Update 21st December/2015: There was a minor factual mistake in the section of Mukhtar & ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad which has now been corrected.
In many Shi’i communities, it is the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal that marks the end of the two-month mourning period that begins with the first of Muharram. The day is celebrated in most communities, for different reasons, and is referred to by a few names, such as Eid al-Zahra, Farhat al-Zahra, Eid-e Shuja, Taj Poshi-e Imam, Yawm Raf’ ul-Qalam, Umar Kushshun etc. The significance of the day is due to four different reasons, all of which have been attributed to it:
- ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (the 2nd caliph) was killed on this day
- The angels lift their pens up for the Shi’as and they do not record anything (i.e. one can commit sins and not be held accountable for them)
- The transfer of the Imamate from Imam Hasan al-‘Askari to his son, Imam al-Mahdi
- Mukhtar killed ‘Umar ibn Sa’d which resulted in the happiness of Imam Sajjad and the women of Bani Hashim
Some communities may celebrate the day for some of the reasons, while some misinformed ones may celebrate the day for all four reasons – particular the first two reasons. In this post, I will simply be looking at the historical validity of all four of these reasons.
The killing of ‘Umar and the Lifting of the Pens
The killing of ‘Umar and as well as the angels lifting up their pens, have both been mentioned in one narration that has been recorded in the works of some mainstream Shi’i scholars. The narration speaks of two individuals (who are completely unknown and no information regarding them exists in biographical works and history books) disputing over ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (or in some books it says Abu al-Khattab Muhammad bin Abi Zaynab the founder of the extremist Khattabiyah sect). They make their way to Ahmad bin Ishaq, a companion of Imam al-‘Askari, in the city of Qum while their visitation coincided with the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal. His female slave opens the door and informs them that Ahmad is celebrating the day as a day of ‘Eid and that he informed her of the words of Imam al-‘Askari considering this day to be the best of ‘Eids according to the Ahl ul-Bayt.
When they eventually meet Ahmad, they notice he has bathed specifically for this day and he begins to narrate a lengthy tradition from Imam al-‘Askari. He describes his meeting with the Imam during one of the years, which also happened to coincide with the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, and noticed that the Imam had informed those who were at his house to perfume themselves and wear new clothes. He questions the Imam about this, and the Imam begins to narrate a story from the time of the Prophet, which speaks of Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman meeting the Prophet and Imam Ali on a similar date while they were partaking in a meal with smiles on their faces, congratulating each other for the blessings of this day. Hudhayfa asks for the reason, and the Prophet informs him that this is the day on which Allah (swt) destroyed their enemies. The Prophet begins to inform Hudhayfa about the blessings that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon this day, and while relaying this, he mentions that Allah has also ordered the angels to lift their pens on the onset of this day, and to not record any sins of the Shi’as in honour of the Prophet and his successor.
Then the narrative changes to Hudhayfa, who says that he witnessed what the hypocrites did after the demise of the Prophet and when the second caliph died – on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal – he visited Imam Ali to congratulate him. The Imam reminds him of the time when he visited them on a similar date and they were celebrating. He says that the celebration was to do with Allah (swt) foretelling them about this day. The Imam proceeds to give about seventy names for this day, such as The Second Ghadeer, The Great Eid of Allah, The Day of Charity etc.
The narrative changes back to the two individuals who say that after having heard Ahmad narrate this report, they kissed his forehead and thanked Allah for having learned the virtues of this blessed day before dying.
Before going any further, since I will be mentioning certain authors and their books, it is befitting for the readers to be aware of the chronological order by year of when these individuals lived.
- Ahmad bin Ishaq al-Qummi: died 263 Hijri
- Shaykh Saduq: 305 – 381 Hijri
- Maymun ibn Qasim al-Tabarani (author of Majmu’ al-A’yad): 350/358 – 426/427 Hijri
- Hashim ibn Muhammad Ali (author of Misbah al-Anwar): Alive in 558 Hijri
- Ali ibn Ta’us (author of Iqbal al-A’mal): 589 – 664 Hijri
- Ali ibn Ali ibn Ta’us (author of Zawaid al-Fawaid): 647 – 711 Hijri
- Shaykh Hasan ibn Sulayman (author of al-Mukhtasar): Possibly before 742 – till after 802 Hijri
- Shaykh Hurr al-Amili (author of Ithbat al-Huda): 1033 – 1104 Hijri
- Allamah Majlisi (author of Bihar al-Anwar): 1037 – 1110 Hijri
The earliest book of a mainstream Shi’a scholar, in which this specific narration appears in is Misbah al-Anwar by Shaykh Hashim ibn Muhammad (scholar from 6th century Hijri but the book may have been written in 7th century Hijri). Its chain of narration is as follow:
قال: أخبرنا أبو محمد الحسن بن محمّد القمّي بالكوفة، قال: حدثّنا أبو بكر محمد بن جعدويه القزويني، وكان شيخاً صالحاً زاهداً (سنّهُ إحدى واربعين وثلاثمائة) صاعداً الى الحج، قال: حدثني محمد بن علي القزويني، قال: حدثنا الحسن بن الحسن الخالدي بمشهد أبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام قال: حدثنا محمد بن العلاء الهمداني الواسطي و يحيى بن محمد جريح البغدادي قالا :تنازعنا في أمر أبي الخطّاب محمد بن زينب الکوفي فاشتبه علينا أمره فقصدنا جميعاً أبا علي أحمد بن إسحاق بن سعد الأشعري القمّي صاحب أبي الحسن العسکري عليه السلام بمدينته بقم
Shaykh Hashim said: Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Muhammad al-Qummi narrated to me in Kufa saying: Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ja’dawayh al-Qazwini – he was a righteous and ascetic scholar – narrated to me while on his way to Hajj (in the year 341 Hijri) saying: Muhammad bin Ali al-Qazwini narrated to me saying: Hasan bin al-Hasan al-Khalidi narrated to me in the shrine of Imam Ridha (as) saying: Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani al-Wasiti and Yahya bin Muhammad Jarih al-Baghdadi both narrated to me saying: We were disputing regarding Abi al-Khattab Muhammad bin Zaynab al-Kufi, and his affair confused us. So we decided to go to Ahmad bin Ishaq bin Sa’ad al-Ash’ari al-Qummi the companion of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (as) in the city of Qom.
In this report, we see that the two main narrators (Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani and Yahya bin Muhammad Jarih al-Baghdadi) who are completely unknown, are reporting the tradition to yet another unknown person by the name of Hasan al-Khalidi. In this report it says explicitly that the two individuals were arguing over Abi al-Khattab – rather than ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. We also do not know much about the life of the author himself, besides what is available through this book of his.
The next book that the narration exists is in al-Mukhtasar of Shaykh Hasan bin Sulayman. This report has slight differences in its text, and its chain of narrators is cut severely short, however the two main reporters are the same, namely Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani and Yahya bin Jarih al-Baghdadi. The chain is as follow:
الشيخ الفاضل علي بن مظاهر الواسطي عن محمد بن العلا الهمداني الواسطي ويحيى بن جريح البغدادي
al-Shaykh al-Fadhil Ali bin Mazahir al-Wasiti from Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani al-Wasiti and Yahya bin Muhammad bin Jarih al-Baghdadi.
Over here, they are narrating this report to a person by the name of Ali bin Mazahir al-Wasiti (another unknown person).
The next book in which this report appears is Zawaid al-Fawaid of Ali ibn Ali ibn Ta’us, which we know of through Allamah Majlisi’s work Bihar al-Anwar. The chain of narrators is as follow:
رَوَى ابْنُ أَبِي الْعَلَاءِ الْهَمْدَانِيُ الْوَاسِطِيُ وَ يَحْيَى بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ حُوَيْجٍ الْبَغْدَادِيُّ
Ibn Abi al-‘Ala al-Hamdani al-Wasiti and Yahya bin Muhammad bin Huwayj al-Baghdadi narrate…
In Allamah Majlisi’s work Zaad al-Ma’ad, he records this tradition from Zawaid al-Fawaid and quotes additional words from Ali ibn Ali ibn Ta’us himself:
The author of Zawaid al-Fawaid said: I copied this narration from the handwriting of Ali bin Muhammad Tayy (ra), and I found in other books various reports that are in line with this tradition, and I have relied on them. It is appropriate for the Shi’a to honour this day and express delight and happiness.
The narration with Ali bin Mazahir in its chain (as recorded in al-Mukhtsar) has been briefly referenced by Shaykh Hurr al-Amili in his book Ithbat al-Huda as well, however note the significant difference between this chain and the other ones:
And some of our scholars narrate in a treatise regarding the killing of ‘Umar, from Ali bin Mazahir al-Wasiti with a connected chain, from Muhammad bin Ali al-Hamdani from Hasan bin al-Husayn al-Samiri from Ahmad bin Ishaq al-Qummi from Imam Hasan al-‘Askari.
In this chain, Yahya bin Muhammad is completely dropped and is replaced by another person by the name of Hasan al-Samiri (unknown). Two individuals are not reporting from Ahmad bin Ishaq in this chain, rather only one person (al-Samiri) is narrating from Ahmad bin Ishaq. Some have also mistakenly confused Ali bin Mazahir with Zayn ul-Din Ali bin ‘Izz al-Din Hasan bin Mazahir al-Hilli (8th century Hijri scholar), a student of Muhammad bin Hasan al-Hilli (son of Allamah Hilli and famously known as Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqeen). There is no evidence to suggest that it was him.
Other than the chain of narrators present in Misbah al-Anwar, the rest of the books all possess broken chains with gaps of 300 years and more, between their authors and the time when Ahmad bin Ishaq was living.
There also exists a great amount of inconsistencies in these chains. For example at one point Ali bin Mazahir is narrating from Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani al-Wasiti and Yahya bin Muhammad bin Jarih al-Baghdadi, who are in fact narrating the actual story of their visit to Ahmad bin Ishaq, whereas in Ithbat al-Huda, Ali bin Mazahir is narrating from Muhammad bin Ali al-Hamdani who then quotes from Hasan bin al-Husayn al-Samiri who narrates the tradition from Ahmad bin Ishaq. The names are not consistent and scriptural errors can also be witnessed, there is no mention of Yahya bin Muhammad in Shaykh Hurr al-Amili’s work at all and rather Hasan al-Samiri – a completely different and unknown individual – is mentioned in the chain.
Since we have not been able to identify who these individuals are, and with a gap of a few centuries between the authors and the unknown narrators, there is really no way to claim that we have a good level of assurance that this narration is reliable or that the wordings that have been recorded were indeed the words of Imam al-‘Askari, the Prophet, Imam Ali or any other individuals that have been referred to in the lengthy narration.
The narration also appears with another chain in an 11th century Hijri work, Anwar al-Nu’maniyah of Sayyid Nematullah Jazairi, with a slightly different rendition of the text and a different chain. The author is supposedly quoting from Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari:
Narrated to us al-Amin al-Sayyid Abu al-Mubarak Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Ardshir al-Dastani saying: Sayyid Abu al-Barakat bin Muhammad al-Jurjani narrated to us saying: Hibatullah al-Qummi (whose name was Yahya) narrated to us saying: Ahmad bin Ishaq bin Muhammad al-Baghdadi said: Narrated to us Hasan bin Hasan al-Samiri who said: Myself and Yahya bin Ahmad bin Jarih al-Baghdadi decided to go to Ahmad bin Ishaq al-Qummi who was a companion of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari in the city of Qom…
This chain when seen in light with the rest of the chains, once again has contradictions and inconsistencies. There are narrators that are both known and unknown (particularly the main narrators of the tradition) in this chain. In this narration, there is no mention of Muhammad bin al-‘Ala who is one of the individuals who supposedly visits Ahmad bin Ishaq with Yahya.
One last book by a mainstream Shi’i scholar that I will be mentioning in which this report is mentioned in with a different chain is al-‘Iqd al-Nadhid wa al-Durr al-Farid, of someone by the name of Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Qummi. Once again, not much is known about the author except that he authored this book. The book was written after 7th century Hijri and the chain on page 60 is as follow:
الحديث السادس والأربعون: عن الحسن بن الحسين السامري قال: كنت أنا ويحيى بن أحمد بن جريح البغدادي
Hadith Forty-Six: From Hasan bin al-Husayn al-Samiri who said: Myself and Yahya bin Ahmad bin Jarih al-Baghdadi
This chain is once again broken and shows similar inconsistency. A chart depicting the chains from the 6 books mentioned is presented below so the readers can see the inconsistencies (please note that all the individuals are unknown except Ahmad bin Ishaq al-Qummi):
Before one can begin using a narration or a historical report, the most fundamental thing that needs to be attained, is a level of assurance that these words were essentially said. This is generally done either by looking at the chain of narrators and determining whether they were trustworthy individuals with good memories, or there exists sufficient contextual evidence, or redundancy in the same narration or its contents by multiple different individuals, to support the fact that these words were indeed said. With regards to this narration, after what we have witnessed, no reliable methodology will result in a level of assurance suggesting that this narration is reliable. In fact, the chains have major contradictions between each other whose result would be that the incident actually took place twice in exactly the same manner with different individuals. Names are dropped and added from book to book and even the names of the two main narrators who supposedly visit Ahmad bin Ishaq appear inconsistently. The hadith seems to have begun appearing in mainstream Shi’i works during the 6th century Hijri.
The Narration in an Earlier Work
This narration appears in one other book, earlier than any of the works mentioned above. It is a book authored by Abu Sa’eed Surur bin Qasim al-Tabarani (358 – 426 Hijri) by the name of Majmu’ al-A’yad. The author was a Nusayri, and a lot has been written and researched about him, however it is outside the scope of this article to get into it. It suffices to say that he possessed leadership of the Nusayri community after Muhammad bin Ali al-Jali and al-Khasibi and would not be considered a mainstream Shi’i scholar by any definition.
The chain of narrators in this book is as follow:
حدثنا محمد بن محمد بن العبّاس الخراساني قال أخبرنا أبو علي احمد بن اسماعيل السليماني قال حدثنا الحسين بن أحمد بن شيبان القزويني قال حدّثني أبو أحمد بن علي الکهجشي قال حدثنا محمد بن العلاء الهمداني الواسطي و يحيی بن محمد بن جدع البغدادي قالا تنازعنا في باب أبي الخطاب
Muhammad bin Muhammad bin al-Abbas al-Khorasani narrated to us saying: Abu Ali Ahmad bin Ismail al-Sulaymani narrated to us saying: Husayn bin Ahmad bin Shayban al-Qazwini narrated to us saying: Abu Ahmad bin Ali al-Kahjashi narrated to me saying: Muhammad bin al-‘Ala al-Hamdani al-Wasiti and Yahya bin Muhammad bin Jad’ al-Baghdadi narrated to me saying: There was a dispute between us regarding Abi al-Khattab.
Regarding Ahmad bin Isma’il al-Sulaymani, he appears in the book Kifayah al-Athar of Ali bin Muhammad al-Khazaz and so does Husayn bin Ahmad bin Shayban al-Qazwini. The latter is considered a Shaykh ul-Ijazah and has also been mentioned in Tarikh Baghdad (Volume 8, #3991) of Khatib Baghdadi. The rest of the individuals are unknown.
This is perhaps the earliest work we have today in which this narration can be found (with many inconsistencies throughout the text). The book itself essentially lists out the important days and dates during the year, alongside any corresponding acts of worship or supplications. The narration appearing in a book belonging to an extremist Shi’i sect with serious theological flaws, and a sect that was known for fabricating plenty of traditions, raises a lot of serious concerns. This fabricated tradition seems to crept its way into mainstream Shi’i works, which is something really not unheard of.
The discussion so far had to do with establishing the reliability of this tradition by looking at how this report has come down to us. We can confidently affirm that with many unknown individuals, inconsistencies present in the chains, names being misspelt or moved around, added or removed, and its earliest version found in a Nusayri text, there is no way to attain any level of assurance that this report is reliable.
Moving on to the content of this narration, it causes even more problems. All credible – early or later – historians suggest that ‘Umar ibn Khattab died in the last few days of Dhi al-Hijjah. There does exists a difference of opinion with regards to the actual date, however, no early historian has ever suggested that he died in a different month. Ibn Idris al-Hilli writes that whoever from among the Shi’as confuse his death date with the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal is mistaken and is going against the unanimous opinion of all historians. He further references the opinion of Shaykh Mufid to support his claim. This aforementioned report, which is completely solitary in its nature, is the only report that we have at our disposal today which states the death of ‘Umar being the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal.
Another point in the narration that assists us in determining its fabricated nature is the remark regarding angels lifting up their pens so that no sins of ours will be recorded on the day. When the tradition is seen in light of having its roots in a Nusayri text, it makes contextual sense that they would fabricate something like this. Tabarani in one of his other famous works Kitab al-Ma’arif attributes many fabricated traditions to Imam Hasan al-‘Askari, one of them implying that God exempted His creatures from worshiping Him through religious commandments and only wanted them to know Him, for gnosis is the worship of God. With beliefs in such pseudo-esotericism, it is very plausible that a concept such as lifting of the pen was fabricated so that men are not bound by Islamic laws that pertain to the exoteric aspect of one’s life.
It seems that the first scholar to insist on 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal being the death date of Umar was ‘Allamah Majlisi in his Bihar al-Anwar. He brings the opinions of numerous Shi’a scholars and admits that the famous opinion amongst the Shi’a Imamiyah scholars is that ‘Umar died in Dhi al-Hijjah, but in a strange statement, uses the fact that in his day and age, people believed (either referring to people in Isfahan or those living under the Safavid government in general) that he died on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, as support for this opinion and chooses this view over the other.
Ibn Ta’us does mention in his Iqbal al-A’maal that he saw a meritorious narration regarding the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal and that some people express happiness because they believe someone had been killed on this day. While he does not mention any names, from the rest of his discussion it is not far-fetched to assume that he is speaking about the killing of ‘Umar. In any case, this narration that Ibn Ta’us is referring to can’t be the one that we have already spoken about, because the narration he is speaking about is in one of the books of Shaykh Saduq who is reporting it from Imam Sadiq (as). However, Ibn Ta’us does not mention the name of the book, nor the tradition. Since Ibn Ta’us is not convinced that this individual was killed on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal and states that he has not found anything else reliable to confirm this tradition from Saduq, he attempts to make sense of the tradition by giving possible explanations. For example, he says that it is possible that when it is said this individual was killed on this day, it could metaphorically mean that his killer decided to kill him on this day, or that it was the day that his killer arrived in Medina, or it was the day that his killer left his own city to travel towards Medina. Ibn Ta’us even quotes the view of some others who have tried to explain it away by saying: it was the day that the report of the killing of this individual reached the city where Shaykh Saduq lived – although he refutes this explanation.
Ibn Ta’us further suggests that if there is anything to be happy about, it would be that Imam al-Mahdi (as) officially became the Imam on this day (as his father left the world on the 8th).
While there are reports that some people would celebrate the killing of ‘Umar in Kashan on this day (where there exists a grave attributed to Abu Lu’lu – though it is highly unlikely to be his actual grave), however at one point in history even that was done on the 26th of Dhi al-Hijjah.
Historically speaking, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab being killed on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal was never taken seriously by mainstream Shi’i scholars (since the majority did not believe he was killed on that day to begin with), let alone celebrate it for this reason. It was only during and after the Safavid dynasty that this practice found any fame.
The Beginning of Imam al-Mahdi’s Imamate
Another reason why the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal is celebrated is because it marks the beginning of the Imamate of al-Mahdi. Ibn Ta’us says in his Iqbal al-A’mal that if anyone wishes to celebrate the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, it would be more suitable for them to do so by celebrating it as the beginning of the Imamate of al-Mahdi since it was on the 8th that his father, Imam al-‘Askari left this world. While many different dates have been given for the demise of al-‘Askari, I do not wish to come to any conclusions as to which date is correct or most plausible. Nevertheless the 8th of Rabi’ al-Awwal is the most famous opinion among the scholars and historians. The main point that I wish to allude to is that we know from a report which Shaykh Saduq mentions in his Kamal ul-Din that Imam al-‘Askari left this world at Fajr time on the 8th of Rabi al-Awwal. Therefore the actual Imamate of al-Mahdi would have begun on the morning of the 8th itself, not the following day on the 9th as Ibn Ta’us suggests.
The Killing of ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad
The actual killing of ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad by Mukhtar has been described in a few history books. However I was not able to find any early historical reference for him being killed on this specific day. The closest thing I was able to find was in Allamah Majlisi’s Zaad al-Ma’ad while discussing the merits of 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal, he writes one sentence in passing:
And some have said that on this day ‘Umar bin Sa’ad – may curse be upon him – was sent to Saqar (one of the names of hell). If this is the case, then this is also a sufficient reason for the nobility of this day.
Majlisi is evidently not sure about this. Mukhtar’s reign was from around the middle of Rabi’ al-Awwal in 66 Hijri till the middle of Ramadhan in 67 Hijri (around 18 months). We also know that ‘Umar bin Sa’ad was killed in 66 Hijri through multiple sources. This means he never lived to see a 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal under Mukhtar’s reign.
Dhahabi in his book Tarikh al-Islam writes under the events that took place in the year 66 Hijri that some of the individuals who partook in the killing of Imam al-Husayn were killed this year, namely ‘Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas, and Shimr bin Dhi al-Jawshan al-Dhababi and a group of others. Ibn Kathir in his al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaya documents the details of the killing of ‘Umar bin Sa’ad under the year 66 Hijri. Ibn Khaldun in his Tarikh writes that when Mukhtar was done with the killing in Kufa near the end of 66th Hijri, he sent Ibrahim bin Ashtar to go kill Ubaydallah bin Ziyad. From Ansab al-Ashraf of Baladhuri we know that Ibrahim bin Ashtar began this journey in Dhi al-Hijjah of the 66th Hijri. This means that Umar bin Sa’ad was killed between the middle of Rabi’ al-Awwal and Dhi al-Hijjah of the 66th century (most probably closer to Dhi al-Hijjah of 66th Hijri rather).
There are other historical events that can further help us confirm that ‘Umar bin Sa’ad was definitely killed before the 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal of 67th Hijri and that he never lived to see that day under Mukhtar’s reign, but it will unnecessarily lengthen the discussion and we will suffice with what has been written.
Historically speaking, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that ‘Umar bin al-Khattab was killed on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal and the famous tradition that is referred to is a fabrication, most likely by the Nusayris. The concept of lifting of the pens, so that sins are not recorded, goes against the explicit verses of the Qur’an (99:7-8). There is also no real evidence to suggest that it is the day that Mukhtar killed ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad. In fact it is possible that due to dissimulation, some scholars may have wished to change the focus from the second caliph to ‘Umar bin Sa’ad.
The only event that remains is the beginning of the Imamate of al-Mahdi. While his Imamate would have definitely begun on the 8th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, but due to it being a day of mourning, it is befitting to postpone any celebrations to the following day and mark the symbolic beginning of the Imamate of al-Mahdi on the 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal.
 See Fihris al-Turath, of Sayyid Muhammad Husain Husayni Jalali; Volume 1, Page 573. Amal al-Amil, of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili; Volume 2, Page 341, Entry #1050. al-Dhari’ah of Agha Buzurg Tehrani; Entry #4136
 In some manuscripts his name will appear as Huwayj instead of Jarih
 al-Mukhtasar, of Shaykh Hasan bin Sulayman al-Hilli; Page 45
 A’yan al-Shi’a, of Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin; Volume 2, Page 268 – he would have been living around 6/7th century as well
 Zaad al-Ma’ad, of Allamah Majlisi; page 257
 Ithbat al-Huda, of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili; Volume 3, page 211
 Anwar al-Numaniyah, of Nematullah Jazairi; Volume 1, Page 84
 In light of other chain of narrators, this is most probably a copyist error, and it should be Husayn
 Extremist Shi’ites: The Ghulat Sect of Matti Moosa
 Kitab al-Sarair of Ibn Idris Muhammad bin Mansur al-Hilli; Volume 1, Page 419
 Bar-Asher, Meir M., and Aryeh Kofsky. “Dogma and Ritual in “kitāb Al-maʿārif” by the Nuṣayrī Theologian Abū Saʿīd Maymūn B. Al-qāsim Al-ṭabarānī (D. 426/1034-35)”. Arabica 52.1 (2005): 43–65. Web…
 Iqbal al-A’mal, of Sayyid Ibn Ta’us; Section on 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal
 Masaib al-Nawasib fi al-radd ‘ala Nawaqidh al-Rafawidh, a refutation work written by a Shi’i scholar Sayyid Nur Allah bin Sharaf al-Din al-Mar’ashi al-Tustari, on the polemical work of a Sunni scholar Mirza Makhdum al-Sharifi (d. 988 Hijri); Volume 2, Page 240
 فيكون ابتداء ولاية المهدي ع على الأمة يوم تاسع ربيع الأول – Thus the beginning of the Wilayah of al-Mahdi (as) on the Ummah is the day of 9th Rabi al-Awwal – Iqbal al-A’mal of Sayyid ibn Ta’us
 Kamal al-Din of Shaykh Saduq; Volume 2, Page 473
 Zaad al-Ma’ad, of Allamah Majlisi; Page 258
 Tarikh al-Islam of al-Dhahabi; Volume 5, Page 50
 al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaya of Ibn al-Kathir; Volume 8, Page 272 – مقتل عمر بن سعد بن أبى وقاص و هو أمير الجيش الذين قتلوا الحسين
 Tarikh Ibn Khaldun; Volume 3, Page 37
 Ansab al-Ashraf of al-Baladhuri; Volume 6, Page 423
7 thoughts on “Celebrating 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal – What For?”
Salam. How is rabi awwal 66 hijri to Ramadan 67 hijri a 10 month period referring to Mukhtar’s rule?
Update 21st December/2015: There was a minor factual mistake in the section of Mukhtar & ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad which has now been corrected.
This draws the reader to a conclusion to say that the only legitimate reason to celebrate this day is the declaration of the new Imam(as). That would be a paradox as that means to ignore the mourning of the shahadat of the previous Imam(as).
An alternative presentation below. May we all be guided to whatever the truth maybe and not fall for the spin masters throughout history.
I am not going out of my way to encourage that the reason to celebrate on this day should be the beginning of his Imamate (for which Imam do we ever do this…), but rather I am suggesting that if people do end up celebrating something on this day, it is probably the most valid reason as opposed to the other reasons which are completely baseless.
I have read that link before – they make some rookie mistakes such as copying the mis-attribution to Shaykh Mufid from his Masaar (in which he doesn’t say a word about 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal, he didn’t even believe ‘Umar died on that day) and don’t really look at the historicity of the issue. Just relaying the opinions of a few 10-11th century scholar onward is not a very sound methodology at all and one has to be really gullible to attain certainty in matters of historical reality.
They are just copy pasting the words of scholars (Majlisi onward which is 11th century and later) and not really analyzing the narration whereas I am trying to show the roots of this narration to begin with in 4th century Nusayri text. I did not want to lengthen the narration, but there are many other problems with the text as well. For example Hudhayfa was not even in Medina when ‘Umar died, he was in Madain. There is also a lot of Idhtirab in the matn – the oldest text does not mention for example anything about pens (albeit the gist is the same)
some peope say that on this day the heads of ibne saad nd other killers of imam hussain a.s. were sent to imam sajjad a.s. by muqtar thaqafii….nd hence the ahlebait a.s. rejoiced…plz check for this as well
There is nothing available in the books of history that mentions this.