Assisting an ‘Alawīyyah

Chapter 115, volume 42 of ‘Allāmah Majlisī’s Biḥār al-Anwār is regarding dreams and miracles related to Imām ‘Alī (a) and while the reliability of these reports is extremely difficult to establish, some of the stories are simply interesting to read. Back in 2015 I had gone to Mashhad around springtime and was listening to a speaker on a Thursday night. He began quoting a story regarding an ‘Alawīyyah (a woman from the progeny of Imām ‘Alī and Lady Fāṭimah) and what sparked my interested was the fact that the source of the story was a book written by Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597 AH), a Ḥanbalī scholar.

I came home and searched for the source and found it in Biḥar al-Anwār and found it in this section. I decided to use it as a good anecdote to translate given I was still working on my Arabic reading and comprehension at the time. One of the ways to improve one’s Arabic reading and understanding is to translate – this pushes you to look up the precise meanings of words and understand sentence structures correctly.

Sibṭ b. al-Jawzī (d. 654 AH) transmits in his book: I read in al-Multaqaṭ – which is a book of his grandfather Abī al-Faraj b. al-Jawzī (d. 597 AH) – that: There was a man from the ‘Alawīyīn who resided in the city of Balkh and he had a wife and daughters. He passed away and the wife narrates:

I left with my daughters towards Samarqand out of fear of getting abused by the enemies and my arrival happened to coincide with the coldest period of the season. I left my daughters in a mosque and went looking for some food and sustenance. At one point I saw people gathered around a Shaykh, so I asked about him and they replied, ‘This is the Shaykh of the city.’

I explained my situation to him and he replied, ‘Establish evidence for me that you are an ‘Alawīyyah.’ He did not pay any further attention to me and become hopeless. As I was returning back to the mosque, I saw a Shaykh sitting on a bench while there was a congregation around him. I said, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘This is the protector of the city and he is a Zoroastrian.’ I thought perhaps there is hope with him, so I narrated my story to him and explained to him in detail what occurred.

He called out for his assistant and when he came out he told him, ‘Tell your lady to put her clothes on.’ He (the protector) then entered and the lady came forth with her servant. He told the servant, ‘Go with this woman towards so and so mosque and bring her daughters to the house.’

The servant came with me and we brought back my daughters. The protector had emptied a room for us in his house and took us to the bath-house, then gave us luxurious clothing, as well as different type of foods and when we stayed the night, it was the most pleasant of nights.

When it was the middle of the night, the Muslim Shaykh of the city saw a dream. It was the Day of Judgement and there was a flag beside Muḥammad (p) as well as a palace made up of green emeralds. The Shaykh asked, ‘Who is this for?’ It was said to him, ‘It is for a monotheist Muslim man.’ He advanced towards the Messenger of Allah (p), but he (p) avoided the Shaykh. The Shaykh said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (p), you are avoiding me, while I am a Muslim man?’

The Prophet (p) said to him, ‘Establish evidence for me that you are a Muslim.’ The Shaykh was confused so the Prophet (p) said to him, ‘Have you forgotten what you said to that ‘Alawīyyah? This palace is for the man in whose house that lady is in.’

The Shaykh understood the meaning of his dream and began to lament and cry. He sent his servant into the city and also left himself to look for the ‘Alawīyyah. He was informed that she is in the house of the Zoroastrian. He arrived at the house and asked him, ‘Where is the ‘Alawīyyah?’ The man replied, ‘she is with me.’ The Shaykh said, ‘I want her.’ He replied, ‘I cannot do that.’ The Shaykh said, ‘Here are a thousand Dīnārs, hand her and her daughters over to me.’ He replied, ‘No by Allah, not for a hundred-thousand Dīnār.’

When the Shaykh insisted, the man replied, ‘The dream which you saw, I also saw it. The palace which you saw was built for me. By Allah, no one slept in this house except that we all became Muslims due to this ‘Alawīyyah and due to the blessings we received through her. I saw the Prophet (p) in the dream and he (p) told me that the palace is for me and for my family because of what I did with this ‘Alawīyyah. He said, ‘you are from the people of heaven and Allah (swt) had created you as believers in the past life.”

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