The Imam (A.S.) lived in a very critical era in the history of Islam, especially on the intellectual level since many-implanted hadith and the Jews embedded innovated notions. Many deviated ideas also infiltrated into the Islamic culture from old nations that were conquered by Muslims. Such notions and ideas aimed at obliterating the features and aspects of the Islamic intellect which was defended by the intuition-knowledge of Imam Muhammad al Baqir (A.S.); the knowledge which was earlier reported to Jaber bin Abdullah al-Ansari by the Messenger of Allah (A.S.), “It seems that you shall live to see and meet a grandson of mine who is a descendent from Hussein and who shall be named Muhammad. He shall eviscerate knowledge (i.e. he has extremely profound knowledge). Should you meet him, tell him my best regards and salutations.” The efforts of Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) were exerted in many issues among which are the following:
Assuring the Original Resources of the Islamic Thought
He (A.S.) is reported to have once said to his companions, “Going eastward or westward, you shall never find any true knowledge unless we have said it.”
Educating Islamic eminent figures on the genuine Islamic bases
Fortunately, he (A.S.) educated, taught and raised a group of renowned religious-scholars who have a great role in preserving the genuine Islamic heritage. Among those are:
Zorara bin A’ayon, who was described by Imam al Sadiq (A.S.), “If it had not been for Zorara, I thought that the speeches of my father would have gone in vain.”
Muhammad bin Muslim al Thaqafi who is reported to have asked Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) thirty thousand questions.
Aban bin Taghlib who was told by Imam al-Baqir (A.S.): Sit in the Mosque of Madinah and give the Fatwa (religious opinion) among people. I like to see people like you among my Shia.
Spreading the Genuine Islamic Thought
The Imam (A.S.) diligently worked on spreading this thought to an extent that someone, describing the Imam (A.S.), said, “I saw a man in Makkah between the doorway and the Black Stone standing on a small hill surrounded by some people asking his religious opinion in some dilemmas. The man did not stop talking until he answered a thousand questions and when he stood up to leave, one said, “Oh, this is the lustrous light?” Another man answered him, “This is Muhammad bin Ali, al-Baqir (A.S.), the Eviscerator of knowledge, who speaks because he is the cognizant…””
Shaykh al-Mufid, describes the Imam’s spreading of the Islamic thought by saying, “None of the descendents of Hassan and Hussein (A.S.) showed knowledge in religion, traces of the memoir of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), Qur’an and the arts of literature, the same as Abi Ja’afar al-Baqir (A.S.).”
His Message after Martyrdom
The Imam (A.S.) insisted on spreading the Islamic thought in an eminent political movement which was mentioned in an accredited account when he bequeathed that he should be wept over after his martyrdom in ‘Mina’ for ten years and dedicated 800 dirhams of his money so that this will be accomplished.
Specifying ‘Mina’ as a place to cry over him is for a specific characteristic that this place has. It is considered as the most important post as for the settlement of pilgrims therein. Pilgrims stay there without performing any special rites as in other places. Ayatullah Khamenei commented on the last anecdote when he said, “Everyone knows that this is the best place to make any call reach the world, particularly in those days where media such as radio, TV, newspapers and other means disappear. When a group of people cries over the Descendents of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), everyone would surely ask about the reason of weeping. No one usually cries on a dead person over a long period! Therefore, has he been suffering injustice? Or was he murdered? Who misjudged him and why? Many similar questions are asked. Then, this is a striving jihad act which was carefully planned.” The growing action of the Imam (A.S.) was not concealed by the Umayyad regime, who, with all the old malice and rancor, assassinated the Imam (A.S.) by poisoning him. He was martyred on the seventh day of Zee al-Hajjah 114 A.H.
Therefore, peace be upon him the day He was born, the day that He was martyred, and the day that He shall be raised up to life again.