Ismail ibn Ja’far, part 7: The Great Badaa, subpart I, The Lead-Up


Some websites have edited their old articles to add information from this article onto it. However, the research presented in my article is fully original

 1 ) Leading events

  • A) The Ja’fari rebellions

  • AA) Why did al-Mufaddal and Ismail associate with the radicals?

As discussed in part 4 and 6, al-Mufaddal and Ismail ibn Ja’far had become associated with a group of radical anti-Abbasid revolutionaries. 

One would wonder - why would those two deputies of Imam al-Sadiq associate with anti-Abbasid revolutionaries? After all, we know the Imam’s stance is taqiyya-oriented and the Imam did not get involved in the revolts of his Hasanid cousins against the Abbasids

The Rafida would refuse to rise with anyone unless the Imam appointed by Nass, Imam al-Sadiq, gave such orders.

In this excerpt from Tarikh al-Tabari, mentioned in my book History of Nass Imamate,

Zayd ibn Ali asks the followers of Imam al-Baqir to rise with him. And they refuse, saying they would not rise unless Imam al-Baqir orders them to do so.  Even if he orders them, they will believe the order is out of taqiyya.

It is said that Zayd requested from them [i.e, the Rāfiḍa] that they ask Abā Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī (on whether to revolt with Zayd).

If he [al-Bāqir] ordered them to rise with him (Zayd), they would rise with him.

So they then told him (Zayd): Even if he orders us to rise with you, we wouldn’t rise because we know that is out of taqiyya - out of shyness from you.

So he [Zayd] said what he said (about the Rāfiḍa).

ويقال أن زيدا طلب منهم أن يسألواء ابا جعفرمحمد بن علي فإن أمرهم بالخروج

معه خرجوا فاعتلوا عليه ثم قالوا : لو أمرنا بالخروج معك ما خرجنا لأنا نعلم أن

ذلك تقية واستحياء منك فقال ما قا

Another excerpt included in my History of Nass Imamate book, is what al-Baladhuri (d. 892 CE) mentioned of the Rafida’s response as to why they would not follow Zayd - when Zayd approached them again after the death of al-Baqir:

They [the Rāfiḍa] say that Abā Jaʿfar - Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn is the Imām. And Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad is our Imām after his father - and he is most worthy of it [i.e, Imamate] than Zayd, even if he were [Imām al-Bāqir’s] brother.”

إن أبا جعفر محمد بن علي بن الحسين هو الإمام وجعفر بن محمد إمامنا :وقالوا بعد أبيه وهو أحق بها من زيد وإن كان أخاه

The followers of Imam al-Baqir would only follow the person designated by him through Nass, who is Imam al-Sadiq. 

Thus, only if the Imam orders them to engage in a revolt, they would join. 

Meaning, if the revolt not subject to another fallible with his own agendas, but the revolt is ordered by Imam al-Sadiq and is in his name - they would join.

Being so, al-Mufaddal and Ismail likely believed this was the case of the radical rebels they joined.

As the radicals’ rallying was in Imam al-Sadiq’s name, and it was “Labbayk Ja’far ibn Muhammad!”. Subsequently, they became known as the Ja’fariya.

(Al-Kafi, vol 8, page 225)

Aba Abdilah [al-Sadiq] came to us while he was angry.

He said: ‘I went out for a certain need, and some black people in Medina came to me saying - ‘Labbyak Jafar ibn Muhammad Labbayk..’”

  • AB) The Ja’fari rebellion in the Umayyad era

The radicals first emerged in their call to rebellion in the name of Ja’far ibn Muhammad during the Umayyad era, and were quickly crushed, as seen below:

(Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani’s Kitab al-Aghani, vol 17, page 17)

Muhammad ibn al-Abbas al-Yazidi told us: Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh told us: Hajar ibn Abd al-Jabbar told us:

The Ja’fariya rose up against Khalid ibn Abdullah al-Qasri [Umayyad governor of Kufa] as he was giving a speech on the pulpit, and he wasn’t aware of them. So they rose up, wearing sailors’ clothing, shouting “Labbyak Jafar! Labbayk Jafar!”.

Khalid only became aware of them while giving a speech, and was caught by surprise - so he didn’t know what to do with them.

So he ordered that they be brought to the mosque and that sugarcane plants be brought and doused with flammable material.

And he ordered his guard to take them [the Ja’fari rebels], cut their heads off and burn them. So he burned them all”.

خرجت الجعفرية على خالد بن عبد اللّه القسريّ و هو يخطب على المنبر و هو لا يعلم بهم، فخرجوا في التبابين [1]، ينادونلبّيك جعفر، لبّيكجعفرو عرف خالد خبرهم، و هو يخطب على المنبر، فدهش فلم يعلم ما يقول فزعا، فقالأطعموني ماء، ثم خرج الناس إليهم فأخذوا، فجعليجي‌ء بهم إلى المسجد و يؤخذ طنّ [2] قصب فيطلى بالنّفط، و يقال للرجل احتضنه، و يضرب حتى يفعل، ثم يحرق، فحرّقهم جميعا.

  • AC) The Ja’fari rebellion in the Abbasid era

Ja’fari rebellious activity did not end with the failure of the rebellion in Umayyad times.

Ibn Hazm, the esteemed Sunni Andalusian historian (d. 1064 CE) records in his heresiographical book al-Fasl fil Milal 4:142-143 :

That the Ja’far rebels publicized their “call in Kufa during the governship of Isa b Musa b Muhammad b Ali b Abdullah b al-Abbas.

So one day, they emerged in broad day light on a state of ihram and wearing [ihram clothing] - crying in the loudest voice:

Labbayk Ja’far! Labbayk Jafar!

Soon enough, they rose in revolt against the governor and all those who fought were completely extinguished, along with their leaders, as Abu Muslim al-Baghdadi states al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq page 218.

  • B) Repercussions of the revolt on Imam al-Sadiq

After the failure of the Ja’fari revolt in Abbasid era - and given his son Ismail and his deputy al-Mufaddal ibn Umar were associated with the revolt’s leaders.

Imam al-Sadiq rushed to disassociate himself from the Ja’fari movement (including from al-Mufaddal ibn Umar and Ismail ibn Ja’far) - as the movement associating itself with him gained the Imam and his companions the hostility of both the public and the authorities.

(Al-Kafi, vol 2, page 77)

Abu al-Sabah al-Kinani told Abi Abdilah [al-Sadiq]:

‘Why is it that the people are attacking us by associating us with you?!’

Abu Abdilah said: ‘And what is it that the people attack you on by associating you with me?’

[Abu al-Sabah] said: ‘No conversation happens between us and other men, except that they call us a “Jafari khabeeth”’ [i.e, ‘rotten Ja’fari’]

[Abu Abdilah] said: ‘They deride you by associating you with me?’

[Abu al-Sabah] said: ‘Yes’

[Abu Abdilah] said: ‘By Allah, indeed the ones who follow Ja’far from you are truly a small amount. My companions are only those whose piety is at a heightened state, and worked for his Creator, seeking His reward. These are my companions’.

محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن محمد بن إسماعيل بن بزيع، عن حنان بن سدير قالقال أبو الصباح الكناني لأبي عبدالله (عليه السلام): ما نلقى من الناس فيك؟فقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): وما الذي تلقى من الناس في؟ فقاللا يزال يكون بيننا وبينالرجل الكلام فيقولجعفري خبيث، فقاليعيركم الناس بي؟ فقال له أبو الصباحنعم قالفقالما أقل والله من يتبع جعفرا منكم، إنماأصحابي من اشتد ورعه، وعمل لخالقه، ورجا ثوابه، فهؤلاء أصحابي 

  • Al-Mansur accuses al-Sadiq of conspiring and backstabbing, and vows to kill al-Sadiq

Ibn ‘Asakir, the famed Sunni historian says:

(Mukhtasar Tarikh Dimashq, vol 8, page 308-309)

Al-Rabi’ [hajib, i.e, prime minister of caliph al-Mansur and secret loyalist of Imam al-Sadiq] told us -

When the caliphate was settled for al-Mansur, he told me:

‘O Rabee’, send someone to bring Jafar ibn Muhammad to me’

He [Rabee] then said: So I bowed between his hands and asked him [i.e, al-Mansur], ‘What scheme are you planning regarding him?’

And I deluded him into thinking I would do it.

So I came back to him [the caliph] after an hour, so he said to me:

Did I not tell you to send someone to bring Jafar ibn Muhammad to me? Wallah, I will kill him’.

 So I [i.e, Rabee] saw no escape from that, so I entered upon him [i.e, Imam al-Sadiq] and told him:

‘O Aba Abdilah, answer Amir al-Mu’mineen [the caliph]’ So he rose up, rushedly.

As we got close to the door, he [Imam Jafar] started moving his lips and then entered, and said his salam.

And received no answer [from the caliph].

He stood up and the caliph did not allow him sit down.

Then he [the caliph] raised his head towards him [Imam Jafar] and said:

O Jafar, you conspired against us. And increased [your hostility]. And you backstabbed us

حدث الربيع قاللما استوت الخلافة لأبي جعفر المنصور قال لييا ربيع، ابعث إلى جعفر بن محمد من يأتيني به، قالفتنحيت من بين يديهوقلتأي بلية تريد أن تفعل؟ وأوهمته أن أفعل؛ ثم أتيته بعد ساعة فقال ليألم أقل لك أن تبعث إلى جعفر بن محمد من يأتيني به؟ واللهلأقتلنهفلم أجد بداً من ذلك، فدخلت إليه فقلتيا أبا عبد الله، أجب أمير المؤمنين، فقام مسرعاًفلما دنونا إلى الباب قام يحرك شفتيه ثمدخل فسلم، فلم يرد عليه، ووقف فلم يجلسه، ثم رفع رأسه إليه فقاليا جعفر، أنت ألبت علينا وكثرت وغدرت

  • Burning the house of Jafar al-Sadiq

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 473)

Al-Mansur ordered al-Hasan ibn Zayd, his governor of Mecca and Medina, to set fire to the house of Abi Abdilah [al-Sadiq] and he did so. In the fire, the door and the corridor of the house burned. The Imam (a) came out of the house crossing the fire saying, "I am the son of the Roots of the Earth [i.e., Ismail son of prophet Ibrahim], I am the son of Ibrahim, God's Friend."

المفضل بن عمر قالوجه المنصور إلى حسن بن زيد وهو واليه على الحرمين أن أحرق على جعفر بن محمد داره، فألقى النار في دار أبيعبد الله عليه السلام فأخذت النار في الباب والدهليز، فخرج أبو عبد الله عليه السلام يتخطى النار ويمشي فيها ويقولأنا ابن أعراق الثرىأنا ابن إبراهيم خليل الله (2).

بيانرأيت في بعض الكتب أن أعراق الثرى كناية عن إسماعيل عليه السلام 

Why did Imam al-Sadiq mention being the son of prophet Ismail? How did the above events lead to the first stage of badaa’ regarding Ismail? 

We will find in the next subpart inshallah