Harassed by the Ummayad Government
- :S.M.R. Shabbar
Adopted from the book : "Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People" by : "S.M.R. Shabbar"
Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik succeeded Umer Ibn Abdul Aziz. He was a stone hearted, immoral person and racist. His prejudice against non- arab muslims caused him to double the taxes they had to pay, and his reign was a replay of the bloody days of Yazid Ibn Moawiya and Hajjaj Ibn Yousuf Thaqafi. It was then that the revolution of Zaid Ibn Ali bout as a continuation of the revolution of Imam Hussain(AS) and Imam Ali AS).
Imam Baqir (AS) never expressed any interest nor participated in political matters except when the ruler invited him. Since his peaceful living was devoted to people’s spiritual guidance, he was not tolerated by the Government. Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik wrote to his Governor of Madina instructing him to send Imam Baqair and his son Imam Jafar Sadiq(AS) to Damascus intending to humiliate them in front of an audience. When they reached Damascus, he kept them waiting for three days. On the fourth day he called them in his presence. He sat on a throne surrounded by his armed guards. In the centre of the courtyard, a target was set on which the elite were shooting arrows. Immediately the Imam entered, Hisham bluntly asked him to shoot arrows with others.
Imam Baqir tried to evade Hisham’s order, but the latter kept insisting and he planned to ridicule the Imam. Since the Imam led a secluded life, Hisham thought he might not have any connection with martial arts. He did not know that each descendant of the Prophet had inherited the might of Imam Ali(AS) and the courage of Imam Hu(AS). He could not realise that their calm and quiet life was lived in fulfilment of the demands of Divine Providence.
Compelled by Hisham, Imam Baqir (AS) took the bow, handling it skilfully, he shot a few arrows continuously, all sitting straight in the very heart of the centre spot. A shout of praise burst from the throats of astonished elites standing right and left of the caliph. Hisham outwitted, began to discuss the problems of the Imamat and the virtues of Ahlulbayt. He clearly saw that the Imams stay in Damascus might lead to popular respect for Ahlulbayt. So he permitted them to return home to Madinah. Inwardly his enmity of the Prophet’s family had increased,
While in Madinah Imam Baqir (AS) continued with the progress of the schools of theology opened up on his advice and with the support of the companions of Ahlulbayt. It is noted by many historians that until the death of our 5th Imam there were 25000 students in these schools learning Fiqh, Theology and Islamic science. It was at this time that 400 books of Hadith were compiled by the students of these school under the guidance of Imam Baqir (AS)
Now was the time to bring out books on Hadith, true sayings of the Prophet and also to show people in practical terms how duties were performed by the Prophet himself. It was because of this deeper and truer spread of knowledge that he became known as Baqir. The 400 books of Hadith that were written and later confirmed by his son Imam Ja’afar Sadiq (AS) when he became Imam after the death of his father, that Kulaini compiled his monumental books of Traditions named Al-Kafi, during the period of the Twelfth Imam.
As mentioned earlier the Ummayad Caliph Hisham ibn Abdul Malik was not happy with the progress our 5th Imam was making in reaching out to the people of not only Madinah but throughout the Muslim Lands. This spiritual influence would change into political influence and this would jeopardise the Caliphs own position as head of the state. The more the Ummayad Government learnt about Imam’s prestige and popularity, the more intolerable his existence became. At last they resorted to the same soundless weapon, poison which used to be applied by the cunning monarchs quite often to eliminate their opponents or suspects. A saddle was presented to the Imam in which poison was applied most skilfully. When he mounted on it the poison effected his whole body. After few days in pain the Imam expired on 7th of Zilhijja 114 Hijri.
According to his Will he was shrouded in three pieces of cloth. These included a Yamani sheet which he used to put on Friday prayers and a shirt which he always wore. He was laid to rest underneath the same dome in Jannatul Baqii where Imam Hasan and Imam Zainul Abedeen were buried.
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