Early Muslim history needs fresh appraisal — IV
The idea behind his thesis and my essay is academic and educational, and not to affront religious beliefs or insult revered figures in Islamic history
M Aamer Sarfraz
NOVEMBER 12, 2018
The third version of early Muslim history is derived from Dr Ahmad’s review based on Mossavi, Khamdimzada, Fatimi, Karamati, Imdadi, Hamid-Uddin, Montgomery and others’ works. The idea behind his thesis and my essay is academic and educational, and not to affront religious beliefs or insult revered figures in Islamic history.
Ahmad determines that standard versions of early Muslim history are part of an elaborate conspiracy steered by the Magian (Zoroastrian) nobility after their defeat at Qadisiyyah in 636 CE. They could never forget how some Arab Bedouins had dealt their Empire a mortal blow. Therefore, they instigated endless physical and intellectual conflicts among the Muslims. While using their intellect and royal influence to generate peculiar versions of history, they also succeeded in inciting the Abbasids to eliminate the Umayyads and then invited Hulagu Khan in 1258 CE to destroy the Abbasid Empire. This is how they avenged the loss of their Empire at the hands of Arabs.
After the conquest of Persia, some Magian nobility ‘converted’ to Islam but most fled abroad. Like the famous ‘nine jewels’ of Mughal king Akbar, Sassanid kings used to have twenty jewels called Asawirah. Fifteen of them had survived and took refuge with the Chinese Emperor in Samarqand. They put their heads together and then schemed to assassinate the caliphs, and alienate Muslims from the Quran.
Hormuzan, the defeated commander of the Persian army, remained in contact with the Asawirah. He had settled in Medina after tricking Hazrat Umar into sparing his life. He conspired with Jews and Nazareans in Medina, and organised a Persian slave, Firoz Abu lulu, to stab Hazrat Umar to death with a special knife. Firoz committed suicide to keep this operation secret. Hazrat Umar’s son, Ubaydullah, killed Hormuzan and other conspirators in a fit of rage.
Abdullah bin Saba, a Jewish convert, rose to eminence in Iraq by canvassing for the divine right of Prophet’s family to inherit the caliphate. He colluded with Jafeena, a Christian from Hirah, who had also ‘converted’ to Islam after being in-charge of the royal security in Rome. In this version of history, there was peace and prosperity in the era of Hazrat Usman as Hazrat Ali was the Governor of Iraq, Muawiya of Syria and Ibn al-As of Egypt. The caliph lived like a common man without any guards. Saba bin Shamoun and his son Abdullah bin Saba took advantage of this and assassinated Hazrat Usman while he recited the Qur’an.
The Asawirah struck again in 40 AH when Hazrat Ali was leading a prayer in Kufa. A Magian, Jamshed Khorasani, aka Ibn-e-Muljim, stabbed him with a double-edged dagger. Hazrat Ali died three days later. Then Jaban bin Hormuzan, son of the mastermind behind Hazrat Umar’s assassination, made an unsuccessful attempt on Hazrat Hasan’s life in 46 AH. Hazrat Hasan was poisoned but other accounts suggest that he died of tuberculosis in 49 AH.
Ahmad underlines that the tragedy of Karbala reportedly took place in 680 CE. However, there is no trace of it in the two books Imam Zainul Abedein, son of Hazrat Hussain, wrote around 700 CE. Imam Malik does not mention Karbala either in his Muttawa written in 758 CE. Hadith books, with all sorts of controversial material, started appearing by 860 CE but without ever referring to Karbala
Hazrat Muawiya died in 60 AH. Meetings for choosing the new caliph were on when Jaban bin Hormuzan, aka Bilal bin Yousaf, and his accomplices entered the Governor’s House in Kufa under the cover of darkness. They killed the Governor Hazrat Hussain and disappeared into the night. According to Allama Masoodi, Jaban remained active against Hazrat Abdulla bin Zubair in later years. He was eventually killed while attempting on the latter’s life in 70 AH.
Ahmad underlines that the tragedy of Karbala reportedly took place in 680 CE. However, there is no trace of it in the two books Imam Zainul Abedein, son of Hazrat Hussain, wrote around 700 CE. Imam Malik does not mention Karbala either in his Muttawa written in 758 CE. Hadith books, with all sorts of controversial material, started appearing by 860 CE but without ever referring to Karbala.?In 900 CE, Imam Tabari incredulously wrote a detailed commentary about Karbala without a scrap of paper before him. He refers to someone called Abu Mikhnaf who wrote about it earlier. But Abu Mikhnaf is a fictional character, and it is deduced that Tabri actually wrote that treatise himself.
The Magians of Persia were very influential during most of the Abbasid rule. In fact, the joint founder of the Abbasid dynasty, Abu Muslim Khorasani, was also a closet Magian. They were so powerful that caliph Haroonur Rasheed often found himself powerless (despite his mother being a Magian). The Baramika family of Magian origins enjoyed unprecedented authority as Haroon’s viziers and replaced Arabic with Persian as the language of the court. According to Allama Kandhalvi, all key positions of the Abbasids court were occupied by the Magians, and their women ruled the Abbasid harems. Serious departures from real history and the Faith took place in these circumstances.
Just as Imam Abu Yusuf became the royal court jurist (Faqeeh) of Umayyad Dynasty, Imam Tabri got a foothold in the court of caliph Mo’tamid in 270 AH and later submitted to the whims of caliph Al-Muqtadar Billah as his favourite scholar. Royal delegates were dispatched to Makkah, Medina, Damascus, Qadisiyyah, Kufa and other provincial centres. The contents of their libraries were destroyed and replaced by official books written by the Royal seal of approval.
To be continued
The writer is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Visiting Professor. He tweets @AamerSarfarz
Published in Daily Times, November 12th 2018.