Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Moulay Idris the First

It is related in a rigorously authenticated tradition that the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) said, “This affair belongs to the Quraish as long as they uphold God’s law. No one will oppose them except that God will humiliate them.”

The four rightly guided Caliphs had passed away, and the matter of the Muslims went into confusion with the conflict between Ali and Mu’awiya. The position of the orthodox is that the Muslim community has a good opinion of both. We believe that both made a judgment seeking the truth, but Ali was in the right. Then Ali was murdered, and the people of Basra pledged allegiance to his son al-Hasan. Mu’awiya set out to Syria to confront al-Hasan’s supporters upon which al-Hasan saw it in the interest of the community, in order to prevent Muslim blood being spilt, that he stand down from competing for the Caliphate. All this was in accordance to al-Hasan’s grandfather’s prophecy, the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace), who declared that he would bring peace between two great parties from amongst the Muslims.

Mu’awiya held the Caliphate and it was past on to his son al-Yazid, who established the Umayyad dynasty after numerous conflicts with the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace).

The majority of the Muslim’s saw that the leadership of the community belonged to the Family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) for many reasons. They were from prophetic blood, thus having a rank over others and were upright and well versed in the laws of the religion. According to the orthodox position it was not necessary that the rule go to the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), but it was most certainly preferable if they fitted the prerequisites for leadership.

From this time on the descendents of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) rebelled against Umayyad rule, demanding their right to leadership.

There is no doubt that the greatest of creation is our Prophet and master Muhammad. Razi related that there is consensus on that.

He had three sons: al-Qasim, (who was born before prophet-hood), Abdullah (who died early whilst the Prophet was still in Mecca), and Ibrahim (who was born in Medina in the year 8 if the Islamic era and lived for eighteen months).

He had four daughters: The first was Zineb, then Umm Kalthum, Fatima and last was Ruqayya. All of them were born by Khadija. All of them accepted Islam and immigrated to Medina with their father. None of them left any children except for Fatima and she was the most virtuous of them. Fatima was the only one to outlive her father. The Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace said regarding her, “Oh my daughter, are you not content that you are the best of womankind?”

Those of divine knowledge regard her as one of the spiritual poles of this world. She never once had a menstrual cycle, so she not once missed a prayer. This is why she was called ‘al-Zahra’ (radiant). Another reason is that she was conceived as a result of the Prophet having eaten an apple from the gardens of Paradise. She was born five years before migration and was named Fatima by God himself. It is related in a prophetic tradition that she was called Fatima because God had distanced her and her children and whoever loves them from the hellfire. She was labeled ‘Batool’ because she cut herself off from the world for the sake of God and this trait passed onto her children.

God chose Ali for her as a husband. She bore al-Hasan, al-Hussein, Muhsin, Zainab and Umm Kalthum. Muhsin died in infancy. Umm Kalthum was married to Umar b. al-Khattab and they had two children together: Zaid and Ruqayya and they did not leave behind them any children. After Umar had passed away, Umm Kalthum married ‘Awn b. Ja’far. On his death, she married his brother Abdullah. She left no children behind her.

Zainab married Abdullah b. Ja’far. She bore him five: Ali, ‘Awn al-Akbar, Abbas, Muhammad and Umm Kalthum. After Abdullah died, she married Kabeer b. Abbas and she bore him no children. None of Zainab’s sons had children except for Ali. His progeny are considered from amongst the Prophet’s family. Descendants of the prophet are not necessarily just from Ali and Fatima. In fact, as long as they can trace their linage back to the sons of Hashim and they accepted Islam, they are considered ‘Sharif’ (descendant of the Prophet). Therefore his uncles Abbas and Hamza and their progeny are all descendants of the Prophet. However, the progeny of Hamza have all passed away. The progeny of Abu Talib’s children are considered from the family of the Prophet too. They are Ali, ‘Aqeel, and Ja’far. The progeny of al-Harith son’s Abu Sufyan and his brothers are considered so too, and the Muslim sons of Abu Lahb ‘Utba and Mu’tib.

Al-Hasan was born in Ramadan three years after the migration to Medina. He was said to be the closest in looks to the Prophet himself, may God bless him and grant him peace, from the head down to his chest the opposite to Hussein. He was well known for his patience, kindness and forgiving nature. It was said that he married over seven hundred women. When his father died, over four thousand pledged allegiances to him from Kufa. He remained the caliph over the Hijaz, Yemen and Khurasan for seven months. Then Mu’awiya set out to fight him. When the two armies met, Hasan looked at them both and said to himself, “Will these all fight one another over the rule of this world? I have no need of this.” He sent a messenger to Mu’awiya and pledged allegiance to him. When Hasan gave up rule of the Muslim community outwardly, God recompensed him with rule over them inwardly. It is said by many that all of the spiritual poles of the times are from his progeny. Abu al-Abbas al-Murci said that he was the first of the spiritual poles of this community.

He was poisoned by one of his family under the instruction of Yazeed in the year 49. He left 11 sons behind him. Only three left children behind them: Hasan, Zaid and Umar. Umar has one son called Muhammad who was a great scholar but he did not leave any children behind.

Hasan al-Muthanna was one of the greatest of the generation after the Companions of the Prophet. He related many prophetic traditions. He passed away in the year 97. He left behind him six sons. The greatest of his children was Abdullah al-Kamil. He was from the fourth generation and lived in Medina. He was asked to take up the Caliphate but refused.

It was not until Abdullah b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna b. al-Hasan al-Sibt b. Ali b. Ibi Talib’s six sons that there was a real constituted effort to reclaim the right to leadership. They were Muhammad, Idris, Yahya, Sulaiman, ‘Isa, Musa and Ibrahim. Umayyad rule was weakening. The family of the Prophet had been waiting for an opportunity to take their rightful place as leaders of the Muslim community. They saw this as the right time. In 131, they gathered in Medina to consult each other as to who should come forward to claim the right. Muhammad, who was labeled ‘the pure soul’ for his piety, was eventually chosen, and the other brothers pledged allegiance to him. Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, the future Abbasid Caliph, was present at the pledging of allegiance and supported Muhammad. However, al-Mansur went back on his oath when his family seized power. al-Saffah ascended the throne and the Muslim community was forced to pledge allegiance to him. al-Mansur then took the title after his brother’s death. Both Malik and Abu Hanifa openly stated that Muhammad had more right to the title and testified to his merit. This led to both imams suffering great affliction for their political stance. Abu Hanifa subsequently withdrew from his judiciary duties.

Al-Mansur’s brother, al-Saffah was not bothered by the Hassanid uprisings, but al-Mansur was more concerned about their claims to leadership. It reached him that the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) and their supporters set out to oppose him. He heard of support for them rising up in Khurasan. In 140, he had grown frustrated by his governors’ lack of heart in arresting the Hassinid members. Muhammad and his brothers were living a time of great adventure and danger. They secretly went around gathering support for their cause. No one would turn them over because people’s hearts were inclined to them. al-Mansur decided to kill two birds with one stone. He made the pilgrimage that year. He found some of the heads of the family, including their father Abdullah, but they refused to reveal the whereabouts of his sons. al-Mansour seized them and took them to Kufa with him where they were thrown into a foul dungeon, treated most brutally and left to die in prison. al-Mansur made the same move in 144. He seized still more of the Hassinid family and brought them back with him. However, Muhammad and his brother Ibrahim had escaped arrest. Ibrahim had already left for Basra and was calling people to his brother’s cause. ‘Isa went to Africa to collect support. Many Berbers were ready to support him. Yahya had been sent to Khurasan. He was to continue the struggle after his brother’s death. Harun Rashid sent forces to extinguish the rebellion there, which later led to a truce. Yahya was convinced to return after Harun Rashid made an oath not to touch him. He was later poisoned and died.

In 144, al-Mansur finally found a man true to his heart in Riyah b. Uthman. He appointed him governor of Medina and he feverously continued the campaign to find Muhammad and his brothers.

Riyah was saved the trouble, though. In 145, Muhammad appeared in Medina and publicly denounced al-Mansur and called the people to pledge allegiance to him. Riyah was taken completely by surprise. Muhammad had the opposition to his call arrested, including Riyah. He refused to have any blood spilled, though. At the time, the people came to Malik to ask him what they should do as they had already pledged allegiance to the Abbasid Caliphate, but they had done so against their will. al-Mansur said they were bound to their pledge, defending his position with a fabricated prophetic tradition that he banned anyone from questioning. When asked about this tradition, Malik did not hesitate to announce its fabrication. The people rushed to pledge their allegiance to Muhammad. Malik was later flogged by al-Mansur for his actions. Malik kept to his house through out the uprising.

Al-Mansur was relieved to know that he finally knew Muhammad’s whereabouts. He sent a garrison of 4,000 men to reason with Muhammad. Muhammad built a trench around Medina just like at the ‘Battle of the Trench’. All the signs pointed to a re-enactment of the ‘Battle of the Trench’. He was advised to give up and flee Medina, but he considered this an insult to the sacred city. Some people in the city became dismayed and refused to fight on hearing the approach of al-Mansur’s troops. This did not perturb him, however. He drew out the sword of his grandfather, the Messenger of God, called the people to fight, and cried out the battle cry of Hussein when he was martyred. The art of single combat was revived and Muhammad killed over seventy men that day alone. However, the forces of al-Mansur easily passed the trench. They placed doors over it and moved into the city. Muhammad’s forces were weakened and he new the battle was lost. He pulled out of the battle and joined Dhuhr and ‘Asr and burned the record of those who had pled allegiance to him, so that their names would not be discovered. Then he proceeded to wash himself to prepare his body for burial. After, he went to the prisons where he had held those who had opposed him and killed them. Finally, he headed back into battle and was martyred at Ahjaar al-Zait. His head was decapitated from his body and carried to al-Mansur. His brother Ibrahim kept up the resistance in Basra but was later to fail as well. All this was prophesized by the Prophet, “A pure soul from my progeny will be killed at Ahjaar al-Zait.”

The brothers had opened their campaign far too early. They had also underestimated the hesitancy of a lot of the Muslim community. Musa, who was sent to Syria, was rejected; the people were afraid and wanted to see the result of the conflict in Medina before they made any allegiances to Muhammad. It was a time of political and social instability. People were not spiritually ready to support an uprising against the Abbasids.

Later there was another attempt to overthrow Abbasid power in 169/786 on the eighth of Dhu al-Hijja. The descendent of al-Husain Ali b. Hasan b. al-Husain b. al-Husain b. Ali b. Abi Talib called people to follow him. Idris and Sulaiman pledged allegiance to him. They fought a battle called ‘the Battle of the Trap (Fakhkh)’ 5 miles outside of Mecca, but were defeated. The survivors sneaked into the ranks of the pilgrims and escaped. They went into hiding, including his two brothers Idris and Sulaiman. After they had recovered from their wounds, Sulaiman fled to Sudan and Idris, accompanied by his freedman Raashid al-Awarbi (who was said to be a Berber from the valley of Zarhoun), moved onto to Egypt, heading for the Maghrib.

On their arrival to Egypt they hid themselves fearing danger. Wadih, the slave of Salih b. Mansour, was responsible for communications and export in Egypt. Wadih had affections for the efforts of the family of the Prophet. He found out their place of hiding, and advised them to leave immediately as Musa al-Hadi, the brother of Harun Rashid and who reined before him, was trying to track him down. Later, when Musa al-Hadi found out that he was allowed to get away, he had Wadih crucified and killed.

There is another relation that the two of them were walking the streets of Cairo whereupon they came across a beautiful building. The owner of the house came out and greeted them. He noticed that they were strangers. He asked where they were from and when they told him they were for Arabian Peninsula, he realized they must have fled from the Battle of the Trap and that they were Hasanids. He agreed to help them. He hid them in his house. It soon reached the governor of Cairo at this time, ‘Ali b. Sulaiman, that this man was hosting strangers in his house. He told the man to send these men to him because the Caliph has asked that all strangers be identified, as there are renegade Hasanids on the run. The governor told them to flee for he did not want the blood of the family of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, on his hands. He gave them three days to leave. The man of the house bought them steeds and gave them provision for the road. The man went with Idris on a more obscure path and told Raashid to take main road. Raashid went out with the merchants and the Wadih went with Idris until they met up later on. The man wished them well gave them more provisions and left back for Cairo.

Idris and Rashid moved on towards Qairawan. Throughout the journey, the two men exchanged clothing, so that people they passed would not suspect Idris to be anyone of importance and Raashid acted as if he was his superior. They moved onto Tilimsan and then moved on up to Tangiers and finally stopped in Walili, where they met Ishaq or Abd al-Majeed b. Muhammad b. Abd al-Hameed al-Awarbi (al-Awrabi) al-Mu’tazali in the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal 172.

The Ummayads ruled Spain at the time under the rule of Abd al-Rahman, but their rule did not extend to Morocco. They continued to rule Spain for 150 years, and the majority of the ruling class was Syrian. Berbers inhabited Morocco. ‘Uqba b. Nafi’ had reached Tangiers in 67/682, spreading Islam to the South of Morocco. The majority of them had converted en masse, but had been left to themselves and rebelled against any Abbasid attempts to control them. However, a lot of Morocco was still non-Muslim.

When Idris arrived in Zerhoun, there was a lot of political instability. Ishaq announced Idris’ presence to the tribes and the major tribes pledged allegiance to him on Friday the 4th of Ramadan. Idris assembled an army to combat the local rebel Berber tribes who were mostly Jewish and Christian. They were soon defeated and most of them converted to Islam. He took rest for a time and then headed out to conquer more of the surrounding tribes. They either became Muslim or were taken prisoner and some were killed. The battles stopped in 173/788 when Idris made a visit to Tilimsan. The people there pledged allegiance to him and a mosque was built. His name was carved into the pulpit there.

It soon reached Haroon Rasheed that Idris’ influence and popularity were spreading east. He feared that he would conquer the whole of Africa. He sent a cunning assassin named Shumakh b. Sulaiman b. Jarir to take care of him. Haroon Rasheed had promised him great riches if he could carry out this task. Shumakh was sent to Ibrahim b. al-Aghlab in Tunisia where he was allowed protected passage into Morocco. Shumakh entered the court of Idris acting as if he had fled from Arabia. Any Arab that came fleeing from the Abbasids was protected and honored by Idris at the time. Idris found Shumakh to be well educated and eloquent. Shumakh would compose magnificent poetry in praise of the Prophet’s family whilst calling the Berbers to Idris’ cause. Idris was so impressed with him that he made him one of his closest men. However, Raashid did not trust Shumakh. He was very careful not to leave Shumakh alone with Idris.

One day Raashid was held up somewhere. Shumack took his opportunity. He presented Idris with a gift of perfume. “This is a bottle of the finest perfume that I have with me, but I see that you are more deserving of it than I.” Idris thanked him and opened the bottle. He took one sniff and he fell to the ground. It was a deadly poison. Shumakh moved quickly to the stables and took his horse that he had been preparing for his escape. He mounted him and rushed back east. When Raashid came back, he found his master on the floor. He bent down and placed Idris’ head on his lap. Idris was opening his mouth to tell him something, but he could not speak. He stayed in this state until the afternoon and finally passed away. Raashid soon heard of Shumakh’s presence on the road east. Rashid set out to catch him with a band of Berbers. He soon caught up with him and was able to injure him, but Shumakh managed to escape and reach Baghdad. It was said he returned to Baghdad with one of his hands paralyzed.

Idris died in Rabee’ al-Thani 175/790 or 177/793; he left behind a Berber slave girl, Kenza, 7 months pregnant with his heir. Raashid prepared the body of his companion and buried him in the gravesite where the Berber leaders were buried. Raashid advised they wait to see if Kenza would bear a boy. “If it is a boy, we will raise him to the best of our ability until he reaches the age of manhood. Then we will bear allegiance to him out of respect for the progeny of the Messenger of God, and if it is a girl, then look amongst yourselves for a leader.” The Berber chiefs agreed and placed Raashid as temporary leader. The child was born three months after Idris’ death.


1 comment:

amgfsd said...


Jazak Allah Khair

Brother can you provide with any reference for this blog; I knew most of this information but some of it was totally new


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