|Epithet||Al-Shahid, Halif al-Qur'an, Zayd al-Azyad|
|Father||Imam 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a)|
|Place of Birth||Medina|
|Children||Yahya, Husayn, Muhammad, 'Isa|
Zayd b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: زید بن علي بن الحسین بن علي بن ابيطالب) titled as Zayd al-Shahīd (Zayd the Martyr), is the son of Imam al-Sajjad (a), and was contemporary with Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a).
He did not believe in taqiyya (dissimulation); he also denounced those who dissociated the Shaykhayn. He advised people to obey the Holy Qur'an, sunna; and wage jihad against tyranny and support the poor. Zayd provoked an uprising against Yusuf b. 'Umar, the governor of Kufa. People of Kufa left him alone; as a result he was martyred in the battle. Al-Majmu' is the most important work penned by Zayd b. 'Ali on fiqh and hadith.
Zayd is the son of 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a), the fourth Imam of Shi'a Muslims. His mother's name was stated differently: Jayda, Jayd, Haydan, and Hawra' are the most famous ones. She was a bondwoman, who was bought by al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi; she was respected highly by al-Mukhtar that he gave her as a gift to Imam al-Sajjad (a). Imam al-Sajjad (a) had other children except Zayd; 'Ali, 'Umar, and Khadija, from her.
Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Titles and Teknonym
Abu l-Husayn was the teknonym of Zayd. His titles were Zayd al-Shahid (Zayd the Martyr) because he was martyred in an uprising against tyranny; and Halif al-Qur'an (Ally of Qur'an) because he was mostly engaged in reciting the Qur'an; and also Zayd al-Azyad (Zayd of the Zayds), pointing to his great position compared to other people named Zayd.
Zayd has narrated from his father, Imam al-Sajjad (a), his brother, Imam al-Baqir (a), and Imam al-Sadiq (a). Zayd also has narrated from a number of his masters including: Aban b. 'Uthman b. 'Affan and 'Abd Allah b. Abi Rafi'.
Zayd also learned from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr and Wasil b. 'Ata'. It is said because Zayd learned from Wasil b. 'Ata', Zaydiyya showed tendency to Mu'tazila. Zayd and Imam al-Baqir (a) had a dispute over the issue that Zayd was learning from Wasil b. 'Ata' and the condition of rebellion against tyranny for Imamate of Imams. Zayd had negotiations with faqihs in Basra and Kufa including: 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Layla, Abu Hanifa, and Sufyan al-Thawri.
The author of al-Rawd al-nadir mentioned the names of those who learned from Zayd b. 'Ali, including:
Here is the list of a number of narrators from Zayd:
According to narration of Abu Khalid al-Wasiti from Zayd, al-Majmu' fi al-fiqh is attributed to Zayd, which is regarded as the most important wok written by Zayd b. 'Ali. Also several commentaries have been written on it.
Tafsir gharib al-Qur'an al-majid, Akhbar Zayd b. 'Ali, Tathbit al-Imama, Manasik al-hajj, Qira'at Zayd b. 'Ali, Risalat fi l-jadal ma'a al-Murji'a, Kitab al-safwa, Risalat fi huquq Allah, and Kitab fi l-Ra'd 'ala al-Qadariyya min al-Qur'an are the other woks which are attributed to Zayd b. 'Ali.
Uprising of Zayd
Main Article: Uprising of Zayd
Zayd b. 'Ali made an uprising against Umayyad due to a number of reasons:
- Tyrannies of Umayyads,
- Invitations of people of Kufa,
- Disagreement between Zayd b. 'Ali and 'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan on waqfs of Imam 'Ali (a) in Medina which led to judgment of Khalid b. 'Abd al-Malik and its consequences,
- Travel of Zayd to Syria and his encounter with Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik
- Financial charges against Zayd b. 'Ali.
Zayd b. 'Ali made the uprising on the first Wednesday of Safar; the year of his uprising and martyrdom is mentioned differently in sources such as, 122/740, 121/739, and 120/738. They intended to make an uprising later, however after two soldiers of Zayd were killed and they feared a surprise attack by Umayyad, then they made the uprising sooner.
The motto of Zayd b. 'Ali's army was: "Ya Mansur! Amit" (O Victorious! Bring death).
After they were informed about the rebellion, Umayyad army surrendered the supporters of Zayd b. 'Ali in mosque, so from the fifty thousand men pledged allegiance to him only 280 or 300 men were around him. After two days of war, he was martyred by an arrow that pierced his forehead.
Zayd was buried in secret. However, Umayyads found the burial place, exhumed Zayds' body and sent his head to Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik and crucified his body.
His head was at first sent to Syria and then to Egypt. A shrine in Egypt is believed to be the final resting place of the head of Zayd b. 'Ali. His body remained crucified to the end of Hisham's life, then al-Walid b. Yazid ordered to set his body on fire and they scattered the ashes.
Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Zayd's Uprising
Many of Shi'a scholars believe this rebellion was staged by the permission of Imam al-Sadiq (a) including: al-Shahid al-Awwal in al-Qawa'id, al-Mamaqani in Tanqih al-maqal, al-Khoei in Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, and Sayyid 'Ali Khan Shirazi in Riyad al-Salikin.
Imam al-Rida (a) said, my father, Musa b. Ja'far (a), heard his father, Ja'far b. Muhammad (a), saying, "Zayd consulted me about his rebellion, I said O, dear uncle, if you like to be the person crucified in the Kunasa Bazar of Kufa, this (rebellion) is the way." When Zayd went out Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "Woe to someone who hears his call and does not support him"
Religion of Zayd
It is narrated from Zayd saying that,
- "At any time, one of us, the Ahl al-Bayt (a), is the proof of God and in our time the proof is my nephew, Ja'far b. Muhammad (a). Whoever follows him, would not go stray and whoever opposes him will not be guided."
Some sources refer to this narration to prove Zayd's belief in the imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a).
- Husayn: he was known as Husayn Dhu l-Dam'a because he cried for the martyrdom of his father. After the martyrdom of Zayd, Imam al-Sadiq (a) took care of him.
- Muhammad: he was among the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a).
- 'Isa: he lived a life in secret and passed away at the age of 60 in Kufa. According to some reports, he too was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a).
The progeny of Zayd continued through 'Isa, Muhammad and Husayn.
Emergence of Zaydiyya
After the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a), some of 'Alids considered armed uprising as a requirement of imamate and the strategy needed for opposing oppressors. After formation of this political thought at the time of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (a), Zaydiyya began to emerge.
The disagreement among 'Alids was based on the two views of cultural fighting or armed uprising against Umayyads. The result of this disagreement was seen after the martyrdom of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (a), when some people accepted the imamate of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) and others believed in the uprising by the sword which was led by Zayd b. Ali (a), brother of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a). The latter group were known as Zaydiyya. This way, Shi'a who believed in armed uprising considered Zayd b. Ali as the fourth imam and al-Hasan al-Muthanna as the fifth imam.
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