Condemning Mufaddal

Many Shi’a have naturally immense love for the Imams, and see them as being of indescribable supreme spiritual status.

Some Shi’a take it a step forward and translate that deep love to deep study of our ahadith to understand who and what the Imams exactly are.

Yet, only a select few among Shi’a were chosen by our Imams to become their Babs (gates) – the repository of our Imams’ secrets & their gatekeepers.

This is because the Babs fulfilled criterion which the majority of Shi’a did not.

Allama Majlisi states:

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

"The complete believers who deserve to be entrusted with the Imams’ secrets and safeguard them are only a select few.

In fact, the Imams performed taqiyya (dissimulation) from most Shi’a aside from the select few who were trusted, in the same manner in which they performed taqiyya from Sunnis.

This is because the Shi’a commoners tended to spread the Imams’ secrets to the public until the knowledge reached the caliph, which causes harm to the Imams.

It is also because the deficiencies of the Shi’a minds which did not allow them to properly comprehend the Imams’ words, thus becoming a cause of their misguidance."

أن المؤمن الكامل الذي يستحق أن يكون صاحب أسرارهم وحافظها قليل، وأنهم كانوا يتقون من أكثر الشيعة، كما كانوا يتقون من المخالفين،لأنهم كانوا يذيعون، فيصل ذلك إما إلى خلفاء الجور، فيتضررون عليهم السلام منهم، أو إلى نواقص العقول الذين لا يمكنهم فهمها، فيصيرسببا لضلالتهم.

This idea presented in Allama Majlisi’s words is strange to the normative logic that has existed with the Shi’a since the post-Ghayba period.

The normative logic among Shi’i commoners and analysts is that the purpose of our Imams establishing secretive movements – akin to a state-within-state – is to preserve the true teachings of Tashayyu’ away from the rulers and Sunnis.

How bizarre of a concept it is that the Imams would hiding their true teachings from even their own followers?!

Truly, it is an utterly fascinating idea that indeed has evidence from even sahih ahadith (by the standards of modern ‘Ilm al-Rijal) – as we shall observe in this article.

Yet – this idea is grossly underresearched by present-day Shi’i intellectual circles due to reservations of it not adhering to popular notions of “mainstream Islam” as an embodiment of simple truths meant to be understood and accepted by all.

This is despite the fact that classical scholars had extensively touched on the idea of the Imams performing taqiyya from most Shi’a, save for a select few.

Thus –

The purpose of this article is to evaluate the character of al-Mufaddal ibn Umar (Bab/gate of Imam al-Sadiq), and assess whether this angle of misguiding the Shi’a can be applied in understanding this holy personality.

So without further adue

Let us begin!


We have learned in my last article that Mufaddal was the appointed Bab of Imam al-Sadiq.

The Imam had continuously attempted to portray Mufaddal as such by allocating him tasks exclusive to this holy station of Babhood. 

In executing these series of actions, the Imam had intended for the Shi’a to not doubt Mufaddal’s superior position over them as the trusted gate of the Imam & the leader appointed over them by him.

Not surprisingly, the Imam’s favor for Mufaddal had earned the ire of jealous scholars and power seekers among the Shi’i notables who conspired extensively against Mufaddal and caused him severe anguish.

The end result is conspicuous in Mufaddal’s response to Imam al-Sadiq below:

(Tuhaf al-‘Uqul)

“Mufaddal said: 

Abu Abdullah (peace be upon him) once asked me while I was with him, "O Mufaddal, how many companions do you have?" 

I replied, "Few." 

So when I left for Kufa, the Shi’a came to me, and they tore me to pieces, they ate my flesh (with backbiting), insulted my honor, to the extent some of them even attacked my face and some of them awaited me in the streets of Kufa to beat me. They threw at me every false accusation, until that reached Aba Abdullah [al-Sadiq].

ومما فيه قالوقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلاممرة وأنا معهيا مفضل كم أصحابك؟ فقلتقليل، فلما انصرفت إلى الكوفة أقبلت علي الشيعةفمزقوني كل ممزق، يأكلون لحمي ويشتمون عرضي، حتى أن بعضهم استقبلني فوثب في وجهي، وبعضهم قعد لي في سكك الكوفة يريدضربي، ورموني بكل بهتان، حتى بلغ ذلك أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام)

The Bab of Imam al-Sadiq ended up lonely, with only few followers.

All of this is because he earnestly followed and taught the teachings of his master (al-Sadiq), without succumbing to the low comprehension of his clerical rivals, such as Zurara.

These rivals sought to unseat Mufaddal and preach their personal conception of religion, instead of what the Imam truly taught:

(Rijal al-Kashi)

“On the authority of Ibn Maskan:

We discussed with Zurara about matters regarding of the lawful and the forbidden, and he said a statement according to his Ra’y. 

I said: Did you say this based on a narration or your Ra’y? 

He said: Indeed, is personal opinion (Ra’y) is not better than narrations (of the Imams)?”

حدثني محمد بن مسعود، قالحدثني جبرئيل بن أحمد، قالحدثني العبيدي عن يونس عن ابن مسكان، قالتذاكرنا عند زرارة في شئمن أمور الحلال والحرام فقال قولا برأيهفقلتأبرأيك هذا أم برأيه؟ فقالإني أعرف أو ليس رب رأي خير من أثر؟

Upon hearing of Mufaddal’s loneliness after the majority of Shi’a abandoned him due to his insistence to preaching the truth, Imam al-Sadiq advised him saying:

(‘Ilam al-Deen by al-Daylami, page 125)

Nareated Al-Mufaddal ibn Umar, from Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him):

“A believer is not truly a believer until he forsakes those close to him and those distant from him for our sake.

[Indeed] – he is not a believer until he foresakes even his family and his children for our sake.'"

وعن المفضل بن عمر، عن الصادق عليه السلام، قال: " لا يكون المؤمن مؤمنا حتى يهجر فينا القريب والبعيد، والأهل والولد

The Imam wanted Mufaddal to understand that one does not need to be loved, if he wants to have true imaan (faith/belief) and preach the truth.

Indeed, he told Mufaddal true faith is what remains in a person even if it leads to the believer’s close and distant friends, family, and friends to abandon him.

This was the exact situation Mufaddal had underwent:

Abandonment by the majority of his Shi’a ilk, who are supposed to be his brothers in faith.

Undoubtedly poignant at this situation and in severe mental distress, Mufaddal told Imam al-Sadiq:

(Al-Saduq’s Ma’any al-Akhbar, page 381)

Narrated Al-Mufaddal:

I said to Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq): 

The Shi’a before used to say: 'When Allah, Blessed and Exalted, loves a servant, He makes an announcement from the heavens saying: 'Allah loves Fulan (i.e, a person)’

This makes the people love said person, and love for him is instilled in the hearts of the servants. 

And when Allah dislikes a servant, He makes an announcement from the heavens saying: 'Allah dislikes so-and-so,' so people dislike him, and dislike for him is instilled in the hearts of the servants.'" 

So Allah casts aversion for him in the hearts of the servants."

2 - معاني الأخبارأبي، عن سعد، عن ابن عيسى، عن المفضل قالقلت لأبي عبد الله (عليه السلام): إن من قبلنا يقولونإن الله تباركوتعالى إذا أحب عبدا نوه به منوه من السماء أن الله يحب فلانا فأحبوه، فتلقى له المحبة في قلوب العباد وإذا أبغض الله عبدا نوه منوه منالسماء أن الله يبغض فلانا فأبغضوه، قالفيلقي الله له البغضاء في قلوب العباد قال

Upon hearing of Mufaddal’s words, Imam al-Sadiq hit the ground three times out of pity to the distress Mufaddal is facing from the Shi’a and he told him:

(Ma’any al-Akhbar, page 381)

“The Imam sat up and hit the ground three times, saying: 

“No Mufaddal, it is not as they say. 

Rather, when Allah loves a servant, He incites people against him on earth so that they speak ill of him, and He rewards him. 

And when Allah dislikes a servant, He makes him beloved to the people so that they speak well of him, then He condemns him.

Then he (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever was more beloved to Allah than Yahya ibn Zakariya (peace be upon him). Yet, Allah incited the people against him until they killed him. 

And whoever was more beloved to Allah, the Exalted, than Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him), he faced from the people what you have known. And whoever was more beloved to Allah, Blessed and Exalted, than Husayn ibn Ali, may Allah's peace be upon them, so He incited them against him until they killed him."

وكان (عليه السلاممتكئا فاستوى جالسا فنفض يده ثلاث مرات يقول:

لا ليس كما يقولون، ولكن الله عز وجل إذا أحب عبدا أغرى به الناس في الأرض ليقولوا فيه فيوثمهم ويأجره، وإذا أبغض الله عبدا حببه إلىالناس ليقولوا فيه ليوثمهم ويوثمه ثم قال (عليه السلام): من كان أحب إلى الله من يحيى بن زكريا (عليه السلامأغراهم به حتى قتلوه، ومنكان أحب إلى الله عز وجل من علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلامفلقي من الناس ما قد علمتم، ومن كان أحب إلى الله تبارك وتعالى منالحسين بن علي صلوات الله عليهما فأغراهم به حتى قتلوه

As Mufaddal pondered to himself “I am the gate of the Imam, how come the people do not love me?!”

Imam al-Sadiq resolved these tireless queries and finally revealed the shocking truth to Mufaddal:

Allah incites يغري Mufaddal’s enemies against him. 

This incitement is what led to Mufaddal being verbally and physically harmed, similar to how Allah incited the enemies of prophet Yahya against him until they murdered him.

It is now tempting for the reader to assume this hadith is of purely spiritual dimensions, 

In the sense that Allah predestined for Mufaddal to be harmed instead of the Imam actively inciting for Mufaddal’s harm in accordance to Allah’s plans.

However, this is not the case.

Indeed, the Imam actively incited against Mufaddal that the people speak ill against him!

Not because he was wicked, but rather it is because

“When Allah loves a servant, He incites people against him on earth so that they speak ill of him, and He rewards him.

We can see this notion of Mufaddal being elucidated in the following ahadith:

(Rijal al-Kashi)

Narrated Yunus ibn Dhubyan who said: 

I said to Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq): "May I be your rasom, may you I write to these two men to stop harming this man, as they are causing harm to him?" 

The Imam said: "I will incite them against him. 

He (the man in question) is more truthful in his love for me than them."

علي بن محمد، قالحدثني أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن بعض أصحابنا، عن يونس بن ظبيان قالقلت لأبي عبد الله عليهالسلام:

جعلت فداك، لو كتبت إلى هذين الرجلين بالكف عن هذا الرجل فإنهما له موذيانفقالاذن أغريهما به، كان كثير عزة في مودتها، أصدقمنهما في مودتي،

Who is this truthful man who loves the Imam and whom are the two men that the Imam will incite against him?


“Narrated Yunus ibn Dhubyan:

I said to Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq): "Will you not command these two men to refrain from harming this man?"

The Imam said: "Who is this man, and who are these two men?" 

I said: "Will you not command Hijr ibn Za’ida and 'Amir ibn Judha’a to refrain from harming Al-Mufaddal ibn 'Umar?

The Imam said: "O Yunus, I have asked them to stop but they did not. I incurred them, requested from them, and wrote to them, making it clear my need for them to stop, but they did not desist. May Allah not forgive them.

By Allah, if they loved me, they would love whoever I love."

 عن يونس ابن ظبيان قالقلت لابي عبداللهألا تنهى هذين الرجلين عن هذا الرجل؟ فقالمن هذا الرجل ومن هذين الرجلين؟ قلتألا تنهىحجر بن زائدة وعامر بن جذاعة عن المفضل بن عمر فقاليا يونس قد سألتهما أن يكفا عنه فلم يفعلا فدعوتهما وسألتهما وكتبت إليهماوجعلته حاجتي إليهما فلم يكفا عنه فلا غفر الله لهما

أما والله لو أحباني لاحبا من أحب.

Something is clear now:

Mufaddal was not a lone preacher and teacher of the truth, abandoned by the Imam in his woes.

The Imam was very well-aware of Mufaddal’s tribulations.

In fact, the Imam underwent a series of actions to highlight to the Shi’a that he was not happy with Mufaddal enemies.

These actions included that the Imam “incurred them (Hijr & Amir), requested from them, and wrote to them, making it clear his need for them to stop (their harm for Mufaddal) but they did not desist.”

Yet, the Imam was perfectly aware these actions would not stop Hijr & Amir - whom like their patron Zurara - most likely saw personal opinion as superseding the Imam’s word (as shown above).

Thus, in fulfillment of the sunnah of prophets and Imams –

The Imam strived to incite Hijr & Amir against Mufaddal!

2 ) Case of the Two Men

We now know that Hijr & Amir would insult Mufaddal in Imam al-Sadiq’s presence, not giving any weight to Imam al-Sadiq’s holy station in front of them.

In another hadith:

(Rijal al-Kashi)

“Narrated Bashir al-Dahhan:

Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said to Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Thaqafi

What do you say about Al-Mufaddal ibn 'Umar?" 

He said: "What can I say about him? Even I saw a cross on his neck, I would still know that he is upon the truth, after hearing you speak of him as you do." 

He (yhe Imam) said: "May Allah have mercy on him. But Hijr ibn Zai’ida and 'Amir ibn Judha’a came to me and insulted him in my presence. I said to them: 'Do not do so, for I love him.' But they did not accept. I asked them and informed them that refraining from harming him was my request, but they did not desist. May Allah not forgive them."

عن بشير الدهان، قالقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام لمحمد بن كثير الثقفيما تقول في المفضل بن عمر؟ قالما عسيت أن أقول فيه، لورأيت في عنقه صليبا، وفي وسطه (كسطحالعلمت أنه على الحق، بعد ما سمعتك تقول فيه ما تقولقالرحمه الله، لكن حجر بن زائدة،وعامر ابن جذاعة أتياني فشتماه عندي فقلت لهمالا تفعلا فإني أهواه، فلم يقبلا فسألتهما وأخبرتهما أن الكف عنه حاجتي فلم يفعلا، فلاغفر الله لهما، أما

And we know that Imam al-Sadiq had chosen to respond to Hijr & Amir through inciting them against Mufaddal.

How exactly did he do so?

Cursing and disassociating from Mufaddal!

(Rijal al-Kashi)

Narrated Ibn Maskan:

“Hijr ibn Za’ida and 'Amir ibn Judha’a al-Azdi entered upon Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) and said to him:

“May we be your ransom, Al-Mufaddal ibn 'Umar says: 'The Imams determine the provisions of the servants.'" 

The Imam replied: “By Allah, only Allah controls our provisions. There was a time when I was in need of food for my children, and my chest tightened with anxiety. I contemplated on it until I secured their sustenance, and at that moment, my soul became content

May Allah curse him (Mufaddal) and disassociate from him. 

They (Hijr and ‘Amir) said: "Shall we curse him and disassociate from him?" 

The Imam said: "Yes." So we cursed him and disassociated from him. May Allah and His Messenger disassociate from him."

عن ابن مسكان قالدخل حجر بن زائدة وعامر بن جذاعة الأزدي على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقالا لهجعلنا فداك إن المفضل بن عمريقولإنكم تقدرون أرزاق العباد.

فقالوالله ما يقدر أرزاقنا إلا الله، ولقد احتجت إلى طعام لعيالي فضاق صدري وأبلغت إلي الفكرة في ذلك حتى أحرزت قوتهم، فعندهاطابت نفسي، لعنه الله وبرئ منه، قالاأفنلعنه ونتبرأ منه؟ قالنعم، فلعناه وبرئنا منه (1)، برئ الله ورسوله منه.

To understand why Imam al-Sadiq chose to incite Hijr & Amir against Mufaddal by cursing and disassociating from him –

We shall look at an excerpt from a lengthy dictatum from Imam al-Sadiq consisting of teaching material to his Shi’a, instructing them on how their behavior must be, what they should treat the Imam, etc.

They key take from it is that the Shi’a should never complain to the Imam, against the righteous followers of the Imam!

If that is done - Imam will curse his righteous follower, out of taqiyya.

If the Imam does that, the curse will turn into a mercy of Allah - while the Imam’s true curse will be upon those who complained.

(Al-Kafi, vol 8, page 8)

“He (Imam al-Sadiq): 

Fear God, O Shi’a. 

Strive not to embarrass the Imam, for the one who embarasses us is he who compains to the Imam against the righteous people from among the followers of the Imam. 

Even though they (ones complained against) are submitters to the Imam’s grace, patient in fulfilling his right, and recognizing of his sanctity.

Know that whoever does such a thing (complaining against Imam’s righteous follower) is embarrassing the Imam.

 If he (complainer) does that, the Imam will  curse the righteous people of his followers, the submitters to his grace, who are patient in fulfilling his right and who know his inviolability.

If he (the Imam) curses them [righteous followers], due to the embarassment of Allah’s enemies. Then, the curse of the Imam will turn into mercy of Allah. Meanwhile, the curse of Allah and his angels and messengers will be against those who complained.”

وقالاتقوا الله أيتها العصابة وإن استطعتم أن لا يكون منكم محرج الامام فإن محرج الامام هو الذي يسعى بأهل الصلاح من أتباعالامام، المسلمين لفضله، الصابرين على أداء حقه، العارفين لحرمته، واعلموا أنه من نزل بذلك المنزل عند الامام فهو محرج الامام، فإذا فعلذلك عند الامام أحرج الامام إلى أن يلعن أهل الصلاح من أتباعه، المسلمين لفضله، الصابرين على أداء حقه العارفين بحرمته، فإذا لعنهملاحراج أعداء الله الامام صارت لعنته رحمة من الله عليهم وصارت اللعنة من الله ومن الملائكة ورسله على أولئك

The muhaqiq (editor) of this copy of al-Kafi clarifies:

“What is apparent is that the meaning of the hadith is that you should not embarrass the Imam by making him compelled to do something that he is not satisfied with. 

Then he (peace be upon him) explained that the one who embarasses the Imam is the one who slanders the people of righteousness before the Imam and testifies to them of corruption while he is a liar.”

أقولالظاهر أن المراد لا تكونوا محرج الامام اي بان تجعلوه مضطرا إلى شئ لا يرضى به، ثم بين (عليه السلامبان المحرج هو الذي يذمأهل الصلاح عند الامام ويشهد عليهم بفساد وهو كاذب


Imam al-Sadiq had cursed and disassociated from Mufaddal because:

“The curse of the Imam will turn into mercy of Allah. Meanwhile, the curse of Allah and his angels and messengers will be against those who complained.”

The Imam’s curse to Mufaddal was mercy for him!

It now becomes comically ironic that Hijr and Za’ida uttered the following after Imam al-Sadiq ordered them to curse Mufaddal:

“So we cursed him and disassociated from him. May Allah and His Messenger disassociate from him."

This is because neither Allah nor His messenger disassociate from Mufaddal

Rather, as Imam al-Sadiq said:

The curse of Allah and his angels and messengers will be against those who complained.”

Allah, His angels and His messengers will curse and disassociate from Hijr & Amir! Not from Mufaddal.

Thus, Imam’s curse and disassociation is a fulfillment of the incitement he promised Mufaddal:

“Rather, when Allah loves a servant, He incites people against him on earth so that they speak ill of him, and He rewards him. 

And when Allah dislikes a servant, He makes him beloved to the people so that they speak well of him, then He condemns him.

3 ) Why Misguide the Shi’a?

Now –

Knowing what we now know about Mufaddal and why he was cursed

The reasons for our Imams misguiding their Shi’a can be surmised by presenting the following ahadith:

  • #1 Shi’a doubting the Imam’s order

(Al-Kafi, vol 3, page 339 & Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol 2, page 135)

“Narrated Abu Basir:

I asked Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) about Qunut (supplication in prayer), so he said::

It is in prayers in which you are permitted to recite out loud

So I said: "I asked your father about that and he said we can perform Qunut in all five prayers – even ones we do not recite out loud.

The Imam said: "May Allah have mercy on my father. The companions of my father came to him, and he informed them of the truth. 

Then they came to me, doubtful of my father’s orders, so I answered them the opposite of his words - out of taqiyya”

341) * 109 - محمد بن يعقوب عن علي بن إبراهيم عن أبيه عن ابن فضال عن ابن بكير عن أبي بصير قال سألت أبا عبد الله عليهالسلامعن القنوت فقال:

فيما تجهر فيه بالقراءة قال فقلتاني سألت أباك عن ذلك فقالفي الخمس كلها فقال:

رحم الله أبي ان أصحاب أبي أتوه فسألوه فأخبرهم بالحق ثم أتوني شكاكا فأفتيتهم بالتقية.

In the same fashion:

“Hijr ibn Zai’ida and 'Amir ibn Judha’a came to (Imam al-Sadiq) and insulted Mufaddal in his presence. The Imam said to them: 'Do not do so, for I love him.' But they did not accept.

So how did Imam al-Sadiq respond?

He gave them a fatwa out of taqiyya:

“May Allah curse him (Mufaddal) and disassociate from him. 

They (Hijr and ‘Amir) said: "Shall we curse him and disassociate from him?" 

The Imam said: "Yes." So we cursed him and disassociated from him.

  • #2 Defiance to the truth

(Mukhtasar Basa’ir al-Darajat, page 94)

On the authority of Yunus ibn Abdul Rahman on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Ammar on the authority of one of our companions who narrated it to him on the authority of Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said a man came.

When Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) looked at the man, Abu Abdullah said, “By God, I will misguide him. By God, I will mislead him.”

When the man sat down, he asked the Imam about a matter and the Imam issued him a fatwa on it.

When the man left, Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) said: “I have given him a fatwa to misguide him - a type of (fatwa) containing only misguidance and no guidance in it.

Then the man came to Abu al-Hasan (al-Kadhim, and when Abu al-Hasan looked at him, he said: 

“By God, I will truly misguide him.” 

So the man asked (al-Kadhim) about that particular issue (which he asked al-Sadiq), so al-Kadhim gave him a fatwa. 

The man said: “Impossible! Impossible! I have asked your father about this and he gave me a different fatwa. It is obligatory upon me to never leave his order - ever.”

Abu al-Hasan, peace be upon him, said: By God, I have given him a fatwa containing only guidance and no misguidance.

 الاسناد عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن عن محمد بن 

إسحاق بن عمار عمن حدثه من أصحابنا عن أبي عبد الله (عقال جاء رجل فلما نظر إليه أبو عبد الله " ع " قال اما والله لا ضله اما واللهلأوهمنه فجلس الرجل فسأله مسألة فأفتاه فلما خرج قال أبو عبد الله " ع " لقد افتيته بالضلالة

التي لا هداية فيها ثم إن الرجل جاء إلي أبي الحسن [عفلما نظر اليه أبو الحسن [عقال اما والله لأضلنه بحق فسأله الرجل عن تلكالمسألة بعينها فأفتاه فقال الرجل هيهات هيهات لقد سألت عنها أباك فأفتاني بغير هذا وما يجب علي ان ادع قوله ابدا فلما خرج قال أبوالحسن " ع " اما والله لقد افتيته بالهداية التي لا ضلالة فيها.

Because Hijr & Amir were defiant to the Imam’s orders regarding respecting Mufaddal –

He gave them a fatwa out of taqiyya, telling them to curse & disassociate from Mufaddal.

In the words of Imam al-Sadiq, “a fatwa containing only misguidance and no guidance”.

  • #3 A Secret Reason

(Rijal al-Kashi)

Imam al-Sadiq had issued a fatwa to his esteemed companion Abu Basir in which the Imam disassociates from Zurara.

Yet, the Imam issued fatwas to Zurara’s son Ubayd in which he praises Zurara.

This prompts Ubayd to write to the Imam about the matter, while distressed.

In a completely unexpected twist, the Imam permits both cursing and praising of Zurara - due to reasons which only the Imam knows:

(Rijal al-Kashi)

"O Ubayd do not let your heart be distressed by what my father (al-Baqir) commanded you and what I have commanded you (praising your father)

Abu Basir came to you with something contrary to what we ordered you. By Allah, we did not order you (to praise Zurara), nor did we order him (to condemn Zurara), except by what is within our capacity and your capacity to take upon.

For both commands have considerations and meanings that align with the truth. 

If it were permitted for us, we will tell you the reason behind our contradictory orders so that you may know that the truth lies in what we commanded you. 

Return the matter to us, submit to us, be patient with our judgments, and be satisfied with them. 

The one who divided you into separate groups is your shepherd, whom Allah has entrusted with His creation. He knows better the interest of his flock in the corruption of its affairs. If he wishes, he separates them to ensure their safety, then gathers them to protect them from their corruption and the fear of their enemies, in the aftermath of what Allah permits. He brings them security from their secure places and relief from Him."

فلا يضيقن صدرك من الذي أمرك أبي عليه السلام وأمرتك به، وأتاك أبو بصير بخلاف الذي أمرناك به، فلا والله ما أمرناكولا أمرناه الا بأمر وسعنا ووسعكم الاخذ به.

ولكل ذلك عندنا تصاريف ومعان توافق الحق، ولو أذن لنا لعلمتم أن الحق في الذي أمرناكم به، فردوا إلينا الامر وسلموا لناواصبروا لأحكامنا وارضوا بها، والذي فرق بينكم فهو راعيكم الذي استرعاه الله خلقه، وهو اعرف بمصلحة غنمه في فسادأمرها، فان شاء فرق بينها لتسلم، ثم يجمع بينها لتأمن من فسادها وخوف عدوها في 

آثار ما يأذن الله، ويأتيها بالأمن من مأمنه والفرج من عنده.

While the full hadith would appear to praise Zurara, that is something we do not take upon and posit is in fact not the objective truth. This is a topic for another discussion, so I digress.

Rather, we highlight the excerpt shown to indicate an important truth:

The one who divided you into separate groups is your shepherd, whom Allah has entrusted with His creation. He knows better the interest of his flock in the corruption of its affairs.

If the Imam wishes, he can divide the Shi’a to ensure their safety.

Thus –

In relating to our topic of discussion, the Imam praised and condemned Mufaddal because it is his right to divide the Shi’a into to different groups for a reason only He knows.

Whenever the Shi’a curse Mufaddal, it translates to mercy for him and the curse goes against Mufaddal’s enemies who sought that Mufaddal be condemned.

  • #4 Avoiding attention from Sunnis

In a hadith graded as mu’tabar by Shaykh Asif Mohseni (Mu’jam al-Ahadith al-Mu’tabara):

(‘Ilal al-Shara’ie by Shaykh al-Saduq)

"Zurara reported that Abu Ja'far (peace be upon him) said: 

I asked him about a matter, and he answered me. Then a man came and asked him about it, and he answered him differently from how he answered me. Then another man came, and he also answered him differently from how he answered me and my companion. 

When the two men left, I said, 'O son of the Messenger of Allah, two men from the people of Iraq, from your Shia, asked you questions, and you answered each one differently!' 

He said, 'O Zurara, this is better and more lasting for us and for you. If you were to agree on one matter, people would spot you out as one united group, but this division among you ensures our continuity and yours.'"

16 - أبي رحمه الله قالحدثنا سعد بن عبد الله عن محمد بن عبد الجبار عن الحسن بن علي بن فضال عن ثعلبة بن ميمون عن زرارة، عنأبي جعفر عليه السلام قالسألته عن مسألة فأجابني قالثم جاء رجل فسأله عنها فاجابه بخلاف ما أجابني ثم جاء رجل آخر فاجابهبخلاف ما أجابني وأجاب صاحبي، فلما خرج الرجلان قلت يا بن رسول الله رجلان من أهل العراق من شيعتك قد ما يسألان فأجبت كلواحد منها بغير ما أجبت به الآخرقالفقال يا زرارة ان هذا خير لنا وأبقى لنا ولكم ولو اجتمعتم على أمر واحد لقصدكم الناس ولكن أقللبقائنا وبقائكم، قالفقلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام شيعتكم لو حملتموهم على الأسنة أو على

  • #5 For A Greater Good

In a hadith graded as mu’tabar by Shaykh Asif Mohseni (Mu’jam al-Ahadith al-Mu’tabara):

(‘Ilal al-Shara’ie by Shaykh al-Saduq)

My father, on the authority of Saad, on the authority of Muhammad ibn al-Walid and al-Sindi, on the authority of Aban ibn Uthman, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Bashir and Hariz, on the authority of Abi Abdillah [al-Sadiq], peace be upon him, who said: 

I said to him [The Imam]: There is nothing more difficult for me than the differences of our companions. 

He (the Imam said): I ordered that.

Allama Majlisi clarification on meaning of hadith: 

What I informed them (the companions) out of taqiyya, and ordered them to do for the greater good”

علل الشرائعأبي، عن سعد، عن محمد بن الوليد والسندي، عن أبان بن عثمان، عن محمد بن بشير وحريز، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلامقالقلت لهإنه ليس شئ أشد علي من اختلاف أصحابنا، قالذلك من قبلي.

بيانأي بما أخبرتهم به من جهة التقية وأمرتهم به للمصلحة.

  • #6 Fear from Abbasid physical persecution

(‘Ilal al-Shara’ie, vol 2, page 395)

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan told us, he said: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Saffar told us, on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad, on the authority of Ibn Sinan, on the authority of Abu Ayyub al-Khazzaz, on the authority of who told him on the authority of Abu al-Hasan [al-Kadhim], peace be upon him.

The Imam was asked about differences among our companions.

He, peace be upon him, said: I did that to you. If you were united under one matter - your necks will be struck.”

حدثنا محمد بن الحسن قالحدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار عن أحمد ابن محمد عن ابن سنان عن أبي أيوب الخزاز عمن حدثه عن أبيالحسن عليه السلام قال اختلاف أصحابي لكم رحمة، وقالإذا كان ذلك جمعتكم على أمر واحد، وسئل عن اختلاف أصحابنا فقال عليهالسلامانا فعلت ذلك بكم لو اجتمعتم على أمر واحد لاخذ برقابكم.

4 ) Conclusion

The Shi’i tradition, or what remains from it in the hadith compilations, is extremely diverse in content and rich in number.

The number one problem facing the clergy from the Ghayba period, and until now is the level of contradiction pervading our hadith corpus:

Shaykh al-Tusi wrote in the introduction of al-Istibsar:

“The difference, contrast, contradiction, and contradiction that occurred in the Shi’i tradition is to the extent that hardly any hadith is agreed upon except with there being something that contradicts it, and no hadith is accepted - except that there be a hadith that goes against it”

وما وقع فيها من الاختلاف والتباين والمنافاة والتضاد، حتى لا يكاد يتفق خبر إلا وبإزائه ما يضاده ولا يسلم حديث إلا وفي مقابلته ما ينافيه

The scholars over the ages have formulated different creative ways in an attempt to resolve these great contradictions, without the presence of a living Imam. 

Even the rarity of a hadith in our current hadith compilations is not proof that this hadith was not replicated in greater numbers in our Imams’ times. 

Rather, it is only reflective of the classical scholars’ attempt to create a more monolithic corpus based on their diverging points of view.

These are all signs that we as Shi’i believers have an individual duty to understand our Imams’ words and make sense of these contradictions – from our Imams words.

This was the purpose of my article, in which I attempt to make sense of the condemnation of Mufaddal from our Imams’ words and the greater scheme of things under which this condemnation took place.

May Allah bless you all


John Andaluso