Hypocrisy of the Abbasid Caliph
Sufyan ibn Nazaar narrates:
Once when we were in the presence of Ma’moon, he asked us: “Do you know whom I learned the Shia faith from?” Everyone said they do not know. Ma’moon then continued, “I learned it from my father Haroon al-Rashid.
We asked: “How is that possible, when Haroon would actually kill this group?
Ma’moon replied: “He would kill them solely for the purpose of power and kingship, so he would not lose his position. However, it was in one of his trips to Hajj in that I came to this realization. When we reached the city of Madinah, he went within his tent and said, ‘Do not allow anyone from any tribe to enter this tent until they have stated their lineage.’ Thus, people began approaching and introducing themselves. They would list their lineage until they reached their ancestor who was either from Quraysh, Muhajir, Ansar, or Bani Hashim. Then Haroon would reward each one 200 to 5000 Dinars depending on that person’s lineage.
In one of these days, a man whose name was of Fazl ibn Rabi’ entered and said, ‘A man is approaching who introduces himself as Moosa ibn Ja’far (A.S.) whose lineage reaches Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.).’
I was standing in the tent with Amin, Mu’tamin, and other nobles. Haroon approached us and said, ‘Watch your manners and behave’. He then allowed Imam Moosa ibn Ja’far (A.S.) to enter, and said he would take the Imam to his place.
A weak old man approached; his acts of worship had weakened him to the extent that he looked merely like a dry skin. His forehead was slightly indented from all the prostrations he had made. When the man saw Haroon al-Rashid, he wanted to climb down from his donkey. Haroon however, shouted and told him not to get down from his ride. He asked for the old man to come towards his place while he was on his ride.
The old man pushed the curtain aside, and we looked at him with the utmost respect. He climbed down from his ride, and even though the nobles were all around him, Haroon al-Rashid went toward him, greeted him warmly, and told him to sit in an important seat that was next to Haroon’s seat. Then he began talking to the old man very politely.
The Imam turned to Haroon and said, ‘Allah (SWT) has made it obligatory upon the rulers to help provide the means of livelihood for the poor, pay the debt of those who cannot pay their debt, clothes those who do not have suitable clothes, and do good to the captives. It is better that you too, do these same things.’
Haroon said, ‘We do these same things O father of Hassan.’ Then the Imam rose to leave. Haroon rose as well, kissed the Imam, and turned to us, ‘Abdullah, Muhammad, and Ibrahim, accompany your cousin and leader. Hold his ride so he can climb on his mount, and escort him to his home.’
On the way to the Imam’s home, the Imam turned to me and quietly gave me glad tidings of my coming to power. He then told me to be kind to his son, once I had become the ruler.
I was the most courageous from amongst my father’s sons. When my father was left alone, I said, ‘O leader of the faithful, who was this man whom you respected so much, seated him in such an important place next to you, and told us to hold his ride for him.
Haroon replied, ‘This man is the Imam of the people, the representative of Allah on earth, and the Caliph of Allah amongst the people.’
I said, ‘O leader of the faithful, don’t you have the same qualities as this man?
Haroon answered, ‘I am the Imam of the people, but only on the surface. I reached this position through force and violence. Moosa ibn Ja’far however, is the true Imam. By Allah, he is most worthy of all, even me, to the position of Prophet Muhammad. By Allah if you quarrel with me in this issue, I will take away your life, and my reign will remain barren.’
When Haroon wanted to leave Madinah and go towards Makkah, he ordered Fazl ibn Rabi’ to give 200 Dinars to Moosa ibn Ja’far (A.S.) and say, ‘the leader of the faithful has said that at this time we do not have more to give, hopefully next time we will do more good to you.’
I said, ‘O leader of the faithful, you gave more than 5000 Dinars to the sons of Muhajir, Ansar, Quraysh, Bani Hashim, and even to those whom you did not know. Why did you give Moosa ibn Ja’far (A.S.) so little, when you respected him more than everyone else?’
Haroon said, ‘Keep quiet. If I give this large amount of money to Moosa ibn Ja’far, there is no guarantee that he will not rise against me with 100,000 swords of his friends and followers. The poverty of him and his family will keep us safer….’ (Reference: Uyoon Akhbar al-Reza, vol. 1, book 7, page 88)