Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ (Green Island)

Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ (Green Island)، From the comprehensive virtual encyclopedia of Wiki Mahdism

One of the raised questions for the Twelver Shias, who believe in the living and disappeared Imam is about the residing place of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) during the Major Occultation. In response to such a question, some put forward a suggestion i. e. "Khaḍrāʼ Island" as the place of residence of the Imam (p. b. u. h). The main reason for the believers in this idea is the stories traced to some unknown sources and narrators, and later at the Safavid period, for the first time, the story of khaḍrāʼ Island was mentioned in Shiite literature by Allāmah Majlisī[1]. After that, the late Muhaddith Nūrī in his book[2], along with narrating such anecdotes, has narrated this story and the like.

Later on, this story was disputed among the scholars to the extent that some considered it accurate and others based on various reasons considered it fiction. This paper through investigation of the issue, states the reasons of the proponents and the opponents.

Different remarks on the existence or non-existence of Khaḍrāʼ Island

  1. Some believe that, according to some narrations, the island of Khaḍrāʼ exists; But its locus is unknown.
  2. Others claim that the island conforms to the Bermuda Triangle because of some reasons.
  3. Another group has refuted the second choice because in common with the Bermuda Triangle, similar events have occurred in other parts of the world. Also due to other reasons, the conformity of Khaḍrāʼ Island to the Bermuda Triangle is not correct.
  4. Others have strongly rejected the existence of Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ (Green Island) and have disproved all the narrations and anecdotes that have been said about the Green Island. [3]

Types of narrations respecting the story of Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ

There are only two reports in Shiite narrations about the issue of the Green Island:

a) An occurrence that happened to Zayn al-ˈĀbidīn Ali b. Fāḍil Māzandarānī on the eleventh of Shawwāl 691 A. H. (October 2nd, 1292 A. D. ), and he narrated it in the city of Najaf on the fifteenth of Sha'bān 699 A. H. (May 14th, 1300 A. D. ) for Faḍl b. Yaḥyā Tayyibī and of course, Faḍl b. Yaḥyā, earlier had heard the story through two others, Shams al-Din Najīh Hillī and Jalāl al-Din ˈAbd al-Din Hawām Hillī. However, Faḍl b. Yaḥyā, after listening to this event, wrote it down, and it became a treatise that was in the interest of Shiite scholars. Sheikh Āqā Bozorg Tehrani[4] has also attributed the original text of this treatise, which is in Arabic translated to Persian, to Muhaqqiq Karakī[5] (d. 940 A. H. / 1533 A. D. ) and some to Mīr Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Asadullah Shūshtarī.

A brief account of the story is as follows:

Zayn al-ˈĀbidīn traveled to Egypt along with one of his Hanafi masters, and from there they went to Andalusia and its islands. During the trip, he heard the name "Islands of Al-Rāfiḍah[6]" ​​from the people and decided to travel there. After three days of travel, he reached islands with strong towers and castles. He realized that all inhabitants there were Shias. He asked them, "Where does your sustenance come from?" "From khaḍrāʼ Island, in the White Sea, where is the residence of the children of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h), and to journey there it takes four months. " They responded to him. He became fond of traveling there, so he made a sound decision to go to the Island with a caravan that would take sustenance for the residents of that region. After reaching the Island, he found it very beautiful and lush. There he met a person named Sayyid Shams al-Dīn Muhammad ˈĀlim, who introduced himself as the special deputy of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h). People around Sayyid Shams al-Dīn introduced him as a descendant of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h). Then Zayn al-ˈĀbidīn exchanged some dialogues, questions and answers with Sayyid Shams al-Dīn. [7]

b) In another story that reported by Muhaddith Nūrī in his book titled Jannat al-Maʼwā, the same things happened to a person by the name of Kamāl al-Din Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Yaḥyā Anbārī in 543 A. H. / 1148 A. D.

Muhaddith Nūrī relates the story from the book "Al-Ta'āzī" written by Sharīf Zāhid Muhammad b. Ali Alawī[8] and the book "Al-Sirāṭ al-Mustaqīm Ilā Mustaḥagiy al-Taqdīm" written by Zayn al-Din Bayāḍī (d. 877 A. H. / 1472 A. D. ), and also it has been narrated through Sayyid Niˈmat Allah Jazāirī in "Al-Anwār al-Nu'māniyah" from Ali b. Fath Allah Kāshanī quoted from Sharīf Zāhid Muhammad b. Ali Alawī. In short, the story quoting from Muhaddith Nūrī is as follows:

Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Yaḥyā Anbārī related: “One night we were in the house of vizier ˈAown al-Din Yaḥyā b. Habīrah along with a few individuals. In the circle, there was an unknown man whom the minister highly respected. At the end of the meeting, the minister reproached Shias. At this word, the strange person said, ‘I want to tell you a story. With a group of my compatriots, we set out on a sea voyage from our city called Bāhiyah; and after days journeying at sea, we came to islands of which the captain was unaware as well! After inquiring, we realized that the name of the island was "Mubārak" and its king’s name was "Ṭāhir". We asked about the seat of his governance; they said: ‘It is a place called "Zāhirah" where is ten days and nights by land and twenty-five days by sea and all the people live there are Muslims.

We asked about the vicegerent of the king, Ṭāhir. They introduced a righteous man; we went to him; he asked the Jews and Christians to pay Jizyah i. e. ransom (a kind of tax payable by non-Muslims living under the protection of an Islamic government) and announced others as Khārijites (the Rebels) whose property was not respected. However, we asked him to introduce us to the Sultan, and he did the same. We set off towards Zāhirah; we found there a beautiful city with a pleasant climate and went to Tāhir. He introduced himself as the son of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).

After Zāhirah, there was another city called "Rāqiyah" whose sultan was a man by the name Qāsim, the son of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) and after that, there was another city called "Ṣāfīyah" whose sultan was Ibrāhim, another son of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) and after that, there were two other cities called "Ẓalūm" and "ˈAnāṭīs" whose rulers were ˈAbd al-Rahmān and Hāshim, the other sons of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).

Only Shiite people were living in these five mentioned cities. We stayed there for a year…etc. ' When the minister heard this story, he threatened us all not to tell it. "[9]

The above-mentioned text was a brief report on the historical sources of this story, and also a short description of the contents of the story which we will analyze and critique in the following.

Analyzing and critiquing the story

  1. The narrator of the story, as mentioned at the beginning of this paper, is unknown; hence, not only is the story defective in terms of the chain of narration but also is completely invalid and undocumented however, the story acquired fame in some late books of Shia especially after ˈAllāmah Majlisī. Such undocumented stories and quotations cannot authenticate the news.
  2. Zayn al-ˈĀbidīn Ali b. Fāḍil who is called Māzandarānī in the story, in another situation calls himself an Iraqi in the same narration, and also in some occasions, he says some boastful words about himself. In addition, the story denotes a unique virtue for him and it indicates that he has achieved a high spiritual status that no one has access to.
  3. Though among the contemporaries of Zayn al-ˈĀbidīn Ali b. Fāḍil are some great scholars such as ˈAllāma Hillī and Ibn-e Dāwūd, none of them have mentioned him in their saying and words. [10]
  4. Because this event had taken place in the seventh century A. H. , but its first written report and document was given in the eleventh century A. H. , so making a connection for the interval from the eleventh century to the seventh is not provable. In other words, this kind of quotation is terminologically called "Wijādah". [11]
  5. It is not possible to derive ideological principles from this story.

In fact, ideological issues, because of their importance, require credible evidence to prove.

  1. Despite the growth and advancement of science and technology, the mentioned island is one of the unknown places that even in recent times and with the expansion of search and exploration facilities, no trace of it has ever been found.

Conclusion

Concerning the contradictions in the text of this story and considering its textual and documental flaws, and due to the absence of this island in the geography of the world, it can be concluded that the story is more like a legend than reality because there is no strong rational and narrative reason improving the story of Green Island.

Footnotes

  1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 52, p. 159.
  2. Najm al-Thāqib. Chapter 7, story 37.
  3. Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ (Green Island), Sayyed jaˈfar Rafīˈī, p. 5.
  4. Al-Dharīah Ilā Taṣānīf al-Shīa, vol. 4, p. 93.
  5. Some researchers do not consider such an ascription to be true because no compiled or translated work into Persian has been reported from Muhaqqiq Karakī; see the article: "The Story of Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ ", by Rasūl Jaˈfarian, footnote no. 5.
  6. Al-Rāfiḍah is a title given to Shias by their opponents.
  7. See: Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 52, pp. 159-174.
  8. Whereas he is contemporary with Abū Al-Faraj Nuˈmānī (D. 356 A. H. ) and Abū Al-Faḍl Shaybānī(D. 385 A. H. ), how is it possible for him to narrate the story of two centuries later?!
  9. Jannat al-Maʼwā, by Muhaddith Nūrī, 2ndstory, pp. 213-220.
  10. Criticism of Jazīrah al-khaḍrāʼ (Green Island), by sayyed Jaˈfar Murtḍā, translated by Muhammad Sepehrī, p. 186.
  11. A type of narration of past manuscripts without any authentic narration or well-known narrator.

References

  1. Salīmyān, Khodāmorād, The Lexicon of Mahdism, Qom, Promised Mahdi Cultural Foundation, 2008.
  2. Shoushtarī, Mohammad Taqīand others, Khazra Island, myth or reality, Abolfaḍl Tariqedār, Qom, Boostan-e Ketāb, 2001.
  3. Rafīˈī, Seyed Jafar, khaḍrāʼ Island, Qom, Yārān-e Qāˈim Publications, 2001.
  4. Muhammadi Rey Shahrī, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h), Qom, Dar al-Hadith Scientific and Cultural Institute, 2014.
  5. Muhaddith Nūrī, Mirza Hussein, Jannah al-Ma’wā, Qom, Anwār al-Hudā Institute, 2006.
  6. Majlisī, Muhammad Bāqir, Bihār al-Anwār, Qom, Islamic Publications, 1985.
  7. Morteza ˈĀmelī, Seyed Jafar, Khazra Island in the balance of criticism, translated by Muhammad Sepehrī, Qom, Publishing Center of Islamic Propaganda Office, 1998.

Sources

  1. Encyclopedia of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) based on the Quran, Hadith, and History, vol. 3, p. 70.
  2. The Lexicon of Mahdism, by Khodāmorād Salīmyān,Qom, The publications of the Promised Mahdi Cultural Foundation.
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