The Second Special Deputy Muhammad B. ‘Uthman B. Sa’eed Amri (r.a.)
Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) declares:
اَلْعَمْرِىّ وَابْنُه ثِقَتَانِ فَمَا اَدَّيَا اِلَيْكَ فَعَنِّى يُوَدِّيَانِ…
‘Amri (‘Uthman b. Sa’eed (r.a.)) and his son (Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)) are both reliable and trustworthy (in narration). Whatever they both convey to you they convey from us.’1
Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) reiterates,
لَمْ يَزَلْ ثِقَتُنَا فِى حَيَاةِ الْاَبِ- رضى الله عنه-
‘He is for us, trustworthy and reliable, from the time of his father (‘Uthman b. Sa’eed (r.a.))’2
Our salutations to that great personality, who is considered as trustworthy and reliable by two infallible Imams (a.s.).
We bear witness, O Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) (during the period of Minor Occultation (غيبت صغري)) you were the door to reach Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and that you accomplished this responsibility in the most excellent manner, and that you were a trustworthy representative. And we bear witness that Allah chose you for this deputyship with His Light.
In the backdrop of this information, we shall now learn more about this esteemed personality.
Name, Title And Agnomen
His name is Muhammad and his father’s name is ‘Uthman and his grandfather’s name is Sa’eed. His grandfather was from Amr, hence Amri is added to his name and he is known as Muhammad b. ‘Uthman b. Sa’eed Amri. His agnomen (Kuniyyat) is Abu Ja’far and no other agnomen is found in the books other than this. His titles are Amri, Asadi, Kufi, Sammaan and al-Askari.
Opinions of Scholars
We have already gauged his importance in the beginning through the sayings of the guided Imams (a.s.). Hereunder are the opinions of some scholars:
Shaykh at-Tusi (r.a.) writes in his book of Rejaal, ‘’Muhammad b. ‘Uthman b. Sa’eed Amri (r.a.), his agnomen is Abu Ja’far and that of his father is Abu Amr. Both of them were the representatives of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and had an esteemed position among the Imamite Shiites.”3
A similar narration is recorded by Allama al-Hilli (r.a.) in his book on Rejaal, Part 1, under the alphabet of meem, no 57.
Marhoom Maamqaani (r.a.) records in his book Tanqeehul Maqaal – ‘The great position and high status of this man (Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)) is renowned and does not warrant any explanation and proof. While studying the conditions of the life of his father it becomes evident that he (Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)) during the life of his father itself had received the testimonial of being the representative of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) after his father.’
Marhoom Maamqaani (r.a.) has narrated the above with references from Bihar al-Anwar of Allama Majlisi (r.a.) Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Abul Qasim Al-Khu’i (r.a.) writes in his book Mojamul Rejaal
وَالرِّوَايَاتُ فِى جَلَالَتِه وَعَظَمَةِ مَقَامِه مُتَاظَفَرةٌ
‘The traditions that have been narrated regarding the majesty and greatness of his position are numerous.’
Some scholars of Rejaal have also called him as a compiler and author. Hence a famous saying is narrated as follows:
Ibn Nuh (Abul Abbas Ahmad b. Ali b. Nuh Sairafi) says: Abu Nasr Hebatullah, maternal grandson of Umm Kulthum, daughter of Abu Ja’far (Umm Kulthum was the daughter of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman and Abu Nasr Hebatullah was the maternal grandson of Umm Kulthum) says that Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. ‘Uthman has written books on Fiqh in which he has collected all the traditions from Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.), Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) and from his father ‘Uthman b. Sa’eed (r.a.) who in turn has narrated from Imam Ali an-Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). Among these books is one titled Al Ashrebah. Umm Kulthum daughter of Abu Ja’far (r.a.) narrates, ‘This book as per the will of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) had reached to the third deputy Husain b. Rauh (r.a.). Abu Nasr says, ‘I assume that after Husain b. Rauh (r.a.), it must have been passed on to the fourth deputy Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Samari (r.a.).4
The late Ayatullah Uzma Aqae Al Khu’i (r.a.) in his book Mojamur Rejaal writes after this narration, ‘This narration proves two things,
i) Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) is an author of books.
ii) He has narrated traditions from Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) and Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.).
Refuge of Shias
When we look at the conditions of the life of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and study the traditions and Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) letters (tawqeeaat) that have reached us through him, it is evident that his representatives across several cities were referring to him for matters related to jurisprudence, theology (kalaam) and society and he used to solve them. We narrate an incident in this regard:
Abul Hasan Ali b. Ahmad al-Dallal al-Qummi narrates: ‘Among the Shias there was a difference of opinion on whether Allah has delegated creation and distribution of sustenance to the Imams (a.s.).
One group argued that this is impossible because no one can create the bodies except Allah, while the other group believed that Allah has delegated the power of creation and distribution of sustenance to the Imams (a.s.) and therefore they can create and provide sustenance. This disparity intensified with every passing day.
Finally someone suggested: ‘Why don’t you refer the matter to Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. ‘Uthman Amri (r.a.) so that he clarifies the truth for you? He is the representative of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.).’ Everybody agreed. The query was written and delivered to Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.). He referred the matter to Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). In reply, he received a Tawqee wherein Imam (a.t.f.s.) had written:
‘Undoubtedly only Allah creates the bodies and distributes the sustenance. He neither has a body nor does He assume any form and there is none like Him. He is the All-Hearing and All-Knowing and the infallible Imams (a.s.) seek from Him and He Himself creates. They request Him and He accepts their request and to honour and elevate them He delegates to them the power to create and sustain’.
The period of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman’s (r.a.) deputyship was quite lengthy and as we have already mentioned that in this period, he served as a sanctuary for the Shias. He solved numerous issues related to jurisprudence, society and belief. During his deputyship all that has been received by him from Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) in the form of Tawqeeaat is present in different books under different topics. However, there are some books dedicated to the Tawqeeaat and one can find them all in one place.
We have reproduced below a part of an important Tawqee received by Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) from Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) which was addressed to Ishaq b. Yaqub in reply to various questions put forth by him:
Ishaq b. Yaqub says that this Tawqee has been written by the blessed hand of my master Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and is as follows:
‘May Allah guide you and keep you steadfast upon the true beliefs. As for your concern that some of my relatives and paternal uncles and cousins have denied my existence, know that Allah does not recognise relations with anyone (when it comes to believing in us) and the one who denies us is not from us. The path that he is treading is the path of the son of Nuh (a.s.). And my paternal uncle Ja’far and his sons have chosen the path of the brothers of Yusuf (a.s.).’
Other Topics in this Tawqee Include
‘As for fuqaa’ (alcohol from barley) it is prohibited but there is no harm in drinking shalmaab (shalmaab is made from sheelam which resembles barley).’
‘And as for that wealth which you send us as gifts, we accept them in order that your sins are forgiven. Therefore there are those who wish to send us gifts while others don’t know that whatever Allah has given us is better than what you give.’
‘None knows the time of reappearance.’ In the same Tauqee’ Imam (a.t.f.s.) adds: ‘The time of my reappearance is linked to Allah’s wish. Whoever fixes a time for reappearance is a liar.’
‘And when you come across any new issues then refer to the narrators of our traditions because they are our proofs upon you and I am the Proof of Allah.’
Thereafter, Imam (a.s.) has emphasised on numerous issues like the reliability of Muhammad Ibn ‘Uthman Amri (r.a.), a supplication for the hearts satisfaction and dispelling the doubts of Ali Ibn Mahziyaar Ahwaazi, the illegitimacy of wealth of singing women, enumeration of Muhammad Ibn Shazaan Ibn Naeem Neshapuri among the lovers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), cursing Abul Khattab Muhammad Ibn Abi Zainab and his followers, etc.
Improper Use of Sihm ul-Imam
On this topic Imam (a.t.f.s.) warns,
‘And as for those who keep our wealth with them, and if they consider some part of it permissible for themselves and they spend it, then it is as if they have taken fire into their bellies…’
Reason for Occultation
‘And as for the reason for occultation Allah, the Almighty, cautions in the Holy Quran:
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لاَ تَسْئَلُوْا عَنْ اَشْيَآءَ اِنْ تُبْدَلَكُمْ تَسُوٴْكُمْ
‘O you who believe! Do not question about things which if declared to you, may trouble you.’5
Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) Will not pay Allegiance to Anyone
In the same Tawqee’ Imam (a.t.f.s.) informs:
‘My forefathers (a.s.) have lived their lives under the tyrannical reign of despots. However, I shall reappear at a time when there shall be no allegiance upon me…’
He further explains that people can benefit from his existence in occultation just as they benefit from the sun when it goes behind the clouds.
This Tawqee’ has been recorded by Shaikh Sadooq (r.a.) in his book Kamaaluddin vol. 2 p. 483, tradition 4 and by Allama al-Majlisi (r.a.) in Bihar al-Anwar vol 53 p. 180 tradition 10.
Similarly there are many such Tawqee’aat that have been conveyed by Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) for his Shias through Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.). Some other personalities who have been sent Tauqee’aat by Imam (a.t.f.s.) as are follows:
Abul Hasan Muhammad b. Ja’far Asadi
He was the representative of Janab Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) in the city of Rayy (near Tehran). He expired in Rabius Saani 312 A.H. It was about him that it was said in the Tauqee’, “Keep up prayer (Namaz) as you are the one who asked about the timing of Namaz during the rising and setting of the sun.
It is as the people say that the sun rises from between the two horns of Satan and also sets between his two horns. That is why there is nothing better than Namaz if one wants to rub Satan’s nose in dust. So keep up prayer and put Satan’s nose in dust (i.e. humiliate him).”6
End of Dispute Between Husband and Wife
Before mentioning this Tawqee’ it will be in order to first review its practical aspect. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) are the fathers of the Islamic nation. In this regard we have outlined earlier that Allah, the Almighty, due to their honour and respect has blessed them with great powers.
They have been delegated the task of distributing sustenance to the creation. This implies that whatever they desire from Allah, He grants them. They are the ones through whom difficulties are relieved and calamities are repelled. In this Tauqee’, this particular point has been highlighted.
Abu Ghalib Ahmed b. Muhammad Zorari says: ‘There arose serious differences between me and my wife. This resulted in a lot of hostility between us and reconciliation was almost ruled out. Due to the nature of this problem, I was under a lot of stress. So I wrote a letter and gave it to Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) to present it in the service of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). In this letter I had requested Imam (a.t.f.s.) to pray for me. It was quite some time since I had sent the letter and there was no reply.
One day when I met Abu Ja’far (Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)) he told me, ‘The reply of your letter has come.’ I went to his house. He took out a register and flipped through its pages and finally took out a letter from it. He gave it to me. In it was written: And as for the query regarding the problem between the husband and wife, know that Allah has decreed peace and reconciliation between them.
Abu Ghalib Zorari says, “Earlier my wife always behaved harshly with me. But after this event there were no problems and differences. In fact sometimes I intentionally did certain things just to irritate her but she did not react.”7
In all problems and difficulties we should approach the door of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). In this era, that door of access is Imam az-Zaman (a.s.). He is Allah’s Gate (Babullah) and hence we send salutation upon him in the Ziyarat:
اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بَابَ اللهِ
Peace be upon you O Allah’s Door
Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and False Claimants
Due to the restrictive and sensitive conditions prevalent in their times, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) attended public gatherings sparingly and cautiously. Therefore, they had appointed special representatives so that they could maintain contact with the general people through them.
Another rationale behind the practice of representation was to acquaint the Shias with this method and prepare the ground for the minor occultation (غيبت صغري) when this practice was to gain prominence. Finally the people were accustomed to this method and after the onset of Minor Occultation (غيبت صغري); they regularly sent their letters to Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) through the special deputies and got their replies in the same way.
During this period some selfish and opportunistic people tried to take advantage of this and claimed to be the deputy of Sahib ul-‘Amr (Master Of the Affair), Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). We mention below the names of those imposters who advanced such claims during the deputyship of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.):
1. Abu Muhammad Hasan Shariee.
2. Muhammad b. Naseer Numairy.
3. Ahmad b. Halal Abartaee.
4. Abu Tahir Muhammad b. Ali b. Bilal.
5. Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ahmed b. ‘Uthman popular as Abu Bakr Baghdadi. He was the nephew of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)
6. Ishaq b. Ahmed.
8. Husain b. Mansoor al-Hallaj.
It is noteworthy that all of them rivaled Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and refuted his deputyship. Their beliefs were distorted and their faith was weak. They were declared as fanatical and wretched during the period of Imam Hadi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) itself.
By this we can easily gauge the extent of their jealousy towards Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and the problems they posed in his working. But Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) dealt with them all with the help of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and fulfilled all his duties.
Why Did People trust Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)?
During Muhammad b. ‘Uthman’s (r.a.) period, the false claimants wanted to deceive the people and desired to usurp the religious dues (Khums, Zakaat) from them. They nearly injured Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.). It was a difficult trial for the people in that era to recognise the true deputy of Imam (a.t.f.s.). Under such circumstances to win the confidence of the people and overcome the enemies was a gigantic task.
The people reposed their confidence in Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) due to various reasons. The most important among them were those Tawqeeaat, which were sent by Imam (a.t.f.s.) to him. Not only did they contain the replies to various social and religious problems, but also information about some hidden affairs which acted as a compelling argument for the people to accept his deputyship. There are many incidents wherein news of hidden affairs was given by Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.). We narrate one such incident hereunder:
News of the Unseen
Ja’far b. Muhammad Matteel narrates that Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. ‘Uthman Samman (r.a.), who was famous as Amr, called me and gave me some pieces of cloth and a purse containing some dinars.
He told me that it is necessary that I immediately go to Wasit (a place between Kufa and Basra) and hand over this property to the first person I meet proceeding towards Shatta. I felt aggrieved at the thought that a (honourable) person like me has been chosen for this petty assignment.
Anyway, I mounted my horse and proceeded towards Wasit. I asked the first person I met about the conditions of Hasan b. Muhammad Quttat Saidalaani who was the representative in Wasit. He replied, ‘I am Hasan b. Muhammad, who are you?’ I replied, ‘I am Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Matteel.’ He recognised me and we exchanged salutations. I told him that Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) has conveyed salutations to you and sent these pieces of cloth and purse for you.
He said, ‘All Praise is for Allah! Since Muhammad b. Abdullah Aameri has died, I am on my way to arrange for his shroud (kafan). When we opened the purse there was money in it for the burial expenses. I took part in the burial and returned home.”8
If Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) had not informed Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) about such incidents, he would not have had knowledge about them.
When we read the life sketches of the deputies, we find many such episodes wherein Imam (a.t.f.s.) has informed them about future events of which none else had the faintest inkling.
For details, readers may refer to the book of Kamaaluddin of Shaikh Sadooq (r.a.) and Bihar al-Anwar of Allamah Majlisi (r.a.).
Traditions Narrated by Muhammad B. ‘Uthman (r.a.)
The Tauqee’aat addressed by Imam (a.t.f.s.) to Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) are still found among the people in the form of traditions. However, we have taken this opportunity to narrate some traditions in this regard.
The reason being that some scholars of Rejaal have not included him among the narrators of traditions from Imams (a.s.) and some of our scholars have also objected to the fact that he was not considered as a narrator of traditions. Without delving too much on this dispute, we shall proceed to narrate some traditions narrated by him:
1) Muhammad b. Hammam says, “I heard from Muhammad b. ‘Uthman Amri, ‘I have received a Tauqee’ from the pure personality (Imam (a.t.f.s.)) in a script (handwriting) which I recognise i.e. in the writing of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and it was written in that:
مَنْ سَمّٰانِى فِىْ مَجْمَعٍِ مِنَ النَّاسِ بِاِسْمِى فَعَلَيْهِ لَعْنَةُ اللهِ
‘May Allah curse the one who calls me by my name in any assembly or gathering.’
Abu Ali Muhammad b. Hammam says that I wrote a letter to Imam (a.t.f.s.) enquiring about the time of his reappearance. He (a.t.f.s.) informed,
‘Those who fix the time of my reappearance are liars.’9
Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself has explained the rationale behind the prohibition of uttering his (a.t.f.s.) name in public:
اِمَّا السُّكُوْتَ وَالجَنَّةَ، وَاِمَّا الْكَلَامَ وَالنَّارَ، فَاِنَّهُمْ اِنْ وَقَفُوْا عَلَى الْاِسْمِ اَذَاعُوهُ وَاِنْ وَقَفُوْا عَلَى الْمَكانِ دَلُّوْ عَلَيْهِ-
‘…or one should refrain from taking the name so that he may become deserving of heaven or he should talk (about him) so that he is put in hell because those who are aware of his name will spread it and if they become aware of his residence, then they will inform the people.’10
The author of Wasa’il ush-Shia (Shaikh Hurr al-Ameli (r.a.)) has mentioned in vol. 16, p. 240, chap. 33, tradition 21,460 that the reason for prohibition of taking the name was due to dissimulation (taqayyah) and fear of enemies.
2) Abdullah b. Ja’far Himyari says that I told Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.), ‘I wish to ask you the same question that Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) asked Allah and said:
وَاِذْ قَالَ اِبْرَاهِيْمُ رَبِّ اَرِنِىْ كَيْفَ تُحْيِى الْمَوْتَى قَالَ اَوَلَمْ تُوٴْمِنْ قَالَ : بَلٰى وَلٰكِنْ لِيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِىْ.
And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead. He said, ‘What! And do you not believe?’ He replied, ‘Yes (I believe), but (I ask) that my heart may be at ease.’11
‘Please inform me whether you have seen Sahib ul-‘Amr (Master of the Affair)? Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) replied, ‘Yes and his neck is like this and he pointed towards his own neck with his hand.’12
3) Abdullah b. Ja’far Himyari narrates that I heard from Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.)
وَاللهِ اِنَّ صَاحِبَ هٰذَا الاَمرِ لَيَحْضُرُ الْمُوسِمَ كُلَّ سَنَةٍ فَيَرَى النَّاسَ وَيَعْرِفُهُمْ وَيَرَوْنَهُ وَلَا يَعْرِفُوْنَهُ.
‘I swear by Allah that Sahib ul-’Amr (a.t.f.s.) visits Mecca every year (at the time of Hajj). He sees the people and recognises them and the people also see him but do not recognise him.’
Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) witnessed Imam (a.t.f.s.) in Masjidul Haram near the Ka’ba praying:
اَللَّهُمَّ اَنْجِزْلى مَا وَعَدْتَنِى
‘O Allah! Fulfill the promise that You have made unto me.’13
He also narrates the following tradition: I saw Imam (a.t.f.s.) near Babul Mustajaar clutching the cloth of Kaaba, beseeching Allah
اَللّٰهُمَّ انتَقِمْ لِى مِنْ اَعْدَائى [اَوْ اَعْدَائِكَ]
‘O my Lord, let me take revenge from my enemies (or Your enemies).’14
Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is awaiting Allah’s permission for his reappearance and is vehemently praying for it. We too should always pray for his reappearance, especially at those sanctified places where supplications are accepted like at the time of Hajj at Al Mustajaar.
The famous Dua as-Samaat has been communicated to the Shias through Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) This supplication is recorded in Mafaateehul Jinaan. It is also called as Dua al-Shabboor and is recommended to be recited in the late evening (Asr) of Friday.
Shaikh Abbas Qummi (r.a.) has reported this supplication from old, authentic and reliable sources. This supplication has also been narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.). Allama Majlisi (r.a.) has narrated this supplication in Bihar al-Anwar along with its interpretation.
Caliphs of Bani Abbas
Following is the list of Bani Abbas caliphs who ruled during the deputyship of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.):
1. Mu‘tamid Billah (256 A.H. – 279 A.H.)
2. Mu‘tazid Billah (279 A.H. – 289 A.H.)
3. Muktafi Billah (289 A.H. – 295 A.H.)
4. Muqtadir Billah (295 A.H. – 320 A.H.)
Duration of Representation
It is famous among the scholars of Rejaal that the period of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman’s (r.a.) representation lasted for approximately 50 years, although this seems improbable. The reason being that Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) died in 305 A.H., 45 years after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.).
The period of the minor occultation begins after the demise of Imam Hasan Askair (a.s.) i.e. 260 A.H. After Imam Hasan al-Askari’s (a.s.) martyrdom, ‘Uthman b. Sa’eed (r.a.) assumed deputyship for 5 years, until his expiry. Therefore the actual period of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman’s (r.a.) deputyship works out to forty (40) years.
As per the available records, Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) died in Jamadiul Ulaa 305 A.H. Some writers have also mentioned it in 304 A.H. Abu Ghalib Zorari, who was the representative of Husain b. Rauh (r.a.) in Kufa and was also very close to Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) has recorded his death in 305 A.H. The scholars of research have given precedence to this narration.
Muhammad b. ‘Uthman had himself informed about his death two months in advance. Abul Hasan Ali b. Ahmed al-Dallal Qummi narrates, ‘One day I was with Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and saw a slate in front of him, on which he was making some sketches and writing the verses of the Holy Quran. And in the margins of that tablet, he was writing the names of the Holy Imams (a.s.). I asked him about it. He replied, ‘This is for my grave and I will be kept on this” or according to another report, he said, “This will be my pillow”.
Then he revealed, ‘Everyday I enter my grave, pray one part of the Quran and then I come out.’ In another tradition, it is narrated that after this Abul Hasan Ali b. Ahmed says that Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) caught my hand and took me near his grave. After looking at it he said, ‘On such and such date of such and such month of such and such year, I will die and be laid in this grave and this tablet will be with me.’ I remembered his words and waited for that time. Just after a few days he became sick and finally expired on the same day, month and year which he had prophesied to me and was buried in the same grave which he had shown.’15
A similar tradition has also been narrated by Muhammad b. Ali b. Aswadi Qummi. For details, please refer Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 351; Kamaaluddin, vol. 2, p. 502, tradition 29.
Visitation of His Grave
Those whose hearts have been sealed will not recognise Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), much less his deputies. In order to break open the seal of the hearts, one should go to the grave of Muhammad b. ‘Uthman (r.a.) and see that even today this grave is informing us of his representation and deputyship. His grave is situated in East Baghdad in a very clean, posh and populated area in a mosque, famous as Khallani. Till date Shias visit his shrine and recite his Ziarat:
اَشَهَدُ اَنَّكَ بَابُ الْمَوْلٰى …جِئتُكَ عَارِفًا بِالْحَقّ الَّذِىْ اَنْتَ عَلَيْهِ وَاَنَّكَ مٰا خُنْتَ فِى التّٰاديَةِ وَالسِّفَارةِ- اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ بَابٍ مٰا اَوْسَعَهُ …
‘I bear witness that you are the door of mercy of my Master …. I have come to you after recognising your right on which you remained firmly established and I know that you have not breached the trust reposed in your deputyship or in conveying the news. Peace be upon you O the most expansive door of mercy!16