He was one of the high rank members of his tribe. Just like his colleagues, he had a long hatred for Ali (PBUH) and his sons and he was even proud of that. His tribe was later called “Khawarij (Kharijites)” which means those who revolted against the commander of faithful, Ali (PBUH). Since they had considered Ali and his sons – Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) – as infidels, they posed a war against them later on.
His name was Nafe’ Ibn Arzaq and he was one of the leaders of Khawarij. Once upon a time he entered Masjid al-Haram; Husain Ibn Ali (PBUH) and Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas were sitting in a corner. Nafe’ went and sit with them. After a few minutes Nafe’ turned to Ibn Abbas and said: “O Ibn ‘Abbas! Describe the God Who you worship.”
Ibn ‘Abbas was silent for a while and did not say anything. Hussain (PBUH) turned to Nafe’ and said: “O Nafe’! I will answer your question.”
Nafe’ kept no respect for the son of Prophet and addressed Hussain (PBUH) impolitely: “I did not ask you the question.”
Ibn Abbas told Nafe’: “Don’t talk to the son of Prophet in this manner. He belongs to the progeny of the Prophet and he is a great source of wisdom.”
Nafe’ turned to Imam Hussain (PBUH) and said: “Describe the God for me.”
Even though Imam Hussain (PBUH) had seen Nafe’s bad behavior, he pretended that nothing had happened and said:
“I describe Allah the way He described Himself and I know Him they way He introduced Himself for us. He is the One Who cannot be understood with senses of mankind and He is not comparable with the creatures. He is close to us but not connected. He is far while He is not away. He is the only one who has no parts. There is no Lord except Him. He is the greatest and the Most High.”
The narrator says Nafe’ started to cry heavily. Imam Hussain (PBUH) asked him: “What made you cry?”
Nafe’ replied: “The beauty of your words made me cry.”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) said: “O Nafe’! I have heard that you accuse my father, brother, and me of being unbelievers.”
Nafe’ replied: “By Allah I swear that from what I heard from you today, I have no doubt that you are the luminous fountain of Islam and the highlights of the commands of Allah.”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) said: “O Nafe’ let me ask you a question about the words of Allah in the Holy Quran: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their maturity and then take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord …” (2) Who had protected the treasure of those children until they were mature enough to manage their heritage.”
Nafe’ said: “Their father.”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) said: “Which one has a higher status: the parents of those two children or Prophet Muhammad and his daughter Fatimah?”
Nafe’ who got Imam’s point, could not either say a word or accept the issue. Thus decided to leave that place…
Allah (SWT) protected the wealth of a father for many years until that heritage can be given to the actual inheritors; as sign of respect for on of His pious servant. But, can anyone believe that Allah (SWT) would not protect the treasure of knowledge and guidance of the His Messenger who is the best of all people? Wouldn’t Allah (SWT) guard such treasure for its true inheritors? Who else is more deserving than Prophet’s righteous progeny who have been trained in the house of revelation?
(Reference: Selected from “Tafsir al-Ayyashi”, by Muhammad ibn Mas’ud Ayyashi)(3)
On behalf of Roshd website, we congratulate the 3rd of Sha’ban, the birthday of the third Imam, the example for all freemen, the ship of salvation, and the master of martyrs, Aba Abdillah al-Hussain (PBUH).
“On the third of Sha’ban in year 4 A.H. the city of Medina witnessed the birth of a boy in the house of Lady Fatimah (PBUH) and Imam Ali (PBUH); he was later nicknamed the “Master of Martyrs”…
On this auspicious occasion the Roshd website is proud to update the beliefs section. A new article entailing the first part of the life of Imam Hussain (PBUH) from his birth to the beginning of his Imamate has been uploaded. In order to read this article click here.
1- Ibn Abbas was of the outstanding students of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH). He is considered as a great interpreter and scholar of his time in the eyes of Sunnis.
2- The Holy Quran, 18:82. In this verse Allah (SWT) points to the story of Moses and Khedr (PBUT) where they reached a city and there was an old wall. The wall was about to collapse and Khedr fixed the wall by the command of Allah (SWT). This verse points to the reason why this wall had to be fixed.
3- Besides Tafsir al-Ayyashi (vol.2, p.338), this narration may also be found in the following books:
– Tarikh Madinah Damishq, vol. 14, p. 184
– Tawhid by Sheikh Saduq, p. 80
– Raudah al-Wa’edhin, p. 34
– Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, p. 290
– Bihar al-Anwaar, vol. 33, p. 424