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Imam Jaffer Bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq (A.S.) Character and Personality

Adopted from the Book : A Short Biography of Imam Jaffer As-Sadiq (A.S)

For reasons that have already been outlined in the preceding chapters, like his father, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) had an opportunity of serving humanly in general and Muslims in particular for a long time without restrictions.

Consequently, his great merits as a teacher, scholar and genius came to be appreciated wide and apart throughout the known world of the times in which he lived.

Accompanied with his versatile knowledge in humanities, physical and religious sciences, was his impeccable character. His personality was a fine mixture of piety, generosity steadfastness, courage and above all, sensitivity towards the needs and expectations of his fellow humans. Whoever came in contact with him was left with awe for him.

His charisma, care for others and concern to improve the life of the creatures of Allah was such that he impacted the lives of many. This can be seen by the tributes that Muslim scholars of all denomination in different ages came to make for him.

Shahrastani, the famous Sunni writer, praised Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in these words: “His knowledge was great in religion and culture; he was fully informed in philosophy; he attained great piety in the world' and he abstained entirely form lusts.

He lived in Medina long enough to greatly profit the sect that followed him, and to give his friends the advantage of the hidden sciences. For he who is drowned in the sea of knowledge does not covet anything...," Ibne Hajar, the author of SAWAEQA AL MUHRIKA complements Imam Sadiq (A.S) saying that he was the best person of his times and for that he was his father's successor.

Ibn Khalkan praised the Imam (A.S), saying his greatness and his accomplishments deserve description. Imam Fakhruddin Radhi (In his TafsirKabir] and Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi (in his Tohfa Ithenasherid) consider Imam Sadiq as "MASOOM: (the infallible).

A brief analysis of the character traits of the Imam (A.S) will give us an indication as to why scholars of Islam complemented him in the most praiseworthy terms.

Piety

He spent his days fasting and his nights in prayers and recommended his followers to engage in such acts of piety. All along, he tried to explain to his followers that whereas rituals were an important part of piety, but they remained incomplete if not backed by practical demonstration in day to day activities.

We shall see more of this when we consider the advice that he used to give to those who were with him.

Generosity

He believed in sharing with others whatever he had in the form of knowledge and wealth. We have already seen how he shared his knowledge with others; here we shall give illustrations to show how he shared with others whatever wealth that he had. His house was always open for the needy.

He would never sit to have his meals alone; there had to be guests with him at the times of meals. Imam (A.S) used to say that in his view to sit and share meals with a believer was more virtuous than freeing a slave.

Abu Hamza Thimali describes one such occasion when he was present. Delicious food was served, then fresh and sweet dates were distributed. One of the guests commented that for partaking such types of rich foods, the participants would have to answer on the Day of Judgement in accordance with verse of the Quran ccthe day in which accounts will be required from those who benefited from bounties".

Imam (A.S) replied that it is beyond the greatness of Allah that he should question his creation on the food that he made available to them. Rather on the Day of Judgement people will be required to account for their behavior towards the "Ahlul Bayt."

• Imam (A.S) was with his guests having meals when one of them made a move to stand up to go get something for himself The Imam (A.S) stopped him and went to serve the guest, saying that it was his duty as a host to serve his guest and let him continue with his meals undisturbed; for this was the advice from the Prophet (S. A.W.W).

• It was the habit of the Imam (A.S) that in the darkness of the night he would cover his face so as not to be recognized, and would cany cooked food to serve the needy in their houses.

The recipients of these benefits came to know who their beneficence was only after the martyrdom of the Imam (A.S).

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