Abu al-Khattab, part 8: Wilayah of Abu al-Khattab

Upon the martyrdom of Imam Husayn in the tragic Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, a significant transformation affected the system of Imamate in Shi’ism.

Our holy Imams had entered a stage of total concealment (istitar), in which they began hiding their true teachings even from their closest companions.


Nareated ‘Ammar al-Sabati:

“Once I asked abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.), ‘Is the worship in secrecy with an Imam from you - concealing himself - under the government of falsehood more virtuous or the worship during the dominance and government of the truth with an Imam from you in public sight more virtuous?’” 

The Imam (a.s.) said, “O ‘Ammar, charity in secrecy, by Allah, is more virtuous than the charity given in public sight. 

The same is true when you worship in secrecy with your concealed Imam under the government of falsehood.

(Worship) with your fear from your enemies under the government of falsehood in peace time is more virtuous than worshipping Allah, Majestic is Whose mention, during the dominance of the truth distinctly under the government of the truth..

2 - الحسين بن محمد الأشعري، عن معلى بن محمد، عن علي بن مرداس، عن صفوان بن يحيى والحسن بن محبوب، عن هشام بن سالم،عن عمار الساباطي قالقلت لأبي عبد الله (عليه السلام):

أيما أفضلالعبادة في السر مع الإمام منكم المستتر في دولة الباطل أو العبادة في ظهور الحق ودولته مع الإمام منكم الظاهر؟ فقالياعمارالصدقة في السر والله أفضل من الصدقة في العلانية وكذلك والله عبادتكم في السر مع إمامكم المستتر

Through analysis of ahadith, Allama Majlisi goes on to describe this state of concealment espoused by the Imams as being the following:

(Bihar al-Anwar, vol 64, page 160)

It is evident that the quality of complete believer - one who is deserving of being entrusted with their (Ahlulbayt)’s secrets and preserving them. Only a few people possessed such attributes.

And that they (Imams) were performing taqiyya from the majority of Shi’a

ويدل على أن المؤمن الكامل الذي يستحق أن يكون صاحب أسرارهم وحافظها قليل، وأنهم كانوا يتقون من أكثر الشيعة

It becomes clear that the Imams were performing taqiyya from most Shi’a, and yet a select few were entrusted with the Imams’ true teachings.

This poses the obvious question: 

Doesn’t this mean we should seek the core of our beliefs from those few entrusted Shi’a?

After all, we cannot have true ma’rifa of the Imams (i.e, recognition of their true status) from ahadith they said in taqiyya. 

And when we do not have ma’rifa of the Imams, Allah will not accept any our deeds.

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 144)

We (Ahlulbayt) I swear by Allah, are the most blessed names of Allah without which Allah does not accept any of the good deeds of His servants until they have ma’rifa of us

This means - if we want out prayer, fasting, and all acts of religion to be worth something in the eyes of Allah.

If we wish for our deeds to accepted, then we must seek ma’rifa of the Imams. 

Such ma’rifa can only be attained from following Babs whom the Imams entrusted with their secrets and true teachings. And whose narrations we are prohibited from doubting.

(Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol 27, page 105)

There is no excuse for our followers to doubt what our thiqat (i.e, Babs) narrate. 

They have known that we share our secrets with them and carry it over to them.”

Accordingly, this article will serve as a continuation from my previous article (Abu al-Khattab, part 7) - aiming to answer the following questions which will help us further understand the nature and inviolability of the Babs:

(1) What exactly was entrusted to the Babs that makes them so special? 

(2) Why is it impossible for the Bab to disobey the Imam or stray? How does this apply to Abu al-Khattab?

(3) Is it possible for the Bab to perform taqiyya?

With that said

Let us get started!

1 ) The Special Babs

Al-Thiqa al-Ma’mun

We mention in our last article that Imam al-Askari described Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bilal (also known as Bilali) with the title “Thiqa Ma’mun” (our trustee, entrusted with leading the Shi’a).

The can be seen in the following hadith graded mu’tabar (authentic) by Shaykh Asif Mohseni, in (Mu’jam al-Ahadith al-Mu’tbara vol 1 p 179):

1. [1/-] Rijal al-Kashshi: One of the Thiqat in Naysabur relayed to us that: There came out a signed rescript [Tawqi] from Abi Muhammad عليه السلام to Ishaq b. Ismail saying: O Ishaq b. Ismail … and O Ishaq – read this letter of ours to al-Bilali – may Allah be well pleased with him – for he is al-Thiqa al-Ma’mun, the one who recognizes what is incumbent on him …”

وقال الكشيحكى بعض الثقات بنيسابور وذكر توقيعا طويلا من جملتهيا إسحاق اقرأ كتابنا علي البلالي، رضي الله عنه، فإنه الثقةالمأمون العارف بما يجب عليه

However, a change takes place in the way our Imams describe Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bilal.

Al-Husayn ibn Ruh, the third canonical safeer of Imam al-Mahdi said in this hadith also graded mu’tabar by Shaykh Asif Mohseni) highlights that al-Bilali was later cursed and disassociated from by the Imam.

(Al-Ghayba of al-Tusi, vol 1, page 432)

We had (cursed and disassociated from al-Shalmaghani) in the same the way we were towards the likes of him who preceded him, such as al-Shari’i, al-Numayri, al-Hilali, al-Bilali and others.

، ولعناه عليه لعائن الله - اتفقوا (4) زاد بن داود تترى - في الظاهر منا والباطن، في السر والجهر، وفي كل وقت وعلى كل حال، وعلى منشايعه وتابعه أو بلغه هذا القول منا وأقام على توليه بعده وأعلمهم - قال الصيمريتولاكم الله (5). قال ابن ذكاأعزكم الله - أنا من التوقي - وقال ابن داوداعلم أننا من التوقي لهقال هارونوأعلمهم أننا في التوقي - والمحاذرة منهقال ابن داود وهارونعلى مثل (ما كان) (6) من تقدمنا لنظرائه، قال الصيمريعلى ما كنا عليه ممن تقدمه من نظرائهوقال ابن ذكاعلى ما كان عليه من (7) تقدمنا لنظرائهاتفقوا - من الشريعي والنميري والهلالي والبلالي

Noticing this dichotomy in sahih ahadith, Shaykh Asif Mohseni comments in (Mujam al-Ahadith al-Mu’tabara, vol 1, p 185):

I say: This reversal (of Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bilal) in status (of righteousness), even if it is not impossible.

However, if the deviation is correct, then it raises doubts about the authenticity of the letter of Imam al-Askari (appointing him).

This is because describing (Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bilal) as al-Thiqa al-Ma’mun by the imam - even with the Imam’s knowledge of the change in his status in the future, is unlikely.

So contemplate - for this (title) has another counterpart holding it as well.

اقولهذا الانقلاب وان كان غير بعيد لكن ان صح انحرافه هذا فهو يؤكد الشك في صحة التوقيع المتقدم فان توصيفه بالثقة المأمون من قبلالامام مع علمه بما يؤل حاله في المستقبل بعيد فتأمل فانه له نظيرا.

One may ask:

If Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bilal were a mere deputy of the Imam - whom was merely trustworthy “thiqa” at one point..

Then why does Shaykh Mohseni think it is unlikely Ibn Bilal could deviate after the Imam appointed him?

After all - didn’t the Waqifa and other deputies of our Imams undergo deviation and corruption, after their appointment?

The answer, dear reader, lies in the Imam al-Askari’s description of Ibn Bilal as “al-Thiqa al-Ma’mun”.

Shaykh Mohseni says:

So contemplate - for this (title) has another counterpart holding it as well.”

As clarified in my last article, the title of “Thiqa Ma’mun” has counterparts in the first two sufara’ of Imam al-Mahdi: 

Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Amri and his son Muhammad ibn Uthman.

The title “Thiqa Ma’mun” is the title by which these two were entrusted with authority and position of Babhood by the Imam. 

Such that one is obligated to see these Babs’ words and actions as equaling those of the Imams, and one is obligated to listen and obey them. 

And Abu Ali also informed me that he had asked Aba Muhammad (al-Askari) عليه السلام about the same matter, so he said to him: al-Amri and his son are both Thiqa (trustees), so what they give to you on my behalf then their giving is truly on my behalf, and what they say to you on my behalf then their saying is truly on my behalf, so listen to them and obey them, for they are both Thiqatan Ma’munan (Two entrusted thiqas).”

Unlike a mere deputy who can adjudicate for the Shi’a independently from the Imam, the Bab (the Thiqa Ma’mun) is not permitted to judge using his rational faculties.

Al-Amri clarifies:

“I (asked the Bab al-Amri): “What is the Mahdi’s name?” 

He (Al-Amri) said: “That is forbidden to you to ask for. I am not saying this from myself, nor am I permitted to allow or disallow (independently). Rather, this prohibition is from the Imam himself.”

قلتفالاسم؟ قالمحرم عليكم أن تسألوا عن ذلك، ولا أقول هذا من عندي، فليس لي أن أحلل ولا أحرم، ولكن عنه عليه السلام

In contrast, the Bab’s function lies in him being the conduit of the Imam to his Shi’a. 

He is the Imam’s public face to the Shi’a, who promulgates the Imam’s true teachings while the Imam is doing taqiyya or in hiding.

It is as if the Imam were directly with his Shi’a but in the form of another person.

For this reason, Shaykh al-Mufid believed that the “elite, sufara’ and Babs (of the Imams)” possessed infallibility.

(Al-Mufid’s Awa’il al-Muqalat) 1

Our belief regarding the appearance of miracles from the infallibles from among the elite, sufara’ and Babs (of the Imams)

I say: This is permissible, and neither reason, nor Sunnah nor book prevents it, and it is the doctrine of a group of Imamiyya scholars...

القول في ظهور المعجزات على المعصومين من الخاصة والسفراء والأبواب:

وأقولإن ذلك جائز لا يمنع منه عقل ولا سنة ولا كتاب، وهو مذهب جماعة من مشايخ الامامية، وإليه يذهب ابن الأخشيد من المعتزلةوأصحاب الحديث في الصالحين الأبرار، وبنو نوبخت من الامامية يمتنعون من ذلك، ويوافقون المعتزلة في الخلاف علينا فيه، ويجامعهم علىذلك الزيدية والخوارج المارقة من الاسلام انتهى كلامه رفع الله مقامه

He believed that infallibility in someone not from Ahlulbayt is possible, provided this person is from the “most steadfast truth-affirming Shiites”.

These Shi’a of utmost high status can even be spoken to by angels.

Our belief in the imams hearing the words of the honorable angels, even if they do not see their (i.e, angels’) form

I say - this is permissible, rationally speaking.

It is possible (to hear angels) even in the most steadfast truth-affirming Shiites who are infallible from straying..”

44 - القول في سماع الأئمة (عكلام الملائكة الكرام وإن كانوا لا يرون منهم الأشخاص وأقولبجواز هذا من جهة العقل، وإنه ليس بممتنع(3) في الصديقين من الشيعة المعصومين من الضلال، وقد جاءت بصحته وكونه للأئمة (ع) (4) ومن

And who are the these infallible truth-affirming Shi’a who can hear angels?

The Babs!

As Salman is shown below to have been spoken to by angels. 

(Rijal al-Kashi)

I said to al-Sadiq (peace be upon him):

Was Salman a muhadath? (divinely inspired / spoken to by a divine force)

He (Imam) said: Yes

I said: Who is speaking to him? 

He (Imam) said: An honorable angel.”

74 - رجال الكشينصر بن الصباح، عن إسحاق بن محمد البصري، عن محمد بن عبد الله بن مهران، عن محمد بن سنان، عن الحسن بنمنصور قالقلت للصادق (عليه السلام):

أكان سلمان محدثا؟ قالنعم، قلتمن يحدثه؟ قالملك كريم، قلتفإذا كان سلمان كذا فصاحبه أي شئ هو؟ قالأقبلي على شأنك

What do the angels inform the Babs of?

“On the authority of Ahmad ibn Hammar al-Marwazi, on the authority of al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) that he said in the report in which it was narrated that Salman was a muhadath, he (Imam) said:

He (Salman) was was spoken to by angels  giving him the Imam’s words, not directly the Lord’s words.

Because angels do not divinely inspire the direct words from God Almighty except to the Hujja (the Imam).”

 عن أحمد بن حمار المروزي، عن الصادق (عليه السلامأنه قال في الخبر الذي روي فيه أن سلمان كان محدثا، قالإنه كان محدثا عنإمامه، لا عن ربه لأنه لا يحدث عن الله عز وجل إلا الحجة

Therefore, the Thiqa Ma’mun refers to the Bab being among the Imam’s thiqat (those trusted with his secrets).

And entrusted (ma’mun) with leading the Shi’a, divinely strengthened by angels informing him of commandments of the Imam - the Bab is treated as the Imam himself.

If the Bab strays, the Imam strays - which is impossible. Hence, Shaykh al-Mufid believes in the Babs’ infallibility.

In other words, Abu al-Khattab is the dhahir form of Imam al-Sadiq. But on what grounds? 

2 ) The Infallible Babs

We learned in our last article that Imam al-Sadiq had ordered tawalla for Abu al-Khattab. 

However - what does this mean exactly?

(Al-Kafi, vol 2, page 418)

I was sitting, and Abu al-Hasan - Musa [al-Kadhim - passed by and with him a sheep. 

So I told him: O boy, what exactly is your father [Imam al-Sadiq] doing? 

He orders of something and then prohibits us from it. 

He ordered us to have tawalla for Abu al-Khattab, then he ordered us to curse and disassociate from him?

كنت قاعدا فمر أبو الحسن موسى (عليه السلامومعه بهمة قالقلتيا غلام ما ترى ما يصنع أبوك، يأمرنا بالشيء ثم ينهانا عنه، أمرناأننتولى أبا الخطاب ثم أمرنا أن نلعنه ونتبرء منه؟

The reason for the shock of the narrator is not because Abu al-Khattab was a trustworthy person appointed as a mere deputy.

Rather, the Imam ordered to the Shi’a to have tawalla for Abu al-Khattab.

According to Sayyid al-Khoei, “tawalla” in this context means:

(Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol 15, page 271)

Imam al-Sadiq ordered (the Shi’a) to have wilayah for Abu al-Khattab, then ordered his disassociation.”

وفيهاأن أبا الخطاب قد أمر الصادق عليه السلام بولايته، ثم أمر بالبراءة منه

Wilayah is the spiritual authority reserved only for the Imam himself. It is the authority the Prophet vested in Imam Ali, when he said “whomever I am his mawla, Ali is his mawla”. 

In essence - wilayah is the authority of divinely appointed Imamate.

However, wilayah for Abu al-Khattab is not that he became a separate Imam.

Rather - he is vested with authority and spiritual leadership making him the apparent (dhahir) face of the Imam.

Abu al-Khattab, as Bab of the Imam, becomes Imam al-Sadiq himself to the Shi’a. The Imam gives his true orders and teachings to the Shi’a through Abu al-Khattab.

This is analagous to the case of Imam Husayn having appointed Sayyida Zainab as the dhahir Imam (symbolizing Imam al-Sajjad) to the Shi’a after his death, while she represented the true Imam (al-Sajjad) who was hiding his status.

The Shi’a would come to Sayyida Zainab given her position (as dhahir face of Imam), and her answers were attributed to her maintain secrecy over the true source of the knowledge:

Imam al-Sajjad.

(Al-Saduq’s Kamal al-Deen vol 1 p 529 & Al-Tusi’s Ghayba vol 1 page 254)

Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm narrated to us:

“I went to Ḥakīma, the daughter of Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Riḍa (upon him be peace) the sister of Abī al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī [al-Hādī] (upon him be peace) in the year two hundred and eighty in Medina. I conversed with her from behind the curtain and asked her about her religion. She named to me the Imams she followed and then she said, “And Fulān [al-Mahdī] b. al-Ḥasan b. Ali,” and she mentioned his name. I said to her, “May I be sacrificed for you, do you say this on the basis of observation or on the basis of a report?”

She said, “the words of Abū Muḥammad, which he wrote to his mother.” I asked, “Where is then the son?” She said, “He is in hiding,” I said “To who are the Shīʿa to turn for guidance?” So I said, “To the grandmother, the mother of Abū Muḥammad (upon him be peace)” So i said to her, “Who has he emulated in assigning a woman as his deputy?” “He has emulated al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (upon him be peace). al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī (upon him be peace) assigned his sister, Zaynab b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib in the apparent. And the knowledge coming from ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (upon him be peace) was attributed to Zaynab b. ʿAlī in order to maintain secrecy over ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (upon him be peace).” Then she said, “You are the companions [scholars] of narrations. Have you not narrated that the inheritance of the ninth from the sons of al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī will be divided in his lifetime?”

عن أحمد بن إبراهيم قالدخلت على حكيمة بنت محمد بن علي الرضا أخت أبي الحسن صاحب العسكر عليهم السلام في سنة اثنتينوستين ومأتين فكلمتها من وراء حجاب وسألتها عن دينها فسمت لي من تأتم بهم ثم قالتوالحجة ابن الحسن بن علي فسمته فقلت لهاجعلني الله فداك معاينة أو خبرا؟ فقالتخبرا عن أبي محمد كتب به إلى أمه فقلت لهافأين الولد؟ فقالتمستورة، فقلتإلى من تفزعالشيعة؟ فقالت:

إلى الجدة أم أبي محمد عليه السلام فقلت لهااقتدى بمن (فيوصيته إلى امرأة؟ فقالت:

اقتداء بالحسين بن علي عليه السلام والحسين بن علي أوصى إلى أخته زينب بنت علي في الظاهر وكان ما يخرج عن علي بن الحسين عليهالسلام من علم ينسب إلى زينب سترا على علي بن الحسين عليه السلام ثم قالتإنكم قوم أصحاب أخبار أما رويتم أن التاسع من ولدالحسين بن علي عليه السلام يقسم ميراثه وهو في الحياة.

Thus, the Bab is the apparent (dhahir) form of our Imam. His knowledge is knowledge of the Imam.

His word and actions, are those of the Imam. We must not ever doubt him. 

This is because the Imam does not hide his knowledge from the Babs.

So.. is it possible for the Bab to perform taqiyya?

Let us see.

3 ) Taqiyya of the Babs

A) “Taqiyya in Dhahir, but Haqq in Batin”

Abu Nasr Hibatullah Ibn Muhammad says: Both Abu Abdullah Ibn Ghalib and Abul Hasan Ibn Abi Tayyib said: I did not see anyone wiser than Shaykh Abul Qasim al-Husayn ibn Ruh. I saw him one day in the house of Ibn Yasar. 

He had a great position before the Sayyid and the caliph. The ‘Amah (i.e, Sunnis) also revered him. 

Abul Qasim attended that place due to dissimulation (Taqiyya) and fear. 

I remember him. 

One day - two men were arguing; one was claiming that Abu Bakr was the best of the people after the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and then Umar and then Ali; while the other contended that Ali was better than Umar. 

Their debate took long. 

So Abul Qasim said: “What Sahaba were unanimous upon is that (Abu Bakr) al-Siddiq comes first, then after him (Umar) al-Faruq, and then after him Uthman Dhul Nurayn, and then Ali, the Successor. 

Narrators of traditions uphold this. 

And it is the correct belief, according to us. 

Everyone there was perplexed by these words. Members of the ‘Amah (Sunnis) were raising him over their heads from gaiety and were praying for him and cursing those who were “accusing him to be a Rafidi.” Laughter was all the while overwhelming me. I tried to withhold it and control myself from laughing by putting my sleeve into my mouth, but then I feared that they will discern who I am, so I left. The Shaykh looked at me and noticed that. When I arrived at my house, there was a knock on the door. I came out and saw Abul Qasim Ibn Ruh on his mule. He had come to me on his way home.

 He said: “Abdullah, may Allah do you favors, why were you laughing and almost cheering me; as if what I said was not true before you.” I said: “It is true before me.” He (Husayn Ibn Ruh) said: “Fear God, Shaykh. I will not forgive you if you consider this word of mine far-fetched to believe.” 

I said: “My master, someone who is a companion of the Imam and his representative, if he says a word as such, is it not awkward and laughable?” 

He said: “By your life, if you say this again, I will desert you.” He bid me farewell and left.”

على ذلك، وهو الصحيح عندنا، فبقي من حضر المجلس متعجبا من هذا القول وكانت العامة الحضور يرفعونه على رؤوسهم وكثر الدعاء لهوالطعن على من يرميه بالرفض.

فوقع علي الضحك فلم أزل أتصبر وأمنع نفسي وأدس كمي في فمي فخشيت أن أفتضح، فوثبت عن المجلس ونظر إلي فتفطن لي فلماحصلت في منزلي فإذا بالباب يطرق فخرجت مبادرا فإذا بأبي القاسم بن روح راكبا بغلته قد وافاني من المجلس قبل مضيه إلى داره فقاللييا عبد الله أيدك الله لم ضحكت وأردت أن تهتف بي كأن الذي قلته عندك ليس بحق؟ فقلت لهكذاك هو عندي، فقال لي:

اتق الله أيها الشيخ فاني لا أجعلك في حل تستعظم هذا القول مني فقلتيا سيدي رجل يرى بأنه صاحب الامام ووكيله يقول ذلك القول لايتعجب منه؟ و (لايضحك من قوله هذا؟ فقال ليوحياتك لئن عدت لأهجرنك وودعني وانصرف.

  • Evaluation:

We notice something peculiar about the above report.

The Bab of Imam al-Mahdi - al-Husayn ibn Ruh - states the following about the highest ranking Sahaba:

“(Abu Bakr) al-Siddiq comes first, then after him (Umar) al-Faruq, and then after him Uthman Dhul Nurayn, and then Ali, the Successor”

Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman - their status is above Ali!

This isn’t simply al-Husayn ibn Ruh stating the consensus of the Mukhalifeen, he adds on to say:

“And it is the correct belief, according to us”

Ibn Ruh affirms the claim!

This leads a Shi’i follower of Ibn Ruh to laugh uncontrollably, believing that Ibn Ruh was stating false information to the Mukhalifeen.

Once Ibn Ruh & the Shi’i leave the site of congregation - 

The Bab reproaches the Shi’i for such laughter - saying that what he (Ibn Ruh) said was true and tells the Shi’i he will not forgive him if he considered his word (regarding the Sahaba being above Ali) to be far-fetched to believe.

He said: “Abdullah, may Allah do you favors, why were you laughing and almost cheering me; as if what I said was not true before you.” I said: “It is true before me.” He (Husayn Ibn Ruh) said: “Fear God, Shaykh. I will not forgive you if you consider this word of mine far-fetched to believe.” 

How could al-Husayn ibn Ruh (Bab of the Imam, whose narrations we cannot doubt) affirm something which according to the our Imams is the basic definition of nasb (hatred of the Imams)?

(Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol 9, page 491)

Imam al-Hadi is asked: 

Do I need any criteria to identify the nasibi other than him believing al-Jibt (Abu Bakr) & al-Taghut (Umar) are superior to Imam Ali in rank, and believing in their leadership?

Imam said: ‘Whomever has this belief, he is a nasibi

عن الناصب هل أحتاج في امتحانه إلى أكثر من تقديمه الجبت والطاغوت واعتقاد إمامتهما؟ فرجع الجوابمن كان على هذا فهو ناصب

Is the Bab misleading the Shi’a - making them take upon the deviant beliefs of the nawasib, knowing that the Shi’a cannot doubt his narrations?

Definitely not. 

Rather, we can find the answer in what Allama Majlisi described below: 

(Bihar al-Anwar, vol 48, p 247)

The hadith - in its dhahir is taqiyya, either from the Mukhalifeen or Shi’a of low comprehension.

However, its batin is the truth (haqq)..”

بيانظاهره تقية إما من المخالفين بقرينة الراوي، أو من نواقص العقول من الشيعة وباطنه حق، إذ كان عليه السلام حاضرا وهو خير منغاب وحضرت الملائكة أيضا.

Sometimes, the ahadith of Imams may consist of them answering the Mukhalifeen and Shi’a in taqiyya.

The dhahir (apparent) of the hadith would be in taqiyya – the words carefully chosen to give the illusion that the Imam is affirming his opponents.

However, the batin is a completely different answer - a truth is not taught to everyone, but only those who can comprehend it from high ma’rifa Shi’a.

So while we cannot doubt the narrations of the Babs, sometimes they will give narrations of dhahir and batin nature.

The batin taught only to their close companions, particularly those entrusted with understanding it.

This can be seen in how Imam al-Sadiq tells his Bab, Mufaddal, to not publicize the Imam’s secrets except to those deserving of it:

(Al-Mahasin, vol 1, page 256)

On the authority of Dawood Al-Ruqi, Mufaddal and Fudhayl, they said: 

We were a group with Abi Abdullah (peace be upon him) in his house, informing us about matters. 

When we left, he stood at the door of his house before he entered, then turned to us and said: 

May God have mercy on you (all).

Do not publicize our affair (i.e, our difficult ahadith) and do not speak about them except to those entrusted to handle it.

Indeed, the one who publicizes our secret is more severe in his damage to us us than our enemy.

Leave, may God have mercy on you all, and do not publicize our secret.”

عنه عن ابن الديلمي، عن داود الرقي ومفضل وفضيل قالكنا جماعة عند أبي عبد الله (عفي منزله يحدثنا في أشياء فلما انصرفنا وقفعلى باب منزله قبل أن يدخل ثم أقبل علينا فقالرحمكم الله لا تذيعوا أمرنا ولا تحدثوا به إلا أهله، فإن المذيع علينا سرنا أشد علينا مؤنة منعدونا، انصرفوا رحمكم الله ولا تذيعوا سرنا.

(‘Ilal al-Shara’ie, vol 1, p 163)

O Mufaddal, take this, for it is from the storehouse of knowledge and its secrets.

Do not reveal (this hadith), except to those entrusted to handle it.”

يا مفضل خذ هذا فإنه من مخزون العلم ومكنونه لا تخرجه إلا إلى أهله 

Thus cannot deny our Imams’ words, even if said in the apparent.

We must believe in the narration (in the sense that the Imam said this) - without acting upon it or taking it as a belief - if we have reasonable suspicion to believe it is only a dhahir and there is a batin to it.

A hadith showcasing the dhahir only would be a mutashabih (doubtful) hadith, while a muhkam (established, doubtless) would showcase the dhahir and batin.

If there is a dhahir only hadith (mutashabih), we have to compare it to muhkam ahadith to avoid being misguided.

You should thus check the mutashabih things against the muhkam things, and not just follow the mutashbih things lest you may be misguided.”

So in that sense - if a Bab narrates for example that another Bab (Abu al-Khattab) is cursed. We must not take upon the dhahir of this, but must assume there is a batin to it - such as the curse being translated to mercy (as shown in Abu al-Khattab, part 7).

(‘Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha)

Imam Al-Ridha said: 

Whoever refers to the doubtless (muhkam) in the Quran regarding the doubtful things (mutashabih) in it will be guided towards the straight path.” 

He (the Imam) then added, “There are also some mutashbih things among our traditions like the mutashabih things in the Quran and there are muhkam things among our traditions like the muhkam things in the Quran. 

You should thus check the mutashabih things against the muhkam things, and not just follow the mutashbih things lest you may be misguided.”

9 - عيون أخبار الرضا (ع): أبي، عن علي، عن أبيه، عن حيون مولى الرضا، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال:

من رد متشابه القرآن إلى محكمه هدي إلى صراط مستقيم، ثم قال عليه السلامإن في أخبارنا متشابها كمتشابه القرآن، ومحكما كمحكمالقرآن، فردوا متشابهها إلى محكمها، ولا تتبعوا متشابهها دون محكمها فتضلوا

So do we believe in a hadith dhahir whose dhahir is said in taqiyya?

Yes we do!

As for the muhkam (established, doubtless) - we believe in it, take upon it, take it as a principle in religion.

As for the mutashabih, we believe it but do not act upon it.

وفيه محكم ومتشابه، فأما المحكم فيؤمن به ويعمل به ويدين به، وأما المتشابه فيؤمن به ولا يعمل به

So the dhahir of Al-Husayn ibn Ruh’s hadith - that Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman are superior to Imam Ali.

We must believe in it - as it is a mutashabih hadith.

This is why Ibn Ruh told his follower: 

“Fear God, Shaykh. I will not forgive you if you consider this word of mine far-fetched to believe.” 

But we must not take upon the dhahir of the hadith as a belief.

Given that the Imam compared the mutashabih of hadith to mutashabih of Quran, Allah says about the mutashabih interpretation:”

And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah and those firm in knowledge” (3:7)

Thus a mutashabih - hadith said in taqiyya in the dhahir - always has a true batin interpretation, even if its dhahir gives the illusion otherwise.

However, was this an actual phenomenon in our Imams’ - and by extension, their Bab’s - style of response?

In the sense of - stating a hadith with a misleading dhahir in taqiyya, while the batin of it is true?

Yes, it is! 


Let us see how.

B) Yunus narrates the cursing of Abu al-Khattab!

He [i.e. al-Ridha] said: 

Verily Aba al-Khattab lied about Abi Abdillah (al-Sadiq) may Allah curse Aba al-Khattab, and likewise the companions of Aba al-Khattab do insert these narrations into the books of the companions of Aba Abdillah عليهالسلام to this day.

يونسوافيت العراق فوجدت بها قطعة من أصحاب أبي جعفر عليه السلام ووجدت أصحاب أبي عبد الله عليه السلام متوافرين، فسمعتمنهم وأخذت كتبهم، فعرضتها من بعد على أبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام فأنكر منها أحاديث كثيرة أن يكون من أحاديث أبي عبد الله عليهالسلام.

وقال ليان أبا الخطاب كذب على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام لعن الله أبا الخطاب، وكذلك أصحاب أبي الخطاب يدسون هذه الا حديث إلىيومنا هذا في كتب أصحاب أبي عبد الله عليه السلام

Such a clear and direct condemnation of Abu al-Khattab. How did the Khattabiya respond to such admonishments by the Imam?

(Firaq al-Shi’a, of al-Qummi)

Aba Abdilah [al-Sadiq] wished to disavow us by cursing us in the apparent. 

However, in the batin - he curses our enemies and our oppontents.

They interpreted (a batin interpretation) that Abu al-Khattab’s curse as referring to Qatada ibn (Da’ama) al-Basri, the jurist of the people of Basra. 

Qatada used to come to Abu Jaafar and Abu Abdullah, and his kunya Abu al-Khattab.

So Abu Al-Khattab and his companions interpreted that he was the one whom Abu Abdullah cursed and that Abdullah conceals the truth from his companions to add to their misguidance and misguidance.”

وأن أبا عبد الله أراد أن يعيبنا بلعنه إيانا في الظاهر، وفي الباطن (يلعنأضدادنا ومن خالفنا، وتأولوا في ذكره أبا الخطاب أنه عنى قتادةبن (دعامةالبصري، فقيه أهل البصرةوكان قتادة يأتي أبا جعفر وأبا عبد الله، وكان يكنى بأبي الخطاب، فتأول أبو الخطاب وأصحابه أنهالذي لعنه أبو عبد الله وأن عبد الله يلبس على أصحابه ليزيدهم ضلالا وتيها

Is this idea of our Imams using such tactics (a hadith with taqiyya in dhahir, haqq in batin), backed in our reports?


For example, when a Mukhalif asked al-Sadiq about Abu Bakr and Umar.

Imam al-Sadiq said: ‘They are two Imams Adel (Just) and Qasit (Balanced), they were upon the right, and died upon it, therefore may Allah’s mercy be upon them on the Day of Judgment.’

But when the Shi’a later ask the Imam about his words, the Imam reveals a batin completely contradicting the dhahir.

For instance - on explaining his words “may Allah’s mercy be upon them (Abu Bakr and Umar)”, Imam al-Sadiq provides an explanation which no one would reasonably expect:

What I meant with mercy be upon them that the mercy is Allah’s apostle because he was a mercy to mankind and he will be a rival for them on the Day of Judgment

This kind of rationalizing would not come to the minds of anyone who looks heard the Imam utter such words.

But it is the batin truth to a hadith whose dhahir is said in taqiyya.

As the full hadith states:

(Manaqib Ibn Abi Shahrashoob)

An opponent (Sunni) asked Imam Jafar al-Sadiq and said: O Allah’s apostle son what do you say about Abu Bakr and Umar? He replied: They are two Imams Adel (Just) and Qasit (Balanced), they were upon the right, and died upon it, therefore may Allah’s mercy be upon them on the Day of Judgment. 

When the people left, a man from his retinue (Shia) said: O son of Rasul Allah I’m wondering from what you have said about Abu Bakr and Umar! 

He (Imam) replied: yes they are two Imams calling for hellfire as Allah said: “And We made them Imams who call to the fire (28:41)”

The Qasit as Allah almighty said And as for those who are unjust (Qasit – in this context means unjust), they are firewood for hell (72:15) 

And the Adel that because they switched from the right as Allah almighty said Yet those who disbelieve ascribe (Ya’diloon) rivals unto their Lord (6:1). 

What I meant by this was that they were upon the right in that they seized the right of the Commander of Believers (Ali). 

What I meant by they died upon it that they died was on enmity without repentance. 

What I meant with mercy be upon them that the mercy is Allah’s apostle because he was a mercy to mankind and he will be a rival for them on the Day of Judgment.”

كتاب نفحات اللاهوت (1): نقلا من كتاب المثالب لابن شهرآشوب (2)، أن الصادق عليه السلام سئل عن أبي بكر وعمر، فقالكانا إمامينقاسطين عادلين، كانا على الحق وماتا عليه، فرحمة الله عليهما يوم القيامة، فلما خلا المجلس، قال له بعض أصحابه (3): كيف قلت يا بنرسول الله؟!.

فقالنعم، أما قوليكانا إمامين، فهو مأخوذ من قوله تعالى: * (وجعلناهم أئمة يدعون إلى النار) * (4)، وأما قولي قاسطين، فهو من قولهتعالى: * (وأما القاسطون فكانوا لجهنم حطبا) * (5)، وأما قولي عادلين، فهو مأخوذ من قوله تعالى: * (الذين كفروا بربهم يعدلون) * (6)،وأما قولي كانا على الحق، فالحق علي عليه السلام، وقوليماتا عليه، المراد أنه (7) لم يتوبا عن تظاهرهما عليه، بل ماتا على ظلمهما إياه،وأما قوليفرحمة الله عليهما يوم القيامة، فالمراد به أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ينتصف له منهما، آخذا من قوله تعالى: * (وما أرسلناكإلا رحمة للعالمين

Another example is where Imam al-Sadiq hears an argument by Abu Hanifa and swears by Allah that Abu Hanifa has “reached (the correct conclusion). 

This phrase uttered by the Imam, in the dhahir - it has the illusion that Imam al-Sadi agreed with Abu Hanifa.

But in the batin, as the Imam explains to his companion, Imam al-Sadiq meant that “you (Abu Hanifa) have reached the wrong conclusion.”

(Al-Kafi, vol 8, page 292)

“Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said: ‘By Allah, O Abu Hanifa, you’ve reached. (Note: This is a phrase used in Arabic to only mean ‘you have reached the correct conclusion’)

(The narrator) said, ‘Then Abu Hanifa went out from his (Imam) presence, so I said, ‘May I be sacrificed for you, I do not like the interpretation of this Hostile One (Nasibi)’. 

So he (asws) said: ‘O Ibn Muslim, Allah will not Displease you. Their interpretation does not coincide with our (asws) interpretation, nor does our interpretation coincide with theirs, and the interpretation (of your dream) is not as he has interpreted it’. 

I said to him (asws), ‘May I be sacrificed for you (asws), you (asws) said that he reached, and swore upon it, whilst he was mistaken’. 

He (asws) said; ‘Yes, I (asws) did swear that he had reached wrong the conclusion’. 

عبد الله (عليه السلام): أصبت والله يا أبا حنيفة، قالثم خرج أبو حنيفة من عنده، فقلت:

جعلت فداك إني كرهت تعبير هذا الناصب، فقاليا ابن مسلم لا يسؤك الله، فما يواطي تعبيرهم تعبيرنا ولا تعبيرنا تعبيرهم وليس التعبيركما عبره، قالفقلت لهجعلت فداك فقولكأصبت وتحلف عليه وهو مخطئ؟ قالنعم حلفت عليه أنه أصاب الخطأ، قال:

Now, the final example for this section would be when Abu Hanifa asked Imam al-Kadhim about musical devices his father (al-Sadiq) loved.

Imam al-Kadhim says “He loved the Oud” - but then the Imam reveals to his companion the batin behind this statement: 

He loved Oud of bukhoor (incense).”

(Al-Ikhtisas, page 90)

Abu Hanifa once said to Musa ibn Jaafar, peace be upon him: 

Tell me what was more beloved to your father, the Oud or the tanbour (i.e, musical devices).

Imam said: No, he loved the Oud.

Imam then told us: He loved the Oud of bukhoor (i.e, incense - not musical instrument called Oud) and hated tanbour (musical instrument)”.

قال أبو حنيفة يوما " لموسى بن جعفر عليه السلامأخبرني أي شئ كان أحب إلى أبيك العود أم الطنبور؟ قاللا بل العود فسئل عن ذلكفقاليحب عود البخور ويبغض الطنبور

C) Clause of Taqiyya?

With this had been clarified from the style of “taqiyya in dhahir, haqq in batin” used by our Imams and their Babs (such as al-Husayn ibn Ruh).

What could possibly have made Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman narrate the dhahir of a hadith where Imam al-Sadiq curses Abu al-Khattab, out of taqiyya from the Shi’a?

The answer lies in the abuse Yunus was receiving from the Shi’a due to the ahadith he was narrating.

Accordingly, Imam al-Ridha ordered Yunus to “Perform mudarat on them, O Yunus - for their minds cannot comprehend (the ahadith you present).”

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page page 783)

Narrated Abu Ja’far al-Basri:

 I entered with Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman upon al-Ridha, peace be upon him, and he (Yunus) complained to the Imam of what was the abuse he was receiving from him from his companions.

Al-Ridha said: ‘Perform mudarat on them, O Yunus - for their minds cannot comprehend (the ahadith you present).’”

علي بن محمد القتيبي، قالحدثني أبو محمد الفضل بن شاذان، قالحدثني أبو جعفر البصري، وكان ثقة فاضلا صالحا، قالدخلت معيونس ابن عبد الرحمن على الرضا عليه السلام فشكى إليه ما يلقى من أصحابه من الوقيعة، فقال الرضا عليه السلامدارهم فان عقولهم لاتبلغ

What is ‘Mudarat’?

It is in reference to a type of taqiyya known as “Taqiyya Mudaratiyya”.

Sayyid al-Khumayni explains:

(Rasa’il, vol 2, page 184)

It is the act of making those who differ with us love us and to lure them by friendliness in a situation where there is no fear of harm or damage unlike the taqqiya of fear.

وهو تحبيب المخالفين وجر مودتهم من غير خوف ضرر كما في التقية خوفا

In practicing mudarat (gaining people’s love) - 

Our Imams order their companion to narrate the ahadith which the people would understand, and omit ahadith which they do not understand.

(Al-Khisal, page 25)

On the authority of Mudrik ibn al-Hazhaz that Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq said: 

Oh Mudrik! 

May God have mercy upon whoever attracts the love of the people to himself, narrates for them what they would understand, and omits what they do not comprehend.

حدثنا أبي رضي الله عنه قالحدثنا سعد بن عبد الله، عن أيوب بن - نوح، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن سيف بن عميرة، عن مدرك بن الهزهازقالقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلاميا مدرك رحم الله عبدا اجتر مودة الناس إلى نفسه، فحدثهم بما يعرفون، وترك ما ينكرون

Hence, Imam al-Ridha gives a rendition of this order to Yunus, saying:

“O Yunus, narrate to the people what they recognize, and abandon narrating to them with what they do not recognize.

It is as if you want God to be lied against in His throne (i.e, by people calling the hadith a lie).”

Yunus became obligated not to simply narrate to the people ahadith they can understand and omit what they cannot comprehend.

The Imam tells him to ONLY narrate what the people will recognize. And avoid narrating to them what they do not recognize.

Meaning, narrate the dhahir of a hadith saying Abu al-Khattab was a liar and is cursed - but do not narrate the batin which clarifies the matter.

(Rijal al-Kashi)

We were with Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha, peace be upon him, and with him was

Yunus ibn Abd al-Rahman, when a group of people from Basra sought permission to enter [upon the Imam]

So Abu al-Hasan, peace be upon him, gestured to Yunus: Enter the house (to be away from the crowd) - and his (the Imam’s) house is covered by a curtain - and do not move until permission is given to you. 

The Basrans entered and increased in their backbite and insults against Yunus until they got up, said their farewells to the Imam and left. Then Yunus was given permission to exit the house out he came out crying.

He said:

May God make me your ransom - I defending this faith, yet this is my condition among my companions (i.e, backbiting and insult). 

Abu al-Hasan, peace be upon him, said to him: O Yunus, what do you have to do with what they say if your imam is satisfied with you? 

O Yunus, narrate to the people what they recognize, and abandon narrating to them with what they do not recognize. It is as if you want God to be lied against in His throne (i.e, by people calling the hadith a lie).

Oh Yunus, what will it affect you if you have in your hands a pearl but the people say to you: it is a stone, and what will it benefit you if you have in your hand a stone but the people say: it is a pearl!

I said: No, it does not affect me.

He said: This is how you are, Yunus. If you were right and your imam was satisfied with you, what the people said would not harm you.”

رجال الكشيآدم بن محمد، عن علي بن محمد الدقاق، عن محمد بن موسى السمان، عن محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن أخيه جعفر، قالكنا عند أبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام وعنده

يونس بن عبد الرحمن إذ استأذن عليه قوم من أهل البصرة، فأومأ أبو الحسن عليه السلام إلى يونسادخل البيت، فإذا بيت مسبل عليهستر، وإياك أن تتحرك حتى يؤذن لك، فدخل البصريون فأكثروا من الوقيعة والقول في يونس (1)، وأبو الحسن عليه السلام مطرق حتى لماأكثروا، فقاموا وودعوا وخرجوا، فأذن يونس بالخروج فخرج باكيا، فقال:

جعلني الله فداك إني أحامي عن هذه المقالة، وهذه حالي عند أصحابي، فقال له أبو الحسن عليه السلاميا يونس فما عليك مما يقولون إذاكان إمامك عنك راضيا؟ يا يونس حدث الناس بما يعرفون، واتركهم مما، لا يعرفون كأنك تريد أن تكذب على الله في عرشه

Both the batin and dhahir is the truth. However, the dhahir is a mere mirage that does not give us a true understanding of our Imam.

Thus, we must seek the batin to understand our Imams and their holy Babs.

This brings us to another question:

D) Admonishing the Babs after their Death?!

Despite Yunus having died in the time of Imam al-Ridha, his memory still faced animosity by his rivals. And Yunus’ supporters were still present.

This is shown with Imam al-Jawad telling a companion to love Yunus - even if the people of his country disagree with him.

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 783)

I wrote to Abu Ja’far, peace be upon him, what do you say about Yunus ibn Abdul Rahman?

So he wrote to me in his handwriting:

Love him and have mercy on him, even if the people of your country disagree with you

حمدويه بن نصير، قالحدثني محمد بن إسماعيل الرازي، قال حدثني عبد - 931 العزيز بن المهتدي، قال، كتبت إلى أبي جعفر عليهالسلام ما تقول في يونس ابن عبد الرحمن؟ فكتب إلي بخطه أحبه وترحم عليه وإن كان يخالفك أهل بلدك

Given that there were many Shi’a who still hated Yunus, Imam al-Jawad had to perform taqiyya from them (even if they were high ranking companions such as Ali ibn Mahziyar).

Hence, Imam al-Jawad orders his companion to the disassociate from those who follow the doctrine of Yunus.

1. [1/329] Amali of al-Saduq: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from Ibn Ma’ruf from Ali b. Mahziyar who said: I wrote to Abi Ja’far the Second عليه السلام: May I be made your ransom - should I pray behind

the one who asserts (the doctrine of) ‘the body’ (God is corporeal) or the one who subscribes to the doctrine of Yunus - that is the son of Abd al-Rahman? He عليه السلام wrote: Do not pray behind them

nor not give them anything of the Zakat. Disassociate from them. Allah has disassociated from them.”

حدثنا محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد )رضي الله عنه(، قالحدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار، عن العباس بن معروف، عن علي بنمهزيار، قالكتبت إلى أبي جعفر محمد بن علي بن موسى الرضا )عليهم السلام(: جعلت فداك أصلي خلف من يقول بالجس، ومن يقولبقول يونس بن عبد الرحمن؟ فكتب )عليه السلام(: لا تصلوا خلفهم، ولا تعطوهم من الزكاة، وابرءوا منهم، برئ الله منهم

However, something interesting happened which allowed the later Imams to cease cursing Yunus.

One of the topmost slanderers of Yunus, a scholar named Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa, repented from his slander and abuse of Yunus due to a vision he saw.

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 787)

Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Qutaibi, he said: Al-Fadl ibn Shathan told us, he said: 

Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa repented and asked God’s forgiveness for his slander of Yunus due to a vision he saw, in which Ali ibn Hadid (deputy of Imam al-Ridha) was showing inward inclination towards Yunus and Hisham

- 951

علي بن محمد القتيبي، قالحدثنا الفضل بن شاذان قالكان أحمد ابن محمد بن ع

يسى تاب واستغفر الله من وقيعته في يونسلرؤيا رآها، وقد كان علي بن حديد يظهر ف ي الباطن الميل إلى يونس وهشام

As such, the memory of Yunus was reconciled among the commoner Shi’a as the top scholars renounced their views. Thus, the Imams did not disassociate from Yunus any longer after the era of Imam al-Jawad.

Now - as for the Khattabiya, they die not die out with the death of Imam al-Sadiq.

Rather, a group of the Khattabiya entered the group of Muhammad ibn Ismail and were involved in forming its batini theology.

(Firaq al-Shi’a of al-Qummi)

As for the pristine Ismailiyya.

They are the Khattabiya, companions of the companions of Abu Al-Khattab Muhammad ibn Abi Zainab Al-Asadi Al-Ajda’.

A group of them (Khattabiya) entered into the group of Muhammad ibn Ismail and they acknowledged the death of Ismail ibn Jaafar during the life of his father...

فأما الإسماعيلية الخالصة فهم الخطابية أصحاب أبي الخطاب محمد بن أبي زينب الأسدي الأجدع، وقد دخلت منهم فرقة في فرقةمحمد بن إسماعيل وأقروا بموت إسماعيل بن جعفر في حياة أبيه

The Khattabiya remnants (in the form of Ismailis) kept launching rebellions against the state - and continued influencing the Imams’ companions.

In the time of Imam al-Mahdi, the Qarmatian Ismailis almost overthrew the Abbasid state and gained supporters from even the fuqaha’ (jurists) of the Imamiyya.

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 52)

Al-Hasan ibn Al-Fadl ibn Zaid Al-Yamani said: 

My father wrote a letter to the Imam, and received an answer.

Then I wrote a letter to the Imam and received an answer.

Then a man from the fuqaha’ of our companions (Shi’a) wrote a letter to the Imam and did not receive an answer.

So we looked into the matter, and it turns out the reason was that the man turned Qarmatian (millennarian Ismaili)...”

13 - الحسن بن الفضل بن زيد اليماني قالكتب أبي بخطه كتابا فورد جوابه ثم كتبت بخطي فورد جوابه، ثم كتب بخطه رجل من فقهاءأصحابنا، فلم يرد جوابه فنظرنا فكانت العلة أن الرجل تحول قرمطيا

Thus, our Imams had needed to continue cursing Abu al-Khattab - even after his death.

To ensure safety from the Abbasid state.

Wa Allahu A’lam 


Allama Majlisi quotes from Shaykh al-Mufid on Bihar al-Anwar, vol 27, page 31 - and uses the word “infallibles” معصومين in the quote.
Now the print copy of the book utilizes instead the word “منصوبين” (appointed).
This was a change by the editor from the original text, under the rationale that it is not possible for Shaykh al-Mufid to state the sufara’ are infallible.
The editor says his change is because on page 65, Sh al-Mufid says it is not obligatory for the deputies to be infallible.
“It is not obligatory for the deputies of the Imams to be infallible..”
‎وأقول: إنه ليس بواجب عصمة ولاة الأئمة (ع) وواجب (6) علمهم بجميع ما يتولونه وفضلهم فيه على رعاياهم لاستحالة رئاسة المفضول على الفاضل فيما هو رئيس عليه في
Our answer to this is that the editor is mistaken in his change. The sufara’ are different from mere deputies. A safeer could be infallible, while a mere deputy (wakeel) needn’t be.
This is confirmed by the fact that below the part about infallible sufara’ - page 69 of Awa’il Muqalat.
Shaykh al-Mufid mentions that the most truth affirming Shi’a are infallible from straying:
“It is possible (to hear angels) even in the most steadfast truth-affirming Shiites who are infallible from straying..”
Logically, the Imam would appoint his sufara’ from most truthaffirming Shi’a - who are infallible in al-Mufid’s eyes.
Thus, it is logical for al-Mufid to describe them as such (infallible sufara’) - unlike what the editor mistakenly believed.