Rafed English

Blessed baby

On the 10th of Rajab 195 A.H. in Medina, a pure and pious Nubian gave birth to the ninth Imam; Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s). His most famous titles were Al-Jawad (the generous) and Al-Taqi (the pious), and his father Imam Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha (a.s) stated, “In Islam, there is no more blessed baby for the Shias than him” (1). 

Upon hearing and reading the description given by Imam Al-Ridha (a.s) one might ask, “Does this mean that he (a.s) was more blessed than other Imams and the prophet?”
Allamah Majlesi comments on the saying, “which means, [there is no more blessed baby] at that time or other than the other Imams (peace be upon them), or what is meant [from blessed] is a kind of blessing that is exclusive to him (peace be upon him) from the rest of the Imams (a.s); such as his birth after people’s despair [of Imam Al-Ridha not having a child]...” (2).
According to the third part of Allamah Majlesi’s comment, these hadiths seem to mean Imam Al-Jawad’s birth occurred under special circumstances that brought along special blessings for the Shias. Upon looking at the late second half of the second century of the Hijri calendar it becomes clear that there was tension in the air between Shias. This atmosphere was a result of the delayed birth of Imam Al-Jawad (a.s), along with Waqifis’(3) beliefs and Imam Al-Ridha (a.s) entering his mid-forties. For instance, Husayn ibn Bashshar ibn Qiyama, who was a Waqifi, wrote in a letter to Imam al-Ridha (a.s), “How can you be an Imam while not having any child?” The Imam patiently replied, “How do you know I will not have a child? By God, very soon He will grant me a son who will distinguish between the truth and the falsehood’” (4).
Thus, the spread of Waqifi beliefs near Imam Al-Jawad’s era - which undermined the beliefs of those who had weak faith - caused a toxic environment for Shias. However, “but Allah will only allow His light to be perfected” (5), the birth of Imam Al-Jawad removed doubts, defeated enemies, fulfilled the promises, and raised the banner of the truth while some were waiting for it to crash. This was even after the enemies tried to frame the Imam (a.s) that he was not the son of Imam Al-Ridha (a.s). Thus, Imam al-Jawad’s birth was such a boundless and unique blessing.

(1) Al-Kafi, vol.6, p. 361. 
(2) Mirat Al-Oqul, vol.22, p.202.
(3) Waqifah is the common name of a Shia sect as which denies Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s death and believed in his endless Imamate without him having any successor. They believe Imam Musa al-Kadhim was not martyred but was rather hidden until a promised day when he will reappear. In fact, they know him as humankind’s savior; “The Mahdi”.  
(4) Usul al-Kafi, vol.1, p. 320.
(5) Sura Al-Tawba verse 32


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