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This article is about 9th of Rabi' I in Shia history and culture. For the events on Rabi' I 9 as a day in Lunar Hijri Calendar, see Rabi' I 9.

Ninth of Rabīʿ I was the beginning of the Imamate of Imam al-Mahdi (a). According to a report, 'Umar b. Sa'd, among the murderers of Imam al-Husayn (a) was killed on this day. Sometimes on this day, gatherings called Eid al-Zahra (a) and Farhat al-Zahra (a) are held to celebrate the death of the Second Caliph, 'Umar b. al-Khattab. According to historical reports, the Second Caliph was hit by Abu Lu'lu' on Dhu l-Hijja 27 and died three days later. Shi'a scholars and authorities do not consider it permissible to hold gatherings in which the holy figures of Sunnis would be abused.

Contents

Beginning of the Imamate of Imam al-Mahdi (a)

On Rabi' I 8, 260/January 1, 874, Imam Hasan al-'Askari (a) was martyred by al-Mu'tamid, the Abbasid caliph; and Imam's (a) son, al-Mahdi (a) became Imam.[1] For Shi'a, Rabi' I 9 has been considered the beginning of the Imamate of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and "Eid" (Islamic holiday) when celebrations are held.

'Umar b. Sa'd's Killing

Main article: 'Umar b. Sa'd

'Umar b. Sa'd was the son of Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas (a Companion of the Prophet (s)). 'Umar b. Sa'd was appointed by 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, as the leader of the army of Kufa to fight with Imam al-Husayn (a). On Muharram tenth, Imam al-Husayn (a) and seventy two of his companions were martyred by 'Umar b. Sa'd's army. In Zad al-ma'ad, al-Majlisi said that according to a report, 'Umar b. Sa'd was killed by al-Mukhtar b. Abi 'Ubayd al-Thaqafi on Rabi' I 9.[2]

Killing of the Second Caliph

Main article: 'Umar b. al-Khattab

Ninth of Rabi' I is considered as the day in which 'Umar b. al-Khattab was killed. The reason for this attribution is a hadith known as Rufi' al-Qalam.[3] The history of this attribution dates back to the sixth/twelfth century, but after a period of silence, by the emergence of Safavids and spreading Shi'a Islam, it was introduced as the famous view and a part of Shi'a culture. Attributing the date of 'Umar's death to this day has had advocates and critics:

Advocates

'Abd al-Jalil al-Qazwini (d. sixth/twelfth century) mentioned 'Umar's killing on this day without referring to any sources;[4] but, Hashim b. Muhammad, another scholar of that period mentioned the reason for this attribution, a hadith from Ahmad b. Ishaq known as Rufi' al-Qalam.[5] Al-Majlisi who lived in Safavid era, mentioned the day of 'Umar's death and referred to the hadith of Rufi' al-Qalam as the main reason for it.[6]

Critics

Opposite to the view of advocates, many believe that 'Umar died the late Dhu l-Hijja. Here are their arguments:

  • According to different Shi'a and Sunni historical sources, 'Umar was killed on the last days of Dhu l-Hijja, 23/October, 644. According to these sources, 'Umar was injured on twenty six or twenty seven of Dhu l-Hijja by Abu Lu'lu', the slave of Al-Mughira b. Shu'ba and died three days later on the twenty nineth or according to another report on the thirtieth of Dhu l-Hijja. Among Sunni historians, al-Ya'qubi, al-Tabari and al-Mas'udi and among reliable Shi'a sources, al-Shaykh al-Mufid and Ibn Idris al-Hilli supported this report.[7]
  • According to historical reports, allegiance with 'Uthman, the caliph after 'Umar, was made the late Dhu l-Hijja or the beginning of the month of Muharram and it agrees with the common view.[8]
  • People of Kashan who held the celebration in Rabi' I 9 at the tomb of Abu Lu'lu', primarily held it in Dhu l-Hijja.[9]

Linking Ninth of Rabi' I with 'Umar's Death

Sadiqi Kashani considered it possible that attributing ninth of Rabi' I to the day of 'Umar's death dated back to the time of Shi'a Buyids, when there were sectarian struggles in the form of commemoration of days such as the day of Abu Bakr's companionship with the Prophet (s) in the cave and holding mourning ceremonies for Mus'ab b. Zubayr by Hanbalis as a reaction to holding ceremonies for Eid al-Ghadir and 'Ashura by Shi'a. Alongside these sectarian struggles, Shi'a sought to express happiness on the day of 'Umar's killing, but because it coincided with Muharram and the days of mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) in the last days of Dhu l-Hijja, they held it after Muharram and Safar, in Rabi' I and gradually this assumption that the day of 'Umar's killing was in Rabi' al-Awwal was backed up.[10]

Eid al-Zahra (a) Ceremonies

In Iran and sometimes in Iraq, gatherings were held on 9th of Rabi' I assuming that it was the death anniversary of the Second Caliph and were called "Eid al-Zahra (a)" or "Farhat al-Zahra (a)".

According to Ja'fariyan, based on the studies made, the history of such ceremonies dated back to the time of Buyids and sectarian struggles between Shi'a and Sunnis over it. However, after the 6th/12th century until the emergence of Safavids, this ceremony was held at least in Kashan.[11] Sayyid b. Tawus (d. 664/1266) mentioned the belief of some people about the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) on this day and said that Iranians commemorate this day.[12] However, it seems that he does not agree with that.[13] With the emergence of Safavids and expansion of Shi'a in Iran, Rabi' al-Awwal 9th was recognized as the definite day of 'Umar's death and ceremonies were held on this day.[14] In his book, which was an answer to one of Sunni scholars of Safavids, Qadi Nur Allah Shushtari wrote, "This action was not approved by scholars and is abandoned in our time."[15]

Present Time:

After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, during the leadership of Imam Khomeini, holding such few ceremonies to celebrate the killing of the Second Caliph was banned and Mohtashami pur, the interior minister at that time, seriously reacted to the organizers of those ceremonies. One of the reasons of banning such ceremonies was announced to provoke Shi'a-Sunni disputes and adding fuel to the flames of sectarian turmoil. Using unmannerly language, and sometimes provocative and performing plays which violated common norms of the society were among the reasons for banning those ceremonies. Following the banning of those ceremonies, the tomb attributed to Abu Lu'lu' in Kashan was closed by police in 2007.

Opposition of Marja's

Holding celebrations for the death of 'Umar b. Khattab has always been opposed by many scholars and Marja's. Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita', among the scholars of Najaf banned holding such ceremonies. Ayatullah Khamenei considered doing some actions in the name of pleasing the heart of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), actually the same as pleasing her enemies and regarded it against the goals of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Ayatullah al-Sistani advised that Shi'a should emphasize on the common points and said that paying attention to controversial issues has no basis. To Ayatullah al-Sistani, being the trigger point for division, even as much as saying one word or less is not permissible and the provocative language shall be obligatorily abstained.

About holding gatherings for Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), Ayatullah Mohammad Taqi Bahjat advised to mention the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), especially Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) and explaining hadith al-thaqalayn. According to him, the manner of Ayatullah Burujirdi was the same. Also, about some ceremonies called Eid al-Zahra (a), Ayatullah Bahjat said, "Such actions may lead to bothering, harassment and killing of the Shi'a who are the minorities in other countries and in that case, if one drop of their blood is spilled, we would be the blameworthy or accomplice." Ayatullah Mirza Javad Tabrizi and Ayatullah Safi Gulpayigani too declared that actions which are sins in other days of the year, are forbidden on Rabi' I too and there is no difference between that day and other days.[16]

Hadith of Rufi' al-Qalam

Some contemporary marja's such as Nasir Makarim Shirazi, Safi Gulpayigani and Jawad Tabrizi criticized the chain of transmission of the hadith of Rufi' al-Qalam and its content based on some reasons such as:

  • The hadith known as Rufi' al-Qalam does not exist in authentic sources, thus it is not reliable regarding its chain of transmission.
  • This hadith is against the Book of God and the tradition of the Prophet (s) and is not acceptable. As an example, the hadith of Rufi' al-Qalam is against the verse:

"And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it"[17][18] as well as the hadith of "One does not reach our wilaya but through practice and God-wariness".[19][20]

Thus, committing forbidden actions is a sin in all days and there is no difference in that between Rabi' I 9 and other days. Lifting obligation and not recording sins is only for immature children, the insane and sleeping person.

If at all reliable, the hadith of Rufi' al-Qalam means that if a person unintentionally commits a sin, God will forgive him, not that he deliberately and intentionally commits a sin.[21]

Notes

  1. Mufīd, al-Irshād, p. 510.
  2. Majlisī, Zād al-Maʿād, p. 258.
  3. In the first part of this hadith, it is mentioned that it has been transmitted that Muhammad b. Abi al-'Ala' Hamadani and Yahya b. Muhammad Jurayh Baghdadi said, "One day, we argued about the event of 'Umar b. al-Khattab's killing. Then, we went to Ahmad b. Ishaq al-Qummi who was among the students of Imam al-Hadi (a). We found him occupied with performing the practices of Eid while it was Rabi' I 9. We said, 'Subhan-a Allah! Eids of believers are four: Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Ghadir and Jumu'a. Then, he quoted from Imam al-Hadi (a) and mentioned a day Imam (a) went to his grandfather (a) and saw him performing the practices of Eid and then extensively spoke about the merits of this day that the angels who write the deeds of people, Raqib and 'Atid, stop writing the wrong deeds of people for three days.
  4. Qazwīnī, Baʿḍ mathālib al-nawāṣib, p. 353.
  5. Ḥillī, al-Muḥtaḍar, p. 44.
  6. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 31, p. 119-120.
  7. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 3, p. 278; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 194; Mufīd, Masār al-sharīʿa, p. 42; Ibn Idrīs al-Ḥillī, al-Sarāʾir, vol. 1, p. 419.
  8. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 194; Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī, vol. 2, p. 162.
  9. Āfandī Iṣfahānī, Tuḥfat fīrūzīyya, p. 82.
  10. Ṣādiqī Kāshānī, "Nuhum-i Rabīʿ", p. 44-45.
  11. Jaʿfarīyān, Tārīkh-i tashayyuʿ dar Irān, vol. 3, p. 1037-1039.
  12. Ibn Ṭāwūs, Iqbāl al-aʿmāl, vol. 3, p. 113.
  13. Jaʿfarīyān, Tārīkh-i tashayyuʿ dar Irān, 1390 Sh, p. 835.
  14. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 31, p. 119-120.
  15. Shushtarī, Maṣāʾib al-nawāṣib, vol. 2, p. 242.
  16. Ṣāfī, Jāmiʿ al-aḥkām, vol. 2, p. 128; Tabrīzī, Istiftāʾāt-i jadīd, vol. 2, p. 516.
  17. وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ ﴿٨﴾
  18. Qurʾān, 99:8.
  19. «لا تنال ولایتنا الا بالعمل و الورع»
  20. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Ṣhīʿa, vol. 5, p. 247.
  21. Masāʾilī, Nuhum-i rabīʿ jahālthā wa khisārathā, p. 35, 103, 119.

References

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