The Liar of Thaqif
One of the major figures that emerged in the early days of Islam was Mukhtar bin Abi Ubaid al-ThaqafiLA. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُبْعَثَ دَجَّالُونَ كَذَّابُونَ قَرِيبًا مِنْ ثَلاَثِينَ، كُلُّهُمْ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ
“The Hour will not be established until nearly thirty deceivers and liars arise, each of them claiming he is a Messenger of Allah”
[Bukhari & Muslim]
Lady Asma bint Abi BakrRA while addressing the tyrant Hajjaj bin Yusuf, narrated the Hadith:
إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَدَّثَنَا أَنَّ فِي ثَقِيفٍ كَذَّابًا وَمُبِيرًا . فَأَمَّا الْكَذَّابُ فَرَأَيْنَاهُ وَأَمَّا الْمُبِيرُ فَلاَ إِخَالُكَ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ
Verily, Allah’s Apostle ﷺ told us that “In Thaqif there is a liar and a murderer.” The liar we have seen, and as far as the murderer is concerned, I do not find anyone else besides you [Hajjaj]” [Sahih Muslim]
Although AsmaRA didn’t explicitly mention Mukhtar by name as being the ‘Liar of Thaqif’, the fact that she stated that the ‘Liar of Thaqif’ had already been witnessed before Hajjaj bin Yusuf is an implicit proof that it could be no one besides Mukhtar.
The eminent companion, sayyidina Abd Allah b. al-ZubayrRA, narrates that Allah’s Apostle ﷺ said:
لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَخْرُجَ ثَلَاثُونَ كَذَّابًا , مِنْهُمْ : الْعَنْسِيُّ وَمُسَيْلِمَةُ وَالْمُخْتَارُ
“The Hour will not be established until thirty liars emerge, from among them: al-Ansi, Musaylima and al-Mukhtar.”
[Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba: Kitab-ul-Umaraa]
The Hadith proves that after Aswad al-Ansi of Yemen and Musaylima of Yamama, the third major false prophet and liar to emerge from the Umma was Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. Incidentally, many of the Shi’a hail Mukhtar as a celebrated hero for avenging the martyrdom of sayyidina HusaynAS. The truth is, however, that the real hero was not Mukhtar but the noble IbrahimRA, son of Malik al-Ashtar, who famously killed that ruthless animal Ibn ZiyadLA in the Battle of Khazir [686 CE]. Mukhtar himself was slain by the Zubayrids under Mus’ab b. al-ZubayrRA. Interestingly, after Mukhtar was killed by the Zubayrids, Ibrahim b. al-Ashtar went over to the Zubayrid side and joined them in their struggle against the tyrannical Umayyads. It is authentically narrated that the companion sayyidina Rifa’a b. ShaddadRA would have killed Mukhtar but was prevented from doing so by the Prophet’s ﷺ Hadith to the effect that it is treachery to kill someone whose life is entrusted to you [Sunan Ibn Maja].
While it is established that Mukhtar was a kadhhab and a dajjal, is it true that he actually claimed to be a prophet or simply claimed divine revelation thus lying upon Allah while not technically alleging Nubuwwa for himself? From my research, the latter appears to be the case, i.e., Mukhtar was definitely a liar who lied upon Allah by claiming he received Wahi or that the Angel Gabriel came to him with news, though he did not explicitly declare himself to be a prophet. An associate of Mukhtar named Kaysan, the namesake of the Kaysaniya sect, appears to be the one who formulated or developed the doctrines which Mukhtar championed, such as the idea that sayyidina Muhammad b. al-HanafiyaRA is the Qa’im and the true Imam. While Mukhtar was an infidel for lying upon Allah and alleging that he was receiving divine revelations, this claim in its essence is not kufr, unlike the claim of being a prophet in the true sense after Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Hence, while those people who attach themselves to a liar like Mukhtar are misguided, they are not necessarily disbelievers if they genuinely believe he is not a liar. This is why the eminent companion Ibn UmarRA, who incidentally was Mukhtar’s brother-in-law, would not only greet the Khashabiya [followers of Mukhtar] with the Salam, but he would also offer his Salah with them [Sunan al-Kubra of al-Bayhaqi: v.3 p.174]