Martyrdom of Meesam Tammar
By: H?j Shaikh Abb?s Qummi
During the period of the martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.), the other significant events, which occurred, are the martyrdom of Meesam at Tamm?r and Rushayd al Hajari. Besides it is appropriate that we quote here the martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi and Umro bin Humaq.
Meesam was one of the distinct and favorite companions of the Commander of the faithful Im?m Ali (a.s.), rather he, Umro bin Humaq, Mohammad bin Abu Bakr and Oways Qarani were among his disciples. Keeping in mind their merit and worthiness, Im?m Ali (a.s.) had trained them with concealed knowledge and mysteries, which would occasionally be apparent from them. Once Meesam told Abdull?h bin Abb?s, who was one of the students of Im?m Ali (a.s.) and had learnt the Qur’anic Exegeses from him, and whom Mohammad bin Hanafiyah had referred to as “the Divine of the nation” that, “O son of Abb?s! Ask from me whatever you desire regarding the interpretation of the Qur’?n, as I have recited the revelations of the Qur’?n before Im?m Ali (a.s.) and have received it’s interpretation from him.” Abdull?h bin Abb?s addressed his maid servant saying, “Bring me a paper and pen”, and started writing down.
It is narrated that when the order was issued to hang Meesam he called out in a loud voice saying, “O people! Whoever desires to listen to the mysterious sayings of the Commander of the faithful Ali (a.s.), come closer to me.” Hearing this people gathered around him and he started narrating the astonishing traditions. While this dignified personality (All?h’s Mercy be upon him), was among the abstinents and was such that the skin of his body had dried due to excessive worship and abstinence.
In Kit?b al Gh?r?t it is related by Ibraheem Saqafi, that Im?m Ali (a.s.) had trained Meesam in abundant knowledge and concealed mysteries, which he would occasionally relate to the people, after hearing which the Kuf?ns would fall in doubt and accuse Im?m Ali (a.s.) of sorcery and deceit (for they could not digest and comprehend it). One day Im?m Ali (a.s.), in the presence of a large gathering of some of his genuine followers as well as the skeptical ones said,
“O Meesam! After my death you will be seized and will be hanged. Then on the preceding day blood shall ooze from your nose and mouth, which will dye your beard. Then on the third day a weapon will be pierced in your stomach, which will result in your death, thus look forward to that day. The place where you shall be hanged is facing the house of Umro bin Hurays. You shall be the tenth one from among those people who shall be hanged, while the timber of your gallow will be the shortest among all, and it will be nearer to the ground. And I shall show you the palm-tree on whose trunk you shall be hanged.”
Then after two days he showed him the palm-tree. Thereafter Meesam always came near the tree and recited Prayers and would say, “What a blessed palm-tree you are, for you have been created and are growing up for me “.
After the martyrdom of Im?m Ali (a.s.), Meesam often went to visit the palm-tree until it was cut down, then he looked after it’s trunks. He would go to Umro bin Hurays and say, “I will be your neigbour, thus fulfill the rights of neighborhood well.” Umro would not understand his meaning and would ask, “Do you intend buying the house of Ibne Mas’ood or Ibne Hakeem”?
In Kitabul Fazael it is written that Im?m Ali (a.s.) often came out of the Mosque of Kuf? and sat near Meesam talking to him. One day as usual he came to Meesam and said,
“Should not I give you glad tidings”?
Meesam asked him as to what it was. He said,
“One day you shall be hanged.”
He asked, “O my Master! Will I die the death of a Muslim”? Im?m answered in the affirmative.
Aqiqi relates that Abu Ja’far Im?m Mohammad al B?qir (a.s.) held Meesam very dear, while Meesam was a believer, was grateful in prosperity and forbearing in adversity.
Meeting between Habib bin Maz?hir and Meesam at Tamm?r
It is related in Manh?jul Maq?l from Shaikh K?shshi, who relates through his chain of transmitters reaching Fazl bin Zubayr, who relates that one day Meesam was mounted on his horse when he passed by Habib bin Maz?hir Asadi, who was near a group of the people of Bani Asad. They started speaking to one another in a manner that the necks of their horses had joined each other. Habib said, “Verily I see a an old bald man with a large belly who sells watermelon near Darur Rizq. He shall be hanged because of his love for the Prophet’s Household (Ahlulbayt) (a.s.) and his stomach shall be punctured on the gallows itself.” Meesam said, “I too recognize a red-faced man who has two long tresses, he shall go to defend and aid the grandson of the Prophet and shall be killed, while his severed head will be paraded in Kuf?.” Saying this they both departed from one another. The people who were present there and heard their conversation said, “We have never seen greater liars than these two.” Now they had not yet dispersed when Rushayd Hajari came to search them (Meesam and Habib) and asked the people their whereabouts. The people said that they had left and related to him their conversation. Rushayd said, “May All?h’s blessings be upon Meesam, he forgot to say one sentence, that the one who gets the severed head to Kuf? will get a reward of a hundred dirhams”, saying this he left. When people heard him they said, “Verily he is a more greater liar than them.” These people then say that after a lapse of some days we saw Meesam on the gallows near the house of Umro bin Hurays, and the severed head of Habib bin Maz?hir being paraded in Kuf? after he was martyred alongwith Im?m Husain (a.s.). Thus we witnessed with our own eyes whatever those men had predicted.
Meesam says that one day Im?m Ali (a.s.) called me and said,
“What will be your state at that time O Meesam, when the man, whose father is not known, but the Bani Umayy?h have included him among them (viz. Ubaydull?h bin Ziy?d) will call you and order you to disassociate yourself from me?”
I said, “O Commander of the faithful! By All?h! I shall never disassociate myself from you.” He said,
“In that case you shall be killed and hanged on the gallows.”
I retorted, “By All?h! I shall forebear, while this is quite insignificant in the way of All?h.” Im?m said,
“O Meesam! You shall then be alongwith me in my status (in Paradise).”
S?leh bin Meesam relates that Abu Kh?lid Tamm?r has narrated to me, that one day I was with Meesam in the river of Euphrates on Friday, when a storm started. Meesam, who was sitting in a boat called Ziyan, came out and looking towards the storm said, “Tie the boats firmly, for I see a fearful storm ensuing, while Mu’?wiyah has just died.” When next Friday dawned, a messenger came from Syri?. I met him and inquired about the reports therein. He said that, “The people therein are in a good state. Mu’?wiyah has died and people are taking the oath of allegiance to Yazid.” I asked him as to which day he died, to which he replied that it was on the last Friday.
The Commander of the faithful Im?m Ali (a.s.) reveals his mysteries to a well
Shaheed al Awwal Shaikh Mohammad bin Maki has related that Meesam said: One day my Master, the Commander of the faithful Im?m Ali (a.s.), took me out of Kuf? to the desert until we reached the Mosque of Ja’fi. Then he turned towards the Qibla and recited four units of Prayers. After finishing the Prayers he glorified All?h and stretched his hands saying,
“O Lord! How shall I call upon You when I have disobeyed You. And how shall I not call upon You when I recognize You and Your love is present in my heart. I have stretched my hands full of sins in Your presence and my eyes full of desires ...... (till the end of a long supplication).”
Then he recited a supplication in a silent tone and fell into prostration and repeated, “Al Afw” (O Pardoner) a hundred times. Then he arose and came out of the Mosque and I started following him until we reached a desert. Then Im?m drew a line and said,
“Beware, do not cross this line.”
Saying this he went away from me. The night being dark I said to myself, “You have left your Master alone inspite of several of his enemies, what will be your excuse in the presence of All?h and His Prophet? By All?h! I will follow him so as to inquire his condition inspite of disobeying his orders.”
Hence I followed him and saw him bending his upper body with his head into a well and talking with it, while hearing to it too. He became aware that someone was with him; hence he turned towards me and asked who it was. I replied that I was Meesam. He said,
“Did not I order you not to cross the line”?
I replied, “O my Master! I was afraid lest your enemies might harm you, thus I was uneasy.” He asked,
“Have you heard whatever I said (to the well)”?
I replied in the negative. He continued,
“O Meesam! My heart contains mysteries, and when it becomes narrow on account of it, I dig the earth with my fists and bury the mysteries under the stones, the Beeches grow from the earth, among my seeds this tunes in.”
Shaikh Mufeed writes in Irsh?d that Meesam was a retainer of one of the women of Bani Asad. Im?m Ali (a.s.) bought him from her and freed him. He asked his name, to which he replied that his name was S?lim. Im?m said,
“The Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.) informed me that the name your father had kept in Persia was Meesam.”
Meesam replied, “Verily the Prophet of All?h (s.a.w.s.) and the Commander of the faithful (a.s.) speaks the truth. By All?h! That is my name.” Im?m said,
“Then return to the name by which the Prophet has addressed you and leave the name S?lim, while your agnomen (Kuniyah) should be Abu S?lim.”
One day Im?m Ali (a.s.) told him,
“After my death you will be arrested and put to the gallows and a weapon shall be pierced into your stomach. Then on the third day blood will come forth from your nose and mouth, which will dye your beard, thus await that dye. You shall be hanged at the door of Umro bin Hurays, you being the tenth (to be crucified among other nine), while the timber of your gallow will be the shortest and will be the nearest to the ground than others. Come, I shall show you the Palm-tree by whose trunk you shall be hanged.”
Then he showed him the Palm-tree. Meesam often visited the tree and Prayed below it and would say, “What a blessed palm-tree you are, that I have been made for you and you have been made for me.” He often went near the tree and took care of it until it was cut down. He knew that place in Kuf? where he would be hanged. He often visited Umro bin Hurays and would say, “I shall soon be your neighbour, thus be a fair neighbour to me.” Umro would say, “Are you buying the house of Ibne Mas’ood or Ibne Hakeem”? For he was not aware as to what Meesam meant.
The year, in which he was martyred, Meesam went for Haj and thereafter went to the presence of Umme Salm? (a.s.). Umme Salm? asked him as to who he was and he replied that he was Meesam. She said, “By All?h! I have often heard the Prophet remember your name at mid-night.” Then Meesam inquired about Im?m Husain (a.s.) from Umme Salm?, to which she replied that he was in his garden. He said, “Please tell him that I would have loved to offer my salutations to him, but All?h willing, we shall meet one another in the presence of the Lord of the worlds.” Umme Salm? called for some scent and perfumed Meesam’s beard with it and said, “Very soon it will be dyed with blood.”
Thereafter Meesam went to Kuf? and was seized and taken to Ubaydull?h. Ubaydull?h was told that, “This man is the most beloved of Ali.” He said, “Woe be to you! This Persian man”? He was replied in the affirmative. Then Ubaydull?h asked Meesam, “Where is your Lord”? Meesam replied, “In ambush of the oppressors, while you are one of the oppressors.” Ubaydull?h said, “Even after being a Persian (non-Arab) you say what you mean (your Arabic is eloquent). Tell me then, what your Master (Im?m Ali) predicted to you as to what I shall do to you”? Meesam replied, “Yes, he did tell us that I will be the tenth one whom you shall put to the gallows, and that the timber of my gallow would be the shortest, and also that I shall be closer to the ground than them.” Ubaydull?h said, “By All?h! I shall do the opposite of what he said.” Meesam replied, “How can you do the opposite, when by All?h, Im?m Ali (a.s.) had heard it from the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), while he had heard it from Jibra’eel, who in turn heard it from the Almighty. How can you oppose them? And I even know the place in Kuf? where I shall be hanged, and I shall be the first in Isl?m to be bridled.”
Thus Meesam was imprisoned alongwith Mukht?r bin Abu Ub?ydah Saqafi. Meesam told Mukht?r, “You shall be freed from here and will rise to avenge the blood of Im?m Husain (a.s.), and you shall kill him who will kill us.” When Ubaydull?h called for Mukht?r to be killed, a message arrived from Yazid ordering him to free Mukht?r. He released him and ordered Meesam to be crucified.
He came out of the prison and confronted a man who told him that, “Do you not have the ability to free yourself from this”? Meesam smiled and pointing to the Palm-tree said, “I have been created for it and it has been brought up for me.”
When Meesam was hanged on the gallows, people gathered around him at the door of the house of Umro bin Hurays who said, “By All?h! He often said that he would be my neighbour.” When Meesam was crucified, Umro ordered his maid to sweep the ground beneath and sprinkle water and fumigate it.” Meesam then started relating the virtues of Bani H?shim on the gallows. News reached Ubaydull?h that the slave had insulted him to which he ordered that a bridle should be put in his mouth; hence Meesam was the first man in Isl?m to be bridled. Meesam was martyred ten days before Im?m Husain (a.s.) came to Ir?q. On the third day a weapon (probably a spear) was pierced into his stomach and he exclaimed “All?ho Akbar”, and at the end of the day blood oozed from his nose and mouth. (May Allahs Mercy and Blessing be Upon him)
It is related that seven date-sellers pledged that they would take the corpse of Meesam from there and bury him. During night they came there when the guards had lightened a fire and could not see them. They took him down from the gallows and buried him near the stream in the street of Bani Mur?d, and threw away the gallow into the garbage. When morning dawned the horsemen went in pusuit of them but failed to find them.
I (the author) say that among the progeny of Meesam is Abul Hasan Meesam bin Ali bin Ism?’il bin Shu’ayb bin Meesam at Tamm?r, who was a Shi’?h Mutakallim (Scholastic) during the times of Mamoon and Mu’tasim. He held debates with the atheists and opponents, and his contemporary was Abu Huzayl All?f, the chief of Mu’tazilah in Basr?.
Shaikh Mufeed narrates that Ali bin Meesam once asked Abu Huzayl All?f that, “Do you not believe that iblees (shait?n) restrains from performing all good deeds and that he invites towards the evil”? Abu Huzayl replied in the affirmative. Ali said, “Then does he invite towards evil without being unaware that it is evil, and he stops from good without knowing that it is good”? Abu Huzayl replied, “Yes, he knows all that.” Abul Hasan (Ali) continued, “Thus it is proved that shait?n is aware of all that is good or evil.” Abu Huzayl agreed to it, to which Ali said, “Then tell me about the Im?m (Caliph) after the Prophet whether he knew all that was good or evil”? Abu Huzayl replied in the negative. Ali said, “Then shait?n is more learned than your Im?m.” Hearing this Abu Huzayl was dumb-founded.
It should be noted that frequently Meesam is pronounced with a Kisrah (a vowel coming below an alphabet) below meen (as Meesam), but some write the name of Maysam bin Ali Bahr?ni, the expounder of Nahjul Bal?gh?, with the Fatha (a vowel coming above an alphabet) of meem (as Maysam).