The Sixth Holy Imam: Imam Jafar-As-Sadiq (A.S.)
Kunyat: Abu Abdullah
Born: at Medina on Monday the 17th Rabi-ul- Awwal 83 A.H.
Fathers Name: Imam Muhammad Baqir(A.S.)
Mother Name: Umm-e-Farwah
Martyred: aged 65 years at Medina on Monday, 25th Shawwal 148 A.H. Poisoned by Mansur Dawaniqi the Abbasid caliph.
Buried: at Jannat-ul-Baqi at Medina.
The Holy Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) was the sixth in the succession of the twelve Holy Imams. His epithet was Abu Abdullah and his famous titles were as-Sadiq, al-Fazil and al-Tahir. He was the son of Imam Muhammad Baqir(A.S.), the fifth Imam and his mother's name was Umm-e-Farwah, the daughter of Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr.
Born on Friday the 17th Rabi-ul-Awwal 83 A.H. at Medina, he was brought up by his grandfather, the Holy Imam Zain-ul-Abedin for 12 years and then remained under the sacred patronage of his father the Holy Imam Muhammad Baqir, for a period of nineteen years.
After the martyrdom of his holy father in 114 A.H., he succeeded him as the sixth Imam, and thus the sacred trust of Islamic mission and spiritual guidance was relayed down to his custody right from the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) through the succession of preceding Holy Imams.
The period of his Imamat coincided with the most revolutionary and eventful era of Islamic history which saw the downfall of the Ummayad Caliphate and the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate. The internal wars and political upheavals were bringing about speedy reshufflements in government. Thus the Holy Imam(A.S.) witnessed the reigns of various caliphs starting from Abdul Malik down to the Ummayyad ruler Marwan-e-Hemar. He further survived till the time of Abul Abbas al-Saffah and Mansur al- Dawaniqi among the Abbasid caliphs. It was due to the political strife between two groups viz the Umayyads and the Abbasids for power that the Holy Imam was left alone undisturbed to carry out his devotional duties and peacefully carry on his mission to propagate Islam and spread the teachings of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.).
In the last days of the Ummayad rule, their Empire was tottering and was on the verge of collapse, and a most chaotic and demoralised state of affairs prevailed throughout the Islamic lands. The Abbasids exploited such an opportunity and availing themselves of this political instability, assumed the title of "Avengers of Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.)". They pretended to have stood for the cause of taking revenge on the "Ummayads" for shedding the innocent blood of the Holy Imam Husain(A.S.).
The common people who were groaning under the yoke of the Ummayads, were fed up with their atrocities and were secretly yearning for the progeny of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) to take power. They realised that if the leadership went to the Holy Ahlul-Bayt, who were its legitimate heir, the prestige of Islam would be enhanced and the Holy Prophet's misison would be genuinely propagated. However, a group of Abbasids secretly dedicated their lives to a campaign for seizing power from the hands of the Ummayads on the pretext that they were seizing it only to surrender it to the "Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.)." Actually they were plotting for their own ends. The common people were thus deceived into supporting them and when these Abbasids did succeed in snatching power from the Ummayads, they turned against the Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.).
The downfall of the Ummayads and the rise of the Abbasids constituted the two principal plots in the drama Of Ismamic history. This was a most chaotic and revolutionary period when the religious morals of Islam had gone down and the teachings of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) were being neglected, and a state of anarchy was rampant. It was amidst such deadly gloom that the virtuous personage of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) stood like a beacon of light shedding its lustre to illuminate the ocean of sinful darkness around. The world got inclined towards his virtuous and admirable personality. Abu Salma Khallal also offered him the throne of the Caliphate. But the Holy Imam(A.S.) keeping up the characteristic tradition of his ancestors flatly declined to accept it, and preferred to content himself with his devotional pursuits and service to Islam. On account of his great learning he was always triumphant in his many debates with the priests of rival orders like Atheists, Christians, Jews, etc.
The versatile genius of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) in all branches of knowledge was acclaimed throughout the Islamic world, which attracted students from far-off places towards him till the strength of his disciples had reached four thousand. The scholars and experts in Divine Law have quoted many traditions (Ahadith) from Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.). His disciples compiled hundreds of books on various branches of science and arts. Other than "Fiqh" (religious laws), "Hadith" (tradition); "Tafsir" (Commentary), etc. The Holy Imam(A.S.) also imparted mathematics and chemistry to some of his disciples. Jabir ibne Hayyan Tartoosi, a famous scholar of mathematics, was one of the Holy Imam's disciples who benefited from the Holy Imam's knowledge and guidance and was able to write 400 books on different subjects.
It is an undeniable historical truth that all the great scholars of Islam were indebted for their learning to the very presence of the Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) who were the fountain of knowledge and learning for all.
Allama Shibli Numani writes in his book "Seerat-un-Numan": "Abu Hanifa remained for a considerable period in the attendance of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.), acquiring from him a great deal of precious research on Fiqh and Hadith. Both the sects Shia and Sunni-believe that the source of Abu Hanifa's knowledge was mostly derived from his association with Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.)."
The Holy Imam(A.S.) devoted his whole life to the cause of religious preaching and propagation of the teachings of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) and never strove for power. Because of his great knowledge and fine teaching, the people gathered around him, giving devotion and respect that was his due. This excited the envy of the Abbasid caliph Mansur Dawaniqi, who fearing the popularity of the Holy Imam(A.S.), decided to do away with him.
On 25th Shawwal 148 A.H. the Governor of Medina by the order of Mansur Dawaniqi, got the Holy Imam(A.S.) martyred through poison. The funeral prayer was conducted by his son Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.), the seventh Holy Imam, and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery Jannat-ul-Baqi in Medina.
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