The Ṭālibiyyūn in Palestine

In: The Shīʿīs in Palestine
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The following list is arranged according to the chronological order of the Imāms, whose descendants appeared in Palestine during the Fāṭimid period. The list is based mostly on the accounts of the following three nassābs (genealogists): the two Sunnī Fakhr al-Din al-Rāzī (d. 606/1208), in al-Shajara al-Mubāraka; his pupil ʿAzīz al-Dīn Abī Ṭālib al-Mirwazī Ismāʿīl b. Ḥusayn (d. after 614/1217), in al-Fakhrī fī ansāb al-ṭālibiyyīn; and an earlier Shīʿī source, Najm al-Dīn Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-ʿUmarī (d. 460/1067), al-Majdī fī ansāb al-ṭālibiyyīn.

Descendant of ʿUmar al-Aṭraf (Lit., ‘the One-Sided’),1 Son of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib

Descendants of this family, who were not mentioned by name, are said to live in Ramla.2

Najm al-Dīn al-ʿUmarī mentions a descendent from this family who was his close friend: the sharīf Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan, who only had daughters, lived in Cairo and Tiberias, and was a scholar (ʿāqil, pl. ʿuqalāʾ) of the town.3

A wealthy warrior from this family named Ḥamza b. Abī Ḥarb had descendants in Tiberias who lived in the days of al-ʿUmarī (fifth/eleventh century).4

Descendants of Ḥasan b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī (or Ḥasan al-Muthannā, Lit., ‘the Double’)

A certain Yaḥyā, who was a raʾīs in Ramla, had descendants in this town.5 The latter may be Yaḥyā b. al-Qāsim al-Rassī, a raʿīs also mentioned in Ramla.6

A Kūfan named Abū l-Ḥasan Muḥammad (called ‘Ibn al-Adruʿ’) immigrated to Ramla and later to Egypt and had descendants in Jerusalem.7

Another descendant, who immigrated from Kūfa to Ramla is Abū l-Ḥusayn Maymūn b. Muḥammad.8

A judge called Abū l-Ḥasan Muḥammad b. Abī Ṭalib was known as the ‘son of the daughter of the Zaydī b. Jaʿfar.’9

Descendant of Ḥasan b. Ḥasan b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī, the Second Imām (or, Ḥasan al-Muthallath, Lit., ‘the Triple’)

Kutaym b. Sulaymān was a butcher (jazzār) in Ramla;10 this information is important, as it proves that Shīʿīs were living and working in Ramla. Given their strict laws concerning purity, Shīʿīs only consume foods (especially slaughtered meat) prepared by members of their community.

Descendants of ʿAbbās (‘the Shahīd’) of Karbalāʾ and Brother of Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī

The most important descendant of this family was the wealthy and respected Abū l-Ṭayyib Muḥammad b. Ḥamza, who was murdered by Muḥammad b. Ṭughj in Tiberias at the end of the third/ninth century, as mentioned above.

The poet ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbbās b. al-Afṭaṣiyya had one son called Jaʿfar, who had children in Tiberias, and a second son called Aḥmad, who was a poet and judge in Ramla. Aḥmad had children in the suburbs (nawāḥīha) of the town.11 A certain Aḥmad from this family was a khaṭib (who gave the sermon in the mosque) in Ramla.12 Another khaṭīb called Muḥammad al-Lihyānī is mentioned in Ramla.13 Members of the Lihyānī family lived in Ramla and Tiberias.14

Descendants of Zayd b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (‘the Shahīd’), the Zaydī Imām

Abū l-Sarāyā Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Zayd from Ramla was a judge in Ramla and the naqīb al-ʿAlawiyyīn (head of the Shīʿīs) of the town. Najm al-Dīn al-ʿUmarī recorded meeting with him and consulting him in matters of nasab.15 Al-ʿUmarī also describes a meeting with Abū l-Sarāyā and members of his family in 443/1051. From this description, we learn that this family had lived in Ramla for at least three generations and that several members of the family lived there in the fifth/eleventh century.16

Abū l-Ḥusayn Zayd b. ʿAlī Abī l-Ṭayyib (called ‘son of Qurrat al-ʿAyn’) was a naqīb in Tiberias.17 A certain Aḥmad Abū l-ʿAbbās from the same family was mentioned in Jerusalem.18 Other descendants of Zayd are mentioned, but in relation to Ramla19 and Jerusalem.20

Descendants of Ḥusayn al-Asghar (Lit., ‘the Little One’), Son of the Fourth Imām ʿAlī Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn

Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. ʿAbdallāh b. Sulaymān is described as an old shaykh with a large family, called Banū Shaqāyiq, in Ramla; one of them, a certain ʿAlī b. Zayd b. al-Ḥasan b. Ṭāhir, was a contemporary of the genealogist al-ʿUmarī.21

Ṭāhir Abū l-Qāsim was raʾīs (head) of the community in Ramla and had two children in there.22

A judge in Ramla named Abū l-Ḥasan b. ʿAbdallāh (called Ṣāḥib al-Shāma, lit., ‘the man with the mole’)23 had two sons with the respected titles of amīrs: Athīr al-Dawla and Nasīb al-Dawla. The most respected member of this family in the time of al-ʿUmarī was Athīr al-Dawla b. al-Kūfī; he was the Fāṭimid governor of Jerusalem in the middle of the fifth/eleventh century.24

Al-Mubārak Abū l-Azhar b. Muslim had a family in Tiberias who was a contemporary of al-ʿUmarī.25

Descendants of the Sixth Imām Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq

Aḥmad b. Ḥamza b. Ḥusayn was a naqīb in Tiberias.26

Ḥasan b. Ahmad b. ʿAlī had two sons in Tiberias.27

A certain ʿAlī b. Aḥmad al-Abaḥḥ lived in Ramla.28

Descendants of Hārūn, Son of the Seventh Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim

A judge in Ramla called Jaʿfar b. Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Hārūn had many children.29 A certain ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan al-Aḥwal (lit., ‘the cross-eyed’) from the same family, is mentioned in Ramla.30

A friend of al-ʿUmarī from this family, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar b. Muslim, had a brother named Musharraf, who was a judge in Jerusalem.31

Many other descendants of the Imams are mentioned in Ramla and Tiberias in general without specifying their names, for example, “This person had many descendants in this town.”32 The nasab literature proves the existence of a significant ʿAlid presence in Palestine during the period of Fāṭimid rule in Palestine. Many of these people were Iraqi Shīʿīs who emigrated to Palestine.


He was called “the one-sided” because he was honored as a descendant of the ahl al-bayt from his father’s side only; another was called ʿUmar al-Ashraf (lit., ‘the most respected’) who was the son of the fourth Imām ʿAlī Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn and a descendant of the ahl al-bayt from both his father and his mother.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 503.


Ibid., 371.


Ibid., 505.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 102; al-Rāzī, al-Shajara, 39.


al-Rāzī, al-Shajara, 43.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 118–119.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 275.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 128–129.


Ibid., 255.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 443, 445.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 170. On this page, he mentions descendants of ʿAbbās in Tiberias and Ramla in general.


Ibid., 171.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 449.


Ibid., 214.


Ibid., 385.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 40.


al-Rāzī, al-Shajara, 151.


Ibid., 154.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 50.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 408–409.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 61. On this page, he also mentions descendants of Zayd who served as nuqabāʾ in Ramla.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 404. This is not the Qarmaṭī leader from the tenth-century, Ṣāḥib al-Shāma al-Ḥusayn b. Zikrawayh.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 404; Ḥamza b. Asad b. al-Qalānisī, Taʾrīkh Dimashq, 127. Athīr al- Dawla is mentioned as a governor of Ramla in the year 448/1056.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 403.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 30.


Ibid., 32.


al-Rāzī, al-Shajara, 127.


al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 22.


Ibid., 310.


al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 308.


In Ramla, see, for example, al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 84, 170, 176, 180, 189; al-Rāzī, al-Shajara, 84, 99; in Tiberias, see al-Marwazī, al-Fakhrī, 55, 111, 170, 171; in Ramla, see al-ʿUmarī, al-Majdī, 264, 312, 462.

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