IN DEFENSE OF AL-MUFADDAL, P4: Al-Mufaddal Does Not Pray!



Al-Mufaddal ibn Umar was the gate (Bab) of Imam al-Sadiq (a) - designated to lead the Kufan Shi’a after the death of Abu al-Khattab.

In control of such a coveted position, jealous scholars openly defied and disobeyed him. 

This is something Mufaddal will be compensated for by being resurrected as the Bab of the Imam al-Mahdi, as the following hadith clarifies:

(Dala’il al-Imamah, page 463)

Narrated al-Mufaddal ibn Umar: 

“Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said: O Mufaddal, you and forty-four men will be resurrected with the Qaim.

You (O Mufaddal) will be the righthand of the Qaim - you order and forbid, and the people at that time will be more obedient to you than they are today.”

وبإسناده عن أبي علي النهاوندي، عن محمد بن بندار، عن محمد ابن سعيد، عن أبي عمران، عن محمد بن سنان، عن المفضل بن عمر،قالقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): يا مفضل، أنت وأربعة وأربعون رجلا تحشرون مع القائم، أنت على يمين القائم تأمر وتنهى، والناس إذذاك أطوع لك منهم اليوم.

In his position as Bab of al-Mahdi, Mufaddal will give orders that will be obeyed by the Shi’a – as opposed to the Shi’a during the lifetime of Imam al-Sadiq, who were not very obedient to him. 

Sadly, the defiance of Shi’i scholars did not conclude with mere insubordination to Mufaddal. 

Rather, they backed their mutiny with allegations aimed to discredit the very basis of Mufaddal’s authority – his credibility. 

One of such allegations is that Mufaddal did not pray. 

In the minds of the Shi’a scholars, if the Bab of Imam al-Sadiq does not perform the obligation of prayer, then he is necessarily a heretic and no longer the Imam’s gate.

The basis of their belief is seen in the following hadith: 

(Rijal al-Kashi, vol 2, page 617)

Narrated Mu’awiyah ibn Wahb and Ishaq ibn Ammar:

We went out wanting to visit al-Husayn (peace be upon him), so we said: If we passed by Abu Abdullah al-Mufaddal ibn Umar, he might come with us. 

So we came to his (Mufaddal’s) door and greeted him.

He (Mufaddal) came out and rode with us. Once we reached four farasikh out of Kufa, so we went down our horses and prayed.

Meanwhile, Al-Mufaddal was standing and did not come down to pray.

So we said: O Abu Abdullah (i.e, Mufaddal), do you not pray? 

He (Mufaddal) said: ‘I prayed before I left my house’”

وعن خط جبرئيل بن أحمد الفاريابي في كتابه، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن معاوية بن وهب وإسحاق بن عمار، قالاخرجنانريد زيارة الحسين (عليه السلامفقلنالو مررنا بأبي عبد الله المفضل بن عمر فعساه يجيء معنا، فأتينا الباب فاستفتحناه، فخرج إلينافركب وركبنا، فطلع لنا الفجر على أربعة فراسخ من الكوفة، فنزلنا فصلينا والمفضل واقف لم ينزل يصلي، فقلنايا أبا عبد الله، ألا تصلي؟فقالصليت قبل أن أخرج من منزلي

Praying on Time

We can see that Mufaddal was invited to pray Fajr - when the time of the prayer approached - by his fellow Shi’a. But Mufaddal refused on the basis of having already prayed it!

How could the Bab of Imam al-Sadiq withdraw from a task as basic yet very important obligation as prayer?

The answer is:

It is not logical for Mufaddal to pray before time, as he himself narrates reports from Imam al-Sadiq to stay away from Shi’a who do not pray on time!

(Al-Kafi, vol 2, page 627)

Narrated Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar and Yunus ibn Dhubyan:

“Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) has said: 

Try your brothers (fellow Shi’a) in two things that if not found - then keep away from them, keep away, keep away from them. 

The two qualities are the preservation of their prayers on time and kindness to their brethren in good and bad times.’”

محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن عمر بن عبد العزيز، عن معلى بن خنيس وعثمان بن سليمان النخاس، عن مفضل بن عمر، ويونسبن ظبيان قالا:

قال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): اختبروا إخوانكم بخصلتين فإن كانتا فيهم وإلا فاعزب ثم أعزب ثم أعزب، محافظة على الصلوات فيمواقيتها والبر بالاخوان في العسر واليسر

Rather, as the Imam’s gate - al-Mufaddal may have been entrusted by the Imam to pray at a time of the Imam’s choosing. Not at time which the common people pray.

We know from the hadith of Zurara below that the Prophet (and thus Imam) is the one who decides the time of prayer. 

(Al-Kafi, vol 3, page 273)

Narrated Zurara:

“I once was sitting in the presence of Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) and Humran ibn ’A‘yan was also present. 

Humran asked him (the Imam), ‘What do you say about the words of Zurarah with which I do not agree?’ 

Abu Abdullah asked: ‘What are they?’ 

Humran said: ‘Zurarah says that the time for Salah (prayer) was delegated to the Messenger of Allah. He was the one who determined them.’ 

Abu Abdullah asked: ‘What do you (Humran) say about it?’ 

I (Humran) said, ‘ Jibril came to him (the Holy prophet) on the first day with the first time and on the last day with the last time. Jibril then said, ‘In between there are times for Salah (prayer).’ 

Abu ‘Abd Allah, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, then said, ‘O Humran, Zurarah says that Jibril came to the Messenger of Allah only to give him an indication. Zurarah is right. Allah left it to Muhammad, O Allah grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause, who made the determination. Jibril provided him with an indication about it.’

1 - علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن أذينة، عن زرارة قالكنت قاعدا عند أبي عبد الله (عليه السلامأنا وحمران بنأعين فقال له حمرانما تقول فيما يقول زرارة وقد خالفته فيه؟ فقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): ما هو؟ قاليزعم أن مواقيت الصلاةكانت مفوضة إلى رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآلههو الذي وضعها فقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام):

فما تقولأنت؟ قلتإن جبرئيل (عليه السلامأتاه في اليوم الأول بالوقت الأول وفي اليوم الأخير بالوقت الأخير ثم قال جبرئيل (عليهالسلام): ما بينهما وقتفقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام):

يا حمران إن زرارة يقولإن جبرئيل (عليه السلامإنما جاء مشيرا على رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآلهو صدق زرارة إنما جعل الله ذلك إلىمحمد (صلى الله عليه وآلهفوضعه وأشار جبرئيل (عليه السلامبه [عليه] (1).

We know that the Imams supernaturally receive information of ahkam from the Prophet. 

As such, a matter which was not decided upon by the Prophet in his lifetime, can be decided by the Prophet during the Imams’ lifetime.

Thus the Prophet (through the Imams) would have decided the time of prayer for Mufaddal.

(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 255)

I heard Abu Jaa’far, peace be upon him, say: 

If it were not for the fact that we are increased in knowledge (by receiving wahi), we would have ran out (by giving detailed answers).

I said: Are you adding something that the Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him and his family, does not know? 

He (the Imam) said: As for that, any knowledge is first presented to the Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him and his family, then to the Imams (one by one), till the matter ends with us (the present Imam)”

محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن أبي نصر، عن ثعلبة، عن زرارة قالسمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يقوللولا أنا نزداد لأنفدنا،قالقلتتزدادون شيئا لا يعلمه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله؟ قالأما إنه إذا كان ذلك عرض على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ثم علىالأئمة ثم انتهى الامر إلينا.

But what about Gabriel giving information to the Prophet of the time of prayer, before the prophet decides it?

Every supernaturally transmitted information to the Prophet comes directly from Gabriel, and then the Prophet transmits it to the Imams. 

(Al-Amali of al-Mufid, page 43)

On the authority of Jabir, he said: I said to Abu Jaafar, peace be upon him: 

If you tell me a hadith, then attribute it to me it to me.

I receive my hadith from my father, from his grandfather, from the Messenger of Allah, from Gabriel, from Allah.

And everything that I have given you is with this isnad (chain of narrators).

مجالس المفيدابن قولويه، عن ابن عيسى، عن هارون بن مسلم، عن ابن أسباط، عن ابن عميرة، عن عمرو بن شمر، عن جابر قالقلت لأبيجعفر عليه السلامإذا حدثتني بحديث فأسنده لي، فقالحدثني أبي، عن جده، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، عنجبرئيل عليه السلام، عن الله عز وجلوكل ما أحدثك بهذا الإسناد، 


Al-Mufaddal, being gate of al-Sadiq, was clearly aware of the importance of praying on time. 

Given his Babhood, al-Mufaddal would never disobey the Imam

Al-Husayn ibn Ruh (safeers/bab of Imam al-Mahdi) narrated the following ziyara referring to the Babs.

(Tusi’s Tahdheeb al-Ahkam, vol 6, p 116)

Peace be upon you, O Fulan son of Fulan. 

I bear witness you are Bab al-Mawla (Bab of the Master). You represented him and acted for him. 

Never did you disobey him. You rose dedicated only to him (the Imam).”

Therefore, the only logical scenario is that the Imam excercised his established authority to decide the time of prayer - to decide a time of prayer for Mufaddal, which differed from that of the common people.

This is a part of Imam’s batin authority in establishing different rulings to different people, which was discussed in my Abu al-Khattab series.

Wa Allahu A’lam