The Popular Revolts Against the Abbasid Caliphs
The Muslims hated the 'Abba`sid government, were very indignant with it, and had wished that the Umayyad government would have return to them regardless of its cruelty and torture, for they (the Abba`sids) ruled the community with oppression and tyranny.
'Abd al-Rahma`n al-Afr´~qi said to al-Mansu`r al-Dawa`niqi: "Oppression has appeared in our country, so I have come to inform you (of it). Suddenly, (I have seen) oppression comes out of your country; I have seen evil deeds and widespread oppression. I think that oppression has occurred because the country is far from you. The more I approach you, the more dreadful the matter is!"
Al-Mansu`r was very displeased with these words of 'Abd al-Rahma`n al-Afr´~qi and ordered him to be driven out.
Al-Mansu`r asked b. Abu` Dhu'ayb: "Which a man am I?"
He answered him with the statement of the free one who does not submit to authority, saying: "By Allah, you are the most wicked man in my opinion! You have seized the property of Allah and His Apostle, the share of the near of kin, the orphans, the needy! You have destroyed the weak and followed the strong and taken hold of their properties!"
The policy of the 'Abba`sid kings was the same in oppression and tyranny. Ahmed b. Abu` Na'´~m says:
I do not thing that tyranny will terminate while over the people is an Emir from the family of 'Abba`s!
Because of this line poetry, al-Ma'mu`n banished him to al-Sind. 3 Abu` 'Ata`' al-Sindi says:
I wish that the tyranny of the Banu of Marwan lasted for us and wish that the justice of the Banu` of 'Abba`s was in the Fire!
Sal´m al-'Adawi urged the community to revolt against the 'Abba`sid government, saying:
Till when will we not see justice pleasing us and not see helpers for those who undertake the truth?
We are clinging to the truth and undertaking it when the tyrants are changeable.
O men, surely this is an illness for which there is no medicine, and a blind leader who leads blind people!
Sudayf, the poet of the free, says:
We hope that our friendliness will return after the alienation, the enmity, and the malice, and that the state whose leaders (implement) among us laws like those of people worshipping idols will terminate.
This poetry spread and al-Mansu`r heard of it, so he ordered his governor 'Abd al-Samad to bury him (Sudayf) alive, and he did.
Dr. Ahmed Mahmu`d Subhi says: "However, that ideal of justice and equity for which the people waited from the 'Abba`sids was one of the imaginations, for the wildness of al-Mansu`r and al-Rash´d, their greediness, the oppression of the sons of 'Ali b. 'Isa and their playing with the properties of the Muslims remind us of al-Hajja`jj, Hisha`m, and Yu`suf b. 'Amru` al-Thaqafi.
Displeasure dominated the people when Abu` 'Abd Allah better known as al-Saffa`h and al-Mansu`r started (their government) with going too far in shedding blood in a manner which had never been known before. "
The Muslims were indignant with the 'Abba`sid government, for it did not achieve their aims and hopes. Rather it was busy with recklessness, violence and forcing the people to do what they hated.
Discords and Popular Revolts
Discords surged over Islamic world and popular revolts spread in it. Without doubt, these discords and revolts resulted from the evil 'Abba`sid policy, which did not take care of the interests of society and its ambitions aiming at achieving political and social justice among the people.
The following is an example of the important revolts which broke out during the time of Ima`m al-Rida`:
The Revolt of Abu` al-Saraya
As for the revolt of Abu` al-Sara`ya`, it was among the most important revolts which broke out in that time. At this revolt the Muslims lost two hundred fighters. We will talk about some characteristics of this revolt as follows:
The Leader of the Revolt
As for the leader, designer, and planner of this revolt, he is the great 'Alawide, Mohammed b. Ibrah´m, better known as al-Tabataba'i.1 This great, noble 'Alawide saw that the 'Alawides and the Muslims were liable to oppression, persecution, exemplary punishments, and exhaustion, so he got ready to announce his revolt in order to save them from the ruling 'Abba`sid band. The historians said that he was gentle and kind to the poor and the deprived.
One day while he was walking in a street in Ku`fa, he saw an old woman following the loads of dates, picking up those falling dates and putting them into a ragged garment. He asked her about that and she answered him: "I am a woman with a husband who undertakes my provisions, and I have daughters who do nothing, so I follow these dates on the road. My children and I live on them."
When he heard these words, his strength collapsed, he burst into tears, turned to her and said to her warmly: "By Allah, you and the like of you will make me go out (with the sword) and my blood will be shed. "
This mercy toward the poor moved him to announce his revolt, that he might save them from the oppressive who plundered the properties of the community.
Accordingly, Mohammed began making arrangements through communicating with men of opinion and influence from among Arab leaders and Muslim great figures. He asked them to join him and to take part in resisting oppression and overthrowing the standing government, and hence he met the great Arab leader Nasr b. Shayth and presented the matter before him, and he began announcing his support to him and urging him to revolt against the government, saying to him: "Till when will you be submissive, your Sh´'ites oppressed, and your right usurped? "
These words moved the sentiments and feelings of Mohammed and he hurried to revolt against the 'Abba`sid government. That was when he saw that the 'Abba`sids were different, their word was separated, and their unity was broken up because of the dreadful discord which took place between al-Am´n and al-Ma'mu`n, and which split the government and made society think of a revolt against them to save itself from the persecutions of the 'Abba`sid government.
Abu al-Saraya joins the Revolt
The revolt increased in strength and firmness when Abu` al-Sara`ya`, the experienced leader, joined it. Abu` al-Sara`ya` was an 'Alawide in opinion, so he felt burning desire for the 'Alawides who suffered from the persecutions of the 'Abba`sids. It is an act of good to talk about some affairs of this inspired leader.
He is al-Sari b. Mansur al-Shayba`ni. He was a brave revolutionist from among the 'Usa`mi commanders. He took part in many battles. When the discord took place between al-Am´~n and al-Ma'mu`n, he joined the army of Herthama b. 'Ayun along with two thousand fighters. Then he was given the title of Am´r (i.e. commander).
When al-Am´n was killed, Herthama decreased the gifts and salaries of the army. This step displeased Abu al-Saraya, and he decided to leave him. Abu al-Saraya asked Herthama for permission to make the pilgrimage, he permitted him and gave him twenty thousand dirhams. He took this sum of money and divided it among his followers, and with this he was able to make their hearts incline to him, and then he ordered them to follow him to 'Ayn al-Tamr.
When they arrived at it, they captured its governor and took his belongings. They met another 'Abbasid governor and took his properties and divided them among themselves. When Herthama heard of this news, he lost his mind and sent an army to fight against Abu al-Saraya. When the two armies met, a violent battle occurred between them, hence the army of Herthama suffered heavy casualties and turned the back in flight. Then Abu` al-Sara`ya headed for al-Anba`r (a city in Iraq). When he arrived in it, he controlled the local administration, killed its governor Ibrah´m al-Sharwari, and confiscated all his properties.
Abu al-Saraya meets Mohammed b.Ibrahim
Abu al-Saraya and his army continued their advance towards the 'Abba`sid centers. When they arrived in a certain country, they killed its 'Abba`sid governor. Then they reached al-Riqqa and therein they met the great leader Mohammed b. Ibra`h´~m. They held talks and discussed the oppression of the 'Abba`sids toward the Muslims. As a result they decided to put an end to the 'Abba`sid government and to summon (the Muslims) to pledge allegiance to al-Rida` from among the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family.
Mohammed entrusted the general military leadership to Abu` al-Sara`ya`, gave him confidence, and entrusted him with all the affairs and plans of the revolt.
The Declaration of the Revolt
Abu al-Saraya declared the revolt against the 'Abbasid government; he took his army and advanced towards Naynawa. Then he headed for the Holy Shrine of the Father of the free and master of martyrs, Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him. He visited the Pure Shrine for a long time. Then he recited the following poetry lines of al-Nimry, saying:
May my own soul be sacrificed for al-Husayn when he left early in the morning for death running, not returning.
That day attacked with its sword the hump and shoulder of Islam.
You hurried (to death) lest an urgent vengeance should befall the people.
Allah does not hasten when you hasten; your Lord is not heedless of what you see.
She (Fatima) is wronged and the Prophet, her father, turns (his) eye in all directions, (and he is) interested (in the tragedy).
Are there any brave men to rise for her through drawing their sharp swords and spears?
Then he said in a loud voice: "If there is anyone of the Zaydiya, let him rise!"
A group of the army rose and he delivered a long sermon in which he lauded the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, mentioned their laudable deeds and excellent merits, oppression and persecution caused to them by their opponents and enemies, and then he reminded them of the master of martyrs, Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him, saying:
"People, suppose that you were not present with al-Husayn and did not help him, then what has prevented you from (helping) him whom you have met and followed, while he will tomorrow go out (in revolt) to avenge his blood, his right, the heritage of his fathers and to establish the religion of Allah?
What has prevented you from helping and supporting him? From this direction of mine, I am heading for Ku`fa to carry out Allah's command, to defend His religion, and to help the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt)? So if you intend to go, then follow me!"
The Zaydiya and others responded to him, so Abu` al-Sara`ya` and his army headed for Ku`fa.
As for Mohammed, he declared the revolt on the same day when Abu` al-Sara`ya` declared his revolt, and many people supported him. He impatiently waited for the arrival of Abu` al-Sara`ya. Many days passed to the extent that Mohammed's followers scattered from him and blamed him for seeking help from Abu` al-Sara`ya`. Mohammed was sad because of Abu` al-Sara`ya`'s delay. While he was anxious and worried, Abu` al-Sara`ya` and his army reached them. So he became very pleased. He rose for him and embraced him.
He stayed with him for some days, then they headed for Ku`fa. When they arrived in it, they were warmly received by its people who were delighted at their arrival and pledged allegiance to them.
The army of Abu al-Saraya occupied Kufa and plundered the palace of al-Fadl b. 'Isa, the governor of Ku`fa, of all things available in it. As for Abu al-Saraya, he was displeased with this behavior of his army, so he ordered it to refrain from taking anything and to return the looted things to their owners.
Al-Hasan b. Sahl, who was appointed by al-Ma'mu`n as a ruler over Iraq, dispatched three thousand horsemen under the leadership of Zuhayr b. al-Hasan in order to fight against Abu` al-Saraya. When they arrived in Ku`fa, they met the army of Abu` al-Sara`ya` at a violent battle. As a result, they turned the back in flight, and the army of Abu` al-Sara`ya` took all their weapons. Abu al-Saraya` gained a marvelous victory over the 'Abbasids, hence fear and terror spread among them, most of them were sure that the revolt was successful, and that they would face a dreadful fate.
The Death of the Leader Mohammed b.Ibrahim
Unfortunately, Mohammed b. Ibrah´m, the great leader, died. Most historical sources believed that he died a natural death, but some sources said that Abu` al-Sara`ya` put poison in food and gave it to him in order to assassinate him and get rid of him. More likely, he died a natural death, and Abu al-Saraya had no role in his death, for the revolt was at the beginning. It was not possible, any how, for Abu al-Sara`ya` to assassinate him in those critical circumstances, for he was not sure of the success of the revolt.
Any how, Abu` al-Sara`ya` prepared Mohammed's pure corpse for burial. He ordered it to be washed and shrouded. Then the people carried it to the cemetery of al-Ghary in the darkness of night. 1They buried it there, and then they returned to Ku`fa. In the morning Abu` al-Sara`ya` gathered they people and announced the death of the great leader Mohammed b. Ibra`h´~m and condoled them. The people wept in loud voices, so Abu` al-Saraya turned to them and said: "Abu` 'Abd Allah has appointed Abu` al-Hasan 'Ali b. 'Ubayd Allah as his testamentary trustee. If you consent to him, then he is the consent; otherwise, choose (someone else) for yourselves."
The members of the army kept silent. So Mohammed b. Mohammed, an 'Alawide young man, addressed the 'Alawides, saying: "O family of 'Ali, surely the religion of Allah is not supported by failure, and the hand of this man (i.e. Abu` al-Sara`ya`) is not evil with us, for he has given vent to our anger and avenged (the blood of al-Husayn)."
Then he turned to 'Ali b. 'Ubayd Allah and asked him: "What do you say, Abu` al-Hasan? For he advised us (to choose) you. Stretch out your hand, that we may pledge allegiance to you."
'Ali b. 'Ubayd Allah replied: "Surely, Abu` 'Abd Allah (i.e. Mohammed b. Ibra`h´~m), may Allah have mercy on him, chose (me). He had confidence in himself, and he did his best to (accomplish) Allah's right. (As for me), I will not refuse his will neglect his command and leave this (matter). However, I fear that I may busy myself with it and leave other things which are more praiseworthy and better than it in the final result. So undertake leadership, may Allah have mercy upon you. We have entrusted you with leadership over us. You are the consent with us and confidence in ourselves."
Then he turned to Abu` al-Sara`ya` and asked him: "What do you see? Are you content with him?"
"My consent conforms with your consent and my view conforms with your view," replied Abu` al-Sara`ya`.
Mohammed b. Mohammed stretched out his hand, and the people pledged allegiance to him. In the meantime he began organizing the affairs of his government with firm resolution, and then he appointed governors over the Islamic cities conquered by Abu` al-Sara`ya` as follows:
1. He appointed Isma'´l b. 'Ali as governor over Ku`fa.
2. He appointed Ibrah´m b. Ima`m Mu`sa` b. Ja'far as governor over Yemen.
3. He appointed Zayd b. Mu`sa` as governor over Al-Ahwa`z.
4. He appointed al-'Abba`s b. Mohammed as governor over Basrah.
5. He appointed al-Hasan b. al-Hasan al-Aftas as governor over Mecca.
6. He appointed Ja'far b. Mohammed b. Zayd as governor over Wa`sit.
He also appointed Rouh b. al-Hajja`jj as commander over the police and entrusted the judiciary to 'Asim b. 'Amir. Currency was minted in Ku`fa and it was written in it this holy verse: Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.
The Muslims were tired of the 'Abbasid government, so they happily responded to the 'Alawide government, and the revolt quickly began to spread in Islamic world.
The 'Abba`sids understood the danger which would threaten their lives and remove their authority. The ruler of Iraq, al-Hasan b. Sahl, was defeated, so he wrote to Ta`hir b. al-Husayn in order to join him in the fighting against Abu` al-Sara`ya. But a letter was written to him in which were the following poetry lines:
Certainty uncovers the mask of doubt; and the sedate opinion is your best scheming.
Act carefully before he will execute against you an affair whose evil will excite a hidden illness.
Do you entrust Ta`hir with fighting the people while he has adopted support for them and obedience to them?
He will cause to you difficulties which will result in a fierce war.
And he will send out the things hidden in his heart; when the safeguarded things manifest, they will not disappear.
So take care of sureness, for its features have become luminous, while doubts have become dark.
Then take what you want through a decisive opinion; consider it carefully and leave that which does not occur.
When al-Hasan read these poetry lines, he changed his mind and wrote to Herthama b. A'yun asking him to come quickly to him and delegated al-Sindi b. Sha`hik to meet him. There was an enmity and mutual alienation between al-Hasan and Herthama. When al-Sindi met him and handed him the letter. He read it and said:
"We paved the way to the caliphate and cleared its sides for them, and then they took hold of the affairs and possessed alone the direction over us. When they face a certain attitude because of their bad direction and their losing the affairs, they want to set it right through us. No, by Allah, we will not honor them until the Commander of the faithful (i.e. al-Ma'mu`n) know their evil traces and ugly deeds."
Al-Sindi turned away from him and despaired of him. Then a letter came to him from al-Mansu`r b. al-Mahdi. When he read the letter, he responded and returned to Baghdad. When he arrived at al-Nahrwa`n, the people of Baghdad went out to receive him. At the head of them were the prominent figures and the commanders of the army. When they saw him, they dismounted. He stopped at his house.
Al-Hasan b. Sahl ordered the records of the army to be brought to him. They were brought to him and he chose whomever he liked of men. The public Muslim treasuries were opened for him. So Herthama gathered an army and made arrangements to fight against Abu` al-Sara`ya`.
When he completed his army, which was composed of thirty thousand fighters raging between horsemen and infantry soldiers, he took them and advanced towards Kufa. In the first place, he passed through al-Mada'in, defeated its governor and occupied it. Then he advanced towards Kufa and his army met the army of Abu al-Saraya.
They clashed and terrible fights occurred between them. Many followers of Abu al-Saraya were killed and his military forces collapsed. Abu al-Saraya was unable to protect Kufa, his Capital, so he left it for al-Qadisiya (in Iraq), and then he left it for al-Sus, whose inhabitants closed the gates at his face.
He asked them to open the gates and they did. Then a fight took place between the inhabitants of al-Sus and Abu al-Saraya, who was forced to leave the city for Khurasa`n. He stopped in a village called Barqa`na`.
The governor of Khurasa`n went to him and gave him security, and he responded to him. In the meantime the governor sent Abu` al-Sara`ya` to al-Hasan b. Sahl, who was then in al-Mada`'in. When Abu` al-Sara`ya` arrived in al-Mada`'in, al-Hasan b. Sahl ordered him to be killed, and he was killed. Then he ordered his head to be crucified at the eastern side of Baghdad as well as he ordered his body to be crucified at the western side of it.
The period between Abu` al-Saraya`'s revolt and his murder was ten months.
With that this important revolt ended and about two hundred thousand fighters were killed during it. Without doubt this revolt and the like resulted from the bad 'Abba`sid policy which spared no effort to oppress the people and to force them to lead a life of abasement and enslavement. Any how, the political life in the time of the Ima`m, peace be on him, was disorderly and ugly, for disorders spread and rebellions against the 'Abba`sid government dominated most regions of Islamic world.
Severe Punishments on the 'Alawides
The 'Abba`sids openly persecuted the 'Alawides, inflicted severe punishments on them, and killed them. As for Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him, he witnessed some of these severe punishments.
Al-Mansu`r al-Dawa`niqi was the first to bring about the discord between the 'Alawides and the 'Abbasids. 1 It was he who said: "I killed one thousand or more (persons) of the progeny of Fa`tima, and I left their master, protector, and Ima`m, Ja'far b. Mohammed. "
He killed this number of the children of Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, that he might make them provisions for him through offering them to Allah, the Exalted, and their grandfather, Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. It was he who left behind him the case of the heads of the 'Alawides, and attached to each head a piece of paper on which he wrote the name of the 'Alawide. The case contained the heads of old men, children, and youths.
He said to Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him: "I will kill you and your family, that I may leave none of you on earth! "
When Abu` al-Qa`sim al-Rassi escaped from al-Mansu`r and went to al-Sind, he said:
The tyrant is not satisfied with our blood which he sheds every where, and he does not fall short of looking for (us).
Nothing will quench his thirst except that he will not see on earth a son belongs to the daughter of the Prophet.
Al-Sayyid Am´r 'Ali said: "Shedding the blood of the children of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, is the worst page in the history of the 'Abbasid state."
In the time of al-Ha`di, the 'Alawide family suffered from fear and terrorism, for he (al-Ha`di) terrified them, looked for them, stopped their livelihoods, and wrote to (the governors of) the distant regions in order to summon them.
He was the leader at the Battle of Fakh, which was similar to the Battle of Karbala`' in tragedies, for the number of the heads which were sent to him was more than one hundred. Children and women were captured. The captives along with the children were killed.
In the time of al-Rash´d, the 'Alawides suffered from severe and cruel oppression. In this regard al-Fakhri said: "He (i.e. al-Rash´d) was not afraid of Allah and His acts with respect to the leading members of 'Ali, while they were the innocent children of the daughter of his Prophet.
He swore (by Allah) that he would kill them and their followers. He said: 'Till when will I be patient toward the family of Abu` Ta`lib? By Allah, I will kill them and their followers.' "
He ordered his governor over Medina (Yathrib) to force the 'Alawides to guarantee each other.It was he who demolished the grave of the master of martyrs and sweet basil of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, Ima`m al-Husayn. He ordered the nabk in whose shade the visitors sat to be cut down. This was done by his governor over Ku`fa Mu`sa` b.Isaal-'Abbasi.
The most dreadful sin which he committed was his assassinating the Ima`m of the Muslims and master of the Allah-fearing, Musa b. Ja'far, peace be on him. That was after he had spent many years in his (al-Rash´d's) prisons.
In his poem al-'Asma', Di'bil al-Khaza'i lamented for Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, and described the sufferings of the 'Alawides such as killing, prison, and torture at the hands of the 'Abbasids. He says:
We know that all the districts which belong to Dhi Yaman, Bakr, and Mudar took part in shedding their blood just as the gamblers take part in gamble.
They killed them, took them as captives, burnt them, and plundered them just as the invaders did toward the People of Rome and Khazar.
I think that the Umayyads were excused when they had done (what they did), but I think that the 'Abba`sids have no excuse.
Mansu`r al-Nimri says:
The family of the prophet and those who love them hide themselves out of fear of killing.
The Christians and the Jews feel secure, while they (the Prophet's family) eternally belong to the community of monotheism.
In his poem in which he laments for Yahya`, the immortal martyr, Ibn al-Ru`mi, a great poet, displays the sufferings of the 'Alawides as follows:
O people, your harm has lasted (through your losing) the family of Allah's Messenger. So fear (Allah) or hope for (Him).
Every time one of the pure (children) of the Prophet Mohammed is killed and stained (with his own) blood.
Through him, you sell the religion to evil Imams. So, by Allah, the religion of Allah is about to be corrupt and confused.
Then he says:
O children of the Chosen One (the Prophet), until when do the people kill your children?
Your tribulation will soon be dispelled.
Isn't there anyone who conforms to the right of his Prophet and fears his Lord?
In their many poems, the free poets have shown that the tyrannical rulers persecuted and oppressed the 'Alawides. We have mentioned many of their poems in our books on the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, that the dear reader may refer to them. We will end this research with the following letter, which shows the sufferings of the 'Alawides.
The Letter of al-Khawarizmi
In his letter to the people of Nishabur, al-Khawarizmi demonstrated the ordeals and tribulations which befell the 'Alawides. We will narrate some of the letter as follows: "When they (i.e. the Umayyads) violated that sanctity and committed that dreadful sin, Allah became angry with them and removed the dominion from them, so He sent against them (Abu` Mujrim), not Abu` Muslim, and he looked, may Allah not look at him, at the firmness of the 'Alawides and at the leniency of the 'Abba`sids, so he left his reverential fear and followed his caprice, and sold his hereafter for his world through his killing 'Abd Allah b. Mu'a`wiya b. 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abu Talib, and empowered the tyrants of Khurasan, the Kurds of Asfaha`n, and the Kha`rijites of Sijsta`n over the family of Abu` Ta`lib.
He killed them everywhere, and sought them in every plain and mountain until Allah empowered over him the most lovable of people to Him, and he killed him as he killed the people in obeying him, and punished him as he punished the people in pledging allegiance to him; it does not benefit him that he has made Allah angry through his pleasure, and committed what He does not desire.
Al-Dawa`niqi dominated the whole world, so he oppressed and wronged (the people) and treated (them) unjustly, hence his prisons were full of the members of the House of the Message (ahl Bayt al-Risala), the source of goodness and purity. He traced their absent and arrested their present until he killed 'Abd Allah b. Mohammed b. 'Abd Allah al-Husayni in al-Sind at the hand of 'Umar b. Hisha`m al-Tha'labi; then what do you think of those who were close to him and easy for him to arrest?
This is little in comparison with those of them Harun killed, and with what Musa had done toward them before him. You have come to know what al-Husayn b. 'Ali faced at the hand of Musa at (the Battle of) Fakh; (what) 'Ali b. al-Aftas al-Husayni (faced) at the hand of Harun (al-Rash´d); (what) Ahmed b. 'Ali al-Zaydi and al-Qasim b. 'Ali al-Husayni (faced) in prison; (and what) Ghassa`n b. Hadir al-Khaza'i (faced) when he ordered him to be taken. Generally speaking, before his death, Ha`ru`n had reaped the Tree of Prophethood and uprooted the Plant of the Ima`mate; you, may Allah set you right, have a greater share in religion than al-A'mash, for they have cursed him; more than Shurayk, for the they have removed him (from the office); more than Hisha`m, for they have frightened him; and more than 'Ali b. Yaqt´~n, for they have accused him...."
After this part of his letter, al-Khawa`rizmi mentioned the Umayyads, and then he mentioned the 'Abba`sids, saying: "And say about the 'Abba`sids, for you, through praising Allah, will find a statement; pass through their wonders and you will see whatever you like.
"Their (the Ima`ms') war booties are collected and divided among the Daylami and the Turkish and they are carried to the Moroccan and the Forgha`ni, but when one of the Ima`ms of guidance or one of the 'Alawides from among the Household of the Chosen One (al-Mustafa, i.e. the Prophet) dies, none follows his coffin or plasters his grave. However, if insignificant one of them (the 'Abba`sids) dies, men of justice and judges follow his coffin.
The leaders and the governors go to mosque for condolences on his behalf. They (the 'Abba`sids) give security to him who is an atheist or sophisticate, and they do not oppose him who reads a philosophical or Ma`ni book. However, they kill him who is a Sh´~'ite and shed the blood of him who names his son 'Ali.
"If none of the Sh´'ites of the ahl al-Bayt other than al-Mu'lla` b. Khan´s, killed by Dawud b. 'Ali, was killed, and if none of them was imprisoned apart from Abu` Tura`b al-Marwazi, then that would be a wound which never recovered, anger which never calmed, a crack which never closed, and an injure which never healed.
It is sufficient for them that the poets of Quraysh in the pre-Islamic times composed poems in which they satirized the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and opposed the poems of the Muslims; yet their poems have been reported, and their stories have been recorded and transmitted by narrators like al-Wa`qidi, Wahab b. Munabbih al-Tam´mi, al-Kalbi, al-Sharqi b. al-Qata`mi, al-Haythem b. 'Adi, and Da'b b. al-Kin`ani.
Some Sh´~'ite poets spoke of the laudable deeds of the Revelation; rather they mentioned the miracles of the Prophets, may Allah bless him and his family; nevertheless their tongues were cut off and their divans were torn, as it was done toward 'Abd Allah b. 'Amma`r al-Barqi, as it was wanted toward al-Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadi, as the grave of Mansu`r b. al-Zubrqa`n al-Nimri was dug up, and as it was schemed against Di'bil b. 'Ali al-Khaza`'i.
They (the 'Abba`sids) associated with Marwa`n b. Abu` Hafsa al-Yama`mi and 'Ali b. al-Jahm al-Sha`mi for nothing except for their extremism in opposition (to the Ima`ms), and their worthiness of the detest of the Lord, to the extent that Ha`ru`n b. al-Khayzara`n and Ja'far, who relied on Satan not on the Merciful (Allah), did not give money to anyone except to those who cursed 'Ali b. Abu` Ta`lib and supported the creed of his opponents such as 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ab al-Zubayri, Wahab b. Wahab al-Bakhtari, and the poet Marwa`n b. Abu` Hafsa al-Amawi. During the days of Ja'far, there were (persons) such as Bakka`r b. 'Abd Allah al-Zubari, Abu` al-Samt b. Abu` al-Jawn al-Amawi, and Ibn Abu` al-Shawa`rib al-'Abshami."
After this speech he (al-Khawa`rizmi) mentioned the Umayyads and their oppression toward the 'Alawides, and then he continued his speech about the 'Abba`sids, saying: "And this is not more amazing than the shouting of the poets of the 'Abba`sids at their heads with the truth, even if they hated it. Giving details of him whom they (the 'Abba`sids) disparaged and killed, Mansu`r b. al-Zubarqa`n said on Harun's carpet:
"'The family of the prophet and those who love them hide themselves out of fear of killing.
The Christians and the Jews feel secure, while they (the Prophet's family) eternally belong to the community of monotheism.'
"Di'bil, the creature of the 'Abba`sids and their poet, said1 : 'Do
you not see that I have gone and come for thirty years, and I am always in sorrow? I see that their booty is divided among other than them, and their hands are void of their booty.'
"'Ali b. al-'Abbas al-Rumi, al-Mu'tasim's retainer, said: 'I have sworn that none of you will be hit on the forehead. We will be patient toward you, O the Banu` al-'Abba`s, just as the brave one heavily armed is patient toward the sword. Every time one of the pure (children) of the Prophet Mohammed is killed and stained (with his own) blood.'
"Ibra`h´m b. al-'Abbas al-Sawli, who was the scribe of the people and their governor, said concerning al-Rida` when al-Ma'mu`n brought him near: 'He bestows upon you through your properties, and you are given one percent.'
"And how does a group of people not revolt against them (the 'Abba`sids), while they have killed their cousins, filled the houses of the Turks and the Daylamis with silver and gold, ask for the help of the Maghribi and the Fargha`ni; the black Nabatis have undertaken their ministries; the non-Arabs ('ajam) and the Timtimis have surrounded their leadership; nevertheless the family of Abu` Ta`lib have been deprived of the inheritance of their mother and of the booty (fayya') of their grandfather; the 'Alawide feels appetite for a certain meal, but he is deprived of it; he asks the days for the appetite but he does not get it.
The land tax (khara`jj) of Egypt and of al-Ahwa`z, the alms of the two sacred cities (Mecca and Medina) and of al-Hijaz are spent on Ibn Maryam al-Mad´~ni, Ibra`him al-Mousili, Ibn Jami' al-Sahmi, Zalzal al-Da`rib, and Barsoma` al-Zamir. The feudal estates of Bakhtishiyu`' al-Nasra`ni, Ja`ri al-Turki, and al-Afsh´~n al-Ashrawasani are enough to be the food of a country and sufficient to numerous communities.
"They claim that al-Mutawakkil spends the night with twelve thousand mistresses, while the Sayyid from among the Sayyids of the Household is chaste through a Negro or a Sindi woman; the choice of the fund of land tax is confined to the provisions of the Safa`'ina, the dining tables of the Makhatina, the foods of the Kallab´n, the rites of the Qarrad´n, Makhariq, 'Ilwiya the singer, Zarzar, and 'Umar b. Bana al-Mahlabi, while they (the 'Abba`sids) are miserly toward the Fa`timids through a meal or a drink. They (the 'Abba`sids) spent it on a Danek (weight) of a meal; they buy the songstress for ten thousand dirhams and spend on her (an amount) sufficient to the provisions of an army.
"While the people to whom one-fifth (khums) is lawful, alms is unlawful, dignity and love is obligatory, beg out of distress and perish owing to poverty; they mortgage their swords, sell their garments, look at their booty (fayya') with a satisfied eye, and are strong toward their time through weak souls.
They have no guilt except that their grandfather is the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, their father is the testamentary trustee (wasi), their mother is Fa`tima, their grandmother is Khad´ja, their creed is faith, and their Ima`m (leader) is the Qur'an; yet their rights are spent on the woman housekeeper, the barmaid, the masseuse, and the dressmaker; and their one-fifth (khumus) is divided among the pecking of the blood roosters, monkeys, the heads of the games, and the she-camel of journey.
"What shall I say concerning the people who incited the wild animals and birds to attack the Muslim women, plowed the grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, and banished his visitors from their regions? What shall I say in the description of the people who were the sperms of the drunk in the wombs of the songstresses?
What shall I say concerning the household from whom prostitution stemmed, through whom effeminacy spread, and through whom sodomy was known? Ibrahim b. al-Mahdi was a singer; al-Mutawakkil was lowly and womanish; al-Mu'tazz was feminine; Ibn Zubayda was an idiot masseur; al-Ma'mun killed his brother; al-Muntasir killed his father; Mu`sa` b. al-Mahdi poisoned his mother; and al-Mu'tazid killed his uncle."
After this paragraph al-Khawa`rizmi presented the tragedies which the Umayyads committed, and then he ended his letter with mentioning the defects of the 'Abba`sids, saying: "These defects though big, many, ugly and horridare small and few in comparison with the defects of the 'Abbasids, who built the city of the tyrannical and spent the funds of the Muslims on amusement centers and sins. "
I (i.e. the author) think that there is no inclusive political document similar to this one, for it contains all qualities of the 'Abba`sid kings and gives an account of their evil policy of which is the extreme cruelty towards the 'Alawides and depriving them of their natural rights, to the extent that they could not bear poverty; the 'Abba`sids spent enormous funds on lusts, the mischievous, the singers, and the dissolute, whereas the Household (of the Prophet) and their followers were unable to find a loaf of bread, a garment, and other life requirements.
Similarly, this document gives an account of affairs of great importance; there is no need to explain them, for their meanings are clear.