We have earlier mentioned about these Sayed Brothers while profiling the life of Sheik Mufeed. During the Ghaibat e Sughra the most prominent cleric was Mohammed ibne Yaqub Kulaini. Then came Sheik Sadooq who was born in 306 or 307 H as an answer to the prayer of the Imam (a.s). In 383 H commenced the period of Sheik Mufeed in Baghdad which was the most prominent center for Islamic Studies, and most importantly for the Shia Islam. On the expiry of Sheik Mufeed the pontificate of the Shias came into the hands of Sayed Murtada who was the Shiek’s ablest disciple.
The given name of Sayed Murtada was Ali ibne Hussain ibne Moosa ibne Ibrahim. His mother’s name was Fatima binte Hussain. Syed Murtada was a scion of Sayeds through both his parents. Therefore all the books of jurisprudence and history prominently refer to him as Sayed. He was fifth down the line of the progeny of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s). His great grand father, Ibrahim, was one of the best known sons of the Seventh Imam (a.s). His mother descended from the Fourth Imam, Imam Zain al Abedeen (a.s). She is from the progeny of the Fourth Imam’s son Omer Ashraf. The Kunyat of Sayed Murtada was Abul Ism. His most popular title is Sayed Murtada. His other, lesser known titles are Zill e Najdain, Ilm al Huda and Abu Tamali. Sayed Murtada was born in the city of Baghdad on 25 Rabi al Awwal in the year 355 H and died in 436 H at the age of 80 years and some months.
At first he was interred in the compound of his own house and after some time his remains were shifted to the mausoleum of his ancestor, the Seventh Imam (a.s), Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s) and ultimately to Karbala where his father and Sayed Radi too had found his last resting place.
The most prominent mentors of Sayed Murtada were Sheik Mufeed and Hussain Sadooq, who was a brother of Sheik Sadooq. He too was born on the Imam e Zamana (a.s) giving the good tiding of two sons to his father as a response to the petition sent to the Imam (a.s) through Hussain Ibne Rooh. The most prominent disciples of Sayed Murtada were Sheik Najashi and Sheik Abu Jafar Toosi. Sheik Najashi had the privilege of giving the funeral bath and the shroud to Sayed Murtada along with Abu Ali and Salah ibne Abd al Aziz. The writings of Sayed Murtada, although not mentioned prominently in the books of history, there are references that he had authored innumerable books of which the well known are Kitab e Shaafi, Kitab al Harar wa Qarar, Kitab e Zakhira, Kitab Taureeh al Anbia ( a translation of which is available in the Urdu language). He also wrote a book of poetry, Baazar e Majooj, which is in praise of the Progeny of Mohammed (s.a) and elegies on the Tragedy of Karbala. This book contains about 20,000 couplets. The researchers haven’t so far been able to decide upon the exact number of couplets in the book.
We find two notable persons amongst the kin of Sayed Murtada. One is Sayed Murtada’s daughter who narrated many traditions of the Infallibles through the reference of his younger brother. Many clerics have quoted these traditions in their works. She was a scholar of high repute. The other notable person was his younger brother, Sayed Radi, who was four years younger than him. He was born in the year 359 H. But in the prime of youth he died at the age of 47 years in 406 H. When you read about these great personages, you will get an idea as to the circumstances under which they served the Faith to the best of their capabilities.We owe a lot to them that we are in a position to call ourselves the followers of the Progeny of Mohammed (s.a). In these times, despite all the efforts to promote the True Faith, the people aren’t very willing to accept the leadership of the eminent clerics. Those days, despite insurmountable hardships, the history manifests to us that every follower of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) was totally dedicated to the learned clerics. Therefore, Sayed Murtada was the undisputed leader of the Momineen of Baghdad. People from different places used to converge to Baghdad to seek answers to their questions and to resolve their problems. A book has been published categorizing the questions asked by people of different places, viz., Egypt, Qum, Baghdad etc.
Now we shall look at the main achievements of Sayed Murtada and shall get a bird’s eye view of the times in which this great scholar lived. The city of Baghdad was the center of Shia society since the times of the 9th Imam (a.s). When the tyrannical rulers forced the 10th and 11th Imams (a.s) to migrate from there to Samarra, they left behind their deputy in the city of Baghdad. During the Ghaibat e Sughra, the four Naibs ( Deputies) of the Imam (a.s) lived in the city. He established the center for Shia Learning in the same city.and it remained there till the times of Sheik Abu Jafar Toosi who was the Shia Pontiff after Sayed Murtada. During his period, at the end of the 4th Century H and the beginning of the 5th Century, there was violent riot between the Shias and Sunnis of Baghdad. In this riot, the entire neighborhood of Kharq was burned and razed to ground. Thus Sheik Toosi had to shift his base to Najaf e Ashraf. One very important fact we find in the history is that Sayed Murtada was the most affluent person of his times. There is a false notion in the minds of people that a man of religion must live in abject penury that he must live in a dilapidated abode and he shouldn’t follow any avocation of economic gain! Even if he is endowed by Allah with bounties, they expect him to appear before the people in poor attire to attract praise of his audience for being humble! But Sayed Murtada was different. He was amongst the most affluent of the city of Baghdad. It is recorded in chronicles that from Baghdad to Makkah there wasn’t any place where he didn’t have properties and assets. While on his Haj pilgrimages, Sayed Murtada would distribute charity all along the way. Therefore it is recorded that he gave charity of 9,000 Dinars to each person as Sadaqa during one of his journeys. Sayed Murtada had established his centers of trade and commerce in all important places in the Islamic Realm. This was the time when arose the question of providing state protection to the Shia community, it was Sayed Murtada who came forward and made efforts in the direction. But the people of the faith weren’t able to support this cause. It is recorded in the history that when Qadr Billah was the caliph, the Muslims were divided in many sects because the door of Ijtehad was kept open. It reached such a pass that every individual assumed that he was a Mujtahid and started pronouncing edicts (Fatwa). One innovation was added to the Shariah that one should act according to his own intuition and whatever appealed to him should be deemed as Allah’s Wish! Till the times of the Infallibles (a.s) only Qiyas (Conjecture), was in vogue. But now people started practicing Istehsaan, that is, one must go ahead with the thing that appealed to his mind as Allah’s Wish. Thus there rose a spate of Mujtahids who neither had sufficient knowledge of the Quran nor of Hadit. This state of affairs created worry in the mind of the ruler of the day. He thought that if things drifted in that manner the very faith would be in jeopardy. He worried that when there wouldn’t be left any Muslims, how would he rule and keep the society together. Therefore he consulted his viziers and announced that any person or a school of Fiqh who donated a certain amount of Dinars, they would be authorized to issue Fatwa. Therefore the four schools of Fiqh--- Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafaee and Maliki paid the prescribed fee and obtained the royal permission for carrying out their missionary work that they could propagate their creed and enhance their numbers. All others were banned from issuing edicts (Fatwa). Sayed Murtada was the leader of the Jaafari or Imami School of Fiqh those days. When he heard of the announcement he thought it was the best opportunity to come out of the Taqayya (Dissimulation) and the Shias would get the legitimate state protection. Therefore he personally went to the presence of the ruler and settled the matter. One narration says that the ruler demanded 200,000 Dinars for granting permission. Another narration was that he wanted to take 100,000 Dinars. Sayed Murtada returned from the ruler, gathered whatever personal funds he could organize and then appealed to people of the Faith to raise the difference telling them that from that day they would have protection and peace. One narrative is that the Sayed contributed 100,000 Dinars and raised the balance from others. There is another narration that the ruler wanted 100,000 Dinars out of which Sayed Murtada gave 80,000 Dinars and asked others to contribute the difference. We don’t know what straits the people were in that they weren’t able to contribute the money. Thus this opportunity came their way and they missed it. One can well imagine the affluence of Sayed Murtada from this episode. Despite all the wealth, Sayed Murtada’s piety and dedication to the Faith was unshakeable. His learning was of the highest order. If one swears that his knowledge of the Arabic language was more than that of others, he would be highly justified in the claim. Sheik Abbas Qummi has written about one of his books, Kitab al Harar wal Qarar, that the Sunni scholars haven’t praised any book by a Shia scholar as much as they have praised this book. Of all the lines of progeny emanating from the 7th Imam (a.s), the most respected and noble was that of Sayed Murtada. This was the personage about whom Khaja Naseeruddin Toosi , whenever he addressed his students, in particular invoked Allah’s Blessings on him (Salawat Allah alaiha).
We have already mentioned about the incident when Sheik Mufeed saw Hazrat Fatima Zehra and Hasnain (a.s) in his dream when she asked him to instruct her two small sons in Fiqh. Next morning, Fatima binte Hussain, the spouse of the Naqeeb (Herald) of Islam of the time holding the fingers of her two little sons and uttered only one sentence, Ilm huma al Fiqh, teach them Fiqh! As he heard these words Sheik Mufeed’s eyes watered. Fatima binte Hussain, who descended from the 4th Imam (a.s), asked in surprise, “Why are you crying? I have requested you to instruct my sons on Fiqh and your eyes have watered.” The Sheik only said, “I had seen a dream last night!” and then he recounted his dream. He had realized that on the two children the attention of Hazrat Fatima Zehra (a.s) was focused. Sheik Mufeed took the little children under his tutelage and instructed them with such dedication that Sayed Murtada and Sayed Radi achieved great heights in learning. Sayed Radi in his short life of 47 years compiled the monumental work of the sermons and sayings of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) under the name and title of Nahj al Balagha--- The Peak of Eloquence. This book has engaged the attention of the researchers and students for centuries. The book has been given the sobriquet of Akhu al Koran or the Brother of the Quran. Some detractors have observed that Syed Radi had himself written the contents of the compilation and had said that it was the work of Hazrat Ali (a.s). Although one would read a befitting reply to this contention in the preface of every translation of Nahj al Balagha, but I might only say here that the guage of the learning of Sayed Radi is that he worked to collect and compile the sayings and the sermons of Amir al Momineen (a.s). How great will be the caliber of learning of Sayed Radi that the scholars were attributing the highly eloquent writing to him! Syed Radi had penned another book and the style is entirely different from the contents of Nahj al Balagha. This proves that the contentions of the detractors were absolutely wrong.
When more events in his life come in view, we learn about the august status that he had achieved. One of his titles is Ilm al Huda, which means, The Knowledge of Guidance. History points out one incidence as to why he was endowed with this title. In the year 419 or 420 H the Abbasid Caliph Qadir Billah’s prime minister fell seriously ill. Treatment by the best physicians of the realm was of no avail. His health deteriorated day by day. This person, although a very important functionary at the Caliph’s court, was an ardent follower and admirer of the Prophet (s.a)’s Progeny. One night during the illness, he was very uneasy and listless and he dreamt that Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s) came and said, “If you want a cure for your illness, you must approach my son, Ilm al Huda and ask him to pray to Allah for you.” The Abbasi Caliph’s prime minister was surprised and asked Hazrat Ali (a.s) in his dream, “O Ameer al Momineen! Who is this Ilm al Huda?” Hazrat Ali (a.s) replied, “He is my son Ali ibn al Hussain Moosavi!” This was the given name of Sayed Murtada. This was a very well known name those days. The minister awoke from his dream and immediately wrote a letter to Sayed Murtada addressing him as Ilm al Huda and requested him to pray to Allah to restore him to health.When the letter reached Sayed Murtada he was surprised and rather worried.that he was being addressed as Ilm al Huda! He felt that it could be a befitting title for the Infallible. He immediately responded to the minister’s letter asking him why he took the liberty of addressing him with the august title ? He wrote that it would be tantamount to belittling of Islam and that he didn’t like it! The prime minister immediately replied writing in detail about his dream and said that the title of Ilm al Huda wasn’t given by him. This title had been given to him by his forbear. The minister pleaded with him to offer prayer for his recovery. Sayed Murtada thus prayed to Allah for the recovery of the prime minister. He recuperated very soon and presented himself at the court of Qadir Billah. In surprise the caliph asked him how he had made such a speedy recovery from his illness. The prime minister explained in detail about his dream and what happened thereafter. The caliph issued orders that Sayed Murtada, from that day, be addressed with the title of Ilm al Huda because Hazrat Ali (a.s) had endowed him with the title. Then on Sayed Murtada was popularly addressed with this title.No doubt he was a great scholar, a jurist and was from the ranks of the Mujaddads. Sometimes he is found on the roster of erudite scholars in the Jazira e Khizra---the Green Island---and at other time Hazrat Fatima (a.s) comes recommending him to be instructed by Sheik Mufeed in the matters of Fiqh and then Maula (a.s) gives him the title of Ilm al Huda!
Once some differences sprang up between the mentor and the disciple, Sheik Mufeed and Sayed Murtada. It is a very well known incident about the saddle of the steed of Sayed Murtada that I related to you while discussing about Sheik Mufeed. The matter was referred to Maula Ali (a.s) and his verdict was in these words communicated to Sheik Mufeed:“Anta Sheiki wa motamadi wal haq waladi Ilm al Huda” “You are the Sheik and the secretary but the truth is with my son Ilm al Huda.”.
Hazrat Ali (a.s) expressed his total confidence in Sheik Mufeed and at the same time stressed that Ilm al Huda was right in that instance. This incident goes to prove that, however trivial the matter, two Mujtaheds might differ in their interpretation. Even in our times, Ayatollah Qooee has given Fatwa that one witness is sufficient to establish the Najasat (Uncleanness) of an object.
Both the brothers, Sayed Murtada and Sayed Radi, were great scholars and clerics. It would certainly be of interest to narrate an incident when they too disagreed with one other. The chronichler of the Abbasid Caliph’s prime minister records that once when he was in attendance at the prime minister’s chambers, the janitor was alert at the entrance and the errand boy entered the chambers and said, “Sayed Murtada has come for an audience.” The prime minister ordered him to beckon the Sayed. Sayed Murtada entered the chamber and the prime minister rose in reverence to receive him and gave him a seat next to himself. They got busy conversing. After a while Sayed Murtada took leave and departed. After the lapse of some time the usher again entered the chambers and informed that Sayed Radi wanted an audition. Surprised, the prime minister rose from his seat and went briskly towards the door and welcomed Sayed Radi with due respect. He seated him near himself and kept listening to him with rapt attention as long as he remained there. When Sayed Radi prepared to depart, the prime minister walked with him upto the door to bid him farewell. When the prime minister returned back to his seat, the chronicler asked him, “Sayed Murtada is the elder of the two brothers and is also more erudite. But you received him from near your seat and sent him away from there only. But to Sayed Radi, the younger and less erudite of the two, you have given a different reception? What is the reason for this? “The prime minister replied, “I hold both the brothers in great respect but Sayed Radi’s character I admire the most!” The chronichler again asked him, “What difference you have noticed between the two brothers?” He replied, “Once a canal was to be excavated towards the Baghdad city. The work was in progress and it had to pass through their land that was valued at 16 Dirhams..Sayed Murtada wrote to me requesting excavating the canal in such a way that it didn’t affect his holding in any way. According to Shariah his request was legitimate and was made in a friendly manner.” The prime minister further told to the chronicler, “A similar incident happened with Sayed Radi. He was blessed with a child. I sent to him 1,000 Dinars as a gift. It is well known that he never accepted gifts from any one. He went to the extent of not accepting any gift from his own father. He returned back my gift along with a message from him that it was his principle not to accept gifts from any person. I sent back the 1,000 Dinars saying that it wasn’t a gift for him but was for the newborn and that his affair didn’t concern him! The gift was again returned saying that his son, like himself, doesn’t receive gifts from others! I sent back the money to Sayed Radi saying that the money was for the midwife who helped the delivery of the baby. Sayed Radi sent back the money once again saying that in his family no midvives are called and the delivery is attended to by the old ladies of the family and that in his family, no member, male or female, accepts any gifts! I sent back the money a fourth time saying that I was sending it for the benefit of the Sayed’s students who pursue their studies in some penury. His students didn’t accept the largesse. Only one student picked up a dinar, cut a small piece from it, put it in his pocket and then restored the other piece to the pouch. Sayed Radi asked the student as to why he took a small piece from the Dinar. The student replied that while he was studying the previous night, the oil in the wick of the lamp was exhausted and he didn’t have any money to buy some oil and the treasury of the school wasn’t open in the night and the key was with the Sayed. He said that he went to the bazaar and obtained some oil on loan from the shopkeeper and continued with his studies. He said that he would go back to the shop and clear his loan from the small portion of the Dinar that he had taken from the money.” The chronichler further adds that the prime minister respected both the brothers but had said that Sayed Murtada was concerned about his land worth 16 Dirhams and Sayed Radi returned back a gift of 1,000 Dinars! Sayed Radi had constructed hostels for his students and also a treasury for maintaining funds for defraying the expenses of the school. After the narrated incident, he got duplicate keys made of the treasury and gave one to each student that they could draw money if they had any urgent requirement!
Sayed Radi was a person of great principles but he had a very good sense of humor. Some interesting incidents are recorded in the history about him. The same Abbasid Caliph, Qadir Billah, was once giving a sermon from the pulpit of the misque as was the custom those days! Sayed Radi was seated on the floor of the mosque. The caliph had a doubt in his mind that Sayed Radi himself had a desire to become the caliph. Sayed Radi was sitting there with unconcern, bordering on disdain, for the sermon delivered by the caliph. He was twisting the hair of his beard and bringing a tuft close to his nose time and again. The caliph noticed this from the pulpit and said in jest, “Are you trying to smell the fragrance of the caliphate in your beard!” Sayed Radi instantly replied, “Nay! I am getting the fragrance of Nubuwat (Prophethood) in my beard because I am the progeny of the Prophet (s.a)!” Sayed Radi therefore was a person with a keen sense of humor!
Now, we revert back to Sayed Murtada. He once had a difference of opinion with his younger brother, Sayed Radi. Sayed Murtada was standing in prayer in the front and his brother was at the back. While the prayer progressed, he reached the state of Genuflection (Ruku). When the congregation rose from the genuflection, it was noticed that Sayed Radi was falling behind the congregation. It appeared that he was offering individual (Furada) prayer with that congregation. When the prayer was over, both the brothers proceeded towards their home. When they entered the house, Sayed Murtada complained to his mother that Sayed Radi ignored offering the prayer in congregation behind him and preferred to offer the Furada Prayer. Both the brothers were from a family steeped in the matters of Fiqh.The mother asked Sayed Radi the reason for making his prayer Furada. Sayed Radi said, “When my brother went into genuflection, his mind was occupied with certain matters of Fiqh like the treatment of the periods of menstruation etc. When I noticed my brother’s mind getting absorbed in such matters, I made intent for the Furada Prayer and went ahead with it!” Sayed Murtada said, “If I prevaricated with other matters in my mind while praying, you too indulged in thinking about what I had in my mind! You too wasn’t totally committed to the prayer. Both of us didn’t have our total attention towards offering the prayer to Allah!” Sayed Radi accepted his mistake. This proves the state of the brothers’ spiritual status that they had the faculty of reading the minds! Having descended from the lineage of the Infallibles (a.s), they manifested such acts that it bordered on being miraculous. One incident of Sayed Murtada has been recorded in the history. Sayed Murtada used to reside in the old neighborhood of Baghdad those days. The city was expanding by leaps and bounds. On the other side of the river the New Baghdad was fast developing. There was a bridge over the river Dajla that used to be opened in the mornings and closed for the public in the evenings. Sayed Murtada used to run his classes in the mosque of the neighborhood of Karb in old Baghdad. One of his disciples was a resident of New Baghdad. He used to come to the school daily, but he was arriving late when generally the day’s lesson would have reached its conclusion or was more than half way through. The student was very worried about this and approached Sayed Murtada to seek his guidance and help. He explained to the Sayed that he had to tarry at the other side of the river for the bridge to open for the travelers. This invariably made him late for the classes every day. He requested Sayed Murtada to find a solution for his problem. Sayed Murtada wrote something on a piece of paper and told his disciple that he was writing a supplication. He folded the paper and asked the student to keep with him whenever he attempted to come across the river. But he warned the boy not to open the folds of the paper and try to see the contents. The student happily went home. The next morning he reached the river bank, the bridge wasn’t opened yet for people to cross the river. He put his feet in the waters of the river, even his footwear didn’t get wet and he comfortably walked across to the other bank comfortably as if he was walking on the dry land. Now it became his daily routine to walk across the river to attend his school. One day it came into his inquisitive mind to find out what was written by his mentor on that piece of paper. He thought that if he learned about the supplication written on the paper, he might be able to help others as well. He opened the paper and found that only these words were written on it: “Bismillah hir Rehman ir Rahim”“In the name of Allah the Beneficient the Merciful”
He thought for a while that only Bismillah is scribbled on the paper that it caused the miraculous results. The next morning he folded the paper back and as soon as he put his foot in the water he felt that he was about to drown. Worrying, he withdrew his foot from the water and when he reached the school he sat quietly in the class without uttering a word to Sayed Murtada. But Sayed Murtada told him, “You have gone against my instruction. The supplication will not benefit you any more! Imagine what a great personage was Sayed Murtada that such miraculous manifestations happened because of him!
Another incident about Sayed Murtada is recorded in the books of history. The author of Qasas al Ulema writes that the mausoleum of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) was under construction and the decoration with gold and silver was in progress. This caused a spurt in the people visiting the shrine. One day a Faqir reached Najaf e Ashraf and when he entered the room where the Imam (a.s)’s sarcophagus is located, he noticed that four chandeliers made of gold and silver were hanging from the roof over the four corners of the sarcophagus. It isn’t known who this Faqir was and from where. But he went close to the sarcophagus and said, “O Amir al Momineen (a.s)! Over your sarcophagus chandeliers of gold and silver are hanging! These things are of no use for you! Bestow on me one of the chandeliers that I sell it and live happily ever after!” While the Faqir was making this petition standing near the sarcophagus, one of the chandeliers dropped near his feet on the floor. He advanced forward to pick it. But the attendants at the mausoleum snatched it from his hands and once again attached it at the designated place on the roof. The Faqir went away. The next morning he again came to the mausoleum and repeated the petition as he did the previous morning. The chandelier again fell near his feet and the attendants restored it to its place. The third day too the same thing happened. The attendants were surprised and confused with what was happening repeatedly. Those were the days when the people were well aware of the principles of the Faith and never made their decisions acceding only to conjecture. They approached the most erudite person of those days, Sayed Murtada to seek a solution. They took the Faqir to him and recounted the entire episode. Sayed Murtada said, “Don’t give him anything! The things inside the mausoleum are kept there in trust. He asked them to keep the chandelier in its place and deny the man of what he wanted!” Thus the Faqir went out. That day too Sayed Murtada, as usual, was suggesting solutions of the problems of innumerable persons. The event that we are discussing slipped entirely off his mind. He slept in the night and saw Syeda Fatima Zehra (a.s) in his dream. She told him, “The Dervish (the Faqir) is an ardent admirer of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). What he was getting was a gift from us! Now it is your duty to give him the gift and asuuage his feelings! Otherwise we shall not be pleased with you!” At this point Sayed Murtada awoke from his dream. It is recorded in the history that the Faqir was asleep at that time at his place. The Faqir, who too was a Sayed, saw Hazrat Fatima Zehra (a.s) in his dream when she said, “You are an admirer of
Al e Mohammed (s.a) and therefore the chandelier has been gifted to you by us. Tomorrow my son, Sayed Murtada, will come to you and he will try to appease you. Whatever you want to ask for, you must! He will agree to all your demands.Then only you must reconcile with him!” The Faqir demanded for a very big amount. Sayed Murtada was the most affluent person of the time. The Sixth Imam (a.s) had said about the Sayed to Ishaq ibne Ammar that sometimes Allah endows both piety and riches on the same person in abundant measure and, added. , that Sayed Murtada was such a person! Therefore Sayed Murtada instantaneously complied with his demands. Then the Faqir said, “O person! The lady who came in your dream came in my dream as well! She had ordered me to reconcile with you! I am now pleased with you!” One can well imagine from this incident that elevated position of the Mujtahids and the visions they were getting of the Infallibles (a.s) to help them resolve the intricate problems they face in the discharge of their duties! Even to this day the Mujtahids are carrying forward their duties and studies with the same dedication!
Thus, Sayed Murtada and Sayed Radi were not only on the roster of the Mujtahids of their time but they were the Naqeeb e Abi Talib (the Chroniclers of Abi Talib) and the Emirs of Haj and Ziarat! Naqeeb was a position awarded by the Abbasid Caliph those days and the duty of such personages was to ensure keeping and conserving the lineage of the Sayeds. They had to ensure preventing persons falsely claiming that they were Sayeds. Sayeds were required to remember their genealogical descent. The duty of the Naqeeb e Abu Talib was to ensure this. The father of the two Sayeds was appointed the Naqeeb. After him the mantle fell on the two brothers. After the expiry of Sayed Radi, Sayed Murtada continued to be the Naqeeb till 25 Rabi Awwal 436 H when he breathed his last at the age of 80 years. Another title of Sayed Murtada is Abu Tamaneen or Tamanini which means one who lived for 80 years. It is said that Sayed Murtada had written, read or heard others read a total of 80,000 books. Whatever he left behind as a legacy also count to 80. He left 80 houses, 80 heads of animals, 80 slave girls. He was given the ritual funeral bath by Sheik Najashi, Abu Ali and Salah ibne abd al Aziz. Sayed Murtada’s son led the funeral prayer and consigned him to his grave within the compound of his own house. Later on the remains were interred at Kazimain and finally to Karbala where his father and his brother, Sayed Radi were interred.
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From the BOOK by PET on Syed Murtadha
BIOGRAPHY OF JANAB SYED MURTAZA ALEM-UL-HODA
His pious name is Ali Ibne Husain Ibne Moosa Ibne Ibrahim bin Imam Moosa-al-Kazim (A.S.). Abul Qasim was his title. Murtaza Alem-ul Hoda zul Majdain and Abu Samaneen were his surnames. His mother was Fatima, the daughter of Husain bin Ahmed bin Hasan bin Naser-e-Aasam, and that Abu Mohammad Hasan bin Ali bin Umar Asaraf bin Ali ibnul Husain Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (A.S.). In his times there arose a great dispute in the Sunni School of thought. There were different views, and everybody wanted to follow the religion as he wanted. Finally they all decided to divide the Sunni into four classes. At that time Syed Murtaza asked them to accept five divisions the fifth one being the Shias i.e. (1) Jaffari (Shias) (2) Shafai (3) Hambali (4) Maliki (5) Hanafi. By getting Shias recognised as the fifth group he meant to avoid all disputes arising between the Shias and the Sunnis. The Sultan said, “We accept the fifth division as you say but on one condition that you give us two lac Tumans”. Syed Murtaza said, “I can give you one lac tumans from my own collections”. The Sultan disagreed. The other Shias either did not have so much wealth or were not ready to give the money or there may have been very few Shias; anyway the proposal of Syed Murtaza could not be carried any further. The compiler regrets to say that people used to refrain from giving funds generously in such tasks of religion. Even today there are such people and so we should not be surprised at them. If all the rich people collectively help religious organisations for the welfare of Islam then the religion will spread to limitless boundaries. They should help to construct mosques and schools so that maximum people are taught the basic principles of Islam and get maximum knowledge so that they would not quarrel and create problems because of their ignorance and childish nature. They should be faithful and obedient to the kings or Sultans in whose lands they are living. In Ahadith we find a command saying, “If you want that your king should not tyrannise you but be just to you then refrain from disobeying Almighty and avoid doing wrong deeds”. There are many wonder acts of Syed Murtaza.
WONDER ACT No. 1 It has already been described during Sheikh Mufeed’s account that Hazrat Fatema-tuz-Zehra (S.A.) came to Sheikh Mufeed with the two Imams, Hasan (A.S.) and Husain (A.S.), and asked him to teach them. The next morning the mother of Syed Murtaza and Syed Razi brought her two sons and asked Sheikh Mufeed to teach them.
WONDER ACT No. 2 This wonder act has also been described alongwith the accounts of Sheikh Mufeed. A dispute arose between them. Finally they inquired for the solution from Hazrat Ali (A.S.) by putting the question in the Zarih. The answer was that Syed Murtaza is on the right and Sheikh Mufeed is also reasonable. On getting this answer his wonder act was revealed and so he distributed one thousand Tumans among the poor and the needy.
WONDER ACT No. 3 Syed Murtaza was in Najaf-e-Ashraf. Once a, mendicant who was an eulogist of Hazrat Ali (A.S.) came to Mausoleum and said, “O’ Amirul Momineen (A.S.) here on your grave are hanging beautiful lamps made of gold and silver. You are in no way needful of them all. Therefore, if you give me even one of these lamps, I will spend the rest of my life happily by the blessing of your generosity”. Praise be for the Almighty. Just see the power of God and the generosity of Ali (A.S.) as that very moment a lamp broke away and fell on the floor. That mendicant thought that his prayers had been accepted and so a lamp had been given to him. He went there to pick it up but the servants did not allow him to do so. They put the lamp back in its original place. On second day the mendicant once again begged for the lamp and again the lamp fell to the ground. The servants again refused to allow him to take it. The third day again the similar thing happened. The servant there asked Syed Murtaza, whether this lamp should be given to the mendicant or not. Syed Murtaza said, “Hang the lamp in its original place and do not give it to the mendicant”. In short the mendicant’s desire was not fulfilled. Then Hazrat Fatema-tuz-Zehra (S.A.) appeared in the dream of Syed Murtaza and said, “In every religion there are some crazy people. This mendicant is also crazy of Aale-Mohammad. This lamp has been given to him. So, give him the lamp and please him so that we may also be pleased with you”. Then Hazrat Fatema-tuz-Zehra (S.A.) appeared in the dream of the mendicant and said, “Syed Murtaza will come to give you the lamp, take from him what you want and be happy”. Syed Murtaza rose up from sleep, called the mendicant, gave him the lamp and asked him to be pleased with him. The mendicant said, “The eminent figure that appeared in your dream has also appeared in my dream and so I will not be pleased unless you give me a certain amount of money. Finally, Syed Murtaza gave him the money and made him happy.
WONDER ACT No. 4 Syed Murtaza used to reside in old Baghdad
while one of his disciples lived in new Baghdad. This disciple always came
to Syed Ibrahim to acquire knowledge. There was a stream between the two
Baghdads and he had to cross over by a bridge. This bridge was withdrawn at
night while in the morning it was put back again. So this disciple had to
wait until the bridge was ready. When he reached New Baghdad Syed Murtaza
would have almost finished his lectures.
He would be able to hear just a few sentences. This disciple asked Syed Murtaza to start his lectures late so that he could also gee the benefit. He also gave the reason for latecoming. Syed Murtaza on hearing this, wrote something on a piece of paper, gave it to the disciple and said, “Keep this with you, do not open it or read it. When you are coming here and the bridge is not ready keep this with you and start walking on the water. You will not get drowned and will be able to cross over the stream without the help of the bridge”. From that day onward this disciple used to cross the stream without the bridge. He used to walk on water without his shoes and feet getting wet. A few days later he thought of opening and reading what Syed Murtaza had written on that piece of paper. He opened it and read it. On the paper was written “Bismilla Hir Rahma Nir Rahim”. He closed the paper and the next day again he started to walk on water. But no sooner he had put his foot on water then his foot went right in. He could not walk on the water again.
WONDER ACT No. 5 The reason why he got the title of
Alam-ul-Hoda has been described in the books of many a scholar including
Shaheed-e-Awwal. In the book named Arbain, Shaheed-e-Awwal writes that the
wazir of Qader Abbas, Mohammad bin Husain in the year 420 A.H. fell ill. The
illness stretched itself over a long period. One night Hazrat Ali (A.S.)
appeared in his dream and said, “Go to Alam-ul-Hoda and ask for his
benedictions, so that your illness may go”. The wazir asked, “O’ Master !
Who is Alam-ul-Hoda ?” Hazrat Ali (A.S.) said, “He is Ali Ibnul Husain-al-Moosavi,
i.e., Syed Murtaza.” The wazir in the morning sent a letter to Syed Murtaza
asking for his benedictions. He had addressed him as Aalam-ul-Hoda. Syed
Murtaza read the letter and in reply wrote, “In the name of Allah ! I am
not capable of that greatness. Do not call me by such titles.”
The wazir wrote in reply, “This title I have not written of my own but was suggested by Hazrat Ali (A.S.) in the dream and that is why I have written that”. The wazir was finally cured by the benedictions of Syed Murtaza. The wazir wrote to the king Qader Abbas that, “Syed Murtaza is not accepting the title of Alam-ul-Hoda”. The king said, “O’ Syed Murtaza ! You must accept the title that has been given to you by your grandfather”. BOOKS OF SYED MURTAZA Syed Murtaza is also called Abu-s-Samanin. The reason behind this is that after his death 80 books were found from his place. Many of them had been written by him. They were all very good books. One of the books that he had written was named Samanin (meaning eighty). The things that he left behind were an either eighty, eighty hundred or eighty thousand. He was himself eighty one. Therefore he is called the Abus-Samanin. All his books were valued at 30,000 Tumans. Besides these, he had sent a number of books to kings and wazirs. LIFE OF SYED MURTAZA He was born in 350 Hijri and died at the age of 81. According to this he must have died in the year 430 or 431. Similarly there are some differences about the month and the year of his death. Some say it is 5th of Moharram while others say 25th Rabi-ul-Awwal, yet some other people say it was 22nd Rabi-ul-Awwal. He was blessed with both the wealth of knowledge as well as material riches. It is said that during one journey to Mecca he gave 9,000 Tumans to his brother. His properties extended right from Baghdad upto Mecca. After his death his son prayed and buried him in his house. Later his dead body was taken to the Mausoleum of his forefather, Hazrat Moosa Kazim (A.S.). Some people say that his body was taken to the Mausoleum of Imam Husain (A.S.).
He had devoted one whole village for poor people. Sheikh Najjashi a scholar writes in his book that, Janab Abu-ala-Mohammad bin Hasan Jafri, Janab Sallah bin Abdul Aziz and myself had washed his dead body. Both Shias and the Sunnis have written about the greatness of Syed Murtaza. He is responsible for enlivening the Shia School of thought in fourth century. Syed Murtaza had the permission of Ijtehad of both Sheikh Mufeed and Husain-ibne-Ali-bin-Bab-wiah, the brother of Janab Saduq. The permission giving people are so great that they were borne by the benedictions of the twelfth Imam Mehdi (A.S.). He had the permission of Janab Sheikh Tusi and Janab Ibne Durraj. He had studied a lot from these two scholars. He used to give them tuition fees, twelve Tumans to Janab Sheikh Tusi and 8 Tumans to Janab Ibne Durraj every month. He had written 20 thousand couplets which have been collected in the form of a book. Once Syed Murtaza was giving lessons. During his lecture Sheikh Mufeed arrived. He stopped his lecture and asked Sheikh Mufeed to give lessons and sat down in front of him. Sheikh Mufeed said, “No, you continue with it. I want to listen to you”. Sheikh Mufeed liked the lectures of Syed Murtaza who gave a lot of lectures. Once there was famine. One Jew came to Syed Murtaza and asked him to give some money every month and also teach palmistry. He gladly replied in affirmative and for his daily expenses fixed a certain amount every month. Sometime later that Jew became a Muslim due to the friendship with Syed Murtaza. There are many books written by Syed Murtaza. Many scholars have been benefited by these books. By writing the names and praise of his books here the reader will not be benefited and so I am avoiding them. But a few words I think are necessary. The great scholar of Qasas-ul-Ulema writes that, from the times of Syed Murtaza upto the present day, all scholars consider his books something like The Holy Quran in all aspects, in principles and belief.
http://www.islamic-laws.com/marja/sayidrazi.htm For Sayyid Radhi life & details