By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Imam Zain ul Abedeen (a s)
Imam Zain ul Abedeen (a s) was born in 38 A.H. and was only two years old when Amirul Momineen (a s) was martyred. His mother, Shahar Bano, was from the race of Nausherwan, the Iranian emperor. His name was Ali. Imam Zain ul Abedeen (a s) then himself became the father of all other Imams who followed him.
If we bring together all the troubles and calamities of the entire world, and also all the sorrows and grief experienced by the whole mankind, they would not equal to those of the messengers of God (peace be on them all). Similarly if all the troubles faced by the holy Prophets (a s) are put together, they would not come to the extent suffered by the twelve Imams (a s).
Then if all the pains of the twelve Imams (a s) were totalled they would not equal those borne by Imam Sajjad (a s). Troubles started raining on the head of Imam Sajjad (a s) ever since he was only two and thereafter the series continued on the holy family viz. the martyrdom of Ali (a s), troubles faced by Imam Hasan (a s), the disaster in Karbala, the events in Syria, the taunting in Kufa, the despising by the enemy, all these hardships had gripped the life of this true Imam (a s).
One of the close companions of Imam Sajjad (a s) narrates, “One day, I had become terribly restless on seeing the constant weeping of Imam Sajjad (a s).So I said, ‘O, Son of the Holy Prophet (s.a)! Kindly relax at least for a little while.’ Looking at me, the holy Imam asked, ‘How many sons did Prophet Yaqoub (a s) have?’ I responded, ‘He had twelve sons.’ Then he asked, ‘How many sons did he lose?’ I said, ‘One.’ Imam (a s) retorted, ‘When the eyes of Prophet Yaquoob (a s) had turned white due to excessive weeping for only one missing son, how can I feel at rest when eighteen members of the family of the holy Prophet (saw) have been martyred in one day, their heads decapitated and their bodies left uncovered in dust and sand?”
Quoting this narration in Hayaatul Kaywaan, Allamah Damiri says, “One day Imam Zainul Abedeen (a s) was passing through the streets of Madinah riding a swift camel. A Syrian looked at the fine clothing of Imam (a s) and asked who he was. When he came to know that he was Imam Zain ul Abedeen (a s), he used indecent words for him.
The holy Imam responded to his indecency saying, “O gentleman! It seems you are a stranger.” The Syrian replied, “Yes, I am a stranger.” The Imam (a s) said, “Then please come to my house, eat when you feel hungry, if you require clothes, take them. If you need a horse, ride one.” Hearing this reply the Syrian swooned and dropped down. Abu Naeem al-Hafiz writes in his book, Hilyatul Auliya:
“Zuhri, who was one of the close companions of Imam Zainul Abedeen (a s) said, “One day, Abdul Malik bin Marwan imprisoned chained and confined Imam Zainul Abedeen (a s) in Syria. I visited the holy Imam and said, ‘I wish they had arrested me instead of you.’ He said, ‘O Zuhri! If I want, I can free myself from these chains.’ At that moment, he freed his hands and feet from the shackles and went out of the sight of the oppressors.” Imam Zainul Abedeen (a s) possessed thousands of such miracles, which we are unable to mention here.
He expired in Madinah at the age of fifty in 95 A.H. His holy grave is with that of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a s) in one mausoleum in Baqee. The graves of Imams Muhammad Baqir and Ja’far Sadique (a s) also are under one tomb12. How holy and radiant is the piece of land where four generous Imams (a s) are resting – May God increase its grace. 12 “Apparently, this book was written before the destruction and desecration of the holy graves of Jannat al-Baqee at the hands of the tyrannical Wahhabi rulers. Hence, the mention of mausoleum and tombs.”- Translator.
Imam Sajjad (a s) had twenty children, eleven sons and nine daughters. Imamate continued through Imam Muhammad Baqir (a s).
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a s)
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a s) was born in the year 55 AH. His mother was the daughter of mam Hasan (a s) – Umme Abdillah. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a s) is the first Alavi, who was born of an Alavi couple. Besides being the Imam of his time, he was also the centre of religious and Quranic sciences. That is why he was addressed as Baqir Ilm al-Ilahi (means the splitter of divine knowledge).
But the cruel rulers of Bani Umayyah stalled the spread of true and bright facts about this person. Therefore, he was compelled to take to a corner and was deprived of an opportunity whereby people would have benefited from his knowledge and information. So the knowledge and religious pronouncements of this Imam reached only to his family and close dependents.
He expired at the age of 63 in the year 118 A.H. and is buried in the graveyard of Baqee (Madinah). He had six sons and three daughters. Imam Ja’far Sadique (a s) in his eldest son, others being Abdullah, Ali, Zaid, Ubaidullah and Ibrahim. Imamat and successorship is in Abu Abdullah Ja’far Sadique (a s).
Imam Ja’far as Sadique (a s)
The greatness and preciousness of this Imam is beyond the power of the tongue and the pen to describe. His high rank of knowledge can be imagined from the fact that Jabir Ibn Hayyan Sufi, who was one of his brilliant students, has described his sciences both orally and with pen extremely and written five hundred articles and treatises. Just see that only one of the Imam’s students is such a big scholar.
Then what a big collection it would become if the capabilities of all of companions and followers are counted together: Ja’far Sadique, besides being the Imam of his time, was also an ocean of religious sciences and fountainhead of Quranic knowledge. Abdullah bin Abbas said, “Knowledge has been divided into ten parts and nine of them are exclusively with the Amirul Momineen (a s) and the remaining one part is divided among all the other people.”
Now we say that the knowledge of Amirul Momineen was bequeathed to the successive Imams till it reached Imam Ja’far as-Sadique (a s) and by this time it had expanded greatly and all of it was in the possession of Imam Ja’far Sadique (a s). Shaikh Abu Abdur Rahman as Sullami says in Tabaqaat al Mashaayekh: “Indeed Imam Ja’far as Sadique (a s) surpassed all his contemporaries.
His religious knowledge was profound, his piety absolute, his control on the sensual desires complete and his manners in wisdom perfect.” The leader of Sufis and the Shaykh of Tareeqat, Baayazeed Bastami states, ‘I have served ninety-nine teachers fully. Yet had I not seen Imam Ja’far Sadiq, I would have died devoid of faith.’ Just imagine the rank of this Imam from this statement. Allamah Dameeri mentions in Hayat al Haivaan, “Abu Hanifa Noman bin Thabit says, ‘Once I went with Rabee to Imam Ja’far. He asked me, ‘ Do you follow conjecture (qiyaas)?’ I replied, ‘Yes’. Imam retorted, ‘Do not base your verdicts on conjecture because the first one to follow conjecture was Iblees (the devil).” Abu Hanifa says, “The Imam asked me some questions but I could not give reply to any of them.
So he himself explained the problems and said, ‘In your head there are four kinds of liquid; one in the mouth, second in nose, third in the ear and fourth in the eye. Had conjecture been proper, the flavour of all the four should have been one because all are from one matter and origin. But we see that the flavour of each of these four liquids is different.
For example, the water in mouth is sweet, that in the eye is sour, that in nose salty and one in the ear acrimonious.” Noman bin Thabit Abu Hanifa says, “Imam Ja’far (a s), through divine wisdom, examined each and every one of the four liquids and explained their number and qualities. I was surprised by the knowledge of the Imam (a s).”
Despite this wide expanse of knowledge and wisdom of this great Imam, the tyrant rulers of the day came in the way of dispersion of the radiance of his intelligence. Therefore the unlimited benefits of his precious grace could not go beyond the circle of his progeny and close dependents. Bayzeed Bastami was one of the students of Imam Ja’far (a s), who was the inheritor of the knowledge of Amirul Momineen (a s). The saying that Ja’far acquired knowledge of his maternal grandfather Quasim bin Muhammad is not acceptable to intellect or to history. It is true that Quasim was a very wise and learned man.
But since Ja’far (a s) was the inheritor of the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (saw), his being taught by anyone who is not an Imam is not in any way acceptable to wisdom and intelligence. Mansur Dawaniqi, who was the caliph in the time of Imam Ja’far as-Sadique (a s) was always threatening and harassing the Imam.
On one hand, he often imprisoned Imam (a s) in dark and narrow cells but on the other, he was awarding generously jurists like Malik bin Anas in Madinah and Abu Yusuf in Kufa. When Abu Hanifa refused to be a judicial officer in the presence of the Imam of the time, Mansur arrested him and ordered Rabee Hajib to give him one hundred lashes. Abu Hanifa died in jail under the impact of this punishment.
Whenever Mansur came to know that a person had obtained a solution from Imam Ja’far (a s), he used to punish that man. And he forcibly propagated ‘al-Mawatta’ of Malik bin Anas, a jurisprudent of Madinah. The reason of this deed is obvious. The existence of the Imam and the spreading of his light of knowledge were deterrents to the lustful and unjust deeds of the greedy and cruel self-worshippers.
It is indeed amazing that the Shias who were forced to practise dissimulation (taqaiyyah), benefitted from the knowledge and wisdom of the Imam (a s) and enriched their books and actions with the decrees of the Imam. But unfortunately, the Ahle Sunnat, who were not forced to practice dissimulation, attached themselves to the likes of Harun Rashid, Mamoon, Mansur and Mutawakkil and could never do anything which was against the desires of the cruel rulers.
For, they feared that they would meet with the same fate as Abu Hanifa Noman bin Thabit, who acted against the opinion of Mansur was punished, and killed in jail. Mansur asked Abu Hanifa to accept the post of judge. He rejected. When Abu Yusuf, a student of Abu Hanifa asked the latter the cause of not accepting Mansur’s offer he replied, ‘The religious commands like are like a deep ocean.’ Abu Yusuf said, ‘A deep ocean can be crossed with in a ship of exploration’. Abu Hanifa shot back, ‘We are not the ships of explorations.
It is he scholars of holy family of the messenger of God (saw) and its captain is Abu Ja’far Sadique’. Here, let me state a fact that really deserves a mention. The Ahle Sunnah scholars have written innumerable books about religious sciences. They have narrated a hundred thousand or even five hundred thousand Hadiths and mentioned millions of literary works. But no tradition of narration of the holy Imams after Zainul Abedeen (a s) has at all been included in them and not the slightest suggestion of their names.
In the books of Fiqh too, at thousands of places, we find the names of jurists (sic!) like Abu Yusuf Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani and others but not even once do we read the name of
Kazim, Sadique and Reza! Are they not the members of the holy family of the Holy Prophet (saw)?
There are nine thousand traditions in Sahih Bukhari and eleven thousand in Sahih Muslim we accept their correctness but from all these traditions not a single one is narrated from the holy Imams and in all these reports the names of Baqir, Kazim, Sadique of the Aale Muhammad do not occur. Isn’t it a pity? Concluding this discussion here, we leave the details to history.
Imam Sadique (a s) had five male children; one of them Ismail, died during the Imam’s lifetime and is buried in Baqee. Another was Abdullah. He and Ismail were from the same mother. Then there was Muhammad Deebaaj and Moosa Kazim who, the legatee of Imam Sadiq (a s).
Imam Moosa Kazim (a s)
Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s) was the son of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a s). His mother was Hameeda. How much was this Imam harassed by his contemporary caliphs of Bani Abbas! It is a heart-rending story. It is truly said that there is a Moosa for every Pharaoh and for every righteous man, a devil. Abbasi caliph Mahdi brought Imam Kazim (a s) from Madinah to Baghdad and imprisoned him.
After a time, Mahdi saw Amirul Momineen (a s) in a dream and faced his anger. Next morning he released the Imam with a heavy heart. This despotic ruler Mahdi was, on the one hand, helping Ulema and the poor and protecting scholars but, on the other hand, he was putting the Holy Imams, who were the inheritors of Imamat and Prophethood, to various troubles. He made thousands of sycophants, who waxed eulogies in his glorification.
And hundreds of jurists, who gave decrees as per his liking were busy in enjoying the royal wealth and prosperity, while he put the bud of the garden of the Holy Prophet, Imam Moosa Kazim (a s), in narrow and damp prison cells and fettered him with heavy iron chains! And the Sunni Ulema sing the Caliph’s praise! They even refer to him as Amirul Momineen. These simpletons with short memory forgot, that at the end of the historical eras, such curtains of hypocrisy and flattery will be torn and all the oppressors and despots will be fetched to court to face the truth.
Once Harun Rashid went for Haj and took Imam Moosa Kazim (a s) with him. At the tomb of the Holy Prophet (saw), Harun saluted in these words: Assalaam Alaika Yaa Ibne Amm. (Peace be upon you, O my cousin). At that very moment, Imam Moosa Kazim (a s) also entered uttering, Assalaamu alaika Ya abata. (Peace be upon you, O my father). This made Harun furious with envy.
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi