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Knowledge (ʿilm) had been made the cornerstone of the doctrine of the imamate as elaborated in the mid-8th century under Jaʿfar al-Sadiq’s instructions. Muhammad al-Baqir and Jaʿfar al-Sadiq had made the authoritative teaching of the scripture and the law the central functions of the imamate. Jaʿfar al-Sadiq’s disciple Hisham ibn al-Hakam had argued in addition for the imam’s infallibility (ʿisma)[1] . Apart from divinely ordained designation by the previous imam, the imams derived their authority from their knowledge and were at times designated as “the learned one” (ʿaalim)[2] or even the jurist ( faqih)[3] . According to a tradition reported by ʿAli ibn Mahzyar (Mazyar), a disciple of the eighth imam, both the fifth and the sixth imams had confirmed that

"the science that descended with Adam is not lifted. Science in inherited. . . .ʿAli was indeed the learned one (ʿalim) of the community; and no learned one among us dies except when there is a successor after him who knows the like of his science"[4]

Hadiths Indicating Prior-Knowledge about the Event of Ashura[edit | edit source]

1. Through successive chain of authorities reaching the Honorable Shaikh Abul Qasim Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Qawlawayh, who relates through his chain of authorities from Imam Muhammad al Baqir that: Whenever Imam Hussain went to the presence of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he would draw him closer to himself and would tell the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali to take care of him. Then the Prophet would bend down and start kissing him and weep. (Once) Imam Hussain asked him as to why he wept? The Prophet replied,

“My dear son! I am kissing that part of your body, which will be cut asunder by the sword, thus am lamenting over it.”

Imam Hussain said,

“O dear Father! Will I be killed?”

He replied,

“Yes, by Allah! You, your father and your brother shall all be killed.”

Imam asked,

“O father! Will the places of our martyrdom be far from one another?”

The Prophet replied in the affirma­tive. To which Imam Hussain asked,

“Who among your people would then come to visit our graves?”

He replied,

“No one among my people would come to visit my grave, your father’s grave, your brother’s grave, and your grave, except the truthful ones (siddiqeen).”

2. Through successive chain of transmitters reaching Shaikh Mufid, who relates from Abul Hakam, who says that, I have heard from my teachers and other scholars, that once Imam Ali delivered a sermon in which he said,

“Ask from me whatever you desire before you may fall short of me. By Allah! Will you not ask me regarding the group of people who have led astray a hundred people, or who have captivated a hundred people, but I will inform you about them as to who the instigator is and who will administer it until the day of Qiyamah.”

A man arose and asked, “Tell me as to how many hair are there in my head and beard”? Imam Ali replied,

“By Allah! My friend the Messenger of Allah has related to me regarding what you have asked me. An Angel is seated on the edge of the hair of your head who curses you, and on each hair of your beard a devil is seated who instigates (and invites you towards evil and immorality). And a child in your house will be the murderer of the son of the Holy Prophet, and this sign is a truthful proof about that which I have informed you. And otherwise I would have also told you regarding what you questioned me, but proving that is difficult (to count the hair). But the proof regarding it is what I have informed you regarding the curse upon you and your accursed son.”

At that time his son was small and was crawling on his feet. And when Imam Hussain’s situation reached thus, he became the commander for his murder and whatever Imam Ali had predicted took place.

3. Through successive chain of authorities reaching Muhammad bin Maki the Martyr who relates from Abu Muhammad Hasan bin Ahmad (Nizamuddin) bin Muhammad (Najeebuddin) bin Nima Hilli, who relates from his Honorable father Shaikh Ahmad, who relates from his brother Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Nima Hilli, who relates in his book Museerul Ehzan from Abdullah bin Abbas, who says that when the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s illness (because of which he later died) became severe, he called for Imam Hussain and pressed him to his chest, while the sweat of death was apparent on him. Then he said,

“What business has Yazid got with me? O Allah do not grant abundance to him, and O Allah send your curse upon Yazid.”

Then he became unconscious and remained in this state for quite a long time. Then when he regained consciousness, he kissed Hussain while tears were flowing from both his eyes, and he said,

“Beware, I and your murderer will stand in front of the Almighty (Who will judge between us).”

Source[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., s.v. “ʿISMA” (W. Madelung).
  2. E. Kohlberg, “Imam and Community in the Pre-Ghayba Period,” in Authority and Political Culture in Shiʿism, ed. S. A. Arjomand (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1988), 25; Modarressi, Crisis, 29–91.
  3. For example, Ṭūsī, Ghayba, 228.
  4. Ibn Bābūya, Kamāl, 223. Another tradition by the same transmitter (on whom, see the next note) reports the sixth imam as saying: “The earth is not left in place except for a learned one who knows the permissible and whatever the people are in need of, while he does not need the people” (ibid., 223; 224 for similar traditions).