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The Waqifites

Another example of the events which occurred in the time of Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, and annoyed him very much was that the creed of the Wa`qifites spread among the classes of the Sh´'ites. The Waqifites maintained that Imam Musa b. Ja'far, peace be on him, was alive, did not die, and would never die, that he was raised to the heaven just as al-Mas´h b. Maryam was raised, and that he was the awaited one who would undertake (the office of the Ima`mate, al-qa'im) and fill the world with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. They claimed that the one who was in the prison of al-Sindi was not Imam Musa, peace be on him, rather the people imagined that he was in prison. It is necessary for us to give a brief account of this group of people.

1. The Cause for the Waqifites doctrines
As for the reason for the Waqifites's doctrines, it is that when Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him, was in the prison of Harun (al-Rash´d), he appointed some agents on his behalf in order to collect the legal rights which had come to him from his Sh´'ites, so some agents gathered many funds, for example, Ziya`d b. Marwan al-Qandi collected seventy thousand dinars, and 'Ali b. Abu` Hamza gathered thirty thousand dinars. When the Imam died, they dined his death and bought country estates and houses for the money which they had. When Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, demanded them to give the money to him, they denied the death of his father and refused to hand it over to him.

2. The Waqifites' doctrines spread
The Waqifites' doctrines were spread by the summoners who lavishly spread enormous properties in order to buy the minds and to misguide the people. In this connection Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahma`n narrated, saying: "Abu` Ibrahim Musa, peace be on him, died and every one of his people had a lot of money; this is the reason for their doctrines and their denying his death as a sign of desire for the properties, for example, Ziya`d b. Marwan al-Qandi had seventy thousand dinars, and 'Ali b. Abu` Hamza had thirty thousand dinars.
When I saw that, I realized the truth and knew the affair of Abu` al-Hasan al-Rida`, peace be on him. I began speaking and summoning the people to him. So they sent for me and said: 'What makes you do this? If you want money, we will help you.' They guaranteed me ten thousand dinars and said: 'Refrain from (this matter).' However, I refused (that) and said to them:
'We have been told on the authority of the two truthful ones, peace be on them, who said: 'When heresies appear, then it is obligatory on (religious) scholars to manifest their own knowledge. If they do not do (that), they will be deprived of the light of faith.' Any how, I will not leave jiha`d according to Allah's command. Accordingly, they showed enmity toward me and harbored malice against me. "
Through such deceiving ways, the Wa`qifites spread their doctrines, but shortly after that they were destroyed and their false claims were discovered.

The Imam condemns the Waqifites' doctrines
Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, condemned the Wa`qifites for their creeds. One of his followers (Sh´'ites) had written to him and asked him about them, and he, peace be on him, replied: "The Wa`qifite has deviated from the True Religion and persisted in his evil deed. If he dies for it, then his abode is hell; and evil is the resort. "
A Sh´'ite asked Imam al-Rida whether it was permissible for him to pay zakat (alms) to the Wa`qifites, and he prevented him from that, saying: "They (the Wa`qifites) are unbelievers, polytheists, and hypocrites. "
Mohammed b. Fudayl visited Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him, and told him about the conditions of the leaders of the Wa`qifites, saying: "May I be your ransom, I have left Ibn Abu` Hamza, Ibn Mahra`n, and Ibn Abu` Sa'´~d (who were some leaders of the Wa`qifites), while they are the most violent of people in showing enmity toward Allah, the Most High."
The Ima`m answered him: "He who goes astray does not harm you when you are rightly guided. They (the Wa`qifites) have accused Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, of lying; they accused so-and-so, so-and-so of lying; and they have accused Mu`sa` b. Ja'far, peace be on him, of lying; and I follow my fathers' example."
"You said to Ibn Mahra`n: 'May Allah take away the light of your heart and enter poverty in your house,'" retorted Mohammed.
"How is he, and how are his brothers?" asked the Ima`m, peace be on him. Mohammed told him about the acceptance of his supplication and about their being miserable and poor, saying: "They are in the worst condition; they are grieved in Baghdad."
The Ima`m, peace be on him, was severe in his attitude toward the Wa`qifites, who mutinied against the True Religion and to denied the Ima`m.

1. The Ima`m and al-Husayn Bin Mahra`n
As for al-Husayn b. Mahra`n, he was among the eminent figures of the Wa`qifites; and he wrote to Ima`m al-Rida` with an accent showing his hypocrisy and unbelief, for he ordered and prohibited the Ima`m; he did not respect the position of the Ima`m; and through that he did not conform to high moral traits in addressing. Accordingly, the Ima`m wrote a letter and ordered his companions to copy it, lest Ibn Mahra`n (i.e. al-Husayn) should conceal it. The letter is as follows:
"In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, may Allah make you and me well; your letter have come to me; in it you have mentioned the man who is accused of treason and deception; and you say: 'Beware of him.' And you have mentioned that through which he received me, and sent to me other than him, so you have advanced (many things) as arguments; and you have claimed an affair against him and wanted to enter upon the like of it...You say:
'He has worked for my affair through his reason and his stratagem, seeking it for his own soul and willing to make the hearts of the people incline to him, that the affair may be at his hand and work according to his own viewpoint; and he claims that I have obeyed him in what he has advised me; and now you have counseled me according to what is right with you through reason and stratagem after you (through other than you).
The affair is not right except through the two affairs: Either you accept the affair as it is or you give the people what they have demanded and put an end (to their demand); otherwise the matter is crooked in our viewpoint; and the people will not hand over my property which is in their hands and take it along with them; therefore, the matter is not according to your reason and stratagem.
"And we will not do what you have granted through opinion and consultation, but the affair belongs to Allah, the Great and Almighty, the One, and there is no partner with Him. He does toward His servants whatever He desires; he whom Allah guides is not misguided by anyone; and he whom He misguides is not guided by anyone, and you will not find any saint to guide him.
"You said: 'And work through their affair and practice stratagem therein; and how is the stratagem? And Allah says: And they swear by Allah with the most energetic of their oaths: Allah will not raise up him who dies. Yea! it is a promise biding on Him, quite true, but most people do not know, to these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And that they may earn what they are going to earn (of evil).
If you answer them concerning what they have questioned, they will be righteous and hand over; and what I have ordered you belongs to me; you and they have denied after me; and my meeting has been lengthened for me; and that has not occurred through me except that I have hoped for righteousness according to the words of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him:
'Approach and question (me).' He began rubbing his belly and saying: 'I have not filled it with food, but I have filled it with knowledge. By Allah, I know whether a verse was sent down on the sea or a land or a plain or a mountain, and I know concerning whom it was revealed.'
Similarly, Abu` 'Abd Allah, peace be on him, said: 'I complain to Allah of the people of Medina; I am among them just like a hair, for I do not move; they want me not to say the truth. By Allah I will always say the truth until I die.' I say the truth in order to spare your blood and unify you as you had been before, that your secrets may be hidden with you and not spread among those other than you.
"And Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, already said: 'A secret about which Allah secretly told Gabriel; and about which Gabriel secretly told Mohammed, and about which Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, secretly told 'Ali, and about which 'Ali secretly told whomever he wished.'"
Then he said: [Abu` Ja'far, peace be on him, said:] "Then you speak about it on the road, so I want, as you your leader (sahib), to explain you affair for you; lest you should place it in other than its place and ask about it other than its men, and hence your ruin occurs through your questioning them. How many a person claimed (the affair) for himself and he did not fall under (it).
Then you said: 'If that belongs to him, it is necessary for him to maintain it and not to turn from it to other than it.' I said: 'Because he practiced precautionary dissimulation, and refraining from (it) is better. If he speaks, then it is obligatory on him to answer everything about which he is questioned.
And what you claimed and demanded has occurred. So the affair concerns other than you and it is incumbent on you to follow them regarding it; but you have put into (effect) that which is right according to your reason, your viewpoints, and your analogy. When you claimed that my order was incorrect, you regarded your order as correct.'
"If you say that your leader (sahib) was not such, then you have discarded the command of your Lord behind your backs. Accordingly, if I follow your caprices, then I will go astray and I am not among those who are rightly guided, and there will be no escape for you from that you will be like those who had been before you, while you have been told that the laws (sunan) and the examples are tit for tat.
"The refraining from harm which you demanded in the first place and the answer in the end will not make well your chests; nor will it take away your doubts; nor there will be an escape from that which occurred through you; nor will it leave your hearts until Allah takes it away from you. If all people are able to love us, recognize our rights and submit to our command, they will do, but Allah does whatever He wills and guides to Him those who turn (to Him in repentance).
"I already answered you about many questions. Then you and those who asked such questions must carefully consider the answers. If there is no cure in the answers, then I already gave you something which was regarded as an argument and a lesson.
The many questions (which are asked as a sign of) blame are reprehensible in our viewpoint, for the questioners want nothing except to examine (us) in order to find a way to vague errors and mischief; and he who wants to make (things) unclear, Allah makes them unclear to him and entrusts him with his own soul; you and your companions do not see that I have answered (your questions); therefore, that is up to me.
If I will and determine, that is up to me, not up to what you and your companions say. You do not know so-and-so; rather there is no escape for us from that, for we are sure of it, while you are doubtful about it.
This is the end of this letter which the Ima`m sent to al-Husayn b. Mahra`n. It contains ambiguous matters as well as there is no logical coherence in its paragraphs. It is more likely that something necessary for logical coherence and clarity has been omitted from it.
Any how, this letter has expressed the hardships which the Ima`m and the community received from the Wa`qifites, whom the world deceived.

2. Al-Husayn Bin 'Umar
He said: [I did my best with Yahya` b. Akthem (the judge of Sa`mrra`'); I debated with him, conversed with him, communicated with him, and asked him about the knowledge of Mohammed's Household; yet I heard say:] "One day while I was circling the grave of Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, I saw Mohammed b. 'Ali al-Rida`, peace be on him, circling it, so I debated with him on some questions which I had, and he answered them.
The I said to him: 'By Allah, I want to ask you a question but I am ashamed of that, so he said to me: 'I will answer you before you question me, you want to ask me about the Ima`m.' So I replied: 'By Allah, this is what I want,' and he said: 'I am he.' Then I asked him: 'Is there any sign?' There was a rod in his hand, and the rod uttered and said: 'Surely my master is the Ima`m of this time, and he is the argument.' "
Al-Husayn b. 'Umar b. Yazid narrated, saying: "I went to al-Rida, peace be on him, and I was then a Wa`qifite; my father had asked his father about seven questions, and he answered him about sixth of them and refrained from (answering) the seventh (question). So I said: 'By Allah, I will ask him about what my father had asked his father in order to know whether he is able to answer as (his father did).' Then I asked him, and he answered six questions just as his father did, and he refrained (from answering) the seventh (question).
"My father had said to his father: 'I will protest against you before Allah on the Day of Resurrection, for you have claimed that 'Abd Allah is not an Ima`m, so he, peace be on him, put his hand on his neck, and then he said to him: 'Yes, protest against me through that before Allah, the Great and Almighty. If there is any sin therein, then it is in my neck (i.e. I will shoulder the responsibility for it), and so on.' "

3. Al-Washsha`'
Al-Washsha`' reported, saying: "When I was a Wa`qifite, I went to Khurasa`n; I carried a mask with me; there was with me a brocaded garment in one of the parcels, but I did not know where I had put it. When I arrived in Khurasan and stopped at one of its houses, a Medinan man came and said to me: 'Abu al-Hasan al-Rida` say to you: 'Send me the brocaded garment which is with you.'
So I asked the man: 'Who told Abu al-Hasan about my arrival and having a brocaded garment?' He went to him and told him, and then he came back to me and said to me: [He (al-Rida`) says to you:] 'It is in the place so-and-so.' I looked for it where he said, and then I sent it to him." This was the reason for his being rightly guided.
These are some believers whom Allah guided to faith, who withdrew from the Waqifites' doctrines and adopted the Ima`mate of Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him.

The Problem of creating the Qur'an
Among the important event in the time of Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him, is the problem of creating the Qur'a`n, for the religious scholars extremely differed over it, and a group of them suffered from the displeasure and vengeance of the state along with the anger of the people.
This opinion occurred at the end of the Umayyad government; al-Ju'd b. Dirham, the teacher of Marwa`n b. Mohammed, the last Umayyad caliph, was the first to originate it. He was the first to speak about it; he already wrote and explained its chapters, and then he announced it in Damascus.
However the authorities there summoned him, but he left it for Kufa. Al-Jahm b. Safwa`n, to whom the Jahmi sect belonged, learned from him. 1 In this respect Ibn al-Ath´r said: "Surely, Hisha`m b. 'Abd al-Malik ordered al-Ju'd to be captured and to be sent to Khalid al-Qasri, the governor of Iraq, in order to kill him. Kha`lid imprisoned him and did not kill him.
When Hisha`m heard of that, he wrote to him, blamed him, and commanded him to kill him. Hence Kha`lid ordered al-Ju'd to be brought in chains out of prison. After he had performed the prayer of 'Id al-Addha, he said at the end of his sermon: 'Go and sacrifice (animals), may Allah accept (that) from you, for, today, I will sacrifice al-Ju'd, who says: 'Allah did not speak to Mu`sa`; nor did Allah take Ibra`him as a bosom friend.' Allah is far above what al-Ju'd says.' Then he descended (from the pulpit) and killed him. "
This idea remained hidden until the time of Ha`ru`n al-Rash´~d. When the Mu'tazilites appeared, they announced that the Qur'a`n was created. Bishr al-Mar´~si was the most important person in summoning the people to this idea. He wrote many books on it. When Ha`ru`n heard of him, he said: "By Allah, if I find him, I will kill him." When Bishr hear of that, he hid himself throughout the government of Harun.
When al-Ma'mu`n undertook the government, he said that the Qur'a`n was created, forced the eople to believe in this idea, and subjected them to vengeance and torture when they opposed it. Accordingly, this movement became active, and the idea grew and spread widely.
This matter is regarded as the most important event in the time of Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him; the philosophers from among the Mu'tazilites and others presented it and explained its sides. It is worth mentioning that this idea belongs to the psychological branches and researches. Had it not been for that the chapter would be diffuse and the book become too long, we would speak about it in detail.

Fabricating Lies against the Imams
Fabricating traditions and lies against the Ima`ms, peace be on them, was famous in the time of Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him, and other times. Some people fabricated traditions and ascribed them to the Ima`ms in order to degrade their rank and decrease their importance. Among the fabricated traditions is that which narrated by Abu` al-Salt, who asked Ima`m al-Rida`, saying: "O Son of Allah's Apostle, what do the people narrate on your authority?"
"What is it?" asked the Ima`m.
"They say that the people are your slaves," replied Abu` al-Salt.
The Ima`m denied that and renounced it, saying: "O Allah, the Creator of the heavens and earth, Knower of the things unseen and seen, You bear witness that I have never said that; nor have I heard any of my fathers say it. You know that this community has practiced injustices toward us; this is one of them."
Then he turned to Abu` al-Salt and asked him: "'Abd al-Sala`m (i.e. Abu` al-Salt), if all people were our slaves, as they say, then to whom should we sell them? 'Abd al-Sala`m, do you deny our authority, made obligatory by Allah, as the others do?"
Al-'Alla`ma al-Sayyid Ha`shim Ma'ru`f al-Husayni commented on this narration, saying: "The Ima`m criticized the questioner for that accusation through which their enemies wanted to defame them; he regarded it as one of the injustices which the community practiced toward them, for ascribing that to them means that they broke the laws of Islam and the texts of the Qur'a`n, which demonstrates that there is no difference between a person and other except through reverential fear (taqqwa)"
With this matter we will end our talk about the time of Ima`m al-Rida. I (the author) have mentioned a detailed research about this time in my book Hayat al-Imam Musa Bin Ja'far, peace be on him, so I do not want to mention it again.

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