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Zayd ibn 'Alī (Arabic: زيد بن علي‎, also spelled Zaid, Zayyed; 695–740) was the son of Ali ibn Husayn, and great-grandson of Ali. He led an unsuccessful revolt against the Umayyad Caliphate, in which he died.[1] The event gave rise to the Zaidiyyah sect of Shia Islam, which holds him as the next imam after Ali ibn Husayn. In contrast, his elder brother, Muhammad al-Baqir, is the next Imam of the Twelver and Ismaili Shias. Nevertheless, he is considered an important revolutionary figure by Shias and a martyr (shaheed) by all schools of Islam, Sunnis[citation needed] and Shias. The calling for revenge for his death and for the brutal display of his body contributed to the Abbasid Revolution.[2]

Zayd ibn Ali

زيد بن علي
Title
  • Zayd ash-Shaheed or Zayd al-Shahid
    (Arabic for Zayd the Martyr)
  • Halif al-Qur'an
    (Arabic for Ally of the Qur'an)
Personal
Born76 AH
695 CE
Died2nd Safar 122 AH
740 CE (aged 44–45)
Resting placeKufa
ReligionIslam
SpouseRayta bint Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
ChildrenHasan, Yahya, Husayn, Isa Mawtamul Ishball, Muhammad
Parents
Other namesKunya: Abu al-Hasan
Senior posting
Period in officeImamate: 28 years
(95 AH – 122 AH)

Zayd was an learned religious scholar. Various works are ascribed to him, including Musnad al Imam Zayd (published by E. Grifinni as Corpus Iuris di Zaid b. ʿAlī, also known as Majmuʿ al-Fiqh), possibly the earliest work of Islamic law. However, the attribution is disputed; these likely represent early Kufan legal tradition.[3][2]

Contents

BirthEdit

Zayd was born in Medina in 695. He was the son of Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin.[4] Ibn Qutaybah in his book "al-Ma'ārif", republished in 1934 in Egypt, writes (at page 73) that one of the wives of the 4th Shia Imam was from Sindh and that she was the mother of Zayd ibn Ali. A similar claim has also been made in the book "Zayd Shaheed" by Abd al-Razzaq al-Hasani, published in Najaf.[5] Zayd ibn Ali's mother Jodha, known by Muslim chroniclers as Jayda al-Sindhi.

Contemporary opinions of Zayd ibn AliEdit

Zayd was a revered and respected member of the Ahl ul Bayt, the family bloodline of the prophet Muhammad. Scholars, Saints, Sufis and Imams alike, all spoke of him in respectful terms.

Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid the writer of the famous Shi'ah book Kitab al Irshad described him as, " ... a devout worshipper, pious, a jurist, God-fearing and brave."[6]

When describing Zayd, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq said: "Among us he was the best read in the Holy Qur'an, and the most knowledgeable about religion, and the most caring towards family and relatives."[7] Hence his title "Ally of the Quran" (Ḥaleef Al-Quran)

Zayd's brother Imam Muhammad al-Baqir spoke of him reverentially, "No one of us was born to resemble 'Ali ibn Abi Taleb more than he did"[8]

Imam Ali ar-Ridha spoke of him respectfully:

..he (Zayd bin Ali) was one of the scholars from the Household of Muhammad and got angry for the sake of the Honorable the Exalted God. He fought with the enemies of God until he got killed in His path. My father Musa ibn Ja'far narrated that he had heard his father Ja'far ibn Muhammad say, "May God bless my uncle Zayd ... He consulted with me about his uprising and I told him, "O my uncle! Do this if you are pleased with being killed and your corpse being hung up from the gallows in the al-Konasa neighborhood." After Zayd left, As-Sadiq said, "Woe be to those who hear his call but do not help him!".

— Imam Ali ar-Ridha[9]

Imam Jafar Sadiq's love for his uncle Zayd ibn Ali was immense. Upon receiving and reading the letter of Zayd ibn Ali's death he broke down and cried uncontrollably, and proclaimed aloud:

From God we are and to Him is our return. I ask God for my reward in this calamity. He was a really good uncle. My uncle was a man for our world and for our Hereafter. I swear by God that my uncle is a martyr just like the martyrs who fought along with God's Prophet (s) or Ali (s) or Al-Hassan (s) or Al-Hussein (s) Uyun Akhbar al-Reza- The Source of Traditions on Imam Ali ar-Ridha[10]

Abu Hanifah once said about Imam Zayd, "I met with Zayd and I never saw in his generation a person more knowledgeable, as quick a thinker, or more eloquent than he was."[11]

The Sufi scholar, Mujtahid and mystic, Sufyan al-Thawri respected Imam Zayd's knowledge and character, saying "Zayd took the place of Imam Al-Hussain. He was the most versed human concerning Allah's holy book. I affirm: women have not given birth to the likes of Zayd ... "[12]

The famous ascetic Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was the then Governor of Madinah during the reign of al-Walid and Suleiman and was also an associate of Zayd ibn Ali. Zayd continued to correspond and advise him when he became khalifah.[13]

It is worth mentioning that he is also the first narrator of the famous as-Sahifah as-Sajjãdiyya of Imam Zainul 'Abidin.

Several works of hadith, theology, and Qur'anic exegesis are attributed to him. The first work of Islamic jurisprudence Mujmu'-al-Fiqh is attributed to him. The only surviving hand-written manuscript of this work dating back to at least a thousand years is preserved in the pope's library, Bibliotheca Vaticana in Vatican City under "Vaticani arabi". Photocopies of this rare work are available in several libraries including the Library of the University of Birmingham, UK. In 2007, Sayyid Nafis Shah al-Husayni obtained a copy of this work and re-issued it from Lahore.

He was an excellent orator and spent much of his life learning and educating others. It is said of his brother Imam Muhammad al-Baqir wanted to test his brother on the Quranic knowledge, asking him various questions for which he received answers beyond his expectation, causing to him to remark, "For our father and mother's life! You are one of a kind. God grace your mother who gave you birth, she gave birth to a replica of your forefathers!"[14]

In hadithEdit

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir narrated:

The Holy Prophet put his sacred hand on Husayn bin Ali's back and said: 'O Husayn, it will not be long until a man will be born among your descendants. He will be called Zaid; he will be killed as a martyr. On the day of resurrection, he and his companions will enter heaven, setting their feet on the necks of the people.[15]

Imam Husayn narrated that the prophet Muhammad prophesied his death:

The Holy Prophet put his sacred hand on my back and said: 'O Husayn, it will not be long until a man will be born among your descendants. He will be called Zaid; he will be killed as a martyr. On the day of resurrection, he and his companions will enter heaven, setting their feet on the necks of the people.'

— Imam al Husayn[16]

DeathEdit

In AH 122 (AD 740), Zayd led an uprising against the Umayyad rule of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in the city of Kufa. Zayd, like his predessors Hussain and Ali was badly let down by many of the city's inhabitants, who had always been disloyal to Muhammad's bloodline. Yusuf ibn Umar al-Thaqafi, the Umayyad governor of Iraq, managed to bribe the inhabitants of Kufa which allowed him to break the insurgence, killing Zayd in the process.[17]

ShrinesEdit

There are two shrines for Zayd, One is in Kafel, Iraq, the other is in Karak, Jordan. The shrine in Jordan is believed to be the final resting place of the head of Zayd ibn 'Ali ibn Al-Husayn.[18]

LegacyEdit

All schools of Islam, Sunnis and Shias, regard Zayd Ibn Ali as a righteous martyr (Shaheed) against what was regarded as the corrupt leadership of an unjust Caliph. It is even reported that Mujtahid Imam Abu Hanifa, founder of the largest school of Sunni jurisprudence, gave financial support to Zayd's revolt and called on others to join Zayd's rebellion. Zayd's rebellion inspired other revolts by members of his clan, especially in the Hejaz, the most famous among these being the revolt of Imam Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya al-Mahdi against the Abbasids in 762.[citation needed]

Zaydis believe that he was a rightful Caliph and their sect is named after him.[citation needed]

It is believed that from him originated the word for Shi'ites, Rafida.[19][20][21]

Early Islam scholarsEdit

DescendantsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Esposito, John L., ed. (2003). "Zayd ibn Ali". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199891207.
  2. ^ a b Madelung, Wilferd (2012). "Zayd b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn". In P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9789004161214.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Katz, Stanley N., ed. (2009). "Islamic Schools of Sacred Law: Shiʿi Schools: The Zaydi School of Law". The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195336511.
  4. ^ Madelung, W. "Zayd b. Alī b. al-Husayn." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. 13 September 2007 [1]
  5. ^ Kararvi, Syed Najmul Hassan. Fourteen Stars (in Urdu). Lahore, Pakistan: Imamia Kutab Khana. pp. 169–170.
  6. ^ Article by Sayyid 'Ali ibn 'Ali Al-Zaidi, التاريخ الصغير عن الشيعة اليمنيين (A short History of the Yemenite Shi'ites, 2005) Referencing: al-Irshad, p. 403
  7. ^ Article by Sayyid 'Ali ibn 'Ali Al-Zaidi, التاريخ الصغير عن الشيعة اليمنيين (A short History of the Yemenite Shi'ites, 2005) Referencing: Religion & Faith
  8. ^ Al-Anwar
  9. ^ UYUN AKHBAR AL-REZA -The Source of Traditions on Imam Reza Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Hussein ibn Musa ibn Babawayh al-Qummi (Sheikh Sadooq), p466
  10. ^ UYUN AKHBAR AL-REZA -The Source of Traditions on Imam Reza Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Hussein ibn Musa ibn Babawayh al-Qummi (Sheikh Sadooq), p. 472
  11. ^ Al-Tuhaf Sharh al-Zulaf, p28
  12. ^ Hidayat al-Raghibeen
  13. ^ Amali al-Murshid bi-Illah al-Ithnyniyah
  14. ^ Narrated by Imam Abu Taleb in al-Amali, p 77 on the authority of Abu Hashem al-Rummani. This was also narrated by Imam al-Mansur billah 'Abdullah ibn Hamzah in al-'Aqd al-Thamin
  15. ^ Alsayd Ibrahim Aldarsee Alhamzee, Preface of Musnad Al-Imam Zaid bin Ali, Referencing:Biography of Imam Zaid bin Ali
  16. ^ Article by Sayyid 'Ali ibn 'Ali Al-Zaidi, التاريخ الصغير عن الشيعة اليمنيين (A short History of the Yemenite Shi'ites, 2005) Referencing: Peshawar Nights by Sultanu'l-Wa'izin Shirazi
  17. ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). "Khārijī and Shī'ī Revolts in Iraq and the East". The End of the Jihād State. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 190–191.
  18. ^ Article by Sayyid 'Ali ibn 'Ali Al-Zaidi, التاريخ الصغير عن الشيعة اليمنيين (A short History of the Yemenite Shi'ites, 2005)
  19. ^ Ismail, Raihan (2016). Saudi Clerics and Shi'a Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780190233310. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  20. ^ Ibn ar-Riwandi's Kitab Fadihat al-Muʻtazilah: analytical study of Ibn ar-Riwandi's method in his criticism of the rational foundation of polemics in Islam. 2010. p. 290.
  21. ^ Hassan, Hassan Ibrahim (1967). Islam: a religious, political, social and economic study. Khayats. p. 153.

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