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Title: At-Taqi, Al-Jawad
Designation: 9th Imam
Kunyat: Abu Ja’far
Father: 8th Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.)
Mother: Khaizuran Khatoon
Born: 10th Rajab 195 AH (811 AD)
Died: 29th Dhul-Qida 220AH(835AD)
Martyred: Poisoned by Mu’tasin
Buried: Kadhmain, Baghdad, Iraq
Above Forty years of the life of Imam Ali Reza (A.S.) had passed and still he did not have a son. The Shias were showing restlessness and anxiety and praying to God to grant the Imam (A.S.) that son who was being awaited, since they had heard from their previous Imams that the Ninth Imam is the son of eighth Imam. Even sometimes they visited Imam Ali Reza (A.S.) and questioned him about his successor. He would reply, “God will give me a son who will be my heir and the Imam to follow me.”
At last, the waiting of Shias ended and Imam was born from his mother named “Khaizran”. She was from the family of Maria Qibtia the wife of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) who was famous and renowned among the Arabs for her purity, modesty, and superb human virtues.
Imam (A.S.) has many titles out of those Taqi and Jawad are the most famous.
Hakima, the sister of Imam Reza (A.S.), says on the night of his (Imam’s [A.S.]) birth my brother advised me to be present beside his wife. The son of Imam (A.S.) came to the world very conveniently and looked at the sky and declared and confirmed the oneness of God and the Prophet-hood of the Prophet of Islam (P.B.U.H.). I, upon observing this matter trembled and went to my brother, and told him about it. My brother said, “Oh sister don’t be disturbed you will see the surprises even after this one.”
This birth was a very auspicious, blessed and comforting because it took the Shias out of the wandering state, doubt, irresolution and indecision.
Naufali narrates, “When Imam Reza (A.S.) was traveling to Khurrasan I said, “Don’t you have any order for me.” He said, “You follow my son after me and question him about your difficulties.”
Imam (A.S.) persistently and continuously told his friends, “It is not necessary that you write to me and ask me question, instead you make queries and ask questions from this young child who is the Imam next to me.” When some of his friends reflected their amazement and surprise that how this child would be stationed as the Imam of the Ummah? He would say, “God appointed Jesus Christ (A.S.) as the Prophet when he was even younger than Abu Jaffar. Age and years do not have any interference in the Prophet-hood and Imamate.
The Ninth Imam Hazrat Jawad (A.S.) undertook the responsibility of Imamate at the age of nine years. One of the friends of Imam (A.S.) says, “Ali Ibn-e-Jaffar the uncle of Imam commanded a great respect among the people and whenever he went to the mosque, people would surround him and ask questions about their problems.” One day, Imam Jawad (A.S.) arrived the mosque. Ali Ibn-e-Jaffar who was an aged and elderly person got up from his place and kissed the hand of the Imam (A.S.), and stood beside him. Imam (A.S.) said, “Uncle sit down.” He said, “How can I sit while you are standing.”
When he returned among his friends they reprimanded him saying, “You are an old man and the uncle of this child. Why do you respect him that way?” He replied, “keep quiet, Imamate is an office and a station from God. God did not deem this old man fit and capable for the leadership of the Ummah, but considered this child capable for it. You must all obey his commands.”
The Moral Features of Imam (A.S.)
Imam (A.S.) was a child when his father passed away but he never happened to commit the child like acts and even one day one of his friends purchased the game items in the age (period) of his father and took it to his house. Imam (A.S.) was extremely annoyed with him and said, “What do I have to do with these? We are a family of Knowledge and Virtue.”
One year after the martyrdom of Imam Reza (A.S.) Mamoon was proceeding for hunting along with a group of men. Some children were playing in the street. A child was standing on one side of the street and watching them play. All of the children ran away as they saw Mamoon and his army men. But the eleven-year-old child who was watching kept on standing and did not move from his place. Mamoon came near him and asked, “Oh son why did you not run away as the others did?”
He replied, “The way was not narrow so that I could be hurdle for your crossing it. I have not committed any thing wrong so that I might be afraid. I do not think you annoy anyone without reason. Therefore, my running away would be reasonless”. Mamoon was surprised and amazed at the boldness, dauntlessness and training of that child and asked, “What is your name?”
He replied “Mohammad.”
He asked whose son are you?
He said, “Son of Ali.”
Mamoon said, “Are you not the son of Reza (A.S.)?”
He replied, “Yes.”
Mamoon praised and applauded him and move on along with his companions.
The Letter of Imam Reza (A.S.) for His Son
Baranti says, “One day Imam Reza (A.S.) wrote a letter on this way, to his son in Madina.”
“Oh son! I have heard that the servants do not allow the people to come and simply contact you and put their difficulties before you. Be aware they (servants) do not want your benefit and prosperity now I order you that the door of your house be open to all the people and all of them be free to come and go so that whosoever may wish he could ask you question about his difficulty may have the energy (freedom) to do it.
Whenever you go somewhere carry money along with you so that if somebody is in need you may help him. Keep your problem stricken, and entangled relatives in view and attend and help them well. Always do not forget generosity and attending the afflicted ones.
Imam’s (A.S.) Contact with the World of Unseen
Following the martyrdom of Imam Reza (A.S.) eighty men of wisdom traveled to perform Hajj. On the way (to Mecca) they arrived Madina and went to Imam’s (A.S.) house to pay him a visit. Imam (A.S.) who was a young age (child) move into the aggregation and all of them stood up to honor and respect him.
Then they asked questions about their problems and heard then response of the Imam (A.S.) and were very glad. One of them named “Ishaq” says, I had written down a number of problems to ask from the Imam (A.S.) and request him to pray for me so that God gives we a son. Since the assembly was quite overcrowded I got up to go and come back the next day. Imam (A.S.) saw me and said, Oh Ishaq, God granted my demand (prayer) and will give you a son. Name him “Ahmad.”
Thereafter, Imam (A.S.) answered my problems. I heard the answers to my questions without even putting them to Imam (A.S.).
I was much surprised and said, I thank God for the benediction and boon that he has given us. He is the same proof of God (Imam) as I returned to my city not very long had passed that God gave me a son just as Imam (A.S.) had said. I named him “Ahmad.”
Ashari Qumi says, “I had the honor to visit Imam (A.S.). I humbly said, “One of the ladies, who is one of your friends, has recommended to me that I bring along with me one of your dresses for her so that she may use it as her coffin.”
Imam said, “She does not need it any longer.”
I did not exactly understand what it meant. I did not utter a word and said good-bye to Imam (A.S.) and came back. Afterwards, I came to know that a few days before my reaching the Imam (A.S.), that woman had died. Imam (A.S.) was informed about her death. He wanted to make me know it by a signal.
Ummiyya says, “During the period when Imam Reza (A.S.) was in Khorrasan I used to visit the ninth Imam’s house.” One day he told his relatives “Get ready for mourning tomorrow.” I said “for whom”? He said, “the mourning of the best of all the human beings, my father Hazrat Reza (A.S.).”
Aba Salat who was one of the friends of Imam (A.S.) says, “After the martyrdom of Imam Reza (A.S.) I was imprisoned by the order of Mamoon. I remained a prisoner for one year and got very much sad and gloomy. One night. I kept waking and busy praying and was calling my Imam (A.S.) for help. My prayers had not yet finished that I saw Imam Jawad (A.S.) son of Imam Reza (A.S.) near myself. He addressing me said, “Oh Aba Salat it seems you have become very sad and gloomy?” I said, “Yes.” Imam (A.S.) came near me and struck his hand upon the chains and all at once those fell to the ground. Then he said, “Get up.” He took me by the hand and guided me out of the prison and said “Go, so that now you will not see Mamoon after this and no harm will reach you from him.” The way Imam (A.S.) said it happened.
Imam’s (A.S.) Marriage
After Mamoon had poisoned Imam Reza (A.S.) he struggled and endeavored hard to show that the death of Imam Reza (A.S.) was a natural one. But slowly and gradually his craftiness and trickery became evident and Alvis and Shias knew that Mamoon himself had committed this crime. Therefore, a hue and cry, Criticism, disturbance, and revolt started against him from various nooks and corners. To control and put a restraint upon that hue and cry he brought the son of Imam Reza (A.S.) Imam Mohammad Taqi (A.S.) from Madina to Khorrasan so as to marry his daughter Umul Fazal to him. The Abbasades tried hard to stop it but Mamoon did not accept and said to them, you do not recognize him. How do you ask me not to select the best of the Lord’s creations and the wisest of all the people for my son-in-law? You can test him. If he answers your questions and defeats you, do not utter a word after that, and take back your demand. If he could not answer your question, I will accede to your request and not give my daughter’s hand in marriage to him.
The Abbasade approached Yahya bin Aqsam and requested him to prepare a number of problems and put to Imam Jawad (A.S.) questions in the assembly of Mamoon (about those). Yahyah acceded to their request. They came to Mamoon and announced the readiness of Yahyah bin Aqsam to him. He fixed a date for that. The Abbasade came along with Yahyah to that aggregation. The assembly was a real grand one. All the chieftains and dignitaries were present. At this stage the Imam (A.S.) arrived there and all of them rose to their feet. He went ahead and took seat near Mamoon, who was not un-inclined that Imam (A.S.) may be questioned and probably he might not be able to answer them. He said to Imam (A.S.), “Yahyah bin Aqsam wants to ask you some questions.” He replied, “he may ask whatever he wishes to.”
Yahyah said, “what do you say about a person who puts on the dress of Ehram and goes to the house of God for pilgrimage, hunts and kills an animal over there?”
Imam said. “Oh Yahyah this problem has many different dimensions. Which of them do you want to ask about? Was the person out of the Haram (area) or inside it? Was he informed and knew about the prohibition of this work or he was uninformed (ignorant of it)? Did he kill the animal purposely or forgetfully? Was he a slave or a free person? The doer of it repented upon it or he has the intention to carry on with it? Was it night or daytime? Was it his first time or second or third? Was the (hunted) animal a bird or otherwise? Was it small or big one?”
Yahyah was perplexed and bewildered when the Imam (A.S.) explained and illustrated the problem very well. His face indicated the signs of defeat and failure and his tongue stammered. All those present appreciated and admired the Imam (A.S.). Then Imam (A.S.) facing yahyah said, “I have also a question to ask you?” He said, “Please ask it. If I know I will answer it, if not, then I will benefit from you.”
Then Imam (A.S.) questioned him about a problem all those present were calm, quiet and all ears to her the answer of Aqsam. The Abbasades and Mamoons partisans and adherers were trembling with uneasiness and were saying to themselves. If Aqsam could not give a reply all of us will become marked with ignobility and disgrace. Imam’s (A.S.) honor and worth will ascend to a more than ever level.
At the same time the court scholar bent his head with shame and said, “I do not know the answer to this problem. You describe it so that I benefit from you.” Then Imam (A.S.) gave the answer with beautiful description and pleased all the friends and unpleased all the enemies.
At that time, Mamoon addressed the Abbasades and said, “Do you find anyone among yourselves who could respond and give answer to such problems?”
They replied “By God, no.”
Then, Mamoon got his daughter Umul Fazal married to Imam (A.S.) in the same seating of the assembly.
What did Mamoon aim at, by this Marriage?
1. Mamoon had a political motive and aim by this marriage because he, by sending his daughter to the house of Imam (A.S.) wanted to keep vigilance and watch over Imam (A.S.) and remain minutely aware about his activities. As is evident from the history his daughter performed her duty of a reporter very well.
2. He wanted that by this marriage he may get Imam (A.S.) acquainted with the congregations and get together full of drinking and luxurious rejoicing and merry making, and get him busy in pleasure full activities. Resulting which he, on the night of the marriage of Imam (A.S.), sent beautiful maid servants for singing songs, along with musicians to the Imam (A.S.). He shouted upon them, and sends them away.
One of the friends of Imam (A.S.) says, I was present near Imam (A.S.) in Baghdad and was thinking in my mind as to how lmam (A.S.) would abandon and leave the charming and beautiful life of the Mamoon’s governmental structure and machine, and go to Madina.
Imam (A.S.) said to me, “Oh my faithful friend, know it, that eating bread and salt (simple food) and wearing rough dress and living in Madina near the tomb of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is better for me than this life.”
For the same reason, for all the insisting of Mamoon that Imam (A.S.) must stay back, He did not stay in Baghdad and arrived Madina along with his wife Umul Fazal and remained there till 220 Hijrah.
3. Mamoon desired that a son may be born from his daughter and be appointed as Imam and thus he may be able to get a document of honor and pride for himself.
Particularly and specially when he had heard from the previous leaders that the twelfth Imam who would be founder of a global government is from the race of this very Imam.
But the daughter of Mamoon did not bear a child to Imam. Hadi, Musa, Mabbarak and the other sons and daughters of Imam (A.S.) were born from another wife; a kind, modest sublime maid. Mamoon died with this desire in his heart.
Imam’s (A.S.) Station and Status of Knowledge
Before this we learnt how Imam (A.S.) defeated and made the renowned court scholar unable to reply in the assembly of Mamoon, and got sights of all the scholars focused at himself. In this chapter it is necessary to describe the affair, which took place in the court aggregation of “Mustasim” the Abbasade caliph and brother of Mamoon.
An incident which flared up the anger of the court scholars in such a way that they provoked and instigated “Mutasim” to assassinate Imam (A.S.). The event goes so that a thief was brought to the court of “Mutasim” so that he may be punished by his order. To begin with, he asked the opinion of the scholars present in his assembly. In this connection the chief and head of them who was a famous and well-known scholar said something, which Mutasim did not accept.
He sent a word, to Imam Jawad (A.S.) for the solution of that problem. Imam (A.S.) arrived and all the scholars present in the court stood up from their specified places to pay him respect.
Imam (A.S.) took his seat among them and fixed the punishment for the thief referring to Quran and Hadith. “Mutasim” accepted the answer of Imam (A.S.) and ordered it to be implemented.
The scholars who were greatly pinched and angry upon their defeat came to “Mutasim” after Imam (A.S.) had left and said, “You have defeated and beaten us up by this act of yours and made the Shias worthy and valued.” Evidently, it will become clear to the people that you and all of us have gone astray, Imam (A.S.) and his followers are on the right track.
“Mutasim” effected and influenced by these words, took the decision to make amends for what had happened and martyr the Imam (A.S.) and he did it.
The end of Mamoon’s Affair
“Mamoon Abdoos” revolted against Mamoon in Egypt. Mamoon moved to crush him. After he had defeated him, he arrived Rome and conquered it, and took many prisoners. On the way back he happened to cross through the land of “Raqqa” which had a very nice, pleasant, and desirable spring known as “Qushaera”. Since, that was a place having much pleasant climate he camped over there to stay for a lengthy period of time.
Mamoon got ill over there and when he came to know the meanings of the words “Raqqa” and “Qushaera” he took it for a bad omen and was greatly disturbed and upset, as he had heard that he will die at a land named “Raqqa”. He trembled and shivered for a while and knew that he would die.
At last, Mamoon passed away after an ailment of a few days. He was buried there. After his death “Mutasim” his brother who was a wicked and dirty-charactered person succeeded him. He summoned Imam Jawad (A.S.) from Madina to Baghdad so that he could keep him under his eyes and strict vigilance from close quarters.
The Friends of Imam (A.S.)
Since, in the period of Imam Jawad (A.S.) the pressure and control of the enemies was much greater (than other times) lesser number of students could be trained. A segment of the prominent students of Imam (A.S.) are:
(i) “Ali Ibn-e-Mahazyar” who was one of the special friends of Imam (A.S.). He was counted to be among the pious and chaste persons living in Ahwaz.
He has left over behind him nearly thirty books as the monuments of the Ahl al-Bayth (A.S.) and his memorial. He reached to such status that Imam (A.S.) wrote about him, “In the name of God, Oh Ali, God may bless you with beneficent reward and place you in his paradise and bless you with the benevolences and boons of two worlds. I have not found a person like you (busy) in (our) well-being and service.”
(ii) “Abu Nasar Bazanti” was one of the residents of Kufa and one of the special friends of Imam (A.S.). All the Shia scholars accept and recognize his status in jurisprudence, and knowledge. He is the same person who visited Imam Reza (A.S.) and he gave him a special respect.
(iii) “Zakria Bin Adam” He was one of the residents of Qum and out of the most worthy friends of Imam (A.S.) and is buried in Qum. He is one of those for whom Imam (A.S.) prayed and introduced him as his faithful friend. When one of his friends asked, “I am living at a far away and distant place and cannot contact you and ask you questions about the commandments of religion.” Hazrat Imam (A.S.) replied, “Ask Zakria bin Adam who is the trustworthy in affairs of world and religion (resurrection day).”
The circumstances of the martyrdom of Imam (A.S.) have been narrated differently. lbn-e-Sheher Ashoob, a great historian writes so: Because of the extreme anger and grudge that Mutasim nursed in his heart against Imam (A.S.), he provoked and encouraged Umul Fazal the wife of Imam (A.S.) to murder him. The womanly passions made her accept the killing and martyring Imam (A.S.) so she poisoned and martyred him. The martyrdom of Imam (A.S.) took place on Tuesday the 6th of Zil Haj, 220 Hijrah, at the age of 25 years. His pure and sacred body was buried in the graveyard of Quraish beside the grave of his grandfather Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) in Baghdad (Kazmain). The tomb of these two Imams (A.S.) is known as Kazmain and is the visiting site of the Shias.
Brief Sayings of Imam (A.S.)
1. A man came to Imam (A.S.) and said, “Admonish me.” He replied, “Oppose (disobey) the wishes of your heart because you are continuously under the observation of God.”
2. The sinner who does not stop committing sin and repent is proud. The one who shows greatness to God is perished.
3. The best faithful is the one whose morality is best of all.
4. Man’s perfection is in intelligence (wistfulness).
5. Whosoever depends on God, God saves him from every evil.
(Taken from: Islamic Occasions)