By Haidar Hobbollah
Translated by: By Faisal H
This article is a translation of a jurisprudential opinion published by Shaykh Hobbollah, it can be found in Arabic: here
Masjid Jamkarān (or Masjid Saḥib al-Zamān, which was previously known as Masjid Qadmagāh), is a mosque located in the city of Qum today in the Jamkarān region and is attributed to Imām al-Mahdi, it is located about 10 kilometers from the sanctuary of Sayyida [Faṭima] al-Maʿsuma, and special acts of worship are attributed to this mosque. This mosque has achieved great fame during the last century, especially after the revolution’s victory in Iran. Millions of visitors make the pilgrimage to it annually from Iran and various parts of the world. In turn, this pilgrimage became part of the Ziyāra programs carried out by the noble pilgrims. The mosque, its buildings, institutions, courtyards, and the administrative centers affiliated with it have been expanded to reach approximately 250 hectares.
It was stated in historical reports that Al-Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, his son, Shaykh al-Bahāʾi, and Shaykh Muḥammad Taqī al-Majlisī used to make the pilgrimage to this mosque, and this means that this mosque entered the domain of existence in the Safavid era, especially among scholars known to be spiritual or what is similar to that. But in the modern era, this mosque has become a destination for many scholars, marajiʿ, and jurists, and it has become a source of karāmāt and similar things.
The view I reached is that there is no doubt that it is not permissible to violate the sanctity of this mosque as it is a mosque, and there is no doubt that it is desirable to pray in it also because it is a mosque, just like all other mosques of the Muslims. As for proving its affiliation – in one way or another – to Imām al-Mahdi, in addition to having its own recommended acts (such as on Wednesday night or half of Shaʿbān..) or non-time specific acts, or a prayer in a special manner which is called Ṣalāt Saḥib al-Zamān, or sending letters to Imām al-Mahdi through the designated well for that, etc, this is all among that for which there is no reliable evidence.
The space does not allow me to elaborate much here, but I will briefly mention a few points:
- The foundational historical basis for linking this mosque to Imām al-Mahdi is the well-known story of Ḥassan b. Muthlih al-Jamkarānī with Imām al-Mahdi, in which this event occurred to him in the year 393 AH (that is, in the era of the greater occultation according to popular view), where the Mahdi asked him to build a mosque here so that people would visit him.
The available source for the transmission of this story is Shaykh Ḥusayn al-Nurī (d. 1320 AH) in his two books: Jannat al-Maʾwa, Al-Najm al-thāqib, and others quoting from a manuscript of Sayyid Niʿmat Allāh al-Jazāʾirī (and in some of his books it was transmitted on the authority of Muḥammad Mahdi b. ʿAlī Naqī al-Ḥusaynī al-Qummī (d. 1116 AH)), and that al-Jazāʾirī quoted it from a text translated into Persian, the book “Tārīkh Qum” by Ḥassan b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥassan al-Qummī, the contemporary of Shaykh al-Ṣaduq (d. 381 AH), and this Qummī transmits the story from the book “Muʾnis al-Ḥazīn” by Shaykh al-Ṣaduq himself. In his “Mustadrak al-wasāʾil” al-Nurī also attributed it to Ibn al-Waḥīd al-Bihbahānī (al-Waḥīd al-Bihbahānī, who died in 1205 AH).
This story was also transmitted by Shaykh Muḥammad al-Kačavaʾī (d. 1335 AH) in his book “Anwār al-Mushaʿshaʿīn fī Tārīkh Qum wal Qummīyīn,” by quoting from the book “Khulāsat al-Buldān” by Sayyid Muḥammad al-Raḍawī al-Qummī (d. 11th century AH), who in turn transmitted it from “Muʾnis al-Ḥazīn” by Shaykh al-Ṣaduq.
Note: Some people think that ʿAllāma al-Majlisī transmitted this story; Because it is present today in volume 53 of the new edition of the book Biḥār al-ʾanwār, but after scrutiny, it is known that the story is part of the book “Jannat al-Maʾwa” by Muḥaddith al-Nurī, which is printed inside Biḥār al-ʾanwār, so pay attention.
This story faces many problems, and I will briefly refer to some of them only, such as:
A – The book “Tārīkh Qum” in its original Arabic text does not exist anymore today, and what is found is the Persian translation of the book, which took place in 865 AH at the hands of Al-Ḥassan b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥassan al-Qummī, but it is incomplete, and the available portion of this book in Persian does not contain this story at all. Rather, by comparing al-Nurī’s transmissions, the more correct view is that the issue is surrounded by a strange obscurity in the type and identification of the sources the story is derived from, and the way in which the story was transmitted, which warrants further discussion than possible right now.
B – There is no sight or trace of al-Jazāʾirī’s manuscript which he has spoken about and in which the story is transmitted.
C – Shaykh al-Ṣaduq does not have a book named Muʾnis al-Ḥazīn, and none of the scholars of the bibliographical indexes, rijāl, and biographies mentioned it despite their detail for the books of al-Ṣaduq. Rather, if the story occurred in 393 AH, how would the deceased Shaykh al-Ṣaduq transmit it in 381 AH?! Unless we say there is a misspelling and the correct number is 373 AH or 293 AH as some have said… Yes, Ibn al-Fatāl al-Nīshāburī (d. 508 AH) has a book with this name. For this reason, some have assumed that there was a mix-up or confusion, especially since some books referred to al-Nīshāburī with the title “Shaykh al-Ṣaduq al-Fatāl al-Nīshāburī” so pay attention. Especially since this is not the first time that a book has been wrongly attributed to Shaykh al-Ṣaduq, so look into this. Accordingly, if we say that the source is al-Nīshāburī, then this means that there is about half a century or more time between him and the story, and we do not know the source of his information about it, rather we do not have a single book from al-Nīshāburī today in which this story is transmitted!
D – We do not have any information on the story’s sources in the book “Khulāsat al-Buldān”.
E – Nobody has mentioned anything in terms of recommended acts specific to this mosque or al-Baqʿa. There is no trace of this mosque in the books of supplications and ziyārat, nor in the books of jurisprudence and adab (Islamic etiquette), such as Kāmil al-Ziyārāt, Miṣbāḥ al-mutahajjid, the books of Sayyid Ibn Ṭāwūs and Ibn Fahd al-Ḥillī, al-Kafʿamī and others, rather the authors of major encyclopedias in the Imāmī corpus such as Al-Majlisī and Sayyid Hāshim al-Baḥrānī and their likes did not refer to anything of this sort, neither the story of the mosque nor about recommended acts related to it specifically. Rather even Shaykh ʿAbbās al-Qummī does not transmit the story in Mafātīḥ al-jinān, but only in the book “Al-Bāqiyāt Al-Ṣāliḥāt”, which serves as a book for footnotes and amendations.
F – Many researchers specializing in the field of studies of the history of mosques claim that there is no mention of this mosque by writers and scholars specializing in this field of history and that the first time we find a mention of this mosque is in the book “Khulāsat al-Tuwārīkh” in the tenth century AH, that is, in the beginnings of the Safavid era. Note that the old stone found in the mosque, which has an indication of the construction and its date, clearly indicates the building or reconstruction of the mosque in 1167 AH.
G – Al-Ḥassan b. Muthlih al-Jamkarānī is a person who is not mentioned in any book of history, hadith, rijāl, jurisprudence, bibliography, or biography, nor in any other Muslim book, so he is unknown to us completely. It is also remarkable that he is not mentioned even in the books related to Mahdism and the occultation, and what is related to it, except in the modern era. Even though it is known that during the third to fifth century AH the Shiites needed to collect any story related to the meeting with Imām al-Mahdi; to refute the objection of him not being born on the one hand and the lack of benefit from his presence on the other hand.
H – The essence of the story has a certain amount of ambiguity, and scholars differ in that it is a dream or daydream, and the reason for this is the mixing up of expressions and their alteration so that the matter becomes somewhat confused.
I suffice with this amount of commenting on the story, as the space for commenting on the text of the story is also open.
2 – The presence of miracles and karāmāt in this mosque does not justify linking it to Imām al-Mahdi or giving it additional particularity, let alone a legislative specificity of this kind, contrary to what the likes of Sayyid Mūsā al-Shubayrī al-Zanjānī have reported. Even if we accepted the realization of these karāmāt and have established them completely, it is not necessarily connected to the mosque but perhaps it is related to the relationship between a person and the Imām, the goal of which is that the person believes that the Imām is connected to the mosque, so pay attention to this.
3 – The pilgrimage of the late scholars to this mosque and their speech about their spiritual experiences in it, is also not evidence, neither from the historical, practical, nor legal jurisprudence point of view, perhaps this is the result of their belief or their spiritual connection to the Imām, in addition to the fact that the conduct of scholars – as we have said repeatedly – is not invoked to argue with but rather is invoked to argue for, especially since there is no sight or trace of this issue before the tenth century AH. Hence the strangeness of the claim that the story of the mosque – as well as its recommended acts – is an agreed-upon matter inherited among the Shiites, generation after generation, as before the Safavid era, we do not find anything mentioned that can prove this.
In conclusion, some of the oral traditions indicate that the opinion of Sayyid ʿAlī al-Sīstānī, Shaykh Fāḍil al-Lankarānī, Sayyid Kāẓim al-Ḥā’irī, and Sayyid Rūhollāh Khomeinī, is that they do not believe in the existence of any additional specialty to Masjid Jamkarān, but I do not have evidence of the authenticity of these traditions, so the matter needs to be verified in an official manner through reliable and clear channels, especially since some of these scholars have been quoted as saying the opposite, such as Sayyid Khomeinī and Sheikh Lankarānī, and Allah is The All-Knowing One.
Thursday, September 1, 2022 AD