Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, also known as Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah was born in 15 AH in Medina and died in 81 AH; in Madina.
[AD 636 – 700].
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah was Amir al-mu'minin's son but called Ibn Hanafiyyah after his mother. His mother's name was Khawlah bint Ja`far. She was known as Hanafiyyah because she was from tribe Banu Hanifah. When people of Yamamah were declared apostates for refusing to pay zakat (religious tax) and were killed and their women-folk were brought to Medina as slave girls, this lady also came to Medina with them. When her tribesmen came to know it they approached Amir al-mu'minin Ali ibn e Abutalib AS and requested him to save her from the blemish of slavery and protect her family honour and prestige. Consequently, Amir al-mu'minin set her free after purchasing and married her, whereafter Muhammad Hanfiya was born. Most historians have written his surname as Abu'l-Qasim.
As regards his surname it is said that the Prophet had particularised it and he had told “Ali that a son would be born to you after me and I have given him my name and surname and after that it is not permissible for anyone in my people to have this name and surname together.”
Hazrat Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya loved his name and surname very much because they were a special gift given to him by none other than Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Chief of all the Prophets and the Leader of all the Messengers of Allah. This gift was delivered to him by his father ‘Ali al-Murtuza, the Commander of the Believers and the Leader of the pious ones. He would advise people to call him by the name of Muhammad and by the surname of Abul Qasim and not by any other title.
Muhammad Hanafiya was a dignified and handsome man. He had a good built muscular body. He was a man of dignity and solemnity. He had a very charming, charismatic and commanding personality. During the life time of his father Imam ‘Ali, Muhammad Hanafiya spent almost all of his time in his companionship, in home and in mosque, in privacy and in public, in the circle of teaching and in the assembly of preaching, in the congregation of friends and in the crowd of rivals, and in the climate of peace and in the field of war, he was always with his beloved father.
Mohammad Hanfiya in WARS
During the battle of Jamal, Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanfiya displayed his astonishing qualities of bravery, courage and war genius. Imam ‘Ali, looking at his son’s military endeavors, expressed his sentiments of joy and pride in the following words: “You are my true son.” The battle of Jamal was the first war in which Hazrat Muhammad Hanfiya participated. HazratAli AS handed him over the War banner and said: “March on my dear son.” He marched on and kept pushing forward in an intense fight. Meanwhile, the other side started raining arrows like swift showers of a heavy rain. He in view of war strategy stopped his advancement for a while and waited for the weakening of the attack. Seeing this, Imam ‘Ali addressed him in a loud voice and said: “Attack the enemy.” Responding to the call of his father, Abul Qasim executed a fatal and sudden attack on the enemy forces that caused them their worst losses. Watching his son performs the astonishing heroic deeds of bravery, Imam ‘Ali recited the following couplet:
“Swing your sword like swordsmanship of your father. You will be acknowledged. There is no excellence in the fire of war if it is not turned to blazing [frightening,powerful and impressive].”
Upon the conclusion of this war, Imam Ali expressed his sentiments of happiness about his brave and devoted son’s superior performance in the battle by the following words:
“Whoever wants to honor me in this world and the Hereafter he should honor my son Muhammad.”
During the battle of Jamal, Imam Ali entrusted the War banner to his son Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya. Holding this banner, he attacked the enemy forces repeatedly, and caused them fatal sufferings. Watching his spirit and skills, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, the companion of the Prophet, said:
“O Abul Qasim, what a beautiful way you held the Banner today.”
On the occasion of Jamal, Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya demonstrated astonishing strength, bravery and war skills. He caused the powerful enemy army heavy losses, and crushed them by his successive attacks. Looking at the great performance of Abul Qasim, Khuzaimah ibn Thabit, the companion of the Prophet, said to Imam Ali:
“listen, if there were anyone other than Muhammad, he would have suffered humiliation.”
Khuzaimah ibn Thabit al-Ansari paid his tribute to Imam Abul Qasim Muhammad ibn Ali on the day 0f Jamal in the following words:
“O Muhammad, there is no flaw in your strength on this war-day, and you never turned your back during this fierce battle.”
“Your father is ‘Ali the unique horseman, and the Prophet of Allah named you Muhammad.”
“And you, praise be Allah, are superior and dominant in language, and you are most generous with what you own.”
“And you, praise be Allah, are superior and dominant in language, and you are most generous with what you own.”
“And from among the Quraish you are the nearest to every virtue that they may wish, and from among them you are the superior in honoring your word.”
“And from among them you are excellent in attacking the chest of a brave enemy with your spear, and from among them you are superior in dressing the heads of opponent fighters with a sharp sword made of Indian steel.”
“Allah has refused to give your enemy any sitting space on earth, or any stair and point of ascent in the sky.” [ ‘Abd al-Hamid ibn Abi al-Hadid: Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 81.]
During the battle of Siffin, when the enemy forces put heavy pressure on the army of Imam ‘Ali, he entrusted his son the responsibility to attack the enemy on all its wings. Responding to the order of his father, Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya like a thunderbolt attacked the Right wing of the enemy, then the Left and then the Central wing. The fighting skills coupled with genius and brave leadership of Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya overturned the rows of enemy. He inflicted on them mortal blows, and did not leave for them any choice but to retreat. After this, when Abul Qasim Muhammad Hanafiya returned, Imam ‘Ali was so happy for his son’s successful attacks that he got up from his seat, went forth to welcome his brilliant son, kissed his forehead and paid him tribute for his heroic deeds in the following historic words:
“May your father be sacrificed for you? By God, you have delighted me by your this holy war in front of me.”
[Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi: Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 42, pp. 105-106.]
Once a man said to Imam ‘Ali that you always expose Muhammad in places of fighting, and you always hurl him upon the throats of enemies. But you don’t do this with his brothers Hasan and Husain? Imam ‘Ali responded in the follow words: “He is my hand, and they are my two eyes. And every man always protects his eyes with his hand.”
Once, someone asked ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab about a serious religious question. He recommended him to go to Imam Abul Qasim Muhammad and ask him the question, then come back and inform about what he has answered. The man went to Imam Abul Qasim and found the answer to his problem. Then he returned to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and narrated him the response. Hearing the answer, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar paid his tribute to Imam Abul Qasim in this way: “They are the family that has been blessed by Allah in knowledge and wisdom.”
[Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Madinat Dimashq, vol. 54, p. 332]
However, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah was prominent in righteousness and piety, sublime in renunciation and worship, lofty in knowledge and achievements and heir of his father in bravery. His performance in the battles of Jamal and Siffin had created such impression among the Arabs that even warriors of consequence trembled at his name. Amir al-mu'minin too was proud of his courage and valour, and always placed him forward in encounters. ash-Shaykh al-Baha'i has written in al-Kashkul that `Ali ibn Abi Talib kept him abreast in the battles and did not allow Hasan and Husayn to go ahead, and used to say:
"He is my son while these two are sons of the Prophet of Allah."
When a Kharijite said to Ibn al-Hanafiyyah that `Ali thrust him into the flames of war but saved away Hasan and Husayn he replied that he himself was like the right hand and Hasan and Husayn are like Ali's two eyes and that `Ali protected his eyes with his right hand. But al-Allamah al-Mamaqani has written in Tanqih al-Maqal that this was not the reply of Ibn al-Hanafiyyah but of Amir al-mu'minin himself. When during the battle of Siffin Muhammad mentioned this matter to Amir al-mu'minin in a complaining tone he replied, "You are my right hand whereas they are my eyes, and the hand should protect the eyes."
Apparently it seems that first Amir al-mu'minin must have given this reply and thereafter someone might have mentioned it to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and he must have repeated the same reply as there could be no more eloquent reply than this one and its eloquence confirms the view that it was originally the outcome of the eloquent tongue of Amir al-mu'minin and was later appropriated by Muhammad al-Hanafiyyah. Consequently, both these views can be held to be correct and there is no incongruity between them.
When in the Battle of Jamal Amir al-mu'minin sent Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah to the battle-field, he told him that he should fix himself before the enemy like the mountain of determination and resoluteness so that the onslaught of the army should not be able to displace him, and should charge the enemy with closed teeth because by pressing teeth over the teeth tension occurs in the nerves of the skull as a result of which the stroke of the sword goes amiss, as he said at another place also viz. "Press together the teeth. It sends amiss the edge of the sword."
Then he says, “My child, lend your head to Allah in order that you may be able to achieve eternal life in place of this one, because for a lent article there is the right to get it back. Therefore, you should fight being heedless of your life, otherwise also if your mind clings to life you will hesitate to advance towards deathly encounters and that would tell upon your reputation of bravery. Look, don't let your steps falter because the enemy is emboldened at the faltering of steps, and faltering steps fastens the feet of the enemy.”
“Keep the last lines of the enemy as your aim so that the enemy may be overawed with loftiness of your intentions and you may feel ease in tearing through their lives, and their movement should also not remain concealed from you. Look, do not pay heed to their superiority in numbers, otherwise your valour and courage would suffer." This sentence can also mean that one should not wide open the eyes to be dazzled by the shining of weapons, and the enemy may make an attack by taking advantage of the situation. Also, always bear it in mind that victory is from Allah. "If Allah helps you no one can overpower you." Therefore, instead of relying on material means seek His support and succor [Imdad].
(Remember O' ye Believers!) If Allah helpeth you, none shall overcome you...(Qur'an, 3:160)
Physical Stregnth of Mohammad Hanfiya
It is said that the Roman Emperor sent two herculean athletes to Muawiya to measure their strength with the Muslim athletes. One of them was tall and corpulent [fat and well built], and the other was powerful with a strong grip. Muawiya said to Amr bin As: "We have got a match for the tall man in the person of Qays bin sad bin Ubada, but as regards the other man you should think over it as to who can measure his strength with him and defeat him".
Amr said: "I have two persons in view but you are inimical towards both of them. One of them is Muhammad bin Hanafiya and the other is Abdullah bin Zubayr". Muawiya said: "You should summon him who is nearer to us at present. Amr asked Muhammad bin Hanafiya to meet the challenge. Muawiya took his place in the general assembly and the dignitaries of the State also attended. The powerful person was the first to enter the field and came face to face with Muhammad. Muhammad said to him: "Either you should sit down and let me hold your hand so that I may pull you off from your seat, or I may sit down and you may lift me from my place. Now let me know whether you are going to sit down or I should do so?"
The Roman said: "You may sit down. Muhammad sat down and let the Roman hold his hand. In spite of his best efforts, however, the Roman could not move Muhammad from his place, and acknowledged his weakness. Then Muhammad stood up and the Roman sat down and let Muhammad hold his hand. Muhammad immediately lifted him from his place with one jerk, held him in the air, and then threw him on the ground. Those present applauded him for his strength and Muawiya too was very happy.
Now the second Roman champion who was tall statured entered the field to compete. Qays bin Sād who was present went in a corner took off his underwear and gave it to the Roman to wear. When the Roman put it on it reached his breast and also trailed along behind his feet. Thereupon, he felt ashamed and sat down. The elder amongst the Ansar were very much annoyed on Qays having taken off his underwear in such a formal meeting and rebuked him. He, however, composed some verses in which he apologized for his conduct.
Imam Husain’s Will to Mohammad Hanfiya
When Imam Husayn left Madina for Makkah he wrote a testament for his brother Muhammad bin Hanafiya. It has been narrated by Ibn Tawus. In this testament the Imam mentioned the motive for his rising and clarified the policy which he intended to pursue in all circumstances. He also referred to the false motives which instigate a man and make him fight to satisfy his carnal desires and stated that the godly persons are free from such motives. The testament reads as follows:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
"This is the testament of Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib written by him for his brother Muhammad, known as Ibn Hanafiya. Indeed Husayn testifies that there is no god except Allah and no being other than Him is fit to be worshipped and He has no partner. He also testifies that Muhammad is Allah's servant and messenger, who has brought truth from Him, and that Paradise and Hell do exist and the Day of Judgment is bound to come and there is no doubt about it, and on that day, Allah will bring the dead to life".
The Imam continued: "This movement of mine is not on account of stubbornness, rebellion, worldly passions or instigation by Satan. It is also not my object to create trouble or to oppress anyone. The only thing which invites me to this great movement is that I should reform the affairs of the followers of my grandfather, eradicate corruption, undertake enjoining to do good and restraining from evil and follow the tradition of my grandfather, the Prophet of Allah and my father, Ali".
He added: "If the people respond to my call, and accept truth from me, well and good; and if they do not accept it, I shall observe patience and am not afraid of unpleasant events, hardships, and sufferings". By saying that he would observe patience, the Imam did not mean to say that he would sit with folded hands so that Yazid might do whatever he liked. On the contrary he used this word in its correct sense, which is suited to the position of an Imam, and is the basis of faith and godliness. In other words he said: "Even if I am alone I shall pursue this path till Allah decides justly between me and these people, and He is the most Wise and the most Powerful of the judges".
Thereafter he wrote:
"O my brother! This is my testament for you. I do not seek assistance from anyone except Allah. I depend on Him alone and have to return to him".
Imam Husain AS in Mecca
When it came to Imam Husayn's knowledge that Yazid had appointed ‘Amr Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As as the head of an army, ordering him to take charge of the pilgrimage caravans and to kill al-Husayn (‘a) wherever he could find him, he decided to leave Mecca before finishing the pilgrimage and be satisfied with performing only the ‘umra because he hated that the sanctity of the House might otherwise be violated.
Before departing, al-Husayn (‘a) stood up to deliver a sermon. He said,
“All praise is due to Allah. The Will of Allah be done. There is no might except in Allah. Allah has blessed His Messenger. Death is inscribed on Adam's children like a necklace on a girl's neck. My passion to be reunited with my ancestors is like that of Jacob for Joseph, and the demise I shall soon meet is better for me.
I see my limbs being torn by speeding steeds in the desert between al-Nawawis and Karbala’, so they shall fill, through my death, hollow bellies and starved pouches. There is no avoiding a day recorded by the Pen.
Whatever pleases Allah also pleases us, we Ahl al-Bayt. We shall be patient as we face His trial, and He shall give us in full the rewards due to those who persevere. The Prophet's offspring shall not deviate from His path. Rather, they shall be gathered before him in the presence of the most Holy One.
His eyes shall be cooled upon seeing them assembled, and he shall fulfill his promise. Anyone among us who is ready to sacrifice himself and is determined to meet Allah should join our departing party, for I shall depart in the morning if Allah Almighty so wills”. His departure took place on the 8th of Thul-Hijjah, 60 A.H/September 12, 680 A.D. He was accompanied by his family, slaves, and Shi’as from the people of Hijaz, Basra and Kufa who joined him during his sojourn in Mecca. He gave each one of them ten dinars and a camel to carry his luggage.
Attempt By Mohammad Hanfiya to Dissuade him from Depart from Mecca.
A group of his family members, in addition to others, asked him to postpone his trip till he could get to know the condition of the public. They feared the treachery of the Kufians and were apprehensive of a possible reversal in the situation. But the “Father of the Oppressed” was unable to reveal the knowledge with him about his fate to everyone he met.
The facts, as they stand, are not to be revealed to just anyone who seeks them due to the different levels of people's comprehension and the differences in their ability to absorb. He, peace be upon him, had to answer each person according to his own condition and ability to comprehend.
⦁ During the early hours of the morning, al-Husayn (‘a) started the preparations for his departure. Ibn al-Hanafiyya again came to him and held the reins of the she-camel upon which al-Husayn (‘a) had already mounted, saying,
“ Did you not promise me to think about my suggestion?” “Yes,” al-Husayn (‘a) answered, “But after your departure, the Messenger of Allah (S) came to me in a vision and said, ‘O Husayn! Get out! Allah Almighty has decreed to see you slain.'”
Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya said, “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajia’un” (We are Allah's, and to Him is our return). He asked him about the reason for letting his family accompany him. Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “It is the Will of Allah to see them taken captives.”
⦁ ‘Abdullah son of Ja’far at-Tayyar, and also his sons ‘Awn and Muhammad, wrote him saying, “I plead to you in the Name of Allah to go home once you read this letter, for I fear lest you should be killed and your Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) be eradicated.
If you get killed, the light on earth will be put out, for you are the standard of guidance and the hope of the faithful. Do not hurry in marching, for I shall see you shortly after you read this letter, and peace be with you.” ‘Abdullah took a letter from Yazid's governor over Mecca, ‘Amr Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As, granting al-Husayn (‘a) security. He brought it to al-Husayn (‘a) who was then accompanied by Yahya Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As, and he tried very hard to dissuade al-Husayn (‘a) from marching to his destination, but Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) refused. He informed ‘Abdullah that he had seen the Messenger of Allah (S) in a vision giving him an order which he had to carry out.
He asked him what he had seen. “I will not narrate this vision to anyone,” said Imam Husayn (‘a), “and I shall not narrate it till I meet my Lord, the most Exalted One, the most Great.”
⦁Ibn ‘Abbas said to him, “O cousin! I seek solace, but you are not solacing me, and I fear for you if you do it lest you should perish and be eliminated. The people of Iraq are treacherous; so, do not go near them. Stay in this land, for you are the master of the people of Hijaz. If the people of Iraq want you, as they claim, then let them unseat their governor and enemy, then you should go to them.
If you insist on going out, go to Yemen, for it has fortresses and valleys, and it is a wide and spacious land, and your father has many supporters there. You will be insulated from [the evil] people. You will then be able to write people, dispatch your messengers and disseminate your message, for you will then realize your objective in good health” Al-Husayn (‘a) said to him,
“O cousin! By Allah! I know that you are an advisor with compassion, yet I have already decided to go.” Ibn ‘Abbas then said, “If you insist on going, do not take your women and children, for I fear lest you should be killed as they look on.” Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “By Allah! They [the Umayyads] shall not leave me alone till I am dead. Should they do so, Allah will appoint over them those who will humiliate them till they become more degraded than a woman's rag.”
Mohammad Hanfiya after Karbala
Mohammad-e-Hanafiyya was not in Karbala because Imam Husain (as) had another mission for him. At the beginning of 64 A.H. after Yazid was dispatched toHell, Ibne Zubair seized power and once more a plot was hatched to harass Bani Hashim. Thus persons like Muhammad Hanafiyyah and Ibne Abbas were also arrested and it was planned to confine them inside a house and burn them up. But at the same time Mukhtar initiated his uprising and these people were saved. Such was the ferocity of the oppressions of Ibne Zubair that Imam Sajjad(a.s.) used to supplicate the Almighty for security againstthe mischiefs of Ibne Zubair.
In 66 AH after release from prison, Hazrat Mukhtar announced the revolution and began calling the people to punish the persons who committed the Karbala massacre. He received a letter from Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyah, Ali's son, in which he announced his support to Mukhtar. Muhammad Hanafiya's attitude encouraged people to stand by Mukhtar. Ibrahim ibn al-Ashtar son of Malik al-Ashtar and a brave senior army leader also joined Mukhtar. The revolutionaries fixed time to announce the revolution. The time was Thursday night, 14 Rabi al-Awwal, 66 AH. But on Tuesday night, 12 Rabi al-Awwal, two days before the fixed time, the revolution broke out when on the way to Mukhtar's house, Ibrahim al-Ashtar and some of his friends came across a patrol and Ibrahim al-Ashtar was forced to attack the Commander and kill him. Mukhtar ordered his followers to make fires, a sign of the revolution. The revolutionaries gathered at Mukhtar's house. Street clashes took place in Kufa. The ruler's soldiers and the police surrendered and the ruler Abdullah ibn e Muteea himself escaped to al-Hejaz. Mukhtar went up the pulpit in Kufa Mosque and announced that he wanted to follow Ali's just policy.
Rescue from 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr
Having dominated Kufa, al-Mukhtar invited people to allegiance to Muhammab b. al-Hanafiyya. 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr who reigned Mecca and Medina at the time, feared that people might grow a tendency towards Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya, and therefore asked him and his companions to swear allegiance to him, but they refused. Al-Zubayr then imprisoned them in Zamzam and threatened them to death. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya sent al-Mukhtar a letter and asked for help. Having received the letter, al-Mukhtar sent Zabyan b. 'Amara with four-hundred men and four-thousand dirhams to Mecca.
With their flags in hands, they entered al-Masjid al-Haram, and roaring their desire to retaliation for Husayn b. 'Ali (a), arrived at Zamzam. Ibn al-Zubayr supplied a pile of wood to set them on fire, but having broken the door of al-Masjid al-Haram, they made way to Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya, and told him that he was to choose either them or 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya said; 'I do not favor there to be conflict and bloodshed in the house of God.' Meanwhile Ibn al-Zubayr arrived at them and cried; 'woe upon these stick-handed ones! (they were carrying sticks instead of swords, for they could not carry weapons in al-Masjid al-Haram), do you suppose I would let Muhammad go before he swears allegiance to me?' So the rest of al-Mukhtar forces entered al-Masjid al-Haram, shouting out loud that they sought revenge for al-Husayn (a). Ibn al-Zubayr feared them and did not resist anymore. Muhammad then, accompanied by four-thousand men, went to Shi'b Abi Talib and lived in there until al-Mukhtar was killed.
After the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) our 3rd Imam in Karbala, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) returned to Medina, some people began to consider Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya as their Imam. Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya was Imam Hussain's younger brother. He was very pious and had not himself said that he was Imam. Only some misguided people began to consider him as their Imam.It became necessary to remove this misunderstanding. Therefore, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) and his uncle, Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya decided to go together to where "Hajar Aswad" (the Black Stone near Holy Kaaba) was, during Hajj season, when thousands of pilgrims had assembled for the pilgrimage.
The stranger than fiction news must have spread like wild fire that Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) and Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya wanted the Black Stone to judge between them. Everyone must have wondered how could a stone judge between two persons? They must have eagerly waited to see the outcome when the two parties would approach the Black Stone. What would they say when the Black Stone, being a stone, would not respond to their arguments! This must have been the feeling of the crowd when the uncle and the nephew slowly advanced towards the Black Stone.
At first, Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya addressed the Hajar Aswad asking it to confirm who the Imam was? But there was no reply. Then Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) addressed the Hajar Aswad. Aloud and clear voice came from "Hajar Aswad" saluting Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) by his full name and confirming that he and he alone was the Imam of the time.
He died in the reign of `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan at the age of sixty-five years. Some writers have recorded the year of his death as 80 A.H. and others as 81 A.H. There is a difference about the place of his death as well. Some have put it as Medina, some Aylah and some Ta'if. He died in 700 CE.
⦁ http://en.wikishia.net/view/Muhammad_b._al Hanafiyya#Absence_in_the_Event_of_Karbala