Story of Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim and a descendant of ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb
Translated by Shabbir Agha Abbas
We find in Tārīkh al-Baghdād, continuing Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-’Alawī’s (d. 358/969) narrative of the life of Imām al-Kāẓim (d. 183/799) based on his grandfather Yahyā b. al-Ḥasan’s* report.
The report is as follows:
“My grandfather mentioned to me that in Madinah, a man from the descendants of ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb was once speaking ill and insulting ‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib. In response some from the retinue of Imām al-Kāẓim cried out: “let us kill him!”
However, the Imām prohibited them and rebuked them severely, and he asked the whereabouts of this ‘Umarī, and it was mentioned to him that he was farming in the outskirts of Madīnah. Imām al-Kāẓim rode to him at his farm finding him therein, and he entered his farmland without dismounting from his donkey.
The ‘Umarī angrily cried out: “do not trample my crops!”
But the Imām ignored his pleas, and he continued on towards him trampling the crops with the hooves of his donkey, and it was not till he reached the ‘Umarī that he dismounted and sat with him with a smile on his face, and he asked him:
“How much did you spend on these [now ruined] crops of yours?”
The ‘Umarī responded: “one hundred dinars.”
The Imām then asked: “And how much did you hope to get from it?”
The ‘Umarī [sarcastically] said: “I do not possess ‘Ilm al-Ghayb.”
The Imām responded: “I only asked of you ‘how much did you hope to get from it?’”
The ‘Umarī answered: “I hoped to get two hundred dinars.”
And the Imām then said: “I give for it [these ruined crops] three hundred dinars.”
And the ‘Umarī [gratefully] responded: “These crops are yours upon this [ruined] state.”
Then my grandfather said that the ‘Umarī stood up and kissed the Imām’s head and left. Later on Imām al-Kāẓim went to Masjid al-Nabawī and found the ‘Umarī sitting, and when he [the ‘Umarī] saw the Imām he exclaimed [in praise of the Ahl al-Bayt]:
ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ حَيۡثُ يَجۡعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ
“Allah knows best where He places His message” (Qur’ān 6:124)
My grandfather said that upon hearing this the Imām’s companions jumped in shock asking:
“What is your story? You used to say the opposite of this!” And they quarreled.
He then explained that this descendant of ‘Umar continued to announce this Qur’ānic declaration in honor of Abū al-Hasan Mūsā [al-Kāẓim] whenever the Imām entered or exited Masjid al-Nabawī.
Abū al-Hasan Mūsā [didactically] asked his retinue, knowing that they once desired to kill this ‘Umarī:
“Which is from goodness, what you wanted (his death)? Or what I wanted, the correcting of his destiny?”
(Relevant section from Tārīkh al-Baghdād (v. 13, p 30) below)
* Yahyā b. al-Ḥasan was was one of the teachers of al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq (d. 381/991), and he was an important ‘Alid