Question: What was Ali ibn Yaqtin’s secret correspondence with Imam al-Kadhim?
Ali ibn Yaqtin who acted as Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s secret agent in the palace of Harun al-Rashid, would secretly send the Imam his khums, and occasionally, although extremely dangerous and risky, he would send the Imam financial aid.
Ali ibn Yaqtin who acted as Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s secret agent in the palace of Harun, would secretly send the Imam his khums, and occasionally, although extremely dangerous and risky, he would send the Imam financial aid. Two companions of Ali ibn Yaqtin narrate that one day he (Ali ibn Yaqtin) summoned us and handed money and letters to us, he then said “Buy two riding horses and from detour, get this money and these letters to Imam Abi al-Hasan (Imam al-Kadhim) and be sure to do so in such a way that no one finds out.” These two men narrate “We came to Kufah and purchased two riding horses and provisions for the journey and set out from detour, riding until we reached a land by the name of ‘Butn al-Ramah’ where we dismounted so we and our horses could rest and eat. During this time, we saw a rider approaching, as he got closer, we realized it was Imam Musa al-Kadhim. We sprung up from our places and offered our salutations and presented the Imam with the letters and valuables sent for him. The Imam also brought out some letters and handed them to us saying “these are responses to your letters.” We said to the Imam “Our food and provisions are almost done, allow us to travel to Madinah so that we may visit the grave of the Prophet and also buy new provisions for the way.” He asked to see what was left of our food, we showed him, and after examining it he said “This is enough to get you to Kufah.” The Imam did not think it was best for us to travel to Madinah, he said to us “(In reality) you have seen the Prophet, now return with the protection of God”
The son of Ali ibn Yaqtin narrates “Whenever Imam al-Kadhim needed anything or required something important to be done he would write a letter to my father asking him to buy a certain object or to complete a certain task. He would ask that the action be done on behalf of Hisham ibn Hakam, however the instructions to use Hisham’s name were only for very important and sensitive matters.”
In one of Imam al-Kadhim’s trips to Iraq he was asked by Ali ibn Yaqtin about working for the oppressive government, the Imam replied “God has people He loves living amongst the oppressors who He uses to support his other good servants and you (Ali) are one of Gods loved ones.” In another instance where Ali ibn Yaqtin asked the Imam regarding his duties as someone continuing to work with the oppressive Abbasid dynasty, the Imam told him “If you don’t continue this occupation, be aware of what will happen to the state (possessions/properties) of the Shi’ahs.”
Ali ibn Yaqtin obeyed the command of the Imam, and used this as a general principle to try and help the Shi’ahs. On the surface he would collect the governmental tax from the Shi’ahs, however he would secretly return it back to them, the reason being that the Abbasid government was a non-Islamic one, so following its laws was not a religious obligation for the Muslims. God gave the right of government and religious authority over the Muslims to Musa ibn Ja’far, and it was on his orders that Ali ibn Yaqtin would return the property of the Shi’ahs to them.