THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s)

THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s)0%

THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s) Author:
Translator: The Islamic Ahl Al-Bayt ('a) Foundation
Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center
Category: Imam al-Jawad
ISBN: 978-964- 529- 789-1

THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s)

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Translator: The Islamic Ahl Al-Bayt ('a) Foundation
Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center
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ISBN: 978-964- 529- 789-1
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THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s)

THE LIFE OF IMAM MUHAMMAD Al-JAWAD (a.s)

Author:
Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center
ISBN: 978-964- 529- 789-1
English

CHAPTER THREE: THE NECESSITIES OF IMAM JAWAD'S (AS) ERA

In the last two chapters, we read about the qualities of Imam Jawad's (as) era, the way in which the rulers behaved with him, his divine mission and the righteous group of his followers: those people who remained with Imam Jawad (as) for carrying the divine mission. They never left him and their own beliefs which they had developed in Imam Jawad (as), his father (as) and forefathers (as).

In this chapter, we will come to know about the divine responsibilities which were in the form of the Islamic religion and its rules and regulations; and which were put on the shoulders of the Household (as) especially Imam Jawad (as) as a responsibility. Also we will come to know about the necessities of his age which had their own conditions along with cultural, political and social innovations.

The Prophet (sawas) had himself trained this family so that after him they would save the divine mission from tricks and conspiracies of the kings and the preachers of the royal court and save the Islamic Ummah from any kind of decline and deviations. The Islamic nation deserved to be kept safe because they had changed into a living nation fully committed to practising the Islamic and divine culture and spreading it all over the world. Certainly this nation had to face some hardships and great injuries in the form of deviation in the field of leadership which also appeared in other fields of life.

At that time, on the one hand, Imam Jawad (as) had to face the outcomes in the important political and Islamic field which had been realized by his father and forefathers (as); on the other hand, he was facing some new phenomena in the fields of politics, society and religion. Certainly, the last affair was the result of the open atmosphere which was provided by the so-called system of Islamic caliphate for the deviated currents so that they could freely act in the Islamic domain and do whatever they wanted without fear of anyone. The rulers provided these currents with the opportunity to weaken the divine line of the Household (as) without having to involve themselves directly in the affairs of the Imams (as).

Imam Jawad (as), also considering the conditions of his time, would have to build equilibrium among his divine responsibilities on one hand, and from the provided and available facilities with what was achievable under such conditions and he had to reach his divine goals and targets through this medium; the targets which the religion and Allah the Almighty had told him to achieve, and making him the guardian and divine leader so that he would devote his life to Allah and His everlasting religion (Islam).

With this explanation, the necessities of Imam Jawad's (as) age, the important role which he had to play in the spread of Islam and the targets which he had to achieve for the group of the pious people become clear and manifest. Therefore, we will divide this discussion into two important discourses:

Firstly: the necessity to spread Islam in its common way;

Secondly: the necessities of the pious group.

The necessities of spreading Islam can be summarized as follows:

Proving the suitability of the Household (as), especially of Imam Jawad's (as) line for keeping the divine leadership and the Muslim nation;

Reacting against the efforts of the kings and rulers who were playing strong roles in degrading the Household (as), their followers and the movements of people against the government;

Laying the ground for a real government based on truth - which was being awaited by the people. And this was to be brought into effect despite all efforts by the rulers to remove the matter of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance);

Taking a stand against innovations, deviations and deviated matters which were coming into being in the Islamic domain;

Considering the affairs of the Islamic nation;

The needs and necessities of the group of pious people were also of the kind mentioned in the following lines:

Exactness and certainty of a young person exceeding all natural limits;

Making the cultural, psychological and educational structures firm and strong;

Strengthening the establishment of the pious groups and preparing them for a long period of occultation;

Providing the ground for Imam Hadi's (as) early Imamah under those hard conditions;

Providing the grounds for the occultation of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) and preparing the people at an intellectual and mental level appropriate to the conditions of that period.

The detail for the necessities and needs of spreading Islam in general will be mentioned in subsequent chapters. Afterwards we will mention the necessities of the group of the pious people.

SECTION FOUR

It Consists Of Three Chapters:

Chapter One: Imam Muhammad Jawad (as) and the General Necessities of the Islamic world

Chapter Two: Imam Jawad (as) and the Necessities of the Pious Group

Chapter Three: The School of Thought and Educational Inheritance of Imam Jawad (as)

CHAPTER ONE: IMAM MUHAMMAD JAWAD (AS) AND THE GENERAL NECESSITIES OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD

This chapter will be analyzed under different titles and topics:

1. The Household (as) and the Divine Leadership

The scientific life of Imam al-Rida (as) had become obvious and manifest for all the people and even the common people knew him along with his great virtues. Therefore, he had made a place in the hearts of the people and his great thoughts and ideas had attracted everyone's attention to them. This was something unbearable for al-Mamun. That is why al-Mamun decided to degrade him in front of his followers and companions and remove the love and attraction of the followers of the Household (as) which they had in their hearts for him. When he could not be successful, he thought of another plan to remove Imam (as) and get rid of him. He had no choice but to kill him because if he let Imam (as) go back to Madinah, Imam (as) could take over the government from him but from the Abbasids as he had become so famous among the people. On the other hand, Imam's (as) remaining in the centre of the caliphate was equally dangerous for al-Mamun and his government having the same effects on his government; and it could become the reason to strengthen the line of Imamah.

Another topic which could strongly affect the ruling system of the Abbasids in general and the government of al-Mamun in particular was related to the affair of the birth of the promised Imam (as). According to Allah's promise to the nations, the promised Imam (as) had to come to manage what was the truth, change the dispersion into cohesion and overcome cruelties and mutiny.

On the other hand, the holy Prophet (sawas) had introduced the promised Imam (as) with his name and genealogy to the people. He had also mentioned his qualities and signs. He mentioned him as the ninth from amongst Imam Hussain's (as) offspring. He talked of his worldwide leadership and warned the oppressors about his appearance; he also gave the good news of his appearance to the believers and the oppressed saying that he would develop justice and bring peace to the world. Such predictions could transform the peace and tranquillity of the rulers into anxiety even as told by the common fortune tellers. Certainly, the effect of the news was much stronger than that because it had been predicted by the Prophet (sawas) who was connected to the origin of inspirations and who talked about whatever he was asked to by Allah. On the other hand, how could those people show no reaction to such a great and near threat who used to worry about thousands of plans to counter their lust and hunger for power and government!

The Prophet (sawas) had introduced all his twelve successors who were known as his Household (as) and who were all from the progeny of Imam Ali (as). Now the people were beholding the eighth Imam (as) [i.e. Imam al-Rida (as)] who was the fifth Imam (as) from the progeny of Imam Hussain (as). At such a time, the Abbasids benefited from every single chance for their survival. Therefore, it does not seem to be impossible that the rulers were trying to break up the group of pious people with the help of their agents and spies and find a way to influence them. They wanted to break up the group of those people who insisted on the heritage of the Household (as), their divine knowledge and the divine secrets which were given to them; those people who had with them the deposits which only those believers could have with them who had successfully passed every test.[277]

When Bani Abbas found it impossible to overcome and take control of the group of pious people, they thought of another plan which was to infiltrate their group and collect information about them so that they could distinguish them.

These rulers knew that the birth of the promised Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) was very near. However, the time of his birth was unknown to them. Therefore, they used the method that Pharaoh used when trying to prevent the birth of Moses (as). They thought they were successful in stopping Imam Mahdi (as) from being born. Therefore, they put the Imams (as) under observation so as to be able to stop Imam Mahdi's (as) birth whose name had made them very afraid. That is why they influenced even their personal lives and by appointing agents ordered to report about each and everything related to the Imams (as). Al-Mamun's insistence on marrying his daughter Umm al-Fadhl to Imam Jawad (as) is the best example of what we have said above.

It was not enough for Abbasid rulers, but they had bound the people of the Household (as) in choosing their wives, marriage and the number of children. We see that Imam al-Rida (as) and the Imams (as) after him had a noticeably smaller number of children and wives as compared with the Imams (as) before them.

The Abbasid caliphs tried to deceive people by choosing the names of al-Mahdi and al-Muhtadi for themselves and introducing themselves as the promised Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) whose name and appearance was mentioned in the traditions related to the Prophet (sawas). However they did not know that liars are soon caught, because they had been nourished in a family which had no knowledge of reality and divine virtues. Hence their deviation could not help them much in the achievement of their goals and targets which were to hide the reality of Imam Mahdi's (as) appearance.

The rulers who had failed in distorting the reality of Imam Mahdi (as) and prohibiting his companionship were left with only one choice which was to wait for the promised baby to be born and then kill him. In this manner they could free themselves from the nightmare which had overcome their lives. This nightmare was nothing but Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) who had to come one day and ruin the palaces of those oppressors living in them.

However, the pure certainty of the Abbasids towards this reality was not the only factor for Imam Mahdi (as) to be born and soon after to be killed by the rulers. The political grounds, on one hand, and the necessities of the Muslims, on the other hand, demanded great hope to appear from among the Household (as) of the Prophet (sawas); the one whose good news had already been given by the Prophet (sawas) and the one who had to live in the hearts of the people ever after. To keep such a hope alive was one of the needs of the Islamic Ummah just as it was one of the most important responsibilities of the Imams (as) which needed to be strengthened by the Imams (as) who were unable to perform the role which was to be practised by Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance).

Whatever they could do was to prepare the common Muslims to accept the Imamah of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) and manifest this reality for them that Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) would remain alive and observe the deeds of the Muslims from behind the curtain of occultation unless the necessary ground for his worldwide revolution was provided which had been promised by Allah and whose good news had been given by His Prophet (sawas).

Against this general need and necessity, the Abbasids increased their efforts for preventing the birth of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance) from happening. Under such conditions, the main responsibilities of Imam Jawad (as) and the Imams (as) after him was to save this hope without letting it lose its spark and brightness in the hearts of the people and their next responsibility was to keep the matter of Imam Mahdi's (as) birth top secret, not letting the rulers to come to know anything about it. By doing this, they wanted to keep the divine leader and the Promised Imam (may Allah hasten his appearance) - who was about to devote his life to Allah and raise the flag of Mohammedan Islam, letting the dreams of all the Prophets (as) come true - from the rulers' harm.

The Imams of the Household (as) with the help of their good virtues and behaviour were successful in dishonouring the deviated rulers; and this was known to be one of the main challenges which they were facing. In this way, they were successful in manifesting to the Islamic nation the difference between the kingship of the caliphs and suitability for real leadership of the Islamic Ummah. Meanwhile, the Ummah was in great need of understanding the difference between the spiritual guideline of the Household (as) and the policies of the government; and they had to understand the false masks which the rulers had put on their faces.

By marrying his daughter to Imam Jawad (as), al-Mamun was nearer to his goal to some extent; because in this way, not only could he put Imam's (as) every movement under his observation but his daughter would also stop Imam (as) from having any child from her and his other wives.[278] With making this target achievable, she could also make the other targets of al-Mamun achievable.

The rulers after al-Mamun followed his line and put the Imams (as) under their observations, and could not think of a better way because al-Mamun had degraded himself by killing Imam al-Rida (as). Those who had killed Imam al-Rida (as), considering him one of his greatest opponents, were now facing another opponent of the same family who was even stronger in making the oppressors defamed and degraded.

On the other hand, the Imamah of Imam Jawad (as), who was just nine years old, had generated some basic questions in the minds of the common people and the Shia of that time which were about his potency and ability for the post of Imamah and divine leadership. It was obligatory for the people to follow their Imam (as) and a person in such a post as Imam (as) must have been able to remove all political and social obstacles which were lying in the way of the people.

Under such conditions and with a succession of questions being asked about his Imamah, Imam Jawad (as) took charge of the people's leadership while he was facing three sequences. However, he had to prove his suitability to the people, even if he had to lose his life in the process. The continuation of divine leadership, proving the truthfulness of the Household (as) and the divine mission were more important than everything else. Looking at these conditions, it seemed to be very important for Imam Jawad (as) to answer every single question and challenge all political and scientific personalities so that he would prove the matter of Imamah for both the common and higher classes of people.

Therefore, the most important responsibility of Imam Jawad (as) was to prove the affair of Imamah among the common people as well as the special personalities in the time after his father Imam al-Rida's (as) death. Imam al-Rida (as) had also insisted on his Imamah through different explicit texts. He had made his son Imam Jawad (as) known to some of his companions and followers. Imam al-Rida (as) who was well aware of al-Mamun's final target and his plan behind entrusting him with succession to the throne started benefiting from this chance in the interest of Islam and the Muslims and strengthened the matter of Imamah after him; and finally he was martyred in the same way.

With the answers which Imam Jawad gave in the common gatherings of the caliphs, he had taken a useful step on the path of proving the truthfulness of the divine guideline of the Household (as), his Imamah, his suitability for leadership of the common Muslims and being a Divine Proof for them, for the caliphs and for those scientific people who always remained beside the caliphs. In the meanwhile, Imam Jawad's (as) solid answers had become a great challenge for the caliphs and their scholars and scientific people; the scholars who, as scientific and cultural backing for the caliphs, tried to legalize their deviated government. These people belonged to a group which had fallen in love with their mundane desires and could not see reality by using their rational minds; neither could they see what was going on around them in Islamic society.

The rulers tried to degrade the Imams (as) because they considered them (as) a great danger for their government which they had snatched from the Household (as). Therefore, they used every possible means to decrease the level of their fame. However, the presence of Imam Jawad (as) and other Imams (as) in the royal courts and the answers which they gave to the questions asked by the great scholars and scientific people of their time did not allow the rulers' dreams to come true. On the other hand, they made people aware that Imamah and divine leadership is only for those people who are infallibles and have been appointed to this post by Allah and His messenger (sawas).

2. Islamic Society and Early Imamah in the School of the Household (as)

The presence of Imam Jawad (as) as an Imam was strong proof about the correctness of the Household's (as) belief about Imamah. This phenomenon - the authentication of the post of Imamah and the responsibilities related to it - is a very convincing reason for the correctness of thoughts and beliefs of the Household (as) whose followers are only the Shia. According to this belief, Imamah is a divine post whose people are not chosen by the common man but by Allah for their intellectual, educational, religious and practical suitability for leadership of the Muslims.

All the historians have mentioned the point that at the time of Imam al-Rida's (as) death, his successor Imam Jawad (as) was only nine years old and he was entrusted with the post of Imamah at that age.

This was something very rare and was happening for the first time in the history of the Imams (as). When we examine this reality on the basis of divine standards and historical realities, we find it sufficient for accepting the legitimacy of the school of thought of Imam Jawad (as) as well as the path of the Household (as) which was being represented by Imam Jawad (as). What we can think of this phenomenon is that the Imamah of a little boy who has accepted the responsibility of guiding and leading the Shia in all mental, spiritual, intellectual, religious and jurisprudential ways and who has faced all kinds of hardships and been successful in exams is a great sign of its divinity and there is no doubt in this.

There are some other assumptions, too, which are not so popular. However, we mention these in the following lines:

Firstly: the Shia who had accepted the Imamah of Imam Jawad (as) did not know that he was merely a child.

This assumption is rejected because the divine leaders did not have any gatekeepers, guards and royal managements so that the people would not see them. On the other hand, they did not call the people like the Sufis and inward Fatimids whose claimers remained unknown to the common people. Like his father and forefathers (as), Imam Jawad (as) was also available for the Shia and they could meet him and talk to him face to face. They were in contact with him and asked him about their religious matters, mental, spiritual and ethical problems.

When Imam Jawad (as) met al-Mamun for the first time, he asked for al-Mamun's permission to let him go back to Madinah. Al-Mamun accepted this and Imam (as) went back to Madinah passing most of his life there. In this manner, Imam Jawad (as) was always among the Muslims belonging to different classes and categories including the Shia believers of his Imamah and leadership and they all could see him any time.

Therefore, the first assumption can be rejected because it is against the nature of contact and relation which had been between the Imams (as) and their followers and other Muslims. Also, Imam Jawad (as) was under the observation of the Abbasid caliph. At the time of marrying the daughter of the caliph, the members of the Abbasid family were not happy with this and they complained to al-Mamun; and it is the best proof for rejection of the first assumption.

Secondly: the Shia who accepted the Imamah of Imam Jawad (as) did not have intellectual and scientific maturity and did not have the power to decide what was right and what was wrong about the Imamah of a child who was claiming to be Imam.

This assumption can also be rejected on the basis of history, the history of the Shia caste and the level of their knowledge, because the Shia were trained by Imam Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) and were establishing a great school of Islamic thought all over the world. This school of thought had passed two generations now with the students of Imam Sadiq (as) and Imam Kazim (as) and their students. The leading Shia of the two generations with great knowledge worked in the fields of jurisprudence, interpretation, theology, Hadith, ethics and other Islamic sciences. Therefore it does not seem to be possible for such a group of people to accept the Imamah of a young person without seeing any strong signs, backing and logical reason. It is also to be kept in mind that in those days accepting the Imamah of a person meant facing many kinds of hardship and problems such as limitations, pressure, pursuit, threats and death.

Let us consider a fifty or sixty-year-old intellectual with a great command of all branches of knowledge who claims to be an imam on the basis of his high knowledge, not because he is really an Imam. It seems to be natural that a number of people who are well aware of his knowledge and wisdom will accept his claim and become his followers and believers; and such an assumption seems to be acceptable. However, the matter becomes more serious when facing a great group of knowledgeable and well-educated people. Certainly, a little boy of nine cannot betray a group of such a high knowledge and wisdom establishing the biggest scientific and intellectual school of thought in the Islamic world with just his false claim to being the Imam. Let us not forget that the students of this school of thought were spread all over the Islamic society of those days like Kufah, Qum and Madinah, and were playing active roles. They were also in contact with Imam Jawad (as). They asked Imam Jawad (as) for answers to their questions and religious matters. They also took religious funds to him and gifts from all over the country and the Islamic world. Certainly, the people of such a school of thought with such good wisdom would never accept the Imamah of a little boy without certain documents.

Thirdly: the meaning of ‘Imam’ and ‘Imamah’ was not clear to the Shia and they considered Imamah as blood relationship and heredity. They did not know who a real Imam was, what his values and positions were and what conditions were necessary for a person to qualify for the post of Imamah!

The heritage of successive traditions and Hadiths related to the conditions of Imamah which the Muslims and the Shia had from Imam Ali (as) till Imam al-Rida's (as) period of Imamah, certainly rejected the above-mentioned assumption. This is what has made the Shia distinguished as compared with the followers of other religions and castes who consider the post of Imamah as something related to human beings and who consider it to be very easy for any human to claim to be an Imam.

The word ‘tashayyu’’ came into being on the basis of deep knowledge of Divine Imamah - which is one of the main issues in Shia; according to the Shia an Imam is someone who is extraordinary and matchless in his wisdom, ethics, wording and behaviour. This was something which had been mentioned so many times by a great number of people from the time of Imam Ali (as) till the period of Imam al-Rida (as).[279]

In this way all specialties and qualities of an Imam (as) had become manifest for the Shia. The narrator says:“After Imam l-Rida's (as) martyrdom I entered the city of Madinah and started searching for his successor. I was told: the successor of Imam al-Rida (as) lives in a village near Madinah. I went to the village. There was a house in the city which was given as inheritance to the sons of Imam Musa bin Ja’far (as) from their father. I went near the house and I found the house filled with people. One of Imam al-Rida's (as) brothers was sitting before the people, but the people were saying: “He is not the Imam after Imam al-Rida (as) because we have heard that after [Imam] Hasan and [Imam] Husayn (as), Imamah will not be entrusted to two brothers.” [280]

We can see that all genealogical and spiritual qualities of Imam were clear and manifest for the Shia. Therefore, the third assumption can also be rejected because of the successive traditions which the Shia already knew about before the Imamah of Imam Jawad (as).

Fourthly: The Shia believe in wrong things in a way. This assumption is also rejected. It is not because we believe in the piety of this group [the Shia], but it is the condition of the Shia in those days which makes the above-mentioned assumption void and unacceptable. The reason for this is also very clear. Shia has never been a means for gaining money, power and property; but being a Shia meant to be under observation, being punished and tortured, and suffering imprisonment, deprivation, difficulties and destruction. The path of Shia was always difficult and filled with the thorns of enmity and rivalry against those walking on this path. Therefore, accepting a false Imamah was of no use; neither could it be beneficial to the Shia. On the other hand, Shia was not a good choice for reaching governmental posts and coming into power. So why would wise, famous and knowledgeable Shia accept a false Imamah which would bring them a great number of tortures and deprivations? On the other hand, how can one's mind accept that a person should accept something and put himself in danger willingly and deliberately?

Certainly those conditions are the best proofs for the reality of the believes of the Shia; the beliefs which had been realized by the Shia and which had been accepted and followed by them under every condition, even though they lost their lives walking on this path.

Therefore, we are left with only one option which is to accept the fourth assumption which says that with his early Imamah and standing up to all the motivations, questions and tests, Imam Jawad (as) provided the best historical and scientific reasoning to prove his - the Household's (as) - reality, method and path; the path which was now being observed in the form of Imam Jawad's (as) Imamah and leadership of the Islamic world. This path, for the first time, was presented to the Muslims at the time of the Prophet (sawas) who wanted the Muslims to gain scientific and doctrinal perfection and establish Islamic civilization on the basis of divine values.

The huge and valuable heritage which Imam Jawad (as) has left for us is a great proof for his active role in the manifestation of Shia belief in the field of Islamic leadership which is also insisted on by the verses of the holy Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet (sawas).[281]

3. Imam Jawad's (as) Reaction against Deviated Concepts

‘Exaggeration’ was among those phenomena which appeared in different ways and manners; one of which was exaggeration about the companions of the Prophet (sawas). Like other Imams (as), Imam Jawad (as) also rose against this phenomenon whenever he got a chance to do so. Once he entered a discussion with Yahya bin Aktham in a gathering where al-Mamun and many other people were also present. In this discussion, Imam (as) rejected those exaggerated concepts which were being told about the companions of the Prophet (sawas). The detail of the story is given below:

It has been narrated that after al-Mamun had married his daughter to Imam Jawad (as), one day he, along with a great number of people as well as Yahya bin Aktham, were gathered together. Abu Ja’far (as) was also present in that gathering. Yahya said to him:“O the son of the Prophet (sawas)! It has been narrated: “Gabriel came to the Prophet (sawas) and said: “O Muhammad! Your Allah has paid His regards and has said: “Ask Abu Bakr whether he is satisfied with Me? [He must know that] I am pleased with him.” What do you say about this?

Imam (as) said: I am not denying Abu Bakr's virtues, but the narrator of the news must also keep in mind the tradition which has been narrated in the Farewell pilgrimage; when the Prophet (sawas) said:

Those who have lied about me will increase their lies even after me. Thus [beware that] one who lies about me has provided hellfire for himself. So whenever you receive a Hadith related to me, compare it with the Book [the holy Qur'an] and my Sunnah. If it agrees with them, accept it, otherwise, leave it.

Then Imam Jawad (as) said: This story (about Abu Bakr) is not compatible with the Book of Allah, because Allah has said:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ ﴿١٦﴾

“Certainly we have created man and we know to what his soul tempts him, and we are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” [282]

In this case, [since there is a contradiction between this Hadith and the verse of the holy Qur'an] it seems as if Allah did not know whether Abu Bakr is pleased with Him or not; therefore, He is asking Abu Bakr about what is going into his mind and heart; which is rejected and impossible rationally.

Yahya said: It is narrated that: Abu Bakr and Umar on the earth are like Gabriel and Michael in the sky [and enjoy the same high position.]?

Imam (as) said: This Hadith needs to be observed with care because Gabriel and Michael are the favourite angels of Allah and have never committed any sins, neither have they been disobedient to Allah even for a single moment; but Abu Bakr and Umar were pagans, and they accepted Islam after remaining pagans for most of their lives. Therefore, it is impossible to compare them with Gabriel and Michael who are two angels of Allah.

Yahya said: It is narrated that: Abu Bakr and Umar are the rulers and great people among the old people living in paradise.” What do you say about this?

Imam (as) said: It is also impossible because the people of paradise are all young and any old person cannot be found among them. This news has been fabricated by Bani Umayyad against the Hadith of the Prophet (sawas) in which he has said:“Hasan and Husayn (as) are the two rulers of the youth of paradise.

Yahya said: It is narrated that Umar Ibn Khattab is the candle of heaven.

Imam (as) said: This is also impossible because if heaven does not illuminate with the light of the most nearest angels of Allah, the Prophet Adam (as), the Prophet Muhammad (sawas) and all the prophets (as) of Allah then how is possible for it to be illuminated with the light of Umar?

Yahya said: It is narrated that ‘Sukayna’ (the wind in paradise with the human face) will speak with the voice of Umar.

Imam (as) said: I am not denying the virtue of Umar but Abu Bakr is better than him [and if such a thing is possible then the creature must speak in the voice of Abu Bakr] who has said on the pulpit of the Prophet (sawas): “The devil has overcome me and harms me, so whenever I am distracted, bring me back on track.”

Yahya said:“It has been narrated from the Prophet (sawas) who said: “If I was not made a messenger, Umar would be made prophet instead of me.”

Imam (as) said:

“The Book of Allah is more authentic than this saying. Allah has said:

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَۖ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا ﴿٧﴾

“[Recall] when we took a pledge from the prophets, and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary, and we took from them a solemn pledge.” [283]

The Lord who has made a covenant with the Prophets (as), who will break it? On the other hand, the prophets (as) never believe in anyone but Allah even for a single moment. Then how is it possible that Allah makes someone prophet who passed most of his life as a pagan? The Prophet of Allah (sawas) has said about his prophecy:“I received the order of my prophecy when Adam was in a state of between body and soul [and was not born yet].”

Yahya said: The Prophet (sawas) has said: when I did not receive any revelation, I became certain that it was being revealed to the family of Khattab.

[What do you say about this?]

Imam (as) said: This is also impossible because the Prophet (sawas) must have been very sure about his prophethood because Allah has said:

اللَّـهُ يَصْطَفِي مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا وَمِنَ النَّاسِۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ ﴿٧٥﴾

“Allah chooses messengers from angels and from mankind. Indeed Allah is all-hearing, all-seeing.” [284]

How is it possible that the prophethood is taken from someone chosen by Allah and given to someone who passed most of his life as a pagan?”

Yahya said:“It is narrated that the Prophet (sawas) said: If the torment of Allah descends no one but Umar will remain safe against it.”

Imam Jawad (as) said: This concept is also impossible because Allah has said:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْۚ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ ﴿٣٣﴾

“But Allah will not punish them while you are in their midst, nor will Allah punish them while they plead for forgiveness.” [285]

We see that Allah is giving the news that He will not impose His torment on the people while His Messenger (as) is there among the people praying for them.[286]

The tradition which we read in the above lines is a great example of the deviations at the time of the Amawide and Abbasid caliphs. The story also mentions the two calamities - deviation and innovation - showing how they had influenced the people despite the material being contrary to the verses of the holy Qur'an. All this shows nothing but the low level of the royal scholars' knowledge. Certainly the common people who used to follow them were even more ignorant.

Imam Jawad's (as) discussion with Yahya bin Aktham, the chief justice of al-Mamun shows the courage, strong logic and great role of the Imam (as) in correction of the dangerous deviations, for which they tried to rectify and justify the mistakes of some of the companions of the Prophet (sawas). They did this to present an ugly picture of the religion of Islam. Another reason behind this discussion was to show the people the real face of the caliphs who had hidden their realities behind such things; and the people had an ambiguous and dismal picture of them in their minds through history.

4. The Grief of Islamic Ummah, a Great Concern of Imam Jawad (as)

Serving the people, calling them to acceptance of Mohammedan Islam and guiding them on the path of the Household (as) were among the most necessary concerns of Imam Jawad (as). In this discourse we will mention some of these cases:

When Abu Ja’far (as) left Baghdad towards Madinah and Umm al-Fadhl was with him, people went out escorting him. When he got to the street of the Gate of Kufa, he went to the house of al-Musaiab at sunset. He came off his ride and went to the mosque to offer prayer. In the yard of the mosque there was a lote tree which had yet borne fruit. He asked for some water to perform wudu. He performed wudu at the base of the lote tree and went in to offer prayers. The people stood behind him and started offering congregational prayer. In the first Rak'at, Imam Jawad (as) recited Surat Hamd and in the second Rak'at he recited Surat Nasr. In the second Rak'at he recited Surat Hamd followed by Surat Tawhid and raised his hands for Qunut before going to Ruku'. After having finished his prayer, he waited for a short period, praised Allah and then stood and offered for Rak'ats of Nafila prayer without saying Ta'qibat of his prayer.

After finishing the Nafila prayer, he said Ta'qibat and prostrated two times thanking Allah. When he had finished the prayers, he went out and when he got to the lote tree, people found it had good fruit. They ate from the fruit and found it sweet and with no stones. People bade Imam al-Jawad (as) farewell and he left for Madinah.[287]

By presenting the issues and concrete affairs, Imam Jawad (as) provided the best reasoning for his Imamah. On the other hand, his great attention towards serving the people made them aware of how important it was to serve the people in Islam. Also it attracted people's attention towards him because they saw his generosity and good behaviour in practice. The following stories are some examples of Imam Jawad's (as) serving the people:

Firstly: Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Isma'il narrates: I said to Abu Ja’far the son of al-Rida (as): I have a slave girl [or daughter] who is not happy because of pain.

He said:“Bring her to me.” And I did so.

He said to her:“What are you not happy with?”

She said:“There is pain in my knees.”

Abu Ja’far (as) swept his hand over her knee and she left. After this, she never complained about the pain in her knee.[288]

Secondly: Muhammad bin Umayr Waqid Razi narrated: I met Abu Ja’far son of al-Rida (as) with my brother who had a respiratory disorder and was breathing very quickly. He complained of his sickness to Abu Ja’far (as). Abu Ja’far (as) said:“May Allah cure your illness.”

We left Imam (as). The illness of my brother had now gone and he did not have this problem till the very last moment of his life.[289]

Thirdly: Muhammad bin Umayr narrates: I felt a great pain in my midriff once every seven days which lasted for some days. I requested Abu Ja’far (as) to pray for me so that my illness would be cured. He said: May Allah also bless you.

The illness referred to left forever after he prayed for me.[290]

Fourthly: Ali bin Jarir reported: I was in the presence of Imam Jawad (as) when a sheep of the house which belonged to one of his slave girls was missing. At this time, one of the neighbors was brought to the Imam (as) on a charge of theft. The Imam said,“Woe to you! Let him go. He has not stolen the sheep. The sheep is in another's house [and mentioned his name]. Go and find it there.”

They went to the mentioned house and found the sheep there. They arrested the owner of the house, tore his clothes to shreds and beat him up, but he swore that he had not stolen the sheep. They brought him to the Imam (as) who asked,“Why have you oppressed him? The sheep entered his house and this man was not aware of it.” Then the Imam (as) appeased the wronged man and gave him an amount of money to make up for his clothes and the beating.”[291]

Qasim bin al-Hasan narrated: I was between Mecca and Madinah when a poor person from amongst the Bedouins asked them for something. I felt sorry for him and gave him a piece of bread. When he went away, a great wind started blowing which removed my turban and I did not know where it had gone. When I entered Madinah, I went to Abu Ja’far bin al-Rida (as). He said to me: O Abu al-Qasim! Have you lost your turban on the way?

I said:“Yes, I have.”

The Imam (as) said to his servant:“Bring him his turban.”

The slave brought the turban and gave it to me. I said to Abu Ja’far (as): O son of the Prophet (sawas), how did my turban reach your hands?”

Imam (as) said:“You gave charity to the Bedouin and Allah respected your charity. That is why He has returned your turban to you. [Beware] Allah will never spoil the rewards of those doing good.”

What has just been mentioned is like a drop in an ocean; one of countless examples of the Imams' (as) services to the Muslims. Certainly the great effects of these actions are not unknown and ambiguous for those people who consider the language of action more useful than the language of words. That is why Imam Sadiq (as) said: “Call people [towards goodness] not only with the help of your language [but with the help of your actions].[292]