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'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna

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'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna
Taking allegiance for his son, al-Nafs al-Zakiyya
His tomb
Teknonym Abu Muhammad
Well-known As 'Abd Alla al-Mahd
Lineage Al Hasan
Well-known Relatives Al-Hasan al-Muthanna (father), al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, Ibrahim (sons)
Place of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 145/763
Era Late Ummayad and early Abbasid

ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Ḥasan al-Muthannā (Arabic: عبدالله بن الحسن المثنیٰ) known as ʿAbd Allāh al-Mahḍ (عبدالله المحض) was a grandson of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a). Toward the end of Umayyad government during the imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a), 'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan Muthanna called his son Muhammad, as the promised al-Mahdi, and asked people to give allegiance to him.

Among his children, Muhammad (al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) and Ibrahim (Qatil Bakhamra) who rose against Abbasid government were killed, but Idris established the first Shi'a government (Idrisids).

Lineage and Position

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
'Abd Allah
Lady Fatima
Imam Ali
Umm al-Banin
Imam al-Husayn
Imam al-Hasan
Lady Zaynab
Umm Kulthum
Abd Allah
Umm Kulthum
'Abd Allah
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Sajjad
'Ali al-Akbar
'Ali al-Asghar
Imam al-Baqir
Imam al-Sadiq
'Abd Allah
'Ubayd Allah
Imam al-Kazim
Umm Farwa
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Rida
Imam al-Jawad
Imam al-Hadi
Imam al-'Askari
Imam al-Mahdi

The name of his father was al-Hasan al-Muthanna, son of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a) and his mother was Fatima, daughter of Imam al-Husayn (a). He was called 'Abd Allah al-Mahd because his lineage reached the Prophet (s) from both the side of his father and his mother. It is narrated from him saying, "the Prophet (s) made me born twice" which referred to his lineage of both his father and his mother which reached the Prophet (s). His kunya was Abu Muhammad.

Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani considerd him shaykh of Banu Hashim, having knowledge, merits, and generosity. It is narrated that 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz respected him as well.


  • Muhammad, who was known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya rose against Abbasids in Medina, but he was killed with many of his followers.
  • Ibrahim: He made an uprising after his brother al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in Basra. In this uprising, a great number of Zaydis, Mu'tazilis, and a number of famous faqihs participated, but finally it was not successful and Ibrahim was killed in Bakhamra region near Kufa (so he was titled as Qatil Bakhamra [the slain of Bakhamra]).
  • Zaynab: She was mother of al-Husayn, knwon as Shahid Fakh.
  • Idris: He attended in the Event of Fakh and then went to the Arabian Maghrib and established the Shia government of Idrisids in Morocco.
  • Sulayman: He was martyred in the Event of Fakh.
  • Yahya: His mother was Qariba, daughter of 'Abd Allah (Dhabih) b. Abi 'Ubayda. After participating in the uprising of Fakh, he went to Iran and secretly stayed in Daylam and invited them to his imamate and could gather companions, but their uprising failed and he was imprisoned by the order of Harun al-Rashid and passed away in Baghdad in 176/792-3.

As the Student of Imam al-Sajjad (a)

When he was a teenager, 'Abd Allah attended the class of Imam al-Sajjad (a). He is quoted as saying, "My mother Fatima always advised me to attend the sessions of my uncle, 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) and in every session, my knowledge and wariness of God increased.

Political Activities

From historical reports, it can be understood that during the life of Zayd b. 'Ali, 'Abd Allah was not interested in his manner of uprising and even before the uprising, prohibited him from being deceived by the promises of the people of Kufa. It is also reported that he had a disagreement with Zayd over donations of Imam Ali (a).

But, After Zayd was martyred, 'Abd Allah turned to his ideas and prepared his sons for uprising.

Taking Allegiance of People for His Son

Toward the end of Umayyads, some of Banu Hashim including 'Abd Allah and his sons, and also Saffah and al-Mansur gathered in al-Abwa' to give allegiance to one among themselves. In that session, 'Abd Allah introduced his son, Muhammad as the promised al-Mahdi and asked others to give allegiance to him. When Imam al-Sadiq (a) heard about their intention said, "Do not do this, since its time (for coming of the al-Mahdi) has not come yet." He also told 'Abd Allah, "If you think your son is the al-Mahdi, [I should tell you that] he is not the al-Mahdi and it is not the time for the coming of al-Mahdi. And if you are going to rise for the sake of God and enjoining to the good and prohibiting from evil, by God, we will not abandon you and make allegiance to your son, since you are our elderly one."

'Abd Allah became angry and said, "By God, I swear that God has not made you aware of the unseen and what you say is out of the envy you have toward my son." Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "By God, what I said was not out of envy, but this and his brother and his children (and put his hand on the shoulder of Abu l-'Abbas al-Saffah and then put his hand on the shoulder of 'Abd Allah and said) and yes by God, that (caliphate) is not yours or your children, and belongs to them and both of your sons will be killed."

Rasul Ja'fariyan believes that, "the disagreement between the children of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) emerged when 'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan b. al-Imam al-Hasan (a) introduced his son as the Upriser of the Ahl al-Bayt (a).

In the Banu l-'Abbas's Prison

Although the elders of Banu Abbas were among those who gave allegiance to son of 'Abd Allah al-Mahd, but they later took the caliphate. However, they were afraid of the uprising of the Al al-Hasan, especially 'Abd Allah.

Although, Abu l-'Abbas al-Saffah, the first Abbasid caliph was trying to capture the sons of 'Abd Allah, but respected 'Abd Allah himself. When Abu Ja'far al-Mansur reached caliphate, his greatest concern was finding Muhammad (al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) and 'Abd Allah refused to tell him about Muhammad's hiding place despite al-Mansur's insistence.

In 140/758, al-Mansur went to Hajj and 'Abd Allah and his brother al-Hasan went to meet him. Al-Mansur earnestly asked him to call his son to him. 'Abd Allah said, "Even if he was under my feet, I would not lift my foot off him," al-Mansur ordered to imprison him together with some other people of Al al-Hasan. He stayed in prison for three years.

In 144/762, al-Mansur ordered to take them to Rabadha and then they were moved to a prison near Kufa. The prison was so that telling day from night was impossible for them and could guess the times of prayer with the time it took to recite parts of the Qur'an.


He passed away in 145/763, at the age of 75, in al-Hashimiyya prison of Kufa and in another report in Baghdad. They say that he and some others from the Al Hasan were killed in different ways in prison and 'Abd Allah was killed by destroying the ceiling over him.

His grave is 9 km west of Shanafiya in Diwaniyya province of Iraq, 70 km south of Najaf, known as 'Abd Allah Abu Najm.