This book is not only a record of the lives of the Ulema but a chronicle of the turbulent history of the oppression and suppression of the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) and it can only be termed the succor of the Providence that the Ulema led the people and left behind their footmarks for the posterity.
ABOUT THE TAOOS FAMILY
About the scholars of the Taoos family it can be said that it had a unique position in the annals of Shia learning that many eminent illustrious names trace their ancestory to this clan.
In Mafateeh al Janaan, the compendium of widely recited supplications, Ibn e Taoos’ book ,“Iqbal”, is referred to time and again. This has been a very revered family that had produced Ulema for several generations. Even women in the family were persons of erudition and some had reached the status of Ijtehad. Since this family has produced many reputed scholars, we shall briefly profile their lives.The family of Taoos traces its origins to the Second Imam, Imam Hassan (a.s). Their forbear was Hazrat Hassan Muthanna, the second son of Imam Hassan (a.s). The Imam (a.s) had given his own name to this son of his because he had great love and affection for him.
Imam Hussain (a.s) too had much affection for this nephew of his. Therefore his daughter, Fatima, was given in marriage to Hassan Muthanna. The Imam (a.s) had said at the time of this marriage that he didn’t find anyone more deserving of his daughter than that nephew of his. Hassan e Muthanna had participated in the battle of Karbala where he was mortally wounded and fell down unconscious. The enemies thought that he was dead. When the heads of the martyrs were being severed by the men of Omer ibn e Saad, they noticed that there was still life in Hassan e Muthanna. They wanted to sever his head when a woman from the army of Omer ibn e Saad, Asma binte Kharija, prevented them from killing him because she was distantly related to the mother of Hassan e Muthanna. He was thus spared and taken captive to Koofa where he was incarcerated with the other members of the Imam (a.s)’s family. Asma strongly recommended not taking Hassan Muthanna along with the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) to Damascus. She took him to her home in Koofa and treated his grievous wounds to recovery. He was then sent on to Madina. After some time, at his age of 35 years, Abd al Marwan ibn e Malik poisoned him to death. His widow, Fatima bint e Hussain (a.s) had great love for him and for one year she stayed near his grave lamenting his death inconsolably. Then, they say, she heard a herald asking her to return home. Hassan Muthanna had a son, Dawood by name. He was from another wife of Hassan Muthanna. Dawood was also the son-in-law of the fourth Imam Zain al Abedin (a.s) that he was married to Umm Kulthum, his daughter. It is also said that Dawood’s mother suckled her milk to our Sixth Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s). Dawood was one of the members of the family of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) who were incarcerated by Mansoor Duwaniqi because he feared a general uprising in their support.Dawood’s mother went to Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s) and complained to him about the incarceration of her son. The Imam (a.s) gave her a supplication for reciting on 15th Rajab after fasting for three days. This supplication is recorded in our prayer books as Amal um e Dawood and is very effective when recited in periods of difficulty.When Dawood’s mother recited the supplication, he was miraculously released from the gaol and returned to Madina. Dawood had a son Sulaiman. Sulaiman had a grand son Hassan and Hassan’s grand son was Abu Abd Allah Muhammad. Abu Abd Allah had a very handsome personality but his feet were hard like those of a Taoos or the peacock. Therefore he is remembered as Taoos and those who descended from him are called the family of Taoos.
THE ULEMA OF BANI TAOOS
In the family of Taoos, were born, during the two generations, many great scholars. The most notable among them was Sayed Radi ud Deen ibne Taoos. He had two other siblings, Jamal ud Deen Ahmed and Sharf ud Deen. These brothers were younger than Radi ud Deen. These three brothers were born in a very important period because after Sheik Toosi the scholars, however eminent they were, had stopped givng Fatwa. None of them had the courage to give any edict that might be contrary to what Sheik Toosi had ruled. Sheik Toosi had one grand-nephew who changed this trend. A hiatus was created between the periods of Sheik Toosi and Allama Hilli. The Taoos family came into prominence during this period.because it produced three very eminent scholars. Now we are discussing about the eldest of the three, Sayed Radi Ud Deen ibne Taoos. During this discussion mention will come about the other members of this illustrious family.
SAYED ABD AL KARIM IBNE TAOOS
Name: Syed Abd al Karim ubne Jamal ud Deen Ahmed ibne Moosa
Ibne Jafar ibne Taoos
Title: Ghayas ud Deen Kunyat : Abu Muzaffar
Born: Shaban 648 H at Karbala
Died: Shawal 693 H at Najaf e Ashraf Age: 45 years
Sayed Radi ud Deen ibne Taoos’ brother and nephew too were eminent scholars. All three of them are remembered with the title of Ibn e Taoos. Sayed Radi ud Deen had renown in the field of supplications and prayers. His brother was known for his knowledge of Fiqh and his nephew specialized in Hadith. After Sayed Radi ud Deen, his nephew was the most erudite scholar in the family.Radi ud Deen’s brother was Jamal ud Deen Ahmed bin Moosa ibne Jafar ibne Taoos. The son of Jamal ud Deen was Sayed Abd al Karim. We may not be in a position to cover his entire work in this small publication, but we shall certainly describe briefly one of his most important books. Jamal Ud Deen was blessed with Sayed Abd al Karim, who achieved eminence in scholarship. His title was Ghayas ud Deen and his Kunyat was Abu Muzaffar. He was the favorite of his uncle, Sayed Radi ud Deen and had the good fortune of tutelage under him. Sayed Abd al Karim was so brilliant that he accomplishe the Ilm e Kitab in just 40 days. He started learning the alphabets on one day and on the 40th day he was completely literate! He became a Hafiz of the Holy Quran at the age of 11 years. He was an expert at reciting the Ziarats and none could match him in that. At the age of 4 years he was able to read, write and comprehend so well that he was able to continue his studies by himself. While he was still a minor, his knowledge was as sound as that of a Mujtahid. People were waiting for him to reach the age of maturity that they accept him as a Mujtahid. Allama Hilli too became a Mujtahid at the age of 9 years. Sayed Abd al Karim was born during the month of Shaban in 648 H and died during Shawal of 697 H at the young age of 45 years. He was born at Karbala, his early upbringing was in Hilla and education in Baghdad. He passed away in Najaf e Ashraf and was interred there.
Sayed Abd al Karim specialized in Ilm e Intesaab (Genealogy) which is a branch of Fiqh. He also had special interest in Arabic poetry. He had written several books, but one of his books is of particular importance. For a long time there was a question that was uppermost in the minds of the scholars. They found it very difficult to explain about it to the common man. When Maula Ali (a.s) was martyred, he was interred by his sons privately and the location of his grave was kept a closely guarded secret. There are some narrations that dummy graves were made by Imam Hassan (a.s) at several locations to protect his holy remains from the enemies. There was a heinous custom among the Arabs those days that they used to dig open the graves of persons with whom they were inimical for the purpose of desecration. History records that several times the Muslims have perpetrated this heinous act even after the departure of the age of Jahiliya (ignorance).. They had dug up the graves of the sons of the Imams (a.s) and burned them in public. The situation was such at the time of the martyrdom of Amir al Momineen (a.s) that if any contingency arose, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (a.s) would have had to bring out their swords and fight with the enemies to safeguard the honor of their father. They therefore kept the location of the grave a closely guarded secret. But the Imams (a.s) and the Ulema knew the location. It was Sayed Abd al Karim ibne Taoos who was the first to write a book on the subject.
THE PROOFS REGARDING LOCATION OF THE GRAVE OF HAZRAT ALI (A.S) AT NAJAF E ASHRAF
THE FIRST PROOF:.
Sayed Abd al Karim ibne Taoos wrote his very important book givng well researched proofs for the location of the grave of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) in Najaf e Ashraf.
We are giving here a few of the salient proofs from the book. Those who are interested in more detail, they may refer to the complete book. Urdu translation of the book is also available. Sayed Abd al Karim Taoos has composed the book in two parts. The first part consists of all the traditions which record about the location of the grave of Hazrat Ali (a.s).In the second part the author has recorded the miracles associated with the mausoleum from the beginning till his own times. One should bear in mind that Sayed Abd al Karim lived 800 years ago.that was around 648 H. The Sayed has recorded 20 to 25 important miraculous happenings at Najaf e Ashraf till his time.His was the first important book that introduced to the common Muslims the location of the grave of the Imam (a.s). The reason for the secrecy about the location of the grave was that the rulers were the sworn enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) and the danger always lurked that they might desecrate the grave. In the beginning the Hasnain (a.s), Abd Allah ibne Jafar e Tayyar, who was the husband of their sister, Sayeda Zainab, and Sayeda Um Kulthum, also their sister, were there to lay the Imam (a.s) to rest. Besides these four, none other knew where he was interred. Whether Sayeda Umm Kulthum was there at the time is a moot question that needn’t be discussed. They were either three, or four, persons and the rest of the funeral procession was asked to return back from the ramparts of the town of Koofa. How was it established later on that the grave was located at Najaf e Ashraf since Imam Hassan (a.s), Imam Hussain (a.s) and Sayeda Umm Kulthum had all expired and they hadn’t officially declared anything about the location of the grave?
THE SECOND PROOF:
The traditions commencing with those of the Prophet (s.a) upto the period of the 11th Imam (a.s) have been extensively recorded. But one very important tradition of the Prophet (s.a) hasn’t been much talked about, wherin he says:
“O Ali (a.s)! When Allah created this Universe, each and every thing in it was asked a question about their love for you and your Wilayat (Vicegerency). Whoever accepted your Vicegerency was endowed with Allah’s Bounty.and those who kept quiet remained behind disappointed. When Allah asked the Seven Firmaments, first of all the 7th Firmament accepted your Wilayat and Muwaddat (Love). Allah endowed to the 7th Firmament the Arsh and Kursi (the Chair). Then the 4th Firmament followed suit, and Allah endowed on it the Bayt al Maamour, then this Earth and its sky accepted your Vicegerency and love and Allah adorned them with stars. Of all the lands on the Earth, Hijaz accepted your love first and in return Allah endowed to it the Kaaba! Then Syria accepted your vicegerencty and Muwaddat and it was blessed with Bayt al Muqaddas. After that the land of Madina accepted yout Vicegerency and love and it was deemed the location of my grave. Then a desolate piece of land near Koofa acknowledged your Vicegerency and love and Allah endowed it with the location of your grave there. At this point Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) asked, ‘O Prophet of Allah (s.a)! My Lord Allah knows about this, but how will the people know about the location of my grave?’ The Prophet (s.a) said, ‘Yes! There is a place near Koofa where, after your martyrdom, your grave will be made. The worst person of the Ummat, Ibne Muljim will martyr you!’
THE THIRD PROOF:
The abovementiond tradition of the Prophet (s.a) has confirmed about the location of the Mausoleum of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s). There is also a tradition of Imam Ali (a.s) confirming his place of burial. When Maula Ali (a.s) made Koofa his capital, he once traveled and passed through a barren piece of land. He bought the land for a price of 70,000 Dinars. His companions were surprised that he purchased the barren land, where there was no water and vegetation, for such a high price. The Imam (a.s) told them, “This is the place about which my brother, Hazrat Mohammed (s.a), has informed me about the importance and purpose of this land. Some of the enemies of Hazrat Ali (a.s) have said that the mausoleum is not of Hazrat Ali (a.s) and belongs to some ruler of the past. The Imam (a.s) knew that the land would be his final resting place and therefore he bought it that people might say on the Day of Reckoning that his mausoleum was built on usurped land. There is also a tradition of Hasnain (a.s) that they were once asked where they had interred their father. They caught hold of the hand of the person, took him to the outskirts of Koofa and indicated the spot where the Imam (a.s) was laid down to rest. There is also a tradition of Imam Hussain (a.s). He said that when his father was about to breathe his last, he called him aside and told him about the way the shroud was to be given to his mortal remains and the body to be anointed with camphor that came from the Heaven and was used for anointing the Prophet (s.a) and Hazrat Fatima (a.s). He also told Imam Hussain (a.s) to use the same cloth for drying his body which was used for drying the mortal remains of the Prophet (s.a) and Hazrat Fatima (a.s). He also asked him to offer the funeral prayer with 7 Takbeers (Takbeer is chanting ‘Allaho Akbar--- Allah is Great). Till Doomsday, thereafter, 7 Takbeers will not be chanted during the funeral prayer of any Momin. The only exception will be for the funeral prayer of the Imam e Zamana (a.s). The standard practice is that only 5 Takbeers are chanted for the funeral prayer of any Momin. Hazrat Ali (a.s) also instructed that when the funeral procession commenced only the hind part of the bier must be lifted by Hasnain (a.s) and the front will rise by itself and proceed forward. Once the procession reached the ramparts of Koofa, they were asked to send away others and only Hasnain (a.s) were asked to carry the hind part of the bier. They were told that the bier would stop by itself at a particular spot.. One tradition indicates that Hazrat Umm Kulthum, the daughter of Hazrat Ali (a.s) too accompanied the bier. At that spot, he said, they would find a grave already prepared for burial. The Imam (a.s) said that the grave was prepared by Hazrat Nooh (a.s) for him. He said that after some time of the burial they should remove one brick from the grave on side of the head. He said that they would not find him in the grave. When they did this, an unseen herald called, “There isn’t any Vicxegerant of any Prophet who has not been united with that Prophet after death. If the Prophet died in the East, and the vicegerent in the West, Allah will unite them together!’
Jabir bin Yazid Jaufi narrates from the 5th Imam (a.s) that he (the Imam-a.s) was traveling from Koofa towards Madina with his father. His father stopped at a spot, dismounted from the horse. He said that his father had tears in his eyes and stopped near a grave. He recited the Ziarat Ameen ( Note: This ziarat is recited by Momins while doing the Aamaal e Ziarat), and said, “O Son! This is the grave of our ancestor. He is my Grandfather. If any Momin recites the Ziarat, that I have recited now, near the grave of Imam Ali (a.s) or at the grave of any of the Imams (a.s), the angels will enclose him in a Tabaq e Noor (tray) , put on it the Seal of the Prophet (s.a), and take him to the presence of the Imam e Zamana (a.s). This is a gift for the Momins.” It is recorded by several narrators that the 5th Imam (a.s) used to frequently visit Najaf e Ashraf for Ziarat. About the 6th Imam (a.s) eight or ten narratos say that the Imam (a.s) used to visit Najaf e Ashraf. He would alight from the horse, have a bath if water was available in plenty, or he did ablution and if there was scarcity of water he would do Tayammum (dry ablution) and offer prayers at three spots in that area. Aban ibne Taghlab Ma-ala asked the Imam (a.s) the reason for offering prayer at three spots. The Imam (a.s) said that at the first place Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) has been interred. At the second spot is where Imam Husain (a.s)’s head was brought from Damascus and buried there. He said that the third spot is where the 12th Imam (a.s)’s pulpit would be installed. The 7th, 8th,9th,10th and 11th Imams (a.s) used to follow the same practice as the 6th Imam (a.s) whenever they visited Najaf e Ashraf. When it wasn’t possible for them to visit personally, they used to depute their companions to visit the shrine and offer their prayers. Through the traditions of the 11 Imams (a.s), Abd al Karim ibne Taoos resolved the issue of the location of Imam Ali (a.s)’s mausoleum. He has recorded in his book the proofs about it’s location and also the tyrannical treatment that the rulers had meted out to the Imams (a.s) and their followers in this regard..
THE FOURTH PROOF:
Mansour, the Abbasid Caliph, once went in the darkness of the night to Najaf e Ashraf along with a slave. He saw that the ground was totally barren, devoid of any vegetation or signs of any structure. He ordered his slave to dig at a spot. Mansour peeped into the excavation where he spotted a grave. He asked his slave to immediately close it. The slave asked him, ‘Why did you order the digging of the grave?” Mansour replied, “I had heard that Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s)’s grave is at that spot. I came here to investigate the matter.”
THE FIFTH PROOF:
Mansour continued: ‘When I knew this is the grave of the Imam (a.s) I was convince of the veracity of the incident of the caliph Haroun al Rashid that he went on a hunt along with his retinue, hunting dogs and the hawks. He spotted a group of deers and set his dogs and the hawks after them. The deer ran hard, went up a hillock and sat there fearlessly. As soon as they came down from the hillock, the dogs started the chase. The deer again ascended the hillock and sat there. The dogs and the hawk wouldn’t go atop the hillock and attack the deer. Haroun was very surprised at this. He went round and found an old man from the Asadi Tribe in the neighborhood. The old man told Haroun that the place where the deer took refuge was where Imam Ali (a.s) was interred. Haroun cried and offered two genuflections of prayer there. He said, “O Maula! I am your follower! But what could I do; persons from your progeny have troubled me very much. I am chasing them, arresting them and killing them!” This incident too has been recorded by Sayed Abd al Karim Ibne Taoos in his book in much detail.