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Childhood of Imam al-Jawad (a.s.)

He spent the first five years of his life with his father. As a matter of fact, he was born many years after Imam Reza's marriage. Prior to his birth, Imam Reza's enemies used to taunt the Imam (A.S.) for not having a son to succeed him despite the fact that the Imam (A.S.) had told them that Allah would soon grant him a son.

The Imam's friends and followers on the other hand, were worried that there was no issue from the Imam to succeed him. The Imam assured them, too, that Allah would soon grant him a son who would be the next Imam.

The birth of Imam Taqi (A.S.), therefore, was welcomed with anger and disappointment by Imam Reza's enemies, and with relief and happiness by the Imam's friends.

Because his mother was a Nubian and because the colour of his skin was dark, Imam Taqi (A.S.) was called 'Aswad' (The Black one) by the enemies of Imam Reza (A.S.). However to others he was known as "Taqi" (The Pious one) and "Jawad" (The Generous one).

He was the first among Imams from the House of the Prophet to have been separated from his father at a very young age. At the time of the martyrdom of Imam Reza (A.S.) Imam Taqi (A.S.) was only nine years old.

It was very important, therefore, that Imam Reza (A.S.) should make his followers ready to accept Imam Taqi (A.S.) as their next Imam, despite the fact that he was only a child by their standards.

A few instances are quoted here under from Al-Irshad to show how Imam Reza (A.S.) introduced Imam Taqi (A.S.) to the community of the followers:

When Ali Bin Jailer Sadiq (A.S.) acknowledged Imam Taqi (A.S.) as the next Imam, Imam Reza (A.S.) was very happy and reminded him that Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) used to say that the Prophet (SAW W) once told Imam Ali (A.S.) that the son of the best of the Nubian maid-servant would be among his descendants.

He would be separated from his father and would be exiled. His Grandson would go into occul-tation ("Ghayba").

Safwan Bin Yahya asked Imam Reza (A.S.) regarding his successor. The Imam named his son Muhammad Taqi (A.S.).

Safwan expresses his suprise saying, "But he is just a child, only three years old." The Imam replied that this should not really matter for hadn't Prophet Issa (A.S.) given testimony of his mission when he was less than three years old?

Muammar Bin Khalad heard Imam Reza (A.S.) say that his successor was his son Muhammad (A.S.). The Imam then added, "We are the 'Ahlul Bayf. Our young inherit our old, like one feather (on a wing) is followed by another."

Al-Kahyrani says that he heard somebody ask Imam Reza (A.S.) about Muhammad who at that time was very young. The man expresses his suprise. Imam Reza (A.S.) replied, that Allah had sent Prophet Issa as Prophet and Messenger and the latter assumed his mission when he was younger in age than Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.).

Adapted from the book: "Biography Of Imam Muhammad Bin Ali (A.S.) - Al-Taqi" by: "M. Dungersi Ph.D"

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