Imam Abu Ja'far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, did not die a natural death. Rather, some sinful persons, who did not believe in Allah and the hereafter, gave him poison to drink. The historians differed over which sinful person who committed such a crime. The following are some of the views:
1. Hisham b. al-Hakam gave the Imam poison to drink.1 This is the most acceptable view. For Hisham was the most spiteful person towards the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. His soul was full of malice and hatred towards them. It was he who forced the great martyr, Zayd b. 'Ali, peace be on him, to revolt against him. That was when he scorned and abandoned Zayd. Surely, the great Imam Abu Ja'far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, shook the position of this tyrannical person (Hisham). That because the Imam's knowledge and outstanding merits were famous. So, the Moslems talked about his talents and abilities. Hence, Hisham killed the Imam to get rid of him.
2. Ibrahim b. al-Walid gave the Imam poison to drink. Sayyid b. Tawus thought that Ibrahim b. al-Walid took part in murdering the Imam, peace be on him.3 This means that Ibrahim helped other persons to murder the Imam, peace be on him.
Some references have ignored the name of the person who assassinated the Imam, peace be on him. They have only mentioned that the Imam died of poisoning.4 These are some of the views mentioned concerning murdering the Imam, peace be on him, with poison.
1. Bihar al-Anwar.
2. Akhbar al-Duwal, p. 111.
3. Bihar al-Anwar.
4. Nur al-Abbsar, vol. 131. Ibn Tolan, al-A'imma al-Ithna 'Ashar, p. 281.