Character and Virtues of Imam el-Kazim (AS)
- :S.M.R. Shabbar
Adopted from the book : "Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People" by : "S.M.R. Shabbar"
Imam Musa Ibn Ja’afar (AS) was one of the illustrious Imams who God had set a paragon of moral excellence. Each member of this noble family possessed cardinal virtues. Naturally in some individuals a particular virtue is dominant and more conspicuous. The seventh Imam excelled in tolerance and forgiveness, so much so that he was entitled al-Kazim, the suppressor of anger. Never was he heard speaking roughly or harshly to anyone. Even in the most unpleasant situations, he was seen smiling bearing the pain gracefully. This was in accordance with the saying of his ancestor Imam Ali (AS) that the faithful keeps his grief confined in his heart with a smile on his face.
One State official of Madina was a persistent source of harassment to the Imam. He even used abusive language regarding Imam Ali.(AS) But our 7th Imam always directed his followers not to retaliate in the same abusive manner. When his malmanner became too rude to be tolerated, Imam’s followers sought permission from the Imam to retaliate against him. The Imam appeased them, promising to decide the matter in his own way.
Pacifying his followers, the Imam went to that man on his Farm and treated him with such noble benevolence that the man felt ashamed of his conduct and subsequently changed his attitude and altered his conduct. Explaining his policy to his followers, the Imam asked,“ Was my behaviour better than the methods you suggested?” They admitted that it certainly was. He thus carried out the instructions of his great ancestor Imam Ali(AS) which is recorded in Nehjul Balagha to subdue the enemy with benevolence since it is more effective than trying to defeat them with the same methods. No doubt this requires a correct judgement of your adversary’s nature. Imam Ali (AS) has therefore warned not to use this policy with the vile and mean, or they will be encouraged to do more mischief.
To vanquish the enemy with goodness certainly requires the foresight the Imam possessed. Strictness is permissible only when the enemy’s continuous vile conduct justifies retaliation or the use of force. If not, these dignified Nufus preferred to deal with that kind of person gently so as to have a valid pretext against the opponent and leave no ground for him to justify his aggression.
This was the noble method usually adopted by all members of Ahlulbayt. Imam Ali (AS) even on his death bed behaved liberally with Ibn Muljim who had dealt him a mortal blow only the day before. Imam Musa Ibn Ja’afar(AS) showered his generosity on many of his relatives even when he knew that some of them were envious of him and conspired with the ruler of the time Harun al-Rashid.
As to what may have led to his final imprisonment, we find that it is stated by Al-Fakhri that there were some of the relatives of Musa Ibn a’afar who were envious of him and carried false reports about him to Al-Rashid, saying, “The people paying him the Khums, or one fifth of the property, are accepting the Imamat and he is about to revolt against you”. They brought this report to Al-Rashid so frequently that it made him anxious and agitated. He gave the accuser some money to keep bringing him more information. But it is related through authentic sources that this relative of the Imam did not have the chance of enjoying that reward for espionage, for as soon as he reached Madinah, he suffered a serious illness and died from it. It was in that year that Al-Rashid went on the pilgrimage, and when he arrived in Madina, he arrested the Imam Musa Ibn Ja’afar, brought him to Baghdad and imprisoned him under the care of al-Sindi ibn Shahik. (Al-Fakhri-Ibnul Tiktika)
This agrees with Majlisi’s comment in Bihar al Anwar that “Harun took him from Madina ten days from the end of the month of Shawwal 177 Hijiri. Then Harun set out for Makka and took the Imam with him when he returned to Basra and had him imprisoned with Issa. About one year later he was taken out of the Basran prison and taken to Baghdad. He was put in prison there under the watchful eye of the most cruel person named al-Sindi. Majlisi goes on to say that the Imam died in his prison and was buried in the cemetery of Qoraish on the south side of Baghdad.
Al-Fakhri adds,” Al-Rashid was at Rakka and sent orders that he should be put to death. They then brought a number of so called reputable men to Karkh to act as coroners and to testify publicly that the Imam died a natural death.
The place he was buried was a cemetery of the Qoraish. But soon this place became the focus of pilgrimage on the grave of the Imam. A town grew around the grave yard. The name of the town became Kazimiya, the town of the Imam Kazim (AS) A reputed school of theology was founded in this town which is still a source of learning for many students from all over the world.
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