Salman and the Mileu of Ghulu

Introduction

It is not hard to account for the presence of Ghulati reports in the Imami corpus in light of the socio-historic contexts of those times. The rapid expansion of the Islamic empire meant that early Muslims came into contact with proponents of other religions. The absorption of non-Arab Mawali and new converts into the body politic had a similar effect. Borrowing theory and patterns of influence can explain why so many doctrines which have antecedents in prior religious traditions re-appeared among sectarians in Islam.

Ancient ideas, especially of a Gnostic bent such as these, came to be dressed up in new garb, particularly in Kufa (the incubator of Shi’ism), which because of political and geographic reasons, became a ‘melting-pot’ of diverse streams.

The two reports under investigation, and many others that seek to elevate Salman, whose traces can still be found in Rijal al-Kashshi[1], probably go back to Mukhammisa and Alyawiyya circles, as I hope to document below.

 

Salman as Bab

The first report contains the following phrase:

إن سلمان باب الله في الأرض من عرفه كان مؤمنا و من أنكره كان كافر

‘Salman is the Bab of God on Earth. Whoever recognizes him is a believer, whoever rejects him is a disbeliever’[2].

This betrays clear Mukhammisa origins.

Reconstructing the Mukhammisa world-view is not easy because of the confusion present in the sources. The best summary of their belief-system I could find is taken from the recently rediscovered treatise by the heresiographer Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi (d. 301) and translated into the English language for the first time below[3]:

والمخمسة هم أصحاب أبي الخطاب، وإنما سموا المخمسة لأنهم زعموا أن الله جل وعز هو محمد، وأنه ظهر في خمسة أشباح وخمس صور مختلفة. ظهر في صورة محمد وعلي وفاطمة والحسن والحسين

The Mukhammisa are followers of Abi al-Khattab. They were called Mukhammisa (Fivers) because they claimed that God Mighty and Majestic is Muhammad. And that He (Muhammad) appeared (i.e. incarnated) in five Likenesses (ashbah) and five different Forms (suwar). He appeared in the (human) Form of Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn.

وزعموا أن أربعة من هذه الخمسة تلتبس لا حقيقة لها، والمعنى شخص محمد وصورته، لأنه أول شخص ظهر وأول ناطق نطق، لم يزل بين خلقه موجوداً بذاته يتكون في أي صورة شاء

They claimed, however, that four out of these five (i.e. the Form of Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn) are deceptive – having no truth to them (i.e. it is just Muhammad assuming those Forms). The Reality is the Figure of Muhammad and his Form. For He (Muhammad) was the first Figure who appeared and the first Speaker who spoke[4]. He (Muhammad) has never ceased being amidst his creation, present in his essence[5], taking any Form He wishes.

يظهر نفسه لخلقه في صور شتى من صورة الذكران والإناث والشيوخ والشبان والكهول والأطفال. ويظهر مرة والداً، ومرة ولداً، وما هو بوالد ولا بمولود، ويظهر في الزوج والزوجة. وإنما أظهر نفسه بالإنسانية والبشرانية لكي يكون لخلقه به أنس ولا يستوحشوا ربهم

He reveals Himself to His creation in diverse Forms. In the Forms of male and female. Old and young. Middle-age and child. He appears sometimes as parent, other times as off-spring, and also (as one who is) not parent or off-spring. He appears as husband and (other times) as wife. He reveals Himself as human and mortal so that His creation can relate to Him and are not terrified of their Lord.

وزعموا أن محمداً كان آدم ونوح وإبراهيم وموسى وعيسى، لم يزل ظاهراً في العرب والعجم. وكما أنه في العرب ظهر كذلك هو في العجم ظاهر في صورة غير صورته في العرب، في صورة الأكاسرة والملوك الذين ملكوا الدنيا، وإنما معناهم محمد لا غيره

They claimed that Muhammad was Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa. He never ceases appearing among the Arab and the Non-Arabs. Just as He appeared among the Arabs He is also manifest among the non-Arabs, but in a Form different from the Form He assumes among the Arabs. (He appears there) in the Form of Ceasars and kings who possessed the World. Their reality (of all these) is Muhammad nothing else!

وأنه كان يظهر نفسه لخلقه في كل الأدوار والدهور، وأنه تراءى لهم بالنورانية فدعاهم إلى الإقرار بوحدانيته، فأنكروه، فتراءى لهم من باب النبوة والرسالة فأنكروه، فتراءى لهم من باب الإمامة فقبلوه

He (Muhammad) used to reveal Himself to His creation in every Cycle and Age. He first appeared to them as Light (i.e. His true self) and invited them to acknowledge His Oneness, but they rejected him. He then appeared to them in the Guise of Prophethood and Messengership, but they rejected Him. He then appeared to them in the Guise of Imama and they accepted Him (i.e. The prophet was never divinized, but He was first divinized when He appeared outwardly as an Imam).

فظاهر الله عز وجل عندهم الإمامة، وباطنه الذي معناه محمد يدركه من كان في صفوته بالنورانية ومن لم يكن من صفوته بدرجة بالبشرانية اللحمية الدموية

The apparent (outward status) of God Mighty and Majestic according to them is Imama, and the inner (true but hidden status) is that whose reality is Muhammad (i.e. Essence of God). The select ones can encounter him in His Light (i.e. His true self), and one who is not among His select ones will only encounter Him as human of blood and flesh.

وهو الإمام وإنما هو بغير جسم وبتبديل اسم فيصيروا كل الأنبياء والرسل والأكاسرة والملوك من لدن آدم إلى ظهور محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم مقامهم مقام محمد، وهو الرب، وكذلك الأئمة من بعده مقامهم مقام محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وكذلك فاطمة، زعموا أنها هي محمد وهي الرب

And He is (outwardly) the Imam and He (appears) by alternating bodies and changing names. In this way all the prophets and messengers and Ceasars and kings, from the time of of Adam to the descendants of Muhammad have the same status – the status of Muhammad, and He (Muhammad) is Lord. Similarly, the ‘Aimma after him, their status is that of Muhammad, and likewise Fatima, they claimed that she is Muhammad and she is Lord …

و ان كل من كان من الاوائل مثل ابي الخطاب، و بيان وصائد، والمغيرة، وحمزة بن عمارة و بزيع، والسرىَ، و محمد بن بشير، هم انبياء ابواب بتغيير الجسم و تبديل الاسم، و ان المعنى واحد وهو سلمان وهو الباب الرسول يظهر مع محمد في كل حال من الاحوال، في العرب والعجم، فهذه الابواب يظهر مع محمد ابدا في اى صورة ظهر وظهروا فاقامو معه الابواب، والايتام، والنجباء، والنقياء، والمصطفين، والمختصين، والممتحنين، والمؤمنين

All those who came before like Abi al-Khattab, Bayan, Sa’id, al-Mughira, Hamza b. Ammara, Bazi’, al-Sarri, Muhammad b. Bashir, were prophets, Babs, transforming bodies and changing names, but the reality is one, and that is Salman, and he was the Bab of the Messenger. He (Salman) appears with Muhanmmad in every instance. Among the Arabs and the Non-arabs. So all these Babs appear with Muhammad for ever, in any Form which He (Muhammad) appears they too appear and establish (the complete line-up of) the Abwab (Doors), Aytam (Orphans), Nujaba (Choice-ones), Nuqya (Pure-ones), Mustafin (Select-ones), Mukhtasin (Special-ones), Mumtahinin (Tested-ones) and Mu’minin (Believers).

فمعنى الباب هو سلمان وهو رسول محمد متصل به ومحمد الرب ومعنى اليتيم المقداد سمي يتيما لقربه من الباب وتفرده بالاتصال بهما، وهما يتيمان يتيم صغير و يتيم كبير، فالكبير المقداد، والصغير ابو ذر

The essential reality of the Bab is Salman. He is the Messenger of Muhammad and attached to Him. And Muhammad is Lord. The essential reality of the Yatim (Orphan) is Miqdad. He is called Yatim because of his closeness to the Bab and his exclusivity in attachment to them both (i.e. God and the Bab). There are two Orphans. The Smaller Orphan and the Greater Orphan. The Greater is Miqdad and the Smaller is Abu Dharr.

وزعموا ان من عرف هؤلاء بهذه المعاني فهو مؤمن ممتحن، موضوع عنه جميع الشرائع، والاستعباد محلل مباح له جميع ما حرم الله في كتابه وعلى لسان نبيه، وان هذه المحرمات رجال ونساء من اهل الجحود والانكار التي اقروا هم به، و ان جميع ما امر الله به من صلوة و زكوة و حج و صوم و عبادة هي الاصار والاغلال، فهي على اهل الجحود دونهم عقوبة لهم

They claimed that whoever knows these (men) in their true significance then it he who is the ‘tested believer’. Displaced from him are the totality of the Laws and the need for outward worship. Permitted and allowed for him are all that which Allah forbade in His book and upon the tongue of His prophet. (They said that) All these forbidden things are men and women from the people of Opposition (to God) and Rejectionists whom they denounce as such. All that which Allah has ordered of Salat, Zakat, Hajj, Sawm and acts of worship are shackles and chains, they are for the People of Opposition and not for them, as a punishment for them (i.e. the People of Opposition)[6].

وان المحرمات من الزنا و الخمر و الربا و السرقة و اللواط و كل الكبائر {…} فكل ذلك اجتناب رجال ونساء وتوليتهم، فاذا حرمت على نفسك توليتهم و اجتنابهم فقد اجتنبت ما حرم الله عليك، واباحوا الفروج كلها و ابطلوا النكاح و الطلاق

All the forbidden acts such as Adultery, Wine, Interest, Stealing, Sodomy, and all the Greater Sins […] all that is (interpreted to mean) avoiding certain men and women and (avoiding) taking them as authorities. So if you prohibit to yourself deeming them authorities and (go on to) avoid them, then you have avoided all that which Allah has prohibited upon you. (On this basis) They considered licit intercourse, all kinds of it (i.e. with anyone), and negated (the requirement of) Nikah and Talaq …

 

Ali as Divine-Man

The second report contains the following phrase:

إذا كان سلمان كذا فصاحبه أي شي‏ء هو؟

‘If this is how Salman was (i.e. if this was his status) then his man (i.e. his Imam – Ali) – what thing is he?’[7].

It was postulated that this report contained seeds of the belief of non-human origin for Ali. This identification is confirmed when one notes that one of its transmitters (or even fabricator) is none other than one Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri.

 

Who was Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri?

He full name is given as Ishaq b. Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Aban b. Marrar b. Abdallah b. al-Harith, Abu Ya’qub al-Ahmar al-Nakhai. His ancestor Abdallah, also called Uqba or Aqqab, was the brother of the famous al-Ashtar (Malik b. al-Harith).

al-Najashi says:

هو معدن التخليط، له كتب في التخليط

He is a mine (source) of syncretism[8]. He has whole books on (full of) syncretism.

Ibn al-Ghadhairi says:

فاسد، ضعيف المذهب، كذّاب في الرواية، وضّاع للحديث، لا يلتفت إلى ما رواه، و لا يرتفع بحديثه، و للعيّاشي معه في وضعه للحديث خبر مشهور

Corrupt. Weak in Madhhab. Liar in narration. Fabricator of Hadith. No attention is paid to what he transmitted. His Hadith cannot be used to support (anything). al-Ayyashi has a famous incident with him in regards his fabrication of Hadith.

The fascinating anecdote to which Ibn al-Ghadhairi alludes above is preserved in al-Kashshi when the latter asked his teacher (Muhammad b. Masud al-Ayyashi) about Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri and former replied:

و أما أبو يعقوب إسحاق بن محمد البصري فإنه كان غاليا و صرت إليه إلى بغداد لأكتب عنه و سألته كتابا أنسخه فأخرج إلي من أحاديث المفضل بن عمر في التفويض، فلم أرغب فيه فأخرج إلي أحاديث منتسخة من الثقات، و رأيته مولعا بالحمامات المراعيش و يمسكها، و يروي في فضل إمساكها أحاديث، قال: و هو أحفظ من لقيته

As for Abu Ya’qub Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri then he was a Ghali. I came to him in Baghdad to write down from him. I asked him for a book I could copy so he took out for me the narrations of al-Mufadhal b. Umar having to do with Tafwidh (i.e. the Imams sustain and regulate the world), but I did not show interest in it, so he took out for me narrations copied from the Thiqat.

I found him to be infatuated with a species of pigeons which he kept as pets. And he narrated narrations concerning the merits of keeping them.

He (Muhammad b. Masud) said: He (Ishaq) was the most able in memorization (command) over the Hadith of all those I met[9].

Then I came across a very important additional source for Ishaq’s life preserved in Ta’rikh Baghdad[10].

Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463) says:

سمعت أبا القاسم عبد الواحد بن علي الاسدي يقول: إسحاق بن محمد بن أبان النخعي الاحمر كان خبيث المذهب ردي الاعتقاد يقول ان عليا هو الله جل جلاله وأعز

I heard Aba al-Qasim Abd al-Wahid b. Ali al-Asadi say: Ishaq b. Muhammad b. Aban al-Nakhai al-Ahmar was wicked in Madhhab having despicable beliefs. He said that Ali is Allah (God) Majestic is His Majesty.

قال: وكان ابرص فكان يطلى البرص بما يغير لونه فسمى الاحمر لذلك

He (Abd al-Wahid) also said: He was a leper, and he would coat his leprosy by that which changed his skin colour and he was called Ahmar (‘red’) because of that.

قال: وبالمدائن جماعة من الغلاة يعرفون بالاسحاقية ينسبون إليه

He (Abd al-Wahid) also said: In Mada’in there is a group of the Ghulat who are called Ishaqiyya being attributed to him.

سألت بعض الشيعة ممن يعرف مذاهبهم ويخبر أحوال شيوخهم عن إسحاق فقال لي مثل ما قاله عبد الواحد ابن علي سواء وقال لاسحاق مصنفات في المقالة المنسوبة إليه التي يعتقدها الاسحاقية

(al-Khatib says:) I asked one of the Shia who knows about their sects and is well-informed of the status of their Shuyukh about Ishaq, so he said to me similar to what Abd al-Wahid b. Ali had said, in identical terms. And he added that Ishaq has works containing the beliefs which are attributed to him which are believed in by the Ishaqiyya.

ثم وقع الي كتاب لابي محمد الحسن بن يحيى النوبختى من تصنيفه في الرد على الغلاة وكان النوبختى هذا من متكلمي الشيعة الامامية فذكر أصناف مقالات الغلاة إلى ان قال: وقد كان ممن جود الجنون في الغلو في عصرنا إسحاق بن محمد المعروف بالاحمر وكان ممن يزعم ان عليا هو الله وانه يظهر في كل وقت فهو الحسن في وقت الحسن وكذلك هو الحسين وهو واحد وانه هو الذي بعث بمحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال في كتاب له لو كانوا ألفا لكانوا واحدا

Then a book of Abi Muhammad al-Hasan b. Yahya (sic. Musa) al-Nawbakhti came my way, being a work authored in refutation of the Ghulat. And this al-Nawbakhti was among the theologians of the Shia Imamiyya. He mentioned the different beliefs of the Ghulat (in the book) until he said: And among those who embellished their craziness in Ghulu in our times is Ishaq b. Muhammad, famously known as Ahmar (‘red’). He was of those who claimed that Ali is God, and that He appears in every age (i.e. by incarnation), so He is al-Hasan in the time of al-Hasan, and likewise He is al-Husayn, and He is always one, and that He is the one who sent Muhammad, and he said in a book of his: ‘If they were a thousand they would still be one’ (i.e. all the ‘Hujja’ are repeated apparitions of the same one reality – Ali who is God).

وكان رواية للحديث وعمل كتابا ذكر انه كتاب التوحيد فجاء فيه بجنون وتخليط لا يتوهمان فضلا من ان يدل عليهما، وكان ممن يقول باطن صلاة الظهر محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم لاظهاره الدعوى قال ولو كان باطنها هو هذه التي هي الركوع والسجود لم يكن لقوله ان الصلاة تنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر معنى لان النهى لا يكون الا من حي قادر

(al-Nawbakhti continues:) He (Ishaq) was also a narrator of Hadith, and authored a book which he presumed to call Kitab al-Tawhid, in which he brought much madness and confusion, the likes of which cannot be imagined let alone brought evidence for (argued for). He was of those who said that the interior reality of Salat al-Dhuhr is Muhammad, for he is the one who made Idhhar (manifest) the Call. He also argued that if its interior meaning was this (ritual) which is Ruku and Sujud then there would not be any meaning to His words: ‘Verily the Salat forbids from indecency and evil’, for prohibition can only proceed from a living and powerful being[11].

قلت: قد اورد النوبختى عن إسحاق في كتابه مما كان يرويه احتجاجا لمقالته أشياء أقل منها يوجب الخروج عن الملة ونعوذ بالله من الخذلان ونسأله التثبيت على ما وفقنا له وهدانا إليه

I (Khatib) say: al-Nawbakhti presented material attributed to Ishaq in his book which he used to narrate as proof for his beliefs – things – the least of which necessitates his excommunication from the religion. We seek refuge in Allah from abandonment, and we ask Him to make us firm on that which he has blessed us with and guided us to.

 

The Alyawiyya

While a group ‘the Ishaqiyya’ is attributed to Ishaq, and he must have made his own modifications to the overall gnostic system, his beliefs (as preserved by al-Khatib above) are in line with the older Alyawiyya, and he must be counted as one of them.

This can be demonstrated through a very important statement of al-Kashshi given while explaining the differences between the Alyawiyya and the Mukhamissa[12].

ومقالة بشار هي مقالة العلياوية يقولون إن عليا رب وظهر بالعلوية الهاشمية وأظهر عبده ورسوله بالمحمدية

(al-Kashshi says:) The belief of Bashshar is that of the Alyawiyya – they say: Indeed Ali is Lord, and He appeared (incarnated) in the Alawi and Hashimi Form (as a human), and He (Ali) made his Slave and Messenger to appear (incarnate) in the Muhammadi Form (as a human).

فوافق أصحاب أبي الخطاب في أربعة أشخاص علي وفاطمة والحسن والحسين وأن معنى الأشخاص الثلاثة فاطمة والحسن و الحسين تلبيس و الحقيقة شخص علي لأنه أول هذه الأشخاص في الإمامة

In this, he (Bashshar and the Alyawiyya) agreed with the companions of Abi al-Khattab (i.e. the Mukhamissa) in four Figures (being embodiment of the Divine) – Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, maintaining, however (unlike the Mukhammisa), that the Essential Reality of the three Figures – Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn is a deception, and the truth (among them) is the Figure  of Ali (who reappears as these other Figures in successive incarnations), because he is the first among these Figures in the Imama.

و أنكروا شخص محمد وزعموا أن محمدا عبد وعلي رب وأقاموا محمدا مقام ما أقامت المخمسة سلمان و جعلوه رسولا لعلي

They denied the Figure of Muhammad (as Lord), and they held that Muhammad was Slave and that Ali Lord. They placed Muhammad in the status that the Mukhammisa had placed Salman in (i.e. that of Bab), and they made him (Muhammad) a Messenger to Ali.

فوافقوهم في الإباحات و التعطيل و التناسخ

He (Bashshar and the Alyawiyya) also agreed with them (the Mukhamissa) in anti-nomian libertinism (considering licit what is forbidden), in negation (of the attributes of Allah), and reincarnation.

والعلياوية سمتها المخمسة العليائية و زعموا أن بشارا الشعيري لما أنكر ربوبية محمد وجعلها في علي و جعل محمدا عبد علي و أنكر رسالة سلمان مسخ في صورة الطير يقال له علياء يكون في البحر فلذلك سموهم العليائية

And the Alyawiyya were called by the Mukhammisa – ‘Ulya’iyya’ (i.e. pejoratively). They (the Mukhammisa) held that Bashshar – the barley seller – when he rejected the deification of Muhammad, and placed it in Ali, and made Muhammad a slave to Ali, and rejected the Messenger-ship of Salman – he was transfigured (Maskh) into the shape of a bird which is called Ulya, found by the sea, so this is why they called them Ulya’iyya.

While no one has explicitly labelled Ishaq as being one of the Alyawiyya, I feel the link between the beliefs of the Alyawiyya and Ishaq to be conclusive.

 

The Mukhamissa-Alyawiyya Matrix

Observe how closely matched the accounts of al-Kashshi, al-Khatib (his independent sources and also while quoting al-Nawbakhti) and Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi are. This consistency indicates that we are dealing with accurate accounts. The Mukhamissa and Alyawiyya share very similar cosmologies (one of successive apparitions) and a similar anti-nomianism borne of esoteric re-interpretation of Qur’anic verses.

A close-reading of the accounts above reveal that the argument used by the Mukhamissa against the Alyawiyya was that Muhammad is God because he is the First Figure to appear in the Final Cycle bar none (albeit in the guise of prophethood). The Alyawiyya response was that Ali is God because he is the First Figure among the Imams to appear in the Final Cycle (in the guise of Imama), which is significant because the first to be divinized is not the prophet but the Figure of Ali when he appeared as Imam (something even the Mukhammisa accepted).

As is common with groups that are so closely linked, what seems to us to be minor variations (in this case, the identity of God and the Bab, with the Mukhamissa opting for the duo Muhammad/Salman and the Alyawiyya opting for Ali/Muhammad) was to them significant enough to be the difference between salvation and perdition. This explains the exaggerated vitriol between them which can be said to be even more pronounced than that which is found between totally unrelated groups.

 

Legacy

Whilst the beliefs touched upon above will strike modern Shi’is to be totally beyond the pale, it is only because the legalistic (traditionist) strain won out in its all-consuming battle against the esoterics. The battle between these two strains of Shi’ism marks out almost the entirety of the second century. In other words we could have turned out very differently if the other side had won.

This is why I scoff at those Shi’is who devalue Ilm al-Rijal, when it is the Hadith scholars who enacted its principles for this very reason. To ward off the attack of the Ghulat, and to keep such wild material out of the corpus of authentic Imami teachings.

At the same time, the influence of the Ghulati  trends, which have undoubtedly left an imprint on popular Shi’ism, cannot be discounted[13]. We are lucky in so far as the emergence of troves of previously unpublished Nusayri material held in esteem by the secretive Syrian Alawites allows analysis of this phenomenon. These material contain layers of very early Ghulati texts which can be studied for the first time and compared to ‘normative’ Twelver Shi’ism[14].

 

Footnotes

[1] I have long argued that Rijal al-Kashshi should be seen as a crucible that contains residue of all the divergent theological streams of Early Shi’ism before rationalistic systemization and elimination of the undesired occurred.
[2] Rijal al-Kashshi, Hadith No. 33.
[3] See Kitab al-Maqalat wa al-Firaq, Pgs. 56-58. There is a debate about whether the book belongs to al-Nawbakhti or Sa’d b. Abdallah. The best summary of that debate is in Sayyid Jalali’s article: Firaq al-Shia aw Maqalat al-Imamiyya lil Nawbakhti am lil Ash’ari?. Allamah Majlisi claimed a Kitab Maqalat al-Imamiyya wa al-Firaq wa Asmauha wa Sunufuha of Sa’d b. Abdallah as one of his sources in Bihar. No complete independent manuscript of this latter was discovered until Dr. Muhammad Jawad Mashkur obtained it in the possession of ‘Sultani Shaykh al-Islami’, the former deputy of the Iranian parliament, and published it in Tehran in 1963. This gives us hope that there are many more such treasures gathering dust in unknown corners of libraries.
[4] The Mukhammissa asserted that Muhammad (the human) was the incarnation God, against their opponents who said it was Ali, by arguing that He came before. Order of appearance was key. The first Form that God took in the Final Cycle i.e. of Muhammad (the human), was also significant to them, since they believed that this Form has reality.
[5] This typifies Incarnationist Imamology as opposed to Possessionist Imamology. It is not that the Divine spirit is ‘possessing’ or ‘inhering’ in the human body of the Imam, rather, the Divinity, in His essence, has transformed and taken fleshly form, in other words, ‘heaven is vacated of God’ who walks in our midst on Earth.
[6] They were anti-nomians. Physical performance of rituals was considered servile disgrace reserved for those who can only recognize the outer Shariah, while they, being the elite who know the true (inner) meaning of the Sharia do not need to perform them.
[7] Rijal al-Kashshi, Hadith No. 44.
[8] By Takhlit (lit. mixing) rendered here as ‘syncretism’ it is meant that non-Islamic doctrines and ideas are fused with authentic Islamic teachings imagery to form an amalgam.
[9] Rijal al-Kashshi, Hadith No. 1014.
[10] Ta’rikh Madinat al-Salam (Baghdad), ed. Dr. Bashshar Awwad Ma’ruf, Vol. 7, Pgs. 408-411, No. 3366. al-Khatib al-Baghdadi quotes from a now-lost Kitab al-Radd ala al-Ghulat of Abi Muhammad al-Hasan b. Yahya (sic. Musa) al-Nawbakhti.
[11] This is consistent with corporealizing the ritual acts into men and women as was common with the Mukhammisa.
[12] Rijal al-Kashshi, Hadith No. 744. Under the entry of Bashshar al-Sha’iri the Waqifi.
[13] This is not the place to go into detail about these influences, but a simple example is some devotional acts associated with the Ahl al-Kisa or Ale-Aba in popular Shi’ism which can be shown to be off-shoots of Mukhamissa thinking.
[14] Prominent in this regard is the multi-volume series Silsilat al-Turath al-Alawi, eds., Abu Musā and Shaikh Musā, brought to the attention of the author in the works of Mushegh Asatryan. It contains surviving Mukhamissa and Alyawiyya material, including Adab Abd al-Muttalib, a short treatise transmitted by the Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri discussed above (the treatise states that ʿAli is God and Muhammad is his prophet, and that through the knowledge of God the believer may attain to the rank of the prophets). There also several excerpts from Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri’s four alleged works: Kitab al-Sirat, Batin al-Taklif (lit. Inner Meaning of Obligations), Kitab al-Salat (this is where he must have identified Dhuhr as Muhammad), and Kitab al-Tanbih.

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