A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq(A.S)

A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq(A.S)0%

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Publisher: www.alhassanain.org/english
Category: Imam al-Sadiq

A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq(A.S)

Author: Mohamed Raza Mohamed Husein Dungersi
Publisher: www.alhassanain.org/english

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A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq(A.S)

A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq(A.S)

Publisher: www.alhassanain.org/english

A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq (A.S)

Author: Mohamed Raza Mohamed Husein Dungersi

Table of Contents

Preface 3

Chapter 1: Imam Jaffer Bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq(A.S.) Childhood and Early Manhood  4





Life With His Father Life With His Father 6


Chapter 2: Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) Life After Martydom of His Father 8





Imam Sadiq's "Revolution' Through Education 10



Teaching Methods Of The Institute 12




Chapter 3: Major Historic Events During The Times Of Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) 18


The Last four Caliphs from the Ummayades 18

The First Two Caliphs Ffrom The House Of Abbas 21

Chapter 4: Major Historic Events During The Life-Time Of Imam Jaffer Bin Muhammad-Alsadiq (A.S) and His Non-Political Stand 24



Why did Imam Sadiq (A.S) turn down the Opportunity to accept the Caliphate? 27

Conclusion: 30

Chapter 5: Imam Jaffer Bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq (A.S.) Character and Personality  32


Piety: 32

Generosity: 32


Finally, with the Grace of Allah, I have completed this short biography of our Sixth Imam, Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S.) for those readers who need to have a brief overview of the life of this divinely appointed Imam.

There is so much information on the life of our Sixth Imam that in the initial stages I had no clue as to where to start and where to end this daunting endeavor that I had agreed to undertake on behalf of the Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania.

The more I thought of this project, the more discouraged I felt, until when I learnt that there were quiet a few people who had read the short biographies that I had written on the other Imams and who were inquiring from the Bilal Muslim Mission for explanations as to why I had not written on the life of our Sixth, Tenth, Eleventh and the Twelfth Imams.

This inquiry encouraged mevonce more, to pull myself together and apply my energies towards this unfinished task. The result of this effort is the short sketch depicting the highlights of the life of our Sixth Imam, Hazrat Jaffer Sadiq (A.S).

Every time I went through this work when it was in the draft form, I felt that it was not worth printing as it did not encompass even the most basics about the life of this illustrious personality.

I ended up making massive alterations. Finally, I came to the conclusion that if I were to follow my instincts, this work would never be completed. We therefore now h^ye this brief work for my readers.

My prayers to my Creator is that may He forgive me for the deficiencies that may have remained unveiled in this book.

I take this opportunity to thank all those who have in one way or another helped me in my efforts to undertake and complete this task. My special sentiments are for Fidahussein Abdullah Hameer, the Publisher, who tolerated my tardiness and constantly reminded me of my obligations to complete this work.

Mohamed Raza Mohamed Husein Dungersi,

February 11, 1999 Shawwal24, 1419

New York-U.S. A

Chapter 1: Imam Jaffer Bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq(A.S.) Childhood and Early Manhood


Imam Jafter Bin Muhammad (A.S.) is the Sixth Imam form the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S. A.W.W.). He is known more by his title (Lakab) fc AL-SADIQ Several explanations have been given as to why he has been singled out for this title despite the fact that all the Imams from the progeny of the Prophet were truthful-AL SADIQ.

Muhammad Khazri in tesAT-TASHRM i JL ISLAM! says:

"Hazrat Abu Abdullah Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) came of the Sayyeds of the Holy Household. He won the title of Sadiq because of his unchallengeable truthfulness." Batras Bustani inhis DAERATAK MAAREFVol VI. reaffirms this view.

Another explanations is, there was a need to distinguish him form others who had a similar name and who had made false claims to be the Imam of the time. By calling him AL-SADIQ, people would differentiate him from the false ones.

A third explanation is that Allah, the Almighty, Himself chose this title for him. The Prophet (S. A. W. W.) therefore foretold the birth of this Imam and gave him this title.

The most important thing to note is that like the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) who was acknowledged to be truthful i AL-SADIQ) even by his avowed enemies, The Quraish of Mecca, similarly Imam Jaffer Sadiq's truthfulness has been accepted at all times even by his enemies.

As for the name Jaffei; by. Arabic lexicon, it simpK means a stream. But according to some traditions. Jaffer is a unique stream in paradise. In view of the fact that Imam Jaffer (A.S) was to become a fountain head of knowledge for all and sundry; he was given this name by his father, the Fifth Imam.

The Sixth Imam is also known by many other titles C1LQAB') that include FAADHIL (the excellent one), TAHIR (the pure one), SAB1R (the patient one), QAEEM (the steadfast one) and MUSADDIQ (the ratifier).

Another unique thing about Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) is, the Shia sect of Islam is named after him. Thus when people talk of the 'madhab' of Abu Hanifa, of Ahmed Ibne Hanbal, of Malik bin Anas, of Imam Shafi, they talk of the madhab of Ahlul Bayt as madhab Jafferi.


His father was Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.).

His mother was Fatima (popular by the name of Umm Farwa). She was a woman of many merits. Imam Sadiq (A.S.) had high regards for her, so much so that he used to quote her as source of "hadith' from the Fifth Imam. One such hadith is recorded by Kulayni in USULAL-KAFI:

Imam Sadiq (A.S.) reports that his father told Umm Farwa: "O Umm Farwa, I pray to Allah for the sinners among the Shias day and night, a thousand times, for we Imams endure the misfortunes that happen in the light of what we know of the coming reward, whereas they suffer without such knowledge."

This does not come, as a surprise knowing the fact that Umm Farwa's father was Qasim, the son of Muhammad Bin Abu baqr. Qasim was a very pious person and a devout student of Imam Zainul Abideen (A.S). He was regarded amongst the seven top most jurists of Medina during his times.

Qasim's father was Muhammad whose mother was Asma Binti Umays and whose father was AbuBaqr, the first Caliph from Saquifa.

Asma Binti Umays had been previously married to Jaffer Bin Abu Talib who was martyred at Mutta. She was then married to Abu Baqr after whose death she married Imam Ali (A.S.). Imam Ali loved Muhammad Bin Abu Baqr whom he addressed as his own son.

Qasim married his cousin, Asma, the daughter of Abdulrehman Bin Abu Baqr. From this marriage was born UmmFarwa.


Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S.) was born on Friday 17th of Rabiul Ula 83 AH (AD 702) in Medina. Remember: this is also the birth anniversary of our Prophet (S. A.W.W).

Imam Ali BinHusain (A.S), his paternal grandfather, was still alive at his birth. As a matter of fact, he lived with his grandfather for twelve years when the latter passed away on 25th Muharram95A.H.

It is reported that when Imam Sadiq (A.S) was still in his mother's womb, he used to communicate with her. According to Allama Majlisi, when Imam Sadiq (A.S.) was bom, he bowed down and supported himself on the ground.

Then he looked at the sky and read the "Kalema" and called out the names of all Imams before him. His father read" Adhan" in his right ear and Ikamaa' in his left ear. Like the previous five Imams who came before him, he was bom clean and circumcised. Between his shoulders was the seal of"Imamat".


Imam Sadiq (A.S) had the opportunity of spending 35 years of his life with his father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.). He was an active participant of the school that his father was running both in the mosque of the Prophet (S.A.W. W) and in his own house in Medina. Imam Baqir (A.S) would, time and again, involve Imam Sadiq (A.S) to conduct classes so that the students could appreciate the young Imam's knowledge and skills as an educator, and their future Imam.

Instances are quoted by Sheikh Mufid in his AL-IRSHAD when Imam Baqir (A.S) introduced Imam Sadiq (A.S.) as his successor:

• A man by the name of Abu Al-Sabbah Al Kinani reports that once when he and others were in the presence of Imam Mohammed Baqir (A.S), the Imam looked towards his son,

Imam Sadiq (A.S) and said, "Do you see that man? He is one of those of whom the Mighty and High has said; 4 We wish to grant a favor to those who have been humiliated in the land and we will make them Imams and inheritors. (xxvii:5)'"

• Jabir Bin Yazid Al-Jufi, who was a famous companion of the Fifth and the Sixth Imams reports that once Imam Baqir (A.S) was asked about the one who would take over form him as the Imam of the time.

He tapped Imam Sadiq (A.S) with his hand and said, "By Allah, this man from the family of Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) will take charge."

Life With His Father Life With His Father

Not only was Imam Sadiq (A.S) his father's right-hand person in conducting classes in his father's madressa, he was also his father's companion on his journey abroad. Imam Sadiq (A.S) reports one such journey to Damascus.

Hasham, son of Abdul Malik, son of Marwan, the Ummayyad Caliph, summoned Imam Baqir (A.S.) to Damascus with the sole aim of rebuking and then imprisoning him for no other reason than that Hassham was afraid that the Imam would overthrow Mm.

Details about this journey and the Imam's miracles in the court of Hasham have been described in the unit covering the life of Imam Baqir (A.S.). At this juncture, we need to note that Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S), too, was present and his father took this opportunity to introduce his son to the rest of the world.

Imam Sadiq (A.S) was the main witness in the reporting of the miracles that his father showed, with the permission and help from Allah, the Almighty.

The Effect Of Imam Baqir's Teaching on Imam Sadiq (A.S)

Admittedly, the divinely appointed Imam gets his knowledge form Allah, the Almighty and does not learn anything form any human being.

Nonetheless, an Imam does learn from his father who is an Imam preceding him. By this token Imam Sadiq learnt a lot of things from his grandfather, Ali Bin Husain (A.S) and his father, Muhammad Bin Ali (A.S.).

First and foremost, the institution of learning in Medina that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) developed so successfully was initially started by Imam Zainul Abidin (A.S) and Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S).

These two Imams not only laid the foundation of a unique center of learning, but also defined the educational course that this institute would take. Also, they produced a comprehensive and concrete course-work, which was so extensive, so diverse, and so challenging that it came to attract students from all walks of life from such distant places as Iraq, Egypt and Persia.

Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S), as a young boy, grew-up in this institute as a scholar and teacher. On the passing away of his father, he took over and was in full command as dean and manager of this institute.

He then developed this educational structure into an equivalent of a modern time university, with the curriculum including Science of the Quran, 'Tafseer' (Exegis), Tiqh' (Jurisprudence), 'Seerah' (Biography of the Prophet) Philosophy, 'Irfan' (Gnostics), Grammar, Literature, and Chemistry to mention but a few branches of knowledge.


Kulayni writes in his AL KAW that Imam Sadiq (A.S) says that when his father. Imam Baqir (A.S), was about to pass away from this world, he said, "Jaffer, I command you to treat my followers well." Imam Sadiq replied, " May 1 be at your ransom1 By Allah 1 will teach them knowledge so well that they will become self-sufficient."

Imam Baqir then asked for witnesses to be brought. Four witnessess from the clan of Qurash were called. The Imam then dictated his testimony, naming Imam Jafer Sadiq (A.S) as his trustee and successor.

He then let the witnesses depart. Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) inquired from his father as to why he had called the witnesses. Imam Baqir replied that he did so, so as to silence those who could claim later on that Imam Baqir (A.S) had left no successor.

Chapter 2: Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) Life After Martydom of His Father


Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) took over as the Imam of the time from his father in AH 114 when Hisham Bin Abdul Malik was the Caliph. Unlike most of his predecessors, who had ruled for veiy short times and therefore did not have enough time to obstruct the progress of Islamic Education propagated by Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq (A.S.), Hisham ruled for 22 years.

He became a real threat to Islam, especially in the later years of his life. Imam Sadiq (A.S) therefore had to do two things. First and foremost, he had to protect all the educational progress that his grandfather, his father and he himself had achieved up to this point in time.

Second, he had to play down his role as the champion of Islamic learning and wait for another opportunity to arise, and then to continue his work from where he had left it. In this chapter, we shall see how he succeeded in accomplishing these two goals.


Remember that when Imam Baqir (A.S) was about to depart form this world, he had asked Imam Sadiq (A.S.) to be fully responsible for the "ummah'.

Imam Sadiq (A. S) had promised to do just that, but to do so through the process of education and learning. This is the key to understand the Imam's reaction to various situations that arose during twenty four years of his Imamat.

Imam (A.S.) had two options to choose from: Either involve himself in political activities and bring down the oppressive rulership of the Ummayades, or seek reform through the process of education. At that time, the political option appeared to be the better of the two choices.

but if we look at the events now; we can realize that the second option was. indeed, the best option, and we can appreciate Imam Sadiq's wisdom and deep foresight in choosing this option to bring about necessary changes in the society.

Before we examine Imam Sadiq's approach, let us look at the reasons which made people at that time, think that the political choice was the only choice available.

The Ummayade rulers were cruel carefree and completely incapable of ruling effectively. They did not care for Islam or the Muslims.

To meet their own ever-using expenses, the rulers overburdened their subjects with taxation and exhausted resources, with the result that there were dissatisfaction and uprising throughout the empire.

By putting down these upn sings, the Ummayad rulers only made themselves more unpopular and, not only did they weaken themselves, but also paved way for further uprisings. Syed Ameer Ali described this situation thus: "The flower of the nation had perished either in the civil wars or under the suspicious policy of a jealous court.

The blind confidence reposed by the last sovereign in his ministers had thrown the government in the hands of incomplete and self-seeking functionaries whose incapacity and misrule alienated the people.

Hisham was little fitted by character or disposition to cope with difficulties, which now beset the empire. The frequent change of governors led to disastrous consequences."


Then, it was clear that time was ripe for those with leadership abilities and some recognition in Muslim society to organize themselves to topple the I mmayade dynasty. Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S), in the eyes of his contempora-ries, was the ideal person for this task. However, Imam (A.S) had a different opinion.

When proposals came to him to do so, he flatly refused to get himself involved politically. How right the Imam was, we shall see in the course of this chapter.

Whereas Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) refused to seize this opportunity, there were others who were tempted to so. They went after it and the result was disaster and destruction for them. This subject w ill be discussed elaborately in Chapter 3 and 4.

At this juncture, we shall describe briefly the merits of Imam Jaffer Sadiq's (A.S) approach and its impact on the welfare of humanity in general and Muslims in particular.


Zaid, Imam Muhammad Baqirs step-brother, and later on his son, Yahya, decided to take the political choice.

Similarly, later on, Imam Hasan's grandson Abdullah Mahaz and his two sons Muhammad (popularly known as 'Nafse Zakiah" - the pure soul) and Ibrahim, too, decided to get involved politically to counteract the Ummayad oppression. The outcome of their approach will be discussed in chapter 3 and 4.

The grandchildren of Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, by the name of Abu Abbas (later on came to be known as Saffah "The bloodshedder") and Abu Jaffer (later on came to be known as Mansoor —""the victorious"), too, chose to agitate against the Ummayad rulers. The outcome of their struggle will be assessed in chapter 3 and 4. The activity of these agitators was mostly in Iraq, Persia and to some extent in the Peninsula of Arabia.

Similar agitations were also brewing in Syria, Africa, Spain, and in those parts of Central Asia and Europe where the Ummayad rulership extended.

Hisham Bin Abdul Malik Bin Merwan had considered these threats more serious than Imam Sadiq's education program in Medina.

He therefore put to full use his energies and resources to suppress these agitators so as to save his throne. Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) took this opportunity to carry out his mission that had been put to a temporary halt by Hisham.

Imam Sadiq's "Revolution' Through Education

After a short interruption, Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) resumed his teaching program, knowing that it was now safe to do so.

Whereas Imam Zainul Abeedin (A.S) and Imam Baqir (A.S) had fully established the Center of Learning.

Imam Sadiq (AS) went ahead; he helped it to attain a status similar to a modern university.


The most outstanding characteristics of a university are:-

• It is a place of advanced learning

• It is an institute that disseminates both pure and applied knowledge on a wide range of disciplines.

• The teachers of this institute are highly talented with proven experience in their respective fields of learning.

• It has a very rich source of information to facilitate independent research for those students wishing to specialize in a branch of knowledge that interests them most.

• The teaching method employed in this institute has basically two features: Lectures given to a full class and tutorials (or seminars) where the classes are smaller in size and there is an informal interaction between the tutor and the students.

A university that develops on these principles builds ?ts reputation, which is reflected through the high quality of students that it produces, and the volume of information that it generates.

The public both national and international - then gives recognition to such an institution. The ultimate result is seekers of knowledge throughout the civilized world Hock around such an institution.

Imam Jaffer Sadiq's Institution had all these qualities as revealed by the curriculum as well as the methodology that had been adopted by Imam (A.S).


The core of the curriculum was to teach correct Islamic knowledge as contained in the Holy Quran and explained by the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and the divinely appointed Imams from the progeny of the Prophet - the AHLUL BAYT.

The focus was on TAFSEER or that science of the Quran that dealt, in detail, with such issues as the surface and the underlying meaning of the various verses. the circumstances under which each verse was revealed and the correct interpretation of the commands and lessons of the Quran.

FIQH-( Islamic jurisprudence or law) was another subject that was given special attention. Theoretic as well as practical problems were addressed and their solutions worked out during the FIQH session.

The science of 'HADITH’ had also an important position in the classes of Imam Sadiq (A.S). A very important concept was explained: the concept of the Golden Chain of Narration. The essence of this concept was any tradition that an Imam from Ahlul Bayt mentions has a continues chain of narrators (all being Imams) that links it to the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) whose source is the Angle Gabriel whose source is Allah, the Almighty Himself.

In an age when false “hadith” were being fabricated and associated with the Prophet (S.A.W.W), Imam (A.S) taught his students a golden yardstick to use in differentiating a true hadith from a false one.

He said any hadith that contradicts any verse of the Quran is a false one and has no merit. Moreover, to counter the false hadith. Imam (A.S) introduced the correct but hitherto unknown hadith in thousands on various subjects pertaining to the basics of faith, ethics, and all other matters of life and death.

He encouraged his students not only to memorize these hadiths. but record them in writing so as to avert the problem of misrepresentation in the future. He left the task of classification these hadith to his graduates.

Imam also taught ISLAMIC: HISTORY with the focus on the biography of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) - the "SEERAI-T. He provided a complete and correct picture of the life of the Prophet to counteract the falsified versions that was the work of those false scholars paid to do so by the Ummayad rulers.

Apart from these broad ‘core’ subjects students with special aptitudes and interests were encouraged to develop then skills at such specialized disciplines as the Arabic Language and Literature, Philosophy, Logic and Physical Science like Chemistry and Biology.

Capable students were encouraged to carry out their research under the tutelage of the Imam himself, and to write books for future usage. These students were also encouraged to become teachers who could then go out far and wide in the world to preach the true message of Islam.

There were five students whom the Imam trusted most and singled them out to be the future teachers in the event that when the Imam was gone and the institute closed by the rulers; these students were Band Bin Muawiyah, Abu Basii; Layth Bin Murad, Zararah Bin Ain, and Muhammad bin Muslim.

Imam (A.S) considered them as "trustees of Allah" for their administration of the permissible (halal) and the forbidden (haram) in religion.

As a result of this encouragement, several thousand books were written by the the students of the Institute. Out of these, 400 books were on fundamentals of faith (FURUU).

After the passing away of the Imam (A.S) and when the University was closed down by the Abbaside ruler Mansoor, the Shia came to depend on these books heavily Later on, scholars prepared digests and summaries of these books for the use of the followers of the "Madhab of Ahlulbayt." Four of these books became the 'core' books and continue to be so. These books are:

1. AL-KAFI - authored by -Kulaini

2. AL-TAHDHIB - authored by Tusi

3. AL-ISTIBSAR - authored by Tusi

4. MAN LA YAHDARAH AL-FAQIH authored by Sudduk.

Teaching Methods Of The Institute

The main 'auditorium' - if you thus want to call the classroom of Imam Sadiq (A.S) - was the mosque of the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) in Medina. This is where the Imam (A.S) would conduct his classes, in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.

Breaks were provided only at the times of daily prayers. Formal lectures were given by the Imam (A..S.) followed by brief periods of question - answer sessions.

Special tutorials were given in the mosque at times of break, or in the house of the Imam (A.S). Fazl Bin Otnar lio learnt from the Imam (A.S.) Biology and several related disciplines as Zoology and Botany did so at dawn after the Fajr prayers.

In he later years of his life, the Imam (A.S.) was helped in running these classes by his son, Imam Musa Kadhim (A.S). Imam also trained his wife Hamida Barbaria to deal with issues related with women 1 here came a time when Imam (A.S) would refer women to Hamida to have her answer their questions.

Imam also encouraged some of his extraordinary students to work as his representatives both in Medina and elsewhere. The names of the students were mentioned before.


Diverse and very useful knowledge relating to this world and the hereafter became available to mankind in general and Muslims in particular. According to Al Mufeed and Tibrisi, as many as 4000 students graduated from Imam Sadiq's institute of learning in Medina.

The diversity of the knowledge that Imam helped to generate is reflected by 4 main factors, (i) The volume of written information that was produced by the Institute; (ii) The variety of discipline that were covered in these written document s; (iii) The intellectual levels of the students who attended and graduated from the institute and iv. The geographical areas, which were represented in this endeavor to create and disseminate knowledge.

i). Volume of Information produced by the Institute:

Books were written in thousands by the graduates of the Institute of which 400 were on USOOL alone. These books existed for many centuries and were used as sources of information and basis of authority by many later Muslim scholars.

Details on these documents will be provided when we examine the famous graduates of the Institute. Suffice it to mention here that Jabbir tbne Hayyan, who was a prominent student of Imam Sadiq (A.S), collected 500 treatises of the teachings of Imam Sadiq (A.S).

Ibne Hajar e Makki summarizes the effect of the flood of information flowing from the University of Imam Sadiq (A.S) in these word: "..so many issues of learning have been transmitted from Hazrat Jaffer Bin Muhammad, that they are known from city to city and hamlet to hamlet.

Great leaders of learning like Yahyabin Sadeed, Ibne Jaree'h, Malik, Sufyan, Abu Hanifa..have given narration from him" (SAWAEQA ALMUHRIKA).

ii). Variety of subjects covered by the curriculum: Professor of Literature in the University of Cairo, Muhammad SadiqNashaata, summarizes this aspect so well that his words are reproduced verbatim; the professor says.

"The house of Hazrat Jaffer Bin Muhammed (A.S) has a status of a complete university where great scholars of traditions, exegesis, philosophy and polemics gathered together. Sometimes two thousand scholars and sometimes four thousand scholars at a time attended the lectures.

His pupils have collected his teaching in the form of books which have acquired the status of an Encyclopedia." (quoted form Status of Imam Sadiq (A.S), Peermohamed Trust Publication).

ii). The intellectual level of students who attended these Institute:

Four thousand graduates from this institute have been recorded by their names in the annals of history. We shall reproduce here under a few of these students' names and narrate briefly their contribution to learning since this will give an indication as to the quality of teaching they went through under the tutelage of Imam Sadiq (A.S).

NOMAN BIN THABIT (Popularly known as Imam Abu Hanifa). He was a full time student of Imam (A.S) at Medina for two years. Apart from that, he attended Imam's classes in Kufa for a short time and would consult the Imam's guidance from time to time. He states that he would have been ruined if he had not been the student of Imam Sadiq (A.S) for those two years.

This is confirmed by no other person than Muhadise Dehlavi in his TOHFA-E-ITHNASHERIAH.


He, too, was the student of Imam Sadiq (A.S). The author of TAHZEEB quotes Imam Malik to have complemented Imam Sadiq (A.S) in these words:" In point of learning, a better man has not been seen by eyes or heard by ears or conceived by imagination."


He is regarded as prominent transmitter of traditions which appear in the SEHAH. Imam Shafi complements him saying that if it had not been for SHOABA there would have been no knowledge of traditions in Iraq. Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal regards him as the embodiment of the Muslim Ummah.


Because of his knowledge, he rose to the position of the Qazi (Chief Justice) in Baghdad and Kufa. He could quote three to four thousand traditions that he had heard and committed to memory from his student days in the Institute of Imam Sadiq (A.S).


He was an author of several books from which Imam Shafai copied several narrations since the latter was Ibrahim's student.


He later became a teacher of Ahmad Bin Hanbal who started his own Madhab, the followers of which came be known as Hanbalis.


He became the teacher of Imam Shafai, the founder of the Shafai school of thought.


He was an expert in astronomy.


He specialized in the Biography of the Prophet and his work is regarded as highly reliable by the scholars of Biography.


He obtained sixteen thousand traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S). There were times when Imam Abu Hanifa would send his students to seek solutions of problems from Muhammad, such a great authority he was!


In the West he is known a GEBER. Imam Jafer Sadiq (A.S) taught him Chemistry - the discipline in which he is believed to have written at least 100 books of which 22 are still existing. His published works include: KITAB AL REHMAN (Book of Mercy) KITAB AL TAJM1 (Book of concentration), AL ZILAKAL SHARK1 (Book of Eastern Mercury, Book of the Kingdom, Book of Balances).

His books on Chemistry have been translated into several European languages, and have influenced tremendously the development of modem chemistry. The Encyclopedia Speculum Naturale described Jabir in these words "The influence of GABER is very pronounced."

Max Meyerhof has this to say about Jabir: "His influence may be traced throughout the whole historic course of European alchemy and Chemistry." Later chemicalscientists such as Al Tugharia and Abu Al-Qasim Al Iraqi who flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries respectively regarded Jabir as~ "Master"

Whereas the scholars of the world regard Jabir as their "Master", he regards Imam Sadiq (A.S) as the best teacher that he has ever had! He associated the cause of his success to Imam Sadiq (A.S) referring to him as "My spiritual guide and master, Jafer Ibne Muhanimaad."

iv). The geographic areas from where the students came.

The four thousand registered students and the unknown thousand of the non-registered students did not all belong to Medina alone. The fame of the Institute of Imam Sadiq (A.S) had spread so far and wide that students of different inclinations, tastes and interests from all over the known world began to converge in Medina. Eager learners came from Koofa, Basra, Wasit (In Iraq);

from Egypt, Persia, Bert>er Africa and Spain. All the major Arabian tribes sent their learners to Imam Sadiq (A. S). It is reported that members from the tribes oi Bani Asad, Makharah lay, Saleem Qhattan, Gaffar, Khazaah, Khashaam, Makhozoom, Bani Zabah and the Quraysh were all represented in the Institute in Medina.

In his book the History of Arabs Ameer Ali described this aspect of the Institute in these words: ".. the chief leader of this movement of learning was Hazrat Imam Sadiq (A.S)..

He had an extensive vision, deep insight and perfect mastery of every branch of knowledge His assembly of learning and knowledge was not only attended by those who later became Imams of religious school but also by great personalities from all parts of the world, who graduated there to avail of his teachings."


During his visit to KUFA, BAGHDAD and KERB ALA, Imam (A.S) took upon himself to run educational courses at formal ancTinformal levels at his place of abode. Eager learners from those towns and the surrounding areas would attend Imam's classes and acquire knowledge in those fields, which were of interest to them.

Over and above that, Imam (A.S) would encourage some of his students to act as his representatives in those places like Qum where the Imam did not have the opportunity to visit. Through this system of transmission of information through such students as MUHAMMAD BIN MUSLIM AND ABU BASIR AL ASADI, Imam's influence extended to such areas as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Persia.

Through this means, the process of learning was dispersed and its benefits reaped not only by Muslims and believers alone, but also by humanity at large. Through the process of dialogue and discussion several non-believers were converted into firm believers.

It is interesting to note that Caliph Saffah and then Mansoor arranged for the Imam to undertake these foreign visits with the intention of harming him. However, the Imam (A.S) turned these visits into teaching experiences and conveyed the true message of Islam to those distant places.


The importance of Martyrdom of ImanvHusain (A.S) was explained and Muslims were trained to appreciate and uphold the principles and ideals for which Imam Husain (A.S) gave his life. In his AZA-AL-HUSAINPAR TARIKH TABSERA, Maulana Syed Ali Naqi narrates several methods which the Imam used to achieve those goals. Some of the methods are as follows:

i). He encouraged formal and frequent gathering to remember the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A.S) and the other martyrs of Kerbala. This was particularly so in the month of Muharram when he would hold such gatherings in his own home and invite such famous poets as Abu Ammara Nashd to recite elegies and eulogies on the martyrs of Kerbala.

Abu Amrnar himself reports that on one occasion the Imam (A.S) asked him to recite a number of such elegies up to the time when the weeping and wailing would be heard from the house of the Imam (A.S).

Zaid Shilam reports that once when he was in Kufa in presence of Imam Sadiq (A.S), a poet by the name of Jafar Bin Iffan came to see the Imam. After a brief conversation, the Imam requested Bin Iffan to recite elegies on Imam Husain (A.S). Bin Iffan complied.

The effect of these elegies were such that the Imam (A.S) began to weep and then he thanked Bin Iffan saying, "Do not think that only this gathering here is listening to your elegies? As a matter of fact, Allah's angles are present here and are mourning with us. May Allah bless you for your elegies. Allah will reward you with Paradise for composing these verses".

The Imam once asked Abdullah Bin Fazl: "Do you ever organize gatherings and recall events that are based on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A.S)?"

Bin Fazl replied that, indeed, he did.

Imam observed "I very much approve of such Majlises" According to Maulana Ali Naqi lexically 'MAJLIS' means any session but the Imam (A.S.) used it as proper noun to mean exclusively those gatherings for the remembrance of the martyrs of Kerbala.

ii). He stressed on the importance of visiting the grave-site of Imam Husain in Kerbala. He is the only Imam after Imam^Zainul Abideen (A.S) - to have had an opportunity of visiting the gravesite of Imam Husain (A.S) in Kerbala. As a matter of fact, he was able to visit Kerbala on more than one occasion. His first chance came when Saffah, the first Caliph from the House of Abbass invited the Imam to Kufa.

The Imam (A.S) broke his journey at Quria Ghazaria where he took a bath in the River Euphrates (The "FOORAT") and then walked to the gravesite of Imam Husain (A.S) and recited the salutation which is famous by the name "ZIYARAT WARTTH" which now the believers recite at least every week on Thursday night.

After this occasion, every time the Imam (A.S) was called to Iraq, he would make a point to visit the grave site of Imam Husain (A.S).

He also encouraged people to visit the shrine of Imam Husain (A. S), by stressing the great importance of such visits. To give you an idea of this fact, we shall narrate one of the traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S) regarding the importance of visiting the shrines of the martyrs of Kerbala.

Kulaini and Sayyid Bin Taoos quote Muawiya Bin Wahhab, one of the most famous companions of Imam Sadiq (A.S) saying that once he visited Imam (A.S) and found him busy praying. When the Imam finished his prayers, he prostrated in a "sajda" and requested Allah to reward handsomely and forgives the sins of those who left their homes and visited the shrine of Imam Husain (A.S).

When the Imam finished his prayers, Bin Wahhab expressed his surprise that there was so much reward here and hereafter for those who ventured to visit the shrine of Imam Husain (A.S).

Elaborating on the importance of visiting the grave-site of Imam Husain{A.S), Imam Sadiq said," Oh the son of Wahhab, don't you wishto be thos£ considered by Allah as the beneficiaries of the supplication of the Prophet (SAW),

of Ali Ibne Abi Talib, of Fatima (A.S) and we, the Imams from the of the Prophet (S.W. A.W.W)? Don't you wish to be amongst those who shake hands with angles? Don't you to be considered as one of those who shall corne on the Day of Judgement free from all sins? Don't you want to be one of those who shall be shaking hands with the Prophet (S.A.W.W) on the Day of Judgement?"

By asking these questions, the Imam (A.S) was stressing the importance of visiting the grave-site of the martyrs of Kerballa generally, and that of Imam Husain (A.S) in particular.