Evaluation of the Heads of Revolts

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Evaluation of the Heads of Revolts:

Due to the secrecy of these stances and the need to keep them hidden, as some were vague, while many narrations juxtaposed, Shia scholars have evaluated the heads of rebellions differently. Shahid Sadr Thani said in his commentary on my book (The Role of Imams in Islamic Life: 333), “What I have found studying all narrations about those rebels is that they are different in terms of religious practice, psychology, culture and targets. There is no proof that they all took a permission from the Imams (P), even in secret. Moreover, many of them did not call for the satisfaction of the Household of the Prophet (P). It is sufficient for that matter to read the narration, “If he had triumphed, he would have yielded to Allah from that [rebellion]. Be it other than “Zaid the Martyr” and some of the few others like Yahya who did not have the enthusiasm for such loyalty. It is enough to see that a number of them succeeded in his rebellion and established a state. However, they did not think of granting rule to the Imams (P); one example is the rebel of Tabaristan. One probability is that the call for the satisfaction of the Prophet’s household was just a slogan for some of them to gain wide support. The rebel’s exemption from the rulingof fearing can be only by lack of knowledge of the ruling or by permission from the Imam. We can perhaps assume them to be true from that perspective. However, it is hard for those to think of loyalty to the satisfaction of the holy Household. Even if they had asked the Imams to lead the rule of their state (if they succeeded), it would be uncertain that the Imams would approve. The required state for Imams is not a shaky state. They seek an international state of justice, as it is known. Would the rebel have been sure of their approval? In whatsoever case, these rebellions are religious movements that resulted from a feeling of injustice against the conditions they were living in. We cannot describe many of them through a further background that is wider than this scope.”

In my opinion, I am not here detailing the deliberation to include the rightfulness and legitimacy of those revolts. However, we can briefly propose a number of aspects, even if they were just considered as assumptions. It would be just to cast away the negative perception of the prominent figures of the Household of Imam Ali (P), particularly the descendants of Imam Hasan (P). Indeed some narrations have cited stories that the general public would not accept. As such, how would the people who know the greatness and holiness of the Imams accept them?

The followingpropositions areamong those assumptions:

1-  The rebels had a complete secret agreement with the Infallible Imam (P) on the distribution of roles. They would appear to be in disagreement with the Imam to the extent of blaspheming his honorable position.([1]) They were keen on preserving his safety, and they wanted to refute any suspicions the authority had about the Imam. Tyrants used to jail people for suspicions and kill others based onaccusations. They probably did this even if this superficial negative relation with the Imam led to a calculated loss of some of the soldiers of Shia who would leave them for their apparent boldness against the Imam. On the other side, the Imam would express his disagreement of their acts so that the authority would hear of that. Because of these two stances, we can understand the narrations, such as those narrated in Ihtijaj citing Imam Sadek (P) saying, “Every one of us has an enemy from inside his household.” He was told, “The descendants of al-Hasan do not know who is righteous?” He answered, “Yes, they do. However, they are full of envy.””([2])

2-  Imams (P) used to hide the detailed names of the stipulated Imams from some of their relatives because they probably pitied them in order not to be obliged by such evidence to pay allegiance to them, when the Imams themselves knew their relatives’ ambitions for rebellion. They might have wanted to keep it as a secret so that their relatives would keep their drive for revolt. If they knew about the stipulation, they would have been obliged to take the permission of their Imams. However, Imams do not explicitly give a permission for revolts, which would stop them. Moreover, this is what the Imams did not want to happen. Therefore, they kept the names of the stipulated Imams hidden.




([1]) Among those stories, there is a saying of Imam Sadek (P), “This would push you to be envious of my son.” Refer to the conversations among the prominent figures of the descendants of Hashem in Abwa’ with Imam Sadek (P) at the end of the reign of the Umayyad State, mentioned in Maqatel al-Talibiyyin: 140. It was cited in Bihar al-Anwar: 47/227. It was also cited in Irshad for Moufid: 2/190-192. In the narration Abdullah Al-Mahdi was quoted saying, “Having known that my son here is al-Mahdi, come to pay allegiance to him.” However, you would find in Bihar al-Anwar: 47/302-304 several stories indicating they know who the promised Mahdi is, and that the one proclaimed was not him.

([2]) Ihtijaj: 2/120.