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Uthman b. Isa al-Rawwasi

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Companion of Imam (a)
Uthman b. Isa al-Rawwasi
Full Name 'Uthman b. 'Isa al-Rawwasi al-Kufi
Companion of Imam al-Kazim (a)
Religious Affiliation Waqifiyya
Place(s) of Residence Kufa, Karbala
Death/Martyrdom Alive before 203/818-19
Burial Place Karbala
Works Al-Miyah (on water), al-Qadaya, al-Ahkam, ...
Activities Denying the Imamate of Imam al-Rida (a) and claiming that Imam al-Kazim (a) is still alive

ʿUthmān b. ʿIsā al-Rawwāsī (Arabic: عثمان بن عیسی الرَّوَّاسي) (alive before 203/818-19) was a companion and a representative of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a) who refused to return the money and property in his hands to Imam al-Rida (a), claiming that Imam Musa al-Kazim (a) was still alive. According to some sources, he repented, but Ayatollah al-Khoei believed that such reports are unreliable. 'Uthman b. 'Isa, 'Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini, and Ziyad b. Marwan al-Qandi were three main figures of Waqifiyya who had stopped at the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a) and denied the imamate of the subsequent Imams.

Life and Place in Hadith

'Uthman b. 'Isa al-Kilabi al-Rawwasi al-Kufi (alive before 203/818) was a head of Waqifiyya. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi considered him as a companion of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a).

'Uthman b. 'Isa was a representative of Imam al-Kazim (a) who received money and property from the Shi'as on behalf of the Imam (a), but since the Imam (a) was in prison, it was not possible to send the money and property to him. After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a), 'Uthman received a letter from Imam al-Rida (a) asking him to return the money and property to him. He first refused to do so, and this made Imam al-Rida (a) angry at him. According to historical sources, 'Uthman b. 'Isa repented then and sent the money and property to Imam al-Rida (a).

Al-Kashshi believed that 'Uthman b. 'Isa was not accused of any wrong-doing. Al-Kashshi reports a view according to which 'Uthman b. 'Isa was among the People of Consensus. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi and Ibn Shahrashub considered him to be a reliable transmitter of hadiths and testified that there was consensus about his reliability. Ibn Shahrashub referred to 'Uthman b. 'Isa as a person trusted by Imam al-Kazim (a).

'Uthman b. 'Isa wrote works, such as al-Miyah (on water), al-Qadaya, al-Ahkam, al-Wasiyya (will), and al-Salat (prayer). He transmitted hadiths from Abu Hamza al-Thumali, 'Ali b. Mahziyar, 'Ali b. Sindi, and Sahl b. Ziyad al-Adami.

'Uthman b. 'Isa has appeared 743 times in Shiite hadiths. Muhammad Baqir b. Muhammad Ja'far al-Bahari al-Hamadani wrote a short essay about 'Uthman b. 'Isa al-Rawwasi in 1321/1903.

According to Nasr b. Sabah, when Imam al-Rida (a) was angered by 'Uthman b. 'Isa's refusal to return the money and property to him, 'Uthman repented and returned the money and property to the Imam (a). According to Nasr b. Sabah's report from Abu Hamza, 'Uthman saw in a dream that he was going to die in al-Ha'ir al-Husayni. Thus, he left Kufa and resided in al-Ha'ir al-Husayni until he died and was buried there.

Denial of the Imamate of Imam al-Rida (a)

'Uthman b. 'Isa al-Rawwasi was the third person (after 'Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini and Ziyad b. Marwan al-Qandi) who believed in Waqifiyya. He is referred to as the third side of the founders of Waqifiyya. Al-'Allama al-Majlisi and al-Shaykh al-Saduq believed that the reason why Imam Musa al-Kazim's (a) representatives in Kufa and Egypt denied the Imamate of Imam al-Rida (a) and stopped at the Imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a) was to keep the money in their own hands.

In reply to Imam al-Rida's (a) letter asking him to return Imam al-Kazim's (a) money and property to him, 'Uthman b. 'Isa denied Imam al-Kazim's (a) death; he claimed that the Imam (a) was still alive. He went on to write that even if Imam al-Kazim (a) had in fact died, he would not return the money and property because the Imam (a) never told him anything about returning them. It is reported that the money and property in 'Uthman b. 'Isa's hand included 30,000 golden dinars and 5 bondwomen.

'Uthman b. 'Isa and the other two representatives claimed that Imam al-Kazim (a) was the hidden Imam and denied the Imamate of the subsequent Imams. Ayatollah Khoei believed that 'Uthman b. 'Isa was undoubtedly an opponent of Imam al-Rida's (a) Imamate and never returned the money and property to him. Moreover, since Nasr b. Sabah has reported 'Uthman's repentance, the report is not reliable.