Muhammad b. Abd Allah b. al-Hasan

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Muhammad b. Abd Allah b. al-Hasan
RoleLeadr of the first upraising against Abbasid
Well-Known AsAl-Nafs al-Zakiyya
Father'Abd Allah Mahd
MotherHind bt. Abi Ubaydat
Place of BirthMedina
Place(s) of ResidenceMedina
DemiseRamadan 14, 145/December 6, 762 CE
Place of BurialBaqi' cemetery, Medina

Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Ḥasan (Arabic:محمد بن عبدالله بن حسن) (b. 100/718-9 - d. 145/762) known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (النفس الزکیّه) was descendant of Imam al-Hasan (a). He was the first 'Alavi who revolted against Abbasid.

His father, 'Abd Allah al-Mahd entitled his son as Mahdi, and asked people to take oath of allegiance to him. Banu Abbas took oath of allegiance to him in the beginning, but after the fall of Umayyads they took charge of caliphate and opposed Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah. Then he rebelled against Mansur, the Abbasid caliph, and consequently he was murdered along with his companions. Imam al-Sadiq (a) did not accept to take oath of allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah because he called himself Mahdi.

Birth and Lineage

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

Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah b. Hasan b. al-Hasan who was entitled as Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was born in 100/718-9. 'Abd Allah, his father, was the son of Al-Hasan al-Muthna the grandson of Imam al-Hasan (a). Hind, his mother, was the daughter of Abi Ubaydat b. 'Abd Allah b. Zam'a. Because none of his paternal and maternal ancestors were ever a slave, and they were all from Quraysh tribe, he was called as Sarih (the purest, in terms of unmixed origins) of Quraysh.[1]

Allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah

After the uprising of Yahya b. Zayd which led to his martyrdom, his followers and supporters who wanted to rebel against Umayyads including Alavis, came to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah. 'Abd Allah b. Hasan, his father, asked his relatives and supports in Abwa' region near Medina to take oath of allegiance to his son in around 126/743-4. He introduced his son as the promised "Mahdi" and he managed to bring a lot of them to take oath of allegiance.[2]

According to historical reports, Abbasid brothers Ibrahim, Saffah and Mansur[3] also took oath of allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah. However some reports mentioned that only Mansur took the oath.[4]

In the View of Imam al-Sadiq (a)

Imam al-Sadiq (a) opposed the allegiance in Abwa', as some reports mentioned that his disagreement to allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah was because Muhammad regarded himself as the promised Mahdi. Imam (a) believed that it was not the right time for Mahdi (a) to be appeared and Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah did not have the characteristics of the promised Mahdi.[5]

The other reason for disagreement of Imam (a) was that he knew Banu Abbas would break their oath of allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah, and their purpose of taking the oath to him was get close to Alavis and prepare situation for themselves to achieve power and caliphate.[6]

A number of historians also mentioned that Imam al-Sadiq (a) similar to his father, Imam al-Baqir (a), disagreed with rebels. He was practicing the cultural Shi'ism attitude[7] which was in contrary to political Shi'ism attitude that Zaydis and Alavis were practicing.

However some reports mentioned that the only reason Imam al-Sadiq (a) disagreed with taking oath of allegiance to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah was that he called himself the promised Mahdi. Also Imam (a) did not oppose the rebel of Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah against tyranny and practicing enjoying the good and forbidding the evil.[8]

[9]Rise of Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya

Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah known as Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya rebelled against Mansur, the Abbasid caliph, in Medina in 145/762. Faqihs and hadith scholars of Medina including the non-Shi'ites favored Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah over Mansur and advised people to support him, they even regarded the unwilling oaths of allegiance taken to Mansur invalid.[10]

When Abbasids soldiers besieged Medina, people became scared of drought and they left Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya.[11]


Finally when Abbasid soldiers entered the city, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah was slayed by Hamdi b. Quhtaba in Ihjar al-Ziyat region in Medina[12]. Then he was beheaded on Ramadan 14, 145/December 6, 762[13], and his head was sent to different cities. His body was buried in Al-Baqi' Cemetery.[14]


A number of the authors of the book Al-Milal wa al-Nihal stated on the event of the death of Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah: "After the execution of Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah, Mughira b. Sa'id al-'Ijli and his supporters claimed that Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya is not deceased but he is in occultation in Hajar Mountain in Najd region and he will re-appear. Those who believe Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya is the promised Mahdi and he will re-appear are called Muhammadist Shi'ites."[15]


  1. Farmānīyān & Mūsawīnizhād, Zaydīyya tārīkh wa ʿaqāyid, p. 36.
  2. Ibn Ṭabāṭabā, al-Fakhrīyy, p. 120.
  3. Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 256.
  4. Ibn Ṭabāṭabā, al-Fakhrīyy, p. 119; Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 313.
  5. Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 256; Jaʿfarīyān, Tārīkh tashayyuʿ, p. 37.
  6. Motahhari, Sayrī dar sīra-yi aʾimma, p. 131-132.
  7. Farmānīyān & Mūsawīnizhād, Zaydīyya tārīkh wa ʿaqāyid, p. 36.
  8. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 47, p. 278.
  9. Ibn Qutayba, al-Maʿārif, p. 378.
  10. Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 238, 239, 251.
  11. Farmānīyān & Mūsawīnizhād, Zaydīyya tārīkh wa ʿaqāyid, p. 38.
  12. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 7, p. 589-590.
  13. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 7, p. 597.
  14. Farmānīyān & Mūsawīnizhād, Zaydīyya tārīkh wa ʿaqāyid, p. 36.
  15. Baghdādī, al-Farq bayn al-firaq, p. 42.


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