Imam Sajjad ('a) and the Old Man Who Wasn’t Aware of the Ahl al-Bayt

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Imam Sajjad ('a) and the Old Man Who Wasn’t Aware of the Ahl al-Bayt

Question: What is the story of the old Syrian man and Imam Sajjad ('a)?
Concise answer:

When the captives were taken in to Syria, it has been narrated that an old man came close to the caravan and said: I thank God that he destroyed and killed you, and he made the cities safe from your men and he gave Yazīd victory over you! Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said to the old man: Oh old man, have you read the Quran?

Detailed answer:

When the captives were taken in to Syria, it has been narrated that an old man came close to the caravan and said: I thank God that he destroyed and killed you, and he made the cities safe from your men and he gave Yazīd victory over you! Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said to the old man: Oh old man, have you read the Quran? The man replied: Yes! The Imam (‘a) then said: Have you read the verse that says: “Say, ‘I do not ask you any reward for it except love of [my] relatives.’”[1] The old man said: Yes, I have read this verse. The Imam (‘a) then said: We are the Qurbā, oh shaykh. Then he said: Have you read the verse: “Know that whatever thing you may come by, a fifth of it is for Allah and the Apostle, for the relatives…”[2] The old man said: Yes, I have read this verse. The Imam (‘a) said: Oh old man, we are the Qurbā that has been mentioned in this verse.

The Imam (‘a) again asked: Have you read this verse: “…Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.”[3] The old man said: Yes, I have also read this verse. Imam Sajjad (‘a) said: We are the Ahl al-Bayt whom God has revealed this verse for… When the old man heard these words, he became silent and regretful over what he had said. He loudly yelled out: I swear by God that you are this (worthy group from the family of the Prophet (ṣ)).

The Imam (‘a) confirmed his words and said: I swear by God that without any doubt, we are the purified Ahl al-Bayt. I swear by the right of our grandfather, the Prophet of God (saww), that we are these people. The old man began to cry, and pulling off his turban, he looked up at the sky and said: Oh Lord, I am averse to the enemies of the family of Muhammad (saww), from within humankind and the Jinn. He then turned to the Imam (‘a) and said: Is there any way open for my repentance? The Imam (‘a) told him: Yes, if you repent, God will forgive you and he will accept your repentance and you will be counted as amongst our friends. The old man repented, but word of what had taken place reached Yazīd and he ordered that the man be e x e c u t ed for what he had done.[4]

When the people of Syria had first converted to Islam, they had only known the Islam of the Umayyad family. The first governor of Syria had been Yazīd ibn Abū Sufyān; the next governor had been Mu’āwīyah ibn Abū Sufyān.[5] Mu’āwīyah did his utmost during his forty years of rule to keep the people away from the true reality of Islam and he only gave the people what he wished from the religion. He gave himself titles such as Khāl al-Mu’minīn and Kātib Waḥī, and he had made Yazīd his successor to the throne. Therefore, it isn’t that strange that the old Syrian man would believe such things about the Imam (‘a) and his family. In spite of this, after the truth was shown to him by Imam Sajjad (‘a), the old man s e l e c ted the true path and he was martyred due to his stance.[6]

 
 

 

Footnote:
[1] Surah Shūrā, verse 23: (قُلْ لاَ أَسْئَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ اَجْراً إِلاَّ الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبى)

[2] Surah Anfāl, verse 41: (وَ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِنْ شَيء فَأَنَّ للهِِ خُمُسَهُ وَ لِلرَّسُولِ وَ لِذِى الْقُرْبى)

[3] Surah Aḥzāb, verse 33: (إِنَّمَا يُريدُ اللهَ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَ يُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهيراً)

[4] Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 129. This has also been narrated in Malhūf (Luhūf), p. 211-212 and Iḥtijāj, vol. 2, p. 120-122 with some slight differences.

[5] Refer to: Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 2, p. 591 and onwards (in section on the events of the 13th year).

[6] Taken from the text: ÝĀshūrā, Rīshehā, Ruīdādhā, Payāmadhā, by SaÝīd Dāwūdī and Mahdī Rustam Nezhād (compiled under the guidance of Ayatullah Nāṣir Makārim Shīrāzī), p. 591.
Published on: « 1393/01/24 »
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