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Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir The Fifth Imam

Imam Muhammad ibn Ali Baqir (the word Baqir meaning he who cuts and dissects, a title given to him by the Prophet (sawas)) was the son of the fourth Imam and was born in 67/675. He was present at the event of Kerbala when he was four years old. After his father, through Divine Command and the decree of those who went before him, he became Imam.

In the year 114/732 he died, according to some Shi'ite traditions poisoned by Ibrahim ibn Walid ibn 'Abdallah, the nephew of Hisham, the Umayyad caliph. During the Imamate of the fifth Imam, as a result of the injustice of the Umayyads, revolts and wars broke out in some corner of the Islamic world every day. Moreover, there were disputes within the Umayyad family itself which kept the caliphate busy and to a certain extent left the members of the Household of the Prophet (sawas) alone. From the other side, the tragedy of Kerbala and the oppression suffered by the Household of the Prophet (sawas) of which the fourth Imam was the most noteworthy embodiment had attracted many Muslims to the Imams. These factors combined to make it possible for people and especially the Shi'ites to go in great numbers to Medina and to come into the presence of the fifth Imam.

Possibilities for disseminating truths about Islam and the sciences of the Household of the Prophet (sawas), which had never existed for the Imams before him, were presented to the fifth Imam. The proof of this fact is the innumerable traditions recounted from the fifth Imam and the large number of illustrious men of science and Shi'ite scholars who were trained by him in different Islamic sciences. These names are listed in books of biographies of famous man in time.

Adapted from: "A Short History of the Lives of The Twelve Imams"

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