Alhassanain(p) Network for Heritage and Islamic Thought

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq's Attitudes With Al-Mansur And His Governors

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Allah, the Exalted, granted ahl at Bayt many outstamerits. Wisdom was among them. You maybe astonished at the attitudes of al- Sadiq towards al- Mansür and his governors because he sometimes used soft words and spared no effort to justifa’ his innocence and sometimes faced them with intensity and violence, admitting nothing even though his attitude would make them angry.
Al- Sadiq was more knowledgeable (than others) in what he said and acted. He might be lenient when he knew that lenity was better and might be violent when he knew that violence was better. But lenity is not praised in all states and times.
In other words, making a distinction between attitudes needs wisdom and knowledge. So, al- Sadiq sometimes addressed al- Mansur in this manner:’ By Allah, I have not done that, nor have I regarded that as lawful, nor have regarded it of my doctrine. I, among those who believe in your obedience in all circumstances. I have become so old that I have no ability to do that.
And if I want that, then put me in one of your prisons till death comes to me because it is near to me.’ And he (al-Sâdiq) sometimes addressed him in such a manner:’ You should refrain from me; otherwise I will invoke Allah against you five times a day! Apart from the attitudes of lenity which we have mentioned earlier. Now, you wilt know the following attitudes of intensity.
Although we did not live in that era, we know the psychological traits of al- Sâdiq and that of al- DawânTqy (al- Mansur). Also we know the historical events which took place during that era.
Though al- Man sür possessed the Muslim countries with the name of the caliphate, he knew that the real owner of the caliphate was al- Sadiq, peace be on him, and that he was the owner of every outstanding merit, and that if he (al- Sadiq) had wanted authority, he (al- Mansur) would have not prevented him from obtaining that.
So, al- Mansrir sometimes over looked the violent attitudes of al- Sadiq, peace be on him, because he (al- Mansür) did not want to increase the disputes. Through his discussions with al-Sftdiq, which might have stirred up hates or which might have inflamed a rise or a revolution.
But the intensity of love for authority, authority is barren and love makes (the person) blind and makes (him) deaf, led al-Mansür to mistreat al- Sadiq and strive to kilt him. For this reason al- Sadiq adopted two attitudes: He sometimes became severe to reveal the truth and sometimes became lenient to save his life from al- Mansur’s oppression and aggression.
The following are some of al- Sadiq’s severe attitudes which he adopted to reveal the truth, paying no attention to the authority of al- Mansur and the cruelty of his governors: One day al- Mansur asked al- Sadiq, peace be on him, about those flies which were attacking and annoying him:” Abu Abd Allah, why did Allah create flies?” Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, answered:” To humiliate the tyrants with them.”’[1] Al- MansfIr kept silent because he knew that if he answered in kind, al- Sadiq would give him a severer answer.
Al- Mansur wrote a letter in which he asked al- Sadiq: “Why do you not fear us as people do?” al- Sadiq, peace be on him, answered:” We have nothing to fear you for, nor have you a thing for which we hope you in the hereafter, nor are you in a blessing (for which) we congratulate you, nor see you (authority) wrath (from Allah) for which we condole you, then why do we feet fear of you?’ So aI- Mansur wrote him a letter:” Be a companion of us to advise us.” al- Sâdiq answered:” Whoever likes the life in this world should not advise aou, and whoever likes the hereafter should not be a companion of you.[2]
I (the author) say: Indeed, al- Mansur did not want advise for what improved him. If he had wanted to improve himself, he would have withdrew from authority test he should draw on himself the sin of this nation. But he wanted to make friends with al- Sâdiq to make him among his followers. So, men would know that al- Mansur became the Imam beyond dispute. In the meantime the ShVa would not consult al- Sadiq under the pretext that he followed al- Mansur while the Imam would not be a follower for the masters -of authority optionally. And al- Sadiq was aware of al- Mansur’s intention.
The above- mentioned words of al- Sâdiq gives us an important lesson about the attitudes of men towards kings and rulers and about the positions of those who flatter them, and how the attitudes of the clergy men should be towards them.
One day, al- Mansür was full of anger. He summoncd al- Sadiq, peace be on him. When al- Sadiq came to him, he (al- Mansür) said to him:” Ja’far, I have known that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said to your grandfather ‘Ali b. Abu Tâtib, peace be on him: If not that some tribes of my people say about you as the Jews have said about al- Maslh (Jesus Christ), I would say some words about you, the words would make the people whom you pass by take some of the dust of your feet to cure themselves with it.”
‘Ali, peace be on him, said:” Two (persons) will perish because of me while I have no sin: an extreme lover and an extreme hater.” He (al- Sâdiq) said:” This is an excuse made by him (‘Ati) to show that he did not accept what the extreme lover and the extreme hater say concerning him.
Upon my life, if ‘Isa b. Maryam (Jesus, the son of Mary) had kept silent towards what the Christians said concerning him, Allah would have tortured him. And you know that people say falsehood (to flatter you) and you know that if you do not prevent them from that and accept it, you will draw on yourself the wrath of Allah.
The mean of Hijaz and the rabble have said that you are the scholar of this time and its law, the proof of Allah and His interpreter, the bag of His knowledge and the scales of His Justice, and His burner with which the seeker cover the breadth of darkness to brightness of light, and Allah will not accept the act of the person who does not know your position, so they (men) have attributed you to other than your position, and said concerning you what you have not, then say because your grandfather was the first to say the truth, and the first to believe him in that was your father, and you are appropriate for tracing their traditions and follow their way.”
So, he (al- Sâdiq), peace be on him, said:” I am among the branches of the Olive Tree, among the Lamps of the House of the Prophethood, the polite (person) of the dining table, the foster son of the generous and righteous (ones), among the Lamps of the Lantern in which (there is) the Light of the light, and the top of the remaining word in the children of the Chosen (Ones) till the Day of Resurrection.”
So, al- Mansur turned to those who were sifting with him and said:” Indeed this (i.e. al- Sâdiq) has sent me to a rough sea whose limit cannot be reached and whose depth cannot be attained, in which the scholars are bewildered, in which the swimmers drown, and the width of the vast space becomes narrow for the swimmer, this suffocation (of mortification) in the throats of the caliphs, whose banishment is not permitted, whose killing is unlawful, and if not that I am gathered with him by the Tree whose origin is good, whose branch is lofty, whose fruit is pleasant, which is blessed in progeny, and which’is holy in the Books, an act of unlovable results would issue from me. That is because his severe criticism and his bad words come to my ears.”
So, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said:” Do not accept the words of the person whom Allah will deprive of Paradise, and whose abode will be the fire, because the slanderer is a false witness and the partner of Satan in seduction among men. Verily, Allah, the Exalted, said: “ 0 you who believe! if an evil- doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you should harm a people in ignorance, then you be sorry for what you have done.”[3]
And we are your supporters and helpers and the supports and pillars of your authority when you enjoin good and forbid evil, spread the commandments of the among men, and do against the wilt of Satan through your obedience for Allah.
It is obligatory for you, according to your understanding, abundance of your science, and your knowledge of the manners of Allah, to link him who abandons you, give him who deprives you, forgive him who oppresses you, because the giver is not like the maintainer- the maintainer is he who maintains (friendly relations with) his blood relatives when they abandon him. So keep up (friendly relations with) your blood relatives so that Allah will increase your life, and commute your punishment of the Day of Judgment.”
So al- Mansur said:” I have forgiven you for your importance and excused you for your truthfulness, then tell a tradition of your own to learn a lesson from it and be a restraint of truthfulness for me against grave sins.” So, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said:” Cleave to clemency because it is the pillar of knowledge, control yourself durina the reasons of ability because if you do what you are able to, you will be like the person who gives vent to his anger or cures a spite or wants to be mentioned through the power, and know that if you punish (the person who is) worthy (of punishment), then you will be regarded as a just (man), and the state which makes thankfulness incumbent is better than the state which makes patience incumbent.”
So, al- Mansur said:” You have preached in a good manner, and you have said briefly.”’[4] I (the author) say:
Such attitudes teach important lessons about the policy, knowledge, and faith of the people of that era. From here we can understand the following:
1. Al- Mansur wanted al- SAdiq not to appear as an Imam. So, he tried to cheat him with these soft words before people. From here you understand the cleverness of al- Mansur, because the Abbâsids sat on the throne in the name of the Imamate and caliphate. If there had been a part of the nation who knew that there was another Imam who was the owner of the pulpit and the crown, they (the AbbâsYds) would have not taken the reins of authority.
So, al- Mansur did not want anyone to oppose his authority. In other words he sometimes defended his throne with severity and sometimes with lenity. So, it was a part of his policy to answer al- Sadiq with these words before a group of people. Also he thought that al- Sâdiq would abolish what people said concerning him, then through this he would be able to get what he wanted. And he knew that al- Sfldiq would not answer him, because he (al- Sâdiq) Was very careful of his authority.
2. Al- Sâdiq was an Imam according to the Divine nomination. He and the ShVa believed in that. Moreover, the Imamate of ahl at Bayt and of al-Sadiq was not born during the era of al- Mansur. Rather, it has begun since the time of the Owner of the mission. For this reason, al- Sadiq was before two choices..
If he had followed al- Mansur, he would have abolished the Divine Imarnate And if he had opposed him, he would have subjected himself to his evil acts. Thus he answered him with brief words which did not declare his Imamate, nor could they abolish the words of men concerning him. For this reason, al- Mansur said:” Indeed this (i.e. al-Sadiq) has sent me to a rough sea whose limit cannot be reached....”
3. The ShT’a has believed in the Imam since that day. This is what the fundamentals of their doctrine need. And the reports of alit at Bayt and their traditions have denoted that.
4. That al- Sâdiq kept silent does not mean that he abolished the Imamate. And if he had abolished it, he would have said:” This idea and belief is abolished.” Moreover, it was obligatory for him to tell people that the Jmamate was abolished and prevent them from this belief.
5. Many people believed in the Imamate of al- Sâdiq, peace be on him. This made al- Manstlr think of al- Sadiq and made him afraid of his great position. So, he tried to get rid of him under any pretext.
6. If there were no reports and traditions about al- Sâdiq’s great position, his words and attitude towards al- Mansür would be enough evidence for his great position. For example, he altered the answer which al- Mansur wanted in the manner that bewildered him. Then he preached in the manner that was suitable for the position of kings and their many tribulations.
One day, al- Sâdiq came to al- Mansur. So, al- RabT’ received him at the door and said to him:” AbU Abd Allah, he is so displeased with you that I have heard him say: By Allah, I am going to cut down his date palms, plunder his property, and capture his children.” When al- Sadiq came to him greeted him, and sat down, al- Mansur said to him:” I have intended to cut down your date palms, plunder your property....” So, al- Sâdiq, peace be on him, said:” Indeed, Allah, the Great and Almighty, afflicted Ayyub and he was patient, gave DawUd and he thanked (Him), made Yousif able (to revenge himself on his brothers) and he forgave (them), and you are from that progeny, then you must be like them.”
So, he (al- Mansür) said:” You have said the truth. So, I have forgiven you.” Al- Sadiq said:” If any person kills one of us, we ahl at Bayt, Allah will deprive him of his authority.” So, al- MnsUr was full of anger. Thus al-Sâdiq said:” Slowly! This authority was in the hands of the family of Abll Sufyfln.
When Yazid killed al- Husayn, peace be on him, Allah deprived him of his authority. Then the family of Marwân inherited it. When Husham killed Zayd, Allah deprived him of his authority. Then Marwân b. Mohammed inherited it. When Marwan killed Ibrahim, the Imam, Allah deprived him of his authority and has given it to you. Al- Mansur said:” You have said the truth.”’[5]
I (the author) say: Indeed al- Sadiq did not apologized to (al- Mansur) for his first saying. Rather, he produced evidence for it, except that he mentioned his brother Ibrâhim to avoid his evil acts.
Al- Sadiq had many similar attitudes. But we think that the above-mentioned ones are enough.
Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, had attitudes towards some of the governors of al- Mansur. They were as severe as those attitudes towards al- Mansur. After the killing of Mohammed and Ibrâhim, al- Manstlr appointed a man called Shayba b. ‘Afal as a governor over Medina.
In this connection, Abd Allah b. Sulaymfifl al- Timimy said:” When I attended the Friday prayer, he (i.e. Abd Allah) entered the Mosque of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and his family), sat in the pulpit, thanked Allah and praised Him, then he said:” Surely ‘Ali b. Abfl Talib sowed dissension among Muslims, waged war against the believers, wanted authority for him, and prevented the appropriate persons from obtaining it (authority)].
So, Allah deprived him of that and made him die with his pang. And for those reasons. They are following his way in corruption and asking authority without any merit. So, they are killed alt over the earth and are stained with blood.
His (Abd Allah’s) words were painful for those people, but no one dared say even a word except one man who stood up and said:” And we praise Allah (and ask him) to bless Mohammed, the last of the Prophets and the Master of the Apostles, and all His prophets and Apostles, as for good you have mentioned we are the appropriate ones for it, and as for the bad, you and your companion are more appropriate for it (than us). Then try, you who have ridden other than your camel and eaten other than his food. Come BACK and you are sinful!”
Then the man turned to the men and said:” Shalt I tell you about the person whose scales will be emptiest of all men on the Day of Judgment and the clearest of them in loss? It is he who sells his life in the hereafter for the life of other than him in this world. It is that sinner.
So, the men kept silent. And the aovernor went out of the Mosque and did not say even a word. So, I asked about the man. It was said to me:’ This is Ja’far b. Mohammed b. ‘Au b. aI- Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abü Talib, the blessing of Allah be on them all.”’[6]
On the authority of al- Sadiq, peace be on him, who said:” I was sitting with Ziyad b. Abd Allah and a group of my family, so he said:’ What is your outstanding merit of all men?’ ‘They kept silent, so I said:’ We do not like to belong to anyone except us, and no one hates of men belonging to us"[7]
I (the author) say: Indeed, he brought him irrefutable evidence. These words, though brief, has gathered the virtues and served instead of proofs.
Al- Mansür appointed DawUd b, ‘Ali b. Abd Allah b. al- Abbas as a governor over Medina.
The latter sent for al- Ma’alla b. Khanls, the servant of al- Sâdiq, peace be on him, and wanted him to show him the companions of al- Sâdiq, peace be on him, and his reliable figures. But Al- Mu’atta pretended that he did not know them. He insisted on that and threatened him with death.
Al- Mu’alla said:’ Do you threaten me with death? By Allah, if they were under my own foot, I would not lift my foot from them. And if you kill me, you will make me happy, and I will make you unhappy.’ When Dawüd understood al- Ma’all’ ‘s strong attitude, he killed him and plundered his properties while they belonged to al- Sadiq, peace be on him.
When that (news) came to al- Sadiq’s ear, he stood up with anger, pulling his cloak, he went to Dawud, and said to him:” You have killed my servant and plundered my properties. Did you not know that the man was very brave?”
Then al- Sadiq, peace be on him, asked Dawfld to give him the money. Dawtid offered his police commissioner to al- Sadiq to kill him. When they brought him to be killed, he began shouting:” They order me to kill men for them, then they have brought me to kill me.”
Then, Dawiid sent five of his guards to bring al- Sadiq and said to them:” Bring him to me. If he refuses, then bring me his head.” So, they (the guards) came to al- Sâdiq while he was performing his prayers. They said:” Answer Dawüd!” He (Sadiq) said:” What if I do not answer (him)?” “ He has given us an order,” they said. He said:” Go away, because it is better for your life here and in the hereafter.” But they insisted on his going with them.
So, he raised his hands, then he put them on his sides, then he stretched them out, then he prayed with his forefinger. So, he was heard saying:” This hour! This hour!” Then loud crying was heard. So, he said to them:” Surety, your companion (i.e. Dawfld) has died, now go away.”
I (the author) say: These are some of his attitudes towards the governors of al- Mansur. The anger for the truth summoned him to be severe when he thought that speech was better than silence even though he subjected himself to the sword.


1- Al- Shiblanjl, Nflr Al- Absar, p.14 I.
2- Ibin Hamdfln, Kashif Al- Ghuma: 2/208.
3- Al- Hojarat :6.
4- Bihar Al- Anwa :47/168.
5- Al- Kafi: 2/563.
6- Al- Shaykn al- Thsy, al- Majllis, Majlis no. 2.
7- Bihar Al- Anwar: 47/166/8.

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Alhassanain(p) Network for Heritage and Islamic Thought