those upon which the later extrapolations are apparently


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basedare attributed to him. While there are some relatively simple versions of the daim tradition attributed to al-diq and, occasionally, later Imms,55 most daim traditions attributed to Imms after al-Bqir contain significant additions to his much simpler versions usually the addition of the shahdah, or an appended list of the names of the Imms to whom walyah was required. It therefore seems that the notion of walyah as one of the pillars of Islam originates in the time of Muammad al-Bqir or shortly after his death, and traditions expressing this idea were likely put into circulation by Shiites attached particularly to him. Finally, the types of changes that we find in the versions attributed to the sixth Immnamely, the addition of the shahdah and a downplaying of the central importance of walyah in favor of the more detailed concept of the na immateare quite consistent with intellectual and political changes that are well known to have taken place in al-diqs lifetime. This was a period in which the relatively vague but highly polemical elements of late Umayyad Shiite thought were being developed into a systematized theological doctrine that could be reasonably discussed and debated with other, non-Shiite Muslim theologians. The adoption of the shahdah as part of the Shiite daim formulation placed Imm Shiites clearly within the pale of Islam; and the consequent de-emphasis of the more polemical connotations of walyahand especially the shift from a rhetoric focused primarily on walyah to that of immahmay have allowed them to include others within the pale as well. The apparently earlier doctrinal emphasis on walyah, especially as opposed to adwah or barah, had the polemical effect of dividing the Islamic world into two mutually exclusive campstrue Muslims (i.e., those who expressed solidarity with the ahl al-bayt), and unbelievers who were only nominally Muslim and revealed their kufr in their abusive treatment of the ahl al-bayt and their devotees. It was an idea that fit very well with the heroic period of Shiite-inspired anti-Umayyad rebellion that reached its climax in the third decade of the second century and culminated in the Abbsid revolution. The concept of immah, on the other hand, is connected with the more general and less polemical idea of right guidance based on religious knowledge.56 Thus, once this notion of the immate became the central tenet in Imm doctrine, the sectarian division between Shiites and other theological schools could be more or less limited to the parameters within which one defined the immate, such as: the necessary qualities the Imm should possess, the extent and source of his religious knowledge, and the degree to which obedience to him was absolute or conditional. This less confrontational and more intellectual approach was better suited to the climate of the Abbsid era, as I will discuss further in Part III.

Walyah as the Essence of Religion WALYAH AND FAITH


The parallel between shahdah and walyah in the Shiite daim traditions is profoundly linked to the role these two concepts played in Shiite notions of true faith, or mn. Amir-Moezzi, the French scholar of Shiism, notes that walyah in Shiite tradition refers to both the ontological-theological status of the Imm as well as faith in this status57 on the part of the individual Shiite believer. That is, it involves a two-way responsibility between the Imm of the ahl al-bayt and the Shiite believer. This mutuality and reciprocity, as noted in earlier chapters, is built into the etymological origin and Quranic usage of the term walyah and is reflected in the earliest Shiite discourse as recorded in the historical chronicles for the First Civil War and its aftermath. The dual meaning of the term is also reflected in the fact that both the Imm and the individual Shiite can be referred to as the wal or the mawl in Shiite tradition. But the term walyah in early second-century Shiite thought did not simply refer to a dogma regarding the determination of religious authority and the required obedience to that authority. In the Shiite adth literature that ostensibly originates in this period, walyah is a far more encompassing and universal concept and is frequently presented as the essence of religion itself. In Shiite daim traditions, walyah is not just one of the five pillars, it is often presented as the most absolute or determinative of the five. Moreover, walyah is presented as true religion itself, as the dn al-aqq,58 the dn al-anf,59 or the ir al-mustaqm.60 Elsewhere, it is said to be the means through which one professes ones religion. We are told that the one who professes his religion through walyah to an unjust imm possesses no religion (dn);61 and that the angels profess their religion through walyah to the ahl al-bayt.62 In traditions such as these, walyah is probably meant to be understood in its broadest sense as loyalty and devotion toward God and the Prophet, as well as the Imms, and even toward other believing Muslims. While this holistic understanding of walyah is generally considered to have been developed by later Sufi thinkers,63 the connection between these three types of walyah (i.e., to God, the Prophet, and the Imm) is clearly present in Shiite adth literature. We have already noted that in the Ghadr Khumm adth, the walyah of Al is connected both to the walyahof the Prophet (man kuntu mawlhu fa-Al mawlhu) and to that of God (Allhumma wli man wlhu). It is also present in the Shiite interpretation of Quran V:55: You have no friend (wal) save God, the Prophet, and those who believe, who give alms while bending over [in prayer], the last of these three being identified with Al in all Shiite (and many Sunni) interpretations of this verse.64 Shiite


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traditions make an explicit connection between walyah toward God and the Prophet and walyah toward the Imm;65 and a number of traditions include love and devotion toward fellow believers as part of the larger circle of walyah.66 Walyah, Love, and Imn The dichotomy walyah/adwah is closely paralleled by the more interior dichotomy love/hate (ubb/bugh) that was frequently presented as the basis of faith or mn in Shiite sources. In a tradition attributed to al-Bqir, the Imm defines Islam as praying toward [the Muslim] qiblah, witnessing the shahdah, accomplishing the obligatory religious duties (fari), and demonstrating walyah and adwah toward their proper recipients; while mn is said to be loving and hating in God, that is, loving what God loves and hating what He hates.67 Al-Bqir states elsewhere that love of the ahl al-bayt is mn, while hatred of them is kufr.68 This notion of loving and hating in God is repeated in numerous combinations and contexts throughout Shiite literature.69 It is said that the firmest bonds of faith are loving in God and hating in God;70 that the one who loves for God and hates for God and gives for God and withholds for God is the one who has perfected his faith;71 and that the three characteristics of a believer (mumin) are that he knows God, those who love Him, and those who hate Him.72 In fact, in a widely cited tradition, Jafar al-diq posed the rhetorical question to his disciple al-Fuayl b. Yasr: Is faith anything other than love and hate?73 In the Shiite formulation, however, to love and hate in God was to love and hate as Al did,74 an idea that can be reasonably derived from the Ghadr Khumm statement: Allhumma wli man wlhu wa di man dhu, which sometimes included the addition: and love the one who loves him and hate the one who hates him (wa aibb man aabbahu wa abghi man abghaahu).75 The importance of the love/hate dichotomy for Shiites also finds a basis in the Prophetic tradition quoted in Sunni as well as Shiite circles, to the effect that no one loves Al save the mumin and no one hates him save the hypocrite (munfiq).76 While the love/hate imperative was sometimes explicitly referred to as love of the Imms, or the ahl al-bayt and their partisans, and hatred of those who persecuted the ahl al-bayt and their followers, this kind of love is also frequently linked to love through or in God.77 In other traditions, love and hate and walyah and adwahare inextricably bound up with one another.78 Furthermore, love, like walyah, is sometimes connected not only with Islam or mn but also with religion (dn) as such. Al-Bqir is reported to have asked

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


one of his disciples, rhetorically: What is religion other than love? and to have confirmed that religion is love and love is religion.79 The overlapping of the terms islm, mn, and dn is not unique to Shiite thought.80 Rather, the terminological boundaries between mn and islm seem to have been relatively fluid in most early Islamic religio-political thought. Neither of the Shiites two main religiopolitical rivals in the early second centurythe Murjiites and the Kharijitesrecognized a clear distinction between mn and islm; and only in later Sunni traditionist thought and in the Shiite theology of a somewhat later period are the two terms given independent, technical definitions. Murjiites held that a believing Muslim who acted according to the dictates of his religion would enter Paradise and that an unbeliever, regardless of his acts, would enter Hell. But the believing individual who was deficient in the area of works belonged to the category of hope and fear. His condition turned upon the will of God: if He willed, He would forgive his sins and put him in Paradise; if He willed to the contrary, He would punish him in Hell.81 The unpredictability of Gods action toward the sinning believer meant that one could not be certain whether an individual was destined for Paradise or Hell (and thus had to treat him with irj, or postponement of judgment), even if one could know with certainty that an individual was a believer in the outward sense of his being a member of the Islamic ummah.82 On the issue of what lay between the two mutually exclusive categories of mn and kufr, there are a set of traditions attributed exclusively to al-Bqir that express a doctrine remarkably similar to that of the Murjiites. These traditions acknowledge a gray area between the mn that guarantees Paradise and the kufr that guarantees Hell, and claim that this realm is governed by the unknowable will of God, such that those in it are suspended between hope for His forgiveness and fear of His punishment. In a chapter entitled Fear and Hope (khawf wa raja) in Kulayns al-Kf, al-diq relates from his father, al-Bqir, the formulaic statement that every believing servant has two lights: the light of fear and the light of hope; and if one were to be weighed, it would not be heavier than the other.83 It is important to remember, however, that for Shiites, mn and kufr were not categories determined solely by an individuals doctrinal beliefs and actions but also by his attachment to and love for the ahl al-bayt and their supporters, or his dissociation from and enmity toward them, as discussed in the previous section. In the Umayyad period in which al-Bqir lived, this would have made any discussion of mn and kufr a highly political one; and in Shiite adth compilations, we find traditions on this issue attributed to al-Bqir that are political in nature. For example, a chapter in al-Kf entitled Those who await the decree


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of God (al-murjawna li-amr Allh) contains two traditions attributed to al-Bqir in which he comments upon the Quranic phrase those who await the decree (amr) of God:84
[There was] a group (qawm) who were polytheists and who killed the likes of amzah [b. Abd al-Mualib] and Jafar [b. Ab lib] and others of the believers. Then they entered Islam and accepted the unity of God and abandoned polytheism, although they did not know mn in their hearts such that they should be considered believers and guaranteed Paradise. But they were [also] not in a state of rejection (jud) such that they should be guaranteed Hellfire; rather, they are of the state in which [God] may either punish them or forgive them [variously, they are in a state such that they await the amrof God].85

The exclusive attribution of this tradition to Muammad al-Bqir and its particularly Umayyad concerns (i.e., with the Qurayshi latecomers to Islam, who were epitomized by the Umayyads) leads one to suspect that the idea it expresses may be late Umayyad in origin. In the Umayyad-era Shiite compilation Kitb Sulaym b. Qays, we also find a tradition in which Al is quoted as saying that those belonging to the one saved sect (firqah njiyyah) will enter Paradise without reckoning (bi-ghayr isb), and that those of the other seventy-two firaqwill enter Hell bi-ghayr isb, but that most of the Islamic community belongs neither to the saved sect nor to the other seventytwo. Most members of the ummah, the tradition tells us, do not show walyah or barah toward either the Shiites or their enemies but avoid such issues entirely. According to the tradition, such individuals may be punished in Hell for their sins or else forgiven through Gods mercy.86 Other traditions found in Kitb Sulaym, like those attributed to al-Bqir in canonical collections, place individuals who are neither Shiites nor persecutors of the Shiites (nawib), in the category of those who hope and fear with regard to Gods judgment.87 Al-Bqirs position also closely resembles second-century Murjiite views, when he explains that those who are Muslim but not Shiite belong to the Quranic category of those who mix good actions with bad, and so must await the decision of God with regard to their eschatological fate. According to al-Bqir, such persons are the Quranic people of the heights (ab al-arf), straddled between heaven and hell. This tradition is widely quoted in Shiite sources, but always through the transmitter Zurrah b. Ayan who, prior to becoming a Shiite, was the student of al-akam b. Utaybah and Slim b. Ab afah, two Zayd figures who are reported to have earlier held Murjiite beliefs.88 The uniquely Murjiite-like language of the series of traditions cited above, their exclusive association with the early Imm Muammad

Walyah as the Essence of Religion


al-Bqir, and the preponderance of similar ideas found in the preAbbsid Shiite work Kitb Sulaym, all indicate that the earliest Shiite thinking on the issue of mn and kufr and its relation to walyah emerged in the polemical but theologically vague atmosphere of late Umayyad religio-political thought. The Shiitesunlike the Murjiites and rather like the Kharijiteslinked mn and kufr to the polemical concepts of walyahand adwah/barah. But like the Murjiites and unlike the Kharijites, the Shiites recognized a certain gray area between mn and kufr, or between walyah and adwah, that was left to the unknowable will of God and in which individuals were continually suspended between the hope of Gods mercy and the fear of His punishment. The early second century is well known for its intense religio-political activity and the numerous failed rebellions against the Umayyads that ultimately culminated in the Abbsid revolution. While some of the most active Shiite groups in the late Umayyad period had Kaysn, Zayd, or extremist Shiite (ghult) associations, the ideas that laid the foundation of what would come to be Imm Shiite doctrine were being developed among a small group of Muammad al-Bqirs close followers. These ideas were not developed in an intellectual vacuum. Indeed, as I have shown, and will continue to demonstrate in the remaining chapters of this section, the theological perspective of alBqir and his disciples bears a substantial conceptual and terminological resemblance to some of the other prominent schools of thought contemporary to al-Bqir, particularly that of the Murjiites. Yet the establishment of walyah as the irreducible core of the Shiite religiousnot merely politicalperspective seems to have been uniquely and exclusively associated with al-Bqirs circle. The focus on walyah offered a compelling link between the Ghadr Khumm tradition, which established Als spiritual and political authority in the Shiite view and contemporary issues faced by the late Umayyad Shiite community. It linked loyalty to Al with sincere belief in God, obedience to the Prophet, reverence for the ahl al-bayt collectively, and membership in an elite religious community of true believers.

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Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation

iven the importance of walyah to the Shiite definition of faith, and its status as one of the five pillars of Islam in early Shiite traditionsoften in place of the shahdahit is only natural that it would become a central issue in Shiite views regarding the requirements for membership in the believing community and otherworldly salvation. These were two of the most contentious issues debated among the major sectarian and theological groups of the second century, including Murjiites, Kharijites, Sunni traditionists, and, of course, Shiites. The two issues were naturally related to one another, since the moral and ritual requirements for maintaining good standing in the community were also the basis for attaining ultimate felicity in the hereafter. Moreover, membership in the Islamic community, in the view of some theologians and religious thinkers, granted one access to Prophetic intercession on the Day of Judgment. Shiite thinking on this subject, then, did not develop in an intellectual vacuum, and an examination of Shiite adth literature reveals a good deal of mutual influence between Shiites and their Murjiite and Sunni traditionist counterparts on these issues. Murjiism and Sunni traditionism were prominent both in Kufa, the primary Shiite intellectual center in the second and early third centuries, and in Khurasan, where the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri, spent his last years. The similarities between Shiite adth on these issues and those of the Murjiites and Sunni traditionistsas well as their strong contrast with the Mutazilite-leaning discourse of later third- and fourth-century Imm Shiite theologianssuggest that these traditions originated in second 125


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and third century Shiite intellectual circles. Yet, despite the strong parallels between Shiite traditions on these issues and the theological views of the Murjiites and Sunni traditionists, the Shiite view remained unique in two regards: (1) while Murjiites and Sunni traditionists viewed the Islamic ummah, broadly construed, as the salvific community, Shiites viewed their own sectarian group as the true believing and saved community; and (2) while all discussions of these issues involved some determination of the relative merit of faith and works, Murjiites and Sunni traditionists focused on the shahdah as the primary concept in the discussion of faith, whereas Shiite discussions of faith centered on walyah. Thus, Shiites developed a sectarian particularism with regard to the issues of membership in the religious community and salvation sometime in the second and early third centuries, in an intellectual and theological milieu dominated by Murjiite and Sunni traditionist views. For Murjiites in general, faith as opposed to works was the primary consideration when determining an individuals spiritual or religious status. While the definition of what constituted true faith differed among various groups of Murjiites, the testament of faith (shahdah) was considered the litmus test of at least outward faith1that is, the faith that granted one legal membership in the Islamic ummah. Anyone who professed the shahdah had to be considered a Muslim from a legal point of view, and a believer, or mumin, eligible for salvation from an eschatological point of view. Righteous acts, while obligatory, were secondary considerations and the performance or neglect of obligatory duties did not bear on the question of membership in the Islamic community or faith, as such.2 Like the Murjiite position on the shahdah, the early Shiite position on walyah seems to have been that the demonstration of walyah was the one absolutely necessary requirement for membership in the community of Shiite believers; and just as the Murjiites argued that good works or sins did not bear specifically on the notion of outward or legal membership in the community of believers, so too did some (perhaps more extremist) Shiite groups consider the demonstration of walyah to be sufficient for membership in the Shiite community, regardless of an individuals sins or neglect of religious duties. Neither the Murjiites nor the early Shiites dismissed the importance of right conduct, moral virtue, and the accomplishment of religious obligations (fari), but for both groups these things were a secondary consideration in relation to faith.

FAITH AND WORKS No Muslim could reasonably hold the position that works without faith were sufficient for either membership in the religious commu-

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


nity or for salvationfaith was unquestionably mandatory in both considerations. What was at issue was whether works were a constituent part of faith or whether they were entirely separate from it. For Murjiites, faith was a whole that did not have constituent parts and so did not increase or decrease as a result of an individuals having some but not all of those parts. Faith was a state that had both an inner and an outer reality. The outer reality was evident in the profession of faith (shahdah) and determined ones status as a member of the Islamic religious community. The inner reality was known only to God; and it was this reality of faith, along with the secondary consideration of an individuals works, that determined the issue of salvation. However, the Murjiite position prevalent in Iraq in the early to mid-second centuryand particularly in Kufa was eventually eclipsed in this region by the Sunni traditionist perspective in the late second and early third centuries.3 The Sunni traditionist view, in contrast to the earlier Murjiite thesis, insisted on the inclusion of works in the evaluation of faith. Their position was not as radical as that of the Kharijites, for whom any major transgression could theoretically remove one from the community of believers. Nor did the Sunni traditionists uphold the Mutazilite thesis regarding the unconditional punishment of Muslims who had committed grave sins.4 But for Sunni traditionists, faith and works were inextricably linked, since they held that faith increased and decreased in relation to ones works. Shiite adth collections, for their part, contain traditions that are similar in doctrinal content and language both to the earlier Murjiite and to the later Sunni traditionist perspectives, suggesting that Shiite thought in Kufa in the second and third centuries underwent an intellectual shift that paralleled that of the non-Shiite community there in the same period. A review of Shiite adth sources turns up a number of traditions that seem to deny the negative impact of acts on faith in ways that strongly resemble Murjiite (particularly anaf Murjiite) statements on this issue. For example, in the Book of Faith and Unbelief in Kulayns al-Kf one finds a tradition that states: Acts cannot harm one who has faith (mn); and acts will not benefit one who is in a state of unbelief (kufr).5 This constitutes a nearly perfect restatement of the well-known Murjiite doctrine that works have no benefit (in the hereafter) without faith, but that works bring no harm if one does have faith.6 The fact that this well-known Murjiite formulation has found its way into canonical Shiite adth sources suggests some, perhaps significant, intellectual exchange between the two groups. The important difference between the two positions was that, for Murjiites mn meant belief in God, the angels, the books, the messengers, and the Last Day,7 while for Shiites, mn included walyah and/or love of the ahl al-bayt as an essential component, with some Shiite traditions


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considering walyah to be the very essence of mn, as discussed in the previous chapter. For Murjiites, even the commission of major sins did not remove an individual from the believing religious community if he outwardly manifested faith by professing the shahdah. Consider the following tradition from Ab anfah concerning the relationship of belief in God and the Prophet to the issue of salvation:
The Messenger of God . . . said: O Abul-Dard, whoever bears witness that there is no god but God and that I am the messenger of God is guaranteed Paradise (wajabat lahu al-jannah). [AbulDard] said: Even if he fornicates and even if he steals? [The Prophet] was silent for a while, then said: Whoever bears witness that there is no god but God and that I am the messenger of God is guaranteed Paradise. [Abul-Dard] said: Even if he fornicates and even if he steals? [The Prophet] said: Even if he fornicates and even if he steals. . . .8

It is clear that the issue of grave sinsand fornication and theft were the standard examplesstretched the Murjiite perspective to its doctrinal limit regarding the issue of membership in the believing community and the possibility of salvation. Yet, intellectual consistency demanded that even such major sins as these be given only secondary consideration in relation to faith. In Shiite adth collections one can find parallel traditions that similarly indicate that the commission of major sinsagain, even such sins as fornication and theftare not enough to remove a lover of the ahl al-bayt from the Shiite religious community:
Ubaydah9 b. Zurrah said: I went to Ab Abd Allh and alBaqbq was there. I said: A man who loves the Ban Umayyah, is he one of them (minhum)? He said: Yes. I said: [Is this true of a] man who loves you (pl.)? He said: Yes. I said: Even if he fornicates, even if he steals? He turned toward al-Baqbq10 and saw that he was not paying attention, so he gestured [to me] yes with his head.11

The parallels between this Shiite tradition and the anaf one cited above are too close to be coincidental. In addition to the fact that both traditions bring up the specific examples of fornication and theft, we can also see that in both cases the initial adth authority demonstrates some reluctance to extend his perspective on the relevance of works for membership in the religious community or salvation to the

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


more extreme cases of fornicators and thieves (at least publicly), but eventually does so. While the Shiite version is found in a collection of rare traditions (nawdir) from the Imms, one can also find traditions in more mainstream collections that posit a similar leniency toward grave sinners who were nonetheless sincerely devoted to the ahl al-bayt. There is a tradition in ss Aml, for example, that enjoins Shiites to love the lover of the ahl al-bayt, even if he is morally corrupt (fsiq) or a fornicator (zn).12 While it is unlikely that Shiites viewed walyah toward the Imms as a license to commit grievous sins (which removed an individual from the category of mn, according to many Shiite adth narrations13), the consensus of the adth tradition seems to be that a sinful Shiite should not be excommunicated from the Shiite community or suffer the sentence of dissociation (barah). Even such a hesitant or theoretical acceptance of grave sinners among the ranks of the Shiites may seem rather extremist, however. In fact, one might presume that such ideas are connected with a kind of antinomianism that the heresiographers tell us was rather widespread among a number of Shiite-leaning groups in the late Umayyad period. There are two basic formulations of this antinomian attitude found in the heresiographical accounts of early extremist Shiite groups. First there is the idea, often ascribed to the well-known Shiite heresiarchs of the day, that whoever knows and/or demonstrates allegiance to the proper Imm may do as he wishes with respect to the obligatory and forbidden acts. The earliest figure with whom this idea is associated is Bayn b. Samn, an extremist Shiite follower of Ab Hshim b. Muammad b. al-anafiyyah who allegedly invoked the antinomian doctrine in justifying his incestuous marriage to his own daughter.14 Bayn was killed by the Umayyad governor, Khlid b. Abd Allh al-Qasr, in the year 119, along with his companion in rebellion, al-Mughrah b. Sad, to whom some heresiographies attribute a similar antinomian attitude.15 The idea that a follower of the correct Imm might do as he wishes vis--vis established religious law is also ascribed to the Janiyyah, the followers of the Jafarid rebel, Abd Allh b. Muwiyah, who united much of Fars under his control during his attempted rebellion against Umayyad authority before he was killed in Khurasan, probably by the Abbsid agent Ab Muslim, on the eve of the Abbsid revolution.16 The second and more exotic formulation of second-century Shiite antinomianism was the idea that religious duties, such as prayer, alms-giving, and fasting, were actually code-names or symbols for the Imms to whom allegiance was required, while religious prohibitions, such as those regarding fornication and theft, were symbols for the enemies of the Imms, from whom one was required to dissociate. Thus, religious duties


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and prohibitions were not really about doing this act of worship or avoiding that sin, but rather about showing support and enmity toward the proper people. This doctrine seems to be particularly connected with the heresiarch Ab Manr al-Ijl, who was killed by the Umayyad governor Ysuf b. Umar al-Thaqaf, probably sometime during the last decade of Umayyad rule.17 However, such extreme forms of antinomianism are entirely absentunlike certain other extremist or ghult ideasfrom mainstream Shiite adth literature. Whether or not the Imms themselves supported the idea that walyah or love of the ahl al-bayt alone could compensate for sins or deficiencies in works, one can hardly imagine that the Imms or Shiite authorities would have wanted to encourage the moral dregs of the community to be their followers. In fact, in one tradition, al-diq vehemently denies that knowing the Imm justifies any moral laxity:
. . . [Muammad b. Mazd] said to Ab Abd Allh (= Jafar aldiq]): [There is] a tradition attributed to you in which you say: If you know (arafta) then do as you like (fa-amal m shita). He said: I have said that. [Muammad b. Mazd] said: Did you say: Even if they fornicate or steal or drink wine? He said: Verily we belong to God and to Him were are returning! By God, do they think that it is just that we (i.e., the Imms) should be held to the obligation of righteous acts, while they are absolved [of this responsibility because of their attachment to us]? Verily I said: If you know then do as you like of good (khayr), a little or a lot, for it will be accepted from you. 18

It is interesting to note that one of the transmitters of this tradition is Ubayd (instead of Ubaydah) b. Zurrah, who is apparently the same disciple who transmits the (seemingly contradictory) earlier tradition cited above regarding leniency toward grave sinners devoted to the ahl al-bayt. It is also significant that in this tradition Jafar aldiq acknowledges his statement to the effect that one who knows [i.e., the proper Imm] may do as he likes. However, he denies that this entitles one to fornicate or steal with impunityrefuting the more extreme antinomian interpretations that certain ghult, or extremist Shiites, may have given to his original statement. These two things suggest that while mainstream Shiites considered walyah to have some salvific, or at least compensatory, significance in the case of grave sinners, the more extreme antinomian implications of this idea were explicitly rejected by the inner circle of the Imms disciples. Given the general lack of supporting material for such antinomian ideas in Imm Shiite literatureand given the presence of traditions

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


that seem to be reacting against such antinomian interpretations of the Imms words on the part of the ghult sectsit is hard to argue for a purely ghultprovenance for the idea found in numerous Shiite traditions that it was faith, often construed in terms of love or walyah toward the ahl al-bayt, that was the primary consideration for membership in the Shiite community. It would seem that contemporary Murjiite ideas provide a much closer parallel to what is found in these types of Shiite traditions and is probably the more likely source of mutual influence for these ideas. It is important to remember, however, that unlike their Murjiite counterparts, Shiite authorities were discussing not only membership in the Islamic religious community, broadly conceived, but also the parallel issue of membership in their own, more exclusive religious community, that of the Shiites in particular. This is important, for the Shiites are unique among the major Islamic religio-political and theological groups in addressing and developing, simultaneously, doctrines concerning membership in the Islamic ummah in the universal sense, and doctrines regarding the limits and definitions of membership in their own sectarian Shiite community. While the Murjiite-like perspective found in many Shiite traditions regarding membership in the religious community represents one particular strand of Shiite thinking on this issue, there is another tendency found in Shiite adth literature that is closer to the Sunni traditionist perspective that became prominent in Kufa in the latter half of the second century. According to the Sunni traditionists, the commission of major sins did not remove an individual from the Muslim community, or even deny him eventual salvation, but rather (unlike the Murjiites) they held that it removed him from the state of true mn to one of lesser mn, or variously to the state of islm without mn.19 In Shiite adth collections, one finds many similar traditions that state that the commission of major sins removes one from mn, but not from islm, in the legal sense. In fact, there are several traditions in Kulayns al-Kf that repeat or reflect the Sunni traditionist formula that the fornicator does not fornicate and remain a believer while he is fornicating and the thief does not steal and remain a believer while he is stealing,20 which was characteristically cited by Sunni traditionists as an argument against the Murjiite position that did not deny the status of believer to the grave sinner.21 In his article on Early Sunni Doctrine Concerning Faith, Madelung notes that both the Shiites and the (Sunni) Kufan traditionists denied the status of believer (mumin) to the grave sinner, but not the status of muslim; this perspective is clearly manifest in the chapter on grave sins (kabir) in Kulayns al-Kf. Moreover, the recognition of a clear hierarchical distinction between mn and islm is an idea that Shiites share exclusively with the Sunni traditionists. As noted earlier,


The Charismatic Community

Kharijites and Murjiites did not recognize such a distinction, nor did the later Mutazilites. Since the Sunni traditionist point of view first started to gain ground in Kufa in the late second century, it is not unreasonable to think that this idea regarding the distinction between mn and islm in Shiite thought (which was largely Kufan in the second century) should have emerged around the same time. The Sunni traditionist point of view on this issue may have been intended to curb certain excesses in the overly inclusive Murjiite dogma regarding membership in the community of believersexcesses that many pious Shiites of the early Abbsid period may have similarly wanted to avoid in defining the limits of their own sectarian community as well.

SHAHDAH AND WALYAH AS KEYS TO SALVATION IN SHIITE THOUGHT While most Murjiites and some Shiites seem to discount the importance of an individuals acts or sins in regard to membership in the religious community, only the most radical of either group would be prepared to entirely dismiss their impact on an individuals salvation or perdition in the next world. However, according to both groups, membership in the religious community, in and of itself, had an important role to play in an individuals eventual salvation. Neither the Murjiites nor the Sunni traditionists were inclined to accept the categorical thesis of the earlier Kharijite or later Mutazilite thinkers that a believer or a Muslim who was also a grave sinner would be punished in Hell eternally. Murjiites and Sunni traditionists generally held that a believer or a Muslim might be punished in Hell for a finite period of time, but that he would (or may) eventually be removed from Hell by virtue of his having remained a member of the believing community,22 specifically through the avoidance of the unpardonable sin of polytheism (shirk).23 Since the Quran clearly states that all sins short of the sin of shirk are pardonable,24 there is a sound Quranic basis for linking an individuals membership in a religious community committed to tawd, or the oneness of God, to the idea of his eventual salvation and exemption from eternal punishment in Hell. Another way of linking membership in the religious community to salvation was through the notion of intercession, or shafah. That is, as a member of the believing Muslim community, one could hope for the intercession of the Prophet and hence deliverance from eternal damnation (although not necessarily from temporary punishment).25 As noted above, the evidence from Shiite adth literature is that Shiites in the late Umayyad period were as concerned as everybody else about defining the parameters, limits, and privileges (legal and

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


eschatological) of membership in the community of believers. But for Shiites, and uniquely for Shiites, the issue of membership in the religious community had a dual aspect, being concerned both with the nature of membership in the Islamic ummah in general, and with the nature of membership in the Shiite community in particular. The Shiite adth tradition clearly favors the Murjiite/Sunni traditionist point of view regarding the link between membership in the community in this life and salvation in the next over the harsher Kharijite or later Mutazilite position on the eternal punishment of all grave sinners. However, Shiite thought is more elaborate and emphatic in defining the connection between the two. There is evidence that early Shiites conditionally accepted the thesis that professing the shahdah entailed a guarantee of (at least) eventual salvation. We say conditionally here, because it is clear that to the extent that Shiites accepted this thesis with regard to the shahdah, they did so with the understanding that it included the notion of profound religious attachment to Al and the ahl al-bayt in general. In one tradition, for example, Muammad al-Bqir instructs his prominent disciple, Abn b. Taghlib,26 to return to his native Kufa and relate the tradition that whoever says the shahdah will enter Paradise. Abn is surprised by the request and asks if the Imm really wants him to relate such a tradition on his authority. Al-Bqir clarifies for Abn that while it is true that whoever bears witness to the shahdah will enter Paradise, all who did so in this life will be stripped of their shahdah on the Day of Judgment, save those who follow this [i.e., Alid Shiite] authority (al hdhal-amr.)27 It is clear that Abn, as a Shiite, viewed salvation as a function of walyah to the ahl al-bayt, not of shahdah alone. It is only when al-Bqir explains the necessity of walyah for a lasting and salvific shahdah that he accepts the Imms instructions. Another tradition in the same vein declares that whoever says the shahdah enters Paradise, but that the shahdah is only accepted from Al b. Ab lib and his Shiites.28 Perhaps more interesting for the issue of shahdah and walyah as bases for salvation in Shiite thought is a group of traditions that compare the shahdah to a fortress (in), such that whoever enters it will avoid punishment in the next life. These Shiite traditions repeat and comment upon a sacred adth (adth quds), known in some Sunni, and especially Sufi transmission, in which God Himself is reported to have said: Whoever says l ilha illa Allh enters my fortress, and whoever enters my fortress is safe from my punishment (man qla l ilha illa Allh dakhala in wa man dakhala in amina min adhb.)29 Shiite versions of this tradition, however, often insist that the value of ones shahdah is conditioned upon walyah toward the proper Alid authorities. In Shiite literature, this adth is always attributed to the


The Charismatic Community

eighth Imm, Al al-Ri, and he is reported to have related it publicly in Khurasan, on his way to Marv to meet the Abbsid caliph alMamn. Shiite tradition reports that as al-Ri traveled through Khurasan, a strong Murjiite stronghold at this time, he was accosted by a group of local scholars who asked him to relate a tradition on the authority of his prominent forefathers.30 To the great delight of his audience, Al al-Ri related the fortress tradition on the successive authority of all previous Imms going back to the Prophet Muammad. However, after having related this tradition, which in and of itself would have been applauded by the largely Murjiite crowd, he then qualified the statement by adding that a salvific testament to the oneness of God must include an affirmation of the proper immate (iqrr bil-immah.)31 In fact, in one version of this tradition as found in Shiite sources, walyah replaces shahdah; the tradition thus reads: Walyat Al b. Ab Tlib in, fa-man dakhala in amina min adhb.32 This kind of a substitution indicates, if not the completely interchangeable nature of the two concepts of walyah and shahdah, then at least the analogous role and function of these notions in Shiite consciousness. This tradition also has a very particular isnd, with Al al-Ri, relating it through his forefathersthe six preceding Imms (excluding alasan b. Al)on the authority of the Prophet, from Gabriel, citing the words of God Himself. Among Shiite adth sources, the tradition is found almost exclusively in the works and compilations of the fourthcentury Qummi traditionist Ibn Bbawayh, or in later sources that relied on Ibn Bbawayhs works (e.g., ss Aml or Daylams Alm al-dn).33 In fact, the tradition seems to have originated in Khurasan, and Ibn Bbawayh himself relates the tradition from Khurasani transmitters. Regardless of the accuracy of the circumstances surrounding this tradition, it clearly demonstrates that the Shiite response to the thesis regarding the connection between shahdah and salvation was to replace the shahdah with, or condition it upon, walyah toward the ahl al-bayt, rather than by insistingas did the Qadarites, Kharijites, or Mutaziliteson the absolute necessity of righteous action.34 After all, later Shiites, like their Murjiite and Sunni traditionist counterparts, opposed the Mutazilite insistence on the certainty of divine punishment (wad) largely through the notion of the possibility of intercession. Murjiites and Sunni traditionists considered this salvific intercession to be that of the Prophet for all members of his religious communitya membership defined by witness to the shahdah. Shiites, however, considered themselves to have access to an additional source of salvific intercession by virtue of their membership in the Shiite communitythat of their Imms. While there are a number of Shiite traditions that uphold the thesis of the saving power of the shahdah, it is far more common in

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


Shiite tradition to find such ideas connected with the notion of walyah. In fact, there are numerous traditions that affirm the independent and unconditional salvific power of walyah toward or love of the ahl albayt; and an even more substantial number of traditions declare, in no uncertain terms, that righteous acts in the absence of walyah are futile, as regards ones salvation. Furthermore, many of these traditions are similar in tone to the perspective of the Murjiites, who declared that ones salvation or perdition depended solely on ones status as a believer or unbeliever (i.e., not distinguishing between true belief, mn,and outward submission, islm), and that the basis of this distinction was true belief in the formula of the shahdahsomething that could be known only to Godhence their signature doctrine that the salvation and perdition of any individual could not be determined by another. For Shiites, salvation was also based on true beliefbut this was largely measured by attachment to Al and the ahl al-bayt. For example, a Shiite tradition attributed to al-Bqir reads:
Verily God . . . appointed Al as a guidepost (alam) between Himself and His creation, and whoever recognizes him is a mumin, whoever denies him is a kfir, whoever is ignorant of him is in error (ll), whoever associates something with him is a mushrik, whoever comes bearing walyah toward him enters Paradise, and whoever comes bearing adwah toward him enters the Fire.35

While the Imm is willing to admit that there may be those who fall between mnand kufrnamely those who are ignorant of Als position or who recognize it along with that of another36 walyahtoward Al is here presented as the essential criterion of both faith and salvation.37 In another Shiite tradition, the Prophet declares that walyahto himself and the people of his house is a guarantee against entering the Fire.38 In one case, it is Gabriel himself who is said to have brought the message from God to the Prophet that: . . . verily I [God] give the lovers of Al eternal Paradise for their love of him and I put his enemies and those who abandoned his walyah into the Fire, as just compensation for their enmity of him and for abandoning his walyah.39 These two Shiite traditions are somewhat analagous to anaf Murjiite or standard Sunni traditions which seem to say that whoever truly professes the shahdah eventually enters Paradise.40 Curiously, there is also a tradition found in the work of the Mutazilite-leaning, fourthcentury Shiite scholar al-Shaykh al-Mufd, through an Abbsid isnd, to the effect that on the Day of Judgment a herald (mund) will call out to the Shiites and ask them who they are, and they will respond that they are the Alawiyyn. The herald will then say to them: O Alawiyyn, you are protected (minn), so enter Paradise because of the


The Charismatic Community

one to whom you have given walyah.41 Both the broad reference to the Alawiyyn as a general category and the unusual Abbsid isnd suggest that this tradition might well date from the early second century, when Shiite groups were not rigorously distinguished from one another as either pro-Alid or pro-Abbsid. One of the ways Shiite tradition reconciles the belief that all Shiites will reach Paradise with the belief that the commission of major sins results in leaving (at least temporarily) the community of believers was through the notion that Shiites were somehow more forgiven for their sins, or that they were purified of their sins through their suffering in this world. It was not that Shiites were exempt from the duty to perform obligatory acts and to refrain from evil ones, but rather they were considered to have access to a level of divine forgiveness that was denied to non-Shiite Muslims because of their failure to give walyah to the ahl al-bayt. For example, according to Muammad al-Bqirs tafsr of Quran IX:102: They mixed righteous action with that which is bad. It may be that God will relent toward them, this kind of forgiveness can only be hoped for by the Shiite believer.42 Jafar al-diq similarly considers Quran VI:160, which declares that whoever brings a good deed receives the same tenfold, to pertain exclusively to the believers (muminn) by which he means specifically Shiite believers.43 Some traditions exclude the major sins (kabir) from this special forgiveness,44 while others apparently include them.45 Most traditions, however, speak about the forgiveness of dhunb, a term that usually denotes relatively minor transgressions, particularly when contrasted with kabir, or major sins. In a poetic expression of this idea, Jafar al-diq declares: Verily God has angels who cause sins (dhunb) to fall from the backs of our Shiites, just as the wind does to the leaves in autumn. . . .46 In addition to the special forgiveness God would show to the Shiites, He was also said to grant them access to certain spiritual states or to a kind of mercy (ramah) by virtue of the adversity He would make them suffer in earthly life. The Shiites, often referred to as the awliy or muminn, were said to suffer an extraordinary but providential amount of adversity both individually and as a community. Shiite tradition tells us that the most tried individuals in this world are the prophets, the awiy and the awliy or the muminn, and that Shiite believers were tried by adversity in direct proportion to their degree of faith.47 In fact, suffering and adversity were so important to ones salvation as a Shiite that there are traditions that state that should a Shiite somehow manage to escape this adversity throughout most of his life, God will still save him by making him suffer a difficult death.48 The trials or baly of the Shiites were often portrayed in hyperbolic terms. Muammad al-Bqir said

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


that adversity, poverty, and death come more quickly to those who love the ahl al-bayt than the rushing of flood waters,49 while al-diq declared that the devils (shayn) that hover around the believer are more numerous than flies swarming around meat.50 In other cases, the promise of great suffering is linked to the special oath (mthq) taken from Shiites in pre-eternitya notion that will be discussed at length in the next chapter.51 All these earthly trials, however, are said to bring great recompense in the hereafter, with one tradition claiming that a believer who suffers trials patiently will receive the reward of a thousand martyrs.52 Of course, in later disputes between Shiites and Mutazilites, it was the principle of intercession or shafah, as noted above, that constituted the primary Imm argument against the Mutazilite absolutism regarding divine punishment (wad). This is quite similar to the argument about the role of intercession in preventing eternal punishment of the believing Muslim as expressed in both anaf Murjiite and Sunni traditionist doctrine; but again, the difference was that for Shiites, the religious community that guaranteed intercession and eventual salvation to its members was not necessarily the Muslim community at large but the Shiite community in particular. Moreover, in Shiite adth literature, there is also mention of a special forgiveness available only to Shiites, or alternately, a belief in the attainment of a higher spiritual station for Shiites by virtue of their earthly trials, without these ideas being expressly connected with intercession. These ideas concerning walyah and the unique and unsurpassed role that it played in the salvation of Shiites, as presented in the foregoing paragraphs, must have seemed rather radical and uncomfortably close to the antinomian ideas of the ghult, from the perspective of later Shiite theologians, many of whom were strongly inclined toward the Mutazilite view that made the individual more responsible for his own salvation through works and knowledge.53 Shiite adth literature is certainly not devoid of voices of moderation regarding these ideas, some of which have been discussed above. While some of these moderating traditions appear mainly or exclusively in one or two later works, and should probably be considered later amendments to the earlier tradition regarding the issue, there is some evidence of an earlier attemptperhaps by the Hijaz-based Imms themselvesto moderate these types of positions that were emerging among the Kufan Shiites. One way of curtailing the absolutist perspective on walyah was to stress the importance of virtue and piety. A tradition attributed predominantly to Muammad al-Bqir declares: Walyahto us is only attained through religious effort (ijtihd) and piety (wara).54 The pairing of these two terms (ijtihd and wara) occurs frequently in Shiite adth narrations often in the form of stern


The Charismatic Community

admonitions from the Imms to their followers.55 In one such adth that includes the admonition to ijtihdand wara, the Imm also says: It is not enough that a man simply say: I love Al and show walyah to him . . . [for] if he said: I love the Messenger of God (s.), and the Messenger of God is greater than Al, but does not follow his example or act according to his sunnah, his love will not benefit him at all; so fear God and do what comes from him.56 Both of these statements seem to be reactive: the warning that walyah will not be attained except through effort and piety already suggests that an emphasis on the all-importance of walyah may have fed the antinomian tendencies of some extremist Shiite groups; and the Imms declaration that it is not enough that a man simply confess his love of Al implies that there were already those who believed that it was. In the eighth-century compilation by Daylam, Alm al-dn, there is another version of the ijtihd and wara tradition attributed to Muammad alBqir that more explicitly includes the necessity of good works. It reads: Verily we need nothing from you . . . but piety (wara) and verily our walyah will not be attained except through righteous action (amal), and verily the most afflicted person on the Day of Resurrection is the one who prescribed justice but wrought injustice.57 This work also includes a tradition that appears as a reversal of the point of view that good works without walyah have no benefit, stating that it is walyah without good works that has no benefit.58 However, this strong emphasis on works is not the most commonly represented point of view in earlier compilations of Shiite tradition. While the Imms and some of their moderate followers may have genuinely sought to refute the more extreme notion that walyah alone guaranteed salvation and excused one from all other religious duties, the idea that walyah unaccompanied by sufficient good works was of no value would certainly contradict much of Shiite adth literature on the importance and centrality of walyah in ones religious life. This survey of Shiite adth regarding the interrelated issues of membership in the religious community in this life and salvation in the next reveals the degree to which both were based on the principle of walyah. Walyah represented the outward signifier of true belief, and was therefore both the essential requirement of membership in the believing (Shiite) community and the gate that opened onto otherworldly salvation. Shiite traditions on these issues bear clear textual and conceptual similarities to both Murjiite and Sunni traditionist perspectives, and this provides a strong argument for locating the origin of these Shiite traditions in the second- and early third-century Kufan milieu in which these views predominated. However, the notion of the centrality of walyah to the determination of

Membership in the Shiite Community and Salvation


faith, membership in the religious community, and salvation clearly distinguished the Shiite perspective from that of both the Murjiites and the Sunni traditionists, and suggests that a clear sense of sectarian particularism was already well-developed in this early period of Shiite history.

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Predestination and the Mythological Origins of Shiite Identity

f a certain analogy can be made between the Murjiite position on the shahdah and the Shiite position regarding walyah, that is, that they are understood in their respective contexts as sufficient criteria for membership in the believing community and for eventual salvation, we can also see a similarity in Shiite and Murjiite notions of how and why certain individuals come to meet those criteria and others do not. Many Murjiites and early Shiites, it seems, were predestinarian as to their view of human faith and salvation,1 although divine predestination is hardly a logical conclusion to be drawn from the most basic and foundational Murjiite or Shiite doctrinal principles. It is likely through their common center in Kufawhere predestinarian thought held out longer than in the strongly Qadarite city of Basra2that both Murjiism and early Shiism came to be connected with certain predestinarian ideas. anaf Murjiism, which originated in Kufa, is particularly predestinarian in inclination, and the Shiite adth material that ostensibly originates in Kufa in the early and mid-second century takes the most radically predestinarian position regarding membership in the religious community and, by extension, salvation. Many Kufan Shiite traditions assert that individuals are either destined to become Shiites or not; and as we saw in the previous chapter, this was believed to have a definitive influence on their eventual salvation or perdition. In these traditions which are particularly prevalent in works of Shiite adth that rely largely on Kufan transmitters, such as Barqs Masinwalyah is 141


The Charismatic Community

hardly presented as a voluntary expression of personal commitment to Al or the ahl al-bayt, as it seems to have been among Als supporters during the First Civil War. Rather, walyah is presented as a state that one enters through the will of God, or one that is already determined before an individuals earthly incarnation. This predestinarian bent is not the only point of view expressed in Shiite literature, but it predominates in the Kufan adth tradition; and the overall tenor of Shiite adth on this issue stands in marked contrast to the rationalist, Mutazilite-leaning Imm Shiite theology of the fourth and fifth centuries. It is true that in those chapters in Shiite adth compilations that deal directly with the issue of predestination (for example, chapters on al-jabr wal-tafw), the general position expressed is that human destiny is neither a matter of pure predestination (jabr) nor of absolute free will (tafw),3 but rather the two mysteriously combine to shape an individuals ultimate fate. God is too exalted for tafw and too just for jabr when either are conceived of in absolute terms.4 This idea is expressed most famously in a adth attributed to Jafar al-diq to the effect that human destiny is not exclusively determined by either predestination (jabr) or free will (tafw), but rather the truth lies somewhere between the two. While the basic formula of this tradition is too firmly associated with al-diq to be entirely spurious, the theological expansions upon it and interpretations of it may be later appendages. Many of the versions of this tradition attributed to Jafar al-diq are more cryptic than theologically explicit, saying little about the nature of the intermediate position between predestination and free will, except that it is wider than the space between the heavens and the earth,5 or that only the lim (understand: imm6), or the one whom the lim has taught, knows the true nature of this intermediate position.7 This may indicate that the reported words of the Imm had less to do with an attempt at real compromise between the two existing theological positions than with his reluctance to be explicitly associated with either the compulsionist (jabr) or the free will perspective. The original intent of the formula may have been to portray the Shiites as standing above the rivalry between the various theological schools and as holding a more holistic and less divisive option.8 It may well have been a way of dissociating the Shiitesfrom the entire debate about qadarand in some of these traditions the Qadarites are singled out for particular scorn, although it is unclear if the term is meant to refer to the theological group that upheld the doctrine of human free will or to all those who involved themselves in this debate.9 On the other hand, several versions of al-diqs intermediate position adth found in canonical Imm Shiite sources include some kind of theological elaboration or explanation appended to the basic

Predestination and Mythological Origins


text of the statementsometimes invoking ideas usually associated with the later Mutazilites. For example, in one version Al al-Ri is questioned on the issue by one of his disciples and he repeats aldiqs formula denying both jabr and tafw, but then adduces, by way of explanation, Quranic verses supporting the standard Mutazilite premise that God is only responsible for the good, while man is responsible for his own evil and disobedient actions.10 There are other traditions attributed to al-diq in which the Imm expresses ideas that are characteristically Qadarite or Mutazilite in nature, such as the notion that God does not command abominable things (although, at the same time, the tradition states that one cannot attribute good or evil to anything other than the will of God);11 that Gods compulsion (jabr) is only for the good, and that it is constituted solely by Gods command and prohibition (amr wa nahy);12 or that God possesses foreknowledge of the moral and eschatological destinies of individuals, but that this does not imply compulsion.13 Some of these ideas are found in pre-Mutazilite Qadarite thoughtfor example, the argument of divine foreknowledge without compulsion can be found in as early a Qadarite text as the rislah of al-asan al-Bar to Abd al-Malik b. Marwn14 but many of them are clearly of Mutazilite provenance. If the Shiite adth tradition seems somewhat undecided (or deliberately agnostic) with regard to the issue of jabr and tafw, when the topic is addressed directly, it seems much more resolutely in the compulsionist camp when the topic is approached indirectly. This is true, in the first place, for the question of who will be among the believers or the unbelievers, the saved or the damned, in the universal rather than sectarian sense. For example, the anaf Murjiite version of the definition of mn includes not only belief in God, the angels, the Books, the messengers, and the Last Day, but also belief that all fate (qadar)the good and the badis from God.15 Although the first five elements of belief are all requirements of true faith according to the Quran, the sixth is not. While the notion of belief in the Divine Decree is not explicitly stated in the Quran as an absolute requirement, this sixth element is enshrined in the famous Gabriel adth in Sunni tradition, which outlined the basic requirements of outward submission to the religion (islm), belief (mn), and virtue (isn). Despite its prominence and apparent origin in the early Sunni tradition, the necessity of belief in qadar or the Divine Decree is also commonly found in early Shiite adth sources. In Kitb Sulayma text that likely dates, at least in part, to the early second centurya similar definition of mn is given that includes the belief that all qadar, good and evil, comes from God,16 and there are traditions attributed to both Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar al-diq to the same effect.17 Like many Sunni traditionists, the Imms are recorded as having warned their


The Charismatic Community

disciples not to question the mysterious issue of qadar too deeply.18 In fact, al-diq tells a disciple who asked him about qadar and istiah (human capability for moral action) that the whole matter is an evil discussion (kalm khabth) and that it is part of the religion of his forefathers to believe that all fate (qadar) the good and the evil, the sweet and the bitter derive from God.19 There is a widely quoted Prophetic tradition in Sunni sources that says that the saved (sad) and the damned (shaq) are saved or damned in the womb20that is, before they have had a chance to exercise their free will, for good or ill, during their earthly lives; again, we find similar traditions in both canonical and noncanonical Shiite adth sources. A tradition attributed to al-diq states that if God creates a man to be saved (sad), then He loves him and never hates him; even if the man commits evil deeds, He hates the deeds and loves the man. But when God creates a man for damnation (shaq), He hates him and never loves him; even if the man commits good deeds, God will love the deeds and hate him.21 There is also a tradition found in both Murjiite and Sunni sources, as well as Shiite sources, that a man who is marked for salvation may journey his whole life along the path of wickedness until he is within inches of death, and at the last moment he will change and become one of the saved; while a man who is marked for damnation may travel the path of goodness for most of his life, and then change at the last moment and become one of the damned.22 The presence of predestinarian and/or compulsionist ideas in Shiite literature is particularly evident with regard to the issue that goes to the heart of our study: that is, how and why a person becomes a member of the Shiite community, and hence, in Shiite opinion, a true member of the believing Muslim community. With almost perfect consistency, the Shiite adth tradition expresses the view that Shiites are not merely members of a voluntary religious organization or sect, but rather represent an elite community, an elect, chosen by God above all humanity to represent true faith (mn) in Gods complete message to humanitya message that includes love and obedience to the ahl al-bayt. This Shiite notion of their community as a spiritual elect is expressed in numerous ways, one of which is the use of the terms khah (elite, elect) and mmah (commoners) to refer to Shiites and non-Shiites, respectively.23 However, Shiite electionist notions are also connected to a kind of Shiite mythology regarding the events of pre-eternity and the creation of mankind that seeks to explain the special origin of the Shiites and their unique role in the religious cosmos. While these traditions have been discussed by other scholars of Shiism,24 we will here examine the link that exists between these cosmogonic traditions regarding pre-eternity and the notion of the

Predestination and Mythological Origins


predestined and/or specifically God-determined nature of membership in the Shiite community. THE MYTHOLOGICAL ELABORATION OF THE MI THQ IN SHIITE TRADITION The notion of the mthq, or the primordial pact between God and the prophets and between God and mankind, has a firm Quranic basis. In the Quran, two mthqs are mentionedone with the prophets specifically, and one with mankind in general. These accounts occur separately in the Quran and appear to represent two distinct preeternal events. Quran XXXIII:78 reads: And when We exacted a covenant (mthq) from the prophets and from you (O Muammad) and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a solemn covenant (mthq ghalz); That He may ask the truthful (iddqn) about their truthfulness (idqihim). In most Sunni Quran commentary, the pact is interpreted as having been made by God with the prophets in general, in order to ensure their loyalty and truthfulness. Among the prophets who accepted this covenant, the Quran specifically names Muammad, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as the most distinguished (elsewhere, of course, they are the ulul-azm), while Muammad, being named first, is generally considered in both the Sunni and Shiite tafsr traditions to be the most important of the five.25 However, according to one Shiite interpretation of these verses, God took a mthq from all of the prophets for Muammad, and from Muammad for all of the other prophets, thus singling him out for particular and unique recognition.26 While this is not made explicit in the text of the particular verse itself, it does not seem an unreasonable interpretation when it is juxtaposed with Quran III:81, where the mthq is taken from the prophets in recognition of Muammad as a later confirmer (rasl muaddiq) of the messages brought by the prophets before him. The second relevant verse in regard to the mthq is VII:172, in which the word mthqis not actually used, but which is interpreted as being an account of the occasion on which God took a similar pact from all of the sons of Adam to recognize Him as their Lord. The verse reads: And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (dhurriyyatahum), and made them testify of themselves, (saying): Am I not your Lord? (alastu bi-rabbikum?) They said: Yea, surely. We testify. (That was) lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: Lo! of this we were unaware. It seems from the Quranic text that the first mthq was taken


The Charismatic Community

by God from the prophets specifically for their truthfulness and, in Quran III:81, for their recognition and support of Muammad, who would come to confirm the previous scriptures; while the second was taken from the sons of Adam, solely for the recognition of God as Lord. The Shiite tradition, however, adds elements of its own to both of these accountsin particular, adding the recognition of Als authority and/or walyah to the conditions and terms, in various instances, of both primordial pacts. When the notion of walyah is added to the Shiite version or expansion of the story regarding the mthq of the prophets, it is done in a way that builds upon traditional Islamic prophetology regarding the classification and relative rank of the various prophets, and the Islamic idea of the mutual confirmation of the various scriptures, Islamic and pre-Islamic. In a tradition attributed to Muammad al-Bqir, for example, the Imm confirms that God took both a mthqand an ahd (vow) from all the prophets regarding their recognition of the walyah of Al.27 This tradition supports two somewhat extremist Shiite ideas: first, the notion of the universality of the walyah of Al (i.e., that it was a message brought by all of the prophets, not just Muammad himself); and second, the notion of the inferiority of the pre-Islamic prophets in relation to the Imms (or at least Al, in this case), since the prophets are called upon to recognize Als authority rather than the other way around.28 In fact, in one tradition it is said that only the ulul-azm (the five law-giving prophets: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muammad) accepted the ahd regarding the authority of Muammad and his awiy and the mahd, and that it was their acceptance of this full ahdthat earned them the title, ululazm.29 One Shiite tradition regarding Quran III:81wherein God demands of the prophets that they accept a covenant to believe in (tuminunna) and support (tanurunna) Muammad as a confirming messengerclaims that God was in this case demanding the prophets affirmation of Muammad as a confirming messenger, along with their belief in (mn) and support of (nurah) Al as the Commander of the Faithful (Amr al-muminn).30 Another version of this tradition found in Qumms Tafsr separates these two demands (mn and nurah), claiming that God demanded the prophets belief in both Muammad and Al but demanded their nurah for Al in particular. The adth elaborates on this unusual interpretation, saying that: God has not sent a prophet since Adam, except that he will return to this world to fight for and aid the Messenger of God and the Amr almuminn31 (a reference to the Shiite idea of rajah). It should be noted, however, that these types of traditions are found exclusively in the Bair al-darajt of al-affr al-Qumma work known for its somewhat hyperbolic traditions regarding the Immsand in the Tafsr of

Predestination and Mythological Origins


Qumma contemporary of al-affr, and a fellow member of the Qummi traditionist school. On the other hand, those traditions regarding the insertion of the notion of walyah, or obedience to the Imms, into the story of the primordial pact taken from all mankind are somewhat more generally represented in Shiite adth sources. In fact, most of the Shiite tafsr material that explicitly connects walyah with the mthq is situated in the discussion of Quran VII:172, which deals with the mthq of the sons of Adam.32 One of the most common traditions in this vein, and one which is related in all but one instance from Muammad al-Bqir, states that Al was given the title Amr al-muminn at the time of the mthq,33 or variously, that he was named Amr al-muminn, as well as the khalfah and the amn (trusted one) of God, at that time.34 In another version of this tradition, al-Bqir declares: If the ignorant ones (juhhl) knew that Al was named Amr al-muminn in the mthq, they would not deny his right.35 Elsewhere, a more explicit connection is made between walyah and the mthq. For example, one tradition states that God took a mthq from His creation for His own Lordship (rubbiyyah) and for obedience (ah) and walyahtoward Muammad and his progeny, and that the walyah of the ahl al-bayt was therefore established in pre-eternity.36 Al is likewise said to have told al-Abagh b. Nubtah37 that God took the mthq from the sons of Adam for obedience (ah) to and [the recognition of] Lordship (rubbiyyah) for Himself, and that on this same occasion, God distinguished the messengers, prophets, and legatees (awiy) [from the rest of creation] and ordered all humanity to obey them.38 The combination of these three concepts is also found in an eschatological tradition attributed to Al al-Ri, which declares that the first things a servant will be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection are shahdah, prophecy, and friendship (muwlah) toward Al.39 This tradition does not mention the pre-eternal covenant specifically, but it may be understood as referring to the primordial event described in Quran VII:172, since this passage implies that God will remind the sons of Adam of their covenant on the Day of Resurrection, and question them as to why they were not faithful to it in earthly life. Walyahis connected with the mthq in the interpretation of other Quranic verses as well. In the Quranic passage where God admonishes the believers to be true to My pact (awf bi-ahd), this pact (here ahd rather than mthq)40 is said to be the walyah of Al.41 When the Quran promises the servants of God that they will be rewarded with gushing springs in the next life because of their fulfillment of the vow (al-nadhr),42 al-Ri explains that this refers to the vow God took from them in the mthq for our walyah.43 The foregoing traditions imply that the walyah of Al was as universal as the Lordship of God and the prophecy of Muammad,


The Charismatic Community

since the three together constitute the primordial pact, or mthq, taken by God from all of mankind. Other traditions, however, suggest that the special bond with Al was established only for the Shiites at the time of the primordial pact, placing the origin of a cosmological Shiite community in the time of pre-eternity. One such tradition is related from al-Bqir on the authority of Bukayr b. Ayan:44
Verily God, blessed and exalted is He, took the mthq from our Shiites for walyah toward us when they were particles (dharr) on the day when He took the mthq of the particles to affirm Himself, as Lord, and Muammad as Prophet. And He showed Muammad his community (ummatahu) in the clay (nah), and they were shadows (azillah),45 and He made them from the clay from which He had created Adam; and He created the spirits (arw) of our Shiites a thousand years before their bodies and showed them to [Muammad] and they were recognized by the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him) and by Al b. Ab lib (peace be upon him) and we recognize them by the peculiar nature (lan) of their speech.46

This tradition posits a particular role and distinction for Shiites among the rest of mankind in the world of pre-eternity. The account narrated here seems to refer to the time of the taking of the mthq of the sons of Adam in general, given the reference to the particles (dharr), and it is the ummah of Muammad generally which is exhibited before the Prophet. While all members of the ummah, according to this tradition, are created from the clay of Adam, the Shiites are given the additional distinctions of having accepting walyah as part of their mthq and of having their souls created a thousand years before their bodies. They are further set apart for particular recognition by both Muammad and Al. Another tradition makes an analogy between the exclusive mthq of the Shiites and the mthq of mankind in general:
Verily our adth are difficult (ab mustaab), none can bear them save enlightened breasts or sincere hearts or virtuous characters; verily God took the mthq from our Shiites, just as He took [an oath] from the Children of Adam, Am I not your Lord? (a-lastu bi-rabbikum). Whoever is true to us, God is true to him in [granting him] Paradise; and whoever hates us, and does not grant us our right, then [he is] in Hell, eternally.47

This tradition is rather ambiguous as to the nature of the mthq and those who accepted it. It could mean either that a separate mthq was taken exclusively from the Shiites, which was like the mthq taken from mankind in general, or that the same mthq was taken

Predestination and Mythological Origins


from the Shiites and all of mankind, but that only the Shiites remain true to it in the course of their earthly life. In any case, accounts of the mthq in Shiite tradition are frequently related to the notion of walyat Al, and in nearly all variations of the story, the taking of the mthq is considered to be the occasion on which the Shiites were definitively distinguished from the rest of mankind for the first time. It is to this mythological event that the Shiite adth tradition traces the cosmological origin of its own community.

THE PRIMORDIAL PACT AND SHIITE PREDESTINARIAN THOUGHT The Quranic description of the mthq, or primordial pact, taken from the sons of Adam is not necessarily an argument for a predestinarian view of human eschatology. After all, the Quranic version of the event suggests that all of humanity agreed to recognize the Lordship of God, but that not all would be true to this oath in earthly life; and the verse that follows the description of the pact implies that some men would renege on this primordial recognition of God during their earthly lives (and so be reminded of it on the Last Day). The taking of such an oath, therefore, did not seem to determine an individuals belief or unbelief in earthly life. Yet, despite the apparent neutrality of the verse regarding the jabr/tafw debateor even its apparent suggestion that one may renege on the pre-eternal pact during earthly lifethe fact is that in Shiite (and some Sunni) Quran commentaries, the verse is often associated with predestinarian notions. In particular, the mthq event is sometimes associated with the notion that two groups of men were established in pre-eternitybelievers and unbelievers. In Shiite mythology, this is usually connected to the discussion of the two types of clay (nah) that were said to constitute the hearts and bodies of the prophets, Imms, Shiites/ believers, and unbelievers in various combinations. There are numerous versions of the nah myth, and since this notion has already been sufficiently addressed by other authors, it will here suffice to mention the general scheme presented in these traditions, which is as follows: the prophets and Imms are made exclusively and entirely out of good clay; the hearts of the believers or their spirits (arw) are similarly made from good clay, but their bodies are made from a mixture of good and base clay; while both the hearts and the bodies of the unbelievers are composed of the base clay, or of a mixture of good and base clay.48 A tradition to this effect is cited in Shiite sources in connection with the mthq of the sons of Adam in pre-eternity, and sometimes in relation to the specific Quranic verse in which this


The Charismatic Community

event is described. Various versions of this tradition can be found in Shiite works, but the one in which the tradition is connected directly with the mthq of the sons of Adam is related by Muammad al-Bqir from his father, Al b. al-usayn Zayn al-bidn. The tradition cites Quran VII:172, and gives the following commentary:
Verily [God] took a fistful (qabah) of earth (turb), the earth (turbah) from which He created Adam. Then He poured fresh, sweet water on it and left it for forty days; then He poured bitter, salty water on it and left it for forty days. When the clay had fermented, He took it and kneaded it well, and then they came out like particles (dharr) from His right and from His left. He ordered all of them to descend into the Fire, and so those of the right (ab al-yamn) entered and it became cool and harmless for them, while those of the left (ab al-shiml) refused to enter.49

This tradition brings together the notions of the two kinds of clay, the dividing of mankind into those of the right and those of the left, and the connection of the tradition with the mthq, since the tradition is a commentary upon Quran VII:172. Yet there is no clear indication in this tradition that the ab al-yamn represent Shiites exclusively. In fact, it is a rather general predestinarian tradition there are those destined for Paradise and those destined for Hell, and the matter is set in pre-eternityand this lack of sectarian exclusivity characterizes nah traditions attributed to Al Zayn al-bidn in other contexts as well.50 It is also interesting to note that a variant version of the same tradition is cited by abar in his tafsr of Quran VII:172, from Sad b. Jubayr on the authority of Ibn Abbs.51 Although these two figures were both prominent Meccan traditionists, while Al Zayn al-bidn resided in Medina, both have strong connections to the Shiite adth tradition. Ibn Abbs reportedly enjoyed close relations with his cousin Al b. Ab lib and with the latters son, al-usayn (to whom he is said to have offered the unheeded advice to forego his fateful journey to Iraq). He is a frequently cited authority in Shiite adth works, where his traditions are often related through the secondary transmitter, Sad b. Jubayr; and in Sunni sources he is listed as one of Al b. al-usayns principal, non-Alid sources for traditions.52 Moreover, Shiite biographical works name Sad b. Jubayr as one of only five people who remained loyal to the usaynid line by recognizing Al b. al-usayn as the Imm after al-usayns death.53 Thus, the original and non-sectarian version of this tradition may be traced either to Al Zayn al-bidn himself, or to the Hijazi school of tradition, of which he was a distinguished member, and within which he had good connections.54

Predestination and Mythological Origins


However, in versions of the tradition related from the later Imms, Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar al-diq, we find an explicit identification of the ab al-yamn, or those of the better nah, with the Shiites. A tradition from al-Bqir states that the ahl al-bayt and the hearts of their Shiites were created from the best material, while the enemies of the ahl al-bayt were created from the basest material and that the hearts of the Shiites incline toward [the ahl al-bayt] because they are created from that which [God] created us, while the enemies of the ahl-al-bayt incline toward the base matter from which they were created.55 A tradition attributed to al-diq claims that God creates the believer, or the Shiite, from the sweet clay of Paradise, and creates the unbeliever, or the persecutor of the Shiites (nib), from the black and filthy clay, the clay of the Fire.56 Thus, the tradition about the two kinds of individuals created in pre-eternitythose of good clay and those of base clay, or those of the right hand and those of the leftmoves beyond general predestinarian ideas regarding who becomes a believer or unbeliever, in the sense of recognizing the authority of God, to the more sectarian notion that ones status as a Shiite or non-Shiite is definitively established in pre-eternity. The distinguishing of Shiites from non-Shiites in pre-eternity is expounded in a number of other traditions as well, but they are attributed in the main to Muammad al-Bqir. An idea commonly attributed to al-Bqir, for example, is that because God took a certain mthq specifically from the Imms and their Shiites in pre-eternity, the numbers of Shiites and non-Shiites were fixed; he is said to have declared: If they wanted to add one man to their number, they could not and if they wanted to subtract one man from their number, they could not.57 This notion of a fixed number of Shiites, known from pre-eternity, is also reflected in Shiite traditions regarding a book allegedly given to Al by the Prophet, and then passed down from Imm to Imm, in which are written the names of all Shiites to the end of time (their names and those of their fathers.)58 Other traditions attributed to al-Bqir claim that the determination of Shiite identity is the result of divine favor, and not strictly a matter of personal or voluntary choice. Some traditions claim that it is Gods love for, or beneficence toward, a particular individual that is responsible for his becoming a Shiite. For example, al-Bqir reportedly declared that only those whom God loved affirmed the walyah of the ahl al-bayt in the mthq, while others accepted some, but not all, of the provisions of the mthq.59 Another tradition claims that God gives worldly good to both those He loves and those He hates, but that He only gives the gift of faith (mn) or religion (dn) to those He loves, or to His chosen ones among His creation.60 Moreover, a belief in the pre-determined nature of Shiite identity becomes the basis for discouraging Shiites


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from participating in either religious debates (khumah) or propaganda on behalf of the Shiite cause. In traditions attributed to both alBqir and al-diq, Shiites are admonished to give up religious debates and leave the ns (i.e., non-Shiites) alone, for if God desires good (khayr) for His servant, He will mark his heart such that he will come to this amr (authority, i.e., the Shiite perspective) more quickly than a bird to its nest.61 A more compulsionist version of this tradition asserts that if God desires good (khayr) for a servant, He takes him by the neck and forcibly brings him into the Shiite community;62 or variously, that He commands an angel to do so.63 In all of these traditions, Gods decision to show beneficence to particular individuals by causing them to become Shiiteto the exclusion of othersseems arbitrary. Membership in the Shiite community is said to be dependent on the primordial pact taken for walyah to Al, but in some traditions even an individuals acceptance of this pact seems determined by Gods love, since only those whom God loved affirmed walyah, according to al-Bqir. Once the determination had been made in pre-eternity that an individual would become either a Shiite or a non-Shiite, it was considered to be absolute and final. According to traditions attributed to both al-Bqir and al-diq, the love or attraction an individual Shiite feels for the ahl al-bayt is something created by God,64 and something to which the Shiite inclines regardless of his own will. Jafar al-diq is reported to have said that when God made His creation, He created a group (qawm) to love us, and if one of them leaves this view (hdhal-ray), God returns him to it, in spite of himself; and He created a group to hate us, and they will never love us.65 In another tradition, Muammad al-Bqir seems almost inclined to pity nonShiites, reportedly telling his disciples that if the ns (i.e., non-Shiites) could love us, they would but because of the events that took place at the time of the mthq, they cannot.66 As noted above, there is good evidence that the development of this cosmological and mythological history of pre-eternity as a means of explaining the unique and elite role of the Shiites first began in the late Umayyad period, around the time of Muammad al-Bqir or the time of his influence. In addition to the close association of these traditions with al-Bqir in Imm tradition, we also have corroborating evidence in the material collected by historians and heresiographers for the heresiarch al-Mughrah b. Sad al-Ijl, who was discussed in the previous chapter. Al-Mughrah, a figure much castigated by later Imm adth and biographical tradition, is generally placed by the heresiographers in the category of the extremist Shiites (ghult). While the warnings against his extremist ideas are well-warranted, alMughrah seems, nonetheless, to have had important connections to

Predestination and Mythological Origins


the proto-Imm, Rfi Shiite community. He was undoubtedly a Rfi Shiite, for he is reported to have cursed the first two caliphs;67 and he was also evidently associated with one of al-Bqirs close companions, Jbir b. Yazd al-Juf.68 But more importantly, al-Mughrah was rather unique among late Umayyad Shiite heresiarchs in that he chose to recognize the immate of Muammad al-Bqir instead of that of Ab Hshim b. Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, who was al-Bqirs contemporary and apparently more popular among certain Shiite groups of the time.69 It is also important to note that al-Mughrah did not live into the period of Jafar al-diqs influence, being killed by the Umayyad governor in the year 119 (only a few years after alBqirs own death in either 114 or 117). In Ashars Maqlt alislmiyyn, the heresiographer records a long passage regarding the origin of believers and unbelievers in pre-eternity that is attributed to al-Mughrah and that bears a strong resemblance to similar traditions attributed to al-Bqir. The passage includes the central elements of the Imm version of this mythological traditionnamely, the idea that the clay of mankind was formed from two kinds of water, sweet and salty, and that believers were made from the clay formed with sweet water while unbelievers were made from the clay formed with salty wateralthough al-Mughrahs version also includes a number of other, more extremist and anthropomorphic ideas.70 As one scholar has noted, al-Mughrah posited a rather elitist view of the nature of the Shiite community,71 and this tradition was likely intended to further that notion. Thus, we have in al-Mughrah, and in the ideas that the heresiographical literature attributes to him, unmistakable parallels to the elitist and cosmological/mythological ideas we find attributed to al-Bqir in Imm sources. Whether or not al-Bqir himself encouraged or even approved of al-Mughrahs ideas, there is strong evidence that they arose in the intellectual environment of the Kufan Shiite community attached particularly to his immate in the late Umayyad period. One can always debate whether such traditions can be reasonably attributed to the Imms themselves, but one can hardly argue against their authenticity within the early Shiite tradition. They are found in many of the earliest sources for Shiite tradition, and there are almost no traditions that clearly contradict the more predestinarian mthq or nah formulations (aside from the middle-of-the-road position refuting both jabr and tafw, which in any case does not explicitly refute the predestinarian elements of these traditions). It is true that many of these types of traditions are used in the context of admonishing Shiites to refrain from extensive engagement and debate with non-Shiites, citing the impossibility of changing Gods predetermination with regard to their religious confession; and it is also


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true that these ideas are found primarily in Shiite adth sources, as opposed to the Shiite kalm tradition, which existentially, of course, believed in the value of religious debate. Therefore, one might argue that these traditions represent part of the Qummi traditionist criticism of the rationalism of the Baghdadi and Basran Shiite schools of kalm of the fourth and fifth centuries, so engaged as they were in religious debate. Such a hypothesis does not stand up to further examination, however, for while some Qummi traditionists may have been keen to transmit adth material critical of the mutakallimn, other evidence suggests they were unlikely to have wholly invented the fundamental mythology that underlay these predestinarian or compulsionist traditions. First, it should be noted that any explicit discussion of the issue of jabr and tafw in the works of the Qummi traditionists themselves characteristically cites al-diqs view that the truth of the matter lay between these two perspectives. In other places, the Qummi traditionists argued that God possessed foreknowledge of events, but that this did not entail jabr or divine compulsion with regard to human destiny. In either case, when discussing the theological issue directly, Shiite traditionists did not present a view markedly different from that of their Mutazilite-influenced counterparts in Baghdad. Second, we find similar compulsionist traditions connected with the mthq in Sunni tafsrand adth sourcessome with textual and isnd similarities to the Shiite versionswith chains of transmission that suggest that they originated in the early (late first/early second century) Hijazi school of tradition. Finally, the presence of these types of compulsionist traditions throughout many of the earliest known Shiite sourcesthat is, in the existing ul (even those not known for their particularly extremist or cosmogonic content, such as that of Durust b. Ab Manr) or in imyars Qurb al-isndsuggests that these ideas were fairly well-accepted in second- and third-century Shiite circles. Whether or not they represent the personal opinion of the Imms themselves, they no doubt reflect something of the Shiite communitys understanding of its own origin, its minority existence, and its eschatological destinyframed in a sometimes elaborate and fanciful but conceptually consistent mythology. This mythology also seems to be an early development and can probably be traced to the time of al-Bqir, or shortly after his deaththat is, to the period of his intellectual influencegiven the number of such traditions attributed personally to him or to ghult thinkers whom the heresiographical sources associate with a belief in his immate. The importance of these early electionist and mythological traditions to Shiite notions of self and communal identity should not be underestimated. The Shiites are unique among all Islamic sectarian groups in positing the origin of their community not only before the

Predestination and Mythological Origins


death of the Prophet but in the time of pre-eternity. They are the only group to apply existing predestinarian notions of faith and community in a sectarian as well as a universal sense. Even the Kharijites, with the strong sense of charismatic community sometimes attributed to them,72 hardly posit such a cosmic origin and role to their communal existence. This profound Shiite sense of having been chosen for a unique cosmological destiny likely played a significant role in sustaining the commitment and morale of the proto-Imm and Imm communities through the persecution and sectarian confusion of the late Umayyad period and the ideological challenges of the early Abbsid era. The more rationalist Imm theologians of the fourth and fifth centuries may have discredited some of these cosmogonic and mythological traditions as the fanciful imaginings of the ghult, but the idea that Shiites, as individuals and as a community, possess a unique spiritual status and destiny continues to inform Shiite selfperception to the present day.73

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The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites

n the analysis of the early Shiite adth tradition as presented in the previous two chapters, we saw the somewhat amorphous beginnings of a more profound and elaborate construction of Shiite identity. This particular conception of Shiite identity seems to have its roots in the early second century and is based on the notion of walyah as an expression of the absolute attachment of the individual Shiite to the ahl al-bayt. It is an attachment understood in a more affective, rather than active, sense, and it is often presented synonymously with the notion of love (ubb). In this formulation, walyah is presented as part of a special pact that God makes only with His chosen Shiites in pre-eternity, and this pact then determines the spiritual and sectarian vocation of the Shiites in earthly life. If there is still a remnant of the voluntarist aspect of walyah, it plays out in the mythical drama of pre-eternity, when the Shiites alone recognize the walyah of Al and his descendants. As presented in the adth, then, the Shiites are not the voluntary religio-political organization that they appear to have been in their earliest historical incarnation but rather they are a chosen community, an elect. Their vocation is not to achieve this or that religiopolitical objective but rather to carry within themselves, in their love for and attachment to the ahl al-bayt, the full and complete covenant of God with His creation. This chapter examines the language and cosmological framework through which Shiite electionist notions became an important part of Shiite adth discourse, as well as the sectarian speculation this spawned regarding the spiritual distinctions, 157


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powers, and charisms Shiites enjoyed by virtue of their unique spiritual status. The mthq traditions, discussed in the previous chapter, locate the origin of the unique spiritual status of the Shiites in the realm of pre-eternity, suggesting a largely predestinarian view of Shiite identity. Whether by choice or divine election, the taking of this mthq in pre-eternity was viewed as the mythological source of Shiite identity, and multiple traditions attributed to the Imms assert that an individual cannot alter this decision or avoid its spiritual implications in the course of earthly life. Through this primordial event, Shiites were said to be distinguished from the rest of the Islamic communityand mankind in generalas a religious elite, chosen before birth for special spiritual distinctions and responsibilities. This spiritual election in pre-eternity was also said to result in tangible, physical distinctions in the earthly lives of individual Shiites. One series of traditions claims that all Shiites were the recipients of the first of all earthly blessings, a good birth.1 This meant that the Shiite believer was never conceived in unclean or sinful circumstances; he was never the child of fornicators or adulterers (walad zin),2 or conceived during his mothers menstrual period.3 There is even a curious tradition related through a line of female descendants of Al, in which it is said that on the Day of Judgment, all of humanity will be called by the names of their mothers4 (in order to ensure that they are correctly identified, since one can never be absolutely certain of a childs paternity), but that Shiites alone will have the distinction of being called by the names of their fathers, because they love Al and therefore have [the quality of] good birth.5 This position remained purely rhetorical and conceptual in Shiite tradition, and was never adopted as a way of establishing or negating membership in the Shiite community. Nonetheless, it is significant even at this level, since it seems to stand in marked distinction to the mainstream Islamic perspective that considered children to be completely innocent of the sins of their parents or the circumstances of their conception, even if the causality in the Shiite case is reversedit is not the circumstances of ones birth that determines the possibility of membership in the Shiite community but a pre-existing determination of Shiite affiliation that determines the circumstances of ones birth. A smaller set of Shiite adth narrations also claim that despite the suffering Shiites will be subject to in their lives, they are spared from certain types of illness, such as leprosy and other socially stigmatizing conditions.6 Leaving aside the mainstream Islamic philosophical resistance to the notion of an individuated human existence in the pre-eternal realm before time, such self-generated notions of a unique and cho-

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 159 sen status among fellow Muslims would likely have been rather offensive to Muslims outside the Shiite community. It is important to consider, however, that these ideas, and the adth narrations that promoted them, were almost certainly not meant for the consumption of those outside the Shiite community. Rather, these traditions were likely intended to bolster the commitment and confidence of Shiites themselves in the face of largely unrelenting internal and external challenges to their community. However, given the sensitivities of the non-Shiite community, the language Shiite adth traditions employ to spiritually distinguish the Shiites from the rest of the Islamic ummah is by turns subtle and explicit. To the extent that these traditions are authentically attributed to the Imms, it is likely that the subtler terminology of distinction was used by the Imms (particularly Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar al-diq) while speaking in mixed sectarian company, or else when they were teaching their disciples in open and public places.7 Under such circumstances, the Imm could refer to the Shiites simply as the muminn, since even in al-Bqirs time, a profound link between walyah and mn had been established in Shiite circles, as discussed in Chapter 5. The identification of the Shiites with the muminn, or true believers, therefore, was not only an important point of sectarian doctrine but could also be used to hide the exclusivist sectarian beliefs of the Shiites in plain sight. The Imm could speak in public or in mixed sectarian company about the spiritual rewards and benefits the believers enjoy, and his words could be understood in a perfectly mainstream, ethical manner by non-Shiites present on the occasion. Only the Shiites would have to know that the term muminn was a specific and exclusive reference to them (if indeed it was). In other cases, and indeed quite frequently, the Imms would refer to non-Shiites simply as the nsa term which can simply mean people, but which can also have the sense of ordinary or common people. There are countless instances where Shiite adth traditions mention the ns in a pejorative tone, and the reference is clearly to those outside the Shiite community. We have already seen examples of this in the previous chapter. Shiite adth discourse also occasionally refers to Shiites as the khah (the elite, the eminent ones) and more frequently refers to non-Shiites as the mmah (the commoners), two terms that had a general and nonsectarian meaning and could be used in a variety of ways to distinguish, for example, the educated classes from the ordinary masses, or in Sufi terminology, those of greater mystical understanding from ordinary Muslim believers. Again, the Imm could speak in these terms without the sectarian content of his message being readily apparent.


The Charismatic Community SHIITE ELECTIONISM

The terms khah and mmah, however, did reflect the sense of spiritual hierarchy that characterized most Shiite thought about themselves and their community, and the electionist nature of these Shiite notions of spiritual distinction and vocation seem to stand at odds with the profound egalitarianism often attributed to the Islamic religious perspective. The Quran stresses the equal origin of all human beings in its notion of firahthe idea that all human beings are born according to the same pure and normative mold. It derides false distinctions between people on the basis of arbitrary factors such as ethnic identity and socio-economic status. God, we are told, deliberately formed human beings into tribes and nations so that they might know one another.8 The Quran asserts in multiple places that the acts and beliefs of all human beings are judged on the same scale;9 God only makes distinctions between His human creatures on the basis of their taqw, or piety, and their service to religion.10 In other words, if there is a distinction between human individuals, it is rightly based only on an individuals religious efforts and sincerity, not on the accidents of birth. At the same time, however, the Quran occasionally suggests both hierarchical differences among individuals and predestinarian views of human spiritual or religious destiny. The Quran clearly states that God has created human beings in (varying) degrees, so that He might try them.11 He endows some with worldly or spiritual gifts without account (bi-ghayri isb).12 The Quran also singles out the believers and other noble spiritual individuals for particular favors and distinctions. Shiite adth discourse frequently cites these distinctions among individuals suggested by the Quran and interprets them as references to the elite and God-given spiritual status of Shiites relative to other human beings, including other Muslims. It is well known that Shiite Quran commentary reads references to the Imms, to their spiritual and political authority, and to their special relationship with God and the Prophet into many passages of the Quran. Shiite adth and tafsr traditions identify the Imms with nearly all Quranic references to the possessors of spiritual and salvific knowledge and authoritythey are, for example, the true referents of the phrases those firmly rooted in knowledge13 or those in possession of authority (ulul-amr).14 In this way, Shiites argued that the notion of the immate and the spiritual distinction of the Imms was contained (or concealed) within the literal meaning of the Quranic text. It is less well known, however, that Shiite adth discourse asserts that references to the elite spiritual status of Shiites as a whole were contained within the literal meaning of the Quranic text as well. The

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 161 Shiites, for example, are commonly identified in Shiite tafsr traditions with the Quranic ulul-albb or possessors of understanding.15 The Quranic ulul-albb are frequently connected with notions of spiritual remembrance and guidance and are sometimes directly and exclusively addressed by the Quran.16 It is the possessors of understanding who take prophetic guidance and divine reminders to heart, and some passages suggest that such divine reminders are directed at them in particular.17 The ulul-albb clearly represent a class of persons possessing a superior level of spiritual distinction in Quranic terminology, and Shiite tafsr traditions consistently identified this group with the Shiites specifically. In a commonly reported interpretation given by al-Bqir on the Quranic verse Are those who know and those who do not know equal? Only the possessors of understanding (ulul-albb) remember,18 al-Bqir identifies those who know with the Imms, those who do not know with their enemies, and the ulul-albb with the Shiites.19 The Shiites are also identified with other elite categories mentioned in the Quran, such as the people of the right (ab al-yamn), who unlike others, will not be held hostage to what they have earned with their deeds.20 Another elite spiritual category found in the Quran is that of the shuhad (martyrs or witnesses). Martyrs in the cause of God are given special status in the Quran. The Quran asserts that those who do not fight and die in the path of God are not equal to those who do; and the believers are told not to regard those killed in the path of God as dead because indeed they are living, in Gods presence and provided for by Him. Some interpretations of this passage considered it to mean that martyrs dwelt already in Paradise, even before the final judgment at the end of time.21 Jafar al-diq interprets the primary Quranic verse pertaining to the special status of the martyrs as being a reference to his Shiite supporters;22 and in some traditions he states that all Shiites are martyrs, no matter how they die and that, indeed, there are no real martyrs outside the Shiites. 23 The Quran also uses the Arabic term shuhad in the common sense of witnesses, and tells us that those who believe in God and the Prophet are the truthful ones (iddqn) and witnesses before their Lord (shuhad inda rabbihim). These two meanings of the term shuhad are conflated in a Shiite tradition attributed to al-usayn b. Al, in which al-usayn tells Zayd b. Arqam that every Shiite is a iddq and a shahd. When Zayd asks: Even those who die in their beds?, al-usayn responds by quoting the verse above to the effect that all true believers are shuhad.24 The long history of Shiite oppression must have lent power and saliency to this interpretation, which seems to have continued even after the movement had become largely quietist in orientation. A series of traditions attributed to al-diq, for example, claims that the


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Shiite who waits patiently for the qim (the member of the ahl al-bayt who will rise up to restore rightful authority to the descendants of Muammad) has the same status as those who will fight with the mahd, or those who fought with the Prophet.25 Another tradition asserts that Shiites who patiently bear adversity receive the reward of a thousand martyrs.26 Shiite adth literature also frequently interprets Quranic passages that mention the believers and the pious in general as being specific references to the Shiites, whom they sometimes consider to be the exclusive recipients of certain divine favors promised to these pious believers. For example, a tradition attributed to al-diq glosses the Quranic verse that asserts that Satan has no power over Gods devotees (ibd), by saying that these devotees are none other than this group [i.e., Shiites] exclusively.27 The Shiites are sometimes identified with the Quranic best of creatures28 and those true to their trust,29 and are frequently considered the sole recipients of the more extraordinary types of divine forgiveness and leniency mentioned in the Quran. When the Quran says that believers will have their evil actions exchanged for good ones, 30 that their reward for good actions will be multiplied by ten,31 that God will forgive those who mix good actions with bad,32 or that their minor sins will be forgiven if they avoid the major ones,33 some Shiite adth traditions view these as favors pertaining to Shiites in particular.34 If Shiites claim that the spiritual prestige enjoyed by the believers in the Quran pertains exclusively to themselves, rather than to all members of the Islamic community, then this can perhaps be justified by the repeated Quranic declaration that the truly pious and believing are a minority among human beings generally. In dozens of passages, the Quran notes that most people (akthar al-ns) do not believe,35 do not know various spiritual truths,36 do not use their intelligence,37 or are not grateful for divine beneficence38thereby rendering the true believers an elite few. By stressing the small number of true [Shiite] believers, Shiites made a virtue of their minority status, considering it a mark of their chosenness. This discourse seems intended to reassure and comfort the Shiites, with one tradition declaring that the awliy of God have been weak and few ever since God created Adam.39 In the Nahj al-balghah, a sermon attributed to Al advises that if one finds falsehood and its advocates in the majority, he should know that it has been this way since ancient times and is unlikely to change,40 and Ms al-Kim likewise tells his followers that the believers are few and the unbelievers are legion.41 The idea that the Shiite community would always be small and weak in the world until its hour of victory arrived, and that this smallness or weakness was a mark of spiritual distinction, must have given

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 163 heart to the Shiite community at various points in its history, encouraged greater solidarity among the members of the community, and bolstered their sense of possessing a unique religious vocation. Such a perspective, however, like that of electionism itself, seems to stand in marked distinction to the more triumphalist sentiments that one detects in other forms of Islamic discourse. Against the background of an Islamic ummah that prided itself on its worldly successconsidering it to be a sign of divine providence for the religion of Islam and a mark of divine favor that pertained to the Islamic ummah collectivelythe Shiites, by contrast, defined themselves as a community of the individually and divinely selected few, whose worldly defeats, trials, and injustices were to be expected and endured as signs of their unique spiritual status and, ironically, of divine favor. The Shiites, however, were not entirely unique in the elitist and electionist notions they held for themselves, or in viewing hardship and difficulty as the mark of favorable divine attention. Similar notions were put forward in the works of Sufi authors, who often referred to individuals on the mystical path as an elite or elect, divinely chosen to receive, embody, and transmit the true inner meaning of the Islamic message. In his study of Moroccan Sufism, Vincent Cornell notes that Moroccan hagiographies refer to the Sufis as forming a separate community of believers within the Islamic ummah, representing a community situated between a heavenly ideal and the corruptibility of human society.42 Other Sufi hagiographical works celebrate the sufferingboth physical and emotionalthat the Sufis alone endured. It was their blinding vision of the true nature of reality that made them burn with spiritual desire, weep tears of blood in spiritual longing, and accept the sometimes brutal and humiliating treatment they received at the hands of other Muslims who were incapable of understanding or bearing the secrets they harbored within their anguished hearts. While this kind of spiritual suffering is quite different than that faced by the Shiiteswhose suffering came in the form of political weakness, oppression, and historic and continuing injusticethe concept of chosenness that one finds in Sufi discourse, and the descriptions of the spiritual distinctions this entailed, is remarkably similar, and in many cases identical, to what we find in Shiite works. Particularly striking is the fact that both Shiite and Sufi electionist notions are profoundly connected to their views of the mythological events of pre-eternity and/or the concept of the primordial mthq as mentioned in the Quran. Cornell notes that the Moroccan Sufi writer al-Jazl viewed the Sufi communityas Shiites likewise viewed their ownas a salvific community or a community of the already saved.43 Their special status, he notes later, was sometimes believed to have


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been sealed at the time of the pre-eternal covenant-taking in which the Sufis took a special and additional oath of righteousness,44 and during which time it was believed that the Sufi master communicated with his followers.45 Note the parallel with Shiite traditions about an additional oath taken exclusively by Shiites and the idea that the Imms recognize their followers from the pre-eternal event of the mthq.46 In other Sufi literature the idea of a mthq, or pre-eternal covenant, involving the Sufis is explicitly connected with the concept of walyah, just as it is in Shiite tradition. The fourth-century Sufi writer al-akm al-Tirmidh, the earliest expositor of the Sufi concept of walyah (already mentioned in Chapter 1), writes in his work The Life of the Friends of God (Kitb srat al-awliy), that while all of humanity took the oath of [Gods] oneness (aqd al-tawd) in pre-eternity, the friends of God took the special oath of walyah which entailed the notion of intuitive spiritual knowledge or the lifting of veils (kashf al-ghi).47 He also contends that God wrote faith into the hearts of the awliy in pre-eternity.48 Elsewhere he asserts that in the case of ordinary believers, God wrote faith in their hearts with His left hand, and in the case of the awliy, with His right.49 Spencer Trimingham, a scholar of Sufism, likewise notes the existence among Sufis of the concept that walyah was something established in a pre-creation timeframe.50 Again, this differs somewhat from the Shiite formulation of this mythology, but the notion of chosenness and spiritual predestination is clearly analogous. Al-akm makes numerous references to the chosenness of the awliy, even outside of the context of pre-eternal mythology,51 and similar sentiments are found throughout all genres of Sufi literature, and are attributed to both early and later Sufi authorities.52 Despite a well-known similarity of basic ideas and terminology in Shiism and Sufism, comparisons between these two perspectives in Islam often note the profound differences in the structure and conception of spiritual authority in the two traditions. While the Sufi master is frequently compared to the Shiite Imm because of their common role of initiating their followers into divine secrets and their claims on the absolute obedience of their followers, there remains an important and irreducible difference between the two. The separation between the Sufi master and his disciple is simply a function of their relative degrees of advancement on the Sufi path, and a disciple could theoreticallyand occasionally did, historicallysurpass his master in his level of spiritual attainment. The relationship between the Shiite Imm and his disciple was not analogousthere was an irreducible existential divide between the Imm and his followers that could not be traversed regardless of the followers spiritual achievements. The Imm was chosen for his role, just as the prophets were for theirs, and he would always remain the Imm in

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 165 relation to his followers. What I hope to demonstrate in the remainder of this chapter, however, is that while the existential and authoritative divide between the Imm and his disciples continued to be rigorously maintained in principle in Shiite thought, Shiite adth discourse nonetheless made numerous and sometimes rather extraordinary claims about the spiritual and cosmological position of Shiite believers, assigning them a variety of unique charisms and spiritual gifts that reflected, paralleled, or even rivaled those of the Imms themselves.

HIERARCHY AND MUTUALITY IN THE IMM-DISCIPLE RELATIONSHIP A careful analysis of Shiite adth literature reveals an elaborate theory regarding the nature of the believer in Shiite tradition, a theory second in importance only to that of the immate. Most of the Shiite adth material concerning the subject of belief and unbelief (al-mn wal-kufr) is devoted to elaborating the special position of the believer in this world and the next, along with his unique characteristics, virtues, and gifts. The idea that the believer has a unique place and function within the cosmos relative to the rest of humanity is already implied in the nah and mthq traditions discussed in detail earlier. In these traditions, the believer occupies a station qualitatively above that of the ordinary human being, regardless of, or at least prior to, his life in the world. It is hardly difficult to understand why Shiites, as a frequently persecuted minority, should conceive of themselves as acting out a key part in a cosmic drama that begins in pre-eternity and is fully completed only in the hereafter. Such a notion gives purpose and meaning to their persecution in this world and hope for a wellearned reward in the next. What is, perhaps, surprising is that Shiite tradition devotes nearly as much space to the unique qualities of the believer as to those of the Imm;53 and, as with the traditions involving the special distinctions of the Imms, traditions regarding the qualities of the Shiite believer span the range from the mythological and extremist to the more ethical and mainstream. A number of different Shiite adth traditions establish an explicit ontological and cosmological hierarchy in which the Shiites (or the believers) are ranked just after God, the Prophet, and the Imms. According to one tradition, God created no creature after the messengers and prophets better than Al and his progeny, and the closest to these are their Shiites and their anr (supporters).54 In another tradition attributed to Jafar al-diq by Ab amzah al-Thuml, Shiites are said to be the nearest group to the Throne of God (al-arsh) after the Imms themselves.55 However, the hierarchy of God, Messenger,


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Imm, and believer is perhaps most clearly articulated in the following, widely quoted tradition:
. . . [Mlik b. al-Juhan] said: While I was sitting with [Jafar aldiq] that day, I mentioned something about [the Imms] virtue. He said to me: You (pl.), by God, are our Shiites; do not think that you exaggerate regarding our authority. O Mlik! Verily no one can attain the attributes of God; and just as no one can attain the attributes of God, likewise no one can attain the attributes of the Messenger (peace and blessings upon him); and just as no one can attain the attributes of the Messenger, likewise no one can attain our attributes, and likewise, no one can attain the attributes of the believer. O Mlik! Verily when the believer meets his brother, and takes his hand, God does not cease to gaze upon them as sins fall from their faces, until they part. Verily [the believer] cannot attain a greater attribute than he has in that circumstance.56

Not only is the Shiite believer considered to occupy a position beyond the reach of the ordinary man, but his high position is further reinforced by his association with other believerssuggesting the spiritual significance of the Shiite community as a community, as well as of individual attachment to the Shiite perspective. Each element of the hierarchy God-Prophet-Imm-Shiite believer provides a link in the chain of both charisma and salvation. Another tradition states: If terror were to fall from the sky, everyone would flee to their place of refuge. We would flee to our Prophet, and you to us. So rejoice, rejoice! By God, God has not made you and others equal, and they have no nobility (karmah).57 Other traditions omit the level of the Prophet and state that the Imms serve as the intermediate link between their Shiite followers and God.58 Many such assertions come in the context of eschatological traditions dealing with the events of the Day of Resurrection. On that day, one tradition relates, God will call the Prophet, then Al next to him, then the one whom God wills [i.e., the Imm], and then our Shiites.59 Even while these types of traditions establish a clear spiritual hierarchy between the Imms and their Shiite followers, other traditions do not separate the categories of Imm and believer so rigidly. In fact, a number of adth narrations evince a kind of mutual camaraderie between the Imms and their followers, reinforcing notions of their common persecution and common religious distinction in contrast to the rest of the Islamic community, and noting the great comfort afforded to the Imms by the companionship of their followers.60 There are traditions, for example, where the level of Imm is not

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 167 explicitly mentioned between those of prophet and believer, but rather the believer immediately follows the prophet in the cosmic hierarchy. In Al b. Bbawayh al-Qumms Mudaqat al-ikhwn there is a tradition nearly identical to the one quoted above concerning the unattainable qualities of Prophet, Imm, and believer, except that the level of Imm has been omitted;61 and in one of the two versions of this tradition included in al-usayn b. Sads Kitb al-mumin, the editor has bracketed the part of the tradition referring to the level of the Imm, indicating that it was not found in all of the manuscripts he had consulted.62 Several traditions attributed to al-diq in Barqs Masin suggest that the Imms and their Shiite followers share a similar spiritual rank.63 One tradition identifies the Imms and the Shiites collectively with the jewel of the children of Adam64 and the Family (l) of Muammad65granting all Shiites, like their Imms, elite status as the prized descendants of Adam and (honorary) descendants of Muammad. In one extraordinary adth, Shiites are described as standing directly to the right of the Throne of God on the Day of Resurrection, with faces so radiant that they are the envy of the prophets and the martyrs.66 We have already seen an identification of the Shiites with martyrs, as well as a line of thought in Shiite discourse that considered the Imms superior to the pre-Muammadan prophets, but here the Shiites themselves are hyperbolically rendered superior to both. The occasional leveling of the hierarchical positions of Imm and Shiite disciple is also manifest in a number of traditions that assign similar cosmological and charismatic distinctions to the Imms and their followers. For example, Chapter 7 noted the Shiite belief that the Imms, although spiritually subordinate to the Prophet Muammad, were in some respects superior to the pre-Islamic prophets and to the angels ideas sometimes found in certain forms of Sufi literature as well.67 Yet, we also find Shiite traditions that assert that the believer is nobler in the eyes of God than the archangel,68 and that on the Day of Judgment, Shiites would be the envy of the prophets, the angels, and the righteous.69 Perhaps even more compelling are those, albeit rare, traditions that assign very particular titles, usually reserved exclusively for the Imms, to their disciples as well. One of the most important titles and functions that Shiite tradition attributed to the Imms was that of ujjah, or Proof of God to humanitya title the Imms shared with the prophets.70 The Imm concept of ujjah was directly linked to the argument for the necessity of an Imm on earth at all times. Imm tradition argued that there was always a ujjah, or Proof of God, on earth; the earth could not exist without a ujjah.71 The Imms were the pillars of the earth (arkn al-ar) and thus its necessary support.72 As


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essential as this notion was to the Imm conception of the function of the Imm, it is interesting that in one tradition the Shiite believer is also referred to as ujjat Allh,73 and in another it is said that if there were only one believer on earth, it would suffice for all creation74an idea that parallels the belief that there must be an Imm on earth at all times. Another title applied to the Imm was muaddaththat is, one who is informed or spoken to. The significance of this term for the Imm conception of the immate was its implication that the Imms were the recipients of some form of divine inspirationthat they were spoken to by angels or other divine emissaries but did not see them, as the prophets did. This title even figures into one of the most wellrecorded early Shiite disputes with the Uthmn codex of the Quran. The standard text of Quran XXII:52 reads: We have sent no messenger (rasl) or prophet (nab) before you [Muammad] except that Satan cast [something] into his aspiration (umniyyatihi); but God abrogates what Satan has cast and establishes His verses. God is the All-Knowing, the Wise.75 An early Shiite reading of this verse added the term muaddath, such that it read: We have sent no messenger (rasl) or prophet (nab) or muaddath. . . .76 However, we also find an instance where the term muaddath, ordinarily a technical term for the Imm related to his special power and knowledge, is attributed by one of the Imms to his followers. Al al-Ri, the eighth Imm, is said to have declared that he would like the Shiite believer (mumin)to be muaddath. When one of his disciples questions him as to the meaning of muaddath, he replies that it means to be mufahham (the one who is made to understand).77 The two terms muaddath and mufahham are also used together in relation to the Imm as well.78 In Etan Kohlbergs thorough discussion of this term, he mentions this strange instance in which the term is applied by the eighth Imm to all believers as an exception that proves the rule in terms of the Shiite usage of this term.79 It is interesting, however, that in Ibn Bbawayhs Manil-akhbr, al-Ris application of the term to the believers (rather than to the Imms) is the only use of the term in the chapter The meaning of al-muaddath.80 In these rare attributions of the terms ujjah or muaddath to Shiite believers generally, the terms are admittedly being used with different connotations than in their attribution to the Imms. Yet the use of two terms, so intrinsically related to the special position of the Imm in Shiite thought, to refer to ordinary Shiite believerseven in rare or exceptional casesmakes a strong statement about the status of those believers in relation to the Imms themselves, suggesting that Shiite believers represented a kind of extension of the charisma and spiritual status of the Immshierarchically inferior to it, but nonetheless deriving from it and ultimately connected with it.

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 169 Another theme one finds in traditions about the character of Shiite believers relates to the notion of their sacred and inviolable nature. This concept is most vividly illustrated in a tradition attributed to al-Bqir in which he likens Shiites collectively to a single white hair on a black bull (or a single black hair on a white one) thereby emphasizing both their rarity among ordinary human beings and the clarity of their spiritual distinction. The tradition goes on to compare the sacred quality of the Shiites to the sacrality of both Meccathe spiritual center of the Islamic worldand the family of the Prophetthe locus of continuing prophetic charisma in the Shiite perspective.81 Elsewhere, the sacred nature of the Shiite believer is compared to that of the Kabah82the most sacred sanctuary in the Islamic world. Sometimes the analogy is made that the Shiite believer stands in hierarchical relationship to the ordinary Muslim as the Kabah stands in relation to an ordinary mosque;83 both the Kabah and an ordinary mosque serve as a locus of prayer, but the former has an existential sacredness, while the latter has a merely functional religious status. A similar tradition declares that the Muslim is sacred as the whole of the mosque in Mecca (al-masjid al-arm) is sacred, but that the Shiite believer is like the Kabah itselfthereby considering the Shiite community to be the sacred center of the already sacred community of Muslims.84 Yet another tradition asserts that the rights of the [Shiite] believer are greater than those of the Kabah,85 perhaps deriving from the same sentiment that led some Sufi authors to consider the heart of the realized saint to be a more perfect locus of divine presence than the Kabah itself. In the most comprehensive of these traditions, the Shiite believer, along with the Quran, the Messenger of God, the ahl al-bayt, and the Kabah are said to represent the five sacred or inviolable entities (urmt) that God has placed on earth.86 If this notion of the sacred quality of the Shiite believers was meant to be taken seriously, then it would follow that causing harm or showing disrespect to individual Shiites or the Shiite community in general was spiritually detrimental. In fact, just as there are traditions that make loyalty and love toward the Imms and the ahl al-bayt collectively an important criterion of both mn and salvation, one also finds traditions that assert a similar idea about Shiites in general. In one tradition related by the problematic figure of Mufaal b. Umar (who is widely but not universally seen as an extremist and unreliable transmitter in Shiite tradition), Jafar al-diq is reported to have said that anyone who attacks or rejects a believer has rejected God, and is therefore outside the walyah of God and an associate of Satan.87 In another tradition, it is said that the nib (a persecutor or avowed enemy of the Shiite cause) is not necessarily one who causes harm to the ahl albaytfor there are few who would dare to express open hatred for the


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Prophet and his familybut rather, the nib is the one who causes harm to the Shiites because of their walyah toward the ahl al-bayt and their dissociation from their enemies.88 Yet another tradition boldly asserts that an individual who loves the Shiites, even if he does not understand their religious position and perspective, will be saved, while the one who hates them, with a similar lack of understanding, will be condemned.89 One of the more mystical characteristics that the believers share with the Imms is their connection with the notion of light (nr). Jafar al-diq, sitting amongst his closest disciples, is said to have told them that celestial beings gaze down on the earthly realm and see them and their Shiite brothers as lights brighter than those seen [by earthly beings] in the heavens.90 Similarly there is a tradition that tells us that the believer is made of light, so that the beings of the celestial realm can see the people of earth;91 both al-Bqir and al-diq are reported to have compared their followers to lights amid the shadows of the earth92 or lights amid the darkness,93 respectively. Numerous traditions report that Shiites on the Day of Resurrection will be illuminated or filled with light.94 The notion of the Shiites,or believers, as lights on earth is not unlike the notion of the Imms as lights for mankind,95 and the connection can be traced, again, to the early traditions regarding the drama of pre-eternity. Many Shiite traditions consider both Muammad and Al to have been formed in a primordial Muammadan light, and some traditions assert that all of the fourteen pure ones (i.e., Muammad, Fimah, Al, and the eleven succeeding Imms) were created out of this primordial light. In a Shiite tradition found in a somewhat later source, the Prophet tells Al that God had created both Al and himself of light and then scattered this light about, such that whomever the light touched was led to the guidance of the ahl al-bayt, and whomever it missed was led away from it, quoting the Quranic verse: For whomever God has not created light, he has no light.96 According to this formulation, then, the believers are not rivals for the Imms as lights on earth, but rather their light is derived from the light of the Imms which, in pre-eternity, was scattered exclusively upon them. In another adth, al-Bqir says that the Imms represent Gods light in the heavens and the earth and that the light of the Imm shines more brightly in the hearts of the [Shiite] believers than the sun in broad daylight.97 Another widely cited tradition declares that the Shiite believer sees through the light of God. In this tradition, al-diq warns one of his disciples (usually Sulaymn al-Juf) to beware of the observing eye or clairvoyance (firsah) of the believer, for he sees through the light of God. The Imm then explains this through a reference to the events of pre-eternity:

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 171

. . . Verily God created the believer (mumin) from His light and dyed him (abaghahu) in His mercy (ramatihi) and took the primordial pact (mthq) of walyah from him for us; and the muminis the brother of [his fellow] mumin, through his mother and his father. His father is light (nr) and his mother is mercy (ramah) and he only observes through this light from which he was created.98

A version of this tradition attributed to al-diqs son and successor, Ms al-Kim, glosses the tradition attributed to his father, saying, Our Shiites see through the light (nr) of God and move through the mercy of God and succeed through the grace or beneficence (karmah) of God.99 This tradition is interesting and significant in several ways. First, it provides a symbolic and mythological basis not only for the origin of individual Shiite identity and spiritual distinction, but also for the spiritual brotherhood of the Shiite community, portraying all Shiites as the metaphorical offspring of divine light and mercy. Second, it attributes the spiritual gift of firsaha kind of epistemological charism often translated as clairvoyance or the ability to read the realities of things and of souls behind their external appearancenot only to the Imms100 but also to the Shiite community at large. Finally, it is important to note that despite the rather extraordinary claim the tradition seems to make about the Shiite community as a whole, it is a widely cited tradition that is found in a variety of early Shiite adth sources, including the canonical al-Kf, as well as in the very early Sufi texts of al-akm al-Tirmidh, who makes several references to this tradition about the firsah of the awliy (who for him are the realized Sufi saints), all of which are nearly identical to the Shiite version above.101 While some of these traditions seem rather extremist in tone, it is important to remember that these traditions regarding light may well have been meant to be understood in a metaphorical or symbolic, rather than purely mythological, sense. Light is frequently used in the Quran itself in connection with faith (mn),102 right guidance (hud), and revelation103things that Shiites considered they alone possessed in full measure. The Quran speaks of Gods removing individuals from darkness to light or from light to darkness as recompense for their faith (mn) or unbelief (kufr), respectively.104 There are other places in the Quran where light (nr) represents a state in which men find themselves by virtue of Gods will, and this image may have had a certain relevance for the particularly predestinarian inclination of early Shiite thought and much of Shiite adith tradition.105 Traditions that assign a mythological role to light, or juxtapose light and darkness in a spiritual context, are sometimes assumed to be inspired by preexisting Zoroastrian or Manichaean mythologies; but I think that it is


The Charismatic Community

at least equally plausible to read and understand such traditions in both Shiite and Sufi literature within the framework of the symbolic nature of light as expressed throughout the Quran, and as mystical extrapolations upon this Quranic light symbolism, rather than as the result of foreign intellectual and religious influences upon these Islamic perspectives. Of all of the special distinctions that the Shiites share with the Imms, perhaps the most widely accepted and doctrinally important of these regards the eschatological function of intercession. The Quran places significant limits on the possibilities of intercession in the next life, stating that no one can intercede for another except with Gods permission,106 and that on the Day of Judgment, no soul will be able to avail another.107 At the same time, the Islamic adth tradition affirms the possibility of intercession, at least for the prophetsand specifically for the Prophet Muammad in relation to the Muslim community. While different Sunni schools of thought debated the possibility and limits of intercessionmost frequently limiting it to the Prophet Muammads intercession for believing members of the Muslim communityintercession was always an important element of the Shiite religious perspective. In one tradition, Jafar al-diq considers intercession to be one of the four unique doctrinal beliefs required of the Shiites.108 However, Shiite doctrine significantly expanded the possibilities for intercession. While Shiite traditions support the notion that the Prophet Muammad may intercede for any and all members of the Muslim community at large, they also assert that the Shiite community benefited exclusively from the additional intercession of the Imms on their behalf.109 Most relevant for our discussion here, however, is the fact that Shiite tradition admits of the possibility that Shiite believers themselves, like the Prophet and the Imms, may act as intercessors for others, just as the Imms are intercessors for their Shiite followers,110 and one tradition describes the Shiite believer as the one who uniquely both receives and grants intercession.111 In some traditions it is said that Shiites will be able to intercede for the members of their families (ahl baytihim),112 or else for those who aided them in this life.113 There is even a tradition in which Shiites are discouraged from accepting any kind of aid or charity from an enemy of the Shiites (nib), lest the latter seek their intercession in the next world, in which case they would be obliged to return the favor.114 Here one sees the well-known and widely recognized parallel with the Sufi perspective, which similarly extended the possibility of spiritual intercession beyond the Prophet to the mystically realized saints. It is interesting to observe, however, that while Sufis generally attributed the power of intercession only to realized practitioners of the mystical path, Shiite tradition extends the intercessory function to all believing Shiites. It

The Charismatic Nature and Spiritual Distinction of the Shiites 173 should also be noted that while many traditions relating to the special distinctions of Shiite believers remained part of the adth tradition but did not become part of Imm Shiite doctrine as set forth in the foundational works of the Imm theologians of the fourth and fifth centuries, the notion of the intercessory power of the Shiites did become part of Shiite doctrine regarding intercession. Both Ibn Bbawayh and his more rationalist student al-Shaykh al-Mufd held the possibility of intercession for and by all members of the Shiite community as a point of Shiite doctrine.115 Many of the traditions discussed in this chapter may seem rather exaggerated in nature, and the presence of extremist or ghult transmitters in some of their isnds might lead some to dismiss these traditions as unrepresentative of the Imm Shiite tradition as a whole. While some of these adth narrations do represent rare or solitary traditions, and do indeed have questionable isnds on the basis of Shiite rijl analysis, many others are widely transmitted in canonical or otherwise reliable sources with perfectly mainstream isnds. Moreover, whatever one may think of this or that individual adth, the wide variety of traditions presented here makes it clear that notions of Shiite spiritual election and distinction constituted a prominent and popular theme in Shiite adth discourse, and drew upon the welldeveloped tradition of Shiite Quran interpretation (tawl) as well as upon the more mythological and mystical strains of thought found among some members of the Shiite intellectual community. It is significant that the majority of these traditions are found in the works of early Qummi traditionists of the third and fourth centuries, including Ibn Bbawayh and Barq. As Andrew Newman has shown in his work on the Qummi and Baghdadi schools of Shiite adth, the Qummi Shiite community was facing a significant amount of political, economic, and sectarian pressure from the center of Islamic political power in Baghdad in the third and fourth centuries, and the schools of Shiite adth prevalent in Qumm in this period tended to circulate and promote traditions designed to inspire confidence, hope, and solidarity among their beleaguered but relatively homogeneous community in Qumm.116 As salient as these traditions must have been in such a political and sectarian environment, it should be remembered that the Shiite community was rarely without significant external or internal pressures. There is good reason to think that many of these traditions, promoted by third- and fourth-century Qummi scholars, had their origins in the second-century Shiite circles around al-Bqir, al-diq, and al-Kim, to whom most of these traditions are attributed. These earlier Shiite circles had their own political tensions and divisive sectarian issues to contend with, and while the later Qummi scholars may have played an important role in preserving and promoting such


The Charismatic Community

adth traditions, it is likely that these traditions have deep and authentic roots in the teachings of earlier Imms and their followers. Much of this material regarding the special spiritual distinctions and capabilities of the Shiites remained part of the symbolically and mythologically rich Shiite adth tradition and was not substantially discussed in works of Shiite theology or doctrine. With the exception of notions of Shiite intercessory power, such traditions about the mythological origins, eschatological privileges and charismatic powers of the Shiites do not become part of standard Shiite doctrine as defined by prominent Shiite theologians and intellectuals in the centuries after the Greater Occultation. Other Imm intellectual trends that developed between the later second and fourth centuries were concerned with defining the Shiite community in relation to the rest of the Islamic ummah in more doctrinal, theological, and ethical terms, as well as with stratifying the Shiite community from within and establishing a hierarchy among Shiite believers that would separate the truly learned and prominent members of the community from mere sympathizers. If there was a place where mythological and mystical notions of Shiite distinctiveness were translated into doctrine and practice, it was in the development of a particular set of ethical and legal norms of social interaction both among members of the Shiite community and between Shiite and non-Shiite members of the Islamic ummah. Traditions concerning such social, ethical, and practical issues are explored in the third section of this work.


Creating a Community within a Community

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Shiites and Non-Shiites

The Distinction between mn and Islm

he notion of walyah that was so prevalent in the thought of early second-century Shiites was both a polemical conceptbeing juxtaposed with adwah or barahand a somewhat generalized one, signifying a basic belief in the righteousness of Als cause and attachment and loyalty to his descendants, the ahl al-bayt, collectively. As such, it was a terminology that reflected the purposes and the aims of the Shiites in the late Umayyad period. Most Shiites of this period were concerned principally with the overthrow of the Umayyads, their most avid oppressors, and it was a cause and a concern widely shared throughout the Islamic community. It seemed clear that the accomplishment of this would have to come through military means, and with the numerous rebellions of the late Umayyad period, it indeed seemed imminent. It was certainly no time to squabble over hairsplitting doctrinal issues: There was a widespread sentiment in favor of the rise of a religious and political leader from among the family of the Prophet, broadly construed, and that sentiment had to be harnessed to the greatest possible extent if the Umayyads were to be overcome. However, with the success of the Abbsid Revolution and the consolidation of the Abbsid state toward the latter half of the second century, the situation of the Shiites changed dramatically. Many of the supporters of the Abbsid call for the chosen one from the family of Muammad (al-ri min l Muammad), and the agitators for the cause of the ahl al-bayt against the Umayyads seem to have 177


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been rather satisfied with the revolutions outcome. Even those who had been holding out for an Alid candidate must have become resigned to the new Hshimite, if not Alid, dynasty, after the muchanticipated but failed uprising of the asanid, Muammad b. Abd Allh al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah in the year 145. The Rfi Shiites who were loyal to Jafar al-diq and who opposed (at least in principle) the Abbsid claim to legitimate leadership, needed to develop a systematic doctrine that would encapsulate the intellectual argument for their own legitimist claims. They had to distinguish themselves clearly from the Abbsids and their apologists, from Zayd moderates and from those attached to rival Alid candidates from the asanid line. It is well known to scholars of Shiism that it was in this environment that the precise and elaborate doctrine of the immate first emerged among the Rfi Shiites attached to Jafar al-diq, and under his direction. It was Marshall Hodgson who first detailed the catalytic effect of the Abbsid Revolution on the development of an Imm Shiite doctrine that not only distinguished Imm Shiites from their Abbsid, Zayd, and asanid rivals but also included a means for the indefinite perpetuation of Imm Shiite leadership through the doctrinal concept of nathe necessary and continual bequeathing of the immate from the existing Imm to his designated successor.1 In Part III of this book, I argue that concomitant with, and related to, the development of a firm doctrine regarding the leadership of the Imm Shiite community, was the parallel development of a somewhat less formal, but no less essential, doctrine defining the nature and limits of membership in that community. The concept of membership in the Shiite community that developed in the early Abbsid period was clearly related to the simultaneously emerging doctrine of the immate, in that it demanded more than a mere show of support or walyah for Alid leadership generally. It required knowledge and formal recognition of the Imm of ones time and of a specific line of Imms preceding him. It also demanded absolute obedience to the specific doctrines and teachings of the Imms. As a result of these more stringent requirements, Shiite doctrine began to recognize a certain hierarchy within the Shiite community itself, based on the varying degrees of knowledge and obedience demonstrated by its membersthereby distinguishing the fully committed and doctrinally knowledgeable members of the Imm Shiite community from those merely clinging to a sentimental attachment to the ahl al-bayt. These same historical developments compelled the Shiite Imms and their learned followers and close disciples to redefine and nuance earlier teachings regarding relations between Shiites and non-Shiites and among believing members of the Shiite community itself. As the Imm Shiite community defined itself more and more exclusively,

Shiites and Non-Shiites


and as the Abbsids established their authority on firmer religious ground than their predecessors, enjoying the confidence of a broad subsection of the Islamic intellectual and religious classes, the teachings of the Imms as recorded in Shiite adth literature reflect a marked desire to take a less polemical and negative approach to their non-Shiite Muslim neighbors. If walyah and mn were intimately related, and if Shiites alone could be recognized as the true believers of the Islamic community, Shiites nonetheless increasingly defined the notion of mn in hierarchical relationship to that of islm (outward submission to the Islamic message) rather than in dichotomous opposition to kufr (unbelief). In fact, there are a series of Shiite traditions that, taken together, establish a kind of theological framework through which non-Shiites could be formally recognized as fellow Muslims, while retaining the Shiite dogma that linked true mn with exclusive adherence to the Shiite point of view. This less confrontational position vis--vis the non-Shiite community was a response both to the more catholic spirit of the agean age that witnessed not only the acquisition of power by a widely legitimated dynasty but also the rise of the moderate, nuanced, and scholarly Sunni traditionist perspective in the Shiite heartland of Kufaand to the more quietist and less revolutionary direction in which al-diq and his successors led their Shiite followers. The first chapter of this section looks at the ways in which Shiite teachings found in the adth literature reflect this perhaps necessarily more accommodationist stance in relation the rest of the Islamic community. THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MN AND ISLM By now we have seen how elaborate and comprehensive Shiite notions of their own elite identity were and how well established they are in Shiite adth discourse. This elite Shiite identity, the adth traditions collectively assert, began in pre-eternity and would continue in the next world after death. Shiites considered themselves the Quranic people of understanding, and the true shuhad, whom even the prophets would envy. They were the true believing community residing within the larger Islamic ummah, with the mark of their faith and their spiritual status being their love and devotiontheir walyahto the ahl al-bayt. But if walyah was understood to be the indelible mark of Shiite identity, and hence of true faith, then could one conclude that all those who did not demonstrate walyah toward Al or the ahl al-bayt were unbelievers, or kuffr? There are indeed Shiite traditions that connect a lack of walyah toward Al or the ahl al-bayt with unbelief, or kufr. However, most of these traditions are


The Charismatic Community

attributed to Muammad al-Bqir, and textual evidence within those traditions suggest that they originated in the politically charged climate of the late Umayyad era. Even in such traditions, however, alBqir is portrayed as somewhat uncomfortable with a radically dichotomous separation between mn and kufr, and the equation of a lack of walyah with kufr was usually expressed conditionally, symbolically, or for obviously polemical rather than doctrinal purposes. Many traditions that associate a lack of walyah with kufr come in the context of commentaries on the word kufr and its related cognates as they appear in the Quran. For example, in one report, alBqir interprets the Quranic verse Those who do not believe (kafar), their reward is certainly the Fire2 to mean those who do not believe in the walyah of Al, their reward is certainly the Fire.3 In another tafsr tradition, al-Bqir interprets the Quranic verse Most of the people (ns) refused anything but kufr as a reference to the refusal of most of the Islamic community to accept the walyah of Al.4 Yet even this latter could be seen as a qualification of the idea that all nonShiites were kuffr, suggesting that non-Shiites were unbelievers as regards the issue of walyah, but not in an absolute sense. In fact, traditions associating a lack of walyah with kufr probably have more to do with the strenuous Shiite effort to find evidence for their religious point of view in the Quran, and to read sectarian references to walyah and the unique status of their Imms and community into the Quranic text, than with an effort to label all non-Shiites as unbelievers.5 Those traditions equating a lack of walyah with kufr that do not come in the context of sectarian Quran interpretation often qualify this connection in some way. For example, it is usually the lack of walyah toward Al personally that is considered to render one a kfir, rather than a rejection of this or that later Imm. It is also sometimes said that only a person who explicitly rejects (jaadah) or denies (ankara) the walyah of Al is an unbeliever. That is, such a person must have actively turned his back on this walyah,6 rather than being simply misinformed about the issue. Some Shiite traditions assert that the only true kfir within the nominal Muslim community was the nib that is, the active persecutor of either the Imms or their Shiite followers. Jafar al-diq, for example, says in one tradition: Whoever sits with those who slander us . . . or attaches himself to those who sever ties with us or severs ties with those who attach themselves to us or demonstrates walyah toward our enemies or enmity toward our friends has disbelieved (kafara) in the One who sent down the seven mathn and the Great Quran.7 Another condition occasionally placed on the kfir status of those who did not demonstrate walyah was that they must be known to have died in this state. A tradition attributed to al-Bqir quotes the Prophet as saying: Those who leave the walyah

Shiites and Non-Shiites


of Al have left Islam, if they die in this [state].8 The necessity of waiting until a person dies to pass definitive judgment on him is echoed in other Shiite traditions as well. In Nahj al-balghah, Al instructs his followers to refrain from pronouncing barah on anyone until that person had died.9 The most common Shiite position regarding non-Shiite Muslims, at least since the fourth century, and probably as early as the mid- to late second century, is that the non-Shiite is a muslim, legally speaking, but not a mumin in the truest sense of the word. He has submitted to the religion of Islam, and so must be considered part of the Muslim community from a legal standpoint, but he is not a true believer in that he does not believe in all that has come from God by way of revelationspecifically, he does not believe in the Imms, or in all points of Shiite doctrine regarding this and other issues. Therefore, only the Shiites are the muminn, and the terms Shiite and mumin can be understood as synonymous. There is nothing particularly Shiite about the distinction between mn (faith) and islm (outward submission). A distinction between the two is made in Quran XLIX:14, with regard to the case of the bedouin converts to Islam (i.e., those who did not make the hijrah and settle as is recommended in Islam); they are told not to say we believe (amann) but rather we submit (aslamn), for faith has not yet entered your hearts. Here, the inferiority of the latter term is clearly established. During the Umayyad period, the apparent religious hypocrisy of the Umayyad rulers and governors, on the one hand, and the mass conversions of the conquered peoples, on the other, would seem to have made this distinction between muslim and mumin even more acutely relevant. Nevertheless, as noted above, two of the earliest theological perspectives in IslamKharijism and Murjiism conflated the two terms, although in opposite ways. In the Kharijite view, the members of their sectarian community were both the only muminn and the only muslimn; all those who stood outside of it were deemed kfirn, with little differentiation on either side. Murjiites, on the other hand, declared that anyone who accepted and believed in the basic tenets of the Islamic faith was both a muslim and a mumin, regardless of the extent of his religious knowledge or practice. One was extremely exclusive in its interpretation of the two terms, and the other extremely inclusive, but neither group made a clear, technical distinction between the two. At least by the early third century, however, a consensus seems to have been reached on the distinction between the two terms in the Sunni community. This consensus contradicted the earlier Murjiite perspective insofar as it recognized a distinction between mn and islm and posited a profound connection between acts and faith, arguing that faith could increase or decrease


The Charismatic Community

on the basis of the obligatory religious acts that one performed or neglected. In the well-known adth found in Murjiite and Shiite literature, as well as in works of Sunni tradition, wherein Gabriel questions the Prophet about the nature of mn, islm, and isn (virtue), mnis described as belief in God, the messengers, the Books, etc.; islm is described as the practice of the five pillars; and isn is said to be the state of worshipping God as if one saw Him.10 Here, the distinction between mn and islm is primarily functional and is possibly, but not necessarily, hierarchical. While the Gabriel tradition is widely cited in Sunni works, the Sunni traditionist perspective also held that both good works and doctrinal rectitude impinged on ones status as a mumin. More importantly, in the opinion of some Sunni traditionists and in Imm Shiite doctrine, mn was not so much functionally differentiated from islm as hierarchically superior to it. Within the Shiite tradition, we noted above that the earliest admission of an intermediate position between mnand kufr is found in traditions attributed to Muammad al-Bqir, predominantly through the intermediary of Zurrah b. Ayan. In these traditions, Zurrah usually argues for a rigidly dichotomous view of faith and unbelief, asserting that human beings can be divided into only two groups, believers and unbelieversthe one group going to Paradise and the other to Hell.11 In these traditions, al-Bqir rejects Zurrahs absolutist perspective on the issue of mn and kufr and argues, on the basis of Quranic evidence, for a third, ill-defined category between believers and unbelievers. In one widely reported case, the issue is raised in a conversation between the young Zurrah and al-Bqir regarding the issue of marriage. The context of the tradition suggests that the discussion took place during Zurrahs youth (because he had not yet married) and probably shortly after he had become a disciple of al-Bqir, but before he had been entirely divested of his earlierand perhaps more Murjiiteviews. Zurrah relates al-Bqirs advice to him as follows:
If you [marry a non-Shiite], then seek out the simpletons among the women. I [Zurrah] said: Who are the simpletons? He said: The ones kept in seclusion and chastity. I said: Those who follow the school (literally, religion (dn)] of Slim b. Ab afah12? He said: No. So I said: Those who follow the school of Rabah al-Ray?13 He said: No, those who have recently reached maturity, those who do not show enmity [toward us] like the unbeliever, and who do not know what you believe (i.e., who are unaware of the Shiite differences with other Muslims). I said: Can such a woman be anything but a believer or an unbeliever? He said: [Yes, if] she fasts, prays and fears God but does not know your affair (amri.e., does not share the Shiite view on

Shiites and Non-Shiites

matters of doctrine). I said: God said: He is the one who created you, among you there is the kfir and among you the mumin [Quran XIV:2] No, by God, no one can be anything but a believer or an unbeliever.14 [Al-Bqir] said: The word of God is truer than yours, O Zurrah! Have you not heard the words of God: They mix good actions with evil, it is possible that God may forgive them [Quran IX:102], Why did He say it is possible? I said: They are either believers or unbelievers. He said: What do you say regarding His words: Except for the weak ones (mustaafn)15 among the men, women, and children, who have no alternative and are not guided to the path (of mn) [Quran IV:98]? I said: They are either believers or unbelievers. He said: By God, they are neither believers nor unbelievers. Then he turned toward me and said: What do you say of the People of the Heights (ab al-arf)16? I said: They are either believers or unbelievers; if they enter Paradise, they are believers, and if they enter Hell, they are unbelievers. He said: By God, they are neither believers nor unbelievers; had they been believers, they would have entered Paradise as the believers enter Paradise, and had they been unbelievers, they would have entered Hell as the unbelievers enter Hell, but rather there is a group who have committed both good and bad equally, and so their acts have been rendered useless to them, and they are as God has said. I said: Are they among the people of Paradise, or among the people of Hell? He said: I leave them where God leaves them. I said: So, you postpone judgment on them (turjiuhum)? He said: Yes, I postpone judgment on them, as God postpones judgment on them; if He wishes, He admits them into Paradise by His mercy, and if He wishes He drives them into Hell for their sins, and He does them no injustice. I said: Does the unbeliever enter into Paradise? He said: No. I said: Then does anyone but the unbeliever enter into Hell? He said: No, except as God wills. O Zurrah, verily I say as God wills (m sh Allh) but you do not say as God wills. . . .17


In this tradition, the position taken by al-Bqir regarding those in a state between mn and kufr is one that is commonly ascribed to him, as we have observed previously. But these traditions attributed to alBqir neither classify nor describe the gray area between mn and kufr, stating only that it is governed solely by the will of God. The fact that Zurrah directly confronts al-Bqir over the issue of the postponing of judgment (irj) likely reflects the Murjiite background of Zurrahs own thought and the heavily Murjiite, Kufan intellectual climate in relation to which the thought of al-Bqir and his Kufan disciples was being developed. When al-Bqir tells Zurrah that he leaves the ab al-arf where God leaves them, Zurrah replies:


The Charismatic Community

So you postpone judgment on them (a-fa-turjiuhum)? Al-Bqir replies that he does, but that he does so as God Himself does. The circumstances described in the tradition seem authentic, as does the relatively unrefined theological position it ascribes to the fifth Imm, and it suggests the manner in whichand the degree to whichShiite thinking in the late Umayyad period was both related to, and divergent from, other contemporary (particularly Murjiite) views. Indeed, it seems that it is only in the time of Jafar al-diq that the distinction between mnand islm is widely established. This is done at two different levelsthe general and the sectarian. That is, certain Shiite traditions make a distinction between mnand islm in terms that are quite similar to those found in Sunni traditionist thought as well, while other traditions make the distinction between mn and islm synonymous with the distinction between Shiite and non-Shiite. Shiite thought on this issue is generally governed by the distinction between islm as a term that refers to legal status in this world and mnas one that refers to eschatological status in the next,18 or between islm as pertaining to the outward aspect of religion and mn to the inward,19 as well as by the idea that every mumin is necessarily a muslim, but not every muslim is a mumin.20 Nonsectarian Shiite thought on this issue most closely approaches that of the Sunni traditionists when it asserts that the distinction between mn and islm is based on works in addition to the state of inner belief. Traditions attributed to both Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar al-diq tell us that while islm pertains to those who follow the outward rites of Islam,21 mn applies only to those who demonstrate their faith through righteous action and obedience to God.22 In explaining the two terms, al-diq states that there are three realms in which men find themselves: the realm of mn, the realm of islm, and the realm of kufr. One is removed from mn to islm through either a large or small act of disobedience to God, while one is only removed from islm to kufr through an outright denial or rejection (jud) of the religion and its tenets, for example, by declaring what is licit (all) to be illicit (arm) or vice versa.23 In a similar vein, al-diq explains that if one commits a major sin (kabrah) while nevertheless recognizing that it is arm, then he leaves mnbut not islm; but if he commits the act while claiming (falsely) that it is all, then he leaves islm altogether.24 In other cases, it is not only abstaining from evil actions but doing the obligatory ones that constitutes the basis of mn. In a tradition related from either al-Bqir or al-diq (the transmitter could not remember which) it is said that islm is affirmation of belief (iqrr) without works (amal), while mn consists of works in addition to affirmation of belief.25 Al al-Ri is often credited with the formula mn is knowledge in the heart (marifah bil-qalb), affirmation with

Shiites and Non-Shiites


the tongue (iqrr bil-lisn), and the practice of the pillars (amal biarkn), which would come to represent, more or less, the official Shiite view on the issue.26 It is significant that this tradition reflects the Sunni traditionist compromise, which added the requirement of obligatory works to the Murjiite requirements of marifahand iqrr; and the connection of this formula with the eighth Imm suggests that a direct link between the practice of the obligatory religious duties and mn became standard Shiite doctrine sometime in the third century, even if the idea that the unrepentant commission of major sins removed one from mn was found in Shiite thought prior to this. If the more generalized distinction between mn and islm that we find in Shiite discourse is not very different from the distinction between the two terms in Sunni formulations, it is clear that the mn/ islm dichotomy also had a sectarian dimension in Shiite thought. The identification of the Shiites with the muminnat least insofar as demonstrating walyah toward the ahl al-bayt was considered one of the necessary criteria of beliefhas already been discussed above. After all, to the extent that mn was synonymous with belief in the Books and the messengers, it must have also included belief in the walyah of Al and the authority of his descendants, since even mainstream Shiite tradition asserts that the authority of the Imms can be deduced from the Quranic text; and according to certain (more extremist) Shiite traditions, the recognition of the Imms authority constituted part of the divine message brought by the previous prophets as well.27 The identification of the Shiites exclusively with the muminn did not necessarily preclude non-Shiites from being considered Muslims, at least as regards their legal status. A number of Shiite traditions state this explicitly, including one attributed to as early a figure as the fourth Imm, Al Zayn al-bidn (d. 95). He explains to a disciple that non-Shiite members of the ummat Muammad are not all kuffr, but, rather, they have the legal status of Muslims and he notes the permissibility of intermarrying with and inheriting from them.28 Evidence for a sectarian distinction between full believers and other Muslims in Shiite thought can be found throughout Shiite literature. For example, in one tradition, Ab Bar asks Jafar al-diq whether a particular Quranic verse, applied only to us (i.e., the Shiites) or whether it applied to the ahl al-tawd in general.29 It is clear from the context that the phrase ahl al-tawd refers to those who have accepted the shahdah, and who therefore have the legal status of Muslim, even if they are not Shiites. The clearest references to the Shiite sectarian understanding of mn and islm, however, are those that identify islm with the five pillars or the outward practice of the community as a whole30 and mn with the knowledge of the Imms authority.31


The Charismatic Community THE MISGUIDED (DLL) AND THE WEAK (MUSTADAF) . .

Although Shiite tradition generally grants non-Shiites the legal status of Muslims, it also makes it clear that they are seriously defective in their religious beliefs. They may be Muslims, but they are also the misguided ones (lln) or sometimes even as the associaters (mushrikn).32 It is important to remember, however, that in the latter case, the term mushrikn is not meant in the sense of the polytheist who associates other gods with God, but rather in the sense of a person who has associated false religious authorities with the true ones (i.e., the Imms).33 Such terminology was likely developed to mitigate earlier and more polemical traditions that explicitly labeled non-Shiites as kuffr. For example, a series of Shiite traditions claim that God made Al a gate (bb) for His creation, such that whoever enters it is a believer and whoever exits it is an unbeliever.34 An apparently later version of this tradition, however, qualifies this dichotomy by adding two additional categories between mn and kufr: the misguided one (ll), who is ignorant of Als position, and the mushrik who recognizes another [authority] along with Al.35 Al-diq seems concerned to make the point that being misguided because one did not know the Imm was not the same as being an unbeliever, and he corrected at least one of his disciples on this issue. In al-diqs explanation of mn and islm cited above, where he states that islm consists of the performance of the five pillars, while mn is only reached through knowledge of the Imms authority, he also notes that if one fails in the latter, he should not be considered a believer (mumin), but rather a misguided Muslim (muslim ll).36 The term ll is occasionally connected with kufr,37 but it is more commonly used to describe the lesser kind of Muslim that the non-Shiite represented in Shiite thought. Related to the category of the misguided is that of the weak or unfortunate (mustaafn). Although the word has a generic usage,38 in the context of discussions about belief and unbelief, the term mustaafn is used primarily in the Quranic sense of those who lack either the ability or guidance to choose and/or practice their religious affiliation freely.39 In Shiite thought, limited knowledge or intelligence could also prevent an individual from exercising full responsibility for his religious choice, thereby placing him in the category of the mustaafn. Jafar al-diq reportedly declared that in order to be considered one of the mustaafn, one had to be ignorant or unaware of contemporary theological disputes (ikhtilf al-ns);40 and in another tradition, he tells his disciples that the category consists of children [as well as] men and women with the intellectual capacity of children.41 The recognition of this category of weak persons between mn and kufr is particularly relevant in the case of women and mar-

Shiites and Non-Shiites


riage. Women, after all, would be confined not only by a generally lower level of education, especially in matters of theology, but also by the religious and sectarian inclinations of their family and community, whose boundaries they could rarely have been expected to independently transgress. In fact, the term in its Quranic context is apparently first used by Muammad al-Bqir, specifically in his discussion with Zurrah b. Ayan, cited above, about the legality of marrying a non-Shiite woman who is unaware of Muslim sectarian disputes. Perhaps more interesting is a tradition attributed to Jafar aldiq in which he classifies the mustaafn as neither believers nor unbelievers, but rather as the ahl al-walyahnot the walyahof religion, but [the walyah] of marriage, inheritance and social interaction (mukhlaah).42 According to this description, the mustaafis clearly a Muslim, given the permissibility of intermarriage and social relations with him or her. However, the distinction made here between the walyah of religion and ordinary walyah seems to indicate that for al-diq, the term walyah by itself is no longer the unambiguous signifier of Shiite sectarian identity that it seems to be in the traditions associated with his predecessor, al-Bqir; rather, al-diq uses the term, at least in this instance, to refer to relations with any ordinary member of the Islamic ummahin accordance with the nonsectarian Quranic sense of the term.43 Moreover, the fact that the Imm makes the distinction between these two kinds of walyah in the context of a tradition about social relations suggests the existence of separate codes of conduct for interaction with fellow members of the Shiite community, on the one hand, and non-Shiite members of the Muslim ummah, on the othertwo concentric circles of social interaction, but with a clear line between them. The lln and the mustaafn would certainly fall within the larger of the circles: they are legally Muslims, and one has the right to interact with them on a social level. To a certain extent, they are considered to be victimsof one who leads them astray, of straitened circumstances, or of a lack of intelligence or guidanceand cannot be lumped indiscriminately with the unbelievers. The excuses admitted for such persons cover wide territory, and in one tradition al-diq declares that anyone who prays as a Muslim and is not an active persecutor of the Shiites can be considered mustaaf 44that is, with the exception of the Shiite believers themselves who, according to the Imm, would never be reduced to the level of the mustaafn.45 The use of these various terms and categoriesislm (without mn), af, allah, classify the status of non-Shiite Muslims probably originates within Shiite tradition no earlier than the time of Jafar aldiq, since there is little evidence of such systematic classification in the adth reports attributed to al-Bqir. Moreover, circumstantial


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evidence contained within the very text of these traditions suggests that the concerns these traditions address first arose among the more theologically minded disciples and contemporaries of Jafar al-diq. In one tradition, for example, Abul-Khab, Muammad b. Muslim and another Shiite by the name of Hshim b. al-Bard46 are engaged in an argument over the status of non-Shiites, and they go to al-diq to resolve the dispute, regarding which they have all formed their own, independent opinions. Abul-Khab and Hshim believe that all non-Shiites should be considered kfirn, while Muammad b. Muslim disagrees. Al-diq endorses the view of Muammad b. Muslim,47 and the position he takes is perfectly consistent with his reported views on this issue in other traditions, many of which we have already seen. The point here, however, is that the debate ended, but did not begin, with the Imm; rather the alleged impetus for the Imms proclamation was a debate among the Imms more theologically oriented followers. In another tradition, a disciple questions Ms al-Kim about the relative moral gravity of kufr and shirk. The Imm appears surprised by the question, and instead of immediately answering the inquiry, he replies: I did not know that you were involved in religious debates with the common people (ns, by which he may mean non-Shiites). The disciple then confesses that it was Hishm b. Slim, a prominent Shiite mutakallim, who had sent him to seek an answer from the Imm on this issue.48 In fact, the importance of this issue to Jafar al-diq, later Imms, and the mutakallimn among their followers reflects a particular concern among the Shiite intellectuals of this time to classify and categorize the intermediate state between mn and kufr in contradistinction to other contemporary schools of thought (such as that of the Murjiites or the Sunni traditionists). While al-Bqir argued for a gray area between the categories of mn and kufr, he did not seem interested in classifying it so precisely; and in any case, his reported position is similar to the early Murjiite view, which left the judgment and fate of those who fell between the categories of mn and kufr to the unknowable will of God. However, once the doctrine of the immate was recognized as an essential part of faith, or mn, asserting a strict dichotomy between mnand kufr was necessarily complicated by the fact that only doctrinally sound Imm Shiitesthose who understood and subscribed to the complex Imm view of the immate and a precise line of recognized Immscould thereafter be considered true believers. To avoid the logically inevitable conclusion that the entire non-Shiite, or indeed non-Imm, community were unbelievers, it became necessary to recognize a distinction between mn and islm, or between those who were legally Muslims and those who were true believers. The recognition of such a distinction was likely

Shiites and Non-Shiites


encouraged, if not directly influenced, by the rise of the Sunni traditionist perspective that recognized a clear distinction between mn and islm, as opposed to the position of earlier schools of thought such as Murjiism and Kharijism. Kufa was an important locus for the intellectual debate between the Murjiite and Sunni traditionist positions. But it was also the main center of Shiite tradition in the second century, and on the general (rather than sectarian) level, Shiite adth discourse on the subject of the nature of faith bears a strong resemblance to Sunni traditionist thought. Thus, there are both internal and external indications that while the recognition of a state between belief and unbelief may be attributed to al-Bqir and/or the Shiite thought of his day, the complex theological classification of this state cannot be dated before the time of al-diq; and in all likelihood, it was not doctrinally established until the latter half of the second century. The change was a natural and perhaps necessary one for Shiite thought. Sociological theories regarding the emergence and eventual success of minority religious communities within a larger, dominant religious culture suggest that such minority communities cannot sustain themselves in a situation of continual conflict and total rejection of the larger religious community that surrounds them. Rather, the most successful minority communities are those that develop accommodationist attitudes toward those outside their small group and take less absolutist and confrontational postures vis--vis the dominant religious community in which they exist.49 By maintaining the earlier sectarian notion that Shiites alone constitute the true believers within the Islamic ummah, while also asserting explicitly that nonShiite Muslims were indeed Muslims, entitled to all of the protections that status entailedsomething that had only been implicit in apparently earlier traditionsShiites were able to maintain the sense of their communitys unique spiritual distinction and vocation, which afforded it much strength and solidarity in difficult times, while also opening the door to more normalized and less threatening relations with the non-Shiite Muslim community.

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Degrees of Faith
Establishing a Hierarchy within the Shiite Community

ometime during or shortly after the immate of Jafar al-diq, the term muminn or believers, without qualification, came to be widely used in Imm Shiite discourse to refer to fellow Imm Shiites. The word mn (faith or belief) is used in many traditions attributed to al-diq and later Imms to designate not only full and unhypocritical belief in the Islamic creed but faith in the Imm Shiite version of that creed in particular. The identification of Imm Shiites with the muminn became so standard that most of the Imm adth literature on the status and role of the individual Shiite is found in chapters and sections dealing with the nature of belief and unbelief,1 and al-usayn b. Sad al-Ahwz, a contemporary of the ninth, tenth and eleventh Imms, entitled his thematic collection of traditions dealing with the ideal spiritual and moral characteristics of the individual Shiite, Kitb al-mumin.2 The exclusive identification of Shiites with the muminn, or true believers, was a natural, doctrinal corollary to the idea, already expressed in traditions attributed to earlier Imms and al-Bqir in particular, that walyah toward Al and the ahl al-bayt was a sine qua non of mn and the litmus test of religious sincerity. Yet, while the identification of Shiites with the true believers was founded upon the intrinsic connection between walyah and mn that one finds in Shiite adth discourse, it is interesting to note that once this identification was established in more precise, theological terms perhaps as early as the late second and early third centuriesthe 191


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concept of walyah was partially eclipsed by that of mn as the primary signifier of Shiite identity. In traditions attributed to al-diq and later Imms, the term walyah continues to be used, but it is far less prevalent and central than it is in those attributed to al-Bqir. Walyah is no longer presented as a comprehensive term connecting belief in God and the Prophet with the charismatic attachment to Al and the ahl al-bayt, and it is no longer the primary or sufficient marker of mn. Rather, in traditions attributed to al-diq and later Imms, walyah often refers to a doctrinally imprecise and in some cases, purely sentimental, attachment to the charismatic authority of the ahl al-bayt in general. As such, it represents merely the first and most basic rung on the ladder between outward submission to God and His prophet (islm) and true belief (mn). While walyah certainly remained one of the necessary conditions of mn, it was no longer the only one, or even the most lofty of them: Beyond simple walyah or general attachment to the ahl al-bayt, one must also know and demonstrate absolute obedience to both the individual person and the precise doctrinal positions of the Imm. Thus, the link between the terms walyah and mn became less direct; and while Shiite adth traditions attributed to al-diq and later Imms are concerned with charting, theologically, the territory between islm and mn, a parallel attempt seems to have been made to map the theological degrees between a general attachment to the ahl al-bayt and true mn. This resulted in the development of a kind of internal hierarchy among those identifying themselves as the shah of the ahl albayta development that proved theologically and rhetorically useful for explaining the deep and often bitter divisions that arose as a result of the doctrinal disputes and succession crises that plagued the Imm community from the time of al-diq. This chapter examines the ways in which the theoretical recognition of degrees between simple attachment to the ahl al-bayt and true Shiite belief was discussed in traditions from al-diq onward, and the extent to which this both reflected and fostered the sense of spiritual hierarchy that informs all essential aspects of Imm thought. The transition from walyah to mn as the primary term relating to membership in the Shiite community is signaled by subtle differences in terminology that can be found, for example, between traditions predominantly attributed to Muammad al-Bqir and those more commonly attributed to al-diq, or between traditions that employ a rudimentary and unsystematic theology and those that reflect the later influence of the Shiite theologians (mutakallimn), who played such an active role in developing Shiite theology, and who flourished as representatives of the Imm Shiite perspective in the inter-sectarian religious debates of the early Abbsid period. In the latter traditions,

Degrees of Faith


we find the term walyah used in a general sense, sometimes denoting the bond of brotherhood between all vaguely pro-Alid factions, or even between all Muslims, while the term muminn is commonly used as a specific reference to members of the Imm Shiite community, along with an implicit or explicit suggestion of the hierarchical relationship between walyah and mn. For example, in a tradition attributed to the seventh Imm, Ms al-Kim, through his brother, Al b. Jafar, the Imm states: Not all those who affirm our walyah are muminn; rather, they were created to keep them company (uns lahum).3 This tradition is related through a series of extremist (ghult) transmitters, and should be considered as belonging to that particular school of Shiite thought. However, the distinction and hierarchical relationship between walyah and mn is also manifest in another tradition found in the al of Zayd al-Zarrda figure generally wellaccepted in nonextremist circles. In this case, a disciple who was anxious about his own moral standing, and that of his Shiite companions, consulted al-diq, saying:
I am afraid we are not muminn . . . since you will not find one among us who cares more for his brother than for money [literally, dnrs]his brother to whom he is joined in the muwlt Amr al-muminn. [The Imm] said: You are muminn, but your mn will not be perfected until the rising of our qim.4

In this tradition, the disciple understands that those claiming to be Shiites may possess a kind of walyahone that binds them to their fellow Shiites through their common allegiance to Al, the muwlt Amr al-muminnwhile at the same time, they may be unqualified for inclusion in the category of mn because of their failure to behave virtuously toward their brothers in religion. Al-diqs reply to the disciples inquiry further endorses the notion of a hierarchy among the Shiites by alluding to levels in the perfection or completion of mn. This tradition does not simply establish a general relationship between the virtues of generosity and religious sincerity; rather, it is the lack of charity toward fellow Shiites specifically that is the cause of the disciples concern, and the Imm makes it clear that it is the rising of the Shiite qim that will herald the perfection of his disciples mnan event that could only be so auspicious for Shiites fighting on the side of the qim. If the distinction between walyah and mn sometimes involved questions of religious virtue and ethical conduct, it was also directly related to degrees of both knowledge of, and loyalty to, the individual person and specific teachings of the Imms. Believers are those who not only recognize the authority of Al and his descendants in a


The Charismatic Community

general way, but who also know and recognize all of the successive Imms personally and by name, including the Imm of their own era. In addition to knowing and recognizing the Imms individually, true believers were expected to obey the Imm, not only as a military leader in times of war, or at some future time under the banner of the qim, but in his everyday religious and spiritual life as wellthat is, in his particular doctrinal beliefs and manner of religious practice. This reflects the more quietist and scholarly Shiism perhaps first encouraged by al-Bqir, but more definitively established by al-diq in the early Abbsid period. These requirements of knowledge and obedience are alluded to in a tradition in which al-diq defines the minimum qualifications for mn as: belief in God; belief in the Prophet; obedience to God, Prophet, and the Imm; and knowledge of the Imm of ones own time.5 Knowledge (marifah)6 and obedience (ah), then, are the two primary qualities that separate, by degrees, the true muminn from other pro-Alid individuals.

KNOWLEDGE (MARIFAH) The knowledge that Shiite tradition identifies as an essential requirement of mn is usually referred to as marifah in Shiite traditions, rather than either ilm (religious or scientific knowledge) or fiqh (religious understanding or jurisprudential competence). The faculty for acquiring this knowledge was the aql, or the intellect, and its importance is alluded to in a tradition wherein the Imm tells his disciples that those who subscribe to this authority (amr) but do not have aql, are not the ulul-albba Quranic term that we have already noted is frequently equated with the Shiites in Shiite tradition7and that one should therefore pay no attention to them.8 The terms marifah and aql are associated, both in the Sufi tradition and in certain esoteric and theosophic schools of Shiite thought, with a kind of mystical knowledge and with suprahuman faculties of knowing.9 In some Shiite traditions, especially those for which the isnd evidence points to an origin in extremist, or ghult, circles, these two terms should almost certainly be interpreted as referring to such a mystical kind of knowing. However, the spiritual distinctions and charisms attributed to Shiites in Shiite adth literature, as discussed in Chapter 8, suggest that the concept of marifah, as found in even what appear to be mainstream and nonextremist traditions, involved a kind of intuitive or even mystical knowledge that went beyond ordinary human intelligence, perspicacity, or acquired learning. Marifah also relates to recognition, and is distinguished from ilm in that it connotes a knowledge that is perceived or realized, rather

Degrees of Faith


than studiously acquired and accumulated. Marifah, for example, is frequently used in descriptions of the nature of faith (especially by Murjiites) who list the basic requirements of faith as knowledge of God, His Messenger, and all that has come from Him as well as an affirmation (iqrr or tadq) of that truth.10 In this case, it is not a detailed or accumulated knowledge of these three that is meant, but rather an awareness or perception of their essential truth and reality. Moreover, there are many Shiite traditions regarding the necessity of marifah that do not have a clear extremist provenance. In a tradition related by Muammad b. Ab Umayr, a well-known Shiite of the nonextremist persuasion,11 either the fifth or sixth Imm is said to have informed his disciples: You (pl.) may differ in how often you pray, or fast, or make pilgrimage . . . but the best (afal) of you is the best in knowledge (marifah).12 In another tradition, also apparently from nonextremist transmitters, Jafar al-diq spells out for his disciples the bases of religion, and includes among them a kind of marifah that is obligatory for all who would benefit from their religion in the next world:
I said to Ab Abd Allh [Jafar al-diq] (peace be upon him): Tell me about the pillars of Islam, the full knowledge (marifah) of which no one can afford to be deficient in, and [such that] whoever lacks knowledge of them, corrupts his religion (dn), and God will not accept his good works, and [such that] whoever knows them and acts accordingly will benefit from his religion and his good works will be accepted, and [such that] with [this knowledge], ignorance of any other matter will not constrain him. [Al-diq] said: The testimony that there is no god but God, and the belief that Muammad is the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him), and affirmation (iqrr) of that which comes from God, and paying the zakh from ones wealth, and walyah toward that which God has commandedwalyah toward the family of Muammad (peace and blessings upon him). . . . So I said to him: Is it preferable that one demonstrate walyah toward a certain [member of the family of Muammad] rather than another? He said: Yes. God says, O you who believe, obey God and obey the Messenger and the possessors of authority (ululamr) among you [Quran IV:59], and the Messenger of God said: Whoever dies without knowing (wa-l yarif) his Imm, dies a death of ignorance (mtah jhiliyyah).13 And [the one to be obeyed] was the Messenger of God. And [then] it was Al, although others said: It was Muwiyah. Then it was al-asan (peace be upon him) then it was al-usayn (peace be upon him), although others said: [It was] Yazd b. Muwiyah, even though they are not equal, [nor are Al and Muwiyah] equal. He grew silent, and then he said: Shall I tell you more? Al-akam al-Awar said to


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him: Yes, may I be your sacrifice. He said: Then [it] was Al b. al-usayn, then it was Muammad b. Al Ab Jafar. And the Shiites before Ab Jafar did not know (l yarifn) the rites of the pilgrimage or what was all and arm for them until Ab Jafar opened [this knowledge] for them and explained to them the rites of their pilgrimage and what was all and arm for them, such that the ns (non-Shiites) came to depend upon them, after they had previously been dependent upon the ns [for knowledge]. And this is the [true] authority, and the earth is never without an Imm, and whoever dies without knowing his Imm, dies a death in ignorance. . . .14

Here, the marifah required of a Shiite believer is initially defined by al-diq as testifying to the shahdatayn and affirming all that comes from God (very similar to the Murjiite formula), paying the zakh and demonstrating walyah toward the family of Muammad. However, upon further questioning, the Imm explains that it is not sufficient to simply give walyah to the family of Muammad in general, or to recognize the superior right of the ahl al-bayt, as a collective entity, to the leadership of the community. Rather, the requirement of marifah is only fulfilled by knowing the Imm of ones time as well as all previous Imms individually and by name. Although al-diq states that it was in the time of al-Bqir that Shiites first began following the Imms guidance in religious and ritual matters, the requirement of recognizing a specific individual as ones Imm seems to have been something only fully elaborated in the time of al-diq himself. In traditions attributed to al-Bqir, there is rarely a reference to the need to know and recognize the authority of a particular line of Imms after al-usayn b. Al. When the fifth Imm specifies those individuals to whom walyahis to be shown, or whose authority should be recognized, he is rarely more specific than to say that it should be for Al and his progeny, or for Al, al-asan, al-usayn and their progeny. He mentions neither his father (Al Zayn al-bidn) nor himself specifically in this context. In fact, at least one tradition attributed to al-Bqir seems to say that it is walyah to the ahl al-bayt in general, and not the recognition of this or that Alid claimant, that is required of the Shiite. In this tradition, Slim b. Ab afah (a later Zayd Shiite)15 questions another Shiite, Ab Ubaydah al-adh, as to whom he recognizes as his Imm. When Ab Ubaydah replies with the general statement that his Imms are from the family of Muammad, Slim chastises him, saying: By God, I see no evidence that you [truly] know an Imm! When Ab Ubaydah later told al-Bqir about the exchange between Slim and himself, al-Bqir responded by supporting Ab Ubaydahs position that one should recognize the descendants of Muammad, collectively,

Degrees of Faith


as ones Imms or authorities in religion against Slims demand that he name a particular individual among them as his Imm. Al-Bqir goes so far as to tell Ab Ubaydah that Slim knows nothing of the true position of the Imm.16 In traditions related from al-diq and later Imms, however, constant reference is made to the requirement to know a particular sequence of individual Imms, as well as the Imm of ones time.17 We have already seen in Chapter 5 that several daimtraditions attributed to al-diq include the recognition of a series of Imms among the pillars of religion; and in other instances al-diq gives a specific list of the names of the Imms who preceded him.18 The tradition cited in full above further clarifies that recognition of an individual Imm or line of Imms as ones religious authority also required knowledge and acceptance of their teachings on various theological issues and on religious law. Al-diq tells the disciple that since the time of al-Bqir, Shiites have considered the Imms teachings on the sharah and Islamic rituals to be the only valid source for their religious practice, and that they were no longer dependent on non-Shiite authorities for guidance in these matters. Thus true membership in the Shiite community required adherence to a detailed and specific set of theological beliefs and legal and ritual practices taught by the Imms or their leading representatives. A tradition attributed to Jafar al-diq lists seven things one must affirm in order to be considered a mumin: barah from idols (al-jibt wal-ght);19 confirmation of walyah; belief in rajah, the permissibility of mutah (temporary marriage);20 the prohibition on [the eating of] eel (jirr);21 and the insufficiency of wiping ones shoes in performing the ritual ablution (mas ala khuffayn).22 Each of these requirements (with the possible exception of the first) is sectarian rather than general in naturethere is no reference to belief in God or the Prophet, but only to items that identified one as a follower of the theology and the legal rulings of the Imms. In another tradition, Al al-Ri defines mn as a complex package of specific doctrinal beliefs, all of which reflect the Mutaziliteinfluenced development of Shiite theology in the third century. His list includes a comprehensive understanding of the nature of God and His attributes, of the Prophet and the nature of prophecy, and of the systematic doctrine of the immate.23 A full grasp of these later, complex doctrines regarding the nature of God, prophecy, and the immate required a thorough schooling in the principles and language of kalm, including some knowledge of the theological controversies between rival schools. It required broad knowledge of the traditions and teachings of the Imms on specific issues, as well as an understanding of how those traditions were properly interpreted and how apparent discrepancies between certain adth narrations should be reconciled. This was not a task for a nonspecialist


The Charismatic Community

in the sciences of theology or fiqh. Many Imm traditions are quite cryptic to the modern reader, and apparently they were also difficult for the Imms contemporaries, who are frequently portrayed in Shiite adth literature as seeking explanations for various traditions related from the Imms. A widely quoted tradition, attributed to numerous Imms from Al b. Ab lib to Muammad al-Bqir and Jafar aldiq, says that the teachings of the Imms are difficult (ab, mustaab) and that no one can understand them except the angel brought nigh (or archangel, al-malak al-muqarrab), the prophet sent [by God] (al-nab al-mursal) and the believer whose heart has been tested for faith.24 Only those who knew and understood the traditions of the Imms well were qualified for the category of mn; and in this tradition, the category of mn is placed on a par with the highest angelic realm and with that of the prophets. The demanding nature of these criteria for mn would seem to exclude all but a very small number of those claiming to be Shiite. Certainly the illiterate, those who lived a life of labor rather than learning, or those whose occupations did not admit of extensive travel could scarcely have fulfilled these requirementsto say nothing of women, who, with rare exceptions, had far less access to education. If being Shiite was synonymous with being a believer, and yet being a believing Shiite required such elite capabilities, then what was the position of those who subscribed to the general Shiite point of view without possessing those capabilities? More important, at least for Shiite theologians, was the question of how to categorize those who were educated in Shiite traditions and theology but who disagreed with one or more of the theological doctrines or interpretations of the Imms or their primary representatives, while still holding to the superiority and ultimate authority of the ahl al-bayt. When these selfproclaimed Shiites were considered to be harming the Imms through incorrect or indiscreet representation of the Imms views, the answer seems to have been that the Imms and their followers should dissociate from them;25 and this process of dissociation or excommunication from the Shiite community was reportedly carried out in some cases,26 and threatened in others. At the same time, there are many traditions in which the Imms discourage dissociation from Shiites who were sincere in their attachment to the Imms and the ahl al-bayt, while differing, in relatively harmless ways, from the Imm position as represented by the more prominent Shiite intellectual figures; and in some cases, the Imms chastised these same Shiite intellectuals for such divisive tendencies. In one tradition, Zurrah b. Ayan declares to Muammad al-Bqir: Whoever agrees with us from among the Alawiyyah or others, I give

Degrees of Faith


walyahto them; and I dissociate from whoever disagrees with us, be they Alawiyyah or others. Al-Bqir corrects Zurrahs zealous attitude, telling him: The words of God are truer than yours, Zurrah, where are those who mix good actions with bad?27 The term Alawiyyah may refer to either pro-Alid Muslims in a kind of general way, or to Alid descendants in particular. In either case, the tradition is interesting, in that it illustrates a difference of opinion between al-Bqir and Zurrah about whether all of the Alids and/or their supporters should be uncritically considered to fall within the circle of walyah that defines the Shiite community, or whether the specific doctrinal views of these individuals should be the primary consideration in this regard. Al-Bqirs answer is characteristically general and inclusive, and sets no clear doctrinal limits on who should fall within our outside the circle of walyah. In another tradition, aldiq displays a similar leniency toward those who disagree with the doctrinal positions of the Imms; but unlike the tradition attributed to his father, al-diq responds by discussing the concepts of walyah and mn in a more complex and gradated way. Ammr b. AbilAwa questions al-diq:
Verily among us are groups who are supporters of Al (yaqln bi-Amr al-muminn) and see him as superior to all other people, but do not subscribe to our views regarding your superiority. Should we give walyahto them? [Al-diq] said: Yes, in general (fil-jumlah). Does not God possess what Gods Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) does not? And does not the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him) have from God what we do not? And do we not have what you do not? And do you not have what others do not? Verily God has divided Islam into seven parts: patience, truthfulness, certitude, contentment, faithfulness, knowledge (ilm) and forbearance (ilm). And He has divided them among the people, and the one in whom God placed all seven portions, his mn [alone] is complete. . . .28

In this tradition, al-diq makes a distinction between those possessing walyah and those possessing true mn, and also distinguishes between the more intense bond of walyah that linked true Shiite believers from the more general and presumably less obligating walyah shared by all those who recognized the authority of Al and his descendants generally, and perhaps even those who did not recognize the Imm of their timea flaw that in other traditions is considered to be a more serious offense, as we have already seen.29 mn, on the other hand, is reserved exclusively for those who possess acquired knowledge (ilm)here undoubtedly the doctrinal positions


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of the Imm Immsalong with all of the essential moral virtues, in addition to walyah.

OBEDIENCE (TAH) If the basis of being considered a true Shiite or a true mumin was knowledge of the Imm of ones own time and all previous Imms, as well as knowledge of the religious and theological opinions they held, then it was only natural that it would also be required to obey the Imm absolutely and to accept his religious teachings fully. While this may seem obvious, it was not always the case that one who considered himself a Shiite would necessarily obey the Imm as his only religious authority or accept all of his theological positions. There are certainly instances recorded in Shiite tradition in which some of the most learned members of the Shiite community attended the teaching circles of other contemporary (non-Shiite) religious scholars as well. This does not necessarily mean that they recognized those other religious scholars as authorities, although the exact influence of these non-Shiite scholars on the Shiites who attended their teaching circles (majlis) is difficult to ascertain; but it is known that some prominent Shiites, such as Zurrah b. Ayan, had differences with the Imms over particular theological issues, and openly deviated from the Imms views on some of them.30 A number of Shiite traditions suggest that the question of complete obedience to the Imm was not merely an abstract or academic issue, but a point of genuine concern for the Shiite community of this time. Jafar al-diq is reported to have said that whoever claims to be a Shiite but clings to a bond (urwah) other than us, is lying.31 While there are reports of theological disagreements between al-diq and some of the prominent mutakallimn among his followers, the issue of the Imms doctrinal authority was a particular concern for later Imms. In a tradition attributed to the eleventh Imm, al-asan al-Askar, the Imm divides men into three categories: (1) those who represent the Imms faithful and undoubting followers; (2) those who shift to the right and to the left, [as if they] ride the waves of the sea; and (3) those who completely oppose the truth. The Imm advises his followers to abandon the second group, for if a shepherd wants to gather his flock, he has only to make the gentlest effort.32 The Imm, in other words, should not have to argue with or convince his followers; his authority, like that of the shepherd for his sheep, should be accepted implicitly and unconditionally. This second group, those who shift to the right and to the left, may refer to pro-Alid individuals who did not recognize all of the Imm Imms or agree with all of

Degrees of Faith


the major theological positions of Imm doctrine. This tradition indicates that uncompromising and exclusive obedience to the Imm had become a nominal requirement for membership in the Shiite community by this time (mid-third century), but the complaint contained within the narration also suggests that such complete obedience was not always rendered, and the harsh attitude taken toward nominal Shiites who did not fully submit to the Imms teachings reveals a certain frustration on the part of the Imm over this issue. In another tradition, Al al-Ri declares that the only true Shiites were those who submitted themselves to [the Imms] authority, accepted their doctrinal positions, and opposed their enemies.33 An explicit connection is made between obedience and full membership in the Shiite community in another tradition recorded in the Tafsr attributed to alasan al-Askar. This passage is part of a series of individual traditions related variously from the Prophet, Fimah, and the first eight Imms, each making the point, in different ways, that not all those who demonstrate love or attachment (here, muwlh, rather than walyah) to the ahl al-bayt are true Shiites. The Shiites are only those who obey the Imms and imitate their example; an individual who loves the Imms and demonstrates muwlh toward them, without strictly following their commands, is counted among their muwln and muibbn, but not among their Shiite followers.34 In the apparently earlier traditions discussed in Chapter 5, walyah and ubb were considered the most important or essential elements of religion, or as religion itself; however, in traditions attributed to later Imms, such as this one, their importance has been significantly downgraded in favor of obedience (as in this case), or knowledge. As a final note on the distinction between those individuals who held a merely sentimental or political attachment to the ahl al-bayt (muwln or ahl al-walyah) and those who could be classified as (true) Shiites or true believers (muminn), it should be pointed out that the issue of virtue is also present, and indeed quite important. Within those sections of Shiite adth compilations that deal with the status and description of the believer, there are many chapters devoted to religious and ethical virtuesfrom generosity and concern for ones brothers to patience, forbearance, and truthfulness.35 In a adth similar to the one cited in full above, al-diq lists seven degrees of virtue corresponding to levels of belief: piety (birr), truthfulness (idq), certitude (yaqn), contentment (ri), faithfulness (waf), knowledge (ilm), and forbearance (ilm).36 The Imms frequently stress the importance and significance of spiritual virtue among their disciplesthe elite among the Islamic community from the Shiite perspectivewhose behavior was presumably meant to be a model for other Muslims, and to demonstrate and reflect positively on the quality and authority of


The Charismatic Community

the Shiite Imms as spiritual guides. As the Imms became increasingly removed from the public eye from the time of Ms al-Kim onward, the role of individual Shiites as ambassadors for the spiritual perspective of the Imms must have grown increasingly important. Chapter 6 noted that there was a current of thought among certain (mostly extremist) Shiites that placed attachment to the ahl al-baytabove all other virtues and religious duties, even to the point of overlooking the faults of those Shiites who had engaged in major sins such as theft or fornication. A more substantial body of traditions found in Shiite works, however, represents the contrary point of view: namely, that true membership in the Shiite community required virtuous behavior.37 The Imms were not always pleased with the level of virtue they found in their disciples,38 and they reportedly sought to distance themselves from their less virtuous followers, whose impious behavior may have been harmful to their reputation. In one tradition Jafar al-diq is angered by a report that the Shiites in Kufa are referred to as the Jafariyyah; the Imm exclaims that the true disciples of Jafar are only those who are strong in piety and work for God.39 The Imm tells his followers to avoid the lowly folk (siflah), for the shat Al are only those who manifest the essential virtues, they alone are the shat Jafar.40 Nearly all of the traditions that insist upon virtue and piety as prerequisites for true membership in the Imm Shiite community (i.e., the shat Jafar, not just the shat Al) are related by Shiite figures that have been definitively placed by Shiite biographical literature in the category of sound (thiqah) and nonextremist transmitters. This may indicate that the insistence upon moral virtue came as a reaction or admonition to more extremist and antinomian strains of Shiite thought. However, it should also be noted that some of these traditionsespecially those connected with warnings against the lowly ones (siflah)have perfectly sound isnds (by Shiite rijl standards) except for the primary transmitter, Mufaal b. Umar. Mufaal was a controversial figure, reportedly close to both al-diq and al-Kim, who is considered by some later authorities (such as al-Shaykh al-Mufd) to have been a reliable transmitter from these two Imms. However, other traditions preserved in the early biographical dictionary Rijl al-Kashsh report that he was suspected of extremist or ghultinclinations and connections by his contemporaries.41 If Mufaal was authentically the primary transmitter for some of these traditions, then this may indicate that the Imms warning against the lowly ones (siflah) could have been interpreted differently by the more esoteric or the more extremist members of the Shiite community, on the one hand, and more mainstream elements, on the other. In other words, if the knowledge, or marifah, required of the true Shiite believer referred to different kinds of knowledge for these two groupseso-

Degrees of Faith


teric or mystical ideas for the one, and rational, theological or legal principles for the otherthen the term siflah, meaning those who lacked this knowledge, would likewise denote different kinds of deficiencies. The fact that recognizing and obeying a precise line of Imms were now prerequisites of full membership in the believing Shiite community suggests a new Shiite consciousness of themselves as a distinct religious community. It represents an attempt to erect more definable and measurable limits within which to circumscribe the Shiite community and differentiate it from the general variety of proAlid or pro-Hshimite sentiment that was fairly widespread in the early Abbsid period. Without such a clear delimitation of membership in the Shiite community, the term shah was coterminous with all those who harbored sentiments of love and loyalty to the ahl albayt, rendering the Shiite community nothing more than an abstract and idealized notion that loosely encompassed all those who, given the right opportunity and moment, might support the legitimist claims of the ahl al-bayt. This indeed seems to have been the general understanding of the term in pre-Abbsid, and particularly late Umayyad, Shiite thought, as reflected in the words attributed, most commonly, to the fifth Imm.42 With the development of a more concrete and recognized community, however, there is the natural and inevitable development of a hierarchy within that community and among its various memberssome of whom were more knowledgeable than others, more committed than others, and more virtuous than others. Walyah and/or love of the Imms perhaps granted one admission to the Shiite community at the entry level, but only those who fulfilled the stringent requirements discussed above would fully qualify as true Shiite believers.

THE HIERARCHY WITHIN THE SHIITE COMMUNITY It was previously noted that given the (at least nominally) strict requirements for the category of mn, in particular the requirement that one be well versed in the traditions of the Imms as well as in the religious sciences (whether understood in the sense of occult sciences or more traditional Islamic ones), very few Shiites would have qualified for this category. In fact, Shiite tradition repeatedly emphasizes the small numbers of true believers.43 In one case, Jafar al-diq is greeted by a supporter from Kufa who tells the Imm that he [the Imm] has thousands of supporters throughout the Islamic world, and so has no excuse for not rising up to seek his right and authority. Al-diq, however, invites the man to journey with him, and when they come upon a shepherd with a small herd of seventeen


The Charismatic Community

sheep, the Imm tells his would-be supporter that his true followers number no more than the herd of sheep before them.44 Like the traditions regarding marifah as an essential quality of faith, traditions regarding the small number of true Shiite believers seem to have been popular among both extremist and more mainstream Shiite groups; and it is not only the isnd but also the way in which the idea is expressed in the text of the tradition itself (matn) that suggests the camp to which it most likely belongs. For example, in one tradition related through an apparently nonextremist isnd Jafar al-diq declares in frustration that he would be lucky to find three believers among the Shiites who could be trusted with the secrets of the Imms,45 suggesting that the true believers are those who practice taqiyyah (precautionary dissimulation), particularly with regard to the Imms secretsan idea or policy that belongs very much to mainstream Shiite thought. Yet, in another widely cited tradition narrated by some wellknown ghult figures, the idea is expressed through a metaphor that alludes to the more occult sciences. Here, it is said that the believers are rarer than red sulfur (kibrt amar),46 and in a common variant, that female believers (mumint) are more valuable than male believers because they are rarer, and that the male believers themselves are rarer than red sulfur.47 As noted at the outset of this chapter, the late second century witnessed important changes in the larger Islamic theological and intellectual environment and within the Shiite community itself. The exclusive identification of Shiites with the muminn raised the practical question of how this definition of mn could be applied uniformly to the Shiite community as a whole, when it was clear that some of the Imms followers were more well-versed in the creed and religious teachings of the Imms than others and some were more faithful to the Imms than others. Furthermore, the numerous succession crises that plagued the Shiite community from the death of aldiq onward meant that those who identified themselves as Shiite did not always recognize a uniform series of Imms. The concomitant tendency toward internal doctrinal divisions among the Shiiteseven Imm Shiitesin the second and third centuries often led to the establishment of Shiite splinter groups, and the excommunication of even some of the closest disciples of the Imms (e.g., Abul-Khab) who were accused of extremist or heretical tendencies. The ghult, or extremists, themselves considered other Shiites deficient in their access to the more esoteric doctrines which they claimed to have learned from the Imms. From the point of view of both (or all) factions, then, it was necessary to recognize degrees within the state of mn; and given the apparent excommunications of some formerly high-level Shiite figures, it also became necessary to admit that mn was not

Degrees of Faith


immutably foreordained in the case of every individual. Thus, in addition to the establishment of a hierarchical relationship between walyah and mn as categories of attachment to the Shiite community, there was also a new recognition of a hierarchy within the category of mn as well. This more differentiated understanding of faith was influenced not only by the new practical and intellectual needs of the Imm Shiite community, but also by the important intellectual change represented by the rise of Sunni traditionist thought, particularly in Kufa. The previous chapter noted that Sunni traditionists rejected the earlier Murjiite and Kharijite conflation of islm and mn, and that their establishment of a definitive and hierarchical distinction between the two may have influenced Shiite thinking on this same issue. Sunni traditionists also parted company with Murjiites with regard to the nature of faith itself, for while Murjiites conceived of faith as a monolithic category, the Kufan traditionists of the late second and early third century instead held that faith had degrees of perfection and could therefore increase and decrease.48 Of course, the idea that there are different spiritual levels or ranks among men is acknowledged in the Quran itself;49 but the idea of grades of faith, as such, is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran, nor, as we have noted, is it found in the most prominent early theological schools of Islam, including early Shiism. Thus, in the face of its own intracommunal practical and intellectual concerns, and perhaps as part of the trend toward a more nuanced understanding of the nature of faith taking place among non-Shiite circles in Kufa, Imm Shiites seem to have sought a more precise and gradated understanding of faith, particularly as it related to the issue of membership in the Shiite community. Numerous adth traditions attributed to al-diq and later Imms discuss faith and its relationship to membership in the Shiite community as something involving levels or degrees (darajt). The precise nature or number of these degrees varies: In some cases there are said to be seven degrees,50 in others, ten.51 These traditions represent a distinct shift from the earlier idea of faith as a more or less monolithic category, but they also preserve, to a certain extent, the earlier predestinarian notion that it is God who initially grants mn to an individual, and who may then increase or decrease it. That is, although increases and decreases in mn are accepted as possible, these changes are not based exclusively on the merits of the individual. In one case, al-diq argues that just as God favored or preferred (faala) certain messengers and prophets over others, so too does He favor certain believers over others. These, he tells us, are the degrees (darajt) of mn.52 In another tradition, aldiq explicitly states that an individual ascends from one level of faith to another as a bounty from God (mazd min Allh).53


The Charismatic Community

It is important to note that with one or two exceptions, the traditions regarding levels of faith are attributed almost exclusively to Jafar al-diq, suggesting that the issue of creating a hierarchy within the Shiite community only became an important issue in his own lifetime, or among the Shiite scholars of his day. Yet, if we try to discover which of the many factions of Shiites during this formative and turbulent period is responsible for putting the darajt traditions into circulation, we again find that it is not so easy to discern. A fair number of them are related through individuals whom the Shiite rijl tradition suspects of extremism, or ghuluww, while others are accompanied by isnds that include figures of precisely the opposite tendency. The recognition of such a hierarchy among the Shiite believers may not necessarily have been a divisive development, rather, it could have had the effect of defusing or mitigating some of the more intense doctrinal conflicts that emerged at this time, both with respect to the central issue of the immate and in regard to smaller points of theological doctrine. The admission of a certain ranking among the believers may have been a way to discourage a tendency among various Shiite factions to dissociate or seek excommunication from fellow Shiites with whom they had theological differences. Indeed, the very purpose of the discussion of levels of faith in Shiite tradition may have been meant to encourage religious solidarity among the Imms followers, despite differences in their individual levels of knowledge and virtue. The acknowledgment of an internal hierarchy meant that those less advanced in religious knowledge or virtue did not stand outside the Shiite community but merely occupied a lower station within it because of an inability to grasp the Imms more difficult teachings.54 While this policy ostensibly offered protection for the less advanced believers, it could also serve as a rhetorical defense for selfproclaimed possessors of the esoteric teachings of the Imms, who may have been deemed heretics or extremists by other Shiites. Such traditions also occasionally address the more tangible communal splits that emerged as a result of the series of succession crises following the death of Jafar al-diq. When al-diq died without a clear successor (in 148), the community was in some confusion as to who should succeed him, given that the son whom most Shiites (and probably Jafar himself) had assumed would succeed him, Isml, had died a few years prior to this. Although the succession crisis was eventually resolved in favor of Jafars son Ms (al-Kim), there was one group of Shiites, the Fas, who continued to maintain that Jafars second eldest son, Abd Allha full brother of Isml who had initially and briefly been considered Jafars successorwas part of the legitimate series of Imms. Upon Ms al-Kims death, another splinter group, the Wqifs, refused to acknowledge any Imm

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after Ms. These two groups continued to be significant until at least some time in the fourth century, and the Wqifs seem to have lasted somewhat longer than that, although perhaps in smaller numbers.55 These two groups continued to have civil relations with the main body of Imm Shiites, and the different groups had no problems citing one another as adth authorities.56 Still, those in one group could not have considered their counterparts in the others to be true (or full) believers, since mn, as defined in numerous traditions from al-diq, was dependent upon knowing and obeying the Imm of ones time and recognizing the correct sequence of previous Imms. Yet, these same individuals had been considered believers before the succession crisis following al-diqs or al-Kims death, so how could one explain their current status? Earlier Shiite tradition, as we discussed above, claimed that people were created for either mn or kufr, and that nothing could change thatincluding the will of the individual. So how could these individuals, who had once been believers, now have lost that status?57 Despite the predestinarian tendencies that often informed Shiite conceptions of individual spiritual vocation and sectarian destiny, certain Shiite adth traditions posited the possibility of change in the Shiite believers state of mn. A number of Shiite traditions attempt to explain this kind of change in a believers status, while at the same time preserving the idea that true Shiite believers constitute a divinely foreordained and elect community. One string of adth narrations does this by classifying the believers into two groups: those whose mn is firm and established from pre-eternity and those whose mn may either be completed or taken away entirely in the course of their earthly lives. There are two variations of this tradition, and it is interesting to note that one of the two types seems to have originated in extremist, or ghult, circles, while the other is exclusively attributed to transmitters considered to have been untainted by extremist influences. The version of the tradition commonly related through more extremist chains of transmission explains the difference between the two kinds of mn in the following manner:
The believer is of two types: the believer who is true to his covenant with God and who is faithful to its conditions and regarding whom He said: Men who are true to that which God has covenanted with them,58 and this is the one who is not afflicted by the anxieties of this world or the next, and this is the one who intercedes and who needs no intercession (literally, is not interceded for); and the believer who is like raw seed which [grows] crooked sometimes and which [grows] straight sometimes, and this is the one who is afflicted by the anxieties of this world and the next, and this is the one who is in need of intercession and who does not intercede for others.59


The Charismatic Community

The issue of the covenant with God hearkens back to the mthq traditions, in which an exclusive and explicit identification of the Shiites with the believers is to be found. And in the description of the believer who is true to his covenant, there is a confirmation of the idea that mn, at least for some believers, is foreordained and not subject to any alteration, regardless of changing circumstances in either this world or the next. Yet, the tradition also posits a second group of individuals who may possess the status of believers at one time, but whose mn is not fixed or predetermined, but rather subject to change. The mention of the issue of intercession (shafah) in this context is also interesting. As previously discussed, Shiite tradition held that Shiite believers shared a limited capability for eschatological intercession with the Imms; but here, Shiite tradition limits this capability to a select group of Shiite believers whose faith was not subject to change in the face of the external vicissitudes of earthly life. The second variation of this tradition, transmitted through more mainstream isnds, describes two types of faith (rather than two types of believers): one which is mustaqarr (firmly established) and another which is mustawda (deposited) or mur (lent). This tradition draws on the Quranic pairing of the terms mustaqarr and mustawda in the verse: He is the One who has created you from a single soul, [from] one established (mustaqarr) and [from] one deposited (mustawda).60 The more common interpretation of this verse in standard Sunni sources was that God created man from the stationary female egg and the deposited male sperm.61 Ms al-Kim, however, is quoted as explicitly rejecting this interpretation, contending instead that the verse refers to Gods creation of men with two different types of mn: that which is mustaqarr and unalterable, and that which is merely deposited (mustawda), and so liable to be taken back. Whether the latter type of mn was completed in or removed from an individual soul could not be known until his death.62 This idea is sometimes invoked to explain some of the more infamous historical betrayals of the Shiite cause, particularly on the part of certain prominent companions of Al, such as al-Zubayr b. al-Awmm (who initially supported Als legitimist claim against Ab Bakr after the Prophets death, but later rebelled against Al early in the latters own caliphate) or Ziyd b. Abhi (Als appointed governor of Fars who later joined forces with Muwiyah and became one of the most infamous persecutors of the Shiites). The idea of a changeable mn status does make an appearance in Nahj al-balghah,63 as well as in certain tafsrtraditions attributed to Muammad al-Bqir, where al-Bqir explains the terms mustaqarr and mustawda with reference to the illustrative case al-Zubayr.64 Even if the mustaqarr/mustawda dichotomy with regard to mn had its roots in earlier traditionsand in the tragedies of Als tumultuous per-

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sonal historythe idea had a particular applicability and salience in the context of the disputes between various followers of al-diq and the succession crises that followed his and his successors deaths. Specifically, it may have served as a convenient doctrinal explanation for the nature and spiritual status of those individualssome of whom had formerly enjoyed prominent status among the Imms followerswho had fallen out of favor with the Imms and their leading representatives, or who had been subject to a declaration of excommunication from the Shiite community. Some evidence for a later dating of the development of this formulation is provided by a comparison of the cases of two heretical Shiite activists, al-Mughrah b. Sad and Abul-Khab. The two names often appear together in Shiite tradition as those cursed by the Imms for attributing false statements to them: Al-Mughrah is said to have imputed lies to Muammad al-Bqir, and Abul-Khab is said to have done so regarding Jafar al-diq.65 However, the idea of a kind of deposited (mustawda) faith is never invoked in connection with the case of alMughrah (the contemporary of the fifth Imm), while it is directly referenced in discussions of the case of Abul-Khab. It may be argued that Abul-Khab had enjoyed a much higher standing in the Shiite community than al-Mughrah, prior to their respective heresies, and so more explanation was needed in his situation. But it is interesting to note that the situation of Abul-Khab appears in Shiite tradition as something of a textbook case illustrating the difference between mn mustaqarr and mn mustawda, suggesting that the notion of changeable mn may have been resurrected or further developed specifically in connection with the problem of Abul-Khabs sudden fall from favor;66 and it is Abul-Khabs loss of mn that is cited to justify the Imms command that the Shiites break their bonds of walyah with him and dissociate from him. Abul-Khab was allegedly excommunicated during the lifetime of al-diq, but the idea of a kind of impermanent faith is invoked in later cases without the resulting excommunication. For example, Al al-Ri used this terminology to explain the situation of two prominent Shiites, Yay b. alQsim al-Hadhdh and Zurah b. Muammad al-aram,67 who dissented from some important aspects of the Imm view, but who were obviously not subjected to the same degree of excommunication suffered by Abul-Khab, since they are respected and widely cited authorities in the works of Imm Shiite adth.68 Thus, it seems that it was during the lifetime of al-diq that Imm thought first began to address itself to the status of the Shiite community in theologically precise terms, and to establish and define a hierarchy within that community. Shiite tradition is hardly unanimous as to the nature of this hierarchy, although some general statements may be


The Charismatic Community

made. There was, in the first instance, a distinction recognized between those who had the requisite knowledge and virtue to be categorized as true believers, or muminn and those who merely had some attachment, sentimental or otherwise, to the ahl al-bayt in general. All muminn were, of necessity, Shiites, but not all those who claimed to be Shiites were muminn. Second, there was the establishment of the idea of levels or degrees (darajt) of faith, through which a certain hierarchy was recognized among the members of this chosen community, even if most such traditions counsel mutual respect and brotherly piety between the believers at all levels. Finally, the notion emerges or at least gains prominence, most likely during the later and divisive period between the death of Jafar al-diq and the establishment of Al al-Ris immate, that there are two different types of mn: that which is certain and/or foreordained and cannot be altered, and that which is subject to change or revocation in the course of an individuals lifetime. All of these notions allowed Shiites to continue to see themselves as a unique, cosmologically significant, and elect community, chosen by God to carry out His complete covenant on earth, while simultaneously accounting for the relative intellectual and moral disparities among those who claimed to be attached to the Shiite community. However, as observed throughout this chapter, the idea of an internal hierarchical stratification of believers within the Shiite community does not seem to have originated within a particular group among the various competing schools of thought in mid- and late second-century Imm Shiism. While certain expressions of this idea are linked to more extremist, or ghult, Shiite thinkers and transmitters, others seem to be of mixed provenance, or to have been the particular favorites of the more moderate wing, usually assumed to constitute the mainstream. In fact, these traditions could suit the purposes of both groups. The moderates could use such traditions to downgrade the Shiite membership status of a wide range of individuals: the lowly and uneducated riffraff (siflah), those inclined toward antinomian ideas or those of poor moral stature, and those who had pro-Alid sentiments but did not recognize the established line of Imm Imms. Those inclined toward ghuluww (extremism), or toward more mystical and esoteric ideas, could dismiss their moderate critics within the community as being unqualified for the true (esoteric) knowledge (marifah) of the Imms. Significantly, it was the more extremist figures who were responsible for putting traditions into circulation that encouraged brotherly feelings between the Shiites of different levels of knowledge and mn. Such traditions counsel against disdain toward those possessing a lower degree of mn, or knowledge, but also implicitly or explicitly argue for a concomitant

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respect for those who possessed higher degrees of the same. Such ideas may have served to validate their claims to a more advanced, esoteric knowledge, as well as to explain the general unacceptability of their ideas among other members of the Shiite intellectual community. As the Imm Shiite community progressed toward a more established communal status, developing an increasingly precise and characteristically hierarchical theology to explain their particular spiritual station vis--vis the rest of the Islamic community, and toward an increasing doctrinal uniformity that served to clearly delineate the intellectual boundaries between the Shiite and non-Shiite Muslim communities, it seems rather natural that they would seek to hierarchically stratify their own community internally, and identify degrees of membership in what was, in many ways, a kind of initiatic spiritual community. There were those who held a certain attachment to the charisma of the ahl al-bayt, on the one hand, and those who solemnly committed themselves and their personal spiritual lives to the authority of a particular Imm or line of Imms, on the other. There were those who remained faithful to the authority and cause of the individual Imms throughout their lives, and others who betrayed the Imms and the community with their lies and indiscretions. These differences had to be recognized. Perhaps more significant, however, is the fact that after al-diq, the remaining Imms were largely removed from both public life and from direct interaction with most of their followers. While delegation after delegation of Shiites are reported to have sought out al-Bqir and al-diq in Medina, al-diqs successor, al-Kim spent much of his adult life in an Abbsid prison; and Al al-Ri and his three successorsthough sometimes nominally honored by the Abbsid royal familyspent much time under virtual house arrest at the court of various Abbsid rulers. As the Imms grew increasingly remote from their disciples, a clear need must have arisen for the establishment of Shiite leaders below the level of the Imm who could authoritatively transmit the doctrinal and legal rulings of the Imms. Thus, the establishment of various doctrinal systems for classifying the members of the Imm Shiite community, and for identifying its most prominent and trustworthy members, may also reflect a deep-seated need to find guarantors of the spiritual guidance of the Imms in the face of their growing personal absence.

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Womens Identity in Early Shiism

s we have seen, Shiism as a recognizable religious affiliation first emerged in the context of Als military and political camp during the First Civil War. The movement existed throughout the Umayyad period as a persecuted religio-political group, membership in which was voluntarist and individual, depending to some extent on personal devotion to a living Shiite Imm. During the early Abbsid period, Shiism emerged as a prominent theological group and legal school, contributing substantially to the intellectual life of the early Abbsid renaissance. However, none of these evolving manifestations of Shiite identity included a clear place for women. Few women had the freedom to participate actively in controversial or clandestine religio-political movements or the intellectual training and recognition to contribute to the rational debates over theological and legal issues. Even those women who may have sympathized with the Shiite legitimist cause had few means to express their convictions. Shiite sources mention the presence of a few women among the devotees of the Shiite Imms, even in the earliest periods of the community, as well as many others who are identified as Shiite sympathizers. However, there are clearly fewer women among the transmitters of Shiite adth reports than can be found, by comparison, in the Sunni tradition, and many of the female transmitters in the Shiite tradition are Alid womenthat is the daughters, sisters, wives, or servant women of the Imms, whom one would expect to have 213


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exhibited a kind of family loyalty to the cause. The Shiite traditions view of the significance of women to their community overall is mixed, at times indicating a particular inclination among women to be sympathetic to the Alid cause and acknowledging their affiliation with the community, while at other times suggesting that most women had an intellectual deficiency that prevented them from fully understanding Shiite sectarian and theological views, and that their physical and emotional weakness limited their ability to contribute to the cause. This chapter explores the issue of womens identification with the Shiite cause and the extent to which they could be considered full members of the Shiite community, by examining the complex and at times contradictory information relating to women that one finds in Shiite literature as well as by analyzing the variety of historical, ideological, and theological considerations that influenced these views. There are, of course, a number of women among the ahl al-bayt who play important roles in early Shiite history, and we will mention these women insofar as they have some bearing on the overall view of women in Shiism. However, for female members of the ahl al-bayt, there is no real issue of how they come to be affiliated with the Shiite community; and since the present work is concerned with this latter issue, we will focus here primarily on non-Alid womens connections with Shiism. As is the case with most studies of women in premodern societies, the sources are limited and problematic; they tell us little about women in general, and what they do tell us is often anecdotal and nearly impossible to corroborate. For these reasons, one must survey a wide variety of literaturebiographical accounts, rhetorical and poetic anthologies of womens words, Sunni and Shiite histories, and Shiite adth materialto distill as much information as possible about womens contributions to and identification with the Shiite cause and to work this information into something of a coherent picture of the role of women in early Shiism. Shiite sectarian views derive in large part from very particular, and sometimes polemical, readings of a number of historical events in early Islamic history. This chapter begins by looking at the ways in which Shiite historical and adth traditions have interpreted the roles of womenboth positively and negativelyin these controversial events. It then examines the ways in which these historical views regarding women and the Shiite community influenced general Shiite traditions about women, their moral and intellectual worth, and their ability to be fully affiliated with the Shiite cause. Finally, this chapter looks at the impact Shiite views about women had on Shiite adth and legal opinions regarding the important socio-religious issue of intermarriage between Shiites and non-Shiites.

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The issue of intermarriage is a crucial one, not just for understanding the role of women in Shiism but also for understanding something of the development and institutionalization of the Shiite minority as a true religious community. As long as the primary affiliates of the Shiite movement were meneither as soldiers, activists, or scholarsShiism was essentially a religio-political movement, a theological or legal school of thought, perhaps even a secret society or fraternity, but not a religious community in the fullest sense of the word. A true community would be connected and cemented by family affiliations, intracommunal marriage, and the transmission of the Shiite heritage from parents to children. All of these things would require, to some extent, the ability of women to be fully identified as members of the Shiite community, either of their own personal volition, or as the female relations of Shiite men. Determining how early and to what extent women were identified as members of the Shiite community can tell us a great deal about when Shiism began to transform itself into a true religious community and could be recognized as an affiliation that defined entire families, neighborhoods, and regions.

WOMEN IN THE FIRST MUSLIM COMMUNITY The basic premise of Shiismnamely the sacred nature and function of the descendants of the Prophet Muammaddepends very much on the existence and role of Fimah, the only child of the Prophet to survive him and give him grandchildren, and therefore the sole link between the Prophet and the Shiite line of Imms. However, Fimahs special prominencewhich far exceeds that of any woman in the Sunni traditionis not parlayed into a special importance for daughters, or women in general, in Shiite tradition. This is largely because Fimah is seen as the exception and not the norm in female character, and in some Shiite traditions she is presented as a figure of such towering significance as to separate her from all other women. She is one of the fourteen pure ones, created from the Muammadan light in the world before time and ordinary human creation; she represents the necessary link between Muammad, Al, and the other Imms; and she is said, in some traditions, to have never menstruated, and to have been miraculously pure, despite being the mother of several children;1 she is the Queen of Heaventhe greatest of all women.2 Many of these characteristics parallel Christian traditions about the Virgin Mary; and Fimahs extraordinary qualities, like those of the Virgin Mary, cannot be transferred to other women. The idea that she did not menstruate would, alone, put her in a different category from


The Charismatic Community

all other womenand the issue of menstruation certainly factors into Shiite (and Sunni) views of womens capabilities and limitations. Fimahs spiritual eminence apparently surpasses that of the wives of the Prophet, not only in Shiite tradition but in Sunni tradition as well. It is in Shiite literature, however, that we find the significance of the wives of the Prophet explicitly downplayed in favor of the Prophets blood relations (Al, Fimah, and their children). Moreover, Shiite tradition paints rather unflattering portraits of some of those wives in particular. ishah and afah (the daughters of Ab Bakr and Umar, respectively) are singled out for particular criticism, as is Umm abbah bt. Ab Sufyn (sister of the Caliph Muwiyah and daughter of one of the Prophets archenemies among the Quraysh); and the negative views of these female figures in Shiite sources is no doubt related to the Shiite view of their respective male relations. Umm abbah bt. Ab Sufyn is criticized, for example, for having played a role in instigating the First Civil War during Als caliphate by sending Uthmns bloody shirt to her brother, Muwiyah, in Syria, which he then publicly displayed in order to heighten public emotions in favor of his rebellion against Al.3 In Shiite tradition, the negative aspects of Umm abbahs character are directly connected to the fact that she was sired, as one tradition states, from an accursed tree.4 On the other hand, some of the wives of the Prophet are considered to have been strongly sympathetic to Alid legitimist claims and are correspondingly praised in Shiite sources for their virtue and loyalty. The most important of the wives of the Prophet from the Shiite perspective is undoubtedly Umm Salamah, the former wife of Ab Salamah, an early emigrant to Abyssinia. She was a well-known supporter of Al and his claim to the leadership, as recorded in both Shiite and (to a lesser extent) Sunni sources. She appears as a Shiite protagonist in the accounts of the First Civil War and serves as a clear foil to ishah, one of the major instigators of the conflict. She reportedly sought to defuse the tensions that led to the widespread rebellion against Al, by trying to dissuade both ishah5 and al-Zubayr from challenging Als authority and reminding them of the Prophets favor toward Al.6 She reportedly warned Al of ishah, alah, and al-Zubayrs plans for rebellion in a letter in which she also expressed strong support for Al, saying that she would like to fight herself, but (in strong contrast to ishah) realizes that her place as a woman is not on the battlefield; she offers the services of her beloved son instead.7 Shiite adth tradition reports her support for Al even during the Prophets lifetime and makes her something of an honorary member of the ahl al-bayta term usually reserved for the Prophets blood relations.8

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Other wives of the Prophet also seem to have been favorably disposed to the Alid cause, or at least to have had some connection to Almost notably, those who are said to have been shown unfair treatment by ishah, afah, or other Shiite antagonists. For example, both Shiite and Sunni tradition records ishahs (or afahs) derogatory remarks about the Jewish heritage of afiyyah, a wife taken by the Prophet from among the captive women after the defeat of the Jewish clans at Khaybar. The Prophet defends afiyyah against these slurs by arguing that while afiyyah is the descendant of such Israelite prophets as Moses and Aaron, ishah is the descendant of polytheists.9 Another tradition in Sunni sources states that since afiyyah was the daughter of the defeated leader of the Jewish clans at Khaybar, and thus had no tribe to return to if she were widowed, the Prophet ordered that in the event of his death, afiyyah should be taken in and cared for by Al.10 Maymnah, another wife of the Prophet, who was of Hshimite lineage, is also portrayed favorably in Shiite tradition. She is reported, in one Shiite adth, to have heard the Prophet say that no enemy of Al will be saved from hellfire. In the adth, Maymnah responds by professing her own love of Al, but notes that among the Prophets companions, there are few who love him. She names the well-known Shiite figures of Ab Dharr [alGhifr], al-Miqdd [b. al-Aswad], and Salmn [al-Frs] as the only ones she knows.11 Thus, the Shiite estimation of the important women in the Prophets life is not entirely positive or negative. Shiite sources give positive accounts of those women who were knownin both Shiite and Sunni traditionto have been sympathetic to the Alid cause, and castigate those women who play later roles as Shiite antagonists. Shiite views of these particular women tell us little about Shiite views of women in general but rather form part of the colorful and polemical tapestry of early Shiite historiography and hagiography. Shiite attitudes toward women in the generations after the companions, however, were profoundly shaped by both the historical roles of women in the religio-political conflicts surrounding the Shiite cause and by the exigencies of a clandestine and embattled minority.

SHIITE WOMEN IN THE UMAYYAD PERIOD There is a tradition attributed to Al in a relatively late Shiite source in which the Prophet informs Al that no woman will ever hate him except for the one who is salaqlaqiyyah. Later, a woman who secretly hated Al heard him relate this prediction and asked the meaning of the term salaqlaqiyyah. Al explained that it referred to a woman


The Charismatic Community

who menstruated improperly. The woman was amazed at his response, for she realized that she suffered from this very physical defect. The report tells us that she immediately repented and declared that she would forever abandon her previous hatred of Al. Al then implored God to restore her to a normal form of menstruation, if she was truthful.12 This adth does not appear in canonical Shiite collections and is obviously legendary in content, but it points to two curious elements of Shiite thought. The first is that Shiites viewed real antagonism toward the ahl al-bayt as a serious moral defect that was occasionally related to a kind of physical defecta motif also seen, for example, in the widely reported series of Shiite traditions mentioned in Chapter 8 that claim that only the sons of fornicators would grow up to be persecutors of the Shiites.13 The adth also suggests, however, that Shiites expected women in general to be favorably disposed toward the Shiite perspective and that very few womenindeed only those with a rare type of physical defectwould truly hate the ahl al-bayt. In fact, a multitude of anecdotes found in both Shiite and Sunni literature portray women as partial and sympathetic to the Shiite cause. This is nowhere more obvious than in the historical accounts of the Umayyad period. While there are scattered, anecdotal accounts of women, in addition to Umm Salamah, who publicly advocated Als succession immediately after the death of the Prophet and were outspoken critics of Ab Bakrs authority,14 the women involved in the events of Als caliphate and the First Civil War are primarily Shiite antagonists, whether it be ishah who partially leads the initial rebellion; Umm abbah who sends Uthmns bloodied shirt to her brother, Muwiyah; or the Kharijite woman who infamously incites her fianc to murder Al as part of her dowry.15 However, when we turn to events immediately after the First Civil War, we see a very different picture. Shiite tradition notes that women were the most frequent visitors to Als grave, and multiple women are recorded in Shiite biographical and literary sources as having directly confronted Muwiyah over his treatment of Al, or else to have been summoned to Muwiyahs court to be questioned about their pro-Alid sympathies. Some of these women were reportedly brought before Muwiyah because they had attained a reputation as Alid loyalists; others were accused of having played an active role in the Battle of iffn by encouraging the Iraqi troops with their impassioned and eloquent poetry about Al and the righteousness of his cause.16 These women all demonstrate similar bravery and eloquence in defending Al posthumously before Muwiyahdoing so, no doubt, at some risk to their own lives. In fact, many of them are reported to have praised Al in very sectarian (and therefore politically risky) ways.

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Umm al-Bar laments the defeat and death of Al as the loss of the just Imm and the best of Gods creatures.17 Sawdah bt. Ammrah refers to Al as the brother of the Prophet, the banner of guidance (alam al-hud) and the beacon of faith (manrat al-mn), and she equates love of Al with seeking after Truth.18 When Muwiyah questions Drimiyyah al-ajniyyah about her love and walyah toward Al, and her hatred and enmity (adwah) toward himself, she adduces the Prophets words at Ghadr Khumm as justification for her views. 19 Jarwah bt. Ghlib al-Tamm is more circumspect in Muwiyahs presence, declaring that Al possessed a nobility beyond description and an unfathomable [spiritual] limit, but then tells Muwiyah that she fears to say more.20 A similar tendency for women to associate with, or openly express sympathy for, the Shiite cause is seen in accounts of the dramatic defeat and death of al-usayn at Karbala and in the Second Civil War that ensued shortly thereafter. From the Shiite perspective, nearly all of the female figures recorded in connection with these events play positive and sympathetic roles. The Kufan historical tradition records a Basran woman, Mriyah bt. Sad or bt. Munqidh, as having hosted clandestine meetings of Shiite loyalists in her home, and we are told that at one such meeting the decision was taken by a small group of Basran Shiites to ride out in support of al-usayn.21 There are also reports that two other women held similar meetings in their homes for the supporters of al-Mukhtr b. Ab Ubayd or the extremist (ghult) Shiites in general.22 There is, of course, the widely reported bravery and steadfastness of al-usayns female family members during the Karbala ordeal23 and their outspoken defense of al-usayn and their male relations before the Umayyad courts of Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd and Yazd b. Muwiyah.24 The embittered speech delivered by al-usayns sister, Zaynab, reportedly moved all around her to tears, and her unyielding defense of her family and their honor after they were taken captive reportedly evoked the admiration even of her enemies. However, a number of non-Alid women were also said to have either actively participated in this battle (some were even killed),25 or to have selflessly urged their husbands and sons to fight and die in the cause, leaving themselves widowed and vulnerable.26 Most interestingly, even the female relatives of Shiite enemies in this conflict are portrayed as sympathizing with al-usayn and his plight, and at times seem to constitute something of a fifth column among the ranks of the enemy. The freed slave woman of the anti-Shiite figure, alAshath b. Qays, who is also the mother of al-Ashaths equally antiShiite son, reportedly gave secret shelter to Muslim b. Aql, al-usayns cousin and clandestine agent in Kufa.27 In other places we are told that three of the perpetrators of the Karbala massacre were


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thrown out of their homes and rejected by their wives upon returning from the battle28and one of these women is said to have later informed on her husband to the avenging army of al-Mukhtr.29 Even the women of the Caliph Yazds household reportedly took pity on the female relatives of al-usayn, mourning with them, and presenting them with lavish gifts to compensate them for the material losses they sustained in the battle and in their subsequent detention as prisoners of war.30 It is difficult to know to what extent these stories are based on fact. It is hard, for example, to imagine that a disagreement between a husband and wife over a political issue would have been considered important enough to transmit over two generations until it was recorded by Ab Mikhnaf. But more important questions, I think, are why historians like Ab Mikhnaf included these accounts at all, and why such accounts might have been believable and compelling to his Kufan audience. Might they reflectwhether factually true or nota widespread assumption on the part of both Shiites and their enemies that women were particularly inclined to sympathize with the Shiite cause? Regardless of their historicity, the presence of these types of accounts are related to a number of factors that may in turn shed light on the connection between women and the Shiite cause in a factual sense. First, it is important to emphasize the danger of being a Shiite in Umayyad times. The loneliness of al-usayn at Karbala and his apparent abandonment by many of his initial supporters tells us something about the very real dangers such support entailed. Yet women did not represent active or potentially threatening players in religiopolitical disputesthey were not armed combatants, at leastand so would have enjoyed greater immunity from official concern about their religio-political loyalties. Leading largely private lives and generally protected from the scrutiny of other men, they could well have played an important role in the clandestine activities of this early Shiite movementdelivering messages, providing material support, harboring Shiite fugitives, or holding secret meetings in their homes and there are examples of such activities on the part of various women found in both Shiite and Sunni historical sources.31 There is also one secretive but crucial role that a number of womenboth Alid and non-Alidare said to have played in the early Shiite community: They were often reported in Shiite adth traditions to be the bearers of the way, or the formal testimonies and transmissions of authority from one Imm to the next. In Imm Shiism, the legitimacy of the community and its guides depends absolutely on the principle of nathat is, the Imms explicit and formal designation of his successor to the position. While Imm Shiite doctrine holds that all twelve of the Imms were clearly and unam-

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biguously identified by their predecessors, the numerous succession disputes within this line suggest that the issue was not always so clear-cut. It is quite interesting to note how frequently Shiite tradition identifies women as the means of conveying a secret or problematic waiyyah from one Imm to the next. There is the famous and widely reported belief that the Prophets final words spoken to Fimah contained his waiyyah, which Shiites believe included a reference to the identity of all twelve Imm Imms. Shiite tradition says that Al later recorded the oral message given to Fimah and that it was passed from one Imm to the next. Some of the women who transferred these testaments of successorship were Alid women related to the Imms. For example, Zaynab bt. Al is said to have carried her brother, alusayns, waiyyah to her nephew, Al Zayn al-bidn.32 In other traditions, al-usayns daughter, Fimah, was entrusted with a sealed book or scroll containing the information regarding al-usayns successor, dutifully passing it on to Al Zayn al-bidn, as instructed.33 It should also be noted that female relatives of the Imms take on something of an important role near the end of the Imm line of Immswhere the eighth through tenth Imms are all said to have died fairly young, and to have succeeded one another in rapid succession and at increasingly young ages. This trend reaches its maximum point, of course, with the death of the eleventh Imm, al-asan alAskar, who is said to have died with only a few of his close followers being aware that he had a son. Therefore, his close female relatives, who reportedly assisted at the birth of the twelfth Imm, are sometimes cited as sources confirming this birth.34 In other reports, women who were not personally related to the ahl al-bayt serve a similar function in transferring legitimacy to various Imms. For example, the pro-Alid wife of the Prophet, Umm Salamah, was reportedly given a written letter by the Prophet and told that when the (true) Commander of the Faithful (Amr al-muminn) ascended the pulpit of the mosque he would ask for it. After waiting patiently through the reigns of Ab Bakr, Umar and Uthmn, she surrenders the letter to Al upon his request when he becomes the caliph.35 According to another report, a woman named Umm Aslam asked the Prophet the identity of his designated wa. The Prophet responded by tracing a particular image for her in the sand, and told her that whoever could do the same was his wa. Using this method of evaluation, she was reportedly able to ascertain, while the Prophet was still alive, that Al was his designated wa, and that Als young sons, al-asan and al-usyan, would succeed him in this position. Finally, she used this procedure to confirm that Al Zayn al-bidn was the wa after the death of his father, al-usayn, thereby undermining the rival claims of the followers of Muammad b. al-anafiyyah.36


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abbah al-Wlibiyyah, a close companion of al-usayn who reportedly attended his majlis and related his adth, is said to have passed written instructions from Al to al-asan, from al-asan to al-usayn, and so on down the line of Imm Imms, until she had reached the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri.37 The fantastic nature of such a story is obvious from the fact that she would have had to have lived nearly 200 years in order to accomplish this feat. Yet, despite the fact that such adth narratives were likely used to smooth over problematic cases in the transmission of the na immate, there may be an underlying kernel of truth to these stories about the female transmission of secret writings and way. It was occasionally reported that women were given valuable scrolls, writings, and texts to hold in trust. Umar b. al-Khab, for example, entrusted a copy of the Quran commissioned by his predecessor, Ab Bakr, to his daughter afah on his deathbed, before his successor had been chosen. This copy is later said to have become the basis of the Uthmn codex of the Quran, compiled a few years after Umars death. To the extent that womens private quarters were inviolable, in principle, by other men, women may have represented safe havens for important and/or controversial texts. Given that Shiite tradition is filled with accounts of secretive written texts bearing both esoteric and sectarian (and therefore, politically sensitive) information, it is not implausible that some Shiite authorities may have entrusted such writings or instructions to their female relatives for safekeeping. Whatever roles individual women may have historically played, there are other issues to consider with regard to the sources continual alignment of women with the Shiite cause. It is important to remember that given the danger of Umayyad persecution, there may have been many male Shiite sympathizers whose names are lost to us because of necessary secretiveness regarding their religio-political identity. Compilers of historical accounts for this period, such as Ab Mikhnaf, may therefore have included reports of female sympathizers instead, since the mention of such women (who are usually only vaguely identified in the historical literature, and often with names that appear to be pseudonyms or else symbolic in nature) did not expose them to the same dangers. Such a technique may have been used by early historical compilers to indicate a widespread, if informal, sympathy with the Shiite cause, or else to convey their own personal sympathies. Another factor to consider is the emotional and deeply personal nature of the Shiite tragedies of the Umayyad period. Many of the Shiite victims in the Umayyad period were the beloved family members or descendants of the Prophet himself. At Karbala, three generations of Prophetic descendants were decimated and their women were

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publicly paraded through the streets of Kufa and Damascus, stripped of their outer garments. Ab Mikhnafs account of Karbala focuses at least as much on the suffering of the wives, daughters, and sisters of the Karbala victimsthe marriages ending in widowhood before consummation, the loss of beloved sons and brothersas it does on the religio-political issues underlying the conflict. The images of women dragged from their tents as prisoners, only to view their relatives bloodied and mutilated, naked, and unburied in the Iraqi desert, and of Zaynab bt. Al lamenting with unbelief the devastation wrought upon her family, would certainly have been enough to galvanize the emotional sympathy of many people, even those who, like women, may have had little stake in, or knowledge of, the contested religiopolitical issues involved. In numerous historical and literary accounts, women are represented as having identified and allied themselves with the suffering and grieving family of the Alids, rather than with the particular religio-political affiliations of their husbands and male relatives. Moreover, devotion to the Alid cause was largely expressed in this early period, in later times, and to the present day, through the visiting of the tombs of Alid martyrs. If the sources are accurate, and if early Islamic society was anything like the modern, the most ardent and loyal visitors of such tombs were women.38 ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN IN SHIITE ADITH LITERATURE Despite the numerous anecdotal accounts of female Alid supporters, and the services they may have rendered in difficult times, Shiite adth literature is somewhat mixed on the issue of women. It sometimes expresses a rather pessimistic view of womens moral and religious character, and of their significance within the Shiite community, while in other places it praises the character of women and their sympathy with the Shiite cause. The most obvious characteristic of women in Shiite canonical and noncanonical adth sources, however, is their scarcity. While Shiite biographical collections do contain the names of some female adth transmitters, women figure less prominently in Shiite adth transmission than they do in the Sunni counterpart. This is due in no small part to the fact that the greatest number of female adth transmitters belong to the generation of the companions (abah) in Sunni tradition, with the wives of the Prophet, especially ishah, being particularly prolific transmitters. Many of these sources would have been rejected by Shiite adth compilers, since Shiites do not consider most of the companions to be reliable transmitters, which included most of the wives of the Prophet and especially ishah. Furthermore, most of the isnds going back to the Prophet himself in


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Shiite tradition are related through chains of Shiite Imms (all of whom, of course, are men); those that are related by Alid women, such as Fimah and other member of the ahl al-bayt, are generally recorded in exclusively female and family isnds that tend to be rather formulaic in nature (e.g., there is one tradition which is transmitted via an ascending chain of Fimahs who were all daughters of successive Shiite Imms).39 To the extent that these isnds are not purely schematic and fictitious in nature, they would seem to indicate that even Alid women were not active transmitters within larger Shiite intellectual or sectarian circles, but rather had a family legacy that they passed privately on to their children, most often their daughters.40 Women are also relatively scarce in the content of the traditions. Many, if not most, Shiite adth traditions related from the Imms (rather than the Prophet) take the form of questions posed to or comments made by one of the Imms among his disciples, either in public teaching circles in the mosque or in private or semi-private audiences with the Imms. Women are rarely reported to be among these circles and are only occasionally portrayed as having directly questioned the Imm or sought his advice. Thus, while sympathy for the Alid cause among women is represented in both the adth and historical traditions as being quite widespread, and although some of those most loyal to the defeated and martyred Alids were women, the scarcity of specific women in either the isnds or narrative content of Shiite adth traditions suggests that they remained largely outside the sectarian and intellectual circles of the Imms disciples, from which much of this material emerged. Given this apparently conflicting informationthe widespread Shiite sympathy among women suggested by historical sources and the scarcity of women in Shiite adth literaturewe should examine the general attitude toward women found in Shiite adth traditions. A quick perusal of Shiite adth literature yields a number of unflattering traditions about women. Much of this material is attributed to Al, and the traditions of later Imms and Shiite authorities seem to have taken their cue from Als reportedly pessimistic view of the moral and intellectual capabilities of women. In her book My Soul Is a Woman, Annemarie Schimmel alludes to the negative material regarding women attributed to Al and sardonically notes that as the husband of the Prophets daughter, Al ought to have had a more positive attitude.41 Some anecdotal accounts about Al and Fimah seem to indicate that this relationship was not without its difficulties,42 although Al is never reported to have criticized Fimah in any way, and all traditions attributed to him about her are clearly laudatory. He also reportedly enjoyed close relationships with some of his later wives, including Asm bt. Umays, for whom he (and Shiite tradition as well) held great respect.43

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Whatever Als relationships with his wives may have been, his most serious conflict with women came in his stormy relationship with ishah, the daughter of Ab Bakr and wife of the Prophet. The tension between these two figures is legendary, and is not unrelated either to their competition as two of the Prophets most beloved companions or to the later legitimist dispute between Al and her father, Ab Bakr. Some trace the antipathy between them to the time when ishah was falsely accused of adultery. Al reportedly advised the Prophet to divorce ishah as a precaution in the face of unresolved suspicions about her marital fidelity44something that could hardly have been forgiven or forgotten by ishah. ishahs innocence is traditionally believed to have been established by a Quranic revelation denouncing her slanderers,45 but polemical Shiite sources seem to support Als initial suspicion, and further suggest that the person exonerated by that Quranic verse may not have been ishah at all but rather the Prophets Christian slavegirl, Mriyah, whose fidelity was allegedly considered suspect after ishah questioned the paternity of the son she bore to the Prophet.46 However serious the tensions may have been between Al and ishah while Muammad was aliveand this is difficult to gauge, given the extent to which traditions to this effect have been influenced or manufactured by partisans to the legitimist struggle between Al and her fatherthere can be little doubt that the two faced one another on a field of battle early in Als caliphal reign, and that she is one of the primary instigators of the civil war that tore apart Als control of the Islamic community and ultimately resulted in his death. It is hard not to see a connection between the political and personal conflicts Al had with ishah and the negative traditions about women that are widely attributed to him. In fact, many of these traditions are found in the Nahj al-balghaha compilation of Als public speeches, letters, and sayings that purport to date to the turbulent period of his caliphate and the First Civil Warand some concern ishah directly. For example, he dismisses the Basran army who opposed him in the Battle of the Camel as the army of a woman (meaning ishah) and followers of the beast (referring to her camel, which became the focus of the battle at one point).47 After the battle, he criticizes ishah in front of her former Basran supporters, describing her as afflicted with the thinking of a woman and seething with malice like an iron cauldron.48 In this same collection we find a tradition in which Al declares women deficient in faith (mn) and intelligence (aql), echoing the Prophetic adth that women are lacking in religion (dn) and intelligence (aql),49 and many traditions attributed to Al with regard to women are critical of their intelligence in particular. Al reportedly warned that conversing with women


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was one of four things that could ruin a mans heart.50 While this is tempered by a tradition attributed to Al in a later source that permits one to consult with a woman, provided her intellect has been tested and found complete,51 the need for such a test suggests that he considered it rarely to be the case. In yet another tradition, he states that a womans intelligence (aql) is found in her beauty, while a mans beauty is found in his intelligence.52 This critique of the intelligence of women was hardly insignificant as regards their status in the Shiite community. Aql represents a fundamental principle in Shiism. It was said to be the source of correct religion, of the knowledge of the Imms, and of virtue. The first chapter of Kulayns al-Kf is the Book of Intelligence and Ignorance (Kitb al-aql wal-jahl), reflecting the centrality of this principle in Shiite doctrine, and many traditions attributed to Al himself in the same Nahj al-balghah emphasize the importance of aql as a spiritual virtue.53 A series of traditions declaring women to be deficient in this area could not have been without consequence for their full inclusion in, or even identification with, the Shiite movement, and may be linked to other traditions that imply a corresponding moral deficiency on the part of women. Perhaps for this reason, Al is reported to have strongly discouraged the role of women in religious and public life.54 The best women, from Als perspective, were those who made impeccable service to their husbands their primary form of spiritual jihd, or struggle.55 Womens virtue lay in their remaining at home,56 being faithful to their husbands,57 and struggling against their inherent tendency toward jealousy. In one tradition, Al states that jealousy in men is mn, while jealousy in women is kufr, or unbelief.58 The numerous traditions attributed to Al that either critique the intrinsic intellectual or moral capabilities of women or emphasize the lack of a legitimate role for them in public life, are almost certainly related to Als bitterness over ishahs actions in the First Civil War. For example, in one tradition Al warns his followers not to obey or trust women, since they have no dignity when it comes to [fulfilling] their needs and no religion (dn) when it comes to [attaining] their desires.59 Als reference to obeying women likely has in mind ishahs leadership of the rebellion against him, and a tradition in which he warns men to beware even of the best women60 may also have been directed at those who followed ishah out of reverence for her position as the beloved wife of Muammad and as one of the Mothers of the believers. When Al confronts the defeated (and wounded) ishah after the Battle of the Camel, he does not discuss the political or religious merits of the rebellion she has helped lead against him; rather, his primary complaint against her is

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that she disobeyed the Prophetic command that his wives remain secluded and withdrawn from public life after his death.61 There are traditions in which Al explicitly connects the notion of fitnah doubly understood as civil war and a general undermining of the moral fiber of the communityto women.62 Of course, despite the continued reverence for ishah among Sunnis, the notion that her role in the First Civil War was inappropriate, and that it illustrated the dangers of womens participation in the public realm, is also taken up by Sunni authors, who could cite the event as proof that a womans open involvement in the public sphere leads to fitnah.63 Yet no one could have been more disturbed by ishahs role in this divisive and costly revolt than Al, and it seems to be in the context of comments made shortly after the Battle of the Camel that Al delivers his most critical discourse on women, referring them as scorpions, whose bite is sweet [and therefore deceptive]64 and declaring them deficient in faith (mn) and intelligence (aql). As bitter as many of Als experiences with ishah may have been, and as much as this may have led him to speculate negatively on the intellectual and moral worth of women generally, he was also reportedly aware of, and sympathetic to, the fact that the limited public role of womenand their dependence upon male relatives that he so strongly recommendedoften left women vulnerable. He is said to have spared a widow sentenced to death for adultery after learning that she was forced to prostitute herself in order to obtain water from a malicious stranger,65 and to have argued for the release of another woman who was similarly condemned for having borne a child that her husband incorrectly thought was conceived in his absence.66 He is reported to have defended a woman against her oppressive and abusive husband,67 and to have prevented other women from being defrauded by cruel and manipulative men.68 Despite Als displeasure with the excessive wailing of the women in Kufa over those killed in the Battle of iffn,69 he was reportedly moved by the difficulties these battles presented for widowed and orphaned women.70 Stories of Als sympathy for female victims of unfortunate circumstances or malicious oppression indicates another thread running throughout the Shiite perspective on womennamely, an intrinsic sympathy for, and even identification with, the oppressed and helpless members of society. To the extent that women frequently found themselves at the mercy of impious men, they appear as figures of inherent pity for Al, and for Shiites in general, and a number of Shiite traditions urge special concern, care, and leniency for the female members of the community, precisely because of their disadvantaged position in society.71


The Charismatic Community Women in adth Material Attributed to Later Imms

Many of the Shiite adth traditions attributed to later Imms build on and continue some of the attitudes toward the intellectual capacities of women found in traditions attributed to Al. Muammad al-Bqir, for example, says that it is inadvisable to teach women to read and that it is better to teach them to weave and perhaps to recite the Srat al-Nr.72 In another case, one of Ms al-Kims more educated slave women is found by al-Kims brother attending the teaching circle of one of the learned legal scholars of Baghdad. He chastises her for being there (in public presumably) and when she protests that alKim has permitted her to attend such gatherings, he dismisses her by saying: Women are incapable of considering such things.73 The tradition about women being deficient in intellect (aql) and religion (dn) also continued to be repeated in combination with other unflattering comments about women. In one case, the eleventh Imm, alasan al-Askar, quotes the tradition about womens deficiency in intellect and religion, and then goes on to say, there is no evil man except that there is a woman who is worse and there is no virtuous woman except that there is a man who is better. He then notes that the only exception to this rather absolute inequality between male and female virtue was in the case of Fimahfor she was a woman who was superior to some of the best men in the world.74 Muammad alBqir warns his followers not to consult with or obey women,75 and other traditions consider conversing with women to be a corrupting influence76 on the believers, which may deaden their hearts.77 Despite the perpetuation of some decidedly negative views about women in Shiite adth literatureviews that, in any case, are not all that different from what can be found in Sunni worksthere are also a number of quite positive traditions about women, and mens relationship with them, particularly regarding the benefit and virtue of loving them. Versions of well-known traditions that emphasize the Prophets love of women and the notion that the best of men are those who are best to their wives are found in Shiite adth collections;78 and the love of women, sometimes presented as a vice or a corrupting influence on men,79 is more frequently said to be a sign of spiritual virtue. Love of women is reported to be a particular characteristic of the prophets,80 as well as one of the seven personal qualities given exclusively to the ahl al-bayt (along with grace, eloquence, generosity, bravery, knowledge, and forbearance).81 Finally, Jafar al-diq considers the love of women to be a virtue that is found particularly in his followers, and increases in them in direct proportion to both their love of the ahl al-bayt and their faith (mn).82 While positive statements about the virtue of loving women does not necessarily mean a positive

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view of women overall, there are also traditions that consider women positively in their own right, as when al-diq is quoted as saying that most goodness is to be found in women.83 Even if we find positive traditions regarding women attributed to later Imms, there is still the continuing theme of the rarity of truly virtuous believing women. Jafar al-diq praises a woman for the virtue of her daughter, saying: O Khans, if God had given you nothing other than your daughter, Umm al-usayn, God would have given you a great good. Truly, a virtuous woman among women is rarer than a white-footed crow that is white only in one foot.84 In another, more general reference to the rarity of believing women, aldiq tells us that a female (Shiite) believer is dearer than a male believer, because she is rarer; and indeed the (male believers) are rarer than red sulfur. Who among you has seen red sulfur!85 The phrases rarer than a white-footed crow and rarer than red sulfur are poetic idioms in Arabic for something truly rareso rare as to scarcely be found. But in these traditions, which are both attributed to al-diq, a virtuous woman is not only rarer than a white-footed crow, but rarer, in fact, than a white-footed crow who is white-footed in only one leg; a believing woman is not only rarer than red sulfur, she is rarer even than a male believer, who is himself rarer than red sulfur. A believing woman is thus described as a rarity even among an already rare subset of individuals. We should understand these ideas in relation to Shiite traditions about the scarcity of knowledge, virtue, and true belief among members of the Islamic community generally (see Chapter 10). Shiite tradition suggests that true believers were rare indeed, but the value of such Shiite believers lay precisely in their raritya sentiment expressed in relation to both men and women. Even if the number of male Shiite believers was considered to exceed that of female believers, a small number of adth traditions and anecdotal accounts suggest that by the mid- to late second century, Shiism was not merely an ideological fraternity with a few honorary or supporting female members. A number of traditions regarding the special distinctions of the Shiites explicitly include women in their number,86 and womens affiliation with the Shiite community is not always represented as coming, passively, via their male relatives. Among the Ayan family, for example, which included Zurrah b. Ayan and his three brothers, who were all deeply connected to the inner circles of the fifth and sixth Imms, it is their sister, Umm alAswad, who is said to have been the first in the family to adopt the Shiite perspectivepresumably influencing her well-known brothers in their own Shiite views.87 Women are also occasionally reported to have come independently to seek spiritual advice from the Imm, or to have made their own financial contributions to the Shiite cause;88


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and even into the Abbsid period, some women were reportedly arrested or persecuted for their Shiite beliefs.89 Moreover, Shiite tradition attributes certain distinctions to Shiite women that separate them from their non-Shiite sisters. In one interesting tradition, we are given a sectarian rendition of the famous adth about the ten parts of desire created by God, in which al-Bqir states that among the Umayyads and their supporters, nine parts of desire were given to their women and one part to their men, while among the Hshimites and their Shiite supporters, nine parts of desire were given to their men and only one to their women90clearly arguing for the superior modesty and chastity of Shiite women. If Shiite women, like Shiite men, possessed unique spiritual characteristics but were even more rare and precious, then what did this mean for marital relations within the community? If female Shiites were so rare, then Shiite men presumably needed to marry outside this small circle; and if Shiite women were so valuable, then could they in good conscience be allowed to marry non-Shiite men?

INTERMARRIAGE WITHIN THE SHIITE COMMUNITY A review of Shiite traditions about the rules of marriage and appropriate marriage partners turns up material similar to what one finds in Sunni tradition. Shiite traditions urge their followers to marry virtuous and pious (rather than beautiful and wealthy) women and to marry virgins if possible.91 There are traditions about the virtues of Qurayshi, or alternately Medinan, women, and traditions that discuss the issue of kafah, or the notion that people should marry their equals in lineage, wealth, religion, and occupation.92 It is unclear, however, whether the notion of equality in religion meant that Shiites were required to marry only fellow Shiites, since Shiite traditions expressing the idea that the believers are equals93 for the purposes of marriage, or that marriage proposals from people of satisfactory religious standing should not be arbitrarily rejected,94 can be construed either as referring to all Muslims in a general sense, or to true believers in a more sectarian and exclusive sense. However, if we go beyond these initial similarities with Sunni traditions about marriage, we find that Shiite tradition is far more cautious, comparatively speaking, about the issue of intersectarian marriage. While Shiites seem to agree with Sunnis that perfect equality of socio-economic status was not required between marriage partners, Shiites are more concerned than their Sunni counterparts about marrying within ones own faithboth widely and narrowly construed. So, for example, while canonical Sunni tradition upholds the Quranic

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injunction allowing Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women, clarifying only that these must be free women (since the Quran only allowed men to marry slaves if they had become Muslim) Shiite tradition is far more hesitant about such mixed marriages. Some traditions in canonical collections even suggest that the Quranic verse allowing marriage to Jews and Christians95 was abrogated by a later verse to the effect that Muslims should not take unbelieving women (kawfir) as wives;96 and traditions attributed to al-Bqir and al-diq explicitly discourage the marrying of Jews and Christians.97 Al-diq tells his followers they should never marry a Jewish or Christian woman in preference to a Muslim woman and that doing so could render the marriage invalid.98 In other traditions he states that if a man insists on marrying a Jewish or Christian woman, then he must never marry more than two,99 he must forbid her from drinking wine and eating pork, and furthermore, he should know that it will be a mark of deficiency in his religion.100 Shiite tradition, like Sunni tradition, is opposed to Muslim men marrying Zoroastrian women under any circumstances.101 While Shiites, and the Imms themselves, seem to have married into non-Shiite families, there are a number of traditions that imply that serious consideration had to be given to sectarian issues in the choice of a marriage partner. Al-diq warns his disciples with regard to choosing marriage partners: [B]e careful about where you place yourself and those with whom you associate and those to whom you reveal your religion (dn) and your secret (sirr) and your trust (amnah).102 Here, he cannot simply mean religion in the general sense of being a Muslim, for he mentions this term as something to be hidden (which presumably a mans Islam was not) and in connection with the notion of ones secretthat is, most likely, ones inner religious life and Shiite sectarian views. In other traditions, it is made clear that Shiite men, although permitted to marry outside the Shiite community proper, were prohibited from intermarrying with the nibah, that is, the persecutors and sworn enemies of the Shiites.103 This apparently meant that one was not permitted to marry into nib families, even if the women had little to do with their fathers religiopolitical perspectives, but especially if they did. Al Zayn al-bidn and Muammad al-Bqir set the example for their followers in this regard, as they are both said to have divorced anti-Alid wives. AlBqir is said to have been quite fond of a wife whom he found cursing and dissociating herself from Al. He reportedly spent long hours arguing with this woman (who some sources say was a Kharijite) in an attempt to convince her to give up her religious views, but was regrettably unable to do so.104 It was obvious why a devoted Shiite man would not and should not be married to such women, but what about other non-Shiite


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women? The first person reported to have raised this issue seriously with the Imms is one of the members of the inner circle of both the fifth and sixth Imms, Zurrah b. Ayan. There are multiple versions of this incidentone of which was cited at length in Chapter 9in which Zurrah is said to have been asked by either Muammad alBqir or Jafar al-diq if he had yet married. He says that he has not, and is asked why. He then replies that he could not find a woman who was acceptable for him to marry, religiously speaking. Al-Bqir instructs him to marry women who are feeble-minded. Zurrah asks him if he means by this women who were Zayd or Murjiite by sectarian affiliation. Al-Bqir replies that he means those women who know nothing of the religious and political issues underlying the Shiite cause and who have no knowledge of the particular religious issues that concern Shiites. Zurrah protests that any such woman must nonetheless be either a believer or an unbelieverunderscoring his rather stringent view that only Shiites were true believers and all others were unbelieversand that therefore any non-Shiite woman would have to be an unbeliever and hence unmarriageable. Al-Bqir responds by citing a number of Quranic verses that suggest a middle ground between full believers and outright unbelievers, including verses about those who mix good actions and bad, as well as the mustaafn among the men, women and children.105 While this adth narration is clearly about defining Shiite doctrine with regard to nonShiites generally, it raises the issue of intermarriage and the question of the position of the Quranic mustaafn (or weak ones) in relation to women. The term mustaaf or af is associated with women in various types of Shiite literature, at times referring to their inability to understand and fully participate in religio-political conflicts, and at others referring to their inability to act upon the Shiite sympathies they may hold. In general, then, Shiite tradition permitted Shiite men to marry non-Shiite women and to marry into nonShiite families as long as they were not persecutors of the Shiites. The same, however, does not seem to have been true for Shiite women. Just as the general Islamic tradition permitted Muslim men to marry Jews and Christians, but did not permit Muslim women to do the same, so too did Shiite tradition permit Shiite men to marry nonShiite women but did not approve of Shiite women being given in marriage to non-Shiite men. In fact, there is one tradition in which aldiq does discourage his male followers from marrying non-Shiite women, but primarily as a way of protecting Shiite women, specifically. He says: Keep away from the women of the non-Shiites (ns) so that they will keep away from yours.106 The religious and marital protection of Shiite women seems to be something about which the fifth and sixth Imms were concerned.

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In one interesting anecdote, a Shiite man asks Jafar al-diq about a woman who came to him and whom he clearly recognized as a Shiite through her love and walyah toward the ahl al-bayt, but who had no male relative (maram) to care for and protect her. The Imm instructs his disciple to take her under his protection, since a mumin is the maram of a muminah, and reminds him of the Quranic verse declaring that the believing men and women are protectors (awliy) of one another (this adth is related in connection with the commentary on that verse).107 Unmarried female Shiites, then, were to be viewed as the responsibility of Shiite men, particularly, one would presume, when it came to finding suitable marriage partners for them. Perhaps acting in this capacity, a man is reported to have sought alBqirs advice concerning his wifes sister who held the correct religious opinion (i.e., was a Shiite) but had no Shiite suitor in Basra. When he asks al-Bqir if he can therefore marry her to a non-Shiite, the Imm refuses, saying: Do not marry her to anyone who does not share her religious views, although [a Shiite man] marrying a woman who is not a nibah is fine.108 Thus, even in a case where a woman had no available Shiite marriage partner, marriage to a non-Shiite was not acceptable. The Imms reasoning regarding the prohibition on marrying Shiite women to non-Shiite men parallels the rationale for the general Islamic prohibition on marrying Muslim women to non-Muslim mennamely, that a woman was considered the weaker party in the marriage, and thus more vulnerable to being separated from her religion by her spouse. The Imm says:
Marry [yourselves] among the doubters (or people of doubtful religio-political commitment, shukkk) but do not marry [your women] to them, for women take their education from their husbands and he may prevail upon her to accept his religion.109

Another tradition says that a believing [Shiite] woman should not even marry a mustaaf110that is, a man incapable of participating intellectually or physically in the Shiite cause. It is difficult to know how strictly these marital policies were enforced, but traditions to this effect are attributed to both the fifth and sixth Imms, who lived during the most intense, formative period of Imm Shiism prior to the major occultation in the fourth century. The absence of this issue in traditions attributed to Al or other Imms prior to al-Bqir and al-diq, coupled with the reports that both Al Zayn al-bidn and Muammad al-Bqir married women of questionable (perhaps even Kharijite) sectarian affiliation, suggests that these marital policies may have been something that only began to emerge in the context of the doctrinal solidification of Imm Shiite


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views in the mid-second century. There is also a report involving the seventh Imm, Ms al-Kim, which suggests that these intermarriage policies may have already been taken quite seriously by at least some members of the Shiite community of his time. In this account, al-Kim was summoned before the Abbsid caliph, Hrn al-Rashd, who presented the Imm with a scroll that he had evidently intercepted from one of the Imms followers containing numerous controversial and sectarian ideas. One of these ideas, and the one that most likely angered the caliph, was that certain religious taxes were to be paid to the Imm, rather than the Abbsid state. But the document also included a more religiously controversial doctrinenamely, that people should dissociate themselves from the Prophets companions, and that whoever refused to do so should be forcibly separated from his wife.111 This assumes, of course, that the wives themselves were Shiite, and that prohibitions regarding marriage between a Shiite woman and a non-Shiite man were taken seriously enough that the community would take the extraordinary step of dissolving a marriage in which the husband could be considered an apostate from the Shiite sectarian view. The alleged document is a bit extreme in the views it ascribes to al-Kims followers, and it is difficult to determine the historicity of this encounter between Hrn al-Rashd and Ms al-Kim. It is, however, historically plausible. The Shiite community seems to have reached a certain level of cohesion and organization by the time of Ms al-Kim, and other evidence exists that regular khums payments to the Imms began in this period. Such a development could only have been viewed as seditious by the Abbsid caliph and was a likely reason for the seventh Imms subsequent imprisonment. But the level of communal and financial organization that would have been necessary to facilitate the collection of such khums payments (which apparently continued even while the Imm was imprisoned) suggests a more thorough social integration among the Shiites of this time, perhaps partially as a result of the teachings about intermarriage put into circulation by the disciples of the fifth and sixth Imms. Such a conclusion, of course, goes beyond the meager evidence that we have about the issue of communal intermarriage among Shiites in this relatively early time period. But it is noteworthy insofar as such a doctrine would have been entirely consistent with the earlier Imms teaching regarding intermarriage. Even if the adth is spuriousor else the adth is accurate, but the scroll represented manufactured evidence against the Immsomeone made these accusations because they at least suspected such practices to be true of the Shiite community, and that alone tells us something of the level of internal cohesion

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and social organization of the Imm Shiite community in the late second century. Our survey of the historical and adth material related to women in Shiite tradition reveals a somewhat ambiguous relationship between women and the Shiite cause, but this ambiguity has much to do with the various levels on which Shiism can be definedas a particular sympathy for the family of the Prophet and their troubled history, as an underground religio-political movement, as an intellectual fraternity or as a social community. On the first level, there seems to have been a certain mutual sympathy between women and Shiites in general. Women frequently exhibited a devotional attachment to the family of the Prophet and a profound empathy with their successive tragedies. Shiites, always concerned with the victims of oppression and injustice, seem to have had a sympathy for the particular vulnerability and lack of religious freedom that some women experienced. As a members of a clandestine movement or organization, Shiites are reported to have been occasionally aided by women who were sympathetic to their cause, and who may have served as a convenient means of communication and coordination among underground Shiite activists. As useful as women may have been at these levels, Shiite tradition, largely following the traditions of Al, sometimes expresses a poor opinion of womens intellectual capabilities, something that may have cast doubt on their ability to fully understand and be identified with Shiite intellectual positions and to be, therefore, full believers. At the same time, the minority status of the community, compounded by the notion that true female believersin the fullest sectarian sensewere rare, seems to have led to a situation wherein self-consciously Shiite women, or else the female relatives of Shiite men, were only to be married to Shiite men, while Shiite men had the option of marrying Muslim women who had no connection to sectarian issues. On the whole, though, Shiite traditions regarding intermarriage either within the Muslim community, or among Jewish and Christian communities, tended to be conservative and insular in naturefar more so than Sunni tradition. This attitude may have served to consolidate and strengthen the Shiite communitya community that Shiites considered to be, as we have seen, the sacred vessel of Islam in its purest and truest form.

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Perforated Boundaries
Establishing Two Codes of Conduct

nce spiritual categories and hierarchies had been established, both within the Shiite community, and between Shiites and nonShiites, the theoretical framework had been laid for a distinct and theologically definable identity for the Shiite community within the Islamic ummah. Yet, this identity would remain something of an abstract notion without the complementary establishment of a set of practical guidelines for the Shiite community that would regulate and control their relations both with fellow Shiites and with the Muslim community at large. If the relationship of disciple to Imm had become one of strict recognition of, and obedience to, the Imms authority (a more passive relationship than had been envisioned earlier), then the question remained: What should be the structure of relationships among members of the Shiite community, and between the different hierarchical levels within that community? If Shiites considered themselves the believing elite of the Muslim community, then on what terms should they interact with non-Shiites? Where did one draw the line on social interaction with non-Shiites, and to what extent did duties toward fellow Shiites exceed duties toward ordinary Muslims? Only when these questions could be given consistent answers, and appropriate and observable guidelines were set, is it possible to speak of Shiites as a separate, self-contained, and recognizable community within the Islamic ummah in concrete and not merely abstract terms. While a thorough social history of the Shiite 237


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community is beyond the scope of this study, this final chapter examines the ways in which the sectarian Shiite distinction between mn and islm influenced, or at least ideologically and intellectually facilitated, a set of normative, practical relations both between Shiites and non-Shiites and within the Shiite community itself.

RELATIONS WITH NON-SHIITES Despite the frequently sharp Shiite polemic against non-Shiites and despite the strongly worded and occasionally hyperbolic traditions that paint a harsh picture of non-Shiite Muslims, Shiites always considered themselves to be part of the one Islamic ummah. Even the terms khah and mmah, used to denote the Shiite and non-Shiite populations, respectively, imply that the two were members of a single social entity. Ultimately, and especially from a legal point of view, Shiites always dealt with non-Shiites as fellow Muslims and accorded them their rights in this regard. In his article on the Shiite practice of dissociation (barah), Etan Kohlberg tells us: Literary or liturgical expressions were one method of carrying out the religious obligation of barah, social ostracism was another. . . . Ibn Bbawayh himself grants this point when he says that dissociation on the social level is to be practiced when the believer enjoys freedom of action (ikhtiyr).1 Yet, the overwhelming majority of Shiite traditions on the subject of relations with non-Shiites encourages normal and indeed charitable relations with them, without making an explicit stipulation about freedom of action. Traditions cited previously established that basic patterns of interrelationsuch as mutual inheritance and social mixing (mukhlaah)were perfectly legal and acceptable between Shiites and non-Shiites, as long as the non-Shiite was not a sworn enemy of the Shiites, or one who deliberately sought to persecute them. Other traditions extend the permissible forms of interaction to certain religious rites and to acts of charity. Jafar al-diq instructs his disciples on numerous occasions to participate in religious rituals with non-Shiites, to march in their funeral processions, to be witnesses for and against them, and to be mindful of their rights.2 Moreover, both Jafar al-diq and Ms alKim impressed upon their disciples the importance of attending communal Friday prayer,3 which, for Shiites living in many communities, must have meant praying behind a non-Shiite imm.4 Shiites certainly did not consider their situation within the Islamic ummah to be ideal, and to a certain extent, such normal interaction with non-Shiites may have been a protection against persecution. In some traditions, the Imm cites precedents from the behavior of previous prophets and prophetic communities under persecution as a

Perforated Boundaries


guideline for proper action. For example, the situation of Shiite believers living amongst the non-Shiite majority was compared to that of the Quranic people of the cave (ab al-kahf) who lived in a time of shirk:
. . . Pray in their mosques, attend their funerals, visit their sick and speak to your community [qawmikumhere meaning ones ordinary associates, who were not necessarily Shiites] about what is familiar to them . . . you are only responsible for the easy task, and how would it be if they demanded of you what the community of the ab al-kahf demanded of them? They demanded shirk toward Almighty God, so [the ab al-kahf] made a pretense of shirk in front of them, and kept their faith (mn) hidden until a deliverance came to them; but such is not demanded of you [by your contemporaries].5

We have already mentioned a number of other Shiite traditions that instruct the believers to avoid proselytization of their sectarian views, but in this tradition the Imm goes further by encouraging Shiites to engage in all necessary social and ritual functions with nonShiites, as well as enjoining a degree of charity and kindness toward them (i.e., visiting them during a time of illness) that went beyond what was legally required. Shiite tradition does place some limits on the way in which Shiites were to interact with non-Shiites, most of which are linked to their status as the muminn or the elite of the Muslim community. Shiites were instructed to behave with an awareness of their superior spiritual and intellectual station in their dealings with nonShiites. While there was to be no open or explicit proselytization of the Shiite religious point of view, it is clear that Shiites should strive to have a positive influence on the non-Shiite community in more subtle ways. They were to attract spiritually qualified individuals to their cause by fostering a high opinion of the moral character and intelligence of the Shiite community through their own virtuous and noble behavior and demonstrations of their learnedness, rather than seeking merely to swell the ranks of the Shiite community with, perhaps unworthy, neophytes. In one case, Jafar al-diq tells his disciple, Ab Yafr, to practice dawah (or propagation) to the general public (ns) without your tongue; let them see from you ijtihd (spiritual effort), idq (truthfulness), and wara (piety).6 In another tradition, Shiites are told to be an ornament (zayn) for the one you are devoted to [i.e, the Imm], and not a source of shame (shayn): pray among [non-Shiites], visit their sick, attend their funerals, and do not let them outdo you in any good thing, for you are more deserving of precedence than they are. . . .7 In other words, the Shiites were


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expected to live up to their responsibility as the spiritual elite of the ummah, begrudging non-Shiite members of the community no becoming form of kindness, while also behaving with the virtue, dignity, and superiority appropriate to their rank. Just as the ahl al-bayt, unlike other Muslims, were not permitted to accept charity (adaqah) because of their elite status, and because there was an aspect of lowliness in the acceptance of such charity, so, too, were Shiites frequently instructed by the Imms to accept no form of charity from non-Shiites. There has already been the case, cited above, in which the Imm discouraged his followers from accepting any form of kindness from the nib, lest the nib seek his aid on the Day of Judgment, thereby obligating the Shiite to intercede for him; but Shiites were also discouraged from accepting charity from any non-Shiite. In a strongly worded statement, al-diq declares that the true Shiite accepts nothing from non-Shiites even if he dies of hunger.8 It was considered unbecoming and inappropriate for Shiites to complain to non-Shiites (ahl al-khilf) about a particular problem or misfortune they happened to be suffering, for if you do this, you are complaining about your Lord. Rather, the Shiite was permitted to complain of such problems only to one of his brothers (i.e., a fellow Shiite).9 All of the injunctions found in Shiite tradition, enjoining the Shiites to be kind and generous to their non-Shiite neighbors, to treat them according to their legal rights, to avoid open proselytization, etc., can be tied to the issue of taqiyyah. That is, Shiites were in no case to antagonize the non-Shiite community, either by ostracizing themselves from them, or by doing anything that would tarnish the image of the Shiites or the Imms. This included, on the one hand, refraining from discussing esoteric (or highly sectarian) topics that non-Shiites would consider heretical, and on the other, behaving flawlessly and blamelessly, both as intellectuals and as men of piety. This was not merely a way of preserving the good reputation of the Shiite community at large but also of protecting it. As long as Shiite behavior was morally impeccable, and as long as Shiites glossed over the depth of their schism with the rest of the community by participating in communal prayers, funerals, and other rites with non-Shiites, they were perhaps less vulnerable to persecution. There were, however, a few places where the Imms drew the line regarding relations with the rest of the community: In addition to the limits on intermarriage with non-Shiites, as discussed in the previous chapter, the Shiites were never to sit or remain in a gathering in which the Imms or the Shiite believers (either as a whole or as individuals) were being slandered or defamed. Although they were not necessarily obligated to openly

Perforated Boundaries


defend the reputations of their Imm or their fellow Shiites with either tongue or sword at the gathering itself, they were nonetheless told to avoid or immediately leave such gatherings.10

RELATIONS AMONG SHIITES The relationship of the Shiite community to the Islamic ummah at large can be graphically represented as a pair of concentric circles the outer representing the ummah in its entirety and the inner representing the Shiite community. Shiites considered themselves an intrinsic part of the larger circle representing the ummah as a whole, but also claimed membership in the more exclusive inner circle of Shiite believers. The boundary between the two circles should be represented as a perforated one, reflecting the fact that Shiite tradition considered certain types of social and religious interaction to be legitimate within the ummah at large, and among all Muslims, while other social and religious interactions were to be practiced exclusively among fellow Shiites. In other words, there were in theory two codes of conduct for members of the Shiite community, one pertaining to relations within the larger circle, and one governing relations among those within the elite inner circle of Shiites. In terms of the former, as we have discussed above, Shiites were in the first instance to treat all fellow Muslims according to the dictates of Islamic lawthat is, according to its basic rules of conduct regarding economic and social transactionsand to show generosity to them in ways that went beyond the legal requirements. In this way, the Shiite version of appropriate intra-ummah relations does not differ much from its Sunni counterpart. However, if duties toward ordinary Muslims went above and beyond the legal stipulations, then duties toward fellow Shiites went still further. Shiite adth literature is replete with traditions enjoining Shiites to be kind, generous, helpful, and beneficent toward their fellow Shiites in a way that was likely intended not only to establish a high ethical and moral standard for Shiites but also to foster and encourage a unique sense of community and brotherhood among the Shiites as an exclusive group. As to the general importance of the topic of relations among Shiites in Imm Shiite literature, it should be noted that the canonical compilation of Imm adth, Kulayns al-Kf, devotes a substantial portion of its section on faith and unbelief to appropriate relations between fellow believers.11 There are also numerous monographs and single-issue compilations of traditions devoted to the same subject, including al-usayn b. Sads Kitb al-mumin, Al b. Bbawayh


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al-Qumms Mudaqat al-ikhwn,12 and the sixth-century Shiite author Ab Al b. hir al-rs Qa uqq al-muminn.13 One of the primary concerns of this literature was to establish the obligations and duties the believer had toward his brother, stressing the importance of feeding and clothing fellow believers, as well as the virtues of visiting them, helping them in times of difficulty, and generally making their lives easier. According to some traditions a Shiite believer was not only responsible to assist his brother when he was directly approached by him for help but was also expected to anticipate his brothers needs, and to render the assistance necessary and appropriate to his obvious situation, whether or not it had been specifically requested.14 Such charity toward ones brothers was a quality profoundly connected to ones inclusion in the categories of both mn (or faith), and walyah the two terms most commonly associated with the concept of membership in the Shiite community, and there are numerous traditions that make the point, either explicitly or implicitly, that one who does not help his fellow Shiite in a time of need is not a true Shiite.15 Traditions dealing with this subject in Shiite works are attributed to many Imms, including early ones such as Al Zayn al-bidn and Muammad al-Bqir. The traditions attributed to Al Zayn albidn on this issue are general and essentially ethical in tone; they are not aimed at the Shiite community in particular and do not appear to have a specific social or political motivation. Zayn al-bidn had a widespread reputation among Shiites and non-Shiites alike as a man of extraordinary piety, prayer, and generosity toward the poor. Thus, it is hardly out of character to find traditions attributed to him in which he declares that a believer should never go to bed fully satisfied if he knows there is a believer who is hungry, or that he should never go to bed clothed while his brother is naked.16 His reputation for both lengthy prayer and material generosity is reflected in another tradition in which he is quoted as saying: I am embarrassed to pray for Paradise for one of my brothers while begrudging him a dnr.17 Some of these traditions, however, may have simply been attributed to him because of his reputation for charity and generosity, and even if such traditions are authentically attributed to him, he could not have been speaking specifically with reference to charitable relations among the Shiite community, whose sectarian identification with the muminn had not been clearly established in his time. In traditions attributed to Muammad al-Bqir, on the other hand, the Imm seems concerned to foster good relations among those claiming to be Shiite, or to be the awliyof the ahl al-bayt. There is occasionally a political intent suggested, namely, that in the creation of a tightly knit Shiite community, there was hope for the ahl al-bayt re-

Perforated Boundaries


gaining their rightful authority over the community as a whole. On one occasion he gave a Kufan disciple18 the following message to convey to his fellow Shiites in Kufa:
Convey to our mawl (or muwl) greetings of peace; and commend to them fear of God and advise them that the wealthy among them should help the poor among them, that the strong among them should help the weak among them, and that the living among them should attend the funerals of the dead among them, and that they should meet together in their houses, for verily their meeting together in their houses gives life to our affair/authority; God have mercy upon the servant who gives life to our authority. . . .19

Perhaps the most interesting item in this tradition is al-Bqirs recommendation to the Kufan Shiites that they gather together in their housesthat is, not in mosques or other public spaces. This would seem to be in keeping with the level of secrecy that Shiites would have had to exercise during the late Umayyad period, and suggests the clandestine nature of Shiite networks at this timenetworks that were so successfully exploited by the Abbsid movement a decade or two later. This tradition, then, may be an accurate reflection of the nature of relations among Shiites at this time, and perhaps, throughout the Umayyad period. The organization of the community must have been rather primitive: The meetings are neither held in a public space nor in the house of any particular individual. Yet as informal as such meetings may have been, they nonetheless constituted some sort of loosely organized body that collectively recognized Alid authority, and for al-Bqir, this was a way of giving form, meaning, and life to the authority of the ahl al-bayt. In a similar vein, al-Bqir is reported to have described the Shiites as those who mutually sacrifice for one another in loyalty to us (al-mutabdhiln f walyatin), those who love one another in our friendship (almutaabbn f mawaddatin), and those who visit one another for the revival of our authority (al-mutazwirn f iy amrin. . . .)20 Here, walyah and love function as the glue holding the Shiite community together, while the growth and increasing unity of this community represent real hope for the establishment of Alid authority. The traditions dealing with charitable relations within the Shiite community that are attributed to Jafar al-diq and some later Imms, however, have a slightly different emphasis. Like the traditions cited above from Muammad al-Bqir, they refer, quite unmistakably, to relations between Shiites specifically, rather than between Muslims in general. However, in the traditions from Jafar al-diq, the tone is less political and clandestine in nature. The beneficiaries of close and


The Charismatic Community

charitable relations between the Shiites seem to be the Shiites themselves, rather than the political aspirations of the Alid Imms. Like his predecessor, al-diq encourages the Shiites to assemble together and to visit one another, but he identifies the primary benefit of such gatherings as the revivification (iy) of the hearts (qulb) of the Shiites themselves, as well as the preservation, remembrance, and recitation of the traditions of the Imms for the spiritual edification of their followers.21 The stated purpose of such gatherings, then, was to further the knowledge and spiritual growth of the members of the Shiite community, and not necessarily the cause of the Imm himself. In adth narrations attributed to al-diq and later Imms, charity toward fellow Shiites is presented as necessary for, and indicative of, true faith. Al-diq is quoted as telling his disciples: The best of you is the most generous . . . whoever confirms his mn through kindness to his brothers (birr al-ikhwn), this is a kindness from God and a repellent to Satan;22 and al-asan al-Askar notes that the two moral qualities that stand above all others are faith in God (mn billh) and beneficence toward ones brothers (naf al-ikhwn).23 Several traditions declare that kindness directed toward fellow believers is the most beloved thing to God,24 and one tradition asserts that God is not worshipped by anything greater than caring for a believer.25 Kindness and generosity toward fellow believers are often declared more important than other major supererogatory acts of piety and are occasionally placed alongside the major obligatory duties (fari) themselves. For example, there is a tradition in which it is said that when a Shiite believer dies, he is approached by six images (mithl) from the six directions of space. Five of these mithlwalyah, zakh, alh, awm and ajjrepresent the five pillars of Islam according to early Shiite tradition, while the sixth is birr al-ikhwn (kindness toward ones brothers), suggesting that it represented a sixth fundamental religious requirement along with the other five. A similar connection with the obligatory pillars of religious practice is observed in a adth that lists the characteristic actions of the believers as: the keeping of secrets (kitmn al-sirr), prayer, fasting, alms-giving, pilgrimage, and caring for [ones] brothers.26 Whether or not caring for ones fellow believers could be considered on a par with the other obligatory religious duties such as prayer and fasting, it was nonetheless viewed as superior to many other supererogatory works. There is a tradition, for example, in which Abn b. Taghlib, a prominent disciple of the fifth and sixth Imms, was beseeched by a fellow Shiite in need of assistance while he was performing the circumambulation of the Kabah (awf) with Jafar al-diq. Abn is reluctant to leave the Imm, but al-diq instructs him to interrupt his awf to assist the man, telling him that helping his brother takes precedence over the

Perforated Boundaries


completion of even an obligatory awf.27 In numerous other instances, charity toward ones brother is said to be better than making multiple awf or more important than making multiple (and, therefore, supererogatory) pilgrimages to the Kabah.28 Several traditions report that caring for a fellow Shiite believer is equal to or better than making a spiritual retreat (itikf), (supererogatory) fasting, jihd, or the manumission of slaves.29 Many of these traditions speak in terms of helping ones brother or fellow believer, giving the impression that they may be general, ethical statements that do not necessarily pertain to intra-Shiite relations exclusively. However, many of these traditions clearly employ the terms in a sectarian rather than a general sense; and there are many traditions where the Imms are quoted as enjoining charity to fellow Shiites, specifically. There is the tradition cited above in which Muammad al-Bqir sends a message to his muwl in Kufa to the effect that the rich among them should help the poor among them, and the strong among them should assist the weak among them (emphasis mine). Also cited previously was a tradition in which the Imm demands mutual trust and concern among the Shiites, for the awliy Allh have always been weak and few since God created Adam.30 There are also a number of traditions that specifically mention charity toward the poor among our Shiites (fuqar shatin).31 In Mudaqat al-ikhwn, there is a chapter on charity toward both the muslim and the mumin; but in one tradition, al-Bqir is quoted as saying that feeding one who is beloved to me [presumably his Shiite disciples] is better than feeding others.32 In fact, giving some amount of money to a Shiite brother was said to be more meritorious than giving a greater amount to even the neediest of non-Shiites, for Al al-Ri quotes his grandfather, Jafar al-diq, as saying: Verily, if you give one of my brothers a dirham, it is dearer to me than that you should give two dirhams of charity to the [ordinary] poor (maskn).33 The large number of traditions scattered throughout Imm adth literature enjoining charity between Shiite believers would seem to indicate that the Imms or their representatives had something more than general ethics in mind when they circulated these traditions. Some of these traditions suggest either the existence of, or the desire to create, a kind of real and exclusive financial interdependence among the members of the Shiite community; and they certainly indicate that the wealth possessed by members of the Shiite community and by the Imms should circulate predominantly, if not exclusively, within the Shiite community. It should be noted that traditions to this effectunlike the traditions enjoining charity generallyare all attributed to Jafar al-diq or later Imms. This is surely no coincidence, as al-diq was the first Shiite Imm to accept the khums payment


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from his Shiite supporters, and in al-Kims time, something of a network for the appropriationand perhaps, redistributionof those funds seems to have been established. There are a pair of traditions related by Mufaal b. Umar, the somewhat controversial Shiite disciple of both al-diq and his successor al-Kim,34 that allude to the use of the Imms money for the benefit of members of the Shiite community. In the first tradition, Mufaal relates al-diqs instructions that if he should see a [financial] dispute arise between two Shiites, he should resolve it through the use of the Imms own wealth.35 In a second tradition, Mufaal reports an illustrative case in which he carried out the Imms injunction. In this second tradition, Mufaal witnesses a dispute between a Shiite man and his fatherin-law over an issue of money. Seeing this, Mufaal brings the disputed amount to the two, who express surprise at his offer. Mufaal then informs them that this money is not his own, but that of the Imm (al-diq), and that he was carrying out al-diqs wishes that such disputes be settled from the Imms own resources.36 This set of traditions portrays the Imm as using the khums payments as they were ideally meant to be used by the caliph under Islamic lawthat is, for the benefit of the community. But in this case, since the khums was not collected from the ummah in general (or in the name of an Imm recognized by the entire ummah) but rather from the Shiite community in particular, these funds were to be expended on behalf of the Shiite community exclusively. In another tradition, Al alRi discusses the unique bond that links the Imms and their followers. Al-Ri first invokes the notions of walyah and adwah, declaring that the Imms are the friends of the friends of their Shiites, and the enemies of their enemies (rather than the other way around) and then mentions the belief that the Imms and their followers are made of the same clay (nah). After noting the deep empathy the Imms feel for their followers, he declares that whoever among our Shiitesleaves a debt [upon his death] it is our duty [to settle it], and whoever among them leaves wealth, it is for his heirs. . . .37 This is nearly identical to a canonical Sunni adth tradition in which the Prophet states that he will assume the debt of the deceased believer.38 Thus, the Imm here assumes a responsibility toward the community of his followers that replicates responsibilities the Prophet assumed for the Muslim community at large; and at least according to this tradition, the wealth of the Immswealth partly amassed through the khums contributions (originally the Prophets share of the spoils) payed specifically by the Shiite community to the Shiite Immwas to be used primarily or exclusively as a financial support for needy members of the Shiite community.

Perforated Boundaries


These examples suggest that some kind of material and financial link between the various members of the Shiite community was facilitated through the Imms and the khums funds they collected. However, there are also traditions that encourage individual members of the Shiite community to use their own wealth primarily to aid their fellow Shiites, thereby keeping the wealth of the Shiite community circulating within that community for the benefit of individual Shiites in particularjust as ordinary Muslim zakh payments were supposed to be redistributed within the Islamic community exclusively. In the following tradition, Jafar al-diq instructs his Shiites as to how they should give both obligatory and supererogatory charity:
[Jafar al-diq] was asked: If we do not find the people of walyah (ahl al-walyah), is it permissible for us to give charity to others? He said: If you do not find ahl al-walyah in the city in which you live, then send the mandatory alms (zakh) to the ahl al-walyah outside of your city. Regarding charity that is not obligatory (adaqah), if you do not find ahl al-walyah, then it will not be held against you if you give it to children or to those who have the minds (uql) of children, among those who do not persecute [the Shiites] and who do not know what you believe that they might be your enemy and who do not know what others believe, that they might follow it . . . and they are the weak ones (mustaafn) from among the men, women and children. Give to them any amount under a dirham . . . but as for the full dirham, do not give [this] to any but the ahl al-walyah unless your heart should soften toward someone, and you may give him a piece of bread or a morsel. And as for the persecutor of the Shiites (nib), do not let your heart soften toward him and do not feed him or give him drink, even if he dies of hunger or thirst, and do not help him even if he is drowning or burning. . . .39

Although it is perhaps not surprising that Shiite tradition would encourage giving alms to fellow Shiites and forbid such charity to those who persecute the Shiite community, there are some interesting points to note in this tradition. First, the Imm distinguishes between major and minor, obligatory and nonobligatory forms of charity. The major alms-giving required by the sharah, the zakh, is to be given exclusively to Shiites. To ensure that this is the case, a Shiite may occasionally be required to take the extraordinary measure of locating Shiites outside of his own city of residence and arranging for the charitable funds to be distributed among Shiites there.40 When it is merely a matter of minor, supererogatory acts of charity, these need not benefit Shiites exclusively; such charity can be given to any individual who is


The Charismatic Community

not a sworn enemy of the Shiites. But even in the latter case, the limit of one dirham is set on the amount of such charity that may be given to non-Shiites. Meanwhile even the most basic form of human empathy is prohibited toward the nib. This tradition establishes a quantitative limit upon charitable donations to those outside of the Shiite community and an absolute ban on even the least amount of charity to those who actively opposed it. This was likely motivated by the desire to create a sense of mutual support and interdependence among members of the Shiite community, but also to strengthen the community as a whole vis--vis the non-Shiite community by keeping its collective wealth circulating in a closed system among its own members exclusively. A similar social motivation for this policy is suggested in a tradition attributed to al-diq, which says that converts to Shiism were not responsible for reperforming or making up most Islamic duties, such as prayer and fasting, after their conversion, with the notable exception of the zakh payments. The tradition states that a Shiite convert will have to make these payments anew, since those made prior to his becoming a Shiite were not given to the ahl al-walyah.41 (It is hard to imagine that this represented an actual, enforced policy of the Shiite community toward converts, but it does serve to drive home the importance of giving charity primarily or exclusively within the Shiite community.) Islamic law demands of every financially capable Muslim a certain amount of alms-giving for the poor, but Islamic law does not specify which poor among the Muslim population should receive those alms. When Shiite tradition stipulates that major forms of charitythrough which significant amounts of money and property would be redistributed among the populationshould be given exclusively to those within the Shiite community, it succeeds in abiding by the letter of Islamic law, while simultaneously ensuring that the practice served the important, secondary purpose of strengthening the Shiite community in relation to those outside of it. It should be noted that establishing a sectarian basis for economic redistribution and social assistance in the form of Islamically mandated alms was no small task for a minority community frequently subject to suspicion and persecution, and such a system could only have been implemented effectively within the context of well-defined and organized groups of Shiites living somewhat autonomously within the larger Islamic ummah, with well-established networks through which information and financial resources could be transmitted between these various sub-communities of Shiites, co-existing within the larger context of the Islamic ummah. It is interesting to note that, in the tradition cited at length above, the term ahl al-walyah, rather than shah or muminn, is used to refer

Perforated Boundaries


to the Shiite community within which such official charity was to be given. In other words, the tradition apparently makes no hierarchical distinctions among Shiite supportersanyone who demonstrates walyah toward the Imms and the Shiite community is entitled to this charity, regardless of whether he is considered a true Shiite believer (mumin) or merely one of the muwln or muibbn. By using the phrase ahl al-walyah, the author of the tradition signals that this injunction regarding the recipients of charitable donations pertained to the Shiite community in the broadest sensemeaning any and all who supported the Alid cause or who recognized the walyah of the ahl al-bayt in general, regardless of their spiritual standing in the hierarchy of that group. This brings us to the next point that should be made regarding the requirement of generosity between fellow members of the Shiite community, namely, its frequent connection with the notion of walyah as the glue that not only binds the Shiite disciples to their Imm, but also binds them, in unity, to one another. In Chapter 5 it was noted that the Shiite notion of walyah was an all-embracing one. It referred not only to ones relationship with the Shiite Imm, or with the ahl al-bayt in general, but also to ones relationship with the Prophet, with God, and occasionally, with other Shiites. It is true that in traditions originating from the time of Jafar al-diq onward, the term mn, rather than walyah, is more commonly used to signify full membership in the Shiite community; but the concept of walyah hardly disappears from Shiite tradition, even if its centrality may have been somewhat diminished. In fact, in apparently later traditions (attributed to later Imms) the term is used with increasing frequency to discuss relations of mutual support and brotherly love between individual Shiites. For example, there is one tradition in which Jafar al-diq lists the seven duties of the mumin toward his brother, the last of these being naat al-walyah. When the disciple relating the tradition asks the Imm the meaning of this phrase, the Imm replies that it means to love for him what you love for yourself, and to hate for him what you hate for yourself.42 While this may seem to be a simple injunction toward brotherly empathy, it is also semantically similar to the original obligation of walyah toward Al and the ahl al-baytbefriending their friends and being the enemy of their enemies, loving those who love them and hating those who hate them. In this case, however, it pertains to the relationship among the Shiites themselves, rather than between the Shiites and their Imm. If the bonds of walyah between Shiites are cemented through kind and charitable relations among them, then it is to be expected that improper or disrespectful behavior toward fellow believers would, in effect, sever the bonds of walyah with them. And in fact, one tradition warns that


The Charismatic Community

saying uff ! (a derogatory expletive)43 to ones brother effectively breaks the bond of walyah with this fellow believer.44 If Shiite tradition uses the term walyah to refer to a whole series of spiritual relationships (to fellow believer, Imm, Prophet, and God), it also suggests that walyah toward any one of these was intrinsically linked to walyah toward the others. Walyah toward God demanded walyah toward the Prophet, and by extension, the Imms; while walyah toward the Imms completed or perfected walyah toward the other two. Similarly Shiite tradition sometimes argues that fulfilling the obligations of walyah toward fellow Shiites had a positive effect on ones other spiritual relationships, and one tradition explicitly states that fulfilling the needs of a believer connects an individual to the walyahof the ahl al-bayt, and in turn, to the walyahof God.45 These repercussions also work in the opposite direction, such that failure to render assistance to a fellow believer is said to be tantamount to abandoning the walyahof God,46 or breaking the bond of walyahwith God.47 Other traditions that do not directly invoke the term walyah also establish an important connection between doing good deeds toward ones fellow believer and enhancing ones relationship with God. One tradition tells us, with a certain Christian flavor, that caring for a fellow believer is like caring for God Himself,48 while another declares that pleasing a believer is tantamount to pleasing the Prophet (or variously, the Imms), which is likewise tantamount to pleasing God.49 Again, the connection works in the opposite direction. Jafar aldiq tells his disciple, Ab Bar, that one should never go to sleep satisfied while there is a fellow believer in need, or he has betrayed God, His Prophet (s.) and the believers. When Ab Bar asks the Imm to clarify who the believers are, the Imm replies: Those close to the Amr al-muminn [Al] to the last of them.50 To the extent that this tradition is genuine, it indicates that the Imms injunctions to help fellow believers were intended to refer to Shiites, specifically, but in the broadest sense of all those who attached themselves to whatever degreeto Al b. Ab lib and his descendants. All of these practical guidelines reflected the pair of concentric and hierarchical circles established by Shiite sectarian theology. The largest and most comprehensive of these circles was the category of islm, while the inner circle represented the believing Shiite communityfor all believers were Muslims, but not all Muslims were believers. The concentric circle imagery is suggested by Shiite tradition itself, when it describes the relation between mn and islm as being analogous to that of the Kabah and the aram that surrounds it. Both are sacred, but the former is immeasurably superior to the latter. The Kabah has certain rights and must be respected just as all things within the haram must be, but it also has rights and merits that pertain

Perforated Boundaries


only to itself. So, too, with the muminn and the muslimn. Shiites were urged to treat non-Shiite Muslims in accordance with Islamic law, and to show them kindness, generosity, and beneficence. They were permitted and encouraged to participate with non-Shiites in the outward rituals common to all Muslims, such as Friday prayer and the yearly ajj ritual. This was the level and extent of relations that was established for Shiites toward all Muslims. Toward their fellow brothers and believers, however, Shiites were held to a higher standard. Kindness and generosity that exceeded the obligations of the sharah was not merely recommended to the Shiites in their relations with one another, it was demanded. Some traditions claim that ones bonds of walyah with the Shiite community as a whole depended largely on this issue, as did ones relationship of walyah with the Imms, the Prophet, and God. As we have seen, there are traditions that suggest that while minor charity was permissible outside the bounds of the Shiite community, all major charitable donations by Shiites were to remain within the Shiite community itself. The zakh, for example, was to be distributed by Shiites among the members of their own community, even if this meant sending ones obligatory charity outside ones own city to needy Shiites of another region. And there are suggestions, even in traditions attributed to Jafar al-diq, that some kind of network existed whereby the zakh of individual Shiites and the khums funds collected by the Imms could be distributed exclusively within the Shiite community to help the needy among their own population and to resolve debts and disputes among them. This indicates the existence of a Shiite community sufficiently organized and defined to enable such large charitable funds to circulate exclusively within it. The existence of such a system, in addition to numerous injunctions toward relationships of mutual responsibility, trust, and love between members of the Shiite community, must have helped to unify the community and enhance its social status relative to the non-Shiite population, or the larger circle, in which it was forced to live and operate. The social obligations Shiites owed to one another provided tangible and material expression for the reality of membership in the Shiite community. They translated abstract, mythological and theological conceptions of spiritual chosenness and communal vocation into a practical and moral ethic which, when adhered to faithfully, must have given strength and endurance to this minority religious community in Islam.

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1. Hodgson, Marshall, How Did the Early Shia Become Sectarian?, JAOS 75 (1955): 4. 2. See Etan Kohlberg, From Immiyya to Ithna-Ashariyya in BSOAS 39 (1976): 52134. 3. In addition to many focused and penetrating studies of early Shiite concepts found in numerous published articles, and cited throughout the present work, Kohlberg has also contributed enormously to the understanding of early Shiite literature through the book-length study A Medieval Muslim Scholar at Work: Ibn Tws and His Library, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992. 4. Wilfred Madelungs important contributions to the field include his early work, Der Imam al-Qsim ibn Ibrhm und die Glaubenslehre der Zaiditen, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1965, as well as his study The Hshimiyyt of alKumayt and Hshim Shiism in Studia Islamica 70 (1989): 526, and more recently, his study of the conflict over the early caliphate in Succession to Muammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 5. See, e.g., Kulayn, al-Kf 1: 331. 6. Wellhausen, Religio-Political Factions in Early Islam, 122. 7. Cook, Michael, Weber and Islamic Sects, in Toby Huff and Wolfgang Schluchter, eds., Max Weber and Islam, New Brunswick: Transaction, 1999. Cook states that, to his knowledge, Weber does not mention Kharijism. Weber does, in fact, mention the Kharijites briefly (see Weber, Sociology of Religion, Boston: Beacon Press, 1963, p. 199, where he makes some reference to the Muslim Kharijis), but he does not deal with them in any detail whatsoever, and certainly does not consider them in reference to his discussions of the chuch/sect distinction. 8. Eisenstadt, Weber on Charisma and Institution Building, xviii. 9. Ibid., xix. 10. Ibid. 11. See W. Madelung, Religious Trends in Early Islamic Iran: 5455. 12. A century and a half later, with the disappearance of the Imm line of Imms and the beginning of the period of ghaybah (the occultation of the spiritual leader, or Imm), this scholarly class of Shiites would begin the process of developing the thought of the Imms into a rational theological and



Notes to Chapter 1

legal system that would create a solid basis for the intellectual and religious continuity of Imm Shiism to the present day. This later process of consolidation has been amply studied by Hossein Modarressi and others, and our own study will not extend to that period. See, Modarressi, Crisis and Consolidation, Princeton: Darwin Press, 1994.


1. See, in general, Amir-Moezzi, Divine Guide in Early Shiism (trans. David Streight, SUNY, 1994) and more recently and specifically, Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite (Aspects de lImamologie Duodcimaine), JAOS 122 (Oct.Dec. 2002), pp. 72241. 2. See Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, p. 739. 3. A point made clear in Amir-Moezzis discussion of early Shiite attempts to locate the concept of walyah within the Quranic text (Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, pp. 72226) and in Bar-Ashers work on early Shiite tafsr (see Bar-Asher, Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imm Shiism, Chapter 4, and especially p. 126, where he states this directly). 4. See, for example, Askar, Mujam al-furq al-lughawiyyah, p. 577. 5. Ibn Manr, Lisn al-arab, v. 15, pp. 40615; Kaffaw, al-Kulliyt: mujam fil-mualt wal-furq al-arabiyyah, pp. 94041; abris, Majma al-bayn liulm al-Qurn, where he interprets walyahin Quran VIII:72 to mean covenant of mutual support on the basis of agreement in religion (v. 4, p. 539), and in XVIII:44 as nurah and izz (affection, love) (v. 6, p. 401). Only al-Rghib alIfahn contradicts this, defining wilyah as nurah and walyah as undertaking authority, or tawall al-amr. (al-Mufradt f gharb al-Qurn, p. 533). 6. Quran: II:201 and XXXVIII:35, in reference to Solomon; II:251 and XXXVIII:20, in reference to David; and II:258 in reference to Abraham. 7. Quran: II:124. 8. Quran: XXI: 7273. 9. Witness the case of Ab Bakr, who seeks to disown his nephew for his role in the false accusation of ishah, and the revelation of Quran XXIV:22 in response, which specifically forbids the disowning of dependent kin (Ibn Hishm, Srah v. 3, p. 316). In the context of the master-slave relationship, note the Prophetic adth that declares it abominable that a man should recognize the authority of another man besides his own master/lord, or mawl (see Wensinck, Concordance, v. 7, p. 334). With regard to the relationship between the caliph and his wal, there is the case of Al b. Ab lib and Ibn Abbs (which, of course, is also the case of a relationship of kinship). Note Als intense shock, anger, and sense of betrayal upon hearing the accusations against Ibn Abbs regarding his conduct in office, and Ibn Abbss similar outrage that Al has given credence to claims made against him by a nonkinsmen who bore him a grudge (see Madelungs account in Succession to Muammad, pp. 27273). 10. Quran: VIII:40; XXII:78; III:150. 11. Quran: IV:75,89. 12. Quran: II:107,120; IX:116; XXIX:22; XLII:31.

Notes to Chapter 1


13. Quran: IV:45; III:12223 (in relation to the Battle of Badr). 14. Quran: XVI:63. 15. Quran: IX:74; XLII:8,46; IV:123,173; XXXIII:17,65; XLVIII:22; XI:113. 16. See, for example Quran: II:282, where wal refers to a guardian for one not capable of looking after his/her own financial affairs; or XVII:33 and XXVII:49, where it refers to a close kinsmen; or IV:33 and XIX:5, where mawl in the first verse and wal in the second refer to ones heirs. 17. Quran X:62. 18. Quran IV:45. 19. Quran II:36. See also Quran VII:24 and XX:123. 20. Quran II:168, 208; VI:142; VII:22; XII:5; XXVIII:15; XXXVI:60; XLIII:62; and XVII:53. 21. Quran XVIII:50. 22. Quran XLI:19, 28. 23. Quran IV:101; LXIII:4. 24. Quran VII:129; LXI:14. 25. Quran LX:1. 26. Quran IX:114. 27. Quran V:55. 28. Quran III:28; IV:139, 144. 29. Quran VIII:73; XLV:19. 30. Quran V:51. 31. Quran V:57. 32. Quran V:81. 33. Quran IX:23. The Quran warns that even ones spouse and children can be ones enemies (aduww), presumably insofar as they distract one from duties toward God (LXIV:14). 34. Ibn Hishm, al-Srah al-nabawiyyah, v. 2, p. 85. 35. Quran VIII:72. 36. abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 10, p. 70. 37. Ibid., v. 10, pp. 6670; Ibn Kathr, Tafsr al-Qurn al-azm, v. 2, pp. 43435. 38. abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 10, p. 70, h. 12696, and Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 434, in particular. 39. abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 10, pp. 6768. 40. Lings, Martin. Muammad: his life based on the earliest sources, p. 128. 41. Radke, Bernard. The Concept of Sainthood, p. 8. 42. See Amir-Moezzi, Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, p. 729. 43. Some Shiite traditions suggest that the Imams enjoyed a certain superiority to or equality with the pre-Islamic prophets, especially in terms of their access to divine knowledge. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 22930, 256, 27783. In the Sufi tradition, we might consider the writings of Rzbihn Baql, whose visions sometimes suggested that he occupied a spiritual station on a par with the preIslamic prophets (see The Unveiling of Secrets, trans. C. Ernst, pp. 18, 2021, 32, 92), or that he in some ways had surpassed them (see pp. 5051, 98). Ibn al-Arab likewise attributed characteristics to himself that approach the station


Notes to Chapter 2

of prophecy, including his claim that some of his writings, such as the Fu alikam, were divinely inspired, although he also explicitly denied that he was a prophet (see these two apparently contradictory claims in the same passage from the Fu as translated and cited by Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints, p. 50). 44. See Shiite traditions where the Imms are said to be inferior to messengers and prophets because they only hear divine messages, without seeing the messenger (Kf, v. 1, pp. 22830). See also Kf, v. 1, pp. 32425, where the station of nubuwwah is explicitly denied for the Imms. The Sufi tradition also regularly distinguished the spiritual station of the prophets from that of the saints, noting the difference, e.g., between prophetic miracles (mujizt) and charismatic saintly miracles (karmt); and even Baql references these distinctions in his visionary diary (see pp. 8788). The more theoretical writings of Ibn al-Arab consider walyah to be a greater spiritual category than nubuwwah, but also claim that all prophets are awliy, and so participate in this highest category with the realized saints, in addition to being further distinguished by nubuwwah (see Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints, pp. 5055). 45. Kf, v. 1, pp. 28894. 46. Kf, v.1, pp. 7980, h. 2. 47. A reference to the Quranic Light Verse (XXIV:35), which held particular spiritual importance for adr. See adr al-Dn al-Shrz, Shar Ul alKf, v. 2, p. 41. 48. On the issue of the Imms initiatic function, see Amir-Moezzi, Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, p. 729. 49. Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints, p. 47. 50. Corbin, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, p. 149, n. 52. 51. Ibid., En Islam iranien: aspects spirituels et philosophiques III, pp. 19697. 52. See S. H. Nasr, Ideals and Realities of Islam, p. 87, and Sufi Essays, p. 108. 53. Daftary, A Short History of the Ismailis, p. 94. 54. Corbin, Temple and Contemplation, p. 61; En Islam iranien III, p. 198. 55. Ibid., En Islam iranien III, p. 201. 56. Quran II:59. See Ibid., p. 211. 57. Cornell, Vincent, Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism, pp. xxxv, 21618, 22728, 272. 58. Ibid., p. xix. 59. Nasr, Sufi Essays, p. 108. 60. Corbin, Temple and Contemplation, p. 41. For a similar interpretation see p. 223 of the same work. 61. See, for example, Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints, p. 42. 62. See Amir-Moezzi, Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, p. 733. 63. Ibid., p. 735.

1. In Shiite sources, references to walyah as a sectarian concept are either qualified as walyat Al or else walyat ahl al-bayt or walyat l Muammad;

Notes to Chapter 2


in other words, the concept is almost never qualified by reference to a single person (even a later Imm) other than Al. Amir-Moezzi notes the same in Notes propos de la walya imamite, JAOS, 2002, p. 730. 2. Veccia Vaglieri, L. Ghadr Khumm in EI2, v. 2, p. 99394. 3. The tradition is recorded by a substantial number of historians and traditionists, even those who did not support the Alid cause or the Shiite perspective. The tradition is included in the major, canonical works of Shiite adth, although it is not cited as frequently as one might expect (see Kf, v. 1, pp. 34243, 34952; Ibn Bbawayh, Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 1, p. 229, v. 2, p. 559; see also, Kulayn (1983), v. 8, pp. 2627 and Ibn Bbawayh, Aml aladq, pp. 2, 514.) It is not cited in the canonical Sunni collections of Bukhr or Muslim, but it is included in other important Sunni compilations, such as the Musnad of Ibn anbal (v. 1, p. 152; v. 4, pp. 281, 368, 37273; v. 5, p. 347) and the Sunan of Tirmidh (v. 16, p. 165), who considers it a a tradition. The tradition also appears in the early work of Shiite poetry, the Hshimiyyt of Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asad (poem 6, pp. 15253). For historical accounts, see Yaqb, Tarkh (v. 1, p. 442); Ibn Askir, Tarkh madnat Dimashq (v. 42, pp. 187238) and Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah wal-nihyah (v. 5, pp. 15063). Also note the Prophetic adth, transmitted by Ibn Abbs, which says: Al is the wal of every believer, after me. (Ibn anbal, Musnad, v. 1, p. 331; and Ibn Abd al-Barr, Kitb al-istib, v. 3, p. 1091). 4. The last part of this yah is nearly identical to Quran VIII:75 and, like it, is widely considered to be an abrogation of the relationship of inheritance earlier established between the muhjirn and the anr, and a reinstatement of the primacy of kinship relations in matters of inheritance. 5. See, e.g., a tradition attributed to Qatdah in abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 21, p. 147, and Qumm, Tafsr (1983 ed.), v. 2, p. 176. 6. See, e.g., Etan Kohlbergs unpublished dissertation, Imami Shii Views of the Sahaba, Oxford, 1971, pp. 8081. 7. For a discussion of the later Shiite emphasis on the large number of Shiite and non-Shiite transmitters of the tradition, and for the later Shiite treatment of Ghadr Khumm in relation to the doctrine of na, see Asma Afsaruddin, Excellence and Precedence, pp. 20821. 8. See L. Veccia Vaglieri, Ghadr Khumm, EI2, v. II, p. 993; this version is found in Baldhur, Ansb al-ashrf, v. 2, p. 93. 9. Some versions of the tradition that appear in later canonical Imm Shiite sources do extend the distinction given to Al on this occasion to all of the Imms (see our discussion below), but the standard tradition, as widely circulated, does not. 10. Baldhur, Ansb al-ashrf, v. 2, pp. 9394. 11. Ibn anbal, Musnad, see references in note 3 above. 12. Ibn Askir, Tarkh madnat Dimashq, pp. 187238. 13. Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah wal-nihyah, v. 5, pp. 15063. 14. The most extensive treatment of this subject is the twenty-volume work, al-Ghadr, by the modern Shiite scholar Abd al-usayn Amad Amn. 15. Sulaym b. Qays, Kitb Sulaym, v. II, 64446, 75859, 82829. 16. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, pp. 34243.


Notes to Chapter 2

17. Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 1, p. 442. 18. See C. H. Becker and F. Rosenthal, Baldhur in EI 2, v. 1, pp. 97172. 19. Arzina Lalani also notes that Ibn anbals Musnad represented one important work of hath that was not . . . expurgated so as to please the Abbasids, and that the work includes traditions of Syrian origin (Early Sh Thought, p. 98). 20. See Jacob Lassner, The Shaping of Abbsid Rule, Princeton, 1980. 21. ab. I: 1753. 22. See Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah, v. 5, p. 158; Amn, al-Ghadr, v. 1, pp. 332 34. gh Buzurg Tihrn also mentions this work in his catalogue of Shiite literature, al-Dharah (v. 16, pp. 2526), although he concludes that this work was probably written by the Shiite abar of nearly the same name, Ab Jafar Muammad b. Jarr b. Rustam abar. However, Ibn Kathr claims to quote extensively from abars Kitb al-walyah, and specifically refers to the author as ib al-Tarkh, which strongly indicates that the author of this work was the Sunni abar. At the same time, this work is not mentioned by even somewhat pro-Shiite, Abbsid era bibliographers, such as Ibn al-Nadm. A clear synopsis of the controversy regarding this text can be found in Kohlberg, A Medieval Muslim Scholar at Work: Ibn Tawus, pp. 17881. 23. Muslim, a, v. 15, pp. 17475, h. 6175. See also a tradition attributed to Muammad al-Bqir that explicitly rejects the idea that other Hshimite lines, including the asanids, have a share in the authority given to Al at Ghadr Khumm (Kf, v. 1, pp. 34344, h. 2). See also Bar-Ashers discussion of the use Shiites made of this particular Sunni version of the thaqalayn tradition (Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 9395). 24. For other examples of Abbsid legitimist propaganda aimed at expanding the notion of the family of the Prophet to include the Abbsid line see M. Sharon, Black Banners from the East, pp. 12640; see also pp. 9399 for specific examples of the attribution of standard spiritual distinctions (fail), usually connected with Al, to Abbs and/or his descendants. 25. This refers to the mukhh, or brothering, that the Prophet instituted shortly after the hijrah, in which he commanded that every Muslim take another Muslim as his brother. The Prophet is reported to have taken Al as his own brother. See, e.g., Ibn Hishm, Srah, v. 2, p. 150. 26. Ibn Abil-add, Shar Nahj al-balghah, v. 6 pp. 16768. See also, Ibn Abd al-Barr, Istb, v. 3, p. 1098. See Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, pp. 63744 for a similar list of Als fail, as recited to a circle of his disciples during the caliphate of Uthmn. 27. It comes only from the pro-Alid figure mir b. Wthilah (also a transmitter of the Ghadr Khumm adth) who claims to have overheard Als speech from behind the door of the shr, which he was charged with guarding. (See Amn, al-Ghadr, v. 1, p. 161, citing earlier works). 28. Ibn anbal, Musnad, v. 1, pp. 84, 11819. Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah, v. 7, pp. 27677. 29. Nar b. Muzim, Waqat iffn, p. 236.

Notes to Chapter 2


30. See Ibn Abil-add, Shar Nahj al-balghah, v. 1, pp. 21920, where al-Bar rushes to Al and Abbs while they are washing the body of the Prophet to inform them of the events taking place at the saqfah of the Ban Sidah. 31. See Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, pp. 1078. 32. Ibn anbal, Musnad, v. 5, p. 419; Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah, v. 7, p. 277. 33. In Succession to Muammad (p. 253), Madelung says that the first of these events should have occurred sometime between iffn and Nahrawn, which seems likely given an apparent reference to the Ghadr Khumm tradition in a bayah given to Al at about this time (see our discussion in Chapter 3). Amn places this event in the year 35, when Al first comes to Kufa (alGhadr, v. 1, p. 166). 34. Baldhur, Ansb, v. 4, p. 93. 35. Masd, Murj, v. 2, p. 373. 36. According to a version of the tradition that Abul-Jrd reports from Muammad al-Bqir, the Prophet makes the announcement at Arafat during his last pilgrimage, that is, before the Medinan caravan had left Mecca (see Kf v. 1 pp. 34547, h. 6). The Tafsr of Furt al-Kf includes a report from Ibn Abbs in which the announcement of Als walyah was made at Mina toward the end of the pilgrimage (v. 1, pp. 11920). 37. See speeches attributed to Al in the Nahj al-balghah, where he defends his own legitimacy in religious terms, but without reference to the Ghadr Khumm tradition itself (see, e.g., pp. 56, khubah 3); or where he recites his claims to religious excellence (fail), without mention of this event or the Prophets reported words on the occasion (see, e.g., p. 37, khubah, 37). 38. ab. I:1752; Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah, v. 5, p. 159. 39. See Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah, v. 5, p. 158. 40. Amn, al-Ghadr, v. 1, pp. 36367. 41. This argument is similar to that made by earlier Shiite thinkers, such as al-Shaykh al-Mufd in his short treatise Manal-mawl in Muannaft al-Shaykh al-Mufd, v. 8, pp. 3233. 42. It should be noted that it is only in some versions of this adth that the Prophet is reported to have gathered the whole of the caravaneven to the point of calling back those who had gone on ahead. In other versions, the Prophet seems to make this announcement only to those who initially lodged the complaint against Al or who were traveling near him on that occasion. 43. Kf, v. 1, pp. 34446; Qumm, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 201; Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, p. 399; al-Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 130; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 33234; Kitb Sulaym b. Qays, v. 2, p. 645. 44. Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 162; al-Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 11720; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 29293; Kf, v. 1, pp. 34546; Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, pp. 2, 11. In Sunni interpretation, this verse was revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage itself, and the completion of the religion was a reference either to the fact that after the revelation of this verse no other religious injunctions (fari) were revealed to the Prophet, or to the fact that the rites of the Islamic pilgrimage (ajj) had been definitively set by the Prophet during this final


Notes to Chapter 3

pilgrimage. abar reports both interpretations but favors the former (Jmi albayn, v. 6, pp. 1067). 45. Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 1, p. 442. 46. There is a tradition from the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri, which states that the completion of religion mentioned in the Quranic verse revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage was nothing other than immah, and that on this occasion, the Prophet established Al as a sign (alam) and as an imm (Kf, v. 1, p. 255). 47. Bar-Asher notes that this procedure of interprerationi.e., evaluating all possible meanings of a word, only to discredit all of them save the particular meaning that served Shiite sectarian purposeswas common in certain early Shiite works of tafsr (Scripture and Exegesis, p. 66).

1. While some may question our use of second- and third-century historical accounts as sources for the ideological terminology of the middle of the first century, we would argue that there are strong indications that the terminology recorded in these later sources is generally authentic for the time period with which we are dealing. The use of the terms wilyah/walyah in the legitimist rhetoric of the First Civil War is not what one would expect from a spurious account of these events originating in the second or third century, when the terms of the authority debate for both Shiites and Sunnis was centered around discussions of the nature of the immate as the ideal source of religious and political authority in the Islamic state. By this time, the term wilyah/walyahoutside of a Shiite or Kharijite contextdenoted either governorships or legal guardianships. As we will see, the use of these terms in the historical accounts for the first century is too varied and complex to have been the spurious inventions of a later compiler. 2. Even in Shiite sources, one finds instances in which Al contrasts the virtuous leadership of Ab Bakr and Umar (even if he demured with regard to their religious legitimacy) with the corruption that emerged in Uthmns caliphate. See Nar b. Muzim, Waqat iffn, p. 201. 3. Ibn Abil-add, Shar Nahj al-balghah, v. 1, pp. 19394; ab. I:2785. 4. Here the speaker is referring not only to reported injustices in Uthmns rule, but also to his alleged treachery in having openly repented of these practices while secretly sending a letter to the governor of Egypt ordering him to arrest the rebels when they returned there. 5. Ibn al-Athr, al-Kmil fil-tarkh, v. 3, p. 172. 6. ab. I: 2990. 7. See Uthmn, the Vicegerent of God in Madelungs Succession to Muammad, pp. 78140. See also, in general, Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph. 8. See, for example, Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3, p. 331, and Nar b. Muzim, iffn, pp. 32, 81.

Notes to Chapter 3


9. Quran: XVII:33. See Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 32, where Muwiyah reportedly makes the explicit connection between his rights and the idea expressed in the Quranic verse. Note that in Yaqbs account, both Muwiyah (v. 2, p. 73) and Amr b. al- (v. 2, p. 91) refer to Muwiyah as the wal thar Uthmn (the one responsible for exacting vengeance for Uthmn). 10. See Madelung, Succession to Muammad, pp. 8890. 11. This is a paraphrase of Amrs argument at the arbitration (Masd, Murj, v. 2, p. 409.) 12. Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3 p. 331; Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 541. While it is difficult to authenticate the account of the discussion between Amr and Ab Ms, especially given the convoluted nature of the accounts of the arbitration (see note 13), it seems likely that this connection between Muwiyahs status as wal Uthmn and the Quranic verse granting suln to the wal of the one killed unjustly, was part of the argument used by Amr b. al-. The fundamental condition of the arbitration was that the matter be decided on the basis of the Quran, and so some attempt to employ Quranic tenets in the discussion should have been made. If we dismiss Amrs reported invocation of this Quranic verse and its importance to the debate between the two arbitrators, then there is no evidence that the Quran played any role whatsoever in the discussions between Amr and Ab Ms, since the latter did not give Quranic justification for his suggestion that authority over the community be determined by a shr. In Martin Hinds careful analysis of the text of the arbitration agreement in The iffn Arbitration Agreement, Journal of Semitic Studies 17 (1972), he notes that both texts of this agreement stipulate that if the parties are unable to produce agreement on the basis of Quranic tenets, they should turn to the sunnah (pp. 1002). However, the most reliable of the two texts, according to Hinds analysis, makes only a vague reference to al-sunnah al-dilah al-jamah, and he argues that it was the ambiguity of this phrase that led the Kharijites to definitively reject the arbitration and secede from Als camp. Despite this late and vague reference to the sunnah, the Quran must have been understood as the main textual authority to be consulted. 13. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 546. As noted by Madelung in Succession to Muammad, this final scene in which the two arbitrators make their announcement is probably partly fictitious and partly an amalgamation of two separate arbitration discussions, one which takes place at Dmat al-Jandal at the end of the year 36 and the other at Adhruhafter Muwiyah is already recognized as the caliph in his home province of Syriain the year 38. 14. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, pp. 54647. The use of this term wal also plays a role in some of the Umayyad court poetry of the time, which sought to justify Umayyad rule as a hereditary right via their relationship to the Caliph Uthmn. (See Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, pp. 3132.) 15. In the opinion of Al, himself, discord among those in this camp is more serious than the war between them and the Syrians (al-fitnah f hdhalmir azam min al-arb baynahum wa bayna ahl al-Shm). (Ansb, v. 2, p. 241). 16. See, for example, Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3 pp. 337, 518.


Notes to Chapter 3

17. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, pp. 51516. 18. A companion of the Prophet and Al, along with his brother, Uthmn. Both served as governors for Al and both later came to Iraq to fight with Al at iffn. 19. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 93. 20. See Wensinck, Concordance, v. 1, p. 443, and our mention of this issue in Chapter 1. 21. See, for example, Quran: VI:157; XX:133; XXXV:40; XCVIII:1,4. 22. Quran: VI:57. 23. Quran: VII:105. 24. Quran: VII:85; XI:88. 25. Quran: XI:63. 26. Quran: XI:28. 27. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 5. 28. Ibid., p. 98. 29. See Masd, Murj, v. 3, p. 21; Yaqb, v. 2, p. 92. 30. There is a report that the concept of Al as wa begins with the legendary figure of Abd Allh b. Saba (ab. I: 2942), but it was likely recognized by the Alids since the time of the Prophets death. Although not a factor in the rebellion against Uthmn, the idea becomes prominent in poetry connected with the Battle of the Camel and is widespread by the time of the Battle of iffn. (See Ibn Abil-add, Shar, v. 1, pp. 14350.) 31. See, for example, a polemical exchange between the two armies at iffn regarding Muammad b. Ab Bakr (in Als camp) and Ubayd Allh b. Umar (in the Syrian camp). Members of Als camp refer to both Muammad b. Ab Bakr and Ubayd Allh b. Umar as Ibn al-ayyib (son of the good/noble one), since they were the sons of Ab Bakr and Umar respectively (Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 293). 32. See al-Thaqaf, Kitb al-ghrt, pp. 2005. 33. Our primary historical sources for this period, howeverincluding those authored by Nar b. Muzim, abar (from Ab Mikhnaf), Masd and al-Sharf al-Rs collection of Als speechesdate from the height of Abbsid ideological and intellectual influence, when it may have been politically incorrect to mention Ghadr Khumm directly, as discussed in Chapter 2. 34. Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 6667, n. 119. 35. The Arabic of this reads: F anqin bayah thniyah, nahnu awliy man walayta wa ad man adayta (ab. I: 3350). This is apparently the only report where this bayah is referred to as a second bayah. Other versions, in ab. I: 3367, as well as Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3, p. 327, and Ansb, v. 2, p. 241, refer to it as a bayah, but not necessarily a second one in addition to the first. In another account, one of those who witnessed the event, Ziyd b. alNar, claims that: Al never stretched out his hand to accept a bayah from us, except that [it was conditional] upon the Book of God and the Sunnah of His Prophet, peace be upon him, but when you (pl., here addressing the Kharijites) broke with him, his Shiites came to him and said: We are the friends of the one you [Al] befriend and the enemies of the one with whom

Notes to Chapter 3


you make enmity, and we did this [because] he [Al] was [acting] in the right (alal-aqq) and in guidance (al-hud) and the one who broke with him was misguided (ll) and misguiding (muill). (ab. I: 335051 and Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3, p. 327.) 36. W. M. Watt also cites this event as a point of early ideological differentiation between Shiites and Kharijites in the Iraqi camp. See Watt, Shiism Under the Umayyads, pp. 15960. 37. ab. I: 337273 (translated in G. R. Hawting, The History of Tabar: the First Civil War, p. 123). Also, Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3, p. 341. 38. ab. I: p. 3373 (translated G. R. Hawting, p. 123). 39. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, pp. 86, 190. 40. A companion of the Prophet who was apparently neutral in the conflicts of the First Civil War. He was killed by a band of Kharijites for refusing to denounce either Uthmn or Al. 41. Masd, Murj, v. 2, p. 416. 42. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 76; Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, v. 3, p. 106; Masd, Murj, v. 3, pp. 2425. The latter account is attributed to a group of those who abstained from giving the bayah to Al. 43. Ab Zabb is killed at the Battle of iffn, see Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 263. 44. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 100. 45. A loyal Shiite follower of Al and nephew of Sad b. Ab Waqq a prominent companion, who was himself neutral in the conflict between Al and Muwiyah. 46. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 112. 47. See, in general, Etan Kohlberg, Bara in Shii Doctrine, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 7 (1986), pp. 13975. 48. See Masd, Murj, where the author notes that it was after the arbitration that members of the community began to mutually dissociate from one another. (v. 2, p. 405). 49. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, pp. 2012. 50. See, also, Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 64, for a report that Muammad b. Ab Bakr gave the bayah to Al while dissociating from his own father. While this is certainly a spurious reportthere was no need for Muammad b. Ab Bakr to dissociate from Ab Bakr, since Al himself did not do soit is nonetheless further evidence for a connection between Muammad b. Ab Bakr and the early practice of barah against ones enemies within the Muslim community. 51. ab. I: 3139. 52. See, for example, the speech that Kards b. Hni al-Bakr, the leader of the tribal grouping of Rabah, makes before his men: O People! We, by God, have not demonstrated walyah (m tawallayn) for Muwiyah since we dissociated ourselves (tabarran) from him; and we have not dissociated from Al since we pledged our walyah to him. Verily our dead are martyrs and our living are righteous and verily Al [acts] according to a clear understanding (bayyinah) from his Lord . . . (Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 484); also, the


Notes to Chapter 4

poem of a Syrian who defects to Als camp after learning that Ammr b. Ysir, whom the Prophet foretold would be killed by a rebellious group, was among the Iraqi camp: . . . [T]oday I dissociate from Amr [b. al-] and his shah. And from Muwiyah the hunchbacked, the onager . . . (Ibid., p. 344). 53. Nar b. Muzim, iffn, p. 103. See a similar passage in the Nahj albalghah, p. 102, khubah 206; and Ibn Abil-add, Shar, v. 11, pp. 2122. 54. Nahj al-balghah, p. 22, khubah 57. 55. See, for example, al-Shiq al-Rustq, Manhaj al-libin wa balgh alrghibn, pp. 710. 56. See Shiq, in general, and pp. 1042, in particular. See also the fifthcentury Kharijite writer Muammad b. Ibrhm al-Kind, Bayn al-shar, v. 3, p. 8, where he describes walyah and barah as religious duties (fari), and pp. 7376, where he connects the walyah of God to that of the Prophet and the believer (mumin). 57. See Ashar, Maqlat al-islamiyyn, v. 1, p. 169, where the early Kharijite Nfi b. al-Azraq is credited with initiating the policy of dissociating from quietists (al-barah min al-quadah). See Ibn Abd Rabbih, al-Iqd al-fard, v. 1, p. 261, for a fuller elaboration of Nfis policies. In later Kharijite doctrine, walyah was required toward those in good moral and doctrinal standing, and barah was required from all those who were unbelievers either by their own admission or by virtue of having committed a major sin (kabrah) or persisting in a lesser one (aghrah). Reinstatement was dependent upon sincere repentance (tawbah), (e.g., Shiq, p. 11). At one point, however, Shiq says that barah is for the sinful action, while separation (mufraqah) is ordained for the perpetrator, (Shiq, p. 13), which recalls Als admonition to his followers, cited above. 58. Nahj al-balghah, p. 57, khubah 127. 59. See Ibn al-Athr, Kmil, v. 3, p. 474. 60. See the references in note 53 above, and Nahj al-balghah, p. 87, khubah 189, where Al instructs his followers not to pronounce dissociation (or barah) on anyone until they have died. 61. Ab Ayyb al-Anr, for example, is said to have died on a military expedition to Constantinople under the leadership of Muwiyahs son, Yazd; see Ibn Qutaybah, Marif, p. 279; Masd, Murj, v. 3, p. 33; ab. II: 86; Ibn Abd al-Barr, Istb, v. 2, p. 425.

1. See al-usayn b. Als protest in pseudo-Ibn Qutaybah, al-Immah wa Siysah, v. 1, pp. 15556, and ishah bt. Ab Bakrs rebuke to Muwiyah for the same in ab. II: 145. 2. Al-asan and al-usayn, as we shall see, were widely abandoned by their Kufan followers; and Shiite biographical sources indicate that at the beginning of his immate Al b. al-usayn had no more than five real follwers:

Notes to Chapter 4


Sad b. al-Jubayr (later executed by the Umayyad governor, al-Hajjj, see Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwt, v. 1, p. 359), Sad b. al-Musayyab, Muammad b. alJubayr b. Maam, Yay b. Umm al-Tawl (also persecuted by al-Hajjj for his Shiite beliefs, Ardabl, v. 2, p. 326), and Ab Khlid al-Kbil (see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 115). 3. Masd, Murj, v. 2, p. 291, referring to Quran XXXIII:33. See also Ansb, v. 2, p. 360, where Al gives his waiyyah to his oldest son, and p. 361, where Al says that after al-asan, his waiyyah should pass to his next oldest son and then the next oldest and so onapparently establishing a hereditary line of succession in his own (rather than the Prophets) bloodline, with the caveat that his waiyyah should only be inherited by sons of good character. 4. ab. I: 3461; Ansb, v. 2, p. 360, Masd, v. 2, p. 291. 5. This term, muilln literally means those who make lawful (i.e., what is unlawful). 6. ab. II: 1. 7. Ansb, v. 2, p. 379. 8. Ansb, v. 2, pp. 379, 380. 9. ab. II: 4. 10. ab. II: 3. See also Ansb, v. 2, pp. 39394. 11. Masd, v. 2, p. 306. 12. Ansb, v. 2, pp. 38788. Here he is citing Quran XXI:111. Al also cited this verse when explaining that he gave allegiance to Ab Bakr despite his own claims to the caliphate in order to unite the community as it faced numerous threats from rebellious Arab tribes. (See Kitb al-ghrt, pp. 2023). 13. Ansb, v. 2, p. 387. 14. Ansb, v. 2, p. 38081. Abd Allh b. Abbs also expressed his displeasure at al-asans truce with Muwiyah, see Ansb, v. 2. p. 379. 15. Ansb, v. 2, p. 389. 16. Ansb, v. 2, p. 389; Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 11112, h. 178. 17. Ansb, v. 2. p. 385. 18. See ab. II: 34, where Qays receives a letter from al-asan commanding him to surrender to Muwiyah, and responds by offering his troops the choice between surrendering to an imm of error [=Muwiyah] or fighting without an imm. See also Ansb, v. 2, p. 38384. 19. Ansb, v. 2, p. 392, ab. II: 78. 20. Ansb, v. 2, p. 393. 21. ab. II: 96; Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 9092, h. 145. 22. ab. II: 69. Ziyd is rumored to have been born of an adulterous affair between his mother, Sumayya, and Muwiyahs father, Ab Sufyn. His commonly used name, Ziyd b. Abhi (or Ziyd son of his father) points to his questionable paternity. Ziyd initially refused to surrender the post to which Al had appointed him. Muwiyah feared that he would resist Muwiyahs claim in the name of an Alid or Hshimite candidate (see ab. II: 23) as Ziyd had threatened (ab.II: 1415). Once brought into the Umayyad camp, Ziyd became governor of Basra in the year 45 (ab. II: 71) and of both Basra and Kufa in the year 50 (ab. II: 87).


Notes to Chapter 4

23. ab. II: 10, 3739, 45. 24. ab. II: 33, 3739, 61. 25. Ansb, v. 2, p. 390. 26. ujr b. Ad had been a prominent member of Als camp since the Battle of the Camel and was part of the delegation Al sent to witness the arbitration agreement. He was reportedly one of Als commanders at Nahrawan and was one of the members of Als camp who wanted to continue the struggle against Muwiyah. He was a leading member of the tribe of Kindah in Kufa. 27. ab. II: 11215. 28. ab. II: 113. 29. ab. II: 13132, 136. 30. See ab. II: 134, 137. 31. ab. II: 13132. 32. ab. II: 116; 12627. 33. Just under half of those named as supporters of ujr were members of Als camp during the First Civil War; and in addition to ujr, two other participants in his protest, Amr b. al-amiq and Warq b. Sumayy al-Bajal, were among the witnesses for Al at the iffn arbitration. 34. Masd, Murj, v. 2, p. 307. See also ab. II: 503, where he notes that ujr and his supporters received the reward of martyrs and of the patient. 35. Ansb, v. 2, pp. 45960. 36. ab. II: 145. 37. ab. II: 116. 38. ab. II: 274. 39. Note Ibn al-Zubayrs refusal to accept the bayah of the Syrian army offered under al-usayn b. Numayr after Yazds death, because as a condition of this bayah, Ibn al-Zubayr would have had to leave Mecca and return with them to Syria (ab. II: 43132). 40. A notable exception to this is a quote attributed in Ibn Atham alKfs Kitb al-fut (v. 5, pp. 14748) to one of al-usayns shah (here given the name Hill b. Nfi, but elsewhere, Hill b. Rfi or Nfi b. Hill) who compares al-usayns predicament to that of his father, Al. The quote ends with a pledge to befriend the one who befriends you and make enmity with the one who makes enmity with you (nuwli man wlka wa nudi man dka), which is identical to the second bayah to Al. He says this after making an explicit comparison between al-usayns situation and that of his father, indicating that the concepts of walyah and adwah were still rather uniquely connected with Al. 41. Maqtal, p. 119; ab. II: 331; Ansb, v. 2, p. 488; Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 2, p. 158. See also Maqtal, p. 86 and ab. II: 301, where al-Zuhayr b. al-Qayn declares: If the whole world remained to us and we would live here forever, and we would only leave it by supporting you and befriending you, we would prefer fighting with you (al-khurj maaka) to remaining in it. 42. Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 171.

Notes to Chapter 4


43. Maqtal, p. 119. The dawat al-nurah is a constant theme in the Karbala accounts; see also Ibn Atham, v. 5, pp. 130, 131, 147, 159, and Maqtal, pp. 7273, 88, 159. 44. Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 39. In later Shiite tradition, walyah is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, along with prayer, alms-giving, fasting and ajj (see our discussion in Chapter 5). In this report, nurah for alusayn seems parallel to the later Shiite doctrine regarding walyah. 45. This terminology of nurah in connection with al-usayns stand at Karbala is also found in certain Imm adth on the subject. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, pp. 315, 339. 46. While this may reflect the fact that most later compilers relied on the same principal source for this eventnamely the account of Ab Mikhnaf it should be noted that in the few other independent accounts we have, such as that of Ibn Atham al-Kf, there is still none of the moral ambiguity that we find, for example, regarding the controversies during the caliphates of Uthmn and Al. The heroes and villains in the Karbala conflict are clearly defined, and no moral argument is put forward for the prominent Hshimite abstainerswho are never referred to as such in the historiography of this eventsuch as Ibn Abbs, Abd Allh b. Jafar, and Muammad b. alanafiyyah. Their lack of participation is never directly addressed, and they are all reported to have given sincere advice (naah) to al-usayn, placing them clearly in the usaynid camp, even if they did not fight alongside him. 47. We think here in particular of Marshall Hodgson and his classic article How did the early Shah become sectarian?, JAOS, v. 75, no. 1, 1955, especially p. 3. There is some evidence that the Karbala event did have a polarizing effect on the Shiites, leading them to see themselves as separate from the rest of the community. For example, a tradition attributed through numerous isnds to al-usayn b. Al emphasizes the separation between the Shiites and the rest of the community: We were [created] according to the mold (firah) of Abraham, and the rest of the people are dissociated (or exempt) from it (minh burr). Other recensions state that the ahl al-bayt and their shah are the only ones who truly belong to the religious community (millah) of Abraham, while the rest of the people are dissociated from it (minh burr). (See, e.g., BA, v. 44, p. 180, h. 2; v. 68, pp. 8485, h. 46, pp. 8789, h. 15, 16.) Shiite poetry also sometimes suggests that the Muslim community as a whole bears the guilt for the death of al-usayn. See Shubbar, Adab al-Taff, v. 1, pp. 5455, 5960. In Ibn Bbawayhs Ilal al-shari, a tradition states that Sunnis consider shr to be a blessed day because it was established as a feast day by Yazd in celebration of the murder of al-usayn (Ilal, v. 1, p. 265). This polarization of the Shiite and non-Shiite communities around the issue of Karbala, however, seems to have been a later form of anti-Sunni rhetoric and not representative of the way in which the event of Karbala was presented by its earliest chroniclers. 48. See, e.g., ab. II: 2, 5; Ansb, v. 2, p. 400; Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 2, p. 122; Ibn Atham, v. 4, pp. 15556. Also, if Muwiyah did poison al-asan, he seems to have had no compunction about doing it, and there is no apparent


Notes to Chapter 4

moral outrage over the poisoningalbeit far less horrific than the massacre at Karbalaon account of the inviolability of his Prophetic blood. Of course, while reports that he died of poisoning are widespread, the attribution of this deed to Muwiyah is not usually spelled out in early sources. Only Masd reports in some detail the arrangement between Muwiyah and one of alasans wives for his poisoning (Murj, v. 3, p. 5). 49. See, for example, ab. II: 2; Ibn Atham, v. 4, p. 156. 50. Ansb, v. 2, pp. 45557. 51. Citing Quran IV:19; Ansb, v. 2, p. 456. 52. Ansb, v. 2, p. 457. 53. Ansb, v. 2, p. 45859. 54. Ansb, v. 2, p. 459. 55. Ansb, v. 2, p. 458. 56. After al-usayn tells the Shiites that he will contact them upon the death of Muwiyah, Baldhur notes that the people of Iraq and some in the Hijaz attached themselves to al-usayn, praising him and expressing their willingness to carry out his will. (Ansb, v. 2, p. 459). 57. The Umayyad governor of Iraq who seems to have tolerated the subversive activities of the Kufan Shiites and was promptly replaced by the more aggressive Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd. 58. Maqtal, p. 16; Ibn Atham, v. 5, pp. 47, 135; Ansb, v. 2, p. 462; ab. II: 23334; and an abbreviated version in Yaqb, v. 2, p. 155. 59. Maqtal, p. 17; ab. II: 235; Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 52. Note that two of our earliest historical sources, Baldhur and Yaqb, apparently do not know of al-usayns letter of response. 60. For al-usayns view of the immate, see also Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 121, where a man of the tribe of Asad questions al-usayn about Quran XVII:71, which tells of a day when every person will be called by his imm. Al-usayn responds that there are two kinds of imms, an imm of guidance (imm al-hud) and an imm of error (imm al-allah)again, a standard and nonsectarian view of the nature of the immate. 61. Maqtal, p. 155 and ab. II: 353. 62. See the speeches of al-urr b. Yazd (Maqtal, pp. 12122), Ab Thummah Amr b. Abd Allh al-Sad (Maqtal, p. 142), and Abd Allh and Abd al-Ramn b. Uzrah or Urwah (Maqtal, pp. 15051), the mother of Wahb b. Abd Allh b. Umayr al-Kalb (Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 190) and Zuhayr b. alQayn (Maqtal, p. 149). See also, Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 199, where a nearly identical poem is attributed to another Karbala victim, al-ajjj b. Masrq. 63. Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 214. 64. There was a small but committed Shiite community in Basra, which reportedly met in the homes of two local Shiite women. Some members of this community rode out in support of al-usayn at Karbala (ab. II: 236). 65. Maqtal, p. 25; ab. II: 240. As we saw in the previous chapter, the idea of the family of the Prophet as his awliy, awiy and his heirs, was expressed by Alid sympathizers during Als caliphate, if not at the time of the first controversies after the Prophets death.

Notes to Chapter 4


66. Maqtal, pp. 8384. See also Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 144, where al-usayn bases his legitimacy on his close relation (qarbah) to the Prophet. 67. Maqtal, p. 117; ab. II: 329. 68. Ibn Atham, v. 5, p. 116. The phrase (itada fil-sabt) recalls Quran II:65, which mentions the Jews who broke the Sabbath. 69. This theme also runs through accounts of the Umayyad armys attack of Ibn al-Zubayr in the aram of Mecca, as noted above. 70. Ab Mikhnafs account states that the planning for this movement began in the year 61, immediately after Karbala, but action was not taken until the death of Yazd in 64. (See ab. II: 506.) 71. Quran II:54. 72. ab. II: 503. 73. ab. II: 546. 74. ab. II: 505, 544. 75. ab. II: 550; referring to Quran IX:112. 76. See, e.g., ab. II: 589. 77. ab. II: 550. The translation is taken from Hawting, The History of alTabar, vol. XX: The Collapse of Sufynid Authority and the Coming of the Marwnids, p. 136. 78. ab. II: 558. Translation taken from Hawting, p. 144. 79. ab. II: 508. Translation taken from Hawting, p. 91. 80. ab. II: 547. Translation taken from Hawting, p. 133. 81. ab. II: 556. 82. ab. II: 502. 83. ab. II: 546. 84. ab. II: 547. 85. ab. II: 547. 86. ab. II: 500. Translation taken from Hawting, p. 83. 87. ab. II: 546. 88. ab. II: 546. Translation taken from Hawting, p. 132. 89. ab. II: 547. 90. ab. II: 5078. 91. ab. II: 571. 92. ab. II: 531. 93. Al Zayn al-bidn fell prostrate when he received the heads of Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd and Umar b. Sad, praising God but thanking alMukhtr as well (Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 127, h. 203); Muammad al-Bqir reportedly said: Do not curse al-Mukhtr, for he killed those who killed us, sought our revenge, married our widows, and distributed wealth among us in times of hardship (Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 125, h. 197). On another occasion he asked Gods mercy on al-Mukhtr (Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 12526, h. 199). Jafar al-diq reportedly said: The Hshimites neither combed nor dyed their hair until alMukhtr sent us the heads of those who killed al-usayn (Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 127, h. 202). Other reports, however, suggest that al-Bqir and al-diq considered him a liar and that Al Zayn al-bidn had no real relationship with him (see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 125, h. 198 and pp. 12627, h. 200).


Notes to Chapter 5

94. ab. II: 569. 95. See ab. II: 6078. 96. Maqtal, pp. 280, 322, 324; ab. II: 534, 608, 61011. Ibn al-anafiyyah is referred to as the imm of guidance (Maqtal, p. 281; ab. II: 608). The bayah taken by al-Mukhtr was referred to as the bayat al-hud and al-Mukhtr claimed that no bayah was more rightly guided (ahda) . . . since the bayah given to Al b. Ab lib and the family of Al (referring to the bayah for al-asan and that taken by Muslim b. Aql for al-usayn), (Maqtal, p. 343). In ab. II: 531, alMukhtr invokes the principles of right guidance and community. 97. For example, see ab. II: 534. 98. ab. II: 638. The translation taken from Hawting, p. 222. 99. For example, see ab. II: 534. 100. See, Maqtal, pp. 263, 264, 266, 267.

1. See, e.g., Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwh, v. 2, p. 31. 2. Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 2057, h. 361, 365. 3. See Madelung, The Hshimiyyt of al-Kumayt and Hshim Shiism, pp. 526. Madelung argues that Kumayt represented a moderate Shiite perspective that was pro-Hshimite, rather than exclusively pro-Alid. 4. Madelung, Hshimiyyt, p. 5. 5. Kumayt, Hshimiyyt, pp. 15253. 6. Kumayt, Hshimiyyt, p. 156. 7. Kohlberg, Some Zayd Views on the Companions, p. 93. 8. See Abul-Faraj al-Ifahn, Kitb al-aghn, v. 7, pp. 16871 and Wadad al-Qadi, al-Kaysaniyya fil-tarkh wal-adab, pp. 33045. 9. See, in general, Dwn al-Sayyid al-imyar, pp. 111, 12930, 164, 176 77, 198, 216, 32931, 35152, 4012, 408, 412, 436, and 463. 10. Dwn, pp. 11113. 11. Dwn, p. 216. 12. Dwn, pp. 35152; 412. 13. Dwn, p. 412. 14. According to Shiite biographical sources, Sulaym b. Qays was a companion of Al who, fearing the Iraqi governor ajjj, fled to Fars and sought refuge with Abn b. Ab Ayysh. Upon his deathbed, Sulaym reportedly related to Abn a series of traditions from Al and his earliest companions. (Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwh, v. 1, p. 374, Qms al-rijl, v. 4, pp. 44546). Before his own death, Abn transmitted the collection to Umar [b. Muammad b. Abd Allh] b. Udhaynah, warning him not to let the traditions fall into the hands of the people (al-ns), i.e., non-Shiites (Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, pp. 55557). For a discussion of the early origin of this work, see Modarressi, Tradition and Survival, v. 1, pp. 8286.

Notes to Chapter 5


15. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, pp. 644, 758, 82829. 16. Quran IV:59. 17. Quran V:55. The belief that this verse refers to Al is quite clear in Shiite tafsr (see Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 37, and Kf, v. 1, p. 344, h. 3). However, the Sunni abar also includes opinions from five authorities (Ibn Abbs, al-Sudd, Ab Jafar [Muammad al-Bqir], Abdah b. Ab kim, and Mujhid) who connect the verse to Al (Jmi al-bayn, v. 6, p. 38990). 18. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, p. 644, h. 11; p. 758, h. 25 has a nearly identical account. See v. 2, p. 828, h. 39 for an account of Ghadr Khumm narrated by Ab Sad al-Khudr, one of principal transmitters of the tradition in Sunni as well as Shiite sources, which includes a reference to the revelation of Quran V:3 after the Prophets announcement of the walyah of Alan addition found only in Shiite sources. 19. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, h. 11, p. 650. 20. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, pp. 83638, h. 42. Regarding the extension of walyah to Als descendants on this occasion, see v. 2, p. 759, h. 25, where Salmn al-Frs asks the Prophet if his announcement of walyah was in reference to Al alone. The Prophet answers: [It was revealed] in reference to him [Al] and his awiy until the Day of Resurrection. 21. See F. Buhl, Muammad b. Abd Allh, EI2, v. 7, p. 388, where he notes that after the assassination of Wald II (in the year 126), Muammads father began making open claims on his behalf. 22. In the early Shiite tafsr of Ayysh, Furt al-Kf, and Qumm, these verses are explicitly connected to Ghadr Khumm. Ten of the traditions cited by these compilers are attributed to al-Bqir, four to al-diq, and three to Ibn Abbs, with a few single traditions attributed to other early companions. See Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 29293; 33134; Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 11720; 12931; and Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 162; 17175. 23. See Ashar, Maqlt al-islmiyyn, v. 1, pp. 13334, where it is reported that the Jrds consider Al to be the Imm immediately after the Prophet and view the communitys denial of this as error (all) and unbelief (kufr). According to Ashar, most Zayds either considered this an error but not a sinful one (Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 135, 137) or did not consider it an error at all, since Al himself did not rebel against Ab Bakr and Umar (Maqlt, v. 1, p. 136). See Kohlberg, Some Zayd Views, pp. 9192, where he notes that the most favorable Zayd views of the companions are those that are latest, and thus most like those of the Mutazilites. 24. Madelung, Der Imm, pp. 4447. 25. Regarding the similarity of the Imm and Jrd positions, see BarAsher, Scripture and Exegesis, p. 48, and Lalani, Early Sh Thought, pp. 4950. 26. Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 22931. 27. Shiite biographical tradition cites the rebellion of Zayd b. Al as the point at which Abul-Jrd changed allegiances, see Najsh, Rijl, v. 1, p. 388. 28. Najsh, Rijl, v. 1, p. 388. See the extensive scholarly discussion of Abul-Jrds recension of al-Bqirs tafsr as found in later Shiite tafsr sources in Bar-Asher, Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 4656; and also Lalani, Early Sh


Notes to Chapter 5

Thought, pp. 4950. The principle of walyah and its connection to Ghadr Khumm remained an important aspect of Jrd thought, perhaps because the Jrds, like the Imms and unlike other Zayds, believed that Al had been explicitly (rather than implicitly) named by the Prophet as his successor. The prominent fourth-century Jrd scholar Ibn Uqdah reportedly authored a book entitled Kitb adth al-walyah or Kitb al-walyah wa man raw Ghadr Khumm. The book is not extant but is well-attested in bibliographical works. See, Kohlberg, Medieval Muslim Scholar at Work, pp. 17778. 29. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 34447, h. 4, 6. 30. See, e.g., ab. I:175356; and Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, v. 2, p. 144. The Shiite historian Yaqb also reports that Quran V:3 was revealed during the Prophets sermon at Araft and not on the occasion of Ghadr Khumm, which he reports separately (v. 1, p. 442). 31. The fast of shr was observed by the early Muslims until the year 2, when the fast of Raman replaced shr as the obligatory fast. shr, however, remained a recommended day of fasting (Bukhr a, K. al-awm, bb awm yawm shr; Muslim, a, K. al- iym, bb 20; and A. J. Wensinck, Muammad and the Jews of Medina, pp. 72103). 32. A possible reference to Quran VII:6. 33. Kf, v. 1, pp. 34547, h. 6. 34. Kf, v. 1, pp. 34445, h. 4; Kulayn quotes this tradition from Al b. Ibrhm al-Qumm, the author of the Tafsr, although it is not included as a commentary on V:3 or V:67 in Qumms Tafsr itself. Also note that these traditions are not included in the chapter on the na of Al b. Ab lib, but rather in the chapter that introduces a series of chapters dedicated to the na of each of the twelve Imms individually, entitled The designation of God and His Messenger for the Imms, one after the other, even though Ghadr Khumm was clearly a designation (na) of Al personally and not of his descendants. 35. Kf, v. 2, p. 22, h. 1; Masin, p. 286, h. 429. 36. Kf, v. 2, p. 25, h. 8. 37. One says that Islam is built on five pillars (daim) explicitly, see BA, v. 68, p. 379, h. 28; Aml al-Ts, p. 124, h. 192. Another says that Islam is built upon five things (ashy), see Kf, v. 2, pp. 2224, h. 5; for a similar tradition from al-diq, see Masin, p. 286, h. 430. 38. Kf, v. 2, p. 25, h. 7; see also BA, v. 68, p. 331, h. 7, quoting from Kf, but with a slightly different isnd, and with the addition of the word daim. 39. Kf, v. 2, p. 22, h. 3. 40. The connection between this idea as it appears in the Ghadr Khumm and daim traditions is evident in a adth cited by al-Shaykh al-Mufd through a chain of transmitters from Ab Sad al-Khudrone of the principal transmitters of the Ghadr Khumm traditionin which he says that the people were commanded to perform five obligatory acts, of which they perform four (alh, zakh, awm, and ajj) and neglect one (walyah) (BA, v. 27, p. 102, h. 66). 41. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 253; BA, v. 68, p. 376, h. 21. There is also a tradition from al-diq in which he says: Verily God required five religious duties of His creatures, He sent an easement for four of them, but not for one of them. (Kf, v. 2, p. 26, h. 12.)

Notes to Chapter 5


42. Zurrah relates this tradition from al-Bqir in Kf, v. 2, pp. 2224, h. 5, and from al-diq in Masin, p. 286, h. 430. In another tradition, the eleventh Imm, al-asan b. Al al-Askar, lists the five obligatory duties (fari) of Islam as ajj and umrah, prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and walyah. He then states that the Prophet and his executors (awiy) represent the door (bb) and key (mift) to these fari (Ibn Bbawayh, Ilal, v. 1, p. 291). 43. BA, v. 68, pp. 32930. The idea that the shahdah contains walyah is expressed in a tradition from the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri, which first says that only a person who testifies to the shahdah sincerely will be saved, and then explains that a sincere shahdah includes obedience to God and His Messenger as well as walyahtoward the ahl al-bayt (BA, v. 27, p. 134, h. 130). 44. Takim, From Bida to Sunna: The Wilya of Al in the Sh Adhn, pp. 16677, and Eliash, On the Genesis and Development of the TwelverSh Three Tenet Shahda, pp. 26572. 45. Takim, op cit, pp. 17172. 46. A point also made by Bar-Asher in his discussion of these traditions (Scripture and Exegesis, p. 198). 47. Bukhr, a, k. al-mn, h. 7. The first tradition Bukhr includes in this chapter likewise begins buniya al-islm al khams, but gives an entirely different set of pillars (Ibid., h. 1). 48. See, e.g., Ibn Ab Shaybah, Muannaf, v. 6, p.15759; Abd al-Razzq al-Sann, Muannaf, v. 11, p. 129, h. 20112, pp. 32122, h. 20656, pp. 33031, h. 2068384. 49. There are two versions of the tradition in which al-diq reproduces the list, including walyah without amendment. One comes in the fourthcentury Tafsr Numn (i.e., Ibn Ab Zaynab al-Numn), as quoted in BA, v. 68, p. 391, h. 40. The other claims that the first things a person will be asked about when he stands before God are his [performance of] the obligatory prayer, alms-giving, fasting, pilgrimage, and walyah, and that it is walyah that validates all of the other deeds (Ibn Bbawayh, Aml al-adq, p. 227; BA, v. 27, p. 167, h. 2). 50. See, e.g., Masin, p. 290, h. 437, and s, Aml, p. 518, h. 1134. BarAsher notes the existence of both five- and six-pillar traditions but simply says that they reflect competing tendencies in the Imm debate (Scripture and Exegesis, p. 198). 51. Kf, v. 2, p. 26, h. 11. 52. See, e.g., BA, v. 68, pp. 37677, h. 22. The isnd for this tradition is identical to those given for other traditions related by Ibn Bbawayh regarding walyah, and contains transmitters suspected of extremism by some Shiites, as was Ab Bar (the primary transmitter of the tradition cited in full above). 53. BA, v. 68, p. 377, h. 23. 54. Kf, v. 2 pp. 2425, h. 6, p. 25, h. 9; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 252. 55. See Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, pp. 8283, where the eighth Imm, Al al-Ri, lists the four standard pillars (prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage) plus walyah and barah.


Notes to Chapter 5

56. This has already been noted by other scholars of Shiism. See, for example, S. H. M. Jafri, The Origins and Early Development of Shia Islam, p. 293. 57. Amir-Moezzi, The Divine Guide in Early Shiism, p. 126. 58. See Amir-Moezzi, Divine Guide, p. 126. 59. This is found in Shiite commentaries on the Quranic term anf (Quran XXX:30). See Kf, v. 1, p. 486, h. 35; BA, v. 23, p. 365, h. 27. For a nonQuranic connection between walyah and the dn al-anf, see, Al Jafar alaram, p. 70. 60. Kf, v. 1, pp. 484, 493, 502; al-affr al-Qumm, Bair al-darajt, pp. 7172, h. 7. Bar-Asher discusses similar traditions that establish the centrality of walyah through sectarian commentary on the Quran; see, e.g., Scripture and Exegesis, p. 197, where he cites a Shiite tradition that declares walyah the axis on which the Quran and all other scriptures revolve. 61. Kf, v. 1, pp. 43738, h. 3. 62. Al-affr al-Qumm, Bair al-darajt, p. 67, h. 12, 4. 63. Perhaps the most important Sufi thinker to use the concept of walyah as a technical term is Ibn al-Arab (d. 638). For an explanation of his doctrine of walyah, see Michel Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints, especially Chapter 3, and by the same author, Un ocean sans rivage, especially pp. 6777. 64. See references in note 17 above. 65. See, e.g., Al Jafar b. Muammad al-aram, p. 60; Bair al-darajt, p. 75, h. 69; Kf, v. 1, pp. 5015, h. 91; p. 194, h. 11; Aml, p. 110. 66. See Kf, v. 2, p. 180, h. 14; p. 351, h. 4. 67. Masin, pp. 28485, h. 422; also cited in BA, v. 68, p. 282, h. 36. 68. Masin, p. 150, h. 68. The Quranic dichotomy of asanah and sayyiah (good and evil), were also said to refer to love and hatred of the ahl al-bayt, respectively. See Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 386, h. 137; Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 13940, h. 16869; Masin, p. 150, h. 69. 69. For Shiite discussions of love of the ahl al-bayt in connection with particular Quranic verses, see Bar-Asher, pp. 19395. The religious importance of love is found in some non-Shiite texts as well, although it is not so essential to faith. For example, in Kitb al-lim wal-mutaallim, the master (commonly supposed to be Ab anfah) tells his disciple that it is harmful not to know who is right and who is wrong because one will therefore not know whom to love or to hate in God. See Schachts summary in An Early Murciite Treatise: the Kitb al-lim wal-mutaallim, p. 105. A tradition found in the Muannaf of Abd al-Razzq al-Sann warns one not to exaggerate in love . . . or hate, which may be a Medinan response to the Iraqi (i.e., Shiite, Murjiite, or Kharijite) tendency to do just that (v. 11, p. 181, h. 20270). 70. Kf, v. 2, p. 133, h. 2; Masin, p. 165, h. 121, and p. 263, h. 328; Mufd, Kitb al-Aml, p. 151, h. 1. 71. Kf, v. 2, p. 133, h. 1; Masin, p. 263, h. 330. 72. Kf, v. 2, p. 235, h. 15. 73. Kf, v. 2, p. 133, h. 5; Masin, p. 262, h. 326. 74. See, for example, Ibn Bbawayh, ifat al-shah, p. 125, h. 65.

Notes to Chapter 6


75. This is a rare addition in early sources, but see, e.g., Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 33334, h. 154; or Ibn Kathr, al-Bidyah wal-nihyah, v. 5, p. 160, where it is the version cited by Al himself, when he asks for confirmation of the tradition in his speech at the rabah of Kufa. 76. imyar, Qurb al-isnd, p. 26, h. 86; Muslim, a, v. 2, p. 253, h. 237; Mufd, Kitb al-Aml, pp. 3078; s, Aml, p. 258, h. 3/465; Masin, p. 150, h. 7071, and p. 151, h. 72. In this last adth, Al says: [B]oth the pious and the impious love al-asan and al-usayn, but it is written that no kfir will love me and no mumin will hate me. See also, Masin, p. 152, h. 74, where al-Bqir says that the love of God is owed to the one who loves Al and BA, v. 68, pp. 10910, h. 21, where it says that God loves men for their love of Al. 77. See, e.g., Masin, p. 263, h. 329. In one tradition al-Bqir quotes the Prophet as saying: Whoever loves Al, loves me; and whoever loves me, loves God and the same is true in the case of hate (See Al Jafar al-aram, p. 60). 78. Ibn Bbawayh, Uyn akhbr al-Ri, p. 291, h. 41. 79. Masin, pp. 26263, h. 327. See also, BA, v. 68, p. 63, h. 114. 80. In other Shiite traditions, mn and islm represent the religious status of Shiites and non-Shiites, respectively; this seems to be a later development, and will be discussed in Part III. 81. See Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 21113. 82. See, e.g., Shaybn, thr, pp. 24546, h. 377. 83. Kf, v. 2, p. 73, h. 1. 84. Quran IX:106. 85. Kf, v. 2, p. 407, h. 1, 2. 86. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, pp. 6059, h. 7. 87. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, p. 670, h. 12, and p. 848, h. 42. 88. With regard to al-akam, see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 210, h. 370; and with regard to Slim, see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 235, h. 426. See also Tustar, Qms alrijl, v. 4, p. 285 (for Slim) and v. 3, p. 376 (for al-akam). Van Ess in Theologie und Gesellschaft notes that Zurrah himself, while being a Qadarite regarding the issue of free will and human capability (istiah), was nonetheless closer to Ab anfah in his definition of the nature of belief (Band I, pp. 32122).


1. This is true for all Murjiite groups except for the extreme and almost universally castigated Jahmites (followers of Jahm b. afwn), who reportedly held that mere knowledge (marifah) of the shahdah, irrespective of ones having testified to that truth or not, constituted mn. See, Madelung, Murjia in EI 2, v. 7, pp. 6057; and Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 21314. 2. See, e.g., Kitb al-lim wal-mutaallim (attributed to Ab anfah), pp. 1113, and Schachts English summary in An Early Murciite Treatise: The Kitb al-lim wal-mutaallim, p. 106.


Notes to Chapter 6

3. See Wilferd Madelung, Early Sunni Doctrine Concerning Faith as Reflected in the Kitb al-mn of Ab Ubayd al-Qsim b. Sallm (d. 224/839), in Studia Islamica 32, 1970. 4. Madelung, Early Sunni Doctrine, pp. 23354. 5. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 43536, h. 3, 4. See also Bar-Ashers discussion of this in Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 19697. 6. This is found, for example, in Ab anfahs al-Fiqh al-absa, pp. 4748. 7. See al-Fiqh al-absa, pp. 4142, where the list also includes the compulsionist or jabr belief that destiny (qadar) is from God, who does not delegate acts to man. See also, Shaybn, thr, pp. 24950, h. 387. 8. Shaybn, thr, p. 244, h. 373. See also Wensinck, Concordance, v. 2, under zan. 9. This is most likely Ubayd b. Zurrah b. Ayan al-Shaybn, since there is no Ubaydah b. Zurrah in Shiite rijl works, and Ubayd b. Zurrah is one of the transmitters of the related tradition (although expressing the opposite point of view) quoted on p. 130. 10. This probably refers to al-Fal b. Abd al-Mlik Abul-Abbs alBaqbq, a reliable and respected transmitter from al-diq (Ardabl, Jmi alruwh, v. 2, pp. 67). The Imms reluctance to discuss the controversial issue in front of him may have had something to do with his nickname, al-Baqbq, which means the garrulous one. 11. Al Nawdir Al b. Asb, p. 125. 12. s, Aml, pp. 4056, h. 57/909; BA, v. 68, p. 25, h. 46. 13. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 26978. 14. Tucker, W. F., Bayn and the Bayniyya: Shiite Extremists of Umayyad Iraq, The Muslim World 65, no. 4, 1975, p. 242. 15. See W. F. Tucker, Rebels and Gnostics: al-Mugra Ibn Sad and the Mugriyya, in Arabica 22, no. 1, 1975, p. 36, quoting the fourth-century writer Mala. 16. Tucker, W. F., Abd Allh b. Muwiyah and the Janiyya: rebels and ideologies of the late Umayyad period, Studia Islamica, July 1980, pp. 53, 54. As Tucker points out, it is unlikely that these are Ibn Muwiyahs own ideas; they probably became associated with his movement via some of the more heterodox elements among his rather disparate following. 17. Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, p. 75; and W. F. Tucker, Ab Manr al-Ijl and the Manriyya: a study in medieval terrorism, Der Islam, 1977, p. 72. 18. Kf, v. 2, p. 436, h. 5; Manil-akhbr, pp. 18182; s, Aml, p. 417, h. 87/939; BA, v. 27, pp. 17071, 174, h. 11, 19. 19. See Richard McCarthy, The Theology of al-Ashar (trans. of Kitb allumah), pp. 1045. 20. Kf, v. 2, pp. 27071, h. 5, 6; p. 273, h. 13; p. 276, h. 21, 22; BA, v. 68, pp. 27071, h. 27. For Sunni versions, see Wensinck, Concordance, under yazn and zan. 21. See Madelung, Early Sunni Doctrine Concerning Faith, p. 248. 22. For different opinions on this issue among the Murjiites, see Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 20710. See also, Van Ess, Theologie und Gesellschaft, Band I,

Notes to Chapter 6


pp. 2021, where he notes that the idea that a believing sinner would have to pass through Hell on his way to eventual salvation was a compromise devised by the Basran Murjiites in response to the more stringent view of the liability of Muslim believers to eternal damnation that was otherwise prevalent in Basra. 23. See, e.g., Shaybn, thr, p. 244, h. 374, where shirk alone places one in the ranks of the unbelievers (i.e., outside the pale of the Muslim community). 24. Quran IV: 48. 25. See Shaybn, thr, pp. 24648; and Madelung, Early Sunni Doctrine, p. 254, where he notes that both Sunni traditionists and Shiites (Ibn Bbawayh in particular) rejected the Mutazilite principle of wad on the basis of intercession for members of the religious community. 26. A prominent member of the Shiite community during the time of alBqir and al-diq. It is reported that either al-Bqir or al-diq encouraged Abn to attend Sunni gatherings, so that they would know that there are men like you among my Shiites (s, Fihrist, p. 57, and Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 330 31, h. 603). Abn is also considered a reliable transmitter in Sunni biographical sources. See Ibn ajar al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-tahdhb, v. 1, pp. 9394. 27. Masin, pp. 3233, h. 23, p. 90, h. 39, p. 181, h. 173, 174. 28. Ibn Bbawayh, Thawb al-aml, p. 7; Daylam, Alm al-dn, p. 357. 29. See Ibn Bbawayh, Uyn akhbr al-Ri, v. 2, pp. 13435, 137; Kitb al-tawd, pp. 2425. 30. See Ibn Bbawayh, Uyn akhbr al-Ri, v. 2, p. 134. 31. Kitb al-tawd, p. 25, h. 23. 32. Uyn akhbr al-Ri, v. 2, p. 136. See also the adth that love of Al is a good deed such that with it, no evil deed can harm one (BA, v. 39, p. 248, h. 10; p. 266, h. 40; p. 304, h. 118). 33. Daylam, Alm al-dn, pp. 35657; s, Aml, p. 279, h. 74/536. See also s, Aml, p. 353, h. 69/729, where Al himself is said to be the in that protects from divine wrath. 34. The only exception to this is a version where the salvific power of the shahdah is conditional upon knowledge (marifah), walyah, and accomplishing the pillars of Islamic practice (al-amal bil-arkn); see Daylam, Alm al-dn, pp. 35657. 35. Kf, v. 2, p. 371, h. 20. 36. Shiite tradition is careful to point out that this form of shirk is less serious than kufr (Kf, v. 2, pp. 36667, h. 2, 3), and refers not to polytheism but to the refusal to recognize the Imms authority, thus associating false religious authorities with the Imms (Kf, p. 379, h. 4, 5). 37. One tradition goes so far as to state that the good works that guarantee Paradise and the evil actions that guarantee Hell are none other than love and hate of the ahl al-bayt, respectively. See the Al, in al-Ul al-sittat ashar, attributed to Slim b. Ab Urwah, p. 117. For other examples of this, see Al Jafar al-aram, pp. 7576 and Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 317. 38. Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, p. 424. See, also, Masin, p. 149, h. 61, 63, and p. 161, h. 106.


Notes to Chapter 6

39. Al Jafar b. Muammad al-aram, p. 62. 40. See Shaybn, thr, p. 244, h. 373; and a Muslim, v. 1, pp. 153 54, 186213, 33435. 41. Mufd, Kitb al-Aml, pp. 27173, h. 3; BA, v. 68, p. 112, h. 25. Alawiyyn may refer to Alid descendants or Alid sympathizers. Here, the term seems to refer to Shiites or Alid sympathizers, but elsewhere the term is identified with the offspring (dhurriyyah) of the Prophet, see, e.g., BA, v. 7, p. 100, h. 4. 42. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 105; Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 17071; BA, v. 69, pp. 17273, h. 19. 43. Masin, p. 158, h. 94; al-usayn b. Sad, al-Mumin, p. 29, h. 51. Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 13940, h. 168; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 386, h. 133. 44. See Al usayn b. Uthmn, p. 111. 45. See Al Zayd al-Nars, p. 49, pp. 5152. 46. Kulayn (1983), v. 8, p. 304, h. 470; Masin, p. 148, BA, v. 68, p. 77, h. 137, 138. See also, Ibn Bbawayh, Fail al-shah, p. 61. 47. See, in general, Kf, v. 2, pp. 25056. 48. Mumin, p. 18, h. 12, 13. 49. Mumin, pp. 1516, h. 4. 50. Mumin, p. 16, h. 6. 51. Mumin, p. 16, h. 5. 52. Mumin, p. 16, h. 7, 8. 53. For early Shiites, this issue is connected with notions of human capability (istiah). It is well documented that the first outspoken proponent of this ideanamely, the belief that the human capability for a given act preceded the performance of the actwas Zurrah b. Ayan, who reportedly had some disagreements with al-diq over this issue (see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 145, h. 229; p. 147, h. 234; p. 148, h. 236; p. 150, h. 243). Ibn Bbawayh, of the Qummi traditionist school, held that istiah was determined by four factors: the individual had to be free in respect of action; in good health; in possession of limbs; and in possession of capacity (istiah) given to him by Allh, thereby attributing part of the capability to the individual and part to God. See A Shiite Creed, pp. 3940. His student, al-Shaykh al-Mufd, limited the determinants of istiah strictly to physical health, see McDermott, Theology, p. 351. 54. See, e.g., Kulayn (1983), v. 8, pp. 21213, h. 259; p. 240, h. 328; Al Jafar al-aram, p. 79; Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 51, h. 8. A version of this tradition as quoted by Mufd, Kitb al-Aml, p. 270, h. 1, adds to the demand for ijtihd and wara. 55. See, e.g., Kf, v. 2, pp. 8284; v. 2, p. 234, h. 10; Al Jafar al-aram, p. 79; Al Al b. Razn, p. 151; BA, v. 69, p. 170, h. 11. 56. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, pp. 9091, h. 22; Daylam, Alm aldn, p. 14344. 57. Daylam, Alm al-dn, pp. 127, 301. 58. Daylam, pp. 3012.

Notes to Chapter 7



1. See Madelung, art. Murjia, in EI 2, v. 7, p. 606; and Bar-Ashers discussion of the predestinarian content of Abul-Jrds collection of tafsr traditions from al-Bqir (Scripture and Exegesis), pp. 5153. 2. This is usually attributed to the influence of al-asan al-Bar, the earliest and most famous spokesman for the Qadarite perspective. See Van Ess, Kadariyya, in EI 2, v. 4, p. 369, and Theologie und Gesellschaft, Band I, pp. 2021. 3. Free will is not an exact translation of the Arabic tafw, which literally means delegation of authority, and represents the belief that God delegated to man authority over his own actions and decisions, and by extension, his own salvation. Henceforth, we will use free will as a liberal translation of tafw, in order to be clear in English. Tafw as opposed to jabr, in the context of the current discussion, is quite different from the concept of tafw used by later Shiite extremists (ghult), by which they meant Gods delegation of divine creative and legislative power to the Imms (or, variously, to the prophets and the Imms). 4. See, in general, Kf, v. 1, pp. 20510. 5. Kf, v. 1, pp. 20910, h. 9, 11. 6. See Kohlberg, Imm and Community, pp. 2526, where he notes the use of the title lim for the Imms. 7. Kf, p. 209, h. 10. 8. See Madelung, Shiite and Kharijite Contributions to Pre-Asharite Kalam, p. 124, where the author notes that the Shiite position on jabr and tafw was an intermediate position between the Jahmite thesis of constraint (jabr) and the Mutazilite thesis of empowerment (tafw). 9. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 2057, h. 1, p. 208, h. 4, p. 209, h. 7. 10. Kf, v. 1, pp. 2078, h. 3; p. 210, h. 12. 11. Kf, v. 1, p. 207, h. 2, pp. 2089, h. 6, where it is said that God does not command abominable behavior (fash), a reference to Quran VII:28. However, Qumms Tafsr views this verse as a condemnation of idol-worshippers who sought to attribute their pagan practices to Gods command, not as a refutation of jabr thought. Rather, he cites the following verses (VII:2930), . . . A party (qawm) He has led aright, while error has held over another party for lo! they choose devils for protecting friends instead of God and deem that they are rightly guided . . . , as a refutation of the Qadarites. He cites Abl-Jrds tafsr of the verse as follows: God creates them, when He creates them, as believer or unbeliever, damned or saved, and thus will they return on the Day of Resurrection, rightly guided or in error. Qumm then notes that those who choose devils as their protecting friends instead of God and deem that they are rightly guided are, in fact, the Qadarites (see Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 226). 12. Qumm, Tafsr, p. 158, h. 5, p. 159, h. 11, p. 160, h. 13. 13. Kf, v. 1, p. 208, h. 5. Ibn Bbawayh (A Shiite Creed, p. 33) asserts that God has foreknowledge of human acts but does not compel them. Mufd rejects this position, adhering to the Mutazilite view that God wills only


Notes to Chapter 7

good and only leads men into error as a punishment for previous disobedience (Ta al-itiqd, pp. 4953). 14. See the edited text of the rislah in H. Ritters Studien zur Geschichte der islamischen Frommigkeit in Der Islam, 1933, p. 77. Van Ess dates this text between 75 and 80; however, Michael Cook challenges this conclusion, arguing that the evidence could also point to an origin in the early second century (Early Muslim Dogma, pp. 11723). In a more recent study, Van Ess defends his early dating of this text primarily through evidence that the particular Qadarite perspective expressed therein was probably widely recognized at an early stage before the turn of the second century (see Theologie und Gesellschaft, Band II, pp. 4648). 15. See, e.g., Ab anfah, al-Fiqh al-absa, p. 41, 42. 16. Kitb Sulaym, v. 2, p. 613, h. 8. 17. Kf, v. 1, pp. 2045, h. 13; Masin, p. 283, h. 41416. 18. Kf, v. 1, p. 205, h. 2, 3; Masin, p. 283, h. 415, 416. 19. Masin, p. 283, h. 417. 20. Shaybn, thr, p. 251, h. 389. See also Muslim, a, v. 16, pp. 41011, h. 6672. 21. See Kf, v. 1, p. 203, h. 1; Masin, p. 279, h. 405. 22. For Sunni traditions, see Ab anfah, al-Fiqh al-absa, p. 44; Muslim, ah, v. 16, p. 45, h. 6682; for Shiite versions, see Kf, v. 1, p. 204, h. 3; Masin, p. 280, h. 409. 23. More precisely, the two terms refer to Imm Shiites and non- Imm Shiites, since Imm literature places Zayd Shiites in the category of the mmah as well. 24. See E. Kohlberg, Imm and Community in the Pre-Ghayba Period, p. 30; Amir-Moezzi, Divine Guide, pp. 3437; Bar-Asher, pp. 13640, 199202. 25. See, e.g., abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 21, p. 151, for a tradition in connection with this verse, where Muammad declares that he was the first prophet to be created and the last to be sent. 26. See Qumm, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 176. 27. Al-affr al-Qumm, Bair al-darajt, p. 73, h. 4. 28. See Bar-Ashers discussion of the punishments of pre-Islamic peoples and prophets for not recognizing the walyah of Al (Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 199201). 29. Bair al-darajt, p. 70, h. 1. 30. Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 247. 31. Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 106. 32. Amir-Moezzi, who relies heavily upon the Bair al-darajt in his analysisand probably for this reasonrelates in some detail the Shiite insertion of the notion of walyahinto the story of the mthqof the prophets, but says that the mthq taken from mankind in Quran VII:172 covers only one point: the Unicity of the Creator (p. 36). This does not seem to be the case, however, when one looks at other Shiite adth and tafsr sources. 33. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 41, h. 113. Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 145 46, h. 180, 182. Bair al-darajt, p. 72, h. 9.

Notes to Chapter 7


34. Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 14647, h. 183, 184; Bair al-darajt, p. 71, h. 6. 35. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 41, h. 114; Furt al-Kf, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 146, h. 181. 36. Kf, v. 1, pp. 18283, h. 7. 37. A supporter of Al, and the head of his elite guard, the shurat alkhams. 38. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 41, h. 116. 39. Ibn Bbawayh, Uyn akhbr al-Ri, pp. 27071. 40. Quran II:40. 41. See Kf, v. 1, p. 500, h. 89. 42. Quran LXXVI:7. 43. Kf, v. 1, p. 504, h. 91; Bair al-darajt, p. 90, h. 2. See also, Daylam, Alm al-dn, p. 452, and Al Nawdir Al b. Asb, p. 130. 44. A prominent disciple of both al-Bqir and al-diq, who died some time before the latter. See Tustar, Qms al-rijl, v. 2, pp. 23336 and Rijl alKashsh, p. 181, h. 315, 316. 45. For a discussion of the Shiite mythology surrounding the pre-eternal world of shadows, see Amir-Moezzi, Divine Guide, pp. 3233. 46. Masin, p. 135, h. 16; Bair al-darajt, p. 89, h. 1; Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 247. The idea that the spirits of the Shiites were created a thousand years before their bodies, and that they were shown to the Prophet and the Imms in pre-eternity, is said to account for the Imms ability to recognize their Shiitesimmediately upon seeing them (Kf, v. 1, p. 508, h. 1). Ibn Bbawayh, who based his theology largely upon tradition, affirms the idea that the spirit is created before the body (A Shiite Creed, pp. 4546), while Mufd rejects it as leading to the heretical notion of tansukh or transmigration of souls (see Tah al-itiqd, pp. 7993). 47. Kf, v. 1, p. 467, h. 3. See also, Masin, p. 136, h. 19, where the (Shiite) wal is the one from whom God took the mthq of walyah for [the Prophet], [his] wa, and [their] progeny. 48. Kf, v. 2, pp. 58; Masin, pp. 13335; Kohlberg, Imm and Community, p. 31. 49. Kf, v. 2, pp. 910, h. 2 (see v. 2, pp. 810, h. 1, 3, for versions without reference to Quran VII:172); Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, pp. 3940. Note that in Bair al-darajt we find two adth narrations attributed to al-Bqir and al-diq where the basic and original text of the adth as widely attributed to Al Zayn al-bidn is recited, but then additional sectarian referents and ideas are added (see pp. 7071, h. 2, 3). 50. See, e.g., Kf, v. 2, p. 5, h. 1. 51. abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 9, p. 149. See pp. 14950 for other predestinarian or compulsionist interpretations of this Quranic verse as attributed to Ibn Abbs. 52. Ibn ajar al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-tahdhb, v. 7, p. 304. 53. Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 115, h. 184. 54. See, e.g., Tahdhb al-tahdhb, v. 7, pp. 3047.


Notes to Chapter 7

55. Kf, v. 2, pp. 67, h. 4. 56. Kf, v. 2, pp. 56, h. 2. 57. Masin, pp. 13536, h. 17, 18; imyar, Qurb al-isnd, p. 349, h. 1260; BA, v. 67, p. 304, h. 35. 58. See Bair al-darajt, pp. 17073. 59. Kf, v. 2, pp. 1213, h. 3. 60. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 21718; and Masin, pp. 21617, h. 10712, p. 279, h. 405. 61. Al Durust b. Ab Manr, p. 168; Masin, p. 201, h. 37, 38; Kf, v. 2, pp. 21617, h. 4. See Masin, p. 200, h. 36, 40; and Kf, v. 2, p. 216, h. 1 for similar traditions. 62. Masin, pp. 2023, h. 42, 43, 46. 63. Masin, pp. 2023, h. 44, 47. See also Masin, p. 202, h. 45, and imyar, Qurb al-isnd, p. 35, h. 113, p. 45, h. 145 for similar traditions. A Sunni adth states that when God desires good for a person, He grants him understanding in religion (yufaqqahu fil-dn) (Bukhr, a, K. al-ilm, b. 14, h. 71, p. 61; for others, see Wensinck, Concordance, under faqqaha). This version is related by al-Mufd (Kitb al-Aml, p. 157, h. 9). For traditions discouraging Shiite participation in religious debates, see Kf, v. 2, pp. 29091, especially h. 1, 8, and Masin, pp. 231, h. 179, pp. 23739, h. 20811, 21415. 64. See Masin, p. 149, h. 262, where al-Bqir says: I know that this love you have for us is not of your own making, but rather God has made it. 65. Al Muthann b. al-Wald b. ann, p. 103; Masin, p. 200, h. 33. A similar adth attributed to Al says: Those who love us cannot hate us and those who hate us cannot love us; and love of us and of our enemies are never joined in the heart of one man, for God does not create two hearts in the breast of one man (a reference to Quran XXXIII:4) (BA, v. 68, p. 38, h. 81). The idea of the two qawms seems to be linked to the idea of the people of the right and the people of the left, as seen in Shiite and some Sunni traditions cited above. In his letter to the Caliph Abd al-Malik, al-asan al-Bar seems to accuse predestinarians of arguing that there was one qawm created for Paradise and one created for Hell (see the edited text of al-asans letter in H. Ritter, Studien zur Geschichte der islamischen Frommigkeit, p. 76). 66. imyar, Qurb al-isnd, p. 356, h. 1274. See also, Qurb al-isnd, p. 349, h. 1260 and Masin, pp. 13536, h. 17, 18. In Bair al-darajt, the Imms are said to be able to recognize those who love them, even if they outwardly appear to hate them, and to know those who hate them, even if they appear to love them (p. 90, h. 3). 67. Tucker, Rebels and Gnostics, p. 44. 68. Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, p. 73. 69. Maqlt, v. 1, p. 73. 70. Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 7273; see Tuckers translation in Rebels and Gnostics, p. 39. 71. Tucker, Rebels and Gnostics, pp. 36, 46. 72. See W. M. Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought, p. 36. Madelung (Religious Trends, pp. 5455) rejects Watts argument for the notion

Notes to Chapter 8


of charismatic community in Kharijite thought, reaffirming Wellhausens early portrayal of the Kharijites as a group rigorously concerned with individual right conduct (see Wellhausen, Religio-political Factions in Early Islam, pp. 1923). 73. Lynda Clarke notes that electionism as found in Shiite adth discourse was rejected by later Shiite scholars who stressed, by contrast, the possibility and desirability of converting others to their perspective through open, rational dialogue. See The Rise and Decline of Taqiyya in Twelver Shiism, in T. Lawson (ed.), Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought, pp. 4663.


1. Masin, pp. 13839, h. 2426, p. 141, h. 3334. 2. See Kohlberg, The Position of the Walad Zina in Imm Shiism, BSOAS 48 (1985), pp. 23766. 3. Ibid., p. 239. 4. Quran XVII:71. 5. Masin, p. 141, h. 33, 34; BA, v. 68, pp. 7677, h. 136, citing Kitb alMuslsalt. 6. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 108. Traditions from al-Bqir and alSdiq refute this idea (Kf, v. 2, p. 252, h. 12, p. 255, h. 27), but in another adth in the same section (p. 253, h. 18), al-Sdiq says that the [Shiite] believer does not suffer the affliction of blindness (although at least one of the Imms prominent disciples was known to be blind). In any case, these types of traditions suggest an underlying view that ones spiritual station had tangible effects on the body. 7. Recall that these two Imms resided in Medina, and circumstantial references in the adth literature suggest that they often held audiences for delegates from the Shiite communities of Kufa and other places who visited their teaching circles in the process of, or under cover of, making pilgrimage to Mecca. In fact, the primary transmitters of many Shiite traditions report statements the Imms uttered while performing the circumambulation of the Kabah. 8. Quran XLIX:13. 9. Quran XXI:47. 10. Quran XLIX:13. 11. Quran VI:165. See also Quran LVIII:11, III:163, VI:83, XII:76. 12. Quran II:212; III:27,37; XXIV:38. 13. A category of individuals mentioned in Quran III:7 who, according to one interpretation, know the inner meaning of the ambiguous verses of the Quran (Kf, v. 1, pp. 26970). 14. Kf, v. 1, pp. 26263. 15. Albb may refer to either heart or intellect. I have translated it here as heart intellect in an attempt to convey its full meaning and distinguish it from either qalb (heart) or aql (intellect).


Notes to Chapter 8

16. See, e.g., Quran II:179, 197 and V:100. 17. See, e.g., Quran II:269; III:190; XIII:19; XXXVIII:43; XXXIX:9,18,21; XL:45; LXV:10. 18. Quran XXXIX:9. 19. Kf, v. 1, p. 269, h. 1, 2; Masin, pp. 12728, h. 134. 20. See Masin, p. 129, h. 139, regarding Quran LXXIV:3839. 21. See, e.g., Haddad, Islamic Understanding of Death and the Afterlife, pp. 32, 46, 49, 72, 188. 22. Masin, p. 124, h. 116. 23. Masin, p. 124, h. 118. 24. Masin, p. 123, h. 115, quoting Quran LVII:19. 25. Masin, pp. 13031, h. 13537. 26. Al-usayn b. Sad al-Ahwz, Kitb al-Mumin, p. 16. 27. Mumin, p. 129, h. 137. 28. Referring to Quran XCVIII:7 in Mumin, p. 129, h. 140. 29. Referring to Quran XXXIII:23, in Ibn Bbawayh, Fail al-shah, p. 61. 30. Masin, p. 128, h. 126. 31. Masin, p. 158, h. 94; Mumin, p. 29, h. 51. 32. BA, v. 69, pp. 17273, h. 19 (quoting Tafsr Ayysh). 33. Al usayn b. Uthmn in Ul al-sittat ashar, p. 111. 34. For a discussion of other Quranic terminology interpreted as references to the Imms and the Shiites generally, see Bar-Asher, Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 1068. 35. See, e.g., Quran II:100; XXII:106; and srah XXVI, where it is a common refrain. 36. See, e.g., Quran XXX:6,30; XXXIV:28,36; XL:57; XLV:26. 37. Quran V:103, XXIX:63. 38. Quran XXVII:73; XL:61; X:60; VII:17. 39. Masin, p. 120, h. 95. 40. Al-Sharf al-Ra, Nahj al-balghah, p. 9, khubah 16. 41. Kf, v. 2, p. 243, h. 5. 42. Cornell, Realm of the Saint, pp. 9899. 43. Realm of the Saint, p. 186. 44. Ibid., p. 225. 45. Ibid., p. 213. 46. See the discussion in the previous chapter. 47. Al-akm al-Tirmidh, Kitb srat al-awliy (trans. B. Radtke and J. OKane as The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism: two works by alakm al-Tirmidh), pp. 15152. 48. Ibid., p. 142. For a similar idea see Quran LVIII:22. 49. Ibid., p. 143, note 7. 50. Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam, p. 134. 51. See, e.g., The Concept of Sainthood, pp. 69, 8283, 90, 96, 169. 52. For example, Trimingham quotes a similar statement from the early Baghdadi Sufi, al-Junayd, p. 141; and the later Persian Sufi, Rzbihn Baql,

Notes to Chapter 8


claims in his spiritual autobiography that God chose him for walyah, see The Unveiling of Secrets (trans. C. Ernst), p. 13. 53. In Kf, the chapter on Faith and Unbelief (Kitb al-mn wal-kufr) is longer than the chapter on the immate (Kitb al-ujjah), although a good part of the chapter deals with the nature of unbelief, as well; and Barqs Masin devotes one of seven major chapters primarily to descriptions of the believers (Kitb al-afwah wal-nr wal-ramah, pp. 12986). 54. BA, v. 68, p. 10, h. 7. 55. Masin, pp. 18182, especially h. 177. See also s, Aml al-Ts, p. 78, h. 22/113, and BA, v. 68, p. 22, h. 38, where al-diq states: We are the best of Gods creation and our Shiites are the best of the ummah of His Prophet. 56. Ibn Bbawayh, Fail al-shah, p. 74, h. 37. For other versions of this tradition, see Masin, p. 143, h. 41, and Mumin, pp. 3031, h. 55, 56, 59. 57. Masin, p. 121, h. 104. The term karmah is frequently used in Sufi literature to designate a nonprophetic miracle (prophetic miracles are usually referred to as mujizt, or wonders). However, the term karmah is not frequently used in this sense in Shiite literature, and here it almost certainly relates specifically to the idea of nobility. For similar traditions expressing a salvific link between God, the Prophet, the Imms, and the Shiites, see Masin, p. 139, h. 17982. 58. Masin, pp. 12223, h. 111. 59. Masin, p. 137, h. 171. 60. Masin, p. 123, h. 11314, and p. 141, h. 19495. 61. Mudaqat al-ikhwn, p. 165, h. 1. 62. Mumin, pp. 3031, h. 56. One version of the tradition stating that the Shiites are closest to the Throne on the Day of Resurrection, after us omits this last phrase and hence, apparently, the intermediate position of the Imm (Masin, pp. 13839, h. 178). 63. For example, see Masin, p. 108, h. 38. 64. Masin, p. 108, h. 39. 65. Masin, p. 108, h. 40. 66. Masin, p. 138, h. 17576; Fail al-shah, p. 68. 67. See the note on this issue in both Shiite and Sufi sources in Chapter 1, note 43. 68. Uyn akhbr al-Ri, v. 2, p. 33, h. 62. 69. Fail al-shah, p. 68. Another tradition states that on the Day of Resurrection, the shuhad, prophets (anbiy), and legatees (awiy) will have radiant faces, but that they are not the shuhad, prophets, and legatees that Umar thinks they are. Since this tradition appears in a section on the virtues of the Shiites, it is reasonable to assume that the category of shuhad refers to them (Fail al-shah, p. 67). 70. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, pp. 22223, h. 2. 71. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 23134. In pre-ghaybah times, this doctrine pertained most directly to the need for an authoritative interpreter of the Quran. Since the Quran was silent, it could not speak for or interpret itself,


Notes to Chapter 8

hence the necessity of an authoritative Imm. After the major occultation, these traditions became an important foundation of the Imm argument for the continual existence of the Twelfth Imm in a state of occultationsince the earth was still in existence but the Imm was not visible, it followed that he must be existing on earth in occulted form. See, e.g., Modarressi, Crisis and Consolidation, pp. 14767. The position of the Imm as ujjah, or proof of God, is sometimes related to the idea that the Imms will serve as Gods witnesses (shuhad) at the Last Judgment (Kf, v. 1, pp. 24546), and we have already seen that the title of shuhad was sometimes applied to Shiite believers collectively. 72. Kf, v. 1, pp. 25253, h. 1. 73. Al Jafar al-aram in al-Ul sittat ashar, p. 61. 74. Masin, pp. 12021, h. 99. 75. This translation is our own, but it is inspired by the newer Quranic translation of M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, who translates the term umniyyatihi as his wishes, in contrast to the commonly repeated Pickthall translation that which he recited. Pickthalls liberal translation seems justified by the subsequent line where God abrogates Satans intrusions, suggesting that the verse refers to Satanic intrusions into the Prophets message. However, the more literal translation of the term allows for a fuller range of meanings and serves our purposes better here. 76. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 23031; see also the accompanying editors notes. 77. Ibn Bbawayh, Manil-akhbr, v. 1, p. 381. The notion of a spiritual station short of prophecy by virtue of which one receives a form of supernatural speech is also found in more mystical strains of the Sunni tradition. Al-akm al-Tirmidh mentions this in Srat al-awliy; see Concept of Sainthood, pp. 113, 121, and (translators notes) p. 122. 78. See Kf, v. 1, pp. 32527. 79. E. Kohlberg, The Term Muhaddath in Twelver Shiism, p. 44. 80. Manil-akhbr, v. 1, p. 381. 81. Ayysh, Tafsr, as cited in BA, v. 68, pp. 8586, h. 9, 11. 82. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 28, h. 95. 83. Kf, v. 2, pp. 3132, h. 5; Masin, p. 285, h. 425; Ibn Bbawayh, Manil-akhbr, pp. 17980, h. 1. 84. Kf, v. 2, p. 30, h. 4, p. 58, h. 3; Ibn Bbawayh, Manil-akhbr, v. 1, pp. 40910. 85. Mumin, p. 42, h. 95. 86. Mumin, p. 73, h. 201. 87. Masin, p. 99, h. 3. 88. Fail al-shah, p. 87, h. 17. 89. Fail al-shah, p. 75, h. 39. 90. BA, v. 68, p. 18, h. 25; Mumin, p. 29, h. 54. 91. ift al-shah, p. 115, h. 57; Mumin, p. 29, h. 54. 92. BA, v. 68, p. 39, h. 82, citing Rijl al-Kashsh. 93. Masin, pp. 16263 (or 123), h. 112. 94. Masin, pp. 13536, h. 16668, p. 138, h. 175. 95. For a chapter on the Imms as manifestations of the light of God, see Kf, v. 1, pp. 24952.

Notes to Chapter 9


96. BA, v. 68, pp. 4445, h. 90, citing Daylam, Irshd al-qulb. For other traditions involving the notion of a primordial light, see Daylam, pp. 211, 235, 258. 97. Kf, v. 1, pp. 24950, h. 1. 98. Bair al-darajt, pp. 7980, h. 13; Fail al-shah, p. 65, h. 21. For an abbreviated version of this tradition, see Kf, v. 1, pp. 49091, h. 53. 99. ift al-shah, p. 82, h. 5. See also Masin, p. 112, h. 59, where aldiq tells his disciples: You see as God sees and you choose the one that God has chosen. 100. For a discussion of a special light through which the Imms were able to know hidden things, see Bar-Asher, Scripture and Exegesis, p. 138. 101. Concept of Sainthood, pp. 12122, 136, 15455, 159. 102. See, e.g., Quran LVII:12 and LXVI:8. 103. See, e.g., Quran V:4446, VI:91, V:15, VII:157, IV:175. The Quran twice repeats the idea that the unbelievers seek to extinguish the light of God but that God completes His light despite their efforts (Quran IX:32; LXI:8), and Shiite tradition usually interprets this as a reference to attempts by anti-Shiite figures to extinguish the rightful authority of the Imms. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, p. 252, h. 6 and p. 501, h. 91 and Qumm, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 365. 104. Quran II:257. 105. See Quran XXIV:35, where God is said to guide to His light whomsoever He wills; or XXIV:30, where it is said that the one for whom God does not make a light, has no light; or XLII:52, where scripture and faith (mn) are the lights by which God guides whom He wills. 106. Quran II:255. 107. Quran II:48, 123 and Quran XXXI:33. 108. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 129, h. 69. 109. See, e.g., Masin, p. 139, h. 183, p. 140, h. 189. 110. See Masin, pp. 18485, bab 4546; ift al-shah, p. 110, h. 52, p. 115, h. 57; BA, v. 67, b. 1, h. 32; and Bar-Ashers observation of this in Shiite tafsr literature (Scripture and Exegesis, pp. 18687). 111. Masin, p. 141, h. 191. 112. Masin, p. 140, h. 189. 113. Masin, p. 141, h. 19293. 114. BA, v. 67, pp. 7071, h. 32. 115. See Ibn Bbawayh, Shiite Creed (transl. Fyzee), p. 63 and McDermott, Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mufid, pp. 25455. 116. See A. Newman, The Formative Period of Shiite Hadith, in general, and especially pp. 6793.

1. See Marshall Hodgson, How Did the Early Shia Become Sectarian, JAOS, 1955, p. 10. 2. Quran XXII:19. 3. Kf, v. 1, p. 490, h. 51. See also, Kf, v. 1, p. 492, h. 59, where a similar interpretation is given to the word kufr in the context of Quran IV:170:


Notes to Chapter 9

O mankind! The Messenger has come upon you with the truth from your Lord (regarding the walyah of Al); therefore believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve (in the walyah of Al), still verily unto God belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. . . . The phrases in parentheses represent the Imms interpretative additions. 4. BA, v. 36, p. 105, citing Ayyshs Tafsr of the srah, al-Furqn. 5. See, for example, a lengthy tradition in which Ms al-Kim recites Quranic passages that he understands as references to walyah, either in the literal meaning of the revealed text (tanzl) or in its esoteric interpretation (tawl). Kf, v. 1, pp. 5015, h. 91. Further discussion of this can be found in Amir-Moezzi, Notes Propos de la Walya Imamite, pp. 72224 and BarAsher, Scripture and Exegesis, chapter 3. 6. See, e.g., Kf, v. 2, p. 370, h. 15; pp. 37071, h. 19, 20; and Al Jafar al-aram, p. 64. 7. Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, pp. 3435. The phrase the seven mathn is a reference to Quran XV:87, and is thought to refer to either the seven longest chapters of the Quran, or else to the seven verses of al-Ftiah. (See, e.g., abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 14, pp. 6876.) 8. Al Jafar al-aram, p. 60. See Ibid., pp. 6162, for a similar tradition with the addition: Those who leave the walyat Al, and those who deny his virtue (falahu) and those who are his clear enemies, have left Islam, [that is] the one who dies in this state. For a version of the latter tradition, see also, Masin, p. 89, h. 35. 9. Al-Sharf al-Ra, Nahj al-balghah, p. 87, khubah 189. 10. For a anaf Murjiite version, see al-Fiqh al-absa, p. 41 and Shaybn, thr, pp. 24950, h. 387. For Shiite versions see Masin, p. 291, h. 443; and Kitb Sulaym, pp. 61314, h. 8. An early Sunni version is found in Ibn Ab Shaybah, al-Muannaf, v. 6, p. 157, h. 30309; and numerous other Sunni versions are found in Muslim Sa, v. 1, pp. 10117. Sunni versions differ from anaf Murjiite and early Shiite ones in that qadaror belief in the predestination of good and evilis sometimes removed from the list of qualifications for mn. 11. Zurrahs insistence on this strict dichotomy may derive from the fact that he was previously a follower of al-akam b. Utaybah, who reportedly had Murjiite inclinations. See Chapter 5, note 88. 12. A Zayd Shiite who, like al-akam b. Utaybah, had Murjiite inclinations. (See Chapter 5, note 88). He is nonetheless cited frequently as a transmitter in Shiite sources. (See Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 230, h. 326.) In the version of this story found in Rijl al-Kashsh (p. 142), Zurrah names both Slim and al-akam b. Utaybah in his question to al-Bqir. 13. A non-Shiite Medinan companion of al-Bqir. (See Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwh, v. 1, p. 317.) 14. Murjiites similarly held that a person was either a believer or an unbeliever. See, e.g., Rislah il Uthmn al-Batt, as printed with the Kitb allim wal-mutaallim, p. 36. 15. See the section below regarding the classification of the mustaafn.

Notes to Chapter 9


16. Ahl al-arf refers to a category of persons mentioned in Quran VII:4648. In his Tafsr, Qumm quotes al-diqs interpretation of this as a reference to sinful members of the Shiite community who will eventually enter Paradise through the intercession of the Imms (v. 1, pp. 23132). AlBqir, however, uses the phrase ahl al-arf in a general sense, rather than as a reference to a particular category of Shiites, since the tradition is not about which Shiites Zurrah can marry, but rather who other than a Shiite he may marry. 17. Kf, v. 2, pp. 38385, h. 2. See Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 14142, h. 223, where the tradition is attributed to al-diq. The attribution to al-Bqir makes more sense, since Zurrah was a much younger man during the time of alBqir, and therefore more likely to be unmarried. The mention of the early figures of Slim b. Ab afah and al-akam b. Utaybah also seems to place it historically in al-Bqirs lifetime. The early provenance of this tradition is also somewhat corroborated by a similar conversation between Sulaym b. Qays and Al b. Ab lib found in Kitb Sulaym, pp. 6089, h. 7. 18. See, e.g., a chapter in Kf, v. 2, pp. 2829, entitled Islam preserves ones blood and grants security (amnah), but [eschatological] reward (thawb) is only for mn. See also, Masin, p. 285, h. 423, 424; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 146; BA, v. 68, p. 283, h. 39. 19. Some Shiite traditions, e.g., state that islm is to mn as the aram is to the Kabah. See the discussion in Chapter 8. 20. See, in general, Kf, v. 2, pp. 2932 for a chapter entitled mn includes islm. . . . 21. Al-Bqir, however, includes walyah and barah among the basic duties of islm in these traditions, while versions attributed to al-diq do not. This is in line with our observations regarding the Shiite daim traditions presented in Chapter 5. 22. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 3845, especially pp. 4445, h. 8, where this is presented in explicit opposition to the Murjiite view; s, Aml, p. 139; BA, v. 68, pp. 27071, h. 26, 28. 23. Kf, v. 2, p. 32, h. 1. 24. Kf, v. 2, p. 276, h. 23. 25. Kf, v. 2, p. 28, h. 2. 26. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, pp. 16465, h. 23942; s, Aml, p. 369, h. 40/789, pp. 44849, h. 7/100110/1004. An identical version is attributed to Al b. Ab lib in Nahj al-balghah, p. 170, n. 227. See also Kf, v. 2. p. 32, h. 1, for a similar, but not identical, formula. 27. See the discussion in Chapter 7 on the connection between walyah and the pre-eternal mthq. 28. Ibn Bbawayh, Ilal al-shari, v. 2, p. 313, h. 33. Issues related to intermarriage among the Shiite and non-Shiite communities are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 11. 29. Ibn Bbawayh, Fail al-shah, p. 60, h. 18. 30. Kf, v. 2, pp. 2930, h. 1. 31. Kf, v. 2, p. 29, h. 4.


Notes to Chapter 10

32. See, for example, Kf, v. 2, p. 379, h. 5. 33. Shiites distinguish between two kinds of shirk: shirk al-ibdah (worshipping a god other than God) and shirk al-ah (obeying someone else in disobedience to God). (Kf, v. 2, p. 379, h. 4; Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 358; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 200.) This is idea is attributed to Ibn Abbs as well. (See Lisn al-arab, v. 7, p. 100.) But the distinction between the two kinds of shirk was particularly relevant in Shiism, given that in Shiite discourse, Ab Bakr and Umar are sometimes referred to cryptically as false idols, al-jibt wal-ght. 34. Kf, v. 2, pp. 37071, h. 16, 18, 21; Al Jafar al-aram, p. 64. 35. See Kf, v. 2, p. 371, h. 20; Masin, p. 89, h. 34 (where it is said that the mushrik is one who doubts (shakka) concerning [Al], although this is probably a copyists error for sharika); s, Aml, p. 410, h. 70/922. 36. Kf, v. 2, p. 29, h. 4. See also Masin, p. 154, h. 80. The phrase muslim ll is similar to the Murjiite mumin ll, in that both terms were meant to signify a morally or religiously flawed member of the Islamic community. 37. In one tradition al-diq states that dying a jhiliyyah death means dying in a state of kufr, all, and nifq (Masin, p. 155, h. 2). For a tradition where the term all seems synonymous with kufr, see Daylam, Alm al-dn, p. 124. 38. See Masin, p. 158, h. 95, where it says that the awliy of God have always been weak (mustaafn) and few, although, here, in terms of their worldly or social circumstances. 39. Quran IV:9798. 40. Kf, v. 2, p. 387, h. 7, 10, 11. 41. Kf, v. 2, pp. 38586, h. 13. 42. Kf, v. 2, p. 386, h. 5. 43. Quran: IX:71: And the believers, men and women, are the awliy of one another. . . . 44. Ibn Bbawayh, Manil-akhbr, p. 192, h. 1. 45. See Al usayn b. Uthmn, p. 111. 46. On this figure, see Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwh, v. 2, pp. 30910. 47. Kf, v. 2, pp. 38283, h. 1. 48. Kf, v. 2, p. 367, h. 6. 49. See, e.g., T. Robbins, Cults, Converts and Charisma: The Sociology of New Religious Movements, p. 106.

1. This is the case in Kulayns al-Kf and Majliss Bir al-anwr. 2. Al-usayn b. Sad al-Kf al-Ahwz, al-Mumin, Qumm, 1983/4 (1404AH). 3. Kf, v. 2, p. 244, h. 7. 4. Al Zayd al-Zarrd, p. 6.

Notes to Chapter 10


5. Ibn Bbawayh, Manil-akhbr, v. 2, p. 412, h. 41; BA, v. 69, p. 16, h. 1. 6. For Murjiites, mn was primarily knowledge (marifah) of the oneness of God. Love (maabbah) of God and humility (khu) before Him were secondary and tertiary stipulations. See, e.g., Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 197200. 7. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, p. 269, h. 1, 2; Masin, pp. 12728, h. 134. 8. Masin, p. 194, h. 13. 9. See Amir-Moezzi, The Divine Guide in Early Shiism, especially pp. 513. 10. See Ashar, Maqlt, v. 1, pp. 197205. 11. See Najsh, Kitb al-rijl, v. 2, pp. 2045. He was also well-respected among Sunni authoritiesan indication that he did not advocate extremist ideas. However, he did have his differences with some Shiite mutakallimn and is said to have broken off formerly close ties to the mutakallim, Hishm b. al-akam, over a dispute regarding what portion of the earth belongs to the Imm. See Kf, v. 1, p. 476, h. 8. 12. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 93, h. 28. 13. A reference to the era of [religious] ignorance in Arab history before Islam. 14. Kf, v. 2, pp. 2425, h. 6. 15. See Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 23236; Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwt, v. 1, p. 347. 16. Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 23536, h. 427, 428; BA, v. 23, p. 80, h. 15. 17. See Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 65, h. 22, BA, v. 25, p. 359, h. 11, and v. 24, p. 26, h. 2; s, Aml, p. 628, h. 6/1293. 18. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, p. 236, h. 5. 19. The names jibt and ght appear in the Quran (IV:51) as false idols. Both terms are primarily defined as anything which is worshipped other than God. According to some early traditionists, the terms referred either to the leaders of the Jews and the Christians or to the leaders of the two Jewish clans of Medina, uyayy b. Akhtab and Kab b. Ashraf. (See Lisn al-arab, v. 2, p. 164; v. 8, pp. 17071.) However, jibt and ght were also used in Shiite tradition as coded references to the first two caliphs, Ab Bakr and Umar. See, Kf, v. 1, p. 498, h. 83; BA, v. 24, p. 303, h. 14; and v. 53, pp. 115 16, h. 21. 20. Temporary marriage was practiced in Muammads time, but Umar reportedly banned the practice and Sunni law generally forbids it. See Heffening, Muta in EI 2, v. 7, pp. 75759. 21. The word jirr is listed as a kind of fish in Lisn al-arab; but an entry in Lane defines it as eel (see Lane, part 2, p. 416.) See Cook, Early Islamic Dietary Law, in Jerusalem Studies 7 (1986), pp. 21777. See pp. 23746 of this study for a discussion of the rulings on the permissibility of eating eel, and pp. 24043 in particular for the Shiite prohibition of eel. 22. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 104, h. 41 (Note: The list only comes to seven if one counts dissociation from al-jibt and al-ght as two separate things).


Notes to Chapter 10

23. ift al-shah, p. 129, h. 71. 24. Kf, v. 1, pp. 46667, h. 1, 2, 4; BA, v. 2, pp. 18397, 20813; Al Jafar al-aram, p. 65. 25. ift al-shah, p. 102, h. 38. 26. Perhaps the most notable case was that of Abul-Khab; see Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 22526, h. 403, and our discussion below. See also, in general, Kohlberg, Bara in Shii Doctrine. 27. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 106, h. 110; BA, v. 69, p. 174, h. 24. The Imms reply is a reference to Quran IX:102. 28. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 322, h. 35. 29. See, for example, BA, v. 72, p. 135, h. 15. 30. See Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 145, h. 229 and p. 147, h. 234, where he is said to have differed with the Imm over the issue of capability, or istiah. However, Zurrah himself maintains that his views on this issue derive from al-diqs own words; see Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 148, h. 236. 31. ift al-shah, p. 82, h. 3. See also Al Muthann b. Wald al-ann, p. 104. 32. BA, v. 2, p. 181, h. 4. 33. ift al-shah, p. 82, h. 2. In Scripture and Exegesis, p. 99, Bar-Asher notes al-Ris insistence that Shiites recognize the Imms as the only authoritative interpreters of the Quran. 34. Imm al-Askar, Tafsr, pp. 30714. 35. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 61169. 36. Kf, v. 2, p. 47, h. 1. The list differs from that in the adth narration previously cited in full (referenced in note 28), in that the virtue of piety (birr) replaces patience (abr). 37. See, e.g., ift al-shah, pp. 9091. 38. See Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 297, h. 528, and p. 300, h. 538. 39. BA, v. 68, p. 166, h. 18; Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 255, h. 474. See also BA, v. 68, p. 166, h. 1920. 40. Kf, v. 2, p. 234, h. 9. See also Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 193, h. 340, p. 295, h. 520, pp. 299300, h. 536, and ift al-shah, p. 89, h. 21, where al-diq puts certain moral requirements on those who would call themselves the shat Jafar. 41. See Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 32129. 42. See, e.g., Al Zayd al-Zarrd, p. 6, and Al Jafar al-aram, p. 64, where al-Bqir refers to Shiites as a group scattered [throughout] the earth, who would unite behind the qim when he rose to arms. A similar idea is attributed to al-diq in Kf, v. 2, pp. 23839, h. 27. 43. See the discussion in Chapter 8, and Kf, v. 2, pp. 24144, for an entire chapter on this subject. 44. Kf, v. 2, pp. 24243, h. 4; Daylam, Alm al-dn, pp. 12324. 45. Kf, v. 2, p. 242, h. 3. 46. Al Zayd al-Zarrd, p. 7; Alm al-dn, p. 123. See our discussion of this adth in Chapter 11. 47. Kf, v. 2, pp. 24142, h. 1. 48. Madelung, Early Sunni Doctrine, p. 238.

Notes to Chapter 10


49. See, e.g., Quran, III:163, VI:165, XII:76, VI:83. 50. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, pp. 32021, h. 31; Kf, v. 2 pp. 4749, h. 1, 2, p. 50, h. 3. 51. Kf, v. 2, pp. 4950, h. 2. 52. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 13536, h. 477, regarding Quran II:253. 53. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, pp. 32021, h. 31. 54. See, e.g., Kf, v. 2, pp. 4749, h. 2, pp. 4950, h. 2; and Rijl alKashsh, p. 11, h. 23. 55. Modarressi, Crisis, p. 61. 56. Modarressi, Crisis, p. 60. 57. Kharijite theology sometimes holds that such individuals were never actually believers but only had the semblance of such to their peers. See, e.g., al-Shiq al-Rustq, v. 2, p. 10. 58. Quran XXXIII:23. 59. Kf, v. 2, pp. 24647, h. 1; BA, v. 67, p. 189, h. 1 and p. 192, h. 2. See also Kf, v. 2, pp. 24748, h. 3; BA, v. 67, p. 193, h. 3 for a version attributed to Al where the word ikhwn is used instead of muminn. 60. Quran VI:98. 61. See abar, Jmil-bayn, v. 7, pp. 37579, where this interpretation is attributed to numerous authorities. abar also includes traditions correlating mustawda to male sperm and mustaqarr to the earth, or mustaqarr to the womb and mustawda to the place of ones death (v. 7, pp. 37374.) A third interpretation held that one was mustaqarr by virtue of ones placement on earth, while one was mustawda,or deposited with God. Note that this interpretation of the Quranic terms does not appear to be related to the Isml concept of mustaqarr and mustawda Imms, referring, respectively, to true Imms, and caretaker Imms. See, e.g., Farhad Daftary, The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, pp. 1046, 115. 62. See, Kf, v. 2, pp. 39698; imyar, Qurb al-isnd, p. 347, h. 1255 and p. 382, h. 1345; Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 37173; Qumm, Tafsr, v. 1, pp. 212 13. See also, Kohlberg, Bara, pp. 15974, and especially Muwft Doctrines in Muslim Theology (pp. 5356), where he notes that al-Shaykh al-Mufd and al-Sharf al-Murta held that those who lost their faith before death were never really believers at allan idea that is not made explicit in the traditions cited previously. 63. In Nahj al-balghah (p. 87, khubah 189), mn is described as being either mustaqarr (established) or awr (lent)the latter being subject to change; for this reason, Al warned against pronouncing barahon an individual until he had died. In other Shiite traditions, the term mustaqarr is juxtaposed with terms derived from the same root (a-w-r), such as mur (also meaning lent) rather than mustawda; see, e.g., Kf, v. 2 pp. 39698. 64. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 371, h. 6971. 65. See Rijl al-Kashsh, pp. 3023, h. 544. 66. Rijl al-Kashsh, p. 296, h. 523; BA, v. 69, p. 222, h. 5. 67. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 1, p. 372, h. 73. Yay b. al-Qsim was apparently a wqif (after the death of al-diq, not al-Kim, since he dies during the latters lifetime), and was accused by some of extremism (ghuluww); see


Notes to Chapter 11

Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwt, v. 2, pp. 33438. For Zurah b. Muammad, see Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwt, v. 1, pp. 32930. 68. The biographical entries cited above for Yay and Zurah mention their authority in adth.

1. Kf, v. 1, p. 530, h. 2. 2. She is often referred to by the title Sayyidat nis al-lamn mistress of the women of the world. See, e.g., Kf, v. 1, p. 531. 3. Ansb, v. 2, p. 203; Tustar, Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 390. 4. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 390. 5. Ibn Abil-add, Shar Nahj al-balghah, v. 6, pp. 21921; Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 2, p. 78. 6. Ibn Atham al-Kf, Kitb al-fut, v. 2, pp. 28183; Tustar, Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 39899. She also reportedly made a public speech to the people of Medina reminding them of Als distinctions and urging their support for him (Ansb, v. 2, p. 159). 7. Ibn Atham, v. 2, p. 284; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 399. Al is also reportedly warned by his kinswoman, Umm Fal bt. al-rith (Ibn Atham, v. 2, pp. 28586). 8. See Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 397 (citing Thalab, Tafsr, and Ibn ws, al-Tarif), where Umm Salamah is marginally included in the tradition regarding the ahl al-kis. 9. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 46364; al-Ibahn, Hilyat al-awliy, v. 2, p. 55. 10. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 464. 11. Al Jafar b. Muammad al-aram, p. 62. 12. Ibn Shahrshb, Manqib l Ab Tlib, v. 2, pp. 1023; BA, v. 27, pp. 22324, h. 14. 13. For a detailed treatment of this topic, see Etan Kohlberg, The Position of the Walad Zina in Imm Shiism in BSOAS 48 (1985), pp. 23766. 14. See, e.g., BA, v. 10, p. 410; v. 41, pp. 199201. 15. ab. I: 345758. 16. For accounts of such women, see Ibn ayfur, Balghat al-nis, pp. 4457, 9294, 1045; and Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 39495, 401, 41415, 44041, 46162, v. 11, p. 2. 17. Balghat al-nis, pp. 11112; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 388. 18. Balghat al-nis, pp. 4446; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 46162. 19. Balghat al-nis, pp. 1067; Amn, Ghadr, v. 1, p. 208; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 43637. 20. Balghat al-nis, pp. 10910; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 417. 21. Ab Mikhnaf, Maqtal al-usayn, pp. 1718. 22. ab. II: 73132.

Notes to Chapter 11


23. See, e.g., Maqtal, pp. 111, 164, 2034. 24. See Maqtal, pp. 2056, and Mubarrad, Kmil, v. 3, p. 1186. 25. Maqtal, pp. 12324, 141. 26. Maqtal, pp. 7475. 27. Maqtal, pp. 4548; BA, v. 44, pp. 35051. 28. Maqtal, pp. 129, 203; ab. II: 378. 29. BA, v. 45, pp. 37475. 30. ab. II: 37881; BA, v. 45, pp. 132, 14243. 31. Even for women, however, such actions were not entirely without risk. The wives of the early Kufan supporter of Al, Amr b. al-amiq, and the later Shiite activist, al-Mukhtr b. Ab Ubayd, were reportedly imprisoned for supporting their husbands. 32. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 44748. This is also quoted in some Imm theological works as precedent for the female transmission of a waiyyah, something that was an issue for establishing the existence of the twelfth Imm, with which those authors were particularly concerned. 33. Kf, v. 1, p. 360, h. 3; al-Saffr al-Qumm, Bair al-darajt, pp. 163 68, h. 3, 6, 24. 34. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 424, 433. 35. Bair al-darajt, pp. 163-68, h. 4, 16, 23. See also p. 162, h. 1, where Umm Salamah is entrusted by Al with a letter for his son, al-asan, shortly before he leaves Medina for Kufa. 36. Kf, v. 1, p. 417, h. 15; Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 4023. 37. Ibn Shahrshb, Manqib, v. 1, p. 257; Kf, v. 1, pp. 4078, h. 3. 38. See BA, v. 35, p. 30, h. 26; v. 42, pp. 33439; v. 45, p. 200, h. 42; v. 100, pp. 25557, h. 53; v. 101, pp. 7172, 75, h. 14, 16, 24. 39. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 447; v. 11, pp. 2829. 40. Umm Salamah is also said to have passed on certain traditions to her nieces and granddaughters as well (see, e.g., Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 441 42; v. 11, p. 36). 41. A. Schimmel, My Soul Is a Woman, New York: Continuum, 1999, pp. 6970. 42. There are reports in Sunni and Shiite sources that Fimah complained to her father about Als poverty, and other traditions assert that Al obtained his nickname, Ab Turb (father of dust) because when he was displeased with Fimah, he would put dirt on his head, being hesitant to express his displeasure directly. (See, e.g., BA, v. 39, pp. 2078.) 43. See Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 37983, where she relates pro-Alid traditions and where a number of anecdotes place her in conflict with the Shiite antagonist, Umar b. al-Khab. 44. Ibn Hishm, al-Srah al-nabawiyyah, v. 3, p. 313. This report comes from ishah, herself. 45. Quran XXIV:1117. 46. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 47778 (citing Qumm, Tafsr). 47. Al-Sharf al-R, Nahj al-balghah, p. 8, khubah 13. 48. Nahj al-balghah, p. 67, khubah 156.


Notes to Chapter 11

49. Nahj al-balghah, pp. 2728, khubah 80. For a Sunni version, see Bukhr, a, v. 1, p. 181. 50. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 208; BA, v. 103, pp. 24142, h. 5, 6. 51. Karjik, Kanz al-fawid, p. 177; BA, v. 103, p. 253. 52. Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, p. 202; BA, v. 103, p. 224, h. 3. 53. Nahj al-balghah, pp. 153, 155, 160. 54. See, e.g., Nahj al-balghah, p. 159, where Al predicts a future time when the community will be governed in consultation with women, commanded by children, and managed by eunuchs. 55. See Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 554; BA, v. 103, p. 245, h. 24; Nahj albalghah, p. 163. 56. See Rwand, Nawdir, p. 119; BA, v. 103, p. 250, h. 40. 57. s, Aml, pp. 66263; Ibn Bbawayh, Uyn akhbr al-Ri, v. 2, p. 39; BA, v. 103, p. 226, h. 17 and p. 251, h. 48. 58. Nahj al-balghah, p. 162; BA, v. 103, p. 252, h. 51. See also Nahj albalghah, p. 171, where Al notes that those qualities that are the best in women are the worst in men. See also Rwand, Nawdir, pp. 18283 and BA, v. 103, pp. 25051, h. 45 for a tradition attributed to the Prophet which states that jealously is a trial for women as jihd is a trial for men, such that whoever endures it with patience will have the reward of a martyr. 59. Ibn Bbawayh, Ilal al-shari, v. 2, p. 228 and Aml, p. 182; Karjak, Kanz al-fawid, p. 177; BA, v. 103, p. 223, h. 1 and p. 253, h. 57. 60. Nahj al-balghah, p. 28, khubah 80. 61. Yaqb, Tarkh, v. 2, p. 82. 62. BA, v. 103, p. 225, h. 10. Majlis cites Ibn Bbawayhs Khil as his source for this tradition. It was not found in the 1971 Najaf edition, but was found in the 1969 Tehran edition, p. 113, h. 91. 63. See Denise Spellberg, Politics, Gender and the Islamic Past, pp. 13840. 64. Nahj al-balghah, p. 155. 65. Al-Shaykh al-Mufd, Kitb al-irshd (trans. I.K.A. Howard), pp. 149 50; BA, v. 79, pp. 5052, h. 36, 40. 66. Ibn Shahrshb, Manqib, v. 2, p. 187; BA, v. 40, pp. 23233, h. 12. 67. Al-Shaykh al-Mufd, Ikhti, p. 157; BA, v. 40, pp. 11314. 68. Kf, v. 7, pp. 46869, h. 12; BA, v. 40, pp. 31617, h. 94 and v. 41, p. 236, h. 7. 69. Nahj al-balghah, p. 179. 70. Ibn Shahrshb, Manqib, v. 1, p. 382; BA, v. 41, p. 52. 71. See, e.g., BA, v. 103, p. 224, h. 7. One tradition states that most of the mustaafn in paradise were women, because God knows their weakness and has mercy on them. (Ibn Bbawayh, Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 468, h. 4628). 72. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 553; BA, v. 103, p. 255. 73. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 409. 74. Al-asan al-Askar, Tafsr al-Askar in BA, v. 103, pp. 25960, h. 11. See also Kf, v. 1, p. 533, h. 8, 10 and BA, v. 103, p. 375, h. 17. 75. Ibn Bbawayh, Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 468, h. 4621.

Notes to Chapter 11


76. s, Aml, p. 83; BA, v. 103, p. 226, h. 13. 77. Ibn Bbawayh, Khil, p. 208; BA, v. 74, pp. 19495, h. 22. 78. Kf, v. 5, p. 326, h. 69; BA, v. 103, p. 226, h. 15. 79. Kf, v. 2, p. 139, h. 11; BA, v. 103, h. 10. 80. Kf, v. 5, p. 325, h. 1 (he opens his lengthy book on marriage with this tradition); Muammad b. al-Fattl al-Nsbr, Rawat al-wizn, p. 411; . BA, v. 103, p. 236, h. 24. 81. Rwand, Nawdir, p. 123; BA, v. 103, p. 228, h. 29. 82. Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 384, h. 4351; Kf, v. 5, p. 326, h. 5; Rwand, Nawdir, p. 114; BA, v. 103, p. 228, h. 28 and p. 227, h. 20. 83. Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 385, h. 4352. 84. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 392. 85. Kf, v. 2, pp. 24142, h. 1; Daylam, Alm al-dn, p. 123; BA, v. 67, p. 159, h. 3. 86. See, e.g., BA, v. 18, p. 364, h. 69; v. 35, p. 358, h. 10; v. 68, pp. 36 37, h. 78. 87. Qms al-rijl, v. 10, p. 386. 88. See, e.g., BA, v. 51, p. 336, h. 62. 89. See Qms al-rijl, v. 10, pp. 39394, for an account of the Zayd woman, Umm Khlid, who had an arm amputated because of her beliefs, and BA, v. 100, pp. 44044, h. 21, where a woman is arrested for publicly cursing the oppressors of Fimah. 90. Ibn Bbawayh, Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 467, h. 4620. 91. Kf, v. 5, pp. 33839, h. 1; BA, v. 103, p. 235, h. 19; p. 236, h. 21. Sunni traditions endorsing the marriage of virgins are frequently tied to the status of ishah as the virgin wife of the Prophet, see Bukhr, ah, v. 7, pp. 912. 92. Kf, v. 5, pp. 33031; Rwand, Nawdir, p. 114, 177; BA, v. 103, p. 236, h. 29 and p. 239, h. 49. 93. Kf, v. 5, pp. 34447; Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 393, h. 4385; BA, v. 103, p. 371, h. 1. 94. Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, p. 393, h. 4381; Rawnd, Nawdir, p. 112; BA, v. 103, p. 374, h. 15. 95. Quran V:5. 96. Quran LX:10. The Sunni tafsr tradition interprets the term kawfir (unbelieving women) here to mean exclusively polytheist women (abar, Jmi al-bayn, v. 28, p. 91 and Ibn Kathr, Tafsr al-Qurn al-azm, v. 4, p. 451). Certain Shiite traditions consider the term to refer to anyone not of the religious community of the Muslims and so to be a prohibition on, or at least a discouraging of, intermarriage with Jews and Christians as well. See, Qumm, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 363 and Kf, v. 5, pp. 36263, h. 78. 97. Kf, v. 5, pp. 35556, h. 15, p. 361, h. 2. 98. Kf, v. 5, pp. 36162, h. 46, p. 363, h. 10; BA, v. 103, p. 376, h. 23. 99. BA, v. 103, p. 381, h. 27. 100. Amad b. Muammad al-Ashar, Kitb al-Nawdir, p. 119; BA, v. 103, p. 376, h. 1.


Notes to Chapter 12

101. Kf, v. 5, p. 361, h. 3; BA, v. 103, p. 377, h. 6. 102. Man l yauruhul-faqh, v. 3, pp. 38687, h. 4358; BA, v. 103, p. 232, h. 1. 103. Kf, v. 5, pp. 35354, h. 3, 4, 8, 11; BA, v. 103, p. 378, h. 15, p. 380, h. 21. 104. Kf, v. 5, p. 355, h. 1314; BA, v. 46, pp. 29293, h. 19, pp. 36667, h. 8. Al-diq is said to have refused a marriage proposal from a Kharijite (BA, v. 103, pp. 37374, h. 12). 105. Kf, v. 5, pp. 35255, h. 2, 7, 10, 12 and BA, v. 103, pp. 37781, h. 7, 13, 17, 27, and the discussion in Chapter 9. 106. Ibn Bbawayh, Aml, p. 256; BA, v. 79, pp. 1819, h. 2. 107. Ayysh, Tafsr, v. 2, p. 96. 108. Amad b. Muammad al-Ashar, Kitb al-Nawdir, p. 131; BA, v. 103, p. 378, h. 16. For a version attributed to al-diq, see Kf, v. 5, p. 353, h. 6. 109. Kf, v. 5, pp. 35253, h. 1, 5; BA, v. 103, p. 380, h. 23. See also Ashar, Amad b. Muammad b. s, Kitb al-Nawdir, p. 128; BA, v. 103, p. 377, h. 8. 110. Amad b. Muammad al-Ashar, Kitb al-Nawdir, pp. 13031; BA, v. 103, p. 378, h. 15. 111. Mufd, Ikhti, pp. 5458; BA, v. 48, p. 121, h. 1.


1. Kohlberg, Bara, p. 153. 2. Ibn Bbawayh, ift al-shah, p. 102, h. 38; Al Jafar al-aram, p. 78. 3. Kf, v. 3, pp. 41315. See also, Al Zayd al-Nars, pp. 46, 52, 54. 4. The Imms generally instructed their followers, when praying behind a non-Shiite prayer leader, to pretend to follow him outwardly, while reciting Quranic verses independently to themselves. See Kf, v. 3, p. 364, h. 1, 3, 4, where the Imms instruct their disciples on what to do when they have silently completed their independent recitations before their ostensible prayer leader has completed his. 5. Al Abd Allh b. Yay al-Khil, p. 114. See also Kf, v. 2, p. 126, h. 3, where al-Bqir mentions the case of Moses, who was commanded by God to keep his secret concealed and show kindness to the people outwardly, in order to prevent them from reviling God. Hence the Quranic injunction: Revile not those whom they call upon besides Allh, lest they revile Allh out of spite and in ignorance . . . (VI:108). This may have more to do with taqiyyahthan with outward interaction with non-Shiites, but it does, in any case, enjoin kindness toward them. 6. Al Al b. Razn, p. 151.

Notes to Chapter 12


7. Kf, v. 2, p. 222, h. 11. The Imm makes this comment in the context of the imperative of taqiyyah, or precautionary dissimulation of ones Shiite identity. 8. Kf, v. 2, pp. 23839, h. 27; ift al-shah, p. 95, h. 34. In some versions, the non-Shiites are referred to simply as those who are not our brothers (ghayra ikhwnin); and in other versions as our enemies (aduwwin). 9. Qumm, Mudaqat al-ikhwn, p. 170, h. 1. 10. See Kf, v. 2, p. 362, h. 9, 11; BA, v. 68, bab 21; Mumin, p. 70, h. 92. 11. See Kf, v. 2, pp. 175213. See also Masin, especially pp. 98104. 12. This is published along with Ibn Bbawayhs Fail al-shah and ift al-shah. The monograph in question is found on pp. 13190 of this edition. 13. This is one of Majliss sources for the Bir al-anwr, and has been edited by mid al-Khafff. (See bibliography for further details.) 14. See Masin, pp. 98104. 15. See, e.g., Kf, v. 2, pp. 17980, h. 10, 11; Mumin, p. 45, h. 106. 16. Masin, pp. 9798, h. 62, 63. 17. Mudaqat al-ikhwn, p. 169, h. 1. 18. Khaythamah al-Juf; see Ardabl, Jmi al-ruwh, v. 1, p. 299. 19. Al Jafar al-aram, p. 79; Kf, v. 2, p. 182, h. 2, p. 225, h. 4. 20. Kf, v. 2, p. 237, h. 24. 21. Kf, v. 2, p. 182, h. 1. 22. Al Zayd al-Zarrd, p. 2. See also, Al im b. umayd, p. 26. 23. Ibn Shubah, Tuaf al-uql, p. 489. 24. Kf, v. 2, pp. 19498, h. 2, 4, 7, 11, 16; Mumin, pp. 5152, h. 127, 131. 25. Kf, v. 2, p. 176, h. 4. 26. Al Zayd al-Zarrd, p. 7. 27. Kf, v. 2, p. 178, h. 8. 28. Kf, v. 2, pp. 2001, h. 6, 8, 11, p. 209, h. 20; Mumin, pp. 4849, h. 113, 116, pp. 5253, h. 130, 132, p. 55, h. 141. 29. Kf, v. 2, pp. 2023, h. 1, 9, pp. 2089, h. 13, 16, 1820; Mumin, p. 47, h. 110, 112, p. 49, h. 117, p. 53, h. 132, 135, p. 56, h. 144, pp. 6365, h. 160, 163, 170. 30. Masin, p. 120, h. 95. 31. Kf, v. 2, p. 178, h. 8, where al-diq chastises a prominent disciple for turning away a poor Shiite seeking alms, while they were circumambulating the Kabah together. 32. Mudaqat al-ikhwn, p. 146, h. 3. See also, Al Muthann b. al-Wald al-ann, p. 103, and Mumin, p. 64, h. 165 for similar traditions. 33. Al Jafar al-aram, p. 67. 34. See references to biographical material on al-Mufaal in Chapter 10. 35. Kf, v. 2, p. 213, h. 3. 36. Kf, v. 2, pp. 21314, h. 4. 37. ift al-shah, p. 82, h. 5. 38. See Wensinck, Concordance, under dayn for Sunni versions of this tradition.


Notes to Chapter 12

39. Al Zayd al-Nars, p. 51. 40. See, also, a tradition attributed to Muammad al-Bqir to this effect (Kf, v. 3, p. 546, h. 11). 41. Kf, v. 3, pp. 53536, h. 1. 42. Mumin, pp. 4041, h. 93, 94. 43. This expletive literally means dirt, filth, and was commonly used to show dislike, disgust, or hatred. (See Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, v. 1, p. 67.) In the Quran, it is something that should not be said to ones parents (XVII:23; XLVI:17) and is the term Abraham uses to show his scorn and disgust with the idolaters of his community (II:67). 44. Kf, v. 2, p. 178, h. 7, pp. 34546, h. 8; Masin, p. 99, h. 67; Mumin, p. 72, h. 198. 45. Kf, v. 2, p. 201, h. 13; p. 352, h. 4. 46. Kf, v. 2, p. 176, h. 2 47. Kf, v. 2, p. 351, h. 4. 48. BA, v. 67, pp. 6970, h. 28, citing Mishkt al-anwr of abris. 49. Kf, v. 2, pp. 19495, 198, h. 1, 6, 14; Mumin, p. 69, h. 189. 50. Masin, p. 98, h. 65.

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Abn b. Ab Ayysh, 269n14 Abn b. Taghlib, 133, 277n26 Abbsids: on Ghadr Khumm tradition, 38, 258n24; Imms and, 211, 234; revolution of, 177178; spiritual inheritance of, 98 Abd Allh b. Jafar, 110 Abd Allh b. Khabbb, 66 Abd al-Malik b. Marwn, 143, 280n14 Abs b. Ab Shabb, 87 Ab Bakr: Al on, 260n2, 265n12; authority of, 4950; family of, 225; kin ties of, 254n9; Kumayts poetry on, 106107 Ab Hshim, 98 Ab Manr al-Ijl, 130 Ab Mikhnaf, 4, 7879, 80, 82, 94, 220 Ab Ms, 5455, 65, 261n12 Ab Ubaydah al-adh, 196197 Ab Zabb, 64 Abul-Jrd Ziyd b. Mundhir, 111 113, 117 Abul-Khab, 188, 209 adwah (enmity), 1920; community defined by, 6364; Quran on, 19 20, 255n33; toward Muwiyah, 79 ahl al-bayt: devotion to by women, 218; leadership legitimacy of, 73, 88; love (ubb) of, 120121, 157, 277n37; walyah to, 33, 40, 49, 104, 115, 129130, 135; women of, 214 ishah, 216217, 223, 225227 Al b. Ab lib: authority challenge by Kharijites, 5556; brotherhood with Prophet, 258n25; caliph selection of, 4952; charisma of, 3, 6, 94; death of, 73; on dissociation (barah), 6566, 264n60; divine inspiration, 108; esoteric teaching of, 25; First Civil War, 42, 4950, 5758, 61, 63; as imm, 107, 260n46, 271n23; legatee (wa ) of the Prophet, 58 59, 262n30; mawl designation by the Prophet, 3336, 41, 4345, 259n36; personal virtues, 59; in poetry, 105108; right guidance (hud) of, 263n35; as Rightlyguided caliph, 38; as successor to Prophet, 109110, 221; successors to, 3, 5, 7374, 110, 221222, 265n3; on walyah, 254n9; walyah to Ab Bakr by, 265n12; walyah toward, 67, 33, 5763, 64, 77, 79 81, 93, 146, 147148, 218219; on women, 224227. See also Ghadr Khumm tradition Al b. Bbawayh al-Qumm, 166, 173, 241242 Al b. al-usayn Zayn al-bidn, 72; on al-Mukhtr, 269n93; on charity, 242; on human creation, 150; as legatee (wa), 221; marriage of, 231, 233; on nonShiites, 185 Al al-Ri, 211; on authority of Imms, 201; on faith (mn), 184 185, 197; on shahdah and walyah, 133134, 147; on spiritual status of Shiites, 168; Sufism and, 24; on walyah to Imms, 246, 260n46




Alawiyyn (supporters of Al), 135 136 allegiance (walyah). See walyah almsgiving (zakh), 247248, 251. See also charity Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali, 2, 15, 119, 254n3 Amr b. al-, 5455, 261n12 al-mul, Haydar, 28 antinomianism, 129130, 137 Araft, pilgrimage day at, 112113 shr, 272n31 authority: of Al, 49, 61; Arabic terms for, 1718; caliphs, initial, 5051; charismatic, 3, 9, 57, 94, 98; debate over nature of, 53; earned through competence, 52; heredity of, 5455, 261nn1213; of Imms, 196197, 200; Kharijite view of, 5657; rightful, 3; Shiite conception of, 61; spiritual, 29, 98, 99; Sufism and, 24; of Uthmn, 51 53; way (transmission testimonies) of, 98, 220221. See also guidance, right (hud) Baldhur, 37, 77 al-Bqir, Muammad, 72; on believers, degrees of, 208; on charity, 242243, 245; descent, Prophetic, of, 110; on faith (mn), 121123, 182184, 188, 289n16, 289n21; Ghadr Khumm commentary by, 111114, 117118; on Imms special status, 170; influence of, 173; on kufr and lack of walyah, 179180; Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asad and, 105; on love, 120121; on piety, action, and walyah, 137138; on postponement of judgment (irj), 183184; on predetermination of Shiites, 151153; on primordial pact (mthq), 146, 148, 150; on Shiites special status, 169; on suffering of Shiites, 136137; theological developments in time of, 104, 123;

on walyah, 137, 196197, 198199; walyah as pillar of Islam, 117 118; wives of, 231; on women, 228, 231, 233 Baql, Rzbihn, 256n44 barah (dissociation). See dissociation (barah) Bar-Asher, Meir, 2, 260n47 Barq, Amad, 141142 Basra, 268n64 Battle of iffn, 5758, 59, 65, 262n31 Battle of the Camel, 5960, 225, 226 bayah (pledge): to Al, second, 60 62, 68, 262n35; to al-asan, 7374; to caliphs, 50; to Muwiyah, 76, 78; rightly guided, 97, 270n96; to Yazd, 81 Bayn b. Samn, 129131 believers (muminn), 159, 193; charity toward, 245; hierarchy of, 165166, 205211; Shiites as, 159, 165166, 181, 185, 191; women, 204, 229230. See also unbelief (kufr) bloodline of Al. See descent from Al bloodline of Imms, 3, 5 bloodline of Prophet. See descent, Prophetic Book of Faith and Unbelief (Kulayn), 127 brotherhood: among Meccans and Medinans, 22, 258n25; among Shiites, 170171, 193, 241242, 244245, 249250 caliphate, conceptions of, 53 caliphs, 38, 4952. See also specific caliphs charisma: of Al, 6, 94; authority and, 3, 9, 57, 94, 98; community and, 10, 2324; Imms extending to followers, 168; of Shiites, 171; walyah and, 7; Weber on, 79 charity: among Shiites, 242249, 251; from enemies, 172; from nonShiites, 238, 240, 251



Chodkiewicz, Michel, 2728 Christians, 20, 225, 231, 232, 291n19, 297n96 Civil War. See First Civil War; Second Civil War clairvoyance (firsah), 3, 171 codes of conduct: communal identity and, 237238; relations among Shiites, 241251; relations with non-Shiites, 239240 communal identity: charity and, 245, 248, 251; codes of conduct and, 237238; as elect/chosen, 144, 154155, 160165; Karbala martyrdom and, 94; Kharijite, 910; primordial origins myth, 148151, 155, 157158, 281n46; as saved community, 125126, 136, 137; scholarly study on, 2; theses of, 23, 7, 10; ummah and Shiites, 179; walyah and, 11, 63, 6769, 103, 126, 199, 242243, 249251; women and marriage and, 215 community of believers: charisma and, 2324; as followers of Imms, 197; membership in, 125 132, 192, 201203; membership in, by sinners, 129; predestination of, 141, 144; Quran on, 2021; salvation and membership in, 132133; spiritual hierarchy supporting, 166; walyah and, 126; women members, 229230 Cook, Michael, 78, 253n7 Corbin, Henry, 28, 30 Cornell, Vincent, 29, 30, 163 cosmological ideas. See creation myths covenant (mthq) of God. See mthq (covenant) of God creation myths, 144, 147155, 163 164, 170, 174, 208, 281n46 lln (misguided ones), 186189, 290n63 Dabashi, Hamid, 910 Day of Judgment, 158, 172

Day of Resurrection, 147, 166, 167, 170, 285n62, 285n69 degrees of faith, 207211, 293nn6163 descent, Prophetic: charismatic authority, 98; of al-asan, 5; of alusayn, 5, 82, 84, 86, 8890, 9294; of Imms, 3, 110; nobility of, 97; spiritual inheritance and, 26 descent from Al, 3, 5; charismatic authority, 98; of al-usayn, 89, 9293; of Muammad b. alanafiyyah, 97 dhunb (sins), 136 dissociation (barah), 6567; Al b. Ab lib on, 6566, 264n60; Kharijites on, 6667, 254n57; from Shiites lacking sufficient faith, 198199, 206; from Muwiyah, 79 Divine Decree. See fate (qadar) and faith divine inspiration, 58, 108, 168 duty, religious (farah), 104105 elect, spiritual, 160165, 283n73; elite spiritual status, 10; eschatological privileges of, 147, 158, 166, 167, 170, 172; esoterism and, 25; possessors of understanding (ulul-albb), 161; predestination and, 144, 151, 152, 154155, 157158. See also na (specific designation) enemies of Shiites, charity from, 172; intermarriage, 231232; predestination of, 151, 180, 208, 218; walyah, opposition to, 169 170. See also Umayyads enmity (adwah), 1920; community defined by, 6364; Quran on, 19 20, 255n33; toward Muwiyah, 79 esoterism and walyah, 2526 excommunication, 65, 198199, 206 expiation of sin by martyrdom, 90 91 extremist (ghult) Shiites, 204; on primordial pact (mthq), 152153; on sin, 129130



Fimah, 215216, 221, 224, 295n42 Fas, 206207 faith (mn): doctrinal beliefs on, 197; fate (qadar) and, 143, 288n10; hierarchy of, 178, 192193, 205, 208211, 293nn6163; hierarchy of believers and, 165166; islm, distinction from, 131132, 179 185, 250251; love and, 120121; recognition of Imm as, 8; sectarian differences in, 126; Shiite identity, 191192; and unbelief (kufr) dichotomy, 182, 188; walyah and, 1011, 119123, 127128, 192193; works and, 126132 farah (religious duty), walyah as, 104105, 108109, 112, 113 Farewell Pilgrimage. See Ghadr Khumm tradition fast of shr, 272n31 fate (qadar) and faith, 143, 288n10 firsah (clairvoyance), 3, 171 First Civil War, 42, 4950, 53; ishahs role in, 225, 226227; discourse during, 5758, 63, 68; divisions in, 6364; historical accounts, 59; ideological debate, 53; Kharijites and, 55, 61, 6263; veterans of, 80, 93 forgiveness of sins, 136137 free will (tafw), 142143, 279n3 Friday communal prayer, 238, 298n5 Ghadr Khumm tradition, 3334, 4748; affirmations of by Als enemies, 4243; al-Bqir, Muammad commentary on, 111 114, 117118; differing accounts of, 3940, 4344; First Civil War accounts and, 59; in Imm adth, 111113, 257n9, 271n22, 272n34; immate doctrine and, 35; as na, 47, 63; in poetry, 105108; Quranic verses and, 105, 109, 259n44; Shiite interpretations of,

4548, 104111; sources for, 3644, 257n3, 258n22; Sunni interpretation of, 4445, 258n23; Sunni sources for, 3639, 257n3; walyah and, 68, 104105 ghult (extremist) Shiites. See extremist (ghult) Shiites guidance, right (hud), 82, 88; of Al, 263n35; al-usayn and, 87, 94; of Imms, 118; al-Mukhtrs call for, 97 adth, Shiite, 36, 127, 153154, 159; to distinguish Shiites, 162; Ghadr Khumm, 39, 4142, 105, 111113, 272n34; knowledge of, 197198; on relations among Shiites, 241242; on Shiite community membership, 202; on special spiritual status of Shiites, 173174; walyah as pillar of Islam, 113118; on women, 223, 224, 228230, 235; women transmitters, 213, 223224. See also Ghadr Khumm tradition al-akm al-Tirmidh, 25, 171 al-akam b. Utaybah, 122 Hrn al-Rashd, 234 al-asan al-Askar, 200, 221, 228 al-asan al-Bar, 143, 280n14 al-asan b. Al: bayah to, 7374; descent of, 5; al-usayn and, 85; loyalty to, 71, 73; poisoning of, 267n48; surrender to Muwiyah, 7475; waiyyah from Al, 265n3 asanid Shiites, 178 Hshim b. Utbah, 64 Hshimite clan, 40, 8890, 258n23; Abbsid rule of, 178; right guidance of, 97 Hshimiyyt (poems), 105108 heredity of charismatic authority, 3, 9 hierarchy of believers. See under believers (muminn) Hishm, 78



Hodgson, Marshall, 1, 178 ujjah (Proof of God), 167168, 286n71 ujr b. Ad, 266n33; on al-asans surrender, 75; leadership of, 71; martyrdom of, 80; passive resistance of, 7781, 266n26 al-usayn b. Al: activist reputation, 85; bayah to Muwiyah, 85; descent of, 5, 8890, 9293; on immate, 268n60; Kufans request to lead, 86; legitimacy of rule, 85, 88; martyrdom of, 46, 7172, 94; personal virtues, 86; Prophetic descent of, 85; religious leadership of, 87; sanctity of, 94; successors to, 110; support for, 8384, 264n2, 266n40, 268n56; tomb of, 9394; Umayyad opposition to, 8182; vengeance for martyrdom, 71, 9092; walyah and, 8384 al-usayn b. Sad, 241 al-Ifahn, al-Rghib, 254n5 Ibn Abbs, 8384, 150, 254n9 Ibn al-Arab, 2728, 2829, 255 256n43, 256n44 Ibn Askir, 37 Ibn Bbawayh, 134, 166, 173, 238 Ibn al-anafiyyah. See Muammad b. al-anafiyyah Ibn anbal, 3738, 258n19 Ibn Kathr, 37 Ibn Manr, 254n5 Ibn al-Zubayr, 8182, 95, 266n39 identity, Shiite communal. See communal identity ijtihd (effort) and wara (piety), 137138 Imm Shiites. See Shiites immate doctrine: emergence of, 178; Ghadr Khumm tradition and, 35; al-usayn on, 268n60; walyah and, 49, 53 Imms: belief in, 181; charisma of, 3, 8; distinction from followers,

164165; Ghadr Khumm tradition and, 47; intercession by, 172; knowledge of, by followers, 178, 194, 196197; location, 283n7; marriage of, 231; meaning of term, 8687; as muaddath, 168; obedience to, 117, 178, 192, 194, 200203; recognition of, 206207; relation to followers, 165168, 178; religious tax (khums) payments to, 234, 245247; right guidance of, 118; sanctity of, 30; spiritual inheritance of, 26, 255n43, 256n44; succeeding Al, 72; succession crises, 206207, 209, 220221; titles of, 167168; walyah to, 117, 119 120, 146147, 246, 248249 mn (faith). See faith (mn) inheritance and walyah, 2021, 2628 initiation for spiritual inheritance, 2728 inspiration, nonscriptural, 108 intelligence, 162, 186187, 194; of women, 214, 225226, 228 intercession, 134, 137, 171172 intermarriage, non-Shiite, 182183, 186187, 215, 230231, 235, 297n96 Iran, 2425 Iraqi patriotism, 4 islm (submission) and mn (faith) distinction, 131132, 179185, 250 251 Ismls, 28 Jafar al-diq. See al-diq, Jafar Jahmites, 275n1 Jrd Zayds, 111, 271n23, 271n28 Jews, 2021, 217, 231, 232, 291n19, 297n96 judgment, postponement of (irj), 181, 183184 Jundab b. Abd Allh, 85 Kabah, 8182, 169, 283n7 al-Kf (Kulayn), 127, 131, 171, 241, 285n53



karmah, 171, 285n57 Karbala, martyrdom at: historiography of, 267nn4647; legitimacy of rule and, 8990; pilgrimages to alusayns tomb, 9394; religious aspect of, 46; support (nurah) and, 84; walyah and, 82; womens role in, 219220, 222223 Kaysn Shiism, 98 al-Kim, Ms. See Ms al-Kim khah. See elect, spiritual Kharijites: authority, views on, 56 57; charismatic community and, 910, 283n72; on dissociation (barah), 6667, 254n57; on faith (mn), 127, 181; rebellion to Al, 5556, 60, 61, 6263; rebellion to Muwiyah, 7677; walyah and dissociation (barah), 254n57; Weber on, 253n7 khums (religious tax), 243, 245247 Khurasan, 125, 134 Kitb Sulaym b. Qays, 108110, 122, 143 knowledge, 194199; defined, 194 195; esoteric, 2627; levels of, 210 211; recognizing Imms, 178, 194, 196197; religious, 160, 164, 168 Kohlberg, Etan, 2, 168, 238, 253n3 Kufan Shiite community: alusayn requested as leader, 86; initial activism of, 7172; Iraqi patriotism of, 4; al-Mukhtr as leader of, 9697; opposition to Muwiyah, 7778; predestinarian thought among, 141; Shiite intellectual center, 125, 188; under Umayyads, 72 kufr (unbelief). See unbelief (kufr) Kulayn, 127, 131, 241 Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asad, 105107 Lalani, Arzina, 2 legatee (wa) of the Prophet, 58, 98 legitimacy of rule, 52; Al, 59; ahl al-bayt, 73, 88; al-usayn b. Al,

85, 88; Karbala martyrdom and, 8990; al-Mukhtr, 9697 light (nr), mystical, 170171, 287nn103105 love: of Al, 106, 120, 135, 138, 275nn7677; of ahl al-bayt, 129, 131, 135, 157, 277n37; of Imms, 282n66; mutual divine, 2829; in non-Shiite texts, 274n69; of Shiites, 170, 282n65; walyah and, 120121; of women, 228 loyalty. See walyah Madelung, Wilferd, 2, 10, 50, 131, 253n4 mahd (guided one), 56, 58, 95, 97 Majlis, 114115 Maqil b. Qays, 7677 marifah (knowledge). See knowledge marriageability, 182183, 186187, 215, 230235 martyrdom: expiation of sin, 9091; of ujr b. Ad, 80; of al-usayn, 46, 7172, 94; religious aspect of, 46 martyrs (shuhad), 161162 mawl, 4647 Maymnah (wife of the Prophet), 217 Mecca, 8182, 283n7 Medina, 283n7 misguided ones (lln), 186189, 290n63 mthq (covenant) of God: degrees of faith, 208; predestination and, 149; with prophets, 145146; Shiite community and, 148149, 151152, 155, 158; with Sufis, 164; walyah of Al and, 146147, 280n32 Modarressi, Hossein, 2 Muwiyah b. Ab Sufyn: bayah to, 67, 78, 85; al-asan surrender and poisoning, 7475, 267n48; hereditary authority claim, 5455, 261nn1213; Qays b. Sads



portrayal of, 7576; rule of, 7677; Shiite opposition to, 7980 muaddath, 168, 286nn7577 muminn (believers). See believers (muminn) Mufaal b. Umar, 169, 202, 246 al-Mufd, al-Shaykh, 135 al-Mughrah b. Sad al-Ijl, 152 153, 209 al-Mughrah b. Shubah, 78 Muammad: Al designated as mawl by, 3334, 4345; daughter of, 215216; descent from, 3, 26; will of, 5859; wives of, 216217, 223 Muammad b. Awn, 65 Muammad b. Ab Umayr, 195, 291n11 Muammad b. Ab Bakr, 65, 263n50 Muammad b. Abd Allh al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah, 178 Muammad b. al-anafiyyah, 5; as legatee of Al, 98; as mahd, 97; al-Mukhtr and, 73, 9698, 270n96; spiritual inheritance of, 72 Muammad b. Bishr al-Hamdn, 85 Muammad b. Muslim, 188 Muammad al-Bqir. See al-Bqir, Muammad Muriz b. Shihb al-Tamm, 6162 al-Mukhtr b. Ab Ubayd, 90; support for, 73; uprising of, 95 98, 269n93; vengeance for alusayns martyrdom, 5, 71, 9697 Murjiites: on faith, 121123, 125 128, 275n1, 291n6; on faith (mn) and kufr dichotomy, 188; on faith (mn) and islm distinction, 181 182; on predestination, 141, 143; on salvation, 132, 135, 277n22 Ms al-Kim: authority of, 206; on believers, 162; in prison, 211; on Shiite spiritual identity, 171, 173; on walyah and believers, 193; on women, 228, 234

al-Musayyab b. Najabah, 85, 90, 92 93 Muslim b. ajjj, 39 Muslims, 11, 185, 238. See also islm (submission) and mn (faith) distinction; non-Shiites mustaafn, 186189, 296n71 al-Mustawrid, 7677 Mutazilites, 127, 132133, 134, 137 Muthann b. Mukharribah, 93 mutiny against al-asan, 7475 mystical Shiism, 2431 myths. See creation myths na (specific designation), 8, 47, 63. See also elect, spiritual Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, 28, 2930 nearness, divine, 2829, 165, 167 Newman, Andrew, 2, 173 non-Shiites: intermarriage with, 186189, 230232, 297n96; relations with, 186189, 232, 239240, 298n5; Shiite views on, 1011, 114, 179181, 184185 nurah (support), 1718, 22, 8384, 267nn4445 obedience to Imms, 61, 117, 178, 192, 194, 200203 pact, primordial, of God. See mthq (covenant) of God passive resistance, 77 Penitents movement (Tawwbn), 45, 9095, 269n70 persecutions of Shiites. See suffering of Shiites persecutors of Shiites (nib), charity toward, 248; creation myths of, 151; defined, 169170, 180; intermarriage with, 231232. See also Umayyads personal virtues. See virtues pilgrimages to tombs, 9394, 218, 223 pillars of Islam (daim), 113119, 272273nn3455



poetry, 58, 87, 105108 possessors of understanding (ululalbb), 161 predestination (jabr): community membership and, 141, 144; faith (mn) degrees and, 208; human creation and, 150151; mthq (covenant) of God and, 149150; Quran on, 160; of Shiite community, 151152, 155, 158; Sunni and Shiite traditions on, 144, 154155 pre-eternity. See creation myths primordial light, 170 primordial pact. See mthq (covenant) of God Proof of God (ujjah), 167168, 286n71 prophets: company of, 58; mthq (covenant) of God with, 145146; prophecy (nubuwwah), 25; spiritual inheritance of, 26, 255n43, 256n44 proselytization of Shiism, 239 Qadarites, 142143, 279n11, 279n13 Qays b. Sad, 7475 Qumm, 173 al-Qumm, al-affr, 146147, 279n11 al-Qumm, Al b. Bbawayh, 166, 173, 241242 Qummi traditionalists, 154, 173 Quran, 162; Uthmn codex, 222; on community of believers, 2021; on distinctions among individuals, 160162; Ghadr Khumm tradition and, 105, 109; on light (nr), 170171; on mthq (covenant) of God, 145147, 149150; on Prophets relationship with believers, 3435; Shiite dispute over Uthmn codex, 168; on walyah, 1823, 254n3, 254n5; walyah of Al and, 4546, 105 Rfis, 107, 153, 178 recognizing Imms, 178, 194, 196197

religious aspect of Shiism, 3, 104 religious duty (farah), 104105 religious tax (khums), 234, 245247, 251 revenge, 5, 54, 71 revolt: of Kharijites, 5556; against Uthmn, 5152 right, people of the (ab al-yamn), 150151, 161 rightful authority. See authority, rightful Rzbihn Baql, 255n43 al-diq, Jafar: Abul-Jrd Ziyd b. Mundhir and, 111; on believers light, 170171; on charity, 243244, 247; on faith (mn), 184, 186188, 194, 198199, 205206; followers of, 202; on forgiveness, 136; on human destiny, 142144; on Imms, 197; influence of, 173; on intermarriage, 231, 233; on knowledge, 195196; on kufr and lack of walyah, 179180; leadership of, 179; on levels of virtues among Shiites, 193; on martyrs, 161162; on non-Shiite relations, 238241; on Shiite-Imm hierarchy, 165166, 169; on sin, 130, 136; successor to, 206, 209; on suffering of Shiites, 137; on virtues, 201; on walyah, 116118, 192, 198199; on women, 228229 al-r, Ab Al b. hir, 242 sacredness of Shiites, 169 Safavid Empire, 25, 115 al-affr al-Qumm, 146 afiyyah, 217 Sahl b. unayf, 58 Sad b. Abd Allh, 85 Sad b. Jubayr, 150 Slim b. Ab afah, 122, 196 salvation, criteria for, 126128; community of believers membership, 132133, 137; predestination, 141; shahdah, 133; walyah, 134 135, 138139, 277n37



sanctity, 2930, 94 ayf b. Fasl al-Shaybn, 61 al-Sayyid al-imyar, 107108 scholars, Abbsid, 38 Second Civil War, 8182 secrecy, Shiite, 28, 204, 215, 220 222, 231, 243244 sectarianism, 1, 8, 159, 230; in charity, 245, 248; on faith (mn) and islm distinction, 184185; faith (mn) requirements, 197, 291nn1922; faith discussion, 126; imamate and, 118 shr, 5051, 55 shahdah (testament of faith), 114 119, 133134 Shamir b. Dhil-Jawshan, 96 sharah, 197 Shiism: communal identity, Karbala martyrdom and, 46; Kaysn Shiism, 98; predestination, 142143, 279n3; religious aspect of, 34, 7; scholarly study of, 2, 4, 9; sectarian designation, 1; Sufism and, 2425, 164; ummah and Shiites, 1012; walyah and, 7, 11. See communal identity Shiites: allegiance toward Al, 57 63, 77, 7981; bayah, second, to Al, 6062; creation myths of, 151153; as elect/chosen community. See elect, spiritual; hierarchy of faith within, 178, 192193, 205 211; Imms, relations with, 165 168, 196197, 200203; Kharijites conflict, 6263; leadership need, 86, 95; mthq (covenant) of God with, 148149; minority status, 162, 189; as muaddath, 168; number of true believers, 202203; relations among, 237, 241251; sacred and inviolable nature of, 169; sectarian loyalties, 80; special spiritual status of, 170174; splinter groups, 204, 206207; suffering of, 5, 136137; ummah relationship, 1012, 81, 126, 133,

168, 179, 187, 238241. See communal identity; elect, spiritual shirk, 132, 239, 277n23, 277n36, 290n33 shuhad (martyrs or witnesses), 161162, 286n71 Shurabl b. Man b. Yazd, 65 sin: of birth, 158; community membership and, 128130; expiation of by martyrdom, 90 91; faith (mn) and, 131132, 184; forgiveness of, 136137 South Arabian tribesmen, 9, 57 spiritual inheritance, 2628, 98, 105 succession of Imms, 8, 72, 206207, 209, 220221 successor of the Prophet: caliphs, initial, 4951; Ghadr Khumm tradition, 44, 109110; will of Prophet and, 5859, 221 suffering of Shiites, 5, 91, 136137; creation myths and, 165; women and, 223 Sufism: divine proximity and, 29; initiation, spiritual and, 2728; intercession and, 172; as saved community, 163164; Shiism and, 2425, 164; spiritual status in, 163, 256n44; walyah and, 2431, 284n52 Sufyn b. Layl al-Hamdn, 85 Sulaym b. Qays, 108110, 270n14 Sulaymn b. urad, 77, 85, 9095 Sunnis: charismatic authority and, 10; on faith (mn) and islm distinction, 131132, 181182, 185, 189; on faith and works, 127; on fate and predestination, 143, 144; Shiite relationship with, 1012, 179 support, mutual (nurah), 1718, 22, 8384, 267nn4445 Syrians, war with, 74 abar, 3839, 65, 150, 258n22 Tawwbn movement, 45, 9095, 269n70



tax, religious (khums), 243, 245247, 251 testament (waiyyah), 98, 220221 testament of Islamic faith. See shahdah (testament of faith) theology, 197198; walyah and, 104 Throne of God, nearness to, 165, 167, 285n62 al-Tirmidh, al-akm, 25, 171 tombs, pilgrimages to, 9394, 218, 223 tradition (adth), Shiite, 36 Twelfth Imm, 56, 286n71 Ubayd Allh b. Ziyd, 9192, 96, 269n93 Ubayd b. Zurrah, 130, 276n9 Umar, 50, 106107, 222, 260n2 Umar b. Sad, 96, 269n93 Umayyads: on Ghadr Khumm tradition, 37; heredity of authority, 5455, 261nn1214; ujr b. Ads stand against, 7980; alusayns stand against, 8182, 86; Kufan Shiite community under, 72; al-Mukhtrs stand against, 95; Penitents stand against, 93; rebellion against, 177; as religiously misguided, 82; on walyah and hereditary authority, 5455, 261nn1314; Ibn al-Zubayrs stand against, 8182 Umm abbah bt. Ab Sufyn, 216 Umm Salamah, 216, 218, 221, 294n6, 295n35, 295n40 ummah and Shiites, 1012, 126, 133, 179, 187 unbelief (kufr), 1011, 121123, 127; and faith (mn) dichotomy, 182, 188; lack of walyah and, 179180, 287n3. See also believers (muminn) Uthmn: authority of, 50, 5153; injustices by, 51, 52, 260n2, 260n4; revolt against, 5152, 5657; selection as caliph, 51 Vaglieri, L. Veccia, 34 vengeance, 5, 6, 54, 71, 9091, 9697

virtues, 193, 201202; of Al, 59; of al-usayn, 86; of women, 228 229, 230 walyah: to Al, 77, 7981, 84, 104, 112113, 119, 147148; to Al (in lifetime), 67, 49, 58, 6162; to Als descendents, 108109, 113, 196, 250, 271n20; to ahl al-bayt, 104, 192, 250; in call to prayer, 115; charismatic authority, 63; communal identity and, 11, 63, 6769, 103, 126, 199, 242243, 249 251; as divine proximity, 2829, 165, 167; enmity (adwah) and, 6364; esoterism and, 2526; faith (mn) and, 1011, 119123, 127 128, 192193; as farah (religious duty), 104105, 108109, 112, 113; Ghadr Khumm tradition and, 104105; heredity of, 5455; alusayn and, 8384; immah and, 49, 53; to Imms, 117, 119120, 146147, 197, 246, 248249; initiation and, 2728; Kharijites and, 5657, 99; love and, 120121; mthq (covenant) of God and, 146147, 280n32; meaning of, 16 18, 2831, 6768, 256n1, 260n1; piety (wara) and religious effort (ijtihd) and, 137; as a pillar of Islam, 113119, 272273nn4055; in poetry, 105108; Quran on, 1823, 254n3, 254n5, 257n4; as salvation requirement, 133, 134 135, 138139; shahdah and, 114 119, 134; Shiite rhetoric of, 90, 93, 9899, 103, 191192; sources on, 15, 260n1; spiritual charisma and, 7; Sufism and, 2931, 164; unbelief (kufr) and lack of, 179180; as will of God (predestined), 142 Wqifs, 206207 waiyyah (testament): of the Prophet, 58, 98, 262n30; women transmitters of, 220222, 295n32 Watt, W. Montgomery, 9



Weber, Max, 79, 253n7 wilyah, 1618, 52, 55 witnesses (shuhad), 161162 wives of the Prophet, 216 women, 213235; Al devotion by, 218219; Als opinions on, 224 227, 296n58; community identity and, 215; as disadvantaged or oppressed, 225; adth literature on, 223, 224, 228230, 235; adth transmitters, 213, 223224; intelligence of, 225226, 228; Karbala martyrdom and, 219220; marriageability, 182183, 186187, 230235, 297n96; Prophets family, 214217, 221; rarity of believers among, 204, 229; as religiously ignorant (mustaaf), 182183, 296n71; way of Imms transmitters, 220222, 295n32 works, good, 138139; capability for, 278n53; community of believers and, 132133; on faith (mn) and islm distinction, 184185; faith

and, 126132; Sunni perspective on, 182; walyah and, 137138 Yaqb, 46 Yazd, 81, 86 zakh (almsgiving), 247248, 251. See also charity Zayd al-Zarrd, 193 Zayd b. Arqam, 3940 Zayd Shiites: distinction from Imm Shiites, 178; on first two caliphs, 107; Jrd Zayds, 111, 271n23, 271n28 Zayn al-bidn, Al. See Al b. alusayn Zayn al-bidn Zaynab bt. Al, 76, 7879, 219, 221, 265n22 Zoroastrians, 171, 231 al-Zuhayr b. al-Qayn, 83 Zurrah b. Ayan, 122, 198199, 232, 278n53; deviated views, 200; on faith (mn) and kufr dichotomy, 182184, 288n11

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T he Charismatic Community
Shi>ite Identity in Early Islam Maria Massi Dakake
The Charismatic Community examines the rise and development of Shi>ite religious identity in early Islamic history, analyzing the complex historical and intellectual processes that shaped the sense of individual and communal religious vocation. The book reveals the profound and continually evolving connection between the spiritual ideals of the Shi>ite movement and the practical processes of community formation. Author Maria Massi Dakake traces the Qur<anic origins and early religious connotations of the concept of walayah and the role it played in shaping the sense of communal solidarity among followers of the first Shi>ite Imam, >Ali b. Abi Talib. Dakake argues that walayah pertains not only to the charisma of the Shi>ite leadership and devotion to them, but also to solidarity and loyalty among the members of the community itself. She also looks at the ways in which doctrinal developments reflected and served the practical needs of the Shi>ite community, the establishment of identifiable boundaries and minimum requirements of communal membership, the meaning of womens affiliation and identification with the Shi>ite movement, and Shi>ite efforts to engender a more normative and less confrontational attitude toward the non-Shi>ite Muslim community. The author admirably manages to highlight the major developments of early Shi>ite events and ideas within the general development of Islamic thought and history. This book enriches our knowledge and discussion of one of the most crucial periods of Muslim history. Mahmoud M. Ayoub, author of The Qur<an and Its Interpreters, Volume II: The House of <Imran Maria Massi Dakake is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University.

Cover Design Thomas Quimby

A volume in the SUNY series in Islam Seyyed Hossein Nasr, editor State University of New York Press