Anecdotes of Reflection Volume 3

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Anecdotes of Reflection Author:
Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
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Anecdotes of Reflection

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Sayyid Ali Akbar Sadaaqat
Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
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Anecdotes of Reflection

Anecdotes of Reflection Volume 3

Author:
Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
English

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Anecdotes of Reflection Part 3

Author(s): Sayyid Ali Akbar Sadaaqat

Publisher(s): The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities

www.alhassanain.org/english

Table of Contents

Foreword 6

Transliteration Table 7

Introduction 8

Notes 10

41. Supplication 11

Short Explanation 11

1) The Supplication of Mashlul 11

2) Congregational Supplication 12

3) Repelling Calamities 13

4) Supplicating for Rain 13

5) Supplication for the Dead 14

Notes 14

42. Religion 15

Short Explanation 15

1) Religion is Dead 15

2) The Religiousness of the Learned One from Dizful 16

3) Religion Beside the Royal Throne 16

4) The Religiousness of Abu Ja’far Husaini 17

5) Religion-Selling by Samurah 17

Notes 18

43. Dhikr (Remembrance Of Allah) 19

Short Explanation 19

1) Remembering Allah when Confronting the Enemy 19

2) The Enamoured One 20

3) The Poor Ones Question the Noble Prophet 20

4) Remembering the Beloved while in Comfort 20

5) The Woman who Remembered Allah 21

Notes 22

44. Sustenance 23

Short Explanation 23

1) They Should Witness the Wisdom! 23

2) Incorrect Deduction from The Qur`an 23

3) Sustenance in the Measure of Sufficiency 24

4) Charity Increases Sustenance 25

5) Wealth from Unknown Places 25

Notes 26

45. Pleasure (Over Divine Acts) 27

Short Explanation 27

1) Complete Contentment with Allah 27

2) Pleased with Three Calamities 27

3) One of the Inmates of Paradise 28

4) Ammar in the Battle of Siffin 28

5) The Best Creation 29

Notes 29

46. Showing Off 31

Short Explanation 31

1) The Proud Monk 31

2) The Congregational Prayers 31

3) The Two Apparels 32

4) The Dissembled Worship 32

5) Informing People of Worship 33

Notes 33

47. Fornication 35

Short Explanation 35

1) Five Fornicators and Five Rulings 35

2) Interpretation of the Dream 36

3) Prophet Yahya’s Murderer was an Illegitimate Child 36

4) The Bath of Minjab 37

5) The Noble Prophet and the Youth 37

Notes 38

48. Generosity 39

Short Explanation 39

1) What Shall I Answer Imam al-Zaman? 39

2) More Generous than Hatim 40

3) Allah Loves Generosity 40

4) Three Hundred Gold Coins 41

5) The Extremely Generous Companion 42

Notes 43

49. Polytheism 44

Short Explanation 44

1) The Extremist Who Considered Himself a Shia 44

2) A Polytheist Turns Into a Believer 44

3) Concealed Polytheism 45

4) Disbelief and Polytheism 45

5) Debate with the Polytheists 46

Notes 47

50. Satan 48

Short Explanation 48

1) Prophet Nuh and Satan 48

2) Prophet Musa and Satan 48

3) Firawn 49

4) Muawiyah 49

5) Prophet Yahya and Satan 50

Notes 50

51. Patience 51

Short Explanation 51

1) Survival of Religion Lies in Patience 51

2) Ease After Patience 51

3) The Patience and Fortitude of Bilal 52

4) Patience is Better than Retaliation 53

5) The Wedding Night 53

Notes 54

52. Charity 55

Short Explanation 55

1) Auspicious and Inauspicious Times 55

2) Hatim’s Mother 55

3) In the Darkness of the Night 56

4) The Mother of the Satans 56

5) The Widely Respected Shia Government Minister 57

Notes 58

53. Silah Rahim 59

Short Explanation 59

1) Plague 59

2) The Imam’s Bonds of Kinship 59

3) Abbas, The Prophet’s Uncle 60

4) Non Observance of Silah Rahim & Death 61

5) The Painful Consequence of Breaking Family Ties 61

Notes 62

54. Oppression and Injustice 64

Short Explanation 64

1) The Oppression of Dadhanah 64

2) Working for the Oppressors 65

3) Retaliation 66

4) The Oppression of Dhahhak Himyari 66

5) The Incident of Harrah 67

Notes 68

55. Worship 69

Short Explanation 69

1) The Outcome of ‘Dry’ Worship 69

2) Worship out of Love 69

3) The Long Worshipper 70

4) Iblis’ Worship 70

5) Imam Sajjad 71

Notes 71

56. Covenants and Promises 72

Short Explanation 72

1) The Noble Prophet and Abu Haitham 72

2) The Conquered King of the Sasanid Dynasty 72

3) The Oath of Fudhul 73

4) Standing up for Islam until the End 73

5) The Muslim Slave 74

Notes 74

57. Justice 76

Short Explanation 76

1) Shadeed’s Governance 76

2) Impartiality Between Children 77

3) The Red Apparel 77

4) Equality in the Spoils of War 77

5) The Name of ‘Ali is Synonymous with Justice! 78

Notes 79

58. Chastisement 80

Short Explanation 80

1) The Chastisement of the People of ‘Ad 80

2) Ibn Muljam and the Chastisement in the Purgatory 81

3) The Recompense of Deeds 81

4) The Cause for the Descent of Chastisement 82

5) Chastisement of those who Conceal the Truth 82

Notes 83

59. Forgiveness 84

Short Explanation 84

1) Beating The Servant 84

2) Pardon for the Killer 84

3) Freedom of the Slave-Girl 85

4) The Son’s Pardon for the Killer 85

5) The Conquest of Mecca 86

Notes 86

60. Intellect 88

Short Explanation 88

1) Slaughtering the Gourd 88

2) Mature In Intellect 89

3) The Consequence of Foolishness 89

4) Imam ‘Ali and the Astrologer 90

5) The Insanity-Exhibiting Wise Person 91

Notes 91

Foreword

The concept of morality has existed since the creation of mankind. In the old days, therewas a clear distinction betwin 'good' morals and 'bad' morals although people did not always follow the former. During modern times, the distinction betwin good and bad has become blurred and morality has been significantly diluted. As a result, there is a danger that immorality will prevail over morality throughout the world.

There is no excuse for a Muslim to get caught in this quagmire. There is clear guidance from Allah through Noble Qur`an and the Prophets and Masoomin. Prophet Muhammad (Prayers be upon him and his Family) himself said, “I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting morals.” One of the best ways of understanding morality is by studying practical examples from the lives of Prophets and Masoomin.

A few books have been written on moral stories emanating from the Islamic world, one of them being 'Pearls of Wisdom', published by the Islamic Education Board of World Federation in March 1993. Bearing in mind the importance of the subject of Akhlaqiyat, IEB-WF is publishing 'Anecdotes for Reflection' in 5 parts. The source of this publication is the book 'Yaksad Mawzu'wa 500 Dastan' by Sayyid ‘Ali Akber Sadaqat. The translation from Farsi to English was carried out by Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi. IEB - WF would like to thank Sayyid ‘Ali Akber Sadaqat and Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi for their efforts and we pray to Allah (swt) to reward them amply.

May Allah (Fri from Imperfections and Exalted is he) accept this work as a further attempt by IEB - WF to propagate Islam.

Islamic Education Board

The World Federation of K S I Muslim Communities

Dhil Hijjah, 1426 / January 2006

Transliteration Table

The method of transliteration of Islamic terminology from the Arabic language has been carried out according to the standard transliteration table mentioned below.

Introduction

There are numerous ways for man to achieve guidance and emerge from darkness and move towards light. Allah, for the prosperity of man and perfection of his morals, has created proofs, evidences and vestiges1 so great in number that they are beyond reckoning and computation. For the guidance of mankind, He sent the Prophets with Clear Proofs2 , books, miracles and signs so that, perhaps, the people might perceive the right path and attain prosperity and success.

During the entire period of his prophethood, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), with regards to refinement of souls and perfection of morals, was an exemplar in speech and did, and had (even) said, “I have been sent (as a Prophet) for (the purpose of) perfecting the morals”3

Man's problem lies in his disregard for virtues, acquisition of vices,inclination towards lust and obedience to the Shaytan. Some men stoop so low that they even lead their lives akin to animals. For the purpose of refinement and treatment of human morals, abatement of rebelliousness and controlling the natural disposition, the Noble Prophet spared no effort and mentioned all that was necessary in this regard.

Attainment of prosperity in this world and the hereafter is only accomplished under the auspices of a teacher and, at the same time, not every person can completely identify the two extremes of moral behaviour in order to demonstrate the moderate and balanced path. Allah,Who is the Absolute Wise, introduced all the Prophets, especially the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), as the 'teacher and trainer' of morals, so that the people, by following in his footsteps, distance themselves from vices and acquire the honour of the two worlds.

In the Qur`an, there exists a chapter by the name of اَلقَصَص (The Narratives), which itself is proof that man is in nid of stories and narratives.

In many places in the Qur`an, stories of Prophets, kings and nations have been mentioned. In addition, Allah has presented issues pertaining to wars, peace, family, religion, society and other similar topics, in the form of stories and narratives. By reading these accounts, the people can comprehend and distinguish the paths of progress and regress, and ascent and descent in every field, especially morals.

The entire chapter Yusuf has been devoted to the story of Yusuf, Yaqub, Zulaikha and the brothers. In the beginning of the Chapter, Allah says: “We narrate to you (O' Prophet) the most excellent of the narratives by (means of) whatWe have revealed to you this Qur`an.”4

While, in the concluding verse of this very chapter, He says: Indid (there) in the history of theirs, is a lesson for men of understanding.5

Indid, one of the distinguished feats of the Qur`an is this very story of Yusuf (a.s), which it refers to as the 'best of the narratives', and at the end of which, it says: “In these stories there is a lesson for those, who desire to take a moral and adopt the path of the Perfect Men.”

In this regard, Amirul Mo`minin (a.s), in Nahjul Balagha, says to his son Imam Hasan (a.s) “Even though I have not reached the age, which those before me have, yet I have looked into their behaviour and reflected over the events of their lives. I walked amongst their ruins till I was as one of them. In fact, by virtue of those of their affairs that have become known to me, it is as though I have lived with them from the first to the last. I have therefore been able to discern the impure from the clean and the benefit from the harm. I have selected for you the choicest of those matters and collected for you their good points while kiping away from you the useless ones.”

Years ago, I had written a book on ethics (for the treatment of vices), by the name of Ihya al-Qulub.Ever since, I had been reflecting over the idea of compiling a book on moral stories. It so happened that, divinely, an opportunity came up before me and with it the motivation for undertaking this assignment. In spite of the lack of necessary books, I contented myself with those that were available and commenced the compilation of this book, recording four to five stories for every topic.

I have certainly not come across any book which has been compiled in this fashion. Books like Namunah-e-Maarif-e-Islam and Pand-e-Tarikh have been present for around 30 years and I have made use of them too (in the course of this collection), but in those books, Qur`anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies have all been accumulated together; whereas, I have sought to satisfy myself by mentioning only the stories, while abstaining from presenting considerations relating to Qur`anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies, which would not only have increased the size of the book but would also have made it difficult to understand for many of the readers.

This collection caters for the general public, young and old alike, who are acquainted with basic reading and writing. As far as possible, I have endeavoured to omit scientific issues and those aspects, pertaining to traditions, whose comprehension would be demanding and exacting for the general masses.

Although some of the stories may not possibly possess any aspect of reality and actuality, what I have focused on is the admonition and 'taking-a-lesson' aspect contained in them, which hopefully, the honourable readers would perceive and comprehend.

As far as the issue of associating a story to a particular topic is concerned, I do not claim that the stories allude to just one topic or that particular one which has been specified here; rather, there are stories which can be associated with several other topics too, in addition to the topic under which it has been mentioned here.

When narrating a text or presenting a translation, I have not restricted myself to the literal meaning but, for a better comprehension, have resorted to paraphrasing, allusion and conceptual explanation too.

To avoid interference of topics with one another and prolongation of discussion, I have refrained from bringing forth topics which are related to those already presented. For example, Ithar (altruism) has been presented as one of the topics but Infaq (spending in the path of Allah) has been excluded.

To prevent the reader from experiencing exhaustion and boredom, and for the sake of variety, I have desisted from presenting stories of a monotonous kind, like those of philosophers and poets, but have strived to make the collection varied. In this way, the readers will, hopefully, derive a greater pleasure from the narratives.

In view of the fact that trustworthiness ought to be adhered to, I have referred every narrative presented here, to the book from which it has been extracted, also mentioning the volume and page. It is only with the objective of achieving a greater fluency of work that I have endeavoured to correct, polish or alter some of the words or sentences of the original text.

It is hoped that the readers, after going through the stories and narratives, reflect upon and take lessons from them so that they are able to create within themselves, a new impetus towards perfection of morals; and Allah Willing, those who are endowed with laudable morals, should relate them to others, for rectification and remedy of the weaker souls.

Sayyid ‘Ali Akbar Sadaqat

And our final prayer (is):

All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Mordad, 1378 [July 1999]

Notes

1. Surat Ibrahim (14), Verse 5:

وَ لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسى‏ بِآيَاتِنَا أَنْ أَخْرِجْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلـى النُّورِ

2. Suratul Hadid (57), Verse 25:

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَ أَنْزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَ الْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ

3. Safinatul Bihar, vol. 1, pg. 411:

بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَكَارِمَ الأَخْلاَقِ

4. Surat Yusuf (12), Verse 3:

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هذَا الْقُرْآنَ‏

5.Ibid., Verse 111:

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الأََلْبَابِ‏

41. Supplication

Allah, the Wise, has said:

أُدْعُونِــي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

“Call upon Me, I will answer you.”1

Imam ‘Ali (a.s) said:

إِِدْفَعُوا أََمْوَاجَ الْبَلاَءِ عَنْکُمْ بِالدُّعاَءِ قَبْلَ وُرُودِ الْبَلاَءِ

“Ward away, by means of supplication, the waves of misfortunes before the arrival of misfortunes (themselves).”2

Short Explanation

The etiquette and conditions of supplication ought to be taken into regard and adhered to; the supplicant should carefully consider whom he is invoking and for whom or what purpose, he is supplicating.

The best of prayers is that man asks for obedience to Allah, drowning himself in His love and entrusting all his affairs to Him.

If Allah had not ordered us to supplicate and pray to him, but if we nevertheless had done so with sincerity, He, in His generosity, would have surely answered our prayers; accordingly, is it conceivable that the prayers of one, who adheres to the etiquette and conditions for supplication which Allah has prescribed, would not be answered?

When one invokes Allah, He either grants him his desire immediately, sets aside for him something better than what he had desired for, or wards away from him a great calamity.3

1) The Supplication of Mashlul

Imam Husain (a.s) narrates: “One dark night, my father and I were engaged in circumambulating the house of Allah when our attention was drawn towards a sound of weeping and lamentation. My father said to me: “O' Husain! Do you hear the wailings of a sinner, who has sought refuge in Allah? Locate him and bring him to me.”

In the darkness of the night I went in search of him; finding him betwin the Rukn and the Maqam, I brought him before my father.

He was a young man possessing an elegant stature and dressed in expensive clothes. My father said to him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am an Arab”. My father inquired: “Why the wailing and lamentation?” He said: “Disobedience, sins and my father's curse have shattered my life and affected my health.”

He (a.s) asked: “What is your story?” The youth said: “I had a father who had become old and had been very loving and considerate towards me; however I always used to indulge in inappropriate acts. Try as much as he would to guide me, I would not mend my ways and, at times, even troubled and inconvenienced him.

One day I intended to take his money, which he had kept in his trunk, but coming to know of my scheme, he tried to stop me. In the ensuing meli I flung him to the ground; he attempted to rise but failed. I took the money and set about my way, but on the way out I heard him say: “This year I shall go to the house of Allah and curse you.”

For the next few days he engaged himself in prayers and fasts, and then started out for the holy Kaabah. I followed him and observed that taking hold of the Kaabah's curtain, he cursed me. He had hardly finished cursing me when I suddenly found that one side of my body had become numb and paralysed.” Having said this, the youth lifted his gown and pointed out his affliction.

He then continued: “I repented and sought his forgiveness. Thri years passed by and in the third year, during the season of Hajj, he agrid to pray for me. Together, we set off for Mecca and it was night when we reached the valley of Arak.” In the darkness of the night a large bird suddenly took off in flight and startled my father's camel as a result of which my father was hurled to the ground and died. I buried him there but my affliction, due to my father's curse, still persists.”

The Imam (a.s) said: “The supplication recommended by the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), shall come to your aid. It contains the Greatest Name (of Allah) and every miserable, sick or poor person who recites it shall have his desire fulfilled.”

Giving him the supplication, he (a.s) said: “Recite this supplication on the eve of the 10th of Dhul Hijjah - the eve of Eidul Adha - and come to me the following morning.”

As instructed, the youth approached the Imam (a.s) having been completely cured of his affliction. The Imam (a.s) asked: “How were you cured?” He said: “I recited the supplication on the eve of the tenth of Dhul Hijjah - all the while shedding tears of repentance. Having completed the recitation, I was about to recite it for the second time when I heard a voice say: “O' Youth! Enough! You have invoked Allah by means of the Greatest Name.” I fell into a slumber and witnessed the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) in my dreams. He (s.a.w) placed his hand upon my body and said: “You have been cured.” I woke up to find myself cured completely.'”

The supplication which Imam ‘Ali (a.s) had taught the youth was the supplication of Mashlul, the initial sentences of which are as follows:4

أَللٌّهُمَّ إِنِّــي أَسْئَلُكَ بِاسْمِكَ بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِيمِ. يَا ذَا الْجَلاَلِ وَ الإِكْرَامِ …

“O' Allah, surely I ask you withYour name, In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, 'O' The Lord of Majesty and Bounty”.

2) Congregational Supplication

Hafs Ibn Umar Bajalli relates: “Once, I complained to Imam Sadiq (a.s) about my abject financial condition and the dismal state of life whereupon he (a.s) advised: 'When you return to Kufah, take ten dirhams and prepare some food, even if it necessitates selling the pillow upon which you sleep, and invite some of your brethren-in-faith for a meal and request them to pray for you.'”

Hafs said: “I returned to Kufah and despite all my efforts I was unable to make arrangements for the money. So, in accordance with the instructions of the Imam (a.s), I sold my pillow, prepared some food, invited some Mu'minin for a meal and requested them to pray for the termination of my problems. After eating, they prayed for me. By God! Only a short period had passed since the incident when, one day, someone began to knock at my door. Opening the door I saw that the person knocking was one with whom I had previously engaged in trade and owed me some money. He had come looking for me and handed me a large amount - around ten thousand dirhams - thus, clearing off his debt to me. From that day onwards my work began to expand and my state began to improve till I was eventually drawn out of my poverty and relieved of my troubles.”5

3) Repelling Calamities

The late Ayatullah Al-Hajj Sheikh Abdul Karim Haeri, the founder of the Hawzah Ilmiyyah of Qum recounts: “During the time when I was engaged in religious studies in the city of Samarra, an epidemic, in the form of plague, spread amongst the inhabitants of the city and everyday several people would die of the disease.

One day, some of the inhabitants of Samarra had gathered in the house of my teacher, the late Sayyid Muhammad Fisharki, when Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi (d. 1338 ah), who, in terms of knowledge, was at par with the late Sayyid Fisharki, suddenly arrived. In the course of the conversation, the talk drifted towards the issue of the plague that had threatened the lives of all the people.

The late Mirza said: “If I were to issue a hukm (ruling), would it not be mandatory for it to be executed?” All those present said: “Yes.” He said: “I rule that from today onwards, for a period of ten days, the entire Shiite community of Samarra should recite “Ziyarat Ashura” and gift the rewards of this recitation to Hadhrat Narjis Khatun - the mother of Imam Mahdi (a.s) - in order that this calamity is repelled from them.”

Those present in the gathering informed the other Shiites of this ruling and all of them engaged themselves in reciting the “Ziyarat Ashura.” The following days onward, it was observed that none of the Shiites would die due to the disease whereas the non-Shiites continued to suffer deaths - and this became plainly manifest for all the inhabitants of the city, such that some of the non-Shiites used to question their Shiite friends: “How is it that our people die due to the disease, whereas there are no deaths on your side?”

The Shiites would answer: “All of us recite “Ziyarat Ashura” of Imam Husain (a.s) in order to remain protected from the epidemic and Allah wards away the calamity from us!”6

4) Supplicating for Rain

Once, during the time of Prophet Dawud (a.s), a famine struck. The people selected thri of their scholars, who procided outside the city to pray for rain.

The first of them pleaded: “O' Lord! You have ordered us to forgive one who has done injustice to us; we have done injustice to our own selves so forgive us.”

The second one implored: “O' Lord! You have instructed us to setfri the slaves; we are your slaves so set us fri.”

The third of them supplicated: “O' Lord! In your Torah you have commanded us not to drive away the poor and the unfortunate ones; we are the poor ones, who now stand at your door so do not kip us deprived (of your mercy).”

The supplications of these sincere and practicing scholars had hardly finished when Allah sent down rain over the people.7

5) Supplication for the Dead

When Bahiyah, a pious lady, was about to die, she raised her head towards the heaven and prayed: “O' The Lord, Who is my treasure! I place my trust in you; do not abandon me at the time of death and deliver me from the terror of the grave.”

After she died her son used to visit her grave every Thursday night and Friday morning; he would recite Qur`an and supplications, and seek forgiveness for his mother and the other inmates of the cemetery.

One night, witnessing his mother in his dreams, the youth grited her and asked: “How are you?” She said: “O' My son! The intensity of death is indescribable but praisebe to Allah, for I have been granted a beautiful place in the Barzakh.”

The youth asked: “Mother, do you have any desire?” She said: “Yes, my son. Always continue to recite the Noble Qur`an, supplications and ziyarat for me. I am pleased when you visit me on Thursday nights and Friday mornings. When you come, the other deceased ones say to me, “Bahiyah, your son has come.” This good news makes me and the other inmates around my grave happy.”

The youth continued to recite the Noble Qur`an and supplications for his mother and the others when one night he witnessed in his dreams that a large group had approached him. He asked them: “Who are you?” They replied: “We are the inmates of the cemetery and have come to thank you for reciting the supplications and the Noble Qur`an for us. We request you not to abandon this practice of yours.”8

Notes

1. Suratul Mu`min (40), Verse 60

2. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, pg. 99

3. Tadhkeratul Haqa`iq , pg. 20

4. Muhaj al-Da’wat, pg. 153; DastanhaiAz Zindagi-e-’Ali, pg. 191

5. Baa MardumIn Guneh Barkhord Koneem, pg. 107

6. Dastanha-e-Shigeft, pg. 323

7. Shanidaniha-e-Tarikh, pg. 22; Mahajjatul Baidha, vol. 2, pg. 299

8. Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, pg. 849; Raudhatul Riyahin