[3/273] Ghayba of al-Tusi: al-Kulayni from Sa’d from al-Yaqtini from Ali b. al-Hakam and Ali b. al-Hasan b. Nafi from Harun b. Kharija who said: Harun b. Sa’d al-Ijli said to me: Ismail [the son of al-Sadiq] towards whom you were stretching out your necks [i.e. expecting to be the next Imam] is dead, furthermore, Ja’far is an old man, he will die tomorrow or the day after, then you will remain without an Imam! I did not know what to say in reply, so I informed Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about what he [al-Ijli] had said. He [the Imam] said: how far, how far [is al-Ijli’s wish] – by Allah – Allah has refused to allow this matter to stop [Imama to discontinue] until the day and night also stop, so if you see him again say to him: this is Musa b. Ja’far – he will grow up, we will marry him off, and he will have a child as his successor – if Allah wills. Comments
Harun b. Sa’d al-Ijli was the leader of a Zaydi faction called the Ijliyya [See also section 3.50. – 3.51]. The Ijliyya were very similar to Batri Zaydis. They were known for accepting the legitimacy of Abu Bakr and Umar even whilst claiming to prefer Ali. They would consider any descendant of Ali who unsheathes the sword and confronts the corrupt temporal rulers to be an Imam.
Harun participated in the revolts of Zayd b. Ali and Ibrahim b. al-Hasan against the Umayyad and Abbasid regimes respectively. He must have had quite an influence over his followers. The Imam uses a play on words – comparing his tribal affiliation [Ijli] to the golden calf [Ijl] worshiped by the Israelites [See No. 1/271].
Harun had a low opinion of al-Sadiq and his followers because they were queitist and did not participate in armed struggle. He taunts them by prematurely predicting that there will be no successor to al-Sadiq after the death of the elder favourite Ismail [See No. 3/273]. The preoccupation of the Ijliyya with warfare meant that they had no firm grounding in learning. al-Sadiq declares that even the Murjia and Khawarij have some semblance of knowledge, despite being wrong, when compared to the Ijliyya [See No. 2/272].
Below is part of a poem attributed to Harun as quoted by Ibn Qutayba in his Uyun and Ta’wil Ikhtilaf al-Hadith:
ألم تر أن الرافضين تفرقوا فكلهم في جعفر قال منكرا
فطائفة قالت إمام ومنهم طوائف سمته النبي المطهرا
فإن كان يرضى ما يقولون جعفر فإني إلى ربي أفارق جعفرا
ومن عجب لم أقضه جلد جفرهم برئت إلى الرحمن ممن تجفرا
برئت إلى الرحمن من كل رافض بصير بباب الكفر في الدين أعورا
Don’t you see that the Rawafid are divided … For everyone of them has believed about Ja’far something abominable
There is a group which says ‘he is an Imam’ … yet other groups consider him a purified prophet
If it is true that Ja’far agrees with what they say … […]