Home / All / A Study on Imām al-Jawād’s Marriage (ʿa) to Maʼmūn’s Daughter

A Study on Imām al-Jawād’s Marriage (ʿa) to Maʼmūn’s Daughter

During the 250-year life of the Infallible Imāms (ʿa), we come across cases that have been questioned throughout history.

The 25 years of silence of ImāmʿAlī (ʿa), the truce of Imām al-Mujtabā (ʿa), the uprising of Imām al-Ḥusayn with his wife and children in an unequal battle, acceptance of the crown princeship (wilāyat al-ʿahdī) of Imām al-Riḍā  (ʿa) and the marriage of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) with Maʼmūn’s daughter named Umm al-Faḍlare of those types of historical ambiguities.

Here, our researchers have chosen one of two ways and answered.First, they said, since we cannot confirm these matters to the outward aspect of the sharīʿah, and on the other hand, the pure Imāms are infallible;these matters are necessarily divine secrets and no one knows that secret.The second way;analyzing and stating possible causes that may play a role in this part of the history of the Imāms (ʿa). We do not think that the first way can be offered to the questioning society of today’s generation.

In our opinion, the first way is not perfect and cannot be offered to today’s questioning society.That whenever we did not know the answer to a question immediately seek help from the category of “secrets,” is one of the intellectual sediments of the Ashʿarites that has penetrated among us.Because they are not able to defend themselves in the face of a multitude of objections to the idea of “determinism” and rely on this verse of the Holy Qurʿān, “He is not questioned concerning what He does.”[21:23]

Another problem with these types of answers is that,if we seek to relate the manners (sīrah) of the Imāms (ʿa) to secrets, the fact that they are “the living model of all ages will be meaningless.” In this case, it is possible for someone to say that an Imām whose life is full of “secrets” or “practice of the unseen” or “miracles,” how can he be my role model that I do not have all those attributes?!But the second way is a good way because the scientific and research space is open for more accurate and up-to-date answers.

Regarding the marriage of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) with the daughter of Maʼmūn, it is necessary to pay attention to a few points, and according to these points, the correct answer appears.

Firstly, we must place ourselves in that era when researching complex historical events and see that after the martyrdom of Imām al-Riḍā (ʿa), the finger of accusation was pointed at Maʼmūn by the Shīʻāhs of Khorāsān, Iraq, Baghdād and Hijāz and Maʼmūn touched on it closely after coming to Baghdād.

Here, Maʼmūn has no way to get rid of the accusation that led to his curse and rebuke, so he decided to get out of that accusation and attract and attract the attention of the Shīʿahs and ʿAlawītes.Therefore, he wrote a letter to Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) and honourably and respectfully asked him to go to Baghdād, in order to remove the mental conspiracy that people have of him with great respect and reverence in the public eye towards the Imām (ʿa).

Therefore, he wrote a letter to Imam al-Jawad (a) and respectfully asked him to go to Baghdād to take out the mentality that people have of him with great reverence and reverence in public towards The Imam.

Secondly, Maʼmūn is also a human being and has normal human desires. Every human being likes to leave his beloved daughter to the best.Is it not true that Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) demonstrated his vast knowledge in his childhood and fascinate everyone from Shīʿahs and Sunnis and non-Muslims?

That is why Shaykh al-Mufīd in his book al-Irshād confirmed and acknowledged the marriage of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) in this way. That this marriage was due to Maʼmūn’s love for the Imām (ʿa) and his belief in Imām al-Jawād’s grace.Thus, when the ʿAbbāsids strongly objected to Maʼmūn, his response to this was, “The reason why I chose Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī [Imām al-Jawād (ʿa)]as my son-in-law is because of his superiority in science and knowledge over all scientists of the time, although he is a child. Indeed, his knowledge is amazing and I hope that what I know about him will be revealed to the people so that they will know that the correct opinion is what I expressed about him.”

Thirdly, Maʼmūn is also living by natural human desires and like any other ruler wants and his government strategy requires that he be fully aware of his opponents and the opposition of his government. Now, who better than his daughter can inform the father about the personal life of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa)?

Fourthly, based on the analysis of human mental states and personality, love, and hate, another point that can be raised in the reason for this marriage is that Maʼmūn, who is himself a scientist and a very shrewd person, observed that the family of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ) have a special greatness.Now, why shouldn’t he do this now that he can place his descendants, through his daughter, in the generation of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) and finally the family of the Prophet, and immortalize his name, family and generation?!Assume that Umm al-Faḍl had a son from Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) and attained the position of Imāmate, was not this transfer of Imāmate to the ʿAbbāsid dynasty?

Fifthly, according to the same human desire, whoever comes to power,likes to take his opponent off the stage without a fight or a battle, and to be at the forefront of the present and the future. Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) has virtues and is favoured by public opinion. By bringing the Imām closer to the government system, the glory and power of Imām will be damaged. That is why he brought Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) into his house and he was somewhat successful in this plan.The evidence is that he transferred the life of the Imām from Madīnah to Baghdād and provided good conditions for the residence of the Imām. Basically, his intention was that this royal and luxurious life that was full of splendour will make the Imām face the challenge of the people’s faith and heart.

Ḥusayn al-Makkārī’s question is an example of public opinion on the subject that criticizes the way of Imām al-Jawād’s (ʿa) life and according to Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāwandī, Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) answered as follows,

O Ḥusayn, Barley bread and coarse salt in the city of the Messenger of God, Madīnah, is better for me than what you see here in Baghdād.” Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) not only did not remain silent but enlightened the people.

Another point in this marriage is why did Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) accept such a marriage? Here, as in the previous case, we should not withdraw ourselves from the context of the story and answer that the acceptance of this marriage by the Imām is one of the divine secrets and no one knows!

Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) was really persecuted by Maʼmūn.For example, it is quoted in Kitāb al-Kāfī: Maʼmūn wanted to make the Imām inclined to deceptive charms of the world by hiring a singer for the Imām,which with the decisive answer of the Imām, this plan also came to naught.

Or another case is that the book al-Manāqib quotes and discusses the complexity and evil intentions of Maʼmūn.Maʼmūn uses every plan and trick to destroy the character of the Imām. One of his plans was that, when he wanted to marry his daughter to the Imām, he ordered one hundred of his most beautiful maids and took each of them a cup in which there was a shining jewel and offered it to Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) to tempt him!But the Imām did not pay any attention to them.

Another example:He sent a person named Mukhāriq, who had a long beard and his job was playing and singing, to the Imām. Mukhāriq sat in front of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) and began to sing and play. Imām  al-Jawād (ʿa) did not pay any attention to him and after a while, he raised his head and said: “Fear God!”As soon as the Imām’s talk was over, the ʿawd and the tanbūr (musical instruments) fell from the hands of the Mukhāriq, his hand became paralyzed and he remained paralyzed for the rest of his life.

These examples show a strong, mysterious and hypocritical policy called “marriage” that was formed against the Imām. If a person who is an Imām and has the knowledge of the unseen and dignity, but at the same time, like all other human beings, he is commissioned to a normal life. He is in a state that is completely under the influence of the ruling power. The shadow of the father lifted from his head.What can he do if he is offered a forced marriage?Should he resist and risk his life and obscure the leadership of the Shīʿahs, or should he accept this compulsion like any other human being?

Of course, Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) did not stop fighting and by showing his negative spirit, showed his reluctance and opposition to this marriage to everyone and exposed the political goals far from the ethics of the government of the time and made them a disgrace to history?

This is exactly what Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) did when he saw that there was no escape from this imposed marriage.Despite the opposition of his wife, Umm al-Faḍl, he emigrated from Baghdād to Madīnah. Umm al-Faḍl’s complaining letters to his father Maʼmūn about living in Madīnah show the success of Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) and the defeat of Maʼmūn. Umm al-Faḍl wrote in a letter to her father that Imām al-Jawād (ʿa)married other women and this made me jealous. Maʼmūn wrote in response to his daughter,“My daughter, I did not marry you to Imām al-Jawād (ʿa) until you forbid him doing ḥalāl (marriage to women other than you), then do not say what you mentioned.

The important question that arises here is how our Imāms, given their awareness of the future of the earth and time, put themselves in such a situation and accept a marriage that his wife will kill him?The answer to this famous question is that just as the Imāms (ʿa) have the status of “infallibility”(ʿiṣmah), they also have the status of “knowledge of the unseen”(ʿilm al-ghayb) and we have no any doubt in this belief. But the question is, whether the Imāms (ʿa) are obliged to use their knowledge of the unseen in normal and daily relations and the face of political, social and family phenomena?The answer is definitely no.Because in this case, neither perfection can be proved for them, nor can they can be a model for humanity.ʿAllāmah Ṭabāṭabāʼī has stated, “The Imām’s knowledge of the unseen does not create any duty for them and they have no responsibility for future events.”

About Ali Teymoori

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