The prominent Sayyid and the great scholar, Bahauddin Ali bin Abdul Hamid Husaini Najafi Neeli, contemporary of the Shaykh Shaheed Awwal (r.a.), says in the book of Ghaibat: Informed me Muhammad bin Qarun:
They invited me to a woman and I went to her. I knew that she was a believer lady and was chaste and pious. Thus, her family members married her to Mahmud Farsi, well known as the brother of Bakar; and his relatives were called as Bani Bakar. The people of Fars were known for their stern Sunni faith and for their enmity to the people of faith and Mahmud was most severe regarding this. And Allah, the Mighty and the High gave him Taufeeq and he converted to Shia faith in opposition to his family members who continued to follow their Sunni faith.
So I said to that lady: How strange! How did your father dare to do this that he agreed that you should live with these people? How did your husband oppose his family members and gave up their faith?
That lady said: O Muqri, indeed there is an incident about it and when the people having a taste for literature hear it, they will declare that it is a very strange story.
I asked: What is the incident?
She said: Ask him and he will inform you about it.
Shaykh said: When I met Mahmud, I asked: O Mahmud, what impelled you to leave your community and to enter the Shia?
He replied: O Shaykh, when the truth became I evident, I followed it. Know that it is the habit of the people of Fars that when they hear that a caravan has come to meet them they go out to meet it before it reaches them.
Thus, once it so happened that a large caravan arrived. Thus, I went out and there were many children with me. At that time I was a child about to reach maturity. So due to innocence I came out to search for the caravan without worrying for the consequences. Thus, I lost my way and wandered into a valley, which I did not recognize. The trees and thorny plants in that region were so thick that I had never seen anything like that. I continued walking till I was absolutely exhausted and due to extreme thirst, my tongue hung upon my chest. I became sure that I was facing a certain death.
I was in that condition, when I suddenly decried a rider mounted on a white horse and he alighted near me. He spread out a soft carpet, the like of which I had never seen and whose fragrance entered my nostrils. I turned to him and suddenly I saw another rider mounted on a red horse, who was dressed in white garments and was wearing a turban, whose tails hung on both his sides. He alighted on that carpet, stood up and started praying. The previous man also prayed along with him. Then he sat down to recite the post prayer devotions.
Then he turned to me and called out: O Mahmud! Here I am, my master, I responded weakly. He said: Come here. I said: Due to the severity of thirst and weakness, I do not have the strength to do so.
He said: No fear for you.
When he said this I perceived freshness in my body. So I crawled to him on my chest. He passed his hand over my face and chest and raised it so that my tongue may enter my mouth and whatever grief and sorrow that I had was dispelled and I returned to my previous condition.
Then he said: Get up and bring a piece of Colocynth to me. There was a large quantity of Colocynths there. I brought a large one for him. He cut into two halves and said: Eat it! So took it from His Eminence and did not dare to oppose him. When I tasted it, I realized that it was sweeter than honey and cooler than ice and more fragrant than musk. Thus, I ate to satiation.
Then he said: Call your friend. So I called him. He said in a weak voice: I am unable to move. He said: Get up, there is no fear for you. So he also turned his face and chest to him and came crawling. He did what he had done with me.
Then he arose from his place and mounted his horse. I said: I adjure you by the Almighty Allah, O my master, please be kind enough to convey us to our people. He said: Don’t make haste. Then he drew a circle around us with his spear and then joined his companion.
I said to my friend: Get up, so that we may find a path to the mountain. We got up and started walking. Suddenly we saw a wall before us. We then walked in the opposite direction and saw another wall before us. In the same way, there was a wall in all directions. So we sat down to cry on our condition. I said to my friend: Give me that colocynth, so that we may eat it. He brought the colocynth. We saw that it was most bitter and nasty. We threw it away and waited for sometime. When suddenly a large number of beasts surrounded us whom only the Almighty Allah can count. Whenever they tried to come near us that wall prevented them. And when they went away the wall disappeared and when they returned again the wall also appeared. We slept there in complete peace and confidence.
In the morning the sun rose up and the climate became hot and thirst overcame us. We fell down in exhaustion. Suddenly the two riders reappeared and repeated what they had done the day before.
When they wanted to leave us, we said: We adjure you to take us to our people.
They said: Glad tidings to you that soon will come to you one, who will take you to your people. Then they disappeared from our sight. When it was almost sunset, we saw a native of Farasa, and he was having three asses with him. He had come to the woods to collect firewood. When he saw us, he was terrified and he fled from us in fear leaving behind his donkey. We called out to him by his name and also mentioned our names. He returned and said: Woe be on you, indeed, your family had been mourning for you. Get up, I don’t need this firewood. So we arose and mounted those asses. When we reached our village, he entered the town before us and informed our people. They were highly pleased with him and rewarded him much. When we joined our people they asked us about what had befallen us. We narrated to them all which we had witnessed.
They falsified us and said: They are hallucinations caused by thirst. After that I forgot that incident as nothing remained in my memory about it till I was twenty years of age and I got married and I took the profession of hiring out beasts of burden among my people, and there was no one harsher than me in enmity to faith, to the pilgrims who traveled to Samarrah. Thus, I used to hire out animals to them in order to harass them, by what came into my hands from robbery etc and we believed that this act would make us proximate to Allah, the Mighty and the High.
So, by chance I rented out my animals to a group from Hilla and they were returning from the Ziyarat and among them were Ibne Sahili, Ibne Arafah, Ibne Harib, Ibne Zuhdari and other respectable persons. And we were going to Baghdad and they were familiar with my prejudice and enmity. So when they saw me alone on the way and they were full of anger and enmity they did not leave any cruelty from me, but I remained quiet and did not have the power over them due the excess of their numbers.
When we entered Baghdad, that group headed towards the west side of the city and alighted there and my heart was brimming with anger on them. When my friends arrived I arose and went to them and slapped my face and cried.
They asked: What is the matter with you? I narrated the incident to him regarding what had befallen me. They began to curse those people and said: Be happy that we shall gather on the way, when they go out and we will do with them something more sinister than what they did.
When it was dark, success fell into our share. So I said to my friends: This group of Rafidhis will never give up their faith, on the contrary, other than them, when they become pious, they return to their religion and this is not so, except that the truth is with them and I remained apprehensive and supplicated the Almighty Allah for His Messenger, Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) to show me a sign on this night so that I discover that which He has made obligatory for His servants.
I fell asleep, when suddenly I saw Paradise that they have decorated it and there were huge trees differently colored and fruits and they were from the species found on this earth; because their branches were upside down and their roots were on the top and I saw four streams: each being of wine, milk, honey and water and these streams were flowing and the level of the water was same on the earth in such a way that if an ant wanted to drink from it, he can definitely drink from it. And I saw good looking ladies and saw a group of people eating those fruits and drinking from those streams and I had no power on them. Whenever I wanted to take fruits from them they went upwards and when I tried to drink from those streams, they went down.
I said to those people: What happened, you are eating and drinking and I cannot?
They replied: You have not yet come to us. I was in that condition when I suddenly decried a large army.
They said: Our lady, Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) is coming. I looked and saw an army of angels in the best of the forms and they came from the space and landed on the earth and then encircled the holy lady. When Her Eminence came near, I saw that mounted rider who had saved me from thirst by feeding Colocynth to me. He was standing face to face with Lady Fatima (s.a.). When I saw him I recognized him due to that incident and I heard those people say:
This is Muhammad bin Hasan Qaaem Montazar (a.s.). People rose up and saluted Lady Fatima (s.a.). Then I arose and said: Peace be on you, O daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). She responded: And peace be on you, O Mahmud! Are you not the same whom this son of mine saved from thirst?
I replied: Yes, my lady! She said: You will get salvation, if you embrace the Shia faith.
I replied: I have joined your faith of Shiaism and I confess belief in the previous Imams of your progeny and those who remain.
She said: Glad tidings to you that you shall be successful.
Mahmud said: Then I woke up in a condition that I was weeping and restless due to what I had seen in dream. My friends were alarmed and thought that I was crying because of what I had reported to them.
They asked: Be assured, by God, we would definitely take revenge from the Rafidhis. Then I fell quiet so that they may also cool down and I heard the call of prayer. I arose and moved to the west of Baghdad and joined that group of pilgrims. I greeted them and they responded: No welcome for you! No welcome for you! Get out from here, may Allah not bless you.
I said: I returned to you so that I may learn the principles of your faith. They were shocked and some of them said: You are lying. Others said: It seems he is stating the truth. Then they asked the reason for my decision and I narrated to them all I had seen.
They remarked: If you are true, we are presently heading for the tomb of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.). So come with us and we would convert you to Shiaism there. I responded: I heard and I obeyed. And I began to kiss their hands and feet and I picked up their luggage and continued to pray for them till we reached Kazmain.
The Khuddam welcomed us and among them was an Alawite gentleman, who commanded a greater respect among them. They greeted the pilgrims and the pilgrims said: Please open the gate of the mausoleum for us, so that we may pay homage to our Sayyid and Master.
They said: By all means, but there is someone among you who intends to embrace the Shia faith and I saw him in dream standing before my lady, Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and that honorable lady told me: A person will come to you tomorrow intending to embrace the Shia faith. So open the door for him before anyone else and if I see him I will recognize him.
Those people glanced at each other in amazement and said: Consider us. So he began to look at each of us. He said: Allah is the greatest! This is the one, whom I saw. He took my hand and those people said: You are right, O Sayyid; and this man is also right in what he narrated and all were pleased and they thanked Allah, the Mighty and the High.
Then he took my hand and made me enter the shrine and converted me to Shia faith. I adopted devotion to those to whom it is supposed to be and became aloof from those who are supposed to be shunned. When my job was complete, that Alawite said: Your Lady Sayyida says to you:
Very soon you will get some worldly wealth; do not worry, the Almighty Allah will soon take it away from you and you will fall into hard times. So seek refuge from us that you may get relief. I said: I heard and I obeyed. I owned a horse costing 200 gold coins, but it died and the Almighty Allah in its stead gave me a like of it and I fell into hard times. So I sought their refuge and was given relief and the Almighty Allah gave me relief through their blessings and today I love all whom they love and I am inimical to all to whom they are inimical and I am hopeful of their blessings and generosity and well being in the end.
After that I contacted some Shia persons, then they got me married to this lady and I left my people and did not agree to marry a girl from among them.
Ref: Bihaarul Anwar, Najm us Saqib
This incident was narrated to Sayer Baqir al Majlisi (author of Bihar ul Anwar) in the 788 AH by Sayyid Ali bin Abdul Hamid
He says about the narrator of the above event:
Sayyid Ali bin Abdul Hamid was one of our great scholars and a student of Fakhrul Muhaqqiqeen, son of Allamah and a teacher of Ustad Fahd Hilli. Scholars of the science of narrators have extolled him a great deal. And Abdul Hamid, his grandfather, has authored many important books and the Ibne Zuhri mentioned in this incident is Shaykh Jamaaluddin, the protagonist of incident number forty-four, which will be mentioned in due course. And he is the son of Shaykh Najmuddin Ja’far bin Zuhdari and Shaykh Najmuddin Zuhdari was famous scholar and a contemporary of Fakhrul Muhaqqaqeen. He has important jurisprudential books to his credit.