Imam Zaman (a.s.) and Shaikh-e-Mufeed (r.a.)
If we turn the pages of history we will find numerous examples of personalities who have enlivened Islam through their sacrifices of life and wealth. One such personality is Abu Abdullah Muhammad Haaris Akbari famous as Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). Mufeed implies the one who benefits others. He was born approximately seven years after the commencement of Ghaibat-e-Kubra in the month of Zilqad, 336 A.H. in the north of Baghdad. Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) with the help of his vast knowledge passed through various difficulties and welcomed all the obstacles that came his way with a smile. He sipped real recognition from the ocean of Wilayat and quenched the thirst of the followers of Wilayat. He was attached to the infallible Imam (a.s.) and the Shias benefited immensely from him. This man of medium height and wheatish complexion had a ready solution for problems of a religious, ethical and social nature. It is because of this that he had become a thorn in the eyes of his opponents. At the age of 40 years, he shouldered the great responsibility of defending the Shiite creed. It was an era when Greek and Hindu philosophies were rupturing the fabric of traditional Islam. Twisted beliefs and concocted views were finding their way into the realm of Islam. The enemies of Allah had prepared the groundwork to extinguish the light of truth. In such a situation, how could the one who was given the title of ‘Mufeed’ by Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and who was the fifth descendant of Janabe Saeed b. Jubair (a companion of Imam Baqir (a.s.)) sit quiet while ignorance and deviation were raising their heads and corrupt beliefs and views were gaining ascendancy as were the Sufis seated in their shelters (Khaneqaa) Expectedly, he lived up to his title ‘Mufeed’ and with the help of Allah and His Proof (Hujjat) he laid low the false, corrupt beliefs and nonsensical philosophies through his penetrative writings, teachings and training of students for debates.
He rescued the people from deviation and invited them towards the religion of Allah which was manifested through the teachings of Ahlul Bait (a.s.). In this manne r many deviated sects received guidance. May be this was the reason why Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) called him ‘Mufeed’ as he was a helper for Imam (a.t.f.s.) and a source of joy for people. The above possibility is proved through various Tawqees (signed letters) from Imam (a.t.f.s.) to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). But have we ever pondered why Imam (a.t.f.s.) referred to him by the title ‘Mufeed’? Why he received so many letters from Imam (a.t.f.s.)? Why Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his letter remembers Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) respectfully and calls him as his ‘sincere friend’?
The answers to these questions manifest for us the remarkable personality of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). The respect of Imam (a.t.f.s.) for Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) was the result of his memorable services for which he surrendered his entire
existence. For the satisfaction of the Imam of his time, he willingly accepted all the difficulties so as to be enumerated among his (a.t.f.s.) servants. He was engulfed in his love for Imam (a.t.f.s.) in such a way that the flames of this attachment killed his desire for the world and its allurements. In the eyes of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.), everything paled in significance to Allah and His Proof (a.t.f.s.). His heart was a dwelling of the love and remembrance of Imam (a.t.f.s.); it did not have any place for worldly desires. He considered all his small and big works, his behavior (ethics) and speech as the scale of love and satisfaction of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.). He never desired anything other than this. All his efforts and services were for the satisfaction of Imam of the time and for propagating the beliefs of religion to the Shias with weak faith. His life was based on the saying of Imam Sadiq (a.s.):
“Our scholars are an obstacle for Shaitan to reach the weak and helpless Shias. Know that whoever rises from our Shias for this is better than a Mujahid who fights in difficult conditions against the enemies. A Mujahid (only) protects the physical boundaries of people but they (scholars) protect the religion.” With his untiring efforts in the path of Imam Zamana
(a.t.f.s.), Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) merits inclusion among Allah’s best creatures. We find in traditions: ‘The best and most superior of all people after us are those who enliven our affairs and invite people towards our remembrance.” This is the reason that Imam (a.t.f.s.) holds him in such
high esteem and lauds his efforts. Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his first letter to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) addresses him:
‘This letter is for my brother and friend Abu Abdullah Mohammed b. Noman (Shaikh Mufeed) – May Allah keep him respected – May Allah’s Peace be on you, you have adorned yourself with our friendship through sincerity and love and have preceded the rest in faith and belief…We are thankful to Allah for the bounties of your existence. And pray to Allah that He sends his mercy on our Master Hazrat Muhammad b. Abdillah (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s.). For helping the truth and striving to help our friends, Allah has rewarded you and has given us permission to correspond with you.’ ‘It is your responsibility that you convey our message and commands to our Shias – May Allah give them taufeeq of His Obedience and
safeguard them in His Religion…’ In the last Tawqi, Imam (a.t.f.s.) wrote:
‘Know that your actions should be such which bring you closer to us and refrain from sins that are a cause of our dissatisfaction. O Shaikh Mufeed! May Allah inspire you with success and guidance through the unseen.’
(Ehtejaaj, vol. 2, pg. 597, Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 53, pg. 175)
The Tawqis which have been addressed to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by Imam (a.s.) have been compiled by scholars in their books viz. Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.) in Ehtejaaj, Qazi Nurullah Shustari (r.a.) in Majaalisul Momineen, Allamah Sayyed Bahrul Uloom (r.a.) in Rejaal, Sayyed Muhammed Baqir Khunsari (r.a.) in Rauzaatul Jannaat, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) in Behaarul Anwaar, Allamah Muhaddisse Noori (r.a.) in Mustadrakil Wasaail and Shaikh Abdullah Maamqaani (r.a.) in Tanqeehul Maqaal and Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.) in Qasasul Ulamaa. Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.) has recorded a Tawqi which is based on a strange incident. Over here we have extracted only the relevant portion from the incident. Marhum Tankaabuni narrates, “A person from the suburbs of Baghdad approached Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) to seek the solution of a vexing problem. He asked, “A pregnant woman has expired but her child is alive in the womb, what do you say? Should the foetus be removed through surgery or be buried along with the woman?'” Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) replied, “Bury the mother along with the foetus.” On getting the reply, the man left for his village. On the way, a horse rider crossed his path. He asked the man to halt and said, ‘Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) has said that the foetus should be removed from the womb through surgery and then the woman be buried alone.'” The person accepted it and acted on it. After some time, the man came to Baghdad and narrated the incident to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) said, ‘I did not send anybody with this edict. It seems that the person was Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) (who gave the edict)’. Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) says, “After this (wrong edict) I am not capable of giving edicts and undertaking the responsibility of Marjaeyyat. After that day I closed the doors of my house and told the people to no longer seek solutions of their problems from me. It was not long before I received a letter from Imam (a.t.f.s.) in which he (a.t.f.s.) wrote: “You give edicts, we will save you from mistakes and errors. We will not desert you to commit mistakes.'” In this m Arial”>anner, Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by the order of Imam (a.t.f.s.) shouldered the responsibility of Marjaeyyat and recommenced solving the problems of the people.
At the end we can only beseech our beloved Imam – O son of Prophet! O son of Zahra! We lack the spirituality of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). We do not love you with the same intensity. On the contrary, we are immersed in sins from head to toe. Help us to love you. O our Master! Help us, look at us, to enable us toe walk on the Straight Path. O Allah! For the sake of Muhammed and his progeny (a.s.), hasten the reappearance of the last inheritor of religion (a.t.f.s.). Aameen!